THE HEADMASTER'S TALE

Harry blinked then squinted against the light. What light?

His room was well beneath the castle, and the lights that hung there were soft and vaguely greenish, so what was in his eyes? It seemed like sunlight.

Grimacing, Harry cracked his eyes open and saw that it was sunlight after all: the pale, watery kind that one finds when one wakes up far too early in the morning.

Harry groaned and rolled over and only then realized that he was not in his own bed.

He looked around, bewildered, at what had to be the hospital wing. How had he gotten here, and why? Harry frowned and tried to remember, but came up with nothing but a big, black blur. He sat up and winced. His head was throbbing! His scar prickled, too, but not as badly as it had been.

Harry scrubbed his eyes, still blinking at the unusual sunlight. He saw the pale lump of Draco Malfoy curled up asleep in a chair next to the bed. "Morning," said Harry.

Draco woke with a start, scrambling out of his chair. "Morning," he gasped. He looked shaky and disheveled.

"What happened?" Harry asked.

"Dunno," muttered Draco. "You just woke up screaming, and then you passed out."

"I did what?" Harry said.

Draco nodded.

Harry frowned. "Weird," he said. "How long was I asleep?"

"All yesterday," Draco told him. "There was some kind of fight, too."

"What? With who?"

"Dunno," Draco said again. "Rumor says it was teachers." He kept shifting back and forth, refusing to meet Harry's eyes.

"Really?" Harry gasped. "Was it—was it Snape or Quirrell? Were they after the, the thing?"

Draco shrugged. "Nobody's saying," he replied. "But something happened."

"Wow," said Harry.

"I wasn't worried about you," Draco added, "by the way. It's just, Crabbe and Goyle are really boring. So I'm glad you're better." Then he turned and fled.

Harry was only left gaping for a moment before another visitor came in: It was Dumbledore himself, looking solemn but alert despite the early hour.

"Feeling better, Harry?" he asked.

Harry nodded. "Yes sir, thanks," he said. "Please, what happened?"

Dumbledore didn't answer, but settled himself comfortably in the chair that Draco had so quickly vacated. He smiled, more to himself than to Harry, and picked up a licorice wand from the table next to Harry's bed. There were a few other mounds of candy on it, and a card covered in what looked like Hermione's small, neat handwriting. Dumbledore toyed with the wand a moment and then looked at Harry, his blue eyes sparkling.

"Misters Crabbe and Goyle, seemingly distrustful of the sort of nutrition that one might encounter in hospital, wanted to make certain that you would be properly fed and sugared," he explained, offering the licorice to Harry.

Harry took the candy politely but didn't start eating. He was too curious to be hungry. "That was nice," he said, trying not to show that he was itching with impatience.

"They seemed quite concerned for you," Dumbledore said, "although not, I must hasten to add, so distressed that they neglected to carefully make certain that everything was suitable for your eventual consumption."

Harry couldn't help but grin. "Right," he said. He spotted several empty wrappers in the small rubbish bin tucked under the table. One would never be poisoned by contaminated sweets with Crabbe and Goyle around.

"As far as Mister Malfoy goes, if he seemed unusually grumpy," Dumbledore continued, "then it was probably my fault. I interfered, you see, with his plan to sneak in and visit you with the aide of a certain garment." Dumbledore's eyes positively danced over the gold rims of his half-moon spectacles.

Harry grinned, then asked worriedly, "did anyone—"

"It was I who caught Mister Malfoy," Dumbledore interrupted, "and allowed him in anyway. I did take the liberty of confiscating that rather magnificent cloak, but only to return it safely to your trunk, where it will be awaiting your recovery."

"Brilliant," said Harry, relaxing. "Thanks, sir."

"You are quite welcome, Harry," said Dumbledore.

"Um, sir?" asked Harry.

"Yes?"

"Can I, um…can I ask what happened?"

"Certainly," replied Dumbledore. The merriness faded from his eyes and he gazed at Harry solemnly. "It was Professor Quirrell, Harry," Dumbledore said. "He tried to take the Stone."

"The—the what, sir?"

"Ah," said Dumbledore. Harry got the feeling that for some reason, the headmaster was disappointed with him. But Dumbledore just pulled his glasses off and began polishing them with the hem of his sleeve as he calmly explained:

"You recall, I am sure, that the third floor corridor was off-limits to students this year?"

"Yes sir," said Harry. He hesitated, then decided to trust Dumbledore; he hadn't yelled at him about the Mirror, after all. "It's because whatever Hagrid took out of Vault 713—that day when he took me to Diagon Alley?—that's where it was hidden, right?"

"Yes, Harry," said Dumbledore. "That is precisely what was hidden there."

"What was it?" Harry asked eagerly.

"Something very dangerous, that might well have enabled Lord Voldemort to return to power, if he had been able to get his hands on it."

Harry's jaw dropped open.

"Fortunately," Dumbledore continued, "both he and Quirrell found themselves unable to bypass all of the myriad levels of spells and protections that had been put in place to prevent such a theft."

"Like Fluffy," Harry muttered, without thinking. He clapped a hand over his mouth, horrified. He hadn't meant to get Hagrid into any trouble!

But Dumbledore was still smiling. "Indeed," he said. "Your friend Hagrid was gracious enough to provide his large friend, Fluffy, to assist myself and the teachers with our protective measures."

"But Quirrell figured out how to get past him?" Harry asked.

Dumbledore nodded. His face had gone very grave and suddenly tired. "I'm afraid so," he said slowly, "and quite nearly got Hagrid into a lot of trouble in the process."

"What did he do?" Harry asked.

But this time Dumbledore shook his head firmly. "That is a matter that I will not discuss without Hagrid's permission," the headmaster said. "He is quite embarrassed about the whole affair, and I will not breech his confidence by repeating the story."

"That's fair," said Harry, disappointed. "So, Quirrell got past Fluffy?" he prompted.

"Professor Quirrell was able to breach all the layers of enchantments, actually, save for the very last one," Dumbledore obligingly continued. "That one was my own devising, and if I may boast a bit, one of my more brilliant ideas, which between you and me, is saying something." Dumbledore was smiling again. "Although I am afraid that that clever mirror you were so captivated by has been broken."

"What?" cried Harry. "The Mirror of Erised?"

"Yes," Dumbledore nodded, "that was where I had hidden the object of Voldemort's desire, and in his frustrated attempts to remove it from the mirror, he eventually shattered the whole thing."

"Oh," said Harry. Cold disappointment curled in his gut. He hadn't gone looking for the mirror again, but he hadn't been entirely able to forget it, either. He had always hoped that he might see it again someday; it, and his parents within it.

"Fortunately, before either Quirrell or his master could devise some way of besting the enchantment anyway—"

"You mean—you mean Volde—sorry, You-Know-Who—he was in the castle?" Harry interrupted, wide-eyed.

"Call him Voldemort, Harry," Dumbledore said. "Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself."

"Yes, sir. But he was—"

"In the castle, yes." Dumbledore sighed. "I am afraid that Voldemort was here all year, in a manner of speaking."

Harry stared.

"It seems that Professor Quirrell had encountered Lord Voldemort at some point during his travels, and become loyal to him, even to the extent of allowing what was left of Voldemort to share his body and lifeforce."

"Ew," said Harry.

Dumbledore chuckled. "Quite," he said.

"So he was, what…part of Quirrell?"

"Exactly," said Dumbledore.

"Ew," Harry repeated, louder. He ate some licorice wand after all, to chase away the sour taste that revelation had left in his mouth.

"So what happened to them?" Harry asked. "To Quirrell, and You-Know—sorry—Voldemort?"

"As I was saying, they were interrupted while attempting to disenchant the mirror. Professor Snape had been keeping an eye on Quirrell for me all year—I may not have realized how, shall we say, closely he was serving Voldemort," Dumbledore's smirk was wry, "but I was at least clever enough to notice his newly sinister motives, and take a few precautions." His smile faded. "If I had known that Voldemort himself was with Quirrell, of course, I would have taken more, but as it was…" Dumbledore shrugged. "Well, Professor Snape managed to prevent Quirrell from causing too much harm during the year—"

"The troll!" Harry suddenly exclaimed. "And the music box! Did he—?"

Dumbledore nodded. "It would seem so," he said.

Harry's mind whirled. "So, Snape stopped him?"

"Professor Snape, Harry, and yes. He confronted Quirrell—"

"And they fought?"

"If you keep interrupting me, Harry, I will never get the story told," Dumbledore said gently, "and I do have a great many other things to do today."

"Sorry, professor."

Dumbledore smiled. "Well," he said, "they did indeed fight. Professors McGonagall and Flitwick noticed the commotion and joined in on the duel as well. Quirrell, even with the assistance of his master, was quite unable to overcome the three of them. Even with my absence—"

"Absence?" exclaimed Harry. "Where were you—sorry," he stopped himself quickly.

The corner of Dumbledore's mouth twitched slightly, but he pretended that he hadn't heard Harry's interjection. "Even with my absence," Dumbledore continued, "I do believe that the both of them might well have been apprehended, were it not for a rather unfortunate stroke of luck."

Harry sat up higher in the bed. He bit his lip to keep from speaking.

"One of Professor Snape's spells backfired, I'm afraid," Dumbledore explained, "and what ought to have incapacitated Professor Quirrell instead caused Voldemort himself to quite nearly manifest. A dreadful surprise to all those present, you can imagine. I do believe that it was the shock of that manifestation that so affected you, Harry."

"Why?" Harry asked.

"Very powerful curses—such as those which Voldemort uses to kill—can leave lingering effects," he said, his eyes traveling the length of Harry's scar. "Haven't you found?"

Harry absently rubbed his scar, thinking of the way it had been burning these last few weeks. He nodded.

"Fortunately," Dumbledore added, "it is not only Dark Magic which can have a lasting impact."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked.

Dumbledore smiled. "You'll find out for yourself, someday," he said, "I have no doubt."

Harry frowned. "Okay," he grumbled. He knew it would be no good to argue. "But what happened to Quirrell?" he asked, "and Voldemort?"

"When I returned to Hogwarts," Dumbledore told him, "Voldemort knew that he was lost, and he fled, abandoning Quirrell, who did not survive his master's departure. Their forms and life-forces were too entwined by this point."

"So he just—left Quirrell to die?"

"Loyalty," Dumbledore said solemnly, "to Voldemort, while something that he demands from his followers, is not a trait that he himself has ever shown any evidence of."

Harry frowned. "So, wait—he got away?" he asked.

"In a manner of speaking," said Dumbledore, "yes. Not being truly alive, he cannot be killed. However, while his return to power may have been only delayed, if he is delayed again, and again, then he may never achieve his resurrection at all."

"But how was he going to?" Harry asked. "How could whatever it was—a stone of some sort?—how could that help him come back? What was it?"

Dumbledore smiled kindly. "I'm afraid that that is a matter between myself and a very old friend," he said gently. His warm tones sounded to Harry almost sad, as if he had just been let down by something. The twinkling blue eyes that peered down at Harry over the headmaster's half-moon glasses seemed to be trying to tell him something. "Would you like a chocolate frog?" Dumbledore asked mildly. "I find their good-natured exertions always cheer me up when I'm feeling a bit low."

Harry thanked Dumbledore politely and pulled open the wrapper. The frog gave a feeble little croak and hopped down out of Harry's hands. He caught it quickly before it could get chocolate smears on the bed sheets and bring the wrath of Madame Pomfrey down upon them all. The wizard card that came tucked in with the frog fluttered out. Harry looked down and saw Dumbledore's kind, wise old face staring up at him.

"Look professor, it's you!" he exclaimed.

But when he looked up, grinning, Dumbledore was gone. Harry looked back down at the picture on the card but it, too, was empty and he was once more alone.

. . .

Madame Pomfrey made Harry stay for several more hours, despite his vehement and pleading protestations. She was worried that he might have a relapse. Nothing Harry said—including an admittedly garbled recounting of Professor Dumbledore's explanation of curses—could dissuade the hospital matron from her decision.

He was at least allowed visitors, although Draco did not return—which meant that neither Crabbe nor Goyle showed up, either. Hermione stopped in although once Harry explained about his scar and Voldemort, she scolded him for not speaking to someone about it sooner.

"I tried to!" Harry exclaimed, "but Snape interrupted—and good thing, because Quirrell had Voldemort hiding inside him, remember?"

Hermione got rather grumpy at that and began to lecture him, so Harry pretended he was tired and she went away again. He almost immediately regretted it, because even a stuffy lecture from Hermione Granger was preferable to idling around all alone in the hospital wing—mostly.

But then things got better, because Hagrid came in, and Hagrid felt so badly about Harry being in hospital that he finally told him everything he'd been keeping secret:

The animal had been a dragon, and it had been Quirrell (and Voldemort) who had given him the egg, in the process learning how to get past Fluffy—Hagrid felt so guilty over that that he actually cried a little, which made Harry more uncomfortable than his scar had—and since it was illegal to own dragons, the Ministry had come calling when someone (probably Quirrell) had leaked word of its presence, and Dumbledore had only barely been able to smooth things over.

Hagrid had been forced to give the dragon up, however, which he was still terribly sad about.

He had named it Norbert.

And he said that, to apologize to Harry for keeping secrets, he was putting together a present for him. It was a secret, too, but in this case, a good one, Hagrid promised.

"Brilliant, Hagrid," Harry said, "thanks. You don't have to do that, though—"

"No," Hagrid said, shaking his head so hard that Harry was afraid he was going to hurt himself. "I owe yeh, and yer outta have somethin' like this anyway."

"Something like what?" Harry asked, but Hagrid refused to say.

. . .

Harry finally got out of the hospital just in time to run to the Great Hall and swallow some food before the final Quidditch match of the year got started.

"I'm here!" he gasped, sliding onto the bench next to Draco.

"About time," Draco complained.

"Talk to Pomfrey," Harry grumbled. "She barely let me out as is."

Then Harry didn't say anything else because he was busy eating as fast as he could.

"So did the old coot tell you what really happened?" Draco asked. "Snape won't say anything."

Harry frowned at Dumbledore being called an "old coot," but nodded.

"Great," Draco said, "you can tell us all the details—after the match. We haven't got time now."

Harry nodded, trying to indicate without pausing to speak that he knew how late they were running. Even Crabbe and Goyle, for once, looked eager to get up from the table, although that hadn't stopped them from continuing to nibble while they waited for Harry.

Draco drummed on the table impatiently. "Hurry up!" he said. "We're not going to be able to get good seats."

"Mmumph," Harry replied, his mouth full.

Draco turned to the tall boy sitting next to him. "Crabbe," he ordered, "go ahead down and save us spots. Right up front!"

"Right." Crabbe nodded and raced off, as eager to get to the pitch as the rest of them.

Goyle stood up. "Where are you going?" Draco snapped, and he sat back down again.

"Finished!" Harry gasped, bolting half a glass of pumpkin juice. He scrambled off the bench, Draco just a beat behind. Goyle jumped back to his feet and they all ran out of the castle.

"Thanks—for waiting," Harry gasped. "And thanks—for the—candy," he added to Goyle.

Goyle grunted back and then they were shoving their way through the crowds, trying to find Crabbe. Having Goyle with them certainly made that part easier. Even fifth year students got out of his way. Harry was glad that Draco had stopped him from running off with Crabbe. He and Draco would have never been able to fight their way through this crowd alone.

Nearly the entire castle was already in the stands, and the rest of them seemed to be quickly coming to join in. This was the last Quidditch match of the year, and everything depended on it. If Ravenclaw won, Slytherin would take the cup. But if Gryffindor won, it would come down to a matter of points. They would have to beat Ravenclaw by an immense score to overtake Slytherin's lead, but stranger things had happened in Quidditch.

Harry crossed his fingers and crowded against the rail. "Come on," he muttered, squinting at the tiny figures on their brooms, "come on…"

"AND THEY'RE OFF!"

. . .

Harry still felt like cheering two days later when the whole school assembled in the Great Hall for the end-of-year feast. It was decked out in the Slytherin colors of green and silver to celebrate their winning the house cup for the eighth year in a row. A huge banner showing the Slytherin serpent covered the wall behind the High Table.

Harry smiled widely at everyone, even the Weasley twins, who scowled back. The Gryffindors had won their match, but were still stewing in bitter defeat, because Slytherin had taken the cup anyway.

Up at the High Table with the other teachers, Snape for once actually seemed pleased. He was smirking in a very satisfied way, despite the fact that he still had several half-healed slashes down the side of his face and he was, once again, limping. McGonagall and Flitwick likewise showed signs of their recent duel with Quirrell-and-Voldemort, although their spirits were much lower than Snape's, especially McGonagall's.

Harry gave his head of house a cheery wave and Snape's smile abruptly vanished. He looked at Harry as coolly as if he had never seen him before; as if he hadn't saved his life once if not twice this past year. Harry faltered. He had expected the Potions Master's animosity to fade now that he was no longer spending every spare moment skulking about, spying on Quirrell, but Snape didn't seem to have changed a bit. He pointedly turned away from Harry.

Oh well, Harry thought, and poured himself some pumpkin juice.

He looked up as a buzz ran through the crowd: Dumbledore had arrived. The babble died away.

"Another year gone!" Dumbledore said cheerfully. "And I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were…you have the whole summer to get them nice and empty before next year starts…

"Now, as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: In fourth place, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and twenty-nine; in third, Ravenclaw has three hundred and eighty-seven; Gryffindor with four hundred and twelve; and Slytherin, at four hundred and ninety-one, takes the cup."

A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from Harry's housemates. He actually stood up to clap, then was lifted off his feet when Goyle hugged him. Draco banged his goblet on the table and even Theodore applauded wildly.

"Yes, yes, well done, Slytherin," Dumbledore said, "and congratulations to everyone on an impressive showing. However, if you will permit me, I feel the need to take a moment to make you all aware of something even more impressive:

"Teamwork."

Dumbledore seemed to be looking right at Harry as he spoke. "You have all worked together marvelously within your own houses to achieve your justly outstanding scores this year," he said, "but even more remarkable is what one can accomplish when one reaches beyond the narrow borders of house-unity to encompass the entire school—or even beyond that, to the rest of this world.

"No doubt all of you have heard the several and varied rumors that have been making the rounds of the school these past few days," Dumbledore continued with a bright twinkle in his eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. "Rather than deny you all the joys of ferreting out the truth—and the far more amusing falsehoods—by boring you with the lengthy details, I will say merely that we owe a great debt of gratitude to several of our teachers today, all of whom put aside any thoughts of house pride or division to work together in a very dangerous, very important situation."

Harry wasn't the only one whose eye wandered between Snape, McGonagall, and Flitwick.

"I feel confident in saying," the headmaster went on quietly, "that if they had not risen so impressively to the trial, we would all of us be in a very different world right now; a world that I, for one, have no desire to discover. So!" Dumbledore stood up, and after some shuffling, the students stood with him. "Let us all raise a glass and have a cheer for Professors McGonagall, Snape, and Flitwick!

"Hip hip…"

"Hooray!"

"Hip hip…"

"Hooray!"

"Hip hip…"

"HOORAY!"

The cheering echoed off the high ceiling. Dumbledore clapped harder than anyone, staring fondly at his staff. Flitwick beamed and ducked beneath the table to wipe tears from his eyes. McGongall blushed all the way to her hairline and drank a lot of water very fast. Professor Sprout threw her arms around the tall, stern witch in a hug that caught McGonagall completely off guard. Sprout had to pound her several times on the back before she stopped choking. Snape's lips twitched, once, in something that was nearly a smile, before he resumed his customary expression of cool disdain.

It was a long time before the cheering faded and they got around to eating any of the delicious feast.

Harry was on his way back to the common room and feeling very pleasantly tired and overstuffed when something very large and hairy blocked his path.

"Hi Hagrid!" Harry said, beaming up at the tall gamekeeper.

"Got yeh yer present," Hagrid said, his cheeks red and his voice slurred. He fished inside the pockets of his great coat and came out with a handsome, leather-covered book, and two slumbering dormice. He tucked the dormice back into his pockets and handed the book to Harry.

He opened it curiously. It was full of wizarding photographs. Smiling and waving at him from every page were his mother and father.

"This…this is better than the mirror," he stammered, not caring that the words wouldn't make sense to anyone but he and Dumbledore.

"Sent owls off ter all yer parents' old school friends, askin' fer photos…knew yeh didn' have any…d'yeh like it?"

Harry couldn't speak, but Hagrid understood.

. . .

Harry had almost forgotten that the exam results were still to come, but come they did. To his great surprise, not only did he pass with good marks, but Crabbe and Goyle both scraped by as well. Draco had scored the best out of all the Slytherins, beating a very grumpy Theodore Nott by only two points, but it was of course Hermione Granger who had the best grades of all the first years, which made all the Slytherins very cross.

Draco smirked and said it was a shame that Longbottom hadn't been thrown out over his potions scores, which made Harry feel vaguely guilty, although he couldn't remember why.

And suddenly, their wardrobes were empty, their trunks were packed, Crabbe's gobstones were scrounged up from under the furnishings; notes were handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the holidays; Hagrid was there to take them down to the fleet of boats that sailed across the lake; they were boarding the Hogwarts Express; talking and laughing as the countryside became greener and tidier; eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans as they sped past Muggle towns; pulling off their wizard robes and putting on jackets and coats; pulling into platform nine and three-quarters at King's Cross Station.

It took quite a while for them to get off the platform. A wizened old guard was up by the ticket barrier, letting them go through the gates in twos and threes so they didn't attract attention by all bursting out of a solid wall at once and alarming the Muggles.

"I wouldn't mind giving them a fright," Crabbe muttered, and they all laughed.

People jostled them as they moved forward toward the gateway back to the Muggle world. Crabbe and Goyle jostled back, and their quartet was soon treated more politely.

Harry and Draco pushed through the gateway together, Crabbe and Goyle coming close on their heels.

"Draco!" Narcissa Malfoy descended on her son, catching his face with both her hands and planting several kisses on the top of his head. Draco rolled his eyes at Harry, who stifled a laugh into his sleeve.

Then he thought of the Dursleys, and of the mirror, and how it really wouldn't be so bad to be embarrassed by your mother like that, even in front of everyone. Harry patted his trunk, thinking of the photo album inside, and smiled sort of wistfully.

Then Lucius Malfoy was shaking his hand, and Harry stammered as he tried to remember his manners, and wished that Draco's father didn't have quite so firm a grip.

"You'll have to come and stay sometime this summer, Potter," Draco declared haughtily. Harry almost managed not to notice the slight emphasis he placed on the surname, and the way he looked around to see who was listening. His parents' eyes glittered.

"Brilliant," said Harry, "I'll need something to look forward to."

"Right," Draco said, wrinkling his nose, "the Muggles."

"Ready, are you?"

It was Uncle Vernon, still purple-faced, still mustached, still looking furious at the nerve of Harry, carrying an owl in a cage in a station full of ordinary people. Behind him stood Aunt Petunia and Dudley, looking terrified at the very sight of Harry.

As one, the Malfoys stepped back, identical looks of sudden disgust on their pale faces. Mr. Malfoy sniffed disdainfully and tucked his hands in his sleeves, as if clasping a hidden wand. Mrs. Malfoy shuddered delicately and averted her eyes. Draco stared at Dudley like he'd never seen anything like him before, which was of course ridiculous, because he was really only a few inches wider than Goyle. But Goyle, of course, was a wizard, and Dudley was…well, Dudley.

"Potter's Muggles, no doubt," Mr. Malfoy murmured quietly. His lip curled in a sneer.

Draco's mother put a hand to her chest as though she might be ill. Harry had never seen a look of such intense distaste as the one currently twisting Narcissa Malfoy's pretty features. Her other hand clutched Draco's shoulder protectively, perhaps to keep the Muggles from running off with him, or perhaps to prevent some sort of contamination should Draco be tempted to get too close. Harry saw, out of the corner of his eye, that Aunt Petunia was doing the same with Dudley.

Harry coughed into his sleeve instead of laughing.

Uncle Vernon carefully didn't look at anyone, not even Harry. He kept his eyes fixed on a point just above Harry's head. "Hurry up, boy," he said, "we haven't got all day." He walked away.

Draco shook his head, wide-eyed. "You going to be all right with those…Muggles?" he asked dubiously.

"Oh, I'm sure I will," said Harry, surprising everyone with the grin that was spreading over his face. "They don't know we're not allowed to use magic at home."

Understanding dawned on Draco, and then on his parents; they shared a thin, pale smirk.

Harry mirrored the expression. "I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer…"

Draco Malfoy's sharp laughter followed him all the way to the parking lot.


Thank you, everyone, for reading (and hopefully enjoying) this alternative take on Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts. I appreciate all of your words of encouragement and especially the occasional bit of censure. I want you all to know that I fully intend to continue with Harry's Slytherin adventures, and am already hard at work on a rather different version of Chamber of Secrets, which can be found at: FFnet/s/7252312/1/

I have only posted the very first bit of "prologue" so that those of you who may wish to can add that story to your alerts, and thus be notified when it begins to update, since it may be a while before I start posting anything. I want to get the whole story mapped out very clearly before I start posting in earnest, so as to avoid writing myself into any corners. I appreciate your patience in advance and hope to see you all come back, eventually, to see where Harry's strange new greenish world takes him next. Thank you!