Title: Strings of Fate

Author: Knife Hand

Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated

Spoilers: Nothing Specific, general for first few books.

Rating: R

Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny, or Cho, or... I would buy them all but I am broke.

Summary: Being raised only by his Aunt, Harry comes to Hogwarts not only knowing about the Wizarding World, but with a kind of training no one at the school is expecting.

Petunia Dursley sat at her dresser trying to prepare herself for the day, hoping for a few minutes to herself, before she had to go down stairs and care for her two year old son and Nephew. She heard a loud thump from downstairs and with a sigh she stood and exited her room and that's when she heard it. A child's giggle. That giggle shot through her and she ran downstairs. She knew that giggle, but from her own childhood.

When she reached the kitchen, she found the two toddlers both sitting in their highchairs, although Harry's highchair was much older than Dudley's. Vernon was sprawled out on the floor, obviously having suffered a heart attack. Petunia immediately reached for the phone and called emergency to get an ambulance but she knew that he was dead.

As she sat at the kitchen table waiting for the ambulance she felt relieved. She had never loved Vernon. They had originally gotten together as an act of rebellion on Petunia's part as a teenager, a cry for help to her parents and her beloved sister, but then she had gotten pregnant and Vernon had insisted on marrying her. They had tied the knot when she was seventeen. Two weeks later she had lost that baby to Vernon's fists and she had been trapped in a world of terror ever since. She played the role of obedient wife, but she hated every minute and the only joy in her life were the boys, her own beloved son, who was overweight even at his young age thanks to his father's attitude, and her sister's son, who so reminded her of Lily every time she looked into his eyes. She vowed to herself, they would grow up as brothers, as equals.

Harry giggled again, the same giggle that Lily had made when she had done accidental magic as a child. A bright spark appeared in front of Harry and began changing colours, causing Dudley to laugh with pleasure at the show.

Petunia now knew what she had to do. If Dumbledore's letter was correct, then Harry would be famous in the Wizarding World, and would have people trying to manipulate or destroy him at every turn. "The art of diplomacy is allowing the other person to do what you want." Lord Gerald Evan, career diplomat and loving father had said that once, with a young Lily and Petunia on his knee. Petunia was nothing if not her father's daughter. His wisdom had kept her alive under Vernon's reign of terror. She had means of contacting the Wizarding World, secret lines of communication that Lily had set up, and she hoped they had not been burned with Lily's death. For the sake of the boys, and for her sister, Petunia would play the long game. And the first step would be control the propaganda. It was too soon, and Harry too young yet, but soon it would start. Books, newspaper articles, magazines. War in printed form. A war she was trained for.

"That was a hell of a hit, Big D." Harry said, looking up at his cousin and switching his boots to his other hand. "I think their Five-Eight was checking his fillings."

"Thanks." Dudley replied, smiling down at Harry. "I think their Flankers are still scratching their heads at how you kept slipping past them."

Both Harry Potter and Dudley Evans were walking back to number 4, dressed in the dirt streaked Rugby Union uniforms. Things had changed dramatically since the death of Vernon Dursley, the most dramatically being that now at 10, almost 11, Harry Potter was very much treated as a part of the Evans Family.

In the weeks after Vernon's death, several important things happened. First was that Petunia used the Gunning's life insurance policy to pay off the mortgage on Number 4 and put a chunk of the payout away to invest (quite profitably through Gringotts).

Secondly she had, through intermediaries, set a few processes in motion in the Wizarding world, mostly an injunction against anyone publishing anything about Harry without her consent and input, and an investigation into the lack of trail for Sirius Black, after having requested the transcripts under familial rights, trying to understand how the friendly if irreverent man could have betrayed her sister, and having received no information. In the intervening years, both Sirius Black's defence and the prosecution were facing off and trying to build enough evidence to prove their side, Sirius himself having been removed from Azkaban prison and was being held under close guard at a secured location.

The third thing she had done was legally change both her and Dudley's surname back to Evans, her maiden name, and to put out a restraining order on Vernon's sister Marge.

With the caring and… sane care of Petunia alone, both of the boys were much healthier than they would have been otherwise. Dudley was still a large boy, but her was not fat, rather well built and stocky and fit well in his Prop position on the Rugby field, while Harry was still slightly shorter than average for his age, but he was lean, fit, fast and had amazing reflexes, suiting his position at half back. Both also did quite well in class, not right at the top of the class but in the top half, and were quite popular with both the boys and girls in their class.

"Auntie, we're home." Harry called as they entered the home and dropped their Rugby Boots into the box by the front door used for that purpose.

"In the kitchen." His aunt called.

The two boys entered the kitchen and each saw a letter sitting in front of their regular places at the table. Harry opened his letter with a smile on his face. His Hogwart's letter had arrived and he read through it with glee, then he looked over at his Cousin who was more like a brother.

"How did you go, Dud?" he asked.

"I passed the pre-selection." Dudley replied. "I'll still have to pass the exam in two years, but… I might be going to Eaton!"

"Congratulations." Harry said, hugging his cousin.

"I knew you could do it." Petunia added, with a smile for both her boys. "Both of you will be away this year."

"Oh Auntie." Harry said.

"Oh Mom." Dudley added.

Both boys gave Petunia a big hug as a tea rolled down her cheek. Of course she was no longer one to stay at home all day.

"Sorry I can't come through with you, but you need to walk strait through the pillar." Petunia said, pointing at the pillar between platform 9 and 10.

"Thank you Auntie." Harry replied, then seeing a tear well in her eye. "What's the matter?"

"I just remember watching sadly every year as my beloved sister, your mother, would walk through that barrier." She said. "And the joy every time she emerged from it."

"Don't let them mess with the Evans' boys." Dudley said, knocking knuckles with Harry.

Harry turned and pushed his cart through the barrier, the brilliant snowy Owl his Aunt had gotten him chirping in annoyance as the motion jostled her cage.

"Sorry girl." Harry whispered, to which she huffed and settled back down to sleep.

Harry looked up at the bustle of platform 9 ¾ with the steam of the train and the crush of students and magical parents. Struggling slightly with his trunk, Harry boarded the train and passed the first few carriages that were full of older students, until he finally found a carriage that contained only two first year girls.

"Excuse me, do you mind if I join you?" he asked.

"Not at all. My name is Susan Bones. This is my friend Hannah Abbott." The redhead said.

"Harry Potter." He replied as he sat down.

"Pleasure." Hannah said.

"My Aunt has said good things about you and your Aunt." Susan added.

"Thank you. Madam Bones has been nothing but fair." Harry replied.

Harry knew Amelia Bones, Susan's aunt, for several years. Firstly as an Auror team leader in charge of providing guards for Sirius Black's secured residence and had been the liaison to Harry's family. Recently Amelia had been promoted to head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, but had still taken time to keep them updated on the Black case and on the occasional case of copyright infringement and liable when someone had tried to print an unauthorised 'Boy-Who-Lived' book. In fact Amelia and Petunia had become good friends, not the least because Amelia had been a bit of a mentor to Lily once she had left Hogwarts.

Harry simply sat and stared out of the window at the chaos on the platform while listening to the two girls chat. A few minutes before the train pulled out the door opened again to reveal two people.

"Excuse me, can we sit here?" the bushy haired girl said, with a shy seeming boy half behind her.

"Come on in." Susan said.

Harry was getting the distinct impression that Susan was the more dominant and outgoing one of the two girls.

"I'm Hermione Granger." The girl said.

"Neville Longbottom." The boy added shyly.

"I'm Susan Bones and this is Hannah Abbott." Susan introduced them.

"Harry Potter." Harry said.

"Harry Potter?! I've read about you." Hermione said.

"Anything published by anyone other than Margarite Bethany or Samuel Westron is complete lies and considered by the Wizengamont as liable. And Margarite and Samuel's works, while authorised, are in the Fiction section for a good reason." Harry explained.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Hermione said with a downtrodden expression.

"It's fine. It's just some really appalling lies were written about me in the early years to promote certain prejudices." Harry replied.

There was a semi comfortable silence for quite a while.

"So what house do you think you would want to be in?" Susan asked. "I'll probably be Hufflepuff."

"I don't know." Hermione said. "Gryffindor maybe, like Headmaster Dumbledore."

"I don't think you should be influenced by others." Susan said. "I mean, don't try to base your future on someone else's sorting."

"Just let the hat make its decision." Harry said, getting a stare from the others. "It decides your house based on your personality, but if you fit in multiple houses then it takes your preference, but don't try to force it."

"No adult was willing to explain how the sorting occurs." Susan said. "Not my Aunt, not Hannah's mother or father. How did you know?"

"My Aunt. Sister's tell each other everything." Harry quipped.

The rest of the trip was spent comfortably with general chats to get to know each other.