Disclaimer: As with every other writer on I am a mere cheap rip-off from the real thing. (Not that I'm trying to put anyone down.) I am using characters and places created by JK Rowling. No money has passed hands (I can only wish) and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: Alternative Universe. Harry, once scared and abused, now lives in the Forbidden Forest where he has adapted to life. The wizards want him back, but Harry wants to be a wolf of the forest. Grow up Harry as he learns to live and gains a family far beyond what he has ever had before.
Note:Please excuse the problems with the first several chapters not being beta'd. I had several chapter rewritten, but I lost them in a harddrive failure. I'm working on getting that done again, probably more rewriting of the first couple chapters. I know that some people don't like the first two chapters for some reason, but after you get past them and Harry's in the forest it gets a lot more interesting. Take a chance and read a few chapters, you won't be all that disappointed.
• eQuasarus •
• A Glint of Steel •
Everything stopped; one second became absolute, as if it were that the moment became hours and stretched out until the end of time.
Harry wondered if he'd done this too. Petunia and Vernon said he'd done so many other things, even if he'd never tired. Was he somehow doing this, now?
He didn't know, and for that very reason he brushed it off as a five year old would, moving on to the fact that it was happening.
Standing above him, with a face contorted in a mixture of fear and rage, stood his Uncle Vernon. It was a face of fear, and a face that Harry was frightened of, something which rarely happened anymore.
The object in his uncles hand was the cause of his true fear. The moment time had stopped the firelight was glinting off of the sharpened blade, darkening the nicks in it and making it look all the more ominous.
Harry'd watched it get sharpened earlier in the day. He'd also seen it used earlier, a huge showing that Vernon had made. Near the fire there were even a few pieces of wood that he's chopped. Aunt Petunia had talked about the show the night before; she had suggested it so Vernon seemed more manly. Harry didn't understand what that meant, to be manly. Vernon was a man wasn't he?
Only a few strides away, just next to the campfire, Aunt Petunia stood in an unusual silence. She wasn't even watching Harry or Vernon, her eyes were locked on a huge tree that was laying on the ground next to her. She hadn't uttered a single word since it had fallen a minute or two ago.
Unlike Vernon, who was yelling at the top of his lungs until everything had stopped just a moment ago. The tree that was she was staring at was one of the largest in the forest, so large that even standing she couldn't see the other side where Dudley stood.
Dudley, his cousin, was out of sight, but Harry could vividly imagine what he looked like. He'd have dropped his BB-gun, and was standing there, mouth agape staring at the tree very much like Petunia. He'd definitely pissed his pants when the tree fell. Soon he would be bawling and calling for Petunia.
Out further, all around in the darkness, were others. Harry didn't know any of them, they had come because Petunia had decided to make the camping trip a community event. The tree had disrupted several other campsites and everyone was gathering. They all would see it happen to Harry, the moment time continued they would see how much Vernon hated him. Had Petunia not been frightened so, or Vernon not enraged as he was, then maybe it would have been different.
Time jumped a moment ahead, and everything moved just slightly. Harry wondered if this was what it was like before you died, if the few second before it happened, you remembered it all. He wondered if it had ever been worth it, if living was worth living. He could only think of a single moment that he had ever enjoyed living and it had happened the day before. The one thing that stuck in his mind was her silver hair. He'd never seen silver hair before.
He remembered them talking about him coming along on this trip, the one Vernon had been dreading for weeks.
He'd just hidden in the closet only a few seconds before they came in. He was lucky they hadn't seen him, running from Dudley meant he went without dinner and that would be his third time this week.
Aunt Petunia looked disturbed and Harry cracked the door just a little to see what was going on. "He has to Vernon, I've already talked with three other sitters and they'll have nothing of it. Maybe we shouldn't have always spoken so down of him, everyone thinks he's far too much trouble to even think about sitting," she said, covering her face. "Arabella was the only sitter that would ever take him, she wasn't afraid of him at all. Why did she have to up-and-go to that convention all of the sudden? And without any warning whatsoever," she moaned.
Her thin eyes slowly checked the room, she was always watching everything, Harry had noticed that a long time ago. She did not however see Harry in the closet, he was careful to not move because she would see it. Her eyes dropped back to Vernon and Harry relaxed. "You know I don't want to take him, but we can't just leave him here."
His uncle, a large man, grunted and looked as if he were having a stomach ache. Then, his eyes lit up. "We could lock him in the closet while we're gone."
The thought of being stuck in the closet for a week didn't seem all that awful, it would only be a week and he could eat the food he'd nicked last week. It was still under the floorboard.
"No Vernon. What if he died!" Petunia looked around again. "He'd stink up the whole place and it'd take weeks to get it out."
The comment didn't bother Harry, he was used to far worse treatment. They hated him, he didn't know why but it was the truth. Ever since he could remember it was always about Dudley and never about him. He was almost five now and he had never had a birthday. He had gotten a total of three present the last Christmas, the first was a stick of gum from Dudley who told him to choke on it, the second was a toothbrush from his aunt and uncle because his was Dudley's old one and didn't have any more bristle to it, the last was the most caring thing they had ever done for him, they gave him a single coin and told him to go buy some candy with it when they were at the store.
"And that's not even what I'm worried about Vernon. Do you think he might do some... you know use…"
Harry placed his ear up to the door of the closet and tried to hear the last word, but couldn't. "He might just go and blow up the house while he's stuck here, you never know with him." He didn't know what he meant by that, he never touched anything he wasn't supposed to. Well, food sometimes, but only when they didn't let him eat for more than a day.
"You think he might?" Vernon asked dumbly.
Petunia nodded. "Well it's decided, we'll just have to take him with us. Dudderkins will be disappointed."
"He's a big boy, we'll just give him something new to play with and everything will be ok. We'll have to get a tarp for the boy to sleep on, do you think a sleeping bag too? Gwen might have another she can let us borrow," Vernon grunted.
Harry was glad to hear that, he didn't want to sleep out in the cold. He frowned suddenly and backed away from the door, scooting as far back into the shadows as possible. He always trusted his feelings and right now they were telling him to hide. He climbed into one of the coats at the end of the rack, using the pockets to support his feet. He was small enough that it wouldn't do any damage.
Moment later the door opened and Dudley's massive head peaked in the door. Harry didn't move at all, he wasn't going to allow the movement to catch Dudley's eye. Dudley scanned the floor and was about to step in when Petunia called to him. "What are you doing dear?"
Dudley hadn't seen him so he didn't say he was looking for Harry. They talked to Dudley about the camping trip, who of course made a fit. He wanted to go camping, he was the main reason they were going. He had begged last week, all his friends were going camping so he wanted to go. Harry didn't think Dudley would much like it though.
It seemed fitting that he died out here, only a day after he'd had the only happy moment he could ever remember. Harry thought about her, the girl with silver hair. He'd met her the day before and would probably never forget her.
He was playing by himself in the woods, up the creek were none of the adults would come and too far for most of the children to wander to. Dudley had broken his BB Gun, but now instead of shooting one BB, it shot three and they all hurt. So Harry had come here, were he could be alone and not have to deal with the others.
She'd come up, paying him no mind, invading his space in a place where she could have gone anywhere. Harry didn't even bother with her, he'd learned that just ignoring people got rid of half of them. He continued drawing, making shapes that he knew but had never seen, things that made him feel good. She didn't go away.
"What'cha doin'?" She asked after she had stood there silent for a long time.
Harry still ignored her, hoping she wouldn't get angry and stomp through all of his mud. She didn't seem to want to leave, but most of the time when he said things it made it all worse. The only other children he had ever met were Dudley's friends, and they only liked him because he was small and easy to pick on.
Finally, after another considerable length of silence she flopped down on the ground next to him, getting herself dirty and Harry too. They both laughed lightly. "Can I draw too?" she asked.
Her laugh, the simple friendliness, was completely new to Harry. So quietly he picked up one of the sticks he'd collected on the way and tossed it to her. He didn't say anything because he didn't understand her, she was different to him. He started on another drawing, with bigger symbols and she joined in and seemed to understand what he was drawing, helping him make them even more extravagant. He liked it.
"What's your name?" She asked after they had completed a few more sets of drawings.
Now that they had played together for a while Harry didn't feel as suspicious anymore. She seemed to be genuinely nice, something he'd never encountered. He looked at her, studying her as a five year old does. She had pretty silver hair, and real silver, not grey like old people. Her face had mud all over it and she had blue eyes, really dark blue eyes. He'd never seen hair like hers or eyes either. For a moment he stared but he caught himself, he didn't stare at people because that made them mad.
She smiled at him and he figured that he didn't mind telling her. "Harry."
That was all that was asked and they continued playing, laughing and throwing mud at each other when the symbols didn't turn out right. When it got dark the both hurried home, it was dark but neither was afraid. She walked away from him at her campsite, which was only three or four away from Harry's. When Harry neared his campsite he remembered that he didn't know her name. He hoped to see her again so he could ask her.
When he walked into the campground his Aunt and Uncle swooped down on him, furious that he was so late. Two or three of the other campers who knew Petunia had noticed that he had been gone all day and they mentioned it to Petunia who of course had to make a fuss about him. So, that night in his tent Harry didn't have a sleeping bag. It wasn't all that bad, but the ground was rocky and he didn't adjust to it well.
The next day he was stuck in his tent by Vernon's orders. Whenever someone said something about him Petunia told them he was sick in the tent. Harry could hear them outside. The tent was hot, thick green material that was not at all transparent. It made Harry so hot he had to take off most of his clothing.
Around mid-day the back of the tent opened up. It didn't have any sort of opening in it so Harry stared at it mystified as someone crawled in backwards.
"Harry?" The voice asked tentatively as the rear of the tent closed up.
The voice was her voice. He smiled as she turned around, her silver hair almost lighting up the darkness of the tent.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for you to get into trouble for playing with me," she said as she tucked something into her pocket.
As Harry stared at her disbelieving that of her blaming herself, she smiled at him. He didn't understand, it was always his fault, always.
While she stared she pulled some things from her pocket and offered them to him. One was a small pouch of sweet tasting liquid. Harry'd never tasted anything like it before and he gulped it down. Petunia and Vernon always saved sweet things for Dudley, he only got what Dudley didn't want. She offered him some small colorful objects too, and Harry took them also, eating them one at a time.
Some made him feel fuzzy inside, some made him dizzy. They all tasted wonderful and made him think he might just be dreaming. He had odd dreams sometimes, he saw things that weren't real places that couldn't be. He saw big lizards fly across the skies, and sometimes, sometimes he flew.
He didn't talk about his dreams, Petunia had not liked it when he did before.
"You want to play a game?"
Puzzled Harry looked up from his treats. What sort of game could they play in this tent? Harry didn't know anything that he could play. If petunia caught them playing she'd be furious. How had the girl gotten into the tent without them seeing? How had she got in at all?
Harry glanced over at the back of the tent where an opening had appeared, it wasn't there anymore, just a window flap that was sewed shut.
"Alright…" Harry said, unsure if he really wanted to. If she was caught she'd be in a lot of trouble and he'd probably never see her again, Petunia'd forbid it.
She smiled again. Harry wasn't used to someone smiling at him, at least not like that. "Good. My nanny showed me a mu… game that could be fun. No one would ever play with me, my dad doesn't think I should play child games. Do you have a flaslit?"
"Flashlight?" Harry asked her, getting confused.
She nodded vigorously and Harry dug through the piles of stuff that Petunia had left in the tent. Finally finding a flashlight he handed it to her. She flipped it in her hands, rolling it through her hands, looking at it confused. She pushed against the lens and then against the bottom. Eventually she held it up and said something aloud, something Harry had never heard before. Nothing happened and she handed it back to Harry. "Turn it on."
Puzzled Harry took it away and clicked the switch to turn it on.
When he handed it back to her she looked at Harry then to the light. She flicked the switch and the light went off and then she moved her fingers and it came back on again. After giggling for a second she propped the light up so it shined against the side of the tent. She reached her hands into the beam of light and suddenly the side of the tent looked like a bird. Harry laughed lightly.
A few moments the shadow turned into a dog. "Pretty," Harry told her.
"You try," she said, grabbing his hands and pushed them in front of the light. Harry tried to make an animal with his hands, but it just looked like hands. "No," she shook her head, "make it up in your head and pretend that your hands look like them. Watch," her hands entered the light again and they moved around. The side of the tent showed a person walking. It was strange, Harry couldn't see her hands at all, it didn't look like it was there in the shadows.
Harry put his hands back in the light and looked up at the shadows. "No, don't look at what you're making, imagine it. Nanny said it doesn't work unless you imagine it hard."
For several long minutes Harry closed his eyes and imagined animals, trying to get something to work. Nothing seemed to work, she had said nothing. "I can't… I just don't know…"
"Look," she whispered to him in awe as he opened his eyes.
Across the tent was a herd of horses running through the light and into the shadows.
The horses finished running across the light and his hands appeared again in the shadows.
"Watch this," she said, reaching her hands in and manipulating them. Harry watched as a horse appeared, a very odd horse. It had a horn coming out of the top of its head. Harry stared at it, wondering what it was he was looking at, what she was making pictures of.
He didn't have to ask, she volunteered the information. "It's a unicorn."
"A what?" He asked, staring at it.
"A unicorn, haven't you ever heard of a unicorn? It's like a horse, a white horse, with a horn on its head."
The horse changed, loosing a horn and gaining wings.
"What's that?" Harry asked, feeling uncomfortable, Petunia hated things like this. He'd mentioned strange animals before and she had slapped him and told him never to talk about them.
"A Pegasus. It's like a horse with wings. Father has one."
"There's no such thing. Horses can't have wings, or horns." Harry replied, scared.
"Can too. I got to ride it once," She said happily, but added sadly, "but I almost fell off."
Harry shook his head but didn't say anything else, he wouldn't ever mention them, even if they were real.
Someone neared the tent and Harry looked over, fearful. If he were to get caught with this girl he'd be in a lot of trouble.
"You need to go," he whispered to her. "We'll both get in trouble if you're caught here."
"Tomorrow?" she asked tentatively.
Harry nodded, "if I can. Same place as before, in the forest."
When nightfall came he was allowed out because he had to use the restroom. He was informed however that he would not be able to eat dinner. So Harry wandered off and didn't plan on coming back anytime soon.
Dudley followed him however and Harry found himself pelted with bb's from Dudley's gun. Harry had several strike his face before he could get away, they stung and even cut him. He ran back to the campgrounds and his as best as possible without crying so Dudley couldn't hear him. It didn't work however because Dudley had not run all day and so he wasn't worn out, he had been able to keep up with Harry enough to see where he hid before he ran out of breath.
When Dudley was a few feet away he raised the gun and Harry cringed, waiting for the tiny missiles to strike him.
Somewhere nearby there was a tremendous popping sound, the sort that an old root made in the fire, but ten times louder. Harry looked up and Dudley was looking away, Harry scampered off a few feet but turned to see what Dudley was looking at. A huge tree at the edge of there campground swayed, and then fell between Harry and Dudley.
Then Petunia had screamed and Vernon, welding his ax because he had just finished showing some one how to chop wood, came running.
Time became normal again. At first the ax moved a little, coming down towards Harry. Then the wind blew past him. Harry's eyes flirted between Vernon, looking to the trees.
Was she there? Would she see this? Would she care? Would she remember him? None of that mattered really, but Harry did have one question. What was her name? He closed his eyes and waited.
Harry wished he was in the forest again, where it was quiet and peaceful, where people wouldn't bother him. His whole body tingled and he thought it was time for him, he would be dieing soon.
When he opened his eyes he was scared.
It was all different. Vernon with his ominous ax and his anger were gone.
No light. No more crackling of the fire.
No one. No more soft whispering from those who were beyond the range of the fire.
No sound. No more birds fluttering through the trees, no more crickets in the darker areas of the campground. No more frogs with their soft croaking.
Nothing. It was all gone.
The trees were different. Larger, older, they seemed to hang gloomily. The feeling was all different too. Harry shivered.