"Mornin' P'fssors! Startin' early!" The toothless barman, Tom grinned.
His eyes widened as the Headmaster of Hogwarts stepped out of the fireplace with a small, black-haired boy in his arms. The child was spluttering and squirming. Albus shook him off and gingerly placed him on the ground. Harry stood unsteadily, his little legs shaking. Albus gently but firmly patted him on the back and asked Tom for a glass of water. Harry greedily gulped it down, his coughs subsiding.
"It would seem the floo network is not for young Harry here!" Edgar joked patting Harry's shoulder.
"Don't worry my boy, we will catch the Knight Bus back when the time comes."
Filius, Edgar and Hagrid conversed with Tom whilst Albus helped Harry get his bearings. He gently rubbed his back soothingly and fed the child chocolate.
10 minutes later found the five wizards tapping the correct bricks and entering Diagon Alley. Harry scrambled onto Hagrid's shoulders and experienced the cobbled street from up high. His head swivelled from side to side and the further on they strolled the wider his green eyes grew. Edgar joked they might just pop out of his head. There were so many things to see and with Hagrid's big strides there was so little time. Witches and wizards stopped to greet the group but Harry paid them no notice because there were so many other interesting things grabbing his attention. His nose twitched at the different aromas and smells that wafted forth from the wide array of shops, some tantalizingly delicious others stomach churning smelly.
A tall building of white marble came into view and Harry's mouth dropped when he caught sight of goblin, dressed in a uniform of scarlet and gold, guarding the bronze front doors.
"Gringotts, Harry." Albus answered his unasked question. "The wizarding bank."
"Safest place in the world fer anything yeh want ter keep safe, 'cept maybe Hogwarts." Hagrid commented as he easily placed Harry back on firm ground.
Holding his Uncle Albus' hand he climbed the front steps, his eyes never once leaving the goblin, and passed through the front doors. Two more goblins greeted them guarding a silver set of doors. Not being able to read the inscription carved on the doors Harry quickly turned his gaze to the goblins. He pushed his glasses further up his nose as he inspected them with open curiosity. As the large doors opened and bid them entry Harry stared in awe. The chamber before them was enormous with hundreds of goblins hard at work either counting coins or examining precious stones.
The group split up to visit their own vaults and Harry soon found himself squeezed into a cart with his Uncle Albus. They were travelling fast down a rickety track, swirling and curving. Harry was sure the contraption would unhinge and they would go falling into the vast darkness that surrounded them. He clung tighter to Albus who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. They journeyed deep underground until they came to an abrupt halt in front of a huge door. Before Harry had time to register the vault number their goblin had gently stroked the door, which melted and disappeared before their eyes.
Harry had never seen so many riches before in all his life. Knuts, sickles, galleons, pounds, pennies and great bars of gold filled the vault. Albus ushered Harry inside and chuckled at the child's amazement.
"You're rich Uncle Albus! RICH!"
The treasures were stacked haphazardly and Harry was loathed to move in case he accidentally knocked a pile over.
"I get by." The old man smiled.
Having discovered the great wonders of Gringotts Harry and Albus met back up with Filius, Edgar and Hagrid and the five of them made their merry way to Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions. As they entered the shopkeeper herself greeted them.
"Headmaster Dumbledore! Professors!" She welcomed warmly. "Yes, your witches were in here yesterday warning me – the Ministry Christmas Ball and our guest of honour." She finished turning to Albus.
Harry had remained quiet, tucked away shyly behind Hagrid's enormous form, clinging tightly to Albus' hand. Curiosity got the better of him and he peeped forth.
"Oh!" Madam Malkin clapped her hands excitedly. Bending forward she asked smilingly, "So who is this then?"
Harry smiled shyly as Hagrid stepped aside and ushered Harry forward.
"Madam Malkin," Albus said proudly, "I would like to introduce you to Harry."
"Hello there Harry," her smile put Harry at ease, "keeping an eye on the professors here, are you?" She winked earning her a giggle. "So gentlemen," standing back and sizing up the group of wizards. "Any special requests?" The wizards shrugged. "Shall we start by choosing a fabric?"
Madam Malkin steered them in the right direction while she disappeared out back in search of her tape measures.
"Anything catch your eye, Filius?" Edgar asked holding up a dark yellow fabric and posing for the mirror.
"Oh no dearie. Yellow is most definitely not your colour!" The mirror huffed.
"Oh I don't know, Edgar." Filius shook his head confused. "This really is a witch's job."
"You are right there! I'm under strict instructions from Rolanda to by dress robes that do not clash with hers."
"Really?" Filius chuckled disbelievingly. Thinking back to the week the house-elves misplaced Rolanda's robes so she was forced to wear her old quidditch uniform. She refused to buy new robes stating that she hated shopping. The Headmaster chivalrously bought her a months worth of socks that each clashed garishly but Rolanda gave the impression she didn't mind at all, in actual fact she seemed to be in her element. "I didn't think she was the sort to be concerned with such trivial matters. I suppose a ball and the Christmas spirit brings out the little girl in most witches."
"Oh no, I don't think so. If I understood her grumbling correctly she has her instructions too." Edgar held up a forest green fabric much to the mirrors dismay.
"Who from?" Filius inquired.
"Pomfrey and Vector."
The bright colours to the left of the shop attracted Albus and Harry so they meandered over.
"What do you think of this Harry?" Albus was smiling widely as he held up a flashy coloured fabric with frolicking kittens. "I do believe your aunt would greatly appreciate such a marvellous material. Perhaps a pair of pyjamas!" Under his breath he added, "Heaven knows what she wears at the moment isn't suitable enough against the cold winter chill."
"It could be her Christmas present!" Harry chuckled.
"What a wonderful idea!"
Both of them grinned knowing full well Minerva loathed idiotic pictures depicting her feline form.
"Well since it was your idea it shall be on your head!"
"Ah, Headmaster," Madam Malkin immerged rather nervously. "Why don't we see what we can find over here instead?"
She gently placed her hand on his right arm guiding him to the other side.
"But – but I had my eye on an orange and lime green spotted– "
"Is that really suitable for a ball, let alone the guest of honour?"
"Isn't the customer always right?" Albus grumbled.
"Not in this case." She pushed Albus onto a stool and began measuring.
"Yes, Professor Kettleburn?" She turned to face him. "How can I help you?"
"Well," he sniffed awkwardly. "Not that I can't pick out my own robes…"
Thankfully Madam Malkin understood his dilemma.
"You are the lucky wizard to be accompanying Madam Hooch to the ball, am I correct?"
Edgar nodded and the corner of the shop owner's lips tugged remembering her conversation with Medi-witch Pomfrey and the pretty Professor Vector.
"I started on your robes yesterday, I just need the final measurements. Why don't you stand up on this stool here and I'll be with you just as soon as I am done with the Headmaster."
Edgar followed orders and waited patiently for her to finish measuring Albus.
"So Headmaster, what colour robes will your date be wearing? We wouldn't want your outfits to clash when your picture is sure to be in the papers."
Albus shifted anxiously and Madam Malkin accidentally jabbed him with a pin.
"I-I-I'm not sure. I never thought to ask."
Albus could have sworn he heard her mutter 'men' under her breath. Turning to Harry, earning him another pinprick, he asked,
"You don't happen to know what colour robes your aunt bought yesterday do you my boy?"
"Aunt Min?" Harry asked inspecting an enchanted mirror suspiciously. Madam Malkin's ears perked at finally gaining information about the young boy. As Albus nodded in answer the tape measure lightly whipped him.
"Do try to stand still Headmaster."
"Nope." Harry answered turning his attention back to the mirror. He stuck out his tongue and yelped in surprise as the mirror began lecturing him on behaving politely.
"…and would it kill you to comb your hair?…"
Harry stared at the mirror bewilderedly for a few seconds before scrambling past a pile of robes and hurrying to the safety of his rugged Uncle Ed. The old man laughed and his gnarled, four-fingered hand patted the child rather roughly.
"Don't let inanimate objects bully you son. Pay it no heed." Bending down he loudly whispered, "Between you and me I think it needs its glass cleaned! The fool said yellow was not my colour! – I'm a Hufflepuff!"
Harry cast a quick glance at the mirror noticing it was a fogged up. Not wanting to anger it further he returned to his conversation with his Uncle Albus.
"What colour robes are you going to get, Uncle Albus?"
Madam Malkin was silently trying to make the connection between Uncle Albus, Aunt Min and Harry.
"Well I have always wanted a sunshine yellow pair but I don't suppose your aunt would appreciate that."
"I like the colour red." Harry said sincerely. "Aunt Min looks nice in red."
"Couldn't agree more Harry! Though she is a Gryffindor."
"Minerva clad in red?" Edgar asked curious. "I haven't seen her in anything but tartan and green in years."
"She has red pyjamas." Harry smiled thinking nothing of revealing such information. Edgar turned to the wizened old Headmaster with a smirk on his gruff face.
"And just why would the Headmaster know how becoming a pair of red pyjamas looks on Minerva McGonagall?"
Albus stood stock-still turning that very same shade of red. It seemed it was Madam Malkin's turn to fidget and accidentally poke herself. The snippets of information was becoming too much for her. Her sharp intake of breath brought Albus to his senses.
"Edgar, don't be so absurd! I never said anything of the sort! You are putting words into my mouth!"
"So you don't think Min looks good in red?"
"Well of course I do!" Albus cried before he could stop himself. Edgar grinned mischievously. Was it just Albus or was the room starting to get rather hot and stuffy? He started to fluster and stumble over his words. Thankfully for Albus, Madam Malkin's curiosity became too much.
"Am I correct in understanding you are taking Professor McGonagall to the Ministry Christmas Ball?"
Both wizards stopped their bickering and stared at the witch as if seeing her for the first time.
"Headmaster?" Her voice was a tone higher. She was beginning to worry she had drawn the wrong conclusion. There was still one thing she could not work out. How was Harry related to Albus, Edgar, Minerva and Filius at the same time because she had heard him call them each either uncle or aunt? Madam Malkin was discreet enough to know that it was not her place to ask and the only reason she had plucked up the courage to inquire as much as she had was because she thought she would be of assistance since she knew what robes Professor McGonagall would be wearing to the ball.
"Of course! Minerva purchased her robes here yesterday!"
Madam Malkin smiled relieved that she had not spoken out of place.
"The two of you make a lovely couple," then hastily added, "will make a lovely couple…at the ball."
She hurried off to the back of the shop and Edgar raised a sly, grey eyebrow. Before he could comment Filius and Hagrid came bustling over. Next to each other Filius looked even smaller than he naturally was and Hagrid looked even larger. They made an odd sight.
"Headmaster Dumbledore, Sir."
"Erm. I 'ave ter be off…I er…need to see a man about…a thing…"
Albus didn't wish to know what new pet Hagrid wanted to aquire so he decided to change the subject.
"What about your dress robes, Hagrid?"
Hagrid waved an enormous hand as he headed for the door.
"Nah worry 'bout tha' I know a bloke…" He trailed off and the door shut behind him.
Filius draped a Ravenclaw blue fabric over his shoulder.
"A few bronze touches and you'll look too good for anyone to notice your height."
"I beg your pardon!" The short charms professor turned around expecting to see a rude witch only to come face to face with the aforementioned opinionated mirror.
"Ignore the damn thing, try the one in the corner instead." Edgar offered and so Filius disappeared out of sight again.
Madam Malkin came back with Edgar's robes. They were cream with red detailing as it turned out his date would be a clad in scarlet.
"And for you Headmaster…" Madam Malkin levitated a grey/silver set of robes that twinkled midnight blue. As Albus reached out to take them he felt the fine silk flutter beneath his long fingers. As the candlelight flickered so did the colour of the silk. It shimmered a lighter shade mimicking his eyes. These were the robes he would win Minerva in of that he was sure. With a spring in his step he eagerly entered the fitting room.
As he changed he could hear Edgar grumbling outside.
"Do these robes really suit me?" The Hufflepuff asked secretly fishing for comments. "Are they really portraying the fine sorcerer that I am?"
Albus, having slipped into his robes, joined his colleague posing in front of a silent mirror. Edgar stood straight, sucked in his stomach and twirled admiring his reflection.
"Do these robes make me look…you know…" he placed a hand on his belly. "…slightly…heavy?"
Albus laughed. "I never knew your were so vain Edgar!"
Edgar looked sharply at Albus, face flushed with embarrassment.
"I…well…I want to look my best for Madam Hooch!"
"Of course…"Albus replied raising an eyebrow and biting back another laugh.
"Perhaps I should try on a black pair? Black goes with anything." He hastily added.
"And I have also heard slimming."
Edgar looked appalled apparently taking this as confirmation that he was fat. Of course that was absurd because Edgar Kettleburn was a fit and well-trimmed man. Despite his scars and missing body parts he was still easy on the eyes. He had that rough and rugged look that appealed to the opposite sex. When dealing with women his dramatic and exaggeratingly gallant personality shone through.
"Looking very dashing there, Albus!" Filius squeaked from somewhere around his elbow. Edgar spun on his heel and gave Albus the once over grumbling something about "Headmaster…quirky coot…unfair" nonsense under his breath. He then rounded on Filius.
"Did you purchase your set of robes, Filius?"
"Oh yes." He cheerily chirped patting his pocket.
"And how do you know they match your date's?"
"Oh I don't." He happily replied.
Edgar turned to Albus and squinted as if trying to imagine what Minerva would be wearing.
"Will you be taking Evelyn, Filius?" Albus asked trying not to be concerned about his care of magical creatures professor.
"Oh yes! Evie is so looking forward to it." Filius' eyes glistened as he remembered his sweetheart's face.
"Well now that it is just the three of us men and Harry –"
"HARRY! Merlin where's Harry!?" Albus panicked frantically searching left and right.
"Calm down Albus, calm down. He's being fitted for his robes. Madam Malkin promised to take good care of him. They are just around the corner."
Albus' hand was covering his heart as he regained his posture. Edgar still in a grumpy mood continued,
"Well now that little Harry has been located can we please focus on me?"
Albus and Filius exchanged looks and hid their amusement.
"Of course Edgar. The world revolves around you."
Edgar either didn't hear Filius' comment or he chose to ignore it.
"So Filius, old chap, tell me about this Evie. I've never actually heard the full story." As much as Edgar would deny it he loved a good gossip.
"I wasn't aware there was a story." Filius chuckled conspiratorially.
"Now, now, Filius. Don't be like that! Wizard to wizard, man to man. You can tell us, can't he Headmaster?"
Albus held up his hands in defence as he shook his head. "Oh no! I'm not getting involved! Evelyn is a truly delightful witch and I wish them both the very best."
"Diplomatic answer," Edgar scowled.
"Thank you Albus," Filius winked. "As my pupils would say 'right back at ya'!'"
Albus eyes twinkled.
"Filius," Edgar growled.
The tiny charms professor took on a faraway look as he told his tale. "Evelyn Prudence Lansbury," he smiled. "She is the most beautiful witch I have ever had the fortune to lay eyes upon. The day she was sorted into Ravenclaw…" Filius sighed. "…I was the happiest 13 year old on the planet! Yes…I remember that day like it was yesterday. Her big brown eyes and long blond hair. She sauntered up to the Sorting Hat confident with a regal streak. Oh Evie is very elegant with a poise much like your Minerva." Filius nodded in Albus' direction. "But unlike Minerva she has no Scottish temper. Ever calm an collected is Evie…"
Filius' closed his eyes picturing the small witch in his mind. "She's a muggleborn, her parents were the Duke and Duchess of somewhere or another. She's not a tall witch but radiates respect. As soon as she entered the Great Hall she had me under a spell…undeniably beautiful…isn't she, Albus?"
"She is Filius, very beautiful," Albus nodded.
"I spent my whole third year trying to get her to notice me. She is not a shy witch just not a woman of many words…" Filius chuckled faintly, lost in memories.
"I spent my forth year trying to woo her. Disastrous!" He shook his head embarrassed at his fumbling attempts. "But despite my clumsiness she finally agreed to let me court her."
As he fell silent Edgar looked at the old charms professor in a new light. He had never before thought of Professor Flitwick as a student.
"By the end of my sixth year we were holding hands."
Edgar clapped Filius on the shoulder. "Unstoppable! Scandalous! What did your mother say!?"
"You laugh now Edgar but in those days…"
Albus was reminded of an incident in his second year involving a moving staircase, a bag of fizzing whizzbees, an abandon corridor and an unfamiliar female fifth year Hufflepuff. My arms ached for days after that detention! It wasn't even my fault! I had never met the girl before let alone…well how dared Professor Gage assume such things!
"Yes the good old days, eh old men!" Edgar was in a much better mood. "So if the two of you lived happily ever after how come I have never met the fair lady?"
Both Filius and Albus smiled sadly.
"With sweet Evie being a muggle of significant heritage she followed her father's wishes and married in favour of her family."
"Oh." Edgar replied bluntly but Filius shook his head. The tale did not end there.
"The muggle died not long after that but I was unaware of his death because I was out of the country and we had not corresponded since her wedding. Believe me when I say if I had known I would have married her like that." Filius snapped his fingers.
Edgar was now puzzled as to why he had never took the time to find out more about Flitwick before now.
"The years went by but I never completely forgot her. I couldn't, she was my Hogwarts sweetheart…" A lopsided regretful smile passed his wrinkled features. "By the time I had returned she had remarried another muggle. They had no children and she assures me they lived out his life happily. She loved him. But Evie is a witch, a powerful one at that, so she obviously outlived the muggle who was also some years her senior."
"So then you swooped in and made your move?" Edgar winked and Filius fell into a thoughtful silence. After a minute or two he locked eyes with Edgar.
"One day boy you'll understand, no move was made nor was it necessary." His old eyes flickered to Albus' blue. "There comes a time between two people when they reach an understanding."
Edgar nodded not fully understanding the wise words of wisdom. He placed his five-fingered hand on the professor's shoulder. "She sounds very special Filius and I look forward to meeting her."
"She is," he sighed, "she is."
Edgar was silently wondering why they had never married when Albus spoke.
"True love is beyond the realm of words and actions."
Edgar turned sharply to the old man and wondered, not for the first time, if he head read his thoughts. A cough interrupted their musings. Turning as one Madam Malkin smiled.
"Gentlemen, a little boy wishes to see the three of you."
They scuttled around the corner to find Harry Potter shifting shyly on a stool with his hands behind his back. Filius let out a low whistle and Edgar, ever one for dramatics, had to comment.
"Good looks coupled with your impressive dancing skills – Harry, there will be no stopping them! Witches will be all over you like a blue spotted rash!"
"Believe him!" Filius chuckled. "He knows all about that!"
"Oh yes, that reminds me, how did your stomach heal after that incident."
Edgar scowled at Albus and carried on unperturbed. "Witches have been chasing me for years!"
Madam Malkin made an unladylike sound that she quickly disguised as a cough.
"So does Harry meet with your approval?"
Albus beamed proudly, "Madam Malkin you have outdone yourself. We simply cannot thank you enough!"
The seamstress waved her hands embarrassed and turned her attention to Harry. He was wearing green robes, not Slytherin green but a colour that complimented his features. The robes reached his knees so he wore trousers a darker shade. Much like Minerva's robes small Celtic intricacies were stitched along the cuffs and hems.
"It brings out the colour of his lovely eyes."
Albus, Filius and Edgar all thought of Lily Potter and unbeknownst to them so did Madam Malkin. Whilst standing to be measured Harry had absentmindedly wiped his messy hair out of his eyes and the shopkeeper had caught a glimpse of his famous scar. She then accidentally pricked herself, which brought her out of her shocked trance and she had quickly reverted back to the professionalism she was known for. Whilst shortening his robes Madam Malkin had sifted through what little information she knew and came up with some most unreal explanations. In the end she had gathered that Harry Potter referred to Minerva McGonagall as his aunt and Albus Dumbledore, Filius Flitwick and Edgar Kettleburn as his uncles. Wondering whether there was any biological attachments made her head hurt. The possibilities were absurd because she, along with the rest of the magical community, was under the impression Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was living with relatives which she was fairly certain were muggle. Another thought that boggled her was that Harry Potter would be attending the Ministry Ball and Albus Dumbledore would be accompanying Minerva McGonagall. Now standing there beside the man in question her brow creased in thought as she queried over the fact that the Headmaster had introduced the boy as just 'Harry'. Is he trying to keep his identity a secret?
She stood back and watched as the child interacted with the professors. They do seem awfully close. Something just doesn't add up. She would have to talk to Athena about it but in the meantime she remained tight-lipped. It was not her place to divulge the information and her customers relied on her discretion, a fact she took great pride in. Many would cringe to know the secrets she knew of.
"He was also very keen on this material," she held up a blue silk fabric with shooting stars and moons, "and I noticed he took a fancy to this as well." She indicated a thick, rich, red fabric with a single lion prancing across. "I hope you don't mind but I took the liberty of making two more sets of robes."
Albus eyes twinkled madly having seen the fabrics and his smile grew even wider. "I too find it terribly hard to deny such innocent eyes." He ruffled Harry's hair fatherly.
"Now what of your dress robes Headmaster?"
Albus looked down at himself then smiled broadly at the plump witch. "Marvellous! I will pay for the lot!"
Madam Malkin nodded then turned her attention to the fussy care of magical creatures professor. Edgar flung his arms in the air. "Oh, if I must!" He huffed giving in to the witches pestering.
"You'll all look very handsome Professors as will you, Harry." She playfully tapped the little boy on the end of his nose and offered him a blueberry-bang lollypop.
After the wizards left another owl was sent to the McGonagall Manor.
"Albus! It's always a pleasure to see you in here!" The shopkeeper came around from the counter and shook Albus' hand warmly. "What can I do for you today?"
"Well actually Tiberius, I would like you to meet someone."
"Oh?" Tiberius stepped back and smiled and Edgar and Filius.
"Professor Fitwick and Professor Kettleburn but the real reason for my trip is…" Albus stepped to the side and in front of Tiberius stood a small lad with black hair and glasses.
"Hi…Sir." He waved shyly.
Tiberius was pleasantly surprised and quickly glanced back at Albus before returning his gaze to the nervous child. He bent down so that they were level and held out his hand.
"Well hello there little one. My name is Tiberius and this is my toyshop." He smiled warmly and watched as the little boy's green eyes widened and roamed the toyshop. They lingered on various toys and objects before coming to rest on the owner himself.
"H-hello Mr Tiberius. I'm Harry P-"
Harry couldn't finish his sentence because as he shook hands with the shopkeeper Tiberius was suddenly suspended in midair in a full body bind. Filius stood stock-still, amazed at Harry's abilities. Edgar looked on with awe. Two young witches, shop assistances, came running from behind the counter ready to reprimand the wizards but were cut short when Albus began laughing. Very confused Harry bit his lip and hid his head in his arms and began to cry. Alarmed the blond-haired witch, later introduced as Claire O'Malley, quickly bent down to comfort Harry only to succumb to the same fate. The lone shop assistant squealed and ran back behind the counter. This snapped Albus from his fit of laughter and he quickly picked Harry up. The boy buried his head in Albus' chest where his sobs were muffled by Albus' flowing white beard.
"Wh-wh-what? Headmaster?" Edgar stuttered confused.
"Accidental magic?" Filius managed to choke out.
"Oh no, no. This wasn't Harry's doing." Albus offered as explanation.
Edgar was still spluttering and having trouble completing a sentence.
"If it wasn't Harry, then who?" Filius gave Albus a sidelong glance apparently wondering if he was liable. "Albus?"
"I should have expected this." Albus chuckled to himself. "She always was a worrier." He tried to coax Harry out of his hiding place. "I know it wasn't you, Harry." Harry gripped harder onto Albus' beard. "Tiberius and the lady are alright. Look." Slowly Harry turned his head. Albus wiped away his tears and kissed his forehead. He flicked his wrist and with a few muttered words Tiberius and Claire were planted feet firmly on the ground and released from the body bind.
"Minerva!" Filius yelped.
"Minerva?" Edgar asked bewilderedly.
"Yes, Minerva." Albus eyes twinkled with mirth. "In hindsight I realise she cooperated far too easily."
"Minerva?" Edgar repeated.
"Yes Minerva! Auntie Min! Aunt Merv! Professor McGonagall!" Filius sounded exasperated. Edgar's rough face took on a look of comprehension that quickly changed back to confusion.
"Minerva?" He asked incredulously. "But what does she have against a toyshop owner and his assistant?" Filius stopped chuckling and too became confused so Albus explained.
"Minerva, I can only assume, is slightly paranoid and though she may trust us," Albus frowned and muttered to himself, "at least I hope she trusts us." He looked back to Filius and Edgar, "she has Harry's safety first and foremost at hand. Not being here herself she stooped to this." He finished waving his free hand, blinking, not sure whether to be offended or just amused.
"So Minerva cast numerous protective charms and defensive spells on Harry here so that anyone he came into contact with ended up six feet in the air?" Filius said scratching his head.
"A little extreme don't you think?" Edgar chuckled.
"Well she was never one to do things half-heartedly."
"How come we and Madam Malkin aren't affected?"
Albus answered. "I suppose it would be highly inconvenient if we were to activate the spells and I can only assume Minerva took into account that Madam Malkin would have to be exempt in order to fit Harry's robes."
"Clever, I'll give her that. I must ask her which spells she used to manage that."
The three fell silent and all but Harry had forgotten that they were in the middle of a toyshop. It wasn't until Harry squirmed in Albus' grasp to catch a toy butterfly, that they were brought back to the present.
"Oh Tiberius, Miss O'Malley! I am so sorry!" Albus let Harry go and turned his attention to the forgotten shop owner. "I was a million miles away. As you may have gathered it would appear Harry's aunt is a tad overprotective."
But Tiberius had thoroughly enjoyed himself. "Not at all Albus. I needed some excitement. I haven't had this much fun since 2 years back when an eight-year old let loose a niffler. Wreaked havoc but it was jolly good fun watching them try to catch it!"
Edgar then went into inquiring what type of niffler it was and from his own experiences the top ten ways to catching a niffler. Filius was engaged in a conversation with Miss O'Malley and the other shop assistant who were both old Ravenclaw pupils of his. So Albus went off in search of Harry. He found him tucked away in the far corner playing with a group of dragons. Albus conjured a chair and Harry happily plonked down in his lap.
"That silver-blue one," Harry said pointing to a dragon flying past his head, "is a Swedish Short-snout. They live in the mountains in Sweden. And that one!" he shifted quickly and ducked as a big black one flew past. "He was a Hungarian Horntail." Harry turned to look at Albus. Eyes wide he said very seriously, "Hagrid says they are harmless but Uncle Ed told me that they are very, very scary! You are not to touch them they eat little boys."
Albus sat back and listened intently. He of course knew an awful lot about dragons due to his discovery of the twelve uses for dragons' blood but he was genuinely interested in what Harry had to say. They sat that way for quite sometime until Tiberius came and found them.
"Oh there you are! Ah, yes. Dragons. Beautiful animals. So Harry, Edgar tells me you like magical creatures and are ever so good at taking care of them. He told me you were even brave enough to meet a hippogriff!"
Harry stood straight and nodded proudly.
"And Fawkes has taken a special liking to him." Albus placed a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Really? Well then you, Harry, must be special because from my experience Fawkes is temperamental soul."
"He befriends the purest of hearts."
"Is that what Albus has been telling you."
A muggle aeroplane enchanted to fly captured Harry's attention and he pursued it further into the shop. The two wizards followed at a more leisurely pace.
"So who is this young lad who has everybody so enamoured?"
Albus didn't answer immediately and when he did he seemingly changed the subject. "Was my dear deputy in here yesterday?"
"Professor McGonagall?" Albus nodded. "She was, together with the quidditch player Hooch and that pretty medi-witch. You know Albus, I am single at the moment." Tiberius hinted. "Actually it was very unusual. I have only ever seen her in here with you and even then I get the distinct impression she disapproves. But yesterday," Tiberius rubbed his chin baffled. "Well, she bought half the shop!"
Albus chuckled and Tiberius gave him a sideways glance. "I take it Harry is the lucky boy."
Again Albus nodded but he was wondering whether he would describe Harry as lucky.
"So Harry is what had those three delightful witches in such a state. Classic. And just look at you," Tiberius gestured. "The Great Albus Dumbledore!"
"I can take my business elsewhere." Albus smirked.
"What business? That lovely lady of yours bought everything yesterday!"
Albus audibly sighed.
"What are you brooding about?" Tiberius turned to Albus.
Albus threw his hands up in the air. "Well now what am I going to get Harry for Christmas?"
Suffice to say Albus left the toyshop discouraged but Harry was overjoyed. Filius was ever cheerful at having chatted with two old pupils and Edgar was pleased to have made a new acquaintance. To get back on top they visited Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.
Moods improved after a quick dose of sugar the four of them made their way to Flourish and Blotts where they each purchased several books. It was there Albus had a brainwave. He knew exactly what to fill little Harry's stocking with – Gambol and Japes joke items.
"Anything that boy so much as looks at is to be placed on my tab." Albus patiently explained to the shop assistant, a young lad in his early twenties.
Most was secretly bought for Christmas but Harry did leave with a screaming yo-yo and pockets full of belch powder.
Filius wandered off to Scribbulus Everchanging Inks to stock up on his stationary so Edgar eagerly escorted Harry to Magical Menagerie with Albus close behind. Whilst Albus struck up conversation with the witch behind the counter Edgar enthusiastically identified the various creatures for sale.
"Stand back Harry. That, young man, is a fire crab."
"A fire crab? Cool! Does it spurt fire out of its mouth?" Harry leant closer examining its jewel-encrusted shell.
"It does spurt fire," Edgar explained pulling Harry back a reasonable distance. "But not out of its mouth."
Harry giggled desperately wanting to poke the gigantic tortoise's rear end though obviously reluctant as Edgar clarified, "Though you may never have given it much thought, you are probably rather fond of your eyebrows. You never really know how much something means to you until you lose them." He finished seriously. "Don't ever take your eyebrows for granted Harry!"
Harry nodded as his right hand slowly came up to check his eyebrows were still where he had left them that very morning.
Leaving the pet shop Edgar went off to find Filius and Hagrid whilst Albus took Harry to Quality Quidditch Supplies. In the short amount of time Harry had been living in the magical community he had grown to love quidditch. So it warmed Albus' heart to see Harry's eyes light up with glee. He pushed all negative thoughts aside and solely focused upon the five year old he now thought of as a son. Harry was hopping about, skipping excitedly. He squealed and tugged on Albus' arm impatiently as he recited what the Gryffindor quidditch team had obviously told him about the various items. They both tried on seeker goggles and gloves. Harry drooled over the various brooms and was over the moon when a boy, a few years his senior, begged his mum to purchase what in his opinion was the best broom in the shop – the Kiddies Comet.
"That's my broom! That's my broom!"
"You are very lucky to have such kind and caring aunts Harry."
Harry happily agreed. Very lucky indeed.
Half an hour later Filius and Edgar entered the quidditch shop. They had found Hagrid who had just one more errand to run then he would meet them in the Leaky Cauldron for a bite to eat. Albus decided he and Harry would catch the Knight Bus back to Hogwarts and have their tea with Minerva instead. He knew she was worried so he wanted to set her mind at ease.
The two of them exited the Leaky Cauldron and turned into a quiet alleyway. Albus told Harry to hold out his wand hand. They had a small discussion about how Harry didn't know which hand to hold out because he didn't have a wand but in the end Harry raised his right hand, as did Albus. Harry blinked then suddenly a luridly purple, triple-decker bus stood before them. The door folded open and an old, crazy looking wizard sat behind the wheel. He had very thick glasses and wispy white hair. He introduced himself as Ernie Prang. Albus paid their fair, declining the offer of hot chocolate, and they were told to take a seat. They made their way up to the second floor and sat in two mismatched armchairs. Harry's was a worn, green, comfy chair and Albus' was a plum coloured, leather chair. As the bus grew in speed the candles in brackets on the wall began to shake. Harry clasped Albus' hand tightly as his armchair began to bump around. Albus cast a quick sticking charm and their chairs stayed in place. Once Harry got used to the strange way of travelling he rather enjoyed it. He preferred it to floo powder any day.
"Next stop: Hogwarts."
Albus recast his warming charms on Harry's cloak and made sure his hat was covering his ears. It was a long and chilly walk from the gates to the entrance of the castle. It wouldn't do to have Harry catching a cold after such a delightful day. They returned home to the welcoming arms of Minerva McGonagall.
A/N: I am so sorry I took forever to update. My computer broke and I lost everything! I'll admit I wallowed in self-pity for a while. Then I pinched my Dad's laptop and started reading other ADMM fanfics. I finally bucked up my ideas and rewrote what I lost; luckily a lot of it was handwritten in notebooks before hand.
Well anyway I just want to apologize and thank everyone for sticking with me. I promise my next update won't be so long in coming. It won't be next week though because I'm off skiing but hopefully the week after. Cheers! PiER