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

BY : Unicorn Tickles
Category: Harry Potter > General > General
Dragon prints: 6041
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.


   That night Harry was lying in bed after hearing everyone go to sleep. Then from no where, pain shot through his scar, sending his hands to his forehead in a clutching attempt to alleviate it, or hold it in or whatever. He didn't know, but his head was surely splitting open right there. 

   Visions forced their way in, through the throbbing in his skull, and he saw Aunt Petunia beside him, in bed sleeping. He almost reached out to see if it was real, then got up out of bed and left the room. He looked at the other doors in the hall wondering.

   "Harry," he whispered with a cruel smile, "which one is it?" Harry whimpered where he was. He thought quickly of running out and hiding somewhere, but realized he was probably in the best place for that already. He crawled under his little bed even as he opened a door upstairs and looked over an empty room. He knew it was empty - it had the feel. He opened another one, contemptuously scanned a huge sleeping form and closed that door. That left one more. He smiled and opened the door, to find another empty room. Frustration bubbled low. Where did they keep the boy?   

   He plodded his uncomfortably huge new form down the stairs in search of him - he could feel he was here. Somewhere. He turned at the foot of the stairs and found a living room, then kept looking. Nothing more than a kitchen a dining room and a bathroom. Anger fired up, fanned by impatience, and Harry's head felt ripped open by it. He went back up the stairs to the horse woman to whom he'd woken up. "Where is he?"

   "What? Vernon? What time is it?"

   "Where is the boy?"


   "Harry. Where is he?"

   "Wherever you left him. Why, what have you done?" She sat up, alarmed now.

   How could everyone be so reliably incompetent and stupid? He yelled at her, "Where would that be, you useless woman?"

   "Under the stairs! Vernon, what's happening?"

   "Under the stairs?" He could feel his rage begin to subside.


   "Stay here and shut up." Thankfully she obeyed. He left her and headed down the stairs, even as Harry heard the footfalls.

   "Harry. Come and see me."

   Harry ripped himself out of Voldemort's mind, feeling the pull of the command. The screaming of his brain came crashing around him, and he pulled out from under the bed to look over it at his uncle, possessed, at the opened door. 

   "Strange lodgings they give you, Harry. And no clothes? You just live in this cupboard, naked and waiting for your next use? I'm shocked these muggles are so capable of the job they were given." Harry felt the pleasure through his scar. He looked over Harry's room slowly, smiling at everything he saw. His red snake eyes came back to the bed, still smiling, and Harry drew back, seriously afraid. The figure was massive, as always, but now, it seemed much larger.

   "Yes, you understand why I'm here, don't you, Harry? It's your own fault for coming to see me so many times. I could have forgotten you existed, otherwise. Where does this normally happen for you? Here?" Prickles spread over his skin and he tried to beat his brain for some way out, but the pounding pain was making thoughts difficult. "Harry, it doesn't seem as though these muggles are taking very good care of you at all." Harry could see it, through the man's eyes, his ribs and hips protruding, and the flesh between sunken grotesquely. It was disgusting. Only, through Voldemort's eyes it wasn't. It was simply a part of his divine plan and just made him happier.

   Harry stayed quiet until Voldemort spoke again. "Tell me, then, where?"

   "Out there," he whispered, nodding to the door. "In the living room," thankful that for the majority it had happened out there, and he could say so.

   "What? On the sofa, then?"

   "No, the floor," he groaned, still clutching his head.

   "The floor? Harry, don't you think you deserve better? Some scented candles, and maybe some flowers? A meal?" Odd high laughter rippled through his uncle's throat at him. "In this body I can't even turn something into a bed. Pity. Get out there, then." He went out himself, and Harry had to follow, slightly relieved in a weird way he didn't want to think about that it wouldn't happen in his room. The thought couldn't complete itself, though.

   Voldemort was looking at the room then he turned to Harry, who was fighting his own battle at the moment. He was going to puke from the pain. And he knew it would just make his brain scream more if he did. He swallowed against it as well as he could. 

   "Get up on the couch, Harry." The sound of his name in his uncle's voice sent shivers up Harry's spine in all the wrong ways. He fought the direction as much as he could, but it only resulted in shaky halting movements as he did exactly what he was told. "Kneel over the back of it." Hands touched him, sending jolts of pain through him, just like his scar when it burned, just like in the graveyard when Voldemort had touched him. The body followed him, bracketing him against the back of the couch, and Harry broke into a sweat to hold in the scream, though he was wondering more and more why he should try so hard. His aunt was awake. Had been, moments ago, but Harry didn't know.... It didn't matter anyways. 

   "You can't know how good you feel, Harry. Your skin, your flesh." The words were strengthened by the body behind completely touching him, leaning into him until Harry heard a terrible whimper escape him of its own accord. An arm wrapped around his chest and Harry writhed trying to escape it, but now the man was everywhere, encasing him in agony, and Harry whimpered again from it, still trying to contain the more feral screams inside. 

   He could feel how amazing it was for Riddle behind him, how every point of contact was pure pleasure. "I have felt you poking about in my head, and I felt perhaps you've become bored and would enjoy a visit, Harry." Then he felt the hardened prick at his ass, and knew before it happened that he was about to learn what pain was. 

   Voldemort enjoyed playing with his food it seemed, because he didn't just shove it inside, he pushed a finger in Harry instead. Harry panted against the pain, trying to pretend it wasn't happening, trying anything, clawing to hide further in the other's mind, as the finger felt inside him, stretching and making way for another finger, until he was pulling Harry open.  

   He found some footing in Voldemort's mind, and tried briefly to control him, to stop this, but everything veered off the rails when he entered him. Harry screamed then, unable to hold it back anymore and unable to escape it in the other's mind. It was just too strong.

   The being behind him moaned loudly, taken by his pleasure, probably not even hearing Harry, and hardly moving. The other arm joined in holding Harry close, pulling him tight in, and Harry had tears streaming from his eyes. It was like fire stabbing inside him, making other pains on the surface of his body pale in comparison. He shook and screamed some more, not really caring anymore if he showed weakness or whatever his reasons had been before this terrible searing hell. It hurt too much to do anything but scream. 

   A hand covered his mouth, pulling his face back, and Voldemort buried his own face in Harry's neck, scalding more flesh as he hardly stroked inside him, like it was too much ecstasy. Harry sobbed against the hand, but his body had given up. He turned limp in the arms, held like a rag doll, and soon, very soon, Voldemort was reaching the end, fingers digging into flesh even though he had hardly moved.

   And still he held him tight, unwilling to give this up yet. Harry could only hear his own sounds of anguish, and squeezed his ass until he pushed the other out of him. Only then could he try to think again. Other pains made themselves known, but they were almost nothing to the pounding of it all inside him. That had been unbearable. 

   "Harry, your flesh is amazing." He was breathless from whatever it had been for him. "I almost should have taken you for myself, but I wouldn't be caught dead having a half blood for a pet." Harry knew there were things to say to that, but he couldn't make his mouth do it. Just breathing was almost too much for him right then. "I'll have to come back sometime. That was over far too soon." The soaked hand at his mouth pulled away, the one around his chest followed and the form was emptied, given back to Harry's uncle, and Voldemort went back to wherever he'd left his body. Harry fell sideways as Uncle Vernon fell to the floor, and a shrill scream happened somewhere. Perhaps behind him? 

   "What have you done to him, you bloody freak?" Aunt Petunia then. Harry had no way to say the things he needed to. Uncle Vernon was probably on the floor behind him, but Harry couldn't deal with details like that. The pattern on the back of the couch was proving a difficult enough challenge. "What's wrong with you? What did you do to him?"

   He understood he would need to do something about it, or it wouldn't stop. He dragged a hand up and covered his face, but knew distantly that wouldn't be enough. Vernon groaned roughly and Harry shuddered, gripping his face tighter. 

   "Vernon? What did he do to you?"

   "Petunia? What am I doing on the floor, then?"

   "Look at you, getting your filth all over my couch! You're disgusting." Harry whimpered again, in place of telling her that it was mostly her husband's filth coming off him in waves and imbedding itself, but he made himself roll backwards and fell on the floor with a jarring hit that actually helped him orientate himself. 

   He forced himself on his back on the floor, close to Uncle Vernon's feet, and saw that Dudley was also in the room. And why not? Call the neighbours and really make the most of it, Harry thought. 

   "He hurt 'im," Duddley managed, and Harry marvelled at his powers of observation. One had to get up pretty early in the morning to put anything over on old Duddleykins. 

   "He did," agreed Aunt Petunia. "I don't know what he's done to him, but they said he couldn't do any magic without -"

   "No, Mum. Dad hurt Harry." Harry whipped his head over to look at Dudley and regretted the action as his brain protested the jostling. Dudley was frowning furiously, as though the thoughts were his own little Voldemort antennae, and causing him pain. Harry quickly closed his eyes and willed his pains away, but felt he should really get going back to his room before he was asked to account for all this some more. If he could just make it there, they'd leave him alone and go back to pretending he didn't exist.

   He heaved himself on his front, and pulled himself along, hoping they would just ignore him for a time. Aunt Petunia had crouched over her husband. "Is there something I can get you, dear?"

   "Brandy. Big one Yes

   "Yes, dear." She quickly got up and Harry was nearly out the room before she stepped around him and hissed, "you better be out of sight when I get back. I don't want you spreading your filth around when he gets up." He kept himself moving, spurred by her words as much as anything by then, and was thankful his door was still open because he probably couldn't have reached up to turn the knob. 

   He didn't even pull himself to the bed, just collapsed as soon as he was technically in the room, and closed his eyes. He didn't sleep, but he wanted to. He wanted it all just to fade and perhaps become hazy enough to call a dream tomorrow.

   He was aware, since he'd left the door open, and didn't have the strength to turn himself around to close it, of the sounds of his aunt feeding her husband the brandy he'd asked for, and plying him with questions to which he had no answers. He was clueless and a little disturbed, himself, and jumped on the free out to tell her that magic was being used on him, just like he'd told her. 

   She was as understanding as any husband could ask a wife to be, and offered him  another glass. He asked for the bottle, and Harry heard Dudley come to his room. Harry laid still, like he had a choice. He felt and heard more than saw, Dudley close the door and sit by where Harry's feet had ended, by the door, and Harry jolted an ankle away when a hand touched him. After that, they both sat in silence, for longer than Harry even knew. After an eternity Dudley said "It should have been me." The sullen words made no sense to Harry, and he let them fade into nothingness, where he wanted to follow.

   "Good morning muggles! We'd like you all to know what a wonderful job you're all doing with your new lives, and wish you all luck in keeping on our good sides in the times to come!" Harry flinched from the cheerful sounds, and wondered how his relatives heard such words or felt about them. If they even thought. Then the memory of the night before came crashing back and Harry whimpered before he could stop himself. 

   They were all in the dining room, eating their breakfast, but in what seemed like near silence. Harry didn't waste braincells trying to wonder what they had thought about the night before, just put his attention to the TV, because it was suddenly the least offensive thing about this brand new day. Harry grasped every word, like it was fresh air. The pain from the night before was gone, but he still remembered it. He looked over his flesh, knowing already, but still marvelling that there were no marks. Just some bruising on his hips, but that was sadly normal enough by now. 

   Dierdre's lovely voice washed over him in gentle waves, and Harry was actually upset when that useless nonce Culvert cut in to talk about something meaningless, and waited for when she would speak again.

   After breakfast finished, there was a small knock on his door. Harry said nothing; no one here would wait for him to do so anyways. And sure enough, the door opened on its own, without his words of entry. It was Dudley, of course, but Harry was relieved just the same when he saw him.

   The boy had brought him a plate of food. Harry wasn't exactly hungry, but it was still an incredibly kind thing for his cousin to think of. Harry thanked him cautiously and set the plate on the bed beside him. Dudley looked around awkwardly and Harry felt bad that he couldn't offer something in the way of conversation for him.


   His evening of dinner with his family was cancelled, as he listened to Aunt Petunia explain to Dudley that he was bewitching Uncle Vernon, and he had no place at her table. Dudley argued, but Aunt Petunia was firm about her table, and Dudley ended up bringing two plates to Harry's cupboard, another beautiful move in Harry's eyes. 

   Harry picked around his plate, and was able to eat much more of it. Nearly half, and everything tasted quite good. He wasn't going to say it, since Dudley had fought so hard to get him out there, but Harry would rather have gone without than sit with them anyways. Dudley was good enough company; he had little to say, and demanded few words of Harry in return. 

   The next morning Dudley brought him breakfast again, and Harry was beginning to think he might not die of this life after all. He stayed away from Voldemort's mind, not wanting to provoke another encounter like the other night, and listened to the TV. The revolts in France were something of a problem for the New Order, it seemed, but Harry was left wondering how much he could believe of what he heard. Elections were coming up, and it seemed all candidates were using the insurgents' actions as incentive to vote for them, which meant they were all in on it, if it was true. If it wasn't, then it was just a useful distraction for Harry, in his little cupboard.

   Dudley brought him some supper as well, and ate with him, then the house went to sleep.

   His uncle came to him the next night, but Harry found it better than the new alternative.  


   A week passed before Harry woke again to the pain in his head, and opened his eyes to see Aunt Petunia sleeping next to him. He jumped up in terror, unwilling to live through that again, and bolted out of the closet. There, right to his left was the front door. He tried to grip it, but his hands wouldn't close around the knob, just shake uselessly around it. 

   He turned with grief away from it, and heard "Harry," soft and whispery from the top of the stairs. He bolted for the kitchen, needing to get away. Maybe if he couldn't hear the command, if he was too far away to hear it, then maybe - "Harry, stop." His feet stopped their movements so quickly that he face planted on the kitchen floor. "Get up," from the bottom of the steps, now. Harry got up on jerky limbs. His skull was screaming at him as he stood in place. 

   "Everytime I give you a command, you will respond by saying 'yes, Master'."

   "Yes, Master." Even the voice caused him pain as it landed on his ears. Or maybe it just seemed like it. 

   "Good boy, Harry." Delight and surprise. "And I've been told by some that Gryffindors cannot be trained. Can you believe it?" Harry didn't know how to respond, and so didn't."Let's see, shall we? Get upstairs, Harry."

   "Yes, Master." Harry trod the steps as slowly as he was able, knowing hell awaited him at the top, trying his best not to think. He paused after the last one, waiting for more instructions. "Go on, Harry. To your aunt and uncle's room." Harry didn't look around to question it. "Yes, Master." Maybe she'd go mad and kill them all? Wasn't there a gun in there somewhere? That room was a mystery to Harry, but he had a small hope she would do her nut.    

   "Get out, Woman." Voldemort hissed at his aunt, and Aunt Petunia jumped up from the bed in shock. 


   "No, you stupid muggle. Get out." She stood, her mouth opening and closing in shock, and Harry stared at the floor in uselessness. 

   "Get out!" She jumped at the shout, and fled the room. "Not very clever, these relatives, of yours." Harry agreed, but didn't say anything. "And now we have a luxury available to us. Lay down, my boy." He said boy differently from Uncle Vernon, but Harry didn't need to remind himself of who this was, even if it was in Uncle Vernon's immense body. 

   "Yes, Master," his mouth said as he laid down, face into the pillow, hoping for something as quick as before. Voldemort sighed as Harry listened to him take all his clothes off. 

   "No, on your back this time, Harry. I want to see your face."

   Harry whimpered already, and rolled over. "Yes, Master," he gritted out through the pain that was only the beginning. His head pounded louder the closer he got to him.    

   "Very good." And he lowered himself over him, covering him and touching everything instantly. Harry cried out and threw his hands over his mouth to stop anymore. Voldemort ran hands over his chest and arms, making him flinch everywhere flesh was touched, and ground himself against Harry. It seemed to go on forever, and Harry was wondering if he would ever get to it. He could feel his uncle's hard prick grating against him under his belly, and if he'd had room he would have rolled away from him, but knew that was stupid. Anything that halted this would be stupid. 

   His hands over his mouth gripped tighter when finally Voldemort parted his legs with his own and nestled between them. His hands grazed Harry's thighs as he pulled his knees up, and again eased fingers inside like before. Harry panted, working harder that he should have to keep the sounds in, but somewhere in his head he knew that Voldemort would have enjoyed them. 

   The man stroked himself as he fingered Harry, and this too, seemed to go on forever. Everything about it had no end, just pain that increased with every touch, until he lowered himself and shoved inside. Harry screamed again, but at least this time it was into his hands.

   Voldemort groaned loudly. "Just as good as last time. Harry, I want to keep you for myself, but I can't. I can't do it. This is the most I can do." He sighed again, then pulled out just a little, to push back in. He was again keeping movement to minimum. "You see, even gods have rules by which to live." Harry screamed again from the next tiny thrust, shuddering under him, his grip on his own face becoming weak as muscles started to revolt against it all. Tears flowed freely and he shook his head as Voldemort started to move a little more, every thrust wrenching his innards and sending searing pain through him even as the body grinding against him burned above. 

   The man came quick, but still he shook on top of Harry, almost delirious from whatever the contact gave him. Harry moaned brokenly a few times, arms now limp by his head, his eyes dazed and bleary. 

   The throbbing agony started its blessed retreat, and a chunk of time passed while he thought of nothing but the pain's journey through his body, but once it had pooled back in his scar he came to enough to realise he'd been left here, under this mountain of a man. He felt as though he was being crushed by the deadweight over him, but hardly cared anymore. It wasn't Voldemort. His body was no longer on fire. That was all that seemed to matter. 

   Gradually the man on top of him came to. He looked down and blinked wearily. "Boy?" Harry whimpered, unsure of what new hell this would be. "What have you done to me?"


   "Tell the truth!"

   "Yes, Master!" Nice to know that would stick, too. "I didn't! I didn't do anything! Please, believe me." He cried then, unable to explain this.

   His uncle got up from the bed and stared at him in shock. "What happened, then?"

  "It's possession. The Dark Lord is possessing you. Please believe me," he sobbed more brokenly, knowing this would never be believed by them. 

   "Get out!"

   "Yes, Master!" He threw himself off the bed and lurched around him to the door, wrenched it open and almost fell in the hall. Aunt Petunia stood and stared at him, horrified. Dudley was at his door, staring too. Harry gripped the rail so he wouldn't fall, but three steps from the bottom it happened anyways. His muscles were just too ragged from it all. Without even bringing himself upright he went for the cupboard under the stairs, expecting them to be watching from the top. He closed the door and curled up on his mattress as the pain in his scar slowly abated. 

   Dudley came in the morning with breakfast, as he had been lately, but Harry didn't move. Dudley put a plate on the floor and sat beside it to eat his own, and Harry listened, but didn't move. He felt terrible for not being better company for his cousin, but he had nothing. He felt completely drained, and could only lie there, and listen to the boy eat.

   Uncle Vernon came to him that night, actual Uncle Vernon, and Harry curled up before he could control his reactions. He could feel that the bond didn't need this, but he wasn't going to say it. He could hardly keep himself from shaking. "Get out, boy." 

   "Yes, Master." And he felt the burst of pleasure and arousal that the words brought to his uncle as he uncurled and lifted himself from the bed. 

   He hadn't moved all day, not to pass water, not to do anything. The bucket would have taken too much energy. "Please, may I use the loo, first?"

   He dragged his eyes up to his uncle, surprised to see a smile. The man had surely never smiled at him before. Not at him. "Yes, of course, boy. Be quick."

   "Yes, Master," as Harry slunk past the man. He didn't think, tried not to hear words too deeply, but if he didn't do something about his bladder right then, he might be shamed even worse than normal in mere moments. He didn't look in the mirror as he did what he needed, and came back, not looking at the man either. 

   Harry knew where he wanted him, and went there without words, hoping to avoid a direct command, and having to say the words again. Uncle Vernon was a little slower in entering him, a little less harsh, and Harry kept his cringes to himself as much as he could.

   The next day, Dudley brought Harry breakfast, and they listened to the TV together while Dudley ate and Harry picked in mutual silence. He had no idea what had gotten into Dudley, but it was nice. Probably not reliable, but nice. 

   Dudley gave him a huge shirt and pair of pants, and Harry felt nothing but shame to think how ungrateful he'd ever been before for the same thing. He nearly hugged the boy, but knew how stupid that would have been and looked. And perhaps Dudley would have hit him for it. 

   After dinner, Uncle Vernon came to his room, with Dudley still in there, and Harry moaned, dropping his head to stare at the floor. "I've been thinking, boy. There's no reason you shouldn't have your old room back." Harry said nothing, and didn't move. "I mean, this is no place to live, is it?" Harry swallowed audibly. Vernon stood there, like he was waiting for a thank you, and Harry wondered if he said it, would the man leave? Could he? Dudley was staring at his old man, waiting for something, perhaps. Harry didn't know. "Well? Get anything you have here, and get out. Upstairs."

   "Yes, Master," Harry whispered, and felt the same thing from his uncle he had the night before. But he had to get up, and he looked around for anything here that was his. There was nothing. He gripped the pants Dudley had given him about his waist and followed Uncle Vernon and Dudley out, then headed up the stairs without another word. 

   His old room was cleaned out. Aunt Petunnia must had done it, who else? She was manic about cleaning sometimes. A bed, a dresser, probably empty now, and a nightstand. And his old closet. He stood, unsure of himself, and the space. Or what he should even do now, but probably what he'd been doing before. He sat on the bed and thought that it would be nice to have a blanket now. He'd been cold for so long that he didn't even notice it anymore. Except when he woke up, of course. But he always noticed everything when he woke, his pains, his smells, and the cold. 

   Why had his uncle done this?  What had happened in that man's head that he wanted Harry in his old room? As usual, though, these people were a mystery to Harry. He'd never really known what made them tick, and had given up trying a long time ago. Hogwarts had saved him from such mysteries. But now, he was right back there, trying to understand motivations and motives towards him, and coming up as short as ever. He gave it up and laid down, listening to the house quiet down. It was like trying to sleep in a strange place, and Harry supposed it was just that, but he had a blanket. That was wonderful, on its own, and he pulled it tight around himself.  

   He was woken by his uncle's weight on the bed, and he should have known, but he hadn't. He covered his face as hands touched him, he lifted his hips as his pants were pulled down, and he clutched the pillow around his head, waiting for it to end.  

   The hands were disgustingly soft, cupping his arse cheeks and stroking his hips, and Harry hated it more than he ever had. His uncle was being ... almost tender, and Harry clenched fists in the pillow and mattress. "You've been so good, boy. Real good." He breached Harry's back passage slowly, as he had the night before, verging on gentle, until Harry thrust his arse backwards, just to hurry it along. This was sickening, and he hated everything about it, but when his uncle wanted to take his time, it was far, far worse.

   The man let out a sound of appreciation, seating himself and grinding, stroking Harry's back a while. Harry jerked away from the touches, but they seemed to be everywhere. "Real good. Taking my dick like you do. I should be a little nicer to you." The hands roamed over him, like they owned what they touched, and Harry knew they did, but it still felt wrong. Always wrong. They ran along his ribs, at his side, as the man grew to fully thrusting into him. "I'll make sure you're fed better, too."

   The hands planted themselves into the bed on either side of Harry's head, and the man lowered himself on Harry, grinding his entire body against him, and let out moans as he shook the bed. Harry threw his hands over his ears, trying to block out what he could, and hoped his aunt and cousin weren't hearing any of this. He was brought back to the present by the man wiping his sweaty face on Harry's shoulders, and he knew the man was done. The thrusting was over and his arse was leaking. 

   He understood why he'd been given the room then as his uncle laid down beside him to catch his breath afterwards. The man had wanted the comfort and leisure of a bed for his own activities. Harry kept his face in the pillow and waited for the man to leave, but it took a while.  

   Finally, with one more ... caress, one that went from Harry's shoulder to his rear and paused there for a cupping, his uncle got up with a heavy sigh and left. Harry reached for the blanket again, and pulled it over himself, his face, everything, and gathered it underneath, like he could protect himself in a cocoon.

   The TV was turned on in the morning, and Harry knew because the sound reached up here, too. Again, he reached for every word, as though it could erase or overwrite other things. 

   Dudley came up with breakfast, and Harry avoided eye contact, not needing actual confirmation of his fear that the family had heard what his uncle had done the night before. But Dudley already knew what was happening there; it probably wouldn't change anything, and Harry knew that, but knowing and hearing were two different things. He didn't need Dudley of all people knowing just how truly worthless he was. Dudley was all he had. Such as he was, Dudley was all he had. Well, Dudley and Dierdre. Either way, there was no doubt in Harry's mind that if Dudley truly knew, saw and heard, what Harry took from Uncle Vernon, then he would go back to treating Harry like rubbish.

   He tried harder with Dudley that morning, forcing words about the news as they listened, and even asked him why he always turned on the TV.

   "You don't like it?"

   "No. I mean, it's fine. I was just wondering why you turned it on is all."

   "I just like to hear other voices mostly." And that seemed to be all he had to say. Dudley could be near mute sometimes. When he wasn't in his element of pushing around his parents and his gang. Half of whom were dead, Harry remembered. "And I suppose I want to hear what's going on. These are mad times."

   They were. Grindelwald's dream made a reality. Too bad he'd been killed just as Harry had been defeated. He nodded. "They're resisting in France."

   "I don't think so. I think they're just saying that." Pretty deep for Dudley. Harry kicked himself for thinking so low of his cousin. How would he know how deep Dudley was? "You think so?"

   "Yeah. I talked to Malcolm a few days ago, and he said the same thing."

   "How did you do that?"

  "Phones." Like he hadn't said the same before. 

   "Right. Sorry." He should have recalled that. Harry wondered if it was useful; it must be. But he had no idea how to use it. Hermione would have known. Hermione would have fixed everything by now. But she was a plaything for a beast that considered her food, literally. 

   Harry was at such a loss for things to say that he asked about Dudley's aunt before he could stop himself. 

   Unfortunately she'd managed to so far survive the cleanse. Being out in the country had its benefits, and Dudley said the family had talked strongly about joining her out there. Harry's stomach roiled at the thought, and he had nothing to say for a long time after. Nothing but dread about such a possibility. That woman would make a bad situation worse. He would look back at this time with nostalgia, he was sure. 

   "She calls sometimes," Dudley said when the silence stretched. Harry nodded, feeling less like talking. He must have said enough anyways. Enough for Ddudley to not abandon him through boredom. 

   Dudley left him after a while, taking both plates with him, and Harry curled back up in bed when he noticed he had a window. He went to it, drawn, and stared down at his street for hours, waiting for movement, something. Proof that others still lived out there.

   His uncle left him alone that night, but Harry spent the whole time waiting for it anyways. He could sleep in the day, after all, but waking up to  that man had been more than he'd been ready for. He was determined that it wouldn't happen again. 

   The man came to him the next night, and ordered him to wash himself afterwards. Harry had to give a "yes, master," and obey, but used the washroom downstairs to be quieter. He had more than enough strength for it by then, and truly revelled in being clean for the first time in what seemed forever. He had very little idea, honestly, of how long he'd been there, but summer seemed to be ending from the looks of the neighbourhood. But he knew he was washing at least a couple months of filth off. He recalled he had heard Dierdre call it day ninety of the New Order, and that had been some time ago. Hard to tell when the dementors kept it always overcast and chilly. 

   He went to his cupboard after, and nearly retched at the smell, strong now that he'd been away for so long. How had Dudley put up with it? Why? But that wasn't a very useful question. It had to be enough that Dudley was willing, and Harry would be stupid to ask a question like "why". He washed out the manky bucket well, and put it back, then sat on the little bed for a while. He had the house to roam, and could feel it, but he stayed there, wanting to curl up and stay. So he did. It wasn't as if this room had been safe, but the tiny space felt much more controlled. 

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