Speculum Fragilis
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Schwartz and Rowling are responsible for this amalgam. I just had the idea. Lyrics from various bands I enjoy.

Summary: Harry looked at his brother and knew they were thinking the same thing. We could have been each other's friends...

Timeline:The O.C. S1, specifically after 'The Rescue'. Post-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Pairings: Harry Potter/Hermione Granger or Harry Potter/Luna Lovegood (I haven't decided), Seth Cohen/Anna Stern.

Notes: Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa, under my own personal observation, would have all made better friends. So they'll be staying just that.

Part I: What Kind of Family Is This, Cohen?

When you've finally thrown up your hands...Poured your heart out, yet nothing stands...It seems our efforts are wasted...But yet it hasn't been in vain...

Harry Potter sat tensely in the brightly lit kitchen of this house, his brother's, and stared nervously at his plate. He wasn't particularly hungry, but Mr. and Mrs. Cohen--Sandy and Kirsten, they insisted--had gone through rather a lot of trouble to buy food he recognized--and for breakfast, nonetheless, as he was thoroughly unaccustomed to the nine hour time difference between Surrey, Hogsmeade, and this place...Orange County. Across from the table, he heard Seth (his twin brother) stifle himself saying something and was unable to keep from looking up. Their eyes met for half a second before both shooting back down toward their plates. Next to Harry, Ryan seemed as uncomfortable as they were, which he was strangely grateful for. He knew that Ryan only had around a week and a half more of experience living in this house, and in the pool house, besides, which was in itself something to get used to besides the sheer size of...his new home...Harry tried not to look as nervous as he felt, poking at his kippers and eggs with a fork.

At the head and foot of the table, Sandy and Kirsten traded glances before Kirsten finally cleared her throat and stood, "Well, since no one seems to be hungry right now, Harry, why don't you get some rest."

"Yeah," Sandy agreed readily, standing as well and taking Harry's plate from him. "You look like you're about to fall asleep in your seat. Until we get your room situation settled, do you mind sharing with Seth?"

Harry's head snapped up, a bashful refusal on his lips as a blush spread up his face. "Oh--no, that--that's not necessary. I can sleep on a--"

"Couch?" Ryan asked, then, chuckling with an irony that let Harry know he'd been through the same thing. "They'd probably get that Snape guy to place you in that bind-thing he was talking about."

Sandy came over and gently placed a hand on Harry's shoulder, starting to propel him toward the kitchen doorway. "Don't think we haven't thought about it. Seth, you wanna show Harry your room?"

"Uh, yeah, sure," Seth jumped up, rushing forward and spreading his arms out. He turned and held up two fingers in front of his face in a mock-contemplating expression. "Don't believe what Mom tells you--this is not a wildlife refuge..."

And with that Seth opened his bedroom door and Harry felt his mouth drop open. This room alone had to be bigger, probably, than all the Dursleys' bedrooms combined and filled with more things than he'd ever owned in his life. And books that actually looked as though they'd been repeatedly read. He never realized that was an odd thought.

"Lie down," Sandy said quietly, prodding Harry toward Seth's bed. "You've gotta keep those bandages as stationary as possible."

"Crap," Seth said, then, snapping his fingers. "I guess that means no prostrating ourselves at Luke's feet today, huh, Ryan?"

"Crap," Ryan agreed, following Seth and Harry into their room before sitting down and settling himself against the wall. Harry was still busy staring at all the posters and stuff that Seth had tacked up in various places. He felt Sandy's hands on his shoulders again, pushing him down onto the bed before removing his shoes.

"I think you have a ringing endorsement here," Sandy told Seth, who rolled his eyes and went to his dresser where his mother had placed the pajama pants and t-shirt she'd bought Harry earlier that day. He tossed them onto the bed before turning around and pretending to be interested in the view of the ocean outside his window.

"I think now would be the operative time to change," Ryan suggested, getting back up and following Sandy back out. Harry moved almost on autopilot, carefully removing the new clothes Kirsten had helped him pick out earlier that day and folding them before placing them in his trunk. Hedwig's perch was next to the window and she and Seth watched each other, blipping out of view as Harry pulled the t-shirt on before slipping on the loose drawstring pants. Everything was crisp, new--they still had the bloody creases in them from their packaging! He had to struggle to believe they were really his to keep.

"So...our...aunt and uncle," Seth said quietly, his tone darkening as he turned back around to see Harry staring at his clothes like they'd disappear any moment. He hadn't gotten that look off his face since before they even landed back in Newport with Professor Dumbledore bringing Harry, himself. It made Seth want to punch something and he resorted to his time-honored habit of babbling. "They don't really like us, do they? I mean, with like the magic and everything? Our bio-mom and dad being a witch and wizard? And us?" Seth looked down at his own hands, trying to imagine doing focused magic the way he'd seen Professors Dumbledore and Snape do when they'd been in Dumbledore's office.

Harry snorted a bit before glancing at his twin and sitting down on the bed. Seth folded his arms and watched as Harry picked up his wand and started twirling it. "Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Mum's sister and brother-in-law. They're afraid of me," he agreed quietly. "They think I'll hex them. They know about the Statute of Secrecy but it hasn't stopped them from doing anything." Harry sighed, dropped his wand back onto the bed, and ran both hands over his forehead as though he were trying to wipe his scar off. "They certainly don't like to tell me things if they can help it. I guess with the Secret-Keeping, they'd forgotten about you, but even if they had known...I never even knew I had a brother and still wouldn't if it had been up to them."

Seth frowned, running a hand through his equally dark but curly hair, "Mom and Dad told me when I was eight. They told me they'd tried to find you, but I guess now we know why they couldn't. I just want to know why Dumbledore split us up."

Harry looked at his brother and knew they were thinking the same thing. We could have been each other's friends...

"Maybe he thought you were safer away from me or something. Voldemort wasn't trying to kill you, just me." Harry started to bend forward, heaviness starting to pull at him and Seth walked over and took his wand from him, placing it on the left-hand night table before pushing Harry back into a supine position.

"We don't know that. He probably just didn't get around to it. But, anyway, it's like my--our dad told you earlier--you're not some Boy Who Lived here. You're Harry. Harry...Potter-Cohen. I guess we'll figure out the name thing later because there's no way Mom and Dad won't let you and Ryan both stay. But the point is, um...Tabula Rasa and stuff like that. Hell, around here, you, me, and Ryan are basically invisible." The thought didn't bring him much comfort, but the look of relief that settled on Harry's face made him wonder if he shouldn't be, as well.

Seth dismissed the thought, though, and hesitated for a moment before removing his shoes and sitting down on his bed, picking up his headphones and watching as Harry fell asleep again.

...Dreams are all you have, dreams have held you back--Dreamers never live, only dream of them...

***

Twenty-eight hours previous

Harry sat in Professor Dumbledore's office, his head leaning over the back of the chair he sat in. Beside him, Professor Snape sat watching him, but Harry did his level best to ignore the greasy git's presence. He wasn't certain why he was back here so soon. Dumbledore had only told him of the blood wards the previous week. He certainly hadn't expected Snape to be the one standing over him when he'd woken up from falling down the stairs after Uncle Vernon pushed him. He'd woken up in the Hospital Wing here at Hogwarts and had a very hazy memory of Professor Snape being something resembling...nice...or at least not cruel. Then again, he'd been drugged to the gills with Madam Pomfrey's potions and may have hallucinated the whole thing...except hadn't Professor Snape specifically said he wasn't a hallucination?

Harry clenched his eyes shut and slowly lifted his head back into a vertical position. The door was opening and Professor Dumbledore walked calmly through it. Both he and Professor Snape stood automatically to recognize his presence, but Professor Dumbledore smiled benignly at both, shaking his head.

"My dear Harry, Severus...please sit--Harry, you have had quite the injury done far too recently to do anything other than convalesce. Please...sit back down and rest."

Harry sighed and sank gratefully back into his chair, too tired to care about the fact that Professor Snape's eyes were on him now. Too tired to do much of anything.

"I shall make this concise and to the point," Professor Dumbledore told him quietly, aware of the way Harry's endurance was waning. "We are here to read the finer points of the last will and testament of one Sirius Black."

Harry felt his body tense painfully and held in a gasp, but Professor Dumbledore's eyes met his and Harry could feel the concern practically drowning them. "Harry, make no mistake--if it were not for the dire importance of this document, I would have you in bed straightaway. I am inclined to do so in any case, but--as I said, your protection and future...as well as your past depend upon what I am about to tell you."

"You mean about my parents," Harry intoned, looking wearily up into Dumbledore's face. He could see Dumbledore's face creasing with more concern and looked away. He didn't want to see it, didn't want to feel anything right now. Didn't want to think. It was easier when he couldn't see them.

"I mean about your parents, your godfather, and your twin brother."

Harry couldn't stop himself from turning back to goggle at the headmaster now and could tell Snape, himself, was doing the same. "I...I have a brother?"

Dumbledore nodded, pulling out a roll of parchment and beginning to read from it. The gist of it, as Harry understood, was that Sirius had been the Potters' Secret-Keeper after all, but not for the reason everyone believed. Lily and James Potter had both insisted on naming different Secret-Keepers for each of their sons and having them perform Unbreakable Vows so that in the event of their deaths, whomever's Secret Keeper was still living was still protected.

"Your Secret-Keeper is Professor Snape--" and here Harry's entire body whipped painfully to where Professor Snape sat next to him, his entire persona a blaring yellow sign that said 'fuck you for breathing'. "And your brother, Seth's Secret Keeper was Sirius. As it is, as your godfather has now been taken from the mortal coil, your brother's life is now in quite as much danger as yours. As for his location, after your parents' deaths, it fell to me to arrange your futures as I have told you. I have contacts in America who helped place Seth with a family in California where he currently lives. As it is my understanding of your family's..." and here Harry felt as though the temperature dropped significantly. "Disdain, to say the least, for your presence in their household has made them completely intolerable toward you or your brother, should he be brought to live here in England, it has been decided that it is infinitely preferable for you to go to Newport--ah, the town in which your brother's family lives--and continue to live there. As your brother was with you at the time of your mother's murder, he too is imbued with the very same protection she gave you when she shielded you from Lord Voldemort. Your relation to Seth creates the blood bond necessary for the protection you live under to continue and his adoptive parents, from what I have been told, have tried to find you before, but were unsuccessful."

"Because of the Secret-Keeping," Harry whispered, disbelief and awe warring for dominance in his voice.

Dumbledore nodded, "As it is, the contents of the will Sirius left upon his death certifies not only for yourself--and Seth, as well--to inherit Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, but that he is Seth's Secret Keeper, thus we were finally able to contact his family a few hours prior to your arrival. They were given time to consider the matter and, if they felt the need, to make any preparations they wished before coming here. I suggest that you go upstairs and rest before they arrive, even if you are unable to sleep. While they shall be traveling by Portkey, I will be using the Floo Network temporarily hooked up to their fireplace with you to spare as few jolts to your internal organs as possible. I must ask, Harry, as does Madam Pomfrey, that you rest as much as possible. As it is, Professor Snape will be charged with making certain you do not descend into irreparable distress for the time being. I have his word that he will not harm you, but he has promised Madam Pomfrey that he will put you in a Full-Body Bind if you attempt anything even approaching strenuous for the foreseeable future."

Harry glanced over at Professor Snape, shame and guilt flooding his entire being. He recalled, as he often had over the past several weeks, his father's own actions toward Professor Snape in their adolescence and the idea that Professor Snape, though he surely loathed Harry (and rightly so, Harry believed), would give his life to protect him...he felt a dark flush coming to warm his face and wished desperately for a hole to open up in the ground and swallow him. As a matter of course, this did not happen and Harry was forced to very slowly get up and follow Professor Snape through warm, tickling flames to the Hospital Wing he'd been in so many times before.

He was ultimately surprised and infinitely grateful to have fallen asleep no sooner than his head touched the pillow.

...You gave me a life that's not so easy to live and then you sent me on my way...

...TBC...