Chapter 9 – The test.
Disclaimer – I am not affiliated to JK Rowling, hence do not own any portion of the Harry Potter Universe( aside for a copy of the books).
A/N : Sorry this has taken so long, I've been really busy with work and school these few weeks.
Harry Potter had invited Neville out to Diagon Alley to have a look at Eeylops Owl Emporium.
"Are you sure you want to get an owl now? We are only eight." A rather timid boy croaked out.
Neville Longbottom was on his first trip out of the Longbottom manor without his grandmother and needless to say, he was terrified.
"Oh don't be a cold fish, it'd be fun!" Harry exclaimed as he dragged an unwilling Neville along with him. The whole idea of this trip was to get Neville to loosen up.
Neville's fierce grandmother, Augusta Longbottom, gave Harry a smile and nudged Neville forward.
"Okay…" Neville said, unconvinced.
The two boys headed to Diagon Alley using the Floo system.
An overwhelming smell of blue cheese invaded their nose.
"What the?" The two boys exclaimed as they covered their noses. Both boys found the smell of blue cheese in the morning a little overpowering.
"Who in the name of Merlin would buy so much blue cheese in the morning?" Harry thought out loud.
Neville however, was rather pale as he tried to hold in his vomit. It was obvious that he was not enjoying the experience so far.
They stepped out of the Floo hub and into Diagon alley.
The sight that greeted them shocked the two boys greatly.
"We're in blue cheese land." Neville said.
The top of every building was covered in blue cheese and everyone looked in bewilderment at the cheese.
Harry had a rough idea who had managed to pull of a large prank on the most magically concentrated area in Britain.
"Hello chaps." George said merrily.
"How are you guys?" Fred had tears of mirth in his eyes.
Neville looked at them in awe as he tried to comprehend the scale of the prank that they had pulled off.
"So it was the two of you." Harry stated. He was wondering if his suggestion in getting the two involved in pulling the epic prank on Kingsley was a good idea.
He might have inadvertently boosted their confidence levels a little too high.
"So what is" Fred started.
"Two young boys" George chirped in.
"Doing here early this morning? Fred ended and put his hands on the shoulders of the two young boys.
"Harry here wanted to buy an owl." Neville offered.
Hmm, he is starting to speak up Harry thought as he nodded his head.
"Well, time for us to grab" George said as he rubbed his stomach.
"A bite." Fred said as he thought about where should they eat.
"And also to avoid getting into trouble." George whispered into their ears, and walked away.
Harry and Neville said good-bye.
The duo walked towards Eeylops Owl Emporium.
It was a majestic store. Holding true to its namesake, the store was shaped like a golden tailed owl, which was the rarest owl known to the magical world.
They climbed up the wrought iron staircase to the shoulder level of the owl.
He was about to enter the building when childish laughers erupted from Neville.
Harry turned around and saw that Neville's was clutching the side of his stomach and had a amusing look on his face with caused Harry to smile.
"What's so funny?" Harry asked, chuckling at Neville's expression.
Neville couldn't speak as he was still laughing violently. He just managed to point at the top of the building.
Harry's gaze shifted from Neville to the top of the building.
The majestic owl had blue cheese for hair and a whipped cheese goatee around its beak.
Harry was stunned for a second as his mind processed the awkward scene before him.
The next second, he burst out in the biggest laughing fit he had in a long while.
The two young boys held onto each other for support as they laughed their hearts out.
Neville was starting to enjoy this rather eventful trip.
Eventually, the two boys' laughers subsided and they opened the ornate door into the Owl Emporium. The door chime's melodious sound rang throughout the store.
The interior of the building was just as impressive as the sight outside if there wasn't cheese on the structure Harry thought with a chuckle.
"Hello, how can I help you? I'm Rupert Eeylops." A cheery voice called out and a handsome middle-aged man with short spiky hair appeared. He had a welcoming smile on his face.
"Hello Mr Eeylops, do you have any snowy owls for sale?" Harry asked in an equally cheerful voice.
"Hmm, lets see what we have here." Rupert said as he led Harry and Neville deeper into the shop. The area was lit with warm lights and the entire shop had a welcoming feel to it.
They walked past many owl enclosures. Harry noticed that the store not only sold owls, but an assortment of other birds and animals.
As they went deeper into the store, the aisle became increasingly packed with cages.
Neville wandered off randomly looking at the different pets that inhibited the cages.
Finally Rupert stopped and started looking into the cages around where he was. He summoned a ladder.
Harry heard Rupert muttering, "She should be somewhere around here."
Some climbing and crashes later, Rupert retrieved a small cage from the top of the stack of cages.
As he climbed down he said, "She is a really unique owl."
"Why is that so?" He asked.
"It appears that whilst her mother was a snowy owl, her father is of a unknown species of birds. However, she looks exactly like her mother, not a single trait from her father. Which never happens in the world of avian rearing. Their offspring would have some traits from both parents." Rupert finished his sentence and went into a deep cycle of deliberation.
"Anyway, I shan't waste any more of your time by making you wait, Mr." Rupert prompted Harry to tell him his name.
"Harry. Harry Potter." Harry said as he held he hand out to shake Rupert's hand.
When Rupert heard of Harry's name, he gave a small bow and shook Harry hand.
"Thank you very much." Rupert said very quietly. Harry thought that there was some hidden meaning behind his words but dismissed it.
"Here you go." Rupert said as he opened the cage and pulled an unmistakably familiar owl that Harry recognized, albeit a little smaller.
The small snowy white owl immediately flew over to Harry and landed on his shoulder like she always used to. He looked at his owl who was affectionately nipping his finger.
Harry could have sworn that he saw a glint of fire in Hedwig's eyes.
Harry felt a wave of sadness pass through him as he remembered the tragedy that happened to Hedwig in the other dimension. She was murdered in front of him as he was escaping from the Dursleys household. Harry could feel a part of him died when the green bolt of light hit her.
Harry grinned as he patted the bird on his shoulder. At the same time silently vowing never to let her down this time.
Wait a minute, how does Hedwig know she is Hedwig? Harry thought.
"Harry?" Neville meekly asked.
Harry awoke from his reverie with a jerk.
"I saw this toad and I really like him."
Harry stared at the toad that would be named Trevor in a jiffy.
Harry then turned to Rupert "How much for this owl and the toad Mr Eeylops?" Harry asked.
"Curious, very curious." Rupert said in an extremely similar way to Mr Ollivander.
"What is curious?" Harry asked, extremely curious.
"It seems that this bird has a extreme strong connection to you. It is extremely rare that this happens but you and your familiar would share a very special connection." Rupert replied.
"Anyway no charge for the two pets. I cannot thank you enough for saving the wizarding world." Rupert continued with a small bow.
"I insist on paying." Harry and Neville said together.
Rupert gave an amused look and said "5 galleons for the owl and 3 galleons for the toad."
The boys fished out the appropriate amount of money from their pocket and paid without batting an eyelid.
After saying their good byes to Rupert both boys lovingly took their new pets (in Harry's case again) and went for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.
2nd A/N: Here you go, Hedwig back safe and sound. Do review if you have the time. And thanks again for reading!
Credits to my friend Mr Ten for beta-ing the story.