The Dursley family had, quite unceremoniously, dumped Harry in the Australian outback. It wasn't really all that hard. Vernon took some of his vacation time, his lovely wife, his precious baby boy, and the brat that had been left on his doorstep, told customs that they intended to do a little bit of camping, getting away from the British winter, drove as far into the desert as they could before the petrol gauge on their rented Jeep hit the half-way mark, dropped set up a camp, stayed the night where they were, then when they packed up in the morning they left him under the gumtree and drove off. Of course, just in case he got found by something other than a deadly snake or a hungry dingo, they stuck his birth certificate, all folded up, in a drawstring back-pack that had come with a cheap stuffed koala they'd gotten for Dudley – the head of which had already been ripped off. The Dursley family was on their way back to Surrey, and unknown to them, little Harry Potter was being found.
"Wassis? White fulla take our kids away, leaves 'is own behin'. Lemme lookit ya lil fulla. You be all pasty skin an black mop. I'll take ee see ol' Wirrin, he'll know whatta do wit you."
The man with skin the colour of dark chocolate picked up the boy as he spoke, turning him over and making sure that the sun hadn't hurt the bub, and finally noticed the little back pack. Opening it, he was surprised.
"Well, 'Arry, you 'n' me go an' see Wirrin, see if we keepy you inna us mob, or if we gotta give you back to the white man. There's some mission'ries hangin' about the place, so if you gonna go back wit' 'em, that'll be the thing ta do."
The man ran across the sands, Harry cradled in one arm, the other carrying his spear, and with the ground-eating pace he had set, he was soon back in the shanty town where he lived with his own family, and the rest of the mob that made up the communitiy.
"What'cha got there Nowra?" called a woman who's skin was as dark as his, but who's hair was the same colour as the ashes left by a burnt-out fire.
"I found a little un out under a hollow gum, Akala. E's a white bub. E'd a been a ghost bub if I'd a left 'im out dere," the man, Nowra, answered. "I'm a take 'im see ol' Wirrin."
"Wirrin's takin' Allambee an' Balun on walkabout," Akala said. "Left dis mornin'. You gimme the bub, I look 'im ova," she ordered, holding out her hands for Nowra to put the child in.
"Found dis wit' 'im," Nowra said, handing over the tiny backpack with the birth certificate stuffed inside. "Reckon 'at's 'im. 'Arry Potter."
Akala nodded. She couldn't read, not words on paper, but she was a mob elder same as Wirrin, and she could sort out the bub until the missionaries spotted him or Wirrin got back with the two boys who were out learning to become men.
"Yes," she said quietly, running her old hands over the baby's new skin. "Poor bub, sent on walkabout b'for 'e can even walk. An' what's 'is?" she said, running a dry finger over the mark on Harry's forehead. "Ooh, dat's magic," she said quietly. "An' notta good sort. Allus knew white man got no good sense for dat stuff. 'Ey got smarts for some things, but not this thing."
"Bub okay Akala?" Nowra asked.
Akala shook her head solemnly. "'E okay," she said. "'Ceptin' dis," she said, running her finger over the mark again. "Bub gonna need a good dreaming, but 'e be needing white learning too, since 'e's one of 'em. Can't hide 'is pasty-face from the mission'ries in our mob. Dey spot 'im like you spot ol' man kangaroo by waterhole."
Nowra nodded. "I'll tellum," he said. "But we keepin' 'Arry you think? You said 'e need good dreaming. Can't get that wit' de white man."
Akala nodded. "We give 'im dreaming, and dreaming name, and bring 'im inta mob until 'e need 'is white man learning. Lesse how de bub do wit' 'is magic."
"Magic?" Nowra asked.
Akala nodded. "Bub's got white fulla magic, but 'e be needin' us mob magic fix 'im up. Kid gets touched by dreaming magic, he need to learn it right."
Nowra nodded. "You wanna teach 'im Akala, or you want someone else bring 'im up?"
"Apari got no kids," Akala answered. "'E an' Coorah bin tryin' wit' no luck. Might be dey's s'posed to be waitin' 'til dissun come along."
"I tellum you say so," Nowra said, nodding and holding out his hand for Harry again. "But what name you thinkin' for dis white bub?"
Akala scratched at her chin. "You say ee unda gum tree when you foun' 'im? We'll call 'im Durral. If 'is lightning brow hit the gum, it be on fire. Good name for 'im. White fulla names got no meaning 'ese days, but make sure Apari an' Coorah know 'e's got a white name 'long wit' a proper one."
Nowra nodded again and headed down the dirt road to the house made from weather board and corrugated iron sheets where Apari and Coorah lived.
Lil 'Arry Durral, as the boy had come to be known by his fifth birthday, had been taught three years in the ways of the dreaming by Akala. Three year's he'd been taught in the magic of singing by his father Apari, and two years he'd been taught bush tucka by his mother Coorah. Nowrah took him to the missionaries some days, and he got taught his letters and numbers, and other days he went with ol' Wirrin and the other kids down to the billabong to swim or catch things and listen to the ancient stories of the dream time, of dreams that the ancestors had dreamt before them.
As he was five now though, the politicians way down south in Canberra said he was supposed to go to school. He didn't mind that. School wasn't something that got taken too seriously by the mob. It was white fulla learning to them, and they had no use for a good lot of it, however interesting it was. Some of the kids did their learning real serious, looking for good marks so they could move to the big city and get a good paying job. Some of the kids just went so they could read good enough to know what was in the papers, and then attached themselves to a station and learned to rustle sheep or cattle.
"You gonna pay attention in 'at school, 'Arry Durral," Akala said firmly. "You gonna use your white fulla brain an' get all white fulla smart," she ordered, tapping her right pointer finger against the boy's forehead. "Coz you a white fulla, however much we all teach you dreaming an' the ancient stories an' the bush. You gonna learn to talk like the white fulla an' know all 'e knows."
"Yes Akala," the boy answered solemnly.
"An' you don't talk to any snakes you see when white fulla's watchin'," she ordered. "Dey won't un'erstan' an' what dey don' un'erstan' makes 'em nervous."
"I'll be good Akala," he promised.
He was too. He paid attention to the teachers and did all his school work as well as he could. When he got older he helped out the younger kids, and all through the next five years he kept learning the lessons of the white man, and of the dreaming, and the bush tucka, and the singing and dancing magics of the mob, and the dream time stories of the ancestors, and sometimes, just sometimes, when nobody was looking, Lil 'Arry Durral would sit in the sun with the death adder or the file snake or the carpet python and listen to the lessons that they would teach him, because the snakes had their own dreaming, and their own stories, and their own way of getting at the bush tucka. They even had their own songs and dances, and taught them to him, though they laughed and said that he had too many limbs to dance them properly.
"You is getting to be too long to be Lil 'Arry Durral," ol' Wirrin said, appearing behind the boy one day as he walked through the bush back to Apari and Coorah's house. "Soon be time you come wit' me on walkabout."
The boy's green eyes lit up in anticipation, and his grin spread right across his face. "I gonna become a man?"
Ol' Wirrin chuckled behind his thick, pale grey beard and reached out a thin arm to ruffle the boy's wavy black hair.
"Soon," the elder promised. "I gotta talk wit' Apari an' Nowra 'fore that, an' see what other boys is ready for their walkabout."
The child nodded, still smiling the large, bright-toothed grin that had been taught to him by the love of his parents and the community. He knew he wasn't really one of the mob, he was a white fulla child, Nowra had even shown him the birth certificate that he'd been found with, but mostly they didn't mind that he wasn't really one of them. They'd claimed him as theirs, Akala had taught him how to do the dreaming, and the missionaries had helped Apari and Coorah do the right thing by the government so that they were properly his parents. He wasn't the first white fulla to be made part of the nation, but he was the first for his mob.
Walkabout though, that was special.
He'd listened to Apari tell vague stories of going walkabout that first time, meeting with the ancestors and doing the dreaming, meeting the spirits and taking part in his first corroboree as a man. Nowra told him another story of his first walkabout, of his becoming a man, of his coming into his magic. Apari hadn't done that, he hadn't had the same kind of spirit connection that Nowra had, that Nowra told him he had as well. Nowra told him that when he eventually went on walkabout with ol' Wirrin that he would walk his magic stopped him. He would have to make a spear from a branch – and there would be a tree or fallen branch when he eventually stopped – and kill the first animal he saw when the completed spear was in his hand. Then he would wash the spear in the blood of the animal, and ol' Wirrin would tell him what to do after that – it was different for every different animal and every different hunter, but Wirrin had a way of knowing what needed to be done.
Lil 'Arry Durral was very excited about taking his walkabout.
Lil 'Arry Durral left for walkabout when he was ten. He didn't come back until after he was eleven, and when he did come back, everybody agreed that they couldn't call him little any more. His father proclaimed happily that walkabout had made his boy "long as a streak of pelican shit," even if he was no longer as pale. A month walking the desert and scrub lands will do that for a boy's skin. Still, because he'd had the foresight to pack a couple of bottles of SPF 30+ sunscreen in his small swag, along with his water bottles, he was now tanned a healthy golden colour rather than being burnt as red as ochre.
The corroboree when he returned was also important to his learning, and Akala taught him in the preparation time before it how the girls came into their magic while the boys went on walkabout. It really wasn't all that different. One thing they had in common though was that, after, their parent and an elder would lead them through to find their spirit animal, to become one with it and to be able to take its form.
"Is that part a why the white fulla thinks us mob show up outa nowhere?" the now-man exclaimed in delight. He was always disappearing, just like everyone else he'd grown up with, vanishing in plain sight wasn't hard, and neither was appearing out of nowhere, but he was endlessly curious about every new thing he learned.
Akala laughed. "A very small part 'Arry Durral, us mob got more tricks 'an jus' dat, an' you know't. You think a big ol' roo not be noticed in the big smoke? Sure ee would! But not us mob, not if we don' wannem to, jus' like you. You'll learn new stuff of the ancient dreaming even more lata tonight," the old woman explained.
The eleven-year-old nodded his understanding silently, and did his best not to wriggle at the ticklish way that the ritual paint was smeared onto him in readiness for the ceremony.
An hour later, and the verdict on Harry's spirit animal was in: bird. Small one. He was a tiny little swallow. Not a bird that normally gets seen out in the bush, it's more for the parts of Australia that get a bit more rain and have more worms to eat.
"You a man now 'Arry Durral," Nowra said, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "What you gonna do with that?"
Green eyes and white teeth shone up at the man who had found him when he was just a lil pasty white bub. "I'm gonna learn to be the best damn white fulla our land 'as ever seen, an' I'ma keep learnin' ev'y day an' dreaming ev'y night."
All the elders laughed happily.
"That's our 'Arry Durral!" they cheered happily.
Then the sound of the clapsticks and the didgeridoo summoned its haunting cry, and the singing and dancing began.
'Arry Durral was sitting in the computer lab, learning more about the tiny bird that he'd never seen in the desert bush, when a very tired looking owl landed by the open window. It was not any of the kinds of owls he was used to seeing. This one had a tawny front and feathers sticking up above its orange eyes like horns, and it was huge. He was used to grass owls, boobooks and mopokes. He was most certainly not used to owls carrying envelopes that looked like they were made out of home-made paper that had used some animal skin in the making. Of course, he also wasn't used to seeing owls up and awake in the day time, or looking haggard like they'd just flown half-way around the world.
"You better take it easy a while mate," the boy said to the owl, picking him up and carrying him out to a shady gum tree next to the water trough the school used to water the veggie patch. "You rest up here in the shade a while."
The owl seemed grateful as it flapped up to the lowest, shadiest branch and promptly tucked its neck into its chest and went to sleep.
"Wassis 'en?" the boy asked himself, turning the envelope over and reading the green script on the front. "Harry Potter, back room of Apari's place, Roper Highway, Ngukurr, Northern Territory, Australia. Well, tha's not creepy at all," he said with a touch of sarcasm, scratching his neck and shaking his head as he stared at the heavy envelope. "But if they put all 'at on it, I guess it come from far off. Should be safe. To open anyway."
By the time he'd finished reading the letter, he really had no more of an idea about what was going on than before he'd opened it, except that it was a school for magic. He had no idea where the school was, how to get there, or where to buy the books on the book list. Honestly, he wasn't even sure that he wanted to go if they were going to be so uninformative.
Well, it was a school that wanted him, and it wasn't in the desert scrub. With a name like 'Hogwarts' it sure sounded like a white fulla school, and that 'witchcraft and wizardry' bit made it sound very much like the white fulla magic, and probably back in one of the white fulla homelands too, and since the letter was in Queen's English... well, no prizes really, but that still didn't help him much for the rest of the questions that couldn't be figured out so easy. He was gonna have to take this to the elders, see what they had to say about it.
When he showed them the letter, they didn't say much at all. Just a few simple words that he'd never thought he'd hear outside of a movie theatre.
"The goblins will know 'bout dis."
Little known fact, though highly rumoured speculation, is that goblins are actually in existence all the wide world over, as are dwarves, gnomes and small glowing people with wings and not enough mass to hold more than one emotion at a time – whether you call those fairies, pixies or sprites – and that one, two or more of these creatures are usually the ones who regulate of a magical nation's economic trade or transfers. In the world of witches and wizards, as opposed to, say, the world of koalas, the economy is based on a metal currency changing hands, meaning that those creatures who are particularly fond of metals are the ones dealing with the cash-flow. In the world of koalas, where the currency is gum nuts, in the event that they should want something more substantial than just gum leaves, the economy is moderated by chubby little pixies that have tiny little wings that they can't really use.
'Arry Durral followed Nowra through the outback until they found an old mine shaft. None of the mobs much cared for going down into the earth, caves were fine, but the idea of forcing their way into Mother Earth disturbed them. To them, it was something that was not supposed to be done. It was a white man thing that had happened. This mine served a different purpose. This mine connected the magical people in Australia, both the white man and the black, to the underground vaults of the rest of the magical world.
"Goblins is busy fullas," the young man observed to his elder.
Nowra nodded. "Used to be warriors too, but dey all followed the white fulla and dey all got jobs at desks now," he explained. "You talk wit' dem, 'Arry Durral, 'Arry Potta, you find out you got cash or not, an' ask 'um good questions. You gotta lot to learn."
The young man nodded and stepped into the open mine shaft. He fell for a bit, and then landed in a cart. It took off without a word from him, and he was the only one in it.
It was a full on hour in that cart, but there were cushions and it gave the mob's white man some quiet meditation time. He was still working on his oneness with his spirit animal after all – even if he was disappointed it wasn't a kangaroo or a fruit bat. The tiny little bird would get him places mostly unnoticed though, which was good, and he was curious about learning to fly.
The cart came to a halt before he'd begun really trying to transform himself. Looking up, he hopped out of the cart and bowed to the goblin who was standing there, and had been glaring down at him until he got out of the cart.
"Name?" the goblin demanded.
"Harry Potter," he answered in his best Queen's English. He was in white fulla territory now, so he'd talk their talk.
Harry wasn't really all that interested in having luggage. It was all well and good to have a few things, but if it was hard to take on walkabout then it was a burden you didn't need. Couldn't really take anything with you when you went to join the ancestors anyway. He was very minimalist and traditional that way. It made some of the elders laugh actually, but to him, luggage meant baggage, and that alternative came with a lot of connotations.
Still, as the goblins had assured him, numerous times, that he was the last of the House of Potter, he had suddenly acquired rather a lot of baggage, which meant that he was going to need some luggage so that he could lug it all around with at least some ease. He was going to need to carry books, a telescope, lots of potion ingredients, a cauldron, not to mention everything else that a person just needed to get by in crowded living conditions where the staple foods would probably be somewhat fatty and probably cause flatulence or body odour.
So he bought a trunk that was enchanted to be weightless, shrink on command and had several compartments that were larger on the inside than the outside for him to choose from to store all the things he was going to 'need' in. Of course, because he bought the trunk from a travel shop rather than a luggage shop, it had a few extras. It had also come with a good quality back pack with many of the same charms on it as well as a few extra – for keeping a water bottle cool despite desert heat, for example. That would be dead useful. He got a couple extra to send home for Christmas.
Robes, dragon hide protective gear, potion kits, and the required texts for the next two years were purchased in short order. He collected a few extra texts as well. This place, with its grey streets and cold air, this was his homeland. It didn't feel like his homeland, but it was all the same, and he would find his dreaming for here on his own, just like he'd been taught to find his dreaming in the outback.
Still, he wasn't about to start using quills and parchment, not when there were perfectly good note pads and pens available just a few blocks over. If he really wanted a quill, he'd make his own. He knew how to after all. That just left the optional pet and his wand to get.
Stepping into the shop that sold wands, he didn't wait at the front but rather held out his hands before him and closed his eyes, breathing deeply and feeling his way through the shelves until he felt the one that called him.
"Hello Mr Ollivander," he said, not opening his eyes as he lay his hand over a box in the middle of the shop, then slipping his hand down to get at the box on the bottom of the pile. "I think I found my wand. I recognise the baobab wood, and you used bunyip teeth for the core, didn't you?"
The old man nodded. "I didn't meet the bunyip myself of course, I just bought some that had been found by an explorer. It's a good wand, flexible with just a little bit of swish to it," he said, wringing his hands just a little nervously. "I had quite forgotten that I still had it. Might I ask how you found it among all the other wands in my shop?"
Harry smiled. "It was the only one that felt warm from across the room," he said. "Though normally we avoid bunyips, so I can't think why it was calling to me like that," he added with a shrug, then paid for his wand and left the shop.
It was time to see if they had any good mopoke in that owl emporium. Somehow, he doubted it. Besides, he'd much rather keep company with a dingo.
He'd found his way to the train platform without too much difficulty. The Potter family solicitor had been called and had been pleased to escort him this first time. Once on board, he'd taken his spear out of his trunk and, sitting down on the floor cross-legged, lay the weapon across his lap while he held his wand between his big toes. The chances of finding any part of his dreaming on this train were slim, but he'd give it a go anyway.
A knock on the door of his compartment broke his meditative trance before he'd gotten the chance to properly settle into it.
"Hey, d'you mind if me an' my tarantula join you? Woah!"
Harry looked up to see a boy who was the colour of, honestly, a latte. He'd tried one while he was staying in London between getting his supplies and getting on the train. He had decided he didn't like it.
Harry chuckled. "Come in, sit, and introduce yourself," he said, gesturing absently to the compartment seats that he wasn't using.
The boy hustled in. "I'm Lee Jordan," the boy said. "Third year Gryffindor. You?"
"My folks call me 'Arry Durral, used to call me Lil 'Arry Durral, but I grew when I went on walkabout and got too long to be lil anything," Harry said, not minding that he wasn't using his best Queen's English to talk to a person who would become one of his peers.
"Oh, and this is my tarantula, I call 'im Teakie. You got a pet?"
Harry shook his head. "Maybe next year I'll bring a dingo if they'll let me," he answered with a shrug. "Not too worried about it."
Just as they were becoming involved in a discussion of the superiority of spiders as pets – and comparing the different varieties of spiders – a pair of identical brothers showed up and greeted Lee. Harry supposed that they were probably friends.
"Fred, George, this is 'Arry Durral," Lee said, grinning as he performed introductions, then frowned and turned back to Harry. "I got that right, right?"
Harry laughed. Lee had tried to get the same accent as he had used, and not done the best of jobs.
"Not quite. Just go with Harry if that'll be easier for ya," Harry said, still grinning.
The spider conversation resumed, and continued until one of the twins couldn't hold in their curiosity any more and asked him about the spear in his lap and why he was holding his wand in his toes.
"I was trying to find my dreaming magic for this place," Harry told the three friends. "Daft idea to think I'd be able to do it on the train though."
"Dreaming magic?" Fred asked.
"Never heard of it," George said, curious.
"I thought you said you were a first year," Lee added.
Harry grinned. "There's more than one type of magic mates," he said, "and some of them are older than what's in our text books."
They were all focused on him and what he was saying, and it wasn't hard to guess that they wanted a demonstration of some kind.
"Okay," he said. "I'll show you a little of the singing magic I know. Let your spider out Lee."
Lee released his pet and Harry started a high-pitched, keening chant, his green eyes focused on the eight-legged creature. Slowly, the tarantula turned to survey Harry and then rose up on its four rear-most legs before calming, curling up and apparently going to sleep.
Harry picked up the spider and kept singing, putting the critter in its tank again. When he stopped his singing, the spider instantly sprang up and awake.
"Wicked," the three boys said, grinning.
"Basic," Harry said as he answered them with a smile of his own. "Back home, nearly everything can be deadly, so being able to make it lazy until you've passed is the first thing taught. It doesn't work on some things of course. Bunyips got their own song and don't listen to any others, and yowies got so much water in their ears they can't hear anything half the time, but it works most times."
"Wicked," the three boys said again, completely impressed.
It wasn't long after that a bushy-haired girl knocked on the door and asked if they'd seen a toad, as a boy called Neville had lost one.
Harry unfolded himself from the floor until he was standing and started his singing again, but the three in his compartment noticed that it was a different song to the one he'd sung before.
"Really, a simple yes or no -" the girl said.
Lee hushed her.
Harry sang for five minutes without pausing, and the people watching him wondered how he was holding his notes without breathing. Suddenly he stopped and bent down, picking up a dazed looking toad and handing it to an equally dazed looking boy.
"Trevor!" the boy exclaimed, seeming to wake up as Harry put the toad in his hands.
"Wow," Fred, George and Lee all breathed at once.
"What did you do?" the girl asked, her own eyes wide.
Harry smiled. "I sang them to me," he answered, pulling up his right foot to rest against his left knee, resting his cheek against his upright spear, his wand hanging limply from his hand down beside the long weapon.
"That isn't in our school books," the girl said.
"Of course it's not," Harry answered, still smiling.
Harry had his wand strapped to his forearm in a simple holster he'd fashioned from a couple of cheap leather thongs he'd bought from a craft shop. His spear, however, he carried openly. Then again, there really wasn't any other way for him to carry it, and it caused no small amount of talk among the first years as they waited to be let into the Great Hall for the Sorting.
"I heard that Harry Potter had finally come to Hogwarts," a voice declared, and Harry watched as a small, pale boy walked through the crowd like he owned it, straight for him. "Caused quite a stir when you disappeared Potter."
Harry didn't answer. He was standing on one leg again, holding onto his spear beside him just as ol' Wirrin always did back home, though the robes were a bit much to let him carry the same sort of effect as the old man.
"I'd be surprised if they let you keep that," the pale boy said, pointing at the spear. "Openly carrying a crude weapon around like that isn't done in civilised society."
"But carrying a weapon hidden up your sleeve is?" Harry asked, slipping his wand down his arm, into his hand, and holding it up before dropping it back out of sight again. "It is honest, open, and they cannot take it from me," he told the boy. "Besides, I read your history books. Wands under two feet long have only been the preferred conduit for the last six hundred years. Before that it was just as common to see a witch or wizard using something a head taller than themselves. They also used them as clubs when they exhausted themselves magically. Much more sensible I think, but I suppose you either can't get away with it here or you just don't have the magical strength to require or to support the larger conduit."
The pale boy frowned, his eyes darkening and his face turning pink at the short history lesson that was also an insult to his ability.
"Also, it is not crude," Harry added, before his eyes flicked over the boy's shoulder to the door where the professor was standing.
"We're ready for you now," she informed them.
Harry stood straight and calm as he watched his new peers take their seat underneath a hat that had just sung a rather off key song. He'd have to mention it when it was his turn. Of course, he also intended to ask about the possible transfer of head lice, nits and any other creepy crawlies that liked hair. He felt they were important things to point out to the animated piece of wizarding apparel.
He noticed the bushy haired girl, Hermione Granger, and the boy who he'd reunited with his toad, Neville Longbottom, both got sorted into Gryffindor, and he didn't even raise an eyebrow as the pale boy from earlier, Draco Malfoy, got sorted into Slytherin. When his name was called he felt the hush that fell over the assembled students.
"I would like to take this opportunity to state that none of the Boy-Who-Lived books are true, I intend to sue whoever made the Boy-Who-Lived dolls without my permission, and being famous for living is stupid. I was one. I did bugger-all," he said, then plopped the hat onto his own head as the stern witch who had called him up was about to scold him for his language.
"Tricky one aren't you?" the hat asked. "I haven't seen someone like you since Godric Gryffindor himself wore me, though I was never actually on that head, I just met him. Do you know how difficult it's going to be to sort someone with a mind like yours?"
"Did you know that you sang off-key?" Harry returned with a small smirk. "And don't you ever worry about head lice or something? They're very common with kids my age."
"I'm spelled against being contaminated by or passing along such passengers," the hat answered, huffing slightly and ignoring the comment about his being off-key. "So, your sorting. As I said, you're difficult. You can't go unsorted, but you don't have any of the particular qualities that the founders specifically searched for."
"You have a clause for that," Harry reminded the hat. "You said it in your song earlier, Helga Hufflepuff declared that she would teach all students the same."
The hat chuckled. "So someone was paying attention," he chortled with glee. "Very well then!"
With that, Harry Potter, 'Arry Durral, long streak of pelican shit that he had been described as fondly by his father, was sorted into Hufflepuff.
Harry sat, calmly, in the potions laboratory, waiting for the ward alarm to go off and alert the professor that someone was invading his territory outside of the prescribed classroom hours. He had with him a tea tray with the professor's preferred blend as well as scones and jam. He even had a small bag of bush tucka that the famed potions master might be interested in.
"Mr Potter, what are you doing here?"
"Brought you tea and scones," he answered simply. "And thought you might like to have a look at some things I brought from home. You really can't get good bush figs anywhere in this country," he explained, gesturing from the tray to his little bag.
"If you're trying to butter me up Potter -"
Harry shook his head. "Peace offering," he said. "I've got to get out of your bad graces before I can even think of working towards buttering you up Professor."
After a month and a half of tension in the potions classroom, Harry had started singing before bed, just gently singing to the walls of Hogwarts, letting them carry his message to the deliberately unpleasant man standing before him now. A subtle song to open his mind to the possibility that Harry wasn't his enemy. Really, Harry knew that he wasn't bad at potions. He performed all the required steps correctly, neatly and efficiently. He put that down to having more practice with a knife than most of his peers, as well as a general fondness for cooking. This man's disparaging remarks were needless and groundless, and Harry was sick of them.
Snape sat down opposite Harry and looked over the 'peace offering' from his vantage point above his nose. Harry sighed within his mind in relief. Well, that was a start.
"If it isn't prying, Professor, might I ask why you seem to dislike me so much? I can't think it's because of sloppy potions work, because you know very well that I am meticulous with it," Harry began, pouring two cups of tea and taking a warm scone for himself.
"It is largely due to your father," Snape admitted after they had shared tea in silence for some ten minutes. "Who was a bully when he was a student here. There is also your celebrity status, which I will not stand for."
"I have no memories of my biological father," Harry pointed out. "So he is no influence on my person excepting on the genetic level, as for my status as celebrity, Professor, I am about as enamoured with my ridiculous title as you are."
One corner of Snape's mouth twitched, and Harry was certain in his own mind that it had been the beginnings of an amused and sardonic smirk before the potion master had clamped down on his expressions and shut away his emotions again. The man seemed determined to be dour.
"You know Sir, I read those books. Seeing my name on large texts rather got me curious. I think it's abhorrent. The entirety of wizarding Britain placing all of their expectations on a child, blindly believing that should the last Dark Lord rise again, or should a new one pop out of the woodwork, that I'll save them. I have no loyalties to this country. Akala says I need to learn my heritage, but I will not be held responsible for a society that is lead by a man who doesn't seem like he'd be able to find his own arse without seven 'retired' terrorists masquerading as his secretaries and sponsors helping him."
Snape snorted into his tea. He had expected the boy to be uncouth, what with the way he carelessly carried that spear around all the time, but he had not expected the analysis of their government. He supposed that, perhaps, the boy was more like his dear mother than his wretched father.
Harry stared, then blinked and shook his head. He was having a bit of a hard time believing what he was seeing. He knew the stuff existed, but he'd never actually seen it anywhere outside of a TV set before. Even when he'd gone on walkabout, he'd only gone so far as to find a couple of the places that were green and wet, rather than the dry and dusty. Australia had mountain ranges, rainforests, marshlands, wetlands and beaches as well as the desert and outback scrub that it was famous for. It even had snow in some places, but he'd never seen them. He'd never seen snow, real snow, with his own two bright green eyes before.
He was seeing it now for the first time in his life.
Harry's first decision was to go back to his room and get all his warmest clothing on, and then go outside to see what new dreaming he could learn from the falling snow in this place, his homeland by birth. He'd been doing some reading during his History of Magic classes, about things more pertinent than goblin wars: the origins of magic in this country. He didn't completely understand it, he was only starting after all, but he wasn't at all above finding himself a fallen branch and making himself a didgeridoo on the spot – transfigured rather than made the proper way, but it was the wrong sort of wood to begin with, so he had to work with what he had – and start playing as the snow fell around him.
In the outback, at corroboree or on rare ventures into the cities to play for the tourists, the didgeridoo was played in a certain way. There was no sheet music for it, but every sound was representative of some aspect of the great southern land and its inhabitants. There were ways to represent kangaroos, koalas, gumtrees and billabongs on the instrument.
In this place, surrounded by snow, Harry let the cold air teach him how to play a new song, a new dreaming for this new place, this new sight, this new view of naturally occurring magic that he was experiencing for the first time. After an hour of solid playing, Harry looked up to find that some of the 'creatures' from the forest had come to the edge of the tree line near where he had sat himself, and were watching intently. It was most obvious with the few centaurs, but the unicorns that had come out to peer at him were also clearly curious about him.
"Is my sunburnt-land dreaming so different?" he asked quietly. "Perhaps I need to learn a different instrument?"
His observers were silent for a while, and then turned to leave, looking over their shoulders at him as they left, until only one centaur remained.
"Who are you?" the centaur asked. "Such a thing as this has not been seen or heard in this forest ever before."
"The wizards here call me one thing, my family call me another. Which name would you hear?" Harry asked, politely as he could. He knew only a little of the customs of centaurs, but manners always counted.
"I am curious to hear both," the blonde-haired, blue-roan coated magical being answered.
Harry nodded. "Back home I am called 'Arry Durral, Durral was the name that Akala gave me when I was brought to the community by Nowra. The people of this place," Harry said, waving his hand to indicate the castle, "call me Harry Potter."
The centaur took a step forward and peered at him more closely. "Perhaps," he said, "you should find your new voice in an instrument made in the fashion of your name."
Harry cocked his head, thinking. "Potter?" he asked at last. "One who moulds clay. I see. Thank you wise one."
The centaur nodded, turned, and retreated into the forest once again.
"So that could be the voice of my dreaming here," Harry said quietly to himself, picking up his didgeridoo, spear, and wand, and walking back into the castle.
"Do you know what the words 'wizard' and 'witch' actually mean?" Harry asked his study-buddy, Hermione Granger, one day. He had out the pocket dictionary that he'd been issued back when he was going to white fulla school in Australia.
They had become somewhat friends after he'd calmly refused to answer all of her questions on the train, smiling the whole time, and then reaffirmed it on Halloween night when he'd saved her from a troll that had gotten loose in the castle. She'd run past him and into the bathroom after her charms class, and Harry had decided that he wasn't going to go into the girl's bathroom just to ask her what was wrong, but the troll showing up, and the fact that she didn't know about it, had him running off to save her – he'd shoved his spear straight up through the troll's open mouth and out the top of it's skull in one clean move, then escorted her out of there, checking that she was alright.
"You are a wizard and I am a witch," Hermione answered. "Isn't that definition enough?" she asked.
Harry shook his head. "'Witch, noun, a person, especially a woman, who claims to practice magic, especially evil magic; a sorceress'," he read, then looked up at his friend. "Apart from that last bit about evil magic, that fits well enough with most everyone here, right?"
Hermione nodded and shrugged. "So?"
"There's two more definitions. 'An ugly or dangerous old woman, a hag', and 'a fascinatingly attractive woman'. Somehow, having one word that means two opposed things rather bugs me," Harry said, flipping the pages. "They're also not suitable to describe every female magical practitioner within these halls. I wouldn't call either of our house Heads hags or fascinatingly beautiful, after all."
Hermione smiled a little and just nodded. "So what does your dictionary say about wizards?" she asked.
"'Wizard, noun, someone who claims to practice magic, a magician or sorcerer'," he read.
"Sounds like the first definition for 'witch'," Hermione observed.
Harry nodded, and kept reading. "'A person of outstanding or great accomplishment, especially in a particular field'. But you know the really interesting bit about the definition of 'wizard' in here? It's got the origin. 'Wizard' is from Middle English, the root words being 'wise' and the suffix '-ard', and if I look up that suffix," he said, flipping the pages from the back to the front, he grinned. "'-Ard, a noun suffix, often disapproving in tone, marking a person as having a particular quality as in drunkard or wizard'," Harry laughed. "I really get a giggle from that, and disown the title 'wizard' ever more. It's basically calling yourself a wise-arse."
Hermione gaped for a moment then brought her hand up over her mouth and forced herself to stifle giggles.
"What is this?" two harmonising voices asked over Harry's shoulder, looking down at the dictionary that he was still holding.
Harry grinned. "The esteemed title of 'wizard'," he told them, "is actually an insult," he said, handing over the dictionary for the twins to look it up for themselves.
After watching the initial shock play over both of their faces, Harry and Hermione witnessed as malicious glee took up residence in the twin's visages.
Harry took back his dictionary.
He was sitting in the stands with Hermione, watching the Gryffindor team play against Ravenclaw. He honestly didn't think much of Ravenclaw's seeker, who seemed to only be interested in following Gryffindor's around and not doing any looking for herself, though the Gryffindor seeker wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the box either. Still, Fred and George were very good beaters, and the girls on the Gryffindor team were far superior to the Ravenclaw chasers. Not that Harry much understood or cared for the game.
The snitch appeared in front of his face and Harry's hand lashed out, flicking it towards where the two seekers were hovering, neither of them seeing the gold ball until it whizzed past between them under the forceful inertia of Harry's smooth wrist movement.
The Gryffindor seeker was a marginally better flyer and owned a slightly newer broom, and caught the small, winged and gilded ball, ending the game with a sizeable victory over the other house.
"Harry," Hermione said, curious about the amused and slightly smug look that was on her friend's face as the Gryffindors all around them rose, cheering and hooting in victory.
"We play kick-around back home," he said. "Rugby, touch footy, soccer, sometimes go hunting or swimming, I don't see how this is really a team sport," he admitted. "The flying looks fun though."
"Hunting?" Malfoy's sneering voice reached them. "You really are uncivilised Potter."
Harry sighed as he pulled out his dictionary and looked the word up. He knew it, but he was going to put it into context for the boy. "'Civilised, adjective, having an advanced culture, society, etcetera; being polite, well-bred, or refined'," Harry read out. "Your society and culture I find rather backward, rather than advanced, and you are neither polite nor refined. I will make no comment on your breeding, as I do not know the particulars of that particular delicacy. People who make it their life's business to study societies have said that, despite our culture being ancient, the social structure of the people who raised me is very advanced. I suggest, little boy, that you grow up," he said, tapping the blonde gently on the head with his dictionary before putting it back into his bag.
Hermione giggled. "Harry, you really shouldn't antagonise him like that," she scolded, amused.
"He does it to himself," Harry said easily, steering the girl towards the grounds-keeper's hut just as a small burst of flame erupted out one of the windows.
"What was that?" Hermione yelped.
"Dragon fire," Harry answered simply. "Hagrid?" he called, knocking on the door.
"Harry! Come in! Norbert's been missin' yeh!" the half-giant said, opening the door, a huge smile on his face.
Harry nodded, pushed Hermione to one of the large chairs, and headed straight for the month-old Norwegian Ridgeback, singing for the creature and holding his bare hand out before him, his thumb and pinkie finger only extended, and his eyes fixed on the yellow eyes of the three-foot-long magical reptile.
When Norbert was calmed down and dozing happily in Harry's lap an hour later, Harry looked up at the large man who had been explaining to Hermione just exactly how he got to have the baby dragon, and how Harry had been there when the egg hatched and had been helping out since.
"But it's illegal to keep dragons!" Hermione protested. "And what about when he gets bigger, or what if he burns the hut down?"
"She," Harry corrected absently.
"What?" Hermione asked, stunned by the interjection.
"Norbert is a she," Harry said simply. "I don't know why you called her that Hagrid," he added.
"Got to call 'im, ah, her something," Hagrid explained. "How can you tell Norbert's a girl dragon anyway 'Arry?"
Harry shrugged. "She's missing a primary piece of male anatomy," he said simply. "I wasn't able to be sure until she was a month old, but I am now. Of course, she's sort of used to being called Norbert now, so no point in changing it. She'll never come when called like Fang would," Harry said, gesturing to the large and cowardly dog that was curled up in his bed away from Harry and the dragon, "but she recognises it as her name now."
Hagrid and Hermione nodded.
"You've really got a way with animals Harry," Hermione said, awed. "Will you be taking Care of Magical Creatures in third year?"
Harry nodded absently. "Probably," he said, "but that's a little ways off yet." Harry felt something shift under Norbert's hide then, and quickly got up, moving to the window of the hut, still cradling the young dragon. He had manoeuvred the creature swiftly enough that when she burped in her sleep that the flame went outside rather than into Hermione's hair or Hagrid's beard. The flame landed on the permanent bonfire that Hagrid had going for the salamanders that lived at Hogwarts – only for the purpose of the Care of Magical Creatures class.
"When animals are young, particularly reptiles, their skin is so soft that you can feel every shift in their stomachs if you know what to pay attention to," Harry answered absently, going to sit back down again.
A pounding came from the door. "Hagrid? That's the second fire-ball we've seen come from your window in the last hour. What's going on?"
Hagrid went to open the door and let in the heads of Slytherin and Gryffindor. Both Snape and MacGonagall seemed to zero in on the dragon Harry was cradling as soon as they were past the blushing hairy man and the door had closed behind them.
"I suppose it wouldn't make you feel any better to hear that the Headmaster does know about this latest of Hagrid's pets?" Harry suggested as he stroked the still-sleeping dragon.
MacGonagall's whole face pinched and Snape's scowl deepened.
"No, I didn't think so," he said, sighing as he tickled the sleeping Norbert under her chin.
The green-eyed youth looked up to see Susan Bones, one of the girls in his house, standing over him, a clearly nervous expression on her face as she fidgeted.
"What's up Su?" he asked, gesturing for her to sit with him.
The girl smiled gratefully and sat quickly. "It's kind of embarrassing," she admitted quietly.
Harry grinned. "I'm sure it can't be any worse than having to get up in front of the whole school, put on a tatty old hat, and find out if you're made of the same stuff as your parents or siblings," he said, trying to be comforting and humorous at the same time.
Susan's shaky smile became stronger and more natural. "That wasn't so bad," she objected, "and this is much more embarrassing."
Harry inclined his head and made a vague gesture for her to continue as he set down his pen, halting his homework to give her his full attention. He was only a couple of sentences away from finished for the next couple of weeks anyway, so it wasn't that big of a deal.
"A bunch of us girls, er, that is to say, the Weasley Twins over in Gryffindor opened a betting pool, and every other girl in Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor put some money down, and then we drew straws, and I lost, or won, and..."
Harry chuckled. "What question do I need to answer, or dumb task do I need to do, for it to be resolved?" he asked kindly.
Susan sighed and smiled in appreciation of his understanding. "Can you sing?" she asked.
Harry grinned, and his green eyes sparkled with undisguised mirth. "Some people would say not," he said, "but others..." he shrugged. "Well, they'd disagree rather strongly."
Susan laughed softly. "I guess the only way to prove it would be a performance," she said.
"Ah, so this is what it comes down to," Harry said archly. "Sure. No problem. Where, when, and all that jazz?"
Susan smiled. "Thank you."
Harry sang the next day – a Saturday – out in the courtyard not long after lunch. When he stopped singing, the entire school was watching him, then with a smile he stood and disappeared. Without using the invisibility cloak that he'd anonymously been given for Christmas, or any of the invisibility spells or notice-me-not charms that were taught in this school at the higher levels. He just disappeared, the way he'd learned in the outback to do.
This caused quite a stir all around the school, especially since their entire focus had been on him when it happened.
"Harry!" Fred called, running up the the boy on his way into the Great Hall for lunch.
"Mate!" George added, slinging an arm around Harry's shoulders once they'd caught up.
"How did you do that!" they asked together, awed but grinning.
"Do what?" Harry asked.
"-when you just vanished!"
Harry held up a hand and laughed. "Trade secret," he said. "Besides, you're way too old to start learning it now."
"We're young at heart you know."
Harry shook his head, a bemused smile decorating his features. "Alright," he allowed. "It's almost the summer holidays, you come down under and visit, and I'll try and teach you."
"Bril!" Fred exclaimed happily.
George frowned. "I think Mum and Dad already made some plans," he reminded his twin, though he was unhappy about it. "Something about a family get-together."
Fred sighed. "Uncle Bilius isn't around to make them fun any more though!" he complained.
Harry sighed. If they were really desperate to learn, and it seemed that they were certainly very, very keen, then he'd just have to give them the brief, accelerated introductory version and then leave them to puzzle the rest out for themselves over the coming break. It wasn't like they had much time to really learn, and at that point in the year, there weren't any homework assignments to worry about except for the ones that had been given to them to work on over the holidays – which Harry had already done.
"Fine. Saturday, five in the morning – I will not wait – we will leave from the Entrance Hall and I will teach you some of the stuff involved in how I did what I did. If you can understand it by then, or even by the end of the summer break, I will be very impressed."
"Five?" the twins yelped.
Harry nodded. "I started learning when I was two, and there is a lot of stuff to teach you before you can start on figuring out how to do what I do," he explained.
The twins winced, but nodded. They'd be there.
Harry built a bonfire by the lake, just a small one, and checked over what remained of the bush tucka that he'd brought from home, set his didgeridoo on a rock, grabbed up his spear and then went to fetch his two new pupils from where he'd told them to meet him. The early hour really didn't bother him all that much. He'd been out here at this time most mornings after that first time he'd played in the snow, using the mud to build a shape, trials until he could get his hands on some proper clay.
"So, what do we do?" Fred asked as they followed Harry.
"Sit," Harry directed. "And close your eyes. You can't disappear into the world around you if you do not understand it. I am going to show you what I have done all my life, and what I needed to start doing almost all over again when I got here," he said.
Fred and George sat, two sets of blue eyes closed, but they were still focused on him, their full attention at his disposal.
"I had the advantage of knowing how to do this, in essence, when I came here, but I had to adjust to being in a different place. The dreaming of one place is different to the dreaming of another. I do not have the right instrument to guide you properly to the full dreaming of this place, but we shall make do," he said, stabbing his spear into the earth and sitting, cross-legged on the ground, then he began to play. Sometimes he would throw something into the fire and the scent of the smoke would change, or he would see an image in the flames. The twins didn't see of course because their eyes were closed as he had instructed.
It was almost an hour until noon, and Harry had not stopped playing, and neither Fred nor George had moved from where they sat, though their faces showed their focus, even as it seemed to shift behind their eyelids. Another instrument joined them at this time, and Harry looked up, though he didn't stop. It was a centaur foal, a young girl, and Harry's eyes widened at the instrument she was playing. Pan-pipes! He was so quitting the quest to make a clay flute of any kind! Pan-pipes were perfect. He threw a new plant into the flames and changed the way he played so that he could blend better with the song of the new arrival.
The sun had finally reached it's noon height, and the young centaur girl was dancing around them a little as she played the pipes, when Harry finally started to call Fred and George out of the dreaming trance that he had sent them on. Harry's green eyes took in the two older males as they slowly came back from where they had gone, as well as the centaur girl as she played a last wavering note. He bowed his head to her in respect and gratitude when he also finished his final note.
"Thank you," he said, smiling gently. "I think I shall learn to play that instrument myself over the summer break."
The centaur girl smiled prettily. She was quite pretty in general actually, with bright hazel eyes, auburn hair on her head and for her tail, and a peach-coloured coat, and still light skin, not yet tanned by long times spent in the bright sun.
"The fauns teach the pipes best, and they have more types than just this one," she said, holding up her pan-pipes. "Next year, perhaps I will introduce you to some?" she offered.
"I would like that very much," he said, his heart soaring, as what little he knew of fauns said that they weren't all that inclined towards cold places, and to him, that's exactly what the British Isles were. Still, inclination for warmth and having a presence in places that were not were two different things, so it was far from impossible. He was here too after all.
She nodded and took off at a happy canter into the forest once more.
Fred and George blinked their eyes open at last.
"Welcome back," Harry said, returning his focus to them. "Learn anything interesting?"
The red-heads grinned.
Harry nodded in satisfaction. "It's lunch time. Go eat, then come back here and I'll give you a few exercises I want you to do – and keep up. Everything works better if you keep it in good condition, this includes your body."
Fred and George both nodded, and ran for food.
It was the last day. The very last day. Tomorrow they would be getting on board the Hogwarts Express and going back to Kings Cross Station in London, and then Harry would be getting into a Gringotts cart and travelling through the underground tunnels all the way back to Australia and home – and wasn't it ironic that a Gringotts cart was faster getting to the other side of the world than the Hogwarts Express was getting from central London to a castle in Scotland?
Harry Potter sighed as he stepped into the third floor corridor. He'd been in here before of course, to visit Fluffy and to help feed him with Hagrid, so he wasn't worried about being eaten himself, and that there appeared to be an enchanted harp going only made it easier to get past the three-headed dog. He knew about all of the 'traps' actually. It hadn't been a difficult thing to find out, and the sheer ease of both that task, and the task of getting past the traps, told Harry more than anything that it wasn't a trap so much as a test.
He was also aware of who it was there for. He could honestly say that he was deeply, deeply unimpressed. He'd even gone so far as to grumble, if only to himself as no Brit was about to get the reference, "Not. Happy. Jan!" It was an Australian reference after all, and one no wizard would lower themselves enough to even think of looking up on YouTube – if they even knew what it was, which, unless they were 'half blood' or 'muggle born', then they most likely didn't.
It certainly wasn't hard to get past all of those silly tests. Not for him with all his life until then spent in the outback, learning from the elders, and in the classroom at school, learning the ways of the white man and the wonderful invention that was the internet. He was really looking forward to getting back to his school back down under. It wasn't the best school in the country, not by a long shot, but the teachers there did their very best, and what they couldn't teach, the internet or the elders could.
Considering the standards of education available to him, Harry was actually genuinely tempted to not come back here in September, but the magic being taught here he couldn't get back home, so he was just going to have to bear with it, and make up his regular education in his own time.
Plant of doom; easy. Chess of deadly proportions; simple. Troll; already knocked out. Potions and logic puzzle; they really were just asking for someone to come in here and take what they were supposedly trying to hide, weren't they? Really, Fluffy was a better guard than all these things, simply based on the tri-cranial creature's intimidation factor, even if he was easy to get past once you knew how. As for the mirror that Quirrell was fussing in front of, unaware of Harry just as the boy liked it, he wondered how stupid these white blokes were, to not see how obvious it was! The explanation was only written backwards with some of the gaps in the wrong places after all!
All for a stupid stone and an old man's wishful thinking.
Harry shook his head, hefted his spear, and took a life. It wasn't pleasant, and he certainly didn't want to do it, but of the options available to him, this really was for the best. It was quick, fairly painless, and once he'd retrieved his spear and cast a couple of hexes, no one would know the man's cause of death. It might teach them a thing or two about regarding wands as weapons though, and he honestly hoped that it did.
Giving the mirror a quick up and down look, and seeing that historical moment way back when Bob Hawk had been the Prime Minister and handed over – returned – a small bit of the ancestral lands to the Aboriginal people, Harry nodded and then smashed the mirror. Yes, to see the white people and the black people figuring out the problems and resolving them was what he wanted more than anything. It didn't even have to be him doing it, as long as it got done, but it certainly wasn't practical to just stand in front of a mirror wishing for it.
When 'Arry Durral got back to the outback, he went straight to school. He'd missed a lot of classes already, but he was good at his catch-up. He even took the time to explain to his teachers about where he'd been, and the high school text books that he would be working from for the next couple of years got ordered for him to take back to the UK with him so that he wouldn't have to worry about falling behind in his book work.
"'Arry Durral! Where ya bin mate?" called Mic, one of the older white fullas who sometimes came around. Mic actually lived much closer to Darwin and Kakadu, but he was like 'Arry Durral in that he was also a white fulla who had learned the ways of the black man. He wasn't all that white fulla bright though, and was starting to get on in years.
"I been in white fulla land," the newly twelve-year-old boy answered with a grin. "I seen London!"
Mic laughed. "How's that been for ya?"
Harry nodded. "Good," he answered. "Bit cold though."
"Course it is," Charlie, one of Mic's oldest mates, said, smiling, showing all his white teeth in his dark face. "It's close to the North Pole and long way from the equator."
'Arry Durral smiled. It always amused him, seeing Mic and Charlie together. He'd heard stories of when they were younger, playing tricks on American white men, but more than that, he was amused at the way Charlie knew more of the white man's book-smarts than Mic, who was actually white.
"You 'ere checkin' on the grand-kids?" 'Arry Durral asked, grinning.
Charlie swatted at 'Arry Durral's head, still smiling. "Nah," he said. "Came to ask you 'bout your dreamings. I 'eard you got white bloke magic."
Mic laughed. "Well, I'm here to see the kids," he said. "So I'll see you two later."
Charlie and 'Arry Durral nodded, waving to the man as he walked off.
"You come walkabout with me for a while, 'Arry Durral," Charlie said, steering the black-haired boy away from the town. It was Friday afternoon, so he wasn't going to miss any school if he disappeared for a couple of days.
"Jus' let me get my spear, wand and sun-block."
The thing to know about magic in the outback, as opposed to magic anywhere else where the white man can be found, is that it isn't a secret. There's no hidden code and no one gets hushed if they start talking about it where someone who doesn't know already might hear them. Things that don't make sense in the big smoke get made sense of in the outback. Besides, for the people who don't want to believe in magic, they can usually come up with their own explanations. No one else is going to bother.
Still, Charlie stared a bit when 'Arry Durral made white fulla magic the first time.
"Charlie?" he asked quietly, waving a hand in front of the old man's face to get him to snap out of it.
"You listen to me young 'Arry Durral," Charlie said firmly. "Just because you got this magic don't mean you can just skip your regular school. Clear?"
"I know that Charlie."
"Good. You goin' ta Uni as well some day, an' then you'll turn the 'ole world on its head for the white man."
A solemn nod was the black-haired white-boy's answer, and Charlie smiled.
When Harry Potter returned to London to restock his potion ingredients, it was with a dingo pup at his side. A smiling canine with a orange-and-sand coloured coat and black eyes. The animal was a gift from Charlie, who said it was named Ernie.
Harry smiled as the wizards stared. They really didn't understand that there were more animals in the world than magical ones. It was a bit sad really. Well, he'd gotten permission before he left last year for his dingo – he hadn't gotten one then, but he'd intended to, so he'd asked – and once he'd piled his new potion ingredients into his luggage and bought an old Cleansweep broom for very cheap from the Quidditch shop, it was off to the pet shop in London proper to make sure he had everything he'd need for Ernie to be happy and comfortable while they were here.
He even got a collar for the pup that said "Ernie Dingo". It amused him anyway.