Fanfic: Markedly Different by I_dunno (Read for Free, 1,332,114 Clicks)

Description: Harry Potter’s scar isn’t on his forehead, but on his eye. Being that much different makes life in Surrey that much worse. So the Harry Potter who receives his Hogwarts letter is not an optimistic little boy looking for friends and acceptance, but a jaded child who has promised himself he’ll be strong enough to survive, whatever it takes.

Characters: Graphic Depictions Of Violenceto be revealedHarry Potter Severus Snape Minerva McGonagallMorally Grey Harry Potter Magically Powerful Harry Potter

Summary: Summary:

Harry Potter’s scar isn’t on his forehead, but on his eye. Being that much different makes life in Surrey that much worse. So the Harry Potter who receives his Hogwarts letter is not an optimistic little boy looking for friends and acceptance, but a jaded child who has promised himself he’ll be strong enough to survive, whatever it takes.

Notes: Notes:

(See the end of the work for notes.)

Chapter 1: Avada Kedavra

Chapter Text
¡°The Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, is one of the most infamous curses in Western civilization, to the point that even muggles have heard of the incantation, though to them it has been distorted into ¡®abra cadabra¡¯. The curse is not particularly complicated, but still eludes most wizards for two reasons. First, it requires a significant amount of magical power; few wizards can cast Avada Kedavra multiple times in a row. Second, it requires pure, lethal intent that few wizards have. The intent does not have to be directed at the target- wizards have been known to power the curse with their own wish to die- but there cannot be any doubt or hesitation. In return, the caster has the most perfectly lethal spell. It cannot be blocked by any known shield spell, and being hit by the spell is instantly and always* lethal. -A Practical Overview of Defensive Magic, by Osmond Trillby, 1984??—??? ? Lord Voldemort was, all things considered, pretty good at aiming spells. While claims that he could shoot a Killing Curse from the Hogwarts Astronomy Tower and hit a knut lying on the quidditch pitch were (highly) exaggerated, his spells usually hit what he wanted them to hit. But even the Dark Lord Voldemort makes mistakes, not that he or any of his followers would ever admit it.??? ? A number of mistakes were made by Voldemort on Halloween night of 1981. The one history would remember was when he cast the Killing Curse at Harry Potter and triggered a trap his mother cobbled together out of esoteric magic and some blood runes her auror husband didn¡¯t really need to know about. But that particular curse was a twofold mistake. It brought about his defeat on a strategic level, of course, but it also didn¡¯t go quite where the Dark Lord wanted it to. It was only a few inches off, but the Killing Curse did not strike Harry Potter on his forehead, as its caster had intended, but rather on the boy¡¯s right eye.??—??? ? Harry Potter, of No. 4 Privet Drive, was currently sitting in front of a dictionary in the library of the local elementary school. The book was open to the ¡®F¡¯ section, and Harry¡¯s eye was trained on the third definition of the word freak. ¡°One that is markedly unusual or abnormal¡±, according to Merriam-Webster, who the librarian assured him was very reliable. Much more so than Oxford, apparently, although Harry couldn¡¯t hear her mumblings well enough to understand why she had such strong opinions on dictionaries.?? ? Well, at least he knew why his relatives called him that word now. It was certainly true. Having a zig-zag scar over one eye was markedly unusual, he supposed. At least, he¡¯d never seen anyone else with one eye.??? ? Harry¡¯s eye travelled a few lines up to definition 1b, ¡°a seemingly capricious action or event¡±. After looking up what ¡®capricious¡¯ meant, Harry supposed definition 1b applied to things that happened around him. It was a freak when lights appeared in the cupboard despite Uncle Vernon refusing to replace the burnt out lightbulb, he thought, or when he knew what people were thinking without them saying it.??? ? So he was a freak then. That was fine. Of course, he still wasn¡¯t quite sure why his relatives said it so hatefully, but he¡¯d begun to suspect that they were referring to more than his scarred-over eye when they called him a freak. He¡¯d gotten the impression of images sometimes when they were particularly angry. Uncle Vernon gave him flashes of a man with messy dark hair and bronze skin like Harry¡¯s own and a green-eyed woman with pretty red hair. Aunt Petunia gave images of a little girl, also red-haired and green-eyed, and a boy with stringy black hair and clothes almost as worn-out and ill-fitting as the rags she clothed Harry with. Once he¡¯d even gotten something from Aunt Petunia that he somehow thought might have been a memory. The red-haired girl jumped from a swing and floated gently down to earth like she had a parachute in one of Dudley¡¯s cartoons. It was impossible, but no more impossible than Harry seeing his aunt¡¯s memories.?? ? Harry leaned back in his chair and thought. Maybe his relatives meant definition 1b rather than definition 3. If markedly unusual or capricious events occurred around him¡­ well, Harry wondered if he could somehow control that.??—??? ? ¡°Hey kid, you alright?¡±?? ? Harry looked up from where he was sitting under a slide at the playground trying not to cry from the beating Dudley and his friends had administered. Really, he should be fine, they were interrupted mid-attack by the siren song of an ice cream van. But as he looked up at the older boy standing over him, Harry suspected he still had a tear or two on his face regardless.?? ? ¡°I¡¯m fine. Just like the shade. Who¡¯re you?¡± Harry asked guardedly.?? ? ¡°I¡¯m Cody. Really though kid, you¡¯re looking down, and don¡¯t think I didn¡¯t see those little shits beating you up earlier.¡±?? ? Wow. Cody said ¡®shit¡¯. Not even Dudley did that.?? ? ¡°Tell ya what kid, I¡¯ve been down on my luck like you, but I know just the thing to cheer you up. There¡¯s a really cool surprise I¡¯ll show you tonight, okay. You know Walpole Bridge, down by the railroad tracks? I¡¯ll see you there. Trust me, this¡¯ll blow your mind.¡±?? ? Harry frowned. He knew this was a bad idea, for a number of reasons. If he got caught sneaking out, Uncle Vernon would probably break a few bones. And he didn¡¯t really know anything about Cody.??But even though he was never allowed to watch, Dudley always had the TV volume turned up very loud, and if there was one thing Harry knew from listening to Dudley¡¯s movies and TV shows, it was that good things eventually happen to good people. Harry reckoned he was a good person, so maybe this was the good thing finally happening to him! And besides, maybe Cody¡¯s surprise had something to do with his own freakishness. And he had felt anticipation and excitement from Cody when he mentioned the bridge.?So that night Harry used his freakishness to unlock his cupboard, slipped a kitchen knife into the pocket of his baggy trousers (he was hopeful, but was a firm believer in Precautions), and set off to meet Cody.?He arrived to see Cody leaning casually against the railing in the very middle of the bridge, looking very cool and grown-up under the streetlight. ¡°Hey kid! Glad to see you came! I was worried you¡¯d chicken out. Come on over, you can only see it from up here.¡±?Harry cautiously approached Cody and looked out from on top of the bridge. ¡°I don¡¯t see anything¡­¡± Harry said, turning around to frown at Cody. Then he saw the look on Cody¡¯s face, eerily reminiscent of Uncle Vernon, and reached for the knife. Cody¡¯s arms shot out lightning fast, one grabbing Harry¡¯s neck and the other grabbing Harry¡¯s wrist and squeezing painfully hard until Harry felt something break and dropped the knife.?Harry looked into Cody¡¯s eyes and felt? his thoughts. ¡°It is better than stray animals. I¡¯ll throw him off the bridge and it¡¯ll look like a suicide once the train comes in a few minutes. No one will miss him.¡±?If he wasn¡¯t being choked to death, Harry would have growled in anger, or just screamed at the injustice of it all. But he could physically feel his freakishness roiling inside him, eager to protect him. So he made Cody let go. And then he pushed.??Harry watched as Cody flew across the empty street and over the opposite edge of the bridge. Numbly, Harry crossed the street and looked down over the railing. Cody was lying on the railroad tracks, his body twisted at unnatural angles. Harry wasn¡¯t sure if he was dead or not, but he stared at Cody for a while until he heard a train whistle.?Harry decided he didn¡¯t need to see that, so he started walking home, trying to coax his freakishness into fixing his wrist. To his surprise, it worked after a few minutes. It hurt almost as bad as when it was broken in the first place, but now he wouldn¡¯t have to make breakfast for his relatives with one hand. But now that he wasn¡¯t thinking about his broken bone, he now had to think about what had just happened. The way Harry saw it, there was bad news and good news.?The bad news, of course, was that he¡¯d just killed someone. Sure it was self defense when he threw him off the bridge, but he could have at least tried to use his freakishness to move him out of the way of the train. So he probably wasn¡¯t a good person anymore.?The good news was that Harry didn¡¯t think it mattered if he was a good person or not. After all, Dudley¡¯s cartoons had talking coyotes and birds, and the only animal Harry had ever heard talk was a snake, so if the TV had gotten that wrong, he supposed they could have gotten their moral lessons wrong too. He¡¯d convinced himself Cody was going to finally give him an explanation for his freakishness and start him on an epic adventure. Maybe even be his mentor, or his friend.?Harry scoffed to himself. A friend. Yeah right. Not for someone like him, he was markedly unusual. Harry decided that he didn¡¯t know if the cartoons were right about there being a power in friendship- they probably were, getting beat up by Dudley¡¯s gang hurt more than by Dudley alone- but there was also a power in freakishness. He could be strong with it. It was probably the only way he could be strong; he couldn¡¯t be physically strong since the Dursleys starved him, and he couldn¡¯t be one of those brilliant inventors who took over the world with clever machines since he would get beaten for ¡°cheating¡± if he outperformed Dudley¡¯s abysmal grades.?But his freakishness was a power all his own. He could use that. He could be strong, stronger than Dudley, stronger than Uncle Vernon one day.???—??? ? When the first letter came, Harry focused his freakishness and slipped it into his cupboard. He read it that night under a conjured ball of light and felt something he didn¡¯t have a word for, but would later identify as melancholy. It was a much more elaborate trap than Cody had laid, but he was sure that it would still end up with someone trying to murder him for fun, or treating him like the ¡°other kind of freaks¡± Uncle Vernon had threatened to sell him to a few times.?Harry snorted in amusement the next day when two letters arrived, but he just slipped them into his cupboard to use as practice material. That night, one letter was consumed by fire that was only warm, not hot, and the other was made to say different things in the same script (such as ¡°Dudley Dursley is a stupid pig¡± and ¡°I will be strong¡±) before Harry tried to make it completely vanish. It didn¡¯t work, but Harry could feel his freakishness trying.?? ? When four letters came, Harry began to get concerned. He didn¡¯t know how dedicated whoever was sending the letters was to this bit, but it would only be a few days before it would be impossible to hide the sheer volume of letters from his relatives. Therefore, Harry had to be proactive.?? ? ¡°Um, Aunt Petunia? There¡¯s some funny letters in here. They¡¯re, ah, addressed to me. Say they¡¯re from some hog-wart place. Obviously junk, but¡­¡± Harry trailed off as he was buffeted with images from Aunt Petunia¡¯s mind. The red-haired girl eagerly waving a letter that looked like the ones he had received. The black-haired boy sneering at her, also holding a letter. A strict-looking woman sitting in a living room with the red-head, two other adults Harry recognized from pictures he¡¯d been forced to dust as Petunia¡¯s parents, and a young Petunia herself. A young Aunt Petunia crying over a different letter.?? ? ¡°Yes. Obviously junk. Just ignore those letters, boy.¡± Aunt Petunia said with obvious strain in her voice. Then she took one of the letters and hurried upstairs to where Vernon was getting ready for work.?? ? Harry considered the letters and the memories he had seen as he made breakfast for his relatives. Combining the memories he had glimpsed with what he thought of as the Fundamental Law of Dursleys (which was that they never, ever, had his best interests at heart), Harry could only come to one conclusion: the letters were real, and the red-haired girl was Petunia¡¯s sister and his mother, unless Aunt Petunia had two sisters she never talked about.?? ? And Petunia had memories of his mother doing freakish things too! Which meant, according to the letters, his freakishness was actually magic, which Harry supposed was probably a better name than freakishness. And if the black-haired boy had a letter as well, then he was a freak too!?? ? Harry smiled at his breakthrough. Of course, he still had more questions. So many more. Who was the black-haired boy in Petunia¡¯s memories? Where did he get all the things on the list? And how did he write back? He suspected the post office wouldn¡¯t work. Hadn¡¯t the letter said something about owls???—??? ? Minerva McGonagall frowned at the sheet of parchment lying atop her otherwise perfectly organized desk. She was certain she hadn¡¯t left it there. So after a series of charms to check for nefarious enchantments (it had been a decade since the war, but it didn¡¯t feel that long ago sometimes.) she opened what turned out to be a letter written on the back of a Hogwarts acceptance letter.???? ? To Whom it May Concern??? ? I have received a number of letters of acceptance to someplace called ¡°Hogwarts¡±. I was, of course, skeptical at first, and assumed it was an elaborate prank. However, I have since been convinced that this letter is a sincere, albeit wholly inadequate, invitation. I am intrigued by this idea, but I fear there are a number of circumstances that must force me to decline your invitation even if it is to a legitimate educational institution and not some sort of mental hospital or governmental blacksite.?? ? Said obstacles are, in no particular order: my lack of funds for tuition or supplies, my inability to secure transportation to Hogwarts even if I knew where it was, my lack of permission from my guardians, the fact that I have no idea where one would procure magical school supplies, concerns about my ability to secure gainful employment if I leave the normal school system to attend magic school, and the fact that my current guardians are militantly opposed to anything they consider ¡°unusual¡± or ¡°freakish¡±, including magic.?? ? If you have any suggestions concerning these obstacles, you may write me back at No. 4 Privet Drive (the cupboard under the stairs, since apparently magical letters require a specific room) or pay me a visit at said address this coming Friday, August 2nd, between the hours of 1 and 3 PM.?? ? If none of this letter makes sense to the reader, I sincerely apologize for any confusion or inconvenience I have inflicted upon you. As the aforementioned inadequate invitation does not actually explain how ¡°wizards¡± communicate with one another, my plan is to make my freakishness magic take this letter to ¡°Whom it May Concern¡±. So if you are not Who it Does Concern then I must reiterate my apologies.???? ? Sincerely, Harry Potter??? ? Minerva swore. She took her emotional support coffee mug from her shelf, hurled it against the wall, repaired it, and repeated the process a few more times until she no longer felt an overwhelming urge to hex anyone. Then she sent a note to Poppy telling her she¡¯d have to take a rain check for their lunch on Friday, picked up a bottle of firewhiskey, and began storming down to the dungeons to find Severus.??—??? ? Albus frowned at the pile of cat droppings on his desk. He really wished Minerva would find less passive aggressive methods of expressing her displeasure whenever he did something she found disagreeable. Putting aside the lack of professionalism inherent in pooping on your boss¡¯s desk, the turds did not actually tell him what the problem was, only that one existed. It was times like this he really wished he could convince the board to fund those communication workshops.??? ? Then Albus smacked himself. Of course Minerva was angry! He honestly should have seen this coming. He didn¡¯t want to have to remove fish from the menu either, but the first of the next generation of MacDougals was starting this year, and that family was infamous for their deadly seafood allergies.??—??? ? Severus Snape sneered at the bland neighborhood that was Privet Drive. He would proudly admit he was something of a curmudgeon who found most of the eccentricities of the wizarding world to be pointless eyesores, but he would rather dress like Albus bloody Dumbledore for the rest of his life than live somewhere so depressingly uniform as Privet Drive.?? ? He took the lead walking up to the porch. Minerva was far more comfortable in muggle settings than most purebloods, but he knew she still felt out of place, and she looked the part. He openly smirked when she jumped a little at the chime when he rang the doorbell. Apparently she always knocked.??? ? Then the door opened and Severus was surprised for a number of reasons. First, because the child looking up at him looked almost exactly like a young James Potter with Lily¡¯s eyes, except Potter had never been that short and skinny, nor had he ever worn such a calculatedly neutral expression. The second reason for Snape¡¯s surprise was that he felt a crude legilimency probe brush against his occlumency barriers. The third reason was that after getting an initial burst of surprise from the boy, his passive legilimency turned up nothing.?? ? The Potter child had an impeccable pureblood mask, an aptitude for legilimency, and rudimentary occlumency barriers. He could feel the migraines already.??? ? ¡°Please come in.¡± the boy said, stepping out of the doorway and leading them to sit down at a kitchen counter. ¡°Apologies for the chairs. Aunt Petunia is very¡­ particular about who can sit on the furniture in the living room. She has a strict no freaks policy, I¡¯m afraid. Can I make you some tea? Or do wizards not drink tea?¡±?? ? Severus snuck a look Minerva, decided she was too gobsmacked to answer, and so did so for the both of them. ¡°That won¡¯t be necessary, Mr. Potter. Although for future reference, wizards do indeed drink tea. We are British, after all.¡±?? ? ¡°Very well, probably for the best. Aunt Petunia is particular about her teacups as well. So, I assume my letter found its way to one of you then?¡±?? ? ¡°Yes, it did. I am Professor McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, and this is Professor Snape, potions instructor and head of Slytherin House. Based on your letter, I believe there is a lot of explaining ahead of us. Perhaps you could start by telling us what you know of magic and the wizarding world?¡±?? ? ¡°Of course. For magic, I know I can cause capricious events.¡± Severus quirked an eyebrow at that peculiar description as the boy continued. ¡°Moving things with my mind, starting fires without a lighter, healing myself, et cetera. Standard wizard things, I assume. As for the wizarding world, I had no idea anyone else could do the things I can until I received my first letter from your school, so my knowledge of this ¡®wizarding world¡¯ is that there is a magical school called Hogwarts run by someone called Albus Dumbledore, your mail apparently requires a specific room in the address, and you people seem to have no clue how jarring it is to receive a sincere invitation to a magic school if you¡¯ve been raised to believe magic isn¡¯t real and any mention of it is punishable by-¡± the boy paused. ¡°-is punishable. So, what do I need to know?¡±?? ? Severus mentally counted to ten. He hadn¡¯t cast any Unforgivables since the war, but Tuney fucking Evans was really tempting him. ¡°It would seem, Mr. Potter, that this conversation is going to take longer than I had thought. Perhaps we should retire to the living room after all. I¡¯m sure Tuney won¡¯t mind. We¡¯re old friends.¡± he said with a grin. He might not be able to Crucio the bitch, but he would damn well sit on her sofa if he pleased.??—??? ? Petunia scowled as she walked in the door. ¡°Boy! I told you to mow the lawn while I was at my book club! What kind of-¡± She froze. Sitting on her beautiful sofa were McGonagall and Snape. And the Boy was sitting in Vernon¡¯s armchair, with a smug little grin on his face.?? ? ¡°Tuney¡­¡± Snape drawled, and Petunia¡¯s frown deepened at that hated childhood nickname. ¡°I¡¯d say it¡¯s good to see you again, but I¡¯ve never been in the habit of telling lies to spare people¡¯s feelings. How about you take a seat-¡± Snape waved his damn twig and an invisible force pushed Petunia into the chair across from him ¡°-and we can¡­ catch up. I have so many questions about how you and your nephew have been. Minerva, if you have nothing pressing going on, perhaps you could escort Mr. Potter to Diagon Alley?¡±?? ? ¡°Very well.¡± said McGonagall, standing up and gesturing for the Boy to do the same. ¡°We shall be apparating, or teleporting. Please take my arm.¡± The Boy nodded and did so. ¡°Now, apparating can feel unpleasant. But if it¡¯s any comfort, it won¡¯t be nearly as unpleasant as I suspect your Aunt will be feeling. Be sure to leave some for me, Sevvy!¡±?? ? Then there was a crack, and Petunia Dursley was left alone with Severus Snape and a distinct feeling that she was in danger.

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