Deep in the castle at Hogwarts, an ancient magic stirred. Stored there by the founders, it had waited for almost eight hundred years. Godric Gryffindor had invoked it, in preparation for an event foreseen by the great wizard Merlin in the twelfth century.
Events were now coming to the forefront, and it was time to release the magic. Choosing the recipients of that magic was foretold by events ensuring that at least one became obvious as soon as another foretold event happened. The other recipient was not so obvious. She would have to complement the first, but be a worthy mind, strong willed, and sensitive. A candidate would be selected among two possible. The choice made and the magic invoked. When the two met, the stage would be set and the result would be a powerful bonded pair that would save the wizarding world from disaster. Timing was everything. Too early was as bad as too late. Getting the timing just right was critical. It was decided to activate the magic when the two met for the first time. Nothing could be left to chance, and so other magic's were invoked to protect the selected pair, and guide them when the time came. Love would play a large part in the outcome, which was incorporated into the magic as well. The stage was set. But the wait was long…
"That which is done out of love always takes place beyond Good and Evil." Friedrich Nietzsche
Chapter 1: Platform Nine and Three Quarters
Harry Potter was a wizard. He had found this out from Hagrid, the Groundskeeper and Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a few days ago on his eleventh birthday. Hagrid was a very large man by anyone's standards. He looked too large to be a real person, as if somehow he had forgotten to stop growing.
Although he had always known something was different about him, but finding out he was a wizard came as quite a shock to Harry. Now, all those strange things that happened to him began to make sense. The time his teacher's hair turned purple, the haircut that refused to stay cut, the time he wound up on the school roof when chased by his cousin Dudley, or the time he set a snake on Dudley, after Dudley shoved him out of the way by at the zoo. Each time, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had severely punished him. He had spent weeks alone, locked in his cupboard under the stairs for the pettiest offenses. Half starved most of his life, Harry was beginning to believe he was worthless. Dudley got all the presents, most of the food and all the attention. Harry didn't even remember the last good meal he had, never mind any presents. Attention? Oh, he got attention, but it was in the form of punishment. He dreaded Uncle Vernon, who would beat him just enough that it wouldn't show later.
His parents had not died in a car crash after all; they had been killed by the most evil wizard of all time.
Hagrid had taken him to Diagon Alley, the wizarding shopping street hidden in London. There he had learned of the gold that his parents had left him, after visiting Gringotts, the wizard bank. Visits to the shops in Diagon Alley had completed the list of school items on the letter Hagrid delivered last night. A wand and an owl were his most prized possessions. The owl, a snowy white beautiful bird that Hagrid bought Harry for his birthday. He promptly named the owl, Hedwig.
He purchased his wand at Ollivander's, after Harry tried many wands. The wand that chose him was eleven inches, made of holly with a magical core of phoenix feather. Curiously, Mr. Ollivander told him he had sold the brother to the wand that gave him the scar.
"And who was that person?" Harry inquired.
"Oh, we do not speak his name," replied Mr. Ollivander, but I think you are destined to do great things. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things; terrible things, but great."
Harry asked Hagrid about the wizard that killed his parents.
Lord Voldemort had tried to kill him with an evil curse, but the curse had rebounded instead and Voldemort had vanished. Harry was left with a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead and memory of a green flash of light. Hagrid didn't believe that Voldemort was gone forever, but most of the wizarding world did.
A month after his eleventh birthday found Harry at King's Cross Station in London, looking for Platform Nine and Three-quarters. He was starting at Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. With his new snowy owl Hedwig and a trunk full of spell books, potion ingredients and a new wand, he wondered how to find the seemingly missing platform. There was Platform Nine; and beside it, Platform Ten, but nothing in between. Feeling dejected, he had almost decided to head back to the Dursley's and the taunts he was sure to receive.
He turned as a group of redheads passed close by, and caught the words "…full of Muggles" and "this way to Platform Nine and Three-quarters." They must be wizards, so he trailed along behind them as they approached the barrier.
"You first Percy," the mother called to one of the boys and Percy headed straight at the barrier between the two platforms. Harry couldn't quite see what happened as Percy disappeared, followed by a pair of twin boys named Fred and George.
Despairing of finding how they did it, Harry asked their mother.
"Not to worry dear, you just run at the barrier between the two platforms, and it magically opens for you. It's Ron's first time as well."
There was a small redheaded girl there as well, and she wanted to go, but her mother said, "Not this year Ginny. You start school next year."
Harry looked at the small redhead that her mother had called Ginny. There was a strange attraction he felt with the girl, a tingling. She was pretty enough and he thought he should introduce himself.
Her mother introduced herself. "I'm Molly Weasley, and this is my youngest son Ron and my daughter Ginny."
"Pleased to meet you, my name is Harry Potter," said Harry. Harry had started to shake hands but was interrupted by Molly.
"You better hurry dear, the train leaves in a couple of minutes."
Ginny let out a squeak at the name. She had always imagined meeting Harry Potter. She wished she had more time to properly meet him and shake hands, but he turned and raced for the barrier. She also had felt a strange tingling inside as he approached.
Pushing the trolley with his trunk and cage containing Hedwig, he ran at the barrier and instead of hitting a brick wall, found himself on the other side. Platform Nine and Three-quarters and a scarlet steam engine and train appeared in front of him. It was a beautiful sight!
He made his way down the train to a compartment and struggled to load his trunk aboard. The twins Fred and George saw him and helped him get the trunk aboard. They introduced themselves and their jaws dropped when Harry introduced himself.
After he found an empty compartment and settled in, Ron, the other redhead boy asked if he could sit with Harry, as all the other compartments were full.
"Hi, I'm Ron Weasley," Ron introduced himself.
"Hi, pleased to meet you, I'm Harry Potter, your mother started to introduce us." Harry replied.
"So it's true, I didn't quite catch what mum said when she spoke to you. George and Fred said you were on the train!" exclaimed Ron. "Do you have the… you know… scar?"
Harry showed him the scar under the fringe of hair on his forehead.
"Wicked," said Ron. "Does it hurt?"
"No, but I sometimes have dreams about it," Harry replied.
The train started and Harry watched as Ginny ran down the platform waving, trying to get a better look at him. He felt that he had missed something important, but couldn't quite be sure what it was.
The train quickly picked up speed and soon left London far behind.
Later, a witch came by with a trolley loaded with snacks. "Anything from the trolley dears?" she called. Ron had a sandwich but didn't look like he wanted it very much.
Harry pulled out a handful of wizard money and said, "We'll take the lot."
Ron gasped at the amount of money Harry had, and was shocked considering how Harry was dressed. Harry was wearing hand-me-down clothes from his cousin Dudley, and since Dudley was very fat, the clothes didn't fit very well.
They shared Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs and Cauldron Cakes. The Chocolate frogs had picture cards in them of famous wizards. Harry got Albus Dumbledore. The pictures moved, and a caption on the other side read:
Albus Dumbledore, currently Headmaster of Hogwarts.
Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern
Times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his
Defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945,
For the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's
Blood and his work on alchemy with his partner,
Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys
chamber music and tenpin bowling.
Turning the card back over, he saw that Dumbledore had disappeared.
"Well, you can't expect him to hang around all day," said Ron. "I've got about five hundred myself. You could start collecting different ones and we could trade."
After polishing off the snacks, they sat back and talked.
Harry was ashamed at not knowing anything about the wizarding world, but Ron said that lots of muggle born didn't know anything more than him.
Harry told Ron how he got the scar; and Ron was quite upset when Harry mentioned Voldemort's name, but told Harry that he had grown up knowing his story from books.
"They've written a book about me?" Harry asked, astonished.
Harry and Ron found they quite enjoyed each others company and a friendship soon developed.
Ron showed Harry his pet rat named Scabbers, and Harry introduced Ron to Hedwig.
Taking out a very battered wand, Ron said, "Fred told me this spell…"
Harry felt another strange tingling inside him at that moment as a pretty, bushy haired witch poked her face in the door and asked, "Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost his. Oh, are we doing spells? Let's see then."
Ron recited, "Sunshine daises, butter mellow,
Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."
He waived his wand but nothing happened.
"Are you sure that's a real spell? Well it's not very good is it," she said. "I've only tried a few simple spells, but they all worked for me. By the way, I'm Hermione Granger, and you are?
Ron introduced himself, "I'm Ron Weasley."
"Pleasure." She said distractedly.
"I'm Harry Potter," Harry said. Harry felt a strong tingling inside him when she entered the compartment.
"Are you really?" said Hermione. "I've read all about you in Modern Magical History and Rise and fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."
"You mean there is more than one book about me?" Harry was shocked.
"Blimey Harry, she knows more about you than you do," said Ron.
She took Harry's hand to shake it: there was a trill of song: a bright blue flare of magic and the world twitched around them.
Hermione Jean Granger was born to a pair of muggle parents September nineteenth, the year before Harry Potter. Her parents were dentists and adored Hermione. She also had a younger sister. When they witnessed accidental magic they performed at an early age, they wondered what this meant for their little girls.
They tried to ignore that and sent them off to Muggle School where Hermione was outstanding in her studies. Unfortunately, she made very few friends, and none very close. Teased continuously as a know-it-all, she stayed to herself.
Hermione was a pretty girl, neither tall nor too short, with bushy light brown hair and large front teeth. Her best assets were her legs. They were shapely and long, but she tended to hide them, so that she would blend in with the crowd at school. Her figure was pleasant, and hinted at the beauty she would become in later years. Everyone immediately noticed her eyes, which were a soft chocolate brown. You could get lost in those eyes, eyes that were a window to her soul. Lies were a foreign thing to her, and her eyes would only tell the truth. They reflected a seriousness that many found disconcerting.
When she got her letter from Hogwarts, she was thrilled. Her parents weren't quite so enthusiastic, as that meant she would be leaving them and they would only see her during the summer. Because she was born in mid September, she didn't start Hogwarts until almost a year later.
Her enthusiasm knew no bounds and she quickly talked her parents into taking her to Diagon Alley for her supplies. Once there, she picked up all the books the letter mentioned she needed, along with extra books she felt would be of use. Along with a wand and clothes and the standard potion ingredients she would need, she came home with quite a heavy load.
All summer found her deep into her books, studying and muttering to herself. Not being able to do magic until she left for school, frustrated her, so she took to memorizing everything she could from her spell books. Her memory was phenomenal, and she absorbed like a sponge, everything she read.
The wand that chose her, Vine wood with a core of Dragon Heartstring was very unusual.
When she came across references to Harry Potter, she was intrigued. Here was a boy she'd like to meet, so she read everything she could lay her hands on about him.
When she arrived at Platform Nine and Three-quarters at the start of the school term, she thought she caught a glimpse of him, but lost him in the crowd.
Boarding the train, she felt a slight tingling inside her and it startled her. She ignored it when a shy, pudgy boy asked her if she had seen his lost toad.
Neville Longbottom had already asked up and down the train if anyone had seen his pet toad. Hermione decided to help him look. Stopping at one compartment, she looked in and saw two new students, one of whom was starting to say a spell. The tingling was stronger, but ignoring it again she asked them if they had seen Neville's toad.
Neither one had, so she asked to see the spell the one boy was starting. When he finished the spell and nothing happened, she asked "Are you sure that's a real spell? Well it's not very good is it? I've only tried a few simple spells, but they all worked for me. By the way, I'm Hermione Granger, and you are?"
Ron had introduced himself, and as soon as she looked at Harry, something felt different. The tingling inside her was almost too much to stand.
Harry Potter introduced himself, and with a shock, she realized that this was the boy she had been studying all summer and wanted to meet.
"Are you really?" said Hermione. "I've read all about you in Modern Magical History and Rise and fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."
She reached out her hand to shake his. A flash of brilliant light, a surge of magical energy and the world twitched around them.
Hundreds of miles north in a Scottish town, in an ancient castle, a phoenix in the Headmasters office trilled.
Albus Dumbledore looked up at Fawkes in question. He had felt a profound magical disturbance just as Fawkes trilled. What could this mean? Something important had happened, but he was at a loss to understand what. He would have to keep his eyes and ears wide open in the coming days to discover what had happened.
A dazed expression replaced Harry and Hermione's normal smiles. Here was something totally unexpected. As they looked around, Ron's face showed awe. Neville blinked, astonished.
"What just happened?" Ron queried.
Hermione was the first to recover, but was unable to talk. She felt a strange comfortable feeling deep inside her.
Harry was too dazed to say anything: but something very strange and wonderful had happened to him. Inside, he felt a surge of something he had never felt before, a kind of powerful feeling and connection with this witch. His whole body seemed saturated with power. He felt giddy and light-headed.
Inviting Hermione and Neville to sit down with them, Harry recovered enough to say to Ron "I think we somehow connected."
"How in Merlin did that happen, and what does it mean?" he asked.
"I have no idea," Harry replied.
Hermione sat down with a thump, contemplating what had just happened. Her mind was in turmoil, and things had not settled down in her body. Every nerve tingled with expectation that something wonderful had just taken place. Looking at Harry, she knew he felt it too. Power! A great sense of power swamped her body and mind, leaving her breathless.
Neville looked at them and shook his head. He had never heard of such a thing happening either.
Harry stared at Hermione. Whispers in Harry's mind felt strange, yet exciting. A word here, a phrase there, that he knew he didn't think himself; almost like a faint conversation taking place in his head. A ghost image of himself formed in his mind, and he jerked back, closing his eyes. What was happening? Was he seeing himself through Hermione's eyes?
Hermione stared back at Harry and thought: a connection; we have a connection! That's impossible! She felt a strong emotion flow through her body that was not her own. Looking at Harry, she also saw a faint image of herself in her mind, and a confusing whisper of conversation superimposed on her own thoughts. Was she going mad? The image disappeared when Harry jerked back and closed his eyes. This can't be real she thought! We'll have to talk about this, she thought, but in private. H…Hello Harry, she thought. Can you hear me?
Harry jerked his head up, answering at once in her head. Yes Hermione, how is this possible? I don't know much about magic, but I think this is not normal for a wizard and a witch to talk like this in each other's head.
I feel as if I've always known you Harry; I don't think it's normal either. We'll have to find out more about this.
When the door slid open again and a blond boy with two other boys entered, Harry recognized him from Madam Malkin's shop when he was fitted for his robes.
"Is it true?" he said. "They're saying up and down the train that Harry Potter is in this compartment. So it's you is it?"
"Yes," said Harry. The two boys that followed him in looked large and mean.
"My name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, and this is Crabbe and Goyle."
Ron gave a snicker.
"Think my name's funny do you? I can see who you are. Red hair, freckles and more family than your parents can afford. You must be a Weasley."
He turned back to Harry.
"You'll soon find out that some wizarding families are much better than others. I can help you there."
He offered a hand, but Harry, sensing an insult to his new friend said, "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself."
Draco's face went a bit pink and he said, "I'd be careful if I were you Potter, unless you want to wind up like your parents. You hang around riff-raff like the Weasleys and that oaf Hagrid and it'll rub off on you."
Harry and Ron both stood up. Ron's face was as red as his hair. Hermione and Neville standing with Harry and Ron with their wands out prevented a fight.
Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle quickly backed out, muttering to themselves.
No one knew any curses, but Malfoy didn't know that.
Ron said, "They'll probably be sorted into Slytherin House. I hope we don't wind up there as well. There wasn't a wizard or witch that went bad that wasn't in Slytherin. I hope I'm sorted into Gryffindor. All my brothers are in that house.
"How many brothers do you have?" asked Harry.
"Five and a sister. Bill's the oldest and is in Africa working for Gringotts, the wizard bank. Charlie's in Romania working with Dragons, and you've met Percy, Fred and George. Percy made Prefect this year. Ginny is at home with mum and will start school next year. Dad works at the Ministry of Magic.
"There's a Ministry of Magic?" asked Harry.
"Yeah, dad works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts department."
"What about you Neville?" Harry asked.
"Oh, I live with my Gran. My family wasn't even sure I was magical until one day my Great Uncle Algie accidentally dropped me out an upstairs window and I bounced unhurt down the driveway. They were so pleased I wasn't a squib."
"What's a squib?" Harry asked.
"Someone from a magical family that can't do magic." He replied.
"Tell us about your family Hermione." Harry asked. He could hear her in his head, even as she answered aloud. This is weird! We'll have to talk about this, he thought, but not here.
"Both my parents are Muggle dentists," Hermione replied. "I was oh so pleased when I got my letter. They were quite shocked. I don't think there are any magical relations in my family as far as I can determine, although I have a younger sister Emily that is also magical. I went to Muggle schools until I got my letter. I've been practicing and reading all summer."
"That's the same as me," said Harry, "But I lost my parents, and my relatives refuse to speak of them. They hate anything to do with magic. I didn't even know I was magical until Hagrid told me on my eleventh birthday. He then told them the extent his relatives went to keep his letters from him, finally winding up on a small cottage on a rock at sea. Hagrid had found them and told him the story of his parents being killed and his scar.
They all jumped when he mentioned Voldemort.
"Don't say his name," Ron said, looking scared. Hermione and Neville also winced.
The four of them continued to get to know one another and found they quite liked their new friends. Harry and Hermione had never had real friends before, and Neville was way too shy to make many friends. Ron had his brothers and sister of course, and they played together. His mother home taught Ron until he received his letter.
The four of them sat, absorbed in their thoughts.
Ron thought: Here I meet Harry Potter, and make friends and now this witch has caused something to happen between them. She seems bossy; I hope she doesn't come between us. She did stick up for me though, against Malfoy.
Neville thought: Harry Potter! I'm in the same compartment with Harry Potter. I hope we can be friends, he seems really nice. Ron talks a lot but he seems nice too. Hermione is a little intimidating, but what just happened to her and Harry?
Hermione thought: Harry Potter! I can't believe I've met him! What just happened between us? I can hear his thoughts. That's so scary! We need to talk and sort this out!
Harry thought: Good grief! What a day, I make friends with three people, one who can talk in my head: a girl at that! She's pretty, but I don't know anything about her. Ron's cool, Neville is shy like me, but seems very nice. Hermione. What a nice name. I hope I don't make a fool of myself. I'd hate to lose her as a friend. If I look at her, I think I can see what she sees. She can hear what I think! I'm afraid to look at her until I find out what's going on. I've never had any friends before; I'm not sure how to act, especially around girls. Hermione, I think I could get to really like her…
I can hear almost every word Harry says. He likes me! He thinks I'm pretty! Wow! Nobody has ever said that to me before! Harry, I think you're kind of cute too!
Darkness settled in, and all too soon, they heard an announcement that the train would be arriving at Hogwarts station in five minutes.
"We'd all better get into our robes," Hermione said.
Disembarking from the train, they heard Hagrid call, "Firs' years this way."
Harry ran up to greet Hagrid. "Hi Hagrid."
"Alright there Harry?" Hagrid asked.
"Firs' years c'mon follow me."
Slipping and sliding, Hagrid led the way to the boats. As they came around a sharp bend, they got their first look at Hogwarts Castle. A broad lake spread between them and the castle. The sight was amazing, with many turrets and towers rising from a vast castle. It shimmered in the dark and a great Ooooh arose from the first year students. The castle was perched on a great cliff overlooking the lake.
Loading four to a boat they set sail magically. Harry, Hermione, Ron and Neville wound up in the same boat. Whispers of thought continued to play in both Harry's and Hermione's minds.
Harry, this is so amazing, it's like a fairy story.
I know Hermione, I can't believe this is all happening.
What do you mean Harry?
I've never had anything my whole life, and now… it's like a dream. A very nice dream. I'm afraid I'll wake up and find myself still in my relatives place.
After a short sail across the lake, they ducked through a curtain of ivy in the cliff face and through a long tunnel, landing at a hidden dock deep inside the castle.
"Oy, you there, is this your toad?" Hagrid asked Neville.
"Trevor!" called Neville as he took the toad from Hagrid.
They walked up a flight of stone steps and stood before a huge oak door.
Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked loudly on the door.