Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. Me, I'm just a PR professional. I don't profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world. However, its her sandbox and she's left the gate unlatched so we can go in and play a bit. Which, I've done.
Okay, guys and... guyettes,
This one is of epic length. And by that I mean really really long. For those who sent me a note about 'Four Heirs' and thought it long - well, this one blows that one out of the water for length. So, if something only up to - say - 150k words is your cup o' tea, then this isn't for you. No sir-ree! This story hits approximately 480k words.
To stop all the whining and bitching right now - yeah, like that's ever going to happen - you'll figure out this is a 'Haphne' story; Dumbledore is (somewhat) good but still manipulative as per canon; Ron's an ineffective non-entity; Snape tries to keep sticking his beak in - and get's it repeatedly thwacked with a rolled-up newspaper; McGonagall gets over her hero-worship of DumDum (I mean, Dumbledore); Hermione is a good friend; Sirius is free; kids are kids; and teenagers are walking bags of hormones.
The story follows canon a lot; and I've even included many quoted sections out of the books. I didn't do this to pinch JKR's works. Rather, it's in there to demonstrate similarities while being a different story. So, no biatching about that, either. You've been well and truly warned.
Da crazy bastard who thinks he's an author.
This is my stooping owl, Brutus.
He has offered to separate chapters into more manageable sections.
Do not try to pat him, as you will leave marks on the pages; and, I shall be most wroth with you.
Chapter One - The Incident
'There he is,' thought the furious young raven-haired boy with the bright green eyes. 'That's the arsewipe responsible for dumping me on the Dursleys.'
He was walking last in line, alone, of about forty children roughly the same age as he. They walked up between two long tables with children of various ages, from eleven to seventeen. Sitting to his left were children wearing robes trimmed in yellow and black. To his right, their robes were trimmed in blue and bronze. The tables were covered in flatware and crockery that appeared to be made of gold. Above, hanging suspended in the air, were hundreds of candles. Their light filled the room with a soft but all encompassing warm glow.
The children ahead of him were looking around uttering sounds of awe and whispering to each other about what they saw. One young bushy brown-haired lass just ahead of him was talking to a blonde-haired lass about how the ceiling was supposed to be 'charmed' to show the night sky.
The raven-haired boy was only paying attention to it all, almost peripherally. Almost his entire focus was on the man wearing garish robes and a long white beard, sitting on what looked like a golden throne. He knew who the man was - who he had to be - Albus 'Arsewipe' Dumbledore; the one who sentenced him to almost ten years of Hell.
McGonagall, a tall, stern looking woman with the epitome of a witch's hat perched on her head, told the group of children he was with to form a line in front of the small stage she had just mounted. He recognised her, too; just as he did the giant of a man who collected them from the train station.
The boy paid her little mind. He could feel the constant headache he'd had since he was seven years old beginning to intrude again. It always happened when his anger began to build - his rage. As always, he forced it back with an iron will. A - coping mechanism - he'd developed long ago. The Dursleys never allowed him any sort of pain killer. And, as always, it made him feel within himself as if he was suffocating. Like something was squeezing him deep inside.
The boy watched as the hat, clearly demonstrating more magic in evidence, began to sing. The tune, though quite basic, allowed the hat to sing about how unlike other hats it was before it sang about the four houses of the school. Then it gave a short riff about putting it on to be sorted.
Once it quietened again, the children around him and throughout the hall, began to clap. The boy just wished they'd do so quietly. His headache was building along with his anger. He was struggling to force it back.
McGonagall unfurled a scroll as she waited for the applause to die down. Once it had, she began to call names.
The boy was trying to focus within himself while only listening with half an ear. From experience, he knew - if given time - he could force the anger away; and, with it, the headache. He had his eyes closed, focussing. It helped that he didn't have to look upon the face of the old wanker on his throne, McGonagall or that Hagrid bloke. He would bide his time. After all these years he was able to quickly and methodically force the pain and anger down.
It never went away completely, though. Not since that evening; the evening his so-called loving aunt hit him in the side of the head with a frying pan. The one that had slipped out of his sore and soapy hands as he stood on a low stool at the sink washing dishes.
It had slipped out of his hands and hit the floor, making a racket. His aunt had stormed in, furious. She screamed at him about how they were trying to watch the evening news on the BBC. She'd bent down, grasped the handle of the pan from where it had landed on the floor, raised it, and hit him in the side of the head with it.
The hit had knocked him unconscious, as the next thing he remembered was waking up back in his cupboard with a blinding headache. He was just glad it was late at night as the rest of the house was quiet. He couldn't see any lights on, filtering through the gaps in the door. But, since that night, he'd had the headaches.
Shoving those thoughts aside, too, the boy was pulled out of his meditative state when he heard his name called. The way it was called sounded as if it wasn't the first time, either.
He opened his eyes and saw the old witch, McGonagall, staring sternly at him. He could also hear whispering coming from the other children. The other students. He knew what they were whispering. 'The Harry Potter? The Boy-Who-Lived? Is Harry Potter here?' All nonsense. He hated them for it.
He felt a hand of one of the other children - he didn't know who, nor did he care - give him a light nudge forward by his shoulder. He noticed the old arsewipe and some of the other - teachers? - lean forward slightly, as if in anticipation. Wankers.
He walked forward, heading for the small wooden stool. McGonagall stood alongside it, ready to place the hat that could sing on his head.
As he reached the stool and was about to turn around to sit on it, the scent hit him. That same scent he remembered from his memories. That same scent that was on her - one of the other people besides the whiskered arsewipe, responsible for him being dumped on the doorstep of the Dursleys. The perfume of the old witch brought the memory of that night back to his full consciousness.
The sense of smell, the memory of smell, was one of the most powerful of mnemonics. Her perfume triggered the memory deep within the boy - Harry Potter. It also re-awoke the anger the boy had been trying to suppress.
"Dumbledore you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son - I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous - a legend - I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!"
Harry stopped. He felt his hands clench into fists. Taking deep breaths of rage he turned to the old witch and snarled, "No!"
Minerva McGonagall had never, in all her years at Hogwarts, heard a student refuse to be sorted in such a manner. And definitely not one who would do it with so much anger; so much venom. There had been others in the past, but that was due to the child's fear of the hat. However, young Mister Potter was clearly unafraid.
"Excuse me, Mister Potter?" she asked the boy in shock.
"I said, 'No!'," replied young Harry. "I will not be - sorted - I do not believe I shall be attending this - school."
"Mister Potter!" exclaimed McGonagall. "You must!"
"Bullshit, lady!" Harry snarled back, louder than before. "About the only reason I came here was to meet face to face the arseholes who dumped me as a baby on the doorstep of the people who spent the next near ten years abusing me! Well, now I've seen them. And you disgust me!"
The entire hall was completely silent. Most faces appeared horrified by what they'd just heard, and the venom in the voice that had just delivered it.
Harry then turned around and stormed off the platform and through the remaining students waiting to be sorted. He stormed back down between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables heading back to the double doors he'd only recently entered.
Suddenly, he stopped. He turned around to look back up towards the head table. He could see that the old fool had risen to his feet and was raising his wand. Thinking for a bare moment, Harry suddenly threw his robe off over his head and threw it onto the floor.
Quickly, he turned to the Hufflepuff table - with those wearing ties of black and yellow. He stepped onto the bench seat between two students - who rapidly gave him room - and then up onto the table top.
Once he was standing on the table he started to remove his v-necked school jumper, tie and shirt. While doing so, he snarled out in a large voice near shouting, "You people think me some kind of hero. I'm supposed to be some great Boy-Who-Lived; the one who supposedly defeated Voldemort. Well..."
Down to his shirt, no undershirt, he ripped it off and threw it, too, to the floor leaving himself bare-chested. Then he threw his arms out wide and loudly snarled, "Take a look at some of the evidence of how your supposed hero has been treated since that night! None of that bullshit your parents and guardians probably read to you as bedtime stories!" He started to turn in a slow circle so that everyone in the hall could see the scars from some of the injuries he sustained. "And these are only the visible ones! These are only the ones that didn't heal properly!"
Harry didn't hear the gasps, the sudden exclamations of horror, or the crying from some of the students as they looked upon him. He couldn't really hear anything.
His head was throbbing. The pain was excruciating. He mentally bit down on the pain through force of will as he ranted.
He didn't see the little red headed girl that was sitting near the head of the Hufflepuff table - Susan - stand up with tears in her eyes and bolt out of the room. He didn't see her because the pain had brought tears to his own eyes. The pressure - the feeling of suffocating began to feel like he was being choked - began to build to a level he'd not felt before. But, he didn't care. He was finally able to vent his feelings to the people who caused him to be left with the Dursleys. His rage had been unleashed.
"Is this how you believed your hero should be treated?" he screamed. "Is it? Was it your intent for your hero to beaten? Whipped? Fed nothing but tablescraps, if I was lucky to get even that? Treated like a slave while my fat uncle and whale of a cousin fed themselves to morbid obesity and tormented me? WELL?
"And who was responsible for me being dumped in a house where I was abused for almost all of my life you might ask?" he screamed out. Jabbing a finger at the head table, he screamed, "It was none other than the so-called, all-powerful Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid!" Lowering his arm, he screamed at them. "Arseholes!"
The pain in his head flared right up. There was so much pain. He felt as if he was also being squeezed into a tiny ball. He could barely breathe. He was losing focus. The pain was too much.
He screamed a scream of extreme agony at the ceiling. There was a flash of white light and he felt as if he had exploded from the inside out.
Blackness. The peace of unconsciousness.
June 1987 - Four Years Earlier:
Young Harry Potter grew up always knowing he had a weird sort of memory. He could remember the most detailed points of individual events, right down to the feel of how warm or cold he felt, what the air smelled like, the feel of something on his hands or elsewhere on his skin. The memories were always extraordinarily detailed and vivid. But, those memories always were disjointed, like he was remembering fractions of whole memories. And memories would intrude at the oddest moments. The memories often intruded at the worst times. The memories that made it hard for him to concentrate completely on the task before him.
One of those times was when he was washing the dishes. A memory, triggered by a sound from outside, flashed up into his mind while he was washing a frying pan. He dropped the pan and his aunt hit him in the side of the head with it. The next thing he remembered was waking up in his cupboard late at night or early in the morning.
That was the night the headache started. The one that never went away.
The next morning he was sent to school with the headache still greatly bothering him. Walking to school in a round about route - to avoid his cousin's new gang from laying in wait for him - he spent the time thinking about how he could make his mind stop bothering him.
He waited until the lunch break and quickly went into the school library. There, he sought out books that covered memory. There, he found a book that covered improving one's memory recall.
Quickly he found a place to sit and read. He read through it and moved onto the next. Then the next.
It took him a few weeks to read everything the library had to cover on memory. However, he begun to understand what his problem was. He learned about people who had perfect memory, and he learned how people developed perfect memory. He learned about 'mind palaces' and how people who had to speak in public used them to remember their speeches, or their lines of script.
He also learned that meditation was often used by people to remember things. And how meditation could be used to order an unordered mind; or, one that was simply cluttered with unorganised memories. So, during those times he was locked in cupboard, he learned to meditate.
Once he managed to meditate, he learned to review his memories. And he learned how to file them away within his mind.
To file them away he built a palace within his mind. And, within that palace, he created library shelves. And on those library shelves he filed his memories.
At first it took a lot of effort, as things moved slowly. Each memory took time to sort out and find a place within his shelf space to place it. One of the first things he learned after that was that he wouldn't have enough shelf space to file everything. And that, once he did, how would he quickly find everything again.
And he also quickly learned that while he was meditating or was sorting his memories his headache receded. When he was locked in his cupboard and knew he wouldn't be allowed out for hours, he meditated. And, after many months of practice, he could drop into his meditative state while still allowing all five senses to be aware. This he called conscious meditation rather than the deep meditation of when he shut all senses off, or when he was sorting memories.
He had also learned from the school librarian at his Primary School that he could 'order' library books be brought it on short term loans. The librarian had come to like the young raven haired boy for his focus on quiet study. So, when he asked her if the library could purchase more books on a particular subject, she took the time to explain to him about the inter-library exchange system.
And Harry made a lot of use out of it.
Some of the things Harry learned during those early days and into the following few years were:
1. Creating his mind palace and ordering his memories made it immensely easier for him to recall at will.
2. He had a whole set of memories from when he was an infant that looked like hallucinations. Either that, or magic existed.
3. He was rarely any longer distracted by stray memories - and he was looking at knocking those back to being even rarer.
4. He required far less sleep.
5. He was rarely bothered by the headache any more, unless he got angry.
6. He was able to better control his emotions, so was far less likely to become angry.
7. He could speed-read a book at the library, memorising its contents. Then, he could spend the time to read it while he was in his meditative state. Even then it was still read faster than normal.
8. If the memories he had as an infant were real, then he knew what had really happened to his parents, and why he was now living with the Dursleys.
9. He only had to study something once, and he knew it from then on. He did not need to review his work, nor study for exams.
24th July 1991 – Four Years Later:
Harry Potter was standing at the stove, cleaning it, while his so-called family were either gorging themselves, his uncle and cousin, or overly primly picky eating, their breakfasts. The same breakfasts he'd only recently finished cooking but was not allowed to partake in.
As always, he was focussing on keeping his anger in check while he went about the chore.
The sound of a squeaky hinge came from the front of the house. That was the sound of the mail flap.
"Dudley," snorted his uncle. "Go and get the mail."
The fat cousin angrily whined, "Make Harry get it. I've not finished!"
With barely a pause the uncle snapped out, "Boy! Get the mail!"
Tamping his rising anger down, Harry replied, "Yes, Uncle Vernon." He placed the cleaning rag and spray cleaner on the bench top alongside the stove and went out into the entry hall to collect the mail.
Picking it up from the floor he quickly began to sort through it. His uncle demanded the mail be sorted with the junk mail immediately disposed of into the bin.
Quickly sorting the mail, Harry found a most unusual envelope amongst the normal mail. It was unusual in that it was made of a type of paper he'd not come across before; it lacked a stamp or postal mark; and was addressed to him, even down to his 'Cupboard Under the Stairs'. It was also the first item of mail he'd ever personally received. It left him stunned.
Hesitating but a moment he quickly stuffed it into the front left pocket of his oversized and torn jeans, before returning to the final sorting of the mail. And quickly walked back to the kitchen. After all, it would not do for his so-called relatives to wait one moment longer than they absolutely had to when receiving their mail.
Placing the mail next to his uncle's right hand without a word Harry quickly returned to cleaning the stove. The sooner he had the chore done the sooner he could begin on cleaning the breakfast dishes, and the sooner he could retreat to his cupboard to find out who, and why someone, had written to him.
After he had the dishes and cutlery of the Dursley's breakfast put away Harry was able to return to his cupboard. He'd managed, this time, to grab two slices of - now cold - toast and some uneaten bacon. These he pulled out of his pockets to make a sandwich.
After making it he put the sandwich down and drew out the letter addressed to him out of his pocket. Opening it he found a couple of sheets of what looked like somewhat stiff slightly yellow paper made of the same material as the envelope. Written therein, apparently, he had been accepted to attend a magic school called Hogwarts.
The letter also held a document detailing what schools supplies he'd need. One of the items, a cauldron, triggered within him a memory. It was a memory of a place called 'The Leaky Cauldron', which stood as the gateway between the non-magical and magical reals of Britain.
Meditating for a moment he entered his 'mind palace' and found the relevant memory. Reviewing it, he found where it was located; Charing Cross Road near Leicester Square Tube station. Then a short walk south. Identified by a swinging sign of a cauldron with a big crack near the bottom. The wall had only a dark wooden door in a blank white wall.
Now, how to get there. He searched his memories relating to maps and found what he needed. A quick scan through and he had it figured out. He needed to catch an overland National Rail train to Balham. Then switch to the Underground rail system for the Northern Line. Then ride straight through to Leicester Square.
Getting there and back wasn't difficult. His mental rail maps said it would only take him a little over two hours each way. Convincing his aunt to allow him to go to the local public library for the day would only require a little persuasion. He only had to play to her insecurities using what he learned in the book 'Reinventing Influence'.
But did he want to come back? No, not really. He knew the lies his aunt and uncle told him about his parents and how he came to have the scar on his forehead were just that; lies. And he remembered being taken to the bank in that alley behind the pub.
No, he'd tell his aunt he was heading out for the day (so he wouldn't be underfoot) and make his way directly to the bank. There, he hoped to find out if his parents had left him any money. If not, he'd race back home and do what he could to make his own way in life.
He had secreted away in his little cupboard about twenty pounds. He had a little sideline going on with other kids in school. He hid in the library and did their homework for them. But, they had to meet his prices. When they did, they received back homework worthy of top marks. All they had to do was rewrite it in their own handwriting.
No one but his personal 'agents' knew his real identity. And, even if someone managed to get one of the said agents to divulge the identity of the 'homework expert', nobody believed them. Because, Harry Potter was known as a poor student. He was even a worse student than his obese cousin, no matter how much time he appeared to spend in the library seemingly studying. If his cousin earned 50% on an assignment, Harry received 48%. He was always a few marks behind, a few points behind. But no one could work out why. No one knew that he would be beaten by both his cousin and his fat uncle if he brought home a report card that showed better marks than 'Dear Duddikins'. No one knew the efforts to which Harry went in appearing to be a slightly worse student than his cousin.
No one knew his greatest secret.
The morning after receiving his letter, Harry was up early. He 'feed bagged' the Dursleys, cleaned up the breakfast dishes, cleaned the kitchen and then used his recently learned influencing skills on his aunt. Some information about how he could make her day easier if he wasn't there for the day, and he was able to get out.
He quickly made his way to the local National Rail train station and he was on his way to Balham Underground station. Just under half an hour later and he was on an Underground railcar and on his way up the Northern Line direct to Leicester Square.
The trip was quicker than he thought it would be considering it was both a work day and early morning. However, he was soon walking quickly along Charing Cross Road keeping a close look out for the sign for 'The Leaky Cauldron'.
It didn't take him long to find the pub before he was able to duck in through the door. He remembered to calmly walk through and straight out the back door into the alleyway. However, once he was in the alley he couldn't find a memory of how to get through to the other side of the brick wall before him. So, he just waited.
It was only a few minutes later before the bricks began to open up with someone wanting to come through from the other side and he was able to duck through.
Keeping his head down and out from underfoot. He made his way down the alley. If he remembered right, the big marble building halfway down the alley was the bank he needed; Gringotts. Standing either side of the door he could see most fierce creatures that seemed to only be as tall as he was. And they were arm with old-fashioned pikes and double-bladed axes.
He calmly walked in through the big stone pillars and the big double doors. Once inside he looked around to see if there was anyone he could talk to about finding out if he had any money. He soon spotted another one of the creatures that stood guard outside behind a high counter.
Steeling his emotions he approached the counter and waited. He really didn't know if he should say anything or not.
Waiting there for only a minute, but seemingly longer, the creature seemed to notice him and snarled, "What do you want, little wizard."
Steeling himself, Harry calmly but quietly said, "I'm sorry to bother you, sir; but I'd like to find out if my parents left any money for me here when they died."
The creature stopped what it was doing as Harry spoke. Staring back for a few moments it seemed to think for a few moments before it asked, "What is your name?"
Harry quickly replied, "Harry Potter, sir."
Again the creature just stared at him. But Harry did notice it glanced quickly at the scar just visible under his long fringe on his forehead. It was at least a few moments before it said, "Wait there and I'll have the Potter Account Manager send for you." Then it grabbed a small piece of the same paper that Harry's letter was made of and a gnarled looking pen. It wrote a few things on it and dropped it into a slot on the bench he was working upon before it hit a button.
The creature then ignored him, performing other tasks.
After what appeared to be a minute Harry was getting impatient and was about to ask what was going on when he heard a voice behind him.
"Mister Potter?" the voice asked.
Turning around, he came face to face with another of the creatures standing looking at him.
"Yes," said Harry.
"Follow me, please," said the creature before it turned away and started walking into the depths of the bank.
Three hours later and Harry was walking out of the bank. He was struggling to maintain his composure. His anger was threatening to open into a full rage. He was feeling - stifled.
He walked - stalked really - back up the alley a little before he stopped. He needed a distraction. He needed something to take his mind off what he'd just been told.
A look up the alley and he saw what looked like a bookshop called Flourish & Blotts. Reading always calmed him down. And now that he had in his pocket a bag of gold coins he could buy his own books, instead of borrowing them from the library.
He entered the shop and took a look around.
The creatures, goblins as he now knew they were called, were not happy with him at first, and it wasn't even his fault.
At first, after an initial blood test to confirm his identity, they wanted to know why he was not accepting 'owls'. And it took a bit of effort by both parties to clear up the confusion before they managed to explain that wizarding mail was 'couriered' by owls; and until he explained, and showed them, that the only item of mail he'd ever received was his acceptance letter from Hogwarts. The goblins were very unhappy to hear that, and informed him they'd investigate why their owls were not getting through to him.
Once those initial problems were overcome his 'Potter Account Keeper' goblin, Bloodfang, gave him an overview of the state of the Potter Accounts. It took a while as they had to stop every now and then due to Harry needing to get his anger under control about what he'd learned.
Harry was also allowed to go down to collect money from his 'trust' vault, where he also collected a special coin pouch the cart goblin was able to show him was larger inside than outside. And pick up two envelopes that had his name on them in two different styles of handwriting. He was then allowed to look in the other two vaults; one for records and documents and a few other items, and one full of heirlooms and gold. However, he was not allowed to enter either until, as the goblins called it, he was 'of age'.
On returning to the surface Bloodfang stepped him through the process of having the coin pouch blood locked to him against theft and the like, and handed him a full accounting of his financial holdings. These he carried in a document pouch the old goblin 'gifted' him with. He currently had it slung crossways from his right shoulder to his left hip.
In the bookshop, after having looked around for a while, he approached a sales clerk and asked her to assist him in getting the books he needed for his First Year at Hogwarts. She smiled at him and said, "Sure, dear. Just give me a moment."
He waited for her to finish a task she was in the middle of completing before she walked around the counter and said to him, "All Hogwarts text books can be found together in a row over here." And she led him to an aisle on the opposite side of the store from the main counter. "In this aisle you find each year's texts are separated by year. First Years at the front of the store; through to Seventh Year at the back."
Looking down the aisle, Harry said, "Thankyou. And if you wouldn't mind, could you show me where I'll find books on introducing someone to the magic world and Hogwarts, information on the ancient families, and magic relating to the mind?"
"Certainly dear," said the clerk. And she led him through the store indicating the relevant sections.
"Thank you," said Harry, allowing the young lady to return to her duties.
Knowing that the text books for his first year at Hogwarts were all together and already sorted on the shelves, he decided to collect those last.
Browsing the books he soon came across a section that was labelled Harry Potter. Frowning and wondering why there was a section with his name upon it he scanned the titles he found there. There were stories written about him, plus a couple of books that were supposedly factual about what happened on and around 31st of October 1981, the night his parents were murdered and he was taken from his home. He grabbed one of the children novels, 'Harry Potter and the Deadly Dragon', and two of the fact books about that fateful night; 'Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived' and 'The Boy Who Lived: Our Youngest Hero'.
Then he found a book titled 'Introduction to Mind Magicks' that he hoped would help him with his anger issues and headache, a book on Hogwarts called 'Hogwarts: A History' to learn about the school, a book called 'A History of the Ancient Houses' where he hoped to learn more about his own family, another called 'An Introduction to the Wizarding World', a fifth titled 'Noble Etiquette' as he was supposed to be from what was called a Noble and Ancient House; and, because it looked interesting and might be able to help him remain incognito, a book on basic charms that covered altering one's appearance called 'Simple Cantrips for the Beauty Conscious'.
With those nine books loading down in his arms he carried them to the front counter.
Looking at the clerk he asked, "Do you mind if I leave these here while I collect my school texts?"
"That'll be fine, dear," replied the clerk barely even glancing up. 'We're not that busy today.'
Harry then ducked quickly back to the aisle with the Hogwarts's texts and quickly gathered them up before returning to the counter with them.
While he'd been gone the clerk had already begun to ring up his purchases on the old fashioned mechanical till so, as soon as he brought the second pile of books she smoothly transitioned from the last book in the first pile to the first book in the second pile.
When she'd finished she told him the total value. While he was withdrawing the correct number of galleons from his pouch she drew her wand and caused the whole pile to be bundled and tied together in two packages.
After pulling out the correct number of galleons Harry was able to watch the clerk give a last few twitches on her wand while his packages looked to do a merry dance and they were tied.
'Okay!' thought Harry. 'That's what it looks like to perform magic.'
He handed over the galleons and received his change in sickles and knuts, dropping them into his pouch.
"Would you like me to shrink them for you, dear?" she asked.
Harry frowned at her and asked back, "Shrink?"
Looking back in confusion for just a moment the clerk suddenly brightened. "Oh? Of course. You'd be a muggle born. That's why you bought, amongst other things, the book 'An Introduction to the Wizarding World'. I'm sorry, I should have realised."
Harry just frowned back, not considering correcting her.
Blushing a little, the clerk said, "Watch." And she caused the two packages to shrink down until they were about equal in size to a matchbox each. Tucking her wand up her sleeve she said, "Now, to unshrink them, all you need to do is press firmly on the knot of the string." And she demonstrated before reshrinking the package. "See?"
Harry just nodded, though he was quite surprised by what he saw.
"The clerk, taking pity on him, said, "Now, as you don't seen to have purchased any other things of your school supplies, I suggest you head down the Alley to Porter's Portmanteaus to purchase your school trunk. Ask Mister Porter to place a featherweight charm on the trunk. That way, you'll have something to carry all your purchases within while you shop." And she smiled at him.
Harry thanked the young woman before picking up the shrunken packages and dropping them in his pocket.
On his way down to the shop the clerk directed him to, Harry found a cafe. One look at the sign saying 'Hot Food' and Harry's tummy growled. So, he decided to stop first and see and buying some lunch. Besides, he also wanted to read the two letters that were left to him in his trust vault.
After placing his order for lunch he sat in an inside booth and withdrew the two envelopes. Hesitating a moment, he gave a mental shrug and opened the one on top first.
Inside was a letter written in the same flowing script in which his name was written on the front of the envelope.
My Dearest Harry,
I hope by the time you read this you've grown into a wonderful young man under the care of either your godmother, Lady Alice Longbottom, and her husband, Lord Franklin Longbottom; or with your godfather, Sirius Black, if dear Alice and Frank weren't able to take you in. If you've grown up with the Longbottoms then you would have also grown up alongside young Neville, a boy who is only a few hours older than you. If you were raised by Sirius (you used to call him 'Pa-foo') then I hope you're not getting into too much mischief with pranks.
No matter who raised you I hope your life to the day you read this letter has been a happy one, and that it will continue to be so. Know that your father and I love you and will continue to love you from 'The Great Beyond'.
You are my darling baby boy.
Lady Lily Potter
After reading the letter, and not knowing whether to be happy to have read a letter from his own mother, or be angry he didn't grow up with his godmother or godfather, he put the letter back into the envelope and set it aside.
Picking up the second envelope he already guessed it would be from his father.
Hey Prongslet (yes, that's you, Harry),
If you're reading this letter it means I wasn't there to help you grow up; and I'm really sorry about that. However, I hope you still have had a happy childhood with the Longbottoms or one of the other magical persons we specified in our wills with whom you were to be raised.
For your information, here is the order of people written in your mother's and my Wills who should have raised you:
Lady Alice Longbottom and her husband Lord Francis 'Frank' Longbottom - Lady Longbottom is your sworn godmother as your mother is sworn godmother of Frank and Alice's boy, Neville.
Sirius Black and his wife (if he finally finds someone to settle down and marry) - Sirius is your sworn godfather
Lord Cygnus and Lady Isabel Greengrass - dear friends, plus you're betrothed to their daughter, Daphne (see below)
Amelia Bones and her husband (if she marries) - a dear friend from within the DMLE
Now, about Daphne; your mother tells me I need to apologise. When you were born I was so happy that I called some friends over to the Manor. Your mother was still in hospital, at this time, otherwise she would have stopped things before they got out of hand. You see I, together with Sirius, Remus, Frank, Cygnus and a few of the chaps from within the DMLE we could trust, decided we had to celebrate your birth while the ladies were all with your Mum at the hospital with you. It was also a bit of respite for us from the horrors of the war. As you can guess we got a bit carried away.
The next morning Cygnus and I discovered we had signed a betrothal contract between you and his new infant daughter, Daphne. Your mother, nor your 'Auntie' Isabel, were happy when we finally admitted it to them. Nor were they happy when they discovered we signed it with a blood quill, and that it was unbreakable. If Daphne's looks, when she grows up, are anything like her mother's, then I hope you wont be too angry with me. There is a copy of the betrothal contract in the Potter heirloom vault in the filing cabinet. Ask Bloodfang, the Potter Account Keeper (or his replacement, if there's been one since I wrote this letter) for a copy of it. And please forgive your dear old departed Dad for being an idiot (even if your mother hasn't yet).
Once you turn eleven you will become the new Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter. You will also take up your Lordship when you are of age or are legally emancipated, whichever comes first. Potter is a very old wizarding House that traces its roots back many, many centuries. It's something for you of which to be very proud, as am I.
I don't know when you will read this letter. But, hopefully, it will be well before your eleventh birthday so you will have time to adjust to this news. Plus, you will need time and training to learn what it means to be the Head of such an Ancient House. Your guardians and Bloodfang (or his successor) will be able to help you with this.
You also need to know that the Potters are openly in alliance with the Houses of Longbottom and Bones; and are secretly in alliance with the Houses of Black and Greengrass. If you haven't already done so you need to contact the Heads of those Houses at your earliest opportunities, once you take up your Headship of House Potter, after your eleventh birthday. This is very important. It can be viewed as a snub to their Houses and the alliances if you don't. But, your approach to the Heads of the Black and Greengrass families must be done carefully and in secret if you already are not in contact with them.
Now that the scary official stuff is out of the way, I want you to know that I love you with all my heart. I want you to have a very happy and long life and have lots of sons and daughters of your own, so you can experience just how much we love you.
You are also the son of a Marauder, so I expect to be watching you pull lots of pranks. I will be laughing with you when you pull them.
Your loving father,
James 'Dad' Potter
(Still sleeping on the couch due to that marriage contract)
Harry placed that letter back in it's envelope and wiped the tears out of his eyes as he did so.