The Stand @theactualrealone
School Shopping

Note: Harry met Rishi when he was 7.

Dumbledore leaned back in this chair, worry filled in his eyes. It had been 4 years since all his Potter Trackers blew up. He only knew two things for sure: Potter wasn't living with the Dursleys and he had found out about magic.

Albus reread the Gringotts letter for what seemed to be the thousandth time, and swore under his breath yet again. His original plan of talking to the goblins failed. They informed him that he no longer was Harry's magical guardian and that he was expected to repay Harry the full amount with interest. Worse, his Gringotts informant had been compromised.

Albus sighed as McGonagall arrived. They had their annual meeting to discuss the letters and see if any house visits were required.

As McGonagall chattered on, Dumbledore took a peak at the list. And much to his relief, Harry Potter accepted the invitation to attend Hogwarts. Then, he would have the Weasleys lure the boy back to his control.

Harry flopped onto his bed, exhausted. 4 years ago, he was being neglected by the Dursleys. Now, he was living with a family who actually cared about him. He grinned, thinking of that moment.


Mr. Gopal turned to Harry "You don't have to come if you don't want to."

Harry nodded "I know. I want to be here."

Mr. Gopal nodded and turned to Rishi "Don't attack them."

Mock surprise filled Rishi's face "I would never!"

Nodding, Mr. Gopal turned away while Rishi continued "That would get me in trouble. I'd instead devise a trap."

Glaring at Rishi, Mr. Gopal knocked on the door. They patiently waited through Uncle Vernon's yelling, Aunt Petunia's screaming and Dudley's crying until Vernon opened the door "What do ya want?"

Harry, who until then was behind Mr. Gopal, revealed himself "Hi."

Uncle Vernon glared "Freak. Get back here and make Dudley breakfast."

Anger rising, Mr. Gopal looked Vernon in the eye "He will not. Not unless you want reports of child abuse to leak out."

Petunia chose that moment to appear "What child abuse?"

Rishi grinned "We have proof of this family abusing one Harry James Potter."

Uncle Vernon's veins began bulging "You little FREAK! You'll pay for..." He then opened and closed his mouth, unable to speak.

Mr. Gopal smiled "Now that he shut up, let's talk business. We want you guys to sign over custody of Harry."

Preparing a rebuttal, Petunia began to speak but was interrupted by Mr. Gopal saying "If you don't, we'll tell OUR police about Harry's abuse. Don't forget, they can view his memories and make you tell the truth."

Both Petunia and Vernon's eyes widened and they looked at each other. Finally, Petunia said "Where do I sign?"


"Happy birthday dude" Rishi barged into his room grinning.

Harry groaned "Please tell me that Deepa Auntie* changed her mind."

Rishi shrugged "I tried. Even Nanna couldn't change her mind. On the bright side, Sirius is gonna join us along with the Longbottoms and Patils. They're all dying to see you."

Harry laughed "I know one of them is dying to see you."

Rishi looked at him quizzically "What?"

Harry laughed again. It was VERY obvious that Parvati had a crush on Rishi, though both were unaware of it. Harry debated using Legimmency on Parvati to check but decided against it.

Rishi shook his head "I'll be downstairs. Come when you're ready."

Harry smiled as Rishi walked away. Rishi was that brother he always wanted. At first, he thought he'd get a best friend in Dudley which definitely didn't happen. But, Rishi was easily his best friend. Though seeing as he didn't have many friends, it wasn't very tough to decide. While Dudley bullied him for reading, Rishi read with him. They even tried learning Occlumency and Legimmency together. Harry got the hang of them. Something about being a natural Occlumens. Rishi was decent but not amazing.

And then Deepa Auntie and Jai Uncle were the parents he always wanted. For one thing, they cared about him. They listened to him. And unlike the Dursleys, they let him excel and be who he truly was.

Grinning, Harry strode downstairs to cheers of "Happy birthday!"

Mr. Gopal looked up from the Daily Prophet and smiled "Hey. We're planning on grabbing breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron. We'll meet everyone there."

Mrs. Gopal nodded in agreement "We'll also get you your gifts there."

Nodding, they headed into the floo and out into the Leaky Cauldron. Mr. Gopal cast a quick glamour on Harry. They weren't still completely sure about Dumbledore's plans for Harry. They decided that Harry would pretend to be Rishi's cousin, Devan Gopal.

They looked around and saw all their friends, standing grinning. Neville came forward first. That day in the bookstore had given Harry the impression that Neville was like Dudley. He soon found out that he was far from it. After a quick hug, Harry greeted the Patil twins. He got a quick hug from both and a kiss on the cheek from Parvati (though Harry saw that she was staring at Rishi while giving it).

Then Sirius came to Harry, grinning "Hey pup!"

Harry gave him a big hug "Hey."

Sirius had become another father to Harry just like Jai Uncle. After he was released, Sirius found Harry quickly. He then began apologizing feverishly for not going after Harry. Harry had forgiven him for it, saying it wasn't his fault.

After breakfast, Rishi cleared his throat "Okay everyone. I suggest we create a plan of action. What if we..."

Nevile interrupted "Books, Robes, Apothecary, Telescope, Pets then Wands. Does that work?"

Everyone nodded in agreement with Rishi shrugging.

Mr. Gopal looked at his watch and turned to to the other heads of houses "We need to head to Wizengamot. Kids, don't annoy your mothers."

The kids laughed "We'll try our best."

The 4 Heads of Houses returned to the fireplace and set off. The kids then ran off towards Flourish and Blotts with the moms behind them.

When they got in, every kid went to their favorite area. Parvati went to the fashion magazines. Neville went to Herbology. Harry went to Potions. Rishi went to Charms and Padma went to Transfiguration. With some nagging from the moms, the kids went to get their school books though they already had their books for their favorite classes.

Sighing, Harry went over to Herbology Section. When he arrived, he was met with the vision of a girl restlessly walking around the aisle "Need some help?"

She turned to see and he got a good look at her. She had brown hair which was very bushy at the moment. Harry didn't recognize her from anywhere so he guessed that she was Muggleborn.

"Yes" the girl said breathlessly "I need the book 'One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi' and I don't see it anywhere."

Harry shrugged "Simple solution."

The girl opened her mouth to respond but Harry interrupted her "Accio 'One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi."

Her eyes widened as the books flew out of the shelves and into his hands "Here you go."

The girl gave him a small smile "Thanks. I'm Hermione Granger."

Harry nodded "Nice to meet you. I'm Harry. I guess I'll see you on the train. I'll save you a seat."

He left her there, sorting through books.

Harry and Rishi paid for their books and headed to Madam Malkin after telling their moms. When they got in, Rishi was pushed away from Harry by one of Madam Malkin's helpers. Harry was brought to Madam Malkin, who began working on Harry's measurements. Next to him was a red-haired boy.

"Hogwarts" the boy asked.

Harry nodded his head "Yes. Who may you be?"

The boy smirked "Ron Weasley."

Internally, Harry groaned. From what everyone told him, the Weasleys were devout Dumbledore supporters. To them, anything that came from his mouth was worthy of being in the Bible. Also, they had been getting money from his vault. That instantly put them on his enemy list.

Harry nodded "Devan Gopal. So, do you know anyone else heading to Hogwarts?"

Ron nodded "My best mate is also going."

Harry smiled "Who may that be?"

Ron gave a cocky grin "Harry Potter. The-Boy-Who-Lived."

Harry nodded again, concealing a smile "That's nice."

Ron laughed "We're going to be Gryffindors and get rid of all those slimy snakes."

Harry internally sneered. This boy was a walking, talking Light Side propaganda. Harry knew from experience that Slytherins weren't all evil. In fact, Jai Uncle was a Slytherin. And if he was evil, would he have helped Harry?

Madam Malkin shooed him off the stool "You're done honey."

Ron looked at him "See you. Maybe, me and Harry will let you hang out with us."

Rishi emerged from the other side and saw Harry. "That bad?" he asked as they walked out.

Harry groaned "I sat with an idiot Weasley who only talked about him and his best mate Harry Potter."

Rishi laughed "God, I can't wait until he realizes."

Harry and Rishi skipped the apothecary. They already had the supplies from when Harry convinced Rishi to try potion-making with him. They also had telescopes which were coming from India. As they passed the pet store, Rishi turned to Harry "Ready for your gift? Go get a pet."

Harry grinned "Really?"

Rishi nodded "Of course."

With that, the boys strode into the store. Harry looked around. He knew from the handbook that only owls, cats and toads were allowed. He knew for sure that he didn't want a toad. And he was a dog person himself (Sirius made sure of that). That left an owl. After much searching, he saw a snowy white owl in the corner. He grinned and grabbed it. Rishi eagerly paid for it and Harry left the store with a new owl.

Harry smiled "What should I name her?"

Rishi grinned "What about Cassie?"

Harry shrugged "I was thinking Hedwig."

Rishi smiled "That works too. Now, we have to get our wands.."

They were about to head off but were cut off with someone yelling "Rishi!" They turned around and found everyone else.

Parvati panted "What happened?"

"Where did you guys go" Neville asked.

Rishi shrugged "We got the rest of our stuff. We just have wands left."

Neville looked at him "Are you going to Ollivanders?"

Nodding his head, Harry gestured for them to follow. The group set off for Ollivanders.

Neville opened the door, finding the store completely empty. Except for Garrick Ollivander. He was standing behind the counter, sorting through boxes. He turned at their arrival "Welcome to Ollivanders. I trust that you are looking for wands?"

The group nodded with Neville adding "Thanks to Jai Uncle convincing Grandma."

Ollivander smiled "Who'd like to go first?"

Parvati stepped forward "I will."

Ollivander gave his normal instructions and after getting his information, he looked through his boxes for possible wands. Parvati ended up only testing out 3 wands with the third being the one for her. It was 10.5 inches and was made of Alder and Unicorn Hair. Neville was next. He took longer than Parvati, testing at least 2 dozen wands. He finally ended with a 9 inch wand of applewood and Dragon Heartstring. Then there was Padma who took about 7 wands to find a a pair: a 10.5 inch wand of Willow wood and Unicorn hair. Next was Rishi, who took longer than Neville. He eventually ended up with a 12 inch wand made of Ebony with a core of Thunderbird Tail Feather. Then came Harry.

He tried more wands that the others COMBINED. They got so bored that they started reading their textbooks at Rishi and Padma's insistence. Ollivander tutted after the 50th wand Harry tried "A tricky customer, eh? We'll find your wand."

After the 100th wand, Ollivander got an idea. He asked Harry to try another wand, an 11 inch wand of holly and a Phoenix Feather which he dubbed an unusual combination. Harry waved it and found it better than all of the other wands. Ollivander then asked him to try out another wand, an 11 inch one made of hazel and Thestral Tail hair. Harry waved that one and found it to be just as good, if not better than the other one.

Harry turned to ask a question but was cut off by Ollivander's newest request 'Can you try waving both wands at the same time?"

Harry put them in the same hand and proceeded to wave them together. He felt a rush of power enter him that he never felt with the other wands.

Ollivander smiled "If it's all right with you, may I combine the wands to form a new wand. It shouldn't take too long."

Harry nodded and Ollivander zoomed off. With that, Rishi looked up "You done yet?"

Harry shook his head "Ollivander wants to try something."

Rishi gestured for Harry to join them and he complied. They were listening to Neville talk about Mandrakes when Ollivander returned, carrying the new wand. He presented it to Harry "Here you go. 11 inches, made of hazel and holly with a double-core of Thestral Tail hair and a Phoenix feather. Try it out."

With all his friends' eyes on him, Harry waved it, and a blast was emitted, toppling one of Ollivander's shelves.

Ollivander smiled at that "It seems the wand has chosen you."

Harry smiled "Thank you." He paid for the wand and the group set off. Ollivander watched them leave, muttering to himself "That wand is destined for great things. Great things indeed."

*Another Indian custom is to refer to your friend's parents as Uncle and Auntie. It's mainly used in English-speaking places. As such Harry will refer to Mr and Mrs Gopal as Jai Uncle and Deepa Auntie.

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