Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.


2 August 1991

Normally Professor McGonagall limited her "wee drams" to weekend evenings or occasionally before tackling a set of essays from a particularly difficult class. Knowing she would be facing the headmaster with some shocking news and several questions that he might not like, she fortified herself with a bit of liquid courage instead of breakfast.

He was in his office, signing a stack of papers from the Wizengamot. "Good morning, Minerva. How did yesterday go?"

"I managed to see them all and have orientation scheduled for tomorrow. I needed to speak to you last night. Where were you?"

"Oh, out and about in the castle, setting up a little something."

She glared at him. "Albus, don't do this. You are taking far too much risk with the students."

"It is necessary, Minerva. The Flamels have put their trust in me. Please continue preparing your part. Now, what was so important that you needed me last night?"

"When I went to visit the first student on my list, I came across an unprecedented situation."

"Unprecedented? What could be unprecedented about Muggles?"

"First, the parents in question had taken their child to a type of hospital, a place for Muggle healers of the mind to work with children with illnesses. Her letter was delivered there."

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "Interesting."

"Second, Miss Granger was not the only magical child in residence there. I also met incoming students Dean Thomas…and Harry Potter."

At that, Dumbledore stared at her, open-mouthed. He then looked over at one of his many shelves where a row of silver instruments clicked softly, whirred, and sent out puffs of smoke. "That's impossible. He's with his family in Surrey."

"It was him, Albus. The mirror image of James at that age, even down to the glasses. Lily's wonderful green eyes. And that horrid scar on his forehead. He's been there since he was five years old. The doctor described in great detail how the Dursleys abandoned him there, giving them false names so they couldn't be traced."

Dumbledore rose and went over to the instruments, poking one and hearing a protesting chirp. "But these still indicate that the wards are in place. I don't understand."

"I don't care what you don't understand, Albus. We're in trouble here. The Grangers and Thomases are not committed to sending their children here yet and Harry has stated that he's not coming if his friends aren't."

Dumbledore whirled around to stare at her again. "He has to!"

"Then you had better hope that the orientation tomorrow convinces them. And you had better find out how Harry Potter could have been moved out of that house without your knowledge for five bloody years!"


Harry, Hermione, and Dean went to the tree fort immediately after breakfast. They took a stack of books, a deck of cards, and Dean's sketchpad and pencils, ready to keep watch the entire day there so as not to miss the owl. This was their first chance to talk in complete privacy since McGonagall's visit. The Grangers and Thomases had spent hours venting their frustrations, spurred on by Dr Greene. The children had been all for trying this school as long as they could go together. Dr Aymler had been the voice of neutrality, helping to defuse the adults' anger while not committing to anything the kids wanted.

Harry pulled out the deck of cards before Hermione could open a book. He had a question for her and didn't want her to get lost in reading first. "Hermione, why'd you kick me yesterday? I was only going to point out that we're already getting control of what we can do." He shuffled and began dealing a poker hand.

"I thought you were going to say that. I don't think we should let on what we can do until we've got a better idea of what other kids our age can do."

"That's rather suspicious of you, Hermione." Dean looked over his cards and discarded two.

"And you don't think we have reason to be suspicious? The professor said outright that they've known we could do these things since we were born. And she still didn't explain why I deserved a visit and you two didn't."

"In Harry's case, it sounds like they expected him to be with his family and the family knew."

"And they obviously didn't know enough! They got frightened and ab-and abandoned him here, didn't they? And these people didn't know it happened? His letter was addressed the same as ours!" Hermione looked at her cards, sighed in exasperation, and tossed three away.

Harry kept four cards. "How about you, Dean? Your parents looked just as lost as everyone else."

"No blinking idea." Dean laid down two pair.

Hermione threw a single pair down. "If the professor or anyone else who's magical comes here again, we need to watch them. I know Dr Aymler made her promise not to do any magic on us, but I think they want to make everyone here forget about magic being real."

Harry laid down his useless hand. He'd gone for a flush and ended up with nothing. He swept the hand aside and dealt a new one. "Yeah, I didn't like McGonagall saying she'd have to deal with the staff. It's only Pippa who knows everything we do. And Mary delivered the letters. Everyone else just sees us as kids with the same problem."

"We know we can make people forget things. I bet they can do it, too." Hermione paused to study her cards.

Dean discarded three quickly. "So, which of you did that cool shield thing? I was trying to get her magic wand out of her hand like I did before with Moffat and the bat."

Hermione dithered and finally discarded two. "I pushed her into the wall. A little harder than I meant to."

Harry discarded two. "I think that was me. I was concentrating on protecting everyone, like a bunker or wall in between us and her."

"It was brilliant. It just sucked up whatever that light was and made it evaporate."

"I wonder what it would do to something you threw at it?" Dean asked.

They all looked at each other for a moment, then there was a mad scramble for the ladder to the ground to gather stones.


3 August 1991

Three children, two sets of parents, and a doctor gathered in the conference room. Dr Aymler was accompanying the group today after a discussion with Dr Greene. Between his more general acceptance of the uncanny and her fury over how the children had been ignored by this society, they felt he would be more likely to get through this day without assaulting someone.

A handsome barn owl had brought the letter that now lay on the conference table. The children had admired it eagerly and it appreciated the attention enough to allow them to stroke it before it took off again.


Minister of Magic: Cornelius Fudge

Dear Miss Granger,

This letter will serve as your guide to your orientation. Please make sure you and anyone accompanying you are touching the letter at precisely nine-thirty the morning of 3 August. You will feel a jerking sensation and then you will be at your destination. I will await you there. Please bring your supply list with you.

Kind regards,

Albert Clott

Muggle Liaison Office

Aymler checked his watch. "Nine twenty-eight. Everyone lay a finger on the letter and keep it there."

They all waited, the children almost hyperventilating with excitement. When the jerk came, they gasped and cried out at the odd sensation of being hooked and reeled like a fish. After a brief sensation of whirling through space, they all landed hard on a paved surface. They got to their feet and they looked around.

"This is Kings Cross," Geoff Thomas observed.

"Yes, yes it is!" A round little man greeted them cheerfully. He was dressed as a railway attendant from the Edwardian era and made straight for Hermione. "I am Albert Clott. Am I correct in greeting Miss Hermione Granger?"

She nodded. "Yes, sir, and these are my parents." As the man began shaking hands, she continued with introductions. "This is Dean Thomas, another candidate for Hogwarts and his parents, Dr Patrick Aymler and finally one more candidate, Harry Potter."

The little man froze and would have fallen over if Patrick hadn't held him up in the middle of their handshake. "Harry Potter? The Harry Potter? But…but…why would you need the Muggle orientation?" As he spoke his gaze fastened onto Harry's forehead.

Harry shrugged. "No one told me I was a wizard until my letter arrived, sir."

"Astonishing!" Clott visibly pulled himself together. "I do apologise. We will do our absolute best for The Boy Who Lived, of course. Now, we are meeting five other families who should start arriving on this spot in less than a minute. May I ask you to step over here and wait? Thank you so much!"

As Clott returned to hover over the arrival spot, the group huddled together. Hermione broke the thoughtful silence.

"What on earth do they mean by 'The Boy Who Lived'? It's like Harry is famous for some reason - Professor McGonagall recognized him as soon as she noticed him, too."

Harry shrugged when everyone looked at him. "How should I know? The only thing I remember my aunt and uncle telling me about my parents was that they died in a car crash when I was a baby. That's where I got the scar on my face. If you believe my uncle, they might even have been drunk."

"Given what Dr Greene and I know of your aunt and uncle, I wouldn't believe anything they said," Dr Aymler observed.

They looked up at a surprised shout. A boy and his parents were getting to their feet and dusting themselves off. The parents were extremely well-dressed and Viola Granger blinked. "That's Amaryllis Finch-Fletchley! Who would have thought?"

Harry was looking at the boy, also smartly dressed. "Who is she?"

"She's a rather important society figure. Not quite Royal Enclosure, mind, but very active. She does a lot of work for charities, preserving historical places and the like."

Clott had directed the newcomers over and Mr Finch-Fletchley held out a hand to Robert Granger. "Addison Finch-Fletchley. My wife, Amaryllis, our son Justin."

Robert made introductions, emphasizing the "doctors" to soften Amaryllis' rather pained expression at mingling with the commoners. The kids ignored this by-play, introducing themselves and listening politely as Justin talked about having to decide between Eton and Hogwarts.

Eventually the group grew to eight eleven-year-olds and fourteen adults. Clott asked them all to join him at a narrow end of a wall separating platforms nine and ten. A few commuters gave them curious glances, but assumed it was some odd sort of tour upon seeing Clott in his sweeping blue uniform and shiny brass buttons.

"Now, the first thing I'm going to demonstrate is how to get onto platform nine and three quarters. One must walk through this section of wall and you will be taken to the platform where the Hogwarts Express will be waiting. Unfortunately, only magical people can do this, so parents, when you drop your children off on the first of September you'll say your goodbyes here. Children, please watch me and then follow me through. When we're all on the other side and I've shown you what you'll need, we'll return the same way. If you're nervous, try running. Just keep in mind that you'll run straight through." With that, Clott walked into the wall and disappeared.

Dean's "Wicked!" was the loudest among the astonished reactions and he immediately ran up to the wall and touched it. "It feels solid when you do this!" He ran a hand across the bricks. "Solid, but kind of tingly."

The other girl, Sally-Anne Perks, looked nervous. "So, who's first?"

Harry stepped forward. "I'll try." He began walking at the wall, speeding up his pace as he went. At the last second he closed his eyes and jumped at the wall.

He landed on the other side, but didn't open his eyes until he heard the wizard. "Well done, Mr Potter! I should have guessed you'd be first!"

Any other effusive praise for Harry was cut off as Dean appeared, quickly followed by the girls holding hands, and the rest of the boys in quick succession. Clott clapped his hands. "Marvellous! I don't think I've ever had a group this smart! Now, you see the track where the train will be. You'll need to board quickly and find yourselves compartments. There will be space for your trunks in them. The first car is reserved for any groups that must meet during the trip and the second car is generally considered for the prefects. We don't serve a luncheon-we have a lady with a trolley of sweets and snacks-so you might consider packing something if you tend to get very hungry. It's a bit of a ride to Hogsmeade station. You'll be expected to change into your school robes by the time we arrive. Are there any questions?"

Justin asked, "Do we need tickets, sir?"

"Yes, my boy. I will have them when I meet you again at the end of the day and will give them to those who give me their acceptance that they'll be attending. Normally you'd do this by owl, Mr Potter, but I will happily take care of it for you."

"Dean Thomas, too, sir."

Clott looked slightly confused at Harry's reply but nodded.

Another boy, Terry Boot, piped up. "You said we needed a trunk, sir? A holdall isn't good enough?"

"Well, my boy, keep in mind that you'll be staying at Hogwarts for months at a time, only home for Christmas and Easter. The usual thing at Hogwarts is to have a nice large trunk to hold everything. You can get them in Diagon Alley with all kinds of charms on them: make them bigger on the inside, blood locks so they'll only open to you, Cushioning Charms so nothing will break. Then you sit the trunk at the foot of your bed and everything is in one place. It's quite helpful since you generally share your quarters with several other students." He looked around, but none of them had more questions. "All right then, back through the gate and back to your parents!"


Clott gave the children a few minutes to tell their parents what they'd seen on the other side of platform nine and three quarters before reclaiming their attention. "Now, we are about to travel together to Diagon Alley. The Muggle way to get there is through a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. The pub is on Charing Cross Road next to a large bookshop. It looks tiny and grubby and it's very easy for Muggles to miss, so be sure to look carefully. We also use the floo network. There is a chamber for portkey arrival, which is what you did to get here and what we're about to do again. Once there, I'll show you how to get into Diagon Alley and leave you to your shopping. I will return to the Leaky Cauldron at four this afternoon to give the children their train tickets and provide you with portkeys home, or you can go through the Leaky Cauldron into Charing Cross and return under your own power if you prefer. Any questions?"

Harry raised a hand. "Sir, is there a way for a wizard to just move themselves? Like teleporting?"

Clott laughed. "You mean Apparition! Let me guess, did it accidentally, did you?" At Harry's nod, Clott laughed again. "I'm not surprised. It happens sometimes. But Apparition is rather like Muggles learning to drive those automover things. You'll learn how to do it properly in your sixth year and test for your Apparition licence when you turn seventeen. In the meantime, there are portkeys that ministry officials can arrange and anyone can use the floo network through a fireplace that is connected to it. We also have the Knight Bus-just hold out your wand and it'll stop for you!" He pulled a long skipping rope from a pocket. "Now, everyone grab hold and don't let go. Next stop, the Leaky Cauldron!"


Author's Note: Thanks as always for reading!