The Assassin

The Assassin - Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Walking down the stairs towards the noisy kitchen, Harry paused to check over his body. Seeing that his ankle holsters were showing, he bent down and pulled the hem of his long pants down to cover them. Satisfied it was all covered except for his thigh sheath and wand holster, he walked to the bottom of the stairs. Poking his head around the corner, he could see all seven Weasley’s were seated around the table, eating and loudly talking. Taking a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for what was about to happen, he continued walking in and approaching silently.

No one noticed the new presence that had joined them until Harry had slipped in beside George quietly. The conversation paused as all eyes were drawn to the young man. Harry simply ignored them all as he grabbed a plate for himself and began to pile a small amount of food on it. He filled the cup, that was placed in front of him by Mrs. Weasley, with the juice from one of many jugs spread across the table. The entire time, no one spoke, and he didn’t bother looking at them as he went about his own business.

“Good morning, dear,” Molly smiled brightly at Harry. “How did you sleep?”

“I slept alright, thank you,” Harry nodded his head with a small smile before taking a bite into the eggs.

The room once more fell silent as they stared at Harry. No one moved as they watched the young man eat, the same anxious thoughts going through all of their minds. While they had been waiting for the guest to join them, the family had spoken about the day ahead. They had each individually received their own instructions on what was to be expected. Kingsley detailed which places needed to be visited by what time, and where people were to be stationed throughout Diagon Alley.

“Are you ready for today?” Ron asked from across the table with a mouth full of food.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, Ron!” Arthur reprimanded as he took a sip of his tea.

“Where are your manners? I’m sorry, Harry. I thought I brought up my kids better than that,” said Molly as she stood up and grabbed an extra pot of tea for her husband.

“That’s more than okay, Mrs. Weasley,” kindly smiled Harry after swallowing his mouthful of food. “I’m sure you have done a great job.”

Harry knew his charm was working on the older lady when a small blush appeared on her cheeks. He watched as she tended to the entire table, making sure there was enough food and drink for all eight people. The table once again fell silent with no one knowing what should be said next. Harry of course didn’t mind the silence, preferring it over the talkative nature of the family anyway. Noticing a pair of eyes on him, he turned his head to find the young daughter staring intently at him. Ginevra Weasley didn’t look away, didn’t move a muscle, as he looked back at her. She stared at him bashfully, flashing a seductive smile at him.

Simply turning his head, Harry continued eating his food without giving the youngest member of the Weasley family any more attention. He knew what she wanted but he wasn’t going to give in. He had more important things to concentrate on then a lovesick teenager. Focusing on the plate in front of him, he ignored the teasing the older siblings did towards their only sister. Knowing the girl would be humiliated enough from the fact he had rejected her in some sense, that acknowledging the fact he knew about her crush on him would make things even worse.

“Boys settle down and leave your sister alone,” said Arthur with a disapproving look. “We need to be focused for today, don’t get distracted.”

The boys who had been teasing their sister stopped with a guilty expression. Ron, who was the main culprit, had a bright red face as he silently began eating again. Harry tried his best to not let a disgusted look appear as he made eye contact with the other. It was truly puzzling to him how much food the other boy would shove into his body. The boy was rather lean considering what he had witnessed over the few days he had been there. Ron ate each meal as if it was his last which made him look like a tiger devouring its prey, turning him off eating around the other due to this fact.

“Did you receive a letter from Kingsley, Harry?” Arthur asked after the silence continued on for longer than he was comfortable with.

“I did indeed,” he nodded in confirmation, taking a sip from his cup to discover pumpkin juice.

“Shall we all go over the plan once more to avoid any mistakes?” he asked the table, although it was more of a demand than a question.

“Can never hurt to go over it again,” Bill spoke up for the first time since Harry had sat down.

Turning his eyes to the eldest child, Harry looked at him with an interested gleam in his eyes. He looked at the long, red hair that was neatly tied back in a ponytail at the back. A fang hung down from his right ear, a fascinating earring choice indeed. But it suited the esthetic that was Bill Weasley. He was dressed in dark, leather clothing, reminiscent of someone heading to a rock concert. In Harry’s eyes, he was rather handsome compared to his other siblings. His facial features were soft yet well defined, quite nice to look at if he was being honest with himself.

“Alright,” said Arthur as he placed down his cup of tea. “Ron, Ginny, Harry and Molly will leave here at exactly 9am and head straight to Gringotts to take Harry to his family vaults. The twins, Bill and Charlie will leave shortly after at 9:10am and spread out across the street at your appointed positions. You are to look out for any possible trouble while you wait for them to come out of Gringotts, give the signal to the person on either side and they will pass it on up the line so everyone is aware.”

“What is the signal boys?” Molly asked to make sure they all knew the plan before leaving.

“Whistle followed by a peace sign in the air,” Fred and George said in unison from beside Harry.

“Good,” happily nodded Arthur towards the twins. “Molly, you will need to make sure Harry stays on schedule. Remember you have twenty minutes inside each store so we can always take Ron and Ginny back another time to get their school supplies. Harry’s shopping is the utmost priority today.”

“Of course, dear. I know,” Molly smiled affectionately at her husband.

“I’m just making sure, Molly,” he smiled back with a loving look in his eyes. “You have only twenty minutes to finish everything at Gringotts, otherwise two Order members will be sent in to check on things. After Gringotts, head to Madame Malkin’s Robes so Harry can get fitted for his school uniform. I’m sure you will also need to get some extra clothing, am I correct?”

“I will, yes,” Harry nodded at the man with no emotions on his face.

“In that case, just ask Madame Malkin’s or whoever is on, to take your measurements and then add some extra clothing to your owl delivery considering you cannot stay for long. Molly, Ron and Ginny will be staying outside to keep watch since they don’t need any new robes. Then you can make your way to the other shops in whatever order to finish shopping for school supplies. But you’ll need to visit Amanuensis Quills, Flourish and Blotts, Ptage’s Cauldron shop, Slug and Jiggers Apothecary, Scribbulus Writing Instruments, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment and Ollivanders.”

“Harry already has a wand though,” George said with confusion.

“Dumbledore has requested you go there to get a new wand,” Arthur sighed, not understanding why the Headmaster would want the boy to shop for a new one. “Perhaps he is unsure if that wand is authentic or the right fit to be battling with.”

“I must assure you that this wand is efficient enough,” mused Harry, struggling to hold back the irritation.

“Harry doesn’t need a wand all the time, anyway,” said Fred, looking at the young man with a smile. “We’ve seen him do wandless magic.”

“He is really good at it,” said George, he too turned his head to look at the other beside him.

“Is that true, Harry?” Arthur asked in surprise.

The whole table looked at Harry with a mixture of shock, interest and disbelief. Harry turned to look the two twins in the eyes, not revealing his amusement to them just yet. Instead he pretended to be just as surprised as the rest of them. He watched them turn to each other in confusion before looking at him suspiciously. Harry made sure his surprised mask was still in place as he turned to look at Arthur.

“I believe the twins are trying to fool you, Mr. Weasley,” Harry said with an emotionless tone. “As if a young man like me could perform such advanced magic. Must you forget I am only fairly new to this world.”

As the family begun to laugh it off, Harry looked over to the twins to give them a smirk. He quickly replaced the smirk with a smile as he saw their confused faces. Turning his attention back to his plate, he continued to finish the last of his breakfast and pumpkin juice. The conversation continued on to separate subjects around the table, allowing them all to relax before they needed to leave soon. Harry noticed the twins stayed silent for the rest of the time, only speaking amongst themselves here and there. He was sure he had caused them to become confused with his denial, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Harry stood up from the table without a word and headed up to his room on the third floor. While he was mostly ready to leave, he needed to grab a few more things before they left the house soon. He made sure the door was closed behind him before he started strapping his missing biceps holsters onto his arms. Making sure they were tight, he summoned one of his leather cloaks from the pouch next, skillfully swinging it around and clasping it in place around his neck. Lastly he summoned up his money pouch which also held his key card that was gifted to him on his birthday and placed it inside one of his pockets on his pants.

Thinking back on all of the people that pitched in to give him the birthday gift, Harry couldn’t help but smile sadly. He missed them all dearly. He missed going on missions. He missed being surrounded by people that understood him. He missed being in control at all times. Shaking his head from those thoughts, he turned to leave the room. Making sure the room was warded properly in case anyone came up to snoop around after he left. Having no doubt all his possessions would be safe within his mokeskin pouch if anyone was to gain entry.

For the second time that day, he descended the stairs and made his way into the kitchen. Molly, Ron and Ginny were starting to stand up as Harry approached. The rest of the family looked towards him as he silently waited to the side. Seeing the presence of the younger man, Molly walked up to him and placed her hands on his cheeks. She smiled at him with affection and leaned in to give him a quick hug.

“Ready to go, dear?” she asked after taking a step back.

“I am ready,” Harry nodded at her with a slight smile upon his face.

The four people that needed to leave in a few minutes began to walk outside and towards the boundaries of the property. Harry didn’t bother trying to make conversation as they walked, not in the mood for any small talk thrown his way either. He breathed in the fresh country air to calm his racing mind. Needing to have a clear mind in case anything was to happen, he could not afford to be distracted. Molly came to a stop just outside the wards and motioned for the three to come closer to her.

“Since Ron and Harry have not taken their apparition test yet, I’ll have to side-along apparate all of you,” Molly said, looking at Harry more intently than her children. “Apparition can be quite a disorientating experience. Once we land it may take you a few minutes to feel normal again.”

“Ah, okay,” nodded Harry with feign interest, pretending as if he had never apparated before.

Molly grabbed on to Ron and Ginny’s arm before gesturing for her son to grab on to Harry. Ron reached out with hesitation, slowly holding onto the other boy’s arm with a strong grip. Taking a deep breath, Molly closed her eyes as she prepared to transport all four of them. The familiar sense of being forced through a tight tube engulfed Harry. Only seconds later, he felt his feet land on solid ground, his eyes subconsciously looking around the area for immediate danger. Seeing there was nothing askew, he relaxed slightly and looked at Molly with a small smile.

“Feeling okay, Harry?” asked Molly as she brought out her wand and walked over to the brick wall that was behind The Leaky Cauldron.

“I feel fine, thank you,” he answered before looking down at the hand still on his arm. “You can let go now.”

“Oh,” Ron said as he looked down at his hand, a bright flush appearing on his neck and cheeks. “I-I’m sorry.”

Humming in response, Harry stepped further away from the ginger boy to drill home personal space. All of their attention was drawn away from the awkward situation between the two to the brick wall as a small hole appeared in the bricks. Soon the hole expanded until there was a smooth archway large enough for them to walk through. Harry scanned the busy street quickly, taking in the many shops and vendors he could see from where he stood. While he had previously visited Diagon Alley, he hadn’t been in many years. A twinkle shone brightly in his eyes as they began to walk towards the massive building that was Gringotts.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Ginny whispered as she fell into step beside him.

“You could say that,” he briefly looked at her slightly blushed face before turning his attention back to the shops around him.

“I know we have a schedule to follow, but if you want some candy or some ice cream, I can grab some for you while you shop,” she said, touching his arm gently as they walked.

Looking down in shock, Harry stared at the small hand that touched him. He felt a strong burning sensation at the uncomfortable touch. Shuffling a few steps away, he ignored the devastated look that passed over Ginny’s face as she let her hand drop to her side. Hanging her head in shame, she fell a few steps behind the boy that had just rejected her. Harry continued walking as if nothing had happened, even giving Molly a small smile as she checked that he was keeping up.

As the small group continued walking through the crowded street, Harry noticed the different Order members that were spread throughout. He first spotted Kingsley standing near a vendor, pretending to check out the small items for sale. As they walked passed, he briefly looked up from what he was doing and nodded towards Harry. The next person he spotted was Remus, who stood out like a sore thumb. The guy was leaning against the wall next to the florean fortescue’s ice cream parlour, awkwardly looking around the street. He couldn’t help but genuinely smile at the man as they passed him.

The walk to Gringotts didn’t take the group long, and soon enough they were walking up the white stone steps towards the burnished bronze doors. As they approached the doors, Harry spotted a gloomy looking goblin dressed in the familiar scarlet and gold uniform. The doors opened for them without needing to touch it, the goblin bowing deeply to them as they passed. Harry paused for a mere second to bow back; shocking not only the goblin but the people around him that witnessed it. He continued to walk towards the second set of silver doors inside as if nothing had happened.

Harry once again bowed to both of the goblins that stood guard near the silver doors, not hesitating to continue onwards as they looked at each other with confusion. Long ago, Drew had taught him the value of befriending goblins. They could get great bargains on rare items, prioritise important matters ahead of other clients, offer help in attaining overseas property, amongst many other things. Drew had formed great relations with the goblin in charge of his accounts at Gringotts, passing on lessons to Harry that he one day hoped to be able to continue.

Walking passed the small queue of waiting witches and wizards inside the massive marble hall, Molly strolled up to a preoccupied goblin that sat upon a tall stool behind a counter. The stony faced goblin placed down both the eyeglasses as well as the stone in his hands as he saw the group approach him. His cold, black eyes swept over the three redheads and the peculiar dressed young man, silently waiting for someone to speak.

“Good morning,” Molly said nervously, fishing something out of her pockets. “We are here to withdraw out of Mr. Harry Potter’s safe, please.”

As Molly leaned in to say the last part of her sentence, sliding a tiny golden key across the counter. The goblin picked the key up with his long, slender fingers. Twisting and turning it, he took a while to examine the item. Finally he handed the key back to Molly and gestured to another goblin off to the side.

“Griphook will take you down,” the nameless goblin said before promptly picking the stone and eyeglasses once more.

Another short goblin, Griphook, walked out towards the group. He patiently stood still until they walked towards him. Harry watched with weary eyes as they were led towards one of the many doors off to the side. The door was opened to reveal a narrow passageway lit by torches, sloping steeply down and leading to a frail looking railway track. While Harry had previously visited Gringotts with Drew, he had never been down to the vaults. He was rather surprised at the vast difference between the main foyer and the vaults.

A sharp whistle brought him out of his thoughts. Seeing Griphook looking into the dark abyss, his curious eyes followed. A rattling sound approached, followed shortly by a hurtling, wooden cart. The cart flew up to the group before coming to an abrupt stop in front of them all. Shocked at the poor condition of the transportation, Harry watched with hesitancy as the others crammed into the cart. All three Weasley’s looked at him expectantly, gesturing for him to take a seat next to Ginny.

“It’s safe, no need to worry dear,” Molly said with a small chuckle.

Harry looked between the Weasley’s, wondering why he ended up next to Ginny of all people. With a sigh, he climbed into the cart and sat down as far away from the girl as possible. Which wasn’t very far considering how small the cart was. Their legs and arms occasionally bumped as the cart took off at speed. Ginny blushed furiously as she noticed the other trying to create distance between them. Feeling rejected once more, she tried to hide her face with her hair as the cart began to slow.

Coming to a complete stop, Griphook got out first and walked over to the lone door that sat in the passage way. Harry followed behind him, stunned as it was unlocked and opened. Green smoke billowing out, obscuring the contents from view. As the smoke slowly dispersed, Harry lay his eyes upon an impressive amount of money he had ever seen. He of course knew that both of his parents were well off, but he didn’t realise to what extent. There were stacks of gold, silver and bronze strewn across the floor, even reaching as tall as the rocky, stone ceiling above.

Hearing the gasps from behind him seemed to snap Harry out of his small trance. He brought out his money pouch from his pocket and walked inside the small room. He bent down and began shuffling coin after coin into the pouch that had an embedded extension charm upon it. The weight of the pouch never changed in his hand thanks to a handy feather-light spell. As he finished stuffing money into his pouch, he turned around to find the awestruck faces of the three Weasley’s that accompanied him. Bowing to Griphook, he walked out of the vault and crammed himself back inside the cart begrudgingly.

Griphook stood still for a few seconds, surprised at the actions from the younger. He knew of only a handful of wizards that would be polite enough to bow to goblins. Many of wizardkind choosing to look down on the creatures, believing they were superior. He closed the door to the vault and returned to the cart, mind still stunned as it took off at great speed. The short journey was a blur to many of the group, shocked at what they had witnessed with their own eyes. The Weasley’s more so thinking of the amount of money the boy had, while the goblin was preoccupied with the strangely familiar mannerism the boy portrayed.

The group climbed out of the wooden cart and made their way up the steep stone steps, entering the marble hall once more. The silence continued as they stopped and stared at each other, thoughts still plaguing them. Molly held out her hand towards Griphook, waiting patiently for the other to pass the key back to her.

“Yes Mrs. Weasley?” Griphook asked with a low voice.

“The key? May I have it back please?” she asked, confused.

“I believe Mr. Potter should hold onto his key, now he is here in the wizarding world,” replied Griphook, talking quietly so as not to be overheard.

“Professor Dumbledore requested the key go back to him for safe keeping,” a small blush appeared on her face.

“I do not overly care for what the Headmaster of Hogwarts requests. The account is not his,” with that being said, Griphook grabbed the key out and handed it immediately to Harry.

“Thank you, I appreciate your kindness, Griphook,” Harry once again bowed as he took the key in his hand, placing it inside his money pouch for safe keeping.

“Drew?” Griphook suddenly whispered before Harry could straighten up.

“Yes,” he understood the question, looking quickly at the Weasley’s hoping they didn’t overhear their whispers.

“Ah,” pulling back, Griphook smiled widely before continuing to speak at a normal level. “In that case, pleasure doing business with you Mr. Potter. May you return to do more business on a later occasion.”

Nodding his head with a genuine smile, Harry turned towards the confused Weasley’s. He gestured towards the entrance and signalled them to lead the way. They started walking in a stunned silence. Confused by the whole ordeal since arriving at Gringotts. Molly still had a furious blush on her face after being denied by the goblin to take the key back. She was thinking of how that would go down once she relayed it back to the Headmaster. Her children were preoccupied with the stack of money they had witnessed with their own two eyes. While it was no secret that the Weasley family struggled with money, the children one day hoped to be able to provide for their family and break the cycle.

Harry couldn’t help but smirk as he walked behind the other three, satisfied by the time spent at Gringotts. He always loved seeing others absolutely stunned by his actions, it brought a sense of achievement to him. Walking in silence, he was sure the other three had a lot on their minds. So much so that Mrs. Weasley walked straight passed Fred and George whom were standing near Gambol and Japes Wizarding Joke Shop. The group made their way through the crowd and came to a stop outside of Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. Curious glances thrown towards the stranger standing with the well known wizard family of redheads.

“Harry, you will be fine to go in by yourself, right?” Molly asked as she looked around the street.

“I’ll be fine, yes,” he replied, also cautiously looking around.

“We will wait out here for you,” she continued after a few seconds. “I might send Ron and Ginny into Amanuensis Quills while you are getting your robes fitted.”

“Mum,” whined Ron at having to go shopping.

“It will save time, no complaining Ronald,” Molly reprimanded her grown child. “In you go, Harry.”

Leaving the family to themselves, Harry headed into the store and waited patiently for someone to appear. At the back of the store, he could hear soft muttering from at least two people. Perhaps it was a student getting their measurements done too. He looked around at the racks of clothing and different fabric shown off throughout the stores. Many designs of robes didn’t suit his taste. He didn’t like the colourful, bright robes. But his eyes were drawn to the more sophisticated section, an obvious selection for those with more money.

“May I help you, young man?” a lady appeared dressed in all mauve, a tape measure hung around her neck.

“Yes, I am in need of robe fitting for Hogwarts school uniform,” Harry said with a kind smile upon his face.

“Hogwarts?” Madam Malkin asked in surprise as she looked the boy up and down. “I don’t believe we’ve met before. Are you a new student?”

“This will be my first year at Hogwarts, yes,” he nodded in confirmation.

“Oh well come through to the back and I’ll get you sorted,” she smiled as she turned and walked towards the back. “We have another boy from Hogwarts getting fitted right now, I hope you won’t mind.”

“No, I don’t mind,” Harry said with a smile as he followed her through the store.

What Harry wasn’t expecting to see as he got closer to the back of the store where the voices were coming from, was the familiar silvery-blonde hair that belonged to a certain pureblooded family. While he wasn’t completely shocked with crossing paths with the other, he thought the coincidence was rather strange. Out of all the times the other could come here to get fitted, why did it just so happen he too, needed to be fitted? Harry approached with caution, watching the other with trained eyes. He was instructed to stand upon a stool in front of a mirror, next to the one and only Draco Malfoy.

“I’ll need you to remove the cloak, please dear,” Madam Malkin said, holding out her hand to place the clothing to the side.

Slowly, Harry unclasped the cloak and slid it off of him, handing it over to the woman who was staring at shock at the weapons that had been concealed. Madam Malkin hadn’t been the only one to notice, as Harry caught sight of Draco looking him up and down in silence, out of the corners of his eyes. He continued to stand still, looking ahead at the mirror instead of giving in and looking at the other. A long robe was slipped over his head suddenly, the air tense. He stood in weary silence, watching as Madam Malkin began to pin the robe to just the right length. He turned his head slightly to find a pair of stunning grey eyes staring right back at him.

“Cool weapons,” Draco smiled widely at the other.

“Thank you,” he said with a small nod.

“I don’t believe I’ve seen you before. Are you transferring to Hogwarts?” asked the boy beside him, his tone polite yet self-assured.

“You could say that,” replied Harry, turning his head away from the gaze.

“Do you know what house you will be sorted into yet?” Draco asked after a few seconds of silence.

“No,” he answered shortly.

“I suppose we never truly know until we get sorted, do we?” he chuckled softly, straightening up and puffing his chest slightly. “I’m in Slytherin. My whole family has been for generations. It’s the best house to go to.”

“Ah, I see,” Harry said with restraint, careful of his words.

“What year are you going into? You seem like you are around my age,” he asked, looking the boy up and down.

“I’ll be in sixth year,” he replied simply.

“I will be too,” Draco said with slight excitement. “Perhaps I shall see you in Slytherin?”

“Perhaps,” nodded Harry, turning to look at the other. “Like you said, we will never know until we are sorted.”

A small blush rose on the other boy’s pale cheeks as he listened to the soft, yet dark tone the other spoke with. He didn’t think that the unnamed boy would have taken notice of a small comment he had made. But he had. And he was sure to himself that this mysterious boy would either end up in Slytherin or Ravenclaw. He was withdrawn, selective, cold. Yet he was also attentive. Let alone the choices of weapons he carried with him, and the style of clothing. It was dark, attractive, and sexy. His whole auror gave off secretive and sinful energy in breathtaking waves. His eyes glazed over by the stunning presence, before being drawn out of his thoughts by the lady that had been doing the fittings.

“All done, sir,” the lady said as she carefully pulled off the robe with all of the pins still in it.

“I will see you at Hogwarts. Come look for me if you get sorted into Slytherin,” Draco said, shaking his head to gain some clarity as he began walking away.

Harry watched the other leave, noticing the tension that suddenly engulfed the other’s body as he walked towards the entrance of the store. He watched as Draco existed and came face to face in a tense standoff between himself and Ron. If he wasn’t standing with two strangers, Harry probably would have laughed at the irony. The silvery-blonde boy said a few words before turning and walking away, leaving a red faced Ron in his dust. He turned his attention back to the mirror, watching Madam Malkin do her work in silence.

“All done, young man,” Madam Malkin finally said after a few more minutes of silence.

Pulling the robe off of Harry carefully, she passed the cloak back to him without another word. As he swung the cloak back on himself, Madam Malkin disappeared through a door with the measurements. Harry waited patiently, looking around the store in silence. His eyes wandered back over to the section of fancier, sophisticated clothing. Hearing footsteps, he turned his head to see Madam Malkin coming back empty handed and staring at him with a kind smile.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” she asked.

“Yes, may I order three sets of robes extra to the Hogwarts uniform?” Harry asked, pulling out his money pouch as he spoke. “May I get one set of dress robes, one set of casual robes, and one set of smart-casual robes please.”

“Of course, dear,” smiled Madam Malkin. “That will be no problem.”

“I am also in need of an entire new wardrobe,” he continued, pulling out the key card that he had received for his birthday.

“O-Of course, what may I do for you?” her eyes lit up at the prospect of how much she could earn from this sale.

“I am in need of everything from t-shirts, to pants, to shoes, and other attire. Please can you arrange a full wardrobe that will suffice my entire year at Hogwarts?” he asked with a smile.

“I can do that for you, no hassle at all,” she pulled out a notepad and began to jot down notes as she listened. “Are there any particular colours you wish to have?”

“I prefer attire that consists of darker shades. Avoid brighter colours if you can please,” Harry said, handing the key card over. “I hope this will have enough to pay for the order.”

Taking the card with a nod, she continued writing notes on her notepad. Madam Malkin did the rough sum of everything up in her head before disappearing to the back with the key card. Her eyes bugged out of her head as she saw the balance. The key card would certainly have enough for the order, plus several more items if he so happened to want them. Walking back out to her waiting customer, she smiled graciously up at the handsome young man.

“There will be plenty of money still left over after the entire wardrobe,” she said with a smile. “Would you like me to add on a few extra items? Such as extra robes and spare clothing?”

“Yes, that will be fine if you do that,” he nodded with content. “May you ship this order to the Weasley’s residence once you have completed it?”

“Of course,” she said with slight hesitance. “Is there a certain date you require it before?”

“Before the Hogwarts year begins in a month,” he replied. “There is no rush, as I am sure you are busy.”

“I will try and get it done as soon as I can,” she smiled, starting to hand the key card back.

“You may keep it safe here,” Harry stopped her with a smile. “I trust you will not lose it. Charge the card once you have finished and send it with the owl order.”

“A-Are you sure, dear?” asked Madam Malkin.

“I’m sure,” he smiled as he hopped off the stool gracefully. “I must get going. Thank you for all of your help.”

“It’s no trouble, of course, my dear!” she smiled and waved before turning around and disappearing into the door once more.

Walking out of the store, Harry saw the three Weasley’s waiting patiently for him. As soon as Ron’s eyes laid upon him, the boy came rushing up to him and grabbed onto his arm before pointing down the road with the other. Harry followed the finger to find the boy was pointing at Draco Malfoy, whom was leaving a store further down the street. His silvery-blonde hair stood out amongst the crowd.

“Did you see that boy while you were in there?” Ron asked quickly.

“Yes, I did,” answered Harry.

“That’s the Malfoy prick I was talking about the other day,” he said with a slightly angry tone.

“Language Ron!” Molly said harshly. “We are in public!”

“Sorry,” he blushed as he let go of Harry and took a step back.

“He is right though,” Ginny said as she fiercely glared at the back of the boy’s head. “He is a right snobbish brat.”

“Ginevra Weasley,” Molly scolded her other child loudly, drawing attention to the small group.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but may I quickly stop into the Eeylops Owl Emporium to get a familiar?” Harry asked, pointing to the store nearby. “I really want an owl before I start Hogwarts.”

“Oh,” Molly looked around flustered. “Maybe another time? We have a strict schedule we must follow, dear.”

“It’ll only take me five minutes,” he said with a light tone. “We can take five minutes off of the next shop we go to. That way we stay on schedule.”

“That seems reasonable,” she pondered before nodding her head and leading the way to the store.

The small group of four manoeuvred through the crowd and made their way to the quiet owl store. Within mere seconds of stepping inside the store, Harry’s eyes were drawn to a beautiful creature in the corner of the store. He walked over to the snowy white owl and softly reached out to pat its soft feathers. A smile graced his lips as he stared into the beautiful eyes. He knew in the very moment that this was the owl he needed to take home with him. Looking around the store for a worker, his eyes were drawn to the front door as Kingsley Shacklebolt entered with anger pouring off every inch of him.

“What are you doing in here? This isn’t a part of the schedule,” he whispered loudly in anger.

“I-I’m sorry Kingsley,” Molly stuttered out. “He wanted an owl before going to Hogwarts. Every kid should be able to get one before starting. So I thought it wouldn’t matter if we spend five minutes in here looking for one.”

“You should have asked,” Kingsley replied shortly.

“It’s okay,” Harry said, walking over to the others with a cage in hand. “I already bought my owl.”

“That was quick,” Molly turned around in surprise and looked at the snowy white owl in his hands. “He’s beautiful.”

Harry held the cage up, studying the beautiful creature before his eyes. He got a sense that the owl was in fact a female, but it didn’t matter. She or he was very stunning, as well as remarkably calm. He looked forward to bringing the owl back to the Burrow. He would need the company if he was to survive the following month. Ignoring the others, he walked out of the store and stood back out on the busy street. Molly followed him out and pointed to their next location on the list; Flourish and Blotts. As the group made their way across the street, Kingsley broke off from them and headed back to his designated position.

Entering the quiet book store, he felt like he could instantly breathe easier and hear clearer. The street outside became obnoxiously louder as the morning continued on. Harry began walking through the isles, cage in hand, seeing what books he would need to be caught up before the school year began. He paused at a section on Defense Against the Dark Arts, scanning through the titles and the ones labelled for which years. As he was preoccupied, he didn’t notice the young lady that had come to stand beside him, taking books off the shelf, reading the covers, and then placing them back down. Ron came to stand beside him, not really paying attention to any of the books.

“Hermione?” Ron suddenly asked, taking Harry by slight surprise, not that he would admit it. “What are you doing here?’

“What does it look like Ron?” the bushy haired girl asked, gesturing to all of the books around them. “I’m getting ready for the new school year. Like you should be.”

“I am,” Ron blushed shyly. “Well, I’m not here for me. I’m here with my friend.”

Noticing Ron was talking about him, Harry turned around after picking out the right books. He looked at the bushy haired girl and gave her a small smile, extending his hand for her to shake. Hermione looked at the stranger with hesitation before slowly reaching out and taking his hand. She pulled back and couldn’t help but notice the books he was holding in his hands.

“Sixth year books? Does that mean you are coming to Hogwarts with Ron this year?” Hermione asked, putting two and two together rather quickly.

“I am,” Harry smiled, impressed with the girl.

“Hermione, I should introduce you to my friend,” said Ron with a massive smile. “Hermione… Harry. Harry Potter… Hermione.”

The bushy haired girl gasped in shock before looking over the boy carefully, not believing who was standing in front of her. Unfortunately for the three of them, Hermione hadn’t been the only one to hear the introduction of the stranger. Infact, an older male standing in the aisle next to them had overheard the conversation. He immediately stood up straight, eyes wide as he stared at supposed The-Boy-Who-Lived. Walking around the bookcase, he entered the same isle and walked up to Harry, holding out his hand straight away.

“Harry Potter? The one and only Harry Potter?” the strange man said rather loudly, drawing the attention of all the other patrons in the shop. “Blimey! It can’t be you!”

“I’m sorry Harry,” Ron said as he grabbed onto his arm and started pulling him away. “Hermione, come on.”

As the three of them began walking towards a rather concerned looking Molly, a bright camera flash blinded their vision. Harry instinctively held up his arm as he rushed over to where the other two Weasley women were, calm under pressure despite being exposed. The crowd inside the store started charging after them, trying to see for themselves the missing Boy-Who-Lived in the flesh. The five of them got out of the store, Molly immediately whistling and holding up a peace sign. The nearby order members began swarming towards the store, holding people back while the group of five walked away. As the screams and shouts calling Harry’s name became louder, they had no choice but to instantly leave. Molly grabbed onto the two nearest to her, making sure they also grabbed onto the other two, before side-along apparating them in the middle of the street.

Landing abruptly on the soft ground outside the wards of the Burrow, all five of them breathed rather heavily after the stressful situation. Molly walked over to her youngest son, face red with anger. She raised her hand, ready to slap him, but instead turned and walked up towards the house. Hermione, Ginny and Ron looked at the retreating back with confusion, while Harry silently followed her. He was in the mood to hurt the boy too. But he needed to restrain himself. The whole day had been nothing but a shit show. And quite frankly, he was ready to have some space from the other.

Walking into the empty house, the four teenagers made their way into the lounge room while Molly busied herself in the kitchen. The silence in the room was deafening as the sat still, spread out amongst the many mismatched furniture. Harry placed his new owl on the floor carefully, staring at her beauty. He heard some shuffling from beside him and looked up to find Hermione staring at him with wonder in her eyes. He raised an eyebrow at her, curious what the first question was going to be asked first. He didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“Are you really Harry Potter?” she asked, not taking a breath. “Where is your lightning scar? Where have you been? How did you get here? How long have you been here for? Did you know we were looking for you? Do you know about magic? Have you-”

“Hermione,” Ron put a hand on her arm to silence her. “Let the boy breathe.”

“I-I’m sorry,” a blush appeared on her face. “That was rude of me, wasn’t it?”

“It’s okay, I understand,” he nodded to her before turning his attention back to his owl, ignoring her completely.

The front door opened suddenly and many people begun pouring into the small foyer before spreading out throughout the kitchen and lounge room. Harry noticed many of the Order members he had seen today entered and sighed a breath of relief upon seeing him sitting down safe and sound. Molly started passing out cups of tea to the people coming in, not shocked at the turnout. Harry watched in amusement as she avoided looking at her youngest son, glaring daggers if they ever looked at each other. He didn’t blame her, this was of course all the boy’s fault. Ron had a loud mouth and he needed to learn to control it.

Fred and George entered along with their older brothers, looking around before making a beeline towards the lounge room where their younger brother sat. Ron looked up with fearful eyes at the two figures that towered over him. Fred reached out and smacked his younger brother on the back of his head, the sound echoing through the mostly silent room. George repeated the action, both of their faces showing their anger. Ron rubbed the back of his head in pain, understanding why his brothers had done what they did. The room grew silent once more as Molly walked in finely, approaching the group of teenagers.

“What were you thinking, Ronald Weasley?” she screeched, looming over her seated son. “What made you think it’d be fine to talk about Harry in a public space? Tell me what was going through your mind! Because I can’t understand why you thought that was fine. You are grounded for the rest of the month, until you are leaving for the Hogwarts Express. Do you hear me young man?”

“Yes Mum,” Ron looked up at his mother with teary eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not the one you need to be sorry to,” her tone softened. “You need to be sorry to Harry.”

“I’m sorry Harry,” he said quietly, turning his head to look at the other boy.

The room was silent as they waited for the other to say something in response. Harry raised an eyebrow at Ron, not taking him seriously. He was a joke. He exposed his presence to the entirety of the wizarding world and thought a simple ‘sorry’ was going to fix everything. Trying his best not to roll his eyes, he stood up from the couch he sat on. All eyes were fixated on him, with each movement. He leant down and picked up his new owl before looking back down at Ron from where he now stood.

“I think it’s too late for sorry,” Harry said quietly, causing many to shiver at his low tone. “If you don’t mind, I’ll be heading to my room. Today has been… exhausting to say the least.”

“Of course, dear,” Molly stepped aside to let him pass. “Let me know if you need anything. Anything at all.”

“Thank you,” he nodded kindly to her before heading to the stairs.

Walking up to his room on the third floor, Harry listened as Molly began to yell at her son once more. As soon as he was safely locked away in the security of his room, he allowed himself to laugh at what had just happened. Could he have honestly expected things to go smoothly? Yes. Yes, of course he could. Because before arriving here, everything was within his control. However, since arriving, it has all been one big circus act. People dictating his life, ordering him around like a puppet, assuming his feelings, trying to dig into his previous life. He was sick of it all. Sick of some of the Weasley’s. Sick of Dumbledore. Sick of having been put in this position in the first place.

Setting his owl down on the desk, he grabbed out one of the bags of treats and handed a few to preoccupy the owl for the time being. He sat down on his bed with a heavy sigh. While he didn’t lie to Molly about the day being exhausting, he knew he had too much to organise to relax. So instead of laying down like his body wanted, he took off his cloak and extra weaponry before heading back over to his desk. Sitting down, he reached in and stroked the soft feathers of his new owl absentmindedly as he pulled over the unfinished book that Grayson had gifted him.

“Hedwig,” suddenly said Harry into the silent room, looking at his owl. “I’ll name you Hedwig.”

With a content hoot, the owl settled in and closed its eyes. Harry smiled happily at his new companion before turning his attention back to the book. He no longer wanted to think about what had happened over the past few hours, instead he wanted to get lost in studying. After all, he was doing all this to save the world. To save the people that mattered the most to him. And those people down stairs that had caused this did not matter to him. No, not really. Although he was fond of the twins, they seemed like the only decent members of the family. Harry shook his head in amusement after realising he was getting distracted. Adjusting his position in the chair, he focused on the book in front of him, truly forgetting about the rest of the world from then on.

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