Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG (talk of death)
Pairing: Lily/James, Remus/Sirius
Summary: Harry’s life is always the same, until one day when his cousin hits him a bit too hard. A strange and sad fic it is, but considering the mind it comes from, that’s not surprising.
Harry Potter's life has always followed a curious cycle. He spends every summer with relatives in agony, wishing for his life at school. Through some means he usually manages to escape from his abusive aunt and uncle (not to mention his cousin) to spend the rest of his free time with his best friends. Harry arrives at school, famous as always, and breaks many rules. By the end of his school year, he's always attacked by a man that has tried to kill him since he was born. In spite of these extraordinary circumstances, he's always shipped back to his aunt and uncle.
This way of life may seem odd, but Harry's used to it by now. It's been his life since he was 11 years old. Now 16, he's used to the life of a wizard. For that is what Harry Potter is, a wizard. His friends are witches, wizards, werewolves, and half giants. In fact the cycle of his life is the only ordinary thing he leads.
His best friends are a witch and wizard named Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively. They attend Harry's school, Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry run by the eccentric, but friendly Albus umbledore.
Yes, life was completely normal for Harry Potter. Or as normal as it could be. That is until the day his fat cousin udley hit him about the head just a bit too hard. It was all Harry's fault as he shouldn't have been goading his idiot cousin, but he was such an easy target and udley seemed to provoke him a lot more easily as of late.
"Still crying over you dead boyfriend?"
Harry had practically jumped out of his skin realizing udley was hovering him, watching him study the picture from his parent's wedding. He closed the album with a small slam, and stood up angrily. "Shup up, udley."
"Ooo... we are testy, aren't we?"
"I said shut up, you stupid pig," Harry hissed through his teeth. His anger was unwarrented, yes, but Sirius' death had sat rather hard with him all holiday.
Now udley may have been slow on the uptake, but it was easy for him to spot an insult. Harry, the award winning seeker, didn't see the fist flying at his face, he was too emotional. Next thing he knew, Harry was lying flat on his back, the world spinning above him. A blob with a blonde wig stood above him looking down almost concerned.
" on't call me a pig. Besides, what do you know?"
"What do you mean it doesn't snow?" Harry mumbled, barely coherent. The world wouldn't stop spinning, eventually swirling into black oblivion.
"Harry dear, wake up," A caring voice spoke reminding him of Mrs. Weasley, Ron's eccentric, but stern mother. "You've been passed out for a day now. We've been worried sick."
Eyes still closed, he tried to speak through his sore jaw. "Mrs. Weasley? What are you doing here?"
The voice laughed, and it was then Harry made the crucial distinction between Molly Weasley and this voice. It was a much more pleasing sound, like the tinkling of little bells. "I'm hardly Mrs. Weasley. Open your eyes love, I promise it won't hurt that much."
He'd only heard this voice once in his life, but this couldn't be possible... there was only one way to find out. The sight that greeted him, made him want to sob.
The woman hovering over his bed looked rather distraught. She turned to look at the man behind her, eyes filling with tears. "I hope I haven't done anything to upset him."
The man reached over to run his hand through Harry's unruly hair. "It's all right, Harry we're here."
Harry instinctively flinched away from the touch, not really knowing how to react. He was dreaming, he had to be. He looked about the room, knowing that this place was too perfect for it to be real. Quidditch posters lined the walls, a broom lay in the corner, his trusty Firebolt. And there was Hedwig, his owl, not in a cage, but perched on a wooden branch that looked specially made for her. The room was rather large, but looked well lived in. As if a wizard of 16 had spent a lot of time in here, doing 16 year old wizard things. The room was littered with personal pictures as well. Little minature Harry's in various poses with his best friends waved at him from different corners of the room, looking jovial as his picture selves went about their frames.
It was just too wonderful to be true. Harry squinted his eyes together, willing himself to be back at Privet drive, it was just too painful to be here. It was as if he was living the life he was meant to, but deprived of at the age of one year old.
"Lily, what's he doing?" The man sounded worried and placed a gentle hand on Harry's shoulder.
"He's just in shock, James. He experienced a rather severe blow to the head when he fell off his broom."
"No, no, no. I'm not here," Harry began rocking back and forth on his bed, tears threatening to fall. "I'm back in Privet drive. I'm not seeing my dead mother and father. I'm not in this wonderful room. I'm. Not. Here."
"Quiet, James. Give him a moment."
Harry looked up at his taunting hallucination, "Mum, da... I wish this were real, but it's not. You've been dead for 15 years. 15 long torturous years."
His parents exchanged a dark look as if say, This is worse than we thought. His mother looked about to speak when she was distracted by a small squeak from the doorway. Two young children had just toppled into the room, twins from the look of it.
James Potter made his way to the two children, helping them up gently, but speaking firmly. "Briar... Rose. What did we tell you about spying? Harry needs his rest."
"But we jus' wanna see if Hawwy is alwight!" The one who spoke had bright blue eyes, like his father's, whereas the other had his mother's eyes.
"And he's going to be just fine, why don't you two run along and find Jamie? I'm sure he could find something exciting for you to do." The two red heads bobbed simultaneously and ran off.
All the while, Harry had been sitting on his bed rocking back and forth. This isn't real... this isn't real... this can't be real...
His parents exchanged looks again, communicating almost telepathically.
"Perhaps you'll feel something better once you eat something Harry..." His mother trailed off not sure how to help her eldest son. "Supper will be served in a little while, why don't you join us?"
umbly, Harry nodded, hardly aware of his surroundings.
Six Potter children, including himself. Harry had counted three times just to make sure. At Harry's obvious confusion, his parents (very patiently) re-introduced him to his siblings. Besides Briar and Rose, whom he had already met, there was 13 year old Jamie. Jamie (or James as he quickly informed Harry) had red hair and green eyes like his mother. It was rather startling for Harry to see his own facial structure sporting radically different features. Next there was 8 year old Sirius, the spitting image of his father. The twins were next in age, at four years old. And the youngest was Remus, only 2.
The supper was quite lavish, but Harry still couldn't get over his confusion. The family was obviously very close and they seemed to have quite a bit of fun over dinner, laughing and talking the whole time. Afterwards, they retired to a parlour with a roaring fire and a homey feel to it. Books and parchments littered two desks, obviously his parent’s. So full with food, Harry felt as if he was going to drop off to sleep at any moment, but the night of surprises was not quite over yet.
"Uncle Siwrius!" Briar had run for the door only to be swept up into the arms of a jovial looking man. This was Sirius Black, there was no mistaking it, but there was something fundamentally different about the man. It was the difference of 12 years in Azkaban prison. This Sirius looked only slightly older than the man in the portrait from his parents wedding, not haggard and on the run. Behind him was Remus Lupin, not prematurely grey and wearing fancy robes. It seemed everyone had a better life in this dream world. Harry got up just as his parents were greeting their friends, intending to slip out of the room and avoid notice. This world was just too perfect to be true. Arms engulfed him from behind stating simply, "Not so fast, Harry."
Harry spun around to face Sirius, who's face was spread in a wide grin. "Aren't you going to greet your favourite godfather?"
Gulping, Harry replied in a squeaky voice, "Hello Sirius."
Sirius frowned, as if expecting something different. He looked very concerned for his godson. "I heard you had a Quidditch accident today. Hope it won't keep Gryffindor's star seeker and captain off the playing field this year."
Harry decided not to speak, it was too painful. He started to back away from the happy scene, not really knowing where he would go, but he needed to get out of there.
Sirius was perplexed, to say the least. Instinctively, Sirius reached out for Remus’ hand, trying to get his attention. Their fingers entwined and Harry watched, mouth agape.
“What is it, darling?” Remus was watching Sirius almost as curiously as Sirius was watching Harry. Harry shook his head, trying to clear it.
Harry never thought, in all his years, that he would prefer the ursley’s to anything and he realized, with not a small amount of amazement, that it was true now. He wanted to be back at the ursley’s no matter how abusive they were. It was normal there, it was familiar. This perfect dream was just that, too perfect. Everyone was happy, everyone had what they wanted. It was some sort of divine torture he was putting himself through.
See everyone happy and perfect in a way that he could never be. No matter what torture udley had in store for him, he could not possibly imagine the pain that this single image brought to his cousin. This was more than physical pain, it was mental anguish and Harry wanted out.
Sirius and Remus advanced on him slowly, Remus speaking in his intelligent, yet caring nature. “You do remember us, don’t you Harry?”
The words left his mouth unbidden, “Of course I do, but this isn’t right. Sirius, you’re dead. After 12 years in Azkaban prison for being falsely accused of murdering my parents, you were on the run for two years before Bellatrix Lestrange murdered you a few months ago. Remus, you’re not supposed to look this healthy and you’re always wearing ragged clothes on the account of you being a werewolf and not able to find jobs.”
His parents were staring at him bewildered, as were Remus and Sirius, but Sirius looked rather amused at the same time as if Harry were playing some elaborate joke.
“Harry, I’m right here. I never was in Azkaban. As for Remus, well, he was cured of being a werewolf almost a year ago, weren’t you Moony?” Sirius looked at his partner lovingly.
Harry once again shook his head and began pacing about the room, “No! I’m telling you, this isn’t right! Everything is all wrong. I’m supposed to be living with my aunt and uncle and their fat son, udley. Sirius and my parents are supposed to be dead. My ‘siblings’ never had a chance to exist. Remus is supposed to be a werewolf. That’s just how my life works. Every summer, I come home from Hogwarts after some fresh triumph over Voldemort, back to the dreariness of Privet drive and then I’m whisked by Ron on some summer adventure before returning to Hogwarts. That’s the way it’s supposed to be!”
Sirius tried to warn him, but Harry held up his hand for silence as he continued to pace. Perhaps if he had let his godfather speak, he would have noticed the pair of careening twins and their toy broomsticks. Harry tripped over them both, his head hitting the fireplace with a loud clunk and then only blackness.
“Harry Potter! Get out of bed this instant!”
Harry knew that voice! He bounded out of bed before realizing that was probably not a good idea. His head spun and he fought to keep his balance.
“Are you all right there boy?” Aunt Petunia’s face was twisted into a look of disdain and only felt it was necessary to ask this question, but not because she really cared.
Harry closed his eyes, half believe he wouldn’t be back in his own room when he opened them again, but there he was. The room was still tiny, barely fitting a bed, a dresser, and a stand up closet, but it was his room. He smiled up at Aunt Petunia, who snorted at his goofy look. Perhaps his head was still hurting because he suddenly threw his arms around his aunt and squeezed her tight. Her yell of disapproval could be heard all throughout the house, but Harry hardly cared.
On his way down the stairs, he thought about his dream. It had all seemed so real. He remembered the feel of his father’s hand as it brushed his hair back, his little siblings hugging him tightly, and he could still taste his mother’s cooking. He had seen his life as it could have been had Voldemort not destroyed it.
However, this did not make Harry upset, as he thought it would, but it gave him a strange feeling of comfort. Yes, he would have been very happy living with his family in that big house obviously full of love, but nothing could replace the experiences and strength he’d learned from his last five years at Hogwarts.
This dream was not torture as his dream self had concluded, but a way to show him that he could be happy and that he was happy despite everything that had happened to him. Someday, he would have his perfect life. ifferent than the one he saw, but created by himself nonetheless.