Summary: When the Boy-Who-Lived is missing, no one thinks twice when Hasan Castell appears at Hogwarts. Abandoned at a muggle orphanage, Harry grows up with a love of magic- in books that is- and thinks sorcery is all in his dreams. He calls himself Hasan to separate his dreams from reality, and is adopted and raised by a man who should be dead. AU. Slytherin!Harry.
Disclaimer: Jo owns all! I am but a humble author soaking up her glorious rays!
Author's Note: I've started this story on a muse. Something between MPD and an alias, and somewhat related to high-functioning autism like Asperger's. I am no expert on this, but basically Harry will act more on his thoughts than his feelings and may come off reserved or cold in his younger years.
Also: I pronounce Hasan like "Hay-sahn" or "Hei-san" for you anime lovers! (DTB) But really, anyway you like it is fine.
"You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream."
- A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
Return of Emerald
Chapter 1: Wild Eyes
He had wild eyes. A simmering, emerald green that practically glowed with power and danced with knowledge. He had a handsome face too, with pale skin, pink lips, and gently arched eyebrows. The lady at the orphanage called him ethereal, but Harry knew better. Fragility was only an appearance. He learned early on that survival demanded more than a brain. The Dursleys hadn't particularly concerned themselves with his intelligence. No, he had to have something more than his wits about him if he was to survive there. And this was when he had perfected the wonderfully useful art of deception.
Harry lifted himself off of the thinning lawn, brushing dried grass from his second-hand jeans as he did so. It would be a short journey back to Penelope's House, the orphanage in which the Dursleys had abandoned him when he was four. Mrs. Haydn, the manager of the orphanage, would be cross with Harry should he come any later to dinner, and yet be decidedly irritated should he come any sooner. Her reasoning was that Harry scared away potential parents if he hung around the orphanage. Interested adoptive parents typically wanted younger children, and they'd feel pressured to adopt Harry if he were present, right? And Harry surely wouldn't want to be taken out of guilt, would he? And so, Harry was stuck outside for the most part of the day, subtracting mealtimes and when he had to go to bed. Though her pitiful justification hardly convinced Harry, even he could not deny the fact that freaky things tended to happen around him. Like garden snakes hanging around the back door, for instance, or having the entire hall suddenly clean when it was his turn to scrub it, or summoning things so that he'd have them right beside him without even knowing how they got there. Mrs. Haydn didn't say that this was the reason why she wanted him out, but she needn't have. Harry knew- everyone knew.
But why should he deny it? As long as he could control it. Why pretend things didn't happen when they did?...at least in his imagination. Harry had a rather vivid imagination; at least, that's what Mrs. Haydn insisted. Sometimes he thought he could see owls flying, despite it being the middle of the night, and sometimes he saw owl breeds whose natural habitats were nowhere near London. When he told Mrs. Haydn, she said he simply dreamed of owls, and so, everything else that was wonderful in the world, that only he could see or believe, well, those were dreams too.
Harry had previously been doing some quality daydreaming on Red Mill's Hill, smiling at the clouds that sifted past like soulless specters keeping watch. He often came to the hill when Mrs. Haydn just couldn't take it anymore and demand he get some fresh air for his own health- which was every day. Harry slipped his hands into his sweatshirt pocket- a gray hand-me-down ten years in the lost and found bin- and shivered as a gust of cool November air hit him through his clothes. It was only ten minutes until he reached the orphanage.
"Wonder if she's making something hot." Harry wondered to himself, pushing open the old crooked door. The building didn't have a competent heater, but it was still warmer than it was outside. Entering the house, Harry basked in the flood of warmth, taking his hands from his pockets because he knew that it made the other kids nervous if he had something hidden in there. Kids could be really thick sometimes. Harry owned nothing to hide.
Further into the room, Mrs. Haydn was busying herself with the dinner preparations by setting the table for twenty-seven little mouths. At the sound of the door opening, she looked up, graying hair falling into her eyes, to find Harry standing in the doorway. For once, her heart didn't fall when it was Harry - she actually had something to say to the boy.
"Well come in, Harry, don't just stand there! You could help me with the bowls too. Here, take a stack." Her voice was crackly from years of cigarette smoking, although she quit a while back because her doctor was a nag. Yet, she was sixty-something, and fifty-something years of smoking did not leave your voice in peace even after you quit.
Registering her almost pleasant tone of voice, Harry gingerly approached the table before doing as bidden, drawing out an almost satisfactory grunt from his supervisor. Mrs. Haydn wasn't a disagreeable person really, but something about that Potter boy threw her for a loop. He seemed so odd- like he belonged in a completely different world- and she got the oddest sensation of goose bumps when around him. She had told herself she was being silly before, but four years after receiving the poor kid from his aunt and uncle, she was wholly convinced something was wrong with the boy.
For one, he didn't fit in. The other kids would listen to him like they would an adult- with a smidgen of respect that amounted to nothing come another five minutes. He didn't play with the others, preferring to scamper off to god-knows-where when she demanded he get up from his latest book and play. And that was another thing: the books! Penelope's House was just down the road from the nearest 'library', and Harry frequented the place often. Which didn't alarm Mrs. Haydn too horribly, for she knew Harry needed books to stimulate his young mind.
No, what bothered her most was the ability at which he read. Last week had been The Count of Monte Cristo, this week, it was The Lord of the Rings. The child was eight. Eight for goodness' sake! Mrs. Haydn didn't know what to make of it. It seemed impossible for him to understand everything, but he answered every question she threw at him- in an attempt to get him to realize how little he truly did understand- and he answered them, even going insofar as to explain intricate character personalities. Peeling away layer after layer of appearance versus internal personalities versus conception. If anything, it only proved to show Mr. Haydn how little she understood Harry...and classic literature. She chalked it up to his being a child prodigy- or having some high functioning autism of sorts, but still, even with that, something wasn't quite right.
"Mrs. Haydn? Mrs. Haydn?" Harry asked politely, hesitating whether he should tap her or not. She had been unresponsive for a few minutes, and Harry had half a mind to call the police.
"Yes, Mr. Potter? What is it?"
"The table's ready. Should I go and fetch the kids?" His language was much advanced too, Mrs. Haydn noted, very formal, and he seemed to separate himself from the other kids too by referring to them in such an apathetic manner.
"In a minute, Harry. I've got to tell you something." She took a deep breath, wondering rapidly why it was that she was so nervous. He was a kid after all, he couldn't detect her excitement.
"What?" Harry asked her with an innocently open face. But being around him for so long, Mrs. Haydn was able to pick up the slight narrowing of his emerald eyes.
"There was a man who came today. He wants to adopt you!" she squealed happily.
Harry let his face go blank. No emotion. No emotion. Someone wanted him. There was hope. He wasn't forgotten. No emotion. No emotion! "Um, Harry?" She knew that look and her eyes widened in fear. "Harry?"
And just like that, the moment was gone. She relaxed as the world fell back on its axis. But just for a moment, well, silly as she was, she thought she felt a breeze. How silly! There was no wind in here!
"I'm terribly sorry, Mrs. Haydn. You were saying?"
"Well, yes. I was saying that someone wants to adopt you."
"Me?" Harry gasped, not even having to fabricate his astonishment. "Me?"
"Yes, you Harry." Mrs. Haydn smiled, and she thought she saw Harry's lips quirk up. That was good: if the boy wanted to be adopted too, then things would go so much more smoothly...
However, Harry's thoughts were far from coinciding with her conclusions. Happy? Why should he be happy? At first, maybe. But then he took a step back to analyze it, and suddenly, it made sense. Mrs. Haydn wanted to be rid of him. She wanted it so badly she probably recommended him to every visitor who came. His eyes widened fractionally as he was hit with another epiphany: He was being forced on someone. The man who came in today didn't really want him, and once Mrs. Haydn was gone and rid of him, his new guardian would kick him out also, demanding a nicer child. One without so many issues...Harry almost sniffled at this thought, but managed to keep his face schooled into a blank mask of innocence. Practice made perfect, didn't it? Mrs. Haydn seemed to buy the act, for she visibly relaxed, her wrinkles ceasing to crease quite so much on her forehead, and her shoulders sagged down.
Yes, this way it would be easier. If she thought he wanted to go, she wouldn't suspect a thing when he made a run for it. With his plan firmly in place, he could only now hope that dinner would be as rewarding.
The next morning found Harry Potter wide-eyed and beaming at his soon to be ex-supervisor. All the younger kids were still asleep and the older kids were already playing outside.
"Mrs. Haydn, I'm going to miss you. I appreciate your caring for me." Harry told her candidly, letting warmth flow through his words. "But...could I have some time to say good-bye? Take back the Lord of the Rings book and say bye to Mr. Ted, the librarian?" His eyes were docile now. A soft, tame sage that melted Mrs. Haydn's heart. How could she deny him?
"Alright..." she agreed with some reluctance, "but the man's coming in an hour, and something tells me he'll be quite punctual. So be back by noon, got it?"
Harry nodded eagerly, booked tucked safely under his arm, and ready to leave this isolated world for good.
"I promise, Mrs. Haydn." he said, but smirked on his way out. How the lady could be so blind was beyond him! Honestly, spending some quality time with the librarian? Who bought that crazy nonsense?
Harry held the book tighter in his hands; it was "The Return of the King" where Aragorn had taken back his rightful place as king, amazing everyone as he had kept himself hidden under numerous alibis for the majority of his existence. He was known as so many people, but Harry always thought of him as just Strider. Just that guy in the room that no one ever thought to pay two thoughts to... He was Harry's idol.
The book he held was worn from countless readings, a hard-back with a scratched off cover and imprinted title that was losing its ink. But Harry didn't mind one bit. Looks could be deceiving, but the content of the book didn't change, much like Strider, and much like Harry. He supposed that's why he was so keen to protect what little he was. As much as he liked to indulge himself with childish fantasies of wielding magic staffs and defeating evil dark lords, Harry knew he just wanted to save himself from more hurt. Pretend to be someone you're not, and no one can hurt you. Not the real you. So Harry had spent the last two years molding his outward appearance to fit that of a polite and docile little boy. But inside, he was a secret king. The idea of having an alias sprouted much around the time of his fascination of magical stories. If he were to be a wizard, a great Light wizard like Gandalf, or a Dark Lord like Sauron, what would he be called? And if he were so called that, what would he look like?
Harry knew it was only a fantasy, juvenile at best, but he let himself play in it like one would a sandbox. The sand always shifted. His mental playground was alive.
Approaching a small trickling stream, a bit further down from Red Mill's Hill, Harry sat down to rest, legs folded against his chest as he gazed at the water running over the large smooth pebbles.
If he were a wizard...if he could be anyone he wanted to be, far away from Penelope's House, and far away from ignorance and isolation...Who would he be on an adventure? He had thought about this before. Many times actually, ever since he determined he was different. He looked at his distorted reflection in the bubbling stream and smiled.
"Hasan." he said to himself, then giggled. It sounded so unique, as it should be, for he made it up with the garden snakes one day. They enjoyed the sibilant sound and so did he. He wanted it to be his, and he knew it was him, but...it was different. "Hasssan." he whispered possessively, falling into the tongue of the snakes. The 's' lingered on his tongue. "Hassssan."
The name just seemed right for him- even if it was just a mask to use inside his own mind. He giggled and looked at the water again, only to open his mouth in mute horror.
A boy, his age, with medium-length brown hair and jaded green eyes, so dull it scared him, gaped at him through the water.
That can't be me- can it? he thought panicked. Harry lifted a hand to his face, and the reflection did much the same. Oh, for the love of life! But it was him. Change me back! Change me back! He shouted over and over in his mind, before he felt a familiar tingling through his body. When he cracked open his eyes again, it was only he who sat there, alone next to the stream.
Relieved, but now extremely curious, Harry wondered if he could do it again. He tapped into this strange power once more, squeezed his eyes tightly, and opened them to find that peculiar image of that boy that was him.
Harry knew he was different- ever since he woke up on the roof with no recollection of how he got there- but he remembered a full moon. Beautiful, bright, and enchanting. No matter how it was that he got there the view had been worth it. But eight years of continued bouts of this-this magic, and he began to suspect something wasn't right. He just couldn't be normal, could he? He distanced himself from the kids, talking with Mrs. Haydn only when necessary. He wasn't sure why. He just did.
Harry picked up the book left fallen by his side. Oh, if only it were true. If only he really did have magic. But Harry knew better than that- he knew he had some sort of medical condition of hallucinations- Mrs. Haydn said so- and knew he was just imagining things... But that was his favorite thing to do. Dreaming. And now, with this new discovery, he could truly be just Hasan the wizard, the secret king among kings, and never have to return to orphan Harry again.
A/N: It's a lot of information being tossed at you, I know. And it's really short, but if you liked it, please drop a review!
Next up: The Leaky Cauldron