Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Heir

Meet and Greet

by bobjones 1 review

Harry meets a friend and the Muggleborn families he needs to escort.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2014-08-07 - 7917 words

Don't own Harry Potter. By the way, this fic is set in current time instead of in the 1990s, in case I forgot to mention that beforehand. So any tech is going to be new tech, like iPhones and tablets.

Meet, Greet, Shop

Harry leaned, cross-armed, on a lamp post while watching a busy street, a few blocks away from his home for the past 15 years. His piercing green eyes flickered across the road, never stopping for more than a couple of seconds on any one thing. The tall young man was dressed in a black suit with a starched white shirt, causing more than one woman walking down the street to turn their heads. Harry's eyes sharpened briefly and the barest of grins tugged at the side of his mouth for only a second before his eyes began to wander again. He felt the tip of a thin rod press against his ribs.

"I'd tell you 'Nice situational awareness', but then I would be lying. Invisibility cloaks trump even those Seeker eyes, Harry." Harry smirked.

"However, invisibility cloaks have their own weaknesses. Like the lack of sound proofing," Harry raised his elbow to show a glowing wand tip. "And do I detect the scent of cinnamon apples, Ms. Bones?" The young man pivoted on his heel, bringing his wand up as he swiped his hands across and snagged a gossamer piece of fabric. He whipped it to the side, uncovering a buxom ginger-haired girl. She had icy blue eyes, showing a spine of steel underneath the sweet exterior, further showcased by her wand that was still trained on Harry's heart. Susan Bones definitely knew how to play in the major leagues.

"I knew that I had forgotten something. But if you could hear and smell me, then how did I get so close to you?" Harry laughed. Susan knew how to play, but he had better teachers.

"Because, my lovely Bones, you can either avoid a trap or you can use it for your own purposes. Sometimes it's better to use the trap as bait than to avoid it altogether." Susan stuck her tongue out at the black-haired man. "However, in reparation for tricking you, why don't we go to this little place around the corner for a bite of breakfast. My treat." Susan smiled, the ice in her stare melting away in the summer heat. Harry put out his arm for the young lady to take. The two of them cut an impressive figure as they walked down the street together. Harry's dark suit contrasted nicely with the Susan's charcoal grey pant suit, causing heads to turn to stare along the way. They walked into a little diner just off of Privet Drive. The pair sat down and ordered food, exchanging meaningless pleasantries over their drinks. Finally, Susan leaned forward.

"Alright, I'm officially tired of the game. Why did you call me out here?" Harry smiled and slid a small black rectangle over the table to her.

"I have a couple things that I'd like to discuss with you. First of all, I received a message from the Headmaster yesterday. He wants me to make contact with a couple of local kids who are going to be starting Hogwarts this year that have not met any of the staff yet. With the war kicking up, the teachers are spread thin and apparently I'm the next best thing to a teacher for a protection detail." Harry took a drink of his tea and gazed into the mug as he gathered his thoughts.

"I'm also hoping to start a new program with these kids, a mentorship for new students to help them adjust to Hogwarts life, and I thought that you would be the best choice to be the female lead on this. It helps that you're a pureblood to help me tell the parents more about our world, since my own knowledge of the nuances of the Magical world is fairly limited." Susan leaned back in her seat, eyebrows raised in surprise.

"I hadn't realized that you were capable of planning something like that without Granger holding your hand." Harry rolled his eyes.

"Contrary to popular belief, I do actually have a brain and am perfectly capable of using it." Susan giggled at the annoyed look on his face. "Anyway, that was reason number one. Purpose two involves that little box that I put in front of you." The redhead looked down at the box and picked it up.

"Yeah, I was wondering why you put this on the table. I'll bite. What is it?" Harry reached into his inner pocket and extracted another black rectangle.

"This is one of the newer devices from the Muggle world. It's called a cell phone, more accurately a smart phone. It is a mobile device designed for communication. It's sort of like a mobile library, holding information on thousands of millions of topics." Susan shook her head
"That's great, it really is. But it's a Muggle device, right?" Harry nodded. "So it runs on electricity. And electricity doesn't work at Hogwarts. It says so, in Hogwarts, A History." Harry smirked at her.

"Hermione will be happy that someone other than her has read that book. I think she was starting to believe that she was the only one in our year who had read it. But here is my question in response to that statement: Has this been tested?" Susan looked shocked. It had never occurred to her to try something that had been stated as utterly impossible. It had been that way since Muggles first had electricity and the Muggle-born wanted to update the castle with electronics. Harry's smirk only got bigger. "So no. Well, I did a little bit of testing yesterday. I went up to Hogwarts, in secret, and brought several Muggle electronics with me. All of them worked, except for the old 1950s telephone that I took." Harry took a larger black rectangle out of his outer jacket pocket. Susan raised an eyebrow at his suit.

"I'm guessing that you have some major expansion charms in that jacket. Nice mix of Muggle style and magic practicality." Harry snorted.

"Yeah. About the only practical clothing I've found in the magical world were the cloaks. These electronics are all very new products, straight from the Muggle world. They haven't had any magical tampering on them at all, just being at Hogwarts and in my pocket." Harry picked up the large black rectangle. "This is a tablet. It does a lot of the same things as the cell phone, except it doesn't really do communication." He activated the tablet and slid it across the table to Susan. She started to poke at the tablet as Harry ate his eggs that had been cooling on the table next to him. He choked on his cup of black tea when the ginger girl jumped at the sound of birds screaming.

"Merlin's hairy blue balls!" Harry turned a little green, having known the man and not wanting to think about his balls, hairy or otherwise. "What is that?!"

"That is a game called Angry Birds. It's really popular right now. Anyway, the tablet has games, connection to a worldwide network of information, applications for creating documents, along with thousands of other applications. I have this one set up with all of the files for the three kids that we're meeting today, as well as their families and the pertinent information from our world that they will need to know." Harry snagged the tablet and pulled it to him. He motioned Susan to eat her food while he danced his fingers across the glossy surface. He turned the tablet around and tilted it so that Susan could see what was across the screen. Susan squinted at the screen and whistled softly.

"That is quite a lot of information about three eleven-year-olds and their families." She grabbed the tablet and pulled it to her, gingerly sliding her finger across the screen to access the various screens of information. "How did you get your hands on the medical files!? That's confidential information, even in our world." Harry shrugged.

" Amazing what you can pull off that worldwide network that I mentioned earlier. But those medical records can come in handy in a bind. Besides, they need to be submitted to either Madame Pomphrey or St. Mungo's at some point, so I figured that we could make that part of the trip." Susan hummed non-committable as she continued to study the files on Harry's tablet.

"Alright. Well, I'm in. When do we visit the families?" Harry grinned.

"In about an hour. We need to get you set up first." The pair got up and left the diner together. Harry motioned her to go around the corner of the diner, out of sight. "But first, I want you to meet a real good friend of mine." A flash of green fire flared up over the tall teenager's shoulder, dispersing to reveal a green plumed bird about the size of a swan. "This is Forest. He's a good bit of the reason that I have been able to accomplish all of this so quickly. And he will be our ride for the day." Susan gaped at the phoenix for a second and then fainted away. Harry looked at the bird on his shoulder. "I have a feeling that this might be a reaction that we'll have to get used to for a while, buddy." The teen nudged the girl on the ground with his foot. She stirred and suddenly sat upright.

"I just imagined a phoenix!" Harry chuckled.

"You didn't imagine anything. There is a phoenix here, live and in person." Susan's eyes widened massively.

"How did you get a phoenix?! They're really rare!"

"You don't really go out and get a phoenix. They tend to come to you. I haven't the foggiest why he came to me. He just showed up in front of my bed the other night and told me that his name was Forest and that he was here to be with me. Nothing more than that." Susan shook her head, laughing.

"You know, Harry, nothing is ever simple with you. You can't even have a normal pet." Harry suddenly paled.

"Damn. Hedwig. I haven't told her about Forest yet. She is gonna murder me." Susan laughed harder at the expression on Harry's face.

"The-Boy-Who-Lived, scared to death of his own owl." Harry hung his head.

"Shut up. Let's just leave." He put his hand on her shoulder and his other hand on Forest's leg. All three vanished in a blaze of green fire and reappeared in a grungy alleyway. Susan's knees buckled and she fell on her bum.

"Oh, that was unpleasant. Harry, I find myself really hating you right now." Harry let out a short bark of laughter as he reached down to help her up.

"It's only bad the first time you aren't expecting it. It's certainly better than the bloody portkeys or the thrice-damned floo." Susan shook her head.

"Whatever. Where are we?" Harry extended his hand to Susan and led her to the street.

"We are on Oxford Street, my lovely Bones. And that is our destination." Harry pointed at a huge shop with the name John Lewis emblazoned on the front. "John Lewis. A department store with almost a half million products ranging from buttons to clothes to technology. This place has everything that we need for our trip. You need to be fully outfitted to make the best impression possible on these families." Susan's eyes lit up.

"So you're saying that we're going shopping? Let's go!" Harry groaned in realization as Susan seized his arm and yanked him towards the shop. This had seemed like such a good plan in theory, but he forgot one crucial element: Women love to shop.

The duo came out of the shop forty five minutes later, laden down with bags . They disappeared into the same alleyway that they arrived in, making sure that no one else saw them. Forest flashed in and grasped both of their shoulders, transporting them both to the back yard of Number 4 Privet Drive. Susan only stumbled a little when Forest let go of her shoulder. Harry hefted the bags that they had and led Susan into the house, directing her to his room so that she could change. The redhead came downstairs in a black pantsuit and high heels, getting a wolf whistle from Harry as she came down the steps.

"Well, well, someone cleans up pretty nice." Susan raised her eyebrow at Harry, who had swapped out his suit jacket for a long black duster and taken off his tie in favor of undoing the top two of buttons.

"You don't do so bad yourself, Mr. Potter. Shall we go?" Harry nodded and stuck out his arm.
"So we shall, Ms. Bones. Our first stop is just up the road, the residence of one Mark Evans. We can discuss the family en route." Susan nodded as she took his arm and walked out of the house. The duo started up the street and Harry pulled his phone from his pocket and flicked his thumb across the screen. "The kid is eleven, born 3 March, 2002. Parents are Jim and Andria Evans. Jim is a lieutenant colonel in the RAF. Adriana Evans, neé Ruiz, is from Spain and currently works as a secretary at Grunnings Drills. Alright, let's go talk to them." The pair stopped in front of a mid-sized home with a red door. They went to the door and knocked, stepping back after they did so. The door creaked open to show a small blonde boy who stared at them curiously.

"Yes?" Harry crouched down to be eye-level with the boy and smiled.

"Are you Mark Evans?" The boy nodded shyly. "Are your parents home?" The boy nodded again. "Can you go get them?" Mark shook his head and quickly shut the door. Harry hung his head and sighed. He stood back up and knocked on the door again. This time the door flew open and a tall man came out of the house towards Harry. Harry slid one foot back and a hand shifted back to a small holster on his leg. The man who came out of the house stood only a fraction shorter than Harry himself, but he carried himself with a rigid posture as he stood a couple feet in front of the teens.

"What do you want? Just a warning, if you're here to bully my child again, it will not happen." Harry rolled back his shoulders in a movement that Susan recognized from her afternoons in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement with her aunt. She quickly inserted herself between the two men before they came to blows.

"Mr. Evans, I can assure you that we are not the ones who have been bullying your son. We represent a certain school that Mark received an invitation to earlier this week, Hogwarts." The man slid his eyes towards the young girl while maintaining his ramrod position in front of Harry.

"I remember the invitation. It was weird, made of some kind of paper instead of normal A4." The man relaxed a fraction, Harry doing the same. "And it's Colonel Evans, not mister." Harry pulled a letter from inside his duster.

"Lieutenant Colonel Evans, may we step inside? We have a number of things to discuss with you and your family." The man's eyes narrowed at the mention of his real rank. He waved the duo inside as he stepped out of the doorway.

"Mark!" Colonel Evans called from the door. "Go get your mum from upstairs and tell her we have guests in the sitting room." Harry heard quick footsteps run up the stairs as he and Susan strode into the house. The older man followed them and waved the twosome to a pair of armchairs as he took a parade rest stance across the room from them. Susan gracefully sat in a wingback chair while Harry leaned up against the wall, both keeping carefully neutral expressions to match the colonel's face. A dark-haired Spanish woman appeared in the doorway, clutching Mark to her side. The elder Evans stepped to his wife and child and put his arm around them both. The small family sat down together on the couch, facing the two teens. Harry looked at the small family, assessing them and comparing to the information that he had gathered. The woman, Adriana, was a small woman. She had long, straight black hair and dark brown eyes. He could see the resemblance between her and the child next to her right in the face. Both had thin, almost hawk-like noses and high cheekbones. Other than that, the child look very similar to his father. Finally, the mother spoke up.

"Why are you people here? We have done nothing wrong." Harry smiled gently at her, breaking his mask.

"Mrs. Evans, we aren't here because of any wrong-doing. On the contrary, we are here to talk to you about something truly amazing and wonderful that you and your family are about to enter into. My name is Harry Potter and this is Susan Bones. Now Mark, did you get a letter in the mail yesterday, one made of some really heavy paper?" Mark nodded, looking at his mother for confirmation. The woman motioned her head towards the kitchen and Mark scampered off. He returned just as fast, holding a thick envelope. Susan smiled at the envelope.

"Mark, have you read the letter?" The boy bobbed his head. He cocked his head to the side and squinted at her and Harry.

"Is it all real? The letter said that I was accepted to a school for wizards and witches." Harry's gentle smile turned into a lopsided grin.

"Oh yes, Mark. It is all very real. You're a wizard, Mark. As representatives of our school, we would like to formally extend to you a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." At this point, Colonel Evans spoke up.

"This is ridiculous! There are no such things as wizards or magic or any of that nonsense! Now what is really going on?!" Harry's grin dropped like a sack of lead. His green eyes, which had been twinkling with joy, were now harder than the emeralds that they resembled.

"Magic is not nonsense. It is as real as the electricity in your home and the physics that allow you to fly your precious planes, Lieutenant Colonel." Harry straightened up off the wall, his eyes fixed on the older man on the couch. Faster than Susan or the colonel could track, he had his wand in hand and in motion. The coffee table between the teens and the Evans family suddenly changed into a large pig, lashed to the floor with leather straps so that it couldn't run about. The colonel jumped off the couch in alarm as the pig appeared.

"What in the bloody hell was that?!" Harry laughed while Susan giggled, flicking his wand at the pig to morph it back into a table.

"That, my good officer, is magic. Same proof of magic that I got when I turned eleven, except I didn't do it to you. Now, magic is a very real thing. And your son, Mark, is a wizard. It is in his very blood and he needs to be trained in its usage." At this point, Susan leaned forward in her chair.

"Colonel, Mrs. Evans. Magic can be a wonderful thing. Wizards and witches are blessed with very long lives, we are very resistant to disease and harm, and we have some amazing powers and gifts. The average wizard can live to get well into their late nineties or into their century mark. The Bones family, for instance, is known for having strong defensive magic and being bad at runic magic. The Potters are usually amazing transfiguration users and warders and have a major weakness in Potions. Both of our families come from old family lines. I can trace the Bones back over eight hundred years full of magic and I know that the Potters are even older than that." Harry sat down in the chair beside Susan.

"Mark, magic is amazing. Susan and I are both in our sixth year at Hogwarts and we get to see amazing things every single day that we practice magic. But I'm not going to lie to you and say that our world is all sunshine and happiness. Magic can't do everything." The tall young man shifted his shoulders and hunched over, staring straight at the Evans family as his words captivated them. "There are people in our world who believe that those without a long line of magic behind them do not deserve the magic that runs in their veins. Magical people are still people. Some are fantastic individuals who would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it. Others are pure evil, filled with hate and spite. Most fall in the middle, good sometimes and not so much at other times. We have some amazing things in our world, but it also has some terrible things as well. One of the most terrible things that we have is the war that is going on right now." Colonel Evans leaned forward, meeting Harry's eyes.

"War? What war would you wizards have?" Harry sighed and leaned back into his chair.

"Colonel, remember that wizards are still people. The difference is that we are all armed and trained as a society. The people who believe only those with long magical lineage should be allowed to practice magic are currently undertaking guerrilla actions against the rest of the magical world. They are led by a man who calls himself Lord Voldemort. He thinks that all Muggles, non-magical people, should be either dead or enslaved to wizards and that Muggle-born children like Mark should die." Colonel Evans shook with anger and fear.

"If your world has so many dangers, like this terrorist, then why would we let Mark go into it?" Susan shook her head.

"Colonel, being trained is not truly an option. Mark must be trained. His magic will find an outlet for release, forcibly if necessary. Untrained users have been known to go insane from the magical buildup. Aside from that, it doesn't matter if Mark is trained. Voldemort will try to come after him anyway." Adriana clutched Mark tighter to her side while the colonel leaned back to wrap his long arms around his family. "Please understand, we aren't telling you this to scare you. Most of the people who would come to introduce you to magic don't mention this sort of thing. The dangers of our world, the dangers of not being taught. But Harry and I believe that you need to know what is in our world." Harry stepped up beside Susan.

"Colonel Evans, Mrs. Evans, the two of us are going to escort a group of families to the wizarding shopping district tomorrow morning. There may be one or two other wizards with us for added security, but the group will be only three families. I will explain the various currencies that the Wizarding World uses as well as how the economy of our world functions." Harry set down a business card with his name and an address nearby. "This is where we are meeting tomorrow at noon." Mark looked at Harry.

"Can you tell me about the school itself?" Harry smiled.

"Sure, Mark. What do you want to know?"

"The school is astonishing. We live in an old Scottish castle, surrounded by the mountains. There is a massive lake on the grounds, as well as thousands of hidden passageways and rooms in the castle itself. You can sit and chat with our Keeper of Keys, Hagrid, who is a massive man over seven feet tall and bigger across than most doorframes and the most gentle soul I have ever met. The towers soar to the heavens, standing hundreds of feet in the air where you can see for miles. The teacher of Transfiguration can turn in an animal! Hogwarts has some of the most marvelous things in the world and it is a remarkable place. It is my home." Mark's eyes were shining with thoughts of the amazing castle and the childlike excitement for something that was out of this world. Harry stood up and motioned for Susan to do the same. "The two of us have another appointment this afternoon and need to get to it. The card I gave you has my mobile number on it. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call me at any point in the day or night, even after school starts in September." The parents nodded and huddled together around their son. Susan and Harry moved away from the family and walked out of the house. As they walked up the street, Harry looked at his tablet again as Susan nudged him.

"So, that went well. Think we scared them enough?" Harry looked up, confused.

"What? Oh, no. I really only laid it out that harsh because of the father. A military officer is a control freak by nature, so if I kept the dangers a secret from him then he would have taken it badly. Perhaps badly enough to try and keep Mark away from our world. Our next stop, the home of Francesca Zanzotto, should be a bit different. Her parents, Lorenzo and Valeria, are Italian immigrants who have been here for a little over 6 years. Valeria is a bank teller and Lorenzo is middle-management at Grunnings Drills. They'll want to know about the economics of the Wizarding World and how it compares to the Muggle World." Susan stared at Harry. "What?"

"How do you know this stuff?" Harry shrugged.

"I had some good teachers this summer. Anyway, we need to tell them why we are providing security for a shopping trip but not go as in depth as we did for the Evans." Susan nodded.

"Alright." Harry looked at his tablet again and pointed to a small home beside him.

"This is it. Ready?" Susan gave him a flat look and opened the gate that led to the house. Harry chuckled and followed her up the path to the door. She pressed the doorbell and stood beside Harry to wait for a response. They didn't have to wait long for the door to swing open and revealed a middle-aged woman with dark hair and dark eyes.

"Yes," she said in heavily accented English. Harry smiled at the woman as he stepped up.
"Ma'am, we are here to discuss a letter that your daughter received a couple of days ago. It was from a school named Hogwarts and delivered by owl." The woman looked nervous and gestured them to come in quickly.

"Yes, yes, come in." The duo quickly entered the house and Valeria shut the door behind them. "Follow me, please." The woman led the small group through the house to what seemed like a dining room. A large dark-haired man, dressed in a black pinstriped suit, was sitting at the table with a small girl in a sundress engaged in a hurried discussion in Italian until they heard the trio enter the room. The man stared directly at Harry, not sparing even a glance to Susan. His eyes were burning with something resembling anger and fear as his hands flexed under the table. Harry's eyes flicked down at the table and he drew his wand quickly.

"Sir, please place your hands on the table." Susan stared at the young man for a second, confused, until the older man removed his hands from under the table and placed a revolver on the table. "Thank you, sir." Harry flicked his wand and the gun flew up to his open hand. He slid the large handgun into the pocket of his duster and put his wand back in the holster at his thigh. Susan raise an eyebrow at his reaction to the large metal object and motioned the older woman to sit with her family. She hastily moved around the table to her husband and daughter. Harry sighed.

"I apologize for the intrusion, Mr. Zanzotto. I am Harry Potter and this is Susan Bones. We are representatives of a school called Hogwarts, which sent your daughter a letter the other day. Francesca, you are a witch." Valeria gasped and held her daughter while her husband Lorenzo glared harder at Harry. Susan groaned and punched Harry in the arm. While he rubbed his arm, Susan looked back at the girl who was almost in tears.

"Sweetheart, he didn't mean witch in a bad way. It meant that you are magical and the term for a female magical is witch. I'm a witch and Harry here, for all the insensitive git that he is, is a wizard. We're students at Hogwarts and we are here to invite you to come learn magic at our school." Lorenzo stood up angrily.

"Negazione (Denial, refusal to believe)! My daughter is not a witch! She is a good Catholic girl!" Harry glared at Lorenzo.

"Your daughter has magic in her blood, Mr. Zanzotto. What religion she practices has nothing to do with that fact and you cannot deny her that heritage." Lorenzo's glare never wavered.
"She will have nothing to do with this, this bestemmia (blasphemy, nonsense)! I will take her back to Italia (Italy) if I need to, but she will have nothing to do with this!" Susan glowered at the irate man heatedly.

"She can't just run away from this, Mr. Zanzotto. Magic is not a British thing, it is global. If you take her back to Italy, she will be invited to the schools there. And they may not give you the option for letting her go. Italian schools have the option to just take the children from the parents and not let them come back home. Especially with Muggle-born children, like your Francesca, the schools will often take them away from the families to fully integrate them into the Magical world." Harry took a seat in the chair in front of him.

"Mr. Zanzotto, I know that this can be difficult for you and your family. But your daughter is magical and that is not a bad thing. Magic is not evil, it is a wonderful and amazing creation that can do so much. Sir, I showed you the evidence of magic's existence when I took your gun. You cannot deny that it exists and you can't keep your daughter away from it. Now, school is starting in a little under a month. I know that you need to discuss this with your family." Harry clicked his fingers and produced another white business card. "This is my card. I am leading a small group of families to Diagon Alley, the Wizarding shopping center, tomorrow morning at 10 AM. The address on the card is where we will be meeting and it has my mobile number on it. Before we leave, Francesca, I want to see if you have any questions for myself or Susan?" The little girl shyly nodded as she looked up at her parents.

"What kind of classes are at Hogwarts?" Susan smiled gently at her.

"There are several kinds of classes there, sweetheart. There is Herbology, which is taught by the Head of my school dorm, and it deals with the various plants that exist in the Magical world. Then there's Charms, taught by a short man named Professor Flitwick, which is where Harry learned how to summon the weapon away from your dad. We have an Astronomy class and a class where you can change objects into any number of other things." The young girl had sparkling eyes, imagining the wonders of learning magic. Harry grinned as he and Susan left the house.
The pair wandered back towards Privet Drive and the cookie cutter homes passed while they walked in silence. Harry had his nose buried in his tablet again and Susan was thinking about the two kids that they had visited so far, content to follow the other teens seemingly random meandering through the streets of Little Whinging. Harry blinked and looked up, turning his head back and forth to look at the houses around him.

"Ok, this is the one. Final stop on our epic journey of crazy parents and trying to explain the crazier concept that magic exists." Susan snorted as Harry tried and failed to keep a straight face. "Seriously, though, this is the home of one Alexander Dmitrij Borvak. He currently is living with a foster family, Victor and Quincy Doroga, and it is not his first one. My intel says that he's been through twelve foster homes, not including this one, over the last five years."

Susan grimaced at the thought of bouncing between homes and the emotional and psychological issues that it was sure to have made on the boy. She looked up at the home that the pair had stopped in front of. It seemed like it needed some maintenance and a good cleaning, with yellowed vinyl siding and high grass covering the front lawn. Broken toys littered the tall grass and the front stoop was cracked down the middle. Susan's nose wrinkled at the house as she and Harry climbed the steps and knocked on the door.

Harry looked around the house as he and Susan mounted the stairs. He noted the problems with the property while he knocked on the door, comparing it to the other houses on the block and finding that it came up short. The bespeckled teen furrowed his brow as he tried to puzzle together all the pieces in the puzzle that was his last stop of the day. Something just didn't seem right about the situation, but Harry just could not put his finger on it.

The door swung open to reveal a dirty-blonde tiny boy, dressed in ratty clothing and looking at the two visitors curiously, and all of a sudden, the bits clicked together. The young man's emerald eyes hardened to stone as he realized what he was looking at, so he looked away from the child and nudged Susan. Her blue eyes, alight with curiosity for why he signaled her to take lead, flicked up at the taller man's face and suddenly she understood. He couldn't separate himself enough at the moment to speak to the boy without scaring him. Now that she knew the reason that he didn't talk, she could spot the tiny sparks of magical energy flashing about his person and the visible effort that the teen was making to control himself. She crouched down to look the little boy in the eye.

"Hello, little one. Are you Alexander Borvak?" The child, hiding behind the door, edged out from his position behind the door. Susan's eyes were soft and warm as she gazed at the young lad who was shuffling his feet nervously. She did not miss his fearful body language as he shuffled around and looked everywhere but the two young adults. "Alex, may I call you Alex?" The boy nodded shyly. "Alex, are your parents home? We would like to talk to you and them about something regarding the rest of your life." The boy's eyes widened alarmingly large and a warning signal flashed in both teenagers minds. They exchanged glances before Susan continued. "Do you mind if we come inside?" Alex shrunk in on himself in fear, but nodded in assent. They followed the child inside, both trying to appear non-threatening to the boy as possible. Alex disappeared as soon as they were inside the house, evidently long-practiced at staying out of the way of adults.

The magical teens walked through the house, following the sounds of hushed shouting from the back of the home. They came up to a dingy kitchen where an older couple was standing and whisper-shouting at one another. The woman, assumedly Quincy Doroga, was standing behind the center island, furiously scrubbing a dish while glaring the man. She was a hefty woman, wearing a dress and apron over her squat frame. The man, Victor, had his hands on the opposite side of the counter, leaning over the island with his big belly pressed against the edge of it. A half dozen children stood in a line, almost at a military parade resting stance. As Harry entered the room behind Susan, Alex appeared and seamlessly joined the line, silent as a ghost. Once Harry was fully in the room, the other man seemed to sense him and turned around. He plastered an obviously fake smile on his large face and looked at Harry.

"Welcome to our humble home! We are the caretakers of these lovely children and we always welcome visits from Her Majesty's employees." Susan looked confused while Harry elevated an eyebrow.

"Sir, we are not representatives of Her Majesty in that sense. We are not from Child Services, we are here to offer a place at our school to one of your wards. Specifically, we have a spot for Alex." The man's pudgy face darkened and his teeth ground together as he turned to look at Alex.

"Oh, really? Borvak, when did you find the time to apply to a school?" Alex shrunk further into himself, almost like he was trying to disappear from sight. Harry intervened on his behalf.
"Sir, he did not apply to our school, his name has been on our roster since the day he was born. We represent Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and your foster child is a wizard." Victor had a blank look on his face for a second until he realized that the tall teen was not joking.

"Don't be absurd, boy! Magic doesn't exist!" Harry shook his head, chuckling.

"Oh, magic is quite real, friend. In fact, I can prove that it." Harry's wand appeared in his hand and it brought it down in a shower of sparks. The plate that sat forgotten in Quincy's hand suddenly quacked as it became a duck. The woman jumped and screamed as she dropped the terrified bird into the dish water. Victor whirled around and yelped while the children all stifled giggles as their foster parents freaked out. The older man breathed hard as he stared at the duck that now sat calmly in the water and then he looked back at the grinning teen.

"Alright, I think I believe you now. But that doesn't change the fact that Borvak has no
interest in going to your school, nor that he never even got an invitation before you two showed up." The smug look on Victor's face made Harry's eyes narrow. His bright green eyes never left Victors' as he addressed Alex.

"Mr. Borvak, did you recieve a letter in the post in the past week, one directly addressed to you and your location?" Alex fearfully looked at his foster father, who was slowly turning purple, and shook. Harry saw the motion from the corner of his eye and he glared at Victor, who looked smug. "Mr. Doroga, that's strike one. Hope that you don't reach strike three. Now, care to you rephrase your previous answer? Bear in mind that I know when the letters arrived and who they were intended for." Victor glared harshly at the young man as he continued to become more purple.

"Fine, he got the bloody post the other day. He is not going to the bloody school and that's final! He will be going to Stonewall Secondary in the fall!" Harry raised his brow.
"And are you going to stop him? As we said, his name has been on the rolls for Hogwarts since the day he was born. If he wants to go, then he will be on the train come September first. So why don't we ask Mr. Borvak what he wants?" Susan and Harry turned to look at Alex, who looked as though he wanted to disappear in the floor. Susan went over to the boy and placed her hand on his thin shoulder.

"Alex, I have a question that I want to ask you and I want you to think about it very carefully. I, Susan Alexis Bones, do hereby invite you, Alexander Dmitrij Borvak, to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Do you accept?"

"He does not accept," Victor roared. Harry frowned and flicked the wand that appeared in his hand. Victor's mouth continued to make movement, but no sound came out.
"It is not your decision to make, Mr. Doroga. Yelling no is not going to help anything. Now, Alexander, have you come to a decision. You need not make it this instant, but a decision must be made soon." The small child looked fearfully at his foster father.

"I have made my decision. I want to go, but I don't know how exactly to tell you." Harry grinned.

"Alright buddy. All you have to say is 'I, Alexander Dmitrij Borvak, accept the invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.'" Alex nodded.

"I, Alexander Dmitrij Borvak, accept the invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Victor Doroga, incapable of yelling because of the Silencing spell, quickly stepped over to his foster child and raised his hand to backhand the boy. Just before he swung his fist, it was stopped in mid-swing like he was frozen. A pair of glowing green eyes were locked on Victor's eyes, arresting his movement as easily as any spell. Harry stood behind Alex, his hands resting gently on the boys thin shoulders and both of their hair blowing in a magical wind.

"I hate child abusers," Harry whispered quietly. "I mean, I really hate child abusers. That was strikes number two and three. You're out. We're leaving this place now and I have heavy doubts that any of us will return." With a gentle touch, Harry guided Susan and Alex towards the front door. Alex looked up at the tall teen and saw the stony faced expression on his thin features. He nudged Susan, who looked down at him with raised eyebrows.

"Why is Harry so serious now? He looks really mad." Susan smiled sadly at the young boy.

"Well, he didn't grow up in the happiest of homes. I think that seeing your foster father like that reminded him of his relatives and he just needs to process it." Alex's face lightened in understanding. Then he looked around as the small group passed a small door and he bumped Harry on the elbow. The teen looked down in surprise to see the boy point at the door.

"Harry, can we get my stuff before we leave?" Harry blinked and nodded. The group turned right into a long room that had several twin beds lined up against the walls. At the end of each bunk, there was a small chest that seemed to hold all of the possessions for each of child. Alex headed for the smallest bed and the chest that was in the least repair. He went to open the chest and Harry stopped him. He simply picked up the chest and carried it to the door, Alex following him. They came out into the hall and exited the house onto the street.

The trio walked down the street, Alex staying between Susan and Harry. Harry's sharp eyes continually swept the steadily darkening street, looking for a corner to duck around that the neighbors couldn't see. He spotted one and gently prodded Susan's arm and pointed to the alleyway. The three made their way to the alley, two of them moving with purpose and the last following curiously. Once they were all safely surrounded by darkness in the small passageway, Harry clicked his tongue. A flash of green fire appeared and Forest emerged from the rapidly diminishing flames. Harry grinned as Forest flew to his shoulder and perched there.

"Alex, this is Forest. Forest, Alex." The regal bird regarded the young boy, head cocked to the side. Alex didn't look away and the bird finally inclined his head, as if he approved of the boy. The boy smiled at the large bird as Forest hopped from Harry's shoulder to his forearm. Alex started petting the bird's head while Harry motioned for Susan to put her hand on Forest. Once they were all touching the phoenix, they disappeared in a gout of flames and reappeared in another alley. Susan barely stumbled, Harry looked unruffled, and Alex grabbed Harry for balance. He didn't throw up, but his face had a distinctive green tinge around the edges.

"That is the worst method of travel ever. Of all time." Harry laughed.

"Oh, wait for some of the other magical transports. That one is a breeze in comparison." Alex looked at him in horror while Susan laughed at them both.

They walked out to the street and emerged in the city of London, Forest disappearing just before they came into view of the city. The group walked down the road to a dingy pub with a dilapidated sign hanging in the front that said 'Leaky Cauldron'. Harry held the door open for Susan and Alex, then entered the pub himself and headed straight for the old barkeeper in the back of the room. Susan ushered Alex into a corner, away from the other patrons while Harry spoke quietly with the barkeeper. He came back to the two and dropped a large bronze key in Alex's hand.

"Why am I getting a key?" Alex looked at the older boy curiously.

"You're getting a key because you're going to be living here until school starts." The boy look scared.

"Live here? By myself? How can I pay for this, let alone pay for school!" Harry made a calming gesture.

"Calm yourself, lad. Don't worry about the money issue for now. There are scholarships for school that will take care of tuition. As for here, I'm gonna be here as well and pay for both of us. So don't worry about it. Now why don't you run up to your room, Room 15, and get yourself set up. Once you're ready, come downstairs and we'll go get some dinner." Alex nodded and darted upstairs. Harry turned to Susan and grinned tiredly. "So, how was meet and greet day?"
Susan gave the man a flat look. "Exhausting. And a little depressing, honestly. I never knew how bad some of these kids had it at home." Harry shook his head.

"Lots of kids have it a lot worse. The only thing that we can do now is be there for them and not give them pity." Alex came bounding down the stairs and joined the group. Harry looked at him and grinned.

"Ready to go?" The boy hurriedly nodded and then looked at Susan quizzically. Harry followed his gaze and then offered his elbow, along with his most charming grin, to the young lady. Would the Lady Bones care to accompany these two dashing rogues to dinner?" Susan laughed and took his elbow.

"Why of course, dear rogue. Lead on." All three started to laugh as they walked out into the smoggy London air. Who knew what dangers tomorrow would bring, but for now everything was good in the world.

Signing off,

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