"I say before I kill you, I'm going to make you squeal like a pig you fat, pathetic, piece of dung."—Callisto

Hagrid had looked rather harassed by the time he found Harry. He kept a large hand on Harry's shoulder after that. Harry only stifled a mild annoyance at this. He was more annoyed when the giant steered him back towards the robe shop.

He didn't see why wizards insisted on wearing dresses all the time. They didn't look nearly as comfortable as the clothes he already had on. He did manage, however, to get through the rest of the shopping without stabbing anyone, though.

It wasn't long until he was back at the Leaky Cauldron. Dumbledore was waiting for him again. "I would like to take you back to your aunts house now."

"Alright then," Harry agreed, hiding a smile. His aunt had escaped punishment last time, after all.

He was quiet beside Dumbledore as they made the trip. "I will speak with your aunt before I leave," Dumbledore assured him, knocking on the door. It was jerked open soon after and Harry grinned at the sight of his aunt. She looked positively haggard. She immediately tried to slam the door in their faces but Dumbledore put a hand on it to stop her.

"What are you doing here?! Get away from me!" She shrieked, her glare swinging from Dumbledore to Harry.

"What's the matter, Aunt Petunia?" Harry spoke up, his grin widening. "Aren't you happy to see me?"

She shrieked some more until Dumbledore silenced her and dragged her towards the kitchen. Harry glanced around the living room. The place wasn't as spotless as he remembered. He walked towards the mantle over the fireplace and giggled a bit at the latest pictures of Dudley.

When Dumbledore and Petunia came back into the room, the woman looked uncommonly docile.

"Well then, Harry. I'll see you on September first then." He laid a hand briefly on Harry's shoulder and then he was gone.

"Take your things upstairs. You'll be staying in Dudley's second bedroom." She gave a sour look as she said it.

"Okay, then." Harry whistled as he went. He dumped the school trunk on the floor and, still carrying the cage with the owl that Hagrid had bought him, he opened the window. He lifted the cage to look the owl in the eyes. The thing didn't like him much. After a moment of contemplating what he should do with the animal, Harry started back downstairs.

Petunia was in the kitchen. She was cooking, her movements jerky and angry. Harry noted several things. He'd already noticed that most of the expensive things that Petunia had prided herself on years ago were gone.

"What boy?" Petunia asked angrily when she noticed him watching her. "Don't think I want you back here. It should have been you that died in that city."

Harry ignored her feeble ranting. The door opened midway through her rants and Dudley called out. Harry grinned in delight.

Xxxxxxxx

Dudley and Petunia had not had a good two years. With Vernon gone, so was their steady source of income. They were very lucky that the house was paid off. Petunia found, to her horror, that she needed to get a job. She ended up working at the local grocery store.

As a woman who was, before, used to the finer things, she now found herself barely affording the essentials in life. Dudley was none too happy. He was, after all, used to getting whatever he wanted.

He had even lost weight because his mother had had to stop buying all of his favorite foods in such great quantities and he no longer got his weekly allowance of pocket money.

Then, he came home one day when he was eleven and found the freak sitting there in the kitchen as if he'd never left. The resulting temper tantrum was worse than any of the ones he'd ever thrown.

Xxxxxxxxx

Harry sat, giggling, at the display as Dudley ranted and cried and Petunia tried to calm him down. His eyes narrowed, however, when he heard the word 'freak' leave Dudley's mouth several times.

Well, the pig would definitely have to be punished for that. At the end of it, Petunia was screaming as well and Dudley had been sent up to his room. Seemed Petunia had lost some of her patience with her son when Vernon had died.

"And you!" She turned to Harry. "You're here and I don't like it but seems I can't throw you out. But as long as you are here, you'll follow my rules. You'll-"

Harry brought out his knife, abruptly angry at her tone, and brought it down point first on the wooden table. It stuck there but Harry kept a grip on the handle, his knuckles white. He glared at his aunt. She stepped back at the look on his face and at the appearance of the knife.

"How dare you-"

"You're not being very nice, Aunt Petunia." Despite the hatred and anger pulsing in his veins, he didn't yell the words. Petunia had never learned the true meaning of that. It was always more effective when you weren't yelling. He'd seen Joker strike fear into hardened mobsters without ever raising his voice.

"I'm being nice, you know," he continued. He swung his legs in the chair and tilted his head. "I've played nice all day long."

His eyes narrowed. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. This game of his. If he followed the rules of the game, it meant he shouldn't kill the woman standing before him. Then the others would know the ending.

Maybe there was a way…

"I don't think this is going to work out," Harry said in mock regret. He stood and took his knife with him back upstairs to his designated room. He rummaged in the trunk he'd been directed to buy in Diagon Alley until he found a quill and parchment, scowling ever so slightly. It was such an inconvenience.

The note he wrote was short and to the point and then he turned to the bird that Hagrid had bought him. The thing stared at him with something akin to dislike as he started closer.

"You really are a smart one, aren't you?" Harry asked with a grin when she edged away from him. "How about this? You deliver this one letter and after that, you can run off? Or…fly off. I have no need for a pet."

The bird took the letter willingly enough and Harry titled his head and giggled at the reproachful look she gave him before she flew out the window, hopefully never to return again.

Xxxxxxxx

Lucius Malfoy was just sitting down to tea, intent on a relaxing evening, when the snow white owl landed on the table in front of him. He sneered briefly at the owl for disrupting his evening but, even so, reached for the letter it was carrying.

His eyes widened ever so slightly when he read the contents of the very brief note, apparently coming from an anonymous informant. Oh, yes. This would have to be checked out. He leaned back in his chair as the owl flew away. Perhaps he could manipulate a few people into doing the job for him. It wouldn't due for him to be caught out if the note was a lie…

Xxxxxxxx

The masked men broke in through the front door. Petunia was just setting the table for dinner, her son sitting and waiting. The little freak had gone out, thankfully, and hadn't returned yet. Although she might have wished he would have when the two men turned their wands on her and Dudley.

They asked questions she couldn't answer. And the pain, when one of them uttered a curse, was unbearable. She babbled out answers, telling them things that they hadn't even asked. How her husband had died, how they'd thrown Harry Potter out in a muggle American city two years earlier.

The last thing she heard before the green light enveloped her was her child squealing in pain and fear.

Xxxxxxxxx

Harry swung higher on the swing, a grin on his face. He swung his legs forward, forcing the swing higher and ignoring the sirens in the distance. He dearly wished that he could have been there for the slaughter he knew had taken place but it wouldn't due for him to be caught out by fully grown dark wizards. As much as he was loathe to admit it, he wasn't trained enough to deal with it.

The old man who had left him at the house had admitted to a fatal flaw in the wards that kept dark wizards out. He'd said they would remain intact as long as Harry thought of it as home. He had his doubts. After all, how could he consider that place home when he had spent two years in Gotham?

Harry let go of the swing and leapt forward at the highest arch, landing on his feet. He practiced his innocent, devastated expression all the way back to number four.