Title—Nothing to Fear
Story summary—Fear can make good people do bad things, as the saying goes. The wizarding community was half heartedly grateful to the boy-who-lived. Thankful Voldemort was gone but suspicious of Harry himself, they never fully embraced him and when he became a Slytherin, many began to outright persecute him. But he finds a friend in a red headed girl as lonely as him, who is excluded from her family and eventually is too ostracized because of an evil she could not control.
This is an extremely AU world where in the Potter family was more like the Black family, and Lily was in Slytherin, the other details will be filled in by the story.
Prologue—All Across Britain
Emily Kent, called Emmy by those close to her, sat staring out at the fireworks beyond her window on a cold night in early November. She had a pot of tea on for the company she was expecting. She constantly drew her cover tightly over her to shield her body from the frosty room.
She heard the sound of her wards being entered, and knew however that it must only be Doris, for the wards were entered—not breached. She watched from the window as her friend strolled up the path to the wooden door that was the only entrance into the little cottage.
The door burst open and with absolutely no pre-amble at all, a mousy little witch with light brown hair to complete the look began, "Have you heard—"
"Yes Doris we've all heard," Emmy responded somewhat flatly, almost bordering on exasperatedly.
"No need to be sharp now," the mousy haired witch said with furrowed eyebrows to her blonde companion who did look somewhat sheepish at her earlier tone.
Pouring them both cups of tea the blonde witch beckoned her friend over to the table where they both sat in the kitchen, staring out of the window every now and then at a particularly brilliant firework. Their breaths between their sips of tea misting in the cold air. Emmy once again pulled her cover closer to her body but her cold was more from her memories than the night air.
"Do you think it's true?" Emmy asked now genuinely after they had been sitting for a moment in silence except for the slurping of their sips of tea.
"It must be, it's everywhere, all everyone is talking about—The Malfoys, they've already fled to the ministry! They're claiming they were bewitched! As if..."
"Yes, well did you really expect Lucius to go to Azkaban?" Emmy asked somewhat condescendingly again.
The brunette shot her a glare but went on with what she was saying, "He must be gone, but the question I have is more about the particulars..." Doris trailed off with raised eyebrows.
"Oh please tell me you don't believe that wild tale about the Potter boy!"
Emmy exclaimed, waving her hands in the air as if to animate the ridiculous nature of the story.
"Dumbledore himself; Albus Dumbledore—"
"Yes, I'm well aware of who Albus is." Emmy interjected dryly.
Doris gave her a scathing look at her interruption and went on, "Well he has said that it is true!"
"Oh well if Dumbledore said it then it must be true." Emmy said in a cynical tone.
"Now Emmy, just because you were a Raven—"
However Emmy interrupted her friend again, "So did the angels descend from the heavens and allow Albus to walk on their backs as he made his way to tell you all this?" she asked.
The brunette gave her a very nasty look again, "Learn some respect, he did lead us in this war, and look we have—"
"Don't you dare say we have won! Won! Won? How have we won? Almost everyone is dead, my entire family—" Emmy broke off with tears in her eyes as her voice became choked and lost much of it's steel on the word 'family.'
Taking a deep breath she went on with closed eyes, "We did not win Doris. We were picked off like roaches under a shoe, and if what you are saying is true then the only hope for us was in a little one year old boy, not the great Albus Dumbledore." she finished with disdain.
"And furthermore that poor little boy, where ever he is was also failed by Albus seeing as his parents are dead now, orphaned under that—that—headmaster's protection!" she said headmaster like a dirty word.
"Oh don't blame their deaths on him, I doubt he was even involved in their protection anyway. They were probably—" Doris started off quite intensely.
"Don't. Don't even say it!"
Doris rolled her eyes and continued, "Emmy look at the evidence, the Potter family was all dark! Not a one of them anywhere but Slytherin—"
"Except James Potter, the man in question, who if memory serves me correctly was a Gryffindor." Emmy said sardonically.
"Yes but look who he married!" Doris pointed out.
"A muggleborn witch? Because that certainly follows Death eater criteria, marrying muggleborns." Emmy said sarcastically, eyebrows raised.
"Exactly, a muggleborn in Slytherin!" Doris said.
"Being Slytherin doesn't make you evil Dory." Emmy said reproachingly to her old friend.
Doris however ignored her, "There's only two reasons to be in Slytherin—your family is there, or you are involved in dark magic! And seeing how she was a muggleborn, well she certainly wasn't going there because it was her family's house..."
"Yes, because at eleven years old, and from a muggleborn family so never having practiced magic at all, let alone dark magic—Evans was sorted into Slytherin because of her evil, dark powers." Emmy said sarcastically again.
"The hat saw her potential for it," Doris said defensively, crossing her arms over her chest.
Emmy sighed, "Why don't you just accept your theory is ridiculous. The Potters were not death eaters!"
"Potter hated his parents Doris! He rebelled against them with Black at every turn, the two of them were the black sheep of their respective families! I highly doubt he threw away ten years of rebellion to become a deatheater after he married the muggleborn girl he had been pining after our entire school careers!"
"The Slytherin muggleborn!"
"I'm pretty sure his parents still would have hated her on the principle of their blood supremacy, being in Slytherin would not have been enough to counteract that!" Emmy argued.
"Whatever," Doris said sourly.
"Now you just sound like a teen ager," Emmy said with a slight smile on her face.
"I'm just saying that if they really weren't aligned with You-Know-Who..." Doris whispered the name.
Emmy rolled her eyes, "If you aren't going to say his name at least don't whisper the substitution," she said.
Doris glared again but went on, "If they weren't dark, then why weren't they part of the Order?"
"The world isn't split between Order members and death eaters Doris." Emmy said as if speaking to a child.
Doris opened her mouth to speak but Emmy went on, "I don't really blame them, you might hold Albus up on a pedestal but some people see him for what he really is; just a man."
Doris opened her mouth again to hotly retort but Emmy held up her hand to stay any comments, "Look Doris, I'm not saying he doesn't mean well necessarily—"
"Then what are you saying?" Doris interrupted rather frostily.
Gathering her knit tighter around her Emmy went on, "I'm just saying that..." she began delicately and Doris raised an eyebrow in waiting.
"I'm just—He doesn't...doesn't always put everyone's best interest at heart. War is a chess game, and people, many people, are just pawns to him. I can't say I blame the Potters for not joining the order, they were so young and just starting a family too..."
"Exactly! If they were really on the right side you think they would have wanted to fight for—"
"You don't have to be a member of the Order to oppose Vol—Vol—Voldemort Doris." Emmy said irritatedly, stumbling over the name and ignoring Doris's protesting look.
"And really I can't blame them for not wanting to, Dumbledore would have certainly used Evan's Slytherin background to try to make her a spy or something even though she really, with her marriage and blood status would not have been right for it. Albus has never hesitated to place others in possibly entirely dangerous and compromising situations."
Doris rolled her eyes, "He would not have! He would not have sent her into danger like that when as a spy she really would have been ridiculously at risk, if she was on our side. I still think Lily Potter was a death eater anyway so it wouldn't have mattered. They do take muggleborns if they're devoted enough you know."
Emmy looked at her from over her cup of tea, "Really, how would you know? I for one do not recall any muggleborn death eaters...well—ever." She said tapping her chin in mock thought.
Doris looked flustered, "I'm just saying that you cannot pin them not joining as concern for her, I mean if she was on our side Dumbledore wouldn't have sent her to a position where she would have inevitably been harmed or asked to choose like that, if she wouldn't have been fine."
"Oh really? You don't think he would have...Susan Prewett ring any bells?" Emmy asked.
"Prewett was a pureblood." Doris said condescendingly.
"Not to mention that it is almost certain she was actually playing the double agent act on us, everyone thinks she really was death eater. She'll probably be sent to Azkaban now, there's no way she shouldn't at least have a trial, and a trial should prove—"
"For heavens sake, if you are going to condemn people for being related to dark families can't you at least give them the benefit of the doubt for being connected to light ones?" Emmy asked exasperatedly.
"The Prewetts might be a light family Emmy but she was the only one of them to ever be in Slytherin!" Doris exclaimed.
"Once again Doris, Slytherin does not equate death eater."
"Well when she goes to trial you'll see—" Doris started but was interrupted rather sharply.
"Really following the innocent until proven guilty are we Doris?" Emmy asked.
Doris looked scandalized, "Well, the evidence—"
"You don't have any evidence, just rumors."
Doris took on a thoughtful expression, "Well the rumors all say that she was really Prewett Black."
Emmy rolled her eyes, "All the more reason to suspect she was on our side."
Doris however looked a little too gleeful now at the chance to trump Emmy's argument, "Oh but haven't you heard! They arrested Black two nights ago, the night...it all happened. He killed thirteen muggles, turns out he was supporting He-who-must-not-be-named after all." She finished rather mockingly gravely.
"But—I...I knew him in school, not well, but..." Emmy said genuinely shocked.
"So you see," Doris went on oblivious to Emmy's sadness, "It is rather likely that little Prewett girl was a death eater, she and Black must have been in it together. Traitors all along..."
"Oh shut up Doris, you don't even know if they were together." Emmy said tiredly.
Looking a little hurt at her friends words Doris decided to keep going, "Which just proves more to my point that the Potters were probably on his side! Just look at the evidence, their closest friends both turn out to be death eaters, and not to mention Lupin the werewolf! How poor little Peter Pettigrew got mixed in with such a bad bunch makes me shudder!"
"They held him down and forced him to be friends with them in all their evil death eater glory..." Emmy muttered sarcastically.
"What was that?" Doris asked coming back from her rant.
"Nothing," Emmy waved her hand dismissively.
"Anyway, I'm just saying, look at the facts. The Potters were probably on his side, they wouldn't join the order for that reason! Not because of anything Dumbledore would do to their family."
"Once again, not joining the Order doesn't make you evil! Sometimes I wish I hadn't joined, maybe then..." Emmy trailed off, her eyes shining with unshed tears.
Doris gave her friend a sympathetic look which Emmy did not notice as she stared out of the window out into the moonlit sky.
After a long silence Emmy asked, "What do you think will happen to him now?"
"Who?" Doris asked from behind her tea cup, thankful the tense atmosphere was dispersed somewhat from the previous topic.
"The little boy, the one who vanquished him." Emmy asked still in a very soft tone of voice.
"I don't know." Doris said somewhat troubled. "I heard rumors though that they sent him to live with some muggle relatives."
Emmy nodded, "I suppose thats probably for the best, being with family. And its probably good he stays away from the wizarding world for a little while, until everything settles down. He can be introduced into it when it's time for him to go to school."
Doris looked uncomfortable and Emmy finally facing back towards her as she tore her gaze away from the view of the night sky the window offered, gave her a questioning look.
At her friends prompting Doris began to speak, "I don't know if he is coming back to the wizarding world." She said.
"What do you mean?" Emmy asked, placing her tea cup on the table.
"Well...many have been saying that...think about it Emmy, a little baby able to do what no other grown wizard could? And from a dark family too? The whole reason You-Know-Who even went after him is because he must have known that Potter would be his rival one day. Another Dark Lord!"
Emmy looked over at her friend with a blank expression before almost shouting, "Doris that is ridiculous!"
Dories however once again ignored her, "In fact I think the best thing that could happen would be if they never told him about all this. Let him live like a muggle." She said worriedly, glancing out of the window as if in fear that the almost toddler was going to descend upon them.
"You are already branding him as evil and he can't even properly talk yet! Now you want to deny him his birthright because of some ridiculous fear you have?" Emmy's voice grew in pitch as she became more upset.
"It's for the good of everyone Emmy! Do you want another Dark Lord on our hands, you would think you of all people would understand after what happened to Michael!" She saw the other woman flinch at the name.
"Oh, I'm so sorry Emmy, I didn't mean to...bring it up like that!" She said tearfully.
Taking a deep sigh and closing her eyes Emmy began, "No matter what happened to me, I just can't see keeping a boy from his rightful world simply because of something he had no control over. You should be grateful to him! Grateful for getting rid of Vol—Vol—dammit! Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort—VOLDEMORT! I'm never going to stumble over that murder's name again!" She shouted as Doris looked around fearfully, her eyes bulging from her head as the hand she held her tea cup in shook slightly.
"You should be thankful that he got rid of that bastard and instead you all want to take away his chance at a world he belongs in?" She asked amazed after she regained her composure enough to continue.
"I just think it would be the cautious thing to do, Wilard said he wanted to see the boy die but I thought that that was a bit extreme..."
"A bit! A BIT!"
"Emmy stop shouting," Doris said quickly.
"You are sitting here telling me about your...conspiracy to murder a little boy, a baby—"
Doris flinched, "When you say it like that..."
"When I say it like what! Like how it is?" Emmy asked incensed.
Doris took a deep breath, "Look, I didn't agree with that anyway. Very few people did, but a lot of people think it would be for the best for the boy to stay away from our community, with power like that and with that...background..."
"The Potters were not Death eaters for the last time Doris!" Emmy said hotly.
Doris just shrugged.
Taking a deep breath Emmy went on, "This is just...ridiculous! My vocabulary can't even come up with another word to describe it! All of you being terrified of a little boy who you should be thankful to, and yet instead you all want to ruin his life..."
Emmy took another deep breath, "Let's just forget this conversation, although Doris do promise me one thing."
Doris looked over at her expectantly.
"Don't just follow Albus around blindly," She said imploringly.
"Well the war is over anyways." Doris said noncommittally waving her hand.
A long silence followed and as she watched one more firework explode brilliantly in the night, a bright green that made memories of the killing curse flash before her eyes, Emmy added one more thing to the conversation.
"Yes I suppose it is." She muttered, remembering Michael, Jude and Kate.
Conversations very similar happened all across Britain, the one fact Doris Webber was correct on was that she was not alone on her views of Harry Potter and his parents. In fact many had much more radical views on the child. There were whispers all across the wizarding world branding little Harry Potter as the next dark lord, and mothers with children the same age shuddering, hoping he would not be brought to Hogwarts as they feared for their own children, convinced the Potter boy would brainwash them as the next generation of his own death eaters. Dumbledore was held as a hero of the war while the boy-who-lived was seen as a suspect rather than a savior. People all judged Harry Potter, though he couldn't even properly speak yet.
Chapter One—At least a Chance
Harry Potter, scrawny, unhealthily pale, and rather bruised from his uncle, bent over the garden he was currently weeding in the sweltering summer heat despite his extremely high fever.
Ignoring his sickness he worked diligently, knowing that if he wanted dinner tonight then this better be done.
His aunt's shrill voice could be heard floating through the window screen as she praised Dudley for his acceptance into Smeltings despite the fact that and Vernon had had to quietly bribe the admissions office after his dismal grades in primary school combined with his record of nasty tendencies towards bullying.
Harry would be attending Stone Wall high the public school in the area, and despite how his aunt and uncle tried to mock him on the sorriness of the education there even being more then he deserved, he himself felt relieved and saw a slim chance at finally making friends now that the populace would have Dudley's influence removed.
Dudley had bullied and scared anyone who had ever attempted to show Harry any kindness, and had convinced most of the children at school to not just ignore Harry but to treat him much the way Dudley did.
Maybe they would finally stop tripping him, discreetly elbowing him, ruining his class work before he could turn it in, lying to the teacher about him and telling him how his parent's had died just to get rid of him.
Harry knew he was either hated or felt indifference toward, and it made him incredibly lonely in a way few boys so young had ever been.
The bruises and whelps from Uncle Vernon's belt and fists stiffened his back terribly, which was made worse from his hunched position as he weeded with an almost obsessive pace trying to finish in hope that his Aunt would then allow him to retreat to his cupboard afterwords where he could find some solace in the dark space that was just his own.
Finishing weeding, he picked up the scraps and took them to the trash bin after brushing the gushing sweat from his forehead.
"Did you finish weeding," the screeching tone worsened his already tremendous head ache.
"Yes Aunt Petunia," he replied listlessly in a monotone, blank of any kind of defiance.
Giving him an appraising look as if to judge his honesty, which was ridiculous as Harry always did his work, she then made a half hearted gesture toward the stove where some cold scraps waited from their late lunch.
"It's already four so don't be joining us for dinner tonight! That's quite enough food," and with that last proclamation she swept out of the room to go watch one of her soap operas she so often was engrossed in.
"Yes Aunt Petunia," Harry said quietly, looking very defeated he shuffled over to the stove where he piled all the food he could, which was not much, onto a plate and after quickly eating as much as his stomach could bare, which was not even the entire meagre amount, he hastily gulped down some water as he knew if he was going to recover from his sickness he would have to stay hydrated.
He climbed into his little cupboard and shut the door behind him, and then lying down on his little cot he just enjoyed the dark quietness of the place. He could hear Petunia's television show blaring through the door but the noise wasn't too bad, and to him the cupboard always seemed quiet, it was his sanctuary after all.
He fell asleep at only four that day, exhausted from battling his virus and the work load.
However he was promptly woken up by Uncle Vernon's bellowing at eight to come clear the table and do the dishes as he did every night.
Lying in his cupboard later the night he made the same wish he often did, even though he could not see the stars he pictured them as best he could in his mind, hoping and praying for someone, or even something to come take him away from this place.
"Boy get the mail!" Vernon barked at Harry, who was still rather weak from his illness even weeks later, although was beginning to show the slow sign of recovery.
Nodding mutely from his position of scrubbing the floor Harry rose and made his way to the door.
Despite his usual wariness of it today he did not notice Dudley's foot protruding from the the table in his usual stunt of trying to trip his cousin.
He went sprawling across the floor, his glasses flying across the room as he tripped spectacularly with more momentum then he usually did as he had been scurrying out of the room to avoid getting hit by Vernon for dilly-dallying.
Vernon chuckled at the sight of him scrambling to get up before going back to his paper.
Despite the stinging pain in his knee Harry got up quickly and after a moment of panic was able to locate his glasses which were trapped under his cousin's foot.
Sending Dudley a pleading look he knew was futile, Harry was only rewarded with more laughter and the snapping sound as Dudley stepped down on the old lenses, destroying Harry's only chance at sight.
"Oh, I'm so sorry Potter. Well look at the bright side, at least you won't be able to see you ugly mug in the mirror now!" Dudley drawled, Harry vaguely wondered where his cousin had gotten that jibe from since he wasn't clever enough to have come up with it himself even though it wasn't all that inventive.
Harry examining the feel of his now snapped glasses sat there in a miserable conclusion, how could he possibly do his chores correctly if he couldn't see?
His vision was terrible, and some chores required vision to get right. And not getting chores right meant beating from his uncle.
Last time he had burned the morning bacon he had been beaten until he was unconscious, he would not only not see but he would not survive without the shabby outdated lenses.
Dudley was still laughing over his stunt, Petunia, who if Harry had been able to see her as more than a blurry smear of colors, he would have seen a very distasteful expression. Has it was he was able to imagine this seeing as it was her typical face when she gazed upon her nephew.
"Well it was your own clumsiness, don't expect any replacements until school starts either. Be grateful we are generous enough to pay out of our very own pockets for it then!" She said.
Vernon grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and flung him towards the entrance hall.
"Now go get the mail Boy!"
Harry continued morosely down the now blurry hallway without his sight.
"Yes Uncle Vernon," he said with that same defeated, submissive tone he always addressed his guardians with.
Fumbling around on the floor near the door Harry picked up the letters and brought them back into the sitting room, handing the stack to huge, indefinite shape that was his uncle.
Flipping through the mail with his usual responses, apparently Marge was ill, which Harry thought a little bit vindictively she deserved, Vernon kept commenting until he reached one letter which stilled his motions and made him grip his coffee cup hard enough to crack it.
"Dudley go to your room," he said suddenly.
Even Harry looked up in shock from where he was scrubbing the floor, not that he could see much without his glasses anyway, they never sent Dudley to his room.
"What?" Dudley was apparently much the same mind as Harry about the situation.
"Go to your room son." Vernon said again. Petunia was looking between the two in question until she looked closer at the thick parchment in Vernon's hand looking very much like something from a much older era. When she laid her eyes on it the color drained out of her face and she supported her husband in the demand Dudley leave the room despite the rather large tantrum he was throwing.
"OUT! NOW DUDLEY." Vernon finally bellowed, and if they never sent Dudley to his room they certainly never ever yelled at him. That was generally reserved for Harry.
Finally acquiescing with a stomp worthy of a fitful toddler, Dudley stormed out of the room.
As if remembering Harry was there for the first time, Vernon then turned to him.
"Out." He practically growled, and unlike his cousin Harry was quick to dash out of the room. However when he closed the door behind him, he curiously stayed to listen at the door hole. Something he was thankful Dudley seemed to not have thought of in his tantrum.
Petunia's ear splitting voice was the first to break the silence, "I thought we had finally beat it out of him!"
"Petunia darling don't blame yourself. We have tried, it is not your—"
And for the first time ever, which today seemed to be a lot of those, Petunia interrupted Vernon.
"I know it's my bitch sister's fault, and her bloody freakishness!" Petunia spat, the first time Harry had heard her swear.
And despite the fact that Petunia, Vernon and even Harry himself had thought the defiance long ago beat out of him, at her words an anger in defense of the mother he had never known boiled in his blood.
"I know, I know dear," Vernon said placatingly, sounding a bit frightened of his wife.
"We'll just ignore it, those...things will give up if no one ever replies!" She said.
"But Dumblywhat-is said that—"
"I KNOW WHAT—I know what he said, I know what he said...just ignore them. It's for the best," she finished. And with that she rose from the table and strode out the room, leaving Harry a split second to scurry behind a chair in the sitting room before he was spotted.
As his Aunt continued up the stairs he ran inside his cup board, ready to pretend he had been there all along.
Which was fortunate as his Uncle was soon there, yanking him out of the closet by his hair and unexplainably beating him quite badly much to the amusement of Dudley who had been released from his room.
Covered in his own blood, and bruises marring his skin almost at every inch, Harry crawled into his cot that night and lie on his back trying to inhale the stuffy air which was quite painful.
As he thought he realized several things.
Petunia hated her sister, his mother, and there was no chance of her ever even treating him with so much as neutrality.
If he stayed here much longer there was a chance he would be beaten to death.
And someone, somewhere was trying to contact him, but he would never find out staying here. Granted he didn't know how he would find out leaving.
But praying there would be a response Harry decided to wait three days and leave on the morning of the fourth, taking whatever mail he could find with him until he could find a way to read it.
He was disappointed to find that his glasses not only had broken frames but shattered lenses, there was no hope of the usual tape repair he generally treated them with.
The next three days were brutal. Vernon and Petunia were both more vicious then ever, his workload was terrible and he was a slower worker due to his lack of eyesight which he was punished for when he blundered as a result of it.
Finally, beaten and bloodied, Harry rose as quietly as his stiff sore body would allow him to, and taking a small grocery bag of the few clothes he had, which was only the set on his back and one extra pair of socks, a shirt, and a pair of loose pants, Harry set off. He brought his tooth brush along too although he had no idea where he would have access to facilities that would allow him to make use of it and he stole a few things from the fridge.
At the doorway he grabbed all the mail and carefully placed it in the grocery bag, his limited sight making reading impossible.
Opening the door Harry had butterflies in his stomach, he considered turning back before deciding that for better or worse, this was his way out. At least out in the world he would have a chance, here he had no one and no hope. And with that thought he took his first step beyond the threshold into the cool morning air of a still darkened outdoors.