This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I'm just borrowing them.
"Get the mail please, Harry."
"Yes, Uncle Vernon." Harry replied, as he moved swiftly down the hall towards the front door. He grimaced slightly as he passed the cupboard under the stairs, which had been his home until his fourth birthday.
"Now then, Harry, as you are four you have to start earning your keep. You will be helping your Aunt around the house for a couple of hours every day."
Harry nodded in agreement; he then asked a question, which shocked Vernon Dursley to the core. "What do I get in return, Uncle Vernon?"
Vernon looked surprised at the thought of having to give anything to the boy. "Well, what do you want?"
"I want a proper bedroom and a proper meals not just what does Dudley doesn't want."
Vernon grimaced when Harry said this. He too had noticed how Dudley got everything and was getting bigger by the day; whereas Harry was a slight and tended to have a sickly look about him. Vernon quickly agreed.
Harry was moved up to Dudley's second bedroom and was given proper food. It wasn't that the Dursleys were nasty to Harry – not as such, he just wasn't one of their priorities. When he was nine his Uncle again took him to one side and said, "now, as you are older there is more that you can be doing to help out."
Harry nodded, "Of course, Uncle Vernon. What do I get, Uncle Vernon?"
"Well, Harry, what do you want?"
Harry said, "I want me own clothes – not those that Dudley has worn. Also for a specific job I want to be paid. For example you had a quote of £300 plus the cost of the gravel, to gravel the front path and drive way. I'll do it for £100 plus the cost of the gravel. It will take a bit longer but I will do it."
Vernon was again amazed. "We will see what sort of a job you do, and then we will negotiate."
Uncle Vernon bought the gravel the following week and within 10 days of its delivery it had been spread evenly over the drive and pathway.
Vernon and Petunia were both delighted. Petunia insisted that Harry opened a bank account of his own instead of keeping the money in the house. Every second Friday was Harry's payday for the jobs he had done. At first the neighbors were horrified and then amazed at what Harry could do. Most of his summers, holidays and even weekends were booked up with jobs from the neighborhood.
Sometimes something happened. Harry didn't know what it was or even how it happened but when for example he was really tired at the end of a job, things just seemed to go in his favour. Once, a delivery of gravel had spilt over the lawn at one of his customers houses. By the time that he had returned with a broom all the spilt gravel had appeared in a pile 'off' the lawn. Harry was amazed. All he could remember was wishing that the gravel would come off the grass and be in a nice pile so it could be cleaned up. Other incidents set Harry thinking and although he didn't show off his ability all of his customers commented on what a good job he did for them and that he went the extra 'mile' tiding up afterwards.
On a personal level Harry discovered that he could do all sorts of 'interesting' things, but he kept that to himself.
By the time Harry's eleventh birthday came around he was quite distinguishable from his peers. He was always smartly dressed and well behaved young man. He was quite tall and well built for a lad of his age, he had his hair tied back to keep it neat and since he had gotten his first pay check he now wore contact lenses or designer wire framed glasses.
Harry looked through the mail on his way back to the kitchen. The only mail Harry was used to getting was his bank statement but there in his hand was another envelope, this was something quite different. It was a large thick cream envelope made from stiff paper with shimmering green ink writing on the front. As he turned it over there was a multicolored wax seal in the shape of a shield with a crest on it.
Petunia looked up at it and seemed to sigh in relief, she smiled at him saying, "thank goodness, now that has arrived we can talk. Leave it till after breakfast, Harry."
When breakfast had finished and Dudley had gone out to the park, Vernon, Petunia and Harry sat at the table to talk.
"Before you open your letter, Harry; there are some things that I must tell you," she paused.
"We never met the people who dropped you off. You're left on the doorstep in the early hours of the second of November wrapped in nothing more than a thin blanket. How you ever survived that night I will never understand. Tucked into the blanket was a note, it was very specific, the note said I was your mothers only blood relative and that you 'had' to live here, there was some thing said about blood wards, but for them to work I would have to have been a blood relative. I was adopted into the Evans family, so the wards wouldn't have worked. The note said, 'you needed to be treated with a very firm hand, and in an extremely strict manner, that it would be for your own good, and that a spell had been added for our own good.' It said that we could not say anything about the Wizarding World until your Hogwarts letter arrived."
She pointed to the letter on the table; "your Uncle and I have been trying to fight spell for years. A man named Albus Dumbledore signed the note. As soon as we read it, the note disappeared. I know your life here has been hard at times, but it was the best that we could do."
Harry nodded to his Aunt and thought back over the last couple of years, 'things had always been worse for him around Halloween, had someone come and redone the spell?' He pondered. 'A spell? Would that would be magic? Was that what he could do?'
Harry picked up the letter and opened it. He read it quietly and frowned at the tone of the letter. After he had read a page he passed it to his Aunt so she could read it too. After the letter and accompanying list had been read, Petunia told him as much about the Wizarding world as she could remember her sister telling her.
"Is this the only magic school? Harry asked.
"I don't really know, Harry, will have to wait until the professor arrives to discuss it with you."
Severus Snape was not happy man; he had literally pulled the short straw. Any other teacher would have been glad to, delighted even, to retrieve the boy who lived. 'Harry Bloody Potter.' The Headmaster had been dropping hints about his life and how he wanted him to be treated. Hints like that from the Headmaster were not something to take at face value.
Walking through the streets towards of Little Whinging, Severus Snape was horrified to see the rows of little brick built boxes all looking the same. Occasionally he came across one that had obviously had some time and care spent on them. They had a large variety of plants, all planted in the correct place and in the right manner. Each of these houses had something different about them. There was almost a hint of magic. Severus scoffed to himself. No one could possibly by using magic this close the Dumbedore's precious 'boy who lived' and get away with it.
As Severus finally got to Privet Drive the next house that he saw had a small board across two wooden pegs that had been driven into the boarder around the lawn. The sign read 'HJP Inc' with a small lightening bolt between the P and the I. No, there was no way, could be no way that the child 'Harry Bloody Potter' worked. He was a spoilt brat wasn't he? But if this was not him, who else could it be! Had he worked 'it' out? Had the boy found out about the way to gain his independence?
Hurrying until he reached number four, Severus had a good look at the gardens as he went past. Seven of the houses had been worked on; the lawns were immaculate, the flower boarders blooming. And yes, he could detect the essence of magic, but not spells. 'How could this be possible?' he wondered.
Quickly he rang the door bell and stood back waiting for the door to be answered.
Harry and Petunia were just finishing going through an old box of things that Lily had left at her parent's house before she got married and forgotten to collect. In the box there were a couple photo's in frames that when Petunia looked at then were still but when she passed then to Harry they seemed to come alive. Harry nearly dropped the first one in shock.
"Who are these people, Aunt Petunia?"
"Well, Harry, those are your parents, Lily and James. I seem to remember that the two men to the right of them were your father's best friends. I can't remember their names – the one with dark hair is your Godfather I believe. The man behind them, the sulky looking one, I can't remember him."
The next picture was of Lily and another man sitting under a large tree with books all around them. They were laughing and smiling.
"This man I do know. Lily and I met him in the park near where we lived shortly before Lily got her letter. His Name is Severus Snape and they were friends for a long time. I don't know what happened but suddenly they weren't talking anymore."
The door bell rang making them both jump; with a smile Harry went to answer the door. He was still looking at the picture when he opened the door. Looking up he went to ask how he could help, when his eyes widened in surprise. 'Severus Snape,' he whispered. There on the door step was the man from the photo.
"Hello, Mr Snape, please come in, Aunt Petunia was just telling me that she knew you, look."
Harry held out the picture frame to a stunned Severus Snape. Without realising what he was doing he look at the picture. The colour drained from his face.
Harry quickly grabbed his arm and pulled him into the house and through to the kitchen, where he pushed him into a chair.
Severus still gazed at the photo in his hand.
Harry waited and waited and after several minutes of nothing, he stage whispered to his Aunt, "did I break him?" His Aunt chuckled.
"Certainly not, Mr Potter," Severus said, regaining his composure.
Finally Severus looked up. There looking back at him were Lily's eyes. If he was being honest he was expecting someone completely different. He supposed a cross over between his image of James Potter and a waif that the Headmaster had hold him to expect. But there in front of him was a smart, well built, quiet tall for his age, young man who was very well presented.
After Petunia made tea, the trio sat at the table. Severus asked for an explanation as to what was going on. Between them, Harry and Petunia went over what Petunia had already told Harry. Including the information on the wards!
Severus asked more questions about what Harry's life at the Dursleys had been like and whither or not the small sign that he had seen was anything to do with Harry.
Petunia explained what had happened over the years and how Harry had practically brought himself up. Severus stopped her with silent hand and asked for conformation on the point.
Quietly Severus mused to himself that two of the objectives to gaining independence had been met. He had a sneaking suspicion that Young Mr Potter could fulfil the third requirement as well. Silently he yet again wondered what the hell Dumbledore was up to.
Finally he asked, "do you have any questions?"
Harry looked at Petunia, who paused before nodding. Harry asked casually "are there any other magical schools other than Hogwarts?"
"Other schools?" Severus stammered.
"Yes, you see the letter I got was not very helpful and quiet demanding." Harry said holding the letter out to Severus.
Taking the letter he quickly scanned the contents. "This is all that came?" He finally asked. There was so much missing. Where was the introduction to the Wizarding World that all children who loved in the Muggle world should receive? Where was the 'suggested' additional reading list?
Harry and Petunia both nodded. "I think that, Mr Potter, you and I should go to Gringotts Bank. If you could please bring with you your last bank statement," he paused as if deciding something. With a brief nod he continued, "You must be sure to show it to the Goblins when we are there, I will not remind you."
With a pop the two wizards disappeared from the kitchen of the Dursley residence and appeared in a quite corner of Diagon Alley.
"Now then, Mr Potter, Gringotts is the white building across from us. Remember what I said!"
With that Severus Snape stalked across the lane and up the steps of the bank. Harry hurried to keep up. He wondered if he would be able to have a look around later.
Reaching the dark interior of the bank Harry felt a firm hand that was placed on his shoulder, the hand gently steered him towards the teller at the far end of the row.
"Greetings, Master Goblin." Severus said.
"Greetings, Potions Master Snape" replied the Goblin.
As the Goblin looked up he did a double take at the sight of the child in front of him.
"And you young Master, how may I be able to help you?"
"Greetings, Master Goblin," Harry replied. "I was wondering if I would be able open an account here at your bank and some how link it to my muggle account. Would this be possible, Master Goblin?"
"Do you have details of your account with you?"
"Oh yes, Sir, here they are?" Harry handed over the bank statement.
The Goblin smiled, "how did you come across this money, Mr Potter?"
"It is from my gardening work, Sir."
"You have earned this money, is that what you are saying?"
The Goblin looked over the edge of his desk at the clothes that Harry was wearing, "Who brought you clothes, Mr Potter?"
Harry looked down at what he had on; he thought that they looked alright. Was there a problem he wondered?
"I did, Sir, is there a problem?"
"Oh no, not at all, I was just wondering, Mr Potter. Another question if I might? Have you ever done any accidental magic?"
"Well yes, Master Goblin, but that was quite some time ago. I am getting quite good at it now."
"Really, Mr Potter, could you show me something?"
Harry thought for a moment and then looked at the Goblin.
"Any time you are ready, Mr Potter." The Goblin grumbled.
A gasp from behind Harry drew the Goblins gaze. Severus Snape was looking at the Goblin in awe, more specifically, the Goblin's clothes. The Goblin looked down as he watched in wonder as the cotton clothes that he was wearing turned to silk, the brass buttons turned to gold and the lapels and cuffs into velvet.
After a moment Harry looked away and blinked. He turned back to the Goblin and smiled at the expression on his face.
"Was that suitable for you, Sir?"
"How long will, this last?" At Harry confusion the Goblin continued, "Until the clothes return to there original state?"
"Oh," said Harry. "That is the original state now, they won't turn back."
Both Severus Snape and the Goblin looked at him.
"Should it change back?" Harry asked.
"No, No, that is quite all right," said the Goblin smoothing an invisible crease from his new jacket.
Clearing his throat slightly the Goblin exchanged a look with the Professor and went on "In the Wizarding World there is a peculiar tradition. Any witch or wizard who comes to Gringotts on their first trip to the Wizarding World and is able to meet certain criteria is able to gain independence. That simply means that they have been judged to be able to look after themselves and make their own decisions. They will have no need for a magical guardian. They are truly independent. Though you can use magic out of school and have access to all of your accounts – you can't claim them and any titles you may have until you are fifteen years old."
Harry turned to Severus Snape in shock. "What magical guardian? Does this mean that I can go to school anywhere?"
The Goblin responded, "I believe that Albus Dumbledore has made himself your magical guardian."
"Where do I sign to get rid of him?" Harry asked smirking.
The Goblin handed over several forms for Harry to sign before giving him some account information and a debit card for his account.
After Thanking the Goblin and leaving the bank Harry turned to Severus Snape and said "What now?"
Severus Snape relied, "if I were you I would go to the book store and buy several books in being independent young person in the Wizarding World and on the various Wizarding Schools around the world. I would then return home and read the information in those books so that when a certain Headmaster comes to knocking on your door, you will know what to say and where you stand."
Harry chuckled quietly and said; "not that you would ever suggest such a thing!"
"Of cause not," smirked the Potions Master.
With a small grin Harry asked Professor Snape if he would go with him to the book shop. The Professor smiled slightly and nodded in agreement.
Several hours later Professor Snape left Harry Potter at the front door to 4 Privet Drive. The afternoon had been full of revelations. For example Harry had shown an interest in Potions, he had a dry sense of humour and was able to speak to snakes – Severus had muttered to himself about uneven floors; because there was no way that he stumbled when he saw Harry actually talking to the snake! No way at all!
He also thought about the sharp enquiring mind that the boy had. They had spoken at some length about the different schooling options that they had come across in the books they had bought. Severus turned back to look at the house before he apperated away and was surprized to see Harry Potter still standing at the door with his hand raised, as if saying good bye.
Severus raised his hand in recognition as he apperated back to Hogwarts. Hopefully he would meet Harry Potter again - one day; unfortunately, he had a strong suspicion that would not be on the 1st of September at Hogwarts – not this year anyway.
Something a bit different. i hope that you liked it. This is a possible one shot - but there may be more :)
Thanks for reading, please review.