The next stop was Ollivander's, and Severus decided to just leave the boy inside and peruse the Apothecary's new batch of potion ingredients in the meantime.
The bell chimed, warning the shopkeeper that he had a new client. He made his way to the front desk, where a young boy was waiting, silently studying the displayed wands. The telltale messy black hair made him smile as he remembered the numerous generations of Potter he had seen walk in his shop, and each and every wand he had sold them. Though this one had an unsettling feel about him, and the air in the room somehow felt colder after his arrival. He had the nagging feeling that this boy was more than he pretended to be.
"What may I do for you today, Mr Potter?"
The boy turned toward him and his green eyes bore into his – the exact shade of the Death Curse. But that wasn't the most unsettling thing about them. What surprised him most was how ancient they felt. As if he'd already seen everything. He barely repressed a shiver. He had heard legends... But he never thought he'd ever meet him personally. Not before his time had come. No matter how grateful he was, sometimes he'd rather have done without the gifts of Lady Magic. Knowing too much could be more poisonous than not knowing at all.
"I need a wand," the Being stated, before turning back to the wands on display with a pensive expression. "Ebony and Dragon heartstring should be fine. 13 inches and limited flexibility, if possible." Ollivander looked at him strangely.
"I can bring one if you wish, but I must tell you that if the wand doesn't choose you, it's power will be reduced... It has always been so." The boy looked up at him with an annoyed expression.
"For wizards maybe. Now go fetch me that wand. Do not think that being one of Magic's favorites will spare you my ire. I am not nearly as inoffensive as I may look." The child's eyes flashed dangerously as he spoke the last words in a low voice. Ollivander knew better than to provoke one of the Ancients, and went to retrieve the desired object. It only took a few minutes for him to find the appropriate wand and bring it back to the front desk.
"Here it is."
The older man opened the case and handed the wand to the child, who silently pointed it to the desk's ink pot, lifting it in the air before turning it into a black snake with a swift movement of his wrist, then back into an ink pot, before blasting it against the wall with a quick flick of his wand. He hummed and twirled it in his fingers before nonchalantly pointing it back at the ruined ink pot, efficiently repairing it and replacing it on the desk. The child then looked up at him and smirked darkly.
"Not nearly as powerful as Elder and Thestral, but nice enough." Ollivander stared back.
"So the elder wand does exist."
"Of course it does. A wandmaker as famous as you should know that such a combination is difficult to make, but not impossible. Wandlore holds no secrets to the Ancients."
"Then why come to me?"
"Because it is expected of Harry Potter to go buy his first wand here. And I currently do not have all the materials I would need to make a satisfying wand myself. A more common tool might prove both useful and inconspicuous, if less efficient."
"Do you intend to create a second elder wand, then?" the shopkeeper asked warily.
"No. I have other ideas in mind." answered the green eyed boy while perusing the shelves on which laid several wand holsters. He tried a few on his left arm before settling on one and sheathing his wand, his shirt's sleeves effectively hiding both objects from sight. He then turned back to the wandmaker and gave him a calculating smile. "This one will be much more... Customized. Much like a modern version of Excalibur, if it goes accordingly to my wishes."
"Excalibur?" enquired the older man as the child walked up to him and put enough galleons on the counter to pay for his purchases.
"You will see, in due time." was his simple answer as he walked out of the shop, the bell on the door chiming once again. "Until then... Have a nice day, Mr Ollivander." were his parting words as the door closed and he disappeared in the street.
When Harry joined him in the apothecary, the potions master had already finished shopping for new potion ingredients, and had taken the liberty of creating a custom potions kit for the boy, stating that he wouldn't want anyone to think him the cause of the boy's potential "utter lack of skill in potion making". Harry cocked an eyebrow at the statement but didn't comment on it and simply accepted the goods after the professor shrunk them.
They then proceeded towards "Flourish & Blotts" to buy his school books. He found the required manuals easily and completed his collection with a few other books on the properties and use of plants, stones, gems and metals in magic, as well as more advanced books about spells, potions and wandlore. This time it was Snape's turn to raise an eyebrow and look at the child's choice of books quizzically, though he didn't comment either and silently shrunk them so Harry could put them in his pocket with the potions kit.
The next logical stop was to buy a trunk. Harry chose a black one with a simple and subtle dark grey design, along with silvery metal-plated edges. It also had several built-in charms and wards to protect its content. He didn't mind that it was more pricey than the others since it would allow him to keep potential nosey people away from his belongings. He then retrieved his potions kit and his books from his pockets and the shopkeeper un-shrunk them so they could put them in the trunk. The shopkeeper seemed mildly surprised to see the titles of some of his books but had the decency to keep his observations for himself. They left the shop once the trunk was shrunk and safely put away in his pocket.
"Now we have to go to Madam Malkin's to get you some school robes." said Snape as he perused the first year shopping list.
"Is that really necessary? It's not like I'm going to live at Hogwarts." The tall man sneered.
"Yes you are, Mr Potter. Fame does not make education unnecessary." The boy smirked. Smirked. At Severus Snape. While looking at him condescendingly. The potions master could have sworn that the world was turning backwards.
"Didn't our dear headmaster inform you of our little deal?" Harry asked, smiling and quite amused by the situation. Snape was beyond annoyed by his behavior.
"He might have... forgotten to mention it." the potions master answered shortly. The boy's cheshire cat smile grew wider.
"We had a little chat and we both agreed that having to to take boring classes and mingle all day long with stupid children who won't help but stare at me can only be detrimental to my mental health. I am thus... Dispensed of staying at Hogwarts. Though I will still have to produce the same amount of homework as the other students."
The professor looked at him curiously. The child looked back at him very seriously. His eyes were green like Lily's, but not the same shade, and much colder than hers ever were. He was not lying. Severus did not know of any precedent case of a Hogwarts student being dispensed of staying at the castle. Ever. He wondered what might have happened during that 'little chat' to make Albus Dumbledore bow to such a demand, especially from an 11 years old boy. Even the Dark Lord himself couldn't have achieved that with such apparent ease.
"And how did you achieve this, if I may ask?" answered the adult in a slow drawl. The child sent him a very bored look.
"I asked." He then added, as if it was obvious. "Politely."
"I will find out sooner or later, Mr Potter. Do not think you can fool me for long." The child smirked slightly at the last words.
"I can't wait to see you try, professor. This should prove most entertaining." The boy then looked around to the few people who had been attracted by their conversation and were staring at them. A few scurried away when he sent them an annoyed glare. "Now, no matter how much I enjoy this little conversation, I would appreciate if we could move on. Your casual use of my last name tends to attract far too much unwanted attention, and I would hate to see the efforts I spent trying to blend in spoiled so quickly." He then quirked an eyebrow at the professor and waited for his reaction.
Had the child's words not been directed at him, and had he not been a Potter, the potions master would have found the raven haired boy's personality and comebacks rather amusing.
"You will still need some school robes for the sorting ceremony and the exam sessions, which are mandatory. Even for you." And he closed the conversation by entering Madam Malkin's shop in a very dramatic way, his black cloak trailing behind him. The child followed, his eyes shining with amusement at the older man's behavior.
And the bystanders stared at the closing door of the clothes shop, wondering who on earth could give birth to and raise a child insane enough to stand up to the infamous potions master of Hogwarts, and get away with it.
Madam Malkin's shop was rather... dull in his eyes. The clothes were often flashy and of average quality. He liked making an impression, by wearing simple yet high-end clothes. It showed that he possessed power, but without unnecessary vanity. And keeping up with human trends had long ago become nothing more than a bother. Especially when he had to blend in among both muggles and wizards.
He nevertheless complied when the rather squat witch took his measurements before disappearing in the back of the shop and perused the variety of clothes she offered while waiting for her to come back with his tailor-made school robes. He quickly noticed a rather nice looking pair of black dragonhide boots and a couple of black robes with silvery designs on the sleeves, which while not being of the same quality he was used to, may not seem too far fetched on the smart, young and wealthy wizard that was Harry Potter. As he pondered whether to buy these now or wait to come back another time and get some higher grade outfits at Twilfitt and Tatting's, Madam Malkin came back and noticed him looking at the outfits.
"Nice robes, aren't they?" she commented while handing him a set of bland black school robes to try on. "You can try them on if you want, darling. I'll adjust them for you." she added, smiling at him.
He nodded his approval while she checked how the school robes fit on him. Once satisfied, she motioned for him to hand them back and gave him the black and silvery robes to try on, along with the boots and a few grey and green shirts that she told him 'would bring his eyes out more'. He complied and tried them on as the witch walked around him before stopping in front of him once again. She seemed quite pleased with herself.
"Very good! This really does suit you, darling!" He stopped himself from making a face at her use of the word 'darling' and instead focused on how the clothes fit him.
"Hm... I am in need of wizard robes anyway so I might as well take these too." he replied as he studied the reflects of the light on his sleeves' silver embroidery.
The professor Snape showed himself again once Harry had paid for his goods and they made their way towards the exit. The latter decided not to mention the adult's probable sulking over their earlier conversation and simply followed him to their next destination.
When they finally stopped in front of the Magical Menagerie, Professor Snape pulled the first year list out of his pockets.
"Well, if you want a pet, now is the time. A cat, an owl or a toad." The child looked at the displayed animals through the shop's front windows and frowned.
"Well, that's boring. Why the limited choice?"
"If we allowed each student to bring whichever pet they choose, it wouldn't be a school anymore but a menagerie." He then muttered, "That damn groundkeeper's already troublesome enough with his pet monsters..."
"Well, it's not as if I were going to stay there. So whichever pet I choose, it won't be any trouble for the school staff." the green eyed teen answered before opening the shop door and entering. He didn't see the black haired man's scowl behind his back and instead focused on what kind of interesting animals the shop offered.
He was more used to simply picking up interesting and smart creatures he'd meet on his journeys across the world. In these circumstances, however, he'd have to choose the less conspicuous option. Being famous may give him some power over most people, but that also meant that they'd pay attention to his every move. He wouldn't be able to get away with the vague excuses he used when his host was just one seemingly unimportant person among so many others.
He started walking down the aisles, distractedly listening to the displayed creatures' more or less coherent chit-chat.
As a Being, he had instinctive understanding of any kind of language, be it spoken through words like the humans, or through gestures and various noises like most animals. After all, it would be quite a handicap for him if he couldn't at least do that much, especially considering the fact that he could have taken any kind of living being as a host.
He would need a messenger, but an owl was far too average for him. Nonetheless, a winged pet would be more useful than an earthbound creature.
An eagle stared at him, ruffling his feathers haughtily. He considered it but decided that such a pet would stand out far too much, regardless of its hunting abilities. And prideful pets were bound to be a pain when it came to discipline.
The next cage contained a magical parakeet who changed colors endlessly and looked at him with the bird equivalent of puppy eyes. Just looking at its feathers hurt his eyes. He wondered who would be foolish enough to want to create such a thing.
He turned toward another cage containing two rather bored crows looking at him while pecking at a rat's remains. He smirked. They made him think about Odin's crow messengers from the Norse mythology.
The crows just stared back at him, as if to say 'What do you think, dumbass?'
"Well, I might have a job for you if you're interested."
The one on the right inclined his head, staring at him quizzically, while the one on the left went back to pecking at the rat's corpse without paying him much more attention.
"Ah, my boy, I don't think they understand you, you know. They're muggle crows." said the shop owner, walking toward him and stopping on his left. He was a tall man with a few stray hair on his head, a long pointy nose and little black eyes that made him look like some strange overgrown vulture, featherless and not very menacing.
"How much would you ask for them both?"
"Oh! Uhm... I'd sell them 10 galleons each, but I can sell you both for 15." the man answered quickly. He watched as the child turned back toward the cage and looked at the birds thoughtfully. The shop's owner continued hesitantly "Though I don't think they'd be allowed at Hogwarts, if that is where you're studying. I have some nice owls though, if you want to see them..."
"That will not be a problem." answered the green eyed child, cutting him off. The professor chose that moment to make his glorious comeback, leaning against the crows' cage and smirking mockingly.
"And here I though a self proclaimed genius like you would choose a pet that represents wisdom, and not a scavenger hulking around cemeteries." The child's lime green eyes focused on him.
"Would you rather I chose a snake, professor?" Snape cocked an eyebrow.
"They are knowledgeable creatures in asian culture. Did you not know?" the child asked in return, smiling politely at him, but looking more like a sly fox than any innocent creature. Snape scowled back at him before replying.
"Most people on this side of the world tend to think about greek or roman mythology, where the sign of wisdom is the owl."
"But owls are far too boring for me. I might have considered a snake but their uses are more... Limited. Especially when it comes to their means of locomotion." Snape scowled again. The boy turned back towards the shop owner.
"I'll take them both, then."
The shop owner looked hesitantly between the professor and the child, unsure of what to do, before settling his gaze on the boy.
"What kind of cage do you want?" The boy looked at him with the same bored expression as the crows before turning toward the cage. He opened it and patted the crows, making quiet birdlike sounds. The crows rustled and croaked back before perching on his hand and shoulder.
The shop owner stared at them while the dark haired professor was showing mild interest at their behavior. The boy turned back toward him and smirked, petting the crow perched on his left hand.
"I don't think a cage will be necessary. Huginn and Muninn should behave adequately without one. Crows are smart creatures too." He pulled some galleons from his pocket and handed them to the shop owner.
"Huginn and Muninn?" the professor asked when they left the shop
"I thought they suited the legend." The child looked up at him, waiting for the tall man's answer. The latter snorted derisively.
"No matter how highly you see yourself, Mr Potter, you definitely do not possess the built to compare yourself to the god Odin." The child smirked at the statement and Severus glared at him.
I hope you liked this chapter! :)
Sorry for not uploading in a long time. ^^' I've been kinda busy, between my studies and other things. (I've been drawing on photoshop a lot recently, and that takes a good amount of time...)
This concludes the Diagon Alley part, and next up will be the Hogwarts express.
As usual, any comment/review/suggestion you might want to share is welcome!
PS: I hope the characters' personalities weren't too OOC or inconsistent... I just discovered how hard it can be to reproduce/create a consistent personality for characters.
And thanks again to Risika Kiisu Seto for beta-ing this story and giving me lots of wonderful ideas! XD