Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters or situations you recognize in this story. They belong to J.K. Rowling.
Sitting alone in a wooden sandbox located in the center of a playground in Little Whinging, Surrey, a five-year-old boy with untidy black hair drew shapes in the sand. The month of July was nearing its end and the boy certainly knew what this meant: he would turn six in just a few days. While most children his age were thrilled about their upcoming birthdays, this particular boy didn't have much to look forward to. For as long as he could remember, he'd lived with his aunt and uncle, and they never gave him any reason to celebrate his birthdays. He never really understood why he lived with them; all the kids in his class lived with their mums and dads. Why didn't he?
Maybe he was just weird?
Well, he knew that...
The strange scar on his forehead was evidence enough of that. Not to mention his so-called family informed him that he was indeed a freak of nature on a regular basis. He'd made things happen before, things that shouldn't have been possible. One time, his cousin Dudley had been pushing him around again, and somehow, Dudley had tripped and fallen. Harry hadn't even been near him... Dudley ended up knocking over Aunt Petunia's favorite lamp. Dudley hadn't been blamed, of course; Dudley was perfect. The smaller boy had been locked in his cupboard for a week after that...
He often wondered if anyone had ever loved him. If they had, then why did he have to live with his aunt and uncle? Had he done something to make his mum and dad not want him anymore?
A cat meowed behind him, causing him to start a bit. "Hello, Mr. Tibbles," he said quietly to the tabby cat, looking around the playground. Mrs. Figg had to be around there somewhere...
"There you are, Mr. Tibbles," said the familiar voice of the boy's babysitter. "We've been looking all over for you. Ah, Harry, how are you today?"
"Fine, Mrs. Figg," Harry responded, squinting against the summer sunshine. Suddenly, the sunshine was gone; it had been blocked by a tall shadow.
"Oh, Harry, this is my friend... Norris," Mrs. Figg explained, picking up Mr. Tibbles.
The man called Norris knelt down to Harry's level, still blocking out the sunlight, and smiled slightly. "Hello, Harry," he said quietly.
"Hi," Harry said shyly.
The man had sandy-colored hair and bright blue eyes that looked quite sad. He was dressed nicely in a long-sleeved blue shirt and black trousers. He seemed vaguely familiar to Harry.
Harry and the man studied one another for a few moments. The man seemed to be on the verge of reaching out and touching Harry, but resisted. Mrs. Figg watched them with an odd look in her eyes.
"Re—Norris, I think it's time we go. We've got that dinner engagement soon," Mrs. Figg said, struggling to keep Mr. Tibbles in her arms.
Norris cleared his throat and nodded. "It was nice to meet you, Harry," he said, extending a hand to the small boy. Cautiously, Harry shook his hand. He watched Mrs. Figg and Norris leave the playground together, Mrs. Figg whispering something to the strange man as they went. Norris looked over his shoulder at Harry one last time, ignoring the woman.
Not long after, Harry decided it was time to head back to his aunt and uncle's house. Dudley would be getting hungry soon (when was Dudley not hungry?) and that was the only time Harry was allowed to eat. As he walked down the sidewalk, wiping sand from his hands and too-big jeans, he wondered why Mrs. Figg's friend seemed familiar to him...