17NaNo Project 06 –Redefining Summer
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling.
Post OotP, Summer at the Dursleys has always meant Harry is over worked, underfed and lonely, all Harry wants is a normal summer what he gets is anything but normal.
AN: I want to thank Evan for the wonderful beta job he's done on this fic, any errors in it are mine not his. waves hi Evan
"Harry, Harry Potter!" his aunt screamed from downstairs.
Harry shook his head and muttered, "What could she possibly want this time?" He rose from the desk and made his way down the stairs,
"Yes, Aunt Petunia, what can I do for you?" he asked.
"I need you to run down to the market and get some vanilla, I've run out. There's money on the table, go on, don't dawdle," she snapped.
Harry stared at her for a moment then grabbed the money and hurried out the door.
"I'll want my change," she shouted after him.
Harry shook his head. His aunt was insane. He'd been home three days and she'd had him make trips up to the little market twice and to the local post office for stamps once. He briefly wondered if she was hoping that the dementors were still hanging around but shrugged off the thought. He enjoyed being outside and the walk took his mind off of Sirius and the prophecy.
He shook his head again; he wasn't going to think about it. He lengthened his stride. She was baking and would berate him for taking to long if he didn't hurry, not that she wouldn't find something else to complain about.
Vernon had been odd, too. Harry had expected Vernon to hit the ceiling, if not him, after the show the Order put on in the station. Vernon however had not said a word just pointed a shaking finger up the stairs. Harry smirked slightly remembering that puce was certainly not Vernon's color. He wondered briefly what would happen if Vernon had a heart attack, or stoke, and died. No, he thought, he really wouldn't wish that pain on his Aunt no matter how much he disliked her.
When he reached the small business section of Little Whinging he entered Driscoll's Market and found the vanilla. Package in hand he left the store ignoring the whispers and pointing of other shoppers.
As he passed the discount store, he paused as someone in the shop put up an advert for a sale on trainers. He looked down at his taped up trainers and the glanced around at the junk shop. He noticed just the day before that the window there had a sign 'buying gold' and again the thought came that perhaps he should see what they might give him for the galleon or two he had left from his spending money. New trainers, he gazed into the shop window once more, and perhaps socks, as well and underwear. A smile spread across his face. New underwear would really be nice.
Recalling himself, he griped the package and sprinted for Number Four. Tomorrow he'd come up to the shops on his own errand.
Harry spent the afternoon in the garden, weeding and pruning the various flower beds and shrubs. He enjoyed the work when the weather was nice and it was on his own terms, rather than forced labor.
After a silent dinner Harry retreated to his room and sent off the required letter to the Order. He wondered briefly if asking to be provided muggle money would get him the money or told not to leave the property. He hadn't seen any sign of watchers this year but of course that didn't mean they weren't there.
He chosePractical Defensive Magic and its Use Against the Dark Arts the book he'd gotten from Sirius and Remus for Christmas and read late into the night hoping that when he did sleep it would be without dreams.
When Harry woke the next morning it was with a faint sense of unease and a headache, he didn't really remember any dreams but he felt as if he hadn't slept well. After breakfast and a shower his headache had dissipated so he retrieved his moneybag, called to his Aunt that he was going for a walk and left before she could answer or forbid him leaving.
Harry entered the junk shop call One Mann's Treasure to the tinkle of bells above the door.
"Morning, what can I do for you, lad?" asked the gray haired man behind the counter.
"Good morning, I saw your sign that you buy gold and I was wondering how much I could get for these?" said Harry as he laid three gold galleons on the counter.
The man leaned closer to the coins but didn't touch them, and then cast a suspicious eye on Harry.
"Where'd you steal 'em?" he asked.
Harry's mouth gaped open in surprise then he protested, "I didn't steal them, they are mine. If you don't want them though just say so." He reached for the galleons.
"Not so hasty, lad, I had to ask, what with your reputation around here," said the man this time with a smug grin.
Harry's eyes narrowed and he spit, "Things aren't always what they seem. I'm not a thief or a hoodlum."
"I agree, but you know you'd get a better exchange rate at Gringotts," he said
Harry's hand moved toward the wand in his pocket as he backed away from the counter.
"Easy there, lad, I'm not a threat and there's nothing here to worry over. I was only having a bit of fun with you," said the man raising both hands placatingly.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" demanded Harry.
"Horatio Mann, this is my shop, lad. Didn't you see the Gringotts sign?"
"What Gringotts sign?" asked Harry now completely confused, "Are you a wizard?"
"The gold one with the scales and crossed quills under the Visa MasterCard emblem on the door, that's the sign that indicated wizard business; I can take galleons or bank drafts for payment on both muggle stuff and the wizard stuff in the back. How is it that you don't know that?" said Mann.
Harry had begun to relax again. "No one ever told me that. I thought the only wizard shops were in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade."
Mann made a rude noise. "Didn't you ever look at the Orientation booklet?"
"I really don't have any idea what you're on about," said Harry peevishly.
"Come on, I think I saw one," said Mann as he walked out from behind the counter and over to a bead curtained doorway on the back wall.
Harry snatched up his galleons and followed him warily; there was a slight tingle almost like the boundary to platform 9 ¾ as he passed the curtain. Then his jaw dropped as he took in the amazing amount of things in the room. It was lined floor to ceiling with shelves and filled to the brim with wizarding things.
There were racks of brooms, cases of wands, dishes, cauldrons and household furnishings, paintings and tapestries. Mr. Mann was standing in front of several shelves filled with books. Harry glanced over the titles and pulled one down. Occlumency, Legilimency and Other Mind Arts, he ran his fingers over the title, this would be a better buy than underwear.
"Ah, here it is, have you never seen this book?" said Mr. Mann handing Harry a book entitled A Muggle Guide to the Wizarding World. "The Ministry gives 'em to the parents of all muggle born on the first orientation visit. I expect you should have got one, being Muggle-raised, Mr. Potter."
"The Ministry never visited; Hagrid took me for my school things," said Harry absently thumbing through the Guide.
"Hmm, the muggles never took you to Gringotts then?" he asked gently.
Harry pulled his attention away from the book to gaze sharply at Mr. Mann. "No."
"Do you know how to use your key, then, to check the balance of your vault?"
Harry shook his head, "Why do you care? What do you want from me?"
Mann sighed, "I don't want anything from you lad, save a sale," pointing to the books Harry held, "but you should know there's fines for trying to pass galleons to muggles. I've heard the rumors about you and with the way you dress you don't help them any. So you obviously need some spending money but can't get to Gringotts for some reason. If you know how to use your key, then you know how much money you can spend. If you want to buy something here, I'll take a bank draft for more than the purchase price and give you the difference in pounds."
Harry nodded slowly, "Ok, I can understand that. How do I check my balance?"
"Come here," he went over to a desk set beside a small fireplace and pulled out parchment, "you have your key? Place it on the top of the parchment, put your finger on the key and say your full name and the word 'balance'. That will give you the balance in the vault. If you say things like, 'statement, update, or communications' the parchment will do different things. I think 'commands' will give you the lot and what they do."
Harry fished his key out of his moneybag and Mr. Mann tsked at him
"Not really safe, that. Shouldn't keep it there, too easy to get stolen."
Harry nodded and placed his finger on the key then jerked it away again.
"What about the underage magic rules? Will this get me in trouble?" asked Harry hesitantly.
"No lad the magic's in the key. Won't show, I think I have a copy of that, let me look." He walked away back toward the bookshelves leaving Harry to call up his balance in private. The total that showed on the parchment made Harry go weak in the knees. That was an obscene amount of money. He crumpled the parchment and shoved it into his pocket and replaced the key in his bag. He would play with it later and find out just what that little key could do.
Harry went back to the bookshelf, next to Mr. Mann, grinning.
"I want to take a look around and then take you up on your offer, sir. Maybe fifty pounds more that whatever I spend if that's all right?" said Harry.
"Certainly, lad, here you might want this as well." It was a slim booklet entitled Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery.
Harry laughed slightly and added it to the two he already had.
"Just give a shout when you're through, lad."
Harry nodded and began looking through the titles. He picked up The Hows and Whys of Potion Making: A Beginners Guide when he saw it explained how different things interacted and why you had to be precise in cutting and stirring. He also added Wandless, not Defenseless to his pile. Then he began looking at all of the other things crammed into the room. He contemplated a wizarding tent and a beat up eight compartment trunk, he shuddered looking at a cauldron large enough to fit a person thinking of Voldemort's rebirth, he flipped through several old dress robes that were even uglier than the one Ron had for the Yule Ball. He gazed into the glass cases at wands, daggers and a variety of rings and pendants. He chose a 'bottomless bag' from among several bags. It was black dragon hide, messenger style with the Hogwarts crest tooled on the flap charmed to be weightless. He also found, under a pile of ratty blankets, a handmade quilt in Gryffindor colors with a phoenix flying across it. The tag claimed it was imbued with 'comfort' and 'sweet dreams' charms. As he ran his fingers across the quilt he could almost hear the phoenix sing. He felt a little silly about buying the blanket but reasoned that if it helped him sleep without nightmares it would be worth it.
Mr. Mann showed him how to fill out the bank draft and provided him with the additional fifty pounds.
"You come back any time Mr. Potter. I get new stock all the time. It's amazing the kinds of wizarding things you can find at a muggle estate sales. Things that have been in the family for years but the muggle think are worthless."
Harry grinned and said, "I'll be back there are a few more things I might like to have. I might need some more muggle money too."
"You're a sharp one aren't you, lad? One other thing, you know you have a bit of a reputation in the area?" asked Mr. Mann. Harry nodded, his grin changing to a scowl.
"Well, if anyone questions where you came by your money, you feel free to tell 'em I hired you to move some boxes this morning, I'll back you up if I'm asked," said Mr. Mann with a wink.
Harry's scowl morphed back into a grin. "Thank you, sir, I appreciate it."
Horatio Mann frowned after Harry had left his shop. He had of course heard all the neighborhood gossip about the boy and his cousin. He had also read the outrageous stories about the boy in the Prophet. Neither version fit with the boy who had just left his shop. Horatio Mann was not politically active, he was not socially conscious, nor was interested in interacting with the wizarding world on other than a commercial basis but someone, somewhere deserved a good thrashing for leaving Harry Potter with muggles and not protecting the boys name within wizard society. Someone had hurt that boy and sadly neglected his education and that offended Horatio's sensibilities. So, he decided, he would help the boy if he could and if he discovered the perpetrator of such injustice maybe he would administer the thrashing as well.
Harry went directly across the street to the discount store, trainers, socks and boxer shorts on his mental list. As he browsed the shop he added a three pack of sleeveless athletic vests, two tee shirts, one red and one green, and a pair of khaki trousers.
The girl at the checkout looked at him doubtfully but rang up his purchase with out a word and accepted the crumpled notes.
Carrying the plastic bag with his clothes, messenger bag slung across his body Harry then ventured into the market and bought several high protein energy bars, a bag of crisps and a cold bottle of fruit juice.
Outside of the shop Harry sat on the curb and donned his new trainers, disposing of the old ones in the bin in the alley and strolled home eating the crisps on the way.
When Harry entered the house with his bag Aunt Petunia was waiting to pounce.
"Just what do you have there and where did you steal the money?" she demanded grabbing the bag dumping the contents on to the floor.
"My friends loaned me some money. My friends thought it was a shame that I had to dress in Dudley's cast offs. My friends thought I might like to have something that fit for a change and didn't make me look like some kind of criminal. Even if that's what you tell everyone," yelled Harry gathering his new things and storming up the stairs, leaving Petunia standing in shock that he would talk back.
Harry put his new clothing away fuming, the nerve of that woman. He pulled the blanket from the messenger bag and spread it over his bed. The sight of the phoenix cheered him and he pulled out the new books and stacked them on the desk. Then he sat down and pulled the crumpled parchment and his key out. Time to do some research he thought.
He flattened the parchment and placed finger to key and muttered, "Harry James Potter, Commands"
The parchment filled with script.Welcome to the Gringotts Bank command menu
To access your personal information you must repeat the verification process for each commandAssets- lists account assets Balance- the total available currency in the vault to which the key belongs
Commands- displays the command menu
Communication- write your request or question on fresh parchment, trigger communication charm with in key, allow key to remain in contact with parchment for response
Inventory- other items in vault
Services- list of service available
Statement- displays account transactions
Updates- shows updates and news for account holders
Harry sat back in his chair, that's amazing he thought.
He pulled out a fresh parchment and moved the key to it trying to decide what to look at first. He'd never noticed anything else in his vault so, "Harry James Potter, Inventory."
No inventory of has been performed on this vault.
Harry frowned and said, "Harry James Potter, Assets."
Script began to fill the page.Assets in the Account of Harry James Potter Vaults Vault 687- Trust vault Harry James Potter-unlimited access Vault 625- Estate of James and Lily Potter-no access
Vault 201-Potter Family –limited access
Vault 711- Estate of Sirius Black-limited access/ full access pending
Vault 245-Black Family –access pendingReal Estate Potter Cottage-Godric's Hollow, Wales – vacant Numbers 74,76 &78 Diagon Alley, London – leased Shares Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes – 30 percent
Brixton's Baubles-45 percent
Reaver's Mines-35 percent
Nimbus Brooms –10 percent
Harry stared at the list; it gave more questions than answers. Why hadn't anyone ever told him about these other vaults, where were the keys, why would he have access to Sirius's vault? He threw the parchment into his trunk and pocketed the key. He wanted to ask Sirius about it but Sirius was gone and it was his fault. He grabbed the Occlumency book off the pile and settled down on the bed to read hoping to take his mind off the surprising, and frankly horrifying, idea that he was rich only because people who loved him were dead.
He threw his whole being into reading and soon discovered he understood what the book was talking about, and for the first time began to understand just what Snape had meant when he yelled 'clear your mind'.
Much later when he put out the light and crawled under his new quilt he cleared his mind of all those troubling thoughts and for the first time since the Ministry went to sleep with a smile, phoenix song flitting gently through his dreams.
Harry woke to Petunia banging on his door. "Wake up, breakfast," she shouted.
"I'm up," he shouted back.
He could hear Vernon in the shower and knew from long experience that nothing would wake Dudley. He pulled on some oversized shorts and a huge shirt and stumbled down to start breakfast.
Aunt Petunia was standing at the counter tea in hand watching Vernon's coffee brew she raised an eyebrow at his appearance and turned up her nose. Harry ignored her to begin the bacon and stir up the eggs.
Harry had just taken up the food when Vernon sat down with his coffee.
"Vernon?" said Petunia.
He grunted at her not taking his eyes from his plate as Harry sat down and filled his. This year there had been no limiting of his food. Dudley's diet seemed to have been forgotten and as long as Harry cooked he could eat.
Vernon finished his meal and stood but before his could leave the room Petunia was speaking again.
"Vernon," this time with a good bit of impatience.
Vernon's eyes slid across Harry as he rose to start the dishes and he huffed several times.
"What ever you want Pet, what does it matter what I say, you'll do it anyway," and he stalked from the room slamming the front door on the way out.
Harry smirked at the sink. She'd gotten what she wanted it seemed, like usual and Vernon wasn't happy. He figured she was going shopping for Dudley again so he was startled when Aunt Petunia turned to him.
"Go get cleaned up, wear what you bought yesterday. I'm taking you to get decent clothes. I won't have those people thinking we don't take care of you. I've made an appointment at the Optometrist too," she said.
Harry stared at her open mouthed.
"Well," she snapped, "Don't just stand there, go get ready."
He headed for the stairs wondering if he were dreaming some decidedly bizarre dream when she shouted after him, "And comb your hair!"
He shook his head, nope not a dream but certainly bizarre nonetheless.
It was an exhausting morning for Harry. They'd taken the bus into Greater Whinging seen the Optometrist and come away with a new pair of glasses. When Harry asked for a copy of his prescription to get contacts later and his aunt had looked sharply at him. He'd replied that he might look for some odd jobs. She merely nodded and not questioned him further.
A large department store had supplied him with more underwear, several pairs of trousers in blue and black, two short-sleeved rugby shirts, two button-down shirts and a light windbreaker style jacket; all in sizes that fit him.
"Now Harry," began Aunt Petunia when the arrived back home, "you be sure to let those- your friends know that I took you shopping for appropriate clothing. Go through your old things and save out the best for gardening and those odd jobs you're thinking about. Bring me the rest and I'll bundle them for the mission. Someone there might appreciate them."
"Yes, Aunt Petunia; thank you," Harry said, truly grateful for the clothes but irked that he'd had to shame her into buying them and that he hadn't thought of the tactic years ago.
When he came back down, Dudley's massive cast offs in hand, he found Petunia angrily speaking into the phone.
"Wait he's just come in," she shoved the phone into his hand, "It's for you don't tie up the line all day."
"Hello?" Harry spoke into the phone.
"Hello, Harry, your Aunt tried to tell me you weren't home, I knew she was lying so I told her if I didn't get to speak to you I just have to send some friends around. How are you? Are you ok? I'm at home and haven't heard from the Order; did you send them a note when you were supposed to?" rattled the voice on the other end.
"Hermione?" asked Harry.
"Are you all right?" asked Harry worried because she'd called and sounded rather frantic.
"I'm fine, I'm not the one locked up with nasty relatives that don't understand a thing about our world," she said.
Harry could see his aunt's shadow on the floor where she was standing just inside the kitchen listening to Harry's side of the conversation.
"Hermione, I'm fine, I sent my note when I was supposed to. Aunt Petunia took me shopping today for new clothes and glasses. She was very nice and things here have been better so far this summer. Now tell me what's really the matter?" said Harry watching the shadow move away from the door.
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a long minute.
"It's nothing really, I was just worried about you that's all," said Hermione in a small voice.
"No I don't think that's all. Come on, Hermione, you wouldn't have called if you didn't want to tell me. Make it easy on yourself and come clean," said Harry coaxingly.
"Well, my Mum cried on me Harry, and my dad yelled. I'm grounded until school starts and they threatened to send me away."
Harry was stricken, "It's my fault."
"No, Harry, it not your fault. I knew what I was getting into, I insisted on coming along and they were just venting. I know that they weren't serious about keeping me from Hogwarts. It's just a tactic to get my attention and make me think about my actions, a guilt trip. But I refuse to feel guilty and it upsets them. It's just that I promised we'd get you out of there soon and I won't be able to unless you can come here."
"Hermione, I got you into trouble and you want me to come there a meet your parents? Are you daft?" asked Harry.
He was interrupted by a screech from the kitchen, "You did what?"
Petunia came around the corner and stared in shock at Harry.
"Was that your aunt? Harry, put her on the phone," ordered Hermione. Harry wordlessly handed the phone to his Aunt who practically shouted into the phone. "Explain yourself!" Then she stood; phone to ear muttering things like 'I see' and 'thank goodness' before she handed back the phone with a strange look and retreated back into the kitchen.
"What was that about?" asked Harry.
"Oh, Harry," laughed Hermione, "I can't believe you did that."
"What? I don't understand Hermione, you're going to have to explain." He lowered his voice, "Aunt Petunia's been queer all day."
"There is no way I can explain it on the phone, but Harry you've made me feel so much better, thank you. I have to go now but I'll call you again in a couple of days. Bye."
"Hermione, wait I don't—" he could hear her laughing as she hung up the phone. 'Girls,' he thought shaking his head, 'they're all daft.'
He retreated back up the stairs determined not to think about Hermione's trouble, or Aunt Petunia's strange behavior, or Sirius, or the prophecy. Instead he pulled out Wandless, not Defenseless and began to read.
Mid afternoon Hedwig returned accompanied by two other owls, Pig and a black and white he didn't know.
"Hello Hedwig, what do you have for me?" he asked his owl removing the letter and giving her a treat. Pig fluttered around the ceiling so Harry ignored him for the moment and addressed the third owl.
"Hello there, who are you then? Would you like a treat?" he removed the letter and offered the treat. Then opened the parchment and checked the name. "You're Neville's owl?"
The owl cocked its head and made a funny noise. "Neville's Gran's owl then," stated Harry. The owl then joined Hedwig on the back of the desk chair looked at Hedwig and the two of them began to 'talk' to each other. Pig landed on the desk and seemed to want in on the conversation but they snubbed him and he dejectedly flew to Harry to have his letter removed.
Harry gave Pig a treat and set him on top of Hedwig's cage and sprawled across the bed to read his letters.Dear Harry
Thank you for sending an all's well note but maybe you could write more than 'All's Well' next time. I understand that you are going through a rough time. I miss Sirius as well but you are not to blame for what happened. Sirius wouldn't want you to feel bad.
Please let me know how you are doing and if there is anything at all that you need.
Harry snorted at the letter, he knew that it wasn't his fault; he'd done everything Hermione had suggested to check. He understood how Sirius wouldn't have been able to stay away either. No he knew exactly where to place the blame Voldemort and Dumbledore, stupid old men, playing chess with his and his friend's lives.
He pushed those thoughts away; he wasn't going to think of them.Harry
How are you? After everything that happened I wanted to let you know that you could talk to me if you wanted. I heard Mum and Dad talking about how Tom possessed you at the Ministry and since he possessed me in my first year I think I know what you are going through. I would be happy to help if I can. I would like to get to know you better I think we could be very good friends.
Harry stared at the letter and then reread it. She thinks she knows what I went through. She said before she didn't remember being possessed just waking up from black outs. She has no idea. He crumpled the letter and lobbed it toward the wastebasket. It just made him more positive that all girls were daft.
I wanted to thank you for letting me go with you to the Ministry and for teaching the DA. I wish I had been more help to you, but Gran is proud that I made a stand. We went right from the platform to Ollivander's and I now have a new wand. That creepy old man berated Gran for making me use Dad's wand, said it was all wrong for me and I must be a damned powerful wizard to have gotten anything out of it. She was very surprised.
As our wards are heavy enough to mask underage magic use, I went out to the green house to practice. Unfortunately I blew out the back wall. Gran has hired a tutor for the summer and has instructed me to write and offer our hospitality for the month of August.
If you'd like to visit then, just let me know and Gran will arrange a portkey. We will be able to practice magic and I have something I need to discuss with you. If you don't want to come here, I understand and will see you in September.
Harry read over this surprising letter, he was glad that Neville had gotten a new wand and that his Gran wasn't angry with him. The question was, would Dumbledore let him spend August with Neville. No the question was why should Dumbledore have any say at all. The Dursley's were his guardians and if Mrs. Longbottom sent a portkey then there shouldn't be any problems.
He moved over to the desk and sat on the edge of the chair so as not to disturb the owls on the back and pulled out fresh parchment.
Would be happy to visit you in August. Let me know when the portkey is ready and I'll send Hedwig to you to pick it up, for security reasons. There's something I want to talk to you about too.
Glad your Gran wasn't angry. Hermione called me on the phone and said her parents have put her on restriction for the summer. Have you ever noticed that girls all seem to be a barmy?
He tied the note to Neville's owl but it didn't seem in any hurry to leave as it continued to perch on the back of the chair and chat up Hedwig, so he shrugged and went back to the Wandless book.
When he heard Uncle Vernon come in from work he started down the stairs to help finish up dinner. He was half way down the staircase when Dudley walked in the front door and the both froze at hearing Vernon bellow from the kitchen.
"You want me to do what!"
They couldn't hear Petunia's answer but they certainly heard Vernon. "No, bloody way in hell, Pet."
Dudley looked up at Harry in shock and mouthed the words, "What did you do?" Harry just shook his head, he was quite sure that he didn't do anything.
The kitchen door slammed open and Vernon; collar loosened, tie askew, and purple faced, stormed toward the front door. He looked at Dudley then up the staircase at Harry and shook his finger at him.
"You, boy, you bloody well hadn't—just-- DON'T!" he thundered. Then he turned to Dudley, "You either! I'm going to the pub don't wait up!"
Harry looked amazed at Dudley who was looking right back at him and the both made a beeline for the kitchen.
"Mum, what was that about?" asked Dudley Harry standing just behind him.
"Nothing dear, sit down, dinner's ready. You too, Harry," said Petunia, in a strained voice.
"I'm not going to talk about it, Dudley, either sit down and eat or I throw it out and you can go hungry," said Petunia.
Harry had never heard her use that tone of voice to Dudley and she had never threatened to take away his food before. Both boys were in their seats within seconds and dinner was very quiet. Harry noticed his Aunt didn't eat much. Even Dudley didn't eat as much as usual and kept giving his mother odd looks. Harry just wondered if the summer could get any stranger.
Harry read more in the Occlumency book that evening and cleared his mind and went to bed earlier. It had been a long strange day and Harry hoped for a good nights sleep. He wasn't sure if it was the Occlumency or the blanket but he hoped it would keep working.