On July thirty-first, 1992, my parents came home early from a dinner with a CEO from a company they were considering doing business with... or it might have been with some magical people. I don't know; I don't go to dinner parties. I wanted to when I was little, because I liked mum's dresses, but I was already ten by this time. Dresses were stupid.
Mum was in a snit because an owl had swooped in during the dinner party. She's afraid of birds, which is silly since she married a wizard; then again, we haven't got an owl so she can get away with it. I'll admit I don't like birds much either, probably because Mum has a panic attack at the sight of a sparrow.
Daddy was doing his best to calm her down, saying he had no idea that their nephew was a wizard, and that he wouldn't be doing business with them anyway if they were going to blame a child for that sort of thing. Especially one with the auspicious name of "Harry".
Harry... I really hated that name, ever since I was a kid. I hated girly things, but I hated the name Harry more than anything.
My name is Harriet Marie Mason. I was born November first, 1981, one hour after the Daily Prophet came out stating that Harry Potter had killed the Dark Lord. I was the first of seven hundred and two babies to be named after Harry Potter over the course of the next three years. I was also the only girl in Britain to be named after him.
My parents seem to think Harry is a good nickname for me. I hate it. Combined with my preference for anything-not-a-skirt-or-pink, I get mistaken for a boy a lot. Never mind that I look like a girl and wore my hair in braids since I was three, it's being called Harry that always convinces people that I must be a boy.
Daddy tells me to go to bed.
My first memory of Hogwarts is my dog getting run over by neighbors' car, Daddy's heart attack, and the little boy who called me a pervert for not wear a skirt.
Not because these things happened upon my arrival. My dog, Puck, died when I was seven. He was a little terrier puppy, and the man next door had a delinquent teenaged son. He was drunk and stoned and didn't hear me screaming at him to stop. The blood stain was still on the concrete last I checked.
Daddy had his heart attack not long after my eleventh birthday. The doctors said it was stress induced. The healers say it was "something else", but Mum wouldn't let them tell me what.
The reason these are my first memory of Hogwarts was because of the dementors. The girls sitting in my compartment with me ran out screaming and didn't help me when I tripped. The door was still open, and one of them checked my compartment before – I was told – Professor Lupin ran them off. All I remembered was my dog dying, Daddy's heart attack, that boy, being so cold I couldn't feel my toes, and that the thing passing by me didn't have feet.
I didn't even realize I was crying until afterwards, and I didn't know about chocolate helping until dinner, after I had been sorted into Gryffindor (for "being able to stand straight without any help after the ordeal on the train") and had been shaking like a leaf, teary eyed at the front of the Great Hall.
There were seven Harrys, two Harrisons, one Harris, three Harlens, and ten Harolds sorted with me. We made up more than half of the children being sorted.
I blamed Harry Potter for the entire thing. He was the one Sirius Black was after, the reason the dementors were there and made my entire first year a living hell. After the Gryffindor/Hufflepuff Quidditch match, I developed a fear of heights, and never went to another Quidditch game at Hogwarts.
In my second year, I tried to go by my middle name. Marie wasn't as bad as Harriet, certainly. The teachers were mostly okay with this, so long as I still signed my papers as Harriet M Mason.
I was especially glad for this when Harry Potter was named the "Fourth" Champion. I got one of the Support Diggory badges from Malfoy and was shunned by the rest of my house; I made a friend in Hufflepuff, Tabitha Hart Samson, who was halfblood like me but more discretely named after Potter. She had a crush on him, but she still didn't shun me.
Professor Moody scared me even more than heights. He had us face a boggart – the previous third years, Potter's year, had faced one the last year – and after the vertigo I felt that I could find nothing funny about, I knew that I was afraid of the ex-auror.
That he, in the end, turned out to be a Death Eater did not dissuade me from fearing Mad-Eye Moody.
Everyone hated Potter in my third year; I was just one of the crowd, and I was fine that way. My parents were worried, but thought that whatever Dumbledore said had to be true and told me to be careful. That wouldn't stop me from hating Potter.
Yet, despite that I was just one of the crowd, I was somehow singled out. Just once, but it happened.
Potter's red-headed friend, Weasley, yelled at me. He was easily thirty cm taller than me, and he was red in the face, and he yelled at me. I was intimidated, anyone would be.
"Why do you keep glaring at him, huh? Why can't you people just accept that Harry is telling the truth?!" He was furious.
"I don't disbelieve him," I had said quietly. And I didn't. My parents were Ministry malcontents in both the muggle and magical side of things, and I had been raised to think that our political system was inherently flawed. "But that doesn't mean I can't hate him without being a Ministry stooge."
Potter, who had been about to tell of Weasley for yelling at a kid, just sort of stared at me. I would think he was used to people hating him, like Professor Snape.
I had more reasons to hate Potter that year, too. Because I shared his name, I was scorned. Not by other students – I was a wallflower for the most part, and outside of Tabitha had more acquaintances than anything else – but by Dolores Umbridge. She hated all the Harrys, Harrises, Harrissons, Harolds, Harlens, and me, because of the names our parents had cursed us all with at birth.
I doubt if I'll ever forget the words I must not go against the Ministry.
In my fourth year, after Voldemort was revealed to really be back, my parents were attacked by Death Eaters.
They both lived, but the threat was there. I was pulled the same day that Harry's Potter's best friend almost died, and my family moved to Germany.
We stayed there until a year after the end of the war.
My seventh and final year of magical education should have been calm. Voldemort was long gone, and Potter graduated the year prior. I shouldn't have to deal with anyone I didn't want to.
Tabitha died in the attack on the castle. Even though she was only fifteen still (poor girl shared Potter's birthday), she snuck into the battle, to be just that much more defense between the Death Eaters and her baby brother, a second year Ravenclaw, and was killed.
I don't know who by. I don't really care. Tabitha thought I was a coward to leave.
I don't think I was ever much of a Gryffindor.
And yet when I returned to Hogwarts for the first time in two and a half years, there was Potter. He shouldn't have been there, but he was. He was taking a minor potions apprenticeship, because his NEWT wasn't high enough to make it into the Auror program. On the side, he was helping other teachers wherever he could.
I couldn't drop potions if I wanted to be a healer; I put up with him being there.
In January, he cornered me. He asked me why I hated him. So I told him. He laughed. I cast a blue-ball hex at him and stormed off.
He didn't so much as glance at me the rest of the year.
Not long after becoming a healer, I was assigned to heal Potter after he'd done something stupid to catch a criminal. He did catch the guy, but he broke a few ribs and needed them regrown before he could get back to work.
"I half expected, when I heard you were my assigned healer, that you would refuse to heal me," Potter looked amused.
"I may hate you, but I'll still do my job," I rebuffed him. "I'm not petty." The very idea was insulting. I became a healer so I could do my job; I wasn't some Ministry lackey who would push off the job to somebody else. I was fine in St Mungo's tending the ill and keeping out of danger.
"Really? Could have fooled me; you hate me for something I'm not responsible for."
"Would you rather I hate my parents?"
He sat back silently as I healed what I could with my wand and gave him Skel-o-gro. The next morning I declared him fit to leave.
Potter's wife gave birth a few years later; I was the healer-on-call. I delivered his child, his second son.
"What will you be naming him?" I inquired as I started filling out the forms as necessary. Only a certified healer was allowed to fill out registration, birthing, and certificate forms.
"Albus Severus Potter." He sounded so proud of that name.
He stared. "No? What do you mean no? You – you can't veto the name I'm giving my child!" He was entirely flabbergasted. "I realize you hate me, but I refuse to let you take it out on my kids!"
I snorted. "I'm not. I'm saving the poor boy from your lunacy."
Mrs Potter watched the biplay, confused. "Healer Mason?"
"Have either of you paid attention when you say that name? 'Albus Severus'... it's all well and good that you want to honor the dead, but by Merlin, haven't you a single brain cell? Albus Severus is not a name, it's a moniker, the kind children mock others for having," I scowled, daring them to prove me wrong. "You have an hour to come up with something that at least makes sense."
In the end, he was Collin Albus Severus Potter. Well, most people didn't share middle names anyway.
Five years later, Potter and his wife broke it off. He asked me on a date.
I said no.
I don't think we ever spoke again.
Author's Note: Just an idea that popped into my head a while back. Wrote it all in about an hour.