Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Aunt Marge's Big Mistake

Something else I feel like I should note, again just because one person asked and I feel like telling you all at once, Harry only has the mind-set of his current age in the books. I made him approximately twenty something because I wanted him physically old enough that it was obvious this story takes place after all of the Harry Potter books. So if you guys are thinking that he’s acting a little odd, or childlike, that’s why.

Remus began his chapter with high notes of unease, hoping against hope this book would just gloss over Harry’s time at this horrid house and go straight to the train ride.

Harry headed down to breakfast the next day to find all of the Dursleys already eating.

He grunted in annoyance as those hopes were immediately dashed, and prepared himself for the worst.

All eyes were on the new TV on the counter, which had been a coming home present for Dudley.

Lily released several scathing retorts under her breath all over again, and now that Harry wasn’t the one reading Remus sat there and let her vent about how Dudley had been given a present just for being there, while her son got yelled at for the stupidest things.

Harry just sighed and looked to the ceiling, knowing if they were already so ticked off about something like that, this was going to be a long chapter.

He had requested such a thing because of the walk involved from the living room television, and the fridge.

“You poor dear,” Sirius snarled “how about we just shove a toilet under your fat arse, and you’ll never have to move again!”

“That was disgusting,” James noted pleasantly “mostly because I don’t think he’d disagree with the idea.”

Dudley had already spent the whole of the holiday nonstop eating, making his numerous chins grow in number.

“Ew” Lily muttered, her nose wrinkling in disgust. There was obesity for health reasons, and then there was this tub of lard.

Harry eased himself into a seat between his cousin and Uncle, who both resembled each other in build, though Vernon’s hair was darker while his son had inherited his mother’s blond looks. None of them reacted to Harry, not with a birthday well wish, or even an acknowledgement of his presence, but Harry had lived with this long enough he didn’t care.

Remus couldn’t help but clench his teeth in frustration, unlike Harry he wasn’t ever going to just brush something like that off.

While grabbing himself some food, his ears tuned into the television as well, which was a news report saying that the public should be aware of an escaped convict named,

Remus froze, that same look still on his face as he just stared down at the next word.

“What?” Sirius chuckled, trying to lean over and peak, and slightly disturbed Remus wasn’t trying to stop him. “Someone we know?” Then his face too froze in the exact same expression.

“What?” James asked impatiently, annoyed his friends were obviously in on something he wasn’t.

Harry sighed in frustration, and got up to go and grab the book away and check for himself, knowing he was least likely to react too badly to whatever it was. Then he too went rigid, and gave the room a very confused look. Before his parents could ask, again, Harry finally read the name of this convict.

James and Lily blinked several times while giving Sirius rather upset looks, James asking hesitantly “ah, so, what’s your brother been up to then?“*

That shook them out of their shock, at least Sirius who was now shaking his head like a wet dog and looking at the book pitifully as he said “clearly something awful if he’s wound on up the Muggle news.”

Lily swallowed hard, rather unfond of the idea any of Sirius’ relatives still wandering around, none of them were very good people. Also the injustice that anyone as awful as them had survived, and Sirius hadn’t, wasn’t something she missed either.

Remus got up and took the book back from Harry, still giving Sirius concerned looks. Admittedly, unlike James, his first instinct had been to think it was Sirius, but that was just because of his personal relation to the name. He had clearly just jumped to a stupid conclusion.

Black, where a number had been set up if he was spotted. Vernon skaved that he didn’t need anyone to tell him that was a man who should be locked up, the man looked like it, his hair in particular.

Sirius opened, then closed his mouth, torn between wanting to snap at this pompous jerk, or defend a family he outright hated. He settled for just grumbling inarticulately.

Then he gave a pointed look at Harry, whose own messy black hair had always irked Vernon.

“My hearts broken for you” James snapped, feeling testy at once as he purposely ruffled up his own hair.

When looking at the image again though, the man had a twisted face of hate that was surrounded by filthy black locks going well past his arms,

“Eesh,” Sirius muttered, wrinkling up his face in disgust “sounds like they’ve been having fun. Wish you had described them a bit better.”

“Do you really want to know who this is?” Remus asked curiously.

“Sure,” he shrugged, a devilish grin playing across his face “I’d love it if it was my dad or something, would make my day to find out he wound up in prison.”

The others rolled their eyes at Sirius’ dark humour, while Harry was frowning in remembrance. The picture on the screen had stirred up something inside of him, and staring at Sirius just made some of those features stand out... but then Remus was reading again, and Harry put the odd, sunken similarities from that picture and the man sitting in front of him down to a genetic resemblance.

Harry seemed to feel he had the better. The news switched stories then, and Vernon snapped in outrage that they hadn’t said the name of the prison.

“Probably Azkaban, if it’s one of my lot” Sirius smirked.

“Or it might even be a Muggle you’ve no relation to, and they did just escaped from a normal prison,” Lily shrugged “it’s not unheard of.”

“Even better,” Sirius outright cheered now “Mum would die on the spot if she found out a Muggle shared our last name.”

What if he was coming up the street as they spoke?

That dried up the humour, just a bit. That’s all they needed, was for an escaped convict to come running up the very street Harry was in. Knowing his luck, he’d smack right into them. Wizard or not, they wanted this escapee as far away from Harry as possible.

Petunia seemed almost eager for this, as she poked her nose out her drapes.

Lily grunted and thought of a few more insults to throw her way.

Harry was well aware that she would relish in calling that number and telling on this criminal, as she was well known for spying on her own neighbours, despite the fact they never did anything remotely illegal.

“So, she doesn’t have a job?” James asked randomly, never having thought to question before what these putrid people did in their spare time.

“No,” Harry shook his head “she’s a housewife.”

James just shrugged, as uncaring about the answer if Harry had said she was a brain surgeon, it still didn’t excuse how she treated his son.

Vernon was still grumbling that this man and his whole kind should have just been killed when he first walked in, it was the only right way to deal with those kinds of people.

Lily frowned as she snapped “oh? And what if you’d convicted the wrong person? What if you’d just thrown an innocent man to the gallows?”

Harry blinked spasmodically for a moment, now why did he feel so strongly about that? The others were mostly nodding in agreement though, and didn’t seem to notice Harry trying to force down such a feeling.

Then he finished up his breakfast and announced he’d have to go to the train station to pick up Marge.

Harry instantly went from curious and self-introspecting, to outright horror.

This they did notice, James demanding at once “what, what’s that look?”

Harry shuddered in disgust as he said “he was joking right? Please tell me he didn’t just say who I think he did?!”

“Why?” Remus demanded, sadly confirming to Harry the name he did hear.

“Great” Harry ground out, frowning and looking far angrier then any of them had seen him so far when around this place, and mostly he just kept his mouth pretty tight shut about these Dursleys. Hoping for something Sirius prodded “so, you going to answer? What’s the big deal with her?”

Harry huffed in disgust as he finally said “you’re not going to like the answer.”

Well that wasn’t encouraging, at all. Remus now went back to the book with dread.

Harry felt a horrible jolt inside of him as he spluttered that Marge wasn’t coming to this house?

Lily sighed wearily as she now remembered, back during the first book, and a Marge having been mentioned. When asked though, Harry had simply said he didn’t like her, and that was back when he was still reestablishing all of his child hood memories, more a feeling then outright knowledge of her, and he’d still hated her. Now he clearly and very vividly remembered what had prompted that, and his reaction in the book wasn’t any more promising than the one in the room.

Marge may have been Vernon’s sister, with no blood relation to Harry as he was Petunia’s nephew, but he’d been forced to refer to the woman as Aunt his whole life.

Sirius ground his teeth together in deepest disgust. He, like the others, hated Harry having to call these excuse for humans any kind of relation, let alone the stupid Dursleys forcing Harry to extend it further!

She lived out in the country, breeding bulldogs for a living, but came around randomly, each time she had leaving a vivid image in place. Starting at Dudley’s fifth birthday party,

Harry groaned and let his head fall back against the couch with a whump. Great, the book was clearly going to go into details, which meant he was going to have to play another round of ‘please don’t leave the house and kill!’

Remus gave Harry a very concerned look, but he recognized Harry was reacting because of what he was about to hear, not in true pain. Both curious and already enraged at the way his little Cub was reacting, he read fearfully.

where she’d wacked Harry with her walking stick to prevent him from winning against Dudley in a game of musical chairs.

That was all it took, this small petty injustice to set up a howl the neighbours probably heard. Harry just groaned again and tried to repeat what was quickly losing steam ‘it’s already happened, just wait it out.’

Harry desperately wished he could remember more vividly why it was so important they didn’t leave this house, but his mind was blank and unhelpful as ever.

Harry’s family were more infuriated then they would have anticipated, it was just so horrifying to realize yet another person from Harry’s younger years seemed to go out of their way to mistreat him, just for living?! When the silence finally dimmed down to almost normal levels Harry cautioned that it was only going to get worse, then reminded them of their promise they wouldn’t go killing her no matter what she did. He was just really hoping this book would leave out one memory in particular...

Years later, she’d come over for a Christmas and given Harry some dog biscuits while presenting Dudley with a toy robot.

‘Did Harry ever get a decent life?’ They mentally outraged all over again, but this time kept it a little better in check.

The summer he was ten, he’d accidentally stepped on her dog’s tail.

Harry groaned again, yep this was the one. He was beginning to wonder if this book hated him.

His name was Ripper, a title well deserved as he reacted by chasing Harry up a tree, where Marge hadn’t called him off until well after midnight.

“Midnight” Sirius growled, sounding rather close to how Ripper had sounded then. Harry just gave him a sheepish grin, saying “that was pretty good Sirius.”

Sirius gave Harry a haughty look, none of them appreciated him blowing that off as a joke. They would never in this life understand how Harry was just so blasé about the abuse these people constantly did to him, while turning around and spoiling Dudley so much he was sick. Harry though, looked beyond wanting to move this along, and forcing him to talk about it now wouldn’t mean anything good. He had to want to talk about it.

Mentioning this would still reduce Dudley to tears with laughter.

“How about I just punch you in your stupid face, I’m sure that’ll make you cry to” James hissed under his breath.

Back to the conversation, Vernon responded to Harry’s question by stating that he wanted to get some things straight, while pointing a finger in Harry’s face.

“Back off” Remus snapped, hating the idea of anyone threatening his Cub, let alone someone he had no doubts would carry through on said threats.

Dudley turned to watch this at once, finding it the most entertaining thing there was to watch his father tell off Harry.

“Now why does that sound familiar,” Sirius said under his breath “oh, I know, old Snape went out of his way to stop and watch us get told off!”

“Usually, he had something to do with us getting caught too” James agreed, making Sirius realize he hadn’t spoken as quietly as he meant to.

Vernon began by telling Harry to watch his mouth when speaking to her, and Harry said he would so long as she did.

“Ha!” Remus barked. They all grinned now, despite how much they wanted to break Vernon’s finger and get it out of Harry’s face, at least Harry was giving them attitude right back.

Despite Lily’s glee though, she seemed to be the only one truly worried about the fact that Harry could get punished all the more for talking back...

Vernon ignored this and kept talking, telling Harry that they’d never mentioned any of his oddities to her, and he didn’t want anything even vaguely weird to be happening around the house this week.

“It’s not like he does it on purpose,” James frowned in defence of his son “I’m sure he’d be just as happy as you if stuff would quite happening to him.”

“You’re right,” Harry nodded “I do agree.”

Then he finished by telling Harry that for the past two years, she’d been told Harry was going to St. Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.

Sirius opened, then closed his mouth in disgust when he heard that. James went bright red in the face as he growled “they’re saying you’re a criminal!”

Harry couldn’t help but be just as furious as them this time, and actually didn’t make an attempt to correct them. He put up with a lot from the Dursleys for the sake of peace, but what on earth had he done to them to deserve being called a criminal?

“I’d like to see Dudley sent there” Remus snapped.

Harry spluttered his protest, but Vernon cut him off by saying Harry would back him up or he’d be in for a world of problems.

“Like he’s not already in trouble there anyways” Lily snarled.

Harry remained frozen in shock for a moment as he reflected this was going to be the worst birthday ever, even worse than the time he’d just gotten an old pair of Vernon’s socks.

“How,” James moaned into his hands “how on earth does this actually seem to get worse as you get older!”

Harry really couldn’t think of anything to say for comfort to that, and decided declining that he had a bad feeling this was only going to get a lot more disagreeable to them the longer this wore on.

Seemingly done, he bid goodbye to his family and offered Dudley to come. He declined, turning back to the TV now that Vernon was done.

“Think I like him better that way anyway,” Remus grumbled “the less he moves, the less he can annoy me.”

Petunia approved this, saying that he had to be nice and smart for when she got there, and also needed time to put on a new bow tie.

“I will be impressed if you can even see it under all the fat” Sirius snapped.

Harry snapped out of his daze,

“Can’t blame you for that” Remus agreed.

and began going after his Uncle with an idea.

“Yeah?” James asked, perking up at once. “That would be?”

“I think you’re going to like this” Harry grinned as answer. Very intrigued, Remus decided to read his answer instead of asking this time.

Vernon snapped that he wasn’t taking Harry with him,

“As if I wanted to come,” Harry muttered “like I want to spend any more time with them then I have to.”

but Harry instead began to explain that as a third year, he could go into the local village, and he needed a form signed. Vernon snapped why would he bother?

“Because it would show you’re a decent human being for one stupid second!” James howled.

“Five seconds, that’s all it would take him to scrawl his name across a piece of paper” Lily snarled.

“Yes, but since most of his life has been trying to do the opposite of whatever I want...” Harry reminded, trailing off with a wince at the venomous looks that weren’t actually directed at him, but they kind of scared him all the same. This is why he tried staying so closed up during these Dursley talks, watching the hatred on his family’s faces scared him far more than his memories of that household.

Harry began by saying that it was going to be difficult remembering that St. whatever,

“I get it,” James suddenly went from contemplating murder to giddy pleasure when he realized what his son was up to “very clever, working them in your favour like that.”

Harry glanced around and noted that the others had all caught on as well, even his Mom who didn’t look any kind of concerned. In fact, if Harry didn’t know any better, she looked almost as pleased as the trouble making boys.

and Vernon screeched in his face the correct name for the school, while doing a terrible job of masking his fright.

“Something I would pay good money to see” Sirius grinned.

Harry nodded along, again saying it was going to be tough keeping up with all of that, he could say something else. Vernon took a threatening step towards him, promising he’d knock Harry sideways if he did, with a hand raised.

Which drained away any humour at Harry for this violent man’s actions. Harry was frowning, but didn’t look remotely bothered by this threat, which bothered the others nearly as much as the threat itself.

Either Vernon really never had gone through with the threat and physically hurt Harry, so Harry didn’t believe he would this time. That didn’t track with the other times that Harry had previously been threatened. He had seemed genuinely afraid and very sure said man would carry through, plus the fact that Harry refused to openly speak about it.

It could be that they were simply reading too much into it, and Harry simply didn’t want to talk about it because there really wasn’t anything to talk about, but this still didn’t sit right with any of them.

Harry very clearly wasn’t going to comment either way, so taking solace in that he knew the man wasn’t going to carry through with the threat this particular time, since Harry genuinely wanted something from this deal, he read with trepidation.

Harry hardly reacted, pointing out that knocking him around wouldn’t erase whatever he told Marge.

“Because, you know, that’s a normal reaction when an adult threatens to hit you” Sirius snarled.

Harry eyed him warily, but neither confirmed nor denied what he was really thinking. To him, this was a perfectly normal conversation, so he didn’t understand why they were still so upset about this.

Vernon froze up, and Harry properly explained that he’d behave however Vernon wanted if he’d sign his form.

“That’s a good start,” Remus nodded seriously “now how about we extend that blackmail to, stop threatening to kill me and I won’t go to the police for child abuse.”

Harry gave him an odd look, like this had never occurred to him, or he found the idea ludicrous. Still he remained silent, making them all jumpy and probably far more on edge then if Harry would even tell them what was really on his mind.

After considering it, Vernon made the deal, saying if Harry behaved proper he’d sign that form when Marge left.

“I hate to be the one to point this out,” Lily sighed “but how do you know he wasn’t lying?”

“I don’t, I guess,” Harry shrugged “but I also know that he’s afraid enough of me that he wouldn’t really want to break a promise to a wizard.” Even as he answered her though, he felt something was off about his mother’s question. Was he wrong, and Vernon really did go back on his word? Why did he have a very bad feeling about his form not getting signed?

Then he stormed out the door, slamming it so hard behind him a square of glass fell out.

Sirius gave a weak smile, that had almost been funny, except that the act only emphasized how much of a temper this foul man had.

Harry wasn’t hungry anymore, so he decided to go upstairs and start acting how he should now. He stowed away all of his magical things, including his birthday cards.

“Harry,” James began, trying for a laughing tone of voice, though he mostly sounded depressed as he continued “even Muggles get birthday cards, and normally show them off for that day at least.”

Harry reminded him “I wasn’t supposed to be getting mail from my friends. Besides that, if I was going to this place for criminals, I don’t think I’d make the kind of friends that get sent birthday cards.”

Remus gave an unamused chuckle as he said “well, at least you’re getting into the part.”

Then he went and told his owl she’d have to clear off for the week.

“Ouch,” Lily winced “she won’t like that.”

Harry nodded, unable to help but feel just as miserable now as he was then. He didn’t need his memories to know this next week was going to be awful.

He wrote a note to Ron explaining why his owl would be in Egypt with him for the time being, then hid away her cage as well. Not too much later, and Petunia was summoning him back down the stairs to greet Marge.

“Wish you could just slam the door in her face and be done with it” James grumbled under his breath.

When Petunia saw Harry, she snapped at him to comb his hair, but Harry didn’t bother. Marge took great pleasure in pointing out every little flaw of Harry’s so the more rumpled he looked, the more she’d enjoy it.

“I can’t believe how much I already hate her, and she’s not even hear yet” Sirius growled.

Harry considered forewarning him of his feeling of dread, but they were already so upset he didn’t think a warning would make things easier at this point.

Then there were car doors slamming out front,

Remus’ voice went from underwhelmed, to desolate as he continued, knowing before he even got started this actually was going to be a whole new level of awful for everyone.

and Harry was answering the door to a woman who looked very like Vernon, all the way to the moustache.

Lily had to bite her lip to stop herself from laughing, the boys had no such restrictions. She wanted to tell them off for laughing at another person for the way they looked, but really they already hated her so much and she hadn’t said anything yet, she may as well let them get their kicks in now.

She was holding her luggage in one arm, and one of her prized dogs in the other.

That at least put a damper on Sirius’ mood, who now feared that his little Pup might actually be afraid of dogs because of this stupid little thing. He would personally set out and murder her this instant if that were true.

She barged in and exclaimed where Dudders, her neffy was?

“I want to go back to that mental disorder they all seem to have,” James sighed “Sirius may be on to something.”

“Thank you!” Sirius said with real conviction, actually distracting him from his murderous thoughts before.

Dudley came shuffling into sight, and Marge knocked Harry backwards as she threw her suitcase into him,

While the people around him scowled, Harry smiled and told them “I’m happier she did that then what she always does to Dudley.”

while converging on Dudley and wrapping him in a tight hug while giving him a kiss on the forehead.

“Okay,” Lily nodded “I agree with you on that front.”

Dudley only put up with this for one reason, and indeed he came away with a new twenty pound note.

“Really?” James balked. “He gets paid just to hug her?”

“You couldn’t give me enough money in the world to do that” Sirius added.

Then she greeted Petunia, waltzing past Harry as if he were a piece of furniture.

Remus made to say something to that, but Harry insisted “I’m telling you, be glad for this attitude now. You’re going to wish for it when she does get to me.”

For some reason that didn’t make any of them feel better.

The two women bumped cheeks in the high fashioned female greeting, and then Vernon invited her into the kitchen offering tea, asking what Ripper would drink? Marge waved him off, saying he could drink from her cup.

“Ew” they all muttered. Even Lily and Remus, who considered themselves animal lovers, were rather disgusted at the thought of sharing a drink with any dog.

Sirius thought about it for a moment, but then bypassed on a joke that no one wanted to share a drink with him. He considered it to much as sticking up for Marge.

Harry dragged his feet as he lugged the suitcase up the stairs, then spent as much time as possible coming back downstairs where the other four were seated around the table, Ripper in the corner getting spit everywhere as he drank some tea, causing Petunia to glare hatefully at the dog. Petunia hated animals.

Lily just sighed, unable to help but chalk this up to yet another thing that her and her sister didn’t have in common. She had grown up begging her parents for any and every animal she saw on the street. How had they been, just so different?

Vernon was asking Marge who was looking after her other dogs, and Marge explained it was an old retired war man, but she hadn’t left Ripper behind as she couldn’t bare it. As Harry passed by, Ripper growled at Harry.

Harry frowned in remembrance of this, finally forcing Sirius to blurt out “you’re not actually afraid of all dogs are you? Just this rotten thing?”

Harry didn’t really understand why this question seemed so important to him, so he sugar coated his answer a bit by saying “well, since the only dogs I’ve ever really been around are this one, and ah Fluffy-” causing them all to wince at that reminder “I’m not exactly fond of them. I don’t run at the sight of them though if that’s what you mean.” Really he would rather not be around them if he could help it, but he didn’t feel like adding that on. Then he did reconsider “of course, there is Fang, and he’s okay.”

Sirius looked appeased enough, still personally offended these were the only dog’s he’d ever been around, but wanting desperately to fix it wasn’t going to change anything right now.

Marge’s attention fell on Harry then, demanding to know that he was still there.

“No, he’s off in Germany somewhere, actually enjoying himself” Remus snapped.

Harry couldn’t help but wince, knowing they weren’t exactly getting off to a good start if they were already going to get grumpy about these little comments.

Harry answered with a simple yes, and Marge snapped that he sounded far too ungrateful while saying it.

Lily scoffed, and took a lot of willpower not to mimic Remus and give a witty reply back. She hadn’t even been there and she knew damn well Harry hadn’t said anything in an ungrateful tone. Even if he had though, no one could blame him.

Marge went on by telling he was very lucky indeed Vernon had even kept Harry, since if he’d been dumped on her door, she’d have shipped him off to an orphanage.

“Damn near wish he had,” James grumbled to himself “he probably would have been treated better there.”

Harry had to bite his tongue to say he’d rather be there then here,

Then James began snickering, admitting out loud to Harry that the two of them really had been saying the same thing, which made Harry smile again. Even if it was about the worst topic in the world, it still amused the pair that they really did seem at least something alike.

but then he thought of his form and kept himself silent, instead twisting his mouth around in an attempt at a smile.

“Poor kid” Sirius said in real sympathy.

Marge snapped back that Harry was now smirking at her.

“It probably really did look like a smirk,” Harry chuckled “I wasn’t exactly trying.”

She turned back to Vernon and asked for the name of where Harry had been attending, and Vernon told her while saying it was the best of the best for the hopeless ones.

“So why hasn’t he sent Dudley there yet?” Sirius demanded.

She turned back to Harry and asked if he’d ever been caned there, and Harry hesitated with a glance at Vernon, who nodded, so Harry agreed they did, adding on they did it to him all the time.

“Well, you’ve gotten better at lying anyways,” Remus sighed “the details make it.”

“I’m going to smack you” Lily told him pleasantly.

Marge approved, saying she couldn’t stand when people who deserved it weren’t hit.

“Great,” James gave a ferocious grin that would have made any student in Hogwarts back up and duck for cover “I think we can work something out.”

Harry and Lily understood at once what had gone through his mind, if not the act itself then the meaning behind it. Which is why it didn’t bother them in the slightest when Remus and Sirius had identical looks cross their faces.

Explaining to all of them that a beating could cure almost every case there was. Then asking Harry how frequently he was beaten.

“And what about that last one case then?” Lily demanded. “Since I doubt that’s even a real figure, why am I even asking?” She finished with a hapless look at the ceiling.

“Polls show that fifty percent of all statistics are worthless” Sirius told her in a chipper voice, which actually made her laugh.

Harry agreed this happened often as well, but Marge still wasn’t pleased, telling Vernon that he seemed far too careless in talking about this,

Remus was getting very sick of constantly wanting to shout insults at her every other sentence, and didn’t begrudge James one bit when he did by saying “see how you like it!”

and warning Vernon to write to the school and instruct them to do it more properly, Harry shouldn’t speak of it so easily.

Sirius looked to say something, but Harry quickly reminded “It’s not like it’s really happening.”

“It’s the principle of the matter” he hissed, but kept it to himself all the same.

Vernon chose to change the subject then, bringing up that escaped man again.

“Almost do wish he’d show up now,” Remus sniffed “give these jerks some payback.”

“Aw Moony,” Sirius pouted “that would spoil my fun though.”

“Not to kill,” James backed up Remus, knowing he personally still didn’t want a prisoner around his boy if he could help it, but playing along for the joke “just spook them a bit.”

Sirius mulled this over for a moment before nodding and saying “I’m okay with this.”

“Oh, well since you’re okay with it” Lily snorted.

Harry kept on smiling at their joking around, and persisted in ignoring that odd little niggle that kept cropping up every time this prisoner was mentioned...

Harry never would have believed he was wishing for life here without Marge around.

“Which is saying something to the extreme degrees of awful” James huffed.

She spent most of her free time telling them all about how Harry should improve himself,

“Why?” Remus groaned, looking close to being physically ill if he had to keep on going about what an awful child Harry ‘was.’

“Because she’s clearly one of those nutters who delights in torturing others” Sirius grumbled. Harry then gave him another odd look, though for a completely different reason then the last few times where a memory had tried to snap him up.

Sirius had said that with a little too much experience in his voice. Had he really gone through something much like this? Harry had heard a few cryptic comments now and then, but he wasn’t sure if he was really understanding them right. Then again, who was he to ask, when he knew he wasn’t exactly being one hundred percent honest about how the Dursleys really were with him.

She loved nothing more than comparing Harry and Dudley,

“There is no comparison,” Lily shot back “because they’re nothing alike!”

and found it the best thing in the world to buy Dudley whatever he asked for, while shooting Harry looks as if wanting him to ask why he never got the same.

“Actually, I was pretty used to that” Harry shrugged.

The four of them felt vile all over again at just how common Harry seemed to find these types of acts.

Another joy of hers was to give the reasons why Harry was such a terrible person.

“Couldn’t have anything to do with the piss poor people he’s had to deal with,” Sirius growled “which still turned him into a better human then you!”

Going on about how it wasn’t actually the Dursleys fault, he was just born this kind of terrible. It took all Harry had to remind himself to keep silent, remember the Hogsmeade trips he could go to if he just didn’t say anything.

“How was that working out for you?” Lily asked pitifully.

“Well, she didn’t grow a pig’s tail, so not as well as I’d like” Harry said, unable to stop himself from growing angry with the rest of them now. Harry liked to think of himself as an easy going person, but there were some thing’s that would spike even his temper, and Marge constantly digging at him for three days straight by then was beginning to push a nerve.

Marge’s voice just kept going though, as she spoke of it in terms of breeding animals. If there was something wrong with the mother, there would be something wrong with the litter.

“She did not,” James howled, his eyes flashing dangerously “just insult my wife like that!”

“Sorry Prongs,” Remus growled, looking shamefaced he’d had to utter those words about both Lily and Harry, “but I can’t say no.”

Harry made absolutely no move to stop his father continuing like this for a moment, he was getting a really bad feeling that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Whatever he had been feeling before, he was now positive was an inkling of a memory. Something awful happened while Marge was there...though either to himself or the woman he had no clue.

Conversation was cut off by Marge’s wine glass shattering in her hand.

“Thank you,” James said, just a tiny bit breathless after having only cooled down from his yelling spree “now do me a favour and blow her up as well.”

Harry couldn’t help but give his dad a wane smile, and began rubbing at his temple again. He’d been able to avoid this for a while now, but something his dad had just said was causing his mind to stir up again. Had he really blown something up? That probably didn’t mean anything good.

The Dursleys reacted pretty badly, all shooting fearful looks at Harry, but Marge brushed the whole thing off, saying she must have just grasped the glass to tightly. Harry knew better, and excused himself from the table.

“Thank Merlin for that” Sirius huffed, knowing he at least couldn’t have sat there and taken another insult like that without blowing up something himself.

In the hall, he slumped against the wall in shock, as that wasn’t the first time he’d made something blow up.

“When’s the last time you made something explode?” Remus asked, trying vainly to get back to a lighter topic.

“Err, when I was seven.” Harry recalled, wondering whether he should continue, but at the now expectant looks he decided it couldn’t hurt “I was on the playground and I was playing with one of the school balls, and Dudley and some of his friends came and took it away from me. I made the ball explode out of anger I guess.”

This time they made sure to actually thank Harry for sharing that story, making him blush and shrug and mutter about how it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was to them though, since they then realized that every other time they’d gotten Harry to talk about this, they had only ever criticized the Dursleys for their actions, and now realized Harry might have been taking that the wrong way.

Problem was, if Harry kept doing magic, he’d be in a lot more trouble from his own people then the Dursleys, with the Ministry of Magic.

“That’s a good point,” Lily winced “they already think you were up to something last summer.”

“Would accidental magic register then?” Harry asked glumly.

“Yes” Lily huffed, looking personally offended by this.

James was intrigued at once as he demanded “know about this personally?”

Lily gave both him and Sirius the stank eye for a moment before admitting “alright, yes, I got a few letters myself for some magic I did at home. I don’t regret them now.” She finished with a fair bit of venom. She looked so scary in that moment, none of them really had the gall to ask what had happened, so Remus read quickly.

Not being of age yet, Harry was forbidden to do magic outside of school by his government, and if he was caught doing it, he could be expelled from school.

“You get like, three warnings before they actually do that,” Lily told him bracingly “even the Ministry recognizes that you’re an emotional kid who can’t always control yourself.”

Harry nodded, looking rather relieved, though personally wondering why he was having another moment where this sentence felt all too forbidding to him. Had he really done so much accidental magic at some point he really did get in trouble? He didn’t get too much time to think on it, for which he was grateful when the headache began its return.

The pattern continued though, as Marge spent the next several days in the same fashion. Harry usually spent these moments thinking back on his Handbook he’d gotten from Hermione, he’d memorized the whole thing and spent his time thinking hard on the instructions while Marge talked.

“While I still would have preferred you curse her,” Sirius rolled his eyes “given the consequences, I guess that’s that best we can ask for.”

James and Remus nodded in agreement, while Lily gave Sirius a surprised look. That had been almost, mature. She really hadn’t thought he could say anything so complacent, and immediately felt bad for realizing what she was thinking. Despite his childish nature, Sirius had already shown through taking care of baby Harry that he was more than willing to step up and act like an adult, if he had to and there was no other option. She decided to take this as a victory for now.

It usually worked in keeping his mind away, but seemed to give him a faraway looked that led Marge to believe he wasn’t quite all there.

“You’re mentally abnormal” James grumbled.

Finally the last night of Marge’s stay came.

“Thank you” Remus sighed, he’d had a nasty feeling if he’d had to keep going he would have tried to chuck the book in the fire.

Petunia went all out on a fancy meal, and Vernon broke out a very nice bottle of alcohol.

“That’s just what she needs,” Lily rolled her eyes “because she’s not loose enough with her tongue already.”

Harry was tensing up, that feeling welling up inside of him like a balloon now. Something really awful was going to happen, his gut was absolutely positive of this.

He offered some to Marge, who’d already had several glasses of wine with dinner,

“So, she’s already drunk then,” Remus surmised “this ought to be loads of fun” he finished with dread all over him.

but she accepted it by starting with just a bit, but encouraging a full glass.

“Yes, that sounds like a perfectly miniscule amount” James snorted.

Harry very much wanted to leave now, but one glance around and he saw Vernon glaring at him, which meant it wouldn’t be allowed.

“Why?” Sirius begged the ceiling. “She’s so wasted she wouldn’t even know the difference, and it would make you all happier. Not that I really want that lot any kind of happy, but still!”

Harry shrugged, he really couldn’t guess at Vernon’s mind set by that point, Marge hadn’t been the only one drinking that night.

Marge downed her glass, saying that she was indulging herself as she usually only cooked with it.

“The way you gulped that down,” Lily scoffed “I wouldn’t be too surprised if this was a weekend tradition.”

Then she switched to praising Dudley, who was eating nearly a whole pie to himself, calling him a proper sized man

“Proper sized now equals grotesque pigs” James snarked, making Sirius laugh.

like his father.

Remus muttered something to Sirius again, making Sirius laugh all the harder.

She requested another one, then turned her glazed sights on Harry.

That dried up the humour in the room faster than anything ever could. That’s all they needed, was more commentary from this awful being. Remus reconsidered torching the book out of annoyance, then remembered he had promised not to, he’d have to come up with some alternative if it got too bad.

Harry tried to switch his mind back to his book, but Marge had already started by calling Harry runty.

“I am personally insulted by that,” James groaned “and I wasn’t even in the room.”

Again comparing him to her animals and telling how she’d had one drowned a while ago for being born like that.

“Did she just-” Lily began, her face beginning to flush red as she stuttered “in-insinuate you were supp-supposed to be drowned?”

“Err, no,” Harry began, not looking any more pleased then his mother at this crude little comment “you know just the runty puppy.”

“Great,” Sirius rolled his eyes, then tried for a joke just to make Lily’s look like she was going to break something disappear “now I’m personally offended.” He frowned when he realized no one even seemed to have noticed.

Harry really was trying, his mind swimming to remember the Handbooks suggestions on fixing charms, but Marge had already caught her hooks in him, blasting on about how it was all bad blood.

“I don’t think I can do this,” Remus growled, and Harry was rather bothered to see he looked like he really meant it. His knuckles were nearly white as they clutched the book and his eyes were flashing as he continued “just sit here and read about her insulting the two of you.”

“I had to read about Harry being bit by a basilisk,” James shot back, frowning in sympathy at his friend. “I know it’s awful, but I really do want to hear what she says, it’s going to make me killing her later all the more fun knowing exactly what she said.”

Harry leaned slightly away from his Dad, now even more disturbed that his dad very clearly wasn’t kidding, and no one was going to rebuke him for it.

Remus muttered a few more foul things before sucking in a deep breath and saying.

She turned to Petunia and said it wasn’t her fault, Lily had been the bad egg.

“Please,” Lily sniffed “if I was a bad egg, what does that make her, a broken rotting one?”

It happened in everyone’s family at some point, the woman had run off with a wastrel and now Harry was the come of it.

“A wastrel huh?” James asked, forcing himself to make a joke out of it for his friends’ expense, since they looked like they were going to blow a vessel if they had to keep hearing this. “Haven’t heard that one yet. Lily, how come you never called me that? I thought you’d called me everything under the sun at some point.”

Lily fully understood what he was doing, so she released a giggle she didn’t really feel and told him “guess I just hadn’t gotten to the W’s yet, I’m sure it would have come up eventually. Now I’m just sorry she beat me to it.”

Harry was finally able to take his mind off of those awful words, and released a half-hearted laugh at their light banter, giving Remus and Sirius a small moment to collect themselves as well.

Harry could no longer even pretend to remember the books words, as Marge’s voice just kept bouncing around in his skull.

“Poor kid,” Sirius repeated, beginning to have a few flashbacks himself to a rather similar situation “all that practice all week, and now you’re having to hear the worst of it.”

Harry nodded as he commiserated with him for a moment.

Marge then asked Vernon what Harry’s dad had done for a living, and even Dudley looked up from his food at that question.

“Now that’s saying something,” Remus snarked.

Vernon shot Harry a nasty look as he said Mr. Potter had not worked.

“Was he expecting you to correct him or something?” Lily demanded “it’s not as if you knew.”

All of the boys winced, Lily herself regretted the words as soon as they were out, since they sounded all the more harsh in the current mood of the room.

“While, I technically am” James shrugged, not looking very bothered by the matter “I’d much rather stay home for now and take care of you” he finished with a paternal look at Harry. “After you grew up a bit though, I don’t know. I don’t exactly have an age in mind, but I really would like to train to be an Auror.”

“What’s that” Harry asked with great interest.

“Dark wizard catcher” James responded at once, his eyes lighting up with glee.

“It’s sort of like our cops” Lily explained a bit further.

Harry nodded, looking very much like he wanted to continue asking about this, but knowing he couldn’t exactly delay the book forever.

Marge wasn’t surprised, calling him a laz-about, but Harry had had enough, shouting that he was not!

“Thank you,” Remus sighed now eyeing the book as if it was Marge herself “because if I had to keep going, it wasn’t going to make much sense.”

“You were already cutting your words off in odd places so you didn’t shout” Sirius agreed.

“I’m not lazy,” James frowned “I’m the opposite of lazy. I’ve got all the energy in the world.”

“That’s the part you caught on?” Remus demanded, a smirk almost making its way again.

“What, I’m not really going to sit around and defend myself to someone who’s not even here, plus I’d be wasting my breath anyways. I was just a little extra offended by the lazy comment. I honestly wondered if you hadn’t added that.”

“Not this time,” Remus snorted “but next time someone sits around insulting you, I just might.”

Harry couldn’t believe they were all taking this so calmly, but then he really looked and saw how white they all were. Tension was building so much that if this night really didn’t come to a stop soon, someone really was going to do something drastic.

He didn’t care that all eyes were now on him, blood was pumping through every inch of him so fast he was shaking, he’d never been more cross in his life. Vernon snapped at Harry to get to his room, but Marge waved him off, telling Harry off for being so proud of his good for nothing parents. They’d done it to themselves, getting killed in that car crash, and she was quite sure they were drunk while doing it.

Which enraged them about that ridiculous lie all over again, but Remus hadn’t wanted to look up and instead noticed Harry was finally going to do what he had been wanting to since Marge had arrived.

Harry screamed back that this was a lie, getting to his feet in a towering temper now.

Sirius grinned viciously, very much hoping Harry would do quite a bit of shouting right back at this pompous family, see how they liked it.

Lily and James however exchanged very uneasy looks, knowing personally that if Harry’s temper spiked too much, he really might blow up another glass or worse. They really couldn’t handle him getting in trouble at the Ministry again for something that no human should blame him for.

Marge snapped back that this was exactly the truth, his useless parents had gone and died, leaving Harry with his decent relatives.

“Please,” Remus scoffed under his breath “if they’re decent, then I’m worse off than I thought.”

She began insulting him to no end, calling him ungrateful-

“I like to think I have a right to be, the way they treat me” Harry smirked, his eyes lighting up with glee as he suddenly realized that moment he’d been feeling was coming to pass. While at the age of thirteen, he had been angrier then he had in his life, his family’s joking little comments now had soothed him enough that he wasn’t nearly as upset. He would still like to see Marge get her dues, but watching them at least attempt to shrug it off made him feel better.

but her words stopped there as she seemed to angry to keep going. She kept swelling, like she was sucking in air to yell some more, but the swelling never stopped.

“What’s this?” Sirius asked, leaning over eagerly.

“Let me read and we’ll find out” Remus said, shoving him back out of the way just as quickly and now reading with curious, if weary, glee.

Her face was expanding, her mouth being pulled taught,

“You’re inflating her?” Lily asked faintly as if she’d never heard such a thing.

“He’s inflating her!” James repeated, no longer even bothering to suppress his glee as a wide smile broke across his face.

as her every inch kept getting wider, until she was almost perfectly round,

Remus no longer sounded very intelligible, he was laughing too hard to keep going. Soon they were all roaring, the mental image of that obscene woman getting her dues in this manner just as good as anything else they would have liked to do to her.

James and Sirius sobered up last, still wiping tears of mirth from their eyes, to find Remus and Lily only remotely amused now. While they were all for this payback, it also stemmed back to their original fear that, Harry was going to get into trouble for this. Yes from the ministry, but even they weren’t what was quickly growing from amusement to fear. Harry had just done some extreme magic, would the Dursleys retaliate? They had locked Harry away in a cupboard for years trying to suppress his magic, what would they do to him now that they realized the kind of things Harry could do?

It had taken a beat longer, because the other two boys really had been caught on the amusement of the situation, but eventually all five of them were now wondering these very questions, and not liking any of the answers they were coming up with. Harry was frowning back on his past actions, questions churning over in his mind and very weary of the answers he was providing himself.

Finally when the silence dragged on, Remus cleared his throat, and began reading again, no longer remotely entertained.

Vernon yelled for his sister in a combination of fear and rage, grabbing for her leg as she began floating right out of her chair,

Despite the fact that he was still just as worried now about Harry as anyone else, Sirius still couldn’t help a snort of mirth at that lovely description of such a vile person.

but then her dog came skidding into the kitchen, and latched itself onto Vernon’s leg teeth first.

“Well, glad to see that dog’s useful for something” James approved, the unease in his voice still apparent.

Harry didn’t stick around to watch anymore, running full pelt out of there,

‘Makes me almost grateful he might be able to lock and barricade himself in his room’ Remus realized, though winced in pain since that was nowhere near a good long term solution to what could very quickly turn into something horrible.

and making a move for his old cupboard.

“What?” Lily yelped in fear.

“Guess you could hide in there,” James muttered, shifting about in unease “none of them can actually fit after you.”

“Still not a very good long term fix for this” Remus argued, his hands starting to shake a bit.

“I wasn’t going to hide” Harry frowned, remembering vividly the hate that had been pounding through him in those moments; hiding had been the last thing on his mind.

Sirius opened his mouth then to ask exactly what he was planning, but Remus instead read aloud.

The door swung open before Harry even touched it, and Harry had no problems dragging out his school trunk to the door.

‘He’s making a run for it’ they all realized at once. Then after a beat, they all smiled. It was almost impossible to believe, but this might just be the best outcome for this situation. It wasn’t really going to be easy, where was Harry going to stay once he left since both of his friends were out of the country, but it was still a ten times better outcome then staying there when the Dursleys finally did realize who to blame for this.

Harry wasn’t quite done yet though, charging up the stairs and gathering up his few possessions, then going back to stuff those in his trunk as well just as Vernon came after him, dog no longer attached, but his leg bleeding.

Lily paled to almost a ghostly shade as the boys went the opposite and went bright red in anger. Threats were pounding on the tip of their tongue, but Harry said calmly “don’t start threatening before he actually does anything, I’m in no mood to put up with him in that moment.”

That appeased them, just a bit, at least Remus was able to read without shouting.

He was screaming at Harry to fix her at once, but Harry wasn’t having it. He pulled out his wand, and put it right against Vernon’s nose.

“Yes!” Sirius cried, throwing his arms up as if he’d just found out he’d won the Quidditch cup. “I’ve been wanting to do that this whole bloody time. Oh please tell me you hexed him?”

Harry just gave him a benign smile, knowing he wasn’t going to be able to confirm or deny that, Remus read.

Then Harry declared that he was leaving, now! Without waiting for a response, he opened the door, and pulling his trunk along, marched away into the night.

“Chapter’s over” Remus declared, a victorious smile still across his face as he passed it to Lily.

Found out I’m no Ron at Chess today, but at least I can say I’ve got how many people now reading and enjoying my story... well it made me feel better. Thanks for reading, reviewing, and enjoying. Also, sorry for all the cryptic remarks about what the Dursleys really do to Harry. Don’t worry, I have an exact spot in the series when he does come out and tell them everything, but until then I like building up the tension to that. Speaking of...

*Ha! Okay, I am genuinely sorry, I know you all are dying to see the big freak out that Sirius is alive, but I just couldn’t resist. Every time I’ve seen someone do the third book, they just automatically assume it’s Sirius himself, when he does have more family that both isn’t dead, as far as they know anyways, and would be more likely to be doing something to land on the Muggle news. As many of you know, what you’ve all been waiting for is in the next chapter, but I hope you liked this one enough in the meantime.

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