I'm sorry it's been so long. Originally I wasn't even going to write a full on story with this idea, it was just an idea that was bobbing around in my head. But so many people liked the first chapter, I decided to continue. I'm mainly working on my other story Magic of Deduction, right now, and this and my other HP stories are kinda on the back burner, so to speak.

Bersades: Me alegro de que te guste mi historia. Voy a tratar de actualizar lo más rápido que pueda, pero mi otra ficción es mi enfoque principal en este momento. Muchas gracias por su mensaje!

Bkerrmom1: thank so much! I take it you like my other stories as well, then :)

Tigergirl1723: thanks! I like the idea of Harry having a nice family, as well. It's so hard to find well written ones like that, though

WindWhistle21: Your review made me happy. Yeah, I'm not usually a fan of an OP Harry who waves his magic wand (literally, lol) and just gets his way because if he doesn't he'll destroy the universe or some such nonsense. Besides, Harry just doesn't seem the type.

Bigmama2338: I hope you read this, because I would LOVE you to do your own version of this story. I'd really like reading it, one. And Two, it might provide me with much needed inspiration for this. So if you (or anyone else) wants to steal my idea…BY ALL MEANS GO AHEAD! Just be sure to PM me so I can read it and steal some of your ideas in turn! Thanks so much for your review!

Anairafuiji: Sí, es una historia de Voldemort / Harry. Pero será muy lento para desarrollarse a ese lugar. (Perdón mi español, no soy completamente fluido!)

I'm sorry I can't answer all of your wonderful reviews, that would take a lot of time. If you'd like me to, you can always PM me. I'll always respond as soon as I can to one of those! Hope you like my story, still!

Harry was convinced he'd somehow gone insane without noticing. Because he couldn't talk to "Taffy" about certain things, Death had taken to residing in what Harry had mentally dubbed the "East Wing", whereas Mort was in the "West Wing" of his brain. Both of them were talking at once. Harry was answering both at once, carrying on two completely different conversations. All while chatting with Dudley about their favorite TV show (Invader Zim).

"Remember to act surprised when you first walk into the Alley," Taffy warned.

"I know" Harry replied. "I wonder if we'll see anyone we know. I think we're leaving a tad earlier than last time around."

"Remember," Mort was telling Harry, "Ask about Gringotts Bank if your Aunt doesn't show signs of knowing about it already. But don't make it obvious that you know about it already or she'll get suspicious."

"Why? Don't Wizard shops take muggle money?" Harry asked in feigned confusion.

"They do," Mort agreed. "But you won't be gaining any respect that way. Furthermore, you are the sole heir of an old wizarding family. You're bound to have at least one heavily stocked vault in your name."

"I got a sammich in my head!" Dudley quoted from the latest Zim episode. Both little boys burst out laughing. Mort and Taffy sighed simultaneously in Harry's head, making him laugh harder. Petunia chuckled a bit at them as she maneuvered their car through traffic.

"Harry, dear," she called his attention to herself. "The place where we need to shop for your things is in a bit of an odd spot. Muggles—people like me and Dudders, remember?—we can't see it. So you'll need to hang onto us and guide us is, alrighty?"

"Kay," Harry answered cheerfully. "What's it look like?"

"A dingy old pub," Petunia sniffed disdainfully. Mort silently agreed that it wasn't the classiest joint ever built. "The Leaky Cauldron if memory serves. We'll need to ask someone who works there to help us into the Alley."

"Kay" Harry said again, pushing his long bangs out of his face and holding them back, as Dudley rolled down his window, making the wind whip around their heads.

"Don't forget your owl," Taffy reminded him.

"As if I could forget Hedwig," Harry scoffed. "I'm going to ask to get her first thing. Right before the candy store."

"You do remember you're not actually an eleven-year-old, right?" Harry didn't deem that worthy with an answer, instead mentally turning to Mort.

"What's your favorite candy?" he asked. "I want to get some. Can you taste what I eat?"

"Pumpkin Patsies…and yes."

"Cool! And gross. So you would taste it that one time Dudley dared me to eat a worm?"

"Yes"

"And that other time We dared each other to eat those live fishies in that big puddle at the park?"

"Those were tadpoles. And yes."

"Cool."
"No, not 'cool'."

Harry giggled out loud, Dudley joining in for no apparent reason. A burst of amusement came from both sides of Harry's brain. He looked down at his wrist, where Taffy was currently clinging to him, basking in his body heat and the sunlight streaming through the window. Stroking his back, he hissed out loud. "Do you want anything from the candy store?"

Taffy blearily raised his head and peered up at Harry. "Chocolate covered rats." He replied, flicking his tongue out over his scaly lips in anticipation. "Or Frogs."

"Do they have those?" Harry asked Mort, who seemed slightly amused at the exchange.

"I'm not certain that you should be feeding your snake chocolate, Harry. But yes, to my knowledge, they at least sell Chocolate Frogs. But there's no actual frog in them, as they're meant for child consumption."

"…child consumption…THEY EAT KIDS?"

"You know what I mean, brat."

Harry giggled again, his cousin once again joining in without a second thought.

Petunia pulled into a parking space in the back of a grubby looking dollar store, and parked the car. "Let's go, boys. This is it!" She exited the car, leaving Dudley and Harry gazing out the windows in confusion.

"This place is a dump!" Harry said to Mort as he followed his family down the street. The sidewalks were littered with…litter. And people wrapped in old, ratty clothes were huddled up against the brick walls. Older teens stalked the streets, sticking weird smelling muggle sticks in their mouths and exhaling clouds of grey puffs.

"Those are cigarettes," Mort supplied helpfully when he noticed Harry's confusion. Harry nodded his understanding. No one in Surrey smoked, in public. Nor did anyone in the wizarding world. He'd quite forgotten about the practice. Taffy snorted on his wrist, wriggling up his sleeve.

They walked another block, Petunia having a firm grip on Harry's left hand and Dudley's right, before the Leaky Cauldron came into view. "I see it!" Harry pointed.

"Good boy," Petunia praised him with a soft smile. "Now lead us in, carefully please." Harry nodded and opened the door for his Aunt, propping it open with his foot before gently pushing on her arm to show her where to go. Dudley bumped into the door frame going in, but other than that they went in without any difficulty. Harry was the last one going in, behind his family. He unconsciously lifted a hand to scratch at his head, when Mort suddenly shouted.

"Don't!" Harry's hand froze. "Remember, I told you? You are well known, and that scar is the most defining trait about you, aside from your eyes, anyway. Keep it hidden. We don't want to risk unwanted attention. Chances are, that scar is well known."

"Idiot" Taffy chided him. "And I say that in the most loving and respectful way, master."

Harry sheepishly grinned in response to both of them, pulling his hair down flatter. Petunia approached the counter, where an old man was wiping down a mug. "Excuse me, sir," she said politely. "My nephew is a wizard, though I am not. Could you tell me how to get to Diagon Alley?"

The man looked at her with some surprise, then down at the two boys. "First year at Hogwarts them?" Petunia and Harry both nodded. "Curious, the school usually sends an escort for Muggleborns. No matter though, come along with me. Ol' Tom, will getcha there." He gave them all a kind smile, which all three of them returned.

Mort was looking at him in interest. "Well, he hasn't changed much at all"

"You met him?" Harry asked, honestly curious.

"When I was a boy, I convinced Dumbledore that I didn't need an escort into the Alley. Tom here had to help me my first time in." Tom led them out back, where they came face to face with a brick wall. He pulled a stubby looking wand out of his back pocket and tapped a brick that was clearly more scratched and worn than all the ones around it. The bricks wriggled and folded in on themselves, creating the arch Harry was so familiar with.

"He's old"

"…yes"

"Welcome to Diagon Alley!" Tom announced proudly.

***1047***

The alley was exactly as Harry remembered it from his first visit. Harry breathed in the smells of the busy street. People were bustling all around them. The smell was that of baking bread and the promise of coming rain, was well as underlying scents of acrid potions and the sugary smells of the sweet shop. Harry didn't have to fake his wide eyed wonder. In the four-hundred plus years that he'd lived, Diagon Alley had been through three wars, four, including the first war with Voldemort that claimed his parent's lives. The third was called the Creature Rebellion of 2183, and though it was shorter than the previous two wars, it was viciously bloody. Lasting only four months, over eight hundred Muggle-Born men and women were slaughtered for the "slander" they spread about the creatures of the wizarding world being monsters. To prove a point, all of the creatures used muggle or wizarding means to fight, not their creature prowess. Diagon Alley had been all but razed to the ground in the violence, and it took fifty years to rebuild. The fourth war that Harry had seen, had been led by Geofferson Granger (Hermione Weasley-Granger's Great-great grandson) against the purebloods (who by that point had pretty much mellowed out in their views), angry that they seemed to think themselves some kind of nobility (which, you know, they kinda were). The Malfoy, Longbottom, Greengrass, Nott, Selwyn and Parkinson Lines were all completely destroyed. As was Diagon Alley.

By the time Harry had died, Diagon Alley was very much modernized. And it had always bothered him. He hated how much wizarding history had been lost, and due to Muggleborns seeing the need to make the wizarding world exactly like the Muggle world. But, honestly, if they wanted to live in a technologically advanced world, why enter the wizarding world at all.

That was something Harry intended to change this time around.

He felt a twinge of nostalgia and wistful joy from Mort, as he relived his first time seeing the Alley. Harry hid the longing pain he felt as he took in the whimsical, old-fashioned street. This, this was how the wizarding world is supposed to be: magical, not modern.

Next to him, Dudley was gaping at everything, though Petunia seemed more subdued. "Alright, Harry," she said to him, a tight smile on her face. "We need to head to that big white building so we can trade our paper money for wizard coins." She held out her hands for both of her boys to take, which they did gladly, while Dudley was still in shocked silence by the overload of new sensations.

"You're so lucky, Haze," he said, eyes wide, like he was trying to take everything in at once. "I wish I were a wizard!" Harry giggled

"It's okay, D," he said. "I'll learn magic, and then I'll share it with you! I'll buy a big magic house when I'm grown up, and you can live there with me!"

"And Mum," Dudley said firmly.

"And Mum" Harry echoed, breaking the spell (so to speak) and making both boys dissolve once again into giggles as Petunia guided them through the crowd of shoppers getting ready for the school year. Though, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw his Aunt's smile become a little less forced.

"Mort? Why'd Aunt Petunia sad?" Harry asked Voldemort.

"I'd assume it's because she's fond of you for some inexplicable reason, and in a short while you'll be off on your way to boarding school." Mort explained plainly. "She'll be fine. Look over there, that small building. That's where you'll be getting your wand." Mort continued to point out various landmarks, including the book store and the ice cream parlor. Meanwhile, Death was carrying on another conversation.

"Master, I'd suggest playing nice with any pureblood you meet, should you chose to save their lines in this life. Part of the reason you were helpless to save them was their lack of trust in you. Even the Longbottom heir assumed you'd side with Granger."

"I remember, Taffy," Harry said morosely. "I plan on making Slytherin. Befriending Draco is a must. I don't really remember much about the others, though." Around the time Harry was 178, he and Draco met by chance in Wizarding America. Draco was taking Scorpio, his son, and Rosaura, Scorpio's betrothed, to the Quidditch World cup, which was being held there. Harry, on the other hand, was involved in some delicate international affairs. Both had escaped the stress of being around people by ducking into a Muggle café. It took them a full ten minutes of conversation before either had recognized the other (Harry was wearing a glamor and Draco grew a beard). And which point, Draco called Harry "Scarface" and Harry called him "Ferret Head". They then realized that they'd mixed up the insult somewhat and smiled ruefully at each other.

It had led to a rather strange but enjoyable friendship that Harry had missed when, decades later, Draco had been killed in the 'Mudblood Uprising".

Petunia guided them up the steep marble steps of Gringotts, nodding respectfully at the goblins as they passed as Mort gave Harry a crash-course on how to treat said creatures. Dudley was once again struck silent, watching everything with a cautious gaze.

Petunia was lead to a desk where she cleared her throat primly to catch the goblin's attention. "I'm here to exchange Muggle currency for Galleons," she said clearly, meeting the goblin's eyes but not sounding patronizing nor afraid. The goblin measured her with his gaze, then he saw Harry.

"Will Heir Potter be seeing his vaults?" the goblin asked.

Petunia hesitated. "His key was never given to me." The goblin scowled.

"I shall call the inheritance manager," he informed her. "You'll not be needing to exchange anything, should that boy truly be the Potter child."

"He is," she confirmed. The goblin nodded and called out in Gobbledygook. A moment later, a weathered old goblin approached.

"I am Slifang," he said in a croaking voice. "If you'll please follow," he said as he turned without glancing back. They followed him deep into the hallways of the bank, before he turned and entered a rather austere room with ebony and stone furniture. He sat at a desk and gestured for them to to the same. Waving his hand over the empty air on his desk, a decorative bowl seemed to shimmer and form out of nothing. "Your hand" the goblin said to Harry.

"Go ahead, Harry," Mort said comfortingly. "It'll hurt for a moment, but he'll heal you right away." Never having done this before, Harry looked with curious eyes as he held out his hand. The goblin gently took it, leaving the palm facing up, then dragged one of his long, ragged claws across Harry's palm. Petunia's jaw clenched, but she said nothing. Dudley gasped and cried "Don't hurt him!"

"I must test his blood" the goblin said, though Harry had dealt with goblins enough to hear the pity in the old voice. Harry watched as blood weld up in his palm. Then the goblin waved a hand over the crimson pool as liquid spilled into the bowl. He turned his hand over, dumping all of the blood into the container, sliding off as though his palm were coated in oil. As he did so, Harry realized his cut was already healed.

From out of the desk, the goblin retrieved a rolled-up scroll. He dipped one side into the bowl of blood and the three humans watched in morbid fascination as it was absorbed by the parchment. The bowl disappeared and Slifang deftly spread out the scroll, watching blankly as words appeared in red "ink".

'Hardwin "Harry" James Potter, son of James Charlus Potter, son of Fleamont Henry Potter.

Vaults: 28

Total Worth: 280,987,042,001.7 Galleons

Properties: Godric Hollow, Peverell Manor, Potter Manor, Potter Plantation, Janus Cottage, Ophelett Mansion, Kesut Cathedral, Fawley Manor, Shafiq Townhouse, Shafiq Plains, (1/2) Hogwarts

Companies: Sleak-Easy Enterprizes

Heir of: Potter, Gryffindor, Peverell, Fawely, Shafiq, Kesut, Black

Wizemgot Seats: 11

Magical Guardian: Albus Wolvric Brian Percival Dumbledore

Acting Guardian: Petunia Orpah Dursely nee'Evans'

Harry gaped at the paper, wishing he'd done something like this in the original timeline. Who were all these names? Why was he their heirs? Were they family? Were they alive.

HARDWIN?! Bloody hell, mum and dad, were you asking for my life to be torture? Mort seemed to be baffled as well. Luckily, Death was not.

"The Fawley and Shafiq families are pureblood light families who passed away in the war. They were friends of your parents, and had no heirs of their own. They left everything they owned to your father, and in turn, to you. The others are various families who benefited from the outcome of the war, and, to thank you, named you heir."

"Now I feel guilty. I never did anything with what they left me. I should turn at least one of those places into a magical themepark in their honor." Harry felt Death sigh.

"I can buy a house for us," Harry said out loud, shocking his Aunt and Parasite into action.

"NO" they both said at once.

"You'll need this money to rise in the wizarding world" Mort told him as Petunia was saying "We're not using this money for anything but your education, Harry."

"His name's Hardwin," Dudley cut in. "What kind of name is Hardwin?"

"A traditional Potter name that has be reused numerous times throughout the family's history," Slifang said, sounding almost offended on behalf of the Potter family. "Heir Potter has many famous and courageous ancestors who bore the same name." Harry was humbled by this, though he felt Mort radiating jealousy.

"Can I see my vaults?" 'Hardwin' asked. Blech, what a dumb name.

An hour later found them exiting the bank, Harry holding a large bag of gold coins.

***1047*****

Petunia and Dudley had abandoned Harry at Madam Malkins, while the two of them went to get his potions supplies and trunk, trying to cut down on the time they spent shopping. So, Harry stood on the stool, arms spread out as magical measuring devices fluttered around his head. The door behind him opened and he heard voices in the front of the store. It sounded like a woman had entered the shop. Though when he turned his head, it was a young man his own age entering the fitting room.

The boy had caramel colored hair and large, dark eyes. His skin was pale, and he was slightly taller than Harry (not that it was that hard of a feat). He held himself confidently, with an elegant aire. Pureblood, Harry assume.

The boy stepped up onto a stool, and half of the measuring instruments automatically flew over to him. The boy looked him up and down curiously. "Hello," he said, his voice soft.

"Hey!" Harry said cheerfully. "Are you going to Hogwarts this year?" The boy smiled and nodded. "Same, obviously. I hope I'm in Slytherin, it's the best house. You?" Harry felt Mort smile at his words.

"Slytherin as well, though Ravenclaw wouldn't be terrible," the boy said, his tone slightly pompous, but mostly pleased. "My family's has always gone into one of the two."

"I think mine's a bit more diversified than that," Harry said thoughtfully. "I know my parents were both Gryffindor."

"I'm Theodore, by the way." They boy suddenly said. "Theodore Nott"

"Pureblood," Mort spoke up. "It would be wise to be friends with him. His family is very influential. Though if I were you, I'd find a Black or Malfoy. Though, I wonder if there will even be a Black in Hogwarts, now. You were named the heir. It'll be odd not seeing a Black, there. In my day Slytherin was overrun with them."

"Hardwin," Harry said, deciding to use his obviously wizarding name. "Hardwin Fawley" There was surprise and amusement from Mort and Death respectively. Though Mort soon voiced his approval at Harry's "Slytherin" thinking. "As the son of one of m-magical Britain's muggle-opposed families, he'd probably be predispositioned to hate you. And as the Fawley Heir, you have every right to claim that name."

"Your name is Fawley?" there was surprise in Theodore's face. "I thought they all died." Harry didn't have to fake the depression on his face. "Sorry." Theodore was quick to apologize, but Harry shook his head.

"It's okay," Harry said. "Mum and Dad hid me during the war. Didn't want me to get caught up in things. I've been staying in the Muggle world," Harry grimaced, and Mort applauded his acting. "I'm sure I'll be the absolute worst in Hogwarts. I don't know anything about magic. I wasn't allowed to do it, growing up, you know. But, yeah, my name is Hardwin Fawley." A slight tremor echoed through Harry's magic, and it confused him.

There was true horror on Nott's face, and Harry felt amused. "Really? I'm so sorry. But I wouldn't worry, Hardwin, plenty of Mudbloods go to Hogwarts, and they adjust fine. Plus, you'll have me and the other proper wizards in Slytherin (if we both get into that House, anyway), and we'll all help you!" Harry smiled at his new friend.

"Then I hope we both get into Slytherin," Harry said earnestly. Theodore grinned at him. Just then, Dudley appeared in the window. He waved. "Tell Nott he's a squib. Trust me" Mort said.

"Who's that?" Theodore asked curiously. "Do you know him?"

"That's my cousin, Dudley," Harry said. "He's a squib, but he's still pretty nice." Theodore grimaced, but seemed acceptant enough.

"Well, I supposed Squibs are better than outright muggles," he said. "You've been living with him, then?"

"Yeah," Harry said. "Him and my Aunt." One of the assistants came in and told Harry his order was ready. "I'll see you at school!" Harry waved at Theodore as he hopped down at followed her out.

"Bye, Hardwin!" Theodore called. "Don't forget to buy and owl, so you can write me!"

****1047****

By the end of the day, Harry had bought his weight in books, all of the required school materials, his old phoenix and holly wand, (and a holster at Mort's insistence) and Hedwig. "I met a boy who said I should buy one," Harry said by way of explanation when he dragged his family into the Owl Emporium. Dudley was content with the enormous amount of candy Harry bought him, though Petunia insisted she didn't want any.

That night they went back to the hotel. Taffy warmed himself on top of the minifridge in the room while Dudley and Harry watched one of their shows on the television, which going through Harry's new 'magic books'.

"You can play for now, 'Hardwin'," Mort told him. "But tomorrow I expect you to begin reading through your books. I don't want you doing poorly in school just because you were too busy to read them."

"I will," Harry promised him. "I can't wait. I want to see the ghosts and the giant squid and find all the secret rooms and—"

"Yes, yes," Mort interrupted him. "But you must be careful of what you do. Everything you do from now on will determine the rest of your life, whether or not you'll be accepted into wizarding society."

"I'll do my best"

****1047****

Hope you liked it!

*****1047*****

(Bonus Bit)

Petunia held Dudley's hand tightly as she walked into the apothecary. Memories of her and Lily scouring the shelved back when they were close flooded into her mind. The smell was offensive to her nose, but she soldiered on, looking down at the list for what she needed, temporarily letting go of Dudley's hand to reach into her purse for the small bag of gold she'd taken from Harry.

She reached back to take her son's hand again, only to find that he wasn't there. "Dudley?" she called out softly, looking about her.

"Here, Mum" she heard him. Giving a sigh of relief she walked around the shelf to find him staring at a jar of pickled lizards. "Will Harry need these?" he asked her. She was about to say that it wasn't on the list, when a deep voice cut in.

"It's not required, but I'd recommend it. They help with balancing out mistakes beginners tend to make." Petunia froze. She knew that voice. She turned slowly, and was faced with a familiar man with long black hair and piercing eyes. Lily's friend: The Snape boy. Well…not 'boy' anymore.

Snape frowned at her. "I'm sorry, Madame, I shouldn't have interrupted your shopping."

"It's alright, Severus" she said softly as he turned to leave. He paused, then looked back. His face was blank, but his eyes were questioning her. She almost laughed. "You don't recognize me?" Now, Snape frowned. "I'm not surprised. It's been a long time, and I'm afraid we didn't say good-bye on good terms. I'm Lily's sister, Petunia. Do you remember my sister?"

"I remember" his voice gave nothing away, but Petunia was certain he'd paled a bit. "But…you're a muggle. Why're you in a wizarding shop? Is your son a wizard?"

Before she could say anything, Dudley spoke up ever the social butterfly. "I wish. Harry's so lucky! I'll bet one day he'll be able to turn my dad into a toad. And then we could keep him in a box so he wouldn't be mean to Mummy and Harry anymore." Dudley gave a firm nod, oblivious to the horror on his mother's face. In fact, Petunia was so embarrassed by what Dudley had inadvertently confessed about his father that she missed the look of pure outrage that flitted across Severus' face, before it was replaced with his usual cool mask.

"So you've been caring for Potter all these years?" Severus asked. "How is he?"

Petunia quickly grasped the new, happier topic. "Oh, Harry's a sweetheart, though I'm probably a bit biased. He's very intelligent, too. Top of his class, just like Lily. I swear, he's his father on the outside but his heart and brain is all my sister."

"Bit of a know it all" Dudley muttered. "But he helps me with my school, so it's okay, mostly."

"Interesting," Severus replied neutrally. "I hope he inherited her hand for potion making. I've had enough of first years blowing up my classroom, and James Potter seemed to take joy in causing explosions."

Petunia started to smile at first, but then there was surprise. "You're a teacher?" she asked incredulously. "You?" Severus actually smiled a bit.

"It surprised me, as well. I assure you." Petunia gave a single laugh.

"I've told Harry a bit about you, since Lily was always fond of you. He'll be happy to know that you're one of his teachers. He's awfully shy in new situations, and he was scared of going to Hogwarts this year. Honestly though, Severus, it's a real relief to know you'll be there. Harry would be a loner if it weren't for Dudley always pulling him into doing things. Most of the time, if you'll let him, he'll hide all day inside reading."

"Or staring at all wall," Dudley chimed in. "He does that a lot to. And he talks to himself. He's weird, but it's a good weird. He laughs at himself, too. Like, he'll just be sitting here and all of a sudden he'll start laughing at nothing. It's pretty funny."

Severus frowned, starting to feel concern. He turned to Petunia. "I'll keep an eye on him. Though, knowing his parents, he'll probably go into Gryffindor House. I'm only in charge of Slytherin. Though, if that happens, I'll be sure to warn his Head of House to take extra care with him. Perhaps get the mediwitch to take a look at him."

Petunia looked exasperated. "Honestly, Severus, there's nothing wrong with him. If you ask him why he's laughing he'll launch into this complicated explanation of something he was thinking about. He's just…very self-contained."

"I'd like to meet him," Severus said, surprising himself. "Before Hogwarts, I mean. I could talk to him about Lily…" Severus offered weakly, trying to justify his statement. Though Petunia only looked pleased.

"I'm sure he'd like that" Petunia said with a bright smile, pulling her purse to her front to dig into it. "Let me write down the name of our hotel—"

"Hotel?" Severus asked sharply, purposefully turning to Dudley, knowing he'd get more information out of the talkative boy.

"Yup!" Dudley said happy, not disappointing Severus' assumption. "We get to stay in a hotel until Harry goes away. It's because Dad hit Harry, so we ran away." The little boy spoke this all very fast and uncaringly while he looked at various potion ingredients, as though it were a common occurrence. One look at Petunia confirmed it.

"I'll go fetch what Harry will need for his school year," Severus told her. "The basic package never has enough of anything." He turned and left Petunia alone to gather herself while he seethed on the inside. All these years he'd assumed Potter was being spoiled by some Light family, like the Weasleys. Only to find out that he grew up in the Muggle world. Sure, Petunia seemed to dote on him, but Potter was apparently nothing like what Severus' had thought he'd be. And furthermore, Har—Potter was being abused by his uncle, but may or may not also being hurting Petunia.

Severus glanced over his shoulder as he deftly scooped ten ounces of leaves into a bag. Petunia was selecting a cauldron for Harry. The woman was nothing like a bitter girl he once knew. And yet, he'd always known that Petunia loved her sister, and that her bitterness stemmed from Lily being taken from her nine months out of the year, sometimes more than that when Lily stayed with her wizarding friends over the summer. But this woman was mature and kind, obviously caring of her nephew. Proud of him, even.

Severus sighed, massaging his temples. For the first time, he hoped Harry Potter would be Slytherin. It'd be easier to keep his promise to Petunia that way.