As stated in the summary, I am looking for a serious Beta. One who is very open minded, a good sounding board, and can help me become a better author. That being said, I know I have two unfinished stories, but I don't have an idea where to go with them. Hopefully this one will get the juices going.
With this story, be prepared for anything. I have drawn some inspiration from stories such as "The Rise of the Drakens" by StarLight_Massacre but it is only small things. The creature I have created is my own and probably the only similarities they have are wings that are capable of flight.
Harry James Potter felt like he was swimming in a vat of mediocrity. Nothing he had done in his admittedly short life was something that he alone had accomplished. However, perhaps that was being too hard on himself as he was not yet thirteen years old. He also honestly never had the chance to prove himself using his own work. Sure, he was good at Defense Against the Dark Arts and he was the youngest seeker in the past century, but how could one consider those as accomplishments in things that Harry both enjoyed and had to work at?
For him, DADA was mostly a very small repertoire of spells that he had learnt over the past two years at Hogwarts. To learn those spells, it took long hours of self-guided practice to get them to work. From there, Harry was somehow able to take those few spells he had so painstakingly learned and effectively use them in the chaotic situations he frequently had to deal with despite supposedly being in the safest place, next to Gringotts Wizarding Bank, in the whole wizarding world. Sure, this seems quite amazing considering how well he has survived thus far, but it was a necessity and not something he particularly enjoyed. To him, it was one of the few subjects when there was not a friend who excelled in it. Sure, Hermione could explain the theory backwards while speaking in French, but it was not the same for the practical side thus he had taken the lead to ensure the other Gryffindors understood as well.
As for being the youngest seeker of the century on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, it was not supposed to happen. Harry had clearly broken a professor's directions by flying after Malfoy for Neville's remembrall. Instead of punishment, he had received a reward. Doubly so considering that not only was he given a position on the team but he had also been given the latest broom model at that time, the Nimbus 2000. Sure, that could be considered a feat, but once again, not to Harry. Quidditch was simply a rush of adrenalin. There was no challenge when looking for the snitch. Harry usually found it within the first five minutes of the game but left it alone so that Gryffindor could rack up points. Unless, of course, Gryffindor was in a bad spot or the other seeker had spotted the snitch and was flying after it. In several games, he had won simply because he had a better broom than his fellow seeker.
It was a wonderful feeling, to fly, but it just did not quite make Harry James Potter feel as if he was worth all the fuss. Neither did his supposed "prowess" in DADA.
In fact, the more Harry thought about his life, the more depressing it seemed to him. He was an orphan. He was famous for something he did not remember nor actually do. When he thought about that horrible night, based upon the few facts that he had heard and some educated assumptions, it was his mother who destroyed the Dark Lord. She had killed them man by sacrificing herself for her child. He just happened to be the survivor.
One dictionary he had seen defined the word survivor as someone who managed to stay alive despite hardships and extreme trauma faced throughout a period of time. That night was traumatic and from that point in time onwards, his life was nothing but hardships thanks to his so-called loving family.
After being abandoned at the Dursley's front step [for what else could one call leaving a baby outside in the cold night when the doorbell could have been rung, or better yet not left at all and instead handed over during the day with a proper explanation] all night, the newspaper boy discovered him when he was delivering the paper to the Dursley's doorstep. Frantically knocking, he had woken the household from it's early morning peace. Already up and preparing for the day, Petunia had answered the door and promptly fainted after reading the letter left with baby Harry.
This is the point where he had entered hell. The Dursleys gave him the minimum amount of care that would keep Harry from crying. He was put in Dudley's room near the nappy bin and was changed or fed only after his cousin received his care. Once he was old enough to understand that he was not allowed to cry, he was put in the cupboard under the stairs to live. His new room also held the broom, the mop, and a few other cleaning supplies. There was enough space for him to lie down, stretch his arms out, and have a few inches between his fingertips and the wall. It was also at that point, where Harry received a small list of chores that he was required to complete every day. Harry's first job was to trail after his butterball of a cousin and deal with the messes he made, such as picking up his toys or alerting his aunt to Dudley's accidents [though his uncle often said Harry was to blame]. Later came the task of making snacks for his cousin as well as cleaning up everything his cousin got into. A few months later setting the table and preparing the minor things for meals like getting out the ingredients or pouring the coffee was added to his workload. At the age of five, cooking breakfast and lunch fell almost entirely on Harry. The only time his aunt took over was when the Dursleys wanted a more complicated meal than Harry was capable of making. However, even that was occurring less often as Harry learned more dishes from his aunt.
Of course, any mistake, not matter how small, led to a beating and the forfeit of his next meal. However, it was not a strange sight in the household to see any one of the three Dursleys physically or verbally abusing him taunting poor Harry until the tiny boy's eyes became dull with hopelessness.
Once school began, it became small retreat. Harry was still required to do his chores before and after lessons, leaving little time for homework, but for those six and a half hours at school he was free to be himself. However, that did not last long for as soon as he had brought home perfect scores, the Dursleys had beaten him for "cheating" as there was no way he could have done better than their precious Diddy-kins. After that, Dudley had taken to terrorizing his cousin at school too. Soon Harry's only reprieve was during lunch when he was able to go to the library and read the books. Dudley dare not enter that room. It was too easy for him to be caught teasing or hurting his cousin. His favorite game, Harry-hunting, was then reserved for after school and the weekends with his new friend Piers Polkiss.
This constant restraint of his work eventually affected Harry's learning. It did not take long for the boy to learn why. During one of the class wide music lessons given at his primary school, Harry's teacher told his class:
"If you practice like you play, then you will play like you practice. This means that if you don't practice hard and properly, then when you must perform, you will play incorrectly."
Harry took those words to mean that when he wrote the incorrect answer, did not do his work, and purposefully misread his books; he was setting himself up for real difficulties later in life. Nevertheless, all Harry could do was continue on, for the Dursleys would make his life extremely short if he brought home better grades than their precious son did. With Dudley, his work was usually never above a C so Harry had to unfortunately keep himself below that.
The first nine years at the Dursleys went on in this fashion: an increasing workload, beatings for any mistakes, being taunted and hurt by Dudley, and only enough effort in school to get by without notice. It seemed as if it would not change, even after Harry learned that Dudley was to go to Smeltings. It was a private secondary school, whereas Harry was to attend Stonewell Academy, the local secondary school where Piers and most of the other children he went to primary with would be attending. That is, he was supposed to go to Stonewell until he had received his very first letter.
It was late June when he had found a letter stating his acceptance into Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, mixed in with the just delivered bills and advertisements. It was addressed to one Harry James Potter, The Cupboard Under the Stairs.
Harry had done the smart thing and hidden his letter by slipping it through the slats in his cupboard door for later perusal. After Dudley's birthday trip fiasco at the zoo, he had plenty of time to stumble his way through the unfamiliar words and to finally end with disbelief in its credibility. Certainly, this had to be a hoax. Therefore, he decided to trash the letter once he was able which was unfortunate, as he had made the mistake of throwing it away in his uncle's sight whereupon the man had exploded into a rage he had never seen before. That planted a seed of doubt in his belief of the false letter.
Uncle Vernon had snatched the letter out of the trash at first thinking the stupid Boy had read his mail, only to find the same thing Harry had. The difference was that he knew it to be true. After raging first at his nephew, and later to his wife, Vernon told the boy that he would be sleeping in Dudley's second room from then on. Harry was not allowed to touch anything and that he had to sleep on the floor. That was fine, as he had found the only clean spot in the entire junk covered room was the center of the room, on the floor. He was also told not to get comfortable, as this still was not his room, and that once these shenanigans were over, it was back to the cupboard for him.
The letters kept arriving, this time stating Harry's residence as "Dudley's Second Room." No matter how many entrances to Number 4 Vernon sealed, they kept coming. Whoever was sending them found a variety of strange ways to get the letter to Harry. On one occasion, every egg Petunia had received from the grocers had their yolks replaced with a single letter. Another time had three letters in each of the two bottles the milkman had delivered that morning.
After nearly four weeks of receiving hundreds of that same letter, Vernon decided to take a vacation with the family, dragging all of them around Great Britain while still being chased by the letters from Hogwarts. Finally, the Dursleys had decided to settle in a little decrepit shack on some tiny rock of an island off the coast of Britain in hopes that they would finally be left alone from those blasted letters. Exhausted, the three Dursleys had fallen asleep right away. But not Harry. It was his birthday the next day, and the single tradition he had required that he stayed up until midnight to wish himself a happy birthday and blow out candles on an imaginary cake. Therefore, Harry did just that, using his cousin's digital watch to count down the time, patiently waiting for midnight.
Five minutes to midnight, and Harry had drawn a simple cake with eleven candles on the dirt floor. Two minutes saw him calmly watching the tiny digits flip by with small sense anticipation. One minute left, now thirty seconds and Harry was preparing to blow out the eleven lit candles he had drawn.
A loud boom rattled the shack. It seemed the raging storm outside was worsening. Another boom and the shack groaned and shuddered in its foundations. Another and this time the door crashed open just as Harry blew away the flames on his candles along with the cake drawn in dirt. The fourth boom was not from the outside, this time it was his uncle in the other room. Vernon Dursley had managed to run from the only real bedroom, a small rifle in his hands, to see the commotion.
Looming in the doorway stood a silhouette of a very large man. A giant compared to Harry. This man was so big that he had to duck in order to enter the main area of the shack.
From that point forward, Harry's life had changed. Not necessarily for the better as he still did not do well in school, having set himself up for failure during primary, a belief that he still was not allowed to do well anyways, and a teacher with a grudge against him. Though he supposed there was a silver lining to his dark cloud of a life, he had two people he could call friends. Sort of. Perhaps the brightest aspect, far better than his two "friends," was that at least he now had his own clothes that were not the monstrous hand-me-downs from his cousin and a bed all to himself. The fact that they were school uniforms did not dampen his glee.
Throughout the two years spent at Hogwarts, Harry learned that the wizarding world was not much better than the "muggle" world despite what the purebloods said, and it was probably a far more dangerous world. The small wizarding population of Great Britain was filled with gullible buffoons who were easily maneuvered by the machinations of the few intelligent wizards and witches. Professor Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort were two such intelligent wizards; both controlled a faction of gullible wizards. One called "Light," and the other "Dark."
In Harry's first year at Hogwarts, he quickly learned that the professors did not truly care for their students. Most were absent minded like Professor Binns; there the students could sleep in his class. Others cared only for their subject like Professor Sprout, thus students had to be careful around her plants or else get seriously hurt by one of the many dangerous types and then have to face a hefty punishment for "hurting" one of her "precious babies." Some tortured students like Professor Snape, who only cared for two things: his Slytherins and potions. Professor McGonagall was a stern professor but oblivious to her charges unless the situation was absolutely blatant. Not even the school nurse, Madame Pomfrey, was attuned to the students. Sure, she healed their ailments but she never looked any further. If she had, Madame Pomfrey would have surely seen how neglected Harry was. Clearly malnourished and malformed, she never once said anything to the boy regarding his obvious abuse. No one said anything about how tiny Harry was, or that he had a stiff and wobbly gait or the fact that his bones, tendons, and other ligaments were easily seen in great detail. Not even the fact that his fingers were crooked and zigzagged or that they did not bend and fold as they should.
Harry also learned that both the "Light" and the "Dark" were up to something that involved him. Between meeting Hagrid [a clearly and very under qualified escort into the wizarding world] and his errand, then hearing the Weasley matriarch loudly speaking about muggles, it was easy to see that his "associates" were beginning to manipulate him. Added to that were the two children he shared his train compartment with, and the whole Philosopher's Stone with protections so easy that three First-Years could get around them- Dumbledore was making his first moves since leaving Harry with the Dursley's. Even Voldemort's side was moving as well with the Lord's attacks on the Stone and the unicorns, Lucius Malfoy's contemplative look when Harry meet him that day in Diagon Alley, and Draco Malfoy's sudden desire for friendship with Harry on the train despite the fact that he was a half-blood.
Not knowing any other options, Harry was stuck with Hogwarts and the same general rut his life had been in for the majority of his life. He was everyone's target and still not very good at anything. This first year seemed to set the precedence for every year he attended Hogwarts, as proven by his second year.
After the pudding fiasco with Dobby the House Elf and the rescue by Ron and the Twins for the remaining summer break, Harry and the Weasley Family went to King's Cross Train Station for another year at Hogwarts. Once again, it was going to be another year filled with adventure that should be happening. Year two started off with the archway to Platform 9 and ¾ barring entrance to Harry and Ron. Harry had only just managed to convince Ron to wait for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley instead of taking their flying Ford Angela to Hogwarts. Harry then sent off Hedwig with a letter to the school explaining the situation. Mr. Weasley, upon finding and questioning the boys, took them to the Burrow where Professor McGonagall was waiting. After both gave their account of the situation, Ron and Harry had to take the Floo and wait in the Great Hall.
Harry and Ron, simply put, were accosted by Gilderoy Lockhart as they waited for the rest of the students to arrive. This flake of a man was to be the new Defense professor, and neither of the boys was impressed with Lockhart. When he started a defense club after a month of school, they joined only to see Lockhart make a fool of himself with his attempts to show off. Yet at this club another hidden talent of Harry's was revealed, not that many believed it to be a talent, including Harry since once again it was not something he had to work for to accomplish.
The ability to speak with snakes turned out to be a useful one at the end of the year. When Harry and the Weasleys were at Diagon Alley to procure the much-needed school supplies, Lord Malfoy and Mr. Weasley had a violent altercation and, while getting in one last verbal jab, Malfoy Sr had slipped a cursed diary into a book belonging to Ginny Weasley's that he had grabbed from her. That diary led to the youngest Weasley opening the Chamber of Secrets and releasing an ancient Basilisk. Once again, at the end of the school year, it was up to the Golden Trio to save the school. Hermione found the creature that was petrifying the inhabitants of the castle, only to be petrified herself. Then it was up to Harry and Ron to decipher Hermione's notes and slay the beast.
Instead, the job was bungled up when Lockhart followed them and caused the ceiling to collapse, thus separating Harry from the other two. Harry then had to resign himself to confronting the creature himself. He figured that at least this way he could talk to the beast without upsetting Ron and perhaps getting the Basilisk to stop without killing it. This turned out to be a stroke of luck for Harry. He discovered it scenting a dead rat and began to speak to it. Once the creature realized it was being spoken to by a Speaker, she introduced herself as Osha. She told Harry in great detail what had been occurring, starting from Ginny and the strange diary. Osha then led Harry to where the girl had collapsed on the stone floor, right next to the diary. Right above the diary, a swirling silver ball was slowly taking shape, as Ginny turned grey. Acting quickly, Harry had Osha pierce the diary with her fang.
As Ginny regained her color, Harry and the Basilisk talked about their next course of action. Osha agreed to stop petrifying the students once Harry promised that he would open one of the secret entrances to the chambers so that she could come and go as she pleased. She also granted Harry undisturbed access to the chambers whenever he wished. Once he was sure Ginny would be fine, Harry let Osha take him to the entrance she wanted open. After filling his part of the bargain, Harry trekked back to Ginny and managed to take the girl back to where he was separated from Ron. Climbing to the top, he cleared a small hole and called out to Ron. The other boy quickly responded and the two filled each other in on what had occurred after the collapse of the ceiling.
Ron had nearly been obliviated by Lockhart because the man wanted to use this as his latest adventure. It turned out that he regularly tracked recent obscure tales down to their source, whereupon the man then recorded the details before obliviating the real hero and arranged for the evidence to lead to Lockhart instead. Then he would write a book detailing his "adventure" and sold it to the public as something he had done. Unfortunately, for him, during the collapse, he had fallen and broken his wand. Lockhart thought he had won after he had stolen Ron's wand. However, as the boys knew, Ron's wand had been snapped in half earlier that year during a fight with Draco Malfoy. Since then, the old wand had been fixed with spellotape and had a tendency for spells to be cast on Ron rather than his intended target. Thus, Lockhart was obliviated instead of Ron when he tried to cast the spell on the other boy.
When Harry gave his account, he left out Osha completely. In short, Harry told Ron that he had found Ginny on the stone floor unconscious and a little black diary inches from her. That above the diary was a silvery mist that dissipated once Harry cast incendio, a spell once used by Hermione last winter, to destroy the book.
The two boys came to a quick agreement that they could not leave the way they came. There was no way for them to climb up the slick pipe, especially with Ron's unconscious sister and a vegetative man, it was too wide and they didn't know any spells that would help them. It was at this point Harry that mentioned that he thought he might know a different way out of the chambers. There was a pipe he had found when he was looking for Ginny. In order to keep Osha safe but get everyone out, Harry claimed to have gone by a pipe where he had felt and smelled fresh air whistling through it. Working together, they cleared a hole big enough for Lockhart to pass through. Slowly they made their way out through the pipe Osha had shown Harry. It let out in the Forbidden Forest with the castle barely visible on the other side of Black Lake. A whisper from Harry had the entrance sealed so that, if anyone asked, they would not be able to get into the chamber should Ron be capable of leading them back. He did not want anyone, not even the headmaster, to get in. He would open it up later for Osha. From there they made their way back to the school and eventually escorted by Hagrid to the infirmary. Once again, the boys explained what had happened. Immediately after, Professor Dumbledore had taken Harry aside to question the boy. He asked if there was anything else to add regarding the diary. Harry kept silent.
It was at this time that Harry asked the headmaster if he could help Harry find somewhere to live over the summer. Vernon had kept his promise and Harry had been returned to his cupboard once he finished his shopping with Hagrid before his first year. It was a tight fit between himself, the cleaning supplies, and his school stuff. Not even the fortune of having his trunk cheered Harry up. The Dursleys had also viciously increased their attacks. When the Weasley twins and Ron had retrieved him, they had to pick three locks to get his mangled body out. Not even the proof from the Weasleys could get the old Headmaster to help him. Dumbledore told him no once again, that Harry had to stay at Number 4 as that was where he would be safest. So long as Petunia lived there and Harry called it home, the blood wards would protect him.
This conversation, if it could be called that with all the lecturing Dumbledore had done, snapped any sort of trust Harry may have had for the man. Dumbledore, for all his titles, was only Harry's headmaster. As far as he knew, the old man was in no way connected to Harry except for that one detail. In addition, it begged the question as to why the man felt he had the right to control Harry so much. Another point against the man was the fact that Harry was clearly describing abuse yet despite that, Dumbledore was not even going to investigate the matter.
In the end, Harry was back in his cupboard, feeling very cramped with all of his school things and the latest cleaning products stored with him. This was the only fortunate side of his situation was that he had all of his things with him so that he could do his summer work when he was banished to his cupboard. However, once his assignments were complete, Harry had too much time to think. He had begun to realize that the excuse Dumbledore had given him was faulty. Petunia hated him and always said that she did not consider Harry her kin. There was also the fact that Harry did not consider Number 4 to be his home. These facts made the "blood wards" invalid. Besides that, what exactly were the blood wards and how did they work in the first place? The tingle that Harry associated with magic was absent around the house and yard, all except for his cupboard.
To get away from the swirling thoughts in his head, Harry spent the rest of his summer reading all of his texts over again from cover to cover and taking detailed notes on them. Between note taking and preparing for Marge, Vernon's sister, and her dog, Harry was too tired to think. When he received his letter, Harry was too tired to be excited over the fact that he had somehow convinced his uncle to sign the Hogsmead permission slip for his promise to be "like a ghost" while his sister was there. The day before she came, Harry covered his door so that it masqueraded as a light hall table and removed the locks. He would not either leave his little room so long as Aunt Marge was in the house or awake. When the Dursleys left for things like church or were asleep, Harry left his cupboard to carefully clean and feed himself with the little bits of food that Petunia left for him.
Everything had gone well until the last day when the Dursleys had returned earlier than what they had planned. Harry had been working on the yard when he was knocked over by Ripper, Marge's favorite dog. When she waddled over to see what her precious dog had gotten into, she had started a loud tirade about Harry, his mother and father, and how kind Vernon and Petunia were for taking him in despite what trash he was. Unbeknownst to her, Marge's body slowly started to swell. Not even Vernon and Petunia had realized until the woman had started to float and her dress had ripped from Marge's continuing expansion. Soon she could not speak, and would not have any way as she had realized what was happening to her. They entire family had stood frozen in horror as Marge was turned into a large, floating balloon of a woman. Only when she was a head above Vernon did Marge's brother act. He snatched her ankle, yelling at Harry to fix whatever he had done.
Instead of staying to help, he ran into his cupboard. The other day he had "cleaned" his cupboard by neatly packing away all of his things, leaving his wand and moneybag on the top as he had a feeling something would be happening soon. He grabbed both and closed his trunk. Before the whole chamber fiasco, the Trio had been discussing the different modes of wizarding transportation. One of them was called the Knight Bus. Fortunately, Harry remembered about it and how to call the bus. He released Hedwig to grab her cage and his broom and trunk to drag them to Number 4's curb.
As he knew to pack his things, Harry had another feeling. This was going to be the beginning of something new. He couldn't tell if it was to be good or bad, just that change was crackling.
"Go to Diagon girl, I'll meet you there shortly at the Cauldron alight?" Harry cooed to his beloved owl. He wasn't going to stay a minute more at this wretched house. He had all of this things and even that damn permission slip signed, not that he really cared. Sticking out his wand, Harry called the bus. Seconds later, he was on his way to Diagon Alley and, unknowingly, the Minister of Magic.
The Knight Bus was a rough ride, which was lucky for Harry. Of the five others on board it was only Stan Shunpike who gawked at him, the rest were too busy trying to keep their lunch down. Hunching down, he made it seem like the bus was affecting him too. This act didn't have to last long as five minutes later he was rushing out with the three other bus guests. Hopping off the short step, Harry looked up and straight into Minister Fudge's dull brown eyes.
"Mr. Potter!" Apparently, Dumbledore was the only one rude enough to call Harry anything but Mr. Potter.
"How wonderful to finally meet you, though I wish the circumstances could be better! Now, come inside with me won't you? We have much to discuss," said the Minister.
Bewildered, Harry followed silently praying the man wouldn't make him go back. If he tried, Harry was prepared to defend himself.
Fudge directed the youth to a booth that was in direct sight of everyone. A flick of his hand and Harry's things flew up the stairs while two glasses appeared at their table. The older man beamed and took a quick gulp from his glass.
"Now, care to tell me why I have obliviators at your Aunt's home Mr. Potter?" he said, amused.
This was Harry's chance, he knew it.
"Well sir, you see…" began Harry. Quickly he told the Minister of the abuse he faced at the hands of the Dursleys never going into great detail despite the curious gleam in the other man's eyes.
"My hands are tied," Fudge said after a minute of silence. "I'll speak plainly to you Mr. Potter, I have the distinct feeling it will be far more appreciated than anything else I could say. It would take a lot of work on my part to help you out, even more considering I would have to put you with someone."
He leaned in close to Harry with a smile.
"Let me tell you, there are very few magical folk out there willing and capable of letting you form your own ideals. Even fewer can take you in. Now," Fudge sat back. "I am an important person, but in no way am I able to get you the help you need without stepping on some pretty big toes. I have a fine balancin' act going on here and while you have the potential to be a big fish you aren't. Until you are worth my time Mr. Potter, I am afraid the only help I can give you right now is the rest of your summer here at Diagon Alley."
Stunned, Harry remained silent. No one had ever spoke so plainly to him. Fudge clearly, without giving away names, told him that Harry was on his own.
"See here Mr. Potter, you have free reign of the Alley and you may even go to muggle London. Your only restrictions are that you stay in proper areas, tell ol' Tom where you plan to be, and finally, that you stay inside the Leaky Cauldron when it is dark out. I would prefer, as the father in me, that you stay in when it rains but I can't stop you. Stay safe Mr. Potter, I'll be keeping in touch with you."
With those parting words, the Minister of Magic left a still silent Harry.
'Free reign,' thought Harry. He could go to the wizarding world or even the muggle world. Perhaps now he could get some proper cloths of his own. And a few more books to read! He was free to do as he pleased so long as he followed those three simple rules the minister gave him.
After he was safely ensconced within his room, Harry realized he had the ability to do some "learning" with the seven weeks he had in the Alley. Quickly he snatched the parchment and a quill the cauldron provided for jot out a loose plan of action. Today he would go to Gringotts to request a chance to learn about his finances and figure out what could be done about his key that he still didn't have. It seemed that everyone but himself had the blasted thing when he felt that he should be the only one to have a key to his vaults. While there, he was going to ask about his parent's will. If he had time after sorting all of that out, Harry wanted to get his school books now rather than right before September so he could continue the same studies he had done with his previous books. Harry wanted to be prepared for anything and he especially did not want to depend upon someone else, namely Hermione, to teach him. Now that he was learning more about the world and the tricky situation he was in, it was high time he learned how to maneuverer.
Harry had to take his studies more seriously. With all this time before Hogwarts started, Harry decided to look into the subject matter of the electives that were available to third years. Harry could only guess what some of them were, but he wanted to be sure. The last thing Harry wanted to do was take a useless class. He also felt that it would behoove him to get a few books in regards to recent history, politics, and etiquette.
In the seven weeks before the first of September, Harry learned a great deal about not only his classes [which led to Harry's decision to take Arithmancy and Ancient Runes] but the Potters and his mother as well. The first day, well afternoon really, was spent at Gringotts Bank. It turned out that his parent's will was never read and that his financial situation was far more complicated than he had hoped. The Potters had several vaults, of which he had access only to the heir vault. This particular vault was passed down to the first born child for them to use as they wish. Should the child prove to be horrendous with managing this meager [at least a meager amount to the Potters, who were on par with the Malfoys in terms of wealth] sum of money, heir status would be given to the next sibling and so forth. If there wasn't another sibling or all of the children proved incompetent, the Potter Head of House would retain control of the family finances until such a time came when a child capable of handling the assets was of age. Should the head die before an heir was found, then the Goblins were instructed to block the accounts until a proper heir could be found. Once an heir was found, they would immediately take charge of all assets under the careful eyes of the Goblins until the heir manages to increase assets to a figure the Goblins set forth. In return for their help, the Potter family had pledged to be the champion of the Goblin race in their times of need so long as it is not detrimental to the family.
Ironskin, the Goblin in charge of the Potter finances, was understandably enraged upon learning that the Potter heir had been raised and abused by muggles. The Goblin King himself had been informed that Harry was being well taken care of by both the ministry and Dumbledore. Both sources had stated that not only was Harry happy and safe, but that since the age of five, Harry was to receive tutoring in various subjects that would leave him well-informed and well prepared for his house duties. Harry had quickly informed the old Goblin that no such training had happened and that he was, in fact, very ignorant of everything to do with the wizarding world and finances. With a snap of his fingers, Ironskin had summoned two much younger Goblins to his office to begin issuing orders, speaking rapidly to them in gobbledygook. Of the two, Harry recognized one.
"Griphook!" He exclaimed. Ironskin stopped speaking as Griphook turned to face Harry with a surprised yet guarded look. He remembered the young Potter heir, an ungrateful little boy that at first wouldn't stop staring at him and had eventually ignored him.
"I'm sorry I didn't say this when you first helped me, but…" Harry nervously started. He too remembered how he acted his first time at the bank and right after that visit, he had felt deeply ashamed that he hadn't been polite to the Goblin. It didn't matter the him that Griphook had been aloof during his visit, after all he was a busy Goblin who had to deal with rude wizards all day. Unfortunately, Harry hadn't seen him during his second visit to Gringotts before his second year at Hogwarts.
"Um, t-thank you for your help from before a-and," Harry paused and fidgeted, "sorry for being so rude to you as well. I shouldn't have stared or ignored you."
The three Goblins in the room stared at him.
"Thank you, Mister Potter, and all is forgiven. From what I understand," Griphook paused to carefully choose his words, "you have not been properly educated nor treated well in the few years of life of your life."
"But still, it wasn't right of me do to so, I-I" he stuttered again. "I know you must deal with that all day long from other witches and w-wizards, a-and I know w-what it's like to go w-without…"
Harry stopped and hunched his head and shoulders, bringing his hands to his chest and wringing them as he tensed all his muscles. Griphook shared a look with Ironskin. It was clear that he had not been treated well; they could see it right away. Unfortunately, the blasted wizarding government had passed a slew of regulations, restrictions, and laws not long after Harry had been orphaned. These laws severely restricted the rights of those not a witch or wizard, and quite a few were specifically written in regards to Gringotts. The bank used to have the power to read and execute wills, now it was some department in the ministry. They also took away the Goblin's ability to take and train orphans as requested by deceased families. The Goblins were outraged at all of this, but they knew nothing could be done until Harry Potter assumed the Head of House status. Now they understood the more reason behind Dumbledore's machinations, for they knew it was at the behest of this man that many light-oriented families pushed for all of the changes. Dumbledore wanted Harry oblivious and dependent upon him. For now, the three Goblins only had several speculations as to why.
"Mister Potter," Ironskin began speaking deliberately. "If I were you…"
From there, the old Goblin told Harry the Potter's traditions and relationship with the bank, and after a small tea break, what had happened since the death of his parents. As the two spoke, the two other Goblins had left, only to return upon the end of Ironskin and Harry's talk of the newly revealed situation. Griphook had with him a small purple drawstring pouch and a white card and the other, introduced to Harry as Talnus, had a piece of parchment and a small black satchel in his hands. Ironskin let each explain their items.
"This," Talnus handed Harry the satchel, "is a bottomless bag from the vault you have access to, you may place any item that can fit through the opening into the satchel. To retrieve an item, simply think of it or a key term relating to it and reach in, the item you desire will make itself known. Currently it holds most of the books on this list."
Here he handed the parchment to Harry. It was roughly a foot long and in one neatly written column was a list of books, most of which had an asterisk, that were not in any apparent order.
"Any book with an asterisk is one which you own and is in the satchel, the rest you must purchase on your own," Talnus continued. "These books are the most relevant literature in regards to finances, politics, wizarding history, and the House of Potter. They appear in the order you should read them."
"Thank you Talnus," Harry said, staring him in the eye. The Goblin gave a small bow in return. Harry then turned to Griphook.
"These are two ways to get money from you vault without coming to the bank," Griphook stated with a hard look at Harry. "This card will appear blank to everyone except for when you use it to make a purchase. It is very similar to the muggle debit card and the money comes straight from your account. Most storekeepers accept it, and for those that don't I give you this."
Griphook handed Harry the little pouch. It was light and felt empty.
"No one but yourself may use this or the card. Should you need coins, just think of how much you need and reach into the bag. This too draws directly from your account and will produce exactly the amount you desire," here the Goblin paused to let the boy absorb the information. "You may also return coins by placing them inside and closing the pouch. Both have a daily limit of one thousand galleons. When you near the limit, they will turn golden. Should you reach the limit for whatever reason, they shall turn red. If you overspend, they will burn and disappear. At such an occasion, you must come to Gringotts as soon as you are able and speak with Master Ironskin to discuss why you went over the limit and then have any necessary changed made. Do keep in mind that your vault is not limitless and should you prove to be financially incompetent despite efforts to teach and learn, you will lose your status as Potter heir."
Harry swallowed heavily before thanking the Goblin and placing the card, pouch and list in the satchel. Five minutes later, he was escorted by Griphook to the door of Gringotts with an appointment to meet with Ironskin in two days' time to discuss where the Potters stood financially and politically as well as their agreement to the Goblin nation.
Fortunately, there was enough time left in the business hours to visit Flourish and Blotts to pick up the mandatory books for Hogwarts and peruse those for the electives at the school. Based on the book and the professor listed on the school letter, Care of Magical Creatures was scratched off his list. As interesting and valuable as it sounded, the class was likely to be unpractical and questionable. Instead, he asked a sales associate for other, better books on the same subject. She had recommended several, one of which was the three volume set Harry chose to take titled "Of Our World." It had all creatures and beings from extinct to abundant, house pets to the deadly, and everything in between with the most accurate information and pictures available.
A few other classes didn't make the cut too. Muggle studies was pointless to him and while Divination sounded interesting, it was useless. Harry ended up only purchasing a book on the very basics for both Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, the books on the Goblin's list, the books for his mandatory classes at Hogwarts, and "Of Our World" [which he had already taken to calling "OOW" for short].
In the two days before his meeting at Gringotts, Harry had read and taken notes on the first few chapters all of his school books and the first three of the books from the Goblins. Each book had a sheet of parchment at the end of every chapter with notes and questions regarding that section of the book. Only "OOW" had escaped the same treatment as Harry used it more for when he wanted a break from the others but didn't want to leave where he was. The first meeting with Ironskin was tedious as they merely went over data and planned out more meetings at the bank. In the afternoons, he would spend an hour at Gringotts, most likely to go significantly longer, to discuss the Potters and their dealings with the bank and to answer any questions Harry may have.
Ron and Hermione, the "great" friends that they were, only sent him three letters total. Harry had received a letter from each on his first night in the Cauldron. Both letters were about the same two things, Harry blowing up his aunt and the fact that he was staying the rest of break in the Alley. However, both had a different tone to their letter. Ron's was far more excited at what Harry had done and the fact that he was staying in the Alley virtually unsupervised. In his letter, there was also a very strong undertone of jealousy. Hermione's, on the other hand, was the opposite. Her letter was one big lecture on why he should not have done what he did, the rules and regulations he broke, and that he should not wander the Alley but to instead "use that time wisely by studying." The undertone in her letter was more subtle than Ron's but the condescending bite and patronizing words were liberally spread throughout her long missive.
The third letter he had received from them was a dually written and short. Harry had gotten that one from a very tired Errol. Apparently, Hermione had been with the Weasleys that week and would be going with them to the Alley next week where all of them would purchase their school supplies. They expected to meet Harry at nine in the morning on Monday. He wrote a simple "fine" at the bottom and sent it back with Errol.
That Friday was quite the busy and upsetting day. Those three letters weren't the only ones he had received or replied to during his time in the Alley. Minister Fudge had indeed remembered their agreement to meet up once more and sent a letter with a purposed date and location, which Harry politely accepted too. It was at this meeting, the only afternoon that Harry hadn't spent with the Goblins, that he questioned the minister on his parent's will and the fact that it hadn't been read yet. He explained that as he did not know anything about his parents or their friends, Harry "just wanted for everyone to receive their due" and perhaps give them some closure. Fudge eyed him before agreeing to have the will read by the Goblins in the end after spending nearly twenty minutes loudly saying how Harry was "far too kind" and that "such a young boy should not have to worry about the affairs of adults." Harry was sure that everyone who passed by had heard.
The will reading was scheduled for the thirty first of July, his birthday, which would allow time for those concerned to prepare. From that point forward Harry kept up a light correspondence with the Minister, asking him simple questions regarding wizarding politics to show the man that he was learning.
Dumbledore sent exactly four letters with his familiar, Fawkes the phoenix. The first stated that the headmaster was severely disappointed in Harry and that the young boy was restricted to Diagon Alley alone and should focus his time wisely on studies. There was also a subtle demand for Harry to not spend any of his money either, to which Harry replied to the whole letter with a simple and curious tone to sound harmless. He asked why the headmaster thought he could limit what Harry could do if the man was merely the headmaster of a school which was not in session and the fact that the Minister of Magic himself gave no such restrictions except to be in his room by dark. To that, the headmaster wrote that he had Harry's best interests at heart. Harry didn't know how to safely reply to that other than he was safe and he knew what he was doing. Dumbledore didn't reply to that.
Harry received two more letters from the man in the three days leading up to the thirty first, both regarding the will reading. He said that Harry needn't worry about it in the first letter. There was a large temptation to ignore the letter but he resigned himself to a short reply stating he wanted it done as the reading should have been completed right after their deaths. Dumbledore hadn't made any further attempts to contact Harry after that until a day before the reading. The Daily Prophet reported that a man named Sirius Black had escaped Azkaban the wizarding prison. He urged Harry to cancel the reading as it would put him and many others in danger. Harry pretended that he had never opened the letter.
At one sharp, Ironskin began the reading, Harry sitting to his right and a down-trodden scrap of a man to his left. Fortunately Albus Dumbledore had arrived so late that he was relegated to the back of the room where the will was to be executed. It was a public reading so the small hall in Gringotts was packed with people; there were even some who had nothing to do with the deceased couple or their son. This did include Fudge.
Ironskin stated the full names and titles of Harry's parents and the facts of their deaths before placing a small silver bowl with runes in front of Harry. In it, he poured a silvery-white substance from a small vile. Before anything further could be said, the doors to the room, which had been closed seconds earlier, were slammed open. There stood Sirius Black.
The whole congregation stood, some moving to apprehend the man.
"Cease your actions! These are the Halls of Gringotts where Goblins rule" roared Ironskin ferociously. Silence met his cry.
Once someone stepped onto the floors of Gringotts they were in a sort of safe haven. While ministry could make laws and regulations regarding the interactions between wizards and Goblins, that was as close as they could get to affecting the bank. The bank and the land surrounding in, which was all of Diagon and a few of the nearby allies, were owned by the Goblin nation. If the ministry tried anything, the denizens of those allies and any who held an account were at risk. Any sort of ruling for the Goblin territory was passed carefully as those who entered the area were merely tolerated only for the business they provided.
Everyone angrily settled down and the proceedings continued. To Harry's shock, mist flowed from the bowl to for the upper halves of a man and a women. They were his parents. Harry only recognized them from the pictures he had seen in the album Hagrid had given him.
Both began their will with the traditional words if being sound in mind before going into detail of why they were making their will. To the shock and horror of all but three people in the room, the couple revealed that they were living under the Fidelious Charm with a man named Peter Pettigrew as their secret keeper. Harry had no idea what that was supposed to mean, but both Sirius Black and Headmaster Dumbledore knew exactly what they meant. The scrappy man opposite of Harry gripped the table hard, first in shock but then in rage. This was going to be interesting.
"You knew!" He shouted. "You knew all along that Sirius was innocent yet you let him rot in prison, you bastard!"
The table beneath his hands was cracking. Looking at the man, Harry saw his eyes lighten from a rich amber to a glowing greenish yellow and the teeth he bared at Dumbledore sharpen ever so slowly. It was clear as day to Harry, the man was a werewolf.
Whispers rumbled through the halls. The projection of Harry's parents stopped speaking.
"Yes," Dumbledore said slowly. "I knew that Peter was their secret keeper, but why would Sirius Black try to escape the ministry all those years back? Why would he attack those innocent muggles?"
Harry could see what the old man was doing. He was attempting to divert attention from himself onto Black, trying to make himself innocent in whatever trouble he had created.
"I would gladly answer that and anything else," Black rasped, "if you would only let me."
He shuffled closer to where Harry was, the people in his way cleared a path.
"Nearly thirteen years ago," he began, "it was the muggle holiday called Halloween and I had been on watch in the Auror's floor at the ministry. You see, some witches and wizards get silly on that particular night, playing tricks on the muggles. I was alerted of a disturbance in Godric's Hollow and thought nothing of it. But when I got there…"
Black stopped and closed his eyes.
"The little house the Potters called home, where they kept a room just for me to use, it was destroyed and burning. A standard Auror spell revealed no living bodies in the home. Another showed what had been cast, not that I didn't already have a clue with the Dark Lord's mark in the sky just above where the chimney used to be."
When Black opened his eyes, they were bright with tears and lost in a memory that clearly still haunted him. The room was silent and hanging on to every word.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. It was Pettigrew, trembling like the rat he is."
Harry perked at Black's use of present tense.
"He tried to tell me that he hadn't told anyone but I kept questioning no, demanding him to tell me. It didn't take long before he changed his story. This time he said that he had been tortured by the Dark Lord, but I know what his and his Death Eater's torture looks like. The rat was fine, just scared at being caught. I had lunged forward and…"
He swallowed heavily. A tackily dressed woman shouldered her way closer to Black, a floating parchment and a furiously scribbling quill drifting behind her.
"A thought had struck me and to this day I don't know why. I had lunged forward and ripped his left sleeve off. There it was, in all it's vile and disgusting infamy, the Dark Mark. Pettigrew ran so I chased him down a block. The fat bastard was easy to catch once I gathered my wits. We stood in the middle of the street, muggles surrounding us."
Black's face was slack by this point, eyes distant.
"He started screaming, madness marked his words. Said how great the Dark Lord was, how kind and right he was. Next thing I know there were other Aurors closing in on us and Peter, he…"
The use of Pettigrew's first name showed how far gone in memory Sirius Black was. His words were choked with emotions, not all of it sorrow. The werewolf had moved from his seat to stand with Black. He grasped the other man's arm and pulled him into a hug. Black tried his best to stay collected but after a brief fight, he started to cry.
"He started shouting how it was all my fault, that I had killed Lily and James. That I was a Death Eater. I was so angry, so furious at him yet devastated at the same time. My best friend and his wife, a woman I regarded as a younger sister, were dead. My godson, my beloved godson I thought he was dead too. Harry was so young and perfect and bright, he was dead. Their home, our home, was destroyed and burning. Remus was gone, he wasn't speaking with us. And now Peter, a Death Eater of all things, was blaming me for this night."
The shabby man embraced Black harder and he too began to cry silently.
"I raised my wand, Peter had his in his hand already and pointing at the ground. I tried to do something, a spell or more yelling I don't know, but I hadn't done anything when a blast sounded and smoke filled the street. Peter had caused an explosion. I had been flung back by whatever had exploded. The muggles were screaming and moaning, and the Aurors were attacking me. I don't know why until the smoke cleared and there was a huge crater in the ground with thirteen unmoving muggles laying around it. In the middle, where Peter stood, was a finger and a small dark hole in the ground. I started laughing as the Aurors arrested me. I didn't know what else to do with this impossible situation, I s'pose I was in shock."
Black closed his eyes and sighed heavily. He kept them shut and grasped the other man's shoulders.
"What no one knows except for perhaps Dumbledore and Lily, was that myself, James, and Peter were all animagi. I am a black, grim-like dog, James was a black stag, and Peter is a sandy colored rat. All three of us were unregistered. I believe that Peter knew he was as good as dead for Pettigrew was too weak to survive long in Azkaban. He saw the Aurors surrounding us and decided to blast a hole in the street, right down to the sewers beneath us. He cut off his finger, Merlin knows why, then he transformed into a rat and slipped away."
Shaking himself free of the memory and the other man, Black stood squarely and looked at Dumbledore right in the eye.
"I was sentenced to life in Azkaban without a trial, without the chance to give my side of the story, and without the use of veritism. For nearly thirteen years I have rotted there, only protected from the Dementors that guard the prison with my true thoughts of innocence and changing into my animagus form. When you," here he looked at Fudge, "came by my cell, the first time, you had the Daily Prophet in your hands and you gave it to me, Minister Fudge. In it was that family on the front page and a rat was on the youngest boy's shoulder. A rat that had a missing toe, the same that Pettigrew had cut off. A rat the same color as Pettigrew's form, and a rat with the same two black marks on it's body as Peter Pettigrew's form."
The whispers, once silence by the tale, were now rumbling once more.
"I was originally going to break out right away, but I waited to gather more strength. Then you came by again Minister Fudge, once more with the paper. This time the headline was about this very will reading, called by my godson on his thirteenth. So here I am."
"And you sir, are my godfather?" Harry questioned quietly. The tacky woman with the parchment and quill turned to him now. Harry had no idea who she was.
"Yes," Black said simply. "I thought you to be dead. I had used a standard spell and it detected no life so I left to deal with Pettigrew."
"Unfortunately, as necessary and touching as this may be, we must continue with the reading, any further actions must wait until after," growled Ironskin.
"Please do sir," said Harry.
Ironskin tapped a rune on the bowl and the couple began talking again. The first subject they approached was where Harry was to live and what was to be done with him. They gave a very long list of names should they too die, become unable to care for their boy, or decide not to care for Harry at all. It began with Black and ended with McGonagall, but nowhere on that list was the named Dursley or even Petunia. That curiosity was addressed after the couple stated they hoped for Harry to attend Hogwarts but should there arise the need or if Harry desired to attend school elsewhere he had their blessing. Their very last line concerning Harry's life was that, in the event no one could take care of him and no other avenue was available, then they would rather he become a ward of the ministry than to live with Petunia. Should Harry find himself living with her, then all donations, monies, and properties would be denied.
Several people groaned in the hall as Ironskin tapped a different rune on the bowl. This time the couple had a hard look on their faces and went on to admonish a person unknown to them, for how could they know how put Harry with Petunia? Then they listed how their things would have been divvied up if their wishes had been followed upsetting many more people including Dumbledore. The Potters had left a post script to Dumbledore's portion said that as much as the old man had been kind and helpful to them, they did not want him meddling with their son any more than a headmaster was allowed. The final item they addressed were the three men that had become their family: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. If any was found to be a traitor or Death Eater, then their share would be split amongst the remaining friends, and if all three were traitors, then they all got nothing and everything would go to Harry. The young boy was to inherit anything not given away and had the ability to grant the couple's denied gift if their wishes not be followed.
After the mist disappeared, many a witch and wizard left, and soon only Harry, Dumbledore, Fudge, Sirius Black, and the man who cried out remained.
"Harry, my boy, could you indulge an old man and have tea with me today?"
Before Harry could answer, Ironskin spoke for him.
"Mister Dumbledore," he emphasized, "My client must finish his business here and doubtless he will next have business with the Ministry."
"Indeed he will!" Fudge piped up. "We really must get Lord Black's case fixed as soon as possible! I tell you I have no idea how the ministry sentenced men without giving either a trial or veritism! I say, all the cases at that time must be looked into."
"So kind of you sir," said Harry, still quiet. "The ministry must have had nowhere near the same level of expectations and ability as it does now under your leadership."
Fudge beamed at that comment even as the rest of them gave Harry strange looks though the young boy wasn't fooled, he could see the twinkle in Fudge's eye.
"Perhaps we shall have tea another day Professor," Harry continued. "Goodbye Professor, Minister. I shall see you both soon."
A Goblin came in to escort Dumbledore out when he tried to continue speaking with Harry. Fudge had left quick enough that he didn't need the same.
"Quite an interesting conversation there Harry," said the shabby man. "I am Remus Lupin, friend to both your parents and Sirius if he shall still have me."
"Always Moony," Sirius replied. He turned to Harry, "Would you like to live with me? Once I get all sorted out with the ministry, I have several properties we can look at. You, me, and Moony, we can all live together if the two of you agree."
"Please?" Harry was stunned at both the offer and the fact that he accepted. All of his life, adults had taught him to trust no one, especially adults themselves yet here he was accepting the opportunity to live with someone he did not even know. Perhaps he was too stunned to react to that part of him which screamed for him to get away from the older men.
"Of course! And what about you Moony?"
"Of course," Remus smiled gently. "But I say, enough of this now. First, let's finish here and then to the Leaky Cauldron. No doubt Fudge has already declared you innocent Sirius and the Prophet has a special evening edition out. The ministry can wait until tomorrow when we are all fresh and clean. How does that sound Harry?"
The boy was stunned. They wanted to stay with him. They were interested in just Harry. They were interested in what he thought. They could care less about his fame, his fortune. Sirius Black wanted "him." Remus Lupin wanted "him."
"That sounds very good. Are we done Ironskin?" He nearly begged the Master Goblin.
"For now yes, however we must meet later next week. By Monday evening you should receive a statement with information regarding everything that has occurred today," replied the old Goblin. Though no smile formed on his lips, the gleam in his eye told Harry how pleased he was with this turn of events.
"M-may we leave now?" This time the pleading eyes were on the two human males.
"Of course kiddo! And we will have to see about getting a Daily Prophet as soon as possible then eh? What a mess we've caused tonight boys, we should celebrate!" Sirius grinned widely, swinging his arms to and fro.
"Sirius, you cannot-arg!" Remus couldn't help but grin back. "As much fun as it might be, we are not going to party Lord Black. Instead we are going to get rooms at the Cauldron and clean up. Tomorrow we are going to Mungo's to get you and Harry examined thoroughly then a trip to the Ministry."
" B-but I want to celebrate!" cried Sirius.
"I know, I know," said Remus. "I would rather we save that for when Harry is completely under your care and the two of you are on the mend."
" But Remmy!" Sirius whined.
A tiny giggle interrupted the two teasing men. Sirius turned to look at Harry, the source of that delightful sound.
"Harry! Don't you agree with me?" He turned begging eyes to the young boy.
"A-actually…um," he stuttered, now shy with the complete focus of the two human males. It was so different to any other interaction he held with humans and he didn't really know what to do.
"I-I agree m-more with Mr. L-lupin."
"Wah!" Sirius gasped. "Why?"
"Y-you shouldn't c-count y-your eggs b-before they h-hatch as the m-mug-gles say," Harry cringed.
"Exactly!" said the sandy-haired man. "And Harry, call me Remus."
"A-aye Remus," Harry began to wring his hands in nervousness. He felt like he was beginning to drown in all of this change.
"What's wrong Pup?" Sirius asked, stopping his pouting.
"C-can I make a s-sug-gest-ion?" the boy lost what little color he had.
"Of course!" both men answered.
"W-what if we had d-dinner together a-as a small ce-celeb-bration of o-our meeting today? W-we could go to the C-cauldron, clean up, and m-meet in t-the P-pub to eat. Bed a-after t-that," Harry couldn't look anywhere but the ground when he gave his suggestion. For all that he appeared confident during the school year and even while in the Alley, it was nearly all washed away under the eye of two men so close to his parents. The stress and shock of the day hadn't helped either.
"That is a brilliant idea Pup!" Sirius grinned. "That way we get a little merriment to sleep on and still keep old Remmy happy."
At this, Harry was able to glance up at the two with a small smile before that fleeting confidence left him and he returned his gaze to the floor.
"It is a good idea, especially because it is your thirteenth birthday" Remus said eyeing Sirius. "Alright, let's go now so we aren't up too late."
At this time he turned to the Goblins.
"We apologize for ignoring you gentlemen, but erm…" Remus trailed off.
"It is quite alright. Business for the day concluded once the readings were completed. However, the three of you need come back once you are settled so that we may finalize today's proceedings. As I said previously, Harry will receive a statement with what occurred today. We need to know what he decides to do. Unless there is anything else, may fortune for you," replied Ironskin. Already the other Goblins in the room began to disappear as a few came in to tidy up the mess left behind.
"No, thank you Ironskin. May treasures fill your life," said Harry.
As the boy went by Sirius and Remus to pass through the chamber doors, the two older men shared a look. Silently communicating, they agreed that once Harry retired for the night, they would be watching him closely and speaking about the boy. Based upon reactions from the crowd and Harry during the reading, he had indeed been living with the Dursleys. Clearly they weren't kind to the boy, in fact Sirius believed them to be very abusive. Harry was far too tiny and awkward to have had a good life thus far. And he knew it wouldn't bode well tonight of all nights. Making a mental note to talk with Harry about the night's significance, Sirius thanked Merlin he was now relatively free.
Quickly the two men turned to follow Harry, only slowing to walk side-by-side with him. On the streets, wizards and witches pointed at the trio. Already they could hear whispers about Sirius being innocent. Some gesticulated wildly between the Daily Prophet in their hands and the men as they walked by.
"Remmy, would you be a dear and snap a paper?" said Sirius as posh'ly as he could, hoping to hear another giggle from Harry.
"Of course Lord Black. I do believe the special edition is circulating already," Remus replied in kind.
The man took one from a stunned paper-boy, putting to correct amount of knuts in his empty hand.
"He you are my good sir," Remus passed the paper along.
"Why thank you," Sirius snapped the paper open.
Their silliness was not in vain. As soon as Sirius appeared occupied with the newspaper, Harry let out a quite stream of giggles.
When the trio passed Madam Malkins, Harry stopped. This caused Remus and Sirius to walk a few paces before they realized their companion was not with them.
Turning around, they spotted Harry and sent him a questioning look as they turned to face him.
"You two need new robes," he said, looking at the ground again.
To this, they had no real argument.
"C-come on," Harry led the two into the shop.
Once inside, a soft rustling was heard before a plump witch came into view.
"What can I do for you today Mr. Potter?" Madam Malkin gave a small glance to Harry's companions, her main focus on the boy.
"Sirius and Remus need new robes please. A simple set for now and ones appropriate to a visit to the Ministry. We have to go there tomorrow."
" Of course dear. Follow me gentlemen," She and Harry headed to the back.
Stunned, they followed. It wasn't until Harry and the seamstress began discussing cuts and colors that they spoke again. Quickly their protests were hushed and a measuring tape flying over their bodies.
Half an hour later, they were walking out of the store with a bag in each hand. All of the employees had worked together to complete all five sets of robes. Two simple ones for Sirius and Remus each to wear after cleaning up and a fancy set for all three of them for tomorrow's trip to the Ministry. Both men had vehemently tried to stop Harry from paying for the expenses but had been soundly defeated when asked how they would pay if they had no money on them. After several promises of ice cream and other treats later, the trio was once more on their way to the Leaky cauldron.
If, after reading this, anyone would like to be a serious, long-term Beta for me, get in contact through PM or Review. In order to show me "what you have" please pick any section from this chapter, whether it needs work due to my mistakes or you think you can make it better, change it and send it to me with brief explanations on why you changed what you did. Based on your work and your reasoning, you will get the job.