"If you can't find a type of fic you're looking for, write it yourself." - Someone on the Internet.
I don't own anything, all rights go to J.K. Rowling and Atlas.
Harry thought what had happened at the zoo was rather exciting. Disappearing glass, a talking snake, he honestly had no way to describe how it had all happened. Though from how completely livid Uncle Vernon was when they arrived back at Number Four Privet Drive, perhaps the excitement wasn't worth it. He was sure to be stuck in the cupboard for a long, long time.
Harry rolled over in his cot, his thigh felt like it was going to bruise after the way Piers and Dudley shoved him onto the ground earlier that day. He would have to make sure not to lie on his left side, which wasn't that difficult. It could have been a lot worse if, for instance, he had lost at 'Harry Hunting.'
Outside his cupboard, Harry could hear the clatter of plates, the opening and closing of cardboard boxes, and the general sounds of Dudley eating slice after slice of pizza, having more than a whole pizza for himself 'because it was his birthday.' The enticing smells of cooked meats and cheeses tormented Harry as he felt his stomach constrict into a tight ball. He knew he was not going to get a slice, but Harry couldn't help but hope. A juicy, greasy slice of ham and cheese pizza, all for himself.
Just one slice, he thought, as he finally fell into the arms of sleep.
The first thing he noticed was the sound of someone playing sombrely on a piano over a faint rumbling. The melody was somewhat unfamiliar, but Harry felt as though he had heard it before. Perhaps Aunt Petunia was watching one of her soap operas on the television again, Harry thought. When he opened his eyes however, he realised that it wasn't the case, because he wasn't looking at the dark confines of his cupboard, but curtains of blue velvet.
Harry sat straight up, as adrenaline rushed through his system. He was in an unfamiliar place with no idea how he got there. Harry quickly looked around, taking in as much information as possible.
He was not alone.
On one side of the room, was a man playing a blue grand piano, blindfolded. Next to him was a woman wearing a lavish black dress and some form of face paint standing in front of a microphone. On the other side was what looked to be a closed coffin, with polished black wood, and adorned with countless flowers.
A strange place with a coffin, Harry thought, not a good sign.
Yet what was more worrying to Harry, between the coffin and the musicians, were two other people looking directly at him. One a woman in a blue suit and tie, with wavy platinum blonde hair and glowing, golden eyes that were inhumanly vacant. The man next to her, however, looked far more inhuman. For he had intense protruding eyes, a manic grin with all of his perfect white teeth bared, balding silver hair, and possibly the longest nose that Harry could ever imagine. They were both sitting on a couch in front of a table that stood in front of another couch that Harry realised he had been sleeping in.
This was bad. Harry was with four strangers, all of which had some alien quality to them, in an unknown place that had a mysterious casket.
Before Harry could say anything, however, the woman with the golden eyes spoke.
"Peace, Harry," she said softly. "We mean you no harm."
It was then that the woman with the face paint began to sing. She didn't sing with words, but with operatic 'oohs' and 'ahs.' Harry suddenly felt the tension in his muscles and the blood roaring in his ears fade away.
That didn't stop Harry from being wary. His mouth was dry when he asked, "Where am I?"
The golden-eyed woman turned to the man with the elongated nose. "Welcome to the Velvet Room," he greeted a high, airy voice. "My name is Igor. I am delighted to make your acquaintance." Igor bowed to Harry.
"This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter," said Igor as a form of explanation. "It is a room that only those who are bound by a contract may enter."
Harry furrowed his eyebrows. "I'm sorry, what?"
The golden-eyed woman shifted in her seat. "What he means is that your body in your reality is currently at rest. You are experiencing the Room through dreaming."
Harry looked around the room again. He noticed that the bright blue curtains were swaying to and fro, swaying in an intangible breeze. Harry licked his lips. "So this isn't real then?"
The woman let out an amused huff. "On the contrary. Just because you are dreaming, does not mean that what you are dreaming about is not real." She brought her finger up to tap her temple. "You can dream about real moments from your past, can you not? This is much the same."
Harry stared incredulously at her. How does that make any sense? He thought.
"Ah, yes," said Igor suddenly. "I neglected to introduce my assistants." He gestured to the golden-eyed woman. "This is Michelle. She is a resident of this place, like myself."
Michelle bowed. "It truly is a pleasure to finally meet you, Harry," she said with a light smile.
Igor turned to the people playing music to the right. "And these are our resident musicians, Nameless is our pianist, while Belladonna is our songstress."
Without missing a beat or note, the blindfolded Nameless looked towards Harry and nodded. While the face-painted Belladonna winked at Harry, descending her melody.
"H-" Harry swallowed. "How do you know who I am?"
Igor turned his protruding gaze back at Harry. "Years ago, a contract was signed on your behalf." He raised his hands and clicked his fingers, and with a ruffling sound, a piece of paper appeared from behind their couch, flew around the room in a wide circle, and then gently floated down to the table in front of Harry. "You may read it at your leisure."
Harry's jaw dropped. "How did you do that!?"
Igor chuckled. "It is like I said. This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter."
Michelle huffed. "You'll have to forgive him, Harry. Igor is somewhat of a showman at heart."
Igor's grin somehow widened. "Is it not the role of the host to entertain their guests? Why, we have not had a guest as young as Mr. Potter here in quite some time. I felt as if I had to step up my game. Nevertheless, I would suggest that you would go ahead and read that contract."
Warily, Harry shuffled forward in his seat and picked up the contract. When he did, he noticed that the contract was not written on regular paper, but something a lot thicker. Parchment, if Harry were to guess. The words were written in perfectly handwritten blue ink. It said:
"I vow to offer my life for Harry James Potter.
I do so to ensure that he will continue to live.
In exchange, he shall face the trials of his future without fear.
He shall also strive to forge his own destiny."
Where one would normally sign their name, instead there was a mass of blue ink, covering whatever name may have been written there.
Harry looked back at Igor and Michelle, the parchment crinkling in his grip. "Who signed this," he asked.
Igor resignedly shook his head. "I am afraid we are not at liberty to say. You will have to find out the identity of your benefactor without our assistance."
"But what does it mean?" Harry asked emphatically. "Did-" He ran a hand through his hair. "Did someone... die for me?"
Igor sighed. "I am afraid we cannot tell you that either. What we can tell you, however, is the role of the Velvet Room regarding the contract." Igor clicked his fingers again. The parchment pulled itself out of Harry's hands and flew itself over the table, over Igor and Michelle, and behind the couch, from whence it came.
Michelle gave an exasperated sigh. "Igor, perhaps Harry was not finished reading the contract."
"Ah, yes." Igor cleared his throat. "I apologise young man. Truth be told we are all rather excited about your arrival."
Harry blinked bemusedly. "Uh, no, it's okay. I was finished with it."
"Either way," said Michelle, "if you wish to read it again, you need only ask."
Harry gave a nod.
Igor continued. "As I was saying, we of the Velvet Room have brought you here for a reason. As per the contract, you are required to face the trials of your future without fear and to forge your own destiny." He gestured to the other residents. "That is where we come in. We are here to provide you the tools necessary to succeed."
Igor's speech was interrupted by the abrupt sound of a loud knock, knock, knock. Harry's head darted around the room, but he could not find the source of the knocking.
"Ah, but I believe we are out of time." Igor bowed. "Until we meet again, my dear young man."
Michelle stood up from the couch and walked around the table to stand next to Harry. "Here, Harry." She reached her pocket and pulled a key that seemed to glow with a blue light. "Please, take this gift." She urged.
"Um..." Harry took the key out of Michelle's hand. "Th... Thank..." But before he could use his manners, he had already fallen asleep again.
Knock, knock, knock.
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!
Harry awoke with a start and shook his head of the confusion that came from waking mid-dream. He remembered a lot of blue, and an abnormally long nose.
"Get up," yelled Aunt Petunia's shrill voice as she opened the cupboard door. "You've got ten minutes. Go to the bathroom and then you're going back in."
Harry palmed for his glasses, put them on, and as quick as he could, ran to the bathroom. After he closed the bathroom door and went to the toilet, he noticed that his hand was gripping something tightly. He opened his hand and saw a key. A somewhat translucent blue key, labelled, 'Velvet Room.'
All of the female Velvet Room attendants have the naming theme of characters from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
Elizabeth - Elizabeth Lavenza
Margaret - Margaret Saville
Caroline - Caroline Beaufort
Justine - Justine Moritz
Lavenza - Elizabeth Lavenza
So to get Michelle's name I took Mary Shelly - M. Shelly - M. Shell - Michelle. The reason I took the author's name over the name of a character is to represent that while we are not in that same universe as the Persona series, we are in one close enough to matter.
As I say on AO3, please give me your finest roasts of either me or my writing.