Another summer storm hit the valley that night. It was the third in the last fortnight they had spent at Laurel's Peak.
The occupants of Laurel's Peak had been tidying up the ruins, salvaging what was possible, mostly stones, and clearing space.
Harry had set up an area for Remus on the full moons just inside the edge of the forest but down near the stone wall which divided his land from the neighbours. It was a bit of a trek but Remus was happier with it away from the house, Harry didn't really care as he didn't think it was penetrable.
The day after Buckbeak had been dropped off Harry had asked Sirius to take him into muggle London. The animagus had agreed on the proviso that they also visited muggle joke shops, which Harry had, to his regret, told the former inmate about. So they spent the day trawling through London's numerous New Age shops, which offered a smorgasbord of strongly scented candles, bright clothing, books on chakras, potions and spells which Sirius found more amusing than the joke shops, and most importantly crystals. Harry had specifically been searching for the largest pieces of moonstone available.
Muggles were mostly wrong , as far as Harry knew, about crystals. They were predominantly useless pieces of inert material. There were a few, however, which were very useful, particularly to runes and enchanting. Precious gems served some useful purposes, rubies for example were strongly aligned with fire and combat, so some fire based charms and enchantments took better to them and you would often find them in weapons, such as the sword of Godric Gryffindor.
Moonstone is strongly attuned with the night, winter, and cycles of the moon. As such any enchantment attached to such stones are stronger during these times. It was Harry's hope that a ward specific to werewolves, active during the full moon, would be all but impenetrable with these stones as their anchor.
It took nearly all day but they found six large stones, near the size of his head, and costing an arm and a leg. They had then visited two muggle joke shops, though they were a disappointment to his godfather. Harry had expected as much, and Sirius had rightly observed the magic held far greater opportunity for managing mischief. Though he also decided some ideas were worth expanding on.
The next day, while doing some gardening, Remus and Harry both received a jet of water to the face from some daffodils they were clearing out of the courtyard.
Harry had taken the stones and, after messing up the first one making it explode and receiving a lesson from Remus on a useful healing charm, had carved a pentagonal ward array. Each smaller stone connected back to the central power moonstone which sat in a clearing within the forest, ready for the full moon. Though Harry would be staying with the Weasleys the first time it was trialed, Sirius had decided.
Now he was sitting in the tent, at a table, alternating looking between the storm and a blank business registration form.
He had been thinking for some time about what Hermione and Daphne had both said, yet he knew he was dragging his feet on this decision. He wasn't opposed to owning a business some day, his time in Diagon Alley and his illicit journeys into Hogsmeade actually made it seem really fun. But there was a part of him that hesitated, it was the same part that hated his fame and the attention it brought.
It worried him, having a place people might come just to gawk. He wondered what the headlines might say, 'The Boy-Who-Earned' or something equally awful. He also didn't want to be successful just because of his fame, he was tired of benefiting from the death of his parents, their sacrifice dictating everything in his life. He just wanted to be Harry Potter.
He was also still in school and that wasn't going away soon. So why bother with all this when he had absolutely no time for it?
At the same time the two girls were right. Registering a business didn't sign him up for anything really and it wasn't bad to think of his future. Daphne's father also wanted to speak with him, and if the Slytherin's words in the library were anything to do with it, Harry suspected he might need this registration sooner rather than later.
He also couldn't think of a name.
He turned away from the paper, letting out a groan of annoyance.
"It's not that bad, it's dark out anyway." Remus commented from one of the couches behind him, reading something, misjudging the source of his frustrations.
"I'm trying to decide what to do with this." He replied, picking the parchment up and waving it in the air, hoping to make his annoyance clear. His former professor raised and eyebrow at him and put his book down.
"And what is that?"
"A ministry form, for the registration of a business." Remus opened his mouth, his next question obvious, so Harry beat him to it. "Daphne gave it to me, her aunt will apparently take care of it. She and Hermione both think I should do it."
"But you do not?" Harry sighed dramatically once again in response.
"I have no clue. I'm still in school, there shouldn't be a rush, but I have to meet with Daphne's father soon and I think he wants to buy some of those pots from me, so there is probably a rush. But if he wants lots I don't have the time for…" Harry froze as a slither of an idea wormed its way to the forefront of his mind. He sat up from his slumped position and leaned towards the older man. "You're pretty good at runes, aren't you Moony."
Suspicion instantly writ itself across the man's visage, and Harry knew why. Both men had been trying to get Harry to use their childhood nicknames. He had been uncooperative to doing so, not for any particular reason, it just seemed a bit too familiar, and he was not used to familiar. Obsessively proper Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had seen to that.
"I have my NEWT." The man confirmed.
"More than that, the Marauder's Map was genius! And to do it on paper in sixth year, unheard of!"
"You did it in your third year."
"I had your notes, and people claim I am a natural or whatever. Doesn't matter, you're good at runes and recently seeking employment."
"And you want to take up that employment? A fourteen year old?"
"Harry?" Sirius called out, joining them in the living room area of the tent. Harry looked over and found his godfather carrying his scrap armour, which Harry had tucked away in the cupboard in the bedroom he used as a workshop. The chest was so dented in the centre it looked like an avocado. "What is this?"
"A failed experiment?" Harry shrugged. He could probably make the armour better now, but it seemed a waste of time, though it would be fun to work on some more combat oriented items.
"Right…" His disbelief was left unsaid. "What are we discussing?"
"Your godson is starting a business and wants to hire me." Remus answered before Harry could.
"Oh I see! Your godfather not good enough, is it?" Sirius clutched dramatically at his chest, as though hurt. "Or can I sit an interview? What's the pay like? Would I get holidays?"
"I'm not trying to hire him!" He growled back in annoyance. Why did they have to be like this? "I was going to offer him a partnership."
"You know, I always wanted to own a business." Sirius grinned and took a seat next to Harry, picking up the paper, having a look. "Plus I have all this Black gold lying about collecting dust."
"I don't know anyone invited you." The werewolf rebuffed his friend with a smile. Sirius pouted dramatically. It was a pitiful sight for a man nearing his forties.
"It's fine, I thought it would be a bar anyway."
"What would you do anyway?" Harry asked, confused at the man's interest.
"You mean besides bankrolling your little tinkering?" Sirius shrugged. "You and Remus can play with your little scribbles but who is going to sell them? No offence, Moony, but you aren't the best candidate, and Harry, well you're still in school."
"He has a point." The werewolf sighed heavily. A sadness had settled on his shoulders. It was one Harry was coming to recognise easily whenever his condition was brought up.
"I know he has a point, you should have just let him stew for a bit." There was a scribble to the side and Harry looked over to find his godfather signing the form with a flourish of his quill.
"Now we just need a name." The animagus clicked, an idea apparently striking. "Potter pottery of course."
"Definitely not!" Harry and Remus both cried and Harry snatched the form from him, lest the prankster complete it with whatever idea took his fancy.
"They are Harry's inventions getting us started, he should name it."
"That's the problem, I'm all out of ideas on this front." Harry groaned. "It was one of the things holding me back."
"Right, Sirius has no say in naming of anything." Harry said to his former professor, who nodded in agreement.
"It's unfortunate that none of us are conveniently named for this profession to suit a business name." Remus observed and both men nodded solemnly.
Another click of the fingers! "Remus' Runes."
"It's not being named after me! That's the whole point of your involvement."
"Can we just go with something like Enchanting Enchantments, or Black, Lupin and Potter." Both men's face scrunched up in distaste.
"Those are both awful Harry." Sirius chastised.
"What about, the Artificary?"
A lightning bolt tore through the night sky then, with a crack of thunder. Having not taken divination, Harry wasn't one to believe in signs. But that seemed good enough for him. "I like it!"
The wood and stone turned up the next day. Multiple trucks tearing up the small local road and depositing everything at the front gate. The truck drivers gave them similar looks to the one who had dropped off the fences, even more so for the large rocks.
Remus and Sirius began moving the materials up to the ruins and Harry commandeered a group of large stones.
He asked for Remus' help once again, while Sirius amused himself blasting rocks apart to make smaller, more workable, bricks.
"What can I help you with?"
"I need a solid ring of stone, about twenty feet in diameter, for the courtyard here." Harry gestured around the centre of the courtyard in the centre of the three buildings.
"And what might you need that for?"
"Right." Remus began flicking his wand and grey granite stones Harry had collected, all roughly the same size at two feet high, began arranging themselves in a circle. Remus then began using the same permanent transfiguration spell to join them all into one solid ring of stone.
"Thanks!" Harry said, then promptly took up his rune carving kit and began measuring and sketching out his plans, the older man disappearing from his attention. Remus stood and watched for a moment but left soon after with a grin and a shake of his head.
Harry slowly sketched out and then carved in his well practised arrangement for plant growing. This was essential for maintaining the tree's growth and health, as he and Neville had quickly established that the benefits of this arrangement were lost if the plant was removed from them. The magically enlarged growth was completely reliant on the ongoing intake of the herbivicus charm.
His next took nearly three days to sketch and carve out of what would become the bottom of the ring of stone. It was a strange mix of the energy (atferd), supply (birgja), and eat (nyta) runes as a way to draw and redirect magic from the tree to other connected arrangements, using the conversation (mal) rune as linking. It all required numerous failsafe and limitation conditions, and also had to work together with the growth charm.
It was the most horribly complicated work he had done, even worse than the map. He had to ask Remus and Sirius to repair or clear parts of it numerous times before it was done. Even then he could only cross his fingers.
None of it was even the warding for the property, however it would serve as the central hub, connecting the magical channel of the tree to the wards and other potential projects. Normally, he had read, permanent wards, like those he was making, would simply be connected directly to their magical source. Usually this was some form of crystal or some form of metallic instrument that could efficiently gather magic. Traditionally crystals were the only option. However, the basis for the use of instruments was invented by Wilbur Wright, a family famous for their own runic crafting, and had since become far more favoured as they allowed for additional functions. After reading through a few of the books Dumbledore had leant to him, he could even now recognise a few of these in the man's office.
He could not do the same with the tree, however. Unlike stones and metal objects, trees had a habit of growing. Even more problematically, they would do so in unpredictable ways. So he could not carve anything directly into the tree and expect it to stick. Instead he had devised this method, which allowed him to carve only four individual runes into the tree, which were much less likely to break as the tree grew. The only problem thereafter, was he could not secure it behind a protection arrangement. So he had devised another solution for that.
"You want us to what, exactly?" Sirius asked, staring at him in befuddlement.
"I'm done so it's ready to be flipped." His godson answered for the third time, making a twirling motion with his finger at the ring and the hole that had been excavated for it.
"The many tone circle of solid granite?"
"Yes, upside-down, in the hole, thanks!"
"Right. Well Moony, looks like we have a job to do." The former inmate pointlessly rolled his sleeves up, as though he was being put to manual labour. His werewolf friend shrugged and pulled his wand out of his waistband.
Both men enacted a familiar swish and flick of their wands and the stone wobbled into the air. It was amusing, watching two grown men visibly struggle against small pieces of wood. Sirius was clenching his jaw tightly, a vein protruding across his forehead. Remus was holding his wand with two hands and pushing it up, twisting to rotate the stone. Perhaps Ron was more powerful than he knew.
The monolith shook violently as it ascended, both men struggling to hold it aloft. Ever so slowly though, it rotated. They manoeuvred it into place, Sirius yelling. "Steady now Moony, wouldn't want to make the pup angry now!"
If not gracefully, wobbling like a giant top, the ring slowly descended into place. Dirt and gravel exploded with a thump. Dripping sweat, both wizards fell backwards with a relieved sigh. The stone was now barely above the surface, looking no different to a circle of bricks you might find bordering any tree. Though it made for an exceptionally large border.
"Great work!" Harry congratulated, and moved over to his trunk. He twisted and moved the knob to the plant compartment. Reaching in deeply he pulled out the golden tree. Struggling to lift the large pot from the depths of the trunk, he almost fell backwards as got it out.
The tree was almost as big as he was, with a trunk as thick as his leg. Which wasn't actually very thick, as he was too skinny, as Mrs Weasley was like to say. The forking rounded oak leafs were a gold-silver colour, with green veins, making the tree appear suspended in perpetual autumnal fall.
"I am not sure why I am even surprised by anything anymore, but Harry, what is that exactly?" His godfather asked, sitting up and looking over at him tiredly.
"A tree, what does it look like?"
Harry grinned back at him and carried the plant in question over to the centre of the ring. Looking over at the two men, he realised they were too tired, so he went and collected the nearby shovel and began digging a new hole. It really wasn't fair he wasn't allowed to use magic. Maybe he could come up with something to block the Ministry from knowing.
Harry sighed and stopped digging. Both men were looking at him expectantly. "It was an experiment, I made it."
"Harry, very few people can actually feel magic, even in Hogwarts most would only feel a slight buzzing. That tree is practically oozing it?" Remus pointed at his plant, almost accusatory. Harry just shrugged though.
"I was trying to make a living something that would channel magic. It seems like I succeeded. It's unique, that's for sure, Professor Sprout almost cried when I took it out of her greenhouse. I don't know if it is actually powerful, or if the surrounding magic is just cycling through it, like a wand."
"I'm not up to snuff on my magical theory, so forgive me, but is there a difference?" Sirius asked, looking at them both.
"Sure, wands use the energy of the wizard, it's why you're sweaty and gross after just a levitation charm." Harry grinned at the men. "Something that can fully channel the ambient magic around us though? It would take a lot to wear through that. If it just had its own power though, well that might have been very limited."
"So it's like a wand…for the earth. Harry, are you insane?" Harry shrugged in response and adjusted his glasses, which had slid down while he was digging. "What do you call it anyway?"
"I haven't really thought of a name, if I'm honest. Will Golden Oak do?"
"No!" Sirius responded. "Too boring."
"Fine, then it's called a Dawn Oak." Harry huffed. "Now let me get back to digging or we are going to be here all day."
It didn't take long for him to dig a big enough hole and then pack the tree into it, tamping down the dirt around it firmly. He then retrieved his rune carving kit once more and set to work inscribing the tree. He had to work very carefully, not to hurt it at such a young age, and made sure to barely scratch further than the surface. He would likely have to refresh the carvings numerous times as the plant grew.
"Okay Remus, if you could do the honours?" Harry asked the waiting man. The werewolf pulled out his wand and gave the stone a tap with his wand. The only change was a slight white glow to the runes on the tree bark, which promptly disappeared. Harry released a breath he didn't realise he had been holding.
"That's a relief."
"That it didn't blow up?" Remus asked. Harry nodded in answer. "I know the feeling well."
"That was a possibility?" Asked the third onlooker.
Daphne Greengrass flinched as she heard the coughing down the hallway of her ancestral home, Greenarches. Astoria had contracted a chest infection after a visit to Diagon Alley the day before. It was nothing serious truthfully, but it was also something no person blessed with magic aught to catch, being more of a muggle malady. A few potions and it would be gone by tomorrow. But every time something like this happened it felt like her heart was going to drop into her stomach.
"Is it bad this time?" Tracey Davis asked, knowing the expression on her best friend's face. She and Tracey had become fast friends after being sorted into Slytherin. Daphne's old friends, such as Pansy, had become less endearing to her after she fully understood her sister's malady. Daphne had slowly grown to have less time for their small minded ways, and they had grown to dislike her for her dismissal of them. So once Hogwarts came around Daphne had been something of a loner, and Tracey had been equally so for being a half-blood.
"Not really, mother said she will be fine by tomorrow." Daphne replied, taking the offered cup of tea, appreciating the warmth of the porcelain. They were sat on barstools at the varnished light wooden counter of the kitchen, a cramped location, not due to the size but for the many plants, dried herbs, hanging pots, utensils and accumulation of other items Daphne's mother had collected over the years. There were three ceramic gnomes that moved around the cooking area, mostly making a nuisance of themselves. Wulfrick the barn owl also preferred to perch just above the sink in the window, catching the south facing sun. Sometimes he would be disturbed by the animated gnomes and squawk angrily at them.
A conspiratorial look overtook Tracey. "That's good then. Wouldn't want to miss the boy wonder's visit." Daphne groaned in response, though this was not an unexpected change of topic.
There was little Tracey preferred to do in the world than gossip, and her friend's recent interactions with the Boy-Who-Lived was her favourite new subject. It had been a very dark day when Daphne had had to apologise to her friend, and tell her she was right about Harry Potter, that she was being unreasonable and he wasn't so bad. Ever since that day there was little Tracey spoke about more.
"Indeed." Daphne replied, sipping at her tea, hoping she would drop it, she didn't.
"Have you decided what you will wear?" Davis prodded. "Ohhh that blush tells me you have!"
"He is coming over to speak with my father!" She protested. "And if I am blushing it's because you're embarrassing yourself."
"It is probably only proper he speak with your father, do purebloods do stuffy formal courtship rituals?" The other Slytherin student continued on, heedless of Daphne's building ire.
"It's a business meeting, and that went out of fashion in the eighteen hundreds!"
"What went out of fashion in the eighteen hundreds, dear?" Her mother asked, entering from the hallway. Daphne had always admired her mother's effortless grace, moving through even a cramped room with practised poise. Calisto Warbeck wasn't pompous, like Narcissa Malfoy, she was instead smooth, deliberate and warm, always holding a smile and a kind touch. He was taller than Daphne would probably ever be and had red hair which was slightly lighter than her daughters. "And please don't shout inside, your sister is trying to rest."
"Courting rituals." Tracey answered with a predatory grin.
"Oh, did you have someone in mind Tracey?" Daphne's mother asked, pouring herself a cup of tea also. Davis finally clamped up, cheeks pinking.
"What can you both tell me of our guest tomorrow? Does he have a preferred cuisine? Is he bringing guests?" Calisto asked the two girls.
"Daphne will tell you all about him!" Tracey offered helpfully.
"Oh?" Her mother's eyes came to rest on her. Daphne just knew she would regret inviting Tracey over today.
"I think he's bringing his godfather?" She offered, hopefully that would serve as a distraction. The trial of Sirius Black was all the Prophet had written about lately, that and Harry's involvement.
"Sirius Black? My, won't that be interesting." That was about as shocked as her mother was ever like to get. Her mother wasn't expressionless, she was just annoyingly good at taking things in her stride. "Your father was at the trial, you know?"
Daphne did know, she had grilled him about it straight after arriving home from school. He had given her little more than the paper though. Hopefully she could get Harry to show her his patronus when they went back.
"Was his patronus as big as they say?" Tracey asked, somehow echoing Daphne's own thoughts. Her mother simply smiled behind her teacup.
"Cyrus said it was quite impressive, doubly so for a boy his age. But then he is the Boy-Who-Lived, so perhaps it's to be expected."
"He hates being called that." Daphne opened her mouth before her mind caught up with it.
"You don't say, Daphne dear. How well do you know young Harry then?" Her mother asked, piercing her with a stare.
"Not like that! We have just spent some time in the greenhouses together!" She protested and cringed under the intense observation. Her mother smiled knowingly but let the topic drop, unlike her so-called friend.
"She makes eyes at him across the Great Hall." She could strangle her. There was a loud bang as the gnomes ran headlong into a pot. Her mother giggled, though Daphne wasn't sure if it was at the odd pets, or at Daphne's expense.
"It will be good to meet him tomorrow then." She smile widely at the two teenagers. "I have a potion to see to however, so you girls behave yourself. And Daphne, the mandrakes are looking a little peckish, could you take a look at them before bed?" Daphne nodded at her mother, eager to be free of at least one of them.
"You're coming to help." She said peevishly at her friend.
Alright, some summer time fun as promised, plus a little from Daphne, more for colour than anything. I couldn't be bothered thinking up a name for Daphne's dad so I went with the usual. To be perfectly honest, I am not that happy with my naming of anything in this chapter. If people have suggestions I just might change them before posting the next chapter. (Except Daphne's mum, Calisto is a character from a play called La Celestina, and I thought it might be fun if she is related, though distantly, to Celestina Warbeck, so I am happy with that name.)
Harry and Sirius will be dropping by the Greengrass' for a visit next chapter, then we might be heading to the World Cup.
As usual I hope you all enjoyed!