Warnings: child abuse, depression, suicidal tendancies
Summary: Devoid of the will to live, Harry decides that it is simply time to end it all. Too bad for him that one of his professors had to come and screw it up.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I am simply borrowing them; therefore, do not sue me.
Chapter 1: Weakness exploited
Harry supposed that he should have been relieved that his uncle picked him up from the station at all, certainly Vernon kept on telling him how grateful he ought to be the whole drive back to the Dursleys.
After a few minutes of this, when his uncle started repeating himself, Harry ignored the diatribe and wished fiercely that he could have remained at Hogwarts.
He had a very bad feeling about what was going to happen over the holidays, if the summer before was any indication to go by. The Dursleys had not been happy about the trick with Dudley's tongue, and had felt free to take it out on Harry since his Godfather had not yet materialised to defend him. Chores had filled his every waking moment and Dudley had pinched and tripped him at every opportunity.
Now his treatment was bound to be much worse as his relatives had not been expecting to deal with him over Christmas, and were certainly not pleased with the burden.
Upon arriving at the house, Harry hauled his trunk out of the car and dragged it upstairs to the landing. When he got back outside there was no sign of Hedwig and her cage lay open and twisted on the ground.
"What have you done with her?" cried out Harry angrily. He was used to the Dursleys treatment of him but to hurt his owl was showing utter cruelty. She had been the first real birthday present he had ever received. His first real friend, he could always talk to her about anything.
"Nothing that the stupid magic pigeon didn't deserve." said Dudley, who if possible was looking even fatter than he had before. Obviously the diet wasn't working. Or more likely, knowing Aunt Petunia, he wasn't sticking to it. He seemed very happy at Harry's present distress. "Got rid of it for good."
"What have you done to her?" Harry whispered softly, despairingly. Immediately he imagined her broken body lying under the car, thrown callously in the bin, fed to the neighbours dog.
"Your stupid pet was so scared, it's never coming back." Dudley, though trying to be mean, gave Harry hope.
Hedwig's not dead, he thought, she's not dead. He was glad that she had escaped. He knew that she could take care of herself, and would be far better off by herself than staying here. Maybe she would go to the owlery at Hogwarts, and he would see her there.
The chores he had been assigned, basically doing every job in the house, were the same as they had been that summer, but they somehow seemed much harder to do. He hadn't been here for Christmas for four years, and doing all the work for the celebrations without any hope of taking part in them lowered his spirits. All the outdoor tasks, putting up the tree and lights and doing the garden, took place in the bitter cold and frequently in the rain, so he soon developed a serious cold.
Being fed nothing but what he could scrounge from the plates after meals, which wasn't much considering how the pigs ate, was definitely not helping his health either, and he soon found it hard to summon up the energy to do even the easiest of his chores. But he knew that he had to get through this. He counted down the days till he was going back to Hogwarts.
Dudley was being particularly vicious to him, and whenever his friends were due over Harry made sure to stay well out of the way. On the twenty first of December, Piers came round for the day for a pre-Christmas party. Harry of course still had chores. What Uncle Vernon would do if they weren't completed far outweighed being tormented by the boys, so he started polishing the banister on the landing.
His only warning was a whisper and a giggle from behind, then Harry went flying headfirst down the stairs. His head cracked painfully against the wall at the bottom, and as the world spun around him and his vision swam, he picked himself up, knowing it was better to hide weakness, and groped for his glasses. When he found them and tried to put them on he found the frames bent and the glass shattered. Dudley and Piers found this highly amusing and stood there laughing at him as he felt utterly hopeless. He would be unable to complete his chores if he was unable to see, not to mention that dodging Dudley would a lot harder.
He went outside into the icy cold rain where he knew they would not follow, even for the pleasure of tormenting him, and stayed out there, bruised, shivering and sneezing with his head pounding until Piers had left. Checking that Dudley was firmly ensconced in front of the TV, Harry sneaked in through the kitchen door, made his way up the stairs leaving a trail of drips and puddles behind him, and retrieved his wand from under the floorboard where it resided. He was just thankful that he hadn't left it in his trunk, for that had been locked up in the attic, and was entirely inaccessible. He had no choice but to use magic.
Pointing his wand at the glasses, Harry muttered a fixing charm, and sighed in relief as they straightened and the lenses reformed. He slid them on his face, almost allowing himself to relax.
Then he heard the loud flap of the letterbox downstairs. The postman had been already that morning. Which meant........
Harry ran down the stairs and grabbed the letter. On the back was a seal from the Ministry of Magic. His hands trembled as he opened it.
Dear Mister Potter, Unauthorised use of magic was detected at your address at 5:35pm. Please cease all casting immediately or you will be expelled from Hogwarts and subject to an official Ministry inquiry. Please address inquiries to The Ministry of Magic, Public Help Section. Thank You.
The trembling spread to the rest of his body. He could not use any more magic at all. Not if he wanted to go back to school, and he had to get back to Hogwarts, the life he had here wasn't worth living.
Suddenly the letter was snatched from his open hands by chubby grasping hands. Dudley. I'll be stunned if he can actually read, thought Harry, before self preservation instincts kicked in and he tried to grab it back from his cousin.
"Mum, Dad, come quick." yelled Dudley.
Time seemed to slow to Harry as he felt his doom approaching. He began to feel numb.
Petunia walked into the hallway, and stopped. Eyeing the puddles of water covering her perfect floor she exclaimed in horror.
"Harry! Harry you did this, didn't you? Clean it up at once you clumsily boy." said in her usual shrill, piercing voice.
Harry, whose throat had been tickling and his nose running from the change in temperature, sneezed. Loudly. Twice.
"Ugh, disgusting boy, spreading your germs around. How dare you try and give my Duddykins some horrible disease." she spat, then called "Vernon."
Harry had been frozen in place, but as his uncle approached he began to slowly back away.
"Look Vernon, look what the boy has done to the house. And he was trying to infect poor little Dudley."
'Poor little Dudley' smirked at Harry then shouted "Never mind that Mum, look Dad, Harry got a letter, it said that he was doing magic."
Harry suddenly realised that he was still holding his wand. This did not look good. His uncle swiftly skimmed the letter, then looked up scowling. Harry could not recall having ever seen him quite so pissed off. His whole face went bright purple. Then he exploded
"I've put up with your abnormality in this house long enough!" he practically screamed.
"But, Uncle Vernon, I was just trying to." Harry stammered, quaking as the bulk of his uncle loomed above him.
"Enough." Vernon roared. His fist made contact with Harry's head.
Harry felt the shock vibrate through him so hard that he heard his brains sloshing in his skull as he was thrown backwards and landed awkwardly on the floor.
"How dare you use magic in this house." Punctuated with a kick in the stomach, before Harry had time to roll himself into a ball. "You freak, you abomination, you useless waste of space." The rant went on and on, and Harry had accumulated many bruises by the end of it. He pleaded with his uncle to stop, but this just seemed to egg him on. He wasn't entirely sure that he would be able to walk ever again. His glasses had once again been broken, though he was not in a state to appreciate the irony of the fact.
He nearly lost consciousness, but was still aware as he was dragged to the cupboard under the stairs and tossed in.
"And there you will stay, bloody nuisance boy." were the last words he heard before succumbing to the darkness.
For the next couple of days Harry lay in his cupboard, sore and aching, and trying to think of anything but where he actually was. His wand had been snapped by his uncle. He could not save himself with magic even if it wouldn't have got him expelled. Though he wasn't entirely sure they would let him back into Hogwarts without a wand anyway. He would have to say he lost it, or sat on it, or it was eaten by an alligator, or something.
He was given no food at all and only let out of the dark cupboard to go to the toilet under his uncle's supervision twice a day, where he drank some water from the tap to try and ease his sore throat. He had the beginnings of a fever, and was finding it harder to focus. Though in the cupboard in his battered state, it was better to let his mind wander anyway.
Harry imagined whole scenarios of an alternate Christmas with his friends. He had long conversations aloud with Ron about quidditch and argued with Hermione about his studies. These were interrupted by banging on his cupboard door or Dudley jumping on the stairs to tell him to shut up.
His latest delusion was not a pleasant one. The whole of Slytherin was standing outside his cupboard, they could see through the door, and they were pointing and laughing mercilessly. Right at the front was Malfoy, who shouted various derogatory things about his parents, and how pathetic and useless he was. They were all shouting it now.
Then the door disappeared entirely and he was encircled by the jeering crowd. Snape stepped up to where he was sprawled.
"I knew that you would never amount to anything Potter. You are absolutely worthless, what could you possibly do to save the world from Voldemort when your own family is an enemy you cannot defeat. I pity those relying on you, I really do." he sneered.
Then there was Cedric. Harry did not look up to see him, but he could hear his voice. "I relied on you Harry. I trusted you. Who is going to want to take orders from you when doing so gets them killed. No one will ever trust you again." he accused.
Harry whimpered and clasped his arms over his head to try and block the words out. They were right about him though. What did he have to offer? But everyone was depending on him. Even if he did not fight the battle himself, the fact that he yet lived gave people hope. They could never know of his weaknesses or his life would be meaningless. He would have to carry on trying to live up to everyone else's expectations, to try and stop them all being so disappointed in him. Harry fell asleep crying.
Harry awoke gasping and suppressing screams as the aftershocks of experiencing crucio in his nightmares ran through him. The loud crash which had stirred him was followed by the thumping of feet upstairs and then raised voices.
Finally steps down the stairs, he could tell it was his uncle from the weight, though Dudley was fast catching up. The door to his cupboard was wrenched open. He was grabbed roughly by the back of his collar and towed along behind Vernon, earning the boy even more bruises as he bumped up the stairs, to Dudley's bedroom.
Though Harry was having trouble seeing, through the blur he made out that the window had been smashed and there was a strange object on the floor. The Dursleys were huddled by the door, and his uncle shoved Harry forward.
"Go on then, pick it up." he growled. "This came with your ruddy owl, she finally got hers."
As Harry neared it, the blob separated out into a parcel with the still form of Hedwig lying on it. Her neck was twisted right round. Harry cried out in loss, and a tear trickled down his check. He reached out and ran a finger over the soft feathers. He felt guilt flow through him. She had come back for him. She had died because of him, because of his relatives hatred for him. He was no longer surprised that they could do this to an innocent animal. This was all his fault.
"What's the parcel, damn idiot boy." prompted his uncle.
Knowing that retaliation was useless, Harry laid Hedwig aside gently and squinted at the tag.
To Harry: Hope your doing alright mate, haven't had any mail from you but Hedwig came to collect your present as usual. Think there's one of Mum's jumpers included. Don't open it till the morning. From Ron
It must be Christmas Eve, realised Harry, he had lost track of the days while in his cupboard, not really caring.
"It's just my Christmas present from Ron." he told his relatives.
His uncle appeared to think for a moment (how unnatural) then said "Is that one of the ones who was here last summer?"
"No." Harry replied quickly, too quickly.
His uncle's piggy eyes narrowed. "Throw it out of the window, off our property."
"Now, boy." There was no arguing with him in this mood. Harry hoped it wasn't too fragile, then maybe he could retrieve it in the morning. Then he remembered that he would be back in his cupboard, and all hope was lost.
Harry resignedly picked up the bundle, which was fairly heavy, and lobbed it out of the window. It came down on the road. And exploded. The Weasley twins must have put some tricks in it to entertain him, and they did not take well to the impact. The resulting boom was horribly noisy.
"You just woke up the whole neighbourhood, stupid boy. Petunia, close the curtains so they don't know it was from our house."
Vernon went quiet. "That was a bomb. Not enough for you to deform his tail and tongue you thought that you'd go a step further and try to kill our son. You murderer!" his voice had risen steadily.
Then the beating started. After a while Harry was kicked down the stairs into the hall. At some point his uncle had begun using everything he could get his hands on to hit Harry with. As he hit the boy with a lamp, the ceramic base and glass shade broke, and cut deeply into his body.
Pain wracked Harry from head to toe. He swore to himself that he would not scream, he would not scream, he would not. He couldn't stop himself from begging.
"Please, Uncle Vernon, please stop."
"Please don't hurt me."
And finally, as his breathing became erratic due to the pain in his chest, just "Please, please, please." whispered raggedly over and over again.
Vernon jumped on Harry's arm. Harry heard himself screaming just before he fainted.