Harry Potter huddled under the stairs in his cupboard, shivering and crying. He was late getting home - again. As a result, Aunt Petunia had sent him to bed with no supper. That made it - what? Six or seven days of meals he had missed? At least the hunger pangs had left after the first day or so. And the belt didn't hurt so bad anymore...
He was only six! What had happened to make him such a nuisance in his aunt's eyes? His uncle ignored him, and Dudley was the reason he was home late so often.
His mommy and daddy had died in a car crash when he was little, or that's what his aunt had told him countless times. Her sister and her had gotten into a fight when they were younger and they didn't particularly care about each other.
But now he wanted to just rest, get away from this dizziness he was feeling. Maybe if he slept he would feel better in the morning?...
Aileen, Harry's guardian angel, hovered over him in the form of a little beam of sunlight. She bit her lip and worriedly bent over to delicately touch the boy's cheek. Even to her light fingers, he was getting hotter.
He moaned in his sleep piteously. Aileen gasped and held her breath, knowing what was coming...
"BOY! Shut up in there!" Harry's uncle Vernon roared. The door to his cupboard rattled ominously.
Aileen waited for it, hoping.
"Sorry, Uncle Vernon," Harry called out weakly.
"You better be!" his uncle shouted.
Aileen shook her head and leaned over once more. This was not good. He was becoming more and more feverish.
As a quick shield, Aileen put up a sound barrier, praying to God that it would help to keep any noise Harry might make down to a minimum. She didn't want her charge to die, so young and unprepared.
As she prayed over the innocent soul, so close to leaving this world behind, she wondered silently why this precious child had been left with such ugly relatives. She knew that James had no siblings, Remus was a werewolf, Sirius was in jail for murdering Peter, who was the true rat, and Frank and Alice had been tortured into insanity. Petunia and Vernon were the only surviving relatives of Harry.
The boy in question moaned and rolled over, now facing her with feverish eyes opened a little bit. Then they opened wider.
"Who... who are you?" Harry whispered, looking into Aileen's eyes.
Aileen looked shocked for a moment. How could he see her?
She remembered suddenly what she had been told when she was still young and unexperienced. Gabriel himself had told her, "When one is close to death, regardless of age or religion, he will see his or her guardian angel if they are there."
"Hush, don't waste your strength trying to talk. I am..." Aileen sighed and took the plunge.
"My name is Aileen, and I have been assigned the job of being your guardian angel."
She waited. There was no way she could know the outcome to this question and the impact it might have on his life.
"Really? Did you know my parents?" Harry whispered, his voice like a creaky gate.
"Yes, I did. I was the one to lead them to Saint Peter. They loved you and Lily fought so hard to return to your side, even when I told her she couldn't go back."
Harry fought to keep his eyes open, but he didn't have the strength to keep them open. "Lily... Mum's name was Lily?"
He sounded so... helpless, Aileen observed. "Yes. She was. She wanted you to grow up to be a happy young man. Your dad loves you too. His name is James."
"James and Lily," he murmured, seeming to savor the names. Then he paused.
"If you're my guardian angel... can you take me home to see them?" His voice was so low that only Aileen could hear it, with her angel's hearing. "I don't want to live like this anymore."
Aileen stiffened. She had been afraid he would ask that. "Lord, grant me guidance! What should I do?" she prayed silently.
Silence; then, with deliberate calm, a voice like bells, and like fire that consumes everything in it's path, and yet like neither, but a normal human voice, echoed through her head.
"It is not time yet, little light. Wait and heal him."
"Not yet, little king," Aileen whispered, stroking his forehead softly. "It isn't your turn. I will heal you, though... that much, I can do."
"King?" Harry whispered, exhausted. "I'm nobody..."
Aileen's heart wrenched pitifully. "You're more important than you know, little one. I cannot stay long, and you must be healed soon, but I can give you a few bits of advice." She thanked God for His mercy in allowing her to tell these things to him.
"First, beware the white-bearded one. He is as dangerous as the one against which he fights. When he says there is one way out, do not believe him, for there are always two ways into a room." He nodded silently.
"Second, the redhead is a sly one. His sister will do no harm, but watch the boy and beware of him."
"Third, a wise one will guide you. She will be a hard-fought battle to win, but the end rewards will be worth it. Love is a powerful bond."
"That's it?" Harry whispered, lulled to sleep by the cool touch of her hand and the rhythmic stroking.
"That is all. Blessed are you, little King- a battle's rewards are worth it, and the light at the end of the tunnel shall not be turned off. I must go now... Love and be loved, Harry Potter, and take pride in your name..." Aileen unwillingly faded away as she healed his wounds, leaving scars and blood in their place.