Disclaimer: I own very little.

A/N: This fic has been up but un-updated in FA since July. No, no kidding. Another one of my first-chapter-writer blocks, the most annoying sort.

I can't recall having this one here before (I might have had it, and then removed) but, oh well, I revised the first chap and started to finally write the next, so deal with it.

Under the Unlucky Star

Chapter One:

The Stranger

Fifteenth of August 1984 was a really important day to many people.

That day, Harry never came back from the park.

He wasn't actually even allowed to be there, as the Dursleys didn't want anyone to know that there indeed was another boy in their house. Only Mrs. Figg, an old woman down the road, had ever been visited by little Harry. She liked the emerald-eyed little boy -- not that he'd ever dared to tell this to the Dursleys.

Anyway, Aunt Petunia had decided to take Dudley to the park so he could play there with his friends. Harry was, of course, left home. This didn't bother him, however. With Dudley leaving, he could in peace play with the couple of toys that the bigger boy hadn't broken yet. Uncle Vernon was going to take a nap, and he didn't bother looking after the four-year-old, other than telling him not to break anything or he'd spend the next two weeks closed in a cupboard.

Little Harry was obedient. He didn't break anything. Instead, he played in the garden with his toys -- a little teddy bear which had only one eye, a toy car with no wheels at all, and a ball which had ages ago lost all its colour. Those all were toys Dudley had abandoned and didn't play with anymore, and that was also why Harry'd been allowed to have them.

Now, he was having a nice little game of "Bobby the Bear drives around the gum ball on his red car," with no other worries than that Dudley and Aunt Petunia would come back. Aunt Petunia still allowed him to play, of course; he was too young to do any chores other than collect Dudley's toys, which he'd already done. But, his cousin would for sure take his toys away, saying that he wanted to play with them. Aunt Petunia would allow him, and then Dudley, who'd never played with anything belonging to Harry, would hide them away and it'd take a lot of time from him to find them.

The window was open, and he heard Uncle Vernon's mighty snoring from the living room. That told him that his uncle wouldn't come anytime soon yelling at him and telling not to break anything. After some time, he'd maybe manage to sneak inside and take the nice card out from its hiding place under his bed in the cupboard. Mrs. Figg had been kind enough to give him a cad for his fourth birthday, which had been two weeks ago. Of course Dudley had got loads of presents on his birthday, but it didn't really matter to Harry. The card was nice, with bright colours and a pretty picture. Aunt Petunia had also given him a card, but it hadn't been even half as nice, and Dudley'd anyway taken it from him, saying that it belonged to him because his mother had given it.

Suddenly, little Harry heard an odd sound, CRACK. He looked around, half expecting Dudley to come and take his toys, but he saw no one. He wondered about this for a while, but, being four years old and out on a nice, sunny day, he soon forgot about it. It didn't matter that his toys were old, it didn't matter that his clothes were far too big, it didn't matter that eventually Dudley would come and ruin his games. Right now he had toys, a good game, and a nice card hid under his bed. He didn't need anything else.

The little boy was again startled as he heard an unfamiliar voice behind him. "Hello, Harry," somebody said, scaring him almost out of his skin.

With a little yelp he spun around. The voice hadn't sounded malicious, but better safe than sorry, that much had Harry already learned despite his fairly short life.

A stranger was standing in the garden, eyeing him watchfully. He was wearing very funny clothes to Harry's mind. A brown dress-like piece of clothing Harry had never seen before, and certainly not on a man, flowed around his legs in the slight summer breeze. He had a thin rope as a belt, and he had some kind of stick stuck under the belt on his right side. The stranger didn't look old, at least not in Harry's mind. He had golden brown hair, messy just like Harry's, and golden eyes with a warm glow to them that made him feel comfortable.

"Um... Hi," he said shyly after a moment, realizing that the man was waiting for response. There were a lot of things the Dursleys considered "bad," and being impolite to adults was one of them. Even Dudley had to greet and thank and say goodbye, so Harry for sure had to.

The stranger still watched him with his odd golden eyes. Then he took a couple of steps forward, crouching down next to Harry. "Are these your toys?" he asked, pointing at the bear, the car, and the ball.

"Yes," Harry replied, still shy. He was also a bit afraid of the stranger. Aunt Petunia had told them not to talk to strangers, because they could be bad. What if this was a bad stranger? What if he took Harry's toys away, too?

"This is a bit worn out," the man said, taking the ball in his hand and examining it.

Terror piled up inside Harry. Sometimes Aunt Petunia took a toy, Dudley's or Harry's, looked at it and said, "This is a bit worn out." If it was Dudley's, sometimes Harry would get it, and that was a good thing. But if it was Harry's, it'd only be thrown away, and he wouldn't even get a new one like Dudley always did. Was the stranger also going to throw his ball away?

Harry wanted to scream out, to tell the stranger to leave, to leave his toys in peace. But, he didn't dare to. The stranger could get upset, and then he'd take all his toys away, or even worse, tell Uncle Vernon. And then Harry'd be locked away in the cupboard, and maybe they'd even take his lamp away -- and his nice card! He didn't want to lose the card. So, he kept quiet.

"Why don't you play with those?" the man asked, pointing at some toys further away in the garden. There was a heap of neat, new stuff, cars and balls and even two tricycles. All those were things that Harry wasn't allowed to touch, besides the older tricycle if Aunt Petunia was feeling very kind. Which she didn't feel often.

"They're not mine, Sir," Harry replied shyly, knowing better than to leave the question unanswered. "They're Dudley's. I may not play with them."

The stranger frowned, looking angry. Harry took a startled step backwards. Had he said something wrong? Had he made the man upset? Had he -- had he been bad?

Now, Harry was more terrified than anything. He wasn't allowed to be bad, not ever. If he was bad, he would be locked in the cupboard with no lamp, and that he didn't want. The cupboard was scary when it was dark. There were spiders in the cupboard, and in the dark they would run over Harry's leg, and he was so scared. He never wanted to be bad.

The stranger seemed to notice his shock, and he sighed. "I'm not angry at you, Harry," he said gently, reaching out a hand to stroke Harry's cheek. The boy flinched at first a little, startled by the unfamiliar sensation, but soon relaxed. It felt in fact good to have someone touching his cheek. Maybe this was why Dudley always wanted to sit in Aunt Petunia's lap?

"Say, do you have any other toys, Harry?" the stranger continued his questioning.

Harry almost laughed. What a silly question! Of course he had no other toys. He wasn't Dudley, he was just Harry. Harry didn't have a lot of toys. "No, Sir, I don't," he replied politely, again deciding to be rather safe than sorry.

The man frowned again, this time with a look of even deeper dismay on his pale face. He looked hesitating for a moment, then said, "Would -- would you want to come to the park with me, Harry?"

"I can't," Harry replied, then added hastily, "Sir. I may not leave the garden."

"Don't call me 'Sir,' Harry, please," his weird visitor said. "Call me -- call me Moony. And your uncle and aunt won't be angry. I promise."

Harry watched suspiciously the stranger. What kind of a person would have the name "Moony?" It sounded like a -- a freaky name. And everything freaky was bad, that he knew very well. And how would this Moony know that his aunt and uncle wouldn't be angry? They were always angry when Harry did something bad. If he left the garden, it would be a very bad thing.

"I'll buy you an ice-cream," the man promised with a soft voice. "Come on, Harry. I'll tell your aunt that I promised you to go."

"But -- but Aunt Petunia's there," Harry said hesitantly. "In the park. With Dudley." He grasped the teddy bear and hugged it against himself. "They might take Bobby the Bear," he said quietly.

"Don't worry, Harry. I will take you to another park, where your aunt and cousin aren't," Moony said. "Will you come?"

Harry thought about it for a moment. Then, slowly, he nodded. "If it's not a bad thing," he said shyly.

"It's not." The man smiled at him for a moment. Then he said, "We can take your toys with us. Is there anything else you want to take? To keep them safe, you know -- in case your cousin and aunt come back before we do."

"Yes!" Harry said hastily. "A card from nice Mrs. Figg! And a --" He hesitated for a moment, then finished, "A photo."

Moony gave him a questioning glance, but didn't ask anything else. "We'll go and get them," he said. "Come now, you have to show me where they are."

"But -- they're inside," Harry said. "And the door's locked, since I'm not allowed inside. I might break something, Uncle Vernon said."

Moony frowned yet again, but then said, "Don't worry about that, either. I can open the door." He gave Harry a kind glance, then said, "And your uncle won't even know. He's sleeping."

"But -- what if he wakes up?" Harry asked, terrified at the mere thought. "He'll lock me away!" He closed his mouth instantly as he noticed what he'd said, but Moony'd already heard him. His golden eyes widened slightly, and he looked a bit shocked, but he didn't say anything about it.

"He won't wake up," he said instead. "I took care of it. You see," he said, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, "I know... magic."

"There's no magic!" Harry argued. "Aunt Petunia says --"

"Well, Aunt Petunia isn't always right," Moony said. "You'll see. Your uncle won't wake up, we'll get your card and photo and toys, and then you'll have a nice evening in the park as well as your cousin. Okay?"

Harry could do little else but nod. This all was getting a pretty exciting tone to it -- and not a bit scary. How did this man dare question his aunt's knowledge? Aunt Petunia was never wrong. Even Uncle Vernon never disagreed with Harry's aunt.

However, he'd been taught to obey any adults that told him something. So, he followed Moony to the door of the house. He saw Moony take the odd stick from his belt and murmur something, pointing the stick at the lock. Then he pressed the handle down and, to Harry's great excitement, the door opened.

They sneaked inside the quiet house -- well, quiet except for Uncle Vernon's snoring, which was very clearly heard from the living room. Harry showed Moony to his cupboard. He didn't understand the shocked look on the man's face, but he let it pass. He wasn't allowed to question adults' feelings, much less ask something about them.

Harry soon retrieved his card and the photo from their hiding place under the mattress. Other than his few toys, they were the only things that mattered to him. The card was the only pretty thing he owned, and the photo -- well, the photo was of his parents.

It was an odd photo. It was worn out and torn from its edges, but the picture was shown clearly. A black-haired man with spectacles and hazel eyes, and a red-haired woman with eyes just like Harry's, looked at him with smiles on their faces. It was the only photo Harry had of his real parents. Sometimes, when he'd watched it for long enough, he could have sworn that they waved back at him. He knew better than to tell about it, however. When he'd first gone to his aunt telling excitedly that his parents waved at him, Aunt Petunia had said that it was a freaky thing and threatened to take the photo away from him.

Moony had an odd expression as he saw the photo. Then it was wiped off, and instead, he now looked wary. "Let's go," he said to Harry, giving him a little smile. "I'll buy you an enormous ice-cream!"

Harry smiled happily. This was going to be a good day after all.

It was a late afternoon, and Harry was stuffed. He'd never had this much ice-cream at one day -- in fact, he could only recall having ice-cream at all only twice. The first time had been at Mrs. Figg, and the other on Dudley's birthday -- there'd been some left from Dudley and his friends, and as his stomach had been aching, Aunt Petunia had let Harry eat the rest of the ice-cream. Uncle Vernon had of course said that she was going to spoil Harry rotten, but Aunt Petunia gave it anyway.

Now, he'd had three huge ice-creams -- one vanilla, one strawberry, and one chocolate. Moony had only eaten a little chocolate ice-cream, but they'd talked all the time and walked around the park. Harry didn't know why, but somehow all the people around seemed to just ignore them. Even the kiosk keeper hadn't at first noticed them. Not that it was a bad thing by Harry's mind -- he didn't like to have too much attention centred on him. That usually only came just after he'd done something bad, or when Dudley and his friends were bullying him.

Harry was getting a bit nervous now. Soon, he'd have to go back to the Dursleys. Then they might get angry, no matter what Moony said. Then he'd be locked in the cupboard, and he'd lose his card -- and maybe even his photo!

Moony turned towards him. "It's late already, Harry," he said the dreaded words. "You should go home."

"Yes, Moony," Harry whispered in a very little voice.

"However," Moony said to his great surprise, "you don't have to."

Harry turned towards the man, his eyes wide. What was he talking about? He wasn't kidding Harry, was he?

"What about..." Moony hesitated again for a moment, then said, "What about if you came with me, Harry?"

"I could?" Harry asked, now even more shocked. Who would ever want Harry? He was a freak, that was what he'd been told all his life. His parents had been freaks, and he was a bad little boy -- that had Aunt Petunia told him too many times to forget.

"Yes, you could," the man replied gently. "But you couldn't go back to the Dursleys -- ever."

"No Dursleys?" Harry asked, feeling as if he'd just been told he was going to step to the Heaven. "No Dudley?"

"No," Moony confirmed. "I can't promise that you could get every day as much ice-cream as today -- that would rot your teeth. But, you would get a room of your own at my place, and a couple of new toys."

"But -- that would only be waste," Harry said worriedly. "Aunt Petunia always says that using money on me is only waste."

"She's wrong once again," Moony said firmly. "Besides, I have money. One of my friends -- left -- and left behind a lot of money, which I can use if I want to. I'd never use it on myself, but on you, I can use it with a good conscience. And I will."

"Then," Harry said, grinning broadly, "I'd love to come with you."

That night, Harry slept peacefully in a little bed that Moony'd already bought for him. Now Moony, or, as he was commonly known, Remus Lupin, leaned back in his chair, relaxing.

At first he'd wondered whether he was doing the right thing as he'd been planning the "kidnapping." After seeing Harry's hand-down clothes and worn toys, leave alone the cupboard the poor boy slept in, he'd known he had been right. Most people treated their dogs better than the Dursleys treated Harry. And Harry was most definitely not a dog, he was a frightened four-year-old who'd got definitely too much of Petunia Dursley.

Well, the next day he'd talk more with Harry. He'd fix the things in the little boy's life - he had to. He wouldn't allow James's son be treated like a rat by his only living relatives.

Yes, tomorrow would be a lot better day.

Unfortunately, that was also the day Albus Dumbledore decided to check up on little Harry at the Dursleys'.

End Chapter One
Next chapter:
Dumbledore is pissed, Harry has the time of his life, and Remus gets scared.