Blind Faith

Chapter 1

One of the things I miss most is the sight of a genuine smile. It's not like my family never did, they just tended to only smile only at each other. My memories of them are so different from the descriptions of a true smile that I've heard. There was never the openness or even true happiness behind them, just some private joke that my family all seemed to share at my expense. It was only after the accident that my aunt began to show me any kind of true affection, but of course by then it was far too late.

From the private journal of Harry Potter

"Harry . . . Harry Potter, get up this instant!" The high-pitched nasal voice woke the young boy in question from a sound sleep. Sitting up on the side of the bed the lad scratched his head and basked in the feeling of the sunlight pouring into his room that morning. Cloudless days were a rare thing in Surrey and the boy was determined to get outside and enjoy some of it. Doing so would require that he finish his chores, which could only happen if he got out of bed. With a weary sigh, Harry put on his slippers, his housecoat, and the dark glasses he used to cover his eyes, then shuffled out of his bedroom in search of his aunt.

Hearing activity coming from his cousin's room, Harry went in and was immediately put to work by Petunia. He pulled Dudley onto his side with little effort so that Petunia could wash her son's back. Holding Dudley's shoulder, Harry thought he could feel every contour of the bone where it pressed up against the skin. Dudley's muscles had wasted away over the last six and a half years, and it was only the constant attention of Harry and his aunt that kept sores from breaking out where bone rubbed against the skin. The cleaning and dressing of Dudley had become a morning ritual in the house. Harry found it harder and harder as time went by to remember what his cousin had been like before the accident that had killed Uncle Vernon and taken his own sight.

It had been one of the few trips where they'd actually taken him along. Mrs Figg was off visiting her sister and they dared not leave him alone for fear he'd say something freakish to the neighbors. Strapped securely into the back seat of the car, not for his safety but to keep him out of everyone's hair for the trip, Harry had been the luckiest, initially, when it happened. Dudley, he remembered, had been especially loud and obnoxious that day, pulling on his father's hair and slapping the back of his neck , demanding that they stop for food. It was while Harry was staring out the window, trying to tune out his cousin's voice that it happened.

There'd been no warning of the impending crash except a muffled curse from Vernon. The beefy man jerked his wheel to one side a the same moment Harry had felt and heard horrific thud of two vehicles colliding nearly head-on. Three years of living with the Dursleys had trained Harry well and helped prevent any injuries as the car went off the road. Harry was bent over double with his arms pulled tightly to his chest. The car had spun around and then rolled down an embankment before coming to rest, upended beside a large tree.

When he'd come to his senses, Harry realized that they were in danger and got free from his restraints. Looking about, he found Dudley had been thrown into the front of the car, likely when they'd had the head-on. Knowing that he couldn't move the heavy boy, Harry he grabbed Petunia, as she was easily the lightest of his three relatives, and began pulling on her with all his might, pleading that she wake up and help him as he dragged her out the shattered back window of the car. He'd just gotten her clear when Petunia Groggily opened her eyes then began screaming hysterically. Not knowing what else to do, and having seen it done on the telly, Harry slapped her across the face as hard as he could. As much to his surprise as hers, Petunia stopped her screaming and stared at him with wide eyes.

"They're still in there, Aunt Petunia.! You've got to help me get them out!"

Both their gazes were turned back to the car where smoke had begun to fill the interior. Galvanized into action by the impending danger to her family, Petunia raced back with Harry, and between them they pulled Dudley out of the window and to a safe distance away. Taking a moment to look at his cousin Harry, was shocked and a little sickened.

Dudley's face and hair was caked with blood; there was a spot on his skull as well that looked to have been flattened by the impact against the windshield. Dudley's normally mean face was slack and though he was deathly pale but, he was still breathing, much to Harry's relief. Pulling on Petunia's shoulder he tried to get her to come help with Vernon but she refused to leave her son's side.

Seeing that the first signs of fire were showing themselves around the engine, Harry ran back to get his uncle. Vernon was trapped not only by his restraints, but by the steering wheel as well, it looked to have been shoved forcefully against the big man's chest and wouldn't budge. Being four years old, Harry knew he had little chance of moving the overly-large man, so he began shaking him as violently as he could and screaming in his ear to wake up. The air inside the car was becoming stifling; between the smoke and heat, Harry could barely breathe.

Harry had just about given up when his uncle finally coughed and opened his eyes. "P. . . Petunia - Dudley?" the dazed man asked him as he came back to full consciousness.

Continuing to pull on his uncle's arm Harry answered, "They're outside, Uncle Vernon… the car's on fire.! We need to get out of here!"

Harry and Vernon both fought with the steering wheel, trying to find some way to free him, but he was too well lodged. Flames had begun to seep through the floorboard around Vernon's legs, and he grabbed Harry by the shirt. "Get me out! Get me out!"

Harry had continued pulling as his uncle's panic spread to him. The car was getting incredibly hot and Vernon had a crazed look in his eyes. It was then that Harry realized that he was likely going to burn up in the car with uncle. There was a series of loud snaps coming from the engine compartment and All Harry could think of was how much he wanted to be out of that car when the world exploded.

The first thing Harry noticed when he woke was how much everything hurt. He tried to moan or call for help, but there was something in his mouth, some kind of tube. There were people around him too, talking quickly, using words he really didn't understand. He could hear people whispering in the room about burns and irreparable damage but couldn't make it out clearly at the time. Somebody must have noticed he'd wakened, there was a muffled curse and then a warm feeling floated up his arm. Moments later, Harry drifted back off to sleep.

The next time Harry woke, he thought it must be night. Everything was dark and quiet. The tube had gone from his throat, but a raw ache remained to remind him it had been there. The pain was still there, duller, but Harry knew better than to complain. He didn't know what could have woken him up when he sensed more than heard two figures at his bedside.

"Really, Albus," said a prim but feminine voice to one side. " He needs to come back to Hogwarts with us, or St Mungo's at least. His eyes are damaged all the way back to the nerves. It would take months of intensive spell therapy to regrow them. If he stays with the muggles, he may never see again."

"I understand Poppy," said another voice, this one of a very old and sad man. "More than you know depends on Harry's recovery. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be safe there. I failed Harry and his parents three years ago, trying to protect them, I wont Fail him again." As the old man spoke, Harry heard an odd popping sound in the room. Just after, another voice, this one also male, but sounded almost angry.

"Alright, Albus, what could be so important that you'd drag me out of bed to make . . . God!" The voice had arrived just beside the bed and its owner must have been looking down at him. Harry knew something about the way they were acting should worry him, but it all seemed like some fuzzy dream. "Albus, who is this child? What happened?"

"Shush, Severus, this is a hospital!" admonished said the first voice. "This is Harry Potter. According to his aunt, he was badly burned as he tried to pull his uncle out of their wrecked vehicle. The pain of his injuries must have forced some accidental magic and in the end, he did apparate himself and his uncle away from the car. Unfortunately, Vernon Dursley didn't survive his other injuries. Have you brought the potions I asked for?"

"Yes . . yes, of course, here it is. He'll need to be dosed daily for at least a week, but there should be minimal scarring."

Ignoring the pain, the boy turned his head to try and follow the conversation between the two unseen men. Sucking in a ragged breath, he asked in a raspy voice, "W…W. . . . who?"

"Relax, my boy. I and my companions are physicians. We have some medicine that should make you feel better." With that, the old man helped Harry sit a little straighter as his companion slowly fed him the potion. Within moments of finishing it, Harry had fallen back asleep.

The three stood mutely for several moments, looking down on the boy's ravaged body mutely for several moments before the Potions Master spoke up.

"He'll need several more doses of the potion for the healing to be complete. I'll begin brewing them immediately and come back each night to dose him."

"Thank you, Severus," the older man said Dumbledore wearily. "Unfortunately, this bodes ill more than for just Harry. Injured as he is, he will never be able to stand against Voldemort. Do what you can for him and I'll have Poppy come by again with you tomorrow night to see how he's progressing. Still, I fear that we may have to rethink the meaning of the prophecy."

With a last word of farewell, Dumbledore and Poppy Apparated away, leaving Snape standing over the injured boy's bed. Even asleep, it was obvious Harry was in pain but, knowing that the muggles had used their barbaric concoctions on him, it would be dangerous to give him anything further. Heaving a final sigh, the Potions- Master vanished as well, leaving the room looking as if he'd never even been there.

Back in the present, Harry and Petunia had finished bathing Dudley and changing his bedclothes. It hurt Petunia, Harry knew, to see her son this way, but at least Dudley was alive and maybe someday he would wake up. After they finished dressing him, Petunia cranked the head of the ancient hospital bed up so that Dudley could be kept company by the telly and they went downstairs to prepare breakfast.

Harry moved through the house as quickly as any sighted person. After the accident, one of his doctors had sat down with him and his Aunt Petunia to explain that his eyes had been badly damaged and that it was unlikely he'd be able to see again. For the most part, the doctor had been right; Harry lived in a world of darkness. When he was healthy enough, a member of the Ministry of Health had come with an application form to enroll him in a school for the blind. On top of his regular class work at school, he learned many techniques that made his life easier, including how to read Braille, how to use a cane, and the best way to organize his home environment.

Harry was an intelligent child and excelled in his studies at the school for the blind. He threw himself into his lessons, learning to use his remaining senses to make up for his lack of sight. Angela, the woman from the Ministry of Health, came to see Harry on a regular basis and supplied all sorts of materials to stimulate his will to learn. From her, he had received his first Braille cookbook. Cooking was one of Harry's great joys. Every spice and ingredient in the kitchen had its place, and he knew them all. The boy also found that cooking was easier since he'd started seeing the sparks.

It happened first when he was about eight or nine. Aunt Petunia had been in one of her moods that day because Dudley had been sick again and she feared he would catch pneumonia. They had been downstairs preparing a meal, and she was being nastier than she had ever been with the Harry. It all came to a head when Harry, holding Dudley's tray, had turned and ran into her. His cousin's food and medication flew in all directions while Harry himself was knocked to the floor. He had just sat up when a stinging blow across the face knocked landed him back on the tile.

Harry came quickly back to his senses as bright lights seemed to flash in front of him. As they faded back into his familiar blackness, he sat up and turned his head in the direction of his aunt's hysterical sobs. The boy froze in shock at the sight before him. He could see his aunt. It wasn't normal sight, not like he remembered. This reminded him of one time when his uncle had been burning some papers in a barrel out back and had stirred the ashes. A cloud of sparks had risen, swirling off into the distance. He was seeing the same swirling sparks again except they were all different colors and held themselves inside the black silhouette of his aunt's form.

Harry didn't mention it to Aunt Petunia, as so many things seemed to upset her anymore, but he practiced and learned how to use this new sight. He found that it was like a different eye inside his head that looked in all directions at once. He had to concentrate on it to see anything, and when he did it wasn't for very far, but it was sight after a fashion. The sparks only seemed to come from living things for the most part, though there was a box in the attic that had so many sparks in it that it nearly looked solid. He also learned that the colour of the sparks had meaning. His aunt's emotions and even his cousin's health were obvious to him just by focusing on them. Harry now also knew that if he concentrated on his own sparks he could make them glow brightly and cast shadows across everything around him, giving a vague outline to his surroundings.

It was just that particular ability he was using to prepare his cousin's breakfast that morning when they heard someone ring the bell and something falling through the mail slot.

"Go get the mail, Harry,. I'll take care of the eggs." Aunt Petunia sidled up beside him, took the spatula from his hands, and shooed him toward the front door. Just as he arrived by the mail slot, it opened again and out fell another letter –one that Harry could actually see. The whole letter glowed just like the box upstairs, and on one side was a big wax seal with a large capital H. on it. Gathering up all the mail, he took them into the kitchen and laid them all on the table except the glowing one.

"Aunt Petunia," the boy said, "I think this letter may be for me Could you read it?" His aunt took the letter and there was a long pregnant pause where Harry watched his aunt's sparks turn violet and green with agitation and fear

"It's nothing, just and advert for some silly skin cream." His aunt put an end to any more questions as she folded the note and buried it deep in the pocket of her apron. Harry didn't know what was in that letter, but he was determined to find out.