Chapter 24 ~ Homeless

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Hi, guys,

First of all, I want to apologize for the ridiculously long time this has taken to publish.  It's inexcusable, and I'm so, so, so sorry you had to wait so long.  My laptop was stolen at the end of June, so we lost the story.  Thankfully, we found a disc with all the files recovered from Sadie's old computer, and I've got everything she's written here.  Unfortunately, it took a very long time to find, because we didn't know that she had made a disc, but we've finally got all the files backed up and here.  Just to clear up any confusion, this story is finished.  Sadie had time to complete it before she passed away.  It is, however, unedited, so it may take some time to go through the rest of it and edit each chapter.

Thanks for bearing with me guys, and I'm so sorry.

Love, Claire xxxxxxx

PS; this chapter is complete fluff.  Read at your own emotional risk.

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When Harry was four years old, he wanted a house.

He didn't want a toy house; not like the little ones that can fit in a microwave oven.  He didn't want a playhouse that would sit dormant in his back garden for twenty-some years and fit the picture of some horror film once cobwebs and the shells of dead spiders littered the thing.  He didn't want a little house in a colouring book that was all lines and hue and no depth. 

No, Harry wanted a house.  He wanted a house that was bigger than a radiating cooking machine; he wanted a house that had a warm fireplace and a tin-pot shoe rack and a three-quarter bathroom with his very own duckie towel on his very own hook; he wanted more than to fill in the lines and to paint a picture of what he wanted.  He wanted a bloody house.

He would nick his father's hardware catalogues and scan the pages upon pages of houses airbrushed onto the paper.  He would stick his head out of the car window and gape at the homes up and down the street until his mother told him to "Knock that off, Harold, dang it!" He would sit down with his sister's sketchpad and a dozen or so dried-up Crayola markers and scribble a rather horrid rectangle, and then he'd scribble a couple more rectangles on top of the first rectangle, and then one more, and he'd think, That's what my house will look like, before skipping off an forgetting to put the caps back on the markers.

In any case, Harry really wanted a damn house.  And he would not shut up about it either.

"Harry," his parents would ask, smiling as they slid a fresh piece of stationery under his sticky fingers and set a pen in his palm.  "What are you going to ask for from Father Christmas this year?"  Harry would open his mouth, and his father would predict the answer, and hurry to interrupt him. 

"How about a nice train set?  I know you liked that set we saw at the shopping centre, didn't you?  What do you think?" He'd say, half hopeful and half worried.

"Or a Power-Ranger?" His mother would ask.  "Your old one's getting a bit beat, isn't it?  Why don't you ask Father Christmas for the new red Power-Ranger, Harry?"

"Nope," Harry would say before they could dare to cross their fingers.  "I'm going to ask him for a hou-"

"Damn it, why does he want his own house so badly?" His father would mutter to his mother, shaking his head in bewilderment while Gemma whizzed behind him, hollering, "One pound in the swear jar!"

No one- not even Harry - was quite sure why he wanted a house- a house, of all bloody things- so badly.  Yes, it was natural for a child to want to experience a free, independent lifestyle and to play "family" with one another in little toy kitchens, but this was no Little Tikes kitchen set he wanted.  This was a house; and preferably one with "a bajillion swimming pools and slides and race tracks and movie theatres and stuff," according to Harry.  Now, most kids would have their brief fantasy, understand that they weren't about to attain a mansion anytime soon, and move on to a Lego castle or a tricycle. But not Harry.

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