From the Heart

A Harry Potter/Outsiders fanfic by Stormy

Rating: PG-13, maybe higher for language and mature themes (discussion of trauma)

Pairings: None

Notes: Can I stay away from crossovers? Apparently not. I re-read my copy of The Outsiders (again) and was hit by yet another idea. This is going to be considerably shorter then Parallel, I can tell you that much.

Spoilers: 'The Outsiders', all the HP books

Disclaimers: The Outsiders (marvellous, powerful and beautiful book) and all it's characters belong to the wonderful S.E. Hinton. Harry Potter and company belong to J.K.R - I would never dream of claiming otherwise.

Summary: Across worlds, pain meets pain - and an ancient force grants their healing wish. Two souls cry out for comfort - can Harry and Ponyboy help each other see that there is still good in the world? Non-slash - actually, non-relationship. This is a friendship piece, a bonding fic.

14 January 2003 (prologue)

I never noticed the patterns raindrops leave on the window before. I guess whenever it rained, I could only think about going straight back to bed and hiding underneath the covers, soaking up as much warmth as I could before I was hauled out so I could get ready for school. My brothers loved being the ones that did the hauling - it was the best part of the morning. Jump on me, listen to me squawk, and then race away. Well, Soda would race away - Darry would just grin at me in that tough-looking 'whatcha-gonna-do-about-it' look he's got perfected. To this day, I think those wakeup calls were the only reason I had such a great attendance record. Otherwise, I don't think even the threat of detention or a bad mark could get me to leave the warmth of my bed.

I would get up and look out the window, first thing. If it was a sunny day outside, then that wasn't so bad. It usually meant I could cut class in the afternoon - I was guaranteed a pass in math pretty much - and head out early for track practice. Or I could hang out with my friends.

I can't hang out with my usual cloud-watcher anymore. He died. Died a hero maybe, but he was still dead. Shafted in the end, right? No matter what?

My name is Ponyboy Curtis. My parents had a great sense of humour when they were alive - Dad especially, when he picked out me and Soda's names. Soda's real name is Sodapop. He's only a few years older then me - turning seventeen this summer, in a few weeks actually. He doesn't go to school with me though - dropped out a few years back and got a job working at the DX garage with his best friend Steve. Soda's not much for books - he doesn't have the attention span God gave a three-year-old. I once compared Soda to a palomino colt that has to stick his nose into everything - I don't think that description will ever change. If he were home right now, he'd probably be jumping on my back, trying to drag me out of my room again. I guess you could say after everything that went down a few weeks ago, I've become sort of a recluse, and Soda's appointed himself the one to make sure I get out and see the sun once in awhile.

Maybe that's why he's not here - the rain chased him away.

Darry, on the other hand, is in the kitchen. Darry's my older brother. I can hear him making a racket in the kitchen - it's his turn to cook dinner tonight. I can smell chicken baking, and I kind of feel guilty - Darry and Soda have been making my favorite foods every night ever since I came home from the hospital, trying to get me to eat more then a few bites, but I can never finish what they give me. It's all I can do to put a dent in it.

Darry says if I don't start eating properly, I'll lose weight I don't have to lose. Darry's kind of a mother hen - you'd swear he was going on forty instead of getting ready for his twentieth birthday in the fall.

I should try and do better - Darry works hard enough with the roofing company. He doesn't need me causing more problems then I already have.

You know my cloud-watching friend? The one who died? His name was Johnny, but we all called him Johnnycake. He was kind of the 'pet' brother of our group. Our gang. He was my best friend too.

I don't know if it's the same every where, but around here, there are some very definite social lines drawn in the sand, and me and Johnny got caught in the crossfire. Suffice it to say, it ended very badly for Johnny, even though I seemed to escape easy enough. It's not fair-

But I told myself I wasn't going to think of that. Every time I do, I just want to sit down and bawl my eyes out, maybe crawl over in Soda's lap and just sob forever. Darry would come in, all worried, and they'd sit with me and I'd feel like a baby all over again.

I think that's why I won't. Cry, that is. If I started, I don't think I'd ever stop. It's like there's a band of iron in my chest, tightening around me so I can't breathe too good whenever I think about them.

You see, Johnny's not the only friend I've lost. Actually, I don't know if I could call Dally a friend. I respected him sure enough, but he was older then me, tougher and meaner. He loved Johnny though, and I think that made him like me a little as a result.

The rain isn't streaking the windows with patterns anymore. It's too heavy and hard, sleeting right up against the glass in a sheet of water. Looking outside is like looking through the bottom of a water glass, but it's just clear enough to make out two moving shapes out in the front yard. Soda's home from work, and it looks like he brought Steve with him.

Steve's not a bad guy really - me and him just never got on too good. He was kind of jealous of the fact that me and Soda are so close. Steve's an only child - he just doesn't understand why Soda likes me hanging around, or asks me to go with them to the movies. If Darry's the 'father' of our dysfunctional family, then Soda's a close run-in for the 'mother' - he henpecks me more then Darry does. And since he's home, it's gonna be him sticking his head in the door to tell me supper's ready and I'd better get my ass out there before he kicks it out.

The chicken smells good. It really does. But I know as soon as I sit down and take that first bite, it'll taste like and smell like baloney. Everything tastes like baloney. I hate baloney. Johnny knew I hated baloney, but he made me eat it that whole week we were on the run....

" Ponyboy?"

Soda stuck his head in the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see his hair, his pride and joy, plastered to his head like a bathing cap. It makes his ears stick out worse then the haircut Johnny gave me that made my ears grow three sizes.

" Supper's ready."

" I'll be in, in a minute," I tell him, still staring out the window. I can see the concern on his face, but he doesn't push it. I wait for him to leave - but to my surprise, he comes over and puts his hand on my shoulder. I turn and blink up at him - he's still nearly half a foot taller then me. I think my growth is forever stunted.

" You look tired, Pony," he says softly. " When's the last time you slept?"

It's a rhetorical question - he knows very well when I sleep, seeing as how he keeps me company half the time. Most nights I have nightmares but I'm able to wake silently, without disturbing him. The few times he catches me are bad - he looks at me like he's seen a ghost or something, pale and wide-eyed. I usually end up reassuring him. Those are the nights that I scream during the nightmares. I don't always scream. Sometimes I cry.

" Maybe tonight," I reply back, just as soft. He doesn't say anything else; just squeezes my shoulder and heads on out. He hates the fact that there's nothing he can do that can make things better for me - he can't turn back time and stop Bob from jumping me and Johnny at the park, can't erase the blood Johnny had on his hands and his knife-

A loud whoop from the living room cuts into my thoughts that are whirling through my head like manic hamsters on ever-spinning wheels. The door slam following the whoop is a sure indication that Two-Bit Mathews has shown up for dinner at the Curtis residence once again. That means he and Steve will be fighting over the wings, and Darry will yell at them, while stealing a wing for himself. Me and Soda prefer slices -Soda loads his chicken up with mustard, but I like the gravy Darry always makes. The vegetables on the table are for me and Darry - Two-Bit and Steve hates anything green, and Soda shies away from healthy food. Darry's proud of his muscles and works hard to keep fit, and I try to eat healthy for track. Besides, I like broccoli.

I don't want to go out there. Because no matter how happy and normal it looks, there is still an empty seat where Johnny used to be a regular, and I know if I look in the corner, I'll see Dally's ghost draped over the couch, a beer in one hand and one of his Playboy magazines that Darry used to shout at him not to look at when I was around in the other.

The band of iron is getting tighter around my chest.

The guys try to be sensitive, but they don't really understand what I went through. Me, Johnny and Dally went through hell together, but only I came out the other side. I can't understand why. I know the medical reasons why, and I know that Dally lost it when Johnny died but I don't understand why it had to happen in the first place.

The gang lost two members - both gang and family. But I lost a piece of myself and I don't know how to get it back.

I leaned forward, my forehead pressed up against the glass. The coolness from the rain feels good - my face is hot. Probably another fever. Ever since I collapsed the day of the rumble, the day both Johnny and Dally died, I keep relapsing back into that sickness I had. I'm tired of being sick. I'm tired of thinking.

I just want the pain to stop. But I don't know how.

Closing my eyes, I just sigh, and wish for one moment, that the pain would disappear, and I'd hear Johnny laughing at Dally's creative way of swearing, and everything would be like it used to be. I imagine a world where there are no social lines, where everything is calm and quiet and soothing.

A strange, sad melody flits through my mind. The imaginary world in my mind is bathed in a white glowing light that warms me from the inside out. It's like the sun shining down on me, or the feeling of curling up under my covers. It feels good, right. Peaceful.

Opening my eyes, I make out a faint spark of red, and the melody plays again, but this time it's a little happier. It seems to fill me and I marvel at how real it feels. Closing my eyes again, I lose myself in the light and warmth, letting it carry me away.


I used to hate my cupboard. For as long as I could remember, my world living with my mother's relatives could be condensed into the small square box underneath the stairs that I lived in for pretty much the first ten years of my life. It was cold in the winter, stifling in the summer, and damp every other time. I could hear the bugs walking around inside the wooden beams of the floor right over my head - everyday I killed yet another spider.

It was my prison. And as much as I disliked having to work like a slave around the house, I relished the time I was let out of the cupboard, because it meant fresh air and a chance to stretch my legs.

Now, it's almost comforting.

It's small, and private, and when Uncle Vernon locks the door, no one can enter and bug me. No one can taunt me, I don't have to hear the whispers behind my back, or see the accusing stares of my schoolmates. It's a prison, but it's also my protection.

Sick, isn't it?

I couldn't wait to get home this year, sad as it sounds. The Dursely's still hate me, Dudley still uses me as his favorite punching bag, and I am a means of free labour to my Aunt and Uncle - but I couldn't wait to get home. Being called a 'freak' is nothing - certainly it's better then being called a 'dark wizard.'

See, every year something happens to me at school. I go to Hogwarts - a school for learning magic. A long time ago, my parents were killed by the darkest wizard of them all, a wizard named Voldemort. Because of my mother's love for me, and my own burgeoning power, I managed to survive, even though I was just a year old. It left me with a lightning-shaped scar on my forehead, something that instantly identifies me as The-Boy-Who-Lived' to any and all who see it.

I lived my whole life, up until I was eleven, without having the faintest idea of what I was. I had no knowledge of the magical world - I had been told my parents died in a car crash, not that they had been murdered. The very first year I went to Hogwarts, my Defence Against the Dark Arts professor tried to kill me. Obviously he didn't succeed, but that kinda set the standard for what would happen to me for the rest of me Hogwarts career.

Year two had me being accused of being Voldemort's heir because my confrontation with him as a child left me with the ability to talk to snakes. Apparently being a Parseltongue was a bad thing. Hearing voices was bad too, and finding petrified people was even worse. Rumours began to fly around school that being friends with me was hazardous to one's health. My best friends Ron and Hermione pretty much stuck by me, even helping me find the Chamber of Secrets where Ron's sister had been taken too. In the end though, I faced danger alone once again, this time a giant snake called a Basilisk, and a living memory preserved in a diary. I killed the snake with a sword I summoned (long story), got stabbed and poisoned, destroyed the diary's ghost and saved Ron's sister. Yay me.

Year three had me facing Dementors, nasty creatures that can suck out your soul. I had an added bonus - every time I saw one, I got an audio rendition of my parents murder. In fact, it was on the train to Hogwarts that year that I first heard my mother's voice - screaming in terror.

I also thought I was being hunted that year - Sirius Black, infamous murderer of thirteen muggles (that's non-magical persons) had escaped Azkaban and was apparently after me. The truth came out finally near the end of the school year - Sirius was my godfather, and he had been framed by another friend of his, Peter Pettigrew, and sentenced to Azkaban without a trial. If not for that, I would have been able to grow up under much different circumstances.

I miss Sirius. I haven't talked to him much since he went off to do Dumbledore's bidding. He's the only person I know that's had it as rough as me - in a way, it bonded us, the same way we were first bonded all those years ago when my father chose him to be my godfather.

Still, Sirius has Remus Lupin to talk - the fourth of the once-famous Marauders. Remus was a good friend to my mom and dad, but even he had believed in Sirius's guilt. Still, they had reconciled during my fourth year, and Sirius seemed to be doing better.

Me? I went through fourth year pretty much the same as before - eventful and dangerous. But there was an added twist this year - for once, it wasn't me that suffered.

See, fourth year marked the reinstatement of the Triwizard Tournament - a tournament that used to be held every three years between the three major wizarding schools - Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts. The tournaments are usually restricted to only seventh years, due to the dangerous nature of the Tasks. This year, my name came out with the other three champions. And no, I was not the one who put it in.

Once again, I was ostracized, accused of trying to outshine everyone. Even Ron, for the longest time, thought I'd done it on purpose. It wasn't until after the First Task, when the Norwegian Ridgeback dragon I had to get past burnt me, that he realized someone had put my name in, hoping that one of the Tasks would result in my death. How ironic.

The Second Task was relatively easy - I used gillyweed, a substance that lets you breathe underwater, to retrieve my 'target' (Ron) from the lake in the middle of the school grounds. It was the Third and Final task that my dreams of doom came to fruition.

It was a maze that we had to negotiate through, beating the obstacles within to reach the center. The first one to touch the cup would be the winner.

The other Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory, made it to the center with me. One of our opponents had attacked us, under the influence of the Imperious Curse that made him follow the demands of his Headmaster who ordered him to stop us. I didn't really want the victory, and told Cedric to take the cup with me - we would share the win. He agreed and we both touched the cup. Little did we know it was a portkey.

Cedric was killed right in front of me. Killed as casually as someone might swat a bug. One minute he was alive as I am, the next minute he's stretched out on the ground, eyes open and blank. Dead.

Me? I was then stabbed, drained of some of my blood, and battled the wizard who'd been after me all my life. I saw the ghosts of my parents as I fought and had to fight with every thing I had.

I managed to escape, bringing Cedric's body with me. Then I was captured by yet another Defence teacher posing as someone else and nearly killed again. I explained to Dumbledore what happened and then I don't remember much else. I was drugged a lot that week.

Sirius wanted to stay with me, but Dumbledore had errands for him to run. My blood had helped resurrect Voldemort completely, and he needed to activate his Order of wizards to prepare for battle. Sirius, with his ability to transform into a dog, would make the perfect messenger.

Me? I wanted to die. I wanted to trade places with Cedric - I had been the one to tell him to take the Cup with me. He was killed because of me. My name was in the whole bloody thing because of Voldemort - that put everyone at risk because of me.

I came home to the Dursely's and basically went straight to my cupboard. Hedwig's shown up a few times, but as she can't get in (my uncle won't let her and my cupboard doesn't have a window), I assume she keeps leaving and coming back. I told her at the start to go to Ron's and stay there, but Hedwig's loyal enough.

I just want to end everything - Voldemort coming after me, people being hurt because of me. I haven't cried - I can't cry. I'm the Boy-Who-Lived - I have to be strong. But oh, I just want the pain to stop so badly - I want to feel safe for once. I want to be able to talk to someone who understands, but no one does, no one can. I'm alone, and I know it, and I hate it...

I can feel myself drifting off, and it scares me. I have bad nightmares sometimes, ones that make me scream loud enough that everyone in the house is woken up, and then I get punished for causing trouble.

But as I close my eyes, I feel a warmth spread through me, and a hauntingly sweet melody that sounds suspiciously like Fawkes singing fills my ears. There's a light in front of me in my mind and as I reach out to touch it, the warmth swallows me up and I let go of myself, letting the light carry me away...

End Chapter 1

I tried to keep Pony's unique way of talking true to the book, while at the same time, I tried to 'age' Harry a little. After all, this fic takes place a few weeks after the end of 'The Outsider's" and the summer after 'Goblet of Fire.'

There is a reason Pony's past isn't explained completely. There will be more, I assure you. ^_^

Like it? Then review!