The Dark Arts
Other Canon Female Muggle Other Canon Male Muggle Dudley Dursley Ron Weasley
Angst Drama
Harry and Classmates Post-Hogwarts
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 11/26/2004
Updated: 11/26/2004
Words: 2,152
Chapters: 1
Hits: 1,254

Mourning Rites


Story Summary:
They didn't empty Harry's room. Not of any of Harry's meagre possessions, not of any of Dudley's discarded toys.

Chapter Summary:
They didn't empty Harry's room.
Author's Note:
Written for the First Line Drabble Challenge for

They didn't empty Harry's room.

Not of any of Harry's meagre possessions, not of any of Dudley's discarded toys.


When the owl taps its beak against the kitchen window in the middle of spring, they ignore it until the racket becomes loud enough to alert the neighbours. The feathery thing lands on the kitchen counter, sitting there increasingly flustered with the envelope tied to its leg. It is Petunia who goes for a pair of scissors, cutting the leather string, careful not to touch feet or feathers. Who knows what diseases the ruddy bird carries? She takes the envelope, trembling, but although it is parchment, it isn't red, or smoking, not this time. It is from that monstrous old freak Dumbledore, however.

Apart from condolences, it offers the details of the funeral, and a magical charm that would allow them to attend it at that infernal school place. They never even think about going. In fact, they never speak about him at all. All they tell the neighbours is that the ungrateful little miscreant has moved out. He would have been old enough to do so, and no one expected him to come back to Privet Drive after the holidays anyway.


Vernon walks up to the little room once, when Dudley is having tea at a friend's place, and it's Petunia's bridge night with the neighbouring ladies. He stands right inside the doorway and glares at the unmade bed, the messy room. Dudders is always orderly, although Vernon suspects it might be Petunia's doing.

He has detested the little terror ever since he first laid eyes on the scarred forehead of that pitiful bundle on their doorstep. Unnatural thing!

No, even before that... He'd been so very close to breaking up his engagement to Petunia when he'd found out about her freak sister, especially after bumping into her hoodlum of a boyfriend and his gang. They had made fun of him, those monstrosities, fooled around with those sticks of theirs, and treated him as if he wasn't even fully human. And he had to bring up their brat. They should have kept the thing and raised it among their own kind, those ruddy magical wretches. Perhaps then the first madman to walk up wouldn't have managed to kill him.

He is glad the boy is gone, of course. But he had to go and have himself murdered, hadn't he? He couldn't just have run off to his freak world and never show his face again. Inconsiderate to the last.


Dudley waits until his parents are asleep to go and reclaim his possessions. It's not that he'd take anything that isn't his anyway. The little creep took all of his freaky stuff with him to that school of his, every year. Dudley knows, because of all the times he's sneaked in to look for something that might do magic for him.

The room is dank and dusty, and Dudley's old toys are piled along the far wall. An ancient camera, his old broken TV, the playstation he short-circuited when the new model came out. Piles of stupid books he never looked at. In one corner sits a cardboard box he dumped his few surviving stuffed animals into after Piers said that thing about only little brats and fairies playing with stuffed toys. There is that large stuffed dog that mum and dad got him at Harrods for his sixth birthday. The little freak never showed anything like jealousy for Dudley's things, but he'd loved that dog with all his dumb heart, staring at it whenever he thought that Dudley wasn't noticing. So Dudley had dragged it everywhere, just to watch that hurt longing on the scrawny git's face. When he got tired of it, Dudley had ripped off one of the floppy ears where his cousin could see, and then hid the dog right at the back of his wardrobe, locking the door so Harry could never get at it. He'd tiptoed downstairs afterwards to hear the wimp snivelling in his cupboard.

Dudley pulls the stuffed dog out from under the pile of animals in the box, and turns it in his big fists. It looks stupid, with that ear missing and the stuffing coming out.

He'd always known Harry would come to a sticky end, going to school with all those monsters. And they are monsters, Dudley saw it when they chased those Dementoid things off two years back. Who'd go and kill a kid his own age, just like that, if not monsters? Not that he is a kid, of course. He's a man, but Harry... the little shite was a kid then, playing with his magic toys and only trying to be one of the big boys when he had that stick to wave around. He deserved a good beating, but to murder him... freaks, no doubt about it.

He carries the stuffed dog over to the bed and puts it on the pillow, hiding the ripped ear against the wall. His parents will never see - they don't come in here.


Petunia comes in only to clean, because this is an orderly household, and you just don't leave parts of your home to go to the dogs. And the boy has always left such a mess; she won't have anything rotting in there.

Her eyes travel over the dilapidated nightstand. When the boy was home from that horrible school of his, she sometimes came in when he was working in the garden, or going on those night walks. Just to make sure he wasn't practising anything unnatural in here. At least in his cupboard, he'd not had enough room to get up to any mischief.

During the holidays, there always was one of those abnormal pictures on the nightstand, of his parents and himself as a baby. It was terrifying, the way the people inside moved and waved. They didn't wave at her, of course. Once, Lily had given her a shy little smile, and Petunia had screwed up her face in disgust and walked out.

It was the last time she'd seen her sister, and so wrong that it hurt. Lily is dead. She has no place smiling and waving at Petunia as if she was still alive. It is sickening, impious. They are all dead and should behave like it, Lily and her freak of a husband. And now their son as well. Petunia is just glad she doesn't have one of those bewitched photographs of the boy mocking her as well.

Oh, she should never have given in to that terrible old sorcerer when he forced that child on her! But he'd been so terrifying, screaming at her from out of that burning letter, and just after having been told that another of his ilk had murdered Lily! Petunia is only a defenceless woman, without any of those monstrous powers, and he could just have killed her as well, couldn't he, and what would have become of Duddikins and poor Vernon then?

The nerve of him, expecting her poor little family to shelter that boy, after telling her that God knows how many of that Voldimort's henchmen were still about. That little freak has hung over her family like a cloud of doom, all his life. She so wanted to be normal, and every time she looked at him it reminded her of her sister and of the murderers who might come to her door any day.

And after burdening her with all that, that horrid old man took Lily's son away, and used him and left him to die just like her sister. Powerful enough to threaten a frail Muggle woman, but not able to protect her sister, or her nephew!

Petunia kicks the nightstand and watches it fall over with a crash, with wet eyes and deep satisfaction. She just wishes the photograph was still there, and could fall with it.


The stranger knocks at their door on Halloween night, startling all three of them.

"Those ruddy brats!" Vernon barks. "Always aping those stupid American habits!"

The stranger looks done up for All Hallow's Eve all right, with those girly robes the freaks wear, and a hooded cloak over them. The hood is down, and the light of the outdoor lamp glints on red hair.

I thought we'd seen the last of them freaks, Vernon thinks.

Lily! Petunia's heart stops for a second when all she sees from behind Vernon's back is red hair, before she takes another step and realises it's a young man.

He looks like one of those beasts who hexed my tongue, thinks Dudley.

"Go away! We don't want one of you monsters in our home!" Vernon orders.

The stranger just steps inside, moving as if the Dursleys aren't really there, and neither Vernon nor Dudley work up the courage to actually manhandle him out. He might hex them, or worse. Petunia just retreats into the living room doorway, trembling.

He walks up the narrow staircase with its flowerprint-wallpaper and creaking bottom stair, and stops in front of Dudley's second bedroom as if he knew the layout by heart. Of course he might. They tramped through the house before, those freaks, insolent as if they owned the place, with no regard for other people's property.

He just stands there, in front of the door, unmoved by Vernon's bark and Petunia's shrill protests, and Dudley wonders if he even hears, or sees, any of them.

Then he opens the door, very softly, and goes inside. The Dursleys follow until they are hovering nervously in the doorway, unwilling to lay a hand on him, but equally unwilling to let him meander through their home unwatched. He's one of the monsters - who knows what he might do?

The red-haired freak just stands there in the middle of the cluttered room. He doesn't turn his head when Vernon switches on the bare lightbulb overhead, which illuminates the messy bed with its ridiculous stuffed dog, the boxes full of broken toys, the fallen nightstand.

He just stands there, and then he throws his head back and screams, without a sound but with a force that it makes the Dursleys wish he'd scream aloud so they could at least put their hands over their ears to shut it out.

A small whirl of air starts to dance inside the room, although the window is shut and the door lets in no draught at all. It gushes over the Dursleys' faces, increasing rapidly until there is a vortex forming around the motionless stranger. It tugs at his cloak and hair, but gently, belying the force that's building up around him. The wind - magic, it has to be magic - doesn't just pull at the contents of the room, it turns dark as with an infusion of ashes, a grey, then black, swirl that dissolves whatever it touches. It consumes like black fire, but remains cold.

The Dursleys flee the doorway and retreat to the back wall of the corridor outside, terrified but unable to tear their eyes off the soundless destruction. The storm tears into the bedclothes, then the mattress, throwing bits of cloth everywhere, then digs through the wood of the bedstead, the nightstand, chair and small cupboard, tearing and ripping until nothing is left but tiny wooden splinters, nail-sized bits of cloth and metal, and paper scraps littering the floor. Even the lightbulb shatters at last, raining down in a shower of iridescent glass dust while electricity crackles over the bare wires.

The redhead just stands there in the middle of the destruction he's wrought, and there's nothing in his face to suggest he's aware of any of it, even less of the Dursleys, huddled together in the corridor.

Oh God, just make him disappear without doing anything worse, Vernon prays silently.

Dudley just watches and can't figure out how his sullen, antisocial cousin could inspire such elemental rage, alive or dead.

And Petunia looks at the young man with her sister's hair and eyes as dark as the black storm he's conjured up, and thinks that there should be tears in those eyes, because this dry, ripping pain hurts to watch, even in a magical freak.

When he takes his stick out of his robe they whimper in fright, huddling together with their eyes shut tightly, but there is only a popping noise, like a car backfiring in the distance. When they dare look, he is gone, and nothing is left but the room, empty and littered with scraps.

No hint is left that a boy called Harry Potter, who might not have been just an ordinary boy, has ever lived in this house.

And that, the Dursleys quietly agree as they bolt the door again and return to the living room and their quiet, normal evening routine, is just as it should be.

--- finis ---

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