Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognise; you know the drill by now
Feedback: Of course
AN: This story was inspired, in part, by MaxFic's excellent story 'Harry Potter and the Time Mage'; I can recommend you read it. I'm thinking that this will eventually turn into a series, featuring a rewrite of the books, but focusing mainly on the different areas rather than the identical ones.
AN 2: If the beating scene seems a bit weak, I apologise; I'm not very good at this kind of scene, but it has to be written for the story to work
Harry Potter/Granger and the Philosopher's Stone
It was half past six in the morning.
After being six years old for just over six hours, Harry Potter was already constantly afraid of the possibility of death in a way that no child his age should be.
It wasn't simply the fact that his parents had died when he was around one; if it had merely been that, he could have shrugged it off easily enough. After all, the odds of him ever being in a similar situation were pretty slim…
No, the problem was his guardians, the Dursleys. As if it wasn't bad enough that they constantly referred to him as a freak, and probably wouldn't even have kept him in the first place if they didn't need someone to do various tasks around the house, his Uncle Vernon was currently going through a phase where his favourite activity seemed to be beating Harry half to death.
It had at first been merely a regular thing on his birthday- not an eagerly-anticipated 'present'- but in recent times the beatings seemed to have become an almost daily thing, and always for things that couldn't have been his fault in the first place.
After all, he couldn't even reach the top of the table without standing on a chair; how could he have moved that pot of boiling water where Aunt Petunia would put her hand without anyone noticing? And as for accusing him for stealing a bar of chocolate and hiding it in his cupboard… all right, the chocolate didn't get there itself, but since the bars were kept in the uppermost part of the cupboard, how could he have taken one? They never left him alone anywhere long enough to get a chair into a position where he could stand on it and grab the chocolate…
Harry couldn't even begin to imagine what would happen to him today. Would Vernon just beat him and leave it at that, or would he make today a 'special' beating, since it was his birthday?
Couldn't they just accept that he couldn't be responsible and treat him as a person? Or at least explain why they called him a 'freak'…?
And then Harry's resolve snapped.
He'd had enough.
He couldn't take this any more. He knew that what he was about to try would only make things worse for himself if he was discovered, and it might not make a difference anyway, but at least he would be doing something to try and stop the beatings, even if it achieved nothing.
Besides, what else could the Dursleys do to him? Kill him? At least then he'd be away from them…
He opened his cupboard (They never locked it on the nights before his birthdays; he thought this might be because they wanted to tempt him into doing something wrong), crept over to the phone in the hall, picked up the receiver, and dialled 999 as quietly as he could.
"Emergency services," a voice said on the other end of the line. "What service do you require?"
"Police," Harry whispered into the speaker, trying to keep quiet. He wasn't sure if the police were the right people to call, but he couldn't think of anyone else to call, and they should be able to do something, right?
"Yes?" a voice said on the other end of the line. "This is the police; what seems to be the nature of the trouble?"
"Please, you have to help me…" Harry whispered, looking around nervously, afraid that Uncle Vernon may come down any minute. "It's my uncle; he keeps beating me and he won't stop… I think he'll make it worse today as it's my birthday… I live at Number Four Privet Drive in Little Whinging…
"Please…" he said, feeling tears starting to trickle down his cheeks, but not caring any more, "please help me… I'm six… I don't want to die…"
"All right, son," the voice on the other end of the line said, with a tone of voice that Harry assumed was concern; he'd never heard that kind of tone used when someone was talking about him. "We're on our way."
"Thank you…" Harry whispered, as he put the phone down on its hook and began to sneak back towards his cupboard…
"BOY!" a voice called out from above.
Harry's eyes widened in fear.
No… he thought to himself. Please… no… not now… not when I'm so close…
Desperately, he ran towards his cupboard and dived in, shutting the door behind him even as he heard a large someone begin to walk down the stairs.
Vaguely, Harry was reminded of a Japanese monster movie he'd once seen mentioned in a magazine- Godzilla, he thought the move have been called- but shook it off. The monster in the movie had seemed terrifying, of course, but at least it was only in the movie.
Uncle Vernon, on the other hand, was very much real.
The footsteps stopped outside his cupboard, and Harry swallowed nervously as he glanced at his watch. Uncle Vernon must have only recently woken up; it had taken him nearly five minutes to get down the stairs after he'd called out his typical name for Harry, although that could have just been because he knew that the 'anticipation' was far worse than the actual beating, as far as Harry was concerned. Harry wasn't sure how far away the police station was, but Little Whinging was hardly a large town, and with traffic as quiet as it normally was this early in the morning, it couldn't take them that long to get here, could it…?
Harry hoped not, anyway; he wasn't sure how long he could keep away from Uncle Vernon.
"Open up, boy!" Vernon's voice roared from the other side of the door.
"NO!" Harry called back, trying to cower away in the corner of the cupboard as best he could. He may have been only six, and always rather small and skinny for his age, but there were still only so many places where he could hide in 'comfort'.
"You'd better do as you're told, freak!" Vernon yelled back; either Aunt Petunia and Dudley were deep sleepers, or they knew what was going on and were gleefully listening to it. "You're only making it worse!"
If Harry hadn't been so terrified, he would have laughed.
Worse? How could it be worse? If he was hit any harder, he'd probably lose the ability to walk, and even Vernon would never go that far; who'd do the work around here with Harry gone?
After a moment's silence, Vernon seemed to lose it. He yanked open the door, grabbed Harry by the collar of his pyjama top, dragged him out of the cupboard, and then held the small boy up to his eye level.
"THOUGHT YOU COULD ESCAPE ME, BOY!" he yelled at his young nephew, who could only look back at him in terror. "THOUGHT YOU COULD ESCAPE THE ONLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT YOU'LL EVER DESERVE! FAT CHANCE!"
As he lashed out with the other hand, Harry only briefly had time to see the baseball bat in Uncle Vernon's hand before it collided with his left arm and a loud cracking sound was heard.
"NO!" Harry yelled in pain as Uncle Vernon dropped him to the floor and lashed out with a powerful kick. "Stop… please…"
"QUIT COMPLAINING!" Vernon yelled at him as he lashed out once more. "YOU KNOW YOU DESERVE THIS, FREAK!"
"Help…" Harry whispered, as he felt something hit him in one leg…
Then everything went black, Harry pleading that he would wake up and this would all be over…
When Harry next opened his eyes, he found himself lying in a hospital bed, plaster casts around his arms and legs, an I.V. tube in one arm, and a policeman sitting beside his bed.
"Ugh…" Harry muttered to himself as he blinked his eyes open, briefly relieved to find that he still had his glasses; he'd hate to have to try and find new ones.
"Harry?" the policeman said, leaning forward to look at him.
Now that Harry heard his voice, he found it easy to recognise; after all, as far his memory was concerned, he'd only spoken to this man a few minutes ago.
"You… you were on the other end, weren't you?" he said, looking at the man as he dazedly blinked his eyes open. "You heard my phone-call…"
"Yes, I did," the man said, nodding as he looked at Harry. "A colleague and I got there as soon we could; we were concerned at first that your uncle had finished you already, but we saw you breathing after he had been subdued."
Noting Harry's suddenly apprehensive expression, the man smiled. "Don't worry, Harry; everything's been taken care of. With our eyewitness testimony, coupled with your injuries, we managed to get your uncle and aunt sent to prison for child abuse. Your cousin's gone to live with his Aunt Marge, but she didn't seem interested in taking care of you as well."
Harry smiled in relief.
"It's fine with me; I didn't like her anyway," he assured the man. "Besides, she's no real relation of mine; she's just my uncle's sister. So… what happens to me now?"
"Well, the court transferred you to an orphanage in London," the policeman explained, looking slightly sadly at Harry as he spoke. "You'll miss your first week or so of school, I'm afraid- you were unconscious for a couple of weeks, and your injuries still aren't fully healed- but you're recovering at a rapid rate, so you should be back on your feet soon."
He stood up and smiled down at Harry apologetically. "Well, I've got to go; I only came here because I wanted to see how you were on my way to work. I'll have a nurse come in to take a look at you, OK?"
Harry nodded. "OK," he said. "And… sir?" he said, just before the policeman could turn away. "Thank you for helping me."
The man smiled slightly at Harry. "That's my job, Harry," he said dismissively. "I'm just glad you're safe."
Then he turned around and walked out of the door, and out of Harry's life.
A couple of weeks later, Harry was walking into his new classroom. As the policeman had told him, he'd recovered from his injuries around two weeks after he'd regained consciousness, and been transferred to the orphanage shortly afterwards. He'd spent the first few days getting used to his new surroundings (He was grateful he'd gone there on a Friday; it meant that he had the whole weekend to make himself at home), but now it was time for school, and, on some level, he was looking forward to it. True, the Dursleys had (Albeit reluctantly) sent him to school last year, but this was different.
If nothing else, at least here he might be able to make some friends. He'd already made a few acquantainces at the orphanage, true, but this was a public school that was located near to the orphanage, so there'd be more children here.
And, as he looked around the room for somewhere to sit, his eyes fell on a small girl, maybe only a few months older than him, sitting off on a table in the corner by herself.
Instantly, Harry decided he would get to know her. After all, he'd spent the first few years of his life (Baring the year or so he'd lived with his parents before the car crash) being ignored, and he knew what it felt like. Nobody should have to go through that without at least being given a chance…
Walking over to the table, he sat down beside the little girl and smiled slightly at her as she turned to look at him in astonishment.
"Hi," Harry said, holding out a hand to her like he'd seen on TV. "I'm Harry; is it OK if I sit here?"
Smiling shyly back at him, the girl took his hand and shook it.
"It's fine," she said to him. "I'm Hermione; it's very nice to meet you, Harry."