Encounter with the Devil in the Toyshop
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
A huge thanks to JB5391 for her absolute brilliant beta-ing!
It was the day before Christmas Eve, and eight-year-old Harry grudgingly followed his aunt and cousin into the huge toyshop, knowing that he wouldn't receive a single thing anyway. Too many years of not getting a present from Father Christmas had destroyed all hope and enthusiasm for presents. He sadly stood in one of the corridors, letting his chin sink down to his chest, while Dudley dragged his mother through the whole shop to show her hundreds of toys he expected her to tell Father Christmas about, because he wanted them all.
Suddenly, a tall, thin man, who was completely dressed in black, stood in front of Harry, just a few metres away. Sensing his presence, Harry slowly raised his eyes, looking at the man, who wore a blank expression as though he was wearing a mask. 'He looks like the Devil that was in the picture the teacher showed us last week,' he mused. 'If Father Christmas thinks so badly of me, maybe the Devil will like me,' he thought, stepping nearer to the black man.
"Hello, I'm Harry," he said in a small voice. "Are you the Devil?"
"No Harry," the man replied in a silky baritone, with the tiniest hint of amusement in his voice, "but for the moment it'll suffice if you think of me as the Devil. I know you, and you'll be going to know me in a few years' time. Until then, I'm not allowed to speak with you. Wait a moment."
'He has a very nice, soft voice,' Harry realised to his surprise and anxiously watched how the man waved his hand, producing a soft-looking stuffed green dragon out of thin air. The man waved his hand at the dragon three times, before he handed it to Harry. "That's for you. Take good care of him," he said gently, before he turned on his heels and vanished from Harry's sight.
Harry happily cuddled the dragon close, only to hurriedly hide it behind his back when Petunia returned with a whiny Dudley in tow, who was currently complaining in a very loud bawl that he wanted more presents.
'You don't have to hide me; I'm invisible to Muggles,' the dragon told Harry, who threw the toy a disbelieving look. 'Muggles?' Harry wondered but ignored it for the moment in order to voice his surprise at the dragon's speech.
"You can talk?" he whispered.
'Yes Harry, the man who gave me to you was your mother's best friend, and he charmed me to be able to speak with you. Don't worry though. No-one can see or hear me.'
'Am I dreaming?' Harry mused as he slowly followed his relatives out of the shop. 'Cuddly toys can't speak.'
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Late on Christmas Eve, after a long and busy day of cooking Christmas meals for the Dursleys, when Harry was thrown back into his cupboard, he finally found time to talk to his new dragon again.
"Can you please explain once more why you're able to speak with me?" he asked curiously. "Don't misunderstand me. I love it; it just seems too strange."
To his surprise, the dragon chuckled. 'That's magic, Harry.'
"But Uncle Vernon says there is no such thing as magic," Harry replied in confusion.
'Your relatives are Muggles. They don't want to accept magic, although they know that you're a wizard.'
"Um... wait. I'm not a wizard. I'm just a normal boy," ... 'and a freak,' he added silently to himself.
'No Harry, you're a wizard just like your parents were,' the dragon objected firmly. 'As I told you, the man that made me was a good friend of your mother. She made him your unofficial godfather before she died, and he is always watching over you, although he is not able to help you in any way. However, he thought you might be in need of a friend that was able to speak with you.'
"Is that true?" Harry asked incredulously. "I have a godfather? Was that the Devil who gave you to me?"
'The Devil,' the dragon repeated, chuckling. 'He is only your unofficial godfather, Harry, but he loves you, and you'll get to know him when you come to Hogwarts at the age of eleven.'
The dragon gently and patiently explained about Hogwarts, causing Harry to throw him an unbelieving look.
'I'd love to attend that school. That would be so wonderful,' he mused, cuddling the dragon close.
'You can use me as a pillow,' the dragon informed him. 'I'm charmed to become a pillow if you put your head on me.'
Harry obeyed, realising that the dragon's form indeed stretched into that of a pillow. Only when he raised his head again, the pillow slowly turned back into its original form.
During the following months, the dragon became Harry's best friend. He was always with him and used to speak with him in a gentle voice, patiently answering to his never ceasing questions about magic and Hogwarts and the magical world in general. As much as the dragon explained about magic, Harry still couldn't understand how the man in the toyshop had been able to make the dragon able to tell him all these things.
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One day, however, when Harry had returned from school very sick and Petunia had pushed him into his cupboard, where he was lying on his thin lumpy mattress; violently shivering, the dragon told him, 'Now it's time to teach you some magic. Wave your right hand at the door and say, 'Alohomora.' We'll need to go out into the garden.'
"Out into the garden?" Harry croaked in disbelief. "It's the middle of the night, and I don't feel well."
'But that's the only way I'll be able to help you,' the dragon replied firmly, causing Harry to obediently wave his hand at the door. He tried a dozen times and was just about to give up, realising that the attempts to do magic worsened his condition even more, when the door finally obeyed to his efforts and opened.
'Go out into the garden," the dragon instructed him firmly.
Inwardly groaning, Harry dragged himself through the surgically clean kitchen and out into the garden. He followed the dragon's advice to head behind the garage, drawing back in surprise when a black figure manifested in front of him.
'Is that the Devil, who gave me the dragon?' he mused, blinking a few times in confusion, hoping to clear the fog that mysteriously surrounded his head.
"Harry, sit here on the wall for a moment," the black man told him in a soft, silky voice. "Your dragon told me that you're feeling poorly, so I came to check on you and give you some potions."
"Okay," Harry replied dazedly, shivering violently. He barely noticed that the man waved his wand over him, before he handed him a few phials.
"You caught the Muggle scarlet fever, Harry. Here are two different potions, one for the scarlet fever and one for the fever you're running. Do you think you can drink them for me?"
Harry gave the man a slow and anxious nod. 'Potions must be like medicine,' he mused, 'and I'm not supposed to take medicine. But I trust the man. He is the one who made the dragon for me, and...' He threw the man a curious look. "Are you my godfather?" he whispered.
"Yes, but not officially. Only two of my colleagues and I know about it. It might be safer if you continue calling me 'Devil.' Now take your potions please."
Harry obeyed, and the man handed him several more phials, instructing him to take each potion twice a day, before he carried him back to his cupboard and laid him gently on his mattress. "Get well soon, Harry," he said softly. "Your dragon will keep me informed."
"Thank you," Harry mumbled gratefully as he drifted off to sleep with a small smile playing on his lips. Never before had he felt so cared for.
"I still don't understand," he turned to his dragon when he felt better. "How could the Devil know that I was sick and how you knew that he was waiting behind the garage?"
'I'm magically connected to him,' the dragon replied, smirking at Harry's surprised expression.
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Several months later, the dragon once more coaxed Harry to head out into the garden in the middle of the night, and just like the time before, the Devil was waiting for him behind the garage.
"You weren't able to read your Hogwarts letter when it arrived this morning. Therefore, I brought you a copy," the man said softly, handing Harry a thick letter with the Hogwarts seal as well as a parchment and a quill, before he helped him compose a reply. "No-one at Hogwarts must know that you have met me before," he said sternly as he pocketed Harry's acceptance letter. "Do you understand?"
"Yes sir," Harry replied shyly. "Who would believe me that I've met the Devil anyway, sir?" he added, smiling at his unofficial godfather.
"Exactly," the man said, and a small smile crossed his face as he excused himself.
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On the first of September, Harry was standing next to the other first years in front of the Head table in the Great Hall, waiting for Professor McGonagall to call his name for the Sorting.
"That must be Professor Snape, the Potions Master," Ron whispered, pointing to a pale man, with dark thick hair that came beyond his ears, who sat at the Head table, completely dressed in black.
"The Devil!" Harry blurted out, suddenly feeling a surge of happiness and warmth in his chest at the sight of his unofficial godfather.
"The Devil?" Ron repeated incredulously. "Oh well, according to what the twins told me about him that might be true, but how do you know him?"
"Oh, I met the Devil before," Harry replied, glad that McGonagall chose that exact instant to call his name.
Several minutes later, Harry was sitting at the Slytherin table, one hand gently squeezing the dragon in his robe pocket, as he realised happily that his Head of House was the Devil.