Chapter 3: Letters from no One.
Bury me Alive
Chapter 3: Letters from no One.
July 30th, 1987;
# 4 Privet Drive:
"Cassi, what were mum and dad like?" Harry asked as he lay on the cot he and his sister had hared since he was a year old. Staring at his sisters he wondered if she looked like their mother or father or both? He also wondered who he looked like? Cassidy looked at him from heavy lidded eyes and shrugged. Hadn't he asked that question enough, she always gave him the same answer!
"I've told you before Harry! I don't really remember. I know they fought playfully amongst each other. I remember them loving us very much and I know you have mum's eyes," she said, answering his question for what felt like the hundredth time in five years.
Harry smiled and sighed.
"I wish I could remember them," he said and Cassi sighed. It was such a full time job protecting her brother, yet the one thing she wanted to give him he could never have. She hated the Durselys for treating them like this. Harry deserved more then this cupboard under the stairs and so did she. She couldn't have a better brother though. He had caught her feeding once and hadn't been scared or repulsed. He was only shocked. She had explained that because she wasn't feed enough food she had to drink blood.
A craving for something to keep her alive and because of her blood origins she needed blood. Harry didn't know what her origins were just that she need blood like a vampire. He didn't know she was adopted and neither did she anymore. She assumed that the origins came from either James or Lily and simply skipped Harry.
One thing about Harry; he didn't ask questions. But that had been Petunias doing. She wished she could get Harry more food, as it was she gave practically all her food to him knowing blood would keep her alive even with only a slice of bread every day.
"So do I." Cassidy looked at the clock behind her and smiled when it tolled to let everyone know it had hit twelve midnight.
"Happy Birthday," Cassi said, smiling at Harry who grinned back.
"I'm the same age as you now!" Cassi chuckled and rolled her eyes which at the moment were more green then gray or blue at the moment.
"Only for a few months. Then I'll be eight!" shaking her hair out of her face she smiled.
"Doesn’t matter, happy seventh birthday. Sorry I don't have a cake but I have this," Cassi said and dug around behind her and brought out a prepackaged cupcake she had filched from Dudley's lunch box. Harry smiled and unwrapped it. He broke it in half and gave one side to his sister.
"We'll share, I love you big sister," he said and he couldn't be more serious. She was the only love he got in this world, he had waited years for Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon to treat him like they treated Dudley but they never did. Cassidy had pretty much raised him even though she was only ten months older then him. Without her he didn't know if he'd understand or know how to love anyone.
"I love you to little brother!" she replied before wrapping her hand in his and they both fell to sleep after eating their cake. As they did the clock struck five after twelve. **********
# 4 Privet Drive:
The escape of the Brazilian boa constrictor earned Harry his longest-ever punishment. By the time he was allowed out of his cupboard again, the summer holidays had started and Dudley had already broken his new video camera, crashed his remote control airplane, and, first time out on his racing bike, knocked down old Mrs. Figg as she crossed Privet Drive on her crutches.
Cassidy had been enduring punishment with Harry and had glared at the Dursley's the whole time. She had made a habit of sneaking out at night and grabbing as much food as possible which wouldn't be missed. Mostly that included vegetable - mostly broccoli and carrots and some bread they didn't eat because it was wheat. She had been able to filch some other things, a older block of cheese hidden behind soda and chocolate drinks. A half eaten pizza which looked to have been in the fridge for a few days and forgotten.
She grabbed enough for a week and came back when it was gone. She never ate more then a carrot or two and slice of bread. She went out into the close woods and hunted bunnies and other small animals she could find. Sometimes a stray cat though she hated killing cats, they were her favorite animals.
After three weeks Vernon had went to hit Harry over the head after a rather bad day and Harry had not finished painting the shed and Cassi had used her speed and small size to get in between them and flashed her game face at him. His eyes had widened and he stuttered before going inside. Harry had laughed, hugging his sister as she reverted back to her human face. She didn't like going into what Harry nicknamed her game face because she was so much more sensitive to sunlight. It burned her eyes, and her skin to some extent, like the beginning of a sunburn.
Harry was glad school was over, but there was no escaping Dudley's gang, who visited the house every single day. Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, and Gordon were all big and stupid, but as Dudley was the biggest and stupidest of the lot, he was the leader. Something Cassi thought was the dumbest idea that ever lived.
The rest of them were all quite happy to join in Dudley's favorite sport: Harry Hunting.
This was why Harry spent as much time as possible out of the house, wandering around and thinking about the end of the holidays, where he could see a tiny ray of hope. When September came he would be going off to secondary school and, for the first time in his life, he wouldn't be with Dudley. Dudley had been accepted at Uncle Vernon's old private school, Smeltings. Piers Polkiss was going there too. Harry, on the other hand, was going to Stonewall High, the local public school. Dudley thought this was very funny.
Of course Cassidy had been left alone since they were in preschool together. It simply wasn't done, not since Cassi had enough and punched Dudley in the nose. He had went home early with a bloody nose and Cassidy had been in the cupboard for the next month. Dudley never picked on her again though and she was known to stick up for her brother as much as she could. That meant Dudley's gang didn't pick on her either, but they were not afraid of her like Dudley was, they thought she was cute. They couldn't pick on a cute girl, even if she was Dudley's freaky older cousin.
"They stuff people's heads down the toilet the first day at Stonewall," he told Harry. "Want to come upstairs and practice?"
"No, thanks," said Harry. "The poor toilet's never had anything as horrible as your head down it — it might be sick." Then he ran, before Dudley could work out what he'd said. Cassidy had stayed behind and laughed as Dudley's face went from confused to angry and turned purple in exertion.
"Hey Dudley, how about I stuff you down the toilet?" she asked, smirking a glint in her eyes that told Dudley she was dead serious. He gulped, he didn't want to make Cassi angry, the last time had been preschool and he'd got a bloody nose out of it. He remembered that day better then most, and he had heard his father ranting to his mother about her being a monster, a thing with fangs and light gold eyes.
"N-no, I'm gonna go now!" he said and took of running while Cassidy chuckled and walked down the stairs behind him. Being stuck in second hand clothes her jeans were old and ragged as was her black tank top and only coat which was simply a purple leather like jacket, though she didn't think it was a leather, it reminded her of a the material for shinny rain coats.
A few days latter in July they woke to an oddly quiet house but it was soon interrupted by Vernon yellow for breakfast. Cassidy looked at Harry and shook her head as she pulled on her socks.
"Go on into the living room, I'll handle breakfast." Harry nodded and watched his sister go before entering the sitting room though he had to bite his cheek not laugh.
As he looked at Dudley in his new knickerbockers, Uncle Vernon said gruffly that it was the proudest moment of his life. Aunt Petunia burst into tears and said she couldn't believe it was her Ickle Dudleykins, he looked so handsome and grown-up. Harry didn't trust himself to speak. He thought two of his ribs might already have cracked from trying not to laugh.
There was a horrible smell in the kitchen the next morning when Harry and Cassidy went in for breakfast. It seemed to be coming from a large metal tub in the sink. He went to have a look. The tub was full of what looked like dirty rags swimming in gray water.
"What's this?" he asked Aunt Petunia. Her lips tightened as they always did if he dared to ask a question.
"Your new school uniform," she said.
Harry looked in the bowl again. It didn't seem like it to him and Cassi wrinkled her nose at the over powering scent in the room. Rolling her eyes Cassi looked at the table and then back at Harry and Petunia.
"Oh," he said, "I didn't realize it had to be so wet."
"That won't work on aunt Petunia Harry, she's to normal for sarcasm," Cassi whispered to Harry and Harry smiled discreetly.
"Don't be stupid," snapped Aunt Petunia. "I'm dyeing some of Dudley's old things gray for you. It'll look just like everyone else's when I've finished."
"What about Cassi?" Harry asked and Cassi looked up at her aunt with a smirk.
"Yeah Aunt Petunua, what about me?" she asked. If it wasn't for the fact the Dursley's always tried to stay out of her way she'd never dream of speaking to them in such disrespect. But she held no respect or love for the horse and her whale of a husband. Petunia looked at her niece with weary eyes and sighed. She hated the little devil brat, and she was just that, a devil. A demon in the guise of a little girl, Vernon had told her about the fangs and golden eyes. She figured it came from their freak father, she knew her sister had no fangs and neither did she.
"Marge is sending over her old uniform, It'll fit like a glove," she said and Cassi rolled her eyes again.
"Yeah, if I was a baby walrus," she muttered and Harry chuckled before turning to see both Dudley and Uncle Vernon came in, both with wrinkled noses because of the smell from Harry's new uniform. Uncle Vernon opened his newspaper as usual and Dudley banged his Smelting stick, which he carried everywhere, on the table.
They heard the click of the mail slot and flop of letters on the doormat.
"Get the mail, Dudley," said Uncle Vernon from behind his paper.
"Make Harry get it."
"Get the mail, Harry."
"Make Dudley get it."
"Poke him with your Smelting stick, Dudley."
Harry dodged the Smelting stick and went to get the mail while Cassidy glared and hit him over the head daring Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon to do anything before following Harry out. Three things lay on the doormat: a postcard from Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, who was vacationing on the Isle of Wight, a brown envelope that looked like a bill, and — a letter for Harry and Cassidy.
Harry picked it up and stared at it, his heart twanging like a giant elastic band. No one, ever, in his whole life, had written to him. Who would? He had no friends, no other relatives — he didn't belong to the library, so he'd never even got rude notes asking for books back. Yet here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs 4 Privet Drive
There was another one just like it only it said Ms. C. Potter instead of Mr. H. Potter. Cassi looked over his shoulder at it and blinked. She was just as confused.
"What are those Harry? We don't get mail," she said and he looked into eyes that at the moment were a lighter version, almost mosey with specks of blue, color of his own emerald eyes.
"I don't know." The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the address was written in emerald-green ink.
There was no stamp.
Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter H, which Cassi thought looked familiar but she couldn't remember from where.
"Hurry up, boy!" shouted Uncle Vernon from the kitchen. "What are you doing, checking for letter bombs?" He chuckled at his own joke.
"Idiot," Cassi muttered and shook her head before looking down at the letter that Harry had given her. She stuffed it into her back pocket and looked at Harry who was on his way back to the kitchen, still staring at his letter. He handed Uncle Vernon the bill and the postcard, sat down, and slowly began to open the yellow envelope.
Uncle Vernon ripped open the bill, snorted in disgust, and flipped over the postcard.
"Marge's ill," he informed Aunt Petunia. "Ate a funny whelk…"
"Dad!" said Dudley suddenly. "Dad, Harry's got something!" Cassidy cursed silently and bit her lip before watching the events play out in front of her. Harry was on the point of unfolding his letter,
which was written on the same heavy parchment as the envelope, when it was jerked sharply out of his hand by Uncle Vernon.
"That's mine!" said Harry, trying to snatch it back. Cassidy closed her eyes trying to ignore the disaster waiting to happen. She would stay out of it for now but if he so much as lifted a hand to her brother she'd break his beefy wrist. No one hurt her boy, her baby brother.
"Who'd be writing to you?" sneered Uncle Vernon, shaking the letter open with one hand and glancing at it. His face went from red to green faster than a set of traffic lights. And it didn't stop there. Within seconds it was the grayish white of old porridge.
"P-P-Petunia!" he gasped.
Dudley tried to grab the letter to read it, but Uncle Vernon held it high out of his reach. Aunt Petunia took it curiously and read the first line. For a moment it looked as though she might faint. She clutched her throat and made a choking noise.
"Vernon! Oh my goodness — Vernon!" Cassidy face palmed and muttered quietly to herself about this sounding like one of those bad porno that Vernon liked to watch and Dudley would sneak out at night to watch after bedtime. They stared at each other, seeming to have forgotten that Harry, Cassidy and Dudley were still in the room. Dudley wasn't used to being ignored. He gave his father a sharp tap on the head with his Smelting stick.
"I want to read that letter," he said loudly.
"Oh shut it Dudley, before I take that stick and break it over your big head!" Cassidy whispered to her cousin sharply and gave him a sharp elbow to the ribs. She smirked and giggled evilly as he yelped and bent forward ever so slightly but Vernon and Petunia were simply to panicked to notice their sons plight.
"I want to read it," said Harry furiously, "as it's mine."
"Get out, the three of you," croaked Uncle Vernon, stuffing the letter back inside its envelope.
Harry didn't move, and Cassidy crossed her arms over her chest but otherwise stood still.
"I WANT MY LETTER!" he shouted, and Cassi rubbed her ears at the loud sound. She hated when he yelled, not only was it loud but it a sharp tug at her heart that her brother had to raise his voice just to get something that rightfully belonged to him.
"Let me see it!" demanded Dudley.
"OUT!" roared Uncle Vernon, and he took both Harry and Dudley by the scruffs of their necks and threw them into the hall, and he turned back to Cassidy who glared.
"You put a hand on me and I'll break it," she said and walked gracefully out. Vernon shivered at the look in her eyes and he knew she would. He didn't know how but he had seen the girl of no taller then 4'6 1/2 lift things half her size and much to heavy for a normal young lady. Slamming the kitchen door behind her as she left he sighed. Harry and Dudley promptly had a furious but silent fight over who would listen at the keyhole; Dudley won, so Harry, his glasses dangling from one ear, lay flat on his stomach to listen at the crack between door and floor.
Cassi sighed and shook her head at the pathetic attempts by both and simply stood by the door, leaning against the frame and crossed her arms before closing her eyes as she listened. She wished she knew where her enhanced abilities came from, she felt that she once knew but now those memories were far and in between, like they needed jogged before she could remember again.
"Vernon," Aunt Petunia was saying in a quivering voice, "look at the address — how could they possibly know where he sleeps? You don't think they're watching the house?"
"Watching — spying — might be following us," muttered Uncle Vernon wildly.
"But what should we do, Vernon? Should we write back? Tell them we don't want —" Harry could see Uncle Vernon's shiny black shoes pacing up and down the kitchen, and he looked up quickly to see his sister calmly leaning against the door with her eyes closed and frowned. He knew she was listening and he envies her easy ability to hear a mouse squeak anywhere in the house or three doors down - though not a mouse but a fight or something rather loud a normal human couldn't hear.
"No," he said finally. "No, we'll ignore it. If they don't get an answer… Yes, that's best… we won't do anything…"
"I'm not having one in the house, Petunia! Didn't we swear when we took him and his sister in we'd stamp out that dangerous nonsense?" he asked and then Cassidy sighed and grabbed Harry by his shirt and pulled him into the cupboard turning to Dudley before she shut the door with her foot.
"Get lost Duddykins, your not getting that letter." After that she placed her hands on her hip and turned to Harry who sat on the cot with his hands balled up.
"What the bloody hell were you thinking? Or do you not think?" she asked. Harry winced at the angry light in his sisters eyes before lowering his head in shame. She had always told him to think before acting and never to be the hero it only got you killed or hurt. She only ever had one exception for that rule and she was looking at him.
"I'm sorry, but it was my letter," he said. Cassidy sighed and reached behind her to pull out her letter and smirked at the shocked look that came over her brothers face.
"Yeah, but it's just like mine," she said and laughed as he lurched forward and pulled her onto the bed and into a hug.
"Now, Vernon doesn't know about this so we have to play it like you never got yours. You game?" Cassidy asked as she held the letter out of his reach. Harry smiled and nodded.
That evening when he got back from work, Uncle Vernon did something he'd never done before; he visited Harry and Cassidy in their cupboard.
"Where's my letter?" said Harry, the moment Uncle Vernon had squeezed through the door. Which was a feat within itself. "Who's writing to me?"
"No one. It was addressed to you by mistake," said Uncle Vernon shortly.
"I have burned it."
"That's just great, you bloody pig," Cassi whisper and Vernon narrowed his eyes at the girl.
"What was that girl?" he asked, angrily. Cassi looked at him with innocent unblinking eyes. It unnerved him and he flinched away slightly before turning his attention back to Harry.
"It was not a mistake," said Harry angrily, "it had my cupboard on it."
"SILENCE!" yelled Uncle Vernon, and a couple of spiders fell from the ceiling. He took a few deep breaths and then forced his face into a smile, which looked quite painful.
"Er — yes, Harry — about this cupboard. Your aunt and I have been thinking… you're really getting a bit big for it… we think it might be nice if you moved into Dudley's second bedroom." Cassi raised a eyebrow and Harry looked completely shocked.
"Why?" said Harry.
"Don't ask questions!" snapped his uncle. "Take this stuff upstairs, now."
"What about Cassi!?" Harry called as his uncle went to leave. He half turned and looked at the girl who dared him to keep her in this closet another day and away from her brother.
"She goes with you of course, stupid boy," he answered as if it was the dumbest question ever. Cassidy rolled her eyes as he left and turned to Harry smiling.
"Best acting I've ever seen my dear boy," she said happily and began putting their things into a box. making sure to place the locket she'd always had around her neck, though she could never get it open.
The Dursleys' house had four bedrooms: one for Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, one for visitors (usually Uncle Vernon's sister, Marge), one where Dudley slept, and one where Dudley kept all the toys and things that wouldn't fit into his first bedroom. It only took Harry and Cassi one trip upstairs to move everything they owned from the cupboard to the room. He sat down on the bed and stared around him. Nearly everything in here was broken.
The month-old video camera was lying on top of a small, working tank Dudley had once driven over the next door neighbor's dog; in the corner was Dudley's first-ever television set, which he'd put his foot through when his favorite program had been cancelled; there was a large birdcage, which had once held a parrot that Dudley had swapped at school for a real air rifle, which was up on a shelf with the end all bent because Dudley had sat on it. Other shelves were full of books. They were the only things in the room that looked as though they'd never been touched.
Cassidy looked around for anything to be salvaged and instantly took a liking to the books. She wasn't giant reader herself but she knew Harry liked to read to pass the time and when they were little she would read what she could snatch to him before and sometimes after she changed his diapers. It was the greatest day in her life when Petunia actually did something useful and potty trained him at two.
"Well, looks like we gained a lot of crap," she said and shook her head. Harry shrugged and laid back on the bed, it was lumpy, not very but lumpy enough. But it was better then the cot, looking at the wall it was up against he frowned.
"Looks like we're sharing, bloody Durselys," he said and Cassi chuckled at the curse coming from her brother. She must be a bad influence on him after all.
From downstairs came the sound of Dudley bawling at his mother, "I don't want them in there… I need that room… make them get out…"
Harry sighed and stretched out on the bed. Yesterday he'd have given anything to be up here. Today he'd rather be back in his cupboard with spiders then have to listen to Dudley scream all night. Cassidy growled low in her throat as it continued until midnight. It took Harry wrapping his arms around his sister as they try to sleep to keep her from doing something she'd regret.
Though then again, part of him wondered if she'd regret it or not?
Next morning at breakfast, everyone was rather quiet. Dudley was in shock. He'd screamed, whacked his father with his Smelting stick, been sick on purpose, kicked his mother, and thrown his tortoise through the greenhouse roof, and he still didn't have his room back. Harry was thinking about this time yesterday and bitterly wishing he'd opened the letter in the hall, but it didn't matter he knew what it most likely said. He just didn't understand, what was Hogwarts, it couldn't be what it said, magic wasn't real. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia kept looking at each other darkly.
When the mail arrived, Uncle Vernon, who seemed to be trying to be nice to Harry, made Dudley go and get it. Cassi had sighed and rolled her eyes but was happy to see Harry kept up his act like a pro when more letters came. It continued like this for days, and then weeks. Finally Vernon had enough of not only letters for Harry but Cassidy as well. Of course his beefy brain never thought that Cassi had gotten a letter at the same time as Harry got his first. Cassi who had been working on a way to figure out how to return a reply was getting fed up with getting nowhere.
"Cassi, maybe you should calm down. I'm sure if they really want us they'll figure out why we're not answering." Cassidy gritted her teeth at her brothers words, she didn't like admitting defeat. Sighing she pushed around her corn flakes, it seemed since the first letter the Durselys had been a bit better on food rations. They could have a decent breakfast or a decent dinner but never both. It didn't matter to her she always snuck food off her plate for Harry and even if Petunia noticed she never said anything. Vernon and Dudley were to stupid and one minded to notice.
"Fine, but those things should come with direction." Harry laughed softly as he spooned some cereal into his mouth and glared at his sister to eat her own food for once. She frowned and shrugged, if this was what he wanted then she'd let him have his way, today that was.
It was on Sunday morning, Uncle Vernon sat down at the breakfast table looking tired and rather ill, but happy.
"No post on Sundays," he reminded them cheerfully as he spread marmalade on his newspapers, "no damn letters today —"
Something came whizzing down the kitchen chimney as he spoke and caught him sharply on the back of the head. Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one — while Cassi laughed and fell out of her chair at the chaos.
Uncle Vernon seized Harry around the waist and threw him into the hall. When Aunt Petunia and Dudley had run out with their arms over their faces while Cassidy followed her eyes narrowed in anger, Uncle Vernon slammed the door shut. They could hear the letters still streaming into the room, bouncing off the walls and floor.
"You ok Harry?" Cassi asked as she helped her brother up. Harry nodded and they both turned towards their relatives as Vernon began ranting.
"That does it," said Uncle Vernon, trying to speak calmly but pulling great tufts out of his mustache at the same time. "I want you all back here in five minutes ready to leave. We're going away. Just pack some clothes. No arguments!"
He looked so dangerous with half his mustache missing that no one dared argue, not even Cassi though she did let out a small snort of amusement. Ten minutes later they had wrenched their way through the boarded-up doors and were in the car, speeding toward the highway. Dudley was sniffling in the back seat; his father had hit him round the head for holding them up while he tried to pack his television, VCR, and computer in his sports bag.
They drove. And they drove. Even Aunt Petunia didn't dare ask where they were going. Every now and then Uncle Vernon would take a sharp turn and drive in the opposite direction for a while.
"Shake 'em off… shake 'em off," he would mutter whenever he did this.
They didn't stop to eat or drink all day. By nightfall Dudley was howling. He'd never had such a bad day in his life. He was hungry, he'd missed five television programs he'd wanted to see, and he'd never gone so long without blowing up an alien on his computer.
"Welcome to my life, Duddykins," Cassidy teased during the ride and smirked as she got a glare from both Vernon and Petunia and a laugh from Harry.
Uncle Vernon stopped at last outside a gloomy-looking hotel on the outskirts of a big city. Dudley and Harry shared a room with twin beds and damp, musty sheets. Dudley snored but Harry stayed awake, sitting on the windowsill, staring down at the lights of passing cars and wondering…while Cassi slept on the floor in a make shift bed of blankets and a pillow which she only got because Harry had given her one off the bed before Dudley could argue.
They ate stale cornflakes and cold tinned tomatoes on toast for breakfast the next day. They had just finished when the owner of the hotel came over to their table.
"'Scuse me, but is one of you Mr. H. Potter and Ms. C. Potter? Only I got about an 'undred of these at the front desk." She held up a letter so they could read the green ink address:Mr. H. Potter
another one but with Cassidy's name on it. Keeping up the act Harry made a grab for the letter but Uncle Vernon knocked his hand out of the way. The woman stared.
"I'll take them," said Uncle Vernon, standing up quickly and following her from the dining room.
"Wouldn't it be better just to go home, dear?" Aunt Petunia suggested timidly, hours later, but Uncle Vernon didn't seem to hear her.
Exactly what he was looking for, none of them knew. He drove them into the middle of a forest, got out, looked around, shook his head, got back in the car, and off they went again. The same thing happened in the middle of a plowed field, halfway across a suspension bridge, and at the top of a multilevel parking garage.
"Daddy's gone mad, hasn't he?" Dudley asked Aunt Petunia dully late that afternoon.
"Your just figuring that out?" Cassidy asked, huffing and shaking her head.
Uncle Vernon had parked at the coast, locked them all inside the car, and disappeared. It started to rain. Great drops beat on the roof of the car. Dudley snivelled.
"It's Monday," he told his mother. "The Great Humberto's on tonight. I want to stay somewhere with a television."
Monday. This reminded Harry of something. If it was Monday — and you could usually count on Dudley to know the days the week, because of television — then tomorrow, Tuesday, was Harry's eleventh birthday. Cassidy smiled and took Harry's hand into hers and began to hum happy birthday softly so only they would hear. As Vernon came back with a smug grin she rolled her eyes and latter she would be the little rickety boat and curse her bad luck. neither she or Harry knew how to swim, if Dudley or Vernon's fat butts tipped the boat on the way to the island they were both in deep water, pun intended. ************
September 1st, 1991:
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:
Cassidy could hardly believe she was here. Finally she was at Hogwarts, and she could see and feel, smell that it was a real honest to god place. She looked beside her at Harry and smiled, taking his hand into hers.
"Don't worry Harry, you'll do fine," she said and he calmed down a bit and nodded. His sister was usually right, he'd never found her to be wrong.
Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall.
"Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told the first years, "and follow me."
Feeling oddly as though his legs had turned to lead, Harry got into line behind a boy with sandy hair, with Ron behind him and Cassi slid in front of him, and they walked out of the chamber, back across the hall, and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.
Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. Though Cassi hadn't either she had more tact and pride then to gawk openly at the beautiful castle.
It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up here, so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, "Its bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History."
Cassidy fought to not roll her eyes at what seemed to be a kind but pushy girl. She couldn't help but wonder how many damn books the girl had read during the summer. Looking up at the ceiling she sighed. It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heavens.
Harry quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard's hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Aunt Petunia wouldn't have let it in the house.
Maybe they had to try and get a rabbit out of it, Harry thought wildly, that seemed the sort of thing — noticing that everyone in the hall was now staring at the hat, he stared at it, too. For a few seconds, there was complete silence. Then the hat twitched. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth — and the hat began to sing:"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!"
The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.
"So we've just got to try on the hat!" Ron whispered to Harry. "I'll kill Fred, he was going on about wrestling a troll." Cassidy couldn't help but snort.
"That's stupid, they would never put first years against a troll. It's suicide, besides who in their right mind would face a troll as a first year?" she asked, shaking her head and Ron rolled his eyes.
"Your sister is as bad as Granger," Ron whispered and Cassi rolled her own eyes.
"I can hear you," she said sharply and Ron looked shocked and then looked down and blushed.
Harry smiled weakly. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than having to do a spell, but he did wish they could have tried it on without everyone watching. The hat seemed to be asking rather a lot; Harry didn't feel brave or quick-witted or any of it at the moment. If only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy, that would have been the one for him.
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.
"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said.
A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A moments pause —
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.
The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry saw the ghost of the Fat Friar waving merrily at her.
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.
The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.
"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender"
became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers; Harry could see Ron's twin brothers catcalling.
"Bulstrode, Millicent" then became a Slytherin. Perhaps it was Harry's imagination, after all he'd heard about Slytherin, but he thought they looked like an unpleasant lot. Cassidy almost sensing what her brother was thinking frowned and rolled her eyes. She had heard what Hagrid said about Slytherin and she didn't believe a word of it. A house did not determine loyalty or what side you'd be on, if you were evil or good. It was a person decision that decided that.
Harry was starting to feel definitely sick now. He remembered being picked for teams during gym at his old school. He had always been last to be chosen, not because he was no good, but because no one wanted Dudley to think they liked him.
Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide. "Finnigan, Seamus,"
the sandy-haired boy next to Harry in the line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.
"Alright," all the marauders cheered.
Hermione almost ran to the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head.
"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat. Ron groaned.
A horrible thought struck Harry, as horrible thoughts always do when you're very nervous. What if he wasn't chosen at all?
What if he just sat there with the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor McGonagall jerked it off his head and said there had obviously been a mistake and he'd better get back on the train?
When Neville Longbottom, the boy who kept losing his toad, was called, he fell over on his way to the stool.
The hat took a long time to decide with Neville.
When it finally shouted, "GRYFFINDOR," Neville ran off still wearing it, and had to jog back amid gales of laughter to give it to "MacDougal, Morag."
Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, "SLYTHERIN!"
Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself. There weren't many people left now. "Moon"…, "Nott"… , "Parkinson"… , then a pair of twin girls, "Patil" and "Patil"… , then "Perks, Sally-Anne"… , and then, at last —
"Potter, Cassidy!" Cassi looked at her brother and smiled before walking forward only hesitant at first but as the hat was lowered onto her head she calmed down. 'Ah...such a fascinating mind. The Potter who wasn't a Potter. You have a bit of all your parents in you, that you do.'
Cassidy raised a eyebrow and wondered what he meant. Who else could she be? 'Your father and Mother's daughter, that is for sure. A dark side hidden in you. Your loyal, and brave but not to a fault. Your not one to rush into things for strangers or on a whim.'
"Why are you telling me this, I know all this," Cassidy whispered and the hat chuckled. Cassi wondered briefly if the parents he was talking about before where the ones she thought were hers. She's always thought she didn't look enough like them and the picture given in one of the books she bought confirmed that. Her father had black hair and hazel eyes. Her mother had red hair and green eyes. Her hair and was curly and blonde and her eyes were a odd mix of green, gray and blue. She didn't linger on those thoughts though.
'Yes, I agree, I think there is only one place for you....'
Harry waited with baited breath as his sister was sorted. He hoped they were in the same house, but he knew his sister and trying to think of which houses suited her he only thought of two, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
Suddenly the hat shouted. "SLYTHERIN!" The great hall burst into whispers and yells. They were shocked that a Potter of all people was a Slytherin. The whispers had not quieted as Cassidy almost shakingly sat at the Slytherin table, sending Harry a smile. He refused to looked at her and as his name was called.
As Harry stepped forward, whispers suddenly broke out again like little hissing fires all over the hall.
"Potter, did she say?"
"The Harry Potter?"
The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the hall full of people craning to get a good look at him. Next second he was looking at the black inside of the hat. He waited.
"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult.
"No its not, he's a Gryffindor," Sirius said.
Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, A my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting… So where shall I put you?"
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
"Not Slytherin, eh?" said the small voice. "Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that, and your sister is there — no?
Well, if you're sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!"
Harry heard the hat shout the last word to the whole hall. He took off the hat and walked shakily toward the Gryffindor table. He was so relieved to have been chosen and not put in Slytherin, he hardly noticed that he was getting the loudest cheer yet. Percy the Prefect got up and shook his hand vigorously, while the Weasley twins yelled, "We got Potter! We got Potter!"
Harry sat down opposite the ghost in the ruff he'd seen earlier. The ghost patted his arm, giving Harry the sudden, horrible feeling he'd just plunged it into a bucket of ice-cold water. Cassidy smiled at her brother but when she got no reaction but a slight glare she sighed and turned away.
He could see the High Table properly now. At the end nearest him sat Hagrid, who caught his eye and gave him the thumbs up. Harry grinned back. And there, in the center of the High Table, in a large gold chair, sat Albus Dumbledore. Harry recognized him at once from the card he'd gotten out of the Chocolate Frog on the train. Dumbledore's silver hair was the only thing in the whole hall that shone as brightly as the ghosts. Harry spotted Professor Quirrell, too, the nervous young man from the Leaky Cauldron. He was looking very peculiar in a large purple turban.
And now there were only three people left to be sorted. "Thomas, Dean," a Black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table.
"Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now.
Harry crossed his fingers under the table and a second later the hat had shouted,
Harry clapped loudly with the rest as Ron collapsed into the chair next to him.
"Well done, Ron, excellent," said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as "Zabini, Blaise," was made a Slytherin. Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the Sorting Hat away.
Harry looked down at his empty gold plate. He had only just realized how hungry he was. The pumpkin pasties seemed ages ago.
Albus Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there.
"Welcome," he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered. Cassidy didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of the old man. Looking around her she glared at some of the older students who dared sneer or whisper nasty things about her; a half-blood Potter in Slytherin. Malfoy grinned at her in his smug way and she turned her head up and pfft' at him as if he was asking her if she'd consider dating him.
"Hello, I'm Daphne Greengrass," a female voice said from beside her. She looked to her side and smiled. The girl was small, and had light white blonde hair and pretty blue eyes. She seemed a bit holier then thou but she seemed nice and like the kind of person she'd like to be friends with. With a small smile she stuck out her hand and shook Daphne's.
"I'm Cassidy Potter, it's nice to meet someone sane around here."