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To Catch A Thief

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Harry dodged the man wearing black and kept running. He weaved between people on the sidewalk. The guy was quick but he was quicker and knew the streets better. He jumped up onto the trash bins, worked his way to the iron stairs of the warehouse. He climbed up the iron stairs glancing down once and saw the man in black looking around for him. He kept climbing. He made it to the roof and ran across the roofs, jumping over some of the gaps. This was the fifth day the man had found him.

He thought about that weird letter and the ones that followed that had his locations on it. Maybe? He grinned. He knew the owls would find him again tomorrow. He hoped it worked. The man was ruining his business.

_____________________________________The Next Morning_____________________

He was sitting under the bridge looking for the owls. He saw them incoming. They dumped a slew of letters and Harry began to change the addresses on each letter. He didn't open them instead he just handed them back to the owls. Once they were gone he went about his business. He did that for the next week. Honestly, were they really that lame? He had taken a few phone books and wrote down the names and addresses of random people from the different areas he worked. The owls arrived again but this time the letters felt different. Harry focused on the letters and watched as each one shined a bit and the funny feeling was gone. He wrote famous peoples names and locations on the letters this time. He hoped the Royal Family liked owls.


"The Queen?" Minerva and the rest of the Heads of Houses were at a loss. Everything they had tried failed. They had spent days visiting people who were muggles. They spent days searching the areas for Harry Potter.

"Yes. The complete Royal Family. Cornelius wasn't very happy." Dumbledore had spent over an hour calming the man down. "Severus, any luck?"

"No. I thought I saw him two weeks ago. He is fast, agile, and sneaky." Severus actually admired the skills the boy was displaying. He knew he would be laughing at anyone else if they told this story. However, it was him and he was determined not to be outsmarted by a Potter. He wasn't going to admit the boy had also robbed him. He got everything but his wand in a matter of seconds.

"It doesn't help that his relatives kept everything hidden. He has been living on the streets for six years. Frankly, I'm surprised he is still alive. Never mind been caught by the police." Pomona sighed. "Honestly, Albus, what were you thinking?"

"I thought they would love him."

Severus scoffed at that as Minerva huffed. "I warned you."


~What do you mean I might have money?~ Harry looked down at the snake curled up by the fireplace in his small shack in woods. He had found the shack after an old man had told him about it. It was in the wooded area outside of London. He could get to London daily by the bus.

~Wizard have separate money. That funny stuff you picked up from the man in black. It's money. The stuff in bottles is called potions.~

~How do you know?~ Harry had liked how much stuff the pouches could hold and not get heavy. Amber had taught him a lot in the years they had been together. His family left him behind in the woods after a company picnic. They had never returned.

~Mother, she belonged to a wizard. I was almost a full snake when she and her wizard disappeared. Add more wood before we go to sleep.~

~Don't I always?~ Harry threw on a few more pieces of wood. He got up and checked the door and windows. He made sure no light could be seen by the outside world. The smoke from the fireplace was something that Amber explained how to cover up by focusing on making it disappear. He pulled out some of the cold packs he froze in the river each day so that he would be cool while Amber enjoyed the warmth of the fire. He wrapped one around his neck and placed the other one on the bed. Harry sat on his bed, the fan was going. He was making a list of things he would need to collect for the oncoming winter. Even though it was early in July he still needed to plan for winter. ~Do we go someplace to turn it in for real money?~

~Yes but you should check out why they put Potter on those weird letters.~

~Maybe it's my last name?~


"Severus, I just got a message from Tom at the Leaky Cauldron. He believes Harry might be headed to Gringotts. Harry seemed confused and asked for directions to a bank."


"I need you to go and get him. I don't believe anyone else would be able to keep up with him." Dumbledore hoped it was Harry. He had so many leads that went nowhere. He started walking toward the front doors leaving Severus with no other option but to follow.

Severus arched an eyebrow as he walked next to Dumbledore. "What do you expect me to do with him if I manage to corral the hoodlum?"

"Bring him here. We can explain everything. Once he understands I'm sure he will fit in with the Weasley family."

"Albus, I'm only going to say this once so listen for a change. If you put him with the Weasley family you will be making a huge mistake. This boy isn't your Gryffindor Savior. He isn't some hero. This boy is street smart, cunning, and since he has survived so long, sneaky. All the traits that Gryffindors aren't."

"My boy, he is James and Lily's son. I'm sure he will fit in with the Weasleys." Dumbledore already spoke to Molly about having Harry live there. He arranged a small fee to be paid to her from the Potter trust.

"Your error." Severus didn't wait for a response but headed out to Gringotts.


"So, let me see if I am understanding you correctly. I'm Harry Potter. Albus Dumbledore has been using funds from my account and has made arrangements for me to live with another family while he maintains control over my life?" Harry didn't know who Albus Dumbledore was or why he was making decisions for him.

"Yes, that is accurate."

"How do I change this? I haven't lived with the Dursleys since I was five or so. I have been living on my own since my relatives abandoned me in the woods. I have never met this Albus Dumbledore nor anyone from your world until today." He wasn't about to live with his relatives or anyone who was stealing from him would suggest.

"That does change things. I will need a sworn statement signed with a Blood Quill. Since we have done a complete family history and an Inheritance Test we can find new guardians. I will have our healers do a complete exam. They will fix any issues you have. The tests show no other direct family in the Potter but it does reflect some distant family members. I suggest we complete the emancipated minor forms. If Albus Dumbledore tries to get control returned to him we will be able to stop it since we will be filing for your magical guardianship to be your distant family in America. That will enable you to remain emancipated yet also protected as he has no sway in America."

Harry and Griphook spent the next two hours working on the details. It included a fireside chat with his distant relatives who agreed to the plan. They had actually tried to gain custody of Harry but Dumbledore had blocked them. They invited Harry to spent Yule and any holidays with them. They would send him a permanent port-key and made arrangements to pay for Harry's clothes. Harry didn't want them to pay but after they said either they pay for the clothes or everything. Harry went with clothes. Griphook, after they finished speaking to Harry's relatives, explained to Harry the terms he didn't understand, things like port-keys, robes, floo travel.

Harry headed out of Griphook's office and saw the man in black in the bank lobby. "Griphook, who is that? He has been looking for me."

"Professor Severus Snape, Potion Master at Hogwarts. He works for Dumbledore." Griphook could see the Potion Master was trying to be discrete in his searching.

"Interesting." Harry looked around hoping to see another exit. "Any other way out?"

"Not without him seeing you. The floo network is across the lobby."

"Just my luck. What is your policy on fights?" Harry knew Severus Snape would give as well as he got. Unfortunately, Harry's size was both an advantage and disadvantage going against a man skilled in a fight.

"We prefer to be the ones spilling the blood."

"Well, I best get this over with." Harry hoped the man had more of those interesting expandable pouches. Harry slowly walked toward the bench and sat down next to Severus. "You know, you really need to stop following me. I'm going to become paranoid if you don't."

"Potter." Severus had seen the boy walking toward him.

"Yes, just learned that. Interesting isn't it?"


"What the mind accepts as normal." Harry watched the goblins handle the wizards business. He watched everyone ignore the two of them just sitting on the bench.

"Come, you have been requested to join the Headmaster at Hogwarts."

Harry wasn't about to let Dumbledore win any battle, never mind the war. "Nope, not going. Tell him I said hi. I need to go shopping. I need to get some clothes, books, and the like." He could hear Amber hissing her agreement. "I have years of magic to catch up on." He made arrangements with Griphook to have a private tutor meet him at his new home.

"I'm afraid you don't have a choice."

"Oh, but I do. He's not my magical guardian. He has no say over me until I start Hogwarts and only as my Headmaster. He really should have checked on me."

"Potter, I can either drag you there or you can go peacefully. I do not care either way."

"If you do I will have you and him charged with kidnapping. I'm sure my guardians would also encourage me to press charges if they didn't." Harry showed him his new guardianship papers. "As I said, he should have checked on me."

Severus reviewed the paperwork. "Indeed. I look forward to seeing you in September." Severus knew this boy was no Gryffindor. He wanted to laugh. The boy outplayed Dumbledore already. This coming school year was going to be interesting.

"Any potion books you might suggest?"

"Let the clerk at the store I sent you. They will make sure you have everything."

Harry waited until Severus was gone. He smirked. He had another potion pouch and expandable bag. He couldn't wait to see what was in them.


Severus was getting a headache listening to Dumbledore complain about not having Harry Potter in his possession. "You let him get away."

"I'm not being charged with kidnapping. You aren't his magical guardian." Severus began to reach for his potion pouch. He frowned. He stood up and began searching all his pockets. "That brat!"

"What is wrong?" Minerva had been ignoring Dumbledore's rant as she was working on some of Hogwart's paperwork.

"He stole everything but my wand!"

"Oh dear."