Harry pushed open the door to Ollivander’s wand shop. The boards Harry had seen the last time he was in Diagon Alley had been removed and light shown through the dusty old windows. Mr. Ollivander wasn’t anywhere is sight but Harry smiled at the sight of precariously staked wand boxes. The bell at the door tinkled when Mrs. Berke entered at last with Sam.
“I don’t understand.” Ruth said. “Am I just supposed to pick one?”
“Not exactly.” Harry said. “Mr. Ollivander should—“Harry was interrupted by the man himself, an old worn out looking man who looked on Harry with a delighted smile.
“Mr. Potter!” He cried clapping his weak hands together.
“Hello Mr. Ollivander.” Harry said politely. “I’ve come to help Ruth get a wand.” Harry motioned toward Ruth, who for the first time ever was looking timid. Mr. Ollivander, however, wasn’t focused on his newest customer, rather on Harry and his scar.
“Holly and Phoenix feather.” Ollivander whispered. “Such a shame that it broke.”
“I’ve mended it.” Harry said, pulling his wand out of his pocket. “See?” Harry placed his beloved want into Ollivander’s open palm. Ollivander held the wand close to his face, muttering under his breath as he examined the wand from every possible angle. He flicked the wand and a shower of golden sparks flew overhead and vanished before they hit the floor.
“Curious.” Mr. Ollivander muttered, Harry was brought back to his first visit into Ollivander’s wand shop. “How did you manage it?”
“The Elder Wand.” Harry said quietly.
“The Deathstick is,” Mr. Ollivander said shuffling around Harry to peer at Ruth. “The most powerful wand ever to grace Wizard kind, magic that powerful is something I have never seen before. But you—“his attention turned to a scare looking Ruth “are not here to listen to wand lore. You’ve come for a wand?” Ruth nodded.
Ollivander than preceded to give Ruth the same speech that he had given Harry when Harry had first steeped foot into his shop. He talked about cores (Ollivander only uses the most powerful cores; phoenix, dragon heartstring and unicorn hair) and the temperament of the different woods used to make wands. His tape measure measured Ruth—her height, the length of her arm and her hair, the space between her eyes. When Ollivander decided he was satisfied the tape measure dropped to the floor and coiled is up. Ollivander looked Ruth over once more and nodded, all the while muttering to himself. He pulled a box off of one of the shelves, pulled the wand out and handed it to her.
“Oak and Dragon heartstring. 12 inches.” He said. Ruth took it.
“What do I do?” She whispered to Harry.
“Wave it.” Ollivander said. Ruth waved the wand. Several boxes from the highest shelf came crashing to the floor, engulfing Harry, Ruth and her family in a cloud of dust.
“No. That isn’t right at all I’m afraid.” Mr. Ollivander coughed from behind the cloud of dust. “We will try again.” He took the oak wand from Ruth and put it safely back into its box before gathering another one and handing it to her.
“Cherry and Phoenix. Thirteen and one half inches. Springy. Good for Charms.” Ruth took the wand hesitantly and with a nod of encouragement waved it at the bell above the door. A loud clanging cacophony filled the room and the spare Ruth’s feelings Harry refrained from covering his ears. Ollivander waved his own wand and the clanging stopped.
“Dreadful.” He muttered taking the wand and settling it back in its box. He examined his shelves careful and pulled a third box. “This should do the trick.”
Ruth took the wand of her own accord. “Something feels right about this one.” She said to her father. He nodded encouragingly, but Mr. Ollivander tightened his lips into a firm line.
“The wand chooses the wizard.” Ollivander said to Ruth. “Rowan and Unicorn hair.” Harry watched Ruth as his face spread into a wide grin as her hands wrapped around the wand. “Yes. Yes I think this is right.” Harry helped Ruth count out her gold and pay for her wand which she insisted on holding it out forever one to see. Only after she nearly beheaded her baby brother, did her mother insist that Ruth put the wand away safely into one of the shopping bags. After she bought her wand, Harry led Ruth to Madam’s Malkin’s to purchase robes and to Flourish and Blott’s to buy her fist set of textbooks. Harry had the misfortune of carrying the books in the brand-new cauldron before Mr. Berke graciously offered to take them out of Harry’s hands.
Everywhere they went Harry was cheered and coerced to shake hands. He thought his arm might fall off from shaking the hands of everyone doing their shopping that day in August. Ruth was full of a million questions on everything from potions ingredients to Harry’s childhood (he refused to answer those questions and instead redirected her attention to some piece of magical equipment that she had never seen before). They had nearly everything on the list (Ruth insisted on getting an animal of some sort) and the day was beginning to wind down.
“I think I’d like an owl.” Ruth said stopping outside the Magical Menagerie. “Did you have an owl?”
Harry felt an unexpected lump form in his throat. When he turned elven he had gotten an owl. A gorgeous snowy owl he had named Hedwig. She died when Harry left the house he had grown up in. His mind raced back to that July night when he watched her body in its cage spin to the ground.
“I did.” Harry said. “I got her when I was elven. She died last year.”
“Should she get an owl?” Her father asked. “A cat might be a better companion.”
“It might.” Harry said. “But owls are dead useful. They carry mail and they’re friendlier than you think.”
“That settles it.” Ruth said proudly. “I want an owl.” Her father did not look comforted by what Harry had said, but nonetheless lead the way into the menagerie. This store was darker than the others. Owls sat asleep and awake on their perches. Several different types of cats were wandering around on the floor, rubbing their small feline faces on the legs of the new patrons, hoping to gain affection. Harry reached down and scratched one of the kittens behind the ear; it purred loudly and pressed its small body even closer to Harry’s form.
“Oh he is a sweetheart.” Said the witch behind the counter, looking down at the kitten by Harry’s feet. “He likes you.” Harry chuckled awkwardly and patted the kitten on his head.
Ruth took her time looking at the owls. There were spotted owl and snowy owl, minute owls like Ron’s and large tawny owls that looked on the others with contempt. After what Harry felt was ages, she picked one of the tawny owls that looked on the other smugly as she carried it out in a large cage. Harry touched the edge of one of the wings of a snowy owl and left the shop. His mind on Hedwig.
No sooner was he out the door, than it opened again. The witch rushing out with the small gray kitten that had caressed Harry’s leg in her arms, she shoved it in to Harry’s hand saying “He’s yours.”
“I can’t take him.” Harry said trying to give the kitten back.
“None of the other cats like him.” The witch explained. Harry reached for his bag of gold, but the witch shook her head. “He was meant to be with you.”
“Do you always get free things?” Ruth asked Harry as they walked down the alley. Harry laughed, but shook his head.
“No. Not always. It’s become a lot more common.”
“Have you always been famous?” Ruth said. Harry shrugged and steered her toward Weasley Wizard Wheezes. The shop was a brightly lit and colored as ever. Witches and Wizards in bright magenta robes bustled around the building convincing young Hogwarts students that Filch couldn’t possibly know if they brought the contraband into the school.
“What is this place?” Ruth asked with wide-eyed wonder.
“A joke shop.” Harry said “A friend of mine owns it. Why don’t you talk a look around?” Harry motioned her toward the pygmy puffs. Harry pushed his way through the students, many of whom recognized him and waved enthusiastically whilst calling out his name. When he was sure he had greeted everyone he knew he pushed open the door to the back storage room. George Weasley, wearing the magenta staff robes that clashed horribly with his orange hair, was standing hunched over an open box counting furiously under his breath. Harry cleared his throat and George nearly dropped the clipboard in his hand.
“Harry.” George said. “Come see this. Is that a cat?”
“It’s a long story.” Harry said peering into the box. “What are they?” The box was full of small white tubes that wiggled at the sound of Harry’s voice, and emitted a loud high-pitched whine.
“They’re sound sirens. The louder someone is around you, the higher the noise the make.” George said.
“But why?” Harry asked. “What are they useful for?”
“I’m not sure yet.” George admitted. “Fred and I—we started them before…I’m not quite sure what he was trying…anyway I’ll sort it out. Have you seen Ginny and Hermione?”
“Are they here?” Harry asked surprised, looking around the tiny storage room, perhaps they were hiding behind one of the many piles of boxes and crates.
“Mum’s taking them to do their school shopping. Or so she said. “George shrugged. “What are you doing in Diagon Alley? Aren’t you working in the Auror’s Office?”
“I am.” Harry picked up one of the decoy detonators and tossed it around in his hand. “I’m on a sort of assignment today. Out of the office.”
“It isn’t top secret, is it?” George asked wearily.
“No.” Harry laughed, “Nothing like that. There’s a muggleborn I met, Kingsley asked if I would take her and her family here for her school stuff. I’ll be back at the Ministry tomorrow.”
“Who’d of thought Harry Potter would be working for the Ministry of Magic?” George asked, closing the lid of the box his sound sirens were in. George pushed the door that lead into the store open and followed Harry out. The store had cleared out a considerable amount as they had been talking. Ruth was talking to a girl with long red hair. Ginny.
“Harry!” Hermione came speeding at him, a blur of arms and brown hair she wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck and gave him a tight hug. “Oh it is so good to see you!” Harry hugged Hermione back. It had been a long time. Harry is all the chaos of hunting the Death Eaters and caring for Teddy had been a bit neglectful when it came to his friends. He didn’t have an owl and there was no definite time he was going to see them, like there had been when they were in school.
Hermione unwrapped her arms from his neck and dragged him over to Ginny and Ruth, who were discussing pygmy puffs.
“Is that a kitten?” Ginny asked Harry after she gave him a quick kiss. Harry nodded and handed her the small mewling animal. Ginny cradled it in her hand, petting its head and kissing it’s ears. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to Diagon Alley today?”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming today?” Harry asked. “I wasn’t expecting to. I’m doing Kingsley a favor.” Harry didn’t have a chance to say much before because Mrs. Weasley came running over and pulled him into a bone crushing hug. As Harry struggled to breathe against Mrs. Weasley he was reminded of his first year at Hogwarts when he, Ron and Hermione had been entrapped in a bed of Devil’s snare.
“Oh Harry!” She cried as she released him. She got a stern look on her face. “You aren’t going back.”
“No. I’m not. Listen—“Mrs. Weasley had been about the interrupt him. “I’ve got a job, a good one. I’ve learned loads, really. Ron and I are doing great at the Ministry. I don’t need to go back to Hogwarts.”
“Will go come over the night before the term starts?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “Arthur and I haven’t seen you in ages and we figured you would like to send Ginny and Hermione off.”
“That would be great. Of course, I’ll come over Mrs. Weasley.” Harry said smiling.
“Where is Teddy?” Hermione asked looking around Harry as if he was hiding the infant behind him.
“He’s with Andromeda.” Harry said. “I’m going there later today.”
“Are we quite done here?” Mrs. Berke snapped. She had been quiet for so long that Harry had forgotten she was there. She stood glaring at Harry and the Weasley family and tapping her foot impatiently.
“Mum. I want to get some of these.” Ruth said, holding out her hands full of merchandise. George looked it over, no doubt appraising it. He opened his mouth, about to tell the little girl the amount of gold it would take to buy everything she wanted, but Harry waved her off.
“I’m buying George.” He said. George nodded and offered to wrap it up.
“You don’t have to do that.” Ruth’s father said looking at Harry.
“But he did.” George said handing him the parcel. “Because he’s a git and he doesn’t have to pay here.”
“You don’t pay here?” Ruth asked. “Why?”
“Harry gave my brother and I the start up. He payed for us to the business. He doesn’t pay.” George ushered them out of the store and flipped the sign to closed. After Ruth and her mother doubled checked everything and her list and consulted Harry endlessly about how much of this did she really need and how often would she use all of it. Harry took the family back into the Leaky Cauldron where they sat down and had a quick bite to eat before Harry took them back to their home. He said goodnight to Ruth and her father and waved half heartily at her mother and brother before walking out of the building and finding a small alley to Disapperate in.
He appeared seconds later in front of Andromeda’s house and let himself in. Andromeda was in her kitchen cooking and talking in a soothing,high-pitched voice to Teddy. Harry greeted her and kissed Teddy on the head before sitting down and rubbing his eyes behind his glasses.
“What is it?” Andromeda asked handing him a bowl of soup.
“Muggles can be exhausting.” Harry said, stirring the soup with his spoon. Andromeda laughed and took a sip of soup. Teddy laughed and grabbed at both of their heads, anxious to get a handful of hair.