An AU of a Sixth Year AU Story: What would have happened if two liberal American druids had taken Harry to America, before returning with him to Hogwarts? In this chapter, Harry meets Ron, Ginny, ...
"But Mum, why can't we go to Diagon Alley with you?" Fred demanded.
"More importantly, why is Percy the Prefect in charge?" George whined.
"Yeah!" Fred added, he hoped decisively.
"This is a treat for Ron," Mrs. Weasley stated yet again, but she decided it was time to remind the twins of a few home truths. "It will not be a treat for him if I have to be correcting the pair of you all day. Now, you may go out and fly your brooms, but I want that garden de-gnomed by the time we get back, which will be around Four. If it's not, I'll take it out of the pair of you, not Percy. Percy will feed you, and in fact, you're not to come in. . . ."
"But Mum!" George protested, "what if we have to. . . ."
"You won't have to do that together, too, will you?" That made the twins blush. "I really mean it, boys. Stay out of trouble. And I don't mean just don't get caught! You're both thirteen, so start having a bit of forethought. If I find I can't trust you today, it will be a year before you'll have a chance to show me again."
"All right, Mum," George said. He surprised his twin even more than the others when he said, "I'll even swear my wizard's oath, if you'll just answer one more thing."
"And what's that?" Molly demanded, her eyes narrowing.
"Why does Ginny get to go?"
"Because I want one less target of temptation here for you," Molly said. Ginny stuck out her tongue at the twins.
"All right, Mum. Come on, George," George said.
"Right, Fred," Fred said. They ignored their mother and siblings rolling their eyes.
"Mother. . . ." Percy started, but he stopped when his mother raised her hand.
"Try not to keep too close an eye on them when they're outside," Molly said.
"All right," Percy said with a sigh.
"Is there anything you need, dear?" Molly asked.
"Some owl treats?" Percy suggested. He had just been given an owl as a reward for making prefect.
"Not a problem, dear," Molly said, kissing his cheek. "Try and get some sun while you study, if you can avoid the walking mayhem we call the twins."
"Yes, Mum," Percy said, smiling.
Molly smiled and herded the youngest two children to the fire place. "Shall I go through first, Mum?" Percy asked. "I can come right back."
Molly was about to assure him that wasn't necessary, but then she noticed how eager he looked. "That's very good of you Percy. Are you sure you can spare the time?"
"Yes, Mother, I'm ahead of schedule." Ron rolled his eyes at that. Who would study in the summer?
"The Leaky Cauldron, or the public exit on Diagon Alley?" Percy asked.
"The public exit, dear. Perhaps you can walk us to the Leaky Cauldron, if you have the time."
Percy smiled and took some floo powder. "Diagon Alley!"
After they had exited the floo, Mrs. Weasley handed Percy a Galleon. "Here, dear. Buy some floo powder and your owl treats and then floo back home."
"Thanks, Mum!" Percy hurried off. Ron shook his head. Only Percy would think running errands was a reward.
"Come along, dears."
"Mummy, can you tell us now why we're here?" Ginny asked.
"We want Ron to meet someone," Molly replied. "We thought you might like to get to know him and his family, too."
"Who?" Ron asked.
"A young man from America who will be in your year, Ron," she replied. "The family knows only one other member of your year, and we thought he could use another friend. You're all from Gryffindor families, so there's a fair chance you'll all be in the same House as well."
Ron accepted that at face value, but Ginny asked, "If he's American, how would he be from Gryffindor families?"
"Not everyone stayed after the last war," Molly explained. "A number of orphans were sent off to Australia, North America, and other such places."
Molly stopped in at the apothecary and picked up nearly a Galleon's worth of ingredients. She needed to brew more potions, especially pain and bruise potions, since the boys were always getting bruised. She let Ron carry the bag, and they moved off to the Leaky Cauldron. She made certain they avoided the Malfoys, who seemed to be heading towards Knockturn Alley.
Molly was greeted by Tom once they were inside the tavern. In his own way, Tom was a famous as Ollivander. He could meet you at age eleven, on your way to buy your wand or first set of books and not lay eyes on you for twenty years, and still greet you by name.
Tom directed the trio to a small private parlor. They saw a number of adults, two boys around Ron's age, and two younger children.
"Ah, this completes our party," Henry said with a smile. "Thank you, Tom. You may have the food sent in in ten minutes or so."
"Certainly, Mister Dorff."
Henry went over to the Weasleys. "Hi, nice you could come! I'm Henry Dorff, an auror with the North American Confederation. I'll be on detached duty for the International in Hogsmeade for at least this year." He shook hands with Molly and the wide-eyed children, who had never actually met an auror before.
"This is my wife, Tabitha Dorff, one of the top potion masters and alchemists there is, and our friends Tom Lawrence and Lloyd Trowbridge. These are our children, Sabrina and Henry. This is our adopted son, Henry Evans, and his friend, Neville Longbottom. Everyone, this is Molly Weasley and her children Ron and Ginny."
"No," Ginny said firmly.
"No what, dear?" Molly asked, confused.
"That's not Henry Evans, that's Harry Potter."
"Dear. . . ."
"No, Mrs. Weasley," Tabitha broke in, "that's all right. Once he gets to Hogwarts, he will be Harry Potter. If it wasn't for that bl . . . err, that scar, we might try to pass him off as Henry Evans then, too, but it wouldn't work for long."
Harry rolled his eyes and walked over to the two new children. "Hi. I'm Harry. It's nice to meet you." He shook hands with the two red-heads. "I don't know why it has to be some big secret, but it's easier to go along with them than argue."
Ron and Ginny had to smile at that. For an instant, both had felt intimidated, but now they were warming up to the legend they were meeting.
As Harry fell asleep that night, he reflected that having two birthdays was quite nice. While Harry had been friendly with a number of children in Carantouan, he hadn't had any close friends. Neville, who had seemed rather wishy-washy at first, now seemed like a good friend, and Ron Weasley seemed like he could be much the same. Harry was really looking forward to at least seeing Hogsmeade for the first time.
Thursday, August 1, 1991
The Dorffs moved to their new home the next morning. Things were made a bit difficult as Henry, along with most of the aurors and hit-wizards in and around Britain, had been called to Diagon Alley that morning to investigate a break-in at Gringotts, which had the goblins in an uproar.
The house technically wasn't in Hogsmeade, but rather just outside it. It, a smaller house, and a cottage abutted the Forest that ran back for miles away from the area. A path led from the castle to near the cottage, where Alastor Moody was moving. The small house on the other side of the main house belonged to Lloyd Trowbridge and Tom Lawrence (the group had hoped Dumbledore would appoint one of them as the history teacher, but he had stuck with Binns). There was also an old stone barn, where Tabitha would be setting up her potions lab. Harry, being eleven, never gave a thought as to how three houses next to each other might happen to open up at the same time, or exactly what his father or two adoptive uncles might be doing for a living.
The three houses and the outbuildings had some very powerful wards set on them. Harry was more interested in testing his broom out on the open spaces between and around the houses and the lab, although he would take time off to help his mother in the lab. Harry was quite a good potions maker for 11. Of course, he would also have to keep an eye on his two younger siblings.
Harry was also looking forward to having Neville and Ron visit. While not quite as studious as some, Harry took his studies fairly seriously, his parents even more so. He knew he would have to at least skim all the text books before Ron and Neville showed up on the 16th. Still, Harry was not a very introspective child, he preferred doing. As long as he was given something to do, he was generally quite happy to do it.
Friday, August 16, 1991
"What's wrong, Ron? Aren't you feeling well? Or don't you want to visit Henry?"
Ron grimaced at his mother, and then glanced around to make certain they were alone. "Why does Ginny have to go?" Ron complained. "This is the first chance I've had to make a friend on my own."
"I've made it clear to Ginny that she's going to visit Sabrina," Mrs. Weasley said firmly. "Treat your sister politely, but don't feel you have to entertain her."
"Yes, Mum." Ron looked up, hearing Ginny coming down the stairs.
"Now, you both have everything you need in your knapsacks? Good. Now Ron, you take charge of this basket of pies. Ginny, dear, you take this one of biscuits. Have a nice time with your friends."
"What's the floo address, Mummy?" Ginny asked.
"You're going by portkey," Mrs. Weasley announced. The two children looked impressed. Port-keys were difficult to make and arrange. They had never traveled by one before. "Hurry now! It's almost time."
"Honestly, Neville, it's perfectly safe," Harry said, encouraging his friend. "This one is Sabrina's. It's been charmed not to go above ten feet. If you can master this, we can play tag tomorrow."
"Alright, Harry," Neville answered, putting his trust in his new friend. Over the previous weeks, Neville had learned a lot about himself, and had gained a great deal of confidence. That hadn't extended to flying, however.
"No, grip it this way," Harry instructed, helping Neville. "You get the best control that way.
Neville nodded, adjusted his hands, and kicked off. Although he was only going at a walking pace some five feet off the ground, Neville was flying fairly smoothly. As he gained in confidence, Neville started doing larger and larger figure 8's around the field.
"Can you believe that? Never flown!" Ron shook his head. "It's not like he's Muggle-born."
"Some people like it more than others," Harry answered with a shrug. "My mom is fearless, she's even worked with the hit-wizards, like my dad has, but she hates flying. Neville hasn't been given the chance. His grandmother is too protective. He's growing out of it."
"I suppose." Ron thought a moment. "You know, Harry, you're a lot like Bill."
"Which brother is that again?"
"He's the oldest. He likes helping people, too." Ron decided that while it was rather boring to watch, Harry was awfully nice for teaching Neville what came naturally to Ron.
After watching Neville a few more minutes, Harry said, "Why don't we get Neville to help us with our flying."
"How can he do that?"
"Well, he seems to feel safe in these patterns. . . ."
"Seems to enjoy them, too," Ron admitted.
"Exactly. We have him fly these patterns nice and steady and we can fly around him. If we touch him or throw him off course, we did it wrong."
Ron thought about that and smiled. He knew the twins would play a game where they tried to nudge Neville or throw him off pattern. Here, the game would be to come as close as possible without upsetting the novice flyer. It would make Neville more confident and help them hone their own skills. Ron vowed to see if Harry liked chess.
The children stayed at the Dorffs from the 16th through the 25th. The three boys became good friends. Sabrina and Ginny became friendly as well, although not as close as the boys. They preferred tormenting the boys to just spending time together.
Sunday, September 1
"Come along you two!" Mrs. Weasley nearly shouted.
"But Mum!" Fred objected.
George completed the thought, "We've never been this early for the train before!"
"I should be early in any event," Percy said grandly. The twins both growled at him.
"We're meeting the Dorffs and the Longbottoms," Mrs. Weasley explained yet again. "If we're late because of either of you, Quidditch is out for the year!"
Fred and George blanched under the ultimate threat. They couldn't believe their mother, who loved Quidditch as much as they, would actually carry through such a horrible threat, but they decided it would be best not to push her on that score. They piled the luggage quickly and even correctly on the hand-carts. "Come on, Percy!" Fred called out.
"You don't want to make us late, do you?" George demanded.
"This seems correct," the well-dressed lady said nervously, "but whom could we ask?"
"Well," her bushy-haired daughter suggested, "that boy with the white owl is talking to a boy with a toad. Perhaps I could ask them?"
Dr. Granger looked where her daughter was gesturing, and saw she was correct. Moreover, the middle-aged woman who seemed to be accompanying the boy with the toad was wearing a very odd hat with a small vulture on it. If these weren't magical people, perhaps they would still be odd enough not to think her too odd for asking.
"Excuse me?" she asked the pretty young woman with red hair, "this will seem an odd question, but do you happen to know where, well the Hogwarts Express platform is?" She couldn't bring herself to ask after Platform 9 3/4.
The woman smiled and answered in an American accent. "I take it your daughter here is starting this year, too?"
Dr. Granger nodded gratefully.
"If you step back, you'll see people heading behind that arch there, but not appearing on the far side. Your daughter can enter that way, but I'm afraid it's charmed against Muggles, non-magical people, that is. She can go any time, or she's welcome to come in with us. We're waiting for another group before we go in."
"Thank you. I'm Emma Granger, and this is my daughter, Hermione." Hermione smiled the closed-mouth smile she had taught herself to use to cover her teeth.
Tabitha introduced herself and then caught everyone's attention and introduced them. While Hermione normally would have stuck closely to her mother, she shyly went over to the boys when Harry smiled at her and gestured her over.
"Are you certain that Muggle stuff will work?" Rita muttered to her photographer.
"Look, I know my job. We'd get caught on the actual platform, and they'd see the flash we'd need here for a magical photo in any case. This Muggle high-speed film will get them in this light. Now, be quiet so I can get some good shots."
The Weasleys came up at that moment, and again everyone was introduced once around. Molly then quickly sent the twins and Percy onto the platform while Ron showed off the pet rat Percy had turned over to him a few days before. After a few more minutes, Tabitha started the rest of group on their way onto the platform, Hermione bidding her mother a nearly tearful farewell.
"Did you get at least one shot," Rita demanded.
"I got two whole rolls of twenty-four each," the photographer stated disdainfully.
"I never heard or saw a thing," Rita admitted. "I didn't even see you change cameras."
"Exactly. It will take about two hours to get this developed. I need to take it to a Muggle place. I'll meet you at the office at, say, One-thirty."
The four first years got into one compartment. As the train filled over the next hour, a number of students looked in, but none joined them. The four kept talking about fairly general things, mostly telling Hermione about the magical world. She, in turn, tried showing off what she had learned from her books, but Ron wasn't interested and really the three boys mostly knew them as well.
About half an hour after the train pulled out of the station, Harry happened to move just right and Hermione saw the scar. She squeaked.
The three boys stopped talking about brooms and stared at her.
"Harry . . . Harry are you really Harry Potter?"
Harry nodded. "I'm supposed to keep it secret for some reason until we reach Hogwarts."
"All right." She frowned. "I guess this means you weren't raised somewhere in Muggle England, like the texts say."
Harry smiled and shook his head. "That was the cover story. We live between the school and Hogsmeade, now."
"It's a really nice place," Neville said.
The group went silent, and Neville decided that since he'd sort of ended the previous conversation he should get it started again. "I wonder how we're sorted."
"Fred said we have to wrestle a troll, but I don't believe him," Ron said.
"According to Hogwarts, A History, it's something of a secret," Hermione contributed. "Sort of a first test, I think."
"Really? Then I guess I shouldn't tell you," Harry said.
"Go on, you don't really know, do you?" Neville asked.
Harry nodded. "The Ysgol, where my parents, well, adoptive-parents, went to school sorts students the same way. It isn't such a big deal there, I guess." Harry frowned, and then said, "Could it interfere with the magic if you know, or know and tell?"
That made the other three think. "I suppose it might," Neville said. Hermione didn't want to say anything, since she wasn't totally sure how magic might work. She had tried a few spells, but wasn't sure how they had worked.
"I suppose," Ron agreed, frowning. "Could you give us a hint?"
Harry thought about that. "First, what House would you want to be in? I'd like Gryffindor first, and maybe Ravenclaw. Ron?"
"Gryffindor," Ron said. "There hasn't been a Weasley in any other House for hundreds of years, and the same is true of most of my other relatives."
"Gryffindor," Neville agreed. He hadn't thought it likely he'd make it into his parents' House until Mrs. Dorff had helped him overcome his memory problems. He felt a lot stronger and braver since then. "Hufflepuff wouldn't be bad, either."
Hermione had also given this lots of thought. Until that morning, she'd only really thought of Ravenclaw, but these boys were nice, especially Harry and Neville. She'd never had a friend before, and she rather hoped these boys might be, and of course Dumbledore, who was supposed to be the greatest living wizard, had been in Gryffindor. "Gryffindor or Ravenclaw," she finally said.
"Well, you'll probably find out first," Harry said. "They probably go in alphabetical order. Keep in mind why you think you'll fit into the House you want." He grimaced. "Anywhere but Slytherin." He had met the Hogwarts gamekeeper and several other people in the village in August. From what they said, Slytherin, with people like the Malfoys, seemed like a bad place to him.
"Why?" Hermione asked. "Isn't that for the hard-working and ambitious?"
"Ambitious maybe, but not the hardworking," Neville growled. "Most of the Death Eaters were Slytherins."
"I mean, I like thinking about my family's history, even if none of them were very important for like the last thousand years," Ron added, "but I don't want to base my life on my family."
"They value ambition, but also care about ancestry, and only magical ancestry at that," Harry added.
That gave Hermione something different to think about.
The train rolled on. Harry bought them a number of pasties and candy, although Hermione made the boys each eat a sandwich before tucking into the sweets. Ron introduced Harry and Hermione to the idea of collecting the wizard cards from the chocolate frogs, and Harry sought the trolley witch out and bought two boxes of the frogs to eat over the coming weeks.
At one point, Draco Malfoy was visible outside the door, looking in. He must have decided that matching himself against four students wasn't a good idea, and he disappeared, with two larger students trailing behind him.