A Normal Life
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling. Anyone whose name you don't recognize from the books is one of mine. Will be rated 'T' for now. Much later chapters will likely be rated 'M.'
June 26, 1985
Harry knew something was wrong. His aunt had left him locked in the cupboard under the stairs while they took Dudley to the circus for his birthday. Normally they took him down the street to old Mrs. Figg's house and she would care for him while they were away, but this time Mrs. Figg had the flu, so after an intense discussion, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had decided he would be okay if they left him locked his cupboard for a couple of hours. They had taken Piers Polkiss, Dudley's best friend with them.
His stomach rumbled loudly. He wished Aunt Petunia would come back soon. Tears began to leak from his emerald eyes as the urge to urinate had become strong again. Last time, he'd held it as long as he could before it came trickling out into his last pair of clean pants. He wept, knowing Uncle Vernon was going to hit him again for his accident. He curled up miserably on his little cot and began to silently cry.
Harry didn't know how long he had been crying when he heard the front door open and voices began to speak.
"Ann 'Tunia? I nee' use loo." His little voice trembled. The voices stopped suddenly.
The only response was footsteps approaching. He couldn't hear anything, not Aunt Petunia's strident voice, nor Uncle Vernon's bellowing tones. He couldn't even hear the high pitched voice of his cousin Dudley. What was going on? He started to shake.
"Ann 'Tunia? I-is dat y-you?"
"It's coming from this closet here, Miss Marjorie," An unfamiliar male voice stated.
Harry shrank nervously into the corner of his cupboard. Aunt Marge was here? She wasn't supposed to be here, she was supposed to be on vacation in Ireland. The cupboard door swung open and Harry stared up into the face of an unfamiliar man. A moment later, Aunt Marge's florid face appeared over his shoulder.
"Oh, it's just him. Toss him out on the street. I don't want him. I told Petunia they should've put the little brat in an orphanage when he first showed up on their doorstep," Marge's hateful glare was punctuated with sniffles.
"Do ya want me ta take him ta the orphanage?" The scruffy-looking man asked.
"No, I need you and your partner to help me with packing everything up," just take him down to the park and leave him there," she sniffled some more before glaring at Harry. "Why couldn't it have been you?" She snarled, breaking into heavy sobs again.
Harry squeezed back into the cupboard as far as he could, clutching the little blanket that was all he'd come to the Dursleys with. The scruffy man pulled him out gently and scooped him into his arms, making a face at the soiled, oversized clothing the boy was wearing. Harry felt himself being carried and watched as they exited the house and it began to recede behind them. He shivered fearfully. What had happened to Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon? Where was Dudley? Tears leaked out of his eyes as he felt another trickle of warm moisture run down his leg.
"Hell boy, what'd ya do that fer?" The man asked, holding him at arm's length.
"Sawwy," Harry mumbled, cringing.
"Never mind, boy," the man said gruffly. A few minutes later, he set Harry down on a wooden bench beside a big grassy field. As the man was turning to leave, Harry called out.
"Pweez, sir, where Ann 'Tunia?"
"Dead. In a car crash. Stay here, I'll come back fer ya when I'm done," the man patted him on the head and turned away. Harry watched the grey-haired man walk away before collapsing into tears. He was all alone now. His mummy and da were dead and now Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and Dudley were too. He curled into a ball on the bench, shivering as he sobbed, unaware of the rain beginning to fall.
It was stinging pelts of hail that drew him from his misery. He cried as the marble-sized stones struck his flesh and he scrambled off the bench, looking for shelter. He ran blindly, unable to see. He stumbled and fell, scraping both knees and palms on rough pavement. Before he could get up, there was a brief flash of white light, and then blackness.
Harry awoke to a dimly lit room. A beeping sound was coming from his left, and he turned his clear green eyes towards it. He could make out a beige blur with flashing colored lights on it, but that was all. Everything else was gray and dim, except the sheet and blanket on his bed which were white. He marveled at the feel of the soft sheets. Where was he? The last thing he remembered was being in his cupboard, waiting for his aunt and uncle and cousin to return. His nose began to itch and he reached up to scratch it only to find his hands covered in white bandages. His heart raced. Where was he? Where was Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon? Where was Dudley?
Harry's fear was so complete, he didn't hear the soft footsteps approaching.
"Ah, I see we are awake, little one, how do you feel this morning?" A lady with a smiling face and a cloud of bright yellow hair asked.
Harry peered up at her, "nose itch."
She laughed, a tinkly bell sound. Her hand reached out, and Harry cringed away from it, shaking. The smile disappeared from her face.
"It's alright. I'm just going to scratch your nose," she reached forward again, slower this time, and rubbed his nose with one delicately manicured finger.
"Where 'm I?" He asked.
"Frimley Park Hospital."
"You've never been to a hospital?" She pulled up a chair and sat down beside his bed. Her face, what he could see of it, was very pretty; much prettier than Aunt Petunia's.
She looked down at him with concern, "what is your name?"
She sighed, a bit exasperated, "I mean, what does your family call you?"
"Freak," Harry replied, not understanding why she kept asking the same question.
"Do they ever call you anything else?" She was beginning to show signs of agitation.
"Nuh uh. Jus' Boy or Freak."
"Well, I need a name to call you for our records. Are you sure no one has ever called you anything else?"
Harry thought about that for a while. Slowly a faint memory emerged. A laughing man whose face was fuzzy and unclear was holding him up. "I think we have a little Prongs Junior on our hands, Moony."
"I 'member sumun call me Pongs Juu," Harry whispered, tears shining in his eyes. He heard a scratching noise. She was moving a small white stick across a piece of paper. He was fascinated by the grey marks that were appearing on the paper.
"When was this?"
"b'for Ann 'Tunia."
"Ann Tunia? Who is Ann Tunia?" the lady asked.
"I lif wid her."
"Do you know where?"
"In cubburd," Harry whispered.
"In cubburd," his stomach growled. He giggled, and then suddenly stopped, his eyes going wide as he cowered back. He wasn't supposed to giggle.
"Are you hungry?"
Harry just nodded.
"Well, what do you like to eat?"
"What does Ann Tunia usually give you?"
"Bred an water. Can I haf sum of dat?" Harry turned pleading eyes up at the nurse.
"Sure. I'll be right back." Harry watched as she walked out of the room. He felt scared, but also strangely safe.
"I think he's been abused, doctor," Malina Stevens brushed a lock of blonde hair out of her eyes as she looked at the clipboard in her hands.
"Why do you say that?" Doctor Lombard asked, his slender fingers reaching for the clipboard.
"He says his name is 'Boy' or 'Freak.' When I asked him what he wanted to eat, he said the person he lived with, an Ann Tunia, gave him bread and water. He cringes away from me when I make a movement toward him, and when he giggled, he immediately stopped and got a scared look on his face," she explained, pushing another lock of hair out of her eyes.
"Okay, I'll call Social Services. Go fix your hair and then head down to the cafeteria. Tell the cook you want something that a small boy might like to eat. Tell her I said it needs to be well-balanced," Doctor Lombard instructed. He took the clipboard from her hands and walked off in the direction of his office.
Harry's left arm was starting to ache when the pretty lady came back. The tray in her hands was brown and bigger than Aunt Petunia's silver tea service. She was followed by a tall, brown-haired man.
"Well, little one, I brought you some dinner. She pulled a long table over which slid across his bed, then adjusted the back of his bed so he was sitting up. Harry grimaced as he adjusted himself. Whatever was on that tray didn't smell like bread and water. He could feel his stomach rumbling in anticipation. When she removed the lid, he saw a bowl of soup with vegetables in it, a dish filled with fruit pieces, and another small bowl with some brown stuff in it that looked suspiciously like the chocolate pudding Aunt Petunia was always letting Dudley eat. Beside it sat a small cup with a straw sticking out of it. Harry's eyes grew huge.
"I-is dis all for me?" His voice quivered in awe. "I doan haf ta share it?"
The pretty lady smiled down at him. "No, sweetie, it is all for you."
Harry tried to move his arms, and winced. "How I eat wif no hans?" Both arms were still bandaged, the left one trapped against his body in a sling.
"I'll feed you." The lady replied. Harry's eyes grew even bigger. She spooned up some of the soup and held it to his lips as the tall man worked at a metal tower beside his bed with strange bags on it. His arm stopped hurting so much after a few bites and his eyes began to droop.
"I replaced his meds. He probably won't eat any more until he wakes up." Harry heard the man say as he drifted off to sleep.
A/N: the way Harry speaks is specifically written with a delayed four year old in mind; delayed only because of neglect and abuse and not due to lack of intelligence. Little Harry understands a lot more than he can express at this age.
Please let me know what you think. There will only be a few nods toward canon in the book, the most important being his relationship with Ginny & his friendship with Hermione.
I don't have a beta on this one, so if you see any glaring errors, or want to question something, shoot me a PM. I am disabling anonymous reviews. If you want to say something to me, have the nerve to admit who you are.