Disclaimers: So not mine.
Spoilers: Big ones for OotP.
Summary: Between the motion and the act falls the
Ratings Note: R. Content some readers may find disturbing.
Author's Note: Livia sent the bunny scooting my way. Deb
encouraged it. cummings and Eliot set the tune.
Acknowledgments: To Deb for audiencing.
Feedback: Adored. firstname.lastname@example.org
It didn't occur to him right away. He's not... well, he isn't
that sort of person.
Harry doesn't want to *be* the kind of person that such
things occur to immediately, no matter how useful they
might be. And no, he doesn't think he'll ever forget what
the Sorting Hat had said to him, about him, and doesn't
think that his life will ever *let* him forget that and...
Well. He doesn't spend much time thinking about how
things would've been different. For one thing, there's
the issue of Malfoy and all his sniggering, grating little
*minions*. He doesn't want to think of himself as the
kind of person who'd see them as anything but a
bunch of useless prats.
(would his father have gotten on with them? Would
But. Just as someone like, say, Hermione didn't define --
*couldn't* define -- the whole of Gryffindor, so do the
Malfoys and Crabbes and gits of the world fail to define
There are good ideas in the world that have nothing to
do with, well, *good*. There are things that can be --
*need* to be done that don't (or shouldn't) feel good.
For example, his 'home' life.
It was good to finally know *why* he had to keep going
back to the Dursleys, the *specifics* on why, beyond
just being safe.
And he knows that Dumbledore probably hadn't meant
for him to take it *this* way, but... but.
He understands blood magic -- oh, probably not all the
details of it, but some things didn't require perfect
understanding. He's had five good, long years of flying
by the seat of pants. He knows this is true.
He knows... a lot of things now. That his dad had more
in common with the things Snape said about him than
anything else, that Sirius hadn't so much grown up as
grown old, that his friends love him far more than they
That the world is, more often than not, a great, steaming
pile of shit designed to be waded through and endured.
Survived, as opposed to lived in.
And so it had been easy to make the decision. One of the
easiest things he'd *ever* done, right up there with
jumping on a broom and making it sing to his will.
After all, he understands the way it all works. The world
needs him safe, just like it had needed Sirius and his
parents dead, and everything bright and wonderful to
pass right by him, touching him only to leave scars and --
He isn't a whiner. He's never *been* a whiner. But the
world had all these needs, and it had been so beautiful,
so *wonderful* to figure out a way the world could
*get* what it needed and so could Harry.
Petunia is... well, she's not very like herself anymore. The
kitchen isn't as clean as it could be, and the food in the
fridge is getting kind of old and fuzzy. She almost never
yells, and the severe little bun on her head is loose, and
But sometimes at night, when it's quiet save for the dogs
left out in the neighbors' yards, and the dark seeps in
through the open windows like something alive, he can
almost feel it.
Blood, pulsing and humming its fragile, powerful way
through Petunia's veins, calling out to his own and
keeping him safe the way it has since he'd been child.
Rich, thick, not-quite-wizard blood, of the kind he
couldn't have gotten from Vernon, of the kind he *could*
have gotten from Dudley.
If he cared.
And on those nights, Harry smiles to himself and curls
into his sheets, feeling himself at home like he never
had other than at school, or in the arms of people who
were dead and rotting.
Like his uncle and cousin.
It hadn't taken much. Not even *magic*, really.
Just one of those nights when he'd been trapped in the
kitchen, forced to cook for them all and eating what
few scraps he didn't have to throw into the pot. Just a
moment, stretched into something like forever after
he'd jostled his empty glass with his elbow and watched
Listened to the pieces grind into something nowhere
near as harmless as dust beneath his heels.
Listened to his Uncle and cousin laughing in the living
room while Petunia slept.
And it had all fallen into place, as beautiful as the simple
glitter of the fragments falling into the stew.
And Harry knows there'll be questions, and perhaps even
the cold, dark facts will sit behind Dumbledore's eyes.
Dumbledore, after all, always seems to know
everything of any importance. The question is, as
always, whether or not he'll choose to *share* that
Harry doesn't think he will.
They need him, after all. His life, his dreadfully
important and fated death, *him*.
Harry drinks his juice -- cold and fresh and sweet like
nothing he'd ever gotten here *before* -- and
watches Petunia stalk and stumble through the
motions of cooking a meal.
Her eyes are the washed-out blue of advanced idiocy,
her hands vibrating in a constant tremor.
"You should eat something, Aunt Petunia," he says. "You
don't look so good."
He watches her freeze up all over, and thinks of the
curses he won't be using until he gets back to Hogwarts.
Of his wand, quiescent in the pocket of his jeans.
"Yes, Harry. I mean... you're right. Of course."
Harry smiles, satisfied. After all, the world needs her,