Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers including, but not limited to, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: And here's the last part to 'Raising Harry, Part One: La Vida Muggle'. 'Raising Harry, Part Two: La Vida Hogwarts' is coming soon! The next book will be 'Hogwarts is a Strange Place.'
Chapter Ten: The Beginning of an End is More Often Merely the End of a Beginning
Harry's eleventh birthday was spent at an amusement park called Adventureland in Des Moines. Jim and Dave – as Aurilia hadn't wanted to close the store for two days in a row – took Harry, A.J., and about six of Harry's friends from his Scout troop. The day was spent eating junk food, riding rides, and playing various games. They returned late that night, tired, sore, and sunburned, but they had had fun. For his birthday, Harry received several small gifts from his Scout friends – a pocket-radio, a model car kit, a couple of games and puzzles. A.J.'s family got him his very own 13-inch combo television/VCR. Jim and Dave had obviously known about that, and had gotten him a selection of movies to go with it. Aurilia had broke down and bought a computer, knowing that if Harry was going to go to Hogwarts, he wasn't going to learn how to use one in school.
Now, there were no rules against underage magic in the US, so A.J.'s Nana began showing Harry some of the simpler charms and spells the very next day. When not at Nana's house – which was thankfully one of the homes in Marysville, and thus within biking distance – the pair could be found devouring the books Harry had received from Flourish and Blotts. Nana had cautioned them not to try too much that she'd not shown them, though, as she wasn't particularly powerful and doubted her ability to reverse any nasty spells. They both looked suitably afraid when she described she once had to spend a full week with antlers because she hadn't followed that same advice from her own grandmother.
During the excitement of his birthday, and his subsequent immersion into real magic, Harry had almost forgotten about the blue trunk and all it contained. On a particularly gloomy mid-August afternoon, he finished reading the last of his magic books and began hunting for something else to do when his eyes fell on the bright blue trunk, buried under the bags from their day at Diagon Alley. He squared his shoulders and strode across his room. Figure I might as well empty out those two compartments, then see if I can't clean up that room some.
The trunk was still set on the green setting, so he opened the lid, noticing his father's initials engraved into the latch. It took him about three hours to sort through all the clothes in that compartment. He sorted them into four piles: To Keep, To Give to Goodwill, To Throw Away, and What on Earth is This?
The pile of stuff he wanted to keep was primarily t-shirts that were magical in origin. There were several shirts for a band called the Weird Sisters that had moving pictures, a couple of quidditch-themed ones, and a couple that had miscellaneous magical animals on them. He particularly liked the black long-sleeved t-shirt that said, 'Never irritate dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup,' and had the picture of a sleek, green dragon picking its teeth with a bone, a tipped bottle of ketchup at its feet – it was also one of the few shirts that actually fit him. All of the clothes, with the exception of a couple of the t-shirts, were much too big for him, so he folded them and sat them in the back of his closet. The pile of stuff to give to Goodwill was mostly things that appeared neither magical nor worn-out; things like socks and trousers. There were also several ties, most of which were yellow-and-red. Harry kept one of the ties – it was Cyclone colors, after all – and put the rest in the Goodwill pile. The garbage pile was mostly underwear and clothes that were worn out. The last pile was of bits and pieces of cloth that Harry couldn't readily identify. All the robes he had put away, and some of the scraps were the same colors as the robes, but he had no idea what their purposes could be. Jim helped him identify a couple of the pieces later, as there were several formal-style robe sets that weren't dissimilar to their muggle equivalents, but even then, there was still a few things that couldn't be matched up to anything else. Harry put them in a box and shoved it near the box of clothes he'd put away for when he got bigger.
When the clothing was sorted out, Harry went ahead and gathered his uniforms for school and put them in the now-empty compartment. Though he knew the trunk couldn't have been opened for at least ten years, it didn't smell at all musty. Magic is really cool. With his own uniforms put away, Harry went ahead and packed some of his normal clothes, too. Wonder if I'll need to pack my swim-trunks or a snow-suit? Harry shrugged and went ahead and packed both. He had several sets of swim-trunks – he wouldn't miss the pair he packed for the remainder of the summer. He also packed one of the large beach-towels from the linen closet.
Finished with that compartment, Harry closed the lid and turned the dial to blue and began the process of sorting through the books and papers he found there. He learned a lot about his biological father during the process – mainly that the man had absolutely no sense of organization. The assignments were all highly-graded, though the letter classification of the grades assigned to the points received was something Harry'd never seen before. He sorted all the papers into their respective classes; Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, History of Magic, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, and Muggle Studies. Some of the classes his father had taken for all seven years at Hogwarts, the rest were for anywhere from one to five years. James must not have liked Muggle Studies all that much, there's only about a year and a half of papers here. Harry read over some of the assignments for the class and laughed. No wonder. 'Care and Maintenance of a Longbow,' 'Siege Devices of France,' and 'The Colonies: What Muggle Britain Hopes to Achieve in Building an Empire.'
When he finished with the actual assignments, he went through and sorted out the class notes the same way, setting the letters and other notes he found in their own pile. When he was done with that, he further divided the piles into chronological order, thankful that his father had, at least, dated everything. He retrieved a three-ring binder from his desk and went through all the notes and assignments, punching holes and putting them in the binder with divider cards for each subject. The letters he put into a folder and sat to the side. He'd read them later.
With all the loose papers out of the way, he retrieved the piles of books and looked through them. Some of them were older editions of the books he already had. He made a note to keep them, though, as most had helpful notes in the margins. There were also several of the more advanced texts. Harry knew he would likely end up with his own editions of many of them, but made a mental note to read them anyway. After all, knowledge is power. With that compartment cleaned out, he placed his own books inside, along with the books it came with, and the binder of his father's notes and assignments. A.J. still had his book on Quidditch, though, and he noted a post-it to call her to retrieve it sometime soon. With everything in the book compartment organized, Harry saw that it could still hold quite a bit more. He grinned and added a few things to keep himself busy if he was ever bored: two packs of playing cards, the model of a 1969 mustang he'd received for his birthday – along with the glue and paint he'd need to finish it – a handful of his favorite fiction books, and a couple of games. There was still a lot of empty space, but he figured it was a good start, and he didn't know if he'd need room for more when he returned from school.
Finished with that, he decided to wait until after dinner to tackle the final and largest compartment of the trunk. Dinner that night was meatloaf and mashed potatoes with salad. Harry wondered if wizards ate meatloaf – it was one of his favorite foods, ranking just under pizza and cauliflower nuggets. "So, what have you been up to all day?" Dave asked.
"I was goin' through that trunk from Gringotts," Harry replied around a mouthful of mashed potato. He swallowed, "I went through all the clothes and papers, an' was gonna do that room when dinner was done."
"Room?" Aurilia asked while dodging a thrown glob of something green and mushy. Cyrus didn't like strained peas, and why Aurilia persisted in feeding them to him was anybody's guess.
"Yeah," Harry said. "There's this room in the trunk. 'Member how the inside changed when I turned that dial?" She nodded, wiping up the flung peas. "Well, one of the settings on the dial turns the inside of the trunk into this room that's got a bunch of books, a bed, an' a desk. It's really cool."
"Sounds like," Aurilia agreed. "Why don't we all take a look when dinner's over? I'd like to see this room for myself."
The rest of dinner progressed normally, and when everyone was done Harry led the way to his room and the waiting trunk. Dave had the presence of mind to grab a couple of flashlights and handed them out before they descended into the dark room. Aurilia had Cyrus in a backpack-carrier. When they reached the room, flashlights were turned on and Jim and Aurilia began examining the room.
It was much as Harry had remembered it, about ten feet to each side, wood floors, walls, and ceiling, with one wall an enormous bookshelf, packed to the brim with books and a couple of smaller objects he'd overlooked during his last encounter with the strange room. "There aren't any lamps," Jim said after a few minutes.
"There wouldn't be, dear. Wizards don't use electricity." Aurilia replied while looking through some of the titles on the bookshelf.
"Well, I know that, I meant there aren't any gas or oil lamps. Hellfire, I don't even see anyplace for a candle." Jim said, gesturing around with his flashlight.
Harry suddenly remembered the light spell that Nana had shown him. "Hang on a sec, guys." He hurried up the ladder and retrieved his wand from his desk. He slid back down the ladder a moment later and said, "Lumos."
Much to Harry's surprise, the end of his wand didn't light like it had when Nana taught him and A.J. the spell, instead, there was a bright flash, followed by a dim flicker before the light evened out. Though there weren't any lamps, as Jim had pointed out, several hovering balls of soft yellow light, not unlike the light from a low-wattage light bulb, hovered in various areas around the room. "Well, that's better," his mom said, turning off her flashlight and pocketing it. Jim and Dave followed suit. Harry had left his flashlight on his desk when he retrieved his wand.
"Agreed," Dave said. "Damn, some of these books ain't even in English," he said while looking over Aurilia's shoulder.
"Mmm," Aurilia nodded, "This entire shelf is in German, that one is in Latin, that one's French, I think, and that shelf is entirely in Spanish." She reached out to the Spanish shelf and pulled off a random book, "Beber de Vida: el Drama del Dios."
"What's it mean?" Jim asked.
"'To drink of life, the Gods' play,'" Harry automatically replied.
"Righto, my little luz," Aurilia confirmed before putting the book back in its place. Her eyes landed on the desk and saw the envelope, "What's this?" She picked it up.
"Oh… I'd almost forgotten about that," Harry said. "It's a ring and a letter from my biological dad to either me or some guy by the name of Sirius Black."
"Really?" Jim asked, interested. "What's it say?"
Harry shook his head, "Read it yourself. For now, though, I don't think I'll change much in here. Maybe make sure the bedding's cleaned…" Harry trailed off, wondering if normal tape would work to put up a couple of posters, or if he'd have to use the sticking charm Nana had been talking about the day before. Jim, Dave, and Aurilia – still carrying Cy as well as the parchment envelope – went up the ladder, leaving Harry to his business.
Harry strolled over to the desk and began going through it. He didn't find much of consequence, mainly blank parchment, quills, ink, and bars of sealing wax. He did manage to locate a small photo album. Inside the cover was written 'For Prongs, from Padfoot.' Harry assumed they were nicknames of some sort, though who, exactly, Harry wasn't about to guess. It contained numerous pictures of a teenaged version of himself, only with dark hazel eyes. In the pictures, there was also a tall boy the same age as his biological father who had black hair and bright blue eyes, a small pointy boy with dull brown hair and watery eyes, and a boy of average height with sandy brown hair and golden brown eyes. There were also a couple of pictures where James was sitting with a girl that had long, startlingly vivid red hair and bright green eyes. As most of his books had illustrations, Harry was used to seeing wizarding pictures move, and all of the photos in the album were magical. Harry smiled a little wistfully at the picture of his biological mom and dad dancing at their wedding. I can't help but wonder how it woulda been different iffen they'd lived… He sighed and closed the album, setting back into its drawer. He wondered who the people in it were, he'd recognized his mother and father simply because he knew what he looked like, and Professor Snape had told him that his father looked like he did, and only a blind person would not be able to see that he had his mother's eyes. He took a deep breath and pushed the melancholy air away, Come on, Harry. Buck up, you've got Mom and Dad and Uncle Dave and Cyrus. Would you rather have them, who you know you love and that love you, or some imaginary parents you don't even remember? He squared his shoulders and stripped the bed, noticing with some amusement that even the sheets were red and gold. Musta been James' favorite colors.
He hauled the bedding up the ladder and deposited it in the hamper in the bathroom down the hall. He stopped at the linen closet and pulled out one of the many sets of dark blue sheets that were meant for his bed, as well as one of the spare pillows. Once back in his room, he paused at his own closet and retrieved two of the extra blankets he had for winter bedding. One was a sky-blue plush, and the other was a patchwork quilt that his mom had told him her grandmother had made. Harry liked it because it was bright and cheerful, not to mention really warm.
Once he had the bed made up, he looked around. It still feels like… Oh, I dunno… a hotel room or somethin'. Harry trekked back to his room and grabbed a spool of scotch tape and a handful of posters he'd collected over the last few years, but didn't have the wall-space for in his room. It took him several hours to finish putting them up, after first determining that scotch tape worked as well as it always had for him.
When he was done, the room definitely felt more like a place he would be comfortable. There were a couple of posters for the Atlanta Braves – his and Dave's favorite baseball team – as well as a pennant for the team – on which he'd been forced to use thumbtacks, as tape never really worked well on felt. He also had a life-size reproduction of the Declaration of Independence – a gift from his TAG teacher the year before for managing to memorize the entire thing – which he'd affixed to the wall closest to the desk. He also had the Scouts' Motto on a poster he'd received when he earned his twelfth badge, as well as a couple of posters that would have been at home in a science classroom: one showed the Periodic Table of the Elements, another showed an artist's rendition of the evolution of man, and a third depicted the relative size of a six-foot man in comparison to several dinosaurs. The last poster he had pinned up was a collage of multiple photographs he'd put together the previous school year when his class did a project on family. There were photos of his dad, Dave, and himself working with the horses, an old family portrait of him, Jim, and Aurilia, Aurilia and him working with something in a book – if you looked really close, you could see it was a Spanish text – as well as pictures of him with his friends, and a couple of photos of Cyrus. His favorite picture was the one that showed him and A.J. fishing in the pond two summers ago. A.J. was holding up a large bass, looking completely shocked, and Harry was laughing so hard his eyes weren't visible.
Surveying the room, Harry nodded. It was much better. All it needed now were a few things that Harry wasn't going to pack until the night before they left, just in case someone noticed. That weird other-sense, which Harry now knew he shared with his father, had been saying it would be a bad idea to go to school without his rifle. Harry didn't know why, just as he never knew why with that sense, but he would do as it told him. He further knew that he would have to keep it in the trunk-room unless he wanted to lose it to a teacher, at least until he located a charm or spell that would hide it in plain sight. Another thing Harry was going to bring with him was Mr. Blue. Even his mom and dad didn't know but he still slept with it sometimes. He wasn't about to leave the bear behind.
The letter said a cat, owl, or toad… Wonder if they'd let me bring Missy, even though she's a dog… Harry mused. Naw, better not. 'Sides, those three things're all pretty self-reliant. A dog takes more work. Wonder why it's just those three, though… There are a bunch of animals that make good pets that don't take a lotta work… Meh, better not think on it too much, Harry. There's lotsa things they do that don't make no sense. No pets this year, better wait 'til you get a handle on how they do things. With that, Harry climbed back up the ladder and began getting ready for bed. He made another note to himself to get a Latin dictionary, as well as one for French and German. Thanks to his mom, the only German he knew were the swear-words and insults. He hadn't realized that sorting through the trunk was so tiring while he was doing so, but he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
A/N2: And that's the end of part one of Raising Harry. Look for the cut scene in coming days, and part two will begin to be posted when it comes back from the ever-so-fantastic beta Aurilia – hopefully in one week. Thanks for reading and reviewing (if you did) and have a happy weekend!.