Author's Note: As usual, I don't own Harry Potter and whatever legal disclaimer needs to be said here, consider it said from now on.
A small warning. This is not a crossover, despite the title.
This story tries to be a little more realistic in it's portrayal of the Harry Potter world, and deals with the consequences of young children having access to powerful magic. It is also a slower paced story that explores the magical world in depth with a new perspective which changes canon events.
Most of the first book is already written and I will be continuing on to the second as well. Reviews are more than welcome.
The massive giant stood still while shaking the boy's world apart, and repeated himself, "I said, yer a wizard Harry!"
Harry James Potter blinked a few more times and adjusted his glasses, gazing skyward at gleaming dark eyes, hidden in a wavy mass of hair, "Is this some kind of joke? Because I don't really get it."
"No joke, but I know a few if yeh like."
Shaking his head, Harry looked back down at the letter addressed to him and read aloud, "Dear Mr Potter, We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July. - Are you sure this isn't a joke?"
"Sure as Dumbledore's the greatest wizard I ever met. - Er, there ain't anyone else inside is there? Need ter tell yer folks as well. Maybe have a word or two about birthrights an' such."
Harry was standing in the doorway, looking over the list of required items, "They're out celebrating Dudley getting into Smeltings academy and won't be back until late. I don't think they would want to hear this though. - Just for the sake of argument, how am I supposed to find a wand or any of these books? And I'm pretty sure no one sells dragon hide gloves around here."
"That's why they sent me, I'm ter take yeh shoppin'. Get all yer stuff fer school. An' why'd the Dursleys leave yeh home by yerself, don' they know better than that?" He bent down his large hairy head to look inside and gave a gruff laugh at the decor.
Glancing up again, Harry spoke hesitantly, "Yeah... well they weren't exactly expecting a giant ...wizard to come knocking. Since our neighbor is getting her cast off today, I convinced them to let me stay home without a babysitter. - But now you, want to take me shopping, for a school I've never heard of, after you tell me I'm a wizard, on the first day we meet."
"Yup, that about sums it up. How's Mrs Figg doing, still havin' trouble with her cats?"
"Uh, Mr Hagrid is it? Obviously you're familiar with the people around here, but, I'm going to need a little more convincing. Can you do anything... magical? Maybe move something with your mind?"
"Strictly speaking, I'm - er - not supposed ter do magic. Never really finished school at Hogwarts." Harry's face fell, "But if yeh need ter see somethin', how about we go inside so the whole neighborhood don' gawk."
With skepticism written across his face, he let the giant into the house, yet didn't feel afraid of this monstrous man. Harry didn't view himself as defenseless by any means, but that didn't concern him, for over the years Harry prided himself on being able to judge people's intentions, and while Hagrid might have escaped from an over-sized mental institution, there was no sign of deception on his face, the parts he could see at least. This large man truly believed what he was saying, and wanted to help. Crouching low to enter the house, Hagrid made his way into the living room, settling down on the couch with a resounding crunch. Harry squinted in anguish, knowing that would cost him later.
"Alright, now if yeh don' mind keepin' quiet about this at Hogwarts, I'll - er - show yeh some magic." Harry sat down opposite him and nodded in acceptance, if only to get this charade over with. "Wanted to see something move eh? How's about float?" Reaching deep within his massive jacket, Hagrid pulled out... a ratty pink umbrella. A bit anticlimactic Harry thought, but almost fitting. Hagrid pointed up at the ceiling with one finger as a distraction, while his umbrella made a small movement under the table.
"What?" Harry asked, as he saw nothing on the ceiling. He looked down disappointed, only to see the coffee table floating a few feet off the ground. With the umbrella back on his lap, Hagrid chuckled at the intense expression Harry had on. He waved his hand over the table, under it, and around all sides trying to make sure it wasn't a trick. "You can do it too!" He yelled.
"Can do more than that, jus' keep an eye on the fireplace." Harry looked over his shoulder and saw a thin stream of flames shoot towards it, erupting into a blazing fire, already warming the cool room. He twisted around, eyes wide to catch sight of what he thought was the umbrella being settled back in place.
"An' how about an enlargement charm on those flowers outside?" Harry was about to turn again, but caught himself, watching Hagrid make a quick circular motion with his wand and enlarge the biscuit tin on top of the table. Glancing up to see Harry staring at him, Hagrid quickly hid the umbrella away again.
"Convincin' enough for yeh?" He opened the now enormous tin to grab a biscuit and take an equally large bite.
Nodding with an eager and jubilant smile on his face, Harry almost laughed out loud, "YES! - When can we go?"
"...After I tell yeh a story."
Leaving an overly simple note on the hallway table in case he didn't get back in time, Harry felt it was for the best. 'Gone shopping' was all it said. He pocketed the little bit of money he had and threw on a thin hoodie in case it rained wherever they were going. He knew the whole situation was simply barmy, feeling like he was falling down a rabbit hole with Alice, yet it was what he'd been waiting for. Something to take him away from being the odd one out, and everything else. While it wasn't exactly what he wished for, especially the bit about the evil wizard who killed his parents, and tried to kill him, it would have to do. He pinched his arm just to make sure this wasn't an incredibly vivid dream.
Taking the stairs from his room two at a time, he locked the house behind them, and caught up to Hagrid at the curb. "Are we headed to wonderland, because I'll need to get some money out of the bank first. How much does a wand cost anyway, or do you have to make one yourself?"
"Seven Galleons. Ready?" Mumbled Hagrid as he slipped out the umbrella, gave it a quick wave and hid it once again.
"I hope you don't mean seven war ships, because that's a little out of my price range. By the way, how did you even get here Hagrid?"
A resounding BANG woke the dreary street as Harry nearly fell over from the shock. Right in front of him a wall of intense purple rolled to a halt. It turned out to be a triple-decker bus, straight out of a road tunnel's nightmare. Hagrid stepped on, with a grin hidden behind his scraggly beard.
"This, is the Knigh' Bus. One o' the ways wizards get around. Hop on." He waved Harry aboard while pulling out a handful of shiny coins from his pocket, then handed them to the driver who nodded in thanks.
Peering around the street for anyone who might see him, Harry shook his head again and hopped aboard like he was told to. He sat down next to Hagrid's extra large seat near the front and was thrown backwards as another cacophonous BANG brought them up to speed.
"Where ya headed now?" Inquired the driver, who spun around in a worn recliner to face them.
"The Leaky Cauldron, thank yeh." The driver nodded and casually picked his teeth while something else kept steering.
The bus was nearly empty for the size of it, yet the seats were a comfortable beige fabric and didn't smell, so Harry liked it. He peppered Hagrid and the driver with questions the whole way there, trying to ignore the streets, buildings, and people whizzing by in a nauseating fashion around the bus. He learned that they had to go through a pub to get to where they wanted to go, and that his money would be no good there. A few more loud BANGS and there they were, in London by the look of things. Hagrid ushered Harry off the bus to stand outside a shabby old pub, as another middle aged woman in a yellow cloak got off as well and hurried inside.
"Didn' get ter explain much earlier," Hagrid said while he brushed the biscuit crumbs out of his beard, "But Dumbledore wanted me to warn yeh, people migh' notice that scar o' yers a lot more in the wizarding world. Means somethin' precious ter them, somethin' good, jus' warnin' yeh."
"How would anyone even know about my scar if I was with the Dursleys since the day after it happened?"
Looking uncomfortable, Hagrid mumbled again, "Oh - er - yeh know how stories start. One thing gets said, 'an next yeh know, someone's a hero."
Pulling up his hoodie, Harry looked away from the disappointed face, "I'd rather not be a hero. I'd rather just be me."
They passed through the dimly lit pub to be greeted by loud cheers all around, and all for Hagrid. He waved and said hello, but told them he couldn't stay, urgent Hogwarts business to attend to or something like that. Light smoke filled the air along with the scent of varying spirits. Harry was barely noticed in the background with his hood pulled down, some people even bumped into him as they weaved through the crowded tables. Strange people in strange outfits was all he noticed, none of them stood out in any way. Tom the landlord, was the only name he caught, mostly because Hagrid said it in his booming voice right towards him.
Outside the back door Harry looked around to barren brick walls and floor, with a dustbin to liven up the place. Hagrid waved him over to one section of the wall, counting out bricks, doing another crazy impression. That was until he pulled out his umbrella once again and tapped three times, making Harry's references to wonderland seem quite at home as a portal to another world unfurled right in front of him. Twisting open into a wide archway, a cobblestone street could be seen meandering off into the distance, every inch lined with wondrous looking shops begging to be explored.
"Welcome, to Diagon Alley." Hagrid smiled anew, noticing the delight on Harry's face.
With hungry eyes Harry surveyed the magnificent selection of, things, much more than he could imagine uses for. Every shop had an aged look, worn from service and time, a lot of time. Strange scents mingled and grew pungent as they started to stroll down the twisting alley.
"So where to first? And how am I supposed to pay for things if you use a different type of currency? Will people just give me things like some returning hero if I show them the scar?" The alluring sight of a tidy bookstore called to him which he resisted by studying the colourful displays in a real apothecary opposite it.
"It's Gringotts first, that's where yer money is. Only wizardin' bank around, an' where yer parents kept it all." He pointed at the towering white building far ahead.
Harry was almost as surprised by that, as he was by the sight of flying broomsticks. "I have an inheritance? Why wasn't I ever told?" He looked up at Hagrid to see a sneer forming, "Never mind... I can guess, my relatives again."
They passed by manikins in clothing shop windows that twirled and moved to display their wares. Owls upon hooting owls were kept in cages outside and in a pet shop that gave a distinctive gamey odor to area. Equipment shops dotted the street for something called quidditch, to quills, to potions, to general purpose wizard supplies. An ice cream parlor lured in children and adults alike with strange sounding flavors and combinations, while people squeezed by the outdoor tables in reckless abandon. The people wore unique outfits and funny hats, but their attitudes were the same as every shopping center around, if a little happier. There were old men complaining about prices and quality degrading, older women talking about the men, while young children marveled at the latest toys and candy shop windows. Rough individuals haggled about prices while posh ones acted indifferent. Couples walked together pointing and chatting, as Harry was led down the busy street, taking it all in.
A black cat meowed in the window of another pet shop, pacing back and forth while watching people pass by. Harry was stunned to see a decidedly normal looking couple walking towards them with a girl his age leading them along. She was wearing a grey knitted cap and carrying an arm full of boxes, with a bright infectious smile, seeming to be the happiest around. They exchanged glances as Harry stumbled on the uneven cobble, practically running into a rack of brooms. Nothing fell over except his pride, so he rushed away after Hagrid, not paying attention to the minuscule guards in uniform they passed on the polished white steps.
Shiny silver doors with words he didn't catch opened outward as Harry finally noticed the workers. They wore tailored suits covering pale, almost greyish skin, and some grew manicured beards with most all at some stage of baldness. Long pointed ears stuck out nearly as much as their bulbous heads and sharp noses, yet the keen jagged teeth caught Harry's eyes. He tried not to stare as probably a hundred or more sat counting coins, weighing gems, and scribbling numbers into oversized books. The grandiose marble hall definitely shouted 'bank' despite the unusual clerks, and more surely than any coins or high wooden counters might. Wizards stood waiting in lines, some being led through doors while others negotiated with the short clerks.
"Why do they look like that?" Harry whispered.
"Goblins, they run the place. Would be a fool to try stealing from them."
"Right, magical creatures, of course." Harry shook his head in bewilderment, wondering if he might faint from all the surprises today.
Making for an open counter, Hagrid began to talk, while Harry closed his eyes and let himself relax. Ignoring the outside world, he calmed his mind and let the day sink in, feeling at ease with his surroundings, and freeing himself from built up stress to experience the present. He'd read up on meditation years ago, and while he didn't know if he was doing it the right way, it worked for him. Opening his eyes to the hustle and bustle of the active bank was strange, because it was suddenly quiet. All the goblins were staring - at him.
"Harry, this way." Urged Hagrid, while waving him over towards one of the side doors. Harry looked around for a second, then hurried off as the noise began again.
The plain stone passageway they entered was in stark contrast to the opulence they just left. With what looked like a rickety mining cart for transportation, Harry was not impressed by the layout or practicality of the place. The winding maze of tunnels seemed to have no purpose except to make people sick, namely Hagrid. They picked up speed and dropped lower, becoming more of a rollercoaster, passing by an underground lake and making steep curves and dives.
Eventually they came to a halt in front of a humble curved door, in which their goblin guide unlocked, revealing stagnant green smoke that Harry covered his nose and mouth to avoid breathing. Looking up as the air cleared, he saw it, a mountainous pile of gold, silver, and bronze coins, some neatly stacked while others were strewn about the place. His eyes danced in glee at the sight, unable to estimate how much was there.
"All yers, Harry." Hagrid forced the words out while holding his mouth as well, but for another reason.
Some other artifacts and jewelry were hung up on the walls, with a small shelf to one side containing scrolls and drawers of other things. Hagrid handed him a bag to carry some coins, which he stuffed full, noticing the lightness of them and then saw another few purses already full, which he looked into and pocketed.
Breathing deeply, Hagrid managed to explain a bit, "Gold ones are the Galleons I was talkin' about, which're worth seventeen silver Sickles, and each o' those turn into twenty nine bronze Knuts. - That's good enough Harry, we best be off, got lots ter buy."
Harry gazed up with puppy dog eyes, pleading with the giant, "Can't we stay just a bit longer, there's so much to look through in here."
"Sorry, already runnin' late. Yeh'll get all the time yeh need another day."
Dropping his head in disappointment, Harry urged the giant the same way he convinced his relatives, "Please?"
Hagrid jerked his head away as if someone threw something at him, "What the?" He looked around in confusion, "Where did that..." He looked down at Harry and at his empty hands, "Did yeh...? Naa, couldn't be. - We better go now."
Wearing a perplexed expression himself, Harry picked up the few extra bags when Hagrid turned away and stuffed them in his pockets too, then followed after. Before they took off, he asked the goblin a question, "Are these coins solid gold and silver?"
He shook his head with a smirk, "Hollow, charmed to never age and always contain the exact amount of metal they're worth around the world. Makes 'em easy to carry too." They all got into the cart again, "Don't worry, greater minds than yours have tried to take advantage of goblins, and lost dearly." The diminutive creature raised his eyebrows suggestively and off they went again.
Another long twisting journey down even steeper curves and turns, growing colder and colder as they descended, which brought them to a large ornate metal door. It seemed rather extravagant for Hagrid's tastes, Harry thought, but he didn't even know why they were coming here. With a reverent motion, the goblin brushed a finger down the door, causing it to fade away. What surprised Harry more though, was that all it contained was a tiny crude bag, which Hagrid pocketed, not even bothering to look inside.
The goblin spoke up again in a superior tone, "If anyone but a Gringotts goblin tried that, they'd be sucked through the door and trapped in there."
"How do you know when that happens?" Harry inquired.
"We check, every ten years." He nearly snarled in pleasure.
"...So you kill people for attempted theft?"
Narrowing his eyes, he brushed the question off, "We don't kill them, it's their own fault for trying. But I did say other's lost dearly."
Harry continued on, not noticing the irritation growing on the goblin's face, "Setting a trap to kill someone and killing them yourself isn't much different. And shouldn't the punishment fit the crime?"
Stepping between the irate goblin and Harry, Hagrid grunted, "Enough Griphook, we'll be goin' now."
Lost in thought all the way back, the sudden halt woke him from his revere. Back inside the bank, Harry stopped by another free clerk, and asked him a few quick questions, the price of opening another vault, if there was a way to access his gold without the cart ride, and what the exchange rate for the British Pound was. Some of it was depressing, but he offered an idea to the clerk.
"Have you ever thought about keeping individual written accounts just for money? So people can deposit, and receive their money from you without having to spend so much time riding carts all day? You might save a lot on labor as well." The Older goblin looked baffled by what was said, but also thoughtful. "Only an idea, but the British banks have been doing it for ages, and it's a lot quicker. Bye." He bounded away after an impatient and peaky giant.
Basking in the radiant sunlight of a wonderful day, full of possibilities, Harry stretched wide and smiled, "Now, to go exploring."
Hagrid shuffled his ample feet down the steps, "Would yeh mind if I rested for a bit while yeh buy yer uniform? Those cart rides don't agree with the haggis I had this mornin'." Harry nodded in agreement and sympathy, "Be on that bench if yeh need anythin'." He pointed to one close by.
Harry took out his list and glanced around at the shops. Clothing sounded boring, and so did cauldrons and scales. He wanted to save the books for last to spend any time left he had there, so his wand would be first. Ollivander's wand shop seemed a good choice, as he saw the people milling about inside. He nodded to Hagrid and pointed where he was going. Walking up to the door, it opened before him to be greeted by that exuberant smiling girl again. This time she was carrying a long thin box, not paying attention to a thing around her. Harry stepped out of her way, yet she still bumped into him and apologized absentmindedly, already on her way somewhere else. Her parents followed after, giving him a kindly smile as they passed.
Chuckling to himself, he entered the meager sized shop to the jingling bell above the door, noticing the austere atmosphere of a single chair and large wooden counter beside it. Everywhere else was crammed full of dusty narrow boxes lining every inch of the walls and few aisles, except in a far corner where a pleasant light was shining. No one seemed to be around so he made his way over, noticing it came from a locked display case. Inside was an oddly colored wand, dark with blue and green highlights, carved with hundreds of delicate swirling patterns up the entire length, as if someone tried to imagine the wind trapped in wood. Laid upon a purple pillow similar to the display in the window, it gave off a faint blue glow, growing brighter as he stepped closer. His hand hit glass before he realized what it was doing.
"I thought I'd be seeing you in here soon. Harry Potter." Harry jumped at the quiet voice beside him, bumping into a wall of boxes. "Terribly sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." An older man with disheveled white haired came into view, wearing a slightly tattered suit, a long face and stark silver eyes that studied Harry intently. "That is a fascinating wand is it not? Oh my, quite fascinating..." He was transfixed with the glowing case now, giving Harry a reprieve.
"How?" Harry noticed his hood had fallen back, exposing his scar, "I mean, yes, it is a nice wand. How much is it?"
"I'm terribly sorry again, but this one isn't for sale. Come, come, let us find you a proper wand like your parents. I remember them coming in for their first wands as if it was only yesterday." He led Harry back towards the counter and began measuring his arm and height, leaving the device to continue on it's own as he walked off picking out a few boxes. "Yes, willow and mahogany were your parent's chosen wands, good quality woods, both made with unicorn hair, possibly from the same animal even. Let's see what is in store for you today." The tape measure stopped after he waved it off, and handed Harry the first one to try.
Handing Harry wand after wand, telling him to give them a good swish but snatching some of them back mid-swing even, began to get tiring. "Peculiar, but that's what makes things so much fun. Finding that one elusive wand that connects. It's the wand that chooses the wizard, I'll have you know."
Harry kept glancing back to the display in the corner, wondering if he should try convincing anyone else to do what he wanted in this odd world of magic. In the end he decided against it. "Here now, an unusual combination, holly and phoenix feather, but just may be..."
Gripping the simple and smooth wand tightly, Harry felt warm tingling along his arm, like the blood was rushing through to his hand in an attempt to get closer. He brought it around in a quick flourish to produce tremendous scarlet flames in the air, burning to gold as they slowly faded away.
Ollivander clapped and smiled, "Bravo, that is quite a unique wand, and how curious... how curious indeed..."
Harry smiled at the pleasant and satisfying feeling of his own wand, but now that he knew what it felt like, wanted more. "Would you mind if I looked at that other wand one more time? It was just so, interesting." He nodded at the far corner, where they met.
Pursing his lips in contemplation, Ollivander tentatively agreed, "I suppose I could tell you a small story about it as well, but you mustn't get your hopes up, for even adult men have longed for that wand since childhood. I was even thinking of putting it away, since all it does is tempt people with what they cannot have. Yet it does bring in customers."
The blue glow shined brighter once again as they moved towards it, and Ollivander began his story. About how the core was so rare it was passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him, never finding a suitable wood until forty some years ago, when he accidentally stumbled upon the perfect piece already carved into something else, lost in a small forest. It took him a year to carve it down into a wand and imbue the core within the wood, being extremely careful so as to get everything perfect. It was one of his favorite creations, an experimental piece and too unpredictable to sell, he had never before made anything like it, nor know of anyone else who had either.
Building up his courage Harry asked a few questions, "What is it made from?"
"The wood is twelve inches long, a special kind I rarely ever try, due to the difficulty, rarity, and cost, it is called Lignum Vitae. And the core... the core, is Nundu whisker." He said it in awe at the mere name.
"Do - do you ever let anyone hold it?"
He became cagey again, inspecting Harry once more, "...I have, in the past, ...very rarely. But no one has yet to get a positive reaction from it." Glancing back and forth from the radiant wand to Harry, he became more uncomfortable.
"If the wand chooses the wizard, why don't you let more people try it?" Harry tried to sound curious, rather than desperate.
"I did, at first, but one naive boy very nearly brought down the roof on himself, trying to get it to work for him. Since then I've only let those who seem compatible hold it, yet no longer wave it about."
Harry's eyebrows rose at that, "If I promise not to wave it, could I perhaps try holding it for a second?"
The faltering look in his wrinkled, strained eyes said much, as if he wanted to see what might happen, but feared it just as much. He fiddled with his buttons and chewed his lip in anxious consideration. Finally he replied, "Alright... but only if you promise!"
Shaking his head at the madness, Ollivander began opening the locked case, one spell at a time, and finally using an actual key at the last to open it up completely. "Go ahead, but be gentle." Harry reached in slowly, noticing the blue light grow stronger, brighter the closer his hand got, becoming hard to see as he was nearly touching it. With a single finger he made contact and the light disappeared, transforming into dazzlingly blue flower buds sprouting from the surface of it. Harry pulled his hand away in shock, feeling a strange electricity along his skin, a little light headed and giddy, not knowing if he did something wrong.
"Oh, my..." Ollivander scratched his chin and closed the lid to stare. The buds stood still, giving off a faint light of their own.
"I... I need to try that again."
Ollivander shook his head, "Even I don't know what this means Mr Potter. Not for this wand. It could be a sign it is choosing you, or a deadly poison, forming to stop you from trying. That is the nature of the core, deadly yet fascinating."
"They're just flowers! They don't come from a monster, but the wood. I can feel it now, calling out to me." Harry was nearly pleading, begging just to touch it one more time. "Please, you have to let me just hold it."
Taking out his own wand again, he pinched the bridge of his nose and gently nodded, "Fine, but hold it over the pillow, and drop it immediately if you I tell you to, or you sense anything awry." He pulled open the case one more time and held his wand at the ready.
Confidently but smoothly Harry reached for the wand, and gripped it in his hand with an exhilarating rush of energy flowing through him, feeling as if the world around him slowed its pace. The flowers began to bloom, and a breeze rushed through the shop, bringing with it a pleasant floral scent as petals flew off into the air circling around them. The blue glow was back, centered around the flowers and Harry took a deep breath lavishing in the tingling sensation in his hand. It demanded to be waved, feeling an overwhelming urge to do so, Harry resisted, if only not to upset Ollivander again.
"Marvelous... how long I've been waiting for this day..." He studied the wand for a while, then looked down at the petals on the floor and around at the breeze still kicking up dust in the shop. "I must ask you to put it down now. I still cannot sell it to you."
"What!? You saw how it reacted when I only touched it, and I haven't even waved it yet. It belongs with me, not sitting inside a locked case for eternity!" Harry could barely contain his outrage.
Walking over to his counter, he packed up Harry's other wand, wrapped it in red paper and set it aside, ignoring the incredulous looks thrown his way. "It is too dangerous, especially for one so young who has not even learned to produce a single spell yet. Even regular wands can create disasters in untrained hands, let alone one such as this. No, I could not in good conscious sell it. At least not until you are much older with complete control of your magic."
"You want me to wait how many years, or decades until I even get to try using it? You can see it's not dangerous, if you just let me prove it to you." He stopped talking, trying to resist the urgent need building in his hand to wave it, feeling like it had been itching for a week straight.
"No, I should never have even made it, being so reckless and arrogant in my youth I didn't consider the ramifications. More importantly it is incredibly dangerous to tempt fate and allow one person to carry the destiny of two such powerful wands."
Harry shook his head, "That's what this is about? Some superstition about destiny?" He threw his arms in exasperation, and realized what he'd done at the last second, his eyes widening in alarm. The wooden counter-top sprouted, burgeoning forth into a sapling, growing taller by the second and branching out to fill the entire ceiling of the shop. Ollivander eventually recovered from the shock, rushing to cast spell after spell, finally halting it's progress before it broke through the roof.
Mumbling something under his breath, Ollivander stared up in amazement. He stood there for a minute, taking it all in, and then turned towards Harry, noticing the apologetic expression he had on. "At least no one is hurt. But I must insist you-"
The tree began growing again, slower this time, but the roof creaked at the strain. Quickly recasting his spells got it under control. He readjusted his waistcoat and tie, then began again, "Now, I must ask-"
Again it swelled upwards, and the roots spread towards him before he finished the spells again. It took him a few more times of being interrupted mid sentence before he noticed what was causing it, his own words. Giving up in dismay, he put his hands on his hips and glared at the wand, "Fine! Fine, just don't say I didn't warn you. One destiny should be enough for anyone, but we'll see what you do with two!" No more growing occurred, as he waved Harry forward and pulled out a new box and wrapping.
Harry could barely restrain his overjoyed smile, not wanting to rub in Ollivander's defeat at the hands of a tree. A weak grin was the least he could manage. He pulled out a small sack of coins, watching as his two wands were wrapped up and placed before him in a bag, beside the indoor tree. "So how do most people carry their wands so they don't ever break? Do they make special pockets, or have.. holsters or something?"
Ollivander glanced at the sack of coins and responded, "Correct on both counts, but generally people ignore the safety of their wands, preferring to find what is comfortable. Most use a special pocket, but some prefer custom made holsters, designed with concealing and protective enchantments."
Looking up at Harry not in defeat, but in victory, Ollivander spoke evenly. "The price... comes to fifty seven galleons." Sure that Harry couldn't hold that much in such a small container, he looked away to avoid any argument, fiddling with the register. "I'm sorry if you are unable to pay, but only your first wand costs seven galleons, due to the ministry providing assistance for new students. Regular wands cost fifty, which I think is an amazing deal, considering the nature and time it took to create your second wand." He faced forward again with a regretful smile.
Which immediately changed to a frown of distress, as Harry plunked down the whole amount on the table. He picked up the bag and thanked the eccentric old man, apologized about the tree, and inquired about a holster shop before he left. It took a little more convincing to tell him, but Harry was already home free. He exited the shop feeling triumphant, almost running into Hagrid carrying two large ice cream cones.
They ate while window shopping, and Harry told Hagrid about his wands, glossing over the details, and pretty much everything else as well. Still surprised by the idea that he got two wands, rather than the magic that came out of them, Hagrid recounted his experience getting his first wand. Admitting that his was broken upon being expelled from Hogwarts, hinting that he might keep the second one a secret, just in case. At least that's what Harry took from it.
An owl swooped down from the sky, dropping a letter right into Hagrid's beard, which somehow caught the edges and held it there. He picked it out and read, "Don't have much time, not enough for all yer shopping today. - What do you say to coming back next week, on yer birthday? We can spend the whole day here."
Harry thought it over for a second, "I'd like that, but could we please get my books before we leave? I might go crazy if I don't have anything to read about magic after coming here."
"Sure, but we need to make it quick."
Heading for the closest one they entered Flourish and Blotts, to see the normal couple once again, the father and mother holding multiple bags of supplies and books while talking with the manager. The young girl was nowhere to be seen, probably down one of the many isles. Harry walked up to an older lady behind the counter who wore green leaf shaped reading glasses and a simple sky blue jumper, "Could I please have the first year books for Hogwarts?"
She glanced up at him from the green oval book she was reading and grinned, "Certainly." With a wave of her wand, a whole set of books flew to the countertop, stacking neatly in front of him. "New to Hogwarts are we? It's such a wonderful time, your first year. Will there be anything else today?"
"Um, would you recommend any books for those new to the magical world?"
Her smile dimmed momentarily but came back stronger than ever, with a tinge of sympathy, "There's a whole section at the back, behind the aisle on muggle studies. I recommend Hogwarts, a History and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century, for those interested. Your school books should get you up to speed the rest of the way, and what they don't, is picked up along the way."
"Ah, regular non magical people. The section is entitled Muggleborn, for those with magic born outside of the wizarding world."
Harry thanked her and made his way down the aisle she pointed towards, skimming through the laughable titles of books he passed, such as When Muggles Attack, and The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why the Muggles Prefer Not to Know. Around the corner was the cubbyhole of mentioned books, where the same smiling girl sat cross legged on the floor. Her eyes were locked onto the pages of an extra large book laying in her lap, humming pleasantly to some unknown music.
Trying to act casual after his earlier blunders, Harry scanned the shelves above her, noticing the suggested books, then searching for something else that seemed interesting. In between curious glances at the cute looking girl, he saw a few that looked good enough, such as Where There's a Wand, There's a Way, Powers You Never Knew You Had and What to Do with them Now You've Wised Up, and Don't Panic, You're a Wizard Now. Most of the others seemed to be history or reference, with a few how-to books for good measure, which he felt could be saved for later.
Debating about how best to get the books, whether to reach over, or interrupt her reading, he was startled instead by a rather emphatic stomach growl. Another gurgling rumble emanated from the small girl a few seconds later while Harry stared. She ignored it all, not moving except to turn a page, at least until she heard Harry's subdued giggle. Letting go of the book, her eyes gradually rose to meet his with a blush suffusing her cheeks.
Just then a noisy ruckus started up, drawing their attention away. What sounded like three rowdy boys entered the shop, then suddenly quieted after hearing a low grunt, resembling Hagrid's. They could still be heard shuffling along an aisle, talking quietly. "You won't believe it, they actually have a muggleborn section here. All they do is take some books from other areas and double the price, since not a one is smart enough to catch on." The other two laughed, and the first spoke again, "I bet Hufflepuff gets all of them this year, since it's all that house is good for, picking up the trash." Another round of snickering concluded upon rounding the corner and seeing people there.
Harry marked them with a withering glare, and continued browsing the books, ignoring them, but the girl had pulled up the large book to hide her face with a white knuckled grip holding it steady. The three boys coughed and one stammered out a weak, "Sorry..."
Followed by an elbow to the ribs from the leader, "Shut up Zach."
They started to turn around, but one strayed for a moment, wanting to say something. "Come on Anthony, we're leaving." Commanded the leader again, and off they went, giving the first impression of wizard born students.
Closing her book and getting up with a frown on her face, the girl grabbed some other books sitting on the floor beside her and began to leave. Harry wanted to say something witty and insightful but settled for, "I liked your smile better." She sped up at his words, leaving him standing there with his head hanging from the final blunder.
After two seconds of self pity, he shrugged and began loading his arms with books. Enough to last him a week at least. But before going to pay for them, he walked around the other sections, noting topics of interest and fields of study that weren't included in Hogwarts curriculum. As well as satisfying his skepticism about the rude boy's words. The staff did gather books from different areas of the shop for muggleborns, but none of them were priced differently. Harry headed for the front when he was taken aback upon seeing the Necronomicon on a shelf, but laughed when it turned out to be a boring list of famous dead people. He grabbed one last book labeled Common Magical Devices and headed back.
Hagrid was glancing at a beat up old pocket watch while holding a newspaper on his lap, he looked up at Harry's arrival and his arm full of books with a smile, "Get enough did yeh?" Harry nodded happily and brought them to the counter.
"My, what a good selection you have here." Noted the kind older lady, she waved the manager away as he came to help, and cast a spell for a quill to write down the book prices and add them up for her. With another wave of her wand they all packed themselves in one sizeable bag, made from some strange brown and orange cloth.
She threw in a few magical bookmarks and smiled, "I can tell that you'll be coming back often. Do remember to bring this canvas bag with you, it makes caring things much easier. - And if you need anything sent by owl, let me know." She handed Harry her card, Grace Flora Flourish, Owner, "Everyone just calls me Flora." Then told him the price with another smile.
While he counted out the right amount of coins, not even caring about the cost, the door chimed again as someone else entered. "My, Hagrid, what a pleasant surprise. Come to find that book on Thestrals I was telling you about?"
Hagrid stood up swiftly, "Hullo Amos, no time for that today. Bin escorting a new student around for school supplies." Harry thanked the owner one more time and picked up his incredibly light bag of books to walk over near Hagrid. "This is Amos Diggory, Harry, he works in the department o' magical creatures. - And this, is Harry Pot - er - Just Harry."
He shook the tall man's hand, noticing his genial smile, florid complexion, and scrubby brown beard, that evoked thoughts of what Hagrid might have looked like when he was younger. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you, young man. It seems word has already gotten around that you're finally attending Hogwarts this year. My son Cedric is going on his third year now, and I'm sure he would be more than glad to help if you ever need anything there."
"Thanks..." Harry made sure his hood was pulled up still and nodded to Hagrid, "I'm sorry, we're running a little late, but it was nice meeting you Mr Diggory, maybe we'll meet again sometime."
"Of course, it's a wonder I've gotten to meet you in the first place. But you know the old saying, 'lightning strikes twice when you least expect it'."
On the verge of saying something back, Harry stopped and gave a slight nod of acknowledgment. Exiting out the shop with Hagrid trailing behind, he had a new perspective on the people here and the wondrous world he was now apart of.
What kind of rabbit hole did I just fall into?