There are more opportunities to be foolish than wise, therefore there are more fools than wise men.
"Hagrid,'" said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir."
"No problems, were there?"
"No sir - house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we were flyin' over Bristol."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where - ?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well - give him Hagrid - we'd better get this over with."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house.
He paused, lost in an not-so-rare introspective moment, staring down at the young child, wondering exactly where it had gone so wrong. Not just the Potters, but just Wizarding World in general, that they had to be saved by a child barely past his first birthday from a mess that they should've cleaned up a long time ago, a problem they should've fixed eons ago.
Lifting his head Dumbledore gazed at the painful plainness of #4, Privet Drive, walking up and gently laying the infant saviour down on the gray steps.
The three stood there a second, staring contemplatively at the small boy, them simultaneously dispersed, McGonagall and Dumbledore Aparrating and Hagrid climbing on the great motorcycle, each to their own morbid thoughts.
As they turned, none of them noticed the small child open his eyes. Not noticing the creamy green color. Not see him look up, staring sightlessly into the sky.
Harry Potter lay dreaming, but what of he could never be sure. His dreams were dark, just like always, but a sense of feeling, almost like seeing, of the rumble of an engine and being on something sturdy. He felt very happy, not ecstatic, but content, as though he was listening to a favorite song he had almost forgotten.
"Get up!" said a demanding voice, and before Aunt Petunia could rap on his cupboard door he opened it, poking his face out and smiling at her, trying to startle her.
However, Aunt Petunia was not in the least bit startled. Her nephew had been doing the exact same thing since he was five. It was hard to be startled by the same thing after the hundred and fiftieth time.
"Good, you're up," she said in a voice that was dangerously close to amiable. "Get started on the bacon, will you? I'm setting up the decorations."
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry said in a amused voice, which made Petunia unsure if she were being obeyed or laughed at. She shrugged. It wasn't the first time that his tone of voice had cropped up either. She just chose to ignore it.
Harry made his way confidently towards the kitchen, his head held in a slightly awkward way because he wasn't looking where he was going, because he couldn't see.
Yet, when one of Dudley's toys that Petunia had forgotten to pick up was in his path, he stepped over it as lightly as though it had been there his whole life. Petunia shook her head, not bothering to spend time pondering over her nephew's odd ability. His disability paid for Dudley's new bike, after all.
They got a stipend from the government which payed to send him to a special school for the blind. It was a good amount of money, and whatever they didn't spend on Harry (it was the cheapest blind school around) they kept for themselves. They also gave him all the chores, but he could do them, oddly enough. Even weeding the garden didn't present much of a challenge for her nephew. Even when she made him do them at night when the neighbors couldn't see him.
"Get the big pan out of the dishwasher," she instructed him, and felt disconcerted as his head kept staring straight ahead. Even after he had lived with them for nearly ten years she wasn't used to the way that he never turned his head towards noises or people. She was just glad that his messy bangs covered his face all the way down to his nose. Those pale green eyes just leaked freakiness.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry said, still slightly mockingly. He started on the bacon, expertly avoiding spitting grease while his face pointed distinctly away from the pan. They way he cooked you would've have never known that he was blind except he never looked at what he was doing.
Aunt Petunia busily started arranging as many of Dudley's presents as he could before he and Uncle Vernon came down a few minutes later. Dudley, smiling evilly, and threw a small ball at Harry, who, without even stopping flipping the bacon, reached out, grabbed the ball in mid flight, and popped it.
"Good morning, Dudley, Uncle Vernon," Harry said politely. Vernon ignored him, sitting down at the clearest space at the table and saying hello to his wife. Dudley, however, huffed, annoyed that his "sneak attack" hadn't worked on Harry again.
Harry noticed this, and smiled, carrying the plate bacon to last available space on the table while Dudley didn't even bother to count his presents before he fell on them. Harry sat down across from Dudley and started loading his plate with as much as he was allowed. Which was basically whatever was left over after Dudley had loaded his plate. More often than not it wasn't much. The telephone rang just as Dudley began to open his presents, and when Aunt Petunia came back he had already opened nearly half of them.
"Bad news, Vernon," she said. "Mrs. Figg can't take him." Harry blinked, though no one could see it. He wondered what had happened. He didn't particularly like Mrs. Figg. She always acted like she was seeing a ghost every time she saw him, and pitied him for his disability, which Harry hated, but that didn't mean he wanted to spend time with his relatives more.
"You could leave me here," he suggested, smiling, which had an odd effect since his mouth was the only feature of his face you could see clearly.
"And have a service worker come by and sue us for leaving you alone?" growled Vernon, the only words he had said to Harry all morning. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon discussed it, weighing the benefits of locking Harry in his cupboard versus taking them with him.
Harry couldn't care less either way. He had a nice little lock-picking kit in his cupboard, even though there was nothing to do in the house except read the few books in braille he had. Whatever allowed him "see" and sense if something in his path or coming towards him it only extended in a six meter radius, and technology didn't quite know what to do with, resulting in a large smear of fuzz where the TV should. If he went to the zoo he had much of the same problem, since the majority of animals weren't inclined to get within a mile, much less six meters of a dangerous human.
Half an hour later Dudley's friend had arrived and Harry had been thrown into the car with the rest of the family, off on their way to the zoo. They looked at the animals, or in Harry's case, didn't look at the animals. Dudley and his friend Piers practically dragged Harry with them everywhere, pretending to be leading him, because they knew that they could get free stuff if they used Harry as a guilt trip. Plus, Dudley knew that while his parents tolerated Harry's obvious unnatural ability to "see" while they were at home and it allowed them to have a slave that paidthem, it did not extend to when normal people could judge them. So Dudley dragged Harry around, explained what animals they were looking at, and even carried his tray when they stopped for lunch at the food court.
For Harry, it was worth going to the zoo just to have Duddley wait on him.
Of course, it all fell apart after lunch. Harry didn't particularly know what happened, but that was hardly unusual where he was concerned. A snake, one of the few animals he could see clearer than even a human, had escaped, though how Harry didn't know. He couldn't see, pardon the pun, why Dudley and Piers where really complaining about, anyway. The snake was nice enough, and it wasn't like he was the only one who understood it, right? That one got him confined to his cupboard for a month.
Snape scowled, staring at the abhorrently normal Muggle house, wishing with all his heart that Dumbledore hadn't explicitly asked him to do this errand. The old man knew that he hated the Potters, all Potters, and it was extremely stupid to send him when he would undoubtedly prejudice the boy against the Wizarding world. Snape wondered, not for the first time, if Dumbledore had finally lost his mind.
After all, the man was acting as though the last thing that he wanted was Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, Saviour of the Wizarding World, to like Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump, defeater of Grindlewald etc. etc, (It was hardly his job to keep with all the man's titles.) to even come back to the Wizarding World. He knew that McGonagall agreed with his assessment of his mental state, however. It was the only thing that they could agree on. Especially after he had wrangled the story of how the boy had come to live with Muggles.
Using a grimace he had perfected long ago, that showed anyone with a half a brain he was not happy, he walked up to the door, and with a barely audible gulp, and rang the doorbell.
As for Harry, his birthday had been the day before, and it really hadn't been anything new. Another pair of Vernon's old socks, which he had figured out a long time ago were the perfect hiding place for things he did not want found, and one chore less than every other day of the week. Hurrah.
For now, Harry had finished cleaning up breakfast and had moved to sweeping the living room, cleaning around his cousin as he watched TV. Vernon was off to work, and Petunia was on the phone, and Harry knew that as long as his parents weren't watching, you could you could order Dudley to do pretty much anything and he would do it as long as he didn't have to take his eyes off the TV. Thus Harry took advantage of this.
"You know, Dudley," Harry said conversationally, pausing in his sweeping. "We need to set up some ground rules. You know, where I laze around for a while why you did some work." Dudley just grunted non-committably.
"Yeah, or we could both do the work, and then watch TV, though we might have to get another couch," stated Harry, eyeing the scrap of couch left over from Dudley's bulk.
"What're you watching, anyway?" asked Harry, who honestly didn't know. Dudley simply shrugged. He had gotten automatic non-committal gestures down to an art-form. Harry, just out of curiosity, started poking Dudley in the back of the head the end of the broom, just to make sure he hadn't died. It was rather unfortunate that it was right then that Petunia got off the phone.
"What are you doing?" she asked angrily, making both Harry and Dudley jump. Harry quickly stowed the broom behind his back, as though trying to make the offensive instrument disappear.
"Just making sure that Dudley was still alive, Aunt Petunia," Harry said, innocently as possible. Dudley nodded, not really willing to excite his mother's wrath. Vernon might've been quicker to anger, but when Petunia really got mad, even her husband dived for cover. Fortunately it was at that moment that the door bell rang. Harry took the opportunity to escape while Petunia fussed over Dudley, making sure that he hadn't sustained brain damage.
'Yeah, like brain damage is the biggest threat to Dudley's health. Brain damage would probably be an improvement,' Harry thought uncharitably as he opened the door to reveal the strangest person Harry had ever seen.
"Hey, wait I can actually see you!" Harry exclaimed, reaching his hand out, running it over the air an inch in front of the man's chest.
"Awesome," Harry said, smiling broadly, retracting his hand. The man, who had been standing stock-still through this entire event, broke out of his stupor and coughed to get Harry's attention. It certainly did, since the man didn't seem the coughing type to Harry.
"Are you Harry Potter?" the man asked obviously trying very hard to ignore this strange behavior, his face twisting as though looking at something disgusting on the bottom of his shoe. Harry frowned, and then reached up, waving his hand in front of the man's face. He was so small that he barely reached.
"I don't know if I should answer you," Harry answered, frowning. "You don't seem to like me that much. Why don't you tell me your name first?"
"My name is Severus Snape, and where I come from it is very rude to demand a person's name when they asked you first," Snape said in his most arrogant, intimidating voice. Harry merely smiled up at him and said:
"I don't come from there. You wanna come in?" Snape just stared at the door-frame before reluctantly entering.
"Hey, Aunt Petunia, this is Severus Snape. I don't know why he's here, but he's asking for me," Harry said as Snape followed him into the living room. Petunia turned from where she had examining Dudley's head and gasped.
"You're one of them!" she screeched. Harry took this as his cue to hide. After being blind and small for the majority of his life he was quite good at this. It proved to be a good move as Petunia threw Dudley out of the room shortly after.
"What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to take the boy to Hogwarts, Muggle," the man said, in the same arrogant tone as before.
"How can the boy go to that school? He's blind! You people are ridiculous!"
"B-bl-blind?" sputtered the man, completely and utterly shocked, something wholly unfamiliar to him.
"Blind? Dumbledore never mentioned," started Snape, before a strange light illuminated his eyes. "That old codger," he practically growled, gritting his teeth so hard they squeaked.
Harry decided this was not the way he wanted the conversation to go. He had no idea what a Hogwarts was, but he had learned a long time ago that if the Dursleys opposed it, it was usually exactly the kind of thing he would be interested in.
"Hey, don't I get a choice?" Harry demanded, and he felt the exact same feeling of loathing coming from both his Aunt and the man.
"Boy, we spend a great deal of money on you-"
"No you don't," Harry snorted. "Don't try to guilt trip me. I am a guilt trip, remember?" He walked over to one of the chairs that was facing the two adults and sat down, looking for all the world like a miniature mob leader, minus the goons, the cat, and the suit.
"So what is this Hogwarts place?" Aunt Petunia looked livid, but Severus, most likely unintentionally, started talking before she could.
"Hogwarts is the greatest school for Witchcraft and Wizardry in Europe," Snape said almost pleasantly, obviously still in shock. Harry meanwhile sat there, absorbing all the information that the man's one small sentence had given him. Suddenly a lot of things made a lot more sense.
"So I'm a wizard," he began slowly after a second. "And I can 'see' you very clearly, as clearly as I can see snakes. That means that you're a wizard too." It wasn't a question yet Snape began to sputter.
Harry ignored him, trying to fix all the pieces of the puzzle together by talking it out.
"I obviously, as it stands, cannot pay for it, and I doubt a regular bank would pay for a magical education. Or my Aunt and Uncle, for that matter. So that means that there must be another source paying for it. I've sent no application for such a school, so this all points to a third party, or the school," he paused in his reasoning.
"Is it common for a wizard to be blind?" he asked Snape.
"No, of course not you foolish boy. I'm not blind, am I?" snarled Snape, finally coming to his senses.
"I don't know. Are you?" Snape just went back to his sputtering, and Harry ignored him and his Aunt's ranting in the background.
"So Hogwarts is not a school especially for blind wizards?" Snape merely made a strangled noise which Harry took to be a no.
"That means that a blind wizard is something of a novelty, and even then you didn't know I was blind. It seems as though there is no school specifically set up for such a thing, so why Hogwarts? It must be something special either to do with me or the school. I doubt it could be me, except for the whole blind thing, so it must be the school." Harry nodded, decided. "Okay, I'll go to your school, but only because you asked nicely." Snape answered by trying to strangle the air in front of him.
Harry sighed. This was going to take a while.
Okay, we have a little bit of sorting out to do. Yes the Dursleys, especially Dudley,are a lot nicer to Harry, though in no way will they ever be saints, and it is not my intention to present them as such. Vernon and Petunia are nicer because they had to take care of Harry for four years or so, while he was completely helpless. Then he began to help out, while they were still being paid for bringing him up, so they aren't quite as resentful. If you have a hard time believing this, I just figure that the Dursley's are very, very practical, even when it comes to magic. Plus they are very materialistic. Harry's a good slave, he doesn't use flashy magic, and he doesn't cause trouble.
No, Dumbledore is no more crazy here than he is in the books. Not exactly comforting, but its the best I can do...
Yeah, I know I promised I wouldn't start a second fanfic until I finished KoP, but what can I say? I lied. If its any consolation, I will try to work to get both updating, umm, more quickly than before.