Chapter 3 : Family Stories
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Morning arrived far too early for Harry the next day.
The bright sunlight streamed through his open window and made it nearly impossible for him to go back to sleep. He looked around his room with bleary eyes to see that Ron wasn’t having any problems sleeping. He couldn’t help but to roll his eyes at Ron’s snoring as he yawned and put on his glasses.
He expected that Hermione was already awake and studying what she believed that they needed to know. She would soon be wheedling them into practicing, or at least trying to persuade Ron into practicing because Harry still technically couldn’t do magic outside of school yet. None of them wanted another issue with the Ministry even though it was unlikely that he’d get another reprimand from Mafalda Hopkirk since Ron and Hermione were also living there.
A soft, almost hesitant tapping on his closed door caught his attention as he was getting out of bed. He crossed his room to open his door and was surprised to see his cousin standing as still as a statue in the doorway. For a very brief moment he thought that Hermione might have petrified his cousin. “Dudley?” he asked, growing worried the longer that his cousin wasn’t moving.
Dudley’s eyes traveled to the second bed where Ron was still snoring, blissfully asleep.
He glanced back in the direction where his cousin was looking. When he turned back to his cousin, he saw that Dudley’s hands were slowly creeping to his backside as they did whenever another witch or wizard was nearby. He wasn’t finding anything remotely funny about his cousin’s habit this summer since Ron had taken to startling Dudley just to see his reaction. “You can see that he’s asleep. I’ll talk to him. I promise.” He watched his cousin’s rare timid expression change to a mixture of disbelief and the tiniest hint of gratitude.
“Mum says that breakfast is nearly ready,” Dudley managed to whisper before completely losing his nerve. He quickly darted back down the stairs to relative safety without looking away from Harry’s open door.
Harry turned back to look at Ron with narrowed eyes. He was becoming completely annoyed with the entire situation. Not even after everything that his relatives had put him through did Dudley deserve what Ron was purposely doing to him. He had even warned Ron to stop twice before but he hadn’t stopped. He knew that Hermione had also talked with Ron about his behavior only because Ron’s ears had turned a very dull red with embarrassment.
His irritation suddenly rose. This wasn’t what he wanted to deal with the very first thing in the morning. He abruptly decided that Ron had slept long enough. He picked up Ron’s wand and poked him in the chest causing his snores to immediately stop. “I know that you’re listening to me,” he told his friend sternly. He chose to ignore Ron’s closed eyes. “Just so that you know, this isn’t my wand. It’s yours. Leave off Dudley already. Remember when your dad went spare on Fred and George because of the Toffee? What will he do if he knows that you deliberately scared a Muggle who’s known to be scared of magic?”
“Harry’s right,” Hermione added her agreement from the open doorway. “I’ve been telling you to stop scaring him because it isn’t funny.”
Ron opened his eyes and quailed at the furious look on Harry’s face. “You’re scarier looking than Professor Dumbledore!”
Harry felt his insides freeze at Professor Dumbledore’s name. Sparks began to fall from the wand in his hand. Without any warning, he spun on his heel and shoved Ron’s wand at a surprised Hermione before storming from the room.
Hermione sighed as she pointed her own wand at Harry to change his pajamas into Muggle clothing. Then she turned back to glare at Ron before leaving the room still holding his wand.
Ron groaned to himself. Today was going to be a very long day with both of his friends upset with him.
Downstairs, Harry’s jaw was clenched tightly as he chose one of the chairs at the kitchen table.
Petunia eyed her nephew carefully and wondered if there was going to be a repeat of the horrid business that happened to Vernon’s sister today. She could see that he was even more upset than he had been a few years ago. “Harry?” she asked hesitantly. She wasn’t sure if he would answer after everything that she had put him through.
He didn’t reply for several long moments.
She remained silent as she watched him. She was amazed at the control that he had gained over his magic while he was angry.
He finally took a deep breath and looked at her. “Do you want me to finish breakfast?” he asked her in an even tone.
She was surprised to feel an unfamiliar emotion when she realized that while she started breakfast that he would usually finish it so that she could relax or talk with Vernon and Dudley. “No, that’s alright. I’ve got it.” She glanced quickly around for any signs of his friends. “What happened?” she asked with some concern before hurriedly adding, “Unless you don’t want to talk about it.”
He dropped his head into his hands.
Dudley cautiously watched his mother and cousin talk. His cereal spoon hovered forgotten over his bowl as his eyes bounced between them as they spoke.
Harry took a deep breath before looking over at his cousin. “I’ve talk to him and he should stop. Let me know if he doesn’t.”
Dudley nodded clumsily before dropping his eyes to his overflowing cereal bowl and empty breakfast plate.
“You talked to whom?” Petunia asked as she gave a worried glance to her son.
“I talked to Ron,” Harry replied wearily. “I reminded him just how much his dad wouldn’t appreciate his jokes.”
Petunia turned her attention back to cooking the bacon and eggs. She didn’t think that the reminder of his father would change Ron’s behavior given that he was miles away. However, a very annoyed friend who also shared the same room would matter much more. “I take it that you don’t appreciate his jokes either?” she asked curiously in a timid voice.
Harry looked at his cousin who had trouble deciding where to look. He couldn’t decide if he was going to study his half-finished breakfast, at him, or at his mother. “No, I don’t. I don’t know what my dad did to make you dislike him so much, but he shouldn’t have done anything.” He held his aunt’s gaze before looking back at his cousin who was nodding his head slowly. It was plain to see that Dudley was still worried.
Petunia gave him a very long look before turning back to flip the bacon in the sizzling pan. “Would you mind bringing the plates over here, Hermione? Thank you.”
Hermione placed the stack of plates next to her. She watched as Petunia quickly dished out a cooked breakfast to everyone.
Petunia waited to answer her nephew’s question until after she had served everyone breakfast. “You thought that I was talking about your father?” she shook her head with disbelief. “Of course you did,” she waved her hand negligently in the air. “No, it wasn’t your father even though he did get into a fight with Vernon when they first met. It was that horrid boy.”
“You mean that the horrid boy wasn’t my dad?” Harry exchanged a confused look with Hermione.
“Oh, I haven’t had to think of his name for years now,” Petunia fell silent as she tried to remember his name. “I believe that your mother called him Severus.”
Harry gave Hermione a horrified look before hissing, “Snape!” Everything in the kitchen began to clatter until Hermione cleared her throat loudly. He took a very deep breath and looked around. Petunia had gone completely pale while Dudley looked torn between eating his breakfast and running away from the table. He took several more deep breaths.
Hermione answered for him. “Snape killed Professor Dumbledore in front of Harry,” she explained before turning to Harry. “If you don’t calm down, then I will petrify you.”
He knew that she would do it especially if it would keep him from doing more under-aged magic. He held up his hands as he began counting in an effort to calm down.
Petunia gaped at Hermione in stunned incredulity and then nodded perfunctorily. She had many questions about what had happened to Professor Dumbledore, but it was clearly not a good idea to ask those questions in Harry’s presence. The kitchen lights flickered and the dishes continued to rattle sporadically as he worked on bringing his emotions back under control. She decided to ignore his display of magic. Instead, she asked them, “What are your plans for today?”
Hermione sighed. “I expect that we’ll continue packing today. There isn’t much left to do before we leave next week.”
“Of all the…” Draco kicked at the pile of leaves that had settled on the forest floor. He didn’t know where he was exactly but that wasn’t his problem. He only had one goal and that was to remain as far away as he could from his former potions professor. That was the only reason that he was in the middle of a forest instead of having found a comfortable place to sleep.
There were only two problems with his situation.
The first was that he had no tent.
The second problem was that he had no food.
He had tried several times to conjure up a tent without success. He didn’t understand why he was having trouble with his spell. Usually he didn’t have any trouble getting any of his spells to work. So why did this one refuse to work for him? He knew what a tent was. Anyone would know that. He had even seen plenty of them at the Quidditch World Cup. So why had his spell failed? Not only once but multiple times?
The other more important problem that he had was food. Or more accurately, his problem was the lack of food. He hadn’t believed McGonagall when she had told them that no one could conjure food without there already being some food. Something about Gamp’s Law or some other such thing. It hadn’t really been that important enough to know except to answer correctly on his tests.
Now as he looked around him, he didn’t see anything that he could eat except for possibly the berries on the nearby bushes. He reached out to pick some of the berries until another thought came to his mind. Hadn’t he heard of poisonous berries? Perhaps he shouldn’t even try them. How could you tell if it was going to kill you or not?
He had gloated so many times at the others who had less than him, but he was beginning to suspect that they would be faring much better in this clearing than he was. “Why didn’t Father think that this might be important to know one day?” he shouted at no one in particular. He felt better for a brief moment before his reality sank back in.
He knelt on the ground in defeat. “This just can’t get any worse.”
Then it began to rain.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter. Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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