Blinded at the age of four, Harry Potter only wants to lead a normal life with his family. On his eleventh birthday, he finds out that he can have anything but...
The rest of the week leading up to Harry's birthday followed a similar routine. Each morning, Petunia would get the early post and confiscate any of the increasingly numerous letters as they arrived. As the days went by, their delivery became more ingenious; It was almost as if their mysterious poster had taken Petunia's attempts at blocking the letters as a personal challenge. The next day a second letter was posted again to Harry and dropped through the slot; the day after yet more of the glowing posts were delivered, this time several were actually chucked through open windows.
Throughout all of this, Harry's aunt remained determined to keep the boy from receiving any of the posts. First she'd locked him in his room in the morning when the post would come but, after a flock of owls tried to break through his window, she resorted to having him at her side at all times. Letters continued to pile up and, as they did, so did Harry's determination to see what would be so important inside the envelopes.
One morning he actually got hold of another letter and noticed that it had changed from the first. Along with the fancy swoops of the script that he couldn't read, he also found the telltale bumps of Braille writing on the address. His suspicions were confirmed as it read:
4 Privet Drive
He hadn't gotten any further when Petunia yanked the envelope from his hands and sent him to his room, barely keeping herself from hysterical tears. It was finally on July 30th, the day before his birthday, which many of Harry's questions were answered.
He and his aunt were upstairs moving Dudley's arms and legs about to keep the muscles and joints loose. This had become another daily chore since the accident and both of them were going about it quite professionally. They were startled from their work by a knock at the front door. Not waiting for his aunt, the young boy went quickly down the stairs to see who it was. Approaching the door, however, he noticed that whoever was on the other side had an abnormally large number of sparks running through them. Bracing himself without knowing why, the boy opened the door to meet their caller.
"Good afternoon." Harry recognized the voice to be of an older woman, her tone very prim and proper. "My name is Professor Minerva McGonagall. I am Deputy Headmistress at Hogwarts. You'd be Harry Potter?" At the boy's cautious nod the woman continued, "I've come calling in regards to the letters sent to you this past week. When you hadn't responded, we became worried something may be amiss."
"I..." the boy stuttered, "I haven't been able to read the letter as of yet."
"Well then," the old woman said in a slight huff, "I am therefore personally informing you of your acceptance to Hogwarts and offering to assist you in procuring everything you'll need for the school year."
"He won't be going," Petunia's voice carried down from the top of the stairs. "Harry is needed here to help take care of my son Dudley." Petunia bustled down from the landing and put herself between the professor and Harry. Feeling the tension between the two women, he backed away from the expected clash.
Harry was curious. He knew that neither he nor his aunt had applied to any school called Hogwarts, Aunt Petunia would have discussed it with him if she had. That this woman would arrive at their doorstep offering to have him study there intrigued him and he wanted to know more. Harry knew, however, that Petunia could never take care of Dudley by herself. Even between the two of them, Dudley's care was taxing at best.
His attention was pulled back to the present moment as the professor had somehow gotten his aunt to let her into the parlour to state her case. The boy was sent to make tea and, when he returned to the sitting room with the tray and some biscuits, it was to find the professor still trying to convince the other woman of Harry's need to attend her school.
"Mrs. Dursley, you must realize how important it is for Harry to attend Hogwarts. Your sister, his mother, attended when she turned eleven as well."
Frustrated to be discussed as though he wasn't even there; the boy asked, "Excuse me, but why is it so important for me to attend this particular school? I'm already attending St. Virgil's in the fall at the end of break."
Her eyes feverish with determination and hope, his aunt said, "There, you see? The boy doesn't even want to go."
"Harry," Professor McGonagall said as she cut a sharp look at the other woman "your name has been put down to go since the day you were born. Both your mother and father attended, and you must as well if you're to learn to properly use your abilities."
The boy scrunched his face in confusion,"what abilities?"
"You mean she's never told you?" Professor McGonagall asked, turning to Petunia "What of the letter Dumbledore left with him? You must have it, as I saw him put it in Harry's basket myself." Taking Mrs. Dursley's continued silence as a reply she said softly, "You've kept it from him haven't you? All these years and he never knew."
"Kept what from me?" asked the confused boy.
"No." Petunia's denial came out a horrified whisper. "I forbid you to tell him."
"The boy has a right to know." Turning back to Harry, Professor McGonagall took his hands and said in a gentle voice, "You're a wizard, Mr. Potter."
"A what," the boy asked, not really sure what the woman could be talking about.
"You are a wizard Harry, and a fine one if your parents are any indication."
"No more," snarled Petunia with tears streaking her face. Taking Harry by the shoulders and turning him forcefully toward her, she tried to explain . "You have to understand. These . . . people - they stole your mother from me. When she was eleven, she received a letter just like yours and our parents were /'oh so proud'/. But I knew, these were dangerous things, abnormal things. I knew they would be the death of us all. I tried to talk her out of it, but she went to that freakish school anyway and learned all manner of abnormal things. It was there that she took up with that Potter boy, got married, and eventually had you. I tried to make her see, to understand how dangerous and unnatural it all was, but she would have none of it. She refused to listen, and what did it get her? Blown up, that's what."
"Blown up?" The boy whispered. "You told me that my parents died in a car crash."
"A car crash?" Professor McGonagall yelped, seemingly scandalized. "Lily and James killed in something mundane as a car crash? My word - how could you keep so much from the boy?" Laying a hand gently on his shoulder, the professor continued. "You and your parents are famous in the wizarding world, Harry. If you're to attend Hogwarts there are some things you'll need to know.
"It all started almost twenty years ago. There was a horrible wizard by the name of," the professor stopped for a moment to gather herself and continued, "Voldemort. He believed that Muggles and Muggle-born wizards were inferior to pure-bloods."
"Hold on," the boy interrupted. "What's a Muggle?"
"It's the common name for non-magical people. Anyway, he surrounded himself with other wizards that believed as he did and set about taking over the wizarding world. They were ruthless in their cause, torturing and killing Muggles and Muggle-born alike. They soon had nearly the entire wizarding community of Europe cowering in fear before them. The dark wizard became so feared that people even became too frightened to speak his name. They would refer to him as You Know Who, or He Who Must Not Be Named."
The old woman stopped and took a sip of tea to settle her nerves before going on. "Voldemort and his followers were not, however, unopposed. There were wizards willing to fight these 'Death Eaters,' as they were called, and they put up quite the fight. Your parents, James and Lily, were Aurors. They were part of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Both of them fought long and hard to bring Voldemort down.
"It was for this reason that You-Know-Who had your parents tracked down and, on October 31st, 1981, he entered their house in Godric's Hollow, killed both James and Lily; He attempted to kill you as well."
The boy swallowed audibly. "He tried to kill me?"
"Yes, he did, Mr. Potter, but for some reason unknown to us all, the spell backfired on him and destroyed his human body."
"He's dead then?" the boy asked.
The professor shook her head and answered, "I wish it were so, but Voldemort was a powerful wizard. I suspect that he may have found some way of preventing his death, though I believe that wherever he is now, he is all but powerless."
Harry sat back on the couch with his arms across his chest and pondered the events of the morning. So much had changed about the world he knew in such a short time. To be able to go to the school his parents had attended, perhaps even find out something of them there as well. Then there was the whole issue of magic. Harry had suspected all along that there was something different about him. There was no one else at school that could sense the sparks. There had also been the odd occasion when he had made something happen when he desperately needed it. Such had been the case when Dudley had fallen out of bed while Harry had been turning him one day.
Petunia had been out to the store that morning and Harry was changing his cousin's position to prevent him getting bedsores. He had done it dozens of times by himself, but Dudley had gone over too far and rolled right off the bed. Light as the other boy was, Harry just couldn't manage to get him up. He was nearly to tears when suddenly the sparks came flowing down his arms and wrapped around his cousin, causing him to become light as a feather. Harry was able to lift him easily and put him back into the bed. The sparks had even healed the bruises on the comatose boy's arms and head where he'd hit. Thinking about the incident brought him back to reality and the knowledge why he could never leave.
"Thank you, Professor." The boy reached out and accepted the woman's hand in his. "I would love to come to Hogwarts and learn all about magic." Harry could both sense and hear his aunt's agony as she cried into a handkerchief and quickly continued, "but my aunt is right. Dudley, my cousin, was badly injured in the crash that took my sight. He can't move or speak. It's as if he's permanently asleep and there's just no way that Aunt Petunia could take care of him by herself. So as much as I want to, I have to say thank you, no."
Harry was prevented from further speech by the iron grip of his bawling aunt as she hugged him to her bony bosom. The boy felt a bit embarrassed and a little light headed as Petunia wasn't really giving him much room for breathe, but Professor McGonagall remained silent for more than a minute, allowing his aunt to pull herself back together. From what he could sense by the professor's sparks, she was agitated, disappointed, and oddly - proud.
"Very well, Mr. Potter," she said at last. "I won't try to press you on the subject anymore today. If it would be alright with your aunt I'd like to come by again tomorrow on your birthday and possibly bring someone that might be able to help your cousin in some way." Turning her attention to Petunia she asked, "I'm assuming that you've given no thought of having a wizarding healer look at him?"
"I didn't," the distraught woman stuttered. "I didn't know I could. The doctors said there was nothing they could do but wait for him to wake up on his own."
"Oh posh," said the professor. "It wouldn't hurt to have someone come take a look. I will see you both tomorrow." Quickly saying her goodbyes, the old woman bustled to the door and was gone.
Harry and his aunt spent the rest of the day doing their daily chores in a daze. Each of them was wrapped up in the possibilities of what could happen the following morning. Harry was sitting in the parlour late that evening when Petunia came downstairs with the glowing box that Harry had seen before in the attic. Placing herself just beside him on the couch she put the box on the table before them.
Taking his hand, she placed it on top of the box and said, "This was Lily's. She left it with me a few weeks before... before you came to stay with us. There's no lock on it, but I've never been able to get it open. I thought you'd like to have it."
Harry sat before the box, barely able to breathe. This was something of his mother's, something that he could touch. He ran his hand over the wood of the small chest and noticed that quite a few of the sparks seemed to be congregated around where the clasp should be and they seemed to all shift in the direction of his hand as he rubbed the lid. Taking a steadying breath he placed his hand at the centre of the sparks and jumped slightly when he felt a solid clicking in the mechanism under his hand.
Slipping from the couch, he knelt down before the box and reverently lifted the lid. Feeling inside, he found several objects and investigated each one. There were two envelopes, each with words written on them in that unreadable glowing script he'd seen before. He sat those aside, as he'd have to get Petunia to read them to him later. Also, there was a piece of wood about ten and a quarter inches long.
"That's your mother's first wand," his aunt spoke softly from over his shoulder. "I remember the day she came back from shopping for it. Swishing it around, and giddy as I'd ever seen her." A bony hand gripped his shoulder painfully. "I was jealous, Harry. I'm ashamed to admit it, but most of the bad feelings I had for your mother were because I envied her so."
Feeling around further he found a heavy velvet bag that made a metallic chinking sound when it was moved. When Harry opened it up he heard his aunt gasp in astonishment for whatever was there. Reaching in he found it filled with some kind of heavy coins, obviously money. He regretted his aunt had waited so long in giving it to him. They had been quite cash strapped since the accident. The pension from Grunnings was hardly enough to get by on and Petunia didn't dare work and leave the two boys alone.
Lastly he found a small, flat rectangular object with hinges along one side. He opened it up and nearly dropped it in shock. His aunt, becoming concerned at Harry's sudden rapid breathing asked him if he was all right and attempted to take the item from him. She was shocked when he violently pulled his hands away from her and clutched the item to his chest.
"Harry Potter! What on earth..."
The boy continued to hold the object in a death grip but turned it toward his aunt so she could see more clearly what had affected him so. Inside, pasted to the two pieces of wood, were two pictures. One of his parents at their wedding and the other of an infant Harry and his parents along with some other people that Petunia didn't recognize. Still unable to see what could have upset the child, the pictures were moving but Harry couldn't know that, she gripped his shoulder again with concern.
"Aunt Petunia," the boy said, as he turned his tear streaked face toward her. "The pictures . . . I can see them, I can really see them."