Harry's life just kept getting stranger and finding himself asking the largest person he'd ever seen in his life to magically fix his cousin, while they were stuck on a tiny island during a monsoon in what looked like an old abandoned cabin the day before his 11th Birthday didn't even phase him at this point.
"Can you please change my cousin back?" Harry begged. "I mean, I know he can be a bit much at times; like when he's awake, but he is family and I don't have enough relatives that I can afford to lose anymore, except maybe Aunt Marge, but she'd make a better bulldog than a pig. But seriously, if he gets any more freakish I'm pretty sure a circus is going to kidnap him so please put him back to normal."
Hagrid laughed, "Right you are Harry; you're much more forgiving than I am, but I should have expected as much, given who your parents were." A wave of Hagrid's umbrella restored Dudley, whose very relieved parents quickly ushered him into their room, where they quickly barricaded themselves in.
"So I get to learn magic?" Harry asked eagerly.
"Yep, Albus Dumbledore is the greatest wizard since Merlin himself and he's the Headmaster of Hogwarts. You'll learn to change things into other things; brew potions, cast spells, fly on a broom and raise all sorts of cute little beasties," Hagrid gushed.
"I can't wait!" Harry exclaimed.
Harry had realized years ago that his life made no logical sense. The kids in those after school specials were treated better than he was and their parents ended up in jail on the telly, but the Dursleys never got in trouble. The school had once shown the fairytale Cinderella in class and he'd drawn some disturbing parallel's to his own life, except of course for the fact that she'd had an easier time of it than he had, as she'd clearly been well fed and didn't spend a lot of time locked in a closet. Harry had prayed there were no Princes with glass slippers in his future and he was relieved that instead he merely appeared to be magical, which apparently was a popular enough destiny that they had a school for it.
Some casual questioning of Hagrid – well casual to Hagrid, who wasn't exactly the type to pick up hints or sub text unless a great deal of force and volume was used, showed Harry that yes, even among magical folk his life was abnormal. In fact from all the clues he'd gathered he was pretty sure, lack of an unwanted Prince with a bizarrely specific shoe fetish aside, he was living in a fairy tale.
Seriously, he had the thoroughly repressed childhood (too thoroughly in his opinion) he now had the magical destiny, which apparently was quite popular this year and he was pretty damn sure the mention of the unmentionable one (aka He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named so a plucky young mage can't just look him up in a history book) who killed his parents and vanished was foreshadowing.
Well, one thing was for certain; Harry was going to have to read a lot of stories to figure out what he was supposed to do. The Dursleys keeping him from reading or seeing anything was obviously part of their attempts to hinder him as evil step relatives.
Harry stared at Griphook, who stared back at him a bit unnerved by the small boy who was eying him, considering most wizards either sneered or tried to pretend he was human.
"If I catch you do I get anything?"
"That's leprechauns, all you'll get from me is a thump round the ears."
"Solve your riddle?"
"That's the sphinx for passage past what they're guarding or a date." Griphook rolled his eyes.
"Bribe you with something?"
"Now that's goblins!" Griphook said proudly while Harry took out a note pad.
"Excellent! Do you have a list of prices and services?"
"So, what exactly does brother wands mean and what is the significance of yew and holly?" Harry asked eagerly, startling the old bast … err wandmaker who'd expected a much different reaction from the spooky speech he gave.
"Holly is the wood of life and yew is the wood of death. Brother wands have unusual and mostly unknown effects when facing each other in battle."
"I'm guessing from all the buildup and missing wands and body that nameless is still around, right?"
"He hasn't been seen since and unless he decided to remove and torch his robe I'm pretty sure he's dead," Ollivander replied.
Harry just raised an eyebrow and replied, "Sure he is. So, is there anything else used to cast spells?"
"Well, staves used to be used, but that was mainly because they were harder to break and you could thump people with them. Of course a good sized gem always works, but that's like asking to be robbed and who trusts children to be running around with those?"
"What kind of gems and what affects its use?"
"Any kind of gem as long as it's big enough and not bonded to anything either glue or setting, but the colored gems like rubies and emeralds work best."
"No specific shape?" Harry asked.
"Any shape just big, pure and unbound as far as I know."
"Thanks," Harry said pocketing his notebook and wand.
"You got a lot of questions," Hagrid said admiringly.
"Tons of 'em," Harry replied with a grin. "And the more I find out the more I have."
Hagrid laughed. "Well let's end this trip with a stop for a birthday gift for ya – wait right here!" he said before vanishing into a pet shop and returning with a snowy white owl.
"Wow!" Harry said, completely stunned. "I've never gotten a present before and she is gorgeous!" His new owl preened under the attention.
Harry relaxed, enjoying a comfortable bed for once in his life. Having met the Dursleys, Hagrid was easy to convince to leave him there for the next two weeks.
Yes, Harry had plans for this two weeks and a ton of money from the main Potter Family Vault, available at the bargain price of a thousand gold for a month's access with full rights and information on the rest of the Potter properties- free!
He loved the goblins, they were as dependable as the rock the bank was built from. You got exactly what you paid for with them.
"One of everything," Harry said cheerfully, "oh and one of those bottomless backpacks to carry them in. I've got a 15% off coupon for first time buyers and I believe you gave me a half off discount for life after the unnamed one died."
"Who do you think you are?" The man laughed. "Harry Potter?"
Harry grinned and lifted his hair revealing his scar.
"You want goblin wards on your backpack?" Griphook asked doubtfully.
"It's bottomless and I'm going to be carrying a lot of valuable stuff in it. See, no one expects a backpack to be all that important which means it's prefect! But just in case I need to make sure it's safe; hence goblin wards."
"We'll need to redo half the charms and replace all the rivets with goblin runed silver," Griphook pointed out. "I'd almost consider it … actually with the amount of work needed I'd be forced to consider it a goblin piece by the time we were done."
"The work would be expensive, but how expensive would the finished product be? Since it's not pure goblin work I'd expect the price to show it," Harry bargained.
"Does it really matter?" Griphook asked. "I mean, it's an insane enough idea that I doubt any of your descendants would need it."
"I want to buy it for four of my lifetimes," Harry replied, thinking of how video games gave you three extra lives.
"Yeah, I get to die four times before I need to return it, but you can put a clause in that if I'm dead for more than one year it's considered done. Come to think of it, can we have it charmed to empty its items into my vault and return to you automatically at the end of my lives?"
"Hmmm, connected to your lifeforce …" Griphook considered the inventing project in detail.
Harry stuck his hand in his backpack and thought about what he wanted and then refined the idea a bit after he felt numerous books brush past his fingers.
Pulling out a thin red book entitled 'Useless rituals and wandless tricks for the easily amused by I.M. Bored' he grinned.
Harry chuckled as he read the list; if he didn't know any better he'd swear the same guy who developed these also wrote the D&D manual on cantrips, except for the fact that you had to go through a ritual to be able to use each one and there were a couple that looked useful for pranks if nothing else.
It took Harry a week to run through all of Diagon Alley and start in on Nocturne Alley. It'd have taken even longer if the nearby muggle bookstores hadn't had such a limited selection of myth and fantasy books for Harry to sort through or he'd known about the knight bus.
His first stop in the 'dark' alley was at the wizard's version of an eye doctor.
"Are there any enchantments you can put on them?" Harry asked the wizard. "You know like seeing magic; seeing through walls, recording what I see, unbreakable, able to see in the dark, able to see behind me, appear on my face at the snap of my fingers if I lose them..."
"That'd double almost triple the price of the glasses. Are you sure you're not just trying to get the enchantment for seeing through clothes?" the mage asked, not wanting to bankrupt the boy just because he happened to be an early bloomer.
"I'm eleven, I didn't even think they had a charm like that," Harry said, shaking his head.
"So you don't want it?"
"Of course I want it now that I know about it, I'm eleven!"
"The more charms on it the longer it takes to master," he warned Harry, thoroughly amused.
"If I'm going to be wearing them for life I'd like for them to be as useful as possible."
"Good point, well I can give you the full package which comes with all the features you want and more, but there's a catch, besides the high price."
"What's the catch?" Harry asked eagerly.
The man dropped what looked to be an unabridged copy of the dictionary on the counter with a thump. "This is the manual."
"I'll take it!" Harry exclaimed with a grin.
"Wow, so that vial right there holds enough to either give the strength of a giant or kill me, with no way to tell which in advance for only 32 galleons, but it's illegal to sell?"
"You've got it kid," the clerk, Stanley Price said amused and wondered if the kid was brave enough to break the law and buy it; not to mention crazy enough to drink it. Not that he'd let him of course. He'd bought the vial to be considered enough in the trade for the locals to trust him.
Harry counted out 35 galleons into a small pouch and tied it closed before flinging it behind the counter and yelling, "Spider!"
When Stanley turned back around he found that Harry had already snatched up the vial. "I'm sorry for killing what was doubtlessly a valuable pet, keep the gold as compensation. I'm taking this, if you don't mind, because you know how tempting money can be and I don't want such a nice man as yourself to get arrested for selling it. In fact I better dispose of it before the temptation to sell it hits me too."
Stanley watched in shock as Harry downed the entire vial in one shot.
"Damn, that was salty!" he said making a face and scraping his tongue against his teeth.
Stanley pulled up his sleeve and looked at his watch and then back at Harry.
"What are you doing?" Harry asked curiously.
"Seeing if you die or not, the longer you last the more likely you are to live," Stanley explained, trying to cover his shock and keep his tough as nails rep intact, while inwardly praying the boy would be okay.
"Cool!" Harry said with an easy smile; he was sure being in the center of a fairy tale meant he wouldn't die unless it was in the middle of a battle with whoever the bad guy in his story was.
"I blame you for driving him insane," Loki said bluntly, glaring at his brother.
"What?" Thor asked offended. "I gave him the standard downtrodden hero package!"
"You did?" Hermes asked stunned. "I thought I was supposed to!"
"If you both added that level of difficulty to his life it's no wonder he's insane," Loki said with a sigh.
Athena snickered. "Considering he's right I don't see how you'd consider him insane."
"Just because he's right doesn't mean he's sane. The truth is pretty insane in this case," Ares offered.
"Enough pressure can turn coal into diamonds." Athena smirked. "I'll hold off on judging his sanity for now."
"You think he'll survive the Re'em blood?" Loki asked, not wanting to interfere more than necessary.
Lady Luck smiled. "He's got lovely eyes and isn't afraid to take a chance; he has my favor in this."
"While we're waiting do you have any books that I might like which are either useful or frowned upon, but not illegal and preferably rare?" Harry asked.
"Only about a ton of them, it is my main stock in trade," Stanley said while shaking his head. "The ministry frowns on any books on foreign magic, because it's A) foreign and B) not personally sanctioned by them. Hell, people invent new spells all the time, but since they have to be ministry tested and approved, at the inventor's cost of course, before they can be legally taught they end up written in personal grimoires and forgotten," the clerk complained about what was obviously a pet peeve of his.
"So, how much to buy all of that?"
"I've been collecting grimoires for about a decade so … about twelve thousand galleons and that'd be eighty percent of my stock," Stanley said with a relieved smile as it looked like the kid wasn't going to die on him.
"What's the other 20% of your stock?" Harry asked curiously.
"The rare duplicate grimoire because a wizard didn't want to chance losing his personal spells so he made a backup and a couple of shelves and cases of minorly illegal items so no one in the alley thinks I'm a snitch. Nothing major, just enough so an auror can put a little pressure on me for a kickback and the neighbors feel comfortable having me around," Stanley replied, his relief making him chatty.
"That sounds like a lot of trouble to go to just to set up a shop."
"Yeah but it all comes up to less than I'd have to pay renting in Diagon, besides I get more buyers and less browsers this way."
Harry nodded. "Well, since I'm going to live I'll take that 80% for twelve thousand, but you'll have to come to the bank with me to get it. No way am I walking around carrying that much on me."
"Do you really think you can afford it?" Stanley asked skeptically.
Harry lifted his hair away from his forehead to show off his scar.
"I guess you can," Stanley said numbly realizing he just might be retiring shortly.
Harry examined the price list for a moment before telling Griphook, "25 thousand galleons please, from the main vault."
"What's the extra for?" Stanley asked curiously.
"Illegal deals that I don't want to bring to the bank," Harry replied cheerfully.
Stanley looked at Harry in confusion. "I can understand the books, they're expensive due to value and rarity not because they're dark or anything and the re'em's blood was useful if long odds, but what kind of illegal deals could you possibly be interested in at your age?"
Harry grinned cockily. "What kind ya got?"
Griphook quickly hid his smile before the humans could notice; the kid was just so adorable!
Stanley decided he had to scare Harry straight so he took him to… The Pens.
Stalwart's House Elves Emporium didn't look like much, it had various elves demonstrating their skills with a couple of young witches vanishing their work or causing messes so they had to redo it right in front of the store, nothing that indicated any nefarious or illegal activity.
Entering the store itself, Harry wondered what was illegal about this place unless owning house elves was illegal, but then they probably wouldn't advertise it the way they were.
"Anything good in the pens?" Stanley asked the wizard behind the counter.
"Buying or selling?" the man asked curiously as he eyed Harry.
"Buying," Stanley replied quickly.
"Sure, come and take a look," the man replied, opening a door behind the counter and waving them through.
Beyond the door was an enormous room that looked like a cross between a barn and a prison with the inmates all being children ranging from a couple of years younger to a couple of years older than Harry himself, not all of them human.
"We have everything from squib to veela; all of them young enough to be trained and I'm happy to say we even managed to get a naga in," the owner said proudly and led them to a cell that looked like it was a zoo designed desert habitat, housing a girl who couldn't have been older than eight the lower half of her very snake-like, holding a stuffed bunny that had fangs and the back legs replaced with the body of a python.
"I heard a really disturbing rumor today," Harry said conversationally as he looked at a way to fix things to his satisfaction.
"Really kid, like what?"
"Well someone got their bribe and got completely pissed as was his habit," Harry began.
The wizard nodded; his contact always got drunk when he paid him.
"Well this young auror wants to make a name for himself and is more than a little bent..."
The wizard nodded, young aurors always thought they could change things and thinks to a number of pranks and slurs a few were always rumored to be gay.
"A little polyjuice and an infatuation potion …"
The wizard froze.
"Dumbledore of course is all for certain changes in law," Harry said leadingly, making it up as he went along to try and encourage a little paranoia.
"They'd never pass," the wizard said, a little worry creeping into his tone.
"Not if certain people were alive to continue bribing others, no … but a little accident in the cells and no one to pour gold on their end … Not that I'm suggesting this is any more than rumors of course, even if the paperwork has already been started..."
"I want to go home," the young naga hissed sadly.
"I'll see what I can do," Harry hissed back, shocking the two wizards.
"You-you're a parseltongue!" the owner stuttered. He'd been well connected to the Death Eaters back in the day and he knew what being a parseltongue meant.
"Yeah!" Harry said with a bright smile. "I thought I'd buy this place off you … say eight thousand galleons?"
The owner didn't even have to think twice; if Voldemort's heir wanted the place he could have it. Especially since he was being generous with gold as well as warning him. "Thank you my lord, eight thousand is quite generous."
"Not a problem, make sure to leave me records of where all the stock was collected from. I'm certain that a few memory charms here and there and a few wandered lambs found, as apparently they were just lost, and all will be forgotten," Harry said cheerfully.
"Just as you say milord!" the man said. "The two girls running the front come with the shop and know where everything is, so if you'll excuse me..."
Harry nodded and the man vanished. The cell opened at his touch and he suddenly found himself in the coils and arms of a young naga who was thanking him profusely.
"I'll have someone make you a portkey and we should have you home before lunch," Harry promised her in parseltongue.
"Ar-are you okay?" Stanley asked nervously. Harry speaking parseltongue had freaked him out a bit, but he was The-Boy-Who-Lived and naga were known to be deadly creatures and seeing Harry in its clutches …
"I'm fine," Harry promised, enjoying his first real hug – and man could naga hug! "Can you get the girls to close the store and bring me someone who can make a portkey and the book for where everyone needs to be returned?"
"Sure," Stanley said feeling a bit surreal about everything.
When the young naga finally released him they went along opening cells and releasing people, including a small veela who apparently understood the situation enough to imitate the naga in response to Harry, all the while speaking rapid fire French that no one else understood.
The humans hung back a little as Harry opened all the cells, afraid of the non-humans while the non-humans followed Harry back toward the entrance when he'd finished freeing everyone.
The two witches were waiting with Stanley, both looked nervous as the crowd came toward them.
"I need a portkey so I can take these two home," Harry said, gesturing with his chin toward the two girls attached to him.
"Yes milord," said the red haired witch as she read from the book the blonde haired witch held open.
"I can delay it a bit at each place before returning you here so you'll be able to get them home," the redhead said holding out a walking stick.
"That'll be fine," Harry said agreeably, encouraging the two girls hanging onto him to grab the stick.
The moment all three grabbed hold of the cane they felt a pull around their navels and vanished.
Portkey travel was a new experience for Harry and not a good one. If not for the girls clinging to him he would have fallen over, as it was the three staggered like a drunken freshman when they landed in the sand.
"Milena!" came a hissing cry from somewhere nearby, echoed by a dozen voices in the area.
"Momma!" the young naga answered.
In moments the three were surrounded by full grown naga and Milena was telling her parents about how Harry had rescued her. Only Harry was pretty sure he didn't recall fighting his way in to free her, declaring his eternal love, or threatening to inject his venom into the slaver if he didn't release her. Emotionally exhausted the young girl fell asleep wrapped around her mother and father.
"I don't suppose we can ask them?" one of the female naga asked in parseltongue.
Harry listened but didn't say much, distracted by all the breasts on display, because apparently naga women didn't believe in shirts.
The little veela said something in French and looked in her shirt and then back to the naga clearly displeased.
"It'd make things simpler," one of the other women admitted, "but I don't speak human tongues and neither do you."
"Good point, Jolker. I'd suggest teaching your daughter about the facts of life, because I really doubt this young human has fangs on his penis that inject poison."
Milena's father blushed as his wife chuckled. "Her normal tall tales get even worse when she adds in the tall tales you use to try and keep her away from boys."
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'd notice having fangs on it," Harry hissed in parseltongue, much to the group's shock.
"You speak!" Jolker hissed in surprise.
"Good lord, I do!" Harry faked shock, causing everyone to burst out laughing after a moment.
"So what happened?" Milena's mom asked curiously.
"Somebody kidnapped her and a bunch of other children to sell as slaves; a friend was showing me the place to prove how evil people could be and she told me she wanted to go home. So I promised her I'd do what I could. Took me about five minutes to make the guy paranoid enough to sell everything to me so I could return everyone home," Harry explained.
"No great battle and declaration of undying love?" one of the women snickered.
"No battle except a mental one, which he lost... and no declarations, but Milena is adorable so I just had to rescue her and unless puberty turns out a lot different than I think it will, I doubt I'll grow fangs on my penis."
Before anything else could be said the portkey activated, dropping the two on someone's lawn (a lawn the size of a football field) and Harry fell over, enjoying the cooler air and the fact that the ground wasn't moving.
As he lay on the ground with the little blonde girl sitting on his stomach, chatting excitedly in French, clearly happy to be wherever they were, a series of popping noises surrounded them heralding the appearance of dozens of people, many of whom were in uniform. With a happy cry the little blonde jumped off Harry and practically tackled an older man as Harry laid there with lots of wands pointed at him by some obviously confused officers.
A few moments later a couple of females appeared, the older one receiving the happy young girl while the other who couldn't be older than 14 or so, glared at Harry like he'd done something wrong. The older male growled at Harry and then started spitting out rapid fire French in an angry manner. This went on for some time as Harry watched with some amusement, comfortable where he was, until the teenaged female got angry enough to try and cast something at him.
The little blonde girl had managed to get herself loose at this point and kicked the teen in the shin hard enough to make her cast miss by a mile. Furiously berating them in French, the little girl began telling her story, which started with some sort of battle and from her pointing at Harry and hand motions, had him throwing fireballs.
Harry looked at his palm and slowly filled it with blue fire before dismissing it, and wondered why the girls were claiming such outrageous tales.
'Well at least this one won't involve my penis biting anyone...' Harry thought to himself as the little blonde girl mimed what was obviously a declaration of eternal love and then him threatening someone … with his penis. As half the officers wands now pointed at his crotch and the oldest blonde female was smacking the male in the back of his head, Harry began to wonder if he had in fact done something threatening with his penis. "Next time I go rescuing damsels in distress I'm bringing an interpreter," Harry said aloud just before he vanished.
"For being insane he's done amazingly well," Loki said as they watched Harry.
"Sanity is a bit confining at times," Thor admitted.
Considering he was the god of berserkers, this surprised no one.
"Is there anyone who doesn't want to return home?" Harry asked, figuring that at least a couple of the former slaves had home lives similar, if not nearly as bad, as his own. When about a third raised their hands he was understandably stunned.
AN: By agreement with Skysaber I will be continuing this in exchange for him continuing some of his work.
TN: Typing by Godogma!