Chapter 1: Awakening
Sunlight shone at 8 a.m. on the detached houses of Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey.
At the sound of a shrill "Up! Get up, now!" accompanied by sharp knocking, bright green eyes snapped open. The pale 10-year-old laying on a cot instantly sat up, pushed open the door of the cupboard under the stairs and crawled out. He froze with a stoic look on his heart-shaped face (yet a resigned look in his eyes) as a bony hand grabbed him by the wild mess of jet-black hair.
"Look after the bacon," a straw-blonde woman with a long neck and sky blue eyes ordered, "And don't you dare let it burn! I want everything perfect for Duddy's birthday."
"Yes, Ma'am," the boy replied in a bland tone of voice. His stoicness wasn't at all affected by her grip on his hair painfully tightening for a split second before she let go. Petunia Annie Dursley née Evans then went upstairs.
Harry Evan Potter walked through the living-room into the kitchen and started watching the bacon that was already on a frying pan atop the stove. He didn't flinch nor react in any way when an obese man named Vernon Dursley walked into the kitchen with a bark of "Comb your hair!" and a newspaper tucked under one arm. He sat down at the dining table, which currently was overflowing with presents.
My hair has been like this for literally my entire life. What exactly does he think combing it now would do? Harry thought, a look of disdain briefly on his face; it was then replaced by a wistful look. I wish I knew why my hair sometimes feels wrong, like the style and colour should be something completely different. Maybe my subconscious wants a connection to Mum? My hair and face come from Dad, but I have her eyes so it isn't as if there's no connection already.
Harry took a big gulp of milk when Vernon wasn't looking and silently closed the fridge, then put the bacon onto a plate which he placed on top of 1 of Dudley's birthday presents. He left the kitchen while ignoring Vernon's complaints about how "the freak" a.k.a. Harry was "such a burden".
He easily side-stepped Dudley when the obese blond ran from the entryway into the living-room. Like both of his parents, Dudley had a light complexion; Harry thought with a sarcastic smile: Funny how we both have our respective mothers' eyes. Yet us sharing blood through them hasn't made us cousins.
Harry walked out of the house, closed the front door silently and started jogging. He expertly avoided other pedestrians by going into alleys and on somewhat obscure streets.
He returned to Privet Drive an hour and a half later.
The Dursleys' car was gone. Smirking at that, Harry went to the backdoor and pick-locked it; he closed it behind himself soundlessly after entering the house. He had a quick shower to wash off all the sweat from his 8 km jog, then ate lettuce accompanied by (after cooking it) a fish filet he had bought earlier today with money stolen throughout the past 6 years of his life from Petunia's and Vernon's wallets. I wouldn't be able to run much if I only eat the burnt toast or scraps from their dinner that they give me.
Easily avoiding stepping onto any of the 100s of broken toys, Harry hid underneath the old bed in Dudley's second bedroom; he forced himself to relax and soon managed to fall asleep.
Eyes instantly snapping open at the sound of the front door opening (despite the distance), Harry checked the time via an old wristwatch of Vernon's he had stolen years ago. He heard Dudley loudly complaining to Piers about how "the stupid snake was so boring! It didn't move at all". Harry waited until sounds came from the kitchen, then crawled out from beneath the old bed; he soundlessly went downstairs and out the front door.
Harry walked to the playground at Magnolia Road and started using the rusty monkey-bars to do pull-ups. After doing 22 of them, he laid on the ground for a few minutes before sitting on a swing. Harry grinned as he was swinging. This so much fun! The closest thing to flying for real, he thought for the millionth time in his life.
Harry leapt off when the swing once again reached a high point, yet he floated down instead of crashing. I don't care what the Dursleys say. I like being a freak!
A month later, Harry raised an eyebrow as he walked into the kitchen following an unpleasant smell. He saw Petunia dyeing some of Dudley's old clothes grey in the sink.
What's that? he wondered, but didn't ask; the second thing he had been taught at the Dursleys' was: "Don't ask questions!" Harry usually on principle disagreed with everything they said or did, but this was one rule he instinctively agreed with.
He left the kitchen and entered his cupboard so he could read an O-level maths textbook, then solve some of the algebra questions in it on sheets of paper he had hidden under his cot weeks ago.
When he heard something come in through the mail-slot, Harry quickly went to check the mail; just in case his primary school had sent something for some reason. He hadn't ever let the Dursleys see his high grades after the utter disaster that resulted from getting top scores on a test at 5 years old while Dudley had failed the test, so no way was he going to risk all that effort going to waste now if the school had sent a letter!
Harry discovered amongst the Dursleys' mail an envelope made of parchment with 'Mr H. Potter
Cupboard Under The Stairs
Nr 4 Privet Drive
Surrey' on it. He quickly and silently left the house before Dudley's approaching stomps could reach the entryway.
Harry slid the made-from-parchment envelope into one of the pockets of Dudley's denim blue, hand-me-down jeans (which were held up by a black leather belt since Dudley's body was twice the width of skinny Harry). He ran down Privet Drive, to Magnolia Crescent and from there — instead of going to Magnolia Road — headed for Wisteria Walk. Harry knocked on the front door of one of the houses there.
An old lady opened it. "Hullo, Harry!" she greeted with a smile on her wrinkled face, then hobbled to the side with her crutches so he could enter.
"Good morning, Mrs Figg," Harry greeted politely before asking: "May I please borrow your loo?"
Mrs Figg briefly turned her attention from one of her many cats to him. "Of course. You remember which door it is?"
When in the bathroom, he sat down on the closed toilet with his clothes still on and used a finger to open the envelope. The letter was made from parchment too.
"Magic school?" Harry muttered, raising an eyebrow; somehow the concept of Magic being real didn't shock him at all. "Wait, why am I surprised only by the school part? If Magic is common, doesn't it make sense to optimise everyone who has it learning to properly use it? The point of primary school was to teach kids how to read, write and count; some general knowledge too."
Harry re-read the letter, then scowled. "What do they mean 'We await your owl'? Rather foolish to assume everyone has one." He pocketed the letter and left the bathroom.
For the rest of that day, Harry helped Mrs Figg; she had been his babysitter throughout his childhood whenever the Dursleys left their house to do fun things.
He returned to Nr 4 Privet Drive at sunset.
Next morning, an envelope identical to the first arrived; Harry immediately grabbed it and left the house before the Dursleys could come get their mail. He glanced around with narrowed eyes.
An owl! Harry ran to the nearby tree and started shimmying up its trunk. When 2 feet off the ground, he asked the barn owl: "Can you understand me?"
It hooted and flew to land on his head.
Harry slid down the trunk, ignoring with years of practice the scrapes that his hands received. The owl flew off his head with an alarmed hoot. "Please carry this to Deputy Headmistress McGonagall?" he told it, holding yesterday's letter (without the envelope).
The owl used its talons to take hold of the letter and flew away.
Harry sat down on the front step to wait with his elbows against his knobby knees and his lower face cupped by his hands.
47 minutes later, out of nowhere silently appeared a light-skinned lady clad in black open robes over a forest green, simple dress that reached her ankles; a dark grey witch's hat was on her head, she had black hair tied up in a bun, and she was wearing brown leather shoes with a golden buckle each and no heels. "Mr Potter," she whispered in a mild Scottish accent, grey eyes wide behind square, golden-rimmed glasses.
Harry looked up at her in confusion. What's with that look? Shrugging, he got up and said: "Good morning, Ma'am."
"Good morning, Mr Potter." Minerva McGonagall cleared her throat, the grief and wonder replaced by the usual sternness she had. "Your aunt—"
"If you mean Petunia, she isn't my aunt; being related doesn't make us a family." After his outburst, Harry froze with a stoic look on his face that showed none of his internal panic. Congratulations, abomination; you've just destroyed your chances of attending a Magic school instead of Stonewall High.
McGonagall's lips pursed at the interruption, then she narrowed her eyes at his words. "I see." This explains his letter. No wonder he wrote that he didn't know where to purchase school supplies for Hogwarts. Lily's sister never told him about Diagon Alley!
She had no idea that Petunia had never told Harry anything about himself aside from: "Your parents died in a car-crash because your worthless layabout of a father was driving drunk and she was too much of a whore to stop him. Pity you didn't die with them." The professor didn't know that today was the first time he would find out about being a wizard.
McGonagall explained to Harry that Apparating was a Magical skill he would be taught in his 6th Year at Hogwarts. "Trying it without a license is illegal and very dangerous, Mr Potter. Now then, take my hand." He did what she told him to. Next thing Harry knew, he felt as if he was being squeezed through a narrow tube; they vanished from Privet Drive and reappeared in front of a pub called The Leaky Cauldron. Above it was a motel that was part of the pub.
Harry promptly fell to his knees and vomited. McGonagall made the vomit vanish with a wave of her wand. "Apologies, Mr Potter; it takes time to become used to being Side-Along Apparated." She gave him a glass vial. He gave it a suspicious look with his open eye. "Drink it. It's a Stomach-Soothing Solution." Shrugging, Harry obeyed. His nausea instantly disappeared.
"Does this happen often?" he couldn't help asking.
McGonagall pushed open The Leaky Cauldron's door while replying: "Yes, which is why I and the other professors bring vials of Stomach-Soothing Solution with us when delivering letters of muggleborns."
What's a 'muggleborn'? Harry wondered, following her through the busy pub to its backdoor. He waited next to a rubbish bin while she thrice tapped a specific brick that was three up and two across. The brick wall shifted until it there was an arc hole big enough to fit 5 men through at the same time. Harry and McGonagall stepped through; looking over his shoulder, he saw the hole close back into a normal-looking reddish light brown brick-wall.
Harry's gaze darted all over Diagon Alley while he and his escort walked its cobbled streets. People wearing a closed robe (the type that Merlin in Disney 'The Sword in the Stone' wore; when he had been 7 years old, Harry had watched it out of spite against Petunia and Vernon's hatred for any fictional children's stories involving fantasy while the Dursleys were away at a zoo), open robes, trousers, some variation of shirt, a bliaut, a jacket, a blazer, a coat, a dress, a skirt, jeans, and boots or shoes that varied from anywhere between 1800s and 1991. Most people were clearly English, but some were Welsh or Scottish and a few were non-British. People of all ages were shopping in the various strange shops or spending time with their friends.
McGonagall led Harry to a white building that towered over the two shops on either side of it. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a uniform of scarlet and bronze, was a strange, human-like creature. It — he — was a little taller than Harry, with a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, the 10-year-old noticed, very long fingers and feet.
"Always be polite to goblins, lad," McGonagall advised. Harry nodded.
They entered, and faced silver double-doors with a poem warning against thieves. A pair of goblins let them through the silver doors, Harry and McGonagall coming into a vast marble hall. About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins in brass scales, examining precious stones through eyeglasses. There were too many doors to count leading off the hall, and yet more goblins were showing people in and out of these. The boy and the professor made for the counter.
"The gold ones are Galleons," McGonagall explained as they walked, "17 silver Sickles to a Galleon and 29 bronze Knuts to a Sickle. The exchange rate for British Muggle currency is £85 to a Galleon, £5 to a Sickle and 17 pence to a Knut." (The K in word Knut was silent.)
When they reached a goblin at the counter, the professor stated in a polite tone of voice: "Mr Potter would like to make a withdrawal from his account." She didn't notice a baffled look briefly appearing on Harry's face.
"Key?" the goblin said expectantly.
I have no choice, Harry thought before admitting aloud that he didn't own any key — not even one for the front door of the Dursleys' house.
A very stern look appeared on McGonagall's face. "No-one ever gave your account's key to you?"
Harry shook his head. He turned to the goblin. "May I please have a new key?" Best not admit that I never knew about me having a bank account nor about Diagon Alley nor that I'm a wizard. If they knew how ignorant I really am about all of this, they would take advantage of me.
Since she wasn't his legal guardian, McGonagall had to stay behind while a different goblin led Harry through one of the hall's many doors; he was escorted down a corridor and into an office.
"Prick your finger and put a drop of blood on this," she told him, handing the 10-year-old a sharp needle and taking an A4 sheet of parchment from a cupboard. The goblin placed the parchment atop a desk.
Shrugging, Harry obeyed despite curling his lip in distaste of the needle. His full name appeared in crimson the instant his blood hit the parchment.
The goblin nodded, handed him a skeleton key made of metal and she escorted him back to where McGonagall was.
After a roller-coaster ride on a mine-cart, Harry and the professor arrived in front of Vault 687; he put a few handfuls of all 3 coin options into a black pouch that had been given to him in exchange for a payment 5 Sickles. He paid 22 Galleons for the new key.
Using the list on the second sheet of parchment that had come with his first letter, Harry went around in Diagon Alley buying his wizarding school supplies with the professor as escort; he put 'Curses and Counter-Curses' by Vindictus Viridian back on one of the towering bookshelves of 'Flourish and Blotts' when she gave him an especially stern look. After buying all of the textbooks and 4 fountain pens and 8 spiral-backed notebooks with each leather cover in a different colour from the bookshop, 4 sets of the school uniform (black closed robes with sleeves that were tight at the lower arms and the wrists, a pair of grey trousers and a white T-shirt; while he was being fitted for the first set by Madam Malkin, Harry heard from her that the T-shirt and the trousers were added into the uniform because a jinx that made people hang upside-down by their ankles had been "all the rage in the mid to late 70s"), a pair of dragon-hide gloves (Harry somehow felt the thought of dragons being real was perfectly normal) in a dull shade of lime green from 'Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions' and a spare pair in case the first got lost/too damaged, a thick black cloak with silver fastenings (unknown to Harry, the part of the cloak that would be very near his neck had Ancient Runes sewn onto it in a specific formula) from Madam Malkin's, a plain black tie from Madam Malkin's, an iron cauldron (which — unknown to Harry — had at one part of it Ancient Runes carved in a specific formula) and an iron stirring rod from 'Potage's Cauldron Shop', 22 different specific Potion ingredients as well as a plastic ruler and a set of brass scales alongside a set of glass phials from 'Apothecary', and (for fun since McGonagall told him that Hogwarts had an Astronomy Club) a collapsible brass telescope from 'Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment'.
"What if I don't want to bring an owl or a cat or a toad?" Harry asked.
McGonagall gave him a stern look. "You aren't planning to bring a dog, are you?"
"Of course not. How can I when I don't have a dog? Or any pet, for that matter... I was just wondering if the letter's implication about only the three animals being options was a rule."
Slytherin, for sure. "Yes, it is a rule that only those three are allowed at Hogwarts; students may ask the Headmaster to make an exception if their pet weighs 21 pounds or less and is able to live happily in the dorms."
"Okay." They entered an old-looking shop with its door being between 2 cylindrical windows that had 'Ollivander's' written above them and over the front door was a plaque that read in peeling gold letters 'Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C.'.
The inside of the shop was dark and narrow, with towering bookshelves filled by 1000s of narrow wooden boxes. Harry reflexively spun around and punched in the face an old man the instant he appeared behind the 10-year-old boy. McGonagall exclaimed "Mr Potter!" with a mixture of shock and anger, while the old man let out a small laugh.
"Ah, please forgive a foolish wizard; I should have learned after the other 8 times this exact same thing happened," Garrick Ollivander said, running a wrinkled, pale hand through his wispy grey hair. An amused twinkle was in his silver eyes.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "You kept trying to surprise your customers after being punched in the face?"
"Well, only 4 children — yourself included — punched me in the face or chest; the others resorted to elbowing me, a kick, a backhand and a dagger," Ollivander replied in a cheerful tone of voice, "Now then... Mrs McGonagall; fir and dragon heartstring, 9 and a half inches, stiff."
Tense, the professor barely moved her head to give a small nod. "We are here for Mr Potter's wand. And you would do well to cease trying to surprise all of your customers, Mr Ollivander."
"Nonsense! How else will I know their Hearts?" After tottering past a few of the towering bookshelves, he pulled one of the wooden boxes out and rummaged through all the wands it held before handing one to Harry. Before the child could even hold it for more than a split second, Ollivander was already snatching the wand back. "No, no, that won't do!"
Harry tried out many wands, sometimes allowed to give it a wave (which in some cases resulted in minor problems and in other cases shattered part of Ollivander's windows or set his wooden chair on fire and for rest of the time nothing happened); Ollivander eventually handed him a silver-coloured wand. "Holly and phoenix feather, 11 inches, nice and supple; go on, give it a swish."
Already smiling at the wave of warmth he'd felt upon touching the wand, Harry raised it above his head then brought it swishing down through the dusty air; black sparks shot out from its tip.
"Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed; oh, very good. ...Well, well, well… How curious… How very curious…" Ollivander murmured.
Blinking in surprise at that, Harry stopped staring at his wand and looked at him. "What's curious?"
"I remember every wand I have ever sold, Mr Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather — just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother — why, its brother gave you that scar."
Harry swallowed, raising one hand to rub at the squished and slightly sideways Z on his forehead; he moved his messy fringe to cover it.
"Yes, 13 and a half inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember… I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter... After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes; but great."
Harry shivered at Ollivander's words. I have no clue who He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is and feel nothing at the mention of him, but all the rest of that sounds terrifyingly familiar... He froze at McGonagall's hand clamping onto his shoulder, his face blanking.
"I should think that murder and starting a war filled with terror have nothing 'great' about them!" she snapped, Scottish accent thickening in her rage.
Ollivander shook his head. "That isn't at all what I meant. You simply do not see the things I can, blinded to Hearts. Great doesn't necessarily mean good. No-one can deny that You-Know-Who has succeeded in many extremely intricate feats of Magic, regardless of his lack of a moral compass.
The wand chooses the witch or wizard. That much has always been clear to those of us who have studied wandlore... These connections are complex. An initial attraction, and then a mutual quest for experience, the wand learning from the witch, the witch from the wand." Ollivander looked at Harry. "Sharing a brother wand — a wand with the core coming from the exact same source at the exact same time — or a sister wand — a wand with the wood coming from the exact same source at the exact same time — in no way determines your own path in life. That is up to yourself."
They left the wand shop. On the way to Privet Drive, McGonagall in a stern tone gave Harry a speech about morals that he ignored in favour of silently puzzling over the utter dread he'd felt at Ollivander's "terrible, yes; but great".
Harry wasn't the only one having a strange summer.
Someone who looked exactly like a sunkissed girl with bushy, wild curls kept methodically moving a pencil while reading 'The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1' by Miranda Goshawk. "Hermione!" Scowling, the 11-year-old tucked a mahogany curl behind one ear and placed the pencil between the textbook's pages before closing the book then leaving the bedroom.
Someone who looked exactly like a freckled boy with a light complexion and orange-red hair instinctively flung a small fireball from one hand at the apple flying towards the ginger's face. After blinking in surprise, the 11-year-old glared with sky blue eyes at someone; followed by shouting: "Watch it, you two!"
Harry spent the last few days of July and the entirety of August avoiding the Dursleys even more than he already had done for over half his life.
Harry knew from McGonagall how to find Platform 9 and three-quarters. His face made an impassive expression, yet his gaze flicked from the scarlet and black steam-engine train to the owls soaring above the crowd's heads to the vulture hat worn by a witch who looked around 40 years old; like Tom the bartender wizard of 'The Leaky Cauldron', she was approximately 20 years older than she looked.
Harry was sitting by himself in a compartment, reading 'Modern Magical History' by Philip Sopher; he glared at the book. "Boy-Who-Lived? I was a baby! And no-one ever asked me about that night! Heck, I didn't even know about the Killing Curse nor that I have supposedly survived one before reading this book! If I hadn't had the feeling that reading about history is important to prevent ignorance of the community I'm now joining, I never would have found out Petunia lied about how my parents died! I wouldn't even have learned that their names are Lily and James!" He threw the book into his trunk.
With a hoot, Hedwig — the snowy owl he'd bought when sneaking into Diagon Alley a fourth time in August — landed on one of the leather patches he had sewn onto his newly bought black T-shirt's shoulders; she nuzzled his cheek.
His glare lessening, Harry ran the backs of his right hand's index and middle fingers down Hedwig's front. He then let her out of the compartment through the window so she could fly to Hogwarts instead of being stuck inside the train. He stared after her with a wistful look on his face. One day I will soar in the sky too!
The train started moving half an hour later at 11 o'clock.
By the time it arrived at Hogsmeade Train Station's small, single wooden platform, Sun was setting. A man around 7 feet tall and twice the width of most adults held up a lantern while he announced: "Firs' Years over here!"
Harry stared at the skeletal, literally black-skinned horses with fangs in their mouths and bat wings on their back. They pulled carriages that everyone who wasn't a First Year entered, yet no-one younger than 15 years old seemed able to see them and around half of those who were 15 years old or older couldn't see them either; the eyes of eight First Years, Harry included, took in the sight of the creepy creatures.
After a boat ride over the Great Lake, the kids stood with Hagrid in front of large double doors and he knocked on 1 of said oak doors; McGonagall opened it. She led the First Years into the Great Hall in an alphabetical line, then went to stand next to the 3-legged wooden stool that was in front of the teachers' table. On it was a witch's had that was partly frayed from age. McGonagall pulled a scroll from her robes' pocket and announced: "Abbott, Hannah!"
A pink-faced girl with snow-blonde pigtails ran to the stool; McGonagall lifted the hat and told her to sit on the stool, then placed the hat atop Hannah's head.
A moment later, its seam opened and it shouted: "HUFFLEPUFF!" One of the extremely long student tables burst into applause. Hannah ran to them, her plain tie now striped with yellow and black. Nothing else about her uniform had changed.
A dark-skinned girl with auburn hair so long it reached the back of her knees walked to the stool, dark brown eyes narrowed. Without being prompted, she sat down on the stool; the Sorting Hat barely touched her head before shouting: "HUFFLEPUFF!"
Susan held her head, a pained grimace appearing on her face in the split second between the Hat beginning to touch her head and it announcing her new House; she managed to hide the pain quickly enough that even Harry, the bushy-haired 11-year-old and the ginger didn't notice.
A boy walked to the stool and sat without being prompted. He didn't wince, as there was nothing to cause him to do so. Terry stayed sitting with Sorting Hat on his head for half a minute before it shouted: "RAVENCLAW!" Precisely like Hannah's and Susan's, his plain tie gained stripes; with blue instead of yellow and bronze instead of black. A different table burst into applause.
11-year-olds kept being Sorted. Running a hand through bushy hair, Hermione Granger slowly walked to the stool; it took half a minute before the Hat announced: "GRYFFINDOR!" Que red and gold stripes on tie.
Like Hermione had done, a straw-blonde named Neville Longbottom gave a pained grimace the instant his head was touched by the Sorting Hat. His light-skinned face then got a stoic facial expression. A few moments later, he was declared a "GRYFFINDOR!". Forgetting to give the Hat to McGonagall, Neville ran off to his new table with it on; many kids from all four Houses burst out laughing. His stoic look not changing despite the tinge of pink that had appeared on his cheeks, Neville went to return the Sorting Hat.
Upon Harry's turn, much more whispers started than for any other First Year; he ignored them all while striding to the stool.
He instantly winced in pain as, when the Sorting Hat was placed on his head, something snapped inside his mind; memories from all the vague dreams he'd had for his whole life flashed through his mind with crystal-clear clarity.
"Okay, this is getting ridiculous! 2 in one year was strange, but 6?! Quite the coincidence.
Now then..." the Sorting Hat told Harry telepathically, "Hmm, plenty of courage... Not a bad mind either. And, oh my, a thirst to prove yourself. Where shall I put you?"
Not Slytherin! Harry thought, his pain already fading.
"No? You can achieve greatness and Slytherin would help you on the way, no doubt about that."
I don't want to be great. I want... I want... I...
"What do you want?"
...I don't know.
"Well then, since you don't wish for Slytherin, better be-"
Bristling at all the cheers from his House's table and 2 gingers there screaming "We got Potter! We got Potter!", Harry couldn't help thinking: That's not my only name!
I am Sephiroth!
A.N.: Author's Note (A.N.): This fanfic isn't meant to be a high-quality story; it's just me writing it to have fun, with no plan since I've spent years stressing over several fanfics of mine so — for a change — I want to relax this time.
I decided to replace the gold in the goblins' armour with bronze since otherwise it feels like they're fanboys/fangirls of Godric Gryffindor; although, now that I think about it, the thought is kinda hilarious due to their dispute with wizards & witches over the canon Gryffindor sword. *snorts in amusement*
In case anyone is wondering what Vernon looks like aside from "obese and light-skinned", his hair is a dull shade of brown and he has his canon moustache; I have no clue what colour his eyes are since I've never thought about it.
A picture of each Minor or Main Character will be included at the end of whichever Chapter of this story they're introduced in as soon as I can.
Since my memory sucks, this will have minor differences from canon Books as I won't be quadruple-checking for accuracy when it comes to places or plot. I know the general plot of H.P., but can't remember any details so...
In canon, the students of Hogwarts don't wear a tie nor do they have anything underneath their robes aside from pants (&, in the witches' case, I figure they also have bras); there's no indication of which House someone is in either. I dislike the Movies' uniform, but I also feel uncomfortable with canon's coz of what happened to Snape in his Worst Memory; so I made my own version. Originally it was just the closed robe ever since Founders' time, then when wearing a tie became common it was added (which also became how students' Houses are immediately known), an' lastly after all those Levicorpus instances in the late 70s trousers & a T-shirt got added. When students used to wear just their pants (& a bra, in witches' case) underneath their school robe, they didn't get cold thanks to entire castle having warmth Enchantments everywhere (they still are present); what an Enchantment is will be explained at some point during this story.
Quills got replaced by fountain pens in mid-1800s.
Sorry if this Chapter dragged on too long. I was trying to show the similarities & the differences between this Harry an' his canon counterpart.
Disclaimer: I obviously don't own H.P. or F.F.7!!
Chapter 2: Familiarity
The ginger's eyes narrowed upon seeing the stoic look on Harry's face. Something weird is going on! the freckled 11-year-old knew despite having had no reaction to Neville's stoicness nor anyone else except for Hermione and Harry.
Eventually, McGonagall called: "Weasley, Veronica!"
Ears reddening, the ginger went to sit on the stool; the Sorting Hat announced "GRYFFINDOR" after only four seconds on her head. The instant it had touched her, she had grimaced but quit fast enough that no-one saw the pained look that had very briefly been on the ginger's face.
Ron joined her brothers Percy and Fred as well as the latter's twin sister George (who looked identical to Fred). Percy pushed his horn-rimmed glasses up his long nose with one hand and lightly clapped Ron's left shoulder with his other hand. "Well done, Ron; excellent!" he told her with a cheerful smile, their matching eyes locking for a split second.
She shrugged his hand off, gaze on Hermione before it moved to Harry. Can we be friends? Ron wondered, not noticing a dark-skinned boy named Blaise Zabini was Sorted into "SLYTHERIN!"; his tie gained silver and green stripes instead of gold and red. She didn't notice the 3-legged stool disappearing with a wave of McGonagall's wand nor the professor roll up Sorting Hat and pocket it before joining the other teachers. Each 11-year-old's Sorting had taken anywhere between instantly being placed into a House and it taking 4 minutes for the Sorting Hat to decide where to place the new student.
Ron looked down at an empty, normal white plate. The ginger realized how hungry she was. Her corned beef sandwich — which she always disliked the taste of — was eaten several hours ago when aboard Hogwarts Express.
An old wizard with a pale grey beard so long he had tucked it into the belt around his colourful robes stood up. Like all the other purebloods (and each of the wizarding-raised halfbloods), Ron recognised Headmaster Dumbledore instantly. The old man was smiling at the students, his arms opened wide; as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there.
"Welcome," he said, "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"
He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered.
Ron glanced down at the serving dishes in the middle of the very long table, mouth beginning to drool at the sight of food now suddenly piled on them — roasted beef, roasted chicken, pork chops, lamb chops, sausages, bacon, turkey slices, beef steak, grilled fish, fish soup, chicken soup, steamed vegetables, boiled potatoes, roasted potatoes, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, peas, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, ketchup, and peppermint humbugs. There were large jugfuls of cold milk, cold water, apple juice, pumpkin juice, pear juice, and orange juice.
Ron immediately used each dish's respective serving utensils to put some of everything on her plate. She picked up the fork in her right hand and the butter knife in her left, then began to eat while half-listening to Percy and Hermione's conversation about beginner Transfiguration.
After supper, all the serving dishes vanished; everyone's dirty plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons and goblets became clean. New serving dishes appeared. All occupants of the Great Hall got to pick a bowlful of ice cream in any flavour or a piece of treacle tart or a piece of apple pie or a piece of pecan pie or a piece of raspberry tart or a piece of strawberry cake or a piece of blueberry pie or a chocolate chip muffin that had chocolate cream in its middle or a bowlful of rice pudding or a plateful of strawberries with cream or a plateful of thick apple slices with cream or... Having warm tea or warm cocoa alongside whichever dessert people chose was an option too, the pots for those drinks labelled as clearly as all the other food and drink had been.
Ron couldn't help wishing she could try a bit of each dessert, but contented herself with a piece of treacle tart upon seeing Harry take a piece of it; from the corner of her eye, she saw that Hermione kept staring at apple pie with a conflicted look in dark brown eyes. Glancing from where Hermione sat opposite Percy to where Harry sat next to Ron with 4 people between herself and him, next glancing back to Hermione, Ron rubbed her long nose before coming to a decision: Trying to use treacle tart as a conversation starter can wait. "Hey, Granger?"
"Yes? Oh! You and Percy must be brothers!" Hermione blurted out.
Ron winced. Percy looked up from his bowlful of raspberry-and-liquorice ice cream, saying: "Was that not obvious when Professor McGonagall called out 'Weasley Veronica'?"
Face pinking, Hermione replied: "I was too busy thinking about something to notice. Sorry." The sunkissed complexion had barely returned, a second later Hermione's face turning white and eyes widening. "Your name is Veronica?" came a question whispered in a horrified tone of voice.
Ron's ears reddened. "Yeah. I—"
Fred suddenly swung an arm around the shorter ginger's shoulders, his mousy brown eyes filled with mischief. "Ickle Ronnikins picked it out all by herself!"
Pausing in her conversation with dark-skinned Lee Jordan about Quidditch, George added in a cheeky tone of voice from where she sat opposite Fred: "Mum nearly cried from joy when Ron refused Great-Aunt Muriel's first name as a new middle name."
Witches and wizards get to choose their own names? Hermione assumed, chest feeling as if it was tightening from all the sudden envy.
"Shut up, you two!" Ron said to the Weasley twins, then told Hermione in a calmer tone of voice: "Just call me Ron."
Hermione blinked in surprise before giving a hopeful smile. "Then... then please call me Jean."
Ron nodded, eyebrows furrowing a bit in confusion; she turned to Harry. "Oy, Potter!"
At being ignored by the ravenette just like everyone else was, Ron scowled; she stabbed her piece of treacle tart with a fork before starting to eat the dessert. The ginger and the bushy-haired First Years talked about apples until the pudding dishes vanished like the supper dishes did earlier. The dirty bowls, plates, goblets and eating utensils all disappeared; which left the very long tables barren save for their respective gold-rimmed red (Gryffindor), black-rimmed yellow (Hufflepuff), bronze-rimmed blue (Ravenclaw) or silver-rimmed green (Slytherin) table cloth.
Harry, who was starting to feel warm and sleepy, looked up at the staff table again. The very huge man who had earlier led the First Years to the boats was drinking deeply from his goblet. McGonagall was talking to Dumbledore. A bald young man wearing a violet turban was talking to a teacher who had a hooked nose and pale, sallow skin.
Very suddenly the latter person looked past the turban-wearing guy straight into Harry's eyes. His scowl turned into a look of utter shock for a split second before glaring at Harry. From that glare, Harry got a feeling that he disliked the 11-year-old; Harry couldn't help instinctively returning the sentiment at sight of greasy, black hair.
Glancing at his fellow Gryffindors, Harry's gaze settled on the glasses-wearing ginger because said 15-year-old wore pinned (over his heart) to his robes a shield-shaped red badge that had golden rim and in its middle a big, gold P. "Excuse me? You, with the badge," Harry said in a meek tone of voice. Not my fault I don't know his name, but past life experience says that people — even myself when I got crazy thanks to Jenova — don't run by logic; so it's best to make myself sound submissive for a moment, no matter how much I despise doing it. People tend to not get offended when someone speaks to them in a submissive way. After this, I will always either talk with authority like I did at ShinRa or not talk at all.
"What is it?" Percy asked, turning his attention from bickering with George and Fred about rules to looking at Harry.
"Who's that teacher talking to the bald turban guy?" he asked Percy.
"The teacher wearing a turban is Professor Quirrell; he teaches Defence With And Against Magic. No wonder he's looking so nervous, that's Professor Snape. He teaches Potions, but he doesn't want to; everyone knows he's after Quirrell's job. Knows an awful lot about jinxes, hexes and Curses, Snape does."
Harry watched Snape for a while, but the young man didn't look at him again. I just ate! I don't need a Hojo reminder now, of all times! At least the black robes instead of a white lab-coat, the nose, the age and the lack of glasses help me to differentiate between them.
Dumbledore got to his feet again. The gigantic hall fell silent.
"Ahem! Just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.
First Years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well."
Dumbledore's twinkling blue eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins.
"I have to remind you all that no Magic should be used between classes in the corridors.
Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their House teams should contact Professor Hooch.
And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
Harry chuckled, only a few others were laughing or giggling; everyone else exchanged worried, irritated or confused glances.
"He's not serious?" Harry muttered to Percy.
"Must be," the bigger boy replied, frowning at Dumbledore. "It's odd, because he usually gives us a reason why we're not allowed to go somewhere; the Forest's full of dangerous beasts, everyone knows that. I do think he ought to have told us prefects, at least."
What, is the third-floor corridor Hogwarts' science laboratory? Harry wondered, then his face went white. What if it really is a science laboratory?! They already have a Hojo!
He resolved to keep a close watch on Snape. Well, as much as possible when considering the fact Harry would tomorrow have classes to attend and homework to do.
Everyone stood up as Dumbledore wished them good night; First Years were asked by prefects to follow them, other students of course walking off since they knew where their House's dorms were.
Harry, Ron and Jean followed Percy, the three of them walking next to each other without even noticing; the trek to Gryffindor Tower passed without incident.
Harry tensed upon seeing that his trunk was already at the foot of one bed, thinking someone could have taken all of his stuff when bringing it into the First Year Gryffindor boys' dorm; he had no idea the second-hand boarding school trunk he had bought on his third visit to Diagon Alley had been teleported from Hogwarts Express into the dorm when Sorting Hat declared him a Gryffindor.
Meanwhile, Jean was having a panic attack. The Sixth Year prefects exchanged a look, one of them running out of the common-room; she returned 5 minutes later with McGonagall. He was rubbing circles on Jean's back, the 11-year-old thanks to a Calming Draught no longer gasping for breath; Jean tensed when McGonagall approached despite the strict look on said professor's face having been replaced by a gentle one.
"Granger, please talk to me; what is the matter?" The prefects left, one of them quickly casting a spell that made all sound from the common-room unable to be heard past the first step of stone stairs that led up in a spiral which ended at the middle point of a short corridor that had stairs leading up to the girls' dorms on one end of the corridor and to the boys' on the other end.
Ron, having ignored the Fifth Year female prefect telling her to go ahead into the First Year girls' dorm, told McGonagall "When we were going up the stairs to our dorm, they turned into a slide the instant Jean's foot touched the first step"; at the same time, the bushy-haired preteen blurted out with tearful eyes: "I'm sorry, Professor; I didn't mean to!"
"Do calm down, Granger. You are not in any trouble," McGonagall said softly. She gestured for the 11-year-old to sit on a gold-trimmed red sofa with her. "Granger, would you like for Miss Weasley to remain here or to leave?"
"...Ron can stay," Jean whispered. Said ginger placed a hand on the buck-toothed preteen's shoulder.
Meanwhile in the First Year Gryffindor boys' dorm, Harry kept thinking about all of his memories as Sephiroth so much that he got a headache; pressing the pillow his head was laying on against the sides of his head did not lessen the headache. Harry started mentally listing the most boring paperwork Sephiroth had done, tiredness from today along with the meniality of his thoughts eventually making him drift off to sleep. His dreams were consumed by bright green rivers and matching flashes of light.
A.N.: You don't need to know anything about 'Harry Potter' book series or 'Final Fantasy VII' videogames since everything will be explained in-story.
If the word "pudding dishes" confused you, here's explanation: "pudding" means both "dessert" (e.g. "That was a nice meal. What's for pudding?") an' "a specific creamy dessert" (e.g. chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, rice pudding, etc.).