Title: Coyote in the Cupboard
Fandom: Harry Potter Sentinel fusion
Warnings: canon child abuse, also mental, verbal, and physical child abuse (non-canon)
Summary: It is well known that isolation and stress can bring a Sentinel online. Harry Potter has spent most of his young life in a cupboard, isolated from the world and his abusive relatives. He can’t remember a time when his coyote wasn’t with him.
Banner Art: FanArts_series
Harry Potter was a very lonely and very isolated little boy. It wasn’t his fault, he wasn’t shy or introverted, particularly. He didn’t prefer books to games, exactly. His loneliness and isolation stemmed from his family circumstances.
Harry’s parents were murdered by a psychopathic wizard when he was only fifteen months old. This was a tragedy but not one that would have definitely made him so lonely and isolated. But after their murders, an old man with lots of power and not a whole lot of empathy meddled, unlawfully, in Harry’s life. The old man treated the world around him and the people within like a giant chessboard and himself as the Grand Master. He positioned his pieces by using the power that he wielded from his many governmental positions and the reputation that he enjoyed among the magical populace.
The old man delivered the orphaned youngling to his maternal aunt, Petunia, and her husband, Vernon Dursley. They couple had a young son, Dudley, less than two months older than Harry. And the woman and her son were Harry’s only remaining blood relations, on either side of his family tree, at least close enough to be counted as family.
It might be argued that the old man thought that this blood tie and the close age of the two boys would foster a loving family relationship to shelter the poor orphaned child. But that could only be argued by those who didn’t know that he understood the history between Petunia and Harry’s mother.
Petunia had been incredibly jealous of her younger sister and over time that jealousy had transformed into a seething hatred of not just her sister but of anything that wasn’t completely normal for a British citizen. Thus, when the toddler was dumped on her doorstep one night in November, she knew he was not going to be normal. He would grow up to be like his mother and she transferred all of her hatred of the abnormal onto the little boy now in her care. And the old man understood this was the reaction his actions would engender in the woman and her husband.
Petunia wasn’t evil but she felt that Harry wasn’t really human. When he was still a baby, she grit her teeth and cared for him as much as necessary. She changed his diaper, though not always with the alacrity that her own son’s messes caused; she gave him bottles with formula, though she weaned him as soon as she could and put him on solid food that he could feed himself; she bathed him enough that he wasn’t caked with filth; she put clothes on him, but only the bare necessities; she even gave him a cot to sleep in, though she placed it in the cupboard under the stairs so his night terrors wouldn’t disturb the house.
This attitude, of separation, of isolation from the family he lived with, was what the old man counted on for his plans to work. He anticipated that when the boy was rescued from the Dursley’s home for ten months of the year to attend the magical boarding school the old man ran, he would feel gratitude and would attach himself to the man who made it possible. And it likely would have mostly worked.
Harry would have been guided by the old man and his many minions even to the point of letting himself be killed for the old man’s cause but for one small change in his circumstances. A change the old man couldn’t have foreseen or anticipated that led to the undoing of every one of his plans and the smashing of the entire chessboard.
Harry was four years old and sitting in the cupboard that he considered to be his. He had been in the small space, locked up, for over fifteen hours. He was being punished for a strange occurrence that caused his cousin Dudley to break out in spots, though he was only four, as well. Vernon Dursley was on a weekend business trip and Petunia had locked Harry in with a covered bucket until Vernon was due home. The young boy was terrified of what the man would do to him upon his return.
Everyone knows that long term isolation added to high stress can trigger a specific transformation in certain people. Most usually in adults, or at least, teens. But young Harry was isolated so often and under stress from his family so much, that the change triggered in a child barely out of toddlerhood.
Harry wrapped his arms around his legs and shivered in fear, unable to control the tremors. He had no clock in his cupboard, no way to tell the time and very little light, but he could hear Petunia and Dudley moving around outside, Petunia had just exited the kitchen and given Dudley his late afternoon snack, which Harry knew meant Vernon would be home very soon.
Vernon always punished him the worst and Harry’s punishments were always given by Vernon rather than Petunia when the problem was caused by freakishness or where Dudley was hurt (or claimed to be hurt, the more usual case). This was a combination of both of them.
Dudley had been tormenting Harry and pinching him, bruising his arms and legs, and then had punched Harry hard in the back of his head and as the younger boy fell, he had gotten angry and caught a glimpse of a commercial on the telly about medication for spots. When Harry had picked himself up and turned to look at his cousin, the boy looked like he could use the entire tube of Clearasil and still need two or three more.
Dudley wasn’t really physically hurt but it was freaky and abnormal and Petunia blamed Harry for it and promptly dragged him to his cupboard, thrust him inside, grabbed a covered bucket from the garden shed and put it on the floor in the corner of the small room, and filled an empty soda bottle with water, putting it on the shelf above Harry’s head along with an apple that was going bad and two crackers. She informed him tightly that Vernon would deal with him when he got home, slammed the door and slid the lock across the exit.
That had been the afternoon before and now Harry strained to hear his uncle’s car drive up, wanting as much warning as he could get. As he tried his best to listen, past the television show his cousin was watching in the living room and it’s loud sound effects, past the noises Petunia was making in the kitchen as she prepared dinner, a dinner that Harry knew he wouldn’t get to eat, past the sound of the lawn mower running at Number Two, past the radio playing in the drive of Number Five while he washed his car, past the sounds of the hose hitting the metal of the car, Harry heard the sound he was waiting for. It sounded close but as Harry waited, and waited, and waited, it was several minutes before the sound changed as the car downshifted and came to a stop, the engine turning off and the car door slamming shut.
Harry heard the man come into the house, greet his son and wife and then a conversation wherein the man was informed about the happenings the previous day. He had noticed nothing amiss with Dudley because as Petunia informed him, the spots had been gone when their son woke up this morning. Harry heard the man approaching the door and the loud scrape of the deadbolt being pulled back and winced in more pain than usual when the man grabbed his arm to drag him into the bright hallway. The man started shaking the little boy and Dudley turned from the television to watch the live show instead. Vernon was yelling and Harry suddenly couldn’t hear at all and the hallway felt like he was outside at noon in the middle of summer with the bright sun shining on him, and he could smell the spices in the roast in the oven and Vernon’s grip on his shoulders felt like hot pokers and Harry screamed in agony and lost consciousness.
When Harry awoke he was in his cupboard and it was comfortingly dark, there were few sounds outside his cupboard and Harry felt a warm sensation across his legs. He looked down and could see an odd looking animal sprawled across him. It looked a bit like a kitten but also sort of reminded him of a dog. Harry didn’t know what it was or why it was in his cupboard. The Dursleys, especially Petunia, didn’t like animals, not even plushie ones. Unlike most of the toys that Dudley grew tired of or broke in some way, plushies were always thrown out as soon as the boy didn’t want them anymore.
Petunia not only letting this animal into the house but letting it cuddle up with Harry made no sense to the child. Harry could see the kitten puppy perfectly clearly as if the light was on with a brand new bulb. It was odd, but Harry was used to odd happening around him and didn’t really dwell on the oddity part of it. The animal was small, Harry could likely hold it it his two hands, and it was grey and white all over with browner patches on its snout and ears. It had whiskers like a cat but overall looked more like a dog. It had bright green eyes, much like Harry’s own.
Harry sat up straight and reached his hand out to rub the kitten puppy’s ears. “Hello,” he whispered. “My name’s Harry. I think. Petunia and Vernon and Dudley usually call me ‘Freak’ or ‘Boy’ but I know the second one is just a word for male. I learned that from listening to Dudley’s educational program on the telly. And the first one, I thought it was my name for a long time but I got in such trouble when I told someone that when we were at the store and I heard Petunia telling the woman that I was such a difficult child and trying and she called me Harry when she said it. So, at least to people who aren’t in the house, my name must be Harry. And that is better than the others, so I say it is my name.”
The kitten puppy nosed his hand and whuffed into it and Harry smiled. “I don’t know why you’re here or how long the Dursley’s will let you stay but I’m gonna give you a name ‘cause everything deserves a name. I don’t know what you are, I haven’t seen enough animals when I’ve been able to sneak looks at the telly or magazines or books. The only books that Petunia doesn’t mind me reading are cook books and magazines about keeping a house nice. She says that soon I’ll have more chores to do than just dusting and sweeping and weeding the garden like I do now. I need to earn my keep and the food and shelter they give me. I’m only a freak and don’t deserve what they are nice enough to provide and the money they have to waste on my existence. So, sorry, I don’t know what you are but you look more like a puppy then a kitten and you keep giving me these looks and you’re acting like you understand me, like that, you nodded. But animals don’t understand people, not that much, and dogs only really know words like sit or stay or attack or food or walk. I know that from when Aunt Marge comes to visit with her dogs. But you’re acting more like a person. People understand full sentences.”
The animal had worked its way up Harry’s lap and now nuzzled against his chest, pulling itself up until it could reach his shoulder. It laid across his shoulder, (Harry wasn’t sure how it was staying in place or how the claws on its feet didn’t scratch him as it climbed) and licked his face. “Do you really understand everything I am saying?”
The animal licked. “Um, this is freaky. Okay. On the telly they do experiments. Like that show with the kids and the soda and the candy. I got to see that one ‘cause Dudley loved the mess it caused and made Petunia buy it so he could watch it over and over. So, if you understand me totally, I want you to tap your nose on my nose three times and then lick my face once and tap my nose two more times. That wouldn’t be something you would do in that order without understanding. And you do. Okay. Wow. So, you’re like a kitten puppy people, but more puppy than kitten. So, I’ll call you Pupple.”