Disclaimer: I do not own anything of this story. Harry Potter and all of the notable characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
This was a story idea that my fiance (starwarsdude8221991) wanted me to collab with him on. Basically, he came up with the main idea and I became the scribe. He is also the beta reader for this story.
A Bum On The Street
It was dark out and Harry Potter was trudging down the street, heading for anywhere that wasn't the Dursley house. His Aunt Marge had just upset him, and without him realizing it, he had inflated her till she floated out of the house and into the night sky. Uncle Vernon was furious with that, spitting in Harry's face that he put her back right away. Harry had all but run out the door and with his anger ebbing, Harry soon realized that he didn't have anywhere to go, nor did he have any Muggle means of transportation. He paused at the street sign that read Magnolia Crescent, wondering slightly how he had gotten so far so fast.
Harry had just sat down on the curb when a grubby looking homeless man could be seen walking toward him under the street lamp. Trying to look busy, Harry delved into his trunk, under the pretense of finding something. Harry fumed at himself as he sat down in disgust at his own lack of planning. Harry sat a moment when he took notice of a very unpleasant smell. He tried to ignore it but turned to see a man standing couple of yards away. Harry quickly averted his eyes.
"What are you doing?" the man said. Harry looked up to see the homeless man staring curiously down at him. There was an odd sort of twinkle in his blue eyes.
"I- I," Harry stammered, closing the lid of his trunk. "I was just looking for something." The look on the man's face said that he didn't buy it but he didn't say anything. Instead, he carefully sat himself down next to Harry, crossing his arms over his knees.
"Do you realize that it is almost midnight? And yet, here you are, wandering around on your own," the man mused. "Don't you have a home?"
"I- yes, I do. The only thing is, my uncle is very upset with me at the moment."
"Seems more like the other way around, unless of course he kicked you out of the house," replied the man as he looked up at the sky for a moment. He returned his attention back to Harry expecting the teen to continue.
"My uncle just doesn't like me and finds any excuse to yell at me or punish me." Harry's voice was full of renewed fury. He wished that he could tell this man what he had done to Marge but Harry didn't even know who this man was or even if he was a wizard for that matter.
"That hardly seems fair to you. Are you a trouble maker or something, you seem like a good kid. Why would anyone try to cause you enough grief you would want to leave?" Harry gave a small smirk at this; few people really called him good in any context.
"Thanks but it's not something I would like to talk about. Why does life have to be so difficult?" Harry asked suddenly. The man only shrugged, prompting for Harry to describe his difficulties.
"I didn't ask to live with them, I hardly get out, have no friends in the area and worse, my school requires things of me my family just doesn't understand. So each time I come home, I get treated like the plague," he vented. The man just sat there and listened. "On top of that, my cousin thinks I'm his living punching bag and the family doesn't care, they're always pushing me on someone else and what's sad is that I look forward to it!" Harry went silent for a moment. "That's not the type of family I should be living with."
"Sounds like trouble, and believe you me I know how much grief blood relatives can give you. Maybe you could exercise or find somebody to help back you up," the man offered.
"Sounds like a good plan, the only problem is that if I strike back at Dudley, my aunt and uncle will come down even harder on me. I can't win for losing!" Harry threw his hands up in the air in frustration. Harry sighed; he wasn't feeling much better as the man patted him on the back.
"I really wish I could help you. Isn't there anyone you could talk to, I mean you must have professors, friends at school that can help?" The man questioned stroking his black facial hair in thought
"I guess, nobody really thinks about it or believes me. But I don't really like to talk about my problems." Harry realized he was never very open about his problems; even his friends were left in the dark when it came to his family.
"Will you be heading home?" asked the man after a pause.
"My situation is a bit more complicated than that." Harry frowned, realizing his situation was still problematic.
"Well when you get the chance you better say something. You can't burden yourself with everything," the man smiled as he stood up. "Look at me I tried to take care of everything on my own and it has caused me endless grief. Learn from my mistakes, Potter. Not enough time in the world to let things sit. If you got a problem, your best bet would be to take care of it now." The man smiled taking leave of the teen. He practically hobbled away, as though his hips and knees refused to move. Harry sat there for a while, practically stunned, before he decided what he was going to do. He had broken wizard law and performed underage magic. Surely he was expelled by now, although, why a Ministry owl hadn't found him, he had no idea.
"Lumos," Harry muttered, doing his best to push the conversation out of his mind. Figuring that since he was already expelled from Hogwarts, he made up his mind to enchant his trunk so that it was light as a feather and attach it to his broomstick, after it had been covered by the Invisibility Cloak, and fly to the Leaky Cauldron. He was just digging in his trunk for both his broomstick and his Cloak when he heard a bush rustling nearby. He held his wand up, looking around for the source of the noise. Then he saw it; he moved around his trunk slowly for a better look.
Coming from the bushes between two houses were a set of great gleaming yellow eyes. Startled, Harry stepped backwards but tripped over his trunk. He threw out his arms to break his fall and he heard a deafening BANG. Harry yelled, scrambling backwards while trying to shield his eyes from the bright headlights that had appeared suddenly. After recovering from his fright, Harry realized that it was a triple-decker bus, emblazoned with the words The Knight Bus on the shocking purple paint.
"Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor this evening," said a man in a purple uniform as he stepped on the pavement. Harry quickly picked up his wand and stood before Stan could question him. But it didn't matter.
"What was you doing down there?" Stan asked.
"Fell over," Harry said shortly. Ignoring Stan's question of why he fell over, Harry walked over to peer around the bus. The eyes were still in the bushes, but from the headlights of the bus illuminating the street, Harry could see that they belonged to a big lurking black dog. The dog looked mangy and thin, probably a stray.
"Are you coming or what?" Stan asked, already heaving Harry's trunk aboard. "Let's not wait for the grass to grow."
"How much to go to London?" Harry asked, fumbling in his pocket for his money bag.
"Eleven Sickles," Stan responded. "Firteen if you want 'ot chocolate." Harry paid his money, and took a good look around. There were no seats, just beds that stood beside candle brackets on the walls. Stan pointed Harry to his bed, stowed his trunk and rapped on the driver's door.
"Take 'er away, Ern," he said.
"Yeah, take it away, Ernie," a shrunken head jeered from the window. Ernie seemed to snap awake, quickly bite into the sandwich he was holding and slam on the gas all in one go. Harry, along with everything inside the bus, slid backwards about a foot.
"Where you headin' anyways?" Stan asked, shaking out his copy of the Daily Prophet.
"The Leaky Cauldron, that's in London," Harry said, trying to keep his balance on the bed as the bus jumped here and there down the street.
"Did you hear that, Ern? 'The Leaky Cauldron, that's in London,'" Stan laughed.
"Hey, if you order the pea soup, make sure you eat it before it eats you!" the shrunken head was saying. "Ernie, little ol' lady at twelve o'clock." Harry didn't have time to brace himself. Ernie slammed on the brake, at which point Harry face planted into the windshield. As soon as the old lady had crossed safely in front of them, Ernie punched the gas once more.
"Isn't this dangerous?" Harry asked offhandedly.
"Nah, haven't had an accident in about a week," Stan said proudly. Harry gulped a bit as he tried to distract himself from that comment.
"But what about the Muggles, won't they notice?"
"Muggles? Don't notice nuffink do they?" Stan retorted.
"Nah, but if you jab 'em with a fork, they feel it," the shrunken head commented. Harry rolled his eyes, briefly watching London flash by. Stan, who had kept his balance thus far, shook out his newspaper once more and began to read. Harry could see the front page headline stating "Escape From Azkaban: Black Still At Large" above a mug shot of a sunken faced man, with dirty brown waves tangled down to his shoulders. There was a manic look to his hooded eyes.
"Who's that man on the front page?" Harry asked, he couldn't help but think he had seen the man's face somewhere.
"Who is that? Who is- ? That is Sirius Black, that is," Stan said. "I reckon you 'eard of 'im?" Harry shook his head.
"Why was he in prison?"
"He was a murderer, he was. And a big supporter of You-Know-Who; went crazy when he lost power, he did. Went out and killed him some Muggles, thirteen to be exact. All with a single curse, at that!" Harry's eyes widened.
"Well, how did he escape then?" Harry asked.
"That's the big question, isn't it? He's the firs' one tha' done it!" Stan's eyes went wide as he spoke. Right then, Harry noticed two double decker buses right in front of them at the same the head did.
"Mind your head," the shrunken head joked as Ernie slowed down and squeezed a handle. As the bus approached the other two, it sucked itself together, along with everything inside, enough to shimmy through.
"Hey, hey guys. Why the long faces?" the head laughed as they came out from between the double decker's. Shortly after that, they swung up to Diagon Alley, lightly bumping a car and setting off the alarm. Tom, the Leaky Cauldron's wizened old barkeep, appeared on the sidewalk below.
"Ah, Mr. Potter…at last," he wheezed. Stan was setting Harry's trunk on the ground, turning to talk excitedly to Ernie. Tom silenced the car with a wave of his wand and ushered Harry inside. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, was waiting for Harry in a parlor off to the side of the bar. Harry gulped involuntarily.
"There's no need to look so glum, Harry. We've found your uncle's sister, had her properly punctured and her memory modified. I dare say she'll not remember what happened this evening," Fudge announced.
"But, sir, I'm confused. I broke the law; underage wizards aren't allowed to do magic outside of school," Harry protested, sure that he was going to be expelled. Curse his nerves for making him speak.
"Oh, Harry, my boy. We don't send people to Azkaban for blowing up their aunts!" Fudge chortled. "On the contrary, running away like that was a very irresponsible thing to do."
"How so?" Harry asked.
"There's a killer on the loose," Fudge stated matter-of-factly.
"Sirius Black, you mean. But how has that got anything to do with me?" Harry was perplexed. If there was a killer on the loose, and he should be one of the people most concerned, wouldn't the Ministry, or even Dumbledore, have contacted him? No one told Harry that he should have been careful, or stayed home until school started.
"Nothing, it's nothing really," Fudge said weakly. "Tom will show you to your room. I only ask that you stay within Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron." With that, Tom grasped Harry roughly by the arm and led him up the stairs and down the hall to his room. Everything of his had been brought up, including Hedwig's cage but it was empty. Harry's heart had dropped slightly when through the open window, Hedwig soared in with a hoot.
Seeing as there were still a few days left to Harry's summer vacation, he spent the majority of his days wandering around Diagon Alley. It took a lot of self-control not to buy everything he thought looked neat. The limits of his control were pressed even further when he passed by Quality Quidditich Supplies and laid eyes upon the year's newest broom, the Firebolt. It was on the second day there, that Harry ran into Ron and Hermione while leaving the pub.
"Harry!" Hermione called, standing quickly while Ron followed her over. "How are you?"
"Excellent now. What're you two up to?" Harry asked, giving them both a hug.
"'Bout to head over to the Magical Menagerie, Scabbers isn't looking too well." As proof, Ron held out the skinny and dirty gray rat for Harry to see. Agreeing to accompany them, they set off into Diagon Alley. The shopkeeper had poor hopes for Scabbers. Ron speculated that he was just a common garden rat, to which they found out only lived for about three years.
"Only three?" Ron asked, appalled. "But Scabbers has been with my family for roughly twelve years!"
"If he hasn't shown any magical ability, then I'm afraid, he's just getting old," the shopkeeper informed them. "There's nothing to do for him. If you really want to do something, try and give him this every day." She handed him a red bottle labeled Rat Tonic. As Ron was paying, a giant orange fluff ball leapt from a higher shelf and landed, with extended claws, onto Ron's shoulder, swiping at Scabbers. The terrified rat took off out the door and down the street with Harry and Ron chasing after him. The two boys quickly ducked in and out of the crowd.
"Sorry, ma'am," Harry apologized as he caught up to Ron trying to coax his now terrified rat out from under the waste paper basket outside of Quality Quidditch Supplies. Ron tapped his pocket with Scabbers, shaken, but safe.
"What was that?" Ron asked breathlessly.
"A large cat or a very small tiger," Harry replied.
"Well I have a feeling Hermione will be getting her new animal soon," said Ron. Harry gave Ron a confused look for a moment. "As we were heading over, she mentioned something about getting an owl." The two walked around the alley when they found Hermione outside the Menagerie, cuddling the offending cat.
"Isn't Crookshanks lovely?" she cooed. Ron's horrified expression said that he thought otherwise. "The lady said nobody wanted him, but that could be because he's part Kneazle."
"Bless you," Ron chuckled. "I can't believe you bought that beast. It just attacked Scabbers." Ron frowned looking at the grumpy looking animal. Hermione scowled before Harry dragged them off down the street so they could collect the rest of their school things. It wasn't until dinner that they had finished and headed back towards the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione and the Weasleys, it seemed, were staying there as well. Ron and Hermione told Harry all about their summer travels; a clipping from the Daily Prophet laying in front of them.
"Not flashing that clipping about again, are you, Ron?" a voice said behind them. George and Fred Weasley had just entered the pub, one of them snatching the clipping off of the table.
"I haven't shown anyone!" Ron argued.
"No, not a soul," Fred snapped. "Unless you count Tom."
"The day maid," George added.
"The night maid."
"The bloke that came to fix the toilet."
"That wizard from Belgium." The twins went on and on, listing all of the people that Ron had supposedly shown the clipping to. Harry couldn't help but grin at this. By evening, Mrs. Weasley hollered at all of them to make sure their belongings were packed properly and that nothing was left behind.
"Harry, might I have a word?" Mr. Weasley asked, grabbing Harry's shoulder before he could head upstairs.
"Sure, what for?" he asked. Mr. Weasley only shushed him and led him away from the others. He checked around to make sure that they were out of earshot before speaking.
"Harry, what I'm about to tell you is something that a lot of people don't want you knowing. I disagree with them, I think that you need to be prepared and know what you could be up against. Tell me, Harry, what do you know of Sirius Black?" Mr. Weasley asked.
"I know he's a convicted murderer and escaped prisoner."
"Black was a big supporter of You-Know-Who. When you stopped him thirteen years ago, Black lost everything. He thinks that you're the only thing standing in the way of You-Know-Who rising to power again. The Ministry believes that Black has broken out of Azkaban to, well, kill you." Mr. Weasley forced the words out, checking for Harry's reaction at the same time. Harry brought his hand to his chin trying to remember anything that seemed to stick out as an attack on his life.
"What color are Black's eyes?" Harry asked as he noticed the black and white poster near them.
"Um, blue, if I remember correctly," Mr. Weasley replied. "Why do you ask," he finished cautiously.
"I think he might have already had the chance," Harry finished as he looked at the picture; the connection finally clicked as he looked at Ron's, now very confused, father.
So, I want to know what you guys think. Yes, there will be more. We're hoping to go through all of the books up until the end. A lot more is going to change, just wait for more chapters. Please R&R, thanks!
BTW: Check out my fiance's account at u/1440338/starwarsdude8221991. He's got a lot of different stories up there, and he's a really good author!
*EDIT*: I've noticed that there have been more than a few people complaining about the first few chapters being almost straight out of the book/movie. We've created a bit of a butterfly effect (Google "TV Tropes: For Want of a Nail") so the story doesn't stray too much until you get to chapter four or five. Hang in there, new readers, we promise it gets wayy better as you go! ~LE