Disclaimer – I don't own neither Harry Potter nor Higher Ground, I'm just playing around for a bit. No profit is being made.
Author Notes – Alright, so I started this a couple of years ago but never finished it since I couldn't get a hold of the tv-series Higher Ground and didn't think I remembered enough of it to get all the points right. When I found it on my computer again today inspiration struck and I decided that it didn't matter if I got everything right because this is Fanfiction! I can change it however I like! And just like that I had written another chapter.
Summary: AU non-magic. Harry Potter has lead a difficult life and when his relatives send him to Mount Horizon High School, a progressive school for teens at risk, it will not get any easier.
Warnings: Sensitive subjects like cutting, bulimia and drugs, most probably slash of the male/male kind, possible OOC.
Chapter 1 – I found the Horizon
There's nothing to lose
When no one knows your name
There's nothing to gain
But the days don't seem to change
Nothing to lose – Billy Talent
It started with a silent night and it ended with a hollow shell. A boy that once was so vibrant, so glowing, fell before the world's injustice.
His descent was not slow or unnoticeable, and it was far away from pretty. He cracked at the edges and his pain leaked out for the world to see, but it only broke him further as he realised that no one cared enough to look. And so he crashed hard and fast, ruthlessly, and in the end the only thing that remained were small pieces too sharp for anyone to dare and try to pick up again.
A silent night and suddenly his whole world had fallen apart.
So he searched for his release, a way to make it all stop, to make the pain go away and the guilt to stop haunting him, but it only quickened his fall. For what release can there ever be found in an addiction? But he tried and he struggled and he told himself that it helped until one day he believed it. One day the cuts were all he had and he turned his eyes away as he saw the world slipping through his fingers.
It was a perfect summer day, only a light breeze rustling the trees, the sun beaming down on the warm earth, a few small clouds rolling across the sky and birds singing happily everywhere. He felt like throwing up, or perhaps just strangling those bloody birds.
Sitting in the backseat of his uncles car Harry Potter was not happy. He was as far away from happy as you could possible get and then some. Turning to sneer at the fat lump of meat in the seat next to him he at least felt some satisfaction in seeing his cousin shrinking away from him. Yes, Harry Potter in a not so pleasant mood was not one you wanted to be sitting next to.
If he had got his way he would be lazing about in the park back home where everyone had the sense to leave him alone, not sitting in this damned car on the way to some "progressive school for teens at risk". Snorting at the very idea he turned back to stare out the window and the passing landscape. It was not much to look at really, just trees, trees and more trees and that was all it had been for over an hour now. Of course they would place this thing as far away from civilisation as they possibly could, did not want the poor little children to run away now, did they.
As the car suddenly broke through the forest wall and slowed down Harry felt like strangling himself right then and there. They did not expect him to stay in a place like this! Whichever way you looked you could see mountains in the horizon, some tops covered in snow, followed by deep forests with this little camp looking like it had been dropped from the sky in the middle of nowhere. Small wood cottages were spread out over the settlement, seemingly randomly, with big fields of grass stretching between them. Tables and benches were placed all around too and everywhere he looked teenagers were milling about with big plastic smiles plastered all over their faces. It was as if someone had read a fairytale and suddenly made it all come to life. He shuddered at the mere sight of it.
The car groaned as his uncle climbed out of it and shut the door behind him with a bang, his wife and son hurriedly following his example. Burring his face in his hands and taking deep calming breaths Harry tried to wake himself up from this nightmare but his uncles heavy fist on the window forced him to face reality. This was not some crazy nightmare but the ugly truth. Of all the places to dump him, they just had to do it here.
He took his time getting out of the car, ignoring his uncle's insistent tapping and his aunts shuffling. It was their choice to be here and he would never hurry for their sake. Stretching his sore muscles and popping some joints he sighed loudly, throwing a defiant look at his uncle and enjoying the purple shade spreading over his face. Ordinarily he would be making sure that he did not push his uncle too far, knowing what a bad idea that was, but now, when they were dumping him here, he did not have to care about that. He could push as much as he wanted to and his uncle would not be able to do anything about it. Oh, the small joys of the world.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley?"
Harry looked up to see a man coming out of the cottage closest to them. He was tall, by Harry's standards at least, with short brown hair, a hard look and a no-nonsense aura radiating of him. He was heavily built, all muscles and strong lines, but the smile he directed at the Dursley's was nothing but pleasant. Harry felt an instant dislike for the man.
"Mr Scarbrow, I presume," Vernon Dursley answered back, all smiles and pleasantries even though Harry could see right through the charade.
"Peter, please, and welcome to Mount Horizon," the man answered back and shook hands with the two elder Dursley's before stepping back. "And which one of you is Harry Potter?"
Not at all in the mood to deal with all this, Harry just stayed silent and scratched absently at his right arm making Vernon sneer and point his meaty finger at him. "That one. He's been nothing but trouble since we took him in, the ungrateful little brat."
Peter seemed a little taken back by that response but recovered fast enough. "Yes, I understood you took him in when his parents died? Come this way, and we'll continue in my office."
Hurrying to keep an even pace with Peter, Vernon seemed to draw in a deep breath as he prepared to go in to full detail about his nephew and how he had destroyed his life. Harry rolled his eyes as he followed behind the rest of the Dursley's, having heard the same rant a thousand times before. It had hurt the first few years but he had learnt to ignore it. Sure, there was still the occasional twinge when his uncle struck a certain chord but he refused to show it to the man. He would never give him the satisfaction of knowing mere words could hurt him.
"Yes, nice people that we are we took the boy in when his parents went and got themselves killed. Weren't really surprised either, always meddling in things those two, no wonder someone got sick of it and did them in." Puffing out his chest Vernon continued angrily, "Very inconvenient for us of course, with me just being promoted and in the middle of moving here to the States, but they didn't think of that now, did they?"
Entering Peter's office Vernon sank down in a chair in front of the desk, his wife and son taking seats on either side of him while Harry stayed leaning against the wall. Peter went to a cabinet and rummaged around a bit before taking out a file and sitting down on the other side of the desk. Looking over the papers quickly he frowned before leaning back in his chair, eyes on Harry.
"So, Harry, want to tell me why you ended up here?"
Meeting Peters gaze straight on Harry only quirked an eyebrow at him. He knew this game and he was not playing it. The man had the damned file right in front of him and knew perfectly well why Harry's relatives had decided to dump him here; he was just fishing for some reaction out of him. Perhaps to complain about the unfairness of it all, yell a little and maybe cry a few tears, but that would not happen. Harry had been forced to deal with this kind of people too many times before and he had learnt what to expect of them.
"'Cause he's an ungrateful little whelp, that's why!" Vernon shouted, spit flying from his mouth. "Here we are, giving him a roof over his head and trying our best to keep him happy, and all he does is throwing it away and complain. Always want more!"
Throwing an uncomfortable look at Vernon, and seemingly trying to decide on a response to that outburst, Peter instead picked up the phone and pressed a button. "I'll just call for someone to come get Harry and let him settle in so we can talk in private for a minute."
Settle in, Harry shivered at the words. It made his skin crawl to think of himself trapped in this place, in the middle of nowhere. Of course, he would be happy to get away from the Dursley's a year before schedule, no complaints from him there, but did they really have to dump him here of all places? Were there really no better places to dump him? He could make a run for it, try and find his way through the forest, but the idea did not sit well with him. The nights were cold up here in the mountains and who knew how far it was to the nearest town? He did not even know in which direction to go.
When a big black man came in, flashed him a smile and told him to follow he sighed. This was so not his day!
Peter studied the kid as he stood leaning against the wall. He was short and skinny, looking a bit underfed, with black hair in a messy mop on top of his head. His jeans were a little too big in the waist but a leather strap kept them up, his black Converses were dirty and torn, the long-sleeved shirt a greyish colour, showing signs of once having been black, and over it he wore a dark green t-shirt with black tribels on the front. A pair of round glasses rested on his nose and covering the most startling pair of eyes Peter had ever seen. They were a brilliant shade of emerald, so intense and cold that he almost flinched back when they looked straight at him. But there was something else in them too, something hidden deep down under all the layers of indifference and coldness, and he thought he knew what it was. He had seen enough troubled teens to know the sadness they tried to hide.
But then there was another thing that caught his attention. Hidden under his fringe was a scar, shaped exactly like a lightning-bolt. It was in such a perfect shape that Peter could not help but wonder if it was a self inflicted one.
Frowning and turning to look at the rest of the family, Peter had a hard time believing that they were related at all. Sure, the woman might be skinny like her nephew but that was as far as similarities went. The rest of the family was heavy, to say the least, and he was a bit concerned that the chairs might actually fall apart under their weight. And he did not like the way this man talked, right in front of his nephew too. Peter had dealt with a lot of dysfunctional families over the years, it was his job, but these people really pissed him of. You did not talk about your family in that way, ever, and especially not right in front of them as if they were not even there. He wondered how many times the kid had been forced to hear talk like this to be able to ignore the stabbing words as if they did not concern him.
As Steve came and fetched the kid, Peter looked over the file again with a frown marring his face. "So Harry's been in your custody for nine years, since he was eight?"
"Yes, and bloody long years it's been," Vernon answered gruffly.
Peter nodded absently as he continued checking the file. Apparently the kid's parents had died in a car accident that summer on their way home from some charity event, leaving their son to the custody of his only living relatives. He had a godfather but for some reason, the file did not say why, the man had not been an option. Peter wondered what could possibly make that man unfit as a guardian in comparison with these people. A thought suddenly struck him and he read over the paper again.
"Didn't you say his parents were murdered?"
Vernon sneered. "Yeah, and not a big surprise either."
"But it says here that they died in a car crash?" Peter urged on.
"Of course, those people don't want stuff like that coming out. Better pretending it was an accident," Vernon said, the sneer still on his face, and Peter could not help but notice the emphasis on 'those people'. But, considering the look Mrs Dursley threw here husband and the way Vernon's lips tightened, Peter guessed they had already said more then they should. Wondering what had really happened Peter still decided to drop the subject for now.
Looking at the Dursley's he fought to keep the sneer of his own face, but he really did not like them. "And how long has he been cutting?"
"How should I know?" Vernon yelled. "Can't keep track of the brat every second of the day, someone has to work to keep the food on the table!"
Peter pushed down on the wish to just hit the man and instead turned to his wife who had, up until now, stayed mostly silent. "And how about you, Mrs Dursley?"
Lifting her chin and looking down her nose at him she huffed. "I don't know, some time. Always wearing long sleeves no matter how warm it gets, how could I possibly know how long he's been doing it? But one day he spilled blood on my new Persian carpet and that was it!"
"Ungrateful brat," Vernon put in. "He's never been able to follow rules either and he's always getting in your face. It'll be good to get rid of him."
"Yes, well," Peter got out between clenched teeth before taking a deep breath, "I don't want to keep you any longer, you've got a long ride home."
"We bloody well do," Vernon answered as he got out of his chair and headed straight for the door, his family right on his heels as if they could not get out of here soon enough.
"I'll keep in touch to give you an update on Harry's progress," Peter called after them and sank down in his chair when all he got in response was an angry huff and a slammed door.