Chapter 1: Meet Marvolo
The first time that Harry can remember talking to the voice inside his head was when he had been five years old. He had accidently spilled some orange juice when he was cleaning the dishes and his uncle had gotten angry. He grabbed Harry’s arm hard enough to bruise and threw him in his cupboard.
“If you can’t be useful around people, then the least you can do is stay out my goddamn sight,” Vernon snarled as he locked the door on the outside.
“Please, Uncle Vernon, I didn’t mean to. I’ll be better,” Harry begged, though he knew better than to hit the door. Last time he had tried that, Uncle Vernon had gotten very angry and hit him across the face for ruining the space that they so graciously let him sleep in. It made Harry upset and confused and he just wanted to know why he was treated this way when his cousin wasn’t. Why did they hate him so much? It wasn’t fair, and he wanted to be loved. And cared for. He wanted someone to care about him.
Harry brought his knees to his chest and cried, struggling to keep the noises from coming out. The result was wet sniffing and half choked back tears echoing inside the small cupboard he was in. The only light he had was from? the line underneath the door but it wasn’t enough, and Harry was scared.
Why are you scared?
Harry jumped and pressed himself closer to the wall, eyes blindly searching for someone in the darkness.
“W..where are you, sir?” the young boy whispered timidly.
I’m inside of you.
“Are you me?”
No, I don’t think so.
Harry paused, biting his lower lip thinking. Maybe…. maybe it was because he had wished really hard for a friend.
“Will you be my friend, sir?”
Why do you need friends? Can’t you go and make real friends?
“No,” Harry said sadly, picking at one of the scabs that had been left over from Vernon’s last punishment, “my uncle and aunt say that I’m not allowed to go outside ever because I’m a Freak.” Harry felt a burst of pain come from his scar and he whimpered.
Don’t say that word. You are not a freak, and they shouldn’t treat you like that. The voice had a seething undertone to it and even if it scared Harry, there was also something in Harry that felt overwhelmed that someone would want to be on his side. Even if this person wasn’t really real, Harry still felt warmed by the fact that he had a friend. A friend all of his own.
“What’s your name, sir?”
I don’t know. I don’t remember anything.
“You don’t know your name?” Harry giggled.
I don’t remember anything before a few moments ago, so pardon me if I don’t exactly have the best recollection.
“What does recollection mean?”
It means remembering things.
“But you don’t remember your name? Everyone has a name, sir.” Harry said,
Until I can remember mine, call me… Marvolo.
“I’ve never heard of anyone called Marvolo.”
You’ve also never really met anyone though, have you?
Harry shook his head.
Don’t worry. I’ll be here for you. I’ll make sure you aren’t lonely. And then Harry could’ve sworn that he felt a caress on his cheek, and something in him lit up. The coldness of the cupboard melted away from his face when he felt the warmth this invisible hand offered. That his new friend offered.
Chapter 2: Power
It's a curious thing, Marvolo pondered, that he could not remember anything beyond the first time that Harry had talked to him and yet he knew how to talk and he had his own opinion apart from the younger boy. After convincing Harry to go to the library, the closest thing he could find was imaginary friends. Was he an imaginary friend?
"Can we go back home? Uncle Vernon will be mad if he sees I'm not in the garden anymore." Harry had learned that he didn't need to talk out loud to communicate with Marvolo but it still sounded a lot like screaming.
Of course, Harry.
The sun was starting to set and the streetlights were flickering on one by one as they walked past them. This was one of those moments that made Marvolo sure that there was something different about young Harry. This little boy had done things that they hadn't been able to explain away, and the reaction of Harry's family was only proof of that. Screams and carried out threats were always the response when Harry did something... different. The young boy called it freaky, but Marvolo detested using that word.
"Marvolo, why do Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia hate me so much?" Harry asked, looking down at his worn out sneakers. They had been Dudley's before, and when the other boy had found out that they were going to be handed down to Harry, he had damaged them to the best of his ability. This was why the bottom of the shoe would sometimes drag against the ground. It had made Marvolo furious but Harry had calmed him down, saying it was normal.
They hate you because they're jealous, Harry. Because you have...powers that they don't. They want what you have--the power. Marvolo replied, but he could tell that it was the wrong answer because Harry's lips trembled. But that isn't a reason to hate someone, Harry. You and I know that. You can't control your power any more than Dudley can control his weight.
The younger boy giggled at that as he snuck back into the garden in the back of the house. Thankfully, no one had even noticed that he was gone, and he hurriedly began to tug at the weeds that had sprouted near the rose bush.
"I wish I never had these powers. I want to be normal."
If Marvolo had a face, it would have contorted in rage, instead all that happened was Harry
got getting a little headache.
Harry, being normal isn't worth it. What you have is special. It's a gift, and you can do so much with it, even if your terrible aunt and uncle can't see it."
"Like… help other kids like me, right?"
"If that’s what you want."
Chapter 3: Gentle Touch
For the most part, Harry could get away from the discomfort of being the unloved one by hiding away in his cupboard and quietly doing the chores, but there were times when Uncle Vernon came home from work with a horrible attitude, looking for something to take his anger out on. This something usually ended up being Harry, despite his best efforts to do everything to the letter. But the stress of getting it just right and Uncle Vernon's eyes obviously following his every movement made Harry's hands shake. He spilt some of the tea on his hand, causing Harry to hiss and drop the kettle.
It lands with a loud enough bang, giving Vernon the excuse, he needed to get up from his spot at the table and march over to Harry with his face red in anger. Tears were already rolling down the boy's face as he clutched his scalded hand to his chest, backing into the counter
"Boy, what do you think you're doing ruining the counters that I paid good money for? How dare you try and rebel against me when I give you food and a place to sleep, your ungrateful brat!" He grabbed Harry by the ear and viciously yanked it as he dragged him towards the cupboard.
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm sorry!" Harry whimpered, trying not to cry. His uncle said nothing in response to the apologies and threw him against the door of the cupboard. In the next second, there's a fist flying to his face and Harry crumbled into a sitting position, clutching his cheek with hot tears rolling down his face. His scar started to burn with the anger Marvolo was feeling towards Uncle Vernon, but he hid that pain because the last time he hadn’t, his uncle had told him that he was being dramatic, pretending to be hurt.
"Since you seem to want to waste the food I put on the table, you're not going to eat until tomorrow,” he shouted, grabbing Harry by the hair and shoving him into his supposed room. The young boy hit his elbow harshly against the wall, leaving him with a buzzy feeling in his arm.
"I want to be normal, Marvolo," Harry sniffed as he fought back the sobs that would only get him into more trouble. "I just want a Mommy and Daddy who love me. I want someone who will love me." He felt the imaginary fingers cupping his cheek but he angrily turned his face away from it. "I want someone real to love me."
Marvolo grew angry and he took Harry's chin in his invisible hands.
Don't think for a second that just because you cannot see me that I am not real, Marvolo said. Just because I am in your head doesn't mean that I don't care for you. I promise you, Harry, that I am going to take you away from this one day. One day, I will KILL your supposed family for treating you like this… like some kind of slave. His grip tightened on Harry's chin, and the boy's lips trembled as he looked up into the space where Marvolo's eyes would have been. He nodded, wiping his tears away, before rubbing his nose.
"Do you promise to never leave me, Marvolo?" Harry whispered as he leaned back against the wall, cradling his cheek that was hot and getting bigger under his hand. Marvolo's hand encased his and Harry gasped as it became cold.
I promise you, dear Harry, that you will never be alone again.
After a few seconds, Harry sighed, leaning his bruised cheek into the hand. If he closed his eyes, he could even pretend that Marvolo was actually there with him, crouching in the small cupboard and offering comfort, no matter how temporary, to Harry. His gentle touch was a balm after having spent so much time experiencing cruel touch.
"How do you do that, Marvolo?"
I just can.
"Thank you, sir."
Don't call me that.
That's what you call your uncle and I am not your uncle. I would never hurt you.
Chapter 4: Just Breathe
Chapter by LeiMcCartney
Harry goes to school for the first time and has a panic attack
When the time came for him to go to school, Harry had been so enthusiastic to finally get to meet other kids. However, all the other kids seemed to have been with Dudley as they were growing up, and they thought Harry was some kind of freak who would do scary things to people who got too close.
It didn't help that Harry accidentally knocked over a stapler from the third shelf without touching it because he got nervous. In the minds of the other kids, this only confirmed that Dudley's freak cousin was just that-- a freak.
This was why Harry was sitting in the corner of the cafeteria, shoveling food into his mouth with undisguised pleasure. He had never had this much food since he was a little baby. Before his first incident of doing freaky things.
The other kids were looking at him with disgust, but Harry had already learned that they weren't going to be his friend no matter how he acted. That was okay, though, because he had Marvolo who seemed fine with being Harry's only friend.
"Do you think other kids have imaginary friends like you, Marvolo?" Harry asked silently.
No, Harry. I think their imaginary friends are things they make up, he mused. And we both know that's not true for us, because I'm always there. Also, you can sometimes feel me or hear me.
"Are you one of those freaky things I do?"
You would've created more people than just me if you could do that. Marvolo laughed. And probably people that are nicer. We also have different opinions, so I don't think that I'm just imagination. A finger tapped his forehead and Harry nodded at the logic his counterpart presented. He stopped when he realized that some of the kids were looking at him funny for nodding at nothing, feeling a blush color his cheeks. He forgot sometimes that it did look strange to other people.
Maybe we should go somewhere with less eyes, Marvolo mused as he registered Harry's embarrassment. Where else did the teacher say you could go? He knew perfectly well where they were allowed to go, but he had noticed that Harry seemed to respond rather weirdly to orders from Marvolo. He often acted subservient like if he was Uncle Vernon, and Marvolo detested that.
He hated being even remotely connected to that pathetic excuse of a man. No, Marvolo was something better. Whatever had birthed him into existence in little Harry's mind had put him there for a greater purpose even if he didn't know exactly what that would be yet. He knew that Harry was going to be something great though, if these little acts of… magic were anything to go by.
"She said we could go to the library if we were done eating and had some time left over during the lunch period, Marvolo," Harry replied happily, swinging his feet as he took another bite of the sweet pudding they put on the side.
Then let's go there, so we can talk and not have everyone looking at us, he suggested and the younger boy paused, looking almost mournfully at his half finished pudding. He was already full but he also never got to eat this kind of stuff. Marvolo seemed to sense this and he put a hand on Harry's shoulder. Don't worry, Harry. The school lunch here is free and you can get it every day.
Harry sighed in relief and stood up, grabbing his tray to throw it away in the trash just like they had taught him. However, when he got to the trash bin, a group of three older kids blocked his path. It was Dudley and two other kids who crossed their arms and looked at him with obvious disdain.
"How are you so skinny? You eat like a pig." The girl on Dudley's right sniggered. "Only pigs like eating the pudding. You're such a weirdo."
"Yeah, why are you even coming to this school? You should be on a farm, haha." The boy laughed and the other two followed in suit.
"Can I please throw my trash away?" Harry asked timidly, trying to step around them and the other two kids looked like they were about to say something, but Dudley stopped them and stepped aside with a wide, intimidating grin that just yelled that he was planning to do something.
"Come on, Harry. Throw your trash away."
With a suddenly dry throat, Harry stepped forward, walled in by the older kids and threw his tray into the trash, and then he suddenly felt a hand push him into the trash bin, face first, and Harry let out a small yelp, trying to right himself. He could hear them laughing and high-fiving one another.
The sting of tears threatening to spill was already there, and Harry felt helpless as he stood up, some kind of food stuck in his hair and his uniform stained. Everyone in the cafeteria was looking at him and he started to cry, covering his eyes as he wished he could be anywhere but there.
Then suddenly Harry felt like he was being squeezed through a tube, and when he opened his eyes, he suddenly found himself standing on top of the roof of some building. There was a feeling of concern coming from Marvolo but Harry was too shaken up to fully process what he was trying to say to him. How had he gotten from the cafeteria trash bin to the roof of a building? The wind was blowing in his hair and he blinked as a glob of something plopped from his hair to his face.
He wiped it away and frowned at the sight of jelly in his hand.
Harry, are you okay? Marvolo's voice finally filtered through and the younger boy nodded.
"I don't know how I got here, but I did. Marvolo, how did I get here?" Harry looked down at his hands. He really was a freak; Harry started breathing faster and faster. His vision started going blurry and he fell down to his knees, clawing at his chest as he cried. Everything was starting to go dark until he felt arms wrap around him from behind, a warm and steadying feeling. Then he heard very distinctly in his head BREATHE.
Harry struggled to follow the command, but it felt like he couldn't get any air in his lungs. He squeezed his eyes shut, crying.
"I can't. I can't, Marvolo," Harry sobbed breathlessly, his hands weakly pulling on the arms that were forcing him to arch backwards. "Marvolo, please."
Yes, you can, Harry. Breathe in. Breathe out. Harry swore that he could hear his voice next to his ear and he gasped in a breath, feeling the immediate relief at getting oxygen. His head started feeling heavy and he fell back, forgetting that there wasn't actually a body behind him. He put a hand beside him as he regained his breath, shaking.
There you go, Harry, Marvolo said soothingly, his hands gently carding through Harry's hair. The other boy leaned into them, seeking any form of comfort that the other could offer. It felt like the warm sunshine in the winter, like when he took a shower after not being allowed to shower for days. Marvolo's touch made him wish that the other boy wasn't just some figment of his imagination but that he was actually there, breathing and living and hugging him.
"What happened to me?" Harry whispered, putting a hand on his chest, still struggling to recover his breath. "I really am a freak, aren't I, Marvolo?" His shoulder sagged, but then he felt a hand grip his chin.
You are not a freak, Harry, he said resolutely. You are incredible. You can do things that no one else in this world can do. You can move things just by thinking about it. You can travel from place to place just because you want to. Imagine all the things that you can do that you don't even know about yet. You could change everything, Harry. You have that power in you... and it's time that you stop being afraid of it, Harry. Because... this is who you are. You are amazing, and it's horrible that no one else can see it. There was a pause and the hand on his chin disappeared and the younger boy reached for it, knowing that he wouldn't be able to touch it.
And that's why I'm here, Harry. Marvolo placed his hand over Harry's. I'm here to be there for you when no one else is. You never have to be afraid that people aren't going to accept you, because you will always have someone on your side.
A sense of relief filled Harry.
"Do you think that my powers come from me just thinking?" Harry asked.
It seems that whenever you wish it really hard and when you feel something intensely, your powers come out, Harry.
"Do you think I could do anything?"
I do, Harry. Anything.
After his first panic attack, Harry had asked the school nurse about what had happened to him and she had explained to him that he had a panic attack, something that could happen when someone was under a lot of stress. She assumed that it was because it was his first day.
Marvolo suggested that he could find this information inside a book, and they had secretly gone to the library, asking one of the nice ladies if they had any books on panic attacks. She had looked concerned at first but led him to the direction where those books would be. Harry had immediately begun to argue with Marvolo when he saw how big the books were and how there were no pictures for him to see.
It turned out that Marvolo could read. He just needed Harry to flip the pages and look at the pages. After he had finished reading it, he allowed Harry to go to the kid's section and look at one of the books there.
However, the time came for them to go back to the garden and pretend that he had been working on the garden. Aunt Petunia had been complaining to Uncle Vernon that she had been noticing some weeds around her beloved rose bush, with an obvious accusing gaze towards Harry. It made Marvolo fume with rage.
But they had discovered a rather useful trick since they started making daily trips to the library. They could use magic to pull the weeds faster without his hands hurting terribly at the end of the day. It had made Marvolo much happier which made Harry happy. So like, right now, he sat down next to the rose bush and took a deep breath before closing his eyes and extending a hand towards the weeds. Come out. Come out. He chanted in his head, wishing desperately. The sound of the weeds being pulled from the ground was incredible, and Harry marveled as they came to rest in his hand.
It had taken some time to get the hang of it, but with Marvolo helping him to focus on what he wanted to do, Harry had been able to do it. Sometimes it would work better if he said it out loud, but it was never a guaranteed thing. Harry knew that Marvolo always felt immensely proud that Harry was learning to control his powers rather than fear them, which triggered a sense of confidence in Harry that he didn’t know he could have. That he hadn’t had before.
Harry felt like for the first time, he would be able to escape the Dursley's. Like someday, he could go out into the world with just himself and Marvolo, the two of them against the world, without having to worry about coming back home before they noticed he was gone, or whether he would be able to make whatever dinner they wanted him to prepare. One day it would just be him and Tom.