Author's Note: This story came about in the two week time period after my initial LASIK surgery went poorly and I could not focus enough to see details either near or far away, but mostly blurry colors and shapes. The first portion which will be posted (the first six chapters) were written using talk-to-text on my cellphone, a method I do not recommend if you have a choice, as the errors are many and often humorous. There will be multiple parts to this story, which will be posted as they are completed and edited.
Many thanks to GJMEGA for his wonderful help prereading and beta'ing this story!
Prophecy cannot be avoided. To try is to make it happen in unique and unexpected ways. It is knowing the end of the story before you have begun to read, and all that is left to know is how one gets to that set point. Fate and prophecy, spiderweb thin strands of future, mapped out and in patterns or tangled in knots.
That night, a wizard sought to change his future, and made it instead. That night, a rat ran and hid.
That night, two Potters died, and one lived.
But the boy who lived was changed, and his eyes that so resembled the color of the killing curse that should have shredded his soul were wide with the sight of new things.
Petunia was having a bad week, one filled with anger and resentment.
Her sister, dead. Her brat, in her house. Just like Lily, to go off and die, and leave her spawn behind. Little word for years, few letters, nothing but spurned invitations and devilish moving pictures of a wedding and an infant.
But at night, in the dark, she allowed herself to grieve, to unleash painful bursts of tears for lost time and opportunities, anger at herself and the world for tearing two sisters apart like a tree split down the middle.
She wanted to hate the boy. She wanted to turn her anger to the child who bore her sister's eyes.
But something was wrong.
It didn't take too long to notice. The boy was silent; compared to her tantrum-throwing son, he was like a statue, staying still in the middle of the room, not exploring, not getting into trouble.
And quiet, hardly a tear to give notice to a soiled nappy, hardly a whimper to betray hunger.
But all of that could be ignored. All of that could be brushed aside in favor of lavishing attention upon her own son, who so desired it with every scream and fat waving fist.
What could not be ignored was the innocent way his eyes looked upon her. Never focused in quite the right place, but peering at her with firm determination, as if seeking to understand a puzzle. His head would move; listening to sounds. But always those eyes, bright green with intelligence, never quite looking at her face, but following her form with the questing sway of his black haired head.
In a month's time, she knew, knew with a mother's intuition. Knew after a few easy tests of snapping her fingers to see his head turn; and yet seeing little reaction when waving her hands in front of his very face.
Lily's son was blind, or very near to it.
And every facet of coldness in her body melted away. The wizards would never want a blind boy; how could he possibly learn magic? They wanted perfection, like pretty little perfect Lily, not Petunia.
Harry was hers, now. Fate had given her back her sister, and in a way had given her a second chance.
She would not squander it.
Lily's son was different, though.
In his first year with them, Petunia let herself admit as much. To her husband, in private, she shared her fears and speculations.
Magic still ran in the boy, ran in the way things came to him without his touch, in the way objects moved from his path before he could stumble upon them.
It was alarming, to say the least, to watch her table and chairs moved aside as the toddler slowly walked across the kitchen floor with unsteady legs.
The boy could not possibly go to daycare. A simple outing to a park was fraught with danger. She had to keep the boy inside, until he could learn to be more normal.
The Dursley's became used to making excuses. Yes, the boy is blind. Yes, he's my sister's orphaned son. Yes, he is feeling a little unwell. Yes, he's a bit... behind his peers. No, he can't play, he's under the weather. Yes, he's staying inside today.
Why? Well, he's different. He's blind.
Petunia focused her attention on Lily's son. While her own Dudley was sent to reception, she stayed at home and taught Harry to speak.
She taught him shapes by the feel of his hands. She taught him objects by touch, animals to sounds, colors to objects. She told him the sky was blue; and also that water was blue, and ran his hands through a bowl of tap water.
It was hard. It made her heart hurt, to see his trusting eyes, his unquestioning acceptance of what she told him.
She read books on blind children; she spoke to experts over the phone. Petunia Dursley became a different sort of woman, the kind who spent hours with a child not her own for no other reason than to help him.
And Harry Potter learned.
Dudley did not always understand.
The other kids at school had brothers and sisters, and they were no different.
But his mother said that Harry wasn't just blind; Harry was magic. The other kids' siblings didn't move things without touching them.
And because Harry was magic and blind, Dudley had to look out for him. It was up to Dudley to protect him, because Harry was special.
Dudley's five year old chest had puffed out with pride when his mother told him that. Dudley was being given an important task. He had to grow strong and be watchful, so he could watch over Harry.
Dudley took his task very seriously. Any inkling of jealousy was quickly squashed with a simple look into his cousin's unseeing green eyes. How could he be jealous? He never had to share his toys, because Harry never wanted them. Harry couldn't see them.
Dudley felt bad for Harry, even though the boy was special and magic, because the boy never could play with his toys. He felt bad enough that he wished he could share them, wished his cousin could see if only for an hour, and they could play together.
When he told his mother as much, she cried.
Vernon was confused.
His wife had told him of her odd sister; but Vernon rather had thought Petunia was a bit touched herself, to believe magic was real.
The moving pictures in the mail hadn't been so odd, a trick really, easy to brush away.
But when the orphan in his house began to move things, well, Vernon Dursley was a practical man. A business man. He knew now there was something out there he couldn't ever understand.
His wife no longer spoke harshly of her sister and 'her kind'. She was gentle with the boy; and Vernon saw their own son profit from helping take care of little Harry.
He was satisfied with the arrangement. Petunia stayed at home, keeping the house and the children, and he went to work and made money. That there was now two kids instead of one, and one odd one at that, made little difference.
And this magic business wasn't so hard to live with after all.
Dudley was a large child; his baby fat seemed determined to stay, but his bones were big and muscle hid underneath the fat.
No one messed with Dudley Dursley.
And no one picked on his cousin where Dudley could hear, or they regretted it.
But even with Petunia's vigilant eyes, even with Dudley's clenched fists, the world was not always kind.
Harry's ears heard things far better than they should. He heard the teasing whispers, the taunts. Walking with his cousin, he heard them call him names because he was different, because he didn't go to school, because he was blind.
He was an idiot, a wimp, a waste of space.
Others felt pity for him. He heard them soothe each other that at least their children were not as bad as him; at least their children were whole. He heard other kids whisper how sorry they felt for him, not being able to see and play and have fun, always cooped up inside. How they felt for him; poor, pitiful Potter.
Harry was not sure which was worse; the cruelty, or the pity. To an eight year old, neither was preferable.
That summer, in an effort to confront both feelings and join his peers at their level, Harry convinced his aunt to allow him to enter school. He had long since learned to read with braille; at a rate that would have startled Petunia, had she had more experience with blind children. But she did not, and could only assume it was normal.
But nothing about Harry was normal, as she would learn when she agreed to her charge's pleas.
Because when Harry started school, the teachers who knew what normal was were more than happy to tell her such.
Harry was aware he was different. His last sight of things that he supposed were truly normal, things that had edges and forms, had been of a man in dark robes killing his mother. Of green light that had risen to destroy him, while red eyes glowed in the darkness.
Green, like fresh grass. Red, like apple skins and roses.
But only like. Harry had no words to describe the true colors, no objects his young mind could grasp upon.
Because he saw differently, now. He could not see what other people saw. He saw something new that they could not understand.
When he learned words, he tried to tell his aunt. Tried to speak of the colors he could see, though he did not know their names. Light that swirled and spiraled and moved, always. Light that seemed to flow through things, sometimes with the quickness of life, other times with the slow oozing path of death.
As he grew older, he learned more words, and knew with certainty how odd the things he saw were. He learned to use what he saw to his own benefit.
A chair, wooden. It had light, but it moved so slowly it hardly seemed to move at all. And only in the grains of the wood. The nails that held it together did not move at all, but gleamed like a spark, like the point of a sharp pencil. He could move the chair, and the nails, if he let his own light touch it.
But some things had no light, and were like empty spaces in his vision, only seen because they sat like dark shadows.
Plastic. The swings in the playground, dull and void, and he avoided their touch with stubborn insistence. Clothing made with synthetic fibers, like cloaks of darkness swept around his figure. Harry screamed when his aunt put a shirt of such fibers on him, and though she did not understand, she refrained from doing so again.
Harry had been afraid he would disappear if he wore it. Afraid his light would go dark and slow and dim. Afraid he would die, like his mother died.
Harry did not bother with the concepts of things like 'night' and 'day'. Always the world looked the same, the moving light, the shadows.
When Harry began to learn science, he began to develop his own hypotheses.
Things that grew had life, even when dead. Things that had never lived, things made with science and human hands, did not. Things that came from the earth, natural stone and rock, also bore odd pinpricks of light; synthetic gemstones and mixed concrete were only shadows.
Harry learned the light of wood from the piercing light of metal. He learned the throbbing look of human flesh from the dark shadow of a wall painted with chemicals. He learned his colors all over again, and he learned his objects by look now instead of feel and sound.
It was all different, it was all new. It was all magic.
Magic that his aunt said he had but could not learn because he was blind.
But Harry didn't think of himself as blind anymore.
He rather thought magic had taken his eyes and given him magic back instead.
The teachers assumed a blind homeschooled child would be behind. They started off the young Potter with the outdated materials left over from the last visually impaired child.
In a day, he answered the simple math and science questions correctly.
The next day they moved up a year, telling themselves the boy had had good tutoring from his aunt. It would be good to put him with his age group, after all.
They were wrong, and in a week, it was confirmed.
Harry Potter was a genius.
The Dursleys, at the news, only exchanged glances.
It was not so odd, after all, for a special child with magic to be special in one more way.
And with the long practice of reacting to the unexpected, the Dursleys began to look for a new school.
Harry was taken to more doctors. They looked at his eyes and ran tests with cold metal and stinging light. They noticed his pupils did not dilate as they should, that his eyes were oddly focused but certainly unseeing.
A new kind of blindness, some doctors whispered. Never seen anything quite like it, others said of the boy who walked and talked like a normal child, whose eyes were so vibrantly green and intelligent.
He could not read numbers on paper. He could not describe pictures, or depict objects. He could not draw or write himself. He could not tell you a color of anything he saw, unless it was a guess or an assumption.
Harry Potter was medically blind. But physically, something odd was at work, on that all could agree. No blind child could avoid objects so well, could know a silent, unmoving person was present, could recognize an object's physical type if not their color or shape.
Only the Dursleys knew what it was, and they did not allow the curious doctors to run more tests, though they were avid to the point of offering money for the chance to study the phenomenon of the blind child who could see.
For two years Harry Potter attended a special school in London, dropped off by his uncle on the man's way to work.
He excelled with fresh material and new ideas. He made his own experiments, testing the light he saw and cataloging it in his mind.
He could make no notes at first, so he learned to compartmentalize his thoughts. His memory was unparalleled, he found, and Harry knew that the magic that ran inside his own skin was at work.
He learned higher math and found a great skill with languages. He learned to use and type in braille and thus solve equations and eventually write notes that could be printed off with a printer to be read later. He met other blind children and adults, and knew for a certainty that they did not see the lights he saw.
He learned, because learning was all he knew to do. The only thing he did for the simple joy of doing it was music.
He would sit for long hours and listen to it, magic to his ears, a violin play or a piano sing. A woman's voice raised in triumph or agony, a man's in harmony.
Music was the only art he knew, and he loved it.
But every other moment was part of his quest to know what he was.
And at every turn, he knew the answers lay somewhere he would not be allowed to go.
Magic. What made him different, what made him special. What let him, away from curious gazes, move objects and change them.
He could make the light of wood into the light of metal. He could make the slow oozing wood of a dead twig quicken to life again and bloom, taking root. He could make the crystalline tones of water change to harsh red sparking fire.
Nothing was so full of light as fire, he found. And the light of fire burned his skin painfully.
And that was how he learned to use his light to heal, to soothe pain and mend a tear that let his light leave his body in rivulets of liquid.
Blood. He now knew that some of the light he saw in people was blood, though he had guessed it before.
And so on and on it went, the discoveries, the guesses, the learning. A child stepping into a dark world, one questing foot at a time, unknowing what lay beyond.
But that world would soon come looking for him.
Petunia watched it happen, time slowly gliding by.
Her sister's son growing up. Lean, a black-haired boy who spent most of his time at school or in his room, reading with his fingers or working magic in displays too marvelous to comprehend. No friends nor a desire to have them, only focused on study and the projects that caught his fancy.
She watched from the doorway one afternoon that summer as he made a stack of wood shavings into beautiful flowers, one by one, each a different color, purple and blue and red.
Then he gave them to her with a sweet smile, and Petunia smiled back though she knew he couldn't see it.
"Did you mean to make them these colors?" She asked after a moment, and Harry shook his head, his voice soft and cultured to the precise words his teachers had instilled in him the last two years.
"No. I can change their physical form, but Dudley tells me the colors are always random. In the case of flowers, the stem is always green, but the petals deviate. Though, from what we've seen, they stay within their natural color scheme."
Petunia blinked, and chose to ignore the large words that sounded so odd coming from a young boy, and instead focus on the much stranger portion of that statement.
"Dudley's been helping you?"
Harry grinned, and the mischievous spark that showed brought her hope that her young nephew might one day turn his focus from his studies to things normal boys his age did.
Getting into trouble, mostly.
"Some. I use his eyes, and he gets the rewards for his girlfriends. They quite enjoy the flowers, I am told."
Petunia sighed, and with a last word of awe for the creations he had given her, left him alone.
In three days, the flowers in their elegant vase began to wilt.
And by then, her world, as special and beautiful as it had begun to be, would be tainted with fear.
Harry Potter had cost them very little in the last nine years. The nice private school he attended on scholarship, and before that Petunia had only spent time with him and little money. He was an easy child, never asking for things, only certain oddities setting him apart. Finding shoes made only of leather had been one of the difficulties, but that had paled compared to some of the trouble Dudley had gotten into over the years.
Perhaps one could squabble over the cost of food and clothing, of the materials Petunia had gotten for him when he was young, or the doctor visits when they hoped glasses or surgery might solve his eyesight.
But Petunia did not count those things, for Harry had brought light into their household with his presence, his bright outlook, his happy innocent delight in the things she had always taken for granted.
So when the letter came, her heart broke. For a day, she carried it in her pocket, and that night she cried, to her husband's confusion.
When another letter arrived the next day, she could no longer hide from the truth.
Nor could she deny the boy she had learned to love the chance to be part of a world that might be able to help him, though she feared the opposite.
And, perhaps there was the hope that the wizards did not know that Harry Potter was as he is, and when learning, would let him come back to her.
With that last thought in mind, Petunia wrote her letter, and sent it by the owl who waited patiently upon her car.
Minerva's voice was soft at his office door.
Albus looked up, saw her eyes, and sat up straight.
Together, they looked over the letter from Harry Potter's muggle aunt.
And again, he read it as he sat at his desk, the impossibilities it presented, the difficulties, the horrible twist of fate.
The prophecy, which still waited unfulfilled, waiting for a boy to grow up and a dark lord to return.
A boy that might be blind. How could he possibly be their savior?
But he had seen the scar with his own eyes, a jagged lightning bolt that had cut sideways across his face, cutting the skin around his eyes like a macabre blindfold.
Magic could not heal blindness. It could not fix eyesight. There were spells and items aplenty to help the life of such disabled, but there was no cure. The few magical prosthetics available to replace eyes were flawed, and limited only to adults who had reached their magical and physical maturity.
If Harry Potter was blind, he would stay blind for a very long time.
And Albus Dumbledore could not teach a blind child magic.
Was it possible he misinterpreted the prophecy?