Title: Brotherly Love
Disclaim: Harry Potter and all related characters and situations belong to J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended. Hadrian Cain Potter, the prose and the plotline are property of Riru-chan, please do not use without permission.
A/N: FYI, if you enjoy reading these types of stories, please join my C2 group, TheSiblingWhoLived! It'd also be very helpful if you gave me archive suggestions. :)
Eyes straining, Harry struggled to comprehend the passage's meaning. Exhaustion was dulling his wits, and boredom making his task even more difficult.
"Siri," Harry whined, "Can I be finished yet?" Sirius gave his youngest charge a disapproving look.
"Have you read to chapter three yet?" he asked sternly, concealing his amusement as Harry fidgeted.
"Aw, Siriuuus…" Harry said. Sirius winced at the expression on the eight-year-old's face – he recognized the puppy-dog eyes he used so often himself.
"That's enough. If you finish reading, we can see if Ron and Ginny can come over to play, okay?" Harry's eyes lit up and he turned back to his reading.
Sirius smiled and leaned back in his armchair. He knew Harry wouldn't be absorbing a word he read, considering the pace at which the eight-year-old was turning the pages. A moment later had Harry holding up the book proudly.
"Are you?" Sirius said indulgently.
"Yeah…" Harry said slowly. Sirius held out his hand for the book, and Harry grudgingly handed it over, knowing that he was going to be interrogated about what he had read, as usual.
Amazingly, Harry answered every question correctly. Sirius blinked after the boy as he skipped out of the room.
As the door closed, Sirius slumped in his chair, thinking hard. This newfound precociousness was certainly something to be proud of, but at the same time it was somewhat disturbing. What had caused Harry's sudden ability to absorb information at such an accelerated rate?
Certainly, this would merit future investigation, but for now…
"Siri, can we see if Ron and Ginny can come play, yet?"
The rest of the year passed relatively uneventfully. Harry's abnormal capacity for reading had abated slightly, but was still emerging periodically.
For the most part, however, Harry was looking forward to the summer, and with it, Hadrian's return from Hogwarts. This could explain why he could not sit still as he and Sirius stood on the platform, waiting for the scarlet steam engine to pull up.
Sirius shook his head at the boy as Harry wriggled, causing Ginny to give the boy a strange look.
The entire Weasley clan – those not at Hogwarts, in any case – had turned up at the station only moments after Harry and Sirius had. Harry had been unusually indifferent, staring intently at the corner of the platform, where the train would emerge shortly.
Sirius had brushed it off as nerves; he figured Harry must be afraid that Hadrian had changed.
Harry's nerves, however, did not stem from worries about Hadrian's reaction to him. His eyes began to water as he stared at the tracks unblinkingly, emphasizing the dark rings beneath them.
Something's gonna happen, Harry thought anxiously. Something's gonna –
"The train is a bit late," Mrs. Weasley said with a frown as she glanced at her watch, comparing it with the clock on the wall that monitored the train's schedule (which currently pointed to "You might as well sit down, this could take a while").
Harry's panicked thought turned into a mantra of something's gonna happen, something's gonna happen, please let Hadrie be all right, something bad is gonna happen…
"Are you all right, Sunshine?" Sirius asked, noting the haggard expression on Harry's face.
"Something's gone wrong," Harry said quietly, not looking at his guardian so he could keep his eyes fixed on the same spot. Sirius frowned, placing a hand on Harry's head to smoothe the boy's ruffled hair.
"Don't be silly Harry, everything's fine," Sirius said. Harry shook his head with certainty.
"Mr. Sirius," Ron said hesitantly, "Harry usually knows about these things." Sirius looked at the redhead in askance, but the boy turned away uncomfortably. Failing to make headway in that direction, Sirius kneeled in front of Harry so that his eyes were level with the eight-year-old's.
"Harry, what's gone wrong?" Sirius asked.
"Don' know…" Harry mumbled reluctantly. "Hadrie's…"
Harry trailed off as the Hogwarts Express pulled up to the platform, looking rather like it had fallen through the Earth's atmosphere to get there. The windows were blown out, faint traces of smoke spilling from them. None of the cars seemed to rest on the track just right, giving the impression of rickety instability.
Mrs. Weasley let out a faint "oh," stumbling backwards. She would have fallen had Mr. Weasley not caught her. Sirius stood and whirled, eyes widening.
By this time, Harry was already halfway to the train.
"Hadrie?" Harry cried, hysteria coloring the edge of his voice as he reached the closest car and yanked open the door. Before he could enter, a flood of students tumbled out, rushing to reassure panicked families that all was well. Students were emptying from the other cars as well, and Harry miraculously spotted two heads of Weasley-red hair: Charlie and Percy. The second-oldest Weasley was carrying something relatively large in his arms, and it took Harry a moment to realize that it was Hadrian.
The journey back to Potter Manor had been fraught with a tense silence. The Weasleys had decided to travel with them; no one would dare mention leaving Hadrian's side with a frantic Mrs. Weasley fussing over the poor boy's broken bones. When they had arrived at the manor, the adults, Bill, Charlie, Percy and Hadrian had immediately closeted themselves in the library, presumably to discuss how Hadrie had gotten into such a state.
Harry kicked the wall, eliciting worried looks from the younger Weasleys. His green eyes, currently narrowed in anger, were fixed on the double doors that lead to the library.
The twins glanced at each other and shrugged. They never really paid much mind to their younger siblings or the boy they (their siblings) hung out with.
"Relax, Harry," Fred – George? – said, with a hint of exasperation.
"It's just grown-up stuff. Us littles get left out all the time," the other twin affirmed, a disgusted expression crossing his face at the word "littles."
Harry shot them a venomous look, and then returned his gaze levelly to the door. After what seemed like an eternity of terrified silence (after that glare, the Weasley kids feared for their lives if they disrupted Harry again), the library door opened, producing a pale-looking group of adults and students.
"Kids, we're going home. Say goodbye to Harry," Mr. Weasley said softly. Mrs. Weasley clung to his arm, looking as though she were about to collapse – were it not for Bill supporting her other arm, she might have. The typical chorus of "awww, but Daaaad…" was replaced with subdued farewells.
Harry said nothing, staring after them as they left. When the makeshift family was alone, Harry's eyes shot to his brother and godfather.
"What happened?" Harry asked, concern mingling with anger in his voice.
"Nothing that concerns you, Harry," Sirius said firmly, before turning to leave the hall. Harry stared expectantly at Hadrian, who squirmed uncomfortably. Silence once more pervaded the atmosphere. Hadrie opened his mouth several times, as if to offer an explanation.
Finally, the eleven-year-old just reached forward and gave Harry a hug.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Hadrian said softly, before following Sirius' path out of the hall.
Harry stood stock still, trying to comprehend what had just happened. Hadrie always told him everything. Always. Slowly, a helpless rage started building up in the small boy. Harry clenched his fists, his teeth gritted to prevent him from roaring.
Harry had always trusted Hadrie unconditionally, and in return, Hadrie protected his little brother. Now, however, Hadrie was hiding something. Hadrie was betraying Harry's trust.
The eight-year-old lashed out, punching the nearest wall with as much strength as he could muster. As he stalked off to his room, Harry didn't notice the absence of pain in his hand, nor did he notice the crack in the stone where his fist had impacted.
"We're moving!" Harry yelped, staring at Sirius in abject disbelief. Hadrie, Harry noticed with slight contempt, didn't seem surprised. It had been a week since the Hogwarts Express debacle, and Harry was still not speaking to Hadrian.
Sirius sighed, his eyes raising to the ceiling as if to beg the ceiling-gods for patience. Harry bristled inwardly; he wasn't that difficult, was he?
"Just for a while," Sirius said. "Hadrian will still be going to Hogwarts, and you will be able to go as well." Harry remained silent as his shock wore off, and slowly he relented.
"Where?" Harry asked mullishly. Sirius smiled, ruffling Harry's hair.
"Better brush up on your French, Sunshine, we're moving to Calais."
.t.o. .b.e. .c.o.n.t.i.n.u.e.d.
A/N: Well, I honestly have no excuse for being late except that I've been reading too much. Sorry… Another piece of bad news for those who thrive on my updating this story :cough:… I'm moving to Japan for five months. Well sort of. Foreign exchange in any case. I will be staying with a host family, which means that any use of the Internet/computer will be severely restricted. In other words… no updates until February, at the earliest. And after that, it's college-prep for me… (OMG, I'm a freakin' senior, when did that happen?)
Anyway, sorry this is short. X And… yes. Calais. Why Calais? Because it's the only place in France I've ever been. You can cross the English Channel by ferry from Dover, and spend a day in Calais. Perhaps they will move to a certain Japanese town when I return in five months, but I cannot say for sure. ;) On the other hand, maybe they won't. I fear this may turn into an international epic, like certain others of my favorite fics. :coughRorschach'sBlotcough::coughLouisIXcough::plug plug:
On another note, I'm getting so questions about my story! Yay! This is the first time I get to do an…
Q: Why did Hadrian lie?
A: It was on instinct. Hadrian's whole life is about protecting Harry, and this time Hadrie's saving him from the whole "Boy-Who-Lived" deal. Besides, if he didn't, there would be no story.
Q: Why is Harry such a pushover? Isn't he dark/independent/Slythern!Harry? (not directly quoted.)
A: No. Harry is not dark/independent/Slytherin. I never said that, people just assumed it because that's usually how people write him in these kinds of stories. Harry isn't exactly a pushover, either… he just hasn't had the chance to show his mettle yet. : That's why it's important that Hadrian's away at school instead of home schooled — with Hadrie around, Harry doesn't need to be strong because he's got his own personal protector. He's also tormented by horrible dreams. That can do a number on a kid. :(