OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:I don't own anything except the fanfic itself. The cake is a fake and the pie is a lie.
So this is my attempt at a new fanfic instead of yet another Naruto crossover with the same characters I've been using for the past two years. For those of you who actually wanted me to do that, sorry xD. I might go back to that every once in a while, but for now I'm going to try my hand at this and see what happens.
One of the first things you will note in this fic is the fact that I've moved up the HP timeline by twenty years. This was mostly done because I don't want to break my mind trying to remember what the world was like in the 90s, just in case a need to actually do so comes up. I was just a wee lad at the time, and not one that paid much attention to his surroundings.
Another thing is that there are no pairings listed. This is done on purpose, because evenIdon't know who Harry will end up with, if he will even end up with anyone. I do have certain females in mind, but I tend to make things up as I go rather than having it planned, so nothing is for sure. Please don't ask me about pairings in reviews or in PM's, it will just make me feel bad about ignoring you.
I will try to avoid fanfiction cliches, but considering how many of them there are, it's probably inevitable that I'll use a few. I will try to avoid bashing any characters for example, even though some of them make it way too easy.
Extra special thanks go to Joe Lawyer, who agreed to act as a beta and helped me improve this chapter to the point where it actually felt worth uploading.
Minor thanks go to kishinokurobi, whose sarcastic feedback in poorly typed out English that was worthy of an American stereotype served to amuse me. It also gave me a second opinion that the first chapter wasn't totally horrible, but the amusement was more important.
On November 1st, 2001, wizards and witches all across Britain and even Europe were celebrating the fall of the Dark Lord Voldemort the previous night. Most of the credit for this was falling on the shoulders of Harry Potter, toddler extraordinare. The logical incongruity of a year old baby defeating a full fledged Dark Lord was ignored in the wave of relief at the unexpected turn of good fortune.
Albus Dumbledore was one of the few who were not celebrating. He strongly suspected that Voldemort was not truly dead and he knew the prophecy. Harry Potter had to be kept safe from the retaliation of his former student's supporters. He also knew that Killing Curses did not get reflected on fits of whimsy. Indeed, they were not supposed to get reflected at all.
The magical backlash of what happened had wiped away all traces of evidence that could be used to determine the truth of events, but he strongly suspected the machinations of Harry's parents to be the cause. Or at the very least, the machinations of Lily Potter. Alas, he would likely never know for certain what kind of protection had been invoked.
What he did know however, was that the protection still lingered in young Harry Potter's blood. That could be used to keep the boy safe until it was time for him to come to Hogwarts. He would still need to consider the implications of the shard of Voldemort's soul that was lodged in the lightning bolt scar, but he fortunately had time to do that instead of needing to make rash decisions.
Though it pained him to do it, he drained Lily Potter's still cooling body of blood and used it to establish a powerful blood ward around the residence of Petunia Dursley, forging a bond between Lily's squib sister and young Harry that would anchor the ward without need for a heart stone or ley line.
He obliviated this knowledge from the minds of the Dursleys, rightfully assuming that they would not be happy about his actions.
Then he left the newly orphaned baby on their doorstep with a note and left, certain that Harry Potter would be well cared for and safe until it was time for him to rejoin the Wizarding World.
It should be noted that Dumbledore had aquired several cognitive deficiences over the course of his long life. The two that were relevant in this situation was his certainty that he always knew best and his unwillingness to understand that people could have any other feelings aside from love for their family.
Vernon and Petunia Dursley were none too pleased at the disruptive addition to their comfortable normalcy. They knew Harry was a wizard and loathed what he represented, which easily transferred to the boy himself. Dudley, being an impressionable child, picked up on this and emulated it.
To be fair, there had been a chance for things to go better. After all, Harry was only a small child and any person who was not completely soulless would have their heart softened in the presence of an innocent baby. Perhaps he would not have been treated quite as well as Dudley and would always know that he had been an unwelcome addition to the family, but he would have been raised with more kindness than many received.
But Harry was a magical child and things happened when he got upset. Small children got upset often and that was without the added trauma of seeing their mother murdered right in front of them, even if he was too young to understand what had happened or to truly remember it.
With every occurence of something levitating to his hands because he wanted it or food being banished because he didn't want it, the fragile tolerance of the Dursleys diminished. This led to harsher treatment that in turn led to more distress for Harry and to ever more instances of accidental magic in a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.
It came to a head one day when Harry was six. Dudley was picking on him as he often did and Harry was both frightened and angry. In a fit of prepubescent rage, he wanted Dudley to be hurt just like he was being hurt. The already obese boy was launched across the room, breaking one of Petunia's favorite lamps and cutting Dudely up bad enough that he would need stitches, as well as leaving him badly bruised.
That proved to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. The very next day, Vernon took a day off from work and drove Harry to an orphanage in London. He didn't even bother speaking to the people in charge, merely ordering him out of the car and telling him to knock on the door, accompanied by harsh warnings to never reveal who he'd been living with until then.
Harry had been honestly terrified at the purple faced rage on Vernon's face, so he obeyed.
Harry had been tentatively hopeful about his new lot in life at first. Yes, it was an orphanage and he'd been told some horror stories about it, but at least the people here wouldn't hate him the way he could remember the Dursleys doing for his whole life. They wouldn't hit him for any infraction, perceived or imagined, or deny him food out of some vain hope to get rid of his 'freakishness'. Hopefully.
That hope didn't last more than a couple of days.
Young children were incredibly selfish creatures, not possessing much empathy and prone to thoughtless cruelty for the most inane of reasons. A strangely shaped scar on one's forehead was more than enough reason to turn just another orphan into a target.
Despite his previous experiences and his desire to not worsen the situation for himself, the outbursts of accidental magic resumed. Unfortunately, the age of six was not characterized by robust emotional strength, so this was more or less inevitable. It didn't take long until the matron of the orphanage learned of these supernatural events.
The woman was old and very strict. She had to be to manage several dozen children at her age. More importantly, she was very religious and quickly classified Harry's bursts of accidental magic as witchcraft. Correct though she was, it did not make Harry's life any easier.
It did give Harry some idea of what these strange occurences were though.
About a year after Harry's arrival in the orphanage, he ended up being adopted.
A rich couple by the name of Robert and Katherine Shaw came by, looking for a child to adopt. They were instantly taken by Harry's emerald green eyes and raven black hair. The lightning bolt scar did bother them a bit, but not enough to detract from his other features and even that seemed to pass once they learned he'd gotten it in the car crash that killed his parents.
Though excited by the possibility of having a real family, Harry retained enough learned cynicism to be distrustful of his sudden good fortune.
It quickly became obvious to him that the Shaws wanted a status symbol rather than a son, which was the entire reason they had been so careful to pick a boy with striking features. Even the scar was something that could be used as a conversational segue into a bit of subtle bragging about how they had taken in an orphan that had lost his parents in such a horrible way.
He ate what he was told to eat, partook in activities they told him to partake in, studied hard in school and with the tutors they hired for him and smiled at people that he was told to smile at, even though he would like nothing better than to go somewhere that he could be alone.
There was little in the way of parental affection involved, but Harry had already lowered his expectations in life considerably by that point. He ate well, was not hit or berated for things he had no control over and there were no other children around to pick on him. It was the best he'd ever had it and didn't want to go back. The matron at the orphanage had made no mention of his magic to the Shaws and Harry had no intention of doing so either. Others knowing about it had always brought him trouble.
In his free time he researched mythology, read fantasy books, or played role playing games on his computer.
And when he was alone, he practiced his magic.
To: Harry Potter
74 Cromwell Road
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.
Albus Dumbledore stared uncomprehendingly at the adress on Harry Potter's Hogwarts acceptance letter. That was not anywhere close to Privet Drive in Surrey. What in the world was the Boy-Who-Lived doing in one of the most affluent areas of muggle Londom and how had he gotten there?
If he hadn't taken a peek at the automatically written letter out of curiousity, he wouldn't have even known it. This was something that bore investigation and then an extended period of pondering on the acquired information. Clearly, simply sending the letter was not an option. A teacher would have to go and make the visit personally, but who to send?
Though he had faith that Severus would not let his grudge towards James Potter affect his conduct towards the man's son, the taciturn Potions Master had long made it clear that he would not have any more interaction with children than was absolutely necessary.
Filius would have no idea how to navigate muggle London and neither would a large part of the remaining staff for that matter. Oh, they would find the house just fine, but they would be too conspicuous.
Hagrid was out of the question for the same reason. Subtlety was not the half giant's forte.
That essentially left himself and Minerva, and the Headmaster could not show such blatant interest in a particular child.
Minerva was not going to be pleased with him and would no doubt once again have some choice words to say about his decision to place Harry with the Dursleys, but she would at least be happy to see the son of her favorite students.
He could find out what sequence of events led to the current situation from her, or failing that by paying a discreet visit to 74 Cromwell Road himself.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Robert Shaw asked flatly, putting down the Hogwarts letter.
Minerva McgGonnagal ruthlessly kept herself from shifting uncomfortably in the obviously expensive sitting room she was in.
These two rich muggles had regarded her with thinly veiled disapproval that was eerily similar to what a traditionalist pureblood family might give a muggleborn ever since she had shown up on their doorstep. Well, that was not entirely true. It was not as intense, nor as obviously discourteus, but it was clear that they didn't like her.
She wasn't normally the type to be made uncomfortable by having snobbish behavior aimed at her, or to tolerate it for that matter, but this was a special case.
These were apparently Harry Potter's foster parents and it made her skin crawl to think of the beautiful baby she remembered growing up to be a self-entitled brat like she suspected the Malfoy scion was going to be.
Though the lad himself seemed more curious than judgemental. His hair was cut fairly short, openly displaying his scar and a lot more tame than that of his father. He didn't seem to have inherited James' poor eyesight either, but his face was very similar. His eyes shone a bright green just like his mother's.
"I assure you, it is no joke." She replied stiffly. "Mr. Potter has been enrolled in Hogwarts by his parents before their deaths and has a place waiting for him."
The Shaws still looked sceptical.
"Would a demonstration convince you?" She asked, getting tentative nods in return.
Thinking it better to do something more minor than tranfiguring a piece of furniture into an animal, she took out her wand and levitated an empty tea cup.
The Shaw's stared in shock at the levitating bit of procelain.
"I see." Mr. Shaw said weakly. His wife merely looked stunned.
"Did my parents really die in a car crash?" Harry inquired politely.
"A car crash?!" Minerva spluttered. "Of all the...they most certainly did not!"
"How did they die then?"
Minerva held back a grimace. She'd been so outraged at the notion of a powerful pair of magicals like James and Lily dying in something as mundane as a muggle car crash that she hadn't even considered that she would now need to explain to him that they had been murdered by a Dark Lord.
And so the whole sordid tale came out. Minerva could clearly see that the Shaw's were discomfited by it, but Harry offered little reaction aside from occasionally asking a question. In turn, Minerva learned how Harry had come into the care of his foster parents. Hearing that she'd been even more right about the Dursleys than she'd known when she'd warned Dumbledore against placing him there nearly had her going into a proper Scottish rage, but the fact that he was away from them now calmed her down somewhat.
She would still be having some very strong words with Albus on the subject however.
Despite learning about magic, the Shaws were far from sold on the idea of letting Harry go to Hogwarts even though his tuition had already been paid for. They seemed quite set on the idea of sending him off to a muggle university instead of having him learn magic, despite Minerva's best efforts to convince them otherwise.
It was only upon her reluctant admittance that they would have their memories of this conversation removed if Harry did not go that they subsided. That was not a part of Wizarding culture that Minerva was proud of, but they couldn't just let any muggles who refused their child's Hogwarts invitation know about magic.
She was even less proud of the fact that she knew that the Boy-Who-Lived would never be allowed the choice to stay away from the magical world. He was simply too high profile and there was no doubt in her mind that the Minister of Magic would use some kind of legal loophole to have him removed from the care of the Shaws if he did not come willingly. The consequences of that decision did not bear thinking about.
"The Dursleys abandoned him in an orphanage?" Dumbledore asked in disbelief.
"I told you they were the worst kind of muggles!" Minerva spat. "I told you that it was a mistake to leave him there."
Dumbledore sighed regretfully. Truly, there had been little choice in the matter. Harry had been safest there, and he had to be kept away from the Wizarding World. Both of those were paramount. He could only hope that he would not have another Tom Riddle on his hands.
"At least it all turned out well." He said. "What is he like?"
"Polite and well mannered." She answered, a small frown still on her face. "He was interested in learning magic, though his foster parents were clearly not so taken with it. I have already told him that I would be returning in a few days to escort him on his first trip to Diagon Alley."
"I could have Hagrid escort young Harry, I know that you are busy." Dumbledore offered.
"Absolutely not!" McGonagall near snapped. "Good man though he is, Hagrid is in no way a suitable choice for introducing someone to magic and Mr. Potter is for all intents and purposes a muggleborn."
Dumbledore suppressed a frown. He had some tests planned for Harry and there was certain information that the boy needed to come across in order for that to work. But no matter, he could work around his deputy easily enough. He would just need to carefully time when to send Hagrid to pick up the Philosopher's Stone.
"Very well, if you feel you can fit another trip to Diagon Alley into your schedule, then by all means."
"This is the entrance to Diagon Alley?"
Minerva smiled slightly at the confused tone in Harry's voice. She supposed that the Leaky Cauldron really did look a bit dingy compared to the surrounding buildings.
"Indeed Mr. Potter." She confirmed. "Remember that you are quite famous in the Wizarding World. I would suggest that you put that cap of yours on."
Harry grimaced a bit but put the generic cap on his head. It would do a good enough job of hiding his scar to prevent a scene from happening. He was a bit dubious about this supposed fame of his, but wasn't willing to chance it in case the stern professor wasn't exaggerating.
They passed through the Leaky Cauldron without incident and were soon in Diagon Alley proper.
If not for the robes everyone was wearing, Harry would have though they'd stepped back in time. The Alley itself featured a cobblestone road that was far too narrow to be modern and a variety of similarly smallish buildings selling all manner of strange things.
"Come along Mr. Potter, our first stop is Gringotts, the wizard's bank." McGonagall said quietly, not wanting to give away his identity.
"What are those?" He asked with surprise as he saw a pair of obviously non-human guards.
"Goblins." She answered shortly. "A clever folk, and good with money. They are not the most pleasant sort, nor fond of wizards, but treat them respectfully and you should be fine."
Harry nearly stopped to stare at her incredulously. Goblin bankers? That was quite the departure from the fantasy stereotype of stupid, smelly creature that were typically used as cannon fodder. They were probably even more vicious though. Even human bankers were generally more vicious than a fantasy goblin; a fantasy goblin would just kill you, but a banker would take everything you own and make you kill yourself. That was what he'd gathered from the occasional grumbling of his foster father at any rate.
"Professor McGonagall!" A booming, jovial voice called out. "Fancy meetin' you here."
"Hagrid." Minerva greeted, giving the half-giant a small smile. "Are you heading to Gringotts as well?"
"Aye, Dumbledore's got me pickin' up the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen." Hagrid said with a sense of pride before looking at Harry. "Is this...?"
McGonagall wanted to palm her face at the casual way that the big man was blurting out secrets in the middle of the street. Why the Headmaster trusted him to do something as important as picking up the Philosopher's Stone she had no idea. Hagrid would certainly do the job, but he was liable to inform everyone he came across what he was doing without even realizing it.
"Yes Hagrid, it is." McGonagall said sternly, willing him to pick up on her desire to keep quiet.
Alas, the effort was wasted on the half-giant.
"I haven't seen yeh since you were a wee baby." Hagrid said emotionally. "When I picked yeh up from-"
"Hagrid!" The transfiguration professor hissed, seeing that merely hinting wasn't going to cut it if they wanted to avoid having him inadvertently inform the whole street of Harry's identity.
"Wha-oh!" Hagrid's eyes widened, finally realizing the need for some subtlety. "Err, right. Name's Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. Look forward to seein' you there come September first."
"Pleasure meeting you." Harry said politely, wondering how exactly this huge man had known him as a baby.
The three of them went into the bank together, with Hagrid quickly splitting off on his own to finish the errand he'd been sent to do.
"What's the You-Know-What?" Harry asked, not really expecting an answer.
"Never you mind." McGonagall said quickly.
Harry simply nodded. Obviously, they weren't going to tell an eleven year old if they were being so cryptic in the first place. It almost felt like the start of a side-quest, but that was ridiculous and probably a result of one too many RPGs being played. Real life didn't have quest cues for player characters.
Teacher and prospective student stepped up to one of the numerous goblin tellers.
"Greetings, Mr. Potter here needs to make a withdrawal from his trust vault." McGonagall said, already presenting a golden key.
"Excuse me, trust vault?" Harry interjected, latching on to the words. "Does that mean that there is also a main vault."
"Of course, but you will not have access to it until you are of age." The goblin teller replied, his tone implying that Harry was annoying him.
Harry was much too excited by the idea to care about that though, and merely pressed on with his line of questioning. "Would it be possible to discuss my account with whoever is managing it?"
"There really is no need for this, Mr. Potter." MyGonnagal tried to dissuade him. "Your trust vault will be more than sufficient for your school supplies, likely for all seven years of them."
He would not be put off though. This inheritance represented financial independence and therefore freedom from Robert and Katherine Shaw. Life with them was not terrible, but if given the choice to get away from them and live on his own, he would barely even bother saying goodbye. He had a closer relationship with the cleaning lady that came by once a week.
You would think that they would start to feel some affection for each other over the past few years, but that was just not happening. The Shaws were ambitious social climbers that were only married as a business arrangement that benefited them both. Expecting them to suddenly develop parental feelings was futile and kept their interactions decidedly cool. Cordial, but cool. Even the LASIK eye surgery they had insisted he get had been motivated more by their ambitions than any concern about his vision, the fact that they had handwaved any possible risk had demonstrated that quite clearly. What they had was a relationship of mutual exploitation and nothing more. He played the part of the adopted son with the tragic backstory that did the best he could. In exchange he lived in comfort and was left alone to do his own thing when they didn't need him for something.
So no, there was simply no way in Hell that he was missing out on an opportunity to find out as much as possible about whatever inheritance his real parents had left him.
"I'm the only Potter left, aren't I?" He challenged. "It's only right that I take an interest in the family finances."
McGonagall pursed her lips, obviously disapproving. Either because she thought it was unnecessary or because she thought that an eleven year old had no business trying to manage a wealthy family estate, Harry couldn't say.
There was a hint of approval in the goblin's reply though. "Wait here, I will inquire if the account manager for the Potters has time to meet with you."
"Thank you." Harry said sincerely, getting an inscrutably gruesome smile in return.
As luck would have it, the Potter account manager did have time. He was an older goblin by the name of Gorefist, the implications of which had Harry wondering if banking was their day job and slaughtering peasants just a hobby. He really, really wanted to ask, but figured it would be a bad idea to possibly offend the person in charge of his money.
"I must admit that I am surprised that you would want to speak to me already, Mr. Potter." Gorefist began. "After all, you cannot touch any of the Potter finances aside from those in your trust vault until you are of age, something that I am certain you were informed of by the teller."
Harry heard the implicit 'Why are you wasting my time?'.
"I don't suppose there is any way to...accelerate...my coming of age?" He inquired.
Gorefist looked at him as if he was an idiot.
"Mr. Potter, we are a bank, not a government office. You could of course ask to go through the goblin trials of adulthood, if you wished to do so. That we could offer you."
Something about Gorefist's words and expression made Harry doubt the wisdom of this.
"I get the feeling that these trials were not designed with humans in mind and would likely be hazardous to my health, so I'm afraid that I'll have to decline."
Gorefist barked an amused laugh. "Hah, you are surprisingly sensible for a wizard. Did you have any other clever ideas for prematurely getting your hands on your inheritance, or are you quite finished wasting both our time?"
"I would like an accounting of the Potter family assets." Harry insisted.
"Very well." Gorefist grumbled, taking some documents out of his desk. "The Potter family liquid assets amount to 343,709 galleons and an exta one thousand on your trust vault. The main vault also holds assorted heirlooms and artefacts acquired over the years."
"Is there an inventory of these items?" Harry interjected eagerly, his mind on all the cool enchanted gear that might be in there.
"No. Gringotts merely stores the items, we do not care what they are."
"I see." Harry said, disappointed.
Gorefist paid him no mind as he continued to speak. "Of the land holdings, Potter Manor is all that remains. It has lain empty since the deaths of your paternal grandparents."
Harry was happy to learn that he had a whole manor to himself. He knew that he wouldn't be able to move into it alone, but it was good to have a place. Something was bothering him about all this though. All that money couldn't exist in a vacuum, there had to be some sort of business involved.
"Does the Potter family own any kind of business venture?" He inquired.
"Not anymore." Gorefist said bluntly. "As the name implies, your family used to produce various pottery, both artistic and practical. They also owned a reasonably sized vineyard."
"What happened to to them? Did they go bankrupt?" Harry asked.
"Not as such." Gorefist grunted. "The Parkinson family made overtures to buy both after the death of Charlus Potter, to which the managers at the time agreed. With your father in hiding, he was unaware of this and could not contest it."
"I see." Harry said again, frowning. He would have to find out about these Parkinsons.
"I can do whatever I want with my trust vault, is that right?"
"Is the gold in my trust vault a fixed amount or does it get periodically replenished?"
"The latter. It is filled up to one thousand galleons on every birthday until you become of age."
"Then I would like to move the contents of my trust vault to a new one, and to have this repeated every year."
Gorefist raised an eyebrow. While it was not exactly the height of cunning to figure out this type of scheme(pureblood heirs thought of it all the time), it did show that the boy had some definite plans for that money.
"There is a substantial fee attached to such services." He said with a cutthroat smile.
"What kind of fee?" Harry asked suspiciously.
Harry gaped at the goblin for a moment before he regained the power of speech. "That's as good as robbery!"
"You could also wait until you are of age." Gorefist offered, smirking at the glower that the boy wizard was aiming at him. He would have been willing to go lower, but he was pretty sure that the young Potter heir was desperate enough for the money to agree even to that exorbitant fee and Gringott's didn't do charity. Especially not for wizards.
There was a long silence before Harry gave his answer.
"I hope you enjoy the gold you extorted from an eleven year old child." He said, his words clipped and angry.
"That is the best kind of gold." Gorefist replied, feeling quite pleased with himself. Fleecing the idiot wizards was a favorite pastime of the goblins. Not as good as killing them, but it was a decent enough substitute.
McGonagall's mood was noticeably more sour when Harry came out of Gringott's. He got the feeling that she was a woman that was used to getting her way with children and didn't appreciate being kept waiting. Harry decided that he didn't like her too much. His upbringing had left him with a distaste for bossy, authoritative people that were used to getting their way.
Not to mention that his own mood was not exactly sunshine and daisies after the meeting with Gorefist.
The first stop after that was Madam Malkin's Robes for all Occasions. Despite McGonagall's warning about the effects of people seeing his scar, Madam Malkin stayed professional. It gave him hope that it wasn't as bad as she'd claimed.
He came out of the robe shop feeling decidedly ridiculous, but he did blend in better now.
The trunk shop and apothecary were next, both of which passed without incident. It was in the book shop that he once again tried the patience of the transfiguration mistress.
"Ancient Runes and Arithmancy are electives that you can choose to take in third year, you will not need those books before then." She was saying.
"I'm buying them now." Harry insisted.
Ancient Runes sounded fascinating and he wanted to know what it was about. As for Arithmancy...he'd simply never thought that math could be applied to magic.
He wasn't a mathematical genius by any stretch, having slogged through the material his school and tutors assigned him with the grim determination of someone who had no choice. He had gotten good grades, but math was simply not something that had ever interested him.
Math as it applied to magic though? That was interesting and something that he would cheerfully dive into.
McGonagall released an impatient sigh and muttered something indistinct about raven claws. He had no idea what that was supposed to mean, but her attitude baffled him. Weren't teachers supposed to be happy when students wanted to read ahead?
The book shop was also the place where he had his first encounter with his fame, though it was not because someone had recognized him.
There were books, a whole series of books, about his supposed adventures after the defeat of Voldemort. Obviously, these adventures were entirely made up. He couldn't possibly have been riding a dragon at the age of five for example.
Harry could only stare in disbelief at the assortment of books. At the age of eleven, his knowledge of the law was not exactly extensive, but he was pretty sure that using him as a main character in a book series without his permission was illegal.
The knowledge that the vast majority of his inheritance would remain out of reach for quite a few more years still fresh in his mind, Harry got an idea about squeezing some extra money out of this situation. He promptly added a book on wizarding law to his purchase, as well as those books about him. For all he knew, it wasn't illegal in the Wizarding World to pull a stunt like this, but he would definitely find out.
Though annoyed by the liberties taken by the author, if her stupidity gave him an easy path to independent wealth, he would thank her. In the privacy of his own thoughts. After he sued her out of house and home.
Though he had long wanted a pet, Harry did not find any animals in Magical Menagerie that appealed to him. Maybe some other day.
The last stop of the day was the wand shop, Ollivander's. He couldn't quite point his finger at it, but there was a kind of unidentifiable tingle in the air.
"Good afternoon." The soft greeting came from behind, causing Harry to give a start.
"Hello." Harry returned the greeting with akward caution. There was something about the man and his silvery eyes that was decidedly off-putting.
"Ah, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon Harry Potter." The man continued, heedless of the discomfort.
"Must you frighten every child I bring here for a wand, Garrick?" McGonagall asked with exasperation.
"Minerva, Minerva McGonagall. Fir with dragon heartstring, nine and a half exceptional wand for transfiguration." Ollivander rattled off.
"Yes Garrick, I know. You tell me that every time I come here."
Harry had to suppress a smile at the weary note in the transfiguration teacher's voice. The old wandmaker apparently enjoyed reciting that information often.
"Well then Mr. Potter, let us find your wand." Ollivander said, handing him a wand. "Try this one. Beechwood and dragon heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. Give it a wave."
Harry took the wand, feeling his skin tingle where it came into contact with the wood. He gave it a wave as instructed, feeling a little foolish.
A weak stream of multi-colored sparks streamed from the end of the wand.
"A match on the first try?" McGonagall asked in surprise.
"No, I don't think so." Ollivander said as he snatched the wand away, his eyes suddenly calculating. "Try this one Mr. Potter. Maple and phoenix feather..."
Harry tried it, getting a similar result. Ollivander looked as if he was suspicious of something and Harry had the bad feeling that it was about his attempts to cast magic wandlessly. Fortunately, the old man didn't comment.
More wands came and went, producing varying results. Eventually they came to a holly wand with phoenix feather that had a much stronger reaction than any of the others so far. He felt something powerful connect to his magic and pull on it, the wand releasing a great stream of sparks with every movement until it settled down.
"Curious, very curious." Ollivander muttered.
"What is?" Harry asked.
"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr . Potter." The wandmaker said heavily. "Every single one, and I can tell you that the phoenix who donated the feather for that wand gave only one other. That other feather rests in the wand that gave you that scar on your head. It is very curious that you should be chosen by the brother wand to that of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
Harry tried really hard not to think it, but it was useless. That sounded undeniably like an important part of the plot for a main questline. Good thing that the Dark Lord was dead, or he would probably end up in some kind of predestined mission to defeat him.
Or maybe he'd played too many RPGs.
"I think we must expect great things from you Mr. Potter." Ollivander was still saying. "After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things, terrible yes, but great."
Somewhat unnerved by the creepy old man, Harry was still getting that 'main questline' vibe.
Harry sighed in relief as he sank into the seats of the Hogwarts Express.
Getting away from the Shaws for ten months of the year for the next seven years sounded almost perfect. Almost, because he'd gathered that magicals were technologically retarded and Harry had grown rather fond of his computer and all that it provided. Living in a modern day replica of the seventeenth century was going to be a pain.
Parchment and quills indeed! He'd bought notebooks and ballpoint pens in bulk as soon the shopping trip with McGonagall was over. There was tradition and then there was being stupid.
Speaking of McGonagall, Harry wondered if she even realized that she'd been wearing a man's business suit from the fifties and a travel bag instead of a purse on her first visit. She had made quite the impression on the status obsessed Shaws by showing up dressed like some kind of hipster. A bad impression that was.
Probably not, if the robes were anything to go by. Harry would admit to having the occasional daydream of being a fantasy wizard like in one of his games or books, flinging about bolts of fire and lightning while they billowed around him, but the reality of wearing a robe made him feel kind of silly.
And speaking of silly...
Harry took out his wand. Holly with phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple. Whatever that meant.
He was frankly a bit puzzled by the concept of wands. Certainly, his magic unquestionably came easier with the wand in hand, but if what he'd seen so far was anything to go by, then the wizards seemed to think that magic was as good as impossible without it.
That made no sense. The magic had to be in the witch or wizard, or else a wand would enable even non-magicals to cast spells. With this in mind, Harry concluded that wands were just magical foci, designed to make the use of magic easier. That would make sense. The crippling reliance on wands did not make sense.
Harry had already determined that he would master his magic without the need of a wand. Much of this determination was based in his desire to not wave a silly looking stick about while casting spells. That was not cool at all.
Despite his accelerated emotional maturity due to the circumstances of his life, he was still eleven.
A more practical reason for his determination came when McGonagall told him not to cast any spells at home, as the Ministry of Magic forbade it and could track it.
They had clearly not managed to track any of the numerous instances of magic he'd performed wandlessly in the past few years, which meant that they could track wand use rather than magic itself.
True, his accomplishments had been small. Pushing and pulling things and similar stuff. He'd tried to throw a fireball once and gotten a little lick of flame. Then he'd realized that setting the house on fire would not be conducive to his continued magical studies, or his continued life for that matter. Fireballs and lightning had been grudgingly put on hold until a non-flammable environment could be found.
Anyway, the point was that McGonagall had told him that the Ministry could detect any magic use, which they obviously couldn't.
Harry had read a lot of fantasy books and played a lot of games in his search for inspiration on figuring out the workings of his magic. These books and games often featured the theme of a corrupt government. It didn't take him long to develop a dislike of the Ministry of Magic with just that one piece of information. The numerous instances of restricted magic that the law book he'd bought mentioned further solidified his opinion.
First learning that he was a wizard, only to learn that the Ministry of Magic restricted so many interesting fields had planted in him a mulish determination to study exactly those. Besides, according to the Ministry definition, he had broken the Statute of Secrecy years ago in the orphanage and was constantly breaking the Decree about the Reasonable Restriction on Underage Sorcery. It wasn't like breaking any more of their silly laws was going to make a difference.
"Excuse me, do you mind? Everywhere else is full."
The question broke Harry out of his thoughts. The questioner was a gangly redheaded boy looking nervously into the cabin.
Harry did not actually want company, but he also wasn't willing to make an issue of it, so he simply nodded.
"You're Harry Potter!"
The awed exclamation instantly killed any desire to speak to the other boy. He'd skimmed over those Harry Potter fiction books and rapidly grew to hate them. Every single one of those books had him performing ridiculous feats at impossibly young ages, usually ending with him riding off into the sunset with the pretty pureblood princess in his arms. The books were oddly well written considering what a load of garbage the actual subject matter was, but that wasn't the point. The point was that McGonagall had been understating his fame instead of exaggerating it like he'd originally thought.
"Yes, so what?" Harry grumbled, already regretting that he hadn't told the other boy to get lost instead of being polite.
"Wicked." The readhead continued, apparently oblivious to the hostility. "So that's where You-Know-Who's curse hit."
"Yes, that's where he hit me after murdering my parents." Harry grumbled even more irritably. He wasn't nearly as broken up about the deaths of his parents as he'd implied with that snarky statement – he'd never known them after all – but mentioning murdered parents was a surefire way of stopping conversation. He'd used it a few times before, though at the time he'd thought they had died in a car crash.
The redhead finally got the hint and started looking guilty, mumbling out a barely audible 'sorry'.
"I'm Ron by the way, Ron Weasley." He tried.
"How nice for you." Harry refused to cooperate with the attempt to establish a more positive atmosphere. Instead, he moved a seat over to make things even more chilly as well as get some more leg room, took out his half-read Lord of the Rings book and started reading. If the annoying redhead got uncomfortable enough to leave, that would be great, but his silence would do in a pinch.
There was blessed silence for a long time, interrupted only by the occasional bored sigh from Ron. Harry made steady progress through the book in peace. He knew that he wouldn't see many descriptions of useful magic in this particular book, but he was determined to read it anyway. He'd skimmed over his textbooks at home already and a train ride was no place to be reading something that dry.
The trolley lady came and went, neither boy having bought anything from her due to having lunches packed, though Ron sounded like he wanted to buy something but couldn't get it for one reason or another. Harry simply never had sweets and wasn't interested in them now. Katherine Shaw had gotten a little obssessive about healthy eating a few years back and imposed a low fat, low sugar diet on both her husband and adopted son. At least she had done her research and put together an actual healthy diet instead of some anorexic abomination.
"Has anyone seen a toad? A boy named Neville's lost his." A girl's voice intruded on his reading.
"No toads here." Harry answered her without looking.
There was a small gasp and his jaw clenched in expectation of the annoying words.
"You're Harry Potter! I've read all about you in Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and Great Wizards and Witches of the 20th Century! " She babbled.
"That's great, but weren't you looking for a toad?" Harry quickly interjected before she could waste the breath she'd just taken.
"Yes, of course." She said, actually sounding a bit offended. That was rich. "I'm Hermione Granger by the way. You boys should probably change into your robes, we'll be at Hogwarts soon."
Harry muttered something uncomplimentary under his breath about bossy females. He had enough of bossy people with the Shaws, he had no desire to get to know a pint sized harpy in addition to the full grown one that was his foster mother.
"Mental, that one." Ron commented wryly.
Harry didn't respond. He didn't want the ginger annoyance to think he might actually have a chance of making friends with him.
The annoyingly bossy girl did have a point though, they would be at Hogwarts relatively soon.
"I heard that Harry Potter was on this train. Is that you then?"
Harry barely kept an unimpressive preteen glower off his face as the flaw in his plan to keep to himself and study magic was once again proven to be flawed. How was he supposed to shun human contact if everyone and their dog wanted to come talk to him?
"What of it?" He growled as deeply as possible. Which was to say not very, given that he was eleven.
The rather poncy looking blond boy with the slicked back hair and dull looking sidekicks was a bit taken aback by the instant hostility, but he rallied quickly.
"I'm Malfoy, Draco Malfoy." He said, making it sound as if this was important information.
Ron snorted, apparently finding the blond funny.
"Think my name's funny, do you?" Draco asked waspishly, sneering at the redhead. "No need to ask yours. Red hair and a hand me down robe, you must be a Weasley."
The arrogant blond boy turned back to Harry, extending his hand. "You'll find that some families are better than others, Potter. I can help you with that."
"You can help me by going away!" Harry snapped, his patience for human contact exhausted by the string of irritating people. He couldn't tell people to bugger off at home because his continued comfortable lifestyle hinged on the tolerance of the Shaws, but by thunder he was not going to play nice and socialize in the Wizarding World. "I don't want anything to do with either of you or your families."
"You'll regret this, Potter!" Draco snarled and stomped off, looking extremely petulant thanks to his age.
"That was wicked!" Ron said a few seconds later.
Harry started wondering if the redhead had a hearing defect or had perhaps suffered a head injury sometime in the past. Nobody normal could be this dense.
Harry somehow managed to make it all the way to the sorting without any more 'You're Harry Potter!' moments, thankfully.
He followed the instructions massive groundskeeper and got into a boat with two unknown girls and a boy. He didn't even bother to notice anything other than one girl's red hair before he faced away from them and determinedly stared at the dark waters of the lake.
The magnificent first sight of Hogwarts did manage to lift his sour mood a bit and the scare with the ghosts had been an interesting experience.
And now he had a ratty old hat on his head that was apparently sentient and would place him into one of the four houses.
Hmmm, interesting.The voice of the hat murmured through his mind, startling him a bit. You have courage, but it's a more cautious sort. Not particularly suited for Gryffindor.
Harry didn't really have an opinion on that, but if a magical talking hat said Gryffindor wasn't for him then that was as good a reasoning for not going there as any. Besides, given on what he'd observed of this sorting so far, he had the horrible suspicion that Weasley would be going to Gryffindor. Intelligence didn't seem to be a requirement for that house and bravery could easily be substituted for by stupidity.
You have ambition, as well as cunning. You could do well in Slytherin.
Harry's face twisted in distaste. Malfoy had gone to Slytherin and he had no desire to interact with the blond idiot.
He knew what the hat was talking about in terms of ambition, it was a long standing one. He wanted to be powerful. He'd wanted it when he was being shouted at and hit at the Dursleys. He'd wanted it when he'd been bullied at the orphanage. Learning that he had magic had provided hope and the adoption by the Shaws had provided opportunity. Hogwarts would provide the means.
Power was freedom and one day he would be free. He would be free of the need to pander to the wishes of Robert and Katherine Shaw. He would be free of the stupid restrictions on learning magic that the Ministry imposed. He would even be free of the need to use a wand.
And once he was free, he wanted to see the world and go on adventures where he could use his magic openly. A silly, childish ambition perhaps, but it was his. For a boy who had always needed to dance to someone else's tune and hide his abilities for fear of the consequences, the thought of being able to wander the world and do whatever he pleased had always been a pleasant escape for reality. It was one of the reasons that he liked RPGs so much.
In the meanwhile, there was no need to put up with entitled little shits like Malfoy when there were other options.
Not Slytherin then.The hat concluded, feeling his displeasure at the idea. You don't have any loyalty for anyone but yourself, but then you've never had anyone to be loyal to. Not afraid of hard work either. Hufflepuff would be good for you, you could make friends there.
Harry scowled at the idea. He wasn't interested in friends, at least not enough to seek them out. He'd tried to be friends with Dudley and the other children at the orphanage and had gotten only bruises for it, and the less said about the 'friends' the Shaws had told him to make the better. No, what he wanted now was for people to leave him alone. He could always change his mind later, but right now he would much rather see people keep their distance. Besides, it was looking as if the people of the Wizarding World were more interested in befriending his scar than him.
The hat seemed to sigh. I see that holds no appeal for you, very well then. You've got a good mind and want to learn, so by process of elimination it better be..."RAVENCLAW!"
He took the hat off his head and walked over to the table of blue and bronze, trying to ignore the excessively loud cheering. Though he had to admit that the overdone hysterics about about how they didn't get Potter by a pair of redheaded twins at the Gryffindor table were amusing.
The others around him went to introduce themselves with far too much interest to pass as casual, but were fortunately not nearly as annoying as either Weasley or Malfoy had been.
The last few sortings passed without incident and Dumbledore stood up to speak.
"Welcome!" he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
Weird. Harry thought to himself, examining the food that had suddenly appeared.
A lot of it seemed to be several varieties of meat drowned in vast amounts of grease, typically British in other words. He was quite sure that he would get sick if he tried to eat any of it. He'd never eaten anything that heavy before.
From what he could recall, Vernon Dursley had taken great pleasure in loudly masticating this kind of food while only allowing him some bread, fruit and vegetables. The orphanage could never have afforded this and Katherine Shaw had gone on her health craze at about the time of his adoption.
Harry stuck to the vegetables, potatoes and what little meat there was that wasn't liable to make him puke. The ostentatious goblets were filled with some kind of orange liquid. A tentative sip sent a shudder of revulsion through his stomach.
What kind of crazy idiot thought that mixing pumpkin juice and what felt like a truck load of sugar was a good idea? Pumpkins weren't a friggin fruit! He made a note to bring his own water to these things, not seeing any present on the table.
He spent the rest of the feast shutting down attempts to draw him into a conversation and wondering if magic somehow prevented people from getting fat. It was the only explanation he could think of for the lack of obesity if wizards ate like this all the time.
The feast eventually ended and Dumbledore stood up to speak.
"Ahem, just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.
"First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well."
That sounded reasonable enough to Harry. Even regular forests aren't exactly something you should be wandering in willy-nilly. If the Forbidden Forest stayed true to form for the Wizarding World, it was probably filled with mutant spiders or something.
"I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors."
That was a rule that Harry already knew he would be breaking. He had fire and lightning evocation to attempt and Hogwarts was non-flammable as well as non-conductive.
"Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch."
Harry knew only the bare bones of the sport. He knew it was played on flying brooms and that the team composition made no sense. The seeker pretty much invalidated everyone else unless the game was very long and one sided.
"And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
And that sounded like yet another start of a quest for a Dungeons & Dragons based game.
"But before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!"
Harry collapsed on his very comfortable bed, face down, and exhaled into his pillow with deep exasperation. His ears still felt like they were going to bleed from hearing the 'school song'. Good music was clearly another thing that he would have to rely on the non-magical world for if that kind of audio torture was considered acceptable here.
He was honestly having mixed feelings about the magical world so far.
On the side of the pros was getting him away from the obsessive socializing of the Shaws, the magic, his own money and that sort of thing.
On the other hand, the Wizarding world was practically in the stone age as far as technology went and he was famous here, which was attracting ass kissers. He'd been on both sides of the ass kissing equation a lot thanks to the Shaws and could tell when someone wanted to talk to him for something other than actually getting to know him. Thus far, McGonagall had been the only one who knew his name that had actually talked to him rather than at him and he didn't like her much.
Well, the mental debate was moot either way apparently. He had to be here for at least a while or they might decide to wipe his memories of magic, which was unacceptable.
At least Ravenclaws apparently got single rooms. Having to share a room with someone would have sucked.
The school year got going in much the same way as a non-magical one would, though with stranger subjects.
Herbology wasn't something that Harry could claim any real interest in, nor was Astronomy and its hilariously outdated telescopes. History of Magic was quicky designated as either a free period or a time to do something else. The ghostly teacher was literally quoting the book verbatim, making the class entirely redundant. Not to mention that he seemed obssesively focused on the goblin wars, to the exclusion of all else.
Charms seemed interesting, but they hadn't done anything more than theory so far.
Transfiguration was currently in progress and Harry was staring at the silver needle on his desk contemplatively. The others were struggling to get even a slight change in their matchstick, while he had managed to do it on the first try.
He had attempted some wandless transfigurations after returning from the shopping trip to Diagon Alley. It had been incredibly hard, but Harry had nothing better to do and he was excited to try out a form of magic he hadn't thought to try before. Wandlessly, he hadn't managed more than a change of color and a slight one at that. With a wand, it had been almost easy.
Was his previous wandless practice accelerating his ability with a wand?
"Well done Mr. Potter!" McGonagall praised, sounding very impressed. "I haven't seen anyone manage their first transfiguration attempt that quickly in a long time. Take ten points for Ravenclaw."
"Thank you professor." Harry replied. It technically wasn't his first transfiguration attempt, or even his hundredth, but he wasn't going to tell her that.
Some distance away, Hermione Granger stared in disbelief and in some amount of anger that the rude boy had gotten it better than her.
"Ah, yes," Snape said softly when he reached his name during roll call. "Harry Potter. Our new...celebrity."
Harry held back a sigh. Potions was apparently going to be one of those subjects.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," Snape continued in something close to a whisper. "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
That sounded kind of rehearsed. He probably used it every year. He would probably use it on the Slytherin-Gryffindor class too, if he hadn't already. It was a pretty good speech though.
"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
"I have no idea, sir." Harry answered. He didn't even have the first clue about what those were, much less anything else to do with them.
"Tut, tut, clearly fame isn't everything. Let's try again Potter..."
The questions continued and Harry was unable to answer them. Admittedly, he probably should have looked through his potions books, but the lure of learning how to hurl spells of death and destruction from his hands had been quite a bit stronger than learning about stirring a collection of gross ingredients in a cauldron.
The perils of being eleven.
With a final disdainful sneer, Snape spat out the answers to the questions and demanded to know why they weren't writing them down.
"Potter, what are you doing?" Snape demanded less than a minute later.
"Writing down the answers, sir."
"Where is your quill and parchment? And five points from Ravenclaw for your cheek."
"I figured that using paper and a ballpoint pen would be much easier." Harry replied evenly, feeling fairly certain that the hook-nosed professor would not like that. Fortunately, he didn't care about points or the house cup.
"Another five points from Ravenclaw, Potter! Put away that muggle garbage and take out your proper supplies." Snape sneered severely.
"Does it really matter what I write my notes on?" Harry questioned. "I assure you that my writing will be far more legible if I don't have to struggle with an inkpot and quill."
Starting to develop an unattractively angry flush to his pale skin tone, Snape waved his wand and vanished Harry's pen and paper.
"Twenty points from Ravenclaw for your backtalk and a detention if you don't take out your parchment and quill immediately!"
Harry had neither of those, having seen no need to bring them when he had plenty of pens and paper. Unfortunately, he suspected that Snape would not care about that.
He was right.
He spent the rest of the potions class in a foul mood. Perhaps it was time to research some alternatives to attending this class? Snape was clearly determined to pick on him for some reason, so the educational benefits of learning under him were dubious at best.
And the week had been going so well too.
Thar she blows, the first chapter of something (relatively)new.
In case anyone actually gives a crap, the address for the house of Harry's foster parents was chosen after a 2 minute Google search and may not even exist. For all I know, there's nothing on 74 Cromwell Road but an antique outhouse. In the incredibly unlikely event that someone actually lives there and happens to read this fic, then I apologize for using it. I also apologize for insinuating that it might be an antique outhouse.
As always, you can expect updates to come at irregular intervals ranging from 4 days to a month, depending on how bored/inspired I'm feeling.