The skies above were still dark, yet the rising sun was colouring its eastern premises into brightest purple. Yes, ideal combination — not too dark, not too bright. Tiny rays, spots and stains of Light in the pool of deepest Dark. Only enough Light to not to drown and lose yourself in darkness; but too much if you ever thought of going east — however tiny, or perhaps exactly because of this, it is bright to burn your eyes black.
No, no... Better face west; this pleasant darkness and ghastly, pinkish tinted town.
A boy woke up with a start at loud banging sound. Few precious seconds of blissfully peaceful morning were immediately sacrificed to finding his bearings, and remaining few seconds — for mentally preparing himself for another day in Hell.
And then the door to his... room opened, revealing a body — abundance of flesh and fat — of his Uncle. Feeling his Uncle's hand near him he flinched and suppressed fearful whimper — it would not do to anger him this early on. But the hand only grabbed him and pulled him brutally into the light.
"Breakfast in thirty minutes," was said, and he was left alone. So far it just might be a beautiful day, judging by its promising start.
Before heading for the kitchen to make the ordered meal, he went to collect the daily mail, knowing well his Uncle liked reading newspaper during the first meal. And just as he knew that by that time there would be one, there was already a fine pile of mail by the door — even more than usually. Picking it up gingerly as not to crumple the paper, he went through the mail, but still knowing better than to actually read through it.
But then he stopped dead in his tracks, staring at an envelope incredulously.
Mr. HARRY POTTER
Cupboard under the Stairs
#4 Privet Drive
"Harry Potter?" he mumbled to himself, his voice just a hoarse whisper from a disuse. He wasn't stupid and so he quickly connected the dots to a right conclusion... only — it was the first time he heard (saw) his name. But he knew it be true: logically, he was the only person staying in the place so precisely stated in the address.
But then another question arose, or better: questions.
Who was writing to him?
For what purpose?
And... there was somebody out there who knew about him? Who knew him?
Confusing as he's found it, he hastily squashed all the elation he felt to the very back of his mind and schooled his face into a careful blankness which, as he found through the years of experience, aggravated his relatives the least.
Finishing making the breakfast, he could hear loud footsteps on the creaky staircase. Collecting all the facts there were: manner of putting their feet on the floor; speed — an amount of laziness; ambiance... he immediately realized it's his Uncle.
And just a few seconds later Vernon entered the kitchen, just as the boy — Harry, according to the boy's today's discovery — was setting down Vernon's morning cup of coffee on the table. It took Vernon a single look to assure Harry there was no peaceful day happening today.
He turned his eyes down and went to clean the dishes before he was told to do so — no need to remind Vernon of his existence, when the man was so obviously in a bad mood. As he turned to collect the cookware from the stove, he could feel anguished tears, unshed, stinging in his eyes. How he hated this life! As a mere servant, or even less as he was neither paid nor taken care of... nor was he here of his own free will. A slave; that was what he was — filthy and uncared for; given enough to exist but definitely not enough to live...
He brought an abrupt end to this line of thoughts not wanting the return of his old friend — despair. Just a seven more years. Just... No! He managed to exist through ten, seven more to go. Given Dudley would be away most of the time, starting next school year, he would be able to find some peace at a nearby park, and Vernon he would handle... somehow...
Just as he was putting down the cleaned dishes, he could hear what sounded like a herd of elephants on the run: Dudley. And true to his conclusion the boy of the size of a small whale barged into the kitchen. Time to get lost before... Too late.
"No," he managed to utter, as he tried to catch the glass that was snatched from him and dropped to the floor.
But it would take more than his currently pathetic physical state to catch it. He only closed his eyes in defeat, not even attempting to defend himself. And only a few second later was he pushed to the said floor onto the said broken glass. His reflexes only allowing him a little comfort that he managed to put his hands on the glass just a moment before it met with his face.
"You-Useless-Freak!" Vernon forced a ravaged growl through his throat. "This is how you repay our kindness? You ungrateful little bastard! We welcomed you into this house and you go around destroying it!" Every word corresponded to a blow of his Uncle's fist, while Vernon continued swearing. Then the beating stopped, finally, and it took over a minute for the dizziness to stop and get his body under control. He looked up only to find Vernon giving him a vicious glare.
"What are you staring at? Get yourself up and start cleaning the mess you left!"
"Yes, sir," the boy uttered quietly — partially because he didn't trust his voice wouldn't crack, partially not to let his barely controlled anger be heard.
That day was too long, he sighed closing his eyes and shifting uncomfortably on a bare floor underneath him. He was far from cold as even he could tell he was running a fever, just the swellings and torn skin along with bruises covering his body were making any position far from comfortable.
Finally, he sat up as he remembered the letter. Taking advantage of the dim light still coming through the vents in the cupboard's door he reached for it and almost fearfully looked it over.
Somebody has written to him!
He ran his fingers across a red seal with a coat of arms impressed into it, confusing him even more, this symbolism making the letter somehow important, just... he wasn't important, so it didn't make much sense.
Not wanting to lose the remaining light, he quickly broke the seal and got to reading it, the contents making him even more confused.
Hogwarts School of what? Magic? Was this some kind of cruel joke?
No, he smirked. He was told countless times the magic isn't real, and knowing it to be a lie. Magic was very much real, how else would he still be alive? But... a school of magic? As in: there's enough magical people to establish a community big enough that there was a need for a school?
He looked the paper over once again, the letters remaining stubbornly in their respective places, still forming the same words. He was hurting enough already and so he determined he didn't need any pinching. No, he wasn't dreaming.
A boarding school? Even if it were a training camp, as long as it meant he would get out of Privet Drive, he would still go... even if to stay alive until he could legally live by himself.
There was a gilded ticket in the envelope, which he recognized — thanks to the extensive instruction in the letter itself — as a ticket allowing him the passage at the Platform 93/4.
It was then he found another parchment inside and was reminded — cruelly so — that he needed to purchase several school things, that boarding schools are usually very expensive. Money...
He groaned in defeat, having his only hope crushed even before it could fully bloom. He stuffed the letter into the farthest corner where the light never reached, just so he didn't have to think about it again. Tired physically as well as mentally, fever contributing to it greatly, the sleep finally claimed him.
He woke up and noticed there was barely any light, meaning it must've been an ungodly early time to be awake, and he felt tired as ever: nightmares ruling his sleeping hours just to wake up and live them in the daylight. Every inch of his body screamed in pain, and every piece of his mind cried in despair. He couldn't even close his eyes without seeing the letter that has brought this distress.
At that moment in time he came to a conclusion it's better to have no hope at all that having it taken away; and if not better per say, then less painful at the very least.
He still couldn't clear his mind of the yellowed envelope, red seal and golden ticket. Again he could feel the prickling as the tears wanted to fall down. With another groan, he closed his eyes shut and focused his mind on what was truly important, it being a survival. He will survive this household until his eighteenth birthday, and then he'll go as far and as fast as possible. The half of it was already in the past; possible even the harsher half of it as by now he was more than used to the Dursleys' treatment of him, and knew quite well what to expect in what situation.
Suddenly, he could hear some strange noises. Well, not that strange of a noise, per se, as it was definitely strange to hear a fluttering of wings inside the house, and around five in the morning. Carefully, he opened the door, and with even more care to be as silent as possible he slipped out of his cupboard.
His eyes followed the general direction of the noise, leading him to the front door. It was then his eyes stopped on another envelope that seemed anything but ordinary. He picked it up just to find it was, again, addressed to him. Having found a different seal, he didn't waste the time and opened it out of nothing but curiosity. And finding himself rendered speechless... again.
It has come to our attention you have been admitted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
We write to you to ascertain paying school fees from vault no. 628 is agreeable with you, in case you wish to use another vault for that purpose we need you contact us by 30th August.
Also, we wish to inform you that having proven your magical inheritance by being admitted to the school you have gained an access to the trust fund. You will find the key that will grant you an access to said trust vault enclosed in the envelope. We are aware that so far you have trusted your money and funding of your expenses to your magical guardian, but as the trust fund is intended to you only, we cannot pass the key to anyone but you.
May your vaults be always filled with gold.
Account Manager of Potter Estates and Black Estates
Wizarding Bank of Gringotts, Diagon Alley, London
Trust Fund? Vault... vaults? Estates?! And what in the Holy Hell is this magical guardian thing? Funding of my expenses? Scratch that, I trust some magical guardian with my money... my money?! Given I wouldn't trust even my shadow to stay at my feet, what is this about the money... My money... As in: I own more than Dudley's cast — offs (which are still basically Dudley's), those two letters and my body?!
He suddenly felt faint as things started settling in.
On a bright side being: he has money — equals: he's off to Hogwarts.
On the other hand though was this mysterious magical guardian with access to his money, who has — according to the wording of the letter — been withdrawing some sums claiming it was for Harry to use... basically stealing from him as he could swear he — for as long as he could remember — has been working his ass off to be allowed a meal a day (given he hasn't pissed off anyone in the household) and a cold shower a week, so: no, he's never received any money unless Dursleys withheld it from him... which he — to be perfectly honest — wouldn't put behind them.
He needed to find out about that magical guardian, meaning; who the hell it is and then they needed to have a talk.
And... Hell yes! He needed to buy his school supplies and gtfo of here. As in: now!
He quickly entered his living space under the stairs in search of some clothes that were in size of an elephant instead of a dinosaur. But as he took off his shirt — a little too painfully — he remembered another thing, that being: the bruises covering him needed to disappear for few were too much in a plain sight for his liking. And true to his wish, the bruises were gone quicker than they were planted there. He could still feel them, but the point was them not being seen, so whatever. He wasn't planning on returning here any time soon, so they might even heal... He liked the idea... very much so.
After a while he picked up a black shirt that didn't look like a tent on him, and which — quite surprisingly — wasn't too crumpled either. With its long sleeves folded it really didn't look too bad, and he once again tried to figure out why Dudley cast it off in the first place... No matter, search for trousers was an easy one, as he owned only one pair that had only as many holes as trousers are supposed to have.
He picked up the Hogwarts letter from the corner as it contained the golden ticket to a paradise, and the list of items he needed to purchase.
Now, both letters mentioned Diagon Alley, the first one even how to get there. The only problem remaining, how does one get to London with no money...
He walked out of Number 4 before anyone could stop him, intent on finding a way to London as soon as he was far enough from Dursleys.
He walked few streets to where he knew the main road was, creepy feeling never leaving him. Honestly, he was walking for over twenty minutes and the houses surrounding him barely changed at all, it felt like a maze of sorts. The only things really changing being the type of car parked in front of houses and level of maintenance of their garden.
When he finally got to the highroad he still thought of nothing. He even mulled over the idea of hitch — hiking, but it still was hellishly early, and he didn't quite trust this type of activity, especially being only eleven; agreeably a very young and attractive target for anyone, and Harry liked his body parts exactly where they were, thank you very much.
Sighing, he sat on a pavement, putting his head into his hands.
He'd never really been farther than the elementary school in the outskirts of this hellhole. He looked up and watched the sun hovering an inch or so over the horizon. The sun was blinding him, but at the moment he didn't really mind. He just needed to let up a bit, clear his mind of all bothersome things and focus... and set the priorities. To calm down, he wondered about things on the ‘To Buy' list. Cauldrons, robes, a wand (whatever it was for), books...
Yes, books. Given he has the money, maybe he could buy a little more. Honestly: a school, a bank... Evidently, wizards really weren't individuals but a community... A community he belonged to, apparently. A community he knew absolutely nothing about. Yes, books would be a good place to start. Did wizards have public libraries? Could one find an Encyclopaedia in their bookshelves? He sighed... he would probably need some wizarding 'How to' to read through...
Hm... Wizarding bookstore... Plenty of books and scrolls, the pleasant smells and concentrated knowledge... Yes, he'd been few times to a library — until Dudley blamed him for destroyed books and he was forbidden to enter the place ever again — he still remembered those old pages and the imprinted ink... he could still smell it...
"What are you doing here?"
"I asked: what are you doing here? How did you get in, it's still closed," the voice continued and he, surprised, opened his eyes, surprised even more, for he was standing in the middle of a bookstore.
"Holy... How? No, where is this?" he turned to the other voice to find an elderly man with curiosity and little suspicion painted over his face.
"This, young man, is Flourish & Blotts."
"Where is this?"
"Diagon Alley, of course."
"D-Diagon Alley?! How did I get here?"
"Well, seeing as it was originally my question, I have no answer for you. Did you come to Diagon Alley with parents and got lost, perhaps?"
"No. Actually, I was meaning to get here and I was just thinking of a library I knew of, and got lost in thoughts... The next thing I know is being here..."
"How old are you, kid?" the man asked, curiosity sparkling in his voice.
"So you don't have a wand yet?"
"I don't," he nodded, confused as to what's going on with this questioning.
"You must be quite powerful... Half accidental, half wishful thinking and yet your magic did just what you wanted."
"I-I guess... It did..." he stuttered and hated how he sounded so weak. True, he didn't get much sleep... for some time, and was hungry... but still! He needs to collect himself. Apparently, he just did some surprising magic... well, hell! He's a wizard, isn't he? It should be normal to do magic.
"If you wanted a library, why didn't you just go to one in your house, or are you a muggle-born?"
"So I guess you are... Muggle is a term for non-magical people."
"I see... I don't really know about other details, but yes, I... grew up with... with Muggles."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I can't deny I grew up with Muggles, though I've no idea if I'm a muggle-born or not..."
"Your parents are dead?"
"Sorry about that... Was it him?"
"Sorry, sir, I don't understand," he said, and he profusely hated the fact as well as the admission. He hated not knowing and not understanding, that's why he needed to find out about this world as much as possible in the short time of two weeks he had left before he was to leave for Hogwarts; it wouldn't do to go there unprepared. And here the information was so readily given, that he couldn't help but listen and store in all carefully for later to sort out and use.
"There was an evil Dark Lord back then, nobody calls him by his name — even now — we just call him: You-Know-Who. He was ruthless in his ways, and once he decided to kill, no one could stop him. There were people who fought him, as even Aurors — a law enforcement unit — failed most of times.
"He and his followers — Death Eaters — tortured and killed many good people; it was very dark times. But ten years ago he targeted certain Light family and though the adults didn't survive, their child has.
"You see, there are three Unforgivable Curses, there's basically no defence against it. One of them is the Killing Curse, once it touches you, you simply drop dead, and no shield will help you.
"But the boy survived having had the curse hit him, and all the encounter caused him was a scar — a lightning — bolt shaped scar on his forehead, even his scar is famous. That's why the boy's called the Boy-Who-Lived, and though that certainly is an accomplishment, he is firstly and fore — mostly our Saviour."
"Saviour?" Hell, Saviour? What was that entire story about? And the scar on a forehead? Was this some sick coincidence?
"Yes, he vanquished You-Know-Who; the very same night You-Know-Who killed his parents and attempted to kill the boy, he disappeared. The boy saved us all, and so he's called our Saviour, a title rightfully his as he was the one to defeat the great evil,” the owner said fondly.
His brain was working overtime right now, running at over hundred percent, taking everything in. Lightning shaped scar... a coincidence?
“Did the Killing Curse actually hit him? You said there's no shielding against it, so it should not be possible, right?”
“Right. It should not, but it shouldn't be possible for a one-year-old to defeat the most powerful Dark Lord heretofore either, but he had.”
“Surprising, isn't it? Boy-Who-Lived, Saviour of the Light, Harry Potter.”
“Th-that's his name?” he asked and did his damned best to control himself.
“Yes, every child in our world knows his name, he rid our world of that evil and saved us, that's why he's famous.”
“Harry Potter, was it?” he asked with a sigh, it seemed he was some kind of hero, though he didn't think he'd done any of it. Honestly, it would be more logical to say that the Dark Lord committed suicide than to claim he was defeated by a toddler. Were he the Dark Lord, he'd find the way to resurrect himself if only to kill the Wizarding World off to stop that claim.
All in all, it seemed his name was kind of dangerous to his idea of normalcy he wished to attain. His list of priorities started to form in his head.
1. Never mention my name is Harry Potter. (And never let anyone have any reason to suspect his identity.)
2. Find out as much as possible about this world.
3. Find out about his possessions.
4. Find out about magical guardian.
The list could surely go longer, though for now this was more than enough, the second point will take quite some time; that was for sure. So he focused on the last two points, and as both were mentioned in the letter he got from Gringotts, he surmised it was about time to finally find the place.
“Sir? Do you know where the wizarding bank is?” he asked, kicking himself mentally for another show of his inadequate knowledge.
“Oh, of course you'd need to know. Wizarding world has a different currency from the muggle one,” the man said and led him to the front door. “Unfortunately, you will find that most shops don't open before nine, so you won't be able to buy your school supplies yet, but you could always have a breakfast in the Leaky Cauldron that's at the end of Diagon Alley. Alas, the Gringotts — wizarding bank — you will find open, as they never close.”
Outside the Flourish & Blotts, the man pointed to Harry's left.
“You can't miss it, don't worry,” he said, smiling. “Oh, by the way... A little advice — be careful. The Gringotts are run by goblins and they don't like wizards very much.”
“Thank you, sir,” he said and headed in the appointed direction.
He was walking down an almost empty lane, as people were watching curiously and suspiciously. He run his palm over his forehead to check if his scar wasn't showing.
His... relatives always seemed to think it's his sign of freakishness, so he hid it, just as he hides his bruises, the fact which admittedly didn't please them very much, as they knew he did some magic — rendering himself freak even more. None the less, he never stopped hiding it.
Here people thought it was some kind of proof of heroism, which only he had, making him stand out, making him recognizable as their hero — Harry Potter, Saviour, Boy-Who-Lived. He was glad he never stopped hiding it. If he had a money maybe he could look into removing it permanently.
He just got out of Number 4 and being their plaything so to say... If he really was some kind of celebrity, he'd immediately become the general public's plaything, that he was sure of. If! Well, sure, he could easily test it: show the scar and see what happens... But if it really was true, he would not be able to take it back later, and that he would never risk.
No, he would remain anonymous as long as possible, he decided; he'd keep the name Harry Potter far from his persona.
He stopped in front of a big building — the man was right. As long as he walked the right direction, there was no way you could miss it.
He entered and found himself in a hall, with marble floor tiles and numerous chandeliers hanging from the bank's high — set ceiling.
He could see the goblins, finally. They were little creatures with pointy ears, black vicious — looking eyes, and sharp teeth. He walked to what looked like a front desk, where several wizards were waiting for their turn, and observed how they interacted. True enough, they didn't seem very friendly... but neither did the wizards so he assumed they shared sentiments of necessity of their interaction — pain in the...
Not even ten minutes passed and it was his turn.
"Good morning, sir," he said as he came closer to the goblin, and was immediately graced with a quite gobsmacked expression of said goblin.
Creature finally managed to pull himself from whatever shock he obviously received.
"What is it you wish?" goblin finally asked and Harry noted not so subtle change in goblin's tone and attitude towards him, even his facial expression seemed to have completely missed out on disdain, he'd observed in goblin's previous interaction.
"I wanted to withdraw some money... Also... I wanted to ask if there's possibility to meet with goblin named Grinnog, though I'm not sure he's available."
"The withdrawal is of course very easy, though the meeting might not be the case. From your words I assume you don't have any previous appointments arranged..."
"No, we don't."
"Grinnog is currently in a charge of quite influential and very promising accounts, so I doubt he'd wish to gain another customer. Though it does strike a curiosity why are you asking for him so specifically?"
"Oh, I received a letter from him this morning, and to be honest, those were surprising and somehow disturbing news."
"He sent you a letter?"
"Yes, it arrived around five this morning, as I was awake I wanted to sort it out as soon as possible, though I don't mind waiting until he's available..."
"No, I'm sure he'll see you immediately," the goblin said, suddenly a bit pale. "Please wait a minute."
"Of course," Harry nodded perplexed; what happened to him? Goblin left hastily just to return few seconds later with a message Grinnog's waiting.
“Thank you, sir,” Harry nodded and followed the goblin until they reached an office, which he entered after a call to come in.
The goblin sitting at the desk stood in greetings.
“My name is Grinnog; I heard you wished my assistance.”
“Nice to meet you, sir. My name is H-Harry Potter,” he stumbled a bit. “And; yes, I'd like to ask about few things you mentioned in the letter you sent earlier today.”
“May I first proceed with some tests?” the goblin at the desk asked and Harry nodded uncertainly. Admittedly he had no idea about wizarding world, so right now everything was so damned confusing.
Grinnog pulled some kind of parchment and motioned for the boy to come closer.
“As you understand, we've never met before, so I require few drops of your blood to confirm you identity.”
Not understanding some more, he nodded. Few drops of blood? No big deal, he'd been losing more of it daily for as long as he could remember.
Grinnog reached for Harry's hand and motioned him to put it over the parchment he previously put on the desk. Then he proceeded with a — presumably — silver knife to cut his palm, and let five drops of his blood fall over the parchment.
Harry stared as the drops of his blood started grow somehow into tentative wisps, forming script and covering the page in writing.
Harry James Potter
James Charlus Potter
Lily Potter née Evans
Sirius Orion Black (by adoption)
Potter (by birth)
Evans (by birth)
Gryffindor (by descent)
Slytherin (by descent)
Black (by adoption)
Le Fay (by descent, conditioned)
“I was adopted?” Harry asked as soon as the parchment ceased filling itself out.
“Yes, as the matter of fact — according to the files — you were adopted only few hours after your parents' demise. Lord Black was originally appointed your godfather and guardian, and thus he welcomed you to the family. Unfortunately, he was arrested only shortly after that.”
“I didn't know about this. Is he still in prison?”
“No. He was charged of murder, and while two years after his arrest he was granted a trial and freed, the moment he re-entered the society and attempted to seek you out, something must have happened as he was found dead a week later.”
“I see I'm a walking curse... I had few questions regarding the letter you sent me and I'm sure it will take some time...” he trailed off.
“I assure you, sir, you can take all the time you need. Griphook — the goblin that lead you here — said you mentioned some disconcerting news...”
“Yes, quite a few to be perfectly honest. I'll start with the fact that prior to the letter from you I had no idea whatsoever I owned anything, let alone your mention of multiple vaults.”
“That's impossible!” the goblin looked positively shocked while trying desperately to grasp the situation. “Even though managing your assets was a responsibility of your magical guardian, it was also his duty to inform you of every withdrawal even if the act was on your behalf.”
“Yes, that is another thing... As I wasn't aware I owned anything, I didn't know of what happened to it. And if there was any money withdrawn — it certainly wasn't on my behalf, or with my knowledge; and while I'm curious how you handle withdrawals made on behalf of another, I'm currently more interested in that magical guardian you continue to mention. I guess it's a person and a lawsuit status, am I correct?”
It took goblin quite some time to process all the information so the answer came a lot later:
“What rights and responsibilities does such person hold?”
“Well, the person takes all the legal responsibilities from the minor, until said minor is emancipated.”
“In practise: he can sign any document in my name?”
“He can, but you must be informed — which is confirmed by your signature by his.”
“By your examples so far — everything goes with my directly expressed consent, right?”
“Yes, sir. Everything bears your signature.”
“And here I can't help but ask: how do you know who signed my name if you never saw my signature before?”
“But...” the goblin's eyes widened at the implication. “Surely...”
“Yes, quite surely.”
“Wait a moment, sir. This is getting complicated and we will most likely need a solicitor.”
“By all means,” he nodded and waited.
The solicitor Grinnog mentioned arrived just a few minutes later and looked a respectable wizard, and after initial introduction and greetings, and mandatory wizarding oath to keep client's case a secret, Grinnog took over and summarized the situation for him.
“There were several actions over the past ten years, and I agree that such sums of money are too grand for a daily means. Are sure you never authorized any of this?”
“Yes, as I've never heard of, let alone meet that magical guardian, hell, I don't even know who it is... which reminds me: who is my magical guardian?”
“Albus Dumbledore, he's your guardian, magical and otherwise...”
“I don't understand.”
“While magical guardian is a simple lawsuit figure, guardian is more of a physical substance. He has to care of all legal aspects, but as your guardian he has a duty to take care of you and your well — being.”
“Wait a minute. Correct me if I'm wrong... For ten years I've lived with my... relatives, you mean to say it was his responsibility all along? Even putting me with them to live with?”
“Yes, if he doesn't take care of you personally, he has to find a suitable home,” the solicitor — Thorius Nott — explained patiently.
“How... How does he assure my well — being if he doesn't keep an eye on me?”
“He has to check up on you, of course,” Nott said and was about to roll his eyes, but stopped abruptly as Harry burst out in a bitter laughter.
Albus Dumbledore... The man either fucked up his duties and stole from him, or knew about the treatment Dursleys gave him all along and did nothing. Whichever option it might be, it was clear to him that this Dumbledore is an enemy, period.
“Albus Dumbledore,” he growled when the laughter finally died out.
“Are you alright, Mr. Potter?”
“Yes, I'm finally starting to see. I'll require your services, Mr. Nott. I wish you to open a file and I wish your oath never to speak about its contents without my permission.”
“What file?” Nott asked, though he already could guess.
“Dumbledore's file, of course. I have no idea who the man is, but nothing gives him a right to rein lives of others if he's so prone to fuck them up... splendidly, might I add. I don't care about the money that much, but knowing it's his doing that ensured my childhood left more than a bitter after — taste, I want him to pay. Grinnog, could you compile every movement in my assets since my parents' deaths?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Now, I have another question...”
“How do I get myself rid of a guardian, magical or otherwise?”
“When you reach seventeen...”
“Too late, by that time my life can be forfeit,” he said quietly, not elaborating any further and thus leaving both other occupants of the office with questioning looks.
“There's an old law, sir,” Grinnog piped in.
“I'm all ears.”
“When a bloodline is left without Lord — title of the head of the family — and yet there are members alive ineligible only age-wise, the oldest descent shall be granted emancipation.
“As you are surely aware, only those of age are allowed free magical reign — use of magic; as well as only Lord can fully access all assets. The law was meant for survival — to protect one's family and be able to take care of them properly. It's an old Pureblood Law, but has yet to be overridden.”
“Excellent thinking, Grinnog. Am I eligible?”
“Of course, sir. You are entitled to titles of Potter, Black and Le Fay Lordships; are a single heir of three distinguished families, one of which having been thought dead — Le Fay, and the other — Potter — being the last member of; not to mention you have a right for twelve seats in Wizengamot.”
“What do I have to do?”
“I'll prepare all the papers,” nodded Grinnog while handing quite a stock of parchments to Nott. “All changes in all Potter assets in the last ten years.” Nott took the proffered files with shock.
“Please, Mr. Nott,” Harry said. “Do seal it in his file and don't speak of it to anyone.”
“Of course. I'll begin to fill a report of everything that I've learned today for further reference. Is there anything else?” he asked and by the look Harry adopted he immediately knew that there certainly is more.
“No, sir, that would be all,” the boy said, the dark expression never leaving his face. Nott only nodded, though his curiosity only heightened some more. This was no laughing matter already, if the boy still hid something — which obviously he did — what could be so serious that he would have to keep it secret? He decided to dig a little in this case, even if for nothing else but to sate his own curiosity.
“I understand,” Nott said and exited the office leaving his wizarding oath and his business card with his contact information.
“Yes, Mr. Potter?”
“Is the name Harry Potter really that well known?”
“Is there any way of changing it without alerting the wide public?”
“Not normally, though there's bonding... but that's impossible as there're moral dues, too... Ah!”
“What has your genius conjured now?” Harry asked amusedly, though absolutely seriously. It was after all true that the goblin somehow found just the easiest and overall best, way around his problems.
“Sir, you've been adopted.”
“Potter is your name by birth, but adoption grants a right for a new name.”
“Harry Black? Sounds weird...”
“You have to take the Black name in this case, yes, but you don't have to keep your given name.”
“Interesting, though now that I think of it, I cannot come up with any name at all... Any suggestions?”
“I've noticed that the members of Black always bear the names somehow related to mythology or stars...”
He entered a shop and found himself in what seemed a museum of boxes, which covered every wall bar front glass he could see. And soon enough je was accosted by a strangely looking man. He had white hair and silvery pale eyes, he looked seventy but felt hundreds...
“A first wand I assume,” he said and the boy nodded.
“Which is your wand arm?”
“Both,” he conceded while eyeing the man — most likely the owner — Mr. Ollivander.
“Ah, I see... How about this one?” Mr. Ollivander handed him one made of some light — coloured wood. When nothing happened, Ollivander sauntered off to bring another.
“How do you know which one?” he asked after a he tried out a handful of wands, yet Mr. Ollivander still didn't seem too pleased.
“Oh, I don't. I can guess and prompt to the correct one, but ultimately it's the wand that chooses the wizard Mr...?”
“O-oh, of course... Well, let's see about this one, it's powerful but I'm afraid not too flexible,” he said.
“No, it's not the one,” he said and stared into far corner in the back of the shop.
“I can feel it,” he said, and he really could. There was this slight, almost unnoticeable pull on his magic, but it was there none the less.
He concentrated on his magic and forced it into the invisible and weak bond. And soon — as Mr. Ollivander observed whole event in mute awe — the back of the store brightened. Then a black box came flying, stopping in mid-air and gently lying on the desk never loosing the magical brilliance around it. The shopkeeper's jaw dropped as he saw the box.
“Are you sure, Mr. Black? It was custom-made and never picked up. I tried to sell it for over forty years, never succeeding. I would've thrown it away long ago if it wasn't an experiment of its own...”
“Then I'm glad you never did,” he said as he reached for the box while its lid already dissimilated into nothingness showing truly a work of art, quivering at the touch of desired magic.
There lay two identical wands from black polished wood with slightest hints of ornaments on their grips.
“Beautiful...” he breathed mesmerised by the sight.
“You cannot separate siblings, Mr. Ollivander,” he said and as he picked one in his right hand, he found himself surrounded in magic so dense it eluded strange light, giving Mr. Ollivander hint that without any doubt, the wizard and the piece of art belonged together.
Mr. Ollivander went to say something but didn't go further than an initial intake of breath as the boy grasped second wand in his left, and suddenly breathing became so much harder. The air glowed of power, and sparkled and snapped as the magic clusters ran through it as electricity.
As the boy came out of the strange trance of his magic bonding with the twin wands, he noticed Ollivander standing behind the counter, leaning against it heavily, as if very tired.
“It's obvious you three are a ser, Mr. Black,” he nodded thoughtfully, still somehow in haze.
The boy nodded, but before he could pay, he looked at the shelves behind the man.
“Do you wish to purchase a wand holster... holsters while you are at it as well?” he asked knowingly, and surely — the boy nodded.
“We have holsters for shin, waist, forearm... I'm quite sure there's one you fasten at your thigh, too...”
After selecting identical holsters — black, as it's unquestionably most neutral colour there is — he paid for all the items and made his way out.
“May they serve you well, Mr. Black. I'm glad the order for them was never picked, because it's obvious they could not have reacted this well with another. I'm glad I made this experiment.”
“So am I, Mr. Ollivander, so am I...”
After exiting Mme Malkin's shop with a complete brand-new wardrobe, having asked her to shrink it for him, he decided to have a little break in a restaurant he spied near the entrance to some darker alley.
Apart from considerable wealth in money, gems, accessories and family heirlooms, all of which he already got a glimpse of when they visited all of his vaults; he owned quite a few estates, manors and houses.
He knew he couldn't go back to Dursleys, hell if he even wanted... Dumbledore no longer had any power over him, but he'd rather leave all of it lay low without the man noticing any changes. Nott asked him if he wanted to press charges and he assured that he certainly is going to. The only problem being he suspected Dumbledore could get off the charges too easily, if not absolutely unaffected, as Nott told him everything he knew about Dumbledore, and the man (Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot) seemed to be really influential figure in the British wizarding society, which only complicated matters for him even more. So they decided to stay quiet for a while, gather facts and some solid arguments; they would get him in front of the Wizengamot but they will not strike until they are prepared for everything.
Nott didn't even forget to mention Dumbledore's involvement with the Dark Lords, firstly his defeat of Grindelwald, and then his role in the first wizarding war as the leader of the Light — both of which gained him multiple privileges and multitudes of supporters. The curious thing, the boy noticed, was only that Nott seemed eager to bring Dumbledore down, and when asked, he indirectly admitted, that he's not one of his faithful lackeys. He acted a bit reserved for a while, until he realized that the boy didn't particularly mind, quite on the contrary. Only then he relaxed for not being ostracized as a Dark Wizard, and in show of gratitude he talked about wizarding society in general, correctly guessing the boy didn't know much; being clever Slytherin he certainly was he guessed that helping the boy on a less professional level too, he'll gain his trust, which would bring him closer to uncovering the boys secrets which still somehow gnawed on his mind. The boy though didn't seem very prone on spilling his secrets, alas he wasn't disappointed. Even if the boy wished to keep to himself, even if he changed his name, he still remained the prophesized boy who would bring down the Dark Lord; though Nott was a Death Eater, and supporter of the Dark, first and fore mostly was he a Slytherin, and they liked to keep a back door open, in case something went wrong, and being in a good-will of the Boy-Who-Lived couldn't hurt.
The boy sighed, bringing himself out of his thoughts as his meal finally arrived. He dug in as he hasn't eaten literally in days, and having a proper meal he couldn't even remember.
His final stop was the bookstore he'd invaded early this morning, and the man greeted him with a smile.
“I wondered if you've got lost, it usually doesn't take this long to collect school supplies.”
“I was acquainting myself,” he replied which wasn't that far from the truth, and wasn't an outright lie either.
After quick selection of all his mandatory and recommended textbooks, he went after ones on the topics that seemed interesting. When he finally reached the counter he carried quite admirable selection.
“Do you plan to buyout whole store?” the shopkeeper joked.
“Something like that, actually,” he said mysteriously and the shopkeeper stopped laughing immediately.
“Do you have a catalogue with your goods? I've heard there's an owl order thing going around.”
“You're right, of course, though I didn't think you'd know about that,” he admitted.
“I've done some catching up,” he smirked.
“So you did... Here you are,” the shopkeeper gave him his collection with the shop's catalogue occupying the very top.
“It's been a pleasure,” the boy said, having paid, and picked the resized bags with his books, putting them in his pockets.
Having all his belongings gathered — resized and weightless, yes, he already loved magic very much — he headed for the Leaky Cauldron. The pub was inconspicuous at best but — as Nott pointed in his talk about this world — there was a public floo located there.
Nodding to the barman he didn't pay attention to anything else and quickly crossed the space to fireplace. Exactly as instructed, he threw the floo powder into the hearth — the fire taking bright green colour — and announced the floo address.
“Black Manor!” And with that he left, letting the green flames swallow him.
It took a few seconds for his head to stop spinning like crazy, but he didn't give in to his shaky legs and didn't crumble in a pile on the floor. And just as he was feeling alright and meant to look around the place, there were few pops and he was suddenly faced with... how was it... house elves? No mistake here, really, they suited Nott's description perfectly: creepy. Moreover, he'd been warned they'd appear.
One of the creatures stepped forward.
“Welcome home, Lord Black,” he (she?) said and bowed low, just as other four, following the first one's example. “I's name is Topi, I's head house elf,” the elf introduced itself. “This are Denni, Hopi, Kevy, Revy and Tori,” each of the elves came forth when called.
He simply nodded not knowing what there was to say. According to Nott — the elves feel him, and have been able to since he officially became part of the family, thus since his adoption. Furthermore since his emancipation and subsequent Lordship they had become aware of his status' change, just as they proved they are by the way they'd addressed him.
“Topi will show Master the Master bedroom. Is there anything master requires?”
“Yes, put away my things, but don't mix my books with the ones in the library,” he's been warned there's a library in every Manor; the second the books would be put with the others he wouldn't be able to pick them up easily, with every library being generally big, and he needed to read those first — if not out of the curiosity then because those were his textbooks for his first year, thus basics.
“Revy will be putting Master's books in Master's study,” one of the elves bowed and he handed her (yes! a successful identification of the elf's gender!) the packages from F&B and his other school supplies, then he gave another his clothes and both elves disappeared with a pop.
He then followed the head elf around, as he requested at least a brief tour around the manor, ending the sightseeing (yes, those were really some sights to see, he'd noted as he'd glanced through a window to the manor's garden) in his bedroom where the house elf finally left him. And he admittedly was a little bit too tired... the elf probably could tell as much.
The room was... well, gigantic, though compared to his cupboard every living space seemed just too big, not that a cupboard is any living space.
Chapter One: Into the New World
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