Title: Patchwork Quilt
Author: Devonny Rose
Author's Notes: Okay, okay. Let's get a couple of things out of the way first. 1) Yes, I started a new story. Please don't throw tomatoes at me! It really did start out as me trying to write another chapter for DDNT, but I got hit by a plot ... tomato ... and this story appeared. I wasn't going to post it, but Xirb made me! So, any complaints do directly to Xirleb70. 2) I can't guarentee when this story will be updated. It'll just be when I have time or when more flying fruit come my way. 3) DISCLAIMER: I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, I would keep him in a box under my bed. Also, I don't own the title. Xirbs thought it up after she made me post this and we realized it had no title. She only knows what happened in the first chapter, but strangley enough, the title works. Go figure.
So, without any more ado, the story!
On the 31 of October, 1986, a young man fell from the sky and landed with a thump on the edge of the forest next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Said young man, being of confused mind and now bruised body, stood up and surveyed his surroundings. His emerald eyes widen in recognition and he brushed the dirt off his deep blue outer robe.
The young man's name was Harry Potter, known as the Boy Who Lived by the majority of the wizarding world, as Harry by his closest friends, and occasionally as "Hey, you!"
Harry sighed and started the long walk up to castle, an uneasy feeling settling into his stomach. Something weird is going on, he thought.
He didn't know how right he was.
Thirty minutes prior, 18 August, 1996
"Morning, Tom!" Harry said cheerfully, maneuvering his way through the empty table and chairs and up to the bar.
The inn keeper wasn't as happy to see him. "Harry, did you sneak out again?"
Harry put a hand to his chest in mock pain. "That hurts, Tom! How can you think so low of me?"
"Alright, I snuck out again." Tom groaned. "But I had to! I couldn't stand being there for another minute." His face darkened. "I can't be in his house when he's not there anymore ..." Harry trailed off. "Please, don't tell Dumble."
"I won't," he said reluctantly, then added, "You know he hates it when you call him that."
"That's why I do it," he replied cheekily.
Tom repressed a grin. He had raised two children of his own and had seen all the different phases before adulthood. It was hard to believe that the little baby that had defeated the Dark Lord was now the rebellious teen that stood in the Leaky Cauldron. But there Harry stood – earring and all – annoying the hell out of the authority figures in his life.
The fact that the main authority figure was the most powerful wizard in the world just made it all the more incredulous.
"I like the hair today, Harry," Tom commented as the boy slid onto one of the stools around the bar.
"It's nice, isn't it?" Harry played with one of the short, blue-tipped locks. "Tonks taught me yesterday."
"Your Metamorphmagis training coming along well?"
"It's okay. I can change my hair, height, eyes, and look!" He ran a hand along the skin of his unblemished forehead. "No scar!"
"That's very good."
Harry grinned to himself. He was very pleased with his progress as a Metamorphmagis.
It had been at the beginning of July that Tonks had Apparated into his bedroom, demanding to know why he hadn't told her of the time he grew his hair back. It wasn't until she informed him that tricks like that were manifestations of Metamorphmagic that he understood why she was so worked- up about it.
And after weeks of practice, he was finally getting it down to a science. His favorite trick was changing his hair. Remus had pointed out to him that, when the trademark messy black mane was gone, Harry looked more like his mother's son.
It wasn't that Harry didn't want to look like his father. Oh no, he loved his dad. It's was just, after Snape's Pensieve, he had lost a bit of respect for the man.
"How are things with you, Harry?" Tom asked, interrupting the boy's inner musings.
"Okay, I guess."
"I don't like that tone. What's happened?"
"Me and Hermione and Ron aren't getting along great."
Harry's eyes flashed as he remembered the day he had arrived at Grimmauld place.
The day of Sirius' funeral.
25 July, 1996
"Hermione!" Harry called out, spotting his friend in the library. "I've been looking all over for you. I –"He stopped at the closed look on Hermione's face.
"Harry, we need to talk." She shut the door and motioned for him to sit down at one of the tables.
He complied, saying, "About what? What's going on? I haven't heard from Ron or you all summer. I've been worried sick!"
"Now you know how we feel!" she bit out suddenly. Harry recoiled.
"What? Hermione –"
"We can't keep doing this, Harry."
"Waiting for you to come back from whatever mess you had gotten yourself into, not knowing if you were alive or dead. Getting dragged into the middle of a war that doesn't involve us. We want to have normal life, Harry, and we can't have it by being your friend!"
Harry sat, shocked, in his chair. But Hermione wasn't done.
"I'm sick and tired of only being known as Harry Potter's best friend. I tired of being targeted because of you! I'm sorry, but I can't live like this."
"This – this is how you both feel?" he croaked out.
Harry felt his temper flaring. "What, was Ron to afraid to come and talk to me himself?"
"Don't be like that, Harry."
"I thought you two were my friends! How can abandon me when I need you the most!"
"What about what I need! I don't want to die because of you! I'm not going to end up like Sirius or your parents!" The air in the room turned icy.
"How – How – could you – say that." He gave her a cold glare.
"Harry, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that the way it came out."
"Get away from."
"No. Get out. Isn't this what you wanted?"
"Yes, but not like this. I –"
But Harry cut her off once more. "Get. Out," he growled.
He sank down in the chair, burying his face in his hands, as the door to the library slammed shut.
Harry shook himself out of the memories and gave Tom a strained smile. "It's nothing. I don't really want to talk about it."
"If you're sure, but you know you can talk to me if you really need to, right?" Harry smiled at the man's concerned look. Tom's advice had become invaluable to him over the past couple of weeks, as it was coming from one of the only people who didn't think of him as the Boy Who Lived or the son of Lily and James Potter.
"Thanks. But it really isn't a big deal. I've been hanging out a lot more with Red now." At seeing Tom's confused face, Harry elaborated. "Ginny. She's great. Whacks me across the head every time I say something self- depreciating." Tom chuckled.
"That's just the kind of person you need in your life. A teenager like you needs someone to beat some sense into you." Tom saw Harry' wince and immediately realized he erred. "Sorry. I didn't mean that to come out the way it sounded."
Tom watched as the boy absentmindedly rubbed the scar on his collar-bone. The inn-keeper was filled with anger whenever he saw that mark. How could they do that to their own flesh and blood?!? Especially such a good kid like Harry!
The poor thing had turned up in his pub a few weeks earlier, bloody and battered. Tom has taken him up to one of the rooms and treated some of the cuts, but Harry had strongly refused to go to St. Mungo's ...
20 July, 1996
"Harry, I don't understand why you won't just see a Healer!" Tom pleaded. "And we have to warn the DMLE! If there was a Death Eater attack –"
"It wasn't any Death Eaters," Harry said quietly.
"Then who?" Tom's eyes widened in realization and he sat down on the bed. "That why you ran way in your third - How long has this been going on?"
Harry shrugged. "As long as I can remember." Tom's fists clenched and he added, "It hasn't been this bad since before I got my Hogwarts' letter."
Tom took a deep breath and stood up. "I should contact Dumbledore –"
"No! Please don't!" There was a wild, panicked look in his eyes.
"What - ?"
"Please, just don't get him. No, please. He'll send me back there. I don't want to go back."
"Harry, calm down. There's no way he'd send you back to an abusive family."
"He's done it before." Tom looked taken aback. "Just, don't tell him I'm here."
So, for following few days, Harry Potter had recovered and hidden at the Leaky Cauldron while rumors swept the world of his disappearance.
"I heard he was captured by You-Know-Who!"
"I heard he's gone of to train for the defeat of the Dark Lord!"
"I heard he murdered someone and is now on the run from the Ministry!"
Tom chuckled when he heard that last one. Guess I'm aiding and abetting a fugitive.
On the 23, Tom went upstairs to ask Harry what he wanted to do next.
"You can't go back to your relatives," Tom said. "And I'll make sure you don't have to." Harry smiled gratefully. "But you can't stay here much longer. Someone is bound to discover you before long. I know the Order is worried sick about you and they are looking everywhere."
"Wait, you know about the Order?"
"I'm a member, Harry. Someone has to keep an ear out in the Alley." Then he gave Harry a long look. "I really shouldn't be doing this, but I'll let you stay a few more days. If you contact someone from the Order and let them know you're alright."
"Sounds good to me."
The next day, Bill Weasley and Nymphadora Tonks showed up in the pub.
"What did you call us here for?" Bill asked as they climbed the stairs. "You said it was urgent?"
"Yeah, got us all tingly with anticipation," Tonks teased. They stopped outside of room 314.
"Be quiet, he's been through quite an ordeal and I think he's sleeping." As Tom pushed open the door, Tonk's shrieked,
"What's he doing here?"
After Tom was finished explaining, Tonks had tears streaking her face and Bill had a look of steel in his eye. It was then that Harry decided to awaken.
"Bill? Dora?" Tonks was so happy to see him that she let the name slide and jumped on top of him. Harry winced at her hug and she pulled away.
"Oh! I'm sorry! I forgot! I'm –"
"No, no. It's okay, Dora. I'm fine. Really."
Tom pulled Bill aside as Harry and Tonks talked. "He doesn't want to go back to Headquarters just yet. But keeping him cooped up like this isn't doing him much good. I was hoping you two could take him somewhere. He needs a little fun."
A slow smirk spread across Bill's face. "Fun, huh?" He turned to Harry." Hey, kiddo, get dressed."
"Why?" he asked, warily.
"We're going shopping."
18 August, 1996
"What are you thinking about, Tom?" Harry asked, trying to get the man's attention.
Tom snapped back to reality and smiled. "The day Mr. Weasley and Miss Tonks came to visit."
Harry laughed. "That was a great day." He pulled on the small hoop clasped to his ear.
23 August, 1996
Harry inwardly groaned. Note to self: Never go shopping with Nymphadora Tonks again.
It had been a long day, Tonks dragging him from store to store, forcing him to try on what had to be every article of clothing under the sun. But, Harry had to admit to himself, it was fun.
"So, we still have a couple of hours left," said Bill as they strolled down the bustling street. "Where to?"
Harry scanned the sides of the road, looking for interesting shops, when his eyes fell upon the sign, 'Tony's Tattoos and Piercings'. He looked over at Bill, who fang earring was glinting in the sun.
"Hey, Bill," he said mischievously. "How much did that piercing hurt?"
"I can't believe you let them do that to you," Tom said, shaking his head.
"Why? What's wrong with an earring?" asked Bill, trying to sound offended, but failing miserably. They laughed. "Well, we better be getting back. Everyone's going to be relieved that Harry's okay."
"Especially Remus," added Tonks. Harry cringed.
"How is he doing?" he asked softly.
"As well as can be expected. He'll be glad to know that you are safe."
"Could you tell him that I'm sorry for worrying him and that I hope to see him soon?"
"Of course." She saluted. "If there anything else we can do for you, Captain Harry?"
"As a matter of fact ... "He leaned over to his trunk and rummaged through it. "Could you give this to Professor Snape?" Tonks raised an eyebrow, but just nodded and didn't comment.
"Well, see you soon, Harry."
Dear Professor Snape,
I know that I am the last person you expected or wanted to hear from over the break. But there are a few things I needed to clear up with you.
First of all, I wish to apologize. I shouldn't have looked into your Pensieve. I know how violating it is to have your thoughts invaded like that, Voldemort did it to me all last year. The only excuse for my behavior that I can offer is that I was hoping to find what you were hiding about the Department of Mysteries in there, but I know that's not enough. So once again, I'm sorry.
I also apologize for what I saw. My father and Sirius had no right to do that to you. I'm sorry they were such arrogant berks and I want you to know that I understand what you went through. My cousin use to pick on me before I found out I was a wizard.
If it's any consolation, the last conversation I ever had with Sirius, I scolded him for what he did to you. I guess it was a kind of poetic justice.
Which brings me to my last topic. I apologize for blaming you for Sirius' death. It wasn't your fault. It was mine for not taking Occulmency seriously and for going to the Department of Mysteries. It was Sirius' fault for not staying at Grimmauld place. It's Dumbledore's fault for not telling me why I was getting those visions. It was Bellatrix's fault because she cast the final curse. And it was Voldemort's fault because ... well, I don't have to explain that last one. But it wasn't your fault at all. I'm sorry for taking my anger out on you.
I'll understand completely if you never even read this letter, burning it as soon as you realize who it's from.
18 August, 1996
"Anyway, Harry –"Tom never got a chance to finish his sentence. Harry's body had gone rigid, his eyes rolling back into his head. "Harry!"
And, with that, Harry Potter disappeared.