Ahead of time

Chapter one: Friends and strangers

"Get in your ruddy cupboard." Yelled uncle Vernon, as he grabbed his nephew's arm and roughly dragged him towards the closet door.

"B-b-but I" stammered Harry "I don't know how it happened."

Vernon grunted in annoyance. "You're not to come out until you stop this freakish nonsense!"

He pushed Harry through the narrow door and Harry heard the lock click and footsteps fade away. He couldn't explain it one second Dudley had been bullying him about his ugly hair, big clothes and lack of parents when all of a sudden Dudley could not longer talk.

No matter how hard Harry tried to explain that he couldn't explain how Dudley's voice had died his aunt and uncle seemed convinced it was Harry's doing.

Harry sat up slowly and righted himself in an irritated motion. Why did things always happen to him? Why did everybody hate him? Why couldn't he be normal?

He lay back in bed and let the silent tears fall. Today marked the end of Harry's first week of school and everyone hated him. None of the other kids wanted to play with him and Dudley kept telling his classmates stories. At lunch, as Harry had eaten by himself, he had heard Dudley tell his many friends about when Harry had accidentally peed his pants in the car when uncle Vernon had refused to stop. For the rest of the day they had called him pee pee pants.

The five-year-old rolled over on his bed and wiped his eyes. He had long since given up on his dream that he would be taken away from his relatives "care," but even so that night he wished with all his heart to have someone come and rescue him. After the horrible week he had had all he wanted was someone to tell him it was ok, like a mother. If Harry thought hard enough he sometimes thought he could remember a lullaby.

Humming the tune that maybe was or maybe wasn't his mother song the little boy gave himself as much comfort as he could and drifted into an uncomfortable sleep. He dreamt of a far away magical society that came to rescue him. A place that wouldn't lock him in his cupboard or call him pee-pee pants. But when the clutches of sleep finally relinquished its hold, Harry was no longer in the safety of his cupboard.

He blinked away the fog and stretched before he saw the old man.

Two piercing black eyes stared at him through half moon spectacles, making him jump in fright. The man was leaning over him, a look of fascination on his face as his long white beard grazed the floor lightly. "Hello." The man said as he noticed the boy was awake, his big blue eyes sparkling with curiosity.

"Umm… Hi." Harry whispered in awe before nervously darting is eyes around the room. What he saw made him become more wide awake then the time that his aunt petunia had threatened to leave his in his cupboard for a week if he didn't "get his lazy arse moving." There was a big desk with lots of papers on it, a huge fire place and many odd Knick knacks that Harry could not even begin to guess what they where and … wait had that picture just moved?

"What's your name?" asked the man in a calm trusting voice with a slight smile on his face.

"H-Harry." He stuttered

"Well Harry," the man said leaning back "I'm professor Dumbledore. Do you have any recollection of how you came to be at Hogwarts?"

"Hogwarts? I-I was sleeping sir. I promise. I don't know how it happened." Harry waited to be told he was wrong and that he did know and to set it right and not do it again, but it never came.

The professor nodded in understanding. "Alright, well how about I take you to my house and we can figure out how it happened over some tea and biscuits?" He winked. "What do you say to that?"

Harry scrambled to stand up off the floor in front of the friendly stranger. Aunt Petunia had told Harry not to talk to strangers or go anywhere with people he didn't know, but this man seemed so nice and Aunt Petunia was no where in sight. "Ok."

The old man's smile widened, making his crow's feet wrinkle, and Harry felt a feeling of safety come over him. This man would not hurt him.

"Harry have you ever traveled by floo powder before?" The man asked, as he walked slowly towards the fireplace.

Harry was completely confused: Floo what? "Umm…no sir, sorry." Ashamed at not understanding he looked at his feet and kicked them nervously.

"Nothing to worry about." Said Dumbledore "We'll go together then. Follow me."

To Harry's utter disbelief the man stepped into the fire with out hesitation motioning for Harry to follow. "It won't hurt you." he assured as the fire cast playful glows over his feet.

Cautiously Harry moved into the flames and took Dumbledore's hand. The elder man smiled at him and threw his hand up to let a dust come over them yelling out words Harry didn't quite catch.