A/N: This is my first story and I'm currently looking for a Beta. Sorry for any mistakes you may find. Please don't yell at me if things sound strange or don't make sense. *looks around* Wanna a cookie?
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I don't own the rights to the books and so forth. So go ahead and read while I go cry in the corner about the cruelty of it all.
The words "If only" always came easy for Harry Potter. If only the Dursleys would get off his back and stop treating him like a slave. If only he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. If only...things were different.
If only he had done things differently...maybe then the words "if only" wouldn't hurt so much.
Harry, who was laying down in his bed, pulled out the picture album he always kept under his pillow. Since the term had been over, Harry often looked at the pictures. Rather than soothe him of the anguish he always seemed to carry with him, those pictures reminded him of all the things that led him to this very moment.
"If only..," Harry whispered to himself.
Those words had grown to be the saddest words he had ever known in his life. They gave him a glimpse of what his life would have been like if things had been different. They lured him into thinking of what his world would have been like. And like a helpless child, he always fell for their trap. Imagination gave way to dreams and dreams gave way to waves and waves of pain as tears cascaded down his face. Always, he was left with an emptiness when reality made it's presence known. Every dream ended with him waking up.
Sighing, Harry shifted from his place on the bed into a sitting position. With his back to the wall and his knees pulled up to his chest, Harry stared at the album before slowly running his fingers across the cover. The album was small with a black cover. There were no markings, no embellishments, and no words. For a moment Harry felt a twinge of guilt. These pictures were physical representations of people he cared about. They were his most precious and loved out of all his possessions. And yet he had only been able to place them in a plain, almost ugly, album. He would set that right sometime soon.
Pushing away thoughts of buying a new album, Harry opened it for what must have been the 7th time that day. The first picture in the album was the one Hagrid had given him at the end of his first year. A beautiful woman with a small face and the most brilliant green eyes and a handsome man with quirky glasses were holding a small child and waving at the camera.
Harry ran a hand across the picture slowly. Closing his eyes he could almost see himself fussing as his parents held him trying to placate him into waving for the camera. And the first wave of pain ran through him. Inhaling deeply to calm himself, Harry whispered, "If only I could remember that day. If only it wasn't the last time we all took a picture. If only you hadn't left me..."
Turning the page, Harry looked at the next picture fondly. It was a picture of his parents, Sirius, and Remus when they were still in school. Remus had rummaged through some boxes of old things last summer and had found it. He had given it to him. Harry had thanked God many times that Peter Pettigrew had not been in the picture. Harry watched as the picture brought to life the 4 of them. His dad was blushing and wearing a goofy grin. His parents had just gotten together and they were holding hands. Sirius and Remus were making exaggerated movements of holding hands with each other and acting shy. Apparently the two were making fun of the new couple. His mother was laughing beside his dad. Sirius then made a motion towards the couple saying something Harry couldn't hear. Whatever he had said had set off Harry's mom, leaving Sirius running around Remus trying to get away from her. The scene ended with Harry's mom grabbing her wand and Sirius on the floor when the spell hit him. Harry's lips quirked upwards remembering Remus's reply when Harry had asked what the comment was. All he had said was, "Sirius broke the one rule Lily had given him." Harry had tried to get more information but Remus colored substantially saying that he would tell Harry more when he was a little older.
Harry's eyes clouded slightly remembering Remus saying, "when you are a little older." 'Would he get to be alive that long,' he wondered. Looking back at the photo, he told the images, "If only I could have seen you all together like this."
Taking another deep breath, Harry continued to look through the album. Remus had given him other photos and Harry was very grateful. Leafing through the album, Harry stopped at the last picture in it.
Unable to stop himself, Harry let out a muffled sob. In the photo, Harry was playing with a huge black dog. Harry was smiling while the dog kept chasing him. Then Harry had fallen to the grass laughing as the big dog had proceeded to chase his own tail. Taking the opportunity, the dog pounced on Harry. Then the dog had transformed back into Sirius. Together they both laid down in the grass smiling at the camera.
Harry remembered that day. They had made sure no one was around and Remus had taken the picture. Choking back another sob, Harry bit his lip trying to keep the tears from falling. He spent several minutes trying to reign in his emotions. When he thought he finally was in control, Harry looked up from the album.
That's when he saw it. The mirror Sirius had given him. A wave of pain built and built while he stared at it, until finally he caved. Tears spilled from his eyes and he wept. Clamping his mouth shut so as not to make any noise, he wept again for what seemed like hours. After his shoulders no longer shook from the force it took to keep from making a sound, he reached out and grabbed the mirror. Pulling it close, he wrapped his arms around the album and the mirror. He sat like that for a long time. Moving to see
the picture again he whispered, "If only you had not died..."
Hours later, Harry was at his desk petting Hedwig. The episode, as Harry had taken to calling it, had passed and now he was just tired. Crying never really helped him but he found he couldn't help himself. "If only things were different, Hedwig," he said. "Then I could be different and better." Hedwig merely tilted her head to the side and stared back at Harry. Cooing lightly, she pecked his finger.
"Ah, you have a different opinion then, do you?" Harry chuckled. "Do think I would not have already done something to change things if it could have been done?" Hedwig hooted angrily at him. Startled, Harry's eyes widened and he moved his hand away from his snowy owl.
"I would have done something, believe me," Harry said, " it's just...I just...I don't know what to do...or how to do them."
Harry lay back on the chair he had been sitting on. He turned his head up towards the ceiling. "They think I can do anything. Since I survived that bloody bastard's curse as a child, everyone believes there is nothing I can't do. But I can't, Hedwig," He said in a hurried whisper.
With a huge sigh, he closed his eyes. The death of Sirius and the pressure of being the only one to be able to defeat the maniacal psychopath intent on destroying everything Harry loved had hit him very hard. At still a young age, he was exhausted and certainly looked it. He was so close to breaking down completely...to losing whatever shred of sanity he still possessed. Sirius had been his hope at a better life...at having a family. Now he was gone.
"They want me to do things I don't want to do," Harry finally said. "I want something else, something more than this pathetic excuse of a life that fate gave me."
Hedwig trilled softy. Harry opened his eyes and looked at her. "You think I should do something about that?" he asked her. Rather than make a sound, she ducked her head forward. Startled once more, Harry stared at is owl. Snowy white and beautiful, Hedwig had always been different than the other owls he suddenly realized. Owls, though trained to deliver mail, were always considered as pets and many of them acted the part. Hedwig, however, was different. Maybe he was biased since she was his and he loved her, but there was something about the way she looked at him.
"You know, this conversation would go more smoothly if you could talk somehow," he told her, "If only you could talk." Again she ducked her head. Harry laughed for the first time in a while. "Oh and how do you suppose we can make that happen?"
Hedwig fluttered her wings and pecked him lightly for his sarcasm. She moved from her perch on the desk and glided down onto the loose floor board that hid his school things. Using her claws, she scratched at the floor.
"You mean there is actually a way for us to talk," Harry asked incredulously. Hedwig merely hooted impatiently. Harry moved quickly towards her. "Okay okay," he said. He moved the loose floor board and looked at all his school belongings. "So what now?" he asked her.
With a wave of her head, Hedwig motioned towards the books. "A book huh? Okay...you wouldn't happen to know which one, would you?," he asked. Hedwig hooted and pecked him rather impatiently. "Aahh..," Harry let out while moving away.
"Hey take it easy," he said, "You have got to be patient with me, you know."
Picking up several books he thought might have the information he needed, he moved towards the desk. Hedwig followed him and settled down on her perch. Lifting one of her wings slightly, she ducked her head under it. "Oh so I'm going to do all the work and you're just going to go to sleep," he accused her. Ignoring him, she settled to sleep.
"Blimy. Not only am I talking to my owl but she also gave me homework," he murmured to himself. He took the first book from the pile and set about about reading. Two hours and 5 books later, Harry had found no mention of how to talk to owls or animals in general. He had tried looking up potions and spells but nothing came close to what he wanted. He had found out certain kinds of owls were indeed smarter and could be used as familiars rather than to send letters and packages as other common owls. "Well
no wonder she is impatient with me." he groaned at that piece of information, "she could be a familiar and here I am thinking she was just prettier than the rest of them."
He had also discovered that there was a spell to turn someone into a talking animal, which allowed for the person to communicate with other animals as well as humans. However the amount of magic required was significantly high and to top it off the original spell had been lost. Others had tried to create a new one but none came close. One of the books mentioned examples of witches and wizards making the attempt. Harry had found the story of a certain witch, who had wanted to keep tabs on her husband, very
amusing. Needless to say, she had turned into a pretty pink squirrel and had been chased by all the male squirrels in the vicinity. Upon reversing the spell she had ended up with a pink tail that could not be removed and she had the overwhelming urge to store acorns for the winter. 'Shame,' Harry thought wistfully, 'It would have been a pretty useful spell.'
Lifting the next book from the pile he brought with him, he took a look at it and dropped it. It was the textbook for Hagrid's class. Covered in fur, the book looked harmless...that is until you tried to open it. Reaching for it again, Harry placed it in front of him. 'I remember you,' he thought glumly. He began to stroke the spine like Hagrid had taught them. Thinking it was safe to open the book, Harry leafed through it while skimming the pages.
Almost at the end of the book and ready to give up, Harry stopped when he read "parseltongue." In the last chapter there were mentions of its background and how it came to be known. While interesting, Harry didn't really care at the moment. He skipped further down and found that there were spells that could give the castor the ability to understand animals for a limited amount of time. However, there were drawbacks to it. You could understand the animal but they wouldn't necessarily understand you. You wouldn't be speaking in their language like when someone speaks parseltongue. Some animals are intelligent enough to grasp some of what you say but not much.
Harry looked up at Hedwig and then back down at the book. "Yeah well try telling her that. I bet they never came across an owl like that. I swear she knows what I'm saying," he said.
He kept reading until he came across the spell he was suppose to cast. "Wandless magic needed to activate spell otherwise not effective...," Harry whispered. 'Damn,' he swore mentally. "Due to wandless magic being needed," he continued to read, "not much progress was made to replicate the abilities of parseltongue."
Harry was about to close the book when he heard a small voice. 'Why dont you try? Go ahead. You never know until you try,' it said. Looking around the small room, he saw no one. He waited a few more moments but he didn't hear anything else. 'Maybe it was in my head...,' he thought. Turning back to look at the book, he shrugged and began practicing the words.
When he was finally confident that he knew the words, Harry closed his eyes to concentrate. Bringing up the power he always held back, he recited the spell.
"Quid ego audio, audire me
Quod dictum est mihi"
Pushing down his magic to a more stable state, Harry opened his eyes. He waited, but nothing happened. Did it work,' he wondered. He waited a little while longer and still nothing happened. Disappointed, he sighed. He turned to look at the clock on his desk. 'Its already 4 in the morning. Ugh. Might as well get a few hours of sleep before the dursleys wake up and start their whining,' he thought.
Stretching him arms as he stood up from the chair, tingles went up and down his legs unpleasantly. He had been sitting for a long time and his legs had fallen asleep. Moving towards his bed, he nearly tripped and hit the edge of the desk hard. Howling in pain, Harry grabbed his shin. Hedwig, who was awakened by the noise, hooted at him.
"Sorry sorry. Didn't mean to wake you," Harry said as he limped to his bed. Suddenly he turned and looked at Hedwig. "Hedwig," he whispered. The owl on his desk didn't even move. "Hedwig," Harry said a little louder. She lifted her head and turned towards him. She puffed out her chest and started clicking her tongue at him.
"What part of sleeping don't you understand?" she told him. She then proceeded to go back to sleep after giving Harry what he figured was the owl equivalent of a glare.
Falling to his bed shocked, Harry just stared at his owl. He had done it. The spell had worked. He could hear her. After the shock had worn off, he smacked himself on the forehead. 'Of course. Why didn't I realize she had to be talking for me to understand it. Ah I can be slow sometimes," he thought. When he was done telling himself how he could have missed that, he started smiling. He had done it. It had worked. He almost wanted to dance or something to celebrate. He had done it.
"I told you," the voice from earlier said. Startled from his thoughts, Harry quickly looked around. It took a moment for him to realize the voice had been in his head. Harry was about to ask who the voice belonged to because it certainly didn't belong to him, when he heard it again.
"One of your if only's came true," it told him. Confused, Harry thought back over the evening. Realization hit when he remembered telling Hedwig if only she could talk. "That was just one," he told the voice sadly.
"For now. Its a start. Well done Harry, well done," the voice congratulated him. Harry waited for more but the voice remained quiet. He tried talking to it again but received no reply. He knew he should be worried or scared of what having a voice that was not his in his head could mean. Voldermort was a good example of that. Harry closed his eyes. He didn't feel any fear or malice from the voice. He found he didn't mind the voice. That thought startled him a little. Harry finally decided he would wait and find
out what it was. Drifting off to sleep Harry heard the voice again. Gently it said, "Goodnight kid. Well done..."
A/N: I realize the chapter is a little long and maybe a little uneventful but will pick up...I hope. I plan to make it a novel length story...however I don't have much patience so we shall see. Any reviews are welcomed, good (Woo!) or bad (*cringe*).