To the Masses: I hope this doesn't come across too 'Breakneck Sabbatical' for those of you who have read it…
Soundtrack: Hate Me (Blue October), Down and Out (The Academy Is…), and Man in the Box (Alice In Chains).
Warnings: I boned the timeline. Hard. (also Slash, OOC & AU (all fanfics are) mentions of abuse, projectile vomit, and –double checks- Language)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Twilight.
According to legend, one day a man was wandering in the desert when he met Fear and Plague. They said they were on their way to a large city where they were going to kill 10,000 people. The man asked Plague if he was going to do all the work. Plague smiled and said, No, I'll only take care of a few hundred. I'll let my friend Fear do the rest. – anon.
His mouth quivered open in a soundless sob; at least he didn't hear it with his hands pressed tightly against his ears and his nails digging into his black hair and pale scalp. His entire body wracked in distress even, as the shouting from downstairs continued to escalate towards mindless screaming. His cousin began banging on their shared wall as if to tell him it was entirely his fault that his parents were in such a right state, and it was true.
Soon enough banging on the wall wouldn't be enough for Dudley though, and he would sneak out of his room to bang on the bared door instead, until eventually he felt compelled to pass that barrier and land his fists on the real object of his anger. That threat alone compelled Harry to curl into himself more tightly, so his elbows were digging into his own bony hips and he couldn't possibly make himself any smaller.
"The Freak brought this into our home," his uncle continued to rave from the downstairs kitchen while Petunia tried to deny that small, very important fact. Tried to get it through Vernon's thick skull that it wasn't Harry that led the 21st centuries most feared and all-powerful Dark Lord to label the Dursley family as enemies of the cause (whatever that cause happened to be, because no one had bothered to explain it to Harry). In actuality Vernon was right, it was because they took him in that they'd been targeted by the Death Eaters, why they were constantly shadowed by members of the opposition, The Order of the Phoenix.
Dudley finally made it to the door of the smallest bedroom and rapped on the bars with his heavy fists, mumbling harsh treats through the wood that Harry couldn't hear. He felt the heavy emotions and ill intentions though, as if the air was tainted with it all and he prayed that the shadows were enough to hide him.
Then Harry could hear his own cries over a sharp silence that pierced through Number Four, Private Drive. For a split second everything stopped, but it was quickly broken by the sound of his aunt letting out a surprised shriek and a thud, and Harry could almost see Petunia's body hitting the floor as if he were standing right beside her. Then Dudley vacated the area in front of his door at the distinct foot falls that warned them both that Vernon was on his way up the stairs.
Harry had never been so frightened for his existence, and the shift from domestic disagreement to genuine danger didn't escape him. If anything Harry had a very accurate barometer for danger, and at this point he didn't think he would survive the night. Tom Riddle might want his very existence wiped off the face of the planet, but Vernon Dursley wanted him to suffer.
For the first time in years Harry felt the chill run along his spine and he wished himself dead before his uncle came too close. He didn't remember why it had been years until it was almost too late, and Harry made a mad dash for the window.
The last time his uncle had punished him for his freak ways had been the summer before his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Things had stopped because he feared the other abnormal people knew he'd been laying hands (and belt) on his nephew. After first year, he'd clearly figured out they hadn't known else their living situation would look more like prison and less like upscale suburbia, but by then it was too late. Harry knew magic and didn't return to their home until much later in the summer and the Wealsey children had rescued him not long after that. The pattern continued for the rest of their summers together; third year he stayed gone until he realized he needed his guardian's permission to go to Hogsmead, and fourth year he stayed until the Weasley's came for him.
Circumstances changed, like all things tend to do and with the guard stationed around the house there was no way Harry could sneak out to Merlin knows where. They couldn't hold him forever though, he swore as he moved towards his window. A quick trick with an old piece of wire freed Hedwig from her traveling cage, Harry then made good use of an old lamp and knocked a hole in the window barely big enough for her to escape through, and just like that she was gone.
Hermione would be alerted to the situation as soon as Hedwig reached her; it was their code, that when Harry sent his owl without a missive he needed rescuing. She would alert the DA through their coins and there would be a team to retrieve him in less than ten minutes. All he had to do was survive the night and then Seamus could heal him up and he'd go into hiding. Damn the Order of the Phoenix and the Ministry alike, there was only so much one savior could take.
Just as soon as Hedwig was through the window the locks were undone and Vernon strode across the tiny room. Two steps and the boy was in arms reach, and Vernon grabbed him up quickly. "This is your fault," he screamed hysterically, "you tell those freaks we've got nothing to do with their business! You tell them we don't want any trouble! They can have you as far as I care." He punctuated that statement by tossing Harry with all of his weight and leverage onto a pile of his son's old toys. Several sharp somethings pierced his side and lower back while his head made contact with an old toy replica of a construction truck, which was the most likely cause for the spots that invaded his vision.
He'd been in this position before, he reminded himself harshly. He was tied to the grave marker the night Tom was resurrected, he was tossed against stone and rubble in the Ministry that past month, then first year when a wraith had pashed through his curse scare. Pain was no stranger to Harry, but this time was different. This time Vernon was not scared for his reputation and that of his family –he was afraid for their lives.
Harry let a rush of information over come him, recalling everything he'd ever read about brave men and their families as he tried to drown out his own reality.
It wasn't fair, he decided. Why did Vernon get someone to protect, why did Dudley deserve a caring father and he was left an orphan with guards who couldn't even do their bloody jobs? Why did Ron get so many siblings, why did Hermione get parents that understood her? That's what Harry wanted; a family. It was his deepest desire.
Then came the moment he couldn't grasp onto the facts and memories flooded his mind. He wanted France in the summer; doing homework with Fleur in the afternoons, playing tea party with Gabriel even though she insisted they weren't playing, Sanguini's presence in the evenings as he attempted (and failed) to court the little girl without making himself out to be an old pervy vampire. He wanted India with the Patil sisters; learning how to make dal makhani from their mother and being steamrolled into khanda sword dancing with their aggressive aunt. Harry even wanted rainy nights in the damp barn with Seamus and his hundreds of relatives ("There aren't that many, Harry." "I can prove it!") as they sang horrible drinking songs.
He wanted it all so badly he thought his chest would explode.
Then it did.
Not literally of course, but magic was a funny thing. The energy and those pesky emotions found their way to the surface and the sensation of apparating nearly suffocated him.
Harry's system was shocked as he subconsciously forced himself from dark, painful Surry to a forest in the early evening. The air was different, as were the smells and sounds. It didn't help his situation at all that he appeared in midair, having previously been on the second floor of a rather spacious house.
Even still, as the fall forced the tiny somethings embedded in his back even further, he couldn't help but thing it was the nicest pace he'd ever been. He was sure the damp grass wasn't so bad once you got used to it, and it was certainly better than the wooden floors that no doubt contributed their splinters to Vernon's cause.
After little consideration Harry gathered magic in his mouth and flicked his tongue out several times. The air tasted of moss and grass and other wild life, but not like the moors or the Forbidden Forest. The area still had it's own magic, which surprised Harry very little, but there was something more he couldn't place before a rustling sound caught his attention.
"Name yourself," someone's deep voice reached him. It had a sense of authority and self-worth that hadn't quit reached arrogance, and it was clearly a protective order. Harry wanted to open his eyes and scan the trees, but the feelings associated with blood loss (and was he ever upset about being able to recognize those particular symptoms) started to set in. At that point opening his eyes would only make him dizzy, and he couldn't afford to roll over and vomit.
Instead Harry opened his mouth, hiding his suspiciously sharp canines behind his upper lip just like Sanguini taught him, and shouted back "My name is Injured, and I'm looking for a bloke named Healer. I think I'm supposed to meet him at the hospital."
Leaves crunched underfoot as the leader of nearest social hierarchy walked towards him and stopped so that his shadow covered Harry's pitiful features. "Smart ass," the man bit out and crouched down so that he could pick Harry off the ground. He was polite enough to pull away when Harry recoiled and waited patiently for him to say something.
"I do not keep my brain in my arse, thankyouverymuch," Harry snarked and fell silent soon after. "My back is hurt and I'm loosing blood," he mumbled in a vastly different tone, "I just need a second." He got his second, which he smartly used to convince himself that this man might not hurt him. Actually, his chances were pretty good if the waves of calm that radiated off of him meant anything. Then again, he could be a psychopath, he'd read somewhere that they were generally calm because they couldn't experience normal emotions.
When Harry gave a small okay two strong arms dug underneath him, one under his knobby knees and the other across the back of his shoulders. It had the advantage of not aggravating any of his injuries so Harry didn't complain, even when the man started jogging and his body was jolted with every step.
"Stay awake, we're almost there," the slightly-winded voice ordered and Harry did everything he could to obey. At least he could claim to if he was ever asked, but really he just wanted sleep. Whatever had punctured his back had started to burn and while it wasn't among his top ten uncomfortable sensations it quickly could be. The man must have guessed what Harry was thinking, or not, and continued to talk. "Tell me your name."
"Harry," he answered, "not short for Henry, Harrison, Harlan, or Harmony," he added after a moment of thought.
The man grunted in response, but didn't ask what his name was sort for like Harry thought he might. Everyone asked, Harry fretted. Of course, everyone he taunted with that bit of information was a Gryffindor and they just had to know –curiosity and cats, and all that. Maybe the man was a Hufflepuff, they didn't ask so many questions. He did seem like a hard worker, if the muscles pressed against his side were any indicator.
"Keep talking," the man ordered after a few silent seconds.
"About what?" Harry demanded to know, "the scenery? Oh, that's a nice tree we may nor may not have just passed and-" he was cut off as his own body began to warn him that projectile vomit was eminent. It wasn't enough warning to alert his rescuing captor, who was the target for his discharge a moment later.
The jostling stopped just as quickly and the arms under Harry flexed in irritation, disgust, and possibly anger. Several barking laughs reached his ears, reminded him of Sirius' very Padfoot-like cackles, and likely upset the man he'd just been sick all over. "We're here," the man bit out. Yeah, Harry decided, he was angry.
"Oh," Harry said innocently, "thanks then." Then he passed out rather promptly.
Harry woke to the sound of unfamiliar beeps in a room that smelled like sanitizer-coated shit. He sort of missed the moss and the wet grass. "Okay," he mumbled to himself, "you're going to open your eyes and not freak out. You can do it."
Slowly he began to blink his eyes open, wiping them with the back of his hands to ride himself of that crusty, just-woke-up feeling. His glasses were missing, but he hadn't actually needed them since the basilisk bite and subsequent phoenix healing. Their main purpose had actually become a means of protecting his eyes form the constant onslaught of light that was associated with magic. Hermione had thought it was fascinating, but the ability see magic felt like it may have been burning his retinas so he'd had Lavender Brown charm them to protect his eyes instead. Since the only magical thing in the room was him, he didn't fret over their disappearance.
The second thing he noticed, after his lack of specs was the man. Actually, it was the near-blinding white of the hospital room, and then it was the man. He wasn't the same as the one who'd rescued him, his posture was all wrong for a leader and he wasn't as fit.
This man was slightly tanned, and he had a head full of brown hair complete with a matching, fuzzy, brown mustache that didn't take over his entire mouth like his uncles did. He wore a uniform and the insignia on his jacket said he was a Sheriff, on the other breast of his jacket it said his name was 'C. Swan.' His kind, brown eyes looked sad but his smile was warm and genuine. Madame Pomfrey sometimes wore that expression, and Seamus always did, so Sheriff Swan must have guessed the primary cause of his injuries.
A grin tugged at the corner of Sheriff Swan's smile and Harry realized he must heave heard him talking to himself. A blush promptly took over Harry's face and he dropped his gaze to stare at his hands.
Sheriff Swan let out a laugh that reminded Harry of Arthur Weasley and smiled in fondness. "It's alright to talk to yourself," he began quoting, "so long as no one answers."
"Well," Harry began uncertainly, "what if I ask myself a question? Wouldn't it be rude not to answer?"
The kind stranger laughed again and slapped a hand across his knee. He seemed to forget about the worry that Harry had noticed earlier. Then, when Harry didn't fallow his joke up with another the mood dropped again and the nervous feelings returned. "Please don't say 'we need to talk.' It's quit possibly the worst phrase ever uttered by anyone, in the history of ever."
Sheriff Swan moved his straight back chair closer to the bed, careful not to drop any of the paperwork he'd been working on. He made his introductions, not thinking that Harry might have already caught his name by his jacket, but it was still nice to know that Sheriff Swan had a first name. Charlie, like Ron's brother. Harry thought he could trust a Charlie, and Sheriff Swan didn't seem like he had any murderous intent.
"So how did you come to be in Forks. It's a long way from any tourist spots, and I can tell you're not from around here," Sheriff Swan began.
"I don't know," Harry lied, pushing all of the memories of his apparition aside. "I just remember my aunt and uncle fighting and my cousin sneaking around while they weren't paying attention." After a moment's consideration he looked at the Sheriff with a serious edge to his gaze, "and what kind of name for a town is Forks, anyway?"
The Sheriff looked rather bashful at the question and told him he didn't know. "We found," Sheriff Swan began and then rummaged around in a pile of papers until he found what he was looking for, "these pretty deep in your back. Can you tell me where they're from?"
Harry took hold of the plastic bag and held it up to eye level. They were old iron soldiers, antiques that used to belong to Vernon, and his father, and likely his father's father. Harry honestly thought Dudley had broken the last of them ages ago. "They're my cousins," he answered honestly; "I didn't think he still had them."
"Do you know how they got into your back?" the man continued to press.
"You want the entire story?" Harry asked, and when Sheriff Swan nodded he huffed and sighed deeply. "There's an old bloke who murdered my parents. Completely off his rocker, that one. Something happened to him the night my parents died and no one found any danger with placing me with my mum's sister." Harry paused to assess all of his old and faded scars; most of them were from his misadventures at Hogwarts. Vernon was a surprisingly careful bloke. "He resurfaced when I was eleven, I guess he had been locked up or something like it for a while. No one really knew until recently though, that he was causing trouble. Then last year he…" Harry wasn't sure if he wanted to talk about Sirius. He wasn't even sure if the Sheriff believed him, but one look at the kind mans face showed Harry that he wasn't thinking he was mad just yet. "My godfather got the shit end of the stick…and he's not around anymore. When he…passed, everyone knew Tom was back. My uncle didn't take the news all that well. I don't blame him, it's my fault his perfect wife and his perfect son are in danger. I remember he was angry and he pushed me, and I'm fairly certain these are the tiny somethings I landed on."
"He punished you for what was happening?" Sheriff Swan asked in a carefully neutral voice. He had to admit he was lucky for a town like Forks, the worst case he'd ever seen was a domestic abuse situation five years previously. It had been nasty, but long term mistreatment that Dr. Cullen had talked to him about was a whole new level of injustice.
Harry gave the typical teenage answer, a shrug, before he gave a reply that Charlie could work with. "He's scared. Scared people do all sorts of stupid, mean things." He knew he sounded like he had experience with stupid, scared people and didn't care. Ron always said it was good to be honest and let some things off of his chest, but if he didn't want to talk about something he didn't have to. It was quit possible that was what their friendship was built upon, but Harry wasn't fretting nor was he going to elaborate on what he meant by 'mean things.'
"That's true," Sheriff Swan conceded with a gallant bow of his head that doubled as a chance to go over his notes. "You've answered all of my questions so far," he continued, "all I need to know now is your last name and the names and address of your relatives."
Harry made an expression that Sheriff Swan must have correctly interpreted as a mix between a stink face and blatant fear. "Even if you told me, knowing what we do now, you won't be sent back to live with them."
"Someone will send me back," Harry grumbled while thinking of Dumbledore and several members of the Order, "someone always does."
"You can apply for a student visa," Charlie pressed on, "or a foster home will be willing to take you in, or you could be adopted. You don't have to go back to your relatives." He expressed such determination Harry couldn't help but blurt out;
"Would you adopt me?" It took a couple of seconds to let the weight of what he'd just said settle on him, and he looked to the side. "Sorry," he apologized quickly, "it must be the pain medication."
Silence became the unwelcome friend for the next few moments before Sheriff Swan carefully explained, "you're not on any pain medication. You were allergic to most of them, and the rest metabolized before they could numb you properly."
"Oh," Harry said quickly. "Blood loss?" he tried again.
"The doctor said your levels were normal," Sheriff Swan answered, feeling less awkward and embarrassed and more amused by the second as Harry's green eyes darted around the room.
"Um, low blood sugar?" Seamus always told him he needed to eat more, because the venom from the basilisk burned calories quicker than Snape could take points from Gryffindor, and he did explain it in those words. It would be logical, except Sheriff Swan pointed to a plastic bag attached to a hose, which was pinned into his arm that clearly indicated that low sugar wasn't the cause. "I'm hungry."
Sheriff Swan was smiling kindly again, and his lips twitched as he tried not to grin. "That'll do it, I guess," he surrendered. "I'll tell the nurse on the way out, I'm sure they're already waiting to check up on you."
"Thanks," Harry said kindly, "and Sheriff Swan." He waited until Charlie turned around again and stared down at his hands, 'I must not tell lies' he recalled (as if it were at all possible to forget). "Hare Jacob Potter. My relatives are Vernon and Petunia Dursley of Number Four, Private Drive in Surry."
Harry fought the impulse to call Sheriff Swan back and beg him not to leave him alone. It was natural to be scared and want for company. Natural, Harry reminded himself, not necessary.
Charlie's mind was occupied as he drove back to the station. It was occupied as he filed the necessary paper work and alerted the FBI. It was occupied when he drove home to his daughter, ignored her boyfriend, and ate dinner in silence. His mind became suddenly unoccupied when his precious daughter and her boyfriend stood at the same time and made their way for the door.
"Wait," Charlie called out. Both teenagers turned slowly and Bella blushed like her blood had just been lit on fire. Instead of scolding the both of them however, he asked "how would you feel about having a brother?"
Bella blinked in shock before turning to glare at Edward for some reason lost on Charlie. "Dad," she began slowly as if the next few words would be embarrassing, likely for the both of them, "are you seeing anyone?" She asked as if she was the parent and he was the teenager that had gotten some girl knocked up.
"No," Charlie assured her, "I'm thinking of adopting." His mind filled with black curls and sharp green eyes, then frail limbs and old scars. It would be hard work, he thought, the boy would need grief counseling at the very least. It would probably be a good idea for him to see a shrink on some regular basis, but there was wisdom in his words that led Charlie to believe he would be just fine in time.
"Oh," Bella answered and then gave the teenage answer to just about anything, a shrug. "It's your call dad," she told him, "but I think it'd be cool."
Then both teens turned and began to make their way to the door again, likely hoping they'd dodged a bullet when Charlie called out to them again in a slightly distracted tone, "stay in the living room." He could almost feel their disappointment and embarrassment.
He would think it over some more, Charlie decided. Adopting a child wasn't some rash decision, he reminded himself as expressive green eyes lurked in the back of his mind. He'd have to sleep on it.
To Those of You Who Just Read:
Thank you for reading the first chapter of –glances around- what did I name this story again? Oh, right I haven't yet. –thinks- Alien Under the –double checks moon phases- no that doesn't work…Rhymes with 'moon'…noon, makes sense later…Tarot association with New Moon…which this is kind of a parody of, is Judgment. So…Noon Judgment? It's not as bad as some of the other stuff I've been thinking of.
I changed Harry's cannon name. I always do, don't know why yet but I'm not interested in examining the Freudian reason for it. I named him Hare after the March Hare, and Jacob after James (both names have the same origins). –Dramatic and sarcastic sigh- I guess he can keep his last name.
Other things I was supposed justify. I can't recall…It's about five thirty in the morning and I really should have gone to bed hours and hours ago. Later I guess.
Oh, and to people who are willing to credit a certain lack of information (Who Harry's Native rescuer was)on bad writing; I plan on revealing that in chapter two.
I like quotes, song suggestions, and reviews,