He isn’t exactly sure what brought him to this part of Little Whinging, other than the fact that he’d been getting sick of the Dursleys.
He’d left the place in favor for a breath of fresh air, tired of hearing Aunt Petunia scream and yell at him from the other room, of Uncle Vernon glaring at him with smoldering eyes, of Dudley ganging up on him with his crew.
He’s used to this, sure. Been living with it for fourteen years. It’s been worse than this, really. Before he had gotten his letter and he didn’t have a room of his own or a wand to terrify his relatives with (not that he’d ever actually use it). When he’d been locked in the cupboard under the stairs for days at a time. He wasn’t experiencing that anymore.
Still, after four years of feeling like he belonged, going back to the Dursleys in the summers was getting harder and harder each time. And today, Harry just couldn’t take the piercing eyes, the stifling silence, and the monotonous chores any longer.
So he left.
Now he’s here, wandering down Palmers Road in the chilly night air, with no set direction. He’s just. Walking. Not lost, or running away. Just..Walking.
Then he finds himself stopping in the middle of the sidewalk, right by an old bookstore with an electronics shop just across the street. The alley in between them is dark and musty, and Harry would have continued walking but…
There was a reason he stopped.
Something about that alley...made him pause.
Now, a normal person would continue on their way, if a bit cautious. Harry...is not normal.
So he goes and turns down the alley.
A Gryffindor at heart, Harry feels barely any fear, only curiosity. There’s something strange in the air, he can tell. Magical, he doesn’t know. But as he makes his way down the dead end path, avoiding trash and pieces of broken glass, he begins to question if his going here was a good idea.
Suspicion laced with a cautious movement gets him to the back of the alley, and Harry stops. At the end of the short road was a large cardboard box, on it’s side. It was damp at the top and bottoms, and it was sunken in a bit. But hanging from the opening was a sheet, blowing softly in the wind.
Harry’s eyes were wide. Someone was living in this alley.
The strange feeling was only getting stronger the closer he got to the box. And despite his instincts screaming at him to turn back, run away, get away he continued on. Who was living here? Or what?
He was just about to shift the sheet aside to peer into the box when a sound hit his ears. Panicking, he reeled away, backtracking so fast he kicked a wine bottle towards the alley wall hard enough to shatter it. Harry winced. That was it. His cover was blown.
Nothing was happening. No voices asking who’s there, no growls, not even a moan. It was dead quiet in this place, aside from Harry’s own ragged breathing. But the sound he heard earlier, that scared him out of his skin…
There! There is was again! It was coming from the box! It sounded like...a cough?
Further curious, and no longer terrified for his life, Harry went back to the sheet. He moved it aside, on top of the box, and looked in.
Harry felt his breath stop.
Inside was a folded up, ragged blanket positioned so that it covered the entire floor of the box. There was another, equally ragged blanket on top.
This blanket was shaking.
Harry crept ever closer, careful to be as quiet as he could. As he did, the shaking pile made another sound.
Another cough, a pitiful sounding whine at the end. Concern and curiosity meshed together, and slowly, Harry lifted a part of the tattered blanket up.
And found a child snuggled tightly inside.
When Harry had started on his walk down the neighborhood of Little Whinging, he expected to walk, let off some steam, and nothing else.
Finding a child living in a cardboard box in the uncaring streets of his unfortunate home, was definitely not his plan.
Not calling the cops about it had also not been part of his plan.
But that all changed when he got a good, clear look at the shivering kid.
Dirty, curly pink hair in a tangled mess, pale, pale skin that when under the light gave off a slight pink hue. And a large pink gemstone under the child’s shirt, which had ridden up as Harry checked the unconscious kid for any injuries.
He was dealing with some sort of magical creature, Harry was sure of it.
So, yeah, the police was out of the question. Any muggle was out of the question. This kid was magical, no doubt about it. The softly glowing gemstone certainly proved that.
Magical alignment aside, this kid needed help. And Harry was the only wizard around for miles, despite being underage. Muggles wouldn’t know what to do with them.
Yeah, he didn’t want to think about that.
Back to the child, they were burning up. Their cheeks were flushed an even darker pink than the gem in their belly, and they were shaking like a leaf. Harry’s heart clenched at the sight. They didn’t have any obvious injuries, aside from a couple bruises and cuts and scrapes. But what really got him concerned was the fact that they looked as though they were once rather chubby, but had wasted away.
Honestly, Harry didn’t know what to do.
The child let out another painful sounding cough, and suddenly Harry’s mind was made up.
It was a good idea he had a few pounds in his pocket.
When he returned to the alley not too long after, a couple bags of items from the nearest 24-hour in his hands, the child hadn’t woken up yet.
Harry couldn’t decide whether or not that was good or bad, so he just focused on the task at hand. Retrieving the bottle of fever medicine, forehead thermometer, and cold compress from one bag, he set to work.
(Giving an unconscious kid liquid medicine was not easy, but he did his best.)
Now, with a read temperature of 103.4 degrees (Harry winced at the sight), a dose of medicine, and a cold rag on the child’s forehead, things were finally looking up.
Of course, that’s when the kid chose to wake up.
Harry was in the middle of planning just what he would do with this child he found when he heard them shift in their blankets. His eyes immediately snapped back to them, and went wide with shock.
Glazed, dark pink eyes blankly stared up at his own emerald green. It took a moment, but the kid’s eyes met his. They blinked. Then the kid shifted once more in their blankets, let out a shaky sigh, and closed their eyes again.
Well, darn. Harry was quite looking forward to speaking to them actually. Oh well. He’ll let them sleep. But that still left the question of what he was going to do.
This kid was obviously homeless, if the tattered clothes, zero supplies, and living in a freaking alleyway was any proof. They were magical, of the unknown sort as well. Harry didn’t know whether or not they were like him, or something else entirely. That just made the situation even more troubling.
One thing was for sure though: Harry can’t leave them here to fend for themself. There was a high chance that the kid could have died if no one like Harry hadn’t found them. And there was also a high risk of them being taken away for unknown reasons if they had been. So what exactly should he do?
“I’m going to help you.” He whispers into the night air. It falls on deaf ears to the sleeping child beside him, but Harry pays no mind. When he was alone in the world, there’d been people who eventually came to help him, like the Weaselys and Hermione and Hagrid. No one has been there to help this child for awhile, that he can tell. And because it hurts to see parallels as obvious as this, Harry can’t stop himself from swearing he’d do what he could to help this kid out as well.
But it was getting late. He should really head back before Aunt Petunia throws a fit. He’d come back tomorrow, see if they wake up then.
Mind and plan made up, Harry left the other bag full of light food and water at the child’s side, the new blankets, medicine and everything, and left the box.
He looked back to see the kid curling up around their new blankets. And if he looked closely, they didn’t seem to be shivering quite so much anymore.
This may not have been Harry’s plan for the evening, but hey, it was worth it.
He came back the next day, sneaking out after breakfast.
The child was in the same spot, still sound asleep. But Harry was pleased to see that the flush on their cheeks wasn’t as dark as it was yesterday. And as he looked around the box, he saw that the bag of food had been looked through. The box of unsalted crackers was open, as well as the container of water.
‘So they did wake up.’ Harry thought to himself. Or, at least, woke up enough to nibble on some crackers and take a drink of water. Nonetheless, they took his offerings, and he was happy about that.
It was currently 9:02, and Harry had decided to send out a letter to Hermione last night at eight. He had asked her about any kind of magical creature that was humanoid, pink in color, with gemstones on their bodies. If anyone could find out what the child was, it was her.
Speaking of that child, Harry noticed with rising glee that they seemed to be stirring. Snapping out of his thoughts, he knelt down at the edge of the box, watching the kid shift around for a moment until finally, they opened their magenta-colored eyes again.
It didn’t really happen as he expected it to.
Instead, at the last moment, the kid let out a sharp gasp, and bolted straight up from their blankets. Their eyes were blown wide and they were gasping for breath, and Harry really couldn’t take much more of this.
His hand came to rest on their trembling shoulder, and he may not be the most well-versed on how to comfort someone (actually, he was more awkward than anything) he did the best he could to console the shaken pink child.
“Hey, hey, it’s alright. You’re safe. Uh...just..listen to my voice okay? Can you do that?” He honestly had no idea what he was doing, but he pressed on anyway.
“Um, so, my name’s Harry. I’m the one who gave you the new blankets and food. If you remember. Dunno if you do. But..I found you here, all alone.” His grip on the kid tighten just slightly, and he noticed with relief that the kid was seeming to calm down. So he continued.
“I don’t know much about first aid, but I did give you a dose of fever medicine. And i don’t know how your uh...gem, responds to medicine so I hope I made the right choice but, it does look like your fever went down so I probably did.”
At this point the child was no longer on the verge of hyperventilating, and the shaking was going down. The kid’s dull pink eyes found his just then, and Harry paused.
They stared at each other for a moment or two, then, Harry heard a quiet, barely audible, “thank you.”
Harry smiled what he hoped was a reassuring, warm smile, and said, “no problem.”
The kid looked down, at Harry’s hand still loosely holding their shoulder (which Harry quickly dropped), at the bags of supplies around the box, then their hand slowly went to clutch at their stomach, where their gem was.
It was so quiet Harry could barely hear it, but he heard the kid when they said very softly,
“My name’s Steven.”