Winter of 1986 wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It got cold in October and frost started covering the ground. In November it started to snow. At first, it would snow and then melt, snow and then melt. Then one night it snowed and didn't melt. November turned to December and the snow got deeper. The cold stayed cold, but with the holiday season just around the corner, most people simply bundled up and smiled while running cheerfully from errand to errand.
After the holidays January snuck in and with it the cold turned bitter. For most people, both wizard and muggle, this simply meant hurrying about your task and getting back inside as quickly as you could, the cold, bitter nights to be endured with thoughts of a warm spring just around the corner. March was coming soon, and with it slightly warmer weather. So most people merely turned their thoughts towards better days to come and went about their business. Most people that is, except Harry Potter.
Little Harry Potter was currently huddled down behind a dumpster wearing only a threadbare coat. The harsh and bitter winds caused his perpetually messy hair to whip back and forth sometimes covering a jagged scar on his forehead, sometimes leaving it exposed. Harry had been on his own since early October when his Uncle Vernon had driven him to London and dumped him in a back alley the afternoon after he had turned his teacher's hair blue. Well, blue because it was also covered in a 'crown' of ice. He had been told to go find his own kind and not bother their normal lives again.
Harry wasn't certain, but he guessed his Uncle had hoped that he would simply die and never be seen again. If Harry had been a normal boy he would have certainly perished by now. Mid-January is certainly a hard time for anyone to be outside at all, let alone a small child, with no real protection from the cold, to be out in the cold all day and night. But Harry wasn't a normal child. Harry liked the cold. The cold was a comfortable blanket to be wrapped around one's self, to draw strength from, to hide the hurt, and to swallow the tears. The cold bitter wind spoke to Harry, called to him, whispered sweet promises he longed to hear. The cold was a friend to young Harry Potter, and kept him company on the long, dark winter nights when his stomach was empty, and his heart was heavy with loneliness.
Today Harry was watching a strange pub across the street. He was trying to understand why certain people would walk in, and then not come back out. These people were all dressed very strangely as well. It looked like most everyone was wearing dresses. And hats…tall, pointy weird looking hats. But the people who were dressed in what Harry would consider as normal clothes didn't seem to even notice the pub and walked right on by without a second thought.
Harry waited a while longer and made his way across the street. He had seen a large family coming down the street dressed in dresses, and he hoped if he got behind them he could slip with them into the pub unnoticed and see exactly what was going on. Harry had been watching the pub for several days trying to figure out what was in the pub, and why it was calling him. Calling him like whispers in the dark, full of comfort and promise.
Harry stepped behind the family of red heads and walked as normally as possible. He kept himself close enough to seem to be a part of the group, but just far enough away to not attract their attention.
"Fred, George? Keep up!" The two boys he was walking behind stopped staring at a window and moved to rejoin their family.
Upon entering the pub the family and Harry made their way to the back of the pub. The mother of the family took out a stick and touched the wall. Harry's eyes grew round as the wall seemed to melt and became a doorway into an alley beyond.
'Well that answers that question' Harry thought. At least now he knew why some people never seemed to leave the pub after going in. Harry discreetly followed the family out into the alley. As he was walking, the youngest child of the family, a girl of 4 or 5 looked at him with a frown. Her eyes were drawn to his forehead and her eyes widened in surprise. Before she could do more than look, Harry had slipped away from the family and made his way out into the alley and lost himself amongst the people that were running their evening errands.
Harry hid behind some boxes in a short dead end alley and waited for the family to walk by.
"I saw him mommy! I saw Hawwy Powter!" It was the young red head.
"Such an imagination Ginerva!" The girl's mother scolded her gently.
"I did! I did mommy!" Harry could tell she was getting angry. He pressed himself deeper behind the boxes he was hiding behind and waited for the family to leave. Harry waited until he was sure they were gone, and then left his hiding spot and went to explore this strange new world he had found.
It was much later, after Harry had managed to find some food for his stomach, that Harry returned to the alley he had started thinking of as his spot. Further back in the alley he had found the wreckage of a small shop that looked like it had been burned out years before and not repaired. In the back of the shop there was a door that was slightly ajar, and behind the door was a small closet that had what looked like some old dresses that Harry could make a comfortable bed out of for the night. Here Harry settled down and fell asleep with dreams of further exploration running through his head.
It was late January, and Daphne Greengrass was walking with her mother and younger sister Astoria down Diagon Alley. The cold was still strong, but her mother had cast several warming charms on her daughters.
"Hurry along girls, we are meeting your father for lunch." Daphne smiled. She loved her father, Lord Cygnus Greengrass. He was a very important and busy man. He held a seat on the governing council of the wizarding world, the Wizengamot, and was the owner/operator of a thriving import/export business. That he was taking time out of his busy day to have dinner with his wife and two daughters showed how much he loved them. Yes, Daphne loved her father.
As she was walking she noticed a small boy run down the street and duck into a small alley. He had to be only 5, maybe 6 at the most. Nowhere near her 7 years of age. She thought of this as being quite odd. Small children were always accompanied by adults in Diagon Alley. There were too many hags and dark creatures in Knockturn Alley that may take the chance to snatch them if they were alone.
As her family passed the small alley where the boy had gone, she looked to see if she could see him. What she saw was a pair of captivating emerald green eyes staring back at her from around an empty crate that had been dumped in the alley. Caught in the boy's stare she didn't notice her mother and sister turn a corner until she bumped into someone coming the other way.
"Sorry!" she hurriedly exclaimed, looking around for her mother and sister.
"Daphne!" Her mother called from down the street, almost to the eating establishment they were meeting their father at.
"Coming mother!" Daphne called back. She quickly looked around, but didn't see the green eyed boy she had been staring at a moment ago. Sighing, she turned and ran to her mother.
Harry looked back around the crate he was hiding behind and watched the blonde girl catch up to her family. She had such pretty hair, and her eyes were a shade of violet he didn't think he had ever seen before. In a word she was pretty. Not pretty like a grown woman, or a mother smiling at her child is pretty. But pretty like a cold frost in fall with the promise of more to come. That was how he described her. Sunshine through an icicle. He hoped he would see her again.