Disclaimer: See past disclaimers.
Q&A: Check out the link for my website on my author's page to get to my live journal, which will have answers to questions.
I'll be honest, I wasn't planning on posting this for a LONG time, but I also didn't want it sitting on my computer without having been posted either. Hopefully my posting this will encourage myself to update more often.
It was difficult and it had taken her hours, but she had finally gotten the full story out of Jamie Black…no…Harry Potter. She had, of course, found the books in his bag when deciding to do his laundry and found more clothing in the bag. She had gotten curious and had taken what looked to be the first of the series and read it the whole way through. She had recognized the name Sirius Black as Jamie's father's and the description of the main character, Harry Potter, as one matching the little boy that had spent the night in her guest bedroom.
When she had finished the book in several hours, she had turned through the first pages and found the copyright date to be 1997. It was impossible for that to be true, especially as this year was only 1989. The next morning, she had questioned Jamie, and he told her the truth. He had even shown her a bit of magic. To say that the whole matter surprised her would be an understatement. She was dumbstruck. She could not help but believe it, not after seeing his magic.
"You're not going to have me go back to the Dursleys, are you?"
"NO! Absolutely not! People shoving children into cupboards to sleep, and starving them for accidents or misunderstandings…I would never forgive myself if I allowed you to go back there Jamie…Harry."
"Jamie…It's better that way." She nodded.
"I'll be honest. I cannot say that I do know what to do. I cannot allow you to continue living on the streets…but if you live with me, there are many legal matters that need to be attended to. If someone were to find out, both of us could be in heaps of trouble." Harry nodded glumly.
"Does that mean you're going to take me to an orphanage?" Suzanne Newton looked pensively at her young friend. It was one option that was open, but she feared what would happen then. They would likely find out who he really was once people realized he was missing and started searching for him, especially if he was famous, if only in a wizarding world. Would he be sent to the Dursleys after that?
No. Right now, she saw no reason for him to not stay with her, at least for a few days. She gave him a reassuring smile. "You are welcome to use the guest bedroom for the next few weeks until I figure out something. I will do my best to avoid an orphanage, alright?" He gave her a small smile.
"Thank you, Mrs. Newton."
"I wouldn't turn you away, Jamie. Never think that. I would never turn any child away. I just can't believe that magic is real!" Harry grinned shyly. He couldn't believe he actually told someone about it, and they didn't mind! Of course, she had figured out something was up after she had read the first book. Who wouldn't have been shocked at the news? Something then occurred to him.
"You can't tell anyone!"
"Of course not, Jamie. Who would believe me? Why I would get sent off to the men in white jackets faster than you could say magic!" She gave him a small smile. She then looked around the room. "Well, I suppose we'll have to figure out something about your schooling and whatnot. Right now, though, you need to rest. You're too ill for my liking. Would you mind if I read the other books?" Harry shook his head. He figured there was no harm in having her read them.
"Good. I'd like to learn more about this world that you're supposed to be a part of." Her smiling face then took on a bit of seriousness. "There are going to be a few rules should you stay here, though. I won't tolerate anymore lying from those lips of yours."
Harry opened his mouth to protest, and she held up a hand to silence him. "Understand this, Harry James. You lied in order to protect yourself, but I know the truth now and I won't tolerate anymore of it. Also, I don't know how you've survived so long and so easily these past months, but if you need something, then you will tell me. I do hope you haven't taken anything that never belonged to you in the first place."
Harry looked guilty and her face turned stern. "It was money from my aunt and uncle. A couple hundred pounds, but the last bit of it was stolen from me. Nothing else, though. I just used it to buy food. I'm sorry."
"Well, you'll just have to find a way to return it, won't you? Perhaps a few chores that I can have you do will help. I'll give you a few pounds every time you do me a service, and when you've made enough, we'll send it off to your aunt and uncle."
"And why not? I understand that they did you a great disservice, Jamie, but two wrongs do not make a right. Stand on the higher ground and be the better man. I understand that you took it out of a necessity, but that necessity isn't there anymore, especially if I can help it. It's time to return what belongs to them. Do you understand?"
"Good. Now, is there anything else that I should know?"
"No. That was all. I'm sorry, Mrs. Newton."
"Why are you apologizing to me, Jamie?"
"I wish that I hadn't, and you're disappointed in me," he whispered. He was nothing if not upset. He had never disappointed anyone before, not to his recollection.
Her face softened and she kissed his forehead. "Jamie, you have nothing to worry about. I may be disappointed, but I do understand. Now, try to sleep and do not worry so. I want you to get better quickly, you hear?"
Harry nodded and smiled at the fact that she wasn't going to turn him away because of his lying and stealing.
"Thank you, Mrs. Newton."
"Zanne, Jamie. My friends call me Zanne. I hardly think that with you living here with me, no matter how long or short that may be, should you call me missus anything." The nickname was a shortened version of Suzanne, which she rather liked.
"Zanne," Harry whispered, trying it on his tongue.
"Have a good rest, Jamie."
A few days later, Harry was up and well and at the library with Mrs. Ne-...err, Zanne. He was running little errands for her throughout the library. Zanne had taught him how to find where a book goes according to its catalogue number so that he could put the books back in the right place. It was after school hours, but he had been in the library since nine that morning. Zanne was not about to allow him to go without an education, so she had set him to work on some tasks, such as math problems and reading. The reading wasn't like before, though. She had him reading history and science books, which she quizzed him on after he would finish a chapter. He did this behind the desk, which she was running. Whenever someone asked who he was, she would answer that he was called Jamie Black, her new charge, and that he was being home schooled by her for the time being until he got set up under a proper system. None of that was really a lie, either. He was called Jamie, it just wasn't his name, and he really was her new charge, just not in the legal sense, and she really was trying to figure out how to get him proper schooling. Since visitors didn't really know her too well, they didn't question it. Those who did simply thought that he was a foster child or a child from her church and that Suzanne Newton was the kindhearted Christian woman that they knew her to be and was playing good Samaritan to a child in need. They had no idea that she wasn't just playing at being a Christian, but she really did feel the kindness and love in her heart and the need to help the little boy. Her faith only furthered that and helped to ground what she knew was right.
The head librarian, a young man in his late twenties, didn't mind that Harry sat behind the desk, either. He especially didn't mind when he realized that there was an extra set of hands that was willing to help out for an hour or two, with either putting books away or licking envelopes that had late notices for the patrons of the library. The man's name was Ethan Myers, and he was rather easy going, if not a tad obsessed with books.
Right now, Harry was heading back to the desk where Zanne was reading the fifth book of his, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was almost finished, too, if one were to judge by the tears on her cheeks. Harry figured that it had to be the end, especially as that was the most sad part of the book. Why else would she cry?
As he approached her, she practically dragged him close to her and held him there. He didn't mind especially, though it was a tad closer than he was used to. "We're not going to allow this to happen," she stated.
"But you said we can't change the future."
"When did I...oh. I thought you said it came from one of your comic books."
Harry sheepishly smiled. "I wasn't supposed to tell you about magic."
She nodded, though not really pleased with finding another untruth revealed from Harry, yet pleased that it was revealed all the same.
"Zanne? Are we allowed to change it?"
She watched him as he looked at her intently. "Jamie, I am a firm believer that if you aren't supposed to know something, especially of this nature, then God will not permit for you to know. Someone wanted you to know what is in these books, possibly so you can change the events. I cannot pretend to know why. As I see it, you were only given one of the possibilities for the future in these books. They were given to you for a reason. If it was your future for certain, I doubt it would be in the guise of children's books for you to see and know. Were you not supposed to change anything, you would have never gained these books in the first place. Do you understand?"
"I think so."
"You're an intelligent boy. I imagine that you do understand." She gave a little sniff and then noticed someone approaching the desk, so she gave a gentle push to Harry. "Go on, find something to do. I have work to accomplish."
"Yes ma'am," he grinned. He walked off to an area of the library that was on the top floor. It was where he usually holed up and there was a view of the outdoors. A balcony was supposed to be outside those windows, but it wasn't in use. It hadn't been for a good many years. As Harry looked out that window, he saw someone he hadn't seen in several months, since that time in the alley, Fawkes. Harry grinned as the majestic bird disappeared in flames and reappeared again in the library. Hardly anyone ever came into this back corner, so chances of them seeing Fawkes were slim. Even then, Harry felt that Fawkes wouldn't take the unnecessary risk of allowing a muggle to see him.
"Hello, Fawkes." Harry reached out to smooth the bird's feathers. For some reason, he felt that he owed the bird for some reason, and not just for allowing him to stay under the radar of Albus Dumbledore, however good the man was. And the man had to be good, for such a light creature as a phoenix to be a companion and friend to the man. There was a bigger reason. Ever since Fawkes had healed him, Harry felt stronger in his magic. He held more control than before and he didn't get as tired as easily as he had. He was even able to think up better ways to try and access his magic. He even was able to perform a bit of Transfiguration! Granted, it was only transfiguring a toothpick into a needle so far, but it was a major hurdle to Harry. Harry knew it had to do with Fawkes. He knew it would not have happened so soon if it weren't for him. "I don't think I ever said thank you for what you did."
Fawkes butted his head against Harry's palm and trilled a tune when he fixed himself upright. He knew that the boy was aware and thankful for what he had done.
He didn't know why he had come to visit Harry, only that he felt the boy was due for one. He had left Harry to live out on his own, despite that he could have just grabbed onto Harry and taken him to his old friend, Albus. That meant that Fawkes, in essence, had taken responsibility for him as well. The boy was only eight, after all.
"What are you doing here, boy?"
Despite ruffling his feathers at the word 'boy', Fawkes was thrilled with the wonderful emotions flowing from Harry. He trilled a few notes, knowing that while Harry may not understand what he was saying, he may catch the meaning.
Harry just looked a little confused before shrugging his shoulders and smoothing down the feathers that Fawkes had ruffled up. Obviously Harry didn't care if Fawkes had a reason or not. Even if the reason was just that it was a simple visit. Harry ended up spilling everything that happened to him over the past several months to the phoenix, including Zanne and how she now knew of the wizarding world and was willing to take care of him. Fawkes just listened.
An hour or so later, Fawkes left, but not before giving a few notes of farewell. He flamed into Albus's office, where the man was looking through his half-moon glasses, doing a bit of paperwork. He looked up to give his feathered friend a genuine smile. "And where have you been, you over-grown turkey?" It was said in an affectionate way.
Fawkes gave a trilled response that made Albus's smile a wide grin of relief.
"So you have gone to see Harry? Is he well, my friend? Is he happy? Protected?"
Fawkes gave an affirmative to all of these and watched as Albus did a little jig around his office as though he were a five year old child who had just had his fondest wish granted. On his last visit, he hadn't given the man any information regarding Harry as he was incapable of lying, but he hadn't returned with Harry either. This, today, was Albus's first indication on Harry's well-being, aside from Fawkes having not returned with the boy several months ago. Fawkes knew that when Harry didn't return to the Dursleys' during the summer, though, Albus would get worried again, and perhaps do something foolish if possible. Still, Fawkes gained a bit of enjoyment out of Albus's jig. Who knew the old man could be so spry?