Chapter 2: The Alley

After I pack all of my belongings and a quite frankly horrific kind of teleporting, we arrive at a pub.

"This is more like it." I grin, nudging Albus with my elbow. The old woman, McGonagall, almost cracks a smile. Albus ordered the Prisoner to leave, apparently he is a wanted fugitive, but not really. We didn't have time for the specifics evidently.

We walk into the pub, aptly named 'The Leaky Cauldron'. Most of the patrons greet either Dumbledore or McGonagall with a smile. Thankfully nobody stare at me. Whilst I was packing, they explained that I was big cheese to the wizards. I already knew part of the story from Dobby, claiming I'm the "Great and powerful Harry Potter.", but I didn't want to be stared at, so I used my limited morphing talents to hide. Dumbledore chalked it up to being a descendant of the 'Blacks', I suspect Lancelot I was so good at his job because he could do it too.

"You couldn't have packed that into your bag too?" McGonagall says, eyeing my sword.

"A Paladin without his sword?" I ask, affronted. "It's bad enough I'm not wearing my armour."

"When did you discover your er, abilities?" Albus nods at my hair. We manage to wade to the back of the pub.

"January, thereabouts." I watch as McGonagall taps a brick, causing the wall to dissolve and reveal the hidden alley. "That was pretty awesome." I admit. "Why can't Dobby be here? He'd love it." Dumbledore sighs heavily as we walk through the arch.

"You are familiar with the 'pureblood' wizarding ideals?"He asks.

"If you're not white and male, you lose?" I joke. His eyes begin to twinkle.

"Essentially, yes." He chuckles. "The politicians believe that house-elves are nothing more than lowly slaves, existing only to do their bidding." I grit my teeth together. "Many in our population don't even know they exist however." He lays a hand on my shoulder. "At Hogwarts we house the largest house-elf task-force in Europe. They keep the castle clean and our inhabitants fed. I cannot lawfully pay them, but should any of them feel over-worked, I will grant them anything they need."

"They are all bound to you?" I ask. He nods. "As long as you treat them alright I'm sure we'll get along fine." We arrive at a clothes shop. 'Madam Malkin's'

"Albus! Minerva!" A woman, Madam Malkin according to her badge, greets them. "Something wrong?" She looks over their robes.

"Young Harry here needs a new wardrobe." Albus says. Madam Malkin looks over my frame, I fidget slightly.

"This way." She turns and we follow her into a fitting room.

"What was that world cup you spoke about?" I ask. "I've got a feeling you weren't talking about football." Dumbledore chuckles as Madam Malkin begins pinning bits of cloth to me.

"Have you heard of Quidditch?" He asks.

"Uh, Demons flying around on brooms?" I remember Gawain talking of it once. McGonagall scoffs.

"That's it. All done." Madam Malkin says. McGonagall explained Quidditch to me after being told about the attack on the world cup. "I'll have the girls stitch them together, shouldn't take more than 20 minutes." She waves us out, winking at me as we walk past. She was … friendly.

"Do you have a wand?" McGonagall asks once we're outside. I pull out a small stick that Dobby got for me. Stole it because it was rightfully mine apparently.

"Not entirely sure if it's an actual wand." I pass it over to Dumbledore.

"Perhaps we should visit Garrick." He guides us towards the wand shop. McGonagall offers to collect my books and potion supplies, stating she isn't a fan of the wand maker. A Paladin making potions, the thought alone is enough to make me laugh.

"Mister Potter." A spooky voice says. I tense my body up and have to restrain my instincts as to not chop the old man's head off.

"Creep." I mutter as Dumbledore passes the stick to him.

"I had wondered where this had gotten to." He peers closely at it.

"Dobby said it was mine. I can pay for it now, if you like." I take my wallet from my pocket. "Although I suppose you don't accept cash, do you?" He laughs.

"Not to worry my boy." He shakes his head. "This wand was destined for you, even if you've yet to use it." He throws it to me, I deftly catch it. Free magical things? Yes please.

"I tried once." I twirl the twig in my hand. "I set fire to my sofa." The older men laugh.

"You wouldn't be a wizard without setting something alight once in a while." The old wand maker says. "Curious that this should be the wand for you. It's brother, I'm sad to I was the one who created the pair, gave you that scar." He points at my head.

"Brothers giving me scars." I mutter. "Nothing new there."

"An interesting sword." He says, tilting his head slightly. "May I?" I pull the sword from the scabbard and hold the blade so to give him the handle.

"Forged from the nails that held Christ to the cross." I say as he runs his hand down the length. "Or so I was told. Soul suckers don't like it." I smirk as he returns it.

"Perhaps a trip to Gringotts?" Dumbledore suggests after we meet with McGonagall. "Your parents were by no means poor." Lancelot the second was a Potter. Maybe there is some memorabilia in the bank.

"Lead the way." The wizarding bank is a huge white building. Once we walk through the door I'm instantly on edge. "What the hell are those?" I whisper urgently to Dumbledore, gripping the hilt of Excalibur.

"Goblins." He says, confused. I scan the room quickly.

A few of the guards are looking at me, they look ready to attack me until I release the hilt. They're not demons, that's for sure. Their souls are different. Similar to Dobby actually. Maybe I'm not used to other magical creatures.

"Mister Potter would like to view his vault." McGonagall says, Albus puts the key on the desk.

"No weapons." The goblin says.

"You let them carry their wands." I say a little harsher than intended.

"If Sir Lancelot wishes to carry his sword, he may." An old goblin says from beside us. "This way." We follow the small goblin to a mine cart.

"Sorry about that." I say. "I didn't mean any disrespect."

"Quite alright." The goblin says as we shoot off. "Parting a Paladin from his sword is a … sin." He smirks cruelly at his joke. "May I enquire as to the location of your armour?"

"I'd probably get arrested if I walked around London in the full garb." I explain. Dumbledore coughs to cover up his laughter. McGonagall just frowns, not a fan of the sword.

"Vault 687." The goblin says as we stop. We climb out of the cart onto the quay. "Key." He holds his hand out, I deposit the small golden key into his waiting hand. The door swings open after it's unlocked. A big pile of gold.

"Wicked." I grin. Demon hunting isn't the best paying job these days. I cross the threshold and scoop various coins into my rucksack. Dobby says it can hold a lot of stuff, Never did say where he got it from though. After collecting a load of coins, I look through the cupboards and chests. Lots of old clothes and book, which I also load into the bag. Knowledge is power supposedly. Most of the jewellery looks to be for women, tiaras and big gaudy necklaces. A rosary catches my eye. The name 'Lancelot' is carved into the back of the silver cross. Blessed silver, no doubt about it. I slip it around my neck and under my shirt. I've been without a blessed rosary since I left The Church. It's kind of a fall back defence against the darkness. A last resort. "I'm done now." I call out, walking back outside.

"How am I supposed to catch up three years of schooling?" I ask Dumbledore once we're moving again. "I've got a knack for retaining things I read, but the practical stuff is a bit different from sword fighting."

"It won't be easy, but we've had students come to us late in the past." Dumbledore explains. "We don't expect you to learn it all over night of course, just that you be willing to learn."

"Dobby said something about those demeanors -"

"Dementors." Dumbledore corrects.

"Dementors. Apparently you guys can scare them away with happy thoughts?" I ask sceptically.

"Not happy thoughts alone." He chuckles. "There is a spell know as the 'Patronus charm'. The only known way to interact with a dementor in anyway."

"Beside getting your soul sucked out." McGonagall interjects.

"The patronus charm, if cast correctly, takes on the form of an animal, different to each witch or wizard." Dumbledore explains.

"I know of a way to deal with them." I pat Excalibur with a grin.

"So you think I'll be in Gryffindor?" I ask McGonagall on our way to Madam Malkin's.

"Not that it affects you in any way, but both your parents were." She says. "You being this … Paladin too." She appears to be thinking. "I would be surprised if you weren't sorted there."

"The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn. That shines brighter and brighter until full day." I mumble. "You've got a chapel at Hogwarts, right?"

"Excuse me?" McGonagall says.

"A chapel." I repeat as we enter Madam Malkin's. "A place or worship?" She just looks at me. I look at Dumbledore.

"I think there might be a small room on the fifth floor." He says sheepishly.

"You mean there haven't been any religious students? Ever?" I thought they accepted everyone.

"None of them ah … carried on worshipping." He says unsurely.

I rake my fingers through my unruly hair. It makes sense I suppose. Their God-fearing parents might not take to kindly to their child being a witch or wizard. I might be on less than pleasant terms with The Church, sin and blaspheme often, but I still have faith.

"I'll ask Dobby to dust it off I suppose." I shake my head as Dumbledore collects the bag of clothes.

"Come back if you need anything else." Madam Malkin smiles at me. Her body is definitely worth a sin or two. McGonagall sighs, having seen my wandering eyes.

"What's that dark alley down there?" I ask as we pass the obviously shady place. "It looks like something out of a bad film."

"Knockturn alley." Dumbledore says.

"What is it with you guys and alleys?" Why not Diagon street. Oh, the wonky buildings. 'Diagonally'. "Hogwarts isn't an alley, is it?" Dumbledore chuckles at this.

"A bit different." His eyes twinkle madly. We push through the pub again, not stopping for a pint sadly, and assemble in front of the fireplace. "Hogwarts, Headmaster's Office." He says clearly after throwing a pinch of grey dust into the fireplace, lighting the area with green fire. He walks through the flames and vanishes. I t urn to McGonagall.

"Go on." She says, shooing me with her hands. I take a deep breath and walk through the fire. I feel like I trip over and suddenly find myself sliding across the floor of what I assume to be Dumbledore's office.

"Not bad for your first trip." He says with barely concealed mirth as McGonagall exits the fireplace with cat-like grace.

"You're all mental." I groan, picking myself up from the floor.

McGonagall places a small wooden stall in the centre of the room with a tatty hat on top. "Harry Potter." She says, causing the hats to start moving.

"Whathemovinghat?" I jump back. Hats shouldn't move.

"Sit." McGonagall says firmly. I sit on the tiny stool and she puts the hat on my head.

"Ah. Another Potter." I says. Hats shouldn't talk. "It's been a while since I've sat on a Paladins head." The voice echoes into my thoughts. "A fine new addition to GRYFFINDOR!" I shouts the last word. McGonagall and Dumbledore clap politely. The hat seems to fall asleep again.

"That was … odd." I say as McGonagall puts the hat back on top of the shelf.

"It only reacts to certain things, we're lucky it didn't start singing." McGonagall says.