The bitter night air bites at the small girl's cheeks, as she slowly crawls back into the small damp space. Tension floods her body with paralyse every time the wonky floorboards creak. Her eyes are trained on her brother, cautious incase he awakens. Slowly, she lowers herself to the floor, unable to hide the winces as she lays down. Her gaze finds her brother again, her silver lining of life, and she reminds herself of her promise to never let him see and to always protect him. He wouldn't see the bruises, wouldn't know of the deal. He'd smile and enjoy his life (as much as is possible when you're being raised by cruel relatives). He'd get to be a child, and she'd be the adult making the decisions. Ellice Potter accepted that reality, she embraces that reality.
'He looks so innocent,' She thinks with a sigh. The landing light trickles through the slots in the door, painting a picture of dancing pale light across his face. A soft smile spreads across her lips. She gently moves his hair out of his eyes, as a sigh escapes her lips.
"I love you, Harry." Ellice whispers into the chilled night air, before uneasily she calapses into the darkness of sleep.
Blinking her eyes open, Ellice suppresses a groan due to the ungodly hour. Slowly, she raises herself to lean on her elbow, watching Harry's still sleeping form. She winces as she attempts to stretch in the limitted space; pain seems to always feel worse on the morning after. Her eyes flicker across Harry's sleeping form. Her head pounds, and the light burns.
'Well, at least everything is peaceful-'
"Up! Get up! Now!" Ellice hasn't even finished the thought when the shrill voice of Petunia ruins the reverie.
'Well, screw that thought.' She thinks bitterly at the woman.
Harry jolts awake, startled into sitting position. Ellice winces when she hears the crash of his head colliding with the top of the cupboard.
'That woman's a stupid little bitch' Ellice glares at the cupboard door as she thinks.
"Up!" Petunia screaches again, eliciting a groan from both children's mouths.
'Aunt Petunia has the most lovely voice.' Ellice runs her thoughts as a sarcastic dialogue in her head.
Their Aunt screeches something else. As per usual Ellice doesn't listen. Thankfully, Harry replies to whatever it was.
As Ellice is already dressed (in the ugliest clothes on earth, she'd swear) she walks out and starts making pancakes. Petunia and Harry had a short conversation (which Ellice paid minimal attention) until she heard Petunia squeal, "I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."
"Fuck!" The cuss slips out of Ellice's mouth loudly.
Petunia turns her beady glare on her niece. "What did you say?" Her voice is shrill and filled with shards of ice. Subconsciously, the child flinches.
"Nothing, nothing." She mutters, eyes trained to the floor. 'I'll so pay for that later.' Echoes in her mind.
Ellice zones out for a long time. If she doesn't talk she tends to get in less trouble; anyway, she doesn't need to listen to Dudley being a spoilt brat.
After a while, she hears Petunia's grating voice huff, "She can't take them." She nods in the twins direction, so, it was safe for Ellice to assume she's talking about them and Mrs Figg, even if she did miss the start of the conversation. The Dursleys argue about where they're going for a while- at some point Dudley started fake crying, and his mother began to fuss over him. Ellice attempts to ignore it all, until the moment the door bell rings. Her head snaps up. A moment later Piers Polkiss, Dudley's best friend, and his mother walk in.
After a while, it was decide that the twins would go to the zoo with them. Ellice wasn't that bothered, but Harry's excitement and happiness made her smile.
'I love my brother.' She hums to herself.
Soon, she tunes out the talking for the rest of the journey.
After lunch they visited the reptile house. Honestly, Ellice had a pretty good day hanging around with her brother. When they arrived, Dudley quickly found the largest snake in the place, the poor thing was trying to sleep.
Dudley stands with his nose pressed against the glass. "Make it move," he whines childishly at his father. Vernon taps on the glass, but the snake doesn't budge. "Do it again," Dudley orders. So, Vernon does as his son bid, but the snake just snoozed on.
"This is boring," Dudley moans as he moves on.
Harry and Ellice move in front of the tank. That is when something weird happens; the snake raised it's head and winks at them. It winks at them! Harry stares at it, whilst, Ellice looks to see if anyone was watching.
'Thank God they aren't.' She thinks silently to herself. As she looks back, the snake is giving a look that quite plainly states: 'I get that all the time.'
She watches curiously and silently, as Harry talks to the snake, wild theories running through her head. She's shaken from her thoughts quite abruptly, by Piers hollering for Dudley and Uncle Vernon.
Suddenly, she finds herself sprawled across the floor with Harry landing on top of her. She scowls at Dudley; she wasn't sure how but she knew it was his fault.
'Stupid git!' She thinks viciously.
Harry scrambles off of her and gasps; the glass front of the boa constrictor's tank had vanished. The snake slithers out rapidly, thanking them as it leaves.
Ellice was tuning out the chaos whilst they drove home until she heard Piers say calmly, "Harry was talking to it, weren't you, Harry?" She scowls harshly at the scrawny boy.
Vernon waits until Piers is safely out of the house before angrily saying to Harry, "Go- cupboard- stay- no meals,"
He drags Ellice down to the basement, vice like grip on her upper arm- pressing painfully on previous wounds.
She feels every blow as he beats her. Fifty punches to the stomach and twenty lashes to her back with the buckle side of his belt. She could feel the slippery, sticky blood slowly drip down her back. He leaves Ellice to clean herself up.
The elder twin crawls up to the cupboard, again- her usual routine becoming tiresome. When she gets there, Harry is already asleep. She gently kisses his cheek, before laying on her front, and falling into an uneasy sleep.
The pre-teen twins spent as much time as possible out of the house in the holidays. And, on this eventful day, the kitchen stunk. Petunia had decided, that instead of buying the new school uniforms for the children, she would simply dye some old clothes; in the mean time, Vernon grumpily made Harry get the post.
Ellice flinches back slightly as Harry waves something in front of her face.
'A letter for me? It's too good to be true.' She thinks critically.
And, sadly, she was right, because now she and Harry are laying on a hut floor, the night before their eleventh birthday, Dudley snoring obscenely, on the sofa next then.
Vernon and Petunia were against the twins seeing their letter, which caused them to act strange (although, in Ellice's opinion, they usually act quite peculiar). The letters, however, wished to be read, and more, and more kept coming- through the window, under the door, they even followed the family as Vernon sped them around the country. The letters wouldn't leave. That is what led Vernon to deposit the family on a small house, and an equally small rock, in the middle of the sea. The storm was not helping Ellice's positivity.
Now, here the twins are. Smiles on their faces, they whisper a countdown.
One minute to go and they'll be eleven. Thirty seconds... twenty... ten - nine - three - two - one-
The whole shack shivered as the twins bolted upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside knocking to come in. BOOM. The stranger knocks again, rattling the entire door. Dudley jerks awake. "Where's the cannon?" He idiotically asks.
Vernon comes in after an extra large bang- which shook not only the door, but the frame as well. Vernon's knuckles glisten white, as he grips tightly to a rifle. Ellice's nose crinkles as she her thoughts wonder to her detestation of guns.
"Who's there?" Vernon shouts. "I warn you - I'm armed!"
There was a pause. Then-
The door swings off it's hinges. A giant man is standing in the doorway, casting a shadow from the dulled moon's beams. He turns to face the family.
"Couldn't make us a cup o' tea, could yeh? It's not been an easy journey-" That was how they met Hagrid: keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; which Harry and Ellice would be attending- or, at least, they would be if Vernon wasn't a so ignorant and pompous. The whaling man was unyielding, though; he was not letting them both go.
Eventually, after a lot of tedious arguments, and revelations about who their family really is, Ellice convinces everyone that she would stay home, and Harry would go to Hogwarts. Hagrid was far from impressed, but even he couldn't argue with the stubbornness that is Vernon Dursley. Harry, also, wasn't keen on the idea of Ellice staying, but knew better than to cross his sister once her mind is made up. For Ellice, well, as long as her brother is free and away from their 'family', Ellice would endure whatever was thrown at her. At last, Hagrid announced he'd take Harry shopping in the morning, before everyone fell into a fitful sleep.
Harry was gone by the time Ellice woke up the next day, and for a moment she felt lost, unsure what to do without her twin by her side. Apparently, she was taking too long to leave, because Petunia took it upon herself to drag Ellice out of the hut by the ear, digging her nails in far enough to draw blood.
By that afternoon the family was home to Privet Drive; a smiling Harry returned from London soon after. Time flew quickly, until the inevitable day of Harry's departure. After dropping him off, and returning from the hospital for Dudley, the group was home again.
For Ellice, school started a week later. Her first day at St Agnes Reform School was as hopeless as she'd feared. She had managed to hide within the crowds, and avoid attention, relishing in her invisibility for three periods; but, it didn't last. A group of Year 10 girls had made it their job to make Ellice's school life into a living hell. But, still, she persevered, sheer stubbornness getting her through each day. On the plus side she had one friend, Georgia, and the two became thick as thieves.
She would take school over her home life any day, though. For the Dursleys seemed to only gain in malice as the days wearily moved on. Ellice attempted to avoid the house as much as possible; doing housework, or babysitting for bigoted adults, she avoided the Dursleys for hours on end, while making money at the same time. She'd become very good at hiding money on her person, never daring to leave it at the house where the Dursleys could find it.
It was Christmas that gave her a reprieve from the monotonous torment she was living. It wasn't the holiday itself that held such a reprieve, for the Dursleys only endeavoured to be more cruel. No, it was a heavy letter, made from parchment, carried by a snow white owl. A smile softly ghosted her lips, as she read her brother's detailed letter of the passed few months. She understood when he explained he wasn't coming back for the holidays (she wouldn't either), and a lone tear dropped on the ink, causing a small smudge, as she read of how much Harry said he missed her. Attached the the parchment was a beautiful quill, made from an auburn feather of a red kite- the letter, also, detailed that he had a pot of ink to give her too. Ellice's eyes watered at the Christmas gift, the first kind present (in her memory) that she'd ever been given. Quickly she began to etch a letter to her brother, keeping it upbeat, only saddening when she informs him how much she misses him. Giving Hedwig the note, Ellice also attaches a small bag. Inside the bag rests Harry's Christmas present. A black string necklace with a circular wooden pendant on it. Meticulous scratched and carved into the wood was a sun and a moon, for the Harry had always been the sun, and Ellice the moon. She knew he'd understand. She gave the owl one last scratch on the head before allowing her to take flight. Ellice slept peacefully that night.
It felt, to Ellice, like an eternity before the school year drew to a close, and Harry finally returned.
When he arrived back Ellice attacked him with a hug, the beaming smile never leaving her face. He told her about his adventures of the year (Ellice felt more than mild annoyance at the headteacher for students in his care to be in such grave danger), as they sat in his new room. If it weren't for Petunia, Ellice would have spent the night there. Both twins found it strange and unsettling to be in the same house but not the same room.
Each twin stuck to the other's side throughout the whole summer, too vividly aware they would be separated again soon. Georgia understood Ellice's need to be with her brother, as her own was back from the army for the summer. Harry was saddened (and Ellice was annoyed) by the lack of communication his friends had sent. But the house elf that arrived at Privet Drive was not a welcomed sight in Ellice's eyes, more like a deadly one. The cake, the howler, and the inevitable punishment Ellice got were not worth Dobby's arrival. The bars that graced Harry's window were not a welcomed sight, the bolts that kept the twins apart was an even less welcomed one. So, Ellice wasn't even aware Harry was gone until Vernon woke her with a kick in the side the next morning. Shortly after, which helped calm her tense nerves, she gained a letter from Harry, apologising for disappearing, and reassuring her he was in fact fine.
With school beginning soon, and the Dursleys becoming reckless, Petunia introduced Ellice to concealer (to avoid any unwanted quetioning). School was as it always was, and home life continued on, the only difference for Ellice was that her own mind seemed to be against her, too, and it somehow made everything worse. Georgia struggled alongside her, and the two girls depended upon each other to get through.
It was in the new year when a boy outside school said she looked stressed, and after offered her a cigarette; and, after a chocking fit, she became aware that she rather enjoyed the slow burning sensation it gave her. Within a week she'd found an off licence store that didn't ID, and the constant stream of cigarettes became a knew habit, her and Georgia shared. Through the year she seemed to become more reckless, and gain more habits- the most prominent being her lack of attendance to school, instead she worked on gaining money.
When Harry came home she put the cigarettes away, or, well, away in the loosest sense possible. She kept several packets of tobacco, filters, papers, and lighters on her person, opting only to smoke where her brother couldn't see, and inevitably worry. Georgia and Ellice said goodbye again, knowing neither would be free that break, although they would always write.
He regaled her on his exploits of the year, and her worry for him only grew as getting into life threatening situations seemed to be becoming annual occurrences.
As with the previous year they barely left each others sides. The twins were again united.