THE SUN DOG
A/N: This is probably the strangest work of fiction I've ever undertaken. Also, aside from the first two chapters which have undergone scrutiny by the kind folks at DLP, the first time that I've written an un-beta'd fic. As always, check the DLP C2 in my profile and subscribe, there's some incredible works of fiction in there and some really talented authors who really deserve some additional reviews. Anyway, if you like this, drop me a review, either way, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Act 1, Scene 1
These are the last words of a dying universe.
My name is Harry Potter and I just destroyed everything; space, time, space-time, matter, dark matter, anti-matter, all twenty-six dimensions of our fragile little world in the twinkling of an eye.
The fabric of creation peeled apart, cut to ribbons under the blade of my will, wrenched apart particle by particle. They gave me a universe and I reduced it to dust.
Accidentally, of course.
Though I must admit that I was warned.
But by those same people also told me I couldn't do it, that it couldn't possibly work. Ding dong go fuck yourself. A million points to Gryffindor for an extraordinary bit of charm work Mr. Potter.
Shame I've got to go and lose them all again for fucking everything up.
So yeah, depressing isn't it? That this is what we're ending everything with.
A disembodied voice being fired through, well, something science doesn't really have a name for and that I'm going to call- lets see- squirrdlejuppe.
Because I can, that's why!
It's a good name. Squirrdlejuppe; the place between places. The endlessness hidden in nothing. Doesn't it just ring off the tongue?
I think I'm probably trying too hard to justify myself to you.
Which leads to the question of; who does a disembodied voice trapped in the place between places spend his time talking to exactly?
Myself, of course.
And you. I suppose.
I'm drifting off topic.
Forgive me I've been here a very long time.
And then again, almost no time at all.
Let's try this again:
I am Harry Potter, simultaneous defender and destroyer of the world.
I am Harry Potter and I have just done the most brilliant and stupid thing that any person has ever done.
I am Harry Potter and I have just irreparably violated Global Causality.
Take that Hawking.
It was fear that clutched at Petunia's heart as she tapped her way up and down the immaculate tiled floor, her hands almost wringing in worry.
Something terrible had happened, she knew it in the depths of her soul. Ten minutes ago, she'd received a call from the hospital and she hadn't even bothered to allow the nurse to explain. She'd leapt in the car and headed here without even hanging up the phone, as though her presence was imperative for his well being.
Now, instead of being well informed and at home with a cup of tea and her feet up, she was standing in a cold waiting room, speculating and worrying.
Not for the first time in her life, she wished that Harry Potter had never darkened her doorstep, she wished that she'd never even seen the boy, let alone accepted him as family. Harry's presence in her life was an unending nuisance that plagued her existence.
The sharp click of heels against the tiles turned her head as a white coated doctor approached her, wearing a sombre expression that didn't suit his young, handsome face. He opened a covered clipboard he held in his hands, the same kind Petunia had seen on hospital dramas on TV, his expression didn't lighten as he glanced at it.
"Mrs. Dursley?" he asked and she nodded. A long pause drifted between them that the doctor tried several times to break, before finally meeting success. "I think you'd better come with me."
He turned immediately, clearly uncomfortable with his task, and began to walk away, his polished shoes clicking with each step. He turned when he noticed Petunia wasn't following him.
She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing but a squeak emerged. They both hesitated, then the doctor returned to her side and took her hand, the slight touch enough to catch her on the brink of tears. When she looked up, their eyes met and she could see equal amounts of hesitation and distress mirrored in his dark brown eyes.
"Mrs. Dursley, I don't know quite how to say this," he began. "He appears to have fallen into a state of complete catatonia. He is clearly conscious, but is exhibiting no response to external stimuli at all. We've tried several usual procedures, but he hasn't responded to any of them."
"Is there anything else you can do?" she asked, finding her voice.
"There are a couple of risky, experimental procedures we could try," began the doctor, and then shook his head. "There's no evidence of any underlying cause. We'd prefer to leave him until morning, to see if it wears off on its own."
Petunia looked at him in confusion.
"No underlying cause?" she repeated.
"That is to say," replied the doctor hurriedly. "We believe it is a reaction to severe emotional turmoil than an infectious or inherited disease."
"I see," said Petunia, although she didn't really.
"Would you like to see him?" he asked, then without waiting for a response, lead her in the direction of the ward, her taps coinciding perfectly with his clicks.
It was not a ward like any she'd seen before. The two times she'd been hospitalized herself she'd been in one of a handful of beds in a large room, separated only by curtains. This ward however, was a long corridor lined with doors, each with a tiny window at eye level.
Despite the strong chemical smell of cleanser, the long pristine hallway, the white walls and bright lights, it felt sinister somehow.
She increased her pace to remain closer to the doctor guiding her.
At the end of the corridor they turned left onto an almost identical one. This too raised all the hairs on Petunia's neck and arms as they walked along the corridor, leaving her with an uncomfortable prickling sensation.
Near the end of this corridor, stood a man in a long dark coat, with an identical sombre expression to the doctor with her. As they approached him, he stepped forward and offered a gloved hand to Petunia, which she took, grasping the leather momentarily between her dainty fingers.
"Mrs. Dursley?" he asked with the faintest drawl of an Irish accent, Petunia nodded. "I'm Detective Driscoll, I've been assigned-"
"I'm sorry," interrupted Petunia in a sharp tone. "The doctor said he was in shock, has he done something wrong?"
"No, Mrs. Dursley," replied Driscoll, soothingly. "We found your son on Gate Street in Little Whinging with severe cuts to his hands and face."
Petunia stood momentarily rooted to the spot, unable to take breath let alone speak.
"It is our estimation," continued Driscoll. "That your son was attacked and that is the cause of his current state of shock."
Several agonising moments passed while Petunia couldn't find the will to speak, then with a little half gasp she said, "Can I see him?"
The policeman nodded and signalled the doctor forward, who opened the door at the end of the corridor and stepped inside. Petunia followed him warily, terrified of what she would find. When she caught sight of him lying motionless on the bed, she couldn't help but gasp.
For a moment she stood frozen, staring at his pale skin, of the neatly stitched cuts on his face, the utter blankness of his expression, the tiny flecks of drool at the corner of her mouth. A tiny shudder of revulsion ran through her.
Driscoll put his hand on her shoulder and she slowly turned back to him, tears shimmering in her eyes.
"Now, Mrs. Dursley," he said, his composure helping to strengthen hers. "Can you think of any reason that your son might have been attacked like this."
"I'm sorry Detective," she whispered hoarsely. "But this isn't my son."
"Excuse me?" asked Driscoll, in complete astonishment. "Are you meaning to say, you've never seen-"
"No, no," interrupted Petunia, shaking her head. "I know him, I just didn't think to correct you before, he's my nephew."
"I see," replied Driscoll, though he clearly didn't. "And his parents?"
Petunia turned back to stare down at Harry. She hadn't even thought about it. Would he want- No, no, that's not at all what he'd want. She was certain of it. She turned back to Driscoll.
They're- They're unavailable," she stammered, though she could see the disbelief in his eyes.
"Right," said the detective, clearly unconvinced. "Well in that case, we're going to need his real name for the sake of our files."
"Harry James Potter," replied Petunia, then turned back to Harry. "His parents are James and Lily Potter."
"Right," said Driscoll, then whispered something to the doctor before raising his voice again. "Mrs. Dursley, I'm going to go make some inquiries and see if we can't make his parents available, in the mean time, if you could return to the waiting room."
Petunia turned sharply.
"I'd rather stay with him," she said.
Driscoll and the doctor exchanged a significant glance. Then Driscoll nodded slowly.
"Alright, I suppose that's fine," then he headed towards the door, before pausing between the frame. "Before I forget, Mrs. Dursley. Where do you live?"
"Privet Drive, Little Whinging," replied Petunia immediately, without really thinking.
Driscoll smiled nastily, "That's not too far from Gate Street, is it Mrs. Dursley?"
"No," said Petunia, blinking. "I don't suppose it is."
"No," repeated Driscoll. "Not too far at all."
When he left, Petunia moved to sit on Harry's bed and look down at him. Her fingers gently traced the stitches in his face. They stretched across his cheeks, as though someone with sharp nails had raked them across his face.
She understood what Driscoll had been implying. He would have been well aware of Vernon's short temper and his habit of binge drinking that had so often gotten him in trouble.
She shifted a lank lock of hair from Harry's face and stared down into his expressionless green eyes. Not for the first time they made her think of her sister; bitter unpleasant thoughts.
Not for the first time, Petunia felt the resentment rise in her. She was not jealous of Lily's magic, her husband, her friends and her world. Once she'd been jealous that Lily had been torn from her life, but now she was just jealous of her son.
He should have been hers by right.
He'd never fit into their world. The polar opposite of Lily; a normal person born into a magic family. What was it that they'd called him? A squib. The outcast. Of their three children; he was the black sheep.
They loved him of course, but they were disappointed, they just couldn't see what Petunia saw. That he was perfect.
It was hidden under the bitterness of course. A bitterness that was he was bound to have had as a reject. The same bitterness Petunia felt in her life in perfect Little Whinging.
And they'd found solace in each other. Completely by accident. He'd been to a job interview in Little Whinging and they'd just bumped into each other. It'd been awkward at first, tentative.
But he'd found something with her that he couldn't have otherwise; normality. Likewise, Petunia had found what she desperately wanted; a son.
Even Vernon had begun to accept him.
Her thoughts were violently interrupted by a commotion in the corridor outside approaching the room. A second later and the door burst inward and the room filled with people.
Petunia instinctively moved to position herself protectively between them and Harry, before she'd even realised who they were.
"Petunia?" asked a bewildered James Potter, staring at her in confusion.
"I-" she began, but her voice faltered. "I was close; he had my phone number in his wallet."
"And you didn't think to tell anyone else?" asked Sirius, with a scowl.
"I was worried," snapped Petunia.
"It's alright Tuney," said Lily, stepping forward and tugging her sister out of the way by the sleeve. "Thank you for taking care of him."
Petunia allowed herself to be dragged out of the way and instantly James sprung forward to examine Harry. He grabbed him with one hand and turned his face to and fro, an anguished expression on his face.
"Harry?" he said, his voice quavering. "Harry, talk to me."
For a moment, silence reigned.
"The doctor said-" began Petunia, but she was cut off by a loud scoffing noise from Sirius who turned to face her.
"What would a-" he began, but too was cut off by James' angry shout.
"Shut up," he roared, his voice hoarse and pain clear on his face. "He's been kissed."
Silence reigned again, this time heavy over all of their ears. Lily made a grab at Petunia and buried her face into her sister's chest, her body suddenly frail.
"Kissed?" asked Petunia in complete confusion. Nobody answered for a long period of time. "What does-?"
"Petunia!" roared James, then took a deep breath, before lifting his hand to his eyes and removing his glasses. "Just- Just get out, would you? We're going to take him home."
Petunia stared at him as though he'd just slapped her, completely unable to vocalise her outrage, her confusion, her questions. Unable to move. Unable to think.
Sirius gently prised Lily away from Petunia and she clung to him instead, still sobbing. Petunia watched James examine the various equipment attached to Harry and she shakily began to back toward the door.
"Hold it right there!" came a voice from the doorway, so loud that it made everyone leap out of their skin.
They all turned to see Detective Driscoll stood in the doorway, a livid expression on his face. Petunia found herself mentally thanking the man she'd detested ten minutes ago.
The detective barged his way through the adults in the room to put himself between James and Harry. He removed his police identification and held it before his face.
"Harry isn't going anywhere until he has been cleared by the medical staff," he said in a pompous tone.
"And you think you're going to stop us taking him, do you?" asked Sirius, with a wide, chilling smile on his face and fury in his eyes.
"Don't threaten me, sonny," replied the Detective.
Sirius responded by drawing his wand.
Before Driscoll could react, or Sirius cast a spell, an almighty scream broke through the room that made them all turn directly to the source.
Harry leapt from the bed, his bare feet crashing to the tiles. With one swift movement, he wrapped the IV in his arm around Driscoll's throat and held the Detective floundering in place as a human shield.
Green eyes darted wildly around the room as he seemed to take in his surroundings. His eyes flicked to each face in the room in turn and then he took a long shuddering breath.
"Okay so I'm not eleven. Something's wrong there. Oh look my parents, that's not right either. Sirius and- Gosh. Petunia. Okay. White walls, shit pyjamas, stupid things in my arm, diodes attached to my chest," he said, in a rapid monologue. "So I'm in a hospital. For some reason. My face feels a bit sore, my body seems to work alright though. Can't quite remember my own name or how many fingers I ought to have, hopefully that'll pass."
He took another deep breath.
"Lungs work, I guess. They don't feel quite right though; am I a smoker? Am I ginger?" he continued manically. He glanced at his own reflection in the highly polished steel bed frame. "Nope, black hair, green eyes, that's right. That's right. Gosh this is weird isn't it?"
Driscoll choked as Harry reflexively tightened his grip. James stepped forward, raising a placating hand.
"Harry?" he asked tentatively.
"Oh that's my name," said Harry brightly, as though just remembering. "Potter, Harry Potter. Shaken, not stirred. Shocking, absolutely shocking. No, that's not me, is it? Hasta la vista. Yippee-ki-yay. To infinity and beyond! Nope, none of those either. Wow, this is harder than I expected."
He looked down at Driscoll, who'd turned red in the face and relaxed his grip slightly.
"Hello," he said brightly. "I'm Harry Potter, I don't think we've met."
Driscoll just spluttered in response.
"Now that's just rude," he said and his eyes flicked up again as James took a step forward. "No, no, no, no. Stay right there, or I'll kill him."
"Harry, what's going on?" asked Lily, her eyes red and cheeks splotchy.
"What can I say?" asked Harry. "I'm a spy."
Nobody said a word for at least a minute, as they all stood there staring at him. Harry in turn frowned and looked at the floor.
"No," he said, thoughtfully. "No that's not me either. I'm Harry Potter and I'm a-"
"Squib?" offered Sirius, his eyes alight with humour, despite himself.
"Oh, am I?" asked Harry, lifting his eyebrows. "Now that's interesting. Very interesting."
"Harry," said Lily, softly. "Let the man go, please?"
Harry glanced down at Driscoll again, as though he were surprised he was still there.
"Ah, yes, in due course," he said thoughtfully. "You, Sirius, do us a favour and pass me your wand."
"But you can't use it," pointed out Petunia, in surprise.
Harry glanced up at her, blinked twice, and then smiled politely.
"Yes, but you've no magic and I don't think my parents are very likely to curse me. This only leaves Sirius who's likely to stop me."
Sirius didn't make any attempt to comply, so Harry shook Driscoll slightly.
"Don't think I won't kill him," said Harry, his expression instantly becoming cold. "I'm a desperate man with nothing to lose."
"Sirius," said James, with a wary glance at Harry.
Sirius held out his wand and Harry snatched it away with his free hand.
"Excellent. Now, I'm going to need three more things and then we can all leave happy," said Harry, then he looked down at Driscoll. "Well you won't be happy; you won't remember anything."
He looked up at Petunia and gave her another smile that she returned softly.
"Aunt Petunia, be a doll and tell me what the time is," he said and Petunia complied immediately, looking down at her slender watch.
"Eight thirty four, PM," she read.
"Perfect. Thank you. Now, does anyone know who the current Minister for Magic is?" asked Harry.
Everyone looked around in confusion.
"Tom Riddle," said James after a long time.
Harry gazed blankly at him for a second, before a wild smile crossed his face.
"Is he?" he asked thoughtfully. "Now that makes everything so much more exciting."
"And the last thing?" asked Sirius.
"Oh yes," said Harry, with another wide, unhinged smile. "Don't suppose you know the password to Dumbledore's office?"
Again everyone looked to each other then returned blank looks to Harry. Sirius shrugged.
"No?" asked Harry then gave a whimsical smile. "Oh well, I guess looking very impressive will have to substitute for looking incredibly impressive."
Harry immediately pushed Driscoll in the direction of James, who'd begun to draw his wand and the pair of men clattered into each other and fell to the floor. Harry whistled loudly and tossed Sirius' wand in the air. Simultaneously Sirius leapt forward, his hands outstretched to seize the boy.
A moment before he was grabbed, Harry disappeared in a flash of fire accompanied by the screech of some unholy bird. Sirius lost his footing and crashed down on to the bed.
Silence overwhelmed the room, broken only by the slightest of clatters as Sirius' stolen wand fell to the floor.
Petunia could only stand and stare in amazement at the utter disarray her nephew had left in his wake.