A/N - An alternative storyline starting from when Harry is six years old.
Disclaimer – I own nothing!
Six year old Harry Potter landed on the hard concrete floor with a grunt. He knew better than to cry out; that would just make the beating last longer. He panted through the pain as his uncles belt made contact with his already bleeding back and
counted backwards from a hundred. Normally by the time he reached zero, it would all be over. Harry couldn't remember what had started his uncle off today but suspected his cousin Dudley had blamed him for one of his own misdemeanour's.
He got down to 32 on his count before his uncle stopped, leaning on the wall to get his break back. Once recovered, he grabbed Harry's hair and dragged him to his feet before roughly shoving him out of the cold utility room and into the hallway. Harry heard the door to his cupboard being opened and then he was flung onto the thin mattress that had been his bed for the last 5 years of his life.
'I don't want to hear a single word out of you boy. Is that clear?'
Harry nodded numbly, trying to move his weight off his left arm. A beating two days ago had seriously injured his wrist and arm and Harry was worried it was broken. He knew his aunt and uncle wouldn't take him to a doctor. They avoided hospitals like the plague now. Ever since that last time when a social worker and doctor had come to speak to them and taken photos of Harry's bruising. It hadn't been his fault that the school nurse had noticed him limping but they hadn't seen it that way.
She had been nice, Harry remembered with a quiet sigh. She had spoken softly to him and had not seemed to blame him at all; even after he explained how useless and weird he was. Even after he had told her that all Potters were freaks and lowlifes. She had written down a sentence on a piece of paper and made him say it over and over. 'My name is Harry Potter and I am proud of it.'
He had giggled after a while and she had given him a quick hug and a lolly pop. That had been six months ago and for a while he had wondered if maybe she was right and the Dursley's were wrong. Maybe he wasn't a bad boy and maybe it was all right to be a Potter. The social worker had even mentioned that he might go to live somewhere else but he had never seen her again so he guessed they had realised that it was his fault after all.
Sometimes though, when he felt really bad he would repeat that little sentence to himself as if it could make everything all right.
Harry wriggled slowly under his blanket, trying hard not to cry out. His chest felt like it was burning when he breathed and the bruises from where Uncle Vernon had kicked him ached. His nose was pouring with blood and he knew from experience that he had to lie on his side or it would all go into his mouth and make everything worse.
Harry felt the tears flowing down his face and bit his lip in shame.
'I will not cry,' he whispered. 'My name is Harry Potter and I am proud. I am proud to be a Potter.'
He tried to stop the sense of panic that was overwhelming him. He knew that this was a particularly bad beating and that he was not going to heal without some help. He also knew that there was no help to be had.
Half conscious, the whispered words kept tumbling out of his mouth. ' My name is Harry Potter and I am proud of it. My name is Potter and I need help. Please help me..' Harry's voice trailed off and he let the darkness take him; unaware of the golden coloured wisps of wind that were swirling around his small cupboard under the stairs. Just before he lost consciousness, Harry had a strange sense of the world spinning around him and the scent of freshly mown grass and then everything was black.
Harry woke to the sounds of a forest, wondering for a moment if Aunt Petunia had started doing the yoga thing again. Birdsong and the sounds of waves lapping on a shore filled his senses and he stirred sleepily, waiting for the fake whale song to join the melody. When a few minutes had passed and he realised that the sounds weren't changing and that he could still smell grass, he cautiously opened his eyes.
Harry carefully and painfully sat up, his eyes wide at his surroundings. Everywhere he looked held the most beautiful sights. Before him was a forest, it's path trailing invitingly into the distance; behind him a small beach led to the tip of a great lake, it's waters lapping gently against the sand. Everywhere there were flowers and birds. It took him several minutes to get to his feet, where he wobbled unsteadily, his good hand absently wiping at the blood congealed on his face.
He looked around uncertainly, not at all sure what to do now or where to go. Had the Dursley's left him here? Somehow that didn't seem right. This place didn't look like a place that people like them would ever be allowed in. It was too beautiful for people that ugly. He looked at the forest path and discounted it. He didn't want to go too far from the beach. He was standing in a small grassy clearing that was bathed in warm sunlight and had a beautiful glow. Even as Harry looked at the view, he thought he could see golden light bouncing around.
He lifted his good hand and reached out to touch the light, jumping back in surprise as his fingers brushed an invisible wall. Harry watched amazed as a small drop of blood from his fingers seemed to run slowly down through mid air; as if he had put a streak on a pane of glass he couldn't see. The area around the blood burned gold and spread out in a ripple and right before his eyes, a golden archway formed.
Acting much more bravely than he felt, he edged forward and limped through the archway. There was a flash of light and then as if from nowhere a house appeared. Mouth hanging open, Harry stared a long moment; Blinking rapidly to see if the house would disappear again if he closed his eyes.
It was white and pretty, with bright blue shutters and roses growing up the walls. The lawn was neatly trimmed, but not in the same way as Privet Drive. There were no mower lines here; just a riot of wild flowers and herbs.
The blue front door opened wide and Harry could not resist inching forward towards it. He climbed the two stairs up to the door and peeked in.
'Hello?' he whispered, his voice shaking so much he hardly recognised it.
When no-one answered he took a deep breath and stepped inside, jumping as the door frame flashed a golden colour and the hall lights flashed on. A second later there was a loud crack and stood in front of Harry was a small, funny looking creature with large ears and even larger eyes. It wore a small red dress with a yellow pinny and matching shoes and was looking at Harry with an expression of horror on it's face.
'Master Potter!' it exclaimed. 'Is that you?'
Harry stared, too terrified to so much as squeak as the small creature gaped at the badly injured boy before her.
'Master Harry Potter?'
It knew his name Harry thought numbly. He nodded to her and then deciding it was all too much, fainted in a heap on the polished wooden floor.
It was late the following afternoon that Petunia Dursley lifted the lock on Harry's cupboard and found it empty. When the boy hadn't returned by morning the Dursley's started to panic. It was a particularly large puddle of blood this time and Harry hadn't been at school for two days. Questions would be asked.
They hurriedly collected all of his things together and cleaned up all of the blood before making an emergency trip to the nearest river where they dumped the boys few possessions.
Then putting on his best acting voice, Vernon called the local police station and reported that his nephew had run away.
The Dursley's hadn't counted on the detailed social workers report that had arrived at the station that very morning; or the fact that the police had a way to find blood, even after all that bleach. Nor had they realised that the local crime cameras had picked them up dumping an extremely large suitcase into the river.
Before they realised what was happing, Petunia and Vernon found themselves being escorted into a police car, marched into a small grey room and charged with a most horrible crime;
The murder of Harry Potter!
Harry took a deep breath in and sighed contentedly. He had had such a lovely dream. He had been tucked in bed in a sunny white room and someone had been singing to him and stroking his hair. He was comfortable and warm and nothing hurt. He really didn't want to wake up but knew that if he didn't get up soon then he would be late getting the breakfast ready and then he would be in trouble.
He sighed again, more sadly this time and forced his tired eyes open. A moment later, Harry was sat bolt upright, his eyes wide. The large white room was filled with the sound of birdsong, it's open windows allowing sunlight to stream into the space. Harry was perched in the middle of the biggest, softest bed he had ever seen. He looked down at the soft white nightshirt he was wearing in confusion, noting that his arm was wrapped in a tight bandage. This wasn't a dream but he couldn't for the life of him remember how he had got here.
There was a loud crack and Harry squealed, scooting up to cower against the gold coloured headboard and half hiding behind the blankets. Perched at the bottom of his bed were two small creatures, both frowning at him seriously. He vaguely recognised the smaller one in a red dress from his dream. The second creature looked much older and was wearing a black and white suit with a small bow tie. His grey hair was pulled back in a pony tail, making his ears look enormous.
'Master Potter, please don't be frightened,' The older one said quietly. 'You are quite safe here.'
'What are you?' Harry whispered, his mouth behind the sheet.
'My name is Cobbler sir and this is Dizzy. We are house elves and we belong to you.'
Harry dropped the sheet slightly and looked at the two creatures in puzzlement.
'Yes Master Potter. This house is yours and Dizzy and I are bonded to the house to look after it for you. Your magic brought you here when you were injured.'
Harry's eyes widened. 'My magic?'
Cobbler frowned slightly at Harry's reaction. Hadn't those hideous muggles told him anything?
'Master Harry need not worry about any of these things just now. Master is sick and needs to get well first and then Dizzy and I can tell you all about your parents and the house.'
'You knew my mum and dad?' Harry was sat forward now, his fear forgotten as his curiosity grew.
Cobbler smiled kindly and Harry thought it was the nicest smile he had ever seen.
'Yes Master. Cobbler knew your father since he was a baby and he helped look after him. Cobbler was there when Master Harry Potter was born sir.'
Harry's mouth dropped open in amazement.
'Wow,' he said breathlessly.
Dizzy climbed onto the bottom of the bed, her hands curled together in her lap as she looked at Harry closely.
'Would Master Harry like some soup?'
Harry's stomach gave a large grumble in response and Dizzy smiled gleefully before disappearing with a pop, making Harry jump and hide under the covers again.
Cobbler sat quietly until Harry felt safe enough to peep out from his blankets again.
'Was it Masters Aunt and Uncle who hurt him?' Cobbler asked quietly.
Harry hesitated a moment and then nodded fearfully.
The elf shook his head sadly and then patted Harry's arm, encouraged when Harry didn't flinch from the touch.
'Master Harry does not ever have to go back to that place again. Master can stay here. Cobbler and Dizzy will take care of Master now.'
Harry watched the old elf move slowly away his eyes wide. Not go back to the Dursley's? Stay in this huge room with it's soft bed? Surely he would wake up soon; this was just too good to be true.
A/N- Reviews be the food of the muse!!