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Behind Closed Doors

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February 18, 1842

Dearest father and beloved mother,

I apologize for being unable to visit in so long, but I have fantastic news!

Today marks the end of our poverty! I shall visit tonight and inform you both of what has transpired then.

Fondest regards, your son,

Hadrian James Potter

Lily Potter smiled fondly as she read her son's letter. Then she returned to the stove. There wasn't much time before nightfall, and all she knew was that Harry was coming sometime then. Her husband James was working at the inn as a stable-hand, but he'd promised to be back shortly.

And Harry was out doing who knew what at who knew where.

And then the curtain that served as the doorway to their humble shack was parted open, and Lily's worries perished.

"Harry! My son!" She left her spoon in the pot and rushed to embrace her boy.

"Mum! I've missed you terribly!"

His green eyes were almost as bright as they had been when he'd left them, and he still hid that scar. His hair was still as wild and unkempt as ever, made even more so as Lily affectionately ruffled it.

"Is dad home?"

"Not yet. He will be soon. And then you can tell us all about your recent adventures," said Lily as she returned to the stove.

"I made your favorite for supper- cabbage soup and mashed potatoes."

Harry frowned. They'd been forced to eat cabbage and potatoes every night since he was five years of age, when they'd been robbed of their wealth. He had gotten used to it, of course, but that didn't mean he liked it.

He laughed dryly.

"Wonderful, mum," and brought out a parcel from his black cloak.

"Perhaps we could enjoy a gift from my master, as well."

His eyes twinkled merrily as Lily turned off the stove.

"That would be wonderful, dear. Now, could you set the table? Your father will be home any minute."

Harry did as he was asked and set the table. Though "table" is hardly an accurate word for it. What they used as a table was nothing more than a slab of wood supported by a chair that'd lost its upper-left and lower-right legs. And what they'd used for dishes were cracked and chipped clay things, barely useable at all. And they had nothing in the way of eating utensils, and so resorted to dining with their hands.

Oftentimes, this caused the Potter family to grieve- albeit momentarily- the loss of their fortune to the Riddle family.

But before either Harry or Lily could start talking of that, the curtain opened again, and Harry found himself in a strong hold.

"Harry, my boy! How long has it been? A year? You've certainly grown- 16 now!"

Harry turned to return his father's embrace.

"Dad! Don't be silly! It's only been a couple of weeks! And putting that aside, I have wonderful news!"

Mr. and Mrs. Potter eyed their son- their darling son- with curiosity.

"Mum. Dad. I have a job now. I started last week. Now, we won't go hungry anymore! We can finally live as normal people ought!"

His green eyes were alight with pride, happiness, and excitement, and Lily and James were beaming.

"Oh Harry! That's wonderful!" Lily exclaimed.

"Positively fantastic! But, do tell, for whom are you working for?"

At his father's question, Harry's smile grew somber.

"….I am a servant to Lord Tom Marvolo Riddle and his brother Voldemort Thomas Riddle."

Of course, Harry had expected the shocked gasps and the stunned silence that followed. But he hadn't expected his parents to look so…happy.

"Oh Harry, this is wonderful!"

"Yes! An opportunity to earn back our family fortune!"

And Harry smiled, as that is exactly what he'd intended, and began unwrapping the parcel Tom had given him before his departure.

Within was a bottle of fine red wine and an assortment of sweets- many of which he recalled seeing in the expensive shops surrounding the Riddle manor.

Lily went to the storage cupboard and brought out three wineglasses- the things she'd absolutely refused to part with, since they were gifts from her beloved sister.

James poured the wine- carefully, sparingly, so as not to waste even a single drop- and Harry rationed out the food, using the worn cooking spoon that had been left in the pot.

And so, the Potter family ate and drank, and enjoyed the sweets soon after, all the while thanking their good fortune.