Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, Ms. Rowling does.
The file was dropped on the dark wood of the desk with an airy thump. The man it was delivered to looked at the messenger with appraising eyes. The manilla folder did not look that thick, despite its innocuous looks a sense of dread settled over the man as he reached towards it.
"That's it sir, the 'truth' you sent me to find, all that I could compile." The messenger said stiffly
"Thank you, that is all. The money will be transferred into your account by the end of the day." The man behind the desk said
The messenger hesitated before reaching into his bag. He put a bottle of firewhisky on the desk with only the words "You'll need it."
The door closed with a quiet click.
The man behind the desk stirred, faintly confused he reached for the file and began to read.
"Harry Potter Defeats He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!" Daily Prophet
"Harry Potter DEAD" read more on page 3
"The savior of the wizarding world has fallen. After the battle with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Mr. Potter took a nasty curse to the chest. His condition had been declining rapidly, he finally surrendered to death at 8:04 pm today. The world is in mourning. Sources at Hogwarts say 'He is probably happy he saved us, he was always thinking about everyone else's needs –"
A picture taken of a cupboard under the stairs No. 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging, Surrey. Each letter carefully drawn out in shaky red crayon on the wall of the cupboard. The writing is as follows.
"I am 4. This is mi room. I'm skared, real skared. If I don' git watur soon I won't git to b 5. Sumbodee help me."
We only surmise the original word was help, it was scratched out in crayon. "Rembur" (remember) was written below as a replacement.
A transcript of an interview with a primary school teacher, 2nd grade.
Recorded May 26 at 6:43 pm.
Teacher: He was so tiny, I tried to send him to the kindergarten room. Then he looked at me with these great big green eyes behind glasses meant for an older child. I've never seen that look in so young a boy, I hope to never see it again. It was eerie, it was like I was talking to a child and an adult at the same time, he just looked through me.
Interviewer: Is that so. What did you say to him?
Teacher: "Son" I said "I think your in the wrong room."
He looked at me "I was told to come here."
He was holding this big manilla file "Well, why don't you tell me your name son and we'll see."
"Boy." He answered
Interviewer: He said his name was boy?
Teacher: I thought he was joking at first then I caught his eyes again. Not a smile in sight. "Your name is boy?" I asked
"A name is what you are called right?"
"Then that is my name."
"Tell me son, even if that's what the other kids call you, what do your family call you."
"Yes, your family."
"Family" he paused wistfully before shaking his head "That is what they call me. The lady at the desk looked at this and called me something different though. Can I have two names?" he handed over the envelope
"That's it." He said nodding
"Well, that is your name."
"Is it? Well I like it better than Boy." He smiled for the first time it light up his little face. I almost cried.
*sobs are heard*
Medical file of one Harry James Potter ie. 'Evan James'. Recovered from a muggle emergency room. Case notes by the attending.
"Age 8, presents with contusions on the head, face, chest, back, legs, and wrists . Suspected abuse. Fractured ribs piercing left lung. Reinflation a success. Fractures to the metacarples on the right hand. The flesh surrounding the radius and ulna swollen and discolored, not fractured. Upon viewing x-rays there is evidence of multiple previous breaks to the bones, healed. Severe scaring on the back, from treating similar wounds I can surmise a belt lashing was the cause (apparent marks caused by a buckle if the culprit is found the marks should match their belt). Passing on my preliminary report to the police."
Surrey Police follow up. Officer Daniels reporting:
"When we got to the scene 'Even James' had already left. We can find no proof of his existence. Upon asking the E.R. attending he reported "He seemed to come in alone seems someone else called an ambulance when he collapsed at the grocery store, strange for such a little kid. There was a pile-up on the interstate, so I didn't notice him leave as the ambulances came in. Your looking for a boy, age 8 reportedly, looks more like 6. Tangled black hair, broken glasses, 109.2 cm (43 in. or 3.5 feet) only 41.8 lbs nearly 15 lbs, certifiably malnourished though it may not sound it to an adult. But what you'll notice if you find little Evan, his eyes, bright green, and so old. Trust me you'll remember them haunting eyes."
"9 Year old prodigy wins regional poetry competition," Little Whinging Gazette p. 9 December 4
Tell me your dreams
Of ash and bones
Of empty houses on streets you know
Of hanging by whispered threads
Tell me your secrets little one, little child
Let me feel the burn the stain
The broken nails and bleeding cross
Let me know the ashen taste of misery
Feel the glass sting as your reflection appears
Let me dance in the rubble the mutinous tears
The frayed pages the patched skin
The broken cage made of tin
The haunting chimes made of clay
Let me feel the slice the bite
Of being surrounded in peace
But never with light
The ash on your lips the blood in your eyes
As memory dips and begins to slide
What is true?
What makes your hand shake
The skull in your hand
The last mistake?
The plastic flowers laid on your gave
Do their scent reach you
Do you breathe in regret?
The creaking of the door
The truth that you bent
As you fingers glide over the paper what do you think?
Is this your reality where everything else shrinks
To a mess
A true lost cause
Does the audience rise up with thundering applause?
The clapping of corpses
The feel of claws
Is this all you have
The shrieking wail of loss?
December 5th Role Call, Surry Primary School
Teacher: "Harry Potter?"
Teacher: "Must be absent"
Role Call (same Primary) April 13th (over 4 months later)
Teacher: Stephanie Painter?
Harry Potter? Absent again poor dear's mono seems to be dragging on as his Uncle said.
First Christmas at Hogwarts age 11
Recounted by Ronald Weasley (pensive memory of interview available):
Ron: I woke him up, called out "Wake up Harry its Christmas!" he trundled down but didn't seem much bothered just kinda smiled as I tore open my wrapping
"Come on Harry there's presents!"
"I get presents?" never heard a bloke so surprised there would be presents for him at Christmas.
He sat down in front of his pile, he looked happy but like he couldn't believe it.
I ripped into the wrapping but he carefully pulled off the tape like old ladies trying to reuse the paper.
His smile lit up like the bloody tree when he got to his Weasly Sweater. He stroked it like it was a cat and asked "Can I really put this on?"
"Er yeah mate, if you want to. I mean we all get one mine's always maroon. Guess mum made one for you too."
He pulled it out "She made it for me?" he put it on. That horrid lumpy mess that never fits right, like it was the first present he ever got, and the best he could ever want.
Meeting with Second Year Gryffindors on Sex-ed presented by Minerva McGonagall:
The room filled with giggles and jokes as I stood at the front my reputed stern face taught and slightly flushed.
"So that is how babies are made. The best prevention to having children is abstinence." I let the word ring out "however if you do not choose that road, there are precautions you can take to prevent it and the spread of disease. Those methods are found in these books, and any questions can be given to me."
The room varied with amounts of embarrassment, amusement, and what can only be referred to as I-can't-believe-Mcgonaglle-actually-said-that. There was one face that was different. Next to Ron Weasly's blushing face, there was a calm Harry Potter. His face studiously blank, his eyes ancient and clearly focused inwards. No boy that age should look so blasé about getting 'the talk'.
"Very well. Class dismissed!" I announced, done with the presentation.
Oh thank merlin
That was just…blegh horrifying seeing McGonagall pointing to THAT
I heard from the escaping students.
"Come on Harry Lunch next!" Ron prodded his shoulder
Harry seemed to work the flinch into a surprised gesture. "I'll catch you up."
Potter looked at me thoughtfully. I was genuinely afraid of what would come out of his mouth. I can't say why. I just was.
"Hm. That was all very diplomatic and delicate, but life is never like that is it? You left quite a bit out."
He gave me one piercing look then left as if he had said nothing.
I pretended I had heard nothing. Though I did take his suggestions into account the next year I had to make the presentation.
Daily Prophet regarding the return of Voldemot age 14
"HARRY POTTER LIES!"
"ATTENTION SEEKING OR CRY FOR HELP?"
Parchment recovered from under the floorboard of the spare bedroom No. 4 Privet Drive (room noted with padlocks on the outside and bars on the window.)
Its all lies. The world is filled with them. They imbue the very essence of speech and intentions. Lies are what keep this pretty little house standing.
A little piece of hell conveniently located in peaceful Surrey.
But the lies. Because of them it seemed domestic bliss, a hardworking father, a doting wife, a pampered son. A world far away from violence, pain, war, starvation, death, loss, and cruelty. This was a lie itself.
Inside these placid halls were muffled whimpers, silent screams, and the ominous sound of leather against flesh.
The kitchen smells of burned skin as a sumptuous, if slightly late, breakfast was prepared, a hungry growl resounded in the cheerful little room un-minded, ignored.
Happy pictures were pasted across the mantel, the family of three. Never that other. The neighbors did not believe he existed, he was more a story children told, the modern day Boo Radley from To Kill a MockingBird.
Lies upon lies wrapped around the house.
The truth was one occupant knew. Knew violence of fists, the pain of violation, the war he was expected to win for untold numbers, he had seen death as his uncle would kill an animal he tried to save, he knew loss as he saw his only family die, he knew cruelty. Oh yes perhaps it could all be summed up in this. He knew cruelty because he knew the truth of the house.
This other, this freak, this liar, this friend, this hero, however you saw the young male, he saw you. Through you. People always said 'you have your mother's eyes' they did not just speak of the emerald color but the eerie ability they had. It was as if they could see into your soul at a glance. This is what made them so notable. Perhaps that is the reason he is expected so save so many?
"Yes Uncle Vernon?"
Drunk. So few lies could cover the glassy look in a bulbous face.
"Grab me a beer, then come upstairs for a minute. We still have to discuss our late breakfast." A beefy hand stroked the skeletal arm of the other.
Pain. It would be pain tonight, breakfast was just an excuse.
3 weeks 4 days until term starts. A different web of lies, but brighter, less twisted, less festering than this house. Having a megalomaniac gunning for you is cleaner, more straightforward, less deceit. Better.
Maybe one day someone will help this other, this hero, this freak, untangle the webs of lies he has been spun into.
Maybe then this other will know which way is up, what is right, wrong. This is just the story of a clear-eyed boy, hidden away in the cupboard under the stairs.
But who knows, maybe what you have read is just another lie?
-Harry James Potter age 15
The man behind the desk sat back, face pale. He gratefully grabbed the firewhisky and took a great swig straight from the bottle. He absently told himself to tip the private detective he had hired for the gift. He was right, it was needed.
Taking another drink he looked down at the papers spread over the desk.
"We failed you Potter, we failed you so badly, and you still saved us."
He rested the bottle on the arm of the chair, his knuckles white from still gripping it so tight.
His mind went to Potter's brilliant smile, his fury at taunts, his childlike glee when he was on his broom. He saw those eyes that looked straight into you, saw through pretence and accepted. He saw the haunted look on his face after the Tri-Wizard Tournament as he held the dead boy. He saw him laughing and punching his friends teasingly like any other teen.
Delving deeper he visited memories he so desperately tried to lock away. His shy blush, how he laughed when you tickled his neck, how he melted into your arms when you held him from behind, how he made these little mewels of pleasure, how he would stroke your hair as you lay back in a brief moment of peace resting your head in his lap, how he would splutter adorably at the slightest innuendo, and most of all when he finally said 'I love you' his voice caressed the word like it was precious, like he could hardly believe it was true when it was said back.
The man behind the desk took another long drink
"Harry… I hope I helped untangle those webs you spoke of. I never was much good at helping people… Maybe if you loved someone else, a better person…. Ah well, if you were here you probably would have smacked me upside the head already for saying something like that."
The figure laughed but it sounded more like a sob
"Maybe you finally found peace, love."
Harry's face floated before his mind's eye, those eyes looked straight into him, the smile warmed his very being even in memory. He would never forget this face, not even if he tried.
Looking at the documents he took another drink as that message in red crayon burned until his mind like a brand. His eyes blurred but the scrawling of a child still stayed.
And Draco Malfoy wept.
For Harry, just Harry.