A Different Start: American Harry Prequel
Story Info: PLEASE READ – IMPORTANT – THANK YOU
This is a prequel to a story that has not been written yet. It focuses solely on Harry and the people around Harry. There will be no visits from anyone in Britain and no scenes focused on them. This story is to introduce you to Harry, Harry's life and the people that are important to Harry in America. Rest assured you will have some idea of what's going on over there over the course of the story.
Later, Harry will go to Hogwarts, but he won't be starting until fourth year. He will not be a Gryffindor. Harry will be going to an elite American school until then. He will move to Britain and live with Sirius after Sirius is freed after POA (events altered, of course). This will be slash. I repeat, this will be SLASH, SLASH, SLASH. Expect Sirius/Remus, HP/Draco, HP/Neville, HP/OMC, and likely others (he is a teenager and teenagers do date).
Harry has a godmother, Melaina, who was chosen by Lily. She is a squib from a pureblood family (not one of the big names). Melaina has little love for magic for very good reasons, but she met Lily, adored Lily, and they became fast friends. Through Lily, Melaina is drawn back into the magical world after some time away. She meets a wizard, loves him, marries him, and loses him to the war. When the Potter family goes into hiding, she retreats to the Muggle world, having no ties left to the magical.
The war ends, she learns Harry survives but thinks Sirius has him. Sometime later she learns that Sirius doesn't, the Dursley's do, and she finds him and spirits him away to America after she has enough with Dumbledore being a little too over-protective. This is where the story starts.
There will be some violence, profanity, SLASH, sexual content (on Ygroup), and OCs, OCs, OCs. But rest assured this story is about Harry and revolves around Harry. This story is about a Harry who is very intelligent, and yet still a kid. He's very powerful, but he has his limits and his achievements are not all easy. He's confident, outspoken, opinionated and complex. He's learning new ways of doing magic and living in a very different magical world than what he'll know when he goes to Britain. Also, this is not a bash Dumbledore story, but this is not a love Dumbledore story either. I have plans to include info from all seven books.
AN: Not beta read. And the first three chapters or so are slow and a bit boring. Harry is young and I have to set up everything before I can dive into the story. It gets better once I do.
Edit: Chapter replaced 05.10.08 with slightly revised version to make it more readable
THANK YOU – ENJOY – REVIEW
A Different Start: American Harry Prequel 01
Melaina stared in slowly growing horror at the cupboard door. "You must be joking…"
The silence that greeted her was more than answer enough. A glance over revealed stony and unrepentant stares and she looked away from them in disgust.
An odd little noise came from the cupboard beneath the stairs, a breathy, low sound. Melaina knelt quickly, fingers fumbling with the door for several seconds before she managed the simple lock and opened it. "My God…" she bit her lip as she stared in outright horror at the small child curled up inside, seemingly asleep, damp with sweat, shifting uneasily with a nightmare. The little odd noise came again as the boy whimpered, curling in on himself a little more.
She reached out with unsteady hands to touch the stained, over large shirt the child wore, and then the thin, pale arm that felt slightly dirty to the touch. She had to resist the urge to start screaming and swearing at the creatures that stood down the hall, watching her with closed in, pinched expressions. Instead she leaned forward to gently pick up the thin boy.
He was light in her arms, too light for someone his age. Not as light as she'd feared he'd be from his appearance, but still far too light. She sincerely hoped it was the over large shirt that made him look so small and lost.
She stood slowly, carefully moving the boy so as not to wake him. She had to resist kicking the cupboard door shut; she settled for giving the other occupants in the hall a look of absolute loathing as she passed by them. She was almost to the door before the stupid looks on their faces were replaced by worried frowns.
"Hey now!" It was the fat walrus of a man, voice booming. She turned to give him a glare and wished for the first time in years that she had the magic to strike him down. He quailed a little at the look before regrouping with a throat clear, his chins wobbling. "We were told by that Bumblebore person-"
"It's changed," Melaina told him coldly.
"I'm really not so sure…" the horse of a woman trailed off at her glare and then rallied as well. "You're not even one of them-"
"No, I'm not," Melaina interrupted harshly. "I'm worse." She gave them a humorless smile. "I'm what they call a freak."
They recoiled. Melaina turned back to the door and managed to open it without jostling the child in her arms too badly. She took great satisfaction in closing the door with her foot, leaving behind a dark smudge. She hurried to the street and the waiting car, never once looking back.
She stared into the somber blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Head Whatever of Whatever and Whatever. She couldn't have cared less if she'd tried.
A part of her wanted to nod and say she understood that Harry needed the protection of his family; the point Dumbledore was trying so hard to make her understand. But there was another part of her, a larger part, that didn't see those beguiling blue eyes. They saw green eyes, green eyes that belonged to a little boy in too large clothes. A little boy who had woken in her bed, looked at her with eyes that shouldn't have been so calmly accepting, and just waited to see what would happen. Eyes that had been heartbreakingly trusting after a hot meal and a hot bath and several hugs.
That part of her said 'I know you, Albus Dumbledore. I know you mean well, in some way. But you're what they call a great man, and great men don't mean well for a single person, for the individual. Great men mean well for people. And that little boy is a person. Even if you don't see it, I do, and I will be damned if I let you have your way.'
The twinkling, patient blue eyes dimmed a little under her hard stare. Melaina lifted her head high. "No."
"Melaina, I think you're making a mistake-"
"No, I'm not," she interrupted. "And I won't back down. Not from this."
He stared at her another moment and she met his eyes, willing him to see just how determined she was. And then she turned from his gaze and walked away, legs feeling like jelly, back itching from his lingering stare, heart hammering in her chest, but feeling lighter than air somewhere in her soul.
Melaina couldn't help but smile fondly as she watched Harry, sitting on several books to even reach the table, eating a peanut butter sandwich with careful delight. He had no idea the battle that had raged around him in court as Melaina had fought with everything she had at her disposal, and some things she actually didn't, for the right to raise her own godson. But she'd won.
The flickers were worrying, though. The little glimpses of movement she caught out of the corner of her eye. It was usually when she glanced out of the windows of the flat, but she saw them occasionally when she was out with Harry. They were too common to be the usual tricks of the light most people saw.
As a squib, Melaina was quite aware that lazily placed concealing charms would sometimes flicker in and out; just as she knew that because she was a squib no one would ever think her capable enough or knowledgeable enough to spot them for what they were. But she did. And she didn't like the thought of invisible, magic-using watchers.
She glanced out the window behind her for just a second. There were no flickers to be seen, but she knew that for every flicker she saw, there would have to be several more competent or less lazy watchers.
She went over to where Harry sat and lifted him up, peanut butter sandwich, sticky hands, and all, and settled in the chair beside his own with him in her lap. He looked up at her with a heartbreaking grin and offered her the sandwich.
"No, baby, it's yours. But thank you."
He looked at her for a few more seconds before focusing his attention on the sandwich and the all important task of peeling it apart to lick the peanut butter from the bread. And he never said a word.
She smoothed back his unruly black hair and tried not to worry about that on top of everything else. She'd had him several months and she had yet to hear him make a single conscious noise. And the little whimpers and murmurs in his sleep were hardly anything. She longed to her his voice.
She looked past him into the living area that had gradually morphed into a bedroom. The rooms looked strangely bare to her, though she'd been careful to make sure a casual observer would think little of it. At the moment her most prized possessions were in the boot of the car, and when she left for her weekly food shopping tomorrow she had no intention of ever coming back.
It'd been hard to plan and pull off, but it helped that Melaina knew how the average witch and wizard mind worked. Logic did not often enter into their already fuzzy worlds. By the time it occurred to them that she was taking longer at the store than usual, and then finally realized that she wasn't at the store at all, she'd be on her way to another city. She didn't even know where yet, she just knew anywhere else would be better, and the farther away the more time it'd take them to find her.
"None of that nonsense for you, baby," she murmured into the tickling black hair. "Not for a good, long time if Godmommy Mellie has anything to say about it."
Melaina loved it when it rained.
Those bothersome little flickers that she'd started to notice again couldn't hide from the rain. Most people would dismiss the vague shapes, or the eyes would just skip over an area that seemed a little drier than it should have been, but she'd long trained herself to notice just those things.
Harry made a little noise and she looked away from the living room windows with a smile. He gave her a smile back and made another, quiet noise, looking down at the book Melaina had been in the middle of reading before the rain had distracted her.
She put the book aside and gathered him up into her lap snugly, grabbing the blanket folded behind her and shaking it out over them. She settled the book on his lap and he reached out to help hold down the pages, smiling faintly at her through his fear, eager to please. She gave him a small smile and kiss and nodded to the book. When he looked back to it, she curled one hand over his and with the other pointed to the words as she read them into his ear. Gradually he relaxed against her, ignoring the rain.
Sometimes she tried to imagine what it must have been like, pounding rain and crashing thunder heard from inside a small cupboard under the stairs. Most of the time, she didn't want to. She saw clear enough the way he went stiff and withdrawn any time there was a thunderstorm. And then Melaina would light a dozen candles, turn on every light, and they'd sit together as she read to him and he turned the pages, snuggling back against her as they lost themselves in worlds of big, bright illustrations and simple, easy words.
Melaina loved it when it rained.
They were packed and ready to go. Ellen had the key to her flat and a list of things to box up for storage once they'd left. Penny had bought the tickets and gotten her long distant cousin to agree to let them stay. They had reservations at a very nice hotel several towns away from there, a place that Melaina planned to never even go near.
It would all seem quite sudden. Melaina was very proud of that.
She wasn't sure what she'd do once they were actually in Canada, far away from England and their invisible watchers. She figured she'd have at least a day's head start, leaving as she planned. It'd take that long for them to figure out what had happened.
After that, Melaina hoped that they'd have a week or more before the invisible watchers had the chance to reappear. Magical travel might get people to places faster, but there were limitations of all sorts and Melaina prided herself on having studied more about the magical world than most people who could do magic. Magical law and international relations were even stickier than honey.
Melaina had the vague idea of visiting the United States. She'd heard people could easily get lost there. She'd also heard that Americans did strange, odd things. She rather suspected that she'd find the place to be remarkably similar to Britain in a lot of ways, but she hoped the place would be mysterious and strange enough that they might find a way to get lost there.
Actually moving there would be a hassle. There were all sorts of things she'd have to do, papers and things she'd have to sign, and who knew what else. But if things went well on this vacation of sorts, if she could get enough organized, if she had just a week or two break from the watchers, she had every intention of doing whatever it was that needed to be done.
Harry sighed in his sleep and gripped her fingers even more tightly, drawing her hand close to his body.
Actually moving there wouldn't be a hassle, she told herself once Harry had settled again into a peaceful sleep. Nothing could ever truly be a hassle if it made this little boy happy.
"And so I told Stan to just- what's the word you use?"
"Bugger off?" Melaina asked with amusement.
"Yeah. I told him to just bugger off. Not those words, of course, but you know what I mean. I actually said something far too inappropriate to repeat with little ears about."
Melaina smiled a little. "Yeah."
Trisha rubbed her hands together and went over to the sink to wash the flour off. Melaina glanced into the front room where Harry was sitting on the carpet, concentrating intensely on his building blocks. She had no idea what he was building, but he seemed to be getting on well enough with it.
"How do you like it over here so far?"
"Not too different really. There are obvious differences, of course, but people are pretty much just people doing every day things." And, Melaina added to herself as she began to cut up a tomato for the pizza, after seeing the difference between Muggle and magical people, the differences between Muggle and Muggle people were hardly noticeable.
"True enough, I guess." Trisha glanced over to check on Harry as well, grinning at the blocks strewn all about her living room, a brightly colored mine field that required them to watch their step or hop around in pain. Melaina couldn't help but feel a little swell of affection Trisha.
She'd liked Penny's cousin well enough, but Elisa was a little too quiet and orderly for Melaina's comfort. If it hadn't been one thing, it'd been another, but the worst of it was toys. Elisa had insisted that any toy not being played with right then had to be put away, making playtime more of an uncomfortable chore than a lovely pastime.
When she'd had the good fortune of meeting Trisha, another long distant cousin of Penny's, Melaina had been a day away from getting them a hotel room somewhere. Harry uncomfortable when playing had been bad enough, but she was quite unwilling to see Harry clutching a single toy to his chest protectively and looking longingly at his play chest but not being willing to go near it for fear of Elisa's displeased scowl.
"He must be one of the most patient children I've ever seen," Trisha said with amusement, going back over to her dough. "Maybe my family just spits out hyper kids, but I've never seen a kid able to sit for hours working on one line of blocks to get them just right."
"Some kids are like that, I guess." Melaina shrugged. A few moments later the doorbell rang. "I'll get it," she told Trisha as the other reached hastily for a towel.
As she passed Harry, she reached down to ruffle his hair. He grinned up at her before looking back to his blocks.
She peered out of the little window beside the door and wasn't sure what to make of the man and woman standing on the other side, dressed in casual suits and looking comfortably official. She would have called out to Trisha to see if she had any idea what this was, but that would have given away that she was right by the door and there hardly seemed to be any point.
She opened the door, but kept her hand on the knob. "Yes?"
"We're looking for Melaina Pennyworth, please," the man told her. "Is she here?"
Melaina shook her head in shock. "What?"
"Melaina Pennyworth. Is she here?"
"What do you want with her?"
The woman glanced beyond Melaina, into the room. Her eyes settled on Harry with an interest that made Melaina uncomfortable and closed the door more, putting her body into the gap.
"Are you Melaina Pennyworth?" the man asked after studying her for a moment.
"Who are you?"
"I'm David Albrun. This is Kathryn Merris. We're with the USAS."
"Excuse me? With what?"
"The USAS," David said patiently. "It's a government department of the USMA."
Melaina closed the door a little more, getting an uncomfortable suspicion about them at the unfamiliar terms. Granted, Melaina didn't know much about the American government and all of its little programs, but this sounded big and she knew the big ones.
"What is that? What do you want?"
They exchanged a look and the woman began to speak. "You don't recognize USMA?"
"No, I don't."
"United States of Magical America?" she asked softly.
Melaina had to resist the urge to slam the door in their face. She didn't bother to resist a deep frown bordering on a scowl. "What do you want?" she asked curtly. "We're in the middle of making dinner."
"Well." They exchanged another look. "You're traveling with Harry Potter, aren't you?"
"I'm his legal guardian," Melaina told them tightly. "I have every right to vacation with him."
"We were contacted by Albus Dumbledore acting for the British Ministry for Magic. He believes that you seem to have no intention of returning and he has concerns for your safety. He wishes us to cooperate in efforts to ensure the necessary security measures are taken with you and your charge."
Melaina had to resist the urge to snap and growl, slam the door, and run away until she'd escaped everything to do with magic. But there was something in the woman's expression that suggested that even though Albus Dumbledore acting for the British Ministry for Magic wished them to cooperate, Albus Dumbledore acting for the British Ministry for Magic could waste an entire fortune on wishes and he still might not get what he wanted. It made Melaina hesitate as she considered her response.
"Mel?" Trisha called from the kitchen. "Who's at the door?"
"It's for me," Melaina called back. "I'm going to step outside for a minute, okay?"
Melaina slipped out and closed the door, resisting the urge to lock it behind her. It'd make no difference to someone holding a wand. She settled for leaned back against it. "So?"
The woman smiled a little. "So we'd like to know what you do plan on doing. You're supposed to go back in about a week, but he's informed us that you've let go of your apartment over there and it's been cleaned out. He's concerned you have no intention of returning."
"Well, I obviously have to go back, don't I?" Melaina asked irritably. "It's not as if I could just not go back and expect that I could just stay here."
"Really?" The woman's tone suggested, 'and yet somehow I think you were planning just that.'
Melaina bristled a little. "Really."
There was a tiny little knock from the other side of the door followed by the sound of the door handle being rattled. Melaina bit her lip, but she couldn't just ignore that sound. She turned and opened the door cautiously, peering in, and when Harry held his arms out to be picked up, eyes big and worried, she scooped him up and held him close. She smoothed his hair and kissed his brow before turning around to stare almost defiantly at the USAS people watching her.
"Do you have anything else to say?" Melaina asked after a few moments.
"As we understand it, you have looked into moving over here," the woman said, expression a little softer as she studied Harry.
The man and woman exchanged a glance. "To be frank, we've heard about your struggle for custody over there and we suspect…"
"That you're trying to escape the watchful eye of certain people over there," the man finished with a bit of a shrug.
"Well, our bosses suspect, actually," the woman added. "But it's the same thing."
"So what do you want?" Melaina asked, trying to keep her voice light and friendly now that she had a little one with his head on her shoulder.
"It's a bit complicated…" the man hesitated for a moment before smiling. "Well, not so complicated really. If you want to move over here, the USAS would like to help."
"Why? And what on earth is this USAS thing?"
"United States Auror Service. And because-"
"How does it concern a magical police force when someone wants to move?"
"Normally this would fall to another department, but given that we were contacted because it was a security matter, and given that there would be other security matters to consider, it's a USAS concern."
"As for why," the man picked up, "that is a bit complicated. But…" They exchanged another look. It was starting to get on Melaina's nerves. "You seem the type to appreciate frank honesty," the man ventured.
"Yes," Melaina said a little more shortly than she'd intended.
"Quite honestly, we, the USAS and magical America as a whole, we don't want anyone, anywhere telling us what to do," the woman said with amusement. "So this Dumbledore's attitude has more than a few people a little irritated. Beyond that, we can also appreciate someone who doesn't want anyone interfering in their life."
"And we think its dead wrong to put a child into a bad situation just for the sake of safety," the man said with a frown.
Melaina hesitated, studying them. "Well, um…"
The door opened behind Melaina and Melaina gave a start, looking back. "What?"
"Just making sure Harry's out here," Trisha said, eyeing the other two.
"Yeah, he's fine. We'll be in shortly. We're fine."
"All right." Trisha eyed the two USAS one last time before closing the door slowly.
Melaina looked back to the two visitors and studied them, puzzled. "Are you two serious?"
Harry suddenly giggled a little and pointed at the woman. "Nice."
Melaina pushed his hand down gently, murmur, "Don't point, baby."
"Nice," Harry repeated.
"Yes, baby." Melaina kissed the top of his head and looked up at the strangers. "Listen… can we talk about this later?"
"Anytime. Here." The woman held out a business card.
Harry grabbed it before Melaina could reach out for it and he fixed it with a very serious stare, like he could actually read what it said. After a few moments he tucked it into his shirt pocket with great care.
With a warm smile the woman pulled out another card. "Just in case," she said with amusement.
Harry didn't even spare this one a second glance and Melaina took it. She glanced at it almost absently before taking a second, surprised look. "Wait. What? There's… these are phone numbers."
The man gave her an odd look. "Well, yeah."
Melaina looked back down. "And… a Floo address, mailing address, fax number, pager, and a… an avia name?" Melaina gave them a puzzled look.
"If you happen to have an owl, carrier pigeon, or one of the other six approved mail carrier birds."
Melaina let out a startled little laugh. "Are you serious?"
The woman nodded. "Quite. We try to coexist with the nonmagical world while remaining magical."
"Huh." She tucked the card into her pocket, shaking her head. "You do seem to wear those clothes better than most witches and wizards would."
"That's because we wear them all the time."
"What about your robes?" Melaina asked curiously.
They shared a look. "Only for very formal, very traditional occasions."
"Thank Oz," the man muttered.
Melaina began to get the feeling she was on the edge of a very different wizarding world than she was used to. She couldn't help but be intrigued. "All right. I'll call you. But that doesn't mean anything. Got it?"
"And looking forward to it," the woman said with a smile.
With that they stepped back, glanced around and disappeared. She went with a little pop and he with an odd little ping.
Melaina glanced down at Harry. Harry was staring at a space to the left of where they'd been standing. Melaina rolled her eyes and took him back inside.
Melaina stared down at Harry's unruly black hair, idly rubbing his back as he slept soundly, curled up in her lap. Her visit with those American Aurors had been… surprising was the only word that could describe it.
They'd had a lot to say, and Melaina had had a lot of questions. The three of them must have talked for three hours over coffee, tea and cookies while Trisha babysat Harry. And at the end of their conversation they had made the no-strings-attached offer to help her move to America, get set up and be safely hidden with magic. They'd said they'd even leave her alone, aside from the occasional visit to make sure she and Harry were all right. And they'd do it all without her ever having to leave America.
She just wasn't sure what to do. They'd been kind and helpful, patient, thoughtful and very thorough. She'd tried everything she could think of to make them slip up if they weren't telling her everything, but they never did. It sounded and felt entirely genuine and she badly wanted to jump on the offer before they even had a chance to reconsider it. She'd had more than enough magical interference in her life; she'd never put up with it again from anyone if she could possibly prevent it.
"Oh, be honest with yourself," Melaina muttered, glancing over at Harry. He was completely absorbed in watching a show about colorful little puppet creatures called Fraggles. He let out a little giggle at something.
Watching him, Melaina had to admit that unless she suddenly uncovered this huge, terrible thing that would make Britain and its wizarding world seem like a fairytale dream, she'd be accepting their offer. She hadn't seen Harry smile so much since he'd been over here.
She wasn't sure why or how or if it'd go away if they returned to Britain, but there was something over here that had turned her somber little boy into a more light-hearted and open child in barely two weeks. It was the biggest change she'd seen since she'd taken him away from the Dursley creatures.
And here was a chance to start over, far away from the whole mess. Perhaps that was something they both needed.