Chapter 1: Yer a Ginger, Harry
When people used the phrase, "like a red-headed stepchild" Harry Potter had always thought that they were referring to him. His wild red hair and green eyes stood out against his much plainer and "normal" looking relatives, and it was yet another thing they resented him for. Thankfully, the beatings that were usually associated with red-headed step children were something that Harry mostly avoided, aside from the Harry hunting games that Dudley occasionally played. Fortunately, Harry was scrawny but fast, and usually avoided his overweight cousin and his friends.
Sadly, that skill hadn't helped him when his uncle had apparently gone mad and attempted to flee from the mysterious sender of letters addressed variously to the Cupboard Under the Stairs, the Smallest Bedroom, and hotels scattered throughout the country. Despite his Uncle's best efforts though, Hagrid the Giant Wizard had managed to locate Harry and whisk him off to Diagonally.
"Look just like yer mum you do," Hagrid had said, rubbing Harry's ginger locks. Harry had smiled, glad to finally have someone appreciate him instead of insulting him.
Now Harry was even getting new clothes for the first time in his memory, standing in Madam Malkin's and having his measurements taken. Next to him stood a blonde boy with an annoyed expression on his face, as if getting new clothes was somehow a burden.
"Hello," Harry said happily.
The boy looked at him and rolled his eyes. "Well, I suppose you're off to Hogwarts then too."
"Yes," Harry said, eyeing a magical tape measure as it crept its way up his arm.
"Well, red hair and second hand clothes, no need to ask who you are. You're a Weasley."
Frowning, Harry felt at his hair. "I'm a what?" but the boy was ignoring him.
"Such a shame that one of the Sacred 28 has turned into such a disreputable family. You'll be in Gryffindor with the rest of your brood I imagine, and happy about it you poor sod. You Weasleys even seem to think that's something to be proud of."
"Well why wouldn't it be?" Harry asked, genuinely curious.
Sneering, the other boy eyed Harry with a measuring look. "Gryffindor is for those with no sense and an overdeveloped hero complex. Your family is famous for their idiotic heroics, especially in the last war."
"You're done dear," the seamstress said, and the other boy left Harry alone with his thoughts. Upon further reflection, Harry decided that maybe being a Weasley wouldn't be so bad. After all, Hagrid had said his parents had been in Gryffindor, and Harry rather liked the idea of having a family of heroes.
Having never been to King's Cross Station before, Harry was feeling rather lost. Hedwig was hooting behind him in the cart, adding a sense of urgency to Harry's wanderings as he searched for platform 9 3/4 . He was just about to ask one of the station attendants when he found himself swept up in a ginger tide.
"Come on Weasley's, we're running late again," a woman's voice said as she firmly grabbed Harry by the arm and started steering him back towards platforms 9 and 10.
"Charlie, don't wander off again," she admonished, then reached out and grabbed another redheaded child. "George, leave that poor man alone. Don't go sticking gum to muggles shoes, it's not polite. Come on, we have to get to the Hogwarts express before it leaves without us!"
Harry relaxed slightly. At least they were going to the same place. And these had to be the famous Weasleys.
"But mum, I'm Fred, not George."
"Of course you aren't. Charlie dear, hold my hand, I don't want you getting lost."
"I'm not Charlie," Harry said, trying to slip free of the woman's grasp.
She tsked and shook her head. "Oh, sorry Bill, of course you aren't. Ron, don't let Scabbers get away now, this place is packed with muggles."
"Percy help Bill with his crate as we go through the barrier please," the woman said. "You first Fred and George. Yes, I know which as which even if I do get your names mixed up sometimes."
A tall boy with horned rimmed glasses and hair just as red as Harry's stepped up beside Harry to steady Hedwig's cage back on his cart. "I'm not Bill either," Harry told the boy. He just shrugged.
"No, but it's best to go along with it. She's in a right fit state after what happened at breakfast. Besides, you look like you really could use the help."
"I like your owl," a red headed girl said quietly beside Harry. "Are you another cousin?"
Harry smiled at her. "Thanks. I guess? I mean, how many redheaded wizards can their be?"
"You'd be surprised," the older boy muttered. "Come on, through the barrier, just go straight at it."
Once he was through the barrier, the tide of redheads carried Harry along to train car. The woman bent down and hugged and kissed him, smiling and rubbing the top of Harry's head. "Have a wonderful term dear. Remember, we'll be visiting your brother in Romania. Write often! Percy can let you borrow Hermes. Oh, you seem to have your own owl! When did we get you that?" Before she could finally realize that Harry was, in fact, not one of her own brood, there was a bang and she whirled to confront another one of her children and his misdeeds.
"Bye!" the girl called, waving to Harry as her mother dragged her away. "I'm Ginny by the way, write to the Burrow and the owl will find us!"
"Come on then," the older boy said, grabbing Harry and other ginger boy his own age. "Let's get your stuff stowed before I have to go to the prefects meeting."
And then Harry found himself in a compartment, his things safely stowed, his cheek kissed and a woman waving goodbye to him as the train pulled away. "Goodbye Ron, Percy, Bill." She suddenly frowned. "Wait, you're not Bill. Sorry Charlie!"
Harry waved back, still slightly confused about the whole situation, but rather pleased that someone had actually seen fit to send him off to school, even if they were a bit perplexed on his name.
"Another Weasley eh? I know just what to do with you. You belong in Gryffin-" The hat cut itself off. "You're not a Weasley." There was an awkward silence.
"It's OK," Harry said aloud so that everyone could hear. "You're not the first one to make that mistake. I don't mind, you can call me a Weasley if you want."
The hat atop his head coughed slightly. "Sorry, I just assumed, what with the red hair and all..."
"I quite understand," Harry assured the hat. "Mrs. Weasley even thought I was one of her own children."
"Well it doesn't help that you have a very Gryffindorish mind," the Hat said sulkily. "I mean, look at all this. Courage, not enough sense. You're almost like one of them."
"It's OK, I don't mind being in Gryffindor. I met Ron on the train and we're best mates now."
"Well, I appreciate your understanding. I'm not a young hat anymore. Even if you're not a Weasley you belong in GRYFFINDOR!"
There was a lot of cheering, and Fred and George hopped up on the table and started chanting, "Potter's a Weasley, Potter's a Weasley."
Harry didn't mind. He was rather starting to enjoy being a part of a real family. Percy the prefect even made a space for him and told him not to worry, supper would be along soon. Then Ron joined him, and put his arm around Harry.
"Mate, it looks like you're doomed to be part of the family. Even that hat couldn't tell you weren't one of us."
"That's quite alright," Harry said, putting his own arm around Ron's shoulder. "I always wanted a brother."
"Too bad," Percy muttered. "There are six of us."
"You'd think a prefect would be able to count," Fred, or possibly George said.
His twin nodded. "Quite right. There are seven of us now after all. Too bad mum left this one with the muggles for a few years."
Harry just smiled.
Before potions class started, Harry was very nervous. As a newly inducted member of the Weasley clan, he'd been briefed by Percy on what to expect in each class. "History of magic is a bit dull, but just make sure to have someone take notes during the lecture and the rest of you can sleep through it. If you nod off, ask me and I'll let you borrow my notes from that day when I was a firstie myself. They're probably pretty much the same."
"Don't slack off in transfiguration. McGonagall might be our head of house but she watches all of us like a lioness and expects the best."
"Professor Flitwick is very kind, but don't make any short jokes. He was a champion duelist after all."
"If you ever need someone to talk to, Professor Sprout is your best bet. She's very kind, and always willing to listen even if you're not in her house."
"Hagrid is a great chap and if you take care of magical creatures he's a great help. Just don't eat his rock cakes."
"Don't let Professor Sinatra's name fool you. She might be from an old pureblood family but she's very nice and always loves to talk about the stars if you get stuck on a homework assignment."
"Stay away from Snape. He hates Gryffindor's and us in particular. I'd like to blame Fred and George for that one, but honestly I think it started with Bill and it wasn't any of his fault; he'd never made a boil removing potion before."
So when Snape locked eyes with Harry right at the beginning of class, he swallowed and try to look braver than he felt.
"Mr. Potter. Our new celebrity."
"Honestly sir, the fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm thinking of changing my name," Harry said. Beside him, Ron snorted and developed a sudden cough. Mentally, Harry berated himself for mouthing off to a teacher he'd already been told was not inclined to like him.
To Harry's shock, Snape's mouth twitched upward in a half smile. "Denying the name of Potter? Surely you wish to honor the memory of your father."
"Really sir, I don't know anything about him, and the Weasley's have been very kind to me. Honestly, I wish someone would actually explain what happened to my parents. I'm told I look like my mum, but I don't even have a picture of her."
For a moment, Harry thought Snape was going to murder him right there. A viscious expression stole over the potions masters face as his lip curled in anger. Then he whirled about and started firing off questions at various students, with only Hermione Granger of Gryffindor managing to get any right.
"What was that about?" Harry whispered to Ron as they tried to follow the boil curing potion.
Ron could only shrug. "Search me Harry, I thought he was going to kill you there for a moment. That was pretty brilliant; I don't think even Fred and George have gotten that sort of a reaction out of him."
"Weasley, mind your potion, you must stir clockwise three times before adding the nettles," Snape snarled as he wandered past their cauldron.
"Yes sir!" Harry and Ron said at the same time, then grinned at one another.
For his part, Snape smirked.
After class, Snape pulled Harry aside. "If you wish to learn more about your mother, see me in my quarters after supper."
Harry nodded eagerly, and right after supper he and Ron both turned up at Snapes quarters in the dungeons, Ron having claimed that Harry would need a witness so that at least they could find his body once Snape was through with whatever dark plans he had for Harry.
The door opened at their knock, and Snape glared down at Ron. "I asked for one red-headed miscreant, not two."
"Where he goes, I go," Ron said stoutly, though his knees trembled slightly.
With a heavy sigh, Snape opened the door wider. "Very well. I suppose it would not do much harm for you to learn the sordid history of Harry's family."
Snape spent the evening regaling Harry with tales of his mother's kindness and intelligence, and occasional snippets about his father who seemed a rather monstrous sort by Snape's description.
"Why did Harry's mum even put up with his dad if he was always so cruel?" Ron asked after a story in which Lily Evans had heroically defended a poor innocent from the torments of James Potter and his gang of thugs.
"That remains a mystery in my mind to this day," Snape said silkily. He then pulled out a photo of Lily when she was about Harry's age from an album. "Take this as a momento, Harry. You are indeed the very picture of your mother."
"Thank you sir!" Harry said happily, taking the picture of his mother and holding it tight to his chest. "This is the best present anyone has ever given me."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Surely your aunt has given you pictures of your mother, even if they were not proper wizarding photos."
"No, mostly just hand me downs from my cousin," Harry admitted.
Ron slapped him on the back. "See, I knew you were a proper Weasley."
"Enough. I tire of your inane banter. Begone, the both of you."
Harry and Ron ran off, leaving behind a brooding Snape. The boy was the picture of his mother, but with the Weasley's influence, he could all too easily become just like his father. He would have to guide the boy along the proper path, even if he was a Gryffindor like his mother.
The first flying lesson was easily the most fun at Hogwarts since Harry had arrived, but naturally something had to ruin it, and that something was poor Neville Longbottom falling off his broom and breaking his wrist. When Madam Hooch had told everyone not to touch their brooms, no one had actually listened, and Harry had ended up diving for Neville's remembrall when Malfoy had thrown it.
"Brilliant catch Harry," Ron cheered, hurrying over to Harry as he landed.
"RONALD WEASLEY!" Minerva McGonagall strode forward, eyes blazing. "That was the most foolish, reckless thing I've ever seen!"
Ron paled, but didn't say anything.
"What were you thinking, diving after that thing on the broom! In all my years, I've never… Come with me! If the rest of you even think of touching your brooms, I'll have you in detention for the rest of the year!"
"But-" Harry started, but Ron shook his head.
"No, it's alright. I'll take the fall for this one. You can have the next one."
Feeling slightly relieved, Harry nodded.
"You shouldn't have let him take the blame for you," Hermione lectured as Ron was led away by McGonagall.
Harry smiled. "He's a like a brother I never had. He even got in trouble for me. I always dreamed of having family like that, you know?"
"It's still wrong," Hermione grumped. Harry just shrugged.
"Hey, maybe if people could get my name right, we wouldn't have that problem."
Later, a very confused looking Ron met Harry and Hermione in the common room.
"What did she do to you?" Harry asked. "If its really bad, I could always go confess to her, say it was really me."
"She made me seeker for the quidditch team," Ron said in a half dazed voice. "I'm the youngest seeker in a century."
Harry pounded Ron on the back, cheering for him. "But that's brilliant! You said you wanted to be on the team, and now you are!"
"But that's like rewarding you for breaking the rules!" Hermione protested. "She can't do that."
Fred and George burst in just then, tackling Ron to the ground and tickling him mercilessly.
"Icklie Ronnikins is seeker? Taking after our big brother Charlie are you? Brilliant!"
"Harry was the one," Ron gasped, trying to block their fingers from his more tickless areas. "He made the catch, he should be seeker."
The twins stopped, sitting up and staring at Harry wide eyed. "It was you?"
"Well, yes. But McGonagall just saw someone with red hair on the broom and must have thought it was Ron. She just grabbed him and they ran off before I could try and take the blame for it."
"You mean our ickle firstie brothers just pranked McGonagall?" Fred and George both blinked, the solemnly stood. "That's it, we're officially adopting you. Oi, Percy, get over here!"
"What?" Percy demanded, looking up from his homework.
"We're offically adopting Harry. He's pulled a prank so brilliant he has to be family. Get over here and make it official."
Percy rolled his eyes. "I officially adopt Harry as a part of the Weasley family as the oldest member of the Weasley family present."
"So mote it be," the twins said seriously, then kicked Ron.
"Um, yeah, Harry's adopted," Ron agreed as he stood.
Then both twins pulled out a flask of pumpkin juice and dumped it all over Harry's head, soaking him and his robes.
"There you go," Fred said happily.
George nodded. "Proper Weasley baptism."
"We dub thee...Harry Weasley!"
"No problem." Then the twins turned to Ron, wide grins on their faces. "So, Ron, you going to actually play as seeker?"
Ron gulped, and looked at Harry. "We'll um, we'll work something out," Ron stammered.
Harry grinned, wiping away the pumpkin juice from his forehead. "We could take turns! You be seeker one game, then I'll do it the next. I'll be no one even notices; since we have on those goggles no one will even know."
Fred and George howled with laughter, and even Ron had to grin. For his part, Percy just rolled his eyes. Great. He had another pranking brother. He had held such high hope for Harry….
The next day, Ron got a present from his brother Charlie: a brand new Nimbus 2000.
"Heard you made the team in my old position. Congrats, Ron! I had a little money set aside so I decided to spend it on my new favorite brother. I'll try to make it out to one of your games some time. Love, Charlie."
"Wow," Harry said, stroking the broom gently. "This is amazing. Will you let me fly it sometime?"
Ron nodded, dumbstruck, his hands cradling the broom reverently.
Hello, it's Harry, the boy from the train station. Your brothers have decided to officially adopt me after I accidently pranked McGonagall and got Ron made seeker for the quidditch team. I figured I should write you since we're sort of siblings now. Hogwarts is pretty great, and I am really happy to have a real family now. Hope to hear from you soon,
Your brother, Harry
PS: I'm not sure what to tell your mum, but Fred and George said they have plans.
Dear mum and Ginny,
Hello, I guess you heard I made seeker. My four brothers and I are very excited. The five of us are all looking forward to all the games. I should tell you that it's really thanks to Harry that I got made seeker, but we Weasley's have to stick together. I think Harry and I might trade places for some games, I think he's a better seeker than me. Fred and George have decided that this might just top all their pranks, and will help us. Even Percy admitted that it would be brilliant for Harry and I to trade places; they do it all the time, and who could really tell the difference between me and another Weasley except mum and dad?
PS, make sure to knit a jumper with an "H" on it for Harry for Christmas mum, he says you forgot him last year. His should probably be green.
Dear mum, (and Ginnykins too)
Hogwarts is going well. We've managed to get Ginny a toilet seat, but neither Hermes nor Harry's owl Hedwig would carry it. Sorry Ginnykins! The good news is that Harry and Ron are fitting right in with the rest of the Weasley's, so don't you worry. They've somehow managed to even get Snape to like them. Even Percy isn't sure how they managed that, but we're pretty sure it was some sort of brilliant prank we'll unravel later.
Love, Gred and Feorge.
My studies are going well. I currently have O's in all my classes. I've been trying to mind Fred and George as is my duty as prefect, but they still managed to blow up one of the toilets in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Thankfully, I don't think anyone but Myrtle minded, and as she's dead its not as if she can use it anyway.
Ron and Harry are doing very well. I am making sure they are keeping up with their studies even though they're on the quidditch team. Their friend Hermione Granger is an admirable muggleborn girl who is assisting me with this and ensuring that they do not become too distracted.
With Love, Percy.
After reading the letters, Molly blinked and frowned. Who was this Harry? She didn't recall having any one named Harry in the family. Mentally, she started to tally all her various children, trying to recall if Harry was on the list.
With a crash, the kitchen widow shattered and a swearing gnome landed with a splash in the sink. Sputtering, it dragged itself out and immediately began swearing. "Oi, I'll have your mum you ginger headed minx! I'll take your guts and tie them in a pretty ribbon about your neck you ugly little bi-"
Molly blasted the gnome back out of the broken window. "GINERVA MOLLY WEASLEY YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" Molly yelled, storming outside to harangue her overly energetic daughter.
An interesting side effect of the distraction, however, was that Molly had become even more confused about which of her children was who than usual, and now had added "Harry" to the mental list of names to call her sons when one of them had done something.
I wrote this after people on reddit kept begging for a red headed Harry story where everyone confuses him for a Weasley. I suppose if people like it enough I might explore the concept further, but for now it's just a one-shot.