Disclaimer: Characters from the Harry Potter series are the property of J.K. Rowling and various publishers: including but not limited to Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Warner Brothers. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by the writing of this story.
Notes: Welcome everyone! I confess to being somewhat reluctant in beginning this, what with Earth's Emissary and Before Me not even close to being finished, but the basic ideas that make up this fic have been buzzing in my head for several months now. Yes, months, and with the end of the Harry Potter series, well, I wanted to get it started before it was too late, if you can understand that.
Anyways, before you go on reading you should be aware of some general information:
(1st) This story is an Alternate Universe AU of the complete Harry Potter series; meaning that there will be spoilers abound. Indeed, you could say that this is a combination of Time and Dimensional Travel. Like many fic's before it, I will be sending the soul of a seventeen year old Harry into the body of his eleven year old self. It is my hope, however, that the circumstances and conditions in which this is done are original enough to make it worth reading, so give it a shot, eh?
(2nd) I can assure you, now, that while I will heavily rely on the facts of the original series during the first few years to maintain continuity within the universe, events will not remain unchanged. In fact, if I have my way, by the end of third year and if everything goes as planned, the timeline will be completely unrecognizable.
(3rd) And yes, you heard right. Planned. I have this story almost completely outlined; I don't say that I know exactly what I want to happen at every turn, seeing that these kinds of stories evolve as they are being written, but I do have the basic structure of the story outlined pretty thoroughly. If anyone sees any plot holes, though, you are welcome to punch them in and tell me about them so I can do my best to fix them, okay?
Good. Now that you know all of this and are aware, at least partially, of what you are getting yourself into, then read on and should you feel so inclined, leave your thoughts behind in a review, eh? I'm particularly interested in feedback for this story.
He woke up, not suddenly or abruptly, but slowly. His eyelids felt heavy and his body hollow, empty; lighter even. He knew that it was still nighttime, maybe early morning, but he was not disoriented; he knew not to be surprised by the early hour, and oddly, even if his senses felt dull to him, his mind was sharper then he could ever remember it being. He understood perfectly well where he was and why he was in such a state; he knew why his body felt as it did and even why it felt so strange to him: it was not his own, yet still his; it was younger, smaller, reduced . . . undersized and malnourished; Thin.
It was odd how different it was from what he remembered, but then, he hadn't known what it felt like to be healthy at this age. At eleven; or was it ten?
Dear Merlin, eleven. And still, it had been his choice; and should he be given the option once more, he would make the same decision each and every time. The opportunity had been too good to be ignored, and though he felt empty and incomplete, he knew that it was only a temporary thing. It had been explained to him after all; what to expect and what he would have to do, even if those explanations had only been generalized guidelines. That voice, both cool and silky was hard to ignore, its words impossible to forget.
"You are but an echo of your true soul," he had been told, and that was how he felt; like a reflection in a mirror; insubstantial. And as he lifted his hands and finally focused his gaze, he saw it to be true; his body was almost transparent, his skin wispy, as if it were made out of smoke; opaque, translucent, yet still physical. It was a strange state of being.
He felt indifferent to it all, though, to his past and to his present; vacant. Though his knowledge remained, his emotions did not seem to have accompanied it; the memories of his past felt lacking, flat, as if they were missing the element that made them real; three-dimensional. "You are but a fraction of who you once were," he had been informed.
And still, apart from the hollow feel of his body and the flat, emotionless state of his memories, he was still very much Harry James Potter; his essence, his soul, though an echo of the original, contained everything that made the original what it was. "Like the cuttings of a rare tree, you need but grow roots to become whole once more; to become as strong as the original tree; stronger, even."
Therefore he had chosen to be planted in a new dimension; unstable as it was, new as it was, so that the roots that did grow had a more pronounced effect. A place were the soil was fertile and rich, a place where the echo of a soul could become sturdy and independent. And while this meant that he would be an eleven year-old once more, it was still a good choice to make.
He knew the risks, of course, because there were always risks, but he was nothing if not a risk-taker.
"In this unsteady world, made out of diverging choices of minor consequence, change is the only stabilizing force." He remembered this clearly, and though he didn't know what to do nor had any plan to enact, he knew that he would have to make different choices, that he would have to be a force of change, lest he loose the minor grasp that he had been given in this new world and be dissipated in the wind of reality as the sound of his own echo faded.
As small a piece as he was, he knew that he could do this, that he could make this dimension his own, and though it seemed like a difficult thing to do, the tools to do so were already in his possession. For even as an eleven year old boy, Harry Potter could influence a great many things, and with the knowledge that he held, even if he were anyone else, he would still be able to become a big enough catalyst of change to avoid being swept away in the wake of similar choices.
Similar choices that formed the reality from which he originated.
This, above all else, was what he needed to concentrate on. Making this reality his own; making this world his home. And as he made this very small vow, he could feel the changes starting; feel his body become less light, slightly more tangible to his own senses. And he remembered, "The more you change, the more it will settle. Only major, impacting differences will allow this dimension to become a reality."
And so, as his Aunt Petunia unlocked the door to the cupboard under the stairs the next morning and he stepped out into the light, small ripples were sent out of where he stepped, influencing the intangible, unstable space around him. They were small changes, his own footsteps, but they were already placed differently than they were supposed to be, and that was a change in and of itself.
But then, only a major change would allow some semblance of stability to be gained, even if he were the only one that seemed to notice the wobbly quality of the world, for his Aunt and Uncle didn't seem to see that faded look of it, or the uneven cracks created by diverging decisions. So as he sat down on the table to the horrible smell of what was supposed to be his new uniform while expertly dodging Dudley's new Smeltings stick, the first changes that he could influence were presented to him in a way that he clearly remembered.
Thus, when his Uncle Vernon said from behind his newspaper, "Get the mail, Dudley," Harry stood up and told his Uncle not to worry, that he would get the mail instead.
Already, even as he avoided his Aunt's suspicious glance, he could feel his emotions stirring from their monotonous and previously flat state; excitement started to bubble within him as he walked down the hall and toward the front door, the smoky quality of his fingertips condensing slightly at his thoughts, even as the little ripples caused by his own footsteps became slightly bigger.
When he opened the door and poked his smaller head out, he saw three things on the doormat: a postcard from Aunt Marge, the water bill, and, most importantly – A letter for him.
He didn't even glance at it, this time, or dawdle on his way back to the kitchen. He simply deposited his letter on the umbrella stand for later pickup; an umbrella sand that became remarkably solid because of this action. Because of this change. He already knew what it said; knew what it was. It was his Hogwarts letter. And already he felt more alive than he had since he had arrived within the swirling mists of Kings Cross Station after he had defeated Voldemort at Hogwarts, already he could feel his mind becoming sharper, his emotions slightly more intense.
Already he could feel something more than apathy.
Harry Potter knew at that moment, even as an echo, that he would have quite a bit to do if he wanted to survive. But then, when it came to survival, he was second to none; cockroaches fled at his mere presence even as change followed his every action.
True, he didn't have things mapped out and he didn't quite know how to pull off what he wanted, but then, he had always done better when going by the seat of his trousers. And seeing that he defeated Voldemort with this quality, some luck and the correct amount of knowledge, then how much could he change with what he already knew?
It didn't take him much to prepare after he was done with breakfast, and he didn't have that much trouble slipping out of the house after helping his Aunt Petunia clean up a bit, his Hogwarts letter securely tucked into his pocket. True, he had to take some time to leave a carefully worded letter to his Aunt, but he knew that she would do what he asked of her, if only to be rid of him for good.
And as he stepped out of Number Four, Privet Drive, it became slightly less unstable, for he didn't aim on coming back to it, and even if he was placed within it once more, he would just slip away again – to the magical world.
That was change enough to make an impact, he knew. For sometimes, even those choices and decisions that we make solely for ourselves impact the actions we take and the path that we walk. By already deciding not to step foot within Number Four again, change happened, even if it was slight.
Getting to the Leaky Cauldron would have been the tricky part though, but he soon solved that problem by sneaking into the back seat of Mr. Number Seven as he was talking to his wife. It looked like she was sick today and he had stayed a bit later to make sure that she was alright before leaving, something that Uncle Vernon would hardly do should roles be so reversed.
When the car started and drove out into the street, he only hoped that he ended up somewhere close to Charring Cross Road; though he was already sure that he would have a long walk ahead of him. He balled up silently and got himself comfortable as he thought of what to do next and how to achieve it, glad that his eleven-year-old body was more resistant to the uncomfortable position than he would have guessed.
Still, when he settled on a sketchy course of action, he felt slightly more satisfied.
An echo he might be, but already the sound of his passing had become stronger. After all, change followed in his footsteps, and the trail of it started here, in Little Whinging, Surrey, which would never be the same again.
Not without Harry Potter around.
- o -
Almost an hour later, more or less, Mr. Number Seven stopped on the south side of Hyde Park, on Kensington Road, long enough for Harry to get off unnoticed; and though it did turn out to be a long walk, it wasn't quite as long as he had thought; only some three and a half miles of walking, maybe a bit more, and in a mostly straight line, at that. True, he had to stop a couple of times to ask for directions, claiming to be on an errand from his Aunt, but he made it in time for the lunch-time rush without too much difficulty.
Slipping from the back seat of his neighbors sedan had been ridiculously easy, and he faintly wondered if hiding was an inherit wizarding ability, seeing as the opening and closing of the door was never noticed.
When he first sighted the Leaky Cauldron from the end of the street, a smile split his face even as he tried to ignore the shaky way that everything looked and felt; it was getting to the point where a headache had started to bloom behind his temples, a headache that increased as he focused on the grimy pub that held the entrance to the Wizarding World once he was close enough to make out any details.
For while everything else was only wobbly, fading or translucent, the Leaky Cauldron itself looked as if reality twisted violently around it. He had to pause half way down the street and avert his eyes, finally stopping when it became too much. If this was what it would be like in the Wizarding World, he couldn't really imagine how Hogwarts would look like to his eyes. So he scrunched them shut and willed the headache to the back of his mind, trying to think of a way to solve this unexpected problem. Hunching slightly against the wall and glancing at the entrance of the pub every few moments, as if the answer would reveal itself to him or his headache would diminish as he got used to looking at the distorted mass of reality.
None of it worked and no miraculous solution appeared before him, though.
He really didn't know why he was seeing the world like this, at that; though he understood the necessity of it, seeing how he could simply disappear should this reality break up. Being able to see the state of this universe allowed him to know the impact of his actions on it. But could he ignore the fickleness of his surroundings? Could he disregard the fragile threads that held everything together? He wouldn't even know how to ask for help, though he could only think of one person that could give it. Would he be able to even call for him? Was such a thing even possible?
So concentrated in his troubles was he, thinking of how he could effect change when he couldn't even look at the place that he needed to get into to do it, that he didn't feel the cool breeze brushing against his face until he was startled by the feeling of a hand being placed upon his head, as if ready to ruffle his hair.
The action forcibly reminded him of just how short he was and he grimaced at that.
He could see nothing around him and was going to reach to see if someone in an invisibility cloak had discovered him, when his eyes closed of their own accord and he felt them momentarily stretch and tingle. The invisible hand left his head rather abruptly while the breeze stopped blowing and he suddenly felt the need to blink his eyes wildly, an impulse that he hurriedly followed.
It all happened rather quickly too.
A moment later, he opened his eyes and gaped, even as a whisper in his ear made him jump, making him understand, "Even a strong sapling needs some assistance as it grows new roots."
Everything looked solid, normal. It didn't look as if it were a fragile bit of paper, or the translucent shade of molted snake skin, nor did it look unstable or wobbly as it did before. Blinking owlishly, he took off his glasses to rub his eyes, only to notice that everything immediately turned sharper than before. He could see perfectly! Maybe even better than perfect!
Dashing forward a bit so that he could look into the display window of a nearby store, he looked at himself; same unruly hair, same short stature and thin looks, same drawn-out features. But there was change there as well, oh yes, something was different. His eyes were different. There was a thin ring of black around his irises, and even as he blinked a few more times, he could see it expand and contract, as if it were a different kind of pupil, only that when this thin rim expanded, he could once more see the delicate quality of the reality in which he found himself in, as if he were focusing on it.
Turning around, he looked toward the wizarding pub and found that he could see it clearly this time around. With a grin back at his reflection, he arranged his bangs to cover the thin, almost impossible to see scar, which he had also notice was fainter than he ever remembered it being, said a silent, heartfelt 'thank you,' and tucked his glasses into his pocket before crossing the street and scampering into the Leaky Cauldron, his head bowed as he swiftly crossed the pub, dodging between bustling patrons and following behind some exiting wizards into Diagon Alley, where he crossed the barrier before it had a chance to close.
Never once did he look up, even as he felt several eyes on him.
He didn't want a repeat of last time, especially since he didn't have Hagrid with him to stop any mobs should things get out of hand, what with the Boy-Who-Lived gracing the lot of them with his presence. He almost scoffed at that thought, though he knew it to be true.
It was strange as he walked down the cobbled street, and he couldn't help but marvel at how lively everything was, so different from those last few years when Voldemort started rising in power.
The street was filled with milling wizards and witches, merchants and any manner of different creatures. They were buying and selling, bartering over this potion ingredient or this weird little trinket. Magical folk, dressed in a vast array of colors, were happily gossiping over at the Daily Prophet stand, and he had to shake his head to dispel some of the marvel he felt at the sight, his emotions thrumming lowly within him, becoming more acute as he experienced everything around him.
It reminded him that he hadn't been to the Alley all that often, and apart from that time before his third year, he had never had a chance to fully explore the place when it was so active, so normal; for while he had spent a week wondering the Alley during that time, on the summer before his third year, the cloud of Sirius Black's escape had hanged dangerously above the wizarding population. Not to mention that at the time he was just grateful to be away from the Dursley's and slightly overwhelmed by the miniscule amount of freedom that he had at his disposal to truly take advantage of the opportunity. He was too young, too naïve, to take any kind of advantage of the freedom he was granted. This time, however, he would make sure to spoil himself a little, and explore some of those nooks and crannies that he had not looked at before.
When he reached his first stop he was bowed into Gringotts by the guards that stood in front of the silver doors and he made his way towards an empty teller while looking around the bank to see if anyone was paying him too much attention. Luckily, he only got a few odd looks, even as some older witches frowned slightly at seeing him without any adults. His purposeful stride, however, seemed to deter the more nosy ones from approaching him. He withheld a sigh at that. Being so young was both a blessing and a curse.
Still, this was the tricky part of his current plan-of-action. He needed access to his vault, yet he did not have the key to it and he didn't know how the Goblins would react to that. Hopefully, there would be a way to get at least a copy of his key, and maybe a bit of help from the Goblins, even if it was at a price. One thing was sure, once he knew how much he had to work with he would be able to figure out what to do next.
"Excuse me," he piped up once he reached a teller, and damn, but was he small! He had to bend his neck harshly to actually see the top of the goblins head. The teller, a sneer firmly planted on his ugly pointed mug, leaned forward from his lofty place and looked down at him.
Harry had to stop himself from glaring. His last experiences with the greedy creatures hadn't been all that pleasant. Still, after a long drawn out look from the pointy faced goblin, where Harry could swear the sneer had only deepened, the teller finally spoke up, "How can I help you, sir?" By the look on the bankers face, he probably thought that he would be a waste of valuable time.
"I would like to access my trust account," he told the teller firmly in his young voice, cursing at the fact that he would have to go through puberty again, but didn't fail to notice how the goblin became somewhat interested and presented a more pleasant face after his statement.
"And what is your name, sir?"
"Harry Potter," he whispered, so only the goblin would hear, and looked around slightly just to make sure that he wasn't overheard.
A raised eyebrow was the only response that he got, "And do you have your key, sir?"
"No, my muggle relatives simply told me that I would be able to access a Trust left to me by my parents, I didn't know that you needed a key," he lied through his teeth, frowning slightly as if in thought, before looking at the goblin once again, eyes wide, "is there any way that I might be able to access the account without it?"
He was surprised when the goblin simply told him to wait a few moments before he rummaged around with some papers and, upon finding what he was looking for, promptly handed Harry a roll of parchment and a black quill; a quill with a very sharp point; A quill that he would recognize anywhere. "Simply sign your complete name on the dotted line, sir," was the given direction.
Almost grumbling at the lack of explanation, but thankfully knowing what the quill was, he quickly unrolled the parchment and read it carefully, taking his time with it, which the goblin, surprisingly, didn't seem to mind, and thankfully found nothing wrong with the document, or really, any clauses that would make him loose all his gold, or ask for his firstborn son, or something of that sort. All in all, it was quite clear cut, seeing that it was only for the requisition of a new vault key or keys, should he have access to any of the vaults at Gringotts. Sighing and bracing himself, he used the wall as support as he signed.
Harry James Potter
It didn't take long for the flowing signature; much tidier than anything anyone would expect an eleven year old to produce, to etch itself out of his blood. A moment later, the document seemed to stiffen and stretch in his hand before it began folding into itself until he was holding a small golden key, surprise etched across his face. It didn't hurt quite as much as Umbridge's quill did as well, and he only felt a small twinge on his hand, so he suspected that the Undersecretary might have done something to make her own quill more, well, memorable.
It certainly fit her profile, that's for sure.
All in all, the whole process was unexpectedly anticlimactic, but still quite nifty. Seeing that the last time he visited this bank he had to fight his way out on the back of a security dragon, well, it was not really hard to suspect something a bit more flashy, is it?
Still, he was happy to have his key back with no complications, and patted himself on the back on a plan well executed, even if he now had to figure out what to do from here, and soon.
When the goblin extended his long fingered hand, Harry placed both the quill in it, and after an extra gesture, the key as well. The teller looked at it closely before peering over at Harry and handing over the key, "Everything seems to be in order, sir," he nodded, "Nagnok will take you down to your vault," he finished, gesturing toward a rather tall goblin that was working nearby.
"Thank you, sir," Harry said before turning toward his appointed guide.
Nagnok was merely half a head shorter than him, and rather thin, with the characteristic long fingers and feet and a pointed nose and chin, made more predominant still by his long pointed beard. If Harry had to guess, he would say that this goblin wasn't particularly young, either.
When they reached the narrow stone passageway that led to the vaults, Nagnok whistled for a cart, which came rattling up not a moment later. They climbed in and plunged through the underground labyrinth of vaults, going deeper and deeper into the tunnels. When they stopped, they both hopped out of the cart and Nagnok, with his key in hand, opened the door. The same green smoke as last time came out of the vault and the same mounds of gold, silver and bronze greeted him as he entered.
However, this time he knew that this was only a third of what his parents had left him, and that most of it would be needed for his tuition at Hogwarts. Taking a small pouch that Nagnok handed to him, he piled what he thought he would need for the next few days before making his way out, knowing that he would need to come and see how much he truly had at his disposal for the time being.
With a nod at the silent goblin, he quickly returned to the surface and out of the bank, looking around to see where he should head next. If anything, he needed a way to remain unnoticed, so with that in mind he headed over to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.
There he bought a new outfit; simple black slacks, socks and shoes, green shirt and robe, some rather spiffy boxers with emerald snitches flying around and a pointed hat. Paying for these and changing inside the shop while dodging around a few questions and avoiding having his scar spotted, he finally placed the hat securely over his forehead and walked out after telling the seamstress that he would come back later for his school robes, which seemed to appease her slightly.
Without his glasses and the hat covering his mop of hair, he wouldn't really be recognized at first or even second glance, unless someone was looking for him. Or at least that's what he hoped. After all, there were no pictures of him circulating at the moment and only a handful of people could probably pick him out on sight, and even then with some difficulty.
He stopped by the post office next and after opening his Hogwarts letter, quickly dashed a reply to it, something that he had kept firmly in mind, and assured McGonagall, who he had addressed it to, that he accepted the invitation and assured her that he would not miss the train. Indeed, he worded the note in such a way that it belied some of his knowledge of the Magical World, giving the impression that he was at least partially informed. After all, he couldn't risk a new letter being addressed to him, especially as he planned on staying a few nights in the Leaky Cauldron. The Head of Gryffindor's interest would surely be peaked should the next letter be addressed there.
As it was, he had told his Aunt Petunia about Mrs. Figg in the letter he left her, making sure that he had that base covered at the very least. His Aunt, however much it might upset her that he had left without anything more than a short letter, would never make it so that he was forced to go back into her well-to-do home. If anything, he was sure that she had already told the old squib some lie about where he was, probably hinting enough for the elderly cat lover to think that he was getting ready to go to Hogwarts.
Should anyone find out just who he was, his visit and stay in the Alley would probably match what his Aunt spouted, he hoped.
After he was done with that, having seen the owl with his letter departing, it didn't take long for him to stop by the pub, where he had some lunch and was able to set aside a room for a couple of nights, explaining to Tom that his relatives, being muggles, were nervous around wizards; which was true enough. He explained that he was to take his time buying his supplies and that they would pick him up next Friday afternoon, probably after lunch, giving him two full days to do his shopping.
This had soothed the barkeep's worries and he soon had a key to a room, and an understanding ear should he need to ask any questions, though he knew that the well intended wizard would still keep an eye out for him and his safety.
His tummy pleasantly filled and the beginnings of a true plan finally forming in his head, Harry set out to buy his school supplies next. He got a rather cool school trunk for himself, knowing that he would need the space soon enough; it was made of light mahogany with bronze fastenings, but its most interesting feature was that it was made with a boarding school in mind, though it was the high end of that particular collection. The trunk was vertical in shape, with three compartments, one in each of its sides, and then the back which would then be placed against the foot of a bed or the wall, or used if the trunk ever needed to be laid down.
From the left side of the trunk a long chest of drawers expanded, giving him a place for his clothes and miscellaneous items as well as a good surface to place any amount of nick-knacks. The sales-witch even included a perch for his owl, complete with a spill tray underneath it, which pops up from the top when the chest of drawers is unfolding itself, which he had been delighted with since he was planning on buying Hedwig first thing in the morning. The front compartment was only slightly larger on the inside than the outside, with two cabinet-like doors. It was specifically made to store Potions equipment and ingredients, along with a few other things, like his telescope, vials and other materials or items that are requested in later years. Lastly, the compartment on the right side was a simple bookshelf that slid out smoothly, which was quite useful, since he remembered that the shelves in the dorm rooms weren't exactly spacious. Not to mention that his dorm-mates had had a bad habit of borrowing books without asking sometimes; which was more than a bit annoying when you needed them.
If he were to open both the chest of drawers and the bookshelves, the trunk was somewhat longer than the foot of a Hogwarts bed, but with the drawers shuffling each other, shrinking or moving out of the way depending on which you wanted to open, it was easy to shrink that to fit so that it wasn't in the way (1). The books within the bookshelf compartment almost looked as if they were in a conveyor belt, since they rotated within their shelves. Like he said, it was dead useful.
Especially since most of the time he had simply piled his books on the floor or under his bed, something that he wanted to avoid this time around; he had tripped over them one too many times when waking up, he remembered. All in all, while it was vaguely shaped like a trunk, it was anything but, though he remembered that Remus had one like it that opened down the middle and turned into a shelving unit that held quite a few more books than it should.
Following this rather pricey purchase, but not regretting it in the slightest, Harry made short work of his school list, getting his cauldron, scales and potion ingredients, along with stationary, quills and other necessities; though he splurged a little in emerald green ink and a couple of empty journals. He even bought a small nest of enchanted tooth-fairies, which were bright, diminutive little objects that thoroughly brushed and cleaned your teeth without you having to lift a finger, or so the sales-witch had told him. Then he continued with his school robes and a few extra pairs of clothes for everyday wear, protective gloves and winter apparel, along with comfy pajamas. He knew that he would start growing fast, so he didn't buy too many outfits, though at the same time he made sure that he would not find himself wanting or that he would grow out of the few things he did buy for the next year at least; extra fabric along the hems and charms to release it ensured as much, among other things.
He took his time in the bookstore, though, and surprised the clerk by buying the texts for all seven years at Hogwarts, along with a few extra reference books that he remembered were particularly useful, not to mention a book on Occlumency, one on Animagi and, on a whim, one of Musical Magic. He had noticed the small Magical Instruments shop besides the Owl Emporium and thought that it would be interesting to teach himself how to play something to keep himself entertained. After all, he was sure to have a lot of free time on his hands, this time around.
Finally, at the end of the day, he decided to brave Ollivander's, knowing that the old man would probably recognize him on sight, but still needing his wand, if only for the comfort it provided, since he wouldn't be able to use it until he reached the school. He just hoped that the old wand maker wouldn't tell too many people that he had stopped by his shop; he would be sure to ask him to at least keep his visit quiet until he was out of the Alley, if nothing else. He didn't want to think what would happen if anyone spotted him, but it was one of those risks that needed to be taken.
After all, what's a wizard without a wand?
Making his way into the dusty wand shop, he rallied together to keep his wits about him, even as he was measured and assessed by the canny old wizard. Whatever the case, it actually took quite a lot less for Ollivander to find his holly wand, and even though the comments he made about the wand were almost exactly the same, Harry managed to catch the wizened wizards mutters about his magic being 'unusually mature.'
Of the whole ordeal, this specific comment stuck within his mind all the way during super and later on as he was sorting out his purchases and packing them in his new trunk, and even later still as he prepared himself for bed and the upcoming day.
For if his magic was truly 'mature,' would he be able to use it without it being tracked? Or was the Trace placed upon his body? It was something that he would have to look into, and quick. It would solve too many problems not to consider at least trying.
- o -
It was before dawn when he woke up next, and this time it was a normal awakening. He luxuriated in the feeling of the comfy bed and stretched languidly in it before sitting up, knowing that he had a great many things to do and not that much time to do them.
A sense of adventure crept up on him and he felt his emotions respond to it; could feel his own eagerness at what awaited him. And having felt so apathetic before, these feelings were heartily welcomed; truly, he felt very much like the kid that he looked like, somewhat young in the face of the emotions that he was feeling. He felt more alive by the minute, his body moving comfortably even as the weight of reality began to rest lightly on his shoulders. He even risked changing his sight, the slim ring of black around his irises expanding, making his green eyes stand out even more, and focused on the state of this unstable world. He was astonished to see that all of his new possessions were almost completely solid, though everything else was still smoky, translucent and opaque.
He was quite happy to note that he, himself, wasn't as wobbly as the rest of his surroundings. But then, he had not really done much that would affect anyone but himself, and there he found the crux of the problem. If this reality were ever to become stable, others beside himself would need to be forced into making different decisions, into breaking away from being echoes themselves. For that is what this world, this reality was, an echo. Parallel Realities could only be formed by an amalgamation of different choices; and choices that influence more than one person, at that. It might not even take that much to get the ball rolling; just a few things that would stir the wizarding world into some sort of action. A slight nudging first before he truly poked the theoretical bee's hive.
Change, after all, could inevitable affect him as well, and he wanted to have a very long and sturdy stick before he went poking about and starting up trouble. What he should do, he wasn't sure, but he knew that sooner or later something would have to be done, so he resolved to start with small nudges that would not affect him directly, but still cause enough of a stir for change to start.
Suddenly, he knew just the thing to do, his face settling into determined lines.
Hopping out of the bed, he rummaged around for a change of clothes and his toiletries and started his day with a hot shower; having particular fun when he released the tiny tooth-fairies to do their work. He pushed all other thoughts out of his mind, though, and concentrated on what he needed to do today; feeling rather accomplished with what he had pulled thus far, but still aware that he wasn't out of the woods just yet.
It was still a probability that he'd be discovered, but as things stood, it was a somewhat distant one.
Grabbing one of his new self-inking quills and a small journal and putting them into his new satchel, he headed downstairs where an almost empty pub greeted him. Tom was behind the bar, probably getting ready for the day, so he made his way over the kindly wizard. "Good morning, Tom," he greeted cheerfully.
"G'mornin,' young master," the barkeep returned with a toothless grin, "and what might ye' be doin' up so early?" he asked.
"Ah, well," Harry started sheepishly as he settled into one of the stools, "I was a bit too excited about exploring the rest of the Alley to sleep anymore, so I decided to get started now that I was already up."
"I see," the older wizard nodded with a knowing glint in his eyes, "well, how about a spot of breakfast then?"
Harry simply nodded, asking for a full English breakfast, glad that Tom hadn't really asked his name, even after he signed the Inn's Register with an X. He kind of suspected that Tom already knew who he was, and if that was the case, he was even more thankful that the man seemed to be keeping his presence a secret. Then again, Tom could just as easily be buying into his story; that of him being a wizard that was being raised by muggles, with relatives that weren't exactly keen of being around magical folk, and who had a bit more freedom because of this than any eleven year old rightly should. Even if that eleven year old was a 'good lad.'
A glass of juice was swiftly placed in front of him, pulling him from his thoughts, followed by a heaping plate of food, which he eagerly tucked into, devouring it in record time, much to the barkeep's amusement. So it was with a full stomach, a charming grin and the help of a passing elderly witch that he made his way into Diagon Alley once more, his breakfast placed on his tab. He would have used his own wand, but the temptation to use it was already too great, especially when he could get a warning for underage magic.
He wanted to avoid those as much as possible, this time around.
Watching around, he found the view distinctly different, what with half the shops still closed, while most were just opening as the first rays of sunshine peeked out of the tallest buildings. Already knowing what he needed, he headed straight toward Gringotts once again; greeting the goblins in the entrance.
Sidling up to the first empty teller, he waited to be acknowledged, which didn't take quite as long as last time, "How can I help you, sir?"
"I would like to make a lengthy visit to my trust vault, sir," Harry piped up, as he presented the goblin with his key, "I want to know how much I have available so that I might make a budget for the next six years of my schooling."
Looking impressed, the old looking goblin examined the key carefully before peering back at him as he handed it back, "I see. Everything seems to be in order. I will have one of our assessors, Gornuk, accompany you to your vault; he should be able to help you in this endeavor."
More than pleased, Harry nodded, "Thank you, sir."
When his guide approached, he quickly recognizing the goblin as the one that had fled with Griphook, and he had to swiftly hide his surprise before it was spotted.
With a deep, "Follow me," the short goblin escorted him to his vault, though Harry swore that they took a whole different route to reach it this time. When the door was opened and they found themselves inside of the vault proper, the assessor turned towards him, "and how might I help you today, Mr. Potter?"
Plopping down on the stone floor, Harry pulled his satchel forward and took out his small journal and quill, "Well, I would like to know how much money I have and make a budget for the next six years. If I understand things right, I'll get the rest of what my parents left me when I turn seventeen, so I would have to reevaluate things after that. Still, what I have now is pretty much it, so I don't want to waste it."
Nodding in understanding, and looking somewhat impressed at this level of forethought, probably because he was, for all intents and purposes, still an eleven year old, the goblin gestured towards the journal, "And you wish to record this within that journal so that you might keep an account of your assets, correct?"
"Yes, sir," he nodded.
"Very well," he held out a long-fingered hand and Harry passed him the journal, intrigued when the goblin did a sort of wiggling gesture at the top of the small blank book before he pointed at the stack of coins. Immediately, the Galleons, Sickles and Knut's began to stack themselves in an orderly fashion, looking as if they were being counted. When everything settled, Gornuk handed him back the journal and Harry was surprised to find a series of systematic diagrams for the distribution of funds, deposits, withdrawals and the like.
And best of all, a detailed accounting of what he already had.
In no time, and finishing quicker that he had ever expected, the two set to work, separating the gold within his vault into different piles, even as he made annotations of the amounts, their intended uses and so on, on his journal. He quickly took out the gold that would pay for his tuition at Hogwarts, which was then placed in six orderly piles against the wall of the vault. A small allowance was left beside these as well, enough for Harry to buy his school supplies, books, clothes and other necessities each year. If he should somehow spend everything else, this assured him that school would at least be taken care of until the rest of his inheritance was available to him.
Still, this consumed more than half of his current assets, if not a bit more, without counting what he had already spent, that is, and what he still had in his money pouch for the purchases that he still had to make. After double checking his journal and jotting down how much he had left for each year, he noticed that all in all, his 'Hogwarts Gold' took about sixty percent of his funds. Of the remaining forty percent of his money, Harry put apart another ten percent; this time as a safety net should he need the gold because of unforeseen circumstances. The remaining thirty percent, well, Harry had plans for it, even if it wasn't all that much.
Turning toward Gornuk when they were done, he crossed his fingers and asked, "Excuse me, sir, would Gringotts be able to refer me to a good investor that works in both the magical and non-magical worlds? I would like to invest some of this," he gestured toward the biggest mound of coins, "and see if I can make a profit. That is, if it would be possible for me to hire an investor at all, what with being underage and everything."
Without even batting an eye, Gornuk simply nodded, "Of course, Mr. Potter. We could even establish an investment account within the muggle world, if you wish it. Age isn't really a concern for us, especially since this money was left to you to do as you willed with it."
Almost beaming at this news, Harry and Gornuk quickly ironed out the details, with Harry making a beginning deposit of half of his remaining gold, or fifteen percent of his small fortune, into a muggle investment account. A meeting with an investor was arranged for the next morning where they would go over the details, contracts and the like, with Gornuk helping Harry out for a small fee, which they had quickly agreed on.
Finally, after all his business with the bank was complete for the day, Harry set out to take care of the rest of his list, replenishing his money bag with the gold that he had set apart for his first year to buy a few more things and still have more than sufficient funds for the rest of the year, even as he took the rest of his summer into account.
He headed toward the Magical Instrument shop first, wanting to look around a bit, but found his attention attracted by the shop next to it instead, even as an idea flitted into his head. It was a small wizarding hairdressing shop, tucked cozily in between the Instrument store and a big blank building that seemed to house furniture and the like.
Poking his head curiously in, bells chiming with that action, Harry was quickly pulled in by a chipper middle-aged witch, "Come in, child, come in," she said, leading him into a seat and serving him some tea from a steaming kettle faster than he thought possible, "Now, what can I do for you, dear? Do you need a trim?" she asked, removing his pointy hat without his notice and tsk-ed at his hair as she ran her hands over it before he had a chance to blink, "Well, this does seem to need quite some work, doesn't it?" she asked, more to herself than to Harry, he finally noticed, "We could probably cut it a bit shorter so that it will at least stick up evenly, or maybe we could lengthen it to weigh it down," she clucked, moving his head every which way, humming, even as he tried to interrupt her. After all, his head wasn't an eight-ball damn it! "I have some potions that might do the trick as well, so what do you think, sweetheart?" she finally finished, directing her somewhat flighty attention from his hair to his face as he looked into one of the mirrors thoughtfully, intrigued by what she had said.
One of Harry's most difficult times at Hogwarts had been in Potions Class, what with Professor Snape's open dislike of his father. Seeing that he had looked like a miniature version of James Potter, the professor hadn't even given him a chance, immediately picking on him from the first day onwards. However, what if he didn't look exactly like his father at first glance? Would that give the greasy bat enough pause to at least hate him on his own merits and not those of James Potter? Looking at his reflection; his lack of glasses and his brilliant green eyes, he nodded, both to himself and the hairdresser. If it would give him at least a chance of Snape being civil, then he would try it.
"Could I have my hair lengthened, and maybe some subtle highlights placed on it?" he asked.
"Of course, pumpkin," the witch told him, clapping her hands before taking him (more like dragging) to one of the old-fashioned barber chairs that seemed to have mirrors floating about it on all sides, along with a few shelves of potions, salves and other goopy things. She sat him down and drew her wand, waving it toward the shelves and summoning a small vial of a periwinkle blue potion; a dose of hair-growing solution, "Now, my name is Elladora, sweetie, but you can call me Auntie if you want, everyone does," vial in hand, she quickly waved her wand over his hair, washing it with some unknown spell, which took a few minutes, before handing him the potion, "now drink this. It will make your hair grow. After that, we can see what length you want to leave it at and what kind of highlights you might want. We have some that come in patterns, or even glow in the dark; those are quite popular with the kids these days."
Somewhat amused by the chatty witch by now, Harry simply nodded and gulped the concoction down, startled when his hair started growing immediately and extremely fast, reaching the floor in mere moments.
He looked like cousin It, really.
But then, it was just a matter of cutting it to shoulder length at the back so he could tie it in a short tail while leaving his bangs to fall in longer strands across his face, neatly covering his scar. He was sure that Ella, as the ditzy witch wanted him to call her next, had already noticed his scar, but she had shown no reaction to it, not that his forehead was completely visible, mind.
After that, the red highlights were added by a combination of potions, and as he looked in the mirror, green, wide eyes staring back at him, longish hair falling across his thin face and a few auburn highlights that shifted around his head so that they could only be seen under a certain light; specifically that of firelight, which was predominant in Hogwarts, he saw more of his mother in his appearance than ever before. So much so, that someone would have to look pretty far to match him with his father at all.
The fact that his hair was behaving at all was also a small miracle.
Knowing just what Snape's Patronus was, as well as his history, well, he hoped that he would see Lily instead of James. He could not really predict the man's reaction but he hoped that it would be a favorable one, or at least better than outright disdain. If not, he bought a counter-potion for the highlights, just in case.
Waving goodbye at the hairdresser, and beginning to have an inkling as to why no one seemed to recognize him as Harry Potter, he slipped into the shop next door and started looking around at all the gleaming magical instruments. It took him quite awhile to browse everything and even then, when the shopkeeper, an elegant wizard named Timothy, had come to offer his help, he had been drawn into a short lesson about each of the major types of instruments and their magic. Not only because some specific instruments were enchanted to procure certain effects, such as call for rain, or making certain plants grow, or even expelling certain pests when a particular song was played, but because, as the keeper explained, there was a very subtle type of magic in music, and many of the strongest enchantments could be weaved with its help.
With his interest peeked more than he thought possible, he soon learned quite a bit about this kind of magic, and bought his very own instrument; A Magical Flute. He was told that it was a good instrument to start with, seeing that it was one of the oldest ones known in the world. Not only that, but the fact that it was fairly easy to learn made it that much better; especially with the half a dozen books that helped teach you how to use it added into the mix. Purchasing a book on how to read and write music, as well as a few very simple enchanting scores, Harry felt confident enough on learning his new instrument, or at least starting to learn it.
The flute itself wasn't enchanted for a specific purpose, but it was magical in the way that it allowed to user to both channel magic through it and switch the type of flute being used; for there were a great many types of flutes out there. It could change from a simple tin whistle to a recorder, or a concert flute; from a straight flute to a side-blown flute, which provided the flautist with every variety of the instrument to play. There was even what the shopkeeper called a blank-flute within the enchantments, that would slowly transform as the flute player developed and more magic was channeled into the instrument; this particular flute would grow to match the musical enchanter as if it had been custom made for him or her.
It was not too costly either, which surprised him, but he was told that while very beautiful and a good starting magical instrument, the enchantments that could be weaved with a flute were not that powerful, but more subtle and detailed specific. Most of the shopkeeper's income, he was told, came from the bigger, more resonating instruments, and though they lacked the delicacy of the flute, many of the greatest and most powerful enchantments were done with these, such as some of the protections of Hogwarts.
Still, he was happy with his purchase and couldn't wait to start learning how to play it, and maybe even try that small enchantment that created illusionary animals; a good basic piece of musical magic, Timothy told him, to start with. The best part, though, was that he could practice it during the summer, which was sure to keep him occupied. It seemed that the simple practice enchantments were so subtle that they went undetected by the Ministry, though you still had to be careful around muggles.
The possibilities of this kept his mind more than slightly occupied, since it would allow him to learn it during the summer, thus keeping him at least entertained.
Heading toward the Leaky Cauldron for lunch, he asked Tom for a Floo directory and settled down into a small booth to wait for his meal. He put down the case with his new flute and his satchel and began browsing the thick tomb; after all, he would need to leave tomorrow and he had to prepare for it.
If he stayed any longer than what he was already staying, people would start getting suspicious and he really didn't want that or his fake story to be double checked, at that. However, it was not until he was more than halfway into the directory, his lunch already finished and his stomach pleasantly full, that he found it. It was a small Inn located on the edge of Wimborne Minster; a small town on the southern coast of England and the home of the Wimborne Wasps Quidditch team.
He quickly jotted down both the Floo address and the real address on the back of his small journal, and headed to his room to drop off his flute and promptly head out once more. This time in the direction of the post office, where he dashed a quick letter in the name of his supposed guardians, asking the old wizarding couple that ran the small Inn if they would be able to take Harry in until he left for Hogwarts or until their 'family emergency' was resolved. Either way, he quickly arranged for a postbox as well, this time in the name of his guardians, just to be safe.
However, after all of this was done and with the postbox created, a thought occurred to him, especially after he found out that the post office could send mail received during a certain period and forward it through the muggle mail, something that helped immensely when muggleborns or their parents didn't want owls swooping around their house. Now that he had made a box in the name of the Dursley's and himself he wrote another letter to Hogwarts, asking for his ticket to the Hogwarts Express, since it hadn't come with his letter and he knew that he needed it for the first time he crossed the barrier entrance of platform Nine and Three Quarters.
Should McGonagall or anyone in the magical world send mail to either the Dursley's or him, it would be redirected to the postbox and forwarded to them by muggle means without a change of address to the letters. Or at least, that was what was supposed to happen. Harry had instead asked for the procedure to be bypassed and the mail sent his way, so that 'there weren't any dangerous things sent to his relatives through magical post,' which the young clerk quickly believed.
Of course, he would need to update where he could be found every time he moved around, but that was something he was willing to deal with.
It gave him a foolproof way to avoid being found out outside of the Dursley's care though owl-post, that's for sure, though there were a few drawbacks as well, though those were negligible in comparison.
When the letters were sent and everything else was arranged, he headed out, this time headed towards Doohickey's and Thingamabobs, a rather cozy shop that hosted all kinds of different wizarding gadgets and gizmos. There were anything from enchanted mirrors to magical socks, or even foe glasses and the like.
A wizened old wizard, stooped with age, with a bald crown and strange orange but lively eyes greeted him after a few moments, "Good afternoon, laddie, is there anything that I can help you with?"
Shaking his head Harry greeted the old man as well, "Good afternoon, sir. I just want to look around, if that's alright? It looked like there were a lot of interesting things in here."
Chuckling, the old wizard nodded, "Aye, lad, that there are. And no, I don't mind, feel free to look around and give me a call if you need me, ey? Me names Albert Grey, at yer service."
"Thank you, sir," he said, a grin blooming in his face at being able to explore the interesting shop without problems, even Timothy at the Instrument store hadn't let him touch any of them, and then, he would only let him see them while he was hanging over his shoulder, maybe so he wouldn't breathe too close to them.
He had a blast tinkering with everything and Mr. Grey even showed him how to work anything that he couldn't make heads or tails out of. There were Omnioculars, Two-way Mirrors, Sneakoscopes and he even spotted a few kinds of Remembralls as well; some of which actually told you what you've forgotten.
He was highly amused to find that one of the Headmasters twirling trinkets was solely made with the purpose of informing a wizard of different candies, sweets and desserts that he or she would enjoy. Others, like one that puffed little clouds of smoke, was actually used to tell the temperature of a room by the color and frequency of the smoke; if one were knowledgeable enough to interpret the things, Mr. Grey told him that you might even get an idea of the coming weather up to one month in advanced.
He spent hours in the little shop with no one else coming in for quite awhile.
As he was perusing the different kinds of watches, however, the bell at the entrance ringed, admitting a boy not much older than he looked to be, "Oi! Mr. G, where are ya?"
"I'm by the counter, brat, same as every other time," Mr. Grey said from his place, which was in plain view of the door.
"Right, sorry," the boy said, not looking sorry at all. And as he shut the door behind him and entered the shop, Harry felt a small amount of recognition; if he was right, this was one of his year mates, a future Ravenclaw, at that. But for the life of him he couldn't put a name to him.
He had straight, chestnut colored hair and a wiry build, but not stringy, like that Slytherin kid, Nott. His face was set into an impish expression as he made his way to the counter, handing old Mr. Grey a small envelope, "And what's this, lad?"
"Ma sent you that, Mr. G. If she wasn't lying to me, it says that you have to take me shopping for my school supplies, 'coz she's busy today and I just got my letter, and I've been driving her batty because of it," came the fast, rambling reply as the boy got more and more wound up.
"Fine, fine, but I have a costumer right now, as you can see," Harry was pointed out, even as a wand appeared on the old man's hand and the sign on the door turned from 'Open' to 'Closed,' with the blinds shuttered down.
"Really, where?" the boy looked around, spotting him after a moment, "oh."
Taking the two watches that he had found over to the counter, he handed them to Mr. Grey, "Hi," he greeted the other boy, noticing the same orange eyes than those of the shopkeeper, though they were darker than the older man, maybe they were related? Turning toward the wizened wizard, he spoke up, uncertain, "Sorry if I'm interrupting, sir, I can come again later of you're going to be busy."
Waving his hand, the mad dismissed his words, "Don't worry, Lad, Kevin here can sit for a little while you finish."
"Yeah," Kevin said, not put down at all by having to wait, "I don't mind, that is, if you let me play around with the flying marbles for a bit," his tone of voice was both excited and pleading, as if this was not something that he got to do very often, though it made the possibility of the two being somewhat related more plausible.
Scratching his head, Mr. Grey seemed to think about it before nodding, "I don't see how'd that be a problem. That is, if our costumer doesn't mind?"'
"Oh! You won't mind, will you?" Kevin asked him, talking to him as if they had know each other for years, "I don't usually get to use them, since most costumers get annoyed by them, but you won't mind, right?"
Slightly bemused, Harry only shook his head, and just like that the other boy had dashed behind the counter to pull out a shuddering velvet bag. Looking over toward the boys grandfather, or so he assumed, he saw the old man shoot him a wait-and-see look, a patient expression on his face. However, it wasn't long before multiple colored marbles of all sizes starting zooming around the room, amazingly not crashing into anything. Kevin, an eager look on his face, took out a silver marble that had stayed in the pouch before placing the small bag on the floor, taking aim and flicking the silver marble out, which almost hit one of the bigger marbles that was flying close.
After failing, the silver marble swerved and landed on Kevin's outstretched hand, where he was sitting cross-legged on the floor; he noticed that all the marbles stayed in front of him, which probably had to do with the velvet bag and its placement.
"The object of the game is to hit the marbles in a pattern," Mr. Grey explained, "and once the pattern is complete, those marbles will fall and roll back into the pouch. The thing is you need to figure out the pattern first since it changes every time you open the pouch. If you hit a marble out of the pattern they do one of three things, they either divide into smaller marbles, fly faster or purposely start attacking the other marbles, which in itself makes the marbles react in different ways," he chuckled as Kevin flicked the silver one deftly and it caught a blue and yellow pinstriped marble, making it fall to the floor, "if you fail hitting one of the marbles in the pattern after you've hit a few, the marbles on the floor merge together to form different marbles before flying off again."
"Wow, that sounds complicated," he remarked, amazed when Kevin hit a small solid blue marble next.
"Nah, you get the hang of it pretty quickly, but there are ways of making it either easier or more difficult, and the more people that play and the more marbles in the game, the more fun it is," but didn't say anything more on the matter as he drew Harry's attention toward the counter, "Now, I see that you found a couple of watches," he commented, and soon drew Harry into an explanation of them and the enchantments they had. It took a few minutes, but he finally decided on getting the wristwatch that he could program his class schedule into, though he figured that he could program any schedule into it, and not just the schools. As it was, it not only told time, but it helped manage it as well, which was a pretty clever thing, in his opinion. It also had the usual water resistant and unbreakable charms on it as well.
Before paying for it, though, he got one final item that had caught his attention during his rounds around the shop, dodging around the flying marbles, even if they swerved out of his way anyways. It was a small black bowl with odd runes carved into the edges and sides. He figured that it would fit into an adult's hand, given its size, though as things stood he needed both hands to hold it. It was a bit on the heavy side, after all.
Mr. Grey told him that it was a Pensift, the little brother of the Pensieve. It was not made to store memories, like its big brother, but only to view them, and even then, it only allowed one memory to be viewed at a time; though it didn't matter how long it was as long as it was a single strand of memory. It didn't take too much more for him to purchase it as well, knowing that he would be able to find a use for it, especially with some of the plans he had in mind.
Though he had to give the shopkeeper the excuse that it would be the perfect gift for his godfather to actually explain this purchase; after all, why would an eleven year old want to review memories?
Waving goodbye at Kevin and Mr. Grey he stopped quickly at the post office, where he picked up a response for his letter to the small Inn, putting it in his pocket for now and heading toward his final stop on his list, The Owl Emporium.
It took him some twenty minutes, along with a lot of arguing with the attendant for Hedwig to be unearthed from a corner of the shop. She was slightly smaller than he remembered her being, but her amber eyes looked just as intelligent as ever. The grin never left his face even at the grumbling attendant's attitude as supplies and owl treats were added to the tally; after all, it was not his fault that the idiot couldn't tell the difference between a female snowy and a male, or that he had wanted a purely white snowy at that, and not the big cranky spotted snowy that the idiotic clerk wanted to sell him.
Still, he was too stubborn to be swayed, and stood his ground until he had his old friend back, finding something wrong with all other owls until he found her.
He went back to his room with a grin still on his face, chattering to Hedwig all the way, who seemed to preen at the attention he gave her. Tom was particularly amused when he crossed the pub and Harry waved at him, making Hedwig turn toward the kindly wizard as well while shaking her right wing in the barkeeps direction, as if she were waving like her new master had.
His grin only became bigger when he opened the letter back in his room, having situated Hedwig on her new perch, and found out that 'of course the poor dear can stay here, we will be sure to take care of him,' along with other assurances and arrangements for his stay. He would have to write a letter back, true, but for now, he was just happy talking with his old friend again, even if she wasn't the same as in his memories.
Had he looked at himself though his alternate sight, he would not have seen a trace of the echo that he was, but a solid, stable eleven year old boy; Even if said boy, with his young body, did have a somewhat older soul.
To be continued…