Harry's trying to put together the pieces of his life, but some of the pieces aren't fitting very well....
Harry returned to the Leaky Cauldron. The rest of his day had been filled with buying a few pieced of furniture for his new home. Some new muggle clothes were the last things he had bought.
He entered the pub and looked around. There were only a few wizards and witches eating their supper. Harry could remember when the pub would be packed to overflowing with people drinking and eating. That was before.
He approached Tom at the bar and set down his new backpack. Harry carefully placed five galleons on the counter. Tom looked at the money then glanced up at his face. Harry looked Tom in the eye and spoke.
"I need a room for the night. I trust your guest list is kept confidential?"
Tom looked onto the bottomless green stare. He had only ever seen a gaze like that on one other person. His mouth gaped for a moment. Harry had been a guest of his many years ago. The Boy-Who-Lived had been a courteous and thoughtful lad, who had always had a kind word for Tom and his two employees. Tom had gained a lot of respect for the boy those weeks. Now, he was man, standing in front of him and asking for anonymity. His mouth snapped shut and his hand swiped the coins off the counter and into his apron pocket.
"I don't have no guests tonight. Best you try looking somewhere else." He turned away, then turned back and placed a key beside abottle of butterbeer on the counter. Tom quickly glanced at the staircase and then turned away.
Harry picked up the items, collected his backpack and made his way up the stairs as he was taking a deep pull off the bottle. He got to the first floor with rooms and looked at the key that Tom had given him. Stamped on the shank was a large "11". Looking up, Harry saw a familiar door. It was the same room he had stayed in so long ago. He opened the lock and stepped in.
The room hadn't change since he had been here last time. The fire was laid, and ready to be lit, the bed made nicely. Harry locked the door, and set the empty bottle of butterbeer on the bedside table. Setting his backpack down on the bed, he sat down with a sigh.
The day was almost over, and he was tired. There had been moments during the day when he felt like he was being tossed around in the currents of his life and he was going to break. His vision would swim, but then he would feel a protective presence flow around him. Once, when he had opened his eyes, he had noticed a circle of about 20 feet around him in the crowded mall was empty. People would walk around him standing there, as if there was aglass wall surrounding him. Once he had felt calm again, the crown had swallowed him up as if nothing strange had happened.
Harry shook his head, "I must be overtired. Tomorrow will be another hard day! Better get some sleep before I head to Ollivander's."
He quickly got ready for bed and fell asleep immediately.
Hedwig soared across the sky. Her master's presence was strong, much stronger than it had been since he left. Her body told her it needed some food and rest, but she was driven by the need to find Harry and be there for him.
Hedwig was much more than just a mail owl. She was smart, and had a strong personality. The bond with her owner went beyond the master-pet level. It was a friendship. The wizarding world's term would be a "familiar".
The countryside flowed beneath her eyes as she scanned for an opportunity to snatch a snack from a hiding spot in the grass. A flash of movement was all she needed to zero in. A miniscule patch of grey among the green and yellow grass! Her wings folded to he sides and she streamlined the flow of air across her body. Her talons stretched out and protective membranes snapped across her eyes protecting them from the wind, yet allowed her to see. A loud crack split the air as she snapped her wings open and completed the stoop on the mouse. Hedwig landed on a nearby fencepost and dined on the rodent.
Her hunger sated, she flew to a nearby barn, and found aresting place in the rafters. Her eyes closed and she slept.
Harry woke with a start. The small wind up alarm clock he had bought the day before was making its morning clamor. He turned off the alarm and rubbed his eyes, trying to remember the dream he had been having. He had not dreamed while he slept for many months and it was strangely refreshing.
With a quick shake of his head to clear out the last of the cobwebs, Harry went about his morning necessities. After he was showered and dressed, he picked up all of his possessions, and left some sickles on the night stand for the maid's trouble.
He stopped at the top of the stairs and listened for voices below. Nothing come from the main floor except the smell from last nights supper grease. Harry took a deep breath and swept down the stairs and out the door to Diagon Alley.
The archway was open still from the morning rush of the shopkeepers to open their stores. Harry strode through and down the narrow alley towards Ollivander's.
He looked at the watch he had purchased the day before. 7:55. He smiled in anticipation of the day. Ollivander had always been a little creepy, but had never felt threatening to Harry. Just the chance to do something besides rot in his cell was all Harry wanted.
The door lock snapped back and the sign was flipped. Harry saw Ollivander's hand motioning him into the store through the window. He pushed open the door and walked in.
"I'm glad to see you were here on time. The last lout Iemployed was taken to being late and drunk when he showed up. Pity what happened to him."
"Ahh....erm, what happened to him?"
Ollivander stopped his puttering and looked at Harry. "I fired him! What did you think had happened to him, hmmm?" Ollivander's face broke into a smile. Harry blushed and smiled back. He had been caught in a jest by the storekeeper. It felt.... odd after all these years.
"Now, James. I have a delivery that you need to pick up in muggle London. It's a few blocks away at the post station. You will need to provide this letter of authority to pick it up, and I advise you to take the trolley in the back room with you to roll it back here. It may be somewhat heavy." Ollivander handed a sheaf of papers to Harry.
Harry headed towards the doorway that had indicated.
"One more thing, Mr. Black? Whatever you do, don't open the box. It might not be... healthy."
Harry pushed the small trolley through the archway into Diagon Alley. He stopped and stretched while rubbing his lower back. The box had to weigh at least eight stone! Harry was curious to see what was inside.
He moved the trolley to the side of the alley and allowed the archway to close behind him. After catching his breath, Harry put his shoulder to the back of the box and started his way across the cobble stone paving towards Ollivander's. Every rattle and bump of the wheels over the stones jarred his sore muscles.
Stopping about half way to the wand maker's shop, Harry wiped the sweat from his forehead. He leaned against the box and thought about the nice hot bath he was going to take when he got home that night. His eyes wandered around as he contemplated the luxurious feeling the steaming hot water would have on his sore muscles. His eyes settled upon a faded wizarding poster that was attached to the dividing wall in between two stores. Squinting to make out the discolored script, he read the large print at the top:
"Missing. Anyone who has any information regarding the boy pictured below, please contact Fred or George Weasley either by owl post, or in person at the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes shop, Diagon Alley. Any being with information leading to the location of the person below will receive a 500 galleon reward."
Harry's eyes widened as he read the poster. Giving a quick look around to see if anyone was paying any attention to him, he stepped closer to make out the photograph on the poster. Below the faded script was a picture of him in his Gryffindor robes, performing a perfect Wronski Feint. Harry could feel the preservation charm on the poster, and knew that for it to be this washed out it had to have been exposed to the weather for at least 5 years!
"Hey! You! Move this piece of junk away from the front of my store! You're blocking what few customers I do get!"
Harry stumbled back to his delivery. His mind was spinning at the realization that Fred and George had never given up on him. The possibility that they hadn't known where he had been the last ten years hadn't occurred to Harry until now. He pushed the box on its trolley slowly towards Ollivander's store as he reflected on these new possibilities.
He was just around the corner from the wand shop when aheavily booted foot came down on the front of the trolley's topping it in place. Harry wiped the sweat from his eyes and looked up at the two wizards.
The two were dressed in auror uniforms. The one with his boot on the front of the trolley had a name tag that read, "B. Aubrey". His partner was none other than Marcus Flint. Harry hadn't seen them eyeing him and his delivery from the entrance to Knockturn Alley. His mind had been focused on the poster he had seen up the street.
"Now, where d'you think you're going? I haven't seen you around here before. And why aren't you using magic to move this box? "
The two auror's faces were twisted into sneers as they looked over their current victim.
"I asked you a question! What are you doing here? Do you have any paperwork for that muggle import?"
Harry could barely hear him. The sight of the auror uniform had sparked his mind to play through his arrest and trial. Images of the auror who had broken his wand flew in front of his eyes. The smirking face from his memory overlapped with the snarling on in front of him, and in a small voice he said, "I know you."
Aubrey frowned at this unexpected response to his questions. He studied the scarred man's face in front of him, trying to place him in his memory.
Harry's mind boiled. The shock of seeing the man who had destroyed his wand was too much after an already trying day. With a twitch, Harry's consciousness fell into oblivion.
Aubrey and Flint watched in amazement as the man before them seemed to shake like a dog shedding water. Aubrey finally managed to place the face. It was Potter! He could barely tell, but the eyes were what stuck a chord in his memory.
Ezekial had been watching and waiting for if his brother needed him. He had been aware of everything that had been happening around Harry since he had been fully born the day of their release from Azkaban. The only true rest Ezekial got was when they slept. But his job was to protect and guard Harry. He would do so no matter what it took.
With a flick of the wrist, the Flint snapped his wand into his hand. Aubrey had taken a step back as he realized who it was standing in front of him.
Ezekial swept the alley magically and found a strong line of magical force. Diagon Alley was not just placed randomly it seemed. There was amajor ley line running the length of the street. Akin to splicing into a garden hose, Ezekial tapped the power running along the magical conduit and drew heavily. He felt Harry's reserves fill within moments.
Flint and Aubrey had brought up their wands. Time seemed to slow for Ezekial. He could see the magical forces forming around the wands in the two auror's hands as the spells focused. All that was needed to cast the spells was the spoken intent of the incantation.
A quick squat and flex of Harry's legs, coupled with the smallest of magical pushes, and Ezekial was dodging the spells that had been fired his way. He rolled to a stop a few meters to the right of the aurors. The last ten years of terrorizing wizards and witches had conditioned Flint and Aubrey to be formidable opponents. Their wands had tracked Ezekial, but not until after he had moved. Two more spells had been flung at him as he landed.
There was no time to dodge, and the power of both the spells would blast through a Protego Shield. Ezekial tossed a line of power into the ground, and quickly built a funnel of power in front of himself. He had created something like a lightning rod, but built out of magic. The first spell, another Stupify, hit the magical conduit and flashed as it was directed into the cobbles at the auror's feet. The flash of the cobble vaporizing from the sudden influx of power was much like an explosion.
The second spell, a diffindo, was not completely stopped by the conduit. The edge of the spell caught Harry on the left bicep, cutting him nearly to the bone. Instantly, the dust on the ground started to turn in to red mud.
The two aurors had been tossed to the ground. Flint was semi-conscious and struggling to clear his head. Aubrey rolled to the left and regained his footing in a crouch. His wand snapped up into a dueling posture. He snarled as his voice formed the words of the next spell.
The red light of the spell crackled across the distance to Ezekial like a static charge. Fingers of the spell's forks played across the cobbles and the cart on its way towards its target. With a twist of his wand the spell struck Harry.
Pain flushed through Harry's body, and grayed his vision. He had never experienced pain on this level before. Frantic to be released from the incapacitating waves, Ezekial grasped at the energy coming thought he spell. His thoughts raced up the channel and pierced into Aubrey's wand. The once-living dragon heart string core was pulsing with an inky black aura of power. The magical energy crackled from Aubrey, through the focus and into Ezekial.
Flint shakily got to his feet. He shook his head in an effort to clear it, and took in the situation. A malicious grin spread across his face. He brought his wand up and cast his own spell.
The twin red bolts spun around Harry's body. His muscles were straining so hard that he knew his bones would soon break. The screams coming from his mouth were shameful. Harry couldn't feel this pain now, but Ezekial was failing in his stewardship over Harry's body. Fighting through the sensory overload, he managed to connect to Flint's wand core. There, he could sense the core, a manticore hair. Ezekial channeled the raw power from the overhead let line into the cores of the two wands. He connected them to the line and opened the flood gates, allowing what little energy he had left in Harry's body to shunt down the grounding line he had made.
The power surged. A sharp hum, accompanied with a low rumble was the only warning that was heard. The two aurors were suddenly surrounded by a cage of red energy, crackling and caressing their bodies much like lovers. With a howl of surprise, Flint and Aubrey collapsed into convulsions on the cobbles. A sickly red aura surrounded them, as the two Cruciatus spells began to feedback into each other. The pitch of the noise rose to a howl.
Ezekial flicked the finger of power he had left at the trolley to move it to the front door of the Wand shop, and tucked into the entrance way. He ran after it and dove behind the turned over trolley.
The screaming aurors were swept up into a vortex; A swirling of magical energies, caused by the feedback between the two wands. It increased in velocity until a shriek of sound melded it all into a great flash.
Ezekial sat panting in the sudden silence. Harry's arm was dripping blood rhythmically onto the doorstep of the wand shop. The door opened with a tinkling of bells, and Ollivander peered down at his employee.
"Oh, come now. A young strapping lad like you is already used up? The box isn't that heavy... and you had a trolley!"