Title: The Trunk
Author: Keira Marcos
Prompt: Thursday Vignettes (The Big Short on Facebook)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 800 (complete)
Warnings: Reference to child neglect/abuse
Summary: Someone special follows Harry home from Diagon Alley.
– – – –
Harry had honestly expected to be shoved back into the cupboard under the stairs. Well, he’d actually thought he’d have to sleep in the garden at least until Aunt Petunia started to worry about the neighbors. It had been such a concern on his part that he’d snuck a nice blanket into his purchases when Hagrid hadn’t been looking. A magical blanket with environmental charms so he’d never get cold or too hot again.
But his aunt had opened the door, let him inside, and ordered him to go upstairs to Dudley’s second bedroom. Vernon was waiting for him at the top of the stairs, and Harry couldn’t help but flinch at the man’s darkened complexion. He looked furious.
“Get in there,” Vernon snapped and motioned toward the room. “Stay out of our way!”
Harry hurried into the room and just huffed a little when the door was pulled shut. He glanced around the room and dropped his trunk in shock. “What are you?”
The creature sitting on the bed slipped down to her feet and put her hands on her hips. “I’m the Potter house elf. My name is Star. I take care of you from now on.”
“I…hmmm…” He looked at the owl who was staring at the creature passively. “What?”
“I be a magical servant bound to the House of Potter,” the elf explained patiently. “I look for you for ages Master Harry, but stupid old wizard hid you from me. I place charms all over Diagon Alley to tell me when you come to shop. I sneak and look at your letter so I could come here and fix everything.” She motioned around the room. “Bring you nice furniture from the Potter vault, so you be comfortable.”
“Bound? Are you a slave? I don’t want a slave,” Harry said urgently. “I—”
“Not slave,” Star interrupted. “House elf and wizard have symbiotic relationship. I serve, and you give me magic connection, so I’m safe.”
“Safe from what?”
“Unbonded elves go crazy,” Star said grimly. “Turn into gremlins. Wreck havoc and die.”
“Gremlins are real?”
“Very real,” Star said. “You read in your books.” She plucked up his trunk and placed it on a small luggage rack at the end of his bed.
“The room looks bigger.”
“The Dursleys will get mad…”
“Mean Muggles not see anything but what I want them to see. I spell them to leave you alone. I see into their small, ugly minds with elf magic. They not hurt my Master Harry ever again.” Star took the owl cage from him and put it on the table by the window. “Hungry?”
“I…yes…but I’m not supposed to leave the room.” He glanced toward the door.
Star snapped her fingers, and a large oak trunk appeared and tucked itself against the door. “They not welcome in this room while you stay here. I lay down law with Petunia.” She opened the trunk and light spilled out of it. “This be my home.”
“You live in a trunk?”
Harry walked hesitantly across the room to join her. He peered down into the trunk. “Wow. It’s a room.”
“It’s a whole flat made just for me,” Star said proudly. “Your mum built it for me when I came to live with the family in Godric’s Hollow. I sorry I not be there, Master Harry, when the bad man came. Mistress Lily had sent me to Paris to find a book for her.”
“It’s okay,” Harry whispered. “I’m glad you weren’t hurt.” He patted her shoulder carefully when fat tears welled up and spilled down her cheeks. “Will you come with me to Hogwarts?”
“I stay with you always, Master Harry. I not let anyone hide you away ever again! You get comfortable and rest—look at your school books while I cook dinner.” She started to climb down into the trunk.
“Will you leave the lid open?” Harry questioned.
“Of course,” Star said with a bright smile. “But now that we’re together again you can always call for me, and I will hear you no matter where I am.”
Harry hesitated briefly but then went to his trunk to pick out a book to read. He grabbed the History of Magic. It seemed like a good place to start. His owl barked at him. “Maybe I’ll find you a name in here.”
He opened her cage, and she hopped out to perch on his headboard, so Harry climbed up into the nicest bed he’d ever seen and settled down amongst the pillows to read.