Mrs. O'Leary was taking attendance in her class once again. It was just another routine day in school making sure that everyone was there on a bright September day. She had done this multiple times over the years as a teacher, but at one point, she read a name and there was no answer.
"Harry Potter!" she called out again.
"Sorry ma'am, I'm here," said a small voice near the back. She then took another look at the back. There she saw an eight-year-old boy with messy black hair and horn-rimmed glasses. His clothes seemed to dwarf him incredibly, and it seemed as though the whole class was trying to avoid even looking at him. She nodded and finished her roll call.
She proceeded to do the normal lessons for the start of the year and did her best to learn a few things about her students, at one point asking them to talk about their families. Most of the students were very happy to talk about their families, talking about what their parents did for a living, and if they had any siblings. But then it came to young Harry's turn, and he seemed hesitant to speak.
"Harry, don't you wish to tell us about your family?" Mrs. O'Leary asked. Harry finally stood up.
"Well, my parents died when I was a baby, so I live with my aunt, uncle and cousin," he replied before sitting back down.
"Oh, I'm very sorry to hear about your parents, but you're very fortunate to have someone who took you in," the teacher replied, Harry didn't seem to respond. Mrs. O'Leary found this rather odd. Later on, during the children's free time, she decided to watch young Mr. Potter, only to find that he was sitting by himself, none of the other children played with him, and it didn't seem likely that anybody was going to invite him to play with them.
Later in the month, Mrs. O'Leary was stationed outside of the school to help supervise students who were being picked up directly. She saw Harry standing behind a much larger boy with blonde hair. A very expensive car pulled up and a very skinny woman and an incredibly portly man stepped out to start hugging the larger boy, Harry went up to them, but seemed to be keeping a respectful distance. Beyond the man seemingly telling Harry to get in the car, they didn't even talk to Harry. These were the people he was living with?
The next day, Mrs. O'Leary visited the front office and asked to see Harry Potter's file. She found out that he did live with the Dursley's because his parents died when he was only a baby. They lived at Number 4 Privet Drive in Surrey, and she knew that was a well-respected neighborhood. Well then why was Harry always dressed in clothing that was clearly too big for him then? Surely his aunt and uncle could buy him something that would actually fit?
In the classroom, Harry was an excellent student, in fact, he may have been one of her best pupils in a while. Whereas, when she talked to Dudley Dursley's teacher, she found out quickly that he did not receive as good marks, but that hardly seemed unusual, one student excels, another has difficulty, such is the life of a teacher.
Curiosity got the better of her one day and she decided to visit the student's lunchroom where she saw the children talking and chewing like they were zoo animals. She tried to find young Harry somewhere in the mix but it took her nearly ten minutes before she finally found him sitting at a table by himself, reading a book. She decided to sit down by him and see if everything was alright.
"Harry, why are you sitting here by yourself?" she asked the young boy.
"Heh, nobody really wants to sit with me," he replied glumly.
"Is that a good book you're reading?" she asked.
"Oh yes, Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorites. He's alone on an island, and honestly, I feel as though I can relate sometimes," he answered.
"Well, we all feel alone on an island sometimes, that's probably why so many people love that book," she replied in understanding. Then she thought of something else.
"Have you eaten?" she asked him. Harry looked at her with fear and confusion.
"Harry, you need to eat. I will ask you again, have you eaten?"
"N-no, I don't have anything for lunch," he replied.
"Well, did your aunt pack you anything? Or perhaps your uncle might have given you some money to get food here?" she asked. She wasn't trying to be snarky; she was genuinely concerned if Harry was getting enough to eat. He looked like he was trying to think for a moment before saying:
"I uh, guess I forgot my lunch at home." Mrs. O'Leary got him a sandwich.
The next day, she went to the office of the headmistress and told him about her concerns.
"Really, last year he was a bit of trouble. I heard from one teacher he somehow turned her wig blue," she replied.
"Oh, come off it, how that could happen is bizarre. And the idea that a young boy could actually do that is ridiculous. I just don't think he's getting any required attention at home," answered Mrs. O'Leary.
"Very well, I'll call child services and ask them to stop by the Dursley residence, just to see that young Mr. Potter is alright at home," the headmistress replied before picking up the phone.
That weekend, two cars, one clearly owned by a police officer, and another that appeared inconspicuous parked on Privet Drive. The cop and another man got out of their respective vehicles. The cop's name was Bert, and he had a paunch probably from hitting the station's break room for complimentary doughnuts way too often, and had a bushy beard. The other man wore a white shirt and tie with a badge at his belt identifying himself as a child service officer, his name was John Gaeto.
The two men went up to Number 4 and knocked on the door. There was some kind of bustling noise from inside before two individuals, one a rather large gentleman with a bushy mustache, the other a skinny and horse faced woman answered the door.
"May I help you gentlemen?" asked the man.
"Yes, are you Vernon and Petunia Dursley who live here?" asked Bert.
"We are indeed, and I feel as though inclined to ask if we are under arrest," replied Mr. Dursley.
"You are not under arrest, we understand that a young Mr. Potter lives here and we'd like to speak with him," answered John. Here, the Dursley's grew pale.
"I'm sorry, my nephew was misbehaving earlier, we sent him to his room as punishment and he will not be having any visitors," said Mrs. Dursley, her lips quivering.
"That is something you tell his friends. If he did misbehave and you grounded him like normal guardians, that's your business. We just want to make sure he is well-cared for and happy. I'm with child services, and I can promise you, when there's a problem, you normally do not want me at your door," replied John.
"You have no right to stop here unannounced! I bet you don't even have a warrant!" replied Mr. Dursley angrily. Bert handed Mr. Dursley a piece of paper that he had been given at the station.
"Okay, maybe you do, perhaps you'd like some tea?" offered Mrs. Dursley as she read the paper. She and her husband backed away slowly. The two officials thought their behavior was rather unusual, the couple was constantly exchanging uneasy looks.
"Suppose, I get the boy from his room. You two gentlemen wait in the kitchen and make yourselves comfortable. Then you can ask him anything you like," suggested Mr. Dursley nervously.
"That's all well and good, but I'd like to see his room for myself," said John. Suddenly, there was a loud sneeze from a broom cupboard under the stairs. Everyone looked right at said cupboard. Now the Dursley's were shaking.
"That was just the cat?" suggested Mrs. Dursley, she said that as though she hadn't thought much about it.
"Well that's a rather large kitty cat to be making a sneeze like that, I gotta see that! My wife loves cats, she'll never believe me!" said Bert as he made his way toward the cupboard.
"Don't you dare open that door!" shouted Mr. Dursley. Now the two men got really suspicious and shot the Dursleys with nasty glares.
"Mr. Dursley, do you realize you just gave me probable cause to inspect this broom cupboard?" asked Bert.
"There is nothing there of importance! I offered you tea and now you want to snoop further into my home" replied Mrs. Dursley angrily.
"If there is nothing important in there then you shouldn't have a problem with us looking in there! John, you open the door, and if either of you try to stop him, you're going to find out what mace smells like. I don't want to use this, but I will if it's necessary," replied Bert, giving John a decent berth while he kept his hand near his can of mace.
John very carefully opened the door, not knowing what to expect. That sneeze was most certainly not from a cat. Inside, he found a young boy with messy black hair and emerald green eyes wearing horn-rimmed glasses and clothes that clearly dwarfed him. He was shocked!
"Boy, what are you doing in there?" he asked.
"This is where I sleep," answered the boy John had to realize was Harry Potter because of the description he had been given.
"You sleep here!?" exclaimed John, he knew this was not a place for any child to sleep. Bert realized that he was talking to a young child who was clearly being neglected and had to react quickly.
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, you put your hands on your heads and face the wall! John, get the kid outta here!" he ordered. John nodded, he wrapped his strong yet gentle arms around Harry and quickly carried him to the door. The two of them managed to watch Mr. Dursley attempt to attack the cop only to be hit by a club Bert had with him.
"I'm going to need assistance, someone here attempted to assault me!" Bert said into his radio. John continued running to his car where he placed the eight-year-old boy into the backseat, made sure he was buckled in good and secure before he took the wheel and drove off.
"Kid, I'm really sorry about what happened, but I promise, you will never have to go back there," John told his young passenger. Harry just sniffled and buried his face into his hands.
"What's wrong?" asked John.
"For as long as I can remember, they were the only family I had. Only in my dreams did I ever have some hope of getting away from them," replied Harry. John nodded, in his career, he had to deal with some heavy stuff, and it made him angry that there were actually kids who might even have had it worse than this one who was now in the back of his car.
In the days following, the story of a young boy who had been forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs made local news. The story told of how the Dursley's were now being fined a heft fee for child neglect. Dudley Dursley, being underage was now under the care of a family friend because the authorities hadn't yet decided if they should be allowed to continue having custody of their biological son. Young Harry was now in a foster home with other kids who had been abused or neglected.
Mrs. O'Leary was watching the news with a few other faculty members in the teacher's lounge where they saw the announcements.
"Wasn't that one of your students Molly?" asked another teacher.
"Yes, I thought there was something off about his behavior, but I never imagined that his home life was that bad! I'm just glad he's out of there, and I hope his fortunes improve!" she answered, she had some tea, partly to hide her tears.
At Social Services, the desk workers were looking over Harry Potter's files.
"It's the strangest thing, I mean, we've got birth and death dates for both parents, and maybe some primary school education for the mother, but then it says she transferred to another school yet it doesn't say where she transferred to. It's almost as though they barely existed. No further school records, no marriage certificate, no employment history, why I can't even find a credit card history!"
"That is bizarre, almost a cover-up." Then the phone rang.
"Hello. Yes, we are in charge of Mr. Harry Potter's case. Are you absolutely serious? Well, we'd have to go over some paperwork and a background check but that would be great! Thank you and bless you!"
"Great news! Somebody already wants to adopt Mr. Harry Potter!" everyone was happy because it normally took a long time for any of the kids who came into their charge to find a family.
A week later, a Social Worker walked Harry down a hallway at the office building. He opened the door for the young boy who had been given clothes that were closer to his size and led him through. There waiting for Harry was a family of three. The man was fair-haired and big bellied, but clearly a kind and gentle individual. The woman was reasonably tall, with long brown hair and wide eyes. Their daughter was about fifteen sporting a leather jacket and pink hair. The woman got down on one knee to look Harry in the eye.
"Hello Harry, my name is Andromeda. This is my husband Ted and our daughter-"
"You can call me Dora," the girl interrupted.
"This is apparently the Tonks family Harry, and they have graciously offered to take you in, would you like to say hello?" the Social Service worker asked.
"H-hello," answered Harry.
"Hey mate, we got you something," said Ted as he got down on one knee and pulled from behind his back a kangaroo plushie that he handed to Harry. Harry was surprised. Nobody had ever given him a stuffed animal before. Dudley had a whole lot of toys because his parents spoiled him rotten but they would never have thought to do something like that for young Harry. He graciously accepted the kangaroo, and hugged it close to his chest.
"Thank you," he said.
"We heard you've been having it rough little buddy, but you're going to be living with us from now on, howzat?" asked Dora. Harry nodded gleefully as his new family led him to a car. He sat right next to Dora, still clutching his kangaroo.
"Any idea what you're going to name your new friend?" asked Dora.
"I think I'll call him…Bouncy!" Harry answered. Everyone in the car told him it was a good name. When they brought him to their home, Harry couldn't help but appreciate how simple their home was. It looked as though it had been brought out of a storybook. There was a large field with a tree and a tire swing. The garden was overrun and had a few weeds, just the way a garden was supposed to be. The Dursley's had made an attempt to make everything absolutely perfect to a fault.
The Tonks family led him inside where he found himself in a comfortable looking room with modest furniture. This felt as though it had been lived in and actually loved more so than the Dursley's family room. Harry invited himself to sit on the couch and beamed up at his new guardians who came over, they were still smiling, but they also had somber expressions now.
"Is everything alright?" asked Harry.
"Everything's fine dear, there's just something we feel you should know," answered Andromeda.
"Yes?" asked a very curious Harry.
"You're a wizard Harry," answered Ted.
"I'm a what?" asked an astonished Harry.
"A wizard, and a good one too we believe," replied Andromeda. The Tonks family sat down beside him and explained everything. They told him about the evil Lord Voldemort, how he had tracked down Harry's parents because he got a tip from a friend of theirs. How despite being able to murder Lily and James something about him (Harry) had caused the Dark Lord to vanish. That was why he was placed in the care of the Dursley's.
But when the Dursley's true nature had been revealed and Harry was taken away, Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts who believed Harry would be safe at the Dursley's had called upon the Tonks family because Ted was an Auror and would be able to protect young Harry if Voldemort ever returned. This was a lot for young Harry to swallow but he gave his new family a hug and thanked them.
That night, Tonks got up for a glass of water but sitting on the couch she found young Harry, watching television while holding Bouncy. She walked over to him and asked if everything was alright.
"I just don't understand, if I was able to defeat this horrible sorcerer, how were the Dursley's able to cram me into that broom cupboard without being turned into toads? How is it my cousin was able to constantly beat me up?"
"There's a lot of things that remain a mystery about that night. As for what your old family did to you, I can honestly say that there is some magic that can't be controlled. But ask yourself, did you ever make anything happen when you scared or angry that seemed out of your control?" asked Tonks.
Harry thought about it, he had made some strange things happen. Turning a teacher's wig blue, regrowing his hair, causing his cousin's sweater to shrink.
"I guess so, but I just feel strange still. You guys have given me my own bedroom, you've welcomed me into your home, you've been nothing but kind to me, but I still wish I could have known my parents," replied Harry.
"Buddy, if you didn't wish for that, I wouldn't consider you normal. I'll talk to Mum and Dad. But remember, you're a part of our family now okay? You don't have to feel strange," answered Tonks. Then she gave Harry the best hug she could. Then she made hot chocolate for the both of them before she got him back into bed.
The next day, the Tonks family took young Harry to Godric's Hollow so he could visit the grave of his parents. They handed him some flowers which he gently placed on the grave. He cried seeing all the other flower bundles people had left.
"Hey guys, I'm sorry I couldn't get here sooner. I was never able to leave on my own before. I got a new family, they seem nice, and they clearly care about me. I never knew you, but you would have liked them I'm sure. I really wish we could have spent more time together, but I know you're watching," he said, not sure what else to say. He then rushed to the Tonks family, who embraced him in a group hug and allowed him to cry as much as he needed.
Years went by, he was happy to live with the Tonks family, and then he went off to Hogwarts, where they met the Weasley family at King's Cross station, Harry and Ron hit it off immediately. Both were overjoyed at being sorted into Gryffindor.
I'm afraid I must end it here. After all, if Harry wasn't living with the Dursley's he wouldn't have a need to stay at school for the holidays and certain plot points would never have happened. Later on, Voldemort might have had an easier time tracking him. But, it was just an idea I thought I'd explore. Hope you enjoyed!