Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any characters associated with J.K. Rowling's series. Come on, guys.
Rating (please read all of this...I don't want you to yell at me later): M (mature), for swearing, underage drug/alcohol use, sexual actions, generally mature themes, and ideologically sensitive material (child abuse, anorexia [kinda-sorta], and male/male pairings). Also, as I am adapting the HP characters into an urban AU setting, and I'm always going for the realistic, in this story I mention groups based on race, religious orientation, and sexual orientation. Do not take this as my personal preferences: I am not racist, against any particular religion, and obviously, homosexually doesn't bother me. Please, don't read if it offends you...although I probably don't have to tell you that...
Summary: Harry Potter's new life as a student in the School of the Arts is complicated. With gangs, drugs, and abuse in his past, and Draco Malfoy and dance in his future, the trouble starts when he's forced to figure out the present. HD HG (Harry/George...not main pairing)
A/N: I'm posting this chapter earlier than I planned: I was going to wait until I was out of school and into summer vacation, but I'm kind of rewarding myself for a month of non-stop work with no fun involved. I'm also posting this because I've been assaulted with so many fantastic ideas for stories and I want to write them, but I don't want to give this one up because I really do love the plot-line. Anyway...this plot has been in the making for over a year now, and began when I was on a rock climbing trip with my family. The original idea for this story came to me when I was fifty feet up in the air clinging to sandstone for dear life.
An important thing to note: I write this story in a city setting, but I'm not writing it in any specific city. While I write it I'm thinking of a New York City/Las Angeles/San Fransisco crossover. You should imagine that too!
And without further ado...May I present:
Thirteenth to Fifth
All around him there were children running and parents screaming at them, women sitting on the sidewalks putting on makeup and adjusting their breasts inside tight, short dresses; there were teen guys dressed in baggy jeans and huge t-shirts talking in conspiratorial voices as the occasional lone man or woman jogged through the streets, looking at their feet and jumping at every loud voice that reached their ears. Drunks wandered through the streets, their hands and eyes sometimes roaming too far; and the taxis, with their checkered sides gleaming and horns blaring.
The loud yelling began to fade as he moved on, head up and eyes searching the shadows for hidden attackers waiting for some stupid kid to come along. There were more people on the streets in the residential areas: passed out drunks, begging families, coke addicts clawing at their arms with long nails, trying to rid themselves of invisible bugs. Harry skated past all of them, never making eye contact, and moved through the alleys and streets on quick and mostly silent wheels.
The apartment was quiet save for the television playing in his uncle's bedroom, the noise of a violent action show muffled by the closed door. Harry walked into the closet that served as his room, his steps as quiet as possible, and set his worn bag on the mattress that served as his bed as he tossed his skateboard on the floor. He pulled his water bottle out and threw it near the door so he would remember to re-fill it later. The thin, black, stretchy pants were pulled out as well, a small t-shirt tossed in the pile on top of the pants. Next were the shoes: held together by threads, more holes than canvas. They were still slightly damp with sweat and Harry set them aside to dry before...well, whenever he would get to use them again. There was a bottle of gel in the bag that he tossed on top of his upside-down box that served as a table before withdrawing his black bracelet from the bottom of the bag and tying it onto his left wrist with practiced moves. Harry grabbed his audition number from the outside pocket and chucked the bag in the corner of the small room before collapsing on the bed to give his throbbing muscles a break.
Harry's hands automatically unfolded the piece of paper in his hands, the bold number 'two hundred and fourteen' staring at him. He sighed. He didn't really believe in unlucky or lucky numbers, but if he had an unlucky number, two hundred and fourteen would have been it. February fourteenth: the day his parents died in the accident....the day a shard of glass carved a neat scar into his forehead as a souvenir of the event. It was a day that Harry didn't remember—he wasn't even two years old then—but it was also one he couldn't forget, so drastic were the consequences. After the accident he had been sent to live with his only living relatives: the Dursleys. Back then the three Dursleys made a happy family, but as Harry grew through his toddler years and became a young boy of school age, problems arose. Dudley—his cousin older by a few months—was diagnosed with diabetes and the medical bills started arriving. At first Vernon's steady job at Grunning's Tools covered them, but when things went wrong and Dudley and Petunia were spending more time at the hospital than at home the financial stability that both Vernon and Petunia cherished began slipping away into a heap of debt. And when Dudley died...well, Harry's fragile life crashed down around his ears. As Petunia fell into depression and Vernon grew bitter and spiteful, Harry took to the streets, skipping school every day there wasn't an important test, instead running with one of the smaller gangs led by a few kids he knew. Petunia killed herself just months after her son's death, and Vernon bottomed out at his job. They were left with no choice but to move to thirteenth district. Vengeance and anger were played out on the only member of Vernon's family left: Harry Potter. And thus Harry's childhood so far had been one of fear and pain, with only a handful of joyful moments.
Most kids in his situation ended up on the streets as drug dealers, alcoholics, whores, or some sick combination of all three; Harry knew this. But there were stories of people who got out of the slums, people who got a good education through a scholarship and went on to be something. That was why Harry found himself at an audition for the best school of the performing arts in the city earlier that day, the number 'two hundred and fourteen' pinned to his front. He hadn't danced in such a long time—almost a year—but the simple happy memories he had of that dance class gave him the courage to drag his dance outfit out from a box in his room and skate the seven blocks to the bus stop, which took him near the school. There, he filled out his application and joined the other two hundred and fifty high-schoolers in a large studio. The steps came back to him quickly, exhilaration almost overwhelming him as he felt himself dance across the floor. Most of the scholarship applicants were like him, kids whose families had fallen apart and were looking for a way out; but unlike him, most had never danced in their life. Within half an hour their were less than a hundred kids left, with the instructor callings out names of the dismissed every fifteen minutes. Harry's hands began to sweat as the steps got harder, the combinations longer and difficult to remember instantly. There were a few kids who knew how to dance and they moved with confidence and grace, while he began to feel clumsy and as if he weighed five hundred pounds.
There were only thirty scholarship positions for sophomores—some full, most partial—fifteen of which went to instrumentalists (vocalists included), nine to actors, and the remaining six left for dancers. Meaning six of two hundred and fifty kids would make it into the school, and then maybe even less than that would make it through the end of the year. Two hours into the audition there were ten children left. Desperate competitiveness filled Harry, the fear that he would be forced back into the crime-ridden school near his home a blooming reality as he danced his way through emotions of fear and nerves.
"Chin up, two hundred and fourteen! Smile!" The instructor demanded of him. Harry lifted his head and forced his lips into a smile, hoping that the rest of his face wouldn't give his anxiety away. Before he spun away he caught a glimpse of a smile on the instructor's face as she looked at him again. Maybe...just maybe... "Everyone out. Results will be posted this time tomorrow. Please keep in mind only six of you will be attending this school, if that. You would do well to remember that life is a struggle, and a competition. Good luck," The woman said, her voice trim and clear. Harry looked away from her piercing gaze. She was right, life was hard....But all he wanted was a way out...No. He needed a way out.
"Dinner, boy, dinner!" Vernon yelled from his room, his words a drunken slur. Harry was already in the kitchen, thinking about what he could possible find to eat that would be acceptable enough to not earn him a beating. There were three apples in the back of the fridge that he had hidden from his uncle three days ago, a bunch of old lettuce that he needed to throw out, and a bit of soup that Mrs. Weasley had made for him yesterday. Harry pulled the bowl out with a sigh and poured the contents of it into a saucepan, turning on the stove and grabbing a spoon to stir with as he did so. He poured a glass of milk—even though he knew it would be ignored for Vernon's seventh or eight beer of the evening—and brought it to his uncle, knocking softly on the door before opening it. The room smelled like alcohol and sweat, a combination that Harry had almost grown used to in all these years living without Dudley or Petunia.
"It'll be ready in a sec, Vernon. Um...I'll need to go shopping tomorrow...." Harry said softly, his eyes on the floor as his uncle grabbed the glass from him and slammed it down on the single-person table near his knee.
"Remind me later. And get my goddamn dinner!" Vernon yelled, his eyes never leaving the screen. Harry rolled his eyes and went back to the kitchen to stir the soup. Vernon wasn't in a good mood tonight, Harry noted as he poured the soup back into the bowl and placed his stirring spoon in it. Asking him for fifty bucks to shop with would be a tricky task unless he wanted to spend the night passed out cold with shards of a bottle in his skull. Harry went back into Vernon's room and gave his uncle the soup. As he turned to leave Vernon grabbed Harry's wrist, strong fingers digging into his pale skin. "Where the hell were you today?" Vernon asked, his voice still slurred but containing a furious edge. Harry trying to pull his arm away from his uncle, wanting to back up, but Vernon's fingers only tights. "Where the fuck were you, boy?"
"I...I was just at the school. Registration and everything," Harry lied, his heart pounding. Vernon's grip grew even tighter, making the petite teen wince and try to twist away.
"I didn't get a letter about it."
"Yeah...the lady called this morning and said they lost the address and that I needed to come in," Harry said, forcing fear out of his voice. There was a moment where only the screams and explosions could be heard from the TV, before Harry felt a jerk on his arm and he went flying to the floor, hitting his head on the single-person table that had the glass of milk on it. The glass was knocked over, milk splashing all over Harry and the glass shattering thudding to the floor.
"You're a fucking liar, boy. Get out of this room; if I even hear you tonight I'll beat the shit out of you," Vernon snarled. Harry scrambled to his feet and fled the room, his head spinning from knocking it against the table. As he stumbled into the kitchen the phone rang and Harry dove to pick it up before his uncle heard. As he pressed the talk button, Harry sank down to the couch, closing his eyes against the lights flashing into and out of his vision.
"Harry?" Ron's voice came through the receiver.
"Yeah," Harry confirmed, pressing a hand to his forehead where a lump was already starting to form, wiping milk away.
"Dude, where were you today? I thought you were gonna help me and George and Fred egg Mr. Valentine's new set of wheels!" Ron exclaimed. Harry smiled to himself.
"Ron, you let them sucker you into doing that?" he asked. He could imagine his friend's guilty shrug. "Never mind. Listen," Harry paused, listening for the sound of the television in Vernon's room before continuing, "Remember I told you about that school?"
"The dance and art thing?" Ron affirmed.
"Yeah. They had auditions for the dancers today. The full scholarship audition," Harry whispered into the receiver.
"You didn't seriously audition," Ron deadpanned. Harry smirked.
"I seriously did. And I made it into the top ten."
"Fuck! So are you in?" Ron exclaimed.
"I find out tomorrow. There's only six scholarships for dancers, so four of us won't get in," Harry answered.
"You'll do it, Harry. You'll get in...be a professionally gay dancer...all of that," Ron said with encouragement. "Anyway, do you wanna come over? We can sneak into the theater and catch that new movie," Ron asked.
"Uh...I'll pass. I don't want to make things worse over here," Harry answered.
"Vernon's drunk and in a bad mood," Harry said by way of explanation. His friend understood.
"Okay. Don't get too banged up. I'll see ya tomorrow then," Ron said, hanging up, Harry followed suit and set the phone back in its charger, going to the freezer for an ice pack to prevent swelling. He was pretty open about his home life with his friends who lived near him, not because he wasn't ashamed of it, but because no one around there could do anything about it. There were tons of kids who got beaten up by their parents every night in this district: Harry's case wasn't much worse then their situation. Ron's mom did what she could, making food for Harry and trying her best to make sure he got at least one meal every day, but she had a large family to take care of and couldn't afford to do much more for Harry. Vernon's nephew was grateful for everything she did for him.
God, what would it be like to be out of here in three years? Harry wondered, pressing the ice-pack to his forehead and walking into his room. What would it be like to wake up without bruises and feeling hungry? What would it be like to not come home to a drunk guardian... to do what I want, to walk through streets without looking for rapists and muggers? Harry sighed, shaking his head. Even if he did get into the school, it wasn't necessarily going to get him into a college somewhere, or get him a good job. It was just a school...the rest was up to him. And if I don't get in? the small teenager asked himself. It's back to the Thirteenth District Hell Hole, he thought with a grim smile.
The black haired boy glanced at the clock hung on his wall. It was seven o'clock; it should get dark in an hour or two. Harry walked back out of his room, grabbing his skateboard on the way, and knocked on Vernon's door, poking his head in.
"I'm going out for a while," he informed his uncle. The fat man grunted, too far gone by now to care.
"Out," Harry snapped, shutting the door and grabbing his jacket from the kitchen counter, making sure his small knife was in the right pocket. He walked out of the apartment and jumped on his board, going west into the red light district. It had been a while since he had seen Cho.
Cho Chang was a year older than him, born to a prostitute who had evidently shared her trade with her daughter. Harry had never asked about the father, as it was more than likely he had been one of hundreds of customers. He had dated Cho for a few months last year, but it had been hard between their situations. Eventually they had just let each other go, although they remained friends.
Cho was standing at her usual corner, batting heavily mascaraed lashes at men, young and old. Harry gave her a friendly smile as he rolled up to her, and she let the lusty and aroused look fall from her face, replaced by a youthful grin.
"Harry!" she exclaimed, walking over to greet him and throwing her arms around his neck in an embrace. Harry returned the gesture with his own greetings, putting one foot on the ground to keep from rolling away. "God, you've gotten so skinny!" Cho said, feeling around his rib cage. Harry shrugged out of her arms, shaking his head.
"It's not that bad," he said. She gave him a look but he just shrugged. "How have you been?"
"Oh, pretty good. Business is going well...if you can say that about this business at all," she commented. Harry nodded, agreeing with her. "So...I heard a rumor about a certain audition?" Cho said with raised eyebrows and a smirk. Harry laughed at her eagerness for gossip.
"Yeah. I went down to Fifth Avenue School of the Arts and auditioned for a full dance scholarship," Harry answered. "But I can't let my uncle know, he'll beat the shit outta me for trying to get out of this place. You know," he said with a wry look. Cho nodded.
"Got it. But wow, Harry! That's great! I really, really hope you get it; you deserve it," she said with a beam. Harry nodded in thanks. Cho linked arms with him, glaring off a few men who were approaching the two of them, either looking for company from herself or Harry. "Let's go get something to eat. My treat," she said firmly. Harry opened his mouth to protest, but she clapped her left hand over his lips. He glared. "I've got thirty bucks in my pocket, and you probably haven't eaten since sometime yesterday, with the way you take such good care of yourself," Cho commented sarcastically. Harry kept his mouth shut instead of lying to his friend. The black-haired girl gave him a triumphant smile and began walking in the direction of a favorite restaurant of Harry's. The teenager boy stumbled forward, hanging on to Cho's arm and grabbing his skateboard from underneath his left foot as she dragged him along.
Cho had taken him out countless times since she met Vernon last year. Harry had tried his best to prevent their meeting in the first place, but Cho hadn't listened to him and had gotten herself into the most vicious argument with his uncle Harry had ever seen. He had paid hell for it after Cho had left; there were still scars on his shoulder from shards of glass that had been thrown at him.
Dinner with Cho was nice and relaxed, and well received by the half-starving boy. They talked more about dance and the audition, and Cho's new boyfriend Cedric.
As the streets grew dark outside, Cho stood up, paying the bill with a sultry wink at the waiter.
"I need to get going...dusk and all," she said, and Harry knew she wanted to get back to her post. He nodded and stood up, stretching.
"No problem; I owe you for dinner," he said, but she shook it off.
"Don't worry about it," Cho said. Harry's pride was burning a hole in him, but more than half the time he couldn't afford pride, so he just gave her a quick hug of gratitude.
"I'll walk you back," he offered.
"Naw; I'll be fine, you know it," she said. Harry did know it, but he thought he would offer like he always did. His eyes flicked down to her thigh, where the faintest outline of a knife could be seen. She wielded it with a viciousness that he hadn't expected from her, but she was the one who had taught him what little he could pick up, and Harry had learned very fast that Cho Chang was capable of a lot more than she looked.
The two said goodnight, Cho giving Harry a kiss on the cheek and a wink.
"See you later, Harry. Don't get caught on the way home," she said in a motherly tone. Harry just grinned—his standard, lopsided grin that he figured he had inherited from his father—and dropped his skateboard on the ground before stepping onto it and pushing off. Vernon should be asleep by now, either that or bar hopping somewhere. The silence in his apartment would be welcomed.
The call would come tomorrow...the call that pretty much told him if he was going to grow up and be a cheap whore like most of his friends, or if had a chance to get out of this place. How lame...putting your whole future on some fucking phone call, Harry realized, shaking his head.
God...you guys have no idea how pleased I am to finally post this. Leave a note letting me know if you like it so far, please.
Don't count on regular updates until summer rolls around for me. I've still got to live through finals.