This is a work of fan fiction. All rights, characters, Bubotubers, and magic belong to Joanne Rowling. The art above is from the Pottermore Website and Jonny Duddle’s illustrations. I am not making any money from this story. I am only creating this parallel Harry Potter Universe for my pleasure and for other obsessive fans who wonder how Harry might have turned out differently if…
Prologue: Hagrid’s Instructions
“Yer ticket fer Hogwarts,” Hagrid said. “First o’ September – King’s Cross – it’s all on yer ticket. Any problems with the Dursleys, send me a letter with yer owl, she’ll know where to find me …See yeh soon H- Oh Blimey! I keep forgetting’ how little yeh know. Dumbledoor woulda killed me! Yeh won’t see no gate or nothing at King’s Cross for yeh train, just ‘er brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. What yeh gotta do is just walk through it.”
“Just walk through it?”
“Yeh train’s on the other side.”
“Yeh a wizard Harry, yeh can do things them Muggles can’t. See yeh at Hogwarts!”
The train left the station. Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until he was out of sight; he rose in his seat and pressed his nose against the window, but he blinked and Hagrid had gone.
Chapter One: Passing Through Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
On the last day of August Harry thought he’d better speak to his aunt and uncle about getting to King Cross’ station the next day, so he went down to the living room, where they were watching a trivia show on television. He coughed to let them know he was there, and Dudley screamed and ran from the room.
“Er – Uncle Vernon?”
Uncle Vernon grunted to show he was listening.
“Er – I need to be at King’s Cross tomorrow to – to go to Hogwarts.”
Uncle Vernon grunted again.
“Would it be all right if you gave me a ride?”
Grunt. Harry supposed that meant yes.
He was about to go back upstairs when Uncle Vernon actually spoke.
“Funny way to get to a wizards’ school, the train. Magic carpets all got punctures, have they?”
Harry didn’t say anything.
“Where is this school, anyway?”
“I don’t know,” said Harry, realizing this for the first time. He pulled the ticket Hagrid had given him out of his pocket.
“I just take the train from…from…I just take the train at eleven o’clock,” he read.
“All right,” said Uncle Vernon, who was distracted by the television show. “We’ll take you to King’s Cross. We’re going to London tomorrow anyway, or I wouldn’t bother.”
“Why are you going to London?” Harry asked, trying to keep things friendly and glad that Uncle Vernon didn’t ask him which platform.
“Taking Dudley to the hospital,” growled Uncle Vernon. “Got to have that goddamn tail removed before he goes to Smeltings.”
Harry woke up at five o’clock the next morning and was too excited and nervous to go back to sleep. He got up and pulled on his jeans because he didn’t want to walk into the station in his wizard’s robes – he’d change on the train. He checked his Hogwarts list yet again to make sure he had everything he needed, saw that Hedwig was shut safely in her cage and then paced the room, waiting for the Dursleys to get up. Two hours later, Harry’s huge, heavy trunk had been loaded into the Dursleys’ car, Aunt Petunia had talked Dudley into sitting next to Harry and they set off.
They reached King’s Cross at half past ten. Uncle Vernon dumped Harry’s trunk on to a nearby trolley and returned to the car.
“Don’t write us any letters asking for anything,” said Uncle Vernon with a scowl. He slammed the door and the Dursleys drove away. Harry’s mouth went dry. Was he going to be able to pass through the platform? Was he magical enough? He was starting to attract a lot of funny looks, because of Hedwig. He walked towards platforms nine and ten.
He ignored the passing crowds and made his way forward with grim determination. According to the large clock over the arrivals board, he had twenty minutes to get on the train to Hogwarts. He was glad that Hagrid had reminded him of how to find the train, because when he arrived at platforms nine and ten there really was just a brick wall.
Heart hammering, Harry pushed his trolley so that it was facing the wall. Just walk through it, he told himself. Trust Hagrid. He wouldn’t lie to you. Just walk through it.
He started to walk towards the ticket barrier. People jostled him on their way to platforms nine and ten. Harry walked more quickly. He was going to smash right into that ticket box and then he’d be in trouble and back to living with the Dursleys. Learning forward on his trolley, he broke into a heavy run – the barrier was coming nearer and nearer – he wouldn’t be able to stop – the trolley was out of control – he was a foot away – he closed his eyes ready for the crash –
It didn’t come…he kept on running…he opened his eyes.
A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, 11 o’clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the ticket box had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. He had done it.
Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every color wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to each other in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and the scraping of heavy trunks.
The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging out of the window to talk to their families, some fighting over seats. Harry pushed his trolley off down the platform in search of an empty compartment. He was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to find one and nervous because he was alone. He passed a round-faced boy who was saying, “Gran, I’ve lost my toad again.”
“Oh Neville,” he heard the old woman sigh. “I’ll send you a Remembrall next week.”
A boy with dreadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.
“Give us a look, Lee, go on.”
The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms and the people around him shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg.
Harry pressed on through the crowd until all of a sudden, he heard,
“It’s you! From Diagon Alley.” It was the boy with the pale, pointed face who was being dressed at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. He was wearing his new robe and flanked by two other boys. Both of them were thickset, looked extremely mean, and resembled bodyguards. “I never heard your name. My name’s Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.” He formally stuck out his hand to shake Harry’s. “Oh, and this is Crabbe and Goyle.” He carelessly waved his hand at the bodyguards. Harry looked around. He saw a red-headed family that had just passed through the barrier and were laughing and hugging one another. There was a set of twins who were jumping around a tall, gangly brother, poking him in the side with their wands. There was a little girl who was crying and tugging on her mother’s dress.
“Er-” He didn’t want to sit with this pale boy with the bored, drawling voice, but he figured it would be rude to ignore his introduction. “Harry Potter.”
“Harry Potter? The Harry Potter. I don’t believe you. Show me the scar.” Harry lifted up his untidy hair to reveal the lightning bolt scar. Both Crabbe and Goyle made stupid noises that sounded like “Duhh.” Malfoy smirked. “Come with me, Potter. My father told me there was a chance you’d be in my year. I’ll show you around and tell you everything you need to know about Hogwarts, the right people, the best teachers, important spells, the best house to be in. Follow me.”
Harry didn’t want to follow, but he figured it would be good to learn as much as he could about Hogwarts before arriving. Besides, he could always change his seat later on. He looked back wistfully at the red-headed family. The twins had boarded the train and were yelling something about a toilet.
“You coming or are you just going to stand there all day like a good-for-nothing Squib?” mocked Malfoy. Crabbe and Goyle chuckled. Harry felt a little annoyed, and didn’t know what a Squib was, but he also felt a great leap of excitement as he followed Draco on to the train. He didn’t know what he was going to but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind.
Inside Draco opened a compartment door where there was a group of four students already sitting.
“All of you. Out. This compartment’s reserved for Harry Potter.”
“Harry Potter?!” one of the students gasped. They started to scramble to retrieve their trunks from the corner of the compartment.
“No it’s not,” said Harry. “I-”
“Shhhh,” Malfoy winked and smiled deviously.
“You can’t just-”
“Trust me Potter. I know what I’m doing. This compartment is nearest the food trolley, so we’ll get the best sweets before anyone else takes them.”
“Er-” Harry wanted to tell the students they could stay, but they were already hurrying out into the corridor. Two of them glanced at his forehead furtively, the other two openly stared. Harry felt embarrassed.
“Sit across from me by the window,” said Draco. “Goyle, lift up Harry’s trunk for him. Crabbe, go get our trunks in the other compartment.”
“I don’t need help.”
“Please Harry. He likes lifting heavy things. Just look at him. I swear you have a distant relative who’s a troll, Goyle.” Harry helped Goyle lift his trunk into the corner as Crabbe left the compartment. A minute later Crabbe returned with the other trunks and shoved them above the seats.
“First things first,” said Draco, “We need to talk about Hogwarts Houses. And how we can get into Slytherin. My father told me they put an old hat on your head once we arrive. And that the hat chooses which house you’re in. But I’m not sure how-”
“Wasn’t Voldemort in Slytherin?” Crabbe and Goyle’s mouths dropped. Draco sneered.
“You say his name out loud. Impressive. My family prefers to call him the dark lord.”
“Hagrid told me that there wasn’t a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.” Draco frowned.
“Depends on what you mean by went bad. I wouldn’t listen to that stupid oaf, Harry. And why are you still wearing Muggle clothes? You look ridiculous. Put your robes on before someone says something.” Harry felt a flush of anger, but decided that he should probably change. Maybe they couldn’t enter Hogwarts while wearing Muggle clothes? “Wait a minute, you didn’t grow up with Muggles, did you?”
“I…I did. My aunt and uncle are Muggles. They-”
“That explains everything. Now I know why you were acting like such a dingbat in Diagon Alley. And why you were with that drunk savage.”
“Hagrid isn’t a drunk savage. He-”
“He’s the Hogwarts gamekeeper, Harry. He’s not even allowed to do magic.”
“I know. But he was-”
“So you know nothing about the wizarding world? Nothing about history, the Ministry of Magic, or even Quiddich?”
“No, I don’t.” Draco smiled and put his hands behind his head.
“Well sit back and take a calming draught because you have a lot to learn before we arrive at Hogwarts. And I mean a lot. They might not even let you inside if you know so little.” Harry felt worried. He thought he would be the worst in his class. Draco stood up and stuck his head into the corridor.
“Um, excuse me? Trolley woman? Are you going to do your job or continue reading the Quibbler? We’re hungry.” A dimpled woman pushed the trolley next to their compartment. Draco turned to Harry. “My mother secretly gave me ten galleons for sweets before she left.”
“Could you buy me something?” said Crabbe. “My dad forgot to give me money.”
“Of course he did. My father told me that your dad has been acting very strange lately. Failing to show up to the monthly meetings.”
“I’ll buy you something, Crabbe,” said Harry. “I have plenty of money.”
“Is that your real name, Crabbe?”
“Uhhh, no, it’s Vincent. And he’s Gregory.”
“Look at Potter being kind and generous! Be careful though, my father told me that kindness can be a sign of ignorance and weakness. Keep acting like that and you’ll end up in Hufflepuff.” Draco turned to the trolley. “I’ll take ten Liquorice Wands, five Cauldron cakes, three Pumpkin Pasties, two Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, four Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor beans, and twenty Chocolate Frogs.”
“Twenty Chocolate Frogs?” the woman asked.
“Did I stutter? Twenty Chocolate Frogs.” Draco turned back to the compartment with his armful of sweets. He greedily began opening the Chocolate Frogs and tossing the chocolate aside.
“You can eat some of my Chocolate Frogs, Crabbe. I’m only buying them for the cards. All I need is Alberic. That’s the right sort of kindness, Potter. Giving away something when you don’t need it.” Harry bought two of each sweet and shared with Crabbe and Goyle.
“What are the cards?” Draco sighed.
“You really don’t know anything. Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them to collect – Famous Witches and Wizards. I’ve got about six hundred, but I haven’t got Alberic Grunnion yet.”
“Inventor of the Dungbomb.” Harry unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card. It showed a man’s face. He looked ancient and monkeyish, with a thin, white beard. Underneath the picture was the name Salazar Slytherin.
“Lucky you!” said Malfoy, who had peered at Harry’s card to see if it was Alberic. “He’s rare. It must be a sign. You’ll definitely be in Slytherin house.”
“Read the card, Muggle-breath.” Harry frowned, glared at Malfoy, then turned over his card and read:
was the founder of Slytherin house at Hogwarts. He was one of the first recorded Parselmouths, an accomplished Legilimens, and a notorious champion of pure-blood supremacy. He is believed to have constructed a Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts. When he was young he created his own wand, made of snakewood with a core of basilisk horn.
Harry remembered the time last spring he talked to a snake at the zoo. He turned the card back over and saw, to his astonishment, that Salazar Slytherin’s face had disappeared.
“You can’t expect him to wait around all day, even if you are the boy who lived,” said Malfoy. “Gawking gargoyles, I’ve got Cassandra Vablatsky again and I’ve got about ten of her…I swear they’ve stopped making all the cards.” Malfoy tucked the card into his robes.
“You know, in the Muggle world, people just stay put in photos.” A look of disgust twisted Malfoy’s face.
“I don’t care what photos do in the Muggle world, Potter! You’re in the wizard world now.”
Harry shrugged and stared as Salazar sidled back into his card and gave him a nasty glare. Crabbe and Goyle were more interested in eating the chocolate than looking at the Famous Witches and Wizards cards (Goyle seemed to inhale the candy he was eating so fast), but Harry couldn’t keep his eyes off them. Soon he had not only Salazar Slytherin but Chauncey Oldridge (first known victim of Dragon Pox), Dunbar Oglethorpe (Chief of Q.U.A.B.B.L.E.), Gaspard Shingleton (inventor of the Self-Stirring Cauldron), and Wilfred Elphick (first wizard to be gored by an African Erumpent). He finally tore his eyes away from the Lady Carmillia Sanguina, who was taking a bath in a red liquid, to open a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
“Enjoy those,” said Malfoy with another devious smile. “When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor.”
“What are you getting at?”
“Just eat a couple.” Crabbe and Goyle guffawed stupidly. Harry picked up a dark-brown bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner.
“Bleeecchhh,” Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter. Harry tried to spit the taste of manure out of his mouth, wiping his mouth with his robe. Even though the bean was disgusting, he was glad that his new friends were laughing.
“Like I said, when they say every flavor, they mean every flavor. I knew that was going to be a gross one. You should have seen your face!”
The countryside now was flying past the window and becoming wilder. The neat fields had gone. Now there were woods, twisting rivers and dark green hills.
There was a knock on the door of their compartment and the round-faced boy Harry had passed on platform nine and three-quarters came in. He looked tearful.
“Sorry,” he said, “but have you seen a toad at all?”
“Get out!” yelled Malfoy. “Nobody cares about your stupid toad!”
“Relax Draco,” said Harry. He turned to the boy, “We haven’t. But he’ll turn up.”
“I hope so,” said the boy miserably. “Well, if you see him…”
“What a Muggle-lover. If I’d brought a toad I would’ve chucked it out the window as quick as I could.” As Crabbe and Goyle chortled the compartment door slid open again. The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was also wearing her new Hogwarts robes.
“Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one,” she said. She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth. Without realizing why, Harry felt an ache in his chest when he saw her and he wished he was sitting with her rather than with Draco and his cronies.
“We’ve already told the fatty to leave us alone, we haven’t seen it.” The girl glanced at Harry, who still staring, then glared at Draco.
“Don’t talk to Neville like that. How would you feel if you lost your pet on the train?”
“I would never buy a toad in the first place. Toads are-”
“That wasn’t my question. What a shame that the very best school of witchcraft would accept someone like you, so obviously mean and conceited. Not to mention,” she pointed at the 20 chocolate frog wrappers. “Gluttonous and greedy. I’m Hermione Granger, by the way.”
She said all this very fast, and looked at Harry when she introduced herself. Draco looked at Harry, Crabbe, and Goyle for support, but saw that Harry was ignoring him.
“Harry Potter,” said Harry.
“Are you really?” said Hermione. “I know all about you, of course – I got a few extra books for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.”
“Am I?” said Harry, feeling dazed and pleasantly lightheaded.
“Goodness, didn’t you know? I’d have found out everything I could if it was me,” said Hermione. “Do you know what house you’ll be in? I’ve been asking around and I hope I’m in-”
“Enough,” interrupted Malfoy. “We haven’t seen the toad and we never asked for a history lesson.”
“All right – fine,” said Hermione in a sniffy voice. She started to leave, but turned back, “Oh, and one more thing,” she glared at Draco, “it couldn’t hurt to go outside in the sun every once in a while. I thought you were a ghost when I first came in.”
Draco glared at her as she left. “I bet you a 1000 galleons she’s a Mudblood.”
Harry peered out the window. It was getting dark. He could see mountains and forests under a deep-purple sky. He wanted to daydream, but Draco poked him hard in the ribs with his wand.
“Pay attention, troll brains. Did you hear about Gringotts? What happened the day we met? It’s been all over the Daily Prophet, but I don’t suppose you get that with the Muggles.”
“Somebody tried to rob a high-security vault.”
“Really? What happened to them?”
“Nothing, that’s why it’s such big news. They haven’t been caught. My father says it must’ve been a powerful dark wizard to get round Gringotts, but they don’t think they took anything, that’s what’s strange. I hope it was a dark wizard. Course, everyone gets all nervous when something like this happens in case the dark lord’s behind it.”
Harry turned this news over in his mind. He was starting to feel queasy every time Draco referred to Voldemort as the dark lord with his admiring tone. He supposed this was all part of entering the magical world, but it seemed odd that Malfoy would use this name when everyone else said, he-who-must-not-be-named.
“What’s your Quidditch team?” grunted Crabbe.
“Er – I don’t know any,” Harry confessed. “What’s Quiddich?”
“He grew up with Muggles you sack of dung beetles! Do you listen to anything?” shouted Draco.
“Oh,” said Crabbe, looking embarrassed.
“You should really pay me, Potter, for all this explaining I’m doing. You’d be helpless arriving at Hogwarts if it wasn’t for me. They might’ve even turned you away. Quiddich is, simply, the best game in the world.” And he was off, drawling on and on about the four balls and the positions of the seven players, describing famous games he’d been to with his father and the broomstick he’d like to buy when he was made Seeker of the Slytherin team. He was just boring Harry to tears through a play-by-play of the Bulgarian National Quidditch team winning against the Norwegian National Quiddich team in 1992 when the compartment door slid open yet again, but it wasn’t Neville the toadless boy or Hermione Granger this time.
Three red-headed boys entered and Harry recognized them from platform 9 and three quarters. There was the set of twins and the tall, gangly boy with a rat on his shoulder. They were glaring at Draco.
“Look who’s here,” said Draco. “The Weasley brothers. Are you three going from compartment to compartment, asking for alms? Sorry, but I already spent everything on candy. You can have the wrappers though. Here.”
“Keep your wrappers, blondie,” said one of the twins. “We’re here to warn you about picking on Neville. He never did anything to you. He was just looking for his toad. So watch yourself.”
“And we heard Harry Potter was here. We didn’t want you corrupting him with any of your trash-”
“AAARG!” Goyle sprang up from his seat, flapping his arms wildly. The tall, gangly boy’s rat had jumped at Goyle’s head, bit his ear, and was refusing to let go.
“Scabbers! What are you doing?”
“Get it off me get it off me!” The boys pushed and shoved one another until Scabbers was back in the tall boy’s hands. Draco whipped out his wand.
“All three off you Muggle-lovers, leave. Before I hex you. I’ll claim self-defense. Who do you think you are, coming here and trying to hurt my friends.”
“I SAID LEAVE!” Draco threateningly pointed his wand and each of the red-headed boys’ chests. They glowered, closed the compartment door, and walked away.
“Be careful of them,” said Draco to Harry as they sat down. “Now they’re the bad kind of wizards. Muggle-lovers…”
The trained started to slow down and voice echoed above their heads: “We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes’ time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately.”
Harry’s stomach lurched with nerves and Draco, who was a pale as ever, seemed to be twitching but pretending to be confident. They crammed their pockets with the last of the sweets and joined the crowd thronging the corridor.
The train slowed right down and finally stopped. People pushed their way towards the door and out on to a tiny, dark platform. Harry shivered in the cold night air. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads and the students and Harry heard a familiar voice: ‘Firs’-years! Firs’-years over here! All right there Harry?”
Hagrid’s big hairy face beamed over the sea of heads.
“Yeah! I made it through the brick wall, just like you told me!” He smiled at Harry, but then furrowed his brow at Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were huddled behind Harry’s back.
“Good teh hear. C’mon, follow me – any more firs’-years? Mind yer step now! Firs’ years follow me!”
Slipping and stumbling, they followed Hagrid down what seemed to be a steep, narrow path. It was so dark either side of them that Harry thought there must be thick trees there. Nobody spoke much. Neville, the boy who kept losing his toad, sniffed once or twice. Draco chuckled and whispered to Harry, “I can’t believe that fatty is crying. What a crybaby.”
“Yeh’ll get yer firs’ sight of Hogwarts in a sec,” Hagrid called over his shoulder, ‘jus’ round this bend here.”
There was a loud “Oooooh!”
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers. Harry heard Draco’s drawling voice in his ear as he grabbed his robes, “Psssh, Durmstrang looked even better in the brochure.”
“No more’n four to a boat!” Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry wanted to sit with other students, since Draco was getting on his nerves, but Draco ushered him, Crabbe, and Goyle into the nearest boat with little shoves. “C’mon, c’mon let’s be the first ones in.”
“Everyone in?” shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. “Right then – FORWARD!”
And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the castle, except for Draco, who wouldn’t stop pulling at Harry’s sleeve and whispering, “There’s something in the lake! Look! Quick!” But Harry turned and missed whatever Draco had seen.
“What was it?”
“Too late.” Harry looked back at the castle as it towered over the students. They sailed nearer and nearer to the cliff on which it stood.
“Heads down!” yelled Hagrid as the first boats carried them through a curtain of ivy which hid a wide opening in the cliff face. They were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking then right underneath the castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor, where they clambered out on to rocks and pebbles.
“Oy, you there! Is this your toad?” said Hagrid, who was checking the boats as people climbed out of them.
“Vorter!” cried Neville blissfully, holding out his hands. Harry smiled and Draco scowled. Then they clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid’s lamp, coming out at last on to smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.
They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front door.
“Everyone here? You there, still got yer toad?”
“Nobody cares, you big oaf,” whispered Draco under his breath.
“Will you shut up?” whispered Harry back.
Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.