Come What May
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter works belong to J.K. Rowling.
Mildly Inspired by Knowledge is Power by Fetucini
Chapter 01: Something Wicked This Way Comes
An old man laid on a bed in a room dimly lit by a dying fire in the fireplace. His eyes flickered opened. They were completely silver in color giving the old man a mystical appearance. He narrowed his eyes as he got up from the bed. He felt something.
He slowly walked out of the chamber into his main storefront. Thousands of boxes lay in cupboards. Each of these boxes had within them something every child dreamed of. A magic wand. Each of these wands had a unique feel to them. For the old man, they were his children and his name was Ollivander.
He stepped out of the shop into the cool dark night of an empty alley. If one were to visit this alley during the day, they would find it busy with witches, wizards and magical creatures of all ages and kinds.
He felt the air around him with his hand as if he could touch an invisible being. "Hmmm… Something has changed." A creepy smile lit his face as he muttered to himself. "Something wicked this way comes."
In a town called Little Whinging, Surrey, there was a lane by the name Privet Drive. Like many lanes in this town, the houses in this lane were abnormally normal. But unlike any other lane in any other town in any other world, this lane housed a boy by the name Harry James Potter.
Number 4 Privet Drive, like many houses had a garden, a yard and a nice car parked in front of it. But unlike any other house, it also had a boy living in its cupboard under the stairs.
Petunia Dursley was a woman with blonde hair, a horse like neck and was in her mid thirties. She rapped on the cupboard door. "Up! Get up! Now!"
Inside the cupboard a young Harry Potter woke up with a start. He was having a nice dream. A dream he had many times in which he was with his parents and they were all happy. He always felt sad that he couldn't see their faces, but he got the feeling they loved him dearly. Unfortunately for Harry he lost his parents when he was one year old. They died in a car crash leaving Harry with his detested relatives.
"Up! Did you get up?" screeched his aunt Petunia.
Harry rolled his eyes and sat up on his thin cot. He put on his broken glasses and looked into a small broken mirror he salvaged a few years back. He had brilliant green eyes and messy jet-black hair, which he really liked. But today he felt different. Something had changed within him. He always remembered being terrified of something, of the screams from people he couldn't see.
But today he felt wickedness about him that he never realized he had. He felt confident, like he could take on the world and come at the top. But he also had a feeling that there was something out there for him. Something beyond living in a cupboard! Something magnificent! Something deadly!
He laughed at himself for getting such silly thoughts.
Aunt Petunia banged on the door. "Did you get up?"
"Yes, no need to shout," said Harry.
Aunt Petunia stepped back, confused by the sudden lack of disrespect. Her nephew was usually very timid and did exactly what they told him. The door opened and he stepped out. He looked different as well. Not in the physical sense. He still looked like a typical 11 year old, if a little thin. But the way he carried himself was entirely different.
"What did you say?" She asked in a whisper.
Harry scowled at her. "I said, no need to shout. I heard you once." He walked into the kitchen without looking back. He always cooked breakfast since he turned 7 nearly 4 years back and to tell the truth he didn't mind it. He found it peaceful to involve himself in it.
"It's… It's Dudley's birthday… Make sure you don't burn the bacon." Stuttered his aunt. Harry scoffed. As if he ever did.
Uncle Vernon entered the kitchen as Harry was turning over the bacon.
"Comb your hair!" he barked, by way of a morning greeting.
About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and shouted that Harry needed a haircut. Harry must have had more haircuts than the rest of the boys in his class put together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way -– all over the place and in record time none-the-less. After every hair-cut his hair was back to it's original state in a day.
Harry suddenly realized that for hair to grow that fast was not normal. He screwed up his eyes in thought. His hair couldn't just be a fast growing hair. There were other incidents, which happened around him that were not normal too.
One time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting old sweater of Dudley's (brown with orange puff balls) -– The harder she tried to pull it over his head, the smaller it seemed to become, until finally it might have fitted a hand puppet.
And the other time, he'd gotten into terrible trouble for being found on the roof of the school kitchens. Dudley's gang had been chasing him as usual when, as much to Harry's surprise as anyone else's, there he was sitting on the chimney. The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry's headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings. But all he'd tried to do was jump behind the big trashcans outside the kitchen doors. At that time Harry thought that the wind must have caught him in mid–jump.
But now he realized all these incidents were not normal. There was something about him that caused these incidents to happen. The more he thought about it the more he realized that his aunt and uncle knew about it as well. There had to be a reason why they called him a freak and blamed him when ever something abnormal happened.
Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen. Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head. Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel -– Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig without a tail. Harry smiled at the thought of giving him one.
Harry put the plates of egg and bacon on the table, which was difficult as there wasn't much room on the table. Dudley, meanwhile, was counting his presents. His face fell.
"Thirty-six," he said, looking up at his mother and father. "That's two less than last year."
"Darling, you haven't counted Auntie Marge's present, see, it's here under this big one from Mommy and Daddy."
"All right, thirty-seven then," said Dudley, going red in the face. Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.
Aunt Petunia, who was back to her normal self, obviously scented danger, too, because she said quickly, "And we'll buy you another two presents while we're out today. How's that, popkin? Two more presents. Is that all right?''
Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Harry thought that he could almost see the perspiration on his face. Finally he said slowly, "So I'll have thirty ... thirty..."
"Thirty-nine, sweetums," said Aunt Petunia.
"Oh." Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel. "All right then."
Uncle Vernon chuckled. "Little tyke wants his money's worth, just like his father. "Atta boy, Dudley!" He ruffled Dudley's hair.
Harry rolled his eyes in disgust and thought Dudley was acting like a greedy little pig. He smirked again. A greedy little pig in a wig.
At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it promptly as ever while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a video camera, a remote control airplane, and sixteen new computer games, and a VCR. He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia came back from the telephone looking both angry and worried.
"Bad news, Vernon," she said. "Mrs. Pinkley's going to visit her son. She can't take him." She jerked her head in Harry's direction.
Dudley's mouth fell open in horror, but Harry's heart gave a leap and his smirk turned to a full-blown smile. Every year on Dudley's birthday, his parents took him and a friend out for the day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies. Every year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Pinkley, an old lady who lived four streets away. Though Harry didn't really hate it there, he always felt uncomfortable sitting in the living room with an old woman and watching a boring show on TV.
"Now what?" said Aunt Petunia, looking apprehensively at Harry's smiling face as though he'd planned this all along.
"We could phone Marge," Uncle Vernon suggested.
"Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy."
The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn't there -– or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn't understand them, like a slug.
"What about what's-her-name, your friend -– Yvonne?"
"On vacation in Majorca," snapped Aunt Petunia. Then she glanced at her nephew's face once again and made a decision. "He will have to come with us."
Dudley began to cry loudly. In fact, he wasn't really crying — it had been years since he'd really cried — but he knew that if he screwed up his face and wailed, his mother would give him anything he wanted. Harry controlled the laugh that was bubbling inside him. Only his parent's can believe Dudley's acting. He stayed silent having decided to enjoy the show.
"Dinky Duddydums, don't cry, Mummy won't let him spoil your special day!" she cried, flinging her arms around him.
"I… don't… want… him… t-t-to come!" Dudley yelled between huge, pretend sobs. "He always sp-spoils everything!" He shot Harry a nasty grin through the gap in his mother's arms. And Harry returned that grin with a wicked smile of his own, which faltered his cousin's thought process.
Just then, the doorbell rang — "Oh, good Lord, they're here!" said Aunt Petunia frantically — and a moment later, Dudley's best friend, Piers Polkiss, walked in with his mother. Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat. He was usually the one who held people's arms behind their backs while Dudley hit them. Dudley stopped pretending to cry at once.
Half an hour later, Harry was sitting in the back of the Dursleys' car with Piers and Dudley, on the way to the zoo for the first time in his life. His aunt and uncle hadn't been able to think of anything else to do with him, but before they'd left, Uncle Vernon had taken Harry aside.
"I'm warning you," he had said, putting his large purple face right up close to Harry's, "I'm warning you now, boy — any funny business, anything at all — and you'll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas."
Harry just stared at his uncle non-pulsed. He got these kinds of threats before and they didn't scare him anymore. His uncle scowled at his lack of reaction but got into the car.
Soon they arrived at the zoo with his uncle cursing the hoodlums driving motorcycles as if they owned the road. It was a very sunny Saturday and the zoo was crowded with families. The Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice creams at the entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van had asked Harry what he wanted before they could hurry him away, they bought him a cheap lemon ice pop.
Harry walked behind the Dursleys and Piers and enjoyed the zoo by himself. Harry had a grand time while he walked from one animal exhibit to the other. Curiously, the animals flocked to him whenever he stood before the glass window of the exhibit. They stared at him even after he finished his lemon pop, which was strange.
Harry was standing before a lion exhibit staring at the magnificent beast. He put a hand to the glass and the lion walked up to his hand and sniffed it. It continued to stare at Harry while it sat on its hind legs tail swinging both ways. "Will you please roar?" asked Harry in a whisper.
And the lion bowed its head before it gave a mighty roar. Harry jumped in surprise as the lion obeyed him. This unfortunately also had the effect of attracting Dudley and Piers. They came lumbering toward Harry. "Gets of the way, freak," said Dudley before pushing Harry, who being half the weight Dudley was, fell on the ground.
The lion immediately got on to its legs while growling dangerously. Harry's temper flared and suddenly every glass in the lion's exhibit vanished. The lion roared as it approached Dudley and Piers who suddenly screamed and backed away from the dangerous beast. But they slipped and fell on the ground.
Harry, who was watching all this in fascination, suddenly realized what was going to happen. He might hate Dudley for what he was, but that doesn't mean he wanted him to die. He hoped the Lion would listen to him as it did the last time. "Stop," he commanded.
And the lion stopped. Harry slowly got to his feet and approached it. The lion walked up to him and it was nearly as tall at the shoulder as Harry was. It put its head in Harry's outstretched hand and purred as Harry stroked its great fur laid head.
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon came running on hearing Dudley's scream, but stopped at the sight that greeted them. They along with every visitor at the zoo were amazed at seeing an eleven-year-old boy petting a fully-grown 500-pound African lion and the said lion purring in pleasure.
Half a dozen zoo officials approached Harry and the lion cautiously.
"Err… boy, what's your name?" asked one official from a distance.
Harry looked around on hearing the voice and suddenly realized where he was. "Harry."
"Harry… Can you… Err… Make the lion come with you to the holding facilities?"
Harry nodded and he and the lion followed the zoo officials toward the lion's holding facility. And soon the lion was locked up inside and Harry parted with it, but not before getting a good-bye lick from it. He giggled at the feel of a wet tongue on his face.
And so Harry Potter for the first time in his life received a standing ovation from the relieved zoo visitors and officials though they were confused about the missing glass.
The zoo director approached Harry and thanked him for his efforts. He looked at the Dursleys who were standing nearby. "You have a special child here. You must be very proud of him."
The Dursleys grimaced at the thought of being proud of their nephew and soon left the zoo after being promised a lifetime worth of free visits to the zoo by the director who also gave Harry a Thousand Pound check.
The drive back to Privet Drive happened in complete silence. The Dursleys and Piers were too scared to talk. They occasionally glanced at Harry, who was absorbed in his mind. This was the sign he needed. He knew he made the glass vanish and he knew he was able to make the lion understand him. But how?
They dropped Piers on the way and soon entered their house. Vernon who was slightly pale all the way to house, got some of his color back. He fell on the couch taking huge breaths. Harry stood nearby looking amused.
Vernon glanced at him once and pointed to the cupboard. "Go… go to you cupboard. No meals."
Harry continued to smile at him. "I don't think so uncle. I am not sure you saw, but there quite a few pictures that were taken with the lion and me. What happens if someone found out I lived here and came to visit? I wonder what they will do to people who make a child live in a cupboard…"
He heard a gasp and turned around to see Aunt Petunia in the kitchen doorway. She had her mouth covered with her hand and her eyes as wide as dinner plates.
"Boy… Harry… Ta... Take your things into Dudley's second bedroom. I will bring your dinner up there. Please go."
Uncle Vernon started to protest but stopped at the glare he got from his wife.
Harry shrugged. He planned this very thing during the drive back home. He crawled into the cupboard and took his meager possessions into his new room. As he walked up the stairs he heard his aunt laying into his uncle on how she will not have anyone besmirching their name. What would the neighbors think?
That night Harry got the biggest meal he could remember getting in this house. He stayed up late looking out the window at the full moon marveling at its beauty. He didn't know what happened yesterday to change him. Thinking back on his actions, he knew he was never courageous or too clever. He in fact scared quite easily and was very average in school.
But now, he felt the same as he felt this morning. He felt confident. He felt cleverer than he ever felt before. And there was this expectant feeling about him. He felt as if he was standing on the brink of a revelation. That he will finally understand the reason behind his abnormality. He slept with a smile on his face and wondered what tomorrow will bring.
The next few weeks passed uncertainly at #4 Privet drive. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon ignored Harry as much as possible. And all it took was a punch to the stomach for Dudley to do the same. Even though he was twice as big as Harry, the only reason Dudley always went after his cousin was because Harry never fought back. But all that changed when he punched Dudley in retaliation for pushing him.
Dudley of course never told this to his parents. He didn't want to look like a coward in front of them. So it remained a secret between the two children and Dudley or his gang never bothered Harry again.
Harry wanted to prove himself once before he left the primary school and so he concentrated hard on his studies. The teachers were pleasantly surprised when in the end of the year tests he scored among the highest marks in his class. His Aunt Petunia scowled at him fiercely for beating Dudley in the tests, but signed the report sheet nonetheless. She didn't want any kind of attention brought on to them especially as Harry proved right and there was a brief article in the local newspaper with even a picture of Harry petting the lion.
The rest of the summer Harry spent most of his time either in the park or the library where he read fantasy novels like the Lord of the Rings. He knew he had some power in him, which allowed him to do things no one else could. He tried to manifest it again, but only achieved a small amount of success. After reading about how Gandalf can move things with his staff, Harry tried to do the same with his hand. After nearly 3 weeks of trying to make a leaf move, he was able to float it in the air for a few seconds before he was exhausted. As brief as the result might be, it gave renewed hope to Harry.
He also blackmailed his aunt into cashing the check he got from the Zoo director and went shopping when Aunt Petunia took Dudley to shop for his new school, Smeltings. For the first time he got clothes and shoes that fit him. His aunt also bought him clothes for the new school he will be joining the next academic year, Stonewall high. He also splurged a little and bought new glasses with better prescription and a nice watch - something he always wanted.
And soon it was the 31st of July and his birthday. It was never a special occasion for him as he never had anyone to celebrate it with. That morning breakfast was interrupted by arrival of the mail.
"Get the mail, Harry." Said uncle Vernon from behind his newspaper.
Harry wanted to argue about it. But his relatives have been almost bearable these past weeks and he decided to obey them this time.
He picked up the mail and glanced through them as he walked back to the kitchen. There were a couple of bills and a postcard from Aunt Marge. But the letter that caught Harry's eyes was a thick envelope in yellowed parchment. As Harry held it in his hand, he got the same feeling of expectancy he had a couple of months back. It was a letter addressed to him and he never got any letter before.
Mr. H. Potter
The Smallest Bedroom
4 Privet Drive
He slowly walked back to the kitchen and gave uncle Vernon the other mail. He sat on his chair and opened the envelope when it was snatched from his hand. He cursed himself. He knew better than to have opened it here.
"Dad… Dad… Look Harry got a letter." Said Dudley as he held out the letter to uncle Vernon. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon paled at that. They talked about this happening after the zoo incident. Uncle Vernon snatched that letter.
Harry was raging inside. This was the first time someone sent him a letter and he will have it. He slapped the table hard and to his surprise it broke in two spilling the contents all over the floor. Aunt Petunia Shrieked, Dudley fell over backward from his chair and uncle Vernon gaped at the broken table in horror.
Harry held out his hand to uncle Vernon. "I will have my letter back now, please."
Uncle Vernon, whose mind is still processing what happened, gave the letter to him. Harry saw that there were three parchments in it. He read the first one.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment as well as directions to where you can buy them.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
Harry blinked at the letter surprised. Yet he was the happiest he had ever been. It was magic that he could do and there were other people like him out there and a lot of them, if there was even a school.
He pulled out the second parchment.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
First-year students will require:
Three sets of plain work robes (black)
One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags.
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
Magical Theory by Ad Albert Waffling
A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emetic Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
1 Cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 telescope set
1 brass scales
Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS.
The third parchment was a map to a place called Diagon Alley near Charring Cross. It also had a list of shops in the alley and those suggested to the students were marked in red. Harry found it fascinating that there was even a bank called Gringotts in the alley.
After he finished reading the parchment, he looked at his aunt and uncle who were deathly pale. Now he understood what he had in him. Now he understood the reason they hated him.
He narrowed his eyes at his Aunt. "So… You knew then. You knew about magic."
It was not a questions but a statement. His Aunt sneered showing her true personality since that day in the zoo. "Knew!" shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. "Knew! Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that — that school — and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was — a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"
She stopped to draw a deep breath and then went ranting on. It seemed she had been wanting to say all this for years.
"Then she met that Potter at that school and they left and got married and had you, and of course I knew you'd be just the same, just as strange, just as — as —abnormal — and then, if you please, she and her dratted husband lost their minds and we landed with you."
Harry had gone very pale at that statement. "Lost their minds? Are you telling me they are alive?"
"Of course they are alive. They are rotting in some freak hospital or the other, leaving you as a burden to us."
Harry closed his eyes as different emotions tried to take over him. His parents were alive. "She was your sister and you never visited her once? You never thought to tell their only son they are alive?" With each statement his voice rose to a level the Dursleys never heard before.
All three members of the Dursley family were shaking by that time as things started to rattle in the house. Suddenly a glass vase broke into a hundred pieces. That got Harry's attention enough to calm him down.
He folded the parchment and put it back in the envelope. Without even a glance at his relatives, he walked out of the kitchen and the house. He slowly walked toward the park in a daze. When he reached the park, he sat at a bench and stared at nothing. Tears leaked out of his eyes. His parents were alive. His aunt said they lost their minds… But maybe they were near to being cured? He had to see them. The only address he knew about was that of Diagon Alley. He decided to go there first and from there he will try and find out where his parents were.
He got back to his feet and walked down toward the street where there was a Taxi stand. He hailed one and gave him the address. The taxi driver was hesitant to take such a young kid, but Harry told him he was meeting his friends and he showed the driver some of the remaining prize money he was always carrying on him.
The drive took 40 minutes given that it's early in the morning and it was the weekend. Soon Harry found himself standing before a pub called "The Leaky Cauldron", which he nearly missed.
He opened the door and all conversation in the pub stopped for a moment, before it started up again. Harry approached the bar man as the letter he got suggested. The bar man saw him and smiled.
"Hello? Can I help you?"
"Are you, Tom, sir?"
"Yes lad and its just Tom. Are you a new student then?"
Harry nodded not trusting his mouth.
Tom gave him a welcome smile. "Well lad, let me be the first to welcome you to the wizarding world. Here, follow me and I will show you the way to the alley."
Harry followed him silently to the back of the pub and to a dead end blocked by a wall. Tom took out a stick, which Harry presumed is a wand and tapped a set of bricks.
"Memorize the sequence and you can open the gateway anytime after you got your wand."
Harry stood still as the bricks wiggled and a small hole appeared in them and grew larger and larger until there was an archway formed in the wall.
Tom grinned at Harry's reaction. He always found it amusing to see the reaction of young ones when they first see the alley. "Welcome to Diagon Alley."