HARRY POTTER
AND THE PRINCE OF SLYTHERIN

Harry Potter and all associated characters and situations are the property of J.K. Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.


CHAPTER 3: THE REUNION


25 July 1991

"So ... I'm a wizard," said Harry slowly.

"Yes, Harry."

"And ... you're ... my da...my father?"

"Yes," said James with a tight smile.

"So, where is ... my mother?"

"She's already at Hogwarts. She's the new Professor for Muggle Studies and is still in the process of getting her class situated. I mean, she wanted to be here..." James's voice faded away lamely.

Harry never looked up from the bowl of ice cream sitting in front of him. He had barely spoken to his father since the man arrived that morning the Dursley residence to announce that neither he nor his wife were dead, that both he and his wife were wizards, and that Harry was a wizard too who would soon be starting at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry along with a twin brother he'd never heard of before. James had been shocked and outraged to learn that the Dursley's had told Harry that he and Lily were dead and that he knew nothing of the wizarding world. His furious comments were cut short by Petunia's vicious response: "He'd have learned the truth years ago if his parents had loved him enough to visit even once!" Of course, it had been Petunia who had demanded that he and Lily stay away from the Dursleys when Harry was assumed to be a squib, but Petunia was supposed to contact the Potters at once if he showed any signs of magic, which he apparently had. That didn't make the Muggle's hateful insult hurt any less though.

And now, James Potter was nervously watching his eldest son, who looked so much smaller and frailer than his twin brother. Between them sat a bowl of Fortescue's ice cream that the boy hadn't touched yet. He just stared at it intensely because the alternative was looking at the father who'd abandoned him. After several seconds, the boy asked the question James had been dreading ever since he'd learned that his firstborn son was a wizard after all.

"Why?"

James swallowed. "It ... was necessary. Your brother, Jim, is ... special. He was chosen by prophecy to destroy a powerful evil wizard. We don't say his name, just ... You-Know-Who. Anyway, Jim destroyed You-Know-Who, saving all our lives in the process. He even resisted the Killing Curse, which everyone thought was impossible. They call Jim 'the Boy-Who-Lived,' and he can hardly walk down the street without people bowing and scraping before him. We were concerned that you might feel jealous of him. The magical healers were all certain that you were a squib. That is, someone born to wizards but with no magic of their own. As a squib, you'd have been a target for You-Know-Who's followers and wouldn't be able to protect yourself. So Dumbledore – he's the Headmaster at Hogwarts and the leader of the opposition to You-Know-Who – he suggested that we send you to live with your aunt and uncle so you could become accustomed to living in the Muggle world. We didn't even think you were a wizard until the school generated an invitation letter for you."

"My letter. Right. Do you happen to notice the address?" Harry asked in a curious tone of voice.

James blinked several times at the seemingly odd question. "Not particularly. I knew where you lived anyway. Number 4, Privet Drive in Surrey. Why?"

Harry ignored him. "So what happens now? Will I be moving in with you or going back to the Dursley's when I'm not in school?"

James sighed. "Dumbledore has put a lot of magical wards at the Dursley residence to keep your presence there a secret, so you can't be kidnapped and used against Jim. You really are safer there at least until you graduate and can defend yourself. But I promise you that once things have settled down, we'll have you over to visit so that we can all get reacquainted."

Finally, Harry lifted his head and looked his father straight in the eye, and for a second, James flinched. He'd always thought that Harry had his mother's eyes. But now, he realized that Harry's were brighter and more vivid. They were, in fact, the exact same color as the Killing Curse.

"Harry Potter. The Cupboard Under The Stairs. 4 Privet Drive. Surrey. Are you really sending me back to the Dursleys so they can lock me in the boot cupboard again?"

James' mouth opened and closed like a fish. He had felt quite certain that Harry had been mistreated at the Dursley's simply from the number of times Petunia had screamed the world "freak" at him in the fifteen minutes he'd been there. But a boot cupboard?!

"Harry, I'm ... Merlin, I'm so sorry. I promise you. We'll speak to them. We'll make sure they treat you better from now on."

Harry was silent for a moment. Then, he slid his untouched bowl of ice cream towards the middle of the table. "I'm done eating. We should go buy my school supplies now." Then, he stood and walked towards the exit without looking back.

At Madam Malkin's (where James insisted on buying him a whole new wardrobe), Harry met an exuberant red-headed boy who couldn't stop talking about how he had to get into Gryffindor because that was where all of his brothers were and that was where the Boy-Who-Lived was sure to be sorted. The fact that he was standing next to someone who looked like a slightly smaller version of the famous Boy-Who-Lived was completely lost on him in his excitement. Harry grunted a response and left without getting the boy's name.

At Ollivander's, after dozens of failed efforts, the old man finally fitted Harry with a holly and phoenix feather wand which Ollivander described as "curious."

"I'm not surprised," the boy interrupted, eager to get the day over with. "It is a magic wand. I reckon that's a 'curious' as you can get. Is there anything you recommend to go with it?" And that was how Harry left the story with a polishing kit, a wrist-holder and a book on wand lore.

At Flourish & Botts, James Potter told Harry to get whatever he wanted and charge it to his account while he ran a quick errand at Gringotts for the Headmaster. So Harry bought every book on the school list, plus every book that the store owner recommended that might conceivably help a Muggle-raised student adapt to Hogwarts. He also bought every single book mentioning the Boy-Who-Lived that looked even halfway reliable.

At Eeylops Owl Emporium, James insisted that Harry get an owl. "That way, you can stay in touch with us next summer while you're at the Dursleys," said James. Harry just looked at him. Finally, he relented and picked out a rather beautiful snowy owl. Then, he asked to return to Flourish & Botts so he could set up an owl-post account in case he needed more books later. As they were leaving, Harry asked if it were possible for wizards to talk with their owls or with any other animals.

"Generally no," he replied. "The only animals a wizard can talk with are snakes. It's an ability called Parseltongue. And only people called Parselmouths can do it. It's a sign of being a Dark wizard. You-Know-Who was a Parselmouth."

"Well," said Harry quietly, thinking back to his recent trip to the zoo and the conversation he'd had with a boa constrictor. "That's good to know."

From there, James purchased Harry a new trunk and set him up with an allowance of ten galleons a week, which was apparently an extravagant sum and which would magically refill into the "bigger-on-the-inside" mokeskin pouch which James also purchased for him.

Later, back at Privat Drive, James had a long talk with the Dursleys during which quite a few threats were made. Apparently, the Potters had been paying Vernon and Petunia to look after Harry all these years, and if they weren't going to take reasonable care of the boy, then they'd be paying that money back ... as well as moving out of their home, for which apparently the Potters had paid the mortgage. Accordingly, Harry would be moving out of his cupboard and into what had been Cousin Dudley's spare room. Also, there would be no more chores for Harry, which was good news as he planned to a lot of time reading the books he'd purchased.

Finally, as he was leaving, James asked Harry to come out to the front porch for a good-bye. "Listen, son. I ... I can't tell you how sorry I am about all this. We should have checked in on you before now. We shouldn't have just trusted Petunia and Vernon to do right by you. But I promise, you. We'll get past this and come back together as a family."

Harry stared that unsettling stare again. "Do you really believe that?"

"You bet, kiddo."

Harry was silent for a few seconds before replying. "They told me you were both dead. That you were a drunk and were always on the dole. That my mother sold herself to pay for drugs for the both of you. That you killed yourself and mother while you were both drunk and high in an auto accident that I barely survived."

James looked up at the door to 4 Privet Drive as if he could burn a hole through it with the power of his angry gaze. "Those were lies, Harry. Filthy awful lies."

"I know. I've always known that they were lying to me about my mother and father. But I never imagined that one day I'd wish it had been the truth."

And with that, Harry turned and went inside, slamming the door in his father's face.


Updated 8/28/2016. Relatively minor changes, mainly to Harry's dialogue and to clarify that Petunia was supposed to inform the Potters if Harry demonstrated magic, but she did not.