|Always Second Best
Author: Mai Ascot PM
AU; When two very different boys go to Hogwarts, nobody would think that they were twins. Charlus Potter is the spoiled Gryffindor BWL raised by his parents, and Harry Potter is a down to earth Ravenclaw, raised by Death. Wrong BWL, Full Summary Inside.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Harry P. - Chapters: 9 - Words: 26,346 - Reviews: 263 - Favs: 810 - Follows: 1,111 - Updated: 11-02-12 - Published: 10-16-11 - id: 7469380
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Always Second Best
Summary: On Halloween ten years ago, Lily and James Potter were away at an Order of the Phoenix meeting, and Voldemort entered their little house in Godric's Hollow with one intention: to kill the Chosen one. But when he fired the killing curse at Harry Potter, he shot back the spell. Dumbledore got to the house before anyone else, and thinking that Charlus, Harry's twin, is the BWL, gives Death payment for letting him live so long in the form of Harry, thinking he is giving her the unimportant twin, when he is giving her the more important one. Ten years later, what will happen when both twins go to Hogwarts?
Disclaimer: I can swear to you on my life that my name is not JK Rowling, and I do not own Harry Potter.
I will try and do as little bashing as possible but there WILL be Dumbledore and Ron and Charlus bashing. That's all. Honest *crosses fingers behind back*. Have you noticed I've taken James off? Course you haven't. Nobody reads these things anyway (myself included). Neglect but NO abuse.
Some people have been asking me where Sirius and Remus are, so I tried to add a little background to that, as I don't think Sirius would stand to see Alec and Rose being treated as they are (A bit like the whole 'Pettigrew' incident in canon; he doesn't think first). I think Remus would be just as angry, but he would hold it in, so he could help Alec and Rose more.
Also, I do know that Luna is a year younger than the rest of them, but this is Fanfiction, right? I can do whatever the hell I want. ;)
I apologise for the LONG wait, and you can give the credit of this chapter showing up when it did to Anonymous0786, ihaveasandbox, .Pie and swimgirl99, who basically got me off my lazy butt and ordered me to start writing again - thanks guys! Remember: Reviews = Love!
Family is a Fickle Thing
Dumbledore was wondering where it all went wrong.
He had Charlus in Gryffindor, Lily and James as teachers, even the younger insignificant Potters in Hogwarts, as a precaution, naturally, and admittedly, no. He had not gotten hold of the wielder of the Elder Wand, but that would've come later, but there was hardly any chance for that now.
Because then... Harry Potter turned up.
How one child could ruin the perfectly constructed plan of the Greatest Wizard in Britain of the era and the world (or so Albus thought) on his very first day of school was beyond Albus, but he had a feeling that Death was behind it.
But regardless, Harry Potter had managed it.
Right now, oblivious to Albus' inner monologue, James and Lily were sat on the opposite side of his desk, Lily looking faint, and James looking murderous, his black hair bristling on his head like an enraged cat's.
"You said he was DEAD!" James broke the silence with his yell, his fingers gripping the armrests on either side of his chair so hard that if you listened hard enough you could hear bits of wood splintering where his white knuckles were situated.
The silence had become deafening, yes, but that didn't mean in any way that Albus wanted it to end. He would've happily let the silence continue forever than to face this conversation, as he rarely had to face his mistakes (and of those there were quite a few) and he found that he really didn't like doing it. The most scarring one he had had to face was the one where his brother, Aberforth, (he just didn't understand) had punched him squarely in the nose at Ariana's (little girl; never looked to him until he cast the curse) funeral, and hadn't stopped until it was broken in nine places.
But, the silence was going to end eventually. Why not now?
"James, let us be reasonable-" Albus tried to speak in a grandfatherly tone, but it was clearly the wrong thing to do, as it just seemed to rile James up further.
"YOU SAID the body was TOO MANGLED for us, his PARENTS, to see, as it would UPSET US? HOW could we have EVER trusted you on our SON'S life?" James seemed to be gearing up for a night of shouting and hysterics, when Lily spoke, in such a small voice that Albus strained to hear her at first.
"Y-you said the body was t-too mang-mangled for us to se-see. B-but... But..." Lily repeated her husband's words slowly, in a small timid voice that didn't seem to fit the normally fiery woman. But the statement had a hard undercurrent, like a child with a hard maths problem they couldn't quite solve, so they were daring the adult to get it right.
"W-why would yo-you say t-that? If he's- if he's alive?" Lily was frowning now, confused, unaware of how terrifyingly close she was to scratching the surface of Albus Dumbledore's lies and manipulations.
Albus knew he had to lie. And quick.
"My dear child, he was dead when I saw him on that dreadful night when I saw him last on that dreadful All Hallows Eve, ten years ago."Albus consoled her, patting her back with a wrinkled old hand, while Lily began to sob in earnest.
"Well he WASN'T dead TONIGHT, now was he, you old GOAT? In fact, he looked VERY MUCH ALIVE to me!" Dumbledore then realised that James and his temper was his first priority, not the crying woman seated next to him. The man was too angry to be reasoned with at this time, and he had to make sure that his 'white' lie sunk in later as James reviewed the conversation.
But for now, James was nowhere near finished.
"WHY did I last see MY SON on Halloween, ten years ago, when he's ALIVE RIGHT NOW? WHY did nobody other than YOU see his MANGLED DEAD BODY?" Lily started crying even harder at this, but James continued, seemingly oblivious to his wife's tears. "WHY did YOU have the authority in that PARTICULAR SITUATION? ESPECIALLY when it was MY SON who was DEAD?"
James took some steadying breaths, and his chest heaved. Unconsciously he had moved forward in his seat until Dumbledore was forced to move backwards away from the irate man.
"Well not this time." James sounded calm, but Albus knew that he was barely holding himself in, anything could trigger the anger, the pain, the pure hate. "You will stay out of this. You will stay out of this Dumbledore, or so help me God, your nose will be so badly broken that you'll never smell again! MY SON has just COME BACK FROM THE DEAD. I have a second chance as a father. You will stay out of this."
James had surprised himself. He didn't know that he was capable of that kind of anger. That kind of madness. That kind of loss. He didn't think he would be capable of taking it out on Albus either. But he was angry. So angry everything and all that dominated his mind were the faces of his family.
Lily (the redheaded beauty - she had been the only one for him), Char (his lion, his survivor, his eldest, his pride), Rose (just like her mother, his little girl), Alec (who knew people could be so small, so bouncy, so brilliant), Harry (if it was him. When he thought of Harry he thought of a baby. He always had. But now it was the Big-Harry, with James' face and Lily's eyes), Remus (this was more blurred, but still there).
And maybe even Sirius' face still lingered, their bond had been so strong, even after all these years, although it was his teenage face, grinning at some practical joke they had pulled, the features changing and meshing together, not quite sure which form to take.
It still hurt to think about his former best friend (You don't deserve those kids! You're abusing them! Neglect is a form of abuse, whether you like it or not! And at the end of the day, they won't come when you need them-) James could still hear the shouting (GET OUT! GET OUT!) And Sirius yelling as quietly as possible, trying not to wake the kids (Just because what I'm saying is true? You're many things but I never thought you a coward!) Lily trying not to hear from the other room (You know I'm right, somewhere in there! Somewhere in there is my best friend!) Smashed plates, crockery that they had gone and brought as a joke, before Lily liked it (But while YOU'RE here, I won't let you hurt your family from the inside out-) the kids had obviously heard.
(GET OUT! OUT, OUT, OUT! Stay away from me and my family, STAY AWAY!)
The door banging shut.
Unconciously, James realised that he was ransacking Dumbledore's office top to bottom.
It felt good.
The door to James' heart flew open.
Flora was sleeping in the rectangle room.
Apparently it was actually called 'The Sailors Suite' officially, and unofficially called 'The Blue Room', but the room was full to bursting with rectangles and squares and other various quadrilaterals.
The rug was square, and it was a rug made of rags, creating the misshapen image of a boat riding on the stormy seas. If you looked close enough, you could see the tiny sailor's mouths wide open in screams of terror as they were devoured by the sea – and the name of the boat, The Mary Rose, written in the top corner of the rug in gold stitches, Sunk 1545.
The rug in the circle room (christened so unofficially by Harry and Flora, and the name had stuck so well that nobody could remember the original) was as rotund as the room itself, and patterned on that was a simple white background with thousands (or so it seemed) of names on it, and if you touched one, it showed you a home video, of sorts, of the person's life, and their death. That was the reason why they slept there; Flora's name was on that round rug.
Her and Harry hadn't dared touch it.
For a bit, Harry had had to wear glasses until his vision was corrected. His glasses had been round, and made of simple black wire, as Harry wasn't a very fancy person who went over the top. They were a bit ugly really, but they seemed to suit Harry, along with leather necklaces, two things that very few people can pull off.
The circle room had suited them.
But Flora alone in a room full of circles with no ends didn't work, as Harry's single bed had glared with every inch of its inanimate self at her.
Usually, at least once every two nights, Flora crawled half asleep into Harry's bed, usually from a nightmare of some sort, maybe of deaths they had watched, or horror movies that had Flora hiding behind pillows to escape from. It was a ritual of sorts, so that when Harry stirred slightly, he just lifted up his arm and let Flora snuggle into his warmth. Yes, she was too old to be afraid of fictional horror stories (or so Harry teased her) and the dark and the deaths of people that sometimes went peacefully, and way too old to be getting into a boy's bed solely for comfort, but Flora couldn't say she honestly cared.
So Flora had run away from the room of glaring, cold inanimate objects, and endless circles, and she had run to Death. The mother she had never had while she was alive, accepting her completely and utterly simply because Harry had liked her and they were going to be best best friends forever and ever and ever. And it was Death who had taken her to the Rectangle Room, where The Mary Rose was fighting with the waves it could never, and would never beat.
Flora couldn't help the images that came to her mind in this stupid room full of stupid stupid rectangles and stupid, idiotic dead little girls who are afraid of the dark.
A boy with Harry's hair, and Harry's face, and Harry's grin was talking to girls and boys alike, all without faces (as she knew he would be), with huge heart shapes beating in an exaggerated manner in their chests, and a little ghost girl was there too, seemingly invisible to all while they laughed and joked and played games, and the Not-Harry's eyes flew right over the ghost with big brown orbs and dull blonde hair, and landed on a faceless girl, who he greeted.
Flora had heard of Boggarts. She wondered if there was one lingering on the back of her eyelids.
I said that I'd write to you, so I am. Writing to you. I mean.
That sounded too awkward. Agggh. But there was no spare paper left. Damnation.
I've never really had to write a letter to you before. Well, to anyone. But especially to you. Because well, we've always been together.
I miss you.
There. I wrote it. (I can't believe I did.)
I hope you miss me too.
I've met some alright people, and some good guys, and on the train there was one girl called Luna who kept on jabbering on about Nargles, and a really tall guy called Neville who had a toad, and a girl called Hermione who had memorised all her course books.
None of them are you.
In fact, none of them compare.
Wow. This letter is getting really sappy and emotional.
I'm in Ravenclaw, which is the house of the clever. The smart. The downright awesome.
I saw my family. The boy in Madame Malkins we saw WAS my brother/twin, and the two parents are, to my endless dismay I assure you, MY parents.
Even worse luck: they're teachers here!
You would've loved everyone's reaction to my sorting though: you could've heard a pin drop, and Lily Potter (I think that's her name – my mother. Tell Death she has NO competition at ALL in that department) actually fainted!
I did see the younger kids, my younger brother and sister if rumour is to be believed, and they seem alright, as you lot got on fine. At least SOME of my family is decent if your information is correct. I can't for the life of me remember their names though… Alex and… arrgh. I give up.
Harry looked down at the letter he had just written in disgust. When did he get so… He just sounded… so… bleurgh.
He shook his head before casting the letter aside next to him on his bed, and dared a look out of the curtains of his blue four poster bed.
His new dorm mates who he would do pretty much everything with for the next seven years of his life.
House of the smart, the clever, the quick-witted.
Still staring blankly at his bed.
It was extremely off-putting and disconcerting, and quite frankly, Harry was sick of it.
The moment his curtain twitched and Harry's almond shaped green eye appeared in the crack between hangings, the other boys jumped back in one startled movement.
Harry rolled his eyes and pushed the curtain back entirely.
If the situation hadn't been so tense, Harry would've burst out laughing hysterically at the looks on their faces.
It ranged from terrified to curious, the faces full of shock and disbelief, eyes roaming over his pyjama clad body as if he were meat in a butcher's shop window.
As it was, Harry simply snickered.
This was going to be a long night.
Rose didn't usually pace.
It wasn't something she ever did, except when she was younger (a whole lot younger) and she was trying to mimic Lily and be just like her. The thought sickened her.
She had stopped mimicking Lily a very long time ago.
But funnily enough, she was pacing now.
She was also running her fingers through her black hair, tangling it until it looked like it had been professionally back-combed.
This was more James and Alec's thing. It was something that they did unconsciously, making their usual bird's nests look a thousand times worse, and Rose had silently mocked them for it in the privacy of her own mind, before running off to smooth Alec's hair down before he could step out like that in public.
But, funnily enough, she was now running her fingers frantically through her normally manageable, albeit curly, hair.
Rose didn't usually chew her lip.
Charlus did that. Well - he used to, before he realised that he was the all powerful and awesome Boy-Who-Lived who had defeated Voldemort when he was barely a year old, and that he didn't get nervous like over human beings, or scared, or shocked, or absolutely terrified. Now he only chewed his lip for the cameras, which wasn't very often. As the 'Boy-Who-Lived' wasn't weak.
As you might've guessed, Rose was now biting her lip with force that Hermione Granger wouldn't be able to match.
In short, as I should've told you straight off, not wasting almost 240 words, she looked a right state.
Alive. Alive. Alive.
Harry. Alive. Harry. Alive. Harry. Alive.
The mantra wasn't really helping matters.
Usually, thoughts are dominated almost completely by your subconscious, full of colours, words that string together to make sentences, images, ideas.
Rose Potter was no different.
The GREEN Harry's eyes, so like her own, so like her mothers, so like crushed emeralds, so like in the pictures. The BLACK of Harry's hair, like the underside of a raven's wing, like her father's. BLUE and BRONZE, shining proudly, brightly, perfectly, from Harry's school tie (Ravenclaw; Intelligence, Wit, Creativity, Wisdom, Individuality).
'Rosie, me and your daddy need to tell you about someone, You know who this is?' (They had brought out a picture of two babies)
'Yes, Rosie, that is Char. What about the other baby?'
'No Rosie, that's Harry...'
McGonagall's lips quivering, painted a startling white by the false moonlight, as they formed the name "Potter, Harry!"
Lily Potter, the second before her eyes rolled up in her head and she fainted, mouthing a single word: "Impossible".
Alec's face as the first years parted, and Harry came into view, before looking for a second back at Rosie, overjoyed, as if to say You got me Harry back? This is the bestest present ever!
The picture book, as they all knew that one would eventually come out, depicting that awful night, with moving pictures. The cloaked figure, the two cribs, the flash of green light, the scream. The dead baby, who was paid little attention as the Boy-Who-Lived survived the attack and became great and wise and good, for no reason at all.
The brother's (brother? Is it really you?) face disappearing beneath the Sorting Hat, for the briefest of moments, the smallest of seconds, GREEN eyes meeting GREEN.
It was impossible.
Rose Potter fainted.
"Who could he possibly have been living with all these years?"
Minerva McGonagall wondered aloud in the packed staffroom, which was missing only three members. It usually only held four teachers maximum at any one time, so it was quite a squash. But instead of talking about Charlus Potter, they were talking about Harry Potter.
Lily and James were missing, doing what, nobody knew. All Albus would say was that they had finished their meeting in his office rather abruptly. Most assumed that they were together, looking for Ravenclaw Tower, so they could break in.
The other missing person was Trelawney, who had been acting strangely ever since the first years had even entered the hall - and Minerva meant stranger than usual.
Muttering was normal, yes, but she had also been scratching circles on the table with her spoon handle, stopping while eating quite suddenly and looking up at something that only she could see, taking her glasses off and staring intently at the Ravenclaw table (BEFORE Harry Potter's name was even read out) and whispering quite urgently to the House Ghosts who usually scared her silly.
And after the Welcome Feast was over, she had ran straight back to her tower, while simultaneously pinning her hair up in a loose bun.
The last time Minerva had seen Sybil with her hair down was... well... never.
But it was almost surely a mood swing of some sort.
Nothing of consequence.
But something in McGonagall's gut told her otherwise.
She ignored it.
"Of course..." He had to have been living somewhere.
Filius stroked his chin thoughtfully, before his old wrinkled face broke into a wide grin that really did stretch ear to ear.
"Look at the boy's records! A guardian's signature, name, or something must be on there! It's basic information!"
The staff came alive at that moment, swarming like bees to honey towards the school's records. Madame Pomfrey, who was closest at the time, was the first to the magically enlarged chest where all the records of the school were contained. The first years at the top, the seventh years at the bottom. Once a student had left the school, their file was sealed off by something that Slytherin himself had designed, making the only records accessible were the ones of the current students. Each year, the chest expanded itself, and it was said to go down for hundreds of miles, right to the very first student that came to Hogwarts.
The Matron's hand flew forward with her wand clutched tightly. "Accio Harry Potter's file."
Harry Potter's file was read, and Nicole Morteaus was summoned.
Charlus had been in the bathroom connected to the Gryffindor First Year Boy's Dorms for house.
It felt like an infinite moment, never to end, the shock and the pain and the jealousy and the confusion, because all he could think of was Professor McGonagall's voice calling out "Potter, Harry!" and his mother fainting (why did she get the easy way out?), and his father catching her, and the first years parting, and...
Charlus threw up again.
He hadn't gotten a proper look at the imposter (because Harry, his brother, his twin, his - in a sense - other half, couldn't be alive. He had died. Charlus had lived. Harry was his twin. He would've felt it) but he had heard that the boy had his father's face and hair, his mother's eyes. Just like the pictures.
When did they become mother and father? Earlier he could've sworn they were his mum and dad.
Neville Longbottom's concerned face appeared at the door of the white and gold tiled bathroom. Ron had decided not to venture into the room in fear of getting something on his robes, and he wasn't all that good at comforting people.
The tallest first year sat cross-legged next to the Boy-Who-Maybe-Wasn't-The-Only-One-To-Live and seemed to blend into the background, silently watching his housemate. Charlus had almost forgotten he was there.
The silence was a nice change (though he would never admit it) from Ron's constant jabber about chess and Quidditch and how much he was underappreciated. Finally, Neville spoke.
"I sat with him on the train."
Charlus didn't register his companion's words for a moment, but when he did, his head spun more, and he dropped his head further down the toilet. He made no reply. Charlus had no idea he had this much in his stomach.
Unfazed, Neville continued.
"He seemed nice enough, and we chatted about Quidditch and stuff. He seemed pretty new to it, I assumed he was muggleborn."
Charlus threw up violently.
"And I reacted almost as bad as you. Almost had a heart attack. I think the only reason I got through the journey was because I thought he was lying, having a laugh, or maybe it was one of those big cosmic coincidences that he was muggleborn with the same name as your brother."
Yes, Charlus prayed, let it be a big cosmic coincidence.
"Then I saw your parents at the feast, and McGonagall-"
"How did he introduce himself? The Boy-Who-Lived, maybe? The Unknown Saviour? I bet he thinks he's so clever, turning up now-" Charlus had mercifully gotten back his wits and was thinking clearly. The imposter was obviously someone to steal his fame, make his life miserable; well he would show them! He would-
"Harry Potter." Charlus' inner monologue was stopped by Neville's voice, which was a lot colder than it had been just minutes before, and a thousand miles away from kind.
"Just Harry Potter."