Harry was busy eyeing the rows of nearly identical homes that were flying past him at a breakneck speed far below the flying motorcycle that he and the mountain of a man named Hagrid were using to go to wherever it was they were going. It had only been a few minutes since he had left his home and in that time he had come to an inescapable conclusion. Magic was real and he was seeing it firsthand or he was having an extremely convincing dream the likes of which he had never had before in his whole life. Thinking on the matter some more he decided it wasn't a dream. This conclusion of his had come when he hit himself as hard as he had dared and he hadn't awoken from the hit. The deed had made Hagrid eye him with a look of mild confusion and concern for his wellbeing both mentally and physically after all why would a boy of 11 years just up and hit himself if something wasn't amiss with the boy in some way.
"Why did you don do that for"? Hagrid asked as he moved the motorcycle above some clouds. The movement forcing him into the back of his seat. The wind making him see not but blurs of blue and white and the occasional flash of brown of Hagrid's oversized coat as it flapped back and forth in the wind.
"An experiment...Hagrid". Harry answered after the motorcycle had finally leveled off and he could once again move forward in his seat without the G-forces keeping him pinned to it. Looking down he could see they were now so high up that all the cars moving throughout the city all looked like tiny ants moving about in a frantic motion. Harry had never been one to fear great heights but now he was starting to fear being so high up. It was thanks only to the knowledge that Hagrid likely wasn't going to allow anything bad to happen to him that he relaxed in his seat somewhat.
"An experiment. What kind of experiment has you don do a foolish thing like that for"? Hagrid asked before dropping behind a small shop called Dunkin Donuts.
"It doesn't really matter. It answered something that I wanted to be answered". Harry said before he started to remove himself from the sidecar and stretch his legs behind the small donut shop. "Now, if you don't mind me asking where are we going"? Harry asked as soon as he could once again feel his legs. Hagrid at once moved forward and started to press a set of bricks on a brick wall in what was a clear pattern to the boy. Once done he could see the wall moving apart to reveal a street of shops that he was fairly sure shouldn't exist in this part of London or for any part of the city for that matter.
"Well, my boy we are going to none other than Diagon Alley o course". Hagrid said as he moved aside to allow him to see the long crooked street that was lined with all sorts of shops. Harry could see that the shops were old and lopsided and crooked with a fair number being held up with beams of wood and iron. He was sure they would fail any health and safety checks should they ever be tested for such things. But for all the obvious violations of the health and safety laws of London, he could also smell the intoxicating aroma of food somewhere in the maze of streets and shops.
"You should go in there and get yourself a wand. I'll be back in a bit so don't go too far once you're done here". Hagrid said as he moved down the road some more. Harry not seeing much of a point in not getting his wand soon approached the shop dubbed by the aged sign that hung above the door as Ollivander's wand shop dated from 382 B.C to 1991 AD.
Ollivander's was filled with rows of boxes and held the smell of wood and oil. The wood part he could understand somewhat. Wands were made out of wood, at least he guessed they would be seeing as he had never paid all that much time to magic or to its applications and appliances. The smell of oil however perplexed him greatly as he couldn't see anything that would be the cause of the smell anywhere in the wand shop.
"I'll be right with you in a....bit". The man he guessed was Ollivander stopped upon seeing him. A fact that made him feel uneasy with the man. He really would like it if Hagrid would enter the shop and stop this man before he did something unsavory to his person. He doubted he would but one could never be sure about a person nowadays. The world was changing rapidly and the acts some people did would have been seen as unbecoming only a few years before.
"By Merlin's beard, you must be Harry Potter. I've been looking forward to this day for many a year. I take it you're here for your wand". Ollivander said as he moved quickly to a small box and pulled it off the dusty shelf and placed it before him.
"Go on my boy...give it a nice good flick". The man said and with that, he soon sent papers flying every which way.
"No not that one for sure. Perhaps you'll do better with one with dragons tail". He said as he once more picked a box up and set it before him. Giving this wand a flick he soon found himself looking every bit a fool as he waved the thing around with not but a slight wind for his trouble.
"Hmm, not that one. Maybe your emotions are messing it up". The man said as he took the wand and placed it next to his ear. The sight was quite amusing though he had the good sense not to say such things out loud.
"I see...no...maybe...oh goodness". The man said as he placed the wand back inside its box before just as fast placing another before him.
"Are you alright"? Harry asked as the man looked a bit disgruntled after doing this around a dozen times.
"Oh yes, I'm fine. The wands you see are in a foul mood today. But I'm sure this one will work". Ollivander said as he pushed a few bits of white hair aside. Taking hold of the wand he could feel an overwhelming sense of power flood throughout his whole body. The feeling was intoxicating as he felt nearly unstoppable.
"Hmm, an odd choice". Ollivander said as he eyed the wand long and hard. When it seemed he would fall upon his desk he pulled backward, pushed his round spectacles up his nose, and was off once again into the deepest depths of his shop leaving the boy utterly confused at the man's peculiar behavior. When he turned to exit he saw Hagrid holding up a cage that housed a white owl who hooted upon him seeing her.
Who is this"? Harry asked.
"She is your owl o course. Pedwig told us all about your love of birds so I knew an owl would be the best fit for you". Hagrid said as he pushed the caged owl into his hands. This, in turn, had made the rightly upset bird go into a fit of angry hoots and flaps of her wings
"Pedwig...who is Pedwig"? Harry asked.
"He's your family's goblin o course. All the great houses have them". Hagrid answered before closing his mouth. Looking at Harry he could tell his mistaken utterance wasn't missed by the boy.
"Great houses...are you saying I'm some kind of noble"? Harry asked as his mind raced with what that could mean. Did he have money or land? Could he do things others couldn't? He didn't know but he would find out soon enough he was sure. His mind already planning for every potential eventuality. Hagrid knew he had messed up and he would have to answer to Albus Dumbledore. Seeing no real way out of that he bowed his head low and accepted his mistake.
"You're a noble. A very old family but now isn't the time to worry about such matters. For now, all you need to worry about is your books and the only place for that is at Alexandra's library down there a'ways". Hagrid said as he pointed at a shop that seemed to be squeezed in between two larger shops. It was far from the kind of place he would have ever expected to enter yet here he was about to do just that very thing.
Whatever he had expected to see was nothing to the fantastical sight that awaited him upon his entrance. Books of every color and size flew through the air like birds. Chairs moving to and fro around the many tables that dotted the shop's reading area. If he wasn't sure about the existence of honest-to-goodness magic he was sure now. It was as real as the Sun in the sky or the changing of the seasons or even the phases of the Moon.
"Harry you should go and get your things. If you need any help you would do well to ask a book". Hagrid said as he moved to talk to a man with of all things green hair and mismatched shoes. He guessed the magical world was a bit odd to his own non-magical world. Seeing no harm in doing what Hagrid had said he asked the books and sure enough a set of books soon flew over to him and drop softly into his hands.
"Cool"! Harry said as he walked over to Hagrid who seemed to be about done with his chat with the man.
"I see you got your things". Hagrid said as he looked it over to ensure he hadn't missed one or two. It wouldn't be the first time such a thing had happened and he wasn't about to allow such a misfortune to befall Harry Potter.
"Looks like you have everything. It's about time I take you back to your home. It's a few weeks yet before it's time for your first year at don school". Hagrid said as he and Harry walked outside. The Sun now high in the afternoon sky.
"How did you know what I needed"? Harry asked.
"Don letter we don sent yer. You said you couldn't get the things so they sent me to make sure you don got them". Hagrid said as he started the motorcycle as Harry took his place inside the sidecar.
"Ready"? Hagrid asked as he shot forward at such a high speed that Harry was forced into the seat. The mass of blues and whites were not but a blur as the two raced through the sky. Before he knew it he was once again standing before his house. His hair a mess due to the wind. Opening the door he was immediately greeted by his aunt and uncle who at once sent him to the bathroom to wash himself of the dirt and grime from his visit. As he enjoyed the warm water Harry couldn't help but think back to what he had seen today. He was of course worried but he also couldn't deny he held a great sense of anticipation for the weeks to come and all that such things entailed for him.
Harry had spent the past few weeks reading over the material for the upcoming school year. It was an odd thing, after all, finding out that he was a wizard who seemingly had money and that there existed a school to teach him and likely hundreds of others how to utilize their magic. It was even odder finding out the many unusual sounding creatures and plants that existed in the magical world. But for as odd as all that was he had to admit it was also a very exciting prospect. He would get to see and hear all new and exciting things. He, of course, knew that his aunt and uncle would likely miss him and he, in turn, would miss them as well. He was about to leave his family for many long months only really getting an opportunity to return to Pivot Drive maybe once or twice a year. But after many long weeks of waiting the day had come at last and off he was to the train station to start his new life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The car ride was done in near-total silence with the only real sounds being of the various cars honking angrily away and his uncle clearing his throat once or twice over the 30-minute long car ride to the train station.
"Well, my boy here we are". Uncle Vernon said as he parked the car in one of the open spots and opened his door to exit the car. His sizeable gut, however, was making that goal a task in and of itself. But after a good ten seconds of trying to exit the small car he finally did it and with that in the three went. Vernon looking a bit redder in the face all the while. Harry wasn't sure if it was due to the exhaustion of the whole ordeal or simple embarrassment at being unable to exit the car. It was then and there that he decided he needed to go on a diet and cut back on the junk food.
"Do you have your train ticket"? Vernon asked to which he answered that yes he did. With that answered the two of them waved him off as he slowly descended the escalator and started his hunt for platform nine and three-quarters. As he thought about such a thing he couldn't help but laugh at the nonsensical sense of it all. But that was before he saw flying books, magic wands, and of course a flying motorcycle. Now he was sure such a thing existed he only needed to find the elusive thing so he could get his new life at this magic school started. Looking at the golden ticket in his hand he saw it would deport at noon and it was nearing 11:54. If he didn't find it soon he wouldn't be going at all. It was in the midst of such thoughts that he heard the sound of a family actively talking about platform nine and three-quarters only a few dozen feet away. Seeing not but blurs of humanity he raced nearly headlong into the matriarch of the family before stopping just as fast beside her. Her family of two nearly being tossed aside by the boy's sudden appearance by their mother's side.
"Watch where you're going you nearly caused me to lose my new hat". The woman said as she eyed the boy now before her. He was a bit small but she could tell he had a mind as good as any she had seen. It was a gift, being able to tell who may be the next great wizard or witch. It was why she had been placed inside the house of Slytherin.
"Oh, I'm sorry I was just hoping you could help me". Harry said as he fixed his glasses on his nose.
"Help you...why would she do such a thing like that for"? A girl asked who wore the green colors of the house.
"Because I asked her nicely". Harry shot back before eyeing the matriarch.
"What's your name"? She asked. She had a fairly good idea who this was but she wanted to make absolutely sure. If he was who she thought he was this could be a great boon for the house of Slytherin.
"I'm Harry James Potter and I'm trying to find the platform on this ticket". Harry said as he showed it off for the family to see.
"It's right behind you. The one next to the trash bin. You need only run into it". A fat boy said who also bore the same colors as the first but he at least was far nicer about it. He liked the boy already and he would be sure to ask his name upon finding a seat on the train. Turning to face the now confirmed location of platform 9 and 3/4 he raced forward at great speed until he saw the light dim and the sound of a train blowing its horn could be heard to his left. Rushing on he soon found a seat near the rear and set to work placing his bags away. No sooner had he done that he was once again off to find the boy and ask for his name. It didn't take him long as the boy was only two cars up from his own and seemed to already be in a deep conversation with another boy, his hair a silvery-white.
"Oh, and who may I ask are you"? The boy asked as he stood up and extended his hand. Harry at once took hold of it and the two shook hands.
"My name is Harry James Potter and your name is"? Harry asked the new boy who seemed almost taken aback at the answer.
"Draco...Draco Malfoy. This is Crabbe and Goyle. It seems you have already met Goyle his family and mine have been allies for close to a millennium. May I ask what house do you think you will be in"? Draco asked as he eyed him intensely.
"My...my house? I haven't put much thought into it...why"? Harry asked.
"You do know the history of the four houses...right"? Draco asked but at once saw he didn't. Suppressing his desire to rub his temples he pulled out a small booklet and handed it to him who at once took it and began to read. As he did he couldn't help but find each house fairly underwhelming besides one. Not knowing this was a booklet made by and for Slytherin, his thoughts were already being colored by the house of snakes.
"I wouldn't mind being a Slytherin. It seems like a good fit for me". Harry answered to which Draco seemed happy with. For the remainder of the train ride, the four boys talk unendingly and formed a strong friendship that would last years. By the time he departed from the train and eyed the massive castle that sat at the top of the sizeable hill his thoughts were on only one thing. Being the greatest wizard he could be and proving he belonged here.
If Harry had one thought on his mind at the moment it would have to be his absolute hatred for boat rides. The constant rocking motion of the boat as it slowly made its way to the port under the massive castle that sat atop the hill. It was a sight to behold, even now nearly a half-mile away he could already see the many stain-glass windows that dotted the sides of the castle. Unsurprising to him the boats rowed themselves leaving the children to only sit and enjoy the beautiful tranquil sight that lay before them all. A fact he and the many other first-years took full advantage of as they busily took photos of the magical sight before them. As soon as the boats docked the students were escorted to the lower doors where they were told to start the long and arduous trip upwards until they met one of the many Hogwarts professors who would then take them all to the great hall that would play host to the agelong Sorting Hat Ceremony that took place on the first night of the new school year.
It was a tradition that dated back nearly as long as the school itself was old and few people fully understood how the hat was able to do the house placements as perfectly as it did but that was one mystery unlikely to ever be solved and so it was left to the minds of tricksters and schemas of ages long passed. Even so, he couldn't help but to wonder about the hat. Surely such a thing was well taken care of. After all, it was what set one's house for the next six years. However, as soon as he met one professor McGonagall and entered into the great hall that seemed to go on forever and who's ceiling seemed to be the sky itself that twinkled even now and again and saw the hat itself he was left totally disgusted at its appearance. It was a dirty moth-eaten thing and seemed to slouch in on itself as if it was a lifeless husk. Its deep and powerful voice reminded him of an undertaker who lived four houses down who seemed to not know any other emotion besides that of anger and irritation.
The naming itself was fairly straight forward. A student would be named, would sit on the stool, have the hat placed upon his or her head, and then after some time had passed would name a house and they would take the seat at the appropriate table. It was a sensible way of sorting the students he guessed, however, he had the feeling that this was a bit premature but he passed that off as butterflies about being placed in any other house besides the house of snakes.
"Harry Potter". Came the voice of one professor McGonagall who looked every bit the stern disciplinarian of old. Her long bony fingers tapping away impatiently as she awaited him to take a seat upon the stool. Once he took his place atop the stool on went the hat and with it any ability to see past the first 20 or so kids at any of the four house tables.
"Hmm, a hard one indeed. You have the bravery of a lion of house Gryffindor but you also bore the mind of a snake of house Slytherin. Hmm, what say you"? The hat asked as it seemed to drop lower upon his head.
"Not Gryffindor...Not Gryffindor...Not Gryffindor". Harry said in his mind over and over again. He was fairly sure that he knew which house Draco Malfoy and his friends would be sorted into and he didn't like the idea of not being sorted into their house. He didn't dislike the other houses par say, he just didn't know anybody from them and so wouldn't know anybody in the first few days after the sorting. Slytherin, on the other hand, he would know at least three of the other students and with that some companionship over the coming days and weeks. With its answer, the hat slowly rose up and for a time remained fixed as it eyed the collection of students from house Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Slytherin.
" Slytherin". The hat proclaimed loudly to the applause of the house of snakes. His name being yelled by all. With that now done a welcoming meal appeared before them. Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, apple's, and many other foodstuffs appeared upon all the tables to the delight of everybody. All the while the ever-watchful gaze of Dumbledore watched Harry Potter incessantly. Being mindful to not make his movements noticed he subtly gave Snape a letter who took it with the skill of a snake. He would read it after the meal and the great hall was void of thousands of eyes. When he did read it in his office he understood at once what the problem was. Harry Potter was never meant to be sorted into Slytherin. However, the hat had placed him in his house and by law, it couldn't be undone. Burning the letter Snape departed from his office his mind already racing with who could have done the deed. Whoever it was he was sure of one fact. It had to be a Hogwarts professor as only they had the means to bewitch the hat. The only question on his mind was who and why.