A/N: For those of you who do not know the area named Woking (in Surrey) is pronounced 'woah-king' and the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is a registered charity as well as Childline being a great phoneline generally for the same thing.
That being said, do enjoy my story - rated 15+ for later chapters :)
“I didn’t do anything!” A ten year old Harry Potter yelled from the living room doorway as his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia rushed to their son’s side. Dudley was clutching his mouth and yelling like the spoilt brat he was while blood dripped from his mouth onto the cream carpet. Aunt Petunia’s face turned from horror to shock and back again as she looked between her son’s face and the state of the carpet. As she was just figuring out the best way to clean the bloodstains, her husband shook her out of her deliberation between baking soda and standard carpet cleaner:
“COME HERE, BOY!” Uncle Vernon yelled at Harry.
Harry stayed put as Uncle Vernon dragged himself from the ground. Aunt Petunia held Dudley in her lap, trying to look inside his mouth.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?!” Uncle Vernon’s purple face spluttered angrily.
“Nothing,” Harry insisted, feeling a tiny bit guilty even though it wasn’t his fault. “Dudley chased me down the stairs and he fell.”
“Fell?” Uncle Vernon said, not believing a word. “He wasn’t pushed?”
“No,” Harry told him. “I was at the bottom and he came after me.”
“And what reason would he have to chase you?” Harry’s uncle pried as he looked down at his skinny bespectacled nephew.
“He hates me,” Harry muttered.
“I don’t know,” Harry said instead. “I wasn’t doing anything.”
He had in fact been telling his cousin that Harry was treated well by his parents in secret. Harry told Dudley that he got three course meals from his Aunt and Uncle while Dudley was asleep so that he wouldn’t find out and that their poor treatment of him was just a front. Dudley went crazy and vaulted down the flight of stairs, arms out to grab Harry, but he was too fast. Harry dodged him and Dudley fell face first into the bottom step, knocking his mouth as he went. As he screamed the house down, Aunt Petunia appeared from the kitchen and Uncle Vernon ran in from the front garden, abandoning his cleaning of the car.
“Vernon,” Petunia muttered over Dudley’s wailing. She opened her hand and showed him one of Dudley’s front teeth in her palm.
“Get his coat, we’re going to the dentist right now.” Uncle Vernon yanked open the front door and cleared away the buckets of water, vacuum cleaner and other things he had been cleaning the car with.
Trying to be helpful, Harry passed his Aunt Dudley’s overcoat, but in return got a very sharp look from her as she covered up the blood on her son’s shirt.
Uncle Vernon came back into the house. “Car’s ready.” He helped Dudley up as Aunt Petunia grabbed a tea towel for his bleeding mouth. Her entire chest covered in blood, Aunt Petunia pulled on a jacket and helped settle Dudley into the back seat of their hatchback.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Uncle Vernon said to Harry. He had been standing still in the same place, watching the entire scene.
“Get your jacket.” Vernon ordered.
“I’m coming to the dentist too?”
“Well, I’m not leaving you here alone to destroy the place. Hurry up.”
Harry dragged on his oversized, second-hand jacket and sat nervously beside his cousin. Dudley had no time to spout vicious comments at Harry, he was in too much pain. Instead of looking at him, Harry stared out of the window as the car rolled down the quiet streets that Monday afternoon.
The sun was shining that afternoon, revived from the survival of torrential rain that previous week. It was the summer holidays and Harry had six weeks of the Dursleys to contend with until he returned to primary school for his final year. He did not particularly like school, he simply preferred learning his times tables to spending twenty-four hours a day with his so-called family. They were the most rotten, uncaring bunch of people Harry knew - mainly because he didn’t know many people. Besides Mrs Figg, Harry didn’t ever speak to anyone else. He barely spoke to the Dursleys. Sometimes he would spend whole mornings not speaking. Who knew that at times you might forget the sound of your own voice? Harry just occupied himself in his cupboard, mostly daydreaming about his parents and what it would have been like if they were alive.
Harry could see it now … trips to the park, picnics, hugs, conversations … He sighed - sometimes even cried - about what he was missing out on. The worst of it was not that he lived with his Aunt and Uncle but because they acted as though he were something they found on the bottom of their shoe. If they loved him like they loved Dudley (maybe even less) then Harry wouldn’t mind. Maybe if they bought him new school clothes, served him filling meals, told him they wanted him in their house … He didn’t want to think about it most days. Instead, he would take himself eight years into the future when he would turn eighteen and leave forever. With luck, he would leave when he was sixteen, maybe earlier. Harry knew he had a purpose in life. He wasn’t just the Dursleys’ slave. He must be needed or wanted somewhere …
“Aren’t we going to -?” Aunt Petunia began at the front of the car as she scrubbed at her fingernails.
“No,” Vernon replied. “Damn NHS surgeries take too long. My boy needs expert help. We’re going into Woking. There’s a private dentist surgery over there. As long as we pay up front, he should be seen right away.”
Harry smiled to himself. He had never been to Woking. He didn’t know how long it was going to take nor what it was like. To him, it was a little holiday, another accidental trip that he was bound to remember for life. These were his guilty pleasures; whenever the Dursleys thought he’d hate being somewhere and he loved it, Harry would smile. Even something as simple as going to another dentist made Harry glad that Dudley had his accident. Was that a crime? Harry did not think so. He was glad that the Dursleys didn’t trust him to stay in Privet Drive alone, otherwise he wouldn’t be where he was now, on a busy main road beside the motorway in traffic while Dudley moaned beside him.
“Mommy … it HURTS!” Dudley yelled as he held the blood-soaked towel aside.
Aunt Petunia leaned back and pushed the sodden rag back to his mouth. “It’ll be all right soon, sweetheart,” she told him. “We’ll go and buy you something nice when we’re done at the dentist.”
Sure that Dudley would smile or boast if he could, Harry rolled his eyes as the car sped off the motorway and onto the quiet country streets - possibly above the speed limit. There were country cottages beside contemporary flats, lakes within green parks and lots of green trees in Woking; it was everything suburban Surrey was not. There was plenty of space to breathe here and Harry took in a big gulp of the air as they all stepped out of the car.
The car park for the dentist surgery was quite full.
“Must be fully booked,” Aunt Petunia muttered with her arm around her son.
“No matter,” Uncle Vernon said as he marched to the front door.
Beside it, there was a large print blue sign, reading: “Granger & Granger’s Private Dental Surgery; Check-ups, Emergencies and Orthodontic Care; Dr .K. Granger, Dr .E. Granger.”
Deciding not to say one word to his family for the whole afternoon (in order to soak in the experience), Harry followed them into the waiting area, where nearly all of the seats were taken by silent members of the community reading magazines or chatting quietly. Yes, it was the same as the dentist in Little Whinging, but Harry stared intently at the scene with fresh eyes.
“We need to see somebody now,” Uncle Vernon said in his sternest voice. “My son’s had an accident.”
The blonde receptionist looked over at Dudley’s bleeding mouth. “I’m sorry, Sir, we’re all booked today.”
Uncle Vernon was slowly turning red. “I thought this place handled emergencies!”
“We do,” the receptionist replied.
“So handle this one!”
The people sitting on the soft lime green chairs around them looked over curiously and Harry was starting to feel uncomfortable.
Aunt Petunia opened her hand and showed the receptionist one of Dudley’s teeth as if this explained everything.
“You’re new to this surgery?”
“Yes,” Aunt Petunia replied while Uncle Vernon cooled down.
“Just fill out this form and take a seat.” She handed Aunt Petunia a clipboard. “We may be able to fit you in. A couple of hours maybe?”
“A couple of -?!” Uncle Vernon began.
“It’s the best I can do, I’m afraid,” the woman said turning to the old desktop computer. “I’ll go and tell Dr Granger now.”
The woman disappeared as Aunt Petunia and Dudley took the two remaining seats in the corner of the room. Uncle Vernon stood beside them by the window and Harry followed.
“The play area is that way,” Uncle Vernon told Harry, pointing to a small table and box of books and toys on the other side of the room.
Silently, Harry walked over and sat down, watching the other younger children amuse themselves with the building blocks and picture books. He was glad to be away from his family anyway. Beside him, a toddler began to cry louder than he had ever heard - nearly everyone in the room glanced over in shock. The child’s mother picked her up and took her through an open door just left of the welcome desk. Harry peered out curiously. Although it was tiny, there was a patio area with a couple of benches and rows of short daisies beside a medium brick wall and a patch of green grass. This was a different kind of dentist, Harry thought. He had never seen one with a nice outdoor area where the sunlight hit in just the right way. As the irritated woman and her sniffing child came back in, Harry noticed a girl with bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth sitting reading a large book on the bench. Her feet swayed as her eyes skipped from left to right and her fingers flipped the pages. And oddly, there was something about her that screamed out at him. She looked … nice. This was strange because he was only ten years old and all of the other girls he had met at school were just not nice. That was mainly because they were scared of getting on the wrong side of Dudley, but no one had ever caused him to stare as much as he was doing right now. Closing his gawping mouth, he looked around. No one noticed. Phew. He continued; her eyes were a honey brown, her hair almost the same - he had never seen hair so thick. Harry chuckled to himself. Her fingernails were neat, everything about her was neat and tidy down to her very shiny shoes. It didn’t help that the sun was glowing over her face. Harry felt a bit hot.
He glanced over at his Aunt, Uncle and cousin, checked that they were occupied (Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were looking over the clipboard while Dudley sniffled) and then stepped outside into a light breeze. The little garden was a perfect addition to the surgery, especially when it was so warm outside. And she was a nice addition to the garden.
Still quite hot, Harry removed his jacket and placed it on the bench opposite the girl. She was wearing a blue skirt and a white patterned blouse. She was dressed so nicely and Harry looked down at his own attire and grimaced. Hopefully, she did not notice the fading colour, the rips and the stains.
The girl looked up at him as he sat down nervously.
Harry smiled at her and she gave one back. Okay, she was polite. That was good. She looked around his age. Harry gazed down and noticed that the book she was reading was an encyclopaedia named, ‘Biology, Chemistry and Physics: the basics.’ She must have been smart too.
The girl noticed him looking at it and said, “I got it as a gift last week for doing well in school. I just had to have it.”
“You’ve nearly finished it!” Harry said, astounded because it looked as though it had at least six hundred pages. He was also glad that she spoke first, as he was getting to the point where he was going to break the ice with a weather comment.
“I’m a fast reader,” she replied lightly. “And science is fascinating.”
Harry shrugged. “I suppose.” He gazed up at the sun until it hurt his eyes. “Are you waiting for your appointment?” Harry asked.
She shook her head; she looked slightly annoyed at being disturbed while reading. “My parents own the surgery.” She paused. “They’re dentists.”
“Oh. My cousin’s tooth came out after he chased me down the stairs.” Harry let out a chuckle.
“That doesn’t seem funny to me,” the girl replied stiffly.
Harry went a little red. “I-it’s not funny, really. But if you knew how horrible he was to me …”
The girl continued to read and smiled. “It can’t be that bad.” She put the book down onto her lap and met his eye. Harry gulped nervously. “Did you know that Jupiter has at least 64 moons?”
“Erm … no, I didn’t,” Harry said.
She beckoned him over with her hand and he sat beside her while she ran through the page on the largest planet.
“It has 64 confirmed moons and the biggest are called Galilean moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Their names are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto and they …”
She seemed to go on forever and Harry simply nodded and said ‘yes’ where appropriate as she ran through the other planets and their orbits.
Just as she was about to go onto the chemistry part of the book (which Harry was dreading), he quickly said, “I’m Harry, by the way. Harry Potter.”
Mid-sentence, the girl stopped, breathed and then smiled. “I’m Hermione Granger.”
“Do you usually stay here all day while your parents work?” Harry asked, trying to distract her from the book; her intelligence astounded him and did give him quite a headache.
“Most days. They don’t want to hire a babysitter and they won’t leave me home alone.”
“Me too. My Aunt and Uncle don’t trust me.”
“And my other family members are either working or on holiday, so I stay here. That’s why they paid for this little garden to be built for me to sit in. Here, Claire can see me -” She pointed at the blonde receptionist from where they sat. “ - and my mum sometimes sits with me for lunch.”
“Oh. Sounds a bit boring,” Harry said honestly.
“It is. I just read mostly.”
“What about when it rains?”
“I go inside and sit with the patients in the waiting room. My six-week holiday never is very interesting.”
“We do have a holiday planned when my parents get some other dentists to work next week. We’re going to Canada.”
Harry bit his lip and said, “I’ve never been on holiday. My Aunt and Uncle usually leave me with a neighbour.”
His jealously and sadness must have show because Hermione put her hands over her mouth in horror. “That’s terrible!” Harry shrugged. “What about your parents?”
He looked at the ground. “Dead. Car accident. I was one.”
“Oh no, I’m so sorry,” Hermione muttered. Her eyes floated to his scar.
“I got it in the crash,” Harry said while pressing his black hair over it tenderly. He was sensitive about his scar. He already got so much attention because of it’s ability to never heal. People at school often called him weird or a freak, as though his immune system meant he would pass germs onto every other student; he was the object of many jokes whenever the annual flu virus came around school.
Hermione put her hand on his shoulder and said nothing for a while until - “Would you like a turkey sandwich?”
Harry nodded and Hermione opened up her purple lunchbox and gave him half. He didn’t realise how hungry he was until he took a bite. They discussed school for a while - they were in the same year - and although Harry felt really inferior compared to Hermione, he rather enjoyed having a friend. She laughed with him - which was something extremely new to him - and he actually found out he was quite good at telling jokes. He saw her teeth a lot; they were very white.
“Do you go to school in the area?” she asked him as she drank a carton of apple juice - which they shared.
“No,” he replied. “I got to school on the other side of Surrey. Little Whinging. That’s where we live.”
“Little Whinging!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”
“My uncle wanted to come to this dentist, so we drove.”
“That’s so far away,” Hermione said, overestimating the distance as children did. She shrugged. “It would have been nice if you lived nearby.”
“Yeah,” Harry said. “So you don’t have brothers and sisters?”
She shook her head.” You?”
“Just my cousin, Dudley.”
“You grew up together like siblings though,” Hermione said.
“No,” Harry said. He decided that he was comfortable with Hermione so he explained everything to her; from his clothing, his chores around the house, the bullying and where he slept. All the while, he could see her face falling and he tried to tell her it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
“You sleep where?” Hermione asked.
“In the -”
“I heard what you said, Harry, and it’s just despicable. You have to do something. Call the police or … or Childline. Or the NSPCC!”
“I like my cupboard,” Harry said defensively. Indeed he did; it was his escape from his terrible family. And it was very warm in the winter. Subconsciously, it may have been very womb-like; Harry often thought of his mother when he was alone in there, he even talked to her.
“Only because they’ve brainwashed you into thinking it’s a suitable place to sleep,” she said, looking genuinely upset.
“It’s okay, Hermione,” Harry insisted. “I’m fine with it.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be,” she muttered finally, her eyes getting a little watery.
Harry waited for her to collect herself while watching Aunt Petunia and Dudley stand. “They’re going in now.”
“Is that them?” Hermione asked after a small sniff.
Harry nodded as the three Dursleys went into a room with a sandy-haired man. “Your dad?”
“Yes.” Mr Granger waved at Hermione and she waved back. She turned to the wall clock. “Only a couple more hours until we all go home. And then the same again tomorrow.” She stared at the ground sadly.
“I could ask my Aunt and Uncle if I could come back,” Harry told her.
“You would?” she asked brightly.
“But they’ll say no. It’s too far to drive.”
“Oh.” Hermione’s shoulders sagged. The pair sat in silence for a while and Harry even resorted to looking in her book; he skipped the chemistry and took a look at the human body.
Looking in the corner of his eye, Harry noticed Hermione peering at the book over his shoulder. Knowing that she couldn’t help herself, he said, “I don’t really understand any of this.”
“Well,” Hermione began, taking the book from him and flicking her hair back. “It’s simple really …”
She had been going on in such great detail that Harry’s head was spinning. He had learnt more from Hermione and her book than he had in school because of two reasons; one, he was always too bored to pay attention and two, this book was way too advanced for ten year olds.
“I’m going to be eleven in September,” Hermione said, trying to cram as many questions in before he left. “When’s your birthday?”
“Thirty-first of July,” Harry said.
“You have to come to my party,” she said. “I wanted to have it in the summer this year because I want to focus on my schoolwork in September. It’s in a couple of weeks. We are going to the Sea Life Centre, bowling and then having cake at home.”
“What about when it’s your real birthday?” Harry wondered.
“We’ll just have another cake,” Hermione said smiling. Harry thought so. “A small one.” She could tell that he was very jealous of her and she stopped smiling.
“I’ll ask my Aunt and Uncle,” Harry said, not feeling very optimistic, his thoughts still on cake.
“Great, I’ll have to send you an invitation and -”
“Come on then, boy, time to go,” came Uncle Vernon’s voice as he stood in the doorway. Behind him, Dudley was clutching a wad of cotton wool to his face and Aunt Petunia was watching the other patients (she was probably trying to see who ironed their clothes, Harry thought).
“Okay … bye, Hermione.”
Uncle Vernon looked at the little girl on the bench with scrutiny and she tried not to look him in the eye.
“Bye, Harry.” She stood up and gave him a brief hug, which the Dursleys audibly sighed. Even Harry was shocked so he stayed quite still.
“Bye,” he said again, this time higher-pitched.
“See you,” she said laughing. Hermione waved as they shuffled away out of the front doors and into the car park.
“Is Dudley okay now?” Harry asked quietly as he put on his seatbelt. He was just so overwhelmed by the entire day. This morning he was just Harry, parentless, friendless, joyless. And now … well, two out of three wasn’t bad, was it?
“He’ll have another dentist appointment to go to, but he’ll live - not that you care,” Aunt Petunia added bitterly.
Harry did care. In fact, he cared a lot. Although nobody fussed over his wellbeing, he certainly cared about Dudley’s - because of him, he may be visiting Granger & Granger’s Dentist Surgery again soon.
A/N: I hope you liked it. I'm not sure how long to keep them as children, but it shouldn't be for long as it will get much more interesting once they go to Hogwarts. Thanks for reading and please leave a review - they let me know if I'm going in the right direction x
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