Chapter 1 : Welcome to Normality
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(chapter image by me)
1993: Little Whinging, Surrey, United Kingdom
Life at Number Four Privet Drive was normal—finally, blessedly normal—and it was all due to one fact:
Harry Potter was dead.
When the tired-looking old man with half-moon glasses and a long white beard appeared at their doorstep, Vernon and Petunia hadn’t known what to do. Should they pretend they weren’t home? Should they turn him away? Should they let him in?
Eventually, Petunia let the old man in. After all, she reasoned, the neighbours were going to begin to talk if they left an oddly-dressed man standing on their doorstep.
(And at any rate, the old man had a familiar feel about him, like she’d met him briefly before, years ago. It was a ridiculous feeling, of course—Petunia made a point to know as little as possible about her sister’s people.)
Once inside, the old man didn’t waste any time. Before Vernon had stopped sputtering, even before Petunia had a chance to offer the man tea, he spoke.
“I’m afraid your nephew is… well, dead.”
Petunia gasped. Vernon gaped.
“There was an… incident at school, and Harry and another student died.” The old man looked even more tired, as though actually saying the words made the facts that much more real.
Vernon found his voice first. “The boy’s dead,” he said flatly. The old man nodded. “Dead. As in ‘never coming back’.”
The old man winced and nodded again. “I’m afraid so.” Vernon didn’t bother hiding his smirk as he turned around.
“Knew he’d come to a bad end, just like his parents. Freaks come to freaky ends, what did I say?” He disappeared into the kitchen in search of a celebratory drink.
Petunia stood in the hallway, staring at the old man. For possibly the first (and only) time in her life, though, it wasn’t due to his odd clothing. “He’s dead?” The old man nodded sadly, looking even more tired. For the first time in his life (whether Petunia realized it or not), he looked and felt old.
It was really very taxing on the body.
“Yes.” He paused and turned towards the front door. “You are released from any responsibilities concerning Harry, Petunia. There…” he paused again. “There is no need for you to offer him shelter anymore. The protection offered to him has failed.”
Petunia couldn’t do anything but stare as Professor Albus Dumbledore let himself out.
She didn’t hear what he whispered as he closed the door behind him.
“I’m not certain it was ever successful.”
Harry Potter was dead.
As in ‘no longer living’.
As in no more giants bashing down doors, no more owls screeching at all hours of the night, no more freakishly-dressed people leaving babies on doorsteps.
No more magic.
Of course, it was sad he was dead (after all, he was her sister’s boy), but being dead meant he could never bother any of them again, and Petunia couldn’t help but feel a little relieved at that.
Vernon didn’t bother even pretending to grieve. As far as he was concerned, whoever had done the boy in deserved a bloody medal. One less freak to worry about.
Besides, now that the boy was dead, there was no chance anyone could find out about Petunia’s freakish family. Life could be more normal than it had been in over a decade, and it would be.
Just as soon as all evidence of Harry Potter’s existence was out from under their roof.
At least, Vernon mused as he searched the small bedroom for anything Harry might have left behind, the boy had the decency to die whilst at school. There really wasn’t much for him to collect—a few feather quills, a mostly-empty jar of ink, some scraps of funny-looking paper, two textbooks with weird titles, and a bunch of what looked suspiciously like charred rocks from under a loose floorboard. Vernon piled everything into two small cardboard boxes and carted them down the stairs. That night, after Petunia and Dudley had gone to bed, he’d drive to the abandoned lot a few miles away and burn it all. Everything.
And then life could go on. As normal.
Yes, Vernon Dursley decided, that was the only thing to be done. He’d burn every trace Harry Potter had left behind, and there would be nothing to worry about.
Life would be normal from now on.
A/N: Welcome to my new WIP, Ashes, Ashes! This is definitely AU, just in case you couldn't tell, so run away now if you don't like that sort of thing. :P If you're here to stay, welcome! Ashes, Ashes is going to follow the fallout of my first fic, The Point of No Return, and the effects killing off Harry has on the whole HP 'verse. I'm going to stay as close to canon as possible, but with Harry gone, events are going to change in a major way. I'll be introducing OCs, new storylines, and new plot twists, all while trying to keep everything as close to what JK Rowling wrote as possible. (It's gonna be a challenge, let me tell you that. :P )
What do you think? Am I crazy? (Probably.) Will this work? (Who knows?) And, most importantly: will you read it? (I sure hope so. :D )