Lily and James Potter weren't bad people. It could even be argued that at first, they weren't bad parents. In fact, most people would say that they were good parents. They only had one major flaw, and it was one that many parents fall victim to. They favoured one child over another. Oh they loved both of their children, and they never neglected their second born, but the fact remained that they liked their first born more. It is easy to understand how it happened. From birth Edmund was one of those likable types. He was a beautiful plump little guy, with dark auburn hair and bright blue eyes. Harry with his black hair and green eyes was by no means ugly, but he was a normal newborn, and when compared to his elder brother, well…. Their different personalities didn't help Harry's cause either. Edmund was cheery and outgoing, always willing to give a cheeky grin to any stranger that walked by. His younger brother of thirty two minutes, was shy and reserved. Harry was also a quiet and relatively easy child, which normally would have been to his favour, but Edmund was such a lively, energetic, fearless child that most of the time both Lily and James were so drained that they didn't think to be appreciative of the difference. Besides, Edmund reminded James so much of himself that he enjoyed the more rambunctious twin. He had a harder time bonding with Harry, who was more interested in looking at his picture books than chasing after a ball. And this was all before the incident.
No one knows for sure what happened that evening. After all the only witnesses were the Potter twins, and they weren't even two! All James and Lily were able to tell Dumbledore when he showed up was that when they came home, the babysitter was dead and the nursery was in shambles. Both boys were crying and Edmund had a gash on his forehead that was refusing to heal all the way. Albus examined the wound and realized that it was caused by a curse. He attempted to perform Legillmency on them, but for some reason couldn't. The only image he could get was from Edmund, a picture of Voldemort's wand pointed at him. After his scan of both boys, the room, and the white wand on the floor, Dumbledore made the announcement that Voldemort had come to kill Edmund, but that he had somehow rebounded the killing curse and destroyed Voldemort instead.
The wizarding world rejoiced and celebrated for weeks, and Edmund was proclaimed the boy who lived, their saviour. After this life became harder for little Harry. James and Lily didn't purposely ignore him, but there were so many interviews and parties and events for Edmund. They thought that they were being kind by leaving Harry behind. After all they knew he hated large groups and was shy around strangers. Certain that he would be happier they left him at home with a sitter or with the Weasleys.
They had another reason for leaving Harry with the Weasleys so often. As the years past they started getting concerned about little Harry's reluctance to interact with others. They hoped that with more interaction he would come out of his shell. This would lead to a life changing conversation. Fearing that their plan wasn't working, Lily asked Molly for advice. After all the woman was successfully raising seven children, surely she would know what to do.
Molly looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know Lily, it is true that when your whole family is here Harry does tend to withdraw. However when it is just him over he is more open and playful." At Lily's surprised look she continued. "Oh to be sure he will never be the extravert that Edmund is, nor will he be great friends with my Ron, but he seems to have a certain bond with George and Fred."
"Really? I wonder if it is a twin thing."
Molly snorted. "Maybe, but my guess would be that my twins enjoy putting the brilliance of your son to use in order to perfect their pranks."
"Harry? Pranks? My Harry?" Lily asked in shock.
Molly laughed. "Oh I have never caught him in anything, but I have noticed that their pranks seem more complicated and flawless after he visits. They tend to spend all their time up in the twins' room talking when he is here."
"I am shocked. He never pulls pranks at home. He is so serious!"
"That he is. I don't think I have ever met a more serious eight year old. It could be that Harry feels overshadowed by Edmund and so he withdraws. Perhaps all he needs is some time away from Edmund in order to develop his confidence."
Lily spent the next few days watching Harry before discussing with James what Molly had said. After a lengthy conversation they decided that it might be in the boys' best interest to attend different schools. Lily than wrote to Dumbledore asking for an meeting. A week later Lily was walking up the familiar drive to Hogwarts. Sitting in the Headmaster's office she explained the situation. Albus agreed with their decision. Although he was disappointed that Harry wouldn't be attending Hogwarts, he agreed that it was for the best. Edmund would be receiving special training for when Voldemort returned, and he didn't want Harry to become jealous or resentful of his brother. The rest of the morning was spent going over all the other magical schools available. Beauxbatons was the closest and had a good program, unfortunately the Montague and Pontlite families were very involved with that school, and there was bad blood between them and the Potter family. There were some excellent schools in both the States and in Australia. They also had the added advantage that Harry wouldn't have to learn a new language, but Lily didn't want to send Harry so far away. Lily finally chose La Academia di Capacita Magica, or the Academy of Magical Power in Bologna Italy. The only thing that caused her to hesitate was the fact that the school started with two years of prep before starting the main classes. Nine seemed a little young for boarding school, but as Albus and Minerva reminded her, it would give Harry a chance to learn the language and make friends.
Between school visits, interviews, and testing the year went quickly. Before she knew it, Lily was hugging Harry good-bye. As the year went by James and Lily started to doubt that they had made the right decision. Harry's letters home, while full of information about his classes, never hinted at the new friendships they had hoped he would make. Finally towards the end of his first year small mentions of a Toni showed up. When he returned home for his short summer break, he brought home not only stellar grades, but news of three friends, Toni, Francesca, and Luca. James and Lily breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe they had made the right choice after all.