Wizards in a Multiplayer Universe
Wizards in a Multiplayer Universe by Pseudonymous Entity
Summary: Welcome to The Game. When his relatives decide to go visit Aunt Marge instead of having her come to them, thirteen-year-old Harry Potter is left behind. Left to his own devices he stumbles upon one of those handheld videogames his cousin Dudley loves so much. Are they always this interactive?
AN: Write your own version of a 'Harry realizes his life is a videogame' fic. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
ANx2: What it says on the tin.
"Leave my door open just a crack, cause I feel like such an insomniac
Why do I tire of counting sheep? When I'm far too tired to fall asleep...
I like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Cause everything is never as it seems..."
In the hazy not-quite-dark time of day, just before the sun musters up the motivation to ascend the horizon, a boy began to stir from his nest of twisted sheets and blankets.
With a groan of discontent he pushed himself into a sitting position, hands planted firmly behind him lest he be tempted to lay down again. He didn't have the most comfortable bed. In fact, the mattress sagged dramatically on one side -which he had earned to avoid ever since the day he woke with a twinge in his lower back and could hardly move for days-, the sheets were thin and itchy, the blankets secondhand and the pillow lumpy. Still, when you've reached a certain level of tired even a concrete floor could become quite appetizing. In this case, his potential injury-inducing bed was at such a level of appetizing.
That was his own fault of course.
He swung his legs off the bed and stood unsteadily. His head was dizzy inside and he had to shake it vigorously to clear it out enough for him to let go of his desk and stand freely without fear of toppling over. Mostly. There was always the chance his legs would collapse of their own accord regardless of his responsibilities. His fingers reached out and pushed aside the lid of a glass jar on his desk. The only thing on it. Finding what they were searching for his fingers popes a hard candy into his mouth.
The boy stood there a moment, letting the sweet gradually melt in his mouth and the sugar in it spread through his body. It would be hours yet before he got to eat and if he passed out now he may very well find himself at the end of his aunt's patience and locked in his room once more, living off cold soup. Not that that sounded as bad as it surely was, just then. Any excuse not to move was alluring. But as always He ignored the unreasonable and far too spontaneous part of his brain in favour of an outcome which didn't result in near-starvation. And that meant getting dressed, going downstairs and doing chores.
Perhaps if the boy hadn't had nightmares of giant snakes since the beginning of summer...and perhaps if he hadn't stayed up past midnight to celebrate his thirteenth birthday alone with his pet owl and the presents his friends sent him. Perhaps then he would have realized something was amiss before he shuffled into the parlour. More specifically he may have noticed that it was empty. Indeed, he noted, there was no one in the dining room either.
It wasn't unusual for his uncle or his cousin to still be asleep. However, his aunt Petunia made it a point to have a list of chores on the small table in the parlour. Often she was in there as well as the list on the table, planning her activities for the day. It was even more unusual for the kitchen to be empty. There was nothing set out for him to prepare for breakfast. No smell of hot coffee brewing. No newspaper on the table at Uncle Vernon's place.
Harry paused there in the doorway to the kitchen and rubbed his eyes. No, he wasn't still asleep. There wasn't any scent of lemon disinfectant spray or his aunt's perfume.
He turned around and peered into the living room. No one there. The telly was off as well with no signs anyone had been in the room at all yet. The boy frowned. It was very quiet. Perhaps Petunia decided to sleep in for once in her life? When he returned to the stairs his eyes fell on the front door and entryway. He blinked. Hat missing from the rack. Keys off the hook. He was too awake at this point to hope they'd decided to move without him. More annoyed than concerned, he'd just decided on going upstairs to verify empty bedrooms when his foot caught on something hard and he tumbled to the floor.
He lay there with a sigh. It was tempting to stay there for the rest of the day.
He was smarter than that though and he knew he should confirm his relative were genuinely gone before putting himself in a position to get punished. There was still a month of Summer vacation left and despite his early morning ponderings, he had no desire to spend it locked in his room again. He pushed himself to a sitting position for the second time that day. There on the floor was an envelope. How that managed to trip him he wasn't sure.
Perhaps he ought to sneak in a nap.
Picking I up and flipping it over He read the word Harry printed on it. With a shrug, because this honestly wasn't the oddest thing his family had ever done, Harry used his finger to break the seal on the envelope. Inside he found a brief note from his aunt explaining Uncle Vernon's sister, Aunt Marge, was under the weather so they would be going to visit her rather than have her come to them. She didn't need to point out this invitation wasn't extended to Harry. The thirteen-year-old rolled his eyes and got to his feet. They could have told him. Aunt Marge was one of the last people on earth he would willingly spend any amount of time with.
Harry wondered if his aunt decided thirteen was officially old enough for him to be left alone or if she couldn't find anyone to take him and would rather leave him behind than take him with her. Either way, it suited Harry fine.
He crushed the letter in his hand and made to throw it into the small yellow waste bin to the side of the staircase. Abruptly Harry let out a curse and staggered, clutching at the wall to prevent himself from falling for a second time. There on the floor lay a package wrapped in brown paper. He supposed that was how he fell the first time. Warily, he picked it up. It wasn't heavy and it didn't say anything. Harry didn't have a clue what it was, what It was for or whether or not he was meant to do something with it. He decided his best bet was to leave it somewhere for them to find when they got back and headed back toward the kitchen.
Bare feet stepped across the cool floor, pausing only to slide the package onto the empty dining table as he passed. Unable to resist the opportunity, Harry glanced around the kitchen once before running gleefully to the refrigerator and pulling it open.
"...of course it's empty." Said Harry, staring at the white expanse of the refrigerator's interior.
Harry stomped over to the dining table and sat in a chair, crossing his arms. He did just get a cake and some sandwiches from his friend Ron's mother last night for his birthday, along with chocolates from Ron and another cake from the gamekeeper at Hogwarts, Hagrid. He had some food to last him a little while. He wouldn't need to worry about food for a while yet. It was still incredibly disappointing.
Harry sat there, mind drifting into space, legs swinging idly. Every so often his eyes would slide over to the package on the table and he would have to drag them back toward some other spot in the room and reprimand them to mind their own business. He shifted in his chair, tapped his fingers against the tabletop and tried reciting quidditch players. Still, his gaze found its attention on the package. It couldn't hurt to take a peek, could it? Just a quick look. With a swish and a flick, he could repair the brown wrapping when he was finished and no one would ever be the wiser.
Strictly speaking wizards under seventeen weren't supposed to magic outside of school. Though he had learned if you lived with adult witches or wizards you could get away with it easily. Harry didn't have any other magical people in his house and even if he did he was the only one home. A house-elf that broke into his house the year before had done magic and Harry had gotten a letter from the ministry reminding him that he couldn't do magic outside of school. Would they send another letter?
Repairing wrapping paper was much smaller magic then levitating a giant bowl of pudding into the parlour from the kitchen and dumping it on somebody's head, as the elf had done. Surely it was little cause for concern?
"Aw Hell." Said Harry.
With that he lurched across the table and snagged the package, pulling it back to his side of the table. His fingers were half done with the wrapping when a fleeting sensation of guilt zoomed straight through his mind and out the other side. Harry could always feel guilty later. He pulled the wrapping off and lifted the lid of the box. Harry's eyes brightened. He knew what that was. He pulled out a small rectangular device he recognized as one of those handheld games Dudley had quite a number of.
Harry never played with one. Didn't even know how they worked. But Dudley spent hours entertained by them and Harry had nothing else to do. There was a thin booklet in the box underneath where the game box had been. A manual.
Harry snorted. If someone as dim as Dudley could figure it out then surely Harry could do it. He examined the game box thing. It was rectangular in shape and about as thick as a short book. There was a small screen like the one on a computer or the telly and some buttons. One of them, a tiny blue one on the side, said ON which seemed promising. Harry pressed it.
The screen lit up. Welcome to The Game. Proceed: Yes or No?
Well risking his aunt's wrath would be all for nought if he didn't at least play it a little. Harry selected yes and pushed the button. Beep-boop.
Choose your class: Rogue, Mage, Healer, Huntsman or Warrior. With a smile Harry selected Mage and pressed the button. Beep-boop.
Are you a boy or a girl? Harry selected boy. Beep-boop.
What is your name? A box with the alphabet showed up on the screen. Harry carefully spelt out H-A-R-R-Y.
State your name. Said a robotic voice from the game, making Harry jump. "Er...Harry? Harry Potter." Said Harry, feeling foolish. A yellow beam shot out of the game box, startling Harry enough he nearly dropped it. The light scanned his face and the turned off.
Identity confirmed, said the game.
"Awesome." Murmured Harry. This must-have cost his uncle a fortune. He wondered if Dudley had behaved badly and that was why his aunt made him leave it behind instead of taking it with him on the trip. His cousin was probably through a hellacious fit in the car the whole way. Just another reason to be glad not to be going...and a happy thought as well. Where do you want to go? The Kitchen. The Backyard. The bedroom.
Harry shrugged and selected Bedroom.
Everything went black and Harry let out a shout. He felt like he was falling through space. Abruptly his eyes snapped open. He was...staring at his ceiling? Harry sat up and looked around. He was in his room. Had he dreamt the whole thing? Uneasy Harry swung his feet off the bed and stood up. Only one way to find out. He walked to the door and pulled on the knob. Red letters popped up in front of his face. Harry stumbled back and stared.
The door is locked, said the words.
Harry backed farther away from the door and looked around the room. He didn't see any other mysterious words. Harry blinked, there was a familiar rectangular shape on his bed. The game box? Harry started toward it. As he passed his desk red letters popped up into the air. Do you want to write a letter? They asked.
"Nope." Said Harry, to no one in particular.
He reached out and scooped up the game box. Red letters popped into the air over the bed. Would you like to rest: Yes or No?
Harry grinned. That was an excellent suggestion. He could figure out Dudley's weird game when he woke up after a good nap. Harry made the bed and lay down on top of the covers. The words were still floating up there in the air. He wondered how long it would take before the game realized he wasn't playing right now. Then he wondered how long the batteries lasted if the game was using lights and stuff all of the time. From his limited knowledge, he knew the more something electronic did the more electricity or batteries it needed to use. He should look for some extra batteries when he woke up.
Both because he wasn't sure how long the ones in it now would last and really did want to play it for a bit, and also because a new game with dead batteries would be more than suspicious even if he did magic the wrapping paper.
Deciding the red letters in the air were annoying -and mildly worried he wouldn't be able to find any batteries- Harry selected yes.
Beep-boop. The world went dark and then brightened. Harry stared up at the now wordless ceiling with wide eyes. He felt like he slept for a month! Harry sat up. Red words popped up. Well-rested.
"Yeah, I noticed." Said Harry.
He looked down at the videogame warily. Experimentally, Harry walked toward the door. Like last time red letters popped up. This time they said: Continue saved game or Start new game?
Harry glanced back at the bed and then looked at the letters floating in the air in front of the door. There was nothing magic couldn't fix, Harry told himself. If things got too weird he could always send a letter to Ron. Or Fred and George. He bet the twins could fix just about anything in a snap. And they wouldn't tell on him either. No one ever needed to know. Besides, he needed something to do while his relatives were gone.
Harry selected start new game. After all, what could happen?
Thoughts, Theories, Guesses and Limericks always welcome
Notes: How'd I do? Want a little more or leave it as is?
Ever Yours, Pseu