I Don't Think You're a Waste of Space

BY : SparklySprinkles
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Dudley/Harry
Dragon prints: 7521
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

    Malcolm came over more often after that, always looking excited about whatever he had in his head, but Harry never went up with them. He sat at the table with his aunt and uncle, then begged to leave and hid in his cupboard when they became unbearable. It seemed like they couldn't have civil conversations anymore. 
    One of those nights, with Malcolm and Dudley upstairs, it started up again, and just got worse until Harry ran for his cupboard. And from there heard Aunt Petunia break down and cry. Harry felt from his little room how much like shit Uncle Vernon felt. The man had made his wife cry. 
    From that Harry got five blessed days of peace in his room, and while he had to wait for it to end the whole time, he didn't take one moment of privacy and space for granted, and slept rather well. Aside from everything else, the man was a furnace.    

    Harry somehow found the courage to follow Dudley's invitation to his room one night for video games, or watching Dudley play video games, and asked what had been occupying his brain for weeks. What Snape had said to them all. And he didn't learn anything he wouldn't have already known - that his uncle had needed dire threats to take Harry on as a ... ward. 
    Weeks flew, hurtling them all towards the upcoming ball, and Harry never stopped asking his uncle to dodge the evening of celebrating his defeat. Then his uncle ordered him to stop talking about it, and Harry had to obey.  

    France continued to fight, and Riddle sent dementors down there to help the effort. Harry wondered dimly if that meant the sun would shine here now, but it never did. Then reports of Aragon revolting loudly, backing up the things Harry tried to forget Dudley said in his room - then the news stopped reporting on it altogether, and Harry couldn't know what that meant. But he hoped it meant they were winning.

    One evening "wonderful news" was announced on the telly, a collar that would give muggles some of the powers of house elves, so people who'd never experienced magic now could, and people who had no use could finally have one, as servants. That was the word used, but Harry knew better, and he hoped others did, as well. Most of this he heard while at the dining table, with his eyes down. 
    The collar was from then on mentioned several times an hour, in commercial breaks, as the U-Can-2 enabler, and muggles were told where they could find them. "And they're free!" That was said multiple times before the thirty second ad was over, but they only said once that it also came in child sizes, "so you can ensure your whole family has a purpose." Harry knew people would go for it. They were being slaughtered.  

    And still the equinox approached. Harry was left with no hope besides the thought that perhaps Yaxley would be so busy with Ministry business that he wouldn't have time for something so inherently stupid. 
    The day before, Harry knew it was, because Dierdre and Culvert were going on about it on the news. She said she would be there, to cover everything, and they pondered - out loud - while the Dursleys and Harry were eating another awkward dinner, whether or not Harry Potter would be there. Harry's shoulders came up on their own, like that would protect him, and he studiously kept his fork moving so the people here in the room with him might not think he was effected by it. But he could feel his face cooking, could feel them looking at him. What did they think about moments like these?    
    But he'd already decided that they didn't think. 
    Except Dudley. Sometimes that boy thought.
    This would have been the perfect time to yet again ask his uncle to not make him go, but the man had ordered him not to do it anymore. He was muted. Negated. A non entity and some kind of trophy at the same time. It was numbing, like so many other things these days. 
    His uncle left him alone that night, curiously, and Harry felt a weirdness, an uncomfortableness from the man. He nodded to himself, alone in his room. It was right and good that his uncle should feel that way. Finally. But truly, too late. And then he derided himself for giving the man so much credit for something that was probably just gas.
    The day of the ball, people came over to fit Harry with what he would wear, right in the living room, while his aunt and Dudley had the good grace to make themselves scarce. His heart climbed to his throat as he saw it. It wasn't a dress. It very definitely was not a dress. But it was a sight too close to it. Long flowing legs on it that looked very like a dress if seen too quickly, all in black satin and green roses around the top, what would have been the bosom on a woman, but it was built to be put on a bloke. On him.
    His uncle was clothed as well, with dress robes that he fought valiantly, but gave in to in the end. Harry heard little of it, as the people pulled a mirror out of their arses and set it up as though he might enjoy it. Harry was choking inside, hating everything about this. 
    A collar of silver was taken to him, and he pulled away, suddenly very present. They assured him it wasn't enchanted, and he could feel that was true, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered. He stopped fighting, feeling stupid, and bowed his head. 
    After, he inspected himself in the mirror, but couldn't fathom why he would. He didn't like what he saw, and turned away. What was the point? Simple degradation? This whole evening would be an exercise in humiliation, letting them all know how low they were. But, it was a chance to see his friends. He had to hold on to that. He turned and looked his waiting uncle in the gut. Who frowned. "Where are your glasses?"
    "They thought I would look better without them," he said to the man's mid section.
    "Well they were wrong. Put them back on."
    "Yes, Master." And he'd already reconciled himself with not having to see too many details tonight.
    "Much better. Suppose I'm just used to it." He stopped and held him back as all the others left, by floo since there were heavy anti-apparation wards over the Dursleys' home. Then he stroked one of Harry's bare shoulders. "You look alright." Harry tossed his head. He hadn't asked, and he didn't care.
    Then his uncle took a handful of floo powder for himself, and Harry listened in disbelief to his uncle speaking the words and using the powder. Who knew he was this adaptive? Probably not even himself. Harry snuck a look up at him not surprised to see the man was a little amazed with himself over all this. "Hogwarts Main hall." 
    He was pulled in. "It's what they said, boy. I'm only following orders."
    And he was. And they were. And it was Hogwarts. Very different looking, but still with the enchanted ceiling, and the smell. And the dais. Those were the same. But there was a band up there, and Harry looked around quickly, finally happy to have his glasses, as he scanned a room full of enemies, half of them staring at him. He searched the room for Ron. Or anyone. It was a fairly fancy affair, fountains of drinks and groups of people well dressed and talking softly.

    Perhaps they were early. He followed his uncle through the room, staying close as though this ridiculous stupid man might protect him. They passed people he knew, Zabini who gave a smirk, a younger Parkinson who stared openly, then Lucius Malfoy, who glared daggers. He'd been punished acutely for concealing the Sword of Gryffindor from Riddle, and Harry quickly looked away. He didn't need to aggravate anything if he could avoid it. He also didn't need to see Uncle Vernon try and navigate his way through a conversation with him. Uncle Vernon, rubbing shoulders with Death Eaters. Harry supposed it was fitting enough, given the last few months of his life, and kept his head down. Until a bright green dress stepped up into his view. 
    "Hello Harry," said the softest loveliest voice, and Harry looked up. Luna. He smiled, a small careful thing. 
    "How are you?"
    And what a question. "I'm good, Luna. How are you?"
    "Good, Harry." He looked to her side and saw Malfoy, and let out a sneer before he could have pulled it back. To his credit, Malfoy dropped his eyes with the tiniest of nods, but he didn't seem to do so out of shame. If anything he seemed a little more sure of himself. Calm. Not at ease, never that, but just a little easier in his skin. Harry looked back at Luna, who was smiling gently. "I hope your family is treating you well."
    "Of course. " He didn't look at his uncle, right beside him. "I mean, they're family, right? How else would they treat me?"
    "Oh, I don't know." She smiled sadly and cocked her head. "Terribly?"
    "Have you seen Ron?"
    "No, not for a while. He's-"
    "I don't know if we should bother him with that, love." Luna looked up at Malfoy, as though he were a puzzle, and she was tasting the words he'd said. 
    "You don't think so?"
    "What?" Harry asked. God, what had happened to Ron?
    "See? Now he'll be even more upset, not knowing. He really should hear it, Draco." She said his name odd. Like she said Harry. Or Neville. Soft and lovely. Harry frowned, wondering what went on between these two. They were very like an actual couple.  
    "You do what you think best, of course." And Harry's jaw almost dropped at his caving to her like that. Luna had done something to him.
    "Harry, Ron is pregnant. He's carrying Rabastan LeStrange's child."
    It took some work to make a sound. "How?"
    "Polyjuice potion."
    "Ginny's. Really, he actually seems happy about it, now." Draco's hand wrapped around Luna's waist, and Harry read the subtext there. They were trying as well. Or Draco was. 
    And then Rabastan Lestrange himself came up to them. "I feel my ears burning, Potter. Have you heard the good news?" Harry stared at him, trying to think of something he could say and not be punished. What a thought. "My strapping lad in a family way? I should hope some congratulations are coming from you? I mean, we worked like mad for it, and it happened?" He smiled a wolf's smile at Harry, who wanted to back up. "And you're looking ravishing yourself this evening."
    "Potter." Malfoy said, very much the essence of correctness, and pulled Luna away. Harry wondered why he hadn't taken one opportunity to rub his face in the dirt, and supposed Luna was a good influence on him. And of course she was. Luna was gifted in a few ways. Lestrange watched them go for a minute, then turned his attention back to Harry. Then looked Vernon up and down before extending a smile and his hand. "Mr. Dursley, if I remember? I'm Rabastan LeStrange. We haven't met." Uncle Vernon shook the man's hand and grumbled something. "You're a lucky man," he said, eyeing Harry again. 
    LeStrange looked back at his uncle, taking in everything. "You're dissatisfied with this one?"
    "No. I mean, I don't know what you mean."
    "And they say beauty is wasted on the youth. I would offer a trade, for just for an evening, you understand, but I can't part with mine for very long these days. He's going through a tough phase, and needs all the support he can get." Vernon coughed awkwardly and looked about the room as though it held some interest for him that was stronger than what LeStrange was saying. "This little one, though, looks like he gives you nothing but the old cold fish routine. I could fix that up for you. In fact, it's one of my talents."
    "I'm sure I don't know what you mean by that."
    "You don't? I would imagine you do, Dursley." The man looked at them both, taking his time, noting everything from how Harry held his feet to how Uncle Vernon tilted his head slightly away from all this, to the space between them as they stood stiffly. It seemed perhaps he even smelled them as he stored everything away. "Forgive some impertinence on my part, but is Mr. Potter the first man you've been with?"
    "Been ... ? It's not like that. Like ..." he looked about helplessly, eyes even resting on Harry as though he might bail him out of whatever he found himself stuck in. "A c - couple. Or anything."
    "Of course. It's never 'like that' is it?" He smiled blandly for him. "In fact, in all my days, not once have I ever seen something to be like that." Then he looked at Harry and affected a look of pity. "Poor boy." He shook his head sadly over whatever tragedy he was seeing. "What I mean, Dursley, is that he just lies there, and waits for it to be over. Goes away in his pretty little head. I could fix that in one night." 
    Harry out of pure instinct grabbed his uncle's hand. "Please, can we go home, now?" His uncle looked down at him, almost in amazement.
    LeStrange kept at Uncle Vernon, knowing where the business end was. "I can see you are a man who appreciates bluntness, so allow me to say this, and I'll leave you for a bit to consider." All his years in Azkaban seemed to melt away, but for the darkness about the eyes, letting the man's good breeding show as he straightened himself to his full height. "You allow me one night with this little thing, and he would be begging for cock." Then he nodded for each of them and walked away, and Harry swallowed, trying to keep the worst he was feeling off his face. What had this man done to Ron?
    Harry realized he was holding the man's hand and quickly pulled himself out, but kept his eyes down. 
    "Bloody fairy." Harry flinched, but kept the most obvious comments down inside. He wished Uncle Vernon would go back to being disgusted with him. The ..."sex" such as it was, had been better. Much more impersonal. 
    But there had been very little disgust in the man's tone. Like holding back curtains and looking out at the neighbours, Look dear, the Simmons bought a new car. Oh, see there, a fairy. It was all backed by the ominous sound of thinking and Harry felt it best to appeal to any misgivings his keeper may have. "He's a real bad man, Uncle Vernon."
    "Oh, well, aren't they all, here? I mean they're all ... well." He'd decided against saying a word like freaks. He looked at Harry, and chewed on his tongue as though it was out of place in his mouth. He shook it off. "But you're not their sort anymore, are you, boy? In a way, you know, I mean, if you look at it just right, that is, I saved you from these people."
    Harry had no idea what to say to that. Was it in his best interest to let his uncle think of himself as a savior here? His lack of a response seemed to spur his uncle on in search of one. "You're much better off now, Harry. Not being one of these. Being, I mean, it's almost like you're ..."
    "Normal?" He couldn't resist what he thought would be a good jab to a man who'd striven for normal his whole life.
    His uncle shook his head sadly. "I'm afraid normal isn't an option anymore. Hasn't been since the spring." Like he was explaining the tragedy of Doggy Heaven to a child. Harry stewed in it sullenly. Uncle Vernon was far better at adjusting to this than Harry would have given him credit for.  

    House elves made their unobtrusive ways through the guests with platters held high, higher than themselves, and went largely unseen. Harry stared at each one, hoping to see Dobby, but he never did. Other people made their way to them, some to stare Harry down, of course. But some surprises, former students who came up and patted him on the shoulder as he held still for it, and one even said "Keep strong, Potter," in a slightly Scottish accent, and Harry was reminded of Professor McGonagall, but he was looking at a young witch, fierce eyed, and angry. Harry stared until she walked away. 
    His uncle grunted and Harry turned to see his eyes following her as well. "It's like they think I'm whipping you or something."
    "No, I don't think it's like that." He hoped. "They think I can still do something." Much better to think they saw some boy who tried and failed everything than to think they were giving thought to what happened in Uncle Vernon's home.
    "You can still do lots of things." Harry said nothing and felt himself heat up uselessly. It seemed like a dirty joke, even though he didn't think it was meant that way.
    A force hit him, and he had to back up a few steps to absorb the red haired flurry. "Harry!"
    "Ginny?" It sure smelled like her, and when she backed her teary face up, Harry stared at her, too. She'd lost weight. He almost put his arms around her, but stopped himself. It wouldn't be good, and he had no right. But he inhaled deeply anyways. Surely he could still breathe? He looked around and saw the filthy bastard who owned her now. Yaxley. He was looking very coldly at Harry, like he was making sure his arms stayed where they were. 
    "Harry, I hope you're keeping well."
    "Am. I mean, I am." He cleared his throat.
    "You're not. You've lost so much weight." She sounded disappointed.
    "I'm sorry, Ginny." She smiled, like he was sorry for losing the weight, but she knew it was so much more than that. She heard his Apology.
    Harry turned furious eyes to the man, but it was the most useless thing he could have done. He came up and took Ginny's arm, and Harry figured he probably did everything coldly. She turned away and let him take the arm without complaint.
    Uncle Vernon gave another of his grunts, but Harry couldn't interpret this one. "You have a lot of friends." He shook his head. He didn't. Property couldn't be friends. They could be walked about a room, and made to socialize. Perhaps do some fancy tricks. 
    He looked across the room as people before them opened and he saw Luna, talking to a smart looking woman. Cameras followed and hounded, and Harry recognized her from the news. Dierdre. She asked questions, and Luna gave her vaguest face, but Harry couldn't have heard a word of it. Then as Luna answered another question Dierdre scanned the room and her eyes fell on him. And he suddenly didn't want to hear her voice anymore.
    "I could show you about the place, if you'd like," he offered to his uncle, and the man thought about it, sending dubious looks to the room, but took too long.
    "Harry Potter. Pleasure to meet you, I'm Dierdre Harrington, and I'd love to hear all about how life's been treating you. No, look at the camera, dear." Harry stared. That had happened a little quickly. Like a shark. Her teeth were a dazzling white and he couldn't look away from them. "Tell us, Harry. How is life?"
    "Er." If he said it was good, they wouldn't like hearing that, and his uncle wouldn't like to hear it was bad. He was stuck. 
    He took too long, and another question hit him. "Would you say the Great Lord has dealt mercifully with you?" Some of his old anger sparked, but dully. This hall wasn't helping, as he remembered to look about for Riddle. But that would have made itself known in the very air. Thank god for revolts across the pond. 
     They were waiting for an actual answer this time, so he nodded. 
    "And who's this with you tonight, Harry?"
    "This is the muggle who's keeping you, isn't he?" She looked Uncle Vernon up and down like a fascinating specimen. "How interesting." But was it, really? "And is he doing a good job of keeping you in line, Harry?"
    Harry nodded again, like an idiot. 
    "And you are?"
    "Dursley. Vernon Dursley."
    "How wonderful to meet you, Mr. Dursley. You know, of course, what a favour you're doing the wizarding world and therefore by extension, the rest of the world in keeping this little trouble maker under your thumb, I hope?"
    "Umm." The picture of eloquence, was Vernon Dursley. He was puffing up under it all, though. "Well, I try, you know, to -" 
    "And where are you living right now?"
    Harry looked at the man then, quickly. Uncle Vernon, to his credit, lied and said London. That the Ministry wanted him close. He wasn't completely useless all of the time. 
    "And do you regret your actions, Harry?" 
    "Yes." He had words finally. "I did everything wrong, and I got my friends into trouble, over and over. I wish I had done it all differently." Harry stumbled through it, and fought the urge to tell this woman that her voice had carried him through countless hours of oblivion, had comforted him. He knew he should never ever say that out loud. She wasn't his friend. Not outside the cupboard. But he wanted to tell her that in the cupboard, she had been everything at times. It was a strong pull.
    "Is there anything else you want to say to everyone?"
    He knew he was drowning. If he showed the slightest signs of life, it could be taken away, and it would be. He was riding the edge of the razor blade between a rock and a hard place, and the hard place was the little taste Riddle had given him, where every moment had been its own eternity. 
    Pride and self respect weren't rights, they were luxuries, and if he was really good then he could perhaps have a sniff of either from time to time. Luna interrupted it with a vacant look that Harry knew was anything but, and asked him if he was enjoying the decorations. Harry tore his eyes away from her and looked up at where she was pointing as though nothing could have been more important. She was a bloody goddess. Then she looked at the news crew, and gave a small, "Oh. Sorry. I wasn't trying to ruin your interview, Harry."
    "It's alright, Luna. I think it was over anyways." The camera men looked at Dierdre, and she shrugged. 
    Luna grabbed Harry's arm and pulled. She didn't have to pull hard; Harry followed the life line and would have run if she would have set the pace. 
    Uncle Vernon followed, looking back like he wanted more of that. "I don't think they were done with you."
    Just as Harry was fearing the man would order him back, Luna saved him some more. "I'm pretty sure they were, Mr. Dursley. They weren't asking any good questions, were they?" Harry looked around for Malfoy, hoping he wouldn't lose her anytime soon, and caught Rabastan LeStrange near, watching. Creeping. Noncing. It made his skin crawl.
    "Luna, how often do you see Ron?"
    "Not that often, but LeStrange is Draco's uncle. Sort of." As much as Aunt Marge was Harry's aunt. "They come over for dinner sometimes. I think he wants Ron to be happy." She stared at Harry, trying to drill into him the meaning of what she'd said, but Harry didn't know where the significance was there. A second's worth of madness had him wondering if he should tell Luna what the man had asked of Uncle Vernon, but it cleared quickly. She could never need to know things like that. She had her own burden, and he was making his way over. Harry watched him, until Luna followed his gaze, but her face was in constant state of fixed, and she was good. 
    She gave Draco a gentle smile that clearly effected him, and he smiled back. A real one, like Harry hadn't seen on his face before. He was taken with her. Harry supposed he could see how someone like Luna would be soothing in a life like Draco's, where everyone was an enemy, every family member would sell him out for favour with a tyrant. He had so little. 
    "Sorry I left you like that, but Harry was having a hard time with the reporters."
    "Yes, I saw. You do what ever you feel you need to." Draco smiled more at her, and Harry was left spinning. "Well, I think we've seen enough."
    "Alright. Good night, Harry. I hope I see you again." That choked Harry up. Did she not think she would? He waved, in place of words that would have fumbled over themselves and made him look even worse. He watched them go, and his uncle had the good sense to stay quiet.
    Rabastan came back to them, like he'd been waiting for the clear space. He avoided looking at the man, but it was no use. He made his way over, and smiled at them both. "I hope you've given some thought to what I said earlier."
    Harry snuck a look at his uncle. "I have. I'm interested."
    Harry jumped, and quickly looked around in case anyone was overhearing this. He didn't need to make a scene here. And what would he do? Get on his knees and beg the man?
    "That's lovely. I can't wait. Not that I'm not happy with what I have at home, but he's just not the same these days. In a few months more, I'll have him back, but for now, he just doesn't have what I'm looking for. I'm sure you understand." Vernon nodded, as though he did. "So when can I expect your owl?"
    "Owl? I don't. We don't keep owls."
    "Hmm. What are you doing tonight? After this?"
    "Please, Uncle Vernon. Please." It was time to beg, apparently.
    "Stop that, boy."
    "Yes, Master." And now he couldn't do that much. He studied the floor and heard them.
    "I don't know if I want this happening in my home. My family."
    "Of course. I understand," and that could have been the end of it. He came back as though brainstorming, but Harry wasn't buying it. "I could have them over to my home tonight. They would love it, and there isn't much they could get up to there." Vernon nodded at this madness and Harry could feel him staring at him. He looked up, trying to put all his beggary into his eyes. Couldn't the man see what this was? What it would be for Harry? If he could just be allowed to speak again, he would say anything to stop it. 
    He nodded. "Tonight sounds good. Let's just leave."
    LeStrange jumped up from the table. "Splendid."

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