Hermione Granger was a genius.
It was a simple fact of the matter, that she was a genius, at least according to the IQ test she had taken when she was 9. Rather than storing unopened young adult novels gifted from relatives for Christmas, the bookcase in her bedroom was filled with the greatest literary and academic books of history, from Austen to Locke to Hawking. At 11 years old, she was preparing start studying calculus, while her peers had barely even touched the idea of variables.
Hermione Granger, for the first time in her life, couldn't figure out the problem.
It had begun a month prior, when she received a letter (By owl of all things!) inviting her to a school for magic, claiming that she was a witch. In the next week, she discovered the magical world of, well, the magical world.
She would probably have to stop using idioms and phrases involving magic.
Of course, being who she was, she immediately dove into as many books detailing magic and the history of the world she had been introduced to. But, as she read more and more, she started to notice something amiss. All the names in the history books seemed to be the same. Black's, Yaxley's, Abbott's, and others would show up far more often than family names had any right to, beyond something like a monarchy. Occasionally a new name would pop up and do something, but they were often only given small blurbs and would immediately be overshadowed on the next page by a familiar name.
The warnings were flashing in Hermione's head, as she all but demanded her parents take her back to the magical book shop in Diagon Alley. It was there that she found the book that put it all together. The Sacred Twenty Eight (In the 'Educated Reader' section no less!) finished the puzzle for her.
The magical world was a corrupt aristocracy straight out of the 10th century.
A frustration began to build as she continued to read on. Racial science that was somehow even less scientific than a Joseph Goebbels pamphlet, traditions older than the streets of London, and laws that belonged in Jim Crow America.
When she walked into Diagon Alley for the first time, under the watchful gaze of Professor McGonagall, she witnessed a sight that would fit right into the most cliched of fantasy genres.
The Wizarding World took that image and made it far too real.
So many innocuous events had begun to make sense. Upturned noses from the lady who sold her robes and the man who sold her potion ingredients. Parents shuffling their kids past her in a hurried fashion. The man behind her at Gringotts, scoffing as she exchanged the paper money her parents had given her for Wizarding money.
So many things that she hadn't paid attention to, blinded by the excitement of magic and the wonders of the Alley.
Somewhere in that bookstore, her face growing more and more red with anger, she made a choice.
Her name would be placed in these history books. And not some small blurb that would just be written off and overshadowed by some Longbottom who took over their father's role as the head of the Wizengamot (Yet another travesty of a governmental body in its own, of course).
No, the name Hermione Granger would be a name worth a book of its own, something to be read by the future academics of the magical world, seeking to gain insight into her mind.
Hermione Granger would be remembered.
Harry Potter was alone.
Physically, he spent most of his time alone. In the Potter Manor, he had an entire floor practically all to himself. His grandparents only had one child, and any relatives he had were simply too far removed to live at the Manor. With only Father, Amelia and his two half siblings, the massive house was far too large and opulent for one family.
As the scion of the house, he was given the second best quarters, in which he ended up living on a floor all by himself.
Emotionally he was just as alone. Since his mother's death, Father had become more and more withdrawn from his son's life. He threw himself into his work in the DMLE, remarried, and had two more kids. Harry rarely saw his father, who preferred to spend long nights at the Ministry, rather than have dinner with his kids. Henry and Sera were too young for him to spend much time with, age 5 and 3 respectively. He loved his siblings, but they spent their days playing with toys that Harry had outgrown years ago.
He would eat dinner with them, prepared by the house elves, but otherwise, he spent his days alone.
Amelia would try to engage him, try to act like his mother, but she could never be his mother. He didn't want a new mother. He wanted his own mother back.
He and his mother were visiting his Aunt Petunia on Halloween night, 1984, through some sense of family obligation. He was playing with Dudley and his toy train, when a sudden flash of green, and a shout of words he didn't understand, destroyed his life forever. A flash in front of his face, Dudley slumped to the ground, and someone grabbed him by the neck.
His memory turned blurry beyond that point, hearing his mother's scream, another flash of green, and he found himself waking up in his bed, Father crying at the foot of it.
At 3 years old, Harry Potter became a magical marvel, the only person to ever survive the Killing Curse.
He didn't understand at the time, all he wanted to know was what that green light was and where Mummy was.
When he was 8 years old, on the anniversary of his mother's death, Father drunk himself into a stupor, as was tradition. Amelia usually tried to keep Harry away from him, but Henry was crying, and Harry stumbled into his father's study.
He was rambling, ranting about 'his beautiful Lily', about how perfect she was, and how wonderful a mother she had been. Harry had been about to slip out, when his father slurred out the words that would define his destiny.
"I, I, I, knooow, those fuckers know who killed 'er," he stumbled out, "They-they di'nt wan' me, they didn't wan' me to marry her. Wan'ed me to marry some pure bitch, di'nt wan' you to be 'eir, 'arry"
He froze, halfway out the door, watching his father closely, as he pulled his head up in a sudden move of soberness. James Potter met the eyes of his dead wife in the face of his son, and he whispered to his son, his heir.
"Find out who killed her, Harry. Find out and you make them pay."
Harry fled the room, heart pounding and mind racing. Someone killed his mother? Someone tried to kill him?
Objectively, he knew that someone had tried to use the Killing Curse on him, but he had always been told that it had been some robbery. He didn't know why he wouldn't have questioned it until now, but it made no sense. His aunt and uncle were muggles, they didn't have anything worth stealing. His mother wouldn't have had anything of major value on her.
Someone wanted to kill him and his mother. They knew who it was, and did nothing.
"Find out who killed her, Harry. Find out and you make them pay"
Harry Potter would get his revenge.
Ronald Weasley was poor.
He had a small bedroom in the top floor of his family's cramped house, a bed dressed with linens passed down through three different brothers, and a closet filled with hand-me-down clothes.
The wand he would be using in the upcoming year was the only new purchase he would have for his schooling career. His robes, second-hand, belonged to his brother Bill, his books, used and notated, belonged from his brother Percy (who kept his books in the best condition).
He wouldn't have a familiar for his first year, or even his second. It seemed like the only chance for him to get an owl would be to become a prefect in his fifth year, the source of his eldest three brothers' owls.
For most of his childhood, Ron didn't understand the idea of being poor. He knew that most of his toys were shared with his siblings, and the brooms in their shed had been there his whole life, but the idea of having the grand palace and fancy clothes of his sister's story book princesses was just fantasy.
On Christmas, when Ron was 9 years old, they had been invited to the Prewitt family's Yule celebrations. He watched as his mother spent weeks tailoring the old dress robes to fit each of the six boys in the house. His own robes were a modified version of his mother's old dress robes, the lace cuffs and collar removed and replaced with a more masculine stitch.
His sister had been given an early Christmas present, a robe bought second-hand from one of his father's work friends, a beautiful dress robe, a bold crimson and gold lined with intricate stitching and pretty designs. Some of the stitching and fabric was frayed and worn, but it didn't matter to his sister. Ginny had kept it in her sight at all times for the whole week leading up to the party. He scoffed at the idea of a stupid dress being that important, but she was happy so he didn't really care that much.
Yule came, and the family Flooed to Prewitt Manor, a palace straight from his sister's storybooks. A large chandelier decorated the entrance to the Manor, massive tapestries and talking portraits filled the walls, and the floors were padded with expensive rugs. Ron had never seen such a house in his life.
The food was, if not as good as his mother's cooking, just as fabulous as the Manor. A full spread took up the entire length of the massive dining room, longer than his whole house. Little leaves and fruits were placed all around the food, for decoration, not for eating.
Imagine that! Food prepared, not even to be eaten!
After the meal, the adults had broken into smaller groups to talk to each other, and Ron got bored. He decided to look for Fred and George, surely they'd be doing something fun. He started to explore Prewitt Manor, walking for nearly 5 minutes without seeing another soul. He thought he had made his way back to where all the adults were talking, when he heard a loud crack through a slightly open door.
He crept into the doorway, seeing a group of older kids huddled around something, and a house elf talking to the boy in the middle, with short black hair and ugly looking teeth.
"Yes sire? Yous asked for Hoopy?"
The boy scoffed at the elf, "Get me a pumpkin juice."
The elf disappeared with a crack, and reappeared a moment later with another, holding a tray with a goblet, presumably filled with the juice. The boy took the juice and turned away, the house elf bowing to no one, and cracking away for the final time.
The boy took the dress, and rejoined the group, who had been laughing about something he couldn't hear. The boy with the ugly teeth laughed louder than the rest, and exclaimed, "Ha! Now your dress is perfect!"
The group opened up a little, and he saw the focus of the laughter. His sister, Ginny, sitting on the floor, her hair and dress covered in pumpkin juice, her eyes red from tears. She looked over at him, hiccuping with suppressed cries.
Ron saw red.
He shouted something he didn't understand, and sprinted to the group, and the boy with the ugly teeth. He'd turned at Ron's shout, but didn't react in time to Ron flinging himself at him and the younger boy's fist colliding with his face.
The next moments were a blur, but he distinctly remembered being pulled off by two of the others, and the boy with the now much uglier teeth spitting out something red as he stood back up.
The boy laughed at him, as the other boys threw him down next to his sister.
"You Weasleys are just a bunch of animals, huh. Just like the muggles your stupid blood traitor father loves so much."
The rest of the evening seemed to go all too fast for Ron, the rest of the family was gathered, adults were arguing with his mother and father, and they all Flooed back home. His mother shuffled Ginny and the rest of his siblings to their rooms, while his father sat him down and asked him what he had done.
Ron retold the story with a sense of pride. He'd stuck up for his sister against those mean other kids. He couldn't get in trouble for this, he was doing the right thing!
But, to his surprise, his father didn't clap him on the shoulder and send him to bed. He shook his head, sighed, and gave Ron a gentle smile.
"Ronald, I'm proud that you stuck up for your sister, but you shouldn't have attacked the Flint boy like that. You shouldn't be picking fights with anyone."
Ron sputtered, his face growing red once more, "But-but Dad! They ruined Ginny's dress! They-"
His father cut him off with a gesture, holding the same smile, "It doesn't matter, Ronald, what others say about us or do to us, so long as we have each other, that's all we need."
Ron froze, his anger leaving him instantly, as his father led him back up to his room, and told him that he'd be grounded for a week.
Ron Weasley laid in his tiny bed, in his tiny room, in the uppermost corner of his family's small house. He pulled himself under old sheets, wearing hand-me-down pajamas and he thought.
He remembered a book he'd read once, when he was so bored during a stint of grounding that he was willing to read a history book of all things. It was a book about the major families in Wizarding Britain, and he remembered the section about the Potters.
They had been a poor family, with little fame amongst them, when one of their ancestors managed to create some kind of potion that made them all rich. Now they lived in a fancy Manor, like the stupid Prewitts, and people knew them.
Ron would turn the Weasleys into the Potters. He would make some new discovery, create some new business, and he would become rich. He would live in a massive bloody house, with a giant bloody chandelier, and way too many bloody talking paintings. He would use food as decoration for other food, and he would have a dining room bigger than the Burrow was tall.
Ronald Weasley would never be laughed at again.
Hmm, what an ambitious little thing you are. I know what you want, to be known for all of time, for your memory to be passed on from the history books and the school halls. You're most comfortable in your own books, but you don't want to be comfortable, do you?
It'll be a hard path for you, young one, but you'll make the most of it in
Oh, I see how angry you are. You have your crusade and you've prepared to take up your cross. You'll either triumph in the end, or fail to find your mother's killer.
You won't let anything stand in your way, anyone that bold and brash deserves
Ooh, you have your ambitions, but ambition is not what you need. Your goal lies in the center of books you've yet to read, lessons you've yet to learn.
Nobody will accept it, and you may feel as if you don't belong, but what you most desire will be gained from
AN: Dumbledore and Grindlewald both die as a result of their famous duel. Tom Riddle, without the drive given from Dumbledore's unintentional challenge, grows arrogant and cocky, and is killed by Marvolo Gaunt. Without the main harbingers of change in the 20th century, the Wizarding World of Britain follows the path of least resistance.