Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Visiting Days were the most celebrated days at Wool's Orphanage, besides Christmas and Easter.
Twice a year, eager, young couples would visit from all across London and even further to meet the children and potentially find one they could adopt and raise as their own. Despite low funding, Wool's Orphanage stood as one of the top orphanages on the list for prospecting parents. Their rate of adoption ranked higher than most due to the orphans' reputation of general propriety.
The children at Wool's below the age of twelve held much hope every time Visiting Day came around and behaved and dressed the best they could.
The leading days before Visiting Day had Mrs. Cole and the caretakers running around like headless chickens.
One of the boys set one of the sofa chairs on fire with a matchstick he said he found outside. One of the girls got into a fight with her roommate where hair pulling ensued. Apparently, one of them had stolen the other's bracelet.
Making sure problems didn't escalate and that everything was prepared for Visiting Day left Mrs. Cole and the caretakers too busy to keep a close eye on their resident toddlers.
"Do you think we'll be adopted tomorrow, Tom?" Harry asked.
Tom currently sat at one of the park tables outside the orphanage, at the girl's behest, attempting to learn the alphabet from a worn out book. His legs dangled in the air, not at all reaching the floor. Harry's body sprawled out across the picnic table bench, her head in Tom's lap, gazing up at the cloudy skies of London, making shapes out of the white overcast fog.
Tom glanced down at the girl in light annoyance, halting his left hand that lightly threaded through her dark curls. Harry huffed.
"No," he returned his attention to his book.
"But Tom, don't you like a mummy? Or a daddy?"
" 'Wouldn't you', Harry."
Harry let out a half strangled groan before sighing, "Wouldn't you like a mummy?"
Tom sighed and rubbed his tiny palm into his face. He looked down at the four year old girl on his lap.
They had gone through this broken conversation before, many times over. In the time that Harry has been here, she had only ever been subject to five Visiting Days, two of the earliest in which both of them had not participated due to sickness.
The following three Visiting Days were odd for the two toddlers. Strange even.
Tom didn't remember exactly what happened during the next one.
He could blearily recall a blonde hair, brown eyed couple talking to him. They asked him what he liked to do and who his best friends were at the orphanage. They smiled a lot too, but about what Tom couldn't be certain.
He remembered talking only a little, about the color green and how apples were his favorite food.
Tom also remembered feeling a growing panic.
"Aren't you excited Tom? We need to make sure we pack up all of your things. They're picking you up tomorrow!" Lizzie exclaimed, enthusiastically, and Harry...well Harry didn't seem happy. He could only recall her looking distressed, face reddened, her sense lashing out at his own, pulling his presence towards her. There was a loud bang and a squeeze of his insides.
And then nothing.
The next day Tom woke up next to Harry, confused and disorientated. Lizzie smiled down at him with all sympathetic eyes and soft tones, "There's always the next Visiting Day to look forward to, don't worry."
Harry's fourth Visiting Day, Tom only remembered Harry and himself being ignored, as if they weren't in the room. The couples had walked into the nursery and stopped at every crib to look at the baby or toddler inside. If the resident had the ability to speak, the prospecting parents would try to have a small conversation, indulging in 'baby talk'. They never stopped at Tom and Harry's crib. They walked past theirs as if it was only a stray crib with nothing inside.
Though it struck Tom as strange, he didn't care enough to put much thought into it. He felt more entertained by the fact he had made his pillow float for a few seconds with enough concentration. Harry only giggled and clapped at the spectacle.
It never occurred to him that Harry and him could be separated until the next Visiting Day. He never thought about it. He lived in the orphanage his entire life and remembered having Harry there for most if not all of it.
They were always together, chubby finger clasped with each other. They made a spectacle to the caretakers. Two beautiful toddlers, holding onto each others hand, the girl looking at the boy with stars in her eyes and he looking at her with...some sort of triumph.
She had an interview that day with a couple. One had blonde hair and the other jet black.
Tom had one in the other room. The caretakers made sure to not keep them too far apart.
The couple smiled at Harry, asking her if she liked to play with her friends; she was three and vibrant.
"I like to play with Tom!"
"Oh? And who's Tom? Have we seen him today?"
"Uhh...I dunno. He has black hair and realllyy blue eyes, so blue, Lizzie says they're the ocean! We play lotta games too!" Harry was bouncing in her seat, unable to keep still.
"Really and have you seen the ocean, little one?"
"No, but the Lady says she take us!"
"To the ocean?"
"Nuh uh, the sea, and Tom and I can meet a mermaid and see fishies...and talk to a whale!"
The conversation went on.
The bouncing child intrigued the Hughes.
She sported Cecil's black hair and Norah's green eyes, although her eyes were not as bright as this one. Her face didn't have the classic Hughes' nose or the straight locks, but if Norah looked hard enough, she could almost be certain that this tiny girl could pass off as one of their own. The girl's energy was infectious, definitely lovable. They would have to do something about that name though. Harry. Did their parents want to punish her after abandoning her too?
"We'd like to adopt Harry," Norah quickly said to the Matron.
Mrs. Cole smiled and clapped her hands together, "How wonderful! Why of course, it might take some time to get the paperwork settled, but we'll have no problem arranging it. In the meant time, Caretaker Elizabeth! Could you please prepare a room for Harry and the Hughes so they can give her the news?"
Lizzie smiled from where she was standing, "Why of course, Matron."
Not as many couples had come to visit the orphanage compared to Visiting Days past. Lizzie worried that not as many kids would get adopted; she was glad another one was. She briskly walked to the play area near the bookshelf to find Harry. As always, she found Harry sitting in her usual spot next to Tom.
Tom sat up against the wall, tiny legs outstretched in front of him, flipping through the pages of an old picture book. Harry sat beside him, head leaning on his shoulder watching closely. As always, hands entwined. Her eyes peered out significantly closer to the book than Tom, occasionally pointing to something of interest and taking in Tom's explanations.
Hm, they should probably inform the Hughes that the girl might need to get her eyes checked, Lizzie thought as she made her way over.
"Harry," the girl startled and Lizzie received a mildly annoyed glare from the boy next to her, "two of the people you met today want to talk to you again."
They both stared at her, one confused and the other with consternation. She just had an interview, Tom thought angrily.
The caretaker nodded, "Come along, Harry, we don't want to keep them waiting". Lizzie looked over to Tom for a moment and made a quick decision, "You too, Tom. Perhaps you'd like to be there to hear Harry's wonderful news." Goodness, Lizzie could barely keep the smile off her face.
Tom looked up with some level of surprise which then morphed into one of blankness, "Yes, Miss Lizzie."
That boy, she thought, so odd and formal, but very polite. Won't he be so happy for her.
The two toddlers both found themselves in a dull interview room, with only a table and two chairs occupying it.
Harry perched on one chair, while Tom stood next to her like some kind of knight, her hand clutching his while she became increasingly confused and panicked. Tom reached out with his sense and touched her, calming her, and she sighed with relief, brushing him back with thanks.
Sometimes Harry wondered what would it be like if Tom wasn't there. The thought felt like ice going down her spine.
No. Bad thoughts.
She tightened her hold on Tom's hand further.
This sight greeted the Hughes when Lizzie led them into the room.
Lizzie looked in between the two children and the couple, smiling, "I'll just leave you all here for a moment, don't mind me," and closed the door behind her.
It was kind of funny. The boy, though tall for his age, was only half a head taller than the table in front of him. The girl looked like she could just jump out of the seat with how restless she was, but him, he was motionless, standing there resolutely. His head peeked out from the table, staring at the both of them.
Cecil looked at his wife hesitantly, not sure of the boy's presence, but she just smiled and waved at the boy, "Hello, you must be Tom, right?"
He nodded solemnly, "Yes, Ma'am," and said nothing more.
Norah stood there awkwardly, not exactly sure how to continue the conversation, "Oh, alright. Yes. Anyway, Harry, we would like to speak to you," Norah sunk down to the chair next to her, getting closer to the three year old girl staring up at her with eyes almost similar to her own. Norah took a deep breath and smiled kindly.
Cecil placed a hand on top of his wife's shoulder in support and she gently grasped it, squeezing gently.
This was going to change all of their lives.
"Harry," she began slowly, "Cecil and I have talked to each other, and we've come to the decision that you would be a perfect addition into our family. You see," she continued, "Cecil and I, we aren't able to have kids of our own. You see, it wasn't in God's plan, and though it took time, we both came to the conclusion that God believed there were already enough children in the world who are in need of mums and dads"
She paused and took a deep breath.
"And then we saw you today. You, who has hair the color of Cecil's and eyes the color of mine, and we," Norah squeezed her husband's hand again, "both of us, believed it was in God's plan that we were led to you."
There were tears coming out of Norah's eyes and Cecil finished for her, clearing his throat and kneeling next to his wife.
"What we're trying to say, or what we're trying to ask you is would you give use the greatest honor of being a part of our family?" He smiled, "Would you like to become a Hughes?"
There was a pause. Harry sat there, still for the first time since she met the two, eyes widened in astonishment. What were they saying?
"You wanna...you wanna adopt me?" she looked up at the two.
Norah nodded and smiled even more broadly through her tears, almost choking on her next words.
"Yes! So what do you say? I would be your mum, and Cecil," she gestured, "he'll be your dad."
Harry shook with some kind of unknown feeling. She didn't know what to feel or what she was even feeling now.
"We can go see the ocean, together," Mrs. Hughes said.
Harry was at a lost for words. Did that really just happen? Is this- is this what it feels like to be-
Norah and Cecil jerked their heads up to the boy they had forgotten was standing there. Cecil narrowed his eyes at him.
"I'm sorry son, but that's not your decision to make."
Tom glared at the man, tiny hand gripping on the girl's next to him like a vice.
"You can't have her. She's mine."
This assuming brat, Cecil thought to himself.
Norah spoke, "Look, Tom, I know it's hard to give up a friend, trust me, I understand but she's going to a better place. She's going to have a family, isn't that what you would want for your friend?"
Tom leveled his glare at the woman, "You can't take her away from me, I won't let that happen."
Norah tried to retaliate again before she felt her airways clench. Her breath came out labored and straining. Invisible hands held on to her passage ways and squeezed, choking the living daylights out of her. She clawed at her neck to get whatever it was away but nothing was there. She grabbed at air.
Cecil looked at his wife in alarm, "Norah! Norah, love. What's wrong?"
She didn't respond. She could not suck any air into her lungs, she began to clutch at her neck.
He turned his gaze at the boy in panic only to see a small smirk on his face and a glare at his wife, "Stop it! Whatever the hell you are doing, stop it!"
Norah had no idea what was going on with her, she choked, not able to get enough air in her airways. She started to emit tears and that smirk was the only thing she could see in her blurred vision. She coughed and pointed at him with accusation. She didn't know how or what, but she knew within her heart of hearts that this was because of him.
"Stop please! Norah, breathe with me. Unhand her, you cretin," the man held his wife in his arms as she seemed to lose all oxygen from her lungs.
"Tom no!" Harry was frozen until now, only watching in shock but then the woman's face started to turn purple, and she couldn't stay still anymore.
Harry threw the hand that wasn't holding Tom's out at him. It didn't touch him. By all accounts, her tiny hand shouldn't have done anything, but the slow opening of her airways said that the young toddler did something to stop that devil child from cursing her.
After one strained moment, his hold on her airways vanished completely and Norah breathed in oxygen like no tomorrow.
She heaved in lungfuls and wide eyes peered at the two in front of them. This boy was not human, the devil was at work here. And the girl. Just as evil, just as filthy as he was. She backed away slowly. These two were no children of God. God would never make such sinful creatures. No. This was for certain the work of the devil. Both of them.
She glanced at Cecil next to him and could see his thoughts going along the same line.
They needed to get out of here.
At the first chance they both bolted, Cecil grabbing onto her hand, opening the door, and slamming it behind them as hard he could to get the hell away from those...Monsters.
On their mad dash to the exit door, the crazy caretaker had blocked their way, "Oh, I was just coming to get you two. The matron has just finished getting the papers in order for the adopt-"
"We are not adopting that- that DEVIL THING into our family! I don't know what kind of establishment you run here, miss, but it is clear that it's not one of God!"
And with that the man took his wife's hand again and continued their dash to the exit.
Tom and Harry still sat in the interview room staring at each other, petulantly.
"You didn't hafta do that, Tom."
"Did you wanna leave me?"
"No! O'course not!" her brow furrowed with consternation, "But you didn't needta do that!"
"What do you think woulda happen, Harry? They woulda taken you away from me! They woulda kept us apart!" He leaned forward to grip her hand in his own, chubby cheeks puffing out in anger, "And what would you have done without me, Harry? Huh?"
Harry cried out in pain from how hard he was holding her hand, tears gathering in her eyes at the thought.
"I don't- wanna- leave you- Tom," she said in between sobs.
The four year old loosened his grip on her and caressed her cheek to wipe away the tears.
"You never will," the words were whispered, but she wasn't able to hear him.
The more Tom reminisced about the last Visiting Day, the more sure he was in his answer to Harry.
No, he would not like a mummy. Or a daddy. Or anybody. He only wanted or needed Harry, the only one who understood him and the power they both shared. Tom and Harry would not be adopted now or ever. Tom would make sure of it.
"I don't need anyone, Harry," he said as firmly as he could and turned back to his book on the alphabets, one hand returning to Harry's hair, untangling the unruly knots absentmindedly.
Harry decided not to answer, making a noise of contentment when Tom began to gently rake his nails through her scalp again. She nuzzled her head into his lap and began to watch the clouds again, making shapes and daydreaming about flying metal bicycles and flying tennis balls.
It was sheer bliss for both of them.
To be continued...
A/N: I began to reminisce about this site again and then decided why not? Told you this one would be a doozy. Please Review.
Ps. For those of you who have supported this story in the past 2 chapters, consider this one a thank you.