(Author's Note) First and foremost, I'd like to extend an unbelievably high amount of gratitude to kb0 for allowing me to borrow the beginning scenes of his story to start mine own here. Without his permission, this story would've likely had a very different and probably not as solid of a beginning. If any of you are interested, I recommend you read his original story of Harry Potter: Kidnapped, it's actually a very enjoyable read!
Harry Potter and the World Beneath
By: Tellemicus Sundance
Chapter 1—Harry's Decision
Harry Potter stared at the paper in his hand. The "100" on the top of the test was bad enough, but the smiley face beside it mocked him. He was tempted to throw it away, but the problem was that his cousin, Dudley Dursley, was in his second grade class, and so he knew Harry had taken the test too. Dudley also knew that Harry had a perfect score because the teacher had boasted that Harry was the only one to make a perfect score on the test. Harry also knew that Dudley would discuss the test, and Harry's results, over dinner. More accurately, Harry knew Dudley would talk about it just before dinner, and so he would be sent to his cupboard without dinner once again, while "perfect little Dudley" would get his normal dinner and Harry's too. Life was so unfair.
He sighed as he considered what would happen to him because of a moment lapse in judgment and memory to do only a little better than Dudley. Harry looked around at the other children in his class, and he was almost sure none of them had to worry about bringing home a perfect score. Harry put the paper away and picked up his reading book to imitate reading it like everyone else while he let his thoughts wonder. It would be alright, especially since he had already read the section a couple of days ago.
What was he going to do? He remembered the missed meals, extra chores and belt lashing on his back, along with being thrown into his cupboard when he had scored too much better than his cousin last year in first grade. In fact, his cupboard still had an unpleasant odor to it because he had not been let out for an entire weekend the last time this happened. That incident had opened his eyes to a completely new set of injustices against him. He really wanted just to throw the paper away and claim that Dudley was lying about the perfect score, but his aunt and uncle always believed their son over him. He was just going to have to take his extra lumps and be more careful with his schoolwork, he thought bitterly.
Looking up, he saw his teacher grading papers. He wished he could tell her what was going on and see if she could help him, but he did not dare. Harry had tried that once with the school nurse, who had asked his aunt a few questions, and he had actually been smacked around quite a bit more cruelly by his uncle when they had returned to the house. His injuries had not been too bad, but the ones on his back had stung something very fierce and it had hurt to breathe deeply for the next few days because he had fallen onto the edge of the living room table.
He wished he did not have to deal with his relatives ever again, they were not his family. He wished he was on his own. He idly turned a page to make it look like he was reading as he thought. What would it be like to be on his own?
A devious smile crossed his face as he thought about doing what he wanted and not getting into trouble for it. That was enjoyable for a few minutes, until reality asserted itself. To be on his own also meant he would no longer be in his aunt's house. Where would he live? He considered that. He could live outside almost anywhere for another month or so. Eventually, it would get too cold and he'd have to find a house or shelter somewhere. That might not be too bad. He could live on his own during warm weather, and in a shelter in cold weather.
Would they try to send him back to his aunt when he went to a shelter? Well, that was easily avoided. Just don't tell them his real name, and he would have to get away from Surrey so no one would recognize him.
Food could be an issue, he considered. Well, he did not eat much now, so maybe he could find some money here and there or beg for it. Surely that could not be any worse than with his relatives, could it? He turned another page, not really reading this one either.
Shelter and food seemed to be the more important things, at least that he knew about. He considered it more. Maybe he could do it. Looking to his right and a little back, he saw his cousin whisper to his best friend Piers, who quietly chuckled and then looked at Harry with an evil smile. That did it; he would take his chances out in the world. If the worst happened, he could go to one of those orphanages his uncle threatened him with. He suspected his uncle was lying and they were not as bad as he said. His uncle lied about enough other things; Harry was never totally sure what was true and what was not.
Harry thought very carefully about what he needed to do. Dudley was further away from the door, that would help, as would the fact that Dudley was a slow runner. Harry really only needed two things from his aunt's house -- no three, no four. Harry wondered if he was forgetting anything else as his mental list grew.
He looked up at the clock on the wall and saw that the final bell for the day would ring in about two minutes. He could not go to school again, but he really did not want to stop learning. He could take his books with him, but that would be stealing. They would also slow him down with running. Another glance up showed he had about one minute.
Quickly, Harry pulled all of his books out of his little book bag and put them under his desk. The girl next to him frowned and stared, obviously wondering what he was doing. Ignoring her, he put all of "his" things into his book bag, paper and pencils being the most important. He closed his now much lighter bag and waited. His legs tensed as he readied for the first ring of the bell.
Half a minute later, the final bell started ringing and Harry shot out of his desk for the door surprising everyone, especially the teacher; but he was out before she could stop him. Not worrying about the school rule of not running in the hall, since he was not planning to return, he ran for the outside door. Hitting the bar to open the door barely slowed him down. With his light backpack bouncing on his back, Harry ran for his aunt's house, taking every short-cut he knew of.
He would easily beat his cousin back. The only real problem would be if his aunt, or especially his uncle, was there. Perhaps he could run past them, there were two doors in and out of the house.
Out of breathe, but not willing to stop, Harry ran up to the front door of #4 Privet Drive. It was immeasurable relief to him when he noticed that his uncle's car was not in the driveway. The front door was locked also locked, and while that slowed him down, it also gave him hope that his aunt was probably not home. He ran around to the back and opened the door. Not seeing his aunt in the kitchen, he ran to the pantry. As quickly as he could, he grabbed several bags of crisps and other packaged food that he could eat without having to cook and put them into his backpack. Next, he went to the fridge and grabbed as much fruit as he could and put it in the backpack too. That would give him some food for the next few days, if he was careful.
The next things on his mental list were his, so he ran to his cupboard. Opening it up, he pulled out his blanket and what few clothes he had, as well as a light jacket that was one size too small, tossing them onto the blanket before he balled it all up and shoved the bundle of cloth into his school bag, carefully moving it around so as to not crush his food. Reaching into a cubby hole only he knew about, he pulled out a small paper bag. Hastily, he put the little clinking bag into his book bag. It was change that he had found in the couch when he was cleaning.
Leaving everything sitting where it was, he quickly ran up the stairs to his aunt and uncle's bedroom, thankful that the house was empty. Going to the dresser, he pulled out the bottom drawer and smiled as he saw his uncles stash of "mad money". The man had talked about having it in case something ever went wrong, and Harry decided things were going wrong, so he grabbed the three bundles of bills and stuffed them into the pockets of his baggy jeans.
He felt a little bad about doing this, as it could be considered stealing, but he justified it to himself that it was his pay for all the chores, beatings, and bullying he had endured since he was old enough to remember. He had heard a girl in class last year say that their family had a woman come into their home to cook, clean, do laundry, and she was a paid for that. Harry had done all of those things and more.
With money for necessities and emergencies, he put the drawer back and ran downstairs. For the first time, he clomped on the stairs just like his cousin always did.
Shutting the door to the cupboard under the stairs, Harry slung his backpack on before and headed for the front door. As he started to open it, he heard shouting from the other side and someone frantically trying to open the door. Harry froze.
"Mum's not here, around to the back," Dudley shouted, although he sounded very out of breath. Harry waited a few seconds and then opened the door. Not seeing anyone, he stepped out and closed the door behind him. Still not seeing anyone, although he could hear the shouts from the back garden, Harry ran down the street, turning after the first block. For the next half dozen blocks, Harry did not stop running. He turned down another street before he slowed to a walk, drawing in great gulps of air after his exertion.
Harry was almost happy he was 'lost'. He did not think this was the route his uncle took to work and he knew of no reason that his aunt would be here, although who knew what his aunt really did when both he and his cousin were off at school. During the summer, she always stuck round the house cleaning the parts she did not make him clean, reading magazines, and watching the telly.
Even though he was only a little more than six, he knew from listening to his uncle, that London was to the east. Thanks to a school book, he knew that the sun rose in the east and set in the west. So, Harry put the late afternoon sun at his back and started walking, his backpack sagging over his shoulders. He got quite a number of strange looks from a few people, too many in his opinion, but most ignored him.
Harry continued to walk as the sky darkened. The neighborhood he had grown up in was now at least several miles behind him and he entered a wooded area. To his mind, it seemed like a good place to hide. Being found now would not be a good thing. When his uncle reported him missing, and Harry was sure he would as Harry's aunt would make him, he would be returned to them. After all, how many children ran away each day?
Walking in the woods not too far from the road, Harry continued to follow the direction of the road he had been walking on. Just before dark, Harry noticed that the woods were coming to an end and there was another neighborhood in front of him. He stopped and looked around carefully. He decided it was probably best to stop here for the night.
Spreading his blanket out, Harry sat down, more tired than he would have imagined. Digging into his grocery bag, Harry pulled out a bag of crisps and opened it for dinner. As he finished the bag, he found the first flaw in his plan: no water. Digging in the bag again, Harry pulled out an apple and ate it. That was almost juicy enough to help, but he really wanted more water. It was not much of a dinner, but it was more than he got some nights. He looked towards the house a couple of hundred yards away and wondered. If it was like his relatives house, there would be a garden hose on the outside. Harry figured they probably would not mind, but it was also probably better that they did not know he wanted some of their water. He wished he had a bottle of some sort.
Putting on his light jacket and laying his head down, Harry looked up as the sky darkened. The stars were coming out and there was a half moon. The temperature was only cool this early in September, but he wrapped himself up in his blanket anyway. The ground was a bit hard, but only a little more so than his old crib mattress under the stairs. Before he knew it, Harry was asleep, feeling the best he had felt in a long time.
Harry Potter – The World Beneath – Harry Potter
A faint light woke Harry up. Looking around, he realized the new day was about to begin. Fortunately, most people were not up and about yet. As quickly as he could, he got up and ran for the nearby house. Luckily, they did have a tap and hose in the front behind some bushes, so Harry turned the water on so it just barely dribbled out and made no noise. He greedily drank for the next few minutes before he turned the water off. Once more he wished really hard that he had a bottle, like one of those plastic bottles his aunt brought fizzy drinks home for his cousin.
In that moment of intense desire, Harry felt a strange tingle run through his body towards his hands. While he tried to figure out what it was, a clear plastic bottle with a faded label hit him in the head as if it had been thrown to him, causing him to almost yell. With great fear, Harry slowly looked around, but did not see or hear anyone.
He could not explain what had happened, but he decided to take the bottle and use it. While he wished he could wash the bottle first, he figured rinsing it would be the best he could do, so he did that and then filled it up. With water he could now take with him, he quietly ran back to the woods and his stuff.
With one exception, Harry was ready to continue his journey. Drinking the water had made him need to go to the bathroom, but there was no bathroom available. That was another problem he would have to solve. Fortunately, at the moment, a bush would be good enough, so he stood behind one and relieved himself.
Feeling much better, now Harry picked up his stuff and started walking again. He got a few more strange looks as the morning went on, but again, Harry ignored them as he walked towards the sun. By the time the sun was overhead, Harry had come to a major road and saw a sign that pointed to London. He smiled as he thought it would be the perfect place to get lost in. There, he could just be one of thousands, maybe even millions.
Scouting out the area, he saw a little store that sold petrol for cars and looked like it also had food inside. Doing his best to look normal, while sweating in fear of getting caught, Harry walked inside. The clerk looked at him, but did not say anything. In the back, Harry found a row of sandwiches. Noting their price, he pulled some of the money out of his pocket. The entire bundle was made up of bills that had a twenty on them, so Harry only pulled out a single bill and pushed the rest of the bundle back down. Grabbing a sandwich and a liter bottle of water, Harry walked up and paid for his items. The clerk looked at him even more strangely, but sold the items to him and gave him change back. Harry took his sandwich outside and found a small park nearby. Walking over, he ate his lunch and pondered a question.
Why was he receiving so many strange looks? Glancing around, he saw mothers with their little children, and some of them were looking at him strangely too. Did they fear him? He drank his water as he watch two of the mothers talking, one of them looking over at him for a moment. He did not understand, because he never had this problem when he went to the park after school.
Then it hit him. He should be in school because of his age. While he was small for his age, evidenced by the fact that he was the shortest one in his first grade class, he was big enough to look like he should be in school. Harry wondered what he could do. If he traveled only from when school was out until sunset, he would not get very far very fast. Harry pulled out a banana and thought some more.
The only thing he could think of was to be very careful in traveling, and try to not be noticed unless it was after school hours. Or the weekend, he thought with a smile. He could walk as much as he wanted on the weekend. Satisfied with that plan, Harry walked down the street until he found an alleyway going the direction he wanted and ducked into the alleyway. He would not draw so much attention here, he reasoned.
As evening came around, Harry found a secluded place in another park and settled in. This was a rather nice place. He found a thicket of bushes to hide in and there was a water fountain. The park even had a public restroom. As much as he hated to do it, he ended up taking a wad of toilet paper, figuring he would need it later. Also, late at night, he stripped down and sort of had a bath, using a sock and the sink. Changing into his one other set of clothes, Harry washed out the set he had been wearing. This showed him some more things he had not thought about. Although he was not scared, he was starting to wonder if his adventure was such a good idea. But he was not ready to give up and go find an orphanage yet. Though he was definitely starting to see some good reasons to find one instead of repeating what he'd already thus far done.
The next morning was Friday, and Harry decided to stay where he was, until he noticed a lot of people in cars going to an area a few blocks away. He could see just far enough down the street that it was obvious where they were going, and his curiosity got the better of him. Grabbing his stuff, he started walking to see what everyone was doing.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry was standing in a large car park in front of a building that had lots of people going in. Mingling into the crowd, he soon found himself in a train terminal. It did not take him long to see signs for London with a lot of numbers next to them. He stood to the side to think about this. Harry did not want to get lost or stranded somewhere that might be bad.
If he took a train in, it would save him a lot of walking time, but it might also mean he got caught on the train with no place to run and hide. Even he could see that jumping off of a moving train would not be a good idea. The ones that did not stop were whizzing by.
"Bah, I missed my normal train. I won't get to London on time now."
The words from the man in front of him caught his attention. He watched the man look at the board trying to determine what he was going to do.
"Maybe I can make the 7:47," the man muttered loudly to himself as he started to walk off at fairly smart pace.
In a fit of bravery, or else extreme foolishness, Harry followed after the man, doing his best to stay near without bumping into him. A few minutes later, the man came to a barrier and swiped his card on top of the barrier and pushed his way through some metal arms that turned.
Harry was almost in a panic, he was going to lose his guide. Noticing that he could fit under the metal arms, Harry ran forward and squatted down under an empty one. No one shouted at him, so Harry hurried on, barely keeping the man in sight. In fact, when he came to a clear space, Harry decided to run. Soon, he was right behind the man again and standing on a platform with a lot of other people, most of them men. As he came to a standstill, he noticed his heart was beating very quickly; he was not sure if it was from running or that he was a little scared.
A few minutes later, a white train pulled into the station and the man walked onto it. Harry followed, grabbing onto a pole just like the man did. When the train started moving, Harry grew even more apprehensive. It would be so easy to get caught here, but he screwed up his courage and held onto the pole with one arm and his grocery bag with the other arm. His book bag was still on his back.
A number of stops went by. Harry thought they were part of London, but he really had no idea. All he could do was watch the man every time the train stopped. Eventually, the train came to another stop and many people left, including the man, so Harry left too.
It wasn't until he had left the train itself that he saw that the station he was currently at was called King's Cross. Despite himself, Harry couldn't help but smile slightly at the silly name for a train station. However, in his moment of distraction, the man who he'd been following had vanished into the streaming crowds. Suddenly feeling awkward and cramped, Harry quickly worked his way over to the side. Once he was out of the crowds, a strange tension seemed to wash out of him and he felt an unexplainable need to take a brief rest against the column he was standing beside.
Taking off his backpack and letting it sag in his grasp, Harry turned to brace his back against the column. However, when he should've touched brick and stone, he felt only air. Caught in an awkward position, Harry had no other alternative than to topple and fall onto his back, banging his head quite painfully into the concrete ground under him.
"Owie," he whined as he pushed himself up off the floor. As he tenderly rubbed the back of his head, he noticed something…wrong. Why did it look like his feet were sticking into the column in front of him?
Wait…that wasn't right. Wasn't the column behind him just a second ago?! Reflexively acting, Harry yanked his feet back to his chest with wide eyes, fully expecting them to be stuck in the bricks and in serious agony. Yet he was able to pull them out and to him without feeling a thing, it was as though the column wasn't even there!
It took considerable amount of willpower to keep himself from panicking and screaming out for the whole station to hear him. It wasn't until this thought passed through his mind that he glanced over towards where the other Londoners were…only to find a completely deserted train station. What happened? Where was everyone?! And what did that sign mean by calling this place 'Platform 9 ¾'?
Climbing carefully to his feet, Harry looked around cautiously with wide and frightful eyes. Lifting his backpack back onto his scrawny shoulders, he slowly and hesitantly made his way through the deserted platform. Where was everyone? He kept asking himself that question over and over again, even as he spent the next ten minutes carefully looking around the entire platform.
It wasn't until he realized that he was completely alone and isolated on this strange platform that Harry decided it was time to…find a way back. But that was where he ran into a serious problem. The place where he'd fallen through seemed like the most logical place to start with getting out, but when he tried, all he encountered was the normal immovable brick wall. And there didn't seem to be any other way off the platform except…
Turning around, Harry stared distrustfully at the rail tracks. Despite the platform being as silent as a mouse, excluding the din of city surrounding it, Harry was still hesitant to follow the tracks out. To do that meant that he'd have to get off the platform and walk on the tracks themselves until he finally reached the city area again, and there was no way of knowing whether or not another train was coming down the tracks while he was on them.
Walking to the edge of the tracks, he leaned forward as far as he could to look down the tracks for as far as he could see. He couldn't see or hear any approaching trains, so that was at least slightly reassuring. But by a fluke of fate, Harry had accidentally leant too far out and lost his balance, falling and landing heavily onto the tracks. The fall sent jolts of pain through his arms and legs and he scrapped enough tender skin off his palms to cause them to bleed slightly. Quick as he could, Harry climbed back to his feet and tried to climb back up onto the platform. But his small stature prevented him from even reaching it.
With no other choice, Harry turned and started walking down the railroad tracks, praying to any god that might've been listening to protect a worthless, little freak like himself from being crushed and killed.
Harry Potter – The World Beneath – Harry Potter
At first he had planned on climbing off the tracks as soon as he managed to find a way back to London, but as he continued to walk down the tracks, a great many questions began popping up in his head. How did he fall through a brick support column in the middle of a train station? Why did he end up where he did? Why was the platform he was on deserted? Why was it named Platform 9 ¾, such a silly name too. And why was it that none of the people on the streets that he was slowly passing seemed to notice that there was six-year-old boy in broad daylight walking on train tracks?
Despite himself and how much Uncle Vernon loathed it, Harry couldn't help but ask himself, was it magic? It was the only answer that his young mind could come up with that could answer so many questions, despite creating an entire ocean's worth to follow-up on it. And following that train of thought, it seemed only logical to Harry that the people who could answer his questions were at the end of this train track.
Thus, with really nothing better to do until nightfall, Harry continued his slow trek across the tracks. He only stopped to let his feet and legs rest when walking became unbearable, to refill his water bottles, and to relieve himself in the closest public buildings he could find.
As dusk crept steadily closer, Harry finally climbed off the tracks and went about looking for a place to sleep. It wasn't anything like the brush and grasses that he'd slept in the previous night. Swallowing his own self-disgust, Harry settled down to sleep in the shadow of a smelly dumpster. But he could bear the smell. After all, his cupboard had a much nastier scent from that one time. Harry was even lucky that there was convenience store nearby where he'd been able to buy more fruit and sandwiches to compliment his bottled water, a practical feast to the malnourished orphan.
That was more or less the routine that Harry's life had fallen into as he slowly traversed the countryside, always following the railroad. And the farther he went north, the farther in between cities and towns became. This forced him to learn how to conserve his food and, most importantly, water supply. And he found that after the first week, the more he walked along the railroad, the easier it became to bear the long days walking as his leg muscles slowly began to grow stronger.
However, that wasn't to say that the weather cooperated with the boy. A cold storm had come drifting through the area, drenching everything and everyone mercilessly for a period of two days straight. If not for the money that he'd stolen before he ran away, Harry wouldn't have survived those cold days.
He had been approaching a town when the storm struck on the first day. Even though the smart thing to do would've been to wait it out, Harry had nowhere to go to do such a thing. So he had gone to the nearest store to buy a new, larger, and waterproof backpack, new pairs of shoes and pants, a tent, a raincoat, and a hunting knife. The store clerk had given him some pretty suspicious looks when he saw what the small boy's purchases were, but he'd allowed the boy to make them. Of course, as Harry was leaving the store, he'd managed to glimpse the clerk making a call on the phone.
This sent warning bells through Harry's mind as his fight or flight instincts took over. The authorities would be on his trail soon and take him back to the Dursleys! He ran as fast as he could back to where he knew the train tracks were. He'd discovered soon after starting his trek that for some reason as long as he was standing on the tracks, no one seemed to notice him. And sure enough, despite standing in the wide open, the passing police didn't even see him as they drove by.
That had been over three weeks ago. He was pretty sure that September was almost over now, but he had slowly lost track of the days since he began spending less time in civilization. The weather was turning slowly cooler and damper with each passing day. He needed to find the people who were responsible for this magical train track and the platform back at King's Cross quickly, so he wouldn't be forced to spend the coming winter trapped back at the Dursleys' cramped little home on Number 4 Privet Drive. After spending so much time out in the wilderness, Harry could honestly state that he would never live in the wooden prison-like structures that most modern day people called houses.
In the three weeks time he trek had been, Harry had crossed over a significant portion of Great Britain and seen a lot more of his home country than he ever had before. At first he had felt kinda lonely as he walked down the tracks surrounded by nothing by hills, grasses, and trees. But now he found a certain amount of solace to the natural and comforting beauty of the landscapes and wildlife.
He wasn't sure just where he was in Great Britain anymore. But one thing he knew for certain was that the sun was once again steadily sinking behind the horizon, a bright full moon was already clearly visible, and that there was fairly large forest not too far off in the distance. However, there was something about the forest that felt almost…primeval.
Against his better judgment, Harry abandoned the tracks to walk a short distance into the forest where he would set up his small camp for the night. It was a decision that would forever change his life and the fate of an ancient magical world that he wasn't aware existed.
(Author's Note) Please understand that this story is not one of very high priority on my update list. I'm very deeply committed to writing my Gundam SEED Destiny story and I still have yet to add a new chapter for my Yu Yu Hakusho fanfic as well. However, this story, like several others of mine, was inspired by an idea that just refused to leave me alone until I actually posted it. That being the case, you can probably expect another two or three chapters in the fairly near-future until I've gotten the basic setting for this story laid and established.