"Might as well get yer uniform," said Hagrid, nodding towards Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. "Listen Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts." He did still look a bit sick, so Harry entered Madam Malkin's shop alone, feeling nervous.
Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.
"Hogwarts, dear?" she said, when Harry started to speak. "Got the lot here – another young man being fitted up just now, in fact."
In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while another witch pinned up his long black robes. Madam Malkin stood Harry on a stool next to him, slipped a long robe over his head, and began to pin it to the right length.
"Hullo," said the boy, "Hogwarts too?"
"Yes," said Harry.
"My father's next door buying my books and mother's up the street looking at wands," said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow."
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.
"Have you got your own broom?" the boy went on.
"No," said Harry.
"Play Quidditch at all?"
"No," Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.
(Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
He didn't want to look a fool in front of this boy who seemed to know so much more than he did, but he figured looking stupid for asking was better than getting caught out at acting like he knew what he was talking about at all. "What's Quidditch?"
The boy looked quite horrified that anyone could ask such a question. "What do you mean, what's Quidditch?" His expression suddenly turned slightly suspicious. "You're not muggleborn, are you?" he asked, making Harry wish that he had kept his stupid mouth shut.
"Well, my parents were a witch and wizard, if that's what you mean. But they died when I was little, so I've grown up with my relatives, who are muggles. I never knew that I was a wizard 'til last night."
The boy was looking more appalled by the second. "They never told you? They denied you of your entire heritage? Of your birthright? You were forced to grow up as a muggle? That's got to be the most awful thing I've ever heard!"
It seemed that Harry's fears of being the only one who knew nothing of magic, something that had been bothering him increasingly since the scene in the Leaky Cauldron, were confirmed. "Yeah, I reckon I'll be way behind everyone else because of it… I reckon – I reckon I'll be the worst in the class."
"Don't worry," said the boy comfortingly, while still looking aghast at Harry's revelation. His snotty attitude seemed to have vanished in his sympathy at Harry's plight. "There are lots of other students, muggleborns, you know, who won't know any more than you. And it's not like the rest of us know a whole lot more magic than you – we can't practice any until Hogwarts either. It's mostly knowing about regular things, like Quidditch, that they don't have any clue about. I still can't believe you've never heard of it before," he said, shaking his head.
"What is Quidditch?" Harry asked again, now quite intrigued by the boy's enthusiasm.
"It's our sport. It's played up in the air on broomsticks, and there are three different types of balls, and seven players in four different positions. The rules are a little complicated, but it's the best thing there is. I can't wait until we're allowed to play at school," he finished, looking quite excited at the prospect.
Just then, the door opened again, and in walked the most regal woman Harry had ever seen. She was tall, stately and graceful, and her silver blond hair made Harry almost positive that this was the boy's mother.
"I'll just be at the front, Draco," she said in a cool, soft tone that bespoke confidence and one accustomed to having their wishes obeyed.
"Tell you what," said Draco, turning to Harry, "why don't you come with my mother and me to Quality Quidditch Supplies? I'll show you the new broom that's just been released, it's incredible."
"Alright," said Harry, glad to learn more about the wizarding world from someone of his age. "Let me just go ask permission."
Madam Malkin had just finished with his robes, so Harry hopped down from the stool, paid quickly, and was just wondering if he should wait at the shop or go looking for Hagrid, when Hagrid found him.
"Hey Hagrid, I met another boy in the shop and he wants me to go with him to a store to learn about Quidditch. May I?"
"Blimey, Harry, I keep fergettin' how little yeh know! That's fine, I'd best be gettin' this package to Dumbledore soon anyway. Do yeh think yeh can finish shoppin' on yer own? All the shops yeh'll need are here on the Alley."
"Uh, sure," said Harry, rather taken aback. He had not expected to be left all alone in magical London, but then again, it wasn't as though he hadn't been shopping on his own before – he got the groceries for the Dursleys all the time. And Hagrid had gone to so much trouble to help him already.
"Good man. Here's yer ticket for the train to school, make sure yeh hang on to that," he said, extracting a long envelope from yet another of his innumerable pockets. "I'll see yeh on the first, Harry."
"Thanks Hagrid," said Harry, and watched the enormous figure of his first friend part the crowds as he strode off down the alley, but then he blinked and Hagrid had gone.
With a sigh, Harry turned back into Madam Malkin's just in time to see Draco and his mother finishing at the till.
"…and he doesn't even know about Quidditch! It's just not right! Please can he come with us?" Draco was saying.
Draco's mother was looking down at him indulgently, and Harry had the feeling that there was not much she would deny her son.
"If he wants to, I don't see why not. See, you're making friends already Draco."
Draco beamed at Harry, obviously overcome with anticipation. "Can you come then?"
Harry grinned back at him. "Yeah, I got permission. I've actually got the whole day to get my things."
"Brilliant! Let's go!" Draco was just bounding towards the door when his mother's voice called him back.
"Draco, where are your manners? You haven't introduced us yet."
Draco blushed lightly and returned to his mother's side at a somewhat more sedate pace.
"Forgive me; I don't know what I was thinking. My name is Draco Malfoy, and allow me to present my mother, Lady Malfoy," he said, holding out his hand.
Harry took it at once and shook it lightly, but was at a bit of a loss as to how to follow up such an elaborate introduction.
"Er… Harry Potter, at your service." There. That sounded formal enough, right?
Harry wasn't so sure, because Draco and Lady Malfoy were both staring at him in shock. Lady Malfoy recovered after the slightest of moments, so quickly in fact, that Harry might not have believed that his identity came as a surprise at all, except for the fact that Draco's mouth was still hanging slightly open.
"Welcome back, Mr. Potter," she intoned quietly, and held out her hand in a manner that was so different from Draco's that Harry instinctively bowed over it slightly, though he had never greeted someone that way before. Harry felt sure that this was exactly her intention, and was instantly grateful for her consideration. Others, it seemed, were not so discrete.
"Harry Potter? In our shop! Madam Malkin, can you believe it!"
Harry scowled slightly at the shop assistant. He had had quite enough attention drawn to him today already, and he was not in the mood to be gawked over like some animal in the zoo, thank you very much.
Draco, it seemed, caught on to this very quickly, and turned to glare at the woman, shielding Harry behind him in the process. Lady Malfoy, on the other hand, had other ideas and addressed the shopkeeper with authority.
"Madam Malkin, as a gift to welcome Mr. Potter back to our world, I would like the same sets of non-uniform robes and cloaks that I ordered for Draco to be made up to Mr. Potter's measurements, both the casual and the formal ones. They are of similar complexion, and those colours will do nicely," she stated with authority.
Harry tuned beet red. "Really Lady Malfoy, you don't have to," he murmured.
Lady Malfoy acted as though she did not hear him and went over to the cash while the shop assistant flurried about, making up the new sets of robes.
"Don't bother," said Draco, grinning at him. "When mother decides to do something, not even a Hungarian Horntail could stop her – even father knows well enough not to get in her way."
Luckily, Harry did not have enough time to ponder what a Hungarian Horntail was because Madam Malkin was approaching him with two bulging bags.
"It's an honour to meet you Mr. Potter, and I hope you will remember Madam Malkin's next time you are in need of robes of any kind. Inside you will also find my own welcome gift," she finished with a motherly smile.
Harry, whose colour had been returning to his normal pale promptly flushed scarlet again, and stammered his thanks while trying to ignore Draco's snickers of amusement.
Once outside the shop, Harry turned back to Lady Malfoy and began to stutter numerous disjointed sentiments of gratitude until Draco, who seemed to have temporarily overcome his horror at Harry's plight in favour of the hilarity of Harry's embarrassment, elbowed him in the ribs with a little grin and said, "Merlin, Harry, it's almost like you've never received a gift before."
This, of course, was far more accurate than Draco could ever have imagined and caused Harry to pale and look down at his shoes. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked up at Lady Malfoy with significantly more poise. "Thank you, Lady Malfoy. It's very kind of you."
Lady Malfoy smiled slightly at him for the first time. "Not at all, Mr. Potter. Will you only be accompanying us to Quality Quidditch Supplies, or do you have other shopping to complete today?"
"Actually, I'm supposed to be getting all my Hogwarts things today."
"Perhaps you would like to join us then? It would be an honour to help smooth your transition into the wizarding world, and my husband and I would be delighted to answer any questions you might have. Perhaps we could meet with your… guardians and ask them if they are amenable?" She suggested this last bit with some reluctance, Harry thought, but was otherwise very nice. Hagrid was very jovial, but Harry found that he did not offer much helpful information; rather just exclaimed his shock at Harry's ignorance. He found Lady Malfoy to be much smoother. And Draco looked thrilled at the prospect.
"That is very generous of you," Harry said sincerely. He still couldn't believe the lengths to which everyone seemed to be going for him – it was all a little overwhelming. "And we won't have to meet up with my relatives – I'm here on my own."
This seemed to shock Lady Malfoy even more than Harry's identity did. "Do you mean to say that your relatives abandoned you in a strange alley in London in a world that you have just been reintroduced to for the first time in a decade?"
Harry felt uncomfortable discussing the situation. When you put it like that…
"My relatives… are not fond of magic. My aunt and my mother didn't get along very well I don't think, and they actually didn't want me to go to Hogwarts at all."
Here, Draco's shock and outrage returned in full force. "Why would they want to do that?"
"I think they thought that if I never went to Hogwarts then they could avoid dealing with the wizarding world altogether. At least, that's what my uncle said. So I didn't even know about my parents or magic or anything until Hagrid came to get me yesterday."
Lady Malfoy's face turned quite stony at that, but nothing more was said on the subject because they had just reached Flourish and Blotts, a bookstore, and outside a man was waiting who was quite clearly Draco's father.
Draco did not forget his manners this time. "Harry, allow me to introduce my father, Lord Malfoy. Father, this is Harry Potter."
Lord Malfoy's gaze turned to Harry so fast that Harry was sure he would have a crick in his neck the next morning. His expression, however, was much less telling as he looked Harry up and down with a faint air of appraisal. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter," he said, holding out his hand.
Harry took it briefly. "And you, sir."
"Mr. Potter was going to accompany us to Quality Quidditch Supplies and for his shopping," said Lady Malfoy while looking her husband straight in the eye. "He is on his own today."
"Really," said Lord Malfoy, turning to gaze intently at Harry once more. "Well, Mr. Potter, it would be an honour to spend the afternoon with you on the alley."
"Likewise, sir," intoned Harry quietly. Harry found this man much more intimidating than his wife. For all his fine clothes and broad shoulders and silver-tipped cane, it was his imposing demeanour and hungry eyes that Harry found most impressive. This was not a man to get on the wrong side of, he decided right away. And looking at Draco's worshipful expression, he decided that such sentiments were best kept locked away.