Harry Potter was not your usual 11 year old boy. Now, it was not because of his ability to suddenly transport onto the roof, or change his teacher's hair to a blue color. It was simply because his will,. He wished to die.
He had embraced these feelings for so long. Ever since he was old enough to conjure a memory, he had been shown the unfair side of the harshness of reality: namely, his uncaring family, his dead parents, his unconcerned teachers, his contemptuous cousin. Everybody was there to hurt him, to make him realize that his being born was a mistake.
His eyes saw through the lenses (blurred lenses, because they were not set in the appropriate power) that there appeared to be a wall between him and 'normal' people. 'Normal' people like Dudley, Petunia and Vernon had real lives, as well as happiness. They could watch television, they could eat whatever they liked, they could smile and laugh and be a family, they could order the 'freak' (like him) around, they had their own jobs—as a manager at Grunnings, or as a spoiled son. They could enjoy their holidays; they deserved presents and love and kisses and hugs. On the other hand, 'freaks' like him deserved nothing. He needed to work to eat, needed to beg for clothes and cry for a bed. His small cupboard under the stairs was the only one place where he felt like he was at home—or maybe, the only place he felt that was suitable to house a 'freak' like him.
He knew that all people eventually died. Wasn't that the case with his drunken parents? They died, passing away to the next gate and leaving him alone. Of course, who would want a 'freak' anyway? Harry knew that it was true; otherwise how could two ordinary adults suddenly decide to go drunk driving? They must have hated the fact that Harry—the 'freak'—was borne of them; their only option left was to save face by killing themselves.
Death had always been a fascinating subject for him. Hell, ever since he could read, Harry preferred to engulf himself in the prospects of death. From the bedtime stories Petunia told Dudley—which Harry, much to his desperation and shame, would eavesdrop in on—at the end of each story, all the bad guys died, and the prince and princess would live happily ever after. Putting himself in the bad guys' role, Harry came to the conclusion that 'normal' people like the prince and princess of the stories, and the "Dursleys'" of the world, deserved to live happily ever after, while 'freaks' like the bad guys, and him, deserved to die. That morbid conclusion made Harry wonder what death felt like.
Alas, even though he wondered about death all the time, his limited knowledge did not allow him to think one step ahead—he was still too innocent to contemplate suicide. Furthermore, his own magic abilities (which he wasn't aware of yet) protected his body from harm, and whenever hurt, he healed himself at such a super fast rate that Harry himself didn't even realize how abnormal his healing ability was. So instead, his mind subconsciously sought ways to end his life—at times, by crossing the road a bit late, or by standing up for himself to the biggest bully in school (headed by yours truly, Duddley Dursley), or by carelessly playing with electric appliances while near a source of water. Yet somehow, he still remained alive until the day he received the weird letter saying he had been accepted to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
That week had been a truly bad one; aside from the usual lack of adequate food, Vernon Dursley had accidentally stepped on his back when Harry was busy waxing the floor, and had snapped two ribs inside his fragile chest. Harry had moaned in pain, and Vernon Dusley—assaulted by mixed feelings, including a sense of surprise, and something else (which suspiciously felt like arousal from the small moan)—had felt revolted at himself. He had vented his disgust by whipping the small boy: 20 lashes total, using a belt buckle. The wounds closed themselves after 20 hours of agony—and his ribs were already healed and back in their proper places 2 days afterwards; still, the week alone was devastating.
Harry Potter gave the letter to his uncle and watched emotionlessly as his uncle's face became purple. He didn't know what exactly was happening, but a small, happy voice inside his head knew that he would end up hurt badly—and that voice spoke out of glee, for finally, he had gained a real chance to die.
The hat on top of his head was big, and easily engulfed his whole head. Harry closed his eyes, wondering what would happen. The sudden darkness brought on by the hat was welcome, and he suddenly felt at ease. He felt something probing around in his mind. Would he be able die now?
'No, I won't even hurt you, Harry Potter. I am only here to assign you to theHouse you should be in.'
Harry felt a bit of surprise when he heard the voice speak in his head. A bit of his heart yearned to call back to it. Was that his dad's voice?
'Sadly, I am not your father, Harry Potter. I am truly sorry.'
Ah. Harry nodded solemnly. Again, his wishful thinking had disappointed him.
'…I cannot respond to this. This is the saddest wish I have ever heard of, in my old age. Why do you think death would be welcome and good?'
The hat was talking to him, Harry realized. So he mumbled his answer, 'Because freaks are not supposed to live, am I correct?'
'Harry, you are not a freak.'
'Yes I am. It is easier for me to think that way.'
'What you truly need now is therapy. Would you like me to arrange a session with the Headmaster?'
'Will he help me by killing me?'
'No, he won't.'
'Then I don't need him. I am fine like this. I just want to sleep and die. Maybe then I can see my parents and apologize to them for giving birth to me,' Harry answered with a soft smile.
'Alright, fine. But I need to sort you into a House now. … I can only suggest Slytherin. Your ambition to die is remarkable. Yet you have never seriously pursued it. Maybe … you don't really want to die?'
The comment woke Harry up. Impossible; he had wanted to die ever since he could remember. To watch the nice family act in front of him, to realize that he was nothing but an unwanted pest, a freak; the pain he carried was truly unbearable. He had been living with an accumulated eleven years' worth of mental and physical pain, but now this talking hat was saying that he didn't want to die? Was the hat kidding? Did he think that Harry wanted to live in pain all his life? Hadn't he suffered enough?
'You don't need to die, my dear boy. You deserve a better life. Not death.'
Harry clutched his chest. The new robe he was wearing was very new and the starched folds felt weird in his small hand. His chest was throbbing in pain. Why?
'Maybe… Well maybe this can help. SLYTHERIN!'
The hall was silent. Harry Potter, the poster boy for the light, had been sorted into Slytherin.
The room was bigger than his entire elementary school. And he occupied such a big room with a mere 6 other boys. Harry was amazed and in awe. But apparently he was the only one who was impressed, as the other boys were vocal about their disappointment regarding sharing a room with one another. Especially the one called Draco Malfoy.
"I need to share a room with all of you? This is outrageous! I will tell my father about this."
Harry ignored the exclamations and went to his side of the room. A bed, larger than one he could ever wish for (and way, way better than his cot at home) was waiting for him. On top of the bed was the trunk he'd purchased when he went to Diagon Alley with Hagrid. Harry looked around and found that he had a big wardrobe, bigger than his whole cupboard under the stairs, and all of it just for his clothes. There was also a nice desk made from heavy wood. Everything was just too good to be true.
His hand twitched badly. Harry stifled his moan. His arm hadn't healed nicely yet. The week before the 1st of September had simply been hell. His right arm was broken in so many places that even past one week, it hadn't healed like it would usually. His body was still stiff and in pain, coupled with the continuous pain in his tummy. Uncle Vernon had bought a whip especially tailored for him, and between the kicks and the punches and the whip, Harry couldn't really recall what had exactly happened.
It was the only thing he knew: pain, pain and pain. After that, blackness. Then pain, pain and more pain.
"Hey Potter." Suddenly a voice called to him, so Harry turned his body and saw that the blonde boy, Malfoy, was standing in front of him. Harry felt even smaller than he already was, and he squirmed and bit his lower lip.
"I am Draco Malfoy, and I am pleased to welcome you in Slytherin. You chose the right path, Potter. Just like I was saying in the train. The right connection brings you to the best places."
Harry wasn't sure what to answer to that, so he nodded and muttered thanks. After that, the boy left him alone and others came to him to introduce themselves.
Harry was overwhelmed, and offered his left hand, as his right was in no form to shake others' hands. The other boys simply assumed he was left handed, and offered their left hands to him as well.
The only thing Harry remembered from the Great Feast was Dumbledore's comment how 'the third corridor is forbidden unless the student wants to die in a most painful way.' Harry perked at the announcement and made a mental note of it; it was the first time that month he became sure that he could die very soon. He would definitely go to the third corridor and die. That was a wonderful thing. Maybe the whole 'being-a-wizard' business wasn't as bad as he had previously thought. For apparently even the headmaster of the school encouraged their students to seek death!
The magic classes started—and he realized that they weren't all that different from the classes at his previous school. Everybody aside from Slytherin thought that he had somehow betrayed them by choosing to be a "snake," so they either ignored him, or settled on being hostile to him. Harry accepted the treatment in stride, because he really hadn't expected anything else. The only difference was that, this time around, the Slytherin House seemed to protect him, which, in his opinion, that goodwill was a bit too wasteful on a 'freak' like him.
He managed to change the match into a needle without using his wand. But when he looked around, nobody had achieved the same thing- and they were all using their wands. So Harry came to the conclusion that doing the transfiguration with a wand was supposed to be harder. He changed the needle back into a match, then tried the trick again, this time using his wand.
During the process, the wand shook sadly in his left hand, and yet Harry easily changed the match back into a silver needle. When he looked around again, nobody had done the same thing, so he changed back the match and stopped doing anything. He definitely didn't want to stick out like a sore thumb; he didn't want to become a target of any bullies for fear that he already was one from being faster than his peers.
"Good job, Ms. Granger. Five points to Gryffindor," the strict teacher called out, and Harry realized that there was somebody else who had also changed their match into a needle. Harry let out a sigh and let himself rest. Good, he wasn't the main freak in the room.
Charms was another class where Harry felt weird. He stared at his feather and he could see it slowly rising into the air. But when he looked around, everybody was still trying hard to levitate the feather with their wands. Their seriousness made Harry feel weird. Why did they have to put so much effort into simply levitating a light little feather? Was this how the 'normals' of the 'freaks' acted? Did this mean that he was a freak amongst even the 'freaks'?
"Harry, your feather is rising!" A sudden exclamation came from his side, from a boy named Blaise Zabini, and it startled Harry. He quickly put the feather down, using only the movements of his eye. The feather dropped to the desk.
"Oh, maybe I was just imagining things." The boy then turned back to his feather, flicking his own wand to levitate his feather. Harry swallowed hard. He almost got caught. No. He didn't want to get caught. He didn't want to be the freak amongst the 'freaks'.
His chest was in pain. His tummy ache came back. His palms started to sweat. And all he wanted to do was curl on the cot inside the cupboard under the stairs.
He wanted to die so much. So much.
Blaise Zabini watched as his dorm-mate named Harry Potter walked beside him to the Potions class. He was enthralled by the mystery of the Boy-Who-Lived. Contrary to the expectations of the wizarding world, Harry Potter had been sorted into Slytherin. Furthermore, he was so silent, almost as though he weren't there. Just by looking at the boy, Blaise felt pity, as well as a sense of intense protectiveness over the boy. He was so small. Even by their first-years' standard. Harry Potter was as small as the most petite witch in their House.
And he kept to himself. After two days of being together during classes and in the dorms, all Blaise knew about Harry was that Harry's full name was Harry Potter, he was male, he was tiny, he ate very little and talked even less, he was left handed and he was in constant fear of something.
Oh, and he clutched his chest robes a lot.
Blaise walked in silence, as he observed the other boy more deeply. Right, the boy looked like a small girl. Long untamed black hair; an old pair of glasses rimmed by blackened iron. He was decked in a set of new outer robes, but underneath, Blaise could catch glimpses of ugly oversized trousers and old trainers. Long eyelashes, framing green eyes that were always fixed on the floor. Quite cute, actually.
They entered the dungeon and hurried to one of the desks. Just as they were nicely seated, a billowing big bat came into the room. Upon clearer observation, they realized that it wasn't a bat; he was actually their teacher and the Head of Slytherin House, Professor Serverus Snape.
"I am here to teach you the art of potions. It is a dangerous art, yet it is also very rewarding. It is not something you idiots can learn by simply swishing your wands everywhere. Put them away, and always pay attention, because in here, your life is always at stake."
Blaise put on his usual expressionless mask. The Head of their House was really intimidating.
The professor started calling out names to take attendance. Once he got there, he stopped at Harry's name.
"…Ah, our new celebrity."
Blaise turned to his friend, and looked at Harry. The boy looked unaffected. He was still staring at his desk.
"I will not tolerate cheeky behaviour. Be polite and look up when your name is called!"
Harry glanced up to look directly at the professor. He could feel the contempt and hatred emulating from the black haired man. And he wasn't sure how to react. He was used to this. He knew that most people hated him anyway, so what was one more professor on the list?
"Potter! Where can I find a bezoar?"
Harry blinked. Where? What?
"I see that popularity is not everything. Let's try one more. What is the difference between wolfsbane and monkshood?"
Harry slowly went to his book, opening it, but Snape was faster.
"Who said you could read the book? Are you that useless, Potter? I guess that having a famous name is not everything. You need to learn more, if you want to survive this class."
Harry nodded solemnly and waited.
Irked with the lack of reaction, Snape snapped. "Detention tonight! Come to my office at 8 this evening!"
Harry nodded. But he was still silent. Some of the Gryffindors smirked, as they thought Potter, even being the Boy-Who-Lived, wasn't all that now that he was sorted into the "snake house."
"Silence, the rest of you!" Snape bellowed. He then continued the roll call and ordered them to do the assigned potions for the day.
Blaise was infuriated with the unfairness of the situation. Even he, having had previous tutelage from his mother, wouldn't have known anything about the wolfsbane thing. He knew about bezoars, of course, but the other questions were set up just to embarrass Harry. And to think that this was coming from their Head of House!
Apparently he wasn't the only one frustrated with the situation. Most of his Slytherin classmates were thinking along the same lines. But being Slytherins, they wouldn't act rashly like the Gryffindors, who would probably have clamoured right then and there for justice. They waited instead to see whether standing up for Potter would bring any advantages for them. So in the end, nobody offered Harry any help and frankly, Harry didn't expect any.
He just wanted to die. Please, the sooner the better. The feelings of humiliation were not as bad as the pain in his chest. He always made people hate him, never the other way around; never did they choose to love him. And it made his chest feel so, so very painful.
He knocked on the door and was ordered to enter. Professor Snape was behind his desk, marking up some summer homework from his upper classes, and didn't spare him a glance when Harry came in.
"Clean all the pots by the corner of the room. No magic allowed."
Harry let a sigh. Maybe this wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. Detention seemed to be akin to his usual chores at home anyway. And so he had been worrying over nothing for the whole dinner.
"Why are you sighing? Are you looking down on me!"
Harry quickly shook his head and directed his gaze towards the floor. It was best to simply let the anger be vented on him. The quicker the anger was vented, the faster he would be left alone to clean the cauldrons. He preferred the silence of menial chores, to a kick to his still painful stomach.
"Look at me, brat!"
And Harry showed his eyes to the professor. The next moment he felt a familiar sensation of probing, not unlike how the hat had treated him. Ah, he was not dying then.
"..What do you mean 'not dying'? Are you an idiot, Potter?"
"Yes, sir," Harry answered, and lowered his eyes. He really wanted to run to the third level corridor now. A painful death never sounded so good.
"Why, you are already thinking of going to the forbidden place? So you think you are above the rules, hmm, Potter? You arrogant, attention seeking brat!"
"…I am sorry, sir. Forgive me."
"So you think that because you are famous, everything will be forgiven just by apologizing? Have you no shame at all?"
"I am sorry, sir."
"Pathetic. Go and do your work!"
So Harry turned around and started cleaning. His right hand and arm were still bothering him. There were black spots on his skin, indicating possible blood blockages in the area. And his right arm was still a bit sore, so Harry used his left hand as much as possible.
He scrubbed and scrubbed. It was a bit harder without his right hand, so he was slower than usual. But after half an hour, he managed to finish all the cleaning.
"I am finished, sir."
"…" Snape was shocked. Barely half an hour had passed since the boy had started cleaning, and now he was finished? What an arrogant liar!
"Let me check, you liar!"
Harry flinched. "I am sorry sir, if I was not fast enough."
Snape raised an eyebrow to that statement, but he checked the pots All 30 cauldrons were cleaned and sparkling, as though as they had been waxed diligently. It was a far cry from their initial state. So apparently, the boy hadn't been lying.
"..You must have used magic."
Harry shook his head. "No sir. I didn't. I followed your orders perfectly.'
"Liar! Show me your hand!"
Harry showed him his left hand, which was wrinkled from prolonged contact with soap and water. Snape sneered and saw that the boy wasn't offering his right hand.
"Your other hand!"
Harry stopped, but he finally showed him. And Snape was truly shocked.
That hand, that small thin arm, was covered in black bruises. The palm looked brownish and filled with so many scars while the fingers… they were in a truly devastating state. Snape suspected that at least his smallest and middle fingers were broken. They were each bent at an impossible angle.
"What on earth happened to your arm, Potter?"
Harry quickly hid his arm, but Snape reached out and caught it, causing Harry to whine from pain. Realizing that the root of the injury was not as important as treating it at the moment, Snape grabbed the boy's shoulder and ushered him onto the sofa.
"Sit," Snape ordered, and he went to his cupboard to take out his pain relief potion. He then gave it to Harry.
The boy drank it wordlessly. And his eyes suddenly opened up wide. His pain was gone!
"Are you still in pain, now?"
Harry shook his head. "No, sir. Thank you sir."
"Good. What I gave you was my pain relief potion, and now I will give you a blood diluting potion. After that we should go to the infirmary."
The potions' names made Harry perk up. He looked up at Snape and whispered.
"…There are so many types of potions, aren't there?"
"Yes of course, Potter. Why?"
"Is there… Is there a potion for instant death?"
Snape raged. "You! You idiotic brat! You think you can poison me with that?"
Harry paled. "N..No, sir! I just want a painless death. It's for me only, sir!"
"For you?" Snape peered down and saw no lie in the boy's green eyes. Lily's eyes were looking at him in hope and desperation.
"Yes sir. Is there? Can I… Can I have it? I can give you all my money, sir! I have much in the Gringotts vault!"
"Will it not be enough, sir? I have also other things—I have a brand new trunk! Also, my new potions set! Also all my books! And I also have an owl if you want it in exchange!"
"Potter, listen to me."
"Please, please sir! I'll give you everything! Anything! I can give you my body as well! You can use order me to do anything, anything! Just… Just give me…"
And he started to sob. He wanted to die so much, so much. His chest was so painful. Just give him the potion so that he could die, please, please… the recent relief from the pain in his right hand had made the pain in his chest even more unbearable.
"Potter, calm down." Snape started to panic. What was happening? The boy who hadn't given him any reaction from his taunting was suddenly crying desperately, begging him for poison. It was beyond disturbing. An 11 year old, asking for death. It wasn't normal at all.
Harry sobbed and sobbed, completely losing his composure. He was so scared and angry and disappointed and disturbed and confused and in such deep mental pain. Why couldn't he just be normal? Even the people of the wizarding world denied him what he desired most, death. Where could he get his wish?
"Potter, why are you asking for death?"
Harry managed to stop his sobbing, and he looked up. His vision was blurry.
"Because I don't deserve to live, sir."
"Who told you such a thing?"
"Uncle Vernon. Aunt Petunia. Aunt Marge. Duddley. Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Carla, everyone. Even my parents are dead only because they never wanted me, sir. I just want to die and in this way say sorry to all of them for being born, sir. I am sorry."
"Potter. Calm down. Think. Listen. Your parents are not dead because they didn't want you. The Dark Lord killed them."
"You don't need to lie to me, sir. Hagrid told me the same thing, but again, I don't need the comfort of lies, sir! I know the truth. My relatives told me the truth. They always are truthful. I don't need sugar coated lies, sir. I understand reality."
"I tried, sir. I can't. My wounds always closed before I bled to death. The cars never hit me. I always wakes up every morning; Uncle Vernon never succeeded in silencing me. I don't know what's wrong with me, sir. I can't die. I have tried so hard but I always fail. I swear! So please give me the potion sir, please?"
"I cannot reason with you like this, Potter, when your mind is in total chaos. You need to lie down and sleep. Do you understand me, Potter?"
Harry couldn't comprehend him. He was simply disappointed in his professor.
"Don't you hate me as well, sir? Why won't you let me die?"
"I promise I won't be a hassle once I die, sir. I won't bother you again. I am so sorry for whatever it is, so please give me death."
"Potter, you are getting ridiculous…" Snape was getting embarrassed. Harry's assessment of his motives wasn't that far from the truth.
Harry slumped in his seat. The professor hated him so much that he wouldn't even let him die. Snape wouldn't let him have his wish. What a disappointment. What was he thinking anyway? Asking for death from people who hated him? They wouldn't help him, of course!
With that, Harry clenched his teeth and stood up. Before Snape realized what was happening, Harry had run to the door and bolted through the opening.
Snape cursed, getting up and running after him. But when he saw the empty corridor, he realized it was too late.
Harry ran through the corridor. It was rather dark, but he didn't care. He wanted to find a place like his cupboard under the stairs. Just a quiet, small place where he could curl up and die. Preferably peacefully. Maybe, once he was holed up, he could start to starve himself to death. He could survive without food for 5 days. Maybe if he didn't eat for a whole two weeks, he would start rotting and eventually die.
He didn't watch where he was going, and so he collided in the next second with another body. Harry stumbled onto the floor; his glasses flew from his face and skittered away from him. Harry's myopic eyes couldn't make out anything.
From the voice, it had to be a teacher. The voice belonged to a male; an older person. A teacher.
"What are you doing here?"
"I… I was…"
"Are you crying?" the voice asked him. Harry nodded, neither recognizing the speaker nor caring who it was. Whoever the person was, he knew that they would probably not grant his death wish. So he didn't care.
"Where are you going, Potter?"
Harry's head snapped up at the question. Right, where he was going again?
The third level corridor… painful death…
"The third level corridor, sir. I want to go there."
Silence followed that answer for a while. Then the professor answered in another voice.
"…I'll take you there, Harry Potter."