Harry Gets Even
Harry heaved his school trunk into the boot of his uncle's car. Thankfully he was able to do this by himself with ease now as he had grown a nice pair of strong shoulders over the past year. Uncle Vernon had been in no mood to help him transfer his belongings from the trolley anyway. Harry reached for his meticulously swaddled Firebolt and carefully placed it in the boot.
His uncle's surly mood was largely due to the “friendly warning” he had just received from Harry's magical friends in the Order of the Phoenix. The young man sniggered to himself, thinking back to the terrified look on his uncle's face as Mad-Eye Moody had exposed his magical eye to him. He would treasure the priceless moment forever.
Dudley, Aunt Petunia, and Uncle Vernon all climbed into the car as Harry slammed the boot lid.
Not wanting to leave Hedwig alone with his questionable relatives, he slowly returned the trolley to the station with Hedwig's cage and then carried his owl back out to the car with him.
While he was walking, Harry thought back to the conversation he'd had before leaving all his friends…
Hermione and Ron had both said they would write and talk to him soon. He had wanted to believe them yet had his doubts, considering Dumbledore's interference the previous summer following the fateful final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. At the moment Harry still wasn't sure if he wanted constant correspondence anyway. Losing Sirius had caused Harry to question everything as he never had before. Right now, he simply wanted to cocoon up in his room on Privet Drive and not think about anything for awhile. He'd thought entirely too much about everything lately. He even thought about his thinking. It's like…traumatic over-analysis, he supposed. Granted, he'd miss everybody terribly if they failed to write, but the thought of regularly corresponding with people felt like….more trouble than it was worth. Besides, he would probably depress them with whatever he wrote anyway. No sense in worrying anybody.
All the Dursleys glared at him as he climbed in the car. He would have set the cage on the seat between him and Dudley, but as his cousin resembled the offspring of Mack lorry meets vintage Rolls, there just wasn't enough room. How is it possible that somebody who's lost weight can still take up over half a bench seat? Harry thought incredulously. Instead, he balanced the owl cage on his lap, careful to keep concealed the wand under his shirt.
Noticing nobody else had bothered with it (Harry supposed Uncle Vernon and Dudley were too fat and he knew Aunt Petunia despised wrinkled clothing), he buckled his safety belt. Maybe I'll get lucky and we'll have an accident, Harry thought vindictively.
When he shut the door, something very strange happened. A charge of green-blue energy briefly flared around the outside of the vehicle, immediately followed by an ice-water trickle down his back.
Uncle Vernon whipped around, his face turning a nasty shade of puce.
“What do you mean by doing magic, boy!?” he roared.
“I didn't do anything!” Harry protested loudly. “How could I, when I've got Hedwig's cage on my lap?”
His uncle flung himself forward, as it was obviously quite difficult for a man of his size to face Harry from a contorted position in the driver's seat. Instead, he glowered at Harry from the rearview mirror.
Not really wanting to look at Uncle Vernon's plum-shaded face anymore, Harry glanced away, and it happened to be in Dudley's direction.
His cousin was cowering and jiggling like a gigantic flesh-coloured gelatin mold. This has to be a record, Harry noticed with morbid amusement, watching Dudley shake as a bowl full of jelly. Only sixteen years old, and already elephantine Dudders could give St. Nicholas a run for his money.
“No more monkey business,” Uncle Vernon seethed through clenched teeth, “or so help me, I'll make your life so miserable, you'll wish you'd never heard of Privet Drive.”
Harry's head snapped to the front of the car with a near-audible crack.
“Believe me, you're already much too late for that,” he snarled in retaliation. “Just bugger off! I have more important things to deal with than the likes of you," he lashed out.
Uncle Vernon narrowed his eyes threateningly.
“You watch your language, you insolent, ungrateful, little leech, or I swear I'll--”
“You'll what?” Harry cut in dangerously. “Spare me your tiresome threats. You're already aware of what'll happen if my wizard friends find out about you.” His eyes flashed menacingly. "I might have something to lose by hexing you into oblivion, but they don't!" he finished savagely, knowing not a word of it was true.
Aunt Petunia gave a shocked gasp as Dudley started trembling even more, whilst attempting to cram his titanic self further against the door frame away from Harry.
Uncle Vernon made a feral growl in the back of his throat and jammed the vehicle into drive.
Folding his arms tightly against his chest, Harry stared resolutely out his window.
Fifteen minutes ago he had said goodbye to his wizard friends and fifteen minutes later his loathsome relatives were already starting in on him. One thing was clear, however. Harry would not take their rubbish this summer. He'd had more than enough. No more!
Though truth be told, the most pressing concerns on his mind weren't the Dursleys or even Sirius, for that matter.
It was the green-blue flash they'd all seen. Also the trickling sensation down his back. Nearly all the instances he had seen greenish flashes of light was when someone was playing around with Dark magic. Definitely not a good sign.
The ice-water-down-the-spine trick he'd felt only once before when Mad-Eye Moody had used the Disillusionment Charm on him during his escape from Little Whinging nearly a year ago. Most peculiar, and again—not a good sign.
He supposed he should say something to the Dursleys about this but knew it wouldn't do any good. They'd just start attacking him again.
Uncle Vernon angrily jerked the car about with his huge ham-fists.
Coming out of the car park, they had been nearly struck by no less than four drivers.
Harry's uncle roared and shook with anger at each near-miss, whilst making rude gestures toward the offending cars.
“Bloody idiots must be going blind!” he bellowed, as each driver ignored him and his road rage.
The near-collisions were happening to them on the roads, too.
Harry struggled to keep Hedwig's cage from sliding around off his lap as Uncle Vernon jerked the steering wheel hither and thither.
And then it happened.
During a particularly nasty curve on a road, the car lifted violently high into the air. Everyone but Harry was yelling in fright.
Uncle Vernon yanked the wheel too far and overcorrected. They had absolutely no time to brace themselves; the car appeared to put on an extra burst of speed as it careened almost straight downward.
What transpired next appeared to take no time and an eternity all in one.
Simultaneously, Uncle Vernon screamed, Petunia shrieked, Dudley squealed, Harry gasped. Their cries seemed to go on and on, but they were airbourne for only seconds.
As Harry's hands closed convulsively around the bars of Hedwig's cage, he could've sworn he saw hooded figures out the front windscreen.
Death Eaters! he noticed, horrified, here in the heart of London!
Then the car rotated on its axis and smashed at an odd angle straight into the ground.
Upon impact, Harry felt the seatbelt pull taught across his body and bite into him. Something inside cracked and tore near his shoulder where the seatbelt restrained him, but he had no time to think about it as the car had failed to stop rolling.
Hedwig's cage wrenched out of his grasp as his arms flew outward.
Then the window nearest Harry exploded; the car turned and his errant limbs caught the shards.
Something huge rammed up against him, knocking the wind out of his already-abused body. That must be Dudley, Harry assumed dully, gasping for air as a frightening sensation of extreme pain radiated from just under his ribcage.
Suddenly, the car gave a particularly savage jolt as it rolled and balanced precariously up on Harry's side of the vehicle.
His neck whipped back and the side of his head slammed into the car interior, causing him to cry out and tear up.
There came a great heaving groan as the car shuddered, crunched down on all four wheels, and was still. Painfully fighting all the way, Harry gave himself up to the encroaching darkness.