Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
The Dungeon Books
Chapter One: A Son For the Joneses
Down the street from Number Four Privet Drive, in Little Whinging, Surrey, where wondrous events were taking place, Diane Jones bolted awake in Number Nine.
"Irwin!" she shook her husband. "Irwin, do you hear that?"
"Huh? Diane? Dear, what is it?" but Diane had already hastily thrown a coat on and started downstairs. "Diane! You're still on bed rest!"
His wife snorted. "Since when has that kept either of us?"
Sighing, he too went into combat mode, and followed his determined wife outside, taking care to make no noise as they crept along toward whatever had pulled Diane out of her analgesics-induced slumber.
Any other man or woman would have frozen in fear or bewilderment, but Irwin and Diane Jones did not. Throwing themselves to the ground beside the bushes in front of Number Five, the couple silently observed as a long-bearded man turned off all the street lights with a lighter-seeming device, a small tabby cat became a woman, and a giant arrived in a flying motorcycle, bearing in his arms… a baby?
Though she very much wanted to scream in outrage, Diane Jones repressed her emotions as she had done countless times in her career as a combat nurse. She and her husband waited until the strangers departed, and then rushed stealthily toward the front porch of Number Four. In an instant Diane had swept the sleeping child onto her arms, and turned back toward her own house.
Irwin remained silent until they were inside their own home.
His wife cut him off.
"Don't, Irwin. Whoever and however powerful they were, they abandoned an innocent baby. I won't abet such a crime. Especially knowing that I will never bear my own."
Irwin sighed, and then took the envelope that peeked from the infant's blankets. He read the missive carefully before handing it to Diane.
"I never thought I would see the conspiracy theorists proven right. But Diane, if I read this correctly, then this child would be better off with the folks at Number Four."
Diane shook her head emphatically.
"No. It speaks here of love as the foundation for this child's protection. The Dursleys being his relatives is a mere technicality. Just like his birth parents lay down their lives for him, so will we if it comes to that." She looked pointedly at her husband, who capitulated with a smile, and sat down beside his wife, reaching a hand to the baby's brow.
"Very well. Be welcome into our lives and hearts, Harry James Potter Jones."
Ever since that fateful All Hallows Eve, the Jones home was full of the laughter and joy Diane and Irwin had long yearned for and nearly given up hope of achieving. Diane had miscarried the only two times she had conceived, and her and Irwin's age precluded any further attempts. Having devoted their lives to active military service, they had not given thought to surviving long enough for settling down until retirement stared them in the face. Life had granted them a reprieve and then an extraordinary blessing in the person of their beloved Harry, and they responded accordingly, bestowing all their love and experience on their son.
One day little Harry came home with a summons from the school principal, complaining that the boy had been found on the school's roof.
"I swear Dad, I didn't mean to. Dudley and Piers and their other friends were after me, and I just wanted somewhere to hide."
"Son, how long have they been bothering you?"
"It usually isn't too bad, just practical jokes and that kind of thing…"
"Has this happened to any other children?"
"Oh yeah, we all know to not provoke them."
Irwin remained silent, and finally took a deep breath.
"Harry, I will ground you, but I want you to understand why. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, has the right to bully you. You must come to me or your mother immediately if anything like this ever happens again. And it's time you learn some personal defense techniques, in case of emergencies."
Harry lowered his head.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I will remember to come to you or Mum."
The next day, the school principal bore the brunt of Diane and Irwin's ire for her inaction regarding bullies. As a result, other bullied children spoke to their parents, and the families came forward with the complaints. At the end of the school year, the principal was dismissed, following the revelation that she had accepted bribes from several parents in exchange for overlooking their children's questionable behavior.
Another time, during a visit to the zoo, Harry stood transfixed before an exhibit in the reptile house.
"I bet that's annoying… having all these people staring at you every day, expecting you to perform tricks like you have nothing better to do with your time."
The large serpent nodded. "Indeed."
Harry jumped, startled, and looked around for the source of the voice. "Who said that?"
The serpent approached the glass and rose upon its coils. "Here, young human."
Harry rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things.
"You can understand me?"
"How awesome!" He looked at exhibit sign, which read, Boa constrictor, native to Brazil. "Is it nice in Brazil?"
"I have never been." The animal jabbed its tail at the sign, which also indicated, Bred in captivity.
"I'm sorry… wonder if I could help?"
No sooner had Harry said the words than the glass vanished, and the reptile made for the exit at top speed, hissing his thanks. Of course, the event generated a pandemonium.
"SILENCE!" Harry winced at his father's parade voice. "Ladies and gentlemen, the animal is inoffensive. Just remain still, please. Now, may someone close the door?"
In a whisper, Irwin addressed his son. "Harry, would you retrieve your new friend? Discreetly, please."
Harry, trembling as he recognized the cold tone of disappointment, bent down on all fours and started searching. He found the serpent staring moodily at the closed door.
"Sorry, pal. You need to come with me. Please?"
"Only for you, young human. That large one is angry."
"That's my sire. He is displeased that I freed you."
"Then I will help you, as you helped me." The animal allowed Harry to carry him, draped across his shoulders like a scarf.
Hours later, a tearful Harry clung to his mother, blubbering his apologies. Irwin and Diane had taken their son to return the snake, and asked one of the keepers to lecture Harry on the consequences of releasing a wild animal into an alien environment. Heartbroken that his new friend could well have died outside his specially designed habitat, the boy resolutely asked what would his punishment be.
"You have punished yourself already, dear," said Diane. "But I daresay it would benefit you to do some volunteer work here at the zoo." She turned to the handler, who nodded. "We will work out a schedule around your other commitments."
Once at home, it dawned upon Harry that his parents had completely ignored the fact that he could talk to snakes.
"Mum, Dad? Did you see what I did?"
Diane nodded. "You acted unwisely, dear."
Harry flinched, but Irwin shook his head. "No, son; now you know better. You heard Mr. Malcolm. Snakes and many other wild animals are often misunderstood, and mistreated. You also saw the spontaneous reaction of the public at the zoo."
Irwin held his son's eyes until understanding widened them.
Harry's volunteer work at the zoo gained him many friends, human and otherwise. It also gained him the opportunity to adopt a new family member.
"Mum, Dad, come see, come see!"
"What is it, dear?"
Harry held out his hands, from where a small triangular head peeked out.
"Mr. Malcolm said I could keep her! She's a baby rock python." He pointed behind him, where a handcart stood, loaded with supplies.
Diane smiled. "Excellent, Harry. Does she have a name?"
Harry hissed at his hands for a moment, then nodded happily. "She likes to be called Tomoe."
Diane nodded to the young reptile, "Welcome to the family, Miss Tomoe," before turning to her son. "You know, dear, you're just like Mowgli. Only instead of Kaa, you have Tomoe."
Harry's face lit with wonder, remembering the Jungle Book stories his parents read him every so often before bedtime.
Diane chuckled. "Hadn't noticed the parallels, eh? Well, pay closer attention from now on, and let's see what else you can learn."