Taking Care of Myself
All materials below are the property of the great and power J.K. Rowling and related companies. They aren't my toys, I just like to play with them.
When Harry was a little boy he always dreamed of some long lost relative coming and taking him away from the Dursleys. Little did he know that long lost relative would be… himself!?
Petunia Dursley strived to be normal. She, for the most part, did what was expected of a young house wife of Surrey, England. She doted on her son and husband, kept a lovely garden, a lovely house and was admired all over the neighborhood for taking in her ragamuffin of a nephew. Never mind that said nephew did at least half of the work around the garden and the house and that he never had enough to eat and slept in the cupboard. Yes, Petunia Dursley was perfectly normal, thank you very much. It was a nice, clear, normal day. She had already observed one of her neighbors having an argument with his wife and had called half the neighborhood to tell them and complain how fickle some people were these days. She had just sat down to watch her afternoon dramas when, suddenly, she heard a knock at the door. That was unexpected. Who in the world could that be? She hurriedly tapped on the cupboard door signaling the sniffling child inside to be quiet. Little fool was claiming he was afraid of the dark. Then she opened the door with a flourish and a smile which immediately froze on her face.
Hard, cold, emerald eyes stared back at her. "Where is he?"
Chapter one: Finding Myself
Harry Potter was not in a good mood. When he had left the Dursleys at seventeen years of age he had been quite sure he would never return. Yet here he was, on their doorstep glaring at his stunned aunt. Actually, the glaring part wasn't half bad.
"Where is he?"
"Where is who?"
Harry smirked. "The magical one."
Petunia's eyes widened and she started to slam the door in his face. A very strong hand quickly caught the door before that could happen.
"Ah. Must be in the cupboard again eh?"
Petunia had no choice but to step back as the man, obviously a Potter, stepped into the house. She did, however try to stop him from reaching the cupboard.
"Now see here! I don't know who you are but you're not taking him! He… he's under my protection and will not leave this house!"
Harry looked at his aunt in surprise. "You must care something for the child after all. I'm shocked. However, you don't need to protect him from me." He broke out into a full grin. "After all, why would I hurt myself?" Harry had almost knocked the lock off the cupboard before Petunia finally found her senses.
He turned around. "Yes, funny story that. I got thrown back in time so now I'm here to rescue him from you. Oh don't worry about paradoxes and the like, it won't happen. I've already checked."
"Thrown back in time?"
"Yes. Now if you'll excuse me I have to meet myself." He grinned and threw open the cupboard door. Wide, tear filled green eyes peered up at him.
"Harry, I'm your uncle James (who will for most of this story be called James) I've come to take care of you."
Petunia was doing her best to push James away from the cupboard door. "I will not allow this! The protection! The boy will be unprotected!"
James quickly scooped the five year old into his arms. "I, Harry James Potter do hereby swear upon mine and my mother's blood to care for and protect Harry Potter, child of Lilly Potter until the day I die." A soft, golden glow surrounded the man and child leaving them both feeling warm and safe. Harry, who was exhausted from all his chores and running from Dudley quickly dropped off to sleep deciding that the mystery of 'Uncle James' could be solved later. As he fell asleep, he could swear he heard a woman's voice singing softly as he drifted to sleep.
Upon James' oath, Petunia felt as if an arctic wild was blasting through her then suddenly went numb. "Wha…what was that?"
"His protection has been transferred to me. Don't worry; I'll take good care of him, far better than you ever would. I'll be taking him now and you won't be seeing either of us ever again… you hope." And with that, the two Harry James Potters vanished forever from Number Four, Privet Drive and for a while, from England all together.
Harry smiled as he took a deep breath of sea air and looked around him. The climate was warm, the people were few, magical, ignorant of current events and friendly. The child would grow strong here, he decided. There was a thick, lush forest that spanned the entire island. It even had a dead volcano at the center. The plot of land he had purchased was several dozen acres square and the people that lived closest to him had a couple of kids that would make excellent playmates when time allowed. He smiled as he shifted the child to one arm and opened the door. The place was perfect, absolutely perfect. The house he had magically built was humble but comfortable. It had two floors, three bedrooms, one bath, an expanded kitchen, training room, and den, the door under the stairs led to the training room so there was no cupboard under the stairs and he had already decorated his room and Harry's room. The interior of the home was all bamboo and Harry had simply put up colorful pictures and posters. Both Harry's rooms had a ceiling that had been charmed to show the sky. Most of the furniture was made of bamboo and the color scheme was navy blue, sky blue, white and a hint of crimson. Harry had already bought more than enough clothes for each of them (the child's would grow with him up to age eleven) and had done everything to make the house a home for both of them. Still cradling the child in his arms, he climbed the bamboo stairs (they had no railing but Harry had installed a magical net to catch anyone that fell) and took little Harry to his room to be put to bed. All around the room were pictures of people uncle James intended the boy to meet, know and love. There were also several pictures of his parents. Harry didn't so much as stir as James gently undressed him and put his brand now doggy pajamas on him. He tucked the child into bed and waved his arm to activate the temperature controls and monitoring charms he had already set. He then headed down to the beach. The charms would let him know when little Harry was starting to wake up.
As Harry started to wake up, he idly thought that he had never been more comfortable in his whole life. He was warm right down to the tips of his toes and whatever he was lying on was wonderfully soft. A soft smile flitted across his face as he stretched like a cat.
"Good morning, sleepy head, and happy late birthday."
The child's eyes flew open as he sat up and turned toward the voice. A man that looked very much like him was sitting backwards in a wooden chair and smiling at him. He was in a strange room, one that was decorated, he supposed, for a child his age.
The man smiled kindly. "I'm not surprised you don't remember. You were almost asleep when I met you last night. I'm your uncle James, well, sort of an uncle I guess and I'm going to take care of you from now on. This is my house and the room is yours as long as you want it. While I will expect you to work hard at the things I assign you, they won't be chores and for now, most of them will be quite fun I think. You are allowed in any room here except for the one with the black door. There are dangerous things in there and I don't want you to get hurt. We are now on an Island in the part of the world called Oceania. It's a bunch of islands off the coast of Australia. You are allowed anywhere on the island as long as you tell me where you will be going first. There will be kids around for you to play with when there is time." James smiled when the child just blinked at him then laughed when Harry looked up and exclaimed that they didn't have a roof.
"That would be my doing. We do have a roof. I simply used magic to make your ceiling show the sky."
"Magic! There's no such thing!"
James growled low in his throat and almost didn't notice that he had frightened his young charge. "Harry, the Dursleys are bloody liars. There is such thing as magic. You have it, I have it and your parents had it. By the way they were not drunken fools. They were heroes. They died fighting a very evil man and won, for a while at least. Now, there will be plenty of time to talk about, well, everything later on. For now let's get some food in you and I'll give you a tour of the house, our land and the whole Island. Feel free to ask anything you wish while I cook your breakfast."
"I don't mind a bit if you eat in your pajamas. I think they're rather cute. Aside from that, I took the liberty of getting you new clothes. They are in that wardrobe over there." James pointed to a tall, blue wardrobe with snitches flying across it. He watched at Harry saw the wardrobe then began to notice the rest of the room. The walls were painted a nice soft blue and on one wall some sort of game seemed to be played on broomsticks. Every once in a while a golden ball with wings would zip across parts of the blue. James had charmed it so that the snitch could even zoom from the wall to the wardrobe and back. The furniture in the room was bamboo and the covers on the bed had a nice sky pattern to them. Based on the lighting it would change from a blue sky with clouds to a night sky with the moon and stars. A large green rug was on the wooden floor making the room look very much someone's back yard. In the corner of the room was a toy chest filled with muggle and magical toys alike. Pictures of smiling, waving people occupied every available space on the furniture and a few of the nicer ones hung on the walls. The room wasn't particularly large but it wasn't very small either. In short, Harry felt very much like he was in heaven.
James bent down so he was eye level with Harry. "All this is yours and only yours."
James was a bit surprised when he suddenly found his arms full of pajama-clad little boy. He quickly recovered, however and gently returned the hug then scooped the child up and carried him downstairs. "Breakfast time! The food's getting cold!" He plopped the child down on a booster seat at the small table for two and smiled at the wide, green eyes staring at the vast amount of food on his plate.
"Just eat as much as you can. I know good and well the Dursleys didn't feed you as well as they should have and that it will take time before you can put much of a dent in that."
Instead of digging in, Harry reached over and pinched his arm, hard. James chuckled.
"You're not dreaming."
"But why? Why are you being so nice to me? Aunty says I don't dserve anything nice."
James reached across the table and gently gripped Harry's shoulder.
"I told you before. Your aunt, that entire family are liars. They are also awful people on the whole. The way I am treating you now is how you always should have been treated. I just regret that you won't be able to have fun all the time. You're a good little boy, Harry and you deserve good things. I don't want you to be afraid to come to me when you're scared or have a question or just want to be around me. Your parents, godfather and all their friends loved you very much and so do I."
James was more than a bit surprised when the newly five year old suddenly burst into tears right there at the table. James quickly snatched up little Harry and checked him over for injuries. Finding none and with no sign of the tears stopping anytime soon, he did his best to comfort the child gently drawing him into a comforting hug. Harry only cried harder.
"What's wrong? Was it something I said? He tried to sooth the child by rubbing circles on his back, a trick he had learned from Hermione. It did no good.
"Harry? Little one? Tell me what's wrong!"
The little boy just shook his head and clutched hard at James' T-shirt.
"Harry, please, tell me what's wrong and I'll fix it! Just tell me what's wrong!"
"Y…you said." Harry sniffled and buried his face deeper into James' shoulder. "Said… you love me."
Immediately, James knew the problem. He shifted the little bundle a bit and held him tight. "Of course I love you, Harry! How could I not?"
"B-but where were you? Unca James? Where were you? I thought… I'd almost…"
"Decided no one would come for you? I know. I know what that feels like. I wasn't able to come before now. It would have been very dangerous for you to be with me before now. I was fighting some very bad people that would have just loved to hurt you to get to me. That's over now though. I won't fight anyone else except to protect you until you're all grown up and take care of yourself. I'm so sorry you were left there and I promise, you will never have to go back. But please, please stop crying. When you cry, it makes me want to cry too." James then went into an elaborate, hysterical and completely fake crying fit. Little Harry quickly went from tears to soft giggles.
"You're funny." He decided then let out a squeal of laugher when James tickled him.
"Yeah, well you're little and cute." He let the child go and pulled the other plate over so they were side by side. "How about we just eat together this morning?" Harry nodded happily then stopped and squeaked,
"I'm not little!"
James just laughed.
James was almost as excited about Harry seeing the ocean for the first time as Harry himself was. He watched in pure delight as the tiny boy bounced up and down waiting for him to open the door. James finished putting sunscreen on the boy's incredibly fair skin then grinned and flung the door wide open.
James watched in amusement as the little boys wide, green eyes grew to almost impossible proportions. The child stood there slack jawed for a moment, then shook himself and absolutely beamed at James.
James felt both pride and bitterness bubble up in him as he watched little Harry dash around on the sand. During his childhood, even after he came to Hogwarts, James could not remember ever being that happy. Oh sure, like any other child he would play and had been happy sometimes - just not that often. The look his tiny counterpart had just given him had been pure, untainted, childish delight. He only wished that he had known an 'Uncle James' when he was young.
"Unca James? Can I go see the water?" The excited little boy was standing in front of him bouncing up and down on his toes. When James nodded he whooped and ran the short distance down the beach and to the waves.
"Just don't go in the water!" James could tell the child didn't hear him and with a curse, tore after the child. He easily caught up with Harry and grabbed his hand. "Tomorrow, I'll start teaching you how to swim. For now though, don't go above your knees in the water ok?" James waved a hand and a small section of the waves were stilled. The water simply lapped up on that part of the shore as would that of a lake. Harry gasped.
"That is so cool! Will I be able to do that someday?"
James just smiled. "I think it's a safe bet."
James took great delight in teaching the little boy how to play on the beach. Together, they made a sand castle, had a splash war. James let Harry win that one. Then, James let the little boy bury him in the sand. When they finally returned to the house for lunch, both Harrys were pretty well knackered. It didn't take much convincing after lunch for both of them to agree to a nap. After he had put Harry to bed, James flopped down on the couch and covered himself up. It wasn't five minutes before he felt a small tug on his blanket. Immediately tugging his wand from the holster, James grabbed his assailant by his hair and pressed his wand to his temple. Constant vigilance had been so ingrained into him that he hadn't even opened his eyes until he had the assailant firmly in hand.
When he finally did open them he did not expect to see frightened, tear-filled green eyes staring back at him. Eyes that matched his own.
"Harry!" James released the boy as if the skin contact burned him. "Oh Merlin, I'm so sorry I didn't know it was you!" He reached for the child and was horrified when little Harry tried to flinch away. He gently carded a hand through his tiny mop of hair before gently lifting the child up and into his lap. He hugged him close for a moment then pushed the boy away enough to tip up his chin and gently wipe away the tears rolling down the soft cheek.
"Harry, you know I would never hurt you on purpose. The truth is, I'm a bit jumpy and it's not a good idea to surprise me. At my eighteenth birthday party I hexed a good many of my friends because they tried to make it a surprise. They all jumped out and yelled and two of them ended up in the hospital. I felt really bad about it." He looked at the little boy in his arms. He didn't look happy but at least he had stopped crying. "I'm even worse now than I was then. Some… really awful things happened to me and to my friends." James shuddered. "Doors slamming, echoing footsteps, loud voices, coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder. Any of those things can set me off. They told me it would get better in time. I'm just not sure how much time it will take."
Wide green eyes peered at him. "You were hurt?"
James swallowed and closed his eyes. "Hurt doesn't begin to describe it I'm afraid." Harry sniffled a little then timidly hugged James who gently returned the hug.
"I sorry I scawered you Unca James." James just chuckled.
"Ditto. So what did you come down here for?"
Harry fidgeted and squirmed a little before answering. "I… Can I sweep with you?"
Wondering why he hadn't guessed even before he has been told, James just smiled and tossed the blanket over Harry's body. "Sure kiddo. After nap time I'll show you the forest, which you may not go into with out me and introduce you to the neighbors." James smiled and tossed his arm around the child as he felt little Harry snuggling close. The child was a warm, comforting weight on his chest and James drifted to sleep with a smile on his face. For the first time in several years, he did not have a nightmare.
The two woke up several hours later and Harry just grinned when he saw that "Unca" James was still with him and magic was still real and Aunt Petunia Dudley, and Uncle Vernon were far, far away. His dream had come true and he really did have family that loved him and really wanted him. He was just gonna have to make sure he was a very good boy and not give Unca James any reason to abandon him again.
James, not ever having mastered any of the mind arts, knew nothing of what little Harry was thinking as he led the boy outside. As it was a magical island, there were lots of magical creatures in the forest along with the normal muggle animals. It was the type of Island where all the creatures felt quite safe around humans and both Harrys had great fun playing with the monkeys. James knew where the unfriendly creatures of the forest dwelled and steered well clear of those areas. They were out of the forest and back on the beach by dusk to watch the sunset. After that, the two walked the short distance to the neighbor's house. The parents were quite friendly and the children quickly accepted Harry as their new playmate. James was a bit worried that the kids were bossing Harry around a bit but decided that with his new environment, the child would learn to assert himself soon enough. Finally, he rose, thanked the Patels and carried little Harry back home. Once there he put on his swimming trunks and gave Harry his first of many splash baths. Being a huge fan of the prefect bathroom, James had modeled the bath after the pool like tub but had thrown in a few extra charms so that he could easily control how deep the pool was. At the moment, it was a little wading pool filled with water toys. At first, Harry had been quite frightened when James told him it was bath time. Both Harrys vividly remembered that when Aunt Petunia had bathed him the water was always too hot or freezing and she had scrubbed him so hard he had bled a time or two. James was quick to assure him by getting in the bath first and starting to play with a toy boat. Harry soon joined him. For a few minutes the child sat very still and didn't try to play at all. Then James started a splash war with him. Very soon the room was soaked and filled with peals of childish squeals and laughter. Somehow, the two boys eventually managed to clean themselves and with a wave of James's hand, the bathroom was dry, the two Harrys were only slightly damp and two large, fluffy towels were in James's hand.
James grinned at his tiny self. "How do you like bath time now?"
Harry's face was flushed a healthy pink from the exercise and he was grinning ear to ear. "That was fun! Can we do it again?"
"Sure, tomorrow night. We live on the beach now. Sand will get everwhere. We have to bathe every day to make sure a desert isn't growing in our bums."
"Well now, I think we have time for a small reading lesson, a story, then it's bed time for all five year olds."
"Weading lesson? But Unca James, I can't wead."
"I know you can't. I also know your speech isn't where it should be because at the Dursleys you were pretty much told to keep quiet. I know you're young but I do want you to work on your pronunciation."
"No Harry, pronunciation. It's how you say words. Right now you're having trouble saying some words correctly. For instance, it's not wead it's read. It's cute when you're five, not so cute when you're eight."
James smiled and scooped up the little boy. "It's not your fault. We just will have to work at it a little is all."
"Now, let's get you dressed and introduce you to the wonderful world of reading."
As James expected, Harry worked very hard on his lessons – hard enough that as his story was being read little Harry happily munched away on some potato crisps (In Great Brittan, fries are chips and chips are crisps. Go figure.) and a very small mug of butterbeer laced with a mild sleeping potion. James had chosen the Chronicles of Narnia and had decided to read him two chapters a night. (I grew up on those books. If you have seen the movie but not read the books, go do so!!!) Between chapters, James got the little boy ready for bed, gave the child a trio of stuffed animals, a stag, a wolf and a black dog and tenderly tucked the child in. Harry barely managed to stay awake to the end of the chapter. James quietly bent down and brushed some unruly bangs away from the tiny scar on his counterpart and gently kissed the child goodnight. He was quite determined to give this Harry all the love and affection he, himself should have had growing up. The child stirred and turned on his side.
"Wuv you Unca James." He murmured. James smiled.
"You too, kiddo, you too."
AN: ahem I know it has been a while since I have uploaded anything. This is my new baby. The rating may go up or it may not. I intend to continue this until I get to Hogwarts years at which time I will be writing a sequal for each year. I hope you enjoyed the story.
Fic rec: Old crow Anything by him is great!