Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Tower of Pime


by Quillian 3 reviews

Harry and Pim do a lot over the summer...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-07-02 - Updated: 2007-07-02 - 14852 words


SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: The British bank Coutt's & Co. is an actual bank that does exist, and was recommended to me by my wonderful beta-reader Coulsdon Eagle. As is the case with Snowdonia National Park, I'm sure that the people in charge won't mind me using a real place in my story.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: It took so long for me to update this because I had a lot of difficult work I had to do, which seriously put a dent in my time for writing. I am posting it today (July 2, 2007) because it's my 21st birthday, and so you all get a big fat chapter.

This chapter is analogous to Book 1 (/Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/), Chapter Seven, "The Sorting Hat."


Harry and all his possessions were back in his room in the Tower of Pime. After being away for nearly two days, it was good to be back in the place which he considered to be home.

"It's good to have you back, Harry," Pim said as his avatar appeared.

"It's good to be back, Pim," Harry said happily.

Just then, however, there were hooting noises, and both of them turned to see the snowy owl waking up in her cage.

"Good morning," Harry said automatically, but then realized what time of day it was and quickly amended it to "Good evening."

The owl seemed to understand, since this boy who was now her master had probably never greeted a nocturnal being such as her before. "Good evening to you too."

However, barely a moment later, she was looking alarmed and confused with where she was now. "Where am I? I don't know what or where this place is!"

"Hey, don't worry, girl, it's alright, you're safe here," Harry said reassuringly as he opened the cage for her. She hopped out and landed on his forearm, looking around erratically and her talons digging into his arm as though she were clutching onto him for support.

Pim realized that the tower's hidden status must have been interfering with that innate sense which owls had which allowed them to navigate and find their way around the world.

"Hello, owl," Pim said kindly, and she swiveled her head back around to face him. "My name is Pim. I am or once was a wizard, and my soul has been merged with this tower of mine. I am Harry's guardian and caretaker, and since you are now Harry's familiar, you are just as welcome in my abode."

The owl appeared to be observing Pim curiously, as though looking for any hint of deception or lies. However, after a moment or so, she accepted Pim's explanation with a hoot. "I understand."

"This tower is located but secretly hidden in Snowdonia National Park, in Wales," Pim told her. "This valley is full of rodents and frogs. You should have no problem acquiring food. This tower is protected and kept invisible by a faint golden dome-like barrier which you will notice as you fly through it."

The owl hooted again in understanding. With that, she climbed up onto Harry's shoulder and gave him an affectionate nip on the ear before flying out an open window to go hunting.

"Lovely owl," Pim commented. "I hope you will think of a good name for her."

"Oh, don't worry, I plan to find one."

"So, what did you get?" Pim asked, politely interested in Harry's new supplies.

Harry happily unwrapped his packages and showed Pim his new books and other supplies. Pim looked delighted at seeing some of how magic had changed in progressed in the last fifteen hundred years.

"Oh, and finally, my wand," Harry said proudly as he showed Pim his brand new wand. "According to Mr. Ollivander - that's the wand-maker - witches and wizards stopped using staffs about a generation or so after the Hogwarts founders."

"So I see," Pim commented.

Just then, however, Harry thought of something else. "Um, Pim... I know you gave me that staff for my last birthday, and, well..."

Pim could see what Harry was trying to say with this, and why he was having difficulty in saying it.

"Rest assured, Harry, I am not upset by the fact that you have a magical tool which is newer and preferable to a staff. I gave you that staff for you to keep, and it may yet come in handy."

Harry gave a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Pim."

However, Pim was looking at Harry's wand intently, as though there was something about it which puzzled him.

"What is it, Pim?"

Through Pim's heightened and unique magical senses, he could actually see what one could describe as a small "line" of magic connecting Harry to his wand... and then a line running from the combined magical auras of Harry and his wand to somewhere far out beyond the Tower of Pime. Concentrating, Pim used his magical senses to follow the line out to where it was headed... he could trace it to somewhere in London, to a place deep underground, where many witches and wizards hurried about, and where many important things were located...

Could this be where the wizarding government is located? Pim wondered privately. A few moments later, a more thorough view confirmed his question.

So, they keep track of young wizards who are listed as students. I'm not saying that that's a bad idea, keeping tabs on young witches and wizards, but unfortunately, this interferes with my ability to teach Harry on my own...

"Pim?" Harry repeated.

"My apologies, Harry," Pim said. "But I think I have just determined that somehow, your Ministry of Magic can detect whatever magic you may do with your wand... maybe even without it, I am not entirely sure yet."

Harry looked alarmed at first, but then he also looked confused as well. "But they've never detected any magic I've done here before..."

"The wards protecting this tower have shielded you from such detection in the past," Pim explained, "and they still might just as they always have. However, it seems that when you first tried out your new wand earlier today in Ollivander's in Diagon Alley, some sort of magic was activated, which makes it so that the Ministry of Magic monitors your magic. I do not know whether the wards will protect you now, and even still, I ask that you refrain from doing magic of any kind - accidental or intentional, with a wand or with a staff or anything else - until I can thoroughly research this."

Harry nodded. "Sure thing, Pim."

While Pim went off to investigate this hidden part of Harry's wand, Harry went off to read some of his new books. He wanted to see what he could do with this new kind of magic.

A few hours later, Harry was lying on his bed, surrounded by open books as he eagerly went from one to another, fascinated by all this knowledge and information. He knew he couldn't do anything which required the use of a wand until Pim told him that it was okay, but he wondered if he could at least try potions under Pim's supervision. He was now reading through some books which held historical facts when he felt himself getting drowsy, because it was so late. His head was drooping... but maybe he could read at least a few more pages...

Suddenly, there was a hooting sound, and Harry snapped his head up as he turned to see his new owl sitting on the perch in his window. She had returned from her hunting, and now she was holding a dead mouse in her beak, while looking at him expectantly.

"Um, hi again," Harry said. "Nice catch."

The owl hooted proudly at the compliment and flew over to her cage with her meal and began to eat.

She probably just wanted some kind of praise, Harry thought to himself. I certainly don't blame her for that.

Harry had to admit, it was a new experience to have a pet or familiar or animal companion or whatever term one wanted to use for it. He saw how Dudley treated his own pets - whenever he had any - and noticed how his cousin treated them more like his other playthings, rather than living, breathing, intelligent creatures which needed to be cared for. This was all a strange and new experience for him, and he hoped he wouldn't accidentally hurt or even kill his new owl.

I still need to think of a name for her...

Without even thinking about it, he picked up the last book he was looking at and began to go through it again. Maybe there was a name in here which his owl might like...

One name in particular leaped out at him for some reason: Hedwig. He didn't know why he liked it, but he just did.

"Hedwig," he said aloud, simply trying it out.

The owl looked up and gazed at him, as if to say, Excuse me?

"Oh, it's just a name I found in this book. Would you like to be called that? Hedwig?"

The owl tilted her head as she considered it, and after a moment, she hooted in affirmation.

"Very well, Hedwig it is, then," Harry said, smiling. With that, he went over and gently stroked Hedwig's feathers, and she reciprocated by gently nipping at his fingers.

"Well," Harry then yawned, "I'm tired. Going to bed... see you in the morning."

He put his books aside, and without even getting undressed, he just fell backwards into bed and was asleep within a minute.

Late that same night, Hagrid was talking with Dumbledore in the Headmaster's office.

"Here's the Philosopher's Stone an' the other object as well, Headmaster," Hagrid said dutifully as he turned them over to Dumbledore.

"Why thank you, Hagrid," Dumbledore said, beaming as he accepted them and put them away safely. "I trust everything went well?"

"Yes, Headmaster. I Apparated after I dropped Harry back off..."

"You Apparated?" Dumbledore said, focusing intently. "I thought we agreed that we wouldn't go spreading word of your ability to Apparate... we both know that technically, you're not supposed to generally use magic."

Hagrid's slip came back to haunt him for a moment as he thought about it. "Don't get me wrong, Hagrid," Dumbledore continued in a placating way, "I didn't mind pulling a few strings to help you earn an Apparition license, since we both know you didn't do those horrible things back in your third year, even though we still can't prove that just yet..."

"I understand, Headmaster, my mistake," Hagrid said.

"So... how is young Harry? Is he well?"

"Well, he certainly looks healthy enough. He was just vacationing on the island for a few days when we found him..."

Something then occurred to Dumbledore. "Hagrid," he said urgently, "was anyone else with him there?"

Hagrid stopped to think about it. "Um, now that I think about it... I didn't see anyone else."

Dumbledore felt something drop in his stomach. What could Harry Potter have been doing alone on an island all by himself?

While Hagrid was recalling his memory, going over when he found Harry in the hut on the rock out at sea, Dumbledore used very subtle Legilimency to view Hagrid's memory to view it for himself. (This was not necessarily a mental invasion of privacy; in fact Dumbledore's methods could be considered far more intrusive when he did such things with his own students to see if they were being honest or not.)

Dumbledore was truly perplexed. How could young Harry Potter possibly be getting around like this, seemingly on his own, and be unable to trace?

"Headmaster?" Hagrid spoke up.

"Thank you, Hagrid, that will be all. Again, wonderful job, I really appreciate it."

"No problem, Headmaster," Hagrid said as he exited the office.

After he left, Dumbledore was deep in thought. Oh Harry, where have you gone? he thought.

To have finally found Harry Potter for the first time again in over a year, and then to have lost him again in a single day... this was just becoming too much for Dumbledore to take. He just had to find Harry and keep tabs on him, make sure he was safe...

If anything happened to Harry, Dumbledore might not be able to forgive himself.

While Harry was asleep, Pim was just beginning to get busy. For the past year or so, he had focused mainly on caring for Harry, leaving that as his top priority. But now, at this moment and as midnight neared, Pim felt that the time was right to get to work.

Summoning hundreds, if not thousands of his special small bright lights, Pim was prepared to absorb more information than ever as he ever had in a short space of time.

With a single magical command from him, the lights all flew out from the Tower of Pime and around the world.

For the next twenty-four hours, the small lights would work at night under the cover of darkness to collect information about the world and its recorded history (more specifically, he was going to collect his information exclusively from schools, universities and libraries). Pim knew that it was not always night everywhere on Earth at once, and so he made it so that the lights would only operate in parts of the world where it was still night, and as it turned into day in one part of the world, the lights would simply move on to the next part of the world where it was still night.

As the first of his lights began to collect information, Pim opened his mind to the knowledge that lay there waiting for him.

The next morning, Harry slowly woke up and reveled in how he had had some of the best sleep in a long time. He was not bothered, not even by Hagrid's revelations about his past. He was so comfortable that he didn't want to get out of bed, at least not for a while.

"Good morning, Harry," came Pim's voice.

Harry groaned and yawned. "Good morning, Pim."

"I realize you must still be tired, especially after your busy day yesterday. However, there are some things I would like to talk about, after you've gotten yourself freshened up and fed."

"Sure thing, Pim."

"Excellent. In which case, I will see you shortly."

Once Harry had bathed, dressed himself, and eaten breakfast, he went to see what Pim had to say.

"As we both now know, Harry, you have your own personal vault, which was left for you by your parents. I said from the start that I would be willing to help raise you... and that includes financially."

"I know, Pim, and I'm touched," Harry said. "However, it just doesn't seem right to me to have to fall back on you for money when I have enough myself."

If Pim was thinking anything in response to this, then he kept it to himself. However, Pim thought personally that this still had something to do with Harry's conditioning by the Dursleys into thinking that he was a burden, especially financially.

"True, I don't think either of us counted on you having enough money stashed away somewhere to support you for years to come, let alone me 'adopting' you. And before I say anything else, let me just say that I am impressed by your maturity on spending. However, if you wish, you can use your inheritance to buy what you need for school, and maybe a few personal items on the side. If you need me to contribute to something which you need, then I will happily do so."

"That sounds fair," Harry said after he contemplated that for a moment.

"Very well, then it's settled," Pim said with a smile. "I'm glad we could sort this out.

"Also, as you can imagine, I've wanted to learn more about the rest of the world ever since I came out of that long sleep for the past fifteen hundred years - and I mean both the magical and the non-magical worlds. I was hoping to update my library, and maybe even collect various plants and animals to fill up those few levels of the tower which were intended for them. I've accrued my own share of wealth for the millennia during which I was technically alive, and I imagine that some interest has been collected in the past fifteen hundred years during my 'hibernation.' I was wondering if you would like to help by accessing my wealth so you could get these things for me."

"Sure, Pim, I'd love to help."

"Excellent, in which case, we can start taking care of that in a few days."

"Also, Pim?"


"I was wondering if I could possibly go back to Diagon Alley today. I just found out that my parents left me something at all - who knows what else they left me, other than money. I want to find out what I can about them."

There was momentary silence while Pim was thinking it over, and thinking that it had something to do with the last time he went out on his own, Harry quickly added, "I don't think I'm going to run into the Dursleys again, if that's what you're worried about..."

"No, it's not that," Pim said. "Although you might want to watch yourself and stay safe, as usual. If something happens, please use the Recaller and make sure no one sees you when you do it."

"Sure thing, Pim. The thing is, I also need a trunk..."

"I already have a few you can choose from, Harry. There's nothing about this trunk which might raise questions like the staff which I gave you last year... although it does have a few nice features."

"Really? Like what?"

"Why don't we take a look? Galatea?"

A few moments later, Galatea came in with an average-sized trunk. However, this thing was floating a few feet off the floor, and she was simply pushing it around, as though it were a cart on wheels. The trunk itself was made of a very dark wood, and the edges were lined with what appeared to be silver or some kind of other metal. It was simple, and yet elegant in its own right.

"I have used this trunk for many occasions before," Pim said. "It has surprisingly few enchantments on it, but it is very effective and serves its purpose wonderfully. It is resistant to most spells with the kind of destructive force which one would worry about, and it can certainly hold a lot. Additionally, you will know if someone is trying to break into it. Go on, take a look inside."

Harry opened the lid to the trunk and looked inside, and was amazed by what he saw. He saw a space inside the trunk which looked much bigger than was possible outside. After shifting his focus for a moment to compare the trunk's dimensions on the outside, as opposed to those inside, he quickly figured it out.

"Oh, I get it now," he said. "It can store much more than it appears."

"Exactly, Harry. I can also modify it so it can store more things than it does now, if it ever comes to that."

"Thanks again, Pim. Anyway, mind if I go to Diagon Alley now?"

"Not at all. Stay safe, have a little fun, and as the old saying goes... /Caveat Emptor/."

Harry smirked. Buyer beware.

"Sure thing, Pim."

One of those small white lights materialized and transported Harry to a small back alley in Muggle London, only about a block away from the Leaky Cauldron.

"Thanks, Pim," Harry whispered out of habit, before subtly making his way to the Leaky Cauldron.

As he entered, no one really paid attention to him, but that was just fine by Harry. Over the years, he had perfected a kind of art where he could just blend in silently and go unnoticed unless he wanted to call attention to himself. At the moment, he was doing this well.

He went into the courtyard and took out his wand, remembering how Hagrid opened up the portal to Diagon Alley.

Three up... two across... and lo and behold, Diagon Alley! Harry thought humorously.

Putting away his wand, Harry entered the twisting, winding street, wondering where he should go first. His initial idea was to go to the bank first so he had money for whatever he wanted to buy, but then again, he decided that it might be better to see what he wanted first, and then get the appropriate amount of money for it.

His first stop was Flourish and Blotts. There were other books which he wanted to take a look at, and he wanted to read ahead and see what there was.

Almost immediately, and without thinking about it, Harry grabbed that book by one Vindictus Viridian, and the continued, looking around for what other books he might want or need.

After The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk, there were the books for the six years beyond that, as well as another by the same author, entitled /The Standard Book of Spells (Beyond Grade 7)/. Figuring that he might as well get them now, he grabbed a copy of all seven books and put them on the side.

"An eager learner, are you?" came a voice from behind him.

Harry spun around to see one of the managers behind him.

"Well, I decided to get some books now while I needed them," Harry said by way of explanation.

"With the except of those books in the Standard Book of Spells series, there's no real way to know for sure what you might or might not need at Hogwarts," the manager said, leaning casually on his knobby walking stick.

"Why, does it have anything to do with the classes?" Harry asked, politely curious.

"Well, all students from their first year start out with the same classes - History of Magic, Transfiguration, Herbology, Charms, Potions, Astronomy, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Then from third year, students get to choose what you could call electives - last time I checked, they were Care of Magical Creatures, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Muggle Studies and Divination. Students take their OWL exams at the end of their fifth year, and from sixth year onward, they take the classes which they need for whatever careers they want to pursue, dropping the rest, and students have to take their NEWT exams at the end of their seventh and final year."

"Is there anything like college after Hogwarts?" Harry asked, now that it had just occurred to him.

"Not really, no," the manager responded. "People take jobs after they get out of Hogwarts - in fact, sixth and seventh years might be more like college, with how people only take courses based on what careers they want."

Harry contemplated that. It sounded like witches and wizards were able to get through their own educations faster than Muggles could.

"Actually, aside from the classes themselves, there's the fact that sometimes new editions of the same books come out every so often," the manager explained. "Trust me, it would best if you just get them before the beginning of each year like everyone else."

"Thanks," Harry said gratefully. After that, he went around the bookstore a little more, looking for other books which might interest him. There were a few which interested him, but figured he would rather borrow like from a library than buy and own. However, there was a book about that sport called "Quidditch" which caught his eye. Harry had never really been the athletic type, and had never been into sports all that much, but something about this drew himself to it...

Shaking his head, he remembered that he still had a lot more to do. So, he left the bookstore for the time being and looked around the rest of the alley to see what else there was.

Harry used this trip to Diagon Alley to get a better look at some things which he hadn't been able to sufficiently observe the first time around with Hagrid. There were also luggage stores, furniture stores, jewelry stores... so many awesome things which a small part of Harry wanted to buy and spend money on madly.

He was just grinning with excitement when something occurred to him.

Wait a minute! he thought to himself. How much of this stuff do I actually need?

The truth was, practically none of it. Pim already had lots of things which these stores were selling, and it seemed like a waste to get any more of this stuff which he might not even need. One important thing which any reasonable consumer needed to do was consider how far into the future he or she would be using their purchases for.

For the next hour or so, Harry just stuck around, browsing through the stores without actually buying anything. However, as he was inside Quality Quidditch Supplies, he felt drawn to the broomsticks. For some reason, he found it amusing to see broomsticks have model numbers and series like Muggle cars and other vehicles.

After a small group of boys not much younger than himself moved out of the way, he was able to get closer to a sleek and shiny, brand-new Nimbus Two Thousand. Harry still knew practically nothing about broomsticks, but even he thought that this particular broomstick looked wonderful.

Once again, one of the managers came up from behind him, and asked him something. "So, interested in buying that broomstick?"

Harry turned around and said, "I don't know... for one thing, I don't even know how to fly on a broomstick."

The manager was a fit woman with windswept brown hair and piercing eyes, who seemed to be studying him. "Going to Hogwarts?"

"Yes," Harry said nervously. "This will be my first year there."

"I can see you've also had a Muggle upbringing - don't worry, nothing to worry about. However, if you'd like, I can show you how to fly a broom."

"Really? When?"

"Give me a few minutes, and I'll be able to take you somewhere where you can learn and practice how to fly on a broomstick. I give lessons to people who want them; however, it will cost twelve Sickles."

Harry agreed to this idea, and so paid her the money, and then waited for a few minutes while she got an assistant to take over for her. Once that was all settled, she led Harry over to the fireplace.

"Let me guess," she said, "you don't know about the Floo network, right?"

"Sorry, but I've never heard about it until just now."

"Nothing to apologize for, lad. You need to learn about something for the first time sometime. Anyway, here's what you need to do... You need to take a pinch of Floo powder - that's the green stuff here - and throw it into the fireplace. Before you walk through, you need to speak clearly and say the name of the grate to the place which you want to go to."

Harry stared at her for a moment. "Travel by /fireplace/?" he asked incredulously.

She merely chuckled. "Sounds incredible, doesn't it?" As Harry was digesting all this, she said, "Here, let me demonstrate, and then you can follow me."

Striding forward, the witch shouted threw the green powder into the fire (which I turn caused the flames to rise higher and turn bright green) and then shouted "Flying practice field, Hogsmeade!" as she stepped through, and with that, she vanished.

Harry looked in amazement at the green fire now burning in the fireplace. A moment later, he came to his senses and picked up the pace.

After throwing the green powder in the fireplace and watching the fire itself turn green, he also shouted "Flying practice field, Hogsmeade!" and went through.

Harry almost felt like he was in some kind of magical whirlpool, where he was spinning very fast as he was being sucked down a giant drain. He would occasionally catch glimpses of other fires he passed and the rooms which they were connected to, but beyond that, he was just concerned mostly for his own safety.

Finally, he fell out of a grate, and he quickly scampered away from the fire as he tried to catch his breath. He was now in a small shack or cottage, with very few furnishings inside.

"Some ride, huh?" the witch said cheerfully. "Anyway, take a broom from the side and come with me."

Harry looked off to the side and saw several different broomsticks. Within seconds, he found another Nimbus Two Thousand among the other brooms there, so he took it, and then carried it with him as he followed the witch outside.

She led him outside to a field that looked to be about the size of a small football field.

"Right... let's get started, then," the witch said. Harry followed her lead as he paid attention to her instructions: "You mount your broom like this, see? Good. "Hold the handle like this - yeah, that's right - now keep this kind of posture so you won't hurt yourself. Now, we'll take off. Ready? One, two, three..."

But Harry didn't realize just how gently he may have had to lift off from the ground, because the next moment, he had gone from being on the ground to fifty feet about it within the space of five seconds. At first, for maybe a second, Harry thought he would be scared senseless...

...But then he realized how wonderful it was.

The feeling of the air rushing all around him, even through his hair... this new freedom of movement which he had never thought possible before... it was simply exhilarating. For a few moments, Harry flew around, this way and that, not realizing that he was here to get flying lessons, or that the witch who brought him here was calling out his name.

"Hey, kid! KID!"

Harry swung his head around to see that the witch was now on his level, on her own broom. She looked at him as though he was something amazing.

"You mean to tell me you've never flown on a broomstick before?" she asked him.

Harry, now realizing where he was and what he was doing as it all came back to him, just nodded silently.

She gave out a long whistle. "Well, I'll tell ya this, kid... it almost looks like you were born to fly."

"Well, uh... thanks," Harry said lamely.

Just then, he noticed something else. Out in the distance, he thought he saw a huge castle. "What is that?" he asked her, pointing to it.

She looked to where he was looking. "Oh, that? That's Hogwarts, kid."

"So that's where I'll be going to school," Harry said quietly, mostly to himself. "Where are we, anyway? I don't know what or where Hogsmeade is."

"Well, Hogsmeade is the town where we are now, the only entirely non-Muggle settlement in Britain, and both Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are north of the Scottish border. Third-year students and above are allowed to visit the village on some weekends.

"Anyway," she continued, "I know you paid me twelve Sickles to teach you how to fly, which you seem to have already figured out by yourself. I really don't know if there's anything else I can show you..."

"No, it's okay," Harry reassured her. "I wasn't expecting to be good at this either. Maybe I could just fly around for a little while, and you can point things out in case I do something wrong?"

She gave a small smile and said, "Sure, I suppose I could do that. By the way, my name is Amelia Ventra." Before Harry could respond, let alone contemplate telling her who she really was, she exclaimed, "Well, go ahead, show me what you can do!"

With an eager grin on his face, Harry zoomed around on his broom, climbing and diving, banking this way or that and doing barrel rolls. It was so exciting, to be as free as a bird while he was up here.

However, soon enough, Ventra called up to him that he had been flying around for half an hour, and asked him if he wanted to take a break. It was then that Harry realized that he still had other things to do, and so he quickly descended in one last glorious dive and rejoined his instructor.

"Thank you very much, Mrs. Ventra," he said gratefully. "I really enjoyed this."

"Oh, you're very welcome, my dear." So polite, too! she thought to herself. If only half of the young witches and wizards came to her were this well-mannered...

"Also, I'm glad you called out to me when you did, because I just remembered a few other things I have to do," Harry added.

"Well, in that case, let me show you back to the store."

After entering the shack, they put their brooms back in their proper places, and Mrs. Ventra took out a pinch of Floo powder from a pot sitting on the mantle above the fireplace. "Quality Quidditch Supplies!" she shouted, and then walked into the green fire, vanishing.

Harry followed suit, and less than a minute later, he was back in Quality Quidditch Supplies, feeling a little dizzy from his trip.

"So," Harry asked, "just out of curiosity, how much does a Nimbus Two Thousand cost, Mrs. Ventra?"

She named the price.

"Wow, that's a lot," Harry mumbled.

"That it is, but if you ask me, it's worth every Knut," Mrs. Ventra said.

"Well, I'll see about it, but thanks again," Harry said as he began to move towards the shop's exit.

"Sure thing," she responded. However, as he moved past her, she thought she saw something on his forehead under a fringe of his hair. She had to contain a gasp as she quickly figured it out. "I'm sorry," she said casually, "but I didn't catch your name."

Harry stopped and turned around; he figured he could be honest about it and not hide who he was. "My name is Harry Potter," he said. "Thanks again for your time, Mrs. Ventra." And with that, he waved to her and left, not realizing that it would take her several minutes to snap out of her daze.

Making good use of his time, Harry walked briskly over to Gringotts. This time, when the goblin opened the pair of outer doors, Harry simply nodded this time; he didn't want to shock the poor goblin again.

Once inside, he walked over to the nearest counter with a free goblin. The goblin peered at him and said, "How may I help you?"

"I would like to talk to someone about what my parents left me. I saw my vault yesterday, and I have questions which I don't know whom I should ask them to."

"And your name is...?"

"Harry Potter," he said quietly.

The goblin's eyes widened ever so slightly, but otherwise kept his face serious. "I can have you speak to one of the managers, if you wish."

"Yes, that would be nice, thank you."

"In which case, follow me, Mr. Potter."

Harry followed the goblin around the counter and down a narrow hallway which might have seemed more accommodating to goblins than to humans. Portraits of past goblins lined the walls, and Harry couldn't shake the feeling that their eyes were following him.

"In here," the goblin said, opening a door for him, which had a golden plaque on it, which Harry read:

Gringotts Sub-Manager

Sitting behind an impressive mahogany desk was a goblin wearing what looked like a parody of a pinstriped Muggle business suit. "Thank you," Silvertongue said to the goblin with a nod.

With a similar nod, the goblin who escorted Harry left the room, shutting the door behind him.

"Please, take a seat, Mr. Potter," Silvertongue said. Harry sat down in a comfortable wooden chair with a leather cushion.

"Now... I understand you have questions for me," the goblin sub-manager said gently. "What is it you would like to know."

"Okay, well... first of all, the vault which I got some money from yesterday, is it my own vault, or my family's vault?"

"It is the latter, Mr. Potter, your family's vault."

"Is there anything else there besides money? Like possessions of any kind?"

"There might be... excuse me a moment." Silvertongue got up and walked over to a massive file cabinet. Waving his hands and making a gesture with them, he exclaimed, "Recupero Tabulae Familiae Potter!"

If Harry understood his Latin correctly, then Silvertongue was trying to retrieve the records of the Potter family.

A magical file came flying out and gently landed itself in Silvertongue's outstretched hands. "Ah, let's see here," he muttered as he magically unsealed it. "They did leave some possessions, like books or furniture or clothes or jewelry, but it stipulates here that you are not allowed to retrieve these possessions until you come of age at seventeen." Looking up, the goblin said, "It's really nothing to worry about, Mr. Potter, it's perfectly safe at us."

"Oh, don't worry, I wasn't worrying," Harry responded. "Actually, if you don't mind me asking... how much money do I have in the vault?"

Rather than speak it aloud, the goblin placed it on the desk and turned it around for Harry to see. Right next to the multi-digit figure of how many Galleons, Sickles and Knuts he had, there was also a figure scribbled in to show how much he had in Pounds Sterling, just for convenience.

"That much!?" Harry exclaimed, jumping out of his seat in the process. "Oh, um, sorry," he stammered after he realized that he was making a scene.

Silvertongue merely chuckled. "Oh, that's quite alright." After giving Harry a moment to recover, Silvertongue continued, "You are the heir to one of the wealthiest families in Wizarding Britain... probably even the Wizarding World. The way I see it, you are also the heir to one of the wealthiest families which I myself and many other goblins consider to be... shall we say... /noble/."

Harry had a curious look on his face. "What do you mean by that?"

"Just about every wizarding family in Britain in the top tier of wealth had connections to You-Know-Who, and even if most of them were never punished, let alone caught in some cases, they would often steal from their victims whenever they felt like it, which is why they are so wealthy. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised that your family has never been associated in such things."

Indeed, Harry felt very relieved that he didn't have any blood money in his vault.

"However, there is even more money than what your parents stored in your vault here in Gringotts. It seems that your parents also saved some of their money in a Muggle bank. I believe it's named... Coutt's & Co.?"

Harry nearly fell out of his chair this time. "That bank?" he asked incredulously. "That's where the Queen and nobility bank!"

"So it is," Silvertongue said with a pleasant smile. "Some of our clientele also bank there whenever they feel the need to store some of their money in the Muggle world, because of the additional security which that bank has. We have something of a... shall we say... understanding with the management of that bank."

Harry could only nod mutely through his shock.

"In the meantime, I would suggest that you go there as soon as possible to see what the situation is with your parents' accounts there. I imagine that quite a bit of interest has accumulated in the past ten years or so."

"Good idea," Harry croaked.

"Now, is there anything else you would like to ask me?" Silvertongue said pleasantly as he folded his hands in front of him.

Harry shook his head. "No, I think that about covers it for now," he said in more normal tones. "Thanks again for your time."

The goblin sub-manager nodded. "Very well. Have a good day, Mr. Potter."

Harry nodded and left.

It was late in the afternoon when Harry exited Gringotts, and so after making his way back through the Leaky Cauldron and out into Muggle London again, he found a nice, dark (although not necessarily safe) alley and used his Recaller to transport himself back to the Tower of Pime.

Once he got back, Pim's avatar immediately greeted Harry. "I hope your shopping went well, Harry... but then again, it looks as though you didn't really buy anything at all!"

Harry merely shrugged. "I guess I really didn't need anything else. However, I did find this one thing I liked... a broomstick called the Nimbus Two Thousand. I went to get some flying instructions, and it turns out I can fly very well on my own!"

Pim noted how Harry's eyes lit up a little with that. It looked as though Harry had just gotten a new passion or hobby.

"So, why didn't you buy the broomstick?"

"I dunno... I guess I wasn't sure whether to get it or not."

"Also, how did it go with your family's finances?"

"It also turns out that my parents saved some money in a Muggle bank called Coutt's. It's a very expensive bank for the rich and nobility. It's probably closed by now, but I'd like to take a look tomorrow or something."

"That can easily be arranged. In the meantime... would you like to spend the rest of the day training?"

Harry shrugged. "Sure... why, what did you have in mind?"

"Well, aside from magical training, I was wondering if you would like to be trained in how to use normal weapons."

Harry did a double take at that. "Weapons?" he repeated.

"Yes, Harry, weapons. Such as swords, bows and arrows, spears..."

"Sounds a little dangerous," Harry said quietly. He really couldn't imagine himself handling weapons like that.

"More dangerous than handling, say, a staff or a wand?" Pim asked casually, just to make a point. "More dangerous than cooking fire over an open flame or using certain chemicals to maintain a household?" (Pim wasn't trying to dredge up old, bad memories of Harry's life with the Dursleys, but just to make a point.)

"My point is, Harry, that using just about anything can be dangerous, if used improperly or incorrectly. I am merely offering you the opportunity to know how to use them to defend yourself."

Harry finally smiled a little, especially after thinking about Pim's comparison of normal weapons to magical staffs or wands. "You're right, Pim, I'm sorry."

"Nothing to apologize for, Harry. Now, since it is getting late, I am offering to show you some basics for close quarters combat, like with a sword."

Harry agreed, and so for an hour or so, Pim showed Harry some basics with sword fighting. Harry was holding a wooden replica of a real sword, and Pim's avatar "held" one, just for the sake of realism. This was the first of many lessons they would have together, and in this first lesson alone, Harry truly understood that sword fighting was definitely not about just swinging the sword around and moving around a lot. Pim showed his ward how to do basic things like dodge and block before moving on to more advanced stuff.

Feeling a little worn out after their initial fighting session, Harry took a bath and then went to sleep.

The next morning, Harry was just finishing up breakfast when Pim approached him.

"Before you go to this other bank where the rest of your parents' money is, I need to let you know about something.

"Through my magic, I have determined that there are devices in existence which, when used, can tell whoever uses them a person's location. When you are here in my tower, you are protected from such observational powers. However, once you are out from under my protection, you can and will be detected by such.

Harry's eyes widened a little as he thought about it. "But yesterday... you mean anyone could have found me that way?"

Pim nodded. "Indeed. I just didn't know it or realize it yesterday. However, now that I do, I have done something about it."

Pim summoned a small, thin bracelet. It floated in front of Harry, slowly rotating and gyrating. It appeared to be made out of crystal, possibly quartz. A small band of gold circled a small part of it, and embedded in it as a tiny diamond, no bigger than a grain of sand.

"This bracelet will disguise and mask your magical presence," Pim explained. "However, it will not inhibit your magic, and you will still be able to use your wand normally. As long as you are my ward and it is my job to protect you, we should make sure that you use this when it is imperative that you need to avoid being found or otherwise detected."

"Of course, Pim, thanks," Harry said as he took the bracelet and tried it on.

"If the magic which powers the bracelet should somehow fail, or you have been found out when you shouldn't be, the bracelet will give off a faint vibration and the diamond will glow red in order to let you know."

"Got it, thanks. Anyway, I'll be ready to go in a few minutes..."

Once Harry was ready to go, Pim magically teleported him to a discrete alley not far from the Muggle bank itself, and let Harry take care of things from there.

Meanwhile, while Harry was away, Pim went to check up on his wealth...

While Pim may have purposely remained obscure to just any other person during the thousands of years of his long life, he was by no means poor. He had been paid by clients from one end of the social ladder to the other for all kinds of various jobs, from warding off monsters to teaching young students. But he also sometimes joined in battle, fighting for a side whose cause and goals he also believed in, and so sometimes he was paid that way. He would also occasionally loot from battles, if only to make sure that the loot didn't fall into the hands of someone else who would have used it for evil or less-than-noble purposes.

Pim had lived on an absolutely minimalist lifestyle, stashing and hoarding away whatever he could of his earnings. So, when he moved to Britain to set up a new home there, he also spent that time between setting up his new home and moving his wealth to a nearby and equally secure location.

Pim had also hallowed out of the mountains whose slopes were right next to the Tower of Pime. He had purposely put wards on it and all around it so that if anyone were to try excavating there or anything, they would either miss it or suddenly feel compelled to stop what they were doing and go do something else instead. If only they knew what was really stored away in there...

About a hundred or so big chests of ancient coins from all over the known world. Bars of gold, silver, and other valuable metals. Plates, bowls, cups and chalices made with such valuable metals. Gems and jewels which were every color of the rainbow, and then some. Full sets of armor and weapons of all kind. Extra copies of books and scrools which Pim already had in his own library. Statues, busts, paintings, murals, engravings and other images of famous people. Perfumes which were magically preserved to be fresh after all these years.

It was enough to make even King Midas himself fall over in shock and awe.

Pim sent Galatea from the tower to the enormous vault in the mountain. Several minutes later, she came back with an enormous trunk filled to the brim with valuable coins from various ancient civilzations.

After all, if he was going to buy things from Diagon Alley, he would need the appropriate kind of money.

About an hour or so later, Harry had returned with information about his parents' accounts in that bank. It turned out that they had also invested small sums of money in various things, and now, more than a decade later, Harry was examining the results. Some stocks had remained pretty much the same for all the time that had passed, a few didn't do so well (one of them wasn't even worth the paper it was printed on), but quite a few of them had shot up. Add that to the total amount which his parents had deposited, plus the interest from being held in the bank all these years, and Harry was looking at a considerable six-digit figure.

Once Harry had put these documents away and met with Pim again, his magical mentor explained to Harry what he had in mind.

"I would like to purchase a copy of whatever books they supply at that bookstore Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley, and after that, I would like to purchase a sufficient amount of whatever supplies they have at the Apothecary. It would also help to get a few new cauldrons, as well as some fresh writing supplies. Also, now that I think about it, maybe I should buy some owls, since obviously, I can't keep using those Luclars."

Harry nodded but then did a double take. "Luclars?" he repeated.

"Oh, it's the name I came up with for those small bright lights."

"Heh, cute," Harry commented. "So, how should I do it?"

"Well, it might help first to have some owls to deliver the items. If I'm going to have owls come or go from here, I may as well purchase them and make sure that they can keep our secrets. After that, we'll get what we need. But first, go to Gringotts and have the entire amount of money in this trunk converted into their currency."

"But how will I know exactly what to buy?" Harry asked Pim. "And besides, what if the goblins there ask me where I got all this old money?"

"As for the money, just tell them that your guardian has all these old coins and wants them converted," Pim said calmly. "It's the truth, anyway. Also, with your permission, I can place a spell on you so I can see whatever you see, hear whatever you hear, and so on. I ask for your permission, because this spell can be considered very invasive."

Harry didn't need long to think about it. "Of course you can place this spell on me, Pim."

Pim nodded. "Very well." Suddenly, there was a bright light which made Harry's body tingle all over, and then it faded after a few moments. "It is done."


"One other thing: We will need to disguise you. One moment, please..."

Harry thought he felt something on his face, and after looking into a nearby mirror, he could see exactly what it was: Pim changed Harry's appearance. He now had light brown hair (neatly-combed instead of sticking up uncontrollably), hazel eyes, and a more rounded face.

"Interesting," Harry commented, and then noticed how his own voice was changed as well.

"It is only temporary, of course," Pim added. "Do you have your wand and your bracelet?"

"Yes, I have them."

"Good. I am transporting you now..."

One of the Luclars made contact with Harry, and barely a second later, he found himself in the same alley near the Leaky Cauldron. This time, however, the chest full of ancient coins was next to him on a wheeled carrier.

Trying to look discrete but not as though he was hiding something, Harry took the chest and wheeled it along with him to the Leaky Cauldron. Once again, Harry made his way through the building, into the back courtyard, through the portal in the brick wall and into Diagon Alley.

He went straight to Gringotts, and took it to the nearest counter with a free goblin behind it.

"How may I help you, young sir?" the goblin said in business style.

"I have a lot of old money which I would like to be traded into Galleons and such," Harry said calmly.

"Yes, we do have moneychangers here. I am sure that it will be no problem. May I see the money inside, sir?"

Harry calmly opened the chest, and the goblin's eyes bulged.

"When you said 'old money,' I had no idea you meant money from ancient civilizations," the goblin confided quietly so no one else could hear either of them.

Harry looked into the chest for the first time, and even he was amazed by what he saw inside. There were coins of all kinds in all sizes, ranging from Greek drachmas to Roman sesterces.

"I can have someone lead you into another room where you can properly sort out all this money and convert it into Galleons and such," the goblin offered.

Harry agreed, and so a few minutes later, he and another goblin were in a back room, sorting out all the ancient money and converting them to wizarding currency. Several minutes later, the ancient coins in the trunk were now replaced with shiny new Galleons, Sickles and Knuts.

After thanking the goblins, Harry walked out with the chest and suddenly heard a voice.

"Harry, this is Pim," the voice said. "Don't look around, don't look crazy. Just listen to what I say, and I'll help you buy what I'm looking to buy. Nod once if you understand."

Harry nodded once. "Good. Now, first stop... Eeylops' Owl Emporium."

Listening to Pim, Harry chose two owls of each kind of breed, and a male and female in each, all of them relatively young. So, with a pair of tawny, screech, barn, brown and snowy owls each, making for a total of ten owls in all, Harry paid for them, plus some Owl Treats.

"Now touch each of them, gently," Pim said. "Through you, I will tell them about the tower and how it is hidden."

Harry did as he was told, and after he was done, all ten owls new about the Tower of Pime, and were committed to keeping the secrets of their new master.

"However, we still need to buy some things," Harry told the owls. "And I might need you to deliver them."

Hooting in understanding, the owls made themselves scarce by flying to the tops of other buildings as they waited for him.

"First stop is Quality Quidditch Supplies," Pim told Harry. "I would like to purchase one of those Nimbus Two Thousands."

Harry wondered why Pim would want the broomstick, but didn't ask. So, he went to the store and used some of his money to pay for the Nimbus Two Thousand on the spot.

"I don't want anything to happen to this, so just discretely move into one of the back alleys behind the store and wait for one of my Luclars to transport it back to the tower."

Harry did as he was told, after that was done, Harry continued on his way. The next stop was the Apothecary, where Pim told Harry how much or how many he should get of what. The person behind the counter looked rather surprised at how this young boy knew to get all these different things, but as long as he paid, the employee had no problem with it. All ten owls were required to work together to carry the potions supplies and equipment back to the Tower of Pime, even after the loads were magically lightened as much as possible.

From there, Harry went to Flourish and Blotts, where he asked how much it would cost to get one copy of each book currently on the shelves. The clerk behind the cashier looked at him suspiciously, but once Harry politely made it clear that he wasn't joking, and he had the money to cover it, the clerk wasted no time in adding it all up.

As it turned out, Harry had just enough left to cover it. Because of all the secrecy, he had to ask if he could have his owls come back and pick up the books purchased at regular intervals, which the store manager agreed to. So, as a result, Pim would be getting his new books over the next week or so.

After all that shopping, Harry was surprised that there was money left at all. Fine, so one Galleon, a few Sickles and some Knuts wasn't much...

"Keep the change, Harry," Pim told him. "Consider it a handler's fee."

Harry shrugged and pocketed it.

"Well, that's that, so please, come on home."

After Harry returned, Pim undid the spell and Harry's magical disguise. Harry looked at the ten new owls, some of whom were catching up with Hedwig after Harry bought her from Eeylops' Owl Emporium.

"Ah, Harry, you're just in time!" Pim said cheerfully. "Meet the new owls! That's Mr. and Mrs. Tawny, that's Mr. and Mrs. Screech, that's Mr. and Mrs. Barn, that's Mr. and Mrs. Brown, and that's Mr. and Mrs. Snowy!"

Harry smirked and shook his head. Pim really did have a somewhat unusual sense of humor at times.

"Also, thank you for getting that Nimbus Two Thousand, Harry," Pim added as the broomstick floated into view. "Here, Happy Birthday."

Harry gaped for a moment before smiling. "Ah, thanks, Pim. Very clever, too."

"Unless you have something else you would rather do, I can teach you some basic archery lessons," Pim offered.

Archery... that sounded like fun too Harry. Okay, so it was originally developed to hunt animals and even kill other people, but Harry also remembered things like Robin Hood and the stories about him, and so he gladly accepted Pim's offer.

For the rest of the day, Harry practiced outside the tower with various targets, a bow and a quiver of arrows. He had to be careful, because there arrows were not the ones with the relatively blunt tips which Muggles used to practice archery with, but with actual, sharp arrowheads. But with Pim's instruction, Harry learned and knew how to safely handle them.

The sun was nearly done setting by the time Harry realized how late it was getting. After finishing his current supply of arrows, he cleaned up after himself and went inside to get some sleep.

The next day, Pim approached Harry after breakfast about a different matter.

"I was thinking, Harry... you may want to create an alias for yourself, just in case. Now that I know about your past, and especially about this Voldemort, I think it is even more imperative that you have at least one false identity under which you can move about, just in case."

Harry nodded. "Alright, I can do that now."

"That's fine. However, let me impart on you a word of wisdom about this kind of matter: Never get too attached to one particular name, especially if you like it. This kind of name is supposed to be just as able to drop as it is used. It's not a penname for an author to writer under."

Harry understood, and so he spent the better part of an hour in his room, thinking of what would sound nice. He also made a face as he realized that he already had one: The Boy Who Lived. But then another idea came to him: Why not do something based on that.

He tried out the phrase "boy who lived" in the few other languages he knew, wondering if he could make up anything based on those. For some reason, he was stuck on the Latin way of saying it, something about it drawing him to it. "Puer qui vixit," he muttered, testing it out. "Puer qui vixit... pwer kwee wix-it..."

Within moments, he had a name he thought he liked.

"I got it," he said out loud.

"You do?" Pim's avatar said as it materialized near him.

"Oh, hi Pim," Harry said, not expecting him. "Anyway, yeah, I think I got a name: Peter Quincy Wickett."

Pim thought about it, and thinking that it was just as good as any other fake name, he agreed on it.

"Good. In which case, we'll just save that name for later until we might actually need it. Now that that's been taken care of, I was wondering if you would like to learn some magic which I think you might like."

Harry accepted Pim's offer, of course. So, with Pim's help, Harry learned some new spells.

The first of them was the Sight of Janus spell. Janus was a two-faced Roman god who could see both ways, past and future (and after whom the month of January was named). However, this spell had nothing to do with time, but instead allowed a person to see behind himself just as well as anything in front of him.

Once Harry understood it well enough, he cast the spell: "Janivisus!" With that, Harry was suddenly seeing two images at once: What was right in front of him, as usual, and what was behind him. It took a few moments for his mind and his brain to adjust to seeing two separate images at once, and the spell wore off after a minute or so anyway, but as Pim reassured him, Harry should be able to master it and hold it for longer in the future, with more practice.

The next spell was the Stone Shell spell. This would encase the caster in a layer of stone, and protect the caster from various forms of magical and physical damage (the strength and resistance of the stone itself would depend on the power of the spell). However, the caster would remain immobile until he took it off of himself.

So, Harry tried it out: "Conchasaxa!" The next thing Harry knew, he was immobile and could not move an inch unless he mentally willed the stone layer to go away; however, he could see through the stone itself as though it was nothing, and he found it kind of funny how Pim even through furniture at Harry, which broke into splinters as it made contact with his protective stony form. A few minor offensive spells did a little damage, but hardly enough to crack the stone layer more than a little. Finally, Harry willed the spell to be undone, and after that, Harry was ready to learn the next spell.

Pim taught Harry an Instant Blade spell, which he didn't advise his young protégé to use as a weapon, but more as a tool. "Laminapraesens!" he shouted, and a blade grew from the tip of his wand, with the wand itself serving as the handle. Practicing with it, he sliced through paper and plants with it. This would be a very useful survival tool.

After that, Harry learned other spells, like the Ramming Hex. "Arieto!" he shouted at a big log of wood propped upright, and it went flying backwards as though it had been hit by a car.

There was also even something fun called the Net Hex. Just a simple spell with a simple incantation of "Rete!" (pronounced "Reh-teh"), a net went flying from the end of Harry's wand and flew across the room. It probably would have been big enough to bundle up an owl, maybe something a little bigger than that.

Another interesting spell was the Hellhound Curse, which would summon a hound made out fire, designed to go after opponents. This was more advanced, but after being reassured that it would cause him no kind of strain, injury, or damage whatsoever, Harry decided to try it. "Ignicatulus!" he shouted, and what looked like a fiery puppy sprang from his wand and ran around, barking and yapping its head off shortly before disappearing.

And to think... this could still be considered only the beginning of Harry's magical tutelage under Pim.

It was only a month, that August... but for both Harry and Pim, it was not only a testament to how much people could get done in seemingly short amounts of time, but also how much the two enjoyed being together, as mentor and protégé.

After taking another chest full of ancient money, but converting this one to British Pounds Sterling, Pim brought himself some Muggle devices, such as a television set, a radio and even a modest stereo. Apparently, magic had some kind of adverse effect on electricity and circuitry, but Pim was able to find a way around that, although Harry didn't quite understand how. Pim had also begun making a small collection of movies on VHS tapes and music on tape cassettes and compact discs. Whenever Harry wasn't learning or practicing magic, they would sometimes watch or listen to things together. They were also thinking of getting and sharing a computer, which sounded useful and helpful.

With some help from Pim, Harry would learn at least the Hogwarts course material for the first month or so by summer's end. He figured that having a small head-start on the course material wouldn't hurt. Thanks to his fast learning abilities, Pim was able to tell for himself if Harry was casting the spells and brewing the potions correctly and properly.

Harry was also very grateful to Pim for getting him that Nimbus Two Thousand, which Pim insisted that Harry enjoy. Within the safety of the tower's dome, Harry would fly around, trying this trick or that one. Maybe after Pim figured something out, Harry could fly all over Snowdonia National Park without getting noticed.

Magic aside, Harry was also progressing in learning some things such as sword-fighting and archery. Pim would often mock-fight with Harry to train with him personally, and as Harry got a little better at archery, Pim even set up some flying targets for him to try and hit (and just to be safe, they made sure that none of the owls were out and about during that).

Harry was also sure to get some exercise. Whether it was going for small runs through the park yet not far from the tower itself, or just frolicking about and having fun in the glorious summer whether, he made sure to get out more often. He had spent far too much time cooped up in this place or that one, and without the Dursleys constantly on the lookout to prevent him from doing anything fun or wholesome, he could now really enjoy himself. He certainly wasn't going to get out of shape, just because he now had lots of food and different kinds of leisure which weren't available to him before Pim took him in.

Harry also made sure he properly cared for Hedwig without actually spoiling her. He groomed her and cleaned her cage on a regular basis, and fed her the occasional Owl Treat when she didn't want to go out hunting for a meal. Harry had also apologized, more than once, for not having any letters for her to deliver, because he simply didn't have anyone to send letters to, or at least for now, but fortunately, Hedwig seemed to understand. Also, out of one particular moment of boredom, Harry got the idea to play "Frisbee" with Hedwig, where he would toss into the air a small disc of appropriate size, and she would catch it, either with her beak or with her talons. Both boy and owl enjoyed this game very much.

For Harry, it still all seemed to strange... not so much that magic existed, and that he could do magic, but he could actually be happy with a parental-figure which loved him and would do just about anything for him. Some last vestiges of Harry's life with the Dursleys remained, but he felt that he was able to successfully shove those awful memories away into the farthest recesses of his mind.

Soon enough, it was the last week of August, and Harry was just cleaning up after his own breakfast when it happened.

First the lights began to flicker, and then the tower itself began to rumble, and then shake. But worst of all was the high, screechy sound, which was so bad that Harry clamped his hands over his ears to try and block it as much as he possibly could.

What seemed like more than an hour later (when it was really just a few minutes), the sound finally stopped, but there was still some ringing in Harry's ears.

Dashing up to his room, he could see that Hedwig was also looking frazzled, and her feathers were even standing on end because of that experience. The other owls didn't seem to feel so well, either.

Galatea came rushing into the room to see if Harry was alright, and after he reassured her that he was, Pim's avatar appeared before them, looking worried.

"I think we have a problem," he said, stating the obvious.

Barely an hour later, Pim figured out what the problem was.

"It's my magic," he explained to everyone present. "Somehow, I don't think the tower was designed to handle this much magic. First this tower was put into a form of 'hibernation' for nearly fifteen hundred years, and now we've just been using the magic freely for the past year or so. I think that the magic is getting unstable or something. In other words, we have to drastically cut back on all this magic which we're using."

Pim turned to look at Harry specifically. "I think we have enough to last for another week or so, and after you leave to go to Hogwarts, I'll be able to use just enough to maintain the tower until things work out. I'll still be able to do things like write to you for the sake of appearances, but you might not be able to fall back on me or things such as my Luclars if something happens to you."

Harry nodded. "I understand, Pim."

"We may also have to consider having a sort of 'back-up location,' just in case you need somewhere to flee to, for whatever reason."

Both of them thought about that for a moment, but then Harry remembered something.

"Pim... about that hut on the rock which you had me wait at for a day... how about there?" Harry asked him.

"Actually, that place wasn't abandoned, but the old man who owns it was away for those few days, which made it ideal," Pim admitted. "But you know what, I don't think he likes it there very much. What do you say we buy the hut from him?"

Harry shrugged. "Well, I really don't know anywhere else which would make a good hiding place, so I guess it works."

"Good. In which case, let us make an offer to him."

So an hour later, the old man was sitting on the edge of this miserable little rock far out at sea, wishing he could get out of this place, when he noticed something.

On the horizon, a small boat appeared, and it was getting closer. As it came ashore, he could see that its only passenger was a boy who couldn't have been any older than eleven years old. Next to him was a brief case.

"What do you want?" the old man said in what could have been considered a condescending tone as the boy stepped out of the boat, carrying the briefcase in his arms.

"I'd like to buy your hut, sir," the boy said politely with a smile.

The old man laughed. "Listen to me, boy, no one, and I repeat, no one wants this hut on this rock. They say it costs too much, and you know something... they're right! This hut is basically a white elephant - you know what a white elephant is, boy?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do know what a white elephant is," Harry said cheerfully. "It's something which is really expensive, serves little or no actual purpose, but you can't get rid of."

The old man blinked. "Yes, well... anyway, why would you want it?"

"Because I just do," Harry said simply.

"Please, if this is a joke, then just leave," the old man scowled as he began to turn around to walk back inside his hut.

"Oh, I can assure you," Harry said as he fumbled with the briefcase, "this is quite real." And with that, he opened the briefcase to reveal many crisp, bound bank notes neatly stored inside.

The old man's eyes looked like they were ready to fall out of their sockets, and for a second, Harry was afraid that he had given him a heart attack. But the next moment, the old man was smiling brightly and looking like he was about to dance. "Oh my... that's at least twice the value of his place? Maybe even three times as much! Or four times as much? Maybe even five times as much?"

After both of them counted it together, they saw that it was double the value of the hut itself, and then some. So, within hours, everything was arranged and settled on. Both of them pleased with themselves, Harry handed the old man the briefcase full of money, and the old man gave Harry the key, deed, and various other necessities.

"Well, thanks again for helping me get away from this place," the old man said as he piled the briefcase of money in his own boat, next to his suitcase of clothes and trunk of various other knickknacks. He was now wearing a bright, colorful Hawaiian-style T-shirt with flowers, khaki shorts, and sandals. As he took out his sunglasses, he asked, "By the way, I never really understood where the expression 'white elephant' came from."

"From what I can recall, it comes from Thailand," Harry explained. "If the Thai king wanted to ruin someone, he'd give them a white elephant as a gift. It would serve practically no useful purpose, would cost a lot to take care of, and couldn't be gotten rid of, since it was a gift from the king."

"Ah," the old man said in understanding. "I see now."

Putting on his sunglasses now, the old man said, "Well, I really appreciate it, so thanks again. You can call me Ulysses, by the way."

"Harry. Farewell, Ulysses, and /bon voyage/."

Ulysses grinned. "You got that right. See ya around, kid." Starting up his own boat, Ulysses declared, "Good-bye, hut on the rock! Caribbean, here I come!"

As the old man drove his boat out of sight, Harry smiled and went inside. "Okay, Pim," he said, "I'm ready."

All kinds of painting, redecorating and cleaning supplies appeared around him, and with that, Harry started his work. It would take him an entire week, including breaks and other tasks he needed to do, such as getting ready to go to Hogwarts on the first of September, but in the end, Harry would be pleased with the results as he transformed the old hut into something which looked almost brand-new (with a little help from magic, of course).

After Harry was done with the hut, he went back to the Tower of Pime and was approached by Pim.

"I must say, Harry, you did an excellent job," Pim said with a smile, "but there is another concern now.

"Obviously, we must keep the hut on the rock secret as well. Even as we speak, I am magically putting wards on it to disguise it the same way that this tower is disguised. The wards being placed on the new hideaway are temporary, but they should last for at least a year, maybe more. So, after taking your original Recaller and your magic-disguising bracelet, I came up with this."

A new bracelet appeared, and while it looked almost identical to the magic-disguising bracelet, Harry could see something new about this one. There was a small row of gemstones embedded in it.

"The diamond, as with the original design, is an indicator as to how well the bracelet is working," Pim explained. "However, with the emerald and the sapphire... pressing the emerald will return you here, to the Tower of Pime, in Snowdonia. The sapphire will send you to the hut on the rock, out at sea (which we really ought to think of a name for, by the way). You may try it now, but please, do not go crazy with it."

"You know I won't, Pim," Harry said with an innocent smile.

Pressing the sapphire, he found himself in the middle of the hut. Pressing the emerald, he found himself in the middle of the ground level in the tower.

"It works," he announced. "Thanks, Pim."

"There is also more," Pim added. "I also put a couple of features on it. All you have to do is think it, and the bracelet will stay on your wrist and not come off. Additionally, and as a safeguard of sorts, it will become invisible to everyone else except for you for as long as it is on your wrist - after all, we cannot have anyone else know about it."

"Got it," Harry said, confirming that he understood. "However... what about this magic problem which you're having at the moment?"

"Well, I think weekend visits might be out of the question, at least for the time being. Maybe if I get it working right, we can spend the winter holidays together here. So, if it's an emergency, then you can use it to come back without there being any kind of problems."

Harry understood completely, and once they got that all sorted out, Harry went about seeing what else he could do.

It was getting late on the last day of August, and the following day, on the first of September, hundreds of students would either be returning to Hogwarts or going there for the first time. However, for Dumbledore, he wasn't sure if he could contain his excitement - or his apprehension.

For the past month, he had been trying to find Harry once again, out of concern for the boy's own safety, and in an effort to not repeat his mistake of not keeping a closer eye on him as was the case with the Dursleys. And so far, there had been no luck whatsoever.

Please let me be sure that Harry is safe and well, he silently thought to whoever might have heard him. That is all I ask. To know that he is safe and well.

Harry would be coming to Hogwarts the next day... but somehow, even that didn't seem to be soon enough.

As Dumbledore was looking for some paperwork to go over before the school term started, just to try and take his mind off of things, he thought he heard something coming from the lake.

Looking up, he listened carefully, and indeed, he could hear a soft yet strong, ululating melody coming from the lake.

Getting up, Dumbledore moved around and walked towards the window, and he saw the chieftainess of the merfolk floating up to his waist at the water's surface and surrounded by her own personal guard, calling out to him.

Acknowledging this call, Dumbledore hurried out of his office and down towards the lake. Once he got there, the merfolk Chieftainess Murcus stopped her song and looked at him directly before speaking.

"We have a visitor for you, Headmaster," she said, speaking in Mermish. "He claims that you have something of his."

Dumbledore looked puzzled. "Surely he is not claiming that I stole anything?"

"No, nothing like that," she reassured him. "Rather, he speaks about something which he tried to protect which somehow wound up in your possession."

"Then I will speak to him," Dumbledore said.

With that, the chieftainess made a splashing motion with her tail fins as a gesture, letting her know that the visitor could come forward.

A new form appeared on the water's surface and swam to them. It looked like a very big, man-sized fish, and after stopping near them, the fish paused for a moment... and then began to change. Its tail split into two, with its fins becoming webbed feet, its fins on either side extended and became arms with five-fingered hands, and its head reshaped itself to become a human head, or at least a vaguely-shaped human head with some fish-like features to it.

After this newcomer gave a courteous yet polite nod to the chieftainess, she nodded back and left with her personal guard, leaving the Fish-Man alone with Dumbledore.

The Fish-Man looked at him for a moment before kneeling down in the sand and drawing out some form of writing in the sand itself.

If Dumbledore recalled his Ancient Runes studies from literally ages ago, then he could see that the Fish-Man was asking him, through the writing, if he had the object which was sent away.

Kneeling down to touch the sand, Dumbledore wrote an answer, affirming that he did indeed have.

Erasing his own initial question, the Fish-Man now wrote something to the effect of, "You know what, this is getting ridiculous, I can speak the same language as the others in this lake."

Oh, so he was talking about Mermish.

"Greetings," Dumbledore said to him in Mermish. "My name is Albus Dumbledore, and I am the headmaster of this school."

"Yes, I know," the Fish-Man said, in an accent unlike anything which Dumbledore had heard before. "We need to discuss the safety of the object which is currently in your possession."

"I can assure you that it will be protected," Dumbledore said with complete honesty.

"I do not doubt your claims, nor do I doubt the security of your school," the Fish-Man said calmly. "It is simply a matter of who I entrusted it to. I purposely put a spell on it so that it would fall in the hands of the nearest available people who could be trusted, especially since they knew what it was."

"If you are referring to the married couple which found them, then yes, I know who they are," Dumbledore said just as calmly. "They wanted me to keep it safe here."

"With all due respect, Headmaster, it is the principle of the matter," the Fish-Man countered. "Do you not know what that object is? It is the -"

"Yes, I know full well what it is," Dumbledore interjected calmly. "If I understand correctly, is it a matter of exactly who is guarding it? Because in which case, I can have them here so we can all discuss this together."

The Fish-Man considered it for a moment or so, and then relented. "Very well," he said, "but I would like to meet those people who found it, and confer with them, and with you present. Tomorrow, at midday."

Dumbledore nodded. "Agreed."

"Farewell," the Fish-Man said by way of leaving.

Dumbledore stood there for a moment, considering this being's words. He would show that he could be trusted.

On the way back up to the castle, he realized that he hadn't even caught the Fish-Man's name!

After finishing the job with the hut, Harry had two days left of his summer vacation before going to Hogwarts. He enjoyed them by going over everything he would need one last time, getting in some last rounds sword practice, archery, and getting in some time flying on his broomstick. For his last evening at the Tower of Pime, Harry was treated to a sumptuous feast as a send-off.

After the evening meal, Harry was just going over his things one last time, making sure he had everything, when Pim approached him.

"Harry," he said, "I've never been a true parent myself because I've never had any true children of my own, but as a teacher, tutor, mentor, instructor and adviser, I have done my best with countless children under my care. One thing which I have learned to do time and time again was to allow my students to go out and do things on their own without me, after I taught them everything which they needed to know up to that point. Still, it never has been entirely easy for me to just see them go, even if they do return, as I occasionally worry that something might happen to them.

"In the past year or so during which you have been living here, you have shown that you can handle yourself on your own. I have faith in you that you can handle yourself well at this school without anything going wrong. And, of course, I wish you the best of luck."

Harry was truly touched by Pim's gentle and well-chosen words.

"Thanks, Pim," he said, with a reassured smile.

Pim nodded. "Good night, Harry." And with that, his avatar vanished.

As Harry changed into his nightclothes and climbed into bed, he thought about Pim's words. He didn't know, but he somehow got the impression that there was more to what Pim was trying to say than what he had actually said.

After he shrugged to himself, Harry put the lights out and lay in bed, staring at the night sky until he finally fell asleep.

A/N: I think after the last chapter, it was nice to have a more original chapter again.

Regarding the chapter title... pretty self-explanatory.

Regarding the trunk and the shopping spree, or lack thereof... yeah, I know, it's kind of a break from all the different fics with amazing magical trunks and really big shopping sprees. It's more like an "anti-shopping spree" of sorts. Oh well. Maybe Harry will go on a shopping spree sometime in the future...

As you can also see, I'm bringing in things now such as Floo powder, rather than waiting for later to do it.

As for Amelia Ventra's name... her first name is a sort of nod to the famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart (hey, it seemed appropriate somehow), while her last name comes from the Latin word ventus ("wind").

"Luclar" I got from the Latin words lux ("light") and clarus ("bright").

I purposely skipped over the part with that bank Coutt's and Co., because I've never been there before, I have no idea what it's like, and I have no idea how they do things.

I know you've all been looking forward to seeing Pim train Harry, and I hope that this first chapter with training in it is satisfactory. I have to make this stuff up as I go along, and I just hope it won't be cheesy or stupid or something. You may also notice how while it says that Pim taught Harry several different spells, I'm only showing a few. The truth is, I can't think of all that many right now, and it's just as well, because I want to save some ideas for later as well. And as for the spells themselves, I'm making up the incantations as JKR herself would do, by merging Latin words together in a way which would otherwise be considered grammatically incorrect (but hey, who cares about that?). Also, I'm sorry that just about every spell has been in Latin so far, but I know only various Greek words, I don't know any ancient Egyptian, and it's been years since I took any Hebrew. If anyone knows Greek or ancient Egyptian, please don't hesitate to offer your help.

A note on the pronunciation: Classical Latin is pronounced slightly differently than ecclesiastical Latin, and the ancient Romans pronounced their consonant V's as W's, believe it or not. For example, "Venus" would have been pronounced "Wey-noos," "Vesuvius" would have been pronounced "Weh-soo-wee-oos," and so on. So, that's why Harry's alias is Peter Quincy Wickett and not Peter Quincy /Vickett/. (Oh, and by the way... originally, I was going to make it "Piers" instead of "Peter," but I changed my mind at the last moment.)

Regarding the thing with the Tower of Pime having power problems... I realize how bad it might be for Pim and his magic to be at Harry's disposal every conceivable moment, so I had to put some sort of obstacle in the way.

The part with the old man being skeptical about anyone wanting to buy his home, and then gladly selling it after seeing the gold offered... that was inspired by the scene where the old man does that in the movie version of The Count of Monte Cristo from 2002. (Okay, so it wasn't all that accurate to the book itself, but I still liked this particular version of it.) As for the old man who owned the hut on the rock, I named him "Ulysses" (the Roman name for Odysseus from Greek mythology) because it just seemed fitting somehow.

Harry's explanation about white elephants is a recounting of how one of my professors explained it to me.

Regarding the return of the Fish-Man... I was originally going to bring him in a lot later than this. Lucky you guys. (GRIN)

Please don't forget to review!

/-Quillian, 7/2/07/
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