A Darker World Book One: Changing Identity

Chapter 9: Holiday Nightmares

Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter I would be rich. I am not rich and therefore do not own Harry Potter

Chapter Nine

Holiday Nightmares

"Do I need to put my name down, Father?" Harry asked.

Severus was in the common room asking the Slytherin students to sign a piece of parchment if they were staying in the castle over the holidays. He raised a curious eyebrow.

"You're going home," he said.

It was Harry's turn to raise an eyebrow. "I thought Hogwarts was home?" he said.

Severus smirked. "You'll see," he replied.

Passing Malfoy on his way to his room, Harry was curious to note that the blond looked disgruntled by this news.

"Something wrong, Malfoy?" the taller boy enquired.

Malfoy sneered. "Sod off, Snape," he spat.

Harry smirked. "It's a wonder you're not a Gryffindor with a vocabulary like that, Malfoy."

"Piss off," Malfoy snarled.

"Detention, Malfoy," Severus barked. "Slytherins have more eloquence than the use of swear words."

Malfoy gaped before turning and stomping angrily to his room.

"Nice one, Dad," Harry said quietly.

Severus smirked and continued shouting at his students.

"Come on, Harry," Daphne said, tugging on her fiancé's hand. "We're meeting Mandy in the library."

Harry allowed himself to be pulled along for a moment before he pulled away from Daphne to place his hand on her lower back so he could guide her through the corridor. Upon reaching the library they quickly found Mandy's table and sat down.

"Er, Mandy?" a Ravenclaw girl said nervously.

"Yeah?" asked Mandy, not looking up.

"I think Snape wants us to move," the girl said in a squeak.

Mandy looked up and grinned. "Nah, they've come to study with us," she said happily.

"But its Snape!" hissed a second girl.

"Harry's harmless," said Mandy. She eyed the boy critically for a moment. "You're not sleeping," she accused.

Daphne blinked. "You're not?" she said surprised. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Harry remained impassive.

"What's the date again?" Mandy asked.

"2nd December," Daphne said. "Why?"

"I know why he's not sleeping," Mandy explained. "Because of the way his aunt and uncle treated him when he was young, Harry suffers from nightmares. They get worse the closer it gets to Christmas and his birthday 'cos that's when they were cruellest to him."

Daphne looked up at her betrothed. "Have you told your father?" she asked.

Harry turned cold green eyes on the blonde girl. "It is none of his business," he hissed.

The girls at the table flinched, except Mandy who tutted. "You're just making things worse for yourself," she scolded. "You know what happens when you deprive yourself of sleep."

"What happens?" Daphne asked anxiously.

Harry gritted his teeth, growling lowly. Mandy looked at him warily before answering Daphne's question.

"Magically, Harry is very powerful," Mandy began. "The number of times he performed Accidental Magic when he was younger is incredible. Even now he could cause a stone wall to fall down if he lost control."

"So what does sleep deprivation do to him?" asked Daphne.

"He loses control," said Mandy seriously. "When he eventually sleeps he relaxes so much a torrent of magic is released."

Daphne looked impressed. "How do you know all this?" she asked curiously.

"I thought it a strange phenomenon when I was younger," she said. "But I researched when we got to Hogwarts and that's what I came up with."

"No wonder he defeated You-Know-Who," one girl said dreamily.

"Oh, give over, Lisa," Mandy said. "He's not that brilliant. He's actually a big git."

Lisa and the other girl gasped. "Mandy!" Lisa exclaimed.

"What?" Mandy demanded. "He's my brother. I can say whatever I want about him."

"You're not related," the other girl argued.

"In our hearts we are," Mandy retorted. "Leave off, Su Li. Mine and Harry's relationship is nobody's business but our own."

"Yeah yeah," Lisa and Su Li said with big grins on their faces.

"We're going," Daphne announced suddenly. "Harry, I want a word with you. In private."

"But you never studied," said Mandy, looking bewildered.

Daphne shrugged. "I've got something I need to do," she said. "We'll study with you tomorrow."

"Ok," Mandy agreed reluctantly.

The four Slytherins left, making their way back to their common room.

"My room," Daphne said immediately. "Crabbe, Goyle, wait outside."

The two bodyguards looked at Harry. "Boss?" Crabbe queried.

Harry inclined his head. "Do as she says," he said.

Shrugging their shoulders, the two goons moved to stand on either side of the door. Harry and Daphne went inside and Harry cast a Privacy Charm on the room.

"You need to sleep," Daphne said gently.

Now they were alone Harry felt he could be himself. He slumped and dropped onto the bed heavily.

"I know," he said wearily. "But I'm scared to."

Daphne sat down beside him and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Would it help if I sat with you?" she asked softly.

"Maybe," Harry said. "Would you though?"

"Anything for you," Daphne said. "Sleep now."

Harry lay back on the pillows and closed his eyes. He was asleep instantly. Daphne continued to play with Harry's hair while he slept until she too fell asleep, slumped over Harry's chest.

"Will you be all right on your own?" Daphne asked anxiously.

The students were leaving for the holidays, but Harry had to stay one more night because of his father. Every night, when Harry'd had trouble sleeping, he had snuck into Daphne's room. Malfoy's followers had teased him about this to start with but they quickly grew scared when Harry didn't respond to the insults.

"I'll be fine, Daphne," Harry assured her. "I'll have my father with me anyway."

Daphne smiled. "True," she agreed. "Take care of yourself, darling," she added possessively, seeing some older girl eyeing Harry appreciatively.

Harry looked amused by Daphne's possessiveness as the girl huffed and flounced away.

"I will," he replied. "I'll Owl you in the morning."

"You'd better, Mister," Daphne said fiercely.

The carriages were starting to leave so Harry urged Daphne to join Crabbe and Goyle.

"Bye!" he waved.

"Up, Freak! Get up!"

Harry rubbed his eyes sleepily as he was hauled out of his cupboard.

"Make breakfast, Freak!" Aunt Petunia said shrilly.

Four-year-old Harry clambered onto a stool to start frying bacon, eggs and sausage or his uncle and cousin. He could hear them crashing around upstairs while they were getting ready.

"Is it ready, Freak?" Aunt Petunia demanded.

Harry nodded in the affirmative and then had to sit at the table with nothing but a glass of water while his relatives devoured the food he'd painstakingly prepared.

"Next door everyone!" Aunt Petunia finally said. "Bring a bag, Freak."

Harry grabbed a black bin bag and followed his aunt into the living room where he sat quietly in a corner.

"This one's for Dudley from Mummy and Daddy," Aunt Petunia cooed.

Dudley ripped open the parcel and tossed the paper at his cousin, laughing when it hit the dark-haired boy on the head.

"Wow, Mummy!" the overweight boy exclaimed. "It's lovely!"

Harry watched Dudley open a few more presents before daring to ask, "Where's my presents, Auntie?"

The room went silent. "Have a look," Aunt Petunia said carelessly.

Harry crawled to the bottom of the Christmas tree and started pulling out parcels. Being a clever boy, Harry was able to distinguish some letter and from there make out the names.

"Dudley," Harry murmured to himself. "Dudley. Dudley. Auntie. Uncle. Dudley. Dudley."

Having sifted through all the gaudily wrapped parcels and not finding any with his name on, Harry looked up at his aunt and uncle who were smirking cruelly.

"There's none here," Harry said in a small voice.

"That's because Freaks don't get Christmas presents," Aunt Petunia spat. "Now sit and watch my Dudders open his parcels."

Harry went and sat back down in his corner. As Dudley ripped into more of his large parcels a lone tear snaked its way down Harry's pale cheek.

Harry woke up with a gasp. He was sweating badly and trembling. That was one of his worse memories. He had never felt so unloved as he had at that particular moment.

Glancing at his clock, Harry noticed it was only 3 in the morning. With a sigh, the Slytherin realised he was not going to get any more sleep that night and lit his room with his wand. Grabbing a book, Harry opened it and started reading. Anything to keep the nightmares at bay.

"Welcome to Spinner's End!" Severus declared, indicating a reasonably sized manor house.

Harry blinked. That morning, Severus had shrunk their trunks and other equipment, walked them to Hogsmeade and then Apparated them here. He had to admit the manor looked beautiful, though. A rural manor that slept twenty-two people, Harry decided it was more than enough for his comforts.

"It's lovely, Dad," said Harry sincerely.

Severus smiled at his son. "I'll have Dippy show you to your room," he said. "Dippy!"

A crack signalled the arrival of a house elf. "Yes, Master Snape, sir?"

"Show Master Harry to his room," Severus commanded. "I'll be in the lab if you need me."

"Yes, Master Snape, sir," Dippy squeaked.

A snap of the elf's fingers had Harry's trunk and pet cages hovering in front of him.

"Follow me, Master Harry, sir," the elf squeaked.

Harry followed the elf up to a large room with an en-suite bathroom. The house elf lowered Harry's trunk at the foot of the bed and the cages to one side.

"Is there anything I can get for you, Master Harry, sir?" Dippy asked.

"No," said Harry shortly. "I'm fine."

Dippy bowed and Disapparated with a crack. Opening his trunk, Harry looked around the room curiously. He had a feeling he would enjoy living here.

A/N: Ok, so this is a little longer than my last chapter and it was easier to write. So far my next chapter is looking way longer than either of the last two, which is a good thing.

So, I have a yahoo group now, which you are welcome to join. The link is in my profile.

Thanks go to my wonderful beta iGymnast. Thank you for everything, sweetie!

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