The Thief of Hogwarts
A/N: I don’t own Harry Potter or Dc comics... I don’t own Harry Potter, period.
Chapter 3: The Express Mess
Hogwarts Express, 20 minutes after departure from Platform Nine and three quarters.
“FRED! GEORGE! Give me back my badge!”
“We didn’t steal it!”
“Though we wanted to do so for a longtime...”
“GIVE ME BACK MY WAND OR I’LL TELL MOTHER! AND THE OTHER BADGES OF MY FELLOW PREFECTS ARE ALSO MISSING!!!”
“I told you... we didn’t do it!”
“...But brilliant move that was!”
“I know you have something to do with this... it’s not yet over... I’m going to tell Professor McGonagall when we arrive.”
A young boy gazed at the sky as the Express made good speed towards its destination. He played with a golden badge he had recently 'borrowed', making it dance around his fingers. He smiled as the wind rushed towards his face and lied back down on the roof of the express, using his rolled up robes as a pillow. A toad sat beside him, enjoying the warm sun on its backobserving the strange human that found him in the hallways.
Harry was bored at the compartment he was previously in. After spending a few minutes with a compartment full of students older than him he decided to find a new spot to watch the engine. They were friendly enough, but he felt left out of place since they obviously knew each other well, comparing their summer vacations and about the status of their assigned summer homework.
As he walked along the carriage, his sharp eyes spotted movement in the floor and he snatched it just as it leapt past him. He smiled when a toad stared back at him, its lower mouth inflating back and forth as its beady black eyes stared at its captor. He couldn’t decide what to do with the toad and he didn’t want it squished by the dozens of students rushing back and forth along the length of the hallway. He placed the toad on his right front pocket and the creature sat still, content at the warm place it was in.
He was excited to ride on the Hogwarts Express and had been looking forward to it since last week. According to the old man it was full of runic magic that allowed the obsolete muggle train turned wizarding transport express to travel as fast as the bullet trains in Japan or the ICE trains in Europe. Harry also felt fondness for the steam engine, as he spent his childhood watching Thomas and his friends.
He was somewhat disappointed when he did not see the Fat controller in the platform as was seen from his favorite show, but he concluded that since there was only one train that ran around the tracks, a controller was not really needed.
His good mood from his excitement at riding the express was ruined from the very beginning. Harry wanted to see the engine up front and decided to take a compartment in the very first car right before the engine to observe the ‘engineer’ that will operate the controls. He was smiling widely as he imagined the Engineer to be of a wizarding variation, but still wearing the traditional white and blue striped hat and pants of an engine operator.
A thin red headed boy with freckles on his face suddenly entered his compartment just as he was settling in and demanded that he leave, since the compartments in the first car were reserved for prefects and the head boy and head girl.
Harry of course refused, since he woke up very early so just he could ensure that he would have a good seat on the first car. The red headed prefect puffed out his chest, showing the shiny gold letter ‘P’ pinned on his chest and demanded that he leave. Other prefects arrived on the scene and Harry was forced to relinquish the compartment. After staring for a moment at the engine at the front of the car, He scowled and pushed past the assembled group of prefects, deciding to teach them a lesson for their big headedness.
After admiring the gold badge, which he determined was not actually made of gold but made to look like one he threw it out the side of the train. He fished his pocket and opened a bag full of the small gold badges and started playing with the next one. This time it had the design of a Raven delicately carved over its face.
“I tell you, Percy’s crazy... he’s off his rocker.” George Weasley said to his twin.
“He’s just embarrassed since he is related to the main suspects.” Fred answered back. “Who could have stolen most of the prefect’s badges?”
“I don’t know... but it seems the Weasley Twins have some competition” Lee Jordan said. A glint of light caught his eye as he stared out the window. “Hey look at that!”
“What?” The twins asked simultaneously as they followed their friend’s gaze. Another golden object that suspiciously looked like one of the missing Prefect badges flew down and disappeared into the grassy countryside.
“Who is doing that?” Fred asked as he spotted another badge thrown out to the side of the train.
“I think it’s our competition dear brother.” George answered back. “And it looks like the badges are thrown from the roof of the train.”
“The roof? Who could be possibly crazy enough to go up there aside from us?” Fred asked.
“Let’s find out then.” Lee said and the three third year students headed to the connection between the second and third car where they knew the ladder to the roof was located.
“Bloody Hell!” Lee said as he ducked in time as a golden badge flew past where his head would have been. It wouldn’t have killed him... instantly but with the added force of the wind it could have left a nasty cut or bruise on his face.
The three students warily climbed up and found a young boy lying on top of the roof playing with a prefect badge. He didn’t seem to notice that he had company due to the fact that he was looking straight up and the rushing wind made it hard for everyone to hear.
Another thing strange was a toad was sitting beside him, looking towards its companion eagerly. The boy flicked the badge again and this time the toad was ready and snatched the metal out of the air and swallowed it.
The boy was lying on top of the first car that was right behind the engine and Fred, George and Lee couldn’t see the boy’s face. He wore none descript clothes and they weren’t sure if he had black or brown hair because of the steam that kept on blocking their view.
“OY!” Fred shouted, cupping his hands over his mouth to increase the volume.
Harry was surprised to hear someone calling him and he stood up and faced three older students on the roof with him. He knew he was spotted and looked around for an escape. He was about to run when he realized that the Toad that accompanied him was still there sitting beside him.
“Go on, your free” Harry mumbled and Toad seemed to have understood him and headed towards the edge of the roof and leapt to freedom.
As Fred, George and Lee walked cautiously towards the boy, the Hogwarts Express blew its whistle and all four on the roof saw the approaching tunnel that the train was about to enter.
“DUCK!” Fred screamed and hit the deck, followed closely by his twin and their friend. Fred stared at the boy they were curious to talk to, but he seemed suicidal as moved closer to the end of the first car.
“HE’S CRAZY!” George yelled as seconds before the boy hit the stone arch that was the entrance to the tunnel, he leaped down, narrowly crushing his body. The three third years couldn’t see anymore as they were plunged to darkness and they coughed as they inhaled the smoke from the train.
A few seconds later Fred. George and Lee could see again. All three were shaken at near the death experience they encountered. They warily checked if there were tunnels ahead and when it was clear they approached the spot that they assumed the boy had jumped down to.
Fred climbed the ladder and looked around the section that connected the engine and the first car.
“He’s not here.” Fred said. He tried the door that lead to the prefect’s car and frowned and looked back at his twin whose head was hanging down from the roof. “And the door is locked from the inside.”
“It’s.... It’s gone now... Trevor.” Neville Longbottom sniffed as he wiped his eyes with his hanky.
“I’m sure it will turn up Neville, don’t worry...” Hermione said gently. The two of them had searched every compartment on the entire train but the toad remind elusive. They had attempted to ask the help of the prefects but the older students appeared disgruntled for the moment and were in a foul mood.
“Are you sure?” Neville asked hopefully as he stared outside the window.
“Positive” Hermione said. “He’ll turn up soon and...”
Neville’s eyes widened as his missing toad slammed into the glass window of his compartment. “TREVOR!”
The toad recognized its owner where it had experienced several life and death situations and immediately leapt again and somersaulted into freedom.
“Well he did turn up.” Hermione said faintly. Unsure of what to say to the crying boy she took out her book on transfiguration and began reading.
“TREVOR.....” Neville sobbed he gently touched the slime that his pet left on the window.
“Do you think he’s dead?” Lee asked as they entered their compartment, their faces serious as they were still shocked at what happened.
“I don’t know... I hope not.” Fred said. “Did you get a good look at him?” Fred asked his twin.
“No... But I know he’s smaller than us, like a second year or even a firstie.” George said thinking hard for possible candidates to their mysterious prankster. “Who the hell is he?”
Minerva McGonagall rushed towards the awaiting first years, the sorting hat clutched in her hands. She had been delayed by the complaints from the prefects that their badges were missing. She was not impressed at their irresponsible behavior and had scolded them sternly for not taking the role of prefects seriously.
Most blamed the Weasley Twins for this, but she knew it was not their style as they liked to do flashy pranks and loved taking the blame. Nevertheless she would talk to the twins tomorrow to investigate the case of the missing prefect badges.
The Deputy Headmistress schooled her features to the stern face everyone was used to seeing. She took great care of her reputation as a strict and fair teacher, and she wanted the new first years to learn that she was not a person to be messed with.
“Gather round!” Minerva said and the first years, huddled in a group instantly obeyed her. She eyed the students with a critical eye, mentally taking note of who she already knew.
Draco Malfoy stood there arrogantly, lording over the other first years. Minerva narrowed her eyes at the spitting image of Lucius Malfoy... she knew the boy was trouble. Neville Longbottom was there looking around cautiously... her eyes slightly softened as she saw Alice’s face in the boy. She hoper young Neville had inherited Alice’s flair for transfiguration.
A brown haired girl was lecturing to a red headed boy that she was sure was a Weasley and she hoped Hermione Granger would end up in her house. She was lucky to be the teacher assigned to introduce the young girl to the wizarding world and found Hermione Granger intelligent and very promising.
Her eyes scanned for another boy, whom she held when he was a year old as his parents invited her to their son’s birthday party. She couldn’t spot him and she frowned.... did the boy who lived plan on coming to Hogwarts?
“I am Professor Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress and the Transfiguration professor. All of you know... that Hogwarts is sorted into four houses. These houses will be your family in your stay here, and your actions, achievements and mistakes will either earn or lose points for your house.” Minerva began as the first years listened to her speech.
Harry stared at the strange looking worn hat that seemed to be alive as it twisted and shifted on the stern woman’s grip. It looked interesting.... and the young boy’s curiosity was piqued. He subtly moved closer to the woman, behind her back and waited for the right moment.
Suddenly strange transparent beings burst through a wall, talking among themselves and several first years shrieked and rushed towards the Deputy Headmistress for protection. Harry smiled and used the opportunity as Professor McGonagall was overwhelmed by the bodies that surrounded her, clutching her green robes in fear.
Harry was amused as he saw the worried face of a young student whose hair was very similar to the girly haired wizard he had conned earlier and realized this might be his son. So much for pureblood nobility.
Minerva scolded the Ghosts who had been given earlier instructions not to haunt the ante room and her strict demeanor instantly enforced discipline on the scared first years. She lined the first years into two lines of boys and girls and headed towards the Great Hall to announce that the first years were ready to be sorted.
The young girl nervously headed to the head of the Great hall and sat down to the small three legged wooden stool and patiently waited to be sorted.
Minerva stepped forward and placed the object on the young girls head and Hannah abbot saw a fuzz of pink and smelled the scent of an old woman’s perfume.
It took several minutes until Hannah Abbot, impatient from seating so long at the uncomfortable stool spoke aloud. “What am I supposed to do?”
Albus Dumbledore immediately stood up when he realized that a pink frilly woman’s hanker chief was on top of the young girls head. Minerva also realized that something was wrong and began to check her pockets for the missing ancient artifact she had misplaced.
“The sorting hat! It suddenly vanished!” Minerva shrieked as she panicked. “I swear it was in my hand just a moment ago!”
The students in the four houses began to mutter and talk amongst themselves when they heard the proclamation. The sorting hat was missing.
Harry realized what he had on his pocket and for the first time he was actually nervous at stealing something. He also felt strangely excited... thrilled that he had unknowingly stolen a priceless artifact that seemed to have great value judging from the look on the faces of the teachers.
Albus and Minerva rushed to the anteroom to look for the sorting hat and left a confused Hannah Abbott still wearing the ridiculous pink hanky over her head.
Headmaster’s office, the day after the theft.
“It’s gone.... the sorting Hat’s gone...” Albus said sadly as his staff surrounded him in his office. “A thousand years of tradition... and it suddenly vanishes.”
“I have searched everywhere... The students in my house have assured me that they had nothing to do with this.” Severus Snape said.
“Nor with mine.” Filius Flitwick said.
“My Puffs are also innocent.” Pomona Sprout added.
The three head all looked at Minerva McGonagall and she stared back defiantly. “You think my Lions had anything to do with this?”
“Just two of them.” Severus said. “The Weasley Twins are guilty of this... they have gone too far this time.”
“I’ll have you know that Fred and George have volunteered to swear an oath on their magic that they had nothing to do with this... they are even suggesting that we use Veritaserum on them.” Minerva said. “Is that someone who is guilty would do?”
“Well... no.” Filius Flitwick admitted. “With the sorting hat missing... how are we going to sort the first years?”
“We have to interview them ourselves...” Albus said. “One person at a time” He winced when he heard the much expected protest from the heads of houses.
“We don’t have time for this!”
“I have classes to teach, and potions to brew!”
“How many of them are there, forty? Fifty? It would take the whole day....”
Albus raised his hand to silence their protests and stared at them hard, reminding them that he was the headmaster and he was in charge. “What do you propose then? If you can think of something better... by all means tell me.”
The four heads of house remained silent as they sat on their seats. Albus Dumbledore smiled and said. “We will announce that today will be a day off, in light of recent events. The five of us will begin to interview the first years in thirty minutes, and the majority... that means three votes would be required for a student to be admitted to one of the houses.”
“Is there a time limit for each student Headmaster?” Professor McGonagall asked.
“No...It is our responsibility to ask questions to make sure each student is sorted into their proper house. Adding a time limit will pressure us to act in haste and commit a mistake that these children do not deserve... does everyone agree to these terms?” Albus asked.
The heads of houses nodded and the Headmaster dismissed everyone, save Severus Snape. Once they were alone Severus began his report.
“Quirrell’s not acting like himself... he is not the same man he was last year.” Severus said.
“Keep an eye on him then...” Albus said as he took a lemon drop from the bowl.
“And him too?” Severus asked.
“And Harry of course.” Albus said as he popped the lemon drop on his mouth. His wrinkled face wrinkled some more as the sour taste of the candy rushed towards his mouth.
“May I ask why the Sorting Hat didn't speak out when it was... kidnapped? It could have asked for help...” The potions master asked.
“The Hat was deactivated at the time... and there is a reason we always use the three legged brown stool. Once the two connect, the magic fills the hat and comes to life for the whole school year to sort the students and occasionally give a bit of advice to the current Headmaster.” Albus said. “I have tried looking at Minerva’s memories... the memory was hazy as she was distracted at the time... but I think that the Hat was stolen before she met the first years in the ante room.”
“It could have been a time delay switching spell...” Severus suggested. “The thief transfigured the pink Hanky to look similar to the sorting hat, and would change back once the sorting hat was needed.”
“That is plausible” Albus admitted. “Who was with Minerva before she met with the first years?”
“Fillius... Pomona... Sybil and... Quirrell.” Severus said.
“Clearly he is the primary suspect... though I do wonder what he intends to do with the hat.” Albus mused as he stroked his beard. “Watch him carefully Severus, if he slips up we will be there instantly and recover our precious sorting hat.”
“Ah welcome! Please have a seat.” Albus said from his desk.
The young girl walked nervously towards the center of the room and sat on the indicated chair.
“So Hermione... could you tell us more about yourself? Your hobbies? Likes and dislikes?” Filius asked as it was his turn to speak. During the interview process, they have fine tuned their questions and knew the right ones to ask to help them determine the student’s personality and traits.
“Well... I like to read book... study.... and do homework...” Hermione began.
“What do you do for fun? Do you play outside?” Minerva asked. She wanted this girl to be on her house.
“Well I read and write... It’s fun for me. I don’t really play outside... I’m not fond of physical activities.” Hermione said.
“But what about bullies? What do you do when someone confronts you?” Minerva asked, willing the girl to show an ounce of courage.
“I tell the nearest adult of course.” Hermione said.
Severus, Albus, Filius and Pomona looked at one another and nodded. They didn’t need to debate on this. Minerva sighed and gave up, admitting defeat.
“Congratulations... Welcome to the house of Ravenclaw.” Albus said.
“Neville Longbottom...” Severus Snape gave an evil smile.
“Sir...” Neville said fearfully.
“What do you do in your spare time... that is if you can do anything at all?” Severus asked.
“I like gardening sir... I have a small greenhouse that my grandma made... and I’ve been collecting plants ever since.” Neville said as he looked down on his shoes.
“What kind of plants dear? I also have a fondness for gardening.”
Neville looked up and found the kind and smiling face of Pomona Sprout, which he thought was beautiful. He dropped his gaze and stared back as his shoes as his cheeks tinged red. Neville Longbottom found his first crush.
“Welcome to my house dear.... the house of Helga Hufflepuff.” Pomona Sprout said kindly.
“Harry! Come in!” Albus said as he greeted the young man who entered the room. The boy looked fine, though he was at the scrawny side. His green eyes stared around the office, taking in everything.
“Have a seat Harry.” Albus said as he gave Filius a subtle glance that he was taking over the questioning of the boy who lived.
“So... It was very brave of you to enter a completely different world. I am glad to finally meet you Harry.” Albus said as his eyes twinkled to their full blast.
The boy did not answer but looked around the room observing the strange gadgets and silver instruments on the desk.
“Can you tell us something about yourself Harry? I know for a fact that you have a difficult life... It was very brave of you to have lived there and endured.” Albus said.
Harry knew what the Albus Dumbledore was up to. During his stay with the old man, he was warned about the headmaster’s manipulating ways. He observed every nook and cranny wondering if the stone was hidden here somewhere.
“Harry?” Albus prompted for a response.
“Huh?” Harry asked absently.
“Dimwitted as his father...” Severus sneered.
“Oh right... my home life? It was nothing special... I’m not that brave or anything.” Harry smirked. “I use to run away from bullies all the time.”
Albus’ expression fell slightly. By the reports from Arabella Figg, the agent he placed beside the Boy’s home, the boy who lived was treated like a domestic helper.
“What about hobbies... what do you do for fun?” Albus asked.
“Well... sometimes I study... In my free time I’m at the public library... and bullies don’t like to go there since there are many grownups keeping an eye on their mischief.” Harry said. It was his territory, and many people were careless with their possessions when deeply immersed with reading a book. He even staged his own ‘missing’ bag to throw of suspicion from him.
“That is very brave of you to study.” Albus tried. “It shows courage... the fact that you go into the library shows you are very adventurous, something Godric Gryffindor admires.”
“Really?” Harry asked skeptically as the heads of houses gave the Headmaster incredulous looks. “You consider going to the Library... adventurous?”
“Well...” Albus thought of pulling something out from his ‘bullshit’ files. “...adventure books cause one to dream and... ehem...”
Albus’ eyes twinkled even more as he used his voice to become mysterious and deep. “... For in dreams are entirely our own... "
Albus paused and stared outside the window for effect and continued talking. "...let us fly to the highest of clouds.... or swim in the deepest seas.”
“I don’t read that. I like math books and history books.” Harry dismissed the headmaster’s statement. “And I haven’t ridden an airplane and nobody has taught me how to swim.”
“That is so brave of you to refute my statement... “ Albus said, getting desperate. “Godric would be proud to...”
“Cut the crap Albus... he’s obviously a Raven.” Severus said.
“But...” Albus protested.
“Let’s have a vote then.” Filius said eager to have the boy who lived on his house.
“For Ravenclaw?” Filius asked and smiled as he saw Severus and Pomona raise their hands along with his.
Albus’ face fell with disappointment and Minerva felt sad that the son of James and Lily would not be going to the house of Godric Gryffindor. Still, Minerva consoled herself knowing young Harry would go to a house obviously suited towards him.
Charms, third day of classes
“Let’s get the mudblood’s quill” Malfoy suggested and his cronies, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle looked on with anticipation.
“Hey that’s mine!” Hermione shouted as she felt the deluxe quill her father bought for her snatched out of her fingers.
“It’s not yours anymore Granger.” Draco smirked as he twirled the fancy quill.
Hermione face fell, she knew how expensive that quill was and she knew she couldn’t do anything about Draco Malfoy. She had been warned by the arrogant pureblood to stay out of their way during the train and was only saved from further harassment with the arrival of a few kind hearted Ravenclaw boys who she guessed where in their seventh year.
As she stared at the retreating backs of the three bullies, she noticed a young boy move past them, and subtly trip Gregory Goyle. The large boy fell on Draco Malfoy and Vincent was taken down to the ground as Malfoy pulled him down with him.
As Malfoy scolded his two bodyguards, Hermione noticed the boy pick up her fancy quill and started walking towards her.
Without saying anything, the boy whom Hermione noticed had green eyes and a faint scar on his head placed the deluxe quill back into her hands and walked away, and vanished around the corner.
Hermione Granger then realized that Harry Potter, the Boy who lived, had helped her and was actually her housemate.
It was strange as Harry seemed to be able to hang below the radar. He didn’t talk much and pretty much kept to himself... eating and studying alone.
Hermione vowed to change that.
Dumbledore: Well Mr. Weasley, tell us a bit about yourself
Ron: Well I like to play chess, and Quidditch, and eat.
McGonagall: What books do you read
Ron: Well, the History of The Cannons, Shooting With The Cannons, The Cannons: The Definitive History, The Cannons Playbook, Travels With The Cannons, and Quidditch Through the Ages.
The Professors had a quick, quiet discussion, and came to the decision that loyalty to his Quidditch team was the main characteristic shown by the newest Weasley.
Dumbledore: Welcome to Hufflepuff Mr. Weasley.