Tis chapter five. See chapter one for summary.
The next day, Harry was again doing yard work. He was certain that if he was unable to get a job doing anything else, he'd at least be able to start a landscaping business.
While he was weeding the front garden, he became aware of someone approaching. Looking around, he noticed a woman coming up the street. Going back to work, he was surprised when the woman addressed him a few moments later.
"You must be Harry Potter."
"Yes. And you would be..." prompted Harry, looking at the strange woman, who seemed less than pleased about being there, and who appeared to be dressed in a style at least a decade out of date.
"I am Professor McGonagall. I received your reply and came to give you some more information."
"Perhaps it'd be better to discuss this at the park a few blocks away. The Dursleys can be a bit unpleasant when certain topics are brought up." Harry said, and heard McGonagall mutter something that sounded like "That old fool."
"Well, lead the way, Mr. Potter."
"Very well, if you could grab a hold of my arm, I'll take us there."
Seeing the strange look on McGonagall's face, he decided to explain. "I can teleport anything touching me along with myself. I was going to pop over a bit closer to cut down the distance we need to walk."
Looking a bit confused, McGonagall grabbed his arm, and Harry popped them to a secluded alley about half a block from the park. McGonagall's face cycled from surprise to confusion and back again for a few seconds. That had not felt like normal apparition, but the result was the same. They walked the short distance to the park, and sat at a table.
"Mr. Potter, how long have you been able to Apparate?"
"Apparate? Oh, the teleport thing? I first did it several years ago, but only managed to figure out how to do it at will two years ago. I assume since you have a name for it, you can do it as well?"
"Yes, but in the wizarding world, you need to be at least 17 and have a license to do it legally. I've never known someone so young to be able to do it without having accidents, let alone bring someone else along for the ride successfully."
"Um, Wizarding world?" asked Harry.
McGonagall sighed. This was going to be an interesting conversation. "Yes. Magic exists. You are a Wizard. There is a separate world of witches and wizards living in secret all over Britain, the world, actually. What you just did was Apparate."
"Ah. This may explain some of the other things I can do. I always thought I was the only one who could do this kind of thing."
"Other things?" asked McGonagall, wondering just how much he had managed to do.
"Oh, yes. Many things." Harry said. He waved his hand and a paper appeared in front of him. "I've been able to do all sorts of things." he said as the paper cycled through the colours of the rainbow, before bursting into flame.
He held his hand out in front of him, palm up, and a small ball of flame appeared above it. "I haven't found a use for this yet" he said, indicating the ball of flame.
McGonagall, surprised by this display, finally came out of the shock of it, and remembered why she was there.
"We were going to discuss Hogwarts."
"Yes. What exactly is it? How do I get there? What does it cost?"
"Since you didn't know of the wizarding world, is it safe to assume you haven't been told about your parents?" she asked, thinking it would probably be better to start at the beginning.
"I was told they died in a car crash." said Harry, wondering what his parents had to do with anything.
McGonagall frowned. "Mr. Potter, your parents were also magical. They were murdered. The one who killed them also tried to kill you, but somehow, you survived, and he was killed."
"You are something of a celebrity in the wizarding world. You are often called 'The-Boy-Who-Lived'. When you successfully defeated the most feared Dark Lord in several decades, you became something of a hero."
As McGonagall explained about Hogwarts, its houses, classes, tests, and explained about the Magical World in greater detail, Harry sat, soaking it in. Finally, McGonagall wrapped up her explanations, and Harry spoke.
"So, where do I get," said Harry, fishing the letter out of his pocket and opening it, "A cauldron, school robes, and the rest of the things on this list, and how am I supposed to pay for them? And what is a wand?"
"To answer your last question first, this is a wand." said McGonagall, pulling out her wand. "It channels and focuses your magic, allowing you to cast spells, although, judging by your display earlier, you may be able to do much without one."
"As to where you purchase your supplies, I believe it may be easier to show you than tell you. I can apparate us there, if you don't mind?"
"Sure" said Harry.
McGonagall grasped his arm, and apparated them to Diagon Alley. Harry looked around, slightly awed.
"Now, the first place we will need to go is Gringotts, the wizard bank. You have a vault there that your parents set up to pay for your schooling. We will withdraw some so you can purchase your supplies." McGonagall explained as they made their way up the alley towards the bank. As they reached it, Harry read the writing on the entrance.
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"The Goblins do not take kindly to thieves. Indeed, Gringotts is possibly the safest place to store something, except maybe Hogwarts," said McGonagall.
"Goblins?" asked Harry.
"Gringotts is run and owned by Goblins. Better accountants are hard to come by, not to mention that most wizards are hopeless when it comes to math."
As they entered the bank and made there way to one of the tellers, Harry took in the sights. Finally reaching the front of a queue, McGonagall spoke to the goblin.
"I am here with Mr. Potter to withdraw some money from his vault."
"Does Mr. Potter have his key?" asked the goblin, sounding bored.
McGonagall pulled a key from her pocket, and placed it on the counter. After examining the key, the Goblin spoke again.
"It appears that everything is in order. Griphook will take you to the vault," said the goblin, indicating another goblin, and handing Harry his key.
They followed Griphook to a small cart on a track. Getting in, they sat down, and it immediately started forward.
"Keep your limbs inside the cart at all times unless you want to lose them," said Griphook, with a toothy grin.
After a short but stomach turning ride through tunnels, they stopped outside a vault, and got out of the car.
"Key, please" Said Griphook. Harry handed him the key. Griphook placed it in the door and turned it. The door swung open, and Harry looked inside. He saw piles of gold, silver, and bronze. McGonagall explained how wizard money worked, and Harry shoved a few handfuls of the coins into his pockets.
After they made their way back to the bank lobby, they exited the bank. Harry asked something that had been bothering him since they arrived.
"If there is a secret world of magic users, why hasn't the rest of the world noticed yet? I mean, I realise that if someone sees magic being used once, they're likely to brush it off as imagining it, but surely people must notice something."
"There are spells that make buildings invisible to muggles, that is, non-magical people, spells that make muggles remember urgent appointments and cause them to leave the area, spells that wipe memories, spells that-"
"Wait, spells that wipe memories? Wizards actually use spells that wipe memories? Isn't that a bit dangerous? I mean, think of the likelihood that has for abuse. I assume you have wizard police, but how can someone report a crime if their memory of the event has been erased?"
"Yes, there is the possibility of abuse, but that is true with any power. There are ways to prevent the spell from working, detect its use, and other things. Perhaps a book or two would help you. We can take a trip to Flourish and Blotts after we get your wand."
After being greeted by the slightly creepy old man, who was presumably Mr. Ollivander, and trying what seemed to be the entire inventory of the shop, the old man spoke.
"Hmmm... I wonder. Try this." he said, as he handed a wand to Harry. As Harry took the wand and sparks flowed from the end, Ollivander seemed surprised.
"Curious, very curious."
"Pardon me, sir, but what's curious?" asked Harry.
"That wand is holly, with a phoenix feather core. That same phoenix gave only one other feather for use as a wand core, and it resides in the wand that gave you that scar. I think we can expect great things from you, Mr. Potter. You-Know-Who did many great things, terrible yes, but still great." said Ollivander.
As they left the shop, McGonagall spoke again.
"Now, Mr Potter, you should be aware that using that wand to do magic outside of school is forbidden except in life-and-death situations until you turn 17" Said McGonagall, wondering if he had noticed her use of 'wand'. She was not disappointed.
"So, that means as long as I continue to not use the wand, it's perfectly legal?" asked Harry, grinning.
"Yes, so long as you don't use magic in front of muggles that aren't aware of the magical world."
As they made their way to Flourish and Blotts, Harry noticed that he was starting to get a few stares.
Entering Flourish and Blotts, Harry looked around, and started picking books off the shelves that looked interesting, in addition to the list for school. Keep Private Thoughts Private - A Guide to Occlumency was one Harry thought may be useful. It would in fact, prove very useful in time. After paying for the books, they set off toward the Leaky Cauldron. Harry noticed that the books were beginning to get rather heavy. A thought occurred to him.
Why not shrink them? That ought to make them much lighter, not to mention easier to carry... he thought.
As he concentrated on getting his magic to do that, McGonagall had stopped and was watching him, wondering what exactly he was doing. As the rock Harry had decided to practise on shrank, and then grew back to normal, a grin appeared on his face. Picking up each book in turn, he shrank it, and then put it in his pocket. When he finished, he noticed McGonagall looking at him.
"What?" He asked.
"I take it you haven't done that before?"
"No, that's why I practised on that rock before I did the books. Did I do something odd?"
"You might say that. Most people can't do that without a wand and training. You seem to have a far greater control of your magic than most people of any age."
Harry thought about it for a second. "Might it have something to do with my working on controlling it so early? I noticed that nobody here that wasn’t an adult did any magic."
"Perhaps, although most of them need a wand to do magic and you know the restriction. I should return you to the Dursleys. From your comment about them, and my observations, they will probably be displeased by you leaving like you did." said McGonagall.
"Okay. Now I've been here, I can apparate back on my own to get the rest of my supplies. I still don't know how to get to school, though."
"Simply walk through the wall between platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross on September first before 11:00 and board the train. You still need the rest of your supplies, so be sure to get them before then." said McGonagall, before the two disappeared with a soft pop.
Appearing in the backyard of Number 4, they walked around to the front, and McGonagall left Harry who returned to the gardening.