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Chapter 2
Tables Turn


The summer holidays had just started and this year it was worse than ever for Harry. Another year at Hogwarts had gone by and once more he was back at Number 4 Privet Drive to live with his aunt and uncle. He had returned home the night before and so far no one had so much as spoken a word to him, and Harry noticed that no one had spoken a word with each other either. Something was going on but before Harry had been able to do or say anything, he had been ordered to go his room and stay there. He was glad for the food he had bought on the train so he didn’t bother to go down for dinner; he doubted they would have given him any food at any rate.

Harry despised living with the Dursley’s but he had no choice; this was where he was safest from the grip of Voldemort as his mother’s blood through his aunt reinforced the ancient protection spell cast onto Harry when his mother sacrificed her life to save his.

But this year Harry felt more alone than ever. It seemed unreal that only two years ago he had discovered that he had a godfather and Sirius had become a father figure to him in no time. But Sirius was dead now, and no matter what everyone told him, Harry felt that it was his fault. He couldn’t let go of the guilt racking his soul, and he was utterly miserable because of it.

Harry lay in bed staring at the ceiling of his small, cramped bedroom, not bothering with the hot tears that rolled down his cheeks. He lived with the constant nightmare of watching his godfather fall through the veil at the Ministry’s Department of Mysteries, intermixed with the ghostly faces of his parents, and Cedric. If he had only listened to Hermione; if only he had gone to Dumbledore! Harry pounded his fists against his bed. He felt like he wanted to scream… there was nothing for him anymore. He was sick of being the-boy-who-lived. And to make matters worse, he alone was the only one who could overcome Voldemort once and for all… he was a marked man, and he realised before school ended that sooner or later his final showdown with Voldemort would come.

Harry was snapped out of his thoughts by a ball of feathers the size of a tennis ball zooming around his bedroom, after having squeezed through the open window. Pig, the hyperactive owl belonging to Ron, was whizzing around in apparent ecstasy at having successfully reached his destination. Harry made no move to intercept the tiny owl, which had a rather large envelope dangling from one of his legs. He wasn’t in the mood to read any of the letters that had been sent to him by his friends.

Pigwidgeon finally realised that Harry wasn’t paying him any attention, and he finally lowered himself and perched on the railing of Harry’s bed. Harry raised an eyebrow, surprised to see Pig so calm and not fluttering around like a maniac. The tiny pygmy owl was glaring at Harry.

“Oh, alright.” Harry mumbled and wiped away the tears from his cheeks. He reached over to grab the owl, but now Pig, excited about delivering his letter, began zooming around the room once more. He banged against Hedwig’s cage and she let out an indignant hoot whilst she ruffled her feathers. Harry snatched the stunned owl out of the air, and couldn’t help the smile that crept along his face.

“Gotcha.” He said and began relieving the owl of his burden. “There, now you can go.” He mumbled as he tossed the letter aside. He didn’t want to see what it said, as he was sure it would be some cryptic message that said they couldn’t tell him what was going on, or to offer their sympathy for the situation they didn’t know anything about. But the tiny owl just screeched and hooted as he flew around.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT RACKET?!” Vernon’s voice sounded on the other side of the door as he pounded his fist on it.
Harry jumped to grab Pigwidgeon and quickly placed him behind his back and clamped his hand over his beak, just as his uncle opened the door.

“Sorry Uncle Vernon, I accidentally tripped and scared Hedwig.” He said apologetically.

“WELL KEEP THAT DAMNED OWL QUIET!” He bellowed, his face turning purple. “AND COME DOWN FOR BREAKFAST!” He yelled, then as if he remembered who he was talking to and the threats from Moody just one day ago, he visibly tried to calm down, “I have to talk to you.” Vernon said in a calmer tone… which surprised Harry.

“I’ll be down after I make my bed” Harry replied hoping his uncle didn’t want him to follow him right now. Vernon didn’t reply and simply slammed the door shut.

“Are you trying to get me in trouble?” Harry asked the furious owl who was pecking at his fingers to let him go.

“I bet Ron put you up to waiting for a reply?” Harry said to the tiny thing who seemed to agree with him, “Alright, only if you stay quiet or I’ll send the reply with Hedwig.” Harry threatened. He let go of the miniature owl and Pig fluttered over to Hedwig’s cage to drink some water, irritated at the threat, but not risking that Harry would go through with it.

Harry picked up a piece of paper (he had forgotten to bring extra parchment) and scribbled hurriedly.

Ron,

No time to write, but got your message. All ok here. Tell the Order.
Harry


Harry folded the note and tied it to Pig’s leg as he tried to keep him still. He watched as the tiny bird zoomed out his window. Harry didn’t even bother to make his bed as he had said, and simply left his room, heading downstairs.

His Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and his cousin, Dudley, were sitting at the table already having breakfast when he arrived, which was odd, since they always made Harry make breakfast and wait for the leftover scraps to eat himself. Dudley seemed to be furious about something, and that seemed to cheer up Harry a bit. Harry was surprised to see a place set for him to join the family. His aunt and uncle had taken Moody’s threats seriously and he supposed that this was one of the things that had changed.

He sat down to the table and began serving himself some food, while the other three in the room completely ignored him. He was used to the silent treatment and he rather liked that they had left him alone like the day before.

Vernon was hidden behind that morning’s paper, and no one spoke. After a while, he handed Harry a section of the paper.

“What’s this?” Harry asked confused and unable to hold his curiosity.

“Since you are now 15 years old and almost 16, it’s about time you got a job,” Vernon said through clenched teeth, obviously trying to control his temper. “That’s the jobs section. It’s time you started pulling your weight around here, you are not cheap to keep and if I am forced to have you live here then you will start paying rent, and if you want to eat, you will have to buy your own food.” He snapped and Harry had to control his tongue before he could say something he’d regret. He could see that his uncle was barely holding onto being civil. Ha, not cheap…? Well they certainly don’t bother to buy much for me, Harry thought. Although Aunt Petunia had actually gone to the second hand store and bought him some outfits that actually fitted him. He also kept his mouth shut because it would be a good way for him to be out of the house although Harry had no idea as to how he was going to get a job; he didn’t have any experience in anything, besides housekeeping or gardening.

“Why do I have to get a job?!” Dudley screeched.

Harry looked up surprised. So that’s why he’s so mad, Harry thought. Still, he would have never thought that his parents would make him do such a thing. Harry turned his gaze to his uncle and what surprised him more was to see that for once his anger was not directed at him, but at Dudley.

“Because you eat like a pig, and I cannot afford to keep feeding you, you ungrateful...”

“Vernon!” Aunt Petunia screamed, horrified “How can you say those things about Dudleykins, your son!” She seemed on the verge of tears.

Harry shrank down in his seat, hoping to remain unnoticed; he was sure this would all turn out to be his fault somehow. He wanted to ask what was going on, but he didn’t dare speak.

“MY SON!? NO SON OF MINE GETS EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL!” Vernon replied, turning an even deeper shade of purple, “AND I AM NOT GOING TO SUPPORT HIM WHILE HE LOAFS AROUND THE HOUSE! AND NEXT YEAR HE CAN GO TO STONEWALL!” Vernon yelled slamming his fist onto the table, spilling several cups of coffee. He stood up and left the kitchen.

Harry sat dumbfounded at the table. Dudley had been expelled? Under any other circumstances, Harry would be jumping with glee, but right now was not the appropriate time to celebrate. Dudley was throwing one of his horrible tantrums and Petunia sat in her chair stunned. Harry didn’t know what was going through her mind. He wanted to leave, but he was afraid that if he moved she would realise he was still there and this would turn out to be his fault.
She then turned to Dudley, and pretended as if nothing had happened.

“Dudley, you want more bacon? Eggs?” She asked putting more food onto his plate.

Dudley did something Harry would have never thought him capable of doing: waste food. He grabbed the plate and picked it up before smashing it on the wall. What was going on!? No one was acting normally around there, and even weirder was that no one had given him any hell as of yet. His thoughts were interrupted as Petunia squeaked surprised.

“I AM NOT GETTING A JOB! IT WASN’T MY FAULT I WAS EXPELLED!” Dudley screamed at his mother.

Petunia a little nervously tried to coax him “Y-Your father will calm down, just humour him for a few days, get a job and…” SMACK!

“I’M NOT GETTING A JOB!”

Harry jumped from his chair when Dudley’s hand landed on his aunt’s cheek. His Aunt had fallen from his chair both from the impact and also from the shock that her little boy had just hit her! Dudley was in a rage and seemed to be ready to go after his mother again. Petunia cowered in fear, watching in horror as he came after her. But before he had a chance, and before Harry could think twice about what he was doing, Harry jumped at Dudley and grabbing his hand, pushed him out of the way.

“GET OFF ME!” Dudley yelled still quite enraged, and tried to punch him, but Harry, using his quick reflexes from years of Quidditch, managed to twist his arm around his back. Using all of the strength he could muster, he pulled his arm making Dudley scream in pain. Harry didn’t know why Dudley hitting his aunt would cause him to react in the way he did, but even though it was true that he detested being in their care, and the way they had treated him, she was the only family he had. He really didn’t consider Vernon or Dudley as his family.

“You leave my aunt alone!” Harry screamed at him and by then Vernon had made it back into the kitchen.

Vernon surveyed the scene in front of him and ran to his wife, who was still on the floor staring wide eyed at Harry, and helped her to her feet. He noticed the red mark on her cheek.

“WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY WIFE? I’LL KILL YOU!!!” Vernon screamed and was about to leap on Harry.

“NO! Vernon, it was Dudley! Harry attacked him to keep him from me!” Petunia screamed grabbing Vernon. Harry couldn’t believe his aunt had jumped to his defence. She had always stood on the sidelines and had never helped him, even when she knew Dudley was at fault.

Vernon stopped in his tracks, and stared at Petunia, then at Harry, then at Dudley, then back to Petunia. He obviously didn’t know what to think, but not for long. His face, which had become pale at Petunia’s words, now turned a shade of rage which was a rare deep purplish colour. He advanced towards Harry and Harry flinched, ready for a blow, but it never came.

Instead, Uncle Vernon had grabbed Dudley by the collar, and lifted him off the ground, holding him 2 inches above the floor. Harry had seen Vernon infuriated more times than he could remember, but never like this. And to see him lift his fat cousin so easily gave him a sense of fear he never thought was possible. Harry stared, no, gawked, at his uncle and noticed Dudley was cowering with fear in his grip. He too had never seen his father so furious.

Uncle Vernon spoke with a tone that gave everyone in the room a sense of dread, and made their hair stand on their necks. “YOU. WILL. NEVER. TOUCH. YOUR. MOTHER. AGAIN!” Vernon growled menacingly through clenched teeth. “AND YOU WILL DO AS I SAY AS LONG AS YOU WANT TO LIVE IN MY HOUSE! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!” Vernon spat and then dropped Dudley to the floor.

Dudley swallowed and nodded, too horrified to speak. “NOW GO GET A JOB AND DON’T COME BACK WITHOUT ONE!” He barked and Dudley jumped leaving the room. “YOU TOO!” He barked at Harry and Harry didn’t wait another second and left the kitchen. Harry ran up to his room and shut the door.

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