A/N: Please don't kill me for starting yet another story! This plot bunny wouldn't leave me alone! I seem to have some obsession with Harry not growing up as he did in canon! Oh well, enjoy! I also don't know how regular the updates will be, but I will try! Also, I have no idea what pairing, if any, this will be. Feel free to give suggestions.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, really, save for a few characters. You'll know which are mine, I promise.
Summary: Elijah Douglas wants nothing more than to be ordinary. Fate, however, has other plans. When he sets out to prove that the red-eyed man he dreams of is real, he discovers much more than that: he is the missing Boy-Who-Lived, savior of the wizarding world - a world, that until now, he never knew existed. How will Elijah react when he is thrust into this strange new world?
An Ordinary Life
Be not afraid of greatness:
Some are born great,
Some achieve greatness,
And some have greatness thrust upon 'em
Twelth Night, Act II, Sc. V
Fifteen year old Elijah Douglas awoke with a start. He fumbled around on his nightstand for his glasses and the journal he always kept next to his bed. Ignoring the blinding pain emanating from his forehead, he opened the journal and wrote as much as he could manage about the dream. Once that was finished, he ran his hands through his dark messy hair and fell back against his pillow, his breathing still harsh. He could still hear the cold laughter echoing through his head. It was always the same, night after night. The cold laughter, the man's mocking voice, the crimson eyes, the anger he felt; always the same. Well, nearly always the same. Last night had been a bit different, but for the most part they were all the same.
When his breathing was finally under control, Elijah threw his legs over the side of his bed and, taking his sweat-soaked shirt off along the way, went into the bathroom to complete his morning absolutions. He wasn't surprised to see that the odd lightening-bolt shaped scar that marred his forehead was a livid red against his otherwise pale skin. It was inflamed more often than not now, to the surprise and befuddlement of nearly every doctor his father had sent him to - which was, if he was honest, nearly every doctor in New England. He reached up with one finger and gingerly touched it, wincing when the pain intensified. Well, nothing doing, he'd have to endure it. If he wanted to spend the rest of the day in bed, he could take a pain pill, but as he had classes, he could not. He did, however, take his other daily medicine, washing the pills down with water directly from the spout.
"Another nightmare?" asked his room-mate Bryce when he returned from the bathroom.
"Yeah," said Elijah, tiredly, as he began pulling on his uniform. "Sorry if I woke you," he added hastily, but Bryce had already fallen asleep again.
He gathered everything he would need for the day and, after cramming the items into his messenger bag, left the room.
It was still early, not yet six o'clock, and the building was eerily silent, much as it was most mornings. Elijah should have been used to it, as he had spent the majority of the previous year waking early, but it still unnerved him.
He smiled and politely greeted the receptionist when he reached the ground floor, ignoring the pitying look she gave him in return. Since the death of his mother the previous year, he had often received those pitying looks. He had a difficult time ignoring them at first, but managed to not care now - well, he amended, most of the time, that is. He went straight into the student commons and flung himself into his favorite chair. He put the headphones from his Walkman over his ears and pressed play, relishing in the absence of silence - and maniacal laughter - that followed. He then pulled out his sketch pad and his pencil, and, after turning to a blank page, began sketching his dream from the previous night. Before long, the man who plagued his sleeping - and sometimes waking - hours was staring back at him. The only thing missing was the intense crimson hue of the man's eyes, eyes that - even on paper, as it were - seemed to bore into him. Even this crude facsimile of the man was enough to send shivers down his spine.
He was in the process of beginning the intricate designs on the man's clothing when someone nudged him on the arm. He looked up to find his best, and indeed only, friend Andrew standing in front of him.
He slipped off his headphones as Andrew flopped into the chair next to him, yawning loudly.
"You're up early," Elijah commented as he turned his attentions back to his sketch.
Another yawn. "You, too. Have another nightmare?"
Elijah hesitated, but at Andrew's knowing look, he nodded.
"You should definitely tell your dad, Eli. Maybe they could up your meds or something. You did take your meds last night, didn't you?" asked Andrew.
Elijah shot him an icy glare. "Of course I took my meds. Didn't bloody help though, did it? Never really does," he said, bitterly, a scowl forming on his face. "My dad can't help me, you know that, so there's no point in even telling him. I don't want him to worry more than necessary. Besides, he's gone ahead to London."
"Okay, okay," said Andrew, quickly, obviously attempting to backtrack. "No need to be so tetchy. Don't tell your dad if you don't want to. It was just a suggestion. He'll know soon enough anyway, with the way you scream and carry on, so there's no point in keepin' it from him, is there?"
Elijah sighed and absently rubbed his forehead. "No, you're right. I'll have to tell him," he replied softly. And he did know. Today was the last day of the school semester and tomorrow Elijah would be en route to England for the summer. He might be able to minimize and - at times - lie about the nightmares whilst away at school, but he'd never be able to hide them from his father over the summer, not when they would be living under the same roof. Well, at any rate, he might be able to keep the lectures at an absolute minimum if he told his father beforehand.
"Hey," said Andrew, at his friends pensive expression. "It could be much worse. Just think, an entire summer globe trotting across Europe. Must me nice."
"I suppose." Elijah replied reluctantly. "You do know that I won't actually be globe trotting, right?" Unless, of course, by globe trotting Andrew meant spending copious amounts of times with his Great Auntie Elinor whom Elijah thought was more than a bit mad.
Andrew shrugged. "Doesn't matter. Anything is better than spending the summer toiling around like a commoner," Andrew sniffed in an imitated affected manner.
"Of course not," said Elijah with a small chuckle. "Wouldn't want to be seen doing anything as plebeian as working."
"Let's go to breakfast, I'm starving!" said Andrew, changing the subject abruptly.
"You're always starving," commented Elijah lightly, tapping his pencil against his sketch pad irritatedly. He had moved on to the man's snake, but he was having difficulty remembering the pattern on her scales. It was unique, he'd never seen another snake quite like that, and he'd seen a number of them as he was rather fascinated with them.
Andrew's stomach growled loudly as if to punctuate his pleadings. Elijah rolled his eyes, but he did close his sketch pad and stood up after shoving it back in his bag. He yawned loudly as he stretched, and then the two of them headed off towards the dining hall.
Sometimes Elijah forgot how different he was from his closest friend. The guilt of his comments settled in as they sat down to eat, Elijah choosing a full breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and orange juice and Andrew choosing only cereal. He really should have been more considerate earlier. He knew that Andrew was rather sensitive when it came to the general issue of money and summer activities in particular. Both boys attended the prestigious boarding school, Exeter Academy, but Andrew was there on scholarship. Andrew put up with a certain amount of ridicule because of it, but Elijah had never cared how much - or how little - money his friend had. While Andrew spent the summers doing odd jobs for his neighbors to earn pocket money, Elijah spent the summers with his parents in New Haven, Connecticut where his father worked as a professor.
This summer was different. It was the first summer since his mother had died of cancer, and it was also the first summer he was to spend the entirety of abroad. He hadn't spent more than two weeks in the UK since he and his parents had moved to Connecticut when he was eight years old. This year he was spending the entire summer in London with his Great Aunt Elinor while his father taught a series of classes at his old alma mater, Cambridge University.
"You're awfully quiet," Andrew said thoughtfully. "Nervous 'bout exams?"
"No, just thinking," he said, taking a long drink of his orange juice.
"Like you even need to worry," grumbled Andrew. "I bet you would pass all your exams even if you didn't study."
Elijah sighed. If Andrew was teased because of his lack of money, Elijah was teased because he was a bookworm. It was no wonder the two had become such fast friends. They had been outcasts from the moment they set foot into the school. Well, not quite so soon. Elijah had been a novelty at first with his accent and his odd slang, but before long he was just another outcast to the students there. Not that he minded, because he didn't. There was nothing Elijah loathed more than being in the spotlight. "I doubt that."
"So, what were you thinking about?"
It was Elijah's turn to shrug. "Nothing, really," he lied easily.
Andrew gave him a warning glare.
"Fine," he said with a slight huff. "I had another dream," he confessed in a hushed tone, leaning closer to Andrew. He didn't want to tell Andrew what he really had been thinking about, and he did want to talk about the dream to someone.
"Wha' 'bout?" asked his friend between mouthfuls of cereal.
"Just more of the same."
"Right," said Andrew sarcastically. "Just another bid for world domination? Nothing new about that."
"Something like that. Well, actually it was a bit different than usual," Elijah admitted.
"He was happy," said Elijah simply.
"Happy," repeated Andrew incredulously.
"Yeah," Elijah breathed out, excitedly. "He was really happy, but more than just happy... he was elated, blissful, even. Something he's been working on is finally within his grasp. He'll not stop until he has it! I wonder what it is." A thoughtful look appeared on his face.
Silence reigned for several long moments after Elijah finished speaking.
"Elijah," started Andrew, his voice a bit nervous. "It's just a dream. This man... this, what did you say his name was?" He paused. "Ohhh, yeah, Lord Voldemort. Anyway, it doesn't matter, he's not real. He's just a figment of your imagination."
Elijah recoiled as if slapped. "He is real," he insisted.
"No, he isn't," countered Andrew. "They are just dreams. I know you think they are real, but they aren't. How could he be a real person? Magic isn't real!"
"Yes, it is!" protested Elijah vehemently, his verdant eyes narrowing, his hands clenching the table tightly. His silverware was shaking slightly of his own accord, but neither boy took notice of it. Elijah leaped up from the bench, knocking over his tray in the process.
"Okay, okay," conceded Andrew, in a placating tone. "If you say they're more than dreams, then they are." But he didn't look or sound a bit convinced. In fact, he sounded as if he was trying to calm a startled animal more than anything else. "Look, just sit down, alright?"
But Elijah was too angry to spend another moment in Andrew's presence. "No, I'd rather not," he said coolly. "I've suddenly lost my appetite." He righted his tray and stalked out of the dinning hall, ignoring the hushed whispers and the stares on his back.
Elijah didn't stop until he was out on the grounds. He slumped against a tree, not just any tree, but his favorite. It was a large tree with a thick gnarled trunk. He groaned loudly and dropped his head into his hands. He felt like he was going mad. He had blown up at his best friend, and for what? Over a man he'd only ever seen in his dream? And a world that may or may not even exist? A world full of magic? A world he felt sure was real.
Heaving a heavy sigh, he pulled the sketch pad out of his bag and flipped through it. The dreams had started when he was only eleven. At first, they had only left vague impressions. There was a stuttering man who wore a purple turban, and a high-pitched hissing voice that sent shivers down Elijah's spine. When he was twelve, his dreams had been about a red-haired girl who walked as if she was possessed and the large snake she commanded. Then, there was the moment when the dreams changed. He remembered the dream vividly. The red-haired girl was motionless on the ground and a handsome boy stood over her, his lips curled into a malicious smirk. The seizures had begun soon after that, though his doctors were reluctant to call them seizures at first. They diagnosed him with night terrors, but soon it became evident that they were not night terrors as they began happening even during the day. Soon, however, a multitude of medicine helped repress the majority of the seizures, but the dreams never went away.
Back in his dorm room he had more than a dozen sketch pads filled to the brim with picture after picture of this dream world, and this dream man - Lord Voldemort. One of his many counselors had suggested that Elijah keep a journal to help him with his dreams, and he did, but sketching the scenes was much more therapeutic than merely writing about them.
He stayed under the tree until he heard the bell for the first class ring. Suppressing the urge to go back to his dorm and crawl into his bed, he rose slowly off the ground and hurried for class.
The rest of the day passed by in a whirlwind of exams, studying, and packing. He had made a point to ignore Andrew throughout their exams, but Andrew cornered him at dinner.
"I'm sorry," Andrew said, earnestly. "I shouldn't have said that."
"No," said Elijah, a bit curtly. "You shouldn't have. You know these dreams aren't pleasant for me, but I really think they are real, and this summer I'm going to prove it."
Andrew nodded. "Just promise to be careful, Eli. I can't explain it, but I have a bad feeling about this summer."
"What sort of bad feeling?" asked Elijah curiously.
Andrew shrugged. "I don't know. It feels like every thing's changing," he said. "And I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon." There was a sad look on his friend's face. "Just please promise me you'll attempt to be careful in London this summer."
"I promise," replied Elijah easily, not knowing just how difficult this promise would be to keep.