Chapter One

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The shame caused his face to heat and Harry hoped that no one would notice his flushed appearance even as he dug the almost empty tube of toothpaste out of the trash. Dean had thrown it away that morning, only because he was tired of tightly rolling the end to get the mint flavored contents to come oozing out the top. Harry reckoned there was enough toothpaste left inside for several more uses, but Dean's mum had sent him to school with three tubes of the stuff. It was easy to be wasteful when you were so well taken care of.

Harry was very aware of this, in an almost subconscious way, and he didn't harbor any bad feelings for Dean or any of his other roommates when they were unmindfully wasteful.

Also, he knew why his friend's did not shove rolls from the dinner table into their robe pocket's like he did...but he didn't spend too much time thinking about the reasons, even though it was becoming harder to ignore. The longer he spent at Hogwarts with children his own age, and heard about how they lived, the more his mind seemed to whisper that if they knew what his relatives were like, they would stare.

He smiled when Seamus told stories about his crazy cousins that he went on trips with, and listened in awe as Ron mentioned in passing that his Uncle Charlus was one of the few dragon tamers to ever ride a Ridgeback without being thrown off, and all the while, he fought the sickly feeling of jealousy that seemed to make his throat tighten. Harry didn't have what Ron had, or even Neville; no one sent him letters asking how he was getting on or parcels filled with sweets like Malfoy received almost weekly.

Harry never discussed his relatives if he could help it. His fellow Gryffindor's were very curious as to how he had grown up in the Muggle World, but Harry steered them away from stories that actually contained family members and talked about lifts, how he'd once stuck his finger in an electrical socket, and what a telly was.

A more observant person would have noticed that his laugh was a little forced at times during this conversation, and maybe...just maybe, if they had asked why, he would have forced the uncomfortable truth out. The truth was that he hated lifts because Dudley liked to shove him in them, mash all the buttons to all the floors and when Harry found the Dursley's sometime much later, Petunia would grab his ear, twist it harshly and threaten to leave him in his room next time they went away. The truth was that he'd never accidentally stuck his finger in an electrical socket, it had been forced...the truth was that he'd only really gotten glimpses of the telly as he hovered in the doorway, knowing that if he sat down in the room, he'd eventually be made to leave.

Luckily for him, his Gryffindor friends weren't all that observant. However, there was no way they would ignore it if Harry didn't brush his teeth or take showers, and that was when he had to get in touch with what he began to call his 'Slytherin' side; he called it this because he wasn't proud of his actions at all and hated feeling sneaky.

The Dursley's hadn't provided him with anything he would need at school, he'd managed to buy school supplies; quills, ink, parchment and his robes when in Diagon Alley and with his own money...but how was he supposed to ask Hagrid to take him somewhere he could buy soap and a hairbrush?

While the bathroom was still empty, Harry spread out some of the toothpaste on his finger and rubbed the minty stuff over his teeth as quickly as he could, eyes glancing at the door and just waiting for someone to walk in.

Rinsing his mouth out, Harry hid the toothpaste in his robe pocket so he could sneak it back into his dorm and then into his trunk without anyone noticing.

"Harry, hurry, we're going to miss breakfast!" Ron was hopping as he tried to pull his shoes on over his thick woolen socks his mother had made him.

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