At first glance, he was the same as all the other trainees. He was small and unremarkable, with hair the colour of tree bark and skin the colour of honey. But Harry knew better to judge things at first glance.
A second glance revealed that he was alone. He sat just a little too far away from the others, he was a little to quiet. Sometimes, those next to him would send dirty looks over at him but none more than Bonzo Madrid. The leader of the Salamander Army clearly thought he was being subtle but anyone with half a mind could see his dislike for his newest member clear as day.
Harry's fork dropped from his hand as his head tilted ever so slightly to the side. The current leader of the Phoenix Army was intrigued. Why they'd put a six-year-old boy in an army, he would never know. It clearly wasn't Bonzo's idea either, meaning it was some kind of scheme, some kind of test.
He studied the boy more carefully. He noted the hard glint in the boy's eye and the assessing gaze that swept over the room. Perhaps it was not so absurd for him to join the Salamanders. Despite his age, he was hardened. He had the gaze of a soldier, something that could not be faked no matter how hard the younger launchies tried.
He would keep an eye on Ender Wiggin, he decided as he was forced to turn away and speak to his platoon leader. He was sure that the boy would prove to be very interesting.
The next time Harry saw Ender Wiggin, he was in the washroom. He'd walked in behind Bonzo and his goons, expertly slipping past the boys they stationed to keep people out. With apathetic eyes, he watched as Ender destroyed the older kid, kicking him when he was down and cracking his skull on the pavement. The bathroom became a lake of scarlet as the blood and CSF leaked from Bonzo's skull, some of it running sluggishly towards the drain.
Dead, Harry thought as Ender took off running. Perhaps he should not be so detached when it came to things like murder and death but in his fourteen years, Harry had had so many experiences with death that this left him only a little shaken. He turned on his heel and walked out, leaving Bonzo's corpse to cool on the cream coloured bathroom tiles. It was nothing more than he deserved, he though. Really, Bonzo was quite the arsehole.
Outside of the bathroom, a trail of bloody footprints stained the left side of the hall. Harry didn't go after Ender. He was sure his friends would do that. This would just harden him even more, turning the steel in his eyes to uncut diamond.
Harry saw Ender only once more before the Commander Pheonix Army got shipped off to Command school. He was fifteen, his packed bags parked beside him, watching Ender battle through a screen. He cheered internally when their strategy succeeded, knowing that little Ender who was no longer quite so little, had thought it up.
He smiled kindly at the screen, one of his few genuine smiles.
"See you soon, Wiggin," He muttered as an adult ushered him towards a ship.
The day Ender Wiggin arrived at command school was the day Harry's know it all smile annoyed the rest of the pilot trainees to death. He'd always known Wiggin was going places and being right was seemingly too much for his overinflated head to handle.
"Stop grinning about your Boycrush, Potter," One of the other's told him and he laughed with the rest of them as they dismounted their vessel.
"You're just jealous that I'm the best pilot around these parts, Smith," He taunted back, good-naturedly and Smith chuckled.
"I don't know how you manage to navigate the facility with an ego that big," He sniped back, causing Harry to cross his arms and blow a raspberry at him like a child. The entire squad broke down laughing, everyone taking advantage of a rare moment of respite in their rigorous training schedule.
That night as he sat in his room, flicking through his tablet, he received a message from Zacharias Smith.
'Really though Potter, what's with you and Wiggin? You do know you're too old for him right?'
Harry laughed and typed out his response.
'Wiggin's gonna save us all '
'Delusional, A god complex AND an inferiority complex? How they let nutters like you into this school, I'll never know.' Smith Responded.
Harry laughed and rolled his eyes at Smith's incredibly wrong assessment of his mental state. He wasn't sure the other boy even knew what an inferiority complex was.
Harry knew what was happening when a Pilot's uniform mysteriously appeared in his room a few days later. He was not overjoyed, nor was he excited at the prospect of being a full-blown pilot. Instead, he knew why they were there. Earth was finally going to make their move, he was being sent to war.
He put on the uniform and laced his boots before rushing towards the loading bay, unsurprised when he found his entire crew there who, unlike him, were incredibly excited about their new silver uniforms.
Their moods disappeared in a flash when they saw the gloomy expression on Harry's face.
"What's the matter, Potter?" Dean Thomas asked apprehensively.
"Prepare yourselves," He told them glumly. "We will soon be facing War,"
The entire crew quieted at that. The silence stretched on, even as they boarded their ship and launched into space. Harry didn't know how long it was before Thomas finally spoke again. It was with a pair of glasses in his hand.
"We might be off to war," He started. "But that won't stop us from one more toast,"
He set a glass down in front of Harry.
"To Freedom," He said and Harry downed his glass with him in agreement.
It was a few months before they saw their first battle. They didn't know if it was because it was the first time or of their ship was just late t the party but it was as terrifying to watch as it was riveting.
They followed the orders of the voices over the intercom, shooting, dodging and rolling on command. The entire crew was shocked to make it out in one piece. The bright lights and the buggers' high tech ships were an image permanently burned into harry's retina, playing whenever he dared to close his eyes.
That night, Dean brought out his liquor again, helping everyone's nerves.
"To freedom!" They chanted as Harry sat back and watched.
"To freedom," he muttered, turning back to his controls.
When Wiggin gave the command that would surely kill him, Harry didn't react. Instead, he positioned his ship in the shield, listening to the sobs of Micheal corner and the angry swearing of Zacharias Smith.
Instead, he stood at the commands, eyes fixed on the onslaught of Buggers.
It's for Earth, he thought, closing his eyes. For my family, For my friends. For Sirius and Reamus and Ron and Hermione and Cedric and even for Dudley. He had accomplished more in his 17 years than many accomplished in their lifetimes. As he felt the group huddle around him, all of them shaking and scared and so, so brave.
The light that once filtered in through their front window abruptly disappeared, blocked by the veritable blanket of enemy ships. Somewhere to his left, Corner whimpered and Harry squeezed the hand he held in his left hand a little tight, hoping that it was Corner's
And then it happened. The suspense was over and they were crushed, suffocating and in pain. Corner's hand went limp in his and he squeezed his eyes shut tighter, praying that it would end.
"Save us all, Ender Wiggin," He managed to croak as the last of the light faded from his eyes and his body when limp, floating away into space. He did not need to say the words for he knew that Ender would. Even in death, Harry could not seem to figure out how he knew Ender Wiggin would save them.
And save them he did, even if Harry's life was the price.