Henry Potter lived with his biological half-aunt Rose Dursley, her husband Vernon and their son (Henry's half-cousin) Dudley Gabriel Dursley - who preferred Gabe - at number four Privet Drive. And ever since he was capable of walking and talking, people thought he was weird.
Gabe was just as weird, but it was easier for people to fail to notice that. It wasn't that Gabe was more careful. He just didn't care as much. Or let Henry do all the worrying.
Henry felt that they both had a lot of reason to worry.
As they grew up, they started to understand things better and piecing things, but not fast enough for Henry to realize how to go about figuring out what was going on. He (they) were both still toddlers after all, even if their brains remembered things that no kid could possibly remember.
Honestly, the weirdness started much earlier for Rose Dursley. And Henry was the start of it all.
What kind of baby just shows up at someone's doorstep? Like some kind of overnight delivery? With merely a letter explaining the situation. She - of course - accepted her half-nephew in. But given the sheer absurdity of his arrival no one should've blamed her for to figure out how "return to the sender" without reading the letter.
The letter left her very quiet for the rest of the day. Vernon didn't help at all, demanding an explanation while she couldn't possibly deliver one.
Her husband was sensible enough to call in the nanny to take care of both boys for the day. While the adults in the house sorted things out.
The nanny noticed that, for the first time in a while, "Dudley" wasn't crying as much. Instead, the two boys just held to each other while going about their baby business.
Their baby business is being very talkative, for babies.
This was actually the very first sign of their weirdness, but no one really noticed it as weird. Early talking is a good thing which people don't really complain about.
Similarly, no one really complains about, say, kids that are advanced in class. People did notice how fast the boys learned to read and write.
Of course, Rose and Vernon are very quick to sing praises about his very smart child. If their half-nephew was just as advanced... that was not a bad thing. That is all.
Gabe likes his mother better than his dad, he can't put it into words. And doesn't try.
Henry... he remembers things, but his mind can't really contain those memories, not at first. And when he makes sense of a memory he puts into words.
"Why are we kids?" Is cute the first time it is asked. But weird the second, third and dozenth time.
"Why Aunt Rose is not divorced?" It is not something nice to ask at the best of circumstances and Henry is sent to sleep in the cupboard until it's time to sleep.
(Gabe would climb into the cupboard when they were younger and that was weirder than letting Henry sleep in Gabe's bed.)
"My name is Henry Potter, like the book." It was not weird at first. What was really weird was when Henry worded the follow-up question. "You haven't heard of Harry Potter?"
The reactions to that were varied.
Most people just assumed it was an obscure book they never heard of.
Why Henry pretended such a book (multiple books) existed as a prank was so weird that it took the longest time for Rose to realize what he was doing. At first, she just assumed he misremembered, because it sounded like so much like his name. But the boy kept insisting that it was a super-famous book series? The boy even used the words 'world phenomenon'? When books were ever a phenomenon?? Non-sense. He gets punished with a week of extra chores and no dinners.
(Gabe begs and Rose lets Henry still sleep with him. No reason to punish her own child.)
Henry doesn't think that is fair.
He might remember being older, but his physical brain remains young and with poor impulse control. And he remembers. He remembers people being silly about. And remembers how he never even tried to check the book in the library because it's silly magic, but also because he knew he wouldn't have the chance, because it was too popular. So he throws tantrums and insists.
And that is how people started thinking that he was weird.
Gabe sticks to just... not asking questions.
He can't quite put into words that it is pointless and people are not understanding it.
Instead, he says "Just stop."
Eventually, after too long, and after most of the neighborhood knows him as the kid that makes up stuff... Henry finally stops.
Sometimes it's very easy to think it's all in his imagination.
Sometimes his entire body feels too small to fit him mentally and physically.
(Also, not being able to reach things sucks so much. Specially, when he has to do chores.)
Gabe sometimes helps.
His parents don't ask him to. And sometimes punish Henry over it.
Gabe feels extremely weird about the entire thing. More than remembering things that apparently didn't happen.
(He doesn't have the concepts of "moral obligation" in his head to express them. Honestly, this is not because he is small.)
Her Dudkins is just too kind. And her parents just don't want to be taken advantage of.
Vernon thinks Henry is a bad influence, and they should get Gabe to socialize with new friends. Who was that kid? Peter Polks?
Piers Polkiss, she corrects Vernon. And that is a good idea. Rose gets Piers to show up for playdates while Henry is away.
Sometimes Henry is sent to Mrs. Figs. The old lady is weird, and staying there is mostly boring.
Once, he asks her about the Potter book series, he hadn't done that as much lately. When he tries to explain it was a series of books about magic people going to school (which was all that he really remembered) her eyes just... got a weird vacant expression.
For a moment Henry though she had a stroke or something, but Mrs. Figs regained composure and offered stale cake. Henry accepted it.
Polkiss and the others are alright as friends. Most of the time. His parents let him do nearly anything that didn't leave something broken, which meant that Piers favorite activity was going outside to do some mild vandalism that wouldn't get him in too much trouble.
One time, during an Easter game, he tried to pin that on Gabe.
Gabe pinned him to the ground.
Rose was furious at what that beast child tried to do with her poor Dudkins. That was the end of the friendship with the Polkiss. Heh, the mother was a terrible gossip. Rose made sure to spread rumors that her son was acting out because of the father's drinking problem and that was that.
(Henry was quietly very glad that none of the flak of that came down his head)
Sometimes when Henry is out and about random people will want to shake his hand. Most are oddly dressed, like priests of some obscure religion that accepted colorful robes in their ceremonies.
Henry is not deprived enough of affection to not be unaware of stranger danger and most of the time he will back off those people. When that happened while he was with his aunt and Gabe, Rose was so livid that she took the boys straight to their home, leaving the groceries behind.
It was not... really, affection, but... Henry appreciated it.
Rose explains at length that they should be very careful to not let any of those weird people around them. To go back home if they see them. And to never talk or interact with them.
(She is obviously shaken.)
Then she pretends everything is normal and gets the grocery store to deliver. They have pizza for dinner that night as a consequence.
The next time someone tries to approach Henry to shake his hand, Gabe punches the guy in the balls.
That was probably a bit much. And Henry is worried that even Gabe might get into trouble over it.
He doesn't get in trouble over it.
Henry is almost sure less people try to approach him after that, but he isn't sure.
Punching is good practice for school. Since, his rat-faced former friend started hanging out with bullies to set them on Gabe and Henry.
Most of their peers are shorter than Gabe.
Polkiss manages to find some kids older than them.
That is definitely not good. Specially when the kids corner them and is too much even with Henry helps. Or tries to. He has some of his cousin's height, but still is not that strong. They are kids.
Then suddenly, they are not.
Everyone is very confused when Gabe and Henry suddenly turn into adults, but only the two stay for more than a second. The bullies disperse like cockroaches running away from light.