June 10, 1991
I’m just going to throw this out there.
Going through my formative years again sucked.
I’ve been told my name is Adam Clarke, a good, strong British name. I knew that was not my true name, but I highly doubted anyone would believe me if I’d shared the truth with them.
Having experienced reincarnation and rebirth, keeping all the memories of my previous life- it was highly frightening.
I shuddered to think how the orphanage matron would react; she’d either harp on about the Good Lord or declare me Satan reborn. She was a flighty bitch at the best of times.
Ah, yes; you see, I lived in an orphanage.
Apparently, my biological parents had been gunned down, and the hospital staff had to cut me out of her corpse to save my life. My father had enough life left in him to give me a name before he’d shuffled off the mortal coil.
A horrible tragedy, the matron had told me with as much sympathy as a cat which is about to torture a mouse to death.
I was born too early, and they were all sure I would die. Being able to actually remember my first few days of existence, I knew I’d come pretty close.
Choking pains, weakness of breath, and an all encompassing cold with a few, scant moments of reprieve.
And yet, I lived on- to everyone’s shock and surprise.
A miracle child, I was called. What the miracle was, exactly, I’d never cared to find out.
So, I was shipped off to some middle of nowhere orphanage and forgotten by all who were involved. Just a crime statistic, a halfway interesting survival story shoved into the back of people’s minds so they’d live more comfortably.
Not all was doom and gloom, of course.
I was optimistic.
I had a clean slate, some could say.
A chance to live life without the mental constraints of a child’s body. I would be able to quickly rise through the ranks of society and get hailed as a great mind.
It was strange, though. I was born in the year 1980 in this life. In my previous life, I’d been born this year; 1991.
At first, I’d thought that reincarnation was a non-linear experience, and so assumed there would be another version of me in the world.
That was until the accidents began occurring. I’d waved them off, at first. A trick of the light. Strange karmic justice.
Kids who bullied me got their pants wet in a way that made them look like they’d soiled their clothes. A door closing abruptly out of nowhere. Things I didn’t like sometimes disappeared or were destroyed in some contrived way.
The more they occurred, the more I realized that something else was at play. I had my suspicions, but it all seemed circumstantial.
My birth in the year 1980, being British, the strange events happening whenever I was particularly emotional- they fit strangely well with a certain plotline from a book series I’d been obsessed with for almost two decades of my previous life.
Of course, the confirmation was now right in front of me. The orphanage matron had interrupted my studies, none-too-gently hauling off to a meeting room.
A tsunami of insults coursed through my mind, but the words died in my mouth when she introduced me to the person occupying it.
Severus Snape; a tall, thin, sallow faced man with black eyes and greasy hair, quietly handing me an envelope as the matron left the room.
On it, I read:
Mr A Clarke
Fifth Top Bunk To The Right
The Orphanage of Pity
The other side was closed off with a purple wax seal bearing a familiar coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding the letter H.
If this wasn’t confirmation, then I didn’t know what was.
“Open it.” The man prompted, his voice a soft, contained thing.
I obeyed, reading its contents while my mind began to whirr with the possibilities. The letter was the typical Hogwarts acceptance letter.
I decided to play dumb.
“Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” I deadpanned, turning the letter and reading what’s on the back- the expected lists of supplies I would need. Robes, books, supplies and a wand. “You expect me to believe this… school of magic exists, Mr. Snape?”
On its own, the piece of paper flew out of my grasp, settling into the man’s hand. I stared at it until he cleared his throat.
“Do you, perhaps, require another demonstration, Mr. Clarke?” Snape replied, sounding neither amused, nor annoyed as he handed my letter back.
I shook my head slowly, reading through the letter again, very slowly.
“I can’t pay for tuition, or my supplies.” I finally said, keeping my eye on the list of school supplies.
“Your tuition is free, and the Ministry of Magic has set aside a small fund for those without the means.” Snape smoothly replied.
It made sense- how else would Riddle have afforded going to Hogwarts?
“The Ministry of Magic?” I asked, looking in his direction but not meeting his eyes directly. This man was an accomplished Occlumens and Legilimens. Who knew what secrets he could pluck out of my head with a simple look?
“Our government.” He said with a tone of finality as he got up from his chair gesturing for me to follow as he moved towards the exit. “Come along now, Mr. Clarke. You must get dressed and ready.”
“We’re going now?” I balked at the abruptness of the entire experience.
Snape did not dignify me with an answer.
Getting fitted for robes was a bore. Being watched by the intense eyes of Snape as Madame Malkins worked on getting my measurements was even worse.
Snape was an expert at evading people.
I’d always known this was the case, of course- a life as an introvert in Slytherin would do that to you- but his behavior pretty much cemented that in my eyes.
That wasn’t to say that he was afraid of confrontation. His entire demeanor was standoffish with everyone but myself, and that was probably only because he was forced to interact with me.
“Professor?” I broke the tense silence of the clothing store.
“Yes, Mr. Clarke?”
“What subject do you teach at Hogwarts?” I asked.
He gave me an inscrutable look. “Potions, Mr. Clarke.”
I averted his direct gaze, focusing on the bridge of his nose instead. “I see. I read in the letter that I’d need vials and a cauldron. Is it anything like chemistry?”
I could tell he was stifling an eye-roll. Likely, he heard this from every Muggleborn student he interacted with.
“Only in the sense that it is an exacting art, Mr. Clarke.” I almost missed it, but there was a shift in the man’s expression. “It is a subtle science, more complex than the haphazard methods of the muggles, and far from the expected foolish wand-waving in the other subjects.”
I hummed. “What kind of potions will I be learning to.. brew, the word is? I hope it’s not love potion, sir.”
“Nothing so foolish, Mr. Clarke.” He eyed me strangely. “I tend to… discourage my students from certain practices.”
I gulped despite myself. This was a man to be wary of.
“All done.” Madame Malkin declared. I sighed in relief as he focused his attention back to the owner, discussing the payment.
I ignored the look of pity she’d given me after realizing I was an orphan. I had no memories of my biological parents, and I’d managed to deal with the negative feelings associated with the loss of my previous life.
Pitying eyes meant nothing to me.
I followed the Potions Professor as he took me to the wandmaker’s store. “I shall leave you here, for now, Mr. Clarke.”
“You’re not going in with me?” I asked in surprise. I thought Hagrid had left Harry alone due to his incompetence as a caretaker.
“Acquiring your first wand is a particularly… Intimate process.” Was the man’s response. “Besides, this will allow me to save time by getting all of your required books.”
I snorted. “Practical.”
There was a flash of amusement in his expression, before it settled back into indifference. “You are perceptive. Perhaps you may do well in my class, after all, Mr. Clarke.”
He handed me the required money, turned and walked away, fully expecting me to obey his commands and enter the wand shop. To be fair, I did, but not before staring at the dingy, grimy entrance.
Considering the existence of cleaning spells, wizards were a really unhygienic sort. Still, the sight of a wand on a cushion as well as the sign which said “Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC” took my trepidation away.
The shop was as tiny as I imagined it being. Hundreds of narrow boxes containing wands lined up every wall of the place.
I moved further into the store, staring at the assortment of wands with a feeling of anticipation building within me.
“A new arrival.” A voice came from my right. Despite having expected it, I jumped. “Here for your first wand, I presume?”
“Do you enjoy startling people?” I huffed and shot the man a glare.
The amused look in his silvery eyes was all I needed. “One must find enjoyment where one can.”
Well, he certainly wasn’t wrong.
“Adam Clarke.” I introduced myself, extending a hand, which the old man accepted. “I assume you’re the owner, Mr. Ollivander? And, yes, I’m here for a wand.”
“Indeed I am, Mr. Clarke.” He seemed to have found my manner refreshing.
And so the measuring tapes began to circle around me, taking every measurement possible.
“My wands possess one of three fundamental cores, Mr. Clarke.” He explained to pass the time. “Unicorn hair, dragon heartstring and phoenix feathers.”
“Why those three?” I asked, before thinking about it. “I can only imagine it’s related to the power of the animals they’re taken from- much like how an elephant’s hide is much stronger than that of, say, a rat?”
Ollivander stopped for a moment, regarding me with interest.
“You are correct, Mr. Clarke.” Ollivander confirmed, pleased at the line of questioning. “You will learn much of these creatures at Hogwarts, of course.”
I frowned, hoping he would’ve shared more information on the matter. I’d always wondered about the intricacies of wandlore.
Fleur’s core was her grandmother’s hair, and Gregorovitch seemed to do his own thing when concerning wands.
“The quest for knowledge is its own reward, young Mr. Clarke.” Ollivander said. He must have been a Ravenclaw, I thought as the measuring ended and I was handed a wand.
“Holly and unicorn tail hair. Twelve inches.” He’d said.
No sooner than it was in my hand, he’d snatched it away and fetched another. “Oak and a dragon’s heartstring- but, I think it’s no good for you, lad.” He snatched that one away, too.
“How are you able to tell?” I asked as he handed me another.
I gave this one a wave before he managed to take it, sending a pathetic sputter of sparks.
“This one was close.” Ollivander said, not answering my question and taking the wand out of my hand. He scratched at his chin thoughtfully before he moved to a nearby shelf, taking a wand out of one of his many boxes and holding it before me.
“I believe this one will be a suitable match for you.” Ollivander seemed confident as he placed the black wand in my hand. “Ebony, and a dragon’s heartstring, nine inches long.”
I felt a warmth rushing through my hand. I smiled at the feeling, I waved the wand, watching a stream of blue and purple sparks blow out of it.
“I see that I was right.” He smiled gently at my speechless state. “Ebony, with a dragon’s heartstring. It will serve you well, Mr. Clarke.”
“Thank you.” I stared at the wand in awe.
This experience alone made the unpleasantness of the past 11 years worth it.
With a grateful smile, I paid the old man, and exited to find Professor Snape waiting.
“You were right.” Was all I said to the man.
He merely nodded and turned, gesturing for me to follow. There was nothing that needed to be said.
I followed, feeling like I was being introduced to this wondrous world for the first time, all over again.