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Perfectly Abnormal

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Harry Potter of Number Four, Privet Drive, was proud to say that he was perfectly abnormal, thank you very much.

Or at least that's what his Uncle Vernon said, and as far as Harry was concerned, anything Uncle Vernon said was utter rubbish, unless proved otherwise. There had been a time when he point blank refused to believe that the earth was round, because he'd learned it from Uncle Vernon. It wasn't until his teacher mentioned it in school one day that he realized that Uncle Vernon, as idiotic as he may seem, could from time to time be right about some things.

But Harry was fine with Uncle Vernon calling him abnormal. This was mostly because Uncle Vernon grouped himself, his wife Petunia, and his fat son Dudley in the 'normal' group, and Harry assumed that if they were what was considered normal, he'd stick with abnormal...thank you very much.

So Harry Potter was a perfectly abnormal eight year old boy.

On the particular Saturday morning that our story starts, young Harry was laying in his cupboard, waiting for Aunt Petunia to unlock it and let him out for breakfast. As he stared up at the slanted ceiling, he ran through his plans for the day. A small smile formed on his face, which he quickly stifled as the lock slid open. It wouldn't do for Aunt Petunia to be suspicious.

"Up!" Aunt Petunia screeched. "Get up and make breakfast now!"

Harry rolled his eyes up at his ceiling and started pulling on his overlarge clothing. A spider crawled down his shirt and he cupped it carefully in his hand, which he hid behind his back as he stepped out into the hall and headed toward the kitchen.

"Well, don't just stand there," Aunt Petunia said, frowning down at him. "Finish breakfast already."

Harry took up his position in front of the stove and stirred the kippers. It looked like they were having pancakes that morning. Perfect.

Harry hid a small smile as he dropped the spider into the pancake batter and stirred it in. That ought to add a little extra flavor to the mix.

Soon breakfast was ready and the table was set. As usual, Harry ate very little, but somehow, he never minded.

"Petunia," Uncle Vernon said as he took a large bite of his pancake. "These pancakes taste different. Did you add something?"

Petunia frowned. "Well, there is some cinnamon in there, but I always add that." She took a bite of her own and chewed thoughtfully. "I suppose there is a bit of an odd taste."

"It's not bad though," Vernon assured her. "Not bad at all."

Harry had to leave the kitchen at this point. As he passed through the living room, he noticed the telly was blaring. Dudley must be awake already.

Harry started as he heard the toilet down the hall flush. Grabbing the remote, he changed it to the History Channel and stuffed the remote between the cushions. Then he hurried out of the room and headed back to the kitchen.

"Boy," Uncle Vernon said gruffly, pushing his plate away and standing. "Get the dishes done. And when you're done with that, the lawn needs mowing and the hedges need trimming."

Harry nodded and started clearing the table. Aunt Petunia disappeared into the laundry room, and Uncle Vernon joined Dudley in the living room on his frantic search for the remote.

Harry sighed and turned on the tap. He picked up the soap bottle, and with a furtive glance at the laundry room door, squeezed half of it into the sink.

After about ten minutes of scrubbing pots and pans, he dropped a plate on the floor.

"Oops," he muttered softly. "Clumsy, Harry."

In a few minutes, all traces of the broken dish had vanished into the bin.

Five minutes and three broken dishes later, Harry turned off the tap and dried his hands on a towel. He scratched his head thoughtfully and went out the backdoor.

"Boy!" Aunt Petunia called.

Harry rolled his eyes and went back inside.

"When this laundry is done, I want you to fold it all and put it away, do you understand me?"

"Yes ma'am," Harry said dutifully, eyeing the colors basket.

Aunt Petunia sniffed at him and joined Dudley and Uncle Vernon in the living room.

Harry eyed the washing machine. About twenty minutes left until Aunt Petunia would put it in the dryer.

He snatched a red sock from the basket and tossed it in with the white clothing in the washer, then headed out to the shed.

***

Later, after he'd finished mowing the lawn, (accidentally running over a few of Aunt Petunia's flowers) and trimmed the hedges, Harry stepped into the front room and looked around. After carefully re-tilting a picture of Dudley that Aunt Petunia insisted on fixing every time she passed through, he went into the bathroom and switched the labels on the shampoo bottles again. He had to do it every time they bought new ones.

He thought he might have missed the outcry from his red sock in the white laundry stunt, but fortunately, Aunt Petunia was still complaining about it.

"-swear I didn't put that sock in there. After the last time that happened, I specifically checked for any colored clothing before I loaded it."

"Well, dear, maybe you just overlooked it," Uncle Vernon said, taking a sip of tea. "You know how Dudley is sometimes. He may have stuck it in his trouser pockets."

"Yes, I suppose that's possible. Why does he do that, I wonder?"

"I don't know," Uncle Vernon said, "Maybe I should give him a talking to."

"Perhaps," Aunt Petunia said, marking her place in the book she was reading and setting it down. Vernon looked up at her and raised an eyebrow. She merely looked at him and said, "No time like the present."

Uncle Vernon sighed and abruptly set his tea down, struggling to his feet. "Alright, lets go then."

They left the room together, and Harry ducked around the corner and through the door before they saw him. He paused casually next to Aunt Petunia's chair and moved the bookmark a few chapters forward, then dumped a few packets of salt into the sugar bowl and stirred it around. Snatching a biscuit and taking a large bite, he wandered out of the room and headed out to Uncle Vernon's car to implement his newest trick. He'd stolen the key earlier that day, and now he used it to get in and turn on the radio.

Uncle Vernon always liked listening to the talk shows so he could yell at them. Harry had seen Dudley fooling around with the controls last week when Aunt Petunia forced them both to go grocery shopping with her. He thought he'd figured out how to change the preset channels.

He flipped through the stations until he found a suitably loud rockn'roll station. Number one. He switched the second button to the station one channel below what Uncle Vernon had set it to before. The third one became a classical music station, the fourth sounded like a foreign language, and he tuned the very last one to country music. He grinned evilly. Uncle Vernon despised country music.

Back inside, he checked on the laundry and started folding it. It looked like Aunt Petunia had finally bought Dudley the new socks he so desperately needed. Harry shook his head and slipped one into his pocket. That Dudley was always misplacing things.

Harry balanced the laundry in his arms and headed up the stairs, making a small detour at his cupboard to grab something. He heard Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon talking to Dudley as he passed.

"Diddydums, we just want to know why you always hide things like this."

"I don't know, mum!" Dudley whined, "I don't even remember doing it half the time!"

Harry could practically hear Uncle Vernon bristling. He wouldn't like having a son with mental problems. Harry grinned and put the towels away in the closet. Life was good.

***

After his relatives went downstairs, Harry slipped into Dudley's room to put his clothes away. He pulled the fantasy comic he'd gotten from a kid at school from between Dudley's tee-shirts and slipped it under Dudley's mattress, then pulled a screwdriver out of his pocket and set to work loosening the screws on the robot toy Aunt Marge had recently given Dudley. Harry had gotten dog biscuits that visit. He rolled his eyes and set to work on Dudley's tank, switching the labels on the controls.

Back downstairs, Aunt Petunia distractedly ordered him to vacuum. Harry smiled to himself as he rammed the machine into the antique china cabinet in the dining room. Little by little, he was splitting the wood.

Upstairs, after he'd finished vacuuming, he pulled a few pushpins out of his pocket and stuck them, pointy side up, in the thick carpeting in the hallway.

"Boy!" Uncle Vernon roared suddenly. Harry jumped, heart pounding wildly. Had he been caught out?

"Boy!" Uncle Vernon called again. "Get down here and help your aunt with dinner!"

Harry sighed in relief, and tried to calm his frazzled nerves. He shouldn't worry so much. He'd never been caught before, although there had been near misses. Two years he'd been driving his relatives slowly mad, ever since he first realized that he'd never win their approval. At first he was angry about it, but soon he realized that there wasn't much he could do, and instead of being resentful and angry, he decided to get revenge. Knowing his relatives as he did, he knew immediately what form his revenge would take. Not only did he make them doubt their own memories and sanity, but on a good day, he also made them suspicious of each other.

Like today, for instance, Harry thought, grinning inwardly. Uncle Vernon was sitting in the living room, looking frazzled. No doubt Aunt Petunia had finally put her foot down about getting Dudley a psychiatrist. Harry allowed himself a broad grin before ducking his head and walking unobtrusively into the kitchen. Aunt Petunia would never suspect it was Harry doing all of it. As long as he stayed to the background and didn't do anything odd, like that time the disgustingly ugly sweater Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into shrunk in front of his eyes, he'd be safe from close scrutiny. For now, his aunt and uncle were content to give him chores and blow off steam by yelling at him from time to time, but otherwise ignored his presence entirely.

Aunt Petunia scowled darkly at the roast and took a few spices out of the cabinet, setting them on the counter and picking up the pepper. When she turned her back, Harry put the cloves away and crossed the kitchen to set the table.

Aunt Petunia turned around and reached for the cloves, only to find them missing. She frowned, then opened the cabinet and took down the container.

"I could have sworn..." she muttered to herself.

Harry openly stared at her. She looked up at him and realized she'd been talking to herself. Flushing, she went back to the roast and snapped at Harry to set the table.

Harry grinned. He enjoyed his life, in a perfectly abnormal sort of way. Oh yes, life was very good.