Volume One - The Philosopher's Stone
Chapter One - The Letter
Ten year old Harry Potter was awake unusually early for a Saturday morning. In fact, he had been up at six O' clock every day that week, determined not to miss it, but as to yet it had not arrived. Far from being discouraged, his sense of anticipation had just grown stronger. This early July morning he was the only one awake, perched on the back of the sofa ready to leap should he see any sign of it.
By six thirty, Harry, yawning, was starting to wonder whether it was coming today and with a sinking feeling, he began to wonder whether it was coming at all. He shook off those doubts, he had been reassured multiple times that it was definitely coming. But by half past seven, his stomach rumbling and his resolve fading, Harry became more resigned to waiting yet another day for its arrival. But just as he decided to make himself some toast he saw a small shape in the distance, becoming clearer as it got closer to the window. Bursting with excitement and happiness Harry unlatched the window just in time for the barn owl to soar through unscathed. It deposited a heavy parchment envelope into his hands and promptly left. Harry's hands were shaking so much with excitement that it took him four attempts to break the wax seal. He read the opening lines several times to check that it was definitely what he'd been waiting for and then promptly ran up the stairs.
Harry flung open the door and jumped onto the end of the bed.
James and Lily awoke with a start.
"Bloody hell, Harry." James said, "a gentle knock on the door would have done." He sat up and sighed while he reached for his glasses. "What time is it anyway?"
"Quarter to eight," Lily yawned.
"Oh come on mate. I've been at work all week." Lily shot him a look. "Sorry we've been at work all week."
"But daad," Harry said climbing further up the bed. "It's here! My letter. It's finally arrived!"
James and Lily smiled at the look on their son's face, quickly forgetting that he spoiled their lie in.
"Let's have a look then." James smiled, as Harry climbed between them, and the three Potters read their son's acceptance letter.
"Now do you finally believe us that it's happening?" Lily nudged Harry, who could do nothing but smile. It was real! It was finally here, in a few weeks he was going to Hogwarts!
"Since we're all awake," Lily looked meaningfully at Harry, "shall we get some breakfast?"
"Sorry mum." Harry said without a trace of remorse. "But I couldn't wait for you to get up! Dad sleeps until 10 some Saturdays!"
"When do I ever sleep in that late?" James said from the back of the trio making its way down the cottage stairs. "You're always dragging me out of bed for one thing or another, Quidditch mainly, which I've always thought was more of an afternoon sport."
Lily laughed. "Stop grumbling James, you sound like an old man."
"Yeah Dad, you're prematurely aging. Sirius would laugh at you if he heard you moan like this."
James grabbed Harry round the waist and hoisted him upside down. Harry was in fits of laughter while Lily made her way to the kitchen, rolling her eyes. "Careful old man, you might hurt your back."
"Oi you two." James said placing Harry back on his feet. "I'll have you know I'm both young and spritely."
"Just not in the mornings, then?" Lily asked as she put the bacon on while Harry giggled at the table.
James sat down opposite him. "The reason Sirius is so much fun is because he doesn't have a little pest like you disturbing his sleep patterns." James made a mock stern face at Harry, who was having too much of a good morning to pay any attention to James. Harry sat at the breakfast table tapping his fingers and swinging his legs, unable to sit still.
"If you're this energetic at your letter, I can't imagine what you'll be like on September 1st!" James remarked.
"Let him be." Lily cautioned, placing breakfast on the table and giving James a steaming mug of coffee. "I was excited when I got my letter."
"Didn't McGonagall turn up at your house?" James asked.
"Is she the transfigamorphin teacher?"
"Transfiguration." Lily corrected. "Yes she did. When you're muggle born, they give you a bit more help and information."
"Blimey." Harry said. "So you knew nothing about Hogwarts or magic or anything?"
"Well," Lily paused, cradling her coffee in her hands and glancing warily at James. "I did meet a boy one summer who came from a wizarding family, he filled me in, but it took a long while for me to believe him."
"I knew I was getting mine of course." James inputted before Harry could ask any more questions about the wizarding boy. "But I didn't get up at the crack of dawn all summer waiting for it."
Harry rolled his eyes. He knew his father was only teasing him. James was just as excited for him, as Harry was for himself. For what seemed like every day of the last year Harry had asked James about Hogwarts, and James was very careful what he told him, knowing that Lily wouldn't like her son following in his father's more rebellious ways.
"Are Sirius and Remus still coming round for dinner?" Lily asked her husband.
"I think so, I haven't heard otherwise." James replied, and in anticipation of Harry's next question added. "And you can tell them all about your letter and ask them all about Hogwarts then."
Harry smiled. "Will Sirius come on his motorbike?"
"Probably." James replied smiling, knowing full well that Harry was bursting to have a go on it.
"Over my dead body, Harry James Potter." Lily stepped in, knowing perfectly well what was going through both father and son's minds.
The Potter's passed the rest of their breakfast indulging their son's excitement and answering all the questions he had asked them before with the patience that only a parent could possess.
"Come on dad, just a quick game and then you can go back to being boring and read the paper or something." Harry was dragging James's hand trying to pull him up from the table and out into the garden.
"Boring?" James said indignantly. "If you keep all these jibes up young man we won't play Quidditch at all anymore."
"Come off it." Harry replied, brushing aside James's empty threat without concern. "Please! You want me to make the team don't you?"
"Ahhh, alright then." James got to his feet shaking his head at Lily. "Let's at least get dressed first." Harry skipped off to get dressed for the day.
"We need to talk to him, don't we?" Lily said as soon as Harry was out of earshot.
James ruffled his hair in a dejected way. "I just don't really know where to start."
"I think we should write to Dumbledore." Lily suggested. "He knows more than we do, and Harry needs to know enough to prepare him."
"Good idea." James nodded. He leant against the wall and sighed. "He's so excited. I just can't bear to ruin it for it him."
Lily nodded in understanding. It was exactly what she'd been struggling with. "I'm not sure I'm ready to let him go." She looked at James for reassurance. "I keep wishing it was one more year away."
"Would one year really make any difference?" He asked astutely, his hazel eyes seeing right through her.
"No, I don't think I'll ever be ready."
James walked over and wrapped his arms around his wife's shoulders, resting his chin on her head. She held on tightly to his arms. They didn't speak for a while. The closer Harry got to Hogwarts the more fraught they had become, they had protected him for so long that the prospect of shattering the illusion was not inviting.
A fully dressed Harry burst back into the room. James and Lily jumped and immediately attempted to assume less anxious expressions.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked, looking at them and frowning.
"Nothing, nothing." Lily plastered a smile on to her face and reassured the person she loved most in the world. "Just boring work concerns."
Harry swallowed this and moved on to more pressing issues. "Dad you're not even dressed! Come on, before the sun gets too high and we can't see."
"I'm going, I'm going, you little monster." James replied and he moved towards the door. Harry ran out to the shed to get the brooms.
"On a brighter note." Lily smiled at her husband. "You'll get your lie ins at weekends."
James tried to smile back and then went to get dressed. They both knew that when their boy went away they would be lucky to get any sleep at all.