Disclaimer: I no part of anything here!
A/N: Yep, new story, and yep, it's quite silly. Hope you like it!
Safe, But Half as Real
"This only is denied to God: the power to undo the past."
Agathon (448 BC - 400 BC), from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Harry sat staring out the window.
He could have been contemplating life, his place in the world, the malaise of modern man. Could have been. But he wasn't. He didn't really have much else to do, and it was raining. He felt he could cast a rather poetic picture, sitting on the grimy windowsill, looking out the even grimier window, watching the rain beat down onto the window panes.
True, he did feel maudlin enough to be that boy, looking forlornly out the window, but in reality, he wasn't doing it for that reason. He was trapped here, in this prison built by good intentions. Grimmauld Place was not somewhere he wanted to be, and this summer, he had hoped he wouldn't have to come here. He was, after all, seventeen – legally an adult in the wizarding world, allowed to make his own choices.
But as with everything else, even his housing choice had been taken away from him.
His relatives had gone on holiday the day before his birthday. He thought this was probably because: a) they knew he would not be coming back again, and wanted to celebrate. And b) because they knew he was now allowed to use his wand without fear of negative consequences, and they wanted to escape their well-deserved comeuppance.
Harry actually had had no plans to curse them. He he'd toyed with the idea in some of his darker moments, as a way of getting through their treatment of him. It helped, when he was being shouted at or backhanded, to imagine turning his relatives into toads or radishes. He thought radishes would be best.
But to do so, would lower himself to their level, something he never wanted to do. He had been quite looking forward to proving he was a better person than them, by exercising restraint. But the little cowards had run off before he had a chance.
At first he was pretty pissed off, but after some thought, he decided it was a blessing in disguise. He had the whole house to himself, no one else around. He finally had time to do what he wanted, when he wanted, without answering to anyone else. It was practically heaven!
As with all things which brought him joy, it wasn't to last however.
By pure chance, Mrs Figg had spotted him coming back from the supermarket on the bus, and had passed by the Dursley house to check up on him. She had quickly surmised they were not at home, and after asking around the neighbours, discovered that they were on holiday and Harry had been left on his own.
Despite the fact that Harry was now an adult and had been capable of looking after himself for a number of years, Arabella immediately sent an owl to Dumbledore advising him of these facts.
It took the old man no less than three hours to appear on the scene to demand Harry accompany him to Order Headquarters to spend the rest of the summer there.
"No. I'd rather stay here, thank you Headmaster." Harry said calmly when Dumbledore asked him to come with him.
"Harry, I believe you have misunderstood the situation. I am not asking. You are not safe here, and you must come to Headquarters with us. Trust me to know what is best for you, hmm?" He said, the twinkle in his eyes flickering for a moment.
Harry paused, and fought down a rush of indignation before speaking.
"Who has misunderstood, Professor? I am an adult, and you are the Headmaster of the school I attend. You have no say over my life outside of the school, not where I live, how I behave or even the food I eat. I will remain here, in my relatives' home, until school begins again. Now, please close the door on your way out." He retorted, crossing his arms, clearly waiting for the old man and his cohorts to leave.
Dumbledore bristled at the boy's lack of obedience. Deciding to forgo any further arguments, he pulled out his wand and stunned the Boy-Who-Lived. No one commented, though a few did raise their eyebrows before shrugging.
"Alastor, would you go and retrieve his belongings so we can take them back to Headquarters?"
So, here he was, imprisoned in his Godfather's former home, for his own good. Hah! Like anyone actually cared for him, the real him. The only ones who did, were dead.
He suddenly felt very disconnected from the real world, and all the people in it. They were all there, outside, living their lives, and he couldn't help but think they were all happier than him. All had more reasons to stick around than he did. Reasons to get up, out of their beds and go out into the world.
Not that he could do that, even if he wanted to.
Within minutes of waking up in this godforsaken house, he tried to escape. When he reached the front door, he hit some kind of barrier and was propelled backwards, smacking his head on one of the walls in the hall.
When he'd woken up the second time, he had been told in no uncertain terms, that he was not to go outside. Not to even try, because he would be prevented from doing so by some wards Dumbledore had erected around the house. A few minutes of watching and waiting had shown he was the only one affected by these wards, since everyone else seemed to be able to come and go as they pleased.
Harry was surprised with himself that he was actually shocked by this new scheme of the old man's. He knew it would have been only a matter of time before the bastard dropped the act of concerned grandfather to outright control. People who still believed that the man only had Harry's best interests at heart were blind, and deserved everything they got, in Harry's opinion.
Harry shook himself out of his angry and vengeful thoughts, they were only serving to make him feel more frustrated and helpless. He needed to get out of this house, but that was not going to happen for weeks, and then he would only be moving to a marginally bigger prison than the one he was in now.
This wasn't what he wanted. And he was pretty sure it wasn't what his parents would have wanted his life to be like. He couldn't run away, that was for sure. And would he be able to get away from school. The Headmaster was a wily old git though, he was bound to find some way to stop him from getting away from there too.
And where would he go anyway? He had money of his own, and he was an adult. So he could withdraw some of it, and go somewhere, but then what? Maybe he was overreacting? The old man wouldn't be able to control his life forever, right? His breathing got quicker and he started to panic.
He snapped himself out of it pretty fast, not wanting to feed his anxiety unduly, he had enough problems to begin with.
There had to be someone, somewhere in this house, who was on his side. Surely?
"Ron, Hermione? Have you got a minute? There's something I need to tell you."
"Not right now, Harry."
That was the way it had gone all morning. He had decided to bite the bullet and ask for help. That was what you were supposed to do, right? When things weren't going so well, you had friends you could rely on to help you out, listen and be there for you. Harry hadn't much experience on relying on people before, but if it was always like this, then he didn't see why people bothered.
"Molly? Can I talk with you for a moment? I've something, a big something, on my mind and…"
"Not at the moment Harry, I have to see Arthur about something."
What was the point in being surrounded by all these people? Harry wondered as he stumbled his way back upstairs, the last few minutes replaying in his mind. Why was he here, if they wouldn't even spare a few minutes to talk to him?
He'd tried everyone that was currently in the house. In his house. He and Sirius had more in common that he'd originally thought. Both locked up in their own homes. Harry had known for a while that this horrible building was his, the executor of Sirius' will had told him in a letter. The only thing stopping him from turfing the lot of them out was the thought of the people he would be putting in danger. Though that was starting to become less and less important as the days wore on.
So, anyway, he had been to everyone. Tonks, Remus, Moody, Kingsley, Molly, Arthur, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore – Hell! Even Snape. The resounding answer was "Not right now, Harry." Well Harry from everyone except Snape and Moody, he was just 'Potter' to them. But that was beside the point.
Why did they bother bringing him here, against his will, if they were just going to ignore him the whole time? Everyone had their own concerns, even Ron and Hermione – who were too wrapped up in each other to even notice him.
Perhaps everyone was putting his bad mood down to the usual teenage angst. And even he could admit that he was prone to it sometimes, though that was not to say his problems should be dismissed as unimportant just because he happened to be a teenager. Also, he was pretty damn sure most teenagers didn't have a 'Kill or be Killed' prophecy hanging over their heads. It was just a hunch mind you, but one he was fairly certain of.
Back in his room, staring at the same four walls, something in him snapped, and he hit rock bottom.
His life was not his own.
He felt as if he was being set up to be a sacrificial lamb in a power struggle between Voldemort and Dumbledore. Truly, in his opinion, the one was no better or worse than the other. Voldemort might kill people, and he might be monster, but so was the Headmaster. They just went about things in a different way.
It began with little things, and then escalated. He could think of a whole bunch of horrible things he had suffered at the hands of the old bastard.
Dumbledore sucked his parents into this war, and then got them killed.
Dumbledore let his godfather go to Azkaban without a trial, for something he didn't do.
Dumbledore didn't fight for Sirius, even though his being the Head of the Wizengamot meant he could have demanded a trial with truth serum.
Dumbledore left him with the Dursleys, and didn't check up on him, not once.
Dumbledore kept Remus away from him and didn't even tell him about his father's friends' existence until he was thirteen. Even then if was Remus himself who told.
Dumbledore still didn't demand a trial for Sirius Black when he knew for certain he was innocent.
Dumbledore practically locked Sirius in this house knowing it would drive him mad.
Dumbledore led Harry on a merry goose chase every year he was at school, almost getting him killed each time.
Dumbledore let a man who hated Harry repeatedly rape his mind during Occlumency lessons without warning about why it was so important, or any instructions.
Dumbledore let Harry race off after Sirius and the prophecy when he already knew what it contained.
Dumbledore didn't even wait an hour after Sirius died before telling Harry the prophecy.
Just a week ago, Dumbledore stunned Harry and locked him up in this house against his will.
His life was not his own anymore, it was Dumbledore's.
Well, Harry knew how to fix that.
Rooting through his trunk, he finally found what he was looking for. Fragments from the precious mirror he had shattered after Sirius' death. He'd replayed it over and over in his mind - what he could have done differently, how he should have just called out for his godfather through the mirror, instead of his impetuous flight to the Department of Mysteries.
It took him a long time to accept it - to come to terms with he part he had played in it all, but finally, he did.
Nothing would change, Sirius was gone. Even if he had a time turner, it would make no difference. He couldn't change the past, because he hadn't. Time was one piece, it went round in a circle. He couldn't save Sirius, because he didn't. He couldn't save his parents, because he didn't. That was all there was to it.
But he could change his own fate.
His decisions, in the here and now, determined how his future would unfold. They thought they could decide he life. No, it would be him. He, and he alone could tell now, what the end would be.
Slowly, but deliberately, he pulled the largest piece to his throat and pressed.
"Ashes to ashes." He whispered, wind blowing in his face, before passing out.
"You alright there, old girl? Bit of a bumpy ride. Right, let's see where we are!" The man threw the doors open, and looked about.
He appeared to be in someone's bedroom.
"Strange place to stop. Though, I suppose it wouldn't be the first time. Well then. Bit grotty, isn't it? What the…!" The man stumbled over something on the floor, and after a quick glance, he discovered it was a body! A barely breathing, lost a lot of blood, but alive body! Whoever it was, they were clutching a number of items to their chest, and had a peaceful expression on their face which the man found all too familiar and yet, chilling.
"How do I get myself into these things? Oh yeah! You get me into them, don't you girl!?" He said, picking up the body and racing, as carefully as possible, back through the doors he had entered from, and closed them behind them. Laying the body on the ground for a moment, he fiddled with some controls.
A strange noise started up and the room lurched as if moving. Ignoring this, the man squatted down next to the person he had brought in with him, and began patching him up. Once that was taken care of and he was assured he would live, he started routing through the person's things.
"Well, well, well. What have we here? A wizard are you? How very interesting."
Harry groaned as he stirred, wondering where he was and why he had such a sore throat. He could barely swallow around it. Reaching out blindly, his had connected with a cool glass which he snatched and drank from greedily. The cool water satisfied his thirst, but did little to soothe his throat. He brushed his fingertips over his neck and was alarmed to discover a bandage there.
What had happened to him? He cast his mind back trying to remember everything that had occurred that day, trying to find some explanation. He glanced around the room, and found another shock was waiting for him.
This was not his room.
In fact, wherever he was, it did not look like any room in Grimmauld Place. Where the bloody hell was he, and why did he have a bandage round his throat? He stopped for a moment, as he remembered. He'd tried to kill himself. What an idiot! Why did he do that? What the hell was the matter with him, he...Oh yeah.
Dumbledore. His friends. Harry snorted. Some friends.
They talked big about how they were there for him, but as soon as he made the effort, as soon as he thought he might give this confiding in people thing a go, suddenly they had not time for him. They were too busy! Some might call him selfish for trying to take his own life, and maybe he was. But to him it seemed as though he had to be selfish, since no one else appeared to be in his corner.
"Awake are you? Good, good. Excellent! Well, can't have you lying around here all day. Place to go, things to see. Was brought to you for a reason, and I don't think it was to watch you lying around in bed all day, though that confused look is rather endearing I suppose. Sorry, where was I?"
Harry practically jumped out of his skin at the sound of the bright and cheerful voice coming from his left. He turned to face the source of the voice and automatically fumbled around for his glasses. It took a few moments for his conscious mind to catch up on what his brain already knew. He could see clearly! And he wasn't wearing any glasses!
"Looking for these?" The man said, pulling the glasses out of his pocket and waving them around for a second. "You won't need them anymore. Took the liberty of repairing you eyes at the same time as fixing your neck there. Suppose you can have them for old time's sake if you like though. Can't think why you would, mind you, but then, who am I to judge?!" He said jovially, holding them out to Harry who took them automatically.
"I'm sorry, who are you? And where am I?" He asked, thought not impolitely.
The man had saved his life, and action Harry was feeling rather grateful for, now that his mania of earlier seemed to have passed. The man, who was tall and well dressed in a snappy suit slapped his forehead with a hand.
"Where are my manners! Forgive me. I know who you are - Harry Potter, right? Well, Harry Potter, I'm the Doctor. Nice to meet you."