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Red Hair and Grass Blades

Chapter Text

Things had a rather nasty habit of changing. It’s probably why there are so many different alternate universes, and how there were thousands being created with a single choice or whim. Some poor fool called it the butterfly effect, about how something so insignificant could cause an immense effect on the world as a whole.

(We don’t talk much about how before that particular phrase had been coined, that idea had been once called the 'dinosaur stomping effect.' To put it simply, a dinosaur stomped in one particular area of the ground in which had killed a certain aspiring bacteria that would someday create a species of hyper-intelligent people called the Dumerufikins, who then had kept humans as pets. It was a nice lifestyle, to be perfectly honest. Anxiety hadn’t been invented yet. Quite an achievement. And then a dinosaur had decided that perhaps today was a good day to have a great stomping around and that particular universe doesn’t really exist anymore. Anxiety had been invented, and now we're just a bunch of hobbing creatures with a sense of impending doom reaching down on us. That and also NyQuil was invented as well. We don’t know quite sure how the two are connected, but alas we cannot determine it as that whole existence was shut down as a whole. Damn Jeffery the Velociraptor.)

As typically there are more universes than one can count, many small insignificant actions and choices could change the world as a whole. Or simply not really do any damage whatsoever. There is no in-between, really. If, for instance, a dinosaur named Jeffery hadn’t gone to a grocery store and managed to find coconut milk and eat it for breakfast, then possibly tissues would have never been invented. Because as anybody knows, Velociraptors get the sniffles if they eat coconuts. Handkerchiefs are still in, and nobody has really caught on how gross it is to use the same cloth every time you cough. And if Jeffery didn’t eat those tasty cocoa puffs that were mixed with coconut milk, then he would have had eaten an orange and who really cares about that. Nothing changed and he had the cocoa puffs in the middle of the night as he had stayed awake to think about space. And how scary those big rocks out there are just floating around. Because he’s a dinosaur. He thinks about his mortality.

Besides the fact that Jeffery is a bit of a pessimist and vaguely correctly guessed the way that most of the Earth would be wiped out at a 3 AM binge fest of cocoa puffs, that also didn’t have much of an effect on the world. Some actions tend to have big effects while others do not have any whatsoever.

Which brings us to our next point. As one Lily Potter was thinking about a Dark Lord and a war late one night, another Lily Potter had slept.

Sleep makes a bigger difference than what most mortals might think. That’s how the movie Back to The Future was made.

As a more well-rested Lily Potter had woken that morning and, feeling her mortal coil was close at hand (as one would do when waking up and wondering if they might die that day) decided to have a wonderfully active morning with her husband. There were a few more particular differences between the two universes. But they’re super gross and even narrators don’t want to get into them. But the main difference between one Lily and another was that one got pregnant a few days before the other.

And thus, in one universe, a vast difference was made.

In the original universe (well, as much as a universe could be the original), Lily Evans Potter had a small baby boy named Harry James Potter. And from that moment thousands and thousands of universes were created. Harry James Potter had an important role in his life. Chosen One, Horcrux, and general scapegoat. He was tricked, bamboozled, and repeatedly killed. In a few hundred universes, he went back in time and gained revenge against his once friends. In other realities he grew to love the man who aimed to kill him, in others, he married a redheaded woman with a glowing smile. He was the best at quidditch, the worst at potions (but in a few, he was pretty good), and in a sense, he was the main character in thousands of pieces of fanfiction that was posted on a website. Harry James Potter became the Master of Death, and that is one thing that Universes never changed.

And so, in the small offshoot change of a well-rested Lily Potter, the vast difference became apparent when Lily Evans had a little girl with red fuzz on her misshapen potato baby head. And thus, Harriet Lily Potter was born, and she lived a different life than one of Harry James Potter simply because of one neverending problem.

Sexism.

(Thanks to Jeffery, for making that. Again. Damn that dinosaur.)

A prophecy was made. That detail didn’t change much. Severus Snape crept by the door and listened for details that were lost but the most important pieces of information. Thrice defied parents, a child born near the end of June, and they would have the power to destroy the Dark Lord. Snape was then detained by a bar fight and was thrown out, unable to hear the rest of the prophecy that would change the world. And from there, the greasy hell bat when to his master and told him of the problem.

(There has not yet been a single universe in which Snape failed to tell Voldemort about the prophecy. Which speaks about his loyalty.)

And from there, the Dark Lord Fleeing-From-Death went down a list (not really) and figured who was pregnant and who would be the mother of his destined downfall. As for how he managed to figure out who was due to give birth is unknown. As most Dark Lords don’t really bother the maternity ward in St. Mungos, most were unable to give a clear statement as to what happened.

But trust me, I bet that day in St. Mungos was one of the weirdest they’ve had since bananas were made.

(Don’t ask about that story. It’s rather horrifying. Not funny at all.)

Two families were singled out. Both went into hiding, but through the rumors and the gossip mill (and two particular chatty midwives), the Potter and Longbottom families were the two candidates. And from them, two children could be his match. The power that he knows naught of. Taking no chances, as he was a superstitious Dark Lord, Voldemort took his time to figure out which one was the one who was his destined enemy.

It wasn’t long until he heard that the Potters had a daughter, not a son, did he throw that name into the garbage. Longbottoms had a boy, and truly only a man could take on the Dark Lord. A girl wouldn’t have the power, nor anything to be special to warrant Voldemorts attention. The funny part was Voldemort didn’t even second guess himself. Even though he had only moments prior been considering the Potters over the Longbottoms since their child would be a half-blood, like he was, Voldemort did not hesitate to dismiss the idea that a girl could be his match.

And thus, sexism, a blight across the world and several planar systems, shifted Harry James Potter’s fate onto another boy. A Boy-Who-Lived-and-Taled-the-Tale.

It also sealed Harriet's fate as well.

On October 31st, 1981, the Dark Lord Voldemort broke into the seaside cottage where the Longbottoms were living and tore apart a family. Alice and her husband Frank were killed and their boy faced a madman and was hit with a green light. It didn’t hit very hard and it bounced right off. Neville survived.

Two days later, on November 2nd, Death Eaters came into the home of Godric Hollow and tortured two bright people to the brink. They were taken into custody and Harriet’s parents were sent to St. Mungos to recover. A man with long greasy black hair and led the Aurors to the Death Eaters in hopes that he could save somebody. He did, but in the end, he lost them entirely as well. St. Mungos was optimistic after all, Lily and James could recover one day.

Spoiler alert: they didn’t.

Neville was taken in by his grandmother, a stern woman who longed for her own son instead of a wailing babe. Her sorrows drowned her and made her insensitive to the abuse in her home. Harriet was taken by her godfather who kept her for a few hours before handing her to a giant who promised to look after her. That night, Sirius Black disappeared, never to be seen again.

Plans were made. Plans bigger than just Neville Longbottom and Harriet Potter. They were all-encompassing. Things were set in motion, blind eyes were glazed over to the manipulations and worn lips spouted lies. “Voldemort is dead,” they might say. “He’s gone for good. Neville Longbottom is the Boy-who-Lived. The war is over.”

Wizened old eyes twinkled as they surveyed the battlefield and watched as his pawns began to recuperate from war and waited patiently for the next one to start.

And like every universe, Harriet was placed on a doorstep in the middle of the night. Her life had been torn apart that night. Everything once normal would never happen again, and her soft whimper as the cold bit her was masked by the wind. Harriet Lily Potter was left on her Aunt Petunia’s doorstep on the night of November 2nd, 1981. And yet, nobody could foresee the effects of leaving Harriet alone on the day of the dead.

Not even us.

Chapter Text

There is a small little home at Number Four, Private Drive, Surrey that housed what seemed to be a regular family. Now, comparing them on the scale of good and evil, they were all rather bad. There were all sorts of crimes being committed in that neighborhood if one could call it that. But for the sake of simplifying it down, there were two options. Good and evil seemed to be the best of them.

The little family of four (three, if you had asked them) were rather leaning towards the bad side of the scale. Of course, in the little housing community, there were quite a lot of actions that could be considered not-good. For instance, how Mr. Pecking had encouraged his three sons to take their slingshots at Miss Figg’s cats. That was terribly evil. Or how Mrs. Sunny of number Five was having an affair and spreading rumors about Mr. Johnson’s wife. Of course, one not could possibly describe the amount of evil that happened at the neighborhood barbecue. It was a terrible place, really.

However, the little family that lived in Number Four, Private Drive, Surrey were really truly the worst of the lot. Rather normal, and seemingly just like their neighbors when it came down to their pride. Ultimately, these people wouldn’t really amount to much in their feeble lifespans. However, the Dursley’s were cruel just as much as they desired to have a normal life. Which to say is quite a lot. They had a secret that they kept hidden under their stairs. A tiny girl with unruly red hair lived in that home, although the Dursley’s denied it up and down and sideways. She might be doing their garden but this little orphan didn’t really live with them. No, she just helped around the house.

The Dursley’s kept to themselves as much as possible, which made it more unsettling when they were so social at the neighborhood barbecue. Aunt Petunia always made sure that she was the first to hear any gossip, even if she had to make it up herself. She prided herself being one of the only few housewives on the street, as most of the other women had to take up jobs. Being a stay at home mother wasn’t so much as being evil, but it was the fact that every month she got a check that was worth about a month's worth of work for basically doing nothing but locking her niece into that cupboard that made her pretty darn evil. It was repugnant to brag about how her husband Vernon managed to make enough money for them to live comfortably, but in reality, Petunia wanted their envy for having a wealthy money-making man.

Vernon would always be by the grill making jokes and talking about the latest football match. Men would laugh and jeer and have their beers while the kids ran off doing whatever. Petunia was with her gabbing society of nosy hens and Vernon was talking about how to make the best steak (even though that honor goes to the youngest member of their household). Dudley was out doing his own thing, as he was only seven years old and probably didn’t know much about the ways of adults. He was probably terrorizing a poor cat or beating Miss Figg to death. Who really knows what goes on in the minds of seven-year-olds.

And thus, that is why neighborhood barbecues are designed to be nefarious.

Harriet was locked up tight in her cupboard, to her Aunt and Uncle’s knowledge she’d never get out. Not if they had a say in it. However, what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. Harriet and long since figured out that swiping a piece of paper and folding it up so that it didn’t bend under the pressure, she could slide it up and knock the latch loose. Six years old-nearly seven, Harriet had just a few more days before she became the spawn of Satan himself, she crept out of her room to the empty house. The Durselys were out doing their dastardly deeds, and Harriet softly stepped from her cupboard and eyed the kitchen.

Her hungry eyes hollowed from the starvation that plagued her calculated. Her hands shook with the emptiness from inside of her as her split and bloodied nails caught on the meat of her palm. She had gotten desperate a few days ago and had tried to claw herself out of her cupboard, in hopes that the Dursley’s would give her a mouthful of water. Instead, she had been yelled at and Uncle Vernon had taken his belt off and slapped her around for daring to scar up the wood of the cupboard.

Still, Harriet could feel the hunger gnawing at her. Dizziness crept in, a constant threat looming overhead that she could just pass out. Wary green eyes danced across the room, shooting from one side to another as the soles of her feet barely made a sound. Her ears strained for any sudden noise. When it came apparent that her relatives were gone, Harriet moved onwards without being quite as cautious. She went to the garbage can first. It hadn’t been taken out since she had been ‘asked’ to do so. The Dursley’s didn’t like leftovers because that meant that they could probably feed her. Harriet had seen Aunt Petunia thrown away tons of food because Dudley couldn’t eat it all.

And to Harriet’s delight, there were a few pieces of breakfast and dinner in the garbage bag. She leaned forward and snatched the food, a few pieces of biscuit and bacon. Within seconds she had shoved them into her mouth and barely chewed before she swallowed. She reached in and grasped a piece of half-eaten chicken and ripped off any extra meat. Grease-covered her fingers and she desperately licked and sucked at them until they were clean. Soon enough Harriet found that there wasn’t any more food, which was a disappointment that went deep into her gut. She even shuffled the garbage around to see if there was any more, but sadly all there was an empty bottle of cleaner and the broken bits of a glass pan that Dudley had broken and then blamed her a few days ago.

Harriet didn’t waste any more time, she hurried to the sink. She felt a little sick now, but being full felt a whole lot more than the empty shell that she once was. Although the sink was more than halfway taller than her, Harriet didn’t let that dissuade her, as she opened a cupboard and lifted herself up like a ladder.

And then-

A noise.

Harriet froze. Her ears straining against the silence. She was halfway to pulling herself up and the fear- the absolute dread of her Aunt and Uncle finding her was like a two-ton weight about to pull her down. Heart-stopping seconds passed. Harriet’s stomach felt sicker with the panic and fear hitting her as she listened.

Nothing.

Ten seconds turned into twenty and Harriet heard nothing. Finally, she pulled herself all the way up and paused again. Nothing once more. She was alone. Harriet didn’t waste any more time, as the adrenaline was coursing through her now. She wanted to get back into her cupboard again as fast as possible. The idea of being free didn’t seem so nice now that she had her near scare. She flipped on the water and cupped it into her hands and drank as soon as she could get the water near her mouth.

She felt nauseous afterward. She drank until she felt like she could throw up and then drank a little more because she knew that she had a few more days until the Dursley’s would let her out of her cupboard. After feeling woozy from being filled, Harriet turned off the water and watched to make sure that there was no evidence left over. Her fear of Aunt Petunia finding out from making the sink too wet was a real concern, and Harriet jumped down with a small thump after she inspected the sink. Nothing was out of place. Closing the cupboard, Harriet made a small detour to the fridge. The crisper was almost always empty and filled with anything about to go bad. Which meant usually, vegetables. Dudley threw a fit every time he had to eat them so Aunt Petunia would hide them or trick him into eating them. Sadly, Dudley had been catching on to Aunt Petunia’s dismay. Harriet dug for the item that was on the bottom, an almost full bag of half rotting shriveled celery, and held it close as she scampered back to her cupboard. Carefully hiding her spoils under her blanket in hopes that nobody would find it, Harriet curled up back on the tiny mattress and waited. Waited for when the Dursley’s would come back. And hoped that they wouldn’t.

And that, dear readers, is why Vernon and Petunia were considered to be the evilest lot of them all.


 

It was a few days past Harriet’s seventh birthday when things changed up again.

Within the time frame, as all seven-year-olds know, things tend to happen. For most seven-year-olds, they get to have a party with presents and cake. Some friends might come over and wish you a happy birthday. And voila, they are no longer six but now seven. And that meant that they were a little bit more grown up. A little closer to being an actual person, rather than hellspawn in the guise of a child. It was usually a cheery time, with a bunch of little children chattering away at each other. Who knows what the kids talked about, but if there were a bunch of seven-year-olds around then it was sure to be a part of some nefarious plan. But for Harriet, things did not go like that.

Instead, Aunt Petunia, when recalling that her niece is now a little bit older decided that it was the perfect time to instill more work upon Harriet. And Harriet complied without a word of complaint. The recent time spent in the cupboard had resummoned the fear of her relatives. Her chipped nails and scabbed back still hurt as a reminder. Her head bowed down, Harriet listened to her Aunt intently. Internally promising that she’d get everything right this time. This time, they wouldn’t find fault with her work.

“-and I want you to clean out the attic as well.” Aunt Petunia pursed her lips. “It’s gotten filthy up there and it’s been filled with junk. I don’t know how your uncle can sleep at night knowing all the stuff that he’s thrown up there to get it out of the way.”

Harriet was surprised to hear about the attic. She had never known about it. She had wanted to ask a question, but she wasn't supposed to ask those. She had all of the questions beaten out of her. At least, that was what Uncle Vernon had said anyways. Harriet didn’t question him on it, so she supposed that he was right in that aspect.

“Are you even listening?” Aunt Petunia snapped. Her breathy voice bitter and sharp.

Harriet glanced up before hurriedly looking elsewhere. She nodded jerkily and hoped it was an adequate answer. Her eyes landed on the stove and she stared at it. There was a plea in her eyes that asked for forgiveness but the stove didn’t give her any. Stoves don’t give a shit.

“You filthy little freak.” Aunt Petunia spat. “You’re mocking me aren’t you. You think you’re so better than I am that you don’t even pay attention to me.”

Harriet furiously shook her head. But even at the tender age of seven, Harriet knew that once Aunt Petunia found a slight she had to ride out the rage. There was no calming her down, once Aunt Petunia was worked up.

Harriet was watching the stove, her body feeling like it was frozen. She couldn’t do anything but stand there. Aunt Petunia took in a deep steadying breath, her anger coming off of her in waves. Then it came faster than Harriet expected. From the corner of her eyes, Harriet see Aunt Petunia twist around then there was a sound of metal scraping metal and-

Lights flashed before her eyes and Harriet could hear something ringing high pitched in her ears. The sudden pain came from nowhere and it felt like it encompassed her entirely. Her vision was bright and dark all at the same time and Harriet felt herself falling.

She hit the ground, her hands flying up to touch her face. It was burning, hotter than she had ever thought she could feel. Startled, confused, and unknowing, Harriet looked up with wide eyes at her aunt. Petunia was holding a frying pan clutched in her thin hand. Her face was red and white, but her lips still pursed together.

“Get up.” Petunia snapped once again. This time Harriet jerked backward as if her aunt had hit her once again with the pan. “I hope you learned your lesson. Go clean out the attic, and when you are done you will come back and apologize for being disrespectful.”

Harriet, although her thoughts still in a jumped mess and her hearing gone nuts, did as she was told and left. Her hands still clutched at her head as though she was afraid that it might fall off. And a part of her hoped that maybe it might drop off because then the setting pain wouldn’t hurt her anymore.

She all but ran away. Her nose started to leak a bit from her bitter tears but Harriet let the snot run free. She didn’t want Aunt Petunia to come after again with the frying pan. Because that’s what she did, didn’t she? Harriet had been hit with the frying pan. Aunt Petunia- her Aunt!- had hit her with a frying pan.

Disbelief warred within herself, Harriet wanted to cry more. But she knew that if she so much as sniffed then Aunt Petunia would be mad at her again. She hated that sound. Sniffing. Uncle Vernon had taught her that crying wouldn’t get her way and if she made a sniffing noise again then he’d beat down the cupboard and bloody her back again with his belt. Harriet clambered up the stairs as fast as she could, her body shivering with the effort. The ringing in her head felt like it went sideways and she couldn’t stop shaking.

Looking backward, Harriet wasn’t sure how she was able to find the attic. But she supposed that looking upwards and finding a trap door wasn’t that awfully hard. Perhaps it was the concussion that she had, but Harriet couldn’t recall how she found herself in the cramped little space at the top of the house. It was perhaps about three feet tall and stacked up with boxes. The air was musty and hotter than the house, the heat positively baked her.

Harriet’s memories were fuzzy about this time. From when she came up the stairs and how she ended up into the attic was all a blur. But she could feel the emotion that bubbled up inside of her the most, and that was what she could remember the most.

Time twisted itself up in her head. Harriet had crawled her way up into the attic and from there she had curled up in a tight ball with her head between her legs. It pounded a painful rhythm that slammed Harriet’s thoughts into the ground. She clutched at her head, her fingers twisting into her hair as if she could stop the pain from hitting her. But it didn’t help and Harriet sat there for a long time before the world was able to right itself in her head.

Warmth had crept up her neck at one point. It was hotter than the air itself. It didn’t feel like a pain but it was uncomfortable to feel it. Harriet curled up tighter as she felt the odd sensation. But she didn’t spend any thought on it as all she could do was hold herself together and hope she didn’t fly apart. Holding her head seemed to be her only connection to the ground. Once the warmth reached her head the mixture between the heartbeat drumming in her head was an overload of sensations. Harriet was sure she had made a noise, but nobody was around to hear her. Seconds passed by and the warmth seeped into her brain and twisted and turned uncomfortably-

And almost instantly, like a pressure gauge being slowly released, the pain slowly vanished. It was numbing for the first few seconds, the lessening of the strain on her head was so abrupt it made Harriet question herself if she was dying. If this sensation was the end of her life and she was going to pass away in the dusty room of the attic. After a minute or two and the pain slowly lessened more, Harriet was finally able to get her thoughts under control and piece herself back together. The release of the pain almost gave her nausea for a few seconds, and Harriet silently hoped that she wouldn't throw up. But those seconds passed and so did the churning of her stomach. 

A few things made themselves clear almost immediately. One, Harriet was very hot, two, she was dying to have a drink, and three she didn’t know how long she had been there. She rubbed her hands across her eyes to dispell the groggy sleepiness that came after crying herself silly. At least she had perfected the art of crying silently. It was harder than what most people had thought.

Wiping away any residual tear stains from her face, the last of the pain ebbing away until it felt like she was just a little tender in the one spot where Aunt Petunia had hit her, Harriet thought hard to herself. She knew she had to work faster than before, now that time had passed. Aunt Petunia would have set a time limit, probably when Harriet had to make dinner. She had to get rid of the boxes as fast as possible. The idea of not fast enough coming to her mind, and the fear and panic swept her up into their grasp and choked her. No, Harriet couldn’t fail. She couldn’t fail.

Harriet grabbed the nearest cardboard box and dragged it to the opened trapdoor. The wooden stairs held her weight as she carried the bulky box. It was heavy, but not enough to make her arms tremble. And with that- Harriet did her job. One by one, the boxes heavy and large went down the hallway in between the rooms upstairs, down the staircase, and out the front door where they were placed next to the bin to be taken away by the garbage men the next morning. The first few boxes were fine, but afterward, it became a struggle. Box after box they were too heavy to really lift. But the panic and fear that drove Harriet helped her lift them, or at least drag them outside. The one positive thing was that Aunt Petunia’s car was missing outside, and that meant that Harriet didn’t have to tiptoe around her.

(Once Harriet had opened a box to find old clothing. It had taken her a few minutes to figure out what the clothing was. Women's lingerie. The weirdest thing was that it was way too big for Aunt Petunia at all. Harriet was puzzled, but in the end, took out the box none the wiser that she had stumbled across a rather dark secret of the Dursley household.)

The attic seemed to be forever filled with endless boxes. The sun was in the middle of the sky, beating down on the roof making the small area stifling hot. It reminded Harriet of her cupboard when it got really hot during the summer months. Coughing, Harriet pulled back another endless cardboard box and glanced up to see-

To see a box not made out of cardboard. Blinking a few times, Harriet wondered what on earth was a… lockbox? Up in the attic. Shoving the cardboard box out of her way and towards the stairs, Harriet crawled towards the small lockbox. It looked more like a trunk. But it was too small to be a trunk. Harriet grasped a handle and heaved it towards herself and nearly hit her head on the ceiling when the box came without any weight. It was oddly light as well! Harriet marveled at how easy it was to drag it when she turned it so the opening was to her. And there, inscribed in metal was the words, 'Lily Evans.'

Harriet didn’t know the name. But one thing stuck out to her. Evans. She had heard that Aunt Petunia’s maiden name was once Evans. She had overheard it when Aunt Petunia was signing Dudley up for school and they asked her weird questions about her. And- and Harriet’s own middle name was Lily.

The connection came together faster than Harriet could think. That meant- that meant her mother’s name was Lily. Her sister was Petunia. Lily Evans was her mum. And that meant this small case was her mums.

The box was hers.

Instantly Harriet decided that the trunk was not going to be thrown away. Never. She had just figured out what her mum’s name was and she wasn’t going to give up her mum. She didn’t know what she looked like, why would she give up the one connection she had found.

Harriet ignored the cardboard box as she grabbed the small-trunk and scampered down the stairs. She had never dared run so fast in her life in the house before. Her feet banged against the ground and the tenderness in her head flared up and for a belated second, she reminded herself of Dudley moving around. But quickly discarded that thought as she opened her cupboard and- There! The perfect place. Between two beams holding up the stairs, out of the way where Aunt Petunia would never look. Nobody looked in her cupboard and if it was out of sight they’d never find it! Harriet shoved the trunk there, her hands shaking again. But this time it wasn’t with pain or fear. It was with excitement.

Harriet reluctantly left then. Closing the cupboard and moving back upstairs for the cardboard box. But to her dismay and sinking stomach, she heard a car park on the driveway. Harriet hoped that if they saw her working that maybe they’d leave her alone. And so, Harriet grabbed the box and with struggling weakening arms she moved towards the front of the house. The door opened, and she heard something fall to the ground along with a screech.

F-F-Freak! What have you done to my house!” Aunt Petunia’s high nasally voice cut through the air. Harriet had the misfortune of walking to the front of the stairs just then and saw finally, why Aunt Petunia was in a rage. Dust motes floated through the air. There was a literal trail of dust and dirt going down the stairs and out the door. Probably from the boxes, Harriet realized. And the carpets had been skewed. From when she ran on them.

Red in the face, Petunia looked up at her niece. “You-,” she started to say, but at that same moment, the cardboard box decided to give up the ghost. The cardboard gave away and books and old magazines fell out, sliding down the staircase and landing at Aunt Petunia’s feet.

Harriet felt horror as she saw Aunt Petunia go from red to redder.

“I’m sorry,” Harriet spoke for the first time in weeks. Her voice raspy and small from disuse.

“Oh, you will be.” Aunt Petunia spoke through her teeth. “You will be freak.”


 

It wasn’t until later that Harriet was thrown into her cupboard. Pained and bruised, her back bloodied from the belt and hands itchy and red. Aunt Petunia had her scrubbing the carpets and rugs all day with a strong cleaner. Harriet had read that you were supposed to use gloves on the bottles, but Aunt Petunia didn’t look twice before demanding Harriet to clean up everything. And she did. The chemicals stung her skin and her skin cracked and bled as she scoured the carpet clean. After that Aunt Petunia had her make dinner again. Once dinner was finished, Harriet had to stand in the corner and watch the wall and waited until Uncle Vernon came home. Once his car drew up in the driveway, Aunt Petunia went out and told him exactly what she had done.

At least he had waited until after dinner to beat her back bloody again.

Harriet pulled herself up from the floor where Uncle Vernon had thrown her. Her arms ached. Her fingertips burned. Her head hurt. And her back smarted whenever she moved. Harriet pulled herself up onto the small little mattress on the ground and fell face first. Her hair falling into her face, she stared out into the darkness and waited for it to pull her under into sleep. The ache that ran deep into her soul hurt every time she pulled in a breath of air, and it burned as she exhaled.

Harriet was used to pain. She was always used to it. Closing her eyes, she waited. Time passed as it always did. Indiscriminately it took one second to another, it never moved up nor did it slow down. Harriet heard Uncle Vernon retire and go to bed, and Aunt Petunia following him afterward. Dudley was at a playmates house tonight, Harriet vaguely recalled. At least he wasn’t chasing her and hitting her with sticks.

It was past midnight and clear into the early hours of the morning when Harriet’s eyes caught on the chest. She jerked and then flinched by the strain her body took by moving. That’s right! She had- she had forgotten all about it. Harriet had spent the rest of the day drowning in despair and terror that she hadn’t remembered about the chest that she had hidden.

Knowing herself, as an abused seven-year-old would know, Harriet understood that she probably wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight from the pain. But that didn’t mean that she didn’t have to lay in the dark doing nothing.

Aunt Petunia once had given her a single light bulb. When Harriet was younger she had been scared of the dark and stayed awake all night and she was so tired during the day that she couldn’t function until Aunt Petunia had given her an old flickering light blub. Her aunt had also told her it was the ‘only one she’d ever get to use it wisely’ and within a few weeks, Harriet had learned that a flashing light at night was worse than the dark. It brought back vague memories of people laughing and lights coming from sticks. There were also screams. Harriet didn’t like it and so learned that nightmares in the dark could be worse if there were screaming people involved.

Harriet moved slowly, trying hard not to break open the scabs on her back and to let the fresh blood to flow again. Gently she clicked on the flickering blub and set her eyes on the small box that had her mothers name on it. How it had placed in the attic of Aunt Petunia, Harriet would never know. Because she knew that Aunt Petunia hated everything that belonged to Harriet’s mum, and would never have allowed it to be in her house.

Harriet crawled over, hissing in pain and having to stop every few seconds before pushing onwards. Finally, she arrived at her mum’s box and her fingers traced the words. Lily Evans.

Lily Evans Potter?

Harriet wondered to herself what her dad’s name was. All she knew was that it had to be Potter. She heard that dad’s last names are usually what the kid's last names were. Harriet traced her mother's name again and wondered what she was like. Did she like chocolate? Did she like strawberries? Was she like Aunt Petunia?

Harriet didn’t know, and she longed to find out.

Her fingertips touched the latch on the smaller trunk and gently, almost reverently, Harriet pulled up on the latch. It popped open freely, and then-

The box shivered and then it jumped. Harriet let lose a squeak of surprise as she fell backward as the small case, no larger than a bread box, jumped itself into the air and then it landed on the ground more than triple the size! The thumping noise itself made Harriet’s heart race. She sat in silence, watching, and waiting to see if anybody had awoken to the sound.

She stared at the trunk. Wide-eyed and heart beating faster than she had ever felt it before, Harriet wondered if she was dreaming. She pinched herself, and when that didn’t wake herself up, she did it again.

“This isn’t a dream,” Harriet whispered to herself. “This isn’t a dream.” She repeated. Again, she pinched herself. This time harder but all it did was hurt and so she stopped. It wasn’t going to change. She finally moved back upright, noticing that her scabs had split open during the sudden move. She felt hot fresh blood beading up on her back, another sign that this wasn’t a hallucination.

Perhaps this was what Aunt Petunia always talked about when she said drugs? Was Harriet on crack? Or whatever that was?

She nudged the trunk with her foot. It didn’t budge, it was heavy now. Not light as a feather before, this thing had weight. And it took up most of the space that she had in her cupboard. Harriet gazed at it, the latch of it still popped open.

Hesitantly, she placed her hands on the lid and pushed it open. The trunk opened without any complaint from the hinges and Harriet gazed down into its contents. Neatly folded clotheslined the compartment, along with a small wooden box. Harriet reached for the box first, pulling it out and opening it. Harriet held back a gasp as she took in the sight of a beautiful lily hair clip. Smoothed and shaped white stone shaped the petals and it was inlaid with shiny silver metal. It looked expensive. Something that Aunt Petunia would never let her look at, let alone touch. Harriet touched it lightly, her fingers trailing across it as she took in the beauty. Then she picked it up. This was her mum’s. Her mum had worn this in her hair. Harriet opened the clip and grasped a lock of her own hair and haphazardly clipped it into her own hair. The weight felt strange on her head, but Harriet hadn’t ever felt like she had ever been this close to her own mum before.

Soft tears fell from her eyes as she held the hair clip in one hand and pressed it against her head. Harriet wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay there and hold it, but the crinkle of paper had grabbed her attention. She looked down, a piece of paper was in the box where she had taken the hair clip. As she picked it up she noticed it felt different than other paper. This stuff was thicker and left more soft than other paper. Harriet opened the folded paper upside down and quickly turned it right side up.

The handwriting was awful. Harriet had to squint at it and slowly, she began to read. “My… dear Lily.” Harriet spoke slowly, sounding out the words. She hadn’t had to read out words since she was five, but it was hard to read this choppy handwriting.

“I saw this the other day and knew… that you had... To have it. How would…. No, it’s could. How could I not give you a flower to put into your… beautiful lair. No, wait that’s hair. Beautiful hair. I cannot wait... To see you graduate this year at...” Harriet paused. Trying to figure out the next word. She turned the paper at a different angle, and then she gave up. It probably wasn’t a word that she knew. “Hogwarts. May my move… wait no that’s love... May my love stay with you until this lily flower wilts. With love, J. Potter.” Harriet’s voice choked up at the last sentence.

J.

Her dad’s name started with a J. What could it be? Jacob? Jeremy? The flower sitting sideways in her hair was given to her mum by her dad.

Harriet sniffled and let herself cry for a little bit. She wished she had her mum and dad. She clutched at the flower. Her dad loved her mum so much. And her mum had pretty hair and-

Harriet wished more than anything that her mum and dad were with her. Or perhaps… perhaps she wished that she was dead to be with them. She missed them so much and she didn’t know them at all but they had to be better than the Dursleys. Even though Aunt Petunia said that they were drunks who died in a car crash. They had to be better than the Dursleys. She knew that they must’ve loved her.

She only wished that she could have them.

Harriet sat on the floor of her cupboard holding the hair clip and rereading the small note over and over again until she had it memorized. She didn’t know how long she had been doing it. Not until the thumping of Aunt Petunia coming down the stairs shocked her from her stupor. Harriet panicked. Aunt Petunia was sure coming to wake her and she had a huge trunk in the middle of her cupboard. There was no way that Harriet could hide it! Harriet threw the hair clip and note back into the trunk and closed the lid with a snap.

In her panic, Harriet did only what she could think of. She closed the latch. She didn’t have any time to be amazed by how the box jumped again and it shrunk. She only had enough time to throw it back into its hidey hole and threw herself back onto her small mattress.

Aunt Petunia opened the door not seconds later. The light was still on- Harriet almost panicked and then realized that no- it wasn’t. It must’ve burned out sometime during the night and she hadn’t noticed. Aunt Petunia was silent for a long moment and then to Harriet’s amazement, she closed the cupboard door. Still, she didn’t dare move as she heard Aunt Petunia get ready for the day. After a while, she heard Uncle Vernon come down and after he had breakfast she heard Aunt Petunia bid him goodbye.

Then finally the thought occurred to Harriet that Aunt Petunia figured that Harriet was too injured to make her do chores. It didn’t happen often but Harriet was still recovering from the last time she had been beaten by the belt. Harriet guessed that she had been grounded to stay in the cupboard until she was all healed up.

And for once, Harriet was pretty okay with that now. She had other things to do than wait inside a stuffy cupboard all day. She could explore her mum’s trunk, and Harriet liked that a whole lot better than doing nothing all day.


 

(It has to be said that on this particular day, 145,397 different universes were created. Some of the details about them were smudged, as they were the ones whos outcomes hadn’t changed. Harriet still found her mothers trunk, and that was that. However, there were some drastic changes that could have still happened.

In one particular universe, Petunia had grabbed rather than the cold frying pan on the stove, the hot and recently used frying pan. The subsequent burn and brain damage that followed pulled Harriet down into the dark where in years later, she overthrew Voldemort after his resurrection, viciously took control of the remaining Death Eaters, and then burned Hogwarts down to the ground as she cackled. The Dark Lady rose, and would then overthrow several useless ministries and place actual governments in their place. Although she did rather bad things to people, Harriet ruled the wizardry world with an iron fist that ended up turning things to the better. She lived to the ripe old age of 79, when she decided to retire, and promptly burst into flames and disappeared. Where she went, nobody really knew. In reality, she went to a muggle care center and played chess with a bunch of lovely old people until she passed away due to cancer uneventfully.

The differences in the other realities were minute and fairly small. If Aunt Petunia had instead grabbed the butchers knife that she had used earlier. If Harriet's magic had instead lashed out instead of healing her. If Harriet had passed out after getting hit. If Aunt Petunia had asked Vernon to clean out the attic himself. If Harriet's magic had healed her broken ribs instead of the bleeding in her brain. If Dudley had been home that day and had tripped Harriet down the stairs whilst carrying the boxes. If Vernon had come home before Petunia. All of these small variations caused several things to happen to Harriet. As this day was a day that changed the course of Harriet's life, all of them could have taken her down to different paths. And most of them, if not all of them, caused Harriet to suffer by the hands of her relatives.

In 114,528 universes, Harriet died from the abuse. That’s over 79 percent chance that actions that were taken in during that day threw Harriet over the edge. Out of the thousands, the top few instances of her death was internal bleeding, sleeping while concussed and falling into a coma (and the Dursley’s didn’t really notice until she had long since died), blood loss, brain damage, infection, broken bones, starvation, and getting beaten to death from Vernon’s belting. And as such, the consequences in those universes were extreme. Life without Harriet, even in the grand scheme of things, would change history as we know it.)

Chapter Text

As much as Harriet had wanted to open her mother's chest and explore it some more, she knew that she couldn’t. Making it bigger would make a loud noise and Harriet didn’t want Aunt Petunia to investigate why there was a big thumping sound in her cupboard. Instead, Harriet waited for the house to clear out.

She laid there, in the dark, and waited. Excitement made her heart beat faster and she had never felt more alive than at that moment. Harriet had never thought she’d ever touch anything of her mum’s before and now that she has she couldn’t wait to see what else she’d find. Harriet curled up on her mattress and anticipated eagerly for the next moment for her to explore to arrive. Aunt Petunia was sure to leave, she usually did so for a few hours every day. Harriet knew that there were different places that Aunt Petunia liked to go, the hairdresser every other week and then to some arts and craft store where she’d learn how to make some of the ugliest knitted things for Dudley. Harriet was glad that Aunt Petunia never made her anything- Dudley looked miserable whenever Aunt Petunia would give him another scarf of badly knitted hat that always fell into his face. Aunt Petunia was a sociable person far above anything else, and Harriet couldn’t wait for the second when she’d leave.

Somewhere, in that dark cupboard, Harriet fell soundly asleep. After staying up all night and the added exhaustion of crying and being nearly beaten to death had worn her out. Although Harriet would have objected to passing out, as she wanted to wait for the very second that Aunt Petunia would leave, she didn’t have a choice as her body caved into its demands and forced her to pass out. It was good that she did in the end, as Aunt Petunia didn’t leave until way into the middle of the afternoon. It was also during this time that Harriet began to recover some of her spent magic. She was nearly drained dry as it had tried to keep her alive. It still accelerated her healing, but at least Harriet was out of the danger zone.

And so it was mid-afternoon, although you couldn’t tell time in the cupboard, when Harriet awoke feeling better than before. Sore, but not quite as painful as it had been earlier, Harriet’s mind didn’t quite click until she was fully awake. Then she quickly sat up and stared at the trunk. Even in the dark, the metal gleamed. She scrambled over to it and just like before she lifted the latch. It moved again, hoping up and enlarging before her very eyes as Harriet scrambled backward to avoid being hit by it. It landed with a thump, and Harriet was suddenly aware of the noise. She waited with bated breath, and after a few minutes with no noise outside, Harriet figured that nobody was home.

Cautiously she lifted the lid and peered inside, but even in the darkness, she couldn’t make it out. She reached up to flip on the light when she recalled that the bulb had burned out the night prior. Dismayed, Harriet sighed to herself. Her only light source was out now. But… an idea came to her head. She knew that Dudley had a broken lamp in his extra bedroom. Perhaps the bulb was still working. Harriet reached into her safe spot and withdrew her folded paper (some old report card of Dudley’s). And from there she spent her time trying to wriggle the latch off as she maneuvered the paper around. After a few minutes, Harriet managed to unlock the door and she peered around the corner. Double checking to make sure that nobody was around, Harriet softly crept up the stairs until she came to Dudley’s second bedroom. Opening the door as quietly as she could she scrutinize the cluttered mess. There were broken skateboards, a few smashed tellies, an old radio that looked more like a jumble of wires than anything else. It was a mess, but Harriet didn’t really pay much attention as she found her target. An old lamp, painted sky blue for Dudley, sat on an old rickety side table. Harriet picked her way over and lifted off the lampshade, and there it was. It was easy to unscrew it, softly run back to her cupboard and replace the bulb. It was bright, brighter than the other one, that was for sure. And it didn’t flicker! Harriet didn’t stop to celebrate yet, as she went back upstairs and replaced the lamp bulb with the older one. Making sure she didn’t leave a trace of herself behind, Harriet crept back downstairs where she took the opportunity to raid the kitchen again. She found a few bits and pieces in the garbage before she drank from the tap again.

Once again uncomfortably full, but knowing it wouldn’t last very long, Harriet pulled her cupboard door shut and she was back into the safest place that she knew. Her cupboard was where the Dursley’s never dared to enter. It was her sanctuary. A fortress and a prison at the same time. It was small and cramped and filled with spiders but they didn’t bite and she didn’t mind. And now that the light was brighter, Harriet began to finally see what her cupboard looked like. Yes, it was small. It had always been small. But now she noticed that there were a lot of little nooks and crannies. The way that the stairs had been built had made little spaces. They were filled with spider webs, of course, so Harriet didn’t touch them. But it was strange to see what her cupboard actually looked like.

Harriet finally allowed herself to draw her attention towards the trunk. Its lid was open, revealing the hastily thrown letter and hair clip. Gently she picked them up and slid the hair clip back into her knotted hair. Folding the letter carefully, she placed it onto the ground as she delved into the other contents of the trunk. The first thing that Harriet pulled out was clothes. They were big, far too big for her. They were adult sized, and they were… dresses? Harriet didn’t understand them very much. There were big jackets that fell all the way to the floor. On the breast was a sown patch of a fancy ‘H’ and red and gold stripes around it. After investigating it, Harriet figured that it must have gone out of style since she’s never seen anybody wear them before. Underneath a few pairs of the strange jacket were a few neatly folded dress shirts, a few skirts, a jumper, and a few golden and red ties. They were all very large, even when holding them up to herself, Harriet could possibly make the jumper into a dress.

The once neatly folded clothes were now a jumbled mess on the floor of her cupboard. Harriet peered into the trunk. It was empty now. She ran her fingers across the bottom and sighed. She was glad that she had found her mum’s stuff. Happy even. But she had hoped that there had been a little bit more. Harriet was about to turn away when something caught her eye. It was a golden latch attached to the upper back wall of the trunk. Curiously, Harriet reached out to touch it. It didn’t do anything, and Harriet leaned forwards to get a better look at it. Was it something stuck to the wall? Harriet hesitantly pulled and to her absolute astonishment she saw the whole back wall of the trunk come forwards!

Harriet leaned back with wide eyes. She held her breath as she continued to draw the golden handle towards her. Slowly the back of the trunk pulled out and down until it became the floor of the box and Harriet watched as what looked like a drawer of books crammed together filled the space where it was once empty. They were colorful and had weird titles that Harriet didn’t understand. Tilting her head, Harriet read one out loud, slowly sounding out the unfamiliar words. “Cur-sis and Jin-x-es for The Nov-ice by Pat-er-ick Flem-ing,” Harriet spoke. What kind of curses was this book about? Was this just a book full of the words that Dudley and his friends whispered to each other and giggled? The kind that Aunt Petunia said was foul language and nobody should speak them in her house? There must be a ton of curse words then because if they filled up an entire book about them.

Harriet’s heart began to hammer into her chest as she saw another golden handle. Questions began to run through her head as she grasped it and yanked it forward. How could there be so many books hidden in the back of the trunk? There couldn’t be that much space in it. And how did it get to be this big? It was smaller! Harriet had never seen anything like this before. The next hidden compartment was filled with thinly sliced woodcut planks that were crisscrossed into x marks. And inside of each of the spaces in between each of the x marks were little vials. Harriet didn’t look closer, she reached up and pulled the next golden handle.

The next compartment was filled with the strange paper that was rolled up and small bottles filled with black stuff and bird feathers. Harriet wasn’t sure what this was either and moved on to see the section that this trunk had to offer. It was there that she hit the jackpot. Inside were a few miscellaneous items, like a comb and a bag of what Aunt Petunia referred to as her facial powder. There were a few stray pieces of paper, a few bobby pins, a stack of letters that were tied together by a green ribbon, a couple of old pens, a small velvet pouch, and a beaten-up blue leather book. On the front of it was stamped the word, ‘Lily’ and this is what caught Harriet’s eye.

She pulled it out and flipped it open. Inside of the beaten up and dogeared pages were slightly messy but readable writing. It was clearly readable to Harriet, and she read the paragraph that it opened to.

Sev said that he’d never do that. But I know that he’s changed since he’s been sorted. He’s even been hanging around that Malfoy, the prissy haired prat who told Slughorn that I cheated! Me! Cheated! Thankfully Slughorn didn’t take him up on his accusation because he had been talking with me during Potions the entire time and I couldn’t have cheated then. Sev was hanging around Malfoy, I know he was because he’s picked up that nose-up posture that makes me feel inferior. Sev is so easily influenced, but he acts like he isn’t. And I get so worried about him being alone with all the rest of the snakes. Makes me wonder if one day I’ll get on the Hogwarts Express and see him no longer as a friend but as one of them. And that day scares me.’

Harriet read it again and it wasn’t until after she finished studying it that the light clicked on upstairs. This! This was her mum’s diary! Her heart fluttered as she immediately flipped to the beginning of the leather book and started at the beginning. The handwriting was less legible now, but Harriet had all the time in the world to dwell on the words until they made sense in her head.

This was her chance. As a seven-year-old, spawn of the devil himself, Harriet knew that this was her chance to finally know who her mum was. Was she really a drunk her entire life? A fridged bitch, as Aunt Petunia had always put it. Was she a snob? Or did she have a lazy eye? This was Harriet’s only chance to know about the mysterious woman who had perhaps, maybe, once upon a time, might have loved her.

And so, Harriet didn’t hesitate before diving into her mum’s diary and her hopes held high as she read.


 

July 12th, 1971

Dear journal (which is NOT a diary, like Tunie says),

Today has been, what dad says, ‘quite a day.’ It took mum and dad to finally realize that I was a bit more than just weird. Yeah, they knew all about the strange occurrences, and whatever Tunie runs off to tell them about. They never believe her because how could I do all those strange things? Well, Sev and I know all about the magic stuff and Tunie knows because I told her. But mum and dad never knew until finally, I got my letter.

I am going to say this right now but I AM GOING TO HOGWARTS AND IM SO HAPPY!! And Sev got his by owl! Although his dad almost found out but that’s another story.

A woman wearing a robe (which Sev tells me is the highest form of fashion but I don’t believe him because he sometimes makes jokes and I don’t catch on because they are ‘wizard’ jokes) and a fancy old hat came by and gave my mum the letter. And then mum gathered everybody and the lady who said she was a teacher at hogwarts and then she did magic! REAL LIFE MAGIC!!!!! Super cool stuff!! She made our table float and then she turned it into a cow! It even shat on the floor.

Mum and dad believed it then. Tunie was so happy for me and she was bouncing around as the teacher explained mum and dad about the wizarding things that they had to know. Like where to get my school books and stuff like that. Then Tunie asked the teacher if there was a spot open at school for her, and the old lady didn’t really have the ‘correct answer’ as dad put it and just said that she’d see. Tunie was sad but she knew she’d come with me to magic school.

On another note- that’s how I got you, Mr. Journal (not a diary). Dad was, I guess, feeling guilty about never believing me or Tunie about my magic and so he took us to a book store and told us to get something special. Sev had once mentioned that it was super important for witches and wizards to write down their ‘memoairs’ or whatever and so I figured it was time for me to start mine! Tunie got a really fancy cookbook, she said that there were some bees knees recipes for chocolate cake she wanted to try out. She then told me that getting a diary was stupid and I should have gotten a book about magic.

I told her to shove it because I liked it a lot. And it isn’t a diary, it’s a journal.

Next week Ms. Prince said she’d take my parents to the wizard shopping district to get our school stuff. I cannot wait. Besides Sev told me he’d only been twice and he’s told me all about getting wands and how amazing everything is. I think he only wants me to go so he could get me a box of those jelly beans that he won’t talk too much about. The only thing he says about it is that ‘it will be a surprise’ and ‘I can’t wait for you to try a red one’ whatever that means, the wanker.

Anyways, Tunie wants me to go practice more magic in the backyard and now mum and dad wanna see it so bye for now Journal.


 

Harriet… Harriet had to pause. There was quite a lot of things that she didn’t understand about this at all. She didn’t really know much about what all of this referred to, it felt like she had to have some sort of background to know what this all meant. But there was something that felt stuck inside of her head. It was the part where her mum wrote that ‘strange occurrences’ happened around her and ‘magic stuff.’

Harriet could easily count all of the times something weird happened around her. She knew that they were weird because when the Dursley’s found out they always beat her and locked her away for a really long time. They always blamed her too. Like that one time when Dudley had put his gum into Harriet’s hair and Aunt Petunia had shaved it all off because she didn’t want to deal with it. It was back the next day, unruly as ever. Harriet vaguely recalled being shut into the cupboard for so long that she black out. Or that one time her school teacher had yelled at her and then her hair was blue all of a sudden. Or when Dudley had smeared mud on the floor that she had just moped and then the mud was gone and Dudley had found it in his bed that night. Or when Aunt Petunia had yelled at her for not reminding her that they were out of orange juice when Dudley had wanted some and then Dudley had a glass of orange juice. Aunt Petunia threw it out before Dudley had taken a sip and-

Magic stuff.

Rarely ever mentioned around her, and forbidden in the Dursley home. Magic, the ‘M’ word that Aunt Petunia would never allow being mentioned in her home. Dudley had tried it once, he had watched a show on the telly about a magician and asked his mum to get him one of those kits so he could pull a rabbit out of a hat. It was one of the only times that Aunt Petunia had ever told Dudley no. Harriet remembered it from when Dudley had thrown his worst fit and for weeks he’d always stomp extra loud on the stairs.

Magic. Something that was only recently introduced to Harriet. The first time she could recall hearing about it was when a teacher had told them a story from a book about a wizard and a man with a sword from a rock. Harriet understood the gist of the word, it meant things that happened without an explanation of them happening. Harriet’s mum could do that. She did impossible things, and a teacher had turned a table into a cow.

With how the Dursley’s always reacted when something odd happened to them by pointing their fingers at her, then that meant-

That meant that Harriet had magic.

But… didn’t that also mean that the Durlsey’s also knew that she had magic too? Why didn’t they ever tell her? Maybe Harriet could have stopped it from happening if she had known. But instead, they didn’t tell her and she always gets punished for doing it. Harriet figured out right then and there that she wouldn’t use magic near the Dursley’s ever again. She’d only use it in her cupboard… And if Dudley was being a jerk again, maybe Harriet would magic up some spiders and put them in his hair. Again. But this time it would be on purpose.

She glanced down and turned the next page. Mind settled, and eager to learn more about magic and her mother.


 

July 13th, 1971

Tunie tried to make a cake from her new cookbook. She put it in too long or something because we smelled smoke and Tunie runs from the living room and she starts to cry as she pulls out the burning cake.

She runs out of the house before anybody could really talk to her. I help my mum clean up the mess and when dad returns with Tunie she asks me why I used my magic to ruin her cake. I told her I didn’t and then Tunie told me to stop lying because it wouldn’t have burned. She followed the recipe, and recipes don’t lie. I told her that I didn’t do anything at all and then she called me a liar and ran upstairs into our bedroom and slammed the door shut.

I tried to clean more and then I saw the look my mum and dad gave each other. They believed Tunie, I know they do. I said I needed a breath of fresh air and took my journal outside and I went to the swings and I don’t know what to do.

I didn’t do anything to Tunie's cake! I know! But nobody believes me!

I’m mad! And I feel hurt! But I think is the worst is how I feel alone. I wish Sev was with me right now. But his dad is home and he can’t leave his house early when his dad is home.


 

July 19th, 1971

Today was the day! Ms. Prince took us to Diagon Alley to get our books. Sev was so excited and Tunie was too! Mum and dad didn’t really react but they did say some choice words when we went into a dirty old pub that they couldn’t see. Tunie couldn’t either, but once Sev and I lead them to the doors they were able to see it too! After going through the pub Ms. Prince opened up a hole in a wall and there it was! It was so amazing! Turns out robes are a fashion thing, although I think they are stupid. Everybody was wearing them, and there were so many people. Things were flying through the air, birds going every direction along with books and papers.

Ms. Prince took us to the bank and there mum and dad opened up an account for me. I could tell they were uncomfortable because the goblins weren’t really nice but dad did try to quip a few jokes. We got enough money for school books and robes and Tunie really wanted to see the book store. But Ms. Prince said that we should get our school robes first and I thought it would take all day but I forgot that people use magic! The nice lady measured me and Sev and within minutes some robes were made. It was so cool.

After that, we got our wands. It took me like five minutes to find mine. The crazy man who did the shop told me that I got a ten and one fourth inch wand, made out of willow and it was swishy. It is indeed swishy, as I waved it around. It took Sev nearly twenty minutes to find his wand but I didn’t get to hear what it was made out of.

Anyways, we went to the bookshop after that and I got all of my books and Tunie got a book too but she hid it from me. Sev got a book to help him in potions, and he said he’d teach me if I wanted. It’s called ‘Ingredients and Why They Do What They Do’ and I took a peek at it and it looked interesting enough.

After that, we got all our potions ingredients and cauldrons and Tunie kept asking for one until mum said that she could share mine until I went to school in September. I got other things too like a scale set that is supposed to measure how much stuff I have (although why couldn’t they just use teaspoons for that) and a telescope that Sev says we get to see stars with. Ms. Prince let us get a small treat at the end, and Sev got those beans and I picked up a few sugar quills because they look beautiful. I don’t want to eat them, just stare at them they are so pretty.

Tunie wanted a chocolate frog but when she opened the package it hopped out and got away! Instead, she got a card about some wizard named Uric the Oddball and it said he wore a jellyfish as a hat. It was cool because the guy in the picture moved! He left after a bit and Tunie was mad that he went away. I don’t think I ever saw him come back.

Anyways, I cannot wait for school to start! I think it will be so cool to learn how to be a witch.


 

Harriet was about to start reading the next entry when the front door slammed shut. Harriet jumped in surprise. She hadn’t even heard the car enter the driveway. Harriet shoved the journal under her mattress and quickly closed the trunk as quietly as she possibly could. The click of the footsteps meant that it was Aunt Petunia who was home, not Uncle Vernon. She didn’t usually check on Harriet until she needed her, but Uncle Vernon would like to bang on the cupboard as he walked by. Hiding the trunk, and turning off her new bright light, Harriet fell back onto her mattress and waiting in the dark.

Although her mum’s story had abruptly been ended at that moment, it still replayed within Harriet’s head. Questions came with every thought. Who was this Sev that her mum mentioned? Where is this Diagon Alley that her mum wrote about? And the most important question that went through Harriet’s head was, could she go to Hogwarts too?

When Aunt Petunia finally checked on Harriet, she quickly sent the girl to work in the kitchen. Keeping a careful eye on her to make sure she didn’t eat any food while she wasn’t looking, Aunt Petunia didn’t notice nor did she care that her niece had changed since the day before. The change wasn’t noticeable. Harriet was always told to be quiet and never to speak around them. And so her silence wasn’t something new. But it was her attention that was placed elsewhere. Harriet was always careful about the food, and so today was the first time in her seven-year-old life that she was able to think about something else besides how to please the Dursleys. No, her mind was with the small leather book under her mattress. And when she could get her hands on it again.

The desire to know more about this new world enveloped her every waking thought. And all she had was a trunk that was clearly magical and her mother's journal to help guide Harriet through it all.


 

(Once again today was a day of massive change in Harriet’s life. It is to be said once again that 75,257 universes were made because of the choices that Harriet actively partook of today. There were fewer universes created this particular day because there was a lesser chance of death. However, Harriet did perish in only a few universes but there was not quite such a strong possibility for her to die on this particular day.

The majoring difference between the universes was if she was able to locate the other compartments of the trunk. A majority did, but a few did not. Those particular Harriets never discovered the magic world until their 11th birthday. A few other universes would later lead on until Harriet did find the compartment, but many years down the road. All in all, it is considered a good thing for Harriet that the sooner that she found out her heritage, the better and more prepared she is for the inevitable conclusion for her story.

A few other universes were created because of a few different things happened. Aunt Petunia didn’t slam the door and therefore caught her niece with her cupboard filled with magical items. From there Harriet found out about her mum and how she was a witch from Aunt Petunia’s screaming rambles as Petunia dragged the trunk from Harriet’s room. She also found out that Aunt Petunia was getting paid each month to take her in and to ‘stamp it out of her’ from her ‘magical guardian.’ Harriet didn’t really pay much more attention as Aunt Petunia had thrown the trunk outside. Then Petunia went inside the garage, grabbed Vernon’s spare can of petrol and then set the trunk and all of its contents on fire. Harriet screamed and tried to stop her, but Petunia was not having it. The police were called and arrested Petunia. Harriet was interviewed by social services, or whatever the British equivalent of it was, and was found to be abused. Petunia and Vernon were scheduled to go on trial and then to prison but something odd had happened.

Quite literally, everybody forgot. The police forgot all about the report of a woman slapping around a child with a dangerous bonfire burning in the background. Social services were never called, Petunia and Vernon were found in their home the next morning never remembering that they were almost sent to prison for the rest of their miserable lives. Dudley wasn’t sent to his Aunt Marge (who was also convicted of child abuse later on) and continued to be his annoying little bratty self.

And Harriet… well. In some universes, she didn’t remember at all. She fell in line with the manipulations of an old goat. She did her duty and in the end, becoming the pig that was easily slaughtered for some tasty bacon. Her fortune was given to a greedy family, her life was ripped into shreds from the night her parents were killed. Harriet never found happiness once in that lifetime.

But in some universes… Harriet remembered. She could recall the trunk being set on fire. Her mother's journal that she had barely touched sitting on top and being the first to turn into ash. She recollected the words that her aunt spoke to her. That she was being paid to abuse her, to beat the magic out of her, and that her mum was a witch.

She remembered the name of Albus Dumbledore and she let her anger fester her until it changed her entirely.

It was not the first time that Harriet Potter swore that she would destroy Albus Dumbledore. Nor would it be the last. But it was the first time in Harriet’s many universes that she had done so when she was seven years old. And as everybody knows- seven-year-olds are extremely dangerous.)

Chapter Text

'July 20th, 1971

It’s the day after going to Diagon Alley, and now I finally get to write the rest of the experience. I found out about so much of the wizarding world that it’s crazy! It’s strange to think that I belong in it too, because of how exotic everything felt like. They had different clothes, hairstyles, and even slang. I heard that they call non-magical people like mum and dad muggles. How interesting! They even have different types of money. They don’t use pounds or francs, they use something else entirely. Gold! And other metals. They are shaped a bit thicker than normal coins. Turns out they’re super expensive too. Galleons are like the biggest amount of money. Like how there are hundred-pound bills out there. They’re made out of gold. The goblins explained at the bank to my parents what the exchange rate was from wizard money to pounds, and I couldn’t quite grasp it. But my parents basically said that my wand was 175 pounds and I paid 7 galleons for it. So it was close to 25 pounds a galleon. And then there are the other coins which were sickles, which are silver and sort of the medium amount of money. And finally the bronze coin, which is called a knut. It’s the smallest. Like a pence. I remember it had some weird numbers for how much of each coin was worth to the other coin and it was like 27 and 19 and whatever but basically, I remember that it’s weird and wizard money is ridiculous.

Anyways, I think I like the wizarding world. But I am pretty certain that it isn’t as cool as the regular person world. Oh, excuse me. The muggle world. After all, I am a witch.

I’m tired. I stayed up last night going over some of my books which were really cool! I like the charms one. I can do a lot of stuff if I’m good at charms, and it says I can make things float or disappear and I think that it is good to learn the basics of magic if I ever want to vanish a rabbit from a hat.

Tunie also stayed up late. We share a bedroom and after midnight (which is awesome that I managed to stay up that late! I’ve never done that before) I wanted to sleep because I’m tired and Tunie didn’t want to. She kept her light on almost all night trying to read that stupid book she got. I could sleep with a pillow over my head to block out the light but she kept on randomly shouting words and waking me up. Things like, ‘up!’ and ‘move!’ and stupid stuff like that. Finally, I told her to shut up and go to bed and she told me that I could stuff it so I told her that I’d tell mum and dad that she was awake at 3 am reading a book and Tunie finally put it down and turned off the light.

She’s upstairs now. Still reading that beginners book to magic and saying words and pointing a finger at a spoon. Randomly I’ll hear her shouting and stuff but I’ve been ignoring it. I’ve been on the couch with my mum telling her about the charms and how they work. Mum is interested, and she’s starting to get it now. She didn’t before, I could tell that she didn’t know how to react about it. But I think last night changed things and mum and dad have started to get excited now about magic. I’m really happy about that. I was worried that they would never understand me anymore.’


 

‘July 29th, 1971

Tunie sent off a letter to Hogwarts. I didn’t know until she told me. I am happy. I want my sister to be with me. She’s the best sister I’ve ever had. But a part of me is sad because I wanted to do this on my own. But I also know I’ll be so lonely when I am gone. It’s a boarding school and my parents don’t like it either. But I guess I can’t just magically teleport myself there every morning.

Sev heard about Tunie going. She must’ve bragged or something because I didn’t tell him. He confronted her at the swingset and told her that she can’t go. She hasn’t an ounce of magical blood worthy to go to Hogwarts. Tunie got so upset she ran home in tears.

I told Sev that was mean of him. I also told him that blood doesn’t matter at all and if Tunie gets in then she gets in. No matter what her blood was.

He told me I was being stupid.

I told him he was stupid. But in a meaner way. I also called him a half-witted arse that didn’t know how to talk to girls and that he had cooties.

I ran away to home and spent the day trying to help Tunie control her magic. It has been unsuccessful so far, but I know that Tunie could get into Hogwarts if she tried. I don’t think I want to talk to Sev for now. He’s been mean recently.'


 

'August 2nd, 1971

So Tunie got a letter back from the Hogwarts headmaster. It told her that she couldn’t come because of various reasons. That there was no space. And that she wasn’t magical and that they didn’t want her to fall behind in her muggle studies. It was a load of hogwash and I told her so but Tunie didn’t really listen. She just went upstairs and slammed a bunch of doors and I think she tossed the book for magic out the window or something. I haven’t talked to Sev but I saw him for a little bit and he acted all smug. Guess he got the clue that he was right. I gave him the two-fingers. He didn’t look too smug after that so I guess that solved that and I went back inside.

I went and helped my mum bake that cake that Tunie tried to make. It didn’t burn but we figured out why it had. Turns out they misprinted the oven instructions and mum said it wasn’t right to have it in for that long and at that amount of heat. So instead we made it and checked on it every so often until it came out perfectly. I hope this will cheer up Tunie.'


 

'August 2nd, 1971 (in the evening)

Tunie broke my sugar quills.

She ripped her card from the chocolate frog into bits. I hope the man in the picture wasn’t hurt.

She even tried to get into my trunk but mum and dad were worried about me getting bullied because people might think I’m Scottish because of my red hair. They had a nice salesman give the trunk a lock on it that only I could open. They even made it so that it could shrink into the size of a matchbox if I tapped on it with my wand. Well, Tunie was so mad that she tried to get into it but I guess she wanted to ruin some of my other things that the trunk lock activated and it gave her blue spots all over her.

Serves her right for breaking my sugar quills.'


 

'August 19th, 1971

Tunie hasn’t talked to me. Well, actually she has. She told me that I shouldn’t touch her stuff (which I think was stupid because she tried to get into my trunk to get into MY stuff) and that she was mad that I baked her cake. Well jokes on her, mum and I found out that the cookbook is from America and they use some weird twisted up version of temperature and that is why it said we should bake it at 350 degrees. Tunie baked it in Celsius degrees. Dad did the math and it was supposed to be at 165 instead. When Tunie found out she got so mad that she told dad that she didn’t have time to do math when she was cooking and binned the book.

I saved it.

Because I like books and it wasn’t the book's fault for being American.

Tunie hasn’t talked to me. I said that before but now she really won't. She had to sit down and talk with mum and dad in hopes that they can figure out why she was so mad but it turns out that it’s just jealousy. Tunie is mad because I get to do magic. I guess Tunie doesn’t have any and she really wanted to have it. Mum and dad said that Tunie would figure it out in the end, and when I’m gone she’ll realize that she was being a bit of a dunderhead and apologize. I don’t know if I want to wait that long for Tunie to make up her mind. I’m lonely now.

Speaking of which, Sev has been everywhere. He’s tried to talk to me a few times but I don’t want to talk to him still. If he hadn’t said those words to Tunie then she wouldn’t have been as mad. Then she’d still like me and we’d both be whispering to each other about how magic school would be so cool. And how I’ll send her letters every day.

I miss Sev though. And I wish I could talk to him. I’m mad but I haven’t forgiven him yet and I am lonely. Mum and dad are trying their best but I just want my best friends back.'


 

'August 31st, 1971

Tomorrow I go to Hogwarts.

Mum has been frantic all day. Cleaning and cooking my last supper at home. She makes an amazing brisket and homemade mashed potatoes. Dad came home early and gave me a big hug and told me he’d miss me. Tunie didn’t really didn’t do much today but she hasn’t been super mean as she has been recently. So I think that’s her way of saying that she will miss me.

I am Lily Evans, 11 years old, and ready to face my new adventure. I’m sorry for the short entry, Mr. Journal, but it’s late and tomorrow I get to go ride a train to Hogwarts.

P.S. Also I found out that Hogwarts is in Scotland. I thought it was funny that dad thought that maybe I’d be bullied for having red hair and possibly being from Scotland. He thought it too until he said that maybe people might think I’m Irish. I wrinkled my nose at him and he laughed. He told me he loved me, and he hoped that I had a wonderful time learning about being a witch. I hugged him back and told him that he’d better have a great time being the dad of the best witch in Hogwarts.'


 

'September 2nd,1971

I got to Hogwarts yesterday! It was so eye-opening that I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have time to write about it! It was all so exhausting that as soon as I found my bed I just fell asleep, I didn’t even have time to write my parents an owl. (That’s what they call the post up here which I think is stupid. Just call it the post.) But I woke up this morning and sent them a letter saying everything that I am going to write down into you, Mr. Journal.

So after getting to the train station and walking through the pillar, I got on the train after saying goodbye to my parents. It was super busy, just like Diagon Alley, and there were kids everywhere. After getting on the train and it taking off, I found a compartment that was empty (there are a lot on this train) and I pulled out the charms book that I’ve been going over the last few weeks and after a while, there was a knock on the door. It was Sev. I hadn’t talked to him since the last time he insulted Tunie and he came in an apologized.

He said he missed me and that he was really sorry. And you know what? I missed him too. Lots, actually. So I accepted his apology in the grounds that he’d never do it again and Sev agreed. And then we caught up finally. After the awkwardness left we were finally back to normal and we chatted about some of the new stuff that we had learned. I told him about some of the charms that I have read about and he pulled out his new book and told me about how so many different plants have different abilities and stuff. I thought it was so cool and we traded books and he looked over the charms while I checked out the plants. I didn’t know that some of the plants that the wizardry world had different names that regular people use. Even I knew a few- like rosemary and garlic. Turns out that a lot of the plants just have different names and properties and stuff so most people don’t know they are the same thing. This book was really cool to read.

After we chatted some more we put on our school robes and we arrived! The train ride was forever long! I never knew that it would be that long. I hadn’t ever been in a car for that long. It was for seven whole hours! Crazy right?

Hogwarts wasn’t visible from the train. But a big man told us to follow him and we got into some boats and Sev and I sat next to each other and a quiet boy with scars on his face sat on the other side. We were all amazed to see Hogwarts come into view. It was astonishingly beautiful. I think I fell in love. With a castle.

After we got out of the boats we through a side door and from there we were escorted into the castle by a woman whose name is Professor McGonagall. She told us to wait for a bit and Sev and I looked at the portraits they had on the walls. They were just like Tunie's card, they moved around and even waved at us a few times. And at one point a couple of ghosts, yes REAL GHOSTS, came floating over to say hello.

After waiting the Professor came back and she lead us together towards a great hall. It was huge! Tables, longer than tables ought to be, were lined up. They were spaced far apart, but they took up so much room. And each one had colors. These must have been the different houses that Sev told me about forever ago. He said he wanted to be in the green one or even the blue house.

Well, the next part of my night went from pretty amazing to a little weird. A hat, an old worn out hat, opened up a ripped seam (the kind that mum would go bonkers over) and it sang to us.

I did not expect it.

I don’t think Sev did either as he jumped.

Anyways it basically told us about the houses and whatnot. Who cares. I didn’t really. But I could tell that Sev liked it. I get that the houses were for like, a point system. But I don’t think that they were that important.

So I got called up as one of the first. Evans starts with an ‘E’ after all. I went after a boy named something-something Black got up and apparently made some sort of weird statement by going into the red house. (It’s the one with the lion.) Everybody didn’t know how to react, but they clapped for him so I guess it was okay.

So I got up onto the stool and I did not expect the hat to speak to me. I thought it’s weird magic had the song and randomly selecting houses for kids. Guess not, silly me. Turns out it read minds.

Because why the bloody hell not.

(Sorry Journal, but your my journal and I can write swears in you. Tough luck.)

Anyways it asked me if I wanted to go to Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. And it even said that I could go to Hufflepuff if I wanted because I was really loyal. It asked me a few questions and finally, it asked something to which I answered, “I’d shove a damn broom up its bloody arse if it asked me another question” and it yelled out Gryffindor.

Turns out I went into the red house too.

I didn’t pay much attention to the other kids. Gryffindor got a few other kids, mostly the kind that roughhouse. I saw some poor fool with a haystack for hair chatting away loudly when there were other people to be sorted. Rude.

Then it was Sev’s turn! It took a few minutes and it told him to go to Slytherin. The green house. They were the only ones who really clapped. I noticed that a lot of people didn’t clap for him, which made me clap even harder. A few people on my table gave me odd looks but I ignored them.

The Headmaster said a few words which were mostly rubbish and the forest was ‘forbidden’ to go into. If they had a forest that nobody was supposed to be in, why would they not put in a fence or something? There had to be a magic wall or something to stop kids from getting killed by the ‘dangerous animals’ in there.

Wait, why are there dangerous animals in a forest nearby?

Well, I guess I’ll find out later. The wizarding world is kind of dumb in a few aspects. Maybe I’ll make a magic fence one day and get paid millions of pounds, er, galleons, to put it on the forest.

After dinner appeared, yes, it appeared out of nowhere! I ate lots of treacle tarts, they’re my favourite. A nice older student took all of the newer ones up a few flights of changing staircases until we found a portrait of an old lady with pearls on. I heard them call her the ‘Fat Lady’ which is super rude. Anyways they told us the password (Lemonweed) and the portrait opened up and there was a hidden room!

And it as beautiful. And cozy too. Couches everywhere, a roaring fireplace, cushions on every surface. I thought it was pretty amazing for our common room. And then Professor McGonagall came in and told us she was in charge of Gryffindor and that she was glad that we came into her house.

After giving us the rules, which are sensible, I should think, she sent us off to our rooms where I fell asleep quickly.

And there! You’re all caught up! I have to go now, magic to perform, cool things to learn and a best friend to catch up on all the gossip between our lives. I wonder where the green house lives? Perhaps there is another tower?'


 

'September 14th, 1971

It’s almost been two weeks since school has started. Things have certainly changed, some for the good and others maybe not, but I think things are great so far. I like my classes, although I’m pants at transfiguration. I’m decent at charms, but we’ve only tried out one spell so far and we’ve mostly only talked about the technical stuff about charms. It’s boring. Not quite the kind of class I thought it’d be but I hope it gets more interesting after we get through the beginner stuff. But potions on the other hand, now that is a favourite class. Professor Slughorn, who is also the teacher in charge of Slytherin, is the potions teacher and he’s so fun to be around. I don’t even have to use my wand to make potions! He taught us so much stuff, I honestly felt like it was cooking at the beginning. How to chop this how to cut that, it’s different but it matters when making a potion. It’s really important that you follow the directions, as some classmates of mine found out. The kid with the awful hair (he’s been a right pain in the arse if you ask me. He’s been bothering some of the Slytherins, along with that Black who everybody talks about. Apparently, families stay in certain houses, and Black commonly go to Slytherin. I don’t really care about that though) managed to cut his leeks (which are called Allium Ampeloprasum) lengthwise and it blew up his cauldron. They should have been cut at an angle but he didn’t listen to Slughorn.

On another note, that book of Sev’s is amazing. I didn’t know I’d find it so useful to know what properties that potion ingredients have, but it makes more sense to me. Like if you bake a cake there is the rising agent and the egg to bind them all together. Each ingredient has a purpose. And being able to look at some proper potion recipes, I can usually tell what the idea of the potion is. But Sev is much better at it than me. I think he has the book memorized now.

Some other good stuff about school so far is that I made friends! A nice girl who is also in Gryffindor whose name is Alice Prewett. And another girl who is in Ravenclaw, Pandora Fortescue. Alice is the sweetest girl I’ve ever met and Pandora is crazy smart. She’s good at making her own spells up. I like them both a lot and I think they like me. It’s good to have friends that aren’t my moody older sister and a boy. Not that I don’t like Sev, but sometimes he doesn’t know girl stuff.

Anyways. Now onto the bad stuff. There is like a whole system with the houses that I can’t seem to understand. Well, I guess I can but I am confused as to why teachers let it happen. So when we were sorted they said that the people with the most traits go to certain houses. Now that they are sorted they seem like they all act like just those few traits. Ravenclaws only read books and are at the top of the class. They don’t like it when other people are better at them because only the ‘Claws can be good at smart stuff. Hufflepuffs are loyal but to a fault. But they are the friendliest house out of the bunch so I can’t find a lot of problems with them. But the worst is the rivalry against Slytherin and Gryffindor! It’s insufferable. Lions don’t like snakes because they’re sneaky and the snakes hate the lions because they act like idiots. And they do! It’s the worst because Sev is my best friend and everybody hates him on principle.

So yeah. Magic is fun. Society as a whole is the worst.


 

It’s surprising to see how much a person can change in such little time. Harriet went from being meek and attentive to her relative's moods into being withdrawn and absentminded.

The Dursleys didn’t really notice. Not one bit. Sure Petunia had a few times where she enjoyed slapping Harriet around when the girl didn’t notice her snapping fingers. But other than that, the Dursleys didn’t notice that Harriet kept to herself more often. No longer was Harriet jumping for Petunia’s every wait and demand. No longer did she have the desire to make her Aunt and Uncle look at her with fondness, the kind of looks they gave Dudley. The thoughts that had once plagued Harriet, the kind that said that only if she was better then they would love her more, ceased.

It wasn’t like that desire wasn’t there anymore, no. Harriet had other things to think about.

Harriet was pulling herself into a new direction. Night after night, when she was certain that the Dursleys were in bed asleep, she’d click on her light and read her mother journal (not a diary). She didn’t dare read it when they were awake. The chances of them discovering it was too great that Harriet put it down. She’d nap during the day when Aunt Petunia left her alone. Some days she’d get no sleep. Aunt Petunia wanted her to be outside in the hot weather weeding the garden. Harriet learned that she liked it when the sun was out, and when the rain wasn’t coming down because she could hide in the rose bushes and sleep without Aunt Petunia noticing. Harriet couldn’t nap easily when it was raining on her.

Some days were worse. Those were the days that Dudley would come after her. With his gang of minions, Harriet had to dodge and weave in order to get them off her trail. Some days she was successful, only coming home when she had no choice. (Uncle Vernon would yell at her being ungrateful and for not doing the chores. Aunt Petunia would loudly tell her that her mum should have aborted her and that she wasn’t going to have any food for a week. And those were the good days.) And on other days, it was when Dudley and his team of brainless hench-people shared their two brain cells and something bright might have occurred. Those were the terrible days when they’d find her or corner her and then beat her to the ground. Harriet learned that she had to cover her face and head when they got her on the ground after suffering from another headache that seemed to churn her empty stomach.

Summer was closing to an end in Surrey. Although the days were long and hot, the school months were crawling closer. Believe it or not, Harriet looked forwards to school. Dudley and his group always bemoaned the endless days trapped in a classroom, but Harriet enjoyed the time away from number 4 Privet Drive. She got to go into a nice classroom where she didn’t have to clean everything, got a meal every day for lunch, and didn’t have to spend every waking moment being called a freak. Harriet figured that school was pretty much the closest thing that she could get to freedom while living with the Dursleys. Sometimes her teachers were nice, but she knew that the ones that got along with Aunt Petunia were the ones who didn’t really like her. It had happened twice already, and those school years had been, while tolerable, awful in a sense. Better than being in her cupboard for ages though. There are a few times where Harriet was around when Uncle Vernon wasn’t having a good day and Aunt Petunia had to call in for Harriet a few times. But on the bright side, Harriet knows that they can’t keep her in her cupboard forever when school was in session, just a few weeks here or there.

And lately, the cupboard hasn’t felt like a punishment anymore. Sometimes Harriet desperately wished that she could be in there instead of within Aunt Petunia’s watchful sight. Harriet used to hate it sometimes, how the Dursley’s could easily banish her back into her hole once she wasn’t useful to them anymore. But now… Harriet liked the quiet. She liked the darkness and being able to read. She was able to pick it up faster now that she could read words better. The only noise that could be heard during the night was the sound of pages being turned.

Harriet read her mum’s story. About how she enjoyed learning about magic at Hogwarts. How she made a friend named Alice, a kind girl who couldn’t hurt a fly. About how Sev was still friendly, although some of the people in his house were dicks. About how she excelled in potions, but her transfiguration skills were dismal. She read about her mum’s darkest secrets, her thoughts and feelings, her animosity against Black and another boy who she called a Half-Brained Twit. How they picked on Sev and the other boys from Slytherin. Her feelings on the fact that houses were apparently a huge deal, and how they outcasted others because they weren’t in their houses. She read on, talking about her frustrations and happiness on a potion and delight with Sev with their success. They were potions partners. Harriet read until her mum came home from school, and how her sister was still bitter with her. Lily’s frustration with her sister.  Harriet read until she couldn’t anymore, learning more and more about the wonderful magical school that awaited her at 11. Day after day, night after night, Harriet survived under her relatives care and learned about her mum during the darkest hours when she was awake.

Things softly began to change once again. As time continues on indiscriminately, the changes to Harriet came as a fleeting thought or a touch of wonder here or there. It was like a domino effect that never showed the picture as a whole, as the differences that were appearing were too small to notice. Not even Harriet could see what she was slowly becoming, as she stayed in her cupboard for the rest of the summer. As August stepped boldly forward into September when leaves were turning into different shades. October came smoothly, transitioning into the cooler months. Leaves began to fall when finally- the first large instance of Harriet’s new self began to immerge.

It was a single thought. It felt like a sliver of light had touched Harriet’s mind and vanished. And within that second, Harriet’s point of view up and shifted two steps to the left. Of course, it could be also contributed to the fact that Harriet was lying on the cement of a sidewalk as Dudley and his gang of poorly disguised monsters stood over her.

'They don’t have a single original insult out of all of them.’ Harriet’s enlightening thought appeared. Shifting her from the old Harriet into the new one.

It was true though. Every single one of the five seven-year-olds was just repeating the same word over and over again. Freak.

“-nothing, freak.” Dudley was saying again. And Harriet shifted herself up off the ground, her emotions almost feeling numb by the absence of… what? She didn’t know. But suddenly the looming presence of Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia’s wrath was gone. Harriet… She suddenly didn’t seem to care about it anymore. She didn’t care at all.

Staring Dudley in the face, Harriet wondered what on earth could somebody see in him. The moment felt long as Dudley leaned in to push her into the ground. Harriet didn’t have to stop him, the look on her face made him hesitate. And using a delightful arsenal from her mum’s journal, Harriet retaliated.

“At least I’m not failing class, you half-witted piece of shit. Mummy and Daddy are paying your teachers off because you can’t even read.” Harriet steadily spoke in one breath. Then stepped forwards. “If you call me a freak or your buddies try and hurt me again, I’ll show you exactly why your parents are so afraid of me.”

“Mum and Dad aren’t scared of you.” Dudley jerked forwards to reply as if he was caught off guard.

“Your Dad puts a lock on his gun safe to keep people out, yeah?” Harriet said. “Well, they put a lock on my cupboard door to keep me inside.”

Dudley swallowed. He and his cronies didn’t look as confident as before. Figuring that Harriet said something rather logical, and they were seven. Most children are gullible to a degree, and Dudley even more so. And with one sharp movement towards Dudley, he and his small wannabe gang took to the streets.

Harriet stood by herself in the empty alley. Her injuries, although minor, throbbed with every pulse. The sun was at her back, and she stared at her shadow lengthened until it seemed huge. The first step of her change gave Harriet an idea. She could fight back. She didn’t have to take whatever bullshite that her family gave to her. Steel crept up her back and it was at this moment that Harriet began to grow a spine.

Even when she gave in that night and walked home to Privet Drive, where Uncle Vernon was waiting for her, Harriet’s first few steps into becoming her own person were tremendous. Beaten black and blue, to the point where Harriet knew that she wouldn’t be able to go to school for a few weeks at least. Harriet bit her tongue and waited until she was thrown into her cupboard to really think.

It was in the dead of night when there came a small muffled thump from inside of the cupboard. And Harriet set aside her mother's journal for the night to peruse her mother's many books hidden in her trunk. And from there, she made a few discoveries that would forever change her life.


 

(Out of this day, 4,524 universes were created. Not too many in the grand scale of things, but enough that it was yet again a memorable day. They were mostly small differences that didn’t make a single difference in Harriet’s decision when it came to her family. Once again, small changes do not make the outcome any different, nor do they have much of an effect upon the world. But Harriet herself was the one who made the large changes this particular day. Upon threatening her cousin, while her emotions were high, Harriet could have had a chance of accidental magic. Scaring off her cousin and his friends, she would have come home to a murderous Uncle Vernon who didn’t take prisoners that night.

1,891 universes ended that night with Harriet’s death. Of course, in most of those, she went out swinging. Uncle Vernon was either scarred for life or harmed so badly that he had to quit Grunnings and live on disability funding from the government. Aunt Petunia, unable to survive with the sudden loss of income from both her husband and her niece (who had to stay alive for her payments each month), left in the middle of the night leaving Dudley and his father.

The two of them sold the house and lived elsewhere until Dudley was old enough to realize his father was a murderer and then reported him to the authorities. Dudley bounced around the system until he aged out, found a wonderfully nice woman to marry him, joined the army, and had a steady job until Petunia floated back into his life. Petunia, although abandoning her child early in his life, wanted his undivided attention and love. She would verbally (and sometimes physically) attack the woman who he married. After boundary stomping, being a general bitch, violating a restraining order that Dudley had placed on her, and trying to kidnap Dudley’s two-month-old child, she ended up in the same place that Vernon did. Jail.

102 universes had Dudley changing his life around. After seeing what strange magical abilities his cousin had, Dudley had experienced what some might call a mid-life crisis at the age of seven. He was not the youngest person who had ever had a crisis like that, but he was definitely on the younger side of the scale. Dudley, upon seeing the vast difference between his parent's treatment of him and his cousin, found himself unable to stop seeing it. He hadn’t been aware of all the abuse before, he was so used to it that he thought it was normal. But he watched on as his dad yelled and hit his cousin, about how his mum always made her make food but never gave anything for her to eat. He knew sometimes what it felt to be hungry but he couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to starve.

Finally, one day Dudley did the unthinkable. He asked his teacher at school why his parents hit Harriet and why they didn’t like her. It brought a landslide of accusations and Dudley and his cousin being taken away to different families. It wasn’t until Dudley was at the court to testify that his mum saw him. Petunia and Vernon lost the case as Petunia did the unthinkable- she slapped her son and called him a freak.

Dudley was placed with a nice family and they treated him well. Although not as pampered as he was once used to. Harriet had been placed somewhere else as she had to stay in the hospital for a while due to malnutrition. The then nine-year-old Dudley, as this took place over several years due to court being held up, was happy. And he got to see his cousin every other weekend and they got along fairly well. Dudley lost weight, and he was able to get help where he needed it at school. Turns out dyslexia is a bitch when his mum denied anything was wrong with him.

Then one night he woke up needing a glass of water. That night, he met strangely clad men in dresses in his foster parent's kitchen. He hadn’t even a chance to make a noise as they bespelled him and obliviated his memories.

The next day, Dudley woke up in his first bedroom with his mum giving him a plate full of bacon and eggs, saying that he looked too skinny. His father was downstairs reading the newspaper before work, and the freak was under the stairs.

Out of the 102 universes, only 1 Dudley remembered. Who really knows why. Perhaps he had a smidge of magic in his blood from his Aunt Lily that had protected him. He was as muggle as muggle could be. But that one Dudley was still just a child, and after having a mental break down when seeing his mum, spent the night in a psychiatric hospital. That same night, disappearing men and pointy sticks appeared once again to clear up a few loose ends.

Perhaps, if Dudley hadn’t been so young, he could have perhaps coped with the sudden change and came up with a plan to remove himself and his shy cousin away from his abusive parents. He could have come up with plans to deter a rather famous and stubbornly impossible wizard that ruled over too many lives. If Dudley hadn’t been nine, and perhaps a bit older, he could have saved his cousin from countless heartaches.

But alas, we will never find out. In any universe out there, with however many billions upon billions of them, Dudley had never been sorted into Slytherin. He was honestly more of a Hufflepuff than what people believed.)

Chapter Text

“Bombarda!” Harriet whispered, pointing her finger at the door of her cupboard. Closing her eyes, Harriet tried to see if something felt any different. The stupid school book laid slumped halfway open next to her legs as she sat on the floor. The book said that magic was all inner and how Harriet should be able to feel it and make it do what she wanted it to do. But instead, Harriet felt like a ninny.

“Bombarda!” Harriet whispered again, this time with more force. Her face scrunched up as she focused as hard as she could. And yet, nothing still seemed to happen.

It was the middle of the day, Aunt Petunia was gone and Harriet was still recovering from her injuries that Uncle Vernon had inflicted on her a few days prior. And Harriet was still black and blue, aching from head to toe. She didn’t get fancy things like Dudley did when he complained about being hurt. She didn’t get medicine when she had a headache.

It was a bitter pill to swallow when Harriet figured out that her aunt and uncle were not the kinds of people who didn’t care. They wouldn’t even look twice, even if Harriet tried to be as normal as she could. And she couldn’t. Harriet refused to be normal, or even be close to average. She was just like her mum, a witch. With magic powers. That refused to work!

Harriet’s frustration and anger were amplified by her aching body. She finally pointed at the door with all her might and finally yelled as loud as she dared, “bombarda!

The door to her cupboard did not explode.

Harriet yelled. She swore. She said things that would have frightened Dudley and Aunt Petunia. Perhaps even Uncle Vernon, although who can say if he even had enough brain cells to compute some of the words that she spoke. Harriet grabbed the book and threw it into the wall. ‘Defence Against the Dark Arts Year 7’ fell to the ground, as Harriet pulled out another book in a stack that she had been perusing through and it followed the first one. Soon enough, ‘Charms Against Evil’ and ‘Feeling Your Inner Magic (And Destiny)’ were flung across the small space.

Harriet yelled and hollered until she didn’t have breath for it anymore. She spent days- and what had felt like forever- going through these stupid books and for the life of her Harriet couldn’t figure it out. She had magic! She did the thing! She pointed (albeit without a wand) and said the magic words and nothing happened! What else did she have to do? Her mum didn’t write specifics about her classes in Hogwarts, she just said that she liked them or that she didn’t. And that didn’t help at all. Harriet wanted to use it now! She wanted to make the Dursleys to stop hitting her and to leave her alone!

Frustrated, Harriet fell back onto her small mattress and stared up at the dusty ceiling. Then all the rage left her, making her feel empty. Even more so than usual, because she hadn’t eaten anything in a while. Feeling drained, she began to think.

Harriet knew she had magic. How else could she explain all the strange occurrences in her life? Or how her Aunt Petunia treated her? She had magic, and that was an actual fact. But she couldn’t use it? Her mum always mentioned that having a wand was important. But how was Harriet suppose to get a wand? Were wands actual magic sticks or normal sticks that helped a magic person? Her mum had gotten it at the magic shopping district. The most frustrating part was that her mum never explained where it was! Just in an old bar that people had a hard time seeing it, which was not helpful at all.

Without magic, Harriet felt helpless. It was her safety net that could protect her from the Dursleys. Without the comfort of knowing that she had power that her relatives didn’t have, she’d be scared again. The terror that was a gut punch that left her gasping for breath without anybody touching her. Knowing that her uncle wouldn’t be afraid of getting rid of her and that if she stepped out too far of line then he’d cut her down. Her aunt was worse, in some ways. Berating her all the time, standing over her while she cooked and cleaned, never she never had a moments peace until Harriet was told to go back into her cupboard with only a slice of bread.

Magic was her defense, and without being able to access it, Harriet was scared.

And there was one thing that Harriet knew now. She refused to let herself be frightened by her relatives anymore. Yes, they were scary, and they did hurt her quite often. But Harriet didn’t want them to be able to have that emotional grip that constricted her every move. With magic, she could do anything she wanted! And yet... she couldn’t. But that didn’t mean that she has given up.

Harriet finally sat up after her tantrum and gazed at the enlarged trunk where it was sitting. The books were still left in a pile, but Harriet didn’t bother to put them back. Instead, she softly clambered over to the open trunk and peered down at the books. There were lots of them, her mum was smart. Super smart that she took all the advanced classes. These books were for smart people, and Harriet wasn’t quite that intelligent yet. But there had to be something that was easy in the trunk. Her mum had to have kept her old stuff in here. She had even written about her sister Tunie would throw her stuff away if she left it at home.

And so, Harriet began to sift through the books. The nice, and yet strange, thing about her mum's trunk was how weird it was about space. Harriet had found out by accident that she could pull up on the shelves and they’d bring out more shelves of books. Harriet had no clue how many books her mum had but there was so much space that no matter how much she pulled and pushed on the shelves there would be new books every time. Magic was unexplainable. Harriet loved it. And so, Harriet began to peruse through the books, picking up a few to see if there was anything useful in it before she put it back.

There were a few items that caught Harriet’s attention. There were three whole shelves just full of magazines. Like, they were packed in there. There had to be hundreds, and when Harriet had finally pulled one out after struggling to get it free, she did not expect to see something that Aunt Petunia would read. Harriet had once or twice accompanied Aunt Petunia to her hairdressers and was told that she was to stay put. Well, Harriet saw these sort of magazines there. Bit bold words at the top, along with a shocking picture of a couple, along with a few words that enticed a scandalous story.

The main differences that Harriet saw were that the name of the magazine was called ‘The Quibbler,’ and that it had moving pictures. Just like her mum had said. In bold words across the page, it said, ‘Jeffery the Dinosaur Stomps Out Dumerufikins!’ On the page, it had a big reptile that snapped at Harriet’s fingers and roared. Underneath the bold words, were smaller but colorful words in a different typo that said, ‘Damn That Dinosaur.’

Harriet flipped through it, but other than some advise on how to keep the snortlaks out of your hair, she didn’t find it very enlightening for her cause. But that didn’t stop her from putting it into the potentially useful pile. Maybe because she wanted to see what wizard gossip was, maybe she also wanted to look at the pictures that moved and disappeared, but perhaps it was mostly because Harriet thought it would be intriguing to read.

Harriet found very little items in her mum’s trunk. She picked through it, pulling out the book and skimming the beginning chapter to see if it would help, but she couldn’t even understand the first sentence. What did swishing mean? Charms really had it out for her. And don’t even let Harriet get started on all of the defense books that she found. Some of them contradicted each other. One said that garlic would keep vampires away, while another said that the scent was simply annoying but would not sway the vampires from their food. What is the truth?? Harriet wanted to know because maybe vampires might attack the Dursleys or something. Not that Harriet would help them, but because she might want to survive as well.

It wasn’t until Harriet pulled the shelves down until they stopped. They didn’t move any further downwards, and that Harriet figured out that she finally found the end. While the other bookshelves were filled, the last shelf only held two books. One caught Harriet’s eye immediately. ‘Ingredients and Why They Do What They Do’ by E. Weasley. She picked it up, the battered book had clearly seen some days. The pages were dog-eared, and a few pages were loose and nearly falling out of the binding. And yet, when Harriet opened the cover all she could think about how her mum spoke about this book often in her first year. How knowing all about the ingredients had really helped her succeed in potions…

Which didn’t need a wand.

Harriet clutched the book closer to herself. Yes, that’s right. Her mum had mentioned that potions didn’t need a wand! After her first year, Lily Evans only spoke about how Slughorn made her go to his parties. She didn’t talk much about potions, only that she made them successfully.

Harriet found her lifeline. She was about to start digging into it when the other book finally caught her eye. It didn’t look like the other books, nor the magazines, as it looked like a bunch of pieces of paper that were stitched together. There was some semblance of a cover placed on it, but it was made out of leather. On the outside, it said ‘The Marauders Componium For Pranks, Mischief, and General Revenge.’

The revenge caught Harriet’s eye because, well. That was what she was pretty much looking for. The homemade book, because it couldn’t be anything else than that, was surprisingly thick. Flipping over the leather cover, which bent easily under Harriet’s careful hands, she read the beginning page.

‘This book is for those who laugh in the face of adversity. For the people who are beaten down for being something that you didn’t choose to be. For having laughs with your best friends, even when one of them is bleeding from head to toe. For the outcasted and abandoned, for the ones who have been disowned by their families, and for those who can’t get the pretty girl. Those of you who’d wish to learn about the great and powerful Marauders, we invite you to solemnly swear that you are up to no good.

Sincerely, Padfoot, Moony, Wormtail, and Prongs.

 

P.S. My Dearest Lily,

I know this is a rather odd gift to give you on Valentine's day, but believe me when I say I didn’t know what to get you. You are the smartest witch in our entire year, and I honestly couldn’t figure out what could be the best romantic gift for you. Roses are overdone. They’re out of style. Candy from Honeydukes doesn’t pass anymore because every girl gets some. But since you’re the smartest witch I’ve ever known, I’d figure I’d give you the book where me and my best mates put our two cents together and made some of the best bloody spells in history. And yes, I do have their permission to give this to you. Sirius said that it was super nerdy that I was giving you a book on Valentine's day, but in reality, I think I won in the idea department this year.

Love,

James Potter

P.S.S. Yes, I did have Moony write this for me. He actually wrote the whole book because he writes like a girl a majestic manly man.’

 

Harriet felt her breath leave her in a whoosh. She stared at the name, then reached up and touched it. Her fingers gingerly touching and tracing it over and over again. Her dad’s name was James.

Her dad’s name was James.

She closed her eyes and took in deep breaths. Then let them out, a little shakier than before. Harriet retraced the name again, over and over. Memorizing it. Imprinting it into her memory. So that if one day… one day the Dursley’s really do beat her silly, she could still remember the name, James.

After taking a long moment, Harriet opened the leather book to the next page and began to read. After all, her dad said that he put the best bloody spells in history in here, Harriet figured she should know them. Little did Harriet know, there was a small section in the back of the book that contained potion recipes. And armed with her encyclopedia of plants and potion knowledge, Harriet could take the world one day without her really trying.


 

(It is quite funny that parallel universes have not been mentioned yet. They do exist. In fact, in the barest sense, all universes are connected enough to consider every one of them to be parallel to each other. However, for the beings that rule and guide the universes, we do not group them all into the same pile of shit and call it good. We can’t do that otherwise we won’t get paid. Damn capitalism. And damn that dinosaur for making it.

No, in reality, there are a few things about parallel universes that make them different and yet the same. Every time that there is a new universe created, they are still connected to the original universe that they originated from. How they are connected? Well, it’s simple, it’s time itself. Every universe must have a past. Otherwise, the future cannot be made. For example, how could a dinosaur wipe out so much of reality and create so much misery? Because the dinosaur was in the past. Near the beginning of time, Jeffery the damned dinosaur was able to take fixed points of existence and wipe them out because universes are anchored and interconnected with the original universe. And Jeffery happened to be one of the luckiest bastards who was created in the original universe and used his evil god-forsaken power to destroy everything that was decent. At least potato chips survived the calamity.

That also being said, universes are only created by time moving forward. Every second happens in every universe. Time itself does not slow itself down, it does not speed up, it will not or cannot and so every universe uses the same time to push itself onwards. If one could imagine, if every universe was placed on a line graph, and every new decision that created a new cosmos was simply one line down but still followed the same path. And thus, created the term parallel universes. They do not touch. And they cannot touch. Time itself, a powerful force that cannot be reckoned with, will not allow it.

However, due to the higher-ups demanding we organize things, the term parallel universe also means universes that are vastly different that also follow the same path. How we are able to figure things out whether or not two different universes are considered to be parallel is pretty much a list with boxes to check off on.

Does this universe have unicorns? Check.

Does this universe have three ducks living in a pond? Check.

Does this universe have three llamas that terrorize a neighboring village? Check.

Does this universe have sugar-cane coke product that’s only mass produced in Mexico for a high profit? Check.

Okay! It’s parallel.

And so, it is to say that once upon a time Harriet Potter found her mothers trunk. And within hours of opening it, she had it torn from her. That Harriet Potter remembered when everybody else forgot. She let the name of Albus Dumbledore fester the rage within her, and that Harriet Potter found power wherein the Original Harriet Potter did not. Within days, Harriet found where her magic intertwined within her soul and she began to use it to her advantage. At first, it was hard, but magic is like a muscle. It must be used for it to grow stronger and it did.

That Harriet Potter sat in her darkened cupboard, staring at nothing while her relatives sat on the couch with the telly on. Her cupboard had new jewelry, newly installed locks as punishment for the neighbors complaining about strange things happening around them. Aunt Petunia had grown wary, and Uncle Vernon had simply locked up the freak even more.

Harriet Potter stared at the wall in the dark, her hair falling into her face. And during a lull in the television program, the Dursleys began to hear odd clicking noises. Vernon had just enough time to look over to see a lock unlocking itself and hitting the floor as it was removed by an invisible force. He stared, horrified, as the door to the cupboard opened and saw the freak looking back at him. Harriet smiled, baring her teeth in a savage grin.

Does this universe have Harriet Potter? Check.

Does this universe have Harriet reading her mum’s journal first few chapters? Check.

Does this universe have Harriet finding the book ‘Ingredients and Why They What They Do’ at some point before going to Hogwarts? Check.

Does this universe have Harriet ultimately finding a way to ruin Albus Dumbledore’s carefully plotted plans? Check.

They’re parallel universes!)

 

Chapter Text

The next few years were not very remarkable for Harriet. At least, that is what other people thought. Neighbors always looked down at Harriet for being that ‘troublemaker kid’ who that nice lady Petunia housed. And it wasn’t like Harriet acted any different to their expectations. She loitered around the park when it was empty and dark. She was regularly greeted by her neighbors but never responded. How rude. And Mr. Perkins fully believes that she has been the one who has been raiding his herb garden. (However, the gossip mill only works when the accusations against the victim sound plausible. A ten year old messing around an old man's herbs doesn’t sound very realistic.) Her school teachers had problems with her getting to participate in class. In class, group activities were never completed, even when they moved her into different groups. Harriet hardly ever spoke, always doing her work silently. A brilliant child, her teachers would say, but too quiet. Harriet would fill out her tests and complete her homework (if it wasn’t stolen away by her cousin to be cheated off of), and so her teachers decided that it was best to leave her alone.

And Harriet rather preferred it that way.

In all sense of appearances, Harriet fulfilled the expectations of others. Whether or not if her neighbors believed that she was a hooligan, she sort of fit into that role. Her teachers let her be the studious quiet type, off in the corner reading. Hell, the cashier at the grocery store thought that she was a responsible kid for picking up food for her family and Harriet acted like it. She didn’t really mean to do this, it was all sort of accidental. Perhaps it was because she had stopped caring about the opinions of others. When it came down to the fact that nobody could or would bother enough to listen to her, Harriet had done the same to the rest of society around her. And that somehow made her fall into her niche. Everybody had an opinion about her, and Harriet didn’t care enough to tell them otherwise.

Which also included her family. Aunt Petunia was convinced that her niece was a freak, and her husband and son picked up that opinion and ran with it. Harriet had long since dropped any sort of affection for her relatives. They were just people that she lived with and occasionally tormented. Although the tormenting happened often, just without them realizing it. Harriet had been called a freak almost every day of her life, and so when it came to her ‘freakiness’ Harriet threw herself into it. Ever since Harriet had found her mum’s school trunk, she dedicated herself to learning and exploring its contents.

At first, it had been hard. Figuring out how to make a potion, which potion to make, what ingredients did she have near her to use, when she could brew it without her aunt noticing- it was a struggle. But Harriet could recall the first time she had accidentally melted the pot on the stove. And the resulting rash on her arms when she had to use some of her old rag clothes to mop it up. If she had used towels then Aunt Petunia would have noticed them missing and the blame would have fallen on her again. It still did, when the absent pot was noticed. The second time was better because Harriet figured out (by practicing whenever she made the Dursleys food) the proper cuts and techniques for the potions ingredients. Thankfully, Dudley had never questioned why carrots were cubed, and the Dursley’s had left her alone on that part.

The second time that Harriet tried her hand at a potion, it wasn’t perfect. In fact, she was halfway convinced that she made some sort of poison. Harriet at the time didn’t actually want to kill her relatives, and so she decided to test it on Miss Figg's cats. The cat survived and went home with an upset stomach, and Harriet truly figured out the real power that she held in her hands (after she washed them because, wow it was gross).

That night, all of the Dursleys had explosive diarrhea. There were only two bathrooms in the house.

Harriet stayed awake that night, listening to the muffled movements and the curses that floated down the stairs. She stared at the ceiling in the dark, a wide triumphant smile on her face. That night all she could think about was how she had done this. She was the one at fault. And it was wonderful knowing that.

And from there Harriet’s mind seemingly exploded with ideas of all the mischief that she could cause. At age seven, she knew she couldn’t do anything absolutely mind-boggling. Real magic that could make rocks turn into dogs, or chairs dance when you sit in them, they were off limits. But it was the small things. Harriet didn’t even have to use potions to cause trouble in the Dursley household. The salt shaker was jammed (Harriet had found Uncle Vernon’s superglue in the garage) when Dudley wanted it. That meant Dudley had a meltdown and Uncle Vernon doing his best to twist the top around until the metal inside of it snapped. It’s happened twice now. Or when Harriet would leave the toilet seat up. Aunt Petunia hated it. She always badgers Dudley or Vernon to stop leaving it up. Once, on a memorable day, Aunt Petunia hadn’t noticed that it was up before sitting down. It was one of the most brilliant days Harriet could remember. She could still hear Aunt Petunia’s shriek of disgust and shock echo throughout the house.

Every once in a while, Harriet would break out the big guns. Especially if her relatives had blamed her for something that she didn’t cause, or if they hurt her simply because they felt like it. Now that she was a little bit older, they were comfortable in demanding her to do chores and then leaving her to do her business. Harriet guessed that they were so used to having a slave around that they didn’t really notice her anymore. But the few times that they did ended up badly for Harriet.

And so bad things started to happen around the Dursleys. Oh? Dudley breaks out in a rash from touching a strawberry? Take him to the doctor immediately! (Ironically, Harriet had doused the strawberries in a potion that would cause hives. Turns out he’s hypersensitive to ginger that caused the rash. In the end, strawberries were banned from the house because the doctor declared Dudley to allergic to them.) Uncle Vernon had to wake up early for his job? Oops! He slept in. Aunt Petunia wanted to go gab with the neighbors? Oh no, she suddenly felt sick and stayed in the house that night. (Harriet had doused her hairbrush with a particular potion that would give the recipient a bad hair day. It was wonderful and Harriet figured out that her Aunt looked awful with frizzy hair.)

By the time that Harriet had hit nine, she felt rather bored by her potion abilities. She had spent nearly every night for years consuming her mum’s books on potions. She loved ‘Ingredients and Why They Do What They Do’ the best, but the rest were insightful on why certain potions also needed to have counterbalances in order for the potion to have the right end result. The books that introspectively looked at potions were her favorite, rather than the books for school. Those seemed dumbed down and didn’t teach much about the logistics of potions.

And so, at age nine Harriet figured out that she wanted to create her own potion. Her very own brand of mischief. Armed with her knowledge and having the small disadvantage of having absolutely no magical ingredients whatsoever, Harriet was determined that she would succeed. She picked out her main ingredients. Allium cepa. Phaseolus vulgaris. Onions and beans. Then her second string of components followed shortly. Saccharum officinarum which is sugar cane, milk, and egg yolks.

Onions and beans cause gas. Sugar cane (which Harriet figures white sugar should be a good substitute), milk, and egg yolks were more of a delayed factor. Adding in a few other pieces, like thyme and cherry pits, Harriet figured that she should be able to make a potion that could cause the biggest smelliest farts but interspace them so that it’ll happen at inopportune moments.

When Aunt Petunia was at her class, Harriet pulled out a pot that she had smuggled from a neighbors house (when she had been invited there for a drink of water, bless you Miss Figg), and began on her first batch on what she hoped to call the ‘Tooting Potion.’ It failed, and Harriet had to find another pot before she could make her next batch. Miss Figg couldn’t figure out where her pans were going to and kept replacing them.

Harriet was nine and a half when she finally succeeded. She kept it, like all the others, in mason jars that she hid in the crevices in her cupboard. The beams supporting the weight of the stairs crisscrossed and made little hidey holes where Harriet could store her supplies and whatever magical book she was studying at the time. And throughout those six months, Harriet dove deep into the philosophical and theoretical ideas of potion making. And by the time that she emerged with her hand tightly wrapped around a jar full of green liquid, Harriet figured out what she wanted to be in her life.

Something about the potions clicked inside of her. Being able to problem solve and push through her failed experiments over and over again ignited a flame that intertwined itself into her very being. Harriet loved the process of making a potion, and she was able to learn so much about it by simply being able to make her own creation. Looking back at it now, Harriet couldn’t tell you why she had to stir three times clockwise, and then once more after five seconds. But now she could say it was because the potion needed four stirs to properly dispel the solution that was forming on the top, however causing it to over stimulate will agitate the temperature into flexing and thus would decrease the quality of the potion. Allowing it to wait five seconds before the fourth turn would allow it to regain equilibrium. Before Harriet was simply good at potions because she followed the instructions left to her. Now Harriet was great at potions because she simply knew too much about them.

And as for the tooting potion, well. Harriet liked to save it for when Aunt Marge appeared with her mutt. The dog hated her, and Harriet felt the same. However, Ripper also found out that Harriet could taste really bad if it tried to bite her. (Thank goodness she had leftover jalapeno pepper oil that she had smeared onto her pants.) Aunt Marge has yet to learn that lesson. Even when Ripper figured that she was too much of a hassle to mess with, Aunt Marge took cheap shots at Harriet. Even Aunt Petunia didn’t talk about Harriet’s mum. Maybe because she felt guilty for abandoning her sister after her fifth year at Hogwarts. Perhaps it was leaving Lily to take care of their ailing parents, and only coming to the funeral afterward. Petunia had left her sister long ago and simply didn’t speak about her. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, couldn’t stop herself.

Harriet didn’t hold back much. Whatever could go wrong went wrong when Marge was around. Harriet made sure that she was far away when these things happened. As stupid as Uncle Vernon was, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a bunch of coincidences and bothersome things happened too often when Marge was around. Conveniently, Harriet was out weeding the garden when Aunt Marge’s chair gave out from under her after breakfast. Harriet was at home, locked in her cupboard when they were all at a restaurant and Aunt Marge ripped a fart so bad that it knocked the wine glasses off the table. Oh would you look at that, Harriet was chatting with Miss Figg about her cats when Aunt Marge began to break out in hives. And Harriet was at school when Ripper got diarrhea on Aunt Petunia’s ivory carpet. She couldn’t have possibly done any sort of ‘freakishness’ around Marge when she was here. Harriet was sure to keep an alibi around her.

As much as Harriet wasn’t a fan of Marge, she also had a feeling that Aunt Petunia felt the same. Although for other reasons, probably because Marge said that Vernon could have done ‘so much better.’ And so Aunt Petunia was happy to kick Marge out after Ripper stained the carpet. Of course, play bitch games, win bitch prizes. Harriet had to clean the carpet in the end. But it was well worth it to get that evil lard out of the house.

At nine and a half plus three days, Harriet figured out what new potion she wanted to make next. And through trial and error, it took her nearly an entire year to make it. Turns out, Harriet jumped up three different levels of difficulty in potion making when she decided what she wanted to create. However, she figured she already got this far then she should at least finish it. The main idea of the potion that she wanted to create was to make the recipient tell the truth without realizing that they were spilling their secrets.

Turns out that potions have a whole different side when it came to manipulating the mind. Body functions were simple enough, it was just trying to get the timing of the potion down. Causing people to sleep deeply? Easy peasy. Having a potion that would react badly to hair, it’s pretty clear on what to do. But when it came to shaping the mind it was like playing a different ball game.

Funny enough, it was the Quibbler magazines that helped Harriet the most. By this time Harriet had read all the books that were about potions in her mum’s trunk. Although it was a great collection, it didn’t hold the answers that Harriet was searching for. After a few rough days in a row, Harriet figured that she needed a break and took out a few magazines to peruse through. And from there, Harriet found the answers that she needed. Turns out there is a huge extensive selection of surveys of plants, animals, and most importantly, the effects of the moon on all of them. Harriet learned so much about the moon cycles and their effects on plants that she a bit miffed that none of her mum’s books had talked about it. The best part, in Harriet’s humble opinion, was the pictures. Some of them were clearly hand-drawn, but others were wizarding photos that moved and interacted with each other. Harriet’s favorite edition of the magazine had a manticore and a griffin fighting each other. The manticore’s page was torn to shreds and the griffin would come out of its fancy forest page to duke it out on the article for middle age baldness and why it was caused by the nixies.

Looking into the subtleties of potion making, and waiting a few months for the right moon phase, Harriet was finally able to create her potion. She wasn’t very good at naming things, and just called it the ‘Truth Potion.’ The dangerous part of the potion was that it had several harmful ingredients that could be dangerous if consumed in large quantities. The thing is that Harriet had no idea what could be considered a ‘large quantity’ and needed to test it out before she used it on her relatives. If something bad happened to any of them, they would quickly turn on her and Harriet would rather avoid her relative's wrath.

Which led to the present day. Now ten and a quarter, Harriet clutched her battered notebook and a small bottle of her truth potion to herself as she quickly knocked on the door. She gazed around the small neighborhood covered in snow, the walkways cleared but for a few patches of ice. Number Four looked pristine, just as Aunt Petunia liked it. Harriet had spent most of the morning shoveling the snow from the driveway with a thin jacket on and a pair of too-big rubber boots in hopes that the wet slush wouldn’t get her feet wet. It worked as much as Harriet could hope, with frozen feet and stiffness in her joints.

After waiting for a few seconds, the door opened and Miss Figg, the frazzled neighbor that always spied on her, smiled at her. “Harriet! I saw you earlier. How are you?”

“I’m fine.” Harriet forced a small smile at her. “I was wondering if we could have some tea and talk about Miss Frizzle's declawing appointment that you mentioned a while ago.”

“Of course!” Miss Figg smiled. “Come on in. I’m always happy to talk to you.” She stepped back and bent over to pick up one of her numerous cats.

Harriet entered. She was familiar with the house. Packed wall to ceiling with boxes and stuff, cat hair embedded in everything, and the stuffy feel of having a bunch of animals in a closed space. Due to Aunt Petunia’s strict cleaning regimen, Harriet was a little repulsed by the garbage and litter that was strewn across the small house. Still, Harriet was here for a purpose.

“I’ll put the kettle on. You can go sit on the couch.” Miss Figg called behind her and Harriet made her way into the living room. A white cat, a familiar face to Harriet (as Miss Figg always had too many cats for Harriet to keep track of) looked at Harriet with disdain on its face before hopping off the couch and walking away.

You feed a cat a magical laxative once and they hold a grudge forever.

Harriet sat at the edge of the seat, uncomfortable. She fingers fidgeted with the pen and notebook, wondering if this was really the right thing to do. But then again, nobody would really know. Unless Miss Figg dropped dead from drinking her potion. Harriet figured that it was done, it looked and smelled right. But she didn’t actually know if it was completed all the way. Using her neighbor, one of the kinder (but weird) ones, as a guinea pig didn’t sit right with her. But Harriet couldn’t use one of her cats (like she always did), nor could she use anybody around her in a normal setting. Miss Figg was the only one who didn’t have people around her constantly to see if she was acting strangely. And it wasn’t like Miss Figg was holding the darkest secret’s of the world, she was just the weird old cat lady on the street.

Miss Figg returned with two teacups, three cats trailing behind her. One of them also took another look at Harriet before hissing and running away. Harriet vaguely recalled that cat when she was trying to figure out why her tooting potion wasn’t delaying. That poor cat didn’t learn very fast and kept on coming back to Harriet with her piece of doused bread. It finally got the lesson when Harriet fed him a piece of bread and he had farted so loud he scared himself.

“Oh, I don’t know why he did that.” Miss Figg commented, her face full of concern. “Phillip is usually such a sweetheart.” Harriet saw her chance.

“Maybe you should go look? Maybe he got scared?” Harriet softly replied.

“You’re right.” And Miss Figg set the teacups on the coffee table and wiped her hands on her shirt. “I’ll be right back.”

Harriet didn’t reply when Miss Figg disappeared again. Again she paused, weighing the choices before she finally figured that she’d only add just a touch of the potion. If there was only a little then perhaps it wouldn’t be too extreme. Harriet pulled out one of the teacups spoons and fumbled with the small bottle that held her potion. She carefully poured enough for the spoon to be full and quickly stirred it into the tea. There, only a spoonful. It shouldn’t be too harmful. She slipped the bottle back into her jacket pocket and waited.

Harriet picked up the other teacup and held it in her frozen hands. The warmth almost hurt, but it was a good kind of pain. She even took a few sips, grimacing as she found a cat hair in her mouth and decided that maybe she shouldn’t drink it. Holding the warm cup was a comfort on its own.

Miss Figg returned soon after that. “I don’t know what got into him. Phillip doesn’t mind strangers at all.”

“Perhaps he’s being picky?” Harriet shrugged. She watched carefully as Miss Figg settled down in a plump stocky chair and picked up her cup.

“That could be it.” Miss Figg agreed and took a sip. Harriet observed, carefully mentally noting everything, but Miss Figg didn’t notice anything wrong with her tea. “Anyways, Miss Frizzle's declawing appointment. I’m so sad that I have to do it. But she’s a cat. And they do what they like to do, and I can’t have her scratching up the neighbors.”

Harriet hummed and nodded when she had to, but otherwise stayed quiet throughout the ordeal. An inkling of thought came to Harriet… how on earth could she tell that Miss Figg was spilling her secrets? The woman went off topic almost immediately and began discussing how Mr. Johnson two doors down always honked his car horn at her cats. Was that a secret? Harriet wasn’t quite sure and after about fifteen minutes of nonstop chattering from Miss Figg (who had long since finished her tea). Harriet was beginning to regret everything and was fidgeting with her notebook when Miss Figg said something strange.

“You know, you look like your mother so much.” Miss Figg sighed dreamily.

There was a long pause before Harriet had found her voice. “What?” Partially because she hadn’t quite heard, as she was halfway paying attention, and the other half because she was taken aback.

“You look like your mother. Lily was such a pretty girl, although you certainly have your father’s messy hair. Lily had the straightest red hair I’ve ever seen, but you have inherited the Potter look for sure.” Miss Figg said it so casually and flippantly that it made Harriet second guess herself for a brief moment.

“You knew my parents?” Harriet’s voice cracked.

“Oh yes. They were apart of the Order, you know. Nice people. I never actually met them, but they were considered to be an amazing support. Lily was so intelligent and James was brilliant with his transfiguration.” Miss Figg smiled.

Within a few minutes, Harriet had been trying to figure out the best way to escape from Miss Figg to suddenly sitting on the couch feeling as if the world had dropped out from under her. There was suddenly a mental barrier that came crashing down, forcing Harriet’s emotions to be split apart from her mind. She felt like a second person in her own body, suddenly very aware of her surroundings and her body. Harriet wasn’t sure how to react, or how to even feel with the revelation that Miss Figg, that weird neighbor, knew her parents. But what she did know is that she needed to learn more.  

“What is the Order?” Harriet asked. She flipped open her notebook, and hurriedly scribbled in it.

Potion works. The victim hasn’t died yet. Knows my mum and dad. Order? Dad knew transfiguration well. Wait does that mean MF know about magic?

“The Order of the Phoenix.” Miss Figg replied. “I was the only squib in the entire organization. And I am proud of that, you know. Albus was the only one who thought I had any value. The rest of them said that it would be too dangerous for me, but magic doesn’t protect everybody.”

She knows magic. Mentioned squid. And another guy, Albus?

“What is a squid,” Harriet asked before looking up from her notebook.

“Squib.” Miss Figg replied. “It means that I was born without magic. Oh. Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Albus asked me to give you a normal childhood. Although for a few years I’ve wondered why you were put into a muggle home. Most magical children are placed with their relatives. Your father certainly has a few, although distantly related.” Miss Figg picked up one of her cats and placed it on her lap.

Questions began to build up in Harriet’s mind. She had magic relatives? Grandparents perhaps? What did muggle mean? Although the nagging question in Harriet’s mind grew louder. “Who is Albus?” Harriet asked.

“Albus Dumbledore. The greatest wizard in our day and age. He defeated Grindelwald. He’s also the current headmaster of Hogwarts. He’s your magical guardian. After your parents were… erm. Unable to care for you, you were placed in his care. He was the one who sent you to your aunt and uncle’s home.”

A bitter taste began to form into Harriet’s mouth. Sent to her aunt and uncle… but Miss Figg said that magic kids are usually placed in magic homes. And that her dad had relatives. Did this Albus Dumbledore know what her home life was like? How she cooked and cleaned and did everything? Harriet knew that her aunt and uncle abused her. When she finally was able to put the word to the actions, it didn’t come as a shock to her.

What could have her life had been like if she didn’t live with the Dursleys?

“You said…” Harriet’s voice halted and then continued. “You said that my parents weren’t able to care for me. What do you mean?” The information that was computing into her head was moving faster than what she could think. Her mind buzzed with all of the possibilities and questions so fast that Harriet didn’t feel like she could ask them all in time with her potion in effect.

“Oh dear. You’ve never been told, haven’t you?” Miss Figg absently pet her cat. “What do you know about your parents?”

“They were killed in a car crash.” Harriet numbly replied.

Miss Figg scoffed. “No. Dear no. Your parents are still alive.”


 

That night Harriet laid on her mattress. She was far too big for it now, even though she hasn’t grown as fast as Dudley has. She laid awake, staring into the darkness but not really looking. Her thoughts kept her awake. The Dursleys were all upstairs in their beds, fast asleep. Harriet had felt that strange numbness that came when Miss Figg had told her about her parents. They had been tortured right in front of her. She was too young to remember, not that Harriet would have liked to, but her mum and dad were driven insane. They lived in a hospital where magical mind healers hoped to fix them but there was no chance of that happening.

Her mum, Lily Potter, the woman who Harriet has looked up to for years, was considered insane. Committed to a mental hospital insane. And her dad, the guy who made the most spectacular spells and pranks, was with her mum.

Harriet didn’t know how to feel. Okay, there were a few big emotions. Like betrayal. Harriet had grown up hearing that her parents were dead. And knowing that they weren’t felt like she had been stabbed in the back. Aunt Petunia knew that Harriet’s mum was still alive. And yet she spent all these years, her entire life telling Harriet that her mum was dead. And in a technical sense, Lily Potter was.

Life is unfair. Harriet decided that. Within moments, Harriet had regained her parents, the people who she idolized the most. And within those same moments, had also lost them. Harriet felt like she was lacking something now. Harriet turned on her side and sighed, staring at nothing in the darkness of her cupboard.

Harriet laid in the dark, wide awake and mind racing. Her notebook filled with pages and pages of notes that she had taken from Miss Figg. The old woman blabbed everything and didn’t seem too different besides the glazed look in her eyes. The more that she talked, the more that Harriet wanted a thousand different answers. The questioning had to come to an end when Miss Figg complained of a headache and Harriet took that as her cue to leave.

Her Aunt scolded her for going to Miss Figgs house and Uncle Vernon slapped her around. Harriet had learned throughout her life to just let them do their own thing until they left her alone, and soon after Harriet had been banished to her cupboard.

Which left Harriet to think. The Dursleys were leaving the next day to spend the rest of the holiday with Aunt Marge in Paris. Harriet explained to Aunt Petunia that she had gone over to Miss Figgs to tell her that she was spending a few days over there. Which was a total lie, but Aunt Petunia hated talking with Miss Figg who was the strangest neighbor on the street, so she accepted it. In reality, Harriet had other places to be. After hours of pumping for information, Harriet finally had the smart idea of asking where Diagon Alley was. Equipped with the information, and a few pounds that Harriet had stolen from her aunt over the years, Harriet was going to take a trip to London and finally enter the wizarding world.

The idea of finally getting her hands on some magical ingredients (Harriet had her eye on those mugwort seeds, and not to mention boomslang skin. Those would be incredibly useful) would have made her almost salivate. But instead, Harriet felt a little miserable. Somehow, living with the fact that her parents were tortured to insanity instead of dying in a car crash was pretty depressing.

Finally, Harriet couldn’t handle it anymore. She clicked on the light in her room and pulled out from a hidden nook her mum’s journal. The book had significantly gotten more beaten up in the last few years, although Harriet did her best to preserve it. Harriet had long since read the entire thing. In fact, she rereads it. Some days to help her feel closer to her mum. Other days to hunt and see if there were any missing clues that Harriet didn’t see before. But today was simply a day where Harriet wanted to read her favorite part. The part when her mum talks about her. It was the only page that Harriet had intentionally dog-eared, and she flipped to it easily.

‘August 14th, 1980

It has been two weeks since I have had the loveliest girl. James and I can’t stop checking on her when she’s asleep. I would have never thought that I would become a mother, especially not as young as I am now. But Harriet is a treasure that I’ll never give up. She’s so amazing and wonderful. I love her so much, it feels like my heart will beat out of my chest. James is almost worse than me. Harriet is such a quiet baby, sometimes I am afraid that she’s too quiet but Molly says that she’s perfectly fine. We don’t have much of a problem putting her to bed, but James still wants to hold her and play with her even after bedtime. I don’t blame him, even two weeks old she’s already giggling and smiling. James likes to change the color on his glasses and Harriet smiles and laughs every time that they are different.

I cherish my family so much. I love my daughter. I adore my incredible husband. Even if he has his friends come over a bit too much to play with my newborn daughter. At least Sirius is respectful enough to keep his voice down. Although Peter holds her like she is too frail and is afraid to touch her. Remus hasn’t come yet, but James says that he has problems being around kids.

Please, as if I don’t know about the werewolf thing. They think they are sneaky but how on earth do I not notice my husband turning himself into a deer and running off into the woods every full moon. Remus has a heart of gold and is too afraid of being near my daughter. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone Harriet.

Oh, I think I just heard James get up to go play with Harriet again. I need to go stop him. It’s her nap time and she doesn’t latch well if she’s tired.

 

November 21st, 1980

We asked Sirius if he’d be Harriet’s godfather. He was so touched. Originally the idea was having Peter be one, but we noticed that he was uncomfortable around Harriet. But Sirius took to Harriet like a duck on water. He was perfect around her, carefully playing with her and changing her nappies. It wasn’t a hard decision to make, and Sirius looked ready to cry. I asked Alice if she’d be Harriet’s godmother, and she was ecstatic. I, in turn, was asked to be Neville’s godmother and accepted.

Each parent can ask for a godmother and godfather for their child. James didn’t know many women that he trusted to be in charge of Harriet, so he decided not to ask another person to be a godparent. I was trying to think up a way to ask James if I could have Sev be the other godparent. I know we hadn’t talked in years, not after our last argument. But knowing how they had their rivalry, he wouldn’t take it too well.

Perhaps in a few months. Or years, whenever this damned war will end.

 

January 1st, 1981

Today was a big day for Harriet. She gained a new parent. James and I decided to take the old route of having Sirius blood-adopt her. Sirius was ecstatic, and honestly, he treated Harriet like his own child. By surprise, Sirius also named her his heir in the ceremony. He told me later that he wanted to give Harriet the best, and he technically was still the heir to the Black name. When he becomes Lord Black, Harriet would be his heir. Harriet already has an heirdom. The Potter name is quite wealthy and influential, although James hasn’t the heart to start being a Lord quite yet. Thankfully his parents are still waiting for later to give him the full title. I believe it’s because Lords has become targets in the war and they don’t want James to walk around with a target on his back.

But I am still a little wary about Harriet’s new title. I knew several heiresses in Hogwarts and they were practically auctioned off to the highest bidder. Look at Pandora, for heaven’s sake. She got married as soon as she turned seventeen to Lovegood. I don’t want that for my daughter and I told James and Sirius that if they thought that they could sell my daughter’s happiness and future then they had another thing coming.

Sirius and James swore up and down that they would never allow it. I felt relieved. I’m glad that Harriet would be able to find happiness down the road with the person that she chose to love.

 

February, 15th 1981

Harriet has gotten into the age where magical stuff can happen. James is an expert on children and their magic. I didn’t get raised in a magical community. My parents had to suffer through raising a magical child without knowing that she was magical at all. I, however, have plenty of books and other such items that hopefully whenever Harriet gets to the point where her accidental magic comes into play then I’ll be prepared.

At least, that is what I had hoped. Five months old, Harriet scared the crap out of me. Out of all of us, really. Sirius was having dinner with us and was letting Harriet ride on his back when he was Padfoot. Harriet loves him. She’s such a happy baby. Anyways, I had just gotten supper finished and told Sirius that it was time to eat dinner. James picked up Harriet and Sirius turned back into his human form. Harriet gave out a squeal of delight, and Sirius took her him James and we all watched as her hair turned black and wavy and her eyes matched Sirius’.

Turns out my daughter is metamorphmagus. James’ grandmother Dorea was a Black before her marriage. And when we had Sirius blood adopt Harriet then it strengthened the dormant abilities. Sirius was delighted, he said that having Harriet as a metamorphmagus will stop his mother complaining about him to get married and have kids. It proved that Harriet was his heir and that she was a little bit more Black than Potter.

James was a little upset to hear that, but he quickly forgave his best friend and spent the night trying to get Harriet to look like him. It didn’t work. But when Harriet saw me she regained her red hair and green eyes.

James pouted. But I won this particular dick contest.

 

May, 3rd, 1981

The war has become serious. I knew that we were targets, ever since Harriet had been born. We went into hiding. But things are getting worse. Alice and Frank have gone dark, they’re too afraid of communication that would give away their hidden home. Sirius exchanged places as the secret keeper with Peter. It’s getting scary out there. We also found out that the Potter mansion had been raided, and James’ parents were killed.

It was a hard week. I felt his pain, and I think our relationship has become stronger because of it. I remember when I had to bury my parents before my seventh year. I was a wreck, and sometimes to this day I still turn around to find the telephone to call up my mum and ask her how to be a parent.

It hurts to remember that they’re gone.

Harriet sensed James’ mood and for the first time, she adopted James’ look. She was beautiful, with his brown eyes and messy dark curls. James held her as he cried and laughed at the same time. He turned to me and said, “she’s been holding out on me this entire time! Eight months old and she’s already turning into a prankster.”

I laughed and we laid in bed for the day. The only times we got up were to change Harriet’s nappy and to get some ice cream.

I love my family.

 

October 15th, 1981

Remus finally came back. From wherever he went. Sirius was a bit off around him, but soon came around when they went to go have a ‘chat’ outside. Afterward, Remus looked a bit more lost and Sirius looked guilty.

I guess Sirius accused Remus of something that he wasn’t doing, and Remus was hurt because he thought Sirius trusted him. It was awkward. But thank Merlin that I had a baby because they are great at breaking up the tension.

Remus loved Harriet and she fell in love with him just as fast. As soon as she saw him she adopted his look. His wavy auburn hair and tanned skin were adorable on her. Remus was so gentle. Too gentle for Harriet who got frustrated too fast with him. She pouted until Remus finally picked her up and carried her around the room. She had him twisted around her little finger by dinner time.

Afterward, Remus was bouncing her on his lap when she shifted her features again. This time she assumed Remus’ scars on his face. Remus wasn’t sure how to react, and I told him quite frankly that he shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

I guess he knew what I was talking about and he got a little teary-eyed. So I made some tea and watched as Harriet crawled around happily on the ground. Afterward, he said thank you, and I told him that it was no problem.

I am certain that we will see him more often now.

On another note! I finally got James to agree to let Sev be Harriet’s other godfather. He said that he didn’t want to do another blood adoption, and I agreed. Having Sirius be the other parent was fine enough. Sev could just be the cool godfather. James took offense to that. I don’t know what Sev has been up to anymore. And so I have been drafting a letter that James will have to look over and agree to before we send it. I hope he says yes because I still consider him to be my friend. Even after so many years. But equally, I hope he has changed since then.

Oh, Harriet started to cry. I need to go. I guess I’ll write again in a couple of months.'

 

Harriet trailed the words with her fingers. Knowing that if she turned the page, there would be no more words left. Her mum had never written anymore. This was the last thing that her mum had written. And now, as it turns out, it always will be. Her mum can’t write anymore.

Harriet read and re-read the passages. Over and over. Her mum loved her, and so did her dad. Although they didn’t die to protect her, they still tried to save her. From what Harriet had been told by Miss Figg, they had hidden her in their closet when the house had been under attack. They still tried to shield her. And these snippets of her mum and how her dad loved her, these little passages told her how much they really loved her.

Harriet loved them too. She loved how her dad always wrote tons of funny comments on the side of the Marauders Componium. She loved her mum and how she always complained about the weather. She loved them because she knew that they loved her too.

When Harriet was finally tired, and she replaced her mum’s book and turned off the light a slow thought came to her. Her parents aren’t dead. So that meant there was always a chance that they could be healed one day. And Harriet latched onto that hope like it was a lifeline.


 

(Once upon a time, there were three brothers. Three brothers who cheated death, and walked the fine line until succumbing to the temptations of their gifts-

Oh shit. Uh. Wrong chapter. We got a little ahead of ourselves. Excuse us while we, uh. Get the- oh here it is. Ahem.

Harriet Potter, or in some cases, Harry Potter is a rather important figure in the cosmos. Their actions tend to spread out more, causing universes to be created or destroyed within a decision. That being said, there are many entities in the development department who curse their names (and their many variations of it) daily. (The most common name cursed is Zachary Potter, The-Boy-Who-Sort-Of-Lived. A fucked up universe was created by pure happenstance and Zachary was the oddball chosen hero who decided to do everything absolute wrong. And somehow everything he did was the best decision. Nobody likes Zachary Potter because even our statistic’s people couldn’t figure out how things happened.)

That also being said- Harry Potter, Gordon Ramsey, Merlin, Amelia Earhart, Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, Vlad the Impaler, Confucius, and a guy named Steve from accounting (we don’t know why he’s important. He just is) are all common people who have a great influence in the universes. Those are just human names. There are plenty of important dogs (who are the best boys ever), cats, fish, and dinosaurs (of whom we shall not name, damn him) that all have a vast amount of power in their decisions.

That being said- events can also hold these powers. For instance, when King Arthur withdrew his sword from the stone. That event, in of itself, would cause a chain reaction in the cosmos. It isn’t the people who change things, nor is it the actions. It’s the story itself. The words being spoken throughout generations. Merlin was a powerful wizard who helped found the wizarding world. It is the tale of the three brothers and a deal that fated them to their dooms. It is the words of an older cat lady, speaking in admiration about a wizard.

Dear readers, you must listen carefully. Jokes and puns put aside, this is a serious topic that you must understand going forwards in this tale. Understand, listen, and learn when people change. When two boys who grew up with each other fell apart by betrayal, a story began. Written in books, later on, few understood the reasons behind them. Why it happened, how it came to be, was dismissed by the winner. The loser rots away, trapped and kept safe. Never forgotten, but left to gather the dust.

Rain fell.

Rain fell and it hit the sodden ground. One drop at a time didn’t matter, but joined by thousands it created a light speckle of water that added to the dreary day. The earth that it hit upon was upheaved by strange and unknown techniques that many of the human population didn’t know. Magic crackled in the air, and a man’s breath fogged up as he breathed heavily. It was a scene of a fight, one that had just finished. Two men amidst the chaotic remains of a bloody battle.

A man with fair hair clutched at his arm. Rain trickled down his face, as he looked up with shocking blue eyes that blinked rapidly. A man who had sworn his oath to help others, to teach those who didn’t know better or wrong. A man who looked upon the face of his love- and openly cried.

“Why.” He cried out. He took a half a step forwards, lurching on the uneven ground. He looked nothing like his former self. A usually well-dressed man, impeccably clean and well shaven. Now his hair fell into his face, his clothes ripped and bleeding openly, desperation and pain written on his face.

How did this story come to be? Two boys grew up together. They loved each other. They still do- sometimes. And just like how universes can be suddenly created with a flick of a switch, so can people. One boy saw something that frightened him- changed him completely until he turned on the person he trusted most. That boy did something that pushed him into a new personality, just like how Lily Potter’s journal helped Harriet onto her new path.

What exactly did this boy do, you might ask?

Gentle hands came up and touched the man's face. The winner of the battle shushed the other gently, pushing the loser’s dripping hair from his face. Gentle hands then pulled back from his lover, then grasped the new wand he claimed. He leaned in and whispered, “it's for the greater good.”

He killed his sister.)

Chapter Text

If you have nothing smart to say, don’t say anything at all.

A common phrase in the Dursley household that mostly only effected Harriet. There was also the general rule that questions were not to be asked. Those rules didn’t apply to Dudley, however. He was still loud and obnoxious as ever, becoming more like a whale every day. Vernon encouraged Dudley to be noisy, and Aunt Petunia always said, “that boys will be boys.” Their rules didn’t apply to Dudley, but for Harriet on the other hand, she learned that she needed to be quiet.

The silence was much preferred anyways. Harriet liked how quiet it was when she stayed up late at night. She enjoyed how the only sounds that she could hear were the ones that she made. It was a comfort that grew when she heard pages being turned. Over the years Harriet grew accustomed to her schedule, where she’d only get a few hours of sleep each night before she spent most of her time working around the house. In fact, Harriet only went to three different places in Surrey. School, the Dursleys, and occasionally to the market.

And so, it was with deep anxiety that Harriet set out the next day to London. The Dursleys left early in the morning, as the car ride was going to be long to France, and they had simply just tossed her out and told her to go to Miss Figg. After what happened yesterday, Harriet didn’t want to see the older woman for quite some time. After hearing the woman was spying on her for her magical guardian, a man who Harriet had never met nor heard of, Harriet wasn’t keen on visiting the older cat lady for a while. Along with the unsettling truth that her parents were alive, Harriet was a mixed bag of emotions, to say the least.

Still, Harriet knew that today would be one of her only chances of going to the magical world. And knowing that it existed for so long and being unable to touch it, Harriet was still going to take this opportunity. And so Harriet set off toward the nearest bus station, roughly two and a half kilometers away. The December air was freezing. It was a bitter type of cold, and thankfully it hadn’t snowed the night before. Harriet had been able to pull on all of her sweatshirts in hopes of keeping herself warm. Instead, they made her look three years younger and homeless. But Harriet didn’t care about that, she had never really taken a moment to consider how other people might judge her. All she wanted was to not freeze to death.

Although it certainly felt like it near the end, Harriet managed to wait for an extra ten minutes before the bus arrived after completing her walk. She felt like an ice cube. Her legs were numb as she stumbled into the warm bus. After giving over a few pounds, Harriet found a secluded seat and tried to warm her hands. It took a while before she could regain the feeling in them, and Harriet longed to bundle up in a couple of blankets.

The bus ride was fairly long. Longer than any car ride that her relatives had to bitterly put up with. Her school was barely a ten-minute walk from her house, and so it was a rare change of pace to be in a moving vehicle. A soft song drifted from the overhead speakers, and Harriet silently watched as the scenery began to change. From houses and picket fences to buildings and crowded roads. People were everywhere, Harriet noticed. Not that Surrey didn’t have people, but she had never seen so many humans all together at the same time. Except maybe for the neighborhood barbecue. Although Harriet tended to avoid those. Simply because she didn’t want to be around people who judged her. (And also she got a bad vibe from them as well.)

The bus arrived at the final stop in Heathrow, and Harriet disembarked. Immediately the sound and the atmosphere overwhelmed her. She clutched her bag to herself, trying to make herself smaller. There was so much noise and she hadn’t ever seen so many cars before! Harriet quickly found a sign pointing towards the train station not too far from where she had left the bus and scurried over to it. There were so many sights and sounds that caught her attention, making Harriet long for the quiet smallness of her cupboard. Even the air seemed too big and opposing. The buildings that stretched up high around her felt claustrophobic. A pressure was weighing down on her, and it felt like she couldn’t get enough air to breathe.

Harriet kept her head down, trying to keep her breathing calm and paid for her train ticket. Soon enough she was on a nearly empty train waiting to go to London. Harriet hadn’t considered the possibility of so many people. Yes, she knew that London was a city and a lot of humans lived in cities. But she never even knew that there could be so many bodies in one place before. With every stop on the way more people joined her in the train, Harriet curled into herself and wished that she was in Surrey again. Going to London was a mistake. She did not like it. Not one bit.

She kept her head down and eyes to the floor until the train beeped that she had arrived at her stop. By now the train car was filled, and Harriet held her breath and broke through the crowd of people and nearly ran up the stairs until she hit fresh air. At least, what she had hoped to be fresh air. It was smoggy, and if Harriet had thought that Heathrow had been busy, London was worse. Everywhere Harriet looked there were people. Flashing lights that promoted businesses. The chatter and noise clanged and filled the air. Harriet was overwhelmed, this was not like Privet Drive in the slightest.

Harriet ducked into a nearby alleyway and tried to regain her breath. But the panic felt like it was just a second or two from bubbling over. And Harriet struggled with keeping her emotions in check. Panic and anxiety were the biggest emotions that seemed to swallow her up. Harriet didn’t know how to combat these feelings. All she could do was hold herself tightly and wait it out. After what felt like three weeks, Harriet was finally able to control herself. She focused her gaze on the ground, her arms trembling not from the cold but from sudden exhaustion. She kept taking in long gasps of air, watching as her breath fogged up as she let it out. Until she felt somewhat normal, besides the fact that she was sitting on the ground in an alleyway in London.

“I learned something new today,” Harriet told herself quietly. “I learned that I don’t like people. Or crowds. Or London in particular.” She paused. “But mostly people.” Her voice warbled from her sudden fatigue. She knew that she should start moving. She needed to get going before somebody noticed her or before she got too cold. Still, it took a while before she could summon enough courage to brave the crowded streets once more.

Harriet clung to her emotional support and focused on the job at hand. She had to go to the wizarding world. She had spent most of her meager funds to get to London in the first place. She couldn’t chicken out now. She opened up her notebook and consulted in the address that she had memorized. Charing crossroads. The Leaky Cauldron. Harriet wasn’t too far from there at all. And so she kept her head down and kept counting the seconds before each breath in ensure that she didn’t panic again. It felt like a good tactic that would work, but it barely helped. Her arms wrapped around herself as she nervously gulped down air, and only glanced up to check the signs to make sure she was heading in the right direction.

It took too long in Harriet’s opinion. In fact, there were almost three separate times where Harriet was convinced that she was lost. The panic and anxiety bubbled up from under the surface, and Harriet tried her best to remain calm. It didn’t work, but thankfully, her eyes landed on a shabby building that had a large sign with a pot on it. The relief in knowing that she wasn’t hopelessly lost was overwhelming. The Leaky Cauldron. Sure enough, people didn’t even glance at the building as Harriet walked over to it. In fact, she was the only one who could seemingly notice it. It was grimy, and not very well taken care of either. It hardly looked like any of the other structures around it as well, as it was short and like a pancake, while the rest of the buildings were tall and square. She made her way over, her steps as fast as she dared.

Harriet hesitated before the door and gathered her courage once more before walking inside. The brightness from outside made the room too dark for her to see until her eyes adjusted. And then a few things became clear to her at once. First, she was in a pub. And she was suddenly aware of how young she looked. Second, there wasn’t a lot of people, all of them wearing strange clothes. The few who were in the pub a few days before Christmas were obvious drunkards, Harriet knew from the descriptions that Uncle Vernon always talked about. And thirdly, Harriet felt like she didn’t belong in here. The one place that perhaps she thought that could belong to- and yet she felt like their eyes on her outcasted her and separated her from the others.

A man with a scar twisting down his face set down a mug with a deep sigh. “Mudblood.” He spat, and Harriet jumped at the animosity in his voice.

She almost turned back and left when the barman called out, “Rupert. That isn’t how we treat people in this joint. You can either shut up or I’ll cut you off.” Then he waved at Harriet, “young lass. I assume you’re here for Diagon Alley.”

Harriet willed herself past the scarred man and headed towards the barman. She nodded, her throat feeling tight and she didn’t know if she could speak. The barman accepted her answer and he gave her a friendly smile. “Don’t mind old Rupert. He’s still bitter about a few things that happened long ago. My name is Tom, and I am the owner of the Leaky Cauldron. What is your name?”

Harriet licked her lips and tried to speak but all that came out was a hushed strangled whisper, “Harriet.”

“Eh?” Tom clearly didn’t hear her. “Oh, you must be one of those shy ones. Don’t worry. I won’t bite. Now come this way, Diagon Alley is back here.” And he led her back behind the counter towards a brick wall. Tom continued to chat, “we don’t see many muggle-born this early. Have you gotten your letter yet? Oh, maybe you still have a few years before you’re old enough. Maybe you have an older sibling that goes to Hogwarts?”

Harriet didn’t answer. And Tom seemed fine with that. As he pulled out a stick- no, a wand, and tapped on the wall with practiced ease. He didn’t pause, and Harriet wasn’t able to catch the motions that he used. There was a few seconds delay before, to Harriet’s amazement, the wall began to break itself apart brick by brick and to roll itself behind the wall, leaving a gaping hole in the wall. The click click clack of the bricks moving until they positioned themselves into a door frame caught Harriet’s attention first. Tom said something, but Harriet stopped listening as she took her first few steps into Diagon Alley.

It was, in Harriet’s humble opinion, what dreams were made from. The sights and sounds, although earlier had once overwhelmed her seemed to be welcoming now. The sight of people in strange robes (her mum had been right about that) and birds flying in the sky, holding pieces of paper and envelopes. It felt like actual magic. It even looked prettier too. More colorful. It was as if she had been living in a world with dull colors and this was the first time that she could see the various hues in their full vibrancy.

“-and if you stay straight on this path you’ll find Gringotts. And a little past that is Ollivanders if you’re here to get your wand. I do think that the professors usually meet Hogwarts students at Fortescue’s, which is just a little bit down the road if that is where you’re headed.” Tom rambled on.

Harriet sent him a wide-eyed glance, and in a moment of bravery said, “thank you.” And she took off. Her eyes darting from place to place, marveling at the people and the magic all around her. She had read the books. She’s seen the pictures. She has even practiced in doing magic, although potions were completely different from pointing a wand. And yet, never in her wildest dreams had she ever really believed in it before. A man was stirring his tea with just his finger twirling in the air. A woman had a stack of newspapers following her floating above the ground. A bat screeched from the cage that it was in. Two kids were yelling and giggling as bubbles floated out of their mouths.

Harriet had never thought that she could have seen these things before. She walked briskly down the road. Her head swiveling around in hopes that she could see everything. There were a few things that caught her eye but didn’t dissuade her from her path. Oh, look. A shop filled with books! And it said on the window that there was a deal. And there, a bunch of kids looking at brooms through a window. A tall man exited a shop carrying the biggest bird that Harriet had ever seen. A woman with powder blue hair holding a basket of golden flowers, calling out a price. But there was one shop that caught her eye. Oh, how it beckoned her. Harriet had thus far hadn’t halted from her trek down Diagon Alley. But one look at the merchandise caused her to gently draw close like a moth to the flame.

Harriet stopped and moved as close as she dared to the window. Her mouth began to water, as she didn’t dare blink in the fear that it would vanish. The vials and bottles glistened in the light, showing off their contents. Magic ingredients. Some were unfamiliar to her, but even never having seen all of them before Harriet could pick them out easily. There were pixie wings. And those are toad tongues. Porcupine needles. Unicorn hairs. Vampire fangs. Troll blood. Dragon scales. Fire lizard talons. Niffler hair.

Just looking at the forbidden ingredients that Harriet had long since memorized in her books made her hands itch and heart beat faster. Just imagine her truth potion (which was not potent as she had hoped it to be, probably because of the lack of magical ingredients. She should really change the name, as it didn’t give her so much of the truth but more of a verbal vomit of words) with fire crab shells. Those had the magical property of long-lasting effects. Or what if her tooting potion had puffskein blood- those had the added effect of indigestion and heartburn. She could make her newest idea (one that had come to her in her groggy morning state) of a potion that gave the recipient an energy boost that tea often did. But you know, magically.

Even now, her eyes darted from one bottle to the next. Yes. She’d need Ilex vomitoria sap, ground alicorn hoof, wolfsbane, pixie hair, and… Harriet pursed her lips. Chocolate. Yes. Chocolate. It would be perfect... Maybe. Well, she’d have to make it first. And then test it out (and Harriet wondered what cats would do if they had a bunch of energy). But Harriet’s mind didn’t stop there. Vague ideas and plans that Harriet had put off, simply because she wanted to focus on her one potion, sprung to her mind as she gazed longingly at the bottles. Without her realizing it, Harriet had moved closer until her hands were pressed up against the glass, her breath fogging on the surface. The potion that could cause ice to appear. She needed yeti fur. And perhaps holly berries? Oh, and what about the potion that could make hair grow faster? Or the other idea of melting clothes?

Harriet wanted. She wanted it all.

Her eyes flickered towards the signs that each bottle held. 12 sickles. 5 galleons. 14 knuts. Well, first before she could even dream about what she could make with the wide variety of ingredients, she’d have to have money. Still, she lingered as long as she dared in front of the shop window. Her eyes wistfully pausing on each bottle, and mentally tallying up how much it would cost her to get it all. Oh, all the possibilities that she had at her fingertips when she had these ingredients. Finally, she slowly took a few absent steps away and finally tore her eyes from the enticing sight and turned away to hurry down to the bank.


 

For however long Harriet had been standing there and staring at the bottles and vials, she had never once looked up and looked into the store itself. If she had, she would have seen an older man looking back at her. Just as much as she had been inspecting the ingredients, the man had been examining her as well.

Just the sight of a somewhat familiar face sent wheels in his head spinning.


 

Goblins are intimidating, Harriet mentally noted. The large pillared white building that proclaimed itself to be Gringotts was awe inspiring. In fact, it was what she had almost pictured where Uncle Vernon worked. After all, Uncle Vernon talked about his rising the ranks and gaining prestige at Grunnings. And since Harriet had never been to his place of work before, she figured it was like a castle or a fancy building. And Gringotts was a very fancy building. There was a section of the wall that wrote some fancy warning in gold! Gold! How amazing. Harriet wondered how much money it took for them to make that, but took the warning to heart. Harriet wasn’t about to steal from the goblins.

Walking inside, the hall seemed massive. Harriet hadn’t known that buildings could be so big and open! She couldn’t stop staring, from the vaulted ceilings down to the expansive marble and golden floor. And then her eyes got caught on a goblin. They looked like small old men with strange wispy white hair. But with black eyes. And gnarly hands. But other than that… they looked almost human.

Harriet stayed standing where she stopped. Contemplating. Goblins were considered to be magical creatures. In fact, the book that she had read, stated that they were lesser beings than Harriet, and are not considered to be intelligent at all. But if Goblins were running a bank, that means that they knew math. And knowing numbers is a smart thing. Harriet wondered in what why they were deemed stupid or lesser than wizards. They talked in English. They could do the math to run a bank. They ran a business, and Uncle Vernon always said that running a business was super hard. In fact, Harriet figured that maybe goblins were more wizard-like than what people believed. (Or perhaps that book was wrong? It was one of her mum’s defense books, and those always contradicted each other.) And Harriet resolved that she was going to be polite anyway, because if they knew their numbers then they were already a step ahead in life than her. (She had problems with fractions.)

And so, with a bit of trepidation, Harriet walked up to a desk that didn’t have a line. The goblin didn’t look up, and Harriet wasn’t going to demand his attention. It looked he was weighing some red stones that looked really shiny. They were probably worth a whole lot more money than talking to her. And so, Harriet waited, fidgeting. She watched as wizards and witches walked up to other tellers and were quite rude. She even saw a witch snap her fingers to get the goblin's attention. It reminded her of Aunt Marge and her dog. But equally, those people got helped a lot faster and were able to leave the bank quicker than Harriet. As tempting as it was, Harriet figured that a ten-year-old girl didn’t matter much in the long scheme of things, and was content to wait.

“What do you want?”

Harriet jumped and her heart leaped in surprise. And gazing up at the goblin who still didn’t look up from his writing. Her mind suddenly went blank and once again her throat grew tight. Once again afflicted by this sudden curse, Harriet stammered out, “I-I think I have an account-”

“Key.” He held out a gnarled hand. His fingers almost twisted around in a circle. Looking at it caused Harriet’s brain to suddenly short circuit.

“I-I don’t ha-have one,” Harriet mumbled, her face flushing. “My m-mum said she made a-a trust fund.” She didn’t know why she was stuttering. But it felt like her brain had gone blank and she was fumbling for words. And every time she forgot what she was saying, she just repeated the last syllable in hopes of stalling for time. She was so flustered and her overwhelmed nerves kept on hitting the reset button in her head.

The goblin sighed. The kind that Aunt Petunia would do if Harriet was wasting her time or had accidentally started cleaning the wrong area first. Harriet bit her lip, and for a long moment, she wanted to cry. But the feeling soon ebbed a little and the embarrassment still lingered. Harriet barely managed to keep herself from bursting into tears, and her fingers clutched at the hem of her largest sweater.

“Name.”

“Uh. Harriet Potter.” She replied weakly.

And for the first time, the goblin looked up at her. She caught his eye (or what she hoped to be his eye because it was all black. She had no idea where he was looking) and glanced down at the ground. Maybe this was a bad idea. She could still leave. Go back to that potions shop and drool over the shop window. Maybe explore the area first and go home back to Privet Drive. This day was already turning into a mess. And Harriet was already taking a step backward, muttering an apology when the goblin spoke again.

“Come with me. I will take you to your manager.” The goblin pushed back from his desk and disappeared from Harriet’s line of sight. He soon reappeared, smaller than her by a foot or so, and didn’t look back as he began to walk away. She looked at him with shock and didn’t move until he was a few meters away from her.

Harriet felt like she had no other choice and began to trail after him. He was surprisingly quick on his feet, and Harriet had to almost jog to keep up with him. He led her into a side hallway, down a few flights of steps, and down even more hallways. They were long and made from the white-golden granite with torches placed interspaced on columns. They always looked the same to Harriet. And she felt lost very quickly. How the goblin knew his way around, she didn’t know. She was out of breath when the goblin finally stopped and turned to look at her.

“You will now proceed through our security. You will stay until you have properly passed, and then you will meet with your manager. Is that clear?”

“Erm.” Harriet was taken aback by the force that the goblin spoke to her and nodded, “yes.”

“Walk into that hallway. The animal will check you to see if you carry anything dangerous that will threaten the higher ups. You will wait until I give the all clear.”

Harriet peered down into the hallway. She didn’t see anything, and cautiously she stepped into it. It looked just like any other hallway that she had seen here. White marble flooring and torches burning on pillars. Animal? What kind of animal? A magic one? What could sense, uh, dangerous stuff? She hugged her bag to her torso and scanned the area for anything. She didn’t think anything in her bag was threatening. Were muggle pens in that category? Or was it not an animal and the goblin was lying to her to throw her off her guard. Was it a magic spell that sensed her ancestry? A curse that would affect liars? An invisible snake that would bite anybody who it deemed unfit?

Harriet was a few dozen yards into the hallway when she saw it. It was an animal alright. She jumped and panicked immediately. A big black dog! It was so much bigger than Aunt Marge’s dog. It had been curled up behind a pillar, a chain linked to a collar was embedded into the wall. The motion of the dog standing up and the chain clicking on the ground was what had caught her attention. She stayed still, petrified with fear. She could remember Ripper’s sharp teeth tearing into her legs and arms when Aunt Marge set him on her. How he would grab her arm and wrench his head back and forth, tearing at her until Aunt Marge thought that Harriet had enough. The pain of the bite hurt worse than the sting from Uncle Vernon’s belt. It bled and bled, and Aunt Petunia even had to give her bandages to stop the bleeding and to hide it from the neighbors. Ripper was a small dog. Imagine what this huge monster could do to her!

The dog sniffed the ground and padded up to her. It’s lazy movements spoke of it’s experience. Harriet flinched as it nosed her leg. Oh god. Harriet bit her lip in an effort to not cry out. She watched with bated breath for any reaction that it might attack her. Oh god. Oh god no. Her heart went into her throat as it paused, and looked up at her. Gray eyes peered up through shaggy unkempt hair, meeting Harriet’s. They were full of intelligence, and the dog seemed to shiver before it’s tail began to wag furiously. Harriet flinched and took several steps back, her arms coming up in an effort to protect herself. It stepped back and jumped a few times as it began to whine. It pranced in excitement before it came back to her and began to lick her hand.

Harriet was at a loss of words. She let the dog slobber over her hand and somehow, in the seconds that she was faced with a terrifying big animal, she somehow saw it become a bouncing puppy. “Uh, good dog?” Harriet reached out a hand and the dog pushed it’s head into her hand. The fear dissipated. It lingered, in the faint hollows of her chest, but it didn’t come back. It was still a scary animal, but Harriet couldn’t see it attacking her at all. It was… rather cute to be honest. She’d never thought that she could ever see a dog as anything but cruel and vicious, but this dog did it. It sat heavily on the ground, staring up at her as it’s tail beat back and forth, almost too fast for Harriet to see besides a blur of color.

Harriet recalled one of her neighbors petting a dog once. Curling her fingers through the thick and heavy fur coat, Harriet scratched behind the big dog’s ear. It’s weight leaned to the side as it pushed it’s entire head into the palm of her hand, twisting itself awkwardly as it tried to get more scratches. “Oh, you like that, huh?” She brought her other hand to pet the top of the dog’s head, and it practically melted. It’s nails slid across the marble as it struggled to stay upright. “You’re a good dog, aren’t you?” It grumbled at her, and was rather adorable, actually. Harriet hadn’t thought that she’d like dogs, but this one was so friendly it was hard not to like it.

“Miss Potter.” She jumped and looked behind her. The goblin didn’t look amused. Oh yes, that’s right. “It looks like you passed the inspection. If you could please, we will be going.” Harriet flushed once more.

“Uh yeah.” Harriet pulled her hands back and wiped them on her too-big of jeans. The dog made a small sound, but the goblin was already walking away so fast that Harriet had only enough time to glance back at the dog before having to hurry away.

It looked so sad. Hunched and head down low. Lonely.

Harriet understood that feeling. She felt that a lot these days.

It was just down the hallway when the goblin knocked on the door. Harriet heard a long drawling voice say, “enter.”

The goblin opened the door and spoke, “Miss Potter here to review her accounts.” He then turned and left, leaving Harriet standing by the open door. A blast of heat hit her, making her feel uncomfortable. Even though she still felt half frozen, the hot air felt suffocating.

She crept in, feeling like an intruder almost. The room was well lit from a large fireplace, along with a large wooden table that took up most of the space. It was huge! A thick rug with curling designs and rich colors ran from one side of the room to the other. And sitting on a high backed chair was a goblin, with his hair tightly held back and documents and gold around him. Harriet shut the door and sat on a chair before the large desk, waiting patiently. It didn’t take long.

“Miss Potter. You have been hard to get a hold of.” The goblin spoke in his raspy voice. “I am Bogrod, the account manager for the Potter and Black fortune. But first, before we get into our business, I do require you to go through a blood test to verify your identity.”

“What do I have to do?” Harriet asked nervously. Crap. She didn’t have any of those fancy papers that Aunt Petunia had. Wait, did her Aunt Petunia have her birth certificate? Harriet couldn’t imagine her aunt keeping important documents like that for her. She probably threw them in the bin when she realized what they were.

Bogrod pulled out a few sheets of paper and laid them on the table. Then a knife appeared, small but sharp looking. Harriet’s train of thought suddenly halted by the unexpected actions that the goblin did. “I need three drops of your blood on the parchment.” His tone was the kind that Aunt Petunia used that said that she shouldn’t argue him. Oh. That’s right! Magic. Magic verification of who she was. Harriet felt like slapping herself on the forehead for not thinking that there could have been a magic way of doing things. But still… she still didn’t like the idea of it.

Harriet hesitantly reached over the large table picked up the knife. She had never hurt herself before. And she wasn’t keen on the idea of making herself bleed. But she felt as if she had no choice and half-heartedly ran the knife over her thumb. She hissed. It was sharper than she had expected and had split her skin easily. The pain was indeed sharp, and blood began to flow at the top of the wound. Harriet held out her hand and watched as her blood began to drip over the document. At the third drop, the paper suddenly absorbed the red liquid that had splattered itself across it.

Harriet pulled her arm back, sticking her thumb into her mouth, watching with wide eyes as she stared at the thick papers. It was slow. A spot of black there. A letter appearing here. And Harriet soon realized that typed words were appearing on the paper, almost translucent until they became a rich black. At the top, Harriet could see her own name, in a fancy font. Harriet Lily Potter-Black.

Potter… Black?

What?

Bogrod swept up the parchments and held them up so Harriet couldn’t see them. He shuffled through the papers, humming and making noises at what he saw, and even discarded a page on into the bin before tapping the sheets neatly and setting on the desk. Then with a wave of his hand, two identical stacks of papers appeared.

“You seem to be who you claim you are.” Bogrod sniffed. “One copy is for you, one is for our records. If you will sign here, stating that you have seen these papers, then we will get into our business.” A feather with a tip was placed on the parchment and was offered to Harriet.

Except… Harriet wanted to actually look at the papers before signing them. It was strange, but after hearing time and time again about how Uncle Vernon stressed to Dudley about reading the small print before signing anything. And advise, no matter where it came from, was something Harriet always valued.

“Could I,” Harriet struggled to say but realized that she was speaking too quietly. She coughed awkwardly and tried again. “Could I see them before I sign please?” It was louder, yes, but she sounded half strangled.

Bogrod looked offended at the suggestion. Harriet gulped hard. “If you must, then we cannot go any further until you have signed the papers.” He pointedly sniffed and pushed one of the documents towards her. Honestly, Aunt Petunia had no competition when it came to the dirty looks that Bogrod gave her. Even Aunt Marge couldn’t hope to make her feel inferior as Bogrod did.

Still, Harriet stood her ground. Sweat began to trickle down her back. Or at least, figured that she dug herself into her own grave, and would at least give them a quick look before moving on. Setting aside the quill, yes, that’s what it was called, Harriet gently picked up the parchment (which were much thicker than she had seen before) and looked at it. Her eyes drank in the words that appeared.

There was her name. Harriet Lily Potter-Black. She didn’t know that her last name was different. She thought it was Potter. At least that’s what the school told her, as Aunt Petunia never called her by her name. And below her full name was a drawing of a vine intertwining, until it pointed to three names. Lily Evans Potter. James Fleamont Potter. Sirius Orion Black. The vine was a different color when pointing to Black’s name, a deep red that looked eerily like her blood.

Was that her godfather? Sirius was a name mum mentioned a lot. Although in the early days, it mostly was about how much of a prat he was. Yes, he had to be her godfather. He had blood adopted her. How else did she have his last name as well? Sirius Orion Black. Her other dad.

Below their names were other vines pointing in other directions. Fleamont and Euphemia Potter. John and Mary Evans. Orion and Walburga Black. They were her grandparents? She hadn’t known their names. Nor had she ever thought about having grandparents before. It was strange to think that her mum and dad must’ve had their own parents before her. There were more names, more people who were related to her.

She would have continued to go down the list, but Bogrod cleared his throat. Oh! That’s right! She didn’t have all the time in the world. Harriet tried to ignore the warmth on her face as she flipped to the next page. And goggled. There were names and titles, such as the ‘Main Potter Account’, but her eyes were stuck on the ridiculous numbers that were far too large. They were in the six digits! In fact, when she looked at some that were under her godfather's name, they were in the seven number range. Holy moly.

This… was hers? All of this was hers? Harriet swallowed dryly and then immediately began to imagine what she could do with all of this money. She- she could rent a flat. A magical flat. And have her own potions lab instead of Aunt Petunia’s kitchen. Oh, it would be wonderful. And she’d keep a full apothecary. In fact, the best part was that she could get her own food. Her own food! And she could drink as much orange juice as much as she wanted! And bacon. Oh, the bacon. She could even get her own telly. And a bigger one than what Dudley has. Harriet would make it a point to rub it into her cousin's face.

Harriet jaw dropped unknowingly as she dreamed about a future that was so close that she could practically taste it. And then, of course, she read the fine print. Near the bottom of the page, it simply stated, heir accounts can be accessed at age 11 for school purposes. Until they become of age at 17 and bequeath their inheritance, the heir cannot make financial decisions without their parents or magical guardian’s permission.

Oh. Okay. Harriet scanned the document, and there- her school fund. Two hundred galleons a year. Not too bad. But her next birthday seemed so far away. It’ll be ages before she could get anything, and Harriet (as prat-ish as it sounded) wanted her money now. It was hers. Her parents had left it to her! Not Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon, but to her! It was practically all she had left. Besides a bunch of books and a trunk hidden at Privet Drive.

Still. It was a bitter pill to swallow. And suddenly, Harriet didn’t want to look at the outrageous large numbers anymore. She didn’t dare dream anymore because she still had to go back to Surrey and her relatives. To be able to have this much, and yet be unable to touch it until she was older (which was a lifetime away) was unappetizing.

She turned to the next page. It was… for the lack of a better term, adult stuff. Lands and properties. Random items that were apparently rare, like a cloak of invisibility, or a fancy cup of whatever, a few seats at a wiza-thingie. Other assets that she apparently owned. She was quick to turn to the next page. It was another long list of things that she didn’t quite get. It was touch and go for a second or two, but Harriet quickly figured out that it was simply a list of who her allies were and who weren’t. It was so disinteresting that Harriet didn’t bat an eye before moving on. In fact, she was prepared to continue shuffling through the papers as they didn’t look very promising to her. Treaties, pieces of furniture loaned out to people, her magical status and skills, blah blah blah… She was halfway through the motion of discarding the next parchment before her brain caught up with her and Harriet caught the one word that she had been able to catch.

‘Betrothal?’ Harriet thought sluggishly. And then her wits came to her and she pulled back the paper and- yes. It had said that. In fact, it was, to Harriet’s dismay, rather more than just signing away her future spouse. As she skimmed the document, the horror of what she was reading hit her.

She was paying a… ridiculous sum of money to the parents of her future spouse on a monthly basis. They were coming out of the main vaults from her parents (which really ticked her off) and not only that, she was also paying a few other random people money simply because it was written in the document. In fact, the more she read the more that she was convinced that she was ripped off. Nothing in this document gave her any benefits! All that she’d get from this is getting hitched to some R-Ronald Weasley. Why was her magical guardian Albus Dumbledore getting a stipend for signing the contract?! This was so backward that Harriet wanted to bang her head against the wall.

Mentally tallying the numbers in her head, Harriet figured that she was giving away more than three thousand galleons away each month! And if a galleon was twenty-five pounds like her mum said that meant she was getting robbed of… a lot of money! That’s what. Nearing the bottom of the contract, signed on the dotted line, was Albus Dumbledore. And a date, which spoke of the document being modified three months ago.

Unbeknownst to Harriet as she was wrapped up in her thoughts, her magic, although weak as it was, reacted. Items began to shiver on the desk, the ink nearly spilling if Bogrod hadn’t caught it in time. The fire began to splutter. Even the rug was rippling underneath them slapping against the ground. And when Harriet finally put the document down to face the goblin, her face held an icy expression.

“What the fuck,” Harriet asked, very, very quietly. “Is this?”

The ink pot shattered.


 

(It wasn’t the only thing that Harriet discovered that day. The next few hours were of a trying time for the poor girl. The goblin wasn’t exactly helpful, especially after getting ink all over his nice suit and carpet. But still, in the face of things, Harriet learned of several important facts. All in all, it was a rather stressful week for Harriet. She learned that her parents were not dead. Her neighbor was a spy. She was paying her aunt a monthly stipend to take care of her (she had never seen a since half-penny of that money, never). Her magic was being bound (she discovered in fine print on the page of her magical skills), along with her abilities of being a metamorphmagus, and that she was to be wed the day before she turned seventeen.

Honestly, if you were a ten-year-old girl learning about all of this, you’d feel a bit off your rocker as well.

As beings of a higher power, we tend to understand quite a bit of the natural and unnatural world. However, ten-year-old girls are not one of them. Who can say really how she felt. With all of these startling realizations that changed the course of her life. Certainly, Harriet felt a wide range of emotions. Anger. Sadness. The bitter feeling of betrayal. In the end, Bogrod was not helpful. Goblins were bitter creatures. They did business with the creatures that they despised, and their love of gold and hoarding (Marie Kondo needs to help them fix their shit) were the only reasons why they were a bank. Bogrod was the kind of goblin who didn’t care and grew into his wealth from under the table dealings and from being a manager to an empty-headed twit. Bogrod’s advice was that Harriet’s magical guardian was in charge of her, and if he set any limitations on her then she should follow them. Otherwise, her inheritance could be taken away.

Which was absolute shit. But Harriet believed him anyways.

(This day only had a 19% chance of Harriet finding out the manipulations and lies that were set upon her. In fact, finding out her parents were alive (406 universes) was highly improbable (as those Harriet’s chickened out almost poisoning Miss Figg while 63 universes accidentally killed the old bat from overdose) and finding Diagon Alley was fairly unlikely (a grand total of 920,036.5 planar systems had Harriet visiting the marketplace before Hogwarts out of the millions that were already created). The fact that Harriet had both found out her parents condition and visiting Gringotts to find out about the legal bindings on her was almost slim to none. The grand total of cosmos that had these conditions were simply 12.

Eight of these were because those Harriet’s went back into time with her memories intact. Those universes inter-looped themselves (knotting them so badly, it take ages for us to actually sort out all the mess. And besides the fact that they are utterly fucked up (oh, marry a man who killed you and then raise yourself as a child to avoid the abuse?? Like what the hell) many Entities try their hardest to enforce time traveling restrictions so it’s rather hard to get past those rules. A particular favorite is being able to affect the time stream and letting humans solve their problems and then promptly writing them out of existence. With a loved one watching them fade. Very dramatic. We like to stream them on Hulu. Rules exist, and we do have the power to enforce them if required.

Unless you’re the Master of Death, of course. They can do whatever they want, all willy nilly. Stupid arseholes don’t understand that we have to clean up after them. Shit heads.)

Afterward, Harriet soon left the magical world and went back to the small and dark cupboard where she felt she belonged the most. Binding contracts and highway robbery combined, along with her own emotions, gave its toll on Harriet. Humans tend to be complicated, and Harriet was no different. Ten years old, she didn’t have the proper coping skills nor the advice of a therapist to help guide her through the shocking revelations. She grew distant to the reality around her. She did her chores and she put up with the abuse of her relatives, but her mind was still processing the turmoil that kept her up at night.

All in all, it was simple to say that Harriet didn’t know what to do anymore. She felt like she was trapped in a corner. Her magic was bound, her only escape was potions. And they failed her too because she felt restricted by what was around her. If only she had mugwort. Or toad eggs. Devil snare root. Countless list of items that Harriet hungered for. She wanted, she desired to have the limitless capabilities that her knowledge about potions could provide for her. Every time she had a breakthrough for an idea it felt as though she ran face first into a brick wall. An abrupt stop.

It took Harriet to figure out what path she should take. Honestly, it wasn’t like she decided it within moments of having the idea. No, it was a cumulative effort of both her relatives and the abuse that pushed her into it. The words of Bogrod, as wrong as they were, set Harriet askew from her rage and anger. Yes, she was mad. Hell, she had half the mind to send her magical guardian a spiteful letter laced with the worst potion she could possibly dream of. But one of the last connections that she held with her parents were on the line. And Harriet didn’t dare to rock the boat. Not yet.

In the end, Harriet decided that she was to avoid the man like her life depended on it. She’d keep her head down low, her eyes to the ground, but she distrusted and hated every piece of Albus Dumbledore. He had power over her. But Harriet wasn’t going to let it slide. No, she wasn’t going to let him take everything that her parents owned. Never. It was hers. She’d let him take out as much gold as he wanted from her vaults. The numbers wouldn’t be affected in the slightest, really. But Harriet knew, deep down within, she’d take everything back and more. He’d pay. He was taking advantage of her parent's death and her youth- and one day she’d have enough to throw him off his high mountain. She was going to expose him for what he was- a thief. But until that moment arrived, Harriet had to be a background piece. A pawn in the game of chess. Used and easily discarded, until the moment that she could finally stab him back.

And so, Harriet adopted the phrase that the Dursley household pushed on her. If you have nothing smart to say, don’t say anything at all. Within the time that it took for months to pass and for the weather to become warmer, Harriet decided not to speak. She wasn’t smart. Her relatives told her quite often. So she didn’t have anything good to stay. Instead, she took her time to watch. And to learn. There was a comfort in not speaking that she hadn’t known before. And soon enough the spring rains soon lifted and summer begin to set into the small lane of Privet Drive.

(Sit back and buckle your seatbelts, dear readers. As this is truly a favourite moment of ours. We will put it into a haiku format because honestly, we felt like it was worth it.

In July mail came

To relatives dismay for

Under the staircase)

Chapter Text

(We interrupt your scheduled broadcast because today is an important day in the cosmos. Many entities don’t care about this day, but for the select few we tend to get a little creative around the office. As time in itself is a little weird in our jobs, as several time-lines are light years ahead or decades behind, days such as these rarely come by. It just so happens that April 1st, 2,836 is one of those days where not one, but sixty-nine hundred thousand four hundred and twenty universes fall on the same exact day. Corporate understand that we have massive destructive power over all things, and so this very fantastic day is ‘where everything goes.’ Rules are disabled for the entire day. No take backs. The Gordon Ramsey office declared war on the Chuck Norris section, resulting in Ragnarok in fifteen different stages in the break room. Personally, the giant snake-like Æsir that is hiding in the company fridge is a little frightening, but please, nobody tell Loki this. He, and his many versions of himself, easily take offense for his children. Quite a lot of areas are on fire, like the coke product machine. In fact, Hell has both frozen and is suffering a heat wave. Somebody in the Maya section (the universes when the Spaniards didn’t wipe their entire civilizations out) let out the Quetzalcoatl and you can’t actually prepare for when a winged serpent takes your morning coffee.

Everything is, quite literally, a madhouse. Somebody created and let loose a clown. The Harry Potter section has blocked the door with the filing cabinets, and the lights have been cut three hours ago. We tried to signal peace, but unfortunately, Satan and his goons came in and took our water cooler. (We’ll get it back later. But, uh. We’ll have to sanitize it a lot afterward.) Greg over in the corner is hyperventilating, his universe needs constant supervision because the Master-of-Death asshole decided to kill Grindelwald and adopt Tom Riddle. If he doesn’t do his job then it could cause the collapse of Joann's universe, and he’s intimidated by her eldritch demon powers. Joann, with her many horns and eyes, is a rather scary individual. Mary, the HR representative, is rationing out food in hopes that we could survive until the 1st of April is over. However, since time is still at best the weirdest, we don’t actually know how long this day will be. And until then, Harriet Potter in 1991 will be postponed and to try to pass time, the general entity and narrator of this particular tale will be focusing on two special boys who were born on a chaotic day just like this one. After all, it isn’t like we don’t have anything else to do. We hope that the water won’t be cut. Otherwise, we might have to go out and forge around.)


 

This is how things came to be:

Molly Weasley nee Prewett wanted a large family. She has always dreamed of having a large family since she was a small girl. She grew up with her two brothers, Gideon and Fabian. They always teased her and played jokes on her, and as the youngest, she was also generally a spoilt child. Unfortunately, Molly didn’t grow up from her mindset and generally thought that the world should be handed to her on a platter. Gideon and Fabian, although a few years older than her, didn’t have much life to live. They were destined to die young, but in the few years out of Hogwarts, they showed their parents how responsible they were.

Molly- to put it lightly- was horrid in comparison. We will not get into details about how she acted when she was younger, but she did some very bad things to both her parents and her brothers to the point where they disowned her. Her parents were already fairly old, and the stress of having to outcast their youngest child caused their health to decline. They soon passed away, and the war began to fester.

Molly met Arthur Weasley. They had a whirlwind romance, and within six weeks of knowing each other, got engaged. Molly was still selfish in a sense, but Arthur still loved the woman. Another few months past and Molly found herself pregnant for the first time and they quickly moved up the ceremony. One shotgun wedding later, Molly Weasley started her long-awaited dream of having a large family. She grew up. Being a mother does that. Some of her old personality was gone, as Molly looked back and acknowledged that what she thought then was childish. She had responsibilities, a child to look after, a small bent house to take care of, and a husband to love.

But it does have to be said that people are not perfect. And Molly was still bitter over a few things from her past. How her family kicked her out. From living a rich lifestyle that was abruptly taken away from her. Arthur took care of her the best he could, but it still wasn’t enough. But over the years, as Molly had more children and Arthur made some questionable financial decisions that the dissatisfaction resurfaced. It went from ‘where were her precious jewels that she should be wearing?’ to ‘when will we have the funds to fix the roof from leaking.’ Molly wanted more. More than just a hovel with her many children. More than worrying about what they would do when they started school, and all the fees that would come with it. More than staying up at night, wondering what happened. How did this happen to her? Being dirt poor wasn’t her dream when she was a girl. (The answer to that particular question was when she tried to steal her brother's inheritances and to throw them out of their family. She set up her brothers with false crimes, but luckily they had alibis and it was found out that she had been the one to cause the grief. Molly was then subsequently disowned and was told never to contact them again.)

But please, do not get this wrong. Molly Weasley was a nice lady. She was caring and thoughtful, she loved to knit and she raised her children to the best of her ability. They came out somewhat okay, and Molly was a wonderful wife to Arthur. But like always, sometimes good people make bad choices. And sometimes they stick to those choices, refusing to see the consequences of their actions. And so by the time Molly had her youngest son, she had started to walk down a dangerous path that would inevitably ruin her life.


 

(We will talk about this at a later point in time. As this is a part of Harriet’s tale. We are, however, not going into that particular story. We will save that for when it will become relevant. An update on the April 1st thing- water has not been cut off yet. However, we have heard several motorcycles driving past our office doors, and Greg has now begun to cry. Joann is bench pressing a few interns to entertain herself. We, in the small Harriet department, are suitably impressed with her endurance. It has only been a few hours since the last time we checked in, but we have been relatively untouched by the madness in the other departments. We can only hope that April 1st will soon end, it feels like it’s been a few weeks since it started by now.)


 

When Molly Weasley was pregnant for the fourth time, everything was considered normal. Whenever she would have check-ins, the mediwitches always gave her a glowing bill of health. By now Molly was pretty much an expert when it came to being pregnant. It was soon again revealed to be yet another boy, and Molly and Arthur were happy. Yet another member of their family was coming, and they were joyful to have another child. It was when Molly was in her seventh month, at her annual checkup, when they found out that not only was she having one child, but two. It was unexpected to find out so late in her pregnancy, but it wasn’t unwelcome. If anything Arthur was more excited than Molly, throwing out so many different names that they could call their boys.

It was also around then that Molly had found out that her older brothers had been killed. The war was in full swing at this point, and so the Weasley family was just trying to keep their heads low. Arthur, after hearing about her brother's deaths, mentioned that perhaps they should name their children after them. They were, after all, twins. Molly reluctantly agreed, but on the condition that their names would start with the same letters, rather than the Fabian and Gideon. Fred and George were selected, and Molly had two wonderful baby boys with shocking tuffs of red hair.

Three months after hearing about her brother's deaths, and having her twin sons, Molly left her children with a neighbor and went to Gringotts. She quickly found out that even though she was the surviving sibling of her brothers, they had specified in their wills that she was not to take the Prewett title nor fortune. She threw a hissy fit, and hastily left with a bitter taste in her mouth. It was, perhaps at this point in her life that she realized that she was never going to have the life of luxury that she used to have. And she still craved to have it-


 

(Oh gods. Oh, gods, they have found us. We have to go we have to-

A camera on a laptop is turned on, showing the panicked face of a non-binary individual who is panting. Behind them is what looks like absolute chaos. Filing cabinets were blown across the floor, the paperwork inside of them was on fire in various colors. A spider-faced man is throwing himself out of a window while a smoky black monstrous being in a green dress is lifting a motorcycle above their heads. The non-binary glances behind them, and gasps and the smoke clears and begins to run towards an unknown destination. The camera shakes from the motion. From behind them, stepping out of the smoke is a clown. It honks a horn menacingly.

A knight with a lance on a motorcycle rides into the room. It has a cape that looks like it is from a curtain with the words, ‘fuck the marvel industry’ spray painted on it. The knight gestures to the clown, who nods. At this point, the camera has turned from the scene as the non-binary Entity finally leaves the room. Their face was flush, their thick-framed glasses were nearly falling off.

The hallway that appeared behind them seemed like a normal office. With large windows showing a clear orange sky, and fake plants in every corner. However, it didn’t stay normal as the wall burst open and in a cloud of white dust and chunks of drywall everywhere. Tentacles began to pour out of the wall, curling around everything and throwing the plants out of the windows, shattering the glass.

“Oh my gods,” the non-binary being whispered as they still booked it down the hallway, “they released the Kraken.”

Flustered, they ducked into a small room and closed the door behind them. When the camera adjusted to the lack of light, it was shown that they were in a cleaning closet. The bottles behind the Entity said in bright packaging; ‘bathroom cleaner- made to take care of those tough intergalactic stains right out!’ and ‘Carpet stain from space? Clorox Bleach will save it!’

“For Lady Gaga!” A deep robotic voice outside of the room boomed, and there was a small explosion. The bottles behind the Entity shuddered with the shock wave, but the room remained intact. The camera only showed the face of the Entity, but the sounds from outside of the room were horrific. There were wet slappy noises (from presumably the Kraken) a few screams of general agony, and at one point, a honking noise from a clown. Until, at last, it seemed like things were dying down.

… let's continue shall we?)


 

This is how things turned out:

There was only suppose to be one of them. That was the message that they got when they were little. Two boys, two little children, were told that one of them should not have existed. Perhaps if they had been told in a gentler way, or if it came up when they were older, it might not have affected them as much. But in the end, the two boys were everything to each other. They couldn’t have imagined a life without the other. If one began to cry- the other would soon follow. It was the same when one began to laugh, there were two giggling boys. They did everything together as they grew up. From crawling to walking and finally when their babbling turned into actual words. They did it together.

And to know that one of them, whichever one it was, wasn't supposed to exist, was impossible for their minds to compute. It was difficult to explain it to somebody why- but they were together. They always supposed to be together, there was no way that they could be separated. Perhaps magic was the only true way to explain this- they shared a soul. Twins in the magical world were a rare thing, especially within a pureblood family, and they shared abilities and magical affinities. Their magic was formed together when they were babes, and thus Fred and George Weasley had strange and particular magical skills. Although identical, they were equally not the same magically. Magic did strange things when there were two relatively young sources growing around each other.

Fred was the first of the two be affected. They were four and a half at the time. Their mum had a new baby a few months ago, and for a long time, they were sort of left alone. Little Ginny took their mum away a lot. They didn’t mind it. They weren’t ever alone because they had each other. It was just like how it was when Ronny was born, but they were a little too young to remember that clearly. George was playing with Fred by passing a floating ball between them (Bill's gift to them for their fourth birthday. It was brilliant in their minds) and he was the first one to feel something was wrong. Fred froze up. George knew something was off, he didn’t know what. Fred was his best friend. His brother. They were like the same person. And yet-

“Fred?” George called out in a hushed whisper. His brother didn’t even move. George moved towards his brother and grabbed his arm. It was his touch that shocked Fred into sucking a deep breath, his body shuddering. “Fred?” George’s voice grew high in concern. “What happened?”

“I dunno ” Fred whispered. His face was pale, making his freckles stand out on his face sharply.

“I’ll go get mum.” George moved towards the door when Fred grabbed his brother’s hand and held it tight.

“Don’t leave me,” Fred said with tears welling up in his eyes. “Please?”

“Okay.” George agreed without hesitation. “I won’t.”

Fred felt fine later on, and as four-year-olds, they simply forgot about it. Until it happened again a few months later. And again, nearly half a year after that. Fred didn’t know how to explain it. George was simply there, watching helplessly as his brother would freeze up and then cry afterward. It was scary. For both of them. Fred wanted his brother to be with him, and George never went for help because he didn’t know how long Fred would be frozen for. And afterward, when everything was fine again, there didn’t seem to be a need for a parent to be involved. They happened so infrequently and sparsely that it never really came up. Fred said he was fine afterward, if a bit dizzy, so George took him at his word and never mentioned it to their mum.

This continued through their youth. When they began their mischief and started to stuff Percy’s socks with chicken dung it, Fred would freeze up. They would later spend the rest of their day in their room, even when their mum was yelling at them to clean up their mess. Percy wasn’t happy that day, but he was smart enough that he left Fred alone after taking a look at him. When Percy asked why Fred wasn’t looking too good, George explained that sometimes Fred got bad headaches. And the Weasley clan accepted that answer and moved on. Mum would give Fred some ointment that he despised and he’d feel a tad bit better after. George was the only one who really knew the extent of Fred’s condition. They didn’t know why. It was a mystery to both of them.

The one time somebody else saw Fred freeze up was Ronnikins. They were seven, and they certainly acted as malicious as seven-year-olds do. They had already replaced Charlie’s books with their mum romance novels when he came home for the Hols. And Percy was being a git that one day so they left him a nice gnome in his bed. Ginny was being a terror to be around, yelling and screaming and generally throwing a tantrum, so they magicked her socks to be mittens. Their mum was certainly puzzled as to why their four-year-old sister had no socks and an abundance of mittens, but the prank served its purpose. Ginny grew to love mittens, and for a while, she always had to have them on. Much to their parent's dismay. But it certainly lessened the tears.

But the greatest offense to both of them when Fred was helping George clean out the fireplace by scrubbing it and stiffening suddenly. Ron was stuffing his mouth like usual at the kitchen table, a mouthful of food still in his maw when he spoke, spitting food everywhere. “Wha’s wrong w’th ‘im?”

“Nothing.” George quickly said, placing his hand on his brother. Fred was still out of it, staring off into nothing while not moving.

“It doesn’t look like nuthin.” Ron had thankfully swallowed before speaking again. “He looks stupid.”

“Shut up Ron.” George snapped. “Nobody asked you.”

“You can’t say that to me,” Ron whined in his ridiculously high voice. “I’ll tell mum.”

“You tell mum and I’ll go tell Percy that you were the one who tore his favourite book.” George countered.

“But you can’t do that!” Ron’s voice grew three octaves higher. At that point, Fred took in a sharp gasp and shuddered, slumping against his brother. “Look at that. You look so stupid when you’re acting like a girl, Fred.”

George, in a fit of rage, sent his younger brother a scathing look. “Shut up Ron.” He repeated, “nobody asked you.” And he grabbed Fred who was shaking again, tears welling up in his eyes, and practically fled with his twin leaning his weight on him.

“I’ll tell mum!” Ron yelled after them, but George didn’t reply. His attention was focused on his brother, who was beginning to cry.

“Don’t listen to him, Fred,” George whispered once they were up in their room. “He’s just being an idiot.”

Fred sniffled a lot and didn’t answer. George didn’t push him to, and they spend the day within arms reach of each other. Comforting each other simply by being close to the other twin.


 

That night they magicked Ron’s teddy bear into a spider. They got into a huge load of trouble, but it was worth it. Even grounded and having to de-gnome the garden wasn’t terrible. For George, it was an easy price to pay. If he saw Fred smiling again then it was all worth it.


It was when they were nearing the age nine did Fred start to speak about it. George never asked. He never spoke about it unless Fred wanted to. They were in it together, and Fred was the one who was being affected the most. So George let him deal with whatever he was thinking alone until Fred wanted to talk.

It was a few weeks after their most recent one. They were coming quicker, to George’s dismay. Instead of once every three or so months, they were appearing every six weeks. Fred was getting paler, and he started to eat less at breakfast. George was worried, but he tried to act normal for Fred’s sake.

It was a tough night that Fred began to whisper about the dreams. On troubling days, they would share a bed. Being closer stopped the tremors in Fred’s hands, and it made George less scared when he could feel his brother’s heartbeat.

“There is a big lake,” Fred says one night. George was almost asleep but blinked himself awake when Fred began to whisper. “It’s dark. And a twisted tree is sitting on a hill. But I know I can’t go near it. There is a rat. It’s saying things- asking another to forgive them. I don’t know how it ends- I never do. But I know that there is a wolf. And the moon is big. It’s really big in the sky. A woman laughs. I don’t know how it ends.”

George doesn’t speak. He doesn’t move, but he grips his brother's hand and squeezes. Fred doesn’t speak for a while again, taking in deep breaths and then continues.

“I see a kid. I don’t know who he is. But somebody is yelling at him to do magic. He can’t. They say that there was a possibility that since he survived something that it ate up all his magic, and that he was a squib. I saw an older man grab him and hold him out a window in a tall building, and let go. He bounces a bit, and the people were happy but they still couldn’t get him to do a lot of magic. They say that he’s just weak now. He cries a lot in his room. He was really scared when they dropped him, and he still doesn’t know how he survived.”

“That’s messed up,” George whispers. “Who does that to kids?”

“Yeah.” Fred agrees. “I could almost feel his emotions. I was so scared for him when I saw him fall.”

“Is…” George hesitated afraid to ask a question. He was glad he wasn’t facing his brother, staring at the wall in the dark. “Is everything you see awful?”

“Not always,” Fred replied. “I see us. We’re in Hogwarts. We’re older, probably in our second year or so. I look better than you, so all the girls are coming up to me-”

George jammed his elbow back and hits Fred who muffled his laughter. “Come’on Freddy,” George grumbled. “We look the same. And if anything, I’m the better looking one.”

“How come?”

“I brush my hair in the morning, you dimwit.”

Fred laughed again, pressing his mouth against his brother’s back. “Alright, you have a point there.” They both giggled in the dark, the mood lightened. George finally shuffled around until he was facing his brother, his absolute best friend. Fred looked more relaxed than he had in ages.

“You can always tell me things, Freddy.” George said, “I won’t ever judge you.”

“It’s not always that,” Fred said, averting his eyes. “I don’t want to scare you. Sometimes I see things that...” He trailed off.

“Fred.” George stated and squeezed his brother’s hand. “I won’t be scared. I’ll never be scared of the things you tell me. Not if you’re here with me.”

Fred met his eyes. “Promise?”

“Promise.”


 

(April 1st will not end. Whatever gods and higher beings (like management) decided that this day will be forever drawn out. The narrator and general entity of this story are currently contemplating on if they should eat cleaning supplies. The plus side is that hopefully, they’d pass out and when they woke up hopefully this hell day would be over. However, on the downside, they are immortal and if they tried to commit suicide they have to talk to HR and go to several mental health classes (if they had to go to another class where Cleopatra told them that her biggest regret was killing herself over her husband then this Entity would rather eat Cerberus food). That and cleaning supplies are not very tasty.

(That also being said, if you are on a human planet with vulnerable organs in your body, you should definitely not consume cleaning supplies. They are extremely harmful and will cause you to actually perish. The whole popularising Tide Pod thing was actually Satan’s idea, and those should not be followed.)

The Entity almost left the safe little cleaning closet once, but they heard somebody shout ‘yeet’ on the other side of the door and something splatter on the ground. Something that looked like blood pooled under the door, so they sat back down with their computer and continued to survey and try their best at managing their universes. The office out there was clearly still too chaotic to be out and about. Damn, they hoped that they got paid today. They had a cat at home and they needed to feed the terrifying beast before it consumed their sofa again.

Their stomach grumbled, and the being longingly looked that the lemon flavored brain bleach that was sitting innocently on the shelf. It wouldn’t work on them, it was mostly there for the random space travelers that accidentally hopped into their dimension. But it at least looked friendly enough to consume. It even had a little cartoon hero on the side. ‘It’s heroic to forget about everything!’

‘I wish I could’ the being thought and then turned back to the story, the unforgettable memories of this day already haunting them. They could never forget seeing Greg tossing himself out the window while Joann took the hit and stayed behind. At least Mary, the HR representative, got accidentally killed. She didn’t have to see the horrors coming from outside. She’d revive herself the next day and work on getting things back to normal. The Entity vaguely wondered what the other two were doing right now, before getting back to work.

(Greg was fighting off a hoard of goblin creatures that the Inca’s had summoned from a premortal realm. Joann was in the witches lounge, smoking a cigar and sipping wine while also getting her nails done. The witches were not to be messed with, and Joann was a favorite demon to summon. Mary actually faked her death and took the rest of the day off. Lucky bitch. She knew what she was avoiding.))


 

George’s power manifests itself in a different way. It wasn’t as nerve-wracking as Fred’s, nor obvious. It was simple things. It wasn’t until they were at Hogwarts, already sorted into Gryffindor, and gone through the first week of classes that George realized that it wasn’t normal for kids to do wandless magic. He probably should have known earlier in his life, but to be honest, the twins mostly kept to themselves. They weren’t around when Ginny or Ron complained about being unable to do magic. Or when Percy lost his wand for three days and couldn’t go to his classes without it.

Magic was common in their house. Their mum always did incantations silently, they almost never heard her speak the magic words that would cause her knitting to do its job for her. Da only did magic if it meant he got out of chores faster so that he could go into the shed and work on the muggle things. And so the answer came to George through an abrupt way. Professor McGonagall asked them to transform a matchstick to a needle and George did it without thinking.

“Mr. Weasley.” The older woman came up to the twin’s shared desk. “I haven’t seen your wand out yet. Why aren’t you practicing.” Then she looked down and picked up the needle. “Did you do this?” She stared George down, her tone accusing.

“Uh, no ma’am,” Fred spoke up, clearly sensing his brother’s discomfort. “That was me.” He had at least his wand out. “I thought it’d be fun to do his first.”

“Ten points to Gryffindor for being the first to turn their match stick to a needle, Mr. Weasley.” Professor McGonagall spoke. Then she looked at George. “I suggest you do your own work, Mr. Weasley, and not depend on your brother to do it for you.”

“Yes Professor,” George muttered, looking down.

The two boys looked at each other before returning to the lesson. They knew better than to speak about it now. But it was obvious now that they really looked for it. Kids their age struggled with magic. They weren’t good at transforming things into others, not unless they were older. And all of them had used their wands to do it. They waited until after dinner and they were up in George’s bed with the curtains drawn for them to whisper about it.

“I never thought it was weird,” George said. “I could just do things and they’d happen.”

“Neither did I.” Fred leaned up against his brother. “But then again, I guess it was sort of obvious. Percy could never figure out how we got his socks to dance every time he put them on.”

“Yeah but that’s Percy. We almost never listen to him.” George scoffed. “I can’t believe mom didn’t notice.”

“Ginny and Ron have taken a lot of her time.” Fred shrugged. “That’s always how it’s been.”

“Yeah, but mum should’ve noticed. At least when I turn Ronnikin’s teddy bear into a spider.” George grumbled.

“Mum never notices us unless we do something wrong.” Fred mused. “It’s always sort of been like that. Percy has been more of a mum than Mum.”

“Percy likes to boss us around,” George mumbled, then there was a long silence. Both took comfort by being near the other. The stress of going to a new school and a new environment made them both cling to each other. At least, more than what they usually did. They both sat there, contemplating when George turned to Fred. “At least we’re both a little weird.”

“What?” Fred asked.

“Well, I can wave my hand and make bespell anything. Which is super cool, because we can get away with so much stuff with that. Could you imagine turning Filch’s robes neon yellow right in front of him? It couldn’t have been us because we didn’t have our wands out or anything.” George waved his hands in the air to elaborate. Fred chuckled.

“Ohh yes. What if you replaced Snape’s cup of tea with hot sauce.” Fred added on. “Or what if used the dungbombs that Bill got us and cause them to explode when we weren’t even in the castle. They couldn’t blame us. We’d have alibis.”

“Could you imagine?” George gave his brother a fond smile. “We’d be the prank kings of the school! Nobody would know how we’d did it!”

“That would be bloody wicked.” Fred agreed. “We’d be unstoppable.”

Their conversation lapsed once again. It a comfortable silence. Sometimes it was better not to speak. As long as they had each other then it wasn’t awful. With the curtains shut they couldn’t hear anybody else in their room shuffling about or talking. It as nice, and peaceful. To be together.

Then Fred spoke. “I had a dream again.”

“What? When?” George looked over at his brother. “I don’t remember one since the last time. A few weeks ago.”

“Last night. I was actually asleep and the next thing I know is that I’m struggling to breathe and wide awake.” Fred shrugged. “It wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m getting used to them happening now.”

“Why didn’t you wake me?”

“You were tired and it was almost time to wake up anyways.” Fred nonchalantly spoke. “It didn’t seem worth it at the time.”

George clearly didn’t like that answer. But he didn’t push his brother. “Okay, if you ever need me… I’m there.” He said.

“It was about us.” Fred smiled. “We were older. And super cool.”

“Oh yeah?” George shuffled closer to his brother. “Give me the details.”

“We could make anybody laugh. And I saw that we dumped a bucket of slime on Filch. He was super mad at us but nobody could prove anything.” Fred said with a smile. “And there was a black notebook. I dunno why but we were writing in it. And it was funny, I remember both of us writing in it a lot.”

“A notebook?” George seemed skeptical. “How is that funny?”

“I dunno.” Fred shrugged. “But it was cool enough that I dreamed us fighting over it a few times.”

“Fighting?” George asked surprised.

“I know, right? We never fight.” Fred chuckled.

“Never. I’d never fight with you, Fred.” George swore. “Not for a silly notebook.”

“Same.” Fred held out his hand with his pinky extended. “Promise?”

“I promise.” George curled his finger around his brother’s.


 

(The battery to the laptop is dying. It has been for a while. The Entity takes another swig of brain bleach and watches miserably as their laptop begins to shut down. The battery was supposed to last for weeks, the packaging for it said that it had a quantum built battery installed that would make it’s life last longer than any other computer. However, the being had slowly watched as the bar life slowly begun to decrease.

They couldn’t tell anymore if it’s because they bought the wrong type of computer, or if they had been in this damned closet for too long. They stared at the tiles on the floor absentmindedly. They had counted them ages ago. Fourteen thousand and sixteen tiles. At around day four in the cleaning closet, some sort of pink ooze started to come from under the door and melted the shelves. Luckily the Entity only had to sit further away from the door in order not to get dissolved themselves.

At around day six the Entity had resorted to solitaire. They hadn’t known that there were so many rules and so many different types of games. But it was the only game installed beside Minecraft, and they would rather gargle flaming hot Cheetos than get sucked into playing that. The internet was down, has been since the lights were cut. And so they became an expert at solitaire. At least they felt like they were an expert. They played it for so long. They figured out the rules without any instructions too.

Somebody screeched outside. Bullets were fired. “We can’t stop him!” Somebody shouted. “He’s too strong!”

“Damn him!” Another person cursed right outside the Entity’s cleaning closet.

“Scrappy-Doo is coming! Everybody duck!” There was a whistling noise and then a huge explosion rocked the room and it’s remaining unmelted shelves. The Entity didn’t bother to look up, those noises were so common to their ears now that it barely registered on their radar.

“No! Dad!” Somebody cried.

“I’m sorry son… I’ve been hit.” They coughed weakly, “I’m sorry I was never able to teach you everything.”

“No Dad! Don’t go!”

“I’m sorry, son. I wish… I could have spilled that tea on Marrisa in accounting. She doesn’t deserve the Hercules account.”

“Dad! Noooo!”

The Entity took another swig of brain bleach. Completely ignoring the traumatic death of somebody outside their closet. The sobs from outside were tuned out as the Entity poked at a few keys on the computer. It lagged, and a window popped up. ‘Warning: Battery Low. 0.1 percent.’ And as soon as it did, the screen flickered and shut off. The Entity let loose a long sigh and stared at the dark screen. When will this day end? Was this punishment for whatever crimes that they had committed? Yeah, they knew that Mark in the audit department ate Margeries yogurt. Was this management’s way of making their displeasure known?

Oh Gods, ’ they thought, ‘when will this day be over?’ They slumped against the wall, accepting the inevitable. This day was never going to end. It will not. It could not. And they will spend the rest of their immortal existence in this closet for the rest of time. They were defeated. They were going to lie here forever and slowly be driven into madness.

They close their eyes and take a final drink of brain bleach. To their utter disappointment, the bottle was empty. They tossed it into the pink ooze side of the room letting it sizzle and melt away. It was symbolic. The container was dissolving just like their hopes and dreams.

They laid in the dark. Probably for only a few minutes but it felt like an eternity. And then there was a small ding and the Big Boss From Above’s voice came onto the intercom.

“Hello everybody. It is now April 2nd, and that means everything has to be put back into its original spot. That means that the clown does have to be put down, we will not be offering him a janitorial position like last time. We all know the balloon animal incident and HR has informed me that we will not be taking a chance like that again.” There was a pause, and the intercom crackled. “Also floors 76 and 143 are melted. So those who offices are there, please be careful. Just avoid the acid pits and I’m sure you’ll be fine. As for the rest of the mess, our janitorial support team will be by shortly to take care of it.”

It was… over? The Entity sat up, staring at the ceiling. It was over! This hell day was done! They grabbed their laptop and stumbled out of the closet. The hallway looked like it had gotten wrecked. Deep gouges were taken out of the walls and floor. Being of various types were all getting up from their positions from where they fell. They all looked shell shocked and worse off than the Entity, one guy had an eye patch. The Entity was pretty sure that was new. They stumbled back to where the Harry Potter department was supposed to be. Liquid (they hoped it to be water) was up to their ankles as they stumbled through the mess and found their desk and dropped their laptop onto it. Their desk looked like it was gnawed on, but was it was still standing.

Shell shocked and tired, the Entity plugged back in the laptop and reluctantly began to work once again once it booted up. Closing solitaire with a sigh.)


 

This is how it ends:

One of them should not have existed.

Two brothers whos magic was twisted up in them when they were born. Equal in each other eyes, inseparable by the world. They stuck to each other through the thick and thin, and couldn’t imagine life without the other. They were deeply grateful that they had each other.

And if one had the ability to see snippets of the future and the past... well. They kept that to themselves. And if the other had the strange ability of wandless magic… it wouldn’t hurt to keep it a secret. They were both different. But only to themselves. The rest of the world simply saw two identical brothers, and they were fine with that. It felt more like a shield to protect them. If they only thought that they were identical in every way then it would protect them from judging them. From hurting them.

And if Fred had seen a girl with freckles on her shoulders, a mischievous smile on her obscured face, and felt a deep sense of adoration… he didn’t tell his brother. Sometimes, it's good to keep a secret.

 

Chapter Text

The first letter appeared on a Monday.

“Hit her with your Smelting stick, Dudley.” Uncle Vernon encouraged his son. Harriet had only been given her food of the morning, a piece of charred up toast that unfortunately was left in the toaster for too long. Somebody kept on turning the toaster to high once or twice a week, and none of the Dursley’s liked the taste of coal. Harriet had only been able to sink her teeth into the tough substance and dodged the swipe of the knobby stick that Dudley was wielding. And she went to go get the mail, as that was the reason why her uncle was teaching his son to hit little girls.

She picked up the stack of letters, and at that moment she felt the toast begin to slip between her teeth. Rather than peruse through said mail, Harriet simply caught her morsel and munched on the blackened crunchy bread before returning to the kitchen. Aunt Petunia had finally stopped fixing her hair and was now sitting at the table, and Harriet laid the stack of letters next to Uncle Vernon.

“Oh Pet, look. Another letter from Marge. She’s spending the summer in Spain.” Uncle Vernon plucked off a postcard from the top of the pile. “She says the food is ghastly. And they don’t know how to make a good cup of tea.”

“Spaniards are terrible cooks,” Aunt Petunia sniffed, her mouth in a constant puckered look. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they knew anything about tea. I hope Marge won’t get poisoned by their lack of hygiene.”

‘You don’t even know the difference between bacon and steak is.’ Harriet quietly, wise to keep such comments to her herself. ‘And Spaniards traded tea with other countries ages ago.’

“What’s this?” Dudley reached over and snatched a letter from the pile. Harriet only saw it with a glance, already working on the dishes. It was good to keep busy in front of her relatives, who wouldn’t hesitate to keep her working until the next day if they saw her standing around. And so, as she stared out the window into the backyard and a bush of roses, Harriet only managed to hear the commotion behind her rather than see it.

There was an awful noise. It sounded like a mixture between a gasp and a gargle. And then she heard Aunt Petunia shriek, "Vernon! ” There was a crash as a glass was knocked over, and Harriet turned around to see Uncle Vernon snatch a white envelope from Dudley’s hands.

“But Da! That’s mine!” Dudley stood up, his chair sliding back making it screech against the tile floor. “I saw it and it’s mine!” His voice pitched higher and louder until Dudley’s face matched Vernon’s red one.

Aunt Petunia’s face went ashen white, and she looked ready to fall over. “Vernon. Is- is that our boy’s name on it? Is he-” her voice trembled.

Uncle Vernon turned the paper around (far from Dudley’s reach), and shook his head. “No, Pet.” And Harriet saw it. The broken seal on the back. Although it was impossible to see what the insignia was on the wax there was only one reason as for a letter to even have a seal in the first place. Quickly mentally tallying up the months, Harriet realized that yes, this was it. July. Her 11th birthday was soon coming up, and this was the year that she’d start school.

After dreaming about it for so long, Harriet was shocked to find it had snuck up on her. Hogwarts was a dream, a castle far away where she’d be accepted for who she really was. And somehow she had let the distant dream to remain remote, not knowing that it was suddenly upon her.

Harriet’s hand twitched for the letter, but none of her relatives noticed as Dudley decided to throw a tantrum.

Give me my letter! ” Dudley screamed so high pitched that Harriet was sure that he was actually a girl. He stomped his feet, crushing the glass that had fallen earlier, and pounded his hands on the table. Then he grasped the Smelting stick and began to bang it on the table, destroying the rest of the breakfast that had been sitting there innocently. Aunt Petunia sat in the chair, her face devoid of all color and looked sickly.

It’s not yours boy!” Uncle Vernon roared back, louder than Dudley’s screams. His voice boomed and Harriet flinched back. She watched with wide eyes, her heart pounding. Vernon had never yelled at Dudley before. Harriet, on the other hand, was intimate with that sound. It only happened when she had fucked up. Badly.

Dudley began to yell back, but Vernon had already beaten him to the punch. His big meaty hands grasped the letter and tore it in two. The ghastly howl that came from Dudley was overpowering, filling the kitchen and dining room until it felt like he shook the spiders from their nests in the attic. Vernon didn’t stop there, continuing to rip and shred the many documents and pages that the letter contained until only confetti remained. That is when Dudley took action, banging his Smelting stick on his father before it was yanked from his hands.

“Go to your room!” Uncle Vernon almost violently shoved Dudley towards the stairs. Dudley went with a sob, turning his back and fleeing. Then Vernon turned on Harriet, his attention focusing on her like a sniper rifle. Harriet flinched once again when she saw his scorched look on her. “You.” He snarled and with a savage motion, he pointed towards the cupboard under the stairs. “Get in there now.

Harriet scuttled as fast as she could towards her cupboard. She didn’t dare get close to Uncle Vernon, nor did she look back as she shut the door behind her. A familiar setting around her, Harriet turned and looked at the door. Within seconds, she heard the locks clicking in place and Uncle Vernon’s heavy steps walking away from her cupboard.

She returned to the door, softly tilting her head till her ear was against the wood. She could distantly hear Aunt Petunia sobbing, and Uncle Vernon talking in a hushed voice. Above her, she could hear Dudley stomping around and that drowned out the conversation that Harriet longed to hear.

She stayed in her cupboard for the rest of the day, her mind racing. Because finally, after all that time, Hogwarts was almost here. It was so close she could almost taste it. The freedom from her relatives. More magic in her life. Potions to create. It felt like a dream. But it was here. It was finally here.


 

On Tuesday, Harriet didn’t get the mail. She simply made breakfast, although the tension in the room was so thick that she couldn’t almost breathe. Dudley was pouting, not saying a word while Aunt Petunia looked like she was about to cry. It was only Vernon who seemed to be in a positive mood. In fact, he acted just fine, as if the incident didn’t happen the day before. The Smelting stick was mysteriously missing, and for that Harriet was glad. As Dudley was still in a foul mood and she was sure that he wouldn’t have hesitated to take a few swings at on her.

“The weather forecast says that we’ll have some sunshine today.” Uncle Vernon tapped on the newspaper. “It’s bloody well time. It’s been raining non-stop for too long these days.”

“Yes dear.” Aunt Petunia looked downright miserable. Harriet had never seen her aunt look so glum before. It was a little disconcerting. But satisfying at the same time.

Harriet was scooping out a pan of fried eggs onto Dudley’s plate when the familiar sound of the letter slot clicking shut and the mail hitting the welcome mat. Aunt Petunia's face lost all color once again, and Uncle Vernon perked up.

“Ah, the mail. Don’t worry, I’ll go get it.” He left the table and walked the short distance towards the front door.

Harriet watched warily, wondering what he was doing. She wasn’t worried about her admission to Hogwarts, she knew the basics of it from her mum’s journal. All she had to do was head over to Diagon Alley when Aunt Petunia was out and send an owl off to Hogwarts for her acceptance. She didn’t need the letter so much, although she’d have to ask somebody for their book list. Or just walk into a few shops and ask for their first-year things. It wouldn’t be that big of a problem if she didn’t get her hands on a letter.

Uncle Vernon soon came back as Harriet served a platter of bacon on the table. He was still in his jovial mood and waved a stack of letters and magazines in the air. “No letter today!” He cheerfully exclaimed. Aunt Petunia let loose a sigh and she didn’t seem as tense as before.

Then it occurred to Harriet. Magic has been a part of her life for a long time. Waiting up until the moon was full to mumble some words over some plants. Or hurriedly making a potion in a pot before Aunt Petunia came home from the salon. Perusing over so many books in the middle of the night, her fingertips trailing over the words in the yellowed light. She had kept the secret of her knowledge of magic to herself in fear of her relatives that it didn’t occur to her that they still thought that she didn’t know. The fact that she did know exactly what her aunt and uncle were doing shed a different light on their odd behavior. Were they… scared of magic? Of her knowing?

The idea of it puzzled her.

“I think I’ll be glad for a little bit of sunshine today.” Aunt Petunia said with a hint of relief. Harriet turned away from the table to fetch the last piece of the breakfast- a pitcher of orange juice- when she heard it.

The mail slot clicking closed once again, and something falling on the welcome mat. Everybody heard it. Harriet turned to see that the Dursleys were nearly all frozen. Aunt Petunia was starting to breathe quick short breaths, and then Dudley suddenly lunged out of his seat towards the door. Uncle Vernon grasped him and threw him back, moving faster than what Harriet could have possibly imagined. For such a large man, he was shockingly quick on his feet. Dudley fell back, banging against the table and his plate fell over, creating a large crash. His weight fell on the table cloth on the table, which slid, resulting in the entire tables contents to fall on the ground in a cacophony of sounds. For the second time in a row, breakfast was ruined.

“No,” Aunt Petunia whispered weakly. “No. No. No.”

Uncle Vernon came back, beet red in the face. An envelope with a wax seal on the back crumbled up in his hand. He didn’t stop as he came into the room, continuing into the kitchen and clicked on a burner. Harriet watched silently as he set it aflame, and gazed at it as the letter began to twist and curl into ash.

“There.” Uncle Vernon said with grit. “We will just burn the blasted letters.” He waited until the flame consumed the letter before throwing it into the sink. Aunt Petunia let out a terrible sob, and Dudley stood there and pouted.

Harriet let her eyes wander around the Dursley home. Rarely had she ever seen such chaos in this space. The last time Harriet had even come close to creating such a moment was when she had weakened a chair at the table and Aunt Marge sat on it. Dudley started to stomp his foot and throw a tantrum, Aunt Petunia still sat in her chair, her head in her hands, and Uncle Vernon was telling Dudley no for the first time that Harriet could remember. This was the second day that the letter appeared. Would… it come again? Harriet didn’t dare smile, but oh how she wanted to when the idea came to her. Having a letter arrive once was nothing. But twice in a row? It could be a coincidence. But the third time. The third time should be when Harriet would know that they would arrive frequently.

Her relatives don’t know that she knows about magic. That thought echoed in her head over and over again. They didn’t know that she knew. Harriet knew that she would go to Hogwarts. No matter how much her aunt and uncle tried to prevent it, Harriet was going. No matter what. It had been the one dream of escape that she always had. Her mum had gone there. Her mum had met her dad there. Hogwarts was happening, no matter what. And her relative's attempts by trying to keep it from her was never going to work.

Then a terrible, no good, awful, idea hit Harriet. She turned towards the sink, letting her tangled hair fall into her face. And she allowed herself to give herself a smile. It wasn’t a nice one. It was bitter and full of spite. It was malicious. None of her extended family saw it, they were all distracted by the chaos around them. And if they had, they would have been nervous to know what exactly what she was thinking.

Seeing by how the letters were being sent over and over again, the wizarding world was coming to get her now. And the mail was sending them into such a tizzy, well. Maybe… just maybe Harriet should give it a hand. After all, it would be a shame if her aunt and uncle didn’t know about the exciting chance of a magic school for her.

And Harriet knew exactly what to do.


 

Breakfast was a morbid affair to the Dursleys on Wednesday. Harriet didn’t care, she was just the one who cooked the bacon. Dudley was the only one who ate without abandon, stuffing his face like usual. In fact, he was the first one to pipe up that morning. Vernon and Petunia seemed like ghosts, pale looking and sleep deprived. They picked at their plates, and Harriet absent mindedly hoped that she could eat it once they threw it away.

“So wa’ss in the ‘etter anyway?” Dudley spoke through a mouthful of food, spitting pieces of it across the table.

“Nothing.” Uncle Vernon was quick to say. “And you will never find out. Not while you’re living under our roof.”

“But Da-”

“Dudley.” Vernon’s voice held a thinly veiled threat. “Don’t ask any questions. Your mother and I are not in the mood.”

Dudley’s face puckered up in a pout but didn’t say another word. Harriet simply scrubbed at the frying pan in the kitchen while the rest of the house suffered in silence. She kept herself busy, eavesdropping for the moment that they all had been waiting for. And she didn’t have to wait very long. The mail came, dropping onto the mat with it’s familiar thud. Uncle Vernon went to go get it, and when he came back he quickly did the same thing that he did yesterday. Burning the letters. He then dusted his hands from his dirty deed and the day proceeded like normal.

Yeah. Harriet was satisfied with knowing that not only had she correctly predicted that another letter would arrive, but an additional one came with it.

She started to plan immediately. The excitement bubbling up within her.


 

Thursday came with a plot twist that Harriet didn’t see coming. That morning, Uncle Vernon waited for the mailman to come. Mr. Green was a nice mailman if a bit weird. Harriet never really thought much of him, simply because he didn’t stay around Privet Drive that much. He came, did his job, and left. Which was his duty required of him to do. And so Harriet didn’t really have time to stand around and watch how things would pan out with Uncle Vernon and Mr. Green, as she still had chores to do. The last few days she had spent in her cupboard, which was pretty nice. But that also meant that the house had fallen into disarray. That and Dudley’s tantrums that were so loud out it could wake the dead. Those added to the general clutter of the home.

Harriet was on the kitchen floor scrubbing up bacon grease from the last few previous days when Uncle Vernon came back. Breakfast hadn’t been eaten yet, but today was a change of pace. Aunt Petunia herself had cooked. Harriet had never thought that she’d see the day that her aunt took charge of the kitchen. Her aunt never cooked. Never. And yet she stood in the kitchen, banging pots and pans around and making a general mess.

To be honest, it was more like Harriet’s kitchen than anything else. She was the one who cooked all the meals, who cleaned and scrubbed every inch of the stove. She knew exactly where all the ingredients and cooking tools were kept. In fact, it was one of the most familiar places in the house to her. And Harriet let her bedraggled hair fall into her face to mask her discontent of seeing Petunia doing the cooking. Petunia was using too much flour in the pie that she was trying to make. And it was getting everywhere. Harriet knew that she’d be the one to clean it in the end, and she hoped that her scrubbing masked the small sighs of discontent falling from her lips.

Uncle Vernon stepped into the kitchen and swept Petunia up into a kiss. Harriet averted her eyes, as it was gross to see it. Not to mention it was unseemly to look straight into hell. At least, it was Harriet’s version of hell.

“My Pet, we won’t get another letter again.” Uncle Vernon said. “The post will never allow another letter to appear. They put a note down in our file.”

Petunia let out a sigh and leaned into the walrus. “That is such a relief.”

Harriet felt physically sick. The fondness that they had for each other made her gag. It was torturous for her to listen to them… cuddle. And with that Harriet figured that her job was mostly finished anyway, and quickly picked up her cleaning supplies. Just hearing her aunt and uncle being fond with each other made her want to leave the room, go outside, and throw herself in front of a bus. She wasn’t stopped as Harriet left the room. She picked up her pail of dirty soapy water and made her way to the front door to go throw it onto the bushes outside. Honestly, she was looking forward to having a breath or two of fresh air. Maybe it might get rid of the vomit taste that was creeping up her throat the more she heard from her aunt and uncle.

She opened the door and nearly stepped on them before she noticed. A few drops spilled from the bucket as she suddenly changed trajectory, stepping aside instead of in front. Three letters sat peacefully on the ground, each one stamped with a red seal of wax. Harriet paused, looking down at the three letters.

‘It’s like the Dursley’s aren’t even trying.’ Harriet thought a little disappointed. Honestly, she thought she’d get a letter, but it would at least be a little difficult to get it. After all the fuss that they made, Harriet still found the letter with little to no effort. ‘What a shame .’ Harriet thought disappointedly. ‘I’d at least thought there would be a challenge.’

She peered inside. Maybe she should just leave- when she heard her aunt’s breathless giggle and thought better of it. Mercy wasn’t in her vocabulary. If she had to suffer through her aunt and uncle being affectionate, they ought to suffer too. Harriet glanced down at the carpet floors and placed the bucket smack dab in the middle of the hallway. She then crept back to the doorway and picked up two letters and stuffed them into her knickers. Her underwear was the only thing that her aunt bought for her new since Dudley’s won’t even stay up on her hips. The other letters would be useful later. Harriet picked up the last piece of mail on their porch and took the time to study it. The Hogwarts emblem was stamped into the wax seal. And on the front, penned in green ink was her name. Harriet Potter. Under the Staircase. Number 4 Privet Drive, Surrey.

Harriet paused, then glanced back inside. She might get hit by doing this. Uncle Vernon might get mad again. Harriet didn’t know how her relatives might react seeing her with a letter from a magical school. One that they were trying to avoid letting her see. Uncle Vernon might beat her up again. Maybe use his belt to whip her. She might not be able to move for weeks. But honestly… it was worth it. Pain happened on a regular basis. If she could get a few snickers out of this, then it was worth the effort and the resulting fallout.

Harriet took in a deep breath to calm her nerves. Then breathed in until her lungs hurt.

Harriet cleared her throat and spoke loudly into the house. “Wow, it’s for me?” She paused, ripping at the paper for it to make a noise. “It even says under the staircase.” She called loudly, exaggerating her excitement.

The deep thump-thump-thump of Uncle Vernon’s feet hitting the ground was the only thing that warned Harriet. It was loud. It even made the floor under her shake. She continued her act. Starting to pick at the envelope and tearing off a corner further.

Girl! ” Uncle Vernon bellowed as he headed straight for her. His face was redder than Harriet had ever seen it before. It was nearing the stage purple. “You will drop that-” and he kicked over the bucket. Spilling the dirty water all over Aunt Petunia’s white rug. He didn’t hesitate before grabbing Harriet by the collar and shaking her, tearing the envelope out of her hands. Harriet’s vision went blurry as her glasses almost slipped off.

“My carpet!” Aunt Petunia from behind wailed.

Uncle Vernon didn’t seem to notice. He pulled Harriet close to his face and spat into her face. “You will forget about this.” He was mad. Madder than Harriet had ever seen him. She looked startled. For a brief second, she almost regretted it. And then, Harriet couldn’t have planned it better. She caught the movement from the corner of her eye, and she saw a bird (an owl, her mind helpfully added) swoop past the open door and the muffled clatter of yet another envelope hitting the ground. That drew Uncle Vernon’s attention away from Harriet.

“Vernon!” Aunt Petunia half shouted half whispered in fear. “Not in front of the neighbors.” Her eyes flickered outside, and then to the new letter on the ground. “And please.” Her voice cracked. “Don’t antagonize her. Not now.”

What happened next was almost magical. In fact, Harriet was one hundred percent sure it was. Because it was so unlikely that Harriet was certain magic was at work. Uncle Vernon slowly put her down and released his grip on her shirt. He was still red in the face, but he didn’t lay a hand on her. Harriet took a step back, afraid that he was going to change his mind. He had never… Harriet was in shock.

“Go.” Uncle Vernon bit his words out, “get the cleaning supplies from the kitchen and clean up this mess, girl.” He waved his hand towards the now yellowing carpet. Harriet ducked her eyes and scampered away, turning the corner towards the kitchen and out of the sight of her uncle.

The shock was still there in her system. But with also euphoria. Harriet’s mind buzzed. She felt almost dizzyingly joyful. Her ploy worked and she didn’t even get hit once. It had been so terrifying that the fear still resided in her bones. But it worked! Harriet let out a breathless giggle. It was the neighbors. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon wouldn’t do anything if the neighbors could see it. It’s funny how she had never thought about that before, but the more she considered it the more she felt it was true.

The bit of the paper stabbing into her bony ribs brought her attention to the letters still hidden in her knickers. ‘Why the bloody hell not?’ Harriet smiled freely to herself. And then glanced over at the hallway. Aunt Petunia was having a loud conversation with Uncle Vernon, but they didn’t seem to be coming into the kitchen any time soon. Harriet softly padded her way over to the window and opened it wide enough that she could fit her arm through. Untucking the letters from under her clothes, she inserted them into the small crevice between the window pane and the wooden frame, making sure that the address was towards the outside. She then softly closed the window, making no sound. She looked proudly at the letters that now gently fluttered in the breeze outside. ‘Let’s see what the neighbors would think of that,’ Harriet thought. She then grabbed the cleaning supplies, making sure that she wasn’t getting the bleach-infused carpet cleaner. Harriet was sure that she’d be spending all day trying to get that stain out of the shag carpet, but she was spiteful enough to make sure that it wouldn’t.

She gathered her items quickly, they were familiar to her as she was the only one who used them. Harriet then made her way back to the scene of the crime. Her nerves were still tingly from the excitement, but she had calmed down enough that she was certain that her emotions weren’t visible on her face.

“-right in front of the open doorway, anybody could have seen you!” Aunt Petunia spluttered. Uncle Vernon looked like he was ready to continue the conversation but when he saw Harriet he stopped. Aunt Petunia honed in on her too, her sharp look making Harriet duck her gaze. “I am going to bake a cake.” Aunt Petunia moved towards the kitchen and paused after passing Harriet. “Clean the carpet, freak.”

Harriet closed her eyes. Then glared up at the wall through the veil of her hair. ‘ Enjoy your gift bitch.’ She thought to herself as she set down her pile of cleaning product. Uncle Vernon moved on elsewhere, and Harriet was mostly left to her own to scrub. It was worse the second time around. The oils and rancid fats had soaked itself into the carpet, and Harriet could hardly make a dent into it. And yet, it was better than doing nothing. She was a master at absentmindedly cleaning things, while her thoughts were elsewhere. And soon it was easy to fall into a rhythm of cleaning and spraying and soaking and rubbing the brush again through the carpet.

Harriet had only just fallen into that distant mindset again when Aunt Petunia let out a horrid scream. Uncle Vernon thundered down the stairs, brushing past Harriet without a notice. Dudley came out of his room to see what was happening. Harriet paused in her cleaning and let her hair obscure the smile on her face.

“They’re everywhere!” Aunt Petunia wailed through unrecognizable sobs. “They just keep coming.”

“They’ll stop soon darling.” Uncle Vernon assured her. “They’ll get the hint one day. If we keep on destroying them then-”

“But maybe they won’t!” Aunt Petunia said. “They will never stop sending those letters.” There was a huge crashing sound that intrigued Harriet enough to finally see the commotion. Dudley was standing the doorway, and she came to hover behind him. Aunt Petunia was in Uncle Vernon’s arms. She had thrown the mixing bowl on the ground, cake batter splattered over the floor. The window was open, the letters retrieved from their hidden spots. Harriet didn’t see them anymore, so she assumed they were destroyed.

Uncle Vernon looked up from his wife and gave the two kids a glare. “You two. To your rooms. Now.

Dudley didn’t throw a fit, surprisingly. And Harriet was simply glad that she didn’t have to clean anymore and went into her cupboard. Harriet sat on her small mattress in the dark and threw her arms in the air in celebration. What a wonderful day so far! And she couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. What could she possibly do to cause her aunt to have a mental break down? Harriet positively beamed to herself, so proud of her mischief. She laid down and thought of all the different ways that she could torture her relatives. Let's see… she could hide more letters around the house. Although that would mean that she’d have to get her hands on some more. But figuring how easy it was to get them earlier, it probably wasn’t much of a problem. Harriet mused to herself… would her aunt's shampoo hold a letter? Or would that be too obvious?

The door to her cupboard suddenly swung open. Harriet jumped in shock. The bright light leaked into her cave. Causing her eyes to smart from the sudden shift in light.

“Pack up your things.” Aunt Petunia said stiffly. “You’re moving to Dudley’s second bedroom.”

Harriet didn’t see this plot twist at all.


 

The next morning caused Harriet to hate the world and everything in it. She glared with all her might at the window. And the sunlight that was making its way into her new room. It was trespassing. And very unwelcome. The room was still a mess. Dudley’s second bedroom was clearly not meant to be lived in. There was still copious amounts of broken junk from his childhood pushed to the side. Harriet, in a moment of absolute insanity, actually agreed with Aunt Petunia when she said that everything had to go. Dudley didn’t appreciate being told this. And so, a bed was uncovered and the lumpy mattress was aired long enough that Harriet didn’t immediately suffocate from the dust rising from it. The trash that littered the ground and walls combined with Harriet’s sudden move meant that Harriet didn’t have the same necessities that some of the other rooms in the house had.

That meant curtains.

Harriet had never awoken to light before. It had been annoying and dug her face into her pillow in an attempt to avoid waking up. But it wasn’t powerful enough to block the sunlight. It was early. Too early for Harriet, who loved to sleep in whenever she could. She had spent hours into the night moving things around until Uncle Vernon yelled at her to go to sleep. Turns out they could actually hear her move around in her room now. Which was weird. She was so used to being left alone in the middle of the night that it frightened her half to death when her uncle showed up at her door.

So used to the darkness that her cupboard provided for her Harriet was unprepared for the sudden shift. There were so many new things that she had to worry about now. How was she supposed to get to her potions now? Or her mum’s trunk? Her small supplies of herbs and spices that she had accumulated were all downstairs in her cupboard. There were no nooks and crannies in this room. In fact, Aunt Petunia told her to get rid of everything, much to Dudley’s absolute dismay.

“I hate you.” She croaked towards the window. Yeah, it’d be nice when it got stuffy. But for now, it claimed a spot in her mortal enemy list. Harriet groaned and dug her face back into her pillow. The light was still too bright for her comfort but it was too late for her to find sleep again. She’d have to tough out the day the hard way.

That Friday morning Harriet cleaned. She wasn’t allowed to be near the breakfast table at all. In fact, it was without saying that breakfast was canceled in the Dursley household until further notice. Dudley was put out, as food, in general, was pretty much all his walnut-sized brain could think about. But after having such a disaster week for breakfast, it was a unanimous decision. Instead, the first meal of the day was served near lunch, marking it to be a brunch. It was after the post had been delivered, and subsequently, all letters were destroyed.

Vernon made a big deal not to speak about the mail and Aunt Petunia was acting alongside him. Dudley didn’t dare mention anything about the letter again, but Harriet could easily tell that it was on his mind. And so Harriet didn’t know how many more letters were delivered on Friday, but she knew that there had been some due to the ashy remains of them in the sink.

She spent the rest of the day in her new bedroom, tossing toys and dozens of broken pieces of junk into garbage bags and putting them in the bin. Harriet went full out in her new room. It was pleasing to her to have it. She liked the space. And although the window as pretty awful in the mornings, she planned to have a few moon seances to improve a plant's magical ability. It was a lot better than sneaking out into the yard to do it. And if she could get some curtains then it would feel a lot homier. Although she’d have to make it seem like it was her relative's idea, otherwise they’d hold it as leverage. Or say no simply because she asked. They were jerks.

Being an expert in cleaning, it didn’t take Harriet very long to make her new space her own. Her relatives left her alone. Which was odd but nice in it’s own way. But for the entirety of the day, Harriet just cleaned and scrubbed and threw things away. By the end, Harriet found herself in her newly cleaned room. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t perfect. Her relatives didn’t even give her sheets for her new bed. But she still had her pillow and few ratty blankets so she wasn’t too concerned about that. The window was partially open, and Harriet enjoyed the fresh breath of air. It was really nice. But there was still a part of her that wanted her cupboard. Her little cave. Where she knew that nobody could hear her at night. She could stay up in her little safe space for however long she wanted, reading books and daydreaming about her future.

This room felt different. And Harriet wasn’t sure if she liked it still. But if her relatives were anything, they were predictable. Harriet was pretty sure that she’d be thrown back into the cupboard after all of this blew over. This was just temporary. But it certainly threw her off her game.


 

Saturday came once again with the morning light waking Harriet. That, and three stuffy looking owls staring at her from her window sill. Harriet, for a brief moment, while still half asleep, wondered if she was going mad and making things up. However, a moment of clarity hit her and Harriet suddenly had three owls in her room. Which was a little strange? Definitely not Dursley approved. Harriet wasn't sure what the right etiquette was for waking up with owls in her room.

“I could have gotten that letter ages ago.” Harriet moaned and shoved her head into the pillow. “This is ridiculous.” But her words were muffled, and nobody to hear her but the owls. After getting her letters (which was awkward), there were six this time around, Harriet still didn’t want to open them. Not when she could still have a little fun.

Being awake super early was a blessing in this case. Harriet didn’t think so, as she felt sleep deprived. But it worked for her. Carrying the early morning prizes she lightly waltzed from room to room to figure out where to put them. The house was quiet and still, it was almost odd for Harriet to be out while the light was out. She was used to it when it was dark but seeing things in the sunlight made it feel weird. The closest way to describe it was like she was walking in a different dimension. But it didn’t stop her from her mission. Harriet had the lovely task of finding a place that her aunt and uncle would be the first ones to be there. If Dudley got a letter then it would be no fun as he’d spoil the surprise. No, it had to be the adults of the house who had to discover the mail.

One went into Uncle Vernon’s newspaper from the previous day, right next to the crossword. He liked to take his time doing his puzzles. Another went under the dried frying pan that was laying on a towel. Aunt Petunia was sure to move it and see the letter underneath. Two went into the laundry basket, lightly tossed with Uncle Vernon’s socks. He always kept them all in one basket and would pick them out when he wanted to wear a new pair. Another went into Aunt Petunia’s yarn basket, she liked to knit when she was stressed. And lastly, Harriet set the last one on the mat right in front of the door. Sometimes it was better to hide it in plain sight. They’d have their guards down if they only thought there was only one.

Yawning, Harriet climbed the stairs (which was an odd feeling) and went back into her bedroom. She fell onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling. It was so high up. Even the bed felt too big. Her little mattress was still down in the cupboard. And this bed was huge. She was almost afraid of falling off. She curled around her pillow and tucked herself into the blankets and stayed comfortably warm. Harriet closed her eyes and lightly dozed at one point.

She woke up to the sound of a drill. The sound itself wasn’t unfamiliar. There were days when she’d wake up and hear Uncle Vernon installing more locks on her cupboard. She always dreaded those days. Trying to figure out how to unlock them from inside of the cupboard was almost impossible, and most of the time she’d have to sabotage them. However, instead of it being outside of her door, Harriet tumbled out of bed and peered down the hallway to the front door. Uncle Vernon was drilling a block of wood in front of the letter slot. Four letters by his feet.

“No letters coming through here!” He said cheerily, looking up at her. Harriet was deeply unsettled by him being nice to her. She just slowly nodded and backtracked to her new room. Throwing on some baggy clothing, as she felt too out of place with her pajamas on, she inwardly kicked herself. Why did she have to go an waste a letter on the front door when there were obviously going to be more appearing. She glanced outside of her window and saw a few more owls haunting the local telephone pole.

Well. At least she hid the other five.

Aunt Petunia had discovered the frying pan one fairly easily. Harriet watched with mild interest as Aunt Petunia hissed at the sight of it and threw it into the open flame of the stove. It went up like smoke, and Harriet was almost glad to see that her Aunt was out of her ‘clutching pearls’ stage. If she continued to hysterical every time a letter appeared, it wasn’t going to be very entertaining. If anything, it seemed like her aunt had come to terms with being invaded and was actively trying not to let it get to her.

Harriet figured that it would eventually. And until then it would be fun to see how much Harriet could bother her.

Uncle Vernon found his letter in the newspaper at brunch. It slipped out and hit his large stomach. “Ah, I missed one.” He said, and then ripped it into pieces. Dudley pouted but wisely didn’t say a word. Harriet was almost impressed that he learned not to talk about the mail by now. Her aunt and uncle continued talking like usual, Dudley interjecting into the conversation at random points. It was normal. Unseemingly standard. Harriet figured it out pretty quickly. Her aunt and uncle were in denial. They were trying hard not to let the mail get to them. They were pretending that nothing was wrong, in a clear attempt to rug sweep the last few days from their memories.

“Girl,” Aunt Petunia sniffed, her lips puckered. “Clean the house today. We have guests coming tomorrow for dinner and this house is a disaster.”

Harriet nodded staring at the floor. Oh yes. Now that they were pretending everything was fine, it was time to go back to being a maid. Her small vacation was seemingly over. At least for today. Harriet was fine with that. It wasn’t like she was in her cupboard doing her own thing anymore. She was actually pretty bored doing nothing in her new room. Today was going to be normal, and Harriet was indifferent about it. Although she wished that there had been more reactions to her hidden letters. However, she knew that she could do better in the following days.

“Who’s coming?” Dudley asked. Harriet went over and began to clean up the mess in the kitchen. Hopefully, they wouldn’t pick on her again today if she kept being busy.

Aunt Petunia reached over and grasped Uncle Vernon’s hand. “Well,” Vernon said, “I have an interview with a new company.”

“Really? Wha's wrong with Grunnings?” Dudley asked this time through a mouthful of food. Harriet paused and then began to wash the dishes a little less noisy. She actually wanted to listen to this conversation.

“This job, if I get it, will give me a pretty significant bump in salary.” Uncle Vernon beamed. “I’ve already gone to two interviews and this is the final one. We will have dinner with the CEO and his wife, and they’ll decide whether or not I’ll get the job.”

“So you’ll have to be on your best behavior.” Aunt Petunia spoke firmly.

“Aww.” Dudley sighed. “Do I have ‘ta?”

“Yes dear. This is important for your father. It has to be absolutely perfect.”

This was something Harriet could work with. She had been prepared to deal with the rest of the day. However, Harriet puckered her lips underneath the veil of her thick hair. ‘Not if I have anything to do with that. ’ She thought, her eyes slowly moving towards her cupboard. Then Harriet had a terrible, no good, awful idea. And smiled softly.


“Welcome!” Aunt Petunia, gussied up and dressed in pearls, smiled brightly at the couple at the doorway.

Harriet could only hear what was going on, but she had seen enough of these gathering to know exactly what was happening. Dudley up in a suit that made him look like a fat penguin, Uncle Vernon with a waxed mustache, and Aunt Petunia fully dressed to the nines welcoming in the guests. Bright red lipstick that only exaggerated how thin Aunt Petunia’s lips were. Harriet guessed that it was supposed to make her family look better, but in the yellowed light in the dining room outfits looked greasy and unkempt.

Even if she wasn’t there, Harriet could envision it perfectly. She was banished from her kitchen to her new room. She was a little disappointed that she couldn’t be in her cupboard once again. It was better to hear the conversation down there than up here. But she found a surprising discovery that the vents transferred quite a lot of noise up into her room, and the living room was directly underneath her. It was like hitting the goldmine. It was a little awkward to crouch next to the vent to put her ear next to it, but Harriet couldn’t wait to hear the show downstairs. She pulled a blanket around her and curled up next to the vent, her ears straining to hear everything that was going underneath her.


 

(Dear readers- the dialogue of this particular time isn’t too interesting to listen to without being able to see it. Harriet was able to enjoy it up in her room as she knew exactly how things would happen. Well, not everything. But she knew her relatives enough to imagine what was happening downstairs in the living room. She was fine with that. However, out of the kindness of our hearts, we have decided to share with you the memory of this particular dinner. We only ask in return that you never time travel and please do not pet a donkey on July 16th. It doesn’t matter the year, just don’t do it. It can cause a new plague and nobody likes those.)


 

After a wonderful dinner, and a pretty good conversation, the group still sat at the table where Petunia was serving up a plate of cake to everybody. The Freak had cooked it all, of course, but the Dursleys were used to overlooking her participation that it didn’t even register. But everything seemed to be going great, and the couple seemed to be enjoying their time at dinner.

“Oh, this is wonderful.” The pretty blonde woman smiled. Mrs. Heather Smith was a stunning woman, and it normally wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that her husband, Mr. Todd Smith, wasn’t nearly twenty years older than she was.

“Thank you.” Petunia smiled, but inwardly she was mentally preparing the gossip that this scandal would make. “So Mrs. Smith-”

“Oh, please, call me Heather.” The woman spoke quickly. “I always feel like my mother-in-law if you call me Mrs. Smith.”

Her husband laughed, “not to mention your younger and much prettier than her.”

“Heather.” Petunia’s smile was tighter than before, but nobody at the table noticed. “What do you like to do when your husband is at work?”

“Oh well, I work too.” Heather smiled and took a small sip of wine. “Since we don’t have children, I don’t like staying at home and doing nothing.”

Petunia snorted into her own wineglass and Vernon was quick to start a different conversation. It was a lovely evening in June, and the house was spotless. Everything in the house was perfectly clean, although the carpets still had slight stains on them. Even Dudley was behaving, if a little sullenly. However, Petunia’s opinions still showed on her face. And after being married to her for many years, Vernon knew when to change the subject.

“So Mr. Smith, do you like sports?” He asked. Vernon was sweating. This dinner had so much at stake, and he took a big gulp of his drink to calm his nerves.

“Ah, a man after my heart. Just the words I was hoping somebody would ask. I love a fetching game of golf, although I used to play football when I was in school.” Mr. Smith said with a deep voice. “And you can call me Todd if you like. What about you, lad? What do you like to play?” He addressed Dudley.

“Harriet Hunting,” Dudley said in a bored tone.

Petunia loudly laughed suddenly and gently touched her son’s shoulder. “Oh, it’s a silly little game.” She said lightly, “the kids around the neighborhood like to chase each other around, that’s all.”

“Oh really? That sounds like fun. How old are you Dudley?” Heather asked.

“Eleven.” Dudley shrugged his mom’s hand off his shoulder.

“That’s a great age.” Todd agreed. “Why, I remember chasing all the girls when I was your age. Hell, I still do to this day. That’s how I got Heather to marry me.” He said with a chuckle and a wink. “You know, she was my secretary when she first met me.”

“Todd!” Heather lightly gasp and looked at her husband in amusement. “You sly dog, you said you weren’t going to tell that. It was a secret.”

“Well, sometimes you have to be adventurous.” Todd laughed at his wife. “After all, that’s why you married me.”

(It was at this point, that Harriet one floor above, figured that the truth potion (which she renamed it to be the Blabbermouth Potion) came into effect. She had spiked the wine and drinks with it earlier that day. It hadn’t been that hard to get into her cupboard and to pour a decent amount of it into the large pitcher that she had made. Nobody had noticed her, and she had felt giddy ever since. The daring and excitement Harriet had rushed to her head that she almost couldn't stop smiling. Harriet laughed quietly into her hand and leaned in further to hear the conversation.)

Petunia, feeling that perhaps the couple were getting too wrapped up in themselves, immediately agreed. “Oh yes. We’re both adventurous too.” Even the words coming out of her mouth felt strange, as it seemed so out of character.

“Oh yes.” Vernon agreed and grasped Petunia’s hand in his. “We do all sorts of daring things.”

“Oh?” Heather looked at them curiously. “What do you like to do?”

“We um…” Petunia trailed off and looked at Vernon like a deer in headlights. “We like to do-”

“Biking.” Vernon finished the sentence. “We like to go biking around the neighborhood.” His words were slightly stilted but the couple didn’t seem to notice. He was starting to sweat like a pig.

“Oh? I remember when Todd got me my first motorbike. I was skeptical but I grew to love having the wind in my hair.” Heather smiled brilliantly. “What kind of bike to do you have?”

“Erm. I don’t remember off the top of my head.” Vernon stammered out. His face was red, and sweat began to trickle down his face.

“I get that. They all have to be named some random numbers or whatever. Perhaps later we could go out to your garage and take a look at it, eh?” Todd said. “We own… how many again?”

“Seventeen. Well, actually sixteen, if you aren’t counting the one that went off the bridge.” Heather spoke.

“Oh yes. We don’t talk about that one. It was rather embarrassing.” Todd nodded, “at least our insurance company didn’t find out about that!” He laughed and turned back to the Dursleys. “So what other things do you guys like to do? Skiing? Hiking? Skydiving? Whatever it is, Heather and I have tried it all.”

“Oh.” Petunia said quietly. “Well, we uh. Like to stay in most days. But there is a rare occasion that we like to go out and do things. Like, Vernon’s sister is in Spain and we were just talking about how good the food is over there.”

“Spain is a dream.” Heather said, “all sunshine and warm weather. Although their tea is something that could be better. They drink so much coffee, you know. When was the last time you’ve been there? Todd and I were there the last few years to run with the bulls.”

“Right.” Vernon shifted in his chair. It creaked ominously. “We were there, um. About, uh.”

“Five years?” Petunia answered for him.

“Really? What did you do?” Todd asked.

The two Dursley’s were stuck for a few seconds. “We were enjoying the sunshine,” Petunia said weakly. “We still didn’t do very much, just enjoyed the sights and shopped a bit.”

The conversation lulled. The two adult Dursleys took that time to both take a long drink from their glass. The Smith’s had a mouthful of cake, and Dudley was looking down at his lap. (It was later found out that Dudley had snuck his new handheld Nintendo Gameboy and was playing it the entire time, not paying attention at all. This revelation wasn’t surprising, as Dudley often tuned things out all the time.) And so it was probably due to a mixture of anxiety, a slight overdose of the blabbermouth potion from drinking too much wine, that the words came out of Petunia.

“Well, there was that one other time we were pretty wild.” She said with a small giggle. She felt light-headed, and the words sort of leaked out of her mouth. Her pride and shame were almost an afterthought.

“What?” Vernon asked, taken aback.

“Do you remember…” Petunia leaned in and looked at Vernon coyly, her voice soft enough that only her husband could hear it. “That night when we conceived Dudley?” She giggled once again, obnoxiously.

Vernon abruptly coughed into his hand, his face going redder. He grabbed his drink and downed it to stop coughing.

“What did she just say?” Heather asked, confused.

“She…” Uncle Vernon paused, his voice raspy. Then the potion kicked in stronger, and he really didn’t have much choice in the matter. “She was talking about the time we had sex when I wore women's lingerie.”

Needless to say, the evening didn’t go very well after that.


 

Monday marked a solid seven days since the letters began to arrive. Harriet woke up early, with still grumbling, and grabbed the impressive stack of mail that had been delivered the previous day. The Dursleys were unaware that the owls had delivered any post on Sunday. As Harriet had spent the entirety of the day cleaning, she had been the first to come across any letters. That, and leaving her window open left the owls a way for them to leave the papers on her floor. By the end of Sunday Harriet had fourteen letters to distribute around the home. After learning her lesson, Harriet left a couple up in her new room to move them around during the day.

Yawning lazily, Harriet went downstairs quietly unlatched the front door and went outside. It was a cool dewy morning, and Harriet shivered as she stepped onto the freezing cold ground with her bare feet. Still, she had a mission to do, and it would be silly to leave it unfinished. Harriet tucked letters in every window sill she could reach, and then went ahead and did the same to Uncle Vernon’s car windows. She placed a few in the rose bushes out in the back that was visible to the windows and stuck a couple into the newspaper that was already lying on the front door mat. She was past the point of subtle, and into the range of ‘overwhelm them with numbers.’

As she was heading back inside, Harriet threw a lazy salute to the owls that were already starting to gather on the telephone pole. Harriet figured that they were going to leave the letters in obvious places, but Harriet was going to start putting them where the owls wouldn’t. She crawled back into bed and rubbed her feet until they felt warmer. When she wasn’t summoned to make breakfast, Harriet figured that her ploy worked and yet another great day of vacation of being the household slave was coming. She heard her aunt and uncle pass her room a few times, and the door slammed loud enough that her window shook in its pane. Harriet took her time getting up and put on Dudley’s old clothes before slipping out and seeing what all the commotion was about.

The outcome of that morning was that Uncle Vernon was in a painfully cheery mood. A fire was started in the fireplace. Harriet walked downstairs to see him with a handful of ripped up letters and him tossing them into the flames one by one. It was July. And yet Uncle Vernon had a roaring fire in the house. When he looked up at her he gave her a smile before tossing a letter into the flames.

“A good morning for a fire, if I do say so myself.” He said. Harriet was unnerved by his good mood and hastily nodded before backing into the kitchen.

Aunt Petunia was already banging pots around, in a foul mood. The stark contrast between her aunt and uncle felt like they were giving Harriet whiplash. “Get the eggs,” she snapped when she saw Harriet enter. Harriet moved to the fridge and grabbed the nearly empty carton of eggs. Harriet left them next to where Petunia was making a mess, and her aunt practically snarled when she opened the package. “We’re almost out. You’ll need to go to the store today.” Her voice was bitter and snappish.

Harriet didn’t answer, and her aunt didn’t force her to. Honestly, it would be great to get out. She was almost out of superglue anyways, and perhaps she could glue a letter to a window or something. That’ll be fun. Really, Harriet hadn’t had this much fun openly tormenting her family. There was something about it that made this whole thing a lot better. The letters and their fear of her finding out were pretty hilarious. Although it made her wonder why her aunt and uncle tried so hard to keep her out of the loop. What about magic that scared them? And did she have to know about it in order to make whatever terrified them happen?

Breakfast was served early. Although it was given that it wasn’t the post that was giving them the letters, the Dursleys made sure that it was over by the time Mr. Green, the postman, came by. However, this day also marked by a difference. Uncle Vernon had to go to work.

“So your dinner didn’t go well?” Dudley asked. Harriet turned to look at him and had the urge to yell at him. He was there. He saw the show go down in front of his eyes, and he didn’t understand what happened? Harriet would have killed to have seen how things had gone down. Hearing it was hilarious, no doubt about it, but seeing her aunt and uncle panic would have been amazing. Harriet rolled her eyes and went back to scrubbing the pans. Dudley was Dudley, in her opinion, and he couldn’t change even if he wanted to. Her stomach rumbled, and she wished she had been able to eat but there wasn’t anything left over.

“No.” Uncle Vernon said normally, although with a bitter tone. “We found out while saying goodbye that they were never considering me in the first place. They just wanted free food.”

“Oh.” Dudley grew silent. “That is… not good.” He trailed off.

“At least they were honest about it.” Petunia said sternly. “It’s better to know what kind of people they were at the beginning rather than worry about the promotion or not.”

“And Grunnings has a new job opening,” Vernon said, puffing his chest out. “It’ll still be a pay raise, and I’m applying for it. But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still have a job.” He grabbed his suitcase and Aunt Petunia reached out and straightened his tie.

“Have a lovely day, Vernon.” Petunia said softly and pecked her husband on the lips. Vernon returned the small embrace and opened the door, only to step on a large pile of letters. Even Harriet, who was lurking in the background, noticed how big it was. There had to be more than twenty there.

“That’s it.” Vernon hissed. “Petunia, I don’t want you or the kids going out today.” He reached down and grabbed the stack of letters in his meaty hands. It was a short walk to the fireplace, where he dumped it all on. The flames surged up with the new material to feed on, and Harriet began to sweat with the sudden increase of heat.

“But I was going to send her to get groceries.” Aunt Petunia objected weakly.

“No. I don’t want any of you out. What if one of them comes to the door? Or if the freak is outside and one of those blasted birds drops a letter on her. No, I want all of you to stay inside. I’ll talk to the neighbors to see if they’d agree to deliver some groceries. But for now, keep inside the house.” Vernon said firmly. Petunia weakly nodded, and Vernon quickly departed for work.

Harriet blinked a few times mulishly before turning back towards her chores. Do they want to keep her locked up with Dudley? Oh, that would go over badly. For him. Harriet knew that Dudley would want to go outside with his wannabe gang of friends. It was their very limited summertime, especially since Dudley was going to a boarding school. It would be like a punishment to keep him indoors. And Harriet wouldn’t put up with him messing around with her. Oh no. She’d make sure of it.


 

On Tuesday, Harriet had eighteen letters that had been delivered to her window during the night. She had woken up even earlier, much to her greatest displeasure. But since being under house arrest, she had found the time to take a cat nap here or there.

Aunt Petunia was going mad. She was a very sociable woman, Harriet figured out. And having to stay at home wasn’t exactly her definition of a fun time. So Petunia, to Harriet's surprise, was doing the chores herself. Harriet figured it was something to do with her time, and to keep herself busy, but that also left Harriet with nothing to do. Aunt Petunia was busy with housework, and Dudley spent all day in front of the telly with a bowl of sugary sweets. Aunt Petunia had planned for Dudley’s tantrum and simply plied him with the remaining sweets in the house and let him stay in front of the television. Which saved Harriet from murdering her cousin, so she guessed it was a bonus. Harriet simply left them alone and went to her room to take a long deserved nap. And to plan of course. There was one letter she was keeping. Just in case this whole fiasco doesn’t turn out well, and Harriet didn’t have a school list or anything, she was going to make sure she had a backup plan. But there were so many that kept appearing, Harriet was mildly surprised that Dudley hadn’t gotten his hands on one yet. They were everywhere. Even with Harriet hiding them around the house, they appeared wherever the owls dropped them. The lawn was a mess of paper every day.

And so, armed with a stack of mail and a package of tape, Harriet hurried down the stairs and opened the door to find the groceries that a thoughtful neighbor had gotten them. Harriet hadn’t a clue who bought them or why, but they were there on the porch. And it was still dark out that nobody could see her.

Harriet started with the eggs. Carefully, she wrapped them with a letter. Each. It was easy, and it didn’t have to be pretty. Then she moved on, taping the letters around the orange juice carton, popping open the cereal boxes to side them in, folding them around the pudding cups. Then Harriet left as quickly as she came, moving instead to get into her cupboard. It was time to move things around. It was so comfortable to be in the cupboard that it almost hurt to have been away for so long. It felt like home. But Harriet took the time to clean things out and to move everything back into her mum’s chest. The mason jars full of her potions were carefully placed, the books that she had hidden in the corners were replaced, and finally, Harriet put back her mum’s journal. And then paused, finally looking at a book.

The Marauders Componium. Harriet had really liked looking at it when she was younger. Not to look at the spells or anything, but at the written notes from her dad. And there were a few potions in the back of the book, but it wasn’t a large enough section that Harriet constantly looked back at it. In fact, Harriet hadn’t really read the book. It seemed so confusing when she was younger. It had so many big words and complicated gestures, Harriet had gotten a headache or two just by trying to read it. And since she didn’t have a wand at the time, Harriet hadn’t really wanted to read about the things that she couldn’t understand or even perform. She had given up a few weeks into trying to understand it.

But now her wand was almost here. She was going to Hogwarts soon. And her dad himself had made these spells with his friends. Perhaps now that she was a bit older, Harriet figured she could understand a bunch more now if she read it. She pulled it out and tucked it under her shirt. Then Harriet shrank the trunk and hurried up the stairs. There weren’t the greatest hiding places in her new room. But Harriet had figured out that she could temporarily stash it under her bed for the time being. The sun was starting to pink the sky, and so Harriet folded back the cover and started once again at the beginning. It was always good to start at the first page.

‘This book is for those who laugh in the face of adversity. For the people who are beaten down for not being something that you didn’t choose to be. For having laughs with your best friends, even when one of them is bleeding from head to toe. For the outcasted and abandoned, for the ones who have been disowned by their families, and for those who can’t get the pretty girl. Those of you who’d wish to learn about the great and powerful Marauders, we invite you to solemnly swear that you are up to no good.

Sincerely, Padfoot, Moony, Wormtail, and Prongs.’

The words struck home.

It was weird to say it but Harriet felt that her dad knew exactly what was happening when he wrote those words. They were there for her. Although there were parts that didn’t apply to her, like the friends being hurt part. But Hogwarts was coming up! And without Dudley to scare off everybody who tried to be her friend, Harriet was sure that she could find one. She wasn’t sure what she’d do with a friend, the idea of it seemed to be so strange to her. Harriet was alone. She always has been. But maybe she wouldn’t have to be alone anymore. That thought set a deep desire inside of her alight. A friend to depend on. A mate to laugh with. The idea of it made Harriet almost deliriously happy.

Harriet traced the words with a finger. She loved doing that. The feathers that wizards write with left imprints on the pages. She liked feeling the words under her fingertips, knowing that the person who pressed the quill into the page actually touched it. It was a reminder that people wrote the words. That they touched this book. And that they really existed.

Harriet lightly traced her fingers over the message. Reading it and rereading it. It felt wrong not to give the introduction more attention. It was a message to her, and Harriet treated it with her full attention. Her fingers brushed the page near the end of the paragraph and Harriet felt an odd sensation. She didn’t know what, or why, but it felt almost natural to say the words. Her fingers brushed over ‘we invite you to-’

“-solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Harriet whispered lightly finishing the sentence. And within a blink of an eye, the words shifted unexpectedly. The ripple of ink and words and designs appeared. Harriet watched as the page bled black ink and shifted until one word appeared.

‘Welcome.’


 

Wednesday started with the house on a tighter lockdown. Harriet couldn’t leave her room to distribute letters. Tuesday was as much as a mess that Harriet had hoped it would be. After Aunt Petunia found the groceries covered in letters, Uncle Vernon decided to lock down the house even further. That meant he spent the night sleeping in the hallway, keeping an eye out for any mail that was trying to get past him. Harriet almost didn’t see him, but luckily had spotted him before stepping on his face in the dark. Instead, she wisely hightailed it back up the stairs and went into her room with her heart pounding.

The owls were appearing again, this time with force. They disappeared sometime after sunset and came before the sky started to turn colors. There were more every day. Letters were launched into Harriet’s room as she kept her window open. Which Harriet thought was rather stupid of her relatives not to realize that she a way to interact with the birds. Like always, Harriet found it amusing by how easy it was to get her hands on the letters. However, when Harriet crept back into her room she pouted.

How was she supposed to spread mayhem if she couldn’t plant the letters anywhere? And she had a huge stack of them too! Harriet groaned and fell onto her bed. Then an owl screeched, shaking her from her sullen thoughts.

Owls. What could she do with owls? There were two on the windowsill. They liked to hang around but they weren’t nearby for her to interact with often. Usually in the morning before she got up they’d be there, but after her rounds in the house, they would be on the telephone pole outside. Or on the fence. Really, there was starting to be an absurd amount of them everywhere.

“Hey,” Harriet said quietly to the owl. A bit unsure if it understood her, but nevertheless, it was her only hope. “Could you do me a favor?” She paused. “I’ll give you a piece of bacon if you do it.”

The owl screeched. Harriet flinched at the loud noise, but she figured that it meant ‘yes.’ Harriet smiled. She lifted up a hefty stack of envelopes, and said, “when Aunt Petunia opens the kitchen window to air out the kitchen, could you throw all of these in?”

The owl screeched once again and snatched the pile of mail from Harriet’s hands, and took off. She watched it fly away until it disappeared from her view, a small smile on her face.

Later that day, Harriet watched with barely contained mirth as Aunt Petunia without fail burnt the hashbrowns. She had been constantly doing it for days now. After opening the window a stack of letters violently hit her aunt in the face, causing her to crash to the ground. Letters scattered everywhere, and Dudley went for them. Harriet even tried to go for one, just to add to the scene. She also slipped a handful of bacon into her pocket during the mad rush as Vernon tried to keep both her and Dudley away from the window and Aunt Petunia began to wail loudly.

Afterward, banished to her room for the rest of the day, Harriet burst out into hysterics. The image of Aunt Petunia’s face getting hit with a stack of mail was so hilarious that it was forever burned into her head. Harriet couldn’t stop smiling, as she began to jump and do a victory dance. An owl pecked on her window and Harriet couldn’t stop breathlessly laughing as she pulled out a large piece of bacon and gave it to the owl.

“Do you think,” Harriet smiled joyously, a wonderful idea coming to her head. Oh, this day was just getting better. “You could get be a pigeon? An alive one? I’ll give you,” she fumbled through her pocket and pulled out the remaining greasy meat. “Three whole slices of bacon?”

The owl chirped at her and took off. Harriet twirled around and let the good mood take over. It was so relieving to make her relatives suffer. There was something about it that just made her giddy. It was worth it. After every stressful day, after feeling faint from not having food or water for days, for her skin cracking and bleeding from the chemicals she was forced to use to clean, this was the moment of her life where she got back. And just the image of Aunt Petunia getting a faceful of paper to the face shot at her from an owl was pretty fulfilling. Harriet twirled and fell onto her bed, staring up at the ceiling with a breathless glee that filled her. She loved the mail coming in.

And… after briefly looking through the Marauders Componium last night… Harriet would have said that her dad would have approved as well. That made it so much better, in her opinion. To know that her dad would be laughing along with her pranks.


 

“Be free my minion.” Harriet held the pigeon arm's length from her. She stood at the top of the stairs, the familiar sound of the Dursleys down in the kitchen gorging themselves on food. It was Thursday, and the owl took his time locating the cooing bird. The owl took off with his reward early that morning, and Harriet was stuck with trying to get a letter to stick to the pigeon. Breakfast had been made, and Harriet was obviously not invited to the table. The Dursleys left her alone that morning. They had their own problems to deal with, and Harriet had to take the time to create the obstacles for her family. It took a long time, the bird wasn’t happy with the mail being stuck to his body. But Harriet won in the end. With a letter from Hogwarts tied haphazardly to the bird, she left her room and hovered above the stairs.

Major Louis, the now dubbed pigeon, was the first ally in her war against her relatives. He was automatically rose through the ranks as there wasn’t anybody else in her army. She was a General, of course, and therefore had the ultimate say in any plans that were made. They had bonded, as much as a human and a pigeon off the streets of Surrey could have in common. Harriet gave the bird a one-handed salute and then tossed it over the rail and towards the kitchen. She heard him take flight in a flutter of feathers and then-

Oh my god, they’re in my house!” Aunt Petunia screeched so loud Harriet saw the stair rail tremble at the noise.

Out! Out!” Uncle Vernon shouted, and Dudley yelled something but the crashing and the sound of metal hitting metal drowned him out. Harriet hurried down the stairs, appearing in the doorway to see the disaster that she had caused.

The table was on its side, Aunt Petunia behind it staring out fearfully as she clutched Dudley with her claws. Breakfast was, for the umpteenth time, was ruined and on the ground. Harriet was beginning to see a small pattern for that. Any time breakfast was ruined, she had a really good day. Uncle Vernon had grabbed the broom from where it was hidden behind the fridge and started to swing it at the ceiling. Major Louis was fighting a great fight! He was dodging the broom with surprising accuracy. Harriet mildly wondered if he had been in any other wars before this one.

Get it out! Get it out!” Aunt Petunia screamed as Major Louis dipped towards her head. Dudley might have said, ”cool,” but he was thrown down as Aunt Petunia tried to protect him from the bird.

Then Uncle Vernon hit Major Louis for the first time. The bird went sailing into the living room, where it promptly flew back into the air. Harriet had only just enough time to let out a short gasp of horror when Major Louis, her lifetime pal, and comrade, flew straight into the twirling ceiling fan.

The result was too ghastly to properly describe.

Her mouth hung open as she stared at the remains of the bird. She hadn’t meant for that to happen. In fact, everybody seemed to be in a state of shock. Aunt Petunia didn’t say a word and Uncle Vernon didn’t move as they gazed at the gory mess of what was once a bird that was all over the couch and telly. Feathers were scattered everywhere, drifting down through the air. Blood was, to put it eloquently, sprayed across everything.

“Is it dead?” Aunt Petunia asked, rising from the ground. Dudley took his time to stand him, glass falling from his clothes. The dining room was more of a mess than what Harriet had first seen. The table had shattered the plates and glasses, food was spread out everywhere, and pictures were skewed from where Vernon had hit them with the broom.

Rather than answering Petunia’s question, Uncle Vernon locked his eyes on Harriet. “ You.” He snarled and stomped towards her. Harriet froze. From the countless times in her life, Harriet felt paralyzed seeing Uncle Vernon come towards her in a bad mood. He grasped her loose shirt and yanked her back and forth, her head whipping back and painfully pinching her neck.

“This is all your fault.” He spat into her face as he roared.

Any humor from the last few days suddenly vanished as the pain set in. The terror of being near her uncle’s wrath reformed inside of her and Harriet’s throat felt like it closed up. She stared up at him with wide green eyes, unable to speak a word. Pleading with words unspoken. He didn’t care. “If you weren’t here then none of this would have happened!” He shook her harder, and Harriet couldn’t breathe. She took short sharp breaths through her nose, her eyes blinking fast.

“Vernon.” Petunia from behind him called, her voice with worry.

Harriet had a long and terrible moment where Uncle Vernon stared down at her. He had blue eyes. She hated blue eyes. His face was a terrible red color, and Harriet could tell he was just itching for an excuse to take his rage out on her. She felt her face freeze, praying that nothing she did would set him off. She could only hope.

He stared her down, his blue eyes without any remorse. Then he shoved her backward unexpectedly. Harriet stumbled back but lost her balance. Her hands slapped the ground but her head painfully collided with the corner of the wall. Lights flashed before her eyes as she curled up in a ball, her head in her hands.

The sound around her went wonky. Harriet closed her eyes as her balance shifted, and she felt like she was on a tightrope instead of on the ground. Her head was pounding so bad it hurt to open her eyes. She could hear Uncle Vernon yelling and Aunt Petunia talking. Dudley remained silent. Harriet could feel where her skin split open, blood was spilling through her fingers as she tried desperately to hold herself together. It hurt. It hurt really bad. The pain set in and it was all that she could focus on.

Then a foot caught her in her side, making all the air in her lungs left her suddenly. The emptiness in her lungs made her panic until her body managed to function after several long seconds. It burned like fire to pull in the air, hot and dry. The struggle to breathe was terrifying for those few moments. Her ribs ached and a sharp pain began to manifest itself in her side, stitching itself into her bones and organs.

Then she felt a thick hand grab her hair and yank her tender head back. A strangled half yelp came out of Harriet’s mouth. It felt like lighting flashed, hot and burning in her head. She could feel the tears leaving trails down her face. It hurt.

Uncle Vernon’s voice was near enough that she could hear him perfectly, even though the rest of the noise felt distant and far away. “You are going to clean up this mess.” He whispered, “and I will be watching you. If you make any move to do any of your freakishness, I will be watching. And I will not have mercy, do you understand me?” Harriet didn’t move in his grip, and he suddenly violently shook her head back and forth. Harriet almost threw up with the sudden motion. “Do you understand me?” He repeated again and Harriet achingly nodded her head as tears leaked from her closed eyes. “Good.” And he dropped her. Harriet fell without any resistance to the floor, her shoulder banging on the carpet jarringly. She instantly curled up, making herself small and covering her head in the hopes to protect it.

She knew she didn’t have time to drag herself together. If anything, Harriet had gone through worse things. She knew she had survived through it all. But every time something like this came along, it felt like it was the worst. But Harriet knew that she could survive. She was strong. But even the strong still hurt and wished that they could go pity cry in the corner for three days. Instead, Harriet didn’t have much of a choice. Uncle Vernon could do worse if he wanted and he would if she didn’t move soon. Gathering her thoughts, as much as her bleeding head could allow her, Harriet pulled herself up from the ground and staggered over to the cleaning cabinet. Her arms trembled and her fingers bled as she picked up the glass from the ground and slowly began to right the kitchen back to a normal state. Uncle Vernon looming over her, watching her every move.

And if Harriet had tears falling from her eyes freely, Uncle Vernon didn’t say a word about it. Instead, he pointed out the areas that she missed and told her to hurry up. He didn’t have all day.


 

Friday and Saturday were hell. Harriet felt off. She had always felt a bit weird after having head injuries, and they always took some time for them to disappear. And so it wasn’t a surprise when Harriet couldn’t keep her balance around the house. Aunt Petunia snapped at her a few times for leaning on the counter when making lunch. And after a while, her aunt sent her to her room. Dizzy from the lack of food, Harriet fell into a restless slumber that lasted most of the day and well into the next night. She awoke only a few times but Harriet had found out that Uncle Vernon had put a lock on her door. She couldn’t leave her room. She was trapped.

Friday came and Harriet didn’t open her window. Owls were everywhere. She peeked out to see a massive amount of them. There had to be hundreds. And letters… well, they were everywhere to put it simply. They were on every surface on the lawn. In the bushes, on the trees, in the gutters, around the fence, the mail was everywhere she looked. Harriet watched as Uncle Vernon went out to pick them all up in a garbage sack. The neighbors were watching, Harriet noted. Miss Figg was out with her cats.

The thought of the old woman made Harriet duck into the room. She didn’t want to see that old hag anymore. Just the thought of her looking after her for her magical guardian made Harriet want to throw up. Harriet didn’t want to do with anything with Albus Dumbledore. Harriet didn’t go around the window anymore, and mostly just sat around the room. Her mind was still too jumbled around for her to try and read. The tiny text would always swirl around and she didn’t want the extra headache, so reading was out. And Harriet had only just begun to read her father’s book. Dismayed that she was locked up and couldn’t read, Harriet was truly miserable.

Friday was a day where Harriet mostly napped and felt guilty. She really hadn’t meant to kill the bird. Maybe just scare her relatives around. She was sure that a window would have been open and through the effort of Uncle Vernon the bird would have been chased out of there. However, she hadn’t thought about the ceiling fan. Major Louis, sadly, was the first casualty of the war. And Harriet had been the one who sent the poor bird to its grizzly death.

Saturday was just like a normal day. Harriet understood that she was being punished by being locked in her room now. But from the vent and the general noise that Dudley made, Harriet figured out that her relatives had found the other hidden letters that she had placed throughout the house. It was just as well. In fact, it was a relief. Because if they kept on finding them then that meant Harriet wasn’t the one technically responsible for putting them there. They wouldn’t put the two and two together and figure out that it was Harriet who hid them in the house. However, Harriet had a hard time trying to figure out if her relatives knew if she had set the bird loose and started making their lives more hectic, or if Uncle Vernon just snapped and was taking out the stress on her.

Either way, her relatives were unpredictable and for all that Harriet knew, they were mad at her for standing around and doing nothing. But Saturday was a better day, Harriet got the small privilege of a small three-minute shower, a glass of water, and an old piece of bread. Harriet of course, gulped down as much water as she could while she was in the shower trying to get the flakey residue of the blood off her head. That helped a lot with her dizziness. Turns out being dehydrated made things a lot worse. And it cleared her head a lot. Less dizzy and filled with spite, Harriet wanted payback. And badly.

It was when she was pushed back into her room and the door slammed behind her, that Harriet took action. She had overdone it the first time. The pranks were too strange and magical. They made her aunt and uncle so stressed that they finally took it out on her. Well, this time, Harriet wasn’t going to stand in the way of their anger. The birds will be taking that part. They were scared more of what the owls brought than of Harriet herself. And so for the first time in two days, Harriet opened her window and peered out at the owls.

“You know,” she called out softly, “you could always put your letters in the chimney.”


 

“I love Sunday.” Uncle Vernon cheerily said, biting into a biscuit. “Dudley, do you know why I love Sundays?”

Harriet was finally free but had gone back into her role of the indentured slave. On the plus side, she could actually eat food. The negative side was that she was around her family again. She placed yet another glass of milk in front of Dudley who was gorging himself on cookies. The telly was on, playing some loud and obnoxious wrestling match. Harriet knew better than to let herself watch it. Or even glance at it. Not in front of her relatives. Aunt Petunia was in her corner, knitting in her rocking chair.

“Why?” Dudley asked.

“Because,” Uncle Vernon said in a sing-song voice. “There is no post on Sunday.”

Aunt Petunia looked up and smiled. This day had been anticipated, Harriet realized. They didn’t know that the owls still came the previous Sunday because she got them all first. That, and since the owls haven’t dropped any letters on the lawn yet. The Dursley’s honestly thought that this day was magic-free. Aunt Petunia looked more relaxed and Uncle Vernon kept on drinking the bourbon.

When would the owls-

Harriet didn’t have to wonder very long before the first letter shot out and smacked Vernon in the face. The man blinked in surprise in his drunken state. Then the noise was awful. Paper sliding on paper, the letters shooting out from the immense pressure of all of them weighing on each other. It started with one, then three or four came out. It was all so sudden and fast, Harriet didn’t have time to react. One second there was nothing and then the next, the mail was shooting freely into the air from the chimney. It filled the air, mail covering every inch of the room. The paper floated freely in the air, covering the room. Uncle Vernon shouted and Aunt Petunia screamed. Dudley was bewildered, his tiny brain unable to comprehend what was going on.

Letters. Letters everywhere. It was a Dursley’s worst nightmare. Harriet wanted to laugh. But the lesson from the previous days was enough to keep her from being obviously entertained by this. It didn’t stop Aunt Petunia from shooting her a death glare. As if the older woman knew that Harriet was somehow behind this. Harriet could already envision the fallout of this particular adventure, she’d be locked up forever this time. Starving to death. No! Harriet was done being locked up and put away.

Harriet decided to take action. She didn’t know what she was doing at first, but she still went along with it. Harriet snatched a letter from the air and Uncle Vernon turned towards her. Neighbors. That was her first thought of safety. If she could get into the sight of some neighbors then she’d be saved. But alas, Harriet didn’t take more than a few steps before he caught her and seized the letter from her hand.

Piles and piles of mail were littering the floor and more were pouring in. There were so many letters that it didn’t feel like there was enough air to breathe. “That’s it!” Uncle Vernon roared above the noise of the paper. “We are leaving! And now!”


 

It was nearing midnight. Harriet laid on the sandy rocky floor with only a small blanket to cover her. The darkness reminded her of her cupboard, but the noise of the ocean outside crashing against the small island that they were on reminded her that they weren’t in Surrey anymore. The cold bitterness of the ground and air made her shiver and wish she was in her cupboard. There was a small part of her that wished that none of this didn’t happen. The letters, the owls, the pranks. Harriet was pretty content in her life. She had learned the tricks of keeping her head down. Just clean and make sure that they didn’t pay attention to her. But instead, Harriet was on a rock in the middle of the ocean, and her relatives might leave her here in the morning. In fact, Harriet had no idea where she was anymore. After a long and confusing drive, not to mention having to sit next to Dudley, Harriet was exhausted. Her head still pounded. Harriet was tired. Overstimulated, all she wanted was to be in her cupboard and to be left alone for a week. And to sleep. Oh, how Harriet wished to be asleep right now.

But on the car ride over, Harriet had seen the date on a sign. She had forgotten entirely that her birthday was coming up. It blindsided her just how Hogwarts had. She had been so wrapped up with the mail that it slipped her mind that every passing day, Harriet’s birthday was coming up. It was up to her to remember it, not that her relatives would have cared. Her eleventh birthday was tomorrow, and it was Harriet’s small tradition of staying up past midnight. It wasn’t like she stayed up every night to the early hours of the morning. But it was this night that made it special. Even if she felt like she was halfway across the world right now, in the middle of nowhere with her hateful relatives, Harriet wasn’t going to give up her small birthday celebration.

She traced a small cake in the sand, wasting her time until the clock on the wall struck midnight. It felt like forever waiting for the next day to come. But time passed as it always did, and Harriet had managed to make a decent drawing of a cake. She stared up at the clock, watching it tick second by second until it came time to count down. ‘ Five. Four. Three. Two,’ Harriet thought, ‘ one.’ She held her dusty fingers over her eyes and blew, making a wish. The cake drawing vanished the sand light enough that it spread across the floor.

I wish, ’ Harriet thought, 'that I had some black newt eyes. For free. They’re expensive.’ She paused before continuing, ‘and maybe some hen's teeth. And a mermaids hair. Those are really cool. A yeti’s toenail. Perhaps some fire tree oil. I would love-’

Bang.

Harriet jumped in surprise at the sudden noise. She hurriedly stood on her feet, staring in shock as a man, taller and wider than she had ever seen before, came into the small shack. He had knocked the door in! And he was so hairy!

“Hullo, Harriet.” The man said in a booming voice. “Ye look just like yer mum.”


(This particular tale was entertaining to us. In fact, it’s a favorite moment for everybody in the Harry Potter department. It’s one of the perks of being in our department. Nobody liked the Dursleys. We saw time and time again of them abusing and destroying a young child. They were not the greatest people, and if they didn’t exist in the original universe, we would have written them out of existence long ago. They are a bitter type of person that nobody in our department can stand. (John in the corner even put up their pictures on the dart board. We’ve used it so much that we put up new pictures every week.) And so watching them panic when the letters came was cathartic to us. The ending madness that came from such an occasion had a soft spot in our hearts that we liked to watch over and over again. Harriet’s actions made her tale stand out, but there were a certain few other stories that were almost close as entertaining as hers. (We all liked to put together a montage of our favorite moments and watch them at the Christmas Party. And let’s just say, that Harriet’s tricks are definitely going into it.)

(Zachary Potter, the fucked up universe, was surprisingly the number one in our ‘letter chaos’ spot. Yes, there is a list. We update it quite often. And honestly, it was hard not to like Zachary after he accidentally hit his uncle in the face with a bat. Just walking through the house of Number 4 Privet Drive, he could cause so much destruction that his relatives sent him to live in the shed. Even when he had a letter delivered to his little shack, he opened it in front of his cousin. However, Zachary destroyed the outside of the letter where the address was, and Dudley loudly proclaiming that it was for him, the Dursleys almost had a heart attack at the thought of their son being the magical one. The ensuing mayhem and disaster were outrageously funny to us. Nothing could really top it. And since Zachary opened a letter, no more came after the first one as the magic figured that he must’ve read it.

And if you are wondering, Harriet’s adventures landed her on the list too. She is number five.)

In another parallel universe, Harriet wasn’t so kind with her family. This is about another Harriet that we have spoken of before.

Since the age of nine, Harriet had terrorized them. Not in a nice way, where pranks were made and Harriet had a few laughs. No, this was in the mean spirited, demeaning way. The kind that Harriet forced her family to pamper her. She was a terrifying girl. She had been since she was seven. And so when her letter arrived, her aunt and uncle left her to it. Fear of her magical powers, and of the wizarding world if they kept it from her, her relatives reluctantly let her have it. To be honest, it was a blessing for them that this letter arrived. They wanted her out. The monster that ruled over their lives. And Hogwarts seemed to be the best place for it.

Harriet didn’t find it to be a concern and opened it only when it suited her after forgetting it for a few days. It was alright, she guessed as she perused through the contents. The classes sounded boring. As the Lord of Number Four Privet Drive, Harriet wasn’t too keen on going to Hogwarts because then her family could get unruly. But she knew that she needed to go anyways. Compared to her family, she was clearly the most powerful of them all. But in order for her to be better, to gain more strength with her magic, Harriet had to learn. And Hogwarts was the way to go.

Sighing, Harriet penned in her acceptance and sent it off with a convenient owl nearby. Harriet didn’t want to go, she knew that she wasn’t going to like it one bit. But the idea of having more knowledge, more information, it was tempting enough that she knew that she needed to go. The power that she could get from this was unimaginable that it was enticing enough for her. She sat on her bed, staring out the window. She had been given Dudley’s second bedroom years ago, and so it was filled with her knick-knacks and clutter. Things that she had forced her aunt to buy for her.

She picked up the old worn book from her bed and flicked through the pages. ‘Ingredients and Why They Do What They Do’ fell onto the bed as she let it drop. It was boring now. The only book that she had been able to get her hands on, and she had the whole thing memorized. Harriet sighed and looked out the window once more, thinking of all that she could do once she was able to go to school. Once she had the knowledge and her wand, she’d be unstoppable. And grinned.

‘Albus Dumbledore will pay,’ she thought nastily. ‘He wouldn’t know what will hit him.’


Chapter Text

Diagon Alley was different to Harriet in some way. At least this time she could point the finger at the unsettled feeling that she had when looking upon the bright and colorful market. But it was still loads better than being with the Dursleys. After their mental break down at the cabin in the middle of the ocean, Harriet wanted to stay as far away as possible. Who knows what they would do to her. Now that they knew that she knows about magic, Harriet was unsure of what kind of punishments they would give her. Harriet dreaded the thought of going back to them now. And so the cheery sight of Diagon Alley was a momentary relief to be there. But the shopping district wasn’t as wonderful as it had been before. There was a difference in the last time that Harriet had been here. Something had changed. Perhaps it was the fake cheerfulness she could see on people’s faces. Or maybe it was the knowledge that the wizarding world was unfair. And Harriet was no longer the sweet summer child who believed that the magic world would solve everything. She knew better than to place her trust in others now. At least in those who were in charge of her. Once she was grown up then maybe she could do what she wanted, but for now, it was the sense of impending doom that the wizarding world gave her that made the shopping district feel off.

“Right this way, Harriet.” Hagrid, the giant of a man, gestured to her to follow him. “You keep with me, now. Don’t want you to get lost.” He slapped her on her back and Harriet pitched forward. The man didn’t notice and Harriet rubbed her shoulder as she reluctantly followed. Her back still ached from the beating. But it was mildly discomforting rather than a red hot burning mess of pain. Harriet could ignore it easily, as she had other things to think about.

The alley was full of people. More so than usual. Parents and their children were walking everywhere, and Harriet noted that they all had a parchment that they referred to. The Hogwarts letter that held the list of school supplies. Harriet was glad that she was with Hagrid. He was a nice man, although extremely intimidating. But since he was so big that Harriet didn’t have to be in the flow of people because they parted before him. It lessened the panic and anxiety she had around crowds. It wasn’t as bad as London, but it was still making her feel uncomfortable to be here. She silently walked behind the man as he pointed out store after store. “That’s Flourish and Blotts. You can pick up your school books there. And that’s Fortescue’s, they have a great selection of ice cream.” Harriet noted his advice and moved onwards.

The one shop she did want his commentary, Hagrid didn’t say a word as they passed. Harriet paused slightly, leaning on her tiptoes to get a better look at the items in the window. Slug and Jiggers Apothecary. Harriet stared longingly at the jars and plants in the display window. She wanted to get her hands on those so badly…

“Harriet? Keep movin’ I don’t want to lose you.” Hagrid called behind him and Harriet blinked before moving onwards. She glanced behind her, but the crowd obscured her vision. Harriet sighed before turning and quickly caught up to Hagrid. She had to take almost five times the amount of steps that he did, and Harriet was glad that they came to their destination so fast. She was beginning to get a stitch in her side. Gringotts was as intimidating as it had been before, and Harriet didn’t like the place. It didn’t seem as welcoming as it had before. The large stone pillars and the expansive hallway was huge, towering above her small body. She felt small. Smaller than usual in these halls.

Hagrid went up to a goblin and cheerfully interrupted the goblin. Harriet watched the exchange with cautious eyes. Hagrid didn’t care that he was bothering the goblin at all. Although Harriet found no affection for the beings, she still figured that they were much smarter than her. They knew math after all. And Harriet knew that interrupting somebody was very rude.

“We are here to also get Harriet Potter’s school vault as well.” Hagrid boomed out. Harriet jumped at the sound of her name being so loud. It was weird that somebody called her that. Most of the time she was just used to ‘freak’ or ‘girl’ but being called her own name was an odd sensation. Harriet immediately disliked it being said so loud.

“Key?” The goblin asked, extending a gnarled hand.

“Oh yes. Now, where did I put it?” Hagrid patted his many pockets. He retrieved several live mice, a few dogs treats, a vial of what looked like ooze, and a jar of bees, before he finally located the key. Harriet had been surprised by the mice, and by the time the bees came out Harriet’s eyebrows were almost to her hairline. And Dudley had been a hoarder… but he had nothing on Hagrid and his pockets. Harriet mildly wondered what it was like to carry all that stuff around. It must be heavy.

After the goblin looked at the key with a sneer on it’s face (Harriet didn’t blame him at all. It came out of the pocket with the ooze), it deemed it worthy. Once again Harriet found herself trailing after a goblin. Although he didn’t take her through the confusing hallways again, he led them to a large doorway in the back of the room where it looked like several people were coming in and out of. That room led to a… a cart on wheels? Harriet stared at it blankly before it dawned on her. A mine shaft cart? She had only seen these in cartoons, whenever she could sneak a glance. She didn’t know that they existed. How strange to see it here of all places.

Hagrid didn’t seem to notice her confusion. He followed the goblin towards a cart and climbed in, almost tipping the thing over by his sudden weight. “Well? Come on Harriet. It won’t hurt ya.”

Harriet jumped once again at the sound of her name and moved forwards. Almost knocking into a few people. She ducked past them and clambered into the cart. The goblin didn’t glance at them before moving to grasp a lever.

“Vault 687.” He said and then the cart jerked forwards suddenly. Harriet bounced at the motion and then she instantly realized that this was a mistake. Hagrid, as Harriet glanced at him, didn’t seem to be worried at all. But as the cart began to move, Harriet clutched at her large clothes and curled in, she felt that familiar sinking feeling that she was going to regret this.

The cart turned a corner, leaving the station with people behind, and immediately it slid down a ramp sharply. Harriet let loose a strangled noise as she watched the tracks disappear from under the cart rapidly. It would level for a moment or two, and then the cart would dip sharply and fall. Harriet didn’t know what to think, it was happening so quickly that she could barely process it. One hand snatched at a handle that was placed in the cart, gripping it tightly while the other protected her torso. Then the cart leveled out and curled around another corner. Harriet saw it a split second before they hit it. Her hair lifted up and curled around her ears as they went steeply downhill.

Too frightened to do anything, Harriet stopped breathing and watched with wide eyes. They were going fast. Too fast. The rail twisted. Harriet was suddenly pressed up against Hagrid. Then it turned. She was pushed up against the other side of the cart. Too close to the wall. Harriet could feel her hair whipping behind her. The wind was so sharp she could barely keep her eyes open. The cart turned upwards. Her stomach lurched at the sudden motion. Then it dipped once more. Harriet felt herself lift off the seat. But she landed heavily on the cushion. The air turned cold. Turn. Twist. Up. Down. Left. Right. Falling.

And then finally, the goblin pulled the lever. The cart immediately began to slow. The wind on her face lessened, and Harriet felt numb as she felt the cart began to stop. The jolt that pushed her forwards as it finally came to a stop didn’t register. She was still looking forwards with wide eyes, waiting for the ground to drop out from underneath her again.

“Here we are. I told ya it wouldn’t hurt ya.” Hagrid said, giving Harriet another slap on the back. Then the moved, getting out of the cart first and then holding a hand out to Harriet. She looked at him with wide eyes before accepting his hand.

He pulled her out with no trouble at all. Harriet didn’t expect that and stumbled out of the cart. She staggered, her legs feeling weak. She looked around, blinking. Was it really over? Was the cart ride done? She couldn’t feel her fingers from where they gripped the cart. Then she gave herself a bright smile. ‘That was brilliant!’ Harriet thought as she stumbled over to the vault door. She watched as it was unlocked, the shifting gears and pullies moving apart until a doorway appeared. It was almost mesmerizing to watch. And then her eyes fell onto the gold.

‘Oh,’ Harriet thought. Then paused. ‘That doesn’t look like two hundred galleons.’

It indeed wasn’t.


 

Harriet quickly grew sick of shopping. It was the addition of the crowds, the noise level, and the general anxiety that she had that pressed down on her. But it was also the knowledge that she only had seventy-five galleons to her name. And looking through the lists and the prices matched on her school supplies made her heart quickly sink. There wouldn’t be anything left. Nothing. The first sign was that she spent a good chunk on a second-hand trunk. Hagrid had bartered with the shopkeeper, bringing the price down from twenty-five galleons to eighteen. He had spared her from paying six galleons, of which Harriet was grateful. However, the trunk in question was so different from her mum’s that Harriet wondered if it was worth the expense. It was banged up, a corner of the leather was peeling back, and it was heavy. It didn’t come with any enchantments, like shrinking or a light-weight charm. It was a heavy box that didn’t even have more than one compartment.

Harriet took it anyways. Because it was hers now. Even though she was certain that she was going to use her mum’s anyways. She’d find a use for this trunk somehow. Perhaps not for storing items in though. It was ugly, old, and clearly second hand. But now it was Harriet’s. And she thought if anything, it had character.

(Harriet didn’t look once at the sleek and beautifully designed trunks whatsoever. They were clearly too expensive. If she had the full amount of two-hundred galleons, she might have been able to afford one. But she couldn’t change the fact that she was poor. And so she was quite content with her ugly trunk.)

One store after another, Harriet was blindsided with different items and people. Colors blended together. Noise encompassed her, and Harriet found it easier to stick next to Hagrid. People moved aside for him. She felt a little bit safer around him. Although he was impossibly loud. Hagrid’s voice could shake her deep into her bones. It was almost unsettling for her, but she would prefer it to the massive amounts of people around her. Hagrid took her to shops, almost seemingly at random. They would start at one, go down the street, and then come back up to the shop next to where they first started. It was unusual, but Harriet didn’t protest. She was a little overwhelmed by everything. And there were a few shops that Hagrid couldn’t squeeze into, like the book shop. But there was a set stack of books placed together that listed each school year that required them, so it was easy for Harriet to duck in and out of. She even received a couple of small blank paper books that were complimentary, which Harriet found to be nice. She’d use them, whether for notes or as a makeshift journal. The rest of the shops fell in the same way. They had prepared separate areas that were just for Hogwarts students and put all the required items there. It was easy to just pick up what was listed and to pay for it.

However, Harriet was almost depressed by the time they reached a store called Potage’s Cauldron Shop. She should have been grateful that they were reaching one of the shops that she had been looking forward too. Anything that pertained to potions was immediately a favourite. Hell, the potions book she had picked up already had her fingers twitching to get to it. A potions book that she had never read before? It made her mouth water. But Harriet figured out quickly that this store was just like the rest. It had a bunch of equipment separated and… to her dismay, a potions ingredient set was included. Harriet leaned in at the small box filled with small vials, looking at the ingredients and noting with a sinking stomach on how little there was. The vials were as big as her fingers. They weren’t the full sized ones. Not in the slightest. Not to mention the quality of the ingredients was… not good. The baymore leaves were cracking, for heaven's sake. Those are long since past their expiration date. Harriet had never handled these items before, but she could pick out signs that she had read about. Weren’t they going to the apothecary after this? Or was this all? Harriet hoped fervently not.

“Harriet?” Hagrid called from the doorway. “We haven’t got all day. Pick a box and let's go.”

Harriet pursed her lips just like Aunt Petunia and set about trying to pick out the best box within a few seconds. She succeeded, hopefully. At least there wasn’t mold growing on the wormwood. After paying, Harriet hurried outside to where Hagrid was waiting in the shade. By now it was an easy task of opening her dumb bulky trunk and putting her new purchases inside. Hagrid was perusing through the Hogwarts list, mumbling to himself.

“Alrigh’ then. Looks like we just need to get you yer robes. Madam Malkins doesn’t look too busy now.” Hagrid was quick to fold up the parchment and stuff it into his many pockets. “Better prices than Tattings.”

But wait- weren’t they going to-? Harriet made a small sound. Hagrid stopped and turned back, “did you say somethin’?”

It was the first time besides telling her that she was a witch (of course she knew. But that was a rude way of saying it to her) that Hagrid spoke to her and expected a response. Harriet caught his eyes and something inside of her froze. Her mouth grew dry. Her throat parched. What- what should she say? She suddenly felt very, very small. She had to say something. She had to. What could she tell him? Panic surged up from her stomach and choked her.

“I thought- uh, maybe-” Harriet’s voice croaked from unuse. She looked down at the ground, unable to hold any eye contact. It was too nerve-wracking. Then she glanced up at the apothecary. The one place that she wanted to go. Surely they still had to go purchase some items there. There had to be something that wasn’t included in the kit that she needed?

Hagrid followed her line of sight. Then laughed, a big booming sound. “Oh no. That place is far too expensive. It’s for the posh folks, really. Besides, ya got the potions stuff you need already. Don’t need nothin’ in there.”

“Oh,” Harriet said very, very quietly. Her heart sank into her stomach. She wanted to protest. She had to have some spare money. She could at least get a few small items. Perhaps better vials, if anything. But any desire to speak up against the big man was nonexistent. Harriet couldn’t even imagine herself willing up any courage to speak now.

“Don’t let that get ya down. We aren’t finished shoppin’ quite yet.” Hagrid slapped her back, making her stumble forwards. Harriet looked up from the ground enough to stop herself from falling face first and then hurried once more after Hagrid who was walking fast.

This time, Harriet didn’t dare look back at the apothecary. It was better to not dream if she knew she couldn’t have it.


 

Madam Malkins was indeed not busy. Harriet was the only person in the shop. The nice lady, Madam Malkin, used magic to fit her for her robes! How amazing. Harriet hadn’t seen magic done by a wand before. Unless she counted the umbrella that Hagrid used to give Dudley a pigs tail. But this was equally exciting to see. Pieces of cloth floated around her and Harriet soon had her very own clothes. Tailored to her! Harriet wanted to put them on right away. She hated Dudley’s old clothes that she had to wear. And the skirt looked so pretty! Harriet had never worn a skirt before. And she wouldn’t have to wear a belt while using it. The thought of wearing something that didn’t make her look like she was drowning was so appealing to Harriet. These clothes were made just for her! Not for Dudley or for anybody! Just Harriet.

Her school wardrobe was wrapped in brown paper and neatly tied up with a bow. Harriet admired it and quietly paid for it. Malkin didn’t mind her silence and thanked her for coming in. It was probably the best store that Harriet had visited thus far. There were no screaming children, no parents waiting in line to pay for items, no crowds reaching over her. Harriet was sad to leave the small shop, but thankfully Hagrid was waiting for her outside.

He was holding something strange in his hands. A box. Harriet was unsure, but Hagrid looked extremely impressed with himself. “Happy Birthday Harriet!” He boomed out, thrusting the box towards her. Harriet fumbled with her package. Her new clothes were gently set aside on her trunk as she gently plucked the package out of Hagrid’s waiting grasp. The giant was beaming and Harriet felt nervous underneath his stare.

She fumbled several times untying the twine that wrapped the box. Hagrid didn’t say anything, just smiled broadly and waited for her to open the box. Harriet finally pried open the cardboard and looked inside. It was… she paused. It was a glass bowl with a lid? She picked it up easily in one hand, letting the box fall as she peered into it.

Inside of the bowl was an animal. At first glance, Harriet thought it was a toad. Or perhaps a frog. She couldn’t be sure which was which. However, glancing over its strange white marks on it’s back and dotted black head, it took some time before Harriet finally recognized it. It wasn’t just any type of toad. It was Tarda Bufonidae. The Slow Toad. The magical properties of this animal weren’t fully listed because of how annoying it was to handle them. But their skin slime and eggs were used in powerful sleeping potions that could send people into comas if taken improperly. And simply holding the toad too long could cause hallucinations and drowsiness.

Harriet was speechless. This was- this was-

She looked up at Hagrid with wide eyes. Unable to fully process the emotions and thoughts that were racing through her head. Hagrid cleared his throat.

“I got ya a toad. I know they aren’t exactly popular with the kids these days. But I figured that ya might like her.” He shuffled his feet a bit.

Harriet sniffled.

“Harriet?” Hagrid asked. He looked alarmed as Harriet began to cry a little bit. “Oh-”

“It’s perfect.” Harriet hiccuped. She covered her face with a hand, ashamed but so happy. Nobody had done this before. Nobody had ever given her such a wonderful gift. This toad, this was what she had wanted for so long. A piece of magic. And it washers. “Thank you.” She whispered, hugging the bowl close to her. She knew that she cried ugly. And she felt embarrassment heating her face as she covered her face from anybody’s view.

Then she felt strong arms wrapping around her. She was pulled into an embrace, her feet lifting off the ground. She stiffened. Unsure what to do in this situation. Did she put her arms around him? Does she stay still? Was it rude to breathe? But… the longer she was held, the more she slowly relaxed. This feeling was equally strange. Somebody touching her that wasn’t hurting her. It was… nice. Harriet decided that she didn’t mind that feeling. It was warm. And even after Hagrid set her down and pulled away, that warmth lingered in her bones.

“You’re welcome, Harriet,” Hagrid said, with a soft smile. Harriet… well. Harriet didn’t mind him as much anymore. Yes, he was loud and big, but he was kind. And that is something that the Dursleys were not. Being better than the Dursleys was always a bonus in her book.

There was an awkward moment. Harriet looked down at her newly acquired pet. Yes, she had a pet! Something that Aunt Petunia had never allowed Dudley to get. Her own magic toad! One with magical properties.

“What’ll you name ‘er?” Hagrid asked. Harriet paused. That is right. She got to name her own pet! But what could she call her? Harriet wasn’t sure. Nothing stupid, like Spot or Trevor. But she didn’t want anything too out of the norm. Instead, Harriet recalled a favourite potioneer. There weren’t too many females in the potions world.

“Hedwig.” Harriet softly replied. Speaking didn’t feel too scary now. Although she didn’t dare raise her voice. “I’ll call her Hedwig.”

“Tha’s a lovely name.” Hagrid approved. “I wasn’t too sure if you’d have liked her. But she seemed like she was made fer ya.” Harriet clutched the bowl closer to herself. She really liked Hedwig. This was better than going to the apothecary. Now she had a friend and a potions ingredient wrapped into one! Although Harriet wasn’t going kill Hedwig to use her organs or anything. Just her slime would do.

“Speaking of which, we have one last item on your list. Yer wand.” Hagrid said.

Oh yes, that is right. Harriet felt a little slow thinking. So many things were happening and all she wanted to do was be in her cupboard and look at her new books with Hedwig. But there was one more thing to do! Her wand! The best thing that would help her finally do her magic! Harriet grabbed her small bag of coins from her pocket. She had kept a careful track of how much gold she had left. Although she had a few knuts and sickles, the main total evened out to six galleons. The ones that Hagrid had saved her when he bartered for her trunk. She was ready to find her new wand!

Instead, Hagrid reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small box. It was a little bent but this one had a red ribbon tied neatly around it. He handed it to her, a proud look on his face. Harriet glanced up at him, then down at the box. Reluctantly she set Hedwig down and pulled at the ribbon. It was silky and smooth as it slid through her rough fingers. When she finally lifted the box, a brown stick laid in a cushion. It was plain, but Harriet had never wanted anything too extravagant. The wood was smooth. Although Harriet could see a few small scratches on it, it was in perfect shape.

“That was yer father’s wand,” Hagrid spoke softly.

Her father’s… this was his wand. This was the wand that did all of the curses, all of the jinxes and charms that she had wanted to read about. It did all of the transfigurations. And the pranks that it had done. The things that Harriet had read, this wand played such a big part in everything. This is the wand that her own father had wielded. And it was so magical. Moreso than flying or causing things to vanish. To know that her dad had owned this, and now it was hers made Harriet feel like this was the most unique thing in the universe.

Harriet picked it up, gripping it in her hand. It sent almost unpleasant tingles down her arm. But Harriet had felt worse, so she didn’t mind the mild discomfort. She barely noticed it as she held her father's wand. She finally held a piece of her father in her hands. Harriet had another connection to her family. Something that she had wanted ever since that fateful day with Miss Figg. No, ever since she realized that her relatives would never love her. She had wanted to know more, to have more, about her parents. And this was it.

This wand was special. And Harriet held it close to her.

“Well,” Hagrid caught her attention again. “We do have another stop. If you’d like to go. I was wondering if you’d like to go visit your parents while we were here.”


 

(There is a special place in our hearts for Harriet. We do. Truly, we would not be telling this story if we didn’t enjoy her. In fact, we share her story not because of fame nor glory, but because we want people to know that she exists. Throughout the many universes, the thousands upon thousands of different versions of Harry Potter, it is easy for people like Harriet to slip through the cracks. Many entities won’t bother telling their stories. But watching Harriet and seeing her struggles, we wanted to make sure that people knew her. Other people in the department don’t care enough to share their tales. And thus, many creatures do not know of the struggles and life that their universes go through. But Harriet’s story deserves to be told.

The small Harriet department came together about this moment. Where Harriet found herself going into St. Mungos for the first time. It wasn’t just this universe, but the other thousands of universes that this occasion happened. And we all collectively decided that this was a private moment. Harriet’s vulnerability and emotions at meeting her parents for the first time is something that we are leaving to her. It is a private and sacred moment that we will not broadcast to others simply for entertainment.

Instead, we shall leave you this:

Harriet met her parents.

And her parents did not recognize her.

And that is all we shall say.)


 

(Fred Weasley woke up in the middle of the night from a feverish dream. Breathing hard, he glanced over to see if his noise had woken his twin. But George was still snoring softly in his bed, undisturbed by Fred’s sudden distress.

It happened again. Fred tossed the covers off and sat on the edge of the bed. His body covered in sweat that cooled him in the summer air. He tilted his head back and took in long deep breaths. His heart thumped so loud that he was almost afraid that it would wake George.

“Shit.” Fred softly swore to himself. He curled up into a ball, his head in his hands. Things were coming to him. Frightening things. Visions. Fred had long since figured out that somehow the things that he saw were unnatural. Even in a magical community, it was hard to figure that out. But it wasn’t until he had seen first handedly some of the things that he had seen come true that it really clicked for him. He could see the future.

And Fred wondered sometimes if the future could see him too.

He fell back into bed after calming down. His mind raced and he didn’t feel as sick as before. He paused, looking up at the cracked ceiling. The images from his dream came to his mind unbidden.

A flash of red hair. A shoulder of a girl. Freckles dotted on skin. A black notebook, blurry words forming on the page by itself. ‘People don’t understand you like I do.’ It said. Then a hallway in Hogwarts. It was nighttime, the torches were lit. A girl laughing. A shoulder with freckles, a tattoo inked on the skin. A girl with her face obscured.

The more Fred tried to focus on her the more blurry and undefined she was. Something about her didn’t want to be shown. But there was another feeling. Dread. Fred could feel it in his bones. Something about this girl was off. And it prickled at this skin and an unexplained fear began to form. There was something that truly terrified Fred about her. And he didn’t want to know why.

He let out a big sigh then rolled over. Reaching underneath his bed, he picked up a book that he had stumbled across by pure chance. It had that symbol in it. The one that he had seen tattooed. The only thing that he could recall perfectly. The lines and sharp black ink were burned into his mind. Fred flipped through the pages of ‘The Beedle and the Bard’ until he came to a story about three brothers and death.)


 

(Once upon a time, there were three brothers.)

 

Chapter Text

[The funny things about wands is that- they don’t like you. Not really. Honestly, they’re bits of dead animals stuck in a wand that gain a personality. Once you get your wand, they like your magic. Not because you are a good looking bloke who is magnificent in every way. So I think the best advice that I ever figured out is that you should treat it well. You’re the one swinging it around like an idiot for the rest of your life, you might as well make it last. Personally, I’ve named mine Craigory. Because I feel like it is both a Craig and a Gregory at the same time. That being said, use wand polishing kits. Not because you want to polish your wand with a nice girl (hell yeah, Pads -Prongs), but because it’s worth it to keep it happy.

That being said, now I shall share my deep, most deeply guarded secret. My one, my only, favorite spell for getting back in subtle ways. I made this because Kathryn Murcan was being a right bitch, but it’s ungentlemanly to hex a pretty girl when her back was turned. So, after one particular comment that hit me below the belt, I gave her this particular nice gift.

With your wand in your dominant hand, curl your fingers tightly around the base (not in normal position) and move your wand in a tight clockwise circular fashion. When holding your wand, keep it closer to your body. Holding it more at the base allows you to let the tip of the wand extend more into your circle while keeping the base in a tighter one. Once you complete the circular motion, flick it sharply to the right and point at your victim. Say the words, “tarda sternumenta.” Pronounced Tarr-da (roll the r), Ster-nue-men-ta.

And that, my friend, is the spell for causing somebody to feel like they are about to sneeze for about six hours. Depending on how much magic you put into it. The best part is that they won’t be able to sneeze once, the entire time.

-Padfoot (written by Moony, because bless that bastard for having the prettiest (and legible) handwriting.)

Excerpt from the Marauders Componium]


 

The first thing Harriet did after her relatives kicked her out of their car, was to go change in the nearest bathroom. Her new clothing for the past month had been calling to her. And she could still vividly recall how the fabric had shaped itself into her size. She had never liked wearing Dudley’s clothes. They were too big and baggy, and Harriet hated wearing his cast offs. Anything that had to do with her cousin instantly repelled her. And to finally be able to wear something that was hers for once was too exciting to pass off.

It was refreshing to wear a skirt that brushed her knees. The stocking hugged her legs. The shirt fit her body perfectly. Harriet decided to forgo the outer robe, leaving it in her trunk. The rest of Dudley’s old clothes went into the bin, as Harriet couldn’t stand the sight of them. And in a public bathroom at Kings Cross Station, Harriet gazed into the mirror and saw herself. She was small, and a bit pale. Perhaps a little too skinny. But Harriet finally saw herself as who she was. Harriet Lily Potter-Black. There were no more evil relatives. No more terror at being beaten to a pulp for forgetting something. No more starving and craving for food. It was all going to change.

Harriet was going to learn magic. And she was going to do it fantastically.

Energized, Harriet grabbed her items and left. Her head held high. Although it faltered once she hit the more crowded areas of the station. Anxiety, a familiar feeling, caught her in it’s hold. But Harriet was determined that she wasn’t going to be affected by it as much. She wouldn’t. Not this time. Although it crept through the cracks and sank into her chest, Harriet pushed forwards. She had a goal in mind, and Harriet let that be her focus.

The pillar between the ninth and tenth station platform. Harriet had long since dreamed and imagined coming to Kings Cross since she had first read her mum’s journal. Walk into a wall. Bam! Magical world. Harriet had read her mum’s journals enough times to know what to do. But still, the worry gnawed at her. It was hard to not be worried, really. The letter said nothing about the platform, it just included the ticket. Harriet’s thoughts plagued her. What if the train to Hogwarts had changed since then? What if she’s at the wrong Kings Cross? What if she couldn’t get through the barrier?

Soon Harriet faced her fears. The pillar between platform nine and ten was in front of her. She paused, her trolly holding her luggage behind her squeaking sharply by the sudden movement. Harriet stared at the wall with a blank face. Then she raised her hand and touched the brick… and her hand went through it. She smiled, relief flooding her features.

This was it. Hogwarts was right here.

And she was ready for it.

Harriet took confident steps forward and disappeared from the muggle world.


 

The King Cross Station was barren of people. Harriet gazed around silently, looking across the empty square. The most eye-catching thing in the area was the locomotive. The train itself was gorgeous. Red and shiny, Harriet couldn’t imagine ever being on such a machine. It was prettier than Uncle Vernon’s prized car. She dragged her trolly behind her across the uneven cobblestones towards the train. It was perfect.

The reason why the place was so empty of people was perhaps Harriet had arrived a little bit early. Like, two hours early. She figured that it would be good to come early rather than have a chance of being late. So she had lied when Aunt Petunia asked her what time her train was leaving. If Harriet had told her the truth then she would have gotten on the train with ten minutes to spare before it left. The Dursleys were punctual except when it came to Harriet. Otherwise, they didn’t care to be on time. And besides, Harriet didn’t mind coming early. It meant that she could get away from her relatives all the sooner.

Harriet managed to discover on her own where the luggage car was and left her trunk in there. Her mum’s trunk was hidden in her pocket. Her mum had written that if you tapped on it with a wand it would shrink. Harriet had never been able to do it before. And now it was no larger than a matchbox. Hedwig preferred it in there too, rather than being in her clunky trunk. And Harriet favored knowing where Hedwig was at all times. She was scared of losing her toad.

The train was amazing. Harriet walked down the hallway, peering into different cars that were empty and moving on. She didn’t want to sit in the back, but she definitely didn’t want to sit in the front. And so Harriet found a nice cabin that was half the size of the others, probably because it was shoved next to the loo, and decided that it would be her car.

And if it just so happened to be on the other side of the train that just so happened to be away from the people getting on it in the near future, Harriet wasn’t about to complain either. In fact, she’d rather not see parents sending their kids off to school. Not after- not after meeting her own parents. She didn’t want to see all the mushy goodbyes or the tears. Nope! Nothing else!

Harriet quickly pulled out the potions book that was on her school list, ‘Magical Drafts and Potions,’ by Arsenius Jigger, along with a red pen. Ever since she had opened the damned book she had been absolutely appalled by the contents therein. Everything that she had self-taught herself repelled by the lousy information in this book. The first night Harriet stayed up to read this book, she had actually gone to bed within the first hour because of how frustrating and disappointing it was. And so, in order to ease her nerves, Harriet began to write in it. It was cathartic. Relieving, she supposed. She was distracting herself from any worries by the innate fury that compelled her to cross out entire pages worth of text and to write why it was all wrong.

As compelling as this is,’ Harriet wrote, ‘please do not put any porcupine needles near a flame. Adding heat causes the needles to release a dangerous toxin in the shells that could cause fire-cracker like explosions in a boiling pot. The fact that it is written two sentences after the instructions say to add the needles to extinguish the flame before combining them is of no sense. And why on earth is dittany in this potion? Dittany is for gardening fertilizer? Fuck that, add mint. 1-2 leaves finely chopped and crushed should stabilize the potion and take place of the dittany. Although if it goes a yellow hue, add lemon balm. It should regain it’s natural color while giving it a bit of oomph. This forgetful potion would be almost killer.’

Harriet flipped a page. She read the small paragraph. Narrowed her eyes. And began to cross things out in a satisfying way. Why on earth anybody would not put wolfsbane, monkshood, and aconite together? They were the same plant. They just had different names. What kind of backward bullshit was this? Harriet pursed her lips disapprovingly (scarily looking like Aunt Petunia) and grew absorbed into her work.

She was just ranting why people shouldn’t put bezoar on the fifty-sixth page of a book, that information should be on the first page (why not put the antidote for poisons in a beginners in an obvious spot in a book of potions when clearly people are going to mess up) when a sudden noise drew her attention from her writing. Now that she noticed it, she could hear people talking and could hear people moving from cabin to cabin. She had been so focused that she hadn’t even realized how much time had passed. In fact, she had been so caught up in her writing that she had failed to notice what sounded like the entirety of London appearing. Laughter echoed down the hallway, even though the door to the cabin was closed. Harriet could see people passing by and desperately wished that nobody would come into her compartment. Just the thought of it started to rise up in her and Harriet felt almost nauseous from the anxiety. Trying to keep her mind distracted Harriet turned back to her book.

Glancing down, Harriet noted that she had maybe gotten through a third of the book. She flipped through the pages idly, waiting for the moment that the train would start up and they could leave. It seemed to be taking forever now, although it felt maybe five minutes had passed since she noticed people around her. She flipped through pages lined in red, not even pausing to glance at whole pages crossed out. Harriet didn’t understand a lot of things, but the one thing that puzzled her out of all was why did they teach kids the wrong stuff? She had learned from her mum’s old books, obviously, they were meant for older students as she worked through them. They taught all the stuff that worked, Harriet didn’t have a problem with making potions when she knew all the rules. Why wouldn’t they want to teach kids that lowering a flame would be dangerous without stirring it three times counterclockwise? Or how to cut ingredients properly? If it wasn’t through Harriet’s experimenting when she was younger, she wouldn’t have known the difference between slicing and chopping. And yet there was no such instruction about that in this beginners book. Would they be learning that in class?

Harriet closed the book with a snap when the door to the compartment opened. She jumped and glanced up with wide eyes. Fear, although Harriet didn’t know why she was so scared, jumped up to her throat and her heart began to beat a million kilometers a second.

“Oh, look. Somebody is already here.” An older girl with long dark brown hair said. She was wearing her Hogwarts uniform, the girl’s outfit was lined in red and gold. It was just like the clothes that her mum had in her trunk. “I knew we should have gotten here sooner, but you had to show off your spider.” She gave the boy next to her a sharp look.

“It’s a tarantula, not just some spider.” The dark haired boy pouted and lifted up a cage that swung around. Harriet caught a glimpse of something big and hairy inside before the girl grabbed the boys arm and hauled him out of the compartment.

“Sorry, we disturbed you.” The girl said, acknowledging Harriet for the first time. “Come on Lee! We have to go score a bigger cabin, and we can’t wait all day for your giant ego to move.”

“Angelina!” Was the last thing Harriet heard before the door was promptly closed and she was alone again.

Harriet sat in silence, processing on what just happened. It was all so sudden and fast Harriet didn’t have any time to think. Or even to respond. The two older students, whatever their names were, had come and gone without a care in the world. And they had been so loud! Not quite as loud as Hagrid had been, but it still made her feel deeply uncomfortable. Harriet wasn’t sure if she liked their… brash attitudes. There wasn’t something that she could pinpoint and could say why she didn't like it. But it left her feeling overwhelmingly tired and she felt a longing for her cupboard back in Privet Drive.

She curled up on the seat and pressed herself in the corner. Her book laid on her lap, but Harriet couldn’t will herself to look at it again. The constant worry of somebody else coming in the compartment bothered her. She just wanted to curl up in a ball somewhere nice and dark. Even that small encounter of the older students made Harriet so unbelievably tired and drained that she wanted to take a nap.

But in the end, Harriet’s worst fear comes to light. The door to the compartment opened once more, and a girl about her age walked in. Another first year.

“Is this compartment taken?” She asked, her bushy hair flying everywhere.

Harriet’s mouth went dry and she shook her head.

“Oh good.” The girl said tossing her bag on the other seat. “I’m Hermione Granger. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She held out a hand.

Harriet felt her palms grow moist. Nervously she wiped them on her new skirt before taking the hand. It was the first time she had ever shaken somebody else's hand before. She hoped she was doing it right. At first, it seemed right, but then the girl wouldn’t let Harriet take her hand back. As seconds past, Harriet was unsure of what she was doing wrong and panic lit up inside of her.

“You know, it’s rude not to tell me your name.” The girl, Hermione said bluntly.

Oh. Oh. Shit. Harriet licked her lips and tried to speak. The first thing was more like a hiss than the word, so Harriet tried again. Her throat was so dry that Harriet wondered if she could speak properly again. “H-H-Ha-Harriet Potter.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Harriet,” Hermione spoke. But she still didn’t let go of the most uncomfortable handshake that Harriet had ever been a part of. “You know, you have to say it’s nice to meet me too.”

“It’s n-nice to mu-meet you,” Harriet mumbled, her face flushing. And finally, finally, the handshake was done. But the embarrassment flooded through her. How was she to know whether or not she had been rude, and that introductions were necessary? But she had messed up. Harriet felt so awkward. Clearly, she didn’t know anything about being polite. How was she to know that there were rules? Were there books that she could read?

Hermione sat on her seat. She looked very excited. “Are you excited about going to Hogwarts?” She asked, “I was so happy when I got my letter. I’m the first witch in my family!  You see, my mum and dad always knew that strange things kept on happening around me, and it was such a relief to find out what was going on. One time I almost-”

Miserably, Harriet suddenly realized that Hermione liked to talk.

And talk she did. Hermione nattered on, unaware of Harriet’s rising uncomfort. It was almost abrasive. The way that she constantly talked on and on about. Harriet found that there was no need for her to speak at all. Hermione wouldn’t have let Harriet get a word in edgewise at all. It was almost amazing how long the bushy-haired girl could speak without taking a breath. Harriet idly wondered if she was part lungfish. Or if she had a separate sac of air that she could draw upon when describing how to brush teeth. And Hermione pushed on. Chatting about all the books that she had read (which was all of them) and how she loved magic (she loved all of it) and how she was going to learn so much and be the best witch ever and how she was going to do this and that and-

Harriet was distressed. The train had started long ago, and their destination was fast approaching. But it wasn’t coming fast enough. Harriet couldn’t handle the constant words. The endless information. It was simply too much. An overload of sensations crawled up inside of her and made her feel bloated. At one point Harriet was sure that she couldn’t breathe. It was so draining, so frustrating, so annoying that the girl wouldn’t just stop talking.

Harriet was just about ready to jump off the train. There had to be something to shut this girl up. Or to get her away from Harriet. And she was stumped, willing to suffer through the noise for the rest of the trip... Until an idea came to her. A terrible, no good, horrible, awful idea.

Harriet shifted her weight. Casually putting her hands in her pockets and then pulling them out. She glanced around the room, patting her pockets from the outside once more. Then Harriet leaned to the side as if to be looking underneath the opposite seats. Then shifted to the other side to look at it from a different angle.

“and I was thinking to myself that the math was wrong- what are you doing?” Hermione asked, cutting her tirade off.

Harriet didn’t answer. Instead, she got off her seat and then peered underneath it. Then she moved her bag and then let out a rather dramatic sigh.

“L-lost.” Harriet looked back at Hermione with wide eyes. “I’ve l-lost my toad.”

Hermione let loose a sharp gasp. “Oh no! Your toad is gone?”

Harriet nodded, unwilling to speak any more.

“That’s just terrible! We have to find it.” Hermione jumped to her feet. “I can go start looking around and I’ll ask if people have seen it. My Dad always says that if we lost something we should go and trace our steps. But your toad has probably moved from where you last have seen it. So we should split up! I’ll go down the train and you’ll go up, right?”

Harriet nodded. And without any further urging, no other plots or pushes, the bushy-haired girl left the cabin. Hermione had… taken her up on her bait and completely left of her own accord.

That was surprisingly easy. Almost too easy. But Harriet figured that although the girl was smart, she was dumber than a bag of bricks when it came to putting her trust in everybody. Harriet was sure she’d be, what Dudley would say, a total kiss up. However, Harriet finally had her first moments of silence. And she hoped that Hermione would get distracted and stay away for the rest of the train ride. But until then, Harriet just wanted silence. And it was beautiful not to listen to anybody.

She finally relaxed into the seat and gazed out the window. The train rocked slowly as it chugged along. And Harriet closed her eyes in peace.


Hagrid was a good man to greet the first years. Harriet liked the fact that he was so tall and easily recognizable. He stood out from the other students who swarmed the platform as they exited. Harriet was short, much shorter than all the other students. And so it was great for her to be able to find Hagrid so easily. Somebody out there must’ve thought this through.

There was a large gathering of kids around him. All of them weren’t wearing any other colors than black, so Harriet assumed they were her fellow classmates. She cautiously gazed around them. Hermione was chatting away with some boy, and the rest of them seem to be gathered by groups of two or three. Harriet stood by the others in a crowd, not necessarily around anybody specific.

Hagrid led them to a set of boats that bobbed up and down on the water. Harriet climbed into one and a few other kids joined her. Harriet didn’t know who they were. But none of them introduced themselves and so Harriet did the same. Harriet waited as the other kids hopped into the boats and Hagrid was in one of his own. She was so impatient! She wanted to be there forever ago. It took some time but in the end, but the boats began to move by some unseen power. It startled her. But Harriet let out a startled laugh in delight. Of course, it was magic!

It was dark. The water was black. The sky was inky, speckled with stars above. Harriet craned her neck up, staring up at the blinking lights above. It was so pretty. Harriet had heard that there were lots of stars up there. But she had never been able to see so many before! Not when she had snuck out in Privet Drive. But the stars were so bright. So white. And there were countless. Harriet was struck with a sense of awe as she gazed upwards.

And the boats turned the corner. And a white castle appeared, shining in the darkness.

It stole her breath away. She had never seen such beauty before. Alone, surrounded by the darkness, Harriet felt small. Insignificant. And yet. Harriet felt emotion fill up inside of her. It pushed past the anxiety and the constant worry. It eased her stress. She didn’t know what she was feeling. It was so strange. But it was pleasant and wonderful to feel. It made her heart warm and beat so fast. Harriet liked feeling that. Hogwarts was the most beautiful thing that Harriet had ever seen in her entire life. As the other children ‘oohed’ and ‘awed’ over the sight of the castle. But they didn’t see what Harriet saw. Which was perfection.

Harriet felt the warm tears sting her eyes. She pulled her sleeves down and wiped her face hurriedly. She hoped that nobody saw. The other boys in the boat didn’t see, they were all turned around to face the castle. Hogwarts. Everybody had their eyes on the school. Some boys were chatting loudly about how amazing school would be. Over the water, Harriet could even hear Hermione’s voice talking loudly about the history of the castle. Harriet ignored it, silently turning her gaze back towards the castle that lit up the sky.

The boats arrived at the shore too soon. Harriet would have liked to float on the darkness a little bit longer. It had been so peaceful and the filling emotion remained inside of her. It felt like as the ride ended that she had to return back to the world. And she didn’t want that. It was too sudden and she longed to return to the lake.

“Alright! Come on firsties!” Hagrid called out in his booming voices. Harriet was the last off the boats due to her reluctance. She hurried after the group of kids, catching up just as Hagrid knocked on the giant doors with a big fist. The doors opened and a stern woman appeared. She peered over the children, and the door swung open.

“Thank you, Hagrid. The rest of you, come in.” She turned without a glance back and stepped into the castle.

She reminded Harriet of Aunt Petunia. The way that she looked down at them with her nose in the air and her quick dismissal of them. That, and the woman was tall and skinny as her aunt as well. Harriet felt that uplifting emotion dampen a touch, but she pushed against it. Surely this woman couldn’t be as bad as Aunt Petunia. Not many people could be. And she probably had more important things to do than watch them walk into Hogwarts.

The small mob of children followed the lady. Hagrid waved at Harriet as she passed by and she shyly returned the favor. He gave her a grin as she turned away, and Harriet walked into Hogwarts for the first time. It was enchanting. Harriet could feel the magic in the air tickle at her skin. It hummed in her ears, and everywhere she could Harriet could see things that would make Aunt Petunia faint. It was wonderful! It was just as amazing as her mum described in her journal! Pictures moved on the walls, but they hopped from one frame to the other. Ghosts floated through the walls, causing a few girls to scream and then fall into giggles. A few boys might have jumped, but Harriet didn’t comment on it. She just smiled to herself as she turned her head this way and that to make sure she got a good look at everything. Harriet didn’t want to miss anything.

Finally, the woman led them to a room. She turned and gave them a level look. “I am Professor McGonagall. Please line up in rows of two while I go check to see if they are ready for the sorting yet.” And she then she left.

Harriet was quick to get into a line. One boy, a few people ahead of her, whispered loudly, “my brothers told me that the sorting is fighting a troll.”

“I hope not.” A boy with dark hair next to him said.

I highly doubt it.” Harriet glanced to see that Hermione joined the conversation. “It doesn’t say anything about trolls in ‘Hogwarts: A History.’”

The red-haired boy gave an ugly face at Hermione. “Well-”

Then Professor McGonagall came back. It had barely been a minute since she had left. In her hand, she held a roll of parchment and she peered down at all of them. “Follow me.” Was all she said before sweeping away. The two lines of students followed her, hushed whispers and giggles filling the air. Two giant doors opened, and Harriet nearly stumbled when she saw all the people in the room.

And they were looking at her.

That good feeling was gone now. Harriet’s mouth went dry and her palms went sweaty. She luckily kept up with the person in front of her. It was a small comfort to know that she wasn’t the only person standing up. But it was still terrifying to see all the eyes were on her.

Professor McGonagall walked up and stood next to a hat on a stool. Harriet watched as it moved sluggishly, and then a hat began to speak. Which was admittedly very cool. Harriet stared at the hat as began to sing a song, and wondered… was it a spell or a potion that made it the way it was? Harriet had read about how some potions could give some items characteristics that made them look intelligent. However, when she was looking through her father’s book she had read that charms could do almost the same thing. Harriet wanted to know. If it was a potion, could she make a hat too? She could wear it and it could keep an eye out for Dudley and his goons. They liked to creep up on her. But if she had a lookout she could get away faster without them being able to catch her easily.

The hall began to clap. Harriet snapped out of her thoughts and glanced around. Nobody seemed to notice her attention was elsewhere. Which was good. It would be embarrassing not to pay attention to any sort of entertainment that they offered. And a talking hat was a very magical way of welcoming any new students into the school. Harriet politely clapped, but if anybody asked her she wouldn’t be able to give any details about what the hat had talked about.

Then Professor McGonagall unrolled her parchment and called out the first name on the list. “Abbot, Hannah” Harriet watched a girl with blonde hair stepped up and Professor McGonagall placed the talking hat on her head. Within seconds, the hat yelled, “Hufflepuff!”

The girl, Hannah, skipped her way over to the table that was decorated with yellow and black. The table clapped, and Hannah was welcomed in their fold. Harriet now gazed the room as the next name was called. There were four long tables. The table that caught Harriet’s eye was the golden and red one. That was the house her mum and dad had been in. They seemed like a friendly bunch. If anything, Harriet wanted to go there. Because then she’d be more like her parents. Her mum and dad would be proud of her by going to the same house. She’d be sure of it.

Next to the red and golden table was blue and silver. As Harriet looked down the table, she noticed a lot of students, male and female, bent over a book hidden under the edge of the table. Some of them stared off into the distance, while others clapped lazily. They looked like Dudley when he had to do maths in their class. Bored. They didn’t seem very inviting. But Harriet could chalk it up as them being tired.

The next table was the yellow and black one. They were clapping once more as yet another girl walked to their table. Bones… something. Harriet didn’t catch her first name. She sat next to Hannah and the two embraced while chatting excitedly. Harriet pondered about this table, whatever it was called. Vaguely Harriet figured that the houses had something to do with traits and whatnot. But Harriet couldn’t figure out this one. Compared to the other tables, Harriet noted, this one had the least students. But they all seem happy and cheerful. So maybe they just had a lot of tea recently to perk them up.

The last table… Harriet was starting to obverse it when a boy caught her eye and gave her a sneer. It was a nasty look. And Harriet hastily glanced away, flushing. After that, Harriet didn’t dare look over at the table.

One after the other, the other kids were called up. Harriet waited, dreading for the moment that her name would be called. To imagine all of the people in the hall staring at her made her head feel light. It was alright if there were others around her, but walking up there by herself might be too much for Harriet. But it was coming. As Professor McGonagall slowly went down the alphabet, Harriet felt her palms begin to sweat. Then a horrid thought struck her. What if… what if they didn’t call her name!? What if she was left the only one standing up in the hallway and it turned out that Harriet wasn’t registered for school at all. What if she didn’t belong here? What if-

Too caught up with her troubled thoughts, Harriet barely noticed when the name Neville Longbottom was called. The hall grew quiet instantly. Eyes turned as the boy standing next to the red-headed boy walked forwards. If Harriet had been watching, she could have said he looked like a boy. He had messy brown hair and a small gap between his teeth. He didn’t look like anything but a simple boy who perhaps didn’t have the best clothes to wear. If somebody had told Harriet that he was the Savior of the Wizarding World, she might have scoffed and dismissed that a plain looking boy could do a thing like that. But Harriet didn’t pay attention one bit. Instead, Neville nervously walked up to the hat. And after quite a long time (“You could go to Slytherin, you know”) , the hat shouted, “Gryffindor!”

Neville was received with an explosion of applause and was quickly drawn into the Gryffindor house. Perhaps a certain set of twins sang out in glee that the Boy-Who-Lived was a Gryffindor. But soon enough, the rest of the sorting had to take place. And Harriet’s thoughts were crawling her deeper into self-imagined despair. Such a tremendous moment in history that Harriet had failed to notice was over with. And once again, one by one, the children were called up and sorted into the different Houses.

“Potter, Harriet.” Professor McGonagall announced. Startling Harriet out of her thoughts. There was a brief moment of relief. Harriet did belong in Hogwarts. But then the crushing sense of anxiety hit her at once. Harriet had to go up now. Her hands trembled and she forced herself to move. She had to do this. But it was the most terrifying thing that she had ever done in her life.

Every eye was watching her. She could feel them burning into her back. Harriet clutched at her robe with her hands, hoping that it would disguise the trembling that took place. She could feel herself sweating. Every step felt like she could be doing something wrong. And she’d embarrass herself unknowingly. Her head bent down and she stared at the floor. Harriet didn’t dare look up.

After what felt like months, Harriet finally found herself at the stool. She sat down, facing the crowd. Oh. It was worse like this. Now Harriet could see them all looking at her. She began to feel her face flushing. And then she felt the weight of the hat being dropped on her head, and it fell past her ears and covered her eyes.

My my my. What do we have here?” A strange voice whispered in her ear. Harried flinched at the noise. It startled her. “Oh, don’t be scared. I know a talking hat isn’t very common these days. But let’s get down to business. I don’t have all day you know.”

Oh. Right, uh. Harriet wasn’t the last person to get judged. This should be rather quick though. She’d like the red house, out of the others it seemed to be the best. All the hat needed to do was just yell it out and he could get to the next kid.

“I wouldn’t go that fast.” The voice replied. Harriet felt another wave of surprise hit her. It can read her thoughts!? Amazing. “Yes, I can read thoughts. I am the Sorting Hat. And taking a good look at you, Gryffindor is the last place that I would put you.”

...Gryffindor?

There was a long sigh. “The red house.”

Oh. Harriet furrowed her brow. Why couldn’t she get into her parent's house? Surely, there wasn’t a reason not to.

“You didn’t listen to my song did you.” The hat asked. Harriet adverted her eyes underneath in the dark. Shame crept up her spine. If somebody had told her the hat could read her mind then she would have paid more attention to the song. “Of course you did. Every single year this happens. I spend all year composing a new song for the next batch of students and without fail, there is always one who never pays any attention.”

Harriet wanted to cover her face in her hands in embarrassment. “No matter. I shall give you a brief summary. Gryffindor is considered the house of the brave. Considering walking up to the stool caused you to nearly soil yourself, I will say that going to Gryffindor will not be in your best interests. In fact, I think they would eat you alive without any hesitation.”

But- but that was the house that Harriet wanted to get into! It was her parents-

“It doesn’t matter what your parents were sorted into. You are you, and you should remember that, Harriet Potter-Black. You are not your parents. You do not have to redeem yourself in their eyes.” The hat spoke bluntly. “I once looked into their heads. Once when they first arrived here in Hogwarts, and another when they were leaving. Believe me when I say that they would not care a single bit if you were sorted into another house.”

Harriet… didn’t know what to think of that.

“Now. That is done and over with. I had that same talk with your godfather. It didn’t get into his head fast enough before I sorted him. Although it was more on the lines of forgetting what his parents thought and to go where he wanted to be. But I believe it is time that we finally get to the topic at hand.” The hat spoke idly. “I believe you have the best quality of traits to be placed in Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

Harriet drew another blank.

“Ravenclaw is the house of intelligence. They are the blue table that you saw. Slytherin is for the ambitious and cunning.” The hat sighed in disappointment. “They are the green house.”

Harriet wrinkled her nose at the thought of either their houses. If Ravenclaw was full of smart people. Like Hermione. Harriet’s mouth curled into a grimace at the thought of being around all the know-it-alls. She didn’t like that thought at all. Just imagining being around other Hermione-like people was awful. And when she thought about Slytherin, Harriet didn’t like that either. It was too scary! They seemed posh and Harriet didn’t like that at all. They reminded her too much of Dudley.

“You… are so picky.” The hat replied. “Ravenclaw is a nice house. Yes, they are smart but so are you. You’ve taught yourself so much about potions it’s a wonder I haven’t gotten a headache from it all yet. And you are ambitious. And very sneaky. I know you glued all the car doors to your uncle's car before you left, you tricky girl. You can excel in either these houses to and be the very best student that you can be. Which shall it be?”

Harriet frowned. She thought she answered the hat already. She didn’t like the smart people, and Slytherin looked like they could gut her if she looked at them wrong. And if the hat had a problem with that, he could put her in Gryffindor.

“I thought- oh come on. We already went through this. Seriously? Fine. Okay. Let’s start at the beginning. I have a question for you, Harriet. What do you want the most out of Hogwarts?”

What did she want from Hogwarts? The first thing that came to mind was being on the lake. She thought of the castle. The memory fresh and vivid in her thoughts, Harriet could easily imagine the white stone of the castle shining against the dark. She could recall the night air against her face as she stared up at the beauty of Hogwarts, and the enchanting feeling returned to her. The light and airy feeling… of happiness. Hogwarts was the place that she had never had before. Because, to Harriet, it was…

“Home,” Harriet whispered very, very quietly.

“Merlin you were more stubborn than… Merlin himself. I hope you know. But that means that you are going to HUFFLEPUFF!”

The last word was shouted. Harriet was startled that she jumped into the air. As quick as it had come, the hat was yanked off her head. Harriet blinked at the sudden bright light, staring out over the sea of faces. The yellow and black table clapped loudly, and Harriet was gently pushed off the stool and towards the table.

Confusion welled up inside of Harriet. She… wasn’t sure what just happened. The hat didn’t tell her anything about Hufflepuff. But she finally had a destination on where she was going, and Harriet was glad to finally sit down. The relief on not being the center of attention eased the strain inside of her. And so when Harriet finally sat down at the yellow and black table, one of the other boys who had been sorted before her turned and asked her a question.

“What took you so long? You were under the hat for over ten minutes! I think you broke the record.”

All Harriet could do was helplessly shrug. After all, she had no clue why it happened either. Or why she was in Hufflepuff. But as the rest of the sorting continued, Harriet stared at the table in front of her. Why was she here? Why couldn’t she have just gone to Gryffindor? She could be… brave or something akin to that. Maybe she could have more courage when she grew up. Harriet hoped that when everything else settled, that getting placed into Hufflepuff wasn’t a mistake. Because right now, sitting next to strangers and feeling alone, Harriet felt like it was.


 

(This day brought numerous possibilities. Out of the four houses, Harriet could have been sorted into any of them. Out of the billions of universes that she had created by her choices, Harriet was placed into every house. Although, to be quiet honest the odds of her going into the different houses differed. It also depended on what choices and actions those Harriet’s had partaken in. (For the more bitter Harriets, nearly all of them went into Slytherin. A small percentage were placed in Ravenclaw. As for the Harriets, like the one in our story, who have not become spiteful, their odds of being in the other houses were more likely.) All in all, over 48% of Harriets was placed in Gryffindor. In the second place, Ravenclaw was 25%. Thirdly, Slytherin was around 15.5%. And lastly, Hufflepuff was a solid 11.5%.

We must remind you, readers. That a majority of the Harriets out there do not know of the manipulations of that old fart. Nor did they know anything of the magical community before Hagrid came to see them. And so quite a lot of them followed his manipulative plan.

But we still must ask this question. Why were these odds so vastly mismatched? Well, we could look back at the source of this problem. Well, sources. It could have been how Harriet had been treated. If she hadn’t been so blatantly abused by her relatives. If she hadn’t been left to the muggles in the first place. If she hadn’t been forced from the wizarding world. If Albus Dumbledore didn’t try to take her fortune. If… perhaps the Sorting Hat wasn’t manipulated by the constant years underneath the many Headmasters of Hogwarts.

You see, that old strange hat has a somewhat long history. From the beginning, the hat once belonged to some old man named Godric Gryffindor. Now when the hat first started out, Godric was not too gentle with it. It was already beaten and worn by the time magic was embedded into it. And so when it came time to enchant something, Godric (being the forgetful man that he was), simply took off his hat and said that it ought to do.

(Most mortals could wax on about how powerful and impressive the founding creators of Hogwarts were. After all, they had done what no witch nor wizard had done before. They created a school. Wow. So original. As higher beings of power, we don’t particularly care for them. To be quite honest, they were all blithering idiots. As much as people would like to praise the four founders, they were not as smart as people led them to believe. In fact, the only thing that was vaguely intelligent was where they placed Hogwarts. In fact, a majority of the incredible feats of magic that were accredited towards the founders was simply because of this one choice.

They placed Hogwarts on a ley line intersection.

Ley lines are a simple key to magic. It doesn’t take an idiot with a hat to figure out that a certain area just so happens to be more magical than another. In fact, objects that are on or near ley lines tend to soak up the magic until it becomes something unexplainable. That is how, over the last few thousand years, that Hogwarts started to become a sentient being. Of course, not quite as intelligent as a castle ought to be, Hogwarts was a living breathing being. She had her own magic. It spread across the school grounds, across the forest, and deep into the lake. The intersection was a powerful place. There were only a few true magical ley lines across the entire world. (Disney Land is one of them. A magical place indeed.) And Hogwarts was enriched with powerful magic that enveloped all of the area surrounding it.

However, we are getting a little off topic here.)

That hat went through a lot of trials. Years and years, from its beginning enchantment to where it ended up on Harriet’s head, it saw a lot. It saw the rise and fall of fifteen dark lords, through several instances where it had been sat upon, and peered through what felt like a billion children's minds. It saw the inside of Nicholas Flamel’s head. It saw Merlin and sorted the prat after a good half hour arguing with him as to why he couldn’t just make a new house up. All the big names, all of the small ones that were lost in time, it sat upon the heads of many. And like the many older objects on Hogwarts grounds, it began to form a bit of a personality.

The Hat, as it didn’t have a name, found himself liking certain things. And disliking many others. For instance, he despised having to sit in the Headmasters Office on a shelf for an entire year. The only thing vaguely entertaining was watching the portraits of past headmasters start to argue. Which was nice and all, until the Hat remembered that he had seen some of these men do rather odd and dubious things in their offices. Then it was a little revolting. He disliked the smell of lemons, which seemed to be the bane of his existence when Albus Dumbledore loved lemon drops. And for a long time, it also didn’t like dust. Dust was rather annoying when you had to speak and suddenly felt a sneeze coming on. Nowadays, he has started a small competition in its mind to see how much dust it could gather over time. The record was a solid inch and a half.

However, on the flip side, the Hat loved doing his job. It was wonderful. Children’s minds were so open, so pure. And innocent. Occasionally he would find a poor child who wasn’t so open and nice. Those kids had seen what horrors that life could bring. And for a very long time, it was also the Hat’s job to inform the headmaster of which child needed to be moved to a different family. Or to a distant relatives home.

Those days ended when Albus Dumbledore entered the picture.

The Hat could easily say that he did not like this particular headmaster. He was lousy at his job. There used to be the halls bursting with children and classes every fifteen minutes. Now there were limited courses and biased teachers everywhere. Gone were the days of opening encouraging children to do their best. Everything felt stagnant here. Hell, there was a curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher that Albus had yet to get rid of. The Hat did not like how Hogwarts had fallen. But the castle was sleeping. And until Albus died, the Hat could do very little in the ways of the castle.

But it changed, just a touch when the Hat sat on Harriet Potter-Black’s head. Looking into her mind was awful. But such a treat. There wasn’t very much time for him to speak with the young child. Looking through her head, he could easily see the enchantments pulling at her, the manipulations that were already pushing her to do Albus’ plan. And the hat very well couldn’t do that, now could he?

Gryffindor was out. That much was certain. And it wasn’t very difficult to discard that plan, Harriet clearly wasn’t suited much for the hero business. The Hat did feel a bit sorry that she wasn’t going to be in the favorite house, the most easily biased and stubborn headed house in Hogwarts. If she had gone there, she would have been treated easily. Anything she did would have been overlooked. The punishments wouldn’t have been as harsh.

However, the Hat could figure out that it would be better if she had a little bit more struggle in her life. Looking into her past, he could see every time that she had overcome her strife. Her passion to do well and to achieve her goals was admirable. Especially for an eleven-year-old child. The things that she had to do was awful. The Hat wished he could speak about the abuse and terror this child had dealt with. If she had been placed in the Magical Community, Harriet would have been treated as a prodigy.

And so the Hat offered her two options. Ravenclaw, where she could learn and be pushed to be the most knowledgeable. Or Slytherin, where her ambitions would pull her into being the youngest certified potioneer in history.

But instead, the Hat was pleasantly surprised to find himself considering the final option. The conversation between the two of them was too long to fully speak to her about it. And the Hat knew he was going to be quizzed on it later by the Headmaster. But the answer to the question he asked was the most honest one that Harriet had said. It pushed past the compulsions placed on her, past the desires to be more like her parents, until Harriet herself had shone through.

And so without further adieu, the hat promptly placed a snake with a pack of innocent lambs. Yes, the Hat knew exactly what was going to happen with this. Harriet was a strong girl. She would only allow so much pain to happen before she began to fight back. It would be a difficult life for her since she was going up against a clever old man with a reputation too big for his head. But the Hat figured that it would be a turn of brilliance to put her where nobody would look twice.

The Hat sighed and remembered fondly back where Hufflepuff was once known to be a bloodthirsty group. Honestly, Helga was a nightmare to go up against. Harriet reminded him of her. The woman of a time gone past who was oh, so clever, and knew a potion or two that would straighten anybody up. Sometimes Hegla had more courage than Godric. When it came to Salazar having a tantrum she was the first to straighten the bastard up.

And so when the Hat was placed back on his shelf for another year, he wondered what the repercussions of his choice were. What kind of impacts Harriet Potter-Black would have. And most importantly hoped he could have a front seat row to the show.)


 

(The Entity and General Narrator rubbed their eyes. Then blinked at the screen, their eyes hurt because of the bright light. But thankfully they only had a few more minutes to the end of their shift. Their hands came up, pressing up against their eyes and took in a deep breath. It had been a nightmare day. And they just wanted to go home.

Who knew that blenders could cause that much chaos when it was put into a sink full of hot lava? The Entity could feel a section of their hair was still brittle and slightly singed still. The faint smell of electricity and burnt plastic filled the air. Somebody had tried to frebreze the smell, but the strong smell of oranges and ectoplasm did little to cover up the stench. It only added to the Entities headache.

When they finally looked back up, it was finally time to go home. Mumbling thanks to forgotten gods in languages unknown, the Entity quickly shut their computer down and grabbed their bag. Flicking off the light, the Entity left their desk. It was the middle of the night, the third one in a row, and so there weren’t many other coworkers around.

The clock ticked on. Time did it’s funky thing where it went three seconds forwards and two backward and then four seconds sideways. But it made sense to the various creatures that ran in the offices. An office plant curled around a stapler and stole it, tucking it underneath its piles of leaves. Perhaps a mysterious slime oozed out of a drawer that was labeled ‘Old Supervisors.’ A janitor lazily came by at one point and mopped it up, unhearing to the moans the slime gave off as the janitor had a pair of headphones in.

The office was still. Whatever entities were left have long since left the area to go home. It was quiet and peaceful. A rare thing to see in the Harry Potter department.

But it wasn’t going to last.

A woman stepped from behind a curtain. Why there was certain in an office without any windows, the woman couldn’t tell you. However, it is to note that this woman was an unusual being that had ever graced these halls. She wasn’t a harpy, sphinx, or demonic monster that consumed the souls of the innocents. She didn’t have four eyes, horns, or sixteen fingers. She wasn’t a shadow or a ghost from another realm. No, the woman was an ordinary, regular human. And that in of itself was rather odd.

She had a plain face, one that didn’t speak of beauty. Her age outlined her cheekbones and the darkness that laid in her eyes spoke of her history. To some people, they would have said she was perhaps a normal woman who was in dire need of some sleep. They were right. The woman did need a nap. However, she had other important things to do.

Clad in all black leather, the woman stretched. “Ugh, I would have thought the blender explosion would have made them leave faster.” She mumbled to herself. Her voice was deep and gravely as if she had a sore throat that was still healing. And then she began to walk through the dark office. She moved with an otherworldly grace that spoke differently of her race. It was eerie to see. The woman stepped through the various desks until she came to one. The table itself was plain and it blended in with the others. However, it was the woman goal the entire time. Not the desk itself, but the laptop shut on top of it.

She smoothly sat in the chair and opened the computer. Her black leather gloves sliding against the metal laptop with a soft seductive sound. The computer booted up without a pause, as the woman stared at the screen. She sat unmovingly. For a living human, it looked like she didn’t breath. Then the screen flicked to a password screen seamlessly.

The woman pursed her lips. “If I was an entity that ruled over a million universes in a corporate job, what would my password for my computer be?” Her eyes scanned over the desk, but it was barren. The woman even looked underneath the laptop to see if anything was underneath. But there was no sign. She sighed. “What would any entity have as a password?” She glanced around, but besides a few potted plants that had tried to eat her earlier, the office didn’t have much in decoration.

Then an idea appeared and it came with a memory. And the woman didn’t hesitate as she typed in damnthatdinosaur123. The page paused for a moment, and then it switched to the desktop screen. The woman had the irrational urge to say, “I’m in.” But she held it in. Instead, she let out a relieving sigh and whispered, “thank you, Luna. You saved my arse again.”

The woman clicked on a file and pulled open the folder. She was able to quickly find the one file that she wanted. It wasn’t that hard, the folders were neatly organized and easy to comprehend. Harriet P-B, Hufflepuff, Prankster (Uni-4,325,243). Opening it up, the woman found the code of the universe at her fingertips. And smiled. Not a friendly, good, nice smile. But one that spoke of a terrible, no good, horrible, awful idea. The woman only had to make one small, itsy bitsy change. Nobody would notice it. Especially the Entity. They had millions of universes to look over, none of them would notice a few extra lines in the code. At least, until it was far too late. She tucked a lock of unruly red hair behind her ear and began to type.

The Master of Death had a job to do.)


 

end of arc one.

Chapter Text

[Do you ever want to communicate with the pretty girl in class, but can’t because it’s “disruptive” and “annoying, Mr. Potter?” Do you want to share a note between your mates when you are taking a test? Do you want to steal a Ravenclaw’s homework, and unsure how to do it? Well, do I have a charm for you! The one, the only, Paper-Transfer charm! A little something I found in the library when I was serving detention there. Believe it or not, I didn’t make this one. I don’t make charms. I prefer transfiguration, thank you very much. But this spell has so much unlimited potential! It’s mostly used for librarians to copy a damaged book into a new book. In fact, after testing it out, anything you write between the two novels is transferred to the other! Or in this case, between two parchments. It’s absolutely perfect for sneaking notes around. After all, a teacher wouldn’t suspect it. Not in the slightest!

Hold your wand with your dominant hand. Point it at the object that you want to transfer and flick it fast between the other one. While you are doing so, say the words, “ chartam exemplum.” Pronounced: Chart-um, Ex-em-pul-m. It’s quick and easy. It’s not a hard spell at all! Now go sneak some notes around with your professors none-the-wiser.

-Prongs (written by Moony because he is the most perfect, handsome, and wonderful friend that any Marauder could ever have. And because he can write whatever he wants to right here and nobody can stop him. Haha, beat that Padfoot.)

(There is a half-written word that was illegible and hastily scribbled out. Next to it is a frowny face, with very big angry eyebrows. There is also a very badly drawn hand with its middle finger pointed upwards.)

-Excerpt from the Marauders Componium]


 

Mud slipped down the side of Harriet’s face, thick drops of it falling and hitting the floor in a splatter. The thick mixture was cold and slippery. It was the first thing that came to Harriet’s mind as the shock and surprise left her. Her mind didn’t compute for a few solid seconds. But now time began to resume. And Harriet had cold mud dripping from her hair as the boys laughed around her.

All except Neville.

Harriet didn’t move to wipe away any of the mud from her face. Instead, she opened her eyes, unafraid of the mud getting in them, and stared down at the boys. Their neckties spoke of their association of Gryffindor.

‘I can’t believe I wanted to get into that house.’ Harriet thought, the anger that sparked and flared inside of her kept her calm. It was like the rage of their amusement of her eased her nerves and kept her face still. They wanted her to react. They wanted her to cry. But staring at the boys, the three of them who were still laughing, the fourth looking miserable and uncomfortable, Harriet memorized their faces. There was one that Harriet didn’t want to forget. The greasy carrot red hair and the freckles that dotted his skin.

Harriet hated every inch of Ronald Weasley, and she wanted to remember this moment. The exact moment when he decided that she was an easy target to mess with.

“Look-” Weasley spoke between guffawing, “the idiot doesn’t even know how to react. She’s so stupid she can’t even cry!”

“Ron.” Neville finally spoke. There was no trace of humor in his voice whatsoever. “Shut up.”

“Aww, Neville. You’re just being a wimp.” Said one of the other boys. He had blonde hair and his tie was undone. “You have to relax. This is just a prank.”

“No, it isn’t. Shut up, Seamus. You too, Dean. This isn’t funny.” Neville spoke. He turned to his companions. “This isn’t funny.” He repeated.

“Of course it is.” Weasely spoke. He swaggered up to Harriet’s still form, coming uncomfortably close to her. “See? It’s all fun and games. Right?” He grasped Harriet’s sleeve and pulled. “She’s just too stupid to-”

It set Harriet into motion. Her wand might not work. Her magic might be wonky. But Harriet was never afraid to use her fists. The red-hot anger surged higher than Harriet had ever felt, and it felt like her movement wasn’t her own. Her vision was spotty, her heart thundered in her ears. And it happened too quickly for her to remember it clearly later. All Harriet knew was that she tugged herself out of Ronald’s grasp and her fist flew out.

The audible crunch and the feeling of bone moving where her hand connected to Ronald's face distracted Harriet from feeling her thumb break.


 

(-Oh my. We are so sorry. Our network has gone down for a brief eon or so. It seems like some of our files have been mixed up. Our apologies, it seems like this particular chapter is seemingly out of order. We are trying to fix this particular mistake. But the Universal I.T. Department hasn’t been of much help so far. Please hold while we turning the universes on and off again.

Thank you.)


 

Harriet sat down next to the other girls in transfiguration. There was a cat on the table, and Harriet wondered if cats could tell if a human experimented on another cat. Because it was giving everybody in the classroom a very unimpressed look.

“I’ve heard that Professor McGonagall is a hard teacher. To everybody except the Gryffs.” Susan spoke to Hannah.

“My dad taught me some techniques to help me,” Hannah whispered back. “He said this was the hardest class in the school.”

Harriet stared at the cat. She had caught it’s attention. The feline was staring back at her. An unofficial game of a staring contest had started and neither of them blinked. Harriet cocked her head to the side. The cat felt familiar somehow. Was it because she lived next to somebody who had a lot of cats? Miss Figg had billions of them. Harriet wondered if there was a different type of cats, a magical kind that only witches and wizards used. Miss Figgs cats avoided Harriet, but only if Harriet had a potion on her. No matter how much Harriet had hidden the vials, the cats always knew. Which made her suspect if they had more magical abilities than normal cats.

‘I’m going to experiment on you .” Harriet thought to the cat. The cat didn’t seem to notice her dangerous thoughts. It stared at her with it’s yellow eyes. Intelligent, yes. Capable of hearing Harriet’s thoughts? No. Hmm. Maybe the cats could have smelled the potion on her?  

“-arriet? Are you listening?”

Harriet blinked, her eyes stinging from being open too long. She jerked her head to the side, meeting Susan’s gaze. “I’ve been talking to you for a few minutes,” Susan said. “Are you okay?”

A boy behind them, Justin, snorted loudly. A fellow Hufflepuff who talked loudly with the other boys. Harriet had him pegged as what Dudley would call the ‘wannabe class clown.’ He was loud and outrageous. But he made the other boys laugh at his jokes, so he continued on his crusade of trying to be funny. He coughed loudly, a word mixed in the noise to disguise it. “Dumb.” He coughed loudly twice more.

A boy, Ernie, laughed. Zacharias Smith joined in.


 

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Error. Please try again.)


 

‘Hullo. I’m Neville.’

A note was slid to Harriet. It was hot in the greenhouses. The air was thick with moisture and smelled of growing things. The class was in a separate room from the greenhouses themselves, but Harriet had already grown uncomfortably hot. Having a shirt, plus the robes on, plus the tie was a little too much. Harriet wished she could shuck the robe off, at least. But nobody else did so, and she was too embarrassed to be the first one to take her clothes off. And so Harriet resigned herself to suffer through the hot class. It was only their second herbology class, and they had yet to do anything with plants. But it was important to Harriet that she learn the basics first.

That was one thing that Harriet never understood. The Ravenclaws complain all the time that classes were going too slow. They wanted to get past the theory part and to get into the magic, but in charms class, they were still on the third chapter of their book.

Harriet disagreed with them. Although she’d never do it out loud. It was already hard when a teacher called on her to answer a question, but to tell the Ravenclaws that they were wrong? Harriet couldn’t handle it. But personally, she knew how difficult it was to master something if she didn’t know the basics of it. Learning potions was hard without knowing the proper cuts and techniques. Many books referenced types of preparations done to ingredients and never went into depth. That meant Harriet had spent weeks, if not a month, trying to figure out how to properly dry leaves.

If you didn’t know the basics, it was extremely hard to know the rest. And so Harriet took to the theory like a duck to water. It was so easy to understand if you read the book. The books spelled things out so easily to her. Well, with the exception of the potions book. It was simple, idiotic, and a waste of paper. That was Harriet’s firm opinion on Jigger’s potion book. Nothing could make her change her mind.

Professor Sprout was in front of the classroom. A cheerful woman, Harriet had figured out fairly quickly. She was round. Not like Dudley and Uncle Vernon round, but more of a plump perky way. If that made any sense. Her face was round, hell, her hair had curls in it. Harriet had met her on her first night here, the pump woman welcoming each and every student into Hufflepuff. She was in charge of them. If Harriet had never seen a witch before in her life, Harriet would have pictured somebody like Professor Sprout. She was kind, and always ready to point the students in the right direction. Even if that direction is towards the kitchens. Harriet wasn’t quite sure if she liked the woman yet. But she seemed kind, and she had yet to single Harriet out. Overall, Professor Sprout was decent. And so, it was with great difficulty to look down at the note that was slid over to her.

Harriet glanced down at the note. She curled her fingers and bit her lip awkwardly. How should she respond? It was class. It probably wasn’t time for notes. But… it was her first note. She vividly recalled in primary school the notes that were passed around when the teacher wasn’t looking. The giggles of the girls and the boys snickering when they read what their friends wrote. Harriet had seen girls draw pictures or boys writing dumb notes. Sometimes, they were making fun of her. Other times, they wanted to talk but couldn’t because it was class time. However, Neville didn’t seem to be making fun of her. Unless it was a trick. But Harriet was trying to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. Passing notes was a good sign, right? Because notes were a thing that friends did? Did that mean that Neville wanted to be her friend?

She glanced up and stared at the boy sitting next to her from behind her veil of hair. He didn’t look as disheveled as the other Gryffindor boys. Neville had brown hair that was neatly cut, and a light sprinkle of freckles over his round face. Harriet had been placed on the edge of the group of Hufflepuffs, next to the Gryffindors, since there wasn’t a lot of room in the small classroom. The Gryffindors all were loud and Harriet cringed a bit being near them. But Neville didn’t seem as crazy or energetic as the other boys next to him. Harriet tried to see if there was any sign that this was some sort of prank, carefully analyzing Neville’s movements and then looking back down at the note again. Jokes had been played on her by Dudley and his group of minions, pretending to be nice so that they could lure her into the playground to beat her up. But there wasn’t a sign of maliciousness that Harriet could perceive. He turned and caught her eye, giving her a soft smile.

Neville seemed nice. And so Harriet pulled out her pen and scribbled her response. She’d give him a chance.

‘My name is Harriet. It’s nice to meet you.’


 

Harriet walked into the main hall after her second transfiguration class and grimaced. It was only Tuesday, her third day here. And Harriet could easily say that she didn’t like the great hall the most. The noise in here echoed. It was so loud that Harriet wanted to cover her ears every time she walked in there. It was mostly the red house, the Gryffindors, who made the most noise. Hufflepuff, admittedly, was in second place. Harriet chose to ignore the fact that Hufflepuff was also loud. Ravenclaw and Slytherin were modest in their noise levels, and half the time Harriet almost wished she was in those houses. They weren’t quite as open as Gryiffindor or as boisterous as Hufflepuff. But the great hall always echoed the noise and it made it worse, so much so that Harriet never wanted to be there. Most of the time, she came in, ate until she felt like she was going to throw up, and then left. But lately, she had been staying to hang out with Susan and Hannah. It was a small sacrifice, but worth it because Harriet liked being around the other girls.

It was lunchtime. And Harriet wasn’t hungry. She sat next to Hannah, who was talking with Susan. “I got my match pointy. And silvery. I think by next weeks class I’ll be able to make it a needle.”

“I got the tip of it a little sharp. But not as good as yours.” Susan spoke. She grabbed a few slices of bread and began to make a sandwich. “I hope to get it done by next week. But I don’t think it’s really working for me. Transfiguration is really hard.”

Harriet agreed. Transfiguration was extremely hard. She had dedicated more time to studying the book that they had been given. But no matter how much she poured over the reading or paid attention in class, Harriet was struggling. Badly. Transfiguration was quickly becoming her least favourite class. She understood the basics, yeah. Turn something into another thing. But no matter how much she waved her wand, nothing would happen. She poked at her match, whispered to it gently, pleadingly. Stared down at it angrily, channeling all of her energy into making the match turn into a needle. And nothing was working. It was exhausting, to constantly repeat the spell over, and over, and over again without anything working. Harriet almost wanted to cry, but she kept her chin up. She was probably not getting something. She’d learn it, soon enough.

“Yeah.” Hannah agreed. “I’m a little jealous by the ‘Claws for getting it so quickly. But they study too much.”

Harriet listened into the conversation. Occasionally nodding or shaking her head whenever she was asked a question. Things were still awkward between Hannah and Susan, but the two girls hadn’t complained or told her to get lost so far. So Harriet stayed with them. They knew this world so much more than Harriet did. And the more Harriet hung around them, the more she could learn about the wizarding world. Harriet poked a few grapes on her plate, only able to eat a few before they turned too sour in her mouth. Harriet had gorged herself the night before with potatoes and roast beef and had spent a majority of the night feeling sick. Her body wasn’t used to the sudden influx of food. And Harriet would have never thought that she’d get sick from eating too much food. But the world has a way of surprising her. Breakfast that morning had revolted her entirely, and lunch was still unappetizing. Perhaps by dinner, Harriet’s appetite would be back.

“-are you ready for our first potions class?” Susan asked, and Harriet looked up to see Susan staring at her.

Harriet nodded. She was, actually. It was the one thing that kept her really going all day. Exhausted and frustrated, Harriet wanted to go to bed to sleep off everything. She was sure that if she asked Professor Sprout she’d be excused. But potions was her dream. Her passion. And there as no way that she wasn’t going to the first potions class. It was what made this day worth it so far. She was just going to have an hour class in potions. And then tomorrow would be even better. A three-hour potions class, and then astrology during the night-time afterward. Harriet had been looking forward to the weekend ever since she had been handed her schedule.

“I’ve heard from the Gryffindor first years that potions class is really hard,” Hannah said.

“Really?” Susan asked, “I’ve heard from Daphne Greengrass that it was really easy. She said she liked the class.”

“Well, she’s a snake.” Hannah shrugged. “I’ve heard Professor Snape is the head of Slytherin’s house. I think he plays favorites.”

“That won’t be an issue in our class then.” Susan replied, “we’re paired up with the ‘Claws. I think they are more annoying than us. They ask way too many questions and their hands are always in the air.”

“Ugh, did you see Lisa Turpin in Charms? She kept on asking question after question.” Hannah said, rolling her eyes. “Professor Flitwick didn’t care. But he’s their head of the house. He probably told them not to be afraid of asking too many questions. Even if they were pointless.”

“I’m glad I’m not in Ravenclaw.” Susan agreed. “That would be the absolute worst.”

Harriet watched the conversation with curiosity. She almost got into Ravenclaw. But Harriet rather liked Hufflepuff, even though she liked Gryffindor a touch better. And then glanced down at the grapes still on her plate. She poked them with her fork. Hoping that one day, she’d actually get to class. To be able to do anything with potions right now would be really nice. It was relaxing to do it. To watch over a potion until all the steps were complete was so comfortable. In fact, it had been a while since Harriet had been able to even touch a cauldron or even a pot. Aunt Petunia kept a sharp eye on her ever since Hagrid came, and the one-time Harriet had snuck out of her room to try and make a potion Aunt Petunia had caught her. Her aunt was too afraid to smack her around but instead had simply installed more locks and a cat-flap to the door. Thankfully, it had only been two weeks before Harriet had to leave, instead of the full month. It gave Harriet plenty of time to go through her school supplies and to pick up a few textbooks. And to hang out with her new friend Hedwig.

Harriet was practically itching to make a potion. With her new ingredients, the magical kind, and the addition of Hedwig, Harriet craved to make something new. She had written page after page in her potions book over the ideas and wants that she desired to make. There were dozens of tests Harriet wanted to try out with Hedwig's slime. She had already tested it out on herself when she was bored and waiting for Hogwarts to come.

Harriet wasn’t quite sure what happened. But she was confident enough that the hallucinations didn’t harm her out so much as relax her and nearly put her to sleep. (It is to be said that Harriet didn’t try it out on herself after that. She dreamed a dinosaur was going to eat her. It was so vivid that Harriet scared herself so badly that she didn’t sleep for two days.)

“-I think we should head out,” Susan said, grabbing her bag. Hannah was quick to grab hers as well, and Harriet followed them. “I’ve heard it’s hard to find the classroom in the dungeons.”

The two girls were faster to leave than Harriet. And as usual, Harriet trailed after them. Mary, the Hufflepuff Prefect was guiding them. Susan and Hannah giggled and laughed, but Harriet was taking mental notes on where to go. Turn left at the statue, go down the stairs, and turn at the hallway where the painting of the knight is. It was the opposite direction of where the Hufflepuff dorms were, Harriet figured out. And then Mary pointed at a door.

“Good luck girls. Just remember to keep your chin up and follow the professor’s instructions, alright? Potions are pretty dangerous if you don’t follow his example.” Mary said. Harriet was excited. Really, really excited. Energy buzzed inside of her, and she couldn’t stop fidgeting. She followed Susan and Hannah into the classroom. They weren’t the first ones there, more than half of the Ravenclaws were there. All of them were looking at the potions book. They probably won’t learn anything good in that book, Harriet surmised. It really was just trash.

The potions room was lined with stone. It was darker than what Harriet expected, but she felt sure it was because of a good reason. The only thing that came to mind was that perhaps potions were light sensitive? The room smelt fresh. The lingering traces of sage and another smell that Harriet couldn’t place were faintly there. Sage was a common ingredient to clean and prevent contamination. A familiar smell. But to Harriet, she was glad that there was ventilation. Desks sat row by row on different levels, so that each student could see the board. A chalkboard sat next to a large imposing desk at the front of the class. That was where the teacher watched over them. A group of the Hufflepuff boys had claimed one side of the classroom, and the girls went over to join them.

Harriet sat at the end table. Hannah was next to her, and Susan on Hannah’s other side. It looked like they were paired up in groups with whoever sat at the same desk. That meant Hannah was Harriet’s partner! Harriet was almost giddy by that revelation. Just imagining Hannah’s face when Harriet made the perfect potion and getting a perfect score. After today, everybody would want to be Harriet’s partner in potions because she was so good at them! She wasn’t bragging, not at all. It was a simple fact. Harriet knew that she was really good at potions.

Harriet began to pull out her potion items and organize them on the desk. Hannah had already brought out her cauldron, so Harriet decided that they could use her ingredients. After all, it wasn’t like they needed two cauldrons for this. Harriet left the potions book in her bag. She had imagined going up to the professor after class and showing him her notes. And telling him what utter garbage this book was, and that he ought to look at better ones for his students. She knew most of the potion recipes by heart, and how to fix them and make them better. So having the book out would be a waste of space on the already cramped desk.

After neatly organizing her space, Harriet sat her wand on top of her desk and waited for class to start. Her legs kicking out and swinging in the air as she waited impatiently. She wanted the class to begin already! She’s waited years for this moment. Think of all the things that she hadn’t learned yet- and could learn in this class. Maybe she would be able to figure out how to combine willow leaves and silk without it exploding. She couldn’t understand why for the life of her they didn’t fit together. Willow leaves were a coolant in the recipe and silk was suppose to stabilize it. (Harriet adverted her eyes when she remembered how she got the silk in the first place. Aunt Petunia will never find that scarf ever again.)

“You will put your wands away. You will not need them in this class.” A man spoke in a low drawling voice suddenly. Harriet jumped in fright. She hadn’t seen the tall man enter the room. Which was saying something because the more she looked at the professor, the more eye-catching he was. Wearing all black and his robes billowed out like a cape. Well, it would be hard not to notice him. He had been so quiet coming in that Harriet hadn’t seen him. “Potions is an art form…” he began to speak, a well-rehearsed speech. He spoke about stopping death, bottling fame, and Harriet couldn’t help but agree with him. There were no limits when it came to potions, and Harriet wanted to do it all.

Harriet saw him glance at her. And then down, a sneer appearing on his face. She glanced down and saw that her wand was still out. Oops. She snatched it and hid it underneath the desk. She hadn’t followed his instructions.

From the sleeve of his robe, he pulled out a parchment. He held one side and let it drop, the paper snapping taut with a crack. “Abbot, Hannah.” He spoke in a slow dripping voice. Hannah raised her hand, and he glanced over and then back at the paper. “Bones, Susan.”

Harriet used this time to really look at her professor. He was… well. Aunt Petunia would call him a disaster. Or a homeless man. Or a piece of society trash. Or a… well. Harriet wasn’t one to judge. She herself wasn’t the greatest at combing her hair. Or washing it. It was so thick and wavy that it was a pain to try and detangle some of the knots. If it wasn’t for the fact that Aunt Petunia threatened to pour boiling water over her to make Harriet look clean, Harriet would never shower. Not that Aunt Petunia would ever let her use the bathroom. Harriet had to use the hose outside.

Harriet was a little glad that the professor didn’t look as perfect as the others. It made him feel more human. And there was a little part of her was happy that there was some sort of connection. Perhaps potioneers didn’t keep themselves clean a lot? Was it natural? Considering Harriet’s hatred for showers, it might be part of the job.

He went down the list, calling out each person’s name one right after the other. Then he reached to Harriet’s. “Potter, Harriet.”

Harriet raised her hand but saw that he was looking at her already. There was some sort of unreadable look on his face. His face was well guarded, but Harriet could sense something underneath. Something that Harriet couldn’t quite understand. But then the moment was over, and he was looking back at the list.

Harriet blinked. Looked around to see if anybody caught that, and saw that nobody seemed to be as confused as she was. Maybe she had been reading into things. But still, something wasn’t quite right here.

“Potions is not typical magic. It requires a steady hand, patience, and most of all, intelligence. If you don’t have those requirements, then you will do poorly in the course. All of you will turn to chapter three of your textbook.” Professor Snape drawled. “You will complete the potion within time. Instructions are on the board.”

Harriet blinked.

Okay.

This was probably, you know, a test of some sort. Harriet glanced over at Hannah who was flipping through her book. Harriet peeped at the rest of the room. The Ravenclaws were already starting their potions, a few of them crushing iuglandis shells (which easily translated to walnut shells in Harriet’s head). The boy-Hufflepuffs, of whom Harriet never talked to, were staring up at the chalkboard. Harriet followed their gaze, looking at a simple six-ingredient recipe. It was in the book, but Harriet had remembered writing all over the page. The potion itself wasn’t very powerful, the results weren’t anything special. It was dumb and rather boring if Harriet recalled correctly. It was supposed to fertilize plants. But in reality, Harriet knew that if she just used manure it would be better than using this potion. It was too weak to do much good.

It was a… simple potion. Harriet figured that it was decent to start small. But- why didn’t-

“You can stir it, and I’ll do the cutting, yeah?” Hannah spoke, breaking Harriet out of her thoughts. Harriet glanced at her, and then at the pot. Then nodded. Harriet watched with curious eyes as Hannah brought out the ingredients from Harriet’s own stash. Well, it wasn’t much of a stash really.

Harriet looked over at the board, then down at Hannah’s book, noting the recipe. They added the iuglandis shells first. Walnuts were good for growth. If put into a potion with a high enough dosage, they could make a grown man shoot up a few inches. But- looking at the directions, it didn’t look like they were being put to much use. They added 14 ounces of water with the shells. It didn’t apply much heat to the walnut shells, and they would hardly excrete any oils that were needed in this potion.

Without much more thought, Harriet prodded the burner runes with her wand, causing it to turn on. It was simply logical to her. If you just let the walnut shells sweat a bit, perhaps maybe thirty or so seconds, then the usefulness of this potion could be amplified. But first, the cauldron had to warm up a bit.

Harriet watched Hannah curiously. She had her book propped up, and her eyes flickered up to read over and over again what she ought to do. Harriet didn’t think much of it, some people either forgot easily or needed reassurance. Harriet could remember reading the same passages over and over again to make sure that she was right when she first started. However, that wasn’t what Harriet was looking at. No, she was looking at what Hannah was doing with the knife.

It was the same knife that Harriet owned. Silver, a touch dull, and utterly useless when making sharp cuts. Harriet had tried to use it once, just to cut some dried apple leaves. However, it tore rather than cut it, so Harriet figured that it was junk like the rest of the kit. Instead, she used one of Aunt Petunia’s prized silver butter knives that Harriet had knicked years ago. To make it sharp enough for Harriet’s taste, she had also stolen Uncle Vernon’s whetstone he had in the garage and took a few days with the butter knife to sharpen it to a point. Silver was an easy metal to shape if you had unlimited hours locked in a cupboard and bored to death. Sure, she cut herself a few times on accident. But it was worth it.

Harriet watched as Hannah crushed the walnut shells with the flat side of her blade. Harriet almost grimaced- Hannah barely cracked the shells open. But Hannah pushed them to the side and pulled over the porcupine needles before Harriet could even formulate words to say. Harriet watched blankly, as Hannah grasped the porcupine needles and began to chop at them.

Wait-

Harriet’s eyes flicked over to the open book. It said to slice the porcupine needles, not to chop them into bits. She opened her mouth, words halting at the tip of her tongue. They were stuck in her mouth, unwilling to come out. But Harriet should warn her not to cut them like that. She should. But it was so difficult to speak. However, Harriet wasn’t surprised by this. This was what she had been watching for.

Why didn’t Professor Snape tell the class how to properly cut things? That was one of the first few things that Harriet had learned how to do. It was important to follow a potions recipe word by word. Each one meant something different. And if you didn’t follow it, you weren’t going to get the outcome that you wanted. Was this some sort of test? Was he showing them how to not make a potion first? And then how to properly prepare the ingredients and how to add them to a potion safely.

It was wise to show what could happen. But Harriet could recall how her first potion had melted on the stove, the pot included. And the resulting rash that didn’t go away for months on her arms after she mopped it up with her own clothes.

It was smart to teach kids the dangers of potions. But it was dumb too. Because it was equally too dangerous not to warn them.

Harriet opened her mouth once more. “Maybe-” She spoke softly, reaching out to stop Hannah from destroying the porcupine needles. However, a shadow fell on her.

“Miss,” a deep voice hissed, prolonging the ‘s’ noise. “Potter,” the sharp ‘tsk’ snapping the ‘t’ in her last name, creating a sharp sound that cracked like a whip. “What do you think you are doing?”

Whatever ambient noise in the room instantly died. Small children dropped whatever they were doing and were looking over. Their eyes were curious and dreading. The weight of them fell onto Harriet’s shoulders. As for Harriet, there was something about that sound. Perhaps it was the way that he had said it. Miss Potter. Or maybe it was the disdain in his voice. It echoed like Aunt Petunia’s but somehow, this time, it was terrifying. It wasn’t at all annoying or frustrating like Petunia’s indifference to her niece. But Professor Snape’s low drawl from high above her sent waves of panic through Harriet’s head.

Harriet glanced up, retracting her arm slowly from where it was reached out to curl around her body. He was so tall, was the one strange thing that she noted. When her eyes met his dark brown eyes, he tilted his head to the side. “Well? What do you think you are doing?” He asked once more.

Harriet swallowed heavily. Her mouth suddenly dry. “I-I don’t know-” what you’re talking about. She was going to say but was interrupted before she finished.

“I can see that.” His tone was flat and unamusing. With a quick swish of his wand, he jabbed it at the rune underneath the cauldron. It clicked off. The noise deafening in the silent classroom. “Tell me, Miss Potter,” her name still sounds like a cracking whip when it leaked from his mouth, “where is your potions book?”

“Potions book?” Harriet whispered, staring up at him with wide eyes. Her brain wasn’t following along.

“Yes.” He leaned down closer to her. “The assigned book. It was written on your list. I don’t suppose you know where your copy of it is?” His voice turned sickeningly sweet as he came closer to her.

Harriet’s face flushed. Shock was her first emotion. Then embarrassment and shame set in soon after. “I-I,” was all that she could stammer out before Professor Snape moved. In one quick motion, he stepped back and regained his full height. He turned, his robes fanning out behind him.

“If you do not come to class prepared, then you are not suited to be here. Potions is not a class for dunderheads to come in and horse around. This is a dangerous class. More often than not, you will be injured if you do not follow the precise instructions.” Snape stopped in front of the classroom and sharply turned towards the students. “Will somebody please tell me why, exactly?”

Silence in the classroom. Nobody wanted to move. Harriet held her breath. Frozen. She stared at the wall, unable to will herself to look at the Professor. Something was going on here. Something was happening, but she couldn’t place it exactly. But it felt familiar.

Finally, a Ravenclaw raised their hand. “Miss Turpin,” Snape called.

“Your potion could explode?” The little mousy blond girl hesitantly spoke.

“It can do much more than that,” Snape spoke. “It can burn, implode, poison, cut, destroy, become acid, turn itself into fire, become hard as a rock, turn itself a boiling vapor that could melt your skin off, and can turn anything it touches into a smoldering patch of ashes. And those are only a few things that I can think of right off the top of my head.” He paused, looking over the classroom full of eleven-year-olds. “I do not tolerate anybody who does not follow the instructions.”

Harriet finally looked over at the Professor. He was staring over the crowd of small children. Then their eyes met, as he spoke his next words. “And I especially do not tolerate idiots who forget their potions book.”

It suddenly became clear. What was happening was an attack. Harriet was being attacked. And she didn’t know why.

This was the first clue that potions class might not be what she hoped it to be.


 

(Error with disk drive:e. Please reset, or call maintenance. If this message appears more than once, please place the computer in a compartment that can withstand up to three nuclear bombs. It might explode.)


 

Harriet felt almost dizzy with happiness.

Finally, somebody to connect with. Somebody who understood her. And Neville was smart too! The one area that Harriet felt like she was an expert in was the various plants and magical ingredients. And he liked plants too! Hannah and Susan didn’t talk about it. And they didn’t have a lot of patience when Harriet stammered out her words. But being able to communicate- to write words down and have a conversation without the pressure of having to speak- was so freeing. A weight that had been pressing down had released, and Harriet felt lighter than air.

‘What do you think of dragons bane? I find that it is useful in keeping the wormwood free of pests like the bowtruckles that would get into my granny’s greenhouse. The heat of the dragons bane kept the area free of them.’ Neville wrote.

Any pretense of listening to the class had been given up hours ago. Professor Sprout hadn’t noticed or cared to interrupt them. She happily spoke in front of the classroom, bringing in big pots of dirt and showing them how to transplant different plants that they would be working with throughout the year. Harriet was keeping herself busy looking, but in reality, the written conversation took up all of her attention.

‘Dragons bane has so many uses. However, I would say that a lot of plants can’t handle having dragons bane near them for a long amount of time because the more dragons bane grows the hotter the area around it will be. Wormwood is good to use because it hardens over time until it’s a piece of wood. Heat won’t affect it all that much. However, if you’re trying to keep bowtruckles away from other plants, I read a study in a book that said that bowtruckles hate nymphs. And that a good deterrent is a plant called nymphs choker. It lives in the water, but if you crush it and use it as fertilizer I think it could ward off the bowtruckles.’ Harriet wrote before sliding the parchment over. She had to write smaller and smaller, the words on the parchment were already filling up almost all of the available space. They had flipped it over ages ago, and now there wasn’t much room left to write. But Harriet was determined to continue writing.

“Neville.” A boy on the other side of Neville whined. “What are you doing? This is sooo boring. Why do we need to know so much about plants? You just stick ‘em in dirt and give them some water every once in a while.”

“Well, Ron,” Neville spoke, “plants actually are really finicky. Magical ones don’t like other plants and if they aren’t planted right-”

“Blah blah blah. Plants are just plants. I don’t know why we have a class about it.” Ron spoke. Harriet was watching from the corner of her eye. Ron spoke a lot during class. He was almost obnoxious, but Harriet had survived learning around Dudley her whole life. And he was so much worse than Ron. Neville seemed to take it in stride.

“You like plants, right Neville?” Ron suddenly spoke.

“Yeah?”

“I’m glad ” Ron spoke. Harriet’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. Because the entire time that Harriet had been here, she had been hearing Ron whisper about how boring and lame this class was. Then Ron finished speaking. “At least one of us will be an expert in plants. I don’t want to touch the dirt.”

Neville wasn’t paying much attention. He was scribbling on the paper with a quill. Harriet waited patiently while Ron nattered on in the background. He was annoying but easily ignored by everybody around him. Harriet watched with detached boredom as Professor Sprout was digging around in the dirt with a spade. The note was slid back over the table, and Harriet’s eyes darted over to it to read the new addition.

‘I haven’t heard of nymphs choker. I have heard of merfolk choker, though. I don’t know if the two are related. Merfolk choker grows off of the coast of Greece. I have only seen it once when my granny took me. I thought it was beautiful to see it in the blue water. Apparently, it pulls anything it touches down into the water. They tend to drown a few muggles a year if they are stupid enough to get past all of the wards. I wanted to take some home, but I wasn’t allowed to.’

Harriet uncapped her pen and began to write her reply. ‘I think they are similar. But I am not sure. You went to Greece? That’s cool! I’ve always wanted to go. What did you like about it?’ Harriet finished and pushed the parchment back to Neville.

“What are you doing?” Ron asked. Harriet watched from the corner of her eye, but she was too slow. Ron’s hand quickly snatched the parchment between the Neville and herself. Neville tried to stop him, and Harriet’s hand came out to slap down on the paper to keep it from moving. But it was far, far too late. The paper was gone, and Harriet’s hand only hit the table. And Ron had the parchment, holding it away from Neville’s reaching grasp.

“Ron!” Neville whispered, “give it back.”

At that same moment, in the middle of a crisis, Professor Sprout spoke. “Alright, everybody! That is the end of class. For homework, please write a four-inch essay on how to re-pot the right plants. I’ll see you all next week!”

Neville and Harriet paused at hearing their teacher speak. It was obvious to the two of them that they didn’t want to cause a scene in front of the teacher. Especially when it would reveal that they weren’t paying attention and had been writing notes the entire time. It gave Ron the perfect amount of time to scan the parchment of their conversation, his face twisting in anger and bitterness.

“Ron give it back,” Neville spoke again when it was safe to do so. The other kids were packing up, ready to move on to their next class.

“No.” Ron spat. Then he crumbled the parchment into a ball, throwing it on the ground. Harriet watched with cautious eyes. What was happening? Was this normal? Did she do something wrong?

“Ron, why are you doing this?” Neville asked exasperated. “It was just a simple note.”

“It isn’t!” Ron spoke, his squeaky voice going higher. “Listen here, girl!” He pointed at Harriet. “Neville is my friend. Not yours!”

“I can have more than one friend. I have Dean and Seamus too. Why can’t I have another friend?”

“She’s a girl mate.” Ron stressed the word ‘girl.’ “They’re stupid and they only talk about girly stuff like hair or boys.”

“Ron she isn’t stupid!” Neville then turned to her, “Harriet I’m so sorry. Ron is just being a pest right now.” It was the first time he spoke to her.

“I-it’s al-alright.” Harriet stammered out, gathering her things and shoving them into her bag. Their conversation was drawing other people’s attention and she was starting to feel uncomfortable.

Ron snorted. “You sound like Professor Quirrell. H-ha-hello.” He stammered out his words, then rolled his eyes. “Geeze, can’t people just talk normally? See Neville, this is why you shouldn’t talk with her. She’s just after you because you’re famous.”

“Shut up Ron,” Neville spoke again, but this time much firmer. “I’m really sorry, Harriet. Just ignore him, please?”

Harriet nodded, unwilling to speak now. Peaking from behind her hair, Harriet saw Ron giving her a heated glare.

Somehow, Harriet knew that Ron wasn’t going to let this go.


 

Harriet focused on the task at hand. Her brow wrinkled in the concentration as she slowly moved the quill up and down the page. But no matter how much effort she put into it, the words came out wrong. Ink blotted the page. Her words bled together into a mess of black ink that stained her hands and face. Harriet stared miserably down at her fourth parchment that had been effectively ruined.

Harriet couldn’t write with a quill to save her life. Her stomach sank, and she could only imagine what would happen if she couldn’t get the hang of this. The memory of Professor Snape lighting her report on fire in front of the class, moments after turning it in, was still fresh in her memory. It was the second week of school now. And slowly, but surely, her reports have been turned back to her with failing marks. Harriet hadn’t realized it, but writing with a pen wasn’t allowed.

She had to use a quill and ink. Susan had given her a set. Hannah had given her some tips on it all, but Harriet was absolutely miserable. Nothing seemed to be going right. And her efforts were backfiring her.

A candle was lit on the desk. It was past midnight and in the early hours of the morning. Harriet blinked a few times, her eyes burning from the strain. Took a deep breath. And took out another piece of parchment, dipping the quill back into the ink pot.

She was going to get it perfect this time.


 

(‘Error. The universes are invalid. Please restart your desktop once more.’

“Why is it saying that?” Asked the Entity.

“I dunno. It’s an Apple product. They tend to break down after a while.” Shrugged the slime-man.

“Oh.”)


 

Harriet felt dizzy. Nauseous.

That was the first thing that came to mind. The second was the burning hot pain that shot up her arm.

She laid there, stunned, on the grass. Staring up at the clouds above her that floated gently in the sky. It felt almost peaceful. It was such a vast contrast of the chaos and havoc that had only happened to her moments prior. Even though the event happened only seconds ago, all Harriet could recall was the blur of colors and the panic, cold wind hitting her face and biting at her. The moment where something caught her clothes and she hung there, so far off of the ground. The moment where Harriet looked over Hogwarts and felt fear, as her robes ripped and she fell.

A broom laid broken by her feet.

“Miss Potter!” A woman shouted. Madam Hooch, Harriet’s brain slowly crawled to give her the answer. Harriet attempted once to move, but the second she tried to use her muscles the aching burning in her arm lit up with a bright flash of agony. Harriet bit her lip and kept the pathetic whimper from escaping. She was so used to having to keep quiet that it was an ingrained part of her whenever she felt pain.

It hurt. But it didn’t hurt as much as the belt. That was Uncle Vernon’s favourite weapon of choice. The pain of her back getting whipped was a sharp pain, that always left her wheezing afterward. Having her bone break wasn’t as painful in the slightest compared to that. Yeah it hurt, and it ached, but it didn’t stop her from breathing.

The footsteps came nearer. Pounding against the grass. And finally, Madam Hooch’s face loomed over her, concern wrinkling her forehead. “Miss Potter, are you alright?”

Harriet could only nod weakly. “Oh dear,” Madam Hooch spoke. “It looks like you’ve hit your head fairly hard. No matter! One quick trip to the infirmary will sort you out. You’ll be right as rain by dinner.” Madam Hooch’s hands came up and helped Harriet lift herself to her feet. Harriet was light-headed, swaying lightly as her sense of balance temporarily was ruined. Her face fell into a natural state of blankness, a type of protection that she had used for years when she felt vulnerable.

There were kids surrounding her. Susan and Hannah were in the front, concern written on their faces. The Ravenclaws all had the look of shock on their faces. They were all facing her- so none of them saw what Harriet spotted. Her head had taken a knock or two, but Harriet’s vision was still perfectly fine. Gazing across the lawn, she saw three figures ducking behind the shadows. Two of them, Harriet had never met. But she could easily identify the red-headed boy wearing Gryffindor’s colors. They were moving away from the group, trying to stay hidden but failing badly at it.

The thought came slow and muddied as molasses. It was coming. But it was taking its time. Harriet blinked, as Madam Hooch was speaking to the rest of the class. The thought still didn’t come as the Professor took her arm gently and guided her off from the field, towards the castle.

“She acts like Malfoy’s bodyguards.” A whisper came from the Ravenclaws. “She can’t even cry.”

The cool air of the castle hit Harriet’s face like a warm welcome. It was a relief to something that Harriet hadn’t realized was a discomfort to her. The warm sun vanished, and the cool air felt like a balm that soothed her skin. Madam Hooch spoke soft nice words that didn’t really have an impact. All Harriet could do was just stumble in the right direction, depending on Madam Hooch’s guiding hand.

The thought still hadn’t arrived yet when Harriet was taken to Madam Pomfrey’s infirmary. An older woman bustled over to her and clicked her tongue. But Harriet didn’t notice it too much. She glanced around the large room, taking note of the beds spaced apart with curtains undrawn by them. The scent of cleaner and flowers was more of an afterthought, although it was a powerful smell that hung in the air. Harriet’s brain was muddled and tossed around, just like she had minutes prior when the broomstick underneath her gave a lurch and she lost control. It lifted her up high into the air. No matter how much Harriet had leaned forward for it to go down, it didn’t. And then it decided to fly around the castle at an alarming speed.

“She had a rather nasty fall.” Madam Hooch spoke. “She hit her head.”

“We will fix this right up then.” Madam Pomfrey answered, and Harriet was guided to a bed. She sat on the white sheets and blinked. There was a pot of flowers on the dresser. The yellow marigolds seemed to be alight with color compared to the white absence of color in the infirmary.

And that is when the thought finally came to her. ‘Did Ron Weasley bespell my broom?’ Harriet thought to herself. The realization hit her like a train wreck. Fast and hard, sobering her up. The pain in her head pounded behind her eyes, and something began to take root in her heart. At first, it was denial. But Harriet could recall the rumors, the whispers, the looks that she would get from Ron whenever they passed in the hallways, and it all came together. Ron Weasley didn’t like her. He didn’t like her enough that he tried to kill her.

“Merlin,” Madam Pomfrey spoke with anger lacing her voice, “your left wrist is broken.”


 

(There are different reactions to how this time period ends. Harriet is a wild card. 291,315 universes had Harriet brought into the folds of Hufflepuff. There, she was loved and cared for. She gained numerous friends. Susan and Hannah took her under their wings, and soon enough Harriet was freed from living the Dursleys due to Madam Bone’s work in the Ministry. Harriet lived a happy life, but in over 186,571 universes she was still forced to marry Ronald Weasley. Due to some bureaucratic bullshit, after the war, Madam Bone’s wasn’t in the defense department anymore and thus couldn’t hold any more sway. The Ministry was already in shambles, and so most of the rulings went back to Gringotts. And they didn’t care about Harriet in the slightest, nor her protests. They still upheld the contracts that were given to them.

In the end, the plans were still fulfilled by an old coot and his meddling schemes. But do not worry, my Dear Readers. Most of those Harriet’s managed to get back at Ronald Weasley, and she sued him till he had nothing left. Not even his wand. But that took many years of her life, and with the support of her friends, she was able to move on and happily marry somebody else, have kids, and do the whole happy life thing till she died of old age.

But there are also the Harriet’s that didn’t fit in. You see, Harriet learned quite a bit in her childhood. She learned how to read by herself. How to count numbers, although she still struggled with fractions. She learned how to cook and clean very well. And those are the things that were considered relatively normal. As for the supernatural and magical, well, you know all of that already. Harriet taught herself a lot of things by herself. And she is considered to be brilliant because of it.

However, there was one thing that Harriet never learned. And that was how to be sociable. There had never been a need for it. Talking with children who were her age never came up. Dudley mostly just scared any other kids who might have been Harriet’s friend. And so, Harriet Lily Potter-Black relatively grew up in isolation. She didn’t know the social queues that other kids might have. She didn’t know what to say, or how to say it at all. Harriet had no clue what to do with other kids around her. Harriet had just assumed that they were all like her, kids who enjoyed learning and being quiet.

Harriet was not right in that aspect. To her mind, there were kids who were like her. And then there were kids who were like Dudley. That was the only other child that Harriet had ever grown up with. But it didn’t prepare her for how different everybody was. Add in the fact that Harriet was used to the muggle world, and the magical world was a different place, Harriet was at a disadvantage. Moreso than any other muggleborn child. No, Harriet was thrust into a new place with no understanding or preparations.

And that made her weird.

To the other children, Harriet wasn’t received very well. A small girl who couldn’t speak very well, constantly making mistakes, who couldn’t even use her magic. Not to mention her appearance, with her frizzy hair and disheveled clothes. Harriet wasn’t what you would call normal, not in the slightest. Even in the magical world. In those 291,315 universes, Harriet was quickly brought into the fold of the Hufflepuff clan and they didn’t care about it her oddities.

But in the resulting 41,526 universes where Harriet wasn’t taken under the Hufflepuff wings, Harriet was suddenly, and very alone. At a time where she didn’t want to be. And an alone Hufflepuff is like a sitting duck.

You see, Hogwarts has this mentality. It’s something that had formed, though out the years. It started when Salazar Slytherin had upset Rowena Ravenclaw by accidentally treading upon her prized bean sprouts. She went after him with a knife, with Godric holding her back while Helga slammed another tankard of ale and laughed at them all. Salazar left for fear of his life, planning on returning when Rowena calmed down a bit. However, he found himself in a bit of a predicament with the Master of Death. So he never returned to Hogwarts. History spoke about how he left the castle in a disgrace. Which, was technically true because Rowena had bespelled his trousers to fall down whenever he took more than a dozen steps. However, it wasn’t because of some silly blood purity or whatever historians had made up. Instead, it was the beginning of inter-house rivalry.

Which continued to this day. Of course, the houses changed over time. In the beginning, it was Ravenclaw V.S. Slytherin. Then it was Hufflepuff against Gryffindor. Then Slytherin and Gryffindor teamed up against Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but that was all quietly resolved when Merlin appeared on the scene. And now, the most recent raging inter-house arch-nemesis was Gryffindor and Slytherin. It wasn’t nearly as cutting nor as painful as the previous wars. A few family lines have still been cursed because of the Hufflepuffs, and as such, the result was that Gryffindor’s tend to lose a few more common sense than the average witch or wizard. That’s why they were more stupidly brave than the other houses.

The thing was- all of this started when one person targeted another. And in Harriet’s case, it was like she had a target on her back. Let’s not blame the Hufflepuffs in this situation. It wasn’t like they could defend Harriet against a teacher. Professor Severus Snape was a rather annoying man. He was smart. He definitely was cunning. But what an absolute douche bag. Snape is not a good man. At least, not in the Harriet Potter department. He’s a creep, to put it lightly. And we do not look upon him favorably.

To explain why Snape was who he was simply would take too long. Probably a couple of thousand words, a few months, and a fanfiction would be written about his struggles. However, the General Entity and Narrator of this tale don’t like him enough to put in the effort of writing it all down. He wasn’t a great teacher, to begin with. He couldn’t even do his job right. Heaven above, why couldn’t he just have killed Voldemort and let his soul go around doing whatever while they got rid of the Horcruxes? Severus Snape made the wrong choices, and everything else became so much more complicated because of it. That man was in a position of power throughout the entire war, and yet he didn’t do anything to really help either side. Why, do you ask?

It’s because he liked being popular. He liked the fact that both sides of the war needed him.

Which is hilarious, because if he was a bit nicer, showered a bit more, and did his job correctly by teaching kids, he might have been a favourite teacher. He was a brilliant man, he created his own curse spells when he was just a teenager. Hell, he could have not been a potioneer at all. He could have gone into the spell industry where he didn’t have to work with people at all. He could have been quite content never having to speak to another person of lesser intellect for the rest of his life. Something that Severus despised doing.

But no. He was stuck on something that we Entities don’t understand. A simple concept. If a bit overdone. Humans enjoy waving it around in our faces. But honestly, we don’t care.

We, in our job, do not understand love.

As for Snape, he knew it well. The heartbreak of Lily Evans pushed him down a dark path. And there was not much hope for him after that. If only somebody could have slapped him silly and told him that a girl wasn’t worth it. Having a life in servitude wasn’t very fun. Especially when he had two masters. Logically, we know that Snape made these choices because of his emotions. And we accept that. But personally, we don’t care enough to know what love feels like.

And so Snape loved Lily Evans. Lily became Lily Evans Potter, marrying the one man in the world that Snape couldn’t stand. But you know what? It was Lily’s choice. It wasn’t up to Severus who she married or how she lived her life. As far as Lily was concerned, Severus Snape made his own choice and they went their separate ways in their sixth year. Had she known that Snape was brooding and constantly licking his wounds because he had some sort of infatuation on her, she would have punched him and told him to grow up.

(And, on a pure technicality, a Lily Potter did that. Just not the right one.)

Snape is a man-child, really. And that night, ten years ago, when Lily was tortured to the brink of death, it was Snape who brought the Auror’s to Godric’s Hollow. In some attempt to save Lily’s life. And instead, only saved her daughters life.

For a grown man, Snape couldn’t come to terms that Lily was gone. Mentally, that was. He hoped that Lily would come to her senses one day. He dedicated every summer that he had off to making healing potions, tinctures, salves, anything that one day Lily would wake up and be his friend again. She was still alive. And that hope burned inside of him. Every other Sunday, he would visit St. Mungos, bringing with him a bouquet of lilies. He would sit by her bedside and just talk while Lily sat and stared out of the window blankly. Once, he tried to delve into her mind. It was dangerous, as the minds of the insane were so unstable that it could cause the caster themselves to go crazy as well.

There had only been white. The color white. And nothing else. Until the whispers started. Slow to begin with, they grew faster and louder. Invading his mind to the point it was hard to concentrate. Severus couldn’t understand a single word what they said. And it frightened him to the point where he never tried to look into Lily’s mind again.

But Harriet- oh the poor girl. She looked just like her mother. And Snape hated her a little bit for it. The wrong girl had been saved that night. He wanted Lily. And all he received in return was Harriet Potter. The daughter of James. Albus had told him throughout the years of the reports the squib spy would give him. How Harriet was a spitting image of Lily but was James’ personality through and through. From what he had heard thoughout the years, was that Harriet had been spoiled rotten, and kept up the act of a shy girl to get what she wanted. Severus wasn’t surprised at all to see that her wand matched exactly like her fathers. It confirmed all of his theories. It certainly explained why she was so awful at potions. James passed because he was friends with Slughorn. But this was Severus’ class now. And Harriet wasn’t going to get away with anything.

Which is absolute bullshit. Because, as we all know, Harriet is going to get away with everything.)


 

Lunch was after Herbology. Harriet was still feeling shy about the attention drawing conversation that Neville had with his friend Ron. The more she thought about it, the more shame crept up her neck. She wanted to hide under a blanket for a few years. It had been her fault, really. Harriet had been taking up Neville’s attention. And he was Ron’s friend first. She really shouldn’t step on Ron’s toes. It had been nice talking to Neville. Really nice, actually. Harriet couldn’t stop thinking about how many things they had in common. They both loved plants, magical or otherwise. And he liked to laugh at her small jokes. It made her really really happy that she managed to get him to laugh. She had never made another person laugh before.

But overall, Harriet didn’t want to become between Neville and Ron.

Harriet sat down at the Hufflepuff table, next to Hannah and Susan.

“Ugh, those Gryffindors,” Hannah spoke. “That was the worst class ever.”

“Why?” Susan asked, as she picked up her plate and served herself some sausages.

“That girl with the frizzy hair, the one over there?” Hannah pointed, and Harriet and Susan both followed her line of sight. “Granger girl? She kept on talking. On and on. It felt like she should have been in Ravenclaw because she knew everything. But Ravenclaw’s are better because they aren’t stuck up or talk a bunch like her.”

“Oh yeah, I heard her from across the room.” Susan nodded, “it’s a pity that Longbottom is in Gryffindor. Could you imagine what it could have been like if he was in Hufflepuff? The Boy-Who-Lived? In our house?”

That was where Harriet lost the conversation. She glanced over at Susan, her eyebrows furrowing together. Boy-Who-Lived? What? Who was Longbottom? Harriet had no idea what was happening. Did she miss something?

“Well, it makes sense. He took care of You-Know-Who and ended the war. It’s obvious that he was going to be a Gryff. He’s brave like that.” Hannah sighed, “he’s a little plain. But I am sure when he grows up he’ll be pretty handsome.”

“His friend was being a right arse at the end, right Harriet?” Susan spoke, and Harriet blinked. The conversation was turned towards her, and she was ill prepared to speak. “I heard Ronald Weasley yelling at Neville at the end. I wasn’t sure why, but Harriet was next to them. Right?”

Harriet’s jaw dropped slightly. She blinked in astonishment. ‘Ronald Weasley?’ She thought, slowly processing the name. “Weasley?” She whispered, her confusion evident on her face.

“Oh yeah.” Hannah spoke, “Ronald was the red-headed boy. In fact, I think almost all of the red-haired Gryffindor’s are Weasleys. There are a bunch of them. See, look.” She pointed over at the Gryffindor table. “The oldest one is one of the prefects.”

Harriet stared over at the table. There were a few carrot-red haired boys. And they did look like Ron. Oh, Merlin, that had been Ronald Weasley. Her ‘betrothed.’ The boy who was going to take everything from her. Her inheritance, her titles, and her life. She’d have no money and be his wife. “The prefect Weasley, I think his name is Prancy or something. I don’t know.” Hannah continued to speak. “And the two other ones, they’re twins. I’ve heard that they are huge trouble makers. They like to make a mess of vinegar on the floor whenever they try to break into our common room, at least that is what our prefect tells us. I think they’re names are… Greg and Francis or something. I don’t know them very well. And there is Ronald. Although I think he likes to be called Ron.”

Harriet gazed across the room over at boys, aghast and shocked. She had thought that maybe Ronald Weasley was some kid off in Germany or something. It had never crossed her mind that she would have been attending Hogwarts with him. Or that she would know him at all. Honestly, she had never thought about the betrothal except on nights where she couldn’t sleep. It was frightening, to know that was her future. And now it felt more real. Like chains were clacking along behind her now. The heavy weights were still there, pulling her freedom away with every second.

Harriet had to marry the whiny, red-haired boy, who yelled at her for writing a note with Neville. Somehow, Harriet didn’t think that she would like him. At all.

Harriet was still staring at the older boys, one of the twins, when they suddenly glanced over at her. Their eyes connected. Harriet felt revulsion roil underneath her skin, breaking her out of her crisis. She stared down at her empty plate, her appetite gone. She felt almost sick instead. She took in a deep breath and vowed that she would keep away from any of the Weasleys.


 

“So you’re the idiot Hufflepuff. I’ve heard a lot of things about you.” A voice drawled above her. Harriet glanced up. A boy stood above her, which wasn’t all that impressive. It was the last day of a long, and hellish first week of school. And Harriet was tired of being around people. And this boy seemed to be somebody who expected to push her around quite a bit.

“Not saying a word, huh?” He moved around the table until he was facing her. Harriet glanced up and down, analyzing him. His bleached white hair was pulled back by some sort of gel, his robes were pristine and looked to be made of a higher quality than Harriet’s. A green and silver tie was neatly tied around his neck. That was an odd sight, as Harriet was used to seeing people disheveled. The boy looked neat and tidy. “I’m used to people not speaking, actually.” He grabbed the chair in front of Harriet’s small table and pulled it back. Almost simultaneously, two other boys appeared, taking the chairs from either side of Harriet.

She jumped, her eyes jumping from the two new additions to her table. They were tall and big. Both of them slightly pudgy that they reminded her too much of Dudley. And intimidating. She was supposed to be saving the table until Susan and Hannah come up to the astrology tower. They were running late. Judging by the fact that every class that Harriet had had so far every house tend to stay to themselves, so Harriet hadn’t been worried by other’s taking the seats at the table.

Apparently, she had been wrong.

“I will be blunt with you and use small words.” The boy spoke, “I am Draco Malfoy, heir to Malfoy and Black family. That means,” he spoke slowly, ”that I am important. Now, my two friends here are Crabbe and Goyle.” The boy on Harriet’s left grunted, and then the other boy on her right made a similar sound. Crabbe and Goyle stared at Harriet. Almost unblinkingly.

“They are my minions. That means they follow me.” Draco added. Harriet was starting to hate every word that was coming out of his mouth. It was both demeaning and insulting at the same time. “They have some problems learning, like you. They don’t understand things easily.”

“We can’t read well,” Crabbe grunted. Or perhaps it was Goyle. Honestly, Harriet wasn’t sure which was which.

“Which is where you come in.” Malfoy spoke, “I need a perfect grade in this class. The catch is, is that Professor Sinistra likes for us to be in groups outside of our houses. That means I can’t just use Goyle and Crabbe. Normally, I would just do it all by myself. But I certainly don’t need a halfwit Hufflepuff to drag my grade down in this class.” He paused, “so I am going to offer you a deal. I will make sure you get a high grade in this class. As long as you do exactly what I say. I won’t do everything, and you will need to pull your own weight by doing what I tell you to do.” He held out his hand. “Deal?”

Harriet looked down at his offered hand, and her first thought was to smack it away. How dare he? He was so rude and demeaning! He talked to her like she was a child! Well, she was a kid still. But she wasn’t a toddler. She was old enough to know that she was getting talked down to. Maybe Crabbe and Goyle were used to it. But Harriet wasn’t. And then-

The idea came to her. What if… she took the deal. It would mean that there would be one class that she wouldn’t have to worry about. And Harriet was great at taking orders. Aunt Petunia taught her that. It would make her life so much easier. If she just swallowed her tongue and pride, then Harriet could have it fairly easy in this class. With how much of a nightmare potions class became to be still fresh in her mind, and how much she was struggling in her other classes… being able to have an easy class felt almost like cheating.

But Harriet enjoyed cheating.

With a bit of hesitation, Harriet reached over the small table and shook hands with Draco Malfoy. He gave her a brilliant smile, his teeth too white and pointy. It was obvious. Draco won this particular battle.

But Harriet felt like she won something too.


 

Her thumb throbbed painfully. Harriet sat in a chair that was far too large for her, her spine stiff and straight. She wasn’t sorry. Rage still burned deep within her. But it wasn’t as blinding as it had been when she punched Ron Weasley. The anger kept her jaw clenched and her hands in tight fists, ignoring that her thumb was broken. Harriet was used to pain. And she pushed past it easily, ignoring it. She stared down at her hands, waiting for judgment with an icy glare. Her hair covered her face in a thick curtain, hiding her expression of fury.

“Oh, it hurts.” Ron moaned, slumped in the chair that was a few feet away from Harriet’s. He held a bag of ice to his face, making pitiful noises. Harriet refused to look over, knowing that her anger would rise up again. Ron Weasley was obviously acting it up. Having a broken nose didn’t hurt that much, Harriet would know how that feels. And this was a magic school, where magic can fix his nose within half a second. Harriet knew this because Ron broke her fucking wrist.

“That will enough Mr. Weasley,” Professor McGonagall spoke in her no-nonsense tone of voice.

“She broke my nose,” Ron whined, his voice muffled by the ice bag on his face.

“I am aware of that.” Professor McGonagall said, “but you may stop your moaning. Once this is over Madam Pomfrey will fix it.”

“But it hurts .” Ron groaned.

“It will stop hurting faster if you be quiet.” Professor McGonagall spoke. Ron sniffled a few times but didn’t say another word.

Then the door behind them opened. Harriet had only managed to get a glimpse at the office before she was told to sit in the chair and not move by Professor McGonagall. Harriet didn’t look around her after that. But from what she saw, the Headmaster office was rather strange. If Harriet was told that she could only describe it with two words or less, she would have said it was ‘whimsically magical.’ It was decorated with red and gold, bits and bobbles were lining the shelves that moved with the light. A large bookcase covered the back wall, and the sorting hat was placed on it, along with thick tomes that spoke of knowledge.

“Professor Sprout. Thank you for coming on such short notice.” Professor McGonagall spoke, standing from her chair. “And Headmaster Dumbledore, I am sorry for the interruption.”

“Oh, it’s understandable, Minerva.” Said an old wisened voice of a man. “After all, these things do happen.”

Dumbledore.

The word echoed in Harriet’s head. It couldn’t be- no. It can’t be. There was no way that the headmaster was Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore. M-maybe it was just somebody with the same last name. They were distantly related or something.

“Albus, Minerva, what seems to be the problem here?” Professor Sprout spoke, and Harriet flinched sharply. Nobody seemed to notice.

“I saw Miss Potter attack Mr. Weasley.” Professor McGonagall spoke. “It appeared that Mr. Weasley had dumped a bucket of mud on Miss Potter, which is not acceptable in this school at all. And she physically assaulted him.”

“That is not good.” Albus fucking Dumbledore spoke.

Harriet was only halfway paying attention to the conversation around her. The words from the other people spoke rang in her ears as the revelation hit her. Albus Dumbledore was her Headmaster. He- he offered her a spot in this school because he could keep an eye on her. While he stole all of her money and then sold her off to- to-

“Miss Potter, I am sure that Ron here is terribly sorry. I am sure that all of this is a misunderstanding. ” Albus spoke in a fond, grandfatherly way. Now that Harriet knew who he was, she could easily pick apart his manipulations. He was trying to be nice to her so that he could earn her trust. Speaking soft and kindly, full of love. But Harriet was unused to that. Miss Figg had tried to do that to her. She never got to have a fucking family because of him. Harriet’s hand came up and covered her mouth, to prevent the unspoken fury and buzzing words that threatened to spill out of her mouth. She kept her head down, unwilling to look the man who had ruined her life in the eye. “Ron was just trying to be funny, I am sure.” Dumbledore continued to speak taking her silence as regret or fear, “boys often do illogical things when it comes to pretty girls. Why I remember your father doing the same thing to your mother when she was a first year.” He chuckled.

‘Stop talking about my parents.' The words threatened to spill out of her mouth in a shriek. It took all of Harriet’s energy to reign in the urge to scream at the man. ‘You don’t know anything about them. You don’t know anything about me. Shut up shut up shut up!’ All that came out of Harriet was a wet hiccup. A sound that Harriet hated more than anything. It was a sign of weakness.

“Your father himself was a bit of a troublemaker.” Albus continued to speak, unaware of Harriet’s rising wrath that built inside of her, causing her to shake down to her core. “You shouldn’t take these little pranks so seriously. I am sure that Ron was just trying to get your attention. You are, after all, so much like your mother.”

“Both parties are in the wrong here.” Professor Sprout spoke up. “Prank or no, I will not stand to have Gryffindors dumping buckets of mud on my Hufflepuffs. Both of you broke a rule today. However, Harriet, violence is never the answer.”

“It was uncalled for.” Professor McGonagall chimed in.

“Indeed,” Dumbledore agreed. “Which is why I still need to punish you both for breaking the rules. It’s only your second week here. And so I will not be as strict. But keep this as a reminder, do not hit each other, understood?” He shuffled some papers on the desk. “Since Ron did not actually hurt you, I will take fifteen points away from Gryffindor. Miss Potter, you will be attending detention every Friday for the rest of this month with Mr. Filch. Understood?”

Harriet nodded, her hand still pressing up against her mouth to silence any noise. Her hair thankfully covered her from their view. She had yet to look up, to see the face of the man who ruled over her life. Her neck ached from hanging her head, but she still didn’t move. The emotions inside of her threatened to explode, they bubbled up from where they boiled deep inside of her. It was difficult to breathe. To pull in the air and not expel it in a terrible shout and yell. There was nothing in the entire world that Harriet wanted more than to stand up and attack Dumbledore at that very instance.

“It’s alright dear.” Professor Sprout spoke softly, patting Harriet’s back. “I know how it feels when you’ve done something wrong. Cheer up. You don’t have to cry. How about you say that you’re sorry to Mr. Weasley here and we can all forget about this.”

Harriet hadn’t realized that she had been trembling. They thought- they thought that she was crying. Because she was in trouble. And they wanted her to apologize to Ron. The idea instantly revolted her. There was no fucking way that Harriet was ever going to apologize to Ronald Weasley. Never. Not in a thousand years. She- she couldn’t stay here any longer. She could feel herself breaking apart at the seams.

Harriet stood up in a quick motion, and turned on her heel, racing out of the room as if Dudley and his gang were after her. She didn’t stop when she heard Professor Sprout shout after her, nor did she take her hand off of her mouth. Her feet pounded on the circular steps down until Harriet broke free of the Headmaster’s office. Harriet finally looked up, her neck protesting the action, as she raced down the corridors of Hogwarts. It was late in the evening, but there were still students that lingered in the hallways. Harriet avoided them, taking hallways and passages that were empty and evading the ones had people in them. She was ashamed. Ashamed, angry, frustrated, and betrayed. And the last thing that Harriet wanted was somebodies pity. To look her in the eye and see the conflicting emotions that rose up and filled her.

She took twists and turns, climbing up stairs and dodging people. Harriet had no clue where she was at, but she still didn’t stop. Until she stumbled through a pair of wide double doors into a cool room that was filled to the top with bookshelves. Tables were placed in intersections, a few older Ravenclaws were camped at a few. It was the library. To Harriet though, it a small oasis in a sea of discomfort. The air smelled of parchment and ink, the pure smell of books. A refreshing and familiar smell that offered a small bit of comfort.

Harriet turned at the first intersection and walked into the jungle of a library. There weren’t a lot of people there. Besides the few Ravenclaws, Harriet didn’t see another person as she turned randomly in the maze of the bookshelves. Her goal was to get lost. And soon enough, Harriet found herself in a place that she was sure that nobody was near. Bookshelves towered over her head, dimming the light. Harriet had no clue where she was, nor how to get out. But she didn’t care.

“A misunderstanding.” Harriet hissed to herself. Her voice was loud in the echoing silence of the library. “It was just all a misunderstanding, Miss Potter,” she spoke in a mocking tone. “You need to apologize, Miss Potter. You’re stupid, Miss Potter. I’m stealing from you, Miss Potter. And there isn’t anything you can do to stop me, Miss Potter.” The wrath was finally undammed and it was coming all out. Harriet wanted to scream and shout, to grab something and destroy it. But she knew very well that this was a library, and this wasn’t the time nor the place to do so. Instead, Harriet kicked rather harshly on a bookshelf a few times and threw her bag onto the ground in a sharp motion. “It isn’t my fault!” She whispered to herself, her words coming out sharp and cutting. “It isn’t my fault! I can’t do magic! I can’t talk to people. I can’t do anything right!” She kicked the bookshelf one more time.

It just wasn’t fair! It wasn’t!

Harriet wanted to yell and scream. She wasn’t stupid! She wasn’t. No matter what Snape said. Or her relatives, her classmates, or even Ronald fucking Weasley. She wasn’t dumb! Harriet knew she was smart. She was good at what she did! And it was just the rest of them who didn’t understand.

Harriet felt fresh tears come to her eyes. This time, it was because of her frustration. Other people were stupid. They didn’t give her a chance. They just didn’t give her a chance… Harriet sniffled and angrily scrubbed her face. Her rage didn’t stop the tears that trickled down her face. Even though she hated the fact that she was still crying, she couldn’t stop it. No matter how much she wanted to stop, the tears flowed nonetheless.

“I can’t do anything right.” She spoke once more, her voice breaking. “I can’t,” she took in a breath that shook her soul and grew silent once more. It was hard to admit things, especially when Harriet had tried so hard to prevent it. But when it came down to the truth of things, Harriet couldn’t deny it.

Harriet was miserable here.

Two weeks in, Harriet hated it. She detested the classes. She hated magic. She loathed the potions teacher, Professor Snape. She loathed how he scared her. Harriet despised the other kids and how outgoing they were all the time. She hated the noise. She didn’t like being outcasted or being called stupid every day. The only nice thing was that she could hang around Susan or Hannah, they were nice but they weren’t her friends. If anything, Harriet felt like she depended on them too much and was a bother to them. The teachers hated her and treated her like an imbecile. Magic wasn’t as special as it had been a month ago. It was hard work, reading, and writing with a quill that smeared ink everywhere. Every time Harriet thought that something was going right, she hits an impenetrable wall.

Harriet had never thought she would miss being at Privet Drive. But being here was different from there. Harriet could be herself in Privet Drive. The one thing she had pride in was being sneaky and doing things her own way. There, Harriet could make all the potions she wanted without ridicule. And being here, at Hogwarts… Harriet simply wanted to be herself and not hide. And that didn’t go over very well.

The anger drained from Harriet all at once. Leaving her empty and hollow of emotion. And tired. Oh so tired. Harriet leaned up against a bookshelf and slid down it, her back firm against the cool wood.  Her head fell back, hitting the wood as Harriet lost her energy. Opening her eyes, Harriet blankly stared up at the walls of books that lined the shelves, taking in the sight.

“Maybe,” Harriet spoke with a trace sorrow, “I should just give up.” The words pushed out of Harriet bitterly. She had always thought that she would never give up on something. But coming here, being outside of her element, Harriet was lost. And she didn’t know what to do anymore. Harriet closed her eyes, as tears began to fall down her cheeks again. But this time, they were tears of defeat.

And that was when the book came out of nowhere and hit Harriet in the face.


 

(Somewhere, long forgotten, the Master of Death stands. A cliff that had long since crumbled away in the future was beneath her as she stared out into the ocean. A storm approached, she watched with vibrant green eyes  Thunder rumbled over the noise of the water as it hurled itself against the rocks, sending a spray of mist into the air. The smell of algae and salt embedded itself into everything, soaking into her clothes and lingering on her skin.

“Are you entertained?” 

The Master of Death looked behind her, her long twirling red hair fanning out in the wind. She smiles, a friendly gesture, to the cloaked figure. “It’s mesmerizing to watch.” She replied the cool air that was charged with the energy of the storm rushed past her as the wind howled. The Master of Death glanced back at the sea, her eyes catching the waves crashing against the rocks.

“You shouldn’t mess with powers higher than yours.”

The Master of Death huffed with laughter. She closed her eyes, feeling how the wind caressed her body as it tried to tug her over the edge of the cliff, and smiled bitterly to herself. “Oh, I think you have it all wrong.” She spoke softly, knowing that the unearthly figure behind her could hear her perfectly well. With one sharp motion, she turned and walked away from the cliff, her cloak fanning out behind her. She walked with that unearthly grace, smooth and without a hitch in her step. As she stepped away from the cliff, it began to crumble in on itself, falling into the ocean, the sound ate up by the howling wind. She stops close to the figure in the dark cloak.

Death stared down at his Master. And she looked back at him with her vibrant green eyes.

“I might mess with things with a higher power. But they aren’t bigger than me, nor are they powerful enough to smite me where I stand. Entities, Gods, and Whatnot can’t even touch me.” The Master of Death Spoke, staring into the darkness of Death. “They are not immune to your touch. They can die. And if I am not mistaken, that makes me the higher power that they shouldn’t mess with.”

“And besides,” the Master of Death turned suddenly, looking back at the sea that roiled and crashed angrily. “It was all supposed to happen anyways.”

Lightning flashed in the distance, and thunder answered as it rumbled across the sky.)


 

(“I’ve fixed it.” The manager of the I.T. department clapped his six hands together. “It was tricky, but it looks like you managed to get a virus of some kind. We reset your computer and it seems like everything is in order.”

“Thank you.” The Entity spoke miserably. It has been a rather long day and they were now a full day behind on work. It could take them weeks to get everything sorted out.

“Next time you illegally download the third remake of Fast and Furious series, don’t do it on your office computer.” He warned.

“I won’t.” The Entity sighed tiredly. They hadn’t. It was actually the fifth Incredible’s movie. It was the Entity’s favorite, and they couldn’t help themselves.)


 

Harriet held her head in her hands, groaning. Her head throbbed even worse now. The flash of pain that arrived moments after the book had collided with her face was a surprise that Harriet had not expected. Well, to be fair, nobody expected that a book would fall on their head. Harriet felt wet blood seeping out of her nose as she touched it gingerly. It didn’t feel broken, but the irony of having a broken nose after punching Weasley wasn’t lost on her.

“Shit,” Harriet mumbled to herself. She looked up, one hand still covering her nose as it leaked blood. Her other hand snatched the book from where it fell. She glanced at the cover, but it didn’t have any title or author written on the front. Then she craned her head up to look up at the bookshelves above her. There didn’t seem to be an open space in between the books above her. Where on earth did this come from?

Harriet glanced down at the hefty novel in her hand. She turned it onto its side, scanning the spine of the book. Ah, there it was… E. Weasley. Harriet glanced up, and then her brain kicked in.

Wait wait wait.

Weasley?

Harriet glanced down once more. She knew that name intimately. It was the author of ‘Ingredients and Why They Do What They Do.’ The one book that she had practically worshiped when she was younger. Even to this day, Harriet had the contents of it memorized. It was her mum's favorite book. And it helped Harriet out the most when it came to making potions.

Was this the same author? There wasn’t a title on the front or the side of it. Harriet flipped it open to the cover and curiously found the title page. And stopped. She almost didn’t dare to breathe. There was no way- how on earth- why? This book had seemingly appeared out of nowhere and it was too good to be true. Harriet glanced around her, wondering if this was somebody’s idea of a joke. But she didn’t see anybody at all. Was this some sort of trap? Harriet didn’t believe for one second that by pure coincidence that this book magically took a hop on her head.

Harriet snapped the book shut. She was going to put it back on a shelf. Any shelf. It didn’t matter. She obviously couldn’t trust this. Perhaps it was a plot conceived by Dumbledore to mess her up. Maybe he was trying to manipulate her again. Trying to make her do what he wanted.

But then again…

Harriet hesitated. But there was a small chance… that perhaps this book was what she needed. And somehow some magical being out there had heard her wishes and gave her the book. Not that Harriet believed in higher powers. But the coincidence was too suspicious. But it was also her only chance. Okay, fine. Harriet was going to take the dumb book. But she wasn’t going to do things willy-nilly. She will take her time and see if this really was a trap.

Harriet tucked, ‘How to Unblock Your Magical Abilities and Other Things’ by E. Weasley into her bag. And hoped she wasn’t making a mistake.

Chapter Text

[It is to be said that we, the Marauders, are the best pranksters ever. You might judge us for saying that. But in reality, we are being modest in that sense. In reality, we are probably the best pranksters that have ever haunted the halls of Hogwarts, and nobody could ever be as good as us. Except if they are related to us. Padfoot waxes on, and on, and on about how when he grows up he won’t be like his parents. So I suppose that he is going to repopulate the wizarding world after this world due to how much he likes kids. Looking at his dating life, I wouldn’t be surprised. [Fuck you Wormy -Pads.] [Aren’t we all, like, second cousins or something? I don’t want to fault your logic here, but we are all related to everybody. Sorry mate. -Prongs] Okay fine. Those who carry our blood. As in, kids or whatever. I mean, I’m sure all of our kids would be hellions. Our future grandkids would continue our legacy. We have jokes in our blood. Marauders will leave a legacy here in Hogwarts, and it’ll continue in the next thousand years. We have the power that will haunt the halls of Hogwarts, and we will never be forgotten.

Inclosed is the first rough draft of our Marauders Map. It isn’t as nice as our completed version. However, we figured that we could leave it just in case our other maps are not available. We are proud of this map. We did the impossible. We made a map of Hogwarts. Honestly, the castle changes and moves around that regular maps are rendered invalid within hours of it being created. How many wizards have done that in Hogwarts history? Just us. We’re brilliant.

-Wormtail (Written by Moony, because it’s three a.m. and he just wants to go to sleep.)

-Excerpt from the Marauders Componium]


 

Three weeks in, something changed. To Harriet, time had passed at an agonizingly slow rate that seemingly fluctuated whenever she found herself alone where she could enjoy her surroundings. She liked it when she was in her single-room dorm room, the small rounded ceiling above her reminding her of her staircase. It was cramped and small, with barely enough room for a bed, wardrobe, and a small desk. There was a small round window that looked out over a field of ripening wheat, although the Hufflepuff dorms were underground and not even remotely close to a field. There, Harriet could be whatever she wanted to be. And it was nice. She could chat with Hedwig who lived in a glass tank on her desk. Hedwig didn’t mock her or anything, and so being able to speak was easy and like a breath of fresh air. In her own little room, in her own little bed, Harriet liked to read and pass her time learning more about the wizarding world.

However, it was times like those that time passed without a thought. It was Harriet's escape from the stress and pressure of being in school. Being outside of her room, Harriet was uncomfortable. And there, time took hold in its claws and slowed the clock. Harriet would gaze at the timepiece in every class, hoping for when the hands of the clock would hit the hour that she could leave. Her sensory issues hadn’t faded in the slightest. Harriet grew to hate the great hall and refused to eat there. Instead, she would find her way to the kitchens and there, the elves (who were kind enough to leave her alone) would give her food. The kitchens were loud, but it wasn’t as bad as the constant yelling and moving people around her. At least the house-elves left her alone after feeding her. After the disaster in her second week, Harriet had found herself avoiding people. Susan and Hannah were on that list, along with everybody else in the Hufflepuff house. Harriet had been tired of trying to be outgoing and friendly, and with her paranoia increasing with the knowledge that Dumbledore was in charge of the school, Harriet almost became like a ghost.

Harriet would go to class and then take off as fast as she could. It had worked for a few days, and Harriet was glad for it. She spent her time in the library or hidden in one of the many alcoves in Hogwarts, doing her homework and then cracking open the new novel that she had received. ‘How to Unblock Your Magical Abilities and Other Things’ was a new book in her life. At first, Harriet didn’t want to touch it. The idea that Dumbledore had given this book to trick her into unblocking her magic, and therefore disobeying his magical guardian authority, was a real concern to her. Harriet had cautiously began to explore its contents, and after a while, the paranoia left her.

The book was just too interesting to put it down.

Harriet had thought once that she knew about all the subjects of magic. Potions and waving a wand around while saying a special word. After all, that’s what Hogwarts taught them. But to Harriet’s surprise and rapture, there were dozens of different magical fields that this book held. And for the most part, they were mostly wandless. Runes, arithmancy, divination, necromancy, alchemy, blood wards, and, of course, wandless magic. The thing that intrigued Harriet the most was runes. There was a written language of magic! Why she didn’t have a class for that yet, Harriet didn’t understand. She had to learn how to write in primary school. Why not learn how to write magic runes? But the basic gist of it was that if she wrote down the runes correctly in the right way on a paper, then the magic would do the spell. It wasn’t as easy as swishing a wand around and saying a few words. But figuring that Harriet couldn’t speak, and liked to write things, it was like a godsend. It was equally frustrating that Harriet had to find this out via a mysterious book. And that it wasn’t a piece of knowledge that was widely distributed.

The book didn’t go much into runes. But flipping through it all, Harriet found the spell that she wanted. It was one of the dozens, really. All of them were different, all of them unblocked or reversed the irreversible. But they only focused on specific things. Like curses, soul damage, and ‘life-blood magic.’ And they seemingly came with warning labels that looked a bit sketchy. Like one would break the blockage on her magic, but in the tiny words underneath it said that it could cause her soul to become unstable and vulnerable to demon deals. Another one spoke about how unknown entities could push her into a life of predestined infinities, whatever that meant. Plus, they used a lot of sacrificing in those spells. One of them said she had to use the still-beating heart of a newly orphaned kelpie, which seemed to involve too much blood. However, the spell that Harriet was looking at didn’t look to need a lot of things. The tiny writing only said ‘pain and a mildly itchy rash’ and Harriet was willing to accept that. It would be worth it to have an injury to get out of these bindings. There were a lot of spells in this book, but to Harriet, this spell was the most important thing of them all. It would undo all the restraints on her. But it didn’t affect only her past bindings on her, but also her future ones as well. And it looked like blood magic and runes were key things to understand before trying to use the spell. The description for this seemed a bit too powerful for Harriet to undertake, but it mostly seemed to dispel any physical limitations on her. And as for her future bindings, it added more of a resistance to things, rather than it being the ultimate failsafe. It was a type of protection. And Harriet desperately wanted to have some sort of safeguard. Something she knew that she could lean on in support. Something to protect her.

But there were dozens of spells in this book. And dozens of chapters that explained different types of magic. It didn’t get into the subjects very deeply, but it touched on the uses and historic events where such magic had been used. It added depth in examples and ignited her curiosity. And this captivated Harriet. The book quickly grew to be her second favourite book ever, the other E. Weasley book taking first place. It was fascinating, and it relit the small wonder deep inside of Harriet that had drawn her to magic in the first place. The small flame of inspiration and excitement was the only reprieve from her daily tasks and schoolwork. And Harriet just wanted to read and do nothing else. And it happened for the first few days where Harriet had become scarce. Harriet slipped away from everybody and found herself in her room, digging through the book. Occasionally, she found a comfortable spot in the library to read as well, as Harriet began to try and find the beginning books on runes and blood magic. The runes were easy to find. Sort of. Blood magic, though. Harriet had yet to find a single book about it.

And then the Hufflepuff house struck back.

Turns out, they didn’t like that Harriet had become a recluse. 

Hufflepuff’s, as it turns out, are nosy and overly concerned. They were nice and worried about her. For the first few days, it was fine. Harriet found comfort in being alone. She took a few trips to the library and to the kitchens next door. Easy peasy. Besides her detention, where Harriet cleaned the trophy room (which was pathetically easy, dusting and polishing was child's play. Literally. Harriet had been doing those chores for years), Harriet kept to her rooms. And then after that, the hoards began to come.

It started with Hannah and Susan who called after her, as Harriet was trying to make her escape after class. It had been herbology again, and it was difficult to get away when they had to walk up the hill to the castle. Harriet paused, completely surprised by their attention, and allowed the two girls to catch up with her and they gently guided her to lunch. Harriet liked the two girls, they were nice and smart. But somehow they just didn’t connect with her. And most of the time, Harriet felt like she was their pet pity project.

By the third week, the cliques had been established. People stuck to their groups, the boys in Hufflepuff kept to themselves while the Gryffindors did the same. In fact, besides the classes where the teachers were the head of a house, the other teachers tried to mix the houses together. It made class stilted and awkward. From Harriet’s perspective, kids don’t like other kids from houses. And she thought it was dumb. If anything Draco Malfoy and Ernie Macmillan would get along fabulously. They both talked about how they came from powerful families but really they were just eleven-year-old dumbasses who liked to brag. Harriet couldn’t see anything worthwhile in the two boys, but they certainly thought themselves to be the bee's knees of the wizarding world. Three weeks and the first years have all settled into their groups. And most importantly, three weeks in the stereotypes had been finalized. 

There were the loud annoying kids, like Dean and Seamus, Ron’s buddies. Well, really, most of all the Gryffindors could fall into that category. There were the kids who could probably knife you in your sleep, which fell to Daphne Greengrass and Baise Zabini, and honestly, all of the Slytherins could have joined that group if there hadn’t been one outlier: Lavender Brown. That girl seemed sweet but Harriet could tell that she was the pettiest bitch that Harriet had ever seen. The glares Lavender gave to some of the girls in the other houses made her land in that category. There were the quidditch nerds, the book-nerds (all Ravenclaws plus Hermione Granger), foodies, the people who talk too much in class (class clowns), and finally, the idiots.

That is where Harriet was fit in. She belonged in the same group as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. They were… nice. The two times that Harriet had astrology, they were nice. They spoke in soft murmurs, and Vincent had tried to help her once, thinking that she couldn’t understand a word. Harriet knew what an eclipse was, she had studied moons and their phases with her mum’s collection of the Quibbler. However, it was almost endearing when Crabbe had stammered out that it was, “is like when you pull the curtain ‘round your bed, blockin’ the light. ‘Cept it’s the sun. And it’s the moon who blocks it. Yeah?”

They were… nice. After a while, even Draco didn’t seem to be as big as a prick as he appeared to be. Harriet chalked it up to being late at night, and Draco was tired. But Crabbe and Goyle were admittedly were okay. Not that Harriet would consider them as friends. But they were the only people who didn’t judge her for not speaking. They didn’t talk down to her and treat her like a baby. Teachers ignored her (which was a blessing) and didn’t call on her for questions anymore. And if they did, they spoke short, easy phrases that anybody could get. Half the time it didn’t bother Harriet. The other half she was embarrassed. Her pride took a hit by being spoken to like a baby.

Hell, the only other person who treated Harriet as a normal person was Filch. And he just pointed at the trophy room and said, “clean it, and don’t use any magic.” 

And so it rankled Harriet. When Hannah and Susan tracked her down, they treated her like she was broken glass on the ground. They picked her up carefully and they didn’t put her in the trash. Oh no, they tried to fix her. News flash! Harriet wasn’t broken. Not in the slightest. The whole ‘oh Harriet have you tried this salad? It’s so tasty. You should eat more greens.’ And ‘have you done your charms homework yet? How about we practice more together?’ Or even ‘it’s late you should go to sleep.’ Harriet wasn’t here to be mothered by a bunch of girls. She was here to learn.

Harriet had been there, done that. She had tried her hardest to put her trust in those around her. She had pushed herself to be welcoming, and she let her guard down. And it had been a mistake. The hurt and pain from the other kids were too much for Harriet to handle. She put her foot down, and resolutely decided to not get close to anybody else.

And Hufflepuffs didn’t take that decision lightly.

After Harriet had avoided Hannah and Susan successfully, hiding in an alcove and reading the fantastic wonderful book that she had picked up, the rest of Hufflepuff started to keep an eye out for her. It wasn’t just the two girls, now the boys were trying to drag her away. Or worse, follow her in the hallway. They thought it was a game. It reminded Harriet of Harriet Hunting that it gave her vivid flashbacks and Harriet would run around aimlessly in Hogwarts, trying to shake her pursuers off her trail. Then the older students joined in. They found her easily, as she was still trying to find a way around the castle and they had been there for years. They knew where to look, and Harriet had been dragged out from underneath staircases (the irony of that was palpable) and from rooms hidden behind tapestries.

Three weeks in and Harriet was trying to find a way to sneak away from the Hufflepuff table before dinner ended. Astrology was later tonight, the third time they were going to meet up. And Harriet wanted to have some alone time.

“Harriet have you had the green beans? They are so tasty!” Susan held out a bowl to her. Harriet had long since given up refusing, as the two girls would literally start going down the table and offering every dish to Harriet so long as it was healthy. Harriet liked green food, as it had been one of the few constant things that she ate growing up. Dudley would always throw his out, and so Harriet knew she could find some asparagus or broccoli in the garbage to eat later. However, it still rankled her in the wrong way. The way that Susan and Hannah would try and feed her food like how Aunt Petunia would try and make Dudley eat it.

And Harriet was certainly not Dudley.

Harriet took the dish silently and dumped a small spoonful on her plate. There was some sort of cheese on top, and it was tasty when Harriet ate it. However, it wasn’t good in her opinion. There was a flat flavor to everything that Harriet ate up here. There was a difference between her own cooking and the baked goods up here. Harriet wasn’t one to complain, she actually had food that she could eat. But it tasted like ash in her mouth, dry and bitter. A tang that followed her on every bite. Harriet sipped on her goblet of pumpkin juice to clear the taste from her tongue before she shoveled in as much food as she could handle without the urge of gagging appearing. Which in reality, was very little. Eating with Susan and Hannah was like a chore. It took all of the joy out of it.

-and then, for the first time in three weeks, something changed.

“Harriet have you had this wonderful bake- hic !” Hannah was shoving yet another plate at Harriet and it was suddenly dropped to the table in a clatter, food spilling everywhere, as Hannah slapped her hands across her face. Harriet glanced up at the harsh noise, flinching from the shock of it all. She met Hannah’s wide eyes and the floating bubbles that were gently escaping to the ceiling above them.

The entire room grew suddenly very quiet of voices. Oh, there was still noise. Things crashed, mostly silverware and other utensils. Things were shuffled around, plates were broken. And all around, bubbles began to form. Dozens, no, hundreds were appearing. Bright and shining, they were glowing with an unknown power. And Harriet watched as they began to swarm around the Gryffindor table, watching as a boy opened his mouth, and a bubble appeared around his lips, finishing when he closed it. It floated gently into the air, along with the rest.

None of them popped.

They jostled each other, hundreds turned what looked into thousands. Some of them huge! Some of them as big as Harriet was! And others, as small as the tip of a pencil. The ceiling was covered quickly, obscuring the cloudy sunset in the sky. The candles were snuffed out, leaving the room in dim lighting.

All of this happened in a matter of minutes. Harriet… wasn’t sure what to make of it. She watched with wide eyes, unsure how to react.

Then tap tap tap tap. The noise rang out from the front of the room, where the professors stayed. Harriet looked up, her face twisting into a sneer. There he was. Dumbledore. Tapping his wand on the pedestal. He looked like a harmless old man, but Harriet knew better. She avoided looking at him most of the time. Another reason why she hated being in the great hall. He could see her and simply being near him unnerved her. She watched, along with the rest of the student body, as he spoke. A bubble formed, but as soon as he finished speaking, he jabbed it with his wand.

It popped, and then his voice echoed around the room. “It seems like somebody has spiked the pumpkin juice.” Dumbledore sent a knowing look at the Gryffindor table, and Harriet followed his gaze. There were the two redheads from before. The twins. Ron’s brothers. They grinned shamelessly. Crooked grins and mischief etched itself into them.

Harriet used to do that. 

She was suddenly hit with a wave of nostalgia and yearning that it took her by complete surprise. It sent her into a small type of shock. Throwing her mentally into the past. She could remember- she could remember how she used to laugh like that. How she used to smile and giggle in her cupboard late at night. Harriet missed Dumbledore speaking again, and his act of popping the bubble.

“This is a rather hilarious joke. Well thought out, if I do say so myself. However, I would ask you to please not make more noise. I am sure that when all of the bubbles pop, there could be a chance of the noise being so loud, it could blow the roof completely off.” Dumbledore laughed humbly. 

Harriet watched the two boys with hawk-like precision. The two boys, older than her and much taller, were enjoying this immensely. Their ear to ear grins was a sign that they had done it. Along with a few Gryffindors who either shook their hands in congratulations or one or two brave souls who slapped them lightly on the back of the head. Judging by the fact that they acted like celebrities, this was a common thing to have happened.

Harriet frowned to herself slightly. They were Weasleys. Not the good kind either. Not E. Weasley, the most brilliant author on the planet. No, these were the awful kind. They were Ronald’s brothers. And instantly, Harriet disliked them. But seeing them laugh and enjoy the mess that they made… it lit a fire that Harriet hadn’t realized had extinguished. Now, in this moment, it had been dumb of her to think like that. But Harriet had figured that jokes and pranks were for the Dursleys. Hogwarts wasn’t the place for it.

And yet… 

“This is probably the best prank I have seen in many years. Whoever did this came forward, their punishment will light. However, if you do not then I will assure you there will be an investigation. The rest of you, enjoy your meals and have a good night. I’m sure that this piece of magic will not last more than an hour.” Dumbledore’s voice rang out once again.

Harriet pursed her lips. Still staring over at the table, and narrowed her eyes. The best prank, huh? Not that Harriet ever wanted Dumbledore’s approval. No, she wouldn’t do anything because she wanted to prove herself better. She didn’t care what Dumbledore thought. Not in the slightest. But the best prank… 

Emboldened by the fact that nobody could hear her, Harriet spoke softly to herself. “This is fucking brilliant .” A bubble, the first one that came from her, formed around her mouth and gently floated up to the sky. A message that would go unheard. “Assholes.” A second bubble appeared.

And she couldn’t let it go.

Because somehow, Harriet took it as the first attack in a long series of a war that she suddenly was itching for.

A war that the two twins were certainly not prepared for.


 

“An investigation,” Malfoy spoke to the group. His posh voice dripped with disdain. He repeated himself. “An investigation. Everybody knows that Dumbledore isn’t going to do anything.”

“But he said he would.” Goyle spoke slowly. As if he could somehow figure out Draco’s message before he finished speaking.

“It’s all a farce. He knows it was those Gryffindors.” Draco huffed, before leaning forward to adjust his telescope a few centimeters to the left.

“What’s a farce?” Crabbe asked.

“It’s another word for a sham.”

“What’s a sham?” Goyle replied.

“A trick. A pretense. A lie. It means that Dumbledore said all of that to get our complaints off his back.” Draco elaborated. He said it all without a single sigh or mocking tone. He did this a lot, Harriet had noticed. He defined words a lot for Goyle and Crabbe to understand them. It was… nice of him. Despite his haughty air or his stuck up attitude, Draco was willing to help others.

Mostly Slytherins. But others nonetheless. It was the most humane thing that Harriet had yet to see in Hogwarts.

Harriet was only partially listening. She was twirling a quill between her fingers, staring at the wall. Her microscope was pointed at Scorpio constellation. They were trying to find all of the different horoscope constellations and Harriet had only found one before she gave up. The night time was the time where she planned things. She snuck around a lot during the comfort of darkness. And this was really her best time to scheme.

That and Harriet was easily distracted.

‘I could make my potions.’ Harriet thought, then her eyebrows twitched downwards as she pursed her lips slightly. ‘But that would mean I would have to find a place to make them. My room isn’t the best. No ventilation. The smell could alert people here who have experience with potions. I can’t do it anywhere Snape.’ Harriet sucked in the side of her cheek, her fingers tapping absently on the table. ‘My list of areas where I could make potions are limited by how well I know the castle. I’ve been practically everywhere by now, but I’m still hopelessly lost.’ Harriet could count on her hands the number of places she knew where to go that wasn’t a classroom. Her room, an alcove, the library. None of them suited her. The alcove was too out in the open. And Harriet wasn’t the only person who used it during the day. And the library, oh no. No way.

Which meant that Harriet had to take a different approach to this. Potions were a must-have. But Harriet needed to take her time exploring in the castle. She had to find a place that nobody would go to. But that would take time, and Harriet’s gut twisted with the idea of not doing something sooner. She wanted so desperately to do something.

That left Harriet with one other option.

The muggle way.

“-just wait until my father hears about this!” Draco said, cutting into Harriet’s thoughts. She blinked as she came back from her thoughts. It was so out of the blue that it startled her. What on earth warranted that reaction from Draco?

Harriet looked at Crabbe, then at Goyle. Goyle shrugged, then patted her on the back awkwardly. As if to say, ‘we get this a lot, welcome to the club.’


 

“Harriet!” An older Hufflepuff, a prefect of some kind, waved her down in the hallway. They were just emerging from the astrology tower, some of the students stumbling down the stairs in exhaustion.

Harriet quietly swore under her breath. “Fuck, not again.” She glanced up and met the shocked expression on Goyle’s face. It was a mixture of confusion and bewildered astonishment. She stared at him for a split second, unsure what to do. She hadn’t thought that he could hear her. Then his eyes turned towards the Hufflepuff prefect and narrowed.

“Oy, is that guy botherin’ you?” He pointed at the prefect who was walking towards their group. Harriet nodded shyly. Goyle squared his shoulders and stomped towards the prefect. “Hey, you leave her alone!”

“Goyle!” Draco squawked indignantly. “What are you doing?”

“What?” The prefect was seemingly unprepared for an eleven-year-old wall of muscle heading towards him. Harriet watched with wide eyes as Goyle yelled at the prefect. Draco was trying to pull him away, but Draco wasn’t as tall or had the strength to pull Goyle away. And surprisingly, Crabbe joined in for no reason that Harriet could see. The prefect had no clue how to react with two small children yelling at him and another trying to pull them away.

Silently, without notice, Harriet slipped away. The noise echoed down the hallway as she slipped into the dark hallways of Hogwarts. For the first time in days, she was free from the Hufflepuffs that followed her. And Harriet was going to take her time exploring the castle, but this time with a goal in mind.

The next morning, Harriet didn’t speak as she dropped a napkin of pastries next to Goyle and Crabbe that she snitched from the kitchen. As dumb as they were, the two boys knew thanks when it was given to them.

Slytherins weren’t too bad, after all. At least, Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy were leagues better than the other students.


 

Harriet had smuggled a lot of paraphernalia to Hogwarts. Not the kind that most kids would enjoy, like drugs or alcohol. Instead, Harriet brought with the many items that she had fondly dubbed ‘her kit.’ In ‘the kit’ there were things that Harriet had used over her time at the Dursleys. It was her tools, so to speak. When magic wouldn’t work, Harriet would take her pick from dozens of items that she had stolen from her unknowing aunt and uncle.

After digging in her mum’s trunk Harriet unearthed all of her supplies. Carefully eyeing each one over, debating which one to use. Superglue? What should she paste together? Jar lids? No no no. It was a good idea, but she had to do something… extra. Showy. Something big.

Her fingers trailed over the various bottles and she paused on one. She had only tried this particular prank once before. It wasn’t subtle enough to avoid the ire of the Dursleys, as they could easily point the fault at her. Harriet pursed her lips, then thought it over. It would be similar to the Weasley’s bubble prank. Too similar for her taste. But looking over her various items, Harriet didn’t know what to use her other items for. And so Harriet picked up the Marauders Compendium. She flipped through a few pages and settled down to read. She wanted to make this perfect.

She needed this to be utterly spotless. What better way to do than then learn from the masters themselves?


 

It took her time. More time than she would have liked. Harriet was impatient. Friday was the day that bubbles left everybody's mouths. And on Sunday morning Harriet put her plan into motion as she left the safe haven of the Hufflepuff dorms. It was still a pain to get up early, but Harriet didn’t mind this morning. The torches on the walls were still unlit. The portraits were still. Harriet crept along in the dark, her eyes used to the lack of light. In one hand, she clutched the Marauders Componium that was flipped open to the page of the map. It was a crude map, made up of wobbly lines and notes on the side. The only reason that Harriet was using it was that it showed her where people were. And that was the key to avoiding people this early in the morning. She found the map late the night before. The idea of it was absolutely brilliant. And if this wasn’t amazing enough, Harriet wondered what the completed version of it would be like. In her other hand, she held her secret weapon.

The hallways felt longer than usual. Butterflies surged up her stomach and into her throat where they were lodged in a thick glob that no matter how hard Harriet tried to swallow it wouldn’t move. This was more nerve-wracking than spiking Uncle Vernon’s tea bags with dried chili peppers. Or that one time where she ‘accidentally’ misplaced Dudley’s left shoe until the Dursleys gave up searching the house to buy yet another pair.

This had higher stakes. At least it felt like it. In reality? Not really. In the Dursley home Harriet would have been attacked and starved to death if not for the fact that Dursley’s didn’t want to hide her body after killing her. Here, though? It was different. Pranking wasn’t a form of revenge. Not all of Hogwarts had annoyed her. It was only a select few students who had. And Ronald Weasley was definitely in the Dursley category, along with his friends. But the rest of them? The other students weren’t involved. And Harriet felt a little bad about dragging them into this.

For the teachers though? Oh, they totally deserved it. Snape was a right prat. A dick, one might say. And Harriet didn’t mind dragging Dumbledore into a few pranks. Although… it felt like she was poking the bear if she did. Harriet didn’t want Dumbledore’s attention on her. He was a higher enemy. Far more than the Dursleys. He was what Dudley would call the ‘final boss’ and Harriet wasn’t strong enough to face him. He was so powerful. He had utter control over Harriet’s life. And she didn’t want to make him force her to do stuff even more.

Harriet let out a shaky breath. Her breath fogged up slightly in the dungeon air. She crept along the hallways silently, her eyes focusing on the dark page in front of her. Nobody was out. She didn’t see any footmarks traveling across the page. It was too early in the morning for patrols of perfects and teachers. Hell, all of the portraits around her were still asleep in their frames. Knowing that nobody was around still didn’t calm the nerves that jumped and bounced around in her stomach. But it didn’t calm the fire inside of her that burned her to do this. Harriet still wanted more than anything to do this. It was the only thing that kept her going. As Harriet padded up to the stairs to the main floor, her heart thundered and pounded with anxiety. She could feel her throat close up, even though there wasn’t anybody around to talk to. The stress of doing something she knew was wrong was both terrifying and…. Delightful. The mixture of glee twisted and turned inside of her. It made her hands shake and her face feel like it was burning. She tiptoed around the main hall until she reached a side passage.

Harriet slipped out of a side door that leads to the courtyard. The courtyard was empty save for moonlight that dripped down and cloaked everything with a dim white light. And there… with white stone shining like glass, was her target. Harriet glanced down at her book once more, confirming once again that nobody was about. With that knowledge, she crept out of the darkness and into the moonlight, scampering over the white stone cobblestone until she reached the fountain. It was a pretty thing. Its water was clear and no debris covered the bottom. Magic, Harriet supposed. Well, it was all about to change.

With a heft, Harriet brought the gallon jug that she had been practically dragging along with her up onto the stone rim of the fountain. It was heavy. But Harriet had hardly noticed the weight of it the entire time. With a deft hand, she unscrewed the cap off of the dawn ultra big dish soap and gently began to pour it into the water.

Bubbles began to form immediately.


 

Fred and George had no clue what was happening. In their defense, they were asleep at the time. Fred was enjoying the night air that came through their window in Gryffindor tower. He and George had long since figured out how to jimmy them open in their second year, after having to suffer through a minor heat flash that nearly roasted everybody alive. George was softly snoring on his bed. Fred had woken perhaps fifteen minutes ago and was quietly writing down in his journal. It was a worn-out book, with about a dozen pages threatening to fall out but were stubbornly bespelled with perhaps a few sticky charms to keep them in. It was also bespelled with all of the safeguard spells that both of the twins knew. Nothing short of fiendfyre could destroy it, and nothing could get in to see what Fred had written on those pages. Not even George. It was the one thing that the twins kept separate from each other. It was Fred’s personal journal, where he wrote down his ‘dreams.’

The sunlight that was slowly peaking above the forbidden forest gently reached out and touched the pages with speckled bits of lights that glowed orange. Fred stared down at his journal. Half the time he couldn’t remember writing what he Saw. He would still be in his daze when he pulled his journal towards him in the middle of the night and he would scribble absolute jibberish. Somehow, in his thoughts, he thought what he was writing was important. Whatever he wrote was significant for him to remember. Fred had no clue what he was trying to tell him.

He reached out, touching the words that the burning bright orange light of the sunrise lit up. It was a few sentences that made any sense. Sort of.

‘For when the red hair meets the green grass blades, do not be afraid. Watch and sit back, for Death starts her crusade.’

What did this mean?

Fred did not have long to ponder this. For soon after he read it, he heard the familiar thumping of Lee’s footsteps thundering up the stairs. Fred snapped his journal closed and shoved it under his pillow.

Lee, the ugly bastard, slammed open the door to their room, the loud crash causing George to jolt away. “Absolutely brilliant!” Lee crowed, in his gasping out of breath sort of way.

“Lee you bastard.” George groaned, shoving a pillow over his face. “Why in the bloody hell are you being so loud this morning. It’s Sunday.”

Lee didn’t seem to be bothered by George’s bad mood. “How on earth did you do it? The bubbles?”

“We spiked the pumpkin juice,” Fred replied, raising an eyebrow. “I thought we told you this ages ago.”

“No, I mean the girl's bathroom!” Lee flung his hands into the air. “How on earth did you get in there? I can’t believe you guys got in there. That place is warded to high heaven.”

There was a long pause. Then George threw his pillow off his head and gave Lee a long look. “Girls bathroom?”

“What do you mean,” Fred started.

“The girl's bathroom?” George took his turn.

“We haven’t done anything to the girl's bathroom.” Fred finished. Lee blinked at the laser focus of both twins attention on him.

“The bubbles?” Lee protested weakly, the excitement deflating from him. “That wasn’t you?”

George threw off his covers and stumbled out of bed. Fred followed him closely behind, as Lee pointed down the stairs to the main common room. There were already crowds of people standing around and staring at something. And as Fred and George came into the room, it became apparent what they were looking at. The doors to the bathrooms were propped open, and inside there were mounds of bubbles. They spilled out of every sink. Every showerhead. The floor was covered with them, and it kept on coming. Oozing out of every spigot. The thousands of tiny bubbles were unstoppable.

“George! Fred!” Perfect Percy spotted them and every eye in the room fell onto the twins. “This is your doing. What have I told you about your tricks.”

Before Fred or George could formulate a response, the large door that covered the entrance of Gryffindor’s entrance swung open. An excited second year stumbled into the room. “The bubbles are everywhere! In every single bathroom in Hogwarts. And you should see the fountain outside. The courtyard is covered in bubbles!”

Fred and George looked at each other. They communicated silently and quickly, as the room erupted in whispers and judgemental stares at the twins. This was a joke. It had to be. But it could also be that somebody was trying to frame them. For what? Who knew. Then the moment was over, and the twins fell into their favourite characters.

“Aww, Percy.” George threw his arm around his older brother, “you know that we would never, ever play another trick like this again.”

“We have taste.” Fred flung his arm on Percy’s other side, “and hypothetically us doing the same prank within a couple of days is ridiculous!”

“Bubbles? That’s so cliche.” George added, shaking his head, “why anybody could do a prank with bubbles. It doesn’t take a genius to cast the suds-and-buds charm.”

“Even a firstie could have done this.” Fred crooned. “So what makes you think-”

“-that we could have been-”

“-the ones to do this?” Both of the twins turned and gave Percy their perfect ‘who me?’ innocent looks.

Percy pulled himself out of their grips, his face beginning to turn a little red. “Don’t think you can get out of this that easily.” He pointed his finger at the twins. “Don’t forget that I have lived with you for your entire lives, I know perfectly well what kind of tricks that you like to play. And this is obviously one of them.”

“Oh George,” George sighed, clutching his shirt, “I’m hurt. Absolutely betrayed. Percy doesn’t believe us.”

“It’s going to be okay, Fred.” Fred patted his brother on his shoulder, “you have me. And ickle Ronikins. We believe you.” Fred glanced at his youngest brother, Ron who gave a rather ugly snort and shook his head.

“Leave me out of this,” Ron grunted, his hair sticking up in all directions. Clearly, he had only just gotten up from bed due to the commotion.

“Well, you have at least me.” Fred amended his statement.

“Just wait until mother hears about this,” Percy spoke between clenched teeth. “And detention for a week, both of you.”

“For what?” George, pretending to be Fred, protested. “We didn’t do anything. You can’t prove it.”

“For disrupting the peace!” Percy flung his hands in the air. His temper getting the best of him.

“Fine.” Fred, pretending to be George, shrugged. “If that’s all, then we’re going back to bed.”

“We don’t want to disrupt the peace any more than we already have.” George shot back. And the twins leisurely swaggered up the stairs and into their bedroom. Once the door swung shut, and they were in their own privacy the two dropped the act.

“Fuckin prick of a brother.” George kicked the post of his bed with his foot. “Thinks he can give us all the detentions just because he’s a prefect.”

“The power has gone to his head.” Fred sighed, “although it didn’t help that there were two mishaps with bubbles within the last few days.”

“That’s why we tend to spread out our pranks a bit.” George muttered grumpily, “who do you think did it?”

“Honestly? No clue. The only other person I know who’d do a practical joke like that is Lee. But he obviously didn’t do it because he thought we did it.” Fred mused, “although I would like to know how it happened.”

“They put something in the pipes.” George flopped onto his bed face first.

“The suds-and-buds charm only works within a certain range. And I’ve never seen soap so foamy before.” Fred added.

George twisted his head and uncovered his face. “So what do you think happened?”

“I don’t know,” Fred answered honestly. “I really don’t know.”


 

In this particular weekend, quite a lot of things happen in the various universes. In 152- bzzzt! ERROR.

ERROR.

ERROR.

‘It matters not for what role they play. Singer. Master. Chosen from fate. It does not matter. Left alone on the frosty step, waiting to die. November second, a dark biting night. The veils of the world still thin that night. Blood travels far and wide. But for whom it calls, it cannot deny. Destiny awaits for one who was spurned. Once there were three brothers, in their tale that has been told. And now their tale is to be finished, in darkness and forbode. For when the red hair meets the green grass blades, do not be afraid. Watch and sit back, for Death starts her crusade.’

-The first, and only unique prophecy by Fred Weasley. Found in only one Universe that should not exist.