A/N: GUYS PLEASE I NEED YOUR REVIEWS TO KNOW IF I AM DOING GOOD OR NOT. PLEASE KEEP REVIEWING. AND OF COURSE EVERY CHARACTER BELONGS TO ROWLING ETC ETC.

CHAPTER- 7 CONFRONTATION

Marauders were sprawled across their mattresses when Peter entered the dorm, he was looking rather nervous. Remus noticed his hesitation.

"What happened to you Wormtail?" he asked. Others looked at him too.

"Where were you all today?" he asked in a trembling voice.

"I think it was made pretty clear downstairs, that we were playing prank on Evans," Sirius said in a calm voice. He knew James hated lying to Wormtail about their secret but again, it was supposed to be a secret.

"No… you were not."

"What are you saying?"

"I checked the map, you were nowhere on school property and Evans was not in library either, she was with you, wasn't she?" his voice was shaking now.

Marauders exchanged an uneasy glance.

"Look Pete…" James started, he hated lying to his almost brother. He could trust Peter with his life. He decided he trusted him enough to let him know, then he closed his eyes for a moment and a face came in front of his eyes. His own face, when he was 11 but having Lily's eyes. He thought about his unborn son and future wife and opened his eyes. With a sigh he said, "I am sorry about lying. You were right, we were not in library." He looked at other two marauders who were looking at him with pleading eyes so as to not tell Wormtail anything.

"We were trying to go out of castle, you know for regular butterbeer and stuff and Evans caught us right at the exit. We had no other choice, we had to show her the way out of castle and we all were outside."

"You were with Evans? Outside the castle?"

"Yes!"

"Why didn't you tell me then, I mean, why were you lying?" he sounded hurt.

"Umm, we sort of convinced Lily to keep quiet about that passageway; besides we thought you won't like it. You know, letting an outsider in on the secret." Remus said before James could falter by the look on Peter's face.

"Oh come on! You know you can tell me anything, anything at all. I am your best buddy after all." Peter said happily, finally understanding the mystery.

"By the way, good going with Evans, Prongs!" he complemented James.

They went to bed that night with guilt crawling to their minds.

They knew they wouldn't be able to hide their little secret for long, for one thing they hated lying to their best friend and for another they were running out of excuses for disappearing every night from school for around two hours.

But firstly James needed to warn Lily next day and he also needed to take proper care of marauder's map. He decided he will talk to Lily tomorrow in transfiguration, their first class. He would have chosen Herbology to talk to Lily as this was a perfect class for chit chats but he was partner with Peter in that class so it was a closed option. With that last thought he drifted off to a peaceful sleep.

Next morning, breakfast was a silent affair obviously if you counted fluttering of around hundred of owls in great hall as silent.

They had double transfiguration and after that double herbology. James reached up to Lily in transfiguration where she usually partnered with Marlene and said,

"Hey Marley, you mind pairing up with Sirius, I want to work with Evans today." he ruffled his hair nervously. Marlene looked at lily in case she had any objection and walked off to sit with Sirius who greeted her with a wink and a toothy grin. Trust Sirius to flirt with anything even distantly female.

"What happened?" Lily asked in a hushed voice as McGonagall started collecting their homework.

"Peter is getting suspicious," James told her, "badly," he added after a moment.

"What do we do about that?" she asked him unable to think of anything at the moment.

"We will discuss tonight, meanwhile, stay alert." He told her in a serious tone. She peeked a look at his face, he was looking thoughtful. Somehow, that look suited him Lily decided, giggling internally and feeling like a 16 year old after a very long time. James had another concern at that moment so he didn't notice the change in her expressions,

"I have to arrange Quidditch try-outs this week," he told her.

"You can arrange try-outs in synchronization with our prefect's duty, so we can manage at least few spare evenings." she suggested. James nodded his consent, he could arrange try-outs on the day Lily and Snape had their prefect duties.

"Mr. Potter, Miss. Evans if you two are done with your conversation I would like to start my lesson" McGonagall was looking more amused than angry that these two could manage to have a decent conversation at all.

James gave his thumbs up and said, "Yes ma'm." and Lily just rolled her eyes at his antics.

"I don't know how is he doing that but I am impressed," Peter told Remus, awe written clear all over his face. Remus chuckled trying to remember one single incident when James did something that didn't impress Peter.

At right time they all were present. James told them about Peter getting suspicious and he very carefully omitted the part where map was involved. He had no problem sharing his secret with Lily but he was not comfortable telling Snape about his possessions.

"We can arrange Quidditch practice in sync with your prefect duties if you two could arrange your patrols on same days." James said what Lily had suggested in a business like tone. He was not exactly on friendly terms with Snape but they were on a silent truce to behave properly.

"Besides we need to use this weekend to read the books, we are not progressing much and if continued reading on such slow pace it will take us forever to finish this book," Lily voiced her opinion and James and Sirius agreed with her. Snape and Remus on the other hand were thinking about same thing,

"We also need to think about something to say to Peter, it's his last day of detention and we can't keep it a secret from him forever." Remus pointed out another problem and Snape mentally agreed with him.

"Leave him to me," Sirius said. "I can buy us tomorrow but we will have to think of something else for Sunday."

"Don't worry, we will think of something." said Remus.

" I hope your friends won't become suspicious of you for disappearing for an entire day?" James asked Snape.

"I will manage." he replied curtly.

"I think we should start reading now," Sirius suggested.

Lily picked up the book and started reading when she found the correct page,

CHAPTER FIVE
DIAGON ALLEY

"Yayyiee," Marauders cheered loudly. Lily smiled at them and read ahead,

Harry woke early the next morning. Although he could tell it was daylight, he kept his eyes shut tight.
"It was a dream, he told himself firmly. "I dreamed a giant called Hagrid came to tell me I was going to a school for wizards. When I open my eyes I'll be at home in my cupboard."

"He is such a pessimist." Sirius sighed.

"Look at the people he grew up with, what else do you expect him to be!" Lily retorted. For a moment Sirius thought of telling her about his family then decided against it.

There was suddenly a loud tapping noise. And there's Aunt Petunia knocking on the door, Harry thought, his heart sinking. But he still didn't open his eyes. It had been such a good dream.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
"All right," Harry mumbled, "I'm getting up."

"When we change this future and you two raise Harry, make sure he is a bit more optimistic about life." Remus suggested. Both Lily and James nodded completely agreeing with him.

He sat up and Hagrid's heavy coat fell off him. there was an owl rapping its claw on the window, a newspaper held in its beak. Harry scrambled to his feet, so happy he felt as though a large balloon was swelling inside him. He went straight to the window and jerked it open. The owl swooped in and dropped the newspaper on top of Hagrid, who didn't wake up and began to attack Hagrid's coat.
"Don't do that."

"Don't worry son, that owl just wants payment for newspaper." James said soothingly only to receive incredulous looks from his friends.

Harry tried to wave the owl out of the way, but it snapped its beak fiercely at him and carried on savaging the coat.

"These owls can sometimes be pain." Sirius muttered.

"Yeah," James replied, " Remember the one who nearly took your eye out, Padfoot?"

"You two were trying to wrap it in Pete's cloak, what else were you expecting?" Remus asked shaking his head.

"It was cold outside, I was just trying to warm it." Sirius replied indignantly. Lily and Severus tried to pretend they didn't hear this exchange.

"Hagrid!" said Harry loudly. "There's an owl
"Pay him," Hagrid grunted into the sofa.
"What?"

"Come on Hagrid, he doesn't know about owl post." James said in clear annoyance.

"He wants payin' fer deliverin' the paper. Look in the pockets."

Hagrid's coat seemed to be made of nothing but pockets, finally, Harry pulled out a handful of strange-looking coins.
"Give him five Knuts," said Hagrid sleepily.
"Knuts?"

"And apparently he doesn't know about wizard currency too." This time Remus groaned in frustration.

"The little bronze ones."
Harry counted out five little bronze coins, and the owl held out his leg so Harry could put the money into a small leather pouch tied to it. Hagrid yawned loudly, sat up, and stretched.

"Why all that trouble if he was going to wake up anyway?" James said annoyed.

Harry was turning over the wizard coins and looking at them. He had just thought of something that made him feel as though the happy balloon inside him had got a puncture.

"Nooooo, not the happy balloon." Sirius cried dramatically and found that four pair of eyes were fixed on him raising questions on his sanity.

"Um - Hagrid? I haven't got any money - and you heard Uncle Vernon last night ... he won't pay for me to go and learn magic."

At this James smiled sadly, " He really doesn't know anything about his family, now does he!"

"Don't worry Prongs, we will change this." Sirius soothed James all traces of insanity vanished from his features.

"Being a Potter means you never have to worry about money, Harry knows nothing about his riches." Remus answered Lily's silent question.

"Don't worry about that," said Hagrid, "D'yeh think yer parents didn't leave yeh anything?"
"But if their house was destroyed -"

"Now how does that matter?" Sirius was confused.

"He doesn't know about Gringotts yet." Remus replied.

"They didn' keep their gold in the house, boy! Nah, first stop fer us is Gringotts. Wizards' bank. "
"Wizards have banks?"

"Of course we do Harry, we are not vultures," Sirius looked offended.

"Just the one. Gringotts. Run by goblins."
Harry dropped the bit of sausage he was holding.
"Goblins?"
" Gringotts is the safest place in the world fer anything yeh want ter keep safe - 'cept maybe Hogwarts. As a matter o' fact, I gotta visit Gringotts anyway. Fer Dumbledore. Hogwarts
business." Hagrid drew himself up proudly. "Got everythin'? Come on, then."

Lily looked up from book and said,

"I don't know why, but this just sounds so ominous,"

"You are not the only one," Severus muttered.

Harry followed Hagrid out onto the rock. The boat Uncle Vernon had hired was still there, with a lot of water in the bottom after the storm.
"How did you get here?" Harry asked, looking around for another boat.
"Flew," said Hagrid.

"Flew?" five voices asked.

"Flew?"
"Yeah - but we'll go back in this. Not s'pposed ter use magic now I've got yeh."
They settled down in the boat, Harry still staring at Hagrid, trying to imagine him flying.

"Trust me pup, I am also trying," Sirius said in a very solemn voice.

"There is no flying object that can support Hagrid," Remus reasoned.

"Maybe Threstrolls," Lily suggested.

"Maybe," James mumbled still lost in his imagination.

"Why would you be mad to try and rob Gringotts?" Harry asked.
"Spells - enchantments," said Hagrid, unfolding his newspaper as he spoke. "They say there's dragons guardin' the highsecurity vaults.

"No, there are not." Lily said.

"Yes, there are." said James and Sirius together.

"How would you know?"

"Potters and Blacks both have high security vaults." James informed her.

"Are you trying to say my son is going to encounter a dragon on his first visit to diagon alley," Lily asked hysterically.

"Oh no Lily he won't. They won't give him access to family vault till he comes of age. They will show him only his trust vault."

"Oh, as long as he doesn't encounter dragons it's ok!"

And then yeh gotta find yer way - Gringotts is hundreds of miles under London, see. Yeh'd die of hunger tryin' ter get out, even if yeh did manage ter get yer hands on summat."

"Again, not a very nice thing to tell a kid," Lily muttered.

Harry sat and thought about this while Hagrid read his newspaper, the Daily Prophet. Harry had learned from Uncle Vernon that people liked to be left alone while they did this, but it was very difficult, he'd never had so many questions in his life.

"Don't worry son, Hagrid won't mind you asking him questions," James said in a fatherly voice.

"Ministry o' Magic messin' things up as usual," Hagrid muttered, turning the page.
"There's a Ministry of Magic?" Harry asked, before he could stop himself.
"'Course," said Hagrid. "They wanted Dumbledore fer Minister, 0 'course, but he'd never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the job.

"What!" James shouted so loudly that everyone jumped in surprise and Sirius actually fell from his chair.

"What was that for?" asked a frustrated Severus.

"Who in their right mind decided to appoint Fudge as minister of magic. He is a fool."

"You know him?" Lily asked him.

"He works under my dad. Let's just say my dad is not very fond of him and that's saying a lot considering that my dad is even fond of Mandrakes."

Everyone shuddered and Lily decided to read again,

he pelts Dumbledore with owls every morning, askin' fer advice."

"I bet he does. He can't even manage a howler on his own." James was still fuming.

"But what does a Ministry of Magic do?"

"Nothing son. They just take bribes and cover up tracks for death eaters." James said matter-of-factly. When he realized Lily was staring at him with wide eyes he said softly,

"My dad is head of department of Magical Law Enforcement. I know loads of inside stuff about ministry."

"Well, their main job is to keep it from the Muggles that there's still witches an' wizards up an' down the country."
At this moment the boat bumped gently into the harbor wall. Passersby stared a lot at Hagrid as they walked through the little town to the station.

"Maybe Dumbledore should have sent someone less conspicuous," Remus said.

They had reached the station. People stared more than ever on the train. Hagrid took up two seats and sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.
"Still got yer letter, Harry?" he asked as he counted stitches.

Sirius suddenly burst with laughter,

"What happened?" James asked.

"Just imagined Hagrid sitting like an old Granny and knitting sweaters." He said wiping a tear off his cheek and again burst in laughter.

"Should we be worried about his mental health?" Lily asked James. James shook his head and smiled fondly,

"That's Sirius Orion Black for you."

Harry took the parchment envelope out of his pocket.

Harry unfolded a second piece of paper he hadn't noticed the night before, and read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
UNIFORM
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
("As if anyone wears that")
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags
("No one wears that either")
COURSE BOOKS
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
("Binns is still there,?" "How? He must be dead by now,")
Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emetic Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
("We don't use this book, there must be a new potions teacher")
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
("What is the purpose of suggesting this book, they are not going to need it before third year anyway")
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
(" I wonder who they got for defense this year")
OTHER EQUIPMENT
wand cauldron (pewter, standard size 2) set
glass or crystal phials
telescope set
brass scales
Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS

"I hate that rule" James whimpered. " I had to wait an entire year to try for team,"

Harry had never been to London before.

Lily and James groaned at that.

They passed book shops and music stores, hamburger restaurants and cinemas, but nowhere that looked as if it could sell you a magic wand. This was just an ordinary street full of
ordinary people. Could there really be piles of wizard gold buried miles beneath them? Were there really shops that sold spell books and broomsticks? Might this not all be some huge joke that the Dursleys had cooked up?

"No 11 year old should be this pessimistic about life," Remus growled suddenly.

"You two better stop me from hunting these Dursleys during next full moon," He spat at his friends, his voice full of venom.

"And that is why you should never cross Remus," Sirius said looking frightened himself.

Even though everything Hagrid had told him so far was unbelievable, Harry couldn't help
trusting him.

"Trust him Harry, he is worth your trust," Sirius said softly.

"This is it," said Hagrid, coming to a halt, "the Leaky Cauldron. It's a famous place."
It was a tiny, grubby-looking pub. The people hurrying by didn't glance at it. Their eyes slid from the big book shop on one side to the record shop on the other as if they couldn't see the Leaky Cauldron at all.

"Of course they can't see it at all. There is a Muggle repulsion charm on it," Severus said snidely.

"He doesn't know it," Lily said sternly.

In fact, Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and Hagrid could see it. Before he could mention this, Hagrid had steered him inside.
For a famous place, it was very dark and shabby. A few old women were sitting in a corner, drinking tiny glasses of sherry.

"He is quite observant, isn't he?" Lily mused. James smile smugly, he himself was quite observant.

One of them was smoking a long pipe. A little man in a top hat was talking to the old bartender, who was quite bald and looked like a toothless walnut.

Everyone, except the only Slytherin in the room, burst out laughing.

"Your son doesn't take it easy on descriptions." Remus said laughing.

"I think he got it from his mum." James said between his fits of laughter and Lily blushed furiously. Snape noticed her blush and gritted his teeth.

Everyone seemed to know Hagrid; they waved and smiled at him, and the bartender reached for a glass, saying, "The usual, Hagrid?"
"Can't, Tom, I'm on Hogwarts business," said Hagrid, clapping his great hand on Harry's shoulder and making Harry's knees buckle.

"He does that with me often," Sirius complained.

"Good Lord," said the bartender, peering at Harry, "is this - can this be -?"
The Leaky Cauldron had suddenly gone completely still and silent.
"Bless my soul," whispered the old bartender, "Harry Potter... what an honor."

"Hey Prongs, looks like your son is famous," Sirius said in a voice full of mock surprise. James just rolled his eyes at him.

He hurried out from behind the bar, rushed toward Harry and seized his hand, tears in his eyes.

"Now that's over reaction," Lily said throwing her hands up in frustration.

"Welcome back, Mr. Potter, welcome back."
Harry didn't know what to say. Everyone was looking at him. The old woman with the pipe was puffing on it without realizing it had gone out.

"He is scaring me with his observations," Sirius said.

Then there was a great scraping of chairs and the next moment, Harry found himself shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron.
"Doris Crockford, Mr. Potter."
"So proud, Mr. Potter, I'm just so proud."
"Always wanted to shake your hand - I'm all of a flutter."
"Delighted, Mr. Potter, Diggle's the name, Dedalus Diggle."
"I've seen you before!" said Harry, as Dedalus Diggle's top hat fell off in his excitement. "You bowed to me once in a shop."
"He remembers!" cried Dedalus Diggle. "Did you hear that? He remembers me!" Harry shook hands again and again.

"Hey Lily, you were saying something about overreaction," James said sounding annoyed.

A pale young man made his way forward, very nervously.
"Professor Quirrell!" said Hagrid. "Harry, Professor Quirrell will be one of your teachers at Hogwarts."

"Do we know him?" James asked Lily and Remus as they both knew almost entire teaching staff of Hogwarts.

"Not really, he must be new." Lily replied.

"I wonder what he teaches." murmured Remus.

"P-P-Potter," stammered Professor Quirrell, grasping Harry's hand,
"What sort of magic do you teach, Professor Quirrell?"
"D-Defense Against the D-D-Dark Arts," muttered Professor Quirrell, as though he'd rather not think about it. "You'll be g-getting all your equipment, I suppose? I've g-got to p-pick up a new b-book on vampires, m-myself." He looked terrified at the very thought.

"Why is he so terrified of vampires if he teaches defense?"

"This stammering is annoying."

"I am not having good feelings about this guy."

"Must get on - lots ter buy. Come on, Harry."
Doris Crockford shook Harry's hand one last time, and Hagrid led them through the bar and out into a small, walled courtyard. Hagrid grinned at Harry.
"Told yeh, didn't I? Told yeh you was famous. Even Professor Quirrell was tremblin' ter meet yeh - mind you, he's usually tremblin'."

"Is that a good thing?" asked Remus skeptically.

"Is he always that nervous?"
"Oh, yeah. Poor bloke. Brilliant mind. He was fine while he was studyin' outta books but then he took a year off ter get some firsthand experience... They say he met vampires in the Black Forest, and there was a nasty bit o' trouble with a hag - never been the same since.
Scared of the students, scared of his own subject now, where's me umbrella?"

"I don't reckon Hags and Vampires should have such nasty effects on a defense teacher. I think there is something wrong with this guy." James said looking worried.

He tapped the wall three times with the point of his umbrella. The brick he had touched quivered - it wriggled - in the middle, a small hole appeared - it grew wider and wider - a second later they were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid.
"Welcome," said Hagrid, "to Diagon Alley."

Lily and James's smiles faltered at this. It should have been them to take Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time.

The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest shop. Cauldrons - All Sizes - Copper, Pewter, Silver - Self-Stirring - Collapsible, said a sign hanging over them. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street. A plump woman outside an Apothecary was shaking her head as they passed, saying, "Dragon liver, seventeen Sickles an ounce, they're mad..."

"Indeed," muttered Remus, "It's only seven sickle these days."

Several boys of about Harry's age had their noses pressed against a window with broomsticks in it. "Look," Harry heard one of them say, "the new Nimbus Two Thousand - fastest ever -"

James was wriggling in his seat with excitement.

There were shops selling robes, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, potion bottles, globes of the moon...
"Gringotts," said Hagrid.

"Finally!" all marauders chorused together.

They had reached a snowy white building. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold, was -
"Yeah, that's a goblin," said Hagrid quietly as they walked up the white stone steps toward him. The goblin was about a head shorter than Harry.

"Merlin Prongs, Harry is such a midget," Sirius exclaimed.

He had a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, Harry noticed, very long fingers and feet.

"He is indeed very observant," Severus couldn't help but admit.

He bowed as they walked inside. Now they were facing a second pair of doors, silver this time, with words engraved upon them:

"Now Lily you will have to sing it," Sirius said happily.

"Are you crazy?" Lily couldn't sing to even save her life.

"No, I am Sirius." Sirius took the book from Lily and started singing,

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

When he finished the song he returned the book and sat back on his seat merrily.

About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins in brass scales. Hagrid and Harry made for the counter.
"Morning," said Hagrid to a free goblin. "We've come ter take some money outta Mr. Harry Potter's safe."
"You have his key, Sir?"
"Got it here somewhere," said Hagrid,

"I wonder what is Hagrid doing in possession of that key?" James said.

"Maybe you gave it to Dumbledore," Remus suggested.

"Why would I do that? It sounds like I was almost expecting to die," James wondered aloud. Lily looked horrified with this prospect.

"Got it," said Hagrid at last, holding up a tiny golden key. The goblin looked at it closely.
"That seems to be in order."
"An' I've also got a letter here from Professor Dumbledore," said Hagrid importantly. "It's about the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen."

"What is that?" asked Sirius his face shining with curiosity.

The goblin read the letter carefully.
"Very well," he said, handin g it back to Hagrid, "I will have Someone take you down to both vaults. Griphook!"

"Ah! I hate that goblin," Sirius made a face.

"You know goblins?" Lily looked slightly impressed.

"Being the elder son of Black family has its own perks." Sirius replied sarcastically and James shot Lily a warning look so as to not press the issue.

Griphook was yet another goblin.
"What's the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen?" Harry asked.

"Good thing you asked it kiddo." Sirius was definitely excited.

"Can't tell yeh that," said Hagrid mysteriously. "Very secret. Hogwarts business. Dumbledore's trusted me. More'n my job's worth ter tell yeh that."

"He has lost it. Saying something like that to a Potter..." Snape said exasperated.

"What do you mean Snivellus?" asked James somehow offended.

"Think about it Prongs, if he has got any of Lily's curiosity and your knack of getting involved in the things that don't concern you..." Remus tried to explain.

"Then things are going to get ugly." Lily concluded.

Griphook held the door open for them. Griphook whistled and a small cart came hurtling up the tracks toward them. They climbed in - Hagrid with some difficulty - and were off.

"I hate these rides they make me sick." Lily said in a disgusted voice. At all the confused looks that she got, she explained," I have been to Marlene's vault."

At first they just hurtled through a maze of twisting passages. Harry tried to remember, left, right, right, left, middle fork, right, left, but it was impossible.

"He did better than me." James and Sirius chorused together. Lily simply shook her head.

they plunged even deeper, passing an underground lake where huge stalactites and stalagmites grew from the ceiling and floor.
I never know," Harry called to Hagrid over the noise of the cart,
"what's the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite?"

"Oh, that's easy..." Remus started to say but just then Sirius stuffed his face with a pillow to silent him.

"Stalagmite's got an 'm' in it," said Hagrid.

"That's a horrible answer." Lily said over the laughter of marauders.

"An' don' ask me questions just now, I think I'm gonna be sick."
He did look very green, and when the cart stopped at last beside a small door in the passage wall, Hagrid got out and had to lean against the wall to stop his knees from trembling.

"He must be badly shaken up." James said.

Griphook unlocked the door. A lot of green smoke came billowing out, and as it cleared, Harry gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins. Columns of silver. Heaps of little bronze Knuts.
"All yours," smiled Hagrid.

"Um- James, exactly how rich are you?" Lily asked hesitantly. If this was just a trust vault then his family must be insanely rich.

"Very much." James replied, feeling not sure about her question.

"Any estimate?" Lily asked.

"Let's just say, Harry and his kids and his grandkids, they all can spend lavish lives without having to work at all." He replied uncomfortably. "Why do you ask?"

"Don't feel offended, but you showoff all the time. Your intelligence, flying skills, Quidditch skills and what not but I have never seen you showing off about your riches." She finished lamely.

"I showoff only what is a part of me. All this gold and stuff is a part of being a Potter, not being James." He replied in a soft voice with a crooked smile. Lily's heart skipped a beat. She fidgeted nervously for a moment and then started reading again,

All Harry's - it was incredible. The Dursleys couldn't have known about this or they'd have had it from him faster than blinking.

"Don't worry about it son, that money belongs to Potters only." James said in a confident voice.

How often had they complained how much Harry cost them to keep?

"You don't even give him new clothes, you liar." Sirius growled.

"The gold ones are Galleons," he explained. "Seventeen silver Sickles to a Galleon and twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle, it's easy enough." He turned to Griphook. "Vault seven hundred and thirteen now, please, and can we go more slowly?"

"Sorry Hagrid, one speed only." James smirked.

"One speed only," said Griphook.

"Merlin Prongs, you talk like a goblin." Sirius said in mock disgust.

"Did you ask them to go slow too?" Lily asked unsurely.

"No, I asked them to go fast. I wanted to experience the maximum speed." Lily just rolled her eyes.

They were going even deeper now and gathering speed. The air became colder and colder as they hurtled round tight corners. They went rattling over an underground ravine, and Harry leaned over the side to try to see what was down at the dark bottom,

'Insane bravery, definitely a Gryffindor.' Severus thought bitterly.

but Hagrid groaned and pulled him back by the scruff of his neck.

"Remind me to thank Hagrid for that, later." Lily told James.

Vault seven hundred and thirteen had no keyhole.

"That's one high security vault." Sirius said bewildered.

"Stand back," said Griphook importantly. He stroked the door gently with one of his long fingers and it simply melted away.

"If anyone but a Gringotts goblin tried that, they'd be sucked through the door and trapped in there," said Griphook.

"Is it true?" Lily asked to both James and Sirius. James simply nodded while Sirius muttered,

"Never tried, till now."

"How often do you check to see if anyone's inside?" Harry asked.
"About once every ten years," said Griphook with a rather nasty grin.

"I am so going to keep these goblins away from Harry." Lily vowed.

Something really extraordinary had to be inside this top security vault, Harry was sure, and he leaned forward eagerly, expecting to see fabulous jewels at the very least

"Ah- jewels are not extraordinary, not to wizards at least." Snape sneered.

"He's been raised with Muggles." James reminded him patiently.

- but at first he thought it was empty. Then he noticed a grubby little package wrapped up in brown paper lying on the floor. Hagrid picked it up and tucked it deep inside his coat. Harry
longed to know what it was, but knew better than to ask.

"He is definitely not like James, at least he has common sense." Remus chuckled and Sirius laughed while James pouted.

"What do you think it was?" Sirius asked curiously.

"It might be Philosopher's stone." Remus suggested.

"We can't be sure." Lily said.

One wild cart ride later they stood blinking in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Harry didn't know where to run first now that he had a bag full of money.

"Oh Harry, spend your money wisely." Lily said in a motherly voice while Remus and Sirius tried to hold back their laughter. James was never known to spend his money wisely.

"Might as well get yer uniform," said Hagrid, nodding toward Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. "Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts."

"Hagrid did not just leave my son alone in diagon alley for a drink." James said in an angry voice.

Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.
"Hogwarts, clear?" she said, when Harry started to speak. "Got the lot here - another young man being fitted up just now, in fact. "

"His first chance to make friends." Lily beamed.

In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes.

"Why is this description sounding so much like Lucy!" Sirius wondered.

"Lucy?" asked both Lily and Snape in unison.

"He means Lucius Malfoy." James explained. Snape just stared at them while Lily simply laughed.

"Hello," said the boy, "Hogwarts, too?"
"Yes," said Harry.
"My father's next door buying my books" said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow."

"You know what Harry, never mind being friends with him." Lily said dejectedly.

"Have you got your own broom?" the boy went on.
"No," said Harry.
"Play Quidditch at all?"
"No," Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.

James visibly flinched at this statement. His own son knows nothing about Quidditch. This future needs to be changed. Sirius patted his back comfortingly and Lily continued,

"I do - Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. Know what house you'll be in yet?"

"No one knows that before sorting anyways, you idiot." James growled, liking this boy less and less every second.

"No," said Harry, feeling more stupid by the minute.
"Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been

"Anyone wants to bet he is a relative of mine." Sirius said in a dry voice.

- imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"

"There is nothing wrong with Hufflepuff." Lily said in a stern voice that could challenge even McGonagall.

"Exactly, I will be proud of him if he ends up in Hufflepuff." James voiced his thoughts. Lily stared at him for moment then read on,

"Mmm," said Harry.
"I say, look at that man!" Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn't come in.

"He bought him an ice-cream." Lily awed while all marauders smiled.

"That's Hagrid," said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn't.
"He works at Hogwarts."
"Oh," said the boy, "I've heard of him. He's a sort of servant, isn't he?"

"Alright Harry, that's enough. Now you just punch that boy and walk out of the store." Sirius said annoyed. It was a mark of how angry Lily was that she didn't even reprimanded Sirius for suggesting violence.

"He's the gamekeeper," said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
"Yes, exactly. I heard he's a sort of savage

"He is not savage." Yelled James. Nobody insults his friends.

- lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed."
"I think he's brilliant," said Harry coldly.

"You tell him Harry." Sirius cheered.

"Do you?" said the boy, with a slight sneer. "Why is he with you? Where are your parents?"
"They're dead," said Harry shortly. He didn't feel much like going into the matter with this boy.

"I agree with you." Remus said finally forgetting that he was not supposed to talk to a book.

"Oh, sorry," said the other,. not sounding sorry at all. "But they were our kind, weren't they?"

"How does that matter!" Lily was seething by now.

"They were a witch and wizard, if that's what you mean."

"Good one pup." Sirius nodded in approval.

"I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same, they've never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What's your surname, anyway?"

"Don't tell him Harry." Lily nearly pleaded.

"That boy is either a Black or a Malfoy." Sirius said fuming. This boy was already getting on his nerves.

But before Harry could answer, Madam Malkin said, "That's you done, my dear," and Harry, not sorry for an excuse to stop talking to the boy, hopped down from the footstool.
"Well, I'll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose," said the drawling boy.

"Unfortunately." mumbled James.

Harry was rather quiet as he ate the ice cream Hagrid had bought him (chocolate and raspberry with chopped nuts).

"That's my favorite." Sirius shouted. Others just glared at him while James shook his head fondly.

"What's up?" said Hagrid.
"Nothing," Harry lied.

"Talk about it Harry, it feels good to talk." Remus said in a soft voice sending grateful looks at James and Sirius. Those two smiled back.

When they had left the shop, he said, "Hagrid, what's Quidditch?"
"Blimey, Harry, I keep forgettin' how little yeh know - not knowin' about Quidditch!"

"Always the tactful one." Lily muttered.

"Don't make me feel worse," said Harry. He told Hagrid about the pate boy in Madam Malkin's.
"-and he said people from Muggle families shouldn't even be allowed in."
"Yer not from a Muggle family.

"Even if you were, it doesn't matter." James said firmly. Lily smiled at him.

Anyway, what does he know about it, some o' the best I ever saw were the only ones with magic in 'em in a long line 0' Muggles - look at yer mum! Look what she had fer a sister!"

Lily felt her throat tighten at these words. James noticed and simply took the book from her and started reading,

"So what is Quidditch?"
"It's our sport. Wizard sport. It's like - like soccer in the Muggle world -

"What is soccer?" James asked.

"It's a Muggle sport played on ground with one ball and two goals." Replied Sirius. When dead silence filled the room, he said defensively,

"I took Muggle studies."

"I thought that was to annoy your mum only." James asked and Remus nodded.

"Well, I like Muggle things. They are fascinating." Sirius said shrugging.

everyone follows Quidditch - played up in the air on broomsticks and there's four balls - sorta hard ter explain the rules."

"No, it's not." Said James and Sirius together.

"And what are Slytherin and Hufflepuff?"
"School houses. There's four. Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o' duffers, but -"

"Be nice, Hagrid." Lily chided.

"I bet I'm in Hufflepuff" said Harry gloomily.
"Better Hufflepuff than Slytherin," said Hagrid darkly. "There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin. You-Know-Who was one."

"Not every Slytherin is bad." Lily said in defense. Marauders snickered.

"Vol-, sorry - You-Know-Who was at Hogwarts?"
"Years an' years ago," said Hagrid.
Hagrid wouldn't let Harry buy a solid gold cauldron,("It says pewter on yer list"),

"Thanks Hagrid." Lily murmured. James just pouted, he wanted to buy a gold cauldron too.

but they got a nice set of scales for weighing potion ingredients and a collapsible brass telescope. Then they visited the Apothecary, which was fascinating enough to make up for its horrible smell. Outside the Apothecary, Hagrid checked Harry's list again.
"Just yer wand left - A yeah, an' I still haven't got yeh a birthday present."

"That's so sweet of him." Lily awed.

"Remind me buy him a dragon egg." James told Sirius. (Little did James know, evil smile here...)

Harry felt himself go red.
"You don't have to -"
"I know I don't have to. Tell yeh what, I'll get yer animal. Not a toad, toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh'd be laughed at - an' I don' like cats,

"Me neither." Sirius said.

"There is nothing wrong with cats." Lily pouted.

they make me sneeze. I'll get yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry yer mail an' everythin'."

"That's very thoughtful of him." Remus said in an impressed voice.

Twenty minutes later, they left Eeylops Owl Emporium. Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing.

"That's one beautiful owl." James commented.

"Just Ollivanders left now - only place fer wands, Ollivanders, and yeh gotta have the best wand."
A magic wand... this was what Harry had been really looking forward to.

"Everyone does." Sirius said remembering his own time at Ollivanders.

The last shop was narrow and shabby. Peeling gold letters over the door read Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. A single wand lay on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window.

"What do you reckon whose wand is this?" Lily asked curiously to everyone.

"That's a fake wand. Just a normal piece of wood." Severus replied smugly. Everyone stared at him open mouthed.

"What? I asked him." He said in his defense.

A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. It was a tiny place. Harry felt strangely as though he had entered a very strict library;

"I felt exactly the same way." James mumbled.

For some reason, the back of his neck prickled. The very dust and silence in here seemed to tingle with some secret magic.

"I never had that sensation." Sirius said. Everyone agreed with him.

"Only very powerful wizards and witches can sense magic that way." Severus said, sounding absolutely impressed.

"Good afternoon," said a soft voice. An old man was standing before them, his wide, pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop.
"Hello," said Harry awkwardly.
"Ah yes," said the man. "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon. Harry Potter." It wasn't a question. "You have your mother's eyes.

"Even Ollivanders remembers that?" Lily asked in a dazed voice.

It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work."

"That's really creepy." Lily muttered.

Mr. Ollivander moved closer to Harry. Harry wished he would blink. Those silvery eyes were a bit creepy.

"Looks like young Harry thinks like his mum." Sirius snickered.

"Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wand. Eleven inches. Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration.

"Merlin's beard, he remembers my wand too." James was dazed himself.

Well, I say your father favored it - it's really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course."

"It gives me chills when he talks about wands like these are alive." Remus shuddered.

"And that's where..."
Mr. Ollivander touched the lightning scar on Harry's forehead with a long, white finger.

"Alright old man, keep your hands away from my son." James fumed.

"I'm sorry to say I sold the wand that did it," he said softly.
"Thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Powerful wand, very powerful, and in the wrong hands... "
He shook his head and then, to Harry's relief, spotted Hagrid.

"It's about time you leave him alone." Lily muttered with relief.

"Rubeus! Rubeus Hagrid! How nice to see you again... Oak, sixteen inches, rather bendy, wasn't it?"

"Sixteen inches, Merlin. That's one huge wand." Sirius exclaimed.

"Well, seeing as we are talking about Hagrid..." James trailed off.

"It was, sir, yes," said Hagrid.
"Hmmm," said Mr. Ollivander, giving Hagrid a piercing look. "Well, now - Mr. Potter. Let me see." He pulled a long tape measure with silver markings out of his pocket. "Which is your wand arm?"
"Er - well, I'm right-handed," said Harry.
Harry suddenly realized that the tape measure, which was measuring between his nostrils, was doing this on its own.

"I never understood why he measures every possible organ." James asked sounding bemused. Others just shrugged.

Mr. Ollivander was flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.
"Right then, Mr. Potter. Try this one. Beechwood and dragon heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. just take it and give it a wave."

Harry took the wand and (feeling foolish) waved it around a bit, but Mr. Ollivander snatched it out of his hand almost at once.

"Exactly what he did to me." Lily told them.

"Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try -" Harry tried - but he had hardly raised the wand when it, too, was snatched back by Mr. Ollivander.
Harry tried. And tried. He had no idea what Mr. Ollivander was waiting for. The pile of tried wands was mounting higher and higher on the spindly chair.

"Well it took me only three trials." Sirius said astonished.

"I was the tricky one. It took me nine trials." James smirked.

"Twelve." Lily smiled smugly.

"No offense to all three of you, but I think we have already lost count with Harry." Remus bring them back to earth.

"Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we'll find the perfect match here somewhere - I wonder, now - - yes, why not - unusual combination - holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple."

"That's my mum's combination." James said.

"May be it is the one." Sirius said.

Harry took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls. Mr. Ollivander cried, "Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very good. Well, well, well... how curious... how very curious... "

"What is curious?" Sirius asked.

"How about you stop interrupting and we find it out." Lily said in frustration.

He put Harry's wand back into its box and wrapped it in brown paper, still muttering, "Curious... curious..
"Sorry," said Harry, "but what's curious?"

"He thinks like me." Sirius said in a cheery voice but shut up immediately when Lily glared at him.

"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Potter. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather - just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother gave you that scar."

"What?" five people yelled.

"He can't be serious about this, is he?" Lily looked everywhere frantically expecting an answer out of thin air.

"Harry must be really scared." Remus wondered aloud.

Meanwhile, Snape was lost in his own thoughts. He studied wandlore. He didn't know how, but he was certain that this wand would be playing a major part in future events. He just didn't like the sound of it.

Harry swallowed.
"Yes, thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember... I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter... After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things - terrible, yes, but great."

"Is he comparing my son to Voldemort?" James was now dangerously angry.

"He is not comparing your son to the Dark Lord, Potter. Maybe, he is just trying to say that their destinies are more intertwined then we can see." Snape replied calmly. Lily shivered at this.

"Can we just move on?" She asked. Already wanting to get over with this chapter. James nodded and continued,

Harry shivered. He wasn't sure he liked Mr. Ollivander too much. Harry didn't speak at all as they walked down the road. Harry only realized where they were when Hagrid tapped him on the shoulder.
"Got time fer a bite to eat before yer train leaves," he said.
Harry kept looking around. Everything looked so strange, somehow.

"I felt exactly the same way." Lily said with a teary smile.

"Why is that so?" Sirius asked and James felt glad that he did.

"All of it felt like a fantasy. I thought it would all disappear if I closed my eyes or even blinked. You know, like magic." She tried to explain. James shook his head trying to understand what Lily might have felt.

"You all right, Harry? Yer very quiet," said Hagrid.
Harry wasn't sure he could explain. He'd just had the best birthday of his life - and yet - he chewed his hamburger, trying to find the words.
"Everyone thinks I'm special," he said at last.

"That's because you are Harry, you are very special." Sirius said in his most gentle voice, like he was talking to Harry himself.

"I don't know anything about magic at all. I'm famous and I can't even remember what I'm famous for. I don't know what happened when Vol-, sorry - I mean, the night my parents died."

Everyone just sighed at the reminder.

Hagrid leaned across the table. Behind the wild beard and eyebrows he wore a very kind smile.
"Don' you worry, Harry. Everyone starts at the beginning at Hogwarts, you'll be just fine. just be yerself. Yeh've been singled out, an' that's always hard. But yeh'll have a great time at Hogwarts - I did - still do, 'smatter of fact."

"I couldn't have said anything better myself. Thank you Hagrid." Lily finally let go of the tears she was holding so far.

Hagrid helped Harry on to the train that would take him back to the Dursleys, then handed him an envelope.
"Yer ticket fer Hogwarts, " he said. "First o' September - King's Cross - it's all on yer ticket. See yeh soon, Harry."

"He forgot to tell him how to get to the platform." Severus said in an exasperated voice. 'Typical Hagrid', he thought.

The train pulled out of the station. Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until he was out of sight; he rose in his seat and pressed his nose against the window, but he blinked and Hagrid had gone.

"That's it." James announced as he put the book down.

"That was an eventful chapter." Remus said what everyone was thinking.

"So, what about tomorrow?" Lily asked.

"I think we should meet here tomorrow morning, so we can finish at least one chapter before breakfast." They walked out when everyone agreed to meet tomorrow morning.