Nothing was ever easy. Nothing was ever normal. Not for him.
He’d survived the killing curse at a mere fifteen months old – the only person who had – and grew up hated and abused for being a freak.
At age eleven he’d found out he was a wizard. He made his first friend on a train that had departed from a platform hidden behind a magical wall while his second friend was made in a girl’s bathroom after knocking out a mountain troll. He was the youngest seeker in a century – and the only first year in the school to make the quidditch team.
When he was twelve he crashed a flying car into a tree that fought back, was accused of setting a monster loose to attack his fellow students, narrowly escaped a forest full of gigantic spiders with his life, and was bitten by a basilisk. The poison would have killed him if not for a phoenix that shed tears to save his life.
At thirteen he almost broke his neck falling off his broomstick in a Quidditch game when soul-sucking wraiths known as Dementors swarmed the pitch. Then he went back in time a few hours to save the life of his godfather as well as a hippogriff named Buckbeak.
At fourteen he made it through the Tri-Wizard Tournament – only to be sucked into a trap and transported to the place where the Dark Lord, Voldemort, was resurrected with the aid of his blood. Against the odds he defeated said Dark Lord and barely escaped the snake’s followers.
Who would have thought, three years later, he’d be sitting here cold and alone. He shivered and his breath formed small wispy clouds as he exhaled. He sat on a bench near the intersection of Silver Stone Lane and Grey Stone Road, off Diagon Alley, and watched as snow fell heavily around him. Fresh out of school and in his present condition he had few prospects for his life. For the first time in a long time Harris Jameson Potter was completely alone and had no idea of what to do.
“… can’t believe the price of beef these days,” a muttered feminine voice reached his frozen ears from the direction of Silver Stone Lane. “Might be forced to stick to pork and chicken, not that chicken is getting much better…” The voice rose as the woman drew nearer to his spot on the cold stone bench. He shook his head and clumps of snow fell onto his lap. “Don’t know what these merchants are think- oh dear!” the woman exclaimed when she came within two meters of him. “What on earth are you doing out here in this dreadful cold on an evening like this? And without so much as a cloak to keep you warm, you poor dear.” She hurried over to him, removing her own cloak and wrapping it around his chilled frame. “Oh! Harry? Harry Potter? Is that you?”
Harry lifted his sad green gaze to see, through the curtain of his long dark bangs, the slightly haggard but warm face of none other than Bellatrix LeStrange. Were it not for the fact that he was well aware that the woman had been operating under several Imperious curses prior to the downfall of Voldemort (the need for multiple casters increasing her insanity), her presence would have startled him greatly. As it was he was merely surprised that she could even recognise him. While the final curse had broken when her husband was sentenced to Azkaban and kissed by Dementors for holding her under it, the recovery of her sanity was a long process. It had taken nearly two years for her to be able to properly function in regular society without someone to watch over her – these days she looked more like her eldest sister, Andromeda. These days she owned and operated a successful business and lived a tidy and respectable life.
In answer to her question he merely nodded, unable to form a verbal response with his sure to be blue lips. His jaw was clamped tightly shut to control the chattering of his teeth. “You poor child, you must let me get you out of this awful cold.” She wrapped an arm around his waist and helped him stand before leading him away to where her shop was located. Before he knew it he was seated on the couch of her comfortable apartment located behind the shop. She magically dried his clothes, wrapped a warm blanket around him and lit the fire before conjuring a cup of warm tea to slowly chase the cold away from his body. “There we are now, that’s a bit better,” she said as she sat beside him and smiled gently.
“Th-Thank you, Miss Black,” Harry managed to get out once he started to warm up, referring to his hostess by the maiden name she now went by.
“Oh, what lovely manners, but please, call me Bella. And no need to thank me, young Harry.”
“Alright, Bella,” Harry smiled lightly. “Um, would it be alright for you to call me Harris? At the moment, being called Harry is bringing up thoughts I’d rather forget for the time being.”
“Of course, Harris,” she smiled warmly with understanding in her eyes. Given their history it was more than a bit odd for Harris to see the woman like this instead of the crazy person she’d been before, but despite that he still felt very fortunate for her hospitality. “Now, do you think you’re well enough to eat anything? Could you stomach some soup?”
“Coming right up,” she said as she disappeared into the kitchen and set about warming some of the soup she had prepared only the day before.
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