AoC 2

Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos

Year 1: The Forsaken’s Ascension

Chapter 2: The Other Potter

By ACI100

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to my beta Umar for his work on this story. Additionally, a massive thank you is extended to Fezzik. She became a beta for me at a later date and has graciously agreed to assist me in revising these early chapters.

Self-Promotion: I have a discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile.

If you would like to dive further into the AoCverse, you can check out the AoC Wiki and TV Tropes Pages by following the links on my profile. You can do likewise to follow the official ACI100 account on Twitter and to check out the official website.

September 1, 1991

No. 4, Privet Drive

7:45 AM

Harry paced back across his new bedroom at No. 4, Privet Drive for what must have been the thousandth time that morning. He had never been so excited for anything in his entire life, though in fairness, that wasn’t saying a whole lot. Harry had never allowed himself to become excited much before. He had, as a matter of fact, essentially been conditioned to associate excitement with disappointment. He attempted to take that same approach with Hogwarts, magic, and all the rest of it but he could not.

He’d spent a fair few days brooding about his father’s betrayal after returning from the alleys via public transport. He’d mercifully been able to simply walk into the Gringotts atrium and ask for some of his galleons to be converted into pounds, at which point he had found out that the conversion rate was 5 pounds to a galleon. He had been rather surprised when the Dursleys, obviously fearing the return of more Magicals, had decided to give Harry Dudley’s spare room upon his return. 

A year or so ago, that was something that probably would have made Dudley protest much more than he had. But now, he was too wary of his cousin to protest much at all. Ordinarily, Harry would have been sceptical of such out of character behaviour from the Dursleys and likely even looked for a trap of some sort. At that moment, however, still reeling from his father’s betrayal, Harry had simply nodded along.

It wasn’t as if he had forgiven his father. On the contrary, he was livid and wanted nothing more than to give James Potter a taste of the misery he’d endured as a result of his actions. At the same time, he wanted nothing more than to avoid his father. He’d left Harry to rot; he didn’t deserve Harry’s attention one way or the other.

His brooding had not lasted long, as Harry’s natural curiosity had overtaken him, and he had promptly ripped into the pile of books that awaited him. Harry started with The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1, as he thought it would be rather useful. 

It hadn’t been overly long compared to novels and textbooks that Harry frequented in his day to day life. In comparison to those, it had been rather simplistic as well. He had read it very quickly, taking simplified notes in one of many enchanted notebooks he had purchased from the magical bookstore. The books pretty much granted him endless pages. It was also warded so that only he could open it.

It had taken him only one read through to memorize the book’s contents, aided by his note- taking.

Next, he made his way through the first year sections of his Potions and Transfiguration textbooks. Since they would be applicable for multiple years, Harry would read the later year material eventually. He wanted to memorize the first year material as soon as possible.

He managed to read and memorize his Defence Against the Dark Arts book. It was something that interested him quite a lot. The idea of duelling, in particular, sounded rather appealing.

He would eventually break into his extra curricular books, but first, he wanted to make sure he was not socially incompetent in the wizarding world. It took him quite some time to get through the book on the Wizengamot, its history, and its many laws. He didn’t have that one memorized, as it was far more complex and was the longest tome he’d ever seen, but he thought he had a strong grasp on the basics. For now, he figured that would be sufficient. 

He thought that he should get on fine, barring a sudden desire to become a solicitor, a career that he was frankly not interested in. The book on wizarding etiquette did not take nearly as long to read, though it had been a rather monotonous usage of his time.

All in all, Harry did everything he could in the two months leading up to his arrival at Hogwarts to prepare. He worked through all of that material, plus his other first year books and quite a bit of magical theory in the mornings. Afternoons were spent writing with a quill, something he had never done before. That skill would apparently be a necessity. His evenings were spent with his wand out. 

At first, he didn’t cast any magic, merely practising the wand movements and focusing on the necessary intent. After reading in Hogwarts, A History that underage magic was ignored until the child went to Hogwarts, Harry began to practice some of the practical first year material. He couldn’t do much for Defence, but he did practice a lot of Transfiguration. The subject seemed to come quite naturally to him. Harry wondered if that had anything to do with the fact that he’d always been a rather visual person. Visualization was, after all, one of the key aspects of Transfiguration. He was limited too in Charms, though he practised the ones he could — for instance, the Levitation Charm.

By the time the first morning of September arrived, Harry had yet to find a spell that had truly given him issues. That was certainly a confidence booster of sorts. Despite that, Harry had to admit a fair bit of apprehension at entering into what, for all intents and purposes, was a whole new world to him. As he reflected upon his work whilst riding in his uncle’s car on the way to London, Harry decided that he was rather happy with his preparations. 

He just hoped they would be enough.

He wanted to succeed above all else.

Harry had decided that if he was going to avoid his father at the station, a decision he had made weeks prior, he would show him the errors of his past self through his actions instead of his words. He would outperform his brother, outdo him in every way he could. One day, he would surpass his father as well, but that would, unfortunately, take much longer.

He made his way through the station as quickly as he could, cursing his new snowy owl- whom he had chosen to name Nemesis after the Greek goddess of revenge- for the racket she was making. At the same time, he thanked the heavens— or Merlin, as magicals apparently did— that the author of Hogwarts, A History had possessed the foresight to note down how to get past the seemingly solid barrier and onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Harry suspected he would have managed to figure it out one way or another simply by tailing people, but this was much more ideal, seeing as he wanted to get onto the train as promptly as possible

When he crossed over to the other side of the station, the one that was hidden through the use of some rather advanced magic, he took note of the hordes of people wandering in every direction. Their attires seemed to be split near evenly between wizarding robes and muggle attire that he was far more familiar with. The massive scarlet steam engine dominated much of the platform, and Harry could not help but quirk an eyebrow at the words Hogwarts Express ostentatiously imprinted upon it.

He had the distinct impression that he was being watched as he was nearing the train. Turning, Harry saw a girl about his age staring at him openly with a blank expression. She stood beside a tall woman who could have passed as her doppelgänger if she wasn’t likely twenty-some years older. Both of them had platinum blonde hair and enchanting silver eyes that seemed to have an odd, bluish hue to them. The woman beside her was staring at the train, intently watching the back of a young woman with long, dirty blonde hair make her way aboard.

The other girl though, her daughter, Harry assumed, continued to watch him intently, not seeming to care that he was staring right back at her. She couldn’t have been older than him. His age, at the latest, Harry would guess. 

The world around him gave an abrupt and terrifying lurch as several images flashed through his mind.

He was standing next to the slim, blond boy in the robes shop, thinking of how he reminded him painfully of his cousin. He was running from Dudley and his gang, thinking of how badly he wanted to escape…

‘No!’ he thought furiously. ‘Not this one! Not again!’

Harry felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his mind as the images cut off suddenly, not quite playing through to their conclusion. He was breathing a bit heavily and he had slumped against the barrier beside him. Whatever had just happened, Harry was reasonably sure the girl who was still staring at him had caused it.

She no longer wore the thin, innocent smile on her face. She now wore a curious, calculating look that he found far more off-putting than her smile.

As he studied her one final time, Harry noticed that it was the same girl from the wand shop in Knockturn Alley. That would mean that whatever this odd occurrence was, it was the second time in as many meetings with the girl that it had happened.

Definitely not a coincidence, in that case.

Harry didn’t give her the chance to do anything like that again. He promptly turned on his heel and ignored her stare as he quickly made his way onto the train.

As soon as he was onboard, Harry swiftly ducked into the last compartment and changed into his school uniform, marvelling for the hundredth time in the last number of weeks how great it felt not to have to deal with glasses. The ritual, for lack of a better term, had certainly been painful, but in his estimation had been more than worth it.

Harry removed a book from his bag, took out his wand and levitated his school things into the overhead compartment. Taking a seat, he opened The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and began to read. Some time later, Harry felt the train begin to move and he smiled, quite happy that no one had imposed on him. As if the world was simply out to spite him, he heard a soft knock on his compartment door a minute or so later and sighed, looking up to see two girls standing outside.

He nodded in their direction, prompting the girl in the lead to push the door open slowly. She was quite tall for their age, maybe three inches or so taller than Harry. She had a slim build with honey blonde hair, soft pale skin, full pink lips, and pale, icy-blue eyes. Harry thought she was rather pretty, but the fact didn’t mean a whole lot in his eleven-year-old mind. Her friend looked to be a couple of inches shorter than Harry. She had strawberry blonde hair and sea-green eyes. Her features were soft, but not as defined as those of her companion.

“Hello,” greeted the shorter girl, sounding rather apprehensive, “may we sit here?”

Harry didn’t really see why not. It wasn’t as if he could refuse them without being rude, and he honestly just wanted to go back to his book, so he nodded. A moment later, he heard a throat clear from in front of him and looked up, almost jumping backwards when he realized that the shorter girl was now standing directly in front of him, her hand outstretched.

“My name’s Tracey Davis, presumptive Lady to the House of Davis. It’s nice to meet you.”

Her greeting was formal, though her House seemed rather insignificant based on the lack of gusto in her introduction. He filtered through his memory bank. Davis wasn’t a name he recognized; certainly not one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. He didn’t think it one of a powerful pureblood family anywhere on the political ladder either. Nonetheless, he took her soft hand in his.

“Nice to meet you, Miss Davis.” 

“What’s your name?” she asked bluntly. Harry swore he saw her friend, who was trying to detach her owl’s cage from her trunk, wince.

“You’ll find out at the sorting,” Harry had no intention of revealing that his brother was the Boy-Who-Lived. That wouldn’t lead to any questions he felt particularly inclined to answer. He noticed that the other girl had extracted her cage and was reaching for her trunk, as well as her friend’s. Harry took out his wand before she could do so. He was rather grateful for the wand holster he’d purchased, though it had taken some time to get used to.

“Wingardium Leviosa.” he incanted, causing both of the trunks to float gracefully up into the compartment. The girl in front of him — Tracey Davis her name had been — gawked at him while her friend merely raised her eyebrows before making her way over to him as well.

“Wow!” exclaimed Tracey, practically bouncing on the balls of her feet. “That was amazing! When did you learn that spell? How did you do it? Can you teach me? Are you a first year? I bet you’re brilliant if you are! You’re definitely going to be a Ravenclaw-“

“Let the boy breathe, Tracey,” said the other girl, rolling her eyes as she smiled at him. “A pleasure to meet you,” she said, extending her own hand. On her right ring finger, unlike Tracey’s, gleamed a stunning diamond ring adorned with what Harry thought might be a crest.

The ring of a pureblood heiress.

“…I am Daphne Greengrass, Heiress to the Founding House of Greengrass.”

Harry immediately realized that he may have just lost any chance of keeping a low profile. 

The Greengrass family, as he had read in Nature’s Nobility: A Guide to Wizarding Genealogy, was one of the most powerful and prestigious families residing in Magical Britain. They owned massive businesses all throughout the country. The largest of these was their infamous import/export corporation, but they also owned a law firm and some other miscellaneous businesses. They were noted as one of Magical Britain’s richest families. It was impossible to tell exactly how much they or any of the other top families had, but they could very well rank at number one, according to the book. 

On top of all that, they were also a Founding Twelve family.

There were rungs to the complex ladder of prestige that made up the country. There were houses, like Davis’s. These families were new to the world, typically no more than a century old. Often, these were the houses that were started by a muggleborn, or a halfblood marrying a muggleborn, or in some cases, even a muggle.

Then, there were Ancient Houses. To qualify as an Ancient House, a family had to have lived in Magical Britain for 13 generations, which roughly translated to four-hundred years. A step above that was Ancient and Noble Houses. These were families that met the requirements for an Ancient House but also had at least one Order of Merlin First Class recipient in its history, or a former or present Chief Warlock or Minister for Magic. Second from the top were Ancient and Most Noble Houses. These houses had at least three Order of Merlin First Class recipients, Ministers for Magic, Chief Warlocks, or a combination of the three. 

One could earn these ranks through the lesser Order of Merlin awards as well. Essentially, an Order of Merlin First Class was viewed as the equivalent of two Orders of Merlin Second Class, or three Orders of Merlin Third Class.

At the top of the political hierarchy were Founding Twelve Families. Half of them were extinct now, but to be a Founding Twelve Family, it meant that yours was one of the twelve families that helped to found the Wizengamot, and by extension, Magical Britain in the year 1008 AD. Though the Ministry of Magic was not founded until several hundred years later, this was historically considered as the founding of Magical Britain. The Founding Twelve Families were: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Emerys, Black, Longbottom, Nott, Greengrass, Peverell, Selwyn, and Lestrange.

Harry took her hand like he had Tracey’s, but he did kiss the back of hers briefly. “I’m pleased to meet you, Heiress Greengrass.”

“Oh come on!” put in Tracey. “You’ve got to give us something!”

Harry just quirked an eyebrow. “Sorry, but I don’t see why I do.”

“Oh fine, but at least tell me what that spell was?”

“The Levitation Charm.” he enlightened. “It’s fairly simple; I had no problems with it.”

“You’re definitely going to Ravenclaw,” Tracey proclaimed with the air of someone all-knowing and powerful.

Harry shrugged. “Maybe.” 

Greengrass eyed him critically. “You don’t seem too worried about it.”

Harry just shrugged again. “Not really, no.” She would at least be someone of importance. Friend, foe, or otherwise. “How about you?”

“I’ll probably be sorted into Ravenclaw or Slytherin if I had to guess. Ravenclaw would have its advantages. It would probably have fewer drawbacks than Slytherin, but Slytherin is probably more useful to me.”

“Why do you say that?” 

“Political reasons.” 

Harry nodded. “And what about you?” he asked Tracey, not letting the girl direct the attention back onto him.

“Oh,” she said, a bit taken aback, “um… I’m not really sure. Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad, I guess.” 

Harry got the distinct impression that she was not a fan of the idea of going to Slytherin, something that made him rather curious. He had assumed she would want to stick with her friend.

“You never said which house you thought you would be sorted into.” Harry had no doubt Daphne Greengrass’s innocent diversion of the conversation had been very much intentional on her part.

“I don’t know; same as you, pretty much. I think it will either be Ravenclaw or Slytherin. I have no idea which one.”

He felt like he suited Ravenclaw or Slytherin best. He leaned towards Ravenclaw, though he supposed wanting to outdo the Boy-Who-Lived was rather ambitious of him. He’d heard there was a rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Though it would doubtlessly be annoying at times, he thought it may be quite humorous to go to Slytherin to spite the Potters, who had traditionally been Gryffindors for centuries according to Nature’s Nobility: A Guide to Wizarding Genealogy.

“How intense is the rivalry between Gryffindors and Slytherins?” he asked, suspecting that at least Greengrass may be in a position to answer him.

“I think it depends on the person,” she answered carefully. “My parents were both Slytherins and were never overly bothered by it, but others take it more seriously.”

Before he could respond, the door opened, and two people stepped in, looking for all the world like the pair of them owned the train. “Have any of you seen my brother?” asked the boy in the lead. Harry’s heart gave a jolt when he noticed the obvious similarities between the two of them.

They certainly looked similar, though there were a fair number of differences too.

This boy was maybe an inch or two taller, though he had a lot more muscle. Their facial features were quite similar, as well. Both twins’ faces were sharp and defined, but Harry’s were softer, more aristocratic-looking. He was at least a shade paler than his brother too. Their hair was the same shade and length, though where Harry’s was tame and perfect, this boy’s was messy and out of control. It looked much like Harry’s before he’d tamed it through what he now knew to be magic. 

Their eyes too were different. They were the same shape, but the shades were not the same. Where Harry’s were a pale, intense green, his brother’s were a deep hazel. He also wore elegant glasses. On the boy’s temple, vivid as the night was dark, sat a scar shaped perfectly like the letter V.

“You’re Charlus Potter!” Tracey breathed in apparent awe, sounding for all the world like she couldn’t believe it. Harry winced. He knew his brother was famous, but he had never imagined that girls he had never met before would fawn over him.

“At your service,” Charlus said with a lazy smile. “This is my best mate, Ron Weasley.” He gestured to the tall, gangly redhead beside him; he too was smiling broadly. “Anyway, we’re looking for my-” and then his eyes found Harry’s and he froze. There was a moment of comprehension as his twin was clearly making sure the similarities were not coincidental. After a brief pause, he spoke, his voice barely more than a whisper. 



“You… uh… don’t look like I expected you to. All of our family have had glasses, and our hair doesn’t really behave.”

“Both of those are easy to fix, you know?” Harry wanted to throw the fact in the other boy’s face for a reason that he couldn’t quite explain.

“Paler too — wait… you fixed your eyesight? No one from our family does that.”

“Until now.”

“But it’s tradition!” Charlus argued, sounding baffled as to why Harry would ever do such a thing.

“That’s ridiculous.” Harry countered. “What’s the point in a tradition if it makes life harder for you? Besides, I would hardly have known, would I?” His voice grew a bit colder now, and Charlus recoiled.

“Look, Harry, dad said you might be a bit upset with us. I think we should go and talk about this in another compartment. I’d like to get to know my brother.”

“Time out!” Tracey bellowed, drawing everyone’s attention onto her as she glared at Harry. “Your brother is the Charlus Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, and you didn’t tell us?”

“No offence, but this is exactly why I didn’t tell you.” He looked up at Charlus, his face now sour. Having his cover blown had not been part of his plan. “We can talk at Hogwarts.”

The Boy-Who-Lived just shook his head. “We’ll talk now,” Charlus countered, and his voice carried a certain amount of authority that surprised Harry. “Family is more important than friends, Harry.” 

The hypocrisy of his twin’s statement made Harry want to curse him, but he didn’t. Instead, he stood, inclining his head to the two witches before exiting after his brother and his friend, Weasley. 

If for no other reason, he simply complied so that this conversation would be without witnesses. Except for Ron Weasley, apparently. That fact did not sit well with Harry.

“Anything off the trolly, dears?” a plump woman said as they neared a compartment that the two boys leading Harry seemed to have reserved with their bags.

“We’ll take the lot!” Charlus said proudly, smiling as he piled a bit of everything into his pockets. “Harry needs a proper introduction into the wondrous world of wizarding sweets!”

A minute or so later, Harry had been buffeted into a compartment with the two boys and had had a mountain of treats dumped in front of him. Charlus took a seat across from him. “We do look a bit different,” the other said. “Aside from the eyes and hair, I mean.”

Harry snorted. “You drag your brother off after not talking to him for ten years and the first thing you say is that we look different?” 

“Well, it’s true,” Charlus defended, blushing. “How did you fix your hair?” He sounded as if he wanted to strictly avoid whatever Harry had done.

“Magic,” Harry said dully.

“Come off it, you lived with muggles. You couldn’t possibly have-“

“Just because I lived with muggles doesn’t mean I couldn’t use magic.” Charlus raised his eyebrows. “I willed my hair to not be a mess every day until one day, it wasn’t.”

Charlus raised his eyebrows even higher. “That’s not possible,” he dismissed. “Dad says wizards can’t control their magic until they get to Hogwarts.”

“Yet here I am,” Harry coolly retorted. “Besides, it’s not like father,” he put an almost poisonous emphasis on the word, “hasn’t made mistakes involving me in the past.”

Charlus winced. “You’re really mad about that, aren’t you?”

“You would be too if you knew what they did.”

“What did they do?” 

“None of your business. If you cared so much, you should have convinced your Father to come and check in on me.”

“He really does regret it, you know,” Charlus said softly. “We talked about it before today. A lot recently, actually. He says it was the worst mistake of his life.”

“He has no idea,” Harry muttered darkly.

“You’ll have to forgive him! He made a mistake and he knows it, but he had good reasons,” said Charlus. “He was trying to protect you.”

Harry snorted again. “If Voldemort came for one of us-” Ron jumped and Charlus gasped, his mouth falling open.

“Y-y-you said her name,” his twin mumbled, sounding awed.

Harry scoffed. “Don’t tell me the-Boy-Who-Lived is too afraid of Voldemort to use her fake name? Anyway, if Voldemort,” he emphasized the name, causing both Charlus and Ron to wince, “came for one of us, surely it would have been you.”

“Well yeah,” said Charlus, “but I beat her once, I could’ve done it again. If you got caught in the crossfire, you might have been hurt like-“

“Like our mother,” finished Harry without emotion. “You seem… very confident you could beat her again if she’s even still alive.”

“I beat her once,” Charlus said proudly.

“How?” asked Harry. His voice was completely neutral, but he was annoyed now. This boy’s confidence and bravado was reminding him far too much of Dudley, and that was without addressing the air of self-entitlement that seemed to surround him.

“Don’t be thick,” Weasley said exasperatedly, speaking for the first time. “Everybody knows that nobody knows how Charlus beat You-Know-Who.”

Harry just blinked at the oxymoron. It was better not to think of such things. “If nobody knows how it happened, do they even know that it did happen in the first place? I mean… what if she just killed mum and ran off?”

“I beat her!” Charlus argued more loudly, causing Harry to quirk a brow.


“I don’t-“

“Don’t know,” Harry finished. “Once is a fluke,” he said calmly, “twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. You’re famous for something that you don’t even remember. You’re famous for something that you can’t even prove happened. For all you know,” he added bitingly, “I could be the Boy-Who-Lived. You’re not the only one with a scar.” He pushed aside his fringe to reveal the lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. “And between me and you, a lightning bolt looks much better than a V.”

He had no idea what was spurring him on, as such an outburst was most unlike him. Despite that, he was taking a great amount of savage pleasure from the whole thing. He supposed it must have been all the years of pent up frustration pouring out of him.

Charlus sputtered, but before he could go any further, the door slid open, and three figures stepped inside. Harry immediately recognized one of them as the boy he’d met in Diagon Alley two months ago.

“Is it true?” asked the boy in question. “They’ve been saying up and down the train that Charlus Potter is in this compartment.”

“In the flesh,” said Charlus, though his voice held none of the charm nor arrogance it had earlier. It was now cold and condescending.

The blond held out his hand, either failing to notice Charles’s tone or choosing to ignore it. Harry suspected the latter. “A pleasure to meet you, Heir Potter. My name is Draco Malfoy; heir to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Malfoy.”

Charlus made no move towards taking the boy’s hand. “I know who you are, Malfoy. You can leave. I don’t need your sort around.”

An ugly look crossed Draco’s face before he schooled his features. “Oh? I don’t know, Potter,” he drawled. “If you’re going off making friends with Weasley already, I think you could use some help.” He allowed a confident, charming smile to cross his face. “I can help you make sure you get on with the right sort.”

“And I’m sure we can go party in our white masks and get matching dark marks.” 

Malfoy’s grey eyes narrowed coldly upon the conclusion of Charles’s taunt. “You ought to be more careful of who you’re accusing, Potter. An heir accusing another heir like that, and one with such a powerful-“

“I think you’ve got a few things mixed up, Heir Malfoy,” Harry interjected, cutting efficiently across the rebuke. 

Malfoy looked at him for the first time and his eyes narrowed once more. “Who are you?” 

“Harry Potter, the actual Heir to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. Charlus and I are twins; I was born first. I think you should leave before things get out of hand. You wouldn’t want to hurt your family’s reputation.”

Malfoy evaluated Harry for a moment. “We’ve met,” he remembered, eyeing him up and down. “You wore glasses then.”

Harry just nodded and tilted his head towards the door. Malfoy took the hint. He inclined his head to Harry whilst sneering at Ron and Charlus as he made his exit. A very awkward silence fell over the trio for several minutes before the door was flung open again. This time, they were intruded upon by an ordinary-looking girl. Ordinary-looking, at least, if you discounted her bushy mane of brown hair and rather large front teeth.

Harry seriously wondered whether anybody in the wizarding world knew how to knock.

“Excuse me, but I’m looking for a toad. A boy named Neville has lost one.”

“We haven’t seen it,” Charlus said quickly, trying to tuck away his wand as discreetly as possible. Harry hadn’t even noticed it was drawn at all, but the girl’s eyes sharpened on it at once.

“Oh! Were you going to do magic?”

“No,” Charlus answered shortly.

“Oh — well I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course. I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard — I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough — I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?”

Harry blinked in bemusement. She had rambled off all of that on one breath.

It seemed as if he wasn’t the only one with a near eidetic memory, though he liked to think he was a bit more polite about it than she was.

“Ron Weasley,” said the boy in question, who seemed to have recovered first, “this is Harry and Charlus Potter.”

“Are you really?” Hermione asked Charlus. “I’ve read all about you, of course. You’re in the Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Notable Magical Events of The Twentieth Century and-“

“Yes, I am,” Charlus confirmed, wisely cutting her off before she could get on a roll.

Hermione blinked this time. She clearly wasn’t used to being cut off. As soon as she regained her gusto, her eyes fixed on Harry. “I never knew Charlus Potter had a brother. You’re not mentioned in any of the books or-“

“Well I wouldn’t be, would I?” Harry asked rhetorically, taking a page out of his brother’s book and not letting Hermione build up too much momentum. “I didn’t cause the fall of the Dark Arts, nor was I the centre of a notable event of the twentieth century.”

“Well… no, I suppose not… but I still would have thought you’d have been mentioned.”

“So sorry to disappoint.” Harry’s voice was dripping with false sympathy. He was about done with people by this point. “It’s been a pleasure, Miss Granger, but I need to use the restroom.” Harry stood and left, making quickly for the nearest bathroom, not planning to come out for several hours.

True to his word, he didn’t, choosing instead to simply sit there and reflect on the day’s events, numerous as they were. He’d not lost composure like that in a very long time. Something about his brother just rubbed him the wrong way, and that was without accounting for the pent-up frustration he had unleashed.

Harry did not emerge from the restroom until the driver warned that they would be arriving at Hogwarts in five minutes. He quickly made his way into the compartment which he’d first occupied. Daphne and Tracey were still there, mercifully not in the midst of changing. He at least had the decency to knock.

“Where have you been?” Tracey exploded at once, but Harry did not give her time to say anything more than that. He merely crossed the room, grabbed his trunk and owl cage, and left, leaving a mildly amused Daphne Greengrass and an immensely annoyed Tracey Davis in his wake.

Suddenly, he was very grateful for the fact that he’d changed much earlier in the day.

Harry was the first of the first years to make it onto the platform and he could see, in the distance, the rough outline of a massive castle which he knew to be Hogwarts. For now, none of its more precise details could be discerned. He had seen an outside photograph in Hogwarts, A History, but he doubted it would be comparable to seeing it in person.

“Firs’ years! Firs’ years over here! Alrigh’ there Charlus, Ron, Harry!” Harry recognized Hagrid at once. The man was, after all, rather hard to miss, let alone forget. He made his way towards the hulking man, shooting him a reassuring smile when he noticed that Hagrid was looking at him with a modicum of concern.

The first years followed Hagrid down a steep cliff and into a kind of docking station where several small, old, rickety-looking boats awaited them. “No more’n four to a boat!” Hagrid boomed. Harry ended up with a very large, plain-looking girl, a sharp-looking boy with aristocratic features who stayed very quiet, and a tall, dark skinned boy with sharp, dark eyes. None of them said a word as they cruised across the water, though Harry nearly gasped aloud when he got his first sight of Hogwarts. 

He was right; no picture did the thing justice, not with its sheer scale, or its hundreds, if not thousands of windows all lit up by torches in the darkness.

A few minutes later, they had all disembarked and followed Hagrid up a treacherous path to the large, oak front doors that seemed to lead directly into what Harry imagined would be the entrance hall of the castle. Hagrid raised a massive hand and loudly knocked three times on the door.

It swung open a moment later and a tall, thin, black-haired woman stepped forward.

“The firs’ years, Professor McGonagall,” Hagrid said proudly.

“Thank you, Hagrid,” she said in a thick Scottish brogue, “I shall take them from here.”

They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Harry could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right, but Professor McGonagall showed the first years into a small, empty chamber off the hall. They crowded in, standing rather closer together than they would usually have done, peering about nervously.

Professor McGonagall proceeded to give a detailed but succinct summary of the four Hogwarts houses. Harry was mollified to hear that there didn’t seem to be any bias in her description. She struck him as a very strict taskmaster almost at once. It appeared as if she would not be one to cross in the future.

“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school.” she was saying. “I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting.”

Her eyes lingered for a moment on the boy who had lost his toad. His cloak was fastened under his left ear. Ron’s smudged nose also seemed to attract her attention. Harry glimpsed his twin trying madly to flatten his hair with no success. He could not help but smirk.

“I shall return when we are ready for you,” said Professor McGonagall. “Please wait quietly.”

She left the chamber.

They all got quite the scare when several ghosts floated straight through the wall, though they did not stay long. Within a matter of moments, Professor McGonagall had returned, and she quickly began to usher them into the Great Hall itself.

Harry heard his twin ask Ron if he knew how they were sorted as they walked, and to Harry’s amusement, the boy answered with something about a troll. 

Harry didn’t know himself. It wasn’t stated anywhere in Hogwarts, A History, but he was quite certain that was not it. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it was said that trolls were known wizard killers. They were apparently a challenge for even a highly-skilled, fully grown wizard. 

Harry very much doubted that any of them would be seeing a troll any time soon.

As they entered the Great Hall, his breath really did hitch. The vivid description in his book hadn’t done the place justice, though he seriously doubted any description could have truly succeeded in doing just that. 

The hall was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in mid-air over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up there so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, “It’s bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History.

‘Yes, you read,’ thought Harry, who suspected a great deal of them had likely read that exact same passage. Even knowing about the charm, it was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall did not simply open on to the heavens.

Harry quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool, she put a pointed wizard’s hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Aunt Petunia wouldn’t have let it anywhere near the house.

Harry was baffled as to what they could possibly be using such an artefact for. That was until a rip on the brim opened like a mouth, and the hat miraculously began to sing. Its song, as it turned out, was yet another summary of the houses. As much as Harry liked McGonagall’s style, he had to admit, the hat was quite the salesman.

The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.

“So, we just have to put on the hat!” Harry heard Ron exclaim in outrage. “I’ll kill Fred!” Despite his best efforts, Harry felt his lips twitch.

Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.

“When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said. “Abbott, Hannah!”

A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat- which fell right down over her eyes- and sat down. Harry recognized the surname. There was an Abbott who was Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and the family was an Ancient and Noble one. There was a moment’s pause…

“HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat.

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry saw a ghost that must have been the Fat Friar, the Hufflepuff House ghost, waving merrily at her.

“Bones, Susan!”

“HUFFLEPUFF!” the hat shouted again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah. 

“Boot, Terry!”


The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.

“Brocklehurst, Mandy” went to Ravenclaw too, but “Brown, Lavender” became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers. Harry thought the Gryffindors looked like an awfully rowdy bunch.

“Bulstrode, Millicent.” The large, plain girl whom Harry had sat with on the boat then became the first new Slytherin.

Harry was suddenly and painfully reminded of sports at school, where he was always chosen last. Not because he wasn’t any good, but because people didn’t want Dudley thinking they liked him.

‘What if that happens here? What if it just doesn’t sort me?’

‘Don’t be stupid!’ a second voice said in his mind. ‘You’re definitely going to be sorted!’

Harry closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he replayed the second thought over and over again in his head, shoving down all thought to the contrary.

“Crabbe, Vincent” One of Malfoy’s cronies from earlier became a Slytherin next.

“Davis, Tracey.”

Harry noticed the inconsistencies of the hat. Sometimes it decided right away. Other times, it took quite some time. Tracey was one of these cases. The hat sat on her head for almost three minutes before loudly proclaiming, “SLYTHERIN!” 

Harry felt a stab of empathy for her. He had been certain she wanted to avoid that option.

Malfoy’s other crony, Goyle, became a Slytherin as well, and then Hermione Granger stepped up. The hat took an age with her, very nearly three and a half minutes, before it sent her off to Gryffindor. Harry could not help but notice she wore a rather pleased smile as she went.

“Greengrass, Daphne.”

This sorting didn’t take nearly as long. Within less than thirty seconds the hat proclaimed Daphne Greengrass a Slytherin.

Neville Longbottom, the boy with the elusive toad, took longer than anybody, stretching on for nearly five minutes before he was sent to Gryffindor.

“Malfoy, Draco.”

Harry found himself rather amused when the hat shouted “SLYTHERIN!” before it had even fully settled on Malfoy’s head.

Theodore Nott, the thin, quiet boy from Harry’s boat also joined Slytherin, as did Pansy Parkinson before another set of twins, Patil and Patil, were split up, one going to Ravenclaw, the other to Gryffindor.

“Potter, Charlus.”

The room went completely quiet as Charlus strode confidently up to the stool. Even though Harry could tell he was nervous, he thought he hid it well.

“Potter, did they say?”

“Charlus Potter?”

The Charlus Potter?”

“Gotta be Gryffindor!”

The hat took much longer with Charlus than Harry thought it would. He thought he seemed a very cut and dry Gryffindor, but the hat took nearly three minutes before sending the Boy-Who-Lived off to the house of the brave, accompanied by the loudest ovation he’d heard thus far.

“Potter, Harry,” Professor McGonagall called out at long last, prompting him to actually sigh as he stepped forward. He just wanted this over with.

Much like Charlus, muttering followed him up to the stool, though it was much more confused, almost taken aback in tone.

“Another Potter?”

“As in, Charlus Potter?”

“He has a brother?”

“Is he related to Charlus?”

“Since when does the Boy-Who-Lived have a brother?”

“He’s not in any of the stories.”

Harry didn’t know what that last one meant, and he had a sneaking suspicion he didn’t want to, either. Keeping that in mind, he stepped forward instead of pondering on the comment. In the process, he earned a rare, encouraging smile from Professor McGonagall. He sat down and within seconds, his vision was obscured as she set the ancient hat atop his head.

‘Hmmm,’ said a small voice inside Harry’s mind. ‘Difficult, very difficult. I thought you might be after seeing inside your brother’s head. A fantastic mind — oh yes, one of the best I have seen in countless years — that memory does serve you well, doesn’t it? And the potential… oh yes! Oh yes, you could be great, Harry Potter. You could be very great indeed. Now, where do I put you?”

Harry stayed silent, resigned to any option.

‘Really?’ asked the hat. ‘I expected you to be more difficult about this; your brother was quite stubborn, as a matter of fact.’

‘I’m not my brother,’ Harry thought back, trying to add venom to his thought, if such a thing was even possible.

‘Oh, of that I am sure, don’t you worry.’ The hat chuckled. ‘Now, to business. Hufflepuff is the easiest to eliminate. You have never known enough loyalty to appreciate it, and though it is something you seek in a friend, it is not a driving quality within you. You will be loyal to those you care for, but I suspect they will be a select few.’

That was fairly on point, in Harry’s estimation.

‘The next three are the most difficult. You certainly have courage, oh yes — plenty of it, at that. You could not have made it through your life without some of it. But again, I sense it is not a driving force. You would not run head-long into danger unless you had a very good reason.

‘That leaves two, and it was always going to be one of them, was it not?

“With a mind like yours, any eagle would kill to call you a friend. You would define the values that Rowena cherished, and you would likely bring Ravenclaw glory it has not seen in several centuries. But I suspect you would become bored in that house rather quickly, and Slytherin would help you on your path to greatness, no doubt about that. Well, seeing as you are not being nearly as difficult about this as I feared you might be, better be “SLYTHERIN!”

Harry became almost instantly aware of deafening silence as he stood, passing the professor the hat as he politely inclined his head to her. She was one of the few in the room who did not seem overly surprised. She merely offered him a small, rather sad-looking smile as he made his way towards the silver and green table. His head was held high as his every footstep echoed off of the hard stone floor.

The other Slytherin first years were seated at the far end of the table, and the order was alphabetical. Sitting at the absolute end of the table were Bulstrode and Crabbe, sitting across from one another. To their right were Davis and Goyle. Greengrass and Malfoy were off to their right opposite each other, and beside them were Moon and Nott. Harry took the seat to the right of Lillian Moon, and the place across from him was occupied by Pansy Parkinson, who did not seem thrilled by the arrangement.

Everyone at the table was completely silent. Harry glanced around the hall and noticed that almost everyone was staring at him. Of all of the stares, there were two sets of eyes that drew his attention. 

One was predictable. An intense, betrayed looking set of hazel eyes, looking for all intents and purposes as if Harry had just led their owner into a death trap. The other, Harry felt as if were burning a hole in the back of his head. He turned to meet the deep-blue eyes behind half-moon spectacles. Dumbledore looked rather contemplative, and Harry thought he too had a rather sad look about him.

A few seconds later, Professor McGonagall continued with the sorting. Charlus’s friend, Ron, rather predictably joined Harry’s twin in Gryffindor, while the seat beside Harry was filled a moment later by the tall, dark skinned boy from the boat. Blaise Zabini was his name.

Just then, Harry realized that the owner of those intense, blue eyes had gotten to his feet. Albus Dumbledore was beaming 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 scrumptious banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are!

“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!”

He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered. Harry didn’t know whether to laugh or not.

“Is he… a bit mad?” he asked carefully.

Zabini chuckled from beside him. “Completely,” he answered shortly, a small smirk playing on his lips.

“Mad hardly does it justice,” drawled Malfoy as food appeared in front of them from out of nowhere. Harry had to try very hard not to gawk; he imagined that would not be taken well by many of the purebloods around him. “Father has said for years that Dumbledore is losing it. He doesn’t even think he’s fit to run the school, you know. But, some families still believe in him and his greatness.” Malfoy looked pointedly at Harry once he had finished drawing air quotes. “Your father is quite close to Dumbledore, isn’t he, Potter?”

Harry met Malfoy’s eyes and tried to pour as much contempt into his stare as he could. “I wouldn’t know, Malfoy. I’ve had very little to do with my father in my life, and I would appreciate it if you would keep his name out of our conversations.”

His voice was not impolite, but it definitely came out on the cooler side. Malfoy raised an eyebrow, clearly intrigued, but Harry shut him down quickly as he looked into the boy’s grey eyes. He tried to convey, through his stare, how dangerous pursuing that particular bit of gossip could be. After a moment, he began piling food onto his plate. He seemed to be preparing far less food than everybody else, but after years of being starved half to death, he supposed that wasn’t a surprise.

“I guess it would explain how you ended up here whilst your brother followed in your father’s footsteps.” Malfoy sounded like he wanted to add a lot more of his personal opinions regarding said steps, but he didn’t. “Didn’t have time for you, Potter? Too busy with the Boy-Who-Lived?” It wasn’t quite an insult; his voice didn’t carry enough intent for that. It was somewhere between teasing and a not-so-subtle jab. In any case, it was far too close to the truth for Harry’s liking, and he knew he had to bite back with something or that comment would drive him mad. There was also the obvious insinuation that Harry wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things. It could have been a coincidence, but if Malfoy continued that line of propaganda, it was fairly obvious he was doing his best to corrupt any foundations Harry might try and build in the house before he could even begin to do so.

It was actually rather clever.

“Something like that, yes,” Harry answered flatly. “You wouldn’t know much about that, would you, Malfoy? Your father has had all sorts of time with you ever since his schedule cleared up all those years ago.”

The tension at the table thickened as Malfoy’s eyes sharpened and his jaw tightened, but he didn’t take the bait. “He still keeps busy enough,” Malfoy said carefully, “but he always makes time for those who matter.” He met Harry’s eye and there was a spark of challenge there.

Yes, definitely a calculated move to try and ruin Harry’s reputation by making him out to be worthless.

“I’m sure he does,” Harry said amiably. “I just hope his judgement is sound. It would be a shame if he picked the wrong friends again.” Malfoy scowled. In Harry’s mind, this merely meant he was conceding the point.

He felt a stare again and he assumed it would be Dumbledore’s, but it wasn’t. Instead, the set of eyes that had been examining him belonged to a sallow-skinned man with a rather hooked nose and long sheets of greasy black hair that framed his face. His eyes were black, and Harry was reminded of dark, endless tunnels. There was something in those eyes. At first, Harry thought he recognized it as disgust or loathing; he’d seen it in the eyes of his relatives enough to recall it.

A split second later though, the look was different. It was one of surprise, though it was only there for the briefest of moments. Harry raised an eyebrow and tried to push past his eyes and glean his thoughts. To his dismay, nothing came of his efforts. He thought that maybe, witches and wizards had a sort of immunity to the ability? At least to an extent.

He glanced to the man’s side, his eyes landing on a woman with light brown hair that flowed over one of her shoulders and who wore simple black robes. When Harry looked at her, he felt a sharp stab of pain right where his scar was and he winced, just managing not to cry out.

“Something bothering you, Potter?” Malfoy asked coolly.

“No,” he lied, “just a headache.”

He waited to make sure Malfoy was busy chatting with Nott to his right before he leaned across the table towards Parkinson, suspecting she was likely well connected enough to answer his question. “Who are those two?” he asked, subtly indicating the two teachers.

Pansy seemed to swell with pride at the question, as if knowing something Harry didn’t pleased her. When she answered, she sounded surprisingly modest. “The man is Professor Snape. He’s our Head of House and teaches Potions.” She deflated a bit when her eyes flickered to the woman. “I don’t know who she is. She must be new. Probably the Defence teacher. The position’s cursed, you know?”

“Cursed?” asked Harry, peering curiously back at the witch, who seemed completely in her element now.

“Oh yes!” she said, her voice finally taking on an air of smugness and superiority. “They haven’t managed to keep a professor for more than a year since the mid 1960s. Something always happens to the defence professor!”

“Thank you,” said Harry, to which Parkinson nodded curtly. Harry spent the majority of his meal in silence, choosing to simply evaluate his peers. After a time, desserts appeared, and Harry enjoyed some for the first time in his life. After a while, they too vanished, and Dumbledore was on his feet again, his arms spread wide as if to embrace the entire hall.

“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 eyes flashed in the direction of yet another pair of twins at the Gryffindor table.

Harry wondered if twins were somehow more likely in the magical world. Seriously, this was getting ridiculous!

“I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the Caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.

“This year, Hogwarts has the pleasure of welcoming an extremely bright young woman by the name of Amelia Hurst onto its staff, as she will be taking up the honourable role of the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.”

There was some clapping as the tall, slim woman with the light brown hair, dark-green eyes, and well-defined features briefly swept gracefully to her feet, but there were more mutters than anything else.

“Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam 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.”

Pansy Parkinson’s laughter could be heard over that of most, but Harry didn’t laugh. His eyes narrowed upon the headmaster, and he was sure that there was more truth to Dumbledore’s statement than anyone knew.

“Guess you were right, Draco,” giggled Parkinson. “He really must be mad.”

“No,” Harry said softly, drawing almost everyone’s attention to him as he narrowed his eyes at Dumbledore, “He’s being serious — dead serious.”

Zabini nodded slowly, but everyone else looked sceptical. “And how, pray tell, would you know that?” asked Malfoy, who, along with Nott, looked most sceptical of all.

“Just a hunch. You’re welcome to go investigate if you think I’m wrong.” Malfoy sneered; he clearly had no intention of doing such a thing.

“And with that cheerful note,” said Dumbledore loudly, causing the chatter to die down almost at once, “I think it is time for bed!”

They all stood, but as they did so, an older student approached them. He was maybe a third or fourth year. “The halfblood is having you on, Draco,” he dismissed, looking disdainfully down at Harry. “He has no idea what he’s talking about. He shouldn’t even be in our house, let alone trying to screw with you. You should lose the cheek, Potter. It won’t get you very far in this house.”

“I think I’m free to speak how I like, thank you,” Despite the polite tone of voice, Harry’s eyes gleamed with a fair bit of defiance. As much as Harry knew the smart thing was probably keeping his head down, he had always harboured a defiant streak, one that wanted to be shown now that he was well away from Privet Drive.

“Do you?” the other boy asked cruelly, sounding amused. “Shitty for you that the opinions of a halfblood hardly matter.” the large boy took a step closer to Harry, who did not give him an inch. “You can choose your enemies better, Potter.” He warned. “You don’t want me as one of them. Lose your mouth.”

“Back off, Macnair.” 

This new voice drew everyone’s attention. It was soft and smooth, and it belonged to a tall girl with dirty blonde hair and enchanting, almost magnetic bluish-silver eyes. She wore a prefect badge on her chest and looked completely at ease as she addressed Macnair.

It was the girl from the train station. The one that Charlotte and her mother had been watching

“Leave the first years alone; it makes you seem as if you need an easy boost to your ego.” The girl’s small smile made it perfectly obviously to all present that she knew that was exactly what he needed, but she didn’t need to say it.

Harry had to admire the way she had done that; so innocent on the surface, yet so cutting and filled with implications. The boy scowled but didn’t say anything back. Instead, he ducked his head and walked the other way. Harry’s eyebrows rose for a moment.

It was such a sudden submission.

The girl looked at all of them. “First years over there with the fifth-year prefects, Rhea and Daniel.” She indicated a thin boy with very pale skin and soft, aristocratic features as well as a brunette girl who seemed to be the leader out of the two of them.

They all went to go in that direction when Harry felt a sudden weight on his shoulder and tensed, looking around to see that the girl had rested a firm hand on his shoulder. “I’d like a word with you, Potter.”

Harry felt rather uncomfortable with her hand on him but didn’t say anything. He just nodded and allowed her to guide him back into the antechamber in which they had entered and out a different exit. This one was hidden behind a life-sized portrait which swung easily aside when tapped with a wand. Only then, as they walked down a concealed staircase that was near pitch-black did she remove her hand from his shoulder and speak for the first time.

“You’re going to need to tread rather carefully in Slytherin. Your brother doesn’t exactly have a shining reputation with a lot of our house, and your blood status only worsens your case.”

“I figured as much,” Harry said just as they came out into a real corridor, one that was colder and seemed somehow drearier.

The dungeons, he realized.

“Treading carefully is one option,” she continued, “but there are others. You will soon learn that our house is driven very much by politics. There are ways to gain respect, or if you prefer to remain low-key — protection.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Harry asked, his suspicion growing by the second. This girl was at the top of the political ladder. He knew that without affirmation; Macnair’s reaction had confirmed it. He couldn’t quite understand why she was taking time to warn him.

She shrugged. “I don’t like Macnair and his group of thugs. I would hate to see their egos inflated over brutalizing some first year.”

There was definitely more to it than that.

They turned a corner a moment later and made their way down a corridor filled with a myriad of serpentine decor. Harry thought it rather simple, but rather ingenious when they didn’t stop. Instead they continued through several more corridors before stopping at a stretch of wall that looked much like any other.

A clever diversion.

The wall slid aside like a muggle sliding door with a tap of her wand. They were the first to arrive in the low-ceilinged room that seemed to be lit by a dull, green light. They could see straight into the depths of what Harry assumed was the black lake.

“I never got your name,” he commented as the girl made to take a seat on one of the two long couches on either side of the fire, directly in front of it. 

She paused in mid-stride, turning to face him. “That’s because I never gave it.” Her eyes scanned over him for a moment before she held out her hand. “Grace Weitts, Heiress of the House of Weitts.”

Despite the lack of the “Ancient and Most Noble” title, the Weitts family was one of the most powerful in Magical Britain. They were the co-leaders of the Neutral Faction along with the Greengrass family. Along with the Greengrasses, Blacks, Malfoys and others, they were among the richest families in Magical Britain according to estimates in Nature’s Nobility: A Guide To Wizarding Genealogy. What made this so impressive was the fact that they had only been in Britain for a few generations at most, and no one knew where they had come from or how they had risen to prominence so quickly.

“A pleasure to meet you, Heiress Weitts. I’m Harry Potter,” he said, taking her outstretched hand; her grip was rather firm, “Heir to The Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

“And you’re the heir?” she remarked, a small smile sliding onto her face. “My my, Potter, you are just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

Just then, the door slid open once more, and the other first years entered behind their prefects. They all made to move towards the dormitories but paused when an oily voice spoke from the shadows, making a few of them jump.

“Good evening.”

Professor Snape stepped into the torchlight; his face completely impassive as he stared at each of them in turn. His eyes rested for what Harry felt like was a fraction of a second too long upon him.

“Welcome to the noble house of Salazar Slytherin.” His voice came out like a hiss, barely more than a whisper. “This house has its values and traditions to uphold, and I expect each of you to do so.” His eyes again rested on Harry, though they flicked away just as quickly. “One of this house’s key attributes is ambition. I expect each of you to strive for greatness. I shall accept nothing less.” Several of the first years shifted uncomfortably, but not Harry. “This house will grant you every asset you could possibly wish for along your journey, assuming you are not crushed under its weight,” he continued. “In the end, it rests upon yourselves to carve out your own path, uphold the standards of Slytherin house and further your own legacy.

“I expect nothing but excellence in every sense of the word from each of you. Meeting my admittedly lofty expectations will be rewarded, and I shall do what I deem prudent to help you along your way as your Head of House.” His eyes hardened and yet again found Harry’s, though this time they stayed on him as he spoke. “Failure to fulfil your potential, and actions that I believe will lead you to such failure will result in repercussions and… disciplinary actions.” He took a long, dramatic pause. “I expect nothing but the best, and I expect you all to be up to the task. Do not disappoint me.” 

And with that he turned, his robes billowing as if caught in a sudden breeze as he swept from the common room.

Author’s Endnote:

Another fairly standard chapter. Though again, necessary in furthering the plot, building the world, and such.

Some portions of this chapter were taken directly from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It goes without saying that I own none of the said portions, and they were simply used to add to the feel of the story. This will be happening less as the story progresses.

Please read and review.

This chapter was revised on September 8th, 2020 with the help of Discord editors Asmodeus Stahl, rawmeat898 and TauNeutrino.

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