Harry had always liked Autumn mornings. The way the crispy daybreak air would caress his skin, how the morning birds would wake up just at the crack of dawn to sing their delicate morning songs, and how, unlike every other morning before Autumn; the skies would be a perfect gray that would block out the harsh sunlight and create a mist that would leave dew drops on any object in its path; leaving behind a beautiful array of morning light that would bounce off the dew.
But that wasn't the only reason why he liked Autumn; if he where to be specific, it would be the lack of spectators rarely seen around this time of day, especially around this time of month. When winter was close at hand, and non of the populace had any desire to venture out into the cold and dewy climate merely to just doddle.
Yes, Harry liked Autumn mornings. A time where he could be by himself without any distractions, without any unwanted eyes on him whenever a neighbor, or towns person spotted him. He liked the fact that he could just sit out here without being scrutinized, and just peacefully watch as the sun slowly rose into the sky and brought out the natural beauty he so shamefully admired.
At least around this time he wouldn't have to be screamed at by his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon to get up and make them breakfast, nor be subjected to his older cousins abuse whenever the eldest felt like Harry was in his way. Not that he ever was, by now, Harry learned to stay out of everyone's way and to do his long list of chores like he was given for as long as he could remember. At least around this time, he had time to himself, to not be pushed around, and get smacked on the head whenever he did something wrong.
Or at least, as alone as he could be with that little voice in the back of his mind whispering and muttering words he couldn't quite understand, nor doubted that it was even English. He had at one time in his life asked what the voice was muttering about, what the words 'Perpetual nuisance' and 'Avada Kedavra' could possibly mean, but like every question he asked, he was answered with nothing more but mutterings of gibberish and big words he didn't understand. He had a feeling that the voice rather didn't like him; in fact, he even believed that it went so far as to ignore any questions aimed at it no matter how much prodding Harry gave it. And he didn't understand why, as far as he knew, Harry had been nothing but kind to the voice -other than the childish pouts, and threats he'd give it of course, but who was counting?. So there really wasn't a reason for the voice to dislike him, in fact, he wished they could be friends, he wouldn't mind having his second friend be a voice in his head, at least the voice would speak to him unlike the rest of the civil population in his hometown. It was better than silently sitting by himself, watching as kids his age ran around with their own bouts of friends, ignoring and glowering at his existence like he was a curse.
At least he'd have someone to talk to.
"Oh my oh my~ If it isn't Little Harry Potter, now what are you doing out on this fine Autumn morning?~"
Harry jumped at the unexpected voice materializing just before him. Snapping his head up his wide apple green eyes met pink amethyst ones, familiar ones; "Al-Alan!?" the boy squeaked, completely caught off guard by the familiar older teen.
Before him crouched Alan, Alan Kretzmer; a young man that couldn't be older than the many teens Harry would see come out of the nearby High School. With blended hair of platinum blond and chocolate brown, eyes as purple as the richest crystal under the earth, and skin as fair as snow, Harry was surprised that the teen wasn't also bulky like every teen he'd come across; but lanky and thin, just like a boy barely out of puberty. To be honest, if it weren't for the fact that he was Harry's Imaginary Friend, he could have passed for an average human teen any day. It was a little surprising with how humane Alan turned out, despite the fact that he was supposed to be a child's combination of want, amazement, and the need to have the most interesting of friends. It was no secret that when Alan first came into his life, Harry had wanted a better Imaginary Friend. If he was able to make one up in the first place, than making another shouldn't have been that hard, he had wanted something more . . . kid enthusiastic and eye catching. But that didn't mean Harry didn't like Alan altogether! indeed, Harry wouldn't change his Imaginary Friend if he where given a second chance now; yes at first he had thought differently, but after years of interacting with the odd teen, Harry had come to like him; very much in fact, Alan had been his first and only friend, before he had tried asking the voice the same thing, the first to accept his oddities and not judge him because he could make clothes change color, or move things without even touching them. Alan had even gone so far as to show him his own magic, which was the root cause of the many odd things that Harry could do.
Alan couldn't be a more interesting and likable Imaginary Friend, a better guardian than the Dursley's could have ever been.
Allan gave the child a small smile; eyes squinting into slits, and teeth peeking out from his lips; accentuating his odd facial features "It's good to see you young Potter, I hope you didn't miss me too much, and the names Al, remember?" he frowned, prodding the boy on the forehead and effectively relaxing Harry from his once panicked state.
Seeing the reaction, Allan smiled and spoke "Now, why don't you tell me what your doing on this chilly Autumn morning huh? shouldn't you be inside? or at least hanging out with those friends we talked about a few months ago."
Harry scrunched up his nose at the very familiar topic; 'I don't have any friends' was what he wanted to say, but what came out was "I like Autumn mornings. . . " accompanied by a small shrug.
"And your friends?" was the next question that Harry didn't realize he didn't want to hear until it was asked of him.
"I. . . I couldn't make any."
"Couldn't or wouldn't."
Harry gave the older teen a glare of offense; eyes blazing as he hissed in his natural parseltongue twang :Couldn't. And it was true; when he said he couldn't, he really couldn't. No matter how many times he went to the park, walked around his own neighborhood -even other neighborhoods, or even went too school -not that that was a choice; he always ended up walking back home defeated and sad. To rub salt into the wound; he was the only one trying to make friends; either kids his age were to afraid to speak to him, or their parents where quick to pull them away when they noticed Harry getting too close, it wasn't even Dudley's fault this time!
Alan sighed as he watched the child turn away from him with a somber expression, pathetically wrapping his too thin arms around his equally too thin legs in a way that would make anyone feel pity for the orphaned boy. It was like watching a kicked puppy being turned away from owner to owner; left to wallow in its own misery with nothing but the cage it lives in and the measly toy it's forced to watch be taken away and given back when its sad enough. Honestly, it was a pitiful sight to see.
Closing his eyes, and reopening them, Alan allowed a grim yet blank expression to take over his face; no, this wouldn't do, this wouldn't do at all.
Harry felt embarrassed and a little annoyed as he sat facing away from Alan; he never liked the 'friendless' topic that the older teen would always bring up whenever he visited, never liked how whenever Alan asked about his 'friendship' progress Harry would always reply with the same 'I couldn't' like a broken record. He hated the fact that that was the only answer he could give, the complicated puzzle of 'making friends' shouldn't be as hard to a kid as it was defined to be, but to Harry; it might as well have been a world class jigsaw puzzle.
Harry didn't even notice when a pale hand was extended towards him, keeping his eyes firmly focused on the morning doves that pecked uselessly and delicately at his aunt and uncles front yard, to keep from staring into Alan's eyes. The thing about Alan, was that he had that inept ability to tell what a person was thinking just by their eyes. While it was cool, it was creepy and bothering, like Alan knew all of a person's secrets just by eye contact. You have no idea how many secrets Harry poured into him whenever they locked eyes, he might as well have been an open book to the older teen.
"Well we can't have that now could we? How about I introduce you to my friends, huh. They'd just be delighted to meet the one and only 'Boy-Who-Lived."
Harry snapped his head to Alan at the invitation, incidentally locking eyes with the eldest and feeling like his entire world just vanished into thin air. All he saw was purple; "your friends?"
Alan nodded, another smile tugging on his lips and the look of grimness disappearing as he stared into Harry's eyes, trapping him in a spell that kept him from looking away and backing out of his invitation. . or at least, keeping him from any type of hesitation that could back him out. "That's right, my friends, they'd just be dying to meet you."
"Really?" Harry asked, the spell wavering as he flimsily tried to struggle.
Alan nodded once more and gestured with his hand "Why of course, who wouldn't want to meet the one and only Harry Potter, in fact i bet you'd make many friends were we're going, i promise."
Harry furrowed his brows "You shouldn't make a promise like that" he frowned.
Alan blinked in surprise "Oh, and why not?" he asked, eyebrow raised.
Harry huffed and stubbornly looked away, momentarily breaking eye contact before locking gazes again, along with the spell "Because, i'm a freak, and they'd think i was a freak too and wouldn't want to be my friends, that's what all the parents and kids tell me."
In all his years of living with the Dursley's, Harry had always been the subject of bullying, had always been on the end of the short stick that isolated him from the population. The name 'Freak' had been one of many nicknames that where 'kindly' given to him during his time in school and his staying at his Aunt and Uncles house, and the odd abnormalities that seemed to appear and disappear around him hadn't helped. It was only a miracle that he made a friend such as Alan, even if the older teen was just a figment of his imagination, or what his Aunt Petunia had always told him anyway.
So what Harry expected from his long time friend was maybe a nod of the head, like Alan agreed with Harry's explanation, or even a knowing look in his eyes that Alan would usually get when he understood what Harry was getting at, like he believed what the boy told him and was given the pity that Harry would always seen given to stray animals.
And yes, when Alan did react, he did get that understanding expression in his eyes that Harry had always despised, but what the boy didn't expect was for the older teen to outright laugh in his face. A tinkling sort of giggle heard from the bells and wind chimes hanging at his Schools entrance, that started out as delicate and as pretty as a girls twitter, before it got louder and boisterous to the point that Alan couldn't even keep eye contact with his charge.
Harry gaped at Alan as if the teen had two heads, he didn't understand what was so funny, the topic of his bullying and isolation had never been funny, not to him anyway, it was the blight in his life, the blip that kept him from making any friends and always left him crying till he fell asleep at night. In fact, it was taboo to him, he didn't like talking about this specific topic and it was a reason why Alan talked about it so very rarely.
So seeing Alan laugh at him outright, as if Harry had told him an amusing joke was jarring, it made him quiver in sorrow at the thought that his blight and sadness was all a jest to his longest friend-
Alan chortled as he wiped a tear from his eye, flickering one open to glance at Harry, only to see the boy's distraught expression at his reaction, he couldn't help but inwardly roll his eyes and slowly regained his composure. Honestly, Harry couldn't read between the lines even if he tried.
"W-why, W-w-why are you l-laughing at m-me?" Harry quivered, his voice soft, and borderline sadness.
Alan chuckled and wiped the rest of the tears away, shaking his head and taking in a breath from the unexpected giggle fit he just had. Clearing his mind from the initial amusement he had from Harry's explanation he faced the boy again and gave him a wide smile that left him squinting "Why? because you amuse me young Potter" he giggled again "Because if your a freak than that means i'm one too, and my friends, and their friends, and the friends your going to make were we're going." he smiled, hands folding under his chin "Because you see, 'Freak' is just another word for unique and misunderstood, and you Harry, you are unique and misunderstood, your a freak of nature with an ability to make miracles at your will, your a. . " Alan paused as he thought " a uh. . . Fantastic freak of miracles and love, and magic, and a bundle of joy." he finished, a small smile on his lips as he did so.
Harry was left gaping by the end, not knowing whether to feel hurt at the fact that his friend called him a freak a multitude of times, or happy that for the first time in his life, he was called a miracle, a bundle of joy, defined as someone that was actually wanted rather than a freak- or burden that was wished to be dead. All in all, it just left him confused and conflicted.
Alan, meanwhile, focused back on Harry, locking eyes with the child again and reading him like an open book; hurt, joyful, sad, confused, conflicted, hope. . . those where all the emotions that ran through Harry's mind, everything laid out for Alan like a chapter in a book. Maybe the wizards and witches back at Clementine Hallow were right, he was way too scary for his own good, how he got stuck with taking care of the 'Boy-Who-Lived' was a mystery, but apparently he just had the knack for taking care of children, especially children like our dear young Harry Potter.
Alan grinned, the left side of his mouth quirking up until it reached his eye in a sort of lopsided smirk that seemed too soft to be menacing; "Now how about it champ, wan't to see what's on the other side of the veil?" he asked, holding out his hand again and gesturing for Harry to do the same.
Harry blinked and slowly focused on the limb outreached to him, and for what felt like forever he just stared, hesitant to grip onto the hand that he's held so many times before, either in comfort or in joy. It wasn't until 2 minutes later did Harry finally make a decision, reaching out with a too thin arm he gripped onto Alan's larger hand and was pulled up from the sitting position on his Aunt's and Uncle's front door step.
Gripping tightly to the boy's thin fingers Alan swiftly pulled Harry behind him and away from the Dursley's front door were they abruptly stopped in the middle of the front yard.
From there, Harry watched with rapid attention as Alan elegantly pulled out a thin like twig- a wand, as Alan put it, and gracefully began to chant, while the words didn't mean a thing to young Harry, the way he tapped and scribbled over the open air was familiar in a sense that Harry knew, he himself hadn't seen before; "What are you doing?" he inquired after a moment of watching.
Alan raised a brow, as if the question was the stupidest thing Harry could have ever asked "Silly Potter~" he said, an amused smile tugging at the corner of his lip as he popped the 'P' of his surname "how are we supposed to meet your new friends if we don't have a door to get to them?" he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
It left Harry both embarrassed and offended; but instead of voicing out his distaste, he merely glared at the teen and pouted at were Alan proceeded to swing his wand around in a coordinated fashion.
Alan silently chortled to himself as Harry gave him a glare and pouted at were he was sketching out the door, even after 6 years of interacting with the kid Harry was still falling for his silly escapades; be it offensive insults, or even petty pranks here and there, the kid always managed to fall for them and always ended up sulking for most of the day. It was amusing in its own way and Alan was surprised that the little brat still hadn't gotten back at him yet. But that didn't mean he wasn't prepared, he was just waiting for the 7 year old to pull a childish yet disgusting prank on him; like giving him soaped water, or cooking him a meal with hair or leaves in it.
Alan quirked a lip at the amusing thought, just a second before he finished the incantation.
As the two wizards stood before Alan's finished spell, there was a bright flash of light that momentarily blinded them and anyone that happened to witness the magic, then it was gone and replaced with nothing but an average door you'd see in a store.
It stood at 6 feet, with a beautiful mahogany frame and two perfectly shaped windows with a pumpkin shaped sign you'd see at a common pub just hanging above it. The words 'Clementine Hallow' sketched into it in a beautiful cursive.
Out of the two of them, it was Harry who gazed upon the magical door in wonder and amazement; in all of his life, he had never seen anything like this, sure Alan showed him magic tricks here and there, but nothing like recreating a door out of thin air. Harry wondered if he would be able to do that one day, which earned him an inward scoff from the voice that was previously background noise to the young child. Harry simply ignored it.
Alan grinned and was quick to grip the pumpkin shaped doorknob, with a smooth twist of the wrist, Alan pushed open the familiar door and was met with the colorful vortex of pastel colors. And while Alan wasn't perturbed by the fact that the door led into some magical entryway of a rainbow tunnel and light, Harry was now fully gaping as if he had witnessed the murder of his current guardians.
Alan clapped his hands together, effectively getting Harry's attention, and with a closed eyed smile gestured for Harry to step in, as if inviting Harry into his own home "Well here it is~ You know i should have done this a long time ago but i didn't really have the right excuse to bring you with me back to the Wizarding world, but this'll have to do. So why don't you step right on in." he suggested, nudging Harry towards the opening.
But all he got was a wide eyed look of hesitation and fear before the child stepped back. Alan raised a brow at the unease, it's been awhile since Harry had shown any type of uneasiness towards him, especially towards his magic. It was a known fact that anything having to do with magic, Harry was interested; not scared, interested. So seeing him now, scared to step into the harmless portal was. . . . amusing so to say, amusing and interesting.
"Well, aren't you going to step in?"
Harry gulped and shook his head as if telling himself that 'no, going into that portal meant certain death, and that by no means should he step into it'.
Alan frowned "Why not?" he asked in general curiosity.
Harry glanced back and forth between the portal and his twiddling fingers; a thoughtful expression on his face "What if they don't like me. . . "
Alan was quick to scoff "What did i say kid, of course they'd be glad to see you-"
"But what if they won't!"
Alan wanted nothing more than to bang his head against a wall, instead he opted to sigh loudly and rub his eyes, when the initial feeling of annoyance went away he knelt down before Harry and patiently gave him a smile and gentle eyes "Look Harry, trust me when I say that they'd just be delighted to meet you personally. And who wouldn't like a kid like you? your a wonderful young wizard and i'm sure that they would like you too, look I like you don't I? and i'm just as odd. So come on, at least give them a chance." Alan smiled, the clear manipulation he put into his words as clear as day to any other adult but not to a child of Harry's age.
Harry meanwhile had paused and stared into Alan's eyes; the words pulling on the few heart strings he had and actually making him think about Alan's offer; the teen was right, he hadn't actually met the friends he had been speaking about, and yet here he was giving the benefit of the doubt to strangers he had no right to judge in the first place.
Sighing shakily he nodded and once again reached for Alan's hand who gladly took it once more with a look of victory on his face "All right then! I really can't wait for you to meet them i swear to you that they are jovial people, nothing like the Dursley's or the people of this town. . or at least not all of them are like anyway-"
As Alan continued to babble on about the supposed friends he had, Harry dazed off, focusing more on the portal that Alan had already slipped into and yet could still hear clearly like the older teen had merely slipped behind a curtain.
It seemed like forever until Harry too was pulled into the portal, the fear immediately returning as he felt the cool liquid of the portal's magic slip over his fingers and then quickly up his arm. But to Harry it seemed like hours as he slowly watched the colorful magic slip over him.
He wondered if he would make any friends, real friends, the type of friends he heard so much about from the other kids his age, and on the telly. As the last of Harry disappeared from view he was both happy and excited.
In a matter of seconds the two disappeared, the door shortly after, leaving the Dursley's yard bare and no one to see little Harry Potter momentarily kidnapped.
But it wasn't like anyone would miss him in the first place, that's what Alan was for, the guardian of the one and only Boy-Who-Lived. And the only wizard who had successfully breached the walls that Harry Potter would later put up in defense.
Who needed 'pure white' wizards, when Harry has his own personal dark one.
But that's a secret for now.
Thanks for reading my Mini Crows~