A/N Well, as you might have guessed, this is a crossover between Harry Potter and Roald Dahl's 'James and the Giant Peach'. The story is based on the film where real people are used and the bugs look as if they're made out of plasticine and so does transformed James. I haven't read the book in ages, so I can't remember whether the film is close to the original story or not.
I've also taken artistic licence with the Harry Potter story. In this story Harry was four when his parents were killed and so he remembers the night better as well as remembering some of what his parents were like and some of what they said. His relatives therefore threaten him with a 'serial killer' instead of saying his parents were killed by a car crash. They had also managed to half-convince Harry that magic is only a dream: he was only four, after all, and there haven't been many magical happenings since. He's now about eight/nine. I think that's enough background.
On another note: I've actually managed to finish another story that's more than one chapter! Whoo! For me, that's a real achievement, even if this story won't be hugely long. Feedback will, of course, be appreciated.
Please don't take this seriously: it's not meant to even begin to fit in with canon: I'm just playing around with the characters.
"Boy!" The sound of his Aunt Petunia's shrill voice pierced the wood of Harry's cupboard door. "Up! Now! Your Uncle and cousin are hungry and want breakfast."
"Coming, Aunt Petunia," Harry muttered sleepily. He sat up, minding his head on the sloping roof, and quickly pulled on some of Dudley's over-sized rags. His cupboard had been unlocked so he was able to push the door open and stumble into the kitchen.
"Hurry up freak," snapped Uncle Vernon. "Christmas will be here before our breakfast if you don't look sharp!"
"Sorry, Uncle Vernon," Harry mumbled keeping his eyes down. He quickly shuffled over to the stove and cooked up the usual breakfast. This consisted of: enough eggs to make a dozen cakes; so much bacon it must have used a whole pig; a whole loaf of bread; a large pat of butter; a tomato plant of round red fruit; a four-pack of Heinz's baked beans. Harry was continually amazed that three, well, mostly two, people could put away so much food. It also always rankled when he was barely allowed scraps of toast and maybe a rind of bacon, yet his relatives constantly complained he ate them out of house and home. As always, he forced down the bitterness and the memories of once being happy and contented, retaining a blank expression.
After hungrily munching the pitiful leftovers he was given, he tidied up, washed up, then went upstairs to hurriedly brush his teeth and comb his hair, much good it did him. Grabbing the school bag that used to be Dudley's until he tore a hole in it, Harry dashed out the door, just in time to catch the school bus at the end of the road. Dudley, of course, would be taken to school by Petunia, so didn't need to leave as early as the bus which had to make several more stops before reaching the school.
The day passed pretty normally. Harry kept his head down in class, answering quietly when called upon, but never volunteering information. He knew from past experience that he should never behave in a way that would get the Dursleys called in, whether it was for a good or a bad reason. If it was for something bad, usually because Dudley blamed something on him or he actually hit back for once, the Dursleys would punish him for 'sullying their good names'. If it was for something good, as had happened once when he got 100% on his end of term Maths test, the Dursleys accused him of cheating and copying Dudley and punished him for that. No, it was better to keep his head down and not stick out. The teacher, tired and frazzled from twenty-nine other kids all demanding her attention, was always silently grateful for the one who rarely ever caused trouble.
Harry had once tried to tell someone about the way he was treated at home: from his memories and from what other children said, he was pretty sure it wasn't normal. Not wise. Uncle Vernon had heard of it and had been furious. The Dursleys had to pretend he had Chicken-pox to explain why he wasn't in school for almost two weeks and then thought up various excuses for why he couldn't do PE until the bruises healed. Harry had found out later by listening at doors that the Principal of his school had been an old friend of Vernon's from Smeltings, Vernon's alma mater, and so had caught the ROC (record of concern) before anyone else saw it. Next thing that happened was that allegations of child molestation went around, centred around that teacher. Of course, the media caught wind of it and blew the issue up. There were no charges brought to bear and nothing was ever proved, but as a result the teacher was forced by social hostility to leave the district. Harry learnt a great deal about corruption and the power of words that term.
Harry enjoyed school, though, despite all that. As long as he kept quiet, Dudley mostly left him alone, except at play-times. He was able to get along well enough, and as long as he didn't get consistently more approving remarks and better scores than Dudley, the Dursleys left him alone when it came to school work. He kept a close eye on Dudley, making sure not to get anything new before him, and worked on the basis of getting one right answer in five. It worked, though he had had some odd comments from teachers. From listening in to conversations around him when they thought he wasn't there or couldn't hear, he gathered that the teachers thought he was plain lazy or a cheat as he wasn't consistent in the answers he got wrong. After that, he had tried remembering what he was supposed to be able to do and what he wasn't, but it was very hard and he didn't succeed much of the time.
The day followed the usual pattern: lesson in the morning where he kept his head down and worked, getting extra help, which he didn't really need, from the teacher and trying to stay out of sight as much as possible. At break-time he managed to avoid Dudley and his gang by hiding behind the corner of the building. There was another lesson and then lunch. As usual he had been given a lunch box with the minimum of food: an apple and a single bread and butter sandwich. He scarfed it down as quickly as possible: though Dudley had a lunch box bursting with his favourite things, it wasn't unknown for him to take Harry's, simply because he didn't want Harry to have anything. He wasn't so lucky avoiding Dudley this break, but he did avoid a beating by being fast and good at hiding. Then there was another couple of lessons and finally home-time.
Harry took the bus back, looking wistfully as he saw Dudley running to his mother to be picked up by car. As soon as he arrived home, a list of chores was shoved under his nose. He did as many as possible, as usual not managing to complete them all before Vernon got home. As a result, he was tossed a few leaves of lettuce, another piece of bread and a lump of cheese, then ordered to the cupboard. He was let out once more to tidy away supper and go have a quick shower, then tossed back in.
Harry waited until it was dark, waited while Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon watched a film, the sounds drifting into his cupboard, then went up to bed. Finally the house was silent and still. Cautiously, Harry reached for the torch he had managed to snaffle from Dudley's bedroom a few days ago: the boy would never notice, not with all the clutter covering all available carpet space. He switched it on and slowly, so he created as little noise as was possible, he slipped a piece of paper from his school bag. He had snatched it from the recycling bin earlier that day to use at this time.
The furthest part of the cupboard, the bit where the ceiling was so low Harry could hardly fit his head there, let alone anything else, was the bit he used as a storage space. Behind the small pile of second-hand clothing was his secret stash: a small collection of colouring crayons, snaffled from the bin or when Dudley wasn't looking; a few figurines, all broken in some way; a marble found in the gutter; a worn cuddly toy he had had when he had been dumped on the Dursleys' doorstep and told to knock and hand them a letter. Whatever had been in the letter had made Petunia, his Aunt as he discovered later, pale and tremble horribly, then order him in curtly.
Harry took out some of the crayons and started drawing, humming very quietly as he did so. First he wrote 'Harry' in the centre of the paper, then started drawing figures around it. The last picture he drew was of two big figures holding the hand of a small figure who was between them. There were big smiles on all their faces. Harry hesitated before he added the last detail, but then shrugged. The Dursleys would be furious if they found the paper, whatever he drew. He put a stick in the free hands of the big figures and drew coloured sparkles coming out the ends. He hoped magic was real. He wished magic was real. As it was, he doubted it, not only because of the Dursleys' staunch denial of any possibility of supernatural happenings, but also because he hadn't seen any of it since his parents had died and who could trust a four-year-old's memories?
Finally, happy with the picture, Harry folded it up as one teacher had taught him. He gently teased out the bits of paper that should stick out and patted the bits of paper that should stay flat until his aim was reached: a paper ship. He decided he would drop it in the stream that ran under the road tomorrow morning on the way to the bus. Just as he was about to turn off the light, he felt a slight tickling on his foot. Looking down, he saw a big, black spider.
Unafraid, there were always spiders in his cupboard, he reached down and picked it up. It explored his cupped hands and wrists without fear, somehow sensing that Harry wouldn't hurt it.
"You'd better go outside, Mr Spider," Harry whispered to it. "My Aunt Petunia hates insects in the house. She'll whack you if she sees you. Go and spin your web somewhere safer. I'd take you if I could, but I'm locked in here 'till tomorrow morning." He sat quiescently for a few moments and then showed his boat proudly to the spider. "Don't you think it's pretty, Mr Spider? Would you ever want to sail in it? I would. I'd like to sail away from here, far, far away, but Aunt Petunia says if I leave without permission, the Cereal Killer will get me." He shuddered and bit his lip in fear. Shaking himself out of the memories of That Night, he put the spider near the door to his cupboard and nudged it until it crawled under through the gap. He hoped it would leave the house and not get found.
Harry then switched the torch off, hid it back in its hiding spot and lay down to sleep. He quickly succumbed to the pull of Morpheus, his body and mind exhausted from school and chores.