Harry Potter pushed open the door to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. It was exactly as he remembered it, complete with the severed elf heads.
"Harry, dear!" Mrs. Weasley bustled into the hall and embraced him. "How are you? Has your summer been nice so far?" She grabbed his arm and pulled him inside.
"Harry! You're here! Excellent!" He turned to see a tall, red-haired boy. His face was covered in freckles.
"Hello, Ron… Hermione," Harry greeted his friends. Ron looked behind him, and noticed his friend Hermione had followed him. She was exactly the way Harry remembered her, bushy hair and all. He grinned.
Hermione ran down the rest of the stairs and hugged her friend. "It's so wonderful to see you again!" she said, even though they'd only said goodbye a few weeks ago.
"Yeah. Moody? Were you going to show him?" Ron asked the wizard standing behind Harry.
"Yeah, just wait a minute," the ex-Auror growled. He hung up his coat and hat.
"What? Show me what?" Harry asked. Excitement crept into his voice, though he tried to keep it away.
"This." Mad-Eye Moody seized Harry's arm and led him into an adjoining room.
Lisa dragged her suitcase into the grubby pub. A sign on the door told her it was the Leaky Cauldron, a name that didn't reassure her much.
"Reservation for Lisa Emmons?" Stan Shunpike asked the man behind the counter. The man put down the glass he'd been wiping and opened a registrar.
"Emmons, Emmons… Oh, yes. Room Nine. Here's your key." He handed Lisa a tiny gold key. "I'll show you to your room, then." He walked out from behind the counter.
"I'm Tom, by the way. Innkeeper of the place."
"Good luck, miss Emmons," Stan said. He waved to her and left.
Tom chatted cheerfully about nothing while the two walked down the inn's hallway. Lisa made occasional sounds of consent, but for the most part took in her surroundings.
"Here we are. Room Nine. I'll leave you here to get settled. Unpack and then come down to the pub. There's someone here who wishes to speak to you." Lisa nodded and unlocked the door to her room.
It wasn't very big, but it didn't really need to be. There was a fireplace, with some sort of blue flames that gave off a cool breeze, welcome for the heat of midsummer. A four-poster bed stood against one wall, a wardrobe leaned against another, and a full-length mirror hung on the door. A short bookshelf also stood next to the bed, with a nightstand on the opposite side. All in all, it was a decent place to spend the next month and a half (or however long it was now; Lisa could never keep the date straight).
She unpacked her clothing first, hanging her robes in the wardrobe and folding her pants and shirts into the dresser. Then she stacked her books on the desk. At the bottom of her trunk she found a plain white envelope. Inside was a tiny gold key and a note from her parents.
Lisa, it read, This key is to your Gringotts account. Your father and I have put a little money aside for your usage. There's enough in there for your school supplies, clothes, and a little extra for anything that happens to catch your eye. Love, Mom.
Lisa grinned. Her own Gringotts account! She would have to be careful not to spend it all at once, though the idea was tempting.
She changed out of her Muggle clothing, dressing instead in a simple black robe with gold trim. It made her feel more comfortable; she would probably blend in better in wizard clothes. She folded her supply list and placed it in her pocket, then slung her tiny purse over her shoulder and returned to the pub.
Tom was waiting there for her, standing next to a man in a lime green bowler hat.
"Lisa Emmons?" She nodded. "Excellent. I am Cornelius Fudge, the British Minister of Magic. Welcome to our country. Now, you'll be staying here until September the First, when you'll leave for school. Do not stray into the Muggle world, though I doubt you have any desire to do so anywayThis pub contains the entrance to Diagon Alley, which will provide everything for you during your stay. It is also where you can buy school supplies."
Lisa's head was spinning. She was slightly confused, but nodded anyway. Fudge continued talking.
"Now, if you'll follow me, I'll show you how to enter Diagon Alley." He stood up and walked through the crowd. Lisa followed him out into a small courtyard. A black trash can stood against a brick wall.
"Watch closely. You'll take out your wand, like so, and tap the third brick from the left above the rubbish bin, like so." He tapped the brick three times with his wand. The bricks began to rearrange themselves, finally revealing an archway leading to a winding alley. At the end was a large white building that Lisa guessed was Gringotts.
"This is Diagon Alley. At the end, there, is Gringotts. Did you get the key?" Lisa held up the tiny golden key she'd found in her suitcase. "Good. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's something I need totake care of…"
With that, Fudge bustled off, leaving Lisa to explore Diagon Alley.
First, she went to Gringotts—a rather obvious start, as she needed money to be able to buy things. The first goblin was available, so she went up to the stand. Her head barely reached the top, and she couldn't see over very well.
"Er—I need to make a withdrawal?" she said. The goblin nodded.
"Have you got the key?" he asked. Lisa handed him her key. "Vault three hundred and ninety seven, then. This way." He gave back the key and waved her down the row. She followed him through an archway to a small cart. They climbed in, Lisa looking nervous.
"Here we go!" The goblin sped the cart along the tracks. They moved deeper and deeper, speeding down steep hills and sharp turns. By the time they got to Vault three hundred and ninety seven, Lisa was a rather nice shade of green.
"Right then. Key?" She handed the goblin her key. He opened the vault door to reveal several piles of wizard gold, silver, and bronze. Lisa filled her purse and turned to go.
"Er—could we go a bit slower on the way back?" she asked. The goblin gave her an odd look. "Nevermind," Lisa mumbled, turning red from embarrassment. The goblin grumbled something. He motioned Lisa into the cart and they sped up, just as fast as before.
The bright sun nearly blinded Lisa when she walked out of the dark bank, but she soon adjusted. She had money and free run of the shops. Nothing could spoil this day for her.