Author's Note: My extensive absence is finally over as I was finally able to purchase a new computer. I was waylaid by vehicle repairs. I have managed to write a few things using my phone but that is seriously tedious. I probably won't be on any real schedule for updates, but I will be continuing with Displacement but I have just recovered my notes so it may be a little while before a post.
I am almost done with another one-shot Harry Potter crossover, this time with Captain Marvel, and a longer and more tongue-in-cheek story solely in the HP universe about him getting fed up with his friends silent treatment after the TriWizard Tournament.
I have never mentioned before, but if anyone ever gets inspired by any part of the stories I wrote, please feel free to use them as a starting point. All I ask is a message so I can read it as well!
Harry stared at the strange letter addressed to him, addressed to his cupboard under the stairs. He glanced over his shoulder towards the kitchen. Petunia was still crowing, Vernon was blindly reaching for his tea as he read the paper, and Dudley was waving his stick as if he could command the world with it.
Harry's musing ended quickly when Dudley began using the stick to bang the table and demand more food.
"Boy!" Vernon shouted from behind his paper. He didn't have to say anything else. Harry started to hurry back to the kitchen with the mail, but he paused in front of his cupboard. Harry remembered that the Dursleys didn't let him have things; he only gets scraps.
Harry was in the kitchen and silently serving out another helping of breakfast to the gluttons. He laid the mail out next to Vernon's tea. Harry began cleaning up and noticed Vernon laze through the post. The Dursleys stayed in their strange little world of normal, never noticing what wasn't directly in front of them.
Vernon was focused on money, it didn't matter if it was his or someone else's. Petunia lived for gossip; it was her religion, her career, and her pastime. Finally, there was Dudley. The whale loved hitting things with things.
Harry slipped out of the kitchen while they were all focused on the Smeltings' Stick, which was currently being used to rattle the dishes. He ducked into his cupboard right as Dudley started complaining, "But Mum! It's my stick! What else could I use to rattle the dishes?" Dudley's world had fallen apart. Why would anyone care so much about something that could be taken away?
Harry tugged the light cord and rolled into the most comfortable position he could manage while in his cramped quarters. The flickering light settled as he examined the letter. He marveled at his first piece of post, turning it over and over in his hands.
There was no envelope. Instead, the letter was wax sealed parchment with flowing script that had been carefully folded to protect its contents. Harry realized that someone put a lot of effort in sending him this letter, caring enough to address it to where he slept, but not about the fact that Harry slept in a cupboard.
Harry had tried to tell adults about where he slept and all the chores he had to do. No one ever believed him. And now he had a letter inviting him to a school that teaches magic, if it was to be believed. The lack of a return address was suspicious.
Harry stopped himself from getting his hopes up. Letters that didn't have a return address could be fake, especially when someone was awaiting his response by owl instead of the post. How could he tell if it was a trick?
Harry decided a test was in order, so he snuck an envelope from Vernon's briefcase when he had a chance and slipped a response out with his business letters the next day, having spent the rest of the previous writing and rewriting it.
To whom this may concern,
The names in the letter were odd. Very odd. Made-up odd. Harry would keep an eye out for mistakes in the response, if there even was one.
I thank you for the invitation to your school, but Vernon and Petunia Dursley, the relatives I live with, have decided that I will be attending Stonewall Academy in Autumn.
Harry wouldn't put it past Piers to try and trick him. The bully knew how the Dursleys hated anything fantastic or unusual. He was the only one Dudley hung out with that was clever enough to do something like that. Harry didn't want his response to find its way into Petunia's hands and get him in trouble.
I am curious to know why you addressed the letter to the cupboard under the stairs because rumours should not be relied upon.
Harry knew how rumours worked thanks to overhearing Petunia during his chores. It was amazing how the neighbors heard things that she never actually said.
I am also wondering how Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is expecting me to purchase the listed supplies and uniform, or how much it might cost? Unless there is an affordable specialty store somewhere near Surrey, it is unlikely that I could purchase even a few of the required items.
Vernon always hated having to pay for things, especially things for Harry. He would never agree to send Harry to a school that he had to pay for.
I also noticed that there were a lack of maths and sciences books for the schooling, are they being provided? There was a lack of details about what the schooling at Hogwarts entails. Is there any literature on Hogwarts? Without more information, I will have to decline the invitation.
Harry wasn't sure when he would see the results of his letter.
For the two days, Harry could not keep his mind off of the letter. He kept his head down around his relatives but kept an eye out for any type of response. Harry sifted through the Saturday morning post while the Dursleys planned their family outing over the same breakfast they always had.
Harry's already strung out nerves frayed further as he scanned each address of their unusually large delivery. He was disappointed again by the lack of response, despite having reasoned that his letter might have not even been delivered yet.
"Next Saturday, if not by then…" Harry mumbled to himself as he entered the kitchen and handed over the mail.
"What was that, boy?" Vernon grunted, crinkling his paper so he could leer at Harry.
"Nothing, Uncle Vernon," responded Harry. His tone was one of measured meekness, just enough so that he thought Harry was cowed by his tone alone.
"Good." Vernon crinkled the morning paper back into reading position only to let it fall back out of the way. "I have left a list of chores for you to do outside. While we are gone, I expect you to do them."
"Yes, Uncle Vernon."
The man stared at Harry for a moment, trying to decide if he was talking back with his quick monotone response. Vernon gave him an imperial nod and instructed him further, "Petunia wants her flowerbed tended, there is mowing to be done, and the fence needs to be touched up with paint."
"Yes, Uncle Vernon."
The man stopped paying attention to Harry while he was cleaning dishes and turned to Petunia with a smirk mostly hidden by his moustache, "I will be locking the house while we are gone we will be back shortly after two o'clock and I expect the chores to be done by no later than three."
"Yes, Uncle Vernon."
"If you finish before we return, go to the park and return here by three o'clock."
"Thank you, Uncle Vernon," Harry responded. Vernon always acted like he was giving Harry a gift when he was allowed to do anything besides chores, so Harry treat it as such or else risk an angry walrus.
It took the Dursleys long enough to leave the house that Harry was able to sneak a bottle of water and an apple from Petunia's always fresh but never eaten from bowl of fruit. He stashed them in one of the many rose bushes that lined the house and began on his chores.
The lawn was trimmed by half past nine and Harry was already perspiring under the rising sun, and it was only going to get hotter. He began in on weeding and trimming the garden, hoping that he could work in the shadow of the building. Harry focused on finishing before all the shade disappeared.
Harry was so focused on finishing his chores quickly that he failed to notice the arrival of the response from Hogwarts, "Good Mo-"
"Gah!" Shouted Harry, whipping himself around, accidentally flinging the shears towards the well dressed, mustachioed dwarf that surprised him. Harry watched wide-eyed as the shears turned themselves around and landed neatly in the bucket of garden tools at his feet.
"That is certainly one way to prove magic is real," the dwarf said with a chuckle. "Let's try this again: Good Morning, my name is Professor Flitwick, and I am here on behalf of Hogwarts to talk with you and your family."
Harry shuffled nervously away from the bucket of tools, keeping them in his peripherals while not looking away from the man. "The Dursleys are out until two," he said, "I didn't know anyone was going to visit."
Professor Flitwick's moustache twitched before he spoke, "Hmm, they could have informed me they would be busy at this time." Something in the man's expression hardened, but the professor quickly became chipper and gave a shrug, "Oh, well, I'm here now, so I might as well do what I can without them."
"I'm sorry, professor, but I have a lot of chores to finish, so I can't really stop to talk," apologized Harry. He shrugged and pulled at his shirt, starting to cling from sweat. "They should available to talk around three, but I hope it won't take too long because I start dinner at four."
"Oh, perhaps I could help with your chores. What were they?" Harry managed to not flinch at the flint in the man's voice.
"Trim and weed the garden beds, sweep up the lawn clippings, and touch up the paint on the fence, but you really don't have to help me, professor."
"Nonsense. I'm happy to help," he replied. He removed a crooked white root from his coat pocket. Professor Flitwick twisted it around like a baton while he barely mouthed some unknown words.
Harry stood frozen as the gardens tended themselves and all the trimmings and weeds quickly found themselves in a rubbish bag by the bins. He gaped the obvious magic, barely noticing the wand twitch towards him before it was put away. Harry felt noticeably more comfortable. It only took Harry a glance away from the tool bucket dancing its way to the shed to realize he was now cleaned up.
"Well," Professor Flitwick said with a clap, "Now that your chores are done, what do you say to having this talk inside and out of the sun?" He gestured towards the front door with a slight bow.
"Well, umm, professor, the Dursleys locked the house before they left," Harry said.
"Hmm. I believe we'll have to let ourselves in," the professor said with a small frown. He snapped his fingers and the front door popped ajar. He followed Harry and glanced around the house. "How about a bit of tea while we sit and talk?" the professor asked.
"Um, sure," Harry replied as started towards the kitchen to put the kettle on while Professor Flitwick waited in the sitting room. Harry stopped in the doorway to glance back at the very amused man when he saw the tea making itself. He grinned back and joined him.
"I know you probably have a lot of questions, so let's cover the basics and move on to Hogwarts. After that, I'll be happy to answer the rest of your questions as best as I can," Professor Flitwick told him.
Harry jumped back to his feet and nodded furiously, "Let me grab my letter first!" he nearly shouted as ran into the hallway. Harry was too excited to notice the professor peer around the doorway to watch Harry dig his letter out of the cupboard with locks on the outside.
It took more than a moment for Harry to decide which question to ask after the professor finished his brief explanation of magic and why it was hiding from the general public, "What is with all the weird names?"
Professor Flitwick promptly snorted into his freshly made tea, making a mess of his moustache, "Well," he responded as he cleaned it with a wave of his hand before continuing, "Have you heard of a nom de plume, or pen name?" Harry nodded and eyed the long list of silly names in his letter. "Many decide to take up a wizarding name to prevent their magic from being stolen, si-"
Harry interrupted with a horrified gasp, quickly clutching his Hogwarts letter to his chest, "Magic can be stolen?"
"Not in the sense you are thinking," he said, calming Harry down significantly. "It is more like plagiarism or stealing trade secrets. Using magic is a skill much like cooking. It can be practiced and taught to anyone who is willing to learn, practice and affinity determine if you will excel in discipline, there are different styles favoured by different cultures, and you can't expect everyone to make a living as a baker." His moustache twitched as it hid his smirk.
"I, I guess that makes sense. I just sort of figured it all just happened, maybe like wishing?" Harry's face screwed up in uncertainty. He blinked a few times in realization, "Is that why Hogwarts doesn't have normal classes, because it's a vocational school?"
Professor Flitwick laughed. "I suppose that is the best way to describe it. The school does offer an extracurricular study program for those who wish to further their academic study. It is a bit difficult for some, but I am confident you can handle it."
Harry smiled. The compliment had him blushing. He ducked his head to hide the red in his cheeks and skimmed through his Hogwarts letter for his other questions. "I have some questions about the supply list."
"Of course, the supplies can be overwhelming for someone new to magic." Professor Flitwick then tried to head off a few questions, "I will be bringing you to a location called Diagon Alley to purchase your supplies. The money will be either be coming from a scholarship or a trust left by your parents, we will be checking with the bank Gringotts."
Unfortunately, he also gave Harry more questions to ask. "A trust left by my parents?" he asked, "What is a trust? My parents had something to leave me?"
The professor stared off at a corner of the ceiling and hummed with a tight expression. His expression softened when he turned back to Harry. "A trust, according to wizarding traditions, is an amount of money set aside by parents for their child. Some have stringent rules for using the money, others function like allowances for the child. I do not know if your parents were able to set one up for you."
Harry furrowed his eyebrows in thought. "Why not?" he blurted before amending his question, "Did they waste all their money? Petunia says drunks always waste their money."
Professor Flitwick face pinched into a frown, "While James Potter could be quite frivolous and I have heard a few tall tales of his and his friends' alcohol inspired shenanigans, Lily and James were not drunks nor wasteful." He took a deep breath and continued, his voice no longer held the tightness of irritation, "The British wizarding world was suffering through a deadly civil war that was a remnant from the magical side of World War II. Your parents, along with many others, fought against a would be tyrant."
Everything about the man sagged with exhaustion. He had another cup of tea made for both of them. The professor braced himself with the cup in tense hands before speaking, "A man named Lord Voldemort lead an army of wizards and witches called Death Eaters. They were so malicious that just speaking their leader's name was risking their wrath.
Your parents fought against their shroud of terror. I do not know why, but during the last two years of the war the leader, often referred to as You-Know-Who, began hunting specifically for several people, including your parents." Harry was sitting stiffly, fear bled into his face but he remained rapt.
Professor Flitwick collected himself with a sip of tea. "On October 31, 1981, the war ended with Who-Know-Who disappearing. He had personally attacked your parents in their home. By six in the morning on the same day, all of Britain knew you as The-Boy-Who-Lived and that You-Know-Who was no more."
Harry eyes swam. He was overwhelmed. He silently snuffled back his tears and address Professor Flitwick with a barely steady voice, "What happened? I- I mean, I know the trust must not have been made if I'm here, but what happened to my parents?"
The professor moved next to Harry and offered a hand for comfort. Harry latched on to it with both hands. "Your parents fought a monster to keep you safe. I may not know exactly what happened that night, but I know your parents loved you to the end of the earth and back."
Harry tears flowed silently down his frozen expression. "It's not fair," he managed to say with a croak, "It's not fair. I never missed my parents before you told me about them!" He began crying freely after he pulled his hands away and wrapped himself around his knees. Harry sobbed almost silently as he remained rigid in a tight ball on the couch.
Professor Flitwick smiled gently at him and rubbed his back, letting him cry himself out. It had taken several minutes, a second pot of tea, and a promise from the professor to tell him more about his parents for Harry to calm down enough to even remember his question about school supplies. They had started their third pot of tea by the time Harry was comfortable speaking after his outburst, "Do I have to get a wand? Wands seem like, a, you know…" he trailed off unsure of how to say what he wanted to say.
Professor Flitwick laughed, "Wands are a requirement for learning at Hogwarts, but they do seem a bit lacking compared to fiction you might be used to, what with its enchanted spears, magic staves, and lightsabers."
Harry nervously shook his head and spoke cautiously, "It's not that. I guess I can use a wand, but isn't it all coming from me, you know, magic? All those weird things like disappearing glass and ending up on the school roof happened without a wand, doesn't that mean I don't have to use anything?"
The professor smiled at the question. "If you want to be a wizard, you'll need a wand, but Hogwarts does teach witchcraft as well. Witchcraft is the wandless arts of potions, divination, imbuing, and channeling as well as horticulture and animal husbandry, though only potions is taught as its own class."
Harry sighed and nodded in disappointment. "It just seems weird, if magic exists why would it need a wand? It just doesn't seem magic enough. Like, if magic is cooking, magic with a wand is like only being able to cook while following a recipe, directions, rules.
Do you know how many different types of eggs there are? I have no clue with there being a dozen different types of chicken eggs alone, but every single recipe book Petunia owns calls for either large or extra large grade A white eggs so that is all she ever buys. I don't even know if brown eggs cook differently!"
Harry realized that get was getting upset over eggs when he was talking about magic. "Sorry," he apologized. Harry withdrew into his knees again for a deep breath. He began to fiddle with his fingers and attempted to his summarize his raving, "Chef's understand food well enough to cook with whatever they have. Now that magic is real, I'd like to learn to be a chef of magic as well, whatever that might be."
He peaked at Professor Flitwick to gauge his reaction. Harry hoped he wouldn't get in trouble. What if the wizard was upset that he sort of thought that Hogwarts wasn't good enough? He didn't have to worry long because the man was sporting a grin that seemed to stretch off of his face.
"Harry," Professor Flitwick spoke with a certain gravity, "What you are talking about is called sorcery, an instinctive understanding and use of magic. It can be taught, but only a rare few can learn," stopping to make sure he was paying attention.
Harry silently directed all his attention to the man as he continued, "Sorcery is taught by a master to an apprentice. I do know a sorcerer named Willow Ufgood who has been searching for an apprentice to teach. He could be interested in teaching you, based on what I know of the man and sorcery."
"Yes, but if you wish to pursue sorcery, you would never be a student of Hogwarts or any other school of magic, and along with several other aspects of apprenticeship, it is not something to be decided lightly. The wands of wizards react poorly with the magic of a sorcerer, even an untrained hopeful," he explained further.
"Oh," Harry said in a small voice. Sorcery sounded so much better than wizardry but there was no guarantee that he could become Ufgood's apprentice. Harry steeled his resolve to learn it on his own if he couldn't become an apprentice, "Couldn't I still learn witchcraft at Hogwarts? And what were the other things?"
"I do love your curiosity," he chuckled before responding with what Harry assumed was his professor's tone. "During the second world war, Hogwarts charter was redefined, forcing it to no longer teach witchcraft OR wizardry, as witchcraft can be learned by those born without magic. Questionably acquitted Death Eaters with political power prevent the definition from being overturned." Harry automatically nodded along as so many of his previous teachers had expected. He didn't know what acquitted meant, but he figured that the Death Eaters had not been arrested if they were in politics.
"As for the rules of an apprenticeship, there is really only one rule: a master's word is law. Usually there are rules of etiquette and the teaching process is so intensive that the apprentice lives with the master."
Harry perked up. "Really?" he asked hopefully. Harry had to fight to contain his excitement, unfortunately, he still squirmed in his seat. "I think I would like to be Mister Ufgood's apprentice, if he'll have me."
Professor Flitwick clapped and jumped to his feet, "Fantastic!" He quickly waved his wand and sent the tea set hurrying back to the kitchen. "Let's get you packed up and out of this horrid place."
Harry winced at his comment. He had been doing his best to avoid drawing attention to his treatment, last time someone noticed things just got worse. The professor noticed. "How do you know he'll want me as an apprentice?" Harry asked.
The man laughed, "I never did mention that Filius Flitwick is only the name I go by as a professor. Willow Ufgood, Sorcerer. I look forward to teaching you."
Harry stared at the man. "But you used a wand! And said you knew him! Why couldn't you just say so?" he exclaimed.
While Harry was stuttering, the sorcerer waved his hand, causing all of Harry's meager possessions to neatly stack themselves at his feet. "There are two reasons but only one you need to be concerned with. I needed to hear your perspective of magic, not what you thought your prospective master's is. People are so much more honest when they don't know who they are talking too."
Harry blushed and stared at his feet along with everything he owned. The fact that what little he owned were ill fitted discards and weathered leftovers added to his embarrassment. "Right, anything you are keen on keeping?" the sorcerer asked, "because it looks like we will be needing to buy you an entire wardrobe when we go shopping for your supplies."
Harry quickly collected his small collection of broken soldiers and tucked them away in his pants pocket, the one without a hole. "What sort of supplies?" he asked, trying his best to not focus on his clothes.
"Your Hogwarts supplies. You will be living under my tutelage for some time and I am a professor at a boarding school for ten months out of the year. It would be a waste for you to live at a school and not attend classes," he answered.
"But you said I couldn't attend Hogwarts if I was a sorcerer, sir?" Harry was unsure of what to call his teacher.
The sorcerer laughed. "You may call me professor. I have circumvented several recent laws and school charter by becoming your master, but I do not think drawing attention to ourselves would be helpful, especially with your status in their world.
There is an apprentice clause that will allow you to attend classes while I am busy teaching, but because you cannot use a wizard's wand, things will be difficult. I will be teaching you the basics of sorcery, etiquette, and showmanship. If you work hard before we leave for Hogwarts, no one will ever have to know you are a sorcerer."
"Showmanship, professor? And what about the wand? You've been using one?" Harry asked.
"This," the professor held up his crooked wand, "Is a sorcerer's wand and should only be used by an adept and cautious person. You will be using a baton, a simple device to point and help mentally focus yourself. I knew a man who favored a spoon because he wished to irk people, and I still occasionally throw acorns for spells. Do you have anything in mind?"
"So, it can really be anything?" The professor nodded and Harry took a moment to consider what he might like to pretend to cast magic with. "Could you shape a baton from the roses outside?"
A sprig flew in and landed on the coffee table. It still had its thorns. The sorcerer scratched his chin and smoothed his moustache in thought. With a twitch of concentration, he began to shape the raw stem into a stick. The base thickened into a smooth handle while the thorns melted away. What wasn't changed into the grip frayed apart and twined itself back together before hovering with a lazy spin before Harry.
The professor nodded at his work with satisfaction. He waited for Harry to finish admiring it before speaking, "That should work until you are ready for your own wand."
Harry took his fake wand and turned it over in his hands. He gave it a few experimental waves, becoming familiar with the weight and flexibility, how it snapped straight like a tightly coiled spring. "Thank you, professor." He had to fight back tears while he spoke.
"You are welcome," his teacher answered, "I will always help my students."
They shared a sincere smile over the sentiment.
"Well, I do believe we are done here. Are you ready, Harry?"
He nodded and followed the professor to the front door. Before leaving the house he glanced back at the small pile of discards in the middle of the Dursleys' floor. He clutched his false wand to his chest for confidence. Emboldened by the existence of magic, Harry spat on the floor and locked the door behind him. "Where to now, professor?"
"First we take the bus to London to shop then we are off to my home to get you settled in. Your lessons will begin tomorrow." He replied as the two walked past the picket fence and mundane little houses. The Dursleys home disappeared into identical suburban rows. Neither sorcerer or apprentice tried to keep track of it.
"Before I took my own first step into the world of magic, a wise man told me something that kept me going," his teacher told him as they turned the corner, "Magic is the bloodstream of the universe. Forget all you know, or think you know. All that you require is your intuition."
He smiled at a thought and addressed Harry, now with his own words, "The High Aldwin, the sorcerer of the village I lived in, told me this just before I failed to become his apprentice. I kept the advice and applied it to the more mundane as well: do not presume and intuition is not always about magic. I believe that is the first rule of etiquette."
"Yes, professor," Harry replied with a smile that stuck around as they walked.