Mrs.Figg didn’t know what to do. She’d had a nagging suspicion that the Dursleys were not all that they seemed, and over the past three, no, four years next week, they only grew over time. But did Dumbledore listen? Of course not.
“I know what’s best, my dear,” he had chided her. “Best”, her foot! Harry was definitely underfed, and the last time, he had come over sporting a black eye, probably from that whale of his uncle. His cousin was a decent child, but at the rate his parents were acting, he wouldn’t be for long. Every time Harry came over, she fed him as much as she could. At the time, she thought that was all she could’ve done. But now, she resolved, she would rescue Harry, no matter the cost. Now where was that confounded owl?
“Never mind,” she spoke to herself. “I’ll just write it first.”
She took out her dwindling supply of paper, and a pen.
Dear Headmaster Dumbledore,
It has come to my attention-
No, that was too formal. She thought again.
This is in regards to Harry. I have reason to suspect that-
No, that was no good either. She crumpled the paper into a ball, and threw it onto the ground.
Petunia Dursley visited me today. She…seems to dislike magic, and I fear for Harry. She also asked me if we would be able to take Harry back. I know you’ve said that that wouldn’t be a good idea, since Harry is safest at his relatives. But I don’t think that the Dursleys want him anymore, and even though it might be safe from You-Know-Who’s followers, but I fear that the utmost danger is not from them, but from his own relatives. He has come to my place several times, sporting bruises. If you cannot take him, I will
willingly do so.
That was better. Now where was that owl when you needed him?
Dumbledore opened his owl post with a frown. Severus was due in half an hour, and he probably wouldn’t want to see this. No, definitely not at all. He put it aside for later contemplation, and quickly popped a lemon drop into his mouth.
A knock sounded. “Come in,” Dumbledore said. As expected, Severus was on time. He walked in, his cloak billowing behind him.
“Well, that’s a new colour, Severus,” Dumbledore smiled. “It’s much better than the black you normally wear.”
Severus nodded. Internally, he kicked himself for deciding to wear the midnight blue, even though he’d thought that it wouldn’t really have made a difference. To move the conversation off his clothes, he asked, “What do you need me for, Headmaster?”
“Please, Severus, call me Albus. Lemon drop?” he offered.
“Headmaster, I despise those over-sweetened candies, and you know that well. Why must you insist on asking time and time again?” Severus’s face contorted. “Now really, why exactly are we having this meeting? Or do you have more time on your hands-”
“Now, now, Severus. I merely wanted to inquire of your well-being. After all, you’ve just moved into your house. Is it to your liking?”
Before Severus could answer, an owl bulleted into the room, scattering the paper.
“What in the name of Merlin?!?” Severus pulled out his wand.
Dumbledore waved his hand. “No need, my dear Severus. Ginger here is merely overexcited. Ah, let’s see…” He unfolded the letter, quickly perusing it. “Oh, my. Why that won’t do at all.”
His eyes lit up. “Severus, are you by any chance busy this afternoon?”
Severus internally groaned. He knew that there’d be something. What a round of bad luck. And of course, even if he did refuse, well, he couldn’t really, not having a choice to begin with. “I was going to finish refurbishing my new…acquisition today,” he answered smoothly.
“That can wait,” Dumbledore replied, proving Severus’s point that he really had no choice in the matter. In some aspects, Dumbledore was like the Dark Lord, such as the inability to say no.
“What is the matter?” asked Severus, thinking, Might as well get this over with.
“I need you to see Mrs. Figg,” Dumbledore replied, and his eyes twinkled.
“You want me to go see the Potter brat,” Severus stated flatly.
“He is hardly a brat,” Dumbledore protested, his eyes twinkling madly now. “But yes, I want to be assured of his well-being.”
“He’s probably being pampered to high heavens! For Merlin’s sake, he’s the Boy-Who-Lived,” Severus sneered, no longer able to control his rage. He, look after the results of his worst enemy and his love. The product of his mistake.
Dumbledore’s voice cut through the fog in his mind. “I’m not asking you to look after him, merely to see whether or not he is being taken care of. Mrs. Figg has indicated that all may not be what it seems, and it concerns me.” Seeing that Severus was not paying attention still, he added softly, “Please, Severus, do it for me.”
Severus’s head shot up from shock. Had Dumbledore just begged him? Finally, he snarled, “Fine, I’ll do it.”
He grabbed the floo powder, tossed it into the fireplace, and shouted, “Arabella Figg’s house!”
Harry moaned. He could see the light filter in from the tiny crack in the cupboard door, showing that morning had finally arrived. He didn’t understand at all. What had he done wrong? His tiny body shook from holding in sobs. The kids on telly always looked so happy, and they always had people who loved them. Why was he different? Oh, yes, he was the freak. He didn’t deserve to live, and definitely not even eat.
He heard the door slam. Aunt Petunia was muttering again. Maybe she was going to take him out and give him a hug? His eyes lit up at that thought. But then his face twisted, realizing that for him, there would be no hugs, at least not from this quarter.
He crawled towards the stale water in the bowl Dudley had given him last night. It was almost all gone. Did he use some last night? He remembered dumping the towel into the bowl, to wipe the blood off of him. Surely he couldn’t have used that much? But there it was, as clear as day: less than one-seventh of the bowl left. At least he still had some of that chocolate bar Dudley had given him. Dudley was pretty nice at home, but mean when he was around his friends. Maybe that was how other boys acted? He wouldn’t know. Dudley would know, ‘cause he was a year older. Whatever a year was. Aunt Petunia was always saying that. I beat you this time, Lily, my boy’s a year older than yours, her voice echoed in his head. Lily was his mum’s name. She died in a car crash a long time ago. Sometimes, he wished his mum hadn’t left him. He could still sometimes hear her voice in his head. His dad, though, was the puzzle. Harry didn’t remember anything at all about him.
It didn’t matter anyways. His aunt said that he was a “good-for-nothing-drunk.” That definitely didn’t sound good at all. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise upstairs.
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