The Dursleys were despicable people, Natalie would proclaim without hesitation if anyone was to ask her. She had been in their home only for a few hours but she could already tell that she would never get along with them.
Knowing there was no way of escaping her fate, Natalie had settled into following the script of books from her childhood before she could really decide what to do about her unfortunate predicament. For the time being at least. Unfortunately for her, that also meant going along with who young Harry Potter was supposed to be at that point in time – that was, being practically a slave in the Dursleys' home. Well, maybe she was exaggerating but even she – who absolutely abhorred children – would never go so far as to force a young ten years old child into making her breakfast. Yet in the Dursley household it would seem to be an everyday occurrence to have young Harry Potter making them breakfast.
Natalie was absolutely repulsed by those people. And well, she was in a book for young children; her life was literally turned into one of fiction. However, Natalie was no pushover and those people were starting to be too much even for her. She hated self-insert stories and Harper had known that, so forcing her to live out a life as a self-insert was beyond insulting. However, her friend most likely expected her to completely follow the script and end up doing what all Self-Inserts did: save the world, fall in love and all that crap. After all, what else could she do as the protagonist?
(And she was pretty sure the only way for her to go back to her own world would be by completing the story since it was Harper who was concerned.)
Well, not on her watch.
The first day of her arrival, Natalie spent her time thinking, really thinking about her predicament. Harper, while a bit crazy – as proven by her sending her very own best friend in a fictional world in a fit of childish temper tantrum – was not a bad person. She might be angry at Natalie but she would never make it so that Natalie actually got really hurt or worst. Ultimately, whatever would happen, she was most likely to survive. So at least that little tit bit was taken care of.
Second, Natalie was trapped there for the moment until she fulfilled whatever condition Harper had placed when cursing her in this world (Natalie was alarmingly enough becoming used to her crazy best friend's antics. Sigh.) Knowing Harper, the condition would be that she either accepted her view on Self-Inserts – which, no way – or that Natalie reached the end of the story. In other words, she would say she had about seven years to waste in this world before she could go back home. (Seriously, Harper was so predictable sometimes. Except if it went on until Harry Potter had children. That… would be a problem.)
But, knowing her, there was another way to also go back home quicker and that was through doing absolutely nothing. She was supposed to be Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One. As such, she was supposed to go and beat the freaking Dark Lord. Yep, no way was Natalie doing that. Best way to get home would be to be the most boring Self-Insert in the world until Harper herself got bored and sent her home. She would pout and sulk for a while but she would have to do it eventually so…
She could run away but there was also the possibility that someone would come to find her and that would put her in the spotlight. So no, she would go to Hogwarts as was expected and keep her head down. Granted, her decision was also influenced by the fact that she was also curious about the castle and magic. Who would not be? It was Hogwarts after all; every child's dream come true! All she would have to do would be to make sure she did not get unnecessarily hurt. No harm no foul.
And so, she could use this opportunity as an unexpected vacation before going back to her usual life of adulthood and unavoidable responsibility.
That still did not make dealing with the Dursleys any better though.
They were the worst sort of people Natalie had ever met. They were arrogant, posturing and their attitude towards their supposed nephew/cousin was frankly despicable. Vernon was a big man who ate and behaved like a pig, flattering his wife and son while continuously insulting Natalie. (She swore if he so much as lifted a finger on her she was out of there. Insults she could do with, it was not unlike her mother's usual disapproving nagging to her life choices but physical abuse was something else entirely that she was in no way going to tolerate.)
Petunia was a screeching banshee with an attitude that grated on Natalie's nerves, who spent her time simpering and fussing over her son. And Dudley was a combination of his parents, a pig and a sorry excuse of a human being who was more spoilt than she had ever been (which said something since she had been particularly spoilt by her father whenever he came to visit during her childhood and teen years.)
Honestly, Natalie was practically a saint because of all the patience she had to execute due to those three. Thankfully, she continuously thought to herself, they were only fictional characters so she would not have to deal with them ever again after she got back home.
It was already the summer of the year 1991 when she appeared in this world, right before the beginning of the story though apparently she had missed the famous trip to the zoo. Go figure. She was still expected to live in the cupboard under the stairs so the Hogwarts letter most likely had not come yet (and was that not just disgusting! It was so dusty and cramped. Thankfully Harry Potter was a small child so she was not altogether too uncomfortable).
However, she was also not expected to go to primary school so at least there was that. She did not know how she would have reacted otherwise; she had no idea what Harry Potter was like personality-wise and by his relatives' reactions to Natalie, he was most likely not like her. Going to school after a sudden personality change would be far too suspicious. Fortunately, for the Dursleys, though they noticed that she was somehow different, they did not react more than increasing muttered 'freak' and added avoidance which suited her just fine.
Harry Potter's relationship with his relatives was simply weird at times. While the Dursleys clearly disliked him and tended to bully him, they also seemed oddly apprehensive of his every move. And that was more subconsciously than not. They avoided touching him as much as possibly except Dudley always trying to get a rise out of him but that was more childish and infantile really.
Either way, Natalie could tolerate these living conditions for the time being.
The days went by slowly. Natalie spent her time doing chores that were not completely unpleasant – gardening, cooking and so on. While despicable of the Dursleys having a young child do all these in their own house, the chores served to keep her occupied since there was not much else she could do during the day.
Then finally things started to move forward. One morning, a certain letter came with the morning post and Natalie could not have felt more pleased.
Finally the monotony of such simple routines was going to change.
Of course, since the aim was to go to Hogwarts and she already knew that there was no way she would not actually go, she simply let the script write itself. She did not interfere when the letter came and Vernon ripped it apart. At least she finally got a room for herself. Not that it was much better than the cupboard, what with the thin mattress on the old bed and the broken toys littering the place but at least it was slightly bigger than the cupboard. Less cramped at the very least.
The letters kept appearing, significantly more each day whatever Vernon or Petunia might do. Natalie simply kept her distance and watched, thoroughly amused as the two adults tried to make sure that she did not get her hands on any while Dudley attempted to get his piggy little fingers on them. The Dursleys got more harassed each day until finally Vernon could not keep up with the mass of letters appearing in their home.
(A part of her wondered what the adults of Hogwarts were thinking, sending outrageous number of letters like this. While amusing, it was also guaranteed to get on the Dursleys' nerves more. And if they had been another family who did not already know of magic, they would most likely have already felt some degree of disgust for the magical world. If it had been her, she would not have sent her child to a school that preferred harassing someone in their home instead of simply sending an official from the school to see about the problem.)
Vernon hurried them to the car one morning, looking more agitated as he tried to escape the letters coming at them. Honestly, even though Natalie did not like the Dursleys, she could still feel some pity for them having to put their lives on hold because strange letters kept appearing in their house. While they were not innocent in any way and were keeping Natalie from the letters – while lead to this whole nonsensical scenario – they still had their lives disrupted because magical adults could not bother to simply do their job right and go see what the problem was with a child not getting their letter. Instead they preferred wasting more by sending outrageous numbers of letter at them.
When she had read the books back during her childhood, she had not really cared about this scene beyond general amusement and sadistic glee at the horrid family's predicament. However, right now as an adult in her own right, she could not help but feel that this was all beyond ridiculous. The problem could have been solved so simply really. It was no wonder the Dursleys hated the magical world if that was the way their lives were treated.
Well, either, way, beyond this absentminded observation, Natalie did not much care. After all this was all fiction anyway. Real life would have been something else. It was not fiction tended to be particularly logical.
Finding herself in a little shack with the Dursleys, in the middle of a bad storm and surrounded by turbulent water was not exactly pleasant though. Only the thought that all this nonsense was coming to an end kept her from screaming her head off in frustration.
And then Hagrid arrived.
Hagrid was… well, in one word, big. And he was everything Natalie had expected after reading the books. Yet, she also could not help but wonder why on earth the original Harry Potter had been so attached to the half-giant man. Well, he was nice enough, she supposed, but far too emotional for her liking. And touchy. Natalie hated when people just touched her without permission and that was exactly what Hagrid did after confirming that she was 'Harry Potter'. He went and gave her a hug, one that was really uncomfortable since he literally picked her up and squeezed her hard in his bulky arms.
Alright, fine, she might be slightly unfair with her assessment of the man. He did genuinely like her, though it had more to do with the fact that he had known 'her' parents and had held 'her' as a baby. Natalie had first thought that she would like him when he would eventually appear but she came to realise that while Hagrid was nice and seemed not to have a malicious bone in his body, he was also very stupid. Very stupid. He was a simple man with a simple way of thinking.
And if there was one thing Natalie detested more than anything, it was stupidity. She held no patience for unintelligent people thought it was not really their fault. She never boasted being particularly saintly.
One advantage of Hagrid being, well, Hagrid was the fact that he was easily misled. He never thought that innocent, little 'Harry Potter' could be anything but like his noble, perfect parents. Thus, Natalie played on this with ease and he never doubted that Natalie really did not know anything about his parents or the Wizarding world, or even who 'Harry Potter' was supposed to be like.
(Honestly, it was almost more work than she would care to put to blend in in a stupid fictional world of all things. But well, if she was going to be stuck there, she was going to enjoy it. That meant, she would actually get to play around with the magic. Who cared about everyone else? They were characters in a book – unimportant in the grand scheme of things.)
And so, Hagrid, after meeting innocent, little 'Harry Potter', took Natalie to finally discover the Wizarding World.
She could not wait.
The trip to the Wizarding World was well… something. It definitely left an impression.
First, of course, it started with entering the Leaky Cauldron where of course Hagrid had to announce their arrival. Loudly. They wasted a long time because of rest of the pub wanted to greet great little Harry Potter, the freaking Boy-Who-bloody-Lived.
Natalie was not happy. No, Natalie was very grumpy by the time they made their way to the back and to the brick wall leading to Diagon Alley.
She tried her best to keep the scowl from her face which was actually easy since she had another… issue to think about. In the pub, much like in the book, Hagrid introduced her to a certain Professor with a turban. She needed to deal with this before it became a problem; after all if she was to stay seven years in a bloody book, she was going to enjoy it and not get dragged in a war that had nothing to do with her.
A plan slowly constructed itself in her mind and… she grinned. Well, this was all fiction; she could do whatever the hell she wanted.