Author's Note: I'm adding this AN just now, after the feedback from chapter 16, in the hopes of avoiding further confusion as the story progresses. The Wizarding world is a very dark place in this story. I need to point out that the Harry in my story has suffered significant abuse, both physical as well as mental. This is not your canon Harry Potter so please discard any preconceived notions you might have concerning his character. The effects of abuse on a child linger on for a long time, with some characteristic lasting for the remainder of their lives. Harry is socially withdrawn, naïve, weak willed and clueless. These are not overcome within a single week, month or year and personalities which have been ingrained over a life time do not suddenly change over night. Most people do not understand what abuse does to a child and so will find this story rather unbelievable, I dare say, believing that such a thing couldn't happen. I assure you it can, and does, on a daily basis around the world. Just because we can't see the ugliness or we choose to ignore it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

If you're looking for a story where Harry wakes up one morning and decides to kick the Wizarding worlds collective butts, you'll be sadly disappointed. If, however, you're looking for a more realistic story, that portrays Harry (and others) in the correct fashion, then by all means read on. There will be butt kicking, it will just take time. There will be romance but it two will take time. The thought of 11 year olds snogging just doesn't sit well with me for some reason. Two other small matters to address: 1) this will not be a short story 2) I will not divulge what the pairing, pairings or relationships will be. You'll need to read along to discover that fact. Lastly, this is my story...please don't try to tell me that I'm writing it wrong or how it should go. ~ EJ


Chapter 1 – On The Hogwarts Express

"Draco," Lucius Malfoy's voice was stern as he addressed his son, "are you certain you have everything then?" Draco nodded, a slightly bored expression upon his youthful features, having just answered the very same question from his mother, Narcissa, only moments before.

This would be the young Malfoy's first year attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Draco's grey eyes darted about observing the other students as they loaded their chests upon the waiting crimson Hogwarts Express.

"I expect for you to be the head of your class," Lucius continued, unaware that he only held half the boy's attention. "When I was in Slytherin it was a wonderful time," the elder Malfoy shared, a wistful look upon his pale features as he recalled a moment from his youth. "Making alliances to secure my position within the house hierarchy, weeding out those unworthy of being associated with and tormenting those that were anything other than Purebloods! Good times!" Lucius exclaimed with a wicked gleam in his grey eyes. "I expect no less of you, Draco," he stated as he clamped one heavy hand upon his son's shoulder, nearly knocking him over in the process.

"I understand, Father," Draco replied once he had his balance again and could look up and into his father's eyes. I won't let you down, he silently vowed with every ounce of sincerity that an eleven year old boy could muster. "I've already ensnared the sons of the Crabbe and Goyle families who are also starting this year. Once I'm sorted into Slytherin I'm certain it won't take long to find others." Draco watched as his father nodded approvingly at his sons actions. "Father," Draco licked his lips once before nervously continuing. "About the Greengrass matter….," the youths words trailed off.

"I am still working on it," Lucius responded as he dropped his hand from his son's shoulder. "For now just do your best to make us proud and let me worry about that." At that moment two twin redheaded boys rushed past the Malfoy's in a hurry. Lucius and Draco both stood there and watched as they began talking excitedly to their mother and younger siblings. Lucius looked on disdainfully. "Weasleys. You would never guess they were actually pureblood's. The poorest of the poor," he added with a sneer that clearly showed his dislike of the entire lot of them. "Certainly not the type you'll want to associate with, Draco."

"It looks as if their younger brother will be starting this year," Draco stated, taking note of the youngest red head boy and what was on his cart. "Can't they even buy descent clothes?" Draco quipped upon noticing the worn outfit the youngest boy wore.

"They'll let anyone into Hogwarts these days," Lucius replied turning away in disgust. "Can't even afford proper clothes for their children there are so many of them," Lucius added to his son's comment noting what were obviously hand-me-down robes worn by the youngest boy.

"Enough, the both of you," Narcissa scolded as she stepped forward and enveloped her son in a warm and surprisingly loving embrace. "If you don't hurry and get aboard you'll miss the train," she said even as the steam whistle blasted out a warning for everyone to climb aboard. "I'll expect regular letters from you, Draco," the Malfoy Matriarch told her son in such a tone that he knew there would be dire consequences should the requested letters fail to reach her.

"I will, Mother," Draco replied, giving his mother a slightly embarrassed hug in return. "As often as studies allow me." Being his first extended trip away from home for any great length of time, he couldn't help but feel a thrill of excitement as well as a touch of trepidation.

"I would think that one a week would not be too great a burden upon you," Narcissa said as she stepped back and dabbed at the corners of her eyes with a handkerchief that had appeared from a pocket. This would be the first time that her only child would be away from home. She had argued long and hard with her husband to convince him to send their son to Hogwarts. Lucius had at first intended Draco to attend school at Durmstrang, with its rigorous and discriminating admission process. The senior Malfoy wanted his son to only associate with other Purebloods. Durmstrang was well known for not allowing muggle-born to enroll. Narcissa was finally able to convince Lucius that Durmstrang, being in northern Norway, was too far away from them and that it would be better to have Draco closer to home. 'There will be plenty of time for him to see the world once he has graduated' she had told her husband.

Draco made his way through the multitude of other students and parents who were each saying their goodbyes in their own fashion. His own farewell from his father had consisted of a handshake and a stern warning to be better than everyone else no matter what. As the pale younger Malfoy neared the train he saw Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle standing near the entrance to the second coaching stock. The first train carriage was reserved for the Prefects of the different houses of Hogwarts.

"Crabbe, Goyle," he snapped sternly, attempting to mimic the tone of voice his father had used when addressing him. "I want the two of you to enter at the last carriage. Once we're out of the station move forward and search each compartment," Malfoy instructed them in a no nonsense tone, ignoring the surprised looks upon their faces. "I want you to find a blonde girl, who answers to the name of Daphne, it is important that I see her. Once you've located her come and get me."

"Why do you want to see a girl," Crabbe asked, his large round face creasing in puzzlement.

Draco smiled. "If all goes well she will soon be my intended," he told the two of them.

"Intended?" Goyle asked, confused as to what his new blonde friend meant by those words.

Draco sighed heavily, wondering just how long it would be before he could make others….more gifted beneath their scalps, assist him. "Intended. As in fiancé. Soon to be wife." The two other boys smiled knowingly for a brief second before realizing they had no clue why Draco would want to get married. "Never mind the reason," Draco exclaimed, the limit of his patience about reached, "Just find her and then come and get me!" Crabbe and Goyle hurried off to do as instructed as both had been told by their fathers to follow the lead of the young Malfoy heir.

Draco watched the two boys start to make their way through the throng of people before he turned and boarded the train. Opening the door to the first compartment he took a seat closest to the window and watched the people outside with disdain. Being in the compartment that was directly next to the school Prefects was a clear indication that he himself was but a step away from being one he felt. It wasn't long though before his thoughts were once more upon the task he had set for Crabbe and Goyle. As soon as they find Daphne I'll go and introduce myself. Father can handle the negotiations; however that doesn't mean that I can't start things on my end as well, he surmised.

The train whistle blew two quick blasts, signaling its imminent departure. As Draco waited for the return of Crabbe and Goyle his attention was drawn to the passageway just as a red haired boy and a dark haired girl, both older and wearing Prefect badges on their robes, walked past.

"Fred and George both claim that they spoke with him," the older boy exclaimed as if trying to substantiate his claim. "They even helped him get his trunk onboard."

The girl paused right outside the opened doorway to the compartment Draco was in and turned to regard the trailing boy in disbelief. "Are you certain they weren't just having a go at you, Percy? Harry Potter? On the train to Hogwarts?" The girl rolled her eyes in disbelief, a patronizing grin creeping onto her lips as she turned to continue on down the passageway.

Draco listened as the boy tried to convince the girl till they were out of hearing distance. "Harry Potter's come to Hogwarts?" Draco mused aloud to himself with a thoughtful grin of his own. "I'll have to make certain that father hears of this. I'm certain he'll want us to become acquainted."

-oOo-

"It all looks so…normal," Niles Granger commented to his wife Emma as they stood upon platform 9 ¾ and looked around them with wide muggle eyes.

"Really Niles," Emma said with a soft smile as she rested her hand upon his forearm, "whatever did you expect?" Always the more sensible of the two she couldn't help but find humor in her husband's behavior.

"I don't know," the elder Granger replied with a shrug of his shoulders as he looked to his wife. "Something a bit more…magical?" he confessed with a wink towards his daughter. Hermione rolled her eyes at her parents even as the love she felt for them warmed her chest.

On the day it had happened she had been more than a little surprised to return home to find a stately woman with a stern demeanor speaking to her parents. The elderly visitor was a certain Professor McGonagall who had arrived to inform the Grangers of the acceptance of their daughter to the school at which the Professor taught. Hermione, much like her parents, was shocked into silence upon learning that she was a witch. It hadn't taken her long to warm to the idea nor to read through the Hogwarts Student Handbook that the professor had provided along with An Introduction To Magic and the Wizarding World, fifth edition, which explained about the new world the young witch-to-be would be embarking into.

"There are rules concerning the use of magic where the non-magical can see it," Hermione informed her parents. The academically inclined youngster had read all about it in A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot, one of the books required for first year students. She knew that her parents were known as 'muggles' in the Wizarding world she was now a part of, however she didn't like the feel of the word as it slipped off her tongue. It has a very derogative feel to it, she told herself after having said it several times to try it out. It's as if they are being addressed as something less than everyone who can do magic.

"That makes perfect sense," Niles replied with a slight nodding of his head in agreement, though with the rules or the information supplied by the young witch, neither Hermione nor her mother knew for certain.

"You have everything you need?" Emma asked of her daughter as she stepped to the young girl and absently ran her fingers affectionately through the soft bushy brown hair. "You'll write and tell us all about the school?" Emma enquired as she gently cupped the young girl's cheek.

"As often as I can, Mum," Hermione promised as she smiled lovingly up at the woman before her. The steam whistle blew signaling that it was nearly time to leave. Now that the moment was upon her she suddenly found that she didn't want to leave. "Remember to watch for an owl with a letter tied to its talons," she reminded her mother. "I read it's helpful to have a treat for them as a way of thanking them," she added, wanting to drag out the goodbye for as long as possible.

"We have the treats we picked up while getting your school stuff," Niles stated as he stepped up and slipped his arm around his wife's waist while resting his other hand on his daughters shoulder. "We managed to raise you so I think we can manage a treat or two for a bird," he added with an infectious smile.

Hermione glanced nervously towards the train and then back at both her parents. "What if it's just like before? What if I can't…," her words trailed off nervously even as she unconsciously started to wring her hands in front of her robes.

"You'll be fine," Emma stated, leaning down and hugging her daughter to her for a long moment. When she finally released her daughter she had to rapidly blink several times to keep the tears at bay. "These are children just like you, honey. They are witches and wizards so I'm certain you'll make friends this time," Hermione's mother assured her. "What's not to love about you?"

"We've always known that you were special," Niles offered in a gruff voice, heavy with emotion as he took his turn and embraced his daughter tightly. Hermione was shocked to see her father's eyes sparkle with unshed tears when he released her. "Now go be magical," he told her with a forced smile and a slight shooing motion towards the train.

Hermione smiled, suddenly finding herself choked up with emotions. Leaping forwards she threw an arm around each of their waists and hugged them as hard as she could. "I love you both so much!" she said loud enough for them to hear before turning and dashing towards the waiting train without looking back. Emma and Niles both watched their daughter board the train as they absently wiped tears from their cheeks.

Hermione hastily entered the train and turned the corner into the walkway and nearly collided with a dark haired boy wearing a worried expression. "You haven't seen a toad have you?" he asked in a slightly desperate tone.

"I only just stepped on," Hermione informed him of even as she glanced down at the flooring as if expecting the toad in question to suddenly be there. "Should I have?" Hermione asked, uncertain of what exactly to expect on a train bound for a magical school.

"He's run off again," the boy told her. "His name's Trevor. I'm Neville, Neville Longbottom."

"Charmed," Hermione replied holding out a hand which Neville took and shook once. "Hermione Granger. I'll help you look for him," she offered. "He couldn't have gone far I'd imagine."

"Thanks," Neville replied with a clear note of relief in his voice. "I'll look this way if you could go that way?" he asked indicating the back half of the train.

Hermione gave a nod while offering what she hoped was a reassuring smile. Stepping down the passageway she knocked on the first compartment door she came to before opening it and sticking her head in. "Have you seen a toad by chance?" she asked of the occupants.

-oOo-

"I want to go to Hogwarts, Mummy," whined the childish voice of Astoria Greengrass as she bounced about tugging on Abigail Greengrass's arm incessantly. "Please, please can I go?"

"Behave yourself, Astoria," the girl's father admonished his youngest daughter who was starting to draw stares from others standing upon the platform. While Astoria did settle down it didn't prevent her from staring up at her mother with pleading eyes.

"Malcolm, she's just excited is all," Abigail offered as she drew the smaller girl towards her by wrapping an arm around Astoria's shoulders and pulling her close against one hip, protectively.

"Don't coddle her, Abbie," Malcolm replied as his disapproving eyes fell upon his wife for a brief moment before once again returning to the milling throng of people upon the platform. "You'll only spoil her more."

Daphne turned to her sister, hoping to play interference between the younger girl and her father. "You still have a couple of years before you can join me," Daphne said with an understanding smile as she gently patted her younger sister's shoulder in sympathy. "Enjoy being young while you can. Before you know it you'll be buried in homework."

Astoria turned about within her mother's grasp to face her sister, while leaning against the woman who gave birth to her. Astoria's small hands pulled her mother's arm down to beneath her chin and then hung onto it as if she was afraid to let it go. "But you're going to be gone for so long!" pouted the youngest of the sisters with a protruding bottom lip.

"I know," Daphne replied, her expression saddening even though she found the look on her sister's face to be adorably cute. As sisters went, the two of them were extremely close to each other. They weren't just sisters but also the best of friends. "I'll miss you too, Brat," Daphne assured her, forcing her lips into a smile even as she brushed strands of blonde hair behind one ear.

Astoria stuck her tongue out in way of reply but Daphne could see the younger girl's blue eyes, which so resembled her own, brimming with unshed tears. "I'll write you and tell you all about Hogwarts so you'll know what to expect when it's your turn to go," Daphne offered, hoping to forestall a flood of tears.

"Really?" Astoria exclaimed perking up upon hearing this and seeing her sister nod that she would. "Then I'll write back and tell you everything that is happening at home," Astoria offered as a smile blossomed upon her face at the thought of being pen pals with her sister.

Daphne grinned; doubting that there would be enough excitement at their house to fill up an entire letter, let alone keeping up a steady stream of them. "That would be wonderful!" she none the less replied. Seeing her little sister's eyes widen with excitement assured her that her response had been the correct one.

"Have everything you need, my love?" Abigail asked for the countless time that morning. Seeing her daughter nod that she did, Abigail smiled weakly, suddenly wondering where her baby had gone and who was this girl before her poised upon the cusp of womanhood. "I hope you'll write me as well," she offered in attempt at levity even as she pushed stray strands of soft blonde hair behind one ear. A gesture that mimicked her daughter's so closely that it was clear where the younger had acquired it from.

"You know I shall," Daphne replied as she stepped forward and hugged her mother even as the train's whistle sounded, signaling it was near time to depart. Daphne's chest suddenly tightened as she felt her younger sister's arms wraparound her waist and squeeze her tightly. "Take care of him," she whispered to the both of them before stepping back. She knew that they would understand her request. While her father was stern and demanding she knew that he loved his family dearly and often over worked himself to ensure they had every luxury and amenity that galleons could buy.

Malcolm Greengrass cleared his throat and glanced away uncomfortably from the three most important people in his life clinging to each other. "It's about that time," he intoned to no one in particular even as Daphne released her mother and tried to separate herself from her weeping younger sister.

"I guess it is," Daphne replied even as her mother held onto Astoria who was squirming about in an attempt to obtain another hug. Daphne's blue eyes stared up and into her father's eyes, which mirrored his daughter's own eyes. The eldest Grenngrass sibling had inherited her mother's hair but like her sister they both had their father's eyes. Daphne saw the love in his eyes as he regarded her, a love that he would not openly show in public. Stepping forward she wrapped her suddenly small arms around his waist and hugged her father tightly. "I love you, Papa," she told him.

"Yes…well…," Malcolm replied clearing his throat as he patted his daughter's back several times before his oldest child stepped away. "If there is anything you need…," he tried to say only to feel his throat become clogged with emotions he did his best to hide.

"I know," Daphne replied with a smile as she turned away and walked the short distance to the waiting coaching stock. Just before stepping onto the train she turned about to offer her family one last smile and wave goodbye. Seeing the tears on her mother and sister's cheeks Daphne quickly turned and boarded the carriage blinking rapidly herself lest she start to cry as well.

"There you are, Greengrass!" Pansy Parkinson said in an exasperated voice, startling Daphne who looked at the other girl quizzically. "I've been looking all over for you," Pansy explained. "Davis is holding a compartment for us. It's this way," the dark haired girl said over her shoulder as she started off without even ensuring that Daphne was following her.

Daphne, left with little choice, followed after the retreating girl. Upon reaching the compartment Daphne smiled seeing Tracey Davis, her childhood friend, waving to her through the glass even before Pansy could open the door. Tracey sat on one side of the compartment dressed in her Hogwarts uniform with her auburn hair pulled back into her typical ponytail.

"I found her just getting on the train," Pansy offered as she flopped down onto the seat next to another girl that Daphne didn't recognize. "This is Millicent Bulstrode," the dark haired girl offered as she jerked her thumb towards the girl next to her. "She's a first year as well," Pansy added.

"Daphne Greengrass," Daphne offered in way of greeting as she took the seat next to Tracey and received a nod from the slightly heavy set girl Pansy had just introduced to her.

"What took you so long?" Tracey asked her friend after nudging Daphne's arm to get her attention. "I waited on the platform for you but then feared we wouldn't get a seat together," Tracey said with reproachful brown eyes.

"Astoria," Daphne stated apologetically to which Tracey chuckled. "My sister, who's younger than me by two years, wanted to come along," Daphne explained upon seeing the confused expressions of the two girls seated across from her.

"I bet she couldn't bear the thought of being separated from you for so long," Tracey said teasingly. Having been the blonde girl's friend for so long she was well aware of just how close the siblings were to each other.

"Something like that," Daphne replied halfheartedly as she sat back in the seat as the train whistle blew twice. I'll miss her just as much as she'll miss me, she thought to herself. Possibly even more, she realized sadly.

Conversation soon turned to what they each had done during their final summer weeks. Millicent had traveled to Germany to visit relatives there for several weeks. Pansy told them about her trip with her parents to France and all the shopping she had done while there. Tracey readily admitted to doing most of nothing but lounging about the house. After some coaxing, Daphne admitted to having spent the final two weeks of her time reading her school books so as to get a jump on her studies. Though blushing in embarrassment at first, she was soon laughing with the other three girls who took turns calling her bookworm, teacher's pet and other such terms.

It wasn't long before the train pulled away from the platform and out of the station. The four girls sat and speculated on what Hogwarts would be like. They each took turns retelling different stories they had heard from their parents or other relatives who were alumni of the school. In this manner time passed and soon they left the London cityscape for the English country side which rolled past outside the train window mostly unnoticed by the four of them.

Their conversation came to an abrupt halt as the door to their compartment was suddenly opened to reveal two rather large boys who were suddenly eyeing Daphne. All four girls turned to regard the interruption, their eyes narrowing upon seeing the boys. "Are you Daphne?" one of the boys demanded, looking towards the only blonde in the room hopefully.

"What if she is?" Tracey asked defensively before Daphne could open her mouth. "What's it to you?" she asked with her eyes narrowing menacingly.

The pudgier of the two who had spoken shrugged slightly. "Nothing. I was told to find her is all," he replied looking slightly scared in the face of the open hostility being directed at him. While he and Goyle had been told to find Daphne he had never expect to have to do so in front of a bunch of other girls. From the manner in which Goyle was fidgeting behind him Vincent Crabbe knew that his friend felt much the same as he did. "We'll be going now," Crabbe hastily added before moistening his suddenly dry lips and pulling the door closed once again.

"What was that all about?" Tracey asked as they all watched the two boys hurry off in the direction of the front of the train. Not sure what to make of it Daphne could do little more than shrug.

Pansy stood up and glanced to Millicent who then rose as well. "Well, we're off to find the cart with all the sweets on it. Do either of you want anything?" Seeing both seated girls decline Pansy, followed closely by the other girl left the compartment.

Daphne watched the two girls leave before turning to face her friend only to see Tracey with a questioning look upon her face. "What? I really done know," she reiterated, suddenly wishing that she did know.

-oOo-

The steady clacking of the train's steel wheels as they meandered along the tracks set a smooth and steady tempo which he found both soothing as well as comforting. It was the closest thing to a lullaby that he had ever heard, not that he recalled every having heard one before.

The repetitive swaying of the coaching stock was relaxing and lured him into a peaceful state of being. While he wasn't dozing, it was as near as one could get without actually nodding off. Gazing out, through hooded eyes, upon the country side as the train rolled down the tracks he couldn't help but smile to himself, enjoying the view and the sense of freedom he felt.

Being born and raised in the suburbs, this was something new to him after all. The wide expanses of greenery dotted here and there by clumps of trees or precisely planted and maintained fields of crops. He inhaled deeply; enjoying the crisp early afternoon air with its slight scent of wood smoke which he assumed was derived from the great steam engine up ahead, pulling the train ever closer to their destination. The sun was warm against his cheeks even as the wind buffed those very same cheeks a healthy shade of pink.

He was more than a little glad that he had changed into his school robes, the stylized emblem with its pretty H front and center. He assumed that the H stood for the name of the school he was en route to, Hogwarts. If not for the thickness of the robe, with its many inner pockets of which he had no clue why there were so many, he was certain he would be far colder than he currently was. That added with the new trousers, shirt and shoes, all part of the required school uniform of Hogwarts, he was as warm as one could be while riding atop a carriage he surmised.

I could get used to this, he thought silently to himself while allowing a small grin to crease his thin lips. No Dudley to pester me or get me in trouble. No one to holler at me to do this or do that! Leaning back upon his hands, arms to either side of him to support his weight, he tilted his head back and looked up as the blue, nearly cloudless, sky above the speeding train as his mind wondered back over the events which led him to this current point in time.

It had been the best, as well as the worst, birthday he had ever experienced. The entire day, starting with the long trip, rushed though it was and with very little to eat, had been amusing to say the least for the soon to be eleven year old boy. He had secretly found it humorous hearing Dudley whine and complain for having to miss a meal or two. He had gone without more meals than he could count over the short eleven years of his life and yet here he was no worse for wear. Dudley can do with missing a few meals, he mused thinking of his heavy cousin and the fact that a loss of weight would probably do him good. At the time, listening to his cousin suffering had seemed like the best birthday present ever.

He couldn't help but shiver upon recalling the night spent out upon the little island of rock thrust out into the ocean. Once the tide had shifted there was nothing left to do but settle down and hope for the best of it. The lighthouse they stayed at had been so old and rickety that its walls did very little to stop the wind from passing through in a loud whistling noise that took some time to grow used to.

Covered with little more than an old blanket he had lain quietly upon the stone floor and counted off the final minute till his birthday. The loud pounding and subsequent crashing of the door when it fell in that night resounded loudly within his ears as if he could hear it once again. Blinking rapidly, as his attention was returned once more to the present as he heard the carriage door behind him slam loudly. Scooting forward till he was near the edge of the carriage he looked down only to see a petite girl with blonde hair held back by a black headband, dressed in a Hogwarts uniform but without her robes. Even as he watched the girl nervously looked about before turning and peeking through the window of the door she had apparently just stepped through.

-oOo-

Why will he not leave me be? Daphne pondered as she looked back through the glass of the window next to the door. In the next carriage up from the one she had just left she spied the Malfoy boy who paused to stick his head into one of the compartments and speak with those within. Turning back around, she leaned against the door with her eyes closed, glad that the curtain was pulled mostly down so she couldn't readably be seen from within.

The loud clacking of the train wheels as they rolled along the tracks frightened her more than a little. A fact she hated to admit. The constant swaying of the coaching stock meant that the small narrow platform upon which she stood also swayed back and forth. This, more than any other reason, was why she still retained a grip upon the door handle that caused the knuckles on her hand to shine white.

It had taken all of her will to step from the carriage she had been seated in to the one she had just left. Now faced once again with the task of moving from one carriage to another she suddenly found herself unable to move. Though the distance between the platforms on both coaching stocks was relatively small, she couldn't keep from imagining herself falling through into a very painful and messy death beneath the wheels of the train. The fact that there was a walkway with metal handrails did little to dispel her life ending delusion.

She had been sitting with her friend Tracey Davis when a blonde-haired boy, trailed by two others that were prime examples of boys her mother had warned her to stay away from, had entered the compartment and seated himself next to her with a smile upon his pale lips. "Malfoy," he had said as she turned to regard him. "Draco Malfoy," the boy introduced himself, all but ignoring her friend Tracey.

What a presumptuous name, she had thought to herself upon hearing his introduction. "No need to introduce yourself," he continued to inform her, "You are that Greengrass girl, Daphne," he stated, one brow lifting as if in expectation of being praised for knowing who she was. "We're certain to get along smashingly well!" he added in a knowingly conceited tone of voice that grated on her nerves.

"Ms. Greengrass to you, Mr. …I'm sorry, Malfoy, was it?" she asked him in an aloof and chillingly cold tone of voice to ensure she had his name correct. She had heard her mother use this tone of voice on more than one occasion. Usually the elder Greengrass reserved it for when someone was being bothersome as tended to happen often.

Being of one of the older houses her parents were often required to attend social gatherings with their peers. Daphne, at a young age, had learned that during such events her mother would often slip into this other persona. As she herself grew older and was allowed to attend the same functions she had cultivated a similar façade to help her deal with bothersome boys her age.

If ever there was a call for it, now is the time, Daphne reasoned. "Please do not think that just because you are aware of whom I am that it grants you the privilege to assume liberties with my name or person," she explained even as she looked away, her eyes slipped to her childhood friend, Tracey Davis, seated across from her.

Tracey Davis had known the blonde girl since they were wee little ones and Daphne knew that she never tired of watching her dress down others, especially rich and snotty boys, who felt they could be as familiar as they wished with her or her family. The Greengrass line was both old as well as well-respected in the Wizarding world and hence there was a certain level of decorum that was expected when addressing them. Judging by the expression on Tracey's face, she too had recognized the two other boys as the ones who had come by earlier searching for her, only to quickly leave upon being confronted by four girls who were less than thrilled by the interruption.

"Anyone who happens to read that rag the Daily Prophet will no doubt know my family as well as my name," Daphne continued in the same cold and dispassionate voice she had started with. "I hardly believe that means I am to be friends with all of them. Why would I ever want to be associated with the likes of you?" Daphne inquired as she turned back to regard the boy, her blue eyes barely seeing him as she stared through him.

Daphne noted with some measurement of a thrill that Malfoy's face was no longer cocky and so sure of himself. The bright smile had dipped considerably and he wore more of a long look of confusion as if he wasn't certain if this was actually happening or some horrible joke gone awry.

"Well," came the first tentative word even as the young heir to the Malfoy lineage ran a nervous hand through his near white silky strands, "There are no doubt any amount of unsavory persons here. My father tells me that they'll let anyone into this school these days. Even mudbloods!" he exclaimed with a look of utter disbelief appearing upon his features. "We purebloods need to tend to our own."

"Yes I see," Daphne said as she got to her feet and nodded for Tracey to do as well. "All manner of unsavory beings," she agreed shooting him a pointed look which was clearly wasted on him as well as the two boys with him. "If you'll excuse us, we were on our way to freshen up. All this activity today has put us rather out of sorts," she said with a forced smile that never came near her eyes. "I'm certain you understand, Mr. Malfoy?" she enquired, one delicate brow rising slightly in question only for a moment before she stepped towards to door only to pause as it was blocked by the two other boys.

"If you like I can have Crabbe and Goyle here escort you?" Malfoy offered as he stood and motioned to the others to step aside, shooting them an angry glare that they hadn't moved on their own accord rather than continuing to block the doorway.

Daphne motioned for Tracey to precede her into the narrow passageway between compartments. "That won't be necessary. I believe we have seen enough of them for one day. I hardly doubt that we will get lost between here and there," she informed him politely as she followed her friend out into the corridor. "Please feel free to return to your own compartment, Mr. Malfoy and do take these with you," she added as her blue eyes glanced at Crabbe and Goyle. Without further words she followed Tracey in the direction of the facilities.

As soon as the two of them entered the loo and the door closed behind them Tracey spun about and hugged her friend, letting out a loud squeal of delight. "That was simply stupendously brilliant!" she exclaimed excitedly. "Merlin's beard I wish I could do something like that!"

"I think I'm going to be ill," Daphne said as she pushed past her friend and turned on the tap to splash some cold water on her face.

"Did you see the look on his face?" Tracey continued on, pulling a towel from a shelf and holding it out to Daphne. "Those were the two from earlier that were looking for you."

"I probably shouldn't have done that," Daphne replied, accepting the offered towel. "I hate being like that," she confessed. While she could admit to it being a valuable skill at times the whole aloof persona made her stomach queasy. "The Malfoy family is as old as mine. Should that get back to his father I am certain mine will hear of it as well," Daphne said a bit worried.

"Don't worry," Tracey offered in an attempt to be supportive. "I doubt he'll say anything to anyone. He's probably swearing those other two to secrecy right now to save himself from embarrassment. As long as we're not sorted into the same house as him you should be fine," she added with a reassuring smile. Daphne simply nodded as she finished drying her face and hands. "Come on, let's go have a seat and see what Pansy and Millicent bring back with them." Opening the door Tracey looked down the passageway and groaned before stepping back to be shielded from view by the open door.

"What is it?" Daphne asked from behind her friend as she nearly stumbled into the retreating girl's back.

Tracey turned to face her friend with an angry scowl. "The little prat is waiting for you," she informed the blonde. Tracey held the door open, thankful that it blocked most of the passage way and moved aside enough for Daphne to have a quick look. Crabbe and Goyle were still standing in the passageway which could only mean that Malfoy had as yet to leave their compartment.

Seeing the anxious look upon her friends face Tracey nodded towards the rear door of the carriage. "Why don't you slip out and find another compartment to sit in for a while and I'll stay in here to throw them off."

"What if they come and knock?" Daphne asked. She wasn't certain if a boy would actually have the audacity to knock upon the door to the girl's loo. Somehow she couldn't put it past the Malfoy boy to do just that. Daphne, while attending social events, always tried to avoid pompous self-entitled little brats such as Draco.

"I'll tell them you're not feeling well or something," Tracey whispered. "It should buy you enough time to find another compartment," she said with a slight shrug.

"Thanks, Tracey. I owe you," Daphne said before making her way to the rear door of the coaching stock. Tracey just smiled and waved her on. The young blonde slipped through the door and summoning her courage, hastily crossed the short walkway to the next carriage and entered it, pausing long enough to pull the curtains closed on the door as well as the windows beside it. It wasn't till she was walking down the aisle way that she realized what she had done. Upon reaching the end of the carriage and finding that all the compartments were full, she opened the rear door and stepped out onto the platform and suddenly could go no further.

"Now what do I do," she asked aloud glancing up towards the sky only to see a boy's head with a thick mane of disheveled black hair, bespectacled emerald eyes and a curious smile regarding her from the above the edge of the roof of the next carriage. "Hello," a befuddled Daphne somehow managed to say while staring upwards, at a loss for why there would be anyone up there.

"Hello," the boy replied with a slight tilting of his head in her direction causing his hair to hang down almost obscuring his eyes and blocking his sight.

Daphne took a sliding step forward, her hand releasing the door handle only after she had a firm grip upon the corner of the railing between the two carriages. "How is it up there?"

The boy looked to either side before turning back to her once again. "A might better view than you have down there I should think," he finally replied.

Daphne glanced at the door behind her, knowing that it wouldn't be but another minute or so before that Malfoy boy would open it and catch her. Attached to the other coaching stock was a ladder which led up to the carriage top where the boy was. To get there she would have to cross the short space between the coaching stocks though. Daphne licked her lips nervously and returned her gaze to the boy above her. "Is there room for one more?"

"Loads," the boy assured her. "Care to join me?"

Summoning the remaining shreds of her courage Daphne stepped out onto the walkway between the coaching stocks, swaying back and forth with them. As quickly as possible she crossed the distance and grasped the closest rung to the ladder only to lean against it and rest her forehead against its cool metal for a moment.

Without really knowing how she did it the young blonde managed to get her feet upon the ladder and slowly climb. As she neared the top she suddenly saw a hand before her face. Grateful for it she quickly grasped the proffered member, feeling slightly reassured upon feeling the boy's firm grip on her fingers, before allowing herself to be assisted to the top of the carriage.

Daphne quickly grasped the boys arm with her other hand as the carriage beneath her swayed from side to side. With the assistance of the other student she took several steps forwards before her legs gave out and she collapsed to her knees and then onto her backside, tucking her trembling legs beside her. The wind was much stronger on top of the carriage than she had expected and threatened to blow her school skirt about in a very unladylike manner. Daphne quickly tucked the edges of the flapping skirt in. Even with her skirt tucked in safely under her legs she realized that the wind had a decisively colder bite to it.

"Here," the boys said kneeling down beside her at the same time as she felt the robes he had been wearing wrap around her shoulders and shelter her from the cold breeze. "It's colder up here than down below," he offered, tucking the robes around her till all of her was covered but her head.

Daphne suddenly tensed as she heard the door below open and close. Judging by the concerned looked upon the boy's face she realized that her own expression must have been giving away her anxiety. A few moments pasted before they both heard the door to the carriage beneath them open and close as the person entered it. Daphne breathed a heavy sigh of relief, only then realizing that she had been holding her breath.

"Thank you," she said as her eyes quickly looked over the boy, noting the new school uniform, messy hair and the shy manner in which he always glanced to the side. Never quite meeting her eyes or allowing her to get a clear look at his face. "Won't you be cold?" she asked even as she tightened her grip upon the robes wrapped around her hoping that he wouldn't ask for them back.

"No," the boy replied with a dismissive smile she could just barely discern due to the tilt of his head. "I'm used to wearing less than this so it doesn't really bother me much," he confessed. "I'm Harry by the way," he said offering a hand to her.

Daphne slipped a hand free of the cloak and shook his once, finding it cold to the touch. "Daphne," she replied before pulling the hand back in out of the wind, doubting that the boy had told her the truth about not minding the cold. "Why are you up here, Harry?"

The head of black hair lifted and turned away bashfully as the boy looked out over the lush country side the train was passing through. "I've never been out of the city before," he finally said. "It's beautiful out here. Everything is so green and…alive!" Harry exclaimed finally turning back and dropping his gaze only to regard Daphne from under his dark bangs. "That must make me sound a bit off I'd imagine?"

"I don't know. I guess," Daphne replied glancing about for the first time. "I've been on trips with my family before to the country side and never really noticed anything special about it." Daphne shrugged and felt something poke her in her side. Feeling around, her fingers finally located the wooden object and pulled out and from under the robes so she could see what it was though she was fairly certain she already knew. "Your wand?" she asked once her suspicions were confirmed and she could clearly see the object.

Harry simply nodded in answer to her question.

"What's it made out of," she enquired curiously as she gave it a practice flick, finding the length a bit long compared to her own which was only nine inches.

"The man at the shop said it was Holly," Harry told her.

"You got it at Ollivander's, right?" Daphne asked to which Harry nodded once again. "What's the core?"

"I think he said it was phoenix feather," Harry supplied.

Daphne arched a brow and then passed the wand to Harry. "You probably shouldn't let others handle your wand, Harry," she told him. "Most wizards wouldn't let their wands out of their grasp," she explained upon seeing his half hidden puzzled expression.

He needs a haircut, she silently pointed out only to realize that with all the wind her own hair must be a frightful mess. "My own wand is beechwood with a dragon heartstring core," she informed him as she slipped it from her sleeve and held it out to him.

"I thought it wasn't good to hand over your wand to someone else," Harry asked, slightly confused by her actions which contradicted what she had just told him.

"You allowed me to handle yours so I thought it only fair," Daphne told him as she wiggled the wand towards him to indicate that he should take it.

"That's alright," Harry replied, drawing his hands up towards his torso and away from her wand. Daphne waited a minute more before shrugging and putting her wand away.

They sat and talked for a while about school and what to expect. Daphne was shocked that he knew nothing about Hogwarts other than it was a school for witchcraft and wizardry. Sometimes they would sit in silence and just watch the country side slip past them and other times he would ask her about some aspect of the Wizarding world. He didn't ask questions about her and yet he didn't go on about himself either.

Perhaps he's just the shy quiet type, she reasoned. The few times she had asked something about him Harry had deflected the question onto some other topic without actually answering her. More than an hour had passed when her bottom started to hurt from sitting upon the hard surface of the roof.

"I think I should be heading back now," she finally informed him. Harry simply nodded and assisted her down the ladder, going before her so she wouldn't be as scared. That's terribly sweet of him, she thought to herself as she eased herself down the ladder his arms on either side of her. "Right then," she said once they were safely on the platform again and she had removed his robes and handed them to him. "Thank you for the company as well as the view."

"Likewise," Harry replied as he slipped his robes back on. "That's the first time I've had someone to sit and talk with."

Daphne looked at him curiously. "You mean on this train?"

Harry shrugged a bit lopsided and offered her a sad smile before replying with, "Anywhere." With a quick wave goodbye of his hand, he climbed back up the ladder and disappeared back beyond the edge of the roof.

Daphne watched the boy disappear from sight before turning and entering the carriage. He can't mean anywhere, anywhere, she told herself in disbelief. He must be having a go at me, she reasoned. Lost in thought she didn't even remember crossing from that coaching stock to the next one till she nearly walked past the compartment that Tracey and the other two girls were sitting in worrying about her. After reassuring everyone that she had been hiding out in the girl's loo in one of the other carriages she sat back in her seat.

"Now that we know that you're alright," Pansy opened with excitedly. "You'll never guess what we heard?" Both Daphne and Tracey looked at her expectantly. "When we were at the sweets cart waiting in line, the Prefect from Ravenclaw, I think her name was Clearwater, was in line before us," Pansy said warming to her story to the point that she slid to the front edge of her seat and leaned forward. "We overheard her telling a classmate with her that none other than The-Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, was spotted on the train!"

Tracey looked at the dark haired girl skeptically. "Are you certain she wasn't trying to have a bit of fun with some first years?"

Millicent shook her head as she replied, "No. We heard others mention it as well. It seems several people saw him just prior to leaving the platform."

Tracey stood up, "Then what are we sitting here for? Let's go see him! It's not every day we'll get to see a bloke as famous as The-Boy-Who-Lived!"

"That's just it," Pansy said as she slid back in her seat and made no motion to rise. "No one has been able to find him as yet!"

Tracey dropped back down in her seat, clearly disappointed. "Someone's just trying to have a tug at you is all," she said in a definitive tone of voice. "A boy that famous here, the entire train would know about it!"

Daphne didn't want to be the one to point out to her friend that apparently the entire train did know about it. As she sat there and listened to her friends argue the possibility of The-Boy-Who-Lived going to Hogwarts she suddenly gasped and sat up erect with a shocked look upon her face.

"What's up with you?" Tracey asked seeing Daphne's expression.

"Wh…what happened to that Malfoy boy?" she hesitantly asked to cover for herself. If her guess was right then she had just spent a considerable amount of time with the famous Boy-Who-Lived which no one could locate. Why would Harry Potter be sitting atop a coaching stock? she couldn't help but wonder.

Tracey snickered softly before replying. "He and the other two finally got tired and returned to their own carriage I guess. I wouldn't worry about them for now." Tracey arched a brow glancing towards Daphne once again. "You certain you don't know why he would be pestering you?"

"Haven't a clue," Daphne replied sitting back with a huff while crossing her arms on her chest. Tracey turned back to her conversation with Pansy and Millicent, satisfied with her friend's response. Daphne tried to follow the conversation that the others were engaged in; however her thoughts kept returning to the sad little smile that Harry had worn just before he had turned away and climbed back up the ladder.


Author's Note:

This is my first foray into the wonderful and extremely large world known as PotterVerse. As many authors here, I am merely a fan of the series and relish the chance to play within the sandbox JKR was wonderful enough to create for us. Please be kind and overlook my treatment of all the characters we know and love. If you find you can't overlook my transgressions then I merely beg a five minute head start before you brandish the torches and pitchforks.

In terms of my Potter knowledge I am a novice to say the least. I hope you will take that under advisement when reading and reviewing (hopefully) this story. While events from canon will appear in this tapestry I am in no manner attempting to write what has already been written. Rather I hope to reweave the existing tale while keeping it interesting as well as entertaining enough to retain your attention till the very end.

The Muse, being what she is, a creature both as wonderful as she is fickle…well, let us just say that this story will be updated as often as she wills it. Given that she is involved in several other projects I can't, in all honesty, say how frequently that shall be.

As always, though certainly not required, I do appreciate any and all reviews. They really do motivate me to write more! Seriously!

Kind Regards,

EJ Daniels

All characters within this story, unless otherwise stated are the sole property of J. K. Rowling the original writer of the Harry Potter series.

(072014 - 9716)