For the most part, Harry could get away from the discomfort of being the unloved one by hiding away in his cupboard and quietly doing the chores, but there were times when Uncle Vernon came home from work with a horrible attitude, looking for something to take his anger out on. This something usually ended up being Harry, despite his best efforts to do everything to the letter. But the stress of getting it just right and Uncle Vernon's eyes obviously following his every movement made Harry's hands shake. He spilt some of the tea on his hand, causing Harry to hiss and drop the kettle.
It lands with a loud enough bang, giving Vernon the excuse, he needed to get up from his spot at the table and march over to Harry with his face red in anger. Tears were already rolling down the boy's face as he clutched his scalded hand to his chest, backing into the counter
"Boy, what do you think you're doing ruining the counters that I paid good money for? How dare you try and rebel against me when I give you food and a place to sleep, your ungrateful brat!" He grabbed Harry by the ear and viciously yanked it as he dragged him towards the cupboard.
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm sorry!" Harry whimpered, trying not to cry. His uncle said nothing in response to the apologies and threw him against the door of the cupboard. In the next second, there's a fist flying to his face and Harry crumbled into a sitting position, clutching his cheek with hot tears rolling down his face. His scar started to burn with the anger Marvolo was feeling towards Uncle Vernon, but he hid that pain because the last time he hadn’t, his uncle had told him that he was being dramatic, pretending to be hurt.
"Since you seem to want to waste the food I put on the table, you're not going to eat until tomorrow,” he shouted, grabbing Harry by the hair and shoving him into his supposed room. The young boy hit his elbow harshly against the wall, leaving him with a buzzy feeling in his arm.
"I want to be normal, Marvolo," Harry sniffed as he fought back the sobs that would only get him into more trouble. "I just want a Mommy and Daddy who love me. I want someone who will love me." He felt the imaginary fingers cupping his cheek but he angrily turned his face away from it. "I want someone real to love me."
Marvolo grew angry and he took Harry's chin in his invisible hands.
Don't think for a second that just because you cannot see me that I am not real, Marvolo said. Just because I am in your head doesn't mean that I don't care for you. I promise you, Harry, that I am going to take you away from this one day. One day, I will KILL your supposed family for treating you like this… like some kind of slave. His grip tightened on Harry's chin, and the boy's lips trembled as he looked up into the space where Marvolo's eyes would have been. He nodded, wiping his tears away, before rubbing his nose.
"Do you promise to never leave me, Marvolo?" Harry whispered as he leaned back against the wall, cradling his cheek that was hot and getting bigger under his hand. Marvolo's hand encased his and Harry gasped as it became cold.
I promise you, dear Harry, that you will never be alone again.
After a few seconds, Harry sighed, leaning his bruised cheek into the hand. If he closed his eyes, he could even pretend that Marvolo was actually there with him, crouching in the small cupboard and offering comfort, no matter how temporary, to Harry. His gentle touch was a balm after having spent so much time experiencing cruel touch.
"How do you do that, Marvolo?"
I just can.
"Thank you, sir."
Don't call me that.
That's what you call your uncle and I am not your uncle. I would never hurt you.