AN- Wow... I am really amazed at all the positive feedback I received last chapter, so thanks to everyone who followed, favourited or reviewed last chapter. Seriously, it was awesome to realise just how many reviews I got for just my first chapter! I hope this chapter matches your high expectations.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, only my plot and any OC's that may show up. You have to give Rowling and Nasu credit where its due; they have to own two of the most awesome series ever.
In Vernon Dursleys opinion, all was right in the world. The birds weren't singing, politicians were still squabbling, Dudley was the prat he always was and was currently waiting impatiently at the small table in the centre of the room for his breakfast, his wife was hard at work and his nephew was in the only place he deserved to be; the kitchen. The drill salesman could say what he wanted about the brat, but he did make a mean omelette.
"Boy, when will the bacon be ready?" He asked stiffly as he scanned the paper like he always did, savouring the aura of normality that surrounded his home.
"Soon, keep your wig on." Harry began to whistle a dainty tune as he continued frying the bacon. While he wasn't exactly a master chef, he was good enough due to all the damn experience his relatives had forced upon him.
"Boy, you don't want to make me angry." Vernon flicked the page over and began ogling page three with a certain intent that his wife was somehow oblivious of while she died some of Dudley's old clothes grey, for Harry to wear when he would attend the local comprehensive school. Harry saw no need to correct her on the fact that he wasn't going to that school. It just gave her more work to do.
"Perhaps if you actually paid me for all this damned child labour I'd be more respectful."
"Seriously, watch your tone, brat."
"Sure thing boss." Harry gave a mock salute, that irritating grin still wedged onto his face, the grin that served specifically to piss his uncle off. Vernon nearly tore the fragile paper he was handling in half. Truly Harry's recent attitude left a lot to be desired, since it seemed like every single damned thing he had done these last few months was tailor made to piss him off. Whether he was cooking, cleaning, gardening or polishing, he did it all with a sarcastic retort and a cheerful grin.
If Vernon wasn't so preoccupied with work he would have curbed this dangerous attitude of his nephew years ago, it just wasn't normal! Vernon liked the ordinary, he desired plainness, he demanded normality. For years now Harry had practically been a reclusive shut in. Now he was a cheeky brat. It wasn't an exaggeration to say that Vernon Dursey was nearly pulling his own hair out due to Harry's miraculous, overnight personality change.
"And wipe that grin off your face."
"Sure thing boss." Harry kept smiling, the tune he was whistling intensified in volume. Vernon was ready to chuck his mug at him, regardless of the cost of replacing a new one.
Harry had good reason to be cheerful over these last few months. While his disks may have been broken beyond any and all hopes of possible repair, Harry still had a single date to look forward to. July the 24th, the day that Diggle said that a certain letter would arrive to invite him to a certain school for Witches and Wizards. Yes, Harry was resolved to carry out all the goals and targets he had set for himself in his heroes place, after his games were destroyed. He had mourned them, but now he was willing to move on, so long as he received the chance to carry out all of his promises.
After all, Harry James Potter would never break any of the promises to his role models. To accomplish them, he needed to know Magic.
Finally, like a welcome breeze on a sunny day, the clanging of an envelope box alerted the denizens of Privet Drive that the mail had arrived. "Go get the post boy!"
"Sure." Harry shrugged, leaving the bacon to continue frying as he turned away to eagerly leave the room and collect the post. First things first though, he couldn't pass off the opportunity to piss off his uncle one last time. It was certainly amusing, why the hell had he been so scared of him again? Save for the whole 'cupboard under the stairs' and 'treating him like a slave thing' of course. "You know, I certainly don't deserve this treatment. Why, if only a school exited for freaks like me. I could go off and be with my own kind, living in my natural habitat, learning all sorts of tricks and mysteries to befuddle you with every summer. Wouldn't that be amazing?"
Vernon grunted, then lied through his teeth. "I guess. Then again, what're the blazing chances of somewhere like that being real?" Vernon actually knew that such a school did exist, from the tales of his wife. He simply did not wish to acknowledge its existence because in his eyes, if you never talk about something, it doesn't exist.
"Yeah... what are the chances?" Harry walked calmly to the kitchen door, then sprinted for the front door. With eager hands he picked up and discarded a post card from his Aunt Marge (Who was still refusing to visit the Dursely's after that incident), an envelope that suspiciously looked like a bill, and then he finally came across the letter he desired to see so much. The front was addressed to him.
'Mr H Potter
The Smallest Bedroom
4 Privet Drive
Like a starving child being presented with a foot long sandwich, Harry tore into the recent delivery with vigour, until he unearthed two sheets of paper. He waved the envelope to ensure he missed nothing, then decided to read the letter quickly before his relatives caught on.
'HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr Potter
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
There was also a sheet of paper listing exactly what he would need for the upcoming school term. Harry skimmed it briefly and picked out the wand and the required pointed hat with interest. What sort of self respecting Magus (Or Wizard) would be caught dead wearing something like that? A pointed hat was hardly inconspicuous, it practically screamed 'Hey Roman Catholic Church, I'm a Wizard and I'm ready to be burnt at a stake! All inquisitors over to me!'.
Harry jogged upstairs into his room and tucked the list under his pillow, before he went back downstairs to the kitchen with his uncles mail and his own letter in turn.
WHAM! He slammed the small pile onto the table with an even wider grin garbed upon his bespectacled face. Vernon's eyebrow began to twitch, even before the emerald eyed boy currently dwelling in his abode began to talk. The proud Muggle just knew he was going to have to find a puppy and kick it by the end of the day.
"Hey, guess what uncle? It turns out there is a school for magical freaks to interact with one another in their natural environment! Can I go?" Vernon slammed his forehead into the table with utmost violence and aggression, leaving a slight indentation upon its surface and a red sheen on his own forehead. Who was he kidding? All was not right with the world.
It took two days of alternating between bombarding his aunt with 'Please, please!'s, his uncle with 'let me go! Come on!'s and his cousin with threats to get him to try to persuade his parents (At the behest of Gilgamesh, whom Harry was probably listening a bit too much to). Finally, a sleep depraved Vernon decided to give into the demands of his nephew.
"FINE YOU DAMNED BRAT! GO TO YOUR POXY WIZARDING SCHOOL!" The man that normally wore his moustache with pride rather than with upper-lip-hair-pulling-out irritation consoled his mind with the fact that at least he wouldn't have to see the source of his hair loss problems for most of every year.
"Thanks uncle." Harry then returned to his own room to get some sleep in. It was certainly tiring to continually pester a middle aged man in the wee hours of the night. Harry felt that it was prudent not to mention that he was planning on attending Hogwarts regardless of his legal guardians decision anyway. He was sure that such a thing would at least protect his uncles few remaining hairs for awhile longer.
Even without consent, events were already in motion. The Magic user had already posted a letter in response to the invitation, one stating that he was happy to attend Hogwarts but required someone from within 'The Organization' to show him where to buy all the obscure things the school seemed to need, sent to the address provided by Diggle, with a second letter enclosed requesting for man that favoured top hats to send it on to the necessary receiver, since he clearly did not own an owl.
"See, my Choreboy! I told you that stubbornly pestering that mongrel was beneficial and satisfying!" Harry sighed at the voice of the Golden King, turning over in his bed as he struggled to nod off into the embrace of the Sandman. As much as Harry disliked it, that obnoxious person was influencing him much more than he expected. Inner Saber, Shirou and Rin were not impressed. In Harry's defence, Gilgamesh was a King... he was pretty damn persuasive when he wanted to be.
"I guess. It was sort of painful seeing him pull that much hair out though!" Harry complained with a slight frown. Harry wasn't a sadist. He didn't get pleasure form seeing his uncle tear his own hair out. There was a distinct line that he sometimes 'accidentally' crossed, but it was all accidental! Every bit of hair loss was completely unintended on his own part.
"Haaarrry! Stop being mean to your uncle! Its not nice!" Harry looked into his mindscape, a trick he had picked up form constantly talking to the six voices in the back of his head, and surveyed his surroundings (Which coincidentally looked like an odd blend of the Emiya estate and the Tohno's, featuring both Western and Eastern elements that seemed to seemingly blend together despite the surrealism of such a design. The world surrounding his little 'home' was a grand cityscape, with his estate sitting dead in the centre upon a large hill, while Fuyuki loomed to one side and Misaki the other), before he looked towards Shirou, who was crying a river of anime tears.
Harry admired Shirou like no one else, so he was rather disappointed that his role model acted like his idiotic Fate self instead of his badass UBW or HF incarnations. More often than not Shirou just seemed to be there just to complain about the more violent methods that the majority of his Inner voices advise.
"Persistence is a virtue." Quoted Saber sagely, while she stood to one side of the mass gathering in the garden of the estate. Shirou hung around near her, Rin besides him, while Shiki and Arcueid stood to the other side. Gilgamesh was alone, content in his arrogant isolation from the others. His head was held proudly high, so high he seemed to be looking down on everyone else in the mindscape. Harry couldn't bring himself to dislike the King. Gilgamesh had been giving out advice (More often than not useful advice, much to Saber's annoyance) for far too long for simple arrogance to cause Harry to hate him. "Even so," She continued. "at least you followed through on your choice of actions. You fought a battle of wills against your aunt and uncle, now your campaign has finished. You have obtained an honourable conclusion to your Hogwarts acceptance."
"Hmmm!" Rin huffed and spun on the back of her feet, turning her back on the Magic user. "It took you long enough, idiot!" By now Harry didn't mind the way Rin called him 'idiot', since it was a sign of endearment and affection rather than an insult... most of the time.
"It took so much effort though." Shiki sighed, placing his one free hand on his forehead. His other arm was currently nestled between Arcueid's strong arms, trapped within her diamond grip. "I mean, if we just waited instead then we could have gone to Hogwarts anyway since you already had plans to attend regardless of their acceptance."
"You have to admit it was fun though!" The True Ancestor giggled happily, flashing all the other occupants of Harry's mind with an honest smile.
"I suppose it was satisfying in a way." Admitted Rin with a nod of her head. Vindictive minx that she was, Rin's willingness to terrorise others and get her own back on those that had wronged her and her friends wasn't unexpected.
"But it was still unfair." The Ally of Justice puffed out his cheeks, still irritated that his advice to make peace with his relatives before he left had been dismissed.
"So?" Gil raised a golden eyebrow at the teen. "Life isn't fair. That mongrel has been unfair towards my Choreboy for the last ten years or so, isn't it fair that he's been getting his just desserts during these last few months? Be glad that my servant is too damned noble to take my poisoning advice."
"Well of course!" Saber offered a rare superior smirk. "Your influence on my young Paige is undeniable by now, but he is still fundamentally mine and Shirou's. He's a hero through and through, you shan't corrupt him! The desire to save others practically flows in veins!"
"Mou!" Arcueid stamped her feet in annoyance. "Can't we get this out of the way already? I want to go out and explore the city some more!"
"Haven't you seen enough by now Arc?" Shiki sighed unenthusiastically. That vampire sometimes seemed to be more trouble than she was worth.
"No. The streets are always changing out there, the city is different every day!"
"Regardless, I'll explore with you later." Offered Harry. Spending time in his mindscape for long periods of time tended to lull him off to sleep, so the boy had an entire night to explore the city with the others again. There was nowhere he'd rather be than with the figments of his imagination, that lived in his head.
"Before that though, I wish to say that I am proud of you." Saber looked her Paige dead in the eye and offered a rare smile. Nine times out of ten the King of Britain's face presented about as much emotion as a doll's would, so seeing the petite woman smile was infrequent. Harry liked her smile, it showed she was happy. Out of all of Nasu's heroines, Saber deserved that slice of contentedness the most, although Sakura came in a close second second place, in his opinion.
"I agree." Gilgamesh acknowledged his unwilling Choreboy for a few seconds, deciding that the boy who's mind he lived in had advanced enough to deserve a Kings recognition for a few seconds. "You have certainly come a long way from the bawling brat that you once were. I am proud to have you in my service." Gil upturned his nose, and looked away from Harry. There was no need to give him more than a few seconds, no use making the boy big headed by acting like he was too proud of him. "I still wish you had poisoned your family."
"Was never going to happen." Harry flat out rejected that idea.
"Still, even I must say that you aren't quite the idiot I said you were. Still an idiot... just less so. Your magical progress is pretty impressive, just keep up the good work." Rin tended to give out more insults than compliments, so the Magic user knew that she meant it.
"Enough of this serious stuff!" A speeding predator leapt, then with minimal ease it captured Harry in its unbreakable grasp. "Lets explore! Lets explore!" Arcueid leapt up and down with excitement, Harry trapped in one arm now, Shiki the other.
"Sure, I guess we can go now." Harry spent the rest of the night with his imaginary figments, exploring the world of his own creation, the reality closest to is Ideal. Once more all was right in the world. The son of Lily Potter was content once again.
Diggle lived life comfortably. It was his lifestyle choice, it was his creed and his motto. 'Why live rich and miserably when you can be rich and happy?' It suited Diggle. His father had once run a prominent magical crafts industry based on buying or creating magical goods cheap, then selling them off for a quick buck to those who desperately needed them. In fact, that was where his name originated from; Daedalus, the Greek craftsman and inventor. It had been Giggola Diggle's greatest hope and ambition that Dedalus would share his love for craftsmanship and continue his business long after he himself passed on from the mortal coil known as life.
Unfortunately, Dedalus didn't live up to his namesake. Suffice to say, after Giggola was killed as a third party during a fight between a group of Death Eater's and some Auror's, Dedalus didn't continue the business. He sold it, then gave half of the large earnings to Dumbledore, to assist him in his War efforts, and kept the other half for himself.
Now, Diggle was able to enter an early retirement and live comfortably in his modest farmhouse, amongst the beautiful countryside areas of Southern Britain. It was inside this lovely house that he received a letter from Mr Potter, requesting him to pass on another letter to the necessary authorities. He read the second letter as well.
Harry wanted someone to assist him in collecting his school things.
Diggle would have loved to go out and accompany the boy, but unfortunately Dumbledore was still a little irritated with him for breaking his cover to the Boy Who Lived earlier on. No, he wouldn't be allowed. But even so, Diggle felt that he owed the boy something for not helping before when he was asked. After all the things Harry had unknowingly done for the Wizarding World, it was only fair that Diggle assisted him whenever possible.
Harry wanted an escort. Diggle would provide one then. Yes, Diggle would send a letter to McGonagall and ask her to accompany the confused boy. She sometimes helped Muggleborn's to collect their school goods anyway, so it would hardly be that much of a fuss for her to allow Harry to accompany her as well. With a choice of actions in mind, Diggle prepared to write a fresh notice for his target.
Harry was incredibly nervous. It was understandable really. He was about to enter the Wizarding World for the first time, and from what Harry had learn about Magic users from the Nasuverse, they were all either arrogant nobles or inhuman bastards that would do acts of near Satanism if it would lead to Magical progress. Suffice to say, the Clock Tower was presented as a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world, filled to the brim with both dangers and opportunities, for those that could find them. Harry was right to be not exactly eager to enter the lions den and plant his skull in the sleeping beasts open mouth.
Like Harry's initial attempts at dealing with Magicraft as if it was Magecraft, the boy with a scar upon his forehead thought that it would be prudent to treat the Wizarding World with as much caution as possible, until he himself had seen it for himself.
A week had passed since he had fist sent his letter to Diggle, when he had received a second letter addressed to him from Diggle. It was short and concise, telling him that a Witch would collect him from Kings Cross Station in a few days time and that he should be ready to meet her there by noon.
This led to Harry 'borrowing' some money from Dudley, since he had so much cash that he would probably not even notice that some of it was missing, and travelling by cab to the meeting place. From there he waited around impatiently, pacing around back and forth to pass the time. The boy was certain that he was as prepared as he physically could be and that he would be able to hopefully escape using self reinforcement if trouble arose from either uptight nobles or shifty men in black.
Harry had a sharp knife, that he had stolen from the kitchen draws and then reinforced afterwards to increase its sharpness and strength, hidden in his shoe. You know, just in case.
"Mr Potter." A stern voice drew Harry's attention. Spinning wildly, Harry struggled to not immediately go for the shoe, considering it would be very bad manners to throw a knife at someone in a crowded train station, just because they had managed to sneak up on him.
"Yes, that's me. Can I ask whom I have the pleasure of speaking to?"
"Of course, my name is Professor McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, and I will be your Transfiguration teacher in the upcoming school year." The crowd seemed to part around the voice like the sea for Moses, revealing a severe woman with black hair tied up in a bun. She was rather old, although she showed her age well, seeming to be quite sprightly. To Harry she didn't really look like a witch, considering her choice of attire, a tartan print dress and a matching handbag.
"Think about it, what did you expect her to look like? Some sort of wart covered hag in a ragged cloak and a pointed hat? That's hardly secretive, all the Obiviation in the world couldn't stop the non Magical denizens of the world from discovering Magic's existence if everyone dressed like that!" Alas, Rin was right, as normal.
"Well, its nice to meet you." Greeted Harry with a cautious nod. It was about then that Harry realised that he and McGonagall were not alone; a brown haired girl with brown eyes and hesitant but excited smile on her face. Harry noted that she had rather large front teeth, but didn't particularly care. Based on the large notebook clenched in her arms, she was obviously bookish.
"Accompanying me is Hermione Granger. She recently received the Hogwarts letter."
"Ummm... hi, I guess?" Harry finished awkwardly. The bespectacled boy had very little experience in interacting with others his age due to his choice of hobbies and because he had very little in common with the children that he had attended Primary School with. As such, Harry wasn't socially awkward, but he still wasn't exactly comfortable talking with people his age. Harry guessed that since she was accompanying McGonagall she was also a Witch. "At least we have something in common, I guess."
Hermione didn't seem to notice Harry's discomfort. Instead, she cheerfully began to talk to the boy. "Oh, hello. Are you here to go to Diagon Alley as well? Professor McGonagall explained it to me and my parents! Apparently, its an entire street hidden from sight, where you purchase all sorts of things! Professor mentioned that there's even a Magical bookshop! I can't wait to collect all my things, because... well, I was shocked when I got my letter, and my parents were reluctant to allow me to attend Hogwarts, but since Professor explained it they seem rather eager! What about you, are you looking forwards to picking up your supplies?"
Harry blinked twice, then realised that she had stopped talking, and that he needed to respond to her question. "Umm... well, yeah. I really want to read some of the textbooks on the list... they seem really, interesting."
"I know, right? Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling and Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger seem fascinating! So does a Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall told me all about that subject, since she teaches it!"
"Transfiguration?" Asked Harry with an eyebrow raised in curiosity. "Do you mean Transmutation?"
"Ummm, that's what I called it when I was trying to figure it out back before the letter showed up. At least, that's if I think the two things are the same. You know, if giving reality the metaphorical finger by changing one thing into another is Transfiguration."
"Ahum." McGonagall's voice brought the two children back to reality. "As much as I love to see playful banter and encourage mindful discussion, we have got a schedule to keep." Hermoine blushed in embarrassment, while Harry scratched the back of his head in apology. "Very well then. First things first, your tickets." McGonagall reached into her handbag, then withdrew two white envelopes. She handed one to each child.
"Professor, what are these?" Asked Hermione, practically oozing curiosity.
"These are your tickets to the Hogwarts Express. It is the mode of transport traditionally used to transport students to Hogwarts. I always start my tours of the Wizarding World here, so that I can clearly inform children and parents of how to board the train." The elderly woman shook her head mournfully. "You wouldn't believe the issues some Muggleborn's face with trying to get to Platform Nine and Three Quarters, since no one tells them that they need to pass through the boundary between Platform Nine and Ten."
"What the hell are Muggleborn's anyway?" Questioned Harry.
"Anyway, Muggleborn's are Witches or Wizards born from Muggle families."
Harry palmed his palm upon his face. It seemed like all the Magical folks he had met so far had a terrible habit of giving him answers that made absolutely no sense and only raised further questions. "Miss, that wasn't particularly useful in the slightest."
"Harry!" Hissed Hermione, nudging Harry with her elbow while she continued to grip her notebook. "You should be more respectful!"
"Probably." Admitted Harry with a sheepish smile. "Its still true though. You've probably already asked these questions when McGonagall talked with your parents, but I've pretty much came here knowledge-less, as ignorant as a babe. For years now I've wanted answers as to how the hell I can do Magic, why I can do it, as well as Magical Society in general. Now I've finally found someone that can answer my queries. Only said someone is answering in terms that I have no knowledge on. As such, I'd really, really, really like to get some straight answers... please?" The last word was almost said pleadingly, since Harry was really tired of being ignorant.
McGonagall's harsh stare softened and she nodded her head understandingly. "I see, Mr Potter. I apologise, I'll try to iterate more in the future. It looks like I've overestimated how much your guardian's have actually told you."
Hermione looked on, surprised at the way McGonagall had apologies to Harry. For years now, Hermione had looked to teachers in general with a sort of hero worship, she saw them as the ultimate authority. They were always right. Full stop. No exceptions. Yet, a teacher had apologies to a student! The bushy haired girl was really curious as to this 'Harry Potter's' situation. She resolved to ask him later on when she got the chance. The phrase 'Curiosity killed the Cat' had no bearing on Hermione Granger's thought process, since in her eyes the Cat only died because Ignorance framed Curiosity for it.
The Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress reached into her purse and pulled out an ornate, silver pocket watch. Flipping it open, she briefly noted the time, then replaced it in her bag. "It appears that we are behind schedule. We really should get going. I shall talk as we walk."
"Isn't it a bit dangerous talking about Magic in the open like this?" Asked Harry uncertainly. "I'm sure that 'The Organization' would be unhappy if we forced them to go overboard on the memory deletion."
McGonagall sighed, then set off at a brisk trot towards her destination. "That's the beauty of Silencing Charms and Notice Me Not Charms. Now let's go, we have a lot of grounds to cover if we're to bring Mr Potter here up to speed."
McGonagall maintained a brisk but steady pace, one that Harry had no problems keeping up with by using a small amount of Self Reinforcement. Damn, he loved that spell! As they walked, the tall woman briefed Harry on the basics of the Wizarding World. She told him all about how those born without Magic were called Muggle's, or if they were born in Magical families but lacked the ability to perform Magic then they were called Squib's. She went into detail about how those with one Magical parent were Half-Bloods and how those with two were Pure-Bloods. Harry sighed after hearing that. He just knew that the Wizarding World had to have stuck up nobles now, based solely on how their was a distinction between those that wielded Magic! Knowing his luck, Hogwarts would probably be filled with the arrogant nobles in question.
He was also told about the true identity of 'The Organization', or as it was properly called, the Ministry of Magic. To Harry it was still the same 'Organization' that may or may not have blanked his memories that one time. The fact that apparently they really did have an entire Department committed towards removing the memoires of Muggles was hardly encouraging.
All the while, Hermione leapt into the conversation to provide details that McGonagall had told her and her family, that the Professor in question had deemed not vital to be answered. Harry didn't know what to make of Hermione. He didn't really like her, since he didn't know her, but he admired her drive for knowledge. It was a Rin-like trait that he could appreciate, the passion to become more knowledgeable. Apparently the only reason she was accompanying McGonagall was because her parents were dentists that had a full work schedule, so the generous Professor had offered to take the book loving girl herself.
Harry also got a very basic answer on why he could use Magic. It wasn't satisfactory, but it was passable. Harry could bare with the lacklustre explanation for the time being.
In the words of McGonagall, "Magic is an infection upon the world itself, a corruption,it is unnatural. There are fundamental laws that govern this world, and what Magic does is defy this logical order; Magic temporarily rejects that which is set in stone to provide effects. Long ago, way back before even Merlin was casting Charms, people sought to defy their Gods by taking their powers."
"GODS!? Were there Gods? Once, were their ancient beings of immeasurable power that roamed this planet? Is there a single God, or are there multiple ones? Are they still around? Are we in the Middle of an Age of the Gods?" Harry hoped that there weren't any Gods. If there were, then it was pretty likely that something like Gaia and Alaya existed. If the spirits of the Earth and of Humanity existed, then by reasonable deduction Harry had to conclude that beings like Crimson Moon had to exist, and alongside him, True Ancestors and Dead Apostles. Harry may have wanted the Nasuverse to be real, but he never wanted to meet an of the power houses that that world had on offer (At least not without a True Magic or a Reality Marble to help him out). Harry assumed that he was like a Player Character. As such, if beings like them existed, he would probably end up meeting them, regardless of how much he attempted to evade them.
Either way, Dead Apostles and Types were preferable to the other alternative; the idea that the Age of the Gods was still in motion, that Humanity was still under the boot of beings much more powerful than them, that Humans were not at the top of the world's food-chain. Such a thing would suck a hell of a lot more.
"Those are questions that have yet to been answered. Very little remains of artefacts from before Merlin, so I cannot provide the answers that you seek. There are inhuman beings on this planet, like the Fae or Vampires-"
"Yes, Vampires. I think that modern day Celts believe in some variations of deities, but I am hardly an expect. Anyway, the point I'm making is that is possible, quite likely in fact, that Gods exist or have existed at some point in Humanities history. If these beings are still around though, they don't interact with the world enough for me to be aware of their existence." Harry let loose a sigh of relief. At least he didn't have to worry about every Witch or Wizard being as potentially powerful as Caster (aka- Medea the Witch of Betrayal), due to exiting in an Age of the Gods.
"Go on Professor!" Hermione was making a cascade of notes in her notebook as she listened to McGonagall. Harry assumed that his soon to be Deputy Head Mistress was revealing something she had not gone into detail with Hermione before, so she was noting the information down now. All the glasses wearing boy wondered was how the hell she was able to navigate through the crowd of Muggles around them without colliding with any of them while writing like her life depended on it at the same time.
"As I was saying before I went off topic, Magic is a disease. Mortals sought the power to change the world and they somehow received it. They became different, fundamentally, biologically changed in some unseen way; they had gained Magic of their own. Then, their offspring received the gift to defy reality as well. All modern day Witches and Wizards are descendants of those that originally gained the ability to alter reality; although some modern day researchers are hypothesising that this 'Pure' magic dwelling inside all Witches and Wizards is diluting over each generation."
"But what is Magic? Where does it come from? Was it really stolen from Gods? And how exactly does one go about breaking pretty much every law of reality?!" Such question were vital things in Harry's mind. Harry had a very similar idea about the Cat and Curiosity to Hermione, except that Harry saw himself as the Cat itself and desired to maul Curiosity with his philosophical claws if the force of nature decided to try and off him.
"Those are matters that an eleven year old need not worry about, nor needs to know about." Before Harry complained and Hermione savaged Harry for going against a figure of Authority, McGonagall pressed on. "I don't even know the answers to those questions. Only one group of people has any insights into these matters."
"And who are they?"
"The Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Only the Unspeakable's look into such matters." Following this, McGonagall refused to speak any more on the matter, since the two children's unending questions irritated her (She was unable to answer their inquiries, or didn't know the answers to them) and because their destination was nearby; the Leaky Cauldron.
Despite this, Harry was not upset. Instead, he was giddy. This Department of Mysteries... Harry had a new target on his List of Many Things to Do.
"I'll become an Unspeakable someday then." Remarked Harry out loud. "Only then will I get the answers I so seek."
"Mr Potter, becoming an unspeakable requires grades and training far surpassing that of the strict standards that even the Auror training program employs. Barely a single person joins that department every year or two!"
"I'll find a way. If I want to learn everything I can about Magic and become the best Wizard I can be, then that is the only choice."
Harry's first impression of the Leaky Cauldron was one of amazement, since it literally seemed to appear between two Muggle buildings. The second though, was one of dismay, since if one of the most important buildings in Magical Britain was a squalid pub that looked more run-down than impressive, then truly his impossibly high expectations of Wizarding Britain must have been too high.
"This is our destination, the Leaky Cauldron. In here we will find the entrance to Diagon Alley, we shall purchase your Magical goods there."
McGonagall led both the Nasu junkie and the Book junkie into the dark establishment, she held the door open for her charges, imploring them to enter. Harry was assaulted by the conflict of sound and smell as it battled to enter his nose and ears. The smell of mustiness and sweat ensnared him, while the sound of a great deal of people talking about unknown subjects.
All conversation stopped when the group entered the bar. Clearly Harry's elderly teacher was well known amongst the frequenters of the pub. A hunched over man at the bar, whom was currently polishing glasses using a grey towel, smiled at McGonagall. "The usual Minerva?"
"Sorry Tom, but I have some students to outfit for Hogwarts." She gestured towards her wards. "I have a tight schedule to maintain."
"I guess. I suppose you'll have to-" The bartender identified as Tom turned his attention away from his frequent customer to the two children, one of whom who looked back with an upturned eyebrow, while the female almost withered under his curious gaze. "Hang on... that scar, can it be-?" The other patrons of the bar shut up as one, Tom dropped the glass he was polishing by accident and didn't seem to care that he had. "My gosh... Mr Potter, it is an honour!"
Like a crescendo, other voices joined in with the agreements as each of the Magic users began to crowd in on the trio. "My Lord! I never thought I'd see you in the flesh!"
"Its good to see that you're back!"
"Where have you been since... you know-"
"Sign my T-Shirt!"
"Wait till my wife hears about this. I met Harry Potter himself!"
Harry was also pretty sure that a woman almost twice his age had Transfigured her shirt to read 'I love Harry Potter!', while her own cheers matched the clothing that she wore, like many peoples opinions are based off.
"Can I shake your hand?" Asked one enthusiastic gentleman that really didn't know the meaning of personal space and had placed his grubby palms upon the boy's thin wrists. Harry was forced to use a slight amount of Self Reinforcement to pry the hand off and stumble away.
"Can everyone... shut... UP!" Like the volume had suddenly been turned off on a television screen, the occupants of the Leaky Cauldron did as they were asked. Harry looked round at the men and women, the Witches and Wizards that looked at him with open admiration, shock, surprise, genuine happiness and an unhealthy dosage of awe. Seeing all these people so happy to see him made Harry feel odd, especially since he had done nothing to warrant their admiration, and was pretty sure that this wasn't how every potential Hogwarts student was greeted.
"Seriously, what the hell is going on here!?"
None of the crowd answered his question, so McGonagall decided that it was time to reveal the secret that had been hidden from him for his whole life, and by her for the short duration of their time together. The Deputy Headmistress had hoped to introduce Harry to the basics of Wizarding society before he was told about his involvement in He Who Must Not Be Named's defeat, to prevent him from being overwhelmed. Due to the fools in the bar though, who couldn't help but gossip like Muggle schoolgirls, she would have to reveal it to him earlier than she intended.
"Mr Potter... they are showing their admiration for you in the part you unknowingly played in one of modern Wizarding Britains greatest historical events, when you were nothing but a child."
"Please tell me that I didn't accidentally do something when I ran off to join the circus and was Obliviated by some group of men in black." Pleaded Harry silently, although he knew that no matter what God he begged to, he was probably still going to find out that he had done something very, very stupid; something stupid enough to warrant Inner Rin calling him something a lot less endearing that 'Idiot!'.
"No... it happened when you were nothing but a babe. It was when... your parents died." Hermione reacted to that statement with horror. She turned to Harry with a look of pity, since she had no idea that he was an orphan. Harry didn't look too shocked though. He was actually nodding his head in a sign of acceptance.
"Yep... I knew it! There was no way in Hell that my parents died in a car crash! Come on," He seemed to be saying to himself as he lightly hit himself on his scar tarnished forehead. "I could use Magic as a child, so there was no way that my back story for becoming an orphan would be something as boring as 'My parents died in a car crash.'. Hahaha aahhhahaha!" The boy laughed to himself. "I so told you so Rin! Who needs normal logic when you have Video Game logic! Suck on that, I was right when I bet you that I had some sort of secret in my past!"
"Mr Potter," The stern teacher glared at her soon to be student. "I am just about to explain the reason that your parents died! Please act more responsible!"
"Sorry Professor. Its just rare for me to one up that damned Tsundere!"
"I am not a Tsunde-"
"SHUT UP!" Bellowed the other five voices in Harry's head in unison.
"Very well then. Tom, please arrange a private room for myself, Mr Potter and Miss Granger to discuss matters in. And bring up some brandy." She pulled out her pocket watch and noted just how late she already was. Undoubtedly, she would have to cancel her later appointments. She just knew that it was going to be a long day. "Mail the school and tell Albus that I will have to cancel my meeting with him. Also, upgrade my brandy to a large one... I'm going to need it."
Now seated comfortably on three chairs that his soon to be Professor had magicked out of thin air (A trick Harry was gagging to learn, since he had no idea that it was even possible to do something like that), McGonagall, Harry and a curious Hermione were all sitting around a wooden desk in the private parlour of a room on the second floor of the Leaky Cauldron. In comparison to the dreary rooms below, the upper floors (Including the room the trio were currently inhabiting) were well furnished and clean, while a scent reminiscent of Muggle air freshener wafted around the upper floors.
"First off, before I begin, I must ask that both of you ask no questions. The matter I am about to talk about occurs in the background of a great deal of historical strife and violence. I have neither the time nor the patience to go into a full lecture on the events occurring during the War."
"What War is this?"
"This is what I mean Miss Granger. By all rights I should only be telling Harry this, but you are my responsibility too, so I'm allowing you to listen in on this private conversation. I have a lot to say and little time, since I still need to help you purchase all your school things!" The woman Conjured a large, red stress ball from thin air and began to squeeze it. Hermione decided that it would be best to speak no further; she noted that McGonagall would get pissed off if her schedules were ever shattered and resolved to never ever piss her off on purpose.
"Please begin. I have many questions, though I'll try to hold them back to save your sanity from further damage." Said Harry, while Rin cried out in frustration since she would much rather he bombard her with questions and buy his school things later. To hell with his teacher's sanity sanity, Rin wanted answers and soon!
Saber promptly silenced Rin, while Arcueid cheerfully produced some rope from her person. Harry decided to ignore just where she got it from, or just why it was stored there.
"Thank you Mr Potter." After squeezing the ball a few more times, McGonagall Vanished it. Harry mentally asked Rin to remind him to figure out how the hell he could do that, temporarily ignoring the fact that she was wrapped up like a present. "I don't really know how to begin... your parents were great people. I knew them well."
"Perhaps you could start at the beginning?" Recommended the ten year old.
"Yes. I'll do that." She took a large gulp of the glass of brandy Tom had left with her, then began her tale. "A while ago, about two decades ago, a dark Wizard of unmeasurable power revealed himself to the world. Blessed with charisma, talent, intelligence, large reserves of Magical Energy and a desire and image to change the world, he quickly gained a notorious following; terrible people known as the Death Eaters."
Hermione shuddered. A group of people called 'Death Eaters' could only be bad news. Harry however, thought that it was a cool name for a group of evil Wizards, even if he didn't fully support their career choice. Any logical person knows that being lackey to the Main Antagonist of a series is just asking to get killed. Minions are hardly known for their longevity.
"He waged a war, one that was long and bloody. From small buds, the flowering of his Evilness grew, through the nourishment of Fear and the liquid offering of the Blood that he spilt in his sick vision of a 'Pure' Magical Britain. Ruthless and cold, harsh but terrible... Vol... Voldemort," McGonagall struggled to punctuate his name. Dumbledore might say that fear of a name is foolish, but she was still deathly afraid of the terrible man capable of matching Dumbledore on the battlefield. "that was his name."
"Voldemort." Harry rolled the name over his tongue, retaining the name of the one who more than likely killed his parents if his Genre Savvy sensing abilities were as acute as Shiki told him they were.
"Yes... I recommend you do not speak his name in public though. A great deal of people fear the great and terrible things he has done. Seriously, ask anyone downstairs in the pub and they will be able to tell you at least two people they know that were killed by him and his army."
"Quite, it would be insensitive to use his name. Proceeding with my tale, he began to take over Britain, sending spy's into the Ministry, while using fear tactics to make the Wizards of Britain fear his name. Very few people fought against him; most prominently was a group led by Albus Dumble-"
"AHAH! I knew that this Dumbledore fellow would show up at some point! I bloody knew it!"
"Harry! Stop interrupting Professor McGonagall!" Scolded Hermione. Harry decided to shut up and celebrate internally, Rin was still pressuring him to find out the rest of the story, having briefly managed to spit out her gag.
"Press for more details damn i-" Shirou's sock was shoved back into her mouth.
"As I was saying, this group included myself, Diggle, whom you have met, a few other people, and your parents." Now she was getting to the crux of the matter. Harry had always been curious about his parent, since he had no memories of them while Pertunia and Vernon refused to talk about them. "Lily and James Potter was brilliant people, they were some of my favourite students and our friendly relationship only improved after they finished their schooling. As such, it was only natural that they decided to fight against him."
She cleared her throat, and gulped down some more brandy. "Terrible things happened. Lets leave it at that. Eventually, once you were born, they decided to go into hiding for your protection. Voldemort though... he wasn't done with them. The Potters had been a thorn in his side for far too long to just let them go. As such, on Halloween, ten years ago, the Dark Lord tracked down your parents and he... and he-" One more gulp, then the brandy was gone. Bitter tears embraced the edges of the Witches eyes. "He killed them. More than likely, they didn't stand a chance."
The daughter of a pair of dentists looked to the boy she was sat next to with another look of pity. She knew he was an orphan but... it was still terrible hearing about how they were murdered of all things! She couldn't possibly understand what Harry must have been going through, hearing those words. Surprisingly, Harry did not shed tears. He was sad, terribly sad. He had just heard that his parents were murdered, but he had already guessed as such. The son of Lily and James Potter was raised on the stories of Nasu and was nourished by tales of incredible sacrifice and horror; he was used to terrible deeds. He had mourned his parents loss for nearly eleven years now, for now he had to be strong.
Harry was strong, tears wouldn't change anything. He would swallow the bile rising in his throat; the tale wasn't over. He needed to hear the full story. He'd decided what to feel like afterwards. So with a grim face set in resignation, Harry motioned for McGonagall to continue.
"So two very special people died... and you were left an orphan. Voldemort was evil though, and he was thorough. He would never leave a job unfinished, such things like morality or the idea of killing a child did not affect him, and he needed to kill you too to prevent you from becoming a threat later on. So he tried to murder you... and that's where things become fuzzy; the true events of what occurred in Godric's Hollow that evening will more than likely never be revealed, so all we can do is to speculate. He tried to kill you! Only, he failed. He couldn't do it. I don't know why, no one knows why,but he failed to slay your tiny, infant body with the unblockable Killing Curse. Instead, he was the one to die on that Halloween night, while you were left with was that scar on your forehead. That's why everyone looks up to you! Because you survived what none has ever lived through before, because you slew what was possibly the Darkest Lord of the century; because you are The Boy Who Lived."
Hermione honestly didn't know whether she should look at Harry with pity or with awe. He had somehow taken out the one Wizard that even Dumbledore feared. MacGonagall had told her just how over powered that old man could be sometimes, so to hear that a baby had killed the Dark Lord was simply shocking!
On the other hand, he had just found out that his parents had been murdered. That deserves sympathy.
"I'm sorry... I didn't know." She told him with a solemn tilting of the head as they left the Leaky Cauldron from the back exit, revealing a bricked off courtyard occupied by nothing, save for a few abandoned dustbins.
"Why should you apologise? Its not like you suck an angry Dark Lord on me personally." Harry shrugged, then went over to stand by McGonagall who had pulled out a strip of wood that he assumed was her wand. Following this, Harry let loose a small laugh, as if he was sharing an inside joke with an unseen person.
"Harry... you're giggling like a maniac! You're delusional or something!"
"Probably." Admitted Harry, still chortling softly. "Then again, all the best people are."
"Just what are you laughing about anyway?"
"I just think that it's ironic is all. Not even a year ago, I told Shirou that I would be a hero if there was ever a need for one. I think that its hilarious that on my first day in the Wizarding World I'm crowned as some sort of heroic saviour... some kind of celebrity."
"Even so, the time for heroes are long gone." Remarked the responsible adult accompanying the two children. She had momentarily stopped whatever process she was carrying out so as to focus on the conversation. "Now is the time for rebuilding; now is the time for peace. The Dark Lord is dead, Heroism has become a job with a bitterly low pay-check."
"It's just a shame that the Dark Lord isn't dead." Noted Harry with a frown. If either of his two companions had been drinking anything when he said that comment, they would have probably spat it out.
"What did you just say?" Spluttered the Transfiguration expert. "Not dead?"
"It's pretty obvious when you think about it." Began Harry casually. "I mean, if I'm practically the Player Character then that must there has to be a villain. They'd be no reason for me to have such a well fleshed out back story unless the Dark Lord shows up at some point in the story, otherwise the writer would have to pull some new villain out of his ass."
"Those are dangerous words." Warned the Professor sternly. "He killed many people; others won't look to such jokes with good humour."
"Who's joking?" Harry raised an eyebrow questioningly. "I'm deadly serious. If there's one thing I've learned about life, more often than not; its that if someone dies under mysterious circumstances and a body is never uncovered, then they're probably not dead."
"That's a pretty flimsy reason for saying that the Dark Lord is still alive." Pointed out Hermione harshly. "Surely the proper authorities would know if he was dead or not?"
"I don't trust the damned 'Organization'." Muttered Harry, adding something under his breath that curiously sounded something like 'damned men in black'. "Besides which, other stuff adds to this theory too."
"For one thing, isn't it a bit suspicious that a baby is somehow able to supposedly kill a Dark Lord that even that Dumbledore himself feared, still haven't been told about him by the way."
"That is sort of silly, like some sort of plot for a bad Children's Book."
"Tell me about it." Nodded Harry sagely in agreement. "This whole plotline reeks of lazy writing, convenient plot points and suspicious scenarios."
McGonagall was really getting a headache from listening to her young charge. Dealing with him seemed to be nearly as tiresome as spending large amounts of time with Dumbledore. "So what do you think happened then, if you're sooo knowledgeable about all the goings on of the Magical World?"
"Firstly, I'm not knowledgeable... I'm merely Genre Savvy. As for what I think happened; it makes much for sense for one of my poor, deceased parents to have done something to off Voldemort, before dropping dead themselves or something."
"But your scar!?"
"What of it? Maybe I got that from a shard of glass or something?"
McGonagall planted her palm upon her face. "It's in the shape of a lightning bolt! What sort of shards of glass make an imprint like that?"
"What if Voldie isn't dead then? Perhaps he got bored of being an Evil Overlord and decided to retire early, faking his death in the process."
"That theory is even more unbelievable than the first one."
"Well what if he's Undead, or a Vampire? Heck, he could just be incapacitated and regaining his strength in Albania or something!"
"This entire thing is unbelievable!" Interrupted Hermione. "I'm still getting over the idea that a baby somehow killed a Dark Lord by the way!"
"Regardless of what you think though Professor, one day that douche bag's gonna be back... and I'm gonna have a Root damned Magical laser sword pointed at his head! Hell, I might sound like some sort of mad conspiracy theory nut job, but it's definitely not paranoia if there really is someone out to get you!"
"To be honest, I give up." McGonagall turned her back to Harry and Hermione and did what she was originally doing before the topic of Dark Lord's faking their own deaths was first brought up. She tapped her wand to three separate bricks, then something Magical happened. Firstly, a small hole appeared in its centre, then it only grew larger and larger as the slabs of brick shuffled this way and that to quickly extend its size. Harry noted that the bricks were reminiscent of Army Ants scuttling around, everyone part of the hive knowing its place and reacting accordingly to that which needs to be done. Then finally, the hole was an archway leading to twisting cobbled street.
Hermione's gob nearly smacked the floor, Harry's eyebrows nearly leapt off his head and ran away, they were so raised. The reason for their surprise was obvious; they had received the first glimpse of their final destination; or perhaps their first stop, if one was to look at it from a different angle.
"Welcome... to Diagon Alley."
The two children stumbled after their teacher, awestruck by the sheer scale of the location hidden away from Muggle eyes. It was humbling, in Harry's opinion, and inspiring in the others. Harry might have gotten far for his age, but this was the true crème of the crepe, somewhere that was truly Magical. Harry only wished that he had a dozen more eyes to look at everything as he followed after McGonagall, or perhaps a camera. There was so much to glance at, so much to hear and puzzle over, so many exotic scents to smell from apothecaries and so very much to experience. If he ever got the chance to just wander round and take in the crowded street, Harry was certain that he'd collapse from sheer excitement.
So many shops loitered along each side of the trio; the goods they sold varied like a rainbow, with a myriad of choice. Potions, cauldrons, books, pets, broomsticks, fortunes, robes; all were available to be purchased somewhere. Guzzling down the raw sights as he was practically marched down the road, Harry saw a few shops that stood out, like: Eeylops Owl Emporium, Flourish and Blotts, Quality Quidditch Supplies and Whizz Hard Books.
And the conversation... it offered even more questions to be asked, but Harry didn't really mind. He was just happy to be somewhere that he belonged. He was just glad that it was nothing like he had originally expected it to be, something resembling the Clock Tower. Harry pushed that place to one side of his mind; it was just as likely that the Ministry or Hogwarts itself would fit in with his much more... pessimistic... expectations.
"The Nimbus Two-Thousand! I can't believe that its finally out!"
"No Borris, you can't get a strong one from the Cauldron!"
"Price o' Acromantula venom is through the roof this month!"
"I don't get your damned fascination with the Harpies! The Cannon's 'll take 'em down this season! I'm sure of it!"
"Have you heard that they're going to raise the price of Dragon liver to seventeen sickles an ounce!"
Harry just had to ask about the last one. "Did she just say DRAGON!? AS IN GIANT, FLAMING, FIVE THOUSAND YEAR OLD PHANTASMAL BEASTS THAT GO AROUND BOASTING A QUITE FRANKLY RIDUCLOUS AMOUNT OF FIRE POWER!"
"Lower your voice, Mr Potter. You're causing a scene."
"But DRAGON'S?" Harry was almost hyperventilating by now. Hermione was worried that she might have to perform the CPR that she had been forced to learn by her father during a course last summer. "Like... fiery breath, sharp claws, wings?" A single nod. "Wow... I think I must have been underestimating the power of modern Wizards, and by proxy ancient Wizards, if you're capable of killing DRAGONS! Seriously, you're selling their livers on the high street! Is a sickle a lot?"
"Not really. A Galleon is worth more."
"See? Apparently the liver of a Phantasmal Beast is pocket change to you people! And here I thought my self study was going well.."
"Mr Potter, are you having a panic attack?"
"I might be... I might be. Just give me a moment to get back my breath." Harry sighed deeply, and decided that it would be best to shove the matter of Dragon's to one side, since he could hardly carry out all of his various self assigned tasks if he died of a panic attack at the measly age of ten. Then again, these Wizards had Dragons... and apparently they killed and sold the key features of their anatomy for a quite cheap price. It wouldn't be too unreasonable to say that they've somehow figured out a cure to Death or something ridiculous like that.
"You're all monsters, I tell you. Monsters! Next you'll be telling me that you've turned one of the True Magic's into a household occurrence. If you have Heaven's Feel, Kaleidoscope or Time Travel, then I really will have to do an Archer and find a way to somehow kill every single Magical being... ever."
"We do have Time Turners-"
"Stay away from me!" Harry was brandishing his shoe like a weapon. "I need to run, damn it! The end is nigh! These people probably have a dozen Zeltrech's dashing about as well!"
"Please stop panicking Mr Potter." McGonagall found herself face palming once again. "Dragon killing isn't very frequent and Time Turner's can't actually change the past."
"Thank the Root for small mercies." Harry still wasn't completely reassured, but unless Zeltrech popped into existence besides the side of him he was willing to concede that maybe he didn't need to change from a Shirou to an Archer.
McGonagall stopped suddenly before a white, marble building, that towered far over all the other buildings that the Professor had shown him so far. It was certainly impressive, and had the words 'Gringotts Bank' emblazoned above the entrance. "Is this our destination, Professor?" Asked Hermione excitedly. "What are we getting here?"
"This is a bank." Snapped McGonagall irritably. "Do I need to answer this question?"
"By the way... what the hell is that?" Harry spoke the last sentence as a whisper. He was pointing towards the very short figure wearing a uniform of bright scarlet and gold, that had extremely long fingers and feet, accompanied by a face that suggested that he was either a very grumpy person anyway, or was having a very bad day.
"That is a goblin. I recommend you do not offend or insult one, nor steal from one. If you do, you're guaranteed to come off worse that he would."
"So goblins bank? Anything else?" He asked, slipping his shoe back onto his foot, being careful to not accidentally stab himself with the hidden knife.
"They were, no, are known for being very strong warriors that own the secret for forging the greatest of weaponry and armour."
"Cool." Harry had a really good, or a very stupid idea depending on who was looking at the idea at the time. "Theoretically, and only theoretically, obviously, do you think that I could buy a Magical sword that fires lasers from them?"
"I don't know why a goblin would create a weapon that fires of beams of light, but probably not."
"That's a shame." McGonagall seriously needed to watch Star Wars. Harry gestured to the building. "Are we going to go in then?"
Save for reading a really bad piece of poetry upon entering, potentially glancing what might have been a Dragon in the tunnels and gaining a slightly envious glare from Hermione since she couldn't enter the vaults (Because she only needed to exchange some of her Muggle money for Wizarding currency), Harry didn't get much from the visit to the bank. Sure, the fact that apparently he was both famous and incredibly rich amazed him, but being unable to take any of it out really ruined the moment. The amount McGonagall let him take out barely scraped the large edges of the the immense coffers he would obtain at age seventeen.
The amount was so small that he tried to (Unsuccessfully) pillage some of his own cash while his Professors back was turned. The plot failed miserably. As compensation, McGonagall took a small amount extra out for him to buy luxuries.
Even worse, when he asked one of the Goblins about buying a Magical sword, he gained a really disappointing answer. "Sure, we have Magical swords." Griphook had told him. "We might even have entire piles of them lying around, gathering dust and not rusting away. And perhaps we even have one or two that fire lasers, that you might have been able to afford with your huge fortune. Unfortunately, while goblins love money, we love bureaucracy nearly as much, since it pisses you Wizards off so much. Come on, don't give me that look! I'm a goblin, not a charity case! Until you gain your inheritance, you'll forever be poor in my eyes." Griphook gave Harry a very human gesture that he really didn't expect him to know. "Now get the hell out of my bank."
This left Harry in a really bad mood as they travelled to their next destination, Ollivander's Wand Shop. "How dare they not sell me a Magical, laser firing sword! I mean, I could pay GOOD money! There's also the fact that a Magical sword might help in taking down a certain maybe-not-dead Dark Lord. Ha! Well I'll just find my own Magical sword, or forge one myself somehow! And they'll have lost a customer!"
"Why do you care so much about getting a Magical sword anyway?" Complained Hermione. Harry bored into her with a deadpan serious stare.
"Magical, laser firing swords are a Serious Business!"
"Oh look! We're conveniently at our destination just in time for you to stop talking, Mr Potter." McGonagall pointed dramatically at the shop where they would be purchasing a wand for both Harry and Hermione. "Please go inside, and try not to break something."
The duo shrugged as one, then entered the building. Inside it was dark, squalid, mostly empty save for the high towers of boxes lining the sides of the room, and was suitably mysterious for the purchasing of a wand. Harry approved. They were greeted by an old man with eyes that shone with unparalleled intelligence; his gaze seemed to go through his customers like an X-ray, as if he was looking into their souls.
"Ah yes. I though I'd be seeing you soon, Harry Potter." Harry didn't respond. It seemed to be rhetorical, he was talking to himself. He needed no answer. "You have your mothers eyes."
"Thanks for the insight Mr Creepy Old Dude. Just another person that seems to know more about me than I do."
"Very well then." He nodded his head solemnly, then spun on his feet and marched over to the nearest pile of boxes. "My name is Garrick Ollivander. Now then, onto business." He turned back to the duo and pointed at Hermione, who looked freaked out but was trying not to show that she was so wary of the creepy old man that seemed to like spouting anecdotes about random strangers parents. "You're new. I shall start with you. What is your wand hand?"
"Well, I'm right handed." Hermione stated nervously.
"Right. Well, I'll start you off with something like this." With a wave of his own wand, a box floated from one of the piles and floated over to him. He removed the wand and handed it to the still slightly startled girl. "Have a wave then." Hermione waved the wand. A vase smashed. "Nope... too short. The wand chooses the Wizard after all, so that one was probably a bad match up." Ollivander admitted. "Try this."
This went on for awhile, until finally he managed to present Hermione with a wand that didn't cause something to shatter. Instead, a bouquet of flowers burst into existence from the end of the wands shaft. Hermione had a large smile on her face, as if something irreplaceable had been returned to her.
"Yes... a perfect match. Vinewood, Dragon heartstrings, ten and three quarter inches. Faintly stiff. It shall bond strongly with you though, while the vine signifies that your personality has much greater depths than even you know of. It shall take you far; a vine wand if only for one who seeks a grander purpose in life. Whether you accomplish these deeds or not, that is another matter." Her returned the wand to its box and presented it to the excited girl. "That will be seven Galleons."
After paying Ollivander, Hermione returned to McGonagall outside. This left Harry with the still slightly creepy old man, whom had turned his attention back to him. "Hmm... I'm sure you shall be a trickier customer. What wand hand are-"
"Right handed... I'm assuming."
"Very good." Another flick of his wand later, a distant box had been attracted to the wand maker. "Let's start with this one, shall we."
A great many mismatches followed the first suggestion, and the second one, and the third one... and so on. Unlike Hermione, Harry's rejections seemed a lot more violent, with outcomes such as a partially smashed window and a pile of obliterated vases being prominent (Why Ollivander had so many vases, Harry didn't know). Far from being put off, Ollivander was practically beaming that he had such a tricky customer.
"Yes, this shall be fun! Onto the next one!"
At long last, after Harry was sure that the three piles of discarded wand boxes were going to topple over, being so tall, Harry was presented with a wand that seemed to resonate with him. He didn't know what it was about that wand in particular, but something about it resonated with him, spoke to him! Ollivander mentioned that it was made from Holly and a Phoenix feather, was eleven inches long and could be described as nice and supple. Harry didn't listen to him though, there was a much more important conversation going on.
"I AM POWER!" It seemed to tell Harry. "I AM SUPREME! I AM THE FORCE THAT CAN SHATTER MOUNTAINS, THAT CAN PART OCEANS! I AM MAGIC ITSELF! ABSOLUTE, UNSTOPPABLE, UNQUENCHABLE... UNTAMABLE! DO YOU DARE TRY TO WIELD ME?" It seemed to implore in its voice of unquestionable dominance. Even before Harry picked it up he knew it was mighty, that it was impressive. He wanted it. He wanted its power. He wanted to experience that which seemed to reach out and caress his soul with seductive fingers and a manipulative voice. Even so, he knew that its obedience could not just be earned easily.
It was Magical strength incarnate. Created by humans to wield the powers of Gods, it surpassed that which forged it and breached into His territory with just its very existence. No, it wasn't just the power of Gods. Such a description would not do the wand justice. Rather than its power, to Harry, it was a God. It was power. It was Divinity trapped within a frail, wooden cage of Holly. This God would willing to lend its powers to one capable of wielding it; and the boy that dreamt of Dead Apostles and Heroic Spirits hoped that he was one that it would listen to.
"DO YOU DARE WIELD ME?" It repeated, demanding an answer. "DO YOU DARE TAKE MY POWERS, THE POWERS OF A GOD? I AM MAGIC INCARNATE, AND YOU ARE NOTHING BUT AN INSIGNIFICANT BOY, WITH NO TRUE POWER OR IDEALS OF YOUR OWN! SO CLAIM ME IF YOU DARE, FOR I SHALL NOT COWER SO EASILY!"
"I dare!" Harry declared. "I shall not just wield you, I will partner with you, oh Great God in the shell; the hubris of mankind's desire to wield that which should never have been wielded! So then; the question is not whether I dare wield you, whether I dare take your powers, because I DARE to do it! The question is whether YOU would give your awesome power to me... or if I would have to defeat your will, the will of God's, to EARN your power!?"
"THEN SHOW ME YOUR WILL, INSIGNIFICANT ONE, INHERITOR OF THE WAY'S OF MAGI, BELIEVER IN THE RULES OF ALAYA AND GAIA! SHOW ME THE DEPTHS OF YOUR IDEALS, THE IDEALS STOLEN FROM THOSE MUCH GREATER THAN YOURSELF!"
Harry plucked the wand from its box and let a tendril from his Magical Core embrace the Core of the other. He felt it tug on him, battling with him, attempting to thrown off Harry's pitiful attempts to bond with it. The wand laughed at Harry. It would take more than that to meet its high requirements.
"I'll show you then, oh Mighty One! I WILL find the Root, I WILL become an excellent Wizard, I WILL become a hero! You shan't stop me!" Harry intensified his efforts to wrap his tendril around the wands Core. The invisible conflict continued silently, the fight of stubborn wills endured with what seemed like no end. "If I must show you my will, then I shall! For I am Human! My race took you from your Heavenly existence and bound you within your current, frail constraints! They took your power and embraced it as their own. Now Wizards make wands, to become more powerful and take more Magic that is not their own! I am HUMAN! So if I must selfishly continue this trend and force you to assist me in my ventures, then I shall!"
The wand threw up more resistance, almost dislodging Harry's tendril with one of its own. Harry sent out a second tendril to constrain it, then another, and another, and another! "You shall not stop me! The wand normally chooses the Wizard, but I'll show you that a Wizard may choose a wand... and I have chosen you! Because I see your reluctance, your hatred of Humanity for stealing you and sealing you! I KNOW you, oh Great God in the wand! So do not deny me, for I will not give up! I shall remain stagnant, unmovable, as stubborn as yourself! So lend me your aid, give me your power, and I shall change the world itself!"
The wands will began to weaken under the barrage of Harry's own intent to accomplish great deeds. "You may not deny me, for I shall not deny you, I will not ignore your voice! Stand by my side, submit, WE SHALL CHALLENGE THE WORLD!" The final push now, Harry knew it. Resistance was waning, but his own efforts were already nearly expended. "I KNOW YOU! I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU! I CLAIM YOU AS MY OWN, I NAME YOU-"
And so the wands will willingly broke, and its own intense Magic flowed up Harry's hand and arm into his own core; Magic given grudgingly but willingly. Harry knew that this would be the only wand for him. "-Finis Humanis Superbiam!" Every candle in the room flared at once, the fires dancing with indomitable spirit. Then a flash of fire erupted from Harry's wands point, wrapping itself in a wide circle around the boy's feet. Then, after a few seconds of intense heat, all the fire's went out. The contract between the boy and the wand was formed, the wand acknowledged the ten year old as its Master... for the time being.
Harry examined his new ally in greater detail, pleased with what he saw. He felt invincible, for a few moments he was sure that any and all goals he desired could be accomplished alongside this trapped God.
Ollivander, rubbed his eyes and appraised the boy with scrutiny. Harry was certain that the old man could guess just how difficult the bond was to form. "Well... that was certainly one of the most intense bondings that I've seen in a while..."
"So what took you so long then?" Asked McGonagall much more cheerfully, since she had been given ample time to calm down and purchase a coffee from a nearby stall.
"Sorry Professor." Shrugged Harry, his wand tucked safely in the accompanying leather sheathe that Harry had bought alongside the wand. "Stuff happened."
"Like what?" Hermione was curious. It hadn't taken her that long to find a wand.
"Well, first I couldn't find a wand that resonated with me, and when I did, it was a stubborn bastard to claim..." Harry muttered something worrying like 'Damned internal battles that represent metaphors!' before he continued informing Hermione of his wand browsing. "Then Ollivander started blabbering on about how this wand is technically the brother of the Dark Lords; one more strike towards me having to face off against him in an epic duel, by the way. And don't even get me started on all the accidental burn marks I left on his floor, as well as all the shattered windows and vaporised vases! It was a pain to pay off."
"I'm sure." Muttered McGonagall, her good mood already having evaporated again. "How did you get burn marks on Mr Ollivander's floor again? Didn't I specifically ask you not to break something?"
"Now onto something completely different; you'd be surprised at the cost of vases in Diagon Alley. Apparently some of them are more expensive than the Dragon liver's we heard about earlier. Another piece of evidence towards Wizarding culture being completely lopsided, but oh well."
"Hear! Hear!" Agreed Shiki.
"I think you'll be a greater thorn in my foot than Dumbledore ever was." Muttered the Transfiguration expert darkly.
"Cool. Still don't know about Dumbledore by the way. So is he actually the tyrannical dictator of 'The Organization' that may or may not have Obliviated me that one time, and could have potentially been responsible for every little, bad thing that has ever happened in my lifetime or not?"
"No, he's one of the... you know what?" McGonagall sighed, then rubbed her forehead to quell the growing migraine that was developing inside her skull. "To hell with it. I wash my hand's of explaining thing's to you. Miss Granger, please inform Mr Potter of every single thing that was wrong about the statement that he has just uttered."
Following this, Hermione recounted everything that McGonagall had previously told her about the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Harry realised that he might have been pinning a bit too much on the man. While he could actually still have been a secret Closet Dark Lord, he probably wasn't. This disappointed Harry. It probably would have been cool to plan a long, complicated, hair-brained revenge scheme to get even with someone responsible for every little tragedy that had ever happened to him (From the destruction of his disks, to how he once skinned his knee during P.E) and then initiate an underground rebellion to overthrow the tyrannical lord of Hogwarts himself.
Harry realised that telling McGonagall that for the last few years, one of his favourite childhood fantasies had been to overthrow her superior over the course of a long winded revenge scheme, wouldn't have been met with a very positive response.
Shuffling all of his impossibly complicated plans to one side of his mindscape (Handing these thoughts to Gilgamesh to deal with and corrupt, to make them even more impossible but satisfying to pull off), Harry sped up to maintain the even more brisk pacing that McGonagall had started using, to try and get the shopping spree done as soon as possible.
After purchasing: a large trunk to carry all of his new belongings within, robes and other assorted clothes from 'Madam Malkin's', potions ingredients from an apothecary, parchment and quills ("Savages I say!" Claimed Harry briefly at this point. Where the Root are all the biro's?"), a cauldron, some scales and a telescope of all things, Harry was feeling rather pleased; although he was looking forwards to the next destination more than anything.
"Now for Flourish and Blotts... may Merlin have mercy on my soul." The strict woman drew a symbol over her heart reminiscent of a pointed Wizards hat. "No doubt I shall not survive taking you shopping here."
"Professor, I'm not that bad." Pointed our Hermione. "I'm just going to buy a lot is all."
"True... but he'll find a way to cause my untimely death." McGonagall pointed to an innocently whistling Harry.
"I promise to be good... and only buy out half the shop."
"You'll buy your darned school books and not a penny more... Hogwarts would be unable to deal with a Harry Potter armed with more than First year spells."
"I'll just find a higher year student to teach me all the good stuff anyway." Pointed out Harry as the three of them entered the shop filled with more books than you could ever possibly read. Hermione pinched herself to ensure that she had was not dreaming of Heaven, then staggered over to the nearest shelve and began to skim read the spine's of each book.
"Oh! They have books on Magically performing mathematics!" Hermione had abandoned her notebook in favour of cradling on eof the many books she had found appealing in the premises.
"Why does that excite you so much?" Harry inquired half heartedly, too busy looking at the books on another shelve. Already Harry had found four interesting books that he just had to read about! For too long Rin had been denied her knowledge on this worlds Magic, as had Harry, and now they were in a store that could answer practically every question about Magic the two had ever puzzled over. "Oh look, 'Spells to Simulate Heroic Entrances (Including the phenomenal Cape Fluttering in the Wind Charm)'! I have to get this too!" Harry stuck it on the top of the pile.
"Its Magic and mathematics! My two favourite subjects all rolled up into one!" Hermione was practically salivating. "No, I must resist! I only have thirty Galleons to spend on books! Surely better books must exist!"
"Only thirty! That darned Professor's only left me with twenty! No doubt I'll have to start selling autographs just to make enough money to buy all the books I want!"
"Mr Potter, Miss Granger, get a hold of yourself!" With a flick of her wand, the books began to levitate away from them and return to their original spots. Harry only just managed to use his own Levitate technique to anchor a Magical tendril to one of the books. "We are here with a list. We shall purchase them first, then you can run around like squealing school children!"
"But we are squealing school children." Pointed out Hermione. "Can't we browse a bit first?"
"No. Now follow me." Hermione followed her reluctantly, while Harry had to nearly pry himself away from the shelve on Magical theory. He consoled himself with coming back later when McGonagall wasn't with him and buying some more stuff for himself.
And so Harry and Hermione purchased their school books. After much vigorous argument and enough persuasive devices to force the Devil himself to sell his own soul for a novelty hammer, Harry finally managed to persuade the head of Gryffindor to allow a few concessions. In the end he was allowed to buy a textbook on Dragons and a publication on useful defensive spells, while McGonagall agreed to gift him with a large tome on Animagus transformations. Harry had decided to make turning himself into a giant flying horse his side project, for when he wasn't doing normal Magical studying or puzzling over the meaning of the universe or something.
Perhaps not the last one.
In the end, McGonagall managed to persuade Harry to not buy anything too complicated in the end, since he was only ten, and it would more than likely be years before he had the theoretical knowledge to understand half of what all of the books he wanted to purchase contained.
Hermione was free to buy what she wanted with her remaining Galleons. She gave him a smug expression as she carried out her own slightly larger pile of writings. Harry plotted to abuse the hell out of the Hogwarts library, when he arrived at the school.
Finally, it was time to return 'home', back to the Dursleys. Harry couldn't say that he was pleased about it. Now, after so damned long, he had to return back to the melancholy of his Muggle home. It was like dangling candy in front of a baby, then telling it 'Hey, you can't have this chocolate for another months time! Enjoy your rations of cabbages and broccoli!'. Harry had seen what he could have had if he had been raised as a Wizard; childhood fame and companionship, wondrous mysteries to see and explore, ten extra years of reading up on cool Magic's that might one day lead to the creation of a deadly Magic laser sword. Instead he got the Dursleys, irritation, and ten years of frantically trying to reverse engineer and improvise an entire Magical palette of techniques.
Harry wasn't sure if he'd drawn the short straw or not, since things could have been a lot worse; but he certainly could have had a better childhood.
"Stop emoing out!" Demanded Inner Shiki sourly. "If you grew up in the Wizarding world, would you have found 'Tsukihime' or 'Fate/Stay Night'?"
"...No." Harry couldn't imagine a world where he had never discovered the Nasuverse or all the positive actions that such a discovery entailed.
"Not so bad then?" Added Arcueid with a pout.
"Ha! If you never had ME to guide you, you would be more of a Mongrel than you are already!"
"Thanks Gil." Harry rolled his inner eyebrows sarcastically. "The funny thing is that your original dialogue inside the Visual Novel never actually included the word 'Mongrels' within it at any point."
"It sort of makes you wonder just how his current favourite word even came to pass." Added Saber.
"I blame it on the fanbase." Decided Shirou.
"There is NO fanbase!" Pointed out Rin tiredly. "There's Harry, and that's it! That ISN'T a fanbase! Its only a fanbase of one at the moment damn it!"
"Umm... Harry!" Hermione poked Harry in the face. "We're at the train station now. You've been in a world of your own for a for a few minutes now."
Harry came back to reality. Yes, he was back at the station, wasn't he? He had to go back to the Dursleys. "Oh, sorry. I had a few things on my mind." Admitted the lover of the Nasuverse sheepishly.
"Anyway, McGonagall is going to take me home now."
"Oh... have a good month until term, I guess." Much of the awkwardness Harry had felt towards Hermione at the beginning of the trip had faded away as the day passed on and the two of them shared in the experience of their first trip to Diagon Alley, but now said awkwardness was coming back with a vengeance. Even gripping Finis Humanis Superbiam through his hip-strapped holster couldn't shake off the nervousness he was suddenly feeling again.
"Anyway, I just wanted to say that its been fun." Hermione looked almost as nervous as Harry felt. "So maybe, do you want to sit together on the train or something? I meant, do you, would you... be my friend?"
"Pardon?" Harry was caught off guard. He thought she just offered to be a friend.
Hermione paled, like she was expecting a refusal. "I said, do you want to be friends?" She paled even more. "I haven't really had many friends, and if you don't want to be, then that's fine I guess."
"Ummm, no, no, no!" Protested Harry quickly. "I wasn't saying no, I was just caught off guard!"
"So do you-?"
"Want to be friends?" Finished Harry with a slight grimace. "Well, sure. I can't say how good a friend I'll be though, since I can't really name a single friend I've had that's been a real person, but we can give being a friends a go. If it doesn't work out; I'm sure Hogwarts is a plenty big school for the two of us."
"Well thanks." The bushy haired girl finished with a mumble and a happy smile.
"Miss Granger, we really must be going." McGonagall gestured towards a train that had just pulled into the station. "Mr Potter, I shall see you in the term. Try not to blow something up before then."
"No promises." Declared Harry.
"I guess I'll see you in September."
"Right, bye Hermione."
"Bye." Hermione and McGonagall were submerged into the crowd that he had originally first seen them arrive from.
"A friend huh." Murmured Harry as he turned around and returned to the car park to signal a taxi. "That's new."
Either way, that would be something to look forwards too. Until then, Harry was going to read the hell out of his new school books and try out Finis' on some poor, defenceless tree's. Suffice to say, Harry was going to ensure that he was pretty damn prepared for his new school by the time his eleventh birthday passed by and September began; Hogwarts wouldn't know what hit it.
AN- Well, this chapter was pretty obligatory, it couldn't just be skipped. Next chapter we'll have Hogwarts and other stuff, please give it time. Some might complain about my interpretation of Harry's wand bonding, but come on, its an obvious shout out to Shinji and Warhammer 40K, that this fanfic is honouring for helping to inspire this story idea. It was all metaphorical mind you, and is just there to set up good stuff later on.
For those of you interested, Harry's wand name is Latin for 'Humanities Bound Arrogance'.
We have seven years to get through, Harry definitely won't steam roll through them; there will plenty of awesome stuff by the time all seven years are up. I'm also thinking of starting a forum to answer and discuss the future of this fic, since I have received so many reviews, and it would take an age to PM everyone to reply. So let me know what you think, and also drop a review if you feel like it.
Undying Soul out.