Chapter Three—Diagon Alley
"Why am I in disguise again?" Harry asked Remus, the man who in two short days he had come to like more than any person he had ever met, even if he did think this whole 'wizarding world' affair was some kind of joke. Remus had said his father had been a prankster, maybe Remus was trying to take up the mantle or something now.
"Harry I told you—you're well known in the wizarding world, I just don't want to deal with that yet. And I don't think you do either. I haven't even written Albus yet..." Remus replied a little worriedly.
Harry nodded, his light brown, and neat for once hair seemed a little too strange for him as the fringe of it was dropping down into his now brown eyes.
They had been forced to put muggle make up on the scar, magic didn't seem to cooperate with it.
Harry gave Remus a slightly odd look as they stopped in front of the shabby looking pub. This couldn't be the entrance to the magical world could it? Harry had been thinking of something a little more...grand, or magical for such a fairy tale like Remus had told him.
But apparently, whatever errant thoughts Harry had had, this was indeed the entrance to Diagon Alley as Remus began to make his way in.
The bar was dirty, but Harry didn't really mind. If anything after living with Petunia he had a preference for dirty things after her hyper hygienic tendencies.
"Tom," Remus nodded to the barman in acknowledgement. Not many people looked up when Remus entered, and the ones that did hardly bothered with a greeting except the old bartender.
Remus reached to put a hand on Harry's shoulder to guide him through the room, but he flinched violently after years of habit. Remus looked somewhat taken aback by the response, and watched as Harry avoided his eyes, continuing on, clearly not wanting to acknowledge his reaction.
They walked through the back until they came to the brick wall outside.
Reaching for his wand, Remus tapped some of the bricks as Harry watched on curiously.
Just when he had been about to ask Remus if this really was his idea of an elaborate prank, the bricks began to move and behind it Harry could see a bustling market place filled with oddly dressed people.
A rare smile appeared on Harry's face when the bricks began to shift to reveal the alley.
"Wow." He said, a little awestruck by the magnificent view before them.
"Yeah," Remus said softly, smiling down at James's son.
It was an amazing sight, one of the best things about the wizarding world. A sight that didn't hint at all the underlying corruption that ran rampant throughout their community.
There were colorful signs and wildly dressed people all about the alley. Lining the sides were bright shops, selling a variety of things that seemed to be out of Harry's wildest imagination.
He was amazed. A feeling of belonging and happiness he had never felt before expanded in him at finally seeing the first glimpse of his real world, his parent's world.
"Alright Harry, let's go to Gringotts, we'll need some money from your vault."
Harry nodded and they made their way through the crowded streets into the tall, large marble building waiting at the end for them.
Gringotts, in all it's splendor, put any muggle building to shame that Harry had ever seen.
However the ugly creatures that Remus had forewarned him about, were a little less splendid.
They looked at Remus nastily, "Here to withdraw from your vault, Mr. Lupin?" One of them asked as they approached the assistance desks, a smirk of some sort written across his ugly face.
Lupin grimaced slightly, frowning as he replied politely, "Not myself today, no. My charge here on the on the other hand—" He gestured Harry to step up.
"Would appreciate your confidentially, and with his blood would like to enter." Lupin continued.
"Doesn't possess his key?" The goblin asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Not today." Lupin said, still in his usual light voice although there was an underlying tension.
"Very well," the goblin gestured Harry forward while he reached for something from his desk. Lupin gave him an encouraging look as he timidly moved his hand forward. The goblin quickly pricked his finger with little warning, startling the eleven year old slightly.
The drop of blood hit onto the parchment that the Goblin had just retrieved from his drawer, settling and being absorbed into it until the parchment was clean again.
There was a moment when the three of them were simply staring at a blank piece of paper before, rising out of the parchment, ink began to gracefully spread to form the name Harry James Potter.
The goblin glanced up at Harry, something akin to interest in his face now. Lupin gave the goblin a short nod, "Can we enter the trust fund vault now please?"
"Of course," The goblin turned behind him, gesturing for another one to come to him.
"Griphook, escort these two to vault number six hundred and eighty seven." The goblin said shortly to one of his co-workers.
Griphook, if he was surprised, didn't show it. "Very well, come this way."
Lupin and Harry followed him to one of the nearby carts, a vast dark tunnel in front of them which seemed to stretch on endlessly.
Lupin didn't seem to enjoy the fast cart ride very much, for Harry though it was like the roller coasters that his Aunt had never allowed him to ride the couple of times they had had no choice but to bring him to the amusement park when they took Dudley.
The damp air stung his eyes as they whipped around, but he still found the ride fascinating as they rolled beneath London.
"Here we are, vault six hundred and eighty seven," the goblin said stepping out of the cart and unlocking the large, metal doors that were set into the stone of the underground, torches surrounding them.
Through the doors sat gallons piled high, gleaming in stacks of gold surrounded by the silver and bronze of sickles and knuts.
Harry stood back, a peculiar feeling at seeing something that was his. He had never really owned anything in his life and now he had this entire vault that seemed to hold a modest fortune—he wasn't sure how to feel about it.
"Coming in Harry?" Remus asked him.
Shaking away his thoughts and nodding Harry stepped into the vault.
"This is your trust fund vault, you also have your parent's vault and the Potter vault, but you can't access either of those until you are seventeen." Remus told him.
"You mean there's more?" Harry asked, shocked.
Remus laughed, "Your father came from a very old line of pure-bloods Harry. One of the oldest families in magical Britain. I'll take you out to the manor sometime soon, once we get everything settled for school...It's been abandoned for some time now." Remus added sadly.
Harry took a moment to process that before Remus continued.
"You'll probably need...oh—say a hundred gallons. That way you can get all your school supplies and still have some money left over that you can keep with you or get some other things if you like," Remus advised.
"Okay," Harry taking the sack Griphook had gave him began to pile the gallons into it, estimating to a hundred.
"And you should get a few sickles and knuts for some of the smaller things," Remus said, taking another sack and putting the lesser coins in it.
Harry's own was extremely heavy now that it was filled with gallons. "Here, let me put a lightening charm on that," Remus said after watching Harry struggle with the bag.
As he went to pick it back up he was surprised to find it was almost weightless and looking inside it to make sure the gold was still there, he looked back at Remus who was sending him an amused glance.
"I told you magic was real," Remus said a grin. Harry grinned back, and they made their way out of the bank and back into the alley.
After a few hours of shopping, Harry had almost everything he needed. Everything except for a wand.
"Why don't you get this one by yourself Harry," Remus suggested, hands in his pockets as he stood outside the door of Ollivander's which Harry's hand rested on.
"What?" He asked, surprised as he whirled around to look at Remus.
"Go on ahead. I have some business I need to do and...well getting a wand is kind of a—unique experience. It's something I think you'll appreciate on your own." Remus said lightly.
"But—um..." Harry honestly felt a bit panicked, although it did embarrass him to admit it, Remus was his security blanket in this whole strange world he hadn't even fully believed existed until then. The thought of just being off by himself was a bit daunting.
"You'll be fine," Remus added, reassuringly catching his expression and putting a hand on the young boy's shoulder. "I'll be right across the street, alright?" He gestured over toward some magical animal store with a nod.
"Yeah," Harry said uncertainly. He felt guilty for keeping Remus, after all the trouble he probably put him through just to bring him there and here he wouldn't even let the man take care of some business. Harry blushed as he reprimanded himself mentally.
Remus with one last look back had started over toward the other side of the street, and so Harry with a deep breath pushed open the wand shop door.
It was rather dark and slightly musty smelling inside the shop. There was no one there, the dust covered surfaces making everything a little eerie.
"Hello?" Harry called out, looking around. He had reached the counter where he sat some of the bags he was carrying from his earlier shopping.
He looked at the small bell ringer appraisingly, it was the only thing without a light film of dust on the countertop.
Reaching over tentatively, he rang it, the high chimed ding seeming to echo throughout the store.
"Yes?" A voice asked from behind.
Harry almost jumped out of his skin as he looked behind him.
There standing only a meter away was an elderly gentlemen, with the most glowing, creepy in a way, blue eyes.
Harry's heart rate was still spiked from being surprised by the man's sudden appearance has he answered, "I'm here to buy a wand...sir."
"Why of course, I assumed that naturally. This is a wand shop after all my dear boy." The man smiled, moving around to stand behind the counter top.
He extended his hand over it, "I am Ollivander."
Harry smiled, he almost said 'Well naturally, this is Ollivander's after all,' but he was worried Ollivander would misconstrue it and be offended.
The last thing he wanted to do was offend the owner of the shop, or anyone really.
So instead he kept silent, giving Ollivander a timid and awkward smile.
"Well Harry, I must say time does go by quickly." Harry started a bit, amazed how Ollivander knew who he was. He was in disguise and while he knew he was famous in this world, he was still just Harry, just Harry who he was sure had never met Ollivander.
"Oh yes, why it seems just yesterday your mother and father were in here buying their first wands!" Ollivander added, from where he was now out of sight, hidden behind the massive shelves of narrow long boxes he had walked behind.
"You knew my mother and father?" Harry asked interestedly, leaning over the counter to try to see Ollivander better at the revelation.
"Well, almost every wizard and witch in Britain has bought their wand from this store." He said simply.
Harry deflated, sorely disappointed, "Oh."
Glancing away from the boxes to see the boy's crest fallen expression he added kindly, "Your father came in here, he was around eleven of course...when they all get their wands. He was a ball of energy, your poor grandmother had her hands full trying to keep that one out of trouble. In fact, before I could even offer a wand to him—he ran back here and began trying them himself!"
Harry was listening with rapt attention, a slight awed smile on his face to finally hear about the memories of people he had cherished even when he didn't even know the most basic things about them.
Ollivander seeing his audience's desire continued, "Your grandmother was not happy about that. But it was all well and fine. He ended up with an eleven inch, mahogany—good for transfiguration."
Ollivander shuffled through more of the what seemed to be a never ending stack of wands, "Your mother on the other hand...well she was much different. A little shy actually—" he looked back toward Harry meaningfully, "—a bit like you, I'd say."
Harry wasn't sure how to respond so he just waited for Ollivander to continue, "She on the other hand had a ten and one quarter inch willow wand. Wonderful for charms, which I hear she was very adept at."
He came back to the front with one container, opening it gently he set it on the counter.
"Ah, here we have it. Dragon heartstring...quite the fighter that horntail was...ten and a quarter inch, willow. Nice for transfiguration, a powerful wand." Ollivander said as he twirled the wand between his fingers, eyeing it with an artist's eye.
He handed the wand out to Harry who stared blankly at it for a moment.
"Well take it! Wave it around a bit...we won't know until you try." He said a bit impatiently, departing from his usual dreamy speech.
Harry reached out, hastily grabbing the wand and stood there a bit dumbfounded for a moment. It felt like any other piece of wood did, he waved it around a bit unsure of what exactly he was supposed to do.
The loud crash of the wands flying out of the shelves and hitting the wall startled him so badly he dropped it.
Ollivander snatched the wand back from him, placing it back in the case and putting it on the pile of wand boxes scattered on the floor from the trial.
"I'm so sorry—I'll pick those up—" Harry began, worried about the mess he had caused. His first day as a wizard and already he was a disaster, he fretted.
Ollivander waved him off, "It is no matter." He said no more as he shuffled through some boxes of wands.
"Well, that one won't do...hmm—try this." He handed Harry a different one, this one of a darker wood.
Several ruined shelves, thrown about wands, a destroyed countertop, and a shattered vase later, Ollivander finally stopped handing wands to Harry for a moment.
Harry looked over at him from around the pile of failed wands, worried the man had finally given up. There must have been some kind of mistake, Harry wasn't a wizard after all.
He would have to apologize to Remus, Remus must think he's someone else. There must be another Harry Potter who really was the son of Remus's old friends. He would have to see if Mr. Elwin—
His inner monologue was interrupted by Ollivander who had been standing in front of him, studying him the entire time. "I think I have just the thing."
He didn't even seem frustrated, if anything the difficult customer seemed to have excited him.
Harry waited, tapping his foot in his anxiousness as Ollivander came back to the front with just a single box and gingerly removed the wand from it. Holding it out to Harry by balancing it on a finger.
He looked on it like a scientist would on their greatest experiment unfolding, a look that made Harry slightly uncomfortable.
He took the wand, and with a deep breath hoping that this one would work, made one smooth sweeping arc.
A warm feeling swept through his fingertips down to his toes, and gold sparks shot from the wand all the way into the ceiling.
"Bravo...bravo," Ollivander said, walking in a circle around Harry as he surveyed him. The behavior made Harry a bit nervous but he paid little mind to it as he was so relieved a wand had worked for him.
"You know Mr. Potter, I remember every wand I've ever sold." Ollivander stated from the behind the countertop where he now stood.
"D—do you sir?" Harry asked, stumbling over his words slightly in his bewilderment.
"Yes, every single one. Your wand Mr. Potter—" He said gesturing to the one Harry still held in his hand, "—it has a phoenix feather core."
"It does sir?" Harry asked after a pause, trying to ascertain exactly where the old wand maker was going with this.
"Yes, the phoenix that gave that feather also gave another feather—just one other. It so happens that this other feather, the brother to that wand—" He paused looking intently at Harry.
"—it gave you that scar."
The statement hung in the air for an immeasurable moment. Harry nearly dropped the wand he was holding.
Remus had told him about Voldemort, he had explained how his parents had opposed to everything he had stood for, and how it had cost them their lives.
He had also told him how he, Harry, had somehow survived that night and Voldemort had never been heard from again. To Harry it was a slight disappointment, it seemed even in a world of the abnormal he could not loose his 'freak' status Petunia had so graciously bestowed on him since he was found on her doorstep.
He took a deep shaky breath, carefully placing the wand on the countertop and eyeing it warily as if it were dangerous.
"How much sir?" Harry asked, politely but clearly anxious to leave.
"He who must not be named did great things Mr. Potter, terrible—but great. It seems as though we can except great—"
"How much sir?" Harry asked, raising his eyes to meet the store keepers. He was feeling uncomfortable to the point of sickness now in the pit of his stomach. He just wanted to leave the shop.
Ollivander looked a little taken back but nodded, something akin to understanding seeming to pass over his features.
Harry nodded, reaching in his pouch and counting the little gold coins. He placed them on the counter, and taking his wand, which had been placed back into the box Ollivander had brought it to him in he left rather hastily.
Outside the shop he walked down the alley a small way, looking for the pet store Remus had gone to.
He was only a little ways from the store when a snatch of a conversation caught his ear.
"They still haven't found the Potter boy then?" An middle aged brunette witch in deep purple asked a plainer dressed woman with bright red hair.
"No, Dorothea told me Dumbledore himself is searching but there hasn't been a single stitch of the boy." The other one said in a lower voice. Harry stopped, backing around the corner and crouching slightly in one of the alley ways springing off of Diagon. He could hear them well from there.
"He was Hogwart's age this year wasn't he Molly? Same age as your youngest?" The brunette asked.
"Well yes—I mean no. No, Ron isn't my youngest. But he would that age I suppose." Molly answered, looking slightly uncomfortable.
"So how is Elai—" The red head's attempt at a subject change was ignored.
"I heard his relatives told them all kinds of things when they came checkin' for the boy. Said he was right nasty piece of work. That's why they kicked him out." The brunette went on.
"Well...he is a Potter." Molly finally said hesitantly.
Harry flinched slightly, what had the Dursleys done? Would he ever be free of their influence?
"True, a dark family if there ever was one." The brunette agreed. "And I remember Lily Evans from school...my brother fancied her his fourth year. Every boy did. She of course never spared him a glance, but she was like that wasn't she? Cold hearted that one."
Molly didn't say anything, her brow furrowing slightly as she looked even more uncomfortable.
The brunette looked over at her and a flash of recognition came upon her, "I'm sorry Molly. I forgot—Susan was rather close to her. Wasn't she? I'm sorry dear, you probably don't want to discuss that."
Molly finally seemed to snap out of her trance, "No, no. It's fine. Um—yes, I...she and Susan were rather good friends I think in their school years." Molly said, a little disconcerted.
"You mustn't ever blame yourself for that one dear. It was Black that turned her bad, no one holds it against you Prewetts." The brunette went on, not noticing Molly's flinch at the name 'Susan,' and the anger that ignited in her eyes at the mention of Black.
"Well, many are not what they seem." Molly said coldly, swallowing as she fiddled with her hands.
"I'm sorry dear," the other woman reached over and patted her on the arm.
Harry sat around the corner, his legs beginning to ache slightly from crouching. His heart rate was slightly accelerated, Remus had told him his mother was the kindest person he had ever met. Surely that was the truth?
"Well to be honest I hope they never find him." The brunette said after a silence.
"Who?" Molly asked, looking as if she had been jarred from her thoughts.
"The Potter child." The other woman answered slightly impatiently.
"Oh yes...well Albus certainly is trying hard to find him." She answered noncommittally.
"I am aware. Heart to large for his own good sometimes that man," The other woman shook her head.
"But, well everyone knows it, there was something dark about that boy. That's why You-know-who went after him." The woman said.
Molly looked unsure. Noticing her expression the brunette latched onto her arm, "Come now Molly—you can't tell me you want him be a part of this world. Another dark lord! You want him going to Hogwarts, sharing the same school as your children!" She asked incredulously.
Molly finally replied after a moment, "It seems awful to say, but I do admit that it would probably be for the best if he wasn't found. Let him live in the muggle world," She shrugged with a sigh.
"I'm glad you're understanding. A lot of people are trying to tell Albus to do the same." The other woman said.
"I will say that if he does come to Hogwarts, my children will be staying away from him." Molly said, and with that the two women walked further down the street away from Harry's hearing ranger where he hid around the corner.
He sat back against the wall, allowing his legs to sprawl out in front of him as he fell back.
'Something dark about him,' Her words rang in his head. He looked down at his hands. He had just gotten the wand incarnate of a murderer, a murderer who had killed his own parents. Maybe she was right about him.
Thoughts like this continued to bother him until he laid his had down in his hands on his lap, trying to block out the world.
That was how Remus found him several minutes later.
"Harry?" The boy glanced up to the tall height of the older man where he stood above him.
"What are doing here?" Remus asked incredulously.
"Well...er—" He couldn't exactly say eavesdropping now could he?
"Are you alright?" Remus asked worriedly.
"Yeah, yeah...I'm fine. I just—can we go now please?" Harry asked as he scrambled to his feet.
"We are done with your school shopping...but I was planning one going for some ice cream?" Remus said, a note of question entering his voice as he continued to look at Harry curiously.
"No. I mean—if you would want to." Harry quickly tacked on, scared to offend the man.
"No Harry, that's fine. We'll just be on our way then." Remus said, reading his charges expression.
Harry nodded, gratefully relieved that he wouldn't have to stay there any longer.
"Oh, by the way—" Remus said gesturing behind him as he stepped aside so Harry could see.
"—I know it's a little late. But better late then never I suppose...happy birthday Harry."
There behind him was a beautiful snowy owl sitting in a bird cage. She was asleep, her head tucked under one large white wing as the sun light glistened off her feathers.
"I—Thank you!" Harry said, startled. He had never gotten a birthday present before, that he could remember. He hadn't even known his birthday until he had looked it up on his school records one time.
Remus smiled at him, "Well lets get home then. Probably for the best anyhow, your owl will need to get settled."
Harry nodded, thinking of all the things he needed to ask Remus when they were back at the cottage. It seemed there was actually much more to his story that Remus had told him.
Thank you so much to everyone that has, while I am lacking time to respond to every single one individually, know that I do read every single review and really consider what they have to say.
The next chapter will see him at nine and three quarters, and after that there will probably be what I am thinking will come out to be three chapters about his first year before we will be in second year. Like I wrote earlier, I do not want to spend an inordinate amount of time with Ginny not in the story but I can't leave out first year entirely and have the story develop correctly.