Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter or any of its characters, ideas, plots, or anything that's come from JK Rowling's head. So I have to borrow the idea in a cheap write off story in order to get a kick.
Summary: AU. During the summer when Harry turns fifteen, things go downhill with the Dursley's. When Harry manages to escape their abusive clutch and goes to Grimmauld Place, problems and complications arise. Rated for violence and abuse.
Standing Beside the Fallen
Chapter 1 – Essence of Disbelief
So far, Harry Potter's summer vacation was anything but relaxing. Inside Number Four Privet Drive, things were not as pleasant and calm as they appeared to be from the outside. Inside the house, the Dursley's were not the kind and understanding neighbors they tried to portray, as another way to make their lives seem perfect and better than any of the other neighbors on the street. But their lives were far from their version of normal and perfect, and the reason was currently dusting the furniture in the living room, lost in thought and unfortunately, unsuspecting to his surroundings.
Harry could feel the shards of glass piercing the skin on top of his head as the vase smashed and shattered, cutting and embedding themselves into his skin. Out of sheer surprise more than anything else, he screamed and fell to the floor. He could feel the blood trickeling down his face and the excruciating pain passing around his skull. Bright lights shown before his eyes and his vision swam. He willed himself not to keep screaming as he felt his body land painfully on his shoulder. He kept his eyes screwed shut, but even then he could sense the looming shadow above him. It was a monster – an animal. It was likely to kill him.
Something hard connected with his ribs and he felt his body fly forcefully onto his back, shooting pains going up his spine. He felt the crack in his chest rather than heard it over the sounds of his unstifled cry. It was something he could not muffle – the pain was just unbearable. He wanted to pass out, to get away from the pain. There were so many things he wanted at the moment, but it seemed that none was going to be given. For his head started to swim menacingly as he found a thick hand grasping his neck and lifting him so high and forcefully, he was being supported by them as his feet were a good six inches from the ground. Harry slowly opened his green eyes and for the first time revealed his true fear to his attacker.
His uncle's furious face swam in and out of his vision. His face was so close to Harry's that he could see the small pools of swear that shined on his puce skin. He could still smell the putrid hot breath even though his air supply had been cut short by the strangling man. He had been trying unsuccessfully to remove the thick purple fingers from his throat. He was feeling nauseated, but his lightheadedness was worse. He needed to breath!
"How dare you!" His uncle said in a dangerously menacing voice. Spittle flew from his mouth and sprayed Harry's steadily blue face. "How dare you endanger my family? You deserve every ounce of pain you get boy."
The hand let go and Harry crumpled to the ground, gasping deeply for air. He could already feel the bruises forming around his throat and winced as he grudgingly turned and stared at Uncle Vernon's fuming eyes. Harry was sure that behind the anger, he could see a glimmer of glee, as though he were savoring every bruise he placed on Harry's battered body. He knew why his uncle was angry, and why he had resorted to doing this to him, but he was torn in two. He wasn't sure whether he deserved this punishment or not.
His uncle advanced and Harry instinctively threw his arms over his head. It seemed to do no good as his uncle dragged him to his feet, and before he could fall over in pain, a fist connected with his cheek and he fell more forcefully to find two more kicks placed in his back. He yelled in pain, tears falling from his scrunched up eyes, and was only aware from the tremendous pain that he was being dragged up the stairs. He was thrown into his bedroom and he landed hard on the floor, darkness swimming in front of his vision.
"Next time," His uncle hissed. "Don't think I'll be so generous on you. I've said it before and I'll say it again. What you need is a good beating to squash that godforsaken magic from you. And that is exactly what I'm going to do, whether you live to see the end results or not. There is nobody to save you Potter, and nobody to hear your pitiful pleading."
His uncle slammed the bedroom door and Harry heard the unmistakable founds of heavy locks being set in place. He listened, looking up at the blank white ceiling, and he could see the light of the bedroom fading to darkness. He knew that he shouldn't pass out. If he had a head injury, than it would be really dangerous if he did. He shakily got to his feet, holding his head in his hands and groaned.
Slowly, he went and stood in front of the mirror in his wardrobe and his breathing hitched in his throat. Blood was coming from the top of his head, dripping down his brow. A large bruise was forming under his eye, and there was blooding coating his shirt. Hesitantly, he took it off and found a large bruise that was littered with lacerations. He sighed and got out the bandages he had hidden under his floorboard. Slowly, he started to wrap his ribs, conscious to the fact that he knew at least one was cracked or fractured. He had disposed of his bloody shirt and cleaned the matted blood from the back of his head and cleared the shards of glass from his hair. It took a very long time for him to complete this, his body moving slowly as any sharp movement caused him several minutes of intense agony.
Finally, he finished by placing a hooded sweatshirt on, one that was very baggy and less likely to irritate his injuries like a shirt would. He had become aware a while ago that he felt cold, despite the summer heat. He was begging that he wouldn't get sick, because if he did, he may as well be writing his will right now. Harry slowly made his way over to his bed and laid down, staring blankly up at the ceiling.
His uncle had never abused him as fiercely as he had this summer. Usually, it was a few punches, or a few kicks before he got the message across and locked him in his room. But for now it was like a whole summers worth of beatings in one. He wasn't sure how much more his body could take, or how he was going to explain the injuries that couldn't be covered by jeans or long sleeved shirts. It was so much harder now than it was a few years ago.
When he was in primary school, everyone knew he was clumsy, and that he was a troublemaker. Or that's how everyone thought he was. So when he showed up at school with a broken nose or a bruised eye, nobody was even the slightly bit suspicious. But even though his friends at Hogwarts knew he was prone to getting himself in a tight spot, they knew he wasn't clumsy or pick fights constantly for no reason. They knew better. So now he was sure that the excuse of walking into a door, falling down the stairs, or tripping over the street wasn't going to work.
His uncle had been enraged enough to hit him so badly this year due to several reasons. In the beginning it had been his intense build up of hateful magic, everything ranging from Aunt Marge to the ton-tongue toffee with Dudley last year. It didn't help when Vernon started to become an alcoholic. Since then, his uncle had become even more furious and had taken to a schedule of when Harry needed a little reminder of how troublesome, worthless and dangerous he was. Harry shivered when he thought of the insults his uncle had scarred him with. They had run deep, and even though he had grown up with it, he knew he wasn't immune to the insults.
Harry listened as he heard the Dursley's all gathering in the car. They never spoke to him outside beatings and chore assignment, so he never knew where they were going or when they were going to be back. He didn't really care honestly, as long as he knew that they were going to be gone and he was going to be left alone, he was completely fine with it. Harry sighed and felt his ribs shooting pain as he breathed deep. He knew that wasn't a good sign.
He had been drifting in and out of sleep for a few hours, remaining completely on his bed and unmoving from his injuries. It had been the fourth time he had woken up when he had heard a crash from downstairs and heard a curse, and had jumped up. His ribs screamed in protest and he doubled over, taking a shallow breath. He sat up straight, with his eyes closed, his mind racing slightly as he opened them and looked towards the door. Someone was in the house, and he already could tell that it wasn't the Dursleys. Slowly, Harry got to his feet and walked towards the door, taking his wand from the waste band of his jeans and pointing it ahead of them. When the door opened on it's own, Harry jumped and took a step back.
The crash that had sounded from downstairs had told Harry two things. They weren't Death Eaters or burglars as far as he could tell. They would have made the effort to keep quiet. So who was it then? He jumped when the locks on his door clicked loudly and the door creaked open. Harry slowly stepped out of his bedroom and crept to the landing of the stairs. Looking down, it was all he could do not to grasp or jump away from fear when he saw that there were at least three people standing at the door of the stairs.
"No need to be alarmed Harry." Said a familiar voice. Harry's heart skipped a beat when he recognized the voice. He hadn't heard it in over a year, but he would never miss it either.
"Professor Lupin?" He said, trying to keep his voice even as he lowered his wand. The relief he was feeling was pumping through his veins, but in another sense, there was an iron clad gripping his heart. Lupin had always been an intelligent man. Would he recognize the bruises on Harry's face for what they really were? He slowly and cautiously started to descend the stairs.
"Hello Harry," He said pleasantly.
Harry could make out Lupin through the darkness, and flanked behind him were two other people. One he could see as a short haired woman and the other a tall man with a bald head. He reached the last step and the woman behind Lupin whispered something and her wand lit, draining the darkness that had resided in the hallway.
"Wotcher, Harry." She said giving a small smile before it turned into a thoughtful frown. Harry gave her a small smile before looking back at Lupin curiously. Lupin however, didn't seem to notice that Harry was silently looking for an answer as to why they were there. He was looking at Harry's face, worry etched in every line on his own.
Harry grimaced when he noticed they were all looking at him.
"Harry I hate to ask," Lupin said slowly. "But where did you get a black eye?"
He shrugged it off as though it weren't important. "I got into a fight." He answered dismissively, trying to make it plain that he didn't want to talk about it. And it wasn't exactly like he was lying. He did get into a fight, just one he didn't wish to participate in. But he found it was probably best that he didn't elaborate on that and kept silent. He shifted uncomfortably under their gaze and Lupin blinked coming back to himself.
"Well Harry," He said giving off a faint smile. "I suppose I should introduce the people I came with. This," He pointed to the woman on his left. "Is Nymphadora – "
"Don't call me that Remus or I'll hex you so far your ancestors will feel it!" The woman said waving her wand threateningly before turning back to Harry and holding out her hand for him to shake. Harry noticed that she had a shade of violent pink hair that spiked on her head. "It's Tonks. Just Tonks."
Harry smiled and shook her hand.
"And this," Lupin continued, looking as if he were refraining himself from rolling his eyes at the woman, and gestured to the black and bald shaven man to his right. "Is Kingsley Shacklebolt. Both Kingsley and Tonks are Aurors for the Ministry."
He shook Kingsley's hand and turned back to Professor Lupin, a stony look on his face.
"Your wondering why three wizards just showed up here, aren't you?" Lupin said with a smile. Harry slowly nodded. "We are here to take you away."
Inside, Harry was so happy he could have cried. He had a huge urge to jump off the last step and hug his ex-professor but he refrained himself and merely gave a small ghost of a smile.
"So where exactly do we plan on going?" Harry asked slowly, placing his wand in his back pocket of his worn jeans for safe keeping.
"Sorry, but we can't say right now." Tonks said as they all headed into the kitchen. "We can tell you everything once we get there though. But for right now it's best that you go and pack. We have a portkey that should take off in about five minutes."
Harry blinked. "I'm already packed." He said. The three wizards stared at him. "I never unpacked." He shrugged. He bit his lip when he realized his things were locked in his cupboard under the stairs. Uncle Vernon had wanted to put Harry back in there as well, but with his trunk there was no room and Aunt Petunia was afraid Harry would burn the house down with his freaky things in his trunk if he was stuffed in there with it. So instead, they put up some bars and locks around the room and kept him in there like a prisoner. He had to admit though it was better than the spider-infested, musty and dirty cupboard he had known since he was three years old.
"I'll go and get my things, then." Harry said quietly and headed out of the room rather quickly.
He didn't need the key to get to his trunk. He knew how to pick locks, but he hadn't dared do it around his uncle. But now that he was leaving, he could easily get to it without having second thoughts. He took a paper clip from his pocket and straightened it out and started to pick the lock. He hoped that nobody would walk in on him while he was doing this, because he knew he was not up to answering questions. He managed to get the lock open and dragged his trunk out before heading upstairs, leaving his trunk in the hall.
He reached his bedroom and took out his invisibility cloak, his photo album and some of his homework from under his floorboard and grabbed Hedwig's empty cage (who was out hunting at the moment) and headed downstairs. All the clothes he had been wearing was some more of Dudley's old things he had gotten this summer, and he had enough clothes from previous years without adding those rags to his wardrobe. At least the ones from several years ago were just starting to fit . . . almost.
He stuffed everything back into his trunk and headed into the kitchen. Professor Lupin was setting a letter on the counter, Kingsley was sitting at the able looking lost in thought, while Tonks was looking intently at her reflection in the toaster. She was first to notice Harry coming back in.
"Hey, do you think I'd look better with purple hair?" She asked casually, studying the reflection again.
Harry saw Kingsley roll his eyes. "Tonks, please. We know you're just going to change it anyway."
Harry blinked and when he looked at Tonks again his eyes widened. Her face was scrunched up in a pained expression and when she opened them again her hair was purple. Seeing Harry's shocked expression she laughed. "I'm a metamorphmagus. I can change my appearance at will."
The idea of changing his appearance at will seemed very appealing to him. He would be able to cover up the injuries his uncle had given him so that nobody would be suspicious. He would also he able to cover up the damn scar on his forehead so people could stop gawking at him and maybe stop looking at him with high expectations. Because he was far away from the perfect boy-who-lived that everyone thought of him as. He was merely a little coward who couldn't stand up to his overweight uncle. He was a freak, just like Vernon said.
"Harry I left a note for your aunt and uncle to say that you're safe, so they won't worry and that they will see you next summer." Professor Lupin said, starting to rummage in his cloak.
Harry wanted to snort at the irony of the comment. For anything, they would be angry when they noticed Harry wasn't there and wasn't in the slightest way hurt (besides the injuries that his uncle gave him of course). If he was forced to come back here next summer, he knew that there was a chance he wouldn't make it to the beginning of his sixth year. That was if Voldemort hadn't killed him by then. Because if Voldemort didn't kill him, Uncle Vernon would.
"Only a minute until the portkey takes off." Professor Lupin said, holding out a dirty and cracked mirror. "Do you have everything Harry?"
Harry nodded as Tonks took his trunk and Harry held Hedwig's cage. He really wasn't looking forward to traveling portkey. Not that he liked traveling before, but now he was sure that the portkey was going to jar his injuries or cause one of his cuts or lacerations to open again and bleed. He shuttered unconsciously at the thought of a hard landing and purposely buckled his knees and braced himself for a hard landing. He noticed that Professor Lupin had been watching him closely as they all held onto the mirror and he avoided eye contact.
He wanted to tell Professor Lupin about his uncle but he wasn't sure that he could. He didn't want anyone to know that he couldn't stand up to the man, and he didn't want him to think he was a coward. Nobody could understand the power Uncle Vernon had had over him for the past few weeks. There had been no way to escape and all attempts to fight back were always pointless and just led to more pain in the end. He couldn't use magic or else he would have gotten expelled. There had been no defense, but he still couldn't say anything. He was afraid that they would realize exactly what his uncle had been saying all summer.
The portkey took off and Harry instinctively closed his eyes. Keeping them open and looking at the swirling colors had always made him nauseous and that would only add to his problems. He wanted to grip the portkey tighter but his fingers wouldn't move. After what felt like many long moments, he felt his feet slam violently into the floor. He landed on his stomach and winced, his breath hitching in his throat.
He looked up and found himself in a dingy kitchen, one that was dark and hollow. Lupin held out a hand to help him to his feet and he took it, picking up Hedwig's empty cage and setting it properly on his floor as he did. He heard footsteps on a set of stairs behind him and turned around slowly to find himself face to face with his godfather.
"Sirius!" Harry said more brightly than he had all night. Instead of giving him a smile or a one-armed hug he raised his eyebrows in surprise and took Harry by the chin inspecting his face.
"You look like hell, kid." Sirius said, looking at him closely. He had probably noticed the giant rings around Harry's eyes and how pale he was. Harry backed away from Sirius and his arm fell to his side.
"Well thank you for the warm welcome." Harry said in a quiet but sarcastic voice. "You're wondering so I'll answer you before you ask. I got into a fight."
Sirius frowned slightly before giving a small smile and pulling Harry into a one armed hug. He winced into Sirius's shirt and held his breath until he let go and forced his stony face back on again, trying as hard as he could not to show the pain he was feeling from the simple hug, and not let the dark spots in front of his vision overcome him. He had to say he was overjoyed to see his godfather, but he felt uncomfortable being around him for some reason. He didn't know why. He decided to diver the kitchens attention away from himself and fix it on a different subject. Looking around the dingy kitchen he spoke quietly.
"So where exactly are we?" He asked.
"Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix." Sirius said simply, as Tonks left to bring Harry's things up to his room while everyone else went to sit at the table with a dozen mismatched chairs around it. He sat down next to Sirius and raised his eyebrows at him.
"It's a secret society created by Dumbledore to fight against Voldemort." Sirius explained. "This is where we have meetings and everything. This is also the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Ancient is definitely a word to describe it. It used to belong to my mum before she died and it's been uninhabited for ten years so we've been trying to clean it up."
Harry nodded, silently staring at the table.
"Don't you want to ask anymore questions?" Sirius asked, sounding curious.
Harry quickly looked at him. "Do you want me to?"
Sirius looked at him closely. "If you have them I'll answer them as much as I can. I would have bet you would come in here asking about Voldemort and what he was doing."
"I – I didn't think you wanted me to bother you with it." Harry said.
"You're not bothering us, we expected it." Sirius said, still looking at Harry closely. Sirius, Lupin, Kingsley, and Tonks (when she came back downstairs) started to explain everything from plans and weapons, to an extent from what they were allowed to tell him. Sirius seemed to want to tell him more but Lupin cut him off.
"The only permanent guests who are staying in the house are Sirius and I and of course yourself." Professor Lupin said. "Tonks, Kingsley and a few others sometimes spend the night, especially when meetings end late, but the Weasleys and Hermione are going to come and stay for the last two weeks before term starts at Hogwarts. We have a meeting tonight, and we ask you now please not to eavesdrop."
Usually Harry would have given a sarcastic remark or an innocent look, maybe looking embarrassed. But instead, he looked down at the table in understanding. He missed the concerned looks shared between Sirius and Professor Lupin, and Tonks staring avidly at him, a troubled look on her face.
"Why don't we show you where you're staying?" Sirius said getting up from the table.
Harry quickly got up, wincing slightly from the pain and hoping it had gone unnoticed as he followed Sirius. Unfortunately, it seemed that Lupin had seen him but hadn't said anything, unnoticed by Harry. They followed Sirius to the second landing which led him to a room with two twin four poster beds and a large wardrobe and desk. It was plain but Harry didn't really care. It was better than being at the Dursley's any day.
"Why don't you get cleaned up and then come down for dinner?" Sirius said placing a hand on his shoulder. Harry nodded and everyone exited all except for Sirius who closed the door and turned facing Harry. "Harry, are you alright?"
Harry blinked. "I'm fine, why?"
Sirius sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "You've been . . . different. Is there something you'd like to tell me? You can tell me anything, you know."
He bit his lip. He had a sudden urge to tell Sirius everything. He wanted Sirius to tell him that he didn't deserve it and that Vernon Dursley was just a horrible person who deserved as much pain as he had given Harry for fourteen years. He wanted Sirius to comfort him and tell him everything was going to be okay, but he found that he couldn't. He didn't want to say it and find out that Sirius thought he deserved all the punishment and abuse he had been given. He didn't want to see the disappointment on his face when he realized he wasn't like he thought Harry would be. That he was a coward.
"No." He said, staring at the floor. "Everything is fine, Sirius."
Sirius sighed again. "Are you sure?" He pressed. Harry nodded. "Alright, get cleaned up and we'll meet you in the kitchen."
Sirius left, closing the door behind him. Harry closed his eyes and sunk to the floor, his face in his hands. He wasn't sure how he was going to avoid everyone from noticing that he was off. They were already suspicious and he had been here hardly an hour. He was feeling like he was going to collapse any moment and his ribs were burning angrily. He bit his lip and pinched the bridge of his nose underneath his glasses.
Considering everything else, he wasn't sure if he could hide the dreams he had been having at night. They were always the same. All of them causing him to take up screaming, and all of them getting worse by the night, every night. He could hardly remember a time when he had gotten a full night's sleep.
He shuttered at the thought of his dream and tried to get it out of his head. He knew it wasn't real but that hadn't stopped him crying out in the middle of the night and causing his uncle to come in and hit him, yelling for him to stop whining. He wasn't sure exactly how he was going to cover everything up, but he was sure he could manage for the time being. His bruises would fade soon and anything broken was sure to heal if he used the proper bandages. The only thing that felt broken was a rib or two and his wrist. He was lucky that he had a high tolerance for pain, or else he was sure he would never be able to pull this off.
Taking a deep breath, he got up from the floor and winced slightly. The pain wouldn't last forever. He was just grateful that he was away from the Dursley's until next summer. He knew deep in his mind that he couldn't go back there again. He would have to find some way of avoiding it. No matter what Dumbledore said he had to do. If he went back there he would surely not come out. It was his own personal hell – one he wished he could never go back to again. But he didn't know who to turn to, thinking that nobody would care or he was just afraid to tell.
Heading out of his bedroom, he sighed. He would have to deal with the Dursleys when the time came. But for now, he was just glad to be away from them, and that he was in a place where Uncle Vernon couldn't find him. He had to wonder though, if Sirius and Professor Lupin minded if he stayed. He couldn't help but think that maybe he was intruding on their privacy and that they only did it because Dumbledore told them to. He didn't want to be a bother to them. Heading down the stairs, he came to a conclusion, he was going to stay out of their way and stay out of trouble. The Dursley's rejection hurt enough, but finding Sirius's was ten times as bad, and he wasn't sure if he could ever handle that.
Authors Note: Umm….I guess I'm finished now, aren't I? For this chapter at least. I want to continue but I'm not going to bother if people don't give me feedback, because I write this because I have no life and enjoy doing it, but if you don't enjoy reading it, I wont take up valuable hard drive disk and disc space by posting and I don't know if you like it if you don't review so let me know if you want this story to continue: Yes or No?
Authors Note II: One more thing, this is AU, so I know the Weasleys are at Grimmauld Place when Harry comes and there is a meeting, but for the story to be better) and cause its AU) Harry has to be alone with Sirius and Remus and spend some time having the house be a little empty. I'm hoping to get a lot into the story, and to try and make it as original as it will go. Well enough rambling on my part. Tootles – and remember to review please.