Sunlight was rising on the normal street of Privet Drive. In the dull normal houses slept dull normal families. None was as dull or normal as the Dursleys of number four Privet Drive. They were perhaps the most normal and certainly the dullest family on Privet Drive.
Vernon Dursley rolled over in bed to swipe at his alarm clock, with the intent to silence it. Unfortunately, he forgot about the half-eaten bowl of ice cream he had snacked on last night, as it splattered across the floor. Vernon sighed as he sat up and looked at the mess. Lord, he needed someone to clean his house. Luckily, he had hard-wood floors and it was all easily wiped up with yesterday's shirt.
With a mighty heave, he lifted himself from his bed and walked quietly towards the bathroom, only stopping to grab his suit from the closet. He didn't want to make too much noise or he might wake his amazing wife Petunia. They had been married for about three years now and were still young, only in their mid-twenties. Petunia could be slightly critical when displeased, and Vernon found it best to go with the flow.
Vernon was a normal person and was very proud of his life so far. Aside from his wife, he had a young, promising young son who was sure to follow in his father's success. Vernon took great pride in the fact that he was close to becoming the next Vice President of Drill Production at Grunnings Drill Co., the youngest in a century since Grunnings' founding. Vernon was happy with his life.
What he wasn't happy about was all the strange happenings on the news last night; strange owls, shooting stars, strange people in cloaks, and other sorts of unnatural things. His wife had told him all about her sister and what kind of people she was apart of. If Vernon was to be honest, he didn't mind the magic world, if anything he was curious about it. Petunia didn't stand for questions about her sister or her type of 'freaks'.
He had only seen the illustrious Lily Evans and her soon to be husband James Potter once. They had shown up uninvited to their wedding while Petunia was in the restroom. He had held a pleasant conversation with them until Petunia had come storming over: bidding her sister to leave. It had also marred their honeymoon, as Petunia wouldn't speak with him until he saw what he had done wrong. He had eventually apologized for socializing with 'freaks'.
Vernon sighed as he left the bathroom to get his shoes for work. Petunia was sitting up in bed watching the news.
"Many people have spotted strange long lasting fireworks in the sky along with…"
"Oh Petunia dear, you're up. How was your sleep?" Vernon said as he hurried over to his wife's side of the bed and made to give her a good morning kiss, but Petunia turned to the side, causing him to kiss her cheek instead.
"Were you going to work without saying goodbye to me Vernon?" Petunia sounded peeved, he was sure to be in the guest room tonight no matter what his answer was.
"Of course not dear, I was merely giving you more time to sleep in." The glare he received told him she hadn't bought it. He attempted to change the subject. "Petunia dear, have you heard from your sister lately?"
"No Vernon, why would I talk to that freak?" Petunia said with some heat in her voice.
"All the things on the news lately, the strange happenings: I think it might be something to do with her kind." After he put his shoes on, he sat with his wife in bed.
She scowled, "I wouldn't put it past her lot to get in the way of real people trying to live normal lives." She turned the page in the Homecare magazine she was reading.
'Their son ... he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?"
"I suppose so," said Petunia stiffly.
"What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?"
"Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me," said Petunia with malice.
"Couldn't agree more dear," Vernon said as he got up, "Well I'm off to work."
"Don't come home too late," said Petunia, making no move to hug her husband goodbye.
Vernon sighed as he left the room. He would have to try harder to find ways to make his wife happy. He walked down the stairs to the kitchen, before he looked his watch, no time for a homemade breakfast. He did not want to be late for work. Vernon opened the door and out of habit looked down for mail. What he saw most definitely wasn't mail. It was a baby. He gingerly picked up the bundle and found a letter. Reading the letter, he was gob smacked and had to read it again to be sure he read the green ink right.
"Vernon, what in the Lord's name is in your hand." His wife said as she came down the stairs.
It looked to him like he was going to be late to work after all.
Harry Potter awoke at 5:30 AM on the first of September. He was unable to go back to sleep. Later today, he would start at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yes, Hogwarts was a school for wizardry, and he was a wizard.
It all started when he had received a letter one month into the summer…
Harry sat alone on his bed, in the smallest room of a four-bedroom house. He was not alone in the literal sense, as his Aunt Petunia was berating him for getting better grades than her useless son got the past year at school. She could yell all she wanted at him. If it weren't about his schoolwork she'd find something else to hate him for, he may as well be yelled at over something he enjoys.
Not all boys liked homework, but Harry wasn't a normal boy. Other boys did not like homework because they would rather talk to their friends, something else Harry didn't have. The truth was, he enjoyed studying and doing well in school. He enjoyed being good at something. He would not let her take that away, even as he walked toward the cupboard, the usual punishment for the smallest circumstance.
The cupboard was a small cramped closet under the stairs where they sent Harry when he did something 'wrong'. If his aunt had her way he would live under there full-time, but his Uncle Vernon had mentioned that they had no other place to store their cleaning chemicals and he didn't want Harry spilling the expensive chemicals. The reason didn't matter to Harry, he was just happy his aunt hadn't stuffed him out of sight, like some monster.
'Who knows what I would be like if I was forced to grow up down there.' Harry thought to himself as he watched his aunt.
Harry got off his lumpy mattress to go down to the cupboard. At the bottom of the stairs, the morning mail came through the mail slot. Normally Harry wouldn't care too much about the mail; he never got any. There was something different about the stack of mail though. In fact, the letter on top had his name on it. Harry picked it up and read the glossy green ink:
Mr. H. Potter
The Smallest Room
4 Privet Drive
Harry was so surprised that he almost did not hear his cousin, Dudley stomping down the stairs. Lucky for Harry he did hear Dudley coming at the last second and ducked inside his cupboard, even more lucky for Harry was the fact that Dudley wasn't observant enough to see the hidden letter before Harry shut the cupboard, most lucky of all though was Dudley. He could smell bacon. Dudley enjoyed bacon quite much.
Harry had barely pulled the string to the cupboard light bulb before he heard Dudley in the kitchen, "Where's the freak?"
"He's in the cupboard being punished," his aunt replied coarsely.
There was silence for a few seconds as Harry could just picture Dudley nodding his head in approval, "Can I have his bacon?"
Trust Dudley to think with his stomach. Harry, on the other hand occupied himself with the letter held tightly in his grasp. His first letter, his and not the Dursley's. He flipped the envelope over anxiously and read the wax before unsealing it. 'Hogwarts' wasn't a place he had ever heard of, but this didn't daunt his spirit. He took out the letter and read:
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(OMFC, Grand Sorcerer, Chief. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards.)
Harry took a break after the brief introduction. The titles of this man named Dumbledore overwhelmed him as he read. He took a breath and read on:
Dear Mister Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has accepted you. Enclosed is a list of needed supplies and books.
Term begins September the first. Someone will be by to assist you no later than July 31.
Harry finished the letter and started to fold it uncertainly before angrily crumpling it up and throwing it to the other end of the cupboard. It was just another one of Dudley's stupid pranks to get his hopes up. He wanted Harry to rush into the kitchen happily and proclaim he was a wizard. Well that is not what he was going to do. Harry lay down on the floor and drifted to an uneasy sleep, which weirdly enough involved a dream of Dudley poking him with a broomstick.
The next month proceeded much slower for Harry than previous holidays from school. It was visible to anyone who cared to look that Harry had a passive look on his face. He didn't even argue when his Uncle Vernon told him to paint the shed two different colors in the span of as many days. All he thought of was the prank letter from Dudley. The more he thought about it the more unlikely it seemed that his lard of a cousin, the same one that only passed primary school much thanks to his uncles well paying job at Grunnings, had thought this up. It was much too cleverly thought out to be the mastermind of a boy whose greatest invention was chicken wrapped in bacon. 'Patent Pending' as Dudley would say.
Soon after Harry had thrown the letter, he found it and smoothed it out. Harry had taken to reading it in his room at night. It was just too good a dream for him to forget. As Harry silently reread his letter upstairs, there was trouble brewing downstairs.
The Dursleys had just set down to a hot meal of mostly starches. As they began to enjoy the culinary masterpiece without the ever-greedy orphan who lived upstairs, there was a soft knock at the door. Vernon was tempted to yell at the boy to get it, but he stopped at the thought of it most likely being an upstanding citizen. Vernon couldn't even conceive how wrong he was as he rose to get the door. He opened the door to see a sight that stopped his blood cold. At the door was an older woman in bright green robes. This was the first witch he had seen in years and he was beyond fearful. Petunia had told him of the sport they made of normal people.
Vernon retreated in front of the door to the dinning area and stood as if guarding the door, "You're trespassing on private property and if you don't leave I'll be forced to call the police." His voice was fearful but strong with conviction.
The woman stepped in and closed the front door behind her, "I assure you that won't be necessary Mr. Dursley. I am here on behalf of your nephew." She finished this statement by waving her hand behind her back.
Vernon felt compelled to relax. Maybe he could have a civil conversation with this woman after all. He stood still stood in front of the doorway to the dinning area, "What could you possibly want with the boy?"
"My name is Minerva McGonagall, I am a professor at Hogwarts, and I am assuming you read the letter Mr. Dursley."
Vernon looked confused, scrutinizing the woman with a close eye. She seemed like an upright woman, even if she was a witch. "I honestly have no clue what letter you're talking about. Please call me Vernon; Mr. Dursley was my father's name." Vernon found it best if he just treated her like a business associate at a Halloween party, a business associate who would make him and his family into a puppet if he said the wrong thing. Vernon involuntarily shuddered.
Minerva eyed him closely, "The letter, Mr. Dursley, that was sent to this house one month ago. The letter has a magical trace indicates that the letter has been open and read, yet hasn't been acted on. Surely one of you has read it?"
Vernon turned around and opened the door behind him, "Petunia dear, have you gotten a letter from a Minerva McGonagall?"
There was a suspicious silence from the other room followed by the clanging of silverware and scuffling of a chair. The very long and angular neck peeked around the corner of the dinning area and gasped. "VERNON! What is that doing in our house?"
Minerva narrower her eyes at Petunia, "Mrs. Dursley, 'That' is here to inform your nephew of his acceptance to Hogwarts. Now if you please…"
"He won't be going to that wretched school!" Petunia's eyes shifted uneasily to Minerva's hand, "I absolutely will not allow you to teach him blasphemy."
"Blasphemy?" McGonagall squinted her eyes as she spoke, "Surely you don't believe that using one's natural ability can be considered blasphemy."
"You won't fool me, witchcraft is an unforgivable sin." Petunia answered, "He will not be going to that school!"
"Won't be going to what school?" Harry had appeared at the top of the steps, obviously alerted by his aunt's shriek. His eyes widened, "Did she say Hogwarts." Before anyone could answer him, he rushed from his room with his Hogwarts letter. He looked straight at McGonagall, "Did you send this letter to me?"
Minerva took in the sight before her. The large man and from what she could see in the dinning area an equally large son. Her eyes than turned to the obviously undernourished boy at the top of the stairs, "Mr. Potter, my name is Professor McGonagall. I will be one of your teachers at Hogwarts. I see you've received your letter; I am here to take you to get your school things for Hogwarts."
"You obviously didn't hear me before," Petunia insisted in an even more shrill voice. "He isn't going to that school for unnaturalness."
"Mrs. Dursley, Mr. Potters name has been in the books for Hogwarts since he was born. If you're worried you won't be seeing your nephew for a long time, I assure you he will come back for the summer's." Harry almost laughed as she seemed to truly believe she had found the source of Petunia's worry.
A loud crack of a laugh escaped Petunia before she could reign it in, "I wouldn't care if he never came back, but he won't be going to that damn school."
Vernon was watching all this byplay confusedly. He had not the slightest idea what they were talking about. He might be yelling right now, but he had been irrationally happy since that woman had walked in. "Petunia dear, doesn't this mean he'll be gone for quite some time. Haven't you been saying how much you have been wishing he would leave us? I say he should go." Saying his piece, he turned to stare at the wallpaper. His house had such pretty wallpaper. He absentmindedly traced the lines with his finger, completely missing the shocked expression on his wife's face as she scoffed at him, telling him to do as he wished.
Minerva was still visibly angry by the apparent lack of care for their nephew, if not even more upset by Harry's indifference towards it. She pushed her anger down, "Mr. Dursley, I shall be taking Harry shopping for his things now, we'll be back later, and I expect you to take Harry to Kings Cross on September first." She turned to address Harry, fully taking in his raged appearance and his second hand clothing, before turning back to Petunia. "Clearly you and I have a much different definition of the word 'Blasphemy.'
Petunia stormed out of the room, shooting one last death glare at the stranger as she left.
"Mr. Potter, I expect you wouldn't mind following me," she then addressed Vernon; almost challenging him to disagree, "I will be taking him to fetch his school things."
Vernon looked at her and over to Harry, who had made his way down the stairs and gave him a smile, "Sure, have fun kiddo." He turned and went back to the dinning area to finish his breakfast.
Harry had resisted the urge to faint. If anything was weirder than his uncle's sudden niceness, it was how he went into the other room. If he didn't know any better, he'd say his uncle had skipped. He turned to McGonagall, "What did you do to him?"
"I do not know to what you refer. Shall we, Mr. Potter?" she asked holding out her arm. He took it and felt as if someone had pushed him through a tube, and onto his magical life.
Harry awoke at 6:30; far too excited to sleep. His last month at the Dursleys had been simply, for the lack of a better word, magical. He thought back on his trip to Diagon Alley with Professor McGonagall. She had taken him by 'apparition' to a small pub in London called 'The Leaky Cauldron' where he met Tom the barkeeper and the Hogwarts Groundskeeper, Hagrid. Hagrid was in the Cauldron having a drink and was literally the largest man Harry had ever seen, but he was polite enough not to mention it. He talked for a while with Hagrid, until the barkeeper told McGonagall she had an urgent message from some 'Dumbledore' fellow. She asked Hagrid to take him to get his school things before she left in a big fireplace. Hagrid had taken him to Gringotts bank where he found a fortune, to the stores where he found his things, and the Owlery; where he found a friend. Hagrid had bought him a belated birthday present, a snowy owl. He had received stares from people, which prompted Hagrid to tell him of his past. Overall, Harry was a much more complete boy. He even had a wand. Harry packed all his belongings into a trunk he had purchased, and waited patiently for his Uncle to wake and drive him to the station. His aunt had downright refused to go.
Just then, his bedroom door opened and his Uncle was standing there looking as hostile as normal. "Let's go boy, and be quiet. Everyone else is asleep and we don't need you waking them up." His uncle left for the car, leaving Harry alone with his incredibly heavy trunk. Harry dragged it down the stairs, hitting each stair with a loud thud. His uncle lazily watched him as he drug his trunk and put it in the boot. all the while giving encouraging statements like, 'Faster boy, I don't have all day." And , "Carry it over the grass, we don't want to squash it do we? Better yet, go around"
'Good thing I didn't squish the grass' Harry though as he pulled his back into proper shape and got in the car putting on his seat belt.
The slow, quiet, and slightly awkward car ride commenced to Kings Cross. Harry had passed time by imagining all the possible reactions his uncle would have if he should try to start a conversation about Hogwarts. Smiling to himself at some of the most outrageous ones, he slowly drifted off to sleep.
His uncle awakened Harry, as he slammed the brakes, causing Harry to crash into the dashboard. 'Tender as always' he thought as he shook his head and stared daggers at his uncle.
His uncle glared right back, "That will teach you to put on your seat belt on won't it boy."
That was coming from a man that couldn't physically put his own seat belt on. Besides, Harry had put his seat belt on before he fell asleep.
"What are you waiting for boy, get out of the damn car." His uncle watched as Harry got his trunk out and struggled to put it on a cart, he then drove away with a smile that didn't quite fit his face.
McGonagall had told him the secret of the platform, although he didn't know exactly which column to go to through.
He continued walking past a large group of redheads led by their hurried mother. "Hurry boys, we don't have long before the express leaves for Hogwarts without you"
This sealed it,, he decided, as he began to follow this woman and find his way onto the platform. However, she looked quite busy shuffling her many children around, maybe he should just watch them and see how they do it. He watched as two by two, they disappeared into a wall. When the redhead family passed through he casually sauntered up behind them and entered the disappearing wall. The most beautiful scarlet train met him on the other side; it truly astounded him. He began walking forward observing the platform around him. The landing was packed. Though there were some obviously less magical families, just as many families were quite magical and resembled some of the ones he had seen while shopping in Diagon Alley. He saw the family headed by the austere woman he had followed onto the platform. The mother seemed to be wiping her youngest son's nose, making his older siblings snicker, only one of them had the decency to try and hide it.
The horn on the train blew a loud warning. Harry hurried happily to the scarlet engine and began to lift his trunk up the steps, but found the task a bit too hard for his scrawny eleven year old muscles.
"Whoa, looks like you could use a hand there," came the voice of one of the redheads he had seen earlier, followed by what appeared to be his twin.
"I think he could use four, my good brother," suggested the other twin.
"Yes, it appears he does, I guess we'll do the honors then."
The unnamed twins heaved his trunk onto the train.
One of the twins started to ask another question when a pound on the shoulder from his other twin stopped him short. At his suggesting, he turned to where his twin was looking, straight at Harry's forehead. There was the lightning bolt scar that had tormented him all his life and the one he just recently learned what it meant. They both gasped.
"Don't tell me you're him," Fred asked breathlessly
"It is Fred, it's him." George added
"But it can't be, your Harry Potter!" Both twins squealed simultaneously.
"I know" Harry was getting suspicious at these two new people.
"Fred, George, come here boys."
The twins reluctantly tore their gaze away and heeded their mother's call. Harry walked inside and picked a compartment near the back, he could hear the redhead family talking outside his window.
"Oh good you're here, now where is your brother Percy."
"I'm here mother, I was with the other prefects" said a different voice
"Oh Percy, you're a prefect? You haven't mentioned it before"
"Except the two times this morning," Laughed Fred
"Don't forget three times on the drive here," laughed his twin.
"Boys leave him be."
"Mum, you'll never guess who that boy we were talking to was," said Fred excitedly.
"George, tell me you're not picking on a first year. You may have forgotten, but you were one once."
"Mum, that was ages ago and that's hardly as important as this. We met Harry Potter." There was a surprised gasp from their sister and a sigh from their mother.
"You're sure boys? I guess he'd be that age now," replied their mother. "Boys promise me you won't bother him this year, I'm sure he doesn't want all that attention."
"I wonder if he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like"
"Don't you dare ask him Fred, he hardly needs reminding of that night," their mother added sternly
"I would give anything to be famous like him," said the youngest boy he hadn't met yet
"Well Ron, save the world by slaying a powerful dark wizard and we'll see what we can do." Fred said, "It's all marketing anyways." he finished with a wink.
"Promise me you won't bother him too much this year," pleaded their mother
"Whatever you say mum" replied the twins halfheartedly as they and the rest of their family got on the express.
Another horn blew as the train began to roll slowly. Harry was alone. He was thinking about what he'd just overheard from the family. He was famous for killing a dark wizard at the age of one. Not something, he was quite keen on talking about, as it did lose him his parents. He didn't really think he'd adjust to the many eyes on him very well. He had to make the most of it, maybe even make his first friends. How hard could it be? His thoughts were interrupted as the compartment door slid open.
One of the redheads that he had seen earlier walked in a looked around uncertainly, "May I sit here, everywhere else is full and my great prats for brothers won't let me sit with them."
Harry shook his head and she took the seat across from him.
"I'm Ginny by the way, Ginny Weasley."
Her eyes briefly flew open, "They weren't lying I guess, it really is you"
"Yeah, disappointed?" Harry asked
Ginny blushed, "Oh no that's not what I said."
"I was joking, Ginny was it?"
"Y-yeah" she said, blushing again.
Boy, she sure blushed easy. The door slid open as the twins he had seen before came in.
"There you munchkins are. You sure know how to pick them Ginny; this is the superhero we told you about earlier. By the way Harry, I'm Fred Weasley, this handsome young man beside me is George Weasley, and this is our adorable younger sister Ginevra Weasley."
"Ignore these dolts, my name is Ginny," she argued back
"Don't listen Harry, she loves being called Ginevra. Ah well, duty calls. We'll be in a middle compartment with Lee if you need us. See ya Harry, bye Ginevra." The twins left Ginny in a frazzled state.
"Sorry about them, they can really be a bit too much, but they're worth a laugh sometimes," Ginny said apologetically.
"Don't worry about me, I found them pretty funny… Ginevra" Harry laughed at her expense
Any comeback she had been bitten back as the compartment door slid open and a slightly pudgy boy looked in, "Have you guys seen a toad around here?" He asked nervously
"Yeah you just missed a couple of red speckled toads," Harry said, earning a laugh from Ginny, "But no, we haven't, sorry."
The boy left and silence descended on their compartment again.
"So, what is the rest of your family like?" Harry asked, after a couple of minutes of staring out the window.
"Oh, my family is great. I'm the only girl of course, besides Mum. I have six brothers. My oldest is Bill, he was Head Boy at Hogwarts; he graduated from Hogwarts four years ago. Next is Charlie, he was the Quidditch Captain, and he keeps dragons in Romania now. I've been once you know, he let me hold a baby dragon once, and it was the cutest thing ever. Next is Percy, He's a fifth year and a ponce, the opposite of the twins, who are two years ahead of me. They spend their days playing pranks and generally breaking rules. The last one is Ron, he's a year younger than me and totally obsessed with Quidditch, What about your family?"
Harry was absolutely flabbergasted that anybody could talk that fast. She shortly forgot her shyness. When she finished he was left with a completely new slew of questions for her, but the question brought him back to his sour reality.
Harry grimaced, "Well, there's not much to tell, I go to a nice school, make decent grades. What's Quidditch?"
Ginny eyed him with suspicion, there was something he wasn't telling her, but she chose to ignore it for the moment. "Quidditch is the greatest sport. You play on broom sticks and…"
After what had to have been an in depth, hour-long analysis of the sport that is Quidditch, Harry felt slightly overwhelmed. Yet again, the opening of their compartment door interrupted their conversation.
"Have you two seen a toad?" said the bossy bushy haired girl, "A boy has lost his and… my lord your Harry Potter aren't you, I've read all about you, you know."
He really didn't know, but he could guess. This girl seemed to be a studious girl, and of course quite bossy. Wait, there were books written about him?
"Well, it can't be too accurate, they never interviewed me, I just found out I was a wizard last month."
The girl seemed put out, "Well they don't really have to, and you were only a baby when you defeated You-Know-Who"
"Actually I don't know who, but thanks for warning me" Harry was getting peeved, but Ginny seemed more and more interested as she watched their byplay.
"Uh, boys are all the same," she sighed, and then turned to Ginny "You can come and sit with me and Neville in our compartment if you would like some mature conversation. Neville's a pureblood and he can really teach us some things about the wizarding world. I'm Hermione by the way, I'm a muggleborn"
Ginny's face colored a dark red as the girl insulted her friend, but she kept her cool, "actually I'm fine here with my friend Harry, he's also new to this world too, and since I'm also a pureblood, I'm answering his questions."
Hermione huffed and stomped out of their compartment, closing the door slightly harder than necessary.
"I don't want to seem rude, but I don't see me and her being best buds anytime soon." Harry said, as he shared a laugh with Ginny. He was quiet for a few seconds, "so you think of me as a friend, you weren't just saying that as an excuse not to go with her," He said uncertainly.
Ginny flushed, "No of course not, I like you well enough, and you're a pretty nice guy. You even found a way to insult the twins without provoking a comeback." Ginny looked down after saying so much, insecurity crept into her voice. "I mean, that is if you want to be my friend."
The sudden opening of the door cut his reply short. "You dears want anything off the lunch cart?" asked a nice aging woman pushing a cart filled with various goodies.
"No thanks, I've got sandwiches," replied Ginny as she pulled out a few rather squished corn beef sandwiches from her satchel.
Harry still had a few galleons from his trip to Gringotts. He began to look at her selection. He spent a few sickles on a range of various sweets. Bertie Botts every Flavor Bean, Licorice Wands, Chocolate Frogs, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Fudge Flies, Pumpkin Pasties, and a few others. The pure amount of the things he bought astounded her, but was content with her sandwiches.
"So Ginny, want to trade a sandwich for some of this?" Harry asked her
"Oh no, I'm fine with these, you don't have to take pity or anything." She answered slightly put down as if she didn't believe she was turning him down and was trying to convince herself.
"Oh, but I want one of those. I'll give you half of my stack for one, please?" Harry pleaded with her
"Okay, if you really want to" Ginny said as she happily traded him a corn beef sandwich for a big pile of sweets. The children tore into their sweets hungrily. A little while later, Harry opened a Chocolate Frog. The frog leaped to the floor and hid under Ginny's seat.
"Oh, tough luck Potter, they only have one good bounce, but get the card first." Ginny said through a mouth full of Drooble's Best.
Harry sighed and pulled the card out of the bottom.
GREGORY LE ROUX
Gregory Le Roux was a French immigrant of the southwestern
Alps. He rose to power during the tyrannical reign of the evil wizard
Blackthorn. He was the legendary general of the Wars of Candor
Where he raised the wizards of Great Britain and Scotland to rebel
Against the dark wizard Blackthorn. It is said he was unable to destroy
but instead trapped him in the fabled Obsidian jar. It is said that
Deathbed he entrusted the Obsidian Jar to his great nephew Godric
Gryffindor for safekeeping.
"Wow, I've never seen that card, I bet my younger brother Ron would give you anything for it." Ginny said awed
"Oh, well, do you want it, I'm not to keen on these anyway." Harry said holding the card out to her.
"No, every collection needs to start somewhere, I'll see if I can get you some doubles I have if you're interested." Ginny offered
Harry smiled, "I'd like that."
Ginny beamed back and they sat in companionable silence while they ate. Ginny was the first to break the silence. "So what house do you think you'll be in? I'm pulling for Gryffindor myself; it's the house of bravery you see. Though as long as I'm not a Slytherin I won't complain, they're the worst."
As if right on time the door slid open again, this time a blonde boy flanked by two large boys came in. The blonde boy spoke, "So it's true. Harry Potter has finally come to Hogwarts. It's also rumored he doesn't understand much about our world, I can see those rumors were correct" he said looking over at Ginny, "You see Potter, real wizards don't hang around with riff-raff like the Weasleys, that's where I can help you, my name is Draco Malfoy and these two are Crabbe and Goyle." The blonde boy said, holding out his hand to Harry
Harry didn't know much about this boy, but he could tell he didn't like him when he came in, but when he insulted Ginny. If anything, the boy reminded him strangely of Dudley, coming in expecting respect from others, which he hadn't earned. Harry ignored the blonde boy's outstretched hand.
"I think I know exactly what kind of people are the right types. And I can definitely spot the riff-raff when I see it" Harry growled.
"Good," Malfoy perked up, "then maybe you would like to come join me in my compartment, we're currently talking about how little we will learn from that muggle lover at Hogwarts."
Harry could almost see someone else moving Draco's lips. His speech was so rehearsed that Harry doubted he had come by it alone, or even of he held it. Whether Malfoy truly meant what he was saying or not didn't matter much to Harry though. He wouldn't insult his first friend and get away with it. "Actually, I was talking about Ginny here. You would do good to learn to treat other with respect."
'Respect?" Malfoy scoffed at the foreign concept. "She certainly hasn't earned any by being such a blood traitor. What can I hope to learn from her?"
"Think what you may, but if you only respect people you agree with then you can't become stronger or smarter. you never grow." Harry explained the concept he had read from a muggle book once. He doubted Draco would listen, but he didn't see why he shouldn't make an effort.
"Fancy words from a half-blood." Malfoy turned appreciatively as his bulky guards laughed at his joke. "You chose your path today Potter, don't expect any friendship from me."
"We aren't much different Malfoy, don't try to paint it like I just made us enemies. You're walking the wrong way, all you have to do is turn around."
Harry watched as Malfoy's eyebrows furrowed and he turned away. He felt almost light after his conversation with Malfoy, he had poured so much of what he wanted to tell Dudley over the years into that conversation. He had almost lost Ginny's presence halfway through the conversation.
"That was very profound." Ginny said as she came from her thoughts, "You sound a lot like my dad does sometimes. It's a good thing my brother Ron wasn't here, or he would have hit first and ruined any chance of him not hating you."
"You think I did well?" Harry asked uncertainly, he wasn't sure if there was such a thing as 'good conflict'.
"Of course Harry," she sounded almost offended as if he doubted her, "There were a bunch of really bad ways to handle that, and you didn't choose a single one."
His new friend made a bit of sense, Harry decided as he sat back down. "We need to learn how to lock this door or something, that was the tenth time we've been interrupted." Harry said, finally free from his intense anger
He earned a laugh as the compartment door opened again. Hermione poked her head through and informed them to put on their robes before they got to school, and then left to tell some others.
"I see what you mean Harry" Ginny laughed as she threw back a strand of hair behind her ear, "a locking spell would be very helpful."
Harry and Ginny laughed to themselves as they slipped their robes on over their uniform. The train came to an abrupt halt and they each waited for the hallway to clear of students, both not really wanting the train ride to be over.
"Harry," Ginny asked uncertainly, "Do you think this year will go well?"
"Of course Ginny," Harry smiled, "I've already made a friend, how could my year get any better?"
Ginny smiled warmly as they left their compartment. she was happy at the prospect of the new year, and excited to be spending it with her friend.
As the train ride ended, Fred and George came to show Harry and Ginny where the first years met outside of the train.
"I don't know George; I just hope they don't have to wrestle a troll like we did." Fred said shooting concerned looks to his two minor compatriots, as if picking up on a conversation the had been having before the door opened.
"T-t-trolls" Ginny stuttered out "They made you face a full grown, thirteen foot tall mountain troll?"
"Not actually," comforted George, "It was a child Troll, only eight feet tall."
"We aren't really facing trolls are we?" Harry gasped, having remembered hearing starling scenes full of shrieking and growling in his few nights he had spent inside the cupboard listening to Dudley watch scary films. "They can't possibly expect us to know how to fight yet, can they?"
George turned his head in confusion, "Did you not practice your first year spells on the train?"
"Surely you read your books before coming to Hogwarts?" Fred turned to look at them.
Seeing how worried the twins were was starting to scare Harry even more, he turned and saw Ginny suddenly smirk.
The Twins burst into laughter at the looks on his face, but didn't tell him what exactly they were laughing at, only making him more nervous. Fred and George led them out onto Hogsmeade platform. Hermione was next to them murmuring some unimportant facts about the town and its history all the way back to its founding. Harry didn't pay much attention to her talk as he contemplated what he was going to do about the troll. He didn't know what to expect. Ginny had said it was massively tall, and at eight feet he was a bit smaller than Hagrid.
"Well here we are munchkins, just follow that real big guy over there screaming for first years, his name is Hagrid, he's the groundskeeper." George told them, not knowing that he and Harry had already been acquainted.
Fred added, "Hey Harry, Ginny's a shoo-in, but if you can get into Gryffindor, we have use for you in the Weasley business." He winked and left the end open for dramatic effect.
Harry nodded and they bid goodbye to the twins, stepping to the front of the queue for boats. Harry saw Hagrid over the sea of first years and shouted his greeting.
"Hey Hagrid," Harry called as he came near, remembering the man whom had helped him get his things in Diagon Alley.
"How ya' doin' Harry?" Hagrid bellowed back, "Harry, you can come an' sit in the boat righ' nexta mine."
Harry swiftly followed behind the large man with Ginny at his side. Neville and Hermione joined them in the boat. Hagrid had a boat all to himself. The boat began automatically rowing. Almost immediately Harry found himself gazing upon one of the most beautiful sights he had seen. He saw a castle standing tall on a cliff, with towers that reached far higher than he had seen most buildings, outside of London.
"I'm glad to see you again 'arry." Hagrid began from the boat next to theirs.
"Thanks, I'm glad to see you so soon Hagrid. I'm sorry for being dumped on you in the pub the other day" Harry
"Don't you worry over it Harry, I was only happy to help ya'" Hagrid said, "Got a new friend out of it too, I did."
Harry nodded, Hagrid was a nice chap, but he was far happier he had made fast friends with the redhead sitting to his right.
"What did Hagrid help you with Harry?" asked Hermione as she took a glance between them before setting her piercing glare on Harry.
"He helped me get my school things from Diagon Alley." Harry answered quickly, "You see this professor named McGonagall originally had the job, but was called back to the school by the headmaster."
Ginny nodded her head in understanding, but Hermione seemed to have more questions. She obviously wanted to ask him more about his trip to Diagon Alley, but Hagrid's booming voice drowned her out.
"DUCK" shouted Hagrid as they approached a low cliff edge.
"Who does that great oaf think he is, commanding around a Malfoy like some kind of circus animal, when my father hears of this…" TWACK, "You bloody idiot!" Malfoy screamed, holding onto his horribly broken nose. "You shouldn't be giving commands without reasons, this is obviously your fault. When father hears about this..."
"Shut up back there, I told ya ta duck. Not my fault yer father couldn't buy a smarter child on toppa his freedom."
Malfoy was stunned into silence, and if everybody was quiet enough, it sounded an awful lot like someone was crying in the rear of the boat brigade.
Harry felt his stomach turn, he had seen Malfoy hit his nose on the cliff with just enough light that he doubted the picture of it nearly hanging off his face wouldn't be forgotten soon.
The boats began to pull into what seemed to be an underground harbor. They were probably far below the castle. The students began to file out of the newly tied up boats. Harry caught another glimpse of Draco and his severely bloody nose, and some suspiciously moist cheeks. Hagrid began checking the boats for left behind school supplies, finding none, but a toad which he tossed to Neville, he led them down a hallway and up several flights of stairs. They stopped at a large oak door with a big brass knocker the shape of a lion head, though not the size. Hagrid had barely knocked once before the door was wrenched open, and one of the sternest looking women any of the students had seen probably ever met them at the door. She was aging but still had mostly black hair, which she had pulled into a very tight bun, and emerald green robes. Harry of course recognized her as Professor McGonagall, the teacher who had taken him to 'The Leaky Cauldron'.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall" said Hagrid with an exaggerated sweeping bow, his head still higher than McGonagall's.
"Thank you Hagrid, I shall take them from here" she replied as she swung the door wide open, and led them away. They followed the professor up many sets of winding stairs from what appeared to be the lowest of dungeons. After a full five-minute walk, they finally reached another heavy oak door. She threw the door open and led them into a small room. They filed into the room, giving very little wiggle room, the crowd of students pushed Harry up against Ginny, and he couldn't help but smell a strange flowery scent he hadn't smelt before. It was different from the flowers his Aunt Petunia had made him plant so many times, and much more pleasant.
McGonagall stopped them there and began to address them.
"Welcome to Hogwarts, students," began Professor McGonagall "The feast will begin soon, but before you can take your place at your house tables in the Great Hall, you must all be sorted into your respected houses. The sorting ceremony will place you on a path to finding and realizing some of your greatest strengths, and also show you your most glaring weaknesses. A new family will be made of whichever students you find yourself sorted alongside. You will spend your classes with your house; you will study in your house common rooms, sleep in your dormitories, and possibly make most of you friends in your house. However do not let this system separate you from each other. It has been in place for Millenia, but does not define who you are as a person. Make friends among the houses four, and never let petty squabbles keep you from uniting with the other houses. I have a feeling the class before me will be the one that changes everything and sits aside pettiness of the past, if you have the strength enough to allow yourselves" She paused to let this all sink in to the children in front of her.
The professor began again, "The four houses are: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin" she said; "Each house has its own noble history and has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are here at Hogwarts your triumphs will earn you house points, while any childishness or rule breaking will loss you house points. The prestigious House Cup will be awarded to which house has the most points, so please be courteous and try not to ruin it for the other students. Some of the students here have never had the sensation of being awarded the house cup. Now wait in this room while I check to see if the Hall is ready."
As Professor McGonagall left the room, all the students began talking almost immediately.
"I wonder what they do for the sorting," said an excited Hermione
"I heard we have to fight a full grown mountain troll," said one boy
"No, we have to wrestle a boomslang," said a frightened girl.
All the children became silent, each in thought about what disastrous obstacle they would have to overcome to be accepted into Hogwarts. Hermione was reciting every spell she had ever read, Crabbe and Goyle were stretching their muscles, and Harry was just growing paler by the minute… He had forgotten his wand in his trunk back on the train.
Professor McGonagall came back into the room moments later to collect them for the sorting, "This way if you please."
After they went through the door, they came into a large room. The Entrance Hall was so large you could have fit Harry's uncles house into it comfortably, 'even Dudley could move around freely in here' Harry laughed to himself 'well not that big, but still an exceptionally large'. Even some of the other students were surprised at the vastness.
"Oh my goodness, this entrance hall is vast"
"You do know that it took them three years to build just the entrance hall? I read it in 'Hogwarts a History'"
"Oh my" said Ginny from beside Harry, "Bill and Charlie mentioned, but I thought they were kidding. They told me it could fit the whole of the Burrow into it."
"The Burrow?" Harry asked uncertainly
"Oh, it's what we call our home; I don't know exactly why we call it that, we just always have, I guess." Answered Ginny quietly, obviously still amazed at the size of the hall.
"Oh, so your family is in Hufflepuff?" Asked Hermione from the other side of Harry
"No, they're all Gryffindors," Ginny answered quickly "why would you think they are Hufflepuffs?"
"It's just that a Hufflepuffs house animal is the badger, according to what I read in 'Hogwarts a History', and badgers live in small holes in the ground or the side of a hill, called burrows," replied Hermione, obviously not expecting any fault in her logic.
"Well the twins are quite odd" Harry observed, "And they must have gotten the gene from somewhere, it may just be a random name her father came up with."
Hermione seemed rather put off by them shunning her logic "Oh, I see, but 'Hogwarts a History' mentioned that Helga Hufflepuff had red hair, which is a recessive trait, you could be a descendent, or…"
The opening of the doors effectively silenced her from further questioning. The sound of the children in the Great Hall grew quiet as they began to walk into the hall to the sorting. There were four house tables full of students, all staring at the newcomers with either joy or annoyance. Harry first noticed the ceiling had the look of the outside sky. The stars shone down and it was cloudless.
"The ceiling is enchanted to look like the outside sky. It was in 'Hogwarts a History' which I've read twice," Said Hermione from just in front of him. Harry thought the constant facts getting old very old very quickly. Judging by the looks on the faces of his fellow classmates, they shared his sentiments.
McGonagall led them to the front of the Great Hall where she sat a small stool down in the center of the front. Upon the stool, she then set down a tattered old hat on the stool. It was still for a while, but then a rip appeared on the brim of the hat and it began singing. The song was nice enough, but the hat could sure use some singing lessons. It sounded worse than his aunt Petunia when she sang that 'Madonna' music in the shower. Harry visibly shook, not a comforting thought.
She lined them up to the left and unrolled a list of almost thirty five names. She then began to call out the names. Harry was worried tremendously. Apparently, this hat would decide if he would get into Hogwarts, or if he was sent packing back to the Dursleys. He knew Ginny would be sorted into Gryffindor, and that is most definitely, where he wanted to end up. He had made his first friend, not only in the Wizarding world, but also in his life. He did not want to lose her because some silly singing hat was a bit meticulous.
The first few students had been sorted, and soon it was his turn to be sorted. Professor McGonagall came to his name.
"Potter, Harry" she announced
The entire halls eyes were upon him. People were whispering for a while before he found the courage to step up. He sat on the stool and placed the hat on his head.
"Ah Mr. Potter, I have been waiting for you," said the hat
"Me, sir?" Harry replied cautiously
"Of course, now lets take a look through you head… What do you mean a bad singer; I'll have you know I have been singing for over almost a thousand years. Children have no taste in true talent!" The hat raged
"Um, can we get on with the sorting?" thought Harry
"Oh yes," the hat said dismissively "Well, I must forget that for now. Now, hmm, you have great courage indeed. Loyal to a fault. Not the smartest, I guess it's not Ravenclaw. You hate the recognition you've received so far, Slytherin not a good choice at all. Hmm, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor?"
"Please be Gryffindor, I won't make fun of your singing anymore just please be Gryffindor." Pleaded Harry silently
"Gryffindor, eh? Oh, I see now: The desire to be in Gryffindor to be with a friend proves beyond a doubt you belong in Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff it is then"
"No I'm begging you. How can i prove that I belong in Gryffindor?" Harry thought desperately
"Oh Harry, how very cunning of you. Maybe I should reconsider on Slytherin."
The sorting of Harry had attracted many people and he realized that he had been in front of this crowd for almost a minute, and he hated every minute of it. Harry was growing exasperated.
After the most convincing argument, Harry could think of, saying please. The hat finally perked up and all eyes shifted back to Harry as the hat shouted.
Cheers went up from the Gryffindor table as the students stood and clapped and yelled loudly. Other students seemed very displeased they had missed out on the famous Harry Potter.
Harry hurried over to the Gryffindor Table and found a seat near the twins, leaving an open seat for Ginny. The congratulations we received as he walked down the table were sure to leave a bruise on his sore back. When he reached his seat, he was congratulated by the twins on a spectacular sorting.
Harry turned his attention back to the sorting and watched the sorting of some more hopeful students. Finally, the hat came to Ginny and just about ten seconds after it touched her, the hat chuckled and shouted, "GRYFFINDOR! She smiled very wide, a slight blush evident on her face, and rushed down the table to Harry and her brothers. She flew into Harry a giving a quick hug and saying "Told Ya" before she down between him and the twins. Harry of course was bright red at receiving his first hug, luckily Ginny didn't notice. Hermione Granger, who had somehow escaped Ravenclaw, was eying them from across the table, with a look of what may have been jealousy, but it passed as the Headmaster began to speak.
"Good evening all and welcome to another splendid year at magical Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. I would like to begin by congratulation our new students with quite an interesting sorting." There was scattered and slightly reluctant applause. "I would also like to welcome our new Defense Against the Arts teacher, Professor Randolph Henderson"
The hall applauded for the new teacher, an elderly looking man, who could have given Dumbledore a run for his money in age.
"Yes, may he have more luck than the last. Finally, I implore all students new and old to stay away from the Forbidden Forest as it is in fact forbidden, more so this year than ever before. Punishment will be severe to anyone found in the forest, no exceptions. With this long speech finally behind, let the feast begin with the traditional words of old. Hicky, Bicky, Boo."
As Dumbledore finished speaking, the plates in front of them filled with food of many kinds, and he sat down and began to fill his own plate. Having never been allowed much to eat, Harry piled his plate and began to scarf his food.
Ginny sat next to him slowly chewing a carrot. "No one is going to take your food away Harry. You eat like my brother Ron."
Around them, a couple of conversations were going on. A boy named Dean Thomas was having a conversation with his new friend Seamus Finnegan about his heritage. Hermione was prattling more nonsense from Hogwarts a History, and looking quite sour when she seemed to notice that no one was listening, and became silent as she ate. Harry wasn't the only one to notice her sudden depression, when another Gryffindor first year he thought named Devon tried to ask her about Hogwarts. She brightened up instantly and began her narrative again.
"Brave boy," said Ginny from next to him "He must have sisters."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked through a mouthful of Sheppard's Pie.
"That kid talking to Hermione, he has the same look I get when mum talks about things I couldn't care less about, like cooking. He's not interested but is trying to make her feel good."
"Oh, well then I agree. He is brave"
Harry and Ginny shared a laugh as they finished their meals. Dumbledore stood to address the hall. After some end of the year announcements and a disastrous singing of the school song, they began to make their way up to the common room.
"You all have but one hour until I expect you in bed; you'll find your things in your rooms. Make haste," shouted Ginny's older brother Percy
"I guess we should head up to bed, huh," asked Ginny
"Yes Ginny, We shall make haste. First I want to go check my things, then I'll be back down." Harry said. Ginny giggled and nodded whilst Harry headed up to the dorm-room marked 'First Years' and went in. The dorm was about five times as big as the room he had stayed in at the Dursleys; the four-poster beds were humongous.
Harry smiled and took a running jump onto the bed that had his trunk on it. Just as he thought, no broken springs. This is when Harry noticed he was not alone in the room. The boy that had been talking to Hermione, Devon he thought, was in the bed next to him unpacking his things.
"Having fun?" Devon laughed, "I didn't get to introduce myself at the feast, my name is Devon Creed. And of course you're Harry Potter." He finished holding out his hand, which Harry shook.
"But if you know me you must be from a Wizarding family?" Harry questioned
"Yeah, the Creeds are an old pure blood family. One of the oldest, though not richest." Devon answered
"Then why were you asking Hermione all those questions about the Wizarding world?"
"Because she has a lot of knowledge, and a need to share it. I had the time to listen as I ate. Actually, it was interesting hearing from a muggleborn point of view. You'll learn the best way to get on with women is to just nod and shake your head." Devon said with a smile, "My mum raised me, so I have the insight in women. Don't worry I'll stay away from yours." He winked and headed to the washroom.
Harry blushed as he rummaged though his trunk and new school things while thinking of his previous conversation. He didn't know if he exactly liked Devon, what did he mean 'he'd stay away from 'his girl''. Harry didn't have a girl. It was all very confusing. He checked to make sure everything was there and unpacked. Once finished, he began his decent downstairs to find the Common Room empty but for a few people.
"I thought you weren't coming back down." Ginny said, "I almost fell asleep on the couch."
"That would be comfortable wouldn't it?" Harry asked as he sat down next to her. "I wouldn't even think about going to bed without saying goodnight to my best friend."
Ginny blushed, "I'm your best friend?"
"You bet you are; now I think we should probably head to bed."
Ginny nodded and walked to her staircase as Harry did the same. She got up the first few steps and turned around.
"Good night Harry"
"Good night Ginevra"
Harry ran the rest of the way up the stairs, dodging whatever it was she had thrown. He lay down in his bed and smiled at the ceiling. Hogwarts was going to be fun.