Harry Potter and the Unexpected Blessing
Summary: During the summer right before his first year at Hogwarts, Harry meets a new neighbor. She is his first Muggle friend. The two keep in touch throughout their separation while Harry's at Hogwarts and reconnect when he returns to Privet Drive. The maturing kids take things a little too far, resulting in a blessing Harry never thought was possible when he returned the next summer. Eventual Harry/Ginny. WARNING: Will contain slightly powerful Harry and the impossibility of Harry raising a baby while fulfilling his destiny.
A/N: First and foremost, let's give the credit where it's deserved: I got the idea from the fic 'Curiosity Created the Cat' by JLDANIEL.
Secondly: CONCERNING THE AGE. I know some of you have expressed concern that Harry and Sophia might be too young, or asked me if I was planning on waiting until they're older for the baby to come. I've said it before but I suppose some might've skipped my extraordinarily long A/N last chapter: Harry will be a father by the time his 13th birthday comes along. I want the child and Harry to have a stronger bond when Harry has to inevitably leave to look for the Horcruxes in book 7 and that can only happen if the child is older.
Thirdly, CONCERNING THE GENDER. Surprisingly, most who commented on what they thought Harry and Sophia should have chose twins. I already said a boy is non-negotiable (if it's an only child, it's definitely a boy) because I think, as lovely as Lily was, the HP books were mostly male-centered when it came to mentoring/Harry bonding with someone (Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore...And I have a thing for Harry/James father-son relationship stories). It's going to be a few chapters yet (4-5) before the pregnancy (which WON'T be dragged out) so there's still time if people want to contest the twins idea. I myself am not sure if I'd go down that road. As cute as twins would be, it might be too much for two 13 year olds to handle.
And lastly, I'm so sorry this took so long. I have no other explanation than I got sidetracked reading Harry/Sirius godson/godfather stories. Very addictive.
Please read on and tell me what you think of this chapter.
Harry Potter and the Secret Friend
Nearly a month had passed since Harry and Sophia had first struck up their friendship. To Harry's utter surprise, Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon nor Dudley had found out about Sophia, but that probably had something to do with Sophia's ability to be very sneaky. She even seemed to take a lot of pleasure in sneaking around, saying that it was somewhat thrilling to be so secretive.
He couldn't help but laugh at her excitement over the matter.
It was now a sunny summer afternoon. The Dursleys had taken Dudley and his friend Piers Polkiss to the zoo for what must've been the thousandth time in their eleven years of life, in celebration of Dudley's birthday. Mrs. Figg had broken her leg but Aunt Petunia had still begged until she'd agreed to take on Harry for the day, not wanting Dudley's birthday to be "ruined" if Harry was brought along.
Harry was left at Mrs. Figg across the street for the day but once Mrs. Figg had fallen asleep, Harry had tentatively snuck out of the house, ran to the end of the street, hid behind a large tree by Sophia's grandparents' lawn and waited until she saw him. Then they had ran back to Mrs. Figg's yard, circled to her backyard (where they had a view of Mrs. Figg snoring away) and proceeded straight for the old rickety lone swing.
Harry waited until Sophia had sat down on the swing, her fingers curled around the metal chain link on either side of her, before he grasped the metal ropes and gently began pushing her back and forth.
"Faster, Harry!" she called out, smiling so broadly that it almost hurt her face. Sophia let out a girlish giggle as wind whipped her hair back violently from her face.
Harry continued pushing her a few times on the swings before Sophia hopped off the seat – on a particularly fast and high swing, too, scaring the daylights out of him – twirled around, snatched his hand and dragged him to a partially shaded area nearby. They laid down on the grassy ground, so close side by side that their elbows touched as they each folded their hands on their stomachs.
They gazed up at the cloudy sky, their still innocent minds making patterns in the fluffy clouds, pointing out dogs and angels and smiling faces in the sky.
They fell silent after a while and Harry sighed, feeling a strange sense of contentment that he had never felt before in his life except for whenever Sophia was around.
"Harry?" Sophia's soft voice broke through the silence.
"I'm happy you're my friend, even if we have to hide."
His eyes snapped open and he turned his head to the side, his cheek grazing the soft, slightly parched grass. The admittance had been so out of the blue that it had caught him off guard. His eyes widened as he caught her emerald gaze, the intensity in them burning them a darker color than usual.
Blushing, he offered her a shy smile and agreed, "Me too."
Soft giggles made their way past their lips and they shyly averted their gaze. An almost awkward silence filled the air between them.
A few seconds trickled by slowly before Sophia lifted her arm, pointed at a random cloud and murmured, "Look, Harry…That's a lawnmower."
He smiled, tucking one arm behind his head and argued with her playfully that it looked more like a large cat to him.
A small scream from his right made him startle and he shot upright. Sophia was sitting up, too, but her face was scrunched up in horror. Her body was shaking in fear and she seemed frozen, her green eyes fixed on the grass a few feet away from them. Harry followed her gaze and was shocked to see an ominous looking black snake slithering forward, one inch at a time. Harry couldn't see how big it was because some of its body was coiled, but could see enough to know that it wasn't a thin, tiny, harmless snake.
Without thinking, Harry lunged forward, grabbed Sophia and dragged her behind him even as they both continued sitting on the ground – Harry didn't think his legs couldn't support his weight if he stood now and perhaps Sophia thought the same since she wasn't standing up and running away.
Unfortunately, his actions seemed to aggravate the snake. It reared its head, jaw dropping and fangs exposed as it hissed dangerously. Its body uncoiled and its head snapped forward in a mock bite.
Harry threw his arm up to shield himself and Sophia. On instinct, he yelled out, "Stop!"
To his surprise, the snake did stop. It stared at him, black, beady eyes fixed on him.
Following a crazy theory that the snake might understand him, he continued, his voice still panicked to his ears, "Don't touch her!"
The snake relaxed, its body no longer poised to attack, and its head lowered to the grassy ground.
Then, as though this was normal, the snake began to speak, "You ssspeak?"
Harry's jaw dropped.
Even with the hissing noise that accompanied the words, he could understand it plainly – how could he not? That snake had spoken English. Forget that. The snake had spoken, period.
Maybe it's some sort of magical snake, he thought wildly. He banished that thought immediately because, as Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had screeched repeatedly, magic didn't exist.
"So do you," Harry retorted, gaping at the snake.
He must've looked really funny and, in the back of his mind somewhere, he hoped Sophia didn't think this too strange and ran off never wanting to speak to him again. Harry almost smiled. I could always just befriend the magic snake, he thought dryly.
"Are you magic?" he asked the snake, feeling rather foolish as he did.
The snake blinked and Harry thought if it could smirk, it probably would have. "I am not the one who ssspeaksss a language mortalsss ssshould not know," the snake hissed, though Harry couldn't detect malice in its voice. "What are you?"
Harry started, surprised. "Me?" he wondered aloud. "I'm just a boy."
"We sssnakesss…We do not harm Sssspeakerssss," the snake finally said. "If ssshe isss your mate, I will leave her be."
Harry blushed wildly at the word 'mate' but he supposed he couldn't hold it against the snake; after all, what do snakes know about how people worked?
The snake took one last, long look at Harry before turning and slinking away towards the forest of overgrown trees and bushes behind Mrs. Figg's backyard. Harry kept a sharp eye out for the shiny, black serpent and once he was absolutely sure the snake was no longer nearby, he turned to face Sophia.
His mouth was already open, the words already out to apologize to her for what the snake had called her. Mate.
"Sophia, I'm so…" he trailed off, the words stuck in his throat as he caught the look on Sophia's face.
Her skin was unusually pale, having lost the peachy rosiness of her cheeks. Her jaw was dropped and her eyes were as big and round as saucers. She was breathing heavily, as though she was having a panic attack, and she stared at him as though she had never seen something more peculiar than him.
Then he remembered.
He had spoken. To a snake.In front of Sophia.
He had been…Weird. And abnormal.
His heart started to race.
"Sophia…" he said, desperation in his voice even as he was at a loss for how to continue.
They stared at each other for a few long moments before Sophia let out a breath, the sound coming out loud as though she had been holding her breath for a long time.
Her eyes never wavering from his, she accused, "You spoke to a snake."
Harry frowned and nodded. "I did," he agreed because as strange and unbelievable as it was, it had happened. He was sure of it. He even had a witness.
Harry shrugged. "I'm not sure," he answered truthfully. At her scoff, he hurried to assure her, "I swear I don't. It just…Happened. But surely you realize there's something odd about that snake."
When she only looked at him in confusion, he elaborated even though he felt he needn't have to.
"The snake…It spoke," he stated out the obvious.
Sophia's eyebrows furrowed together. "How do you mean?" she wondered.
Harry stared at her. "Wha…" he trailed off, bewildered. "You were there, Sophia! The snake could speak!"
Sophia's eyebrows rose up to her hairline. "No, Harry," she argued. Her voice was gentler, kinder, now that her panic seemed to be ceasing but she looked as though she considered him mentally ill. "The snake could hiss – and so did you."
"The snake," Sophia repeated. "It was coming forward and you just…You started hissing. It stopped moving, then you went on hissing. I think…"
And here, she licked her dry lips, hesitating as though worried her sanity might be called into question.
"I think it understood you."
Harry gaped at her. "I…Sophia, I was speaking English," he said, but his voice wavered uncertainly. "The snake was too…Wasn't I?"
Sophia shook her head.
He sat back, his body feeling as numb as his mind now. How could he have spoken a whole different language - a snake language, at that, something other people surely didn't know how to speak (he remembered the snake's words now, about how "mortals" shouldn't be able to communicate with snakes) - without even realizing it?
Sophia stared at him and he stared back, both unsure of what to do. Finally, after what felt like forever filled with silence and uncertain stares, Sophia finally spoke.
"You told the snake to go away?"
Harry nodded, clearing his tight throat so he could speak. "I told it to leave you alone," his voice sounded funny to his ears.
Sophia seemed like she was searching for something as she looked into his eyes. Her emerald eyes seemed so intense that he daren't look away.
Then, a miracle happened.
Her body relaxed, the tension seeming to ebb away into nothingness, and her lips formed a smile. It wasn't her usual cheerful, playful smile but it was genuine and friendly all the same.
He blinked. "Okay?" he repeated.
She nodded. "And…thank you," she added.
She paused, as though she was deliberating on something, then in a move so fast he almost missed it, she darted forward, briefly surrounding him in mahogany hair and the sweet scent of roses and vanilla. Her soft lips pressed against his cheek, warming it up instantly until it burned hotter than any sunburn he'd ever gotten.
He couldn't meet her eyes when she pulled away as he continued to blush, stuttering out, "Um…Y-you're welcome."
She giggled a little and he peeked up at her to see her cheeks were flaming red, too. That made him feel better somewhat.
An awkward silence followed until Sophia leapt up and said cheerfully, "Come on, Harry. Let's go to the park."
Harry brightened up. Not only had Sophia thanked him and kissed him, she still seemed as though she wanted to be his friend. He wanted to ask her if she was sure but he didn't want to push his luck and have her realize that perhaps the Dursleys were right and he was too freaky to be friends with.
"Maybe we can get an ice-cream," Sophia continued as she grabbed Harry's hands and pulled him to his feet.
Harry had very little money on him – the Dursleys only ever gave him a penny each month until he'd turned six, but Mrs. Figg gave him some birthday money each year; it wasn't a lot, just a ten pound each year, but it always felt like he was the richest boy in the world when she did so. He saved every penny, not wanting to spend it on frivolous things when he feared his relatives might kick him out one day and he'd be left homeless and penniless, and he kept the money hidden, especially from Dudley and his friends, not wanting it taken away from him.
But he did have some he could spare for two ice-creams. He figured, he owned Sophia an ice-cream for wanting to hang around him even after such a terrifying ordeal.
Sophia was starting to walk away, talking about a contest to see who wouldn't get sick hanging upside down on the monkey bars after eating ice-cream, when Harry reached out and took her arm. She turned her head to look at him questioningly, and looked worried when she saw his frown.
"Sophia…I'm glad that you're not scared of me…" he began, stuttering so much that his words felt broken in places.
Sophia's eyebrows drew together. "Why would I be scared of you?" she wondered.
Harry blinked. "The snake," he said, as though this should explain everything.
"It wasn't normal," Sophia conceded. "But that just makes you even more special, doesn't it?"
Her smile was bright and brilliant, but it only cheered him up a little.
"My relatives won't think that," he warned. "They'd think it weird and…I-I'd get in trouble…"
Sophia's eyes lit up in understanding.
She had never met Mr. and Mrs. Dursley face-to-face but she had heard their screeches while she hid in their backyard, waiting for her friend, enough times to know how horrible they were. She had seen what a monstrosity their son was when she'd spied him in the park, bullying smaller children (which, in Dudley Dursley's case, were everyone below the age of thirteen). And she knew what terrible guardians the Dursleys made, seeing how they treated Harry like a slave when she knew he was the sweetest boy ever and would've never done anything to warrant such treatment.
Harry's nervousness made more sense to her now. He was worried his relatives might find out and he would be punished for something that made him special and unique and brave. And he just might – if they ever found out.
"Silly boy," she laughed, taking his hand and squeezing it comfortingly. "Like I'd ever tell."
He smiled at her hopefully. "You mean it?"
She raised her other hand, offering him her pinky finger. "I solemnly swear," she said in a playfully serious voice.
He laughed but hooked his pinky with hers.
"Thanks, Sophia," he said, and the warmth in his voice made her blush again.
To distract him from noticing, she grinned mischievously and said, "Race you!" before shooting off like a bullet. "Last one there buys the ice-cream!" she threw over her shoulder, laughing at Harry's indignant yell as he chased after her.
I know I said I won't be doing every chapter of every book – and I won't – but I needed to lay some foundation of Harry and Sophia's friendship.
I think a few comments about Sophia had me thinking about what I'd originally planned for her and made me reconsider. I'm pretty sure she's going to be in this story for longer than I initially thought she would, so these beginning stages of their friendship was important for me to portray.
I hope you've enjoyed this chapter and I'm sorry it took so long. Please feel free to leave a line or two to tell me what you thought of it.
Thanks so much to everyone who had read and reviewed last chapter. I feel very blessed.