And What Harry Found There
The shop was narrow and shabby. Peeling gold letters over the door read Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 b.c.
He clutched at the old wand Sev had given him. It made magic so much easier. He didn't see why he had to get a new one. He liked this wand. It felt…safe. Familiar.
A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. It was a tiny place, totally empty. The very dust and silence seemed to tingle with a feeling of magic. Reminded him a bit of Severus' library, actually.
"Good afternoon," said a soft voice.
Harry jumped and took a step backward, bumping into Severus, who squeezed his shoulder reassuringly.
An old man was standing before them, his wide, pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop.
He was creepy. And Harry hadn't known that people could have silver eyes.
"Hello," Harry said awkwardly.
"Ah, yes," said the man. "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon. Harry Potter." It wasn't a question. "You have your mother's eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work."
Well, that seemed kind of rude. Wasn't he even going to introduce himself before he started being all eerie and omniscient?
"Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wand. Eleven inches. Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I say your father favored it—it's really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course."
Of course. Everyone knew that.
The man--Harry could only assume he was Mr. Ollivander--came closer. And closer. Did he even know the meaning of personal space?
Harry backed up. Ollivander frowned, and moved forward. Harry took another step back. Severus moved with him. Ollivander leaned forward and reached out a hand--it looked like the old man was aiming for his forehead.
Harry shrank back against Severus as the professor caught Ollivander's finger an inch away from the his scar.
"I'm sorry." Snape's voice was silky-smooth. "I wasn't aware that you knew Mr. Potter
well enough for touching to be permissible. Was I mistaken?"
There was a pause.
"No." Ollivander stared at Snape and then at Harry, looking like he was re-evaluating something. "No, you're right. Allow me to apologize, Mr. Potter."
Harry nodded tentatively, but remained glued to Severus.
The store-keeper took a few steps backward and started talking briskly. "Severus! Severus Snape! How very…nice to see you again. Pine, twelve inches, rather rigid, wasn't it?"
Snape gave a short nod. "Yes."
"You still have it?"
"Actually, no. I bought another when I was in my mid-twenties. Harry has the old one, now."
"Hmmm." Ollivander looked vaguely disapproving.
Harry heard the Professor give an almost inaudible sigh. The boy looked at Ollivander.
"Well, now--Mr. Potter. Let me see." He pulled a long tape measure with silver markings out of his pocket. "Which is your wand arm?"
"Um, either. Both. Does it really matter?"
The old man frowned. "One doesn't feel more natural than the other?"
"I guess…I was originally right-handed."
Ollivander nodded. "Hold out your arm, then."
Harry hesitated, but complied.
"That's it." He measured Harry from shoulder to finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit, and round his head. As he measured, he said, "Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance, Mr. Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard's wand."
What? Harry had done fine with Sev's old wand. At least, he had thought he was doing fine. Had he been doing something wrong? He'd have to ask Severus later.
He looked up as Mr. Ollivander began flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.
"Right then, Mr. Potter. Try this one. Beechwood and dragon heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. Just take it and give it a wave."
Harry took the wand and waved it, but Ollivander snatched it out of his hand almost at once.
"Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try--"
Harry tried…but he had hardly raised the wand when it too was snatched back by Mr. Ollivander.
"No, no--here, ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy. Go on, go on, try it out."
Harry tried and tried. And tried. And then got very impatient. How long was this going to take? Severus hadn't mentioned anything like this happening to him.
But then, Harry was different, wasn't he? He was always the strange one. The freak.
Or, what if it was more than that? What if he just wasn't cut out to be a wizard? And the wands could feel that, or something. What if--
"Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we'll find the perfect match here somewhere--I wonder, now--yes, why not--unusual combination--holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple."
Harry took the wand dubiously, and jerked in surprise as a stream of red and gold sparks shot out from the end.
Wow. There was a wand for him after all. His mouth curved into a grin that Harry didn't even attempt to smother.
He looked up at Severus delightedly, smile growing wider as he saw on Snape's face a mirror of his own expression. This was--
"Curious…curious…" Ollivander put Harry's wand into it's box and wrapped it in brown paper.
Okay, not the word he had been searching for.
"Sorry, but what's curious?" The tone of his voice was quiet, hesitant. Harry shook his head ruefully, trying to push back an embarrassed blush. He had meant to sound more assertive. He hated it when his voice didn't sound like he meant it to.
"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather--just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother--why, its brother gave you that scar."
Well, shit. That was just great.
He sneaked a glance at Severus, looking down again quickly when he saw that Snape's smile had turned into a grimace.
"Yes, thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things happen."
Harry thought that Ollivander should stop talking. Now.
"The wand chooses the wizard, remember…I think we must--"
"Thanks for the wand, Mr. Ollivander. It's really great." Harry's voice was bright and chirpy.
He stepped back onto Snape's foot.
The professor jumped. "Yes. Um, yes. But we must…go. Unfortunately." Severus seemed like he was regaining some of his composure. "It was a…pleasure."
Yep, composure back. There was the sneer.
Snape paid the man seven galleons, and then Harry followed him out of the shop.
Harry stood on a footstool, feeling rather bored as Madame Malkin pinned his robes to the right length.
He wished Severus would get back soon. He had muttered something about knocking and rare ingredients and then left.
Oh, fun. Someone else just came in. Because he got along with other children so well.
Harry did his best to shrink into himself. Maybe if he was quiet the strange boy wouldn't talk to him.
He had a round face, and looked vaguely bemused.
"This--this is Madame Malkin's Robe Shop, right? I've never been here before--my gran always ordered our clothes by catalogue. Is this the right place?"
"Yes of course, my dear, " Madame Malkin answered. "Didn't you see the sign on the front door?"
"Oh. Erm, yes, but…" The boy blushed.
Harry rolled his eyes.
The boy got up onto the stool next to Harry.
"Hello," he began, a bit hesitantly. "I'm Neville. Longbottom," he added, as if it were an afterthought.
"Harry." Was reluctantly offered in return. Even that much of his name was a risk. He hoped that this Neville wouldn't care enough to ask his last.
"I'm…going to Hogwarts."
No, really? Never would've guessed.
"Right." The boy--Neville--seemed to be at a loss for what to say.
They stood in silence until Harry's robe was finished.
"That's you done, my dear," and Harry hopped down.
"Bye!" the boy called awkwardly as Harry took his robes and walked out of the store, "I'll see you at school!"
Yeah. Hopefully not. That kid hadn't seemed too bad though. At least on the surface.
He was probably a follow-the-crowd-so-I-don't-get-picked-on type.
The boy shifted his gaze. Or, really, focused it. Severus had been standing right in front of him.
"You've been staring at my chest for over a minute." Severus' silky voice sounded amused.
"I was zoning." Harry ground out defensively.
"Zoning." The professor looked incredulous.
Harry attached his gaze to Sev's face, puzzled by his expression. Come on, everyone zoned, right? It's just a thing that people do.
"You know, when you're thinking so hard you tune everything else out…"
No change in expression.
"I guess you don't know."
"I guess I don't." Severus replied, amused once more.
"Um…" Well, that was sorta embarrassing. "Where to now? We've gotten all my school supplies. Is it time for Gringotts?"
Gringotts would be fun. He could finally see his money. Maybe he would pick it up and let it dribble through his fingers the way rich villains did in all those movies Dudley used to get for Christmas. He thought he'd leave out the laughter, though. He really didn't want Severus to think he was demented.
"No," Severus voice cut into his thoughts. "Now is the time to buy you a few more necessities. Muggle clothes, contact lenses, things like that. And then it's time for your birthday present."
"Um, Sev? My birthday was--"
"July thirty-first, yes I know."
So…why was Sev getting him a birthday present now?
"Good." Severus seemed to think the subject was closed.
Right. Closed subject. New subject…
"What do I need muggle clothes for?"
Severus let out a loud breath and moved forward. "Because I said so, brat. Now let's go."
Harry was nervous. Hopefully, he had no reason to be, but really, you never could tell with people. Severus was different, of course, but…still.
"Step." Severus warned.
Harry stopped walking. "Up or down?"
"Okay. Thanks." He cautiously continued walking forward and felt around for a step with his feet.
He really wished Sev would let him open his eyes.
Shopping for things had been fun. Severus hadn't left him much to buy, though. That was sort of disappointing. Although--he now had clothes that fit!--so it was okay.
He found the step, went up. Continued walking forward.
"I'm going to take your hand now, alright?"
"Yes. Okay." Harry answered. He felt a bit more confident when he Severus' hand grasp his own.
He jumped a little when the hand squeezed. "Sev? That is you holding my hand, yeah?"
Harry tentatively squeezed back, and grinned as he got more pressure in answer.
"Open your eyes."
Harry quickly did as he was told.
And--oh, wow. He was surrounded by--creatures. Some of them were normal, but more were things he'd only seen in Werewolves, Unicorns, and More. Even the normal ones seemed strange.
There were cats and mice and birds and frogs and snakes and dogs. The shop was a madhouse--all the animals growling or chirping, some doing both at once. He walked forward, entranced by the sight of a three-headed monkey-snake-chicken thing.
He pointed with his free hand, making sure his exposed finger was a safe distance away from the caged creature. "I want that. Severus, I want that."
Harry paused, putting his hand down and moving closer.
"What is it?" Severus sounded sort of repulsed. The boy grinned.
"I want it, Severus. Buy it for me."
"I will do no such thing!" Severus gave Harry a contemptuous glare that turned into a grimace as he once again looked at the creature. He shook off Harry's hand. "You are not getting that. Go find something else. You have fifteen minutes before we leave."
"Fine, fine…" Harry grinned, hiding the traitorous expression beneath his hand, and wandered off to look for a pet. Severus was so easy.
Ten minutes later he had narrowed it down to two owls. There was a gorgeous large snowy owl, and a smaller, slightly scruffy looking brown owl, of indeterminate breed. He went to talk to the two separately, the brown owl first.
"Hey, girl," he coaxed softly, moving closer to the cage and tentatively holding his arm out. "I'm Harry. I'd like to be your friend. Would you like that?" The owl glared at him suspiciously and snapped at his fingers. Harry pulled his hand back sharply. "Are you sure? Because I think you're beautiful."
The crazy bird just glared at him again, with even more hostility than before. She moved closer to him in her cage than had been, and the dark-haired boy hastily moved back a few paces, sure that she would try to bite him. "Well, alright then. It was nice meeting you."
He moved on to the next owl, hoping that he would be friendlier. He repeated the procedure he had gone through with the other owl, albeit much more cautiously. He was highly gratified when the owl didn't try to bite him at all. Much more friendly than that other owl. Although this one seemed to be ignoring him. The snowy owl didn't respond
to his overtures; cleaning his feathers and occasionally favoring Harry with an imperious glance. Still, it was an improvement, and he was determined to make the best of it. After all, owls lived a long time. Harry was sure the owl would warm up to him in a few days.
And he was so pretty. Just like Harry had always imaged a pet should be like. He had never had one, but he had heard enough around the school about this person's cute dog, or that person's adorable kitty.
Dudley had gotten a dog once. The older boy had spent all his time tormenting the poor creature, pulling on its ears taking away its food--it was no wonder the dog had attacked him. His aunt and uncle didn't see it that way, of course.
The dog had been killed within the week. Oh, sorry--put down. For no reason except that it had the good sense to attack his cousin.
Harry shivered, annoyed with himself for being depressing. He was away from the Dursleys, he was about the get a beautiful pet of his own--an owl!--and no one would take him away. He smiled easily at the owl, and went to find someone who worked at the
He spotted a man wearing a flashing shirt with the legend "Magical Menagerie: the best animals, the best prices, the most humane care. (certified by the Department of Animal Treatment, MoM)" on it. He walked over to him, blinking dazedly at the brilliant colors the letters constantly changed between. Damn shirt was blinding. Actually, now that Harry thought about it, it probably helped him handle the animals.
He looked up at the man. He did not look happy. Maybe now wasn't the best time to approach him. But--Severus had said they would have to leave--this was so frustrating. He wanted his owl.
"Um, excuse me, sir? See, there's this owl, and he's really great, and my school letter said I could have one, so I--"
"You got money, kid?" Well, that was rude. Harry didn't think he liked this man.
"Yes, I have money," he said, thrusting his chin forward defiantly.
"Hey, don't get smart with me, you little bastard; I've just had a very, very, bad day and you are not gonna add to it." He leaned down close to Harry, close enough that the boy had to breathe hot, garlicky used air. He didn't dare turn his head aside. Where was Severus? He needed Severus. Now. Right now. Where was he?
"You understand that, boy?"
"Yes, yes sir, I do."
"Good." The clerk let out a satisfied sigh. "Now where was that owl you wanted to buy?"
"Um." Harry started walking towards his future pet, trying to get as far away form the bigger man as possible. He stopped at the cage holding the big snowy owl. "This one."
"That one." The man smirked. "Sorry, no can do, kid. That one's already sold. To some rich French girl from Beauxbatons, actually."
"A French girl from Beauxbatons. Damn it."
Th clerk seemed to be enjoying himself. "That's right."
"Where in France does she live?"
"How should I know, kid? She sure didn't tell me. And that, let me tell you, is a true pity--because, damn, kid, she was hot!"
"Uhuh." Harry was skeptical. And he had lost his pet. Belated tears started welling up in his eyes. The brown owl across the way hooted at him as if to say, "It served you right."
"So I guess you're not going to be buying anything here today?"
Harry narrowed his eyes. No. He had come into this store to buy a pet and that was what he was going to do. He gaze fell upon the scruffy brown owl once more.
"No, I will be buying something. That owl there. What kind is it?"
The clerk looked kind of sheepish, and shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. It's been here for a long time--or at least since I started working here. Not a very popular type of owl, I suppose."
Harry looked at the owl again. She snapped her teeth at him menacingly.
"I don't think it likes you, kid," the man observed. He was just so helpful, wasn't he?
"I don't care. I'm buying her." Okay, so he was buying a killer owl who hated him. Not a very smart move.
He grabbed hold of the top of the cage and carried her up to the cash register. She was still glaring at him, but at least she hadn't attempted to bite him again.
He looked around for Severus, grinning when he saw him standing over by the snake cages, glaring at a snake that had the nerve not to respond to his attention. His grin became a giggle when he noticed how similar the stares of the owl and Snape seemed. He would have to point that out to Severus some time. Over the telephone. Or by letter.
He told the awful clerk who had by now gotten behind the desk to wait a second while he got his guardian, and moved over to join Sev.
He stopped next to the man and slid his hand along the side of the snake cage, grinning as the snake responded by moving over to him. Snakes were so cool. They were so long and scaly.
"Of course the stupid creature would move as soon as you got here." Snape was indignant.
Harry shrugged. "Snakes like me."
The snake moved closer to Harry's hand, almost pressing itself against the glass. "I think I can see that, Harry."
Severus shook off his irritation. Harry could almost see the man reminding himself to be nice. "So, did you find anything you want to buy?"
"Yeah. I got an owl. It sort of reminds me of you, actually."
Snape looked towards the checkout desk and made a face. "Thank you very much. I've always wanted to be compared to an unintelligent, dirty beast."
Harry could have sworn the owl had heard the man. Why else would it have hissed? He hadn't even know owls could hiss.
"What about you?" Harry asked politely.
"Well, I was thinking of buying this…creature," a venomous glare was aimed at the snake, "but it is unresponsive to me. I would need to develop a solid rapport with it in order for it to be useful."
"Useful? It's a pet snake. You pet it." Severus was so dumb sometimes.
Oh, look. Now he was making a weird noise with his teeth. Didn't that hurt?
"This particular type of snake has scales, venom, and eggs that are very useful in a number of potions." He sounded frustrated.
"Oh." Harry thought it over. "Well, of course he wouldn't like you. You only want to use him. That's not very nice."
Severus sighed. "I don't feel like discussing this right now, Harry. We have a lot to do today, and I don't want to waste any time."
Right. Okay. No wasting time. Got it. Wait--how much time would he get to spend in Flourish and Blotts?
He looked up to see Snape walking over to the cash register and his owl. Money was exchanged. He grinned. He now had an owl of his very own. What should he call her? Hmm.
Harry and Severus made several more stops, buying things that were required for school or just things that the Professor thought Harry would need.
The last stop before Gringotts would be the bookstore. Harry was almost bursting with excitement. He was going to see the books! Books books books. Books. He giggled. And then quickly covered his mouth and hoped no one had heard. He heard a snort from beside him. No such luck. "Shut up, Sev."
Gringotts was amazing. It was so huge and the goblins were so--well, they were kind of ugly and rude, actually, but--Harry couldn't explain it. It was…majestic, he guessed. Not that the bookstore wasn't his favorite stop in Diagon Alley, because it so was. He'd gotten so many books, and even if he hadn't, browsing through them always put him in such a good mood.
So he and Severus had gone into Gringotts, shown his key to the goblins, and off they went down this elevator-like thing to see his vault. His vault! And wasn't that the most brilliant thing ever? He had an entire vault full of--well, he wasn't quite sure what it was full of, really, but Severus assured him he had money.
Harry bounced with excitement as the lift slowed to a stop (on the inside, naturally--he was much too dignified to bounce on the outside).
"Stop that, Harry," Severus put a steadying hand on his shoulder. "You're going to give me a headache."
Okay, so maybe he had indulged in a little external bouncing. He was eleven, okay? It was allowed.
The goblin opened the door to his vault, and Harry paused. He looked at Severus. What if the man had been lying to him? Okay, no, he doubted Severus would do that. But what if he was wrong? What if Severus was wrong about him having money? Maybe whoever had told Severus that was lying and Harry's parents really had been drunken good-for-nothings without jobs and--
He felt a gentle push from the hand on his shoulder.
"Go on, Harry. I'll wait here." Severus gestured toward the vault. Harry took a deep breath, and stepped forward.
And hey! He did have money, as it turned out. Lots of it. Well, he didn't know how much money there really was by wizarding standards, but it looked like a lot to him. He filled up a sack with some of the gold, the silver, and the bronze, and then rejoined Severus.
He didn't know if he was ready for Hogwarts, but it looked like he had everything he needed. Except for some much needed courage. Damn it. He wold have to get some of that.
End Chapter 19b
God, I'm such a bad person. Thanks to everyone who kept checking for updates, and the rare person who found this in the older parts of the site and still read it. Your reviews have continued to mean a lot to me. Unfortunately there are too many for personal responses, but--yeah. I'm just so happy that anyone likes this. I do a little cheer in my computer chair whenever I see a review. So thanks for reading, and I hope you like this new part. J