Passersby grimaced at the man who was standing on the sidewalk staring at the display window of a retail store. He was blocking their way and several cursed at him. A few were brave enough to rudely shoulder him aside, although they were met with surprising resistance and a couple cracked on the shins with his cane. He said nothing to any of them, just remained in place until at long last the sidewalks were empty. Finally free of curious onlookers, he walked down a few storefronts and stepped through the dingy door into the Leaky Cauldron. He'd never been here before, although he had heard of it in his youth, so he made his way to the bar.
"Can I help you?" Tom asked, smiling at the man.
"I only have muggle money," the man answered. "Will you accept it? I have to go to exchange it tomorrow."
"One night only," Tom answered.
"Good. I need a room," he murmured, laying out some pound notes on the bar top.
Soon enough he was laboriously making his way up to his room, locking the door behind him with a sigh before sinking down onto the bed. His leg was aching fiercely from the climb upstairs. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled the last four pills he had to his name out, took two and put the rest back. He prayed that the wizard community had decent painkillers as he stretched out under the blankets and waited for sleep.
He woke in the morning to the sound of business downstairs. He glanced at his watch and groaned at how early it was, but supposed it was for the best with all he hoped to do that day. Sitting up, he took the last two pills and rubbed the sore muscles in his leg until he felt he could walk. A quick trip to the bathroom and he carefully made his way downstairs to turn in his key.
"I don't know how to get into Diagon Alley," he said to Tom, nodding his thanks for a cup of hot tea.
"Family of a muggle born?" Tom asked curiously, although it was a bit early for students to come through yet.
"No, I… uh… I'm not quite a squib but not enough magic to be schooled. I want to live in the wizard world now. I'm tired of living with the muggles."
"Ah, I see. I'll let you through the portal when you're ready then," Tom answered. He'd had enough squibs come through that this wasn't all that unusual.
A few minutes later, he opened the portal and watched as the man saw the alley for the first time and was amazed as he seemed younger just by looking at it. Tom wished him luck and headed back into the bar as Gregory House took his first steps into the wizard world.
House could barely contain his curiosity as he shuffled down the street, staring at the windows with pleasure. He hoped to shop later, once he exchanged his money at Gringott's Bank. The goblins gave him pause for a good long moment, reminding him that he truly was in another world now. He shook himself and made his way to the main desk.
"I'd like to exchange all of my muggle money and open an account if that's possible," he told the head goblin.
"Ragnold will go over all of the requirements with you," the head goblin told him, calling up another goblin who gruffly ordered House to follow him.
He was led into a small side office and offered a cup of tea as Ragnold put out a sheaf of paperwork.
"Most squibs prefer to live within the muggle world," Ragnold remarked. "Families tend to deny their existence if not outright disown them. I suggest we start with a pedigree to determine if you have access to a family vault, in addition to setting up your own personal vault."
"I'm not a squib," House objected. "Just not enough magic to get a school letter. I only know my mother's side of the family though. The man who raised me isn't my father and she won't tell me who is."
"No matter, the pedigree test will give us that information," Ragnold responded, laying out a blank piece of parchment and a jeweled dagger. "You'll need to put three drops of blood on the parchment. I'll add this potion and any wizard family connections you may have will appear."
House nodded and picked up the dagger, holding his hand over the parchment and quickly made a small nick, giving the requisite three drops of blood. Ragnold handed him a cloth doused with a potion that healed the small wound right up after pouring the pedigree potion onto the parchment.
"Couldn't they just disown me anyway?" House asked as they watched the spell swirling.
"They could and very well may if it is any of the pureblood lines," Ragnold confirmed dourly. "But this is at least a start and a further verification of your magical status.
Writing finally began to appear on the parchment starting from his name on the left side and branching off from there. Both of them leaned in to read what appeared on the paper.
"You are descended from the MacDougal line," Ragnold said tracing the pedigree lines. "Robert MacDougal married a muggleborn and had three children. The youngest son, Alexander, went to live in the muggle world, marrying a muggle and producing two children. His son, Herbert, is your biological father," he continued, showing the dalliance with Blythe then continued on. "Herbert married a muggleborn, Isobel, and had four other children, all of whom have married and also have children. I'll see that you get a copy of your half-brothers and sisters, along with your nieces and nephews."
House nodded distractedly, tracing his fingers over the lines that led to family he had never known existed. He'd finally found his father, his real surname. Had his mother learned that Herbert was a wizard? Had she found out and that was what drove her back to John House? Well, she believed he was dead and he had no intention of letting her know otherwise, so it really didn't matter.
Ragnold put a key down on the table next to a stack of parchment. "Here is the agreement for you to open a personal vault. The MacDougal family does keep a family vault as well but you'll need permission from the head of the House to use it. This paper will allow you to request that permission, enclosing your pedigree for his consideration, should you choose to do so."
"Do I have to choose that now?"
"No, you do not. I can put it into your file for later if you wish."
"Yeah, thanks. I'd rather wait." House read through the papers, signed where indicated, and slipped the key onto his ring.
An hour later, he walked out of Gringott's with a small pouch of galleons and a key to a small vault. He'd had to speak to a ministry official once the blood test verified his magic status and that got him some identification as well, which he was told he'd need to access St. Mungo's Hospital.
He spent the morning visiting each of the shops, getting some clothes and books before wandering into Ollivander's just to have a look. The sign out front, making wands since 382 A.D. intrigued him. Ollivander smiled from a work desk behind the counter.
"Good morning. Are you looking for a wand?"
"I'm just curious really. I'm just up from a squib so there's no real point to this visit." House answered, glancing around and starting to step out again.
"If you are more than a squib, you may be able to manage basic wand spells," Ollivander said, never looking up from his desk but smiling when House stopped and turned back. "Care to give it a try?"
"Sure," House said after a moment's thought. "Why not?"
"Why not, indeed?" Ollivander got up and measured both arms after asking about how much he used the cane then began to pull boxes, mumbling about dominant hand scenarios. Soon he was back at the desk with a handful of wand boxes.
"Now these wands are not meant for the exceptionally powerful, you see, because a powerful wand requires powerful magic to meld and bond with. No, these wands are sensitive, meant to pick up low level magic and enhance the intention of the wizard. It's something new I've been working on to help those such as yourself," he confided.
Ollivander had him try out several with each hand. Some got no reaction at all, which was what House was expecting but a couple caused some things to fly off the shelves. The thirteenth wand felt like an electric shock in his right hand and he quickly dropped it. When Ollivander heard why, he urged him to try it left handed. That brought a rush of wind and light that swirled around him and a grin to Ollivander's face.
"The wand chose not only the wizard but the proper hand as well. Curious indeed," Ollivander said. "Ebony wood, ten and a quarter inches, slightly yielding, with a core of unicorn hair. I will gift this wand to you, if you will tell me how it works for you and how much spell work you are able to achieve with it. What do you say?"
House agreed to the deal, completely intrigued to know those answers himself. He purchased a holster for his new wand and asked for directions to St Mungo's.
Soon enough, he was signing in at the wizard hospital, filling out the paperwork with his chief complaint and medical history. The intake nurse made certain to assign him a healer who was also a muggle born.
"Hello, I'm Healer Davis," the older woman said as she came into the room where House was waiting, glancing at his paperwork. "You're a doctor. Well that could be good or bad for me," she added with a smirk. "May I see your leg?"
"What don't trust my diagnosis?" House retorted, though it was from tautly wound nerves. He had no idea if wizard medicine was any better than muggle medicine. He pulled down his jeans without any further fuss and clenched his teeth while she carefully examined his leg. She did a diagnostic spell and read through the scroll, handing it to him to read.
"You need to take better care of yourself," she remarked as she made a few notes on his chart. "I'm going to give you a nutrition potion as well as a pain reliever, to get your numbers under control. I want you to keep an appointment I'm making for you with a healer that works with the auror corps. He's used to dealing with injuries that are often poorly healed in the field. I don't know that he can help but at least talk to him and find out. After all, healing a broken bone in the wizard world is a night in a brace while Skelegrow potion regrows the bone," she added when he was about to reject the appointment.
"No, not in the least. Wait here." Healer Davis returned with a box of potion vials. "This is for one week. Your appointment with Healer Collingsworth is next Friday at ten. Take one nutrient potion morning and night. This is the pain reliever, you can take one every four hours. This one will help you sleep. You look haggard and it will help both the pain and your overall health. Any questions?"
House asked a couple of questions about ingredients and storage, then took the first doses on the spot. The potions tasted terrible but the deep sense of pain free relief nearly brought him to tears. He thanked the healer and left the hospital, deciding that he would see the other healer after all. He returned to the Leaky Cauldron with the newspaper in hand to look for a place to live and maybe a job. Right now another night here and dinner was all that was on his mind.