Disclaimer: The Harry Potter franchise and all characters and events therein are the property of JK Rowling and I claim no ownership of these. This chapter is based on the Deathly Hallows epilogue and does take some lines of dialogue from this. No copyright qualms intended.
This is my first Harry Potter fic, I'm quite excited about it! I took an idea from a video by Youtuber Nerimon and will be incorporating this idea into the story. Hope you enjoy.
One: New beginnings.
Albus Severus Potter crept down the dark, dank corridor, his bare feet padding softly on the icy cold stone. He pulled his dressing gown closer around himself, and tried to peer further ahead through the darkness. The blackness seemed to shroud him like a cloak, and he could make out nothing in front of him, nothing around him. He reached to his pocket for his wand, but it wasn't there. He began to panic. He distinctly remembered buying it in Diagon Alley a few weeks ago, and since then he had never been without it – even if he couldn't use it yet.
"Hello?" he called out, but his words were swallowed up by the darkness, not projecting more than a foot in front of him. But he could hear another noise now, from somewhere in front of him, somewhere out in the dark. The blackness all but engulfed him now, a thick freezing fog that stuck in his throat as he recognized the sound as the voice that had been haunting him for months. The low, angry voice that always called to him...
"Let... me... out..."
Albus screamed, and his voice was suddenly piercing and true, cutting through the darkness like a knife through butter, and the black was bleeding away, taking the haunting voice with it, and the flickering light of a candle revealed his mother's concerned face.
He flung his arms around her shoulders, sobbing a little. He kept his eyes wide open – to close his eyes would mean bringing back the blackness, so he trained his gaze on the flickering candle behind his mother. He felt his mother's hand smoothing over his hair, and heard her murmuring in a calming tone.
"Mum," he whimpered, glad his brother couldn't hear his tearful voice, "It happened again. I heard it again."
"I know, I'm sorry sweetheart," his mother whispered, gently manoeuvring Albus back into his bed and under the covers. "I know it's scary."
Albus took a few moments to calm his breathing and will his tears away. Eventually he met her eyes, but couldn't force a smile. "I'm scared, mum."
His mother pushed his messy hair away from his forehead. "You're just nervous about tomorrow. You have these dreams and then you wake up in the morning, when the sun's shining, and everything's okay again."
Albus took a deep breath and nodded. He was nervous about tomorrow. Maybe that had made the dream seem more real...
"Yeah," he agreed, pulling the covers closer around himself. He checked briefly under his pillow to find that his wand was exactly where he'd left it. He yawned widely. "Everything'll be okay tomorrow," he said, more to himself than his mother.
His mother smiled down at him, kissed his forehead and left a few minutes later, leaving the candle on Albus' bedside table. Albus stared wide-eyed at the flickering flame. He did not go back to sleep.
Three hours later, Albus dragged himself out of his bed and plodded downstairs to the kitchen. He plonked himself down in his seat at the table, unaware of the mayhem occurring around him. His sister, Lily, was chasing Albus' owl around the room, trying to get him into his cage. James was stuffing his pockets with as many of his Uncle George's joke products as he possibly could, and their mother was ignoring the hissing kettle in favour of yelling at their uncle Ron, whose head was glaring at her from the fireplace.
"How would I know if your car's supposed to make that noise, Ron? We're running late, I can't find James' tie and Tabby's trying to murder Percy!"
Albus glanced out of the window to see Lily's cat, Tabby, chasing James' owl (James had called it Percy purely to irritate his uncle). Percy seemed to be unafraid of Tabby, and kept swooping down over the aggravated cat.
Albus looked up as his dad entered the room in the middle of the argument. The appearance of his father seemed to calm everything down instantly. He took the cage off Lily and deftly caught Albus' owl mid-flight, turned off the kettle and opened the window to let Percy swoop inside.
"Your car is fine, Ron; your dad checked it yesterday. We'll see you at the station."
He turned to his wife and smiled, holding up James' Gryffindor tie with a flourish. "On the bookshelf in the living room. You make the tea, I'll do the breakfast." He kissed her briefly, James loudly announcing his disapproval, and everyone in the room settled down. Soon they were all enjoying bacon and eggs.
"Have you got everything you need?" Albus' father asked him.
Albus nodded, wishing he wasn't so tired.
"Got your wand?"
Albus quickly checked his dressing gown pocket, and nodded again, yawning.
His dad seemed to observe him in a concerned way, but Albus wasn't too bothered. It was all happening this morning – his first day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He looked over at his brother, who was helping himself to his fourth rasher of bacon. James had started the school the previous year, and had been providing helpful tips for the past few days – be sure to greet Peeves with a firm handshake, watch out for the black hole on the stairway to the Astronomy tower, lock the windows at night or the Devil's Snare will get in and choke you... Albus was fairly sure that his brother was winding him up.
Yep. Fairly sure.
Albus stared out of the window of the car, all tiredness forgotten, all dreams pushed firmly to the back of his mind. This was all that mattered. He was finally going to Hogwarts. He could see Kings Cross Station, all the muggles busily going about their business, completely unaware of the shiny scarlet steam engine waiting to whisk hundreds of young witches and wizards away to the chilly hills of the highlands.
They parked, and Albus quickly fell out of the car. He tried to help his father lug his trunk and cage onto a trolley, but his hands were shaking. He was so nervous. What if he wasn't sorted into Gryffindor?
He whispered to his brother as they headed to the station barrier. "How do you get put in Gryffindor?" he asked anxiously.
James grinned, obviously sensing an opportunity. "Oh, there's no way to tell. The Sorting Hat knows where you should be. Maybe it'll put you in Slytherin."
Albus stared at his brother wide-eyed, nearly knocking a muggle lady over with his trolley.
"What? No one in our family's a Slytherin!"
"Maybe that's where you're supposed to be, Al."
Albus glared at his brother. "I won't! I won't be in Slytherin!"
"James!" their mother warned.
"He might be," James grinned, before confidently darting through the barrier, disappearing onto the platform.
Albus turned to his parents. "Promise you'll write to me?"
"Of course we will, as often as you want," his mother assured him.
They all went through the barrier together. Albus cringed, but suddenly found himself on a busy platform next to the famous Hogwarts Express. Steam was pouring from the train, and Albus was suddenly reminded of his dream, searching in vain for familiar faces. He listened for the voices of his friends, but couldn't hear them. He turned to his mother.
"We'll find them," she told him.
They made their way through the crowds, and eventually he saw the familiar face of his cousin, Rose, chattering excitedly at her mother. Albus pushed his trolley towards them, grinning in relief. There was his Uncle Ron and aunt Hermione, Rose and Hugo. James hurried off to find his friends. Albus left the trolley to his dad, and turned to Rose.
"It's really happening. We're finally going!" she squealed.
Albus just grinned, feeling slightly sick. He could hear Lily and Hugo talking near their parents.
"...and his head was almost cut all the way off!" his sister was saying animatedly.
"But we might not be in Gryffindor. We've got two whole years to go; what if we do something really bad and end up in Slytherin?" Hugo was wondering. Albus listened keenly for the adults' response to this.
His uncle Ron spoke up. "Well, if you're not in Gryffindor, we'll disinherit you. But no pressure."
"Ron!" Hermione scolded.
Lily and Hugo laughed at this, but Albus shared a nervous glance with Rose. He looked up at his dad, who was staring across the platform. Albus followed his gaze, and saw a couple saying farewell to their blond son. He overheard his dad and his uncle mentioning this to be 'Scorpius Malfoy.' Albus made a mental note of the name and turned to his brother, who had just rushed over.
"Teddy was snogging Victoire! I saw them!"
Albus rolled his eyes, and checked his pocket for the hundredth time. His wand was still securely there.
The whistle blew a moment later, and they all headed towards the train. Albus trailed behind, still concerned. He pulled on his dad's arm.
"Dad... what if I am put in Slytherin?"
His dad smiled reassuringly down at him.
"Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
"But just say-"
"-then Slytherin house will have gained an excellent student, won't it? It doesn't matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you'll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account."
Albus blinked, absorbing this information. The Sorting Hat would let him choose? How could that work? Wouldn't everyone want to be in Gryffindor?
Albus clambered clumsily onto the train, and found his way into the same carriage as Rose and James, past a crowd of students who all seemed to be staring at his father. He leaned out of the window as the whistle sounded once more, and with a mighty jolt the Hogwarts Express set off from Platform 9 ¾. He waved frantically at his dad, who waved back, slowly fading back into the distance, his slightly worried expression the last thing that Albus saw before James closed the window.
"Right!" James stood up and headed to the carriage door. "I'm off; I'm not sitting with two first years for the whole trip. No offence," he said to Rose, before disappearing off to find his friends.
Albus watched him leave, and saw several curious faces peering in at them as they passed the carriage.
"Why is everyone staring?" Albus asked Rose.
"They'll all be wondering about your dad," she said simply.
"What about him?" Albus asked, confused.
"Well, he's famous."
"Yeah... I suppose..."
Rose blinked at Albus with obvious annoyance. "Have you not read 'Hogwarts – A History, Vol. 2'?"
It was Albus' turn to be annoyed. "No. Why would I spend my summer reading? I'll learn it all at school anyway."
Rose sighed, a photocopy of her mother. "Well, I guess you'll find out soon enough."
A commotion flared up in the corridor, and the door suddenly opened and a boy rushed in, closing the door in a hurry and shouting through the pane: "I've told you already! It wasn't my ferret! NOT MY FERRET! He's INNOCENT!"
The boy sat down next to Rose with an exhausted huff, and looked up at Albus.
"What happened?" Albus asked, intrigued.
"My ferret bit the lady with the sweets trolley and stole a pumpkin pasty," the boy mumbled.
"So much for 'innocent,'" Rose muttered.
The boy turned to her, made a clicking noise with his tongue, and a dark fluffy ferret appeared from behind his neck and squeaked at Rose. Rose squeaked herself, and moved away from the rodent.
"Don't worry, he doesn't bite," the boy grinned.
"You just said he bit the trolley lady!" she retorted.
The boy turned back to Albus, still grinning. He had scruffy dark hair and eyes that twinkled with mischief. He held out his hand to Albus.
"Dorian Davies," he introduced himself.
Albus shook his hand, feeling that this was oddly formal. "Al Potter."
"Potter?" Dorian's eyebrows hit his hairline. "Awesome." He turned to Rose, and offered his hand. Rose looked like she thought his hand was as likely to bite her as the ferret was, so he awkwardly returned his hand to his lap.
The door opened a moment later, and Dorian entered the carriage again. What?
He sat down next to Albus, opposite the first Dorian. "Was it Toby making all that ruckus?"
Dorian One beamed. "Yep, he's making his mark already."
They both chuckled. Albus just stared. "There's two of you," he joked.
Dorian Two turned to face him and grinned, offering his hand. "Dathan Davies," he introduced.
Albus shook the twin's hand, and eyed Rose as Dathan held out his hand to her. Rose gingerly shook it, but squealed again as a small toad suddenly hopped its way out of Dathan's shirt pocket.
Rose stood, unnerved, and left the carriage, muttering something about changing into her robes. Dorian sprawled out on the seat, and fished a few chocolate frog packets from his pockets. He passed one to his brother and one to Albus.
"Thanks," said Albus, liking the twins already.
"So what do you think it'll be like?" Dathan asked, ripping into his chocolate.
"I heard there's a dragon guarding every common room, and if you don't get the password right it burns your hair off," Dorian enthused.
"I doubt it," Albus reasoned through a mouthful of chocolate. "They wouldn't fit dragons inside the school."
"You don't know that," Dathan insisted.
"Hey, isn't this your dad?" Dorian was holding up his chocolate frog card.
"Y... yeah," Albus frowned. He'd never seen his dad on a card before. Maybe he really was that famous.
"What? Are you a Potter?" Dathan turned to stare at Albus.
"Yeah, Al Potter," Albus repeated.
Dathan's eyes were wide and excited. "That's so cool! What's your dad like?"
"He's... um... he's great," Albus stumbled. Everyone apparently knew his dad's whole story. It made him a bit uncomfortable. He knew nothing about any of these students. It felt like they were cheating. "W-what house do you want to be in?" he tried to change the subject.
Dorian shrugged. "Our mum and dad were Hufflepuffs. They say we're too... what's the word they use?"
"Destructive," Dathan offered.
"Yeah, destructive, to be Hufflepuffs. But we're not that bad," Dorian finished. "Wherever is fine. I bet you want to be a lion like your dad."
"Fingers crossed," Albus tried to sound casual. It was still eating him alive. Would the Sorting Hat be reasonable?
"I bet you are," Dathan assured. "Although, you're kind of quiet. You might be a Hufflepuff."
"I'm not quiet," Albus objected. "You haven't let me get two words in yet!"
The twins stared at him, and suddenly burst out laughing. Albus couldn't help but laugh too. This was going to be an interesting year.
A few hours later, the train pulled up at a small station in what seemed to be a little village. It was too dark to see much, but Albus could see lines of quaint little houses, windows glowing invitingly.
Albus stood in his robes, his hand on his wand, waiting with the twins and Rose – who had reluctantly rejoined them once Dorian and Dathan promised to keep their pets under control. The doors finally opened, and a voice was heard echoing over a speaker:
"Welcome, Hogwarts students. Please leave your luggage on the train and make your way onto the platform."
There was a hustle and bustle as everyone tried to leave the carriage at the same moment. Albus stumbled and accidentally stomped on someone's foot. The foot's owner turned to look at the offender. The foot belonged to a pale, blond haired boy. Albus recognized him at once.
"Sorry, I tripped," he rushed.
Scorpius Malfoy regarded him with a cold expression, but his response was surprisingly tepid.
"No harm done," he said, straightening his robes. He frowned a little as Albus continued to stare at him. "Do I know you?"
Albus just shook his head. Was he supposed to know Scorpius? Did Scorpius know him? It seemed odd that his father would be talking about this boy to Uncle Ron; maybe there was some history with Scorpius' family?
Scorpius shrugged. "Good luck at the Sorting," he offered in a bored tone, before turning away and disappearing into the crowd on the platform.
Rose stepped up next to Albus. "That's Draco Malfoy's son," she whispered.
"Who's Draco Malfoy?" Albus whispered.
Rose glared at Albus. "Seriously, do you not talk to your parents at all?"
Albus glared back at Rose. He did talk to his parents, but they talked about Quidditch, and Hogwarts, and how long his hair should be before they cut it. They had talked about the old dark days, and the battle, but there'd been no mention of a Draco Malfoy. Was he important?
A loud call broke Albus from his thoughts. "Firs' years! Firs' years over 'ere!" Albus recognized Hagrid's voice, and turned gratefully towards him. Hagrid had visited the Potter family many times, and it was nice to see a familiar adult.
"Alrigh' there, Albus? Rose?" Hagrid called.
Albus grinned, and Rose waved. The twins looked up at the half-giant in awe. All the first years gathered around Hagrid and his lamplight.
"Everyone 'ere? Righ', this way, follow me!"
Hagrid led the group away from the platform and through the trees that surrounded them. Albus began to feel panicky as the darkness swarmed around him. Just like his dream... it was just like his dream... would he hear the voice again? He kept a firm grip on his wand, and stepped closer to Rose.
"You okay?" Dorian asked, concerned. "You look a bit green."
Albus tried to swallow past the lump in his throat, but couldn't form an answer. He wasn't okay... he wasn't...
"And 'ere you go, 'ere's your first sight o' Hogwarts."
All the fear and the panic drained from Albus with startling speed as he laid eyes on his school. A spectacular, ancient castle perched on a high mountain, on the far side of a vast, dark lake. Albus couldn't help but smile. He was finally here.
Hagrid led all the first years down to the water's edge, and clambered into one of a long line of little boats.
"Four to a boat, everyone in!"
Albus climbed into one of the boats after Rose and the twins. He saw Scorpius, a few boats over, sitting with a straight back, chatting calmly with the students sharing his boat.
Hagrid hollered loud enough for everyone to hear him. "Righ', 'ere we go! Forward!"
And the boats took off from the shore, towards the castle.
Albus tried to take in the whole view and preserve the image in his mind. Seven years. Seven years at this amazing place!
He just couldn't wait.