Harry is kicked out of the Dursley's during Christmas 1989. He finds his way to London, where he wanders into the Leaky Cauldron and is taken in by Tom the barman. Harry's life is soon turned upsid...
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Harry Potter universe. Nothing. Nope, zip, nada. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this however, so maybe it's good I don't. Anyway, it all belongs to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Ok guys, the first chapter of Heir of Sword & Stave Mk. II is up! I guess my various critics were right; when the prologue AND first chapter combined only amounts to about 357 words, you are not including enough detail! Thanks for sticking with me while I rewrote this, folks; it means a lot! From now on I'm going to adopt a new pattern: I will write the bare bones of a chapter, give it a couple of days for my muse to sing, then I'll flesh it out with detail. My new rule is, "If it's less than about 1k words, it's too darn short!" I love all you people who complimented the 1st (crappy) edition! throws virtual cookies to them Well, I'd better get on with the story before I start to ramble, so goodbye! Thanks again, and may your keyboards never fail! Now; ON WITH THE STORY! Prologue: Serendipitous, Much?
Harry Potter shivered violently, wrapped in a ragged blanket he'd salvaged from someone's dustbin as he huddled under a bridge spanning a busy motorway. It was past New Year's Day now; he'd been alone on the streets for at least a week already. As he pulled the frayed material closer around his scrawny body, he thought back to how he came to be there…
He had been sitting beside the fire in #4 Privet Drive; Little Whinging; Surrey. It was after Christmas Day and edging towards New Year's Day, but the weather was still terrible. Snow lay three inches deep on the ground and the current weather patterns consisted solely of sleet, hail and snow. Harry hated the bad weather; it meant he was trapped in the house with his ghastly aunt and uncle, along with their obnoxious son Dudley. Normally he had been able to escape the house and his relatives for some peace and quiet, but not at the moment; not when it was impossible to see out the window for the non-stop surge of ice and snow particles screaming past the windows like a bizarre cross between harpies, banshees and frost wyverns.
Harry had stretched idly, shivering slightly in the cool room. Aunt Petunia didn't seem to have believed in making a large fire; they regularly had to huddle around the small flames she kindled. Harry had more often than not been deprived of this right and left to shiver in his tiny cupboard. It helped that the space inside the cupboard had been so small that Harry's own body heat made it heat up quickly.
Moving a little closer to the fire, Harry had extended his hands towards the flames to warm them a little. He was starting to lose the feeling in his fingers. The fire flickered and dimmed slightly, and Harry had felt an inexplicable rush of anger accompanied by the thought, I wish it were warmer. That was when it had happened.
The side table to Harry's right had suddenly exploded into flames. He immediately yelled and staggered backwards away from the fire as it quickly spread to the rug he'd been sitting on. "Fire!" he had shouted, "FIRE!" His aunt and uncle had burst into the room. Aunt Petunia had screamed and Uncle Vernon had sprinted across to the kitchen. Yanking a tub out of a cupboard, he had filled it with water from the tap and run back, pouring the water onto the burning rug and side table. The fire had been quickly extinguished, as had the pitiful one in the grate. Uncle Vernon had then turned to Harry, his face rapidly reddening. "I had nothing to do with it," Harry had stated nervously, "It just… happened."
Uncle Vernon's face had gone from red to purple and on to near-black at Harry's words. He had taken a step forwards, and Harry had taken one back. As usual, his instincts had chosen that moment to kick in; the tiny voice in his brain that had never let him down had spoken, "He's not going to believe you. Run, before he decides to make Harry-casserole." Harry hadn't needed to be told more than once; as Uncle Vernon picked up a heavy table lamp and hurled it at Harry, the boy had thrown himself sideways and rolled behind the singed armchair on the left of the window. As soon as the hail of objects stopped, Harry had darted out from under the chair, sprinting for the hallway. As he sprinted at the front door, it had suddenly exploded in a shower of splinters. Harry didn't pause; he had run through the cloud of wood shrapnel and out across the garden, his bare feet stinging from contact with the cold snow. As he ran out into the night, Harry had heard his uncle's enraged bellow, "DON'T EVER COME BACK HERE BOY!"
The memory faded as another frigid gust of air tore through the alleyway. Harry knew he needed to find better shelter; he'd be dead of hypothermia before morning if he stayed where he was. Pulling himself upright on the edge of the bins, he stumbled towards the road. He'd been walking all week, never staying anywhere for long. He had finally come across a motorway and taken shelter under a bridge. That was where he now regretfully walked away from, down the motorway.
After a few minutes, a car drew up next to him. Harry looked in as the woman driving rolled down the window; looking concerned, "Are you alright, young man?" Harry shivered violently, shaking his head no. The woman looked very concerned; she stopped the car, got out and walked around to him. He cowered away as she came close, and she stopped. "I'm not going to hurt you. Why are you out here alone? Don't you have a home to go to?" Harry shook his head, relaxing slightly. The woman looked kindly at him, "Would you like a ride? Do you have friends somewhere who can take you in?"
Harry opened his mouth to say no, but his instincts kicked in again and for some unbeknownst reason he suddenly said, "Y-yes. C-can you t-take me t-to London?" The woman nodded and beckoned. Harry staggered over to the car, opened the passenger door with nearly-numb fingers and slumped onto the seat. He clumsily fastened his seatbelt and turned to the woman as she slipped into the car and fastened her own seatbelt. She smiled at him, "So where in London does your friend live?"
Harry thought for a second, and then his instincts gave him an answer, "Tottenham Court Road." The woman nodded and turned the ignition key. The car moved off into the flow of traffic, and was soon lost in the stream of headlight beams inscribing parallel lines on the motorway.
The woman dropped him off in Tottenham Court Road as Harry had requested, and finally drove off after he assured her he was fine from here on out. He padded slowly off along the pavement. It was mercifully free of snow; he wasn't sure if his feet could survive walking on snow without footwear any more. As he walked, he cautiously looked around. London at night was not safe; no matter how many CCTV cameras were put up or police cars patrolled the streets. Harry, at only nine, was an easy target. Muggers would be drawn to him like moths to a light. He decided to stay in the lighted areas, and quickly scampered around to Charing Cross Road. It was there that he saw the building.
Harry knew it was the place to go as soon as he saw it; a slightly shabby-looking pub with a sign saying The Leaky Cauldron above the door. As though drawn by a giant magnet, he crossed the road. As he pushed the door back, however, the past week of near-constant cold and lack of sleep finally caught up with him. It then proceeded to tackle him onto the ground and body-slam him. Harry groaned, doubled over and leaned on the door handle. The door opened, and Harry fell through onto the mat. A startled cry greeted him, and he saw an elderly man appear beside him. The man looked down at him, and his eyes widened, "Harry…Potter?"
Harry simply groaned, muttered, "Help…me…" and passed out.