Harry Potter snuggled into his blanket. He was in the backyard, doing his best to get some sleep. He'd accidentally gotten a smudge on the television, so Uncle Vernon had tossed him a raggedy blanket, and shoved him into the yard for the night.
Harry shivered. He knew he should be more careful during winter. This wasn't the first time Vernon had given him this particular punishment, and Harry knew all the different ways of avoiding trouble. Every once in a while, though, he accidentally slipped.
"Oh, well." He murmured to himself. "It's only till tomorrow."
Fenrir Greyback licked his lips. He'd avoided eye contact with the moon for most of the night, getting into position. Finally, however, he was ready. Summoning his magic to his command, he looked at the moon.
It wasn't commonly known, but if a Wizard is bitten before turn eleven, their magic is enhanced greatly. Greyback was bitten when he was four. He'd gotten control over his magic quickly after that. Ever since, every transformation he'd undergone was through his choice. He needed the moon as a trigger, but the wolf inside him was subdued utterly. It really helped in his quest of biting children. A typical werewolf would just eat them.
Greyback sniffed the air. Only one Wizard child in the neighborhood. Disappointing, but he could work with that. As long as he took the Muggle children with him, the Ministry wouldn't be able to… deal with them. First, the Wizard.
Harry heard a rustling noise in the bushes. He got up, moving closer. "Hello?" he called softly. Maybe it was an animal? If he could feed it, he might be able to hide it in the shed.
A muzzle poked out. Harry smiled. "Hi, there. Are you hungry? I can't get it now, but there's some meat in the house. If you stay in the shed, I can get it to you in the morning."
The canine in front of him made a whuffing sound. To Harry, it almost sounded like laughter. The muzzle came forward, revealing the rest of the body. Harry realized that this wasn't a dog. He'd read about creatures like this in school. A werewolf.
"Oh." Harry gulped. "Are you… going to eat me?"
The werewolf laughed again, but shook his head.
"Oh… Are you going to… That is…"
The werewolf made a biting motion.
"Yeah, that. Is that what you're going to do?"
The werewolf nodded. He could smell Harry's fear, but it didn't seem to be about himself. What was the boy afraid of?
"Could you… Could you not do that?" Harry was almost begging. "I wouldn't mind so much, except my uncle already hates me. He might kill me if he learns I'm a werewolf…"
"He might kill me if he learns I'm a werewolf…"
Greyback growled in his throat. He knew from the boy's tone that he wasn't exaggerating. Even among werewolves, who could be extremely vicious at the drop of a hat, harming a child was unheard of. Especially since werewolves didn't breed their own kind. Any children were normal Wizards, if on the higher side of the power spectrum.
Well, Greyback thought to himself. I may not be able to look after this child myself, but I can give him a few advantages. The bite won't take effect until next month. Plenty of time.
Greyback picked the boy up, and bit his arm. The venom in the bite immediately rushed through the young body, putting him to sleep. Greyback put him down, covering him with the blanket. No time for the Muggle brats now. I'd better hide until sun-up.
As the sun rose, it's rays fell gently on the form of Harry Potter. Harry stretched languidly, yawning. His tongue curled up slightly as he did so. He sat up, and a piece of paper fell off his chest. Wait. Not paper. It was thicker, and had a yellow color. Strange. He picked it up.Hello, young one. My name is Fenrir Greyback. We met last night.
Considering who you live with, I'm fairly certain you aren't aware that you are a Wizard. Trust me when I say that you are. I could smell the magic on you. In fact, you're the only one of our kind in your area. I say 'our' because I, like yourself, am a Wizard.
You may have noticed strange things happening around you. Things that no one can quite explain. That's your magic at work. These things will happen more often now, since the werewolf curse enhances your magic. Not many are aware of that, even among the werewolf packs. I became aware of it soon after I was bitten, and now I'm telling you.
Those Muggles (Non-Wizards) you live with beat you. I was able to smell that as well. The bruises make you smell very bloody. If you take hold of your magic, you'll be able to defend yourself. Here's what you do. Get into a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Focus on a single thought, no matter what it is, to the exclusion of all else. Once you've gotten to that point, sensing your magic will be easy. The rest… I can't really describe it. You'll know what to do.
Good luck, kid. I'll see you in a month.
Harry blinked. Huh. Not what he expected. But… the wolf that was now in him said that this was the truth.
Shrugging, Harry got comfortable. He closed his eyes, and began focusing on a single thought: Cold. The cold he'd felt last night. It was fresh in his memory.
He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but slowly, the rest of the world fell away. The cold became the center of his universe. And… there was something else. Just to the side. Harry refocused on it. It was bright, almost blindingly so. Harry 'reached' for it, pulling it to himself. He was instantly filled with warmth. This was his magic. He knew it wasn't finished growing, but it was close. He fused with it properly, feeling his body tingle with power.
Finally, he opened his eyes. What he saw made him laugh. He was surrounded by walls of ice. He had been focusing on cold, and his magic had, apparently, put thought to form.
He dispelled it, and stood. He realized that his senses felt like they'd just woken up from a long sleep. His glasses fuzzed everything up, so he took them off. An incredible amount of information assaulted his senses. Down the street, Mrs. Figg was feeding her cats. In the house across from the Dursleys', the children were waking up, getting ready for school. In fact, Dudley was awake now. He was planning to come downstairs, and beat Harry until he was awake. And if Harry was already awake, he'd get a beating for being awake before Dudley.
Harry considered simply running. It was easier, and would free him from the Dursleys. On the other hand, that would put him on the streets, without a steady supply of food, and no shelter. Even a wolf knew to come in out of the rain.
Sighing, he invented a third option. He went inside, and started making breakfast. When Dudley came down, he smelled the food. "What are you doing?" he asked stupidly as he wandered into the kitchen.
"Making breakfast, Dudley." Harry responded. "How do you want your eggs this morning?"
Dudley frowned. He couldn't beat Harry up if he was cooking. That meant the food would take longer. Sighing, he sat down. "Scrambled. And I want toast, sausages, bacon, and orange juice."
Harry nodded. Reaching out with his magic, he pulled everything he needed to the counter, and began cooking in large quantities.
Dudley gaped at him. "How did you do that?!" He almost yelled.
Harry held a finger up to his lips. "I don't really know." he lied. "I just sort of… did it. Don't tell Uncle Vernon. He'll just beat me for it."
"Why shouldn't I?" Dudley demanded. "This just proves you're a freak."
Harry shrugged. "Well, I can make breakfast faster this way. You don't have to wait as long to eat." After a moment, Harry sat down across from his cousin. "Look. I know you're not as stupid as you let on. You just think being smart will make people shun you. You can probably see the advantages of knowing someone with these kind of abilities, so I'll make you an offer: You stop beating me, and make some effort to be nice, and I'll see to it no one messes with you if you start showing your real intelligence."
Dudley sat back, thinking about what Harry said. After a moment, he looked Harry in the eye. Harry looked back. Dudley didn't realize it, but Harry's entire body shifted into a dominant stance. The wolf was challenging Dudley.
Dudley cringed back, subconsciously accepting Harry's dominance. "Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good. But what about Dad? He won't like this. Are you going to let him know?"
Harry's face was emotionless. "Let me worry about that. Just stay out of the way."
Dudley nodded, and Harry went back to cooking.
Eventually, Vernon and Petunia came downstairs. They were surprised to see breakfast already on the table. Their surprise increased when they saw Harry directing cups of coffee through the air.
"BOY!" Vernon roared. "STOP THAT THIS INSTANT!"
"Good morning, Uncle." Harry said calmly. "I had to guess how you wanted your eggs."
"I SAID STOP!" Vernon's face was turning an amazing shade of purple.
Harry shook his head sadly. "That's not how you get what you want. You should try saying 'please.'"
Vernon balled up his fist, and swung it at Harry. Harry dodged to the left, and Vernon's fist made contact with the solid wood table. He broke at least two bones, and the table split in two. Vernon roared in pain.
Harry looked at Vernon coldly. "Now look at that. You've ruined breakfast. I worked hard on that. Dudley." The larger boy jumped to attention. "Take a walk up to McDonald's. Bring me a hotcake special. Make sure they put cream and sugar in the coffee." Dudley nodded, and left.
Petunia looked at Harry in fear. "What have you done to him?!"
"Nothing, Aunt Petunia. He and I have come to an understanding. He's actually quite intelligent, once you get through what you lot did to him. I'm sure he'll be fine in a few years." Harry sat down. "Now, Vernon. I'm sure you know about what I am. Otherwise, you wouldn't have treated me as you have all these years. I learned about it last night."
Vernon sat down heavily. "How?" he hissed.
"Did you know that werewolves exist?" Harry asked. Vernon paled. Given that he'd already turned purple, this gave him a normal appearance. "I met one last night. He bit me on the arm." Harry rolled his sleeve back, showing the bite-marks. "He also left me a note, explaining." He passed it over.
Vernon read it, turning paler by the second. After a moment, he looked up at Harry. "What happens now?"
Harry shrugged. "Nothing special. From now on, you give me enough money to live on. I take the guest room as my own, and we pretend we don't exist. I live by myself, and we don't bother each other. Simple."
Vernon growled. "Give me one good reason."
Harry looked toward the kitchen. Seconds later, a meat cleaver came floating into the room. "Good enough, Uncle?"
Gulping, Vernon nodded.
"Good. Now, Aunt Petunia. May I suggest you take Uncle Vernon to the hospital? I think his hand needs a doctor."
In the next few weeks, things improved considerably. Each month, Harry was given 500 pounds. Vernon even gave him a small refrigerator, and a hotplate. Harry did is own shopping (Including some new clothes), as well as the yard work. He didn't mind, since he was now being paid. Petunia did the housework, deciding not to push their luck.
While Harry and Dudley weren't friends, they developed mutual respect. Dudley silently accepted his new role in the household. In wolf terms, he was Harry's beta. When they went to school, he walked behind Harry, just to the right. Piers Polkiss wasn't happy about that, until Harry arranged for Piers to have a slight accident. The other boy's arm spent a month in a cast. He was quite accepting of Harry after that.
Harry quickly rose in popularity. He was kind to almost everyone he met, and they were kind in return. Dudley followed that example, and became equally popular.
Harry was glad for his new control over his magic. It kept the 'unexplained occurrences' down. Nothing special happened at all. Not until the next full moon.
Harry moved into the shed. He and Vernon had agreed that he would hide in here during the transformation, since neither of them wanted that kind of attention. He removed his clothes, and put them into a corner.
"Hello, young one."
Harry turned around. A wild looking man was standing behind him.
"You're Fenrir Greyback?" Harry asked.
Fenrir nodded. "Yes." He grinned, showing fang-like teeth. "I'm afraid I didn't catch your name last month."
Fenrir's eyes nearly bulged out of his head. "Are you really?" He threw his head back, laughing. "Sweet Merlin! I turned the Boy-Who-Lived!" He looked at Harry, grinning madly. "I never thought I'd manage that."
Harry frowned. "What does that mean? The Boy-Who-Lived?"
Fenrir raised his eyebrow. "You don't know?" He snorted derisively. "Makes sense. You live with Muggles. Alright, sit down. It all started with a chap named Voldemort…"
Harry sat silently. Well, that was certainly a better explanation than his parents dying in a car crash. He looked up at Fenrir. "And you worked for him?"
Fenrir nodded. "Yeah. Sorry about that. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I would probably go back if I thought he was alive." He shrugged. "Little chance of that."
Harry nodded. "I understand. He promised freedom. Not much I wouldn't do for that. I know, because I've had a taste of a slave's life, and now I'm free." He grinned. "And it's because of you. Ironic."
Fenrir returned the grin. "Yeah." He stood. "Alright. You've got a handle on things. So, from now on, Surrey is your territory. You can do what you want here. I won't bother you."
He went to the door, but stopped. "And remember. You won't change unless you want to. Your magic is a great strength." He pulled out an envelope, setting it on a shelf. "This will tell you how to get to Diagon Alley. You'll need an adult with you, but you're going to need knowledge. Get a few books, study up." He placed a bag on top of the envelope. "Here's a few hundred Galleons to get you started. Good luck, cub." He left.
Harry took the bag and envelope, and sat down. For a traitor to his kind, Fenrir was an okay guy. Harry grinned. His life was going to take some interesting turns from now on.
July 31st, 1991
Harry cracked his neck as he came downstairs. He sat in the living room, turning the television onto the weather. He had a few plans today, and he needed to know if he was going to get rained out.
"Morning, Harry." Dudley sat down across from him.
"Morning, Dudley. Got your Smeltings stuff yet?"
"Should arrive later today. Got any plans? I don't think Mum and Dad will appreciate you celebrating your birthday here."
Harry nodded. "A few. Since I'm eleven, I'm going to buy a wand. One of my books, 'A History of Magic,' says that's the typical age. I'm expecting a letter with an offer for school soon."
Harry turned his attention back to the TV. The weather was supposed to be sunny and mild all day. Excellent. Harry stood. "Right. I'm heading for London. Feel like coming along? I know it's a bit of a ride, but it should be fun."
Dudley nodded. He and Harry had both began taking better care of themselves, with Harry bulking up a bit and Dudley losing a considerable amount of weight. They rode their bikes almost everywhere. "Sure. I haven't got anything better to do."
As they got to the front door, they spotted the mail on the floor. Harry picked it up, and took it into the kitchen. One of the letters caught his eye. It was made from parchment, like the letters Fenrir had written.
Harry opened it, read it, and grinned. "Excellent."
He walked back to Dudley. "Here it is. Whoever writes these must be psychic. 'If you wish to attend, go to the Leaky Cauldron no later than ten o'clock.' That gives us two hours."
Dudley nodded. "Let's get going, then."
A bike ride, and a trip through the underground later, the boys found themselves in London. They walked into the Leaky Cauldron, settling into stools in front of the bar.
"Ah! Hello, boys." Tom smiled as he walked up to them. They'd been coming here for years now, so Tom was quite familiar with them. "The usual?"
"Yeah, thanks Tom. Also, we're here to meet someone from Hogwarts. I got my letter today."
Tom nodded. "That'll probably be Hagrid. He handles that kind of thing. I'll send him your way if he comes in." Tom presented them with cups of tea, and wandered off.
After about half an hour, a large man came into the bar. Well, calling him 'large' wasn't entirely accurate. Humongous, or gigantic might be more appropriate. Harry sniffed the air. His senses told him that this man wasn't human. At least, not entirely. Half human, maybe. The man walked up to the bar, and Tom pointed him in the direction of the boys.
"Hello!" He said brightly. "Harry, and his cousin Dudley, right?" They nodded. "Call me Hagrid. I'm 'ere ter get yer school shoppin' done. Ready?"
Harry stood. "Almost. The only thing is, I've looked my school list over. I don't have enough money for all of it."
Hagrid waved it off. "Don't worry. Yer parents left yeh quite a bit. It's in our bank."
Harry frowned. "Gringotts? I have an account there. Why didn't they mention this?"
Hagrid looked surprised. "You have an account? You've been in Diagon Alley?"
"Sure. Been going since I was seven." He held out his hand. "I assume you have the key?"
Hagrid shifted uncomfortably on his feet. "Eh… I don't know that Dumbledore'd want me ter…"
"I don't care. It's my money, isn't it? My parents are dead, after all." Harry gave him a challenging look.
The look made Hagrid sweat. As physically powerful as Hagrid was, in his mind, he wasn't a leader. Not an Alpha. He began digging into his pockets, pulling out… everything imaginable. Dog snacks, an owl, a few mice… Finally, he produced a small key. "There yeh are."
Harry took it, nodding. "Good. Let's go."
They went out behind the bar, and Hagrid opened the gateway. They headed for the bank.
Harry immediately headed for a teller. Pressing a switch on the counter, the floor raised him up on a pedastal until he was eye-level with the goblin. "I wish to make a withdrawal."
"You have your key?" The goblin asked. Harry held it up, earning a nod. "Very well. Griphook will assist you, as usual."
Harry nodded. "Thanks, Geddon. How's Coran?"
"She's fine, Mister Potter. She got over the dragon pox last week. She was most appreciative of the Firewhiskey."
Harry grinned. "Glad I could help." He pressed the switch, and was lowered back to the ground.
Hagrid looked dumbstruck. "You know him? You're friendly with a goblin?"
Harry shrugged. "I know most of the goblins here. We've been on friendly terms ever since I opened an account." He saw Griphook coming up to him. "Listen, I can deal with this. Why don't you go have a drink in the Leaky Cauldron?"
Hagrid was about to object, but Harry gave him another 'look.' He nodded. "I've got a few errands I've got ter see to. I can do that."
Harry nodded back. "Good. Come on, Dud."
When they got into the underground cart, Harry turned to Griphook. "Griphook, why didn't anyone tell me about my parents' account?"
Griphook started the cart. "We weren't allowed to, Harry." Harry grinned. It'd taken him months to get them to stop calling him 'Mister Potter.' "Gringotts rules say that only a key holder may be informed of an account. We've tried to treat you with respect, but…"
"You can't break the rules." Harry nodded. "I understand."
Finally, they got to the vault. Harry went inside, filling a pouch he'd brought with him with galleons. He grinned. "That should take care of things for now." He turned back to Griphook. "Say, if my parents were rich, did they have anything else special? I've been researching for years, but I couldn't find anything."
Griphook hesitated. "I think it would be best if you met with the bank manager."
Harry sat in the bank manager's office. This was probably the only goblin he hadn't met, so he was looking forward to the meeting. After a few moments, an older goblin came in, and sat behind the desk. "Good morning, Mister Potter. I am the bank manager."
"Good morning, sir. Please, call me Harry. 'Mister Potter' makes me a bit uncomfortable." He smiled easily.
The old goblin nodded. "As you wish. You may call me Ragnok. Now, I believe Griphook told me you wish to know of your family's holdings?"
"Yes, sir. I was wondering how they became so wealthy, and if there was anything special about them."
Ragnok nodded. "I see. Well, your father inherited much of his wealth. Your mother was Muggle-born, so I am unsure of anything prior to her entering Hogwarts. She married your father immediately after graduation, and became a freelance Charm worker. She held a separate account from your father, which merged with his upon her death. Your father was an Auror. I believe their personal contributions, all totaled, account for 1/30th of the account's current balance.
"Your father was also Lord of the house of Potter, a pure-blood line. That title can be passed to you whenever you choose, since you are the only descendant of that line. He was also the only living descendant of both Salazar Slytherin and Rowena Ravenclaw. As such, you are also Lord of those houses, as soon as you accept the responsibility. Slytherin had other descendants, I'm told, but he only had one child with Ravenclaw. I believe that's all of it."
Harry sat in silent thought. He'd studied Wizarding law, so he knew what being a Lord meant. It was rather like in medieval times. He was legally an adult, and had a reserved seat on the Wizenagamot. If he was the lord of three houses, he'd have three seats. That meant he'd be almost untouchable. Taking a deep breath, he nodded. "I want to accept the lordships. Can we do that now?"
Ragnok nodded. "Of course." He reached into a drawer in his desk. "I keep things of that nature here. My desk has almost as many charms and wards as Hogwarts itself." He passed the rings over.
Harry put them on his right hand. One on his ring finger, one on his middle finger, and one on his index finger. They glowed blue for a moment.
Ragnok inclined his head. "You are recognized as Lord Potter-Ravenclaw-Slytherin. You may use any of the three names, or the hyphenated version."
Harry grinned. "I think I'll stick with Potter, for now. Easier on the tongue." He stood. "Is that all? I've got a bit of shopping to do."
Ragnok nodded. "Of course, Lord Potter."
"I asked you to call me Harry."
Ragnok grinned. "You do realize that you've just done something that no Wizard has done in centuries? A goblin being asked to refer to a Lord of ancient and noble houses by his proper name is the equivalent of proposing an alliance between the goblins and yourself."
Harry shrugged. "Well, I don't want you as an enemy. If it makes you uncomfortable…"
Ragnok shook his head. "Not at all, Harry. And as before, I am Ragnok." The lights in the room glowed brighter for a second, then dimmed. "Good luck at school." The goblin grinned. "If you need any help, call me on the floo-network."
Harry rejoined his cousin out in the lobby. "Hey, Dud. Hagrid back yet?"
"Yeah." Dudley grinned. "He looked a bit peaked, and ran into the loo. I think his breakfast is making a reappearance."
Harry sniggered. "Poor guy. Those carts do take some getting used to."
Dudley joined in the laughter as Hagrid walked up to them. "There yeh are, Harry. All done?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. Let's get our shopping done."
They went to the bookshop first, then to the apothecary. Hagrid carried the packages easily. After getting Harry's school robes, Harry went to get his wand. Hagrid went off to buy Harry a birthday present, taking Dudley with him.
Harry entered the shop. Unlike most his age, this was the second time he'd been here. He'd come in a few months before to pick out a wand, since he'd read that it could be a lengthy process. "Mr. Ollivander. Are you here? It's Harry Potter."
Ollivander came out from the many shelves. "Ah! Mr. Potter. Excellent. I've just put the finishing touches on your wand." He held it out. "A charm to make it unbreakable, another to keep it's finish from fading, and the special handle." He grinned proudly. "Some of my best work, I must say."
Harry took it, admiring the wolf's head handle. He nodded. "Right. Thank you. Do I owe you any extra?"
Ollivander shook his head. "No. Enjoy the wand."
Harry nodded, and stepped outside. He spotted Hagrid coming out of Eyelop's Owl Emporium. He was holding a cage, with a snowy owl inside. Harry jogged over to them. "Hey, Hagrid."
"Done already?" Hagrid asked. "Took me hours to get a wand to choose me."
Harry shrugged, and looked at the owl. "For me?"
Hagrid nodded. "Yeah. She oughta be useful. Shopkeeper called her 'Hedwig.'"
Harry nodded. "Good name." He took the cage from Hagrid, and opened it. Hedwig flew out, perching on his shoulder. Harry felt a tendril of his magic connect to her. "Hello. You comfortable?"
Hedwig's head bobbed up and down.
After a bit of prodding, Dudley got Vernon to drive Harry to King's Cross Station. They were silent the entire time, and Harry got his luggage onto a trolley. Vernon left quickly.
Harry headed for platform nine. He'd studied 'Hogwarts: A History,' so the barrier was well known to him. When he got to it, a group of people was already there. Harry classified them as a family, since they all smelled alike. Not to mention they all had fiery red hair.
Harry walked up to them calmly, waiting until they'd all gone through. The eldest, obviously the mother of the group, noticed him. "Oh! Hello. Going to Hogwarts?"
Harry nodded. "Yes. Don't mind me, you all go on."
"Don't be silly! You go on through. We don't mind. I'm Molly Weasley, and these are my children. Fred, George… No, switch that around. This is Ron, and finally, my daughter Ginny."
Harry nodded to each in turn. "Harry Potter."
Harry could smell their reactions. Fred and George were excited, easily expressed by their grins. Molly was apprehensive, Ron was a mix between worried and disappointed, and Ginny was… Good gods, she was aroused! What the hell was that?!
Harry felt an intense need to move on. He cleared his throat. "Right. See you all at school." He hurried through the barrier. He carried his luggage onto the train, along with Hedwig, and settled into an empty compartment.
After a few moments, three girls came in. They spotted Harry, and paused. The one in the lead spoke up. "Are you expecting anyone?"
He shook his head. "No."
"Good. Mind if we join you?"
"Not at all."
They sat down. The first girl spoke again. "My name is Lavender Brown. This is Padma and Parvati Patil."
Harry looked at the Indian girls. This was the second set of twins he'd met today. He was thankful for his sense of smell. He was able to tell them apart easily. "I'm Harry Potter. Pleased to meet you."
All three girls' eyes lit up. "Really?" Padma asked. "Where have you been all these years? It's been something of a mystery among the Wizarding public."
"Living with relatives." He answered. "They're Muggles, so I've been under the radar a bit. I learned about the Wizarding world when I was seven."
"Do they give you any trouble about it?" Parvati asked. "I've heard that Muggles can be a bit jealous of their Wizard relatives."
Harry almost burst out laughing. Jealousy wasn't the Dursley's problem. "No. We have an understanding. I stay out of their way, they stay out of mine."
They continued talking for a while. Not long before the train began moving, Harry's ears picked up Molly's voice in the station. "Now remember, Ron. Dumbledore wants you to befriend Harry. He said it's very important that he know a light family."
"I know, Mum. I heard you the first fifty times."
Harry frowned. He knew of Dumbledore from his studies. Why would he care about who Harry had for friends? This bore investigation.
Not long after, Harry's ears picked up someone walking toward the compartment. The door opened, revealing Ron. He frowned as he saw that the compartment was full. "Oh… Sorry. Just looking for a seat." He slid the door closed.
Harry wore a small smirk. One point for him.
Harry rolled his eyes as he got up to the castle. Why would a society of magic users send their students to the school in boats? In the immortal words of the Chesire Cat, 'We're all mad here!'
A stern looking woman began speaking to them. Harry didn't really pay attention. He was acclimating to the number of scents and sounds coming from the castle. He'd experienced something similar when he went to London, although this was a bit more intense. He could literally smell the magic in the air.
The woman finished her speech, and led them into the next room.
Harry had read about this room. It was the Great Hall. All meals were held here, as well as parties, and the Sorting ceremony. Which, by the look of things, was starting now.
The stern woman picked up a scroll. "Abbot, Hannah."
A blonde girl walked up to her, and sat on the provide stool. An old hat was placed on her head. A rip, just above the brim, opened, and it spoke. Or rather, it shouted. "HUFFLEPUFF!"
One of the four tables erupted into applause. Hannah joined her new house.
'Bones, Susan' was also sorted into Hufflepuff, and Lavender was called. The hat was silent for a moment, then shouted, "RAVENCLAW!" Lavender joined the applauding students.
'Granger, Hermione' went to Gryffindor, 'Greengrass, Daphne' was sorted into Slytherin, and 'Li, Su' into Ravenclaw. 'Longbottom, Neville' went to Gryffindor, and 'Malfoy, Draco' went into Slytherin.
Finally, it was Harry's turn. He sat down on the stool, and rather than have the hat placed on him, took the hat and put it on.
Oh, my… Lord Potter, it's an honor. Well, as an heir of at least one founder, you have the right to choose your house. Any preference?
Harry gave it some thought. Gryffindor was the most popular house, which made it an obvious choice. However, that would give Harry more attention than he wanted. Slytherin was… less than desirable. Harry had a feeling that Salazar would be turning over in his grave if he saw the collection of students in his house. Half of them were… Well, the term 'hideous' sprang to mind, and the other half, while not bad looking, wore expressions that said 'I don't want to be here, so kiss my ass. It'll make me feel better.'
That left Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Harry found himself unable to decide. Ravenclaw's atmosphere would enable him to study more. But, Hufflepuff's pack-like loyalty appealed to his wolf. On the other hand, Harry was descended from Ravenclaw herself…
Yes, my Lord. The hat opened his mouth. "RAVENCLAW!"
Harry joined his new house. As he sat down, he caught a scent on the air. Someone was angry. Harry followed the scent's 'trail' to it's origin. An old man in the center of the staff table was glaring at the Sorting Hat. Harry recognized him from the list of Headmasters in 'Hogwarts: A History.' Albus Dumbledore. The one who wanted Ron Weasley to be his friend.
Harry's smirk returned. Two for him. What did the Headmaster have planned next?