“Might as well get yer uniform,” said Hagrid. “Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts.” He did still look a bit sick, so despite feeling nervous, Harry entered the closest robe shop alone.
The sign over the door was very small and discrete; it said merely 'Plettwicket & Co, Outfitters. Est.' The small windows held nothing as crass as merchandise, merely a very elegant portrait of a crowd of impeccably dressed wizards in a huge room and a large vase with exotic cut flowers in the other. Harry could have sworn he saw one of the flowers stretch lazily in the sun.
Inside the shop looked more like the waiting room of a very expensive dentist than a clothing store. Several large bookcases lined the walls, and some extremely large books, chained to their pedestals, were on the side of the room opposite the door. An ornate screen blocked the view into a side room. At the back of the shop sat a large wooden desk, overflowing with papers, and behind it were several doors.
The waiting chairs were at a comfortable distance from the very large fireplace, which oddly enough had a Welcome mat in front of it, as well as a small table with what looked like gray towels and a small bowl of green powder.
“Good morning young man. And how may Plettwicket & Co serve you today?” While Harry was looking in bemusement at the room, feeling ever more certain he was in the wrong shop, a man had snuck in.
The wizard, for that was unmistakably what he was, wore a very simple long brown robe trimmed in panels of velvet the same colour with a tracing of pale brown embroidery like vines. The rich brown matched his hair exactly, and his glittering blue eyes stood out like a child’s marbles in the sand.
“Er….” Harry shuffled his feet and looked down, hardly wanting to think what the man thought of his horrible hand-me-downs
“I'm…. Hogwarts… everything….”
“Ah. The young sir is getting ready for Hogwarts then? Well we do not do school robes. For the basic kit you can go to Malkins or Meubles who have the school contracts.”
Harry got the impression of a faintly curled lip
“However if sir needs a full wardrobe, which I see sir does, then Plettwicket & Co would be pleased to assist.”
Harry was now certain he was well out of his depth…. Where on earth is Hagrid? How long does it take to get a drink anyway? Feeling brave, he struck out with the truth.
“My parents were wizards, but I was raised by my muggle relatives since I was small. I don't know anything about wizard clothing and I never shopped for muggle clothing either and I'm afraid this shop must be very expensive.” Harry blurted it all out in one long breathe. 'Great, now he thinks I'm mental' he thought to himself.
The man laughed. “I had wondered, but I think we can help you. If this isn’t the right store for you, I'd be more than happy to send you along to a suitable haberdashery. In the meantime, since this is your first time, let me call for some refreshments and a Fitting potion.” Suiting actions to words, the man picked up a small bell and rang it. A tiny silvery chime pealed out.
With a sharp “pop” a small, big eyed, big eared creature appeared next to the man’s desk. It was wearing a very small, elegant dark green robe embroidered with teacups and a long purple and green sash that trailed on the floor.
“Mimsy, could you bring us some refreshments? Plus a starter kit if you would.”
“Of course mister youngest Tacket sir” the creature chirped and disappeared with another “pop.”
The wizard noticed Harry's dumbfounded expression. “That is a House Elf, one of several sworn to my family. Terrible that they have to be bound to survive, but they do so love being useful so it’s no hardship.”
“Now my name is Horatio Tacket, and my grandfather was Plettwicket. Alas, he had no son and my mother chose to marry a wizard named Tacket. And then there’s me, a sad disgrace or so Grandfather keeps telling me. Now what is your name young sir?” The wizard swept out from behind his desk and gestured Harry over to a chair near the fireplace.
Harry settled himself on the plush velvet upholstery, while hoping his grimy clothes didn’t leave any marks. He wasn’t sure he’d ever sat on something so obviously expensive in his life.
“Harry Sir. Harry Potter”
The wizard froze in place, as he was halfway in the chair. After a pause, he continued to settle himself. With an air of contemplation, he waved his wand at the coffee table and it scuttled closer to them on its small, carved wooden feet.“Harry Potter. Son of James Potter, son of Charlus Potter?” He asked Harry, staring very intently into his eyes.
“Yes, sir. Well I know my father’s name was James, Hagrid told me that yesterday, but I don't know my grandfather’s name. Er is he alive?” Harry had a bright moment of hope, but then reminded himself that if his grandfather was alive, he probably wouldn't have been raised by Petunia. “Never mind, sir. I'm sure he couldn't be.”
“Young Sir, are you telling me you never knew your own father’s name until yesterday?”
Now the wizard seemed concerned, and possibly a little angry. But for some reason Harry wasn't scared of him in the slightest. Maybe it was the blue eyes, and maybe it was the way the man talked to him like an adult.
“No sir. My mum’s name is Lily… does that help? They died when I was little, I don't remember them at all.”
“Well, well, well. Harry Potter.” Horatio steepled his hands and looked at Harry, with his head cocked like he was measuring him up already.
Harry fidgeted uncomfortably.
Mimsy reappeared carrying a tea tray with a hot pot of tea, small jug of cream, sugar pot, two teacups, and a plate of biscuits. Also on the tray was a tiny book that would have been suitable in a dollhouse, a small corked jar full of a swirling green liquid, a large dish, and a small, white handled silver bladed knife.
Harry stared at the platter in bemusement. For one thing, no one had ever served him tea before. Certainly, he had served tea for Petunia’s friends hundreds of times, even before he could see over the kitchen counter. And for another thing, he couldn't understand what the book and dish were for.
“Well then, Harry. I'll start from the beginning for you. First, a cup of tea.” Horatio gestured at the teapot with his wand and it floated gently up and started pouring a rich, brown stream into the cup closest to Harry. “If you want sugar or cream, simply say so Harry. The tea set is enchanted and will pour out for you, so no worries about spilling on my carpet.” He said with a smile.
As Harry collected his teacup and muttered at the cream and sugar, Horatio continued explaining.
“Like most of the older established shops, we use a custom Fitting potion. Now it doesn’t actually take your measurements, I'll do that myself with my measuring tapes and things. How it works is that you add a drop of your blood, and then we soak the book here in the potion. As it soaks in, the book will expand, and will contain all the designs selected by your forebears and all the ceremonial clothing required for your rank, station, and masteries; once you have them of course. Now most of them are terribly out of date and that’s where the rest of the potion comes in… all the design books are linked so that when a new fashion for Lords or Ladies, or Barons or what-have-you is created, then any design in your book can be updated. With the Heredity potion in the mixture, the design automatically picks up not only your family colours and assigns, but also your own coloring so hopefully…” and here Horatio laughs “… The designs will be flattering to you personally. Mind you sometimes it misses by a bit.”
Harry nods. Magic was simply amazing. The tea was the perfect temperature, rich and smooth. He was reminded he hadn’t eaten since… eh couldn’t remember when. Certainly before the boat to the old shack on the rocks. He carefully collected some biscuits onto a small plate and balanced the plate on the arm of his chair.
“So Harry, if you could, just gently prick your finger with the knife and let the blood drop into the dish. Then I'll add the book and potion and say the incantation. You may feel a little cold; that’s why I always like to give my customers a cup of tea first.”
Harry nodded. That seemed very reasonable to him. He reached out and picked up the knife. It wasn’t very heavy being no bigger than a table knife, but he could see it was sharp as a needle. He looked at Horatio.
“Sir? Does it matter which hand I use?”
“Very good question, Harry. For this purpose no, but generally a right handed wizard would hold the knife in his right and take the blood from his left medius or middle finger and of course the other way ‘round for a left handed wizard.” Horatio gestured with his hands as he spoke, somehow never slopping his tea out of the cup.
Harry gently pricked his finger with the knife and leaned forward to let a drop fall into the tray.
Horatio placed the book on the drop and then slowly poured the potion over it while incanting and gesturing with his wand.
The potion poured and poured, never spilling off the book, and the book slowly expanded. Eventually Horatio closed the jar. The book steamed gently as it dried. Slowly a title swam into existence on the cover: “Duke Lord Harrison James Marcellus Potter of Potter, of Black, of Misslethwaite”
Harry stared at the name. Harrison? His name wasn't Harry?
“Well my Lord Potter, I think that answers your question.” Horatio said gently
Harry looked at him with wide eyes. He was a Lord? He was a DUKE? How on earth?
“It seems that this is definitely the proper shop for you.” He handed Harry the book. It was wide enough that when Harry opened it the covers stretched from arm to arm of the chair.
“So you have a look in that, and with your permission my young lord, I'll call up Gringotts and arrange for a line of credit for you. Would that be good?”
Suddenly Harry is worried. He pictured the vault he had seen that afternoon and gulped. He can’t possibly have enough money.
“But sir, I can't possibly afford this, can I? I mean, I saw my vault and it’s big, but not that big and I'm sure your clothing is very expensive and….”
“Oh Merlin’s beard. Harrison. I'm sure that all you saw was your allowance vault. Your school funds will be drawn from the family vault, as will your basic wardrobe and uniforms. Now, anything NOT in that book of yours and not on your official Hogwarts list will not be counted. So, your allowance needs to cover anything else you buy, like extra books or fancy quills.” He said reassuringly.
Harry nodded mutely. An allowance? Uniforms?
Horatio bustled away to the back of the shop, and rummaged about on the desk. He returned with a form to ask Harry for a signature. “Now Harrison I'm going to use the floo at the back of the shop to call Gringotts and you just have a look. Most of this will probably have to be updated, but there are some ceremonials I'm afraid you will be stuck with”
Harry slowly started paging through the book.
The front page has a large coat of arms. It seems very complicated, with many small squares and different animals and items in them with lines going left and right and even wavy ones. Over the shield is a wavy banner held up by a large snake looking thing on one side and a lion on the other, with a motto in what he assumed was Latin over it. Or it looked like Latin… could be Swahili for all he knew.
He flipped aimlessly through while the book waiting for Mr. Tacket to come back. He could dimly hear voices from the back room.
He stopped at one page, astounded. The page showed an older man and a younger one, about his age, in similar outfits. They both had on a long dark red robe, trimmed with white fur and a coronet. Underneath they had layers of complicated looking red and gold robes, with black belts, boots, and gloves all richly ornamented with gold. Harry shuddered. A bit much. Very Christmas-y.
“Oh not bad. At least it’s only four colours” A young voice said suddenly
Startled, Harry looked up… at some point another boy had come in. The young blond was leaning over the side of Harry's chair. He wore his white blonde hair slicked back from his smooth, pale forehead. He was grinning as he looked at Harry's book.
Harry pulled away. He was not sure he liked a stranger that close to him. He’d never had much luck with children he didn't know, or even children he did know for that matter.
The boy must have seen a change in his expression. He straightened up from the chair “Pacem! Sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to startle you.” He circled ’round to the empty chair across from Harry and dropped into it. “It’s just been simply ages since I saw anyone my age in here. It’s my father’s robe shop, he insists. Tradition you know.”
“No I wouldn’t know. My first time.” Harry blurted out, mesmerized as he watched this strange young creature. He is definitely a young wizard, from the tips of his pointy green boots to the top of his smooth, gray collar.
“Really? So that’s not your da's book?” The boy leaned forward
“Oh bother. I'm so sorry, forgive me. I think all my manners left my head this summer. Draconis Malfoy, son and heir of Lord Malfoy of Malfoy. But my friends call me Draco.” He smiled, showing off perfectly even, perfectly white teeth as he held his hand out to Harry.
“Harrison Potter. Er Duke and Lord Potter of Potter and er Black and Missthel,” he pauses and checks the cover of the book, “Misslethwaite. Bother, I hope I got that right, sorry.” He reached out and shook Draco’s hand
Draco was stock still and transfixed, his hand still in Harry’s. “Duke Lord Harrison Potter? Harry Potter? Really?”
Harry retrieved his hand, blushed and looked away. “Yeah they tell me I'm famous. First, I've heard of it. I was raised by muggles.”
“Muggles!” The other boy yelped. “Raised by Muggles!” His expression looked horrified and shocked, like he'd just seen a snake.
Harry grinned “Yeah, they were pretty awful. I didn’t know until yesterday I was a wizard. And the duke thing…. I just found out. I mean, right here, now. I don’t even know what it means. I mean…” He gestured at the book “… aside from a very silly hat and robe it looks like.”
Draco laughed. “I know! Some of mine are just ridiculous. Someone in my lineage favored pink and someone else green and that’s never going to end well. Here let me get my book out.” He hopped out of the chair and went to the bookcase. “Draconis Malfoy,” he intoned with his hand out. A single volume floated to his hand.
“They leave the books of current customers up front here. Only the customer or a relative or the clerk can look at them though. So nobody else gets to see what horrible thing your ancestors wore I guess.”
Harry giggled and then covered his mouth. When Draco grinned at him he laughed again.
“C'mon look at this one… it’s my favorite. I can't imagine anyone could ever wear this without tickling themselves to death.” Draco paged through his book and triumphantly thrust it at Harry once he’d found what he was looking for.
“Wow! That is a LOT of feathers!”
Sometime later Horatio returned from a drawn out discussion with Gringotts. They were MOST unhappy about Harry's lack of information. However, the line of credit was approved, and Harry will just have to settle the rest later. As he entered the front of the shop he heard two young voices, chattering and laughing.
He stopped in the door, and watched Lord Malfoy's son, Draco and Harry. Harrison he corrected himself, laughing and looking at two large books on the table. They seemed to be trying to best each other's horrible hereditary robes.
“Well, My Lords,” he paused as they looked at him. “It seems that Gringotts is perfectly happy to settle your bill later, and they urge you to return to their bank as soon as possible, preferably with a solicitor.” He looked at Sir Malfoy. “And you, Sir Malfoy will be ordering some new robes for school? Something suitable for Scotland in merino? Or perhaps heavy cotton?”
“Exactly. Mother says I'm growing out of everything. I might even be taller than Father someday.” Draco beamed, smoothing the front of his robe.
“I uh…. I have no idea what I need. Everything?” Harry questioned. “I mean for school and uh… week ends and stuff.”
“No worries, My Lord.” Horatio half bowed. “I have a very good idea what a young gentleman your age needs. Robes for daily wear, something comfortable for weekends, sleep robes, no quidditch robes till second year. Shame that, you're a seeker if I ever saw one. A selection of nice cloaks, hats, and scarves. Scotland can be brutal cold if you aren’t used to it.”
Horatio bustled around Harry with a measuring tape which crawled along Harry's arm like an inchworm, and also waved his wand, shooting rainbows of sparkles over Harry's head and shoulders. “And if you don’t mind my lord, I'll take the liberty of sending your measurements over to Malkins for a regular school kit. You'll just need to pop in for a final fit. And that will be work robes, school robes, and cloak covered.” Horatio trailed off as Harry started looking more and more overwhelmed.
“Don't worry about it Harry,” said Draco. “That's all the same as what I have. Plus, of course, Maman took me to her robe makers in Paris… but you can get your dress robes here too. Like Father does. You can even pick out one from the casual section of your book… that bit in blue and gold chiffon should really suit you.” He said wickedly and dodged as Harry went to poke him in the shoulder, laughing. At that the bell over the door tinkled and a tall, slim blonde woman with impeccable hair entered.
“Lady Malfoy” Horatio said and bowed “As always a pleasure to have you in my shop.”
“Horatio, darling. Has my son been troubling you? He was supposed to be at Malkins and done already.”
Draco stood up. “I'm very sorry mother. I ran into Harry and he was all alone and we were talking.” he stopped and looked at Harry questioningly. “Actually, Harry why are you all alone? Diagon Alley is pretty safe for most people, but….”
“I was with Hagrid, from Hogwarts? And that is funny… he said he'd just be a minute but that was ages ago and he hasn’t come back.” Harry looked at his watch, though the face was cracked and the band a little too small it still kept good time. He hadn’t realized he'd been at the robe shop for nearly an hour already.
He looked at Horatio anxiously “Do you think he's okay?”
“I'm sure he's fine My Lord” Horatio started worrying inwardly, 'oh dear'.
“Oh Mother, may I introduce Duke Lord Harrison Potter, of Potter, of Black, of Misslethwaite. Harry, this is my mother Lady Narcissa Malfoy.” She curtsied gracefully to Harry and panicking, he looked at Draco for help. Draco realized his complete lack of knowledge and nodded his head in a bow and Harry bowed to Lady Malfoy.
“Pleased to meet you, Lady Malfoy” He murmured, hoping he got the title right.
Draco jumped in, with his hand on Harry's elbow. “Can you believe he only just found out he's a Duke? He was raised by muggles, mother, isn’t that the worst thing you’ve ever heard?” Draco let it all rush out, letting himself act young for once. He had a feeling Harry hadn't had all that many people on his side, not even those his own age.
“Muggles? Gracious. And they never told you of your responsibilities? At all?” Narcissa was shocked. 'Not tell a lord of his estate? What on earth was going on with that poor child?'
“Not at all. I only even learned I was a wizard yesterday when my letter came.” Harry said a little dolefully. He was starting to understand that his life wasn't what it was supposed to be. At least, according to the Malfoy's it wasn’t.
“Well Harry I was going to take Draco off to luncheon, but I can't very well leave you all alone in Diagon Alley. You must come to luncheon with us. I can owl my husband. Lucius is at the Ministry right now, and since he’s on the Hogwarts Board, he can sort you out. And by the time luncheon is done all that will be settled.” She smiled brightly, plans whirling through her mind.
“Is everything settled here Horatio?” She smiled at the clerk. 'What a helpful young man. If an alliance comes of this we may come here more often.
“Well Madame, I need to verify some designs, and then send out his orders for accessories and the school kit and that should be that. Gringotts will want him round to initial the form and look into his estates. They seemed quite…
disconcerted when I mentioned he'd no idea and his account manager hadn't told him this morning.”
“Actually Lady Malfoy, I'm getting a full wardrobe for the first time. Do you have any advice?” Harry shyly asked her. As beautiful as she is, she must know loads about fashion. All Harry knew was that he hated gray.
“Well Harrison, may I call you Harrison?” Narcissa smiled at him gently
“Oh, of course, Lady Malfoy. I do hope that's the right thing to call you. The muggles never told me how to speak to a Lady. Or a duke for that matter.” Harry was shy about it, but the fastest way to figure some things out was to just ask. If she laughed at him, then he wouldn't trust her… but even adults deserved a chance to prove themselves.
“Lady Malfoy is just fine Harrison, as I am of an age with your mother. Actually, you mentioned you are of Black? So you are the current Head of the house of my birth, which I think makes us some sort of cousin at the very least. You may call me Cousin Narcissa if you want to be less formal. But we can go over all that at after we have eaten.”
“As for your wardrobe, the formal garments colour and current suitable styles will be chosen from your Book. Aside from that, most everything else can be colours of your choosing. I think for now you can be safe with the colours of neutrals , such as blacks, blues, and browns. After you get Sorted at Hogwarts you can order extra robes in your house colours. But Horatio I'm sure will do you very nicely.”
Narcissa smiled at Horatio, who took mental note to make Harrison's new wardrobe similar to Draco’s, not mistaking Lady Malfoy's intent to make certain Harrison was launched as a proper young pureblood.
“Horatio, can I trouble you for some parchment and your owl for a brief message to my husband?”
“Of course, Lady Malfoy.” Horatio gracefully indicated the small writing desk set beside the fireplace. A long fluffy plume sat next to an inkwell, with a small candle and stick of sealing wax laying at the ready.
Narcissa gently perched herself on the small carved wooden chair and taking care not to smudge her hands, wrote a short letter to her husband.
During our errands in Diagon Alley, Draco has made friends with Duke Lord Harrison Potter-Black-Misslethwaite. However, young Lord Potter was being escorted by Hagrid and seems to have been abandoned at Plettwicket's. Since it is time for luncheon, I am taking both boys to Sky On Fleur for a leisurely meal. Afterwards we will most likely proceed to Madame Malkins for the boys’ school kits and then their other school needs.
In addition to this troubling news, Duke Lord Harrison has only just now, from Plettwicket's Book, of all things, heard of his estate. Something most troubling is afoot. I may need to escort Lord Harrison to Gringotts to speak to the head of the Bank at their request, so our errands may run Especially Long this evening.
Hoping you are in the best of spirits,
Your Loving wife
Narcissa Black Malfoy
Narcissa cast a quick drying and privacy charm on the parchment, rolled it up, sealed it with the wax and gave it to the owl. Once the owl was winging its way to Lucius, she rose. Arranging her skirts carefully and checking her hair, she gestured the boys towards the door.
“Now boys come along, and we can have a nice luncheon before the rest of our shopping. Oh! One moment Harrison. Let me change that muggle costume for something a bit more becoming.” Narcissa gestured with her wand, careful never to point it directly at Harry, and transfigured his hideous misshapen jumper and stained trousers into a neat black button down shirt and slacks; his ratty trainers became soft leather boots.
“Now a nice robe and cloak over, and you should be fine for the rest of the day. It won't last I'm afraid, but I'm sure Horatio will have something ready for you by morning?” Narcissa looked towards Horatio, who was already coming forward with a simple dark blue robe and black cloak slung over his arm.
They left the shop Narcissa herding the two young boys along in front of her. Harrison kept glancing around, obviously unused to the bewildering variety of creatures and sights in Diagon Alley. Draco, always willing to show off, pointed out especially interesting things and was carefully explaining them to Harry.
Sky On Fleur turned out to be a small cafe, decorated with a theme of skies and flying creatures. Painted dragons, fairies and birds adorned the cloud studded walls and fluttered here and there around the room on the murals.
The gray haired hostess greeted Narcissa at the door with a wide smile “Lady Malfoy! I had thought you'd be by today, it being so close to start of term for young Draco.”
“Thank you Madame. Yes we still have many errands to run today, Draco has run a bit behind I'm afraid. However, since he made a fast friend while doing so I can’t be too upset at him” Narcissa smiled. “We do have company with us, so is there any chance of a quiet table, well away from the crowds? “ She indicated Harry, with a very subtle gesture.
The hostess looked at him and then noticed the scar on his forehead as he turned to watch a brilliantly painted phoenix fly across the wall in a flutter of gold and red feathers. Her eyes widened “Of course Lady Malfoy. Matter of fact, let me see if one of the lady's lounges upstairs is free, the luncheon rush should be coming in and you wouldn't want all that racket”
A few minutes later Harry and the Malfoys were settled in a small private room, with a bay window looking down onto Diagon alley. The aerial motif was continued here, including some of the rare floating plants and flowers.
Harry looked at the intimidating array of silverware on the table. He gulped. He was going to make a complete idiot of himself, he just knew it. And in front of this nice lady and Draco and everyone.
“Harrison darling. I don't want to be forward,” Narcissa leaned towards him, speaking softly “Please ask if you think muggle manners are not suitable. I'm sure the muggles didn't think to educate you properly for your station, since they didn't even mention it.”
“Actually Lady Malfoy I don't think they knew ... if Uncle Vernon thought I had any money he would have taken it already. And yes, I would be very grateful. There are an awful lot of forks.” Harry smiled shyly at her.
After a very pleasant meal of hot tea, delicate sandwiches, a hearty bowl of soup and some truly sublime tea cakes, Harry and the Malfoys were ready to start the rest of their errands. Luncheon had been interspersed with comments about tableware and manners. After all that Harry felt much easier about his table manners. As long as he didn’t stuff his face like Dudley, he wouldn’t embarrass himself. Madame Malkins was awash with redheads so they skipped along to the wand store.
“Now Harrison. Ollivanders is one of the most well known wand makers in Europe. His wands are excellent, but he does have a tendency to try to tell your future from the wood that chooses you. As if the wand makes the wizard. So pay no attention to anything strange he mutters. Draco already has his wand, from an old family friend in Belgravia so this stop is just for you.”
“Thank you Lady Malfoy.” Harry muttered. 'A wand! He really was a wizard! A proper wizard!
They entered the shop. Even to Harry's eye it was old and dusty. Rows of cracked and peeling boxes lined the shelves, were stacked precariously on the counters and the ,tables along the back wall and even on the floor. Someone must have just left because there were still patches of glitter on the floor and one forlorn butterfly looking for something to pollinate.
“Lady Malfoy. What a surprise! Finally come to me for a proper wand?”
“We are here on behalf of Duke Lord Harrison Potter-Black-Misslethwaite” Narcissa stared him down with a raised pointy chin and honed pureblood pride.
“Misslethwaite? eh. Haven't seen one of them in quite some time., Quite some time.” He straightened his glasses and stared down at the boys. Harry stepped out in front of the counter.
“Harry Potter? Under all those titles. Indeed. What a … conundrum. I sold your parents their wands you know.”
Harry did not appreciate the old mans tone towards Lady Malfoy. Unconsciously imitating her stance, he raised his chin and addressed Ollivander.
“I never knew my parents. I am here for a wand Sir.”
“A wand, indeed you are. Well let's begin, then.” Then summoned a long series of wands. Ollivander retrieved them, shelled them from their boxed and carefully handed them over hilt first. After the first few Draco and Narcissa took cover by the door well out of range of further sparks, showers of confetti, smoke, gouts of flame and drops of rain.
The series of wands slowed down. Ollivander finally brought Harry three last boxes.
“Well my boy I can't think of any others in my stock that might suit you. So if one of these last three doesn't do the trick then I may have to concede defeat and send you to old Gepetto in Italy.”
Harry picked up the longest wand first. It was a smooth dark wood. It seemed almost ... heavy in his hand. He waved it and there was a warm glow in his heart.
“No don't stop my boy. Two more to go, and you might find a better fit”
Harry tried the next wand. It was slender and of a pale wood and almost whippy. When he waved it sparkles shimmered along the wood and crept down his hand.
“Almost almost. Last one Harry!” Ollivander watched with undisguised glee
Harry picked up the last wand and dropped it immediately in horror.
“Harry? Are you alright?” Narcissa rushed forwards.
“Ow. Yes Lady Malfoy. I was just startled. Not that one. That felt … nasty. Prickly and slimy all at once. I think this one” he said picking up the long wand again.
“What an interesting reaction my boy. The last wand you tried has a very unique core, a phoenix feather. The phoenix who gave that feather gave only one other, just one. It is interesting you have this reaction to this wand, when its brother. Its brother gave you that scar.” Ollivander said pointing finally to the scar on Harry's forehead.
Harry smoothed his bangs down over the mark.
“Well if that’s like … You Know Who's wand. Can I buy it too , so nobody else can? I don’t want to ever touch it again. But I don’t want anyone else using it either.”
“That's a very unusual request my boy. But I think, I think it is a wise one. I'll wrap it very carefully for you.”
“Now back to this oak wand. The core is roc feather. Very strong, very stable. Shrunk down to fit of course, so a core for a very strong wizard. But it doesn't quite seem to fit you yet. I think …. mm a focus crystal might help when your core is more stable. Come back to me in your third year and we'll see if you need to add a focus. In the meantime, keep an eye out for any stone you feel especially drawn to.”
They leave the shop with the two wands, one carefully wrapped and shoved in the bottom of Harry’s bag of packages. Harry is a little nonplussed about the whole thing.
“Well Harry that’s a very promising wand. The oak stands for bravery, power and nobility. A tree of very strong character. And the Roc of course is the King of Birds.” Narcissa paused and smiled at Harry.
“That's great Harry! Mine is olive-wood and unicorn tail-hair. Mother says it means peace and purity” Draco wrinkled his nose at the thought.
“Now Draco” Interrupted a deep voice “Peace is always something to be sought” Harry turned to see a tall man in sleek black robes. White blonde hair pulled back with a black ribbon and from the great silver gray eyes Harry knows at once this must be Draco's father, Lord Malfoy.
“Father.” Draco is smiling widely. He checked himself from rushing forwards, with a self conscious glance at the people nearby and simply steps forward to clasp his fathers hands in his.
“Draco” Lord Malfoy turns and briefly embraces Narcissa “Narcissa. I see you and the boys are well? No further ... incidents?” Lord Malfoys voice is deep and smooth and so very dignified. Harry could never picture him screaming at Draco and he relaxed a tiny fraction.
“Of course not darling. Actually we had just finished at Ollivanders. Lucius, may I introduce to you Duke Lord Harrison James Marcellus Potter-Black-Misslethwaite? Harry this is my husband, Lord Malfoy.”
“I'm quite pleased to meet you Harrison”, extending his hand to Harry
Harry shakes Lord Malfoys hand and bows slightly “I'm very pleased to meet you Lord Malfoy. Please excuse my manners. I might have been better off if I'd been raised by wolves and not muggles”
Narcissa giggled and covered her mouth, startled. “Why Harry”, She says laughingly, one might think you didn't care for your muggle relatives notions of childcare.”
Lord Malfoy smiles, just barely, with one side of his mouth lifting in subtle amusement. “Well Harrison, Narcissa let me know of your predicament. I suggest we retire to Gringotts, to clear up your accounts and I will tell you what happened to Hagrid.” Lord Malfoy gestures with his snake-headed walking stick towards the marble facade of Gringotts.
The party proceeds towards the bank; Harry and Lucius in the lead with Draco gallantly escorting his mother on his arm.
“Is Hagrid hurt? Is he ok?” Harry asked anxiously. The big man had been intimidating but seemed nice. If a little... uncomplicated.
“He will be fine. It seems that after Hagrid left you at the tailors he ducked into a pub in Nocturn Alley for a drink. While he was there, after his second or third drink apparently he bought an illegal dragon egg.” Harry goggled in amazement. An illegal dragon egg?
“However, one of the other patrons was a disguised Auror” Lord Malfoy continued.
“Like a muggle police man Harry”, interjected Narcissa.
“And both Hagrid and the other man were arrested by the Auror. However something happened and for some reason Hagrid fought them. He's been stunned and is awaiting sentencing for illegal trafficking and assault on an Auror, and delinquence from his duties towards you of course”
“Him leaving me was illegal?” asked Harry, puzzled. He'd been left alone dozens of times before and nobody had ever cared
“Of course it was. He was escorting you as an officer of Hogwarts. As a Peer of the Realm and a minor, your safety should have been his top priority. Not getting drunk and buying illegal eggs in a pub.” Lord Malfoys voice was strong and resolute.
“Oh.” said Harry softly. 'Well yes, he could understand that. If a teacher had left a class of kids to go get drunk he'd think they ought to be punished and it was about the same thing.'
“How am I supposed to get back to my relatives tonight then? He was supposed to take me. Oh and he has my Gringotts key too.”
Lucius looked displeased. “Your key should only be in your hands, or your magical guardians or your next of kin. I suppose amongst everything else no one has mentioned a magical guardian to you Lord Harrison?”
“I'm afraid not sir. In fact I only found out I was a wizard yesterday, and a Duke and Lord today. I don't even know where I'm a duke of, or how I can be a duke.” this was all starting to be a bit much for Harry. He had taken it in stride at first. After all 'Harry Yer a Duke!' Wasn't any stranger than 'Harry Yer a wizard' but all together it was a lot to take in.
Lord Malfoy pursed his lips and said with sharp distaste.
“Well Harrison I can say that the handling of your case has been very slipshod. While I was at the Ministry I asked about your guardianship and they could find nothing on file. So the minister himself is looking into it. In the meantime, since I am on the Hogwarts Board of Governors, and the Headmaster is out of the country, if you are willing, my family will look after you for the next few days. Possibly even right til the start of term.” Lucius says it all so smoothly it takes Harry a moment to understand.
“I'm sorry sir, you mean I can stay with Draco and you and your wife til I have to go to school? I don’t have to go back to Surrey?” Harry can hardly believe it. 'Not have to go back to fat Dudley and purple Vernon and sullen snappy Petunia?'
“Indeed Harry. We have plenty of space at the Manor, and from what Narcissa told me you and my Draco seem to get along well. In the meantime the Minister himself is looking into who exactly is your guardian and how you ended up with Muggles. Not the least, why you never received account statements or summons to the wizengamot, as you should have.
They reached Gringotts, the doorway Hagrid had taken them through earlier in the day was round the other side of the bank but Lord Malfoy led them straight up the long low sloped steps at the front of the building, under the great portico. Clusters of people stand about chatting with one another. They seem in no hurry to go anywhere. Occasionally one moves from one conversation to another and sometimes two people break away and go into a shop or into the bank.
At Harry's curious looks, Narcissa leans toward Harry “Gentlemen doing business Harry. Its very common for causal conversation here at the bank to lead to casual business, and so its become a kind of a tradition. It was common with the old Romans as well I understand.”
Lord Malfoy sweeps majestically up to and through the suddenly wide open doors of Gringotts, with Harry a step behind. The goblin guards nod at Lord Malfoy, who ignores them entirely. Glancing at Narcissa, she indicates with a movement of her chin to keep looking ahead and he follows her lead. He has been very grateful for her guidance so far this afternoon.
They sweep right past the line he and Hagrid had stood in that morning in the large open atrium and right past the row of desks and the clerk they had spoken to that morning. They continue through the common lobby to a second set of low steps inside and up and around to a second level. Here there are more finely dressed wizards and some few older witches speaking in clusters. Groups of tall backed armchairs and settees with small tables are also sparsely populated with more wizards with stacks of papers, newspapers and even owl perches with a flutter of owls coming and going over head.
Lord Malfoy continued right to a goblin in a rust colored velvet suit with three bands of gold trim at the collars.
“Honorable Marshal, we are here on behalf of Duke Lord Potter-Black-Misslethwaite, I understand the Lord of The Bank wishes to see him? The Ministry has requested that I, as a member of the Hogwarts Board of Governors, look after him for the next few days, and have appointed me pro tempo guardian at his recognizance.”
The goblin nods and ticks something down in a ledger. “Good Afternoon Lord and Lady Malfoy, Sir Malfoy. Your Grace. Please come this way.” The Marshal hops down from his chair and leads them past the open space and into a large doorway, festooned with more goblin guards. These are, if possible, even brawnier and more heavily armed than the guards downstairs.
They follow the goblin into a large room. There is a large desk, surrounded by shelves, with a clerk on a stool, a tall stand and a perch full of sleepy looking owls. Another desk closer to the massive fireplace, holds a very old very wrinkled goblin.
“Lord and Lady Malfoy, Sir Malfoy, his Grace Duke Potter-Black- Misslethwaite on matters of his Grace's accounts at your request sire.” The Marshal states and then retreats to stand by the door.
The old goblin looks at Harry over his tiny wire framed glasses, perched on the bridge of his nose. “Well young lord. Why have you never responded to your correspondence? We have sent many owls over the years.”
Harry gulps. The goblin sounds very annoyed. “I'm sorry sir, but I have only ever gotten one owl and that was from Hogwarts, just yesterday. I didn't know I was a wizard or a lord or magic or anything. So I'm sorry if I made any trouble.” By now Harry is gulping down a hot rush of tears. He looks down at the floor and his fancy black boots awkwardly shuffling on the carpet, almost wishing it would swallow him up.
The old goblin leans back and puts one hand flat on the top of his desk. “You mean to tell me that you had absolutely no knowledge of your estate and duties? The wizard family raising you had never said?”
Harry looks up, startled. “Wizard family? What wizards? I was raised by my muggle Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. I didn't know wizards existed until yesterday. I didn’t even know my parents names.”
“It was sworn to us that you, Heir Potter, were being raised as befitted your station by Wizards. And also, he said raising his hand to stop Harry's retort “that you refused to answer our letters, saying that 'boring business is for boring goblins'.”
Harry gasped and said hotly “I would never say such a thing! I don't know anything about Goblins but you can't possibly be boring. Muggles are boring! Goblins have magic and banks and business … that’s got to be loads better than a bunch of stupid muggles. And I never got any letters at all. I bet the Dursleys never saw them either or they would have tried to steal my money.”
Harry is now ablaze with fury.
“Whoever said that is a liar! And probably a thief! You didn’t let them take any money from my accounts did you?”
Harry turns to Lord Malfoy. Lord Malfoys eyebrows are nearly hidden in his hairline at this point, he is so surprised. Harry gets the feeling that nothing is happening as the man expects today.
“Did someone tell you I was being raised by Wizards sir?” he demanded, his new manners abandoning him.
“Indeed Lord Potter.” Lord Malfoy said evenly, his face smoothing out to an expression of almost calm except for the very minute tension at the corners of his mouth. “I think you will find in the minutes of the Wizengamot, Headmaster Dumbledore stating that very fact. Indeed, swearing to your safety and happiness in the magical home of your relatives.”
“Well then he was lying! I've never even been in a magic home. Before last Monday I'd never even slept in a proper bed or bedroom. If you have a truth spell or something then use it. I swear I never said anything like that. I never want to go back there.”
Lord Malfoy looks at the goblin. The goblin looks at Lord Malfoy, his withered old face screwed up in an angry and disgusted expression.
“These are very serious allegations Lord Malfoy”
“You heard the boy. He volunteered for Veritaserum if needed. That is not the action of someone with anything to hide.”
“Indeed.” The goblin steepled his fingers and contemplated Harry.
After a moments thought he leaned over and struck a small bell on his desk. Shortly a group of goblins entered the office.
“We have a serious crisis. Please send for the Head Auror and the Minister. Also Lord Potter-Black-Misslethwaite's family solicitors if they still exist. And we will need a dose of Auror class veritaserum from our stores and one from St Mungos.” A considering glance at Harry's thin frame. “And a Master Healer, I think as well.”
He addressed the Malfoys. “Pray be seated. It may take some time. Lady Malfoy, you may take your son home if you wish.”
Harry looks at Draco, who looks stricken and leans towards him. Then they both look pleadingly at Lady Malfoy. Narcissa frowns minutely and looks at her husband. He nods.
“I think it would be best if we stayed. Draco darling, why don't you and Harry have some tea while we talk to the Lord of the Bank?”
Draco pulled Harry to the small sofa by the fireplace. Harry is nearly shaking with anger and fear and some unnamed burning emotion. Draco looks at him and then suddenly hugs him. “Harry it will be okay. My parents will fix this, you'll see.”