Author's Note: As I had previously received reviews on my fic A Different Future commenting on the fact that there wasn't that much written about Harry/Alex's years growing up with his adopted family, I have decided to write a series of one shots of scenes from his childhood.
Disclaimer for entire fic: Harry Potter belongs to the wonderful author J.K. Rowling and I am merely playing in her universe.
"Mummy, is it time to go now?" Alex asked, looking up at his mother excitedly. His twin sister, Beth, stood next to him, also excited. Their friend Ron was turning five tomorrow, and the twins' mother had promised to take them to Diagon Alley today so that they could buy their friend a birthday present.
In exchange for putting away their toys when they were done playing and helping their older cousins set the table at dinner (Alex's and Beth's job was putting out the utensils, since there was no fear of them breaking those), they each got five sickles a week pocket money. Normally they would spend the money on the occasional sweet, or to buy a new toy or picture book, but every so often they would save the money to buy birthday or Christmas presents for friends and family.
"In a few minutes," Ana said patiently. "We have to put on our coats and hats, since it's cold outside. Go grab your coats."
Alex and Beth cheered and ran to grab their coats from their hooks on the wall. Ana helped them put on their coats and hats, made sure their shoes were tied, and then led them to the living room so that they could Floo over to Diagon Alley. She held their hands so that they wouldn't get lost, and seconds later, they tumbled out the fireplace in the main room of the Leaky Cauldron. The three of them said hello to Tom, the bartender, and then headed to the back to enter Diagon Alley.
"Have you decided what you wanted to give Ron for his birthday, Beth and Alex?" Ana asked.
"I want to give him a new teddy bear," said Beth. "Fred an' George turned his old one to a spider 'cause he ax'dently broke their toy broom. Aunt Molly turned it back to a teddy, but Ron don't like it now."
"The word is 'accidentally'," Ana corrected, enunciating the word carefully so that Beth could hear how it was properly pronounced. "And it's 'doesn't like it now', not 'don't like it now'. What about you, Alex? What do you want to give Ron?"
Alex replied, "Ice cream!"
"Honey, you don't give ice cream as a birthday present," Ana said gently, smiling. "How about a box of sweets or a book, instead?"
Alex thought for a moment. "Can I get both? Ron likes chock-late, an' I saw a book 'bout a boy playin' Quidditch in the bookstore."
"If you have enough money, then you can, Alex." She led them to Flourish and Blotts, where Alex found the picture book he had mentioned. He took it to the counter, where the clerk smiled at him and told him that it cost two Sickles and five Knuts.
Alex took out his pouch of money from his pocket and clambered up a chair next to the counter so he could empty the pouch. Eight Sickles and twelve Knuts fell on top of the counter and he carefully counted out the two Sickles and five knuts and pushed them over to the clerk. As the clerk put the money in the register, Alex put the rest of his money back in his pouch. "You're really good at counting," said the clerk.
Alex grinned back at her. "Mummy taught me to count all the way to one hundred! I can read the ABC's, too!"
"That's wonderful!" exclaimed the clerk. "You're a very smart boy."
Alex nodded. "I am! Thank you for the comp-comp-sayin' nice stuff 'bout me. Bye-bye!" He took the book and climbed down from the chair. His mother led him and his sister out of the bookstore and took him down to the south end of Diagon Alley, where the sweets shop and toy store was located. Beth picked out a teddy bear that was wearing Gryffindor robes and holding a pretend wand in the toy store, and took it to the counter to pay for it. The clerk told her that the teddy cost two sickles and three knuts, and like Alex, Beth poured out the coins her money pouch and counted out the correct amount.
Next door at the sweets shop, Alex and Beth decided to buy the chocolate together, so they picked out a box of chocolate frogs to give to Ron. The clerk told them that the box cost four Sickles. The two exchanged looks and put their heads together to figure out how much money each of them should give, telling the clerk that they wanted to figure it out for themselves. After a few seconds, Alex remembered, "Daddy said two plus two is four! So I give two Sickles an' you give two."
Beth nodded and they each took out two Sickles from their pouches and handed it to the clerk. Ana put the box of chocolate frogs in her bag and said, "All right, let's go now. We can stop and say hello to Granny Ilsa at the potions store, and then go home to wrap the presents."
"'Kay, Mummy," said Beth. "Oh! An' we need to make Ron birthday cards! Can you help us write 'Happy Birthday'?"
"Yes, dear," said Ana, smiling down at her children. They walked out the sweets shop and to Petrov's Potions. Granny Ilsa was in the middle of brewing a potion, but she was able to pause long enough to greet her grandchildren, find out why they were visiting Diagon Alley, and hand them each a fruit drop out of the jar of the fruit drops that she brewed every two weeks and kept on hand to give to her grandchildren whenever they came by. The two thanked her and then Ana Flooed home with them.
While she wrapped up the gifts, Alex and Beth took out paper and crayons and each started drawing a birthday card for Ron. Their mother wrote "Happy Birthday!" on each, but they were able to write their own names and 'Dear Ron', having learned to do so shortly after their fourth birthdays. Beth drew a cake and balloons on hers, which were a little lopsided but otherwise looked fine. Alex drew Ron flying on a broom, along with his sister and friends (even though their friend Neville was only allowed on a toy broom that went no higher than two feet in the air and not a training broom). Being only four years old, Alex's picture was rather messy, but was recognizable enough as three girls and three boys flying.
Once they were done, Ana helped them tie the cards to their individual presents and then sent them to Uncle Remus, who would be giving them their daily lesson of learning how to read and practice writing the alphabet. At the moment, Beth and Alex were able to read short words like 'cat' and 'hop', and they were slowly working their way through a series of picture books by a Muggle writer named Dr. Seuss, ones like The Cat in the Hat and Yertle the Turtle.
"What would you like to read today?" asked Remus, smiling at the twins as they skipped into the living room.
"Green Eggs and Ham!" Alex exclaimed, and Beth nodded in agreement next to him.
"All right, Green Eggs and Ham it is," said Remus, taking the book out of the stack of Dr. Seuss books in front of him. "Sit down, please." He handed the book to Beth and continued, "You can read first, Beth."
"'Kay, Uncle Remmy," said Beth, opening the book to the first page. She slowly began reading, "'I am Sam. Sam I am. That Sam-I-am. That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am."
After a few more pages, in which Remus helped her with the words 'would' and 'anywhere', she was asked to stop reading and to hand the book to Alex.
He took the book from her and started reading where she left off. "'W-would you like them in a h-house? Would you like them with a m-mouse? I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse.'" A few pages later, Alex stopped and handed the book back to Beth, who continued reading about Sam-I-am asking 'could you, would you, on a train?' and 'would you, could you, in the dark?' Alex then read the last few pages, where the the person that refused to eat green eggs and ham finally agreed to try them and discovered that he liked them.
"Very good, Alex and Beth," Remus praised when they were done. "Now it's time for you to practice writing the alphabet." He handed them each a pencil and the notebooks they were using to practice writing in.
Fifteen minutes later, he ended the writing session and told the two that their daily lesson was over and they could go play until dinnertime. Beth and Alex thanked Remus for the lesson and the two then skipped off to Beth's room to build with their wooden blocks.