Disclaimer: Anything familiar to JKR's books probably comes from there and is hers not mine. Also, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, the Wizarding World, and anything else that has to do with it belongs to the lovely JK Rowling, not me. I'm just playing in her sandbox and building my own Hogwarts in it.

AN: This is going to, hopefully, be the only time I'll put an Author's Note at the top of a chapter. The reason I'm doing it is to explain something. At the beginning of this chapter, I've got two extra things. The first is the italics, and it's sort of a prologue or an introduction to the entire story. The bold, which is next, is a preface, or a scene further down in the series (the third story, to be exact) that will come up again, but it won't make much sense until later on in this story. Now, I'm done talking, so read, enjoy, and review! :)


Life may seem to be set in stone, but it isn't. Choices, events, and little things can change the future. The smallest thing like turning left instead of right, or helping someone pick up something, or even the choice of where to sit can change a life. The world is made up little changes that add up to big things, not big things that are surrounded by little things.

Sometimes it's the smallest choices that can change a story, the smallest actions that set off a new chain reaction. One small decision, which leads to many small actions, can change not only events but people as well. The tiniest things can make the largest differences in life.

This story is no exception. One little choice, the choice to ask a question that went unasked before, led to a different action than before, which led to a brand new story for one Harry James Potter...


Harry stood just inside the tree line of the clearing where Voldemort and his Death Eaters awaited him; if he was going to show up, that was.

While watching Voldemort and his followers, Harry was having an internal battle. He didn't know if he should just walk into the clearing and face death even though Dumbledore had told him that he was a Horcrux and would have to die so that Voldemort would be mortal.

Harry knew he had another ten minutes to decide, but he just didn't know what to do.

Shifting beneath his Invisibility Cloak, Harry fingered the dagger that had been through so much with him and had been a huge asset in everything he did. His other hand grasped the handle of his holly wand, the one that was a brother to Voldemort's yew wand.

Then, Harry's right pocket heated up, no doubt Daphne trying to get him to talk so that she could try one last time to stop him, even though no one could stop the upcoming event once he walked into that clearing, if he did. That one thing reminded Harry what he was fighting for, who he was fighting for.

Every student, from Slytherin to Gryffindor to Ravenclaw to Hufflepuff, from first year to seventh, was counting on him. The Order of the Phoenix was counting on him. Families of his friends needed him to do this so that they could be safe and without fear that a Death Eater could turn up at their door and kill them at any given moment. Those still good in the Ministry needed him to stop Voldemort so that the Ministry could be fixed.

Most important in Harry's mind, though, was that if he did this, Ginny would be able to live her life without fear or the chance of her family being killed by terrorists.

Looking down at his robes beneath his Cloak, Harry found it amusing that he was going to go stand up to Lord Voldemort, the heir of Slytherin, while wearing Slytherin-colored robes and with the Dagger on his waist.

Even if Harry did die, Harry knew that it would mean someone else could finally kill Tom Marvolo Riddle, but he had a feeling Dumbledore had something up his sleeve.

Sighing internally, Harry made sure he was in shadow before slipping off his Cloak and putting it into the pocket of his robes that didn't have his burning-hot Journal in it.

Quickly contemplating taking out his Journal and leaving it so that everyone could hear what happened in the forest clearing, Harry sighed slightly and slipped it out. Opening it and activating it, Harry put his pencil into place before pulling out the leather cord around his neck and attaching the Journal to it. Shrinking the journal, Harry slipped it under his shirt and sighed lightly, knowing that his friends would all quickly find out he was signed on and would be reading the journal like it was a lifeline.

Before he could change his mind, Harry James Potter, seventeen years old, wearing Slytherin-colored robes, a dagger hanging on his side, and his wand in its holster, walked out into the clearing and stared Lord Voldemort, the heir of Slytherin and the darkest Dark Lord ever seen, right in the eyes, knowing that this might be the last thing he ever saw in a few minutes.


Chapter One

Harry James Potter looked out the window of his compartment on the Hogwarts Express in Platform 9¾, watching the other students and their families say goodbye for the term. Harry saw people in robes ranging from navy blue, to black, to blood red. He saw people who were obviously Muggles as they were in Muggle clothes and looked out of place in the sea of witches and wizards, looking lost and unusual.

Harry closed his eyes, turning away from the window, and thought about the events that had led to him finally being gone from the Dursleys. Letters had gone to his aunt and uncle's house for days, finally driving his uncle crazy enough that he took them away from home until they ended up at a broken-down house on an island, during the middle of a storm. Then, Hagrid, a big man, had broken into the house and given Harry his letter, finally convincing him that he was indeed a wizard. The next month was spent out of the way of his family until today, September 1st, when they agreed to take him to King's Cross, where they left him at ten in the morning.

Harry had been thankful that he had thought to ask Hagrid how he was to get to Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards, as he probably would have never found the hidden entrance without Hagrid's instructions. He then worked hard until he finally got his trunk onto the train and into a compartment, sitting down by the window with his hair covering his forehead carefully.

You see, Harry James Potter wasn't an ordinary wizard. Until a month ago, he had thought himself to be an ordinary boy with no parents. Then, he found out that his parents had been murdered by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, leaving Harry with only a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead and the title 'the Boy-Who-Lived' after Voldemort had turned his wand on Harry, intending to kill the one-year-old and failing, supposedly losing his own life in the process.

Harry had learned on his trip to Diagon Alley, the alley where shops were for witches and wizards, hidden in London, that his scar made him stand out. He had decided to change into his new, black school robes the moment he got on the train and then hide his scar with his black, unruly hair, trying not to stand out. So far, his plan had been successful.

Before too long, it was eleven o'clock, the whistles were blowing, and the Hogwarts Express was leaving the station, finally taking Harry to Hogwarts and away from his old life with the Dursleys.

Harry was watching London pass by when a group of kids in robes with blue lining on them came into the compartment and asked him if they could sit with him. Harry told them they could and then went back to looking out of the window, basically ignoring the older children. He didn't want anyone to realize who he was, preferring to stay unnoticed until he was forced to name himself. Luckily for him, the older kids didn't mind and left him to himself, talking among themselves about their different summers.

The only time Harry looked away from the window the entire train ride was to buy food for lunch when the trolley came around, only buying enough to satisfy his hunger. Otherwise, he spent hours just watching the land speed by him as he enjoyed his freedom from the Dursleys for the first time since he had been a year old and left on their doorstep after his parents had been murdered.

Harry stared up at the magnificent castle in front of him as the boats sailed across the lake, unable to believe his eyes. He couldn't believe that he was going to be staying in such an amazing place for ten months of each of the next seven years. He thought he had to be dreaming; this couldn't be his new home.

Looking around at the other first years, he realized that he wasn't the only one with this reaction. Almost every first year was staring at the castle in front of them; the few who weren't were looking around like Harry for other reactions. Harry went back to staring at the stone castle until they finally got to the other side of the lake and were led up to the doors where Hagrid knocked on the doors three times. They opened to show a tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes with a stern face.

"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," Hagrid said.

"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."

The woman, Professor McGonagall, led them through an Entrance Hall that could hold the Dursley's entire house, it was so huge. She led them past a doorway that had hundreds of voices talking behind it to a small, empty chamber off the Hall, which they crowded into.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," Professor McGonagall said once they were all in the room. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your Houses. The Sorting is a very serious ceremony because, while you are here, your House will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your House, sleep in your House dormitory, and spend free time in your House Common Room.

"The four Houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each House has its own noble history and has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your House points, while any rule-breaking will lose House points. At the end of the year, the House with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever House becomes yours.

"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting. I will return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly."

She left the chamber and Harry snuck into the shadows at the back of the room, using his dark hair and robes to his advantage. He then began trying to think about what the Sorting might be, but his thoughts were cut short when he heard his name being spoken.

"-Potter supposed to be here this year?" a red-haired boy asked a black-haired boy.

"I think so. He's supposed to be eleven this year, if I remember correctly," the boy replied.

"Then why isn't he here?" the red-haired boy asked while looking around the room, never noticing Harry lurking in the shadows, listening to their conversation.

"Because, Weasley, he probably feels that he's too special to come to Hogwarts and went to another school instead," a blond boy said as he walked up to the pair, two boys that looked like gorillas flanking him.

"What do you mean, Malfoy?" the red-haired boy, Weasley, spat out.

"I mean that he's rich and famous, so why bother coming to a dump like this? I'd have gone somewhere else, but mother wanted me close to home, you see," Malfoy said.

"Sod off, Malfoy," Weasley said, turning away from the blond boy.

"Make me, Weasley," Malfoy said, egging him on. "I mean, it's not like you have any money or anything. Your second-hand robes are proof of that. I'll bet you have nothing to make you anything better than a Mudblood."

Weasley turned around so fast you could barely see him move, and was on top of Malfoy before anyone could react. Harry watched in amazement as Weasley began punching Malfoy in the face, breaking his nose and covering them both in blood.

No one else in the room moved or spoke, afraid to get hurt or in trouble. Of course, the other first years had the right idea of not getting involved as just after the fight had started, and before Malfoy could get Weasley back, Professor McGonagall came back into the room.

"What is the meaning of this?" she yelled, making every student in the room look at her and stopping the fight in its tracks. "Fighting on the first day of school, before the Sorting Ceremony has even begun! You both should be ashamed of yourselves! Your families will be written to, and the Headmaster will be involved in this. Be relieved that we cannot take points from a House before you have been sorted, nor for anything happening before the Feast is over, or you'd both be losing a lot of points for your future Houses."

The angry professor moved forward, pulling her wand out as she did, and pulled the two boys off of each other. Then, with a few waves of her wand, she cleaned both boys off and healed Malfoy's nose. She glared at both boys before gesturing for all of the students to follow her. No one noticed as Harry slipped out of the shadows and merged into the middle of the group, trying to act as if he'd been there the entire time.

The group entered the Great Hall in a line, and they were awed by what they found. Thousand of candles, all hanging over four long tables full of students and one shorter table of teachers, lit the room. The tables had golden goblets and plates, all shining brilliantly in the light from the candles. Above them, the ceiling looked like the night sky outside. Harry heard a brown-haired girl muttering about it being enchanted.

The first years were led to the long table where the teachers sat. A stool was waiting for them in front of it, an old, dirty, pointed hat sitting upon it. Everyone from the older students, to the teachers, to the pearly white ghosts above the tables was looking at the hat, so the first years did as well. They weren't disappointed as they saw the hat move and a mouth form on it before it began to sing.

"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge me on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat,
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!"

Everyone clapped for the hat as it bowed to each of the houses before going still once more. After the clapping was done, most of the first years started talking to their friends about their relief at that being the Sorting. Harry, on the other hand, tried to guess which House he'd be in as he didn't really know which House he fit the best. He still hadn't decided when Professor McGonagall stepped forward with a roll of parchment in her hands.

"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be Sorted," she said. "Abbot, Hannah!"

Harry watched at Hannah was sorted into Hufflepuff, followed by a Susan Bones. He watched Terry Boot become the first Ravenclaw, followed by Mandy Broklehurst. Lavender Brown became the first Gryffindor and Millicent Bulstrode became the first Slytherin, drawing boos from the crowd for some reason, and Tracey Davis got the same reaction. Justin Finch-Fletchley became a Hufflepuff, and Harry began to lose interest as he watched Seamus Finnigan become a Gryffindor, followed by the brown-haired girl from in line, Hermione Granger. Harry thought he heard the red-haired boy, Weasley, groan at her Sorting, though he had no idea why. Neville Longbottom, the black-haired boy Weasley had been talking to, became a Gryffindor, and then he forgot he had to take the hat off, so he had to run back to give it to the next person.

After that, Harry lost interest until the name Draco Malfoy was said and the blond boy swaggered up to the stool. The hat barely touched his head before declaring him a Slytherin. Malfoy went to sit with the two boys who had been flanking him before, Crabbe and Goyle, at the Slytherin table, definitely happy with himself.

Harry only started to pay attention again when the Ps came. He watches as Parkinson was Sorted into Slytherin, one of the Patil twins into Ravenclaw with the other going to Gryffindor, and he didn't even listen for the sorting of Perks as he had a feeling he was next. Sure enough the next name said was "Potter, Harry!"

As Harry finally made his presence known to the whole school, people began whispering and trying to get a good look at him. As the hat was dropped over his eyes, just as it had for every other first year Sorted, he saw everyone craning to get a good look at him. He just stared at the black of the hat and waited, willing to be patient for his Sorting.

"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting… So where shall I put you?"

Wherever you'd like to put me, Harry thought in his head, guessing the Sorting Hat would pick up on the thought. I just want to be in the best place for me, no matter what others might think of it.

"That's very interesting… Well, then, I'd better choose the house that will help you on the way to greatness. As you don't seem to have any sort of bias in your mind, something I like about you, I think I'll put you in SLYTHERIN!"

Harry lifted the hat off his head as the Sorting Hat finished saying his House to the Hall and was greeted with pure and utter silence. Every single person in the Hall was staring at him in disbelief, unable to believe that Harry Potter, the Harry Potter, was sorted into Slytherin. Not even the Slytherins, nor their Head of House, could believe it.

Harry turned around to see masks of shock on every teacher's face, even the one in the special chair that looked like a throne in the middle. Gulping slightly, Harry put the hat down and slowly walked towards the table with the students in green and silver. Every eye in the Hall was still on him, following his movement as he went to his House's table. Even after he had sat down, no one could stop looking at him.

Harry looked down at his watch in a way that it didn't look like he was looking at it. He waited after that and didn't look at his watch again until the professor in the throne-like chair actually moved, telling him that someone had finally gotten over whatever his Sorting had done to shock everyone. His watch told him it had taken five minutes for anyone to actually react, which was a surprise for him.

"Professor McGonagall, please continue with the Sorting," the professor in the throne-like chair said, snapping everyone out of their stupor.

"Of course, Professor Dumbledore," she replied, slowly continuing the Sorting.

While the Sorting finished up, people kept looking at Harry, making him very nervous and uncomfortable. Harry only paid enough attention to the Sorting to hear that Weasley's first name was Ronald and that he had become a Gryffindor. Another boy, Blaise Zabini, joined Harry at the Slytherin table, sitting next to him on his left and looking at him only for a moment before looking up towards the head table and Professor Dumbledore, the Headmaster.

"Welcome!" Albus Dumbledore, who had stood up, said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

Food appeared in front of Harry as Dumbledore sat down and most of the Hall clapped for him. Harry dug right in, having never so much food in his life and wanting to enjoy what he could of it. He grabbed some of everything in front of him and began to eat while hearing his classmates around him talk, though they were actually talking to him.

"Potter, how did you get into Slytherin?" Malfoy asked him, a sneer on his face.

"The Sorting Hat put me here," Harry replied, not wishing to give anything away but still wanting the questioning to end.

""Yes, yes, we all saw that, but everyone thought you'd be a bloody Gryffindor for sure. I mean, you're obviously light and all."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Potter, don't tell me you don't understand what you being in Slytherin means," Blaise Zabini drawled from next to him, a sneer on his face.

"Uh… Sorry, but I don't."

"You don't?" Daphne Greengrass said from across the table, shock covering her face along with all the other first years around them, though she quickly wiped it off her face.

Harry shook his head as he replied, "This is truthfully my first day in the wizarding world except for the day I got my supplies. Someone left me with some bloody awful Muggles for most of my life. I truly hate them, though I'm not sure about Muggles in general. The ones I'm related too are bloody bastards, though."

All of his classmates stared at him in disbelief while he ate another bite of his fried chicken, waiting for a response that wasn't going to come right away. None of his classmates could believe that the Harry Potter had grown up as a Muggle, having no idea about the wizarding world. Everyone had expected him to have grown up with some light family for his entire life.

"Are you telling me that you didn't grow up knowing about the wizarding world?" Malfoy asked in disbelief. Harry just nodded as his mouth was still full. "Well, then, all of us here in Slytherin, we can help you make the right choices." The others all around him nodded in agreement, some more reluctantly than others.

Harry cocked his head, deep in thought. To him, he could see some of these people being helpful like Blaise Zabini, Tracey Davis, and Daphne Greengrass, but Millicent Bulstrode, Pansy Parkinson, Crabbe, and Goyle seemed anything but helpful. Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott were the two he definitely wasn't sure about as Draco definitely seemed like the type who used others and Nott just seemed… very sly for some reason. Those two would take a while to decide about.

"I'll take advice," Harry finally said, "but the final choices regarding things I do are always going to be my own." To Harry's surprise, all of the other Slytherins nodded happily, small smiles coming to their faces while they all shared looks.

"Very good, Potter," Daphne said. "You just told us why the Sorting Hat placed you in Slytherin. You think ambitiously, yet you're cautious and sly, hard to catch. You definitely belong here, unlike what most of us would have thought."

"I must agree with Greengrass on this one," Blaise said from beside Harry, making him turn to look at him. "You most certainly think like a Slytherin."

"I think I could grow to like you, Potter," Malfoy said from beside him, though Harry barely noticed.

"One question for all of you," Harry said as he realized something that was common among the others. "Why only the surnames?"

"That's an easy one, Potter," Malfoy said from Harry's right side, finally getting his attention again. "It's a Pureblood thing. We've all grown up doing it, and it's now a Slytherin tradition to mostly use surnames. Though closer ties – or friendships as some may call them, though we normally think of them as alliances – bring with them the stopping of surnames."

"That makes sense except for the fact that the term Pureblood isn't something I've heard of before."

"A Pureblood is someone with only magical blood in their family for at least seven generations, Potter," Nott said, finally speaking. "You are a Half-Blood. Your mother was a Muggle-born, also known as a Mudblood by Purebloods. Most would take offense at the word, though I hope you will not."

"Mudblood means dirty blood, Potter," Davis said, seeing his look of confusion. "It's the worst of the worst. Nott just wants you to know that you'll hear it around the Common Room a lot, so he's hoping you won't try to duel anyone who uses it. It's an insult to Muggle-borns, which means it's an insult to your mother, but it's a common thing and you'll have to get used to it."

"Just as long as you all don't use it at me or my mother, I'll keep any emotions I may feel to myself," Harry said politely, trying to pick up on their more formal style of speaking. Greengrass nodded to him, letting him know that she understood and that she had also caught his try at formality.

Harry liked that about the Slytherins. To everyone else, they'd only catch the first meaning, never the second meaning, but almost everything a Slytherin did had a second meaning or reason behind it. Harry saw this as the Slytherins began talking among themselves, including him in random conversations. Otherwise, they left him alone and let him listen so that he could try and pick up their way of doing things.

This continued for the rest of dinner until Dumbledore informed them all that the third floor corridor on the right-hand side was out of bounds. The other Slytherins just laughed off the part about a person dying a painful death. Dumbledore then sent them all on their way to bed after having them sing the school song, which all the Slytherins did as fast as they could, Harry included.

"And this is where the secret entrance to the Slytherin Common Room is," the fifth year Prefect that was leading the first years around said, stopping in front of a bare stone wall at a dead end in the dungeons. "The password is 'Snakes are the Kings' for now." As the Prefect said the password, the bare strip of wall in front of the group slid open, showing the first years an entrance way into a room. "Follow me."

Harry looked around his common room, staring at the round, greenish lamps hanging from the rough stone ceiling on chains, the high-backed chairs by the fire, and the elaborately carved mantelpiece that was above the crackling fire. He saw a few older Slytherins sitting around the fire in the chairs, talking away, though it looked as if most were either not in the Common Room yet or they were in bed already.

"Down those halls, you'll find the dormitories," the Prefect said, bringing Harry's attention back to him and the halls on the opposite side of the room from the entrance. "Girls are down the left hall and boys are down the right. Boys, you cannot, in any circumstance, get past that first torch in the girls' hallway. Do not even try as everyone in the House will hear, and we'll all make you regret it. Am I understood?" Harry nodded along with the other boys.

"Good. Now, all of you will go into the first dormitories in the halls. Your belongings are already in there, so just unpack and get into bed. You'll most certainly have a long day tomorrow, so you'll need the sleep. Now get out of my sight!"

Harry and the other first years all looked at each other for a moment before each gender split up and went down their own hallways and into their dorms. Harry stared around the room, though he tried his best to keep a blank face as he did so. There were six four-poster beds with green and silver hangings. Beside each bed was a great mahogany wardrobe on one side and a mahogany desk, which included shelves above it for books and supplies, on the other. At the foot of each bed was a trunk, showing which boy had which bed.

Harry quickly found his bed, the one closest to the door, and opened his trunk. Taking out his robes and uniforms, he hung the robes up and folded the uniforms neatly into the drawers inside the wardrobe. He then took his books out and placed them on the shelves of his desk, the bindings facing out. His parchment, quills, and ink followed, though they were put into the drawers of the desk. His school bag was placed on the back of his desk chair, which was also made of mahogany.

Grabbing a pair of pajamas, which did not belong to Dudley as Harry had been smart enough to buy an entire new wardrobe of muggle clothes as well as wizard while he had been away from Hagrid while in Diagon Alley, and his toiletries, Harry went into the shared bathroom and quickly got ready for bed within five minutes.

By the time the other boys were finally done unpacking, Harry was done and getting into his own bed. Nott, Malfoy, and Zabini all nodded Harry a good night, which Harry returned quickly. Harry was correct in guessing that Crabbe and Goyle weren't smart and couldn't think for themselves most of the time.

Drawing his curtains closed around him, Harry settled down into bed and thought about what he would be dealing with around the school the next morning as he slowly fell into the deepest sleep he had ever had in his entire memory.

Please, read the next chapter or two before you say this isn't your type of story. I promise that it's different from most Slytherin Harry stories. Very different. If you just give it a chance, you'll probably find that you like it.

Now, this is the first story in a trilogy, and I'll also have a Post-Hogwarts story added to it. Becoming Alpha is complete, and I'm going to begin work on the second story sometime in the near future. I'll be posting once a week, Sunday evenings. Today is the exception because it's the first chapter.

Also, this is my first real Harry Potter story, so feedback would be greatly appreciated. Please, let me know what you think of this story.

Posted: 10/10/10