A cruel world
I kept writing this and rewriting it to get it right, that's why it took so long. I'm still not sure about it but I hope you like it!
The family laughed easily trying to put off the inevitable but it was too much for James.
"So Harry, what happened?" Harry looked at his father with fearful green eyes. He just wanted to forget what happened and move on but he knew he had to explain what happened at least once. But before he could speak the door slammed open and Neville ran into the room panting.
"Neville!" Harry said sitting up with a wide grin spread across his face, Neville's face lit up as he saw his best friend but then faltered when he took in what Harry looked like.
Neville hugged his friend and whispered "Missed you mate. We will get that old fool back." Harry laughed and high fived his best friend.
"So? How's Hogwarts? You are in Gryffindor, right?"
Neville laughed "I wasn't going to go without you Harry. But then Violet persuaded me to. But there is a saved seat at the Gryffindor table for you. I made sure of it."
"Yes! I knew you could do it Nev!"
Alice and Frank came in panting a few moments later, Frank carrying little Alicia and Alice holding Emily's hand. "Oh Merlin." Alice whispered as tears sprang to her eyes.
Alice sat with Lily as she talked with her godson. Lily held her friends hand though out trying to brave herself for what was going to happen. She would finally learn what her child had suffered though at the hands of her sister.
"Harry?" The boy with jet black hair turned to face his mother, every time he saw her felt like a relief. He was so scared that he was going to be taken from his family yet again.
"Come on kids, I going to the café to get some ice cream, whose coming?" Frank said picking up his youngest daughter as she clamoured to leave.
The triplets looked worriedly at their parents for support, they nodded smiling gently. Eve, Scott and Charlie got up following their close friend Alicia, knowing their parents need time to talk with their brother.
Emily looked around, Violet was her best friend and she didn't what to leave her at such an emotional time but she guessed that it would be harder for him to talk with more people around. "Come on dad, I'll take you. You will only get lost otherwise."
Everyone laughed lightly, until Franks smile faltered as he realised this was probably true. "Come on bossy boots." Frank said leading the younger children out of the room.
"Mum?" Lily turned to Harry with the same emerald eyes that they shared. "It wasn't Petunias fault. Sure she wasn't the angel aunt I should have had but she was as trapped as I was in there; Dudley to."
Lily's eyes brimmed with tears as she stroked her son's cheek, even when he had been mistreated and abused Harry still thought of others; he was selfless. "But hunny, what she did to you, no matter what mess she was in, she is sick in the head. And I hope you understand, I can never view her as a sister."
Harry hugged his mum "But they don't deserve this, no matter what they done before. Especially Dudley. If not for Petunia then for Dudley."
"I know Harry. That's why we have hit squads trying to rescue her at this very moment. Only Dumbledore is proving hard to get past."
Harry laughed dryly "Sound a lot like him."
"So Prongslet, how did you get away from the old codger?" Sirius asked making everyone smirk sadly.
"Dudley. He helped me escape. I just hope he is alright, that's where my protective rune is. I gave it to him, Vernon will go mental when he finds out, and I don't have a clue what he will stop at."
Everyone's breath seemed to suck in at Harry's words, everyone knew Harry was brave. But knowing Dudley had risked it all to save Harry made them feel guilty for hating the Dursley's so much.
"I thought that would be the hard part. But it turned out to be the easy part. I jumped out the second floor window and broke my ankle. I knew Dumbledore would be on my trail so I just planned to floo home. But then I found out we were actually somewhere in Scotland."
James felt his heart sink along side with Remus; they were in Scotland a few weeks ago. If only they had searched harder they might have prevented some of the innocent boy's pain.
"I tried to go to the authorities but Dumbledore managed to track me their, if I went to a hospital or police he tracked me. I don't know how but he managed to. But I got away from him when that happened. Since I did not know any wizard family's I had to find my way home alone. I was forced onto the streets since I had no money. I managed to hitchhike to Leeds but that was all."
The girls breath sucked in as Lily's eyes began to fill with tears again, the boys felt the urge to be sick. Neville grimaced and put a comforting hand on his friends shoulder.
"On the streets, well, it was hell. I learned pretty quickly to stay off the main streets; that's where most of the trouble was."
Harry's face scrunched up as if he was in pain, his eyes slowly dulled till it looked like all his emotions were hidden.
"Harry? Harry?" Lily looked at her husband frantically but he shared the same confusion as she did.
"I'm fine mum. Sorry, it's just a way I learned to deal with emotions."
Lily openly breathed a sigh of relief but looked slightly annoyed. "You need to let it out Harry, not hold it in."
"Sorry mum. I will but not at the moment." Lily nodded holding her sons hand as she waited for him to continue.
"It was the hardest thing. I have felt alone before, I mean I spent the first four years with the Dursley's but at least they acknowledged me. On the streets you just became a piece of furniture. Always there but no one notices you. I met a guy a few years older than me and he looked out for me when he could. But I felt so alone. And it felt hopeless. I almost gave up hope on more than occasion."
No one said anything but tears began to fall quickly from Violets young face as she crawled onto her godfathers lap.
"I was walking down the street one night and a group of guys started having ago. Then they saw how old I was and they took pity on my. They must have been rich saw they gave me a hundred pounds before they left. So then I got a bed for the night because I was exhausted and the next morning I bought a train ticket to London so I could get to Diagon Ally."
James and Lily exchanged looks but said nothing and waited for their son to continue.
"I kept my head down and kept low profiles just encase, then I met a squib named Mrs Figg, she was going to visit her family and she noticed the bands on my wrists. She offered to help me but I just wanted to get home, at the time I don't think she recognised me. She just saw a boy who needed help not 'the missing boy-who-lived' which was really nice of her."
Lily felt grateful towards the women who had saved her son out of the good of her heart. But she was curious how Harry had gotten into such a bad state, the illnesses were because he lived on the streets but than did not explain why he looked like someone had used him as a punch bag recently.
"Well she got off at her stop and everything was going fine, until the train broke down. We waited for another train to pick us up and that's when I noticed them. I saw some death eaters searching around. They were kind of dressed normally but they did not look like normal Muggles. Anyway I recognised them instantly, but they did not see me."
Lily tightened her grip on James and Violet buried her head in Remus's shoulder.
"Who was it?" Sirius asked in a strained voice.
"Bellatrix and Rudolphus." Harry said and Sirius had to bite down a growl. Someone needed to finish his cousin once and for all.
"Are you sure they didn't see you?" Alice asked looking at her godson with worry.
"No, they would have tried something. I had my hood up and I kept out of the way but they were there for a reason. They were looking for someone. Anyway I didn't wait around so I headed to the nearest town to try and find a way back. I don't know where I was but it was quite a small town. I didn't have any money left so I was on the streets again. Only this time I wasn't as lucky. Ten other older guys beat the crap out of me and nicked the few things I had in my bag."
James clenched his hands trying to contain his own anger, how anyone could hurt such an innocent boy was beyond James.
"I don't remember much after that, just little patches of things. I remember laying on the street then being with Mrs Figg as she took me back to hers. The next thing I know I am here. It came as quite a shock when she found out who she saved. She is not excepting the reward though." Harry said with a chuckle.
Everyone smiled sadly; no one could laugh when they had just heard a story as heartbreaking as Harry's.
"Mum can I have some chicken or something? I am starving!" Harry said trying to lighten the mood.
"Sorry hun, Healer said no food for a-"
"HARRY!" A bur of red hair ran though and attached its self to Harry as he smiled slightly guiltily.
"Don't you ever leave me again Harry Potter. Never!"
"You could have died!" She said sobbing, Harry looked at her awkwardly not knowing what to say or do.
Luckily Ron and Molly Weasley rushed in and Molly pulled her daughter of Harry, worried that she would hurt him.
"Oh Harry dear we are so happy you home safe and sound. We came as soon as we heard, everyone sends their love. Fred and George wanted to come but when I saw the Hogwarts toilet seat they wanted to give you I thought it best if they stayed put."
Harry grinned but Sirius and James both burst out laughing. "Thanks Mrs Weasley, tell them I look forward to seeing it. What's so funny?"
"Well Prongslet, that was the exact same present that your father and I sent Moony when he was in the hospital wing." Sirius said smirking at his friends.
"Oh yeah! Pomfrey confiscated it as soon as she saw it!" Remus laughed the mood lightening.
"My gosh! I remember that! Amber had a hissy fit when she saw that, something about germs and Remus getting ill." Alice joined in.
"I don't remember that." Lily said frowning.
"It was in sixth year, Christmas time. I had asked you out so many times that day you cursed my hands, they would not stop growing! That's why me or Padfoot never showed you. We were too busy plotting revenge!" Lily and James both laughed at the memory and Harry just smiled, he loved that feeling of home.
"So how you holding up mate?" Ron asked wearily.
"Been better. What house are you in?"
Ron smiled looking slightly relieved, "Gryffindor, Neville and I made the house elves but another bed in the room for when you came. It's in the middle of ours." Harry was touched by the gesture, sometimes he used to think everyone had forgotten about him.
"We bought you sweets." Ginny said wiping away her tears and putting the bag the best Honeydukes candy on the bottom of his bed.
"Thanks. I am really sorry about sending you off but I knew you would have never have gone if I told you." Ginny nodded knowing what he was saying was true.
"Oh that reminds me, I have some sweets for you also Prongslet." Sirius grinned pulling out a huge bag of Harry's favourite wizards sweets.
"Me too," Alice said winking at Lily as she got out a bag full of chocolate frogs.
"Honesty he needs more than sweets." Lily said shaking her head but she was not really annoyed, how could she be when her family was complete again.
"Me three, Sorry Lils." Remus said conjuring a mixture of Harry's favourite Muggle sweets. "But they are fruit flavours." Lily laughed rolling her eyes.
"Thanks guys." Harry said looking hungrily at the growing pile of sugar.
"This is from me and your siblings son, I will give you the rest later other wise you mum might just kill me." James added in a fake whisper as he gave Harry a massive size box of Bertie Beans.
"Mum? Are you sure I can't have some?" Harry asked with pleading eyes and a cheeky smile.
"Alright then I guess a few can't hurt, but let me double check with your healer first."