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

BY : Unicorn Tickles
Category: Harry Potter > General > General
Dragon prints: 6040
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

    Harry landed in the nearly spotless fireplace of the Dursleys' home, and pulled himself just outside it. The throbbing wonderfully ebbed, leaving two points, his head and his arse. He was shaking, weak and unable to move with his liquefied muscles, but he drank in the blurred sights as he could. The living room, the awful sofa, everything here was just too beautiful. He closed his eyes, hoping it would be better when next he opened them.
    A hand touched him, and he drew away quickly, stifling a cry that was almost quicker than him. he opened his eyes and felt horrible about it when he saw Dudley looking at him. He shouldn't have done that; Dudley wouldn't be happy about it. 
    "Shh, it's alright, Harry. It's ok." Dudley came closer again, and reached out a hand. Harry made himself stay still, but closed his eyes, until a hand touched his head. And went through his hair. Harry opened his eyes again and stared at his cousin. What had he done? But he did it again, fingers carding through Harry's hair, and by the third time, it was all Harry had ever wanted. And he kept doing it. Harry closed his eyes and soaked it up, loving every time his cousin ran his hand over his head. Dudley had to care for him. No one did things like this without meaning. Certainly not Dudley. 
    It went on for a time, just gentle hands stroking, giving and not taking. Harry couldn't have said how long, but a long time, and not nearly long enough, until Dudley spoke again. "Is there something I can do, Harry? What do you need?"
    Hard questions, both of them. But Harry's arse was still burning, even though everything else had stopped. It was Riddle's seed, inside him. "W - washroom?" Was that his voice? Would Dudley even hear it?
    Dudley nodded, and helped Harry up, once more taking more of Harry's weight than Harry was. He nearly fell, and Dudley just picked him up, carrying him like a baby in his arms, to the washroom. Harry was still wrapping his mind around where he was, and in whose arms. Dudley brought him to the washroom, and asked, "where do you want me to put you, Harry?"
    "Just the floor is good. Thank you, Dudley." He was much better at speaking that time, and waited for the other to leave, even though he was already naked. The clothes Dudley had given him were gone, ashes. And Harry knew he'd likely never receive any again. 
    The door shut, and Harry made his way to the tub and turned the shower on. It wasn't hot yet, but it was still warmer than he was. He got in and stayed on his knees with his back to the stream, not nearly capable of standing, trying to quickly wash himself before he lost the strength. He just needed to clean his arse out. This was agony. A small agony, though. Not what he'd been in earlier that day. 
    He emptied a bottle of shampoo and used it like a clumsy cheap douche, and quickly grew dizzy from the effort. He knew he needed to sit before he fell.
    He woke freezing, colder than freezing, and experienced reality in waves. He was in a tub. The shower was still going, and the water was icy. He'd emptied the boiler of all hot water. He was alone in the bathroom. He lifted leaden limbs and slowly dragged himself up and over the tub. He landed on the floor and took some time to ground himself. 
    It took too long, because there was a knocking at the door. Harry groaned, hoping Dudley was coming back to help him, but then the door opened and it was Uncle Vernon. 
    "You're back. Here, let me help you.
    Harry turned away, knowing it would cost him in ways he couldn't afford right then to accept something from this man. "Yes, M - Master," he mumbled, keeping as much of it as he could between his mouth and the cold tiles. His body was taken in shivering, and he couldn't make it stop. "P - please," through violently chattering teeth. "Leave me alone, please."
    "Come off it, boy, let me help you."
    "Yes, Master," Harry vibrated, and felt a towel cover him. Distantly he heard the water stop, and his uncle dried him off thoroughly, then picked him up, and Harry did his best to hold himself upright on unsteady legs. 
    He was walked out and past the kitchen, past his little cupboard that he spared a longing look for, and up the stairs. Uncle Vernon was speaking softly the whole time, but Harry wasn't hearing any of it. There were no orders in it to pull him back.
    He was supported all the way to his bed, and he shook as he pulled at the blanket, struggled until his uncle pulled it up the rest of the way for him. He felt as though he'd never be warm again. "We'll talk later." Harry nodded, but it most likely looked like more of the jerky movements his head couldn't control. His uncle probably thought he was delirious. He felt like he might be. Uncle Vernon left and Harry curled in tight, trying desperately to warm himself.
    He lay there and shivered for a long time, and then the door opened. It was a blur until it came closer. "Dudley!" Tears actually came from the relief Harry felt. Dudley came to him and sat beside him, and just as Harry was praying it would happen, he stroked Harry's head again.     
    "Are you hungry?"
    Harry shook his head, just a tiny bit, since he didn't want the strokes to stop. He was starving, really. And thirsty. He didn't know how long he'd been gone.
    "Are you alright?"
    A crazed sounding laugh escaped entirely of its own accord. Then he felt bad, like he was making fun of Dudley for trying to be a nice guy. That wasn't him. "Yeah." He could manage a simple word like that, could shove it out between his teeth mid-chatter.
    "Dad was pretty upset." Harry wasn't terribly interested. What could Uncle Vernon do to him, compared to what he'd just lived through? That reminded him of promises he'd made to himself in there. He wondered if he could still do it, now that he was out. His mind had reached some crazy, desperate conclusions, and he wondered if they were still the right ones, or if he'd just been mad. "He went to London and tried to complain about it all."
    Harry wanted to laugh at that, too. Who did Uncle Vernon think he was? Did he think that the man who essentially owned England would be accountable to anyone, let alone some muggle on about property rights?
    Dudley said more, but Harry was far too centered on his hand, making its smooth steady trek through his hair. Had he really lived his whole life without this touch? It was everything. Of course his mother would have done this to him, when he was a baby. It wasn't like this was the first person to do this. Just the first one he remembered.  
    He warmed up slowly, and his body stopped its shakes. Thoughts were able to complete themselves finally, and he found he was able to hear what was being said most of the time. 
    Then the door opened, followed by "bed, Dudders." Uncle Vernon. Harry cried out, feeling he would lose the hand, and so much more. He closed his eyes and covered his face, knowing he had very little strength to control his reactions; best to hide them with his hands if that was all he could do.
    "Night, Harry." And Dudley left. The door closed, but Harry knew his uncle was still there. Then the man came over and sat on the bed, almost where Dudley had been.
    "What happened to you?" Harry shook his head in his hands. "Tell me what happened."
    "Yes, Master." He had to think back, to forever ago. "You were possessed again. The Dark Lord came and I hid." Under the bed like a coward. "And he was going to kill Aunt Petunia. So I came, and he took me downstairs. And." And he'd given him permission to leave the house. It was nice being able to think again. But what could he do with it? He would need Uncle Vernon once a week in either case. 
    "And what?"
    "And he took me to Hogwarts. And he hurt me."
    "Yes. I felt it." 
    Harry didn't know that. "You can ... feel my pain?"
    "And when you were starving me?" That had been a stupid angry question, and he wished it back.
    "I just thought I was hungry. I ate all night."
    Harry remembered hearing the man in the kitchen making noises for most of some nights. And he was so unashamed of himself right then. Like it was a simple mistake to make. Harry supposed it was Uncle Vernon's mistake to make, if it was anyone's. 
    The man started to get undressed, and Harry clutched harder at his face, wishing he didn't have to hear it, too. After everything that had happened so recently, this too. He had to try, had to try to appeal to something in him, if it was there. "Please, Uncle Vernon. Please, not tonight. Please." He was going to cry if he kept talking, so he shut up.
    "It's alright, boy. I'll be real nice." He crawled in behind Harry and put an awful arm around him. "I told Petunia you'd need some extra care tonight." 
    Harry moaned trying to pull away. "Please."
    "Be quiet, now."
    "Yes, Master." But he could still pull away. Not that it did any good. He pulled Harry in against him, and wrapped him in tight arms. Harry sobbed into his hand, waiting for everything to begin, but Uncle Vernon didn't take it further. 
    He held him tight with both arms, and Harry felt himself relax in the warmth, despite everything, or because of everything. Because this contact didn't hurt, and this man wouldn't laugh at him if it did. He might even adjust himself so it didn't. And he wouldn't slice him open and lap up his blood. "You know it wasn't ..." The words were a funny mix of gruff and soft. "It was no walk in the park for me either, boy. I mean, you belong here. 
    "I went down there, to where they make their laws, the Ministry?" Harry hardly believed it, even though Dudley had warned him. "They said they couldn't do anything for me. And that they would look into it. But possession wasn't their area. So I was sent somewhere else, the, um, the Department of Poltergeists and Possessions. Yeah, that's what they called it. They said they're on it, but,"
    "They wouldn't do anything about it. It's their leader who's doing it."
    "That so? That noseless fellow from the school?" Harry nodded, marvelling in the albeit useless fact that he was being understood finally, as Uncle Vernon chewed on it for a time. "You made a lot of enemies, didn't you?"
    "Most of it I didn't do on purpose."
    "We should have never let you join that school." Harry nodded, but Dumbledore wouldn't have stood for that. He'd needed Harry. And now he could think. He wasn't in the unending cycle of anguish and sleep that the Dark Lord had thrown him in. He was safe and warm. And all the things Riddle and Nagini had said, those things that had seemed like senseless noise.
    Now he wasn't so sure. It all fit nastily into place. Brother. Part of a collection. Harry understood. And he also understood how Riddle hadn't been lying about Dumbledore planning Harry's death. That all made sense now. 
    He was a horcrux. And of course he was. It all seemed so obvious now. Why hadn't Dumbledore said so? Always with the secrets. The puzzles Harry had to put together on his own.
    So. He would have to die. Somewhere in all this, he would have to die. 
    Or be kept in whatever cellophane wrapped prison Riddle had planned out for him. And what? Live forever? How old was Nagini? If a snake said she'd been alive for a very long time, long enough to forget parts of her life, what did that mean? Maybe Harry couldn't be killed by anything less than a basilisk fang - or the Sword of Gryffindor.     
    Harry Potter, always the last to know. Come to think of it, Riddle had said he hadn't known this until recently, himself. Harry had to wonder how he'd found out. But really, it was obvious, once one knew horcruxes were a part of the problem, and how they were made. It saddened him, but not as much as it would have before. Now he had a lot less to lose. Life as a vessel? Who would hold on to such a thing?
    It was nice being able to think again, even if those thoughts were painful. "How long was I gone for?"
    The man beside him snorted, and Harry realized the silence had gone on long enough that Uncle Vernon had been on the cusp of sleep. "Four days." And he stroked Harry some more, like he was assuring himself that Harry was there. But it really seemed as though he wasn't going to do anything to him. He was going back to sleep. Harry gave in, and relaxed in the hold. 
    He woke to screaming, and a hand over his face, and his burning throat told him it had been him. Uncle Vernon was right over him, and he screamed again before he could stop. The pain was in his head again, and it must be Voldemort above him. 
    "Be quiet, boy!"
    "Yes, Master," he whispered into the hand that had just found his mouth. It wasn't Voldemort. It was just his uncle. Just a man who didn't cause him searing pain by simple contact. There was no talking snake waiting to consume him. There was a window, even. 
    The hand lifted from his face and went around him to pull him in, and Harry, full of relief that this wasn't who he'd thought it would be, turned his face into his uncle, into the embrace, not caring about anything other than this man wasn't the Dark Lord. He was just a man. A tiny desperate sound went no further than the back of his mouth over his own weakness as he melted into the arms that weren't causing burning agony where they touched, just warmth, and relief. If anything, these arms and this body had stopped his pain on occasion. He stared wide eyed at the chest in front of him. Another harmless moment of this, and he would be reaching for more, in that his shaking hands itched with the impulse to reach up and take more. It didn't help that he knew they wouldn't be refused.
    Just then the door opened.
    "Stop hurting him, Dad. Why would you do that? You don't need to hurt him. He already has to do everything you say. You don't need to hurt him, too!"
    "I'm not! What are you doing in here? I told you to stay away when I'm in here!" He was pulling away from Harry like he was a hot potato. Harry shook with relief and loss. What would his uncle have thought of him, called him, if he'd cuddled into him as he'd been about to? He pulled the blanket over his face and gripped it tightly in place. "And I could have. But I never did. Not once."
    "Get out!"
    "Get . Out." And wonder of wonders the man got up from the bed and left. Harry marvelled at the insanity of it all but didn't move. The door shut, and still he didn't move, until he heard the foot steps of both of them going to their own rooms. His brain was melting here. These people were going to drive him around the bend.
    The next morning the TV woke him, like always, but he stayed in place. Where would he have gone after all?Outside a voice answered in his head, and he jolted awake from it. Put his glasses on and saw for the first time in days. Outside. An option. He should have done it last night, when everyone was asleep, and he was blessedly alone.
    Caution, a new found skill in his repertoire, stilled his thoughts. He needed to play this right. He would have one shot, and then Uncle Vernon would reSpeak the words, and he would be trapped in here forever, waiting for Riddle to grow bored enough again, or overcome whatever it had been that had interrupted all that.
    He listened then, to the telly, in case. And it seemed that France had saved Harry from his own personal hell. Revolts had broken out across the country, and some small rebellions had risen here as well in answer. Like the world was a ticking time bomb. It was mildly heartening. He stretched slowly, and a twinge reminded him of his soon to be scar. His arms would match in time. He stared a while, and gave thanks that he was out of it.
    A knock at his door sent him back to his position, and he pulled the blanket back up tight. He said nothing, as always, and as always, the door opened either way. 
    "Come down for breakfast, boy."
    "Yes, Master." Why? Why on earth was he being forced to do this? He got up and remembered he had no clothes. Again. He wrapped the blanket about himself, hoped he wouldn't be roasted for abusing it like this, and went downstairs like it was an execution.
    "Why are you wearing that?" Was the immediate response from Aunt Petunia, a tad hoarse. 
    Harry avoided looking at Dudley. "He burned m- the clothes I was wearing." He kept his eyes down, and silence stretched.
    "Well, sit down."
    "Yes, Master." Harry sat, and his stomach turned at the smells, though there was nothing wrong with any of the food. He was just very much not hungry. 
    "I need you to think of some way to stop this man, this Lord what's his name -"
    "Don't say his name," Harry whispered.
    "Come again?"
    "His name is hexed. He wants to be called the Dark Lord." Harry felt no shame there, even though he'd once tried to rile Snape by pointing out how he'd always called him that. 
    "The Dark Lord, then. You need to find some ... some wizard way to stop him from doing what he's been doing." Harry felt some relief that they believed him. Or at least Uncle Vernon did. 
    "Yes, Master. I'll try." He could try. But what did he know about anything? Nothing, that's what. 
    "Alright, then. Well, eat, boy."
    "Yes, Master," and shaking hands gripped the fork. He would puke. He started to cry, and again felt little shame that he would, right there, at the table. "Please, please, don't make me!" And he filled the fork with runny egg, trying to shake off as much as he could before it would touch his mouth. 
    "Dad! Quick, tell him he doesn't have to!"
    "What? You don't have to eat, boy!"
    Harry dropped the fork in relief. "Thank you," he gasped, and heaved a few heavy breaths. He swallowed and swallowed, and told his throat nothing was coming until it stopped its bucking revolt. Breakfast with the Dursleys. He reached for the glass of water, and took a few little sips. That was fine, and cold and fresh. Outside. He wiped his face and tried to keep as quiet as possible. He was making far too much noise. Everyone sat silently for a moment, and Harry felt as though his sounds were louder than a jet but at least he didn't have to put anything in his mouth. 
    He eased his breathing and quieted down, and Vernon started telling the table about his time in London. He'd been to the Ministry. Uncle Vernon had been to the Ministry. 
    Harry blinked at this new world, every day stranger than the one before. He saw a cup of tea in front of him, and took it gladly. It would only help to settle his shot nerves. The first sip seemed to do just that, and Harry let the sounds of the table wash over him after that. 
    He was pulled back every time by the sound of Dudley's voice, and listened carefully to everything his cousin said. He had truly changed. It was on the inside, where things like that were permanent.
    He found himself watching, like he was trying to see it, on the boy's face or something, until Dudley's head turned his way. Harry was always careful to look down when that happened. However and whenever it had happened, Dudley was some sweet wonderful person now, kind and thoughtful, and Harry wished for the simplest thing - just letting him know he saw it. Or appreciated it, and he had nothing; no way of doing it.
    "Well, this was a lovely breakfast dear. Cheers."
    "I'm glad you think so, Vernon. But I don't want him here again. This is all his fault. And if you can't see that, then he's done something to you."
    Harry looked up at her finally, more in shock than anything else, and gasped when he saw her blackened throat. She glared at him and he quickly looked back down.
    "I'm sorry," he said, but it wasn't enough. She could very well have died that night.
    "You're not to blame, boy. She doesn't understand."
    Harry shook his head, but he didn't want to talk to the man. And it was his fault. Everything. He didn't need to explain it to these people though. They hated him enough. If they knew just why they should, life would be infinitely worse. 
    "It's your fault, Dad. Letting some codger into your head? I mean, it's your head, innit?"
    Uncle Vernon was incredibly quiet about that, and Harry felt as though the man was really weighing his son's words. 
    "Is it true, boy?" That was a question for Harry. 
    He felt eyes and hunched in as he answered into his chest, "you could - er fight it. You could try. Some people can do it. I can't." He had to throw that in, just so the man would know it wasn't easy. 
    "He's done it to you?"
    "Yeah." Should Harry say that he was able to do it himself? But that wasn't the same. He didn't have any control in Riddle's mind, he was more of an accidental observer there. And what would these people think of that? They would see him as a monster, surely. "May I go watch the telly, Master?"
    "I suppose." His uncle was far more likely too say yes to whatever it was when Harry volunteered the m-word. He'd noticed that little pattern, murmured a thank you, and fled the room. He hoped to hear a familiar name in the news.
    He looked about the living room, at the box of floo powder above the fireplace. He was practically a free man. He just needed to be smart. Knock it down with a broom handle, then push some into the fire. That would work, right? And he could leave the house. If he could find someone skilled and knowledgeable enough, they could maybe remove the curse. But Professor McGonagall was smart, and she didn't know how. 
    "What are you looking at?" The sound of Dudley's voice made him jump, and he thought quickly. Dudley wouldn't want to hear the truth. At least, he didn't think so. 
    "The fire. Place." There hadn't been a fire in there in possibly the whole time the Dursleys had lived here. He turned to him, and worked up the courage. "Thank you, Dudley."
    The boy shrugged and shook his head. "Don't mention it." He didn't seem happy, and he turned away, as though he was done with this room. Harry had messed it up. He watched, wary, while the other didn't move, and squared his shoulders. He turned back around. "This, too. It's all in it, Harry. I've never done anything for you, and you're thanking me. It - it makes me sick."
    Harry stepped back. He didn't understand, but he didn't want to anymore. He'd messed up, he'd poked the bear, and now Dudley would make him pay. He shook his head. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean it." The words came on their own, desperate to backtrack blindly out of this.
    "You did. That's the worst of it. You really meant it." He shook his head sadly, like what followed was out of his control, completely on Harry's head. He stared, boring holes into Harry that he could feel. "Come with me and I'll give you some more clothes, alright?"
    Harry's mouth worked, and he heard and reheard what had been said. Until it sank in. Clothes. Yes, he wanted those. He nodded, and Dudley went up stairs, leading the way, Harry clutching his blanket tight. Was there a beating on the other side of the door? Harry lingered in the hallway, and Dudley waited, until Harry knew he was supposed to walk through it. He didn't look about, he knew how Dudley felt about his Things. He'd never been in this room.
    His cousin went through his drawers until he came back with two pairs of trousers and shirts. Harry snuck an eager hand through his blanket for them, but hesitated to thank him. Dudley hadn't liked hearing it before. 
    "I appreciate this."
    "Yeah. I know you do." Like Harry had stepped in it again. "You can hang out in here if you'd like. After you get dressed, that is." Harry nodded. He was so unsure, but he was strangely drawn to Dudley, like he was safe or something. His uncle would leave him alone as long as Dudley was anywhere near. That was a sure thing. 
    He rushed to get clothes on himself, and came back to Dudley's room, feeling strange about it all. But Dudley turned on his gaming system, a Nintendo 64, and went silent as he shot his way through bodies. Harry as allowed to drift, to enjoy a simple moment where no one was demanding anything of him. 

    Harry was invited down to dinner later in the evening. Not invited. He was ordered. He sat and did much the same, but tried a bit of the food this time. He wasn't so disgusted by it and everything.  
    "Well, at least you clothed him this time." She was talking to her husband, but neither boy said a thing.
    Uncle Vernon made some small sounds, clearing his throat awkwardly. "It is the family table, after all, Pet." He could have clothed Harry, but he probably preferred him naked. It was the only thing possible. 
    "Perhaps you could give him a housecoat, darling." So Uncle Vernon was back to Darling. Quick work. "For walking about the house."
    "Yes, of course Dear." Harry thought he would just wait and see if it happened, but he doubted it. He hunched in though, in case these weren't doing it for her. 
    "I could have him help you around the house again, as well."
    "No. Thank you. I can do this fine on my own, and I don't certainly don't need any help. He's all yours this time." 
    Uncle Vernon went quiet again, and Harry felt perhaps he may have lost his Darling privileges again. Just like that. 
    Professor MacGonagal's name came up on the TV, and Harry tried to hear it over everything else. She still hadn't been caught, it seemed. Still in hiding. Harry wondered if she had it in her to be any sort of problem to anyone, and hoped it was true. She was a powerful witch to be sure. 
    "Last seen in Surrey, and if seen, you should call the authorities. Do not try to engage, or speak to her." Harry wondered if they were talking about ... five? days ago, or more recently. had she come while he was away? "There are people who are capable of dealing with her, and you are not it." Harry smirked a little, wishing the woman all the best, but quickly cleared his face before someone saw something. "She was nearly apprehended earlier today. A very helpful muggle recognized her from our broadcast, and made the proper floo call. Unfortunately, she managed to stun five aurors and get away. Thankfully there were no fatalities." 
    Harry looked up, full of the woman's victory, and accidentally met eyes with Dudley across the table. Who smiled back, and Harry realized he was smiling. He quickly wiped it off his face and looked back down. 
    So, she'd been seen in Surrey that day. Had she discovered some way to help him? Should he wait by the door? His blood roared, until he calmed himself down. It was too much to hope for. And perhaps the Dark Lord would be able to find him no matter where he was. That seemed like it was true, and Harry had to remind himself that he'd lived in the woods for months with Hermione and not been caught. He could hide again. 

    That night, Harry and Dudley went upstairs, and Harry went to his room quickly, hoping he would be left alone. But his uncle had done nothing to him the night before, and Harry felt that for sure he would come tonight. 
    It dried his throat to think of being touched by hands that took, and he nearly panicked. He couldn't be put through that tonight. Tomorrow would be a new day, and he would be stronger, but tonight he still felt like dogmeat. Like perhaps if his uncle came at him all gentle and soft like he had been, Harry might just ... not like it. Never like it. But he might lean into it before he could stop himself. There was a little part of him, disgusting and rebelling, that craved a kind touch, and his uncle had been sort of kind recently. It sickened him to think about it. 
    He came to, staring at his bed, and slipped out of his room before he could stop himself or know what he was doing. He listened to the downstairs, to his aunt and uncle in the living room, talking softly. He went to Dudley's door and knocked quieter than a whisper, opened the door and slipped in quick. He stood, stunned and stupid, and Dudley stared at him from the bed. 
    And what had he been thinking? What was wrong with him? 
    "Alright, Harry?" Like it was a real question. 
    "I'm sorry," Harry whispered back, and turned to leave.
    "Wait." Harry stopped, purely because he'd wanted to, and Dudley got up. "What's wrong?"
    Harry shook his head. The question and the answer were beyond him, and far more than he could ask Dudley listen to. Oh, nothing much, I just don't want your dad to bugger me tonight. And how're things with you? 
    "Can I get you something?" There it was. The words to make him leave. Harry shook his head and ducked his face. Tears leaked out, and he used the massive sleeve to wipe and hide his face, and Dudley seemed to understand everything. Perhaps. Harry would have to be careful to not underestimate him. 
    He came up and opened his arms, said "come here," and Harry did it in two tiny cautious steps. Dudley wrapped him in his big arms, and pulled him in close. Harry kept his sleeve over his face but nuzzled his head up against Dudley's chin and cried quietly. Could he just stay here? Dudley had saved him this morning from his father. Could Harry just beg for him to do it forever? No, that was stupid, of course. Harry would need something from Uncle Vernon, once a week. There was no way around that. 
    He clutched the clothe to his face to wipe away the snot and tears; if he got it on Dudley, he would be sorry. And the other boy stroked Harry's back, soothing him, like an angel. Harry pressed further into him, and the arms tightened. It was the most wonderful moment of Harry's life. It was lovely, but Harry would still have to leave, have to struggle for breath under his uncle ... "Please, let me stay here? Please?"
    The arms squeezed even tighter, and Dudely said quietly, "Of course Harry."
    "I just, just one night. I could just sit here, by the door. I'll be quiet, I swear."
    "You can sleep in my bed. It's alright." Those words again. It must be. Dudley had never given him any false assurances before. The opposite, in fact. Harry nodded. Dudley patted his back once more and then turned to the bed. Harry rolled his disgusting sleeve over itself, trying to hide the wetter bits. 
    Dudley crawled into bed and pulled the blankets open for Harry. Like an invitation. He slipped, and Dudley again pulled him close. Harry stiffened, but hid it quickly so the other wouldn't know it, and Dudley just held him. Like he had before. Harry quickly fell into it, and put his face close to his cousin's shoulder. He would be safe tonight. "Thank you." He whispered the weak little words, and received a pat on his shoulder for it. He was asleep in moments.
    He woke to the sound of a door opening, and saw Dudley's face, deep in sleep. That held him a heartbeat as he remembered where he was. He kept his body still and listened. It wasn't this door. It was his uncle, in the next room. His room. His first thought was that everyone could hear everything in this house, if he could hear a door opening. That was ... unfortunate. His life was to be varying shades of shame, it seemed. 
    The man kept moving around in there, and Harry heard the closet door open. He was looking in there for Harry. He listened some more, and heard the man head out the room and down stairs. It was harder to hear, but Harry imagined he was looking in the cupboard for him. Should he do something? Would the bond punish him for this? He could feel something very like fear setting into his uncle. Fear he wouldn't be able to play when he wanted, most likely. 
    The movement came back up the steps and Harry huddled under the blanket. The door to Dudley's room opened, silently, as Harry saw a crack of light flood the room. He didn't move, didn't breathe, until the door shut just as silently. He felt his uncle's fear turn to anger, but it was muted largely by relief. He would pay for this rebellion, but it wouldn't be tonight. That would have to be enough.  

    The next morning Harry left for his own room, again thanking Dudley for a safe night. The boy nodded, and Harry left. His uncle came up later, after Dudley had turned on the TV, and He stood there at Harry's open door, staring. 
    "Where were you last night?"
    "I was ..." Strange question, when the man had seen him. "With Dudley."
    "You were supposed to be here. What did you two do? Tell the truth."
    "Yes, Master. We just slept. I'm sorry. I just needed to hide." That had perhaps been too much truth.
    "Hide? From me?" The man gathered himself and Harry felt his anger, like needles coming at him. It was the evil dark magic of the bond again. "You will sleep here every night."
    "Yes, Master." Well, it had been a nice night. Harry stared at the floor, waiting for more. "And you don't need to wear clothes in here, either. It's your room after all." Harry nodded. The man seemed to understand what was missing. "You will not wear clothes in this room."
    "Yes, Master." His arms were already obeying, as glacially as he could make them.
    "Yes, Master, indeed. I ought to bend you over that bed right now, just to show you what's going on here. But your aunt is waiting for us."
    Not for me Harry thought, but kept it to himself.
    "Come downstairs for breakfast."
    "Yes, Master." He should have said just that over the clothing suggestion. He should have. If he wasn't so stupid, he would have. He followed his uncle out of the room, gripping his trousers. 
    He followed him to the table, and sat down. Dudley looked at them both, but Harry didn't know what he was looking for that he could do something about. He was powerless. This was all just the natural order of things, and it had been real nice to have a free night where he was safe. And held. That had been more than nice. 

    It was a strange day. Uncle Vernon told him where to be and for how long, then told him where to be after that, like if he controlled Harry's schedule, or gave him one in the first place, he'd never need to look about for him later. Harry was even given some time to be in Dudley's room. But, "both of you, be in your own beds at nine." Dudley narrowed his eyes at him, while Harry gave a tiny "Yes, Master." He understood. Everyone at the table did. 
    After Aunt Petunia had gone to bed Uncle Vernon came to his room, nodding and grunting in satisfaction the moment he saw Harry, in bed, where he'd been told to be.
    "Good boy." And just like that he was on him, reaching for the lube and nestling between Harry's legs like he was in a hurry, not that Harry minded that. But it was as though the man felt he had a point to prove, even though he didn't. There was no doubt in Harry's mind who owned him and what was happening here. But the man apparently felt he needed to belabour a point, and was extra gropy with Harry.
    "I don't see why you think you need to hide from me," as he inched himself inside, "it's not like I'm murdering you or anything, is it, boy?"
    Harry shook his head. It could be worse, it was true.
    "Well, unscrunch your bloody face, then."
    "Yes, Master."
    "I mean, that I want you to unscrunch your face."
    Harrry nodded. He could do that. He hadn't even been doing it on purpose. But it hurt. Like it had in the beginning. And his uncle was going slow, like he did these days, but Harry's arse had been through a bit lately. 
    "I want you to relax."
    Harry nodded. That usually did help. 
    "How about you get on top?"
    Harry stared at him. Did he want what Riddle had done for days? "Come on," and Harry whispered "Yes, Master" into his neck as Uncle Vernon leaned in and wrapped his arms around him. He rolled onto his back, and Harry found himself flipped about. On top, but not like Riddle had done things. "There, now you can take charge, yeah? Maybe you'd like that?" Harry wasn't so sure. Did he have to do everything? Take charge? Could he just get up and leave, then? Outside whispered at him, but he angrily told that voice to shut up. 
    "Go - I mean, I want you to go on." And his groin rose upwards, telling Harry to continue. He pressed down, gingerly, slowly; his uncle hadn't properly gotten inside yet. Harry had to work that little bit himself. But he could do hat. He'd received his little wish, a night of peace, and now he would earn it. 
    He planted his hands on his uncle's chest and sat up, gradually seating himself, and looked at the man. He knew Uncle Vernon really liked that recently. He instantly wished he hadn't; the man was smiling at him. 
    "That's good. You're doing good." Well. Good to know. Harry kept going, rising and falling, working a rhythm. This wasn't so hard, all of it obvious, really. Until his uncle hissed, and Harry realized he'd dug into his flesh with his fingernails.
    "Sorry," he mumbled, and pulled his hands away.
    "It's alright, Harry." Hands rubbed his thighs. "You can, it didn't hurt." But it must have. The man was bleeding. And Harry's own hands hurt a little. The kind of soul deep pain that was related to the bond. His uncle grabbed his hands and put them back. "It's alright if you want to hurt me." He blinked at his own words, and stuttered a bit. "I mean. I don't know what that was. Nevermind. But it was alright. And it's alright if you want to do it again." 
    Harry nodded, really wishing the man would shut up. Uncle Vernon chuckled oddly, almost tensely, and Harry felt that in his arse. His fingers clutched again without him telling them to, and he loosened the hold again. 
    Uncle Vernon reached up and touched Harry's body, his chest and stomach as Harry rode him, then played with his thighs as he tried to direct him, as he got more worked up. Harry could feel this would be a recurring position. His uncle was just too happy with it. But he could breath up here, and he really could ... control parts of it, illusory as that all was. 
    "You like this?"
    Harry nodded, not missing a beat.
    "I want you to say it."
    "I like this?" The man nodded, like he'd heard that it was a question. Harry dug deep. "I do." It was true enough. It was better than most other things they'd done. "I like being on top, Master." Because his uncle really, really liked hearing that word. 
    The man's hips rolled faster in answer to it all, and Harry felt like words might help him more in these situations, but was it worth it? Cut the time in half, but at what cost? Nothing, really. No cost, when he had nothing left. "I like having you inside me." Yep. That did it. The hands on his hips held him in place, hardly letting him move at all as his uncle finished fully clenched under him, grinding a bit against him. 
    And it never ended that easily anymore. The man threw an arm around Harry and pulled him down, kissed him. "That was perfect, Harry. You're perfect." Harry's stomach roiled, but he kept still on top, until he was released, and his uncle dozed a bit. Some time after that he woke, and went to bed. Harry pretended to be asleep so the man wouldn't be tempted to say anything, though he never did. 

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