AN: If you haven't read 'Travel Secrets: First' then you will probably be a bit lost, and might have missed some important things... like the whole premise :p
Dear Master Flamel,
I collected your stone at the end of the Hogwarts year, and have it with me now in a safe location. I wish to return it to you as soon as possible, as I am sure you are worried about it. I do, however wish to ensure that it is well protected. I don't know if you heard, but at the end of the last school year there were rumors going around Hogwarts that Harry Potter was attacked by a certain Dark Lord for the second time. I am unsure if these are true, however as the stone was so badly protected the last time, I am a little wary.
To ensure the return of your stone (I am doing my best not to make this sound like Blackmail, but I guess in a way it is – however I will continue to send the elixir regardless of all else):
You must swear an oath not to let Albus Dumbledore be in any way involved in the stone's safety.
You must convince me that your protections will be satisfactory.
You must swear an oath not to take retribution or legal action if we meet to exchange the stone (I have attached a legal gob-doc-form to be filed with Gringotts before a meeting will be arranged). I understand that I stole your property, however technically I just collected an object from around Hogwarts. It was in a place where I dwelled, not a fortified safe. I really did just want to ensure the safety of the stone.
Upon our first meeting I wish for an unbreakable vow not to reveal my identity without my permission. You are welcome to offer opinions on the wording, but I am afraid it will be necessary in exchange for the stone.
I am most sorry for the inconvenience I have caused, and I hope your holidays were otherwise well,
Harry Potter sighed and put down the quill stretching out his wrist. This was his ninth draft of the letter, and it still sounded too much like blackmail. It really wasn't his aim, however he wasn't about to let that stop him from making demands on the stone's safety. Now that it wasn't destroyed, Voldemort may wish to obtain it again; something that Harry very much wanted to avoid. With a final sigh he moved over to Hadwin's cage.
'Can you take a letter for me Hadwin?'
Hadwin puffed up his feathers and gave Harry a bit of a glare.
'Of course you can.' Harry grinned, 'I didn't mean to offend.'
With a quiet laugh Harry ran his finger along the bottom of the cage, unclipping the bottom and lifting the top away. When he had bought the cage he had made sure to buy one that had a bottom that easily came loose for cleaning, but wasn't obvious in that fact. Uncle Vernon still thought that Hadwin was locked up.
Harry attached the note and sent it to Gringotts, requesting the goblin document to be added, and both letters to be sent on anonymously to Nicolas Flamel. He added a five-galleon tip in the note, knowing that would ensure his privacy.
Harry made his way over to the window and let Hadwin out.
The Dursley's were wary of Harry, as Dumbledore had (ever so kindly) sent them a letter to let them know he wouldn't be able to do magic over the holidays. Harry was still, four days later, seething over this, however unfortunately for Dumbledore (and the Dursleys) Harry had anticipated trouble, and was prepared. He brought home an empty, but locked, trunk from the room of requirement home in replacement of his own, while his real trunk was shrunk in his pocket on a timer. His empty trunk was locked away in the cupboard under the stairs, and his proper one was sitting under his bed full and under his invisibility cloak.
Hadwin's cage had three padlocks on it, however the bottom was easily removed, and Harry was extra careful only to let him out late at night, and had instructed him to wait to return only at night as well. Fortunately Hadwin was a much quieter owl than Hedwig as well.
And finally, Harry had gone to see the house elves a few days before the end of term and explained he wouldn't be fed properly for the first part of the holidays and could he please have some food to take home with him. They had been delighted, more than usual, as he was 'their most favorite Haree'. Due to his house stopping him from eating at the Slytherin table for the majority of the year, Harry had spent a great deal of time in the kitchens, and the elves had taken a strong liking to him. He had even taught them his secret triple chocolate and dirigble plum mud cake recipe, although he had to send a request to Xeno Lovegood for the ingredients at the time. With such favoritism, Harry was almost certain he could be locked in his room until he came of age before he ran out of the food packages the elves had packed him.
All in all, despite his original doubts, his holidays had actually been quite enjoyable so far. He was even still allowed outside his room to do the gardening for a few hours in the morning as good behavior bond (having not shown any sign of anything outside of the ordinary in public– and also, Harry suspected, for doing such a good job of acting when Mrs. Number Six stuck her nose over the fence when Harry arrived). The weirdest thing about summer however, was that Dudley seemed, while cautious, a little curious about Harry's school. It was hidden under a lot of bluster and insults, but he had actually mentioned magic twice, and when Piers came over, had even gotten the boy to back down on attacking Harry. Harry had almost cut his finger off in shock, instead of the dead branches he was pruning, and had had a coughing fit that lasted until Piers' older brother took pity and handed him his drink bottle. This, as it turned out, would be Harry's ticket out of there. While Patrick Polkiss had been whacking Harry on the back, Harry had managed to stumble and 'get caught' taking a few of Patrick's hairs with him.
The main reason that his holidays were going so well wasn't having his trunk or freeing Hadwin, it was potions. Fully aware of just what to expect, Harry had spent a good portion of the last month of school locked up in the room of requirement brewing all sorts of potions to make his holidays run smoothly. He had pranking potions (and their counters), healing, aging, polyjuice, dreamless sleep, confounding, and poisonous potions (although the last was only for defence if absolutely life-or-death desperate. The first day Vernon had been gleeful, rubbing it in Harry's face that he couldn't do magic and was helpless. The next day all three Dursleys had woken up to find their skin to be fluro green. Harry had calmly pointed out that there were ways around the law, and that he would be having the mornings outside, if the Dursley's wished for a peaceable summer. Apparently they had done, and since then Harry and his relatives had pretty much let each other be.
Right at this moment, Harry was taking advantage of the polyjuice. He had checked the wards the morning before, and they were already fully charged. Harry suspected it was because he held no ill will towards the Dursleys now he wasn't in the least bit threatened by them, and because he had stuck up for Dudley when Hagrid was going to give him a pigs tail. Both Petunia and Dudley seemed much less aggressive than Harry remembered, and the slightly better relations with the Evans bloodline was doing wonders for the wards. Harry suspected they had actually charged fully by the first day, he just hadn't checked them then because he had expected it to take a minimum of six days.
With the wards fully charged, enough for another years protection, Harry had packed up all of his things and was leaving tonight. He left a note for Petunia with explicit directions not to inform Dumbledore that he was gone, and instructions to mention to Mrs. Figgs that he was still around, just out of sight. Letting his Aunt Petunia know about Mrs. Figgs was a calculated risk, however he was sure that Petunia would be too happy that he was gone to complain overly.
Harry placed Patrick's hair in the serve of polyjuice, then swallowed it down with a grimace. After a few less than pleasant moments, Harry uncurled himself off the bed, and went to look at himself in the broken mirror on the inside of his wardrobe.
.:You could have warned me. I wasn't expecting to be suddenly wrapped around an expanding chest:. Apep grumbled. Harry just laughed.
A tall muscled blond stared back at him grinning. A quick bit of lock-picking later, and Harry was down through the kitchen, dropping off his note, and out the back door. Once he was outside he cut behind the garage and through the back yard of Petunia's rival Mrs. Tall, and out onto Hickory terrace. He cut across the playground, then through the school before he finally pulled out his wand and summoned the knight bus.
'Welcome to the knight bus. Emergency transport for the standard witch or wizard, just stick out your wand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor for this evening.'
Harry grinned as Stan read off his card in a monotone that spoke of numerous repititions.
'One way to Briggs Emporium please.'
Stan dropped the formal tone and grabbed Harry's trunk.
'Eleven sickles, that'll be. Unless 'choo want a 'ot chocolate, in which case it'll be firteen, or for fifteen you get an 'ot-water bottle an' a toofbrush in the colour of your choice.'
Harry dug out the sickles. 'Just the trip please. Unless you have a newspaper?'
Harry handed those over as well, but folded the newspaper and slid it into his trunk. He took a bed close to the front and made sure to take his feet off the floor (best let the bed move around to compensate – there were cushioning charms on the walls, but only against inanimate objects. If you were sitting or lying on the bed you were fine, but if you were standing you'd hit the wall hard).
'Take him away Earn.' Stan yelled, giving Harry an odd look. It took Harry several minutes to realise Stan Shunpike was checking him out! He quickly buried himself in the newspaper, trying not to feel too bad for Patrick's body.
By the time they reached London Harry had almost read the entire newspaper. After a few attempts at hitting on Harry, Stan had given in and just rambled on about each of the customers that were traveling that night. Apparently Jessica Greengrass of the Harpies had been on a trip to Dover earlier in the night to see her brother (who Harry was relatively sure was Daphne's father), Leander Tribbs had been to the Cribbles again (Harry didn't know who that was, nor what exactly a Cribbles was), the Robbston brats had been causing chaos again (Harry had a vague recollection of dealing with the three siblings as an Auror – they were known for setting off fireworks inside buildings), and Muriel Prewitt had been to do the shopping again and had dropped a carton of eggs and hadn't even had the decency to use a scourgify!
Stepping off the knight bus was a bit of a relief, as was honestly being able to tell Stan that he didn't have a floo address to leave with him.
Briggs Emporium was not an Emporium at all, but a small diner, which led on to the back entrance to knockturn alley through their kitchens. The knight bus could actually hop straight in to the alley, but who got on and off at the stop was usually under careful surveillance by the ministry, while Briggs Emporium and Lonely street (an entrance through a strip club) weren't watched at all.
Knockturn alley was not at all what Harry had thought it was at age twelve. The first time he had gone there after the war had been a bit of a shock. There were a lot of darker items sold, and the seedier characters were much more likely to hang around, however the real reason that knockturn alley was considered dark was because it was part of a district held under lease by the dark creatures council. Predominantly existing of Vampires, knockturn alley and the four smaller alley's that branched off it had been leased by the council since the Black Plague had run through London and the ministry had been forced to sign a two thousand year lease in order to pay the Vampires to clear out London's dead and get antidotes in. The plague hadn't effected the Vampires at all, while witches and wizards had had to go on lockdown.
Actually, if you ignored Borgin and Burkes (whom Harry only didn't like because they was on such good terms with Voldemort – or, Tom Riddle), Harry actually loved the alley. He often visited the nightclubs there, and had stayed at Msaw Ætare more times than he could remember. Dalvin was an Icelandic chef who had been running the small café/pub/bed and breakfast for almost fifty years.
After getting a few odd looks for dragging his trunk through Briggs Emporium, Harry made his way down the alley and checked in to Msaw for the rest of the summer. He only just made it back to his room as the hour was up, and simply locked the door letting the polyjuice wear off, and collapsed on the bed asleep.
The next morning (almost afternoon, as Harry got in at 3am, and slept until 11.30) Harry took another dose of the polyjuice, but set out to get a more convenient disguise. As amusing as it would be, to let Harry Potter travel around knockturn alley all summer, it wasn't really a suitable location for a twelve year old, and Harry had no intention of letting either the ministry or Dumbledore know he wasn't at his relatives. Fortunately, as long as he remembered to be somewhere close to Privet Drive on August 19th when the Hogwarts letter came out, the ministry had no way of tracking him, and Dumbledore's devices were all based on the wards, and could only detect if the wards were failing (due to time spent away, or magic spent in anger) or if both Harry Petunia decided verbally that it wasn't considered his home.
The first business of the day was a small barber shop aptly named Beard Trimming. Joe was a simple minded man, who had an amazing way with a pair of scissors. Unfortunately like everywhere else, Harry couldn't be seen in his true form, so he was only picking up some hair mousse that would ensure that his untamable mop lay flat. Harry actually liked his spiky hair (even now, when it reminded him of James Potter), but Harris Noir wasn't going to have Potter hair. With his hood drawn, Harry bought the mousse and headed down one of the side alleys. There were a few medical shops along here for those who didn't want to go to St. Mungo's; a medicinal potions supplier, a chiropractor (owned by a muggleborn and scoffed at by the pure bloods at first, until one of them tried it… after which it became very popular. With the aid of magic the spinal fix was permanent), a blood bank (for the vampire's rather than medicinal) and an optometrist. It was the optometrist Harry was after. Harry had been Twenty-five when Daphne Greengrass had demanded to know why he insisted on keeping his glasses. Harry had never noticed, but he was actually the only person he knew in the wizarding world under the age of ninety who wore glasses. Even then, those who did usually wore them because they had some sort of charm (like Arthur Weasleys who's glasses showed any item with plastic in it with a slight glow, to help him identify muggle made items).
The process of fixing his eyes took a mere week of potions twice daily to fix his sight forever. Something Harry wished to start immediately. Harry felt exceedingly guilty as after collecting (and paying for) the potions from the front desk, he obliviated both the healer and the receptionist, and stole his file. It wasn't something Harry felt comfortable doing, but his next stop was out into the muggle world to an optometrist there, where Harry collected a pair of plain-glass fake glasses, and a set of coloured contact lenses. The world would (for now) see his glasses as a weakness, and while Harry could use being able to see without them as a surprise advantage he would.
A quick stop in the bathroom of a Macdonalds and Harry Potter lost the glasses, changed to brown eyes, hair flattened to a completely tamed style, covered his scar with make-up… and Harris Noir made his way out back across London and into knockturn alley. He was at a bit of a disadvantage, still looking like a small child, however letting off a tangible dark aura soon had the dwellers swerving to avoid him rather than taking advantage, probably assuming he was a vampire or dark elf. It was a bit of a superman disguise, but Harry actually looked a lot more like his mother than his father, it was just no one could see past the glasses and the Potter hair. Even his hair was actually a lot darker than James Potter's, but it did stick up every which way, and there was no doubting the resemblance.
After Harry killed Voldemort for the second (and more lasting) time, his popularity naturally sky rocketed. Leaving school and living in the magical community had thrust Harry into social circuits far more than he would have liked, but after a few misdemeanors on the front page of the prophet (his and Ginny's break-up for example) Harry had finally started to get a hang of being a celebrity, and learnt a few hard lessons and the tricks to the trade. One of his best tricks was altering his magical signature. Most wizards couldn't manage to alter their signature as most people had a propensity towards either light or dark magic. One of the few perks of having someone else's soul hanging around in your forehead for so long is that Harry's body had developed both light and dark magic's which, like parseltongue, stuck around even after Voldemort's horcrux was gone. This gave Harry a huge advantage in quite a few obscure fields. Magical signature altering was one of them, and it was Harry's most useful trick for avoiding fans… or overly enthusiastic house elves.
Harry Potter's magical signature could be discovered by looking up the register in Ollivanders wand shop. It wasn't accessible to wizards except through an official legal trial, however it was accessible to house elves. Harry had always wondered how Dobby found him at the Dursleys, and had found out at age twenty-three when a crazy fan girl had her house-elf stalk him for a month. Harris Noir didn't have a registered wand, and therefore his signature wasn't registered. Even if it were, with the amount of darker magic Harry was pushing in to it in order to keep unfriendlies away from a child alone in knockturn, it wouldn't be recognizable as Harry Potter. Over the next few weeks Harry spotted various house elves with their masters (much more common in knockturn) and idly wondered whether Dobby was freaking out about not being able to find Harry Potter. Living as an anonymous suited Harry however, and he wasn't about to give it up to sooth even Dobby. Besides, as much as he loved the little guy, and was looking forward to meeting him again, he would prefer to meet him after Dobby promised not to try and save his life. The fact that he wasn't getting any mail didn't bother Harry in the slightest as he assumed that the Slytherins were still annoyed at him from losing the house cup at the end of the previous year, and so wasn't expecting any.
Due to his annual clash with Voldemort, Harry had spent the last night at Hogwarts in the infirmary, and had spent the majority of the train journey sleeping it off as well. He had seen Theo and Blaise briefly, and they had seemed to be on his side of things, the three of them spending an enjoyable half-hour insulting Dumbledore. Both boys had suggested they would write, and Harry had sent a short letter to each, but he had actually forgotten about Dobby taking his mail the first time around, and just assumed that Theo and Blaise didn't like writing letters. Harry thought about writing to Hermione, just for amusement's value, as she hadn't taken kindly to being beaten in every subject (by quite a lot). He missed his old friends dearly, but had accepted that he would be losing them by coming back into the past in an effort to save them. Even before Ron died the golden trio hadn't really been happy. Fame went to Ron's head and Hermione found herself under enormous pressure to become girly and mere eye candy. Harry missed his Hermione's letters, and knew that even if he wrote to this Hermione, it wouldn't be the same. He also contemplated writing to Luna. Mostly because he felt he could probably just write and say 'Hello, you don't know me, but in an alternate future we were in love' and Luna would probably write back happily. In the end he settled in to waiting for friendships to form, and making friends with the locals.
Harry was on good terms with Dalvin quickly, having spent years getting to know him in the other time-line, and so being able to read him enough to win at a game of seerklo (a magical game similar to poker) with minimal effort. Dalvin hadn't made a comment about Harry's change in appearance after the first night, but he did check his age, to which Harry replied 'twenty-seven' with no qualms. Dalvin was part svartalfar (a black elf), and could sense the truth in Harry's words, so he accepted it and didn't question his eleven-year-old appearance after that. That was one of the things Harry liked most about knockturn alley; no one cared who or what you were. Dalkin probably assumed Harry was some form of magical creature, and ignored his looks thereafter. The goblins were a bit more wary when Harry went to Gringotts to open an account under Harris Noir, but in the end a customer was a customer, and like Dalvin, they got plenty of weird folk coming through the knockturn alley entrance. The first time Harry had entered that way he realised that entering theough the Diagon entrance had probably been the biggest give-away when the trio had robbed Belatrix Lestrange, and suspected that if they had come in this way, they may not have been suspected right from the get-go, or had to use imperio. He also suspected that Sirius had probably just walked in to the knockturn branch and withdrawn money when he bought Harry's Firebolt, probably without question.
Similarly to when he spent his first-third year summer at Fortescue's, he spent a great deal of time at The Coffin House. It wasn't what it's name suggested, and was actually a café/bar, it just catered to predominantly Vampires, and Harry knew from an Auror raid that the café was a front to a number of underground illegal business ventures. Knockturn alley wasn't as clean as it should be legally, but the café sold an excellent mid-day roast, an even better coffee, and despite it's disreputable side-business, had friendly staff who weren't the least bit interested in discussing their illegal habits with an eleven-year old.
The holidays went much faster than Harry would have liked, but by the time August 19th came around it took very minimal effort for Harris Noir to convince Dalvin to side-along apperate him to near privet drive in order for him to receive his Hogwarts owl from the park behind the Dursleys, and Dumbeldore never need know that Harry had ever left. Knowing what to expect on his Hogwarts list, Harry had already made most of his purchases before he even got the letter. He had trawled through Wizarding supplies, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Lucy's second hand books and even Cobb & Webb's, and had managed to get not only most of his school books second hand with decent notes (Snape wasn't alone in writing in old text books), but also a much better complete 1st-7th year collection of DADA books from the various years that Hogwarts managed to find a decent professors. Harry had no intention of buying Lockheart's books at all, in fact, he had found a book of porn in Cobb & Webb's that would appear to be any other book the reader liked to anyone else but the owner, and had managed to convince (with a fair amount of prodding from his wand) the cover off, and on to a Basic's of Arithmancy tome, which he intended to study in Lockhearts class. However two days later he found himself dragging his feet on his way to Diagon Alley to the Lockheart book signing. He was sure that Mrs. Weasley would be taking her kids shopping on the same day, to save floo powder and two trips, and he had convinced Borgin to admit that Lucius Malfoy was dropping some things off on the same day.