Okay people, before anyone asks, the time period of this story is not going to be specified simply for the reason of technology. If a date needs to be mentioned then I'll stick with what good old JK said so I suppose you could say that technology got a bit of a boost. Technology sort of plays a role in this so I'm sticking with what I know. Halliwell will have a mobile phone, she knows how to use a computer and she has the internet at home.
Halliwell Potter was a very unusual little girl with a very unusual gift. She was a witch. A fact she had known for as long as she could remember. Despite the fact that she was only ten years old and had yet to go to Hogwarts, she could use her magic and use it well.
She also used it often.
She didn't quite understand why she had to go to a school to learn magic when she could already use it but her Aunt Petunia had explained that the other people who used magic didn't make very much sense. Aunt Petunia had explained all about her sister and how she had changed the way she used magic once she started school.
Halliwell didn't think that made a lot of sense either, she expected she'd be confused quite often when she started school.
The acceptance letter hadn't been particularly well thought out. It had said, they awaited her owl. Aunt Petunia had explained that those people used owls to deliver their mail. Halli supposed this would have made sense a few years ago, no doubt it would be faster than the normal post but what about email?
Besides, Halli recognised the name of the headmaster, it was the same person who wrote the letter she'd been found with on the doorstep, all those years ago. Considering he sent her here, to a normal family, he really should have known she wouldn't actually know where to buy an owl, let alone already own one.
So they had waited. Halli had hoped that if she hadn't responded by the 31st like the letter said then she wouldn't have to go. She didn't want to leave her family and she didn't want to join the world that had changed her mother so horrendously so.
But then the 31st arrived and Halliwell found herself staring at the largest man she had ever seen. She held nothing against the man because of his size but he certainly stuck out in the normal world. People just weren't that big. Halli knew that the magical world wanted to stay hidden so why did they send the single, most eye catching person in the world to collect her?
Halliwell felt her face heat up in mortification as she felt all the people staring at her. She had thought it couldn't get worse after the train, all those people pointing and staring in amusement and befuddlement as the giant of a man next to her began to knit. But now, on a busy London street, it felt like everyone in the city was watching as Halli and Hagrid entered the most run down pub she'd ever seen.
It looked like it had been standing since the Plague, and if the condition of the floor was anything to go by, it looked like it could have been what caused it as well.
'The usual, Hagrid?' Called the bald man from behind the bar, his hand already reaching for a glass.
'Can't, Tom, I'm on Hogwarts business.' Said Hagrid loudly, clapping a great hand on Halli's shoulder. She turned to glare at the giant. She didn't know what she was more annoyed at, the fact he'd nearly dislocated her shoulder with the force of his 'pat' or the fact that he'd just drawn the attention of everyone in the pub to her.
Her aunt had told her there was a chance she was famous. The letter that had been found with her had said she'd done something the magical world considered impossible. Halli didn't really understand why that one instance was such a big deal, she did things the magical world considered impossible every day.
'Good Lord,' said the barman, peering at Halli, 'is this – can this be?'
The Leaky Cauldron had suddenly gone completely still and silent.
'Bless my soul,' the old barman whispered. 'Halliwell Potter... what an honour.'
Halli stared wide eyed as the man rushed out from behind the bar and seized her hand, tears in his eyes.
'Welcome back, Miss Potter, welcome back.'
She was completely intimidated as the entire pub seemed to rush towards her at once. Instinctively, she raised her hands as though to ward them off. Everyone froze. Halfway towards her and still mid step. It was as if she'd put the whole room on pause.
Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself for the moment she'd have to release them.
This was utterly ridiculous. How could people possibly be this pleased to see her? It was madness. To her knowledge, nothing particularly special had occurred the night her parents died. Aunt Petunia had explained it as best she could though she did admit that, as a normal person, she was probably missing some facts or maybe not quite understanding things from the magical world's point of view.
The young girl resolved to find a book shop or library and research as much as possible. While she didn't want to share the perspective of these people, it was probably best to understand it or she'd be flying blind. That was one reason she wanted to keep her extent of her abilities secret. These people wouldn't understand it and therefore, she couldn't anticipate their reaction. It seemed like such a backwards culture, would she be hailed as the Messiah or burnt as a witch?
She giggled slightly at her thoughts, what would be the equivalent of the Witch Trials in the magical world? Muggle Hunts? What would they call it if they tried to persecute her?
She looked around the pub again, literally everyone was out of their seats and on their way towards her. It was crazy.
At least one good thing had come out of it though, she now understood why she had such a large escort. He must have been sent because his size would help keep people from overwhelming her. That was the only thing that made sense so that must have been why he was sent, mustn't it? She glanced up at the face of the large giant and was outraged.
He was pleased!
He was happy with the attention she was getting, with the fuss people were making! Why should how people treat her have any relevance to him anyway?
Well, she wasn't going to make it easy for him, she decided stubbornly. She'd been intending to have people underestimate her and thus, hopefully overlook her. Then they would be less likely to notice any odd magical goings on around her.
And now seemed like as good a time as any to start.
With another deep breath, she braced herself and raised her arms. Another quick flick of her fingers and the crowd was moving again.
Halliwell gave the people one last frightened look and darted behind Hagrid as quickly as she could, with a startled squeak that wasn't entirely faked.
The crowd went silent in the face of this development. They clearly weren't expecting her to be afraid. Personally, Halli thought that made them stupid. Thirty people had just charged towards a little girl at full pelt - she'd only just turned eleven that day! – How did they expect her to react?
'G-g-give the g-girl some room.'
Halliwell peaked out from behind Hagrid to see who had spoken. She followed the eyes of the crowd to see a nervous looking man in a purple turban.
'That's right,' said Tom the barman, seemingly coming back to himself. 'She's not been here in nearly ten years; we don't want to overwhelm her.'
Halli shot them both a grateful smile as the people returned to their seats, muttering guiltily. Hagrid's face showed only disappointment, she glared at him again.
She didn't think she liked the large man.
Hagrid gave one last, dulled look around the room and led her through the bar and out into a small, walled courtyard. Halli would have thought this was the pub's smoking area if there hadn't been a woman with a pipe inside. She shot one last friendly smile to Tom and the nervous man before the door closed behind her.
She watched as Hagrid began counting bricks in the wall above the dustbin.
'Three up ... two across ...'
She continued watching in confusion as the giant man tapped the brick three times with the point of his umbrella.
As the archway finally appeared to the wide eyed girl, Halli made a note of exactly which brick Hagrid had tapped, she was sure she'd be back here again.
'Welcome,' said Hagrid. 'To Diagon Alley.'
Halliwell stared around in amazement. It was like stepping back in time! The street was winding cobblestones and the architecture of the shops was like something out of the Middle Ages. The people were the same. All of them dressed in robes. Robes of all things!
She was baffled. Why did people want to live like this? Trapped in past? It looked remarkable and Halli was impressed but she knew that it was just the novelty of the Alley. It was like going to a themed party or a Renaissance Fair, fun but not forever.
Halli was the first to admit she'd love to step into the pages of Jane Austin and take a trip to the nineteenth century but she wouldn't want to stay there indefinitely. She liked her modern conveniences too much. She liked having light bulbs and a television and a car. Not to mention the telephone.
Didn't these people know what the normal world could offer them?
Aunt Petunia had been right. They'd placed rules and regulations on their magic and limited their power, then not only that, they'd relied on their magic to a point where it held them back.
There were, no doubt, some things that their magic could do that normal technology couldn't complete with – most likely with travel or medicine – but how long would that last when technology was making groundbreaking advancements every day?
Halli stopped those thoughts before they could run away with her. Whether she liked it or not, this was the world that her parents belonged to and therefore she belonged to it as well, at least to an extent. She resolved to hold onto the novelty of the situation as long as possible, she would try to enjoy the experience of this world she'd stepped into. After all, a ride in a horse and carriage could be fun and she already loved the fact she got to wear a pointed hat and ride a broom.
'Where are we going first?' she asked softly as she took in the sights of the Alley they were walking through.
'Gringotts,' said Hagrid pointing to the large white building they were approaching. Halli wasn't sure how she hadn't noticed it before, it positively dwarfed the other shops.
'The wizard bank.' He replied as they made their way up the large stone steps.
She tried her hardest not to stare at the short creatures that opened the door for them.
'That's a goblin,' Hagrid told her quietly as they approached a free goblin sitting at the counter.
Well, possibly free. He might not have been with someone but he still seemed rather busy to Halli, scribbling in a large ledger, weighing coins on a set of brass scales.
'Morning,' Hagrid said gruffly to the goblin. 'We've come ter take some money outta Miss Halliwell Potter's vault.'
Halli noticed the disdainful look the goblin shot the giant. She agreed that it had been rather rude to just start talking and expect service. She gave the giant another glare before smiling apologetically at the creature behind the counter.
'Do you have your key, Miss Potter?' he asked, looking at her contemplatively.
She had just opened her mouth to tell him that she didn't even know she had a vault when Hagrid interrupted, again rudely, as the goblin hadn't been addressing him.
'Got it here somewhere,' said the giant and he started emptying his pockets on to the counter, scattering a handful of moulding dog-biscuits over the goblin's book of number. Both goblin and girl wrinkled their nose in disgust.
'Got it.' Said Hagrid at last, holding up a tiny golden key. The goblin took it to examine while Halli looked at Hagrid in indignation.
'Why did you have my key? Shouldn't it have been given to my guardians? What if they'd needed access to the money in an emergency?'
Hagrid looked at her in confusion.
'I aven't had yer key. Professor Dumbledore has been holdin' it for yer.'
Halliwell drew herself up to her full height, which wasn't much considering she was barely eleven years old and telling off a giant.
'And what is Professor Dumbledore's relation to me for him to be controlling who has access to my money?'
Hagrid still looked shocked.
'Why, 'e's the Headmaster, o' course.'
'Does he have any blood relation to me?'
'No, I don' think so.'
'Then why did he have my key?'
Without giving the giant chance to respond, she turned to the goblin. Despite his frankly frightening appearance, he still looked intelligent with his smart suit which wasn't something she could say about Hagrid in his dirty boots and giant animal skin overcoat. Halli would of guessed mole if she had to but considering she didn't know the kinds of animals were available in the magical world, it really could have been anything.
The goblin, at least, worked in a bank so he had to have at least a certain level of intelligence, something the oaf next to her was clearly lacking. Halli remembered her uncle's interactions with the tellers in the normal bank and decided to mimic him, it was always wise to be nice to the people – or creatures, in this case – that controlled your money and, subsequently, the economy.
'I'm sorry to be difficult but I'm struggling to understand this,' she told the goblin politely and formally. 'I'm new to the magical world. Is it normal for the headmaster, of a school I've yet to step foot in, to have someone's key? To my knowledge, I've never met this man. I was also unaware I had an account with you. Shouldn't my aunt have been receiving monthly statements on my behalf? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, I admit I'm basing my assumptions off how banks are run in the nor-Muggle world.'
Halli cursed herself for her slip. She couldn't call the world she'd grown up in the normal one when talking to someone from this world, this was the normal one to them.
'It is indeed unusual that the headmaster had your key-'
Hagrid interrupted before he could say anymore.
'Well, Professor Dumbledore was a good friend o' Lily an' James Potter. He's bin holdin' on t' a few o' their possessions for yer.'
Again, the eyes of Halli and the goblin narrowed.
Halliwell observed the giant with a cynical eye. Whoever this Dumbledore character really was, he certainly had Hagrid in his back pocket as her uncle would say. The large man seemed almost fanatically loyal.
'Very well,' she said slowly turning back to the goblin. She gave the creature a look than firmly said 'I will be back and I want answers'. She didn't look away until he nodded in understanding.
'I've also got a letter here from Professor Dumbledore,' said Hagrid importantly, throwing out his chest. 'It's about the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen.'
The goblin read the letter carefully.
'Very well,' he said, handing it back to Hagrid, 'I will have someone take you down to both vaults. Griphook!'
Griphook was yet another goblin. Once Hagrid had crammed everything back inside his pockets, he and Halli followed to new goblin towards one of the doors leading off the hall.
After an interesting cart ride, Halli stood waiting as Griphook unlocked the door. A lot of green smoke came billowing out; she didn't think she wanted to know what had caused that. The smoke cleared and Halli gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins, columns of silver and heaps of bronze.
This was all Halli's. It was incredible and Halliwell Potter felt her fury rising over the fact this had been denied her until now.
While the Dursleys were by no means poor, they weren't rich either. They had a modest home in a reasonably nice neighbourhood but with two boisterous children of opposite genders, things had sometimes seemed a little cramped. They had a nice, modern car but it was a company car, not one the family owned themselves.
This money would have made such a difference. It could have covered the difference in cost of the four bedroom house they had and a five bedroom that would have made things so much easier when Aunt Marge came to stay.
Halli resolved to come back at a later date. These goblins needed to clear a few things up for her and she was going to arrange to have a good portion of this gold put into her uncle's bank account. She made sure she was the one to take the key when the goblin locked the vault again.
She stood, blinking in the bright sunlight, while she tried to decide how to approach this. Already this morning, she had discovered several things that gave her much cause for concern and she wanted her aunt and uncle's advice on the issue before she did anything, which included shopping for her school things.
'Hagrid,' she said in a soft, innocent voice. Very different from the tone she'd taken with him in the bank. 'Could we leave off shopping today? I think I'd like to come back with my aunt, make a family day of it before I leave for Hogwarts.'
Hagrid seemed reluctant but eventually caved at the sight of her big green eyes going all round and glassy. They quickly made their way back up the alley and into the Leaky Cauldron. Hagrid handed her an envelope that apparently held her train ticket.
'Yer know yer way back to the station from here?' He asked, already looking round for a seat to take. Halli was disgusted. She nodded vaguely at him, not that he was paying attention.
'Bye, Hagrid.' She said half heartedly over her shoulder as she made her way through the pub and back out into the normal world.
She walked in the direction of the station for a few minutes, just in case Hagrid had stepped out the put to see her off. She turned a corner and slipped into an alleyway between two shops. After looking around to make sure she was alone, Halli closed her eyes and controlled her breathing, she focused until she felt her body begin to shimmer, every particle of her vibrating rapidly. She opened her eyes, still seeing the alleyway between HMV and River Island, she took a step forward and appeared in the thankfully empty courtyard behind the Leaky Cauldron.
She quickly tapped the correct brick with her knuckle and disappeared into Diagon Alley before anyone could walk out of the pub and see her. Darting between various shoppers, Halli made her way to the only book shop she'd passed on the way to the bank.
Halli was surprised that the inside of Flourish and Blott's was not as unusual as it could have been. It did have the feel of old antique books simply because all the books available were bound in leather and things like it. Halli would wager she wouldn't find a single paperback book in the entire store.
Not really knowing where to start, Halli made for the person stacking shelves, figuring it was safe to assume she worked in the shop.
'Excuse me,' she said politely, trying to sound like the lost eleven year old she really wasn't. 'I was wondering if you could help me, I'm new to magic and was hoping to find a few books that explained more about the magical world and its history before I started Hogwarts.'
The young witch shot her a grin.
'Muggleborn, eh? Not to worry, we've got a few books that we recommend to help you get used to us, just give me a mo' and I'll fetch them for you.'
The girl disappeared off towards the back of the shop and Halli browsed the nearby shelves while she was waiting. There were actually a few books that caught her eye.
By the time sales woman had return, Halli had pulled Hogwarts: A History, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Modern Magical History off the shelves. The witch passed her another three books, Muggleborns: Welcome to a New World, Social Faux Pas' and How to Avoid Them and, finally, Navigating the Wizarding World: a Guide to Magical Locations.
It wasn't a bad starting collection, Halli decided.
'They're perfect, thank you,' she said. She held up the last book. 'Does this include Diagon Alley? I'd like to know what shops are available before I start shopping.'
'It does mention the shops and gives a brief description of what they sell but it won't tell you exactly where they are.' The sales woman began ringing up the books, Halli pulled the sack of gold out of her pocket. 'However, for a sickle, you can get a map of the place at the Leaky on your way out.'
Halli thanked her again before making her way towards the start of the Alley. She had a full month before Hogwarts started and with Diagon Alley being reasonably close to home, she knew that was plenty of time to get acquainted with the magical world as well as shop for her school things.
Knowing she couldn't risk passing through the Leaky Cauldron in case Hagrid was still there, Halli made sure no one was looking before ducking around the corner to the side of the apothecary, she also made a mental note to pick up a map the next time she passed through. Making sure she had a tight hold on her books, she focused her magic and pictured her room back at Private Drive, she took a step forward and watched her room materialise around her.
She really loved magic.