So this little plot bunny came out of left field but I thought it had some merit. See I'm one of those who feels that any childhood adventure story written in Britain seems to HAVE to involve a neglected child with horrific guardians. Lemony Snicket, Oliver Twist, Harry Potter, they all follow the same trope. The thing about Harry Potter though is the simple fact that child protection services would have had the Dursleys stripped of both Harry and Dudley faster then you could blink.
So my thought was this, what if the Dursleys were only acting like horrible undeveloped carictures because they were manipulated into being so by Dumbledore, so Harry would be a submissive little thing that would latch onto those who saved him from his horrible situation like a limpet?
Not new no, but my take on it is this, what if the very protections Dumbledore placed on Harry and his family to protect them from the machinations of wizards that meant them harm sensed his intent? What if the very magic that he intended to use against Voldemort, protected the Dursleys from him? So that's where I'm going with this, oh and since apparently it's my thing now (I have a thing, who knew?) this'll be Fem!Harry but I have no pairings in mind so as the story progresses lemme know what you think.
Oh right, if you're at all curious why this iteration is named Iris rather than Lillith well...Lilly Potter is err... a twisted, adorable, pretty little psycho to put it bluntly. Iris grew up normal, more Gryffindor'ish but not as brazenly so as Harry but enough that when egged on by Dudley she starts developing her magic at an early age.
Oh and before anyone bitches about it (I know there is going to be at least one complaint from someone who didn't read this A/N) I am quite aware Final Fantasy came out in Japan in 1987 and didn't get another release until 1990, just go with it. As for the NES itself, believe it or not it was a bit difficult to find a straight answer on the UK release, regardless it's fanfiction after all...I so know someone is going to whinge about this...
November 2, 1981
It was early morning on an early November day, the sun had not quite risen on the horizon and it wasn't quite time for the milkman or paperboy to make their rounds. It was, being England and all, a wet and rather cold morning which caused a slight form to shiver uncontrollably. A small child, one Iris Dorea Potter lay wrapped in a far too thin blanket nestled in a basket upon the front stoop of 4 Privet Drive, carelessly left there by a manipulative old man who had a tendency to have more faith in his plans then he probably should.
She didn't know any of this though, her still developing mind was barely able to process what she could, luckily for her she'd grow up to be a highly intelligent little girl so she was able to put some pieces together. Mommy was gone, daddy was gone, a bad man aimed a bad green light at her, and then she remembered a giant man carrying her around while hearing Padfoot screaming.
She had never been this cold before, she felt around for the warm fuzzy energy that was always present around her yet found none other then what was coming from a letter laying atop her. Instinctively she reached out to it for comfort and being that she was a child ignored the danger it represented in the hopes of feeling safe. Thus she was shocked into crying when her magic brushed against the cursed letter and the spells upon it tried to latch to her.
Spells designed to warp the minds of muggles assailed her drained magic, spells meant to cause apathy, disdain, and violence solely towards her leached from the handwritten note and tried to take hold. A moment later they stopped fast against a glowing barrier that felt like mommy, then it faded and the letter was just that, a simple letter. Realizing that the bad magic was gone she cried again, none the wiser that she'd completely derailed the manipulations of a corrupt old man who was currently enjoying a lemon drop in a castle in Scotland.
Vernon Dursley found himself roused from his sleep by a child crying, cursing lightly he sat up and being the dutiful father he was begrudgingly got out of his warm bed next to his warm wife.
In all honesty if his friends and coworkers had let him in on how little sleep he would get as the father of a young child he would have better prepared for it. As it stood he was fairly certain this was some elaborate act of revenge for making them work weekends to meet their deadlines.
Yawning the large man moved as quietly as he could in hopes of not waking Petunia, she got little enough rest herself so why share the burden with her, moving down the hall he cracked the door to Dudley's room and felt an eyebrow raise as his mustache twitched.
Dudley was asleep, then why did he hear a child crying? Sighing as he ran a hand over tired eyes he closed the door and went to go back to bed when he heard it again. While it was satisfying that he now had validation that he wasn't going barmy that didn't quite answer why he was hearing a child crying downstairs.
Plodding down the stairs and wincing as one of the steps creaked rather loudly Vernon stopped and listened again. Nothing. Sighing he stroked his mustache a few times in frustration when he heard the cry again, outside his front door of all places. Confused he undid the deadbolt and swung the door open and found himself staring down at a small shivering form, her near blue lips pulled into a grimace as a cascade of ruby red hair framed her face.
"Iris?!" he gasped out in shock, scooping the basket up he slammed the door shut inadvertently waking his wife in the process. Pulling the freezing girl from the basket she'd been resting in Vernon held her close causing her to coo happily, hearing a step creak he turned to meet his wife's confused gaze before she saw the child and gasped.
"Vern, what's going on? Is that Iris? What, I-" she cut off as she saw the letter that had fallen to the ground, snatching it up she began reading it and paled visibly as her right hand rested upon her heart. Breathing heavily she leaned against the wall and slid down it till she hit the floor.
Concern only equaled by his confusion Vernon followed her lead and landed next to her, cocking a brow the big man finally spoke, "Pet, what did the letter say?" Stifling a cry Petunia wrapped her arms around his thick neck and began sobbing which set the small bundle in his arms wailing. He was surrounded by emotional females...lovely...
Eventually Petunia got a hold of herself, wiping her nose on the cuff of her pink robe she finally spoke, "Jamie and Lils are dead...that...that Dark Lord found them...the only one who made it was Iris."
Vernon didn't necessarily dislike his brother in law, in fact the man could be downright charming, he was just...clueless, when it came to the real world. His best mates Sirius and Remus weren't as bad by a longshot, the latter due to having a muggle-born father and the former having an undying desire to annoy his parents. Still, he never wished death upon the man, Lily though?
This was bad, she and Petunia had a massive falling out a few years before he'd met his future wife and it was only after the births of both their children that the sisters reconciled, their bond stronger then ever after finally coming to terms with each other. Petunia finally had her little sister back, the last of her family, and she was gone.
As the little girl in his arms made gurgling noise and tried to escape his grasp Vernon turned to his wife and sighed, "What about Iris?"
Petunia waved at the discarded letter before her as she replied, "This...Dumbledore...isn't...isn't that an old word for bumble bee? Anyway this Dumbledore fellow says we are to take care of her until she is to go to Hogwarts...Just like Lily..." Vernon paused at that, he really didn't mind taking care of his niece, she and Dudley had always gotten along fine and it wouldn't be much of a burden. But...
"Pet...I...does she really have to go to that school?"
Turning red rimmed eyes to her husband Petunia cocked her head to the side in confusion, "What do you mean by that? Of course she has to go, all witches have to go to Hogwarts...I know..." She sighed dejectedly at that but Vernon pressed on, this was important.
"I mean Pet, does she have to go? Your sister entered that world and...there really isn't a sensitive way to put this, we both know that Sirius was her sworn godfather and that Longbottom woman...Alice? She was her godmother, if Iris was left with us that means they're all dead. James, Lily, Sirius, Alice, and who knows who else? If we raise her to be our daughter I just...I want to keep her safe, away from all those freaks that mean her harm."
At that Petunia began sobbing and buried her face in her husbands arm, "Oh Vernon, do you think we can? Do you think we can keep her safe from them?" He pondered that, what had Sirius said about magic being all about intent? He'd mentioned that since his animagus form was named Padfoot, and he self identified with that name all letters and spells aimed towards that name would find him. If...hmm...
"What if we adopt her?" He began slowly, gaining confidence as he spoke, "What if she didn't grow up Iris Potter, but Iris Dursley? When she eventually notices that her and Dudley's birthdays don't add up we'll let her know she's actually our niece but that shouldn't matter, she's still family. If she sees herself as a Dursley, would those backwards freaks be able to find her?"
Petunia, who had a hopeful look in her eyes leaned forward and kissed Vernon fully before pulling back, "That's brilliant love!"
He smirked at that, "Well I'm not the youngest sales director in Grunning's history for nothing love, one has to think outside the box after all." Sighing the pair stared at the child in his arms a few minutes before her gaze met theirs, her emerald eyes shining brightly as the newly risen sun bathed them in its warm light.
Eventually, reality set in and Vernon spoke again, "Out of curiosity do you think those wizards blokes bothered filing the guardianship papers or do you think they just decided to leave her on the porch and be done with it?"
Petunia winced and dropped her head to his shoulder, "I'll ask Adeline if she'll watch Dudley while we go into town..."
Christmas Day, 1987
Dudley Dursley woke up with a gleam in his eye, the blonde boy sat up and looked about his room and then slid out of his bed focused for the day ahead. It was Christmas, which meant two things, opening presents with his sister, and seeing Aunt Marge. He would really rather focus on that first bit honestly, Aunt Marge was a bit much to take in.
Opening his door and padding down the hall as gently as he could he opened his sisters bedroom door and quietly stepped inside. Walking up to the redhead he shook her gently and the slight girl groggily opened her green eyes to stare at him in confusion.
"Dud, wuz go'in on..." she began sounding only partly coherent as she rubbed sleep sand from her eyes, grinning he leaned forward and whispered his reply. Her reaction was all he could hope for.
"It's Christmas morning," eyes widening she shot up and her brother stepped back snickering as one hand snatched up her stuffed deer toy and the other latched onto his arm in one motion, instantly moving towards the hall as fast as physically possible. The two siblings made it to their parents bedroom door and rushed inside hopping onto the foot of the bed giggling.
The sound and motion woke the adults who both rather begrudgingly sat up to see two grinning faces, as one the children yelled, "IT'S CHRISTMAS! HAPPY CHRISTMAS!" Vernon and Petunia exchanged wry smiles as they shook their heads.
Ten minutes later saw the family downstairs as the children tore open their presents, the Dursleys tried not to go too overboard, three large gifts each along with what was in their stockings. This year was different though, there was a large box with both children's names on it, the only item to survive the wrapping paper apocalypse.
Sharing a knowing look the siblings rushed the large gift and tore the brightly colored paper off it to take in their new bounty, Iris cocked her head to the side and turned to her dad before speaking.
"Daddy what's a Nintendo?" Snorting the mustached man took a sip of the black coffee in his hand, the only thing keeping him awake at the moment mind you, before responding.
"That love is a video game system, Gibbons down in accounting got one for his son for his birthday and he seemed to rather enjoy it, I thought it would be something to idle the time away when the weather was bad and the like." Nodding at this the children thanked their parents and eventually helped clean up the mess they'd created, a time later they'd dragged the large boxed game system upstairs and hooked it into the television they kept in the spare bedroom.
Normally the smallest room in the house was reserved for Aunt Marge's visits, thankfully the woman wasn't really fond of it and didn't stay often, neither Iris nor Dudley wanted to admit it but they didn't like the woman all that much. She smelled strongly of dogs and brandy, and she yelled a lot for no apparent reason, they didn't think their mum liked her much either but what could be done, family was family.
"What should we play first? Dudley asked, looking through the handful of games they'd gotten with the system, Iris grabbed one whose box art caught her eye and ripped the cellophane wrapping off it.
"Lets try this one, it's called Final Fantasy," popping the cartridge in she pressed the power button and...nothing happened. The siblings exchanged a look and Dudley shrugged as he turned the power off and pulled the game out of its slot, turning to his sister he shrugged again.
"Err...maybe it's dusty and not making a connection?"
Iris nodded in turn, "Yeah probably it, blow on it I guess?" Doing so Dudley took in a deep breath and blew on the circuit contacts, sliding the game back into its slot and hitting the power button again they were greeted with a pleasant digital melody as text played across the screen.
The world is veiled in
darkness. The wind stops,
the sea is wild,
and the earth begins to rot.
They people wait,
their only hope, a prophecy...
'When the world is in darkness
Four Warriors will come...'
After a long journey, four young warriors arrive,
each holding an ORB.
As Iris read the quickly scrolling script to her brother she couldn't help feeling a bit irked by it, "Everything falls apart and people just wait for someone else to fix it?"
Dudley nodded in turn, "Dad calls 'em layabouts...well lets get started..." the character creation screen loaded up and they were asked to name their heros, Iris noted that there were only four letters available and grinned widely.
"Name the fighter BigD, like you!" Dudley rolled his eyes but smiled in turn as he did so, as they were prompted to pick the second character he paused when it was already loaded as a thief.
Dudley's nose crinkled at that, "Dad says thieves are the worst sort, are there others?" Taking the controller Iris cycled past the monk and ended up on the red mage, handing the controller back to Dudley she smiled sheepishly at his quizzical look.
"I err...it matches my hair..." blushing a bit she averted her eyes as Dudley laughed, when she turned back to the screen she saw her name proudly displayed under the mage, "Dud don't name it after me!" Giggling her brother gently pushed her shoulder which, due to his large size and her tiny frame sent her off the edge of the bed. Hopping up she glared at her brother who had already cycled past the other party members to start the game.
"Too late to do anything about it now sis, come on lets see what we've got!" Sighing she clambered back on the bed and pouted next to her brother who blithely ignored her, he was quite literally the only person her pout did not work on and he knew it. They took turns playing and Iris couldn't help but admitting she took a liking towards her namesake, she liked the jack of all trades approach to the red mage.
Capable with swords, able to heal and damage well, sure the red mage wasn't the best at anything but he could do everything, as long as he was supported by the fighter, white, and black mages he fit in perfectly. A few hours later their rather perturbed mother entered the room, her annoyance melted a bit seeing her children leaning against each other completely enamored with their game.
"Ahem," she coughed out, both kids hopped up and turned to their mum who only shook her head at the pair, "Your Aunt Marge is here, come down for dinner you two have been on that infernal thing all day as is." Saddened, but having no desire to annoy their mum enough to get their new toy taken from them the siblings left the room and went to deal with their drunk relative.
You knew it was going to be a bad day when their dad looked tense around his sister, it meant she was more drunk then usual, her huge slobbering dog staining the carpet at her feet as it lay on its side not helping matters at all.
Leaning in to whisper to her brother Iris quietly said, "Is it dying?"
Dudley returned the whisper with, "I hope?" It wasn't that they didn't like animals, it was that neither liked getting chased by a dog named 'Ripper', they may be children but they had survival instincts.
That was when the pair earned their Aunt's attention, she grinned happily when she took in Dudley, "DUDDERS! How is my boy doing?" Gaze shifting to her niece her smile fell in an instant, "Girl, you haven't been causing any mischief have you?" Iris kept her annoyance in check but Dudley bristled at the comment, she grabbed his hand and squeezed it gently to calm him.
It was something she did often really, Dudley had anger issues, and he could get violent if no one headed his temper off, that's where Iris came in. As long as she was around her brother to give a soothing word or a calming touch his anger would drop down to a simmer, and while it hurt that her aunt treated her so poorly it wouldn't do for him to get in trouble. A small part of her though was rather pleased that he would rise to her defense, kind of like how the fighter protected the mages really.
"I'm doing fine Aunt Marge," Dudley seethed out as pleasantly as he could as he took his place at the table, Iris sliding in next to him trying her best to look as small as possible under Marge's glare. She never could figure out why the woman disliked her so much, they were family weren't they? She'd brought it up to her parents before but they were, err...what was the word...right, they were evasive about it.
So what followed was an awkward dinner and half hearted farewells which ended up getting them seconds of dessert and firm hugs from their mum for being so courteous to, as she put it, 'The foul bint'. Iris filed that away for later, if her prim and proper mum felt that way about Marge well...maybe she shouldn't worry too much about what the woman thought.
Two days later found the siblings near literally kicked out of the house, they'd been on their Nintendo nearly the entire time and their incredibly frustrated mother demanded they get some fresh air. Dejected but being far too aware they couldn't really argue with her the pair went strolling through the back garden and into the woods surrounding their neighborhood.
Eventually Dudley picked up a stick and begin twirling it about himself, Iris grinned and grabbed her own stick and thus began an impromptu sword fight. She was quick and agile, stabbing forward with darting jabs while Dudley was all powerful heavy swings whose strikes made her stick vibrate in her hands.
As always she was at a disadvantage, and while he didn't intend to his constant taunts were getting on her nerves, it wasn't her fault she was a girl and so tiny! Stupid boys with their stupid bigger bodies, gasping as her stick snapped in half while Dudley laughingly taunted her she extended a finger towards him and yelled out the first thing that came to mind.
"FIRE!" To her unending shock a small ball of fire shot from her hand and slammed into her brother, he fell to the ground screaming and she rushed forward batting at the flames engulfing his chest. He was panicking but managed to roll around enough to put the fire out, gasping his blue eyes were displaying shocked pain as his fingers brushed the burnt flesh in the center of his chest.
Crying hysterically Iris was running her hands down her face shrieking near incoherently, "I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry-" she didn't know what to do, how had she done that, why had that worked? She'd seen kids play pretend all the time at school and they never conjured fire out of thin air much less hurt their siblings with it! Wait...could...could she do more?
Spreading her fingers over the burn she yelled "CURE!" but nothing happened. Why didn't it work? How had the fire spell worked? She was really angry at Dudley for being stronger then her and well...maybe that was it? Focusing not her anger, but her determination the little redhead pushed all her will into her fingertips as she repeated herself "CURE!"
This time, this time something happened, there was a dull blue glow and Dudley's sobs began to slow down and eventually stopped altogether. Eventually He sat up and touched his unblemished skin, no signs of the painful burns present, turning to his still blubbering sister he pulled her into a firm hug that she quickly returned, after a time she eventually shuddered out two words. "I'm sorry."
Sighing Dudley decided the best way to resolve this situation was to focus on the positives, not, for instance, how they were going to explain his burnt shirt and jacket to their mum. Getting her to focus on his face he shot her a wide grin that she returned with a shaky smile, she was still crying though but he figured that was a girl thing and wisely kept that thought to himself.
"Iris don't you realize what this means? What you are?"
She sobbed again and buried her head in his shoulder, "I'm a freak!"
Sighing he pushed her upright again and shook his head, "No Iris, you're a mage! You're a red mage!" At that she paused, yes she'd accidentally burnt her brother but she'd also healed him, she...she was magic! She was a mage!
Her terrified tears forgotten she returned his grin, "Blimey...I am!"
Dudley stood and then helped his sister to her feet and was soon rubbing his hands together greedily, "What else do you think you can do?"
She 'hmmd' at that a bit before nodding, "Lets try casting ice next, then lightening," he nodded in turn taking her hand as they walked deeper into the woods, neither of them having any idea how this days events would change the entire world.
What did you think? If I get enough response to this one I actually want to make it the yang to Lady of Slytherin's ying, how a badly damaged or a highly nurturing environment could shape a young girl. So please, review, and to those who are impatiently waiting yes yes Lady's next chapter is halfway finished, as I've said a thousand times before writing Dumbledore is a pain in the ass. With that, Nemesis out!
Edit-Right Right, obviously Iris is the Red Mage, and Dudley is the fighter, I'm leaning toward Hermione becoming the White Mage, but who do you all want to see as the Black Mage? Open to suggestions