AN: So, here goes my first try at fanfiction. I will ask for reviews but warn everybody: I won't change plot elements even if I admit they don't make sense, mostly because a lot is already written and I don't have the willpower to rework it all. However, I'm not the asshole you think I am after reading this sentence, so I'll still try to make thing better as it goes on.
On another note, this is the prologue, and it might send a wrong wave, so I'll say it: things get better after that. The next will be chapter 2 just so it doesn't clash with the chapter selector and drive everyone crazy.
Of course, I don't own any of Harry Potter, not a single hair, so all rights belong to Rowling, etc.
Too Young to Die.
"Why do mom and dad hate us?"
I should lie to her. I should tell her that's wrong and our parents like us but are just bad at showing it.
But I couldn't. I can't and I won't lie to her. There was no use in denying it at this point, anyway.
"I don't know Natasha, I really don't." I slipped my arms around her and hugged her, this was going to be one of the hard nights.
While I felt her starting to sob in my shirt, her tiny body shrinking in my grasp, I remembered my own revelation about my parents.
No, about Lily and James.
I had been five, three years and a few months ago, when the Potter family had gone to the Quidditch cup hosted in France. Along with the memories of that particular time of my life immediately came back the anger, the hatred I've harbored all my life for Lily and James, tearing through the polite mask I usually wore since I had understood that crying and yelling would only make things worse.
The sky was clear of clouds and the sun shone over the crowd like dragon fire in a pitch-black cave. It was a summer day as summerish as they get, way too hot and way too moist, without more than a breath worth of wind.
The enchanted corridors and pathways blew as much chill air as they could but even professional enchantments like these had a hard time countering ten thousand excited witches and wizards shouting and sweating profusely. Like those numerous people, we were eagerly waiting in the seats for the pre-match show to begin.
Natasha was crying and wiggling around in my mom's arms, Dad was talking to Zach and I had a glass of pumpkin juice. Broom riders flew all over the place, writing advertisements in the sky with magical smoke, or shouting with a sonorus on, some were chased by the security, obviously not being allowed to be in the sky.
This is the best day of my life. I though, amazed by everything I could lay my eyes upon.
There were so many people outside of the house, so many things to see, to hear and to smell. The shopkeeper even asked me if I wanted something when my parents bought my brother an ice cream. Just like that, I got a glass of juice.
What a wonderful day.
The juice was making me want to go to the loo, but I couldn't go alone. "The match will begin in thirty minutes, thirty minutes" announced the loud voice in the amphitheater while a huge ferret-faced woman flew over me on her flying carpet, an omnicular vendor from what I could see.
Thirty minutes? I should go to the toilet now so we don't miss a single second of the match.
"Dad?" I shouted it once again to really get his attention, "Dad?"
"Harry I am telling one of my Quidditch adventures to my son, can't it wait?" he looks mad at me. I shouldn't have interrupted him like that.
"I need to go to the loo."
"He has a point, honey. Better use the loo while we have the time. Zachary, do you need to go to the loo? It's now or never." insisted Lily, still busy manipulating my sister.
Zachary isn't very smart sometimes, he didn't even listen to mom before saying no. For him, right at this moment, nothing mattered more than the pre-match show on the pitch, consisting mostly of a band playing a song louder than all the mess in the sky above them, which was a feat in itself.
Dad looked like he forgot about my request, he was back to telling his story to Zachary who was obviously not listening.
"Mum, can you bring me to the loo?" I really needed to go now.
"James, take Harry to the loo before its starts."
"Alright alright, I'll take care of it!"
We walked for a good fifteen minutes until we finally found the toilets. The voice called for the spectators to get ready, the match was to begin in ten minutes.
I got in the loo and did my business as fast as I could, not noticing any of the fancy moving advertisements cleverly carved in the walls at eye level. I really don't want to give Dad another reason to scold me. I quickly rinsed my hands and got out of the toilets, the match hadn't started yet.
"Dad?" where is he?
I looked around and called again.
It was the day that really opened my eyes on Lily and James.
As far as I could remember I had always felt like I was a disappointment to my parents, like I didn't belong in this family. My parents rarely paid attention to me and it was more often than not to give an order, I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I was a bad child.
It was all about Zachary, the Boy-Who-Lived, the slayer of the Dark Lord, the Survivor.
He was the good boy. He was nice, his parents loved him more than anything and he loved them back. Not to mention he was undoubtedly made of light magic, as he survived the killing curse itself.
It took this special moment in my life to finally understand a crucial detail.
I hadn't done anything wrong. I wasn't a disgrace. My parents hated me for no reason at all.
Ten minutes left until the start of the match, a mere five minutes waiting for me to finish. He couldn't wait. He left me there, went back to the Potters. And nobody wondered where I had gone.
I had spent the entire match crying in the toilets because I couldn't find my way back on my own through this dense crowd of adult wizards, and the only thing that saved me from Merlin knows what could have happened was that witch that found me crying and brought me back after the match. She was shocked at Lily and James's reaction. "Oh my god I forgot, thank you so much". He forgot.
This day I had started hating them back.
I hated them for how they behaved, ignoring two of their children and giving their full attention only to Zachary, I hated them for not giving a chance to Natasha and I hated them for keeping us locked inside.
The Potter family had retired from the wizarding world after He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was vanquished. Zachary Potter had become more famous than Albus Dumbeldore himself, having survived an Avada Kedavra fired at point blank by one of the most powerful wizards in the world. This little tale made its way so fast across the globe, James and Lily had only one thing to do to preserve their son's healthiness - retreat from the wizarding world in a heavily warded house and raise him in a safe and closed environment.
And that is what they did. They raised Zachary.
Natasha and I, well, that's a whole different story. While I'm Zachary's twin, she is two years younger than us. And as much as I hate even thinking about it, it is a fact that Lily and James paid even less attention to her than to me.
I soon took it as my duty to take care of her. When we were really young, we were always together. Drawing, playing, eating, sleeping. She hated sleeping alone and I had to admit I slept better when she was here. Sometimes I wonder whether the fact that I was here for her influenced Lily and James into taking even less care of her. But I doubt they ever noticed how much they abandoned us. They only had eyes for Zachary.
Thinking once again about our shitty situation made my blood boil. My arms were shaking, I didn't notice the tears had begun to pour. Natasha was finally asleep.
I am her protector. I am her guardian. I am the only family she has and she is the only family I have. I didn't remember when I took this decision but I felt like it's been written in my mind since the very beginning of my existence.
As her elder by two years, I knew how she felt. I knew how unfair it sounded. How awful it was to see Zachary get a kiss every evening before going to bed when her parents didn't even stop to tell her good night.
So I helped her, I told her good night, I kissed her before she went to bed. I was here when she wanted to cry and I was here when she wanted to laugh. I took the blame for her mistakes when I could and I made sure she ate well. I raised her.
Natasha never succeeded in distancing herself like I was able to do, taking it and keeping it inside. I guess the two extra years played their role here. But no matter, I'll teach her. She'll be alright. She was my only reason to continue after all. I would have run away long ago if it wasn't for her.
Sometimes I wondered if I should have run away with her. The dream goes well, we escape, we find some place and we live happily far away from here. But then reality kicks the door and rapes everything in the dream shack.
I don't even have wand after all... There were too much impossibilities to actually consider it. Money, food, laws, magic, everything was against us.
Slowly, I was falling asleep too. Only her sweet and warm presence prevented my dreams from starting with a bloody scene of me ripping Lily's eyes out of their sockets and setting them on my bed table to force her to look at me and Nat. When she's with me, I can finally dream. A beautiful mountain. The snow is shining like it is under the divine light of a god descending from the skies. I'm falling asleep.
"Zachary hurry up, we're going to miss it." called James from the living room.
Zachary's eleventh birthday was in two months. As was mine but who remembers that, anyway?
Being eleven was the most special age in our world. We were going to Hogwarts in two months. Finally. How many times did I read "Hogwarts Stories" to Natasha? How many times did I tell her how Hogwarts was our exit, our chance to finally get away from this "family"? Every time we talked about it she had these sparkles in her eyes.
This hope I could read on her face was the same that had fuelled me those last months. Finally, I'll be at Hogwarts, far away from Lily and James, hopefully in a different house than Zachary. Finally I will be able to live.
Natasha still had two years to wait. It will be hard but she changed a lot, she'll be alright. I'll wait for her at Hogwarts.
I knocked on her door.
"You ready, princess? I doubt James is going to wait for us."
"I still don't get how we got a ticket in the first place" she laughed while opening the door.
It was indeed surprising, when James and Lily announced to Zachary that they were going to see dragons for his birthday, I never expected Natasha or me to be included in the trip. But it wasn't the first time such thing happened, sometimes James and Lily simply surprised us.
"Let's try to not over think it and just enjoy the show, okay?"After all, if they wanted to get rid of us, they had countless opportunities to do so before.
"You get prettier everyday" I smiled to her. She was wearing the necklace I gifted her on her eighth birthday six month ago. Lily and James had forgotten it. It was the first time they ever forgot something this important. Even if the gifts were very few -one at each occurrence actually- and rather forgettable, they had never forgot a birthday until then. I don't want to remember this day. At least she loved my gift, she often wear it.
A blue opal, like her eyes. Her eye colour always made me wish she wasn't actually Lily's daughter and she would eventually find her real mother.
For me there's no escape though, eyes even greener than Lily's, not a snowball's chance in hell.
The thought brought a grin on my face, I had polished my dark humour well over the years, this kind of thoughts would probably have made me angry a couple years sooner.
Eight years in this place and you matured enough to at least take your apparating lessons, in my opinion. The difference between Natasha and Zachary was enough proof. I wanted to mark this year as the year she had become a young lady and not a kid anymore, hence the jewel.
"Well, I do try. If I'm pretty enough, maybe an Indian slave merchant will take me away from mum." She looked perfectly serious, which was a bit weird on such a young face.
Damn she learns quick. I may be creating a monster. I would have liked to take all the credit for her dark humour capacities but she was actually some kind of a natural.
"Being traded as a slave sounds better than being here to you? I feel sort of rejected." I told her, trying to actually look rejected even while smiling.
She looked at me with her eyes wet. I paused in confusion. Is she playing with me or did I really fuck up and made her cry, somehow?
"Except you're gone in two months", she started sobbing, "...all alone in here with only mum and dad to ignore me and nobody to take care of me..."
I guess I did fuck up.
I sighed, "You've really become a princess haven't you. What happened to the strong and independent young lady I've lived with?" a little cheek always cheer her up.
"Oh shut it!" she leaned into me, hugging me like it was my departure to the eternal land of the elves or something.
As I hugged her I did my best to engrave her perfume and the feeling of her touch in my mind. Whatever happens in Hogwarts, I won't forget her.
"I'll miss you so much." I whispered in her hair in a spurt of sincerity. "But we still got two months together so chill out. Now let's go, I see The Survivor coming out of his lair." I sniggered, eyeing our brother walking toward us.
His hair were perfectly done, probably by Lily. He looked like a perfectly balanced mix between Lily and James, he had the overall James face but rounded up to Lily's softer features. His hair were dark brown, with a shiny red tone to it. His eyes were James' eyes, a greyish brown. He was the same height as me and that was about the only resemblance. I had James' face but even squarer, without any trace of Lily in it except for the eyes. I hated those eyes. My hair was darker than black and always messy. I didn't want it otherwise anyway, it served the purpose of making my face look a bit less noble and Potter-ish. Indeed, I looked frighteningly like some of the old Potter paintings, only younger.
Zach looked at us. "What are you two up to this time? I'll tell mum and dad next time you call me like that."
Zachary wasn't mean to us. While he was a god among ants, he sometimes looked jealous of the relationship between me and our sister. The god wanted to play with the ants. Often he would join us when we were drawing or playing in the garden, but it was like Lily and James couldn't stand letting him "alone" with us for more than a couple minutes and had to entertain him themselves.
He suffered from it as well, but any comments he had made about it to Lily and James were forgotten as quickly as anything concerning us.
"Zachary, are you ready yet?" James cut my thoughts, calling from down the stairs.
Without any more comments we got downstairs, Zachary first, almost jumping with the sudden excitement that filled him when he heard James.
Once in the living room, everyone grabbed the letter portkey and waited for the clock's biggest needle to finish its turn. Zachary couldn't stop blabbering about the dragons and how awesome it was going to be, I could see he was getting Natasha excited. I was getting really agitated too, after having read the whole library at least once on my own and a second time with Natasha, I knew enough about the convention to know that it was going to be a blast.
The place we were going was in reality much more than just a dragon show. The Divandian Goods Convention was a very old tradition in the wizarding world, nobody really remembered how it started and where did the name Divandian come from but now it was some sort of huge worldwide known wizarding marketplace. Everything important and magical had its place here, be it a potion master showing his last brews or a goblin weaponsmith exhibiting his last enchanted daggers, this convention was the place to be during these two weeks once every eight years.
One of the usually most waited shows was the Zalodieck's Dragon Show, an art passed down the Zalodieck family since 1777, renowned for the majesty of the dragons and their amazing stunts.
Tick. It was two o'clock. Portugal, here I come. The portkey activated, making the letter a conduit for such a huge amount of magic the enchanted piece of paper started burning as my vision twisted. After a few seconds of having my body forced through time and space, I fell on the ground like a soulless piece of cloth. I had used portkeys only twice in my life and I could tell I was not about to reiterate for the pleasure of it. Zachary had fallen headfirst and still had grass on his lips but the excitement in his eyes overrode any other command his brain could have sent.
While I helped Natasha up, I gazed upon the spectacle before our eyes.
Holy mole from hell, well if I was looking for a place to run away to...
Maybe a hundred yards from us stood a city made of lights and colours, the buildings (or were they just stands?) all had different shapes, some taller, some wider and some even changing shape as I processed this. A building looked wide enough to contain three time our house while a bunch of little buildings around it looked too little to even handle more than a mouse. The streets were crowded with witches, wizards, magical creatures, half-breeds and others. Countless things were flying in the sky through the columns of coloured smoke and light rays. I could spot a silver train slithering between the buildings without any trace of pattern, like a giant snake trying to catch a fly, at a speed defying any top class racing broom.
The weather wasn't that great anywhere else but important meteorological wards must have been set all over the place because there was a huge hole in the grey clouds just over the temporary town, making a nice light blue ring in the sky and letting the sun feed his rays to everyone.
"This is the most beautiful thing ever." muttered Natasha like it was a fact. But I couldn't really argue there, this had to be the most beautiful thing ever.
As we followed the lead of James an Lily toward the entry, we discovered more and more amazing things, every yard we walked came with a bunch of unseen, crazy things.
"Look! Those have to be vampires!" a group of vampires were walking toward the convention from our left, black clothes and white skin, dark jewels and swordsmen bodyguards.
They walked like kings, like in old stories. The lesser demons didn't usually show themselves in such crowded areas, that showed how much this place was important.
"Oh my god harry, I think this is an unicorn" she yelled the second she caught a glimpse of the majestic creature in a street, a white so pure my eyes caught it too, even so far away.
Finally, we got to the entry, and used the VIP line, which was empty at the moment. Of course Lord Potter was not to use the common line and it seemed to make James happy to use his lord status for once, since they would pass unnoticed in such a big and amazing place anyway there was no use in using false names.
Once inside, we made a bit of walking around without a real purpose, trying to watch and hear everything around us.
There was no order of things, all merchants and inventors were stacked without any sort of order, from the famous amulet craftswoman from Tibet who was quietly waiting for potential customers to come and ask about her products to the big moustached "gargoyle-cutting" weapon seller shouting over the crowd the merits of his swords and war axes, there was too much to see, my mind couldn't jump from a stand to a totally unrelated other stand so quickly without releasing a unhealthy dose of natural tranquillizer in my brain.
We came to a pause on a bench after maybe half an hour of it. My head was numb and I could even feel my magic vibrating with all of the magic this place was saturated with.
While Lily and James had told a number of things to Zachary during the walk, Nat and me were content enough with trying to see everything at the same time and we didn't talk at all.
"So, what do you think of all of this? If Hogwarts is half this crazy, I might die from excitement." I asked.
"I can't believe there are so much things!" she said enthusiastically, whipping her head to me, "I've never even heard about a Splinch-Retreiver! Or about the curse of the Ottoman Bat! And how come there are so many enchantments on brooms like the optimized water redistribution one they showed off at Nimbus' stand, that thing was unbelievable!" at this point she stopped looking at me and was staring in the air in front of her, making motions with her hands like she was explaining me how to wrestle with a wild cat, "Can you believe they actually had to enchant each twig according to its density before they came up with this arithmetic manipulation about-"
I couldn't help but grin at her enthusiasm. I knew she would love this place. This is what she deserves, to be happy. It was one of the rare moments her smile was a true, happy one.
"Yeah I watched that too but I'll be honest it was way beyond me, I mean, when he got to the part where he presented this prototype of broom where the twigs are connected to the body by microscopic golden lines, I couldn't follow anymore."
I was about to precise why this prototype thing was way too crazy for my comprehension of magic and brooms when Zach cut me by standing from the bench and turning to my parents.
"Okay, now the dragons!" It was a command more than anything. "We watched things and... stuff enough, now it's time for the dragons."
Lily smiled at him like he just got transfigured into a cute little baby seal.
"Don't worry we will see the dragons, the Zalodieck show is in about half an hour we'll just drop by the Potions Master Thompson's stand and then we'll get to the dragons."
It was clear to everybody that Lily wasn't about to let go this potion thing since potions experimentation was her second passion after her son, but James made it even clearer to Zach by making an exaggerated motion behind Lily meaning something along the lines of "don't even think about making a scene or she'll become real scary and we'll end up at the potion stand anyway". My brother obviously got the message and let out a weak "okay".
Ten minutes later we were at Thompson's stand, observing potions and the descriptions of what they were. Lily made a beeline to Thompson himself and greeted him as a potions master herself, they soon launched into a potions masters only conversation.
I walked to a random phial and read the paper standing beside it.
The Myrkviôrian Concoction – To be taken by oral way. Makes the forces of nature and more precisely of the forest (plants, animals, magical beings) more keen to protect or to at least not hurt one. Invented in year 1991 by J. . Can be coupled with the Draught of the Faunal Leader and/or Druidic Runes to gain better control on the force of the forest. Duration 2 hours for 4oz on a average 40 years old wizard.
The different potions sounded more or less useful but they all sounded like heavy stuff, this Thompson guy was no second zone potion master, I could understand why Lily wanted to meet him so much. He wasn't excessively old by wizard's standards, maybe around eighty but it was difficult to say. His face was long and beardy, he wore a cyan robe and had a little phial filled with green stuff on a silver chain around his neck.
While he was talking with Lily I caught some sentences.
"... harvested moondust with a fellow Egyptian wizard, very dangerous stuff, the magical backlash would be incredible ..." he then pointed a barrel on his left, "... warded by the chief warder himself but he didn't find the time so I did it myself but I'm no warder ..." I stopped trying to listen because I didn't even know about moondust and I really couldn't see how would one harvest anything from the moon.
I went over to Natasha who was at the moment eying a phial containing a brew about as black and deep as space.
The Shadow FeedingPotion - STILL UNDER EXPERIMENTATIONS – VERY DANGEROUS – To be taken by oral way. Gives the user a new sense called shadow sense. Enables the user to glean information from shadow and in a measure to control shadows. Developed in year 1985 by J. and "The Salamander". However the information are still very hard to understand for the wizard brain. Risks of death by brain shut down in response of foreign information. Duration an hour for 4oz on an average 40 years old wizard.
"Holy fudge Nat, what the hell did you find?" I was half-joking half-shocked at what I had just read.
"I know right, this is incredible, can you even believe that." she muttered under her breath as if the potion would force itself down her throat if she talked aloud.
"In my mind state right now, I would believe anything." I shrugged, laughing, "I even heard them talking about moondust, seriously, moondust!".
"Dad, we're gonna miss the dragons if we don't hurry" Zach, however, had found absolutely no interest in the potion stand and was impatiently looking at his wristwatch every five minutes, moaning about missing the dragons.
This is when it happened.
"The dragons? Kid if you're talking about the Zalodieck show, I'm sorry but it's about to be over, it started an hour early." interrupted a man dressed in yellow with a sorry smile on his face, looking down at Zach.
Natasha and me shared a look.
"Merlin save us from the Warrior of Light's wrath..."
James immediately sensed the issue and flicked his head toward Zach and the yellow man, shouting louder than necessary "YOU WHAT?".
Zachary was still processing the piece of information he just received and looked like his brain had been disconnected. Maybe he just took a sip of that shadow sense brew, now that would be fun.
I wanted to see the dragons too but Zach making a scene was not bad either, maybe he'll even let a bit of accidental magic out.
"I was told it was a problem with the management of the arena, they had to move earlier to let the time for the enchanters to take the heat of the dragons off before the broom racers went to race, and they didn't take that into account in the first place, nasty story for such a huge event." he tutted and finished "But the change has been announced yesterday and it's been written everywhere, you shouldn't have missed it. At any rate, you can get the ticket refunded."
Zach was white, James took the yellow wizard by the robes and brought his face against his in a menacing motion, he whispered loud enough to be heard by the whole family now watching "You better be joking about this, tell me you're joking".
Lily tapped his shoulder and pointed to a big piece of paper pasted on a wall that read "The Zalodieck Dragon Show will start at 13 o'clock on the Saturday 30 June ! Be here or miss the INCREDIBLE dragon stunts. With the Dragon Star Norbury Flight and..."
I had read enough to know that we were an hour late.
I hid my grin as well as I could, I always appreciated when things didn't go well for the spoiled Survivor. It tastes like revenge somehow...
"I...I saw it but I didn't read it since we already knew the hours I never thought they would change it..." Lily squeaked in a little voice not looking at Zachary into the eyes.
To be fair, the big green dragon moving around and spewing out circles of fire on the picture really didn't help seeing the little text saying "13 o'clock" underneath.
James let go the yellow wizard and briefly apologized for his rudeness, he then looked at Zach who, after going through all the angry expressions his face could make settled on an horrified and determined face.
"I want to see the dragons" he declared quietly with his I-know-what-I-want-even-if-I-know-I-can't-have-it face as tight as the atmosphere around us.
And there we go, spoiled Zachy is about to lay the smackdown, sit comfortably and crack your butterbeer open ladies and gentlemen. I prepared myself to have a great time making commentaries in my head.
"I am sorry, son, but we'll have to wait the next show, I'll pay a visit to this Zalodieck guy and I'll get you the best seat." tried James, sounding like he was negotiating for the life of his wife.
Unfortunately it wasn't very far from that.
It all happened in three seconds, maybe more, maybe less. Time itself seemed to bend at this moment. Zachary's ten years old face broke into a painting of anger and tears, he shouted harder than he ever shouted "I. Want. DRAGONS!" and his magic leashed out of him, forming a huge wave of white energy around his body which spread out, covering everything with a thin layer of frost.
And our champion opens with a - I stopped my comments the moment I saw the white magic flashing from him, too shocked to continue.
The bout of anger fueled accidental magic made its way over the potions phials in less than half a second, crushing most of them, and hit a wooden barrel.
A second before the white energy reached the barrel's wood, a layer of magic flared bright yellow around it and shattered, then Thompson roared "OH SHIT GET AWAY" and vanished in a twirl of blue robe.
Then everything went to hell.
There was a huge explosion of purple, white and grey from the barrel, streams of pure magic could be felt racing out of the explosion while the sudden heat melted the ice and evaporated it too fast for our skin to even register it, the blast of the explosion was rapidly closing in the distance between the disintegrated barrel and the Potter family.
Lily and James, having fought and survived the war, were very fast drawers, that is why I heard two Contego Leucaspis, a very advanced and powerful mage level shield charm being shouted just before the impact.
Natasha was close to me and almost succeeded in jumping in my arms when the blast hit us both at the same time.
The last thing I saw was Natasha looking frightened at me, arms opened toward me, while Zachary, looking equally horrified and panic-struck, was protected by a pair of thick white magical shields.
Then I felt my heart imploding and every part of my magic crushed by the sheer power of the magic I've been doused with.
As I fell into the bottomless pit of unconsciousness, I felt nothing but two cobalt eyes looking pleadingly at me through the dark.
I couldn't open my eyes.
I couldn't move any of my muscles.
My heart was beating and my lungs were breathing, that was about all the movements in my body.
I was hearing things. Sounds, noise. Nothing accurate, whispers and wind, motions and echo.
After a while I noticed that except for the mechanical beating of my heart, I couldn't even feel anything.
I didn't know where I was and if I was actually conscious, in front of me, in the pitch-black cave of my own mind, I saw silhouettes being drawn who vanished as quickly as they went. I saw grey and black landscapes starting to take form before being erased and starting again.
I was dreaming. Sort of. But it ain't a dream if you're aware it's a dream, right ?
Also, dreams are meant to be in colours aren't they ?
And suddenly, it hit me. It all came back, the dragon show, the white energy, the explosion and Natasha.
She was probably in the same predicament as me right now, somewhere between dead and alive, conscious and dreaming.
Or maybe worst.
As my terror overcame me, I felt something I didn't feel before. My magic was with me. Invisible but present, it was like a ball of warmth inside me. But I could tell it was fucked up, the thing was uncontrollable, totally chaotic.
Maybe it's not my magic but my fear. They are linked anyway If I believe what I've read.
Oh well, something's going to wake me up eventually, and if not...
Might as well dream in the meantime.
An eternity. Or maybe two.
Waking up was the hardest thing ever. Actually I just couldn't, it was forced on me.
All my senses came back in an explosion of pain and colours. I screeched like a banshee, I puked and cried at the same time, but not for long, a couple of muscular arms pinned me back against something and held my mouth open to force a liquid thought it.
The taste was neither good or bad, it was the first thing I had drunk in a thousand lifetimes, I had no element of comparison. I drank the liquid eagerly, hoping that it could help me against the unbearable pain. I felt it flooding my throat, flowing in my body, numbing my pain, calming my heat and clearing my mind.
After a few minutes of panting and a full pitcher of cold water, I was finally back.
Alive and kicking.
I looked up at the muscular arms' owner who handled me during this little resurrection. St Mungo's uniform. I never saw it before but there was no mistake, the bone and wand logo, the white and green, I was in St Mungo's Hospital.
"Your parents have been warned, they're on their way, Harry. I want you to stay calm and to breath heavily." A black haired witch commanded with a smile from the other side.
"You have undergone a very hard treatment and you must rest a lot." She changed her expression to a more serious tone, "But first I need to ensure you are alright, so please answer my questions."
She grabbed a pen, flipped a page on her notebook and peered at me over her glasses.
"What is your full name?"
"Harry..." err... Potter, that's it "Harry Potter"
"James" I forced myself through my memories, it came back without much effort.
"How old are you?" she asked, rising an eyebrow.
I quickly looked at my hands, they weren't bigger than I remembered.
"Ten, maybe more, you tell me."
She grinned and closed her notebook.
"You seem to have fully recovered from your coma, that is great news Harry. You are still ten years old, you were out for six weeks. A month and two weeks. I'll let you deal with your parents for anymore questions you may have, now rest." She concluded, standing up.
Now that won't do.
"What about my sister?" I didn't even try to formulate it more cleverly. I need to see her. Now. "Could I see her right now?".
As the smile faded from her face and the light died in her eyes, I felt my heart sink.
"I...I shouldn't...She's...you should ask your parents about her..." she stuttered hurriedly, trying to get out of the room without looking at me.
No. No, she must be still in her coma. Right, that must be it.
"Tell me everything" I commanded. She stopped and risked a look at me, I saw tears glowing in her eyes. This is bad.
"She's alive, right?" The question sounded dumb and desperate but I didn't care, I felt weak and I desperately needed something to cling on.
"She..." she started sobbing softly, "She didn't make it ... she didn't survive the explosion."
The silence after those words was deafening.
I stared at her. I can't believe her.
But I knew it wasn't a matter of belief. The witch wasn't lying. I knew the answer all along anyway.
She's ... dead?
My mind drifted away from reality and I fainted without noticing the room was on fire all around me.
I woke up. I was in a bed. Memories immediately came back. Natasha. Dead. Killed in that explosion.
And then, without having even moved a finger before, I started crying. The last time I cried dated from when I was 5 or so. I needed to let it go, I needed to cry.
I couldn't have stopped the tears even if I wanted to.
I remembered her face, her perfume, like she was in the bed with me. I remembered her laugh, her shiny eyes... Fuck, I won't believe it. I need to see it.
I got out of the bed and stood up, only to be approached by my parents and the black haired doctor. I tried absently to go around them, I had to see her, I didn't need to hear them tell me it was going to be okay.
"Harry where are you going? You need to rest, your parents are here." tried the witch with a fake smile.
"I need to see her, I won't believe she's dead until I see her." I blurted that out with more anger than planned, but I was glad I did, unleashing my anger felt good.
She looked at my parents next to her. James looked like he was back in the war, a pained and determined expression on his features and mirthless eyes, like a colonel who just lost one of his recruits in a messy battle. Lily was in tears, her face was too pale and the area around her eyes was red and swollen.
"Maybe you should say goodbye to her indeed, Mr. Potter?" the witch asked in a soft voice.
James took a heavy breath and said shortly "Very well, after you."
We got into the corridor in silence, each strode I took made my brain shake in my skull, the air I was breathing was too hot and each sound echoed endlessly in my ears. I couldn't think straight. She can't be dead, she can't be dead. No, she can't.
We walked down the white and clean corridor until we reached a big metal door. The doctor opened it with a touch of her hand on the front panel. We entered the cold room without a sound.
We walked a bit more, toward a black bed in the back of the room. We stopped in front of it.
"Are you sure you want to do this Harry?" she asked gently, laying her hand on my shoulder. I don't know anymore, I ... I don't...
I nodded. She slowly removed the black sheet over Natasha's body, until I could see her quiet face resting on a black pillow. Lily sobbed a bit harder, James tightened his grip on his wife.
I stood here, watching Natasha. Her cute 8 years old serene face, eyes closed, her hair perfectly made by the nurses, she looked like a little angel, her skin was pale.
The rest of the day was a blur, I talked to no one, I ate nothing and I went to sleep when I noticed the sun went down. All my thoughts were toward Natasha. I promised to protect her and she's dead.
I cried a lot, woke up in the middle of the night and went to sleep in the middle of the day, for a full week I was in my hospital bed being treated for post-coma shock and post-traumatic shock. I did what they told me to do without questioning anything, I swallowed all the potions and answered all the questions.
During that week I was told a number of things I barely registered through my constant numb and dreamy state.
I was told about the moondust reaction and the effect it had on magic, that I survived only because I had a strong magic and my sister didn't because she was too young to have her magic developed enough. I was told of the money we'd get from the Portugal government for having let such a disaster happen. I was told of the potion that brought me back, brewed by Lily and . I was told of many help programs that existed to help me mourn my sister. I was told that Zach and me were meant to go to Hogwarts in a week.
When Zachary had entered my room, he had burst into tears and apologized all over my sheets. At first, I wanted to tear his face apart but then I realized that as always, he wasn't to blame.
She died because James and Lily choose to raise both their shields in front of Zach, because they made this choice every second since she's born. I knew I would kill them one day, but Zach? He was just as lost as me in this family. Knowing that his anger killed his sister was enough of a punishment for him.
While I did nothing but cry internally and sleep all day, I did find some time to yell on Lily and James when they came to check on me.
"You never cared about her, you don't even know what she likes to do, what she's good at, you don't even know her favorite colour!" I had roared at them, tears flowing on my cheeks, and threw a vase at them.
Lily had cried loudly and ran out of the room while James had simply looked shocked at me, maybe realizing I was right but probably just not used to see me openly angry.
Time passed awfully slowly, I considered killing myself but choose not to for no particular reason... Survival instinct I guess.
Then one day, James came in my room and told me I was coming home. The day after that, we went to Diagon Alley to get supplies for Hogwarts.
I don't know at what time I went out of my bed, I stayed awake and looked at the place she'd be at, dreaming her silhouette. I felt like shit, I felt like I just wanted to stay here and do nothing for the rest of my life. Fuck Diagon Alley, fuck Hogwarts.
Eventually, James knocked at my door and spoke through it. "Harry if you're ready, we're about to go." He actually climbed the stairs and knocked on my door. Did they finally fucking notice they have, had three kids?
"Coming." I spat angrily. He can go and get fucked if he think I want his fatherly love.
I had a horrible night, needless to say, half my dreams were memories of Natasha and the other half were nightmares where I kept failing at protecting her. Of course I remembered only the latter once awake.
I put some clothes on and got into the living room. Zach was looking grim, Lily was only a washed up version of the regular happy and beaming Lily and James had taken the role of the man you can count on.
"Now I know it's hard for everyone, but we need to... we need to keep on living." he explained with a cheerless voice. "We're going to buy equipment for Hogwarts and try to cheer up a bit. She wouldn't have wanted us to be miserable for your first year at Hogwarts."
Do you actually believe that, you asswipe ? She's probably sending you all the negative waves she can from the other side. I don't know why I didn't say it, I was probably too depressed and tired to try.
James took a handful of floo powder and threw it in the fireplace. Green fire immediately sprouted and started dancing while green sparks flew in round patterns above it. "Diagon Alley, you go first Lily." said James with a little smile.
Lily went in and muttered the destination a second before the green flames licked and swallowed her whole body. Zach went following, as did I.
I landed in the little transportation shop around the middle of Diagon Alley. Lily and Zach were standing up, waiting quietly. I stood up from the stone floor and wiped my clothes. I took two steps toward the window. Diagon Alley was at its peak of liveliness. All the parents brought their kid to buy Hogwarts stuff, all the shops made four times their usual profits, witches and wizards of all age made their way through the crowded streets, all dressed in different colours, all at a different speed. Laughter and cheerful sounds filled the whole area. This is what she deserved, to be fucking happy.
I couldn't stop thinking about the unfairness of it all. She shouldn't be dead, it makes no sense, why her, why her out of all people...
Lily started reading the requirements while James verified Zachary's magical disguise. His scar was hidden by a magical amulet, he looked like any normal kid, except for the sorrowful face.
"So, we need three sets of black robes, one black pointed hat,..." we came out of the shop and proceeded to do our shopping.
As the day went on I felt more and more anger rising in me, all these happy people, all these things to enjoy, all this life made my blood boil. She would never feel this joy, she would never fall in love, she was fucking dead.
We finally got back home and I planned to go to bed immediately to cry and hit my pillow as hard as I could but my plans were derailed by James.
"Before you go to bed, please sit down. I have something to say." he started quietly. Zach and me took a seat and Lily went over James to grab his arm. I had no idea where this was going.
"Tomorrow..." he started, unsure, "tomorrow your sister will be incinerated. The funeral will be at four." he stopped here, having nothing to add and watched us.
"No." It came on its own. No, I need to see her at least one last time. I didn't know why but I absolutely needed to.
"I want to see her one last time before she's burned to ashes."
"Harry there is no point in-" started James softly.
"Please, one last time before she's erased from our world, I'll do anything." I begged. My choice of words seemed to have an effect on him, he looked at Lily who nodded.
"Alright, we'll all see her tonight one last time, Zachary are you coming?" it was very rare for James to listen to my demands but to actually agree, that was almost unseen. You won't believe the effect your death had, Nat.
I laughed a bit. Shit, that ain't funny! Too soon Harry, way too soon.
Two floo calls and a handful of floo powder later I was looking at Natasha again.
And it became clear.
As I watched her visage, countless memories came, and with them, I saw scenes of Natasha being grown up, scenes of her learning magic, scenes of her dressing up to go eat in a restaurant, things that would never happen. But it has to happen. She must live, she deserves it.
And while I watched her live again in my mind I decided that she would live. No matter the cost.
"I'm your guardian, you protector, remember? I'll bring you back. " I was aware James and Lily were talking with the doctor, I went on,
"I fucked up this time, I had no wand, I couldn't do a thing." I took her hand,
"But now I have one, now I can help you. I'll learn magic, I'll learn necromancy, I'll bring you back I fucking swear it on my magic. I'll go dark if I need to, I'll slaughter every innocent child in Britain if it's what it takes to bring you back... I'll do it princess, I swear to Merlin I'll do it."
I wiped my tears off.
"See you soon." I muttered before laying a kiss on her forehead. It was so evident I couldn't believe I lost more than a week crying in my bed.
I'll bring her back, simple. All these tales about necromancy have to start from something real.
I'll bring her back.
AN: If anyone's interested in beta'ing, I have no idea how it works but feel free to pm me about it.