Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals 6

Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is a young and abused Black boy with Asperger's syndrome, and is hated by his guardians, the Dursleys. A little over a week before his birthday, he discovers that he is also a wizard, and the Dursleys knew all along. Not only is he a wizard, but he's also famous in the wizarding world! An AU fanfic.

(Transgender character introduced in chapter 7)

"Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals"

By = Fayanora

Note: A bit of harmless fanfic fun for no money, written by a fan who only WISHES she owned the Harry Potter rights.

Chapter Six: Erised Eluys Sam T'Sirhc

 

November sped by fast for Harry, what with schoolwork, helping Ron on his schoolwork, and working on preliminary details for a Muggle sciences club, and so very quickly the Christmas holidays crept up on Harry.

"Oh goody, Christmas," Harry said aloud with dread when he heard about it.

"You got something against Christmas, mate?"

"Just that I never got any presents for Christmas before, and, well..." he paused, not knowing if he wanted to continue or not, before continuing. "I more have a problem with the name and the reason for the season."

Ron stared blankly at him.

"What I mean is, Christmas comes from Christ mass, and it's Jesus Christ's birthday, supposedly. Actually, he was born in the spring, according to the Bible. But, well... the Dursleys went to church every Sunday. I never had to go, thank goodness; they didn't want to associate with me in public unless they had to. Also, they told me I was a lost cause, doomed to Hell no matter how hard I prayed. I never understood why, really, until now. I used to think they thought all black people were Hell-bound, but it might have more to do with the fact they knew I was a wizard."

"That's horrible, mate."

"Yeah, sorry."

"Don't apologize, it's them that should be sorry. Anyway, Christmas in the wizarding world isn't like it is in the Muggle world, or at least according to Dad. He said something about the Old Ways being lost in the Muggle world."

"Old Ways?"

"Yeah, before Christianity came through Europe." Ron waved a hand vaguely. "Like, a lot of the old pagan ways survived in the wizarding world because of us being... well, because we had to keep secrets. Only, Christianity is mixed in there too somehow. I dunno, there's books on the subject that'd know more'n me."

This information lit a fire under Harry. He had never heard of any religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, and finding out about a religion that predated Christianity... the first opportunity he had, he went looking through the library for books about it.

According to the books he read about the subject, Ron was right; the wizarding world was a mix of old pagan paths and Christianity. In fact, most wizards these days believed in a hybrid of Christianity and paganism; very few were just one or the other.

It made sense to him; the wizarding world was socially behind the Muggle world in many ways, and given their need for secrecy for so long, even before the Statute of Secrecy, it made sense that the old ways would survive.

What survived to the modern wizarding era were largely the more acceptable parts of the old ways. Human sacrifice was gone, animal sacrifices were rare and when they did happen, usually only happened as part of a ritual meal where the sacrificed animal gets eaten; only the blood went to the gods.

What spoke to him the most was a description of pagan ways as revering nature, the divinity in all living creatures, and how the whole world was sacred, a church. Thinking back, Harry remembered all the times he'd gotten away from other people and gone to the park, how comforting it had been to be around trees and animals, even in the middle of a town like Little Whinging, where everything was landscaped to within an inch of its life. He even thought about gardening; not his favorite chore, but one of the ones he least minded, because it got him out of the house and usually got him away from the Dursleys, but also because he kind of liked making things grow.

Harry spent hours in the library every day reading up on the old ways, learning more and more. None of the gods or goddesses really spoke to him at first, but he was new; it would take time if any came, and they might not. There was also pantheism to consider, too.

Best of all, taking a path with no Christianity or other rule-centric religion stifling him meant that he could follow his own conscience, and it helped him with some of the anger against the Dursleys that was starting to seep into his consciousness more than ever. It wasn't a new emotion-- he'd been angry at them for years, but a lot of that anger had been directed at God, for letting the Dursleys abuse him. But if there were no all-powerful God that claimed to also be all-loving... if the world just is, and nobody was to blame for his life but the Dursleys and circumstance, then that was very liberating to him.

None of this made Christmas (or Yule as a lot of wizards also called it) come any slower, and Harry was worried about where he would go during the vacation. He expressed this worry to Ron one day while they were playing wizard chess together, and Ron's eyes went wide.

"Oh, sorry, Mum told me to invite you over weeks ago, didn't I tell you?"

That made Harry beam. "Thanks!" he hugged his friend.

"You're welcome. Anyway, given everything you've been reading, should I ask Mum to get the Yule log out?"

"Why, do your parents do Christmas rather than Yule?"

"Yeah, they're Christopagan," said Ron, using the term Harry had told him days ago for the hybrid between the old ways and Christianity. "So some years they do a Yule log, too, just for the heck of it."

"Well I'm still new to all this, but the old ways call to me. I think I've been a pagan all my life and never knew it til now."

"Cool. I'd better write Mum a letter before I forget," Ron said, pulling parchment and quill out to scribble off a letter really quick. "Gotta go find an owl now Harry, see ya!"

"See ya!" he shouted at Ron's retreating back.

 

Leaving for the Weasley's was a lot like leaving Hogwarts, but in the dead of winter, and with his trunk still in the castle. He'd brought along a rucksack full of clothes and another bag full of some reading material, though. Also, they weren't taking the train. Instead, they used something called The Knight Bus. It was a horrible experience, as the driver didn't so much drive as aim the bus in the general direction of where he was going and ride roughshod over the landscape while trees and buildings leapt out of the way. It made Harry very ill, and he'd had to shut his eyes for most of the ride to avoid getting a headache.

When he finally got off the bus, he vomited his bacon and eggs onto the side of the road. He wiped the sick from his mouth and wobbled in the direction of the Burrow's front door.

His experience was offset by Mrs. Weasley making them all a large lunch, for which Harry was very grateful. After lunch, instead of going upstairs to read, he bundled up and went outside. It was cold but beautiful, the snow virgin in most places. He was looking for someone though, as he had sent Luna an owl the day before.

"Hey, slow down mate, Mum wants us to come with you."

Harry looked up and saw Ron, Ginny, and Percy came running behind him.

"Oh, duh, I forgot. Thanks, guys."

It didn't take as long to find Luna as they'd thought it would, she had already been en route to the Burrow, and they met her at the edge of the property.

"Good," said Ron, shivering. "Now we can go back. I didn't know it was going to be quite this cold today."

"Luna!" Harry said excitedly, holding both hands out to her. She smiled and took his hands in hers. Ron looked askance at that, holding in a snort of laughter. Ginny turned red and turned away, and even Percy raised an eyebrow, but both Luna and Harry were oblivious. They walked arm in arm back to the Burrow, talking about the Old Ways, which Luna was very knowledgeable about, as her father was strictly pagan.

Sitting around the fire in the Weasley's living room, they continued their conversation, everyone nursing hot cocoa; everyone but Ginny, who had gone to her room.

When Luna got up to use the restroom, Harry finally noticed Ginny's absence.

"Where'd Ginny go?"

"To her room."

"Why?"

"Well, she fancies you, mate, and you're kinda stuck on Luna. I guess she got upset."

Harry's face turned red. "Luna and I are just friends."

Ron shrugged. "Yeah, well, Ginny doesn't know that. I mean, you were holding hands and walking arm in arm."

"Yeah, but I... that doesn't mean..."

Ron said nothing, just sipped his cocoa again.

Harry was saved by Luna returning. He quickly forgot his embarrassment, getting caught up in conversation with her again. And in the process, forgot about what Ron had said.

 

The next day, Mrs. Weasley took the family to Diagon Alley in the family car, so everyone could do Christmas shopping, stopping at Gringott's first so they could get some more money.

Even though he was supposed to be shopping for others, he did find some books at Flourish and Blotts for himself, buying copies of some books about the old ways. He made sure to let the others know he'd done this, in case they were buying him books, so they wouldn't get him the same ones.

At one point, Harry dragged Ron away to go try to find something Luna might like. He'd already gotten her one thing, but thought it wasn't thoughtful enough, so he wanted to get her something else, too. Ron was smirking the whole time but not saying anything, beyond occasional suggestions that Harry kept shooting down. He knew he could have gotten her one of the books about Crumple-horned Snorkacks or whatever, but he felt like he should get Luna something else. After wandering around Diagon Alley for a half an hour, he finally found a place that might have what he was looking for.

Called Wyrd Wyrm Emporium, it was a place full of all kinds of odd-looking artifacts. A quick look around revealed that it was a magical cryptozoology store, with things like billiwig propellers, Specter-Specs, nargle repellant spray, and charms against wrackspurts.

"Yup," said Ron, "this is definitely the place to shop for Luna." He chuckled and started rifling through some of the objects for sale.

"Anything I can help you with, young man?" the proprietor asked Harry.

"I'm looking for something for a friend of mine. Luna Lovegood; do you know her?"

"Ah yes, the Lovegoods, they come in here a lot. Let's see..." he trailed off, looking around.

As he searched, he talked, mainly about what Luna and her father Xenophilius had been into recently, in a way that suggested he was thinking aloud. Harry thought it was a little like Ollivander trying to find him a wand earlier in the year, but more pleasant, as he listened to what the different things were.

Finally, though, they found something that Harry thought Luna would like (and didn't already have). He made sure Ron was out of hearing range before paying, as he didn't want his friend to know how much he was spending on Luna.

"So what'd you get her?"

"You'll find out later."

"Aw, cummon, can't I see now?"

"You'd laugh. Or tease. I'd rather put that off as long as possible."

Ron opened his mouth to object, but then stopped and shrugged. "Yeah, I probably would."

 

On Christmas morning, Ron woke up Harry with a cry of, "Oy, presents!"

Harry put his glasses on and looked around. "Where?"

"Well not here, of course. Under the tree, downstairs."

"Ah yeah, sorry."

When he got downstairs, he was surprised by the tree; it was a living tree, being kept watered, and was still a sapling without being too small. It was surprisingly bushy, too, and was decorated with candles and tinsel and popcorn. Mrs. Weasley noticed his surprise.

"Yes, dear, it's our tradition to plant our tree after it's done its duty inside. Of course, that means we have to keep it in the house until spring, but it sure does make the house smell great during the winter. Really livens up the place."

Harry grinned. He'd never liked the thought of cutting down a whole tree just to decorate its corpse for a single holiday. The Yule Log, on the other hand, was a sacrifice he could approve of, as it was from just a single branch cut from a tree (holly in this case), done with gratitude and apologies to the tree for its sacrifice, and the log was burned for the god of the forests as a fertility symbol, to help ensure spring came on time.

It was the best Yule/Christmas of his life. Surrounded by his surrogate family, with good food, songs, and presents. The presents, oh the presents. He got a chess set from Ron; Mrs. and Mr. Weasley got him a Weasley sweater and some sweets, he got some sugar-free candy from Hermione (since her parents were dentists), and a roughly-carved wooden flute from Hagrid. Luna wasn't there, because she and Harry had already agreed to exchange their presents the next day, since Luna was spending Yule with her father.

 

The next day, Luna came over, and she and Harry exchanged their gifts. Luna got Harry a magical artifact that clipped to the stem of one's glasses and, when you pushed the button, it would send a burst of soothing magic into your head, that Luna thought might be able to prevent at least some of Harry's headaches.

"Thanks a lot, Luna, this sounds awesome." He clipped the thing to his glasses and gave it a try. Of course, he wasn't feeling the need for it, so he didn't get the full effect, but it was doing something that felt good.

Ron and the twins craned their necks around to try to see what Harry had gotten Luna, which was annoying him, so he just told them to come in, which they did. Harry handed two small packages to Luna, and she opened up the first one with slow and deliberate care to not rip the packaging, even though Harry's attempt at wrapping was hardly neat. Very carefully, she took out a hand-held mirror, looking at it curiously.

"It's a two-way mirror. So we can talk to each other, instead of just owling back and forth. It'll be especially useful this winter, as Hedwig doesn't really like being out in the cold."

"Thank you, Harry, it's very thoughtful. I do miss having people to talk to. Ginny's nice, of course, but I miss you. And the more friends, the better."

She placed the mirror gently in a pocket of her trousers, and gently folded the wrapping and placed that in her pocket, too. Ron and the twins gave each other significant looks.

When the wrapping was put away, Luna took the other package and again carefully unwrapped it as though the paper itself was precious. A long golden chain slid out into her hand. Ron and the twins gave each other even more significant looks. Luna beamed, and held out the chain. There was something hanging from it, a glass marble held onto the chain with golden metal.

"It's a charm to repel wrackspurts," Harry explained. "Brand new type, Mr. Dunhaven swears you don't have one yet."

"Oooh, thank you Harry. Mr. Dunhaven was right. Wow," she said, trying to put the necklace on, "this is very thoughtful indeed."

"Here, let me help." Harry helped her with the necklace. As he did so, Ron let out a small snort of laughter, and one of the twins thwapped him on the back of the head for it. Ron glared at the culprit but didn't say anything. Luna beamed at the necklace, and thanked Harry with a hug.

Presents exchanged, Harry and Luna sat on the sofa by the fire together, watching the remains of the Yule log burn as they chatted about this and that.

"Come on, little brother," said Fred to Ron, "let's leave those two alone together. We can play some Quidditch outside together."

Ron looked back at Harry and Luna one last time before following them with a sigh. "I guess so. We might as well be furniture when they're together."

 

In January, everyone returned to Hogwarts with their gifts. Harry refused breakfast on the grounds that he didn't want to puke all over the Knight Bus, so Mrs. Weasley packed him a bagged breakfast. It was unnecessary, as the school would have food, but he nonetheless appreciated it. The Weasleys were what parents/guardians should be like, always putting their kids first, without spoiling them. He had offered, once, to help pay for his keeping, thoughts of the Dursley's complaints about how expensive he was to them bouncing in his head, but they had refused his money, no matter how hard he insisted.

Since it was still technically the holiday, and Harry wanted to take a break from reading, he and Ron spent the afternoon playing wizard chess. Harry had thought that using his own set for this game would have given him an advantage over Ron, since Ron's set was old and knew him well, but Ron remained good at the game even with the slight handicap of Harry's pieces not trusting him. Of course, they didn't trust Harry much either, so it wasn't much of a plan on Harry's part.

Just before dinner, Harry went up to his room and got a surprise when he pulled the covers back. There, on the bed where it had been under his covers, was a silvery package with a note pinned to it. Harry was just unpinning the note when Ron came in and saw it.

"What's that?"

"Dunno. The note says 'Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well.' But there's no name signed."

Harry handed the note to Ron so he could read it, too, and picked up the package. What unfolded was a long, silvery swath of cloth that felt like water woven into material.

"Woah," said Ron. "Is that... is that an invisibility cloak?"

Harry put it on, and everything but his head vanished.

"It is! Those are really rare, and really valuable."

"Wow, this used to be my dad's? Hmm..."

After looking at himself in the mirror, to see his disembodied head floating in midair, Harry started to think. He'd never been one to break school rules before, because years of living with the Dursleys meant you didn't break rules unless you were reasonably sure you could get away with it, or if circumstances were dire enough, such as raiding the fridge or pantry at night to hold off starvation. But an invisibility cloak? The possibilities were endless.

He thought about the cloak all through dinner in the Great Hall, and later in bed as he tried to sleep. As Ron snored and the other boys slept, he decided to try out his new cloak that very night. It had been his father's, so he decided to go alone this first time. He could take Ron later if he wanted to, but this time, he was going to go alone.

But where to go, exactly? What could he do at night that he couldn't do during the day? He thought about it, and decided he was curious what was in the Restricted Section of the library. Mere curiosity would not have been enough before, but now... as long as he didn't bump into anything, or make any noise, he would be fine.

A few minutes later, Harry was sneaking through the corridors. It was dark and creepy, but he could see well enough. Before long, he was in the library, and sneaking into the Restricted Section, looking at the old, creepy-looking books, trying to decide which to pick up. Using his wand as a light, he browsed them, but most did not seem to have titles. This was even worse than the usual lack of organization in the library. He ended up picking one at random.

He opened it, and immediately it began to scream. He slammed it closed and rammed it back in place, but it kept screaming. Running, he heard Filch approach, so he slowed down and snuck past the man. A little later, he heard Filch tell Snape that there was a student out of bed, that one of the books in the Restricted Section had been disturbed. So Harry ducked into an empty classroom to hide.

Only, the classroom wasn't empty; it had a huge, antique mirror standing in it, as though put there temporarily until a better place could be found to put it. It had writing on it, but the writing didn't make any sense. He moved closer to get a better look, and nearly jumped out of his skin. He should have been invisible, but the mirror was showing him standing there, and a whole bunch of other people were there as well. He spun around to look behind him, but nobody was there. He felt around, but felt nobody.

They're not really there, then, he worked out. So what are they?

Taking a closer look, he saw a man with brown eyes, dark brown skin, and Harry's exact wild, kinky hair. The man also had an older version of Harry's face, but not a lot older. The man couldn't have been more than 25 years old.

My dad! He realized. So that meant the woman... yes, the white woman with red hair had his exact same green eyes. So that had to be his mother. Which meant that all the other people behind them were his other family, from both sides of the family. He kept seeing familiar features, so that seemed right.

Family, he thought. Real, honest-to-goodness family. He stared, entranced, for who knew how long before a distant noise brought him back to his senses. He whispered to the mirror that he'd be back, then got back under the cloak, which had slipped off at some point, and began making his way back to the Griffindor dormitories.

 

The next night, he took Ron with him; Ron was excited to see Harry's family. It was a little more difficult with two of them under the cloak, especially with Harry being in a hurry and not knowing for sure where the room had been, but they made it. Making sure the door was closed, they took off the cloak and Harry had Ron look in the mirror.

Only, Ron didn't see the same thing. He instead saw himself as head boy and Quidditch captain, holding the Quidditch cup. This was so different from Harry's vision that Harry stood there, baffled, trying to think why there was a difference. But that thought didn't occupy him long, as it was swiftly supplanted by the desire to look in the mirror at his family again. He was filled with an uncharacteristic anger at Ron; Ron was spending so much time staring at his reflection, and what did it show? Only him being great. He had all the time in the world to be great, but Harry would never get another chance to see his family.

Naturally, they fought over whose turn it was, briefly, before another outside noise alerted them, and they got under the cloak. It was Mrs. Norris, Filch's cat. Worried that she would fetch Filch, as soon as she left they began hurriedly sneaking back to bed.

 

The next day, all Harry could think about was the weird mirror, interrupted only by a bit after classes where he got out the two-way mirror to talk with Luna about the other mirror.

"Hmm," said Luna in her slow, airy voice. "Well I understand wanting to use that mirror again, Harry; if I could see my mother again, that would be lovely. But from what you told me about what Ron saw, I don't think it's actually showing their spirits or anything like that, just using some sort of magic to pull their images from Earth's memory. So what you're seeing, I doubt it's real in the sense of being their souls. I don't know of any way of communicating with the dead. I don't even know if it's possible, Harry."

"Yeah, well, that's not the point. The point is, they're there. I can see them. Which I've never done before."

"Well, you told me Hagrid knew them. Maybe he can ask around among others who knew them and find you some photographs. Wizarding photographs move, you know."

"I did actually know that. But yeah, you've got a point."

"Good, Harry. In the meantime, I'll ask Daddy if he can help find photos of them."

"Thanks, Luna."

"You're very welcome, Harry."

 

Despite his assurances to Luna, however, Harry was once more drawn to the mirror, and that night he rushed into the room, throwing off the cloak so fast he didn't notice Dumbledore in the room with him. So when the old man spoke, Harry nearly jumped out of his skin.

"Back again, Harry?"

Oh shit, he thought. I'm in deep now.

"Um... Professor. Didn't, uh... didn't see you there," he said, lamely.

"Funny how short-sighted being invisible can make you," Dumbledore said. Harry noticed he was smiling, and his eyes were twinkling. Maybe he would get out of this trouble-free after all?

"I see you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised. Have you perchance worked out what it does, yet?"

"Um... well, it shows me my parents."

"And showed your friend Ron as head boy?"

"How did you---?"

"I don't need a cloak to make myself invisible, Harry."

Well that's disconcerting, Harry thought. He could be anywhere in the castle at any time, with a trick like that up his sleeves.

"Oh," he said simply.

"Do you have any idea at all what it shows us?" Dumbledore asked.

"Well, I would give practically anything to have a proper family. And Ron always feels small and insignificant compared to his siblings, so... I suppose that means it shows us our heart's truest desire?"

"Right on the nose, Harry. But what's more, the happiest man alive could look in the mirror and see only himself, exactly as he is."

"Ah, so it shows us our heart's truest, desperate desires. Desires borne out of, like, pain or frustration, and so on?"

"Indeed. But the Mirror of Erised gives us neither truth, nor wisdom. Men have wasted away, dreaming of the things it shows, but never striving to try to achieve them. Or, in cases like yours and--- well, in cases like yours, to overcome them. Dwelling on dreams, and forgetting to live, that is a dangerous road, Harry. Even more dangerous when the dreams you dwell on are impossible in this world."

Harry could only nod silently.

"The mirror will be moved later today, Harry, and I beg you to not go looking for it again. But if you should run into it again later, you will now at least be prepared, and able to understand it."

Harry nodded again, and started putting his invisibility cloak back on. "Sir? Before I go... if you don't mind, what do you see when you look in the mirror?"

A small haunted look briefly crossed the headmaster's face, before returning to normal. "Me? I see myself wearing a pair of great woolen socks. So many people insist on getting me books, but sometimes it is the little things, Harry, that become the most precious, and my feet do tend to get cold at night. Anyway, Harry, you should run along back to bed now."

Harry later pondered Dumbledore's answer. Obviously he had lied, Harry felt silly for even asking; it was an incredibly personal question, and Dumbledore was a very old man. Whatever it was he saw in the mirror was probably pretty embarrassing.

 

 

 

Note: Rowling once made a tweet that said Wicca (and paganism in general by association) was "incompatable" with the wizarding world, which struck me as utter boloney, and offended me as a neo-pagan. So this is me rejecting her reality and substituting my own.

(Hey, a lot of what drives people to write fanfic is the desire to see people like themselves represented, in a world in which most media doesn't like to represent anyone who isn't straight, white, cisgender, Christian, and usually male.)

 

Note 2: Yes, I plan to "ship" Harry/Luna. Those two had far more chemistry together in canon than Harry ever had with Ginny, and Harry/Ginny always felt extremely forced to me.

 



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