A Chance Encounter
Prologue: The Greengrass Clan
Harry Potter wasn't just confused. He was terrified! He continued to push his trolley through the throngs of people at Kings Cross station. He had one eye on where he was going and the other on any sign for Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
Harry's stomach lurched after a third time circling platforms nine and ten with no sign of his supposed destination. He let out a frustrated growl directed at the Hogwarts gamekeeper. He had thought Hagrid was a reasonable enough fellow but he did seem to have a few screws loose. How could Hagrid not tell him how to reach the right platform?
He inwardly groaned while a very frustrated Hedwig voiced her disapproval with a series of hoots. Several people turned to the commotion many with raised eye brows and sarcastic smiles at the very odd sight that Harry and Hedwig were providing.
He tried his best to ignore the increasing stares while steering his trolley. He suddenly was forced to come to a screeching halt as a young girl with dirty blond hair, who looked no older than eight stepped in front of him. She paid Harry no attention; her brown eyes were solely focused on Hedwig.
"Pretty bird," she cooed to the owl.
This was not what Harry needed right now. He looked up at the clock hanging above them to see it read 10:39. He was running out of time. He couldn't shake the Dursley's laughter or his Uncle's vicious triumphant look out of his head when they dropped him off ten minutes ago. Now, Harry was afraid he might have to call them to ask to pick him back up. It was a conversation that he was dreading, not to mention the thought of having to go back to that house.
Harry was ripped out his musing when the young girl, who had yet to even give Harry a glance, squeezed two of her fingers into the cage, before Harry could stop her. Instead of Hedwig biting the intruder, which Harry feared, his snow white owl leaned its feather head into the girl's touch. Hedwig let out a very pleased hoot.
At least someone is enjoying themselves, Harry thought.
"Astoria, there you are," cried a female voice, with a sound of clicking heels on the platform following. Harry turned to the sound of the voice to see a beautiful woman who didn't look a day over thirty. She had long, raven hair which she tied in an elegant bun, delicate facial features with honey brown eyes and a kind smile that only added to her beauty. She was dressed in a casual but an appealing purple dress. Her lips were set in a thin frown, her eyes on the young girl.
"You know better than to run off, Astoria," she said wagging a manicured finger at her daughter.
Astoria slipped her fingers out of the cage, realizing she was in trouble. She slumped her shoulders, before pouting. "I'm sorry mum, but look at the pretty bird."
The mother's face softened slightly when her eyes turned from her daughter to Hedwig before turning to Harry, she gave him a polite smile. "You do have a very pretty owl."
He replied with a distracted, "thanks."
Harry looked over the mother's shoulder to see the clock now read 10:41. He began wondering if he was ever going to find this infernal platform. He felt a pang of fear and sickness at the scenario of Hogwarts that night announcing that the 'famous' Harry Potter had never reached the train. He slumped his head at the laughingstock he would become. However, his fears and worries ebbed within when the woman asked him a simple question.
"Is this your first year at Hogwarts?"
Harry's face brightened, raising his head to see a thoughtful smile on the woman's lips. He nodded his head eagerly, thanking the gods that his frustrated prayers had finally been answered.
"It's my daughter's too," she smiled. She was now holding Astoria's hand and began looking around the platform. "We can go to the platform together if you'd like?"
"T-thanks," Harry said softly, with a shy smile.
"All we have to do is find them? Where could they have gone to?" Her answer was met with a playful shout of "mum!"
Harry turned around to follow the voice, where he found himself staring at a very cute girl his age approaching them. She was holding the hand of a very aristocratic looking man who was pushing a trolley, neither looked Harry's way when they approached Astoria and her mother.
"Cyrus, Daphne where have you been?" asked the mother, there was no annoyance in her voice only a hint of amusement.
The man named Cyrus shrugged. "You should know how Daphne is Roxanne. After all she does take after you."
Harry didn't catch the reference but he was the only one. The mother showed a very knowing smile, Astoria giggled behind her hand while Daphne's cheeks tinged slightly from the family inside joke.
"Look at the pretty bird, dad," Astoria said, pointing to Hedwig, bringing the family's attention first to Hedwig and then to Harry.
Cyrus was an imposing man. He carried himself with a certain confidence that others would pay for. He was dressed in a simple black business suit. His hair was dark blond and carefully slicked back. He had sharp blue eyes which at the moment were examining Harry very carefully before he finally spoke. "Are you a first year at Hogwarts?"
"Yes, sir," Harry answered quickly.
"He doesn't know the way to the platform, Cyrus," the woman said in an endearing voice. It was a tone that a mother would probably use in discussing her own child or what Harry suspected a mother's tone to her own child would sound like.
"Muggle-born?" the man asked.
"No, sir, muggle raised." Harry answered, not sure if he gave the right answer when both parents' eyes widened slightly before roaming over Harry. He felt very uncomfortable and vulnerable when their eyes lingered on his face.
The man found his voice first, bending down to become eye level with Harry. "You're Harry Potter, are you not?" The two daughters gasped at the name, while the mother was looking down at Harry, and he was sure she was on the verge of tears.
Harry gulped; instinctively bringing his hand to his bangs in an attempt to cover up his famous lightning scar.
Cyrus must have sensed Harry's anxiety, bringing a hand to rest on Harry's shoulder, "It's alright, my boy. We'll not gawk and point like the others."
A sudden sense of relief filled Harry. Even though he didn't know this man, there was something in his eyes that led him into wanting to trust his words.
The woman bent down next to her husband. "You look just like your father," she said, "but you have Lily's eyes." She paused; her husband wrapped his arm around his wife. "But, I'm sure you already know that, you've seen their pictures."
Harry had immediately brightened when she mentioned his parents. Wondering how they knew his parents, but his curiosity was diminished at the mention of pictures of his parents. Growing up with the Dursleys, he had been forbidden to ask about his parents. He knew nothing about them, up until a few weeks ago, he had believed they had died in a car crash. He had never seen any picture of either his mum or dad.
The reminder was enough for him to bow his head. He found his throat very dry, when he responded. "No, I don't have any pictures of them."
The woman immediately gasped, the man muttered something that sounded an awful lot like the curse words Uncle Vernon would hail at Harry on any given day.
"You've never seen pictures of Lily or James?" asked the mother, her manicured fingers on her lips.
"Did you know them?" Harry asked, unable to stop his growing curiosity that filled his insides like a swelling balloon. He knew he should have answered her question first but the way she had referred to his parents had ensnared his attention.
Roxanne looked to be on the verge of tears, she nodded before giving him a very watery smile. "Yes, I was in the same year as James and Lily. I was friends with your mother throughout her time at school and when we graduated and got married. I was her matron of honor, and she was my maid of honor."
"Really?" Harry breathed, unable to believe his luck at this chance encounter. He had accidentally stumbled upon meeting friends of his parents! Just listening to how Roxanne talked about his mother brought warmth to his chest, as well as threatening to bring a tear or two.
She nodded, "yes, we had the privilege of knowing the Potters. I have pictures of your parents and their friends. I can send them if you want?"
Harry was unsure if he could trust his voice. His throat tightened, his mind nearly shutting down at the thought of being able to see his parents' faces. He could finally see what they actually looked like! A wish that was more dream or fantasy was now going to become a reality. He wanted to pinch himself to make sure that he wasn't dreaming.
"Perhaps we should introduce ourselves properly," Cyrus said, stepping forward and extending his hand. "I'm Cyrus Greengrass, this is my wife Roxanne Greengrass and these are our two daughters, Daphne and Astoria."
"It's nice to meet you, sir," Harry said softly, shaking the man's hand. "Did you know my parents too?"
"Yes, I did, I was two years older than them but I had the distinct pleasure of calling your parents friends especially after they graduated."
He turned to Mrs. Greengrass, to see a few tears slide down her cheeks.
"We have met before," she said in a soft voice. "When you were born, I held you just like your mother held Daphne," she clarified after seeing Harry's confused look.
Harry didn't know how to respond to that comment, all he could get himself to do was nod his head.
"Are they here, these muggles?" asked Cyrus in a firm voice, casually looking around for them.
"No, they just dropped me off." Harry admitted, feeling heat coming off his cheeks at this embarrassing admission. He immediately lowered his head, his eyes on his scuffed up shoes but a gentle finger was placed under his chin, gently pushing his head up so that he could see the man and woman giving him a look. He had never seen his uncle or aunt give him this particular look. Sympathy, kindness, concern…
Cyrus looked over his shoulder to see the clock now read 10:50. "We should get to the platform. Harry and Daphne are going to need to find a compartment."
Roxanne nodded; she too stood back up but not before giving Harry a very brief hug which caused Harry's body to stiffen at the unexpected contact. Something that did not go unnoticed by the mother, she gave him a very curious look. She must have sensed Harry's embarrassment, since she didn't comment on it.
"I will send you the pictures by the weekend."
"Thank you," Harry said, his voice coming out dry and croaky, still trying to recover from the sudden hug. He was not use to being hugged or touched, besides the occasional wallop from his uncle or aunt. If he had gotten too loud or disrespectful but now thinking about the hug, he had to admit that it was very pleasant.
The oldest daughter stepped forward. She was Harry's height. She was the combination of her parents. She had her mother's same raven hair and delicate facial features but she had her father's sharp blue eyes. She extended her hand, "Daphne Greengrass. It's a pleasure to meet you Harry Potter. Our world owes you an incredible debt."
Harry looked at her hand for a second before shaking it. His mind was still mulling over what she had said, "A debt?"
An amused Cyrus only shook his head, "I'm sure Daphne can explain it on the train, Harry but for now we need to get going or we're going to be late." The Greengrass clan led him across the platform intersecting nine and ten. They stopped at a brick barrier turning back to Harry, it was Roxanne who spoke, still looking a little emotional. "All you have to do is go through the barrier, Harry."
Harry tilted his head, believing that they were having him on. He looked from the serious looking Greengrass clan to the solid brick barrier. He opened his mouth to speak but the only audible words that came out were: "ugh…"
Cyrus smiled, stepping away from his family. He gently put a hand on Harry's shoulder. He ignored Harry's instinctive flinch. "Come, I will lead you so that you know we're not joking."
Harry looked up to see the man was serious and so he slowly nodded, once more trusting this friendly stranger. The two began pushing his trolley forward, picking up speed as they went, with the impending brick wall getting closer. Harry's stomach lurched unable or unwilling to believe the man's words, he closed his eyes preparing for impact but to Harry's surprise it never came.
Instead he found himself staring up at a sign that read Platform Nine and Three Quarters. A sudden whistle brought Harry's attention to the elegant crimson train that continued to blow smoke. Families were crowded along the platform, parents giving teary eye goodbyes while envious younger siblings watched their brothers and sisters depart for Hogwarts.
The Greengrass clan led Harry through the crowd with Mr. Greengrass helping Harry with his trolley. Astoria was holding her sister's hand while Mrs. Greengrass pushed Daphne's trolley. The younger sister had tears in her eyes when she gave her older sister a strong hug which the sister returned with just as much emotion.
"You two better hurry and find a compartment," suggested Mr. Greengrass.
Harry nodded, "thanks for all your help."
The couple smiled down at him but it was the patriarch who spoke. "It was the least we could do for James and Lily's son."
Roxanne stepped forward, carefully resting a hand on Harry's shoulder. "If you need or want anything all you have to do is write. Okay Harry?"
Harry couldn't believe his ears. He wasn't use to such kindness. He numbly nodded. She must have seen the conflict in his face and posture, since she gave him a small smile before standing back up to say goodbye to Daphne.
Harry looked up to see Cyrus Greengrass was watching him closely. "You're going to be a great wizard, Harry." He then extended his hand. Harry shook the man's offered hand, not sure how to respond to the man's compliment so he remained silent.
"Goodbye, Harry," said Astoria softly, from her mother's side. The youngest sister gave Harry a shy smile.
"Come on, Harry, we should hurry," Daphne said, after pulling away from her father's hug. The two with the help of Cyrus were able to load both trunks and Hedwig's cage onto the train. The two gave one last wave goodbye before entering the train.
"You don't have to sit with me if you don't want to," Harry commented, speaking up from years of isolation and neglect at primary school.
Daphne stopped in front of him, turning to face him with an incredulous look. "Why would I do that? Don't you want to be friends?"
Friends? Harry thought unable to fight the grin that came to his face. He never had friends before because of his cousin, "Yeah, all right."
Daphne smiled, the two first years continued to pull their trunks through the train. They received a few passing looks the further along the train they went but to Harry's relief no one seemed to recognize him. The two found a compartment near the back of the train. Daphne entered first, followed by Harry, they helped lift their trunks on the luggage racks before putting Hedwig's cage on the seat next to where Harry was going to sit.
The then two Hogwarts students went to the window with Daphne opening it, she was obviously looking to wave goodbye to her family one final time before the train departed. Harry made himself comfortable by his window seat. Curiously peering out the window to see a plump red haired witch lecturing a pair of equally red headed boys whose heads were out the window, making faces to their younger sister who was holding onto her mother's hand. The young redhead girl was smiling but tears were freely coming down her face.
Daphne called his name, grabbing his attention away from the family of red heads and further up the platform where he could see Daphne's parents and sister all smiling and waving at not just her but him.
He waved back, unable to stop smiling, the train hissed smoke and bellowed one more whistle before its engines revved to life and carried the train out of the station with Harry and Daphne waving to her family until the platform was out of sight.
Harry still leaning against the window, still smiling was very thankful for how the day had turned out. It had started off problematic causing him to fear that he would miss the train and not be able to go to Hogwarts. Getting himself comfortable in the compartment, he couldn't help but think of the positives, he was now facing. He was going off to Hogwarts, away from the Dursleys for almost ten months!
The thought alone was enough for Harry to be jubilant but there was more. He was sitting across who he hoped would be his first school friend. He met a kind, genuine family who not only knew his parents but offered to show him pictures of a past that had been completely ignored when he was growing up.
Yes, life was finally getting good for Harry Potter.