AU, Post OotP summer story: Summer at the Dursleys has always meant Harry is overworked, underfed and lonely. All Harry wanted was a normal summer, what he gets is anything but normal. repost
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter
AN: I thought I'd answer the reviewers who asked about Mr. Mann and One Man's Treasures, I did use him in an earlier story, the now discontinued Learning Incentive.
Harry woke easily with a smile on his face and then was startled to realize it was quite late in the morning. He bolted down stairs to find Aunt Petunia sitting at the table, tea in hand, reading a decorating magazine.
"I'm sorry, Aunt Petunia, I didn't hear you call me," he said.
"I didn't call you. Vernon wasn't feeling well this morning, only wanted a bit of toast before work, poor dear," she said. Harry was almost positive she was smirking. "There's cereal if you are hungry and then you can look over the flower beds I believe I saw a weed this morning."
Harry nodded and poured cereal, milk and juice for his breakfast keeping a wary eye on his Aunt. Finally she set the magazine aside with a sigh and turned her gimlet eye on him.
"Harry," she said then hesitated.
"Yes Aunt Petunia?"
She sighed again, dropped her eyes from his and said, "The shed and fence need painting, was there paint left last year?"
"No, ma'am, I used it all," answered Harry a bit confused now.
"I'll have Vernon pick some up this weekend and you can do it next week. Finish your cereal and take yourself away," she told him and then got up and began dragging the Hoover from its cupboard. Harry gulped down the rest of his breakfast, rinsed out his bowl and fled to the garden.
He made a quick search and destroy inspection of the flower beds then retreated upstairs for a shower and change of clothes. He'd thought he was ready to tackle the bank stuff again. A fresh sheet of parchment and he had a listing of Services, many of them Harry didn't understand.
On a second sheet he wrote his inquiry:
I have just learned what my key can do and have discovered that I have more vaults than I knew. I am hoping that you can answer my questions.
I only have the one key and I am curious how I get the other keys or who has them?
Who else might have access to my account?
Why do I have access to some vaults and not others?
Why do I have limited access to number 711 Sirius Black and pending access to 245?
How can I check the inventory and balances of those vaults without a key?
What is the condition of the house in Godric's Hollow?
Under Services you list Muggle identification and ATM/Debit/Credit card, how do I get those.
Thank you for your time,
Harry James Potter
He then placed the key on the top of the page and triggered it; then watched amazed as the key soaked up all the ink and glowed for a moment. Nothing happened after that and Harry decided he just had to wait for an answer he wondered how long it would take. He spent a few moments just staring at the parchment and finally picked up the Underage Magic rulebook and began to thumb through it.
Twenty minutes later a brief flash from the desk caught Harry's attention and ink began to flow out of the key onto the parchment.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I was most distressed to learn that no one had explained key use to you. A regrettable oversight on someone's part, I'm sure. I am quite please to answer your questions. Also if you have not yet done so please be sure to check Updates once a month.
The key in your possession is to your personal vault. Your parents vault key is in trust here in the bank and will be released to you upon your majority, the Potter Family Vault is a very old vault and as such required no key.
The key for Number 711 Estate of Sirius Black was taken into the possession of the Ministry upon the arrest of Mr. Black in Nov of 1981 and rendered void by Gringotts. You have had limited access to this vault since 3 August 1980 when you were named Heir and secondary account holder to Sirius Black.
Our records show one purchase by you in 1994 of a Firebolt broom.
Full access to this vault and the Black Family Vault is pending the reading of the Last Will and Testament of Sirius Black scheduled for 8 July, this year.
Please accept my condolences on your loss.
At this time no one but you has full access to your account. I have limited access as the manager here at Gringotts; I have been the account manager for the Potter Family for twenty-seven years and am looking forward to meeting you again.
To check the inventory or balances of the other vaults use your key and add the number and name of the vault you wish to view. Please be aware that you cannot remove any currency from any vault other than your personal one at this time.
The property at Godric's Hollow is vacant as there was extensive damage done to the house and contents. Salvageable items were crated and stored in number 625 and a ward placed around the property to keep trespassers out as per the prior instructions of James Potter.
I have prepared a document package for you and will send it by high security owl this evening. If it does not arrive by morning contact me immediately. You must place a drop of blood on the shiny square on the bankcard to activate it. There is a daily spending limit of 500 galleons or the equivalent in Muggle currency.
I look forward to doing business with you Mr. Potter. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
May your wealth multiply,
Senior Account Manager
It was a lot to take in. There was also the one thing Harry didn't want to think about. Sirius was really gone. They were going to read his Will. His brow furrowed as wondered when anyone was going to tell him about it. Knowing Dumbledore, he either wouldn't be told at all or would just be snatched up to Gringotts and surprised with it.
He paced the room fuming until the window began rattling in the sill. He turned and realized it was his magic flaring. He took a deep breath and tried to calm down. He pushed all of the grief and thoughts about Sirius's death down and tried to stop thinking about it. The window glass stopped rattling and Harry looked at the letter again. The other important point was that nobody else could spend his money and he would soon have a card he could get cash with and use to buy things, quite a lot of things if he was of a mind to.
He tidied his parchment away and mused, what did he want to buy? He had clothes and glasses. He wanted contacts and some boots for winter, but any electronics Dudley would steal and they didn't work at Hogwarts anyway. Maybe some nice presents for his friends; there was another bag like his at Mr. Mann's shop, Hermione would like that. She carried so many books around, he snickered to himself, she should have arms like a weightlifter. What could he get for Ron? Maybe he'd go look around Mr. Mann's shop again or stroll through the discount store, even just muggle candy would probably work. He should get something for Neville too, if he was going to visit. He wondered if Ron would be upset that he went to visit Neville.
Maybe if he was at Neville's he could even go to Diagon Alley this year for his own school supplies. How much more danger could he possibly be in there than at Hogwarts. After all Quirrell, Crouch and Umbridge had been let in by Dumbledore, Sirius had snuck in, and Snape was there all the time, no one in their right minds could think that Hogwarts was safe.
His Aunt calling up the stairs interrupted his musings.
"Harry, Mrs. Figg wants you to go round and reach some tins down for her."
Harry rolled his eyes, so someone wanted to see him, he thought.
"Yes Aunt Petunia, I'll go now," he called going down the stairs.
He ambled down the street to Mrs. Figg's house wondering if it was Remus come to see him or if Dumbledore had more secrets to share. Unfortunately for Harry it was neither. Mrs. Figg really did want him to lift down some tins, a whole cupboard full of them.
She showed him in the kitchen and pointed to a step stool in front of a tall cupboard.
"Jump up there, Harry, and start handing down the tins. Something's gone off and exploded, just look at the door," she said indicating the inside of the cupboard door that had something sticky splattered across the top that had made little rivulets running down.
"Everything will have to come out and be washed up, then the shelves scrubbed down good. I'm glad you agreed to come. I'm hesitant to climb any more than I have to, you know," she said.
So standing on a step stool he emptied the cupboard, helped wipe down all the tins, scrubbed the shelves and put all the tins back while Mrs. Figg went on and on about a lot of people who, Harry suspected, had been dead for a long time.
She fed him a snack and sent him on his way in time for him to help with dinner that evening.
"Took you long enough," Petunia said with a sniff as she set him to peeling potatoes.
"Well it was a little more that lifting down a tin or two. She had a tin of apricots go off and explode. Juice everywhere, it was a right mess," he replied with a grimace.
Petunia laughed just a bit, "Should teach her to rotate, that should, poor thing."
Dinner was better than the night before, Petunia recounted Mrs. Figg's problems and the antics of one of the neighbors she witnessed that afternoon.
Harry was soon able to escape to his room and delved into the Potions book. At this rate he thought, he'd have to go look through Mr. Mann's books again soon just to have something to do.
The Gringotts owl arrived very early before Aunt Petunia called him. He thanked it and offered a treat and it left as soon as he had the bundle off.
Harry sorted through the package containing the bankcard with instructions, a muggle ID, a health card, a passport, and a letter and a second sealed envelope marked important documents.
Aunt Petunia called him then and he stashed the bundle in his trunk and went down to make breakfast.
After breakfast Harry wrote a brief note to the Order and sent Hedwig out; then pulled the package back out of his trunk. A quick prick with a quill and he had the bankcard activated. He placed it with the ID card and the pounds he had left. He eyed the pile for a moment and decided to buy a wallet. He opened the important documents envelope and found a note that read,
I have enclosed copies of some documents that I thought you might wish to see.
He found his birth certificate, his parent's completion certificates from Hogwarts, their marriage license, their death certificates and their wills along with the official notification of the reading of Sirius's Will.
Harry couldn't bring himself to read the Wills; instead, he shoved the papers back into the envelope and threw it into his trunk, shoved the money, ID, and bankcard into his pocket with his wand and pelted down the stairs and out of the house.
When he arrived in the commercial section of town he realized he was too early for Mr. Mann's shop to be open. He went into the Market and bought a bottle of soda and sat on the curb in front to drink it ignoring the stares of passersby.
When Mr. Mann unlocked his door Harry entered.
"Hello there, lad. You're out and about early, what can I do for you?" asked Mr. Mann.
"I just wanted to have another look around, sir. I think I might have missed things last time, there is so much here," said Harry.
"Surely, go on back," replied Mr. Mann.
Harry passed through the bead curtain and began to look around; he examined the rack of brooms and again looked in the glass cases at the wands, knives and jewelry displayed there. Then he noticed high up on one shelf behind the display cases was a stone bowl that he believed might be a pensieve. Near the rack with the bags he found a shelf with a leather wallet; the tag said it had an antitheft charm on it. He picked it up and then went over to browse the books, picking out several that looked interesting. After an hour or so of his browsing, Mr. Mann came back to check on him.
"You certainly take your shopping seriously," he chuckled at Harry who he'd found trying on hats.
Harry blushed and snatched the hat from his head, "Er, sorry, I was just, I mean I'm done. That pile on the display case is what I want, I can go now," he stuttered.
"You can take as long as you like but it might be easier if you tell someone what's troubling you instead of running away from it," said Mann, lounging against a rack of cauldrons.
Harry scowled, "I-I don't think I want to talk to anyone. They wouldn't understand or they'd just pat me on the head and tell me it will be all right. I already know that's a lie, it's not like they care any way."
"Does it matter then what they say if you know they don't care?"
Mann grinned, "Are you asking me or telling me?"
Harry looked sheepish, "I know they do care, but it hurts to even think about and I don't-see, my godfather died and it was sort of my fault. Oh, I know it wasn't really. I know who really deserves the blame and at the same time I don't care about the blame because it still hurts. I've been trying not to think about it, but I used the key and they're going to read the will and nobody told me. I had to find out from the Goblins and they sent a copy of my parent wills and I don't want to think about that either because it, well-" Harry broke off and turned away not wanting Mr. Mann to see that he might cry.
"Because it hurts, yes, I do understand. My wife has been gone for many years and it still hurts. I can tell you that it never stops hurting either but it does get better eventually. Sometimes I can go days without thinking about her and anymore the memories are the good ones instead of the bad ones," said Mann, reaching out he laid a hand on Harry's shoulder.
After a moment Harry pulled away from the hand and turned back.
"I'm sorry to remind you, sir," said Harry.
"Not at all, like I said, good memories. But if you keep it all shoved down it will make it worse when it all comes out, like a boil it needs to be lanced."
"But it just goes round in my head and there's other stuff as well," said Harry.
Mann nodded, "Until you feel like you want to scream, yes?"
Harry looked startled and then nodded. "Yes, and that wouldn't help at all; so I read and work and try not to think about it at all."
Mann eyed Harry for a moment then flicked his wand toward the front door locking it and placing the back soon sign up, "Come along Mr. Potter, we'll have some tea and you can tell me some good memories about your godfather."
Harry felt much better that afternoon as he returned to number four. He told his good memories of Sirius and could see them in his mind now instead of that awful moment when he fell.
"Just where have you been?" asked Aunt Petunia the minute he came through the door.
"I was helping Mr. Mann at the junk shop," said Harry.
She sniffed and said, "Well that girl called again, her number is beside the phone, you had better call her back but don't take all day, I don't want to see a huge charge."
Harry blinked, Hermione had called again? "Yes Aunt Petunia, I won't talk long."
"Hermione Granger, please," asked Harry into the phone.
"Hi Harry, where were you? Your Aunt said you were out but I thought you were supposed to stay close to home?" questioned Hermione.
"I was out, helping a neighbor," he told her, "What's wrong?"
"Why do you always think something is wrong? I'm fine I just want to check on you," she said with a huff.
Harry grinned and said, "Well, I'm fine too,"
She laughed, "All right, shall I call again in a couple of days?"
"That would be great, bye."
"Good bye, Harry."
Petunia was standing in the hall looking oddly at him again.
"Aunt Petunia, I wanted to ask, one on my friends would like me to spend August with him, may I?" Harry felt he might be taking a chance but she had been nicer so far this year.
She waved him in to the kitchen to the table.
"The red haired one?" she asked.
"No, not the Weasley's, Neville Longbottom," he said.
She seemed to think for a minute then opened the pantry and reached down a box from the top shelf. She placed the box on the table and pulled out an hourglass, at least 6 inches tall and 4 inches around, sitting in a brass base. The sand was red and as he watched one grain jumped from the bottom to the top, much like the balls in the house point counter.
"What is this?" he asked, "And why do you have it?"
She handed him a piece of parchment that had been in the box.
This hourglass is a physical representation of the protections afforded both young Harry and your family. Each summer as Harry spends time at home the top will fill; it will empty while Harry is away.
Small household chores may help to fill the top. Overnight trips to friends should be prohibited until the sand reaches the blue line.
Harry looked at the hourglass again and found the light blue line half way up the top section of the glass.
"If this is why you've always given me so many chores, then why not this year?" he asked.
"I'm tired of the fighting, of the sullen silences, the angry glares, and Vernon yelling. Last year when you - saved Dudley, more sand, a lot more moved up to the top. I've noticed it doesn't fill as much each year as the year before and it runs out faster. That must mean that something has to change. Well, I'm tired of the whole thing so you can take it to your room and worry about it. You can go or stay knowing that our fate is in your hands.
"I never wanted you here, your godfather or your godmother were supposed to raise you if something happened; you were never supposed to come here. I never understood why that woman didn't take you in when they sent him to prison," Petunia said.
"I have a godmother? Why didn't you ever tell me?" Harry demanded.
"What and tell you someone else didn't want you? It doesn't matter, now; she must want you to spend time with her son, now."
"Longbottom, I recognized that absurd name. Lily said she had a boy about your age."
Harry paled and slumped in his seat, "The Longbottoms were attacked around the same time as my parents, and Neville lives with his Grandmother."
"They're dead?" her tone was rather horrified.
"No, they were tortured to insanity and have been in Saint-the hospital ever since. Probably why no one else ever mentioned it either," said Harry sadly.
"And you wonder why I hate your world?" she snapped. "Take that rubbish to your room; I don't want to see it again. It's your problem."
Harry replaced the glass and letter in the box and carried it up to his room. He'd need a book on wards. He paced his room thinking about what he'd learned. Chores helped the wards; saving Dudley helped the wards, but they didn't get as strong anymore. He hated being here, being forced back, but Dumbledore said 'as long as you can call where your mother's blood lives home' or some drivel. So his emotions, not wanting to be there, hurt the wards, helping around the house or helping one of his relatives made the wards stronger. Dumbledore said love was the power that Voldemort didn't have, it had to tie together. Did Dumbledore think that his relatives loved him, was that what was supposed to power the wards?
Harry stopped pacing and stood there in shock. Was it possible that if they had loved him he could have killed Voldemort in first year? Harry shook his head; the past was the past and couldn't be changed. He would need to think about this some more and maybe talk to someone; he wondered if he could trust Remus not to go blabbing everything to Dumbledore.
He would send a note to Remus asking to see him, if Hedwig weren't still out. He threw himself on to his bed and wondered why everything had to be so difficult. All he really wanted was a normal summer. He snorted slightly; he'd never had a normal summer before, so maybe this was and he just didn't recognize it.
He blew out his breath, there was six weeks until the first of August, and he had time to figure it out. He could do nice and helpful. Aunt Petunia wanted him to paint the fence and shed next week, maybe if he did it with good thoughts it would help.
He began to clear his mind and sort his thoughts; he was pleased that his Occlumency was going well. It had been a trying day already and it was just lunchtime; he slipped into sleep unknowingly.
Harry woke when Petunia called up the stairs for him to come help with dinner. He greeted his aunt with a smile only to be met with a suspicious look.
After dinner, Harry retreated to his room to read one the books he'd picked up that day. Dueling for Fun and Profit was an interesting read and kept Harry up late finishing the book.
Saturday, Harry fixed a full breakfast before Dudley and Vernon went off to a boxing competition. Petunia never went; she'd fainted at the first one when Dudley got his nose busted and it bled.
Harry wished Dudley good luck and received a grunt in response and another suspicious look from Petunia. Then he volunteered to clean both the upstairs and downstairs baths after he was done with the dishes.
When he returned to his room, Hedwig had returned with a note from Remus again telling Harry he would be willing to listen if Harry needed to talk and telling him that what happened wasn't Harry's fault.
Harry gritted his teeth and wrote a note back to Remus.
Dear Professor Lupin,
I am well aware of just who is to blame for the fiasco at the Ministry. I would however like to talk to you; maybe we could meet at Mrs. Figg's house?
One thing, though, if you are planning on discussing whatever I talk about with other people like Professor Dumbledore, don't bother coming. I am very angry with the Headmaster, a fact that he is all ready aware of.
"Hedwig do you mind taking this to Remus Lupin?" he asked his owl.
Hedwig stuck out a leg and was soon soaring out the window.
"Aunt Petunia," he called as he went down the stairs, "Do you need anything before I go out?"
She looked up from the armchair in the lounge and asked, "Why are you acting this way?"
Harry took a deep breath and replied, "The letter said chores would help the wards. Saving Dudley helped the wards, so it's reasonable to believe a positive attitude will help the wards. Until I know different, and I am going to research it, I will attempt to be helpful and friendly in hopes of powering the wards faster. The sooner they are charged the sooner I can get out of your hair."
She looked thoughtful for a moment. "I understand. Where are you going?"
"I have to help Mr. Mann again today," he said.
"Very well, mind your manners," she said and looked back to her magazine.
Once at the shop he found Mr. Mann working at a table filled with crates and boxes.
"Feeling better today, lad?"
"Yes sir, I do have a question though, do you have any books on wards?" Harry asked peeking curiously into the nearest crate.
"General wards or something specific?" asked Mann raising an eyebrow.
"Blood wards," said Harry.
"Don't touch anything lad, that lot hasn't been checked yet," he said waving Harry back. "You won't find many books on blood wards and I know I don't have any. The Ministry considers them to be a bit dodgy, being old magic, you know."
"Well how would I learn about them then?" asked Harry with a frown.
Mr. Mann stepped away from the table toward Harry.
"Are you asking for reason or just curiosity?"
Harry looked up at Mr. Mann and thought for a moment. Could he trust the old man? Harry nodded once, decisively.
"The wards that protect my family are supposed to be blood wards based on my Mum's sacrifice. I have an artifact that shows how strong they are and I am supposed to spend time there to strengthen them. I wanted to know what I could do to speed the process."
Mr. Mann scratched his chin in thought, "Well, lad, if it were me, I'd spend a bit of gold and hire a goblin to analyze the ward and give a recommendation on upkeep and possible upgrade. A goblin don't come cheap, but they're discrete and can be trusted to keep secrets."
Harry stared open mouthed for a moment and then remembered that Ward Work was in the Services list produced by his key. He grinned at the old man.
"Thank you sir, is there anything I can help you with?"
"Thought you'd never ask, boy," he tossed Harry a key ring, "go over to the wand case and pick out one that'll work for you and you can help me sort out the dangerous junk from the good stuff."
"I thought the wand chooses the wizard?
"Oh it does, but most families have a drawer full of wands for the kids to practice with. You did read the Decree didn't you. Your wand signature is on file at the Ministry; they spot it, you get a warning, but those wands there aren't registered, the Ministry don't know who's using them. Anyone asks, I say I hired help," said Mr. Mann.
Harry grinned and began to sort through the wands and found one that threw off sparks. He locked up the case and brought the wand over to Mr. Mann who looked at the tag and then removed it.
"Peruvian Viper tooth core in Palm wood, bit odd that wand but if it works for you I suppose it's all right. How easy does it cast, try a Lumos."
Harry tried the spell and couple of times, "It takes a bit more concentration and feels like I need to use more power that my regular wand."
Mann nodded, "That's not a bad thing; you use it for a while, it will build up your magic muscles and make casting with your first wand easier. Lot of wizards get custom wands after their schooling once they know what they are going to do."
"So how much do I owe you for the wand?" asked Harry.
"Now, lad you know that I can't sell to a minor without reporting it to the Ministry, however you give me a hand today and we'll considerate it even, besides that wand likes you, and everyone should have an extra wand, especially if they are likely to find trouble on a regular basis," said Mr. Mann turning back to the crates. "Just don't go using it at your house, if you need to practice you can use my basement."
"Thank you sir; now, what do you want me to do?"
Harry learned three new spells and enjoyed working with Mr. Mann. He went home in the early afternoon to write to the goblins.
I would like to hire a goblin to analyze the wards around my relative's house. Can you arrange this or tell me what I need to do? I rely on your discretion in this matter.
Thank you for your time
He left the key on the parchment when he went down to dinner. Harry and Aunt Petunia ate a pleasant meal together as Dudley and Vernon weren't home yet and Petunia knew they'd stop on the way home.
"Tell me about this girl who has been calling, Harry," asked Petunia.
"Hermione? Well she's one of my best friends, has been since first year. She's the smartest girl in school and her parents are dentists. She makes sure that Ron and I study and tries to keep us in line. She's a Prefect and I imagine she'll be Head Girl," said Harry.
"So her parents aren't-- unnatural?" she asked.
Harry rolled his eyes. "No they are quite normal, I suppose, for dentists anyway. Hermione says they don't believe in sweets," he said with a smirk.
Harry almost fell out of his chair when his aunt smiled slightly and said, "No sweets, that isn't natural at all."
They briefly discussed his classes and how he thought he did grade wise, in a general way, of course. Then Harry cleaned up while his aunt went to watch telly.
He checked the parchment in his room to find an answer.
I have made the arrangements for Warder Stonefist to visit you at 11am Monday. He will analyze the wards on the property and present a report on the findings. He will also advise if they are in need in repair or upgrade.
Please note that Warder Stonefist will be using glamour to appear human as you reside in a muggle area.
Thank you for your trust in Gringotts
May your gold flow and your enemies die horribly
Senior Account Manager
Hedwig returned while Harry was reading up on Legilimency.
I promise what ever you want to tell me will be kept between us. I can meet you at Mrs. Figg's house Tuesday at 10am unless you need me sooner.
Harry pulled the hourglass out and set it on a shelf were he could monitor it. He couldn't decide if he could tell a difference yet. He cleared his mind and went to sleep.
Sunday, the household slept in and Harry congratulated Dudley over a late brunch.
Vernon questioned Petunia over Harry's odd behavior and Petunia told him not to worry that she and Harry had come to an agreement and that he'd probably be leaving early in August if Vernon behaved.
Petunia then dragged him to the home improvement store for paint and several flats of flowers she wanted to add to the garden.
Vernon was further bewildered by Harry's cheerful offer to help Petunia put the flowers out that afternoon and decided the boy must be on drugs. Vernon poured a large whiskey and resolved to ignore the situation.
Pig was in Harry's room that evening when he went up, with two letters and a small package. The first letter was from Ron, complaining that Hermione couldn't come to the Burrow and that the Cannon's were once again in the cellar and asking if he was all right. The second was from Ginny once again imploring him to tell her his thoughts and feelings, that she was surely the only one that would understand. He again trashed her letter thinking her barmy. The package contained biscuits from Mrs. Weasley that he began snacking on.
He wrote a quick note to Ron asking him to thank his mum for the biscuits and assuring him of his well being.
Fortified with Mrs. Weasley's offering, he dug out the documents from Gringotts and read his parent's wills. He discovered that they were both very similar; that in the event of the death of both of them they left everything to Harry to be held in trust by the Goblins until he reached his majority. They had made a provision for his care; he was to be raised by either Sirius Black or Alice Longbottom. There had been no provision, however, made if both of those persons were unavailable. At least it explained why he was with his Aunt.
Harry wondered briefly how soon after his parents were killed that the Longbottoms had been attacked. What would have happened if he'd been there with them? Then he wondered if Lestrange had been looking for him there. Something else to discuss with Neville he decided. He really hoped that Neville wouldn't feel that it was Harry's fault that he didn't have his parents.
After breakfast the next day, when Vernon had left for work, Harry warned his Aunt that someone was coming to inspect the wards and to see what could be done to improve them. He assured her that the person was trustworthy and that Harry would meet with them in the back garden.
At 10am Harry answered the door and met with a short dark haired man who introduced himself as Stonefist. The goblin cast a notice me not on himself and walked the property line, ran his long fingers up and down a couple of places on the foundation and then joined Harry on the patio in the back garden to draw up his report.
"Well, Mr. Potter, I am both impressed and appalled at the wards here on your property. The Blood wards are in decent shape but once you seal them they will be much better. However it seems they are the only wards in place here. I have a few recommendations for you," said Stonefist.
Aunt Petunia came out of the house at that moment carrying a tray and three glasses.
"Would you care for some lemonade?" she asked.
Stonefist smiled and accepted while Harry goggled at her.
"I'm Petunia Dursley, Harry's aunt," she said.
"Stonefist, madam, I'm pleased to meet you. As I was telling Mr. Potter I have a recommendation for improving your wards at a very reasonable price."
Harry jumped in, "You said I need to seal the Blood wards, what did you mean?"
Stonefist turned his attention to Harry, "These wards were created years ago, Bonecracker referenced your Mother's sacrifice. I believe your Aunt sealed her part by accepting you in to her family, correct?"
Harry and Petunia both winced slightly but Harry nodded.
"Now, however, you are old enough to seal your part of the wards. For the best protection use your blood and a new quill, ink this rune," he handed over a small parchment, "on the four corners of the foundation and perhaps both ends and the corners of the fence." He indicated the picket fence that ran around the back of the garden.
Harry and Petunia exchanged a glance and Harry spoke, "I need to paint the fence. Can the rune be under the fresh paint?"
"Oh, yes, that would be excellent protection for the rune. Now we have available two levels of security protection wards. I can install them today for a reasonable fee. You just have to choose which package you'd prefer," said Stonefist.
"I don't think we need anything extra," began Petunia.
"But, Madam, don't you realize that the Blood wards only protect you from wizards who intend you harm. Our ward packages also protect from fire, flood, wind and pests."
Harry started to say that wouldn't be necessary but saw the look on Petunia's face.
"Aunt Petunia?" he asked.
"Well, we could take the time to listen to what is available. You say you can prevent fire?" she asked.
Harry sat back and watched as his aunt and the goblin worked out the details of the protection package. Finally she gathered the glasses and headed back into the house.
"Well, Mr. Potter," said Stonefist, "your aunt is an impressive woman. I know that you are the one with the gold, shall I implement these wards?"
"Oh, yes, I wouldn't dare tell her 'no', now," said Harry with a chuckle. "May I watch you work?"
"You can actually help Mr. Potter. If you like, I'll help you do your Blood wards and then we can do the ones your Aunt wants, also using your blood. That will tie them into the Blood wards and they won't be noticeable and you will have more control over them. I'll leave you a booklet on management. It will be a very effective system, very strong and secure."
Stonefist pulled a large blade and a stone bowl, along with a new quill, from his briefcase and they got to work. Harry found setting the wards fascinating and for the first time regretted not taking Runes. They finished just about lunchtime and Petunia served them thick roast beef sandwiches and crisps along with more lemonade on the patio. Dudley gave Harry and his guest one look and made himself scarce.
Harry spent the afternoon painting the fence and after dinner when he went up to his room he found that the sand level had jumped up to just below the blue line.