Petunia looked down at the letter in her hand. She really was hoping it wasn't going to arrive. "It's here." She entered the kitchen. "Owl delivered it too. How they expect to keep the magical world hidden when they send owls to muggle houses during the day I will never understand." She handed Harry the letter.
"Can't we ignore it?" Harry was sitting in his normal seat at the breakfast table. He laid the letter down. He didn't want to take a chance that something might be attached to the letter. After all, they knew what witches and wizards could do. They read the books Harry's parents had left behind. "They aren't exactly bright, we have seen that."
"It's a valid thought, Pet. We can ignore it. We have been ignoring that watcher he put on our street." Vernon was glossing over the newspaper. "Pet, can we send it back via muggle mail?" They had ignored all the people bowing to Harry when they saw him on the street.
"Oh, I know, let's write return to sender, address unknown." Dudley had seen it on the telly. "We could write dead on it."
"Just burn it." Harry would be willing to admit to being a bit of a pyro. "Dud, we have lessons in an hour. You ready to get a beat down?"
"In your dreams." Dudley retorted. The boys were working on getting their black belts in martial arts as well as taking kickboxing classes.
"What in the world?" Petunia had to force the front door opened. There were mounds of letters in the hall. She had been running errands while the boys were at one of their friend's house. They had picked up dinner on the way home.
"That old man is certifiable. May we burn them now?" Harry gave her the puppy dog eyes.
"Yes. Your Uncle will enjoy burning them too. Gather them up." She began to think of ways to send a message to that daffy headmaster.
"Hey Har, maybe we can make a pile of them and jump into them as we do with leaves." Dudley suggested. "Save the fire for when Dad arrives. You know he will want to see it."
"Vernon, what is that noise?" Petunia asked. They were at their hunting cabin in the woods and heard a loud banging noise.
Vernon rose out of bed and grabbed his rifle, loading it. Petunia pulled out her own handgun. He headed down the stairs with Petunia right behind him. They were going to go past the room the boys were sleeping in, only to find them loading their own rifles. "Good boys." He quietly said. He wasn't sure who was pounding on their door but it was too loud to be friendly.
The four of them made their way down the stairs and when the cabin door was blown in they opened fire on the huge man who tried to enter their cabin. The man screamed out in pain and took off. "Must have been one of them." Everyone else knew not to bother them on their hunting trips.
"They ruined Harry's birthday hunting trip." Dudley was very upset about it. This was a yearly tradition for each of the boys' birthdays during the summer.
"Well, the bright side is they might not try again." Harry hoped that they would get the message soon. It was getting annoying with all the owls and letters.
"Boys, go and get the tools. I will find a tarp. We need to put that door back up before we head back to bed." Vernon started giving orders. "Ruined my door. I am going to send them a bill. We spent hours crafting that."
"I will put on some hot chocolate. It's a bit nippy out." Petunia headed to the small kitchen area as the boys headed out to the tool shed. They had built the cabin so they knew where the tools were. It had been the family project for a few years. They had started out in tents, went to a camper, and finally their own cabin.
Petunia was outside, talking with a neighbor on the sidewalk. She was hearing about all the weird things that had been happening on the street while they were away. All the owls, people dressed weird, and strange sounds of cars backfiring. "We even had to call the police while you were away. They arrested a really old man with a long white beard. He was dressed in some freaky clothes and a woman who was his wife. They dressed like they were in the 1800s. They were trying to convince the police that they knew you."
"I wonder if they were committed?" Petunia hoped so. She wondered what a muggle doctor would think of wizards. She knew they would make sure the old man was medicated.
"I'm not sure but that cat lady seemed chummy with them." No one in the area trusted the cat lady. She was always collecting strange cats and had an unhealthy obsession with the Dursley family who avoid her at all costs.
"That is scary." Petunia took a sip from her tea mug, ok, ok, it was really Irish Coffee. She had a slight smile on her face. "Have the police increased their patrols?" Normally, the policed patrolled this area heavily. The police were always trying to find something on their family.
"Yes, but a few of the neighbors want to hire someone to walk around at night. Personally, I say we let your sister-in-law's dogs take care of those weirdos." Petunia liked that idea. She would mention it to Vernon and Marge.
"Aunt Petunia, phone." Harry yelled out the door. "Hi, Mrs. Meadows."
"Afternoon, Harry. Are you going to come over and fix my shed door for me?"
"Already did it this morning. It should be fine." Harry and Dudley perfected the boy next door image. The Dursley family was the picture of normal.
"You know, I don't know how you do it. Two boys, and so well raised, unlike that group of hooligans."
Petunia knew who she meant Piers Polkness and his rat friends. His little gang had tried to beat up Harry when he was six. She inwardly smirked, tried was the keyword. "I got very lucky. Vernon takes such an interest in their lives so that does help." Not to mention, the boys had a lot of aunts and uncles who watched out for them.
Harry opened the door, stared at the two men on their front steps. One was the old guy he heard his aunt describe to them, the other was a man who's sneer could curdle milk. Harry wanted to copy that look. "Aunt Petunia, door." He knew they were wizards and he had no interest in them.
"Who could be visiting at this hour?" Petunia came out of the kitchen. She was in the middle of preparing tomorrow's lunch for Vernon. She was wiping her hands on a dishtowel and froze. "Great. It's them." Sarcasm dripped from her voice.
"We aren't interested." Harry closed the door. He did enjoy the look of shock on the old guy's face and the hint of amusement in the younger one. Clearly, the old one wasn't used to being refused.
They were in the process of turning around when the bell rang again. "You know he is going to be annoying until he speaks to you. He is also going to try and force you to go to that school." Petunia wondered what it would take to get rid of the old coot.
Harry grinned. "Auntie, I have a wonderful idea. If they want me so much, how about I go and make them force me out? If I get expelled from there, no one will know in our world."
"It should work Pet, get them out of our hair. We don't need them interfering with our business either." Vernon stated from the sitting room. The bell rang again. "I will work a deal out with them."
Severus Snape wanted to laugh. He honestly had never seen a group of muggles get one over on the Headmaster. They had him over a barrel and they knew it. At first, he had been insulted having a door slammed in his face, he was a bit amused by it too. No one ever denied Albus anything. When Harry Potter, of all people, pulled the ultimate Slytherin move, he was glad he had been talked into this visit.
"So, you want me to go to this school? What's in it for me?" Harry asked. They had spent the last twenty minutes listening to Albus Dumbledore go on about the magical world, how important it was for him to learn to control his magic. He explained about accidental magic and how Harry needed to learn to control his.
"Well, your parents have arranged for your education. It's all paid for. They even provided a trust vault for you. I have the key here."
"Why do you have his key?" Vernon asked. "We haven't seen you since the night you dropped him off on the steps. You didn't even ring our bell to let us know. You haven't provided any funds for his needs." Not that Vernon wanted money for raising Harry but he should have been told. Money needs to be watched carefully. Invested in the right places to allow it to grow, to work for you, instead of you working for money.
"Yes, well, I was entrusted with the key. I will give it to Harry when he starts Hogwarts."
"If I didn't go to Hogwarts would you have given me my key or told me about my vault?" He wondered why he didn't mention who gave him the key.
"Vaults." Severus was enjoying this. Harry Potter certainly wasn't like his father. He could see Lily's quick thinking and intelligence.
Vernon glared. "I want a full accounting of his assets. If anything is missing, I will file a lawsuit." He already knew which lawyer he would use. Malfoy mentioned the lawyer to him when they were discussing some magical contracts. While Vernon wasn't magical, Marge was.
"I can assure you, everything is in order. If Harry comes to Hogwarts, I will keep managing his accounts, and his seats. When he comes of age, I can start to instruct him on what he needs to do. He is still a bit young to start those lessons now."
Severus knew his face betrayed the shock of that statement. "Mr. Dumbledore, you will have everything in my hands by tomorrow night. All the keys, all the accounting, all the information required for Harry to know or I will be speaking to someone in your government. What did James and Lily say the name of their bank was?" Vernon was furious. This old man was using his nephew's seats as his own voice. He was going to put a stop to that. He would have to speak to Marge about going to that bank and seeing what needed to be done.
"I don't remember but it's written down. I have their information in the safe." Petunia knew Vernon and the boys weren't going to mention Marge and why. What the old man didn't know was more protection for them.
"We will need to get it from the bank tomorrow." Vernon was already rescheduling his day. He would make a call to Marge tonight and together the family would visit that bank. He was going to demand answers and Dumbledore better hope nothing fishy was happening or he would be sleeping with the fishes.
"I will have everything sent over. Now, in regards to Harry's attendance." Dumbledore really didn't like how this was going but he needed Harry and he also needed to delay the Dursley's visit to Gringotts in the process.
"I don't want to go. I want to go to Smelting with Dudley." Harry eyed the old dude. He was desperate, it was clear on his face.
Severus saw something in the boy's face and knew he was working on something. He also realized the boy was no Gryffindor. There was no way he was going to follow any plan that Dumbledore was going to produce.
"You will get a complete magical education at Hogwarts. Connect with other young wizards and witches your own age. Learn how to wield your power."
"Not seeing the appeal." Harry replied. "I have a lot of friends here and when we go to Smelting, we can connect with others." Really that was the what he was trying to push about Hogwarts? What about academic skill? Classes? Programs? What made Hogwarts so great?
"Don't you want to learn magic? How to control it?" Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling away.
"I will tell you what, I will go to your school." Dumbledore's face light up. Harry wanted to snort, he really thought it was going to be that easy? "However, there are going to be a few things I require. I want to start this education concerning my family vaults now. I want to be able to return home every other weekend, family business. I want to learn about these wizards customs. I see in the list of course you offer, you have muggle studies, well, I want wizard studies since I don't know anything about being a wizard, their customs, or ways. I want to be able to keep up with my out of school activities."
"That is a bit much. I understand the desire to learn and we can work on that. However, every other weekend isn't possible." Dumbledore needed Harry to stay at Hogwarts as much as possible, he needed the boy to depend on him, to listen to his advice.
"Fine. Nice meeting you." Harry answered. "Dud, how about tomorrow we go shopping with Mrs. Meadows and Eddie?"
"Sure. Eddie mentioned his cousin wanted to come too. He is going into his second year so he will be able to tell us if we need more than what is on the school list." Dudley grinned. He knew what his cousin was doing. Ask for a lot and work your way to what you truly want out of a deal.
"Let me show you to the door. Please don't return. If you do, I will call the police for harassment." Petunia stood up.
"Mr. Potter, perhaps we can work out a deal." Dumbledore grasped at straws.
After a lot of back and forth, Harry got his way, except for every other weekend, it was one weekend a month. He got a wizard studies class for all incoming first-years and Vernon demands for everything related to the Potter estate was fulfilled.
Severus grinned. He hoped Dumbledore wasn't expecting the Potter boy to be in Gryffindor, the boy was pure Slytherin. There wasn't anything Gryffindor about the boy. He looked at the old man as they were walking back to Hogwarts. "Albus?"
"Sorry, was lost in thought." At Severus' questioning looked, Dumbledore sighed. "I was wondering if I made a mistake all those years ago. I am afraid Harry Potter isn't who I expected him to be."
Severus didn't comment. He knew Dumbledore, Minerva, and well, the whole wizarding world was expecting Harry Potter to be James Potter look-alike and their Savior. They were in for a huge surprise. It made Severus glad that he took an Oath to Harry Potter, not Dumbledore. He had a feeling he was going to be finding that aspect of the oath requirement something he was going be very grateful for. Dumbledore was revamping whatever plans he had made in regards to Harry Potter. He was actually looking forward to a Potter arriving at Hogwarts.