Title: A sky, far, far away
Author: remind me to breathe a.k.a. Claire
Rating: PG-13 (to be safe)
Time: 1991, Harrys first year
Disclaimer: I own not a thing. Due to the fact that this story covers one of the years already written, the majority of the events and some of the dialogue comes straight from the book.
Thanks to: Healer Molly for the excellent beta
Not evil – just stupid
"Many years passed before we really realized how much they had burdened themselves, how much pain there was on their shoulders. We worried that they would lose their way because of the burdens we saw, but we only saw just a small part of what they really carried. Strength, Mister Weasley shouted once into my face, strength is when you keep yourself standing even if everybody else would understand if you broke down. I once thought this was arrogance. Now I believe it to be wisdom."
Minerva McGonagall, from an interview in 'The Second War Against The Darkness"
The trio never knew how lucky they were to get out of the forest without so much as a scratch. Snape was waiting for them to return by the front doors of the castle. However, on their way back, they met the Weasley twins.
"We have to talk. Alone."
"Why? Do you have a problem with my being a Slytherin?"
"No, but – "
"Then leave me alone," Ron said.
"Yes, Fred Weasley?"
"Come with us," the twins said in unison.
"We want to know what we did wrong," said George.
"What do you think you've done wrong?"
"What do we think we've done wrong? Please – you're in Slytherin!" cried Fred.
"I thought that at least you two would be a bit more unbiased than the rest," Ron said.
"What do you mean?"
"Are Slytherins any worse than anyone else? Am I the black sheep of the family now?"
"We never said – "
"But that's what you thought, isn't it? It's okay, just go ahead and believe that I'm evil. Just believe I now serve a man who killed the parents of my best friend and destroyed his life. Just believe I bow down before that lunatic. You know me best!"
"Ron! We never said… "
"That's true...you never said it. But did you suspect that I had turned evil? Did you think that I could turn to the dark side? Yes, you did. You say that Slytherins and Snape are the ones who are biased. But you're no better. Come on, Harry, let's go. We have to do some dark things, have secret discussions about how to help the murderer of your parents. Hopefully he doesn't have a problem with us befriending a Muggleborn – sorry, Hermione – a Mudblood."
Without another word, Harry and Ron turned around and walked away. This was the first time in memory that Severus Snape had seen the Weasley twins speechless. Snape had just started to process what he had heard when he saw Draco Malfoy approach Harry Potter.
"Trouble in paradise, Potter?" drawled Malfoy.
"I strongly recommend, if you value your health, that you get out of our way, Malfoy," Potter snarled.
"Whoa, calm down, Potter. What if I don't want to?"
"Listen, Malfoy, I just left my brothers back there, speechless for the first time ever. Do you really think today is a good day to annoy me?" Weasley hissed.
Draco smirked. "Hey, look at this, the Weasel and Little-Potty are angry. And poor Potty, he has no Mummy to be with him…"
Potter flinched. Malfoy grinned.
"Is your Mummy dead, Potty? Don't be sad, she was just a Mudblood! A Mudblood-whore! Potty's Mummy was a Mudblood-whore...Potty's Mummy was a Mudblo – "
Without warning, Potter's fist smashed into Malfoy's face.
For some odd reason, Snape couldn't convince himself to come out of his dark corner and take points for the altercation. He watched as the children left.
Severus Snape didn't know what was happening in the trio's room later that evening. If he had, his opinion of Harry Potter may have finally changed.
"Did you see? I hurt him! I didn't want to...it was...hard to resist. I could do anything. I could hurt him, I could force him to do things against his will, I could ruin him financially..." Harry ranted while he savagely cut up potions ingredients.
"With power comes responsibility, Harry," Hermione said softly.
"Oh spare me your wisdom!" Harry looked down at his trembling hands. "Sorry…it's…I don't want to bear this responsibility. The problem is that the twins were right; I could turn to the dark side. Promise me, Ron, Hermione, if you see me going down that path, promise to stop me, before it's too late," he whispered.
"Harry – please, don't say such things. We love you!" cried Hermione.
"If you love me like you say, you'll stop me. Promise me."
Ron and Hermione glanced at each other, and then nodded their heads in unison. "We will, we promise."
"Thank you. Now, let's focus on Quirrell. Do either of you have any new ideas?"
Hermione sighed. She hated it when Harry changed subjects like that.
Two days later, Snape stared at Quirrell's robes pensively. They were oddly discolored and the words, "I am looking for Eldorado," were written across the back of his robes. Was there somebody else in the castle who suspected Quirrell? But who? A student?
Harry was walking alone through the corridors back to his room. He had just been in the library, looking for books that explained the use of unicorn ingredients in potions. Suddenly, he heard a noise from behind him; somebody was following him. He quickened his pace.
"Petrificus Totalus!" somebody whispered behind him, and before he could react, the curse hit him. He forced himself to keep his eyes open. Slowly he fell, his head crashing against the stone wall. His muscles remained frozen. One, two – now five or six cloaked persons came nearer and nearer. Their faces were disguised, so Harry focused on their clothes, physique, and hands. He forced himself to stay calm.
"Is Potter all alone?" one of them whispered.
"No friends to help him?" said another person. Harry cursed inwardly. He couldn't move, couldn't defend himself. "Calm down," he thought, "it can't be worse than Uncle Vernon."
The first hit was aimed at his stomach. Harry would have screamed if he had been able to control his mouth. "A punch in your stomach hurts far more if a curse hinders you from tensing up," shot randomly through his head. A knife appeared; the person holding it made sure that Harry saw how it carved into his skin, how blood started to trickle out of his wounds.
"Another lightening bolt for you, Potter. Beautiful, don't you think?"
A shoe met his face.
"They won't kill me. Stay calm, Harry. They won't kill me. Focus on the attackers."
Harry noticed that the knife used to cut him had a little dark spot on the blade, that the hand holding it was sunburned, that the fingernails were dirty, that the nearly flawless skin had a little moon-shaped scar…Odd, what you'll notice if you really pay attention. An especially hard punch brought him out of his musings. "Ron and Hermione are waiting for me," he thought. His stomach hurt. He tried not to think of the blood.
"We'll throw him in the Room of Requirement. In seven or eight hours, the binding spell will wear off. They won't find him if we wish for a hidden prison cell," one person said.
Harry looked at his attacker's shoes; they were black leather, they looked expensive. His assailants carried him through the corridors, hiding few times in a niche when somebody crossed their path; they also took care to bang his head against the stone wall a few times. Once on the seventh floor, a doorway appeared where it had been solid stone the moment before. Harry's attackers threw him in and then after shouting some insults at him, they left.
Albus Dumbledore picked a note from his desk.
How will people remember you after your death? Will they remember as a hero who gave his life for what was right? As friend who could be counted upon? As a beloved family member? As a great teacher? As an idol? A tragic sacrifice? A deadly enemy? A traitor?
Meanwhile, Harry Potter lay unmoving and injured in a room. Hogwarts continued to be known as the safest place on earth.
He didn't know how much time had passed; he just knew that everything hurt, that he couldn't move, and that he was in an unknown room called the Room of Requirement. How he wished he wasn't alone…how he wished he were in his warm, comfortable bed…Suddenly, he felt himself being lifted into the air – What the hell! The next thing he knew, he was lying in a warm bed. This was the Room of Requirement…Harry wished for some light and pop! – a light appeared!
He wished he could move. Nothing happened. He wished for a blanket. It appeared. Harry understood; only material items would show up, he couldn't break the spell by just wishing. So how could he free himself? He would need his wand in hand and a mirror to direct the counter curse on himself. Pop!
"Finite," he tried to shout but it didn't work. His lips wouldn't move.
"Damn it! Do you need your voice to do magic?" Harry thought. "Dumbledore doesn't…" He waited a few minutes before trying again.
"Finite," Harry thought, focusing intently, but it still didn't work. "I have a lot of time to kill," he thought resignedly.
Hours later, he ran through the corridors to his room.
"You need to go to the hospital wing, Harry."
"Hermione, Ron – no. We'll do it on our own."
"Why won't you go?"
"I won't give them the satisfaction of knowing they hurt me. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to practice healing charms."
"One day Harry, your pride will kill you," Hermione said stiffly.
"Funny, Malfoy told me the same thing," Harry chuckled darkly. "I suppose that could happen, Hermione. But that which doesn't kill me will make me stronger."
None of the trio slept well that night. For the first time, they realized how difficult and dangerous their path was.
"It was an illusion," Harry thought, "that everything here is perfect. It'll be our job to make it reality." His ribs hurt despite the fact that Ron and Hermione had cast many numbing charms on him. He hoped they weren't broken. From what he had read about SkeleGrow, it had to taste awful. As Harry lay there angry, desperate, and tired, he imagined his fist smashing into the face of that bastard Flint, imagined him falling down, imagined warm blood running down his hands. "Violence isn't the answer," he reminded himself, "revenge and injustice is wrong way to solve anything."
"This is crap," he said aloud into the air to no one in particular. "The hero of the story comes home beaten and bloody, nevertheless, he decides against revenge."
Why doesn't fate recognize that losing is neither romantic nor life changing nor poetically inspiring? Why doesn't fate realize that losing just sucks?