As It Began

When Snape is sent to deliver Harry's Hogwarts letter on his 11th birthday, will he still be able to hate Harry after meeting the Dursleys? Harry is a first year at Hogwarts. HP & SS No slash!

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5. Chapter 5

“Up! Up! After breakfast, we’re off!” Mrs. Weasley shouted through the door that closed off Ron’s room. Ron groaned and buried his face in a pillow. Harry, used to getting up early, was already in the process of pulling clean clothes on.

    “Come on, Ron! Let’s go!” he said excitedly. 

    Ron sat up, his red hair plastered to the side of his face. He looked around blearily, then sighed and got up to get ready. Everyone was at the table when the two came down to breakfast. Since Ron’s room was on the top floor, they had been the last to get the wake up call.

    They bolted down the food set on their plates in record time. Then Ron turned to Mrs. Weasley.

    “We’ll wait by the fireplace,” he said, now eager as well, and gestured for Harry to join him.

    In the other room, Harry whispered, “Why the fireplace?”

    Ron gave him a quizzical look. “We’re Flooing...” he said in way of explanation.

    Harry stared blankly at him.

    “You know, with Floo power, through the fireplace?” 

    Harry’s expression didn’t change.

    “You’ve never Flooed?” Ron asked. Harry shook his head. “But how’d you get here?”

    “I held Professor Snape’s arm and we vanished from where we were and appeared here. Like being sucked through space or something. I didn’t like it,” Harry stated.

    Ron’s eyes widened. “You apparated?” 

    “Is that what it’s called?” he shrugged.

    He looked as if he were going to respond when Mrs. Weasley came bustling into the room with the others in tow. Ron’s face showed lingering disbelief, but he soon let it go.

    “Okay, let’s have Harry go first,” she said, taking a delicate blue porcelain dish down from the mantle. Inside was a fine gray powder. 

    “Er, that’s okay, one of you can go...” Harry offered feebly.

    “Oh, don’t be afraid, dear! Just take a handful of Floo powder, throw it into the fire, step in,” Harry gulped, “and say clearly ‘Diagon Alley.’ Got it? Alright, in you go.”

    All eyes on him, Harry grabbed a handful of powder and threw it into the flames. They instantly turned emerald green. Taking a deep breath, he ignored his instincts and stepped directly into the flames. Interestingly enough, they weren’t hot at all. They tickled his hands, a sensation that wasn’t wholly unpleasant. 

    Still nervous, Harry said in a trembling voice, “Diagonalley!”

    In an instant, he was gone, hurtling through...well, he didn’t know where. Images flashed before him, like scenes from the window of a train. Harry just hoped that it would know where to stop. It did, and Harry was unceremoniously deposited on an old Indian rug. Harry coughed and wiped the ash from his eyes. He had landed on his knees, but the impact jarred the glasses from his head. He groped with his hand until he found them next to his knee. Putting them on, he realized that one of the lenses was broken.     He looked around the place in which he had landed, thinking that one of the Weasleys should have come through by now. He decided that he was standing in a store, though a dark and strange one. Shrunken heads, cracked crystals and contorted artifacts littered the shelves. Idly, he ran his hand over a small plaque that identified a shriveled hand as the Hand of Glory. 

    “Insert a candle and it gives light only to the holder! Best friend of thieves and plunderers!it claimed. 

    Though Harry thought that might be something useful to have, he couldn’t imagine carrying around a human hand, or at least, that is what he assumed it was. The thought sent chills down his spine. He decided that he had to get out of this shop. Luckily, Harry did not see anyone as he hurried out the door; he didn’t want to have to explain why he was there. He himself didn’t know. He must have done something wrong in the Floo, for none of the Wealeys had shown up and he didn’t think this was a place Mrs. Weasley would send her children to. 

    Harry stood on the street trying to decide the best way of reconnecting with the others. As he thought, an old witch sidled up beside him. She was bent over at an odd angle and missing so many teeth tat her smile was grisly and repulsive.

    “Are you lost, dear?” she asked in a raspy voice. “I can show you the way back.”

    “Uh, no thanks,” Harry said, edging away from her. He turned the other way and found a man in a similar state as the woman. 

    “Need help?” he offered.

    “No, I’m jus-”

    A tall, dark form appeared at the edge of Harry’s vision. Through his broken lens, he could not make out any details. This person grabbed his arm with a tight grip.

    “P-” the stranger began.

    Harry screamed, tore away and bolted down the street, away from the dark little store.

    “Potter!” a voice called sharply.

    Harry slowed tentatively and glanced back. Through his good lens, he saw Professor Snape chasing after him and realized that he must have been the one who grabbed him. Harry stopped. He noticed that Professor Snape was breathing a little more heavily than usual and looked away for a moment. After he caught his breath, he turned to Harry with a sharp look to his eyes. Well, a sharper look than usual.

    “What are you doing in Knockturn Alley?” He demanded.

    “Sir the Floo...and the Weasleys - don’t know where...” he stammered.

    “Speak clearly, boy!” Professor Snape said. Harry winced. That was one of Uncle Vernon’s favorite nicknames for him.

    “I don’t know sir. I am lost,” Harry managed.

    Snape seemed to be searching his eyes.

    “Come.”

    Obediently, Harry followed Snape to the corner where they turned down another street. After going through a small archway and up a set of stairs, Harry was back in familiar territory. Across the way was Madam Malkin’s, and Harry knew he was back in Diagon Alley. He breathed a sigh of relief.

    “Severus!” a voice shouted behind them. They both turned to see Mrs. Weasley frantically hurrying toward them. The other children followed behind her and Ron looked relieved. 

    Mrs. Weasley ran over and hugged Harry, before fixing him with a firm stare.

    “Don’t ever scare me like that again!”

    “Sorry, ma’m,” Harry said apologetically.

    “Oh, it’s not your fault, but we had no idea where it had dropped you,” she turned to Snape with a questioning but grateful look. “Thank you for bringing him back, where did you find him?”

    “Knockturn Alley,” Snape said dryly.

    “Brilliant!” the twins said in unison.

    Mrs. Weasley’s eyes narrowed at Snape, but she stayed silent on the matter. 

    “Well, thank you. Goodness knows what might have happened...” she trailed off. “Come now, let’s get started. We have a lot to buy.”

    And with that, the Weasleys wandered off. Harry lingered for a moment longer than the rest. He looked up and met Professor Snape’s eyes.

    “Thank you,” he said quietly. 

    The man did not respond, except to draw his wand. He pointed it at Harry’s face, startling him.

    “Reparo,” he whispered. 

    The glass of Harry’s left lens flowed back into a cohesive whole.

    “Thanks,” he said.

    Snape merely nodded, and watched Harry go.

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

 

    After they had purchased Ron’s wand, cauldron and everyone’s books, they headed back to Madam Malkin’s. When Mrs. Weasley requested secondhand robes, Harry was extremely uncomfortable. She had mentioned earlier that Professor Snape had left his money bag with her, which meant she knew how much gold he had. She had no idea how much was left in the vault either. From their earlier visit to Gringotts, Harry knew how rich he was in comparison. He longed to tell her to keep his whole bag; they deserved it and he didn’t need it anyway. A few times, he almost offered, but knew she would refuse. He spent a few moments thinking about how he could slip them some Galleons.

    They exited the shop and went next door to stare in wonder at the new Nimbus 2000. Through the window, Harry saw a pack of stationary edged with tiny moving broomsticks. 

    “Mrs. Weasley?” he asked hesitantly.

    “Yes, dear?”

    “May I have my money bag? I’d like to buy that stationary packet,” he explained.

    “Of course, here you are. We’ll wait outside,” she told him warmly.

    As Harry bought the stationary, he peered into his bag. There seemed to be a good thirty Gallleons in there and some odd sickles and knuts. He took out ten and put them in his pocket.

    Outside, Harry handed Mrs. Weasley back the money bag. 

    “Goodness, Harry! How much stationary did you buy?” she asked teasingly.

    “One pack. But I got some other things,” he lied, “but they’re surprises for Christmas.”

    “I see. Starting early, huh?” she joked. “Alright, a few more stops,” she told the rest.

    “So, Harry, what was Knockturn Alley like?” Fred asked in a whisper with George and Ron listening in.

    “It was a bit creepy, really. I landed in some dark artifact shop.”

    “Borgin and Burke’s?” George asked, and Fred shot him a look. Harry raised an eyebrow but nodded, for he thought that was the name.

    “Wicked.” Fred said with feeling.

    “Yeah,” Ron agreed. “Mum would never let us go down there.”

    “Don’t know why you’d want to,” Harry pointed out.

    “Fred and I-” George started.

    “-have a way of doing the opposite of what we’re told,” Fred finished. He gave them a wink, then began chatting loudly about broom so that Mrs. Weasley wouldn’t get suspicious.

    “Need a hand with those bags, Ron?”

    “Sure, thanks, Harry,” Ron replied.

    “No problem. Hand me the robes, that’s the biggest bag,” Harry told him. 

    Ron complied, and Harry was now carrying a large, navy blue tote bag. When nobody was paying attention to him, Harry nonchalantly slipped his hand into his pocket and transferred the coins to one of the pockets of Ron’s set of robes. He then resumed conversation with the twins, feeling pleased that he pulled it off.

    They stopped by the Apothecary and a store that sold only quills; it had every color and variety that they could think of. Finally, they took the Floo back to the Burrow (which Harry pronounced slowly and clearly) and unloaded their purchases. Exhausted, Harry collapsed into his bed, a content smile on his face. He felt good, and with the exception of Knockturn Alley, had spent a day acting as if  he belonged to a normal wizarding family. Though he tried not to think about it, deep down Harry realized that he could not intrude upon the Weasleys forever. He knew that they would never be his family, but he figured that he could pretend, for a little while at least, that he was a normal, loved child. 

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

 

AN:  Disclaimer: The lines describing the Hand of Glory are directly from The Chamber of Secrets. 

Just to clear something up, at this point, Harry is still a little in the dark in terms of his heritage but rest assured that it will be cleared up after the school year starts!

And yes, I realize that the Knockturn Alley scene doesn’t happen until the second book, but I liked the way it fit here and I’m obviously not following the book, since Harry doesn’t go to the Burrow until CoS.  Please read and review!

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