Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction based on the amazing Harry Potter universe created by J. K. Rowling. The story I tell here is my own invention and is here purely for my (and hopefully your) entertainment. It is not part of the official story line and I make no money off this. I am grateful to Ms. Rowling for her wonderful stories about Hogwarts, for without her books, my story would not exist.

AN: I pulled the content of the letter from .com. I don't actually have a copy of the early books and I don't remember if it was printed explicitly in them.

New Beginnings - Chapter 1

It was a warm summer morning and Harry Potter was outside weeding the flower beds in front of his Uncle's house when an owl swooped down out of the sky clutching an envelope in each talon. Flying over his head towards the front porch the owl released first one and then the other a few seconds later before flying off again. The first one fell into Harry's surprised hands and the other flew straight in through the letterbox in the front door. Harry looked down at the envelope and read the address on the front. Harry Potter, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. He turned it over and saw there was no return address. The envelope seemed odd somehow, heavier than he expected, as if it contained something other than a normal letter. He snorted softly to himself. "Of course it's odd," he thought. "It was delivered by an owl."

Wiping his hands on his pants to remove the worst of the earth from his fingers he carefully slipped his thumb under the edge of the flap and gently ripped it open. Inside were several thick pieces of paper folded twice over. He took them out and started reading. The words Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were emblazoned across the top of the first page. Harry stared at it. "Witchcraft? Wizardry? I guess that explains the owl," he thought. He continued reading and discovered that he was apparently enrolled in this school. Turning to the next page he saw a list of things he would require.

UNIFORM

First-year students will require:

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)

Please note that all pupil's clothes should carry name tags

"Dragon hide," he exclaimed, surprised. "They must be joking. Dragons aren't real," he thought. Glancing down the long list of books that followed he turned to the third page and saw some even stranger items listed.

OTHER EQUIPMENT

1 wand
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 telescope
1 set brass scales

Students may also bring, if they desire, an owl OR a cat OR a toad.

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK

His eye's widened. "Where on earth would you get a wand or a cauldron from? And why would someone even want to bring a broomstick to school?" Just then Harry heard the front door open and he looked up to see his cousin staring at him. By the looks of it he held a letter identical to the one Harry had in his hand.

"Oi, Harry" Dudley exclaimed. "You'll never believe what this letter I just got says. Those prats at school have really outdone themselves this time. It looks so realistic, too."

Wordlessly, Harry waved his own letter and Dudley raised his eyes in surprise. "Hey, you got one too," he said.

"I don't think it came from them," Harry said.

"What do you mean? Why not?"

"Well this is going to sound crazy but an owl delivered these letters."

"Come off it," scoffed Dudley, as he lumbered down off the porch and walked towards Harry. "Even you can't expect me to believe…"

"It's true," interrupted Harry. "It just flew straight out of the sky and practically dropped this on top of me. Think about it Dud. It's not even midday yet. The postman never comes until late afternoon."

Dudley hesitated, thinking. "Let's say I believe you. Why would someone go to all the trouble of finding a trained owl to deliver this rubbish?"

Harry shook his head. "No idea," he said. "Come on. Let's go inside and show your Mum. I'm pretty much finished out here."

Dudley waited while Harry gathered up his trowel and the bucket he had filled with the weeds from the flower beds. Harry emptied them into the rubbish bin at the end of the drive before following his obese cousin back into the house. "Mum," yelled Dudley as soon as he made it inside. Harry squeezed past in the hallway, heading for the back garden so he could put his gardening things away in the shed. He heard his cousin shout out a couple more times as he closed the shed door and headed back to the house. "It wouldn't hurt him to do some weeding for a change," he thought. He stepped inside again just as his Aunt came down the stairs.

"How many times have I told you not to yell like that, Dudley," Aunt Petunia said in exasperation.

"Mum, check this out. It just came in the mail," said Dudley as he thrust his letter at his Mum. Petunia glanced at the letter and froze. The colour drained from her face and she swayed a moment before catching herself with a hand on the banister. "Oh my God," she breathed.

"Harry got one too!" Dudley was beginning to look worried.

"Vernon, come here" she called. "Vernon, quickly" she said, her voice strident.

Vernon Dursley sighed as he put his newspaper down on the coffee table. He'd ignored his son's shouting as Dudley was always getting worked up about something or other but something in his wife's tone told him he should probably see what it was about this time. It took him three tries before he was able to push himself up out of the armchair he was sitting in, his enormous girth straining his shirt buttons as he straightened up. "What is it, Pet?" he asked, moving ponderously into the hallway. He noticed his wife's pale face and frowned.

"It's a letter f-from…" she trailed off. Vernon looked down at the letter in her hands and rolled his eyes.

"Witchcraft and wizardry," he scoffed. "Why are you looking so worried?" he asked. "The boys are probably just playing some silly game."

"No Vernon, you don't understand. I think this is for real."

"Don't be ridiculous," said Vernon getting slightly annoyed. Harry and Dudley looked at each other and shrugged.

Petunia sniffed and visibly pulled herself together. "Harry give me that please," she said holding her hand out. She walked briskly into the living room and sat down, the rest of her family following her in. "I think it's time you all heard the truth."