The Muggle alarm clock sitting on his night-stand went off, rousing Harry from his slumber. Sitting up and rubbing his eyes, he cast his eyes around his bedroom, before picking up his spectacles and putting them on.
He sometimes felt like he was still dreaming, and that he’d wake up any day in the dark cupboard of his past. But the same Muggle rock band posters adorned his walls, wixen and Muggle books on his bookshelf, with his small collection of vinyl records tucked neatly on the far side of the shelving, and his Firehook Mk.2 perched in the corner– comfortable reminders that it wasn’t all just a very pleasant dream.
Casting aside his blanket and slipping on his favourite pair of slippers, he made his way downstairs. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he could hear the gentle sizzle of breakfast in the kitchen. In the sitting room, ‘Mum’ was reading a book quietly, before she peered up at him. Due to the clear linguistic issues of calling them both Mum or Mother, nicknames had been made.
Minerva was very specifically the most maternal of his two guardians, insisting on adopting the mother moniker as soon as Harry felt comfortable addressing her that way (she certainly did not want to step on the toes of one of her favourite students, even posthumously), while Rolanda simply didn’t care if he came up with a cute name for her, instead insisting that she didn’t want Harry to be afraid to tell her anything. She ended up becoming Lala to Harry, a cutesy name that gave Rolanda an immense amount of embarrassment.
“Good morning, Harry. Happy birthday,” Minerva said with a smile. “I can’t believe you’re turning eleven this year! Goodness, and to think I remember Lily’s first day of Hogwarts… I wish both James and Lily were here to see what a sweet young man you’ve become.”
“Oh, Mum,” Harry said, smiling. “Where’s Lala?”
“She said she had some errands to run this morning–for what I’ve not the slightest. Once she returns, we’ll open your presents, as well as your Hogwarts letter, but I promised Rollie I’d wait before we did that. In the meantime, breakfast!”
Harry’s birthday breakfast was always something traditionally Scottish, and always heart-stopping. Minerva was rather health-conscious and often didn’t allow heavy foods in her household during the summer, mostly due to the rich diet all three of them lived on at Hogwarts during the remaining months of the year.
After the heavy celebratory breakfast was consumed, Harry returned to his bedroom to read for a little bit before Lala returned from her errands. While he did have some wixen books adorning his shelf, he decided the comfort of one of his novels would give him the kind of comfort and relaxation on such an energetic day. He certainly felt like he was going to vibrate a hole in the floor from how excited he was.
But reading about the skillful Matilda Wormwood and her own control of magic did very little to assuage Harry’s happy jitters.
A couple hours later, Minerva appeared in his doorway to announce that Rolanda had returned, and so he rushed downstairs, where the silver-haired flying instructor was setting some bags down, dusting her hands.
“Lala!” Harry chirped, jumping down the last couple steps onto the ground, floating his way down. He bolted over and hugged her, causing the woman to chuckle loudly and ruffle his hair.
“Well, hello to you, little one. How are you?”
“Even better now that you’re home! Now come on, I wanna read my Hogwarts letter!” He said, pulling his other guardian’s hand towards the couch.
“Alright, alright, my, you’re full of energy this morning,” Rolanda said, amused.
“It’s Hogwarts, Lala!” Harry said, grinning ear to ear.
The family made their way to the couch, before Minerva went to retrieve Harry’s letter from the mail slot. Harry had been very patiently waiting for his Hogwarts letter– the muggleborns got theirs an indeterminate number of days or weeks in advance due to the fact that Minerva typically needed to be on hand to explain the concepts of magic and assuage the concerns of Muggle parents who were shocked or dismayed to learn their children were, in fact, wixen.
Presenting the letter to Harry, Harry peered at the glossy, green ink on the envelope.
Mr. Harry James Potter,
First Bedroom at the Top of the Stairs on the Right
Flipping the letter over, he peered at the wax seal bearing the coat of arms of Hogwarts. Decorated with a snake, badger, lion and a raven; the motto “Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus” was etched deep into the wax. Harry smiled and gently peeled the seal up, opening the letter. Pulling the paper out, he was going to read it, but quickly forked it over to Minerva, covering his face.
“Too excited to read it? No problem, Harry,” Minerva said with a smile.
“Dear Mr. Potter,” She said, intentionally laying her brogue thickly to give an air of importance. “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. The term begins on the first of September; we await your owl no later than the thirty-first of July. Yours sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress. Of course, you’re already sorted out where the response is concerned.”
She handed the papers back to Harry, who peered at the lists with interest. After reading it all the way through, he smiled. “I’ve got a couple of these books already!”
“Yes, you do, I most certainly would not have any son of mine going into Hogwarts without some rudimentary knowledge of Transfiguration, even if it is just understanding what it is. I am sure you’ll enjoy your time at Hogwarts much as nearly every student does,” Minerva said, a smile crossing her face. “Though, Harry, I must tell you–while we’re at Hogwarts, you must learn to divide the times when I am your mother, and the times when I am your teacher, do you understand?”
“Of course, Mum,”
“If you end up in Gryffindor, well… We’ll have to figure that out when we get to it, I suppose,” Minerva shrugged.
“But enough of the negativity,” Rolanda said loudly, standing up. “We’ve gotta dash and take Harry to get the things he needs, of course!”
“Ah, yes, how silly of me– of course!” Minerva said, a pleased expression on her face.
One of the conditions imposed upon Harry’s adoption, was that he be kept away from major centres of wixen communities for the time being. While Wulver’s Hollow was fine, given the small nature of the hamlet, he had largely been kept away from Diagon Alley and the bustling heart of wixen London that accompanied it. However, today was the day that would change. Unlike the pureblood assortments who would go shopping for school supplies in full robes, the fact was that it was still the middle of summer, even in the Highlands of Scotland.
The day prior had seen the hottest day of the year in London, with the Muggle Met Office reporting temperatures as high as 28. While today was slightly cooler at 24, it was still far too warm to bustle around the packed Diagon Alley in fur-lined robes; those kind of things were best suited for the biting Scottish winters.
And so it was that Harry and his mothers travelled by floo from their hearth to the Leaky Cauldron, wearing their normal muggle faire. They didn’t exactly stick out, the pub was full of numerous half-blood and muggleborn parents and children milling about, including the normal set of visitors who spent their days deep in the well of fire-whiskey, unable to crawl out. Making their way towards the entrance to Diagon Alley, the barkeep beamed with recognition at Minerva.
“Oh, pleasure to see ya, Professor McGonagall. What brings ya here this morn’?”
“Taking my young charge here shopping for his Hogwarts supplies, Tom.” Minerva said, beaming.
Tom’s eyes darted to the obvious annoying thing on Harry’s forehead. “Bless my soul,” Tom breathed.
“Yes,” Minerva interrupted. “We’re trying to not cause a spectacle Tom, if you would mind keeping your mouth closed, of course.”
“Naturally, Professor. Blimey, uh, it sure is a pleasure to meet ya, Harry. Never thought I’d get such an opportunity,” He extended a hand to Harry, who took it quietly and gave him a nod.
Making their way into Diagon Alley after Rolanda took point on opening it up, Harry looked at his two parents.
“Why was he so surprised to see me?”
“Ah, well, Harry, we’ve been keeping a few things from you over the years, mostly to keep you safe from prying eyes. I promise we’ll explain everything once we’re back home, but for now, we’ve got much to do.”
The first stop of the shopping trip was not to the ice cream parlour, bookstore, wand shop or robe shop, but instead to Gringotts. The large, warped building stood like Colossus over the central corridor of Diagon Alley, the unique, yet bizarre architecture being the centre focus. It didn’t help that wizards were pouring in and out of the building like clockwork. As they approached, Minerva explained.
“Gringotts is the central bank for wixen in Britain; the goblins who run this institution hold our wealth for us in vaults, at varying degrees of security,” She said, with a smile. As they entered the foyer of the bank, Minerva dug around her pants pocket before pulling out a small set of brass keys. Approaching the first open teller available, the hook-nosed goblin peered down at them.
“May I help you?” He asked, his voice low and gravelly.
“Harry Potter would like to make a withdrawal,” Minerva replied crisply, setting one of the brass keys on the table. The goblin peered at it and nodded. “Of course, Deputy Headmistress. Right this way,” The goblin hopped down from his perch, and escorted them into a narrow hallway, before emerging on the other side in a mineshaft. A large, very tall man was standing nearby with another goblin.
“Professor McGonagall?” The man said, surprised. “And Madame Hooch!”
The two women turned and broke out into large grins. Minerva walked forward and hugged the man. “Rubeus, such a pleasure to see you again. What brings you all the way to Gringotts?”
“Ah, Hogwarts business for Professor Dumbledore, can’t speak much more about it,”
Minerva nodded. “Ah yes, Professor Dumbledore and I have already had this conversation,” She said, shaking her head. “Well, I’ll leave you to your work, Rubeus,”
“It was good to see you, Professor,” Rubeus said with a smile before he caught sight of Harry peering up at him from Rolanda’s side.
“Blimey! This ain’t Harry Potter, now is it? You’re a bit smaller than I imagined, but I haven’t seen ye since ye were a wee tyke!”
“Indeed,” Minerva said with a smile. “Isn’t he a wonderful young man?”
Harry flushed some and hid further behind Rolanda.
“Shy one, isn’t he? No matter, Harry, come see me at my shack for tea when the year starts up, I’m sure yer mum won’t mind too much,” He said, smiling broadly.
He climbed into the large mine cart that had arrived, and with his goblin minder, disappeared into the depths of Gringotts. Another mine cart arrived.
“Step forward,” the goblin said, as they loaded into the cart. Making sure they were secured, he nodded. “Hold on tight, please,” the goblin said, and with a flip of a switch, the cart shot off like a bullet into the depths of the mine.
They winded down the track before they came to a halt some minutes later.
“Vault 687,” The goblin proclaimed. Stepping out of the cart, he handed the lamp to Rolanda and accepted the brass key from Minerva. Wiggling with the lock and then the door, it slowly opened to reveal a small mountain of gold coins.
Minerva said, “Harry, this is your trust vault, left by James and Lily before their untimely passing. The contents within belong to you, but they’re under trustee to ensure that you don’t go and spend it all.”
“I’d never be able to spend all this, I don’t even want to know how much is in there,” Harry said, marvelling at the assembled wealth.
“We’ll withdraw enough for your supplies and then some pocket money, but other than that, the remainder will become yours when you turn seventeen,” Minerva said, before handing her charge a black velvet coin purse. “Go ahead and grab a couple handfuls, that should be plenty.”
Taking a couple handfuls of coins, Harry and his guardians departed the bank with heavier pockets than they arrived. Stepping back out into the chaos of Diagon Alley, they decided their first trip should be to the robe shop.
Madame Malkin’s Robes for All Occassions was a delightfully designed place. High-hanging lights and over a dozen mirrors, Harry peered around, taking in the new environment. There were numerous displays showing off fanciful wizard’s robes, along with Hogwarts uniforms, indicating the finest quality design in all of Britain–not that there was much in the way of competition. Harry simply stared at some of the mannequins before he noticed the older, stocky woman standing by a doorway heading into the interior of the building.
“Ah, another first year. Well, come on, jump up on the platform then and we’ll get you all taken care of, dear,” Madame Malkin said with a warm smile.
Harry jumped up onto the small platform and magical instruments floated towards him, taking measurements of seam, inseam, along with other things. Madame Malkin peered at the piece of parchment that a quill, occasionally murmuring to herself as she whisked into the back for more fabrics. As she waited for all the measurements and sizing to complete, she engaged herself deep in a conversation with Minerva and Rolanda in the far side of the room, leaving Harry alone on the platform.
Harry soon departed the store, having a whole bunch of new robes and a school uniform, complete with the pre-sorting grey accents that would magically turn the right shade of colour as soon as he was sorted into his new house.
They moved next door to Amanuensis Quills to acquire an assortment of standard, school-ready quills. Harry found a couple extra ones that he thought were interesting, for his own personal use when he wasn’t in classes or tests. Passing down the alley to Potage’s Cauldron Shop, Harry passed by Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Quidditch had been a quick “love” for him, given the manner in which Rolanda and Minerva seemed to adore the sport. He’d been flying brooms since he was old enough to mount them, and believed himself quite adept. Mounted in the window was the brand new Nimbus 2000, a shiny broom that had been touted well in Quidditch magazines for the better part of the year.
“Lala, look!” Harry said, staring deeply at the Nimbus. “The new Nimbus 2000!”
“Oh, wow, did they finally release the bloody thing?” Rolanda said, looking at the broom through the window. “I doubt it can beat the top speed of my Starstreaker, they don’t make Quidditch brooms like they used to, the spellwork is much sloppier.”
“I can’t believe that they don’t let first years play Quidditch…” Harry said, frowning.
“I know, love, but think about it – when tryouts come up your second year, you’ll be crack top of the talent pool. I doubt many children have as much exposure to the sport as you do,” Rolanda said, gently patting her ward on the back. “Now come along, Minnie’ll be cross if we fall behind.”
After acquiring his standard sized pewter cauldron, and then jaunting across the alley to get his supplies from the Apothecary, the “main act” was of course, Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
The building that housed it was gnarled, and looked the most ancient out of all the shops in Diagon Alley– except for perhaps Gringotts. Harry and his mothers entered the front door of the shop, setting off a tingling bell from seemingly nowhere. The air inside felt stale, but heavy with powerful magic. A man emerged from the shop’s interior, and settled on Harry with a smile.
“Ah, Mister Potter. I’d wondered when I’d be seeing you– it seems like it was just yesterday your parents were in here buying their first wands. Ten-and-one-quarter inches long, made of willow with a unicorn tail hair core; that was your mother’s. As for your father, mmm,” the old man recollected fondly. “Eleven inches long, pliable, excellent for transfiguration, made of very fine mahogany.”
He smiled. “I’ve been waiting to take a shot at finding your natural pair. Now, step up, my lad, let’s see what you’ve got,” he said, his grin widening.
Harry stepped forward, and Ollivander nodded.
“Now,” Ollivander said, “What’s your dominant arm? Are you a left-handed sort, or a right-handed sort?”
“Left, sir,” Harry said, extending his left arm out for the old man to look at. The old man gently took the boy’s wrist and turned his hand over and peered at it for a moment before dashing into the back of the store. He emerged with a set of wands, each one didn’t give a whole lot of gumption, except for a slight warm tingle up his left arm which faded as quickly as it arrived.
Wand after wand was discarded, with Ollivander tutting and looking increasingly frustrated with each failed result.
Finally, Ollivander looked at Harry carefully before walking to the back of the shop and returning with another wand, this one not in a small cardboard box, but instead in a much finer one.
“Eleven inches; holly; phoenix feather core,” Ollivander recited.
Harry gently picked up the wand, and felt a brief sizzle of warmth, before the wand exploded, sending small fragments of holly around the room. Everyone was staring, dumbstruck.
“Erm, is this normal, Garrick?” Minerva asked, staring at the spot where the wand had once been in Harry’s hands.
“Curious,” Ollivander murmured. “I thought that wand would be a perfect fit… I must say I am at a loss for words, I have never seen that happen before in all the years I’ve been making wands…”
A frown settled on his face and he rubbed his chin appreciatively.
“Let’s try some other wands then,” Ollivander proclaimed, before disappearing into his stock.
Another salvo of wands all failed of varying degrees–some either didn’t meet the expectation of Ollivander, or exploded like the holly wand did. After another six wands, Ollivander shook his head and sat down at his counter.
“I am at a loss, Mister Potter. You seem to be defying expectations in that I do not believe I have a single wand that can work with you,” He said, apologetically.
“What are you saying, Garrick?” Minerva said quietly.
“There is no wand in my keep that Mister Potter would be able to use with any level of expertise. Every wand we try has ultimately refused to allow Potter to take mastery. I will require some investigation into this strangeness before I can try to make him another wand.”
“But, how will he do anything at Hogwarts without one?” Rolanda asked, folding her arms.
“None of my wands will do him much good anyway. The first spell he does could cause serious harm to himself and others. I will not sell him a wand. Good day.” Ollivander said, before returning to the back of his shop.
As he sat down at his workbench, he could hear the sound of a child crying. Frowning deeply, he reached up for a book on his mantle, and began to read. He had never been defeated by a child’s magic before! He was Garrick Ollivander, and he would find out the truth!
Or die trying.
Back in Diagon Alley, the morose, crying eleven year old had been taken to Florian Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, and had got a free parfait from the proprietor, while the two older women attempted to console their adoptive son.
“We’ll talk to Professor Dumbledore, and see what we can be done, Harry,” Minerva said, trying to reassure her child. “There must be some explanation for all this madness.”
“Maybe I’m not a wizard after all,” Harry said glumly, stabbing his ice cream.
“Nonsense,” Minerva said. “You’re not a squib, Harry. We will talk to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can sort this entire affair out.”
A trip to Flourish and Blotts was almost as bad as taking a Muggle of comparable age to Harry into a candy store. Harry bounced around shelf to shelf looking at various books. Ultimately, beyond the simple basic materials he’d gotten for school, Minerva had gotten him Intermediate Transfiguration, with the sole promise he not try any of the practical spells inside without her supervision. The last thing she wanted was for her son to be grievously injured or maimed by a botched transfiguration accident. Harry had some exposure to A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration, but had only seen theoretical things, not practicals.
He had gone further and acquired many other books that struck his fancy, racking up quite a large number that he would have to store somewhere.
After purchasing a sizable trunk with folding compartments to store Harry’s new collection of books, they left Flourish and Blotts significantly lighter in coinage. Their final stop of the day was Magical Menagerie, with the intent of buying Harry a new companion. An owl, a cat or a frog were what was permitted on Hogwarts’ grounds, with some exceptions being made relative to family history and familiars. As they walked the lines of animals, Minerva briefly recalled one of the Weasley boys getting her permission to keep a rat. Grubby little thing with a missing toe, she shook her head in remembrance.
Harry on the other hand, was trying to find a new companion, but nothing was immediately jumping out at him. The owls were all very bland looking, all some degree of grey or brown. Harry had inquired about something unique in the owlery section, but the shopkeep simply shook her head.
“Unfortunately, my lad, someone adopted the snowy owl we ’ad. We don’t get breeds like that in very of’n, they’re quite rare in Britain.”
Harry felt that an owl would be useful for sending letters, but… He could just use the Hogwarts Owlery, or even use one of his mothers’ owls.
Dismissing frogs outright– he actually hated frogs, he moved into the feline section. Immediately, one of the animals caught his eye. A bright orange cat with a face that looked like it had run into the wall longways, was eyeing him patiently. The penetrating eyes were very familiar to Harry, but he wasn’t sure where.
Approaching the orange cat, he peered at it very carefully before calling back the shopkeep.
The woman peered at the cat and said, “Oi, that one? He’s been here ages, surprised he hasn’t joined the choir invisible just yet. Most cats don’t last nearly as long as that one’s been ’ere unless they’re part-kneazle. Smart little buggers, like that one.”
“Hmm,” Harry said. “How much do you want for him?”
“Him? Shoot, I’ll give ’er to ya for a bargain, just to get that blasted thing out of my shop,” The woman said, before turning to one of her aides. “Oi, c’m over here and help me get this bloody thing out.”
The aide came over, and the shopkeeper went to open the cage. As soon as she did, the orange cat bounced out of it, and straight into Harry’s arms. As soon as they made contact with each other, the cat was purring a thousand miles an hour, rubbing his head against Harry’s chest with affection.
“Blimey, he likes you,” The woman breathed. “He’s never that friendly to strangers.”
“How long as he been here?” Harry asked, gently scratching the cat’s head.
“Oh… I dunno, ‘bout a decade? S’me tall feller brought ’im in to be adopted, said the original owner wouldn’t be needin’ ’im no more.” She said with a shrug.
“I see,” Harry said before shrugging. “I’ll take him anyway.”
After a quick transaction and a bidding of adieu, Harry was now the proud owner of a new, bright orange half-kneazle. The cat was content as could be in Harry’s possession, eventually quieting down and pensively looking around at the world outside from his new master’s arms.
Minerva and Rolanda, for their part, were surprised at Harry’s choice, but were quite surprised at how friendly and inviting the cat was towards Harry. The cat briefly bristled at his exposure to new people, keeping true to the shopkeeper’s claim that the cat was suspicious of new people, but was quick to offer a reconciliation headbutt to the two women.
And so, after a long day of shopping and acquiring school supplies and the like, Harry, his mothers, and his new companion returned home to Wulver’s Hollow, with eager anticipation of the school term ahead.