Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling. I'm just playing in her sandbox.
AN: So this is a story I've been working on for some time. I've plotted it out all the way to post-Hogwarts, where it will eventually cross over, but until then the crossover will largely irrelevant, hence the categorization. So here goes. Scars in the Moonlight. As always, reviews and feedback are appreciated. Thank you.
I'm actually really excited about this.
Chapter 1: Revelations of Abnormality
Kitty Potter decided she liked the streets. Sure they were cold and unforgiving, and she more often than not lacked for food, but there was a certain amount of freedom here.
She'd gotten good at finding places to hole up, at avoiding those who might hurt her, at blending in with the crowd. She was a better than decent pickpocket, and the public library was always warm.
Cleanliness wasn't as easy as it might have been, but she'd learned to clean herself from a sink, and had found clothes in a charity bin that were better than what the Dursley's had ever provided her with. They were girls' clothes, for one, rather than Dudley's hand-me-downs. And while they didn't fit, she wasn't swimming in them.
Running away had been the best decision she had ever made. She was now able to live her abnormal life, leaving the Dursley's to theirs. Without her there, they might even become something approaching the normal they craved.
She doubted it, but it was possible.
She ducked a corner when she saw one of the bobbies walking in her direction. She should be in school, she knew. Truancy was a crime, of sorts. Not one she'd be overly punished for, but still a crime. And he might take her back to her relatives. Which considering their likely reaction, was more punishment than the crime really warranted.
Two months without her there? They were probably still celebrating.
She danced through an alley, up a fire escape, down the other side, and pulled out an apple she'd pocketed from the local grocers.
Pickpocketing was also a crime they'd return her to the Dursley's for. But food was important, and while she knew the pangs of hunger well that didn't mean she liked them. Nuh-uh.
She turned a corner and ran into a man in a long black dress. Robe? Whatever. She didn't think such fashion was normal, but it was what it was. She took a hasty step to the side. "Excuse me." She murmured, and pulled away quickly, not looking at him and making sure she looked like she had a destination to reach.
Most people let you pass if you looked like you knew where you were going. She was only eight, but it still worked in principle. Most of the time.
A hand reached out and grabbed her shoulder. "Kitty Potter." She twisted away reflexively, breaking into a rapid sprint, around the corner. The man behind her cussed and gave chase. Shit, shit, shit. He'd recognized her. How'd he recognize her? She didn't want to go back.
London was her home now. She knew the streets like the back of her hand. Every alley, every fire escape, which streets were one way, and how to lose somebody in a crowd.
The only question was how the man kept finding her every time she lost him, getting in front of her, heading her off. She ducked through an alley and across the street. A car honked, swerving to avoid her and the man driving cussed her out, but she'd reached her destination: the open park, with plenty of witnesses.
Young kids played, their mothers and sitters watched them— Kitty ran up to a group of three women who were gossiping.
Kitty knew she was skinny, that it had been a few days since she washed, and not well at that. There was a bruise on her face from where she'd tripped on a fire escape, and she looked pathetic and frightened. She could use that.
"Help! Help." She was gasping out of breath, but she had their attention.
"There's this guy— chasing me. Tried to grab me—" She turned, catching sight of him on the edge of the park and she yelped, trying to get behind them further, where he couldn't see.
"Call the police, Mary—"
"Well I never—"
Kitty did not get to find out what the woman had never, for the woman's face blanked, along with her two friends, and they walked away toward their charges, even starting up their gossip again as if Kitty'd never been.
She gaped, even as she turned with a certain amount of trepidation toward the cloaked man, stalking towards her, muttering under his breath. "Ungrateful brat. Potters, all the same."
She backed away. The park strategy now working against her. He was taller, faster, could easily overtake her without the obstacles— not that those had helped her much either. Still, she made a dash for it, lungs burning, legs aching. She barely got five feet before she tripped over thin air. How did one trip over thin air? She scrambled back, like a crab, as he pointed a stick at her, snarl on his face. "Stupefy."
A red light. Then blackness.
Kitty woke all at once, body tensing, even as she forced herself to relax back into seeming unconsciousness. Waking up was good— much better than the alternative. But she'd long learned from letting the world know she was awake until she was sure of who was around her. She learned more that way.
"Shit." She recognized the voice. It was the cloaked man! The one that chased her across London! "Ennervate."
A wave of energy rolled through her again. Making everything far too awake and aware for comfort— too energized. It was impossible to hold still, but she managed it.
The shallow breaths she was taking— the sleeping breaths tasted of a place she never wanted to be again: the Dursley's. The air was almost too clean, with bleach and detergent, and the awful floral scent her Aunt sprayed the air with as if it could cover up the atrocities she and her husband committed against her own flesh and blood.
Of course, her aunt screeching in the background about the freaks coming into her house—"I'll call the police!"— was a prime indicator of where she was as well. Wait. Freaks. Plural. She wasn't referring to Kitty. Or only Kitty.
Freak had always been a special term, denoting what she was. Something that came up about the impossible things that happened around her, like turning her teacher's wig blue, or the time she teleported on top of the school to escape Dudley and his gang. If these people were Freaks too, it might explain how the cloaked man had kept finding her, and what that red light was. It might—
"Dammit Digg!" It was a new voice. Also male. "What did you do?"
"I dunno! She won't wake!"
The other man shuffled over, and snorted. "She's faking."
She dodged the foot aimed at her side with the years of practice from living at the Dursley's and running from Dudley and his little gang, and cursed the reflex even as she looked at the two men who'd forced her back to her prison.
Maybe if she was lucky the Dursley's would be happy to let her leave again?
Aunt Petunia was still screeching at them. "Eh, shut the woman up, Digg."
Digg turned to Aunt Petunia and waved the stick in his hand. "Silencio," and then "Petrificus Totalus," when she tried to hit him with his purse because she'd stopped making sound. She snapped stiff, like a board, and fell over.
It was then that she noticed Uncle Vernon in a similar state. She mentally cussed herself, missing something like that. She swallowed hard, looking at the door, then back at the man who had tried to kick her to break her ruse.
She bolted, or tried to. A hand pulled her back and she hit the wall harder than necessary. Her head spun.
"Obliviate," something washed over her— she didn't know what, "The bobbies came and brought you home, you won't run away again."
She blinked at him, somewhat dazed from the wall and confused. Was she supposed to believe that?
Apparently she was supposed to do nothing, because the man turned to her Aunt and Uncle and repeated the word and gesture, and lifted whatever effect they were under.
And then he and Digg disappeared with a loud crack.
No seriously. What just happened?
Her aunt and uncle were sitting up.
"You are in so much trouble, girl." Mount Vernon was redder than she'd ever seen him. "Bringing the bobbies to our door. You ungrateful brat, we give you food, a roof over your head—"
"Oh, what will the neighbors think?"
"But the police didn't bring me back. Those two men with sticks did."
The two went silent, looking at her in horror, Vernon actually lost some color before regaining it rapidly.
Surprisingly, it was her aunt who answered first, and her fury was a cold hiss. "How dare you? How dare you speak of such unnaturalness in this household? We are good, upstanding, normal people, and you—"
"Your delusions of normalcy include keeping your niece locked in the cupboard under the stairs!" Kitty yelled at them. Her Aunt and Uncle reared back in shock. She took a deep breath, spurred on by their reaction. "I know most people have skeletons in their closet, but that takes the cake. That's the kind of thing you'd hear on the telly, where people are up in arms and decrying just how horrible and freakish someone would have to be. You are anything but nor—"
Her uncle hit her, hard. She didn't even see it coming. She should have— she had plenty of practice, but her head was still ringing from hitting the wall earlier, and everything was wrong, wrong, wrong. She put a hand to her face in shock. It was not the first time he'd hit her, not by far.
But he usually avoided her face, especially with closed fists. Appearances were important after all, and such evidence was not to be tolerated.
A kick to her leg and she was down. And then he kept hitting her, taking off his belt and whipping her with that. Its edge cut into her skin. She tried to run, but he caught her and she felt something snap in her arm.
Aunt Petunia had sniffed and left a little bit in, and Kitty curled up into herself, sobbing, praying for it to end.
And then she was picked up and thrown bodily into the cupboard under the stairs, her cupboard, her leg folding under her in a way it definitely wasn't supposed to. The door slammed shut and locked.
She could barely see straight, blood was in her eyes. A pain shot through her side with each rise and fall of her chest. The world swam in front of her face.
And the world went black for the second time that day.
She drifted in and out of consciousness. Her arm was broken, she knew, as was her leg. She couldn't breath right, and she could feel the welts on her back burning as they refused to heal.
The Dursley's didn't open the cupboard. They didn't demand she cook breakfast. She counted time by what she heard of their movements. It had already been a full two nights.
They'd pull her out soon. They always did.
Her aunt would glare at her, make sure she could still work as their little slave, and set her to do so.
Even if it had never been this bad before.
They'd pull her out.
She took another deep breath, as the light turned off outside her cupboard, and snores echoed from the upstairs.
They weren't going to pull her out of here. They weren't going to keep her in working condition. They were literally the only ones who knew she was here. And if she died and they got rid of her body, they could say she ran away two months ago, and people would believe them because she hadn't been around.
Kitty took another breath, slow, controlled. Her chest protested the motion with sharp pain. The back of her throat was all too dry. She was going to die a statistic. Of family abuse. And the Dursley's would get away with it.
She was never going to travel the world. She was never going to leave this place and never come back. She was never going to be free.
Because she would be dead.
She let the breath out. "Nobody is coming for me." Those daydreams about having other family out there that would come for her, that would be upset on her behalf because they knew the Dursleys were wrong, were just daydreams. Nobody knew she was here. Nobody cared. Nobody would come and save her.
The world was a cold and cruel place.
The only one who could save her was herself.
And her face hardened, and she took a deep breath, and spoke again, softly. "I am going to die in here. Alone. Nobody is going to save me. Nobody is coming for me."
She turned to look at the cupboard door, every movement causing a spike of pain through her chest and neck and arm. She glared at it.
She was a freak. Her aunt had always said so. But she'd called those two men freaks too, and they had power. They could make things happen. Sort of like she had, all those times. With her teacher's wig and the cafeteria roof. With the way her hair grew back overnight when her aunt had sheared it off. Or how she had repaired the plate when she'd broken it before her aunt had discovered her mistake.
If they could control it, so could she, and she wanted out.
The lock clicked open, loud in the silence, and she froze. But the snores from upstairs continued, and there were no footsteps. She carefully lifted herself, pushing herself through the pain, even as the bones in her leg ground together.
She was going to get out of here, she was going to heal. She was going to live.
No matter what.
She could feel it now, coursing through her, whatever power she had. And she let it help her, let it help her pick her up, and pull her to her feet. Let it help her to the door, and out into the night, and down the street.
She had no one to go to, no one would help her.
But like hell was she going to die in a cupboard under the stairs.
The pain was unbearable, a constant burn, but she made her way toward the park. Toward grass and freedom. She'd hide, and get further tomorrow. She sat down by the bushes, trying to push her leg back to rights. She knew how it should be, and demanded it of herself.
She could do this.
A scream tore out her throat as her leg straightened. And her arm. Burning intensified.
Tomorrow. She would get farther tomorrow. And if those men with sticks, Digg and his friend found her again?
They wouldn't know what hit them.
She looked up at the stars, taking deep breaths. She needed to hide, wait for tomorrow.
But she couldn't move.
Couldn't make it.
The stars twinkled down from the night sky above her, and she let out a bitter smile.
At the very least, she wouldn't die in her cupboard.