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Cynics & Liars

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Harry was certain that his uncle had gone insane. It was the only explanation. All of the odd letters addressed to Harry must have sent the man off the deep end, so to speak.

 

He was sure, also, that his uncle Vernon was hiding something from him. Something big. Why else would he have such a strange reaction to the letters? Why else would he have taken the rest of them to some god-forsaken hut on a rock to hide from them?

 

The rest of his family, as they were, had fallen asleep. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were in the other room, and Harry could hear his uncle’s snored. His cousin, Dudley, was asleep next to him on the couch, while Harry was reduced to sleeping on the floor.

 

Well, he was trying to sleep, anyway. He had rather given up on it, considering the excitement of the day.

 

And as he looked over to his left, he saw that it was already 11:45.

 

Nearly midnight. Nearly his birthday.

 

The floor was nearly caked with dirt and dust, so Harry began to draw himself a birthday cake, with eleven candles.

 

He had never had a real birthday cake before. Or presents, or a party. Indeed, Harry had’t known when his birthday was until he was in school, and had the mandatory celebration with his classmates.

 

Harry had hated all of the attention. He was the sort of person who liked to stay in the shadows.

 

Whether this was natural, or something life with the Dursley’s had induced, Harry didn’t know. And he supposed that it didn’t really matter, in the end. It was what it was.

 

Harry James Potter had lived with the Dursley’s since he was a baby. He didn’t remember his parents, or the car accident that had taken their lives. He did remember a bright, green light, and a high pitched laugh, and a scream.

 

He had brought this up with his aunt, once, before he knew better.

 

“Aunt Petunia,” he had asked, coming to her while Vernon was at work and Dudley’s at a friends house. “Did my parents really die in a car crash? Only I remember a green light-“

 

“They died in a car crash, hit by a drunk driver! And don’t ask questions, you ungrateful brat!” she had snapped at him, accompanied by a slap on the back of the head.

 

Harry had never asked questions again, after that incident.

 

But he had been curious, of course. So, once he was old enough, Harry had started going to the public library, where he scoured old newspapers and obituaries, looking for any sign of James Potter or Lily Potter nee Evans.

 

But there was nothing. It was like his parents didn’t exist.

 

For a while, Harry had wondered if the Dursley’s had lied about his parent’s names. But why would they?

 

Harry had given up the search, eventually. But it had been worth it, since it had lead to him discovering the library.

 

It was a refuge from his horrible life with his relatives, a place where Dudley and his gang never followed him. And of course, the books. The books were like a portal to another world, and the library became his escape from life in more than one way.

 

But Harry couldn’t live in the library, of course. He came as often as he could, though he never, ever took books home. He didn’t like to think about what might happen if his uncle discovered them.

 

This, of course, left Harry rather bored at home. Sure, most of his time was taken up with chores, but when the Dursley’s didn’t have anything for him to do, or when he was being punished, he was locked in the cupboard under the stairs. By now, Harry knew that it wasn’t normal for him to be treated the way he was, but of course, there wasn’t much that he could do about it.

 

He had considered going to a teacher at school, but with the nasty rumors that the Dursley’s spread about him, not to mention his poor academic performance, none of the teachers liked him very much. Anyway, Harry didn’t have much trust in authority figures. The Dursley’s behavior had made sure of that.

 

11: 59 PM.

 

It was nearly his birthday.

 

As the second counted down on the digital watch, Harry thought about his perfect birthday wish.

 

He wished… that he could leave the Dursley’s forever. That he could make a friend. That he had some explanation for the odd things that happened to him. That someone would rescue him. That his life would get better.

 

“Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… Happy Birthday, Harry,” he whispered to himself.

 

Taking a breath, he blew out the candles he had drew in the dust.

 

Thump, thump, thump!

 

Looking around wildly, Harry realized that someone was pounding on the door. Self-preservation instincts kicking in, he stood, ducking behind the couch.

 

With a thud, the door fell to the ground.

 

“Hello! I’m looking for Harry Potter.”

 

The man, while rather huge, had a kind smile on his face, and Harry thought that you couldn’t get a person more different from his uncle.

 

Harry stood, brushing off the dirt.

 

“I’m Harry Potter,” he said, just as his uncle burst into the room, brandishing a rifle.

 

“Get out! This is breaking and entering! You will leave, sir!”

 

“Oh, shut up Dursley, you great lump,” the giant man said, grabbing the rifle and bending the barrel in half before tossing it away. “This don’t concern you.”

 

He turned to Harry. “Now, why haven’t you been answering your letters, Harry? Professor Dumbledore has been right worried, he has.”

 

“You’ve been sending my letters?” Harry asked, excited. “I never got one. They-“ he said, gesturing to the Dursley’s, “- wouldn’t give me one.”

 

“Wouldn’t give you your Hogwart’s letter! Blimey, that’s not right! Well, I’ve got one for you, here. Might be a bit wrinkled, but it’s all here.”

 

And the huge man gave him a parchment envelope, addressed to him.

 

“Sorry, but who are you? And what is Hogwarts?” Harry asked, fingering the letter as though it were magical.

 

“My name is Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. And don’t you know what Hogwarts is? Haven’t you ever wondered where you parent’s learned it all, Harry?”

 

“Sorry, but learned what?”

 

“Magic! You’re a wizard, Harry Potter.”