In a surprisingly short time, another year had flashed passed. As James watched the last of the graduating students leave the stage to go and celebrate with friends that they had finished school, he just couldn’t believe it. A new school year would be starting in 2 months, and Harry would be sitting amongst the first years.
He wondered how Henry was doing. Since everything happened with Lily he rarely got to see him. At most, he would see him once or twice a year for a few minutes. Usually, it was when Lily wanted to yell at him because Henry had once again been denied the Heir position. On those occasions he was saddened to see the changes in Henry.
The boy was becoming more and more like his mother every year. He was demanding and dramatic. He seemed to think everything should be his regardless of everything else. And, he was becoming just as bigoted and prejudice as Lily was.
James had of course tried to get through to the child, but when he only had such a small amount of time, and Lily was around him constantly, there was little to nothing he could do. The only thing Henry had really wanted from him was the Heir ring and for him to make Lily stop forcing him to attend lessons. And James wasn't willing to do either. If anything, he was glad that Lily had finally decided to teach Henry something.
Every time he saw Henry and Lily he was glad Harry hadn’t had to grow up with them. Harry was clever, respectful, kind, generous, and above all a genuinely good person. James did have to admit to being a bit biased as he was raising the boy, but Sirius and Remus agreed with him so James believed it.
It was sad for him when he couldn’t help but compare the two boys. It always made him feel bad to think the way he was about one of his own children. He had always tried not to play favourites, but now he just couldn’t help it.
While James was conflicted about Harry starting school due to him not wanting his little boy to grow up too quickly, Harry was thrilled. Being as smart as he was was useful, but it also lead to a great deal of boredom. Nothing really challenged him.
He had hope that he would at least have to work hard to achieve his magical goals. After learning that his dad and uncles had achieved their animagus forms by 15, he decided he wanted to do it sooner. He also wanted to master at least one branch of elemental magic and make the quidditch team.
There was just so much he wanted to do that he would actually have to work for, and he couldn’t wait.
Then there was the fact that he was finally going to be able to get his wand. Harry had been completely fascinated by wands ever since he had gone with Jack when she got hers.
With all the restrictions going on in the outside worlds there were a few who had sought out the Valley for its freedom while still operating outside. One such person was Garrick Ollivander. The wands he sold in Diagon were required to only be made from limited ingredients that were still classed as legal. To counter that he opened a shop in the Valley where he could create more experimental and custom wands. Both the shop in the Valley and the one in Diagon were open 3 days a week.
Harry just couldn’t wait for his birthday since his dad had told him they would wait until then to get him his wand.
Harry was woken up as he usually was on his birthday, with Padfoot jumping on him and licking his face. Because this happened every year Harry had taken to making sure he had something for a counter attack ready. This year he had a water pistol filled with sleeping potion.
As Harry expected, as soon as some of the liquid got into Padfoots mouth he collapsed, unfortunately right on top of him. After pushing his dogfather off, Harry grinned.
“Asher, are you ready?” Harry looked to the 7 year old.
“Yup.” Asher held up his bag and ran over to join Harry on his bed.
Remus, Jack, and James could only stand in the door and laugh as they watched Asher and Harry dress the sleeping dog in a hotdog costume. Everyone knew Sirius’s love of puns so it was perfect for him.
Once Padfoot was dressed, Harry gave him the sleeping potion counter. And then, before the potion took full effect he dropped a few drops of a sealing potion onto Padfoots tongue. It would lock Sirius in his Padfoot form for an hour.
Sirius stumbled as he tried to get up, his head all fuzzy. Looking around, he realized where he was and what had happened. He gave his best version of a doggy glare at his godson.
“I think the puppy needs to look in the mirror.” Harry smirked at the disgruntled look on the dogs face.
Sirius knew better than to trust that look. Then he noticed his son was sitting on the bed with them and started panicking. Jumping down he stumbled as he tried to coordinate his four limbs as he ran to Harry’s mirror.
The open mouths shocked look just didn’t work on the face of a dog. Everyone laughed even harder as they saw Sirius’s reaction to seeing himself.
Sirius spun to glare at his godson and his son for a moment before he tried to outsmart them by just shifting back. But it didn’t work.
Harry grinned as he heard the worried whimper come from his godfather. “Don’t worry Padfoot, the potion will wear off in an hour or so. Until then, you get to enjoy being a hotdog.”
“Potion?” James asked his son, trying to suppress his smile to give his son a stern look.
“Oh, I almost forgot.” Harry quickly grabbed the wizarding camera off the side table and took a few pictures of Padfoot as he tried to figure out how to get the costume off and then hid under the bed when he saw the camera. “Yes, I got the sleeping potion and a sealing potion from Severus. He told me the sealing potion would keep my dogfather in his form for an hour or so. But he made me promise to send pictures in lieu of payment.”
James actually fell to the floor as he laughed so hard he cried. Remus wasn't much better. From under the bed they heard Padfoot whimper and then growl.
“I think it’s time for breakfast.” Harry started to leave the room before stopping to whistle. “Come on Padfoot. Come ‘er boy. Don’t worry, Asher has a bowl just for you. We even got your name engraved on it.”
After breakfast was done, and the potion had finally worn off allowing a very disgruntled Sirius to turn back they were getting ready to start their day. Sirius had had a slight problem when he shifted back because he was still in the costume. It had fit the dog, but on the man it was skin tight.
But they didn’t get very far. The year before, when Harry had been going to visit his dad at the school he had found himself drawn back once again to the familiar hall. Morgana and Merlin theorized that because he was once again getting close to his magical maturation he would be able to feel another connection. The purpose of a familiar was to serve to ground a witches or wizards magic. And, since Harry was so powerful, it was only natural that he would need more than one familiar.
He wasn't the only one to have gotten a familiar egg recently either. In recent years everyone else had gotten a familiar other than Asher, and that was only because of his young age. James had a female thestral named Styx, possibly as a throwback to his Peverell heritage or because of the Voldemort attack. Sirius had a troublesome little niffler aptly named bandit, although he also responded to ‘you little thief’. Remus had a miniature zouwu, a cat like creature who could generally be the size of a large elephant but miniature versions only got as big as a horse, his name was Taz after the tasmanian devil Remus had seen on some of the kids cartoons Asher loved. And Jack had a beautiful juvenile thunderbird named Storm.
Everyone was wondering just what kind of creature Harry would get this time. And they were about to find out.
Just as they were getting ready to go and get Harry’s wand, they heard the now familiar cracking sounds that heralded the hatching of a new familiar.
Harry was torn, he really wanted his wand, but he knew he couldn’t just go while his familiar hatched. Turning from the door he went into the sitting room. Taking off the pouch that held the egg he slid the egg out and sat down to watch.
Cally, who at full size had reached the size of an average dog, shrunk herself down to the size of a cat and landed on Harry’s shoulders to watch too. Although the dragon was slowly getting bigger, she still preferred to be small so she could stay around Harry. She was just wondering what kind of creature was going to help her in stabilizing their human.
Like Cally, everyone else gathered around.
It took just over an hour before the egg finally opened. As they had learned with the others, when it came to mammals the egg would crack down the middle and just fall open to expose the baby animal. In this case it was a tiny silver kitten that was revealed, but unlike other kittens this one had soft downy wings coming from his shoulder blades. Other than that the kitten looked like any new born kitten with both its eyes and ears still closed.
“What is with you and the winged animals?” Jack asked.
“Let me see.” Remus cast the same species identifying spell as he had used on Cally. “Hmmm. According to this, this is no ordinary kitten. He is a nemean lion. Normally they don’t have wings, but I guess it’s just one of those oddities that happen around Harry.”
“He’s perfect.” Harry gently picked up the lion cub. He called for one of the elves to bring him a bottle for the kitten.
“And what is his name going to be?” James asked as Harry fed the cub.
“Hunter. It’s a nice simple name.” Harry finished feeding the kitten and tucked him back in the pouch. It was spelled so it would keep him warm and safe while they took care of everything they needed to do that day.
“Hunter it is then.” James smiled. “Now, let’s go get you your wand. I guess it’s a good thing we only planned a simple birthday for you this year, I don’t think you’re going to want to do to much with your baby familiar.”
Harry was practically vibrating as he walked into Ollivander's shop. He was finally getting his wand.
“Ah, Harrison Potter, I have been expecting you.” Garrick stared across his counter at the happy child.
“Hello Mr. Ollivander.” Harry could feel the magic in the air, it felt amazing.
“Will we be trying wands, or would you prefer a wand custom made for you?” Garrick asked.
“Dad?” Harry turned to his father.
“I think a custom wand would be better.” James said. “Then it will match you perfectly rather than just work for you.”
“Then follow me into my workshop.” Garrick lead the group back. “I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of work for you today.”
Harry was confused by that, but just shrugged it off.
“First you must select a wood. Run your hand over the wood samples until you feel your magic connect.” Garrick instructed.
Harry did as he was told until he felt his magic spark over a piece of honey coloured wood.
“Oh, how delightful. Hornbeam.” Garrick smiled. “My own wand is made of hornbeam, and so it is with all due modesty that I state that hornbeam selects for its life mate the talented witch or wizard with a single, pure passion, which will almost always be realized.
Hornbeam wands adapt more quickly than almost any other to their owner’s style of magic, and will become so personalized, so quickly, that other people will find them extremely difficult to use even for the most simple of spells. Hornbeam wands likewise absorb their owner’s code of honour, whatever that might be, and will refuse to perform acts – whether for good or ill – that do not tally with their master’s principles. It makes a particularly fine-tuned and sentient wand.”
Harry smiled, he was always fascinated by wand crafting. “What about the core?”
“Test the cores the same way you did the woods.” Garrick showed him over to the core selection.
This time it took longer. Harry felt a light connection, but it wasn't overly strong. “This feels connected, but not very much.”
Garrick came over and looked down at a red phoenix feather. He knew that feather. It had come from Fawkes, Albus had sent it to him the night after the Samhain attack. Garrick was no fool, he remembered just what wand the Dark Lord had held, and he knew the connection.
When he had made the feather into a wand, it had been paired with holly, but a few years ago, that holly wand had burst into flames. If he hadn’t moved as quickly as he had he could have lost every wand he had.
“That would be because you have a familiar, something rather impressive for your age.” Garrick nodded to the dragon that was wrapped around the childs shoulders. “Familiars serve to balance magic. The phoenix feather serves as the base, but you will need something added from your familiar.”
“Calypso?” Harry turned to look at her.
Calypso jumped gracefully onto the counter.
Garrick examined the dragon who allowed herself to return to her full size. “I know exactly what this wand needs. Calypso, please breathe your fire onto this feather. You all may wish to cover your eyes.”
Everyone watched as Ollivander first put on a pair of dark glasses, and then levitated the feather in front of the dragon before covering their eyes. When Cally breathed her blue flames there was a blinding flash of light. Even with their eyes covered, they still needed to blink a few times before they could see.
Hanging in the air was the red feather covered in blue flames. They could all feel the magic pouring off it.
“As an ice dragon Calypso’s flames turn things to ice rather than ash. The flames are trying to consume and freeze the feather. But this feather comes from a fire phoenix and can never be frozen.” Garrick had a maniacal grin as he moved the burning feather over the open wand and lowered it in. “Because they are opposites they will forever be battling for dominance. The core of your wand shall always be burning. The perfect balance of fire and ice. This shall be a wand like no other.”
Cally jumped back to Harry’s shoulders in her shrunken size to cuddle up, pleased to have helped. Harry pet her gently as he watched the wood close around the burning feather. The honeyed wood taking on the hint of swirling blue and red.
“Give it a try.” Garrick passed the wand over.
Harry took the wand and everyone felt the power. It was like every particle of dust had become statically charged.
“Something is missing.” Garrick said in slight confusion.
“It feels amazing.” Harry assured him.
“No, no, no. Something is definitely missing.” Garrick spun in circles looking around to try and figure it out, but froze when he saw the familiar pouch around the boys neck. “Mr. Potter, do you by chance have another familiar?”
Harry gently placed his hand over the pouch. “Yes, he just hatched this morning.”
“And what pray tell is he?”
“Hunter is a nemean lion.” Harry said. “But he’s just a baby. I don’t think he can give anything for my wand yet.”
“True, familiars can not contribute to a wand until they are at least one as their own magic is not yet stable enough to support yours. But, you shall come and see me again next year and I shall update your wand.” Garrick smiled. “Curious?”
“Excuse me sir, but what’s curious?” Harry questioned.
“I remember every wand I’ve ever sold Mr. Potter.” Garrick stared down at the boy with a penetrating gaze. “It so happens that the phoenix who’s tale feather resides in your wand gave another feather, just one other. It is curious that you should be destined for it, while it’s brother supposedly gave your brother his famous scar.
It would seem, for once, Ms. Skeeter may have actually been correct about something.”
“Quick question, do all wands require a contribution if the witch or wizard has a familiar?” Jack spoke up as a distraction.
“Of course not. A wand will continue to work fine without the contribution. But, for those with familiars the contribution just tailors the wand to them and makes it even more powerful.” Garrick finally looked away from the frozen boy. “Why may I ask are you questioning this? Do you know someone with a familiar that hasn’t bothered to get their wand updated?”
Slowly Jack raised her hand, followed by the three men in the shop. “I don’t think any of us realized we would need to.” Jack smiled bashfully.
“I knew you were going to bring me lots of work today.” Garrick sighed before breaking out in a grin so big it looked like it would hurt. “How delightful.”
“Mr. Ollivander.” James spoke up, his hand gripping his wand at his side, ready to react if he needed to. “About Harry’s wand core.”
“No need to worry.” Garrick assured him. “I never give out peoples wand specifics. And the stories people believe are none of my business. No, my business is wand craft, not gossip. And to that end, shall we get to work.”
When they got home that evening everyone was tired. After leaving Ollivanders they had spent the day just enjoying the Valley. There had been quidditch games, and football games in the park. They had gone exploring in the woods to see what they could find. But mostly, it was just about having fun and enjoying where they were.
And they still had to eat cake and open presents. Harry had been getting little presents all day long from the people that he met, but it was just little things. Everyone in town already knew that Harry didn’t like overly exaggerated displays so they tried to avoid it. There were always a few who went big in the hopes that it would help them get in good with the future King, but they were few and far between.
The good thing was they didn’t even have to worry about Harry getting his invitation to Hogwarts so he could just focus on the school he actually wanted to attend. According to Severus who had checked the book for them after his return, Lily had removed Harry’s name. Since his name wasn't in the book Harry didn’t even have to refuse his acceptance, something he was glad for as it meant they wouldn’t have his address.
Just as everyone was getting ready to head to bed, Sirius called for Harry’s attention. “There’s one last present for you Harry.”
“But you already gave me my present.” Harry said in confusion.
“I know, but the other day when I visited Diagon Alley something caught my eye, and she wasn't going to let me leave without her.” Sirius went into the kitchen and came back out carrying a cage with a beautiful snowy owl. “I know you already got one new animal today, but you haven’t yet got an owl.”
“She’s beautiful.” Harry walked over and let the owl out of her cage. She flew up and rested on his shoulder, not paying any attention to Cally.
“At least she likes you.” Sirius smiled. “The man who sold her to me said she kept biting and clawing everyone who tried to buy her. But, she jumped on my head as soon as I entered the shop and refused to let me leave. She just kept digging her claws in until I took the hint. Guess she just wanted me to bring her to you.”
Harry smiled and held out his arm for the owl to hop over to. The owl and Cally instantly got into a staring contest. But it didn’t last long. The two seemed to understand one another and gave each other a small nod before looking away.
“You have the weirdest animals.” Asher muttered to his cousin before he stumbled off to find his bed.
For Henry, his birthday was both great and annoying. Once again he was denied for being the family heir, but his dad had had the goblin give him his birthday present. The present had been decent, but so much of what he was given was stuff for school, including a new quill set and potions prep books. Those just weren’t interesting.
He had really wanted another new broom. He couldn’t stand the fact that he wasn't going to be allowed to have his broom at school with him for the first year. But he and Ron were already making plans to just sneak their brooms in anyways.
While they were at the bank Henry and Lily ran into Hagrid who had been sent there to collect something for Albus. Lily had suggested that Henry go down to the vault with Hagrid since Henry had never gotten to ride in the carts before as Lily always just demanded the money be sent up since she hated those carts. Henry had actually enjoyed the ride and Hagrid had poorly tried to distract him from what he was there to pick up.
After leaving the bank his mum took him shopping for the school things his dad was to cheap to get him. The only thing that really annoyed him was the fact that the wand shop was closed so he couldn’t even get his first wand that day. His mum had talked with Dumbledore and they had tried to force the wand maker to open up specially for his birthday, but the man hadn’t listened to them.
It aggravated Henry to no end that anyone would dare deny him. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, he deserved to get what he wanted. His mum always told him that.
Two days later, after the usual meeting with his father at the bank where his mum yelled at him for denying Henry the Heir ring, Henry finally got to go and get his wand. The headmaster was even going to meet them in the shop just to make sure the stupid wand maker knew he was in trouble for denying him, Henry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived.
“Hello Headmaster.” Lily said cheerfully as they made their way through the crowds. She pitched her voice higher to gather attention, everyone should be paying attention, her little boy, the Boy-Who-Lived was getting his wand.
“Ah, hello Lily, Henry. Lemon Drop?” Albus offered a sweet to the boy who greedily took two. “I remember when I made this trip myself long ago. Are you excited to get your first wand Henry?”
Henry knew the game well, they were making sure the press could hear everything. “Of course. Although, it isn’t really my first wand. I’ve had one for training and practice for years, you know that since you were the one training me.”
Albus smiled at the boy, Lily had trained him well. Now everyone knew that Albus was training their hero. “Yes yes, but this is a wand just for you. The one you have been using is just a generic one, your skill has moved well beyond that now.”
Lily laughed happily, making sure to show off her best side for the photographer she had spotted as she reached down to lay a hand on her sons shoulder. “Let’s get you your wand. It’s just too bad he decided to stay closed on your birthday.”
“Indeed. After you two.” Albus held open the door for mother and son.
“Ah, young Mr. Potter. I wondered when I would be seeing you. Seems only yesterday your mother and father were in here buying their first wands.” Garrick started to say, but was cut off.
“I would have been here on my birthday but you wouldn’t open.” Henry sneered, there were no press in here so he didn’t have to play nice. “Now, get me my wand. Headmaster Dumbledore says it’s holly and phoenix feather.”
“The wand chooses the wizard Mr. Potter. You can not simply demand what you want.” Garrick said, he couldn’t help but compare this arrogant child to his kindhearted brother.
“That is the wand for him Garrick.” Albus assured. “It really was a disappointment that you couldn’t be bothered to be open for Henry’s big day.”
“Yes, well… I’m sure you are well aware of all these new restrictions brought in by the Wizengamot. It makes things hard on all business owners in the Alley. Unfortunately in a bid for control they are doing more damage than good, I’m sure you’ll speak with them about it. After that travesty that occurred at the bank I’m sure the goblins will be up in arms about it.” Garrick gave the other man a cool look.
With all the laws Albus had helped to pass the Alley was changing. Since the goblins were now required to have auror guards they could only be open when there were aurors. But, the ministry had restricted the hiring of new aurors, leaving them with a shortage. Because of that Gringotts was only open 8 hours a day, 5 days a week rather than the 24/7 that they had used to work.
On Henry’s birthday Gringotts had been robbed. The goblins were blaming the Ministry for the fact that the thief managed to get away. Since they weren’t allowed to have goblin guards in the main area it had been the aurors who had failed. The ministry was struggling to come up with excuses as to how the very first successful robbery to ever occur in Gringotts happened when they were in charge of security.
There was also all kinds of paperwork and inspections that needed to be done in the shops to verify the origin of the supply for materials and to assure they weren’t using anything dangerous. Every single package Garrick got now had to be inspected. Even the origin of the ingredients used in Fortescue’s ice cream needed to be checked. Many shops now had to close for at least one day a week more just to do the paperwork.
“Of course.” Albus forced a smile. “Now, about Henry’s wand. It’s the holly wand I assure you.”
“Let’s see.” Garrick went and grabbed a random holly wand, he wasn't going to betray the younger Potter boy to Albus, the child had already earned his loyalty and he didn’t want to expose him to the kind of people that had raised his brother. “Here it is. Holly and phoenix feather. Pick it up and give it a wave.”
Henry smiled as he picked up the wand but it felt slimy under his fingers. When he waved it the vase of flowers shattered.
“I guess not.” Garrick took it back and indicated the other wands he had collected that he thought might be better for the child. “Give these a try, I think they might suit you better.”
“No, that’s his wand.” Lily insisted.
“No, it isn’t.” Garrick said, putting the wand back in its box and placing it under the desk.
“Garrick…” Albus said. He knew that had to be the wand for Henry, but it clearly hadn’t worked.
“I heard that you had a practice wand Mr. Potter.” Garrick looked to the child.
“Yes, I’ve been using it for years.” Henry smirked proudly.
“And what are the properties of that wand?”
“It’s aspen and unicorn.” Albus said, it was just an old wand he had taken from his brother when they had been kids.
“Then his core may simply have tuned itself to that. It is one of the reasons it is discouraged for a child to use a wand until they are old enough. Not only can it risk the cores development, but it can make it overcompensate at a time when it can’t.
For now, because of his previous wand use Mr. Potter will be incapable of using that particular wand. He will need a wand that will allow his core to shift back into the appropriate alignment, something that may take years if he has been using that wand for any length of time. He may come back and try that wand again once his core is more stable and mature. Until then, he needs to get a different wand.
You of all people should understand why children are not supposed to use a wand until they are 11 Albus, it’s why students can’t attend school until that time.” Garrick raised a bushy eyebrow at the man. “Try the wands Mr. Potter.”
Lily was furious. That was supposed to be Henry’s wand. Albus had assured her of that.
Henry was annoyed, but also glad he wasn't going to have to use that wand, it felt wrong.
It took 20 minutes, and multiple broken things, but Henry eventually found his wand. Henry picked up a brown tinged wand and it emitted a soft light.
“Well done Mr. Potter. 12 ¾ inches. Hazel wood and unicorn hair. Hazel wands are known to be very sensitive and respond to its holders emotional state.” Garrick smiled.
Lily huffed, but paid for the wand. Henry was going to need one if he was to show everyone just how great he was.
She was excited that Henry was going to be starting school. But that also meant that her little boy was going to be leaving her.
Although, he wasn't going to be that far from her. She had spoken with Albus about it, and he had agreed to hire her. Starting in September she would be the assistant to the headmaster and would have quarters in the school.
It would allow her to be at the school whenever she wanted to be so she could make sure no one was picking on her baby boy because he was so much better than them.