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...
Harry sat snuggled against his aunt's side on the sofa; the day's events had drained them both. Now that the Pandora's box had been opened, however, neither of them would be able to sleep until one last thing had been addressed.
Clutched in the hands of each was a letter addressed to them. Petunia reverently folded her own and placed it in the pocket of her apron, deciding she would read it later after Harry was asleep. Gently taking the boy's envelope and opening it, she began to read aloud as Harry hugged his arms to his chest so tightly that his ribs creaked, listening to a message left to him by his mother, nearly ten years before.
My Dearest Harry,
I dread the thought of you ever having to read this letter, I can't bear the thought of not being there to see you becoming a young man. Events of the past few months, however, have me far more worried that you might grow up not knowing anything about myself or your father and the feelings we have for you. If you are reading this, then something has happened to either your father or myself and I wanted you to be able to know something about us.
First off, I want to tell you how much your father and I love you. The proudest day of our lives was when you were born. I wish we were there to see you becoming a man, but it seems that it wasn't meant to be. Let me tell you something about how your father and I met.
James and I meet in our first year. Both of us were sorted into Gryffindor, and our relationship was a bit strained at first. Your father was an utter prat. During our time at school, James and his friends spent much of their time playing pranks and showing off for the girls. I'm sure that Sirius, Remus, and Peter have told you stories about their exploits and so I needn't go on about them. Regardless, as I said before, James was quite full of himself, what with being a Quidditch star, the heartthrob of all the houses, and leader of his own little pack of friends. I couldn't stand to be near him. It wasn't until one of their pranks nearly resulted in the death of one of our schoolmates that he decided to grow up and become the man I learned to love.
Shortly after graduation we were married and both became Aurors. We were, and still are, fighting a mad wizard named Voldemort who seems to have followers in every part of the wizarding community. Needless to say, it was one of the happiest and most frightening prospects of our lives to find out that you were on the way. We agonized about whether we had the right to bring a child into such a world In the end, we knew we couldn't deny you the chance to find the happiness we have ourselves. I want you to understand how much more full, beautiful, and incredible our lives have become in the past year since you were born.
Your godfather, Sirius, is James best friend. Unless he's changed, I suspect that you are a bit more mature than he is. Don't be too hard on him, though. Padfoot, that's his nickname, means well and he is nearly as devoted to you as James. Thank goodness that we have Remus to keep him in check.
Remus Lupin is another of your father's close friends, and was your father's second choice for godfather, if something were to happen to Sirius. Remus is a wise, and good friend. If ever you have a question, go to him - especially if Sirius is trying to talk you into some silly adventure.
Lastly is Peter. Peter Pettigrew is the last of our tight-knit group of friends. He is the quiet one, always letting James, Sirius and Remus take the lead. I think he's so much more than he lets on, that one day he'll surprise us all with his cleverness. James and Sirius took Peter under their wing while we were still in school, trying to draw the shy boy out, he made them part of their little group. In school, they took on the name, the Marauders. They were the biggest pranksters at Hogwarts.
These men are as much a part of your family as we are. We trust them all with our lives, as should you.
We love you so much and my only regret is that, as you are reading this, we can't be there to watch you grow up. While Petunia and I have never seen eye-to-eye when it comes to magic, I have faith..."
Petunia stopped reading as she choked on her own words. Taking several moments, she got herself back under control and continued.
I have faith in my sister to see past our differences and give you all the love and support you'll need. There is so much more I want to say but I'm beginning to rattle on like a schoolgirl. James says you have my eyes so I'll have you remember this: I'll always be with, and watching over you. Whenever you look into the mirror and see those green eyes looking back, know that I'm there.
Harry lay against his aunt, truly crying for the first time in his life that she could remember. She held him tightly with tears rimming her eyes as his sobbing quieted and he drifted into a deep sleep.
Morning came and Harry slowly stirred from a dreamless sleep as the smell of cooking sausage roused his stomach. He found himself still curled up on the sofa, though a pillow and warm blanket seemed to have joined him there at some point during the night. Sitting up, he sensed the box still in front of him on the coffee table. A quick investigation showed that everything save the letter addressed to Aunt Petunia had been placed neatly back into the box. Running his fingers over the parchment of his own letter, Harry felt tears welling up anew. Removing his hand from the box and getting himself under control he got to his feet and padded into the kitchen to find his aunt.
Harry stood in the doorway for a few moments as his aunt bustled about, and noticed that there were some profound changes in her since the previous evening. Always before, she'd had angry red sparks flowing through her, even when she was in a fairly good mood. This morning, however, many of those same sparks were now gone, replaced with softer hued ones that he was fairly sure meant she was somewhat remorseful about something and, if not happy, then at least less sad. He was startled out of his musings by a sudden stifled scream.
Stumbling backward and, fearing that he'd somehow upset his aunt, he turned to go until he felt her hands upon his shoulders. "Harry! Oh, you gave me a start." She pulled him back into the kitchen and towards the table. "I wasn't expecting you up so early. Here, have something to eat, birthday boy."
Petunia quickly brought forth plates of eggs and sausage, more than enough to feed three people, but his aunt seemed intent on having Harry eat every bite. They sat at the table making small talk as the boy ate, and he couldn't help but feel just a bit uncomfortable, as this kind of behaviour was uncommon in his aunt. On previous birthdays he'd always helped, at least to some degree, with the food preparation, and, from what he could tell, she'd apparently already taken care of Dudley by herself this morning as well.
Both were nearly startled out of their chairs when the same precise knock from the day before sounded at the front door. Scrambling to answer it, they opened the door to find Professor McGonagall along with another woman and a man who seemed so huge that Harry thought he'd have to bend double to fit through the door.
"Good morning, Mrs. Dursley, Mr. Potter. I've brought our school nurse, Madame Pomfrey to take a look at Dudley." Petunia quickly ushered them into the house and closed the door. In the parlour everyone gathered and the professor introduced the huge man. "This is Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. We were hoping he might take young Harry to Diagon Alley this morning after we're finished here.
"Pleased t' meet yeh," the half-giant said, spying the boy standing half hidden behind his aunt. "An here's Harry." Something in Hagrid's voice made Harry feel he could trust the huge man and he mutely returned a smile.
"Las' time I saw you, you was only a baby. Look a lot like yer dad. Err...I got summat fer yeh here. I mighta sat on it at some point but it'll taste alright."
Harry felt a somewhat crushed box thrust into his hands. With his aunt's help, he opened the lid and the aroma of chocolate wafted out.
"Thank you," Harry said as Petunia carried the surprisingly heavy cake back into the kitchen. "You knew me when I was a baby?"
Yeah, I brought you here when...err...when yeh know, I had t' bring yeh here..."
"You knew my parents then?" the boy asked to get past the awkward moment.
"Yeah, well enough. Everyone knew James and his gang; always into some kind of trouble, that bunch," Hagrid said with a fond smile.
Harry's head turned as he heard his aunt and the two women climb the stairs to Dudley's room. "Hagrid," the boy said, "I really would like to hear more about my dad, but..."
The half-giant glanced up the stairs after the retreating women and ruffled the boy's hair. "Off with yeh and see t' yer cousin. I'm thinking we'll have seven years fer tellin stories `bout yer mum n' dad."
The boy smiled gratefully in Hagrid's direction and ran up the stairs to Dudley's room. Inside, Professor McGonagall and Petunia stood by while Madame Pomfrey ran her wand over every inch of his cousin's body. He watched the sparks as they showered from the wand and danced with Dudley's own. They then rose up above the boy's body and changed into shapes that the Mediwitch could read.
Harry took his cousin's hand and half-listened to the woman as she listed the injuries to Dudley that the doctors had missed. His brain, spine, and nerves were damaged in several areas that could be repaired for the most part by her. As to whether or not he would wake up, only time would tell. The boy paid her little attention because the casting of the spell had brought something to the boy's attention. When he focussed his inner eye just so, he could see the same thing the spell had done before. Dudley's nervous system was stretched out before him to study.
Mumbling to herself, the Mediwitch reached into her bag and pulled out a stoppered vial. Lifting the comatose boy's head, she gently poured the concoction down Dudley's throat as he swallowed reflexively. Within moments, the boy's nerves began to glow a beautiful golden colour, broken in places by duller amber sections. Madame Pomfrey explained that the potion would make the nerves, always difficult to repair, more amenable to the healing spell.
Starting at Dudley's feet she began to cast a complex charm that caused the golden sections to overwhelm the amber and repair the damage. Harry watched as she slowly worked up the boy's legs and turned his attention to his cousin's hand. He could sense old damage in his cousin's arm and, without thinking, he used his own sparks to change the amber spots golden again. Before he knew it, he had worked all the way up Dudley's arm and was repairing damage in the boy's chest and spinal cord. When he neared Dudley's head, however, he suddenly felt a pulling sensation and everything became dark.
Harry woke up to find himself in a run-down version of his own home. In this version of his 'house', Harry could see as he did before the accident. Rather than sparks, he saw solid objects. The walls were dirty and broken with amber shutters closing off his view of the outside. Walking to the entryway he noticed large locks on the front door of the same hue. He could see everything here and was just beginning to explore when he heard a whimper come from the cupboard under the stairs. Moving quickly to the door, Harry pulled it open to see a fat little blond-headed four-year-old hunched in the corner crying.
"Dudley?" the boy asked in shock. He wasn't really sure of what was going on yet, but somehow he knew he'd have to get his cousin out of this house if either of them were to get back to where they should be.
"Dudley...Dudders. It's Harry. Aunt Petunia sent me looking for you...it's...it's dinnertime."
For the first time since he'd come across him, the other boy lifted his head and squinted a piggish little eye suspiciously in his direction.
"What are you doing here freaky-freak?" The child spoke with the same tone and vocabulary of the spoiled four-year-old Harry remembered. "I'm alone here. I'm always alone, forever."
The decrepit house creaked ominously around them and Harry began tugging on his cousin to pull him out of the closet. "Come on Dudders we have to go!" Harry was becoming desperate. There were sounds of things breaking upstairs; he got the distinct impression that this house was ready to fall down. Harry had a weird flashback to when he'd been trapped in the car with Uncle Vernon and instinctively knew that they needed to leave before this fake house collapsed.
"Dudders...Dudders!!! Think! Aunt Petunia is waiting for you, your mum. We have to go or we'll miss her." He finally got the podgy little boy to stand and come to the door.
"We can't go out that way, I've tried." said the shorter boy.
Harry knew, he felt it in his bones that they had to leave through the door, had to break past the locks. Concentrating as hard as he could, he tried to will the sparks to return and change the lock just like it had with his cousin's injuries but nothing was happening. He had nearly given up when he had a thought.
"Dudders," he said. "Grab hold of the lock and think about it going away."
The four-year-old version of Dudley looked at him suspiciously but complied with Harry's request as the raven-haired boy placed one hand on Dudley's shoulder and one over his extended hand. Pushing his sparks through his cousin, Harry was disappointed at first when nothing happened. Then he noticed a light inside his skin trace the length of his finger and enter the metal. With a tremendous effort, he willed more of the lights to come, and slowly their bodies converted into the lights and began eating away at the barricade. The strain was terrible, and surprisingly painful as well. Harry grabbed onto Dudley tighter and yelled for him not to let go as the door before them exploded and they fell into a white light.
Harry slowly came to after what felt like an eternity. He was lying on the bed in his room with his aunt sitting by him, a cool cloth mopping his brow.
"You fainted Mr. Potter." came a voice from across the room where Professor McGonagall stood in the doorway with the Mediwitch.
"Dudley?" the boy asked "Did he wake up?"
"Not as of yet, but he may not for several days." Harry noticed something odd in Madam Pomfrey's tone as she spoke, but he was so tired he couldn't focus his inner eye towards her. "I'm quite sure, however, that most of the damage to your cousin seems to be repaired."
Struggling to do so, Harry sat up and forced himself to his feet. Ignoring his aunt's attempts to stop him he shuffled towards the door feeling like he'd already run for a day and a half non-stop. His mystified aunt and visitors following, he entered his cousin's room, stumbled to the bed, and collapsed into a chair beside Dudley. Leaning over, he gently shook his cousin's shoulder and said, "Come on, Dudders, it's time to get up."
There was no response at first, and Petunia came over to try to get Harry to go back to bed when they heard someone say in a voice that was both sleepy and very scratchy from lack of use, "Just five more minutes, Mum."
Harry had never wished more for his sight just to see his aunt's expression in that moment. Instead, he was rewarded with a yelping scream from her as she rushed to her only son and began to blubber over him. Harry relaxed in the chair and started to doze back off, totally unaware of the odd stares he was receiving from the doorway.