Summary: The Grangers move into 6 Privet Drive. For young Harry and Hermione, nothing is the same after that. Ravenclaw!Harry. Ravenclaw!Hermione.
Pairings: I haven't decided if there will be any… and if so I don't know what they'll be. It depends on a number of factors. It might be Harry/Hermione, it might be Harry/Draco and Hermione/Theo, it might be Harry/Blaise and Hermione/Draco, eh who knows?... what I know it will NEVER be is Hermione/Ron or Harry/Ron.
Notes: Don't worry folks, me posting this story does not mean I'm abandoning House of Snakes. In fact, I'll have the next chapter of that out soon. But I wanted to write this so I did. I don't have a beta, don't want one; same deal as my other stories. I'll update when I feel like it.
The summer Harry was to turn eight, the Grangers moved into the house next over.
"They're dentists," Petunia told Vernon while Harry set the table.
"Admirable profession," Vernon said. "Got to have our pearly whites, right Duddums?"
Dudley whined. "Where's the food?"
All three Dursleys turned to Harry. He murmured an acknowledgment and escaped into the kitchen to grab the plates piled high with food. His own plate sat on the kitchen counter, just a little bit of mashed potatoes and a single baby carrot.
When he returned, they were discussing the daughter. "She has bushy hair," Petunia said. "And asks so many questions."
Harry knew that his aunt hated questions. He wondered if this girl's parents did too.
At the elementary school, Dudley went up to the girl that could only be Hermione Granger immediately and attempted to warn her not to be friends with Harry—like he'd done for everyone else.
She completely ignored him, engrossed in a book that seemed too big for an eight year old. Dudley huffed and soon enough the entire school was calling her a know-it-all.
She seemed to ignore that too, but Harry saw how she'd turn her head away sometimes, her eyes a bit shiny and wet.
Three months after the beginning of the school year and four months since the Grangers had moved to Privet Drive, their teacher assigned a group project. She paired Harry and Hermione together, since no one else wanted to be paired with either of them.
"Don't worry," Hermione said in an aggravated tone. "I'll do it all. You can just sit there."
"But!" Harry said. He blushed and looked down. He wasn't supposed to shout like that. When he looked up, Hermione was staring at him.
"But what?" she asked.
"I can help," Harry said softly. "If that's okay?"
Hermione seemed stunned, but she nodded.
They finished their project fastest in the class. When he got home that night, Dudley complained loudly and Harry got double chores that week, since he was an overachiever and wanted to make Duddums look bad.
Harry and Hermione began hanging out at the neighborhood park, until Dudley's gang chased them one too many times and Hermione suggested they just hang out at her house.
"Is that okay?" Harry asked.
"Sure. I've told my parents all about you."
"And they don't mind?"
Hermione shook her head, smiling. "You're my friend."
Harry felt tears rush into his eyes. "I've never had a friend before."
Harry nodded and rubbed his eyes. "Okay."
Mrs. Granger took one look at him that first day and ordered him to take a bath. "Hygiene is important!" she said in the same bossy tone Hermione sometimes adopted.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Granger," Harry said, looking at the floor. "My aunt and uncle don't like me wasting water."
"What do you mean?" Mr. Granger asked. "Do you take long showers?"
Harry shook his head. "No. I take a shower once a week, and I've never had a bath."
He looked up in time to see the Grangers exchanging a dark glance. "Well," Mrs. Granger said. "You can take a bath here. Go on. Adam will help you."
Mr. Granger took Harry upstairs and helped him with his first bath. He asked about Harry's clothes as he did.
"They're Dudley's," Harry said.
"Do you have anything of your own?" Mr. Granger asked.
Harry looked down and said nothing. Mr. Granger didn't press.
Harry started going over to the Grangers frequently until he aunt caught him doing it. She marched over with a sickly sweet smile to explain that Mr. and Mrs. Granger shouldn't let their daughter hang out with such delinquents as Harry.
"Harry is a sweet boy," Mrs. Granger said right off as Harry stared at the ground and Hermione clung to his arm. "He's never any trouble here."
"Mrs. Dursley," Mr. Granger said in what Hermione dubbed his doctor voice. "I don't know what's going on here. I can only assume you weren't happy about having to raise Harry when you already had your own son. Trust me, Jane and I are more than happy taking him off your hands as often as we can."
Petunia stared at them with squinty eyes. "You'll change your minds soon enough," she muttered, but after that she didn't stop Harry from going over unless he wasn't done with his chores.
It had been almost a full year since the Grangers had moved in. Harry was never happier than he was hanging at the Grangers house. Their house was the exact same set up as the Dursleys, but it felt like home in the way 4 Privet Drive never had.
Mr. and Mrs. Grangers took turns cooking and helping each other in the kitchen and sometimes they let Harry and Hermione bake cookies with them. They never fed Harry less than they did Hermione, but they weren't big on sweets so a lot of things were sugar-free.
There was a second bedroom upstairs just like in the Dursleys home, but instead of it being a storage space for all of Hermione's things, it was made into a study. Mr. Granger had put a cot in it six months in so that Harry had a place to sleep if he wanted to sleepover at their house.
The room was so much bigger than the cupboard under the stairs. When he made the mistake of mentioning this to Mr. and Mrs. Granger, they didn't mention it to the Dursleys, which he knew would have gotten him in big trouble. Instead, they just said he could sleep over any time he wanted and began insisting he stay over when it got dark, even though it was only a quick walk back home.
Harry heard Hermione ask her parents about it one day as he brushed his teeth in the bathroom with the spare toothbrush that had become his.
"I read about it," Hermione said. "Because he has bruises sometimes. And the book said that if you have suspicions about a-abuse," she sniffled then, "you're supposed to report it to the authorities."
"Hermione, honey," Mrs. Granger said. "Books can tell you a lot, but experience tells you even more. Tell me, did that book tell you everything you've learned about Harry's home life? No, you learned a lot by observing. By watching how he behaves. You know he flinches when your father tries to ruffle his hair. You know he's always so surprised when I hug him."
Harry closed his eyes and brushed his teeth harder.
"Harry's a good boy living in a not-so-good family," Mr. Granger said then. "I have no doubt that if we reported it, there'd be a court trial. Maybe Harry would get taken away, but maybe not. The court might rule in the Dursleys favor. And do you know what would happen then?"
"No," Hermione said in a small voice.
"Harry would get in trouble for it," Mrs. Granger said. "The Dursleys might even move and we wouldn't be able to help him the little we have."
"Oh," Hermione said. "But… what can we do?"
"What we've been doing," Mr. Granger said. "It's maybe not enough, but it's all we can. Trust me, darling, if either of us think that Harry's life is in danger, we will act, but until then we want to go with what we know will help, at least a little."
"The foster system isn't a good place to live," Mrs. Granger said. "Neither are orphanages. Sometimes it's best to go with the lesser of two evils, however much you want to find a better solution."
"Just remember to be a good friend to him," Mr. Granger said. "You like to be in control, darling. You're a lot like your mother. But it's too easy for Harry to fall into the background. I have a feeling he's been forced to do that his whole life. So instead of talking over him, encourage his opinion. You never know what he's seen in the world different from you. You can learn a lot from people, sometimes even more than what you can learn from books."
"Okay," Hermione said. "I'll try."
On Harry's birthday that year, he received his first presents ever: a whole week's worth of clothes that fit him. He cried when he opened them and Hermione hugged him tightly.
Harry only ever wore the clothes at the Grangers and at school. He kept his larger clothes for chores at the Dursleys, because he didn't want to ruin his new set.
On Hermione's birthday that September, he helped Mrs. Granger bake her a cake—one with actual sugar because birthday's were always the exception.
The new school year was great because Hermione and Harry were in the same class, while Dudley had a different teacher. Harry let himself do his best and he received as high praise from the teacher as Hermione did.
Harry was worried Hermione would mind, but she seemed happy to have someone as smart as she was. They often studied and did their homework together and read extra on the side.
Another six months past and then Harry's cheerful world threatened to end.
It was at dinner at the Grangers. Harry fumbled with the teapot, the nice one that Mrs. Granger's mother had given her for Christmas, and it fell off the side of the table and toward the hardwood floors.
"No!" Harry shouted, and then an amazing thing happened. The pieces of the teapot began to float in the air and glue themselves back together. Then all the spilled tea just vanished, just like that.
Harry carefully put the repaired teapot on the table and looked fearfully around at the Grangers.
Hermione was smiling. "Harry, you too!"
"What?" he asked.
"Hermione sometimes has strange things happen around her," Mr. Granger said. "We were at a loss to explain it at first, but we've accepted it now."
"You mean… I'm not a freak?" Harry whispered. "Hermione is like me?"
"Well, it's strange," Mrs. Granger said. "But now we have even more evidence that it's natural. Two children in the same neighborhood who can do this… magic. It's a gift. You just have to be careful with it, you hear? Not everyone will be understanding about it."
Harry thought to the Dursleys. It had been over a year and he already listened to the Grangers word over his aunt and uncle. If Mrs. Granger said it was magic, then magic must exist. Uncle Vernon was wrong.
Harry and Hermione talked frequently about all the strange things that had happened around them. Harry told her about how he could speak to snakes, because he'd done it once in the Grangers backyard while Hermione was getting them lemonade, and she was determined to try too.
They found a snake in the park and Harry spoke to it for a bit. He turned to Hermione.
"Harry, you're hissing," she said. "That's not English."
"It's not?" Harry turned to the snake. "What's the language of snakes called?" Oh, now that he was looking for it, he heard a difference. There was a sort of background hissing in his mind.
"Parseltongue," the snake said. "That's what Speakers like you call it." The snake slithered off to go hunt for dinner.
"It said the language is called parseltongue," Harry said, translating the strange word best he could.
"Maybe your parents spoke it," Hermione said. "That's how you learn languages, right? People speak it to you or around you when you're young." Her eyes lit up. "Maybe if you keep speaking it around me, I can learn it! Can you teach me?"
"But you're ten. That's not that young." Harry was nine. Hermione was almost a full year older than Harry, because her birthday just missed the school cut off.
"Young enough," Hermione said. "I read that the critical age is before puberty. I've got a couple more years, I think. You can teach me parseltongue, and I can teach you French!"
Harry nodded, eager to learn the language that Hermione and her mother sometimes spoke in. He'd learned that Mrs. Granger's mother had come to England from France and had spoken the language with Mrs. Granger frequently. Mrs. Granger had in turn taught her daughter.
That night, Hermione explained their plan to her parents. Both Grangers asked Harry for a demonstration of this parseltongue. He concentrated, trying to remember the hissing thing, before he began to speak to them. They were both delighted.
"It's a full language, then?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Snakes don't just think of sleeping and eating?"
"Snakes are really smart," Harry said. "At least, the two I've talked to have been."
"And they were only garter snakes," Mr. Granger said. "What do you want to bet that the larger snakes, boas and the like, are even more intelligent?"
"We'll go to the zoo," Mrs. Granger said. "After Hermione learns enough to be conversational. Then you can both talk to the snakes in the reptile exhibit."
"Thank you!" Hermione said. "Come on, Harry, let's start."
They spoke parseltongue together every morning before school and French every afternoon after school, before dinner. Hermione's hissing was awful, but then Harry's French was just as bad. They were both determined though.
The school year ended with Harry getting the best marks he'd ever gotten and Hermione just barely topping him. That summer, they went to the zoo several times and talked to the snakes there.
There was a boa constrictor from Brazil who was especially fun to talk to. He didn't like his captivity so much, but he seemed to cheer up every time Harry and Hermione came to visit.
Hermione was getting better at parseltongue. She could only speak the basics, but talking with snakes and not just Harry seemed to help. Likewise, Harry tried to speak French with Mrs. Granger too.
"I'm surrounded!" Mr. Granger would joke and they'd all laugh.
The next school year, Harry and Hermione were in different classes and, unfortunately, Harry was back with Dudley. It was the last year of primary school before secondary and Harry had been looking forward to doing well again. But there was no way he'd be allowed to out perform Dudley when they had the same teacher.
The Grangers questioned him about his falling grades a couple months in.
Harry had a hard time explaining, but eventually they seemed to get that he would get in trouble if Dudley didn't outperform him.
"But he's so stupid!" Hermione cried. "Harry, you're going to fail!"
"I won't," Harry said. "I'll just barely pass." He shrugged.
Mr. Granger cleared his throat. "Harry, will you be going to the same secondary school as Dudley?"
Harry shook his head. "Dudley will go to Smeltings, but I'll probably go to Stonewall or something."
"Okay then," Mrs. Granger said. "You do what you have to do to stay out of trouble, but when you're in separate schools, you must promise to do your best. Like you did last year."
"I promise," Harry said.
"And until then," Mrs. Granger continued. "You won't stop learning. Even if you don't turn in all your homework assignments, I want you to do them all so you know what to do. I'll compare them with Hermione's to grade them so you know how well you're doing."
Hermione nodded. She'd already shouted about how Harry's teacher should notice what was going on, but Mr. Granger had told her that even authorities figures sometimes are blind to seeing people. That's why Hermione had to make sure to pick her head up from her books sometimes—so she'll never be blind.
Harry had learned at an early age that authority figures rarely helped, but that was before he met Mr. and Mrs. Granger. They were the parents he wish he had, kind except when they needed to be strict and always fair. And they accepted Harry and Hermione even though they sometimes did magic.
The Grangers moving next door was the best thing to ever happen to Harry.
The year passed by slowly. Harry did his homework twice, once to do it correctly and the other to do it just barely passably. He looked forward to a time when he could just do the first.
Hermione was going to go to Stonewall with him, even though she could have easily gotten into Smeltings or one of the all-girls schools. She said that she studied better with Harry anyway, not with a whole bunch of giggling girls.
The school year ended and they officially graduated from primary school. Mr. and Mrs. Granger took them to the carnival to celebrate and Harry rode all the rides he could find. Then they went home and ate sugar-free ice cream and watched the Les Miserables musical on the television.
Halfway through the summer, an owl tapped on the Grangers' kitchen window.
"What?" Mr. Granger asked. "Why is that bird tapping on our glass?"
"Look, Adam!" Mrs. Granger said. "There's something tied to its leg."
They ended up letting the owl inside. It flew to the table and held out its leg for Harry. Harry carefully untied the letter attached. "Um, thanks?"
The owl hooted and flew back out the open window.
"What is it?" Hermione asked, leaning over his shoulder.
It was a letter, inviting Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witches and Wizards. He read the letter aloud for the Grangers.
"I knew it!" Mr. Granger said, as Harry finished. "I knew there were more of you. A school where you can learn how to control your magic."
"But why didn't I get a letter?" Hermione asked. "Do you think I don't have enough magic?"
"I don't want to go if you're not going too," Harry said forcefully. "You're my best friend."
"I'm sure your letter is still coming, darling," Mrs. Granger said. "Let's wait a couple weeks before we do anything drastic."
"I wonder why Harry's letter came here, though," Mr. Granger murmured. "And not number four."
"It says the second bedroom, number six Privet Drive," Harry said.
"You don't sleep in your cupboard very much anymore," Hermione said. "That's probably why."
On a lovely Sunday morning while the Grangers and Harry were all eating breakfast, there was a knock on the front door. Harry's letter had arrived a week ago, but he hadn't written a reply. He wouldn't, not until Hermione got hers too.
Harry adjusted his new glasses as Mrs. Granger went to go answer the door. The Grangers had gotten his prescription checked a few weeks ago and bought him a new pair of glasses. He could see much better now and his glasses weren't broken. In fact, he quite liked them. They were oval-shaped and Hermione said they showed off his green eyes a lot better then his too-small circular ones.
There was some distant talking and then Mrs. Granger came back with an older woman in tow. She wore a long dress that reached the floor and her white hair was up in a high bun.
"This is Professor Minerva McGonagall, from Hogwarts," Mrs. Granger announced happily.
"Is that… Harry Potter?" McGonagall asked, looking stunned.
"Yes, ma'am," Harry said shyly. "I'm sorry I haven't replied to my letter yet. I was waiting for Hermione to get hers."
"We don't send letters to muggleborns," McGonagall said, still looking a bit flabbergasted. "The professors come in person to introduce the wizarding world to them and their parents."
"Well then why did Harry get a letter?" Mr. Granger asked. "The Dursleys certainly aren't wizards."
"Well…." McGonagall blinked. "Wait a minute, Mr. Potter did you not know about Hogwarts before you go your letter?"
Harry shook his head. "No. I just knew I could do magic sometimes. And Hermione too."
McGonagall muttered something nasty under her breath.
"Maybe you could sit down?" Mrs. Granger offered. "Have some tea and explain what's going on."
They pulled up another chair and McGonagall sat. "What do you know about your parents, Mr. Potter?" she asked as Hermione poured her a cup of tea.
"They died in a car crash because my dad was driving drunk," Harry said plainly.
The teacup shattered and Hermione screamed.
"So sorry," McGonagall said immediately. She pulled out a stick and waved it. The teacup fixed itself and the spilled tea disappeared.
"I did that once," Harry said.
"Yes, children under the age of eleven often experience bursts of accidental magic," McGonagall told him. Her lips were white and her words carefully controlled.
"They both have, several times," Mrs. Granger said.
"If I can ask," McGonagall began. "Why are you here, Mr. Potter? And not with your aunt and uncle."
Harry looked down. It was Mr. Granger who explained.
"Harry's family doesn't like his… magic. He stays with us most nights. He and Hermione are good friends. They found solace in not being alone."
"So the Dursleys never explained your magic to you?" McGonagall asked.
"Uncle Vernon says magic doesn't exist and Aunt Petunia slaps me if I ask about it," Harry said. He'd grown more confident in talking about what it was like at the Dursleys, because the Grangers never hated him for it or talked to his aunt and uncle about it. They just helped him feel better.
The table rattled and then McGonagall took a deep breath. She stared off in the distance. "I told him. I said they were the worst sort. Not the type who should be raising a magical child. But he said they were family. They'd take care of you." She buried her head in her hands. "Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry for never checking up on you."
"Who's him?" Harry asked.
"Albus," McGonagall murmured. "Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. After your parents died, we had nowhere to put you. He dropped you off at the Dursleys. Your aunt knew all about magic, because her sister, your mother, had gotten a letter to Hogwarts all those years ago. I thought, even if they aren't the nicest family at least they'll teach Harry about the world. And it was safer for you to be here, not in the magic world. At least, not at that point."
"I think you need to elaborate, Professor," Mrs. Granger said.
McGonagall proceeded to explain to them how exactly Harry's parents had died, about the dark lord who was thankfully dead, and about how his followers hated Harry for it. "But things have calmed down. Harry shouldn't be in danger at Hogwarts. It's a very safe place."
Harry felt a bit faint, but a part of him was excited. His parents were a witch and wizard! They weren't drunks. They hadn't died in a car crash. They'd died trying to protect him.
"And this Hogwarts, it's a magical school?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Can we visit it?"
"I'm afraid not. It's spelled so muggles like yourselves can't see it. All you'll see if you tried to visit would be ruins."
The Grangers frowned but nodded.
"But you can see Diagon Alley," McGonagall said. "It's a magical shopping district. That's why I'm here. My job is to explain the magical world to you, all of you apparently," she looked at Harry, "and take you shopping for your daughter's, and Harry's I suppose, school supplies."
"Can we?" Hermione pleaded. "Harry and I can actually learn real magic!"
Mrs. Granger nodded. "We knew it might come to this as soon as Harry got his letter. I'm just glad you'll both be going to the same school together. Especially if Harry's as famous as the professor is saying. He'll need a true friend who won't want him just for something his parents did."
Harry smiled. "Hermione will always be my best friend!"
They went to Diagon Alley. McGonagall explained more about Hogwarts and the four houses as they stepped through the Leaky Cauldron and into the Alley itself.
"So you're head of Gryffindor, Professor?" Mr. Granger double-checked.
"But you'll still keep an eye on our two if they're not sorted into Gryffindor, won't you?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Answer their questions if they ask."
"I'm a teacher too. If Mr. Potter or Ms. Granger ever have questions for me, I'll be happy to answer them, but it will the be job of their head of house, whomever that is, to keep the closest watch on them."
They headed down the Alley. Harry and Hermione both stared open-mouthed at everything and Mr. and Mrs. Granger weren't faring much better. McGonagall pointed out what she could, explaining the different types of magic. "Charms are useful for household spells, but they can also find different purposes," she explained. "I teach Transfiguration. The first chapter of your textbook explains the theory of it. It would be good to read ahead, as most children who come in from wizarding families already understand it."
They headed to Gringotts, run, apparently, by golbins. They went first to the muggle money exchange booth.
"It might be useful to set up a vault for Hermione, so you can have galleons, sickles, and knuts readily available instead of waiting in this line every summer," McGonagall said.
"Can we write a check?" Mr. Granger asked.
"What's a check?" McGonagall asked, but then it was there turn to talk to the goblin. The creature said they could indeed write a check, as Gringotts had connections to some muggle banks.
The Grangers deposited fifty thousand pounds in a new vault for their daughter. It translated to ten thousand galleons. The golbin gave Mr. Granger two keys, one of which he handed to Hermione.
"You be careful not to loose that, okay darling?" Mr. Granger said. "This will last you through school until you get a job of your own. Anything magical you need, including all your school supplies and any extra books you want, you can use this for but if you run out that's it."
"I understand," Hermione said. "I'm almost twelve, I can do it." She clutched the key tightly.
"Professor," Harry said. "My aunt and uncle won't want to pay for me."
"Don't worry, Mr. Potter," McGonagall said. "Your parents left you money."
McGonagall nodded. They headed to a regular teller and requested Harry's key. The goblin had him write on something with a quill that took a bit of his blood to confirm he was indeed Harry Potter.
"Here's your trust vault key, Mr. Potter," the goblin said. "The main Potter family vault is locked to you until you come of age."
"How much is in the trust vault?" Harry asked, hoping it would be enough to get him through Hogwarts.
"Seventy thousand galleons," the goblin stated.
Harry gaped, and then turned to Hermione, who was also gaping.
"Were Harry's parents quite wealthy, then?" Mr. Granger asked as they got into a cart headed down to both Hermione and Harry's vaults.
"Harry's father was the Lord of the House of Potter," McGonagall said. "He inherited a lot of wealth when his parents died. And Lily was always brilliant. She invented and sold several potions that made her a bit of money. I believe the money in Harry's trust vault is all Lily had, while James' large fortune will stay locked until Harry is seventeen."
"Seventeen? The goblin said when he comes of age." Mrs. Granger said.
"Yes, that's seventeen in the wizarding world." She frowned. "What is it in the muggle world?"
"Eighteen," Mr. Granger said.
"I'll still be in my sixth year of Hogwarts when I'm of age," Hermione said.
"Well I hope you don't plan on dropping out of school early, Ms. Granger," McGonagall said.
"No!" Hermione looked so scandalized that Harry laughed.
And then they couldn't talk because the cart dipped down and began moving like a rollercoaster. Harry loved it, though the Grangers looked a bit sick.
Hermione took a pouch—the one she'd bought from the goblin teller for one galleon taken straight from her new vault—and counted out one hundred galleons. Harry did the same in his vault.
They went back up to the surface and headed first to get their wands. "A wand is a witch or wizard's most important possession," McGonagall explained. "You must take care of your wand."
"Can we start practicing magic immediately?" Hermione asked eagerly.
"No. Until you're of age, you are only allowed to practice magic at Hogwarts."
"We can still read through the textbooks, Hermione," Harry said.
Hermione nodded. "But theoretical knowledge isn't enough."
Harry saw the Grangers smiling. He knew remember that conversation he'd overhead between Hermione and her parents about books not having all the answers, that sometimes you had to look up and see the world.
"Well," McGonagall said with a secret sort of smile. "There's nothing that says you can't get started on some of your schoolwork. Potions don't often require a wand. As long as Mr. or Mrs. Granger supervises you, I don't see why you can't try your hands at some of the earlier ones in your book."
"Cool!" Harry and Hermione said simultaneously. They grinned at each other.
They walked into Ollivander's, Maker of Fine Wands. McGonagall rang the bell and an older gentlemen stepped out from the back shelves.
"Ah, Minerva McGonagall," the man said. "Eleven inches, oak, hippogriff feather."
"That's correct, Mr. Ollivander," McGonagall said. "I'm here with two new firsties. If you could sort them out?"
Ollivander flicked his gaze to Hermione, and then to Harry. "Ah, Mr. Potter," he said. "I've been expecting you."
Harry shivered. He'd kept his bangs low to cover his scar after he'd heard what it signified in the wizarding world. So far, no one had stopped him, but somehow Ollivander had recognized him.
"I'm Hermione Granger," Hermione said then, breaking the tension.
Ollivander blinked. "A pleasure, Ms. Granger. Let's do you first, then."
He flicked his wand and a measure tape began to bustle around Hermione. She stood still and let it. "Wand hand?" Ollivander asked.
"I'm right handed," Hermione said, a bit uncertainly.
Ollivander nodded. He began to pull slender boxes from the shelves. He opened one and handed a wand to Hermione. "Give it a wave."
Hermione did. Nothing happened. Ollivander took it back and they tried again.
It took a couple minutes, but eventually Hermione's wand shot blue and red sparks from the tip. "Ten and three quarters inches, vine wood with dragon heartstring," Ollivander proclaimed.
Hermione grinned, showing off her new wand to Harry and her parents. They clapped and then Harry stepped forward.
Ollivander repeated the process with him. Some of his wand reactions were a bit volatile. He broke a vase with one. But Ollivander seemed to like the challenge.
The wand boxes piled higher and higher. Harry began to get nervous. What if none of the wands worked for him?
"I wonder," Ollivander murmured. He headed to a back shelf and took a box from it.
"Sir?" Harry asked.
Ollivander took the wand from the box and handed it over to Harry. At once, Harry felt a warmth course through him. He flicked the wand and bronze, silver, and gold sparks shot from it.
"Hooray!" Hermione cheered in the background, but Ollivander didn't smile.
"Eleven inches, holly with phoenix feather," Ollivander said.
"What's wrong, sir?" Harry asked.
Ollivander glanced at where McGonagall was standing and then back at Harry. "The phoenix who gave that feather gave only one other feather. The man who held your brother wand, Mr. Potter, is the same man who gave you your scar."
Harry paled, but then McGonagall cleared her throat. "Brother wands are a dime in the dozen. It's true, Fawkes only gave two feathers, but the hippogriff that gave his feather for my wand gave about twenty more. I'm always finding people with brother and sister wands to mine."
"Fawkes?" Harry asked, turning to McGonagall.
"Professor Dumbledore's phoenix."
Harry nodded. He and Hermione both paid seven galleons for their wands and they left the shop.
Next were trunks. There were a number of trunks that looked bigger on the inside then they were on the outside.
"These are equipped with built-in featherweight charms," the clerk explained.
"They'll be useful," McGonagall said. "I always like to have a trunk with a separate compartment for my clothes and for my books."
Harry and Hermione both bought one. The top opened up to a sort of walk-in closet where clothes could be hung or folded on wooden shelves. The compartment under the top could open to a long bookshelf where books could be placed with their spines facing out for easy finding. The bottom compartment was smaller, but with enough room to fit other knickknacks and school supplies.
They also both bought new backpacks, though they were called sacks in the wizarding world. Mr. Granger told them both to get bags with two straps, not just one, so as to not strain their backs under the weight of the books. The clerk said that wouldn't ever be a problem if they got featherweight charmed bags too. They both did, grabbing tan bags which also held more on the inside then they looked like they could.
The trunks and bags were indeed very light and easy to carry and roll behind them as they continued to shopping. They got their potion supplies, including pewter cauldrons and empty vials. After putting the purchases in their new trunks, they headed to get parchment and quills.
"Witches and wizards write with quills and ink," McGonagall explained. "Homework is assigned in parchment length. See here, standard parchment comes in foot-long sheets. There's also yard-long rolls."
"How long are most assignments, professor?" Hermione asked.
"As a first year, you won't be assigned much over a foot," McGonagall said. "It's important to write the length assigned. You seem like the sort of girl to want to do more than assigned, but the point of doing just a foot is to prove that you can summarize the material in concise words. There will be some assignments where there will be no assigned length and then you can write as long or as little as you want."
Harry and Hermione nodded.
"You'll have to practice with these quills," Mr. Granger said, twirling one in his hand. "So you don't drip ink all over your homework."
"We can practice by summarizing the chapters of our textbooks," Harry suggested.
"That's a marvelous idea, Mr. Potter," McGonagall said. "You'll be more than ready for Hogwarts if you do that."
They both bought a hundred sheets of the foot-long parchment and several rolls of the yard-long. Then they bought a dozen inkbottles and self-sharpening quills. Hermione also found a sort of magical eraser that could get rid of inkblots and other mistakes. They bought one each.
Next were robes. Harry and Hermione stood for Madame Malkin and her assistant as they measure them out and made them the usual set of school clothes.
"What about casual wizarding clothes?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Must they wear their school robes all the time?"
"It's only required during class," McGonagall said. "Most muggleborn children wear their muggle clothes other times."
"Won't we stand out?" Harry asked. He'd already planned to try to blend in as much as he could. He didn't want to be famous, the talk of the school. He just wanted to be a normal student.
"Well… I suppose." McGonagall blinked. "Casual magic clothes aren't that much different from muggle clothes. Skirts, trousers, and even t-shirts." She paused. "Though I haven't ever seen muggle t-shirts with moving images."
"Magic t-shirts have moving pictures!" Hermione exclaimed. "Can we buy some, Mum, Dad?"
The Grangers nodded. They grabbed their school robes and headed to a different shop that specialized in casual clothes. Harry bought a few sets of black and khaki trousers. He figured he could bring his plain tees, since they looked basically the same in both worlds though they seemed to be made from slightly different materials. Hermione also bought trousers, though she grabbed one plain black skirt. Then they both looked through the magical t-shirts.
Harry bought one with the Hogwarts crest on it, the four mascots moving around their sections of the shield. He also grabbed one with a flying animal McGonagall said was a hippogriff and another with a dragon. Hermione grabbed a shirt with a quill writing over a parchment and one with a book that was flipping between pages. She also grabbed a blue one with a school of fish that swam around the entire shirt. They both bought a green shirt with a snake that slithered all over.
"You like snakes?" McGonagall asked after they'd purchased their clothes and left the shop.
"We can speak parseltongue," Harry said happily. "I taught Hermione."
McGonagall paled and quickly drew the whole group aside to an empty gap between two shops. "Mr. Potter, you know parseltongue?"
"I thought my parents must have spoken it to me," Harry murmured.
McGonagall shook her head. "Parseltongue is thought to be a very dark language."
"Why?" Hermione asked. "It's just a language. Snakes are fun to talk to."
"You're saying you learned it, Ms. Granger?"
"They worked very hard at it," Mr. Granger said. "They practiced parseltongue for hours. And then Hermione would teach Harry French to be fair."
McGonagall frowned. "French is a useful language. Many pureblood families teach their children French at a young age."
"So not many people know parseltongue?" Harry asked.
McGonagall shook her head. "I don't know how you learned it, Mr. Potter. Neither of your parents knew it. I know most are born with the ability. I didn't even know it could be taught. See there's a whole brand of magic called parselmagic that tends to be very dark."
"Oh," Harry said. "Well, Hermione and I just talk. We won't cast this parselmagic. Is that okay?"
"If you were born with it, then it's your heritage," McGonagall said. "And if it can be learned, that changes everything. I don't want to forbid you two from learning more about parselmagic, but you must be very careful about what you find. Parseltongue has been corrupted by dark lords for centuries, but I heard that it didn't used to be so badly looked upon."
"We'll just keep it quiet," Hermione said. "It'll be Harry and mine's secret language."
McGonagall nodded. She still looked pale, but they continued on. The next stop was Flourish & Blotts. They bought their schoolbooks and then went rampant grabbing anything that looked interesting.
McGonagall told them what books they'd grabbed would be too advanced for them. "You'll have time to learn all about that later. Concentrate on the basics." They put those books back, but they ended up with a good dozen books each, not counting their school texts.
They placed the books in their trunks.
"That's all you should need," McGonagall said. "Though many students take pets to school. Magical pets are quite smart. They tend to wander around the castle and grounds and catch their own food."
"It says you can only have an owl, a cat, or a toad," Hermione said.
McGonagall smiled. "Those are the rules, but to be honest, many students bring other animals. One of my prefects owned a rat for years, though I heard he gave the pet to his little brother who's also starting school this year."
"We should get an owl," Harry said. "So we can send letters to your parents, Hermione."
Hermione nodded. "Is that okay, Mum, Dad?"
"I'm sure we can learn to send letters back with your owl," Mrs. Granger said. "Since it seems Hogwarts doesn't have a regular postal service."
"We only need one," Harry said. "What if I buy the owl, and you buy a cat or something?" He'd never had a pet before and now he was excited at the possibility of sort of owning two of them.
They headed to Eeylops Owl Emporium first. Harry spotted a beautiful snowy white owl in the corner. Hermione loved her too and the Granger parents thought she was very pretty. The clerk said she was one of their smarter breeds and so that settled it. He bought her.
Mr. Granger held her cage so Harry could keep rolling his trunk along behind him. They headed to the Magical Menagerie.
Almost immediately, a large orange thing pounded from the rafters to the ground in front of them.
"Crookshanks!" a clerk yelled. "Don't scare the customers."
The cat, for now it looked like a very large ugly cat, hissed.
"Oh!" Hermione cried. "Look how cute you are!" She reached forward and surprisingly Crookshanks began to purr. Harry walked forward too and held out a hand. Crookshanks stared at him for a moment and then purred harder as Harry brushed a hand on his head.
The clerk stared at them both. "Crookshanks doesn't really like anyone."
"He's a big cat," Mrs. Granger said uncertainly.
"He looks like he's part kneazle," McGonagall said. "They're a cat species," she explained. "But quite a bit more intelligent than even the average magical cat."
"Can we keep him?" Hermione asked.
The Grangers nodded and the clerk seemed happy to be rid of the part cat, part kneazle. They bought Crookshanks a cat carried and left the store.
McGonagall showed them the Knight Bus, a mode of magical transportation they could use even as muggles and underage magicals. The ride was a bit terrifying, but soon enough they were back in front of 6 Privet Drive.
"I'll see you both at school," McGonagall said. She handed them both a train ticket. "September first. The train leaves from King's Cross Station at eleven on the dot, so don't be late."
"Platform nine and three quarters?" Hermione asked.
"It looks like a brick wall between platforms nine and ten," McGonagall explained. "You can just walk through it. Even you, Mr. and Mrs. Granger. You can say goodbye to the children on the platform."
"Fantastic," Mr. Granger said. "Thank you for all your help, Professor."
"It was my pleasure," McGonagall said with a smile. She looked around, as if to check no one was watching, and then disappeared in thin air.
"Cool," Harry said.
"I want to learn how to do that," Hermione agreed.
"Well, you two had better start reading then," Mrs. Granger said.
They grinned and raced into the house. They had a little more than a month until school started, but they had a lot to learn until then.