Alternate Reality: Simply Slytherin
The Dursley family, who lived at number four, Privet Drive, where the most normal people thank you very much. They were the sort of people you, or any other self respecting person, wouldn't dream of being involved in anything suspicious, strange, or odd. They just didn't hold to that sort of rubbish.
But the Dursley's had one secret, and it was one they hoped no one would uncover. That secret was the Potters. Lily Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, and the two hadn't met or spoken in several years. You see the Potters where wizards. And as with most other 'abnormal' things, the Dursleys just didn't hold well with that sort of rubbish. So it was with an intensely grudging attitude that they were greeted with the sight of their baby nephew on their doorstep with a note.
Immediately they had vowed to stamp out the kind of nonsense that separated Mrs. Durlsey from her ever so dear sister. Mr. Dursley sympathized with his wife. To a point. He, however, didn't want his perfect son mixing with that sort of child. And what would the neighbors think? Heaven forbid they learn of the Dursleys' abnormality!
Nevertheless the boy would eventually have to attend school, most likely get a job, and live his own life. However on the upside, the sooner he grew up, the sooner he got his own life, the sooner he was out of their impeccably perfect hair.
So it was with a surprising amount of normalcy that Dudley's birthday dawned bright and early to a young Harry Potter, curled up at the bottom of the stairs of Number Four on Privet Drive.
"Boy!" the loud voice was slightly muffled by the small door to the closet under the stairs. Nevertheless the boy who resided there hear it loud and clear. Wiping his emerald green eyes sleepily the boy of mention sat up on his small cot and stretched. Messy black hair partially covered a peculiar scar on his forehead in the shape of a lighting bolt.
Blinking back the light that poured though the small opening in his room as a silhouetted figure unlocked the view of the hallway.
"Come on then, get out here. I must have everything perfect for my Duddykins birthday" her voice was tight and shrewd.
"Yes Aunt Petunia." Came the still sleepy voice. Scrambling up out of his makeshift bed, Harry quickly stepped into the morning sun that bathed the small hallway in light. Following his Aunt into the kitchen he took up his usual place by the stove and began cooking strips of bacon.
When he was finished he watched in disbelief as Dudley complained at the fact he had five less presents than the previous year. He brought two immensely chubby hands to his eyes and feigned sorrow and anguish until in sympathy his mother reassured that he would be getting at least seven more before noon. And that was before noon.
Serving perfectly fried bacon strips with poached eggs and plate of kippers, Harry watched as Uncle Vernon entered the room, picked up a newspaper and took several long sips from his coffee.
Uncle Vernon was a large, beefy man with virtually no neck and an impossibly bushy mustache. His face, a usually light shade of puce, was currently turning to a slightly lighter shade of red as he continued to read the headlines.
"These people don't know how to run the government!" he'd explain every so often, showing his wife a few articles here or there. Ignoring it all, Harry placed the last two, most burnt, strips of bacon on a plate, while chewing a stale crumpet left over from the day before. He watched with a sickening grimace on his face while Dudley stuffed kipper after kipper into his mouth, golden brown syrup dribbling down his five wobbling chins.
Later that same morning they all packed out to the family car to take Dudley and a friend to the zoo. Sitting, just short of squashed, between Dudley and a friend ('cohort' Harry thought sourly) in the back seat of Vernon's '98 Sedan was in all sadness excited.
As they pulled into a parking place Harry took delight in being offered a balloon and a piece of candy by a thin woman wearing a uniform and a cheerful smile. Accepting with a small smile of his own he followed his relatives through the gates into the mass of people.
Harry knew his part in the whole mess; he was to stay several feet away from the Dursley's while they enjoyed themselves. If anybody asked, he was to say his parents where buying him an ice cream. Under no circumstances was he to reveal that he was there with the Dursley's.
Shrugging his shoulders, Harry agreed to the terms and settled into a comfortable silence while observing the various creatures caged up. Moving behind the group inconspicuously Harry found himself inside the reptile exhibit. While watching a chameleon walk along a branch he could hear his cousin telling Uncle Vernon to get something moving. Bored, he glanced over and decided to have a closer look.
A snake, large enough to wrap several times around Dudley (which was saying quite a lot) was sitting amongst several discarded leaves and other assorted vegetation. Harry watched as Uncle Vernon stooped down, tapping the glass quite loudly while squinting at it shrewdly. Dudley, obviously upset at the snake's lack of movement, moved on to another creature's glass cage, shoving the current boy away roughly in order to get a better view.
Harry turned back to the immense snake before him and sighed.
"Sorry about him" he nodded in his cousins' general direction. "I know how you feel, trapped like this. Everyone watching you. Creepy isn't it?"
Astonishingly the snake raised his head and stared at Harry for a moment with its lidless eyes before nodding of all things. Harry of course didn't know what to think about this.
"Can you hear me?" Again the snake nodded. "Can you understand me?" mentally he smacked himself. Of course the snake could understand him if he had just previously answered him! Nevertheless the snake mearly nodded. "Do you normally talk to humans?" This time however the snake shook his head. Harry nodded. After all, if he had been stuck in a small glass box he wouldn't feel very much like conversing with anybody or anything either.
"Look Daddy! The snake's moving!" Harry grimaced at the sound of his cousin's somewhat whiny voice. A moment later he was sprawled on the floor, looking up at the form of Dudley, nose pressed against the window in delight.
Should've expected that onehe thought to himself, a flash of white-hot anger shooting through his veins. In that same moment a surprised Dudley fell though the glass with a yelp. Also, Harry noticed, the snake he had been conversing with was now outside of his confined area and was slithering on the ground around his feet.
If he hadn't known better he would have sworn he heard an almost whispered "thanksss" as the snake glanced at him and slithered away.
"Help! Help! Mummy!" Harry glanced back over his shoulder and bit his lip to stop himself from laughing in glee. Dudley Dursley was trapped inside the snake exhibit!
Whilst the Dursley clan tried to figure out how to get 'dearest Duddlykins' out of his predicament, Harry entertained himself by sitting across the walkway watching the whole scene in delight.
His mirth didn't last long. After a seemingly endless ride home, Vernon's sedan finally pulled into the Dursley driveway. Once inside the confines of their home, Vernon's face started turning an unusual shade of burgundy.
"What did you do?" he asked Harry tersely.
"I didn't do anything" Harry confessed. "I was just standing there when Dudley pushed me over (Vernon gave his son a proud look) and suddenly the glass was gone. Like it was magic or something!"
This appeared to be the very wrong thing to say, for Vernon shouted, "There is no such thing as magic!" With that said he pulled Harry up by the scruff of his neck and threw him into his closet.
Harry listened as the lock on his door clicked into place and Vernon's steps followed his wife and child into the living room. Sighing to himself Harry briefly wondered why he had received such a strong reaction from his uncle for such a trivial thing. Unless there was such a thing as magic…
Settling himself on his makeshift bed the forgotten child pushed away such thoughts. There couldn't be a thing like magic. It was much too strange. But then again…
The unsettling thoughts swirled around in his mind for some time while he listened to Dudley open his presents in the other room. He wondered if all kids were like Dudley and himself. One child received everything while the other got nothing.
Changing into another shirt (that once belonged to Dudley), he closed his eyes and willed back he dream he had been having that morning.
He had been flying over London, riding a motorcycle.
A few weeks passed when one morning they were at the breakfast table when they heard the post arrive.
"Go get the post, Dudley"
"Ah da! Why can't Harry get it?" Dudley whined.
"Go get the post, Harry"
"Why can't Dudley get it?"
"Hit Harry with your Smelting stick, Dudley" Ducking the expected smack, Harry winced when he felt it poke between his ribs.
Dudley had been accepted to, what Vernon Dursely considered to be, the most prestigious school for boys. Each student was given a stick that the pupil in question could use to discipline anyone they wished. So it was with much enthusiasm that Dudley honed his punishing skills on Harry.
Scooping up the mail, Harry shuffled through it until coming upon one particular envelope that caught his attention.
Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the stairs
4 Privet Drive
Staring at the address, Harry glanced up at the hallway. This had to be joke.
The envelope was made of yellow parchment and heavy. The address was written in shiny emerald green ink, and there was no stamp. Making his way back to the kitchen in a daze he placed the other pieces of mail on the table and went to sit down. Dudley had other ideas.
"Look dad! Harry's got a letter!" he exclaimed whilst grabbing the letter out of his cousins' hands and handing it to his father.
"Give that back, it's mine, it's addressed to me!" Harry made a vain grab for the letter.
"Don't be ridiculous boy, who would write to you?" Vernon stated from behind the newspaper. He accepted the envelope and the newspaper went down in a snap.
"Petunia…" he said, his hand shaking slightly when he gave the letter to Mrs. Dursley.
Soon after (several moments), the two boys were first ordered then physically pushed out of the room. Silently fighting they decided (via Dudley's Smelting stick) that Dudley would listen through the keyhole whilst Harry crouched down to watch through the crack between door and floor.
"…It can't be!" That would have been Aunt Petunia.
"How did they know?" and that would be Uncle Vernon.
"Oh, Vernon, this could be bad! What should we do?"
"We pretend like nothing has happened" and with that Harry watched in remorse as his letter took a tumble in the flames of the stove.
But whoever had sent the letter was persistent. Not only did a letter arrive for Harry the next day, but for every day after. Within the week Uncle Vernon had taken to boarding up the mail slot, and keeping the curtain on the window shut. But still the letters came.
One morning Vernon was looking unusually happy, reclined in his chair in the living room. "Boy" he said when Harry passed by the room to return to his cupboard. Stopping, Harry cocked his head toward his uncle. "Sunday is possibly the best day of the week, do you know why, boy?"
"Because there is no post on Sundays" Harry answered distastefully.
Uncle Vernon grinned, "precisely"
Consequently, precisely two minutes later hundreds of later came spouting through the fireplace. Harry grabbed at various letters trying to grab hold of one. Holding one triumphantly in his fist he dashed off towards his cupboard. Like a shot his uncle was after him.
Leaping over and around various pieces of furniture Harry was moments away from the safety of his cupboard when he felt a beefy hand enclose around his waist. With a small thump he landed hard on the hallway floor, his uncle Vernon wrestling the letter out of his death grip.
Finally getting it away from his small nephew, Mr. Dursley grabbed the boy by the arm and shoved him into the cupboard under the stairs, locking it closed.
But Harry Potter wasn't stupid. While making a scene of himself grabbing a letter practically in front of his Uncle's nose he had discreetly shoved several letters up his shirt.
It was these letters that he now had strewn about him, hiding all but three under his bed. Clicking on the light he tore open the envelope and began to read.
OfWITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, and International Confed. Of Wizards)
- Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
Harry stared at the letter dumbfounded. Wizards? Witches? A school for witches and wizards?! This was a whole lot to digest for young Harry Potter whose whole world revolved around Dursleys, bullies, a cupboard, and Dursleys.
Pounding on the door of his cupboard he demanded answers about Hogwarts and wizards whilst shoving one of the various letters he had rescued up his shirt. Finally after a few minutes he could hear the lock on his door rattle, click, and the hinges squeak as it was opened.
Stepping out into the light of the hallway he confronted his uncle and demanded answers.
"Where did this letter come from? What is Hogwarts? Is there really such a think as magic? Am I wizard?"
"Yes" this was from Aunt Petunia who was standing in the doorway, looking quite pale. She continued in her high, cold voice. "How could you possibly NOT be one of those…those…freaks. With my sister being what she was? She got a letter just like that (she motioned towards one of the letters he held clutched in his hand) then she went off to that school, coming back every holiday turning things into rats or quills. I was the only one in my family who understood her for what she was! A freak! But mum and dad? No, it was always Lily this and Lily that. They were SO proud to have a witch in the family. Then she met that Potter boy at that school of hers and married him after her seventh year. Then after all that she went and got herself involved with one of their wars, getting blown up and we get landed with the likes of you."
Harry of course was turning very white by now indeed. "Blown up? Blown up! You said they died in a car accident!" he accused, wondering why his world seemed strangely upside down.
"Of course we told you they died in an accident! We didn't want you mixing with that sort of thing. We figured if we could stop at least one we would be doing the world a favor!" Aunt Petunia was sounding oddly hysterical by now and Dudley was shooting everyone scared looks. As far as he could tell, his family had gone mad.
Slightly shaking, Harry stared at his aunt with something akin to disbelief mixed with anger.
"Now, boy, don't get any ideas that'll you'll be attending that Hogwerts school-we'll not have any of that rubbish in this house!"
"Then maybe it's time I left this house" Harry said reflexively, almost regretting it. Almost.
"Oh you will now will you? And where will you go? To this school? You don't even know where it is" Vernon taunted, taking the letter from him and shredding it before his eyes. With that Uncle Vernon grabbed Harry by the scruff of his neck and dragged him back into the cupboard under the stairs. Tossing him he growled out "It would be good for you if you just kept telling yourself 'there is no such thing as magic'!" Harry blinked slightly as he was again cast into darkness.
After being locked up in his cupboard except to wash and relieve him self, on the fifth day of his confinement the door to his "room" was opened and he was made to start breakfast. Afterwards he obediently sat in the chair that was provided him at his customary place by the wall. Watching them eat made him slightly nauseous, but he waited, the slices of bacon in his pocket cooling-beckoning him to quench his ravenous appetite.
After the family was done they left and he quickly went to the table to nick a few bites of food. Careful of anything that would bring attention to its disappearance he made quick work of the smaller crumbs and bits left. Hearing footsteps he swiveled around and sat in his chair.
Aunt Petunia walked in briskly, ignoring him altogether as she started a pot of tea. Before walking out she ran a cool, calculated gaze over the remains of her families' meal, obviously checking to see nothing was missing. Seemingly content she turned to regard, for the first time that day, the boy who sat in the chair awaiting instructions of what to do.
"Clean off the table, see that you take nothing, little thief that I'm sure you are" she sniffed disdainfully. "And then the roses are looking a bit wilted, the grass needs trimming, and I want our driveway spotless. When you've finished with that clean Dudley's room"
"Yes, Aunt Petunia"
"Well don't just sit there, get to work!" obediently he jumped up and started clearing off the table, casting an admiring look towards a particularly succulent kipper as he threw it away.
Later that evening he sat once again locked in the cupboard, listening as several spiders scuttled past his tired frame. After finishing Dudley's room he had scrubbed the walls, floors of the house, the kitchen ceiling, and all windows. He had finished well before supper had to be started so he had washed the windows again and finished lying down the tile in the bathroom.
Exhausted he briefly wondered if anybody would remember it was his birthday tomorrow. Fishing around in his pocket for the scraps of bacon he had lifted from the kitchen that morning- savoring their taste, he wondered what birthday cake tasted like.
Harry paused mid chew, wondering who would be calling on the Dursley's this late at night. Before being shoved in his cupboard he had checked the clock. It had been several hours since then, he estimated that it was about half past nine.
RAP RAP RAP
Apparently whoever it was at the door had forgone any sense of what the Dursley's considered 'decency' and had opted for pounding.
"BOY!" Harry scrambled up and opened his closet door slightly, wondering why they hadn't locked it yet. "GET THE DOOR!" Uncle Vernon's voice was coming from somewhere upstairs, undoubtedly trying to make him self presentable, lest it be someone of importance.
A bit wearily he undid the lock and opened the door. "Yes?" he questioned what he guessed was probably a bit too brazenly, but was too tired and bitter to care.
"Is Mr. Dursley home?" the voice belonged to a woman. She looked about in her mid-fifties, her hair tied back in a tight bun, and was wearing some rather interesting clothes. As he met her eyes he saw something flit across her features momentarily before it was gone.
"May I ask to whom is inquiring?" Harry was curious as to how the Dursley's knew this peculiar woman. Perhaps from Vernon's drill company, after all, there were quite a few interesting types coming from there.
"Minerva McGonagall" the name sounded vaguely familiar, but he couldn't quite place it.
"Who is it, boy?!" Vernon Dursley's callous voice carried down the stairs.
Looking back at the curious woman before him he gave a weak smile, "perhaps you should come in, I'll get them for you" Before he left she requested that Mrs. Dursely and himself meet with her as well.
Racing upstairs he thought it odd anyone would want him in the room while they discussed anything with the Dursley's. Walking headfirst into his uncle he bounced back on to the floor slightly dazed.
"Well, who is it boy? No solicitors?" he asked suspiciously.
"No, her name is Minerva McGonagall and she would like to talk to you and Aunt Petunia in the living room."
Following his Uncle and Aunt down stairs he paused when they spun around and asked why he was coming too.
"Because I requested, Mister Potter be here as well" All three looked to the living room where their guest had poked her head out to join in the conversation.
"Mister Potter?" he murmured to himself. In a split second it all clicked. Shooting a hand in his left pocket he clutched one of the letters he had confiscated, and tore open the envelope. Eyes locked on the signature at the very bottom, he grinned. "You sent the letter from Hogwarts, you're the deputy headmistress!"
Uncle Vernon was turning a lovely shade of puce. "What do you want?" he questioned, obviously put off for putting so much effort into getting ready for someone he clearly didn't want to associate with.
"Answers, Mr. Dursley. I am Professor McGonagall at Howarts school for witchcraft and wizardry, and also the deputy headmistress, and I would like to know why Mr. Potter hasn't sent us a letter confirming whether or not he will be attending Hogwarts this coming term." Here she fixed her imperious stare upon Harry who was becoming increasingly conscious of his baggy clothes and messy hair. Swallowing uncertainly he shot his aunt and uncle impatient stares. Uncle Vernon was the first to speak.
"He will not be attending that freak school!" he declared. One really had to admire the colors Vernon was able to accomplish.
But the professor didn't seem to be able to quite grasp the concept of what the monstrous man was talking about. "But he has been accepted to one of the most prestigious magic learning schools in the country, in the world! We have the finest facilities, and outstanding curriculum, and the headmaster is one of the most well known wizards of our time!"
"I am NOT paying for some half cracked old fool who's fallen off his rocker to teach him magic tricks or-" but he didn't get to finish his line of thought, for the Professor had suddenly brandished a long, thin stick. Harry was puzzled as to why both his aunt and uncle both recoiled from the sight. But looking at the strange woman's face he wondered how the Dursleys could possibly still be standing. Of course, he already wondered this frequently about Dudley and Vernon, so he passed it off. What a strange woman.
"Albus Dumbledore is the finest, most competent wizard, muggle, and if you ever insult him again I may very well do much worse than this…" Harry watched with fascination as she said something sounding something like Latin and both his aunt, uncle, and cousin (who had come down for a just-before-bed snack and had probably heard all the commotion) were sent spinning across the room. Within minutes they were returned to their original places, cross-eyed and sweating but none the worse for wear. "Now, lets settle this business of Mr. Potter not attending school. Of all the rubbish! The very idea of Harry Potter not going to Hogwarts or any other wizarding institution is preposterous!"
"Why?" Harry dared to ask, eyes flitting from the stick in her hand and the Dursely clan huddling in the corner. "Why is it so preposterous that I not attend Hogwarts?" He absent-mindedly wondered how all three of them (particularly Dudley and Vernon) could fit so well into that one corner.
"Oh dear, you don't know do you?" she fixed him with a look he wasn't familiar with, but what he guessed might have been either irritation or sympathy.
"Sorry" he answered to the former assumption.
"Sorry? Sorry! Ridiculous! Why should you be sorry? If it wasn't for these great muggles, I would have an acceptance letter from you and this night would never have happened. Sorry my foot!" She looked at Harry for a moment, and Harry had the sneaking feeling that she was considering him. "Perhaps we should save all this for the Headmaster to explain," she stated, pausing to readjust her spectacles.
"I told you! I'm not paying for him to learn anything you freaks have to teach him! I won't tolerate it!"
The woman looked very close to impaling him with her stick and he must have sensed this, for he eyed it with some trepidation and quieted some. "Mr. Dursley, I trust you will be relieved to find you don't need to pay for young Potter's schooling?" Uncle Vernon seemed to finally hear something worth listening to for he seemed to immediately shut up. "Furthermore your nephew (Uncle Vernon made a disgusted noise) will be staying at Hogwarts for the duration of the school year (both Harry and the Durselys perked up a little at this) with the exception of holidays which, of course, is completely up to you."
Harry fought hard to contain his grin. He wouldn't have to go back to the Dursley's!
At the same time, it all seemed much to far fetched to be true. He glanced from the Deputy Headmistress slash professor, to his relatives back and forth anxiously.
"Fine! FINE!" Uncle Vernon was still a deep puce almost violet, and Harry could see a few drops of sweat building up at the corner of his brow. "He can go! Just don't bring him back!" Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It really was comforting to know you had a solid family life.
"Mr. Dursley, he won't come back until the summer term is over I can assure you"
Vernon seemed to be thinking this over and he curtly nodded, as if he himself had helped with her decision.
"I'll send someone to pick him up tomorrow afternoon, he'll be needing his school supplies after all. Then I'll expect you to deliver him to Platform 9 ¾ on September 1. From there the Hogwarts Express will deliver him to Hogwarts for his schooling to start."
The woman stared hard at Vernon Dursley, though he towered over her petite frame. Vernon only nodded his head which Harry more associated with an abnormal jerk. Perhaps a twitch. Whatever it was, the woman put her long stick away and with a polite farewell to the Durley's and Harry, was out the door.
After Vernon was sure she was gone, he turned his enraged temper on Harry. Picking him up by the arm roughly, he threw him at the wall and opened the latch on the cupboard. Harry, dazed and sure his shoulder had been dislocated bit down on his lip as he felt Vernon pick him up and studiously drop him at the entrance to his room. But before he could pick himself up he felt a thick, heavy boot connect with his rib cage, hearing a sickening crunch. He hissed with pain, feeling the tears well up in his emerald eyes. Big, beefy hands picked him up of the floor and tossed him carelessly into the back wall of the dark cupboard.
Groaning, Harry lifted his head toward the light of the hallway and watched, as the door slammed closed. He heard Vernon fumbling with the lock, and grimaced when his grating voice penetrated the door. "That's what you deserve, boy, that's all your worth. You should have listened when I told you there was no magic. Worthless…"
Harry didn't hear the rest of that sentence and he probably didn't care to. He was lost in his own dreams of flying over London on a broom with the Deputy Headmistress, the sound of a motorcycle in the background. Harry Potter had blacked out.