Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Blind Faith: Slytherin's Heir

Exploring the Alley

by xyvortex 4 reviews

Sequel to Blind Faith. Harry's second year at Hogwarts begins and something sinister stalks the halls. Muggleborns are being petrified by someting unknown, and just who could be the Heir of Slyth...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Draco, Dudley, Harry, Petunia Dursley, Snape - Warnings: [!!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-01-01 - Updated: 2006-01-02 - 5309 words

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related materials are property of J.K. Rowling. I, on the other hand am Elmer J. Fudd, Miwwionheir. I own a mansion and a yacht.

Chapter 3 Exploring the Alley

"Welcome to Diagon Alley, Dudley - oh and close your mouth or a fly will land in it."

Harry let his own senses take in their surroundings as Dudley gaped in wonder. There was no place in the world quite like Diagon Alley. From the nearby Apothecary, Harry could catch the scent of exotic spices and potions ingredients. From another shop, Harry could hear a multitude of creatures chirping, mewling, and in a hundred other ways, calling out for a new master. Closer, he could hear children, both young and old, talking excitedly about the Nimbus 2001, the newest racing broom as they gathered in front of Quality Quidditch Supplies. Above everything else, however, was the magic. Harry basked in it as waves of sparks flowed around him like a thing alive.

It h ad been several weeks since Harry's inner eye had ceased to function, and only a few days since it had begun to return. Through his weakened sight, Harry was able to view the Alley for the first time without the pain that had assaulted him the year before. He could have stood there the whole day, basking in its glow, but Hedwig, bored with being in one place so long, flipped her tongue on the back of his ear.

Right girl," Harry responded to her touch with a grin. He understood Hedwig's excitement, there were so many places to explore here, and they needed to get started.

"Come on Duds," he said to his cousin. "We're blocking the entrance." The two boys started their exploration of the alley, though to begin with, they made little progress. Dudley seemed more interested in trying to stare in every direction at once than in trying to get anywhere in particular. Their progress was slowed even more, when people began recognizing Harry for who he was.

"Oh my stars!" exclaimed a blond witch with an American accent as she dragged a dark haired man, who's aura marked him as a muggle, behind her. "Darren, look, it's Harry Potter." Darren, his aura putting off waves of discomfort that mirrored how Harry felt, nodded jerkily at the boys. Not wanting to linger, Harry pulled Dudley with him as they tried to separate from the Americans.

"Wait," the witch called after them. "We'll help you find your way around."

"No, really," Harry called back as he and Dudley hustled away. "I've got my cousin with me; we'll be fine, thanks."

"But Harry - "interrupted Dudley uncertainly.

"Quite alright, Thanks, Bye!" Harry continued as he pulled his cousin through the nearest door. Too many people were gawking; he could feel their attention on him. Inside the shop they'd entered, the air was filled with the musky scent of a variety of animals, as well as their cries.

"The menagerie," sighed Harry with relief. "This was where he'd found Hedwig the previous year. "Come on Duds, let's find you a pet." He was unable to see Dudley's eyes light up, but the other boy's aura fairly crackled with excitement.

Overwhelmed by the vast selection before him, Dudley darted from cage to cage, unable to decide what he wanted. "There's so many," he moaned. "How do I choose?"

Following his frail cousin about, Harry answered, "Just wander around. Hedwig found me last year all by herself. When you find the right pet, you'll know it."

True to Harry's word, Dudley found himself pulled over to the section of the shop that swarmed with cats. As the smaller boy was searching for one he liked, Harry was distracted by a squeaky and very faint cry for help.

Climbing among the stacked cages, he followed the sound to one that was near the floor. Kneeling down, he noticed that the cage felt as if it had partially collapsed under the weight of the cages above it. Inside was the aura of a very tiny animal. Fighting with the warped door, Harry eventually got it open and pulled the tiny creature from its prison.

Using his senses, Harry determined that the creature was barely longer than the palm of his hand. It was almost serpentine, with long neck and tail, yet it had four legs and two tiny wings. Its magical aura was impressive for such a small animal, and it flared slightly when Harry touched it.

"What is that?" asked Dudley in wonder as he came up to his cousin. The smaller boy held a tiny ball of fur in his hands that purred constantly.

"I'm not sure," answered Harry, its glow is beautiful though. What you got there? Is it a puffball?"

"A what?"

"A Puffball, it's another name for Puffskeins. They're little balls of fur that purr all the time."

"Shaking his head with a snicker, Dudley replied, "No, silly, it's a cat! I was sitting with a bunch of them and he just crawled up on my lap."

The little creature in Harry's hand, annoyed that attention had been pulled from it, chose that moment to bite one of Harry's fingers. Hissing in pain, Harry had to stop himself from squashing the rude little beast reflexively. Seemingly unperturbed by the boy's pain, the creature began licking the wound with its tiny tongue.

"I see you've done it again Mr. Potter," someone commented from behind them. Harry recognised the voice as that of John Clayton, the man who ran the Menagerie for its owner.

"What's that, sir?" Harry asked

"You've found another rare pet," answered the shopkeeper. "Keep this up and you'll own your own shop soon."

"I'm not buying him, though," Harry tried to explain. "He was just trapped in a half-squashed cage, and I got him out."

"He's also tasted your blood, Harry," the man explained. "That's a North American Mini-Dragon. Once you've bonded with him, he'll never take another master."

"But I didn't - "Trailing off, Harry turned his senses back to the little creature. Its aura was still strong. It was stronger, in fact than it had before. Now, however, it had changed so that it more closely matched Harry's own.

"When it tasted your blood, it put a little of its own in your wound," explained Mr. Clayton. "You're really lucky to find one this young. He hasn't even developed his poison sacs yet."

"Does he breathe fire?" asked Dudley excitedly.

"No," Clayton laughed at the boy's glee. "It will have a poisonous bite.

"What are you going to call him, Harry?" asked Dudley curiously.

"I've no idea. I never planned to get a pet when we left today. I don't even know what Hedwig thinks of him yet." At the mention of the Coatl's name, Hedwig opened a lazy eye, but didn't move from her perch on Harry's shoulders. "What are you going to call your cat?"


"Where did you come up with a name like that?" Harry asked.

"It's from a show on the Telly. They're just like you said, big lumps of fur that only purr. That's what he's pretending to be."

"Fine then," Harry said as he turned back to Clayton. "How much for the lot?"

"Including cages and supplies for both animals, the total will come to just over sixty-five galleons.

Harry nearly choked at the high cost for such a small creature. Hagrid had paid not even half that for Hedwig last year. Counting out the coins, Harry grumbled as he realized that he'd nearly exhausted his supply from his trip to Gringotts last year. With cages and supplies in their pockets, conveniently shrunk by Mr. Clayton, the two boys set off for Gringotts for more money. Tribble rode in Dudley's arms, still sleeping soundly. The Mini-dragon, however, had climbed up Harry's sleeve and hidden itself behind his right ear. It was so small that everything fit there and it was practically invisible, except for two tiny, ruby eyes that peeked over the top of Harry's ear.

"So what are you going to name him?" asked Dudley

"I'm not sure yet," answered Harry. "Hedwig's name just came to me, I'll have to wait and see what's right."

Dudley looked a bit put off by the goblins, once they'd entered the wizarding bank. He was thrilled with the ride to Harry's vault, however, and asked Griphook excitedly if they could go again at the end. Harry had gotten another hundred galleons from his parents vault, and it looked no emptier than it had the previous year.

"Excuse me, Griphook?" Harry asked. "Do you know how much is in my vault?"

Without changing expression, the goblin recited as if rehearsed, "Mr. Harry Potter has a standing four thousand Galleons in his trust vault. It is refilled annually as it is used for school needs until Mr. Potter becomes of age."

"There's another vault then?"

"The Potter family vault is off limits to Mr. Harry Potter until he becomes of age. Any questions about it must be handled through Mr. Harry Potter's guardian."

Tucking that piece of information in the back of his mind, Harry and Dudley left Gringotts to continue exploring. Turning left, Harry told Dudley to stay close as he led his cousin down a flight of steps and into Knockturn Alley. He'd heard people talk about this place at school, it was supposed to be dangerous if you didn't keep your wits about you, but it also had things you couldn't find anywhere else.

Harry wasn't that worried, however, Draco had told him the key to getting through such places.

"It's all in the presentation," Draco had told him as they sat together in the Merlin Common Room the previous term. "My father does it all the time. If you act like you're in control and show no fear, most people will back off and give you space."

It was with that outward confidence that Harry moved through the dark alleyway as if he owned it. He seemed oblivious to the attention they were attracting, as well as Dudley's palpable fear. As Malfoy Jr had said, most people gave them a wide berth, those that didn't found themselves facing a rather irate Coatl.

Harry was hardly as confident as he portrayed himself, however. No longer able to feel the sun on his face, Harry felt like he'd entered some long, dark tunnel. Dudley was also feeling unease as he gripped his cousin's sleeve tightly.

"I don't like this place, Harry," he moaned through clenched teeth.

":Let's get off the street," the raven haired boy replied. Feeling along the building they were in front of, Harry soon came to a door. Magical letters flashed before his second sight and proclaimed it as Borgin and Burkes. Slipping inside, the boys found themselves surrounded by all manner of magical items. There were books, gadgets, daggers, and even a mummified hand, all piled haphazardly on shelves. Harry, intrigued by what books he might find, had begun running his hands over their spines when he heard adult voices approaching from a room in the back of the shop.

Grabbing Dudley tight against him, Harry whispered a command to Hedwig, who wrapped her coils about both of them and they all vanished. One of the Coatl's more useful abilities was the power to turn herself, and those she touches, invisible. Harry put his lips to Dudley's ear and cautioned quiet as the unknown wizards entered the front room.

"- a new muggle protection act. Then there's that flea-bitten, blood traitor, Arthur Weasley. He and his cohorts have been staging raids everywhere looking for illegal artefacts."

"Everything has become more difficult since the events at Hogwarts last spring," returned the shopkeeper. "They say someone tried to steal a valuable artefact from Dumbledore himself."

Harry nearly gasped when he could hear them more clearly. The shopkeeper's voice meant nothing to him, but the other..."

Harry had met Lucius Malfoy briefly at Kings Cross Station just weeks before. They hadn't said much to each other; however, his placing the twisted metal that had been the geas charm in the elder Malfoy's hand had spoken volumes. Still, that cultured, arrogant tone was unmistakable. Behind the two men, exuding a sense of boredom, Harry could sense the aura of Draco Malfoy.

"Father," Draco whined as he did when he wanted to get his way, "Buy me something. You promised to get me a present."

"I believe we discussed a new broom if you behaved during our little side-trip. Now go looking about the shop; don't touch anything."

Still bored, Draco wandered among the shelves, picking at this thing or that. Finding the mummified hand that Harry had spotted entering, he began to examine it. Grinning madly to himself, Harry whispered something to Hedwig in Parseltongue. Creeping up behind the other boy, Harry felt Hedwig stretch out as she flicked her tongue against the other boy's ear.

Draco spun around with a quiet yelp, only to find himself staring at the ghostly visage of Hedwig as it vanished completely. Stumbling backward in shock, Draco bumped against a display case, nearly knocking it over.

"Draco," snapped Malfoy Sr. "What are you doing?"

Grabbing the nearest object, the mummified hand, Draco thought fast and grabbed his father's attention by asking, "Can I have this?"

"Ah, the Hand of Glory," purred Mr Borgin. The shopkeeper purred. He began extolling the object's virtues to Lucius as they walked back to the front counter, leaving Draco alone in the shadows. Hearing something shuffling in the darkness, the blond moved deeper into the shadows with his wand out.

"Hedwig?" Draco whispered, half hoping/fearing a response. He nearly yelped again as a hand came out of the darkness and closed on his wrists.

"Not quite," whispered Harry as he smiled at his friends shock.

"Harry!" squeaked Draco in disbelief. "How did you get in here? You can't let my father see you; he gets murderous any time he hears your name.

"That's why we're back here. My cousin Dudley and I were doing some exploring before we did our school shopping and ducked in here. When I heard your dad and Mr Borgin talking, hid.

"Your cousin?" asked Draco as Dudley timidly waved hello. "He's starting Hogwarts this year, right? For a second, I thought I'd seen Hedwig, I guess it was him."

Harry was about to answer when Lucius called out from the door, "Draco, come. We're finished here."

"See you in Diagon Alley," Draco whispered as he turned to run after his father.

Grinning mischievously, Harry nudged Hedwig and said, "Go scare Draco for a bit, we'll be alright here. Don't let his father see you though," he warned.

The Coatl paused for a moment as she debated the wisdom of leaving her master alone. Finally, bowing to his wishes, she darted off Harry's shoulders and shot after Draco.

"Can I help you boys with anything?" asked a gruff voice behind them. Harry had been so preoccupied with Hedwig and Draco that he'd completely missed Mr Borgin's approach.

"Er..." Harry answered dumbly. "We - we were looking for some books."

"Books eh? Books I have, though not something a child would want to be caught reading, especially the Boy-Who-Lived."

Harry tensed at being recognised so easily, but Mr Borgin simply laughed it off. Not to worry Mr Potter, regardless of what many people may think, I'm purely a business man. My only allegiance is to my paying customers."

"Fine then," grumbled Harry. "I still want to buy some of these books."

Skimming over the titles present on the shelf, Harry picked eight books. Ranging from Magical theory to advanced charms and hexes, all were considered borderline dark, though not illegal.

"You do understand what you're about, don't you?" Mr Borgin asked as he studied Harry's choices. There are spells in these books that can do real harm if you don't know what you're doing."

"I've got money," Harry said, shaking his bag of coins meaningfully.

"But, then again, the Boy-Who-Lived must know what he's doing." The shopkeeper said with a grin. "And business is after all, business." Several minutes later, Harry paid for the books, as well as two magical bags.

"These are called bags of holding," explained Mr Borgin. It is the size of a regular school bag, but the space inside is the dimensions of a good sized room. When you want something from the bag, just think of the particular item that you've placed inside it and it will be there for you to take. No matter how much you put in it, it will never seem full or become heavier."

"Thanks again," Harry called from the doorway minutes later, his cousin in tow.

"You're always welcome here, Mr Potter," replied Borgin with a wave. "Such a polite boy," the old man muttered as the door closed. "Such a pity."

Out on the street, Harry and Dudley retraced their steps to find their way back to Diagon Alley. Their path, however, wasn't as clear as before.

"Who's this, then?" asked a gruff voice. Harry sensed a rather large form move to block their path.

"Why it's just a couple of kids, lost from their parents," answered a female voice behind them.

Harry cursed himself as the two strangers began to crowd them. 'I should never have sent Hedwig away,' Harry thought furiously as the man poked him in the shoulder with his wand.

"So did Mummy or Daddy leave their little darlings with any spending money?" asked the man as he made a grab for Harry's bag. He cried out a moment later, when Harry's hand touched his bare skin and a fat spark jumped between them. "That's it! The man snapped furiously. "Give me your bags or I'll kill you where you stand!"

Harry tried to back away, but was blocked by the woman. "No running off for you, dear," she purred. "Give old Barnaby your galleons and maybe I'll show you what it's like to be a real man."

"Repulsed and confused by the woman's advances, Harry surreptitiously reached for the wand tucked in his back pocket. With his other hand, he took off his glasses and gazed at the man with dead eyes. The mugger did gasp and step back, not from Harry's milky visage, but the eerie green fire that seemed to be burning in their depths. Harry tightened his hand on his wand and prepared to cast the first spell, when a familiar and very welcome voice broke the tension.

"Harry!" called Hagrid from the stairway that led back to Diagon Alley. "What are yeh doin' here?"

The two shady characters, seeing the huge man approach, moved so quickly to get away that it almost seemed like they'd apparated. Dudley, having been bedridden for Hagrid's last visit, didn't know him and was even more frightened of their savoir. Harry, on the other hand, beamed. He was thrilled to be with the massive groundskeeper.

"Got lost," Harry lied smoothly. "Sorry. What are you doing here, Hagrid?"

"I'm Pickin' up some flesh-eating-slug repellent." He replied gruffly "Let's get yeh out of here an' into some proper daylight." Guided by Hagrid, Harry and Dudley soon found themselves at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. There, sitting with the half giant, they ate their sundaes and introduced Hagrid to their new pets.

"His name's Tribble," said Dudley, holding the sleepy cat up by its shoulders. "Do you think he's magical?

"Yeh never know," Hagrid said as he scratched it under its chin. "Pets tend to pick up magic from their masters. Did yeh get anythin' Harry?"

"I didn't plan on it, Harry answered reluctantly, but before I knew it, he bonded with me." As he was explaining, Harry reached behind his ear and gently pulled the little creature from behind his ear.

"A Miniature Dragon," whispered Hagrid in awe as Harry sat the tiny creature on the back of his hand. "Bless me, and a hatchling, too." The groundskeeper's aura dimmed a bit and his voice wavered as he went on. "Had a dragon once myself, I did. Norbert... Bless him; I hope he's alright at that dragon preserve."

The half giant paused for a moment and Harry heard what sounded suspiciously like a sniffle before Hagrid continued. "Anyways, it's a beautiful pet, Harry. Feedin' him won't be a problem till winter. He'll eat insects till then. Then he can go on table scraps till it warms up again. Have yeh named him yet?"

Frowning, Harry answered, not yet. I cant seem to pick one. Hedwig's name just came to me and I guess it will for him, too."

"How does it do that?" asked Dudley abruptly, pointing at the little dragon.

Turning his own attention to the creature, Harry could sense no difference. "What's he doing, Duds?" he asked.

"He's all see-through now; I can barely make him out."

"Oh, that's just one of his abilities," explained Hagrid. "D'fensive, yeh understan'. He's like a chameleon, but better. Mini-Dragons develop a poisonous bite before they're a year old, an' a stinger on their tale shortly after."

"Great," Harry snorted, "poisonous at both ends."

"Nah," Hagrid assured him. "The stinger in his tail only paralyzes. It's the bite that kills."

"Who's bite kills?"

Both boys jumped in their seats at Petunia's unexpected voice. Dudley shot pleading looks at Hagrid, while Harry whipped his hand under the table to hide his new pet. Harry's ears still rung from her reaction to Hedwig, he really didn't want to deal with it all over again, at least not quite yet.

"Hagrid was just telling us about some of the monsters in the Forbidden Forest," said Harry, thinking quickly.

"Really," sneered Snape from Petunia's side. The professor's tone screamed of disbelief. "And what creatures are you speaking of?" The question seemed innocent enough, but Harry knew that Severus was trying to catch them out in a lie.

"Eh... Acromantulas," Hagrid supplied uncomfortably as he shot a quick wink at the boys. "Well, I've got to get that slug repellent an' head back to Hogwarts. Nice to see yeh again Mrs Dursley." Wishing a good day to Professor Snape and the boys, Hagrid beat a hasty retreat.

"Ready to go shopping?" Harry asked, trying to distract the adults. Dudley, catching on, quickly began barraging his mother with pleas for this or that trinket they'd seen while exploring. While the adults were preoccupied with his cousin, Harry raised his hand to his ear and let the little dragon regain its hidden perch.

The next hour had them visiting a multitude of shops, buying the supplies needed by both Dudley and Harry for the coming school year. The boys each carried their things in their new school bags, only raising a curious eyebrow from Severus as they continually put in new things. Their last stop was at Flourish and Blott's for their school books.

As they approached the shop, Harry stopped in front of Quality Quidditch Supplies and asked, "Aunt, do you mind if I stop in here? The book store is really close and I'll be right behind you.

Stopping, Petunia glanced into the shop, curious what could have her nephew so interested. As she did so, Snape came up beside her and whispered something in her ear. Harry couldn't see her expression, but he felt an up welling of sadness in her that was directed towards him and Dudley as well. Clasping his shoulder, Petunia gave him a little push and said, "Don't be long," as he darted into the shop.

"He is his father's son after all," murmured Severus with an odd look on his face. "Come Petunia, Dudley. We'll go get your books."

Inside Quality Quidditch Supplies, Harry ran his hands over several brooms as he worked his way through the shop. It was odd, he thought to himself, each broom, even the ones of the same model, all had different magical auras. It was almost like they had personalities. Logically, he knew it must have had something to do with how the spells were applied to them, but Harry somehow sensed that picking just the right broom would make his flying that much better. A smile crept across his face, however, when he felt the presence of his best friend as the other boy endeavoured to sneak up on him.

"Hi Draco," Harry said with a grin.

"Bloody Hell," the Malfoy heir moaned in exasperation. "At least tell me I got close to sneaking up on you that time. Are you sure you're blind?"

Harry just grinned at Draco's antics as h e kept stroking the Nimbus 2000 in front of him. He was getting good feelings from this one; its magic seemed to resonate with his own. A familiar weight settled on Harry's shoulders and a tongues feathery kisses tickled his ear.

"Well it is good to see you again, Harry," huffed Draco. "You could have mentioned that bloody snake of yours was back, though. I thought I'd wet myself when she landed on my shoulders a little while ago."

"She likes you a lot," Harry said as he continued with his inspection of the broom. "I think she missed you as much as I did."

Reaching out to stroke Hedwig's feathers, Draco mumbled, "I've missed you both too." Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he continued, "Sorry about earlier with father, he really is mental when you come up. For that entire first week, he was furious all the time. He's been better the last few days, though.... So - did you come in here looking for me?"

Reaching a decision, Harry lifted the broom from its rack and replied, "No, I came to buy a broom."

"Buy? Harry, you have to know they'll never let you play."

"I'm working on that," answered Harry absent-mindedly. "Severus is helping me."

"Severus now, is it?" Draco drawled. "Sounds like you and my godfather are getting chummy."

Shocked at his own bizarre slip, Harry defended himself. "Aunt Petunia and Dudley call him that all the time, I can't help it that I do it too."

"Right," Draco snorted. They purchased the broom and the younger Malfoy only blinked when Harry calmly opened his school bag and pushed a full size broom inside. Leaving Quality Quidditch Supplies, the boys walked together to Flourish & Blott's. Reaching the shop, however, they were surprised to find a throng of people packed around the entrance.

"What's all this about?" Harry asked as he closed his inner eye with a wince. People were packed too closely together and it was giving him a headache trying to figure out what he was sensing.

"Lockhart," announced Draco with disgust in his voice.

"You mean the man who wrote all our defence books for this year, what about him?"

"Yes him," returned the blond. "It turns out he's going to be our DADA teacher as well."

"That's good?"

Hardly," Draco sneered. "I met him before. Lockhart has been at a few of my father's parties; the man is a total ponce. The girls go completely insane for him though.

"But he can't be all that bad," Harry reasoned. "I mean Dumbledore hired him, right? Lockhart can't be completely worthless."

"You mean like Quirrell?"

"Oh - right," grunted Harry, not feeling in such a good mood anymore.

The two boys elbowed their way through the crowd, picking up Harry's course books and any others that caught his interest. Harry was glad that Draco had come along, with the bookshop so crowded, he couldn't use his senses to read the books magical print, and it would have taken forever to run his hand over the spine of every book. When they'd gathered everything and paid at the counter, Draco pulled Harry toward the more crowded part of the shop so they could hear Lockhart act foolishly in front of his fans.

"You'll love this," began Draco with a snort.

Just then, they were both shoved back by a large man that reeked of flash powder to Harry. "This is for The Daily Prophet - "

"Bloody git," Malfoy called after the reporter. "Oh shite - Sorry mate."

"What do you...?" Harry asked, even as he heard Lockhart speak again.

"It can't be Harry Potter?"

Out of nowhere, a hand grasped Harry's arm roughly and pulled him on to the stage. Before he knew what was happening, Harry was pulled up tight against Lockhart, facing the crowd.

"Together, you and I are worth the front page. Smile for the camera, Harry."

Far from smiling, Harry was furious. He felt more helpless now, than he had against the two thugs in Knockturn Alley. Relying on lessons taught all the children at St Mary's. Kicking out a bit, he found Lockhart's leg and stomped down hard while calling out for help at the top of his lungs. There was a satisfying crack as something gave way in the professor's foot, causing him to howl in pain.

As the wizard's grip on Harry loosened, the boy brought his arm out and swung it back hard as he could. He connected with - to put it politely, he connected with Professor Lockhart, dropping the man to his knees with an agonized hiss. Stepping quickly away, Harry was again grabbed, this time by the gentle but firm hands of Aunt Petunia. Guiding him away from the stage, she told him to wait with his friend and cousin until she'd had a word with that wizard."

Harry heard her march over to the stage and said three words. "How Dare you?" The sound of a bare hand striking flesh could be heard far away as The Leaky Cauldron, as Petunia tore into the new Hogwarts defence teacher.

"Bet you loved that, didn't you Potter," teased Draco as they watched Petunia giving Lockhart the treatment. "Famous Harry Potter, cant even go into a bookshop without making the front page."

"Leave him alone, he didn't want all that!" Harry and Draco both turned to the girl's voice that sounded half familiar to the raven haired boy.

"Why Harry, you've got a girlfriend!" drawled Malfoy with glee. Harry barely had a chance to growl at his friend in response, when more of his classmates pushed through the crowd.

"Bugger off Malfoy," said Ron Weasley angrily. "That's my sister you're talking to."

"Your sister, you say," purred Draco with a contemptuous tone. "That explains a lot."

Both boys' auras were glowing with hostility but Harry was fed up with it. "No Fighting!" he roared in a good imitation of Aunt Petunia.

"Indeed," said Professor Snape as he joined them. "Draco, Mr Weasley, while you are not yet at school, and I cannot take points, I will remember take your behaviour into account when you do arrive in my class. Now if it is fighting you want, go watch your fathers, they're doing an excellent job of it."

"What?" Both boys whirled as one to see Mr Weasley and Lucius shoving each other by a side entrance. Calling a quick goodbye to his friend, Draco ran over to the impending scuffle.

Gentle hands turned Harry back around, and he was faced with Aunt Petunia again. Finished with Lockhart, she'd come back to check on her nephew. "Are you alright, Harry?"

"I'm fine, mum, he just startled me."

There was a moment's pause, and then Petunia asked again in a breathless whisper, "What was that?"

"I'm fine, Aunt Petunia, a little tired though; can we go home?"

"Of course dear, let's go."

The four of them left the bookshop in pandemonium as they returned to the Leaky Cauldron. Petunia held her boys hands in each of hers as they walked, with Severus close behind. Her grip was a bit tight, but Harry didn't mind. It just felt good to be with family.
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