This was going to be a very long ride. Very long indeed.
I stared sullenly out of the window, absently watching the passing buildings on the almost oppressively silent ride back to my home. Well, back to Privet Drive. The tension in the air was palpable; I'd bet my entire Gringotts vault that if I suddenly clapped my hands or shouted 'Boo!', Dudley would die of fright, Aunt Petunia would have a heart attack and Uncle Vernon's inevitable aneurism would burst on the spot.
Nah, not worth it. With the speed Uncle Vernon is driving, and the number of cars around, some poor bastard would end up with a ton and a half of out of control scrap metal rammed up his exhaust. The traffic is hectic, and London drivers are insane, but I wouldn't wish upon anyone the fate of having to be surgically separated from my relatives.
I let my head rest against the window and sighed softly, trying to ease the emotional pressure. It didn't work at all, I still felt hemmed in. Up ahead, like a red wave flowing towards us, brake lights lit up on car after car, and my Uncle was forced to hammer his foot down onto the brake to avoid hitting the car in front. I was glad I was wearing my seatbelt, and I bet Dudley wishes he had been, once he pulled himself back in his seat.
You know, my Uncle really does swear rather well. And his face really can turn a truly astonishing shade of purple.
I would have sworn that you wouldn't be able to find that colour in nature.
I again found myself sorely tempted to give him a fright. Just to see exactly how he would react. Again, I resisted with a sigh.
After a few long moments, the traffic started to move along again. I glanced over at my Uncle, a man who seems to exude antisocialness from ten feet away.
For the first time, I really looked carefully at this man, the man who married my mother's sister. His size gave him the natural air of a bully and now, frustrated as he is, his bulk quivering with barely concealed rage, it made him even more intimidating. He leaned forward, the fungal growth on his upper lip he calls a moustache, twitching violently. Not a good sign. I silently switched my perspective to observe his indistinct reflection in the windscreen, and I noted with wry amusement and a small smile that his right eye was twitching noticably.
It wouldn't take Hermione to know what set my dear Uncle Vernon off like this. I'm quite sure that anyone, even a powerful wizard, would be highly stressed after being publicly threatened by a werewolf, a red-headed lunatic with an unhealthy obsession, a witch with technicolour hair and grizzled freak who looks like a walking advertisement for personal injury lawyers sporting a magical blue eye that wandered so much it should have its own fucking passport.
You know, I could almost hear the blood flowing through his veins. I could certainly see the vein in his neck throbing. I wondered what his blood pressure is right now. I seriously doubt that there is a blood pressure meter in the average muggle doctor's office that goes that high. Whatever the bloody things are called.
A sudden cacophony of car horns sounded ahead of us, and the car swerved suddenly. I grunted involuntarily as my head thumped against the window. I surreptitiously rubbed my temple and look over to Dudley. No one noticed though, since Uncle Vernon had mashed his fist onto the horn and leaned even further forward to scream invectives point blank at the windscreen. You know, for such an intellectual cripple, he can really be quite inventive if he needs to be. Though given the fact that the subjects of his ire are ignoring him to shout their own insults at the person ahead of themselves, I'm not sure what it accomplishes. Except of course, for having to wipe down the inside of the windscreen once he ran out of breath and imagination.
Wonderful. Another job for me to do when we get home. Wash the car, inside and out.
I really hate the annual trip back to Privet Drive. Taking my Potions OWL was more enjoyable than this. Hell, sitting through a double potions lesson was better than this. According to Dumbledore, I have to return for long enough each year that I can call it 'home'. I snorted softly, causing Dudley, the fat lump sitting next to me, to jump slightly.
I have never thought of Privet Drive as 'home'. Prison, yes. Torture, most definitely, most of the time in fact. Never 'home'. The term 'home' conjures up images of fun and laughter. Of happiness and acceptance. Of love.
No, number four, Privet Drive is not my home. It is merely where I live when away from school.
I suppose I'm unique among the students of Hogwarts, in that I prefer to be at school than on holidays. Well, almost. Tom Riddle definitely prefered his time at Hogwarts to spending time in an orphanage.
What a bloody wonderful thought that was. I wonder what the difference between us is. Was. Whatever. Both of us had parents who vanished from our lives. We both grew up in places devoid of love. What makes us so different?
I suppose Dumbledore was right about one thing at least. That our choices make us what we are.
Thinking of Dumbledore made my stomach cramp with anger. I forced the memory of my ex-divination teacher's silvery form reciting my destiny in Dumbledore's pensive from my mind. For such a long winded prophecy, it boils down to four simple words. Murder, or be murdered. What fucking wonderful options.
You know, since apparently real prophecies exist, I suppose it is no great logical stretch to believe that fate exists. And if I ever meet Fate, I certainly won't hesitate to punch him in the mouth, as hard as I can.
A little thank you, for giving me such a wonderful choice.
If I even get the choice that is. So far, every time I've faced Voldemort I've either run away or been saved by something outside of my control. My mother's sacrifice saved me as a baby and then again as Quirrell tried to strangle me. I ran from him when he was drinking unicorn's blood, and it took Fawkes to save me in the Chamber of Secrets. Even my parent's and Cedric's 'echo' saved me after the bloody tournament, even though I managed to get him killed in the first place. Not to mention Dumbledore himself riding to the rescue a few days ago. To my rescue.
He was too late to save Sirius though.
My anger at Dumbledore was instantly smothered by the intense pain of my guilt. My stupidity had cost Sirius his life and put five of my friends in mortal danger. At the very least, my actions put them all in the hospital wing, not to mention that I almost gave Voldemort the information he desperately sought.
Not a bad effort all up. I seriously doubt anyone could top that. No matter how hard they actually tried to screw up.
Thinking of Sirius caused boiling tears to form in my eyes. I swallowed to move the stubborn lump in my throat and closed my eyes tightly to stop the tears from falling.
Dudley, who in the past has developed a reputation of not seeing anything that happens in front of his nose unless it is on the telly, notices my efforts. This stunningly out of character accomplishment was quickly overrun by a far more conventional Dudley, and he started teasing me.
Merlin, from the insults he sent my way, you'd think he was six years old. Five years in a snobby school, and he can't come up with anything better than that? Uncle Vernon is certainly not getting his money's worth.
I sighed again, and tried to ignore my idiotic cousin.
This was going to be a very long ride.
Things are going fine here, and the Dursley's are treating me well. Well, my Aunt and Uncle are, but Dudley is starting to really get on my nerves.
You might want to tell Tonks that she needs to do a muggle refresher course if she wants to blend in more, I noticed her on patrol a couple of times in the last few days. Yes, even disguised as she was. No muggle trips over every second crack in the pavement and wears a striped skirt with a polka-dot top. Not around Privet Drive at any rate.
Anyway, I must say that it certainly is a change not having any homework. Any word on when our results will be released? It's just that I'd really like to know what subjects I will be able to apply for, and I'd prefer to get the texts earlier rather than later. If I'm going to be an auror, and I just happened to get the 'O' I needed to get into NEWT level potions, I'm still going to need all the revision I can get.
I can't believe I'm actually volumteering to spend another two years with Snape. Ugh.
I put down the quill and stared out the window, idly wondering if Hedwig would return from her nightly hunting any time soon.
I'm still smiling at my Aunt's reaction to my pet the last time she had the nerve to enter my room unannounced. Hedwig, who was dozing on the top of my wardrobe, was startled awake by her rather vocal entrance, and promptly regurgitated her last meal on my mother's sister's head.
Having a half digested mouse land on me is not something I want to experience, ever.
I gently rubbed my eyes, noting that my black eye must be fading quickly, since it no longer caused me pain, just a little discomfort. On arriving home, it soon became obvious, once Dudley got me away from his parents, that he had not forgotten what happened last summer. It quickly became even more apparant that he held me responsible.
His anger at me overtook his fear of retaliation, and Uncle Vernon physically pulled Dudley off me three days ago and scolded him for the first time in memory. I was immediately banned from venturing outside of course, woe betide one of those freaks was to see that I've been mistreated.
As though living in a fucking shoe cupboard for a decade was just an inconsequential thing.
Looking down at what I'd written, I scowled to myself and forcefully grabbed the sheet of parchment. I crumpled it quickly then, with a shout, I threw it at the wall as hard as I could.
I've been getting very angry at everything lately. Everyone and everything just seems so stupid! What is the point of all this?
With a snarl, I snatched up my quill and tore off a corner of a sheet of random notes.