Desiring Other Times
Chapter 1 - Greetings
Disclaimer: If I had a penny for every time I said 'I own Harry Potter', I would have… one penny. Because I just said it.
A/N: Apologies for the coarse language.
There are times I wish I had never been born. Then there are times I wish he had never been born. But in the end, no matter how much I wish, no matter how much my heart cries out for either to occur, the gods will never grant me my desire.
My name is Harry James Potter, and I hate my brother.
"Jeremy, honey? It's time to wake uuup!" My mother's singsong voice rings cheerily in the half-silence of the morning. The walls have muffled the sound, but I have grown up hearing these words. She has never spoken them to me, for I get no such wake-up call – they are reserved for my brother alone, the Boy Who Lived, Prince-Sunshine-Comes-Out-Of-His-Arse.
The steady light of my desk lamp illuminates one corner of my room, the tottering towers of books casting solemn shadows that reach out towards the door like fingers. Oftentimes, my mother tries to convince me that studying by natural light was hardly going to damage my eyesight, but I still keep the blinds closed, preferring the reliable illumination brought by Muggle electricity.
Sighing, I close The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 3), tuck it among the veritable library of ordinary fiction books and exit my room, shutting the door behind me softly. My mother comes back down the hallway, from Jeremy's room.
"You're up, Harry! Wonderful, now you can help me make breakfast…" She steers me in the direction of the kitchen, and we spend about twenty minutes preparing the morning meal. Mother doesn't like having the house elves cooking for us for every meal – perhaps it's a side-effect of her field Auror training, in that out on the field, you didn't have servants helping you clean your clothes, cook your meals. We wouldn't even have house elves for cleaning if it wasn't for the fact that they've been in the Potter family for decades. Not to mention that father was averse to having to clean the muck that he helped bring in.
Around the time we were almost finished (Eggs Benedict on English Muffins), father and Jeremy wandered in. If we were any other family, one would have said their hair was 'sleep-tousled', but we weren't any other family, and their hair was no messier than normal. I was thankful that my hair was hardly so scruffy, and merely had a few curls in it – something I'm thankful for having inherited from my mother.
"Morning, Lily." "Morning, mum!" A quick peck on her cheek (father) and a jaunty wave (Jeremy), then we were all seated, and tucking into breakfast.
"The two of you are packed, right?" Mother looks pointedly at Jeremy, who has a penchant for forgetting things – I've always wondered if this was a side effect of having everyone cater to all his needs.
"Yes, mum." He chirped back. "You've asked us like, fifteen times already last night!"
"Just checking, honey." Jeremy grimaced at the word 'honey' – I personally agreed that eleven was far too old to be spoken to like that. "Muuum… I told you…" He trailed off – not even he wanted to risk pissing mother off, particularly on the very day we were supposed to set off for Hogwarts.
Mother sighed, and father just grinned about his muffin. He washed the taste of cheese and ham down with a glass of orange juice, then brought the empty glass to the table with a wham – mother glared at him, although he didn't crack the glass. This time. Ignoring her, he swept the back of his hand across his mouth then sighed in a self-satisfied manner.
"Well!" said Father. "We ready to go?" Hurrying quickly, Jeremy and I gobbled our breakfasts down quickly, then hurried off to our rooms to get our things. Two minutes later (and an Ablutions Charm – it wouldn't do to have bad breath if I could help it, right?), the clunking thunk-thunk of heavy trunks being dragged down the stairs could be heard, as Jeremy and I hauled our trunks to the car. Somehow or other, mother had taught father how to 'deal' with Muggle cars, and he'd managed to pass his driver's license exam.
Jeremy spent the ten minutes it took to drive to King's Cross Station talking about how many friends he'd make at Hogwarts and how he reckoned that it could hardly be all that difficult if all that father and mother had started to teach us had been so easy. The moment he said that, I knew he hadn't read any of his set text books – if he had, he would have realised that the Light Spell and the Stunning Spell were listed as some of the easiest magic to pull off. Not to mention that the level of the magic we would be taught about would be substantially more difficult.
Sighing, I turned from looking straight ahead to looking out the window. Mother noticed.
"Well, what do you think Hogwarts is going to be like, Harry?"
I blinked, then fed them some bullshit answer that I wasn't sure, that I hoped I wouldn't get lost or something like that. Father grinned – you could see it in the rear-view mirror – and started some story about how he and the Marauders had managed to Confound Severus Snape into forgetting about a trick step. And into not noticing the quite intricate rig-up they'd put into place.
It wasn't long until we were on King's Cross Station, traversing the crowds to platform 9 and ¾. The fire-red and gold steam train puffed out mist, despite the fact that it wasn't going anywhere. Students, parents and a few discreetly placed Aurors milled about, the squawking of owls, croaking of toads and mewling of cats (along with other sundry sounds from not so authorized pets) adding to the chaotic atmosphere.
Father helped Jeremy pull his trunk into an empty carriage, with mother helping with mine. Out here, in public, they seemed to do their utmost best to make it seem like we were the perfect family, where Jeremy and I were loved equally. That's not to say they behave horribly to me at home, but nonetheless, the differences in how they treat us when in private are there.
Mother sighed happily at the both of us, eyes slightly glazed over as she daydreamed about how we were going to be the perfect students – quite conveniently forgetting the influence of the man she had married.
"Oh, the two of you are going to do just fine." She murmured, running her hand through Jeremy's, then my hair. "Look after yourselves, Jeremy, Harry." We grinned back at her, and Jeremy said something about how macho and capable he was and that he wouldn't be getting hurt. Okay, so maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit.
Make that a lot. But that's neither here nor there.
Eventually, the train pulled out of the station, and I smiled inwardly that I wouldn't have to deal with my parents for almost an entire year. Jeremy may have complained that our parents' work pulled them out of the house for long periods of time, but I certainly wasn't disappointed that they expected us to stay at Hogwarts during the holidays.
"Well!" Jeremy turned to me. He pulled out a set of Exploding Snap cards from seemingly nowhere. "Want to play a game?"
I tilted my head, debating whether or not to play a few rounds or finish that book on Animagi… then decided that keeping up appearances was far more important.
"Sure." We sat down on either side of the compartment's table, and Jeremy began shuffling the cards. He'd split them into three (you couldn't really play with two players, but if you took out enough cards for another player, people couldn't cheat), when the door slid open.
"…nd I know you think I'm a useless idiot but would you please shut up!" The red-headed lanky boy at the door argued with some unseen person to his left, then he turned to face us, his ears burning red. "Um… sorry about that." Jeremy and I merely shrugged at him, giving slight smiles. "Uh, could I sit here? Everywhere else is full…"
If it were at all possible, the boy seemed to blush even more. Jeremy shuffled further down the bench on his side of the table. "Sure! Want to join us in game?"
The boy blinked, then nodded enthusiastically. "That'd be awesome, thanks. I'm Ron Weasley, by the way." He stuck out his hand, and Jeremy shook it, then me.
"I'm Jeremy Potter. And this…" He indicated at me. "I'm Harry Potter."
Ron's eyes widened. "The Potter Twins? Jeremy Potter, the Boy Who Lived?" He looked back and forth between the two of us, but spent more time looking at Jeremy. Jeremy coughed uncomfortably, but his mouth curled up in a half-smothered smile.
"Um… yeah. That's me. Us, I mean." He looked sideways at me apologetically. I merely grimaced a little, rolled my eyes as Ron continued to be speechless with awe.
The door slid open again – I was regretting having agreed to playing Exploding Snap, seeing as we hadn't even started to play – and a girl with bushy hair and rather unfortunately oversized front teeth swept her eyes over all of us.
"You haven't seen a toad have you? Neville here's–" She turned to somebody at her side, whose silhouette we could see through the frosted glass. "-lost his." She looked expectantly at us.
We looked at each other and shook our heads. "Sorry, haven't seen a toad."
Jeremy seemed to remember something. "Have you tried Summoning him?" The girl blinked.
"Um, no. That's a Fourth Year spell – hang on, you three aren't fourth years, you're too young… right?"
Ron shook his head violently, but Jeremy merely smirked. I sighed, and began looking through my deal of cards. "Nah, we're just starting. Maybe I could try…?" Jeremy pulled out his wand with a flourish, and the girl looked rather curiously at him.
"Hang on, you're Jeremy Potter, aren't you?"
An exhausting minute later (it felt more like ten), and Jeremy had Summoned Trevor the Toad for Neville, and Hermione and Ron had finally gotten over most of their star-struck awe. All three of them joined our expanding game of Exploding Snap, and it was a rather rowdy crowd that greeted the lady with the Food Trolley when she slid open the door.
"Anything off the trolley, dears?" There were varying reactions in our group. Jeremy's eyes lit up with excitement while Hermione's lit up with curiosity as to the nature of Wizarding snacks. Neville and Ron seemed disappointed about something – in Neville's case, my theory was that he had been forced into a diet of some sort, while Ron couldn't quite afford it. Me? I just stood up, pulled out a Sickle and paid for a few packets of Chocolate Frogs and Cauldron Cakes. Jeremy bought a pile of Chocolate Frogs (I believe he was about two cards off having a compete set) and some Every Flavour Beans, along with some other random sweets.
He piled them onto the table, next to the cards. "Have some," he said, gesturing to the snacks and looking at Ron, Neville and Hermione in turn. Hermione seemed reluctant about having chocolate – she said it was to do with her having dentists for parents, and Ron needed some convincing that he didn't have to pay for any of it. Even Jeremy thought it wasn't a good idea to convince someone to break their diet (even if the someone was male) and merely insisted Neville have at the very least, a Cauldron Cake.
Half an hour later, the train was pulling into Hogsmeade station, and Hermione, Neville and Ron had left to get changed, their trunks being in different compartments. Dressed all in black, Jeremy seemed smaller than he normally was, and the nerves of the impending Sorting made him paler and younger looking.
"Firs' years! Firs' years over here!" Hagrid, the Keeper of Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts, bellowed out across the chatter of returning students. Jeremy and I headed towards his gigantic form, with other diminutive-looking students squeezing in the same direction through the older students. It wasn't the first time that I revelled in the fact that a slightly skewed potion (I believe it was supposed to make my bones grow stronger, but my dose seemed to have been made by the student, rather than the master – Jeremy received that one) combined with the slightly unsteady genes of a union between a Pure Blood (of several generations) and a Muggle resulted in my accelerated metabolism. It wasn't anything amazing – sure, I grew a little faster, didn't get fat, was just that little bit fitter than someone who'd done the same activities as I did… but having all this compounded for several years meant I was taller than my fraternal twin brother by about two inches and was substantially more muscular and fit.
All in all, I didn't have too much trouble forcing my way through the crowds to Hagrid.
"C'mon, follow me!" We trailed after him through a forest, and to the edges of a giant lake. "No more 'an four t' a boat!" instructed Hagrid, as he climbed into one by himself, the small wooden boat sinking down several inches.
Jeremy grinned at Neville, Ron and Hermione, and pulled them with him to a boat. As they were hauled along, both Neville and Hermione strained their necks to glance back at me a few times, but I had already disappeared, joining a boat with a sandy-haired boy called Seamus Finnegan, a black boy called Dean Thomas and a boy called Terry Boot.
The boats travelled across the lake and eventually approached the other side, the entire debacle of walking through a forest and crossing the lake obviously designed to awe impressionable students. I sighed, trailed my fingers through the water and noted with my sharp eyes (kept at 20-20 thanks to my reading with full illumination) that there seemed to be some sort of giant sea creature in the water. Docking, we all offloaded from the small boats and trod up to the castle, where Hagrid pounded against the front 'doors' (I had to admit, such a word put into mind small, flimsy affairs, while these were more like gates).
Almost immediately, the door swung open and a tall (not compared to Hagrid, of course) black-haired witch dressed in emerald green stood, silhouetted by the light from the hall behind her. Her stern manner jogged my memory of the many portraits of staff detailed in Hogwarts, A History, and I realised that this was Professor Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts. What was slightly amusing to note was that she was also Head of Gryffindor, which was well known for its rivalry with Slytherin – whose house colours were green and silver.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall." declared Hagrid, one of his dustbin-lid sized hands sweeping carelessly behind him. If it weren't for his height, he might have accidentally decapitated one of the poor students, and Professor McGonagall seemed to notice this, seeing as how she blanched momentarily at him.
"Thankyou, Hagrid. I will take them from here."
"Psst! How many times do you think they've rehearsed that?" A boy with slick blonde hair hissed at his companions, two rather thuggish looking boys that paused for a noticeable moment before grunting in response, only turning it into a sort of muffled sniggering laughter when the blonde-haired boy looked expectantly at them. Turning with a sort of huff, the blonde roved his eyes over at the other students as we entered a small side-room off the Entrance Hall.
His eyes landed on me, then on the small lightning bolt shaped scar on my forehead. The blonde's eyes widened, then narrowed calculatingly as he swaggered in a practiced manner in my direction.
"Harry Potter, I presume?" His perfectly manicured hand extended, the boy looked at me right in the eye, a fact that I congratulated him for, considering I was taller than him by five inches. "I'm Draco Malfoy. A pleasure to make your acquaintance." Briefly, his eyes flickered left and right, and I realised he was hoping that Jeremy was also about. Not seeing Jeremy, he decided to settle for just me.
Regarding his hand and recalling all I had heard (not much that was truly factual) about the Malfoy family, I reached forward and shook his hand firmly. Making friends with Draco Malfoy wasn't on the top of my To-Do List, but making enemies with him was certainly on my Not To-Do List.
"Likewise," I replied dryly. Looking pointedly at his two goons that had followed after him, I let go of Draco's hand. "Oh, them? That's Vincent Crabbe-" Draco pointed at the one on his left. "-and that's Gregory Goyle," he said, pointing to the other. I nodded at them neutrally, when I noticed Draco's eyes brighten as he looked at something – or somebody – over my shoulder.
"Harry! We lost you on the way here…" He turned to regard Draco, Vincent and Gregory. "And who're your friends? I'm Jeremy, by the way, Jeremy Potter." He stuck out his hand, and Draco seemed to look like Christmas was here.
"Draco Malfoy." Just as he reached to shake Jeremy's hand, Jeremy drew it back suddenly, as if it had been burned. I sighed inwardly – the fool hadn't recognized a Malfoy despite how much he'd been told by father and mother!
"Malfoy!" Already, Draco was looking scandalised at Jeremy's rudeness, while Vincent and Gregory were inching forward, gaining momentum with Draco's rising temper.
"That's my name, yes, and if you think my name's funny-" With a little bumbling flair, Draco attempted to steady the conversation.
Jeremy, however, would have none of it. "Come on, Harry. You know what dad said – Malfoys are evil." He hissed at me, and I refrained from rolling my eyes. Draco was incensed, and Vincent and Gregory were approaching us quickly. Jeremy tried to tug me away, to join where Ron and Neville seemed to be chatting.
If I followed Jeremy, Draco would take me as his enemy. But if I insisted on staying, Jeremy would think the same. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, but not if I had anything to say about it!
Author's Notes:- There are several things that may not be exactly clear (which says something about my writing talent or lack thereof):
1. Harry may be a bit (understatement) of a bookworm, but there is a reason (nuh-duh). He is also a lot more intelligent that the canon books paint him – would you like to have a saviour that has an IQ less than 100? Because that's canon Harry!
2. Jeremy doesn't hate Harry – to him, Harry's just his 'little' brother that's a little shy (read: antisocial), into books, and occasionally some fun
3. Harry doesn't get abused by his parents – that is illogical even though it occurs in most stories of this AU type, unless you play the 'child abuse runs in the Evans family' card (which is still far-fetched but possible). He just gets 'forgotten' and 'unappreciated' a lot of the time.
4. If I get some terms wrong – that is, I'm not using British speech, that's because I'm Australian and my perception on the British language is skewed by the fact that several oceans separate the two countries and very little cultural exchange occurs other than sterilised television and a few migrants.
5. OOCness will occur as I make my return to the HP world (even if it's AU)
6. One major thing about this story that makes it even more AU is that current events are set in the twenty-first century, with Harry and Jeremy being born in the late twentieth century. Rather than being born in 1986 and starting at Hogwarts in September 1997, they are born in 1995 and started at Hogwarts in September 2006.