Chapter 6: A lot to explain
"DON'T CALL HIM A FREAK AND GIVE THAT BACK!"
Suddenly, all three of the bullies stumbled to the ground, as if someone shoved them rather aggressively, and the book flew right into Hermione's hand. The bullies all ran away as soon as they got back on their feet. Hermione herself looked completely shocked and nearly burst into tears. I have to remind myself that she's still 8 years old and has no clue what just happened.
"I did that... Now you know why they call me abnormal, now you'll call me abnormal too, and it's all my fault, all my fault.."
"Hermione, calm down. I'd never call you abnormal."
"Really? But... you saw what I did. That's not normal."
"I guess Matilda isn't normal either?"
"You knew. You said I could move things with my mind. How did you.."
"The Dursleys started calling me a freak after I made one of Dudley's toys fly around."
"You can move things with your mind too?"
"And much more. I once made the ceiling light explode when my Aunt was screaming at me."
"Why would you explode the ceiling light?"
"I didn't want to, it did just happen. These things always happened under strong emotions."
"Yeah, for me too. This time it was quite a bit more controlled than usual. The other times, things did just happen. This time, it did what I really wanted it to do."
Wow, controlling her accidental magic at age 8? She's even better than I thought. I take out a coin from my pocket and, after checking that no other children are seeing it, levitate it for a few seconds.
"You're controlling it!"
"It's difficult. Accidental magic is always spontaneous. Controlled magic takes a lot of concentration."
"Magic? Is that what it is?"
"Yes. There's about ten thousand people capable of magic in Britain. We're pretty rare."
"Ten thousand? There's thousands of people using magic and no one knows?"
"That's because they're hiding it. Magic can be used to hide magic after all. There's international laws on it. You can tell your parents but not anyone else."
"Really? I can't tell people?"
She seemed quite disappointed.
"I couldn't tell you either until I saw you doing it. I was pretty sure before but all I could legally do was drop hints."
"Like Matilda. But how did you know before?"
"I had a feeling about it. The way everyone treated you like they treated me at my old school."
"Hm. So if I'm one of them why didn't these magicals tell me?"
"They would have told you in a few years. Don't blame me, the Ministry of Magic is full of idiots who think it's best to leave children like you clueless until right before sending them to magical school."
"Did they tell you?"
"The Dursleys left me clueless even though they knew, they didn't like magic at all, but my Godfather's a wizard."
"He's a man who can use magic. Female magic users are called witches. I see I have a lot to explain."
Sirius was very surprised when I told him that I invited the Grangers over to Grimmauld Place. While he spent the afternoon explaining the details of the Wizarding World, Hogwarts education and Wizarding politics to Hermione's parents, Remus taught Hermione a bit of magic. By the evening, she managed to cast Lumos with my wand and we agreed to meet more often to learn more magic together. Really, she insisted on visiting Grimmauld more often after she discovered the Black Family library. I also may have caused S.P.E.W. to be started a few years early after Hermione ran into Kreacher.
Step three of my plan to prepare myself for Hogwarts successful.
Dear Mr. Alastor Moody,
I have found out that Barty Crouch is keeping a Death Eater in his home under the Imperius. Catch him like you caught Pettigrew after my previous letter.
With both Wormtail and Crouch Jr. caught, that should prevent me from having to fight a dragon in the Triwizard. I really wasn't looking forward to that.
"Harry, I have to ask you something."
"I've been reading. In Modern Magical History, it says that the Dark Lord Voldemort disappeared after he tried to kill a boy named Harry Potter. In The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, it says that the Boy-Who-Lived mysteriously disappeared, nobody knows where he is. And in Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century, there's a picture of baby Harry Potter with his parents, and the man standing next to James Potter, looks a lot like your father, Sirius Black."
I probably should have told her earlier about that.
"You're Harry Potter, aren't you? The Harry Potter? Not Harry Black?"
"Yes. Well, technically I'm Harry Black in the muggle world now, Sirius adopted me."
"And you never bothered to tell me that you're the boy who defeated Voldemort?"
"I never knew how to tell you without sounding arrogant. 'Hey, I'm super famous'. Anyway, I can't even remember doing anything. It was probably some kind of trap set by my parents."
"And the books all say that you're supposed to have a scar shaped like a lightning bolt from the reflected Killing Curse."
"I had a plastic surgeon cover that up months ago. Otherwise every wizard I meet would recognize me and there would be no way I could visit Diagon Alley without everyone asking questions. There might still be some followers of the Dark Lord around, so I'm also safer when I'm not attracting too much attention."
To be quite honest, I'm mostly worried about Dumbledore at the moment. I've got no idea what he's going to do when he finds out that Hogwarts won't be my first real home as he planned. He's probably not a manipulative mastermind, but I can't know for sure. Death Eaters probably won't appear until in a few years.
The first time I and Hermione went shopping in Diagon went pretty smoothly. I had been there before, but only by apparating to Ollivanders for my wand, so I hadn't really seen most of it. This time I used hair dye to prevent anyone from recognizing me looking like mini-James, and in combination with using "Harold" as my name I was able to appear in public without getting mobbed by fans.
Visiting Gringotts was interesting. Hermione's parents exchanged some pounds for galleons. Meanwhile, I took a look at what my parents left me.
I walked in as Harold Black, owner of my wand, my clothes and not much else, and after some inheritance test rituals I walked out as Lord Harold Harry James Potter-Gryffindor-Peverell-Black, owner of thirteen vaults containing somewhat overpowered enchanted items, 1.2872E23 Galleons, significant shares in half of Diagon, 37.25% of Hogwarts, three family manors, seven vacation homes in various countries as well as 5 seats in the Wizengamot. Oh, and the goblins removed my Horcrux and destroyed the one in the Lestrange vault.
In reality I got one vault containing one pile of money.
It's a pretty neat pile of money, but that's it. Not a "trust vault" with additional family vaults, no properties, no items, no investments.
It turns out that the middle of a civil war isn't the best time to do business so my parents kinda sold most of what they had to finance the Order, and everything they had except from the pile of gold in the vault was in their house in Godric's Hollow, which blew up, got declared a national monument and is now owned by the Ministry.
Sirius's finances aren't much better, to be honest. The Blacks have been going downhill for ages and most of their fortune had been used to finance the war, this time the other side. All that's left is Grimmauld, a slightly larger pile of money and some enchanted jewelry. With anti-theft and self-polishing charms, not anything particularly useful.
Well, looks like Sirius will have to sue the Ministry for reparations or get a job so that we can continue with employing Remus.
After Gringotts, everything went more or less as expected.
Hermione absolutely loved the bookstore. I found it pretty interesting, too. Lots of information that wasn't in the HP books, so I bought a ton.
Hermione got her wand. Dragon heartstring and vine, same as in canon if I remember correctly. No changes there.
I also got some more potions ingredients. You never know when you might need a bezoar or some boomslang skin.
All in all, the trip was a success. I might leave the safety of Grimmauld more often now.
Progress update: I can now wandlessly levitate a book from the bookshelf into my hand. No summoning yet, I have to manually steer it. Hermione is very jealous that I can spend the entire day reading without getting up and is catching up quickly.
The teachers at Hogwarts will be in for a surprise.