Beyond the Pale
Growing up with the Dursleys taught Harry three golden rules, rules that made him the emotionless, tightly controlled and restrained eleven year old he was when attending Hogwarts. Only to discover his so called dead family aren't as dead as he was led to believe, only to discover he had been cast aside for his favoured elder brother. Really, he wasn't surprised.
I do not own Harry Potter. Megan Jones is a Canon Character sorted into Hufflepuff, please check the HP Lexicon regarding House placements.
First Year: Chase the Dawn
People whispered as he passed by. They skirted away from the boy with the blank face and the black eyes. They didn't look and pretended not to notice.
Rule Number One: Emotions were Dangerous.
Harry James Potter, aged ten, had been living with his Aunt and Uncle since he was fifteen months old and his parents died in an accident, leaving him – rather negligently at that – on the doorstep of his Aunt's porch where he was promptly pushed into the cupboard under the stairs and forgotten about as much as possible. Until they had a use for him.
Rule Number Two: Never give them the Satisfaction.
Living with the Dursleys was hard, he was one of three things at any given time and always, always Unwelcome. Invisible, Slave or Target. He was all three, rolled into one. And no one cared. Oh they knew, everyone knew about the waif child with the baggy ragged clothes, the pale skin, the skinny body and painful bloated belly, the bruised skin and blood spotted trousers. They knew, they saw, they turned away and pretended not to.
Rule Number Three: Everyone cares only for Themselves.
No one cared. And eventually...... neither did Harry.
There was no significant event, no truly horrific trigger. He was not raped, he was rarely ever stuck by his Aunt or Uncle, just cold eyes, sharp words, starvation and silence. His cousin was the only one to hit him, corner him and beat him until he found breathing and moving difficult, until the larger blond child got bored or tired and left.
It was as if... he withered.
Too little love, too little warmth, everything that could be called emotion in the child was locked away, hidden deep within and repressed out of sight where no one could find it. He built walls, shells, shields of ice and fire and stone and steel, of barbed wire and molten iron, of pain, of silence, of nothing.
Harry Potter became nothing more than a doll, a delicate porcelain doll with a tiny treasure hidden deep within, a deceptively fragile figurine with a core of tempered steel. Nothing surprised him, nothing pained him, his face never changed and his eyes were dull and flat, he rarely spoke and when he did it was with such soft hoarse tones that one had to strain to hear the rusty words through the air.
So when a letter addressed to him showed up amidst the morning mail, he merely turned it backwards and left it on the table beside the door to pick up later. No one ever looked at things in plain sight and that was where Vernon kept the bills he didn't want to look at, just to make sure it wasn't opened until Harry himself wished to read it, he shifted some of the other bills on top of it before moving back into the kitchen and handing out the mail as usual. Ignoring the sharp poke from Dudley's Smeltings stick.
Twenty minutes later, Harry was back in his cupboard with his letter and cracking the Seal.
Not even a flick of his eyes betrayed his feelings as he read through the letter, a prank, nothing more. He shredded it and dropped it into one of his shoeboxes. Prank or not, it was the only letter he had ever had, that was worth something he decided, he would keep hold of it despite it's worthlessness.
Time to go and mow the lawn.
Wizards, Harry decided, were so completely hopeless that half of them couldn't find their own buttocks with both hands, GPS tracking, a compass and someone writing down instructions for them to read while the rest of them were nuttier than a tree full of squirrels preparing for Winter. In short. They were a bunch of brainless lunatics without a single drop of common sense between the whole collective.
"Does every eleven year old receive a potential weapon upon entry to the Wizarding world?" he asked softly, testing the weight and feel of the Elm and Phoenix feather wand that had just accepted him.
The look on Mr Snape and Mr Ollivander's faces told him, quite plainly, that they had never thought of it in such a fashion and now that they had, they too found themselves in something of a shock.
Harry merely tilted his head and returned to flicking his wand, watching the soft white and pale blue sparks flicker through the small dank store like snowflakes.
Vernon hit him.
It was only the once.
Harry got to his feet again, he straightened himself and lifted his head, staring directly into his Guardian's eyes, flatly, not a twitch to give away his feelings.
He said nothing.
Vernon was pale, sweating slightly. He looked scared and then suddenly, ashamed.
Why? Harry refrained from moving.
The older man gripped his chin and pried his mouth open, checking to make sure he hadn't busted a tooth before releasing him, ordering him to go into the kitchen and put the bag of frozen peas on his cheek.
Harry did as he was told.
"Hi, I'm Megan, can I sit with you?" the other girl asked, looking at him with hopeful blue eyes.
The two of them sat in silence for a while, Megan swinging her legs on the chair while Harry read his Potions book, she smiled at him toothily and he found himself twitching an eyebrow in askance.
"You're not one for words, are you?" she asked before giggling slightly, "Will you at least tell me your name?"
He thought about it for a moment before deciding that he would rather be called by name than by Boy or Freak, "Harry," he replied, Megan smiled, appeased.
"Nice to meet you Harry," she stated, "Up there is my cat Jasper. What's your owl called?"
Truth be told, Harry didn't know why he had the bird, Mr Snape had simply pointed him towards the Owl Emporium and ordered him to get something, Harry had not argued and simply fetched himself a bird. The Snowy Owl was friendly toward him, a simple creature with an oddly mothering nature.
"Hedwig," he replied flatly, a name taken from a Witch in one of his History Books. The owl hooted cheerfully, almost as though greeting the other girl who gave her an equally cheery wave.
Megan was a tall girl, gangly with skinned knees and a frayed tartan blue skirt and black zip up hoodie over a white T-shirt, the elastic of her socks was old and loose, making her white knee-high socks pool at her ankles and grubby off white sneakers. She had a cheerful face with dimpled cheeks and round blue eyes, her brownish red hair was pulled back into a ponytail and there was an interesting scar just peeking out of her hairline.
The rest of the journey was done in companionable silence.
Harry clapped for the girl as she tottered off, a little pink faced, to the house of yellow and black. The House of the Loyal and Hard Working, he had not spoken with her much but what he had noted from her seemed to suggest it, at least she was tactful and friendly, she asked for nothing and expected nothing, he liked that at least.
Several other names were called and then his, the reaction however, was not one he was expecting.
"did she say Potter?"
"Charlus has a younger brother?"
"The Boy-Who-Lived has a younger brother?"
"Is she having us on?"
"Did you know the Potters had another kid?"
"Must be Muggleborn."
One eyebrow almost imperceptibly quirked upward, Harry stalked from the crowd of preteens and into the light, ignoring the surprised intakes of breath from the assembled student body and the spluttered squeak from the house of Lions. He ignored the attention and sat upon the stool, not even looking at the stern faced witch – Professior McGonagall – who seemed so surprised to see him as she dropped the hat upon his head.
'Impressive mental shields, Mr Potter,' the voice tickled within his mind, Harry didn't react, 'Oh yes, very interesting, much more complex than those of your year mates and I should think much more up to the task than the pitiful curtains your brother had hiding his,' so he did have a brother, interesting, why was he not at the Dursleys? This required investigation, 'A Thirst for knowledge, or just a defence mechanism? Oh my yes, your mind is quite the complex and near enough unreadable thing. But we shall find a home for you yet my boy,' mmm, pigeon holing students at eleven, a rather damning psychological profiling ritual that enforced black and white ideals upon the young while they were still malleable. How depressingly Nazi. '..... Restrained, disciplined, an observer more than a doer, you know the risks and you calculate your way around them, or deal with them as you come to them. Cold and contained, you trust no one but yourself and believe that everyone else is the same. My dear child, it may not be the best fit, but it is possibly the only one,
Michael Corner, Terry Boot, Stephen Cornfoot, Kevin Entwhistle and Anthony Goldstein.
His new dormmates.
Insufferably nosy dormmates who had yet to learn the meaning of peace and quiet and privacy.
Corner was the worst. Constantly hounding him about his family, whether or not he was related to the Potters, The Potters, the family the Boy Who Lived was born into.
Harry gave him a flat look, just stared at him, for such a long time that the stubborn boy got uncomfortable and fidgeted and then finally shouted at him. Harry turned away and ignored him from then on.
Terry Boot seemed to be the only one out of all of them that understood what that little brush off meant.
Harry didn't know.
Megan sat beside him at breakfast the next morning, chipper as always she told him all about her dorm and house and her dormmates, pointing them out happily as she consumed a small stack of pancakes with maple syrup and butter.
Harry listened silently and chewed his toast as she relayed the epic tale of Jasper's battle with a Prefect's Kneazle.
Neither of them noticed, or cared, about the shocked or judgemental eyes of the other students.
Charlus Potter cornered him at lunch the next day.
He was a Second Year, broad shouldered, average height, black hair and brown eyes, his face was slathered with freckles and he sported a light tan. There was an ugly scar running from one side of his forehead, across his third eye and stopping just before hitting his left eye, he had been lucky, a centimetre lower and he would have been blind.
Any other first year would have probably been intimidated by the way the taller boy was looming over them, Harry merely stared straight up at him.
"Can I help you with something?" he asked flatly.
Charlus seemed perturbed for a moment before frowning and tilting his head, "You have mum's eyes," he finally said.
Harry stared at him.
The bell resounded through the halls and Charlus shot him one last look of bewildered betrayal before turning and charging up the chairs toward the Charms corridor. Harry followed at a more sedentary pace and turned off into the Transfiguration corridor.
McGonagall gave him an equally bewildered look, though a much more subtle one, when he managed to turn the matchstick into a needle upon his first try.
Snape had, at first, been vulgar toward Harry upon picking him up from the Dursleys.
His behaviour calmed, tempered and became so confusingly neutral over the course of the shopping trip that Harry was entirely unsure of what to expect when he stepped into the Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff Potions class.
He took his seat beside Megan who was fast becoming the only person he would have called a friend – even if he did hold her at a rather chilly arms length, she didn't hold it against him.
The lesson passed without any drama.
He was called to Dumbledore's office that evening.
Charlus was right.
She did have his eyes.
His face as well.
But James Potter had his hair.
Harry stared at his so called parents with every scrap of apathy he could muster.
Inside, he was raging.
His thoughts roared through his head with such speed and force that he couldn't even think them before they were snatched away in the turbulence. But one word escaped him, one word that the child who had curled up rubbing his aching swollen stomach in a cupboard under the stairs, who never knew the warmth of a hug or the knowledge that he was loved. The hurt and frightened child that he had hidden deep within, locked away beyond the light of day, beyond even his acknowledgement. Where now it roared to the surface and uttered one single word, the hardest word to every face any parent.
The phoenix was crying.
It wouldn't stop.
It kept singing and crying and nuzzling his cheek, trying to move him, nothing, his emotions had been locked down again, hidden tightly. His heart, if it could be called such any more, was broken, shattered, burned and scarred.
The adults in the room were horrified.
They had never seen such a reaction in the Phoenix before, and the fact that the child's face had not shifted even in the slightest. Nothing.
"I see," Harry stated flatly over the top of the Phoenix's trilling. "Will I be leaving the Dursley family and joining you, or remaining with them?" he asked simply.
Dumbledore tried to smile at him, he did, but Fawkes's behaviour made something cold and heavy settle in the back of his throat, something heavy and painful and sick in his stomach. "The Bloodwards around the Dursley family are there for their protection as well as your own. We feel it would be safer for the both of you to remain with them while Charlus continues to receive specialised training from his parents," he explained gravely, he didn't sugar coat it, he knew the boy would see straight through it, the Hat had given him three terse words in regards to the boy when questioned about him. 'Tell the Truth'.
"Will you be severing all contact again?" no accusation, no recrimination, no anger, no fear, no acceptance, just a question, flat and unyielding. Uncaring as to whether the answer was yes or no.
"No!" Lily exclaimed, scandalously, how could he even think that sh-... the thought died before it was even fully formed, what was he supposed to think? They let him believe they were dead, they never contacted him, never sent a birthday card or present, they just... abandoned him.
Harry nodded, "Is that all, or may I return to my dormitory now, sir?"
Dumbledore nodded, "You may go, Harry," he assured the child.
Never realising that the events taken place in that office would lose him the boy forever.
If there was one thing Harry knew how to handle, it was bullies.
Bullies he didn't have to live with.
So when Draco Malfoy started jeering at him, insulting him, reminding him that his family abandoned him, he just stared at the boy. Flatly and coldly, he said nothing, just stood there, staring as the blond continued to try and goad him. Listening as his insults, his words, became more and more scathing and vulgar, as the crowd around them grew larger and more horrified at his taunts.
Then Harry spoke when he had deemed enough people gathered.
"Your point being?" he asked flatly, silencing the young Malfoy heir instantly, along with all the whispering and muttering amidst the crowd.
"T-they abandoned you!!" he roared, looking almost comical as his face lit up bright pink.
"You mistake me for someone who cares," Harry informed him before turning and walking toward the Great Hall.
Utter – silence.
It was an addiction.
The freedom, the exhilaration. It felt as though the whole world fell away.
When Flitwick pulled him down and marched him to this Davies fellow, Harry turned them down flat.
He had no interest in this Quidditch. He simply enjoyed flying for flying's sake and had no need for sports or recognition or respect within his House.
Davies looked horrified and Flitwick merely studied him before smiling sadly and dismissing him. The eleven year old walked away without a backwards glance, ignoring the expression of surprise on Charlus's face as he stood outside the classroom listening in.
The month passed quietly, Harry and Megan were eventually joined by a rather lonely girl in Gryffindor, Hermione Granger, that Megan befriended during one of their afternoons in the library. The small group of three must have garnered a few odd looks, all of them being from different houses, but both Hermione and Megan swiftly became as thick as thieves and took it in turns prodding Harry into discussion and life though they had yet to get him to show any more expression than a mild tilt of his eyebrow.
Still, they had fun trying to ruffle his feathers and for the first time ever, Harry actually had fun retaining his emotional control.
A troll had managed to get into the castle.
Hermione looked a little green while Megan was excited, her red-brown hair almost bristling along with the rest of her body, she looked like she wanted to go and challenge it to an arm wrestling contest. Harry merely finished his roast pork before Professor Flitwick came to escort them back to Ravenclaw Tower – he allowed Megan and Hermione to stay with them until one of the other teachers could some and pick them up and take them back to their own dorms when the Troll had been taken care of.
They found it in the girl's bathroom drinking from a toilet.
Gryffindor lost a buttload of points, apparently Charlus and a pair of boys in their year, Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom were caught after curfew, fifty points docked each. The only bright side to that was that Draco Malfoy had been caught with them and had about 75 points docked for not only being up after curfew but for also lying about the three of them smuggling a Dragon through the castle.
What a load of tosh.
Christmas came and went. A few presents, nothing from the Dursleys, Hermione got him sweets, Megan a model butterfly she'd made herself out of silk, glue, paint and wires, it was very delicate and Harry had been oddly careful when he placed it into his History text for safe keeping.
His parents though... from James came a top of the line Nimbus 2000 along with a note telling him to keep it hidden as first years weren't allowed to have brooms, and from his mother came a charmed necklace, apparently it would tell her about his health and mental state, even allowing her to track him or Portkey him away to a safe location if he was in danger.
Both were placed into the bottom of his trunk never to be used.
Exams were easy, simple even.
Hermione moaned afterwards, panicking somewhat about her results, scared that she had done poorly or hadn't written enough on certain questions.
Megan laughed at her and told her she would make herself sick if she carried on like that, promptly followed by tackling the bushy haired witch into a wall and tickling her until the Muggleborn girl was begging her to stop or she would wet herself.
"What have we learned?" Megan then asked in a sing songy voice, wiggling her fingers at Hermione who took shelter behind the seemingly amused Harry.
"That Megan should not be allowed within arms reach of innocent students," Harry offered flatly, causing both girls to fly into giggle fits as they pushed him playfully.
Gryffindor won the House Cup.
The points system was about as fair as the social ladder in Japan.
Sitting in their Train compartment, the three preteens languished in comfortable silence .
Jasper purring happily in Harry's lap while Hedwig dosed in her cage.
"Say, did you find out what the deal between you and the Potters were?" Megan suddenly asked, it had gone clean out of her mind for the whole year, she only remembered now because she was worrying where her friend would be going.
"Yes," the only boy supplied, "I will be remaining with my Guardians."
"Your Aunt and Uncle?" Hermione asked. She had wondered for a while why Harry never used the term, never gave them any more of a connection than just people he lived with and were legally obliged to care for him. To her, who knew how much weight and thought Harry put into his words before speaking... it meant a lot.
There was a momentary pause, as always when speaking of them, before Harry nodded just the once.
Nothing was said as both Hermione and Megan wrote down their phone numbers and handed them over, nor when Harry, in a fit of rare trust, did the same.
The girls were smart, even if he didn't say anything, his silence told them enough.
Year One finished.
I decided to try a different Harry for once. He's either maniacal or angsty in my work, I wanted to try a completely apathetic Harry. Sometimes, complete apathy is so much more disturbing than licking a blade and grinning psychotically at someone. As for Fawkes crying on him, to Fawkes, he needs healing, badly. Psychologically, Harry is broken, he is scarred and broken and Fawkes wants so very badly to heal him, sooth him, comfort him, but he can't because Harry has locked himself too far away.
A kind of self-taught defensive Occlumency.
Probably won't continue this. It was just a spot of fun at about... (looks at clock) midnight. Might revisit it later, might not.