- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Death - Minor Character
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
- Rule 63
It’s Harry’s first birthday party.
Merlin’s too for that matter.
She’s super excited. And she can probably be forgiven for internally gloating that her party is bigger than any Dursley party she ever witnessed, even if you count the formal business dinners.
Lord and Madame Bones have come with Lord Bones’s granddaughter Susan Bones and Susan’s best friend Hannah Abbott. The two girls don’t seem too keen on Harry but that’s fine.
Her second cousins on her father’s side, the Patil twins, have shown up and they are amazing. So is their mom Ezhil and their aunt Drishti. All of them are smart and sassy and bold as brass, all of Merlin’s favorite things in people.
Between the four of them -the Twins, Harry, and Hermione- they have pulled her excruciatingly timid godbrother Neville Longbottom and Professor McGonagall’s only slightly more confident nephew John Watson out of their shells enough to play some loud party games. They should probably be much too old for such games but they’re enjoying nonetheless.
Narcissa Malfoy nee Black and her son Draco are strange and pale and silent off to one side but Lord Black is in the middle of everything, enjoying himself thoroughly. He’s been flirting shamelessly with the twins’ aunt who is a Seer and a squib and a Potter pretty much since the moment she popped into the yard, much to Harry’s -and the aunt, Dhristi’s- undying amusement.
After the water balloon fight, Harry excuses herself to the kitchen to get water and discretely motions for Lords Black and Bones to join her.
“Are you using behavioral modifiers on your family?” Harry asks her kind of/sort of grandfather the moment the three of them are alone together.
“No.” Arcturus immediately denies and then he pauses, taken aback. “What kind of modifiers are we talking about?”
“I’m not sure. I can feel bands on the edges of Draco’s mind, like control charms? And they both reek of potions though I can’t quite tell what kind. There are just too many and they’re all layered on top of each other in a rather horribly clever way.”
Arcturus looks sharply out the window, squinting at his family members.”I’ll take care of it.”
“I’m sure you will,” Harry grins grimly. “In the meantime, don’t take any tea from Lucius Malfoy. I wouldn’t put it past him to poison you.” Not to mention she’s pretty sure Lucius Malfoy and poison are the reason for his ill health to begin with but there’s no way to actually prove that now that the Elixir of Life has removed it from Lord Black’s system.
“I wouldn’t either,” Lord Bones adds. “I understand that’s what might have really happened to his father. Before he paid to have it go away with a diagnosis of Dragon Pox, of course.”
Lord Bones looks on the verge of a gloat and Harry huffs. “Isn’t Augusta Longbottom your sister?”
“Yes,” Lord Bones blinks and then frowns. “Is she being altered too?”
“Her and Neville. Some very clever charms, anchored in her hat and what he’s carrying as his wand, I believe. Have you examined it? Is it really a wand?”
“Augusta gave it to him, it’s supposed to be Frank’s wand.”
“Do you know what Frank’s wand was?”
“Apple and Unicorn hair, if I recall.”
“Then no, it’s not whatever it’s supposed to be. Unicorn core wands don’t change masters while their old master is still alive, some even go so far as to die with their master. I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank’s wand were already dead, if the damage to his mind and core is as advanced as expected.
“Who could have done such a thing? Is there anyone she’s close to?”
“No, I- She’s pretty well isolated herself and Neville since Frank was hospitalized. The only people she talks to outside of Wizengamot meetings are me, Neville, and the hospital staff.” Lord Bones stops and frowns. “No, actually, that’s not true. She has tea twice a month with Albus Dumbledore. To discuss the Wizengamot, supposedly.”
“But the Wizengamot only meets once a month,” Merlin protests. “Why would they need to meet twice as often to discuss it?”
“Before and after meetings?” Lord Black offers but Merlin doesn’t like it.
“Have Neville spend the night and I’ll accidentally break whatever that not-wand actually is while the adults are away. It should end whatever’s been done to him and reveal itself not to be a real wand. And see if you can get McGonagall to let John stick around too, so that Neville doesn’t feel too outnumbered by the girls.”
“You might need to keep him longer than a night, depending on how long it takes me to get Augie sorted.”
“I’m sure the Grangers will love that. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“Hey,” Parvati bounces up to her and takes her hand as soon as she sets down her water cup. “Can you talk to snakes?”
Harry blinks and turns to the girl. “Why would I be able to take to snakes?”
“It’s a really special and important ability in India and the Potters are famous for it. Grandpa Trent can do it but they hate it here in England, that’s why he moved back to India. Mum can do it too and so can our little brother so you probably can!”
Harry allows the other girl to tug her outside. “Okay, how do we test it?”
“Mum! Did you bring Miss Jita?”
Instead of a verbal answer, a poison green snake stands straight out from Mrs. Patil’s arm, like a branch standing out from its tree. As boomslangs tend to do.
“Hello, Miss Jita,” Harry says to the snake, glancing around when several people gasp. Guess that’s a yes to her parselmouth status.
“It is actually Aparajita,” The snake corrects. “The hatchling is just lazy.”
Merlin grins because this? This is fucking new. And new is exciting when you can remember as many spins of the Wheel as he can.
“Hatchlings often are, Miss Aparajita.”
The snake and her bonded both laugh.
“Good,” Mrs. Patil nods to her approvingly. “You’ll need a snake.” She cups a hand above Harry’s Third Eye Chakra. “A cobra or a viper, perhaps. Come for a week and we will see you properly kitted up.”
Harry looks to Dr. Amy imploringly.
The woman sighs. “Is it safe? For example, can you order whatever snake you get not to bite anyone? Would the snake obey?”
“Of course,” Mrs. Patil is the one that answers. “Boomslang are one of the deadliest snakes in the world but Aparajita has bitten no one, threatened no one. No one knew she was even there until she revealed herself. This is the way of magical snakes. They are intelligent on their own and become more so when bonded to a witch or wizard.”
“Alright then. As long as it’s safe. For all of us. No unbonded snakes in the house.”
Harry wiggles, a snake! It’s so exciting!
Gods, she has Salazar’s signature ability. That’s-! That’s so-!
She catches McGonagall shaking her head and turns to raise an eyebrow at the woman.
The Professor sighs and just shakes her head again. “Now you’ll be in Slytherin for sure.”
Hannah gasps. “No, you can’t! You’ll go evil if you’re in Slytherin!”
“All the evil people are from Slytherin!” Susan seconds with an earnest nod.
It’s rather like getting slapped in the face, Harry blinks. “Wow. Those are two incredibly different, both incredibly false statements.”
“Yes, they are.” Lord Bones agrees, his tone painfully dry. “I suppose it’s quite nice to know both my granddaughter and her best friend think I’m evil.”
Both Susan and Hannah wince.
“First of all,” She looks directly at Susan. “No, not all the evil people are from Slytherin. Not even if you only mean from the last war. The man that betrayed my parents -the friend of theirs that got them killed- was a Gryffindor.”
“And there was a Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff in the group that tortured my parents.” Neville says, moving physically behind her to back her up.
“And second, Hannah, what are the virtues of Slytherin?”
“Cunning and ambition,” she spits it like they are something foul.
“Do you have any goals? Anything you want to do when you grow up?”
“I’m going to be a healer,” She immediately supplies. “I want to work the children at Saint Mungo’s.”
“So you have an ambition. Therefore, by definition, you are ambitious. Does that make you evil?”
The girl looks more affronted than thoughtful. “Of course not.”
Theodore Tonks snorts from other side of the picnic table near Dr. Robert and the grill. “This makes me glad grandfather had me sent to Beauxbatons. You do realize that bravery isn’t an inherently good thing and that cunning isn’t inherently evil, right? People can be loyal to an evil cause or evil people. ‘Wit beyond measure’ can open countless doors to unspeakable evil. There’s no right or wrong house to be in.”
“How do they do it at Beauxbatons?” She asks the fourth year boy. Beauxbatons starts earlier and runs longer so he’s the equivalent of a Hogwarts third year and a completely appropriate addition to the party. From the House of Black, of course.
“It’s all random. Dorms are assigned by gender with one person from each year in every suite. Classes are randomly assigned unless you show yourself to be sufficiently faster or slower than the rest of your group, then you can be switched into a class that meets your needs.”
“That’s… really cool, actually.” Maybe he’ll ask to go to Beauxbatons for his next life, Merlin muses. He’d be a damn good frenchman.
“Well I know one thing for sure,” John Watson says loudly, drawing all eyes to him but he keeps his focus on his aunt. “If she can bond a snake, there’s no reason I can’t bond a dog.”
Minerva McGonagall sighs heavily and rolls her eyes, making everyone laugh.
“Time for cake and presents?” Dr. Amy offers.
The cake is amazing. They’re cupcakes, actually, made in her favorite colors and frosted perfectly. And gifts! She’s never gotten gifts before!
The Blacks give her a full wizarding wardrobe that’s supposed to have both male and female selections, something she really appreciates.
The Patils give her books on snakes and parselmagic with scathing instructions to “Never trust an English publisher on the matter.” And the promise that, “We’ll get you kitted up properly when you come out to get your snake.”
It is the second time she’s gotten that promise and she still doesn’t quite know what to make of it.
John Watson and his professor aunt give her a very nice wand care kit with a book of spells specifically to be used on wands and wand holsters.
The Bones get her a broom care kit and several books on quidditch.
The Longbottoms provide the broom. A brand spanking new Nimbus 2000!
“But I’m not allowed a broom as a first year!” She protests.
“Are you sure about that?” Lord Bones asks with a wink.
Then the Grangers surprise her with muggle adoption papers.
“We know you’re already emancipated in the magical world. Lord Black assured us this won’t change anything there but we’d like to make it official here, in our world.” Dr. Robert tells her. “And we thought maybe you might like it too.”
“Harriet Jasmine Granger?” She asks, fighting to keep her voice steady.
“That’s what we would like,” Dr. Amy confirms, making it clear they both want it.
Harry bursts into tears.
She’s never had a real proper family, not in any of her lives. Until five minutes ago she would have said she didn’t need one, but now? Knowing that one actually wants her?
The Grangers pull her into a group hug away from the rest of the guests.
A quick discussion to confirm that yes, she does want it and no, no one is upset by her reaction and they rejoin the party to find the Blacks except for their lord gone along with the Boneses, Hannah, and Lady Longbottom.
“We wanted to verify when you would be coming to India for your snake,” Mrs. Patil tells the group.
“Well, tomorrow Professor McGonagall is taking us school shopping for Neville and John.”
“My girls will be attending Hogwarts as well, perhaps we can join you?”
All six kids look at the Professor who just shakes her head exasperatedly, “The more the merrier.”
While the kids cheer at each other, Dr. Amy leans in to ask, “Do you have a place to stay?”
Mrs. Patil nods her regal head. “We do. Will we head as a group to India after we conclude our shopping?”
“We have a court date Monday to finalize Harry’s adoption.” Dr. Robert tells them. “Perhaps Tuesday?”
“That works for us. How many will be staying and for how long? Two weeks perhaps?”
“Amy and I can stay for the day.” Dr. Robert starts. “And no offense but we don’t know you-”
“I’ll come along as chaperone, if that would put your minds at ease,” Lord Black offers.
Harry groans because Order member or not, her ‘grandfather’ has proven that he lives to troll her. So, of course, the Doctors Granger exchange a grin and nod their acceptance.
“And perhaps Mr. Lupin can come along.”
“Mr. Lupin?” Harry asks with narrow eyes.
“Mr. Remus John Lupin.” Lord Black confirms. “He was dear friends with your parents and my grandson, Sirius. I believe you sent him letters from your parents recently.”
“Where is he? Where’s he been? Can I meet him?”
Lord Arcturus showily checks his pocket watch. “I believe he should be available. If you’ll add him to the wards, I’ll signal him to come.”
“Archy,” she calls her head elf and he appears with the ward ledger already in hand.
A quick spell removes Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott from the list. Another shifts the list up to cover their former spot entirely. Then she takes up the quill Archy holds out for her, verifies the spelling, and adds Remus John Lupin to the roll.
Once Archy pops away with the ledger, Arcturus pulls out a mirror and taps it three times.
One moment passes, then another. Then there’s the soft pop of apparition and a man is standing in the arrival zone in the middle of the yard. His hair is a little long, a soft almost blonde brown and his eyes are blue. Rather like Dr. Robert actually, like his younger brother or something because he’s got to be- what, maybe 30? But he’s clearly had a rough time of it. A good look at the scars on his face make it clear that that’s because he’s a werewolf.
Explains why he wasn’t here earlier, he was probably recovering from last night’s full moon.
“Moony?” She asks and his eyes light up.
“You remember me?”
“No. Yes. I’m not sure.” She bites her bottom lip and moves closer to him. “I have journals. Did my parents really have custody battles over you at Hogwarts?”
The man laughs, surprised. “It felt like it some days but I don’t think they ever found a court of law that would hear their case.”
She reaches out a hand to him. “Will you stay?”
He takes the hand and uses it to pull her into a hug. “For as long as you’ll have me, cub. For as long as you’ll have me.”
Harry watches her godbrother carefully over breakfast.
Last night, in the middle of Hermione and John’s impromptu tooth brushing lesson for the three magically raised kids, she’d snuck into his sleeping bag, snatched his ‘wand’ and snapped it. He’d immediately come out of the bathroom upset and confused with toothpaste on his nose.
Then he’d forgotten why he’d been upset, laid down, and fell straight asleep.
Hermione and John had of course been terrified and confused right up until Padma and Pavarti explained that sometimes it just happened to maturing magicals. That if they don’t eat enough they could suddenly run out of steam and just konk out.
Harry’s still not sure if they believe that dragonshite or if they were covering for him but he’ll take it either way.
Watching Neville now as he marvels at muggle dry cereal, he’s almost like a different boy. A great deal of who he was still shines through but his memory is obviously better, he seems to notice more, and there is more steel in his spine.
This boy, this gentle and generous but firm boy, reminds her of someone. They way he watches Hermione when he thinks no one is watching reminds her of him even more.
She wonders if he and Gwen will Awaken this time too or if it’ll only be Merlin and Arthur.
It’s kind of cruel to make them live over and over without ever knowing who they really are. Or maybe it’s a kinder fate than her and Arthur’s? Who knows.
Depends on your perspective, probably.
A knock at the door signals Professor McGonagall’s arrival. Everyone still at the table starts scrambling to finish breakfast, rinse their bowls, and put them in the dishwasher because no one wants to keep the fearsome professor waiting.
They end up having to take both of the Granger’s cars to the Leaky Cauldron. The boys in Dr. Robert’s sporty little car and all the ladies in Dr. Amy’s SUV.
Upon entering the Cauldron they find Drishti Potter eating breakfast in the main room with about a half dozen admirers in worshipful attendance but her sister, Mrs. Patil is nowhere to be seen.
“My darlings!” She greets them, kissing all 6 eleven year olds on the cheek in turn, starting with Padma and ending with Harry.
“Where’s your sister? Ezhil?” Harry asks, curious.
“She is arranging the paperwork and portkeys for our trip. She left me to supervise, I’m afraid.”
“Are you afraid for us or afraid for the merchants that won’t see you coming?” She asks and Drishti laughs like Harry complimented her. “Grandfather is going to be so upset he missed the chance to spend the day with you.”
Drishti’s eyes dance with merriment. “It’s cruel of me, I know, but I want to get to know my little lord before having to deal with a grown one.”
Harry just shrugs because, yeah, that’s fair, and they all gather round to hear McGonagall lay down the rules for their visit.
No running off alone. Make sure an adult can see you at all times. Don’t buy anything from a hawker without a storefront. Don’t let yourself be lured into a storefront without an adult. McGonagall’s years as a teacher are really showing. “And, of course, feel free to make friends and talk to people but bring them back to the group for extended conversation. Questions?”
“Where to first?” Harry asks with a grin.
McGonagall eyes her suspiciously and then answers. “The luggage shop so that we can pile all your purchases in your school trunks and book bags. Madam Malkin’s will be second because that will take the longest.”
That’s… a great deal more logical than the shopping trip they lead about a month ago, Harry frowns. A trip where they didn’t buy school trunks. Or book bags. Or school uniforms.
Maybe this isn’t just a trip for the boys.
They leave the Cauldron for the Alley and, well, people are gawking. There are more people on the Alley than there were a month ago. Of course this is a month closer to the start of school so parents are bound to be preparing their students but it’s disconcerting. Compared to the current press, the Alley was abandoned on their previous visit.
The dreadlocked guy and his red haired shadows are on the Alley again and they stop at least one man from stepping up to talk to Harry. For what, she can’t imagine and she, quite honestly, doesn’t want to know. The awe-struck looks alone are enough to make her queasy, she couldn’t imagine shaking one of these people’s hands. Or signing an autograph? Ugh.
Thankfully Neville -gods bless Neville- steps between her and the crowd with John silently taking a post at her back. Hermione of course remains at her place on Harry’s left and the adults are all around them but-
Whatever, she doesn’t want to think about it.
They slip into the luggage shop and the man behind the counter moves to pull the door but Dreadlocks and the Bookends squeeze in and give the man a set of winning grins. The man frowns at them like he’s about to tell them off but Harry steps up to speak to them.
Dreadlocks winks at her as the proprietor huffs and moves off. “Hey there, I’m Lee Jordan, Third-Year Gryffindor this year. This is Fred Weasley and that’s George Weasley.”
“I’m Harry Potter. That’s my sister Hermione Granger, my godbrother Neville Longbottom, my cousins Padma and Pavarti Patil, and our friend John Watson.”
“Nice to meet you. I just wanted to apologize for,” and he waves vaguely back in the direction of the Alley.
“Oh no, no. I wanted to thank you for that, actually. You can feel free to keep creepers from creeping up on me anytime you want.”
“Alright. Cool,” Lee grins again. The boy is terribly charming. “You’re going to Hogwarts this year, right? Where do you think you’ll be Sorted?”
“I am going to Hogwarts this year and I’m aiming for Slytherin.” That nets her three pairs of startled eyes so she explains, “Well, you see, they have a bit of a reputation problem and I have a bit of a saving people thing, so I thought,” She lets the sentence trail off leadingly.
“Well, if there is anything we can do to help, let us know.”
“Like getting re-Sorted?”
Lee laughs, “I don’t know if I’d go that far,” but the twins are exchanging thoughtful looks behind Lee’s head. Harry grins up at them.
“If you’d like to be helpful,” Professor McGonagall breaks in, throwing a half power glare at Harry. “Show Miss Granger and Mr. Watson the book bag section and explain to them the extent of their daily needs for them.”
“Of course, Professor,” Lee agrees without missing a beat and heads toward the back wall with his captive audience.
Harry goes to the front counter. “What do you have in wand-quality English Oak?”
“For your school trunk?” The man looks dismayed. Or constipated. One of the two.
She nods but adds, “For the sixth layer of a seven layer trunk.”
“Ah, okay. I can do that,” The man promises with a smile, his shoulders relaxing.
You would think she would learn not to turn her school trunk onto a library trunk eventually but it always seems like such a good idea at the time. She rolls her eyes at herself, a seven layer trunk is more useful anyway.
“I’ll also need one in Rowan. Second layer of a seven layer trunk.”
“I have several,” He nods. “Why don’t you come to the back and pick?”
Harry turns to look for an ‘adult’ because the rules are the rules and sees Drishti waiting just out of arm’s reach. The woman nods to her and follows her into the back.
The shop owner levitates several trunks down from various shelves.
Of the three English Oak options there’s really only one choice as far as Merlin is concerned but of the five Rowan options there are two really good options. She’d buy them both because layers but someone’s bound to object. Oh, well, she’ll make Hermione pick.
And then there is a very special trunk off to one side that basically calls out but not exactly to her.
The shopkeep blinks and turns to see what she’s pointing at.
“Ah,” he grimaces. “I experimented with Rosewood. Didn’t turn out the way I expected but I don’t have the heart to destroy it.”
“Don’t you dare!” She gasps horrified. “I know exactly who that trunk is for.” She storms to the door back into the showroom. “Neville! Get in here and meet your trunk!”
He looks up at her bemused. “Meet my what?” But gamely he walks back to join her and the moment he sets eyes on the Rosewood trunk he stops, “Oh.”
Harry may or may not be gloating.
The shopkeep is looking between Neville and the rosewood trunk, flabbergasted. “I have no idea- I’ve never seen a trunk pick a wizard before! I don’t even know what this means.”
“Neville gets green magic from both sides of his family.” Harry explains obliquely. “I’m sure he’ll be amiable to discuss what he and his trunk learn to do together. You know, eventually.” Harry makes for the front, “I’ll take the English Oak I picked out, both Rowan, and the Rosewood.” Because fuck it. “And, of course, Happy belated Birthday, Neville.”
Hermione joins her at the counter and places three black leather shoulder bags on the counter. “We need these customized so we can tell them apart.”
“We do custom embossing on the flap,” the shopkeep points to a flat, raised leather circle on the middle of the ‘lid’ flap. “Free with purchase.”
Hermione nods. “Our initials are incredibly similar so if you would mark mine ‘Granger’ and hers ‘Potter’ that would be best. Maybe the Hogwarts crest on the third? In case it survives whatever experimentation Harry’s bound to put it through.”
Harry huffs as the others laugh. “Do you put color in the embossing?”
“I can.” The man agrees with a nod.
“Silver for our names and full color on the crest?”
The shopkeeper smiles. “Anything else, ladies?”
“Neville’s bag too.” Harry orders.
Neville huffs even as he puts the brown bag he picked on the counter. “You’re not buying me everything, you know.”
“Gold for his name, please. And of course not. This is your birthday present and then I’m going to pay for your wand since I broke your trainer.”
Neville frowns at her but in the end rolls his eyes and lets it go. “If that’s what you want.”
“It is.” She turns to Hermione. “What features do these have?”
“Lovely, hand dyed black leather with a strap of reinforced dragonhide. They’re charmed feather light, of course, and self repairing. Some of the others have built in locator charms and the like but I figured the elves kind of fulfill those roles for us anyway so I went with the basic options.”
“I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.” Harry agrees. It’s not going to stop her from adding security charms to the bags though, she’s not stupid.
When they get to Madam Malkin’s, Harry is not surprised in the least when she is quickly and without discussion put in the window platform for her fitting. The free advertising should get them better service though, so she doesn’t object. Even if the rest of the party is on and off their platforms before Harry’s first robe is properly pinned.
“The grown Grangers need wizarding wardrobes too!” She orders without turning away from the mirror. She grins when she hears Dr. Amy’s theatrically put upon sigh.
To her surprise, though, when she turns rather than one of her new parents there is a familiar blonde boy is on to the platform closest to her.
He offers her his hand, “Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.”
“Yes, I am aware.” She doesn’t bother to keep the amusement out of her voice even as she shakes his hand. “You were at my birthday party just yesterday.”
Draco has the grace to flush. “I do recall but we didn’t interact. My great grand uncle, Lord Black ordered my mother and I not to speak until spoken to and you never addressed us.”
“Oh,” Harry frowns. “That’s so silly. I left you alone because I assumed you didn’t want to be there because you hadn’t spoken to anyone.”
“He probably was afraid I’d antagonize you.” Draco gives her a small, charming smile.
His mind feels different, less bogged down than it has the previous day and there’s something in his eyes that makes her think he’s probably both aware of the changes in himself and the reasons for them.
“Where’s your mum?” Harry asks suddenly. “Surely you didn’t come alone.”
“No, of course not. She and my father are in a private meeting with Lord Black today so I’m here with my godfather, Severus Snape.”
Harry frowns. “Why is that name so familiar?”
“He’s a rather famous potions master,” Draco answers, seemingly surprised at her. “Youngest ever in Britain. He’s also the Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts. My whole family has always been in Slytherin. Where do you think you’ll be sorted?”
Harry rolls her eyes, she’s already getting tired of that question. “I was thinking about Hufflepuff.” She pointedly ignores both Lee and the twins’ surprised laughter and Draco’s blatant horror. “I want to play quidditch and I understand their house team is always looking for players. Probably the only way I’ll get on a house team as a First Year.”
Draco blinks and focuses inward as he considers that.
There’s a snort off to one side and a sallow faced man in all black steps up between the free-standing mirrors.
“Severus, meet Harry Potter. Harry?” She nods, giving Draco permission to address her so casually. “Meet my godfather, Professor Snape.”
Oh, riiight. “You’re the one my mum left a letter for!”
Snape blinks taken aback.
“I didn’t read it,” She hastily promises. “But my mum left only one letter other than the one for me so you were obviously pretty important to her and I remembered.”
Snape nods. “How are you at potions, Potter?”
“I suppose we’ll find out.” She ignores Hermione’s huff from behind her. “Do you have any books you would recommend me reading before class starts? I’m, well, I’m muggle-raised and I wouldn’t want to embarrass either of us.”
The man pulls out a leather bound journal and takes a half sheet of paper from it. He holds the note out to her and says, “I would recommend reading each book on this list before school. On the back you’ll find a NEWTs preparation text. Your classes will prepare you for your OWLs without much additional effort but I highly recommend that text for your NEWTs. Before you begin classes would be wise and do everything it suggests.”
“You’re done, dear,” Madam Malkin tells her gently and Harry finally steps down from the platform.
“Would you gentlemen like to join our shopping expedition?”
“We would be pleased to do so but we have yet to purchase Draco’s trunk,” Snape says, pointedly eyeing where Neville, Hermione, and John are holding the leashes on the group’s freely floating trunks.
“Oh,” Harry looks for Drishti only to find her hovering not far away. Silently the woman holds out the second Rowan trunk’s leash.
Harry takes it and hands it out to Draco as he steps off his platform. She says “Happy Birthday!” As he takes it and is ridiculously pleased by his confused blink. “Your bookbag had the Hogwarts Crest embossed on it. I hope that’s okay.”
“That’s wand-quality wood.” Snape objects, seemingly shocked. “Rowan, if I’m not mistaken.”
Draco’s eyes go wide and he clenches his jaw to keep it from dropping.
“It is. You need wand-quality wood to make a seven layer trunk like Hermione and I -and now you and Neville- are. We can get you the book that explains the process at Flourish and Blotts.”
Draco and Snape exchange looks and shrug, silently deciding to just go with it.
At this rate they’ll be taking the entire Alley to lunch, Harry thinks, more than a little amused.
Remus joins them as they leave Madam Malkin’s for Ollivander’s. He and Snape size each other up for several silent, tense moments. Then Remus shrugs, Snape smirks but relaxes, and they move right along.
The front of Ollivander’s shop expands to fit them all as Remus leads them in.
“Ah, Mr. Lupin! It’s always lovely to see the bearer of a cypress wand return looking so,” Ollivander hesitates. “Healthy.”
Remus gives a borderline sardonic smile. “Well, I’m upright and breathing.”
“Quite so, are all of these.. yours?”
“No,” Remus laughs. “Just helping Harry here supervise.”
“Ah, Lord Potter-”
“Lord?” Draco asks, loud and rude as hell. “Don’t you mean Lady? She’s a girl.”
“Xe is genderfluid and ‘lady’ is far too gendered for xir comfort. There is no proper gender-neutral term for a noble. ‘Your Grace’ perhaps but xir rank isn’t so high.”
“In England, perhaps,” Drishti chimes in, “But in India the Head of the House of Potter is a Shaasak, which is non-gendered term and the equivalent of a duke. Shaasak Potter is one of the triumvirate that rules Magical India to be exact.”
“Is that so?” Ollivander asks, sounding pleased. “Very well, ‘Your Grace’ it is.
“What can I do for Your Grace today? I trust the Holly wand I sold you last month is still holding strong. You didn’t mention any problems with it in your letter.”
“It’s fine, of course, Mr. Ollivander. My cousins, however, could do with your time and attention.”
“Cousins?” He blinks at them all.
“Pretty much everyone here is my cousin in one way or another. Padma and Pavarti’s grandfather -Drishti’s father- was my paternal grandfather’s younger brother, so we’re second cousins. My paternal grandmother Dorea Potter nee Black was the aunt of Draco’s maternal grandfather making us second cousins at one remove. Dorea was also cousin to Neville’s paternal great grandmother Callidora, I believe.” Neville nods his confirmation. “That’s third cousins. John is a cousin by marriage as his Aunt Minerva McGonagall was once married Elphinstone Urquart son of Lycoris Urquart nee Black, my grandmother’s first cousin.
“The Weasley’s are cousins too, I suppose. Your father is Arthur Weasley and your mother Molly Weasley nee Prewitt, correct?”
They both nod.
“Molly Prewitt’s mother was my grandmother’s first cousin at one remove and Arthur Weasley’s mother was also my grandmother’s cousin which would make Mr. and Mrs. Weasley second cousins at one remove, I believe. But, anyway, I don’t think they need wands.”
“No, but thank you.” Lee says for them looking vaguely faint.
“But maybe they could come to India?” Harry asks, stepping to one side as McGonagall pushes to the counter and gets the wand stuff moving along for the others.
Drishti looks amused. “All of your cousins?” And she gestures to the over full shop. “It is a family trip but would you want to leave Lee behind? Would you invite all seven Weasleys? And then of course there are their parents to consider.”
“Seven?” Harry looks at George, horrified. “You have six siblings? Each?”
“Well there’s quite a bit of overlap, you see,” He says bemusedly.
Harry huffs and leans back against Remus as he puts a comforting arm across her shoulders. “Maybe not on my first trip to India. Though I imagine Professor Snape would love to see the magical snake sanctuary or wherever we’re going to get me a snake. I’m mean he’s Head of Slytherin House so he’s basically required to like snakes, right?”
“I do,” The man himself agrees smoothly. “Though I wouldn’t recommend one for a pet of you’re bound to get attached. I had a magical boa constrictor for years and unfortunately had to send her to a haven in the Amazon last winter. She had reached man-eater size and it was too dangerous to have her around without a parselmouth to instruct her.”
“Oh, that’s so sad.” Harry says genuinely. “I’m a parselmouth. We’re going to India to see if I can get a familiar.”
Lee tries to take a step back from her but fails due to Bookend proximity. She ignores his reaction.
Snape considers this, eyeing her. “Perhaps Draco and I can come out the day you go to find your snake. I understand the largest magical snake haven in India is part of a temple complex?”
“A temple of Shiva,” Drishti agrees. “We can discuss it later, for now we should focus on our purpose.”
Snape and Draco look up from their conversation to find Draco is the only one still wandless.
The distinct lack of wands flying around to claim their magical is disappointing but the various colored sparks of a properly matched wand were pretty.
Padma had matched a Beech wand and Parvati an Ebony, with matching cores from the same Peruvian Vipertooth. Neville matched a cherry wood wand with a unicorn hair core. John a willow with a phoenix tail feather.
As she watches, Draco is matched with a wand of hawthorne with a hair pulled from the crown of the fairest of unicorn fillies at its core. A fascinatingly innocent wand for such a shameless flirt.
“Potter,” Snape addresses her sharply and she looks up. “Are you contemplating advanced healing tomes for an actual productive reason?”
She glances over to the gawkers that her unofficial Third-Year security is keeping at a distance. “Can you cast a privacy ward?”
The man raises a silent eyebrow and casts as requested.
“My muggle relatives.. abused me.” She swallows hard but doesn’t look up at the man. “They’d hit me and starve me and-” She changes what she’s going to say. “I ran away to the Grangers. Or, I guess the Grangers saved me? They wanted to take me to a doctor but a doctor would- I don’t want the attention. Not for this.”
“You are trying to fix yourself by yourself.” He concludes.
She nods. “I’ve learned a bunch of diagnostic charms and managed basic potions that help my organs and muscles but I don’t think I can do anything for my muscles until I fix my bones? Is that how it works? I mean, your muscles pull your bones around, right?”
“Seeing a magical healer is out of the question?”
“In England? Yes. Every time I venture into the magical world, I get more and more attention that I don’t want. Maybe in India it will be different. My privacy might be more respected since my family apparently has so much power there, right?”
He nods and takes the books from her hands. He evaluates them silently, shelves three and pulls two she’d not yet evaluated. “If you need anything or have any theory questions, I will make myself available to you.”
“Thank you, Professor.”
They are both silent as Drishti darts into their bubble to give Harry a shopping basket with a few books on Magical India in it and dart right back out.
“The Headmaster has everyone under the impression that you are protected in the muggle world.” He not-really asks after a moment’s hesitation.
“Protected by most magicals’ ignorance of the muggle world, maybe. I heard that tripe from Lord Bones too after I met Professor McGonagall. There were no wards, blood or otherwise, on the house of my aunt and uncle.”
Snape breathes heavily through his nose just once and nods.
“I have a plan for Albus Dumbledore,” She tells him flatly before he can get his back up. “I would appreciate it if you held your temper until I take my shot.”
“Just as Slytherin as your mother,” He says amused.
“It’s a goal.” She agrees, grinning back. “Perhaps unlike her I can get sorted properly.”
Outside Flourish and Blotts, they are stopped by a woman wearing a rather strange, lopsided hat that Merlin can’t decide if she loves or hates. “Virginia Dustram, Daily Prophet, Miss Potter. Can you tell our readers what House you expect to be sorted into?”
Harry frowns, Fenrir take it but she’s sincerely tired of that question. “Not that I think it matters what House I might be sorted into at a school I do not yet attend, but Ravenclaw is a real possibility.” She ignores her party’s various reactions. “I’ve never met a book I didn’t want to read and preferably keep, you see.”
“Your parents were both in Gryffindor,” The woman shoots back. “As was your grandfather and great grandfather. How do you think they would feel about you breaking the House of Potter tradition?”
“The House of Potter would like to make a statement, actually.”
“And who are you, ma’am?” The reporter asks.
“I am Drishti Potter, daughter of Trent Potter the Regent of the House of Potter.”
“I wasn’t aware there were any Potters left outside of young Harry here.” The reporter says honestly.
“Oh, there are and your Ministry has spent 10 years keeping our heir from us to the point that it took five years for us to receive official confirmation that she survived her parents’ murders! We couldn’t even write her until she first wrote us!
“Your entire country will be very lucky if you don’t end up facing India in front of the ICW for your Ministry’s interference in the proper placement and raising of our young lord. When she claims her title, she will be one of the three ruling Dukes of Magical India and she knows nothing of her role or her place in our world. Because of you and your Ministry. And now that we finally have her all you people wish to do is hound and embarrass her? This is unacceptable. Return to your editor and tell him to expect a formal statement from her Regent. Today!”
Harry watches amused as the little reporter scurries off to do her cousin’s bidding.
“You know I own the Daily Prophet, right?”
Drishti smiles at her beatifically. “I was unaware.”
“Lord Black is organizing a solicitor to get them in line for me, so you might want to have your teams work together.”
“It’s a date,” Drishti promises. “I would be pleased to take care of this for our House.”
“Alright, but for now it’s time for lunch. I’m famished.”
“Well that won’t do. Come along, I believe Minerva has already selected our dining destination.” Drishti holds out her hand and Harry takes it with a smile.