Summary: After being given to an older relative by Petunia, Harry is given a choice; to be a Mage or Wizard? To become embroiled in the insular Wizarding world or to stay in the Mundane?
Warnings: Mild violence, mention of child abuse, mentions of Dursley abuse (does this require a warning?). Minor foul language due to OC's mouths. Don't own anything but Manya.
A/n: The OC Manya Corvinus is an alias to one of my characters from an original works of mine, please don't use her. Beta'd by the lovely Jen, with input from the gang at CaerAzkaban.
Chapter 1: Roanoke Books
Pier Street, Craven,
October 6th, 1988:
A young boy panted as he leaned against an old fashioned lamp-post, his eyes frantically searched the busy street for any signs of his pursuers as he gasped for breath.
'I never thought Vernon would encourage the pig and rat, in plain view of "normal" people, to chase me around this town while Petunia gets fitted for a new dress! That's really 'normal' Vernon!' passed through the child's mind as he fought to breathe normally.
"There he is Piers, get'im!" Was suddenly bellowed from behind the boy, causing him to spin around and groan at the sight of his blonde, overly fat, pig-in-a-wig cousin Dudley Dursley and his rat-like minion Piers Polkiss.
"Damn it!" Slipped past his lips as he shoved off from the lamp-post and yet again ploughed headlong into the crowded walkway at a dead run.
'All of this JUSTto get a stupid ice-cream? When are those two twits going to tire of this? They've been after me for thirty minutes, a new record for those two; they rarely chase me past fifteen!' were his thoughts as he weaved through the shoppers desperately searching storefronts for a refuge from his two tormenters.
'Why do the Dursley's hate me so much, what the Hell did I ever do to them, other than being born anyway!'
The child chanced a look back behind himself, only to miss seeing the broken paver in his path; it caused him to trip and fall onto his hands and knees. He cursed, using every term his uncle had ever uttered in front of him, as he pulled himself to his feet with a wince. Looking as he rose, the boy let out a relieved sigh; two buildings down was a sign that read "Roanoke Books est. 1804."
'Huzzah! A bookstore, those two idiots would never be caught dead in one and hopefully no one will kick me out, like the other store owners have,' ran through his thoughts as he bolted down the street; slowing as he neared so as not to enter the store at a run, and hoping to God that the two twits missed his entering the shop.
No.12 Pier Street, Craven,
October 6th, 1988:
The lad blinked at the sudden shift in light and looked around the shops entranceway only to blink again in shock at what he saw.
'I thought the sign said "Roanoke Books", this looks like that cafe in town that Petunia likes to go to and gossip,' thought the lad as he muttered "Sorry" and sidestepped out of the doorway, allowing a well dressed, bad-dye-job blonde and her teenage daughter to leave, and ignoring the woman's sniff at his dusty and slightly torn second hand clothes. 'You try getting chased through town and see how well you look lady.'
He slowly walked deeper into the shop and away from the large bay windows, 'Don't want Dudley or Piers catching sight of me, the two twits just might come in if they see me. If this is a bookstore, where are the books?'
With a look of confusion on his face the boy looked around at the tables full of people sipping drinks and eating cakes, pastries and little sandwiches and at the older girl and even older man behind the counter selling the stuff, well, until on his right he saw a sign hanging from an open archway that read "Children's Books." And with a shrug of his overly thin shoulders the boy headed through the archway. 'I'll read until four I guess.'
The nineteen year old looking girl behind the counter brushed a strand of hair out of her face as she watched the cafe and bookstore patrons, bored out of her mind, 'Why the hell am I doing this again? Oh right, I thought it would keep be "busy", more like keep me bored.'
Humming "Ride of the Valkyries" as she wiped down the counter she looked up at the door and watched as a messy dark haired boy of around eight years old walked in, only to force down a growl when a bottle blonde and her daughter nearly ran the kid over.
'Stuck up, wanta be high class bitch, kid's a little mussed and she acts like he is some street urchin out to pick her pocket, idiot!' passed through the young woman's mind as she rolled her eyes at the stupidity some people show. Watching the kid as he walked deeper into the shop and looked around with a confused expression on his young- thin face, as if searching for someone or something, she blinked in shock at the fact that the boy was glowing to her sight.
'Now there's an oddity for you; he can't be more than eight years old tops and he is already manifesting power, that's strange even for the wand-waving idiots... I love a puzzle,' happily percolated through her mind as she continued to watch the boy as he entered the children's section and left her line of sight.
She turned to an older looking male who was behind the counter with her and silently watched him for a second as he took an order, taking in the grey that was starting to pepper his sable hair and fu manchu, the scar that ran through his left eyebrow and the laugh lines around his pale blue eyes, 'Poor Toby, he may look good for a fifty-eight year old but his age is starting to catch up with him... not that it's stopped his crush on me or his hyper attitude at times.'
With her lips twitching into a faint smile she walked over to him and tapped him on his shoulder. Once he turned to look at her she tipped her head towards the children's section as she told him, "Watch the counter for a bit Toby; I've got a few things I need to go check up on. If you think you need help call Kegan out of the shelves, he needs to do some real work and not just hide among the books anyway."
Having given Toby his orders Manya headed for the children's section without a second glance at the man.
The lad walked through the archway and stared at the rows of floor to ceiling shelves FULL of books, 'This is the children's section? There are more books here than in the Little Whinging Public Library!' passed through his mind as he walked through the aisles, taking pains to stay away from the large front windows, he glanced through the titles as he passed, searching for something to kill time with. He caught sight of a shelf full of the "Chronicles of Narnia" books and grabbed a copy of the second book, 'I've started to read it at the library, maybe I can finish reading it here.'
The lad turned to his left and saw an area bare of shelves but full of large comfortable looking red leather chairs, two couches and a couple of side tables. 'Perfect, it's out of sight of the windows but I can see a clock from that chair... and the doorway to boot' he thought as he walked over and curled up in one of the large, VERY comfortable chairs and flipped open the book. "Now where was I last time?"
The girl passed through the archway and as she walked through the shelves she caught sight of the boy who had grabbed her attention. He was reading a book in one of the large chairs set in each section for that use. She watched him for a minute from the shadows of the shelves, taking in his slouched form; the lad appeared to be around seven, eight tops, due to the markers she could clearly see in his aura, making him short for his age, with inky black very messy hair which was in need of a trim, cheap looking black framed glasses, and pale skin that hinted at Celtic ancestors. He had long fingers and was wearing dusty, battered clothes as if he had recently been in a fight and a pair of beat up sneakers with scuffed toes.
'So the clothes scream one of three things: One, his family is from a poorer class than usually seen in this part of Craven. And that begs the question; why is he in this part of town? Two; he is dressed in play clothes, though why a parent would bring him in that type of outfit to this shopping district is beyond me. Three; the kid was just in a fight. Now which of the three is it and why is he manifesting power this early?'
She slowly slipped out of the shadows and walked towards the boy and as she walked over she took note of his quick glances towards the clock on the far wall in between him reading pages of the book and the faint but definitely there brown and purple glow residing just over the surface of his skin. 'Now there is an odd combination, brown usually stands for steadiness and endurance and purple symbolizes wind, spirit, power and protection, how... interesting'
'How interesting, as far as I know I'm the only Magus in history to manifest signs of Anima before the age of nine, even those born or grabbed by the inbred, unintelligent, backward, wand-waving plebs don't manifest any earlier than that' quickly passed through her mind as she, unnoticed, slipped into the chair across from him and watched him for a second before she talked to him. 'Who is this little glow ball?'
"Hello, aren't you a bit young to be left alone?"
"Hello, aren't you a bit young to be left alone?" Came from in front of the boy and caused him to nearly jump out of his skin. "Damn!" Popped out of him before he caught himself as he dropped the book. As it slipped off of his lap the lad attempted to grab it, only to blink as a pale long fingered hand, nails an odd blood red, reached out and caught it before he could barely move a muscle.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you," came from in front of him as he looked up at the person who was now holding the book; sitting across from him, leaning out of her chair, was the pretty older girl from behind the front counter, who, the lad thought, looked to be around nineteen and had pale odd silverly skin, really dark black hair with blue tinting, it was held back in a loose braid, her eyes were a creepy silver, and she was dressed in a black tank-top, black jeans and what the boy thought were jungle combat boots.
"Here you go short stuff." Came from the girl as she handed the boy back the book with a smile that showed her really white teeth and a set of what looked like fangs, the lad uttered a quick "hello" as he took back the book and looked down at his shoes as he realized that he had been staring at her.
"I meant what I said kid, you are a bit young to be running around on your own, so where are your parents?" Asked the girl as the lad shifted in his seat, not quite sure if he should answer or bolt; after Vernon had yelled and hit the boy the last time the man had found out that the boy had talked to someone, the lad was leery of talking to any adult, especially as the last time he had informed a teacher of his cousin Dudley chasing him and about Vernon hitting him, he had been beaten by Vernon after the teacher had talked to the man, now the teachers viewed the boy as a liar due to believing Vernon's tales. So the boy looked up to say some lie and bolt, but instead he looked into the girl's silver eyes and started to babble, 'What the hell?'
"My parents are dead and Aunt Petunia told me to find something to do until four," tumbled out before the lad could think or stop himself, "and Uncle Vernon told Dudley and Piers to chase me around the pier and if they caught me he'd take them for ice-cream, but I saw this shop and knew the two wouldn't enter so I thought I could hide here until four and please don't throw me out lady!" The boy stopped to take a breath after the babble and clamped his hands over his mouth in horror at what he had just said, 'Vernon is going to KILL me if he hears about what I just said!'
The girl watched him for a second with an unreadable look in her eyes before looking out the barely see-through-able window, "I'm going to guess the piggish looking boy and his rat like shadow are Dudley and Piers?" she asked, nodding towards the window. The boy turned to look but slouched down when he caught sight of the two boys lurking outside the window, seemly searching for something, he muttered a swift "yes" as he scrunched down farther in the chair.
The girl sighed as she looked the boy in his eyes, leaving the lad with the feeling that she was reading his mind. With a faint frown she blinked and the lad turned his face back toward his trainers. He looked up at the sound of the chair she was in shifting and cringed back expecting to be called a liar and told to leave, but instead the girl looked at him and asked, "You got a name kid?"
The boy softly answered while watching the girl warily "Harry, miss."
"Alright Harry, call me Manya, not "miss", and the guys behind the counter in the cafe are Toby, he's the one with his hair in a ponytail, and the other is Kegan, his hair is cut kinda short. The fellow running the book store's main counter who looks like he poured bleach over his head is Stephen, if you need anything let them know and I'll make sure you know when it's close to four, alright?"
Harry looked at Manya in shock and seeing her standing there giving him a questioning look he realized she was waiting for him to answer, so he rapidly nodded his head and stuttered out, "Ok." He was totally surprised that he was not being kicked out. Manya nodded and walked out Harry's line of sight and he went back to reading the book in his lap, 'That was odd, nice, but odd.' was Harry's last thought for quite some time.
Manya sighed as she walked back into the cafe, her thoughts totally focused on the green eyed, familiar looking kid still sitting in the children's section reading; 'Probably shouldn't have spelled the kid like that, I sure didn't expect that ramble from him, poor kid, he's more than likely had that bottled up for a while.'
She frowned faintly as she silently weaved through the tables heading for the counter, 'Something about that boy is nagging at my senses and it isn't the fact that no eight year old should glow like he does! But what the hell is it?'
Manya's frown deepened as she slipped behind the counter, still attempting to figure out why the kid was tugging at her senses like he was, it's as if she should know him. She blinked in surprise when it came to her, 'That's it; the kid is a mini green-eyed version of Matthew and smells a lot like him as well! But whose kid is he? Annabelle moved to the US with that pilot so he can't be their kid, Johnny did get married to that nice Emily girl, they had two kids, girls both if I remember right; forgot their names though some flower names, he could be one of theirs. Oh well I'll remember at some point, it probably isn't important anyway, and it's highly unlikely that I'll see the kid again.'
"Hey kid, it's close to four," Was said only three feet from Harry, causing him to nearly jump out of his skin... again... 'She likes to sneak up on people doesn't she,' ran through Harry's mind as he looked up to see Manya standing there with a crooked smile on her lips, "You said your Aunt wanted you back by four, right?" the raven haired girl asked with her head cocked to the right questioningly.
Harry nodded and slipped out of the chair, closing the book he had just finished, the third Narnia book, and handing it over to Manya as he headed out of the book section of the shop. As he walked out of the store Harry wondered if he would ever be back there again. 'Manya doesn't seem too bad for an adult. Hope Dudley and Piers aren't around." Were the boy's last thoughts as he left.