Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Tower of Pime


by Quillian 15 reviews

Bring on the Dursley-bashing!

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-03-09 - Updated: 2007-03-09 - 11526 words

DISCLAIMER: See the Prologue.

SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: Apparently, there's also some kind "Feline Wizards" story by Diane Duane, with its own cat language. I just wanted to point out that I've NEVER read them before, let alone heard of them prior to writing this story. (If anything, my idea for a unique language for each animal species came from the rabbits in Watership Down by Richard Adams.) However, I'm not going to try and come up with a completely new vocabulary, and things spoken in this Feline language will be translated and shown in underlined text for the reader's benefit.

WARNING: More domestic violence, and more Harry- and Dursley-bashing. You've been warned.

This chapter is analogous to Book 1 (/Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/), Chapter Three, "The Letters from No One."


It had not been such a good year for the Dursleys.

After the rest of Little Whinging saw that the mighty and seemingly untouchable Dursleys could be dealt with, more people found the courage to speak up.

Young Dudley Dursley's classmates and teachers, both past and present, all reported incidents of bullying, and old incidents from as far back as four years ago were brought to light (some teachers and parents had been smart enough to keep photographic evidence). Now that the Dursleys didn't have the same weight to leverage on the school system, the headmistress and her colleagues had no problem with "fixing" the grades back to how they were before, so now Dudley had real incentive to work hard to keep those high grades. Even at school, Dudley's gang had abandoned him, as not to be plagued by the taint of Dudley's now-tarnished reputation; as a matter of fact, Dudley's former friends, especially Piers Polkiss, were now all trying their absolute best to turn over a new leaf and improve things with their classmates and teachers, after seeing what Dudley's behavior and actions had earned him. Soon enough, Dudley himself was now what he made his own cousin out to be: The social outcast. The teachers only stepped in every now and then to make sure that some act of vengeance didn't get out of control (they purposely didn't encourage the other students to try and get back at him, but at the same time, they didn't put too much effort into defending him, either).

Mrs. Petunia Dursley's neighbors spoke about her trying to peer over fences, bushes, or whatever separated property boundaries to see what they were doing. Because nothing could have been done about her nosiness at the time, they had had to resort to subtle countermeasures like growing taller hedges or installing taller fences. One family had even put hidden beehives in the hedges on their property, just in case Mrs. Dursley was ever tempted to actually cross over their property line to get a closer look.

Mr. Vernon Dursley's co-workers had reported incidents at work, ranging from bullying to harassment (Mr. Dursley had often yelled a lot at subordinate employees for no good reason, but just to yell at someone). There were those who had taken early retirement or left on health grounds, stressed from dealing with Mr. Dursley on a day-to-day basis. At least a dozen former employees who had been laid off in the past for no good reason, or sometimes for no reason at all, but whom Grunnings had settled with before an industrial tribunal could wash their dirty linen in public, brought forward their cases against Mr. Dursley; for example, one man had been sacked because he had missed a few days of work because he needed surgery, while one woman had been humiliatingly sacked in front of everyone because she couldn't meet Mr. Dursley's absurd demand of typing up a one-thousand-page report over the course of a single week, on top of everything else she had to do. A few other people claimed that Mr. Dursley had taken their hard work and passed it off has his own, while at other times taking his own unsatisfactory work and making it look like it was theirs. Several co-workers had even claimed that Mr. Dursley had harassed them in different ways in the past.

Miss Majorie Dursley was in trouble back in her home village, because new evidence had come to light about how she was a danger to both her own dogs and other villagers. She had purposely abused her own dogs to train them as vicious attack dogs to anyone apart from her or her own family and friends. On average, at least half a dozen people of all ages per year had been bitten or scratched by her dogs, ranging from small children to elderly citizens. The dogs themselves had been horribly abused in ways which made even the most experienced and brave-hearted people at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (R.S.P.C.A.) cringe; a few had even died because they got aid too late, but the rest of them were fortunately healed back to health, and found better, loving families to go to.

However, when it came to the matter of young Harry Potter, nothing could be done about that. One neighbor had seen Harry run out the back and into bushes, but that was it; so now Harry Potter was listed as a missing runaway. Aside from countless testimonies by just as many countless people that he had been dressed in Dudley Dursley's castoffs, there was no concrete proof that he had been abused. When the police saw the sleeping area in the cupboard under the stairs, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley just barely managed to explain it away as a spare mattress which had been stored under there, and that the second room with all the old toys and other junk was indeed Harry's bedroom.

The Dursley family managed to avoid time in prison, but at a high price. The huge sums of money which would have been otherwise used for spoiling Dudley (especially for his birthday or Christmas) had to be used to pay off fines or bribe the less moral police and other law enforcement officials. When that wasn't enough, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley were forced to sell off all of Dudley's old toys and other junk in the second bedroom, much to Dudley's horror, as expressed by his long complaints and tantrums. The most they got were fifty hours of community service each.

Majorie Dursley, however, was unable to successfully bribe her own local magistrate, and so she was sentenced to countless hours of community service. Vernon Dursley would have done more for his sister, but he had to worry more about his own family first, especially his lovely wife and precious son.

The Dursleys had often wished for a chance to live without their horrible nephew, Harry Potter... but as the old adage went, "Be careful what you wish for." They certainly lived without their nephew for a year, but some aspects about this new lifestyle almost made them wish at times that things went back to the way they were before, when the Potter boy still lived with them. Now that Harry Potter was no longer around to do most of the work around the house, that task fell to Mrs. Dursley and even her son, the latter of whom claimed that he was wasting away under the hard labor, when in fact he was getting healthy exercise. It took a month alone for Dudley to break the habit of saying things like "That's the freak's job" or "Make the freak get it." And since Harry Potter was no longer around to act as the scapegoat or stress relief outlet for whatever went wrong, all three Dursleys ended up bickering at each other for most of their arguments, resulting in fights which went so far out of control that more than once, the police had been called to the house by neighbors who complained about the noise. Mr. Dursley had to be careful around the workplace and keep his nose clean, especially since he didn't want to get into anymore trouble; even a year later, most of the claims against him were still going through, mostly because he was using the last of his bribery money to hold off the claims for as long as possible, and even that was running out fast. It looked as though Dudley might not be able to go Smeltings, Vernon's old private school, after all, and neither of his parents looked pleased at the thought that he might have to end up going to some local comprehensive like Stonewall.

The Dursleys also learned the hard way that they would have to really change their habits in order to avoid trouble. Vernon could no longer yell at people like he once used to just for the sake of doing so, Petunia could no longer go about spying on her neighbors, and even Dudley had to give up his beloved pastime of bullying other children. Dudley in particular was horrified that he would have to give up one of his biggest joys in life, but he was just barely smart enough to figure out that no more bullying others meant no more trouble for himself.

Wherever they went in Little Whinging, people would look at them, some less subtly than others. Outside of home, work and school, where their neighbors, co-workers, superiors, teachers and classmates had warned them not to try anything further, they were tolerated only just better by complete strangers who had heard about them.

Fortunately, today was now Dudley's birthday, and his mother and father all scrounged and saved to give him a simple yet beautiful necklace with a locket attached to it, which held a small picture of him with his parents.

"That's it?" Dudley screamed, getting ready to throw the necklace against the wall.

"Now, now, Duddikins," his mother said soothingly, catching Dudley's hand by the wrist before he could throw it. "Look at how beautiful and wonderful it is. That way, wherever you go, we'll always be with you."

"But I wanted more this year," he whined.

"Dammit, boy!" his father yelled. "You're bloody lucky that you've gotten anything this year at all, so why don't you just shut your mouth and accept your gift like a good son? Anyone ever teach you manners before!?"

Dudley gulped; his father had been taking things out on him a lot more ever since his freak of a cousin had disappeared a year before.

"What's more," his father continued ranting, "we have finally gotten all that stupid 'community service' behind us, the last thing we need is any more trouble..."

Mrs. Dursley tried to reassure her husband as best as she could. "Hush, Vernon, let's just go to the zoo and have a good time together as a family," she muttered soothingly to him.

Mr. Dursley's face then suddenly twisted to an unnatural smile (mainly because it was forced). "Yes, Pet, you're right, of course. Come on, Dudders, let's go to the zoo together..."

And so they all went to the zoo, especially before things got out of hand within their own household.

Soon enough, they arrived at the zoo in their car, which was just barely holding together without the long-overdue repairs which it needed.

In their effort to act normal, all three Dursleys ended up acting rather peculiar to anyone else who noticed them, because they acted so rigid and self-conscious; the truth was, they were trying their best to not give anyone a reason to come after them for being loud, obnoxious, nosy, or bullying. But as the day went on, they became more and more relaxed, and began feeling better as though everything else was becoming better.

But it was at the reptile house where things would begin to fall apart.

Harry appeared in a deserted alley only a few blocks from the zoo. He was dressed in jeans, trainers, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt with a hood over the normal shirt. Perfectly normal.

And now, hopefully, I will be able to talk out and about on a perfectly nice, Dursley-free day, Harry thought pleasantly.

With that thought in mind, he went to the zoo.

Harry had a system in mind, where he would take a minute or so at each exhibit, and then move on; he could always come back to them later. Not moving too quickly but not moving too slowly either, he went about from exhibit to exhibit, from house to house, observing the animals on exhibit within.

Soon enough, he found himself at the reptile house. He was taking a few minutes to observe the boa constrictor when he saw something happen.

Was it his imagination, or did the serpent just wink at him?

Harry did a double take. He also realized about how, if this were a year ago, such strange and unusual things would have puzzled him.

Just then, a funny thought occurred to him. Well, it couldn't hurt just to see what happened, right?

"Hello," he said quietly.

"Hello," the boa constrictor hissed back.

Harry knew he just heard that. He also looked around the entire room, but saw that there was almost no one else around, and of what few people there were, none of them gave any indication that they heard anything at all, especially not from a boa constrictor who could apparently talk.

Turning back to the tank which the snake inhabited, he asked it, "Where are you from?"

Using the tip of his tail, the boa constrictor pointed out to the sign next to the tank, which read that its species came from Brazil.

"Brazil, huh? Sounds like a nice place. What's it like there?"

The boa constrictor stared at him for a moment before jabbing his tail at the sign again, this time a little more forcefully than before; taking another look at it, Harry saw it say that it was bred in the zoo.

"Oh, my mistake," Harry apologized to the serpent.

"Do not worry about it, boy," the boa constrictor said calmly. "Although I would like to see Brazil sometime... I do not understand why I must be kept here all the time."

Harry didn't quite know how to answer that one.

He was just about to say something else when he suddenly heard some voices from a small group of people entering the room. "See, Dudders, this is turning out to be a wonderful birthday after all," said a man's gruff voice, followed by a woman's voice saying, "Yes, ickle Duddykins, look at how nice this birthday is turning out without that nasty boy around..."

Oh no, Harry thought miserably, not them.

It was the Dursleys. A moment later, he realized something else: Today was Dudley's birthday. But then again, how was he supposed to know what their plans were for the day? What were the odds of them both going to the same zoo, anyway?

That old instinct to run away immediately returned to Harry; he just wanted to get out of here and put as much distance between himself and the Dursleys as possible.

But he didn't immediately run away, either; he just pretended to be another random person at the zoo, observing the animals in their respective exhibits.

Just casually leave, he thought to himself. You can leave here without any problems with them.

"Well, I must be going," he whispered to the boa constrictor. "It was nice talking to you."

It nodded approvingly and was just wishing him farewell when he suddenly heard his whale of a cousin speak up. "LOOK!" he yelled to his parents. "MUM! DAD! COME QUICK AND TAKE A LOOK AT THIS! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT THIS SNAKE IS DOING!"

Harry made to move out of the way, but to his great surprise, Dudley actually came along and pushed him aside! "Get out of the way, whoever you are," Dudley said as he pushed him; he decided to take advantage of the fact that no one else was around to see him, so he could bully people and push them around like he used to.

Just as Dudley was about to press his hands and face against the glass, Harry felt a spark of anger and indignation set off inside of him. A moment after Harry hit the floor, he heard Dudley scream in terror.

The glass which kept the boa constrictor in its exhibit had completely vanished. The second after that, Dudley fell through and into the exhibit itself.

"Freedom!" the boa constrictor yelled excitedly, obviously not expecting an opportunity to escape like this, and not so soon, either. He quickly slithered over Dudley and out of the tank (although Dudley was screaming in terror and claiming that it was trying to crush him alive) while his parents looked on in horror.

"Brazil, here I come," the boa constrictor declared. "Thanks, amigo."

Harry smirked to himself as it slithered by him. "Anytime," he whispered back.

He managed to get back up on his feet just as Dudley was heaving his massive bulk back out of the boa constrictor exhibit.

"Wait a minute," Mrs. Dursley suddenly hissed. She then strode over and yanked the hood off of Harry's head.

There was a tense and horrible moment as all four of them present stared at each other; both parties involved had vivid and terrible memories of the other.

Harry just wanted to get out of there, but the Dursleys, on the other hand, were only too happy to try and take him back and punish him for what had happened to them.

"BOY!" Mr. Dursley thundered. "GET OVER HERE NOW!"

"Not a chance," Harry muttered. With that, he wrestled himself free of his aunt's grip and ran for the door.

If only he had watched where he was going as he tried to escape from the room...

Harry regained consciousness just as the Dursleys pulled into the driveway. As he regained consciousness, it all came back to him, and he quickly assessed the situation.

I can't believe I knocked myself out by running into a doorpost, he thought to himself.

"Get out, boy," his uncle snapped.

Deciding to go along with it, Harry did as he was told.

After they entered the house, Uncle Vernon forcefully grabbed Harry by the arm and swung him into the kitchen.

"Where have you been, boy!?" his uncle snarled; behind him, his aunt looked on worriedly, while his cousin had a look of anticipated glee on his face.

"I didn't know you cared so much," Harry drawled.

"WHAT WAS THAT, BOY?" Vernon yelled.

"You heard me," Harry said evenly.

"Where have you been?" Aunt Petunia said sternly, taking over for her husband who was already going red in the face. "We've been worried about you."

"For whose sake?" Harry replied just as coldly.

Mrs. Dursley took a moment to compose herself. For the first time, she was beginning to notice just how much Harry had grown in the past year, as if making up for all the abuse, neglect and malnutrition from previous years. He also had an aura of confidence about himself which he didn't have before, as though he didn't fear them anymore. Realizing that they could no longer intimidate him, she instead decided to try a different approach.

"For all our sakes, Harry," she said kindly.

Just hearing her speak kindly to him and refer to him by his first name was proof enough that she was lying, Harry decided.

"Now, where have you been all this time?" Aunt Petunia asked in a polite tone.

"Do you really expect me to tell you?" Harry said bluntly.

Taken aback, Aunt Petunia's kind attitude quickly vanished and became snappish again. "If you've gone to that headmaster at that school..."

"Who at where?" Harry said, sounding confused now. "I honestly have no idea what you're talking about."

Aunt Petunia steeled herself, and forced herself to say that one word which she hated above all others in her household...

"I'm talking about that school for... /magic/," she said, almost hissing out the word between clenched teeth.

At this point, there was a heavy silence in the kitchen while Uncle Vernon looked outraged that she said that word at all, while Dudley looked even more bewildered and stupefied than ever before.

"School for magic?" Harry asked. "Sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."

"I'm talking about Headmaster Dumbledore at that school named Hogwarts!" Aunt Petunia yelled so suddenly that both her husband and son took a step back.

Harry looked unfazed, and just raised an eyebrow. "Like I said... I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," he repeated calmly.

"Oh, if I know the way those people's minds work, you'll be getting your first acceptance letter a month or so from now... but not if I have anything to say about it..."

But then something occurred to him. "Wait a minute... are you saying... you /knew/? You knew about magic, and that I was a wizard?"

"KNEW!" she screeched, beginning to unload on her nephew something which she had wanted to say all these years. "Of course we knew! How could you not be, with my dratted sister being what she was! She was a freak and I was the only one who saw her for what she was! But no, my parents were always 'Lily this' and 'Lily that,' always fawning over her for those freakish things which she could do! Always coming home, turning harmless objects into disgusting animals and doing other freakish things and always showing off! And then she ran off with that awful Potter man, married him, had you with him, and then, just to top it all off, left you with us because she was stupid enough to get herself and your father MURDERED!"

Harry felt the blood drain from his face as his aunt ranted, but the final word seemed to reverberate in the air after it came out. "Murdered?" he repeated hoarsely.

"You heard me," Aunt Petunia snapped, mimicking Harry's words from just earlier. "Murdered. As in got herself killed by someone else."

Taking this moment to twist the proverbial knife a little more, she also added, "And you know what else? That so-called 'benevolent' old man who was the Headmaster at your school actually left you on our doorstep in the middle of the night. Makes me wonder how much your kind actually cares about you, for everything they say about you..."

Harry did his best to tune out their words, but at the same time, he felt his anger and his confusion slowly yet surely eating away at him.

"You're lying," he said flatly.

Aunt Petunia did a double take. "Excuse me?" she said rudely.

"You lied about magic existing and about what happened to my parents," Harry pointed out. "Why should I believe you now?"

His aunt didn't have an answer for that one.

"Look," she said at last, sounding exasperated, "We brought you back here because of the protection you have here. Something about living with blood relatives protecting you from anything harmful... don't ask me how it works, because I don't understand myself."

Harry couldn't help himself; he just had to laugh at that one. "Oh, very funny. Protection, as long as I stay with you, my relatives... /who have been harming me all these years/!" The last part did not include any laughter as he yelled it out loud in anger and disbelief.

"I don't see why you would bring me back here, apart from saving your own skins. And now, if you will excuse me... I'm leaving."

However, Aunt Petunia finally lost all of her patience with her nephew. As he made to walk past her, she lunged out at him and grabbing, yelling at him, "YOU STAY HERE, YOU UNGRATEFUL BRAT!"

Harry immediately raised his hands and arms to defend himself, and immediately assuming that he was trying to strike at her, Aunt Petunia struck at her nephew first.

He yelled as she slapped him across his face. There was an awkward moment of silence where Harry looked stunned while the Dursleys were beginning to look horrified as to what he might do next.

Harry went from being shocked to downright angry. His aunt had never actually struck him before. That was the final straw. Now, he fixed the Dursleys with a furious glare which did little for their states of mind.

And then, the house began to rumble...

His aunt and uncle immediately panicked, and Uncle Vernon even yelled, "Dudley, do something, quick!"

"Vernon, NO!" Aunt Petunia shouted, terrified.

Dudley was more than happy to make this freak suffer for making his life miserable, or so he believed. Unfortunately for him, however, Harry was thinking the same thing, except more rightfully so. And on top of that, Dudley still hadn't learned from last year when Harry had punched him back.

He ran at Harry as fast as he could (making the house shake a little more with each step he took), and jumped, hoping to emulate those wrestlers he had seen on TV in order to squash Harry flat.

However, with a magical tactic which defied gravity and physics, Harry caught Dudley, and by exerting great amounts of power, both physical and magical, Harry then managed to toss Dudley back. His fat cousin screamed in terror as he flew back and landed right on top of the kitchen table, which easily broke under his immense weight.

Uncle Vernon and roared like a bull and grabbed Harry by his neck. "YOU DAMN FREAK!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. "YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED WITH YOUR PARENTS! YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT AT AN ORPHANAGE! YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT IN A MISERABLE BACK ALLEY SOMEWHERE TO /DIE/!"

Each proclamation was accentuated with a blow to Harry, hitting him in the head, hitting him in the chest... and finally slamming him against the window, causing the glass to crack.

Harry was now filled with rage, and he defended himself against each blow as best as he could as he tried to summon his magic again...

A moment later, what felt like a strong electrical charge surged through his uncle. He shrieked with pain and stumbled back, leaning against the wall to support himself and try to recover.

Harry hadn't been trying to electrocute his uncle; that was accidental magic. However, he was grateful nonetheless, and now he made a beeline for the back door again, trying to escape like he did a year before, but his aunt cut him off. "Not this time!" she yelled. "You're not going to get away again and leave us behind! You're going to stay right here -"

He immediately reversed his direction and tried to escape for the front door instead, but his aunt grabbed him by the wrist and held him back as best as she could.

If it was possible, Harry became even angrier "DON'T - YOU - EVER - TOUCH - ME - AGAIN!" he shouted.

The next moment, Aunt Petunia's hand which was holding him back felt like it was burning. She yelped with pain as she quickly withdrew her hand, instinctively waving it as though to cool it off.

But the next moment, a kind of fiery red mist appeared before their eyes, connecting himself and Aunt Petunia... and then disappearing with a brief but blinding flash.

Neither of them knew it at the time, but that was the blood protection on the home being irreparably severed.

Harry was now in a full-blown rage, and it began to show...

The house began to shake even more now, and all the electrical devices in the house began to act sporadically, flickering on and off, or in some cases, electrical clocks spitting out random times or television sets jumping to random channels. Anything not bolted down or otherwise connected to the surface it touched began to jump, shake and rattle.

The entire house and its family were now at his mercy.

The next moment, Harry let out a scream of pent-up rage as he remembered all the years of suffering which his horrible relatives had put him through... and as if to emphasize his point...

Light bulbs blew and exploded. Electrical appliances exploded outwards with small showers of sparks. Glass windows and other glass surfaced cracked and shattered, falling apart. Cracks ran up and down walls and across floors and ceilings in crooked lines. Clocks, pictures, and other things attached to the walls fell off and broke on contact as they hit the ground. The oven actually burst into flame. Walls groaned as they became supported.

And all three Dursleys cowered in a corner, trembling and holding each other for safety, praying to whatever deity would listen to protect them.

Now beyond reason, Harry focused fully on the Dursleys, with a furious look on his face and a blazing light in his emerald green eyes. Lily's eyes, Aunt Petunia thought to herself as she looked into them, unable to look away.

A smoking fireball appeared in Harry's hand, and he aimed at the Dursleys with his outstretched arm. He remembered all the years of suffering they put him through... all the anger, pain, fear, and humiliation he felt... his every waking moment a living nightmare...

He now had the chance to put an end to it, to make them pay for everything they had done to him. He could finish them off right now, and no one would ever know, or even suspect, that it was him. He could do the world a favor by ridding it of these three miserable, wretched excuses for human life...

The seconds lengthened, during which there was silence except for the creaking sounds in the house and the sizzling sounds of the still-held fireball in Harry's hand. The Dursleys were still shaking with fear, anticipating the final blow which would send them to kingdom come, while Harry was still standing there, wondering why he hadn't blasted them into oblivion yet.

But as Harry looked at them, cowering in the corner, powerless and helpless, he remembered something else. He remembered all the times it had been himself in the corner, fearing for his own life...

He couldn't do it.

No matter how much they hated him, no matter how much they harmed him, he still couldn't kill them. The only times he had ever used magic against them were just now and a year ago, when he had just been trying to defend himself.

Was this the power they enjoyed so much? The power to reduce a proud, intelligent human being into a pleading, panicked creature? Yes, they had been absolutely abominable to him... but could he use that as justification for killing them, and so horrifically?


His anger receding and reason taking its place, he discharged the energy being put into making the fireball still forming in his hand; it vanished in a small cloud of gray smoke.

However, while his face no longer bore that furious look, it was still hardened.

"I'm not going to do anything else to you," Harry said coldly. "But I don't have to help you, either."

"What now?" his aunt sneered. "Don't want to convince us that magic isn't all bad after all?"

"As far as I'm concerned, nothing can change your mind about magic, because you have it so firmly etched into your minds that magic is responsible for everything wrong in the world that nothing can convince you otherwise. But then again... as far as I'm concerned, you don't need magic to be evil, or to ruin your own lives."

With one last hard gaze as a final farewell, he reached into his pocket to get something, pulled it out while gripping it tightly, and disappeared in a flash of light, never to return to Number Four, Privet Drive, ever again.

There was a painful silence while all three Dursleys contemplated everything they had just been through. Petunia Dursley flinched and shuddered in spite of herself; she could not get the image of her head, of those green eyes glaring at her... Lily's eyes, which Harry had inherited... almost as if Lily herself had somehow seen everything which had been done to her son.

However, she was snapped out of her thoughts by a snapping sound, followed by a hissing sound.

"Gas!" she screamed. "We need to get out, quickly!" While it would later be determined that it was only water vapor which was responsible for that, the Dursleys didn't want to take any chances.

All three of them fled the house...

...Only to run straight into the small fleet of police cars parked on the street outside.

Before anyone could say anything, however, the rumbling began to act up again, and everyone turned around to see the Dursleys' house meet its fate. With an almighty groaning sound, almost like a dying cry, the roof caved in, and the first floor of the house collapsed on top of the ground floor, and then the ground floor collapsed to the ground. A plume of dust and smoke rose up into the air. Number Four, Privet Drive was no more.

The Dursleys looked horrified at what happened to their home and all of their remaining worldly possessions left inside, while the neighbors looked concerned, but only because of the safety of their own homes from the debris.

Just then, the police inspector cleared his throat, drawing everyone's attention back to him. "I was called here because of a disturbance," he told Mr. and Mrs. Dursley.

"You came too late," Mr. Dursley said gruffly. "That... that brat got away!"

The inspector raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I'd say I got here just in time. You see... one of your neighbors witnessed you bodily lifting your nephew and throwing him against the window. That same neighbor even has photographic proof of you doing that."

"WHAT?" Mr. Dursley roared. "That freak destroys our house and our home, and you come after /us/!?"

"How could a small boy, only ten years old, destroy your house like that?" the inspector asked loudly enough for everyone else to hear.

The Dursleys were just bursting to say how it was magic which enabled the boy to destroy their home, but then they realized something: Everybody else would not believe them. Now how were they going to explain themselves and justify how they treated the boy?

"Vernon Dursley, Petunia Dursley," the police inspector announced, as a half-dozen other policemen moved forward. "You're under arrest..."

Albus Dumbledore made it as fast as he could to Privet Drive. He would have come sooner, but for the past hour, he had been stuck in a Wizengamot meeting, listening to candidates jockeying for the position of Minister of Magic after the incumbent had announced his upcoming retirement. That in itself wouldn't have been so boring, nor have taken very long, but the last candidate, one Cornelius Fudge, had been the most tedious of all. He was the kind of man to use a hundred words to say something when ten words would have sufficed, or take ten minutes to say something when one minute would have been long enough.

Just a moment after Fudge began speaking, a small, silvery device in Dumbledore's robes began to vibrate a little; one of the many devices from his office, he had keyed it to detect whenever Harry Potter might be located. According to it, Harry and the Dursleys were now back in the same vicinity.

The last year had been stressful and tenuous for the great Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Out of concern, not so much for his own sake, but for not sending the Wizarding World into an uproar over the disappearance of Harry Potter, he had taken great pains to make sure that no news of it reached the magical world. He had even resorted to bribing the head of the Daily Prophet (who was an old student of his) to not print anything about it in the newspaper.

Fortunately, people in and around Little Whinging talked less about the case of young Harry Potter and more about the Dursleys' other deeds as time went on. Dumbledore took advantage of every moment he had to try and find Harry Potter. But wherever the Boy Who Lived was, he was somehow being magically shielded so that he could not be detected by modern magical means.

As the old saying went, "a watched pot does not boil," and so Dumbledore very well could not keep himself cooped up in his office around the clock, just waiting for some news to come in just so he could find Harry Potter. However, he did keep that silvery device on him, just in case.

Dumbledore personally thought he was doing a good job at acting as though nothing was amiss as he did his job as Headmaster at Hogwarts, but from time to time, the professors, students, and ghosts alike all noticed him act urgent, stressed, and even a little twitchy.

So now, as Fudge was droning on and on about the things he would fix and accomplish for the Wizarding community in Britain, Dumbledore had no choice but to sit there and listen to the portly man go on.

But many minutes later, the same device was telling him that Harry was now back at his relatives' house at Privet Drive. Dumbledore wondered what happened... perhaps they just happened to manage to run into each other somewhere, and now Harry went back with them? But then Dumbledore realized that Harry may not have gone with them all that peacefully...

Finally, many more minutes later, it was over, and everyone was allowed to leave. Dumbledore walked casually out of the room through the special entrance for Wizengamot members, and it was only after he Flooed back to Hogwarts that he really hurried.

Dumbledore only went back to Hogwarts in the first place so no one would suspect him of having to go to a seemingly insignificant Muggle neighborhood for any reason. Passing his Deputy Headmistress in the hall, he quickly told her in passing that he would be busy in his office for a while and not to be disturbed.

Once back in his office, Dumbledore took out that special Portkey again, and like a year before, went to Privet Drive.

Dumbledore arrived there invisible and unheard, but he nearly gave himself away with a stifled exclamation of surprise after seeing Number Four... or what was left of it.

From what he heard from the crowd of neighbors surrounding it, Dumbledore learned that the Dursleys had finally been arrested for a multitude of different allegations, and only now were the police trying to make those charges of child abuse stick. The general tone of all the gossip and chatter was one of excitement and relief, as though a victory had been accomplished today against the malicious Dursleys.

Having stayed in one place for long enough, Dumbledore made his way to Mrs. Figg's house.

He subtly knocked on the door, and a moment later, the old lady opened it.

"Arabella," he whispered.

"Albus!" she hissed. "Quickly, get inside!"

Dumbledore swiftly squeezed through the half-open door and into Mrs. Figg's house. Looking around, he could see at least a dozen different cats scampering and running around.

After he dispelled the invisibility around himself, the cats all turned to look at him. A tabby cat with a collar which read "STRIDER" on it leapt up onto the counter closest to Dumbledore and said something to him in the Feline language.

"You fool!" he hissed to Dumbledore. "How could you have ever left him with those horrible people in the first place?"

"My knowledge of the 'Feline' language is a bit rusty, but I believe Strider was asking why you ever left that boy with those horrible people in the first place," Mrs. Figg said.

"They were his only relatives, and I also had to consider the blood protection provided by his mother's sacrifice," Dumbledore explained. "If I had known about how they would have treated him..."

"If you had known... would you have done it anyway?"

"Are you insinuating that I wouldn't have cared either way?" Dumbledore asked, starting to sound a little impatient. The insinuation that he didn't care about Harry Potter other than for his importance truly cut at him.

Instinctively, Mrs. Figg's other cats all glared at Dumbledore and came rushing over to her. They all gathered at her feet like many little sphinxes and looked up at Dumbledore with unwavering gazes, as though letting him know where they all stood on the issue and with whom.

"Just between you and me, Arabella... I would have adopted him myself, if I could, but I had my practical reasons for not doing that. It would have been hard for me to raise him, even secretly, at Hogwarts. And when people found out, one way or another, that I was raising him, there would have been accusations of me using him for my own gain and teaching him as I saw fit. I also did not want Harry to be raised by families in the Wizarding world who might spoil him or exploit him. As much as I hate to say it, the Dursleys were the only viable option."

As Dumbledore was saying this, he was sounding more and more frustrated, as though he were trying to justify his actions to Mrs. Figg in some sort of confession. Mrs. Figg continued to stand there with her arms crossed over her chest and her cats not moving an inch.

"I could have raised him better than those wastes of human life, Albus," Mrs. Figg said.

"I would die for Harry if I had to," Dumbledore told her. "That alone should give you some idea about how much I care about him."

By now, Mrs. Figg could see the sincerity and sadness in Dumbledore's eyes - something she had almost never seen before.

She sighed. "I don't doubt the honesty of your intentions, Albus. But that doesn't mean I can't be upset over what happened because of your decision."

Dumbledore nodded and was about to say something else when suddenly a new cat rushed in. A young, beautiful Japanese bobtail rushed in, mewing something nonstop along the way as she jumped up onto the counter next to Strider and kept mewing, trying to tell Mrs. Figg something while Strider tried to calm her down.

"I just came back from the ruins of the house!" she cried horrified in her otherwise beautiful feline voice. "You would not believe what I found! It was so horrible!"

"Please calm down, Yomiko," Strider said soothingly to her. "Please tell Arabella what has happened. We're all concerned about what happened to Harry."

"Thank you, Strider. I'll try..." After she composed herself, Yomiko told her mistress, "Harry wrote something in the cupboard under the stairs! It was horrible!"

Mrs. Figg began to look more and more worried as she began to decipher what this cat was saying. Speaking to Dumbledore while still focusing on her cat, she said, "Yomiko says... Harry... wrote something... in the /cupboard under the stairs/..."

"How are you able to understand what they're saying?" Dumbledore asked, politely interested and amazed at the same time.

"I figured out ways of communicating with them," Mrs. Figg said casually. Over the past year, she communicated with her cats by saying words aloud and having the cats repeat those words in their Feline language, and then recording them with a tape recorder; sometimes, she would also do things like point to certain objects to learn nouns or adjectives and mimic certain actions to learn verbs.

Yomiko went on. "It said 'HELP ME' in big letters on the wall!"

"According to Yomiko," Mrs. Figg continued, "He wrote something on the wall... something about help..."

"She can read?" Dumbledore asked again in the same combined mixture of interest and amazement.

"Yeah, she's a good reader," Mrs. Figg said with a touch of pride.

"But there was more!" Yomiko continued urgently. "There was a bed, blanket and pillow in there... it was as though he slept in there!"

Mrs. Figg went pale as she translated that. "Yomiko says... that there was a bed, blanket and pillow under there... as if he slept there!"

Dumbledore himself nearly went as white as his beard.

"And there was also an envelope filled with paper hidden under the bed!" Yomiko added.

"There was also... an envelope under the bed... with something in it," Mrs. Figg concluded.

"How could they do such a thing!?" Yomiko wailed. "Harry never did anything wrong! How could those people be so cruel to a youngster like that? Especially their own relative!"

Soon enough, all the other cats were meowing, snarling, and hissing, each of them giving a piece of their mind for everyone else to hear.

A fluffy gray Persian named Bigwig hissed, "Those Dursleys need to be punished severely!"

A spotted Egyptian Mau cat named Horace snarled, "Those awful people deserve to be driven to a cold, dark place where the sun doesn't shine!"

A Manx cat named Illiam yowled, "If given the chance, I would rip them from limb to limb myself!"

"I cannot stand this anymore!" Yomiko cried, and with that, she leapt off the counter, landed on the floor, and ran out of the house.

"Yomiko, wait!" Strider yelled, chasing after her.

After that outburst and the two cats' departure, the remaining cats and their mistress all looked back at Dumbledore, each of them distinctly unhappy and angry with the situation.

"I'll go take a look at what your cat claims to have found in the wreckage," Dumbledore said quietly. And with that, he became invisible again and swept out the door.

At the wreckage of Number Four, Privet Drive, Dumbledore carefully sorted through the rubble as not to disturb it; after all, Muggle police and forensic teams would be examining it tomorrow. It was now getting dark, with sunset almost over, as the wizard carefully sorted through the rubble to where the cupboard was, wearing gloves as not to leave fingerprints.

Of all the rooms in the house, the cupboard probably stayed the most intact. On an unbroken wall, Dumbledore could see two words, heavily drawn in black crayon...


Dumbledore felt a cold pass over him and chill him to the bone, even though it was still perfectly warm.

Looking under the bed, Dumbledore saw the envelope which Yomiko the cat spoke of. Opening it, the looked at the letter inside and read it, horrified.

My name is Harry Potter. I do not know my parents' names or what they ever looked like. All I know is that they supposedly died in a car crash, which is where I got this weird scar. I would ask more, except I'm not allowed to ask questions. I'm forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs because the second bedroom has to be used to store all of Dudley's old junk. I never get any new clothes, only Dudley's castoffs. I never get anything for birthdays or Christmas, except maybe the occasional dirty sock. I'm forced to cook all the food, although I'm hardly allowed to eat anything. I'm not allowed to have any friends, because Dudley makes sure of that. Except for Dudley constantly bullying me, they've never hurt me physically, but they prefer to verbally hurt me. I'm not the Dursleys' relative, but more like their slave. I want to get out of here so badly, but I have nowhere else to go, and I doubt anyone would want me. I've always dreamed about some sort of unknown relative coming to take me away, but as the years went by and no one showed up, I began to hope for that less and less. I hope maybe someone finds this someday, so they know the truth, and not whatever lies the Dursleys tell them. I hope maybe, just maybe, I can get out of here some day... if I can live that long. Now I have to go, because the Dursleys want me to do something for them again.

Dumbledore could not stop tears from running down his face. He kept thinking to himself, what had he done?

Deep down, he hoped that Petunia Dursley would be able to overcome her feelings for her sister, and that her family would accept him. Instead, she and her family ended up hurting and punishing the boy just for being in their presence.

True, the Dursleys had never physically hurt Harry - otherwise the wards would have gone off and Dumbledore would have known about it - but he had obviously never considered verbal, emotional or mental abuse.

Just what sort of hell had he condemned Harry to for all these years?


Just then, Dumbledore heard a Muggle car pass by, and deciding that he had spent enough time there, he quickly and quietly made his way back to Mrs. Figg's house.

Mrs. Figg was waiting for him, with her arms folded across her chest. "Well, Dumbledore, do you believe me now?" she said.

"Yes," Dumbledore said quietly, conceding defeat on the topic.

"I remember a few times, during Harry's first years of having to live with them, I came to you, telling you about how badly they treated him - especially that abhorrent cousin of his. You just shrugged it off, saying that it might have been just some rivalry between the children, and then reiterating how much Harry Potter just needed to stay with his blood relatives. And now, thanks to your /wisdom/, Harry is missing somewhere and the Dursleys have been arrested."

Dumbledore didn't even try to defend himself as Mrs. Figg built up a head of steam.

"However, now that the truth about the Dursleys and how they treated Harry is finally coming out... you can help me do something about it. Excuse me for a moment."

With that, she left the room for her own bedroom to get something. Dumbledore just stood there, waiting for her while her cats all continued to watch him.

When she returned a few minutes later, she was carrying a big, thick yellow envelope. "Here, take this. I don't know, anonymously drop it off at the police station or something. But you may want to look through it yourself first."

Still wearing his gloves which stopped him from leaving his fingerprints anywhere, Dumbledore opened up the envelope and saw the photographs inside. He was horrified at what he saw. There were images of Harry being pushed around and such by his uncle, aunt and cousin alike, being forced to wear oversized castoffs from his fat cousin, forced to do chores around the house...

However, Dumbledore then noticed something else. "How did you manage to take these photographs?" he asked her.

"It's amazing what you can do with a photographic camera, an Invisibility Cloak, and lots of time on your hands," Mrs. Figg said smugly. "Besides, you did tell me to watch out for him."

Dumbledore wanted to ask her exactly where she got an Invisibility Cloak, but he reasoned that maybe she owned one herself, or maybe she borrowed it from someone she knew, or something else. Either way, he knew he was in no position to ask.

"Thank you, Arabella," he said as he put all the photographs away and back in their proper place in the envelope. "I will make sure that the police get these."

Mrs. Figg nodded and said, "Good-bye, Headmaster." Clearly, she didn't want to speak to him anymore, at least not tonight. Dumbledore respected her wishes, bade her farewell, and left.

For an entire day after his trip to the zoo, Harry didn't say a word to Pim unless he was asked something. For the most part, he just kept to himself.

It was two entire days after Harry's trip to the zoo when Pim decided that enough was enough, and spoke to his ward.

"Harry, please, speak to me," Pim said at last. "What happened?"

"The Dursleys," Harry muttered, sitting on his bed and thinking to himself.

Pim was instantly alert. "Why, what happened?"

Harry laughed bitterly. "I forgot it was Dudley's birthday. They just happened to be at the same zoo where I went."

"And? What happened?"

Harry remembered somehow being able to communicate with the boa constrictor, but didn't think it was worth mentioning. "I was looking this boa constrictor, and without realizing who I was, Dudley pushed me out of the way against the glass to get a better look. My magic must have accidentally gone off then, because then the glass which kept the snake in its exhibit just vanished."

"Were you hurt?" Pim asked seriously.

"No, I was fine, really. My magic must have protected me somehow. Anyway, the boa constrictor used it as a chance to escape, while Dudley swore it was trying to eat him alive or something. During the chaos, I tried to get out of there before anything else happened, but then my hood fell down and my aunt and uncle saw me. They tried to snatch me back for whatever reason, but as I was trying to get away, I ran straight into a doorpost and fell unconscious."

Once Harry began talking, it somehow became easier from there.

"What happened next?" Pim gently prompted him.

"I regained consciousness in the car just as they were returning home. For whatever reason, they decided to try and snatch me back." After a moment, Harry gave another round of bitter laughter and added, "I guess a year without their slave and whipping boy took its toll on them."

"Don't talk like that," Pim said, not happy with Harry's self-deprecating words.

"Sorry, Pim. Anyway, what happened next... oh, where do I begin?"

"Would it be easier if I just used my magic to see it through your memories?" Pim suggested.

Harry shrugged his shoulders. "If you want."

He just kept looking out ahead the whole time, and didn't even blink as that silvery-white mist came up around him...

Pim saw everything, from his aunt's ranting about his mother to where he magically trashed their house in a fit of rage after she slapped him in the face.

Pim mentally cursed at everything that happened while he was undergoing that "diagnostic," and how he was not able to protect Harry that time. But then he also remembered something else... exactly what had Harry done, or nearly done, to the Dursleys.

"Harry," Pim said delicately, "That fireball thing... exactly what was that?"

"I honestly don't know," Harry said. "I just remember being angry... /furious/... and before I knew it, everything around me was breaking, the Dursleys were cowering in a corner, and I was holding a fireball in my hand... I was inches away from doing something to them..."

Harry heaved a sob. "I could have killed them," he said sorrowfully. "Yes, I hated them, and they were horrible to me... but I don't want to kill them..."

"Harry... you demonstrated a lot of self-control and restraint that day. You showed that you would not sacrifice your morals for the sake of revenge. You have clearly learned more from me in this past year, other than just how to use some magic."

Harry looked up for the first time, and he looked to Pim, taking in and understanding what he had to say.

"By the way... do you have any idea how you managed to do that?"

Harry shook his head. "No, sorry." After a moment, he then added, "Actually, I tried to see if I could do that again... you know, conjure up a fireball without using a staff... but I couldn't do anything without a staff. I didn't try to make myself angry again to try and copy how I was feeling the other day, because I didn't want to make myself angry like that again."

"Very wise decisions, Harry," Pim said comfortingly. "What do you say we try to put what happened behind us?"

"Sure," Harry said quietly. With that, he got up and went to go get something to eat.

Harry really is a wonderful boy, Pim happily thought to himself. His relatives must have been the biggest fools in the world for not seeing that themselves.

It took about a year, but Fate finally caught up with the Dursleys and gave them what they so richly deserved. It was nine months until the trial took place, which Vernon Dursley spent in prison on remand, Petunia Dursley under close medical supervision, and Dudley in the care of their local council's social services. After that, the trial in itself took nearly three entire months, as there were lots of charges and lots more witnesses with things to say.

The trial in itself was quite a spectacle, with people either exasperated that such a thing should have to be done or entertained at how the horrible Dursley family went down for their crimes.

The Dursleys did their absolute best to get themselves acquitted of as many charges as possible, but the true coup de grace was the new charge of child abuse and neglect which was coming in.

First of all, teams going through the wreckage found young Harry Potter's "HELP ME" graffiti in big, bold letters from black crayon. Next, there was also the letter under the bed, which forensics experts estimated was written years ago, when Harry was only five or six years old; it was dated "April 1987," and so there was some speculation to determine if young Harry Potter had really written it or not, but fortunately, forensics helped prove that. Finally, there was the big, thick envelope of photographs showing how the Dursleys treated Harry, sent in by an anonymous person with a note attached. It read: I tried a few times to get someone to find out about the way the Dursleys treated their ward, Harry Potter, but nothing ever happened. I did whatever I could, and hopefully this shows. I hope that at least some good will come out of my efforts.

One interesting detail, however, was the lack of Harry Potter himself. He was in the house when it collapsed, and yet as crews went through the rubble, there was no sign of him, living or dead; there was no sign that he survived, and yet there was no sign that he was killed, either. With no proof whatsoever that he was killed, they were forced to list him as a missing person.

The Dursleys claimed quite loudly that this was all a conspiracy against them, and they were a decent, hardworking family with a gentle young son who wouldn't hurt a fly and had no choice but to take in an ungrateful brat who made up lies about them, but everyone saw through their lies and nonsense.

As the trial went on and on, and witness after witness came in to testify about how each member of the Dursley family harassed other people and mistreated their own nephew. Finally, there was a falling out as Mr. Dursley roughly grabbed his solicitor to do something to get him out of this mess, claiming that they shouldn't have to go to prison just because they "toughly disciplined their ungrateful nephew." Unfortunately for them, that would be the final tactical error which they would ever be making for a long time, because after the court ushers and police in the courtroom helped rescue the solicitor from Mr. Dursley's grip, the solicitor smoothed himself out and angrily informed the Dursleys that he himself knew someone who had been abused and neglected as a child, and he was sorry for the day he ever met the Dursleys; and with that, he briskly strode out of the courtroom without looking back, leaving the abominable family to their fate.

Vernon Dursley was put away in prison for decades on various charges, not just for various kinds of harassment, but also for fraud and embezzlement, and to top it all off, child abuse and neglect, as well as failing to meet the order to produce his nephew before the court. The charge of contempt for his action in court would lie on his file. Unless he did something to drastically improve his health, he would most likely die in prison before being released.

Petunia Dursley was also found guilty of child abuse and neglect, but she was instead committed to remain in a mental hospital instead of prison, largely because of the interesting report which came back from the psychological evaluations done for her.

It made for quite an interesting case: Apparently, she harbored some sort of years-old jealously for her younger sister, the late Lily Potter née Evans, because Lily got an invitation to some kind of special boarding school and she didn't, and yet Mrs. Dursley absolutely refused to give any sort of details about this school, let alone its name. She made constant references to "they" or "them" or "those people," whom her deceased sister was supposedly one of, but again, divulged no details about. Mrs. Dursley also claimed that Lily Potter died because "she got herself killed" defending her son, and so "her crowd" left one-year-old Harry Potter on her doorstep in the middle of the night in early November, 1981, with "demands" in a letter that they take care of him, and would know if anything happened to him. (However, Mrs. Dursley also claimed to have destroyed the letter years ago, unfortunately for her.) Mrs. Dursley also made no small secret about how she hated her "freak" of a nephew with a passion, and claimed that "she had no sister."

Dudley Dursley was shown to the entire community to be the meanest and most spoiled boy around, who did whatever he could to get what he wanted and showed no remorse for how he hurt other people around him, physically or otherwise. A little pity was shown towards the boy: To themselves, people realized that if it hadn't been for his outrageous parents, the boy could have been a true young gentleman, and not a bullying nightmare to the rest of the community. However, the reality of it was, he was quite possibly spoiled and badly raised beyond repair. The judge had no choice but to send him to St. Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Insane Criminal Boys.

After they were all put away in their respective facilities, the inhabitants of Little Whinging all celebrated privately, although some of them were not as discrete about it as others. But at the same time, they also wished they could find and talk to young Harry Potter, not just to thank him for helping to bring down the Dursleys, but also to apologize to him for not being able to help him, and to show him how much they really did care...

As they witnessed their own fates being sealed, all three Dursleys wondered if maybe, just /maybe/, Harry Potter wouldn't have hated them so much if only they had treated him nicely, and not acted so determined as though magic didn't exist.

Either way, it was too late for that now.

But for the most part, they just persisted in blaming that "freak" of a boy for coming into their lives.

Years later, when Dudley Dursley finally got at least some sense of right and wrong in the world, not to mention responsibility, he was allowed to see and get back the only thing he got as a birthday present that day when the /freak/, as he still called his cousin, ruined his life: The locket with the image of himself and his parents. Looking back on it, he was so glad that he had it, because he hadn't seen his parents in years, and he didn't know if he ever would again.

A couple of nights after Petunia Dursley was first committed to the mental hospital, a lone figure quickly and quietly stepped out of the shadows, not making a sound as he crept through the hallways of the facility where she was kept.

Albus Dumbledore just had to know what had happened that day when the Dursleys and Harry encountered each other again. Harry had to have done something in order to make the house collapse like that.

He used his magic to unlock the door to Mrs. Dursley's cell, enter, and seal it again behind him. He gently walked over to where she was sleeping uneasily on her bed in her pyjamas.

Hating himself for what he was about to do, Dumbledore pointed his wand at her and whispered, "Legilimens."

After a quick search through her recent memories, he found what happened on that day. He watched as they encountered each other at the zoo... how she brought him back to Privet Drive... how she finally snapped and ranted about her sister Lily... how she actually slapped Harry... how Harry finally lost his patience and began his rampage with his magical outburst... how Harry came so close to actually killing the Dursleys themselves... and finally, how Harry vanished and the Dursleys fled from the house just before it collapsed.

Dumbledore was stupefied by what he had just witnessed through Petunia's memories. As he withdrew from her mind, he was thinking furiously to himself. Exactly how had Harry done that? Had he somehow learned about magic on his own, or did he learn about it from someone else? And just how did Harry become so powerful in the first place?

Dumbledore was also contemplating Harry's self-control and restraint in not intentionally harming the Dursleys when suddenly, Mrs. Dursley began to stir in her sleep.

"No... please, no... don't... I'm sorry, really, I am... Lily, /no/..."

Dumbledore was just deciding what to do next when he heard an orderly's footsteps coming down the hall.

With one last very cold look of loathing at Petunia Dursley, Dumbledore quietly Disapparated from her room just before the orderly arrived.

He Apparated to the Hog's Head in Hogsmeade. It was practically empty except for the bartender himself, and some shady-looking person rummaging through a leather pouch, whom he suspected was Mundungus Fletcher.

"A shot of firewhiskey, please," Dumbledore said to the bartender.

The bartender looked at him suspiciously for a moment, as though silently questioning why Dumbledore would want firewhiskey in the middle of the night, but acquiesced without any problems.

I really have done it this time, Dumbledore thought to himself miserably. All I wanted was to protect Harry, and instead I ended up doing the exact opposite, by letting his relatives torment him. My hopes that Petunia and her family could overcome whatever happened between them and Harry's parents... it wasn't a /dream/, it was a /delusion/. An old man's delusion. Maybe I really am becoming ineffective in my decisions...

But if he gave up now, what would happen then? For him, for the rest of the world, and for everything which he had fought for?

I /will fix this,/ Dumbledore silently vowed to himself. One way or another, I /will set things straight./

A/N: Personally, I like how this chapter turned out.

Regarding the chapter title... it's a nod to the story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe. It just seemed appropriate, as well as fitting.

I had Harry go to the zoo in order to find out that he could communicate with snakes (what with the Parseltongue thing). On top of that, I also had him run into the Dursleys again in order to justly and completely ruin their lives with that figurative one-two punch I mentioned; first I let them suffer for a year, then I deliver the coup de grace to finish them off.

Regarding Mrs. Figg's other cats... The Japanese bobtail's name "Yomiko" is an actual name, and comes from the Japanese word meaning "to read." "Bigwig" seemed appropriate for a fluffy Persian (coincidentally, it was also the name of one of the rabbits in Watership Down/). The name of the Mau cat "Horace" is something of a joke; /Horace was a famous Roman playwright, but it also sounds much like the name of the Egyptian deity Horus/. "Illiam" is the Manx form of "William," which in turn comes from the Germanic name /Wilhelm/, which was composed of /wil ("will, desire"), and helm ("helmet, protection").

My beta-reader/Brit-picker Coulsdon Eagle supplied me with information about the British judicial system (whose "wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow"), which helped me figure out what to do with the Dursleys.

I felt a little bad about sending Petunia to a mental institution for being assumed crazy for her talk about magic and her nephew having magical powers, when we know she was telling the truth... but then again, she definitely was crazy, especially if she thought that she could abuse and neglect Harry like that for years and get away with it!

You know what to do... review!

/-Quillian, 3/9/07/
(Last edited: 3/16/07)
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