Harri Potter hugged the ceramic pot of the large Fauna closer to her chest, almost dropping it as her muscles strained, elbows cracking, squinting her eyes through the heart shaped leaves to spy at the house standing in front of her, her small, measly and tattered suitcases stacked at her feet, tilting at an angle that would give the leaning tower of Pisa a run for its money. This was it, this is what she had been after for what felt like a lifetime, what she had hunted down so bullheadedly. Then why did apprehension sink in her gut like a cannon ball?
The house was nice, if not for the obvious state of abandonment it currently suffered from, something a bit of cleaning, tender care and a sparse spell here and there couldn't fix in a jiffy. It was Georgian in structure with strong, sharp lines, squarish in everything from roof tile to window pane. The white paint from the front door and window shutters were peeling in places, aged and wearing thin, but to Harri, it didn't take from the beauty but added... Character. Yes, character. Well, that was what the seller had promised her anyway.
It was large, four or five bedrooms, but not as large and ostentatious as many a house Harry had seen from the wizarding world. No grand fountains, mazes, exotic animals prowling around, preening. Nothing that really shouted hey! Look at me! I'm a rich bastard with a family history longer than a national insurance number! Not that she would ever go for a house like that personally, she much rather just blend into the backdrop, be a prop rather than an actress at centre stage, spotlight making her sweat profusely. She had done enough of that since she was eleven. But then again, it wasn't a wizarding families house. No, it was her mother's parents.
The home her mother had grown up in, flowered in, grew and became the wonderful witch she had only ever heard stories of.
Harri hadn't inherited it, she hadn't even been told about the house by Aunt Petunia, though the woman hardly said hello to her on a good day, let alone sit down and talk family history in depth with Harri. No, she had hunted for it, scoured for it and with just the right dash of luck and a pretty penny spent from what Sirius had left her, bought the old house that was neither here nor there, lost between modern abandonment and a well-loved family home.
It had been abandoned since her grandparent's death, Lily and Petunia already having households of their own at that point, and had been bought by a landlord that had bought other projects too, too many until this one had been put on the back burner and left to crumble in on itself, interior and belongings all left intact. Everything left as it had been, collecting dust and age, but never losing memory. That was what Harri wanted most, the memories.
Why go through all that effort for a house? Simple. Harry wanted a home. Godric's Hollow was in tatters from playing battlefield in two wars, Hogwarts was still in bricks, pieces and haphazard construction, even then, she couldn't exactly set up tent in its grounds and live there, as much as she had wanted to. Hogwarts had been the only thing close to a home she had ever had, and it pained her to leave it behind, physically pained her, but it housed too many bad memories, too many hauntings, too many taunting phantoms that wouldn't let her sleep, wouldn't let her rest.
And as much as she adored Grimmauld place, how could she not? It was everything her Godfather was, is and will be, her last tie to her beloved Sirius, her last family member, it still didn't feel like home. It was Sirius's, not hers, it would never be hers. She had spent one day too many looking at that front door and just expecting him to walk through it, cheeky, dimpled smile in place, whiskey in hand. She never learned, for when night fell and he was still gone, still dead, the realization set in like fungi she couldn't bleach out and it hurt that much more. The truth was Harri needed to move on and she couldn't do that surrounded by ghosts chaining her to the past.
Yet, she wanted... Needed that tie to family, something that showed her they were real, they did exist at some point, they were happy at one stage and with all the hope of Merlin, she too would be in time. So, her grandparent's house, grandparents she had never met, as they had died before her birth, was the only route she could go. It wasn't the best of circumstances, Harri would agree, but in her sad and relatively short life, and as pitiful as it sounded, it was all she had left.
However, standing here now at the tender age of nineteen, bombarded with it all, that they had been real, they all had and not some imaginary play-through she would picture as a child to sing her to sleep, they, her Mother, ate here, slept here, played here, cried here, Harri didn't feel much better than she normally did. Because they were no longer here, hadn't been since Harri could talk. The dust, the splintering bricks, the cracked window all sang hymn to that fact. Instead of feeling warmth, like she had expected, of something, anything, that now belonged to her that once belonged to her family long gone, just left her with the feeling of absolute aloneness.
Everyone was getting on with their lives, living as they should be. Hermione was heading towards a teaching position at the school she loved so. Ron was actually about to be promoted in his Auror position, Luna was writing her own paper, dammit, even Draco was on the verge of marrying and starting a family of his own. Happy, every single one of them, and they deserved to be. But she did too, and she was done with squirrelling herself away, breaking away from them, hiding because she just didn't know how to do it like they had,move on, because she felt guilty over things she had no say in, lives that had been lost, yet she had never flicked the wand. Voldemort's sins were not her own, she had to stop treating them as if they were.
She was alone. No family, nowhere else to go, no place to call home. Alone. Shaking her head violently at the thought, some of the leaves of her plant getting tangled up in her boisterous, copper curls, Harri pushed it all back and away. She was alone now. She had no family now. She had no home now. However, now was not a permanent state, just a transition of time. She wouldn't always be alone, she would make a family, she would make a home.
She was no longer that little girl, bruised and crying, curled in on herself in dirty and torn clothes, locked in a closet, begging for parents that would never come, could never come, the man in the moon her only friend who she would speak too. She had to believe that. She just had to be patient, she had to take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other and she would find her way back to the right road, back to civilization. The first step, of course, would be to actually enter the home she had searched so hard and long for.
Straightening out her spine, Harri gently placed big Bertha down, the nickname for her plant, her only companion as of late, didn't that speak wonders about her, delved a hand into the pocket of her jeans and scrambled for the key she knew to be lost in their depths. In retaliation for her rough treatment, the little bugger's sharp end nearly sliced into her pinky. With a muttered curse, Harri fished it out, gave a glance around her, deciding to leave her bags and belongings in the front yard awhile she explored.
They wouldn't be stolen, the house itself was in a stretch of countryside, stuck between Cokesworth and some other town, the nearest building being a good half hour minutes walk and she highly doubted anyone would come tumbling down the winding path and across this house, her or her belongings. But, airing on the side of caution, Harri, with a flick of her wrist, cast a disillusion charm over the medium piled bundle.
Stumbling towards the door, her hand slightly tremoring due to excitement or nerves, she couldn't tell, she didn't know whether she wanted to know in full honesty, Harri finally slid the key home and with a fortifying breath and pull back of her hunched shoulders, twisted the handle and pushed the door open, being greeted with an ominous creak and rattle from the old infrastructure. Here goes nothing...
It took Harri awhile to find the power box and a little longer to find the right switch to flip to light up the dusty house. She had done a little exploring, but the sun was setting and if she ever hoped to navigate her way around the tarp-covered furniture and foreign landscape, she would need light. So between breaks of looking through the front room and Kitchen, Harri had started her hunt for the elusive power box, which like in most houses, was located under the stairs. It would have helped if she thought of that half hour before stumbling around the house, muttering curses when she kept coming up empty handed, or her shin took a rather nasty bump from a corner table.
Dusting her hands off on her jeans, Harri straightened up and winced as her head smacked into the door frame of the tiny cubby hole, jumping slightly when something rectangular fell down and nearly clonked her on the head. She had never been tall, a good sore spot many a Slytherin would poke at in her school years, barely coming to four foot eight, it was an extremely rare occurrence when her head hit anything other than a pillow when she collapsed onto bed.
Glancing down, Harri saw what had nearly knocked her out, hand braced on the door frame, Harri leaned back into the room and squinted up, neck twisting uncomfortably, realizing the thing must have been balancing precariously on the top door frame, out of sight. Hidden. Harri reflectively swallowed. By the look of the old, fading yellow clothbound book with little flowers engraved and it's hiding space, it wasn't that hard to figure out what it was. A diary, and merlin know's her track record when it came to finding hidden diary's and how well that normally played out for her.
But she had to shake herself. This wasn't Hogwarts, Riddle was dead, this was no Horcrux, not in her grandparent's house at any rate. Then it hit her, this was her grandparent's house, her mother's house for a time, that meant this small non-threatening book could have been her mothers... Or aunt Petunia. Harri repressed a shudder. You would have to hold her at wand point to get her to read through her aunt's inner workings. The thought of doing so alone nearly made her retch.
Still, almost on auto pilot, Harri squatted down and with a fast swipe of her arm, as if she was afraid something was going to jump out and eat her face, which with her luck wasn't out of the realm of possibilities, flipped the cover open, staring in wonderment at the cursive, elegant black ink that stared back at her.
Lily. J. Evans.
Her mother's diary. Harri dived for the book, blowing out the dust that lined it with a puff of cheeks as she retreated out of the cupboard. The closest room was the kitchen, but Harri hardly paid any attention, just enough to mindlessly and blindly reached out, pat the wall a few times and finally hit the light switch. She only looked away from the treasure in her hands to pull the cloth from a chair and sit down, her eyes practically zinging back to the book as quick as they had left it.
How could she not? this was her mother's own words staring back at her, talking to her, showing her what her mother had been like. It was like having a little portal through time, just enough to show her snapshots of her mother's life, but that was more than anything she had ever had before. Now it was here, in her hands, before her eyes and she didn't know whether she was going to be violently sick or pass out.
Closing her eyes, trying to reign in the hailstorm of warring emotions, Harri breathed in and out, mentally counting to ten, before her thin fingers flicked through the book and landed on a random page, her eyes blinking open like a baby faun as she blearily looked down at the book in her hands, having scanned the same line three times before the words started to register.
That's how you normally start this sort of thing, isn't it? Well, if not, I apologize in advanced. Our mother took us out shopping today, she said we needed to spend more time together, what with my... Extra schooling and Petunia with her new boyfriend, a red-faced, blob of a man called Vernon. If you couldn't tell, I am not his biggest fan...
I digress. It started off well enough, as well as all the other times. Mother was forcing a smile while Petunia snapped petty remarks and I fired back. I know we hurt her with our fighting, but I can't sit back and take it from my own sister, especially when I face it enough at school. There was a little antique shop we stumbled across, an old thing it was, to be honest, I thought it was just another abandoned building in Cokesworth, there are a lot of them.
But it wasn't. It housed the oddest things, and that is saying something coming from someone who has seen the wonders of... Well, what I have. There was a sword! A real, sharp long sword! It was a bit oddly shape, I'll give you that, curvier than I suppose should a sword shape take, but it was beautiful all the same.
I think, heartily at that, that the oddest thing housed in this menagerie of time passed was the shop owner himself. His beard! If there will be one thing I remember of the man, other than his weird choice of grey clothing, from grey socks, slacks and shirt (even suspenders) To the grey Fedora perched on his head, it would be his magnificent beard. It rivalled that of even my headmaster, though, I believe you would have to see both beards to believe such a feat could indeed be done.
Maybe it is a requirement of being wise that one must have a full and long beard, for the shop owner was, in fact, wise. With soft spoken words and eyes that seemed to just... Know all my darkest secrets, it was hard to look at the man and not blush and stumble over my words like an eleven-year-old again! (I am fifteen and according to aunt Hyacinth, a woman now! And women don't blush or stutter!) He was nice, however, and after a predictable storming out by Petunia when mother wouldn't buy her this or that, he gave me a gift, a painting at that!
Of course, I tried to talk him out of it, it was a very large painting and I'm sure accompanied with a lofty price tag with how detailed it was, but he heard none of it. Mother even tried to pay at least some towards it, but he turned his nose up at her, as if she had scorned him and he wasn't in the trade business! Honestly, he was a very odd, very tall man. I remember what he told me as he helped me and mother carry it back, as if he is here right now with me, whispering in my ear.
'Look after this painting and it will look after you. Just remember, love is like a painting. In the beginning, it is nothing but a blank canvas, an Idea. Then through time it is built up by error's, hardships and corrections until one day you have a breath-taking painting for all the world to see. One day, when all is right, you'll find what you want most and then you'll know. And who knows, one day your daughter could find the very same in the same brush strokes. Life is a funny little thing..."
Maybe he wasn't wise after all, just crazy. Though, if only I tell you, I can not shake this apprehension that has seized me so comprehensible, especially when he smiled and left without so much of a goodbye. No, not when I could have sworn I heard laughter echoing out from the parcel paper wrapped painting... Still, mother let me hang it in the front room, above the fireplace. It really is a Beautiful painting.
Thud. Harri sighed as she slammed the book shut resolutely. One step at a time. With the way she was feeling, she needed to take it slowly. If she wasn't careful, she would devour the book in a night and then where would she be? Back to being alone. This way, if she took it a bit by bit, she would have her mother there, in some form, and hopefully, this crushing feeling of being alone would wade just a little. No, she didn't want to waste this opportunity with her hastiness.
Hazily, she remembered what she thought was the painting described in her mother's diary. Though, not the painting itself, but a large landscape rectangle that was covered with, yes, more tarp, hanging above the stone fireplace. Shaking her head, Harri dislodged the thought. She had more important things to think and worry over. Like actually repairing the house, getting her own things settled and in place, sorting through the leftover belongings that were currently collecting dust and dragging Big Bertha inside along with her cases.
Glancing out the window, Harri saw the sun about to set and the moon begin its ascendance. Sleep. That was what she needed after a day like this. Some blissful, none disrupted rest. One day at a time. She could do this. Tonight she would rest, tomorrow she would start to get this house in order and then, soon, hopefully, please, everything would be alright. Everything would be normal. Everything would be peaceful.
Dun-dun-dun-da-da... da-da... Dun-dun-dun-da-da... da-da...Dun-dun-dun-da-da... da-da...Dun-dun-dun-da-da... da-da...Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhwp... BANG!
Harri's eye's snapped open as she swung up into a sitting position, her eyes wide and alert, darting around the shadowed bedroom, her chest heaving for breath as her heart jackhammered in its rib and lung prison. Her hand automatically reached under her pillow to wrap around her wand, the feel of polished wood on heated fingertips easing her panic slightly. What. The. Hell. Was. That!
Slowly, cautiously, Harri eased her bare legs out of the confines of the sheets, her feet padding on the hardwood flooring as she lifted herself out of bed and into the dark night. Dressed only in a long T-shirt and knickers, Harri prowled towards the bedroom door, body rigid and ready for a fight, wand poised in waiting. She could have sworn, but no. It couldn't have been. She was alone in the house, she felt no other magical presence and the house's location was isolated... So why did the sound of merry music and what could have been nothing but a firework going off jolt her from sleep? Had it been a dream slipping and sliding into reality? Had she already been half-way awake and some noise had just fully roused her? Trapping her between the real world and her minds own wanderings?
Back pressed against the wall and lone eye peering out of the crack of the bedroom door, finding nothing but darkness and silence, Harri's wand began to lower, her guard too as she eased, only for something to brush against her ears, like a faint breeze on a summers day, a hint, a taste, barely there but there all the same.
Music. She was hearing music. Acoustic... Violin, fiddle maybe? But so faint, she really couldn't be sure. One thing, however, she could be sure about, it was originating from somewhere within these four walls. Bolstering herself back up, Harri squeezed through the crack and into the desolate house, following the noise that tickled her ears so.
It didn't take her long before she was easing herself down the hallway and stairs, winding past the kitchen and faulting at the entrance of the front room, ears straining as the quiet noise grew just a smidgeon from her vantage point. Bingo. On a whispers count of three, Harri twirled into the room, wand high, cheeks flushed, curses and spells on the tip of her tongue, only to freeze once inside.
The windows were in the right position to let the moonlight filter in unabashedly as there were no curtains, giving just enough light into the room to let Harri's eyes adjust, but not enough to cast away all imposing shadows. Yet, despite the black smoke that hid a few corners from prying eyes, there was no debating one thing. There was nothing. No one there, no T.V on, no music box. Nothing. Yet, still, even in that heady moment, that damned music twirled around her.
Then she saw it. It was nothing out of place, not with the state of the house. Above the mantle piece, slightly skew-whiffed, still covered in yellowing cotton, one glossed wooden corner poking free, was that damned painting. Harri didn't know why, didn't question in her sleep-fogged brain, but she couldn't look away, couldn't move her feet as she stood barefoot in the middle of the living room simply staring at it, her wand hand flopping uselessly to her side.
Plod, plod, plod, plod. She was moving, walking as if in a trance to the painting, not quite fully blank minded, but neither thinking with full faculties as she came to a stop just before it, her free hand reaching up to snag a free corner of the cotton, fingers twisting in the material. With a frown marring her features, a down twist to her lips and a yank of her arm, the cotton slid free and fell to the floor in a dramatic sweep, fluttering into a pile at her dainty feet.
The music abruptly stopped. But that didn't matter when Harri looked upon the picture, lost in oil and colours as she took in as much as possible. It was a clearing of some sort, trees encasing the free area. There were hills off in the background, small things with winding paths sweeping like a river between them and... What looked like rounded doors and windows actually in the hills.
But it was the clearing that caught her attention most, how could it not? What looked to be a party was taking place. Men, woman, Children, all a little podgy and short with huge hairy feet, even in the painting, were dancing, laughing, smiling, joking, drinking from large wooden tankards. Little lanterns with candles and multicoloured ribbons were hanging from the tree's, giving light under the starless night, Full moon shining brilliantly from above their heads, tables with crochet doilies holding piles upon piles of food were littered around near the edge of the clearing and there was even a small tent set up just halfway in on the painting. However, what held her eye most was the sky. Sparks of blues, yellows, reds, oranges, purples, pinks, greens, were fizzling around, so life like you could have really thought it was a photograph of a firework lit sky.
The music... The firework... No. Harri scrubbed her eyes roughly with the back of her hand and finally let go of the cloth. Her mother's diary was just playing on her mind, taunting her. That was all. She was over tired, over stressed and moving into a new place, in a new area, alone, was bound to cause some mental anxiety. That was all. After all, what was it Hermione had said to her all those years back?
Even in the wizarding world, hearing voices is never a good sign Harri...
Voices, music, fireworks, they all fell under the same umbrella, didn't they? Harri scoffed to herself and without a backwards glance, turned her back on the painting and began to march herself back to bed.
"Sleep. I just need some sleep."
And so, Harri Potter strolled right back to bed, eased herself under the covers, curled up and did just that. Tomorrow would be a new day, a new start. One foot in front of the other...
Harri stood in the front room, freshly dressed and showered, her mother's ageing diary clasped tightly to her chest, almost bruisingly so as the young girl blinked rapidly, staring pointedly, wand in her other hand at her side after she had sent every spell she knew that showed cursed, hexed or magically inclined items to the thing in front of her. They had all come up blank, everything, so despite what she was feeling, what she was thinking, what she was seeing, the damned painting that was causing this whole mess was supposedly very, very, very muggle. She dazedly remembered last night, like a broken film, one scene jumping from the other in a fractured mess, but she was sure she remembered the main point of it all.
The music and fireworks that awoke her. Her descent down stairs. Looking at the painting. The cloth piled on the floor at the base of the fireplace proved that much to be true at least and not a hallucination. But there couldn't be another explanation could there? She had to have at least hallucinated a part of what happened, for how could she be facing something completely different this morning? Something that contradicted everything she had remembered from last night. Her mother's book dug further into her chest, branding her, cutting into her finger, making her bleed but Harri didn't care. She didn't think she could at this point.
Could witches or wizards get Dementia? Or any Illness that prayed on one's memory? Short term or long term? Had she eaten or drank something off? She had once heard cheese could cause nightmares... Was this a product of a spell gone awry? Could she have dreamt it all so vividly?
Why was she so worried about her memory or mental capacity you might ask? Why was she so anxious, confused and jarringly frozen in place, staring at a painting most would only give a passing glance to? Because last night, Caught in a net between awake and asleep, under pale moonlight and alone she could have shouted until she was black and blue in the face that the painting had depicted a party in the throws of night, full of little people, music and lanterns and fireworks sprinkled merrily around. Definitely not a calm clearing with a flock of birds passing by overhead, a sun blazing hot in a periwinkle sky, void of all people. Which is what she was seeing right now...
Do you like it?
There is a valid reason why I have changed the spelling of Harry's name from, well, Harry to Harri, do not worry, it is not a spelling typo, but the reason will be explained later on in the story.
A.N: I know, it's two days late, but better late than never right? Okay, I'll dodge the rotten fruit and veg... So hopefully, if you guys like this, It's going to be quite epic in length as I have a lot I want to do with this fic, and talking about length, it's going to be awhile before we see our favourite Dwarves, but not too long before we see a very special hobbit ;) I'd give an estimation of around chapter three/four for Bilbo to come in and maybe another two/three on top of that before the dwarves come into play. The reason why? I just don't want to rush this fic, I want Harri to have a solid, very solid, background laid out as I have messed a bit with Potter cannon, as I always do, but then again if I wanted to stick to cannon, I wouldn't be writing fanfiction.
If anyone is wondering, this is a Kili/Fem!Harry/Fili fic. Yes, all three. And before anyone asks, Tauriel is not present in this fic and if she does make an appearance, it wont be as a romantic rival for Kili. I don't know about you, but especially when Kili is involved, in fanfiction it mainly turns out in a very simple formula. Kili is all sweet and nice to protagonist, they start falling in love, get captured in Mirkwood and all of a sudden Kili turns into a huge dick and follows Tauriel around like a puppy, Tauriel is nice to every but protagonist who she is nasty and snide with for some inexplicable reason, and then the heroine ends up in tears until Kili finally chooses her over Tauriel...
I'm not saying all Kili fanfiction is like this, no because there are some wonderful fics done by brilliant authors, but there are too many for my tastes and they just never sit well with me. So, if that is the fic you are looking for, please give this one up now and save yourself the time and effort XD
So, I hope I've wet your taste-buds and you're looking forward to chapter two and if you have some time to get those fingers tapping, a review would be amazing. As always, stay beautiful and until next time- AlwaysEatTheRude21