It was Harry's fourth day in Diagon since the incident with Marge. He had already gotten all his school supplies and a few books to read later, refilled his potions kit, gotten more treats for Hedwig, and he planned to refill his galleons at noon.
To be frank he was bored out of his damn mind!
So, when he went to refill his pockets, he decided to strike up a conversation with the goblin.
"Where do goblins go to school anyway?"
The goblin, surprised by the question, actually answered him.
"We go to a private school called Youkai Academy. It's a place where monsters can go to get a degree without being bothered by humans. I've heard Witches sometimes go there as well instead of the bigger schools."
"...Can wizards apply as well?"
"Yes, but the earliest you could go is fifth year. It's a high school for non-humans after all. Why?"
"Does the Ministry regulate it?"
"Not as far as I'm aware. From what I've heard, they don't even acknowledge that it exists."
Harry thought about his options. After considering how much difficulty he had in Hogwarts, he decided to ask "Where do you sign up?"
The goblin blinked, then grinned.
"We can start your applications once we reach the surface. Though I would advise you to get caught up on your more muggle subjects. A degree in Youkai Academy is equivalent to a high school diploma in the human world."
Two hours later Harry had a list of books to study up on and a new card to buy things outside the magical alleys.
It would be two years before the repercussions of his talk with the goblin were felt.
Harry's Fifth year, after the Tournament where Cedric Diggory lost his life...
Harry looked at the calender. It had been a rough year, with all the suspicions and the betrayals. He would leave the magical world in a heart beat if he had the chance, but anywhere he went he knew Dumbledore's watchers would follow him to drag him back. Last year had been particularly hard, after watching Cedric die because of his stupid honor.
He almost didn't let the owl in when it arrived. He wasn't expecting any letter from Ron or Hermione, as the last had been particularly dry and uninformative. So when he opened up the letter, he nearly dropped it.
He had completely forgotten the conversation with the goblin. Hermione had wondered about his sudden interest in muggle subjects, but she had never really investigated it. After a while it was something Harry kept up out of a desire to escape from the magical world. Learning physics and calculus had been a boon from his fans and the school.
"Dear Mr. Potter,
As per your request two years ago, your application was sent and accepted to Youkai Academy. If you wish to continue your pursuit of leaving Hogwarts, please come to Gringotts no later than July 27th, where we will assist you in getting your new school supplies. If you cannot reach us before that date, let us know via owl so that we may provide you a port key.
Sincerely Gringotts Bank."
Harry didn't think twice, he grabbed a pen and a piece of parchment and wrote a quick reply.
"Dear Gringotts goblins,
Due to the resurrection of Voldemort earlier this year, I have been under relative house arrest. I believe Dumbledore has set watchers on my house, so escaping would be very difficult. Assistance in reaching you before the date set would be very helpful in this matter. Also, are familiars allowed in the Academy?
Sincerely Harry Potter."
Harry handed his reply to the owl who delivered it. It hooted before flying off.
He had no idea that the watchers who protected the house were all on break, so they had no idea about the owl's arrival or departure.
In the meantime, Harry started to pack all his things in a backpack he had bought third year that had a permanent expansion charm on it. He had gotten it primarily so he could escape the house before he was 'rescued' by the magicals under Dumbledore's rule.
He had kept it stocked with all the things he would need to run away and never look back. No one knew about it, so they would never expect him to have it. He threw all the books he felt would be useful and anything he actually wanted to keep. Once he was done, he found that he barely had half of the trunk full. Lockhart's ridiculous books took up a lot of space, as had a lot of junk.
Hedwig hooted at him. She knew he planned to leave and not come back, and she approved.
The next two days were a long wait for Harry and his owl. Still, he managed to keep his departure under wraps, taking long walks outside the house, never paying attention to the news. Finally, on the third day another owl appeared.
Of course the timing could have been much better. Dudley and his gang saw the owl appear. After a minor fight and dealing with Dementors of all things in Little Whinging, Harry knew his time had come.
He made sure to argue loudly with Vernon, who locked him up in his room. Petunia would no doubt be employing the cat flap from second year until he was rescued.
That was exactly what Harry was counting on. He kept an eye out for his watchers, and waited until the fifteen minute window appeared where they changed shifts.
By the time Mad-Eye took his shift from Mundungus, Harry was long gone.
"...I hate port keys..." said Harry. He had landed ungracefully in Gringotts with Hedwig on his opposite side.
"Most people do," said Ripfang dryly.
Once he got his bearings, Ripfang walked him through the admissions process. His application had already been accepted and confirmed, he just needed to make it there and get his supplies. Hedwig was equipped with a spell to get her past the barrier, since Harry still liked talking with Sirius.
Due to the mess Voldemort had created the first time around, port keys and other magical transportation didn't work at the Academy...unless it was to someplace on the grounds. Harry would have to leave the dimension in order to leave the school that way.
The goblins were more than happy to let him use the special doorways to the school so he could catch the regular bus.
It took him an hour, and a good dip into his trust to get more books that he could read later, but he was finally ready.
He couldn't wait. A second chance. A new beginning.
"You should be aware, Lord Potter, that once you begin attending Youkai Academy that you will be unable to return to Hogwarts. You can still take your OWLs and NEWTs, but your registered school will be Youkai Academy."
"So Dumbledore will lose his only hold on me? Good. I have no regrets."
"Very well. Here is the translation charm. It will slowly teach you the languages you encounter until you no longer need it. Whatever you do, try not to get killed."
"Thank you. For your assistance, I want you to transfer a thousand galleons to the goblin clans for helping me escape."
Ripfang's eyes widened. It was rare for the wizards to show any gratitude to the goblin clans.
Harry stared around him at Japan. He took one look at the nearest bookstore and grinned.
He had a few hours before he had to catch the bus. Time for a bit of fun!
Half an hour later he was smiling, feeling happier than he had in...well, ever actually. He wasn't being held down by the expectations or demands of the wizards. He wasn't being used like a pawn in a game had no understanding of.
He was just Harry. Something he wanted for years but never actually had. He looked at his new watch (he got it at this store that sold Japanese cartoons. Anime, he believed it was called) with the picture of a yellow mouse with red cheeks and black tipped ears. It was the only thing he recognized. He had fifteen minutes to catch the bus.
Harry ran to the stop, and found that he wasn't as alone as he assumed.
There was another boy there, though he didn't look like a demon or monster. In fact he looked decidedly mundane.
"This is the bus to Youkai Academy, isn't it?" he asked carefully.
The kid nodded, clearly surprised to see someone else.
"You just barely made the last bus," commented the driver.
"Shopping spree. First time I've been allowed to do as I please in concerns to shopping," said Harry.
He sat across from the human kid, though how he managed to get into Youkai Academy when the brochure said it was human free he had no clue.
As the bus rolled to it's destination, the two made small talk.
"So...what's your name?" asked the human kid.
"Potter Harry. You?"
"How'd you get into Youkai Academy?"
"My dad found an application from a priest. It was the only high school that accepted me."
"...You do realize that there's a reason it's called Youkai Academy, right?"
"I thought they named it because they had a fascination with demons?" said Tsukune.
"Seriously? You didn't know about this place?" said Harry in disbelief.
Suddenly Tsukune was having misgivings about going to this school...
Harry not only didn't react to the fact this pink haired girl was sucking on the kid's blood, he looked decidedly bored about it!
"I'm so sorry! I was just so thirsty..."
"I have some water if you need it," offered Harry.
"Thanks. But I'm fine now. I'm Akashiya Moka.
"Ano...do either of you like vampires?" she asked timidly.
"I don't have a problem with them. One of my uncles is a werewolf after all."
"So do either of you see the school?" asked Tsukune.
"Hold on... Hedwig, do you see any buildings up ahead?" Harry called out. His owl took off and hooted. She circled twice around them before flying in another direction.
"Um...would you like to be friends?" asked Moka.
"Sure! Be nice to have a friendly face to talk to," said Harry. They followed his owl who stayed within eyesight.
"All right, all you new students! Welcome to Youkai Academy! My name is Shizuka Nekonome and I'll be your homeroom teacher this year!"
Harry took one look at her and immediately pegged her as a cat of some sort. He was right in front of a blue haired girl who reminded him of a Veela, only the effect was more toned down. Next to him was Tsukune.
"I'm sure you all know this, but Youkai Academy is a place where Monsters can learn in a safe, human-free environment!"
Tsukune was starting to see Harry's warning. Apparently he had known about the fact that Youkai Academy was literally a school for monsters and the boy felt obligated to at least give him a head's up.
As Nekonome continued, Tsukune grew more and more panicked. Harry, on the other hand, was trying not to grin. The stay-in-human-form rule was absolutely perfect for him, because he didn't have a monster form!
Poor Tsukune was absolute freaked, and it didn't help that another student started talking about eating humans.
"Well you see it's impossible for humans to get in here. There's a barrier that would kill them on the spot if they came in here."
"Say what you will, but I swear I've been smelling human ever since I came into here," complained Saizo.
"Um...that's my fault. I forgot to wash the uniform before I came and I was sitting next to a human on the train before I took the bus," said Harry. Saizo's attention successfully diverted, Tsukune breathed a sigh of relief that the guy wasn't looking at him anymore.
Moka broke all the tension by coming and taking her seat. Well, after she was done glomping Tsukune first.
"So this is my new room? I hope that my roommate doesn't snore..." said Harry. He quickly picked a bed and put his things away. Already he felt right at home here, and he didn't mind the fact that he was going to school with a bunch of homicidal monsters.
Once he was done, he stretched and took a shower. Hedwig was out hunting and it was clear she preferred it here too. He came out half an hour later to find his new roommate.
"You're my roommate?"
"I guess. I've been meaning to ask, why weren't you freaked out by all the monsters? You seem just as human as I do."
"Meh, I've seen weirder. Besides, I asked to come here two years before I came. So, are you...well...mundane?" he asked.
Tsukune had closed the door.
"You know, human?"
Tsukune began to sweat. Was Harry going to kill him?
"I thought so. How the hell did you even get into this place anyway? I mean the entrance fee alone is a royal pain to pay and I would assume that you would need a charm to get through the barrier Ms. Nekonome mentioned..."
"You don't mind?"
"You seem like a nice guy and all, but I swear to Merlin if you snore I will smother you with a damn pillow."
"Wait, why aren't you freaking out? I thought monsters hated humans?"
"Technically I'm not a monster. But while we're on the subject..." said Harry, pulling out his wand.
"...Is that a magic wand?"
"Yup. I'm a wizard. It was either here or a place where people expect me to be something I'm not."
"So...you're not going to expose me?"
"If nothing else I could say you're a squib. That should get the monsters off your back."
"What's a squib?"
"Someone born from a magical family who can't use magic at all. Basically they are like regular humans except they can see through magic veils."
"Do you think it will fool them?"
"It's better than the truth. And let's face it, it would explain a lot about how you got in here."
"...Thanks for giving me a good lie to use," said Tsukune. At least now he had an idea of what to say if people asked what he was.
I'm sure by now you're wondering what the hell happened to me and how I escaped Privet Drive before any of Dumbledore's lackeys could get me. Well here's my secret.
Two years ago I asked a random goblin where they go to school and learned that there are in fact alternative places to get an education. The only downside was that I would have to wait in order to fit the age requirement. Well, I am happy to say that Hogwarts is now a fading memory and I had no intention of going back. I don't have to deal with Snape here, or any end-of-the-year plots against my life!
Oh, and before you get any hair-brained schemes to get me out of here against my will, please inform that barmy old coot that port keys and apparition are warded against unless it's to other locations on school grounds.
I can guarantee you Remus would love it here, not only would he not have to worry about the students freaking out over his condition, they wouldn't even bat an eye!
Hope you're enjoying yourself as much as I am,