O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor am I making any money from this endeavor. I am a poor student, so please do not sue me.
This fanfiction has been Beta-ed by hissori . yoru & black . velvet . roses
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Author Note: This was formerly a creature fanfiction, but has since been massively revamped. It is now an Independent!Harry fic. I would advise all readers to read through the key features section before proceeding to read this fanfiction, although it is not strictly necessary. I am aware that this particular style of fanfiction has been "done", nevertheless here is my attempt.
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Summary: The story begins in the summer after OotP. Harry takes control of his life after the death of his godfather.
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Key Features and Canon Deviations (Please read):
People, that means that Harry will be severely OOC. In the canon, Harry Potter relies heavily on Hermione, Dumbledore, luck and his natural ability on a broomstick to pull him out of scrapes. In this fanfiction he will be cast as a much stronger person.
Sixteen is the Age of Majority by wizarding law.
In canon, seventeen is the age of majority. This means that sixth and seventh year students do not need a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian to visit Hogsmeade, go into the Forbidden forest or leave school grounds. Potions students especially need to be able to go into the forest to collect fresh ingredients. They will not be spoon-fed with ready-made ingredients as they were in their younger years.
Curfew is applicable to students in fifth year and below.
Sixth and seventh years are legally adult. Curfew is applicable only on children. This is pretty much because post-OWL students in Potions, Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology and Defence Against the Dark Arts need to be able to work during midnight hours for special projects. This also conveniently allows for midnight romances when the children are all in bed and out of the way.
This is once again a deviation from canon. Canon treats Dumbledore as an almost omniscient figure, who has the miraculous ability to determine whether a person is a "good" or a "bad" wizard/witch. ("good" "light" people who believe that Dumbledore can do no wrong, "bad" "dark" people who do not agree with Dumbledore). For the sake of this fanfiction, Dumbledore is a manipulative bastard who sticks his nose where it doesn't belong.
Harry and Sirius were not close.
In canon, Sirius and Harry are so close that after the death of the Animagus Harry becomes severely depressed. For the purpose of this fanfiction, Harry was only enamored with the idea of living away from the Dursleys. Given Harry's school year spent in a boarding school and time in between spent with the Dursleys or Weasleys, Harry never did have a chance to bond with Sirius.
Harry and Remus are close.
In canon, we don't get a very solid sense of the depth of Harry's feelings for the werewolf and vice versa. For the purpose of this fanfiction, Remus and Harry interacted a lot through PoA, and therefore are pretty close to each other.
James and Lily were not the Perfect!Couple.
Canon treats the James/Lily relationship as the ultimate example of high school romance where the Jock gets the Popular girl and they get married and have a baby shortly after graduation. In PoA, Harry sees his parents' wedding pictures in which Sirius Black is his best man. In this fanfiction, there will be no wedding pictures. It will be assumed that Harry saw a Marauders group photo in the album from their graduating year. I will take some liberties with the relationship between Lily and James. Their actual relationship (wedded/common-law) and the depth of their relationship (in love/in lust) will be questioned and will be explained as I go along. I strongly urge my readers to be patient.
I am truly fond of the Weasleys in Canon Pre-HBP. However, for the purpose of this fanfiction, they will be portrayed in a negative light. This will be done as realistically as is possible. There will be no needless bashing.
Magical creatures/Forbidden Forest/Gringotts.
One of my biggest disappointments with Rowling is that she created this amazing forest and a plethora of magical creatures, which she later simply abandoned only to have a cameo appearance in DH. This fanfiction will feature Centaurs, House-elves, Goblins, Thestrals, Unicorns, Hippogriffs, etc.
Another key feature of Harry Potter is that the protagonist and antagonist have a lot in common, the most glaring of which is that they are both half-blood Parselmouths. Rowling pretty much abandoned this plot devise after CoS. In this fanfiction, Harry will acquire a snake familiar and will be making use of his Parseltongue ability.
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Chapter 1 – A Productive Day
Monday, July 3rd, 1996
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Harry allowed a slim finger to glide along the script. His face was a mask of icy rage, but it had little effect on the inanimate piece of parchment and the elegant green calligraphy it held. He had been staring at the letter from the Headmaster of Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for several minutes now, silently seething at the implications of the carefully scripted words.
In the space of a few words, Albus Dumbledore had in effect placed Harry under house arrest with his relatives. There would be Aurors on rotation outside of 4 Privet Drive, but Harry was forbidden from communicating with them at all. The same extended to owl post. Harry had been cut off from the wizarding world for the summer, and all Dumbledore had to show for it was half a page of insincere platitudes and hollow wishes of condolences at the passing of Sirius Orion Black, his late godfather.
Harry's nails dug into the beige parchment, leaving behind crescent shaped indents. A soft hoot from Hedwig pulled him from his reverie.
Harry became aware of the soft sounds of Petunia Dursley puttering around as she cooked and cleaned in the kitchen downstairs. From the room next to his, Harry could hear the sounds of a video game. Coming up the creaking stairs were the heavy footsteps that could only belong to Vernon Dursley (given that Dudley was occupied in his own room).
Harry quickly flipped over the parchment and remorselessly scripted the words using a muggle biro.
I understand the need for these precautions.
- Harry Potter
Concise, just short of being rude, the words revealed none of Harry's growing resentment and suspicion in regards to the legendary light wizard. The green eyed wizard was aware that be it script or spoken, a wizard's words held power, and more so if they were used with the aid of a wand or when scripted in magical green ink. Small wonder that even the tiniest error in spell enunciation could render drastically different results, or none at all. It was for the same reason that all wizarding tests were written in the green magical ink. When subjected to a spell, the green ink would change colour and reveal to the examiners if the examinee had attempted to cheat. The blue ink of the biro was less sensitive to the intents of a wizard. In the few words that Harry had written, he had both abated any concern on part of the Headmaster in regards to his compliance of Dumbledore's instructions, while at the same time it did not bind him in any fashion to the said directives.
Harry flipped the page once more and read the empty words of condolences again. He snorted softly. It seemed that Dumbledore was expecting him to mope the summer away in the wake of Sirius's passing. In truth, Harry's heart ached just a bit at the loss of his godfather. They had exchanged maybe ten letters since they had met in Harry's third year and had spent less than four hours in each others' company combined. All he had shared with the man was a passing familiarity and Harry mourned the loss of a deeper relationship that could have been, but was not. Harry rolled the piece of parchment and attached it to Hedwig's left foot.
"Take this to Dumbledore, girl. And then come straight back to me, alright?"
Hedwig hooted softly and then flew out the window. The door flew open dramatically just then, and Harry stifled a sigh as he turned to face his uncle who was struggling to get his wide girth through the doorway. At length, it finally dawned on Vernon that he could just barely squeeze in through the door sideways. Once he managed that, he crossed his arms before him (again, just barely) and gave the young wizard a look through his beady eyes which Harry guessed was meant to be intimidating. It had very little effect on the boy that had faced Voldemort-The-Freaky-Wart, a full grown Basilisk, a Dementor hive, an angry mother Hungarian Horntail dragon, and a couple of Death Eaters in that order. The anger abated somewhat and annoyance slowly took its place.
"Boy!" Vernon snarled venomously, his face red and chest heaving from exhaustion. Harry recalled that the Dursley couple had moved their bedroom downstairs last year, giving the entire upstairs - with the exception of Harry's tiny room - to Dudley. Evidently climbing the stairs was simply too much for the obese man. He did not know very much about medicine and obesity, but Harry gave Vernon Dursley about maybe ten more years before his heart gave out on him.
"Uncle Vernon," Harry stated politely, wondering why Vernon had chosen to come to him instead of simply bellowing for his presence. It would have cost him a lot less energy. Harry then recalled that there were Aurors stationed outside the house. Best not to alert them, he supposed.
"Have you written back to your freak headmaster?" he spat.
Harry nodded bemusedly, wondering where this was going. It wasn't like Vernon to make a casual inquiry like that. Harry could see Petunia and Dudley were now standing outside his room, watching with rapt attention and whispering to each other. Vernon, aware of his audience, puffed out his chest arrogantly. It did not miss Harry's notice that his uncle was wearing his Italian silk suit; his most expensive, the one that was supposed to both impress and intimidate, but really did neither. Harry did not care. He could always call for the Aurors if his uncle tried something. Harry admitted to himself that the slow, victorious, malicious smile that spread on Vernon's face made him feel a little uneasy.
"Good, good. So that's out of the way." Outside Petunia stifled an excited shriek and shushed Dudley who was asking to steal away to his room and fetch his boxing gloves.
"Uncle Vernon, what is going on?" Harry rose to his feet. He was slimmer and nimbler than both the Dursley males, and he could always jump out onto the windowsill if they tried anything. He could wait out there until the Aurors came to his rescue.
"Ah yes, your freak Headmaster. Yes… he had written to me earlier, the normal way, mind you."
Harry narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as he edged closer to the window. Why would Dumbledore write to Vernon Dursley? He knew that they cared nothing for Harry's existence. Harry was about to voice the thought when Vernon laughed maniacally.
"Yes, those freaks won't be saving you this summer! And you won't be contacting any of them either, will you?"
Now Harry was positively alarmed. Why would Dumbledore tell the Dursleys any of this? Unless of course... Harry's suspicion was still a foggy mess, but with every word it became increasingly clear.
"Hey dad, are we going to show the freak his place, huh, huh?" Dudley called eagerly from outside the room. Petunia watched her son and husband, eyes overflowing with tears of pride and happiness.
"Professor Dumbledore wrote to you," Harry stated, his eyes roving over the room, taking note of anything he could defend himself with. Seeing nothing usable, Harry worked on summoning a small magical flame to his hand behind him. It was easy enough and wouldn't cause Harry any harm as it was a product of his own magic.
"Yes boy, your freak Headmaster wrote to me… said you weren't allowed to do any magic or to step outside this house for the summer and that there is a sound barrier around the house. So get downstairs boy, you have chores to do, a garage to clean, meals to cook, and a garden to tend to. Get downstairs now boy, or face the consequences!"
Those words lent strength to Harry's heightening rage and the young wizard shoved the growing blue flame into Vernon's face. The flame blazed high and wild before him and Vernon took a step back, screeching in terror.
"But, he said you can't do magic. You can't-"
"Be quiet," Harry snarled. Outside the room, Petunia and Dudley had run away in terror. He could hear Petunia's frantic steps moving down the stairs and the sound of the locks moving into place as Dudley barricaded himself in his room. "Hold still!" Harry commanded, his thoughts racing a mile a minute behind hard green eyes. The bravado and arrogance had bled out of the portly man and he was now sweating bullets in his expensive silk suit. 'The stains won't wash out', the thought randomly skittered through his mind.
"Gather your family, and wait for me downstairs. It's time we have a family meeting."
Vernon nodded and moved instantly to obey, badly frightened at the display of wandless magic. Through some self-experimentation, Harry had discovered that it was possible to perform some of the easier charms given the will power of the witch or wizard in question. However, it was a lot more draining than magic using a wand and the results were entirely dependent on the concentration abilities of the wizard. Harry allowed the flame to fizzle out of existence. It was pathetically small to begin with.
'Okay, the Dursleys think that I can do magic wandlessly, so I'm safe for now.'
Harry paced fretfully in his room. He heard Petunia coax Dudley downstairs to wait with her and her husband in the living room. Dudley was whimpering something about not wanting to be turned into a pig and was clutching his behind and casting fearful looks at Harry over his shoulder as he went down the stairs. Harry gave Dudley a 'Malfoy sneer' that sent him scuttling faster down the stairs. Petunia's diet plan for Dudley had evidently worked wonders.
Harry went over his repertoire of simple charms; things that were taught in his first and second year and narrowed the list down to things he was sure he could perform without draining himself too much. It was imperative that he convince the Dursleys beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was not helpless without his wand. Harry channeled his magic to his eyes so that they glowed much like a cat's in the dark. A simple parlor trick that did nothing, but was popular with anti-muggle wizards and witches when they played their favorite sport of 'Muggle Baiting' which, interestingly enough, has many points in common with 'Harry Hunting'.
Harry quickly checked his reflection in the bathroom mirror and drew back a little startled when he noticed the flecks of silver that floated in his irises. That didn't happen when he had tried it out with Hermione and Ron back in their second year. He had heard or read something about this before, but couldn't remember what it was for the life of him. No matter, he would ask Hermione when they next saw each other. She should know.
Harry carefully made his way down the stairs, imitating Snape's slow, intimidating walk. It would have been more effective in flowing wizard-wear, but Harry didn't want to mimic Vernon's stupid ploy. It would just look ridiculous to appear in wizarding robes in a muggle home.
'Okay. Fact Number One: Dumbledore sold me out.'
Harry deliberately clipped his feet down hard with every step and was pleased to see to the Dursleys flinch each time.
'Good, they're scared. Fact Number Two: Dumbledore keeps in touch with the Dursleys.'
Harry took the final step off the stairs.
'Which brings up several questions. Why keep in touch and for how long have they been in touch? Also, why deliberately subject me to abuse?'
"Aunt Petunia, please bring me Dumbledore's letters," Harry said, letting his anger colour the words.
Petunia scrambled to obey. In the mean time, Harry seated himself opposite the Dursley males on the couch and watched them quietly. He knew that the silence would unnerve them more than any intimidating speech he could come up with.
'Okay not abuse per se,' Harry corrected himself. 'Definitely mistreatment. I don't think Uncle Vernon is stupid enough to let Dudley beat me up. Not when there are Aurors outside and they want me to work in the garden. The home might be soundproofed, but even the stupidest Auror would notice broken bones and bruises. It's part of their training.'
He watched Petunia come back with a large shoe-box full of letters and couldn't control his brows from rising. He quickly ducked his head to cover the expression and accepted the box that Petunia all but threw at Harry. She had obviously misunderstood his request and brought him every letter Dumbledore had ever written to them, not just the most recent.
"Are they all date sorted?" Harry asked neutrally. He could afford to seem less angry. They were complying with his wishes.
"Of course!" Petunia said, looking a tad affronted, which quickly melted into fear after having looked into his glittering eyes.
Harry checked the date on the first letter, which was for November 1st, 1981, the day after Harry's parents were killed and the exact same day that Sirius Black was framed for the death of Peter Pettigrew. Did Dumbledore even wait for confirmation of the accusations before he decided to foist off the care of an unwanted magical orphan onto the Dursleys? All of the letters were scripted in green ink on parchment paper and came with the firm admonishment that the letter be burned after it had been read.
"You didn't burn the letters." Harry stated.
"Of course not," Petunia said again, putting on a brave face. She refused to look at Harry. "We had to protect ourselves."
"Of course," Harry agreed evenly. Petunia was the brains of the family. Without her aid, Vernon would have been in prison and Dudley in juvenile detention long ago. She knew what needed to be done to protect herself and her family, which sadly did not include Harry. Harry rose to his feet and moved to stand by the window in the living room. Through the sheer fabric of the curtain, Harry could see two wizards in crisp black and gold Auror robes sitting on the front lawn playing cards.
'Hold on a second. Why are they sitting around and being so obvious about it?'
Harry cut the flow of magic to his eyes, and instantly the two wizards disappeared. Harry restarted the flow of magic behind his eyes and immediately he could see the wizards again. It was then that he realized what it meant, his glittering eyes. Harry had come across the information during one of his assigned readings from Snape in regards to Legilimency and Occlumency.
'Mage-sight. When a witch or wizard is able to see magic in its primal form by focusing their magic on their retina. A fairly uncommon ability said to manifest in young wizards and witches prior to their magical majority. Provided that the witch or wizard had the genetics for it, the ability was said to manifest during moments of great emotional duress, coupled by the witch or wizard in question deliberately focusing their magic on their eyes at the said time of trauma.'
He quickly made connections as he recalled Dumbledore's ever twinkling baby blue eyes and his ability to spot Harry despite being hidden under the Invisibility cloak. Now Harry understood how the man did half the things he did, and that damnable twinkle. He had mage-sight and it looked like Harry did too.
"What will you do now?" Petunia asked from her seat next to her husband. Harry turned to look into shrewd eyes that looked green or hazel depending upon the lighting. From her pictures, Harry knew that she had been quite the beauty in her younger years. Back when she was not bitter and anorexic and did not have to put up with the stress of raising the unwanted child of her late sister. Her dirty blonde hair had been pulled back severely from her face, exposing the high cheekbones which would have been beautiful with a little more fat underneath them. Harry's mother, Lily Evans was considered the more beautiful of the two by only a very small margin. Remus had said that the sisters were pretty close before Lily left for Hogwarts. It was only later when their parents displayed overt favoritism for their younger magical daughter that Petunia had turned bitter.
'What will I do? That's a good question.'
Harry gave it a moment's thought. He was quickly approaching the age of majority on his sixteenth birthday, after which the Dursleys by wizarding law would no longer be his legal guardians, leaving Harry free to make his own decisions. And he did have a considerable fortune to his name bequeathed to him by his late father. However, Harry didn't like the idea of running away. Not when he would have to face Dumbledore soon and have to explain his actions. No, the better idea would be to wait it out at Privet Drive until the Order of the Phoenix came to collect him. Best not to raise suspicions until Harry had a back up plan to fall back on.
"Nothing for now, Aunt Petunia," the woman in question looked relieved. "You knew my mother, so you understand what is at stake. I will be turning sixteen soon, and you won't have to deal with me ever again once the summer is over. Actually Aunt Petunia, let's make a deal."
"What kind of deal?" Petunia asked suspiciously. Vernon gave her a look of gushing pride. He was lucky to have married such a brave, beautiful woman.
"The Order will likely come to collect me after my birthday, so until then how about we ignore each other? You pretend that I don't exist like you always do, and I'll study quietly in my room. I'll come out of my room to get food when I want to, otherwise you won't be seeing much of me. That way we'll both stay out of each other's hair."
Petunia nodded, surprised at being let off so easily, but she still had one concern.
"You... you won't turn my son into a pig?" Petunia asked, a small quaver leaking into her voice.
Harry was glad that they were convinced that he could do something so complex as transfiguration without a wand. He decided not to tell them that he would likely get brought up before the Wizengamot if he tried something like that.
"I can't promise. Like I said, you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone. I will be coming and going from the house as it suits my needs and you will pretend that I am still in here with you."
"And who will do the cooking and cleaning, boy?" Vernon groused from beside his wife. Harry lifted an eyebrow and Vernon flinched back. Dudley left the room screaming in terror.
"I will do some gardening, but nothing else." Harry conceded at length. 'Otherwise Dumbledore would get suspicious. He needs to see me moping and slaving away for the Dursleys.' "If you betray me, your family will suffer. Anymore questions?"
Petunia shook her head and pressed her hand on Vernon's elbow. He shook his head as well. Harry knew that the Dursleys would not dare betray him. Despite the sad excuse for guardians they have been to Harry, they truly did love their only son and would never do anything to jeopardize his safety.
"If that's all, I will see you later." Harry went back up the stairs to his room, taking the shoe-box with him. He opened the letters and read them one after the next.
In the next hour that followed, Harry was shocked to the core at the level of Dumbledore's duplicity. It was primarily at the Headmaster's instructions that the Dursleys had been mistreating Harry all of his life. The Headmaster had been contacting the Dursleys monthly since abandoning him on their doorstep, providing them with £3,000 per month as a bribe to keep the boy, and not for Harry's subsistence, even going as far as to suggest all of the punishments that had been inflicted upon the boy, including his use of a cupboard as living quarters and being used like a House-elf. At the end of the two hours, Harry had progressed to the when he was four years old, and Dumbledore's suggestion that Harry be forced to cook breakfast for the family. Thoroughly disgusted, but somehow not the least bit surprised, Harry stuffed the letters back into the shoe-box. He went to the Dudley's room and pulled a wad of cash from underneath the mattress and stuffed it in his pocket. He also grabbed one of Dudley's old schoolbags, and stuffed the shoe-box into it and hoisted the bag onto his shoulders.
"I'm going out for a bit." Harry said coming down the stairs as a floating head with his Invisibility cloak on, making the Dursleys blanch with fear. Dudley collapsed in a dead faint with a thud.
"When will you be back?" Petunia asked pragmatically. "What do we tell Dumbledore?"
"You don't have to write to Dumbledore until the end of the month, so nothing really. I'll be back before sundown."
Harry slipped out he backdoor, and past the Aurors who were engrossed in their game of cards. He walked for three blocks before he took off his cloak and flagged down a cab.
"Where to mister?"
"London, and quickly." Harry stated, paying beforehand, and deliberately overpaying with £10. It bought him the instant unquestioning obedience of the cab driver. Harry glanced at the handwritten note from Hermione. She had made him a list of books he would need for his sixth year. Hermione had tried to impress it on Harry and Ron that their sixth year was going to be especially difficult and it was best to get a head start instead of waiting for the book list from Hogwarts in the beginning of August. He had little do do until school began. Might as well follow her advice.
'But first I need to withdraw some money from Gringotts.' The bills scarcely added up to £100 and magical texts were expensive.
The cab dropped Harry off a block away from the wall that separated wizarding London from muggle London. Harry walked into a clothing store and bought himself a T-shirt and pants far removed from his usual style (which means that they actually fit him) along with a bandana and a pair of sunglasses. Slipping the sunglasses in front of his usual glasses, Harry made his walked his way to wizarding London and let himself into Gringotts. He had barely stepped through the door when Griphook appeared and instantly ushered him into a private meeting room.
"Mr. Potter, why have you not responded to any of the owls we have been sending you for the past month?" the irate goblin asked. "That was most irresponsible of you. You will be an adult soon and must take responsibility for your accounts."
Harry was confused. "But I haven't received any mails from you, ever!"
Griphook gave Harry a look that plainly showed that he did not believe a word that Harry said. He steepled long gray-blue fingers together and peered into Harry's face.
"None, Mr Potter?" Griphook asked. "Not even your annual reports detailing your account activities."
"No... I never... I mean I haven't even been using my account except every summer since I began Hogwarts. I assumed that there wasn't any mail because there was no account activity other than my personal withdrawals."
"Your guardian, Albus Dumbledore… Has he not been detailing you regarding your account changes and balances? Has he not contacted you for the will reading of your departed godfather?"
"Will reading? No Dumbledore didn't… he never tells me anything…" Harry said bitterly. "And what is this about Dumbledore being my guardian. I thought my guardianship was under the Dursleys."
"The Dursleys?" the goblin asked curiously.
"My legal guardians. Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Petunia is my mum's sister."
"Lily Evans was a muggle-born witch. This Petunia Dursley, she is a muggle, is she not?"
Something changed in the goblin's slate gray eyes. "You speak the truth," he admitted softly. He looked through a thick folder and tutted under his breath. "This is most troubling."
"What's wrong?" Harry ventured when the goblin did not speak for some time.
Griphook looked at Harry solemnly. "Mr. Potter, have you not been brought up learning the doctrines and protocols of the wizarding world. Are you not aware of your own laws, the laws of guardianship and inheritance?" the goblin asked, and then answered himself. "No, of course not, otherwise we would not be in this predicament. Bide a moment, Mr Potter. I shall return shortly."
"Umm... Griphook." Harry called before the goblin left the room.
"Yes, Mr Potter."
Harry felt an embarrassed flush rising on the nape of his neck.
"Could you not tell anyone that I am here?"
"Of course Mr. Potter. May I ask why you feel the need for secrecy?"
"Umm.. Dumbledore is having me watched. I'm not supposed to leave my muggle relatives. I had to sneak out with my Invisibility cloak."
The goblin gave him an unreadable look.
"I will return shortly." he said leaving with a short bow.
Griphook returned fifteen minutes later, and in his arms five slim books and a large box.
"These books, Mr Potter, will remedy the gaps in your knowledge of the laws of wizarding world. They are intended for eight year old witches and wizards and therefore are easy reads. They are yours to keep. Meanwhile, there are a couple of pieces of information that must be addressed immediately."
Griphook propped moved back into his chair and regarded Harry steadily.
"Mr Potter, a legal guardian is essentially your parent figure after the demise of your parents. They have the same legal rights and responsibilities as your mother and father. Typically your guardianship would fall to your godfather. However, in lieu of his imprisonment, Albus Dumbledore had petitioned a claim for your guardianship which was subsequently approved by the Ministry of Magic of England. You see Mr Potter, the only situation where muggles are permitted guardianship of a magical child is when the child is a muggle-born witch or wizard, the first magical child in his or her family."
"Then the Dursleys…" Harry asked uncertainly.
"Have no legal rights whatsoever upon your person or properties and are not your guardians," Griphook stated empathically. "By law, an orphaned half-blood or pureblood magical child can only be fostered to a magical family. By handing you over to the Dursleys, Dumbledore has violated several ancient laws put into place to ensure the safety of magical children. I shall give you a copy of the Potter will and the Black will, and you will see that your parents had specifically mentioned in their will that you are under no circumstance to be handed over to Petunia Evans and her family."
Harry closed his eyes and leaned back in his cushioned chair.
"So the wizarding world is under the impression that I live with Dumbledore?"
"After my birthday, will Dumbledore have any legal rights over me?" Harry asked.
Harry nodded bitterly. "I didn't even know that my parents had a will. I guess Dumbledore wanted me to see him as my savior, rescuing me from my awful muggle relatives and giving me my place in the magical world as his pawn and weapon of choice."
Griphook smiled grimly and nodded. "It will not be the first time. Dumbledore is notorious in the non-human world for his shameful manipulation of human children. I would however advise against bringing up charges against Dumbledore."
Harry opened his eyes, half surprised. "Why is that?"
"Albus Dumbledore has powerful connections in the wizarding world and he is working hard to make you seem like a slightly deranged pampered prince. It would only harm your reputation to bring up charges against Dumbledore at this time. The time is not opportune."
Harry nodded. He did not want to face the Wizengamot anyway. The few brushes he had had with them so far had instilled in him a deep loathing for the system.
"I only came here to withdraw a few galleons. Is there anything else I should know?"
Griphook looked apologetic. "Yes, unfortunately there is still some more unpleasantness that needs to be dealt with."
Harry smiled tiredly. "You are just doing your job. While I am here, we might as well get this over with."
"It seems that Dumbledore has embezzled close to 20,000 galleons over the past fifteen years for your 'living expenses'."
"Lovely," Harry muttered sarcastically under his breath. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, go on."
"Your ire is completely understandable." Griphook said blandly. "You are showing remarkable composure to be honest. In your position, I would have been tempted to rip out my hair by the roots, if I had any hair on my head, that is."
Griphook pulled out a chalice from the box, half filled it with sand from a sachet and placed it on the table. He then presented Harry with a small blade.
"You will need to add seventeen drops of blood into the chalice. If you are eligible, the chalice will produce your signet rings. It should produce the Black and Potter signet rings. Do not concern yourself, the blade has already been sterilized."
Harry cut the pad of his thumb and added the requisite drops of blood. Griphook then provided him with a muggle Band-Aid to wrap around the incision. He took the chalice in both hands and muttered a long guttural chant in his own language. Harry activated his mage-sight and noticed the chalice glowed a beautiful earthy gold.
"It will take a couple of minutes as the chalice tests your blood against all available signet rings. Meanwhile if you would please read and sign these sheets. They will take effect on your sixteenth birthday and will make you the sole user of your accounts with Gringotts."
Harry quickly read through the paperwork. It was all fairly straight forward, so Harry signed it.
Griphook nodded. "You may read the Potter and Black will at your own convenience. To summarize, after your sixteenth birthday you will be in possession of 110 million galleons in liquid assets, the exact figure will appear on your next invoice." Harry's eyes bugged out at the enormous figure. "And your properties include Godric's Hollow, Potter Estate and Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. And it looks like chalice has finished it scan. Lets see what we have."
Griphook tipped the chalice over into a sieve he had pulled from the box, collecting the sand in another cup. Three rings plopped out.
"Very curious," said Griphook fingering the three rings. He handed over two silver rings over to Harry. Harry turned them over. He noticed the embossed stylized silver "B" with a sword and shield background on the first ring. This was obviously the Black signet ring. The ring second ring was set with tiny emeralds and peridots depicting a leafy "P", This was obvious the Potter signet ring. Harry noted the Slytherin colours with some amusement.
"Your father never wore it in public," Griphook stated, guessing the reason behind Harry's smile. "We had not expected the Gryffindor signet ring to ever leave our vaults," the goblin admitted. "However it seems that Godric Gryffindor's phoenix familiar has finally chosen to gift a child with the Sword of Gryffindor."
He handed Harry the gold ring, which featured the familiar ruby encrusted lion of Gryffindor house.
Harry chuckled. "Fawkes gave it to me in my second year. I have no idea how to use it though. It is hanging in Dumbledore's office."
Griphook shook his head in aggravation. "Take it away from him when you can, Mr Potter. Ask the phoenix for help if you must. Dumbledore has no business showing off the sword as if he were the phoenix's chosen bearer of the sword. As for lessons in swordplay, the Art has been all but lost to the human world. You will not be able to find a good teacher amongst the ranks of wizard-kind."
"I do not have the list of Gryffindor's assets with me at present. I will include the assets on your monthly invoice. I do know that the Gryffindor fortune is entirely in the form precious and semiprecious stones and metals. There are no Gryffindor properties. The signet ring however does give you additional rights at Hogwarts. You will be able to apparate on Hogwarts grounds and it will also make you untraceable."
Griphook pulled out a plain silver band and gave it to Harry. "This is a holder ring. Slip it onto your middle finger and then slip your signet rings onto your holder ring."
Harry did so, and noted with surprise that the holder ring absorbed all three signet rings.
"The holder ring will only be visible to the wearer and goblins, and no it will not be visible under mage-sight." Harry looked up surprised. "Yes, I had noticed. Mage-sight is fairly common," Griphook explained dryly. "One in every fifty witches and wizards possesses the ability. Goblins have long since found ways to circumvent the ability. It would not do to have wizard-kind learn of our secrets."
Suddenly there was a loud popping noise accompanied by a blinding flash.
Harry blinked to clear his vision and was surprised to see a House-elf kneeling before him, with Griphook standing behind him, holding a sword to his throat.
"Please do not be killing Dobby..." the House-elf whimpered. "Dobby friend of Harry Potter."
"Griphook please let him go." Griphook released the House-elf and stepped back. "Dobby what are you doing here? Did Dumbledore send you?"
Dobby's large green tennis ball eyes widened comically.
"No, Dumbledore not sending Dobby. Dobby came because Dobby wants to serve the great Harry Potter. Harry Potter have signet ring now, Dobby knows! Dobby be serving Harry Potter's family."
Griphook snorted. "It has been centuries since a free elf has voluntarily offered their services to a wizard."
"Yes, yes. That is true. But Dobby wants to be serving Harry Potter, because Harry Potter is a great wizard!"
Griphook turned and looked Harry up and down for a moment. His eyes held a greater measure of respect in them than it did a moment before.
"A great wizard you say. Who would know better than a House-elf?" he said thoughtfully. "My superiors will want to know of this. Mr Potter, accept the House-elf's services. He will be greatly useful to you."
"But Dobby, I thought you liked being a free House-elf. " Harry asked puzzled. He had assumed that after having vengeful, malicious masters like the Malfoys, Dobby would never willingly place himself under someone's command.
"Dobby likes being free from bad family. But a House-elf is meant to serve," said Dobby solemnly. "House-elves are always happiest when serving good master with lots of children."
Harry laughed nervously. "Umm Dobby… I kind of haven't really thought about children but I will be a good master. I would like you to be my House-elf."
Dobby promptly burst into happy tears. He strode forward and gently took Harry's hand and gravely intoned. "Dobby vows to forever be faithful and to serve the great Mr. Harry Potter sir and his family. May Dobby's head be chopped off and hung on the wall should Dobby fail."
Harry stared at Dobby duly appalled by the proclamation.
"Dobby, I don't want you chopping your head off, ever."
Dobby burst into tears again. "Master Harry Potter is too kind!"
Griphook's face split with a feral grin. "Repeat these words, Mr Potter: 'I, Hadrian James Potter hereby accept the services of Dobby on behalf of myself and my future progeny.'" He barked a short laugh when Harry screwed up his face. "That is the acceptance clause, Mr Potter, regardless of whether or not you intend to procreate in the future."
"I, Hadrain James Potter hereby accept the services of Dobby on behalf of myself and my future progeny." Harry mumbled, feeling very very embarrassed. "And Dobby, no punishing yourself, no matter what. Is that understood?"
"Master Harry Potter is a very kind and generous master! Dobby understands and accepts!" the House-elf said wiggling his ears joyously. "Dobby is the happiest House-elf in the world!"
"I'm glad you feel that way, Dobby. Now sit down on the chair." Harry said still grinning.
"Master Harry Potter Sir asks Dobby to sit in chair like equal." Dobby said in amazement while obeying.
"This neatly solves the problem of your Gringotts letters being intercepted by Dumbledore," Griphook observed. "Simply use your House-Elf to deliver your Gringotts mail. House-elves are not barred from apparating within Hogwarts or Gringotts. Now moving on, Mr Potter, I have not forgotten your request. You wished to know how you may withdraw money from your accounts. Mr Potter, do you know how to use ATMs, muggle and wizarding money, cheque books and credit cards?"
Harry nodded and Griphook pulled out a wallet, a cheque book and a pouch from the box.
"The pouch, Mr Potter, acts much like an ATM machine. Only you will be able to withdraw money from the pouch, and no one but yourself will be able to touch or see it. You only have to dip your hand into the pouch and you will be able to pull out galleons, knuts and sickles with a daily maximum of 100 galleons and a weekly maximum of 500 galleons for safety reasons. If you must make purchases above your daily limit, you can do so easily, but you must use a cheque. Are you with me so far?"
"Good. If you put galleons into the wallet, it will convert into muggle currency, the amount and type will depend upon your location and current exchange rate. For example if you were in France, the money in the wallet will be Francs. If you have large muggle purchases to make, you can use the platinum card in the wallet. Please guard it well. It is a muggle devise and hence cannot be protected by magical means. Until you turn sixteen, your account activity can be viewed by you guardian. Hence, to safeguard your privacy, Gringotts will loan you 500 galleons. The amount will be deducted from you account on your birthday. Is that everything Mr Potter. Is there any other way we may serve you?"
The pouch beceme full with coins, but it did not get any heavier. Harry guessed that there were feather light charms inscribed onto the pouch.
"Umm, no that's everything. Thank you so much. I am grateful," Harry said offering a small bow.
Griphook held out a hand to shake. "It was a pleasure doing business with you, Mr Potter."
"Likewise," Harry said, shaking hands firmly. He then turned to Dobby. "Dobby, I need you for a few hours to do some shopping. Can you make sure that you are not missed at Hogwarts?"
Dobby concentrated for a while and then said. "Winky is telling other House-elves that Dobby be cleaning in Dungeons. Winky keep Dobby not being at Hogwarts a secret."
Harry looked surprised. "You are telepathic?" he asked.
Dobby nodded solemnly. "All House-elves can talk to other House-elves anywhere. House-Elf can sense master's needs and knows where master be. That's how Dobby know to come where master is."
Harry nodded. "So you can read my mind?"
Dobby shook his head furiously. "No, Dobby only know what Master be needing!" he said, bobbing his head empathically. "Dobby is not knowing what Master thinks."
"Oh alright. That's fair." Harry said relieved. He did not want another person reading his mind. Harry decided that a book on Occlumency and Legilimency were definitely on his shopping list.
Harry put on his Invisibility cloak. "Dobby, can you still see me?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Master Harry Potter Sir."
"Alright, I need you to follow me." Harry said as he walked out of Gringotts. "I have some shopping to do, but I can't be seen. I need you to haggle and pay for me."
Dobby nodded solemnly. "Master Harry Potter needs to go to Obscurus Scrolls. Coming this way."
"How did you know...? Oh right you know what I need." Harry said as he followed the House-elf.
When they reached the store, Dobby immediately went to the section on Mind Magic and pulled out three slender books on Occlumency, Legilimency and another on magical theory.
"These be enough. Other books not helpful. Not having what Master needs." Dobby supplied in a low voice leaving out Harry's name.
Harry asked Dobby to pick up some more books on magical civilizations, and a copy of Hogwarts: a History. Harry also had Dobby the list of school books to which Dobby added and said that the books had additional information that Harry would need eventually. Out of curiosity, Harry asked Dobby to pick out a good book on Animagus transformations. Dobby did as requested, but solemnly informed Harry that although he was a great wizard he would not be able to become an Animagus.
Dobby paid for the books with the money Harry provided and then dragged Harry into Knockturn Alley, insisting that he needed to go there. From Knockturn alley, Harry ended up placing an order for a magical truck like Mad-Eye Moody's. It was too expensive, so Harry ended up writing a cheque which was to be cashed on his birthday. The trunk would have the really neat feature of appearing to be a coin sized jade pendant that would hang around Harry's neck on a silver chain.
Jades were frequently worn by both muggles and wizards as a symbol of good fortune and were also Harry's birthstone. He did not think anyone would find it strange that he had taken to wearing a symbol of good fortune… Merlin, everyone knew he needed it given his share of escapades. The jade recognized only Harry's and by proxy Dobby's magical signature and enlarged to a ordinary looking normal sized trunk when he channelled his magic into it. He also purchase a bottomless messenger bag, into which he put his newly purchased books and shoe-box full of letters.
Harry then found himself dragged to an illegal exotic creatures store in Knockturn Alley. Here Dobby said Dobby was not sure what Harry needed, only that it was somewhere inside here and that Harry needed to be visible and bargaining this time. Although a little uneasy, Harry trusting Dobby's instincts handed the House-elf his Invisibility cloak, and wearing bandana and sunglasses, he stepped into the store browsed around. Predictably, he was immediately attracted to the reptilian section of the store, where he paused to admire the snakes.
:Hsss… It's another nasty human come to poke at usss: hissed a sibilant voice. :Put your hand in my cage, sssilly human. See my pretty ssscalesss… see how they ssshine… Touch me sssilly human… let me bite you… I promissse your death will be ssswift…:
:Look how he hidesss his mark.: hissed another voice laughingly. :We can sssmell your curssse mark man-child though we cannot sssee it… How foolisssh… How human…:
:SSStrange human yet not human…: hissed another voice thoughtfully. A distinctly feminine voice. :He sssmelsss ssstrange… Like flamesss and poissson… Poissson of the Great Lord of SSSerpentsss… Flamesss of Bennu…:
Harry turned to look at that particular snake, recognizing the Egyptian name for the phoenix. A fully grown Magical Asp, an Egyptian cobra – he read on a sign posted outside the pen. The creature is said to live a thousand years, growing to full length around its two hundredth year – this particular specimen is approaching three hundred years. Its undetectable poison is deadly, killing its victim in under two minutes. Also, there was a warning posted on the pen. The snake apparently had the ability to apparate despite the placing of the tightest wards and its ability was being blocked by the store by administering it with potion dosed rats.
Harry bent closer to study the snake, admiring its black and gold speckled hood, and forty five inch long body that had alternating gold and onyx six inch long bands on it. Harry looked closer and noticed that every golden scale was edged in black and every onyx scale in gold giving the snake a shimmering appearance. Unlike its Indian counterpart, there were no spectacle markings on its hood.
The cobra suddenly reared up and flicked its forked tongue out at Harry, moving so that its golden eyes were level into with Harry's green.
:Pretty human with lonely eyesss… Take me home with you… SSSweet man-child with a ssshadowed sssoul, you bear the ssscent of one marked by the Goddesss of Fate and the God of Snakesss… SSSee how pretty I am… SSSee how powerful I am… Take me home with you I ssshall ssserve you well… Take me home and I ssshall bring you Fortune…:
:I appreciate your beauty and your power my exquisite serpent, tell me your name and I shall consider your offer.: Harry replied in parseltongue falling easily into the poetic language of the snakes. The cobra looked taken aback and all the other snakes reared up when he spoke. :Tell me how I may serve you in return for your companionship and your servitude…:
:A SSSpeaker of SSSerpentsss: came the cry from all the snakes as they clamored for his attention, each demanding to go home with him. Harry ignored them all, but instead kept his eyes trained on the golden gaze before him. This snake was special, Harry could feel in his bones. This snake was why Dobby brought him here. She was to be his familiar.
:I give you my loyalty in exchange for your own, I give you my ssservitude in exchange for your own.: The cobra replied at length. :I ssshall hunt for myssself, but in timesss when food isss ssscarccce, you will be my Provider… You will be my Provider when I am bearing eggsss, when I am hatching eggsss… Use me as you pleassse, but pleassse do not abussse… Give me all of thessse, and you ssshall have everything that isss mine as well as my counsssel. You know of another SSSpeaker who hasss my cousssin asss hisss familiar… Her name isss Nagini, ssshe wasss named by her Provider. SSShe is the Protector of the Godsss of India. Her powersss come from the sssoil of India. I am the Protector of the Godsss and Rulersss of Egypt. My power originatesss from the never ending magic of the Golden Sandsss and the Watersss of the Nile… SSShould you accept my requirementsss, Name me my Provider… Take me home with you…:
Harry nodded. All the other snakes had fallen silent recognizing that the Serpent Speaker had already made his choice. :I have some final conditions… Where I go, snakes will not be welcome… I am looked down upon for my ability as a Speaker… You will need to be cautious… You will need to be stealthy… You must never be seen, yet always you must remain close to me… You must never bite another without my orders… Also, promise me that you will never betray me for another Speaker…:
:I would never betray…!: the snake hissed rearing up in anger.
:Forgive me sweet lady, I meant no insult…: Harry said placatingly. :I know you would never willingly betray… but I have many enemies… and if you come with me, you shall be in grave danger… I must ask for these assurances… If you cannot comply I must leave now…:
The snake shifted restlessly for a moment, before settling down with a resigned hiss.
:Very well human I accept your conditionsss… Now let usss not tarry… the Almighty Ra has not ssshone upon my ssscalesss for many a day and it fillsss my heart with dessspair… Take me home with you my Provider…:
Harry smiled and removed the snake from its enclosure. The door was not magically locked, after all, who in their right mind would free a snake.
:Welcome to my family… Isis… My name is Harry.:
Isis looked up at him with visible surprise.
:Isssisss… Goddesss of the Nile… Goddesss of Magic… Protector and Healer of the Pharaohsss… Isss that to be my name…?: she asked.
:Yes… Do you like it, Isis?: he asked softly.
:It pleasssesss me…: The snake admitted. :Cut me provider and cut yourssself. Let our blood mix and I ssshall do the rest. I ssshall become your familiar and your family.:
Harry let Isis wrap around his torso over his shoulder, and cut her underneath one of her scales. He the reopened the cut made earlier when at Gringotts. When their blood mixed, Harry felt the snake's magic wash over him, a distinctly chilling sensation that left him feeling oddly delirious, but the feeling passed quickly enough.
:I need to pay the vendor for you…: Harry said as he headed towards the deserted store front.
The snake released a hissing laughter.
:Why pay for sssomething that is already yoursss?: she questioned. :He had ssstolen me from another. There isss no need for you to pay for me. Unlike your Houssse-Elf, I do ssshare your thoughtsss. Asss your familiar, I mussst know your thoughtsss ssso that I may advissse you. I ssshall never reveal your mind to another, nor ssshall I permit anyone to trespasss uninvited. Let usss leave… Your houssse-elf mussst be frantic by now…:
Harry nodded, and headed out of the store unmolested, where Dobby immediately wrapped his Invisibility cloak about him.
"Dobby is needing to go back to Hogwarts. Is Master Harry done shopping?" Dobby asked.
"Yes Dobby. Could you apparate Isis and me back to my home." Harry asked.
Dobby nodded, and immediately Harry heard a loud crack followed by a flash of white replacing his vision and found himself on the floor of his room.
"Dobby be bringing Master Harry Potter Sir lunch from Hogwarts. Master Harry Potter Sir is still growing. Need lots of food." With that Dobby disappeared and reappeared in his room with a plate stacked high with food.
"Is master be needing Dobby for anything else?" Dobby asked hopefully.
"No Dobby. That's all for now. Thank you so much for your help. But umm… could you perhaps practice apparating soundlessly?" Harry asked.
Dobby nodded enthusiastically sending his ears flopping up and down. "I be doing that Master Harry Potter Sir!" He then apparated away this time the cracking sound was not as pronounced. Not stealthy by any means, mind you, but better than before.
:Such an Interesssting creature…: Isis hissed laughingly as she shifted her coils.
:Yes he is.: Harry agreed. :Why don't you go out, catch something to eat and sun yourself. There are still about two hours of daylight left.:
:Will you be confronting your relativesss now?: Isis asked.
She watched as Harry put away his Invisibility cloak in his school trunk along with his new books, bottomless bag and wand. He selected the book on Occlumency and settled down on the bed to read.
:Nah… I don't think I'll go down at all. Dobby will bring me food from Hogwarts. The Dursleys will think that Is have run away. It will be pretty hilarious when they figure out that I have been here all along. And the 'not eating' part should really creep them out.:
Isis flicked her tongue out at his cheek in a snake kiss and headed out through the window. She was very proud of her Provider. Such a lovely snake-like mind in a mere human is a rarity indeed.
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O
Reviews and Constructive Criticisms are greatly appreciated.
O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O O--o--o--O