Chapter 5 - The Outside World
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Chapter 5 - The Outside World
The following Thursday after Dumbledore's visit, Harry was surprised by how little his life had changed. He'd learned that the people closest to him had been keeping secrets about him, although he understood why, he thought it would change his perspective on everything. But it hadn't. Very little had changed.
"Harry, are you ready?" Lily called from the living room. It was her day off and they were going to Diagon Alley to buy his school things.
"Coming." He replied. This was the only that had changed, now that he knew he was famous, he was nervous about the outside world. What if people stared at him? Well, he thought, at least it would be good preparation for Hogwarts.
"No hat today?" Harry asked his mother when he made his way downstairs.
"Funny." Lily replied, smiling. She was relieved he could make jokes about these things. "You first." She said as she handed him some silver powder that was purposely kept over the fire place.
Harry dropped it into the flames clearly saying, "Diagon Alley!" He was engulfed in the familiar spinning, bashing his elbows on odd fireplaces and trying very hard not to be sick. When the spinning slowed he braced himself and stepped out in to a bustling street, steadying himself before falling on his face. Lily arrived moments later, departing more elegantly.
She brushed the ash off the bottom of her robes. "Right poppet, where to first?"
"Erm," Harry smiled, looking down the narrow cobbled street. He knew exactly where he wanted to go first.
"Why don't we do your wand last?" Lily said reading his mind. "Do all the boring spell books first. Do you have your list?"
"Ok." Harry said ruefully.
Before they could go in any shop, they needed to visit their vault. This was always Harry's favourite part of Diagon Alley, speeding through the underground on a little cart. Lily told him it was like a rollercoaster, a type of muggle amusement. They entered the wide, ornate bank and walked straight into Hagrid.
"Hello there!" He beamed happily. "Doing your Hogwarts shop Harry?"
"Yeah." He replied cheerfully. "What are you doing here Hagrid?"
"Hogwarts business," he tapped his nose twice and winked. "On an errand specially for Dumbledore."
"What's he got you doing?" Lily asked politely.
Unconsciously, Hagrid pulled a small parcelled package out of his pocket and put it back more securely. This wasn't missed by either Potter. "Can' tell you tha' Lily." Hagrid shook his head. "Secret Hogwarts business, yeh know?"
"Of course," Lily nodded.
"James not with you?" Hagrid was suddenly keen to change the subject, Harry's eyes were looking directly at his pocket, which was just above his eyeline.
"He's at work." Harry answered. "Mum prefers it when he doesn't come because we spend hours in the quidditch store."
Hagrid laughed. "Yeh know Harry, firs' years aren' allowed broomsticks."
"I know." Harry said miserably. "But I wish they were."
"And on that note," Lily squeezed Harry's shoulders. "We'd better crack on, see you soon Hagrid."
"See yeh," Hagrid waved happily and went on his way.
"What do you think was in his pocket?" Harry immediately asked his mother.
"I don't know," Lily said truthfully. "Dumbledore always has his hands in a lot of pies." And on that enigmatic note they proceeded to their vault.
The rest of the day went quite slowly in Harry's opinion, he trailed behind his mother in the bookshop, the potions supply shop and had to be dragged away from Quality Quidditch Supplies by Lily insisting, "You're not allowed a broom in first year!"
"Eugh." Harry moaned. "I hate being measured for robes."
Harry wasn't exactly sure what Lily muttered but it sounded a lot like, "just like your father."
"I don't have to come with you," Lily said patiently. She knew children, especially boys, didn't always appreciate their mothers hovering over them, so she was giving him space. He was leaving in a few weeks anyway, the separation was starting whether she was ready or not. "I'll get ice cream and wait. Remember, Harry, plain black."
"Well I'm not going to get pink." He smiled and walked away. The bells above the door tinkled as he walked in. Harry walked to the counter but there was no one there, Madam Malkin was already fitting another boy, with sleek blond hair and a pointed chin.
Lily watched the shop vigilantly. Normally she was a very patient person, but she was always anxious when Harry was out of her sight. She was really going to get control of that. It'd been twenty minutes. Lily wasn't immediately aware that another mother was doing the exact same thing, until Narcissa Malfoy ran forward to greet her son as he left the shop. She caught Lily's eye briefly, and Lily felt a little burning of rage. Horrible woman. Lily had forgotten that their sons were the same age.
She was still fuming over all the things that made the Malfoys such awful people that she didn't realise Harry was stood in front of her, trying to get her attention.
"Mum?" He repeated. "Diagon Alley to Lily?"
She blinked and looked up at him. "Sorry, I was miles away." She handed him his ice cream.
"There was an awful boy in front of me." Harry told her. "Really arrogant, told me that I'd better be in Slytherin."
"Really?" Lily enquired, though she had a shrewd idea who that boy may be. "What did you say?"
"That I'd rather be put in Hufflepuff than Slytherin."
"Harry, there's nothing wrong with Hufflepuff! I don't know where you've got that idea from." That wasn't entirely true. The ideas had come from James and Sirius.
"Neville thinks he'll be in Hufflepuff."
"Does he?" Lily shook her head, she knew exactly where Neville would have gotten that idea from. "His parents were in Gryffindor. I bet he's much more like them than he thinks, despite what his Grandmother may say."
Harry didn't reply. They'd finally gotten to the place he'd been dying to go to ever since he could remember.
"Go on then." Lily nudged him.
"Are you not coming?" Harry said in surprise.
Lily smiled knowingly. "It's something that every witch and wizard has to do on their own. You'll see."
Harry was even more excited. He went into the shop without glancing back. Ollivanders was much quieter than any other shop on the street. It was full of boxes upon boxes, of what Harry assumed to be, wands. An old man came out of the back and stared at Harry for a moment before smiling. He was the first person to recognise Harry all day, and it made him feel very uncomfortable.
"Ah yes," said the man. "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon. Harry Potter."
On the morning of Friday 31st of July, Sirius was sat at work pondering over some information he had just received.
"What's a matter with you?" James asked, peering over his cubicle.
"Nothing, nothing." Sirius replied, trying to sound casual. "Just daydreaming."
James didn't challenge him and went back to his own work.
Sirius sat there for another ten minutes before finding a memo that gave him the perfect excuse to go upstairs. "Have to liase with misuse of magic on this one, the little shit's underaged." He said to James as he headed towards the elevator. But before dealing with that, he stopped off at the magical co-operation office.
Remus was in discussion with another wizard when Sirius dropped by. "I understand that Archie but I still disagree with the legislation, its fundamentally riddled with prejudice."
"Be that as it may Remus, there's nothing my department can do. You'll need to talk to Amelia Bones. She's the only one who could make Fudge see sense, you know how blinded he is by Dolores." Archie responded, shrugging.
"I do know." Remus sighed, spotting Sirius. "Well thanks for coming down anyway, sorry to have wasted your time."
"Not a problem. I sympathise with you, but there's just nothing I could do." Archie patted Remus on the back and nodded in acknowledgement of Sirius.
"Umbridge making your life difficult as usual?" Sirius asked, perching on the edge of the desk.
"Always. I don't like to speak ill of people . . ."
"But she's a foul old toad?" Sirius suggested, in a low voice and Remus laughed.
"What are you doing slumming it up here, anyway?" He asked. "If it's about Harry's birthday present, I have in my desk ready for tonight."
"It's not." Sirius shook his head. "I shouldn't be telling you this, it's classified." Sirius said, barely above a murmur. "But I don't know what to do. There have been some rumours that You-Know-Who was behind the Gringotts break in."
Remus looked up in surprise. "I didn't think you were assigned to him?"
"I'm not." Sirius replied. "Kingsley told me, because he doesn't know whether to tell James."
Remus leaned back in his chair. "That is a dilemma." He rubbed his prematurely aging face. "How concrete are these rumours?"
"Not concrete at all, more of a gas like matter. If anything, I think he's been suggested in lieu of any other suspect."
"They're already worried about Hogwarts." Remus was thinking out loud, but Sirius was nodding along. "But James will go nuts if he knew we didn't say anything."
"You don't think we should tell them either then?" Sirius deduced.
Remus sighed. "I don't want to put Lily through anymore unnecessary worry. You should write to Dumbledore, though."
Sirius laughed. "I don't need to tell Dumbledore. That man knows everything." He looked seriously at Remus. "So we're in agreement, I don't tell him?"
Remus nodded warily. Already worried that he was making the wrong decision.