Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and my writing certainly couldn't be considered canon. If my efforts don't fit your idea of what a Harry Potter story should be, I can only offer my apologies and a suggestion. Writing your own really is the only way to ensure the story progresses exactly the way you want it to, it also gives the rest of us something to read.
Story is H/Hr/L
Number four Privet Drive, Little Whining appeared a perfectly normal home. Appearances though can be deceptive. A small malnourished boy, with unruly raven hair hiding a lightning bolt scar, was lying unnaturally still on his thin mattress. The fact that the mattress was in a cupboard under the stairs of a four bedroom house was anything but normal. Taking into account that the cupboard door locked from the outside, this would have children's welfare services the world over screaming for protective intervention to remove this child from his prison.
When the welfare officers then discovered the reason that he was lying in such an awkward position, he was to try and ease the pain from his broken arm and cracked ribs that were a present from his obese uncle, the place would be swarming with police. Said uncle would soon be allocated new sleeping quarters, locked and hopefully with a large gentleman called bubba as a cell mate.
Unfortunately the sadistic uncle had his abuse down to a fine art and saved his special beatings for the school holidays, no one was going to see the young lad for weeks yet.
He'd lain there, silent and unmoving for hours. His vicious uncle had administered this latest punishment for some fictitious wrong doing on his part. He was thrown into his cupboard before the obese guardian then sat down to have his dinner. The house had been quiet for a while now as everyone apart from him was asleep. The pain refused to let him close his eye and sleep though, his uncle having shut the left one earlier with his fist. He heard the local church clock chime midnight and tears flooded down his cheeks, even someone standing with their ear against the outside of his cupboard door wouldn't have heard the whispered lament.
"Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear Harry, Happy Birthday to me."
Fate has been called a cruel bitch and worse on many occasions, and she would be the first to admit that in most of these incidents it was more than warranted. Something about this child reached out to her and demanded she take some action. She was well aware of the trials and tribulations this child would face in later life. If he didn't get some support system of people who would show him love soon, then the child wasn't going to make it. Fate knew the consequences if this lad didn't fulfil his destiny, she couldn't believe the stupidity of some mortals who would place the prophesised child in an environment where he was shown only hatred and intolerance.
She was going to have to perform some manipulations where the boy would meet his most faithful friends a few years early, fate was going to be granting extra powers but, as always, there was a price to pay. Things would have to be taken away to balance the books so to speak, life was all about balance and at the moment it was teetering on the brink. This child who was the champion of the light needed to be shown love before the flickering flame within him died forever, or darkness would rule for a millennium.
He would receive the first of three tonight, to wait any longer was sheer folly. With the decision made, fate took a back seat to observe how things would unfold.
The boy in the cupboard had finished his lone song but could now hear the sweetest singing imaginable. This sound was so strange it could almost be considered magical, it appeared to generate a feeling within him that was totally alien. It was called hope!
It got louder and louder until he was sure the hungry hippo would be thundering down the stairs at any moment to put the blame on him, which of course would mean another obligatory beating.
A burst of flame later and the most wondrous sight Harry had ever seen was now in his cupboard. It was generating enough light to illuminate the whole street, but the strangest thing was he could understand what this creature was singing.
She said her name was Hedwig and that she was a phoenix, but more importantly HIS phoenix. She would be his constant companion and friend for the rest of his life. Harry's tears were flowing freely at this majestic creature that gave new meaning to the term brilliant white, that she wanted to be his friend was just too much for the abused young boy. He felt his crying must have set Hedwig off because she started crying too. As her tears started to fall on him a miracle happened, his wounds began to heal.
'Relax my chick as I ease your pain'
Harry heard the words as plain as if they had been spoken. His injured eye opened again, arm and ribs mended and he could breathe properly once more.
He was suddenly worried for his first ever friend. "We have to be quiet or my uncle will come, I'm amazed he's not here already."
'No one else in the house can hear anything and we will be leaving here shortly. Have you any belongings you wish to take with you?'
Harry reached out and grabbed the small blanket that he had been wrapped in when left on the doorstep. "I'm ready whenever you are Hedwig." The young boy had no idea where he was going but was certain of one thing, it had to be better than this.
In a flash of flames, Harry Potter left Privet Drive forever.
In the headmaster's office of Hogwarts School for Witches and Wizards, a tiny silver instrument began emitting a high-pitched whine. This alarm went unheeded as it was the school holidays, there wasn't anyone in the office and wouldn't be for the next two weeks. The small alarm did its job for three days before falling silent. Albus Dumbledore was in for a severe shock the next time he checked the monitors he had placed on the abandoned baby.
Hedwig placed Harry in the centre of an entrance hall where another strange creature immediately accosted him. This one was about the same height as Harry, had long pointy ears and eyes the size of tennis balls. It was a good job Hedwig had already healed his ribs because the being currently with both arms wrapped around him seemed to be trying to undo his new friend's work.
"Master Harry has come home!" He/she/it cried, "Look at the state of my baby, Missis Lily would have took her wand to whoever did this to her boy."
Harry was sure it was a she now as it took his hand and headed towards a large staircase before he stopped. "Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude but where am I and what are you? Did you know my parents?"
"I am called Cas and am the Potter Family house elf, you is in Potter Manor – your home. You were born here and lived here with your parents until nasty wizard forced them into hiding. We need to get you out of those disgusting clothes, into a bath then some supper for young master Harry."
Harry had a million questions running through his mind, his parents, his home, house elf, phoenix, mother's wand and nasty wizard were all subjects at the top of the list. His upbringing with the Dursleys had given him a cautious approach to asking questions. Questions invariably led to abuse of one sort or another, Cas had mentioned a bath and food which he didn't want to jeopardise as he badly needed both.
'You will never be beaten again Harry' Hedwig's voice was in his head and the pain and sorrow resonated through every word, could she read his mind?
'It's not mind reading but we will be able to talk without others hearing.'
This is so cool thought Harry, a friend he could talk to and no one else would hear. Was Hedwig an imaginary friend? Had his uncle gave him one too many blows to the head?
'You are fine Harry and this is really your new home, save all your questions for the morning and they will all be answered.'
Cas had been leading him up the stairs and along a corridor where she turned into the biggest bedroom he had ever seen, it was larger than the whole top floor of the Dursleys. Hedwig perched on the back of a chair while Cas took him into a bathroom with what looked like a swimming pool in the middle of the floor.
Cas was adding things to the enormous sunken bath that were creating bubbles of all different colours, the water filled remarkably quickly. Harry was embarrassed about removing his clothes in front of the elf but she insisted, claiming that every stitch he was wearing would be burned.
Tears were blinding the little creature as she saw the state of her young master's body. Elves are docile by nature but Cas knew she would have no hesitation inflicting pain on the vile creature who could commit such atrocities against an orphaned child. She helped her master into the bath and very gently washed his hair, feeling the bumps and lumps of many beatings. Cas left to prepare supper, which would have to be light due to his malnourishment. She would also have to include a couple of potions to build up his strength to where it should be for his age. The loyal elf swore that anyone wanting to harm her young master was going to have to kill her first, how any animal could treat a youngling in that manner was beyond her understanding.
Harry had no idea what Cas had put in the water but it relieved his aches and pains to the point where he almost fell asleep, only the anticipation of the promised food kept him awake. There was hot fluffy towels waiting for him as he left the bath and a pair of deep red pyjamas that had a kind of cross between a lion and an eagle emblem on the pocket. They were also made of silk and actually fitted him.
Cas had set a table up in his room but he had to drink some potions before being allowed his broth and freshly baked bread. After eating every morsel, he was tucked into a four-poster bed that could have held six Uncle Vernon's. Now there was a thought he didn't need just before sleeping. His aunt's bed was a 'king size' so Harry thought this must be 'supreme ruler of the universe' or something along those lines. With his pain and hunger eased and in the most comfortable bed imaginable, Harry was soon sleeping. He decided that if this was a dream, he was just going to enjoy it.
When he awoke in the morning Harry was afraid to open his eyes, he didn't think he could handle the disappointment of being back in his cupboard. The voice in his head that he now recognised as Hedwig reassured him.
'You will never have to go back to that place ever again.'
Harry opened his eyes to see Hedwig still perched on the end of the chair as Cas popped out of nowhere and placed his breakfast on the same table he had used last night. The aroma coming from the plates made his decision a very easy one, eat first and ask questions later. He was almost right except for the fact that Cas had potions for him before the food was touched.
The bowl of cereal followed by scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast was proving too much for Harry until Cas spoke. "Young master, there's no need to force it down. Food will always be available in this house, you only need ask."
Harry slowed down, drank his fruit juice and enjoyed probably the best meal he'd ever had in his life. This was already his best ever day and his birthday to boot, being nine was looking like being a lot more fun than eight.
"I have left clothes on your bed for you to wear. They were your father's that I have resized to fit until we can go shopping. Get changed then we will head down to the library and hopefully all your questions will be answered."
Cas disappeared right in front of Harry's eyes but he was just too shocked to even notice, he was wearing his father's pyjamas and now going to put on his clothes. A warm glow spread throughout his entire body at the thought of coming into contact with something his father had worn, denying him knowledge of his parents probably hurt more over the years than the beatings from the hungry hippo.
He got dressed and when Hedwig said she would meet him down there, he opened the room door to find Cas waiting on him. The elf took his hand and lead him down the wide staircase. Harry hadn't been paying much attention last night but this morning he was wide awake, this house looked and felt more like a palace that was more beautiful than he had words to describe. According to Cas, this was his home. Whoever lived here though must be very rich. There had to be a mistake somewhere because he didn't have two pennies to his name.
They arrived at an enormous library which, apart from thousands of books, had a reading area with tables and chairs. The room though was dominated by a massive fireplace an adult could have walked into. Above this was a painting of an older couple who looked vaguely familiar. Harry's heart almost stopped beating when the gentleman in the picture not only moved, but also actually spoke to him.
"Hello Harry, I'm your grandfather, Jonathon Potter and this lovely young lady beside me is Martha, your grandmother."
Harry's first instinct was to run away, the sight of Cas and Hedwig both acting as if a painting talking to you was an everyday occurrence held him in place. He trusted both of them to save him from any harm, therefore he couldn't be in any danger.
If nothing else, Harry Potter was a polite young man. "Hello sir, I've never spoken to a painting before or knew that it was even possible to do so. I'm very pleased to meet you but was wondering if you could tell me what's going on? I've been told my parents were worthless layabouts who were killed in a car crash yet Cas says this house is mine, how is that possible?"
Jonathon had his arm round an upset Martha. "Harry, you were never meant to end up at that house and you will definitely not be going back. The Potters are a noble and ancient family, we are also quite a wealthy family as you can see from looking around. You my boy are the last of the Potters and, because of this, will inherit everything. This includes gaining the title of Lord Potter on your eleventh birthday, which if I'm not mistaken is two years to the day."
"Happy Birthday Harry!" His grandmother said, making Harry smile. He wasn't sure if it was because of his first 'happy birthday' ever or the fact that he had grandparents, even if they were a painting.
"Harry we have lots to tell you but the most important thing at the moment is that magic is real and you are a wizard."
Harry was deeper in thought than any nine-year-old had ever been, from his point of view he had two options. He could choose not to believe in magic, go back to his cupboard and spend the rest of his life dodging hungry hippo junior and his bully mates. To hell with that. The other option was to believe in magic, be a very rich Lord Potter and live in this fabulous mansion. His choice was obvious, I do believe in magic, I do believe in magic, I do, I do, I do!
The fact that he was having a conversation with a painting, had a house elf at one side of him with his phoenix on the other might also have influenced his decision.
"Ok grandfather, I'm a wizard but what does that mean?"
"It means you can do magic my boy. Place your hand on the crest in the centre of the fireplace and say 'open', this will only work for a Potter."
Harry did as he was asked and a large panel opened at the side of the fireplace, it had racks of sticks along the wall but he could feel a deep red one almost call to him. He reached out his hand and the stick flew into his grasp.
"Wow, Harry I think you are going to be more powerful than even we thought you were. That's a redwood and phoenix feather combination that would take a lot of power to use, never mind wandlessly summon as a nine-year-old." Jonathon was impressed.
As the wand flew into his hand, Harry felt more alive than at any time previously in his short life. He felt power just wash over him as the wand chose its wizard. Sparks of every colour shot out the end and formed pretty patterns in the air. Harry hadn't said a word as the wand hummed in his hand, fine tuning itself with its master.
"Harry I want you to try a very simple spell." Martha gave Jonathon a look that clearly indicated she thought he was pushing the boy, Jonathon just ignored her though knew there would be a price to be paid later.
"You hold your wand up and say 'lumos' and a bright light should shine out from your wand. To end the spell, the word is 'nox.' Do you want to give it a try?"
Give a nine-year-old boy a wand and ask him if he wanted to try magic? doh! Harry held his wand out and spoke very clearly, "Lumos."
The light pouring out of the wand tip illuminated the whole room, he very quickly spoke the off command 'Nox' before turning to the portrait. "Did I do it right? Is that what's supposed to happen?"
Jonathon was beaming, he'd never seen a more powerful first spell. His grandson was going to be a very powerful wizard. "Harry that was brilliant, now take a seat and we can have a chat. Let's see how many of those questions of yours we can answer."
They talked for hours with Cas eventually bringing Harry's lunch into the library. He learned about his parents, muggles and magic as well as a hundred other things that he was never allowed to ask the Dursleys. He was also pleased to discover that part of the manor was fitted out for muggle appliances with TV and telephone already installed. His gran couldn't help but notice the sadness in his face when she commented that this would allow him to bring his muggle friends over.
"I don't have any friends' gran, my cousin and his gang used to beat up anyone who spoke to me."
"Jonathon we simply have to do something about those people, I will not have my grandson mistreated and let the people responsible escape punishment."
"There is a way but we would need Cas to help, and probably Harry too."
The little house elf replied immediately. "I will do anything I can to help master Harry. If bad man gets punished, Cas would be a very happy house elf."
"What did you have in mind granddad?" Harry asked.
The person writing down the details thought that the caller must have been really nervous to make her voice that squeaky, she had no idea that the caller was a house elf and that a nine-year-old wizard had to hold the phone for her to speak into.
"Let me just check if I've got all the details down correctly, you think a child in your street is being abused by his uncle and the boy hasn't been seen for over a week? The boys name is Harry Potter and he lives with the Dursleys at number 4 Privet Drive?"
The squeaky voice confirmed this was correct and promptly hung up. The details were placed on a code red form and passed immediately to the social work department, with the recommendation that they take a police escort for their inspection. The caller had said that the uncle had a violent temper.
The young boy wearing the baseball cap clung to his elf like a security blanket, Harry had never been anywhere and the sights, sounds and aromas of Diagon Alley were pushing him towards sensory overload. Only Cas' hand held tightly in his, and her continual explanation of everything they saw, kept Harry from curling into a ball and shutting down.
The magical animal menagerie had rats that tap danced, snakes that spoke to him and owls of every shape, size and colour. They bought a perch for Hedwig and Harry watched in amazement as it disappeared into a shopping bag, a bag that Cas explained would easily hold all their shopping today.
The next stop was for clothes where he stood on a small platform and had every part of his body measured at least twice by a floating tape measure. Cas asked for sizing charms to be added on everything as he would be doing a bit of growing.
When they left the shop, Harry felt a strange need to go down a specific side-alley and dragged Cas along with him. They found a little blond girl sitting on a doorway step with a colouring book in her lap. They watched in silence as she concentrated on her task. Harry noticed she was colouring around the subject, some exotic magical animal, rather than the subject itself. Apart from the fact he'd never seen an animal like this, or anyone colouring in this fashion, the bright and vibrant colours she was using seemed to make the animal stand out even more.
He watched in fascination before deciding he needed to speak to this girl, "Hello, my name is Harry."
Her eyes were like liquid silver as she glanced over the boy. "I'm sorry but my mummy said I'm not supposed to talk to strangers but since you told me your name, then you're no longer a stranger. Hello Harry, my name is Luna, Luna Lovegood."
Harry was left wondering if magic allowed you to breathe through your ears because Luna had said all that at once and didn't even look out of breath.
Cas was becoming agitated. "Master Harry, we still have some shopping to do."
"Can Luna come to?" Harry couldn't explain it but this girl was important to him.
Cas was hesitant but she saw the pleading in her young master's eyes. "She would need to ask her parents' permission first."
Luna turned and shouted into the doorway. "Dad, I'm going shopping with my friend Harry."
There was a voice that shouted back from inside. "Ok petal, but don't leave the Alley."
She turned back round to find a stunned Harry, she was wondering what was wrong until he quietly asked a question.
"I'm your friend Luna?"
The blond girl appeared confused. "Of course you are Harry, unless you don't want to be?"
The smile that lit the boy's whole face was all the answer she needed.
As she took his hand, Harry felt a tingly warmth run up his arm. Having no previous experience to compare this to, Harry just assumed this was normal. "It's just that I've never had a real friend before."
Luna rolled her eyes. "It's ok Harry, I have a few imaginary friends as well. We can introduce them to each other later."
He was skipping along the street, hand in hand with his first ever friend as they finished their shopping. Harry was thinking this day couldn't get any better when Cas pointed them in the direction of the ice cream parlour and proved him wrong.
When the beautiful ice cream sundae was placed in front of him Harry had tears in his eyes. Luna's question of 'why was he crying' brought a whispered response.
"This is the best birthday I've ever had!"
The little blond girl kissed his cheek. "Happy birthday Harry. I wish I had known and I could have made you something, even if it was only a card."
Harry was now blushing furiously. "That would have been nice, I've never had a card before."
Luna squeezed his hand that they'd yet to let go since they met, Harry was quite happy to eat his ice cream using his left hand. "I will make you a card for the next time we meet, we will meet again won't we?"
He was enthusiastically nodding his head. "Oh yes, I want to see you again tomorrow."
"Harry I'm sorry but I spend one day at my dad's office and one day at home where mummy works. I can meet you the day after if you want?" Harry could only nod, wearing what had quickly become his 'Luna smile'.
Cas hated to break this up but they still had things to do. "Master Harry we still have things to buy from the muggle world."
They took Luna back to her dad's office and promised each other they would meet again the day after tomorrow. Luna thought that would give her time to work on her parents to get the 'remain in the alley' restriction lifted.
As Harry and a glamour wearing Cas were heading into the muggle world, two social workers accompanied by a pair of police officers were ringing the doorbell of number four Privet Drive.
Petunia Dursley almost wet herself when she saw who had rang their doorbell but all her bodily fluids turned to ice as the reason they were on her doorstep penetrated her brain.
"Mrs Petunia Dursley? We're here today to perform a welfare assessment on your nephew Harry Potter. We received a worrying phone call and are required by law to follow it up with an investigation." Police sergeant John Crow was an old hand at this, even though his woman's reactions were screaming at him that something was wrong he remained professional. If they'd hurt this kid they were going down. "I'm sure it's nothing but we must speak with the boy so we can log the call off as a hoax."
Petunia was panicking. "Sorry officer but he's not home at the moment."
A child's voice shouted through from what appeared to be the kitchen. "Mum, you know daddy said the freak had to stay in his cupboard for at least two days. He'll be angry if he finds out you let him out."
The four pushed by the mortified woman to find a child sitting at the kitchen table, munching away as if auditioning for a part in a nursery rhyme, only this time it was Humpty's parents who were going to take the fall.
Alice Jenkins had been a social worker for twelve years, she was there specifically because the call had mentioned the boy was being abused by his uncle therefore there was more chance he would talk to a friendly female face. She wasn't just there because she was female though as Alice just happened to be bloody good at her job.
She sat and began a conversation with the still eating human waste disposal unit, "Hello son, what's your name?"
The word 'Dudley' emerged between layers of the chocolate cake he was currently trying to swallow.
Alice continued pleasantly, "Dudley do you know where Harry is?"
The boy seemed to struggle though not with whether he should answer, more like the simple question had thrown him. "Well he should be in his cupboard but mum said he was out so I'm not sure."
Alice was used to keeping her voice pleasant while her insides were in turmoil, she was getting really strong vibes that this could be a bad one, "Where is this cupboard Dudley?"
A chocolate coated finger pointed out the door at the cupboard under the stairs that they could all see had a padlock on it, Petunia had finally recovered from her shock and was about to tell Dudley not to answer any more questions when she found her arm gripped by the rather large police sergeant who frogmarched her out the door and directly to the one place she didn't want to be.
John Crow was fighting for control of his temper and almost wished her husband was home, one swing at John and the man would have found himself lying on his back. He and Bryan Jones, the other social worker had ushered the woman away from her son who was proving to be a fountain of knowledge. This was hardly ethical but screw ethics, anyone who hurt a child was something to be cleaned off your shoes in their opinion.
David Thomson had his police notebook out and was dutifully noting down every gem of information the boy volunteered, Alice really was good at this.
"Oh the freak got a better report card than me so daddy said he must have been cheating but he had to wait till school was finished for the summer to beat him for it."
"Does your daddy beat him often?" Alice knew she should really have used the word 'freak' but calling a child that name was a bridge too far for her.
"Oh yes, at Easter I got a new cricket bat and was allowed to break it in using the freak while daddy held him, I wasn't allowed to hit his face though." The look of disappointment on the boy's chocolate covered face was sickening.
"Did anyone else hit Harry?"
Dudley was doing that 'deep in thought' thing again, "Mum's whacked the freak a few times and Aunt Marge set's her dog on him, now that is funny as he tried to climb the tree with old Ripper hanging off him."
Something was bothering Alice though. "Dudley, has your daddy told you not to talk about this?"
The boy looked at Alice, his little piggy eyes accusing her of being stupid. "Well of course he has, I'm never to talk about it outside the house."
John had Petunia standing right in front of the cupboard door, "Open it!" he growled.
The expression on his face caused any hint of resistance Petunia had to crumble. She unlocked the padlock and the now open cupboard left the three of them standing there feeling sick, John and Bryan at the conditions inside and Petunia because it was empty.
"Where's the child?" demanded Bryan.
"I have no idea, I thought he was in there." Petunia whimpered.
John took over, "People we now have a crime scene, touch nothing until we can get a team down here." He turned back to Petunia. "Where is your husband?"
Petunia supplied the details as her brain was trying to cope with the fact that all the neighbours would see even more police entering her immaculate home. She only caught a few words as the policeman in charge spoke into his radio.
"Take no chances with his arrest. The phone tip said the man was violent and all the evidence we've found here so far supports that claim. The charge is suspected murder of a minor."
Petunia was now having trouble breathing but when Sergeant Crow pulled out his handcuffs and said she was under arrest, her whole world just became black.
John felt no sympathy at all for the woman now lying crumpled on the floor, after checking she was breathing he slapped the handcuffs on her. His thoughts turned to the boy and what could make a family treat someone this way. There would be a massive search with press all over them shortly but, by the state of that cupboard, the policeman in him was certain they would be looking for a body.
A/N Thanks for reading.
Edited and reposted 30th April 2011