Thanks to the other authors who have written blind!harry fanfics, especially Katling with Harry Potter and the Guild of the Night, xyvortex/Taylor1991 with Blind Faith and pottermalfoy24 with As a Bat. I love all of them but I really wanted to take a stab at it myself. And although I hate to beg for reviews, I am going to do just that. Please, please review and tell me what you like (or didn't like) and let me know if you want more. Seriously, it is the only thing that gets me through to "complete" because most of the stuff written and stored on my hard drive is half finished and abandoned!
Another thing: I'm really bad with bothering to go back and check details of the canon. So if I mix something up, I don't mind if you point it out but I may not go back and fix it. I try to get close, but this is going to be pretty much AU from the beginning anyway so I don't see why I should bother. This story begins in Harry's Third Year and shadows the events in PoA, but things obviously veer into AU pretty quickly, so who knows what might happen!
Here goes then… Harry Potter and all related characters do not belong to me nor have I made any money off using them. Thanks to Rowling for her creativity and terrific characters with which to play.
Edited to add: A huge shout of thanks goes out to Nanchih for pointing out an oversight I made about the British medical system. I have corrected it in this recent update. Also, thanks to KevStanley for pointing out that Brits don't call it a sidewalk. Since I try very hard to keep the story on the correct side of the pond, I appreciate the catch. Thanks!
A/N: Because of your lovely encouraging reviews, I have been writing a sequel. Check my author's page for the link. I still love reviews on this story as well, though, so if you read a part you particularly enjoyed, feel free to write a review and tell me.
Harry Potter and the Sword of Gryffindor
Sitting on the bed in the smallest bedroom of Number 4, Privet Drive, Harry Potter held the Hogwarts letter in his hands. His hands shook a little as he squeezed the parchment tighter, the green writing almost sparkling in his imagination. Hedwig settled herself on the perch in her cage after seeing the school owl off again. She looked anxiously at Harry, seated on the edge of his bed, his dark head bent, the letter crushed in his hands. He did not stir or acknowledge the soft hoot she sent in his direction. She wondered what he was thinking.
He was thinking about Hogwarts. In his mind, he was wandering its halls, taking in the rough stone walls, hearing the grinding snap as one of the moving staircases shuffled into place. He was letting his gaze wander over the portraits lining the walls, their occupants craning their necks to peer down at him, their gilt frames soft with dust and trailing filmy cobwebs. In his mind he heard the slap of his trainers echoing along the chilly, dark passages, lit only with torches late at night. He pictured long corridors fading into darkness away from him, of rooms with gothic arches, of rugs patterned in antique oriental bronzes. He willed himself to remember every detail, forced himself to see the bronzed door handles, the leaded diamond glass panes. He pictured rows of students with tall black hats sitting in uneven rows along the house tables at dinner in the Great Hall. He visualised the gold and green and red and blue of the house banners. His mind drifted to twelve Christmas trees sifted with a magical mantle of silver. Stars lit the ceiling of the Great Hall.
Something like a sharp knife twisted somewhere deep in Harry's stomach. How he missed Hogwarts. Yet in twelve days when he went there again, everything would be different. He was different.
He sat up, facing Hedwig and opened his eyes. The room swam in blurry haziness away from his ruined vision. Even Hedwig was an indistinct light spot in contrast with the dark wood of his closet doors. There was no colour, no form, no depth. Light intermingled with dark and tricked him, fooling him into thinking there was something there when his reaching hand gripped only air.
Blind. The Muggle doctor used that word and Harry had flinched. Didn't blind mean black? Didn't it mean a white cane and a tin cup? How could he be blind when he could open his eyes and light flooded in? Too much light, in fact. The least amount of light shot into his eyes like a shard, making him gasp and squint. He'd soon discovered that light was his enemy and to fight it mean to gain a throbbing headache.
As if Harry didn't have enough to deal with, now his eyes didn't work properly. He couldn't quite grasp that word. That word the eye doctor had used so effortlessly. Blind.
How had it happened again? Harry closed his eyes again, trying to remember, trying to forget. Why had he taken that street again? Oh yes, Dudley had been screaming. They had been walking in London, shopping. They had passed shops with glass windows, cafes with iron chairs and tables in front of them and a red awning. They'd walked in a group along the pavement, the three Dursleys and Harry. Aunt Petunia had talked delightedly about the new school uniform for her precious little Dudderkins, whose burgeoning body quickly filled out one after another of his fitted Smeltings jackets. Uncle Vernon had only grunted his answers at her, wrapped up in a newspaper that announced the latest sports scores, reading even while he walked. Dudley, as usual, had howled at them both, demanding ice cream and insisting they stop walking and go to the nearest ice cream parlour. His vocal wails had drawn the curious stares from every passerby and Harry'd cringed, wishing himself a million miles away. Actually, to be more accurate, he had wished a hole would open up in the street and swallow him.
Sitting on his bed now in Privet Drive, he thought it odd, looking back on it, that he'd wished for that particular thing to happen, for at that precise moment, it had. He'd merely stepped sideways into a narrow alley and as he did so the street opened a nice, tidy hole and swallowed him, so quickly he did not have even the time to cry out.
He'd tumbled in to a dark place, disoriented and afraid. Briefly, he'd wondered if someone had apparated him or if there was some kind of hidden portkey in that tiny alley. Perhaps he'd imagined the hole in the pavement. Perhaps not. He had not imagined the fear. Even now, weeks later, he could still taste it in his mouth, sharp and acidic.
He'd sat in the dark place, sprawled awkwardly, wanting to huddle up, waiting for something to come out of the dark and hit him. The floor had been cold and very, very hard. He'd drawn his wand, heart hammering against the back of his ribs.
Something did come out of the dark. He heard the spell just seconds before he saw the flash of green light. So that was it. He'd stepped just far enough away from the Dursleys, taken himself away from the protection of blood and They had been waiting. Their timing had been perfect, their plan brilliantly executed. They would go back later and gloat to one another on their prowess. They would be rewarded handsomely by their disembodied Master, they would tell one another.
The second that existed in time between Harry hearing the spell cast and seeing the green light was about the same length of time it took to see a Bludger coming and duck. He ducked now, his Quidditch reflexes coming to his rescue. At the same time he flung a desperate Protego spell out of his wand and toward the source of the green light. The green light surrounded him, crackling in his hair and all around his face. He could feel it like static against his skin. Maybe the shield spell was too weak. But he was not dead. He was very much alive and sweating fiercely. Pain and flashes of light burned in his eyes.
He heard a loud Crack! Something small and soft crept close to him in the darkness and took his hand. He felt a small, soft, childlike hand in his but had no time to wonder whether it was a good hand or a bad hand when he was back again on the street with the Dursleys, only the light stabbed his eyes, the colour had gone and there were no edges. Shapes softly melded into one another in watercolour abandon. Harry thought he heard a chuckling voice congratulating itself for "rescuing Harry Potter, Dobby's so quick" but a second loud Crack left him alone on the street next to a whining Dudley who hadn't noticed Harry was gone. The whole disorienting experience had taken less than ten seconds.
Needless to say, Harry had panicked.
Aunt Petunia and Dudley couldn't seem to understand why Harry suddenly went berserk in the middle of the busy London street. Uncle Vernon bustled him aside, telling him to get a hold of himself or he'd be sorry. No one believed Harry who could only press his palms against his eyes and forehead in agony. At last he'd managed to convince them that he wasn't lying and that something had happened to his eyes. When they asked what it was, Harry fumbled for an explanation. Luckily for him at that point he'd fainted.
Still sitting on the bed in his room, remembering, Harry shook his head to clear it. He tried to banish the memories of the Muggle hospital, the doctors who spoke in hushed voices with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, tossing out words like "appears that the cones in the retina are affected" and "we'll need to run more tests."
They had certainly run tests. They had squeezed stinging drops into his eyes. They had shone bright lights on him while Harry gasped in anguish, struggling against the tears that refused to stop coming. They had asked endless questions, showing him cards with letters and cards with circles. They'd had him sort tiles into rows and held up an endless succession of glass lenses, none of which sharpened the blurry mist which hung around him like a freezing fog of fear. They had questioned him over and over as to what had happened, while he squirmed and tried to think of something to tell them that did not sound insane.
At last they released Harry to go home, handing him a card with a phone number he couldn't read for the Royal National Institute of the Blind. He'd dropped it on the street before he even reached the car.
Now, three weeks later he sat here, grimly, on his bed, his parchment Hogwarts letter clutched in his hand. Part of him longed for the familiarity and comfort of school. To be away from the Dursleys and the self-imposed imprisonment in the smallest bedroom would be heavenly. To once again be with his friends, to be home again in the ancient magical castle, to be in a world where he belonged…
But would his other world accept him? How would he read his assignments now that he could hardly see? It might have been his imagination but the blurry world seemed even less distinct than it had been, as if twilight was slowly fading down upon him, relentlessly, day after day. He longed for the sharp lines and brilliant colour of his memories. Instead, it seemed that a dark hand slowly clamped down on him, taking its time to smother him completely.
Harry sat up and shook his head again.
He couldn't stay here. He'd go mad in this cell of a room. He was going back to Hogwarts and he was going to succeed… in spite of slowly going blind.
Please read/review! Let me know what you think! Thanks.