|SIYE Time:8:39 on 23rd October 2021|
The Lives We Touch
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Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Sirius Black
Summary: *** The author has been reminded via the e-mail address on file that this story is listed as incomplete and has not been updated in over 2 years ***
When ten year old Harry Potter is assigned to Maggie Thompson's fifth year class at Little Whinging Primary School, the young teacher takes an immediate interest in and liking to the strange but sweet young boy. As their friendship grows through the years, Maggie finds herself pulled into a new world beyond her wildest imagination that sets her on a course for love and adventure.
Hitcount: Story Total: 55514; Chapter Total: 5059
Thank you so much to all of my reviewers! I am so glad that you like the story so far!
To williamb - I considered putting it under AU, but I wasn't sure. I am going to try and follow JK's story pretty much as she wrote it until we get into the events of Order of the Phoenix...and then I am adding my own spin. So, is that a true AU?
Comet Moon - did you sneak a peak at my notes? (wink, wink!) I can't give anything away, but I think you will be pleased when Maggie finally enters Harry's world and meets his "friends"!
Chapter Two - Lunch and Stuff
October 31, 1990
It was one of those lazy afternoons in late October where the leaves blew around in entwined spirals and the autumn sun hovered cheerily over the village of Little Whinging. The sky was a clear, cloudless shade of blue and the grounds of the primary school were littered with fallen leaves in a broad spectrum of beautiful autumn colors. The promise of winter hung in the afternoon air, yet it was the perfect temperature; cool enough to make your nose and cheeks a pleasant pink, but warm enough to enjoy the heat on your face.
And, according to Maggie Thompson, these were the days that made going outside all the more worthwhile. It was currently a recess period and the young students of Little Whinging Primary School ran about the playground happily, having just eaten their fill of cafeteria food. All of the students, that is, except for one.
The wind swept the branches across the windows of the classroom and Maggie could feel the cool tendrils of air across her face as she sat at her desk and watched young Harry Potter pick at the measly lunch that someone had carelessly packed for him. She had watched him carefully unwrap a small, wheat roll to go along with his thin slice of cheese which, if Maggie were seeing things correctly, had a pale green tint to it. The poor boy was serving lunchtime detention, but old bread and moldy cheese for lunch was too much of a punishment for the young teacher to ignore.
The ten year old’s striking green eyes lifted to peer up at her over his glasses as he mumbled quietly, “Yes, Miss Thompson?”
She stood up from behind her desk and smoothed out her black pencil skirt as she smiled down at him and said, “Headmaster O’Rourke set out some Halloween pastries in the staff lounge this morning and I must confess that I ate more than my fair share of them.” Picking up her lunch sack from the shelf behind her desk, Maggie moved toward him and continued, “I packed myself a roast beef sandwich, crisps, and an apple for lunch, but I’m afraid that I am too full to eat them. Would you like to have my lunch?”
Harry’s eyes widened in amazement and Maggie found herself wondering if his reaction was due to the quality of the menu that she had offered him…or if it was the offer itself that surprised him. He looked at her lunch bag hungrily, but then shook his head and answered quietly, “No, thank you.”
“But I hate to see good food go to waste, Harry.” She pressed, knowing instinctively that he would refuse her at first. “Please, take my lunch. Otherwise I will just end up throwing it out.”
He looked up at her with those beautiful eyes of his as if trying to figure out if she was for real. In the two short months that Maggie had known Harry Potter, one thing that was clear to her was that he was not accustomed to random acts of kindness. And after meeting his guardians, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, on Parent Night, she could see why.
Finally deciding that her offer was real, Harry accepted the lunch bag she offered and as she walked back to her desk she could hear him tearing into it greedily. Maggie had often wondered many times since meeting young Harry if he was well nourished or even had any idea what good food tasted like. He was so scrawny and sickly looking that she could scarcely believe he resided in the same home as that whale of a cousin of his, Dudley Dursley. No one would ever think to call that young man malnourished.
But Harry never complained and that was mainly because he never said much of anything at all. He was a very bright student and often completed his work well before many of his classmates, but once he was finished he would simply put his head down and wait for his next set of instructions. Harry never passed notes to another child who sat near him, he never leaned across the aisle to engage a classmate in whispered conversation while Maggie’s back was turned, and he never was caught laughing or misbehaving in the hallways.
It seemed that Harry Potter didn’t have a friend in the world to talk to.
Ever observant, Maggie guessed that his hulk of a cousin had more to do with Harry’s sad situation than anything. Dudley took a perverse delight in his cousin’s miserable and lonely existence and often encouraged it with the cruel and callous taunts that he screamed at the smaller boy’s back as he and his ‘gang’ chased Harry across the playground.
And that was the reason why Harry was sitting inside on this beautiful Halloween afternoon.
Maggie had to keep her lips from curling into a smile as she thought back to the previous day’s recess period when Allison Higgins came hurtling toward her at a full sprint. The girl was bursting with the news that Harry Potter was up on the roof of the school and no one knew how it happened…
“One minute, Dudley and Malcolm and Dennis were chasing him around the swings and the next minute, he was gone!” Allison’s eyes were as wide as saucers as she pulled her teacher across the schoolyard. “The next thing we knew, Millicent saw him sitting on the roof! It was like magic!”
Of course the magic faded away once Harry was retrieved from the roof and given detention for refusing to tell the Headmaster how he had managed to climb on top of the school the way that he did.
Her smile changed to a frown at the memory as Maggie headed away from her desk and wandered over to the window to peer out at the children on the playground. Turning back to Harry, she decided to end the silence that had enveloped the room for the last ten minutes.
“I overheard Dudley telling Malcolm about his Halloween costume this morning.” Maggie began, leaning against the radiator beneath the windows, “It sounds very colorful. Are you dressing up to go trick-or-treating tonight?”
Harry, his mouth full of sandwich, simply shook his head and never bothered to look up at his teacher.
But Maggie was not dissuaded and tried again, “So you’ll be staying home to give out candy then?”
Again, Harry shook his head as he shoved a few crisps into his already full mouth. The boy ate as if he hadn’t seen food in days…and a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach told Maggie that she might be closer to the truth than she wanted to admit.
“I love Halloween.” The blond teacher confessed, ignoring the fact that Harry was trying desperately to ignore her. “It’s one of my favorite holidays. Of course, it may have to do with the fact that I am hopelessly addicted to chocolate.” She winked at him when he finally looked up her, which caused Harry to blush and concentrate once again on his sandwich. Maggie swallowed a chuckle that rose up within her at his reaction and kept trying to get through to him. “A friend of mine from the university is having a Halloween party at her flat in London, so I am glad that Halloween fell on a Friday this year.”
She moved away from the window and walked closer to Harry’s seat as she told him, “I am dressing up like a witch for the party. I found a marvelous purple witch’s hat at a thrift shop in the village that has miniature bats and spiders all over it and I am going to wear it with a sparkly cloak that twirls around me in a most dramatic fashion. I can’t wait!”
Knowing that she was beginning to sound like a giggly schoolgirl, Maggie finally wandered back over to her desk and picked up a book that had nothing to do with any of the lessons that she taught the class.
“I got the idea for my costume from this book that my niece introduced me to.” Maggie held up the book for Harry to see as she explained, “It’s called The Cauldron Chronicles and is about a young girl who finds out that she comes from a long line of witches. The story follows this girl as she learns about her powers and discovers this fascinating community of wizards and witches.” Grinning at her young student as she flipped through the book, she admitted sheepishly, “I am hopelessly addicted to this book. It is such a fascinating work of fiction.”
She waited a few moments longer and when she still got no response from Harry, Maggie finally gave up and sat down in her chair to grade her stack of never-ending paperwork.
“Do you believe in that stuff?”
Maggie could hardly believe her ears as her pen stopped mid-sentence and she looked over at the boy who had never said more than two words to her before.
“What stuff is that, Harry?” she asked gently, surprised that her opening into Harry Potter’s world came from some ramblings about a Halloween costume.
“Witches and wizards.” Harry said quietly, not yet meeting her eyes. “Do you believe that they exist?”
Maggie considered his question thoughtfully before answering honestly, “I never really thought about it before.” She sighed as she rested her chin on her upturned palm and mused, “I guess that’s what happens when you get older, Harry…you stop thinking about things like magic and witches.” She watched the young man’s face intently as he considered her answer before she added, “But I suppose, now that I am thinking about it, it is pretty selfish for us to believe that only people who are like us inhabit this big planet. There is definitely enough room in this world for wizards and witches, too.”
“Yeah.” Harry agreed and for the second time in their brief relationship, Maggie thought she saw the beginnings of a smile play across his face.
Encouraged by his response, Maggie leaned forward at her desk and, with her eyes twinkling, asked, “Would you like to know a secret about me, Harry?”
He masked the look of surprise that came across his face quickly as he nodded his response.
“I keep having this bizarre dream that I once saw a man turned into a rat.”
This time it was not the beginnings of a smile that crossed Harry’s face, but a real, full fledged toothy smile. “A rat?” he repeated, trying not to laugh at his teacher’s admission.
“I know it sounds strange,” Maggie agreed, glad to have his full attention, “but the dream is so real. It started about ten years ago when I was visiting my aunt in London and I have had it many times over the years.”
“Who turned the man into a rat?” Harry wondered aloud, completely intrigued by her story.
“I don’t know.” she admitted. “But the dream always starts the same…I am walking down the street with my auntie and suddenly everyone around us is screaming. Everyone begins running and I see these two men standing in the middle of the street. One is tall and has hair about your color and the other one is short and plump…he reminds me a bit of your cousin Dudley, now that I think of it.”
Harry giggled in spite of himself and Maggie thought it was the most wonderful sound in the world. And since he was hanging on her every word, she continued.
“The short, plump man was doing the yelling and the tall, dark man was laughing…just laughing at him as if he had heard the funniest joke ever. And then suddenly, there was this huge explosion…like fireworks, except there weren’t any pretty colors. Everything was dusty and dirty and I could feel it tickling the back of my throat. But through the smoke, I saw the fat, little man shrink…like a melting ice sculpture…and turn into a rat.”
“What happened to him?” Harry breathed, his half-eaten apple forgotten about. “The rat, I mean.”
Maggie grinned and told him, “That’s the strange part. In my dream, he looks right at me and waves his paw before disappearing down a sewer grate.”
“And what about the tall man?”
“I don’t know.” Maggie said again. “That’s where the dream ends. Sometimes I see fuzzy pictures at the end of the dream of men in long dresses coming down the street, but I always seem to wake up before I can figure out what it all means.”
“Maybe he was a wizard.” Harry suggested.
“The man who turned into a rat.”
Once again, Maggie studied his curious little face before she broke out into another smile and agreed, “Maybe he was. So, I guess I do believe in wizards and witches…in my dreams, anyway.”
But before Harry could say anything else, the bell signaling the end of recess sounded and students began trickling back into the classroom. As he moved toward the waste basket to throw away the remains of her lunch, Harry passed quietly by Miss Thompson’s desk and whispered so that only she could hear,
“Thank you, Miss Thompson…for lunch and stuff.”
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