"One man can turn the tide of a war, Mr. Potter, but that man cannot win the war alone, no matter how powerful he may be" Snape said "If you want to win, you need your friends beside you. Friendshi...
If any of you pick up any discrepancies or mistakes in my writing please feel free to mention it in a review.
Warning: There will be mentions of abuse and violence, but nothing graphic... also this is Harry/Hermione, just because I like that pairing much better than Ron/Hermione, there will however be a couple of other pairings, some you might expect, others definitely not.
Also I do realise that Harry sounds much too intelligent for the age I am claiming he is, but answers to the reasons behind this will be forthcoming in the next chapter.
Disclaimer: The novel Harry Potter, nor any of the characters or ideas pertaining to it belong to me, they are the sole property of the one and only J.K. Rowling.
And now, on with the show!
The house of number four, Privet Drive, was an ordinary house. There was an ordinary man with an ordinary wife, and they had the most ordinary son you have ever seen. One may even suggest that this house was a little too ordinary. The occupants did indeed work very hard to insure this impression.
Their reason for doing so was because there was another boy residing in this house, though very few knew of his existence and the Dursleys wanted to keep it that way. Any visitor to the house would not know that another lived there, one who was quite out of the ordinary. Rather extraordinary in fact.
His existence marred the life in which the Dursleys wished to live, and as such they preferred to ignore him as much as possible. The Dursleys, you see where firm believers that if you pretended something didn't exist long enough, it ceased to exist, though this did not of course work.
This boy was currently curled under his rather tattered bed sheets, expecting and dreading his usual wake up call. Every morning it was the same. Vernon Dursley would yell "GET UP BOY!"
This boy did of course have a name, which happened to be Harry James Potter. Not that you would ever find that out in this house; he was known as boy and nothing else. The other occupants of the house frequently talked of Harry as if he wasn't even there, as if he were a troublesome wretch who didn't deserve to walk on the Earth, let alone live in their precious home. But that was all he was to the Dursleys, a thorn in their side, a pebble in their shoe.
You must not however assume that this was any fault of Harry's. No indeed, the Dursleys merely hated anything odd, and Mr. Harry Potter was very odd indeed. With no offence intended of course to this young boy, he was as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. Though this is much more likely to be taken as a complement rather than an insult and it is quite easy to understand why.
Harry heard the familiar THUMP, THUMP of his Uncle as he descended the stairs above him. Harry often amused himself by thinking that it sounded rather like a large elephant on a stampede, rather than a human. But alas, it was human, well with no concrete evidence to the contrary we must assume as much anyway, so Harry braced himself for his Uncle's characteristic wake up call...
He waited, and waited, but it didn't come. Instead the ring of the telephone could be heard reverberating throughout the house. This was decidedly unusual, which was unusual in itself, as it was rather unusual that something unusual would happen in this house. But we are getting off track. Let us just say that it was not common for anybody to be brave enough to ring the Dursley's house before Vernon had had a chance to eat his breakfast and drink a cup of tea. To do so was rather unwise to say the least.
The tantrum that Harry expected his Uncle to throw did not occur however, instead he heard his Uncle's loud footsteps make their way back upstairs to Vernon's room. There seemed to be a lot of thumping going on up there, Harry mused to himself, what can he be doing? (1)
It was some time before Harry heard any other sounds of movement in the house, the next he heard was a pitter-patter of feet coming down the stairs that sounded rather like a mouse scurrying across a roof top. This of course meant it was his Aunt Petunia and he knew that this would bring about an end to his solitary peacefulness. Again he braced himself, and yet again nothing happened.
Harry was intrigued, not even a "GET UP" or a "COOK BREAKFAST NOW" was thrown his way, or even a "GET OUT OF BED THIS INSTANT YOU LAZY LITTLE S..." hmm cough. Well let's merely say that nothing was said by his usually very articulate and colourful Aunt. This was most definitely odd. Not that he was complaining - he could stay in his room, away from /them/.
The 'room' as Harry so called it was not really a room at all, but the cupboard under the stairs. Many would find this small room confining and rather disturbing with all the spiders and bugs that could be found within. But this was Harry's room, it was his, and that was all that really mattered to him, besides he was quite used to it, he had spent so much of his short life within those four walls.
The added bonus was that the Dursleys seldom ventured inside for fear of contamination or some such; consequently Harry found that within those walls he could isolate himself from the rest of the house and that was a blessing in itself.
We are not of course suggesting that Harry Potter enjoyed being alone, however, the Dursleys were all he knew; and anyone with some understanding of the characters of the Dursleys would understand why he wished to stay away. It was for this reason that Harry Potter remained underneath his covers, hoping with all his heart that someone would come and take him away from there, but it never happened, no matter how much or how many times he wished. He was stuck there.
Resigned to his fate Harry dragged himself out of his bed, he knew the longer he left it, the more likely he was to be remembered, the more likely he was to be punished severely. Besides, he was more than slightly curious as to what exactly had silenced the members of the Dursley house. He then removed some of the resident bugs from his clothes before slipping some on.
After donning his clothes he sidled towards the kitchen while still trying to tie his 'belt'. His belt was in fact merely a thin piece of rope that he had found in the garage, though without it his pants, which were many sizes too large for him, would have fallen down around his ankles. His clothes had once been his cousin Dudley's, and his cousin, although only of age 4 was probably about the size of a baby elephant ("Like father like son?" Harry laughed to himself) and as Harry was much too thin for his age, the clothes looked rather like a circus tent on him.
As he emerged he was surprised to find that the Dursleys were in their best clothes and had suitcases packed at the front door. As he wandered into the kitchen he murmured "where are we going?"
Not really expecting an answer, he was hardly surprised when he was ignored; Harry knew after all that that was the number one rule in the Dursley household - never ask questions.
After ten minutes or so of standing in the doorway he was finally noticed, though that was after Petunia had tripped over him twice and had even almost managed to pour a bowl of boiling hot soup down him.
Harry in fact knew the precise moment that he was noticed as Petunia let out an uncommonly large gasp when she tripped over him for the third time. Harry was rather surprised, he didn't usually elicit such a large reaction, in fact he was usually completely ignored unless he was needed for chores, or when the Dursleys needed something to complain about.
"VERNON!" Petunia screeched, of course being Petunia Dursley screeching was basically the only tone she could manage. "What are we going to do with the boy?"
This obviously hadn't occurred to Vernon either as he said in a surprised, though rather agitated tone "I don't know, we can't very well take the boy to Marge's especially when she is ill, she would go ballistic, can't you leave him with one of your friends?"
"No!" Petunia answered exasperatedly "we can NOT! I don't want any of them to discover his... /oddness/. I would never live it down, we would be shunned. No, no it would never do"
"What about that weird old woman that lives a couple of streets away, what's her name...
Mrs. Flick or Fir or Fruit... wait it's some kind or fruit..." he let out a loud grunt, which one can only suppose was as a result of thinking to hard. Giving up he muttered "anyway what about her, can't she take the boy?"
Meanwhile Harry was watching their conversation as if it were a tennis match; his head kept going back and forth, while they talked about him as if he wasn't there. This was, however, quite a common occurrence in this particular household, Harry was used to it.
"We can't take him there at the moment, her daughter is visiting her, and if she was to discover something about Harry, our reputations would be ruined" Petunia stated matter-of-factly. Petunia Dursley was quite the busy-body, and knew just about everything about everybody in roughly a five kilometer radius of the Dursley's house "and you know very well that she is the only person around that can take him!" the reason for this of course was that the kindly Mrs. Figg was quite mad, or so the Dursleys believed, and if any kind of oddness happened when Harry was there, they believed nobody would take any notice of her if she said anything against them.
The vein in Vernon's temple by this time appeared quite ready to pop out of his head. It didn't, surprisingly enough. He let out a menacing growl "WELL HE CAN'T STAY HERE!" and glared at Harry as if this business was all his fault. In Vernon's mind it was. Harry braced himself for the explosion he knew was to come. "If we left him here we wouldn't have a place by the time we got back - he would be sure to blow it up or something..."
"I would not!" Harry retorted without thinking, in truth he was rather insulted. Though he quickly retreated from the formidable face of his Uncle after he spoke that comment; he had really stepped in it this time. Staring at his Uncle's temple he could see the throbbing increase. It was going to blow any second now.
Fortunately for Harry Vernon was cut off before his rant could begin by the sharp ring of the telephone.
Upon answering it, Vernon's face turned from red to white in a matter of seconds, the loud screeching noise presumably the culprit. Apparently the screeching noise was in fact Vernon's sister Marge as Vernon quickly stuttered "of course Marge, we're leaving right now" before hanging up.
"What is it?" Petunia asked in concern.
"Marge say's she's taken a turn for the worse, and that she wants us there now!"
The previous subject was quite forgotten as the Dursleys were quickly thrown into a state of chaos. Harry strategically retreated to the safety of his cupboard, before his Uncle remembered that he had to continue yelling at him.
For lack of anything better to do in his cupboard, he lay down on his bed, wishing he had something more interesting to do than just lie there. He was, after all a four-year-old, no doubt an incredibly intelligent and gifted four-year old, but a four-year-old none the less and as many of you know, such young children do not like to be idle for large amounts of time.
Many hours later Harry awoke to the sound of... well... nothing. Having no noise in the Dursley household was in fact rather frightening to young Harry, never, not once, for as long as he could remember was there complete silence in the house. There was no yelling Uncle, no screeching Aunt, and most certainly there was no screaming spoilt little brat, otherwise known as Dudley Dursley.
Harry strained his ears further, only to discover that not even the TV was on and that was just plain scary, Harry had never known the TV to be turned off during the day, "something must really be really wrong" he thought. The morning's events did not register to his sleep-fogged brain, so he quickly got up and scrambled into the hallway to find out what drastic event had occurred that had silenced the Dursleys.
After a considerable amount of time spent pondering, Harry determined that the drastic event that occurred was not in fact incredibly drastic, he had merely been forgotten again, nothing new. The Dursleys had left him alone in this house to fend for himself. Not that he was complaining.
Never before had Harry ever known such an all-consuming silence, and he had to admit to himself, it was wonderful.
Four-year-olds, as a general rule, do not like to be left alone. Place one in such isolation as Harry was now experiencing and they would be in tears within moments, but not this remarkable young boy. He merely sat and reveled in the silence that enveloped him, with such an ear-splitting grin, the likes of which had never before been seen on his face; over the next few years, it became highly questionable whether it would ever be seen again.
To the Dursleys, consumed as they were in themselves, it did not even occur to them that they had forgotten something, or more correctly someone. It appeared the Dursley's memories were repressed unless the object of their ire was in front of them. It is perhaps more plausible to suggest that the Dursleys in fact subconsciously chose to forget the unwanted addition to their house, 'the boy' as Harry was known by them, though that's merely a theory.
Whatever the reason, Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, savior of the Wizarding World was thus forgotten, by his family no less. As such the little four-year-old, Harry Potter, was left in the Dursley house unsupervised and alone until such time as Marge admitted to feeling well again. As Marge was fond of people waiting on her hand and foot, this could take quite a while.
Harry didn't question why his Aunt and Uncle had left him; he didn't really want to know. He realised, of course that they would come back eventually, as they would never trust him alone in their house for an extended period of time; that was of course, if they actually remembered him, which was highly unlikely to happen any time soon.
Harry did not want to spend his time thinking about why, he planned to enjoy their absence for as long as he could; after all, such an opportunity as this was unlikely to come again anytime soon for Harry Potter. He wanted to enjoy life to the full, and he did just that... for one day. By that time Harry had become sick of what the Dursley house had to offer; within minutes he was fed up with the mind-numbing repetitive nature of Dudley's computer games, within hours he was fed up with the absolute stupidity the television had to offer. Sadly this was what the Dursleys spent the majority of their lives doing.
With nothing else left to do, Harry ventured into the one room he had not yet dared to enter - Dudley's second bedroom. Here lay all the items either rejected or broken by Dudley, and despite his young age there were a large number of them. Harry quite sure that if Dudley found these items boring, then /he /was sure to find them interesting and so he began to rummage through the obscenely large collection. Here he found all manner of interesting things, but by far the most interesting was a computer game that looked like it had never been touched - and that was the most intriguing thing about it. Every item in this room had at one point been touched by Dudley, with the minor exception of the books on the shelf, and for this item not to have been used by him, especially considering that it was a computer game, it was just inconceivable.
This was too much for Harry, his curiosity finally got the best of him and he took the disk out, went to Dudley's room and placed it in his computer. A screen came up and Harry pressed random buttons until it decided to work, actually managing to install the program without actually reading it, as Harry of course couldn't read.
The computer then started talking to him, which, at first, made him jump off his seat in fright "Welcome" it said, "To the primary grade English reading tutor. Following this introduction we will teach you the fundamentals of reading the English Language"
From this introduction Harry caught the gist of what was being said and he thus realised why this program was apparently untouched: it was educational; therefore Dudley would keep well away from it. With nothing else to do, and no idea when his Aunt and Uncle were to return, Harry decided to continue on, and did so all day, and the next, and the next. By this time Harry had completed the program and was itching for more to read, he found the process of reading utterly fascinating. Remembering the books in Dudley's second bedroom he abandoned the computer and raced to the only bookshelf inside the Dursley house. Harry set about reading the simple books on the shelf and before long had devoured them all, after all there weren't that many. Hungering for more, but knowing there were no more such books in the Dursley household, Harry set out through the house to find anything he could read, he picked up phone books, cooking books (of which there were quite a number), street directories, even some of his Uncle's drilling magazines, anything that contained the written word. By that time he had quite a pile stacked up, so he took a handful outside, sat under a big tree and began to read.
It took him two days to read the stash he had amounted, but he found that the more he read, the easier it became, and the quicker he was able to read.
Again he searched but came up with nothing else. In desperation he began reading the food labels on packages until he had made his way around the entire kitchen. By that time his reading had made him quite hungry, it didn't of course help that what he was reading was food. He had survived previously on a large bowl of fruit he found in the kitchen, and being of only four years of age, he didn't stop to question why the Dursley's had fruit in their house, let alone why it remained full, even after he had eaten about twenty pieces. He was quite sick of fruit by now and decided to apply one of the recipes he had read in Petunia's cook books. Having virtually no experience of the outside world it did not seem odd to Harry that he could cook the exact recipe of anything he had previously read from memory alone. He decided on pizza, he had never eaten it before and Dudley was always asking for it. After eating his fill for the first time in his life at the Dursleys, Harry renewed his search for reading material. After an extensive search, he came up with one book, a dictionary, and he began reading. Harry found that as he reached the last few words his eyes began to droop in exhaustion, after all for a four-year-old the past few days had been very exhausting, so he curled up on the lounge and fell into a peaceful sleep, unaware of a small set of eyes observing him from the window.
Harry awoke the next morning at a loss to know what to do with his time, but hearing his stomach grumble he realised he had to eat something, so he wandered into the kitchen and made some porridge. While he ate his breakfast he felt something nagging at him, but he couldn't quite pinpoint its direct cause. It seemed however as if it were trying to draw him outdoors, his undeniable curiosity made Harry incapable of resisting the impulse. So Harry donned the warmest clothes he could find and grabbed the spare key to the house before relenting to the irresistible compulsion to wander outside.
The odd compulsion seemed to have a definite purpose in mind for him; it dragged him down the footpath, left and right, it kept changing. Along with the impulse there was now a definite sense of urgency that made Harry quicken his pace considerably. Many streets away from the Dursley's house the mysterious force stopped suddenly, and so did Harry as it did not seem inclined to lead him any further. He looked around, "why on earth was I bought here?" he muttered to himself; indeed this street looked like any other, but as Harry had a very, very good memory he knew he could find his way back to his cupboard with ease.
Here he waited for some minutes, the icy wind starting to seep through his clothes into his skin, just waiting for something to happen... and he waited... and waited. By now Harry was thinking that it was all merely imagined, so he started to head off back home, but was stopped in his tracks by the sound of a voice whispering "cold, so cold", he waited again, his ears burning, but nothing else happened, so he wrote it off as a result of his overactive imagination, and so he kept walking. But it came again, in a much louder and agitated tone "HELP! Murder! Save me, somebody please" shocked; Harry looked around frantically for the source of the distress call but could see no-one in the vicinity. He stood frozen, not knowing what to do, he just stood there. The voice came again "Nice kitty, stay back, NO ssstay back. DON'T EAT ME! Look at me I wouldn't be at all tasty, I'm all thin and... Hey ssstay back!" now this completely threw Harry, what kind of cat could eat a person? It just didn't make sense, was he imagining it all?
No he definitely wasn't imagining it, as it just spoke again, but this time it seemed to be getting closer. "Ahhh" it yelled "sssave me! Ahhhhh" it yelled again.
Harry noticed what was making the noise this time, or at least he thought he did. As, at that moment something that looked remarkably like a snake darted towards him, followed closely by a brown fur-ball of a cat. Without stopping to consider the intelligence of his actions he swiftly scooped the snake up and placed it in his inside coat pocket before Harry himself was pummeled by the deranged fur-ball.
The cat managed to knock the wind out of Harry, and so it wasn't until Harry had regained his breath that he quite realised what he had done, that is that he now had a live snake inside his pocket.
"How on earth am I going to get it out?" he thought to himself and he sat there pondering for quite a long time. You mustn't suppose, however that our hero was particularly afraid of snakes, nor that he was a coward, merely exceedingly cautious when it came to a possibly poisonous snake. He took a deep breath and prepared to glance into his pocket to size up his problem. As he did, he jumped nearly ten feet in the air.
It was not so much what he saw that shocked him so, but rather what he /heard. /As soon as Harry peeped in it yelled in a squeaky sort of voice "No! Don't look at me, I'm hideous!"
Harry had no doubt about it now, the snake /was /talking to him, but he thought that rather odd, after all he had never heard of a talking snake, this one must be special.
"My skin, my precious, precious skin! Why, oh why! What a cruel world!" it groaned. Harry also found the one-sided conversation rather odd; after all if a snake could talk, he didn't think it would sound anything like that, he thought it would be more ominous and evil-sounding, instead it sounded sort of like Dudley when he started winging.
As Harry believed this was a very special snake, he wondered "if I can understand it, could it understand me?"
So he decided to put his hypothesis to the test, though a little unsure as to how to go about addressing a snake, nonetheless he began "Ah... excuse me... Mr... ah... Snake, would you kindly leave my pocket?"
"No!" came the muffled reply of the snake "too cold out there"
Harry stood there dumbstruck for a couple of minutes, the snake could actually understand him! He stayed silent for many moments contemplating this new found fact, before the words of the snake finally registered in his head, and he replied "Well I can't very well take you home with me, now can I?"
"Why not? You're warm, I like warm, warm is good! Besides you don't very well expect me to go back out there and freeze to death, do you?"
"No of course I don't, but you can't stay with me, I'd have nowhere to keep you, nothing to feed you, besides I can just imagine my Aunt's face if she ever found you..." the image of his Aunt screaming in fright of this harmless little character proved to be too much for Harry and he broke down into fits of giggles.
If you let me come with you I wouldn't be very much trouble at all, honessst!" hissed the snake.
With the image of his Aunt, fainting in fright, still floating around in his head, Harry began to reconsider his previous aversion to the idea.
The snake voiced a final "pleassse" that sounded so mournful and pleading that Harry finally gave in. "All right" he said to the snake "you can stay for a while but I can't guarantee that I will keep you" and with that he began to walk back towards the Dursley's house.
By this time other pedestrians had started to give Harry a very wide berth, after all, a child in baggy clothes, that looked distinctly unkempt and who appeared to be hissing into his jacket, would seem rather disturbing.
Approximately five minutes into his journey back Harry was once again reconsidering his decision to keep the snake - it wouldn't shut up it just kept on talking and talking. Harry was quite sure he had learned the snakes entire life history, and considering he was only young, it was rather short. Harry also rapidly learned that this snake had a certain flair for the dramatic and most particularly loved to complain. Harry stopped listening and began to take in his surroundings as the snake recounted his abandonment by a huge white and pink thing, which Harry assumed meant a man, and his subsequent attack by the deranged fur ball, for the second consecutive time. Boy this snake loved to talk, though he supposed it was a nice change to have someone to actually talk to, but really enough is enough!
Consumed as he was on his 'mission', the last time he had walked down this pathway, Harry had not noticed the buildings around him. There was, in fact, even a rather large set of shops he missed, as well as a small park and a school. By far the sign that interested him most, however, was on a large building that looked rather old, it read "Library" and if he remembered correctly, which he believed he did, the Dictionary he had read the day before stated that a Library was in fact "a place set apart to contain books and other literary material for reading, study, or reference, where books may be read or borrowed" (2)
If this was in fact the case, Harry had most certainly discovered his paradise. He entered to find row upon row of books, he was mesmerised, this was sure to keep him occupied for a long, long time. In his preoccupation, he didn't notice the small bird that followed him into the building and curiously the other occupants of the library didn't notice it either. The bird flew down one isle and landed, then moments later a rather ruffled human came from the same isle, oddly enough, however, this person did not encounter the aforementioned bird.
While this was taking place Harry just stood there enraptured, before he was awoken from his stupor by the snake wriggling around in his pocket, while yelling "Are you listening to me, or are you ignoring me, oh you are, of course you are, everybody does, first my family, now you! Oh I am sssooo alone, I feel so depressed!" it groaned dramatically, while Harry merely rolled his eyes at the snake's antics. Now reminded of the fact that he had a snake inside his jacket he felt he should return to the Dursleys, so he reluctantly tore himself away from this beautiful sight.
Upon reaching the Dursley's house he realised that the key to the front door was in fact in the same pocket as the one the snake was currently residing in and thus he thought it perhaps best to warn the snake before sticking his hand in. "Snake," Harry said questioningly "I need the key that you're lying on, so I have to stick my hand in my pocket, Ok?"
Finally the snake grudgingly answered "Fine but just don't jostle me around too much" before rapidly adding in an agitated tone "and don't look at me!"
With that Harry took a deep breath and stuck his hand in, expecting the snake to bite him at any moment. Lucky for Harry that this snake had started to 'warm' to Harry (he liked the warmth of Harry's body as well), as such the thought of biting the obtrusive hand didn't even occur to him.
Exhaling his breath loudly as he safely removed his hand, Harry turned the key, took his jacket off, and made his way to his cupboard. Feeling how cool it was under the stairs, and knowing, after the continuous rants, that this snake did not like the cold in the least, Harry laid his jacket down and said "I will be back in a minute, stay there"
Harry then ran out of his room and fetched a hot water bottle from the closet, before filling it with warm water, wrapping it in a large towel and heading back to his room. The rapidly receding residual warmth from Harry's jacket began to make the snake grouchy again, though his happiness greatly increased when Harry placed the wrapped hot water bottle inside his jacket.
"Is that better?" Harry asked tentatively
"Yes, much, thank you" the snake replied.
Reassured as to the snake's comfort he decided to try and coax the snake out of his jacket "Would you mind coming out of my jacket now?" he asked while lifting open the jacket again
"NO!" the snake hissed loudly "I told you before, don't look at me!"
"Why not?" Harry asked curiously
"I'm so ugly" the snake replied piteously
"What do you mean? I am sure you're not! Come out of there."
"I am, I definitely am, I am losing my beautiful skin, it's tragic!" if snakes could sob, Harry was quite sure that was exactly what it was doing now.
"You're shedding, that's all? Come on I am sure you are beautiful, I am taking you out now seeing as you are so unwilling to come out yourself." Harry reached in, forgetting he was dealing with a snake and could get bitten for doing such, and pulled the snake out of its hiding hole.
"Now see" Harry said "that wasn't so hard, was it? I don't know what you're talking about, you're beautiful"
"Really?" the snake asked, brightening up
"Definitely, you have to be the loveliest snake I have ever seen" Harry consoled, and he was not lying, for the snake was quite beautiful, added to this, this was the only snake he had ever seen up close, but he wasn't about to admit that.
Almost preening himself now with his ego being boosted so highly, the snake said proudly, "I suppose I am quite nice to look at, even though I am shedding".
"There we go, see? Oh, I haven't introduced myself I'm Harry, what's your name?"
"I don't have one" the snake said sadly as he stretched himself out to his full length.
The snake was actually much smaller than Harry originally thought, it was only about 25 centimeters (3), he thought it was actually rather cute with its white and black markings, though perhaps a little overdramatic. "How old are you?" Harry asked instead
"I don't know" the snake said even more piteously "not very old I don't think, the only thing I can remember after hatching is being dumped outside, away from the warmth. After that I stayed in a house of some kind for a little while, then I started to lose my precious skin and was attacked by that monstrous thing and then I found you and you saved me - thank you for that by the way"
"Don't worry about it" Harry quickly replied, trying to avoid yet another repetition of the snake's life story, he changed the subject again by saying "we have to think of a name for you, I can't just keep calling you snake" it's getting a little repetitive and redundant. (4)
"Alright, but make it something interesting or I won't agree" the snake replied grudgingly Harry pondered this for a long time, he did know quite a few names as he had discovered a book of obscure baby names among his stash the day before, he assumed the Dursley's must have purchased it before Dudley was born. Where else would they have gotten such a different name from? He thought and thought until he had finally come up with the perfect name "How about 'Adonia'?" he asked. (5)
"It is /interesting/, but why that?" the snake asked
"I thought it very apt" Harry replied "as it means 'beautiful' in Greek"
"I love it!" the snake replied enthusiastically when he heard the meaning.
"Okay, Adonia, I need to eat something now as I am absolutely starving..." he stopped still, that reminds me, what do/ you/ eat?"
"I am not hungry at the moment, but I do wish to accompany you" the snake hissed.
Harry then allowed Adonia to entwine herself around his upper arm and neck. While Harry prepared and ate his lunch, Adonia muttered comments in his ear like "you need to wash, you don't smell so good" and "you need to clean your nest it's disgusting".
Acquiescing to all the snake's requests Harry showered and cleaned his room, finding a couple of loose floorboards under the thick layer of dust in the process. He then pried them off, creating a decent sized hole in the floor and fetched a small cardboard box and an old blanket from Dudley's second bedroom. Laying them in the newly created hole he realised that it would not be warm enough for the snake down there as he laid Adonia into it. (6) Still gripping the box, he pondered his dilemma, but couldn't come up with a solution, he concentrated fully on his problem, "This box needs to be warm, it needs to protect him as well, how can I do it?" he asked himself. At that moment he felt a warm tingling in his fingers and realised he was still holding the box.
Adonia let out a satisfied grunt "I like it here; it's so beautiful and warm"
Confused at this comment for a moment, Harry finally decided that he must have been wrong, that it was in fact warm down there, and left it at that.
Neither Harry nor Adonia noticed a small symbol carve itself into the box.
Days passed, and with them Harry learnt a great deal about his newfound and only friend, both from the source itself and from the Library. In this simple way of spending his time Harry found a contentment he had never quite known, one he wouldn't find again for many years.
On Harry's frequent visits to the Library Adonia had been quite impossible, she would not allow Harry to leave without her, and in the end Harry had to concede to her wishes. He had rescued an old bag of Dudley's and placed his friend within, making sure she was quite comfortable and warm before setting out.
Many more days passed in such an agreeable manner, sitting in the library reading book after book. Harry found in books a world he could not find in reality, in them he could have a family, and they brought hope to his somewhat miserable life.
The librarians of course noticed this small boy, after all how could they not? He sat there day after day, reading books that were too difficult for someone three times his age, yet he read them and seemed to understand them because he kept on reading, the speed at which was increasing daily. This definitely sparked their curiosity, but being naturally unobtrusive people, they felt it better not to ask the boy for fear of scaring him away. They therefore left Harry alone and contented themselves with merely observing this oddity.
Such an idyllic life had to eventually come to and end, and it did so, unfortunately for Harry rather much too soon for his liking. Though Harry would have preferred that the Dursleys never return, so indeed, any amount of time was much too soon.
By now, dear reader, I am quite sure you must have believed Harry's freedom would have lasted forever and that the Dursleys had in fact fallen of the face of the Earth or some such, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.
Vernon had taken a personal leave of absence from his job as the director of the firm Grunnings. But even the director must return to his job, no matter how powerful they may be, they must set an example for their underlings. It was for this reason, and this reason only that the Dursleys felt they must return, after all they had been gone almost three weeks and they were sure that Marge was quite recovered.
Marge however put up such a great fuss when she was informed of their plans, after all three weeks was definitely not enough time for her to recover from a cold, well at least not at all enough time to be waited on hand and foot, but the Dursleys stood firm and left the next morning.
So absorbed was Harry in his new world that he did not seem to notice the small set of eyes that followed him everywhere, and kept a close watch as it flew above him. The return of the Dursleys signaled the end of his ever vigilant companion's watchful eyes, she flew away and did not return to Privet Drive for a long, long time.
The time passed all too quickly for Harry, he had been so absorbed in this new world of books, the time just flew, and he forgot that he wasn't actually part of the books he read, he wasn't part of their world. He forgot that he had his own world, though it was by far no where near as glamorous as those he joined when he read. The fact that the Dursleys would eventually return also managed to slip his mind, so he was quite unprepared for the day when they actually arrived home.
As the Dursleys entered their house to find Harry cooking on the stove, their memories about the annoying boy were triggered. Rather than rightly blaming themselves for Harry's presence in their house, they took it out on Harry. Never before had Harry received such a punishment, leaving him considerably damaged in both mind and body after Vernon was through with him, and never again did he want to receive another one like it.
But he did, and as the years went by they got much, much worse.
(1) If you are reading this note, you probably have a dirty mind, not unlike me, but no this sentence was not supposed to have any dirty connotations - just thought I would mention that...
(2) Actually definition from Macquarie Dictionary
(3) Random trivia: 25 centimeters is 9.8 inches
(4) Sorry I have been watching too much Gilmore Girls, this is a quote from the episode entitled "Dead Uncles and Vegetables" - a great episode, one of my favourites!
(5) Adonia pronounced: ah-DOH-nee-uh and actually means beautiful in Greek, at least I think it does... I got my information from "alfabette zoope name lists" website
(6) Yes I do realise that snakes are cold-blooded creatures and that putting giving the snake a blanket would not keep it warm, but Harry is four and he doesn't know this, there is also a meaning for it which will develop later in the story...
(7) Just a note on the notes, I really am sorry about how many there are, but they are fun to write, so they will keep going and going... If you are still reading this I love you! But I think you need to get a life :-P Just joking... but seriously you must have extreme willpower to get this far!
To be continued...
Fear not, I do realise this chapter was rather slow, but this story will gradually build momentum...
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