Title: In The Beginning
Summary: In the beginning, there were no Weasleys. And it was good.
Word Count: 1,257
Disclaimer: *sighs* Still don't own Harry Potter. Woe is me.
A/N: This is the first chapter to a story that will hopefully be very looooong. I'm writing it in response to Stalker of Stories' challenge 'The World Without Weasleys' on The Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenges forum. Obviously it's not going to be canon. Please don't bitch about this, as I stated plainly in the summary that it wouldn't be. Thank-you and enjoy.
Harry stared around. There was no Platform 9 ¾ to be seen. His stomach turned at the thought that the whole thing was an elaborate ruse to get him thrown into an insane asylum. But then he recalled Dudley's horrified face as Hagrid gave him a pig's tale and he was pretty sure it was all real. Or he was incredibly insane.
Just as he was contemplating asking one of the workers (at the risk of being assumed a mental patient), a small, bushy-haired girl bustled over to him, with what looked like her parents, in tow. "Excuse me, but you were looking confused," the girl explained, her large, brown eyes looking unwaveringly into his.
"Well, I…uh. I'm looking for Platform 9 ¾," he said, hoping this girl wouldn't question his sanity. To his relief, she smiled and stuck out one hand.
"My names Hermione Granger. I read all about Hogwarts in Hogwarts: A History. We have to go through that wall," she said, pulling her hand out of his and pointing towards a large beam supporting an arch.
"Really. You never said what your name was," Hermione answered.
"Uh, I'm Harry. Harry Potter."
"Nice to meet you Harry. Would you like to go through with me?" she asked him.
"Yes. Thank-you," Harry answered and grabbed the handle of his trolley up again.
"Oh and these are my parents, Jean and Mark Granger. They were just leaving," she said, with a twinkle in her eye.
"She won't let us walk her through the gate," Jean said, with a watery smile.
"Says she can take care of herself," Mark said, his smile proud, but just as watery.
"Muuuum. Daaaad. Please. I'll be just fine. Here, give me a kiss," she ordered, embracing her mother, then her father. "I promise to write tonight before bed. Don't forget to feed Roger and if you could, hold her every once in a while, so she doesn't get lonely, okay?"
Her parents stepped back, both on the verge of crying, and Harry felt like he was invading their privacy.
"It was nice to meet you Harry. We love you Hermione," her mother said.
Harry blushed and said, "It was nice meeting you as well."
Hermione grabbed her trolley with one hand and Harry's free hand with the other, and with one last look at her parents, started pulling Harry toward the wall she'd mentioned earlier. Harry gulped as they got closer and Hermione smiled reassuringly at him. Harry closed his eyes as they neared the wall, and let Hermione do the leading. When he felt a tug on his hand, he opened his eyes and was amazed to find himself standing next to a train. Students and their parents were milling about, saying their goodbyes. Harry let Hermione pull him toward the train, taking everything in speechlessly. He pulled his eyes away from the delightful scene to help Hermione get their luggage on the train, but was looking around again in amazement, being led by Hermione as soon as they were on the train as well.
In the compartment, Hermione procured a book from God knew where, and sat down, gesturing for Harry to join her. He silently sat down next to her and gazed out the train window. There were so many people. All these people (and more, he reminded himself) belonged to a different world. He belonged to a different world. One where he could become something other than Dudley's punching bag or the Dursley's servant. He could start over here and become whatever he wanted. He smiled and settled back into his seat. This was going to be the best thing that ever happened to him. He was absolutely positive about it.
Two hours later, Harry was woken by the sound of a familiar voice sneering, "So you're the famous Harry Potter?"
Harry shook his head to ward off the effects of sleep and then opened his eyes. He panicked when everything remained blurry, but quickly realized Hermione must have removed his glasses, so he wouldn't crush them while he slept. He looked over at her to see that she hadn't woken at the intrusion. He nudged her. "Hermione? Hermione, wake up."
"What? Are we there already?" she asked, sitting up straight and looking around. When she noticed the people in the doorway she handed Harry his glasses without a word.
Putting them on, Harry wasn't exactly pleased to find himself faced with the cocky blonde from Madam Malkin's. At his back were two hulking figures, neither looking very intelligent.
"Famous? What? I don't understand. I think you're mistaken," Harry finally said, fidgeting with the zipper on his coat.
The unpleasant boy scoffed. "I'm Draco. We met at Madam Malkin's. Remember?
Hermione eyed the three boys and then turned to Harry. "He's a Malfoy, I believe. I'm not sure about the other three, but he has distinct qualities that would point at the Malfoy lineage. He has blonde hair, a fair build, and his skin is pale. If he is the Malfoy heir, then his mother is a Black, which would explain the grey eyes."
Draco turned his attention from Harry to look at Hermione in something akin to awe. "How do you know so much about my family?" His voice sounded a tad suspicious, but Harry could tell that he was also proud to be well-known.
"I read about it in Contemporary Famous Witches and Wizards. Harry's in there too."
Harry looked over at his new friend in astonishment. "What am I doing in a book?" he asked. His confusion played on his face, but inside he was anxious as well. He was supposed to be starting over. Nobody had ever mentioned that he was famous. Yeah that Voldemort character had tried to kill him, but Hagrid hadn't said anything about being famous. He would have remembered that.
Hermione looked pained. "Well after You-Know-Who, um, after he-"
"Killed my parents? It's okay Hermione. I don't even remember them. I just-why am I in a book?"
"Voldemort was a powerful sorcerer. He killed a lot of people, including your parents. But-," she stopped, her eyes flashing to Harry's forehead.
"But what?" Harry asked fretfully, letting his emotions get the best of him, so focused on Hermione that he didn't even notice when Draco gave an exagerated sigh and stomped off.
"He-he couldn't kill you, Harry. He tried, but he couldn't. That's why you've the scar. When he tried, he just disappeared. Nobody knows exactly what happened to him, but you were hailed as the savior to the wizarding world."
Harry looked at Hermione rather blankly. Inside he was groaning and screaming, but outside he remained calm and cool. Mustn't show the strain, he reminded himself, or they win. In his mind, 'they' had started out as the Dursleys and quickly expanded to include everyone else in the world. He struggled internally with the fact that he wasn't getting his re-do. He wasn't being given the chance to remake himself.
"Harry? Harry, are you quite alright?"
"Yes, Hermione. I'm fine," Harry said evenly. This is going to suck, he told himself. This is only going to be marginally better than living with the Dursleys. At least he wouldn't be forced to clean for hours or live cramped in a small closet. But it wasn't going to be what he thought, what he wished it could be. He determinedly kept the melancholy from his face. This is going to be just about the worst thing ever. He was certain.