Harry Potter's time on Earth was good for him and the elves.
One of the things Harry wanted to do was to clear out his magical storage. Carrying many millions of pounds worth of supplies was originally helpful, but it had gotten old.
His first step was to locate a particular piece of land and, through the King, arrange to become its owner. There might be no Hogwarts in this dimension, but the site did contain an old, ruined castle that was maintained as being of historical interest. In Hogwarts, what would have been the Slytherin dungeons were perfect for his use. These lowest levels, like Hogwarts, were built right into bedrock. The rooms had been storage and places for men-at-arms to sleep during a siege. The rooms had no important artifacts and there was no way to make it safe for tourists without extensive modifications – not allowed as the site was considered historical.
His own use was considered secret – only the King and Crown Prince knew of it. And it was only possible because Harry didn't actually change the rooms, which would have been a violation of law. He and the elves only hid them magically and tied in a powerful stasis ward, and the magic of Earth would keep it running.
During the transfer, something came to light. There were items Hermione had included which had not made it onto his manifest. He found a letter on one of the chests.
To be truthful, I hope that you never find this note.
You have volunteered to go speak to the beings beyond the Veil and we think it likely you can return. But you seem to be satisfied with the idea that you might not return.
For the last year and a half, I have assisted you in obtaining everything that might be needed to establish yourself in a new world/dimension/universe. We have come up with electronic storage for muggle media and magical and non-magical ways for you to enjoy them.
But one thing that could be lost is the knowledge of how the music was made. For different reasons, I have included the trunk this is attached to. It includes working examples of all traditional musical instruments that I could find and pay for.
With the tens of millions of pounds you are spending, spending a million or so for instruments and instruction books to play them is a small cost.
If you return from the Veil, I will retrieve this note and ask you to store the chest in a vault so that some future descendant of yours will have access.
But if you don't return and you find this, it means that you are working on putting down permanent roots. I will always love you and wish you the best, no matter where and when you might be. No matter what, I hope that you have a rich and long life with people who love you and who respect you.
Harry read the note with exasperated fondness. "What am I going to do with a bunch of musical instruments?" Harry knew he was not suited to performing or even enchanting things to perform music. Hermione also knew he had no talent, so she likely intended them to be used by others Harry chose.
Dobby, who was assisting with retrievals, said, "Tell King Charles. He might have a place for them."
Harry's face lit up. "Good idea. Winky!" His second house elf appeared. "Can you ask the Royal Scheduler when King Charles might have time to visit me here?" They were using a lower level of the castle as a staging area. Winky and Dobby would move things to storage as needed.
As she popped off Harry looked at Dobby. "We'll have to get them all out of storage. I'm certain removing them from stasis will be fine for them."
Harry reread the note. "Three quarters of a million pounds? What the hell cost that much?" He looked at Dobby. "Can you find the financial records in this chest?" Dobby went in and came out a few minutes later, handling him a sheaf of paper.
Harry started looking at it. "20,000 pounds for a piano? 4 violins at 1500 pounds each? And a note that a standard orchestra needs 30 violins." Harry looked at Dobby. "Hermione was trying too hard."
"Miss Moiney was fond of details."
"True," Harry said with amusement. He went back to the list. "Another 8,000 pounds for four violas." He quickly leafed through and got to the final page.
"If I had gone for the best instruments, this could have cost your entire budget, even taking into account the increase due to the Queen buying the gold closer to Muggle market value. Quality musical instruments cost money. Love, H."
Hermione, Harry decided, could be a snob when she wanted to be. But considering she had done a lot of the work without bugging him at every step, he couldn't complain. She really had set him up pretty well. Even if sometimes he thought she had been planning for a whole colony to be set up from his stores.
Winky came back. "King Charles can visit for tea and after. I offered to serve tea for my Master and the King."
Harry nodded. At least the elves were learning to do things without checking with him first. "Okay. So that's about two and a half hours. How long would it take to remove all instruments from storage?"
Dobby and Winky conferred. "Thirty minutes, Master Harry," Dobby finally answered.
"Let's spend another hour sorting out what we have and moving things away. Then we can unload the instruments and then we take a break."
The two elves nodded.
When the break came, Harry thought about Hermione and her reactions during the last years before he left. Thinking back, she had been very detail-oriented. She had also made a few statements which, now that he thought about it, seemed to indicate she expected him to bring more people.
He had been adamant and only his elves had convinced him to come with him. Hermione hadn't been horrible with her arguments, but she had been persistent up until about a month before he was scheduled to jump through.
Harry thought back to his sister-figure with love. She really hadn't been comfortable sending him on alone. And if he had expressed any doubts, he now guessed she would have convinced him to allow her, Ron, and a few others to come with him, despite the danger of failing.
He loved her, really he did, but looking back he recognized how much of a busy-body she could be. He couldn't hate her for it – that had saved his life quite a number of times as a teenager – but it was likely better that she was left behind.
Ron needed someone like that to keep him straight as without it, Harry's first friend would have been too lazy to do as well as he did. Harry himself could be lazy – but he had the elves which kept him from vegging out too much.
When tea time arrived, King Charles showed up as scheduled. "Sir Harry. How is your project progressing?" he asked congenially.
Harry sat down as the elves started serving. "I've found a few things I didn't know I had. Dobby," he nodded as his elf, "suggested getting your input on one of them."
Charles chuckled. "Some of the things you've showed us were quite valuable."
Harry said with some embarrassment, "But some of them are just archaic."
Charles shrugged as he sipped his tea. "Some people are impressed with archaic."
Harry sighed. "But the trouble is that they aren't actually old. If we went strictly by date of manufacture, they are of twenty-first century origin. But quantum dating indicates the items are only a few years old or even less."
Charles looked at the Knight that had appeared on his radar the year before. "Your viewpoint is a product of the society you come from. Yes. From a monetary-driven viewpoint, quite a number of things you brought are less than impressive. But overall we don't care about such things anymore.
"If you brought out, say, a twentieth-century tennis racket, I would be interested because I would want to see how it was made. Do our modern re-creations accurately reflect the quality our ancestors had? Does that mean we want to use old tennis rackets? Personally, I prefer the latest rackets." Charles was a tennis player even at his late middle-age, or what was considered late middle-age now. Charles was in his sixties. His father, Charles VII, would have been hale and still king if he hadn't died in a shuttle accident years earlier. Prince William didn't expect to reach the throne for another forty years and he was fine with that.
The king continued, "After Earth started recovering from the Atomic Age, things were recreated based on what was written or assumed or what was found during the rebuilding. People created 'replicas' based on what seemed to match, but that doesn't mean we were always successful. How could we know? We were recovering from wars that had lasted three generations. And even the immediate aftermath was repressive in many ways. Books were burned, records destroyed. Two more generations is what it took to free ourselves from disease, poverty, and extremist regimes. And then we were more interested in where we were going instead of where we had been.
"It took another hundred years before systematic recovery of our lost cultural heritage became important again to enough people to make a difference. So, monetarily, many of the things you have are not important. Culturally? You, Sir Harry, and your friend Hermione Granger, have done much for us and I am grateful."
Harry nodded toward Charles with his thanks. "Hermione would have truly appreciated your words far more than I do and I am experiencing them first hand. She is one of only a very few people I truly miss from my younger years."
Charles said with some humor and a bit of seriousness, "If I had the opportunity, I would have named her Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. That was the traditional order for people who contributed to British culture and so forth. According to law, I can only confirm Orders of Chivalry – not create them. At least beyond theoretically. But she really deserves it."
Harry had learned after contacting the Royal family how different things were in the here and now. When the governments of the world were being reconstituted, the Royal Family was acknowledged as the Hereditary Royal family of Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations, but their place was deemed ceremonial only.
British Orders of Chivalry and other national honors such as the Orders of Canada and Australia were, for the most part, deemed archaic devices. Many who had been given such honors during those chaotic years didn't truly deserve them, but some did.
As the Hereditary King and Head of the Commonwealth, the Royal Family was given the power to acknowledge such honors when deemed appropriate, thus giving them legal legitimacy while also giving legitimacy to the wholesale revoking of honors that were not deemed as deserved (a much longer list). This was why Harry's own acknowledgement as Knight of the Thistle had legal standing.
"She would consider it a great honor," Harry said with a wistful smile.
Harry always had trouble with tense when talking about his former life and friends. This time on his current timeline seemed to conform to the early twenty-first century on his old timeline. As far as he knew, all his friends were still alive.
The whole subject gave him headaches when he thought about it in too much detail, though.
Soon, tea was finished. Harry and Charles stood up together. "Now. Let's see this matter you need Our input on."
Harry led him to the large room he had been allowed to use. Harry stopped him just inside and motioned.
Charles looked out at the contents of the room. "My word."
Harry grinned at him. "That's so British."
Charles chuckled. "What exactly am I seeing?" he asked.
Harry sighed. "My friend Hermione decided that I needed to be sent off with traditional instruments of all types so that I could have a rich life. I have no talent for performance. So while I'll likely bring a few instruments with me to give as gifts when appropriate, most of them … someone else really should take charge of them."
Harry would keep what most people of his generation considered proper for a small band as well as a few acoustic guitars. He liked hearing those played, even if he couldn't play them. Maybe he could get a holo-program to run them. He remembered something.
"I would like to gift one of the violins to someone as well."
"To whom?" Charles asked curiously.
"Commander Data on the Enterprise. He helped me when I first arrived to transfer all of the digital knowledge I had to systems that would be understood now. What was a few terabytes of data converted to a much smaller package here."
"Bytes? How does that compare to quads?"
"Byte is base two. Quad is base 4. Computers where I come from only use base two – on and off. Here the computers are powered by plasma and four different states are recognized; more information in smaller spaces, but much more complex."
Charles chuckled, "I paid much more attention to the social sciences when I was in school rather than computer science. I know how computers work but I never studied alternate systems."
"Where I come from, we used basic electricity. The average person understood solid, liquid, gas. Plasma as a fourth state was high level science."
Charles waved him off. "That's fascinating and all, but let's get back to this." He looked around and then asked, "What do you want to have happen to this?"
Harry looked around the room helplessly. "Can't you do something with them? Put together a Royal Orchestra or something? Is there a Royal Musical Conservatory?"
Charles said, "No. But I suppose one could be chartered." He then said with some small tone of wonder, "Royal means something to you, doesn't it?"
"Where I'm from, Royal has true significance. A lot of the Queen's power was ceremonial, but we ultimately answered to her. To be British was to trust that no matter what, the Queen was there to run to if everything else went to pieces. Being a Royal servant was considered honorable and important. As soon as we heard 'Royal' we deferred to whatever was labeled so."
Charles shook his head. "There was so much trust held by my ancestors. Royal has become something considered interesting but of little importance."
Harry chuckled. "It helped that we hadn't really had a bad king per se since … well, James II. When William of Orange became King, he started a pretty decent run of monarchs. George III was a bit crazy, which led to the Colonies across the pond breaking away, but he wasn't that bad."
"I think all of the Kings and Queens of Britain and England had their good and bad points, some more obvious, some less. None was perfect."
Harry said with humor, "Now that's just not cricket to go and admit that out loud. Loyalty demands that the British forgive their monarch their foibles." He paused. "Except for Richard the Third. And John of course. He was an arse. There was a reason no King was ever named John again."
Charles lightly commented, "It was over a thousand years ago now. We don't have to dwell on John's inadequacies."
Harry said, "He still was an arse." Harry gave Charles a smirk. "There's a certain joy that I feel when I get to call a toilet the common nickname of the John."
Charles laughed. "Okay. That is amusing. Now. As far as commissioning a Royal Musical Conservatory …."
Harry said, "I'm gifting all of this to the people of Britain via the Royal House of Windsor. You can do whatever you like with them."
Charles sighed. "The Royal Household has had more work in the last year than we had in the ten years previous. You are keeping us on our toes."
"Just being a loyal British subject."
One class of supplies he kept with him was a store of wines and spirits. He (and his elves) could duplicate them magically and they kept a "Master Bar" which was treated with care. The original was never opened.
Harry had included cases of various beers, wines, and spirits, to be used as a possible source of trade. And while he had used some of what he brought as an income source, holding on to the vast supply was more trouble than it was worth.
Some he gave to the Royal Household. He sent fourteen cases of spirits and twenty cases of beer made in the former United States to Joseph Sisko. There were many dishes that the older man could make with bourbon, whiskey, gin, and rye. The beer, in Harry's opinion, was only good for cooking with because in his opinion drinking them wasn't worth the effort.
Many things from across the pond had confused him when he still lived in his original timeline. Americans had some great music, decent spirits, some very good wines, and totally crap beer. And for some reason the bloody Yanks had seemed proudest of their beer. Or at least it seemed that way from his outsider's perspective. He had a few more cases he'd give to Benjamin back on Deep Space 9 and then he'd be happily shot of them.
He didn't even keep examples of American beers in his Master Bar.