Title: Decent Quiet
Author: Luce Red
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: Characters are J.K. Rowlings’s.
Notes: General fic. For the Proprietary Eponyms Challenge. 30 minutes.
She didn’t mean to put him in the cupboard at first. Oh, he resented her for it now, she knew. When she first took him in, she had every intention of taking proper care of him—whatever happened, she was Lily’s son (and Lily was dead)—and making sure he never showed enough magic to embarrass her and ruin his own life. Thank goodness her Dudley was always such a healthy boy, and always knew how to manage for himself.
Day in and day out, in the smallest bedroom where she’d put him, together with the rest of baby items reserved for Dudley. He wouldn’t stop unless someone was within hearing range. Long, loud cries that made the neighbours talk, and kept her and Vernon up at night. Dudley, thank goodness, always slept soundly.
There was a different tone to his crying. It was unlike Dudley’s cries of demands. He cried as though he knew that his parents were dead—damn that wastrel husband of Lily’s—and as though he knew that whatever monster had killed them would also be after him. The idiot who left him freezing on her doorstep with a letter had explained everything and nothing.
She’d burnt the letter immediately.
And he wouldn’t stop crying. She got into the habit of spanking him so that he cried more loudly—but he cried himself to sleep, with that, so that she could go on with the more important tasks of preparing dinner for Vernon and Dudley. He didn’t remember it now, of course, but he was a chore to raise. If he were even twice as demanding as Dudley, she would have had an easy day. But he had to cry and cry.
When he got older, she learnt that he would stop fussing if he could sense someone around. It was as though he hated the smallest bedroom (it held Dudley’s old cot then, and his Erector set). He would grow quiet after she had spent some minutes by his bed, giving him one of her scolds (he wouldn’t even recall them now), but after she had gone downstairs, starting to dust the shelves or wash the windows, he’d start, and she’d have to go and shout him down again.
It was easier when he was in the cupboard.
She got Vernon to put in a proper light in it, and she put down a mattress, and old sheets, and he settled there, quiet and easy. He could hear her from the sitting room, and from the kitchen, as long as the door was open. When he began to walk and poke his nose into the Cusinart, she put up a barricade to keep him out of her kitchen. He was fine, then. He was perfectly happy, and a few times he laughed.
When he blew up her stove, she shut the door.