Chapter 3

The next day, feeling refreshed from sleeping in an actual bed for the first time in many months, the young boy returned to Diagon Alley to finish purchasing the rest of his school supplies. Yesterday's shopping spree had only included his wand, potions supplies, and both muggle and wizarding clothes.

With Tom's help in opening the barrier, Harry quickly found himself back at the bank, withdrawing an even bigger amount of money (in both pounds and galleons) from his vault.

Minutes later, inside the pet store, Harry had discovered the various mythical and non-mythical creatures inside. Owls, rats, lizards, cats, and snakes of all kinds were inside cages scattered everywhere. He immediately headed towards the section of magical birds. He spent quite some time there, but just couldn't find the "right" bird for him. He was thinking about just randomly picking a bird when he noticed the post office a little bit down the street. From his vantage point near the window, he could see several owls flying around the building.

Deciding to just use the owls there, he quickly left the birds area. On his way to the door, he bypassed a whole row full of snakes.

'I'm so hungry. Is it time to eat yet?'

Having discovered his odd talent for speaking to snakes long ago, he was, by now, used to hearing a snake's hissing. However, the normal snakes he had found had always hissed only words, never complete sentences. Add to that the fact that the snakes here could be magical, and his curiosity was peaked.

He took three steps forward before arriving in front of the snake that spoke.

'Hmmm...he's not the Feeder...feh, silly humans. They all look alike.'

Slipping into the ancient language of Parseltongue, 'At least I'm not the one stuck inside a small cage.'

The snake's eyes, which had started to look away in disinterest, snapped back to Harry.

'A Speaker? I never thought I'd ever meet one! What are the odds of this happening?'

Footsteps alerted Harry to the presence of another person. Looking up, he saw the store's clerk.

"Can I help you?" the older man asked. "Are you interested in buying that snake?"

Harry couldn't help but notice the excitement in the man's voice.

'Tell him you aren't going to buy me!' the snake's voice suddenly hissed. 'Or I'll sink my fangs into you the moment I'm out of this cage,' it added as an afterthought.

Harry, who had been about to say yes, stopped at the last moment and replied with a resounding "No."

The clerk, disappointment evident in his stature, mumbled, "Well, if you need help, I'll be up at the front," and returned to his counter.

The black-haired boy turned to the snake.

'Why would you want to stay in a cage so small?' he wondered.

'It's an easy life. I get free food, I don't have to worry about predators...I admit, my home could be a little bigger, but I like it here.'

Harry nodded and waved goodbye, turning to leave before the snake spoke once more.

'You're interested in a snake familiar, I see, no? There are rumors of a basilisk, the deadliest magical snake in the world, living within the school Hogwarts. With your skill in Parseltongue, you may be able to convince him to be your familiar, if you truly wish.'

'A basilisk, huh? Thanks for the information. Have a good life.'

As he left, he could hear the faint chuckles of the snake.

'Oh I will, Speaker, I will.'

With his acceptance letter sent via owl, Harry ventured off to find something to eat.

Having lived the last three years of his life on the streets, Harry was accustomed to eating very little and living in dirty places that most would never dare to even visit. Discovering a large sum of money bequeathed to him from his supposedly alcoholic parents, Harry had no idea what to do with such wealth. It had taken him some time the previous day to get used to the fact that he could now buy everything he needed, plus things that he didn't! Yet with this realization, the boy had no time to use his newly acquired fortune on anything frivolous, not even the books necessary for his education. With that thought in mind, he planned the rest of the day to thoroughly search Diagon Alley. It's not like had anywhere else to go anyway.

Spotting Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, the eleven year old boy endeavored to try some of the ice cream here. Perhaps it was magic ice cream?

He had only just sat down with a large chocolate ice cream cone (there was surprisingly no magical ice cream flavors, which he found quite odd), when a large commotion suddenly broke out down the street. With his ice cream in hand, he got up from his seat and stood on the tips of his toes, trying to spot what was going on. With all of the adult wizards and witches crowding up ahead, he had difficulty accomplishing this.

Finally, the center of the crowd's attention pushed through the throng of people, revealing what seemed to be a normal magical family. This was certainly disproved by the arrogant smirk on the father and son's faces and the gathering of people shouting for autographs.

Watching them strut by, Harry was curious about who they were, but decided not to ask. After all, he couldn't care less about celebrities. They were all a bunch of stuck up divas.

Quickly finishing the rest of his ice cream cone, he wiped his hands on a napkin and threw it in a nearby garbage can.

With his stomach satisfied, he wandered over to the bookstore, dead set on using his money to acquire some books that may better explain the many new aspects of the Wizarding World. Not to mention, he had yet to purchase his school books.

Acknowledging the clerk's offer of help by handing over his supply list, Harry soon wandered off among the aisles of books while the lady went to gather the things he required. Going from one end of the aisle to the other, he grabbed all kinds of interesting books: the history of magic and how it came to be (or so philosophers believe), an extensive book on Hogwart's history, a massive bestiary detailing all discovered magical races, a thick tome of basic spells, and a detailed book of all pureblood families,their family trees, and their history. It was the latter two books that he found most interesting.

Seeing as how he was raised a muggle, magic was still an extraordinary thing to him. Things like flying on a broom or turning a quill into a teacup gave him a sense of wonder, while to normal purebloods, this was a thing of daily occurrence. The tome of basic spells like Scourgify would help him get accustomed to seeing magic at work. Not knowing much about his parents, the book of pureblood families and their histories could perhaps shed light of the identity of any obscure relatives he may have.

When he still lived with the Dursleys, he had found books to be his only solace from the loneliness of living at 4 Privet Drive. Over time, that love had died down. Being here in a bookstore in Diagon Alley, he found his love for them return, even if only slightly.

"Excuse me, I have your books," the clerk called out.

"Ring up my purchases, I'll be right there." He gathered all of the books into his hands and carefully made his way up to the counter.

As the clerk added up the price of the extra books not on the curriculum, Harry took one last look around the store. There were so many books in here, and he was sure that there were things that he would want to read.

"That'll be 172 galleons," the clerk said pensively. "Are you sure you can afford it?"

The Potter heir reached into the pouch the goblins had given him and started to count out the 172 galleons.

"Ummm...you know you can just state how much money you wish to withdraw, right?" the clerk asked.

A look of annoyance crossed over his face before it disappeared, only to be replaced by a look of sheepish embarrassment.

After getting his books and storing them inside the library compartment of his trunk, he headed over back to Florean Fortescue's again. With another chocolate ice cream cone in hand, Harry flipped through the pages of his Hogwarts, a History book. He was halfway through the fourth chapter detailing the wonders of Hogwart's magnificent ceiling when he decided to take a break. Looking up from the thick book, his gaze happened to fall upon an alley that he hadn't noticed before. The place was dark and shady, and he could see the outlines of various figures.

Gathering his things and putting them away in the trunk, he decided to explore this new place.

He entered the alley with a knife hidden in the sleeves of his new robes (despite the fact that they were extremely uncomfortable). Life on the streets where only the strong survive ingrained a healthy dose of caution in him, especially in places as creepy looking as this.

Harry could just make out a sign hidden in the shadows of the dark alley. It read Knockturn Alley. Didn't he get a warning from that clerk in the cauldron shop about this place?

Carefully keeping his eyes peeled for trouble, Harry managed to avoid confronting any shady individuals who might have been looking to make a quick buck. He eventually entered a store hidden deep within the alley.

An old crone, who had been sitting in a just-as-old rocking chair, leapt up as the Potter scion entered.

"Welcome, welcome, it has been long since I've seen a customer as young as you, sir," she croaked. "Come, come," she beckoned. "My store offers many delights, for smart or stupid, young or old, good or evil!" the crone cackled madly.

She spun around twice on her feet before bending over a crystal ball that laid atop her counter. "Come, come," she beckoned again. "Place your hand here, sonny!"

Harry reluctantly did as she said, placing the palm of his right hand onto the crystal ball.

"Hmm..." the old woman said to herself as she peered into the ball's depths. "Aha! I know exactly what you need! Wand please!" She snatched the wand away from him before he could even blink and held it up to the dim lights. "Thirteen and a half inches, made of..." the delirious old crone trailed off."Oh dear. This will certainly prove interesting," she muttered to herself before cackling again.

With the wand in between her index and middle finger she swung it around her head and slapped it against the counter, creating a loud smack. "Here you go, Mr. Potter. Your wand will no longer and can no longer be tracked by the ministry. You are free to practice your magic anywhere you go. Have a nice day!" As she finished explaining, she started to push the eleven year old out of her shop.

Harry was almost to the door when he craned his head back and looked at the woman pushing her. "Wait, don't I need to pay you?"

"No, no! It's free of charge! Now you must be going! I'm sure you have better things to do than hang around with little, ol' me." With a final shove, Harry was sent stumbling outside of the shop. He tripped over the uneven cobbled ground and fell to his knees. Grunting, he pushed himself upright and turned around to see the store...

...Only to find it gone.

His head whipped to the left and to the right. The store was no longer there!

Magic! He'd never understand it.

She watched the last Potter look frantically for her store. From his expression alone, she could tell he was in disbelief. Finally, he stopped bothering and just left.

Her eyes were glued to his back, staring carefully and curiously as he wandered back to Diagon Alley.

"Your destiny awaits you," the old crone said softly. As she spoke, her hideous and deformed figure started to change. Her humped back straightened, her crooked nose realigned itself, her crazy gray hair curled itself up and lightened to a blond color, and her dark eyes changed to a light blue.

Mortals. She knew she wasn't supposed to meddle in their affairs, but there were some instances when a nudge from the hand of Fate was required.

With his odd venture into the dark place known as Knockturn Alley over, Harry had finally decided to call it a night. He headed towards the Leaky Cauldron, the hub between the Magical and the Muggle world, seeking to cross over back to his world, the one that he was familiar with.

He only just passed by the bar when he heard a man speaking to the bartender Tom.

"A room for one please," the drunk man managed to say without a slur.

Tom sighed. "Here's your key. Try not to puke all over the floor again, eh Rosewood?"

Rosewood grunted once before stumbling off behind the bar towards the stairs.

"Can I help you?" Tom suddenly asked, having spotted Harry.

"Yeah...How much for a room?"

"One sickle. For four extra knuts, you'll get a nice, warm breakfast tomorrow morning when you wake up."

"Here," Harry stated, handing over the sickle and knuts.

"Thank you very much sir. Here's your key. It's the third door on the left upstairs," Tom pointed over his shoulder to the stairs that Rosewood had used just a minute earlier. "Have a nice night."

The young, black-haired boy marched up the stairs and found his room. It wasn't as big as the room in his trunk, but it was in a public place, where he didn't have to worry about getting his "room" stolen or broken.

He set his trunk on the floor and pulled out the book on Hogwart's history again. With a sigh, he collapsed onto his bed and slowly began to read. It wasn't long before his tired mind decided that it was time to sleep.

Edited on August 17, 2009

I realized that a lot of the things Harry said and did did not fit in with the personality of someone who's lived on the streets for 3 years. I practically made him canon!Harry before the edit. Now, it's more anti-social behavior, something that would be expected of someone with Harry's history. In this chapter, I've thrown out very small clues in Harry's mannerisms that hint towards which side he might lean towards (light, dark, or dark-but-good)