AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story was inspired partially by PotterMalfoy24's story 'As a Bat'. What if Voldemort's use of the Killing Curse had a delayed effect on Harry?
HARRY POTTER: Seen and Unseen
He was tired of hiding everything. The medications, the trips to the magical/muggle clinic in London during the summer months.
But Harry had no idea how to tell his friends… or Sirius… or the Dursleys the truth.
When Harry had first needed glasses, no one thought much of it. After all, James Potter had worn glasses as well.
But during one of Harry's many trips to the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts third year, the school nurse, Madame Pomfrey, noticed something more than a touch alarming. Harry's optic nerves were starting to short out and shut down.
At the magical clinic in London a healer—Nicole Valentine—told Harry that his condition would eventually lead to total loss of sight and medication and potions could only delay the inevitable.
After the TriWizard Tournament, Harry's vision had gotten worse and after much inner debate, he decided that he had to tell his friends, Dumbledore, and the Dursleys.
It surprised Nicole that Harry had come to the clinic at the start of his summer holidays. Usually Harry came around his birthday at the end of July and the fact that he'd come straight here was alarming.
Even more alarming was the fact that Harry's aunt and uncle were with him.
"Harry, are you alright?" Nicole asked, walking up to her favorite patient.
"Do you have any idea why he dragged my wife and I here of all places?" Vernon Dursley said, shortly.
Nicole straightened up and looked Harry's uncle in the eye. "Mr. Dursley, Harry has been coming here for treatment."
"Treatment for what?" Petunia asked, the slightest touch of concern in her voice.
"Please… let's talk in my office," Nicole said, showing the three people into a comfortable office and gesturing for them to have a seat. Nicole looked at Harry who had removed his glasses and was now rubbing his eyes. "Harry has a form of progressive blindness," she said, simply. "His optic nerves are either shorting out or shutting down." Vernon looked at Harry, confused by Harry's sense of blasé at the news and also angry that the boy had concealed this information from him. "Harry's been informed about his condition," Nicole explained in regards to the unasked question about Harry's attitude. "He didn't want to tell you and due to doctor-patient confidentiality, I couldn't tell you either."
"He's going blind?" Petunia asked, and Harry distinctly heard the note of concern in her voice.
Nicole nodded, pulling Harry's file out of a stack on her desk. "We've been treating aggressively with a combination series of magical potions and muggle medicines, but we're just buying Harry time. The good news is that this seems to only be affecting Harry's sight."
Vernon Dursley did not reply to this, but his mind was racing. He never liked Harry and this would provide the perfect excuse to finally be rid of the boy. "How long?" he asked, trying to mentally set up a good timeframe in which to get rid of the boy.
"I'm not sure," Nicole admitted, looking at Harry. "We'll need to run some tests."
"I'm being admitted to the hospital again, aren't I?" Harry asked, not meeting his healer's eyes.
"Again?" Petunia asked, looking at Harry sharply.
"I was transferred to a wizarding hospital for a few days during my 3rd year," Harry explained.
"I'll make some contacts, Harry," Nicole said, trying to be comforting. "Get you an appointment today."
Vernon started to protest, but Petunia cut him off. "Go home, if you don't want to be bothered with this, Vernon," she snapped. "I'll see you later."
As Vernon stomped out of the office, Harry muttered a 'thanks' to his aunt. So far this was going better than Harry had imagined it would.
Hermione was slightly surprised at how soon she'd gotten a letter from Harry. It hadn't even been a week since leaving Hogwarts and already Hedwig was bringing news from Harry.
"Oh, Hermione," her mother said, coming in with a basket full of clean laundry. "I finished washing your school things. I…" seeing the owl on the bed and the letter in her daughter's hand, Mrs. Granger said, "Is that a letter from one of your school friends?"
"Harry," Hermione replied, nodding. "I was just about to read it…"
"I'll leave you alone, then," Mrs. Granger said, smiling as she left the basket of clothes by the bed and left the room so Hermione could read her friend's letter in peace.
Once Hermione heard her mother's footsteps fade away, she ripped open the letter from Harry, her mind racing and her heart sinking as she read Harry's words.
I know I usually wait until later in the summer to start writing you but I felt that I should get this letter out while I could still write. No, I don't mean the Dursleys are hurting me. Aunt Petunia has been uncommonly nice to me lately, though that's probably due to… to my present condition.
I've never told you before, but I've had a progressive neurological condition since I was seven. At least that's what the healers estimate since I was seven when I first needed glasses. I'm not big on technical terms, but basically what's happening to me is my optic nerves are shorting out and even shutting down. Even with the different medications—both muggle and potions—I'm getting worse.
I wish I could say something hopeful so you won't worry too much, but I can't deny what's going to happen: I'm going blind, Hermione. Healer Nicole Valentine said that Voldemort using Cruciatus on my last term accelerated the damage and there's a good chance I'll only have minimal vision when I get back to Hogwarts.
I know you'll tell Ron, Ginny, and the others, but please don't let the knowledge get too far. I don't want all of Hogwarts knowing too soon.
Also, could you please write to Dumbledore and let him know? I'm already trying to figure out how to tell Sirius.
Hermione couldn't believe what she'd just read. Harry… blind? And he'd been basically losing his sight ever since she'd met him…
Grabbing a quill, some ink, and some parchment, Hermione wrote a letter back to Harry and a separate letter to Albus Dumbledore.
Locked in his old home, Sirius felt trapped. All the old memories leeching the life and happiness out of him like the dementors of Azkaban.
Dumbledore had promised to bring Harry here eventually, but was elusive about the exact date.
Other than occasional visits from Dumbledore who was never there long since he had to reassemble the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix Sirius was alone.
But Sirius's day seemed a touch brighter when an owl flew in through an open window bearing a roll of parchment with Harry's handwriting. Sitting on the stairs to read the letter, Sirius felt his momentary good spirits drop as he took in the letter.
I almost didn't want to write to you but the more I thought about it I realized you'd want to hear this from me and not Hermione or Lupin.
It's hard to tell you because you're really the only parent I've ever known and I know you'd want to be with me through this.
I'm losing my sight, Sirius. It's… been happening for years but it was only in my third year that I found out how bad it was. Because of last year it's been getting worse faster than ever. I'll probably be completely blind by Christmas.'
For the first time since James and Lily's deaths, Sirius cried.
Harry's fingers moved slowly over the pages of his new magical textbooks as he read the Braille letters. It turned out there a few ways to make the transition easier for blind witches and wizards including spells to help quicker retention of foreign languages and to make the words appear in English in his mind.
Nicole had insisted on training Harry early for a life without sight and he'd put forth his best effort to working on whatever Nicole had given him.
Vernon had been hands-off about the whole thing and while Dudley still made fun of Harry, he hadn't taunted him as badly as before.
Petunia, though, had been helpful, but she didn't seem to want to spend too much time with Harry or talk to him.
Not that all this really mattered to Harry. All he cared about at the present time was ensuring that he could at least get by at school until he could get used to being…
A sharp pain started up behind Harry's eyes and he closed his eyes as tight as he could until the pain ceased. When he opened his eyes again, he saw Hedwig at the open window holding two pieces of parchment: one from Hermione, the other from Dumbledore.
Wanting to hear a kind and comforting word from a friend, Harry started with Hermione's letter.
I'm sorry… about what's happened to you. I can't imagine how you must be feeling about all this. Any idea what's causing this? I've done as much research as I can, but I can't find any similar cases. Is it possible that this has something to do with the basilisk you were bitten by 2nd year? Or some other toxin?
I'm here for you, Harry. And I'm going to figure this out.
Harry gave a sad smile. Of course Hermione would attack this news with research. As for the basilisk, Harry had already been tested for a myriad of toxicities, latent and otherwise as well as autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, and even cancer. Every test, magical or muggle had come up with nothing. The only thing the scans had come up with was the shutting down of the optic nerves.
There was one other notion Harry was starting to think of but it seemed something of a long shot. Perhaps this was simply caused by surviving Avada Kedavra as a baby. He was the only one to survive the killing curse, so it would make sense that his condition was unique.
The second note was from Dumbledore and was simply to let him know that even with the impending disability, Harry would still be invited back to Hogwarts in September.
Harry got up and started working on his room. Ever since returning from the hospital, he'd spend hours cleaning, organizing, sorting, and labeling everything in the room so as to make it easier to find things later on.
Feeling the ache behind his eyes again, Harry sat on his bed and took his glasses off, rubbing his eyes. The headaches had been coming more frequently which—according to Nicole—was to be expected. Even with all the preparations Harry wondered if he'd be ready for what would eventually happen to him.