Chapter 1 - Arrival
Author's Note: This story takes place a few months before Harry Potter's second birthday.
Chapter 1 - Arrival
William smiled kindly down at his 8 year old son, a precocious boy who already seemed to get himself into quite a deal of trouble. William Junior… suitably named.
"Tell me a story," pleaded his son, settling under the covers of his bed.
"A bedtime story?" William asked, smirking a bit. "Like, Little Dinkle Duggle and the Silly Silly Muggle?"
His son scowled. "Pffh."
"Oh? What did you have in mind? I haven't read a nighttime story for you since you were six."
"I want a story of Illusion."
William settled back, his shoulder leaning up against the pastel wall of his son's room. He let out a sigh, seeming to appraise his son and evaluate the moment. It was all theatric, of course – he already knew full well that he was going to regale his son with a sensational tale. He watched his son's face growing ever more hopeful, purposely letting the anticipation build. Finally, acting as though he was relenting against better judgement, William sighed, "Oh… all right."
While his son grinned and settled under the covers, William began his story.
"Muggles have something they call 'Magic Tricks'. Well, the muggles that actually perform the tricks don't call them magic – they call it 'Illusion'. They know it's not really magical. And it's an art form – with illusion, you can convince someone of those most fantastical of things, get them to believe in the most unbelievable of ideas."
"Wizards?" William continued. "They can perform magic… but they know almost nothing about illusion. Perform a 'Magic Trick' for them and you can get them to believe almost anything. In a way, muggles have it good. If they see a person pull a rabbit out of a hat, they know the person doing it is doing some sort of trickery – even if they don't know how it was done. Wizards? They immediately jump to the conclusion that the person must have conjured it out of thin air!"
William smiled a bit. "When I was ten years old, I got my invitation to Hogwarts. And on the train ride there, I decided on a goal for myself. Not to become the greatest wizard in the world… but to become the greatest magician. So, settle back, son, and I'll tell you the tale of the Dangerous and Deadly Lord Voldemort."
As the boats traveled across the Giant Lake to Hogwarts, William tried to take it all in at once. Not in the traditional sense of the phrase, though; he wasn't in shock or in disbelief – or even really in awe. No, he was trying to observe everything he could, to mentally catalogue and remember every little detail.
The way the water was unnaturally still, despite all the boats coasting along its surface. The way some of the castle towers seemed to jutt out at strange angles without the people inside walking lopsided. The way the quidditch hoops alternately flared with light as their flat surfaces reflected the setting sun.
Half of Illusion was Knowledge: Knowing something the watcher didn't. People that didn't observe what was going on around them would always fall for the tricks of someone who did.
All his rubber-necking, though, seemed to attract the attention of one of the fellow first-years. A small, slightly-gaunt looking girl smirked at him before finally snidely remarking, "You look like you're expecting a Dragon attack."
She reminded William of one of his former classmates. Slightly rude, slightly condescending, and much less intelligent than they thought themselves. Well, thought William. Might as well start out with a splash.
"Not dragons," he said, purposely letting a tinge of fear come into his voice. He didn't even look at her while he answered, instead still looking around the grounds as if in search for something. "Flying serpents."
"Fying serpents." Her voice was clearly full of disdainful skepticism.
"Aye," William replied. "Silent, and they blend in very well with the sky - dark pinkish-blue underbellies. They've already grabbed five of us."
"What in Merlin's name are you talking about?"
Inwardly, William grinned. Time to take advantage of the girl's lack of observation. "The boats were all full when we departed. Look around: how many full boats do you see?"
The girl rolled her eyes, but starting looking around to the other boats. Slowly her posture changed. "There... there are five boats that have a person missing."
William nodded. The truth was, those five boats simply departed without being completely full. Nobody was actually missing.
Still, the girl was skeptical. "They probably went overboard or something. I highly doubt there's an invisible and quiet flying serpent grabbing people without anyone noticing."
"I noticed," William said, acting shaken. "And not just me. People are starting to realize what's going on - take a look at the front boat of people!"
Sure enough, the lead boat had some nervous crying coming from it. William knew that it was just due to some nerves and early homesickness – the main reason he pointed it out wasn't to try to sell his story, but to get the girl to look away for a few seconds. Time to see if that "Water is unnaturally still" would hold true… and how quickly (and quietly) he could jump overboard…
The girl squinted, trying to get a good look at the boat at the front of the pack. As she was trying to see what was going on, she felt the boat rock and she let out a nervous yelp without meaning to. Darn that boy! Despite how silly his story was, he still managed to get her a bit worked up and nervous. She turned around to give him a piece of her mind... and he wasn't there.
"Bu... but... Did you see what happened?" The girl asked the other four new students on the boat, but none of them noticed anything either (well, aside from the boat shake.)
Needless to say, William's former boat was left with a quintet of terrified first years. He had to admit that he was curious why the water wasn't rippling at all from when he dove in – or for that matter, why there weren't any waves from him clinging to the back of the boat as it glided along the lake. As he tucked in tight against the backboard of the boat, he just knew that whatever the phenomenon was, it was giving him the perfect cover: how could anyone suspect he jumped overboard if there was no disturbance in the water?
Yes, Hogwarts was going to be fun...