Warnings: future SLASH (boy x boy), MAJOR NO-MAGIC!AU (Alternate Universe), possible BLOOD and FAMILY SITUATIONS in future chapters, AGE-GAP RELATIONSHIP(S)
Pairings: TMR/HP, pre-established HG/RW and LL/NL and LE/JP, open to suggestions for other characters
Note: This story will have some plot, but also have chapters that are simply snippets in time (like long drabbles). There will be timeskips, and because there are timeskips, there will be flashbacks (hopefully not the tacky ones, but I'm not pointing any fingers). The genre is also likely to change, depending on how much progress I make with the story as time goes. Who knows, I might toss in Romance, or I might put in Humor, or Adventure...
Standard disclaimer applies: I do not own Harry Potter or any brand you recognize in this story. J.K. Rowling is credited with the creation of these characters (I'm not fond of using OCs in my own fanfiction)
"Harry Harry Harry!" Sirius yelled at the top of his lungs extremely fast. Considering that his godfather was naturally a boisterous person, Harry wondered if all the houses on the block could hear him.
Sighing, the student put down his pencil and turned towards the door to the hallway. Nothing stopped Sirius when he was excited, even if it meant bursting through all the doors in their (admittedly, quite large) house to find the victim to his excitement. Thankfully, Harry was simply in his room, an obvious first place to look, so Sirius need not look for long.
Lo and behold, said godfather burst through the door just then too.
"Hey pup!" For some reason, Sirius had taken to calling him that. He had said that when Harry was young, everyone was a sucker for his puppy dog eyes, not that he used them anymore these days... as far as the family knew. "Guess what?"
"Hello Sirius," Harry greeted calmly. This was probably a weekly experience. "What?"
Sirius practically beamed. "There's this new online game called Chamber of Secrets Online! It's gotten really good reviews so far, and now everyone—seriously, everyone!—has started playing it! The media's all over it too. It's gotten recognized globally, so they made global servers really quick... and Europe's just came out! America's already gotten theirs, and so has China and Korea. Japan's in the process, and-"
"So you've played it?" Harry cut off, though smiled indulgently afterwards to show his godfather that he had just been rambling.
Sirius nodded his head frantically. "German's out, French's out, and now English's out in the EU servers! Of course I had to try it!" Whether or not English came out was rather pointless, as the whole family was fluent with the other big languages in Europe, but that didn't really matter to Sirius. "I dragged James and Remus on with me too, and we're absolutely addicted!"
Harry laughed lightly as his godfather waved his arms about as he told his tale. "—and we formed a team together, and we brought down this humungous rat boss together, and, oh well James is a warrior and I'm a warrior and so is Remus but our teamwork is amazing if I do say so myself—"
"Does mum know?" The teen questioned, as Sirius seemed to be getting far off track.
At the mention of Lily, he deflated. "Yeah, she knows. We asked her to play with us but she didn't want to. Said it would waste too much time... she's very dedicated to her job."
"Yes," Harry agreed, "She is."
After a moment of silence, Sirius shot his godson a calculating look. "So..."
"Soooo what?" Harry halfheartedly teased.
Sirius grinned. "Want to try it? You can totally be in our team and then it'll be a big, manly family!"
"Don't let mum hear you say that. She just might force you all to wear skirts for a day."
The elder of the two grimaced. "...She would, wouldn't she?" Then, as if reminded of his task from the heavens, he gave Harry a pleading look. "Ha-rry! Please?"
Said male gave a small, apologetic smile to the eager man before him. "Sorry Sirius, but I'm swamped with work," he motioned to the papers and few textbooks lying haphazardly on his desk, "School's not so easy when it's competitive."
"Ah, okay," Sirius mumbled, looking downtrodden. If he had dog ears, they'd be lying flat against his head.
Harry smiled reassuringly. "We can all do something this weekend, okay? Finals will be over, so I'll have some free time."
Looking somewhat appeased, his godfather nodded and practically jogged out of the room, no doubt to inform everyone that they were going to have to make room in their schedules for the weekend.
Now alone, Harry glanced at his desk and sighed. Yes, he thought moodily, work. The private school his mother had put him in certainly had a lot of that. He certainly wouldn't complain out loud though. Both of his parents worked hard to be able to let them all live comfortably, Lily as one of the top doctors at her work place and James as a policeman, trying to save lives on the field like his wife. He was pretty high up the ladder, but that didn't stop him from helping outside sometimes.
Harry didn't know what he was going to be, but he wanted to do his parents proud. And Remus and Sirius, he added belatedly, I want to make them proud too. Sirius, as his godfather, came from an old wealthy family. He was disowned for rejecting their way of life, and worked now beside James at the station. Remus owned a bakery, small but immensely popular, and made sure to take care of Harry whenever no one else could. Remus had also taught him how to cook meals and bake pastries, something Harry secretly took joy in when everyone was out, almost as if to spoil himself. They all ended up living together, simply because they'd all be in one house most of the time anyways if they bothered to have separate homes. His mother and father's house was chosen because it was quite large (James came from a well off family too), and also because Lily was used to it and was pregnant with Harry at the time. No one wanted to upset a pregnant woman!
But sometimes, such a big family was exhausting. It wasn't big in quantity, so to speak, but everyone was so... unique. Everyone knew each other from their school years, though James and Sirius a bit longer as they were distant cousins, and everyone fit in with each other in their own way. There was no real moment of legitimate, peaceful rest unless everyone was out, and he still had work then too! Harry loved every single one of his family members, but he was so tired of pretending to be someone he wasn't. Perhaps it was his fault for even starting, but it was too late to go back now.
As a child, he hadn't wanted to be a burden to his parents. After all, so many other children at his pre-school seemed to always cause their guardians so much distress. Was he like that too? Harry used to ask privately to himself. As he slowly grew into his pre-teens, he then decided to become someone that his parents wouldn't have to worry overly much about. Oh, of course they were his mother and father, and of course they worried naturally for their only son, but work had been causing them to look so stressed lately, and Harry had thought it would be better to keep their fears to a minimum. He didn't want to be like one of the problem kids, who were forced to have parent conferences at the end of every grading period.
Then, as his family took his nature for being naturally inclined to studying, Harry was signed to attend a more competitive junior high school. Only the best for their son, James and Sirius had once boasted. His mother, of course, was overjoyed. She hadn't been able to have the privilege of going to private schools, as her family hadn't been able to afford it. Scholarships could only deal with so much, and though they greatly helped, that didn't mean the costs disappeared. Now, with a job that was generous in its pay, though perhaps taxing at the end of the day, she was able to give the opportunity to her son… her brilliant, darling son.
Lily came from the mid-lower class, like Remus, but no one could deny that they were both hardworking. His mother was a kind soul, though she had a temper, and Harry had always been able to relate to her more than his father. She was calm and calculating, but she cared about others at the same time. James was reckless, or could be, and though he had mellowed after school, he was still very outgoing. This somewhat easy personality was why Harry wasn't particularly concerned with being a shining pupil in his eyes. His father had gotten maybe slightly above average grades in school, but hadn't cared all too much for it anyways.
So naturally, with his mother so very excited about something that had to do with him and his future, Harry panicked. If he was told to name the one person who he didn't want to disappoint most in the world, his mother would easily take first place. Never mind the royal family, or foreign diplomats, or any Asian emperors; Lily Angelina Potter beat them all. And now by response, Harry had forced himself to become more studious and with that, more quiet. He worked hard, got one of the best grades in his year (which he maintained throughout junior high and even graduated with), and presented himself as smart, silent, and somewhat shy. This was mostly to keep others from bothering him in school while he focused on his work predominantly.
Harry liked to consider himself as average, which was why he worked so damn hard, but he also knew that no one average could manage to fool everyone, including his parents, for so many years. His fake personality just wasn't like his natural one.
For one, Harry liked to consider himself as lazy. If he let himself do so, he could and would procrastinate until the very, tiny last second. The fact that he did well under pressure saved him more than once. Another thing about him was that he was curious... very, very curious. As scholar-Harry, as he had taken to calling his other self in his head, he would simply let it go, not wanting to stir any trouble. On the inside... well, curiosity killed the cat, and the only thing that kept it alive was its nine lives. In Harry's case, it was his tenacity. These parts of him his parents knew about, as when he was still a tiny, meter tall child he exhibited them with great enthusiasm.
Harry also was a cheeky brat, but no one ever really knew that one, mainly because it came with growing older and the strain of pretending. He had made himself quite the title; the quiet, anti-social person that everyone came to for help when they were stuck beyond comparison. Obviously, this happened quite often in a school filled with struggling students. The only reason that didn't endear himself to anyone was because he answered in short, concise sentences. No extra chit-chat. People tended to shy away from anyone who, very blatantly so, did not want to be talking to them, which was quite the good thing. Harry did not like being distracted from his goals, scholar-Harry or no.
Though, there would always be the persistent people. As small as their group was, they were still there, and because of their persistence, were quite loud presence-wise. In this case, their leader was Hermione Granger, a bookworm (and he used that term almost affectionately) who was not afraid to show her curiosity by being terribly blunt with her questioning. Harry would've sounded more annoyed in his description of her if she hadn't already worn away the sharpness of his attitude. She had persisted for years, first in his first year at the private junior high school his mother had chosen for him, and continuing on to this very day. They were probably equal in grades, which caused them to have similar classes.
With her, Granger (as he called her in his head when he wasn't forced by society to call her Hermione) brought Ron Weasley, a boy you normally would not expect to find in a competitive school. Unsurprisingly, they had been friends since childhood, and Granger was the sole source of motivation for him. She tugged, nagged, dragged, and occasionally yelled to get him to study, and sometimes it seemed so constant that most people could not picture Weasley without Granger. They were also dating, no surprise there either. With his girlfriend as his coach, Weasley managed to get decent enough grades in the school, and so also was able to keep his aunt's sponsoring. The Weasley family was not very well off, and it was probably only through great luck did his mother manage to convince her sister that Ronald was going to prosper at the school.
After two years in their company, Harry managed to attract another duo to their unofficial group. Luckily, they were not part of the persistent type that he so abhorred, and instead were simply looking for a kinship between outcasts and the occasional study group. Naturally, he spoke of the unique pairing that was Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Though he labeled it as unique, Harry knew that if those two weren't together, then something was dreadfully wrong with the universe… and it seemed like everyone else had that instinct fully burned into their scholarly minds as well.
It was like one of those tricks that teachers in pre-school teach you to remember things easier: you find Luna, you find Neville, and therefore vice versa.
Well, Harry certainly wasn't complaining about their appearance. He was fond of the two, and their presence mellowed out Granger's and Weasley's. Neville was quiet and understanding, just like Remus. Luna was calm and maybe a bit odd in the head, but most of the things she said happened to be bizarrely right. She was very subtly attuned to everyone around her, unmatched in the maze that was feelings. Compared to the former pairing's extremities, Harry quite liked having class with the two at the end of the day. They soothed the tiring process of knowledge being stuffed into his brain, and for that he was thankful.
Sometimes it was good to have Granger's nagging (goodness knows it had reminded him a couple times of some article of homework he would've forgotten), and sometimes it was good to have Weasley's easy-going, let's-just-have-fun type of personality around, but at the end of the day… Well, Harry figured having Luna and Neville there to quell the intensity was reason enough to add them in.
The added bonus of keeping his parents happy with his social interaction was also enough to keep them all around. If he happened to grow fond of them all along the way, well, that just made it easier to pretend, didn't it?
Well, all of that aside, procrastinating never got anything done, did it? The pile of homework was long finished, but the amount of self-study on the other hand…
Harry sighed. Perhaps he could dodge it? Maybe skim a bit, but all of the material was chapters ahead of where they were currently, and he already had a firm understanding of a lot of it… there was no real reason for an in-depth review, was there? He grimaced. But even if he took a break for once, what was he going to do? Go to sleep? Though that sounded like a mighty fine idea, it wasn't late enough to wake up tomorrow morning. Chances were, he'd wake up at 2 AM and just lie there, unable to fall back into the comforting arms of sleep and be forced to settle with a bout of insomnia. The thought simply wasn't all too appealing, and Harry frowned in disgust. He was a teenager. He finished all his homework. He wanted to skip a review session. Nothing unusual there, but the problem lied in the aftermath. If he skipped his review session, what the hell was he going to do?
Once again, he was a bloody teenager who couldn't find a way to entertain himself without studying. God, was he a loser or what?
Sometimes, Harry really regretted being the type of person who forgot to think ahead. He should've bought some new books while he was grabbing the practice test booklets from the store! But other times, Harry really loved being the type of person who could force-think up an idea. Being clueless was terrible; now if only he could make his mind think faster…
Wait, didn't Sirius say something about a new game that was out? What had it been, Chanter… Cellar… Chamber? Chamber of… Secrets…
"Hmm," Harry mused, "Sounds sort of interesting."
With that in mind, he easily moved up from his seat and stretched, almost as if he had been waiting to do so this whole time. Glancing down at his attire, Harry shrugged. Good enough. At least he wasn't in his pajamas or anything like that. He trotted down the hallway to the stairs, smoothly skipping every other step downward upon reaching it. Quickly checking the living room and seeing no one, he proceeded to the kitchen. The smell of food soon reached him, and he smiled.
"Hi mum," Harry greeted upon reaching the bar that separated the kitchen from the dining room.
"Hello dear," Lily replied, sending her son a quick smile before turning her attention back to the stove. "Came down from your room for a quick snack?"
"Mmm... What are you making?"
"Just starting up on dinner, really. Remus is coming home late tonight, so he isn't here to help out. Luckily, your mother's tough and can handle herself just fine while making dinner for James and Sirius. I think I'm terribly lucky that you didn't get their big appetites too… Why, they probably out-eat five men!"
They both shared a light laugh at the running joke. His father's stomach, coupled with his godfather's, had always made for interesting stories from school that he was eagerly told by his mother. They had all attended a boarding school, Hogwarts, and so there had been many a time when their hunger had gotten them into… strange… situations.
"Do you mind if I head out for a bit before dinner then? I feel like I'm in need of some fresh air," Harry asked after some light conversation. His mother was always a joy to talk with, adding a spice of humor that none of his friends at school could. There were just some things that were different between talking with an adult and a teen, even if said teens were attending a school for the intelligent.
Lily looked at him oddly, as if wondering what caused this break in routine. On days like this, her son usually didn't come out of his room until dinner, and though she missed simply sitting and talking with him like so, she also knew he took his studies very seriously and that he didn't like to be disturbed, even if it was her. "As long as you're back before dinner's served, I don't see why that would be a problem. You're not overworking yourself, are you? There's nothing wrong with studying a lot to be prepared, but don't do it at the risk of your health…"
He smiled wryly, as if finding something very humorous in that statement. "I'm fine mum, just realized that it's been awhile since I've taken a walk in the neighborhood. A break for my eyes, if you will, and I'm most definitely not overworking myself," Harry frowned after a bit of thought, "you be careful too, won't you? I'm sure you have a lot of vacation hours built up, so if you ever feel that the hospital isn't as white as it should be and the walls look like they're spinning—"
His mother tittered in amusement. "Alright you, I get it. Lecturing your mother now about overworking? Are you sure James didn't say anything to you?"
Harry nodded seriously. "Dad didn't say anything. Sons take their mothers' health very seriously, though Sirius is ironically the exception here," Lily coughed to hide a snort of laughter, "And as the son of a well reputed doctor, I worry even more. Mum, I'm honestly just saying, if you ever think that the hospital has suddenly turned upside down, or black spots are appearing in your eyesight, or if some newbie doctor starts to hit on you—"
"James did say something to you!" she accused, though her eyes were alight with laughter. It was good to know her son wasn't serious to the point of never making a joke, and she discreetly hid a sigh of relief that Harry's sharp eyes nearly missed, but still caught.
Innocently, Harry shrugged.
"Sirius has already told me that your finals are over this weekend, so we'll go out to celebrate, okay? It should be fun," Lily nodded resolutely. "And no more worrying about your mother passing her limit, alright mister? That's your parent's job to worry. You just focus on school, dear, your schooling and your future."
"Alright mum," he easily replied while hopping off of the stool he had sat on. "I'll be heading out, then."
"Be back by dinner," she called after him.
"Will!" And the door slammed shut.
A few minutes later, Harry arrived at the local game shop. Considering the distance, that was actually quite fast, but he knew a lot of short cuts, and if he just so happened to walk a little faster along the way? Pure coincidence. His speed was naturally quicker than others, so it would affect his pace in walking too. There was a logical answer to everything.
Taking some time to look at the front before walking in, Harry was unsurprised to find it plastered with posters and cardboard cut-outs that showcased the exact game his godfather had been talking about, Chamber of Secrets Online (CoS for short). They were also very well done, the brilliant and colorful graphics taken straight from the game being very impressive. One of the cut outs displayed a character, who appeared to be the highest ranking player so far. All common methods for MMORPGs to be advertised, but nevertheless, they caught Harry's interest.
Something new. Something different. Excitement bubbled up in the pit of his stomach, causing a small smile to spread on his face as he pushed open the door.
Perhaps he'd like this game.
Testing the waters here! My first Harry Potter fic, nevermind SLASH... er, I'm not even sure how to begin with that...
Well, if you see any mistakes, please leave a review to tell me! I'm also not a brit, so please alert me of any errors there too. I'll also be taking use of my creative license, as this is an AU...
Please note: the only pairing I have planned is eventual TMR/HP, and there's obviously cannon LE/JP & HG/RW with my pre-established NL/LL on the side too.
THESE WILL NOT BE CHANGED.
I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, so if you'd like to suggest pairings or plot events or just say "Want some cookies? I have many." I'd appreciate you dropping some word, whether it be PMs or reviews (though preferrably the latter)...