Well, this is it! The sequel to A Place To Call Home! I hope you enjoy and sorry for taking so long to get it up!
Disclaimer: I get tired of writing these so I'm only going to say it once. I do NOT own Harry Potter. As you all could tell.
Chapter One- The Changeling Child
The waxing moon shone upon the breast of the steep hill. The trees whispered in the gentle summer breeze which carried the smell of honeysuckle and fresh air along the narrow country lanes. Somewhere in the distance, an owl coed and swooped down, having spotted its prey.
The blue, grey moonlight travelled down a narrow lane, that was lined with dandelions and thick patches of scrubby grass, littered with the occasional thatch of buttercups and thick, dry mud that had dried in the summer heat.
Further down, seemingly popping out of nowhere, a house stood tall and proud. It was more house than cottage with its cobbled walls and brown lattice fencing which stood either side of the front door, honeysuckle growing in rhythmic patterns.
Inside, the house was in darkness, save for the light of a single candle that sat upon the bedside of a teenage boy. Said teenage boy was tossing and turning in his bed, face screwed up in anguish as his limbs became entangled within the blankets. One hand clutched at the blankets, screwing them up and the other twitched as if he was fighting away invisible attackers.
He whimpered and mumbled, lost in the fitful dreams of the horrors he had experienced. The boy was Harry Potter. Just last month, Harry had been the victim of a malicious kidnapping. The kidnapping in question had been undertaken by Lord Voldemort, most evil wizard in the history of the wizarding world.
Harry had escaped with his life, but barely. He had been in a coma for nearly a week and then had to face the harsh reality of what had happened. Also, his close friend, Cedric had been hit with a spell that simulated death and they had yet to find the counter curse to reawaken him. Ever since the incident, Harry had been faced with horrific nightmares and flashbacks that left him gasping for breath.
Nobody said it but they all knew. Harry had changed. A changeling child.
The whimpers grew in volume, reaching a crescendo. Any moment now, he would start screaming but still would not reawaken. Any moment now, Sirius, Harry's godfather would burst in and desperately try to rouse the traumatised teen. Then, like most nights, they would go downstairs and Sirius would vainly try to get Harry to talk.
Almost on cue, a loud scream tore at Harry's throat and the sound of a door banging open down the hallway echoed through the house, followed by thundering footsteps and the click of a light switch. The door flew open and the yellow, artificial light flooded into the room, framing Sirius Black in the doorway, looking distinctly ruffled.
He paused for a moment. Eyes dark with sadness before he rushed over and perched himself upon the edge of Harry's bed. He reached out and shook his godsons warm shoulder. Je shook gently.
"Come on, Harry. Wake up. It's all right, you're safe," Sirius begged in a loud but soothing voice.
Harry took no notice as he continued to writhe and flail in his bed, batting frantically at his blankets and kicking out at something that Sirius could not see. His young face was bathed in sweat and his clothes clung to his back like a second skin.
"Cedric, Mum. No," Harry whimpered, arching his back.
Sirius' heart broke but he remained strong as he continued to try and rouse Harry.
"C'mon, Mate. It's just a dream. Wake up for me, Harry," Sirius' voice cracked and he had to blink away the dewy moisture that had developed there.
Harry shuddered and sat up suddenly, taking Sirius by surprise. Wild eyes surveyed every corner of the room, as if searching for some attacker. His hair was tousled and stuck up at the back like he'd spent the night running his hands through it, he was violently shaking and took several large gulps of oxygen before slumping against his pillows and running a shaky hand over his eyes.
"'M sorry, I woke you up." Harry mumbled, not opening his eyes, knowing Sirius was there.
"I was already awake," Sirius lied. "how are you feeling?"
Harry shrugged but didn't answer. In all honesty, he felt terrified. He spent every waking minute jumping at the smallest noise and trying to avoid people. It was as if the people he once loved and trusted were out to get him and it scared him.
"Do you want to talk about it, yet?" Sirius asked, already knowing the answer.
"No," Harry shook his head.
Harry felt immensely grateful that Sirius wasn't pushing him to talk. He just didn't feel ready. If he opened his mouth and spilled his guts, the memories would assault him and he wasn't sure he'd get through the other side alive. No, it was better to just forget. Or try to, at least.
"How about a cup of tea?" Sirius suggested, looking careworn and jaded.
Slowly, Harry nodded. A cup of tea wouldn't hurt. It helped to relax him. He followed Sirius from his dark bedroom out into the harshly lit hallway and down the stairs. His feet stuck to the cold linoleum as he padded across the kitchen and seated himself on a chair.
Sirius had his back to him, shoulders hunched as he clattered around making tea. Outside an owl hooted, causing Harry to jump out of his skin and clutch at the table in fear. Clear as day, a flashback ripped through him like a tsunami.
He was bound and gagged to the headstone. He could taste the damp material of the gag and feel the ropes digging into him, cutting off his circulation. A cold breeze ruffled his hair and tickled his exposed neck and he thought he might vomit as the cold stares of Voldemort's men focused on him through the masks. Through the gloom, stepped a man many had believed to be dead.
He felt Sirius' hand on his shoulder, warm and heavy and somehow reassuring. He jerked himself from the flashback and offered Sirius a weak grin. It made his face ache to do so but he offered one nonetheless.
Sirius plonked the steaming mug in front of him and sat opposite him at the thick, scrubbed table, watching as he sipped the scalding liquid. Harry could see the question in his eyes. The worry. The pity. He knew that Sirius – and Remus – both wanted to know what had happened in that graveyard, they'd heard it before but they wanted to hear it again.
He couldn't. He couldn't tell them. The horrors that he'd experienced in that graveyard were not to be repeated. It was bad enough that he had random flashbacks, that every noise set him on edge and he had scarily realistic nightmares without bringing it up in his few moments of respite as well.
Harry clutched the mug to his chest, watching as the steam rose from the cup in dizzying spirals, just visible in the crepuscular light of the kitchen. Moonlight filtered through a crack in the yellow curtains and Harry found himself focusing on that, anything to get away from his thoughts.
"Harry, I," Sirius began.
"I want to go see Cedric," Harry muttered, placing the untouched tea on the table and looking into Sirius' eyes.
Sirius' face fell. He rubbed his neck uncomfortably and cleared his throat. It was obvious that Sirius wasn't comfortable with the idea. A low buzzing had filled the room, combined with the tweeting of the birds as the sun slowly rose over the fields and bled life into the dark house.
"Harry," Sirius said uncomfortably, "I'd love to take you to see Cedric. But don't you think it's too soon?"
Harry frowned moodily and pushed the mug away from him. Tea sloshed over the sides and onto the table. It would probably leave a stain. Harry found that he didn't care very much. He scowled and looked down at the mess he'd created.
"Yeah, yeah. It's too soon, I get it. I need time to heal!" Harry spat, clenching his fist. "have you never stopped for just one second, Sirius to think that I need this. I did this to Cedric. It's my fault he's in a coma."
He didn't know where the rage was coming from but found that he couldn't stop it. It was like it had all built up over time and he was just now ready to blow his top, Merlin help anyone who gets in his way.
"Harry, you know that's not true. It was Voldemort's fault, Voldemort's not yours. You need to stop blaming yourself,"
Far from calming him, as Harry imagined what Sirius was going for, this enraged Harry. A great ball of anger burnt in Harry's gut and refused to be dislodged.
"I don't need to do anything," Harry yelled, standing up abruptly and sending his chair clattering to the ground.
Sirius winced and stood up, making his way slowly to the teenager who was slowly backing towards the door, breathing heavily and sweating profusely.
"Look, I didn't mean it like that, Harry. Sit down, we can talk. Or just sit, whatever you want, I'm here for-,"
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY YOU'RE HERE FOR ME! DON'T YOU DARE. DIDN'T YOU KNOW, SIRIUS, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE FOR ME USUALLY END UP DEAD!"
The door burst open and Remus rushed in, sandy hair dishevelled and one pyjama leg riding up, revealing several inches of hairy leg. He looked from Harry, who was breathing heavily and looking at Sirius as if he would murder him and to Sirius himself, who looked at a loss of what to do. His arms were held up in a placating manner and his warm eyes held hurt and concern. A potent mix.
"What's going on in here?" Remus asked calmly.
"Nothing!" Harry glared at him and barged past, knocking his shoulder as he did so.
Moments later, his bedroom door slammed, shaking the house to its very roots. Sirius slowly sank down in a chair, beckoning a nonplussed Remus to do the same.
"What do I do, Remus? How do I help him?"
Remus shook his head. Honestly. He didn't know. Finally, he leant forward and fixed his eyes on Sirius.
"You fight for him, Sirius. You bring back the old Harry,"
Sirius nodded and said no more. Easier said than done, Remus, old friend. Fir Harry had changed rather harshly. The incident in that maze had taken the Harry they all knew and loved and replaced him with an alien.
A changeling child.
Short chapter but it's only the prologue. Next chapter might take a while but it might not. Stay tuned for more!