Title: The Road Not Taken
Category: Harry Potter, with maybe an eeny bit stolen off Twilight
Rating: T, for some profanity, impending slash, and a really horrible vampire
Summary: One decision changed Harry Potter's life forever. It was not the easy way, but he liked to think it was right. Yes, right, for him, and for the wizarding world.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own Twilight. I own everything else that isn't from Harry Potter or Twilight. Cheers.
A/N:This story is a bunny that wouldn't let me sleep, was written in the wee hours of the night, and I don't have a beta. If you see any mistakes, I'd be very happy if you point them out to me. I expect this to develop into slash, as in a homosexual relationship, so if that squicks you, just don't read it. But I'll do my best to make it non-yucky, I promise…
The Road Not Taken
Chapter One: The Escape
Harry sat inside his cupboard, depressed, hungry, and bored out of his mind. The punishment he had been given after the 'Snake Episode' as he had taken to calling the day he had gone to the zoo with the Dursleys and somehow set free a boa constrictor, had been going on for about two weeks. By 'punishment', he meant that he was locked in his cupboard, allowed out only twice a day to be given a meager meal and a trip to the loo. While this was infinitely better than having his uncle yelling at him till his face turned purple, or worse, whack him round the head, two continuous weeks of such treatment left Harry bored sick. As he had spent most of the first few days sleeping away the time, he was now so incredibly alert that sleep just wouldn't come to him. He had likewise exhuasted his supply of interesting topics to think about (and no, algebra did not count as an interesting subject). At this moment, his line of thought was something like this:I'm so bored…man, I'm so bored…heck, I'm so bored…
A sharp rap sounded on the cupboard door. Harry jumped.
"I'm going out to the shops," came Petunia's pinched voice.
"Okay, Aunt Petunia," Harry replied, significantly more cheerful. If Petunia went out, he could sneak out for a bit, get some food, and walk around and stretch a bit. He had long since learnt the trick to get out from his locked door-it was only a simple latch.
"I don't want you setting one foot out of that cupboard," Petunia said warningly, as if in answer to his optimistic tone.
"Sure, Aunt Petunia," Harry agreed readily. After all, he wasn't setting one foot out of his cupboard-he was setting his whole body out. He grinned to himself.
Aunt Petunia gave a displeased grunt, and turned to go. Harry knelt up on his mattress, put his ear to the door and listened to the front door bang. He gave it another minute or two, and then got out of the cupboard. Snickering a little at success and freedom, he bound to the kitchen and fixed himself a jam sandwich quickly. Taking a bite, he turned to sit down at the kitchen table, and paused.
The kitchen door, leading to the back garden, stood a little way open, not closed properly, perhaps, and blown open by the wind. Sandwich raised to his mouth, he stared at the small slither of the outside, of freedom, tantalisingly dangled in front of him.
It wasn't that he'd never had the idea of running away. He'd entertained the notion many a time, and seriously thought about it at least once. That time, he had been 8 years old. At the start of term, every child in the class had been given a planner of their own, and told to keep it safe. Having had precious little to call his own, Harry guarded his very carefully. On flicking through it, he had found that it was not merely blank. In the front and back pages, there were maps, math equasions,jokes, tips for studying, and the like. Delighted with it, Harry had read it very carefully. Then he had come upon something which had made him freeze. Childline.
Even young as he was, Harry had been about 80 percent sure that the way his aunt and uncle treated him was not normal, and not right. He was sure that children were not supposed to be treated in such a way. Dudley wasn't treated that way. And there was a little girl called Claire in grade one who was also an orphan and lived with a cousin. She seemed to be happy enough too. Harry was almost certain that it was wrong that he had to live inside a cupboard under the stairs, and that he had to cook, and do housework, and wear Dudley's leftovers. Harry had passed his eyes over the phone number in the planner again and again, unsure of whether or not he should call it. He wasn't actually thinking of getting his relatives in prison, or getting himself sent to an orphanage. His idea was more along asking if his treatment was normal. All his aunt and uncle and cousin ever insulted him with was that he was a freak. So what if he could prove that he was only a freak because they had treated him wrong? Maybe that would make it better.
He had been so young at the time, and hadn't thought to wait till there was no one in the house to call the number. It was a Saturday, and although Dudley was out playing somewhere, Vernon and Petunia had both been in the house. Although he had the phone number off by heart, he was anxious, and put his planner beside him as he picked up the phone. He'd never called anyone before, never had anyone to call. Would the person on the other side of the phone be kind? He hadn't really thought about that side of the matter. But if they helped children in need, then they must be kind, right? So Harry had started pushing the buttons.
A fat finger slammed down on the earpiece holder, and the sound in the phone turned to a long beep, like that sound the hospital machine made when the person's heart stopped beating. He had looked up to see his uncle already purple in the face. Busted.
Vernon had yelled at him for a whole half hour before he thought to ask who Harry had been calling. Harry had lied that it was a friend, but the Dursleys knew perfectly well that he had no friends, and the fact that he reached behind him to clutch his planner gave him away. Vernon's small, beady eyes had very quickly found the phone number Harry had been calling, and the caption. Looking like he was within his explosion range, Vernon's meaty fists had sent Harry flying. Harry had spent a month or so in the cupboard for that, in which time Harry had thought again and again of running away, of never coming back. But where would he go? Harry had no mum, no dad, no one whom he could trust to look after him. Spending the better part of his life locked up in a cupboard had done no good to his ability to exist by himself. Add to that the thought of what Vernon would do if he found Harry, Harry had abandoned the plan. But at that time, alone in his cupboard, he had laid intricate plans as to how he would get away.
Now, two years later, Harry was once again tempted to throw up his hands, yell 'god damn it all' and run as fast as his legs could carry him. He was older, with a better chance to exist on his own, and he found that the idea of living on his own skills was a little frightening, yes, but also very, very exciting. Well, of course it was! If he lived on his own, he could…oh, have burgers for lunch, and chocolate for breakfast. And he could sleep till noon and not do housework. That would be fun.
Not quite sure if he knew what he was doing, he walked to the back door and put his head out. Could he do this? Run away from the Dursleys and never come back? It was more exciting than anything he'd ever experienced before, and although Harry didn't know, his brilliant green eyes were already lit up in excitement. Yes. He'd better do it, before he lost his nerve.
Fortunately, he had planned before, and he ran about the house like a maelstrom, gathering this and that, terrified that Petunia woulod return before he was ready and long gone. Twenty minutes later, he was ready, a small backpack containing all that he would take from this house in which he had lived for so many years. Feeling emboldened by all the adreneline rushing through his veins, he decided to leave a note for his relatives. But, really having not much at all to say to them, he only scrawled upon a writing pad 'goodbye, Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, Dudley', and put it on the kitchen table. But at that moment, he heard the keys turn the front door lock.
Harry gasped, froze for a millisecond, and then sprinted out of the back door, over the fence in an instance-Harry was very good at running, by neccessity. He could hear Petunia's shrill voice behind him, saying something or the other. Maybe Dudley was home-he hadn't checked the time-or maybe Petunia had spotted him, but he had no time to think about that, the street falling behind him blurrily as he ran for all he was worth, his heart pumping a zillion times a minute. Suddenly, he felt a jerk somewhere in the region of his navel, and wondered on what he had tripped, but then he was being squeezed uncomfortably, and his world spinned-perhaps it was Dudley, caught up to him already? But as suddenly as it had come, the squeezing and spinning was gone. Before Harry had the time to feel relieved, he fell to the ground, banged his head on something hard and fell unconcious.