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War Games

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(Tuesday, August 12th, 1986: Leaky Cauldron, Charing Cross Road, London England. H.J.P.)

 

Harry stared wide-eyed at the blatant use of freakiness around the inn he'd stumbled into. Chairs moved out of the way as a broom swept the floor. A cloth wiped down the table by itself, and people were walking out of the fireplace. Most went around the back, but when Harry followed them he'd only found a brick wall. Turning around, Harry saw a woman who looked like a healthy, blonde, and normal necked Aunt Petunia. Screwing his face up in determination he marched over to the woman. 

 

"Excuse me miss," Harry said. "I was wondering why people went to the small space over there?" Harry pointed. 

 

The woman frowned and followed his finger. 

 

"They were going to the ally," The woman shrugged. 

 

"What ally?"

 

"Diagon Alley most likely,"

 

"But there's no alley back there. It's just a brick wall,"

 

"Muggleborn," The woman sighed. "It's magic,"

 

Harry gasped. His eyes went wide as he stumbled back a step.

 

"That's a bad word," Harry said. "You said a bad word!" 

 

The woman blinked at the unexpected reaction. Magic wasn't a bad word. 

 

"What do you mean Magic is a bad word?"

 

"Its called Freakishness," Harry corrected with a nod. "My Aunt said it's why I've got this freakish scar on my head,"

 

Harry pulled up his bangs to show the woman his lightning bolt scar. The woman dropped her quill in shock. Harry just smiled up at her.

 

"I got this from a freak like me when he killed my whore mother and deadbeat father," Harry said. His green eyes watched the small crowd around himself with some worry. 

 

"Are you guys Freaks too?"

 

The woman shakily got off her bar stool and kneeled before the small boy. Instead of answering him she held out her hand, palm up.

 

"Could you give me your hand?" She asked. Dear Merlin, she hoped she was wrong. She hoped this wasn't who she thought it was. Who it so obviously was.

 

Harry bit his lip before hesitantly resting his hand on the woman's hand.

 

"What is your name?"

 

"Freak!" Harry said with a smile. He knew that one, Aunt Petunia asked him that question all the time.

 

Tears pooled in the woman's eyes when the boy's magic didn't show any sign of a lie. She'd done this countless times with her younger cousins, and when they lied their magic would react to it. When it was truthful, or at least if the kid believed they were telling the truth, then there would be no change. 

 

"Do you have any other names?" the woman asked.

 

"My teachers at primary call me Harry Potter," 

 

The blonde woman was heartbreakingly glad to hear she wasn't the only one crying right now. The raven-haired boy watched in confusion as people cried at his answer.

 

"Was that the wrong answer?" He asked.

 

"No my dear," The woman said. "Would you mind answering a few more questions for me?"

 

"I can to that! But I can't talk about my cupboard, Aunt Petunia says its a secret,"

 

"Rita,"  The woman looked up to the man who wanted her attention. "I called the Aurors,"

 

"Thank you, Tom,"

 

Harry worried his lip between his teeth.

 

"Alright dear," Rita said, her quill and parchment flying off the counter to float at her side. "be as honest as you can for me alright?"

 

Harry nodded.

 

"What is your name?"

 

"I'm Freak, but sometimes adults call me Harry Potter,"

 

"How old are you?"

 

"I don't know. Freaks don't have birthdays,"

 

"Where do you live?"

 

"I told you, Miss Rita," Harry sighed. "I'm not allowed to talk about my Cupboard. It's secret,"

 

"What are some things you like to do?" Rita asked, hoping for something that'll paint a better picture of the savior's home life.

 

Green eyes scrunched in confusion, his head tilted to the side as he thought.

 

"I like baking Dudley's birthday cakes," Harry said. "and when Aunt Petunia has me clean her garden I like talking to the snakes, SmallBite doesn't like the neighbor's dog because its so loud but HideSleep doesn't even notice the dog when she visits,"

 

Rita froze when Harry mentioned talking to snakes, but had to suppress a laugh as the boy talked. Muggle snakes sounded like toddlers.

 

"Who do you live with?" 

 

"My Aunt and Uncle," Harry said. "Petunia and Vernon Dursley. Their good, normal people,"

 

Rita asked as many questions as she could think of. Each answer broke her heart just a bit more. When the Aurors showed up and asked the young Potter their own questions, Rita recorded those too. When Harry carelessly took off his ragged shirt to show the Aurors the scars on his back, Rita couldn't handle it. She sat down and let the hollow feeling in her chest engulf her senses.

 

'Boy-Who-Lives to be Abandoned' Rita thought. That was exactly what they've done, and she would make sure the entire wizarding world realized their mistake. 

 

Harry left the Leaky Cauldron with Madam Bones' promise that she'd help him. When Harry laid down in his Cupboard to sleep that night, he smiled to himself.

 

"Let the games begin,"