Hi everybody. I decided this story would be the one to be updated this weekend. Happy reading.
Harry had to spend one more night as Healer Reggam wanted to make sure that there were no negative after-effects of the splint being removed. The next morning his diagnosis spell came up with very little dark residue. It seemed now that the splint was gone, the healing could take place like it should have years ago. Harry felt better than ever before. When he woke up in the morning and intended to go to the bathroom to put his contacts in, he noticed he could see clearly. Seemingly the splint had badly influenced his eyes. He also figured Fawkes' tears could have helped. He wasn't sure, but he thought it was great that he could see without optical support. When Harry walked down into the entrance hall, he saw a giant of a man standing there. When the man, who had a bushy black beard with similar hair and a strange brown overcoat with lots of pockets like it seemed, saw him his face lit up.
He walked over to him.
"Hello, Harry. Professor Dumbledore sent me to get yer to the Leaky Cauldron. Told me yer would stay there for a while and wanted to learn more about the magical world. Oh, by the way, I'm Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts. But call me Hagrid, Ev'ry one does. Heard what those bloody muggles did to yer. Horrible I tell yer. Treating Lily and James Potter's son like that. Yer mother would have hexed her sister good if she could." Hagrid said huffing.
Harry couldn't help and find Hagrid nice. He didn't seem to be the brightest, but he definitely had an aura of kindness around him.
"Nice to meet you, Hagrid." Harry said, holding out his hand for Hagrid to shake.
Hagrid took the hand and shook it.
"No need for that much formality, Harry. I've to say you've grown a good part since I las' saw yer. Fit in my hand las' time. 'T was me who got yer outta the house. So tiny and tha' cut on yer forehead. If I'd known what those muggles would do, I'd have left 'em a present' ter show 'em my opinion of 'em." Hagrid told him.
Harry grinned. He had some pretty nice ideas what he could do to the Dursleys if he ever had the bad luck of meeting them again.
"C'mon. Let's take yer to the Cauldron. We'll have ter take muggle transport. I don' fit in the floo here." Hagrid said.
"No problem. How far is Charing Cross Road away from here?" Harry asked.
"On foot, twenty minutes. I don' know about those muggle vehicles. Never really learned how ter go by 'em. Only those train like ones." Hagrid answered.
"That's no problem. As long as you know the way, we can walk. I've never really been to London except for the finals of the primary school championship in football. But then we were only driven to the stadium where the competition was taking place." Harry said.
"Yes, I heard yer were really good at football. I'm curious how yer'd be at Quidditch. Yer dad was a great Quidditch player. Gave yer mum quite a few scares when they were dating in their seventh year." Hagrid chuckled.
"You knew them better?" Harry asked.
"Yeah, I did. Even at school. Yer da' and his gang of friends were a right han'ful. Always up ter prank somebody. Liked a good laugh 'em. Don' know how often I had ter chase 'em outta the forest. But they were great people yer parents. Is a shame what happened to 'em. They were headboy and 'girl in their time. Both very bright. But yer mum also had a temper when she wanted. Yer da' was a bit stupid abou' his attemp's at tryin' ter win her. Got himself hexed good if she was furious. Needed ter mellow out a bit ter get her, but I've rarely seen a couple so in love as 'em after they finally were together. And when yer were born, yer da' an' his friends let loose a great firework at the Hogwarts grounds.
"Thought the students and teachers should also celebrate with 'em. And one look was 'nough to see they loved yer more than anythin'. Really great people they were." Hagrid said, having to clean his nose over the memories.
Harry was touched. This was more than he ever had heard about them. And they seemed to be normal people, with their own quirks.
"What position did my dad play at Quidditch?" Harry asked.
"He was chaser, and a damn good one. From wha' Lily an' James told us during Order meetin's you were a natural on a broom. Yer da' found it terribly funny, yer mum not so much as yer nearly killed her cat on tha' toy broom yer had." Hagrid chuckled.
Harry laughed. He tried to imagine the faces of his mum and dad when they told their stories. The only problem was he didn't have a picture to go by.
"Hagrid, were there any photos left in the house, when you got me?" Harry asked hopefully.
"I didn' get ter really look. I only got yer outta there. But I can try an' see if some of their ol' friends have some which they'd give yer." Hagrid said.
"That would be great. I never saw a photo of them and never was allowed to ask questions about them with the Dursleys." Harry said.
"Bloody muggles, I'd like ter introduce 'em ter Fluffy sometime." Hagrid mumbled.
"Who is Fluffy?" Harry asked, not being capable of imagining anything called Fluffy scaring the Dursleys.
"A three headed dog I got from a Greek chappie a while ago. Real softy he is, yer only need ter know how ter handle him. Play 'im a bit of music an' he falls asleep. Mos' magical creatures are only misunderstood, I think. Look at 'em callin' Thestrals dangerous creatures. Only 'cause they can only be seen by those who've seen death. Thestrals can look after 'emselves. Ministry fools don' like tha'. We've a 'hole herd at Hogwarts. They pull the carriages for the students when they come with the Hogwarts Express every year." Hagrid said while they walked through the part of London where St. Mungo's was located towards Diagon Alley.
Harry imagined the Dursleys covering in fear while a big Cerberus growled at them. He grinned evilly. Perhaps there was a way to make that meeting happen one day.
"What other creatures are living at Hogwarts?" Harry asked.
"Well, of course we've a whole bunch of owls. Really useful. Many students bring their owls too o'er the year. You see, they carry yer mail, get yer the newspaper and make good pets. I don' like cats ter much, they make me sneeze and tha' cat of Filch, the caretaker, always follows me 'round when I'm in the castle. Filch puts her onto it, I'm sure. I'd like ter give her a good kick sometimes. Nasty piece o' …" Hagrid stopped saying what he thought of the caretaker's cat.
"Other students have toads, but they wen' outta fashion years ago. Yer don' wanna be seen with one. There are a few others. I know one o' the Weasley boys has a rat. In the grounds there are many great creatures. They mos'ly live in the forest. It's forbidden for students to go there. I don' know though how often I've chased those Weasley twins outta there. There are Hippogriffs, we have a knarl colony, a few bowtruckles, salamanders, acromantula, unicorns, a giant squid in the lake, a few grindylows are also in there, some fairies, centaurs are living in the forest, the normal forest animals you also find in muggle forests and I know there is a runespoor somewhere inside. I never saw it meself, but I found eggshells durin' one of me walks." Hagrid listed the creatures.
"Wow, that's a lot of creatures. What exactly is a runespoor?" Harry asked.
"A magical snake with three heads. Many fear snakes, but they're only animals like others. Don' anger 'em an' they won' harm yer." Hagrid said.
Finally Harry recognized Charing Cross Road.
"Ah, we're here. Let's get ter Tom an' see what room he got yer. Then if yer want I can show yer around Diagon Alley a bit. I guess yer didn' see ter much with Professor McGonagall. She tends ter keep visits ter the essentials." Hagrid said.
"Yes, I know a few shops like the bookshop and I saw the others in walking past. We were at Gringotts to get me some money first and I have an appointment with my account manager Corpnik on my birthday at ten in the morning." Harry confirmed Hagrid's assumption.
Hagrid led Harry into the Leaky Cauldron and asked Tom where Harry's room would be.
"Ah, yes Professor Dumbledore came by and told me you would stay here for a while until he got the matter of where you'll stay in the future solved. He also told me to keep your stay here secret. He didn't want the press to come upon you like vultures. Can be nasty those in bigger numbers. Keep an eye out for Rita Skeeter. She has a very sharp and nasty quill. Always out to get a sensational story. Doesn't always print the complete truth though. She likes to exaggerate. Here we are; room twelve, a bit isolated from the other rooms. Breakfast is down in the pub from seven to half past nine. Lunch and dinner don't have fixed times; just remember the kitchen closes at half past eleven." Tom said.
"Okay, I'll remember that." Harry said.
Harry was led to the second floor of the Leaky Cauldron. There room 12 was located at the end of the corridor. The room itself held a comfy looking queen size bed with dark blue curtains by the window. There were a rustically looking wardrobe, a desk, shelves for books, a chest of drawers and table with two armchairs by a small fireplace.
"Why don' you get settled in, Harry and when you're done, yer join me for lunch down in the pub. After tha' we can take a walk aroun' Diagon." Hagrid suggested.
"Sounds good to me, Hagrid." Harry said.
Hagrid and Tom left the room and Harry started to put his few clothes into the wardrobe and chest of drawers. He placed his books on a shelf and let himself fall onto the bed. It was soft and he was sure he would sleep really well in it. Finally Harry decided it was time to go down to Hagrid. He wanted to see Diagon Alley, but he also needed to get some more clothes for normal day wear. The one set Professor McGonagall had got him was well, but he couldn't wear it all the time. It would need washing sometime and he also didn't want to look like a slob. No, those days were over. He looked into the mirror and noticed that his scar, while still red, didn't look as pronounced as before anymore. Perhaps it would fade more over time so that it would be hard to notice.
He walked down to the pub, having made sure that his fringe covered the scar. At the moment the weather was too warm to think about wearing a cap or something like that. On top the scar was still tender and putting pressure on it wasn't a smart idea. And he doubted people would recognize him immediately as long as the scar was covered and Hagrid and Tom didn't slip up. He spotted Hagrid easily. With his size, Hagrid stood out everywhere. Harry took a seat on the other side of Hagrid and asked what food was recommendable here. Hagrid told him the shepherd's pie was good, so Harry decided to test it.
While they were eating, Harry asked Hagrid more about Hogwarts.
"So what is the school like?" Harry asked.
"Ah, Hogwarts is great. The castle and the grounds aroun' are big 'nough to have place fer a thousan' students easily. At the momen' though, we only have abou' three hundred. Yer see, durin' the war, many died before they had children. Shame tha', so many good people fell ter You-Know-Who. The McKinnons, the Bones, the Prewetts. Sometimes the Death Eaters also turned on the babies and lil' children. Monsters they all were. So many died. So the current years at Hogwarts only have a bi' mor'n forty each. Numbers'll go up again soon. Nex' two years are the las' ones where the war was still goin' when the children were born.
"Was a right boom o' babies the year after You-Know-Who was defeated. So numbers'll go up. There're four houses, as yer know. Gryffindor, my ol' house, yer parents were also in there, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw an' Slytherin. Each's named after a founder. Gryffindors are brave an' honourable, Hufflepuffs are mos'ly seen as duffers, but yer won' find a person more loyal an' hard-workin' than a Puff. Ravenclaws are the smart ones. Yer'll nearly always find 'em with a book. And the Slytherins are cunning an' ambitious, but nearly all those tha' supported You-Know-Who were in that house. Dark place Slytherin has become. Wasn' as bad in my time. Still had nasty folks there.
"The students in a house have their classes together. Sometimes with another house. Hogwarts also has a great Quidditch pitch. Big competition fer the cup each year. If yer sorted in Gryffindor you'll see how fanatic some people can be. Captain of the Gryffindor team, Wood, is highly competitive. Doesn' like losing tha' guy. Had ter take a harsh loss in the las' match las' year."
Harry nodded. He wanted to see if he could play Quidditch. But the no broom for first-years rule sucked.
"Hagrid, are there rules against first-years trying out for the teams?" Harry asked.
"Interested eh? I only know 'bout the broom rule, but not abou' a not tryin' out rule. Yer would have ter talk to Madam Hooch, the flyin' instructor to know. With how James always boasted abou' yer talent, yer could have a chance." Hagrid said smiling.
Harry finished his pie and told Tom to put the money on his room bill. Then he and Hagrid went to the back door and Hagrid held up the pink umbrella, which Harry had wondered about for some time and tipped the stone McGonagall had also used to open the passage.
"Why didn't you use your wand to open the arch?" Harry asked.
"Well, yer know, Harry. I was at Hogwarts meself when I was younger, but I was expelled and me wand snapped." Hagrid said.
"But why were you expelled?" Harry asked.
"Ah, see over there; let's start the tour with the Magical Menagerie." Hagrid deflected the question.
Harry understood that Hagrid didn't want to talk about it, but he would do research to see if he could find out.
Over the next two hours Hagrid showed Harry around Diagon Alley and some of the side alleys where insiders got some pretty neat things. He also showed him where Knockturn Alley started and warned him not to go in there. Pretty dark folks in there, he told Harry. Harry was informed about the clothes shops that were there, Madam Malkin's, the shop where most people shopped and then Twilfitt and Tatting's, a shop that courted the wealthier clientele. Harry would wait and see what he had inherited until he decided on his wardrobe. The appointment with Corpnik would see to him getting that information. He noticed that some people gave him disapproving looks, probably because of his appearance in muggle clothes. Well, they were some people whose faces he would remember. They didn't seem like the people he wanted to be close to.
He intended to get in touch with the higher society that was either light sided or neutral. The dark sided ones he would treat politely but distantly. Perhaps show up a few to make himself look better in the eyes of his peers. Hagrid also took him to Quality for Quidditch, the shop for Quidditch equipment. There was a broom on display that caught quite a few awed comments from children and teenagers that stood in front of the window. Harry asked Hagrid if they could go inside, because he wanted to ask an employee about brooms and which broom would be best for which position. As they didn't have a time limit Hagrid agreed.
Harry went to the counter where two employees, a man and a woman, stood and talked. At the moment there wasn't much business as most families went shopping for Hogwarts in August.
"Hello, I would like some information on brooms." Harry asked politely.
"Of course, what do you want to know?" The male employee asked.
"Well, I would like to know what broom would be best for which position. I've only just learned about the magical world and find Quidditch fascinating. While there is the rule that first-years are not allowed their own brooms, I'd like to be informed. Hagrid said my dad told him I was a natural even as a one year old." Harry said, pointing at Hagrid.
"That's no problem. Well, you know the positions of the players and their jobs?" The employee asked.
"Yes. Keeper, beaters, chasers and seeker." Harry said.
"Correct. Well, the keeper doesn't need a broom with much high speed as he only covers a small area of the field in front of the hoops. Therefore a keeper needs a sturdy broom that has a quick short acceleration. The Cleansweep series has two models for Quidditch. One a bit more graceful for precise manoeuvres and one for the quick but rough work of the keeper. Therefore the best model for keepers at the moment is a Cleansweep 6. The 5er model is better for chasers. That's the graceful one. For beaters, you need brooms that can take a bit of power-play. They have to be fast enough to get the bludgers, but also stable in the air when a beater knocks it in another direction. The Comet 300 is the one that has the best recommendations. For chasers there are some more options. As I said the Cleansweep 5 is well-suited but the Nimbus 2000, which is on display in our shop window, is fantastic for the position as well. It's the fasted model on the market right now. You have the manoeuvrability and the speed in the same broom. Last for a seeker I'd also recommend the Nimbus. A seeker needs to go at high speeds and have good manoeuvrability at the same time." The employee explained.
"Which position did you think about trying out for next year?" He asked.
"Either chaser like my dad was or seeker. I'd have to see if I can shoot goals from a broom. I only know how to do it with my feet." Harry said.
"With your feet?" The employee asked confused.
"I'm muggle raised, even if I'm a halfblood. I played football in my primary school and there you shoot goals with a ball you kick around the field. The goals are broader than a Quidditch hoop though and the teams have eleven players each." Harry explained.
"I see. Well, once you know, you know where you can find whatever broom you prefer." He said.
"I'm sure I will. Thanks for the information." Harry said smiling.
"No problem." The employee said.
Harry walked over to the door where Hagrid was waiting. The shop was a bit cramped for his size.
"And. Did you get your information, Harry?" He asked.
"Yes, the employee was very helpful." Harry said and they left the shop.
The two employees looked at each other.
"Do you think that could have been Harry Potter?" The female asked.
"Don't know. I couldn't see his forehead where the scar would be. But he did look like a lot like James Potter. Unbelievable to think we had Harry Potter in the shop and didn't even recognize him."
Harry and Hagrid made another stop at Flourish and Blotts where Harry got a few more books, one on American and Australian schools each, one on warding, one on magical languages, one on another period of history than the ones Harry already had, and when Harry spotted a series with his name on it, he wanted to know what they were about and also took the first one. He still had the bag that automatically shrunk his books and placed his purchases in there. Hagrid took Harry to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour and got him a sundae, which Harry was happy to accept.
On their way back to the Cauldron, they passed Eeylops Owl Emporium and Harry felt a strange pull towards the shop and wanted to find out what that meant, so he went inside with Hagrid. All over the place were owls of different kinds. The pull Harry felt came from further back. He walked deeper into the shop and felt he was getting closer. When he was in a dark corner, where no stands were kept, he wondered just what had pulled him here. He looked around and then looked up into two amber eyes that didn't let his eyes wander anywhere else. He felt a strange connection with these eyes. Then he heard a soft ruffle of feathers and the eyes came closer. Harry thought he saw a flash of silver, but he wasn't sure. He instinctively held out his arm and the bird landed there. Harry could make out the form of an owl, but not a native one, that much was sure.
He reached out with his free hand to gently stroke the feathers. The owl let him touch her and then bit lightly into his finger, just enough to draw a drop of blood. Harry felt his magic reaching out and forming a bond with the owl. He had read about the rarity of familiar bonds with animals like normal post owls so this owl was special. When the magical bond was finished, Harry took his new familiar up to the front. He saw that he hadn't been mistaken; within the white feathers of this probably snowy owl were some silver ones. It looked like she was about to change her plumage.
"I'm going to take this owl." Harry said to the employee.
The woman looked at the owl and blinked.
"I didn't know we had one of her kind in the shop. Where did you find her?" She asked.
"In the back in a dark corner without stands. She sat somewhere up." Harry answered, stroking the back of the owl.
"Oh, okay, well, that will be five galleons for the owl. Do you also want a stand and food for her?" She asked.
"Yes, please. I need a stand, food for a week, some treats and a pamphlet how to care for her." Harry said.
The employee collected everything.
"That's six galleons and fifteen sickles then." She said.
Harry was glad now that he had taken twenty five galleons out of the vault. He had spent sixteen galleons and fourteen sickles for the books, so with his new purchases he would still have one galleon and five sickles left. Well, he had his key and could get some more money if he needed it at Gringotts. But for now he didn't think he would have to do any more greater purchases. The owl flew onto his shoulder and rode in that position back to the Leaky Cauldron with them.
"That's a rare kind of owl you have there, Harry." Hagrid said in a low voice.
"Really? When I was out of the shop I felt a pull to the inside. I followed the pull and met her. She is my familiar; I felt the bond forming through my magic before I bought her. What kind of owl is she?" Harry said.
"The silver feathers are the sign of a moon owl. They're often mistaken for snowy owls as they can disguise themselves really well. The reason moon owls are so rare is that they need ter bond to the right wizard. If the wizard they choose is worthy they'll develop into a full moon owl. I don' think the employee knew what she is, or she'd have cost a lot more. If I see this right, she was just in time ter fin' yer. Otherwise she'd become a normal snowy owl. An intelligent one, no doubt, but she'd've lost her special abilities an' probably wouldn't 've formed a familiar bond with yer." Hagrid explained.
Harry smiled at the owl. That an owl as special as her had chosen him, made him really happy.
It took Harry two more days to get through the books about schools in America and Australia, the magical languages one, the books on politics and culture, the muggleborn guide, the potions basics book and the book on goblins. He also read the book about him and was shocked what this author, Romanio Lockhart, had written about his supposed adventures. And there was no mention that it was all fiction. With how stupid wizards appeared to be, he feared there were some that really believed this nonsense. Who could come up with the stupid idea that he could have tamed a rampaging Hippogriff with four? He didn't even know how a Hippogriff looked like in reality. And stopping a flood with an ice charm at six? He didn't even have a wand yet. And why were they even allowed to use his name? He would have to discuss this with Corpnik during his appointment.
After reading his books about the American and Australian schools he found out that only one of them had a greater choice of classes and combined magical and muggle subjects. But that school started children at eight years of age and for him to enrol now wouldn't be possible. There were some others that had a more advanced curriculum than Hogwarts, but they only took students that had already passed their OWLs with exceptionally high grades. It would be an option for in five years that he would perhaps consider, depending how his time at Hogwarts went.
It seemed his little conversation with Professor Dumbledore had given him the results he had aimed for. He had been right assuming that people would bent over backwards to make sure that he went to Hogwarts. Professor Dumbledore had sent him a letter that he had found a muggleborn witch who would be delighted to teach interested students muggle subjects to prepare them for taking the exams in the muggle world each year or simply the A-levels after Hogwarts. There were ways how that could be arranged with magic. It wasn't done often, but there had been cases, though they had had tutors paid by their parents during the summer months.
If Harry was right, Dumbledore had told the Board of Governors that Harry was seriously considering attending another school if he didn't think that Hogwarts wasn't his best option. With how many other good schools there were outside of Britain, that wasn't even hard to prove. Had he not been so opposed to the restrictive nature of the Beauxbatons' code of conduct, he was a free spirit and hated being that restricted, even if the reports on Beauxbatons were otherwise promising, he would have definitely chosen the French school. The major advantage being that Dumbledore wasn't the headmaster. From Hogwarts there were reports on a bad history teacher, a ghost and a biased Potions teacher. But if Dumbledore was serious about him wanting Harry there he would interfere in those areas.
The plan to set up several non-magical subjects just to make Hogwarts more attractive for him was a clear sign that Dumbledore was capable of being flexible. Perhaps he could do a test run for one year. While Hagrid was clearly biased towards Hogwarts and his old house Gryffindor in particular, Harry was good enough to read between lines. It was generally a nice place where students had a lot of personal freedom. What he would lack if he went there would be contacts in the non-magical world, but that could be remedied at university if necessary. And it would probably be easier to organize muggle tutoring in the magical world than magical tutoring in the muggle world if he went to a normal boarding school. First, he would need to find out who were the best tutors, then he needed to get permission of the headmaster or headmistress of his school to let said tutor come during the weekend and keep magic a secret from everybody there.
And his name wasn't really important in the muggle world. He had his talent going for him, but there were limits what a school would be willing to allow him without showing too much favouritism over other students. Seemingly Professor Dumbledore didn't have as many reservations in that area. And perhaps he could start getting more influence in the magical world by starting the combination of muggle and magical studies. It would be quite a coup. Dragging the backwards magical community into the twentieth century without the adults ever realising it. Starting small and then going for a greater scale.
He had decided to accept his place at Hogwarts considering those circumstances. Hogwarts offered him the same classes as Beauxbatons and he wouldn't have to follow the strict code of etiquette. And if he really couldn't stand Hogwarts he could still transfer after first year. But normally that would only be an issue after fifth year if he decided that the additional classes weren't up to his standards. And he had to consider that his family name was especially important here in the British wizarding world. That would automatically open many doors for him. While he was also famous in other countries, they would probably be less inclined to bow to his demands. And the number of subjects Dumbledore had outlined to be added in muggle subjects was really good.
His owl Hedwig, it had been a real challenge to find a name she liked, all the names from mythology that were connected to messengers, owls, wise people and so on, she didn't like. In one of the history books he then came upon the German name. He asked her if that one was okay and after pondering she had agreed. His familiar definitely had her own will, but he liked that about her. She wasn't just an animal, she had a strong personality. At the moment Hedwig was on her way to Hogwarts to deliver his acceptance letter. He had looked up an example of how to correctly phrase the answer to not get in a position of disadvantage. He didn't want to give anybody more power over him than necessary. Hagrid had happily agreed to take him shopping for his things. They would do that the next morning. He still had a week until his appointment at Gringotts, but he thought that he could just get his purchases done and start reading his school books to be prepared.
During the first walk with Hagrid around the Alley Harry had made a mental list what he would need no matter which school he decided to attend. He wanted a trunk that offered enough space for his things, would have potential to include more than the things for just one year and had a safety system that would only allow him to access certain parts. So the first thing he bought after getting a hundred galleons from his vault was a three compartment trunk with enlarged compartments. One compartment was a full wardrobe whose parts, like drawers for his socks, underwear, shirts, pullovers and pants, a part for hanging his robes without them wrinkling, a set of shelves for his shoes and some general hangers, could be chosen by labelled plates at the side of the compartment. Harry just had to place his hand on the symbol, for example a drawer for socks, and the compartment would turn to that part.
The second compartment was a general storage area that worked like the first compartment. With students of Hogwarts there always were many things they needed to transport and in case of potion ingredients some of them were better stored apart from other things or they could damage them. It wasn't much of a problem with the kit for first year, but the farther you advanced, the more dangerous ingredients you used. The apothecary normally packed them safely, but what the student did over the school year was another matter completely. So the labels were for the ingredient shelves, the writing equipment, parchment, ink and quills, he would have to practice before school to have his handwriting legible, the cases here were built specially to hold up to ten bottles of ink safely in a box with single partitions for each bottle. Then there was an area for toiletries and towels, another area for Quidditch gear and the last part for various things.
The last compartment was a miniature library with currently ten bookcases that could each hold about fifty books. The bookcases could be labelled by the owner of the trunk and the plates at the side would adapt accordingly. It was the perfect trunk for somebody like Harry who wanted to learn all he could, but not to stand out overly. It was the kind of trunk the well-to-do students would bring with them, but nothing most couldn't afford. Of course Harry made sure the convenience charms like a feather-light charm, an auto-shrinking feature, keying the trunk to him only and anti-destruction runes for elemental damage like fire and water were included. The trunk cost Harry thirty galleons, but he reckoned as he intended to use this trunk for a long time, at least the seven years at school, it would be a good investment.
At Madam Malkin's Harry got the three sets of robes the supplies list demanded. There also was another boy that was fit for robes. He seemed to be his age. He had a strong tan, black hair, but very handsome features. He was accompanied by a very beautiful woman who shared the boy's dark shade of skin colour and his facial form. Though she had long, shiny brown hair and a model figure.
"Hello, dear, Hogwarts too?" Madam Malkin asked Harry.
"Yes, madam." Harry answered.
"You can take the footstool right next to Mr Zabini here." She said smiling.
Madam Malkin was a squat witch; she was wearing mauve coloured robes.
"Thank you, madam." Harry said and stepped on the footstool. Madam Malkin slipped a long black robe over his head and started pinning it at the right size.
"So, you are going to start at Hogwarts this year too." The boy said. "I'm Blaize Zabini." He introduced himself.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Harry Potter." Harry said, getting a little squeak from Madam Malkin who was pinning his robes, the witch that was doing the same for Blaize and interested looks from Blaize and his mother.
"Nice to meet you too, I wouldn't have thought to meet you before school, Potter. You had disappeared for quite a long time with nobody knowing where you were living. If you don't mind me asking, where did you grow up?" Blaze asked politely, under the approving looks of his mother. Blaize was handling this first impression with all the dignity and grace that was appropriate for a pureblood of house Zabini.
"No, I don't mind you asking. I was raised by my muggle aunt, but I'd have preferred to never meet her. She's the worst example of muggle you can get as is her husband. But I'm out of there for good now, so I prefer not to talk about them. I lived in Surrey." Harry said.
"I see. So you have attended muggle school. What are they like? I've heard some horrible stories, but I don't know if they are true or exaggerated." Blaize asked.
"After I stopped holding back to appease my relatives to not show up my stupid cousin and just did my thing, it was great. Once the teachers found out that I was smart and also had a talent for football, a muggle sport which can be compared to Quidditch in the wizarding world in popularity, I was supported by them. I rose to the top of my class without suffering the stigma of being a boring bookworm. Athletes are always liked well with their peers I found out, especially if they help winning competitions against other schools' teams." Harry said.
"Indeed. That observation also holds true in our world. I've been home schooled so far with a few other boys from families my mother is associated with." Blaize answered. "What house do you think, you'll be in, or didn't you have time to be informed about them yet?"
"No, I asked for more information about Hogwarts and the magical world in general before I accepted my place at Hogwarts. So I read Hogwarts a History to get more information on the school. I could be both Ravenclaw and Slytherin, but if I get a say in it, I'll go to Ravenclaw. Nothing against Slytherin, but I don't want to deal with the whole dark stigma that the house has. With my history people would think I was the next Dark Lord in training." Harry said.
"So you think you're cunning and ambitious enough to be considered for Slytherin house?" Blaize's mother asked.
"I always strive to be the best. I accept nothing but getting to the top and put all my energy in reaching that goal. But I also don't want to be seen for something people just assume. I want to be seen for my own accomplishments. Fame is fickle if you can't prove your worth and the media can tear people apart quickly. But going to the top the straight way will have people feel stepped on their toes and those that only concentrate on their studies don't build networks that they can benefit from later in life." Harry answered.
"Indeed an answer worthy of somebody with Slytherin qualities. It will be interesting to find out how your sorting went." She said.
Then Blaize was finished with his robes.
"Well, it was nice meeting you, Potter. I'll see you at school." Blaize said, holding out his hand.
Harry shook it.
"Likewise, Zabini." He answered.
Blaize and his mother left the store. Outside Elladora Zabini turned to her son.
"That was a good display of proper pureblood behaviour, Blaize. Try to stay in his good books. He'll go far with his take on things. If he is anything like his father he will attract many people with his charisma and as he also got his mother's catching eyes, he will be someone the girls will fall over in a few years' time. Having someone like him as an acquaintance or even a friend is always beneficial, even if he is a halfblood. At least James married a powerful and very smart muggleborn and not one of the plain ones." She said.
"Yes, mother. I intend to keep a respectful and friendly relation with him. I'm a bit fascinated how mature he appears. He really thought his future plans through. Not like many others I met so far." Blaize answered.
"Indeed. I guess you're talking about Draco?" Elladora asked.
"Among others. But he is a good example. He only uses his father's influence and wealth to reach his goals, that's not very cunning and ambitious. While he reaches his goals that way, if anything ever happened to Lucius, he wouldn't have an alternative plan. With Potter I had the impression he had already thought of several ways to reach his goals and that he could quickly adapt if one plan didn't work out. I'll observe how he develops over the years."
Harry's next stop, after ordering some casual wear robes for everyday outside of classes and a good amount of high quality pants in dark colours, silk dress shirts in white, black, green, blue and grey, two warm coats in black and dark green and a lighter jacket in beige for spring and autumn, was the cauldron shop where he got two pewter cauldrons. One as a spare or in case he wanted to brew two different potions at a time. He looked at the telescopes but decided he would get one in the muggle world. The ones here, even if they were charmed, were less powerful than even a good quality standard student telescope for muggle students. He hadn't been interested in Astronomy so far, which meant he wanted to have the best possible equipment. He would forego a telescope with electric features, as the magic of Hogwarts would interfere with it, but that wouldn't be a problem. They were just coming up anyway. He got a nice set of brass scales as well.
He asked an employee at the shop that sold parchment, ink and quills, how long a quill normally lasted, how much parchment an average student needed over a year and how much ink. He got two packages of parchment, six bottles of ink, one was a colour changing kind, which Harry liked, ten quills, two were spares and for training his writing skills, he fully intended to get a fountain pen and notebooks for each subject in muggle London for his own notes and loose papers for rough drafts, no need to waste expensive parchment after all, and only use the quill for official assignments.
They then went to an apothecary Harry had seen in one of the side alleys which was much better structured and cleaner than the one in Diagon Alley itself. This Apothecary was smaller and had slightly higher prices, but Hagrid had also told him that Professor Snape, the Potions teacher at Hogwarts always ordered his personal ingredients here. The quality of the ingredients was higher and made for better results in brewing. The owner of the apothecary was a witch that was working on her mastery in potions. She was very helpful and additionally to the standard ingredients for first year students, Harry got two books. One on brewing techniques and colour schemes in potions and one on the 1000 most common ingredients in potions. The book listed their properties, their uses with some examples for potions, their reactions with other ingredients and also had warnings for what not to do with them to avoid accidents.
The witch told them she wished that these two books would be made mandatory reading material for Hogwarts students, but the Board of Governors didn't think it necessary. She also informed him that Professor Snape advised all the new Slytherins to get these books. Next to the ingredients Harry got a set of crystal vials that were spelled to be unbreakable if they fell down, which happened more often than one thought, the witch told them. She handed Harry a package with the correctly stored ingredients and one with the safely stored vials and told him they would be perfectly stored like they were until he needed them at Hogwarts.
Then Harry had a little buying spree at Flourish and Blotts. He didn't only buy the books on the list, but also a bit additional reading material on the subjects he would have this year. He got two books on Transfiguration, one on Herbology, two on Defence Against the Dark Arts, one on Charms, he left the Astronomy books behind as he knew the ones in the muggle world were more extensive in their information, he already had some history books, so he only got the listed book and he got himself books on Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. He wanted to get an idea what the subjects were about before he made his decision at the end of second year which subjects he would take. Then he got a book with all the laws in the British magical world, the self-updating version, one book about the ICW and their laws, a book with low level curses, a book about advanced potions and one about rituals.
The employee knew Harry by now and just smiled at the amount of books he had bought again. If that boy wouldn't become a Ravenclaw, he didn't know. All Harry's purchases were stored in his trunk, which made for much easier transport.
Okay, I know that many of you hoped for a different magical school, but I hope you will still like what I make out of the Hogwarts time. It will definitely be different from normal canon. And to be realistic, which normal school would allow any student to bring in mysterious tutors? Especially one that already got a scholarship and therefore didn't have to pay like his peers? So it was either Hogwarts or another magical school from the beginning.