Before we begin, I must warn you that this story will become
Very, very dark. If you'd rather find something else to read,
less emotionally draining, I completely understand. But never let
anyone say that I was less than honest about the direction that
work of fanfiction will eventually take.
So, to set the timeline--'Town and Gown'
took place during the
storyline of Goblet of Fire, early in the year. The events of
story occur in the following year (Harry's fifth year), post-
TriWizard Tournament and Voldemort's return.
Standard disclaimers apply. Harry Potter, all related
various media incarnations are copyright of the very talented J.
Rowlings, Scholastic, and other international companies involved
its creation and distribution. Will Stanton and "The Dark Is
series are both copyright of the wonderful Susan Cooper.
Harry Potter and the Legacy of the Light
A Harry Potter/The Dark Is Rising Sequence Fusion
Chapter One - Purely Coincidental
What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from
-- T. S. Eliot, "Little Gidding", Four Quartets
Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was noisy as usual with
goodbyes and the rattle-bang of loaded trolleys. But the three
students who disembarked from a compartment near the front of
the train were unusually quiet.
Harry Potter didn't feel like talking. Hermione Granger and
Weasley, his closest friends and confidants, respected his
and let him be silent. They didn't like his silence, but they
better than to try and be overly cheerful. It would only remind
them that there was very little to be cheerful about.
He Who Must Not Be Named, or You-Know-Who, or Lord Voldemort
if you were brave or foolish enough to say his name aloud, had
terrorize the wizarding world. Harry Potter, known to all wizards
and witches as the only person ever known to survive a
to be completely accurate, two meetings--with Voldemort,
Cedric Diggory, an innocent young man, die before his eyes. The
Triwizard Tournament fiasco had proved only one thing: Voldemort
alive and ready to wreak havoc on wizards and Muggles alike.
All three of them knew that Harry was at the top of
list, and that at the moment he was living on borrowed time.
The three of them pulled their luggage off the train, and
the platform, staring at one another uncomfortably. There wasn't
anything to say, really. Each knew what the others would be doing
over the summer holidays: Hermione would be working at her
office if she wasn't too busy studying for the O.W.L.s, Ron would
spending as much time on a broom as possible to practise
moves, and Harry would be staring at his bedroom ceiling,
off the days until school started again.
The Hogwarts Express whistle shrilled once, warning any
passengers to clear the compartments.
Ron opened his mouth to speak, but before he could draw a
a heavy hand slapped him on the back with such force that he
spluttered, starting to choke.
"Come on, Ronniekins," George Weasley said, pounding
brother's back in an attempt to stop the coughing fit, and only
succeeding in making it worse. "Mum'll go spare if we're
"Yeah?" came a yell from three cars down.
"I've got Ron--where's Ginny?"
Before Fred could answer, there was a loud pop, and a large
thick purple smoke erupted from an open carriage door at the rear
the train. As nearby students fled from the clouds of choking
a horrified squeal shot through the air, and a girl's voice
"My robes! They're ruined! FRED!"
Hermione flew to Ginny's rescue.
George threw back his head and laughed. "I take it our
Bomb is a success, O brother of mine?" he said as Fred
to the group.
Fred's grin was so wide it nearly split his face in two.
tests support the resulting data," he chuckled. Seeing the
looks on Ron and Harry's faces, he elaborated. "We had to
use out of George's research for his Muggle Studies term paper,
it barely got a passing mark."
"What was it about?" Harry asked, half-dreading the
"'When Muggle Fashions Attack!--Hideous Muggle Costumes
the Ages'," George proclaimed proudly.
The twins' chuckles turned into snickers when Ginny, her face
as splotchy as her now violently multi-coloured robes, stalked
them without a backward glance. Hermione rejoined their group,
glared at Fred and George.
"Dry up, Gin, it'll wash out in a week or two,"
George called after
her. She pretended to not have heard him, and vanished through
barrier into the main terminus of King's Cross Station. Without
further incident, the rest of them followed suit, gathering up
belongings and struggling through the barrier.
Mrs. Weasley was waiting for them on the other side. Her arms
folded across her chest and there was a dangerous glint in her
Ginny stood next to her, smirking at her older brothers.
"Hi, Mum," Fred said, a little too brightly.
Mrs. Weasley glowered at him, and pointed to Ginny's trunk.
be carrying this until we get home, Fred," she ordered.
own. And George will take Ron's trunk and his own as well."
"Aww, Muuum," the twins started to moan, but the
expression on Mrs.
Weasley's face quickly shut them up.
Fred and George ducked their heads and scuttled away, dragging
"Be careful, Fred! Don't hurt yourself!" Ginny
Her brother responded with a gesture that made their mother
"FRED WEASLEY!" and storm after him, Ginny in tow.
Ron rolled his eyes, more than used to his family's antics.
Hermione," he said. "See you later, Harry. Don't forget
Six red heads vanished into the bustling crowd. Harry shoved
trunk underneath a nearby pillar and sat down on it, setting
cage on the ground between his feet. Hermione sat down next to
tugging at her unruly hair.
"Whew!" she breathed. "What a horrible thing to
do, even for Fred
and George! Ginny looked like she was going to cry when I got
she thought her robes were completely ruined."
"Ah," Harry said, gazing off into space.
Hermione gave him a strange look. "I just hope it will
like George said it would."
"Are you waiting for your aunt and uncle?"
Hermione stared at the ground. "Do...do you mind if I
wait with you?
My parents said that they might be a little late picking me
Harry shrugged. "Sure, if you want."
They sat together in silence, watching the people who passed
The furtive strains of a busker, nervously looking round for
as he scraped on an out-of-tune violin, drifted across the crowd.
Hermione fidgeted, tapping her foot on the ground in time with
unmusical music. Harry gnawed on his lower lip.
A half-hour passed, then an hour.
"They're not coming, are they." Hermione's voice was
"I guess not." Harry's response was equally flat.
"Are you angry?"
"No. They probably forgot, that's all."
"Oh. Well, do you want to--"
"Hermione?" shouted a woman's voice, rising above
rumble of the crowd.
"Ah, there's my parents," Hermione said, leaping up.
happily at a neatly-dressed man and woman, who waved back. Harry
waved, too, but not until Hermione had jabbed him in the ribs
She pulled her trunk over to where they stood, and hugged and
both of them in turn. She turned back to wave goodbye to Harry,
paused and let her hand fall as she looked at him, sitting alone
beneath the pillar. Slowly, she walked back to where he sat.
"Harry...would you like a lift?"
"That's very kind of you, but I don't mind waiting."
His voice was
cool with polite formality, as though the offer of a lift had
from a complete stranger.
"If they aren't coming--"
He waved his hand airily, without looking at her. "I'm
hasn't happened sooner. Go on, your parents are waiting."
Hermione shifted her weight from foot to foot. "We could
call for a
"Thanks all the same, Hermione. I'll be fine."
"Trust me." He looked at her, and the corners of his
faintly in the ghost of a smile. "I'll be fine."
Hermione nodded feebly, echoing Harry's faint smile. Suddenly,
eyes widened in alarm. "Oh!" she exclaimed, pressing a
hand to her
face. "Stay right there...I won't be a moment."
Harry watched her run over to her parents and begin to speak
The conversation was animated, agitated, and judging by the
expressions on her parents' faces, entirely one-sided. Hermione's
father bent down and helped her open her trunk. She rummaged
it for a moment, then held up a small rectangular object and
back through the crowd to Harry.
"I nearly forgot--I wanted to lend you this." She
thrust the object
into Harry's hands. It was a book.
He read the title aloud. "'All Creatures Great and
Small', by James
Hermione's face was flushed, her eyes alight with the bubbly
only books and discussions of books seemed to create within her.
thought you might like it...it'll give you something to read if
get bored with homework. But don't get it dirty or anything--it's
one of my favourites."
Harry had to suppress a half-laugh at Hermione's deliberate
'if' instead of 'when', even though he knew she wasn't trying to
funny. "Hermione Granger doesn't even trust me to take care
book? Fine, then, have it your way. But I won't finish it in
hours like you do, so don't start nagging me with endless letters
when I don't return it by tomorrow."
"Well!" Hermione huffed indignantly, the light gone
from her face.
"Try to be pleasant, and look where it gets you! See if I
you anything of mine again!" She spun around on her heel,
to storm off in disgust.
She paused in mid-turn, and looked back.
Harry was grinning widely, one of the first true, genuine
had seen from him in a long time.
"Thanks," he said simply.
She smiled back, rather shyly. "Not at all, Harry. Have a
summer." With that, she darted back through the throng to
parents, and together they headed for the nearest exit.
He waved after them, and kept the grin on his face until the
them were out of sight.
Once he was certain they had gone, the cheerful smile faded.
"Nice..." he repeated bitterly, flopping down on the
"Not bloody likely."
He knew that he should start figuring out some way to get
he also knew that his options were limited. He had no Muggle
so a taxi or the Underground were both out of the question. He
call for the Knight Bus, but that would mean using magic, and the
last thing he wanted to do at the moment was to think about
magical. But just in case, he checked his pockets--and realized
with only five Sickles and twenty-odd Knuts on his person, even a
ride on the Knight Bus wasn't possible.
Unless the Dursleys came soon, he was stuck.
With nothing better to do, he studied the well-worn front
the book that Hermione had given to him. He turned it over in his
hands, looking at its rubbed corners and the spine that was
to crack in places, telltale signs of Hermione's favourite
Sliding off the trunk, he knelt down next to it, and was about
open it up to put the book away when he felt a lump underneath
front cover. He opened it carefully, wondering if Hermione had
forgotten to remove a bookmark.
Carefully tucked inside the tattered dust jacket flap was a
of folded pound notes.
He felt his face grow very hot. Half of him wanted to be
and refuse to spend the money, but the other half was too tired
bothered with the prickling of his wounded pride. All he wanted
to leave the train station behind and go somewhere to forget
everything for a while--even if it meant going back to Privet
and the Dursleys.
"Thanks, Hermione," he murmured to his absent friend
as he slipped
the notes into his pocket.
A deep voice from behind and somewhere over his head startled
He jumped, slipped forward, and managed to smack his head on the
of the trunk all at the same time. Tottering unsteadily to his
he wheeled around, rubbing his aching head. But before he could
his mouth to give the person who had startled him a piece of his
mind, he saw who it was, and the angry words stopped in his
"P...Professor Stanton?" he gasped.
Harry had met Professor Will Stanton fairly early in the
school year--though it felt like an age had passed since then. He
was a Professor of Anthropology at Cambridge University, a famous
Muggle institution, but he had visited Hogwarts Academy to
a guest lecture concerning Defence Against the Dark Arts and
Studies. With his round, placid face and slightly rumpled dark
suit, he looked scholarly, comforting, entirely normal. Yet in
spite of his appearance, Harry knew that the man standing in
of him was anything but normal.
"Oh, dear...I didn't mean to startle you," Professor
apologetically, setting down the briefcase he was carrying.
you all right?"
"It's nothing, sir. I'll be fine." How many times
had he said
that, or some variation on it, today? And to how many people?
A twinge of pain in his forehead brought him back to reality.
"How are you, sir. What are you doing in London?"
"I'm quite well, thank you. I have to meet with an old
who lives just outside of London. And I assume you're off from
school for the summer."
"Yes." Harry knew he was being horribly rude, but
his head still
throbbed angrily, and he had to get out of the station before
hour made finding transportation all but impossible. "I was
about to leave...could you tell me where the taxi stand is?"
Professor Stanton's brow creased in thought. "I'm afraid
know," he said. "I usually come through Liverpool
Station when I'm
in town, so I'm just as lost as you are. But as luck would have
I need to find a taxi myself. Would you mind wandering with
Harry hesitated, but his need for the presence of a reassuring
figure won out over his desire to be alone. "All
Navigating with the heavily-laden trolley by himself was
work, and he was relieved to discover that the taxi stand wasn't
far away. He pushed his precious cargo to the nearest waiting
cab. The driver, a brown-faced old man with white hair poking out
of his ears, hefted the trunk into the boot with surprising ease,
and Professor Stanton helped him put Hedwig's cage in the back.
"Now, where to, young man?" the driver asked Harry
as he settled
down in the back seat.
"Little Whinging, Surrey. Number Four Privet Drive."
"Really?" Professor Stanton looked up, pausing in
adjustments to the owl cage to make it fit snugly behind the
passenger's seat. "How convenient. I'm headed to Little
as well. I'll split the cost of a taxi with you, Mr. Potter, if
don't mind the company."
The driver turned to Harry. "Is that all right with you,
he asked, casting an uncertain glance at Professor Stanton.
For what felt like the billionth time that day, Harry sighed
and said, "It's fine."
January 13th, 2002