Author's Note: Okay, so...I seem to be exceptionally susceptible to writer's block, because I'm stuck on my other stories. This is doubly sad when you realize that I'm only a few chapters into them. Anyway, I was reading some Wrong Boy-Who-Lived stories and I noticed that I didn't see any featuring a Hufflepuff!Harry.
Hufflepuff!Harry is something that isn't done very often, and when it is, sometimes it's not all that great. They still have Harry acting more Gryffindor than Hufflepuff, when loyalty is the most prominent trait in the House of the Badger.
So, this is my take on it. The pairing hasn't been decided yet, but I know Harry and Luna will have major interactions in this story later on, as well as Susan Bones, so I labeled it as such because of that.
Warnings: This story is set in a vastly alternate universe to Harry Potter canon in which Harry is a twin and his brother was named The Boy Who Lived, so if you are not partial to such stories, I would advise you to leave for your own safety. And while I'll try to keep Harry or any of the characters from being juvenile potty-mouths, I may slip; I have a swearing problem, and it bleeds through into my writing. You have been properly warned.
Disclaimer: I do not own the intellectual rights to the Harry Potter franchise in any way. I make no profit from this; it is purely for my entertainment and the entertainment of other fanfiction aficionados like myself.
Chapter 1: The Other Brother
The Potters were a perfectly normal Wizarding family, thank you very much. James Potter was a fine, upstanding Pureblood from a well-respected House, and divided his time between managing the Potter interests and acting as a consultant to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. His lovely wife Lily was a Muggleborn witch, but so brilliant at magic you wouldn't be able to tell at first glance. Her Mastery in Charms and Potions gave her the opportunity to make startling breakthroughs in advancing the disciplines from her specially-warded laboratory she co-headed with her colleague and friend, Selene Lovegood.
The family lived in a stately old manor house which had been Potter land since it had been bequeathed to Frederick Potter by King Richard himself, and the many layers of wards put in place by generations of powerful mages made the place a veritable fortress. Visitors could argue for hours about which was the most wonderful room in the place, but the major consensus would be the main sitting room, where most small gatherings were held. It was tastefully decorated, with chairs and sofas so soft and inviting it was difficult to muster up the resolve to get up, all done in Gryffindor scarlet and gold. The fireplace, which was flanked by a pair of regal lions shaped from marble by James' excellent Transfiguration skills, spread warmth throughout the room, leaving it toasty and cozy, while pictures of the Potters' oldest son and heir in various stages of his young life.
A small, black-haired boy could be seen growing up in the many, many photos adorning the mantlepiece, laughing and generally having the time of his life as he test-rode his first broom, aided by his father. Another showed his godfather, Remus Lupin, mussing his hair to reveal the vivid scar across his forehead, gained during the darkest day in the Potters' lives.
It had been the thirty-first of October, nearly ten years ago, when the Dark wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort came calling upon the family, spurred on by thoughts of a prophecy foretelling his demise. James and Lily had fortunately been out at the time, making an appearance at a Ministry event, leaving a babysitter at home.
Voldemort had done away with the sitter easily and gone up to dispose of the one whom had been prophesied to have the power to defeat the Dark Lord. But something incredible happened that night, something no one has been able to come up with a satisfying answer to date. Somehow, the curse Voldemort cast which should have killed his would-be nemesis ended up back-firing on him, thus ending his evil existence.
The Potter child was hailed as a hero. The Boy Who Lived, they called him, for surviving and eradicating the menace which had plagued the British Wizarding society for close to a decade as handily as Voldemort himself had dealt with the poor babysitter that night. The boy's birthday became a national holiday, and every year, people all over the country would send him gifts and letters of adulation and praise. The boy grew to expect such treatment, everywhere he went, and his parents allowed him such privilege.
Only, he hadn't been the one to be away with Voldemort. It had been his twin brother, Harry Potter.
"Hurry up, Mum!" shouted the boy, racing this way and that in excitement. His dark hair had been slicked back, allowing the world to see the crescent-shaped scar just above his hazel eyes, which sparked in anticipation behind his wire-rimmed glasses as he flitted around the main sitting room of the Potter manor. A pair of trunks were laid out in front of the banked flames, and the boy and his father were already waiting. The child himself was very nearly a carbon-copy of his old man, right down to the slightly off-center nose. "We're going to miss the train!"
"Just a second, Danny!" his mother replied, even as she strode into the room. Her dark red hair trailed after her in soft curls, and her bright green eyes had an apology in them. Trailing behind her was the Potter's other son, Harry, who had his father's jet-colored, windswept hair, but his mother's emerald, almond-shaped eyes. "We needed to find Harry's copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi; he must have fallen asleep reading it, because it was underneath his bed."
"Like I care where the nerd leaves his books," Daniel Potter scoffed. "All that matters is we're not late for the train ride to my first day at Hogwarts!"
"Well-said, son!" James chuckled, clapping Danny on the back proudly. "You'll show 'em how a Marauder's kid raises he-"
"James," Lily said warningly, and James trailed off awkwardly. "Now, Danny, it's not nice to call your brother a 'nerd'." But the tone she used was really more indulgent than scolding, and behind her, unseen by any of them, Harry's face dropped slightly. Lily clapped her hands together, and announced, "Alright, everyone's ready, then?"
"Let's just go already!" whined Danny, moving forward to collect a handful of Floo Powder from the jar above the flames. He tossed it in, turning the fire green, and shouted, "Platform Nine and Three-Quarters!" James, Lily, the trunks, and Harry followed soon after, and the family found themselves at a train station, with a red and black steam engine sitting alongside. Hundreds of other people milled about, the sounds of squawking birds and mewling cats mingling with the sounds of friends reuniting after months apart and parents giving their children a final farewell for the semester.
Harry took all of it in, breathing in deeply and letting it out with a hopeful sigh. With any luck, he'd finally be able to step out of his brother's shadow and become someone other than That Boy Who Was There When The Boy Who Lived...Lived. While his father had taught Daniel the finer points of flying as a child, Harry had spent his days in the library, feeding his growing curiosity with the world by tearing through textbooks and fantasy novels and even Muggle literature. And if his parents paid more attention to Danny, well, Harry knew that at least his mother tried and his father...knew he existed. Maybe if he got good marks and did well with magic, his mother would spend more time with him (he knew she was very dedicated to intellectual pursuits) and his father would give him a pat on the back and the proud look he always had when gazing at the older twin.
Squaring his shoulders, Harry pledged that he'd do his best this year to do good, and if Danny needed any help in classes, he'd be there to help. That way, his brother would finally see him as an equal. Turning, Harry found that the rest of his family had already moved to a car, his father Levitating Danny's trunk up the stairs. Frowning, Harry realized that gaining his family's affections might be a little tougher than he'd thought.
Harry pulled his rolling suitcase along down the platform until he was at the last passenger car and began shoving at his trunk to get it up the steps. After about a minute of toil, he decided that it was a lost cause and almost went to ask his father for help, but figured that James was probably saying his goodbyes to Danny. That gave him a thought. Hadn't Harry just been reading about the Levitating charm the day before?
Swish and flick, he thought, pulling his wand out of his sleeve. He took a second to study the piece of wood; its maker had told him it was made of holly, eleven inches long with a single tail feather from a phoenix as a core. He'd been glad that James and Lily had been dragged off to Quality Quidditch Supplies by Danny while he'd gotten the wand. They hadn't had a chance to learn that his wand had a brother with a feather from the same phoenix which had supplied the one in Harry's, and that wand belonged to Voldemort.
It had scared him, that a wand with such a brother had chosen him to use it. Was he so like the man who had tried to kill his brother that they had such similar wands?
Banishing those thoughts, Harry brought up the incantation to the forefront of his mind, and recited them with the proper wand movements. "Wingardium Leviosa!" He brought the tip of his wand pointing at his trunk, and with a happy laugh of elation, watched as it rose about a foot off the ground. Harry could feel a bit of strain, but he paid it no mind. He'd just cast a proper spell by himself, without any help from anyone!
Unsure how to proceed, he prodded the air with his wand, and the trunk floated up the steps as easily as Danny's had done for their father just minutes ago. As he put his foot on the first metal stair, a pair of voices behind him piped up.
"Well, look at this, Fred. Here we are, coming to help this seemingly helpless Firstie..."
"...and his seemingly helplessness seems to be seemingly groundless!"
Harry turned and found himself faced with a set of redheaded identical twins who looked a couple of years his elder. He knew the Weasley Twins of course, by reputation only. Danny had been to the Burrow on play-dates with the youngest son, Ron, and Danny seemed not to like them all too well. It might have been a bit spiteful, but Harry looked forward to when Danny came home as a victim to their pranks. Once, his brother had stumbled out of the Floo with multicolored skin, and try as he might, Harry hadn't been able to stop laughing at the absurdity.
"Um, sorry," Harry mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. He hadn't really had the opportunity to speak with any kids his age, as most families had only requested a play-date for their children with Danny, and not Harry as well.
"No need to apologize, mate," the twin on the right said. Looking closely, Harry spotted a small scar just to the side of his left eyebrow, and kept it in mind to differentiate the two. "George and I couldn't get the hang of Wingardium Leviosa until the third in-class practice with Flitwick."
"Yeah, our hats' off to you..." he trailed off, looking at Harry expectantly, and the younger boy realized he was being prompted for his name.
"Oh...er, my name's Harry," he supplied bashfully. "Harry Potter."
The twins shared a look, then turned back to him with new interest. "Are you related to Daniel Potter?"
"Um, he's my twin brother," responded Harry uncomfortably. As famous as his brother was, didn't people even know that Daniel was a twin?
"Daniel Potter's a twin?" Apparently not.
"Fraternal, and yeah," Harry muttered, sighing internally. His first conversation with his peers and already his brother was screwing it up for him. "Well, it was nice to meet you, Fred and George right?" he asked, pointing as he called their names, and was gratified when four red eyebrows rose.
"That's...right," Fred answered, sounding almost awed.
"Not even our mother can tell us apart sometimes," George related with a grin. "You gotta tell us how you did that-"
"FRED! GEORGE! COME OVER HERE!" a plump, redheaded woman shouted farther along down the train.
"-later on," concluded Fred, even as the twins began to leave. "Hope you get into Gryffindor, Harry. See you!"
Harry smiled. It wasn't much, but he figured that his first actual encounter with someone his age had gone rather well. He made his way into one of the empty compartments, then looked up and found a luggage rack high over his head. He looked down at the still-floating trunk, then at the rack, and finally at his wand. He hadn't read anything about being able to alter the height at which the spell kept the charmed object, but...
Concentrating, Harry screwed up his eyes as he forced his will upon the trunk, urging it to move upward as he raised his wand as a guide and, after only a few seconds, it did, climbing until it was level with the rack. Smiling widely in triumph, Harry poked the underside of his luggage so it levitated over and onto the rack before withdrawing his magic and allowing it to come to a rest, perfectly placed.
Then he realized that all his books were still in there and had to reverse the process, which was a little trickier.
When he'd finally managed to replace the trunk after removing a few of the better books and a set of school robes, he was sweating a bit, but that was okay. Now he knew that using a lot of magic actually physically drained a wizard. He didn't know if that fact would ever come in handy, but at least it was something new he knew. Wiping his brow and nodding once, Harry settled into one of the bench seats and opened up a book.
Not long afterward, a whistle blew toward the front of the train, and the people outside his window burst into a flurry of activity. Last-minute goodbyes and promises to write were bandied about like meat sticks at a kebab party, and eventually, the train began to move. Harry watched the families left behind on the platform, watching as they waved to their children and brothers and sisters.
With a pang, he saw his own parents, their gaze fixed on someone further up the train, and he pressed his hand to the window, imagining that it was he whom they were waving to, that the tears in his mothers eyes were because she wouldn't see him for several months. And almost as they were out of sight, her emerald gaze moved and found his. Her eyes, so very much like his, widened in surprise and something else Harry couldn't identify, and his heart swelled pleasantly when the last kiss she blew was directed toward him.
After-Action Report: So that was just the opening chapter, I'm not sure if anyone will like it, but there it is. If you like it, hate it, or are indifferent, please review and leave your opinion. I would like to take this story through the entirety of canon, which will be a little difficult with two Potter boys running around, but...yeah.
So, I don't know if I pulled it off, but Harry's personality is meant to be sort of meek, while Daniel's the more outgoing of the two. Daniel won't be a total jerk, but he'll act according to how he feels he deserves to, having been subjected to ten years of praise and adoration. Seeing that he got more attention than his brother, he naturally came to the conclusion that he was better than Harry, and Harry, seeing the same thing naturally figured that he was less important. Keep that in mind, because it's an important point in their character development.
Next Chapter: The Sorting Ceremony and the first few days of class.