Title: The Underground Wizard
Author: Mira Sol
Genre: Completely AU,
Summary: What if witches and wizards never intermingled with muggles? What if the medieval witch hunts were more successful? What if, for some reason or another, by the time Harry is born, magic seems to have completely died out and been forgotten? Meet the new Hogwarts: Stonewall High.
Warnings: abuse, probably Americanisms (though at least my spell check has a UK version)
Rating: So far, pg13 at most. Unless you have a really graphic imagination, then maybe R.
Note: Currently, I have no access to my Harry Potter books. They are all neatly packed away in their moving box and may be there a while. I also have random access to the internet. As a result, I suspect there will be a few inaccuracies (well, it is an alternate universe, but I'm at least trying to keep things within the Harry Potter world.) Added to that, I'm not British and have no real experience with a British school system. If anyone who actually knows what they're talking about would like to help me with this, reviews would be helpful. Telling me where I got things right would also be encouraging.
Harry was locked in his cupboard again. At least, his body was. His mind, however, was a universe away, riding upon the wispy taps of his fingers over a paper piano. He could almost see the music, like rivers of water splashing over the landscape of his mind in vivid colour. For the moment, he didn't even need to look at the carefully pencilled keys as he simply let his imagined tune flow out over the familiar sheet. At other times, he studied the drawn keys methodically, making sure he had the spacing right for his fingers while he studied from borrowed or copied music sheets.
Sometimes, when he let himself think about it, he knew it was kind of pathetic. He was practising on a drawing for a skill he would never be allowed to use. His time spent upon the bench of a real piano probably wouldn't add up to more than a single day out of the year since he had begun to practice. There had been the first glorious hours when the music teacher had offered to teach him. She had seen him hanging around the schoolroom piano, pushing gingerly at the keys so that they just gave barely a whisper of sound, and she had said that she could teach him if he was interested. She wouldn't even charge him because it would be extra credit. They would spend an hour after school two times a week.
He managed to keep the lessons a secret for all of one and a half weeks before Dudley found out. His aunt and uncle put a stop to it then. Apparently, his after school activities were cutting into his chore time. Since that day, he had begun his campaign to learn in secret. He stole minutes alone with the school piano, practising the finger exercises. One day, he traced the keys. He had tried drawing it from memory, but the proportions were off. It took him too long to get his fingers right again when he sat at the real piano, time he didn't have. He only traced a small part, but from that he was able to copy it over again and again until he had the entire length.
It was a bizarre hobby, he admitted to himself, to be a sort of underground pianist. But it was something to pass the time when he was alone in his cupboard, or hiding from Dudley and his gang, or stuffed into some dark, tight space after they caught him. Nobody could touch the music if it was inside his head, and a paper piano is easier to hide than a real one, also easier to replace. The music was his final sanctuary when there was none to be found outside his head.
"Boy!" The screech tore through his internal melody like a cat over a keyboard. He winced and then hurriedly folded up the piano and stuffed it under his thin mattress. Luckily, his aunt hadn't bothered to open the cupboard door to see what was keeping him. He hoped this was the first time she had called; it wouldn't be the first time he had completely zoned out within the world of music. Nervously, he pushed at the door. It was unlocked now and opened easily.
"Boy!" his aunt screeched again, her voice coming from the kitchen.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia?" he asked obediently, trying for an air of innocence.
"What is taking you so long?" she demanded, "I knocked on your cupboard half an hour ago!"
"Sorry," Harry answered, "I must have been asleep." His aunt sniffed disdainfully. Harry wondered what she thought he could have been doing, locked up in the dark as he was.
"Get a move on making dinner," she instructed, "And make sure not to burn it this time." Not bothering to point out that he hadn't burned anything all week, he got to work.
Dinner was one of the many chores that his piano lessons had so threatened to distract him from. Then came washing up. Before and after were other little obligations his aunt came up with on a daily basis, and if there was nothing to clean she would insist he dust or sweep or scrub an already spotless room. These were the best times, the times when he could allow his mind to truly wander. If he kept a sharp eye out for where his aunt was, he could often get away with only pretending to do the job. After all, a spotless room isn't going to get any more spotless, no matter what his aunt seemed to think. There were, however, unfortunate risks to this method.
"Boy!" a deeper voice thundered, "I hear you've been slacking off!" That was why he had been locked in the cupboard in the first place, when his aunt caught him tapping his fingers over the porcelain tub he was supposed to be scrubbing. His aunt had rapped his knuckles sharply and sent him to his cupboard, and now his uncle was going to punish him. Harry swallowed hard and tried to escape into the song.
It didn't really work. It didn't stop the pain. But it did stop his uncle's voice from scalding so deeply. It stopped his uncle from really reaching him. Harry's body might hurt, Harry's body might be sobbing over his uncle's lap, Harry's voice might by crying with incoherent pleas for mercy, but that wasn't Harry himself. Harry was free, lost within notes and sound. Harry knew that without the music, he would probably go mad. Though sometimes he wondered if he wasn't already there.