When Fester had, for reasons unknown, unclear or simply unkind, ejected the rest of the Addams family from the family home, Morticia had taken a job as a primary school teacher. She and the five-year-olds had their first day together, and Moricia was surprised that one of the children on her roster was absent. But perhaps they had just not heard her?
"Is there anybody I've missed?" she called over the class.
A small hand went up.
"And what's your name?" she asked kindly, fixing on the small, indeed tiny boy with messy black hair, glasses, and a scar on his forehead, expecting him to say the name that she had not yet marked as present on her list.
"Freak," the little boy answered.
Morticia blinked. Even an Addams, proud as they were of their differences to general society, would never call a child Freak. There was Cousin It, but there would never be a child of the Addams family called Freak.
"Well, I'm sorry little one, but your name isn't on my list," Morticia told the child. "We'll get it cleared up soon enough though, alright?" she added when she saw how very distressed this made him.
The child nodded and Morticia went on to read them a story and get them to do some colouring in before recess came and she could let the children out to play. At this time, she took the little boy who called himself 'Freak' to the office, where they would hopefully get this confusion corrected.
It didn't take long before it was confirmed that, yes, the child was Harry James Potter, and not 'Freak'.
Of all the children in that class, Morticia only missed little Harry when the family was once again in the Addams family home, no longer destitute. There was just something tortured and melancholy about the boy, something Addams-ish about him, a single depth among all the shallow little children.
The former Duchess, Susan Sto Helit looked around her class of seven-year-old children on the first day of class and decided that she would have a lot of work to do. Especially with that fat boy. Parent nights this year would most likely be a trial, but then, they were every other year. Why should this one be any different?
Having accounted for every child, she then proceeded to review their lessons so far, and explain to them the reward system that she had set up. One girl's eyes lit up, and she sat straighter in her chair, her blonde braids hanging down by her ears, when Susan mentioned the star system. One boy though, a boy with messy black hair, glasses, and a scar on his head cut a glance at the fat boy and seemed to groan before burying his face in his arms on the desk.
That night, Susan reviewed the files on the children that she had spent the day educating – whether they wanted to be educated or not, most of them not – and found the files on Harry Potter and Dudley Dursley.
She frowned. There was a note from the first year by a teacher who was no longer with them, noting that the boy Harry Potter had not answered to his name, believing his moniker to be 'Freak', until a trip to the office had proven otherwise.
Susan stood from her chair, grabbed a sensible charcoal-grey coat, hailed a cab, and went to see the living conditions of this family. She was, upon reaching the place, not impressed, though she could see how the boy had come to the belief that his name was something other than it was. Now, however, was not the time to just go barging in.
Oh yes, she had a lot of work to do this year.
The lesson with the bogey man had gone, as it usually did, quite well. The children were all, initially, very frightened. Some even more than others, but that was also to be expected. Having an adult confirm that a creature that scares them, that parents have previously said doesn't exist and is nothing to be afraid of, is actually real is never going to be an enjoyable experience. Once she also taught them how to fight back against the bogey man, they were a great deal happier about meeting the creature.
The day her grandfather brought Binky was much more eventful. Normally, having a horse in a classroom was exciting enough, but he did something that he usually didn't when he made his visits to the classroom – he took a particular interest in one of the children. Thankfully, he waited until the rest of the children had gone out to play.
"Harry Potter," the skeleton said, laying a gentle, bony hand on the boy's head. "You and I have met before," he told the child. "When you were very small. I think I must take you away for a little while."
"Grandfather," Susan cautioned.
"I will bring him back in time for class after recess," the figure promised.
Susan frowned. "How long will he think he's gone, and why are you taking him?"
The Reaper's bone fingers slid down to the scar on the boy's forehead, which they seemed to peel off like it were just a sticker.
Harry blinked in surprise. "If I'd know you could do that, I'd have done that ages ago," the boy said, staring in surprise while a hand felt where the scar had been. Perfectly smooth, like it had never been for as long as he could remember.
Death draped the peeled off scar tissue over the blade of his scythe. A tiny, ferocious scream erupted from it before it disappeared completely.
"The boy has need of a few lessons that only I can give him," Death stated calmly, his glowing blue eyes on Susan.
Who sighed, rubbed at her eyes, and then nodded.
"Just have him back here before recess is over today," she insisted.
Death nodded and lifted Harry onto Binky's back.
Five minutes later, Binky returned, only Harry on his back, but the child – and he still was, Susan was pleased to note – looked a little more wizened. It was in his eyes.
"How long were you gone?" Susan asked politely.
"A... long time?" Harry asked, unsure. "Time didn't mean much there," he added. "I taught Albert how to cook a few other things though, so not everything is fried food now."
Susan nodded. "I'm terribly glad to hear that," she said, smiling at the boy. "He gave me a dirty look when I asked for muesli that one time. You've been gone for five minutes here, by the way."
Harry nodded, a little awed.
"I warn you to be careful," Susan said straight up, going to sit behind her desk. "If you start remembering the future because of your time there, do not tell people, and do not jump to conclusions. Try and remember that walking through walls is something normally accomplished through the use of opening a door in front of you and closing it behind you, and if you can to the Voice, don't unless it's an emergency."
Harry nodded. "Albert told me some of that before I left, and the raven, and the rat. I didn't know that ravens could talk."
Susan snorted indelicately. "Normal ones can't," she answered. "Quoth, however, comes from before the Discworld was disrupted and destroyed, and has high levels of magical saturation. Magic does odd things to animals," she added by way of explanation.
"Aunt and Uncle say that magic doesn't exists," Harry said. "That it isn't real, and telling lies is bad, so magic's a bad word."
Susan raised an eyebrow at this information. "Well, telling lies is bad," she confirmed. "Unfortunately, they're the ones telling the lies. Grown ups tend to do that a lot, when they don't like the way that the truth looks. I don't recommend telling them I said so of course."
Harry shook his head firmly. "I won't," he promised.
"If you ever need help with something, you can ask me, alright?" Susan suggested.
Harry beamed. "Thank you Miss!"
Harry, led by memories of the future – as he had promised Miss Sto Helit, he didn't tell anybody about these, and he didn't jump to any conclusions, but that didn't mean he couldn't act on them – took some money from his uncle's wallet and then a cab into London. He made his way to the Leaky Cauldron, asked Tom to let him into Diagon Alley, and headed straight for the goblin bank.
Quite the adventure for the seven-year-old really.
The goblins looked at him as strangely as he supposed he looked at them. He was trying to figure our what they were, despite already knowing, and they were trying to figure out what a child was doing there without an appropriate guardian.
"My name's Harry Potter," he said at last, holding out a hand to the goblin who was watching him, to shake. "Pleased to meet you."
The goblin blinked, surprised at any kind of courtesy from a human, but reached forward his clawed hand to shake with the boy all the same.
"I am Grasp," the goblin answered, shaking the boy's hand once, firmly, and then releasing it to sit back in his chair and survey the boy. "What can we at Gringotts do for you Mister Potter?"
Harry rocked on his heels a little. "Do I have any money?" he asked.
Grasp was shocked to hear the question. The boy should have known something as basic as that surely? "Yes, Mister Potter. You have a large vault of money. We have been taking good care of it for you."
"Thank you very much Mister Grasp," Harry said brightly, smiling. "Might I meet it?"
Grasp blinked. "Meet it?"
"Well, I don't know much about spending money yet, or saving or investing or anything really, so I thought I'd just go, say hello to all of it, and get to know more about what I've got," Harry explained. "I read in a book once about a man who spent so much time talking to his gold, that if it got stolen and he called for it, it would answer him," Harry added, wide-eyed and completely serious.
Grasp blinked again. "Mister Potter, you have rather more to the possessions left to you by your parents that just the money in your vault, if you would like to, as you say, 'meet' that as well?" Grasp suggested.
Harry beamed. "Thank you Mister Grasp! I'd like that a lot!"
Harry was given a keyring before he left the bank. On the keyring were several keys. One was to his vault, one was to the house that his parents had left to him that was in the middle of London, one was to his godfather's house – since the man was in Azkaban, Harry had access to but not use of his vaults, and access to his property, if he wanted to keep it clean or something – one key was to the house that his grandparents had left to his mother, but which had now fallen to him, and the last key was to the country house that his parents had left him, located in the lake district.
Harry was also given a purse full of money. His own of course. Wizarding coin, some of which had been exchanged for British Pounds that he could use out in the rest of the real world. Harry's first major decision was that, since he had houses of his own to go 'home' to, then he would go live in one of them rather than going back to live with his aunt, uncle and cousin. His second major decision was that he was going to get a dog.
The house that had been handed down from his grandparents wasn't too far from the school that he went to with Dudley, and while he didn't want to have anything to do with Dudley if he could help it, he really did like the classes, and going to school would be better than not. Besides, his school fees had already been paid for the year.
He found a newspaper and searched through the pet section for adds that a breeder had a litter of puppies for sale, as well as any adds for a pet-supplies shop and a nearby vet – one that was near by where he would be living, that is. Before long, a grin was spread right across his face as he left the very reputable breeder's house with his own perfectly black Irish Wolfhound puppy.
His grandparents' house, quite simply, needed a lot of work. Thankfully, it was still early on Saturday afternoon, so he had plenty of weekend to make the place properly habitable, and then there was the whole 'time doesn't really matter' trick he'd learned from Death.
There were also rats running about. Harry convinced his new and wonderful puppy to catch these rats for him. Okay, rodent may not have been his first choice of meal, but he'd made rabbit for the Dursleys a couple of times. Rat couldn't be all that different. The puppy seemed to like eating them as well, particularly after Harry had taken off the annoying fur. Besides, the Death of Rats was really quite a nice chap, and Harry didn't think he'd mind getting a bit more work.
"I'm going to have to think of a really good name for you," Harry told the puppy as they sat down to eat their rats at dinner time – Harry's had been cooked of course. "I can't call you puppy forever."
The animal barked in what Harry decided was probably agreement.
"Well, you're a boy puppy, so girl names are out," Harry reasoned. "I'm not going to name you after any of my relatives, and you're really not an 'Albert'. Death said that his apprentice before me was called Mort, but I don't think that really suits you either. It's a sort of wet name," Harry hummed to himself. "And Lobsang's a name for people who wear robes like Time's old teacher did, and Time himself as well I guess. I think you should have a really cool name, but most of the really cool names are also stupidly long, like Mephistopheles. Besides, that's a kind of name that won't really suit you until you get bigger. Uh... I know! Mrs Addams read to us from Alice in Wonderland a couple of years ago. I'll name you Bandersnatch! Or maybe just Banders for short," Harry decided, nodding his head firmly.
The newly-dubbed Bandersnatch barked a happy sound, and wagged his tail.
Bandersnatch stayed home when Harry went to school, but that was alright because there was a big backyard for him to run around in, and lots of rats for him to play with. Harry had left a few other toys as well, since he didn't want the puppy to get bored while he was gone.
The house didn't take that long to clean up, thankfully, and since Harry had been cleaning the house, cooking meals, and weeding the garden since he was four, taking care of himself wasn't that difficult. Thanks to the goblins in Gringotts, he even had money to pay for food, as well as the electrical bill and the gas bill that would eventually come.
At this moment, Harry was sitting in class, working on advanced algebra, and Dudley was getting a Talking To from Miss Sto Helit.
"You will do your own school work Dudley," Miss Sto Helit said. "You will not cheat off of somebody else's. You will not steal somebody else's work and pretend that it is your own. You will stop picking on the other children in the school yard at recess and lunch. You will be failed and expelled if this behaviour continues. Am I clear?"
Dudley swallowed visibly. The Voice tended to have that effect, even on grown ups. Then he nodded.
"Good," Miss Sto Helit said with a slight smile.
It was parent-teacher night, and Harry had come back for his own catch-up with Miss Sto Helit – as he didn't have parents and was no longer living with his aunt and uncle. He'd brought Bandersnatch with him this time though.
"Good evening Harry."
Harry turned. There was only one person who that could be – even he and Miss Sto Helit, for all that they could do the voice, they didn't give pleasantries in it. He smiled.
"Hell Sir," he answered, looking up at the black-robed skeleton.
Bandersnatch cocked his head curiously when the Death of Rats appeared, as if he wasn't sure what to do about a it.
"You leave that one alone," Harry said quietly to the puppy, stroking his head, then looked up at Death again. "What brings you here tonight Sir? I wouldn't have picked parent-teacher night as a time for you to be busy."
Death chuckled a little. "No," he agreed. "I came to speak with Susan about the progress of your education. I may not be your parent, but I can still be curious."
Harry smiled. "Thank you Sir."
Before them, the Dursleys were having their interview with Miss Sto Helit. Harry grinned at the thought of all the things she might be saying to them, and that she might even be using the Voice – simply because they were both too stupid to listen to anything that they didn't want to hear otherwise.
It was a week later that Dudley started to visibly lose weight. Maybe not much at first, but his girth was shrinking and he began to look less like a beach ball.