The Spring of 1994 was wet, which Harry was grateful for. The earth was softened from a light drizzle just as the sun started peaking it's head up over the trees on the hill. It was easier to dig with his fingers and good to pat down on the new pansies Aunt Petunia wanted planted, something Harry was grateful for. The Neighborhood garden contest was coming up and Aunt Petunia has never lost yet. More like he's never lost. The garden has always been Harry's domain. Something that Aunt Petunia boasted to the neighbors was her talent. Harry honestly didn't care one way or the other. So long as it kept Dudley from chasing him or kicking his knees out from under him, and Vernon from beating him senseless with a belt. Aunt Petunia wouldn't have them interfere with Harry's work. He had to make it perfect. Harry doesn't know what a second place ribbon would get him, and he was in no rush to find out.
The early morning or late at night waere the best times for planting and watering. It was the natural time of rest for all of the species of plants gathered and fenced in by little white lattice sections. But, to Harry, it was also an escape.
Ron and Hermione hadn't replied back. They hadn't replied back since his first year at Hogwarts. But he still tried. What really hurt was Sirius' silence. He'd been looking forward to sharing correspondence with his, on the run, Godfather as soon as he'd escaped on Buckbeak. His bridge to his father, his past, and his adventures. He could understand if he were still on the run, but the twins had whispered he was in a safehouse just as he'd gotten off of the train. A safe location. It made the little ball of depression that'd been germinating in his chest sprout and blossom.
And these past few nights he'd been having dreams. He hardly remembered them.
But they scared him.
The Summer of 1994 was normal, mild one day hot the next.
The dreams began to happen far more frequently. And soon began to leave their marks on him. The bags under his eyes were getting darker and bulkier by the day. But they were still hard to remember, like he was waking up himself.
His body hadn't had legs, he remembered that. He would slither on the harsh grain of an old house floor. The wood hadn't been treated with a good layer of wax for many years, sometimes there'd be an uncomfortable sensation of a splinter or two poking his belly but it'd be gone the next twist of his body.
He remembered a voice, old and young, hoarse and new. But always tired and frayed with an almost hiss-like quality. It... it did things to him. As annoying and terrifying as these dreams were, most times he'd wake with morning wood tenting his sheets. He was worried he'd have to start doing laundry more frequently now because of it, but he could explain it away to the Dursley's that he didn't want to offend their noses. He was doing all of the outside chores now that it was summer. So they couldn't exactly fault him for B.O.
But the part of his dreams that made them, otherwise, unpleasant, was the hand.The gnarled little hand that was the size of a toddlers but aged like a mummy, and it pet him. It was creepy.
But something had changed. Something that made Harry think that these were more than just freaky dreams.
The other night, or this morning rather, Wormtail had been present. He'd turned from the petting hand and hissed at an intruder. The rat animagus himself. Peter had instantly shrieked in the girliest voice he'd ever heard. It made the voice laugh and it made Harry's chest buzz with amusement.
So when Harry tucked his chin under the thin cotton sheet he'd been apprehensive, worried, and oddly uncomfortable with falling asleep. But he did.
And when he awoke he didn't know what to think.
Because everything had happened the same way, only Wormtail had shouted something. And that something was-