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Chapter 8 : Midnight's Justice
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He soon discovered the answer to that when he lit up the tip of his wand and found a tin bucket that smelled faintly of urine still. Snape's nose wrinkled and he began to plan out exactly what he would do to these miserable Muggles, who in their way were just as cruel and wicked as Voldemort. He snapped several more pictures of the inside of the cupboard, and then the outside.
Then he tucked the camera away in his pocket, even in Transfigured Muggle attire, the Deep Pockets was still active, and he headed into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. Normally he wouldn't have ever just "helped himself" to anyone's food, but considering who they were, he had no qualms about making a large sandwich from the array of cold meats and cheeses in the fridge, topping it off with lettuce and pickles and a mayonnaise and mustard sauce and devouring it. He also ate some potato crisps and a Cadbury milk chocolate bar, and drank a large glass of water as well. That would be enough to get him through the first round of spells he was going to cast. It was important for a wizard to eat well before a major casting, since spellcraft burns off energy better than the best aerobic workout. Severus usually didn't eat all that well, which was how he remained so slender, because he had a tendency to cast without eating.
Not this time, however.
He smirked evilly as he drew his wand. Lady of Magic, I normally do not call upon You this way, but this once, I ask that You show me Your Hand of Justice. Show me how best to punish these offenders, who have so harmed a child bearing the gift. He bowed his head, waiting to see if Selene answered. Sometimes the goddess would speak to him, other times She remained silent, and he was free to choose his own course of action.
Suddenly he felt a tingle across his spine and he turned to face the window, where the moon shone through the glass, stippling the counter top with silver. Look up, my child. Severus, look up.
He gazed upwards and the moon seemed to shimmer and he felt a cold caress upon his cheek, as if from a hand. Lady of Mysteries, what will You have of me?
Justice for the one you are sworn to guard. Justice by thy hand, my moon fire stallion. Give them a taste of the plagues. Let them know hunger, thirst, pain, and darkness. Let them feel fear and uncertainty. Let them know that to trifle with one under My auspice is to invite My wrath.
Severus listened as Selene whispered certain enchantments into his mind, spells that had not been cast in centuries. He felt the strength of the moon flow into him and knew it would be his until his task was done.
With pleasure, Bright Lady! He sent back, and heard Her chuckle before withdrawing.
Severus turned and began to chant the first spell.
Three hours later, he was finished, all the spells were in place, timed to occur at specific intervals. Weary but triumphant, Severus climbed the stairs and Transfigured a sock into a camp bed with his last bit of energy. Drawing the blanket over himself, he fell fast asleep.
He was awakened some four hours later by Petunia screaming bloody murder.
Harry was in the bathroom, after drinking the potion he wanted to look in the mirror to see how his face looked with the green tinge and red pustules. He thought it looked quite horrifying, especially if one was Aunt Petunia, with phobias of anything with dirt, bugs, or disfigurement.
Then he heard his aunt screaming, not the usual Harry-get-your-arse-down-here scream, but a full throated screech. Harry almost bolted down the stairs to see what was wrong, but recalled at the last second he was supposed to be sick and returned to his room instead.
By that time Severus had risen and Transfigured the extra bed back into a sock and disappeared. Harry entered the room and went and lay down in bed.
He heard a chuckle and then a whispered, "Good job, Potter. I'll be back."
Snape glided from the room, going downstairs to see how well the first part of his justice had worked.
Petunia was standing on a chair, her eyes bugging out of her head, shrieking, "GET THEM OUT! GET THEM OUT NOW! VERNON, GET THESE FROGS OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
Over a hundred frogs of all sizes were jumping and hopping everywhere in the house. They were coming out of the cabinets beneath the sink, from under the table, beneath the sofa, croaking and ribbeting.
Dudley was running around, yelling, "Cool, Mum, there's a rare leopard spotted one over here!" He picked up the frog to show Petunia.
She screamed. "Dudley, put that filthy animal down now, it could have diseases!"
A frog hopped up on the chair by her feet and she jumped on the table, wailing, "Merciful good God! My house has been invaded . . .ahhhh . . .by frogs!"
The normally prim and proper Petunia looked as if she had stuck her finger in a light socket, her hair was going every which way, she had one shoe on and the other had fallen on the floor, where several frogs were leaping over it and one had crawled inside. Her pressed cornflower sprigged dress was rumpled and she wrapped her arms about herself and cried. "My house! Infested with frogs . . .frogs . . .FROGS!"
Vernon came bumbling down the stairs. "What's the matter! Arghhh! Bloody hell! Where did all these . . .frogs come from?"
One jumped up on his leg and he yelled. "Damn thing! Get off!"
"Vernon! How can we get rid of them?" Petunia sobbed.
Vernon looked confused. "Uh . . .I could get a bucket and net . . ."
"A bucket! You stupid imbecile . . .you need more than a bucket . . .you need an exterminator!" screeched his wife.
Vernon held up his hands. "Okay . . okay . . calm down, Pet . . .I'll get on the phone right now . . ."
Severus smirked wickedly, knowing full well that no Muggle exterminator would be able to rid the house of the plague of frogs until two hours had gone by, and then the next phase of the curse would start.
The exterminator ran around with his own net and cages and tried unsuccessfully to get rid of the frogs. "It's like . . .every time we get rid of ten, there's fifteen more taking their place. And some of these species aren't even local ones."
"I don't care what they are!" Petunia snapped. "Just get rid of them!"
Finally, the frogs departed, and Vernon growled, "So what the hell happened? Where did all these frogs come from?"
"I don't know how they got here. They just appeared!"
Vernon scowled. "It's that freak's fault!"
His face grim, he stomped upstairs, followed by Severus, who was scowling.
Harry was under the covers, looking like death warmed over.
"Boy! What's the meaning of all this? Frogs everywhere!" Vernon boomed.
"Huh?" Harry rubbed his eyes, feigning sleep.
"Don't you play innocent with me, boy! I know you're behind this, something freaky always happens when you're here. I tell you, I won't tolerate—ahhh!" He jumped back from Harry just as he was about to shake his shoulder. He had just noticed the spots and green skin. Terrified, Vernon backed away. "Stay there, boy! Don't come near me. Don't come near any of us. Just stay there!"
Face pale as curdled milk, Vernon fled down the stairs.
He quickly told Petunia and Dudley about Harry.
"Is he gonna die?" were the first words out of Dudley's mouth.
"Be better off if he did die," Vernon growled.
"If he dies, Dad, can I have my second bedroom back?"
Severus scowled upon hearing this. It would seem that his relatives had as much care about Potter as they would have an unwanted shoe.
"Dudley, hush!" Petunia ordered. "You mustn't say things like that. That warlock Snape might be able to hear you. If the brat dies, there goes our second income." She glanced about furtively and then hurried upstairs with some water and a bowl of chicken broth.
She screamed and nearly dropped the broth when she caught sight of Harry. Then she placed the items upon his desk and fled.
Harry, who was becoming hungry after all the drama, slipped from his bed and went to eat, only to find the meager meal supplemented by a large platter of bacon, eggs, and toast. He blinked, then recalled that Snape was still lurking about, and must have Summoned this for him, and he whispered "Thank you, professor," before tucking in.
All day long, strange and odd happenings plagued the Dursleys. No sooner had the frogs vanished, then the sky became dark as night, and it began to hail and storm. Dudley had been outside skateboarding when he got caught in it and came in screaming about hail the size of golf balls that had hit him in the head. He had a lump the size of one on his head.
Petunia put an ice pack upon his head and told him to go and lie down. Then she stared gape-mouthed at the weather, which seemed to only be affecting their part of the street, for across the way, their neighbor's house was suffering from a surfeit of sunshine and beautiful weather.
"We're cursed! Cursed!" she moaned, then called for Vernon to come and see this latest event.
The hail pelted the house, breaking the windows in the den and causing Vernon to nail boards across the broken frame to keep the wind and hail from coming in. He muttered swear words as he did so.
Unseen, Severus watched and smirked in satisfaction. Little did they know their troubles were just beginning.
Petunia went to get a glass of water and begin cooking something for lunch and started screaming when the tap ran a rusty brown liquid.
"Vernon, something's wrong with the pipes! It's running rusty water again."
Dudley came to peer over her shoulder and put a hand under the faucet. It came away red. "Ahhh! Mum, it's not running water! It's running . . .blood!"
"Blood? But . . .but that's impossible!"
Then she looked at the bottom of the sink, which was slowly filling with blood.
Vernon came running. "Turn off the water!" he yelled. "Turn it off!"
She did, then stood trembling in terror. "What do we do now?"
"I'm hungry, how are we gonna cook anything if we don't have water?" whined Dudley. "This sucks!"
"Uh, well, you're just going to have to drink something else," Vernon said. "And . . .and eat cereal for now."
Dudley pouted and sulked, reminding Severus of a five-year-old. The Potions Master longed to take the spoiled brat by the ear and shake him till he howled.
"How will we take a shower if this keeps up?" Petunia cried. "I am not bathing in blood!"
They all shuddered and looked horrified.
"I'm hungry!" Dudley shrilled, and Petunia went to get something out of the fridge.
Severus waved his hand, and when she opened the fridge, dozens and dozens of brown grasshoppers and spiders crawled out.
Petunia backpedaled so fast that she tripped over her own feet and fell flat on her bottom. "Spiders! Grasshoppers!" She continued to scream hysterically as the insects and arachnids crawled all over her.
Dudley was screaming too, as was Vernon, and they started trying to stomp the bugs, but there were too many. In minutes the kitchen was covered in a living curtain of insects, crawling and scuttling, making a noise like paper crackling, all over the floor, walls, furniture and the three Muggles.
They were all shrieking and hopping about like demented puppets, shaking their arms and legs, because the bugs had crawled inside their clothing.
Vernon ran out into the backyard, trying to rid himself of the awful things, but then he was attacked by a mob of birds, and ended up pecked and nipped by them until he ran inside.
"The shower, Pet! Maybe we can drown them!"
"But . . .but Vern. . .the showers don't run water. They run blood!" sobbed a frantic Petunia. "Ooohh! I can't stand this anymore!" She began to run around waving her arms and beating at herself, like a scarecrow run amok.
Severus couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of prissy Petunia freaking out this way.
Serves you right, you miserable hag!
They discovered there was nowhere in the house they could go . . .except Harry's room . . .to get away from the bugs. And none of them wanted to venture near the plague-stricken Potter.
If that wasn't enough, all the food in the fridge had become spoiled and they had nothing to eat.
After twenty minutes, Dudley began moaning that he was wasting away and groaning while stomping grasshoppers.
Two hours later, the bugs slipped into the walls and disappeared. But the water was still running blood, or something very like it.
The Dursleys huddled upon the couches in the den, in front of the TV, shivering.
Then Vernon felt an itch upon his arm, and went to scratch, and found a large boil rising on his skin. He jerked up and bawled, "Oh, Lord have mercy!"
"What? What is it?" Petunia asked.
"I'm . . .I'm infected . . .look!" he displayed the boil on his arm.
Petunia covered her mouth in horror. "No! No, this can't be happening! He said . . .he said we couldn't get sick!"
"I think he lied," whimpered the fat man.
A few moments later, Dudley yelped and jumped from the couch. "Oww!" he rubbed at his backside. Boils had begun to pop up all over his bottom and legs and arms.
Before long both Dudley and Vernon were covering in red oozing pustules, which itched and burned like hell.
Petunia started to cry. "Not my husband! Not my baby!"
Then she too began to get the boils.
"We're all gonna die!" wailed her son. "Mummy, I'm too young to die! You're supposed to die first!"
Severus nearly choked at the sheer selfishness of the boy, and sneered nastily at Dudley's back, which he was trying to scratch frantically. "It's all Harry's fault! He's gonna die and he wanted company!"
"We should have slammed the door in his face instead of letting him in!" groused Vernon, his face bulged with large carbuncles.
"We should have left him to starve that first night!" Petunia snapped. "Wretched boy! Never been anything but a burden and a cross to bear. Useless magical freak! Too bad he didn't die along with his parents!"
A large boil grew on the end of her nose. "What . . .what . . ." she reached up to feel it and started to tremble. "Oh no . . .no . . ." she ran into the bathroom upstairs. "Oh my face . . .! I look like a . . .a . . .witch! A horrible, ugly, old witch!"
Actually, Tuney, you look worse! thought Severus spitefully.
He heard a smothered chuckle from down the hall and turned and saw Harry standing there, covering his mouth with his hand.
The green eyes were lit with mischief.
Petunia not only had a large boil on her nose, but several on her cheeks and forehead and more were growing upon her arms and hands. She began to scratch frantically and Harry snickered.
Petunia looked up and saw him and her face twisted in spiteful rage. "You! This is all your doing, you wretched misfit brat! You brought this . . .this plague upon us!"
"Me? But . . .you can't catch a wizard flu, Aunt Petunia. Unless . . .you've got magic too," Harry added.
Petunia looked as if she might faint at the mere thought. "I . . .How dare you compare me to . . .to . . .freaks like you?"
"My mother wasn't a freak!" Harry defended.
"You watch your mouth, boy! I won't have this . . .this insanity in my house! No more, d'you hear? Now get in that room and stay there!"
She advanced upon him, and pushed Harry back inside his room and locked him in with all seven locks.
Severus was tempted to hex her fingers, but figured right now Harry was safest in his room.
The Dursleys suffered unmercifully with the painful itching boils all throughout the day, unable to get relief because the faucets still ran with thick blood and various frogs and insects reappeared both inside and out of the house. Grasshoppers popped out of the sofa cushions, making Petunia screech when she tried to sit down, and then the fireplace flared up and shapes appeared within it, like imps from hell. They leered and mocked her, until she ran from the room, yelling, "Possessed and cursed!"
But the final outrage was when the electricity in the house went out and refused to come back on. Dudley threw a fit and kicked a hole in his bedroom wall because now he had no TV and no video games system and nothing to do except be driven mad by the boils.
His continuous whining got on Petunia and Vernon's nerves. "Mummy, Daddy, I'm so bored! I'm starving! When can we eat? I'm wasting away! It's not fair!"
"Duddy, Mummy will try and get you some food as soon as these nasty things go away."
"But I want it NOW!"
Severus would have locked the brat in his room for a month if he had ever addressed him in such a fashion, but Vernon and Petunia fawned over their only child as if he were a god. Snape was sickened by their display, they doted on one child and treated the other like he didn't exist except when they needed a slave to do chores or take the blame for something.
"Vernon, what do we do? We can't be seen in public like this, we just can't!" she wailed, bursting into tears. "How will I ever show my face around here?"
"Now, Pet, I'm sure they'll go away by tonight or tomorrow morning," Vernon soothed, patting her on the shoulder.
"Tomorrow morning! But Daddy, I'll starve!"
Vernon dug about in his trouser pocket. "Here. A big chocolate bar."
Dudley crammed it into his mouth.
Loathsome pig of a boy! Severus thought angrily. It would take a whole six months for you to even begin to look like a normal boy, much less starve!
The Dursleys had managed to light candles in order to see as the evening wore on and dusk fell, but Severus kept snuffing them, so they tried flashlights, only to find they wouldn't turn on.
As a matter of fact, the only room in the house which still had heat and light was Harry's room, but since the three Dursleys were huddled downstairs in the den, they didn't know it.
Severus glided upstairs and unlocked Harry's door, letting him out so he could use the bathroom. For him, the curse did not function, as he was not named in it by Severus. But he could still see the many bugs scurrying about, though none of them touched him, and he distinctly recalled his aunt screaming about frogs, of which she was deathly afraid.
He wondered what else Snape had cast, and found that he didn't feel the least bit sorry for them. After all he'd been through, it was about time the Dursleys knew what it was to have justice done to them.
"What did you cast on them, sir?" he asked as he headed back into his room.
"The Curse of a Thousand Misfortunes," replied Severus. He explained what had happened to them so far and Harry laughed.
"Sounds like they have a real pest control problem."
"I would say so," agreed the professor, then he returned downstairs once more.
All through that night, misfortunes continued to dog their footsteps, one after another. Petunia's hair started coming out in clumps, Dudley tried to find his way to the fridge in the dark and tripped and sprained his ankle, assorted hooting and hollering went on as well, making them unable to sleep.
By the time the sun peeked its head over the horizon, all three Dursleys were quivering wrecks, and the curse still was working. Finally, Vernon couldn't stand it anymore, and stomped up to Harry's room, threw open the door (he hadn't known Petunia had locked it), and grabbed Harry by the front of his pajamas and shook him hard.
"Wake up, damn you! You had better take whatever freaky thing you or that other black crow did off of us or else!"
"I . . .I can't, Uncle Vernon!" Harry sputtered. "I don't even know what kind of magic it is!"
Severus returned, he had been using the bathroom, to find Vernon looming over the small fourteen-year-old, hand lifted to strike, and fury such as he had rarely known swept over him.
He clenched his hand and suddenly Vernon found himself lifted up and flung violently through the air to land with a thud against the opposite wall.
Harry sat up and gasped as some invisible force began to pummel his fat nemesis. Vernon's head slammed back and blood spurted from his nose and mouth. He began to whimper and squeal like a pig being slaughtered, buffeted by unseen hard hands. He struggled, but was pinned against the wall, unable to get away.
"So help me, boy, when I get free of here, I'll kill you!" he bellowed. Then he screeched in agony as his fingers snapped like deadwood.
"Don't . . .kill him, professor!" Harry cried, afraid that Snape would do so.
Severus reappeared, canceling the spell and marching right up to the cowering blubbering Vernon and snarling, "Had enough, Dursley? Or do you want more of what I just gave you? How do you like raising your hand to a defenseless child now? Is it fun? Do you like being helpless? Do you?"
"Please . . .please . . .mercy . . .!"
"You pathetic snotrag!" Severus hissed. "I know what you did to your nephew, and this is but a taste of the justice you shall receive if you don't agree to sign over all custody to me right away. All the misfortune you have endured up till now will seem like a picnic compared to what you will suffer if you don't do what I say. You are unfit to care for a child—any child---even your own, but especially a magical one."
Snape produced a long scroll and shoved a pen at Vernon, whose fingers were swollen and misshapen. "Read it and sign, Dursley!"
"Okay . . .okay . . .you devilspawned bastard!" Vernon cried. "I can barely hold the pen!"
Vernon managed to sign his name to the document. "There! It's done. Now will you lift the curse?"
Severus smiled coldly. "It will wear off in a few hours." He turned to Harry. "Mr. Potter, pack your things."
Harry didn't need to be told twice.
Severus stood glowering in the middle of the room at Vernon, who bolted away as if he had been scorched, down to the main floor of the house to tell his wife what he had done.
Severus followed, just in time to hear Petunia say, "Good riddance, we're finally rid of the unnatural thing!"
"Unnatural?" Snape laughed softly. "Petunia, you are the one who should bear that label, considering all the things you've done to your own nephew these past thirteen years. You are a disgrace and it's no wonder your sister has come back to haunt you."
Petunia went fishbelly white. "L-Lily? She's . . .returned from the . . .dead?"
"I believe so. And she is most unhappy about the way you've treated her son. Most unhappy." Severus gave her a nasty smile.
Petunia sagged to her knees. "Please, Lily! I'm sorry! Vernon made me do it!"
"What? You bloody witch!" her husband cried. "You told me to keep the brat so we would get an extra pair of hands and free money! You were as much to blame as I was, you lying harridan! He came from your side of the family!"
"So what? Like you don't have problems in your pathetic family? Your sister, who breeds attack dogs and tested them out on the boy . . ."
"If it weren't for you, the boy would never have been given to us in the first place!" Vernon shouted.
"I never asked for him!" Petunia raged. "That old wizard Dumbledork left him without even asking!"
Severus turned on his heel and left them to their meaningless argument. He had what he had come for, pictures and memories both, enough evidence to convince even the stubborn Headmaster that Harry could not remain with the walls of Privet Drive any longer.
He Apparated to Harry's room, asking quickly, "Are you all packed? The sooner we depart this place the better."
"I am, sir." Harry said, glad he had taken Hermione's suggestion after all and left Hedwig with Ron. "Where are we going?"
"To my home," was all Severus replied.
He held out one black-clad arm and Harry took it and was whisked away.
Meanwhile, Vernon and Petunia continued to bicker and quarrel and the Curse of a Thousand Misfortunes began to wane, though not before Death Eaters arrived on Privet Drive and demanded to know where Harry Potter was.
Unfortunately for the two eldest Dursleys, they didn't believe them when they said they had no idea where Harry was. They assumed that Petunia and Vernon were lying and in a fit of rage, Bellatrix killed Dudley with the Torture Curse and made them watch, before finally killing them.
Their bodies were found a week later by a delivery man, cause of death, unknown. He had been dropping off a brand new set of video games plus a large screen TV for Dudley and needed a signature. When ringing the bell produced no result, he tried the doorknob after knocking loudly. It opened and it was then he saw the bodies. The case baffled police, for there were no signs of a struggle, no marks on the bodies, no sign of breaking and entering, or anything to indicate poison or drug overdose. At first they suspected the missing nephew, but when they tried to check on his whereabouts according to the neighbors, they found no record of a Harry Potter ever attending St. Brutus' and no neighbor ever recalled seeing him anywhere about Privet Drive recently. And there was no indication another boy lived in the house with them either. So they closed the case, labeling it "unsolved cause of death by unknown natural causes" and after a few weeks people forgot all about it and number 4 was put up for sale.
Hope you all liked this one!
If you think the Dursleys' punishment bears a resemblence to the plagues of Egypt, you're right. I did base them off that, though the DE performed the final plague--"death of the firstborn sons".
Next up: Dumbledore learns about Harry's whereabouts and Harry starts to adjust to living in Snape's home . . .which is not where you think it is!
Thanks for all your support!
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