A/N: Hi there! This is a new HP fic that is co-written by Me, MacyBearLovesJONAS and ElizabethAnneSoph... This is gonna be strictly Harry/Hermione, with a fair bit of Dumbledore and Weasley bashing. Right now, I am gonna be writing some of the chapters in the beginning and EAS is gonna step in with more chapters down the line.

I would like to thank my co-author and beta, ElizabethAnneSoph for being so patient with me and taking the time out of her busy exam schedule to halp me with this... Love you, thank you so much.

Please review your thoughts and ideas, we welcome all sorts of feedback... :)

Chapter 01

A young eleven year old boy, with messy black hair and bright green eyes hidden behind old fashioned round glasses, stared at the mountain of shiny wrapped boxes piled high about four feet in front of him. There were beautifully wrapped boxes of all shapes and sizes in the pile and the boy was understandably curious as to their contents. Even though there was the firmly locked cupboard door separating him from the presents that were piled high onto the dining table, the boy couldn't help but wonder if he would ever be getting anything similar in his lifetime.

His musings were however cut short when he heard noises that could've easily been mistaken for a horde of rampaging elephants. But the boy wasn't very worried... he'd been in the house long enough to know that it wasn't a horde of elephants going on a rampage... just a single baby whale which also went by the name of Dudley Dursley - the spoiled, single child of Vernon and Petunia Dursley and cousin to one Harry Potter.

Harry had never had any presents given to him in the ten and three quarter years of his life. But that didn't stop the young man from being curious about getting all those presents. By the sound of it, Dudley had just woken up and was running... or should we say waddling down the stairs, eager to open his birthday presents. Harry's cupboard door was opened with a bang as his aunt stretched a bony claw... er hand inside and pulled him out by the scruff of his neck

"Come on boy!... It's my Dudder's birthday today and I want him to have a perfect day... Now get cooking!..."

After that, it had been a typical day for Harry... cooking dozens of rashers of bacon, half a dozen eggs, a dozen sausages and making toast from almost a whole loaf of bread. Of course, after this was the two pots of tea - one pot of weak tea for Uncle Vernon, a pot of strong tea for Aunt Petunia and a whole jug of Chocolate milk for Dudley. While the Dursleys gorged themselves on breakfast made by Harry, the boy himself had to sate his hanger by eating just two slices of unbuttered bread and the trimmings of the bacon.

All the while, Harry's attention was on the mountain of presents and it was because of this that he almost completely overlooked the single thick envelope that stuck out like a sore thumb among the other letters and cards in the morning mail that he'd been sent to fetch. It was made of thick paper, almost like a card sheet, and was bigger than regulation size. Also, the writing on it was of an odd kind, flowing and almost calligraphic in nature. But there was one thing that set it apart from anything other piece of mail that had ever entered the Dursley residence. This one, was addressed to Harry Potter.

The first thing that hit the young boy's mind was that his cousin was probably playing a trick on him. Especially because Harry, being an intelligent boy, knew that letters which were sent via the mail were never addressed like this. The address on the envelope he held was almost absurd in it's nature. It had no pin code and mentioned the cupboard under the stairs. So automatically, Harry had thought that it was a prank being pulled on him by his cousin to celebrate Dudley's birthday by bullying him once again.

Through the years of growing up with Dudley and his gang of bullies around, Harry had become quite adept at escaping beatings. Mainly, he'd come to understand that while he might not be able to escape the bullying and the beatings completely, he could always outwit the thickheaded idiots and take away as many opportunities of bullying or beating him up. Back talk or anything close to sounding smart would only get him beaten up even more. But if he wasn't around or visible, they couldn't bully him. This in mind, Harry had started creating as many opportunities as he could to be invisible to his cousin and his friends, even if it meant he had to spend the day cleaning the garage or unblocking the gutters for Aunt Petunia.

Seeing as he was close to the dining room, Harry hurriedly stuffed the letter inside his shirt, the garment big enough to hide anything that he might want to, as it had once belonged to Dudley when the young whale had only been the size of a baby elephant. Harry smirked to himself, thinking that for once, Dudley would be unable to bully him with anything because he wouldn't even know where the letter had gone.

Once he'd deposited the pile of letters and cards on the dining table next to Uncle Vernon, Harry set about cleaning up, washing and drying the dirty dishes and pans used for cooking before his Aunt got it into her head that he was slacking and hit him again. There was some little trouble over the number of the gifts on the table, (36 not being deemed a big enough number) but a disaster had been averted by Vernon's assurances that they would buy their Dudders two more gifts when they visited the zoo with his friend Piers that day. Without even turning from his washing, Harry knew that he was being glared at by his uncle as the obese man contemplated just what to do with the bane of his life.

Ever since the blasted son of his wife's slut sister was dropped off on his doorstep, all Vernon Dursley had ever faced was bad luck and more bad luck. Just having the freak around was messing up his life and Vernon knew that he would dearly like to get rid of one Harry Potter as quickly as he could, if he had the freedom to do so. Alas, they were under some sort of binding oath, because his wife, clever as she was most of the time, had at one time stupidly agreed to take him in, having been threatened by a tall bearded man in outlandish robes, who had told them of terrible consequences for them if they refused to take Harry in. But that didn't mean he had to like the boy... he hated him in fact. A freak like him didn't deserve to exist in the world and if he could, Vernon would get rid of the boy in any way he could.

But right now, Vernon had to figure out a way to keep the boy out of trouble as he planned his precious Dudley's eleventh birthday. Even as he was contemplating locking the boy up before they left, his wife solved his problem by giving the freak so much work that he couldn't possibly get himself... or them in any trouble, even if he wanted to. Satisfied with the plan, Vernon, Petunia and Dudley left Privet Drive with Piers, having locked Harry inside the house with a long list of chores. Keeping the boy busy cleaning toilets, clearing out the attic and mowing the lawn would keep him busy till the time they got back. And there was always the pleasure of punishing him if any of the chores didn't get done to his satisfaction when they got back.

Inside the Dursley residence, Harry sighed as he watched the his relatives go off to the zoo. Though he'd always wanted to visit the zoo, it was a sigh of relief he expelled as they went out of sight. They'd given the boy an insane list of chores, accompanied with an even longer list of things he couldn't do. Prominently featured on the list was everything except breathing... he couldn't sit on any of the furniture, he couldn't eat or drink anything other than what was his ration, he couldn't watch TV and he definitely couldn't step foot into Dudley's room. But it was infinitely preferable to being in Piers' and Dudley's company all day.

Turning, the boy slid down to sit with his back against the front door, his thoughts again wandering to the topic that they usually did to, whenever he was alone... his family. And by that he never meant the Dursleys. He was related to them by blood... Petunia Dursley was his mother's sister, but that didn't make them his family. His family, in his mind comprised of James and Lily Potter... and no one else. Even though he'd been given a horrible story about his parents by his uncle and aunt, he was inclined not to believe them.

Harry was an intelligent boy and he'd noticed right from the beginning that while his uncle and aunt obviously hated his parents, they seemed to dislike them because they were jealous... like his parents had something that the Dursleys had always wanted but never could have. So of course, Harry didn't believe in their story of his father having been a drunkard and ne'er do well and his mother having been an easy woman... In fact, he was inclined to believe quite the opposite. Lily and James Potter must've been special people, for Vernon and Petunia Dursley to dislike them so much. And that, while making Harry feel better about his own origins, also gave him more questions than he could answer.

The young man had been trying for years to figure out just what had happened in his parents lives that had led to his being abandoned so cruelly. Ideas ranged from their having been top secret government spies to superheroes... but nothing ever made sense enough for the practical Harry to accept. But that didn't mean he didn't like to think about it... over the years, this had become his standard topic of thought whenever he was alone. He would muse about his parents identities, wonder about what they might've looked like and thought about what they might've been facing that had led to their dying and his being left on his aunt and uncle's doorstep with nothing more than a note that created more questions than it explained.

As Harry slid down into a slump against the door, he could feel something sticking into him under the shirt. Pulling it up, the boy found the envelope he'd hastily stuffed inside and having nothing better to do, turned it around and took a good look at it.

It was made of thick card paper, almost yellow, as if it was made from the parchments of old times. The writing was in green ink, the address reading - Harry Potter, Cupboard under the stairs, No. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Obviously, whoever had written it knew of his living conditions. Harry knew from his time in school that almost all the kids his age had their own rooms. No one he knew did chores like him or wore such old and unfitting hand-me-downs... nor did they have to live in a cupboard. But there was almost nothing he could do about it, having no where else he could go and no money to do anything with.

Returning his attention to the letter, he turned it over to find an old fashioned wax seal. This startled him because this here, was proof that Dudley Dursley hadn't sent this envelope. Dudley would never have the cleverness or the patience for details like this... nor did anyone else in his gang. This letter had been sent to him by someone else, and whoever it was, knew of his life and had done nothing to help him in any way. The temptation to rip the letter up, imagining himself ripping up the person who sent it alongwith it, was enormous, but Harry made himself wait. If someone had gone through the trouble of writing to him and sending him a letter, it would be better he read it before he tore it up.

Curiosity mounting, Harry put his fingers under the flap and broke the seal, which seemed to contain a calligraphic 'H' surrounded by details that were a bit too small to see. Inside, were two sheets of thick paper, these ones written in a slightly more regular black ink. But the contents were anything but regular.

The letter, which was addressed to him too, went like this

Dear Mr. Harry Potter,

We are glad to inform you that you have been admitted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the premier school for Magic in England. Please sign the attached form to confirm your acceptance. Term starts on the 1st of September. You will find a list of essential school supplies at the end of this letter, please make sure you purchase all of them from Diagon Alley.

Yours Sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Head Mistress, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

It went on to describe a list of things just too weird for anyone to have written down as a prank... please things like wands, potions kit and pewter cauldrons... were so much out of the imagination of a normal person that Harry was in a quandary. He had no idea what to make of it. The temptation to tear the letter to pieces had mounted after reading the first line of the letter, but the simple business-like nature of it, combined with the elaborateness of thought behind it if it was indeed a prank, made Harry stop and think about it.

In a fit of rebelliousness, Harry got up, went to the writing desk in the living room and pulling out a pen from it, signed off his name with a flourish at the bottom of the page, in the space provided. It gave him a real shock when the form folded itself and disappeared with a loud 'pop'. For almost a whole minute, the boy didn't move, his eyes stuck to the spot where the second sheet of paper from the letter had been just a few moments ago. Shaken, but still curious, Harry stared at the letter again, just in time to find the wording change on it. Now it read

Dear Mr. Harry Potter,

We are glad that you have accepted to attend the best school for Magic in the country. We will be looking forward to seeing you at Hogwarts on September 1st for the start of term feast and house sorting. A representative of the school will get in touch with you soon to give you an introduction to the world of Magic and its ways.

Yours Sincerely

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Head Mistress, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

The list below the changed letter remained the same though, giving Harry to believe some of whatever was happening around him. Still unable to wrap his head around the idea of magic and his being admitted to a school he hadn't even known of, Harry Potter was one confused and astonished young man who had no idea just what he'd started when he'd signed the admission letter to Hogwarts.

On a small, worn and almost battered looking book in an unnoticed room in the depths of the Ministry of Magic and on a register in Hogwarts, a name appeared in golden letters, which would change the way the Wizarding world thought in a few years... the name of Harry James Potter.

It was one of the few names in the Hogwarts register, that appeared in gold ink, unlike most names that made their way into it in black ink. Albus Dumbledore, the current headmaster of Hogwarts and the wizard regarded as the most powerful in the world, should've paid attention to this and understood the implications of it sooner that he did.

In the book in the Ministry, beside it another name appeared, that of a young woman who would grow to be the one person the boy in question trusted beyond everyone else... the one person who anchored him to reality... the one girl who he would do anything for... the one girl who would do anything for him. The name that appeared beside Harry's was to be the one witch who would in time become his soul mate.

In the main offices of Gringotts, in Switzerland, the head of the Goblins, an old warrior Goblin named Ragnok, was overseeing some of the most important accounts that Gringotts held, when his secretary and right hand goblin, Tarnoc gave him news that he had waited almost eleven years to hear. The smile blooming on the old goblin's face was frightening as he rubbed his hands together in suppressed glee, nodding his head at an unseen opponent. He now had information about the one factor that could change the wizarding world... Harry Potter was going to be part of the wizarding world once more.

The goblins were a magical race... and they had the limitations of one. No goblin could be seen or heard by any witch or wizard until they had been introduced to the magical world. So any muggle born or muggle raised witch or wizard had no idea of goblins and other magical races like elves, centaurs, dragons and the like, till they were introduced to the Wizarding world by someone from the magical world... usually from the Ministry or Hogwarts. So, no goblin had been able to contact Harry Potter till now about the blatant misdeeds surrounding his life and the daylight robbery one headmaster seemed to be committing. Sitting there, pretending to overlook the atrocities that took place under their noses, having to let a man steal from one of their favored clients had taken a lot of patience... something goblins weren't really known for.

But now that Harry had signed his admission form to Hogwarts, he could be contacted and would have to be informed as quickly as possible of the realities of his life, the truth about the condition of the wizarding world and most importantly, the Potter knowledge vaults had to be handed over to him. The time had come... Ragnok smiled his gruesome smile again as he thought of just how much power one eleven year held in his oblivious hands and the fact that he, the current head of the goblin nation held it within his power to let the boy know of his true heritage.

A/N: So there it is... the first chapter of "HP and the Winds of Change" is done.

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MB and EAS