Well, this happened much sooner than I had planned. I, however, wanted to show my gratitude for all the support I have received this past week and powered through to write this. I have been working on it since 5am this morning, so it has been a very long day of writing.
Again, thank you all for the kind words and donations made. I truly am indebted to you amazing people.
Before we get into this story, allow me to indulge in a brief introduction.
I have been playing with this idea for four years, ever since I wrote the France scene in HTB. It has undergone many changes during this time, but I am happy with what I am planning. I believe that it is a unique idea (do correct me if I'm wrong) and am looking forward to writing this one.
For you Harry/Fleur fans, it will not be a connection they make straight away, but I will be getting through the first year at Hogwarts rather quickly as the story will pick up considerably in the fourth year.
This Harry is fiercely independent, which will become obvious throughout this chapter.
Anyway, without further ado, enjoy the first chapter of my latest offering.
This Chapter is dedicated to Jeffrey Rodrigues, my first upper tier patron.
Privet Drive was a typically middle-class street in Surrey. The lawns were well-kept, the road was clear of debris and litter, and on each driveway, a car of good quality was sat. There was an overwhelming sense of mundanity about the place and none who would visit would consider it beyond the normal assumptions one would make about a community such as this.
The one exception to all of this was one little boy that resided here. He had appeared one day around five years ago out of the blue, and his presence had been explained away by the occupants of number four as the result of the unexpected death of his parents. The boy had garnered a considerable amount of attention from the other residents. He would receive looks of sympathy and smiles of encouragement wherever he went, his innocent emerald eyes warming the hearts of the doting mothers he would see whilst running errands with the aunt that had taken him in.
He was a nervous boy, one that would shy away from such affection and it was simply put down to the trauma he had suffered as a babe. Eventually, he was seldom seen outside of the house, his aunt citing his nervous disposition as the reason. As such, he became but a distant memory and all but forgotten about by those of Privet Drive. They knew Vernon and Petunia well and even their son, Dudley. But little Harry Potter no longer occupied their thoughts. Little Harry Potter became a forgotten child.
Even when he left the house to attend school in his oversized uniform, none would pay him any heed. The fact that he did not leave the home to play with other children raised no suspicion. He was an aloof figure and one that preferred his time away from others, according to his aunt, of course.
It had been around two years after his arrival that she insisted he be left alone, that being forced to interact with even their neighbours was having a detrimental effect on the boy. Petunia's wishes had been respected. None wanted to be responsible for causing the boy anymore pain than he had already suffered.
For the very same little boy, life had gone from bad to worse and each day was a struggle. His parents had died, and he had been sent to live with his aunt and uncle who undoubtedly despised his very existence. From morning to night, he would be kept busy cooking meals, tending to the garden and completing any other menial task set for him before he would collapse into his own bed hungry, and exhausted, only for the day to repeat itself. His only respite from the tedium of this, was school, and Dudley was there to ensure that was a miserable experience. Daily, the much larger boy and his friends would make it their goal to hound him, beat him up and then come back for more if they were bored.
Harry had learnt early on that there was none that would listen to him, no one he could turn to for help. He'd tried once and the beating he had received from his uncle had successfully deterred him from doing so again.
So, it was him alone. No one cared about Harry Potter and no one would save him. He had wished it so many times. As hard as he could, he would wish it whilst locked away in his cupboard, but it never came true. No matter how many beatings he endured or how many tears he shed, no one would come.
A stifled sob escaped the boy. He knew not to let the Dursleys see him cry. His tears to them were like a shark smelling blood, just one hint, and he would be swarmed and devoured. It wasn't often he would cry, not unless something particularly bad had happened, and today had been one of those days.
He didn't know how he had gotten on the roof of the school. He had been running as quickly as his malnourished legs could carry him away from Dudley and his cronies, and crack, he had appeared there as though by magic. Using that word when explaining himself had only made things worse. The beating he had received from his uncle had been the worst yet. The redness of his face was usually a good indicator of how much trouble he was in, the purple on this occasion meant it was far more dire than the norm.
Harry whimpered as he shifted to get more comfortable on his tiny cot, a fresh wave of tears breaking free, this time because of the throbbing of physical pain.
He was used to being kicked and whipped with a belt, but the buckle was new, and it wasn't a sensation he would ever forget, the dull thud as it had crashed against his elbow and ribs a sound he would always remember.
"Why me?" he choked into his pillow.
He wasn't a bad person. As far as he knew, he had never done anything unpleasant to anyone, other than the teacher whose hair had turned blue, though, how could that have been him? She must have made an error with her hair dye. That didn't matter to Vernon. He still blamed Harry. He blamed Harry for everything that went wrong.
The little boy wished that his dreams would come true, that the giant man riding a flying motorcycle would come for him and take him away from this place. The other dream, not so much. The eerie laughter that had haunted him and the pleading of the woman was something he wished would go away forever. That dream scared him, but not the one where he was soaring above the clouds.
He moaned as he turned to face the wall. Dreams, he learnt, were foolish. One could never hope that dreams came true for forgotten little boys like him. Unusually, he found himself crying again, the years of torment and frustration he had hidden behind his walls finally breaching the dam.
Was there no one that thought about him? Was there no one that ever wondered what happened to little Harry Potter? Surely the Dursleys weren't his only option.
He swallowed deeply at the thought as he shook his head.
There was no one, and if there ever had been, they'd forgotten all about Harry Potter and moved on with their own lives. He was alone in the world and he didn't know if he was strong enough to survive it.
He suddenly stiffened as he heard a laboured sigh. Fearing he had disturbed his uncle, he closed his eyes tight, pretending to be asleep. Not that it mattered. His dreams had disturbed the man before and he had been given no quarter even though his screaming had happened whilst he had been slumbering.
"You are as not alone as you think, Harry," a voice sounded, so close that it felt as though it was spoken directly into his ear.
The boy's eyes widened before he firmly shut them once more. He didn't know that voice, it was not one he had heard so it couldn't be real. It had to be a trick of his mind, maybe a consequence of the beating he had received earlier in the day. He didn't remember being hit in the head, but it was a possibility.
"I'm very much real," the voice spoke once more. "I'm not a figment of your imagination or a product of the trauma you suffered today."
Harry swallowed nervously as he turned, only to find himself very much on his own within his cupboard, not that there was room for another anyway. He frowned, however. The voice had spoken with clarity and hearing voices in your head was not a good thing, even he knew that.
"W-who are you?" the boy whispered, stuttering worriedly.
He was met with silence, a silence that stretched on for some time. Breathing a sigh of relief and ignoring the sinking feeling of disappointment, Harry sunk back into his weathered pillow once more.
"Tom. My name is Tom," the voice introduced itself with what sounded like to be a profound sense of relief as he revealed his name.
Harry sat up, doing his best to ignore the pain of his injuries. That time, he heard it. The voice was as real as the cramped cupboard he called home.
"Why c-can I hear you, Tom?"
"That is a very complicated question to answer. One day, I will answer it for you, when you are old enough to understand. For now, I am here for you, Harry, just know that."
Harry frowned. He'd heard the voice, that he could not deny, but it made no sense.
"Who are you really?"
Another sigh sounded in his mind.
"I suppose I am you, in a way," Tom explained thoughtfully. "I was once someone else, but I do not feel like that person anymore. Now, I am you."
Harry didn't even pretend to understand the ramblings.
"Well, as a voice in my head, there's not much you can do for me, Tom," he muttered.
"On the contrary, there is much that I can do for you. There is much that you can learn from me, more than you ever will from anyone else. If you choose to accept, I can help you with more than you would ever believe."
It was a tempting offer, but it was too good to be true. Nothing good ever happened to Harry Potter, so why would this be any different?
"Why?" he asked. "Why would you help me?"
There was another pause and Harry could feel the voice thinking within his own head.
"For two reasons," Tom answered. "Firstly, because if anything happens to you, it happens to me. If you were to die, then I would be lost. That is unacceptable."
It was a selfish reason, but Harry could sense the honesty it spoke with.
"What about the second reason?" Harry whispered.
"Because I was you, a very long time ago. I too was raised by those that didn't care for me, suffered needlessly at the hands of others because I was different. If I can prevent the same things happening to you, then I will do all I can to help you, Harry."
Again, there was the sincerity.
"The way I see it is that you have nothing to lose from this and everything to gain."
Harry nodded his agreement. There was no way his life could get any worse than it already was. What did he truly have to lose? Tom had said himself that if he were to die, then it would be the end of him also. His life was the only thing he had after all.
"How can you help me?" the boy asked curiously.
"First of all, I need you to recover. Sleep, Harry. I can promise that you will wake without any of the aches and pains you feel now, and then, our work can begin. It will not be easy, nothing worth doing is. But it will be worth it, that I can promise you."
Harry only had the energy to offer a nod in response as sleep took him quickly. He had not been aware of his tiredness, had felt completely awake whilst conversing with the voice. It was almost as though he was dragged into unconsciousness by a force completely out of his control.
Tom proved to be true to his word. Harry woke the next morning feeling refreshed, absent of the pain he had been feeling the night before. He was shocked by the development. He had been certain that his arm and a few ribs had been broken at the very least.
"How am I better?" he asked.
"Magic, Harry," Tom replied easily.
Harry froze at the word, the very same one that had sent his uncle into an apoplectic fit of rage the previous day.
"There's no such thing as magic," he denied.
The sound of Tom chuckling in his head begged to differ.
"I can assure you there is. How else do you think you appeared on the roof of the school yesterday?"
"I-I don't know."
"Magic," Tom stated as though it were obvious. "It is a wondrous thing and something that you have been blessed with."
Harry shook his head.
"No. There's no such thing as magic," he said more firmly.
He had once believed in it, once believed that there was something different about him, something that he could feel flowing through his veins. That feeling had been beaten out of him and whenever it would appear, he would do all he could to ignore it.
"You are a wizard, Harry. What reason would I have to lie to you?"
"You are a voice in my head," Harry sobbed.
The voice huffed irritably.
"Perhaps I was a little brash in my efforts to explain just what you are to you," Tom conceded. "Truly, Harry, you are a wizard. How else can you explain all of the odd incidents that have happened around you?"
Harry swallowed deeply.
"I don't know," he groaned.
"You know it to be true. Deep down inside, you know what you are, I can feel it."
"What if I don't want to be?"
"I'm sorry, Harry, that is not something you can choose. You are a wizard. Magic always finds a way to manifest itself, just as it did yesterday. That was a rather impressive showing though. I have never known one so young to apparate as successfully as you."
"Apparate?" Harry questioned.
"Apparation is a skill learned by much older witches and wizards. It is the act of transporting yourself from one place to another instantly using magic."
"It was an accident," Harry replied nervously. "I didn't mean to."
"Yes, you did," Tom countered. "I could feel the intent of your actions. You wanted to be on the roof and your magic made it happen. It was quite the incredible feat. Many older and more experienced than yourself have lost limbs or even died attempting what you did. Not you, though. You have proven you have much potential and I wish to see how far you can go."
The tone used was thoughtful and questioning and it didn't escape the boy.
"Why?" Harry questioned.
"I am curious, Harry. Curious to see just how great you can become. I can help you with that. If you are strong, then we are strong. I want us to live, to explore your potential and guide you to be the best you can be."
A plethora of questions swirled throughout his young mind, but none giving him pause. For the first time in his life, he had someone to turn to, someone that wanted to help him, someone that had helped him.
"Say that I believe you, where do we begin?"
He could almost feel Tom's smile forming, just as one of his own tugged at his lips.
"For now, Harry, we must be patient, but fear not, there is much that I can teach you. If you listen to me, I will see that your life will change for the better. First of all, there is much to explain. Knowledge is power, Harry, never forget that."
"Knowledge is power," Harry reiterated.
"Good boy. Now, our lessons about the world of magic can truly begin."
For the next three days, Tom gave him an abridged overview of the wonders of the wizarding world. For Harry, it had been an overwhelming experience, one that raised more questions than could be answered. Tom did his best. As patiently as he could, he answered the questions Harry asked. He explained about Hogwarts, Gringotts and both Diagon and Knockturn Alley, and the other more important places for the young Potter. There was still much to go over, but the young mind of the boy would not be able to comprehend all of it, so it was filed away for later. The goal was to give him a basic understanding of the world beyond the one he knew and that had been achieved.
Only once had they been interrupted by the opening of the cupboard. A few crusts of bread and a bottle of water had been deposited inside before the door was unceremoniously slammed shut once more.
Harry had wolfed down the meagre offerings with gusto and Tom assured him that if all went to plan, things would change exponentially for the child.
"I'm scared, Tom," Harry admitted.
"I know, Harry," he comforted, "but it must be done. If you are to be successful, you must do this for yourself."
"What if I get caught?"
"You must not be. All of our plans will be for nothing if you do."
Harry nodded his understanding. For the past few days his head had been filled with new information, most of which, he did not understand. Tom, however, had not failed him yet, so he would not doubt him now.
"It will be difficult, but once done, your life will change forever, Harry. Believe me, the risk will prove to be worth it. Just do as I say, and all will be fine."
Harry steeled himself and gently slid open the vent in the door. His arm trembled as he grasped the old coat hanger that had dug into him over the years in his sleep and slid it through one of the gaps and began attempting to hook the latch that stood between himself and freedom. It was a crudely crafted tool, but it was the best that he could do with his limited supplies. He had partly straightened it, leaving the curved end intact so that it could be used as a makeshift grabber of sorts.
It took several moments of effort before he managed to gain any leverage against the bolt and he carefully tugged at it, slowly but surely releasing it from its' hold on the frame.
"I've got it," he whispered triumphantly as the lock snapped open.
"Good," Tom praised. "Now, wait a moment. We must be sure that they are sleeping."
That was not such a hard thing to deduce. The rumbling snores of his uncle and cousin continued to vibrate throughout the house uninterrupted, but Harry waited for a moment, just to be sure. It would not do to be caught out so early in his endeavour.
"They're asleep," Harry whispered.
"Well done, Harry. You must get out of the house, quickly, but quietly and do not forget to lock the cupboard."
Harry carried out the instructions to the letter and soon found himself ambling away from Privet Drive, terrified at the repercussions that would befall him were his relatives to notice his absence.
"This is bad, Tom. I should go back."
"No, the hard bit is done, Harry. The rest will be easy, I promise."
Harry nodded unconfidently as he entered Magnolia Crescent.
"Do you know where the station is?"
"I think so. I've driven past it a few times. I'm sure it is that way," Harry replied, pointing in the direction of the adjoining street.
"Get there, Harry. We must be quick."
Harry nodded as he began running towards where he believed the local train station was. He began to lose heart when he took a few wrong turns, but eventually, he found himself on a familiar main road, the very same one the station was on.
"I'm here," he panted as he walked through the front door.
"Excellent. We need a train to London. Check the boards."
Harry did as he was told and perused the schedule displayed on the screens situated above his head.
"There is one to London Bridge in fifteen minutes," he whispered.
"Not Charing Cross?"
"It stops there after London Bridge," Harry explained.
"That is the train you need, Harry. I want you to board it and hide in the toilet. You should be able to make it there uninterrupted."
"What if I am?"
"We will deal with it when the time comes," Tom assured him.
Pulling his old cap over his head and sinking into his jacket as much as possible, Harry stepped through the open barriers and onto the train before slipping into the toilet and locking the door behind him.
Time seemed to drag as he waited for the train to begin its' journey. Eventually, however, the engine sputtered into life and Harry was on his way to London.
He remained where he was, waiting for the conductor to demand he open the door and present his ticket. That, fortunately, did not happen and he arrived at his destination with a sigh of relief. Checking the clock, he saw that it was drawing close to midnight and that there would be no more trains back to Surrey until the morning. There was no turning back now, even if he wished to.
"Go out through the main door and turn left," Tom instructed, "follow the street and you will come to an old pub named The Leakey Cauldron. That is where you need to go."
Harry did so, ignoring the drunken revellers out for a good time on the Friday evening. Tom had said this would be the best time to come. The bar would be full, and none would pay attention to a wayward boy passing through. Being seen was something to avoid. Even in the wizarding world, an unaccompanied child would raise questions and draw attention to them. That was the last thing he needed.
"The pub is here," he mumbled.
"Go inside and straight out of the back door. You will come to a brick wall."
Harry entered the pub and his senses were assaulted with smell of stale alcohol, smoke and the sound of people sharing in merriment. None paid him any heed as he slipped through the crowd and through the other door into what appeared to be an area that only housed rubbish bins.
"Are you sure this is right?"
"Be patient, Harry. Someone will come along soon enough."
The boy leaned up against the wall as he waited, doing all he could to avoid thinking about how angry the Dursleys would be if they were to wake and find him gone. Tom, however, proved himself to be right once more as the wall he was leaning on began to shift behind him. He stepped away just in time for an opening to form and a group of oddly dressed men and women stepped through and into the pub, none taking note of his presence.
Deftly, he stepped through the gap and into an almost empty Diagon Alley. During the day, this place would be bustling with witches and wizards shopping in the variety of stores pushing their wares. At this time, most were closed and the public all but absent. There were, however, a few places that did remain open, and thankfully, one such place was the one Harry needed. If he were to carry out the plan successfully, he would need money, something he had never had.
Tom had again assured him that Gringotts would be able to help him with that. He had been rather vague in his explanation but had been certain Harry would already have an account with the bank. When questioned further, Tom had been elusive and had explained he knew little regarding anything Harry may have had.
Harry suspected that any wealth he did have would have been left to him by his parents, another subject Tom was not willing to discuss. He had said that it would be one of the things he would learn of when he was older and that he was too young to understand right now. Harry had not been happy with the answer, but for the time being, he had other things he needed to focus on. He had spent five years without any knowledge of his parents, he could certainly wait longer if needed, though he was loath to do so.
"The bank, Harry. You must get to the bank," Tom broke into his thoughts.
Harry walked the length of the alley, the lack of light making it impossible to read any of the signs on the shop. It mattered not. The building he needed was the largest of them all and stood out amongst the others with its' white stone and large pillars to hold it up.
"Shouldn't I just tell the goblins about the Dursleys?"
"It will do no good, Harry," Tom sighed. "The goblins will have no pity on you, nor any wizard for that matter. All you are to them, is gold. That is all the creatures care about."
Harry swallowed as he nodded and entered the bank through a set of double doors, ignoring the ominous warning carved into the wall. He was not here to steal that did not belong to him, so he had no need to be concerned. That did not prevent him from continuing to worry, however. He was somewhere that he shouldn't be and that was what concerned him the most.
He shook the thoughts away as he took in the grandeur of the building. The floors were made of marble and a row of desks were neatly lined up on each side leading up to what appeared to be the main teller. Much to his relief, the bank seemed to be bereft of any other customer and he carefully made his way towards the other side of the room, ignoring the questioning stares of the strange, little creatures.
"Be polite, Harry, but be strong and respectful. Goblins only know strength and will take advantage of any weakness you show them," Tom reminded him for the umpteenth time.
Harry braced himself as he reached the desk at the end of the room and stood as tall as his small, seven-year-old frame would allow.
"I would like to make a withdrawal from my vault," he requested.
The goblin narrowed his eyes at him, staring at him speculatively.
"Name?" he demanded simply.
"Harry Potter," the boy answered, relieved that none of the nervousness he felt was evident in his voice.
For a moment, Harry could have sworn that the goblin's eyes widened in recognition, but when he looked closer, it was gone.
"And does Harry Potter have his key?"
Harry shook his head.
"I believe it was misplaced."
The goblin growled irritably. Lack of care with one's finances was not something they tolerated easily.
"A replacement can be arranged, the cost of which will be deducted from your vault," the goblin explained.
Harry nodded his understanding.
"But first, I need to prove that you are indeed whom you claim to be. Step this way, Harry Potter," the goblin snarked, gesturing to a table to his right.
Harry complied and waited for the creature to join him.
"I will need a sample of your blood," the goblin insisted, holding out a short, sharp blade to the young man. "Be warned, young man, that blood does not lie. Should you found to be, lacking, the penalty will be most severe."
Harry licked his suddenly dry lips as he accepted the blade.
"Just a single drop will suffice."
He pricked the end of his finger, ignoring the stabbing pain that shot up his arm as a small amount of blood was drawn from the wound. The goblin snatched the blade from his grasp and wiped it down the length of his blackened tongue. For a moment, he said nothing as he seemingly worked it around his mouth before nodding almost reluctantly.
"Very well, Mr Potter. It appears that you are telling the truth. Allow me to take you to your vault. Firstly, however, I must retrieve a key for yourself."
The goblin vanished and returned several moments later. Harry said nothing as he was led through a side door and on to what appeared to be a muggle rollercoaster. Without warning, the cart took off with a burst of speed that left him feeling as though his stomach had been left behind. Once he had adjusted to the motion, he found that it was as exhilarating as it was terrifying, a feeling he found he liked.
"Vault 687," the goblin announced as the cart came to a sudden halt.
Harry climbed out of it on unsteady legs and followed the goblin to a large door that was tucked away in a cavernous gap in a seemingly impregnable stone wall.
"It must be you that places the key in the lock, Mr Potter," the creature instructed as he handed the boy a small but ornate golden key.
He approached the door and noted there seemed to be a coat of arms of some description. Two winged creatures stood either side of a large shield that was adorned with writings, symbols and drawings he did not understand. Shaking his head, he placed the key in the lock just below and gave it a turn before stepping back as it popped open with a groan.
His eyes widened in disbelief when he caught sight of the wealth on display within. Pile upon pile of gold coins he did not recognise filled most of the room with other piles of silver and bronze also visible. He knew nothing of wizarding money, or muggle money for that matter, but even he could see that there was a considerable amount of it here.
"How much is here?" he asked breathlessly.
"Your total wealth adds up to around 47,000 Galleons, Mr Potter," the goblin answered with a frown. "Much of the family wealth has been poorly invested and lost. However, you are still rather wealthy. If you are careful with it, you could live comfortably."
"What did it used to be?" Harry questioned.
"At its' most valuable, the vault once contained 317,000 Galleons. As I said, your ancestors have been rather negligent in their endeavours and that is reflected in what is left."
"Where did it all come from?"
"Much of it came through beneficial marriages and one of your ancestors invented a rather well-known hair tonic. The fortune has been depleted steadily over the past generations. I would advise that you do not follow their example. Perhaps do something to replenish what has been squandered."
Harry swallowed his irritation at the jab towards his family.
"Did you know my family?"
The goblin released a sound that could have been construed as laughter.
"I am a goblin, Mr Potter. I can assure you I am at the very bottom of any list to attend wizarding events."
"Oh," Harry sighed disappointedly. "I just thought that…"
"Well, you thought wrong. Now, are you planning on taking any gold with you?" the creature questioned, holding out an empty sack with the bank's emblem stitched into the front.
Harry took it and helped himself to a few handfuls of the gold coins, the feeling of finally having wealth to himself not as satisfying as he had thought it would be. The gold was little more than a means to an end and he found it meant little to him. Yes, he was rich, much more so than he ever imagined, but what good was it to him?
The thoughts plagued him as he made the return journey in the cart and was bid farewell from the bank by the unpleasant creature.
"I have it," Harry mumbled, doing his utmost to forget his experience in the bank.
"Excellent work, Harry," Tom praised. "Now, we can proceed. Our first stop is to ensure you have a steady supply of food so that you never have to experience hunger again."
"Where do I go for that?"
"There is a shop in Knockturn Alley that can arrange it, and then, we have a few other stops to make. This is merely the beginning. Everything changes for you from now on."
The very next evening found Harry reversing the journey he had made into London the night before. This time, however, there was no need for him to sneak onto a train to return home. He had managed to convert some of his galleons into muggle money and had purchased his very first ticket.
He arrived back at the Dursley residence shortly after eleven pm, knowing that the family would be far enough into their sleep that they would not be so easily roused.
It had been a strange day in all. When the sun had come up, he had gotten himself the first real breakfast he remembered ever eating and he devoured until his stomach protested painfully against the sudden influx of food. When he had recovered sufficiently, he had made only the necessary purchases himself and Tom had agreed upon. He'd had to fight the urge to attempt to buy a wand and only listened when Tom had insisted such an effort would be fruitless and draw unwanted attention to him. He'd simply have to wait another few years before that became a possibility. Tom set his mind at ease with this, insisting that there was much he could learn about magic without having a wand. Harry had his doubts, but listened, nonetheless. The man had yet to steer him wrong.
After managing to lock the cupboard from the inside, he collapsed on his tiny bed with a sigh. He was exhausted from the efforts of the day and wanted little more than to rest.
Carefully, he began the task of unpacking the items he had purchased; a small box that food would be delivered to three times a day courtesy of the bar in Knockturn Alley, a bag of wizarding pranks including a fake wand, and an array of quills and parchment, something Tom had insisted he would need to learn to use.
Harry hadn't questioned the items, only the risk of the next part of their plan.
"Are you ready for tomorrow?" Tom asked.
Harry shook his head.
"Isn't there another way?"
"I wish there was. Were I convinced any other way would work, it would be my first choice," Tom sighed. "People such as these, Harry, understand only fear. They fear you already because they know what you are and what you could do to them. Prove to them that they should be fearful, and they will leave you alone."
"But what if it makes them worse?"
"It won't. I have dealt with people like these, so trust me. If you give them a harsh lesson, they will learn from it. They may need a reminder from time to time, but the message will sink in."
"Okay," Harry relented.
"Good boy. Sometimes, Harry, people need to be taught a lesson. You will do well to remember that. The wizarding world is full of unpleasant people, some worse than others. The one thing they all have in common is that they more often than not only look out for their best interests. They will manipulate you any way they can to get what they want."
"What about you?"
"Being a part of you makes me different. I will look out for your best interests because they will be the same as mine. My priority is ensuring that you are safe, healthy and strong so that I can remain the same."
Harry could see the logic in the explanation, though it did not sit entirely right with him.
"Do not ponder it much, Harry. You need to rest before your big moment tomorrow."
Harry nodded before pulling his thin duvet over him and closing his eyes, hoping beyond hope that tomorrow would go according to plan.
He was rudely awoken the next morning by the ham-like fist of his uncle banging against his door as he shouted through the gap of the vents.
"Get up, boy. You've had enough time lazing around without pulling your weight."
With a final rattling of the door, the man was gone, and Harry gave a sigh of frustration as he kicked the cover off himself and prepared to make breakfast for his family.
"Remember, Harry, they fear you. Use it to your advantage."
Harry nodded as he tentatively removed the bag that contained the items he would need. He was still unsure of the plan, but he was in too far to back down now. He wanted this nightmare to end and the only way for it to be over would be for him to take this final step.
"I'm with you, Harry. Always."
Taking a deep breath to compose himself, Harry exited his cupboard and entered the kitchen to be greeted by the sight of his obese cousin and uncle and almost skeletal aunt. Truly, they were a pathetic excuse for human beings and a part of him was relishing getting his own back. He did not know where such a thought had come from, but he didn't care. He had always been meek and defenceless, and he didn't want to be that anymore. He simply wanted to be left alone.
"I know what I am," he announced more confidently than he felt.
"Finally realised you're a worthless, lazy toe-rag?" Vernon snorted. "I will not have your lip, boy. Get on with it," he finished, jerking his large head in the direction of the stove.
Harry took a deep breath before shaking his head.
"Make your own breakfast, you fat oaf," he returned.
The table fell silent in shock from the outburst. Petunia's eyes bulged almost comically, and Dudley smirked, expecting to see Harry punished. Vernon, however, had purpled in record time, his jowls wobbling as he trembled with rage.
"What did you say to me, boy?" he seethed.
"I told you to make your own bloody breakfast."
The man released a guttural roar as he shot to his feet, his intention clear for all to see.
"I'LL RING YOUR USELESS NECK," he vowed, his hands reaching to carry out his promise.
Immediately, Harry felt a wave of fear unlike anything he'd ever experienced before washing over him and he instinctively drew the prank wand from within his sleeve and pointed it at the man.
The man froze instantly, and his aunt yelped.
"W-where did you get that?" she demanded.
"That doesn't matter. All that matter is that I know what I am. DID YOU REALLY THINK YOU COULD KEEP IT FROM ME?" he shouted, surprising himself at the sheer amount of anger pumping through him.
One of the glasses on the table exploded as he released all the pent-up rage within him.
"Calm yourself, Harry. You must remain in control," Tom soothed.
He took a deep breath before turning his attention back to the flabbergasted trio.
"I am a wizard, just as my mother and father were. I don't know what I ever did to deserve the way you have treated me, but it ends now. You will leave me alone or I will hurt you, just the way you did to me."
Vernon had seemingly recovered from his shock and decided he had heard enough.
"YOU DARE THREATEN ME, BOY? I WILL MAKE YOUR DAMNED LIFE HELL."
Again, he tried to lunge for Harry, only to collapse to the floor with a bloodcurdling scream. The man twitched uncontrollably, panting as he pulled himself along the floor away from his nephew.
Harry could only look on, wide-eyed at what had happened. In his moment of anger at the man trying to attack him, he wanted to hurt Vernon, for him to feel just a small amount of the pain he had administered to him over the years.
"STOP IT, HARRY, please," Petunia pleaded.
"I warned him," Harry reminded her. "I warned him I would make it hurt."
"Just go back to your cupboard," she instructed, her words lacking any anger.
"Just like that, you'll leave me alone?"
"YES," Petunia screeched hysterically, "just leave him be."
"And Dudley will leave me alone too?"
"Yes, just get away from my family with that freakishness. We've had enough of it."
Harry shot his pale cousin a final look of warning before he returned to his cupboard, trembling and feeling quite sick at what had transpired.
"That was unexpected," Tom said thoughtfully.
"I didn't mean to. I didn't know that it would hurt him."
"Do not worry, Harry. It may not have been the most pleasant way, but you have done what was needed. I have a feeling that you will prove to be quite the wizard. Under my guidance, you could be great."
Harry did not feel particularly good about what had happened, but he did feel free and that's what was important.
"So, what do we do next?"
He could almost feel a satisfied smirk coming from Tom as he spoke his next words.
"Now, the hard work truly begins. Now you officially begin your education in magic, Harry."
Three and a half years later
Today was finally the day that his Hogwarts letter would arrive, not to mention that it was his eleventh birthday. Such a thing had never proven to be worth keeping track of. Everyone else had always forgotten it and so had Harry, until today.
The past few years he had spent under the tutelage of Tom had been as challenging as it had rewarding and the most confused he had ever felt. He truly had questioned what magic could be learnt without the use of a wand, and it turned out that there was much more than he could have anticipated.
Magical theory was something Tom had insisted he know the ins and outs of along with other knowledge about the world he would be entering and surprisingly, the study of some muggle subjects. Tom had assured him that they would be useful in the future, but Harry couldn't fathom how. He, however, had taken his word for it.
It wasn't always just theories he would learn, but also to be able to feel and recognise his own magic. For months, he had sat in his cupboard in silence, trying and failing to feel any inkling of it. Such a feeling escaped him, leaving him frustrated.
After many moons, he had almost given up hope when he had felt the first pulse of it. From there, Tom had taught him how to control it, how to use emotion to change the way it felt and control the amount of magic he would release. Again, it was not something that he could see ever being beneficial, but this was the practice Tom had insisted on the most along with learning to keep his temper in check.
It was one of the things that had emerged within him from the day he had confronted the Dursleys. He had never been an angry child, but he found his temper getting away from him at times. Tom had taught him ways to maintain control. He certainly did not want a repeat of the incident with Vernon.
Thankfully, the man and the rest of the family had heeded his words. They, for the most part, left him well alone and he did the same. Not once did they enquire about how he was feeding or caring for himself and that told them all he ever needed to know about his family; they did not care for him or about him. As far as Harry was concerned, he was alone in the world and that suited him just fine. Every person he had ever met had proven to be a disappointment, the only exception being Tom who had practically raised him since he was seven.
If anything, he had proven he didn't need anyone, and truthfully, he didn't want anyone else interfering with his life. For the first time as far back as he could remember, he was happy and there was little else he needed than what he already had.
He was polite enough to those he would come across, respectful so long as they gave him the same courtesy, but he was aloof. People only learnt what he wanted them to know about him.
"Knowledge is power," he muttered as ducked out of his cupboard to avoid bashing his head on the door frame.
Ignoring the sound of scraping cutlery coming from the kitchen, he exited the house through the front door and waited for his letter. He didn't know when it would come, but he had little else to do. This whole day had been set aside for his anticipated trip to Diagon Alley.
He hadn't ventured there again since the first time. He'd never had need to and risking drawing attention to himself was not worth it. Some would say that he was paranoid, but he was merely cautious. He didn't know what would befall a wayward orphan if they were to be caught by some type of authority. Tom had hazarded a guess that it would result in him being brought home and questions asked of his family. He certainly didn't want anyone snooping into his affairs. It wasn't like they would care, would they?
"People are selfish."
The words of his mentor breezed across his conscience and he nodded his agreement. People were selfish. None had ever taken the time to care for him, so why would they bother now?
He was pulled from his thoughts by the odd sight of an owl flying above him, slightly blotting out the morning son. Without warning, a thick envelope was dropped towards him and the owl flew away over the horizon, leaving the boy in a state of awe.
"You didn't expect it to arrive with the postman, did you?" Tom asked amusedly.
Harry simply shook his head and began his walk towards the station.
"It would be a good idea to get an owl of your own," Tom advised. "Even if you do not write to anyone, they are useful for ordering things when you cannot get to a shop."
Harry added that to his list of things to do. There were many errands he needed to run, but only one he was truly looking forward to. Today was the day that he would be able to purchase his wand.
"One thing at a time," Tom chuckled.
Finding a seat on the train, he removed the envelope that he had pocketed and read the contents. He found it to be as Tom had explained, little more than a welcoming letter and a list of items he would require for his first year of study. He stuffed it back into his pocket and waited for his train to arrive in Charing Cross.
Having been here already, it didn't take him long to make his way through the streets into the Leakey Cauldron and into the alley courtesy of a family having opened the entrance.
"Get all of the mundane items first, Harry. Ollivander's will be very busy at this time of day."
With a sigh of frustration, he complied. There was no use waiting around the wand shop when he could be purchasing his other necessities instead.
He had thought that shopping for his school supplies would have been much more interesting than it turned out to be. He had to endure being prodded around and poked with needles whilst being fitted for his robes, the smell of the apothecary had made him feel rather queasy and the bookshop had been too full to even comprehend perusing. He'd had to settle for getting his required list of books that had been helpfully pre-packaged in anticipation of the demand.
Thankfully, none of the shop attendants had been too busy to shrink his items down to a manageable load, even so, by the time he had exited the final shop, he was beyond irritated with the crowds of people.
"Only two stops to go," Tom reminded him. "Why don't you get your wand before an owl?"
Harry smiled for the first time that day as he headed towards the wandmaker's shop.
He entered and as the door closed behind him, the sounds of the street were shut out and he breathed a sigh of relief. He liked the quiet, had spent his life isolated from others so lots of noise was an alien thing to him.
"Ah, I did wonder when I'd be seeing you, Mr. Potter," a rather calming voice greeted him.
Harry looked up to find himself facing a man quite far into his advanced years. His hair was still thick, but entirely grey and his grey eyes were quite unsettling to say the least.
"How do you know who I am?" Harry questioned.
The man chuckled.
"I doubt there is a single person that would not recognise you, if they saw you," the man replied, his eyes flicking towards Harry's scar.
He didn't know when he had gotten it, but he assumed it had been when his parents had been killed in the car crash.
"Why would they know me?"
The man's eyes widened at the question.
"Surely, those that care for you would have told you of your history?"
Harry snorted derisively.
"Yeah, like they told me I'm a wizard," he muttered.
The man hummed in displeasure at his rebuttal.
"A great feat you achieved that night. Times were dark, Mr. Potter and you survived what was thought to be certain death, and in doing so, saved countless lives by putting an end to he-who-must-not-be-named."
Harry frowned at the man.
"I have no idea what you are talking about," he huffed.
"Then you have been failed, my boy."
Harry shook his head.
"Are you going to tell me what happened or not?"
"It is not my place to do so. Any details I have are merely things that have been passed on. I do not wish to give you false information."
"Then who can tell me?" Harry bit back irritably.
"I would suggest you speak to Professor Dumbledore on the matter. It was he that found you."
"Dumbledore? The Hogwarts headmaster?"
"The very same," Ollivander confirmed.
"Alright, I will," Harry replied.
He didn't know how the man was involved in his life, but he would find out. If it was anything like Ollivander assumed, then there would be a lot of questions for the man to answer.
"Shall we?" the wandmaker interrupted his thoughts, gesturing to the several-hundred boxes that lined the walls of the shop.
Harry nodded distractedly.
For an inordinate amount of time, wand after wand was placed in his hand, each with varying effects. At times the man would simply watch him for a few moments before taking it back and deeming it a failure. With others, he would snatch it from his grip before it had completely closed around it. The experience was proving to be as frustrating as the rest of his day had been.
"Try this one," Ollivander instructed, a look of wonder in his eyes.
Harry shrugged as he accepted the wand, a feeling of warmth spreading throughout him causing him to release a deep breath.
"Very curious," Ollivander commented, "very curious indeed."
"What's curious?" Harry sighed.
"The wand you hold is a match, but only a partial one. There is something missing from it."
"Why is that curious?"
"It is a rare thing indeed, Mr. Potter, but worry not. I'm sure I will have exactly what you are looking for."
The man seemed to bounce into the back room of his shop and returned a few moments later with another armful of boxes.
"My apologies, but this is the kind of thing us wandmaker's live for."
Harry would not have guessed that the man could be positively giddy about anything. His current demeanour, however, was proving him wrong.
The man suddenly paused, and his eyes flicked up towards Harry's scar once more.
"I wonder," he mused aloud as he returned several boxes and pulled down others. "Here."
The wand he offered this time was so very unlike the first he had matched with. That one had been a dark brown, and this, a bone white. The madness of the man was quickly proven to be a form of genius as again, Harry felt warmth permeating throughout every fibre of his being leaving him breathless.
"It raises only more questions," the wandmaker muttered before shaking his head. "The first is 11 ¾ inches made of Holly and with the core of a phoenix feather, a wand that will serve you well. You should feel privileged, Mr. Potter. There are not many that a phoenix will accept."
"What about this one?" Harry asked, eliciting a frown from Ollivander.
"Also 11 ¾ inches. This one is made from yew and contains the core of a dragon heartstring, the core being one quite typical for a Potter."
"So, I have two wands?"
The wandmaker shook his head.
"Such a thing would be highly illegal. There is, however, a way around that. If you hand them to me, I will return in a few moments."
Harry did so and waited for what turned out to be almost twenty minutes before the man returned, wiping away a considerable amount of sweat that had formed on his brow. In his hand he now held just one box that he presented to the boy.
Harry removed the lid and was faced with a single wand. It appeared as though the man had taken the two and simply twisted them together to form one, but that was not possible. Had he done so, it would undoubtedly be thicker than the one before him.
"How?" Harry questioned.
"Wandlore is an exceedingly difficult branch of magic, surrounded by mystery to those that do not possess the talent."
"Did you just twist them together?"
Ollivander chuckled at the question.
"If only it were so simple, Mr. Potter. I have combined the two wands. Both cores and the woods have been fused successfully, though it proved to be much more difficult than I thought it would be."
"So, it is now one wand?"
"And quite the unique wand, I must say. I am expecting great things from you, Mr. Potter," he added whilst slowly nodding his head seemingly in satisfaction. Again, his eyes wandered to Harry's scar, but he said nothing.
"How much do I owe you?" Harry asked, the discomfort he felt around the man quickly becoming unbearable.
"All of my wands cost seven galleons, nothing more."
"A wand holster will be required," Tom interrupted.
"And a holster?"
Ollivander nodded as he retrieved one made of green leather from under the counter.
"That brings your total to ten galleons."
Harry paid and thanked the man before retreating hastily from the shop. His other experiences of the alley had been nothing but frustrating, that, however, had raised far too many questions for him to even begin considering.
"You will have the truth one day, Harry," Tom promised. "I would however be very cautious of Dumbledore. Ultimately, the man was responsible for you being placed with your relatives. Does that sound like someone that has your best interest at heart?"
Harry couldn't help but agree with Tom. If Dumbledore had placed him there, why had he left him to fend for himself? Surely, he must have known something about the family he'd abandoned an orphan with and would at the very least have checked on him.
"Do not allow it to plague you. You have waited many years to have your wand. Wouldn't you rather find somewhere you can test it out?"
Harry found himself smiling at the thought and he pushed away any thoughts he had on the headmaster and anything Ollivander had mentioned. As Tom had said, he would get the answers he sought eventually. He managed to find a secluded spot behind Eeylop's Owl Emporium, and he took a seat on a low wall by the bins.
"I think you should try some Transfiguration first. Your father had a reputation for being exceedingly gifted in the art. Let's see if you have been blessed with the same."
"My father? Did you know him?"
"Not personally," Tom sighed. "But his ability in Transfiguration was well-known by all. Any that did know your father would tell you the same."
Harry nodded sullenly.
"What about my mother?"
"She excelled in Charms and Potions, though she was by all accounts very well-rounded in most branches of magic. I'm sorry, Harry, but that is all I know of them."
The boy smiled gratefully.
"Thank you, Tom," he whispered as he drew his new edition of The Standard Book of Spells: Grade One from within one of his bags.
"I want you to try and turn a twig into a needle," Tom instructed.
Harry found the needed spell in the contents section of the book. Turning to the correct page, he read the instructions and mouthed the incantation several times. He then practiced the wand movements with the twig he intended on using for the spell.
"I think I'm ready."
"In your own time, Harry," Tom allowed.
He took hold of the box that contained his newly bought wand and removed the lid. He couldn't help but admire the craftmanship as he took it into his hand for the first time.
He had felt overwhelmed by his magic when he'd held them separately. This, however, was something else entirely. It felt as though his whole body had burst into flame the heat emanating from him being so intense.
"Wow," he whispered when his magic had settled after several moments.
"That is how it should feel," Tom chuckled. "Now, the spell."
He couldn't help but feel disappointed when nothing happened after his first, second and third attempt. Tom, though, was not deterred.
"Try it the way I have been teaching you, Harry. Think about what you want to happen and will your magic to carry out your intentions. You can do it," he encouraged.
With nothing to lose, Harry closed his eyes, doing his best to ignore the frustration. Without uttering a word, he felt for his magic and willed it to carry out his wishes. A warmth escaped him and passed through the wand in his hand.
"Congratulations, Harry," Tom praised. "You have achieved something that I did not until my fourth year of school."
Harry opened his eyes to the sight of a perfectly formed needle on the wall where the small twig had been.
"How?" he asked, dumbfounded by the results.
"I took a risk and it paid off," Tom replied. "When I learnt that instinctual magic was more effective, I had to forget all that I had been taught to use it. It took a very long time and I wondered if it was possible to learnt it this way in the first place."
"Why wouldn't they teach it this way?"
"Because it is a very difficult skill to master. For the past three years we have worked on it. At Hogwarts, they do not have that amount of time to invest in the practice, most people never acquire the skill at all."
"But what does it even mean?"
Tom huffed uncertainly.
"It means that you will be considerably further ahead of your peers, but also that questions will be asked. We will be able to pass it off as a natural ability if we approach it correctly. You will however, struggle with the way wand subjects will be taught. With how I have trained you, I believe incantations and wand movements will only hinder your progress"
"Oh," Harry exclaimed.
"Do not worry, Harry. The skill you have developed will prove to be far superior, that I can promise you."
"Well, what do we do now?"
"You go and pick yourself a nice owl and we wait. It is only a month away after all that you begin your years at Hogwarts."
Knowing that it was now so close brought a smile to his lips. In just a few weeks, he would be able to leave the Dursleys behind, leave his cupboard behind and begin his life far away from them at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
As always, follows, favourites and reviews are greatly appreciated.
You guys have given me so much over this past week, have lifted my spirits considerably and many of you have encouraged me to truly devote myself to this little hobby of mine. In the spirit of this, I want to be able to give something back. I will continue you posting any FF I write here, that will never change, that, I can assure you.
However, I will be working on my own original stories also. So, if you do enjoy my writing, do please go ahead and check out my PA t reo n page where I am posting original fics.
Just for you guys, I have created another tier, one that is cheaper than the others and offers some great benefits. You will get early access to all my works, there and will be a part of the community I am building. This is limited, however, to 200 places.
Again, thank you all so very much and please, stay safe and stay happy.