Learning the horrible truth of what the future holds Harry begins his quest to become the perfect wizard and change the future of death and destruction he's foreseen. Not realizing what the consequ...
As they were walking out of Ollivander's Katie's mum cast a water repelling charm on them to prevent another mishap, causing Alexia to start complaining. She loved to run around, and the rain gave her a perfect excuse.
Lunch at Florean's was as delicious as ever though Harry barely noticed as he spent most his time talking with Katie and learning about her family. They'd been really surprised yesterday when Alexia received her acceptance letter to Hogwarts, as none of them thought she'd ever done magic. Her father was a Muggle and, while Katie showed signs of magic early on, Alexia hadn't.
"Harry dear, you're looking much healthier than before. Did you come for more robes?" Madam Malkin asked coming over to him.
Harry started. After finishing their sundaes Harry and Katie began talking about Oliver Wood's chance of being picked up by a Professional Quidditch team, and possible replacements for Gryffindor's Keeper. He was enjoying the conversation and didn't even realize that they left the ice cream parlor until Madam Malkin began talking to him.
"That school robe does look a bit short on you. I do hope you don't mind but I threw away those wet clothes from before. Even resized there was just nothing to be done with them."
She raised his arms and turned him around, nodding at what she saw. "Your dress robes will have to be large by a few centimeters and then charmed to keep a perfect fit as you grow. It'll be more expensive but otherwise the robe won't look perfect when you need it for Hogwarts. Boys your age never seem to stop growing." Noticing the stain on Harry's robe she added, "Or eating for that matter."
Katie laughed at Madam Malkin's comment and told her that they'd just come Fortescue's, where Harry had eaten two sundaes.
"Hey, I was hungry! I didn't have breakfast and ran several kilometers this morning." Harry claimed, trying to defend himself.
"Of course you did," teased Katie. "And here's your reward for having run so far." She added, offering him a small tart.
Harry, having been in the magical world for 3 years, was wary of accepting it.
Katie noticed his apprehension. "Go ahead." She said, looking completely innocent. "I haven't visited Gambol and Japes yet. We only just got to Diagon Alley remember?"
Only somewhat reluctantly Harry accepted the sweet and took a bite. Unfortunately he saw Katie smile the moment he bit the tart and mentally groaned. He didn't like the look of that smile.
The feeling was proved correct when only his entire body began to feeling tingly and he noticed fuzz growing on his hands and arms. Within a minute his entire body was covered with in light brown fur about an inch long.
"Well, it looks like we'll need to wait to pick out a dress robe for you dear. I don't think I have any material that would match your fur." Madam Malkin said in a conversational tone, as if discussing the weather.
Katie and her sister both started laughing at her comment and even Katie's mum had a smile on her face.
"Come along Alexia dear," Mrs. Bell said as she took Cephia by the shoulder, leading her towards the fitting room. "We'll do your robes first."
"Sorry, I couldn't help it! Fred and George made them and owl'd me a few to test. It's a Wolf-Berry Tart, in honor of Professor Lupin." Katie gave Harry a sympathetic smile and added, "They've gotten me more times than I can count so you're in good company."
Harry laughed a bit himself. Typical for the twins. Most of Hogwarts knew better than to accept anything from them because of their reputation, so it only made sense that they start using their friends to help now.
"Wolf-Berry Tarts huh? I'll have to talk to them sometime." Harry commented while looking at the fur on his arms. "This might be able to pass for centaur fur, but it's nothing like real werewolf fur."
"You've seen a real werewolf?" Katie gasped. "It was Professor Lupin wasn't it? I heard a rumor that a student was nearly attacked but I didn't believe it! What happened?"
"And a Centaur? Where did you ever meet a Centaur, I thought they hated magical folk and stayed away from us. People even say that if it wasn't for Dumbledore, they'd try to attack Hogwarts."
At this he had to say something, a Centaur had saved his life and he wouldn't let anyone talk about them like that. So he told her a short version of his detention in The Forbidden Forest and how Firenze saved his life.
Katie was amazed at the end, apparently even Fred and George had never gone very far into The Forbidden Forest.
Harry thought this was actually smart of them, and to make sure Katie wouldn't be interested in going in the forest anytime soon, told her about Aragog and the other Acromantula in the forest.
Alexia finished with her robes before Harry could end his story and then it was their turn to be fitted.
"I wonder what we'll need dress robes for this year?"
Katie's question startled Harry as he'd been reliving his adventure in the Forest, and not particularly paying much attention to anything else.
"Dress Robes?" Harry asked, confused by what she meant.
"Boys." Katie sighed while rolling her eyes. "Madam Malkin talked about the dress robes you'll need for Hogwarts this year when we came in. We never needed them before though, and Alexia's letter didn't mention any."
Madam Malkin came in as Katie was talking about the possible reasons for the dress robes and told her that Hogwarts would be having a formal ball this year. After that the two of them began talking about the dance, Harry quickly tuned them out.
Ollivander was busy with a customer, a sixth or seventh year boy he remembered seeing around Hogwarts. So he went to the backroom and found that his books were already laid out on the table waiting for him and groaned to himself. He should have known Ollivander wouldn't let him slack on the morning's lesson.
Three days later he finished taking the Elixir and would not longer need to come into the shop everyday. Harry was surprised by just how unwelcome the news was to him. Thankfully Ollivander said he'd still need to come back to continue his lessons and take a few more potions, just not every day like he had been.
The last two weeks had been extremely busy for him, going to London and back everyday, reading and studying in the morning, and then practical lessons in the afternoon. While he sometimes complained to himself about the reading assignments, or about listening to Ollivander talk about the Wizarding World's traditions, he'd not only become used to it, but actually enjoyed it.
Normally his summers were filled with chores and mind-numbing boredom, but for the last two weeks it'd almost seemed like he was back at his real home, Hogwarts. The early mornings and running reminded him of Quidditch practice, the reading and practical lessons reminded him of his classes, and occasionally using memories of Ron and Hermione in the Pensieve kept him from missing his friends too much.
The most surprising thing was how much Harry had come to enjoy his lessons. Ollivander, while incredibly knowledgeable, was not the best teacher. He was entirely too smart, passed over a lot of the more basic information that Harry didn't know, but in his own way he was still more effective than any other teacher.
One of the problems Harry had with classes was that he never saw the point in it. What did learning how to transfigure a porcupine into a pin cushion, or a lot of other rubbish they assigned in class, have to do with anything? So he only tried hard enough to get by.
Ollivander though, explained that these basic lessons were just one of the many steps that you must take in order to learn true magic. His interest in Transfiguration, for example, peeked to the highest it'd been since first year after Ollivander gave several examples of how the basics magic he already knew tied into the more advanced spells.
It made him want to study harder and learn more for himself, not merely do enough to get by in class. He learned a lot in those two weeks for just that reason. While none of it was especially interesting, or powerful, he made far greater progress in those two weeks than any two weeks in school.
Interestingly enough some of the most important things Ollivander taught Harry were not spells, rather they were tips on how to use magic efficiently. Eliminating excess movement and saying, rather than shouting, spells were two of the more important.
He'd been simple amazed to learn that a proper grip and the wand alignment would lessen the amount of magic wasted when casting spells. Why didn't they teach that in class?
Ollivander also told him that a well cared for wand would channel magic more efficiently. Any cracks or imperfections of the wood grain inside the wand would increase the power required to cast a spell while decreasing the spell's power. Ollivander gave him special oil used for polishing wands that would, over time, seep into the wood and repair minor imperfections, keeping the wand in top performance.
Several times over his three years at Hogwarts he'd seen students caring for their wands, but never really thought about why. Now that he realized what it was for he felt stupid. He spent hours at a time keeping his broom in top shape, but never thought to do the same for his wand.
This year he knew he'd spend a lot more time polishing his wand.
"Katie?" He asked, a bit surprised to see her in Ollivander's again.
"Harry! I was hoping you'd be here." Katie said as she walked over to him. "I'm going clothes shopping in London. Interested?"
"I guess." Harry replied, unsure of how to answer. He took time from studying the other day and didn't want Ollivander to be angry at him for leaving all the time. "I could use some Muggle clothes, but I'm supposed to be studying today."
"Considering the despicable clothes you previously wore, you should shop while you have willing help." Ollivander told him from across the room. "This young woman's opinion could be quite invaluable to you, Mr. Potter."
"It won't just be me." Katie added. "Angelina and Alicia will be coming too, and my father and Lee."
"Go Mr. Potter, and do not worry about your studies. I have little doubt that your books will anxiously await your return." Ollivander said, his smile turning in to a full-sized grin.
Harry wasn't sure about spending a whole day shopping but had to admit that spending time with friends sounded like fun. "All right. I need to exchange money in Gringotts first though."
"Don't worry about that." Katie said as Harry opened the door for her automatically. "My dad will buy everything and you can pay him back in Galleons afterwards. It's one of the main reasons why he'll be there today, to avoid the Goblin's fees."
"That was Runes you were studying, but I didn't think you took Runes?"
"I'm not, well not yet anyways. I took Divination with Ron last year but, well, you know the story about her predicting my death every class." He stopped talking for a moment to avoid a pushy group of tourists, then continued. "Anyways, Ollivander had me read through a book on Runes and I was a lot more interested in it than I thought I would be. He'll talk to McGonagall about me switching classes if I can learn the basics during the summer."
"Do you want any help? I still have all my notes and homework from last year, and I'm pretty sure I have most of it for my third year too." Katie told him as they stepped through the brick doorway into The Three Broomsticks.
"That'd be great actually. I was going to ask Hermione for hers but she's not back from vacation yet."
The shopping was not going well for Harry. Going off on his own in the first store seemed like a good idea at the time, the fact that he never shopped before and had no idea what to wear not withstanding.
Thankfully after about fifteen minutes Katie found him and checked out the few pieces of clothing he had managed to pick out. She quickly determined that he would never be allowed off on his own again and enlisted the others to help find clothes for Harry.
While he admitted their choices were far better than his own, it did cause one slight annoyance. While the girls were busy trying clothes on, he was forced to wait until one came out to critique what he was wearing. A few stores later however, Harry found there was one surprising benefit to this arrangement.
While proper dress robes were nice, the girls informed him, Muggle dresses were far more fashionable these days. And so Harry was forced to wait a great deal longer than longer as they tried on dress after dress. Waiting for one of the girls to approve his clothing Harry's mouth dropped open and brain stalled as Katie opened the dressing room door.
This was not because of the outfit Katie was wearing, as Harry barely even noticed her. What did catch his attention was that from this angle he could see Alicia. It was what Alicia was wearing, or more accurately, what she wasn't wearing, that took his breath away. He'd never realized just how large her chest, or how flat and toned her stomach was before. Wizarding robes hid far more than they revealed.
His view only lasted for around 10 seconds. By the time Harry came out of his stupor Katie had fallen silent, an odd look on her face. He knew she was going to ask him something he didn't want to answer, so he quickly mumbled an excuse and disappeared.
Katie paused for a moment after he left, feeling a little giddy. She knew she was decent looking but because of all the time she spent with Alicia and Angelina, who were more than a year older and far more developed, guys tended to look past her to eye them.
Looking down at herself she smiled. It wasn't often that she wore dresses and this one was a bit short for her tastes, but with Harry's reaction... This was the dress she was going to buy, and maybe a few others like it.
A large smile on her face, she went back into the changing room glad Harry came along today. It was only after she was already at Diagon Alley that she decided be kind and invite him. Coming from a half-Muggle family she knew how dull it could be to wear bland robes all the time. If she was honest with herself though, she'd been surprised by how much better he looked minus the horrible clothes and glasses, and wanted complete his new look. At the time she thought the girls in his classes could thank her later, but now...
Alicia and Angelina noticed her bright smile and slightly dazed look immediately and quickly surrounded her, wanting to know what happened.
Harry spent the next couple hours trailing behind the rest of the group or talking with Mr. Bell.
Marcus Bell was a kind looking man with sky-blue eyes and a deep voice, which seemed oddly out of place coming from his skinny frame. Harry learned that Mr. Bell had originally been friends with Cephia, his wife, when they were children, but lost touch with her when she went away to school.
Years later he was helping repair his parent's home and met her again. They became friends and, eventually, married. It wasn't until after they were engaged that she told him about the magical world, though he figured something weird was going on with her long before then.
He admitted that it'd been a shock but they got through it and were married a year later. "The hardest part to get used to," Marcus told him while they were waiting for the girls to finish shopping, "was the Floo. I could handle most the other things, but it took me years to get used to that. Even now I still prefer using a car, or the rail."
As they were shopping Harry noticed the three girls would often glance at him and start whispering amongst themselves. He blushed with embarrassment each time this happened and was grateful that none of them had taken him to task for peeking at Alicia, hoping they wouldn't mention it at all.
Part of him wanted nothing more than to stop shopping and dream about what he saw for those precious seconds. Another part of though wanted to go back to Ollivander's and try to forget that it ever happened. Yeah, /he thought to himself, l/ike that will ever happen.
It wasn't until they returned to the familiar territory of Diagon Alley that he relaxed enough chat freely with them again. The girls still wanted to do a bit more shopping in the Alley and Lee was interested in a pair of hand-grips he had seen at Quality Quidditch Supplies. He enjoyed their friendly banter again but could sense that the girls, Katie in particular, would give a thoughtful glance once in a while.
While they were shopping in Gladrag's that he found out the girls were going to help Oliver Wood prepare for his try-outs. Oliver made it past the first two-cuts and would be competing against Puddlemeare United's first string with their Firebolts. It the mention of the Firebolts that caught his attention. He knew a seeker wouldn't be as helpful as three chasers but he did have his Firebolt, and letting the girls use it against Oliver would help him a lot for his final try-out.
"How is it that everyone knows you and calls you Harry?" Katie asked while they were in Esmeralda's Wicces Boutique. "I've been coming here for years and she still calls me little miss Bell, if she even remembers me at all. I could maybe understand Mr. Fortescue, or Noel from Quality Quidditch Supplies, but Esmeralda... You aren't a regular customer here, are you?"
"No! I've never been in here before today." Harry gasped out, shocked she could even suggest that. And seeing no other way out of it, Harry related how Mr. Fortescue nearly started a riot by calling his last name and how the workers in Diagon Alley would call him by his first name now to prevent it from happening again.
The three girls and Lee, being the kind and considerate friends they were, found this hilarious and laughed their arses off. By the time they finally stopped their laughing Harry sure his face looked as red as Ron's hair.
After doing his morning chores and cooking breakfast the next morning Harry had a bit of extra time before meeting Oliver and the girls for Quidditch. Going back to him room he happily picked through his new clothes for an outfit to wear. Yesterday may have embarrassed him a bit, but the results were worth it. Looking at himself in the mirror Harry realized that the girls, and surprisingly Mr. Bell, really did have good taste in clothing. He barely recognized himself anymore.
It still felt weird to be wearing such tight fitting clothes but Katie assured him that this was how they were suppose to fit and, after he became used to the feeling, he'd never want to go back to his old rubbish again. Harry believed her.
The difference between his old pair of trainers, which were held together by magic and tape, and his new pair of running trainers was like night and day. On his way back from shopping he couldn't help but test them and sprinted all the way from the rail station to Wisteria Walk, where he nearly tripped over one of Mrs. Figg's cats. His feet weren't even a little bit sore by the end, it'd been like running on air.
Harry arrived at The Three Broomsticks and found Katie and Angelina already there. After a few minutes of talking Alicia arrived and they all floo'd to the Wizarding Park where Oliver had a pitch reserved.
Looking around Harry was in awe at what he saw. Everywhere he looked there were sprawling grass fields for as far as he could see. Several small children were playing on swings, which seemed to be held up only by magic. In one area older kids were sliding down huge translucent slides, landing with a splash into the huge lake. The lake seemed to defy logic, and gravity. Children swam from the water into the air and then dove, or fell, back into the water again.
The walk to the Quidditch Pitch took about ten or fifteen minutes and the girls told him about the park on the way. It wasn't normally this large, the Ministry had magically expanded it over the last two years for the World Cup. The fields where the cheaper ticket holders, like the girls, would camp out were only about a twenty minute walk from here, next month the whole area would be filled with people.
Arriving at the pitch they found Oliver Wood pacing back and forth talking to himself about Quidditch plays. The four of them only marginally succeeded in stifling their groans. They'd seen Oliver like this many times before and each knew it was going to be a long day.
While there were a few rough spots, he really enjoyed the full day of practice. The moment his feet left the ground the feeling of flying returned; this was where he was meant to be, this was where he belonged.
Harry knew he was the best seeker at Hogwarts, but today he gained a new appreciation for how difficult being a chaser was, and that the three girls did a lot more than just fly. He'd known from the beginnings that they were good and worked perfectly together, but it wasn't until he tried to become a fourth chaser that he truly appreciated their skill.
Harry could easily keep track of the other chasers, even in the fastest and most complex of their plays he always knew where they were, being a seeker did have a few advantages. What he hadn't realized though, was that you needed a lot more than just flying skills to pull the plays off successfully.
Getting the Quaffle exactly where you wanted it while going full speed on a broom was not an easy task. And he'd never even considered that you didn't throw a Quaffle to where a chaser was, but where she would be. They not only knew where the other girls would be, but were somehow able to let the others know where they'd be needed. It was almost like they could communicate to each other without any visible movements, at least none Harry could pick up on.
Perhaps it was male of him, but he always considered the girls as, well, girls. Weaker and more delicate than guys. To learn that all three girls were stronger than him was quite a shock. After several hours of catching and throwing a few kilogram ball around while flying at high speed on broomsticks, he learned first hand just how much strength was required to be a Chaser.
Even with all the chores the Dursley's made him do over the years, he wouldn't have been able to last the whole practice. His only saving grace turned out to be the girls. He didn't want to quit in front of them, to appear weak. So he forced himself to continue, even after his muscles burned and his arm grew numb.
At the end of practice the girls, while looking a bit peaked, seemed to be perfectly fine after a shower. Harry, however, wanted to sleep, right there on the ground. Just to lie down and wake up in the morning. He was sure though that none of them could tell how worn out he felt. If it was one thing he learned from the Dursley's, it was how to wear a mask.
When they were getting ready to leave Oliver surprised him by commenting that if he wasn't such a great seeker he'd make a right good chaser, with practice of course. To Harry this meant a lot, Oliver Wood was not known to give out praise lightly.
Entering his room at the Dursley's he was surprised to see a very serious looking Ollivander standing next to the Pensieve. A feeling of dread came over him, he'd forgotten to remove the memory of Sirius from it this morning.