A/n: Hi there, I'm Aoiika. Welcome to my HP fanfic.
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His Heart Broke
His heart broke. It did really. Yes in fact, it hurt. He thought so. He felt it.
He felt like he was about to cry. But he had to go just a little bit further…just a little more…
Complete and utter silence.
He'd finally done it.
The boy snapped the book shut and looked around his small but cosy room, all the while running his little fingers through his wild raven-black hair. The little raven tried to reassure himself. He was back into his world, back to his reality. He had loved the book he'd plunged into only the day before. He had read it all in a matter of hours, but the ending had ripped him apart. His favourite character, the wise magician, had come to die in the last chapter.
Little raven lay the book carefully on his bed and stood up to stretch his legs. He'd been crouched over the pages for so long. He'd even spent the greatest part of the night sitting on his cold and narrow windowsill to catch the light from the streetlamps, in order to keep on reading without needing his lights on. If he'd used his bedside lamp, his parents would've noticed and scolded him and told him to go to sleep. But he knew he could not have gone to sleep with the unfinished story still playing in his mind.
He walked back to that window. It was around noon, but the sun was nowhere to be seen. It was just another day in England. Grey skies, wind, rain. But the raven didn't mind. It was perfect weather for reading. He wished he could plunge back into the book, but it was over now. And he did not want to go into a world without the wise magician. He still could not believe he had died.
His eyes prickled again at the thought. At least no one died in reality, he reminded himself, everything is all right. He decided he needed to get out of his room. He slowly and silently descended the stairs, down into the living room where a young adult man was comfortably seated, reading a book of his own with a cup of steaming coffee by his side. The man had the same erratic hair as the raven, the same smart gaze, also framed by glasses.
"Harry, sweety." Called a young woman as she entered the living room from the kitchen. She crouched down to eye-level with the seven-year old. Her green eyes were a mirror image of the child's. "Aren't you reading your book? You were so into it before." The loving woman ran her fingers through the boy's pitch-black hair, trying to keep it neatly behind his ears, and failing. She gave up with a sigh and turned to her husband.
"I finished it." The little raven answered his mother.
"Already?" His father looked up, his attention finally caught.
The small raven nodded. He hoped he would get a new book. He still had three weeks of holiday left before the new school year started, and he didn't want to waste a minute of it. He never wanted to stop reading.
"Shall I give you mine then?" His father smiled and offered the book he was holding. Little raven's eyes widened as he looked at it; it was huge. It seemed to be as thick as it was long.
"James!" The green-eyed woman scolded, putting her hands on her waist. "Tolstoy is not reading material for children!"
"I wasn't serious Lily honey." The man responded with a charming smile, as if he'd done it hundreds of times before. "What kind of book would you like to read next, Harry?" He addressed his son with a proud look and waved for him to join him on the couch. Lily Potter also followed and sat on her son's other side.
Little raven was entranced by the big book in his father's hands, impressed that his father had already read more than half of it. If he would read it, it would take him ages. But his imagination went wild when he thought about the amount of information stored in there. What a fantastic world it must be!
"Your mother is right, Harry." James Potter said as he noticed his son's interest. "This book is for when you're a bit older. We'll take you to the store tomorrow and you can pick out anything you like."
"We're spoiling him too much." Lily said as her hands reached for the raven's hair again. She seemed unable to leave it alone. But her adoring smile showed she was not annoyed by it. Quite the opposite: she was charmed.
"I know." James agreed, but looked equally unable to stop the spoiling.
The raven was much too exhilarated to notice. He was already looking forward to tomorrow. But he didn't think he could wait. He wanted to go now, buy a pile of books higher than him so he could read all holiday. He wanted to sit on his windowsill every night. It wasn't comfortable, but there was something so exciting about it. It was as if he got even more pulled into the pages by the surrounding darkness.
"You have to go to work tomorrow though." Lily addressed her husband.
James slapped his forehead. "Oh, I completely forgot. Sorry, son, you'll have to wait until I'm back."
The raven's desperate glistening eyes looked up at his father, who seemed to be having a very hard time resisting. A smile stretched from ear to ear as he recognized those eyes. He looked up to his wife to find the exact same green orbs.
"Could you take him?" He asked.
"I have to go see…you know." She threw a furtive glance at her son, afraid he might understand more than she wanted. He was such a bright boy. "I'll leave him with Mrs. Figg for a few hours. By the time I'll be back you'll be almost home. It'll be nicer if we all go."
"Ah, yes." James nodded, seemingly agreeing that his wife's 'business' with a certain someone was important, and that a family outing to the bookstore would be better.
Everyone was silent for a while. Little raven felt a perceptible heaviness settling over the trio. Ever since he could remember, moments like these had occurred. His parents spoke about vague things, and then they would become tense and silent. He knew not to ask them anything then.
It was chicken with vegetables and rice for dinner that evening. The little raven liked rice, but the chicken was dry and the vegetables were slightly burnt and mushy. His father had once whispered to him when he was still in kindergarten: "Your mom isn't a very good cook, but don't tell her that, okay?"
But the raven couldn't know, because he'd never tasted anyone else's cooking. He always ate packed lunches at school or at Mrs. Figg's house, and he was never allowed to go play at a classmates' house. His parents always kept an eye on him, except when he was at school or with Mrs. Figg. They had always said he would understand the reason for that when he was older.
Sometimes, James played with his son outside, playing hide and seek, or teaching him to ride a bicycle. But he did not have that much free time, and certainly not during the holidays, when the raven boy was always at home. So he'd taught him how to read early on, pushing him to improve his skills until he was able to read entire books in just over a day, at just 6 years of age, when his classmates had only just started learning the alphabet. The little raven could pass his time lost in stories when no one had time for him, and he had no playmates.
The little raven picked at his food. Lily and James had retreated to the kitchen after ordering him to finish his plate. That happened regularly too, like the tense silences. It was nothing unusual for the raven, it had always been like that. He asked no questions about it.
He didn't want to finish the chicken though. He had to chew every bit for several minutes before he could swallow it, and even then it felt like a big pill was travelling down his throat. He threw a conspiring glance at the kitchen door. Maybe he could quickly deposit his plate in the sink while his parents weren't looking. He knew they wouldn't call him back to finish once he'd already gone to his room.
He slipped of his chair quietly, took his plate in one hand and the cutlery in the other, and tiptoed to the door. He carefully turned the knob and slipped inside. He was good at this. That's why the goblins had never been able to find him.
"But what if Riddle finds us this time?" The raven heard his mother hiss the word 'riddle'. Doesn't she like riddles? He wondered. He liked riddles, they were fun and mysterious.
"Calm down, Lily." His father responded while he rubbed her arm soothingly. "I won't let him come anywhere near Harry…" He broke off suddenly when his eyes fell on the raven's wild feathers. "Harry!" He exclaimed.
The raven cringed. His father sounded angry. He stopped in his tracks with his plate still in his hand and the piece of chicken still left on it. Would they make him eat it?
James stepped over to his son and took the plate and cutlery from his hands. "It's rude to listen to people's private conversations, Harry!" He said sternly. The raven didn't dare look up at this cold gaze. "Now go brush your teeth. I don't want to see you anymore tonight."
Little raven did as he was told. He was much too scared of his father when he was like that.
He was in his bed, shuddering at the memory of his father's disappointment and anger. Would the excursion to the bookstore be put off because of this? Would he have to pass the rest of the holiday without any new stories?
Luckily, James entered his room before the little raven could go to sleep, and sat down on the small bed with a sigh. He took off his son's glasses and put them delicately on the bedside table.
"You must understand, son, your mom and I need to talk about serious things. We don't want you to hear them just yet." Little raven nodded eagerly; anything to make his father pleased and proud of him again.
Mr. Potter smiled, though it looked like a slightly saddened expression, and stroked the raven's soft pitch-black feathers. "Be good from now on, and we'll go to the store tomorrow." The raven nodded frantically. He was relieved he would still get to go to the bookstore.
"I love you, son." James said as he kissed the boy's forehead and retreated to the door, where his wife had been standing. Lily advanced to the bed and also left the softest kiss on the raven's forehead. "I love you." She whispered, and the raven closed his eyes to savour the feeling. He thought he could recognise his mother and father's lips among millions, just by touch.
The day didn't end so badly after all.
The next morning could not arrive soon enough. By the time the sun was up, the little raven was already fidgeting in his bed, wide awake. When his father got up, he went downstairs to have breakfast and see him off as he left for work.
His father worked at a car company. He made the cars. Well, he did not make them himself, but he drew them on paper and then other people made it for him. That's what the raven had always told his classmates.
He'd also told that his mother worked in a place called 'laboratory'. His classmates had never believed him, because they thought he'd invented the name, like he sometimes invented countries and boasted about having seen strange creatures over there. They had trouble even pronouncing the word 'laboratory'.
The raven didn't care. He knew it was true. He had seen the place. It was a very large building, with lots of big rooms, filled with stone tables and shelves, glass tubes of all shapes and sizes and big machines that made soft noises. And people walked around in long white coats. Some even had funny plastic glasses on, nothing like the ones he wore himself.
Little raven had loved it there. It had looked like another world entirely. But his mother had told him he could not enter the rooms, because there were dangerous things inside. It had immediately sparked his curiosity. He started imagining goblins and dragons and other creatures living in the big machines and making the noise. And the liquids with the funny colours in the tubes looked like potions made by someone like the wise magician from his book.
"Don't worry. The day will be over before you know it." James Potter told his son as he walked out the door and gave him a last hug. "You won't have to wait long for your books. Promise me you'll always be so keen on reading." He said with an amused smile. "Read as much as you can."
Little raven nodded. He could imagine nothing better than reading. And his father being so proud he could read so well and so quickly already made him even more eager to continue.
"Good." His father said as he ruffled his hair. "It's the best way to learn and broaden your mind."
"Go brush your teeth and get dressed, sweety." Lily instructed her son once they'd come back inside from watching James' car turn around the corner. "I'll pack you a lunch to eat with Mrs. Figg today. Make sure you share."
"I don't like it there." The raven protested. He wasn't happy about the arrangement. "Her cats always scratch me."
Lily crouched down to play with the raven's feather-like hair again. "I told you, you have to approach them slowly." Her eyes sparkled with the glint of an idea. "It's like a dragon, or a sphinx. You have to go very slowly and carefully, so as not to spook them."
"Really? They're scared of me?" The raven wondered. He didn't want the cats to be scared.
"Yes, more than you are of them. I'll show you how to handle them when we get there, all right? Then you can practice all the time that I'm gone."
"Okay!" The raven enthused. The idea of a new mission, a quest to tame Mrs. Figg's sphinxes and dragons sounded exciting. He quickly went up the stairs to get ready for the adventure.
All day long, the little raven did as his mother had shown him, moving very slowly towards the cats in Mrs. Figg's living room. He shuffled closer on the couch, moving an inch every few minutes. It was with incredible patience that he managed to stroke three of the seven cats by the end of the day. He was so proud and he wanted to tell his mother about his success. He was practically jumping up and down when the clock on the wall showed five o'clock in the afternoon. He would soon be able to tell her, and then when his father came home, they'd all go to the bookstore and he could get a book twice as large as the one his father was reading. He'd decided he wanted a book with thousands of pages.
Finally, the bell rang.
"Could you get that, Harry, dear." Mrs. Figg instructed. She was quite an old woman and getting up from her chair took a long time. "That will be your mother." She sounded relieved that her job was over.
The little raven flew off the couch and to the front door. He opened it with a smile plastered on his face. Mom! He thought with enthusiasm.
He wasn't sure. It was his mother, but something was wrong. She didn't look like his mom at all. Her green eyes were so wide with horror that he could see all the white around her irises. Her mouth seemed set in an eternal scream. Her fingers were fixed like claws and covered in red, like a monster's ready to attack him. Lily fell to her knees on the porch. Her eyes relaxed and began to flood with salty water as she looked at her son, her own little raven.
"Is it your mother?" Mrs. Figg's voice came from the living room. But Harry didn't hear. He could not take away his eyes from the woman. He could not move his feet, nor remove his hands from the door. He had read many scary stories, but never in his life had he been more terrified than at that moment. It left his mind blank.
But soon, the green eyes that mirrored his, emptied. They no longer held any sparkle. The last tears escaped, and the woman's body slumped to the ground, revealing a gaping, bloody hole in her back. Harry still couldn't move, couldn't breathe. And inside, his heart shattered.
Blue and red flashing lights. Loud sirens. Incomprehensible questions. Overwhelming confusion. Impenetrable denial.
Harry had left Mrs. Figg's house. He was home. But it wasn't home. The house was filled with strangers. The alien faces looked like unfriendly creatures to him, crawling around and sticking their noses in his parent's things. A young and stern woman was sitting next to him on the couch, where his mother had sat the day before. She had made him tea, but he hadn't drunk it. She had given him biscuits, but he hadn't eaten them. Nothing could get past his throat. Nothing could come in, and no words could come out.
"How are you feeling, Harry?" The woman said. But she seemed distant and cold. Harry didn't like her. He ignored her question.
It had been dark for a long time already when someone else, an older man with a lined face, came to talk to him.
"I'm sorry, boy, but your father won't be coming home either."
Harry looked up from his untouched teacup. A questioning, desperate and anguished look reflected in the green eyes that were his mother's.
The older man made a sound in between a sigh and a grunt and lowered himself to sit on the low table in front of Harry. "You're life has changed, lad. You won't see either of your parents again." He said with pity in his eyes.
Harry ran upstairs, threw himself under his covers and hugged his book with all his might. If only he could melt into the pages. If only he could go to a place where his heart wasn't breaking, a place where he would still have a heart to begin with.
But none of that happened. No longer a little raven; from now on, Harry would have to live with a mutilated heart.