A/N: Meh. I wrote this a while back and was planning on revising it (since it's not very coherent or put together well), but since it doesn't look very likely, I figured that I might as well post it. Enjoy? Maybe I'll come back in a few years and fix, and post it as an entirely separate story, since it would need to be overhauled completely.
AU, of course. Siblings, and Harry was older when Voldemort attacked. Plus a few other things.
I own neither Danny Phantom nor Harry Potter.
Also, if anybody would, perhaps want to continue this idea can (with the AU premise and whatnot). Just send me a PM to let me know, because I would like to read it haha.
Harry tugged on his little brother's hand, frowning when he refused to move. He tugged a little more insistently. Nothing.
"Danny," he whined. "We have to go."
His younger brother had his thumb in his mouth, staring wistfully through the window of the toy shop.
"I know," he said sadly. "But…"
For a moment, he stopped tugging. They both watched the laughing children inside, flitting from shelf to shelf, one leaned over a small railroad track with a small motorized train toy on it. It looked like magic.
Harry felt tears sting his eyes, painful in the frigid cold air.
His mother's joyous laugh, throwing him into the air even as Da teasingly cast a spell to catch him –
"Come on," he said again, pulling his brother's hand again, this time less firmly, but still with equal force. He thought it was only because of the brusque sadness in his voice that Danny obeyed, and his reluctance was still obvious.
"Where are we going?" Danny asked, when they were far away from the toy store and he was no longer upset with him.
Harry considered for a moment.
"Back to the orphanage," he said decisively. "It's too cold to stay out tonight."
Wool's Orphanage was one of the most neglectful orphanages they had ever been in. It was an advantage in some ways – no one ever asked them where they were and they didn't have to stay there all that time – but it also meant that the adults were liable to forget about them, and didn't offer that extra special touch that a true parent might have given. Harry supposed it could have been worse.
He glanced at Danny from the corner of his eye, saw him meekly nod at his suggestion. He frowned. At least it was a roof over their head, a warm place to sleep.
– The thatch lay broken, cracked and blistered and open to the air. The man had been rampant in his destruction. Harry shivered. He was so cold, so cold –
"Harry?" his little brother's innocent voice asked, somehow sensing what was wrong. A protective urge flared within him, and Harry had to fight to not clutch his hand too hard lest he break something. Must take care of him.
– his eyes drifted blankly to the cradle, where his small little brother would be. Might be. Was he dead? Unthinkingly, he glanced back to his mother. Her pale body, hair spread out like a fan of flames, soiled by the dirtmuddeathgreen.
"It's cold," Harry said, pulling the ends of his too-thin jacket closer together with his free hand, hoping that the action would make the chill go away even as he knew it would not. "Let's get back quickly."
He quickened his stride, but not too fast that Danny couldn't catch up.
– They needed to run, run. Leave. His thoughts were frantic, meshed and scattered beyond comprehension. His child's brain worked quickly, but it didn't have the knowledge it needed.
Where? Where to?
Suddenly, the small warmth that had been in his hand disappeared. He turned quickly, aghast, to discover that his little brother had tripped, was now crying. He was too small to run so fast.
Harry ran back to him, scooped him up quickly, and clumsily forced his feet to move again. It was harder, now. He couldn't think about the destination anymore because all what he could see and think and think and see was the white, white snow, and the pale, pale body of his mother.
He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that the memory would disappear. It didn't.
– a green light flashed across his eyes –
No. He couldn't do this, not now. He had to take care of Danny.
"We're here," he said needlessly, and opened the orphanage door just so that it barely made a creak, and slipped through, making sure Danny followed. It was blissfully warm, and he let himself exhale.
The police officer's room had also been warm. He remembered finally arriving there, at the destination, the destination, after long hours of searching, of walking, of hopping on and off busses as quietly and secretly as two children could manage.
And the disappointment that the man had given them, frowning sternly upon the boys as he took their words for lies.
"Do you want to play a game?" Danny asked. Harry looked at him for a long moment, thinking he was remembering the toy store. But there was no grudge in those wide blue eyes. Harry sighed and shook his head.
"Food first. Hopefully they'll have something left for us."
Meals at Wool's Orphanage came three times a day on a strict schedule: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those that missed it would have to search for the scraps.
Harry found, to his delight, that it was one of those good days where they had cooked more than what everyone could eat. There was still enough for both of them.
"Here, have this," he said, pushing the plate of sausages towards Danny, one looking as if it had been torn in half. He took out some leftover pasta from the day before to accompany it.
– "Now, if only we could add some tomato sauce to it," Mum told Da, smiling. He conjured it in the next instant from the store (he had started a tab; the store owner knew it was him) and presented it to her with a gracious flourish.
"Here you go my lady."
Harry almost smiled, but find his lips unable to make the motion.
– His body on the floor of the living room as they ran past, unable to see his face for even the last time, fallen against the floor as it was –
Danny yawned. Harry pushed away the thoughts of greendeathdeathcold to eye his little brother critically, noticing the dark circles under his eyes.
"You stayed up last night," he accused.
Danny glanced away.
"Do you think we'll ever find them?" his little brother asked.
The questioned stopped him cold. He gave a stiff smile, no longer angry, too caught up in his own fear, his worry.
"Of course we will."
Finding them was their only hope. They had to be there. Mum had told him they had family in London.
That was the reason why they were here.
They stood in front of a door, a neat and tidy row of houses resting to the side of it. They all looked exactly the same. Privet Drive 4 marked the entrance.
Harry gulped, and knocked on the door.
It opened almost immediately, revealing a rather rotund balding man. He wore a cap on his head, but it was askew so that Harry could see the bald spot on his even from where he stood.
The man didn't notice them at first, but when he gaze finally drifted downwards, his face twisted into an irritable expression.
"What?" he asked.
Harry licked his lips, took a deep breath.
"Are you – are you –"
He couldn't say the words. A knot twisted in his chest. What if he said no? They had been looking for so long…
"Are you related to Lily Potter?" he blurted finally.
A dark shadow seemed to cross the man's face.
"Lily Potter?" he snarled. "Are you one of those freaks? How did you find us? I demand to know!"
From behind him, Danny whimpered. Harry couldn't keep the tears from his eyes.
"P-please," he asked. "Are you?"
"No," the man snapped, and slammed the door closed.
Their afternoon adventuring stopped after that. Harry knew, from the dead feeling in his chest, that that man had indeed been the person they had been looking for all that time. And he had rejected them.
He missed Mum. He missed Da. He missed everybody.
"Harry?" Danny had sidled up to him. "Harry, what are we going to do?"
"I –" His throat was dry and his mind was blank. He didn't know. He didn't know anything anymore.
"I don't know," he said.
He looked away from the heartbreak that he knew was going to be in his little brother's eyes.
When he turned eleven, Harry received a letter. It was for a school named Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, delivered by an owl. Such a cutting reminder of his past, the magic and the joy, almost sent him to tears again, but no, he had refused to cry ever since they had been rejected by their last hope.
He didn't tell Danny, but as soon as he saw the owl still waiting for a reply letter, he quickly tore off a piece of the latter and scribbled "COME HERE" in large, illegible writing on it. When he tied it to the owl's leg, it quickly flew off.
He burned the letter then so that there would be no false hopes.
The next day, a woman arrived. She looked strict, like the classic image of an austere nurse or nun, or even a schoolteacher. She wore her hair in a bun, and had a long, flowing cape wrapped around her shoulders. Her name was Minerva McGonagall.
"Is Harry Potter here?" she asked the woman who ran the orphanage in clipped tones. The woman scurried to fetch him, only to find that he was already watching from the doorway.
"One second," he said quietly, and ran back to get Danny.
A few minutes later, they were both sitting in front of the woman, in large puffy chairs that the matron had refused to allow them get with a 10 meter radius of. Now the posh table seemed to be handed over obsequiously to this woman, for it was obvious the power she held in her posture and bearing.
Her eyes seemed to soften as she looked at them, the two scraggly boys who had lived so much of life without their parents.
"Hello," she said.
"Hi," Danny chirped. Harry smiled.
"Are you from Hogwarts?" he asked. He tried to ignore the startled look Danny sent him, but found himself wincing at the thought of the deception he had undertook.
"Yes," she said. "I came because of your response."
She pulled out the small scrap of parchment Harry had written on. She looked him square in the eyes, as if he were more than just a child.
"Hogwarts is a school," she said slowly, "but we pride ourselves on good beyond education with students that need it. Housing. A magical family. We can find that for you."
It was beyond what Harry had hoped. His face lit up.
Then it fell. It was almost too good to be true. He looked at Danny. He wore a sort of pained expression, and Harry felt guilty again.
"Danny can come, right? While I'm at school?"
McGonagall nodded slowly.
"I'm sure we can arrange something." Still, Danny's expression didn't change. Harry wondered if he had upset him more with a lie than he thought he had.
"There… is another matter," the woman said, drawing him from his thoughts.
Oh. Harry prepared himself for further disappointment.
"What?" he asked.
It was a blunt statement bluntly spoken and he was taken aback by it. It certainly hadn't been what he had been expecting. All other thoughts fled his mind.
"Do you remember what happened six years ago?"
All too familiar memories pushed their way into the forefront of his mind. He tried to ignore them, blink them away as he stared at this woman.
"Yeah," he said, his voice cracking embarrassingly.
"You-Know-Who – no, Voldemort, I should say – was a terrible dark wizard. He was defeated somehow that night, on Halloween, when he attacked the Potter family. It was a horrible tragedy to end the war, but the Wizarding World celebrated this victory and attributed it to you."
She took a deep breath, as if to continue –
"What about me?" Danny asked, almost as if he could not help it.
She looked at him, startled. He had been unusually quiet the entire time.
"I… You weren't old enough. They thought that it must have been Harry, or Lily, but either way you became famous."
Inadvertently, a memory slipped passed his barriers.
– he peered into the cradle. Green light, there had been green light. He remembered it spiraling, spiraling, the color of death. He hoped, hoped, hoped his little brother was alive. Little small thing. He knew he was not. Could not be.
Except, when he saw the small body, it was breathing. Danny was alive.
He wouldn't question the miracle. He wiped away tears, trying to stop them from chilling his little brother's body.
He wouldn't lose him too. He couldn't. He was all he had left.
"Mrs. McGonagall…" he began, then changed his mind. "When does the school year start?"
She looked at him strangely, but answered anyway. "September 1st."
He looked at Danny. He felt lost. He was famous. Danny still looked angry, or sad, or hurt, or whatever that expression was.
"Can we talk about this?" he asked her. "Alone?"
"Of course." She slipped from the room, as lithe as a cat. Harry didn't remove his gaze from his little brother.
"Sorry," he said finally, after a long moment's silence. Danny scowled, but there was something off about it.
"Why didn't you tell me you got a letter?" His voice was strained.
"I thought…" He shook his head. "Nevermind. It was stupid." He changed this topic. "What do you think about… all of this?"
Danny opened his mouth. Then closed it. Finally,
"Will it help?" he whispered, looking down at his hands.
They were flickering in and out of visibility.
Harry was alarmed. No, Danny's expressions hadn't been anger at his lie – it had been this. The problem that afflicted his little brother, growing worse and worse as the years passed by. The reason why they had been searching so hard for a hint of the magical community even after the hope of their family helping had deserted them. He quickly moved his own hands to cover Danny's, making sure they wouldn't pass through the missing parts.
"Yes," Harry promised fiercely. "This will help."
Danny's hands were cold, like frozen ice. Like death. Like green. Harry shivered.
"This will help," he said again, hoping beyond hope that it would be true.
And knowing, deep within him, that it would not.
– and he watched, watched as the greendeathdeathmagic struck the crib, struck the little baby inside who was family, and learned that his brother would only ever live half of a life.