Summary: Lily and James divorced. James never knew Lily was pregnant at that time. Both remarried, but only Lily's marriage survived. And Lily now lives in America, but what happens if both worlds collide?
The Lost Son
Chapter 14: Hello Again Hogwarts
James lifted Harry's trunk into the train with some help from Sirius. Once he had placed it in the compartment nearest to the door, which was still empty, he jumped back out and smiled. Harry was wrapped up in Lily's arms and his siblings were all trying to cling to him as if to stop him from leaving.
'But I don't want you to go,' Britt pouted, dangerously close to letting loose the waterworks. 'First you go and then we move into a new house and you won't be there and… and…'
'I'll be home for Christmas,' Harry promised instantly. 'And then you three can help me get settled in my new room. How does that sound?'
'Promise?' Britt sniffled and Harry nodded. Immediately both Britt and the twins looked a little brighter at that. Lily averted her eyes, which were now brimming with tears.
'Worry not, Lils, it'll be Christmas before you know it,' Sirius promised, wrapping an arm around her shoulder for a moment. Then he turned to Harry and ruffled his hair. 'Be a good kid and behave. If your parents don't get at least one owl about you this year, I'll have to start doubting the identity of your father,' he told him with a wink.
James laughed and batted his friend's hand away from his son's hair. 'Leave him alone, Padfood. Now Harry, don't listen to a word that big buffoon just told you. Just be yourself, I'm sure you'll have great fun,' James informed his son before giving him a soft push in the direction of the train. 'Now get in before it leaves without you.'
Harry laughed and nodded, quickly jumping into the train as the whistle blew and the doors magically started to close. He quickly hang out the window to wave goodbye. 'See you at Christmas,' he yelled and kept waving until the train had turned a corner and the platform was no longer in sight.
With a sigh he pulled away from the door and went into his compartment, only to find someone else now occupying it. 'I take it that's your trunk,' the boy inquired, pointing at Harry's trunk in the baggage rack overhead. Harry nodded in reply, studying the boy's face. 'If you'd rather have the compartment to yourself…' the boy started. Harry decided his face seemed nice enough.
'No, it's okay. I'm Harry,' he introduced himself, holding out his hand. The boy took it gratefully as his whole face light up at the gesture.
'I'm Ron. Ron Weasley. This your first year at Hogwarts too?' Ron asked.
'Yeah, but I've been there briefly during the summer,' Harry admitted.
'My brothers have been telling me all about it, though I doubt much of it is true. I especially doubt the part about the carnivorous toilet that loves to eat First-years.'
Harry laughed and shook his head. 'I'm sure non of that is true,' he agreed. 'How many brothers do you have?'
'Five, two already graduated, one's in fifth year and got made prefect,' Ron made a face at that. 'And two twin brothers in third year. I've also got a little sister at home, she's still too young to start Hogwarts. What about you? Got any siblings?'
'Three half-brothers and two half-sisters,' Harry answered. 'I kept having to promise all sorts of crazy things for them to let me go.'
Ron smiled a little, but looked confused. 'Half-brothers and sisters?'
'Yeah, my parents divorced when I was little. They both remarried, but both are divorced again. My mom had twin boys and a girl and my dad had one of each from his last marriage,' Harry explained. 'But it will be some time before they go to Hogwarts, the twins are five, my two sisters are both four and my other brother three.'
'Lucky you,' Ron sighed. His expression clouded over a little.
Harry got up and rumoured through his trunk for a while until he found what he was looking for. Then he turned back to Ron and held out his hand containing the item. 'Exploding Snap?'
It worked like a charm, Ron immediately forgot whatever had troubled him as the two started a game. Time passed quickly as they sat there, playing their card game and holding animated discussions about Quidditch. The landscape outside the window was ever changing, but they paid it little heed. It wasn't until lunchtime that Ron's mood dropped again.
The food trolley stopped by and the witch pushing it asked kindly if they wanted anything. Ron produced a hideous looking package stating he was all set. Harry looked at the package of sandwiches Lily had made from him and left the two little bundles of coins in his pocket that both James and Sirius had secretly slipped him, whispering that boys and their candy should never be kept apart. Neither knew the other had been thinking the same thing and Harry knew better than to inform them of that fact.
He got up and used nearly all of the money Sirius had slipped him to stock candy for the rest of the trip. Ron looked at him enviously as the trolley moved on.
'How about I trait you those sandwiches for two of these?' Harry suggested holding out two Cauldron Cakes.
'I don't know…' Ron started.
'What, you won't even allow a friend to share his stack of sweets with you?' Harry mocked with a smile. That seemed to do the trick, for Ron's face light up again and he took the Cauldron Cakes from Harry.
The rest of the train ride was fairly peaceful, with the exception of the meeting of Draco Malfoy and his two goons, of who Harry had been warned beforehand… repeatedly, and a girl with bushy brown hair and large front teeth who was helping Neville find his frog. The sky had started darkening as the sun was setting and Ron and Harry decided it fight be high time to change into their school robes. Harry was looking out the window in hopes of spotting something familiar that told him they were close, but he'd only been on the ground for a little bit and during their short stay they hadn't been allowed to leave the castle.
Suddenly the train pulled into a small station and stopped. Students were piling out the compartments and tried to be amongst the first to leave the train and get to the castle. Ron and Harry lost sight of each other in the mass of students and Harry found himself alone on the unfamiliar platform, until he heard a voice calling over the heads of the students. 'Firs-years, Firs-years, this way please.'
Harry smiled and pushed his way in the direction of the voice and came face to face with a gigantic man. He looked down and smiled. 'You must be James's kid. Hasn't been able to shut up about you going to Hogwarts this year,' he told him and Harry grinned. That sure sounded like his dad alright. A moment later Ron reappeared at this side, looking relieved of having found him again. 'Ah, another Weasley, aren't you? Your brothers keep me forever busy driving chasing them out of the forest.'
Ron smiled almost painfully, but was saved from replying because all the first-years had gathered and the man was leading them away. 'Round the next corner you'll get ya firs glimpse of Hogwarts,' he was telling. Indeed when he turned the next corner Harry was looking at the beautiful castle again and smiled, a warm feeling spreading in his stomach. He couldn't wait to retrace his steps and show Ron all the things he had discovered during his short stay. And of course the things Sirius and his father had insist on showing him.
They crossed the lake in little boats and were awaited in the Entrance Hall by Professor McGonagall. She spotted Harry and her eyes twinkled in recognition. He smiled kindly at her before she turned her eyes to survey the whole group of first-years and addressed them. She brought them to wait in a little room off the Entrance Hall before the sorting ceremony would start. Everyone tried to straighten their clothes and look smart as McGonagall had told them to and soon she came to fetch them to be sorted.
In pairs of two they marched through the Entrance Hall into the Great Hall and up between two of the house tables to the other end where the teacher sat at a long table. In front of it stood a stool with an old and tattered hat on it. At a loss of what to do, Harry looked at Ron, who looked just as bewildered as Harry felt. The older students in the Hall all seemed to stare at the hat and so Harry followed their example.
A tear opened up and to Harry's amusement, the hat started singing:
Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends;
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!
Harry looked back at Ron, his eyes twinkling. 'Easy,' he mouthed with a grin. 'Gryffindor.' Ron grinned back and nodded wholeheartedly. This was much better than fighting a troll, like Fred and George had told him.
With half an eye they watched the shorting, while otherwise taking in the beauty of the Great Hall. Hundreds of candles floated just above the heads of the students, banners of the houses decorated the walls and behind the teachers hang the largest banner of all with the shield of Hogwarts on it. Far above their heads the ceiling was dark and dotted with tiny twinkling stars, reflecting the sky outside.
Harry started out of his thoughts and stumbled forwards after a slight push from Ron. His mind had been so far away, he hadn't even realized it was now his turn to be sorted. He walked up the steps and sat down on the stool, putting the hat on.
'Hmm, difficult. Very Difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting… So where shall I put you?' A small voice said in his head. 'You could be great in Slytherin. It's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you to greatness, no doubt about that.'
Harry felt his blood run cold. He couldn't go to Slytherin, he refused to go there. What would his father and godfather say if he ended up in Slytherin? 'Not Slytherin,' he thought firmly to the Sorting Head, repeating it like a mantra. 'Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin.'
'Well, if you're sure – better be GRYFFINDOR!'
The last word rang through the hall and he quickly pulled the hat off his head. He didn't know how fast to flee to the table that once again erupted in noise. He managed to make his way over without looking to harassed. Somehow he knew he could never mention it to his parents or Sirius. Why had the Sorting hat want to put him in Slytherin? What had he seen to make him think Harry could ever fit in there?
When Ron dropped down next to him, he pushed his encounter with the Sorting Head to the back of his mind. And when the food appeared, he forgot all about it… for now.
A/N: Hope you liked it. I'll see how fast I can update for this story. Most like the next chapter will be a jump to Christmas, since everyone pretty much knows what happens during Harry's first year. Please review and tell me what you think.