Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been Joanne Kathleen Rowling, which is good as I quite like being myself. Unfortunately it means that I don't own the characters or locations in this piece of fiction. A/N: Many thanks Joda for being the first reviewer at this site. I've decided to try something different. My last story got bogged down in part because I pressured myself into writing these incredibly long chapters, and once I hit a snag, that was it. For this story I am going to release whatever it is I have done at a certain point so long as it is at a good stopping point. For example, what is below is not all of chapter 2, but rather than wait for all of chapter two to be done, I'll post this half now, and the rest later.
Chapter Two (Part One): Confession
Harry rubbed his forehead trying to alleviate the pain, but it wasn't helping. His body ached all over, and he found that he was trembling slightly. His hand was soaked, but he couldn't tell if it was from blood or from sweat. He'd just seen his father's murder, and his brain kept replaying it in slower and slower motion. His father, who had loved his mum and who was willing to die for his son. Harry was ashamed that he ever doubted him.
And his mum. There she had been, holding him in her arms just moments before she too would be killed by Voldemort. Harry wiped his face again. He could feel anger build up at the thought of the dark wizard who had ruined his life. How could he have been so uncaring about it all? It was like he wasn't even human.
But his parents had known that they were going to die that night. How did they know that and what did Dumbledore have to do with it? Harry remembered that his mum had mentioned the headmaster's name and said that he knew what he was doing, but what exactly was he doing? Whatever it was, he still wasn't telling Harry the whole truth.
The real puzzle, however, was Wormtail. His dad had called him a "great friend" even after Peter had told Voldemort where they were hiding, after he had given up the secret. At the moment all Harry was sure of was that the answers were not going to be found in this cupboard under the stairs.
He had his wand with him, Uncle Vernon hadn't thought to take it away, but Harry thought it would probably be smarter not to use it. He had been in more than enough trouble the last time he had used magic illegally during the summer, and he couldn't risk getting expelled again. If only he still had Sirius's magical penknife... the thought of Sirius brought about a great sigh. Wait, had Sirius known about what happened that night in Godric's Hollow? Did Lupin?
Harry felt like yelling, all of the unanswered questions felt like a great pressure welling up on his brain, squeezing a little more as each one was asked. All the frustration of fifteen years worth of a hard life had built up to this point, and he could take it no longer. So he yelled, and he felt surprisingly better after he got through. His aunt and uncle were not similarly pleased.
"BOY!" shouted Vernon from just outside the master suite upstairs. "If you make so much as one more sound I will not hesitate to leave you locked in there until there's nothing but a skeleton left. I have a very important meeting tomorrow, ruddy big contract is expiring and we need to renegotiate. I'll not have you fouling up my sleep with your little episodes, you hear?" Harry remained silent. "ANSWER ME YOU FREAK!"
"Vernon dear, why don't you go lie down and try to relax. You have a big day tomorrow, and this won't help at all. I'll take care of - the problem." Harry was just able to make out Petunia's voice from up above. He couldn't help but think that were he forced to share a bed with Uncle Vernon every night he'd be anxious to leave it whenever possible as well.
"Very well Petunia," huffed Vernon, apparently rather gutted that his wife was making sense and that he wouldn't be allowed to carry on with his favorite pastime: bashing Harry. Harry listened to the creaks of the stairs directly over his head as his aunt proceeded down them, and was surprised when he heard the deadbolt on the cupboard door slide back. He coiled himself to make a break for it if he had to. He'd run over to Mrs. Figg's on Wisteria Walk - anything to get out of this house. But Petunia merely opened the door and beckoned him out.
"Come on out of there Harry," she said in what, for her, was a rather kindly voice. Harry was amazed that she still remembered his name; it had been ages since she'd used it last. "My - you look beastly," she managed to spit out when she caught site of his face. "Go wash up in the bathroom, I don't want you dripping on my nice clean carpets. You have no idea how hard it is to keep these clean." Harry decided not to point out that he did, in fact, know precisely how hard it was.
A quick look in the mirror once he reached the bathroom proved his aunt right. There were streaks of blood all over his face and hands, mainly from a large gash just above the hairline where his head had smacked the ceiling, and he had very dark circles under his eyes. He washed up and attended to some other business, then walked back into the living area to find Petunia waiting for him.
"I think it would be best for you to leave Harry," she said softly.
"Leave? But what about what Dumbled-" His aunt had raised a hand to silence him. Leaving was what Harry had wanted, but he wanted to do it on his own terms, not because he was kicked out.
"The deal was that I would keep you here only until you were no longer safe within these walls." Harry tried to interrupt, but she didn't give him the chance. "And," she continued, "I believe that time has come now that you've attacked Vernon." Harry couldn't keep quiet any longer.
"Attacked him?" he blurted loudly. Petunia quickly put a finger to her lips to shush him. "Did you hear what he was saying about Sirius, about my godfather?" he asked in a quieter voice.
"No, no I didn't. But I met that awful man once, and I don't think your uncle could have said anything that wasn't more than deserved." Harry felt his blood begin to boil for the upteenth time that day. He was finding it hard to come up with a reason to stand here and put up with this. But at the same time he was intrigued.
"You knew Sirius Black?"
"I met all of Li- your mother's friends at one time or another. She always had them over to the house during the holidays. Mum and Dad were all suckered in by them, but I could see the truth... the whole lot of them were rotten. Real freaks if you ask me." She looked for a moment as though she were going to cry, and Harry was forcibly reminded of the one brief instant after last year's dementor attack where she had looked at him so differently.
"But I don't understand, what did they ever do to you to make you think that?" he asked angrily. Petunia shuddered and bowed her head as a single tear rolled down her cheek.
"Lily and I were best friends until they came along. It's like I was some old toy she just discarded after a new and fancier toy came along. And then - you..." she looked up and glared at Harry's scar. "You took her from me for good. You killed her. You killed my sister. I'm sorry, but I don't think I can ever forgive you for that." By this time the tears were coming easier and she sank down onto the couch. Harry was incensed. How could she possibly think that it was her fault that his mother had died. But at the same time a little voice in the back of his head was asking if she wasn't right. "Just go," Aunt Petunia said as a sob broke loose from deep in her throat.
Harry did as he was told. He climbed the stairs and entered his room to begin packing. Thankfully Hedwig was off delivering one of his bi-weekly updates to the Order, and so he had one less thing to carry. There was still the matter of his trunk and her cage however, and once he had gotten all of his books, clothes, potion ingredients, and the contents of his secret stash underneath a loose floorboard beneath his bed, he had quite a load. As silently as possible he dragged the trunk downstairs, praying that the dull thumping wouldn't wake his uncle.
Once he reached the door he looked back to see his aunt still sitting on the couch with her head in her hands. "See you next summer?" he asked quietly. Without lifting her head, Petunia nodded once and then set off sobbing again. Harry had seen enough. He opened the door and walked out into the brisk night air.
A/N: So see, a good place to stop. I don't really leave you hanging or anything, and it makes the updates come faster. Let's see how it works. The second part of chapter two should be up in a day or so.
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