- Letters, Truths and Hopes: Chapter 01 (01/?)
- Letters, Truths and Hopes: Chapter 02 (02/?)
Title: Letters, Truths and Hopes 2/?
Pairing: Harry/Hermione, Severus/Lily
Warnings: Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Violence, Vampire Severus, Sevitus, Seer Lily
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: AU, Severitus Challenge response – When visions from the past come true, the time for truths has come, as well as the time for hope and life. But will the ones in the middle of this be able to find that hope, and want to live?
Author’s note: To avoid confusion this chapter starts after they arrive from OoTP.
Athenakitty: I don’t mind spelling corrections at all. On the contrary I appreciate them. It helps me correct my writing, last chapter was a bit rushed but I have corrected those spelling problems I found so far. About Petunia doing what Lily asked her, she already started by taking the potions and reading her letters.
Dug: Thanks for your comments; I will take them into consideration. I usually like to mix telling with ‘action’ as I’m more dialog oriented in my writing. You can probably notice that on my other stories, but in this story’s case it didn’t flow, as at least the first chapters have letters in them. This chapter though, has dialogs and some action. Lily, even though she’s dead, plays an important part to get the story going, hence the letters. Don’t know if that explanation made sense, if not I’ll try to re-phrase it.
Note on my other stories: I sent the latest Apprentice chapter to my new beta a few days ago. I’m waiting to get it back to upload it. Hopefully it will be soon, so please have some patience. Second Chance is also almost ready, should be up by Sunday with the muses help. Unexpected Child? (sigh) it’s progressing (that’s something at least) at a VERY slow pace. I also have three more stories going round and round in my mind, but I’m probably going to wait a bit until I upload them.
Hopefully I will be able to update this story every week or two at the most as I’m a bit ahead on the chapters. It still depends on how I’m doing with the other stories. The chapter is not beta’ed’, so if you find any errors I would appreciate it if you pointed them out so I can correct them.
- THIS IS AN AU STORY (AU=Alternate Universe). I personally believe all Severitus Challenge responses are AU, but who knows what is in J.K. Rowling mind.
- Not a native English speaker writing.
- Characters might be Out Of Character (OOC)
- There might be spoilers for all five books.
- If you are a James and Sirius fan then probably part of this story is not for you, no flames will be accepted on this. Constructive criticism is welcomed though.
Vernon stormed into the house, leaving everybody still outside and headed straight to his bottle of whiskey after arriving from the train station. He was seeing red and was beyond furious. How dare those freaks to threaten him? Who the bloody hell did they think they were to tell him how to threat his wife’s abomination of a nephew? Was it not enough that they had already made him loose his job of twenty years? No, those good for nothing wizards had to threaten honest hard working people like him, and rob them of their jobs. Well, he would not put up with that. He would show those misbegotten freaks that he was not the least bit intimidated.
“Harry,” Petunia called softly as the boy struggled to get his trunk out of the car. He had frozen for a second and turned to face her, eyes wide. She had rarely called him by his name and never in that tone of voice.
“Yes Aunt Petunia?” He managed to respond after his initial surprise. He looked at her and then at Dudley. Both looked apprehensive and more than a bit afraid. It was enough to set off warning bells in his head and he narrowed his eyes. He had never seen them like that.
“Vernon… Vernon hasn’t been… hasn’t been himself lately,” she explained nervously. “He’s… he’s been drinking way too much… Grunnings closed and he blames you, I know you had nothing to do with it but…”
“Why are you telling me this? You never cared about me before,” Harry asked wearily. Something had to be wrong, really wrong for his aunt to bother with a warning.
“I know, and I’m sorry… I…”
“What the bloody hell is taking you so long useless freak?” Vernon bellowed from the living room.
“Go, don’t make him wait,” she urged him.
“But Hedwig and my…”
“Just go in already Harry,” Dudley urged him apprehensively. “We’ll get it out, and take her to your room.” His cousin stared at him wide eyed and gaping slightly. He could not help the quick smirk, but then his face turned serious again.
“Be careful what you say or do around him, don’t snap at him… we’ll… we’ll talk later,” Petunia told the confused boy and nudged him in the house’s direction.
Harry had nodded hesitantly and went inside the house. He was really worried, well actually he was beginning to be scared by the way his aunt and Dudley were acting. It was so… so not real. If someone had told him a few hours ago that he would receive an apology from his aunt about the way she had treated him all those years, or that Dudley would offer to do something for him; he would have suggested they go and get a room in St. Mungos. Yet that had just happened, and he had the feeling it had nothing to do with the Order’s warning.
“Boy! Get here this instant!” Vernon shouted again, and the young boy could not help the wince at the volume.
“I’m here uncle Vernon,” Harry had entered the living room and cautiously stood behind his aunt’s husband.
The teen was really not prepared when Vernon whirled on his heels faster than he expected a man of his considerable bulk to move. A fist connected with the right side of his head sending his glasses flying off his face, another fist went just under his chin. The sheer force of it sent him tumbling over one of the living room chairs, hurting his back in the process and almost knocking him out when his head connected with the floor. He lay there unmoving and dazed, by the time he started to react Vernon had moved and straddled him. Huge hands wrapped around his neck and began strangling him. Unlike the year before, this time the odd electric shock that had dissuaded Vernon did not make an appearance. The furious man was squeezing hard, closing the teen’s air supply. The young wizard could not really comprehend what was going on, his mind too confused to make sense. Then Harry’s sense of self-preservation kicked in and he struggled, fought and clawed like a madman. But he was no match for his uncle’s strength.
“It’s all your fault freak! All your fault that I lost my job and can’t get another! I should have gotten rid of you, or drowned you when they left you here like I wanted. But no, I had to listen to Petunia!” He punctuated each word by hitting Harry’s head against the floor.
“Uncle… can’t breathe… please…” Harry gasped; he was beginning to lose consciousness fast, and yet he still clawed feebly at the hands on his throat.
“Vernon no! Stop it, you’re killing him!” Petunia shouted from the door.
“Like I should have done when those freaks left him here!” he growled too out of reason to care.
“Aunt… help… please,” Harry pleaded.
Everything became fuzzy then dark, and then Harry heard angry desperate voices as if far away. After that, the pressure on his throat was gone and he took huge, painful gulps of air; for a moment that was all that mattered, getting air into his deprived lungs. Slowly he became aware of a loud commotion, Vernon’s angry voice, his aunt cries and pained shriek, Dudley’s panicked call for his mother, crying ‘you killed her bloody bastard, you killed her!’. A scream of rage and the unmistakable swish of the Smeltings stick followed by his uncle’s pained yelp and loud cursing, then another commotion.
Harry must have passed out for a few moments, because he could only hear Dudley sniffling and crying. Damn! Had Vernon really killed his aunt? Were the hell were the Order members? Why hadn’t they come to help him as they promised? Surely this was not treating him well. Heck! Vernon had never used his fists, nor had he blatantly tried to kill him before. Whoever was keeping an eye on him should have noticed what happened, and yet he could not hear anyone else. Figures, they had probably just been bluffing, and no one was really keeping watch.
‘Mental note to self: don’t expect them to come to the rescue in bad situations.’ His cousin kept sniffling, and then he heard soft groaning and a pained moan, followed by Dudley’s relieved voice. Aunt Petunia was alive then -good- but where the hell was Vernon? He forced himself to open his eyes, the room spun wildly and he felt dizzy, he groaned.
“Here,” Dudley said and placed his cousin’s glasses on his battered face. Thankfully they were not broken. He knew Harry was practically blind without them; he then helped the smaller boy to sit.
“Gods!” Harry croaked.
Vernon had probably done some damage to his vocal cords, it hurt to speak. He had a dizzying spell, but it passed and he was able to look around. The room was in shambles, broken things and upturned furniture, his aunt was sprawled on the couch looking bad, she was bleeding from her nose and some cut on her temple. Dudley was not unscathed either. Thankfully there was no sign of his uncle.
“Vernon?” Harry whispered.
“Gone, probably went to the pub to get more to drink. He broke the bottles he had here,” Dudley informed him with contempt, and no small measure of loathing. “At least he won’t be back for a while. Can you stand on your own?”
“I think so but…” it hurt to talk but he needed to ask. “What the hell is going on? This… this… just…” Harry was at a loss of words.
Never in his life had he expected something like this to happen, and it left him pretty shaken and confused. The Dursleys had seemed a pretty close family, if one did not count him. Vernon was harsh and verbally abusive, but only towards him. He had never been like that with his wife or child, nor had he been a heavy drinker. Had he attacked them because they were defending him or had he been violent with his aunt and cousin before? He shuddered at the thought, he might not like them, but he would not wish an enraged, drunk and abusive Vernon on anyone. Merlin! Things were just getting even worse than they had been before he left Hogwarts. Fate, Destiny or whoever was in charge ‘up there’ must really hate him, or have a really sick and twisted sense of humour.
“Good, go to the kitchen and we’ll be there in a moment. I’m going to help Mum, she’ll explain once we treat the injuries.” Dudley instructed his cousin.
The heavy teen was concentrating on other people so he did not have time to think that his father had almost killed both his mother and Harry. His world was already too surreal to have to deal with that on top of everything else. He had learned to dislike the smaller boy because of his magic, and his parent’s attitudes, but he had never wished him to die; out of his way, or living somewhere else but never dead.
Harry managed to get on his feet, if a bit unsteadily. That right hook to his chin must have addled his brains more than he thought. Slowly and carefully he made his way to the kitchen and dropped heavily on a chair, groaning as the sudden movement made him notice other pains and aches that he had not been aware of. The young teen gingerly placed his elbows on the table and his face on his hands. He had so many things to think about that he did not notice the antique wooden chest on the kitchen table. If this was any indication of how his summer was going to be, then Vernon was going to do what Voldemort and his Death Eaters had not been able to do yet, kill him.
The young Gryffindor slowly began to gather his wits. He needed to think what he was going to do about what just happened. It was obvious that contacting the Order members was no use; he had just lost whatever trust he had in them. They had given him hope that everything was going to get better with the Dursleys, and if not, they would put a stop to any problems. Yet this was worse than anything that had ever happened to him there, and no one, absolutely no one had come to stop it.
They should have noticed what happened and intervened, but no one had made so much as a peep. With his luck Mundungus Fletcher had the watch, and he was probably away, again, doing some of his dubious business transactions. Whoever was coordinating the watches should have known better than to let him do it. The dementors attacked him and Dudley during his watch last year, he had been forced to use magic to save themselves and got into BIG trouble because of it.
So no calling the Order of the Phoenix, that left three possible options neither of which sounded very appealing at the moment. He could remain at Privet Drive… No, it definitely was not an option anymore. Neglect he could live with and had for many years, death threats? No. Having one evil maniac after him was more than enough thank you. He certainly did not need another one; and since the Order was not doing anything to stop his crazy uncle, he could not risk staying. He had always know Vernon hated him, but he had never contemplated that the man hated him enough to kill him, even after being threatened by full grown wizards.
His second option was to run away, just like he did in his third year. But where would he go? The Burrow was too dangerous for the Weasleys; though he was sure they would take him in. The Grangers? That did not even bear thinking; they were muggles and would be in an even worse position to defend themselves if they were attacked by Death Eaters than the Weasleys. There was of course Grimmauld place, but that place reminded him too much of Sirius. Staying there would be too painful. Besides, it was the same as trying to contact the Order, with his luck they would send him back without listening.
He could get a room at the Leaky Cauldron. He did it in third year, but with Voldemort out to get him, it was not really a viable option; his face and scar were too bloody noticeable. Another option would be to try and hide in the muggle world, perhaps wander around a bit. It did not sound that bad, he really knew very little about the muggle world despite being raised in it, and he would like to see more of it. But for this or the Leaky Cauldron he needed money, and that meant going to Diagon Alley, which was a big no in his list.
Damn! There really was not much he could do, and it left him with his last option, which in his opinion was not much better than calling the Order, since He was the Head of it. Harry really had no wish to see Dumbledore any time soon, he was still too angry with the old wizard, and now he had more to add to the old coot’s ever increasing list of affronts, omissions and manipulations. He would run away, regardless of how unwise it was, before he resorted to asking that man for help! At this thought Harry caught himself with a sharp gasp. It had been this kind of attitude that had led to Sirius being killed and his friends getting hurt.
Harry had promised himself not to act rashly and there he was, about to do it again. Had not the Sorting Hat suggested that he had the qualities to do well in Slytherin? And if there was one thing the members of that house never did was act rashly, well almost never; most of the time they planned what they were going to do. Slytherins used their cunning and ambition to find the options that benefited them the most. Well, if acting totally Gryffindor had such disastrous effects for those around him; he might try to be more Slytherin. The problem was there might not be enough time to plan a course of action.
“Take two sips of this Harry,” the voice of his aunt broke through his reverie.
Harry had not noticed when they entered the kitchen. She was sitting on the chair beside him and had placed a small vial with light blue liquid before him. He reached for it absently before he did a double take. He recognized the contents of the vial, had taken enough dosages of the foul liquid to know what it was even with his eyes closed.
“This is Grudtar’s healing potion!” he stated astonished. “How… where…” the poor boy did not know how to express his shock at seeing her giving him a ‘potion’.
What was she doing with a potion? It was ‘magic’ after all, and she hated ‘magic’. He looked at his aunt, and saw her point to a wooden chest that was on the table. Harry noticed it for the first time, but got the impression that it had already been there when he entered the kitchen. He just had not been in any frame of mind to notice.
“Your mother… she… she was a very accurate seer, although I believe no one outside the family knew about it. Lils foresaw that I… that we… might need it, and gave me the chest before she went into hiding with you and her husband. Drink it, so I can explain. I suspect you’ll want answers…” Petunia gestured for him to drink the potion as she continued. “It’s highly concentrated so two sips will do. Then take one sip of this one.” She handed him the painless potion.
“You’re not taking them?” Harry asked rather suspiciously. He had reason; she had never been nice to him, nor had she ever worried about his well being. If he ever got sick, and he did a few times when he was a child, he did not get even an aspirin. And what was that about his mother being a seer and giving the potions to her? From what he knew they had hated each other with a passion.
“Vernon almost killed you Harry,” Petunia explained understanding his reluctance. She had never shown him care. “And on top of that you had a rather nasty fall. We can wait until you’ve taken them. If it’s any reassurance, I’ve been using them for about three weeks now, and both work very well and fast.”
Harry’s eyes widened at the implicit indication that what just happened was not an isolated incident. It seemed that his uncle had been beating her for some time. Despite his better judgment he worried about his aunt, he had not really paid any attention to her. But as he sat there with them, he could see the changes on her, the dark shadows under her eyes, the haunted look on her face, the fact that she was much thinner than he remembered; her clothes hanging rather loosely on her.
His aunt looked weary, tired and a bit desperate; he could not remember ever seeing her like that. Not wanting to make them wait any longer for some relief from the pain; he sipped the correct dosages of the potions and passed them to her. He saw as she offered them to Dudley, who had the beginnings of a really nasty shiner on his right eye. He shook his head and gestured for her to drink first, only after she drank, did he sip the potions. Harry thought that was a shocking gesture on his cousin’s part. Before, Dudley would have thrown a tantrum if he was not first, now… well it was just too strange.
“I gather he has gotten violent before.” This was not a question. But now Harry was beginning to understand the way they had looked when they arrived ‘home’ and their awkward attempts at warning him of the change in his uncle’s conduct. “How long has this been going on aunt Petunia? I just can’t recall uncle Vernon treating any of you badly before… sure I remember you and him argued, but… it was nothing more than shouts and screams.”
“Before we were married he got violent when he drank, though never with me,” she explained softly. “He got in a lot of trouble because of it. After we got married he avoided getting drunk… but three months ago he was informed that Grunnings was going out of business. He got enough warning to try and search for another job but… he was unable to get anything. He began drinking, at first we just argued about it, until one day about two months ago he… I guess he finally lost it and hit me, and has been doing it since then.” She turned away from him, looking ashamed. “He blames you for what happened to the company and me for… well, for being related to you.”
“But I didn’t DO anything! Hell I don’t even know if there’s any spell that can DO something like that!”
“I know it’s not your fault Harry,” she assured him softly, he stared and gaped at her. He was doing it too often this afternoon, but he just could not get over the changes in his aunt. “Although I do know there are… spells that can do that and much more. Lils… Lily told me about some of them when we were still speaking to each other, and later… When Vernon wanted to send you to an orphanage, Dumbledore implied it in one of the letters he sent to convince me to keep you. He kept in contact with me for a couple of months after dropping you here, after that I didn’t hear from him or magic until the letters.” The last was said quietly.
Damn that meddling old coot! No wonder the Dursleys hated magic and him so much. They had been practically forced to take him at wand point. What was the Headmaster thinking? Didn’t he realize that threatening the Dursleys to keep him would only make his life worse? Harry wanted very much to curse the old man into next year, but probably it would get him nowhere even if he managed to hit him at all, so the still enraged teen decided to change the subject.
“Why did you hate my mother aunt Petunia?” Whoa! That was NOT what he had been meaning to ask. He had wanted to know more about the chest, so why ask that?
“I… I don’t think I really hated Lils Harry.” That got her identical incredulous raised eyebrows from both her nephew and her son.
“You could have fooled me,” Harry sneered. Had he seen himself in a mirror he would have surprised himself. The sneer was a good rendition of Snape’s trademark facial expression.
“Since the chest finally opened and I read your mother’s letters I’ve had a lot of time to think.” Petunia decided to ignore his sarcasm. She did not like this lack of respect, but knew she had brought it upon herself, so she went on. “I realized I was mostly… jealous. You see… Randolph and Elizabeth Evans, your grandparents, were not muggles…”
“They’re not?” Harry interrupted aghast. This was entirely new to him, why had no one informed him that his mother was not a muggle-born?
“No, both of your grandparents actually came from very long lines of squibs. They were elated when Lily proved she was a witch and an extremely powerful one at that.” She paused for a moment remembering the Evans; she had really loved them like her own parents, and she had been so stupid. Her animosity towards Lily hurt them, and yet they still loved her. “They were always good to me, and did their best not to discriminate between us. But I was envious of Lily’s magic and all the things that came with it…” She sighed, steeled herself and went on. “There’s something that I haven’t told anybody, not even Vernon. Only Mum, Dad and Lils knew… I’m not related to the Evans by blood; they were my godparents and adopted me when my real parents died. Lils and I were five at the time.”
“WHAT?!!!” This came from both Harry and Dudley. But it was the first that was practically in shock.
If his aunt was not related to him in ANY way but name, then where the hell did Dumbledore come up with the harebrained idea that he was safer at Privet Drive because of a blood bond that certainly did not exist. Ok, from what his aunt mentioned the old coot was probably not aware of the little fact that his aunt was adopted, but still, there must have been a way for Dumbledore to know that there was no such bond.
“You’re not? But… but Dumbledore… he said…” Harry sputtered, trying to grasp the enormity of his aunt’s admission. There really had been no need for him to suffer living with the Dursleys, nor had he been safer with them. All those years he could have spent with a family that wanted him and that would have loved him. He felt like crying.
“Something about the blood of family, I don’t quite remember, it’s been a long time.” She finished for him. “I tried to tell him of course, but he would not even listen.”
“…wizard,” He gritted through clenched teeth. “He ruined my life! Made it hell…”
“He did not know Harry, don’t do anything rash that you’ll regret later.” Her nephew just stared at her in utter disbelief at her words.
“All right, who the bloody hell are you, and what have you done to my aunt and cousin?” He inquired as he stood and pulled out his wand pointing it at her. His eyes were full of distrust.
“It’s us Harry. It’s just… it’s just that things HAVE changed. Vernon has turned our world upside down. Then the chest finally opened and your mother’s letters made me think and realize that I went to great lengths to sustain a stupid childish grudge that had no grounds to exist! That despite the way I acted towards her, and you, she still loved me as if we were sisters by blood. She knew you know? She saw it on her visions. I can’t change the way we acted Harry, I can only tell you how sorry I am that we made your life hell. I don’t expect you to forgive any of us, we don’t deserve it. But she asked me in her letters to make sure you did not act rashly and I plan to do it.”
“Merlin! This is just so…” Harry slumped on the chair, his wand still in hand but no longer ready to hex anything that moved.
He did not know what to think or what to do. His anger at them was momentarily overcome by confusion. His aunt really sounded sincere, and it was true that things had changed for the worse for the whole Dursley family still, what the hell was in those letters that made her change?
“Weird,” Dudley finished for him shaking his head in disbelief.
“And it’s going to get even weirder boys.” She stated as she put the potions back in the box, despite having used them continually there was more than three quarters of each in the vials. “Going back to the chest, she left some letters in it that she wanted you to deliver. One of them is for you, as well as some sort of journal. She was adamant that you read the letter today before taking any rash decisions. The journal can wait for later, when time isn’t pressing,” Harry looked sharply at her. How had his mother known that he was planning what to do? “Don’t ask, as I said before she was a seer, a rather special and rare kind of seer,” she shrugged when he raised an inquiring eyebrow in her direction. “Lily knew this would happen and that’s why she prepared the chest. It’s filled with the things we would need to get through this situation. I just wish I had taken her seriously then, but I guess she knew I wasn’t going to.” She took out the letter that was addressed to Harry and a vial with a pearly liquid from the box. As soon as it was out of it, the vial became a rather large container. There were at least three gallons in there of whatever potion it was. “She asked me to make sure you had three drops of this potion before you opened her letter, both Dudley and I should take only one.”
“Three drops for me, why the different dosage? And did she tell you what potion it is?” He eyed the now huge vial with apprehension. He still was not sure if he should trust this new version of his aunt, although he could understand a bit how she could have changed. Getting beaten continually by Vernon would surely account for that.
“I really don’t know, she did not mention why. About its name, Lils called it ‘pearly’ -I suppose it’s because of the colour- said it really didn’t have a name. She asked it to be created specifically for you and Dudley. She did tell me it was some sort of calming draught that it helped to clear the mind and absorb knowledge faster. The complete explanation and the recipe -I guess that’s what it’s called- are in the journal. You should start reading Harry, as I don’t know how long we have before Vernon comes back.”
“Yeah, we can hope someone brings him back unconscious, but that’s only happened twice since I arrived from Smeltings,” Dudley commented shuddering a bit. His father had returned the rest of the time in a worse mood than the one he left in.
“Ok, let’s see what my Mum wanted to tell me,” Harry said as he took the letter from his aunt and gingerly took it out of the envelope. There were four sheets of parchment carefully folded, written in a pretty purple ink, and a neat handwriting. Before reading he accepted the potion. Its taste was pleasant, and like nothing he had ever tasted before. He felt it taking effect almost immediately and he relaxed, the confusion going away leaving him quite alert.