Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look
And you'll see
Into your imagination
When Clementine Dursley opened her eyes, she was greeted to the sound of birds chirping and the morning sun shining into her face through her window. Had it been any other Monday, Clementine would probably be dreading getting up and facing school which wasn't too bad, but always seemed to be unbearable on Mondays.
However, that Monday wasn't just any other Monday; it was her eleventh birthday and her parents had promised a trip to the zoo that Clementine had been begging for since Christmas. And, this time, her birthday trip wouldn't be so unbearable as she had pleaded with her mother to allow her cousin Harry to accompany them instead of leaving him with their neighbor; Mrs. Figg wasn't a bad person and she wasn't mean to Harry like Clementine's own parents tended to be when they weren't completely ignoring him, but Clementine enjoyed her cousins company- a lot more than she did her own brother's. Harry-
Clementine's eyes popped open as she heard the sound of steps sounding in the hallway and she suddenly realized what it being her birthday morning meant; her mother always got up a few minutes earlier to start breakfast and wake Harry up so that he could help. Clementine could just imagine how twisted her mother's face would get if she realized that he wasn't in his cupboard underneath the staircase.
Throwing her duvet off of her body, Clementine scrambled to get off of her bed and ended up falling over the side and down onto the floor with a thump muffled by the carpet. "Ow," She groaned as she stood. Her mother had insisted that she would fall off of the top bunk of the bed one day if she wasn't careful, but Clementine had never paid much attention to her words. Now, she was just glad that her mother hadn't seen her fall.
Dusting off the bottom of her pyjamas, Clementine continued on with her mission and began shaking her sleeping cousin who lay on her bottom bunk. "Harry, wake up!" She only had to shake him once or twice before he woke. "Harry, you've got to get downstairs; we overslept and mum's getting up now." Harry immediately began to get up and put on his glasses; the last thing he wanted was for his Uncle Vernon to start locking him in his cupboard at night. "Come on!"
Rushing over to the door, Clementine pulled it open and popped her head out to see her the back of her mother's nightgown peaking out of the doorway. She could hear her talking to Dudley who was most likely inside. Looking back, she waved Harry forward and let him move past towards the stairs. He was almost to them when, down towards the other end of the hall, the door to her parents bedroom clicked open and her father stepped out. He was yawning and rubbing his eyes as he turned towards the stairs and Harry who had frozen in fear. Thinking fast, Clementine stepped into the middle of the hall and screamed as high and loud as she could.
"Daddy!" Startled, her father jumped and her mother nearly tripped trying to exit the bathroom to see what had gotten her only daughter so worked up. Harry, after realizing that he was no longer in jeopardy of being caught, continued down the stairs.
"Clementine!" Her mother, Petunia, rushed down the hall with her father following close behind her as she continued screaming. Behind them, Clementine could see her brother look out into the hallway with a bored expression and a toothbrush sticking out of his mouth before going back to brushing his teeth. "Clemmy, what's the matter sweetheart?! Are you hurt?!"
"It's my birthday!" She finally took a break from screaming to belt out. "It's my birthday! It's my birthday! It's my birthday!" Grabbing both of their hands, she began to jump up and down with them joining as not to discourage her.
"Ah, yes, well..." Her father smiled uncomfortably as he jumped in place. "You would be rather excited, wouldn't you? You only turn eleven once,"
After a few more moments, Clementine took pity on her parents and let them go before going back into her bedroom to get dressed. Her mother had bought her a brand new dress specifically for her birthday; it was a navy knee length long sleeve cashmere dress with a white Peter Pan collar and a matching headband along with white stockings and a pair of shiny, black dress shoes with a short heel that made a click-clacking sound whenever she walked which Clementine adored.
Once she was dressed, Clementine when downstairs to the kitchen where her mother had already put Harry to work cooking. Her father sat at the table with Harry watching while Dudley tore into a large pile of presents piled high on top of one another. Her mother, standing at the stove, was quick to notice Clementine and abandon her task. If only to avoid being blamed for the food that would eventual get burnt, Harry got up and took over the food.
"There's my beautiful sunshine Clemmy-bee!" She said in a high voice as she pulled Clementine into a hug and began kissing her soundly on the top of her head as her face twisted; Clementine detested the nickname that her mother had insisted upon since Clementine could remember. Despite her dislike for the name, however, Clementine endured and allowed only her mother, grandmother and Aunt Marge to use it. "You look absolutely darling- Vernon, doesn't she look like an absolute angel?" Clementine was nearly given whiplash by how fast her mother turned her towards her father who didn't even look away from his paper as he answered.
"Of course she does; she's your daughter." He didn't dare mention the fact that Clementine looked like neither of her parents, instead favoring her maternal grandfather who she had only met a few times before his death; Harrison Evans had been a tall man with long bright red hair and a matching beard that had been passed down to only one of his daughters and one of his grandchildren- the red color of his hair, that is, and not the beard.
"Sit down, sweetheart- boy!" She snapped to Harry, leading Clementine over to her seat. Harry appeared only a second later with eggs and bacon. Clementine gave him a smile in gratitude; she didn't thank him out loud anymore. It only led to a long winded speech from her father about how allowing Harry to sleep underneath his roof was thanks enough for anything he did. "Your presents are all in the living room; we couldn't fit them in here."
At that, Dudley stopped eating and he stared up at his mother. Clementine tossed her napkin at him when she saw all of the jam over his face. "How many does she have?"
"Thirty-eight, Aunt Petunia." Harry answered as he sat back down. Dudley's face turned a truly impressive shade of red and Clementine could practically see steam coming out of his nose.
"Thirty-eight?!" He demanded. "But I only got thirty-seven!"
"That's because some of yours are bigger and more expensive-" Aunt Petunia tried to explain, but Dudley was uninterested.
"I don't care!" He bellowed. "Why does she have more than me?!" As if sensing the oncoming tantrum Dudley was no doubt intending to throw, Harry began shoveling food in his mouth at an alarming rate, but Clementine knew it probably wouldn't get that far.
As she had correctly assumed, Clementine's mother immediately began to try and placate her son. "And we'll buy you another two presents while we're out today," She promised. "How's that, popkin? Two more presents. Is that all right?"
As if by magic, the redness was completely gone from Dudley's face and he beamed at his mother before going back to his bacon. Across the table, her father chuckled.
"Little tyke wants his money's worth, just like his father." He said with an air of pride. Clementine couldn't help but think how cross her father would be if Harry had done with Dudley had for any of the dozens of things denied to him- like an actual bedroom with a window. "'Atta boy, Dudley!"
Breakfast went by slowly with Dudley insisting he open all of his presents at the table before anyone be allowed to leave. He had been upset when he discovered that several of his presents had been intended for Clementine, but, luckily, he hadn't realized that it meant the amount of presents he actually had were lower than he thought before. During his unwrapping, Dudley's friend Piers had shown up as he was Dudley's guest for their birthday trip to the aquarium. Harry was Clementine's guest even though her mother had- unsuccessfully- tried to convince her to invite one of the girls from school. Unfortunately for her mother, Clementine didn't have many friends at school- well, no close ones, anyway; most of the girls stayed far away from her as they found her brother insufferable and assumed that she would be, too and others stayed away due to the fact that Clementine was close to Harry which Dudley, nor his friends, would tolerate from anyone else.
The drive to the zoo was a long one- especially with Piers and Dudley yelling and hitting one another as they played Yellow Car in the backseat of the minivan. The drive seemed to get even longer as Clementine had to listen to her father rant after he heard Harry tell her about his dream about of a flying motorcycle. By the time they got to the zoo, Clementine had a headache and a bad mood that hadn't been lifted until lunch when Dudley had spilled juice on his pants that made it look like he had wet himself. She had even made sure that Harry had gotten dessert by telling Dudley that they hadn't put enough ice cream on his Knickerbocker Glory. Dudley had complained and gotten a new one while Harry was allowed to take his first one since it was paid for.
Unfortunately, Clementine knew that the good times had to come an end.
After lunch Piers and Dudley dragged the family to the reptile house where there was supposed to be a snake big enough to crush his mothers Station Wagon into a tiny ball. Although Clementine was sure her brother had to be exaggerating, she didn't see the snake as she was too afraid to go inside; Clementine had always had a completely rational fear of snakes and other reptiles ever since she could remember, so the reptile house was not for her. Instead, the two wandered into the gift shop where Petunia was more than willing to buy anything Clementine asked for. When it came to getting what she wanted, Clementine chose kindness and asked for things while Dudley would screw up his face, pretend to cry, and even hit their parents if he were refused anything. They both yielded the same results, but Clementine liked to think her parents appreciated her manners.
Clementine browsed the shelves of stuffed animals, T-shirts, and hats as she tried to find the perfect gift; Harry's birthday was in a little over a month and, much like his other birthdays, it wouldn't be much of an event. Other than tossing him a pack of jaffa cakes and giving him a mediocre gift (last year it had been tape for his broken glasses), Harry's eleventh birthday would pass without much fanfare. Clementine always tried to give him a gift, but they were never good ones; she had tried to give him her camera when she was nine only for Dudley to throw it out a window and she had given him a new pair of shoes to replace his worn down ones the year after that, but her father had taken them and given them to Dudley despite the fact that his feet were two sizes bigger than Harry's.
This year, however, Clementine wouldn't allow her present to Harry to be taken away or thrown out- she would wail and throw things like Dudley did if that's what it took. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to find a good birthday present in a zoo gift shop. Harry was sure to appreciate anything she would give him, but Clementine didn't want him to appreciate her gift, she wanted him to love it.
However, before Clementine could even look at all of her options, screams erupted from the reptile house across the way and Clementine looked to see people running out of the building as if they were running for their lives. Worried for Dudley no doubt, Petunia began running towards the reptile house and Clementine followed only to be stopped in her tracks when a large green snake came slithering out of the doorway. Her mother, however, didn't break her stride as she ran towards the sounds of the yells of Dudley as her screamed for her.
As if sensing her staring, the snake stopped in its tracks before looking straight at her. Heart pounding in her chest, Clementine didn't dare look away or move a muscle as the snake slithered closed and raised to her eye level. It bared its teeth with a hiss and Clementine was sure that she was going to wet herself.
However, due to a reason Clementine wouldn't know anytime soon, the snake didn't strike at her. Instead, it hissed once before slithering away as fast as it could. It was only once it was gone that Clementine finally let herself cry.
Her father ended up finding her after the reptile keeper had gotten Dudley out of the snakes habitat- something no one was able to explain, but were more than ready to blame on Harry- it was decided that the trip was over. After taking Piers back to his home, the Dursley family had gone home and Harry had been banished to his cupboard for the zoo incident while Clementine was put to bed.
The next month wasn't a good one; Harry hadn't been allowed out of his cupboard until after school had been let out for the summer despite how much Clementine had begged and pleaded that he be let out. It had taken a fit of tears and forcing herself to be sick all over her fathers favorite shoes for him to cut Harry's unfair punishment in half and let him out early. After he was out, Harry and Clementine spent most of their time outside and away from Dudley and his friends.
"It's almost your birthday, Clementine reminded her cousin as she watched him ride around on her bike.
They were at the park that day as Dudley had invited several of his friends over to play with his video game system- well, Clementine's game system. Dudley had broken his only a day after he got it, so he had taken to using Clementine's without asking, but she didn't care. She didn't care much for video games because staring at the TV for too long always hurt her eyes.
Instead, Clementine and Harry had gone to the playground in the park almost a mile away from their home. There weren't any other children around, so it was the perfect place to be unbothered.
Clementine watched as Harry circled the merry-go-round that she sat cross legged on for the tenth time. He had just learned how to successfully ride a bike without falling or crashing into anything- and he had done it a lot less time than it took Clementine- so she had given him her bike to ride while they were away from home.
"My birthday's not for another fortnight," Harry pointed out as he circled around his cousin once more.
"Yes, but anything could happy in the next two weeks and I'm very excited about your gift, so I want to give it to you now," Clementine told him. "Now stop riding and circles and come get it." Harry was careful as he slowed the bicycle to a stop and put down the kickstand before going to sit on the merry-go-round with the redhead who turned and pulled out an envelope from the over-sized pocket of her overalls. With a smile, she handed it over to Harry who took it immediately. "I didn't really know what to get you that dad or Dudley couldn't just take away," She told him, watching as he opened the envelope. "So, I went up to the attic to find something and found a few of the boxes mum put up there after gran died." Holding her breath, Clementine watched as Harry pulled out the photo inside.
The photo showed a beautiful woman who couldn't have been more than twenty or so with long red hair and bright green eyes that were easily visible despite the distance of the camera. Cradled in her arms was a small baby with a head full of messy black hair swaddled in a blue blanket who was gazing up at the woman with a sleepy, but wondrous look on his face. The woman was grinning as she looked at the camera.
"Your mother- Lily," Clementine told him. "I found it in some of mum's things from gran's house." Harry had never remembered meeting his Aunt Petunia's mother, though he did remember the large redheaded man that had been his grandfather, but he had died before Harry had been given a chance to make any pleasant memories with him. "After you were born, she sent this to mum- I have the letter." Clementine told him as she turned to pull her rucksack closer. She only had to push away a few of the snacks she had packed before she found the letter. When she turned back, Harry was still staring at the picture of his mother, so Clementine took it upon herself to read the letter.
"Dear Tunie," She read. "I know we haven't spoken in sometime, but I wanted you to be the first to know; I have a son, now. Mum and dad told me that you also gave birth to a little boy named Dudley. I would love to meet him one day and I'm sure you'd like to meet your nephew- the first of many if James has his way. It took me a very long time, but I finally decided on a name for my little boy. Meet Harry James Potter- after dad. James and I are going to introduce Harry to mum and dad next week; perhaps if this letter finds you in time, you could join us. I'd very much like that. With Love, Lily,"
Harry didn't speak for a moment- quite a few moments, actually, but Clementine didn't take any offense. She was only eleven and she had both of her parents, but she knew that it couldn't be easy for Harry to have no reminders of the ones he once had- Clementine was sure that this was actually the first time he had seen a photograph of either of his parents. That was her parents fault and she hated them for creating a situation where she had no way to comfort her best friend.
"Thank you," He said finally, tearing his eyes away from the photo. "This is the best present I've ever been given," Clementine smiled at him as he looked back down at the photo and she leaned her head onto his shoulder.
"Just wait and see what I have planned for Christmas,"
The next week was a haze for Clementine- well, she wished it was.
With her going away for school, Clementine's mother had taken to trying to do everything in one single week; she was insistent that Clementine needed a years worth of brand new clothes and several of her school's uniform (a grey pleated skirt, a long sleeve button up underneath a dark blue blazer with the school's crest on the left breast pocket, a pair of black Mary Janes and long socks- Petunia had also gone just a bit overboard buying blue hair ribbons, ties, and headbands that complied with the schools dress code).
Miss Evangeline's Secondary School was a boarding school in Burgess Hill which was where Clementine would be attending secondary school. It was an all girls school and hours away from Surrey, so Clementine doubted she would see her parents, Dudley, or Harry very often as Harry would be going to a public school near home. Clementine had asked to go, but she felt guilty admitted how glad she was when her parents refused; she was excited to be living away from home and with girls who wouldn't keep away from her because of Dudley. The guilt came from the fact that she would be leaving Harry and wouldn't see him again until she returned home from Christmas, but Harry had insisted that he would be find without her- especially since Dudley would also be going away to a boarding school and taking a few of his friends with him.
Despite how much they were spending on Dudley and Clementine, Harry wouldn't be getting a fraction of it; He was going to Stonewall and, instead of getting him more clothes, Clementine's mother took instead to dying Dudley's old clothes in the sink for Harry to wear. It stunk up the entire house and Harry was given fault.
"Get the mail, Dudley," Her father ordered from behind his newspaper when he heard it come through the slot.
"Make Harry get it."
"Get the mail, Harry."
"Make Dudley get it."
"Poke him with your Smelting stick, Dudley." Harry ducked when Dudley swung his stupid stick (which, for some reason, was part of his uniform) at his head and Clementine sighed as she stood from the table.
"I'll get it," She offered, disappearing from the table before he father could argue. There were only three things on the doormat: a postcard from Aunt Marge, who was vacationing on the Isle of Wight with her favorite card, a brown envelope that couldn't be anything but a bill, and - a letter for Harry?
Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Who had sent the letter and how had they known that her parents made him sleep underneath the stairs? Clementine, deciding that was Harry's problem to figure out, went back to the kitchen and gave the postcard and bill to her father before dropping the letter in front of Harry. "You've got post," She told him as she retook her seat. Harry began to open his letter only for it to be snatched out of his hand by Dudley who had gotten up from his seat with a speed that he shouldn't have been able to achieve.
"Dad!" He yelled, getting his father's attention. "Dad! Harry's got a letter!"
"That's mine!" Harry yelled, trying to get it back, but Vernon took it before Harry could snatch it back from his cousin.
Whatever was in the letter made her father nervous and her mother even more so. They didn't return the letter back to its owner and Clementine felt bad for not realizing what would happen if she gave Harry his letter in public. She should have just put it in his cupboard so he could have opened it later that night. She told him as much, but he hadn't put any blame on her.
The rest of the week passed and it was filled with confusing events.
Clementine's home had five bedrooms; Her parents shared the biggest, Clementine and Dudley got their own, another was saved for visitors, and the last- and smallest- was used to house Dudley's toys and broken gifts. As if realizing that a human person was more important than some things, her father moved Harry into Dudley's second bedroom in hopes that whoever he was convinced was watching the house would leave them alone.
More letters continued to arrive; first it was only one everyday with the post, but- by Friday- twelve letters for Harry had been delivered by a very persistent postman. Clementine's father burned every single one of them. But then the letters had began coming out of unbroken eggs fresh from the market, they were in the milk delivered to the house, and had come flying through the chimney and windows.
Her father had, officially had enough.
That's how they ended up in a tiny shack in the middle of a small island made of rocks in the middle of the ocean on July 30th- the day before Harry's birthday.
With her parents taking the only bed upstairs, Dudley had fallen asleep on the only couch, leaving a tiny arm chair for Clementine and the floor for their cousin. But Clementine couldn't sleep with the sound of the raging waters and storm threatening to wash way the tiny shack.
Getting up, Clementine grabbed her cover and joined Harry on the floor, covering his small body with half of her cover before laying next to him. He had drawn a cake in the dirt on the floor.
"Do you know what's boggling me?" She asked him quietly.
"We're in a shack on an island with no food, no TV, and no electricity," She reminded him. "And yet, this might be the best birthday celebration I've ever been to." Harry smiled and Clementine looked at the dirty drawn cake. "It looks delicious," She lied and he laughed. "But you can't blow out the candles until your birthday." Bringing her arm from underneath the blanket, Clementine pulled back her sleeve to show the silver watch she had gotten for her birthday a month before. "It's eleven fifty-nine," She told him, trying to ignore the sounds outside the shack. "You've got thirty seconds to go."
"Twenty-five," Harry said as the hand counted down.
"Ten," Clementine said before they both began counting down. "Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one-" But the two stopped when a loud booming sounded from outside the shack.
Someone was outside, and they wanted in.