The Hogwarts Express

Always Second Best

Summary: On Halloween ten years ago, Lily and James Potter were away at an Order of the Phoenix meeting, and Voldemort entered their little house in Godric's Hollow with one intention: to kill the Chosen one. But when he fired the killing curse at Harry Potter, he shot back the spell. Dumbledore got to the house before anyone else, and thinking that Charlus, Harry's twin, is the BWL, gives Death payment for letting him live so long in the form of Harry, thinking he is giving her the unimportant twin, when he is giving her the more important one. Ten years later, what will happen when both twins go to Hogwarts?

Disclaimer: Sadly, the lawsuit failed, so I do not own Harry Potter. That extreme honour goes to the amazing JKR. This is my AU version of Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone (depends if you're from the UK or America/Canada/over there...) but at the end there is content from the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone because I can't make my graicelles work any harder otherwise my brain will overload. Sorry bout that.

I will try and do as little bashing as possible but there WILL be Dumbledore and Ron and Charlus bashing. That's all. Honest *crosses fingers behind back*. Have you noticed I've taken James off? Course you haven't. Neglect but NO abuse.

Harry shoved his trunk onto the scarlet train bound for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and half-walked-half-hopped down the corridor, until he reached an empty compartment and sat down thankfully, nursing his injured foot.

Damn heavy cases... stupid amount of stuff you need to bring... why so many books..?

Harry's stewing was interrupted by a tentative knock at the door of the compartment. His head shot up and his green eyes met the sight of three people looking at him through the glass divider.

The tallest was about... 5'5, and he had a round face and kind eyes, and Harry suddenly recognised his as the boy with the woman-with-the-bird-on-her-head... what was his name... ah yes: Neville.

The other two peering at him were girls, but that was all that could be said for similarities.

The first had brown eyes that reminded him of those of a doe, bushy brown hair and bucked teeth. She was clutching a book to her chest and kept on biting her lip repeatedly.

The second girl had curly ultra blonde hair that fell to her waist, wafting around her head moved by some unseen force, as there was no wind inside the train. She had dreamy blue eyes, and seemed not to be so much looking at him, but looking through him. She radiated a distinct air of dottiness, and her radish earrings didn't help matters.

Harry blinked.

The blonde girl took this as permission to enter, and she floated in happily despite the brunette's hissed whispers of "Don't Luna! Come back!" and the boy, 'Neville', growing a steady shade of beetroot with every step she took.

Seeing no other way to diffuse the situation, Harry gave a small smile and a sharp nod, and the other two came in behind 'Luna', who was now sitting cross-legged next to him, staring happily at the ceiling as if it were the most interesting thing in the carriage.

The silence hadn't yet been broken, and the un-named girl took it upon herself to break it.

"Hello, I'm Hermione Granger. Did you grow up in the magical world? I didn't. I'm a muggle born, but Luna and Neville both did as they're both pure-bloods. I haven't met any other muggle born's yet, but Mum said that it would be interesting to see how many there are in our year, and how many pure-bloods and half-bloods and so on. I couldn't really be bothered though, but it does sound interesting doesn't it?"

She had said all this in (or so it seemed) a single breath and it took Harry a moment to decipher the quick words of Hermione Granger.

"I'm a half-blood, but I grew up in the muggle world, like you. I've never met my real parents. My name's Harry. Harry Potter."

The reaction was instantaneous.

Neville seemed to start choking his breaths turning solid in his wind pipe, causing him to make motions as if he were going to be sick any moment. Hermione's eyes went as wide as saucers, and she appeared to be frozen in place as her book which had been her lifeline only five minutes before tumbled out of her fingers. Luna's gaze had snapped onto Harry, noticeably less dreamy than before, analysing, though she thankfully didn't do anything as dramatic as Neville or Hermione.

Eventually, Neville stopped choking, and Hermione bent down a fraction to pick up her fallen book (Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them , by Newt Scamander) But Luna never stopped staring at him, and if the atmosphere wasn't so tense, he would've made a joke about her mentally undressing him.

"Luna Lovegood" she stuck out her right hand, and he quickly shook it, and then shook her left when she swapped them over quite suddenly .

Firm Grip, she mused, and gave him one of her rare, non-dreamy smiles, though he didn't know it.

Neville was still reeling, glancing back at Harry every five seconds, and opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish, making several strangling noises. But, he was much better than he had been before.

His voice still came out strangely high pitched as he spoke, alerting Harry he was anything from fine.

"P-potter? Harry Potter?"

Harry raised his eyebrows, and gave him a 'look of doom' as Flora had so aptly named them. Flora. Harry pushed her out of his mind, pushing his blonde haired friend out of his mind.

Neville gulped.

Hermione spoke.

"Nice to meet you Harry Potter." Hermione held out her hand.

Neville still looked wary, and Hermione didn't look exactly comfortable, but they both shook his hand and smiled shyly at him, and the four launched into conversation, where a friendship to last the ages was born.

Charlus was having a less than brilliant time.

He (He!) had been saddled with them (Them!).

By 'them' he meant his younger siblings, who were earning him a migraine.

Rose was reading Hogwarts: A History for the billionth time, and suddenly at any time she deemed necessary piped out a fact about Hogwarts that he didn't know, making the Boy-Who-Unfortunately-Lived feel very inferior, but he of course he did not show it (if only he knew she was only doing it to try and impress him).

And Alec.

He was the devil with his little brother's face.

Jumping around and asking questions and rifling through people's stuff and pulling on his robes and looking up at him with those big brown puppy eyes that made Rose melt, and trying to read his course books before he had (if only he knew it was to get a little attention) and failing epically, then to start crying when he couldn't do it.

Why couldn't they just shut up?

His friends were perfectly OK with entertaining the little monsters, which annoyed Charlus all the more. Pavarti and Lavender practically doted on Alec, who didn't seem to thrilled at having his cheeks pinched and his hair ruffled (repeatedly) and Rose was becoming fed up with Ron telling her that she was exactly like his sister Ginny, who Rose hated with a passion.

When he said a passion, he meant a passion.

According to Ginny, Rose was a stuck up little know it all, only nice to Charlus for his fame, and Rose said that Ginny was a Boy-Who-Lived obsessed fangirl with attitude, a spoiled little brat who made her older siblings feel horrible about themselves as Molly doted on her, and she =had her nose so high up it had doubled over into her arse.

And that was the uncensored part.

Honestly, Charlus agreed whole-heartedly with Rose, and for the first time in his life had been proud of his little sister, though didn't say so. He had pretended to side with Ginny, to salvage his friendship with Ron, and Rose had ran upstairs, crying her seven year old eyes out.

He had felt terrible, a real heartless bastard. And from that day forth, that was exactly how Rose had treated him.

It didn't hurt anymore.

At least he told himself it didn't.

But somewhere inside, Charlus Potter was a good person. A spoiled person, a stuck up person, a famous person, but not a bad person.

After all, as another, wiser (but no less manipulative, and heartless) Albus Dumbledore had said in another world: "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"

But Charlus couldn't take it.

So he ended up as what he was now, a stuck up, selfish, famous, spoiled person. But not a bad person.

Back to the carriage though, Charlus had such a pounding in his head that he was amazed he could think straight enough to tell his little sister to shut up for a second.

She complied, her eyes filling with tears for a second, before she remembered she hated him. She really did.

Or so she told herself.

Alec had gone silent also, staring at his protector's eyes fill with unshed tears.

He turned to Charlus and forced a expression full of contempt onto his face.

He had decided he hated him.

Or so he told himself.

The ride passed in silence after that, making the atmosphere heavy, and the three siblings shift in their seats, as if unconsciously knowing that there was somebody missing.


The train slowed right down and finally stopped. People pushed their way toward the door and out on to a tiny, dark platform. Alec shivered in the cold night air. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads of the students, and Harry heard a rough voice: "Firs' years! Firs' years over here!"

Slipping and stumbling, they followed the giant man (he was huge) down what seemed to be a steep, narrow path. It was so dark on either side of them that Rose thought there must be thick trees there. Nobody spoke much, apart from Rose comforting Alec telling him the monster under the bed had not transferred to Hogwarts to scare him for the next eleven years of his life.

"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," the giant (called Hagrid, one of the pure bloods had supplied) called over his shoulder, "jus' round this bend here."

There was a loud "Oooooh!"

The narrow path had opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.

"No more'n four to a boat!" Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry, Hermione, Luna and Neville took a boat, and Rose, Alec, Charlus and Ron took another"Everyone in?" shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. "Right then - FORWARD!"

And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.

"Heads down!" yelled Hagrid as the first boats reached the cliff; they all bent their heads and the little boats carried them through a curtain of ivy that hid a wide opening in the cliff face. They were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor, where they clambered out onto rocks and pebbles.

Then they clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid's lamp, coming out at last onto smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.

They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front door.

Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.