AN: Guess who's done with summer classes? Meeeeee. Yes, my hellish busyness is over and done with and let us CELEBRATE with a new chapter.
I was originally going to have this include the sorting but holy crap I can't write any more today and tomorrow I'm going swimming so you'd all get this on Sunday or something and I wanted to post it noooow and I'm all about instant gratification. Also: Run on sentence. :D Yay.
By the by, you guys know how there's a link on my profile to deviant art? :D You should all totally go look at my drawings and be all "Oooooh. Aaaaaahh." Because that'd be awesome. /attention whoring
PS. Please excuse my retarded page-breaks. If anyone knows how to make nice ones without this site being all "LOL NO." then please tell me.
The day had finally arrived. After packing, which consisted of throwing everything haphazardly into his trunk while trying to avoid looking at anything magical, Harry had Vernon put it all in the car and heaved a giant sigh.
"Lucy!" He called out, sticking out his arm so that his shiny (albeit useless) post owl could make a landing. He petted the soft, white feathers, cooing in response to Lucy as she titled her round little head and half closed her eyes in pleasure. "I'm heading off to that horrible place now. You know where Hogwarts is, right?"
Lucy hooted an affirmative.
"Oh good! Go there, ok? Don't get lost on the way. And don't get shot by some idiot with a gun. And make sure you eat properly, I don't want you getting low blood sugar and passing out over a pond and drowning."
Nodding, Lucy nipped Harry on the ear and took off, gliding gracefully over the trees and scaring Mrs. Weatherby from number 6 nearly half to death as the owl playfully dive bombed the woman's rather unnecessarily fruity hat.
It brought a little tear to Harry's eye.
He and the owl had bonded while Harry was hiding out in his room. It was quite fun. Like a slumber party but without making out and pillow fights, or whatever it was that people did at slumber parties. Vernon's movies weren't very clear.
He wasn't sure how comfortable he'd be with stripping down to his underwear and letting other kids braid his hair and give him "massages". And then, you know, completely undressing and wrestling about like…like hyperactive, drooling puppies.
Sometimes he wondered about his Uncle. The man needed a hobby.
The drive down to King's Cross was uneventful. Harry amused himself by kicking the back of Vernon's chair and watching the overweight man's face get slowly purpler as the time went by. Then, just as the color was beginning to turn into this fascinating mix of mauve and bright red, his Uncle would glance back in the mirror, see Harry's wide smile, blanch, and sit stiffly without moving for a good fifteen minutes. Then the cycle would repeat.
It was Harry's favorite car game.
He scored points for every time Vernon nearly crashed into upcoming traffic or made neat little strangled noises from suppressed swears. Double points were awarded if the man had to pull over to take an emergency shot of his blood pressure medication.
Outside the car, Harry could see signs of past violence on many of the houses and businesses. He figured it was probably from the incident the newspapers referred to as "Gangs on PCP with jungle rot." The newscasters on TV had been going on about that for the past few days, throwing around words like gravesite desecration and nothing to worry about and completely harmless.
Which didn't do much to explain the blood stains and broken windows. Or the fact that half the people on Privet Drive were missing.
Harry smelled a giant cover-up.
One day the street was filled with screams as the zombies he had accidentally brought to life went homicidal and the next, nothing. It was downright unnatural. Harry had thought about getting to the bottom of this oddness until he had gotten distracted by Miss Puff Fluff getting her head stuck behind a bookcase. He had to quickly intervene before the rodent's head had a chance to pop right off.
He flopped down ungracefully on the back seat, feeling like maybe a temper tantrum would make him feel better. But no, it seemed like too much work. Really, right now he'd just rather be back in his own bed and looking forward to starting at a normal school where he could terrorize the teachers without fear of having one of them turn him into a toad.
…Did that actually happen?
Harry realized that he had no idea how the actual schooling at Hogwarts happened. What were the punishments like? Were they chained to the ceiling and tortured for not handing in homework? 'Cause that…that would suck.
Harry would revolt. Yes.
He'd give an inspirational speech and amass a dark army out of the poor, insipid students - who could have thought about revolting earlier but didn't and now Harry got to be King because that's how stuff like that worked. He'd take over the school in a blaze of glory and declare that the land –nay, continent! – was to be renamed Harryocalypse. Or something even cooler once he actually had time to brainstorm a name that would have just the right amount of 'awesome'.
It would be epic. There'd be songs written about him and rulers from other countries would come and ask for mercy or alliances and Harry could be all, "Whatever, I'm taking your land and your women!" Because according to the books Harry read, that's what overlords said. And then he would taunt them mercilessly from his throne of human skulls, but then again that didn't seem comfortable so maybe his throne could just be a bunch of pillows or a plushy chair or something. Yeah.
Vernon risked a nervous glance behind as the boy began to cackle in glee.
Car rides, as it turned out, went by a lot quicker when you were daydreaming about your imminent ruling of the world.
Harry was distracted from his internal debate over whether or not having a giant pool filled with happy dolphins was a bit too gaudy for the front yard by Vernon screeching to a halt. Unfortunately, this sent Harry crashing to the floor.
"Vernon. What. The hell." He muttered from his ungainly heap.
"Er, we're here!" Came the rather rushed response from Vernon, his voice so full of fake enthusiasm it nearly gave Harry a hernia.
"I can see that!" That was a lie. All Harry could currently see was a candy wrapper underneath the front passenger seat. He worked to fix this problem by scrambling back up to a more dignified position. "Were you trying to kill me?"
"Don't be stupid, boy. Why would I want to kill you?"
Harry glowered. He hadn't even left yet and already the servants were getting uppity.
Grumbling, he stepped out of the car and made a point of slamming the door behind him, enjoying the way his Uncle flinched at the noise. "I don't have time to deal with you right now but so help me, come Christmas vacation, you will rue the day. Rue."
Vernon paled. In hindsight, maybe attempting to get the dratted brat to go flying headfirst out of the windshield and into oncoming traffic wasn't the brightest idea - especially since it failed. Well, you lived and you learned. Unless you died in the process.
Harry stared at the ticket in his hand, brow furrowed in agitation.
He looked up.
There was a distinct lack of Platform 9 ¾.
He glared at the ticket, hoping that enough hatred would transform the numbers into something rational.
The seconds ticket by.
"This is just ridiculous." He informed his trunk, the heavy object sitting innocently by his feet, dropped there by a frantic Vernon who made a point of fleeing as soon as he could.
Harry didn't think there'd be much point in flagging down one of the station employees and asking where, exactly, the magical platform that took him to a mystical school filled with witches and wizards was supposed to be located.
Feeling his frustration quickly turn into self-pity, he pushed his trunk closer to the wall and plopped down on it. He leaned back, deciding that if the stupid wizards weren't able to make it obvious where the platform was - and seriously, was it that hard to attach a sign somewhere that only magical people could see but that would clearly explain what the hell you were meant to do? – then he was going to sit here and take a nap until someone came by to help him.
And if he was accosted by a hobo or druggie in the meantime then that was totally grounds for taking the headmaster to court for endangerment of minors. Like, he could be getting killed. Right now. And did anybody care? No.
Harry's musings were cut short as, in the process of the aforementioned leaning, he fell through the wall.
Today was not a good day for his relationship with gravity.
He imagined he must have looked quite odd, half his body on one side and half on the other. He was tempted to stay in that position just to see the reaction of the non-magical people. Unfortunately, this decision was taken out of his hands by some helpful stranger helping him up and patting him on the head, like a freakin' pet dog.
Bristling at this further injustice, he grabbed his trunk and dragged it to the train (another disappointment. A Train? Really? Did it at least fly?), wondering how in the hell he was going to manage to get that thing up the stairs.
He glanced around, trying to spot someone subservient enough to do the heavy lifting.
A rather amazing hat caught his eye, easily towering over the heads of other people because of its large size. It was a scruffy, vicious looking stuffed vulture, seemingly just waiting for the opportunity to rip off someone's face.
Harry wanted that hat like he had never wanted anything before in his life.
Abandoning his trunk, he made his way through the crowd on a hell bent mission to procure that fashion accessory for himself. Unfortunately, by the time he managed to squeeze through the imbeciles who felt the need to block his path, the hat (and the woman) were gone.
That hat…would have made the perfect crown.
He would not rest until he had it.
This was not the end, hat!
Harry's head swiveled around to face a chubby, awkward boy who was clutching a toad in his hands. "Yes?" he asked, not feeling very charitable at the moment and if that kid even tried to ask him how he felt about brooms, Harry was going to smack him.
"Are you a first year too?" The boy's voice was soft and somewhat squeaky. It annoyed Harry with its very existence.
The boy startled a bit, "Oh...uh….So you, um…"
Clearly, 'eloquent' was not the boy's middle name.
"Yeah. Great talking to you. Really. I've gotta go now before someone steals my trunk-…" He paused. Subservient looking? Check. Meek? Check. Totally able to help with manual labor? Check.
(For Harry's purposes, 'help' should be taken to mean 'do all the work instead' to avoid general confusion.)
Harry promptly beamed at the boy. He grabbed the boy's sleeve and dragged him over to the entrance of the train where his trunk sat, forlorn and forgotten. "This is my trunk." He explained, pointing helpfully at the only trunk in a ten foot radius. "I need you to get it up into a compartment. Not because I myself can't, mind you, but because I don't want to."
Never let your enemies know your weaknesses, like a complete lack of upper body strength.
He was pretty sure that rule applied to servants as well.
The boy looked flustered – Harry got the feeling that the kid wanted to say no but didn't know how. He could totally work with that.
"What, you're not going to help?" He asked, scowling. The boy's face flushed an unattractive red.
"I-…no, I will, it's just that…"
"Just what? You're too good to help a poor little new student whose Uncle had abandoned him without even a goodbye? Well. Your parents would be ashamed. Like, 'thrown out of the family' ashamed. SHAME."
The boy flinched violently at the mention of 'parents' and timidly went to grab the trunk. Harry watched as his new servant tried his best to maneuver it onto the train, finally succeeding after a good few minutes of breathless heaving. Harry bound up the stairs and patted the poor boy on the head, smiling proudly. "Good job!" he crooned, "Now go find a nice compartment."
He ignored the whimpers and patiently waited until his orders were carried out.
As Harry sat in his newly claimed compartment, trunk neatly stored in the overhead and a panting servant slumped against the wall, he finally felt that things were beginning to look up again. "So!" He chirped, "What's your name?"
"N-Neville Longbottom." The boy answered, doing his best to avoid eye contact.
"It's nice to meet you, Neville. You're my servant, ok? Ok. Glad we're on the same page. Now get out."
"Shoo." Harry gave Neville a look that sent the boy scrambling to escape the suddenly confining compartment.
Harry mentally gave himself a pat on the back - and then a physical once, because it just hadn't seemed like enough. Yes, all those hours of practicing looking scary in the mirror had totally paid off. He made a mental note to send a very nice letter to the author of "How to Intimidate Your Enemies Without Going to Prison In the Aftermath."
It was a good book. He highly recommended it.
Harry stretched out on the seat, yawning. Maybe getting here so early wasn't such a neat idea. Punctuality was all well and good, but there was something to be said about sleeping in and not dying of boredom because the train wasn't leaving for another hour and whose bright idea was it to get here so early anyway?
"Rawr." Said Harry, just to break the silence.
He was awakened by the compartment door slamming open. Blinking the fuzziness out of his eyes, he tried to covertly wipe away the drool that ran happily down his chin.
"Hey mate, mind if I sit here?"
Harry's eyes narrowed on this new interloper who had invaded his domain. "Yes."
"Great!" the redheaded brat exclaimed, promptly throwing his things haphazardly on the opposite seat and not even having the decency to put his trunk up without making a racket.
Harry felt rather confused. Something seemed to have gotten lost in the translation. "I…I said yes."
"Yeah, thanks. Everywhere else was full and my brothers kicked me out." He boy said, sulking a bit.
"You're…a bit slow, aren't you?" Harry asked, trying to be delicate for once in his life.
"What do mean?"
"…Nothing. Ignore me. I'm just going to sit here and hopefully you're going to sit there and we'll get along just fine if you don't talk. Or breathe." He sighed, feeling too worn out after his nap to deal with this nonsense. An unfortunate fact that Harry tended to forget and then have it bite him in the ass was that naps made him tired for hours on end. He supposed it was like getting woken up in the middle of the night and then being told that you had to stay up or your bed was going to catch on fire. So even though you really, really wanted to go back to sleep you were stuck and it sucked.
The redhead was eyeing him oddly, "Mate, if I don't breath I'll pass out."
"You don't say."
"Yeah. The twins used to do that kind of stuff all the time when they were little to get their way but my mum just kinda ignored 'em."
"Nah, not really. When my little sister tried it, she didn't even pass out 'cause she couldn't do it all the way and then she cried when we made fun of her and mum yelled at us."
Harry slumped back down on the seat, staring at the ceiling. Maybe if he focused enough, it'd fall down and splatter the redhead and then there'd be silence…
"Oi, so what's yer name, anyway?"
Harry turned his head so that he could look at the boy. He raised an eyebrow at the wide eyed look on the redhead's face.
"What?" Harry demanded, feeling very out of the loop and not liking it one bit.
"You're Harry Potter?"
"I just SAID that."
The boy paused for a moment before increasing the intensity of his stare. "Can I…see it?"
Harry promptly sat straight up. "Excuse me?"
"Can I see it?" The boy repeated eagerly, seeming to be nearly salivating, "Just for a second?"
Suddenly, Harry wasn't feeling very comfortable. At all.
"I…I don't think…"
"Oooh, can I touch it?"
The boy made a move as if to get closer to Harry, who quickly pressed himself into the corner in an attempt to avoid any bodily contact with the redhead.
"Get out!" he shrieked, "GET OUT, YOU PERVERT!"
The boy's mouth dropped open. "WHAT?"
"I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. I WAS WARNED ABOUT YOUR KIND IN HEALTH CLASS."
The compartment door slammed open again – Harry took a moment to question why the hell it seemed like no one was able to open doors quietly anymore – and Harry nearly launched himself at his blonde headed savior.
"Draco!" he cried, feeling a bit like swooning but suppressing that urge because he still had his dignity, damn it.
"Oh. It's you." Draco replied, giving Harry a nod. "I head a bunch of shouting so I came to see if there was anything interesting going on."
"Protect me from this deviant!" Harry demanded, pointing at the freckled boy who at that moment wished he was in any other compartment but this one. Boy Who Lived or no, this kid was crazy.
Draco raised an eyebrow at the redhead, "Deviant? I should say so. You're a Weasley, aren't you? My father told me all about your family."
"Yeah? So who're you?" the boy demanded, indignant at the tone of Draco's voice.
"Draco Malfoy." Draco titled his head up, looking down at the redhead superiorly.
The Weasley snickered at the name but before the conversation could continue, Harry cut in.
"I don't care who you are, you sexual predator! Get out! Out!"
Oh, how Harry wished that Miss Puff Fluff was here. Well, technically she was here, just not…here. Harry, not knowing what the heck kind of an ordeal he'd be expected to overcome in traveling to a magical school, had safely placed his pet in a soft, cotton lined basket in the trunk. It's not like she needed air and he didn't want her getting hurt by accident while he rode a unicorn or hung onto a flying dragon. Although if he had known all he'd be doing was riding a fricken' train he wouldn't have bothered. And now it was too late. Ok, he could get her out but frankly, it seemed like too much work. He had to get someone to get his trunk down, open it, blah blah blah. Not gonna happen.
While Harry was busy with his little internal monologue, Draco had fixed Weasley with a very amused look.
"A sexual predator? For shame, Weasley." Draco said, pretending that he knew what a 'sexual predator' actually was. He'd owl his mother later and ask.
"I'm not!" Weasley yelled. He too had no idea what that meant but it seemed bad so he was definitely going to deny it, even if Harry Potter said he was one!
"Well either way, you're obviously not wanted here, so…" Draco snapped his fingers and two burly (or as burly as 11 year olds can get) figures stepped into the compartment and stared the redhead down menacingly. "Crabbe, Goyle, take care of this peasant."
Harry watched, impressed, as the Weasley was promptly tossed out of the compartment, his belongings quickly following. Draco, for all his faults of being a Nazi, wasn't half bad. Harry eyed the blonde speculatively – yes, he'd make a very nice servant.
Now that the threat of molestation was gone – and boy, hadn't that sounded bad when the teachers talked about it – Harry felt less like a cringing princess and more like the evil overlord that he was. He made a mental note to work on that. It wasn't impressive at all and ruined his image of awesome.
"Thank you so much, Draco. You're good people. You can sit by me." Harry offered generously, beaming at the blonde. Draco flushed slightly and took the offered spot on the seat.
"You're welcome. My father says that the Weasleys are poor and maybe if they'd stop breeding like vermin then they'd be able to afford some manners." Draco said, nodding at the wise words of wisdom. "By the way, I never caught your name."
"It's Harry." He paused, staring at Draco a bit uneasily in case he happened to pull a Weasley. "Potter."
Draco's face showed obvious surprise, but then a satisfied expression quickly overtook it. He was friends with THE Harry Potter. He tried not to squeal.
"Well then, I'm pleased to meet you, Harry." Draco said faux-nonchalantly, holding out his hand.
Even though he took it gingerly, Harry beamed at the blonde. "Ditto."
Yes. His dark army was forming.
AN: Aaaaand I'm gonna stop here. Before you guys are all "OMG YOU WHORE. WHY? GET TO HOGWARTS ALREADY, BITCH." I just want you to know that the next chapter will be out in a little while. Like, seriously. 3 or 4 days. So no need to shiv me in the kidneys. :D
ALSO I'M SORRY NEVILLE. You're kinda being turned into a foot servant and I'd like to say that it'll get better but…well….eeeeeeehh.
PS. You all need to go read 'Pistol Whipped' by paddycakepadfoot because it is like 7000 kinds of amazing and Harry is so delicious in it. Yes. Do iiiiit.
PPS. Yes, Lucy is Hedwig. The name will be explained.