Ollivanders and Eeylops
by Erik's Angel
Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I dare to imagine that I am JK Rowling. She created these characters and this universe. I just like to play with them. I mean no harm.
Summary: A Diagon Alley adventure. What if Sirius and James knew each other before Hogwarts? And what if they were set loose on Diagon Alley? A short tale in which I explore the possibilities.
Author's Note: This fic was originally one of many that I had planned for a giant collection of short stories called The Marauders. That idea fell through, and so I'm publishing the individual pieces as stand-alone fics. Thanks must go out to my fabulous beta-reader, JK, for all her helpful suggestions and friendly support.
You'd have thought Black and Potter were brothers! Inseparable!
- Flitwick in Prisoner of Azkaban
James landed with a thump on the stone floor in The Leaky Cauldron. He hated traveling by Floo Powder. Hated it. It always made him feel sick. He looked down at his glasses, which he had clenched in his hand. They were broken at the nosepiece. Again. He looked up to find his father chuckling quietly. James imagined that he must look pretty funny: his glasses were broken, his hair ruffled (well that was nothing new), his brown eyes were still out of focus, and, to top it all off, he was sprawled on the floor covered in soot.
But his mother was looking down at him with a sort of half-smile on her lips. "Oh, James," she sighed. "You've broken your glasses again." She dug into her robe and, after some time, pulled out her wand. "Oculus reparo," she muttered and tapped her wand on the bridge of his glasses. She handed them back to him, entirely repaired.
James took his glasses and put them on. He blinked as everything he was seeing came into focus. So this was The Leaky Cauldron. He stared around, ignoring his mother's vain attempts at brushing the soot off him. He'd never been here before, but he'd heard all about it. And now he was eleven, making his first trip here in preparation for his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He'd been waiting for this day for ages.
The Leaky Cauldron was full of people talking in low voices. Some of them had chuckled at James's clumsy landing, but most hadn't noticed his entrance. James picked himself up off the floor and followed his parents to a small back-alley behind the pub. His father tapped some bricks on the wall, and all the bricks shifted back, clicking as they went. What had once been a wall had become a doorway . . . a doorway opening onto a busy, winding street lined with small shops.
"Wow . . ." James breathed, standing transfixed, watching the milling crowd of people. He almost didn't notice the boy his age with jet black hair, flushed cheeks and a wide grin, sprinting straight through the middle of the crowd towards him until the boy punched him on the shoulder and bounced to his side, midnight-blue eyes sparkling.
"All right there, James? You look a bit lost," he said jovially.
"Sirius!" James cried, embracing his friend and thumping him on the back. "It's been ages. Where've you been keeping yourself?"
"Oh, around . . ." his friend said lightly, but James knew better. He and Sirius had grown up together in Godric's Hollow, but two years ago, Sirius's father had inherited the Black family manor in Kent, and the whole family had moved there. Naturally, James and Sirius pelted each other with owls all the time, but it wasn't the same as living next door. Sirius had always been angry that they'd had to move . . . no matter what he liked to pretend. "Hi Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter," Sirius said politely.
"Hello there, Sirius," replied James's father. "It's nice to see you again. We're just off to Gringotts. Care to join us?"
"Marvelous!" Sirius replied, as they started walking. "I've already got all my new stuff. Bought it yesterday. Want to see my new wand, James?" Sirius proudly handed James his wand. "Cedar and dragon heartstring. 10 ½ inches. Go on . . . try it out."
James gave the wand a wave. Much to his surprise, it turned into a rubber chicken. He doubled over laughing. "Brilliant, Sirius! I'm going to have to get back on my guard if we're going to be spending much time together. Only," he added after a moment, "it would've been better if it could've turned into a live chicken."
"Yeah," replied Sirius thoughtfully, "I tried that, but I couldn't make it work."
"Gringotts," said Mrs. Potter abruptly, and James and Sirius looked up to see a gleaming white building that towered over the rest of the shops.
"Wicked . . ." breathed the boys at exactly the same time. They looked at each other and burst out laughing, causing the goblin at the door to look sternly at them.
"Sorry, mate," said Sirius, still choking back laughter, and the four of them entered the bank.
Once they were in the lobby, James's mother leaned between their two heads and whispered, "Now, boys. Behave while we're here."
"Yes, mum," James replied. He turned and saw his mother cast a sharp look at his father, who stopped laughing abruptly and attempted to look stern. It didn't work.
About half an hour later, the group left Gringotts. James's parents decided to let him and Sirius go out on their own to buy James's school things . . . but not before Mrs. Potter had had her say.
"Now boys," she said in a kind voice, which, even so, told James and Sirius that she meant business, "do try and behave. You'll stay out of trouble, won't you? Won't you?"
"Of course, mum," said James brightly. "Honestly, I can't imagine where you get the idea that Sirius and I will cause trouble. We're a pair of perfect angels!" James and Sirius smiled at the Potters as innocently as they possibly could. Mr. Potter laughed. Mrs. Potter looked sternly at them before shaking her head at the boys and sighing heavily. "All right," she said resignedly. "Off with you, then."
Diagon Alley was amazing, but James didn't think he would have enjoyed any of it half so well without Sirius to share it with. Buying books at Flourish and Blotts was so much more fun when he and Sirius could laugh at all the strange names the authors had. "Kennilworthy Whisp" was James's favorite. They made a game of trying to say some of the names five times fast, and James doubled over laughing when Sirius ended up saying "Vinicty Verninidan" instead of "Vindictus Veridian."
They spent their day laughing at everything and enjoying each other's company. They stopped at Gambol and Japes for some absolutely necessary supplies - Filibuster Fireworks. They had fun poking around at everything in the shop, plotting possible pranks. Sirius absolutely would not leave until he had bought a veritable mountain of Stink Pellets.
By the time James had his books, his robes, an owl, and a large, bulging bag of joke shop tricks, it was late afternoon. Sirius and James were still cracking up over the worst possible names he could choose for his new tawny owl when they entered their last shop - Ollivanders.
Their laughter seemed to disturb the tingling quietness of the shop, so they quickly stifled their giggles. The merriment simply didn't suit the store, and they both felt peculiar - as though they'd intruded.
Mr. Ollivander was helping a red headed girl about James's age pick out a wand, so James and Sirius sat down on nearby stools to wait.
The girl tried wand after wand, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, Mr. Ollivander had to go to the back of his shop to look for other options. The girl paced for a moment, and then sat down on the stool next to James.
James looked at her. He noticed that she had very bright green eyes, which she kept determinedly fixed on the floor. He cleared his throat. "Hi," he said, a little tentatively.
Sirius sniggered. James jabbed him in the ribs with his elbow. Sirius coughed, but he stopped laughing.
James thought for a minute that the girl might not reply. Then, he heard her say, "Hello," very quietly.
"Hogwarts too?" he ventured.
The girl said nothing, but she nodded yes.
"Well, we're just starting our first year too." He paused. "My name's James . . . James Potter, and this great oaf here is Sirius Black. He's an incredibly sorry excuse for a best friend." The girl looked up and found James grinning at her while Sirius pretended to be horribly offended. She actually giggled.
"Lily Evans," she said, smiling, and James couldn't help thinking, in spite of himself, that she was very pretty. "Pleased to meet you."
"Pleasure's all mine," said James politely.
"And mine!" Sirius added loudly. James jabbed him in the ribs again, and Lily giggled.
"Ah! I think I've found the one!" came the sound of Mr. Ollivander's voice from somewhere in the back of the shop. A moment later, he appeared carrying a very old, cobweb-covered, dusty box.
Lily got down off the stool.
"Willow and phoenix feather," he said, handing it to her, "10 ¼ inches. Swishy. Excellent for Charms work. Go on, try it out." She waved it a bit and bright white sparks shot out the end. Sirius and James cheered and Lily grinned.
Lily paid for her new wand and started to leave.
"See you at Hogwarts!" James called after her as he got down off his stool.
She turned at smiled at them and waved as she left the shop. James watched her meet up with a pair of adults, obviously Muggles, who had been waiting for her across the street. She showed off her wand to them. Her parents eyed the wand with trepidation before smiling nervously at their daughter. They look like nice people, James thought idly.
"Nice going, Romeo," Sirius muttered to James under his breath, interrupting his thoughts.
"Shut it, you," James retorted, and then he turned his attention to Mr. Ollivander, who was handing him his first wand to try.
James didn't take nearly so long as Lily had. He found his wand ("Mahogany and unicorn hair, 11 inches. Pliable. Good for Transfiguration.") on the fifth try, paid Mr. Ollivander his seven Galleons, and left the shop with Sirius trailing behind him.
"She was a bit shy, wasn't she?" Sirius commented a few moments later.
"Who?" James asked, feigning ignorance.
"Don't give me that, you prat. You know perfectly well who." He paused for dramatic effect, grinning the broad grin that James had come to recognize as characteristic of Sirius Black. Especially when, as it was now, accompanied with a mischievous sparkle in his dark blue eyes. "Li-ly!" This last word he said in an extremely annoying singsong voice while batting his eyelashes at James.
"Sirius!" cried James, rolling his eyes.
"Well, it's true." Sirius paused. "But she was shy, don't you think?"
"She was probably feeling lost," said James, reasonably, "Seeing as she's obviously Muggle-born. Didn't you see her parents as she left? They looked terrified."
Sirius did not get to reply because they had just arrived back at The Leaky Cauldron, and James's parents were drilling him about his day. They were not satisfied until James had shown off his owl, announced her name ("Freya"), admitted that he had bought more from Gambol and Japes than from any other store ("Oh, James, what am I going to do with you?"), and made red and gold sparks shoot out of the tip of his wand.
"We'd better get back home," James's mum said several minutes later, "before we spend any more money."
Sirius mumbled something about needing to get home in time for dinner, so all the Potters hugged him and told him to come visit soon.
Mr. Potter threw a fistful of Floo Powder into the fire, and the flames roared and turned a bright emerald green color. "You first, Sirius," he said, resting a hand on the boy's shoulder as he spoke. Sirius just sighed.
Well, at least I'll see more of him at Hogwarts. Hope we're in the same house, thought James. He watched as Sirius stepped into the green flames of the fire, said "Black Manor," and was gone.
The Potters were silent for a moment. Then, Mr. Potter said quietly, "Well, we'd better get a move on, then." He threw another fistful of Floo Powder into the fire, and one by one, the Potters stepped into the fireplace, said "Godric's Hollow," and disappeared.
Please remember that, like any other author, I live off your feedback. Please take a few moments to review or email me (Aly3285 ) and let me know what you think of my story.
Thank you for reading,