Harry Potter and a Different Path
By Mark Safransky
It was another boring day in Little Whinging and Harry Potter was running from his cousin and his gang. Whipping around a trash bin in an alley and making onto the street, he immediately ducked into a shop and panted for breath.
"Well there young fellow, what brings you to my shop today?" asked the older man standing behind the counter.
Harry glanced up sharply and quickly said, "I'm trying to keep from getting beat up. Don't make me go back out there mister."
The old man came out from behind the counter and handed the small boy a handkerchief to wipe his brow as he replied, "don't fret there young man, I won't make you leave. So, what's your name?"
"It's Harry, Harry Potter sir."
"Oh ho, young Harry Potter is it," the man said as his eyes twinkled. "I see, running from your cousin again, heh?"
Harry groaned as he replied softly, "yes sir."
"Well, don't worry none son. I've heard the beastly stories your relatives have spread throughout town about you and I don't believe a word of them."
"Really?" came the plaintive question from the boy.
"Oh my yes, anyone with a lick of common sense and eyes to see can see that the hooligan in these parts is your cousin Dudley and his gang. I will never understand what makes these folks tick that they can't see what's right in front of their own eyes."
The boy's eyes seem to shine a little brighter with unshed tears as he looked up at the old man and seemed to gain a little confidence as he said, "Thanks."
"Hmm, I'm not really sure what your parents were thinking to leave you with such dreadful people once they passed on. Say, do you know why they did?"
"No sir, the Dursley's only said that I was left on their doorstep, after the car crash that is."
The old man suddenly leaned back in astonishment, "Car crash? What car crash is that?"
"The one that killed my parents," Harry replied in confusion.
"My word," the old man said. "Your parents didn't die in a car crash. I wonder what is going on here, your relatives have lied to you, and you're left on their doorstep without any explanation. This is very peculiar. I wonder if…" his voice trailed off as he appeared to be in deep thought.
"Wonder what sir?" Harry questioned.
"Ah, I'm wondering if I should explain the details I know to you young man," the old man replied. "Yes, that would probably be best, wouldn't it?"
Shaking his head at the ignorance the boy in front of him had been left in, the old man walked over and flipped his shop sign to closed and took the boy into one of the back rooms to sit down.
"Now Harry, my name is Octavius Quinn and I own and operate this small curio shop. I know some of the events surrounding the death of your parents but only some of them. Back in the late 70's and early 80's there was a man who called himself Lord Voldemort who was trying to subvert the lawful government and setup a bigoted one that only allowed those who supposedly were Pureblooded to rule."
"Pureblood what's?" Harry asked.
"Wizard's, of course," Mr. Quinn replied.
"Wizard's?" Harry squeaked.
"Yes Harry, Wizard's exist. Your father was from a long established pureblood line. Your mother, on the other hand, was what is called a muggleborn witch. Muggles being what non-magical people are called."
Oh," Harry said softly. "Then how do you know about them? Aren't you a Muggle?"
"No, no Harry," Mr. Quinn laughingly replied. "I'm what is referred to as a Squib, a non-magical person born to in a Wizarding family."
"That's just stupid, I mean if they call non-magical people Muggles, then why call you a Squib?" Harry wondered aloud.
"Ha," Mr. Quinn laughed. "I never said logic is a wizard's best friend. But anyway, Voldemort and his followers tried gaining power at first through the government but were not too successful. Then they began a campaign of terror, using torture and killing of first Muggles and Muggleborns and then on to Purebloods who opposed their methods and message. It was a very frightening time to live in the Wizarding world with all this going on. Then, on Halloween of 1981, Voldemort apparently tried to attack your home in Godric's Hallow in Wales and after killing your parents, tried to kill you as well."
"What happened?" Harry asked softly.
"That's the thing, no one really knows. Someone found you in the wreckage of your home with only that scar on your forehead as proof of whatever happened. Your parents were found dead in the rubble and the cloak of the Dark Lord by your bassinet. No body, but I think people were to happy by him being gone to worry too much about that." Mr. Quinn sighed softly as he leaned back and looked sorrowfully at the boy. "With all the celebrations going on and everything, I guess you were placed with your Aunt and Uncle within a day or two without anyone really knowing except they gave you a nickname after it happened."
"What did they call me," Harry asked in astonishment.
"They call you the Boy-Who-Lived." Mr. Quinn replied.
"That's dumb," Harry said. "How do they know my parents didn't do something that killed Volde..Vold..."
"Voldemort," Mr. Quinn completed for him. "Well, we really don't know. I really do wonder at your placing here. I mean, I know that your Godfather was imprisoned in Azkaban for betraying your parents but I can't see that they didn't have anyone else lined up."
"What? My Godfather did that? And what's Azkaban?"
"Well, they say he led Voldemort to your parents as they were under the Fidelius Charm at the time." Seeing the question in Harry's eyes, Mr. Quinn said, "the Fidelius Charm supposedly hides some information within a Secret Keeper and only that person can divulge it to someone."
"Oh," Harry exclaimed. "Well, did he or didn't he? What did he say at his trial, did he give any reasons?"
"Hmm," Mr. Quinn thought for a moment, "I don't recall ever reading anything about a trial. Might have missed it but I really don't remember anything about it."
"No trial?" Harry cried out. "What kind of government does this wizarding world have anyway?"
"You know, we might have to look that information up to see if any trial was given. If not, then he's been held in Azkaban illegally. Oh, I forgot, Azkaban is the Wizarding world's prison. It is on Azkaban Island and guarded by dark creatures known as Dementors."
"Well, that's not good," Harry thought about it quickly, "if my Godfather is actually innocent, he could take me away from the Dursley's, right?"
"Yes, there's a good chance of that Harry," Mr. Quinn agreed. "We might want to talk to the Goblins at Gringotts Bank and find out what they know."
"Goblins? Real Goblins, like in the stories?" Harry asked in astonishment.
"Yup, real Goblins like in the stories. They pretty much run the wizarding worlds bank now. Say, what about tomorrow you come back here and I take you to see them?" Mr. Quinn offered.
"Yes sir, that sounds like a good idea. I'll try to get here early enough after my chores." Harry said.
"Chores?" Mr. Quinn asked quietly.
"Well, whatever the Dursley's decide to make me do to earn my keep." Harry replied.
"Alright Harry, try to get here early though so we have enough time to take care of whatever we learn."
"Okay sir, thanks a lot for letting me rest here."
"Not a problem young man," Mr. Quinn said as they both stood up, "I'll see you early tomorrow then."
Harry made to leave and then stopped for a moment and waved back saying, "Bye."
Watching Harry leave his shop, Mr. Quinn sighed again and for a moment really pitied the young man you just left. Shaking his head he went into another back room and pulled out a small stack on papers to look through as he reopened his shop.
The next day Harry was able to skip out of the Dursley's home early before his Aunt Petunia was able to give him a list of chores for the day. He immediately wandered down to Quinn's Curios and waited for the door to be unlocked. The talk the day before with Mr. Quinn had really opened his eyes to some of the Dursley's behavior and some of the motivations behind them.
When the door was opened and Mr. Quinn beckoned him in with a smile, Harry felt much better and smiled in return as he walked in.
"Alright lad, we need to use the Floo Network to get to Gringotts. This means we firewalk. I through the special powder into the fire, we watch it turn green and then we state our destination before entering. Understand?"
Harry nodded quickly in reply and watched Mr. Quinn through the powder in to the flame. "Gringotts," the old man said as he stepped into the flame and disappeared. Harry followed right behind and repeated what Mr. Quinn had said. He suddenly found himself spinning through a wreath of flames past other fire grates until he came to a stop beside the older man in what appeared to be a bank lobby.
Mr. Quinn walked over to one of the Teller windows, beckoning Harry to keep up, and spoke to the Teller there. "Good morning Grasptail, I've brought along a young man who needs to see one of the senior account managers today."
"Certainly, Mr. Quinn," the Goblin replied as he looked at Harry before gasping slightly and motioned for a runner to approach.
"Griphook, take Mr. Quinn and Mr. Potter to see Grabfoot immediately."
Griphook motioned for the humans to follow him as he led them into a warren of offices at the back. He marched them to a large office which had the name Grabfoot on the door which listed him as Senior Account Manager. Knocking on the door, he listened for a voice to say "Enter" before opening the door and escorting the humans inside.
"Sir, Grasptail asked me bring these humans before you," Griphook stated.
"Thank you Griphook. Enter gentleman," the Goblin seated behind the desk replied.
"Thank you sir," Harry said softly.
The Goblin looked intently at Harry for a moment before glancing over at Mr. Quinn and said, "What is you business here today sir."
Mr. Quinn placed his hand on Harry's shoulder to keep him in place for a moment before replying, "I met Mr. Potter yesterday and learned he knew nothing about the wizarding world nor his place in it. When I questioned him, he didn't even know how his parents died. After seeing how he's been treated by his so-called relatives. I'm wondering why his parents would have had him placed there after their deaths. We wanted to check their wills to see if there was an alternate listed."
"Hmm," the Goblin sighed as he pushed on a button on the desk. "Let us see what was listed in the wills."
The door opened to show Griphook again. "Griphook, please check the archives and bring me the Potter wills."
"At once sir," the young Goblin replied before leaving again.
"Sit down please," Grabfoot asked as he shuffled some parchment to the side. "Would you like some tea while we wait?"
"Thank you, most kind," Mr. Quinn replied as Harry nodded.