Author: Shadow Rebirth
Warnings: coarse language, adult themes, spoilers
Word Count: 5,503
First Written: September 15, 2008
Last Edited: October 14, 2008
Posted: October 16, 2008
Summary: Owls, cauldrons, and pointed hats? Harry Potter was not amused. And he still wasn't entirely sure that his human trafficking theory had been wrong. Warning! Features a very cynical Harry. AU, no pairings.
Searching for Disaster
The first part of the summer passed in a blur to Harry. His relatives were about as happy to see him as he was to see them, but they mostly just ignored each other. Harry had taken to locking himself in his room and pouring over his books. The rune one that he'd received for Christmas was proving to be particularly interesting. It was akin to learning a new language, except that the language was in terms of magic.
Strangely enough, by half way through the summer Harry hadn't received a single letter from either Daphne or Zacharias, despite their promises to write. He felt only the very beginnings of hurt before he ruthlessly squashed it beneath pounds of built up antipathy.
About a week after his twelfth birthday, Harry spent an entire evening outdoors. His relatives were having some fancy dinner party--Harry didn’t care enough to learn the details--and so through mutual silent agreement Harry left the house. His relatives didn't want him there to "mess things up" and he had no interest whatsoever in joining them. And so instead Harry wandered over to the nearby park, found a nice tree to sit under, and then proceeded to bury himself in his runes book.
Just as it began to grow dark, Harry was startled by a rustling in the bushes in front of him. His head shot up, surprised, and then his eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Who's there?" he growled.
In response the bushes stilled. For a moment there was silence and then out stepped a small green creature with bulging eyes the size of tennis balls and floppy, bat-like ears. Harry stared at the...thing...in horrified shock. Then he did something that no one would have expected: He titled his head back and grinned triumphantly.
"I knew it! Aliens do exist!"
"A-alien, Mister Harry Potter sir?"
For a second time, Harry jumped in surprise. He stared at the green creature suspiciously. "Eh? How do you know my name?"
"So long has Dobby wanted to meet you, sir!" the creature babbled. It bowed so low that the end of its long, thin nose brushed the grass. "Such an honor it is..." Harry noticed that it was wearing what looked like an old pillowcase, with rips for arm- and leg-holes. It was strange attire for an alien, he thought, but then he knew little of otherworldly fashion.
"What do you want with me?" Harry asked bluntly.
"Dobby has some to tell you, sir...it is difficult, sir...Dobby wonders where to begin..."
"Er-- right," Harry replied. He eyed the way Dobby, the creature, was wringing its strange hat warily. "Well, start with something easier then, such as who you are."
"Dobby, sir. Just Dobby. Dobby the house-elf."
Harry felt a small part of him die in that moment. He'd read about house-elves, the servants of wizards, before. "Not an alien then," he muttered dejectedly. "Curses..."
Dobby hesitated, unsure what to make of this. As if to override his confusion, the house-elf suddenly blurted out, "Dobby must protect Harry Potter! Dobby has come to warm him that /Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts./"
Harry stared blankly at Dobby. "Er, what?" Because the house-elf couldn't have just said what he'd thought he'd said. "/Why?/"
"Harry Potter is a great wizard," Dobby said while gulping nervously. "He has already triumphed over He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named twice. He must stay where he is safe. He is too great, too good, to lose. If Harry Potter goes back to Hogwarts, he will be in mortal danger."
Harry snorted. "Of course I'll be danger there," he agreed. "That place is a walking time bomb. Safest place in Britain my ass..."
Dobby faltered, surprised into silence once more. Harry was proud to say that he often had that kind of an affect on people--or elves, as the case was. That this particular creature seemed to have some sort of a celebrity crush on him--a thought that made him shudder and was sure to give him nightmares for months--only made it even worse.
"There is plot," Dobby continued after a moment. He looked unsure about what he was saying now. "A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year. Dobby had known it for months, sir. Harry Potter must not put himself in peril! He is too important."
"They shouldn't you go to the authorities?" Harry asked with a single arched eyebrow. "You know, to warn them, the ones who can actually do something about it?"
Dobby looked positively horrified. "Oh, no, sir. Dobby couldn't. Dobby will already have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this. But Dobby could never betray his family--"
Harry frowned, remembering how house-elves' will was bound to the family they served. It sounded like some twisted form of slavery to Harry, but he didn't know enough about the subject to judge it yet. Still something serious must be about to happen, for Dobby to risk going against his master's word to warn him. And that brought up the question of just who Dobby's master was. Dumbledore, perhaps?
Harry's thoughts abruptly ground to halt as something that Dobby'd been blathering on about while trying to convince him not to go to Hogwarts reached his ears.
"Wait, what? What did you just say?"
Dobby hesitated. "That He-Who-Must-Not--"
"No, no," Harry said impatiently. "Before that. About friends who don't write to me."
Dobby shuffled his feet.
"Harry Potter mustn't be angry with Dobby. Dobby did it for the best--" And instantly everything snapped together in Harry's mind.
"/Have you been stopping my letters?/"
"Dobby has them here, sir," said the elf. He pulled a thick wad of envelopes form the inside of the pillowcase he was wearing. Harry could make out Daphne's neat writing on one of them.
"Harry Potter mustn't be angry..." Dobby said while blinking anxiously up at Harry. "...Dobby hoped...if Harry Potter thought his friends had forgotten him...Harry Potter might not want to go back to school, sir..."
Harry snorted derisively. "That might have worked had I actually cared about having friends," he muttered. He leaned back against the tree behind him, looking resigned, but on the inside his mind was working furiously, a plan forming. After all, withholding mail from its receiver had to be illegal in the wizarding world too. "But I can understand where you're coming from. Maybe going back this year isn't such a good idea."
Harry made a show of nibbling on his bottom lip as if he was honestly considering it. After a moment he lifted his eyes from the grass to look at Dobby.
"I think...I think that might be best," he said hesitantly, and Dobby nodded eagerly. "But...If I do leave I'll need you to do something for me."
"Anything, Harry Potter, sir!"
"Well, the father of a friend of mine will be able to help me drop out. Would you mind accompanying me to his house?"
"Well," Dobby said hesitantly. "Dobby supposes he could...So long as no one knows! Dobby can lead Harry Potter to Harry Potter's friend's father so long as Dobby has the name. Dobby can take Harry Potter sir on Knight Bus."
Harry frowned at the unfamiliar name. "Knight Bus...?"
"Yes, yes!" Dobby's head dipped up and down quickly, doing a fair impression of a bobble-head doll. "It's the way wizards get around London."
"...Right. Well, let's get going then, shall we?"
The pale face of Haemon, Zacharias' father, was pulled into a frown as he stared down at the unconscious body of Dobby the house-elf. A wave of his wand ensured that the small being was bound with magical enhanced ropes. Only then did the older wizard look up at Harry.
"You did the right thing by leading him here, Harry," Haemon murmured. "He was blocking your mail, you say?"
Harry flashed his friend's father a grin as his legs swung back and forth beneath him from his seat on one of the Smith's living room chairs. "Yessir! He outright admitted that he'd been doing it since the beginning of summer. You'll find the letter in his...pillowcase. He kept on prattling on about not letting me go to Hogwarts 'cause I'd be 'in danger'."
Haemon's frown deepened. "Well you were certainly right in that such an action is illegal, even for house-elves."
"That's why I came to you. Since you're a lawyer and all."
Haemon nodded absently, still staring down at Dobby. It was lucky that he had quick enough reflexes to knock the elf out the moment Harry told him what was going on. Dobby had only had enough time to look at Harry in surprise before he was out like a light. The bonds Haemon had put on him would ensure that he would not be able to escape even once he'd woken up.
"So you had a deranged house-elf stalking you?" Zacharias asked curiously, his head titled to one side. The boy was seated next to Harry, watching the proceedings with open amusement.
Harry shuddered in response to the question. "Don't remind me," he muttered. "The poor thing seemed to be star stuck or something, I swear. Kind of like one of those crazy fans who kill the person they admire. I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if he'd eventually hurt me for 'my own good'."
"Well he won't be a problem now," Haemon said firmly. "We'll take him to the Ministry of Magic in the morning to get everything sorted out. But it's late already now, so perhaps you should stay the night, Harry."
"That's not a problem," Harry replied with a shrug. "My relatives won't care." At Haemon's questioning frown, he elaborated. "We don't exactly get along. They tend to abhor anything even vaguely magical or 'weird' and I enjoy rubbing my own weirdness into their faces. They won't go looking for me unless I don't turn up for a week, trust me."
"I would still feel better informing them," Haemon said with a shake of his head. "I shall send an owl at least."
Harry repressed a malicious smirk. "Sure. That works just fine."
Haemon nodded, flicked his wand, and then began to levitate Dobby out of the room.
Staying with the Smiths was interesting, to say the least. Zacharias and his father lived in a medium sized house in downtown London. The house was furnished in an older style that most wizarding places seemed to have and had no electricity, but outside its walls was a muggle neighborhood. Harry wondered if that was how most wizards lived; both isolated from and connected to the muggle world.
Zacharias' mother had apparently died when he was young, leaving Haemon to raise Zacharias on his own. Neither Zacharias nor his father offered and explanation as to the circumstances of her death and Harry didn't ask. It wasn't his place to
The only other thing that Harry knew about the Smiths was that Haemon was a lawyer. Harry had at been surprised to learn that the wizarding world had lawyers when Zacharias had first told him some months ago, but it made sense nonetheless. After all, any society with laws had to have some way to uphold those laws.
It was because of this that the moment Harry'd realized that what Dobby had done was illegal, Haemon had popped into his mind. While Harry himself had no way to subdue the house-elf, Haemon was a fully trained wizard as well as a lawyer. All he'd had to do was lead Dobby to them man under the assumption that he was going to pull out of Hogwarts--and thank Merlin the elf had been so naïve and had such a bad case of hero-worship or else it wouldn't have worked--and Dobby was no longer a problem.
The morning following Dobby's "arrest" was a rush of preparation. Almost directly after breakfast Haemon gathered them all in front of the fireplace, a conscious, but silenced, Dobby floating at his side. The house-elf had wide, teary, and terrified eyes that almost struck a cord in Harry's heart before he roughly pushed the sensation away.
"Have you ever used Floo powder, Harry?" Haemon asked. As he spoke he picked up a stone jar holding silvery powder from the mantelpiece.
Harry shook his head. "No, but I know what it is and how to use it."
"Alright then. Zack, you go first and then Harry will follow."
Zacharias took a pinch of the Floo powder and tossed it into the fire. The moment it touched the hearth the fire roared and flared up bright green. Even though he'd read of the effects of Floo powder, Harry still couldn't help but be surprised. What was in the powder that actually allowed for transportation?
"Ministry of Magic!" Zacharias called out before he stepped into the flames and disappeared. Harry took and deep breath and then carefully repeated his friends actions.
It felt as though he was being sucked down a giant drain. He seemed to be spinning very fast--the roaring in his ears was deafening--he tried to keep his eyes open but the whirl of green flames made him feel sick--something hard knocked his elbow and he tucked it in tightly, still spinning and spinning--now it felt as though cold hands were slapping his face--squinting though his glasses he saw a blurred stream of fireplaces and snatched glimpses of rooms beyond--his stomach was churning violently--he closed his eyes again, wishing it would stop, then--
He fell, stumbling, out of the fire. He only just managed to catch himself before his nose hit smooth carpet. Horribly disoriented, Harry staggered to his feet. The ground jolted beneath him and he felt himself falling again, until a small pair of hands managed to grip his shoulders and steady him.
"Alright there, Harry?" Zacharias asked worriedly.
Harry took a few shaky breaths, willing his stomach to stop doing flips. Finally after several seconds he had his composure back enough to open his eyes. He found that Zacharias and Haemon were staring down at him with concern.
"Perhaps Floo travel is not the best method of transportation for you," Haemon murmured.
At first Harry didn't answer. Then, slowly, a wide grin spread across his face. "Are you kidding? That was bloody awesome! It's just like how I thought a rollercoaster would feel like!" Harry exclaimed. He was practically bouncing on the balls of his feet from excitement; traveling through fireplaces may have been down right strange, but it was also fun.
Haemon shook his head in amusement and finally allowed himself to relax. "If you say so," was his only reply.
Now that he was grounded, Harry took the chance to finally look around at their surroundings. They were standing in a very long and splendid hall with a highly polished, dark wood floor. The peacock-blue ceiling was inlaid with gleaming golden symbols that were continually moving and changing like some enormous heavenly board. Harry could recognize a few of them from his study of Ancient Runes, but not enough to make any sense of it. The walls on each side were paneled in shiny dark wood and had many gilded fireplaces set into them, just like the one Harry had excited from. Every few seconds a witch or wizard would emerge from one of the left-hand fireplaces with a soft whoosh; on the right-hand side, short queue of wizards were forming before each fireplace, waiting to depart.
Even as Harry watched a tall, thin wizard tumbled from the fireplace next to him. Unlike Harry however, the man landed easily on his feet and then strode off with barely pause. The young wizard eyed him jealously and decided then and there that he'd learn how to keep his balance.
Almost directly in front of Harry there was a fountain. A group of golden statues, larger than life, stood in the middle of a circular pool. Tallest of them all was a noble-looking wizard with his wand pointing straight up in the air. Grouped around him were a beautiful witch, a centaur, a goblin, and a house-elf. The last three were looking adoringly up at the witch and wizard.
Harry looked away with a snort and muttered under his breath about conceited, moronic wizards. He knew from personal experience that centaurs would never wear an expression even remotely close to adoration, and especially not when looking at a wizard. The portrayal of the house-elf didn't seem to far off though...
"This way," Haemon suddenly grunted.
The older man began to stride towards a set of golden gates at the far end of the hall and Harry and Zacharias had to hurry to keep up. They easily joined the throng, winding their way through the Ministry workers, some of whom were carrying tottering piles of parchment, others battered briefcases, still others reading the London Wizarding Post, the Daily Prophet, or a variety of other papers as they walked.
As they reached the end of the hall, Haemon stepped out the stream of Ministry employees and stopped in front of a desk on the left, over which hung a sign saying SECURITY. A badly shaven wizard in peacock-blue robes looked up as they approached and put down his London Wizarding Post.
"We're here to see Auror Esmond," Haemon said tersely. "It's regarding a matter of Law Enforcement."
"Step over here," the wizard said in bored voice. Though he did spare Dobby a curious glance, he asked no questions.
Harry and Zacharias walked closer to him and the wizard held up a long golden rod, thin and flexible as a car aerial, and passed it up and down Harry's front and back. He repeated the process with Zacharias and finally with Haemon.
"Wand," grunted the security wizard at Harry, putting down the golden instrument and holding out his hand.
Harry hesitated, but after receiving a reassuring nod from Haemon, he reluctantly drew his wand out and handed it over. The wizard dropped it onto a strange brass instrument, which looked something like a set of scales with only one dish. It began to vibrate. A narrow strip of parchment came speeding out of a slit in the base. The wizard tore this off and read the writing upon it.
"Eleven inches, phoenix-feather core, been in use for one year. That correct?"
"Yes," Harry growled. He felt strangely naked without his wand and realized with a start that he hadn't had it off his person while awake since he'd first gotten it. He was anxious to have it back already.
"I keep this," the security wizard said while impaling the slip of parchment on a small brass spike. "You get this back," he added, thrusting the wand at Harry.
Harry snatched the wand back, uncaring about whether he appeared rude or not. He quietly slipped it away as he watch the wizard repeat the same process with Zacharias' and then Haemon's wands. Once he was done, Haemon steered the two younger boys away from the desk and back into the stream of wizards and witches walking through the golden gates and into a smaller hall beyond, where at least twenty lifts stood behind wrought golden grills.
With a great jangling and clattering a lift descended in front of them. The golden grill slid back, allowing Harry, Zacharias, Haemon, and numerous other witches and wizards entrance. The floating, frozen house-elf got a couple of odd looks, but, once again, no questioned them. The grilles slid shut with a crash and the lift ascended slowly, chains rattling all the while, while a cool female voice rang out.
"Level seven," it said, "Department of Magical Games and Sports, incorporating the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club, and Ludicrous Patents Office."
Harry stared incredulously into space at the sound of the last name. Ludicrous Patents Office? It was doubtless quite accurate, but to actually name the office that...? The lift doors opened and Harry glimpsed an untidy-looking corridor, with various posters of Quidditch teams tacked lopsidedly on the walls. Then the doors closed and the lifted jolted upwards again.
Finally, a couple minutes and several stops later, Harry, Zacharias, and Haemon were the only people left in the lift. The door juddered open again and the voice said, "Level two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services."
As Haemon led Harry and Zacharias out of the life and into a long hallway lined with doors, several paper airplanes that had been floating above their heads soared out past them. Harry just managed to catch sight of MINISTRY OF MAGIC stamped along the edges of their wings and figured hat they were magical notes of some kind. Perhaps like muggle email? It was an interesting thought, to be sure.
The three of them headed down the hall, turned a corner, and then passed through a pair of heavy oak doors. Once through they emerged in a cluttered, open area divided into cubicles, which were buzzing with talk and laughter. Memos were zooming in and out of the cubicles like miniature rockets. A lopsided sign on the nearest cubicle read AUROR HEADQUARTERS.
Harry glanced curiously through the doorways as they passed. The Aurors had covered their cubicle walls with everything from pictures of wanted wizards and photographs of their families, to posters of their favorite Quidditch teams and articles from the London Wizarding Post.
Haemon easily navigated through the chaos and approached a cubicle set up against one wall. A scarlet-robed man with a long, dark ponytail was sitting there with his boots up on his desk, dictating a report to his quill. The rest of his desk was covered with stacks of papers and odd bobbles that Harry couldn't recognize, nor even begin to discern the purpose of.
Upon the entrance, the Auror glanced up in surprise, revealing steel colored eyes. In an instant the surprise turned to joy as their presence registered.
"Ah, Haemon!" the man exclaimed. He stood up and leaned over his desk to firmly clasp Zachariah's father's hands between his own. "How are you? And you're son of course."
"Good, good. And you, Esmond? It's been a while since I saw you last. The Algernon Trial, I believe. Anyway, I'm afraid that I'm here on business. My son's friend has charges that he wishes to press and I stand firmly behind him."
The other man jolted, surprised by the statement. His gaze landed on Harry and he peered down at the boy curiously before abruptly jerking back in shock.
"Well I'll be," he whispered, awed. "Harry Potter!"
Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Here they went again. At least his "fame" would actually be good for something this time.
Later that afternoon, Harry sat outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor in Diagon Alley, torn between feeling elated and worried. The events of that day had been strange at best and horrifying at worst. They'd also been a lot more complicated than Harry had originally expected.
Upon being told the details of what Dobby had done, Esmond immediately set upon taking care of the case. It seemed that Harry had made enough waves in school last year that the Ministry wanted to quickly take care of anything that could potential endanger him and, by connection, their reputation. Dobby had been questioned about his purposes and what he'd revealed had shocked all those present to hear.
As it would turn out, Dobby was actually the house-elf of Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy's father. He hadn't been stopping Harry's mail on his master's order however; he truly had been doing to try to "protect" Harry. Apparently the elf had overheard the elder Malfoy talking releasing something into the school that year on Voldemort's orders.
Of course, in light of this an arrest warrant was immediately sent out for Malfoy, along with a squadron of Aurors, but as far as Harry had heard Malfoy was no where to be found. Harry had little doubt that the man had heard about his warrant the moment it was issued and had disappeared.
Another Auror squadron had also been dispatched to Hogwarts to scour the school for any possible dangers already there. The Ministry could not afford another disaster like the last year.
"Here you go, Harry, Zack," Haemon said, drawing Harry from his reverie. They young boy glanced up to see Haemon handing and ice cream cone to him and his son, who was sitting across from Harry. Harry accepted the ice cream with a calm nod.
"Well this has been interesting," Zacharias said with a grin. "Who knew that a single house-elf could cause such waves?"
"Mmm," Haemon hummed in agreement. His eyes were staring through the table, clearing lost in thought. "And this will doubtlessly make a bit more work for me. Though there will be no case against Dobby's master since he didn't order the stopping of your mail, the conformation of his dark allegiances are another topic altogether. The Ministry is going to have to meticulously go back through all of the trails that took place after the war, in order to find any other Death Eaters who were missed. This is going to be a political nightmare."
"Nightmare indeed," an amused voice spoke up from behind them. "But then, it seems that it is impossible for Mr. Potter to go anywhere without making waves in the political world."
While Haemon and Zacharias jerked in surprise, Harry didn't even look up from ice cream, clearly recognizing the voice. "Hello, Richard," he said calmly.
The reporter grinned widely. "Harry. I was hoping to get a chance to speak to you--but you probably already knew that."
"Of course." Harry spared an apologetic glance at Zacharias and his father. "Would you mind if we spoke in private for a bit?"
Haemon eyed Richard pensively before nodding. "Of course," he said finally. With one hand he gripped Zacharias' shoulders and began to steer him into the ice cream parlor. "Come, Zack. Shall we get another ice cream before we go?"
Zacharias opened his mouth to protest, but closed it just as quickly. His eyes lingered on Harry for a second, just as thoughtful as his father, before he nodded silently and allowed himself to be led away.
Once the father and son duo had disappeared into the dark recesses of the parlor, Richard smoothly slid into a seat across from Harry. The middle-aged man rested his chin in one hand and stared contemplatively at him for several minutes. Harry waited patiently for him to speak, content to savor his ice cream for the time being.
"You truly do make waves you know," Richard said out of the blue. Harry glanced up sharply, pausing in mid-lick. "You're just one of those people who can't help but do so," the man continued. He was staring up at the clear sky as if he'd find all of his answers there. "You draw people to you even when you do not mean to, like planets gravitating around the sun. Your every step has consequences."
Abruptly Richard sat up in his seat and brought his gaze down to meet Harry's. His ebony eyes bored into Harry's with a disturbing intensity that sent shivers down his spine.
"There is an anecdote," he continued, never blinking, "About a butterfly that flapped its wings and caused a hurricane on the other side of the world. Being who you are, you must be more careful than others. What may seem like a meaningless gesture to you could end up affecting us all. It is a heavy responsibility that you bear, to have the effect that you do, but there is little that you can do about it. You will end up changing this world, for better or for good, and whether you mean to or not. I recommend, from one acquaintance to another, that you are careful with any motion that you make."
Harry desperately wanted to tear his eyes away from Richard's, but found that he could not. The other man held his gaze for several more seconds, practically willing Harry's to understand his message with his eyes, before finally glancing away. As if someone unconscious spell had been broken, Harry finally looked down at his melting ice cream and gulped deeply. He noticed that his hands were shaking slightly and tried his best to quell the tremble.
"But that's not what I came to speak to you about," Richard said, his voice suddenly light again. Once again surprised, Harry glanced up to find that whatever intensity had previously gripped the reporter had passed. "I wish to speak with you about today's events. And, of course, to ensure that our agreement is still intact. The Minister is doubtless going to want to speak with you, sooner or later, in order to be seen in a good light by the public and I would like to make sure that I have exclusive rights to talk to you."
Harry titled his head to the side and pondered the wizard's words. "Exclusive rights?" he mused. "...Perhaps. But I will have to ask for something in return."
"Anything," Richard replied, his hands spread in an open gesture.
"The inside scoop. On everything. Ahead of time, as in before any articles released. And that includes bits of information that you find that won't be in any articles.
Richard arched one eyebrow. "So you basically want me to become an informant?"
Harry shrugged and stayed silent. The man could interpret the request as he wanted.
After a moment of contemplation, Richard let out a harsh bark of laughter. "Alright, Mr. Potter," he said amusedly. "You have yourself a deal. Now, let's get down to business, shall we?"
It would be another half an hour before Richard left. As Harry sat, staring thoughtfully down at the table, Haemon and Zacharias finally emerged from the ice cream parlor.
"Had an interesting discussion?" Haemon inquired.
Harry shrugged, declining to give his thoughts on the matter. Zacharias peered at him curiously, but did not speak. In fact, he'd been unusually silent that whole day.
"Well then, is there anything else you'd like to do today, before I bring you back to your relatives'?"
Harry tapped his chin, considering the question. Slowly a wide grin took over his face and his eyes lit up with an unholy glee.
"As a matter of fact there is," he replied. "I'd like to get a pet."
Haemon's eyebrows rose at the strange and unexpected request, but he acquiesced easily enough. Not two minutes later they were standing outside the Magical Menagerie. As they stepped inside and were met with various yowls, scratches, and hoots, Harry could barely repress a delighted cackle. As it was Zacharias was beginning to eye him nervously.
Haemon and Zacharias stood back, watching on in amusement while Harry scoured the store top and bottom for an interesting pet. Finally he stopped in front of a cage containing what looked like an overgrown ferret. It had sleek brown fur that was speckled with white and glaring red eyes. As Harry watched it its mouth moved rapidly, as if chattering, but no sound came out.
"What's this?" Harry asked curiously.
The cashier, a young witch who looked to be just out of Hogwarts, sniffed haughtily. "That's a jarvey," she said, distaste clear in her voice. "Foul little creatures, but they're rather useful in chasing gnomes. This one was hit by a few spells, so it's even worse than usual--hence the silencing charms."
Harry cocked his head to the side, curiosity growing with every passing moment. "Silencing charms? Why?" he asked.
In reply, the woman wordless drew her wand and waved it at the cage. As though a thick curtain had been drawn back, sound began to issue forth.
"--Nasty little bastards," the jarvey was swearing violently, "Bloody, goat-fucking, toad licking, wart infested, sons of--"
With another wave of her wand, the sound was cut off again. The witch's face was twisted into a disgusted scowl, but Harry was absolutely delighted.
"I'll take him!" he exclaimed, to the woman's horror and Zacharias and Haemon's amusement.
"But-- You--" the woman spluttered. Harry easily waved off her protest. "Fine," she sulked.
Money passed hands and in only a few seconds Harry was holding the cage and peering interestedly at the jarvey. It had grown even more violent now that it was eye level with Harry and the young boy could practically hear it already.
"What are you going to name him?" Haemon asked through muffled chuckles.
Harry smirked, not taking his eyes away from his new pet. "I think I'll name him Voldemort."
It was worth it to see the witch feint, out cold, on the shop floor.
A/N: You have no idea how tempted I was to have Harry get a fluffy, white kitten with big, blue eyes and name it Voldemort.
But then, I was also very tempted to have Harry name the jarvey Malfoy since jarveys look like overgrown ferrets, but it wouldn't have been a joke to Harry since the "bouncing ferret" incident hasn't happened. Oh well. Oh, and congratulation to White Mage Koorii and noylj for guessing that the pet would be a jarvey! I have many plans for "Voldemort". (cackles quietly)
In a twist of irony that isn't really irony since it's intentional, Haemon basically means "bloody" in Greek. Also, the name Algernon from the "Algernon Trials" mentioned in this chapter is a bit of a joke that you'll probably only be able to get if you speak French. Or if you look up the entomology of the name.