Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling belongs to herself –we hope. The Harry Potter books belong to J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter belongs to the Harry Potter books. The idea of reading people out of books comes from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Nobody sue me.
This is a one shot (or at least that's what I keep telling myself). I
want to add in Harry's opinion of the first three books, plus what good
Susan's advice did, but I'll leave that up to the reader.
The silence in the house was oppressive. It pushed down on Susan and did not let up. Her parents were out and would not be back until late. She tried humming, but she couldn't multi-task enough to hum and do something else. She settled for reading out loud.
She picked up the first book that came to her hands and curled up in the living room in her favorite chair.
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. Chapter One: The Riddle House."
She began to read. The first chapter was not one to make a person feel better, but she read through it and kept going. It happened in the beginning of the second chapter, when Harry was first described. It was a roaring in her ears and a knot of something deep in her stomach.
When whatever it was that happened stopped, she looked up. Someone looked back down and she bit back a scream. That someone was about her height, skinny, with untidy black hair, bright green eyes, and a scar on his forehead shaped like a bolt of lightning.
Susan stared at this boy who had suddenly appeared in her house. She doubted he was real. She marked her place in the book and set it aside, but kept staring at him.
"You're Harry Potter," she said after a minute or so.
"I get that a lot," the boy –Harry Potter—said.
"But what are you doing in my house?" asked Susan, a little more loudly than necessary.
Harry looked around curiously. "I really don't know," he said. "I was just about to write to --to write a letter."
"Oh, yeah," said Susan. "To Sirius."
Harry gaped at her. "How – how did you know?"
"Are you real?" asked Susan, avoiding the question. She reached over and shoved gently on Harry's shoulder. It felt very solid and he twisted back a little bit.
"Yeah," he said. "Are you?"
"Yeah… At least I think so."
"We need to get things sorted out," he said. "Tell me what happened."
"Well…" said Susan. "I was reading and I came to the part where they described you –"
"Hold on. What exactly were you reading?"
"Oh, dear. This will take a while." She cocked her head at him. "You know, you're an odd sort of dream. –Oh shit!"
The exclamation was so sudden, though not louder than normal, that Harry jumped and whirled around to see if anything was behind him. Seeing nothing, he asked, "What?"
"If I think it might be a dream, then it's not a dream. Oh, what are we going to do, what are we going to do?"
"You can continue explaining," said Harry tersely. "What books?" He pulled up a chair and sat near her, watching her closely.
Susan put her head in her hands and took a deep breath. "My name is Susan. I live in Sacramento, California, USA, which is where we are now." Harry looked a bit shocked at this. "There is a British author named J. K. Rowling who is writing a very popular series of children's books about a boy named Harry Potter who goes to a school of magic called Hogwarts. He has all sorts of adventures and has to face the evil Lord Voldemort. They are very popular books right now."
Harry was now staring at her openmouthed.
"I was reading the fourth book aloud—"
"To whom?" Harry cut in.
"Myself. 'Cause it's so quiet. Anyway, I was reading the fourth book aloud and then I looked up and you were standing there. I had just read he part where it described you."
"I had just woken up. I'd had a." He hesitated. "A weird dream."
"About Voldemort and Wormtail in the Riddle house," said Susan. "I know. It's all in the book. You figured you should tell somebody, but decided against your friends. The you decided to write to Sirius –"
"And was about to do it when I suddenly found myself here. Hey! Can I see that book?"
"No! You may see the first three, because that already happened, but not this one. I will tell you anything that happened in the first two chapters, though."
"Alright," said Harry. "Tell me about my dream."
Susan was a bit scared of reading aloud. She didn't mind Harry, but she didn't want Voldemort appearing in her living room. She just paraphrased the dream.
"And what happens to me next?" asked Harry curiously.
"Well… you write the letter to Sirius, then you go down to breakfast –it's grapefruit. The doorbell rings and when your uncle comes back he's angry and orders you into the living room with him. Oh, you get an owl from Ron later.
"And that's all I'm telling you," Susan said firmly.
"Can't you give me a hint?" Harry pleaded.
Susan wavered. She thought about the cryptic hints people had to figure out in some of the books she had read. She thought for almost a full minute before saying, "Keep an eye on your wand, play to your strengths, take a bath, know where north is, beware the cup, remember the polyjuice potion."
She didn't know why she was afraid to tell more. After all, the book was already written. She grinned to herself when she thought what Harry would say when Cedric told him to take a bath. She wondered if her clues would change the outcome.
"Now how do I get back?" Harry demanded.
"No clue," said Susan absently. "It's late. I want to go to bed. We can worry in the morning."
"But I just got up," cried Harry.
Susan grabbed the first three Harry Potter books from the shelf and handed them to him. "Read these in my room so my parents wont see you when they come home." She tugged him towards her room.
She fell asleep with a boy worming his way through her books by flashlight at the foot of her bed. When she woke up, early morning sun was shining weakly through the windows and Harry was in the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
He looked up and saw that she was awake. "Who is this person and how is she following me?" he demanded.
Susan thought for a moment. "I think she created you. She is the God of your book and sees everything."
"I don't like it," said Harry.
"I wouldn't either if it was me," said Susan truthfully. "Maybe it is me. Maybe there's some author somewhere writing my actions. "Though I can't see why they'd bother. I don't have a life half as interesting as yours."
"Swap you," said Harry.
"How'd that work?" wondered Susan. If Harry could come out of the Harry Potter books, could she go into them?
"Maybe you could rewrite the story. Just write the beginning and let things handle themselves from there. Write that a girl was born to Lily and James Potter and that Voldemort attacked and killed them but couldn't kill the girl. Write me into your parents" Susan made a face. "We'd switch lives."
"But we couldn't undo it. I'd be born again too young to remember what I did to bring you here."
"I still think it would be fun," said Harry.
"But you'd never see your friends again. Ron, Hermione, you wouldn't know who they were."
Harry hesitated. "But I wouldn't know them so I wouldn't miss them."
"More to the point," cut in Susan, suddenly all business. "I don't know how to get you back normally, much less change the way things were. If we figure out how to send you back, then maybe I'll bring you back here and you can decide if you want to switch.
"Where exactly were you standing in your room when you came here?"
"In front of the mirror. I was about to go to the desk to write a letter to Sirius."
"Well, we write you back in."
Susan grabbed a piece of paper and a ballpoint pen and started scribbling with her tongue between her teeth.
Harry Potter took one last glance around the strange bedroom before it faded out and was replaced by the familiar walls of the Dursley's smallest bedroom and the mirror showing his nervous face. His school supplies lay heaped around the room.
"Concentrate on the bedroom, on where you were standing before."
She read the paragraph aloud and Harry vanished. Well, he didn't quite vanish; instead he sort of faded out.
"I'd better be careful about what I read aloud," she said.
The hints that Susan gave Harry are suposed to be modeled after the hints Peach gives in the Young Wizards series.