Title: Precious Memories
Pairing: James/Lily, Vernon/Petunia
Summary: Many barely remember their childhood, let alone recall vivid pictures of every moment. For one boy, Harry Potter, memories were only vivid dreams at one time before he slowly began to realize the truth. Even though he barely remembered much of his life as an innocent child suffering beneath Fate's hand, there were few memories that stood out in his mind. As many say, memories are precious, even the very rare few remembered throughout time.
Disclaimers/Warnings: HP world belongs to J.K. Rowling...Sunny and family belongs to me...Possible AU setting...Possible spoilers from Books 1 and 3...Mild to very little situations of violence, child neglect, bully abuse
Author Notes: Story based on years of birth to eleven years within snapshots of memories precious to Harry
Birth to One Year
Too loud and too bright. He was happier in the warmth of darkness, hearing low murmurs through his home. But soon that secure safety fled, leaving him exposed. He entered a strange place of brightness, hurting his sensitive eyes. In reaction, he opened his little mouth and issued forth a wailing sound of pain and need. His lungs burned for the liquidy air of his darkness. He kept screaming, wordlessly begging for these strange beings with cold and uncomfortable objects to leave him. He wanted safety. Wanted security. Wanted familiar.
Loud noises echoed in his ears as cold hands and fingers brushed over his tiny body, plucking at his ten fingers and ten toes, lightly pressing on his button nose, prying open his tightly closed eyes, and poking his stomach. Howling and waving clenched fists, he called out his displeasure. Too hot and uncomfortable. Someone had bound his free movement. Swaddled tightly in a baby blue gown, wrapped equally as encasing as the gown was also a blue fluffy blanket. His head even bore an itchy blue bonnet. He wanted out. Wanted to freely kick his legs as easily as his arms.
Just as suddenly as his displeasure began it changed when warm gentle fingers brushed over him, removing almost every confining article. Cooing sounds, so familiar, softly washed over his ears. A second set of gentle fingers rubbed at his wet cheeks, a deeper voice mumbling lowly with the cooing. Slowly, he reeled off screaming and settled for a hiccupping sniffle as the flood of tears stopped. Blinking wet lashes, he glanced up and up and up. There he faced two strange beings but the brightly colored one felt familiar. Curious, he flung a hand and latched on the bright red strands of hair, gleefully tugging.
She smiled down at him, slowly repeating something until it stuck, remembering in future dreams. "My sweet baby boy. My Harry."
The one standing at her side grinned widely, voice booming with...he wasn't sure but it unconsciously made him gurgle happily. "My son!"
He yawned deeply, easily snuggling in the warmth of the woman's arms. She swayed slowly, humming another familiar, clearer than he had heard within his old home. He snuggled closer and allowed himself to fall deeply into a relaxing state of sleep.
Several Months Later
He screamed, hoping someone would answer his cry. Then again it had happened before. When he wanted something, he cried. When cried, someone came. A noise. He quieted to whimpers. "Hey." Teary eyes looked up to face his father. He held up chubby arms, demanding. Soon he was being held as his daddy rocked them and showed a small object with creamy liquid. He gurgled, grasping tightly with tiny fists as he eagerly suckled, eyes drooping. Daddy didn't have that good of a singing voice but he loved hearing Mummy's lullaby from both. It showed him how much they truly cared by singing his song. He struggled just to listen to the entire lullaby before allowing dreamland to take him away. He barely felt Daddy placing him back into his crib, settling down for undisturbed sleep. Barely hearing, "Love you, Harry."
"Happy Birthday, Harry!" He squealed, clapping his hands to the words. It was his day, all about him. But his only with, to always be around with his Daddy, Mummy, Paddy, Moony, and Peter. His family. His squeal went louder as large hands tossed him in the air and catching him. "Hey, little man!" He stared down into laughing dark eyes of his Godfather.
"Paddy!" One of his few words to be spoken. And behind Paddy was, "Moo!"
Paddy laughed as the man behind him turned red at the shortening of his name but still went to Harry to hug him, "Happy Birthday, Cub."
"Moo!" He happily latched onto Moony's robes, tugging as he squealed from Paddy's tickling attack. Then suddenly grew serious, peering about, "W'ere Pete?"
Sadly, there was no Peter that day. Harry never saw his other Uncle again. Not for years to come he would soon realize. He celebrated his first birthday, trying to stay happy. He knew his wish wouldn't come true that day since Peter never arrived but was slightly content with who he had.
He woke to screaming and yelling. Rubbing tired eyes, he peered at a nervous and scared Daddy, "Daddy?"
"Take Harry and go! Hurry!"
Mummy roughly grabbed him from his play-pen and ran from Daddy, who stood before the door with a small stick. "No! Daddy! Want Daddy!"
"Sh, Harry, it'll be okay."
He didn't understand. Daddy turned his head, yelling, "Love you, Harry!"
"Daddy!" They were leaving him behind. Why? Why wasn't he coming too? He wanted Daddy to run with him. "Daddy!"
But Mummy had locked them in his bedroom, placing him in his bed. She turned to face the door, stick raised just like Daddy. He whimpered. Just before the door could open, Mummy turned to whisper the last few words directed his way. "I love you, Harry. We truly love you more than anything. Remember that." She ended that statement with the first line of his lullaby in a low hum as she returned her attention to the door.
He watched in frozen fear as Mummy argued with a strange man with scary eyes. But that fear had vanished for a second when he thought he saw Peter, hoping Peter was here to help Mummy and Daddy. Unable to get a better look, wide eyes turned back in time to see Mummy throw herself over him. He screamed as a bright green light hit her, her eyes shining before they suddenly went blank. Tears built up as Mummy fell, unmoving, to the floor, staring at the ceiling without blinking. "Mummy, Daddy." Whispered words barely past his lips when a second green light flashed.
Pain. So much pain. It hurt as he began screaming. Something was trying to tear him apart when a familiar lullaby rang clearly, enveloping him in Mummy and Daddy's singing voices. The pain fled, leaving him wrapped in a cocoon of warmth. Silent tears continued to fall as his eyes jerked to the black clad figure, screaming as a mixture of green and white pulsed until the man fled as a shadow, leaving torn cloth behind.
Silenced reigned. Then he began to howl. But no one came to him for a long time. No Daddy. No Mummy. No Paddy. No Moony. No Peter. No one came to his aide but a very large man with bushy hair. A man who refused to give him up to a just arriving Paddy. Instead they went flying through the air, far from the only home he knew to an unknown reality.
By morning he discovered a new home and family, wondering where the family he always saw each day were, not this strange family taking him inside with the strangest expression upon their faces.
One Year to Five Years
Cold. So cold. He shivered beneath his thin blanket, trying to tightly cocoon himself in it. He quietly sobbed in his pillow. He wanted Mummy. Wanted Daddy. Wanted them to comfort him. Wanted someone to answer his quiet cries.
No one came.
He remembered snatches of memories from just weeks ago. /Mummy and Daddy had left. So did Paddy and Moony. A really big man had taken him away. And when he woke, he woke to shrill noises and deep grunts. At first he didn't scream or cry. Nor did he fuss. Maybe Mummy and Daddy did leave for a little while. They rarely left him but always came back. That had to be it. He just didn't know why he couldn't see Paddy, Moony, or Peter. But that thought disappeared when the strange female roughly snatched him from his tiny bed. It hurt, so he screamed and kept screaming as she hurriedly changed him and feed him. Instead of a comforting cuddle or soothing words, he was rudely shoved back in his tiny bed and placed in the dark, small slivers of lights bouncing from thin slots of a weird window./
At first the darkness scared him until it became his solace, his safety. His parents never came back. Neither did the others. And over the few years without them, the memories slowly faded to nothing but wishful dreams, soon to elude his waking grasp. Since arriving, the tiny cupboard was the only place he was allowed without supervision. Without his Uncle or Aunt closely watching. Without his cousin hurting him. Trembling, he curled closer into a ball, hoping for warmth. Sighing, he fell into a shivering sleep, almost believing Mummy was singing again.
Age Three Years
He stared from his wobbly position. It was Christmas. He was forced to set the dining table for dinner again. One by one he carefully placed a colorfully decorated plate upon the table. Just as gently had gone the vase of flowers, napkins, place-mats, silverware, and glasses. Each item had been carried over one by one or in small bunches. The reason, a newly bought plastic, three-step ladder. His present from his Uncle and Aunt.
Usually he got nothing but lint or lumps of coal. Rarely any toys, unless broken or tatty. Even rarer, his cousin's really big clothing with patches in them. But the ladder came because Aunt Petunia had yelled about him. He remembered. She had been upset because of earlier holiday accidents. He didn't mean to drop the cups and break them. He just couldn't reach the table or countertops.
A few weeks ago they had shoved the ladder hard against his chest. He was surprised to find it not broken or wobbly. And now he knew why. He wasn't allowed to drop more things. Even more shocking, they just got him a second one. Something about not wanting the floors badly scuffed by constantly moving the one. And they had to be placed in his bedroom once done.
Now he was done. He watched his family in the other room as he slowly cleaned up, laughing over brightly wrapped gifts. His only wish, Mummy and Daddy would be here. But they weren't. Never coming back. "Boy!"
He watched with wide eyes as Aunt Petunia pulled a brown bag from the refrigerator, "Aunt 'Tunia?" He was confused.
She frowned, facing him, "You will stay downstairs. Understand?"
He nodded. Didn't really understand but knew the word downstairs. Then again, they despised him saying no. Once he had forgotten to say yes and had been locked in his room for two weeks without food or a bathroom break. It took just as long to air out his room before he was allowed back inside, forced to stay downstairs until then.
He followed as she led the way to an almost hidden door, shuddering at the scary darkness. With a twist of her wrist, on came a light. The other hand held out the bag, one finger pointing towards the stairs. "I left your dinner downstairs. It should last you. And you will remain silent. Understand?"
Once again, he nodded. Holding tight to the bag, he eased his way downstairs. At the bottom, he watched the door closed but the light remained on. All alone and bored.
Remaining quiet, he went to a cluttered corner to retrieve a plastic garbage bag. Inside were a couple toys, ones Dudley threw a fit at receiving. Aunt Petunia had placed them downstairs for him. To keep him quiet. He knew this. He wasn't allowed to bother them when down here. Which explained the tiny cot and heavily patched quilt smelling of moth balls, a little fridge, the toys, and in the very far corner was a second potty chair and large trash can to empty it.
He pulled the bag to his cot before emptying it. From the bag came a scruffy baby deer, floppy eared puppy, and a patchy brown cow. Beneath them rested a hastily patched creature, he never was sure of the type since Dudley's tantrum had ripped it beyond recognition, and a small barbie doll, chewed on by Dudley. Before crawling in bed with them, he swallowed his half of slice sandwich and full juice box. Food wasn't much but he easily survived, had for a couple years now.
Sleep slowly overcame him, silence the only thing hearing his whispered words. "Night, Mummy," kissing the doll. "Night, Daddy," kissing the deer. "Night, Paddy," kissing the puppy. "Night, Moo," kissing the cow. "Night, Pete," kissing the creature.
Age Five Years
School. A new adventure. At least he hoped so. Then again, maybe not as Dudley roughly shoved him aside. Dudley was always mean to him and shoving him. To him, it was normal. No one had said any different.
He sighed, shifting foot to foot. He had been so excited the night before. Almost didn't get any sleep but here he was, nervously standing before an opened classroom. Once again he wished he had parents as he enviously watched the other kids receive hugs and kisses and smiles. He was even jealous of Dudley and Aunt Petunia.
He wished he could ask about his parents again. But over the few years, he slowly began to lose what little he remembered. No more images or sounds, some barely remaining in his waking grasp, wondering what that song was or who sang it. Over time his toys downstairs slowly lost their splendor as he began forgetting who and what they once represented. He forgot because nothing reminded him. He would be punished, locked in his room without meals just for mentioning the words 'mummy, daddy.'
Sighing softly, he edged his way into the bustling classroom. He chose an empty cubby and carefully removed his thin coat and shabby bag. Then stood quietly by the chosen cubby, eyes roaming over leaving parents. Once more he desperately wished he had parents. He wanted a family too. He wanted the warmth of hugs, love of kisses, and safety of cuddles.
But that dream was cut short with the very first sight of tiny toddlers running and laughing. Together. Like they knew each other quite well. His very first addictive taste of friendship. A tangible dream that would remain that, a dream for quite some time.
Six Years to Eleven Years
Age Six Years
He silently cried in a thin, lumpy pillow. He had that dream again. Mummy and Daddy said they loved him but then walked away as he cried, holding up tiny arms to be held. They abandoned him, leaving him to a scary shadow shooting green beams of light at him. He truly thought they willingly left. Again, he had begged Petunia about his parents and it worked. Finally. He got the story of a drunken car crash. He was the only survivor and pawned off to Petunia. She didn't want to take him but no one in the Evans had grown up in orphanages or among strangers and she wasn't about to start now. Not if it could raise her social status as a kind woman raising an orphan.
Okay, he was a little confused on some of her words but he did understand the fact of forced pity and responsibility. And he had one responsibility of his own. Tears ebbed to silent hiccups until he could no longer keep quiet. To avoid punishment, he hurried to dress. School was in a few hours and he needed to begin breakfast.
Before slipping out the cupboard door, something pulled him to a torn cardboard shoe box. Reverently, the lid came off. Inside were his old favorite toys. A tingling sensation flowed through his body, it knew these toys very well. But on the outside, he was confused, blank to those memories. He just couldn't toss them out. They gave him comfort and security.
Age Eight Years
"Hi!" He twisted on the swing to face a bubbly brunette female, looking about his age. She was overly happy and smiling.
At first he hesitated, shyly glancing around. "Um, hi."
She quickly slipped onto an empty swing, holding out a hand, "I'm Sunny. We just moved here."
"Harry." He hoped she didn't notice his fearful hesitation. There was a reason. His eyes grew in alarm as that reason began to hurriedly waddle its way to the park swing set.
Dudley. His cousin. A spoiled brat but the apple of his parents' eyes. The reason he had no friends. One of the reasons the neighborhood treated him like a leper. And a reason why he was in over-sized clothing, had little food intake, and a cramped cupboard for a bedroom. Oh, he forgot. Also the reason the teachers frowned at his barely adequate school work.
"Well, well, freak got a girl."
Sunny blinked, tilting her head, voice curious, "Who are you?"
Dudley sneered at her, "Must be new." He barely waited for her nod, "No one talks to the freak. Got it?"
"Who?" He could tell Sunny was confused at Dudley's words but he wondered why she wasn't afraid like everyone else. Dudley's little followers didn't care much if their victim was male or female. Almost as if they enjoyed hitting a boy as they did yelling to make a girl cry.
Dudley jabbed a chubby finger in his direction, "Him. Leave the freak. If you know what's good for you."
Sunny jumped from the swing, seemingly not caring she was literally smaller than Dudley, "Can't make me. Harry's my friend, you big bully." And proceeded to viciously kicked Dudley in the leg.
He flinched as Dudley yelped in pain, hopping about before suddenly grabbing her by her hair. He really hoped she wouldn't get hurt because he couldn't save her, not while Dudley's friends immediately turned to stalk him. But someone above must have liked him that day as two people suddenly stormed towards them. "Release her, you big bully!"
Shocked, Dudley did as told and twisted to face two older children, at least by two years if not more. He immediately sneered, trying to hide the fear that someone bigger, well, taller than him was confronting him for trying to hurt someone. "And you are?"
The elder boy smirked, "Leave my sister be, boy."
Sunny immediately piped up, "He won't let me talk to my friend!" And then burst into tears.
He lost a three week's worth of meals and stayed locked in his cupboard except for small bathroom breaks and school. The reason, Sunny's sister had viciously slapped Dudley, making a large red print on his cheek. And Sunny's brother had kicked him in the same leg that Sunny kicked. Despite his lock-up, Sunny still came around to visit, accompanying her brother and sister, the fraternal twins they called themselves. Boy, was she persistent. And stubborn.
After his grounding was up, they would meet at the park to play. Nothing Dudley, or Petunia, or Vernon, did or said would deter Sunny or her family from befriending him.
Age Ten Years
He really missed her. One hand was curled around a small stuffed kitten and a battered tin can of toy soldiers. The very last gifts given by Sunny before her family moved, one of many since both her parents were in various parts of the army. His only friend had left. The only one who stood up for him. His first and only. One day he hoped to see her again or to have friends as brave as her.
Over the next few weeks he began to forget about his only friend. Something was happening. Dreams of the strangest things and people kept interrupting his sleep. Then weird things, like that snake at the zoo understanding him and those strange letters addressed to him and his cupboard.
It amazed him. The Dursleys were doing everything and anything to stop those letters. Burning them. Boarding the mail slot. Ripping them. Moving about to different places. That meant one thing. They knew. Some part of his life as a baby was hidden. Some part of his parents was hidden. Some part of the truth was hidden. And they knew.
As they ran from what he believed was a part of his parents' past and his future, he wondered how much was a lie. As he laid upon the dirty floor of the lighthouse, he wondered when it all would come to head. As he blew dirt from a finger drawn cake with eleven candles, wishing himself happy birthday, he wondered when the blocked memories would flood his mind.
Taking the time over the past few days, he realized much of his life had been suppressed. Memories he believed held the answer to the mysterious letters and strange incidents. He suppressed them for things his relatives desired to believe and for things he too had begun to believe. And then the booming knocks. The door literally fell open, right off the hinges. When the huge man stepped inside, he knew. That tingling sensation vibrated with familiar knowledge. It knew what was about to happen. Perhaps his childish dreams and desires were about to be answered.
Then he stepped from his hiding spot as the man talked to his cousin, saying, "I'm Harry."