With the Love of Parents
Chapter 1: Haunting Eyes
23-year-old Jenna Redding easily manoeuvred the police cruiser through the streets of Little Whinging, Surrey. Her partner, 28-year-old Gary Brennan sat beside her, silent but for the occasional directions.
Jenna was a 5"8 blonde with copper coloured streaks in her hair. She had a slim figure with semi-muscular arms and legs. Her cheeks held the slightest hint of chubbiness to them, and light freckles were spread liberally across her tan complexion. Her bright, intelligent eyes were a soft green with flecks of golden brown throughout. Unknown to any in her precinct but her boss and partner-and a select few of the higher ups- Jenna was a witch, placed in a Muggle (non-magical) precinct to help deal with the cases involving magic, among her other, everyday activities.
Gary Brennan was a 6" tall African-American man with a shaved head and the most stunning blue eyes. He had a lean muscular physique and a laid back look belied by the sharp attention in his eyes.
As Jenna pulled to a stop beside the curb outside #4 Privet Drive, Gary asked grimly, "Are you ready for this?"
"I guess," Jenna sighed, her voice heavy with a Canadian inflection, "You just really don't want to find out these things are true, ya know?"
"Child abuse is one of the worst crimes," Gary agreed with a long-hardened shrug, "But it's our job. At least if it is true we can get this kid out of this dump and to someplace safe."
Jenna nodded her acceptance and stepped out of the car, Gary joining her mere moments later, and they walked up to the door in grim silence. Gary rang the bell and they stepped back to wait.
From inside the house, a man's voice bellowed, "BOY! GET THE DOOR!"
Jenna and Gary shared a knowing, condemning look before they heard the sound of light footsteps approaching the door. The door creaked slowly open and a small child's face appeared, peering suspiciously out a t the two police officers.
He was small and thin for his age, not looking the 3 years the duo knew him to be. He had a mop of messy, night-black hair and emerald eyes peered out from behind thick-rimmed glasses. His clothes were several sizes too large and covered in dozens of dirt and food stains. The few visible portions of his skin were covered in bruise, small cuts and long faded scars.
He seemed to cower at the sight of them, but managed to force a stuttered, "C-C-Can I h-help y-you?"
Jenna knelt down so that she was eye-level with the little boy, smiling kindly, "Hello. My name's Jenna, and I'm a police officer, and this is my partner Gary. We're here to speak to Vernon Dursley."
Still regarding them warily, the boy said, in a prim voice too mature for a toddler of 3, "Please wait here while I get him."
"Thank you," Jenna smiled, even as her heart filled with despair for the tiny boy.
After a momentary hesitation, the boy offered up a shy smile before disappearing back into the house, letting the door fall softly shut. Jenna regained her feet, brushing absently at the dust and dirt on her knees.
"It's true," she murmured absently, her voice filled with sadness, "Did you see all of those bruises and scars?"
Gary nodded his own saddened acceptance, sighing, "I agree with you."
Jenna sighed, rubbing her hand over her own face in exhaustion. It was always horrible to find out that a child, the continuance of the world's only innocence, was being abused, but for the child to be Harry Potter. The child had saved both the Wizard and Muggle worlds at the cost of his own parents, only to come to this.
At that moment, a short, fat balding man with a large moustache opened the door, asking in a gruffly polite voice, "May I help you, officers?"
Flipping open his I.D, Gary said coldly, "I'm Officer Gary Brennan, Mr. Dursley, and this is partner, Jenna Redding. We're here about certain allegations concerning the health and care of your nephew, Harry James Potter."
A startled look crossed the man's face, but Jenna saw the underlying fear in his eyes that gave away his poor attempt at acting skills. Gruffly, he said, "I'm afraid now is not a good time, officers."
With a falsely pleasant smile, Jenna announced brightly, "This won't take long, Mr. Dursley."
With an equally fake smile, Gary shouldered his large frame into the overly clean house. Reluctantly, Dursley led them into the living room where a horse-faced woman and a beach ball of a child were sitting on the couch.
"Hello, you must be Mrs. Dursley," Jenna said with the same falsely cheerful attitude as before, before turning to the little boy and kneeling, said, "Hello there, my dear. You must be Dudley."
The toddler sneered, as no child should ever learn how, demanding, "Who are you?"
Jenna's eyebrows shot up in surprise, but she patiently answered with, "My name is Jenna, Jenna Redding. I'm a police officer."
"Girls can't be police! Only boys can!" Dudley rudely shot back.
"That's not true," Jenna said with a frown, "Girls can do anything that boys can do."
Dudley opened his mouth to protest again, but Petunia Dursley interrupted. She said, "Hush, now, Diddykins, the lady isn't here talk to you."
Jenna pulled herself back to her feet as Gary got right to business, saying, "Mr. Dursley, Mrs. Dursley, we have received…suggestions, if you will, that a child under your care is being abused."
Petunia sniffed disdainfully at the very thought, saying snootily, "Well, as you can see for yourselves, our darling Dudley is a perfectly healthy boy."
"But your nephew isn't" Jenna returned coldly, steely eyes taking in the other woman's startled look, "Young Harry doesn't look very well at all."
Quickly, eyes nervous, Vernon grumbled, "The boy doesn't like to eat much and he scraps a lot with other children-he's just…unnatural!"
"Is that so?" Gary asked coolly, eyes downright frosty as he crossed his big arms over his equally big chest, the image of controlled anger.
"In that case, Mr. Dursley, you wouldn't mind if we talked to young Harry," Jenna said, quickly interrupting before either she or her partner lost their tempers with the pair of ignorant twits, pausing a moment, before adding coldly, "Alone!"
Vernon looked about to protest this, but his protests died in his throat at the icy looks of anger on the gun toting cops' faces. The trio of Dursleys left the living room, Petunia herding Dudley, loudly stating he wanted to hear "the boy" get into trouble, ahead of her. Jenna and Gary were left alone in the silent room to await the young boy's arrival.
From just outside the door the pair could hear Vernon's grumbling voice. Gary's jaw tightened and Jenna flinched visibly as they heard the sound of flesh striking flesh and then a small body thumping against the wall just outside the room. Moments later, 3-year-old Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived entered the room, trying his best to hide the limp that was obviously causing him great pain and the red tinge on his left cheek.
Standing in front the two adults with his head bowed, Harry asked softly, "You wanted to see me?"
Jenna knelt again to be eye-level with him once more, giving him a gentle smile as she said, "Hi, Harry-love. Do you remember who I am? I'm Jenna, the police officer."
Harry didn't say anything, keeping his eyes downcast. Jenna frowned slightly in concern, throwing her partner an uncertain look over her shoulder.
"Harry, we'd like to ask you a few questions. Is that okay?" Gary asked in a soft voice, keeping Jenna between himself and the child so as not to frighten Harry.
At Harry's nod, Jenna asked gently, "Harry, is it true that you scrap a lot with other children?"
Harry shook his head in the negative, his eyes on his ratty shoes, from which peeked his sock-less toes, as he murmured, "I'm not allowed to be around other children- but they don't like me very much anyway."
"Harry," Jenna took a deep breath, her hear filled with sorrow for the small child, "Do your aunt and uncle…do they hit you, sweetheart?"
The little boy flinched visibly, but remained silent. Jenna's frown deepened, and she reached out, gently taking Harry's hand in her own.
Softly, she said, "Harry, I need you to tell me. It's never okay for an adult to hit a child, Harry, never."
In an almost inaudible voice, Harry mumbled, "But I'm a freak."
The toddler stiffened in the hug at first, not used to being the recipient of one, but then he seemed to melt into Jenna's arms. Burying his head into the hollow of Jenna's neck, Harry began to cry. Tearfully, Jenna hugged him back, enveloping him with warmth and love.
Behind her, she heard Gary walk to the phone and dial up the precinct. Dimly over the soothing noises she was making to Harry, she could hear Gary ask for another squad car and social services worker.
Ten minutes later, Jenna heard the doorbell ring and then the sound of two more police officers entering the pristine house. Standing, she lifted Harry up with her, placing him on her hip feeling her heart constrict as Harry wrapped an arm around her trustingly with one hand, sucking the thumb of his other hand with slight fear.
With Harry held safely and securely in her arms, she stepped out into the hall. Eyes filled with grim satisfaction, Jenna gazed at the scene before her.
Two more police officers- Jenna did not know their names- were arresting both of the elder Durselys. A tall, blonde social worker was attempting to quiet the screaming Dudley. When Vernon saw Jenna in the doorway with Harry in her arms, he began to yell, spittle flying everywhere.
"YOU!" He roared at Harry, "YOU DID THIS TO US! YOU STUPID FREAK! YOU'LL GET YOURS JUST LIKE YOUR PARENTS, YOU-"
The police officer forcefully pushed the large man through the doorway, ignoring the man's angry yells. Pale and wide-eyed, Petunia walked complacently out after her husband. Dudley's wails stopped the minute the social worker gave him a piece of candy.
With an exasperated look on her face, the social worker turned to Jenna, asking, "Oh, is this the other child?"
Jenna nodded with a soft, understanding smile, "Yes, this is Harry. Harry Potter."
Smiling gently, the blonde woman stepped closer, saying, "Hello, Harry, I'm Ms. Bennett."
Harry regarded the woman uncertainly for a moment before offering up his own, tentative smile. Placing Harry back on the ground, Jenna knelt in front of him once more.
"Harry, love, Ms. Bennett is going to take you and your cousin to a safe place where you'll get to play with lots of other children. There they'll find you a place to stay." Jenna explained, pushing away tears, "You'll like it there."
A little uncertainly, Harry nodded, placing his trust once more in Jenna's hands. A few moments later, the social worker walked out of the house, one child's hand in each of her own.
Just before he was ushered into the car, Harry threw a look back for a last glimpse of the only adult he could ever remember caring about him.
Three hours later, Harry stood nervously among the many other children in the playroom of 'The Little Whinging's Little Angels' Orphanage'. He and Dudley had been brought first to the police building, where all of his injuries had been photographed and recorded for evidence against his guardians. "Aunt" Marge had come and taken Dudley away, but she didn't want Harry (which was just dandy with him since he hated the overgrown witch and her ankle biting monsters!).
The blonde lady- Ms. Bennett- had then taken him to the orphanage where a tired looking lady had greeted him, introduced as Miss. Carol. While Ms. Bennett and Miss. Carol began talking, Miss. Carol had placed him in the playroom to meet the other kids he'd be living with now.
"Hello," said a shy, gentle voice suddenly from behind him.
Startled, Harry whirled around to look at his new house mate. He looked 3, just like Harry, and about an inch taller than he was. He had messy, platinum blonde hair and curiously mature grey eyes that mirrored the expression in Harry's own eyes.
"H-Hi," Harry stuttered nervously, not used to being greeted by other children or being allowed to play with them.
"I'm Draco," the other little boy introduced, wrinkling his nose in distaste as he added, "but I don't really like that name-my Dad named me."
"W-Well, w-why don't I just call you Drake instead?"
Draco beamed brightly, saying, "Yea! That's a good name!", he paused, before smiling and adding, "But only you can call me that 'cause you came up with it!"
Harry smiled back, his own smile delighted, "My name's Harry."
Draco grinned, then frowned suddenly as he said, "You have lots of owies on you. My dad used to give my mommy and me owies, but then my mommy ran away with me and brought me here. But she had to go away even 'though she loves me lots. But here I don't get anymore owies!"
"No more owies? Ever?" Harry asked, voice and eyes filled with a mix of hope and disbelief.
"Nope, never! Miss. Carol doesn't give anyone owies- just hugs!" Draco assured him, then asked softly, "Who gave you your owies?"
Harry looked down, toeing the carpet with the ratty shoes Miss. Carol had promised to replace when she got a minute, shyly admitting, "My uncle."
"He's a bad man!" Draco declared firmly, his nose wrinkled once more in disgust.
Harry nodded his agreement, finally believing this after all the times he'd been told it was true in the last few hours. Shyly, he looked up at Draco through his lashes, asking, "Drake, do you want to be my friend?"
Draco beamed brightly at Harry, answering, "So long as you want to be my friend!"
"Okay!" Harry smiled back, teeth shining fully.
Within minutes, the two were playing with the dozens
of toys in the room, chattering happily away like they'd been
friends all their lives.
At the same time that Harry was being checked into Little Angels, Jenna pulled her black car up into her driveway. She and her young goddaughter lived in a white townhouse that had 3 floors. The top floor held three bedrooms and a bathroom, the ground floor contained the living room and kitchen and the basement was basically a storage room.
Yawning tiredly, Jenna hopped out of the black jeep, brushing the hair back from her face. Locking her car door, she jogged quickly up the drive and across the small porch. Pushing open the bright blue door, her call of "I'm home!" was met with the sound of small, running feet and the slower steps of their next door neighbour-baby-sitter.
Kicking off her shoes, Jenna expertly caught the blur that was her toddler goddaughter in mid-stride. Swinging the little girl up into the air, her own happy laughter mixed with the childish giggles. Placing the happy child back onto the ground, Jenna couldn't help but notice the differences between her and her abused little boy whose haunting emerald eyes had stayed with her all day long.
Three-year old Hermione Jane Granger was a happy, laughing child, despite the death of her parents only the year before. The little girl had bushy, light brown hair that grew in a wild tumble to her shoulders and intelligent, coffee-coloured eyes. Her parents death had matured the girl who was already mature for her age, but, with Jenna's help, she was returning to childhood.
Jenna had been born and raised in the boonies in Ontario, Canada. It was there, in her own neighbourhood, that she met Gretta McKinnen, the girl from England who came each summer to visit her grandmother. Jenna and Gretta had become fast friends, and remained as such through Jenna's years of training in Hogwarts, Gretta's marriage to Adam Granger and less frequent visits, right up until her death the year before.
Gretta and Adam had been out for a romantic dinner, the first they'd been able to have since Hermione's birth, Hermione spending the night with her sister, when they'd been killed in a fatal car accident. Or, at least, that's what Jenna told all of her and Gretta's Muggle friends. In reality, Gretta and Adam's car had been attacked by rogue Death Eaters, who'd tortured and killed them. Jenna, 'though feeling devastated by her best friend's death, had moved to England immediately, moving into her old friend's house to care for her goddaughter and take care of her late friends' things.
"How was my little kit today, Anne?" Jenna asked her grey-haired neighbour, using the special name she used for the girl she'd come to love as her own child.
"An impish little angel, as always," Anne Cassidy answered with a grin. At Jenna's fond, but tired nod, Anne asked in concern, "Hard day, honey?"
"We had to get an abused child out of his guardians' care," Jenna said simply, with a small, sad smile.
"You poor dear," Anne sighed sympathetically, "There's left over chicken and potatoes in the stove to keep it warm, my child. Be sure to eat some of it, will you? You're entirely too thin."
Jenna laughed and kissed the elder woman's wrinkled cheek, saying, "Thank you, Annie love."
"Same time tomorrow, dear?" Anne yelled out in question, as she did every day even 'though it never changed, 'though she was already exiting the house.
"Yes!" Jenna yelled back in a laugh, hearing her dear friend's laugh through the closed door.
With an affectionate laugh at the older woman, Jenna
turned back to her young charge, pushing away all thoughts of those
haunting emerald eyes.
Jenna dropped into the chair behind her desk the next morning with a tired moan. There was only the slightest glimpse of the dark bags under her eyes before she wearily dropped her head down onto her desk.
"Rough night?" Her partner joked from across from her, at his own desk.
"Piss off you stupid bachelor," Jenna returned, 'though her voice held no bite in it.
Gary laughed at her, but then gave her now lifted eyes a conspiratorial smile, saying, "Not for too much longer!"
"You didn't?" Jenna demanded in a hushed squeal, surprised happiness covering her face as she forgot her fatigue.
"I asked her last night. She said yes," Gary happily grinned back, pride shining in his eyes.
"It's about time!" she laughed, happy for her friend, "You and 'Belle have been together for years!"
Gary grinned back but their happy conversation was interrupted by the arrival of their Chief. Aaron Levington was a 56-year-old man with salt and pepper hair, bright blue eyes and an air of authority. He had a sharp, barking tone, that, nevertheless, could be as kind as a grandfather's.
"Redding! Brennan!" he barked loudly- evidently, today he was not feeling very grandfatherly.
"Yes, sir?" they asked simultaneously, both alert and straight in their chairs.
"Where's your report from yesterday?" he demanded harshly.
The two threw each other quizzical looks and Gary nervously ventured, "Er…sir? Since the little boy was being abused, the social worker took him, and then so isn't she the one who's supposed to type up the report?"
Levington growled, "In my office Redding!"
Jenna threw Gary a 'What the-?' look, but he could only shrug in answer. However, at her boss' sharp 'NOW!', she jumped to her feet and walked quickly along behind him to his office. Once there, he sat behind his desk and she sat nervously in the chair in front of said desk.
"Damn, Jenna," he said finally, his weary epithet breaking the tense silence.
"Um, what is it sir?" Jenna asked, her curiosity and concern overcoming her nervousness.
Clasping his fingers together and then resting his chin on them to stare right at Jenna, he asked, "What does the name 'Sirius Black' mean to you?"
Jenna frowned slightly in thought at the oddity of the older man's question, but answered, "I went to Hogwarts with him, I think. Yes, yes, but he was a few years ahead of me.
"Think harder," Levington prompted simply.
Jenna's frown deepened as she searched her memories for something about the black-haired boy who she'd attended school with. He, along with 3 other boys, was part of a group of pranksters called the Marauders. The others were Remus something and…Peter Pettigrew and James Potter!
"The traitor who gave up the Potters and killed Pettigrew and 13 Muggles!" Jenna declared, the memory hitting her in a rush as she recalled the events that had taken days to reach her from her older half-brother.
"One in the same," Levington nodded, before dropping the proverbial bomb shell grimly, "He's escaped from Azkaban."
"What? How the heck did he manage that?" Jenna demanded in disbelief and shock- no one had ever before, in all of wizarding history, escaped from the desolate prison.
"Nobody really knows, 'though it's said to be dark magic." Levington shrugged it off before coming to the most important point, "What we do know is that he's after little Harry Potter."
Levington nodded grimly, saying, "He was You-Know-Who's right-hand, remember. He wants to finish what his Master started."
"That stupid, mother…" Jenna continued to curse angrily under her breath at the man who wanted to hurt the small, innocent child who had already tugged at her heartstrings with his troubled life.
Levington nodded once more, this time in agreement, as, interrupting her epithets, he said sadly, "There's no way he can be left alone in a Muggle orphanage-he won't be safe there."
"I'll go and get him," Jenna offered immediately, the haunting emerald orbs coming swiftly to mind.
"I'm going to need you to do more than that."
"I need you to protect him- form the press, the Ministry and…from Dumbledore. I need you to adopt him." Adam said gravely.
"Adopt? From Dumbledore? But why?" Jenna's face filled with confusion and shock as she remembered the Headmaster that everyone had loved and respected when she'd been at school.
"Don't get me wrong, Jenna, he's a good man, and I know you think highly of him, but consider this; he's the one that commanded Harry be sent to his aunt and uncle's and never bothered to check up on him. Many more, loving, people would have loved to be able to care for the little boy. He wants too much to be able to control everything- including that little boy. I'm sorry, but I don't trust him. I just don't." Levington answered honestly.
Jenna remained speechless, her mind flying and tumbling at this new information. At the same time, fierce, motherly instinct began rising in her at the thought of anyone hurting Harry ('though she firmly pushed that down, reminding herself firmly that Harry was not hers, no matter how much her heart wanted that).
"Look, Jenna," Levington said frankly, "You and little Hermione are moving back to Canada in a few days to be closer to your family anyway. I know this is a lot to ask of you, Jenna, but he needs you and I know you know that and you want to help him. He badly needs someone who will show him what love and comfort are without turning him into a spoiled little brat. He needs someone who'll protect as fiercely as his own mother did before her death, and teach him how to protect himself, like his own parents would have is they'd lived.
"We both know that once that little boy comes out into the public's eyes, a bunch of crack-pot ex-Death Eaters will be after him with a vengeance, just like Black is now. You can teach him how to defend himself, physically and magically, when that time comes.
"I know that's a lot to ask Jenna," he repeated, eyes filled with hope and pleading, "especially since you already have Hermione, but there isn't anyone else I'd trust with that little boy. And it will be good for the kids to have each other- especially since they're both magical, if Hermione blowing up the kitchen table is any indication. Plus, it will be better for Hermione and Harry to have siblings as it's more fun with siblings-as I'm sure you can attest to."
Jenna sighed softly, gazing back at her boss with pursed lips, 'though she already knew the answer- had known the answer since the moment Harry had opened that door and looked up at her with his scarred eyes. She sighed again, opening her mouth to answer her boss, but, before she could, the door slammed open, admitting a frantic, frazzled Gary.
"Hurry Jenna!" he yelled, "There's a man trying to kidnap Harry from the orphanage!"
Within mere seconds, Jenna was on her feet and out
the door of the precinct, her car racing the two miles to the
orphanage at top speed, her sirens blaring and flashing. All the
while, she prayed frantically that she wasn't too late to save the
child who, in her heart, was already her little boy.
AN: Hey buddies! Long time no read, eh? I've been busy running after my 20-month old cousin, Tristan, and trying to keep him from killing my kitten in a choke hold! I'd like reviews if you're so inclined-if not, then piss on yea, I didn't write it for anyone but myself! Flames will only be used to help keep my toesies warm so there:P
Also, this chapter- and the entire story- is dedicated to my baby, my kitten: Moses Herman Peabody (Yes, that is his real name!) for being my muse for this story and for helping to keep me warm at night.
Well, I have to go if I'm going to get this up tonight. The next update will be whenever possible, but I start school on Tuesday and this weekend has been designated 'Party Weekend' so I don't know when I'll have the chance to sit down at the keyboard again.