Chapter 6 : A Famous Person
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Now he was awake and itching to do something. He wished he dared fly the broom Severus had loaned him. But he knew better than to do such a foolhardy stunt in a Muggle neighborhood. Severus had told him about the Statute of Secrecy, and even if he hadn't, it didn't take a genius to guess that showing off with magic was forbidden. Harry slipped out of bed. For once, he was the first one awake, and that allowed him to do something to pay back the Snapes, who had taken him into their home.
He crept down the stairs and opened up the hall closet, where the cleaning implements were stored.
Tobias rose and came downstairs for his morning cup of coffee only to find Harry on his hands and knees, scrubbing the floor with some lemon cleaner and a stiff brush. For a moment, the elder Snape just stood there, watching as the small boy expertly scrubbed, rinsed, and then dried the floor. Finally he found his voice. "Harry, what are you doing?"
Harry looked up, half in alarm. "Morning, sir."
"Toby, Harry. Remember?" Tobias reminded gently.
"Err . . .yes, sir. I mean, Toby. I'm just washing the floor."
"I can see that, but why are you washing the floor?"
Harry shrugged. "I always cleaned the house at Privet Drive. I've dusted and swept and scrubbed the bathroom so far."
"How long have you been up?"
"I dunno. I think I woke up around six o'clock." Harry answered. It was now eight.
Tobias' eyesbrows rose. "You did all that in two hours? Godalmighty, kid! Harry, you can stop cleaning now. There's no need for you to do so, Sev usually uses magic to keep the house clean."
"He does? I didn't know you could use magic to clean things," Harry exclaimed.
"Magic is used for many things," Severus intoned, slipping up beside his father. "Come up from there, boy. I didn't rescue you from your uppity relatives only to turn you into a house elf."
Harry stopped cleaning. He looked up at Snape, who seemed oddly annoyed. "I just wanted to help . . ."
Severus sighed. "That's very . . . considerate of you but as my father pointed out, I usually clean with magic. If you like, I can show you a Cleaning Charm."
"What's wrong with soap and water?"
"Nothing, but the spells save time. Once you get your wand at Diagon Alley, I can show you several elementary spells, like the Cleaning Charm." Severus said.
"A wand? I'm going to get a wand?"
"Of course. Every wizard needs a wand and you acquire yours at Ollivander's along with your school items." Severus told him.
"When can I get one?"
"Today, if you would like. I did promise you some new clothing and it will be less crowded now at Diagon Alley that it would be closer to September."
Harry jumped up, so excited he nearly upset the water bucket.
"But first you need to eat breakfast and take your potion."
Harry groaned, but agreed. Before he could move to empty out the bucket, Severus gestured and the bucket, brush, and rag vanished. Harry's eyes sparkled with glee. "Can you teach me that spell too?"
"When you're older. Vanishing Spells can be tricky," Severus told him. "If you feel like you must clean something, perhaps we can schedule some chores for you on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Would that be agreeable to you?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, sir."
Because Harry was eager to go to Diagon Alley, they had cereal and toast, coffee and orange juice that morning. Then Severus used the Floo network to transport them to Diagon Alley, making sure Harry enunciated his destination clearly before stepping into the green flames.
Harry found himself spat out of the fireplace and he landed hard on his knees, coughing slightly. When he looked up from his contemplation of the floor he discovered he was in a smoky pub. The patrons barely glanced up, clearly they were used to strange comings and goings from the fireplace. Severus came through and helped Harry up, brushing him off. "Floo travel can be quite disorientating the first time you do it. But you'll soon get used to it."
Harry nodded and rubbed his eyes with the handkerchief Snape handed him. His throat felt dry and scratchy and he sneezed several times. "I think I'm . . . cough, cough . . . allergic to soot."
"Perhaps a drink will help," Severus mused, half to himself. He led Harry over to the bar and spoke with Tom the barkeep. "Tom, I'll have a lemon spritzer and my young companion here will have a pumpkin juice."
"Right away, Mr. Snape," Tom said with just a touch of deference, and hurried off to get their drinks.
Harry rubbed a hand across his forehead, it was stuffy inside the pub and he had started to sweat. He was also very thirsty. But he couldn't resist looking about at the people sitting around the tables. He saw wizards of all shapes and sizes, some wearing long robes that reminded Harry of monks, others wore elaborate robes and cloaks that looked as if they'd borrowed them off the rack from a Halloween store. There were old men with beards and young men that looked like they had just finished school.
Some were too busy talking to note the stares of one little boy, but others met his eye and some smiled and then one of them gasped and almost choked on his ale. "Blimey, Carl, but that's him!"
"Nah, it can't be!"
"Look at the scar!"
"Why that's the Boy Who Lived!"
"What's he doing here all by himself?"
"He's not, he's here with Mr. Snape."
"Not the . . . Unspeakable!" that word was said so softly that Harry nearly missed hearing it.
A sudden hush came over the crowd and a few darted fearful and cautious glances at Severus, who had his back to them, and was wearing his ebony cloak and charcoal gray robe.
"It is, mate! That's Snape himself . . . with Harry Potter."
"What's he doing with Snape?"
"I don't know, why don't you ask him?"
"Not me! No telling with an Unspeakable . . . best to leave them be."
Several heads nodded.
Harry wondered just what Severus did and why people seemed so awed and yet frightened of the tall wizard. He looked over at Severus and whispered, "They're all staring at us."
"The people in here."
Severus looked at Harry and then he saw how the boy's scar was clearly visible since Harry had brushed his bangs off his forehead. "Ah. Well, I did warn you that you were famous. Every wizard knows your name and what you did that night."
Harry felt embarrassed and awkward. He didn't feel famous or that he had done anything to be famous for. "What about you? You're famous too. They all keep whispering about how you're an Unspeakable. What's that?"
Severus slowly sipped his drink, and pushed the other over to Harry. "An Unspeakable is what I am. I work in the Department of Mysteries, where many secret experiments and research goes on, it's classified information, which is why we cannot speak of it to anyone, hence the term "Unspeakable". I deal mainly with experimental draughts and potions, and the occasional charms and defense spell. Only when we have perfected our subject and have achieved optimum results, can we release our findings to the wizarding world and get credit for our work. Sometimes. Other times, what we do is so dangerous it can never be revealed to the public. So we Unspeakables tend to have a dangerous unpredictable reputation, among other things. We are the keepers of secrets that must never be revealed."
"Oh. I understand now." Harry said, then drained his glass of juice, he was so thirsty. He wanted badly to ask for another, but wasn't sure it was allowed.
The ever-observant Snape noticed, and calmly signaled the barkeep for a second one. He could feel the stares from the other patrons behind his back and hear the murmurs of disbelief. He muttered irritably under his breath. He should have disguised the scar, that way they might not have been noticed. But now was too late for regrets. By the afternoon it would be all over the street that Harry Potter had come to Diagon Alley with Severus Snape.
Severus gritted his teeth and ignored the whispers, though he longed to Obliviate them all, the miserable gossips. None of them could keep a secret to save their soul. He quickly finished his spritzer and waited until Harry had drunk his second pumpkin juice before paying and then saying quietly, "Come, Mr. Potter. We'll start with potions ingredients first and then books and robes and other clothes. The last thing we shall do is get your wand."
Harry did not say anything, even though he wanted to get his wand right off. The Unspeakable must have a reason for doing things this way, and Harry had to trust that he knew what he was doing. They visited Slug and Jiggers, where Snape helped Harry pick out a potions kit and added triple the amounts of all the ingredients because first-time brewers often botched their potions. He selected an upgraded cauldron made of iron lined with copper, it was more sturdy and better for regulating temperatures than a standard pewter one.
Like the patrons in the pub, the apothecary was very deferential to both of them, and clearly delighted that they had stopped by to shop there. As they were leaving, they heard the thin man exclaim, "Peter, hurry up and bring some parchment. I want to make a sign for the window—Harry Potter and the Unspeakable Shopped Here!"
"Merlin preserve us!" groaned Severus.
Harry sniggered. "He wouldn't really do that, would he? That's ridiculous!"
"Take a look for yourself. Most people turn into blithering idiots when they see a famous person."
Harry turned his head and saw a young boy tacking up a sign in the window. "Hopping hells! They really did!"
"I told you so. Now hurry, before we're mobbed on the street by little girls asking for your autograph."
"My autograph? Why would anyone want that?"
"Because you're famous."
They hurried out of the apothecary and into another store, Gladrags, where the proprietor herself greeted them and supplied Harry with a complete new wardrobe, from the inside out. Harry was suddenly uneasy, not knowing how he was going to pay Severus for all these things. "Umm . . .Severus? I don't have any money right now, to pay for the things you've bought me—"
Severus frowned. "Don't worry about that. I can afford to buy you clothes and shoes and whatever else you need. Your parents set up a trust fund for you, but you can't receive the whole amount until you're seventeen, and come of age. Until then, I shall provide for you."
Harry was shocked. No one had ever treated him this way before, caring about him. "Thanks," he said very quietly.
They visited the robe shop next and then the bookstore, where Harry got not only schoolbooks, but some advice and a few novels. Everywhere they went, it was the same, people rushing up to them, helping them, and then vanishing. Or whispering about them.
Finally it was time to get his wand. Harry felt his palms start to sweat. He had read a little about wands in the books Severus had given him. It was written that the wand chooses the wizard. But what if no wand chose him? What if they thought he was worthless as a wizard? At the same time he was eager to hold the wands in his hands and see what happened.
Severus ushered him inside the shop, which was crammed full of boxes and boxes of wands. It was dimly lit inside, and Ollivander hovered behind the desk, smiling a little too widely. "Ah, Severus Snape. Ebony, thirteen inches, rainbow serpent core. One of the most mystical wands I have ever crafted. And what have we here? A new apprentice?"
"I'm Harry, sir."
Ollivander grinned, "Of course you are. Here for a wand, are you?"
"Good. Now let's see which one chooses you. How about this one? White oak, twelve inches, unicorn hair core?" He held out a wand to Harry. "Give it a wave."
Harry did. But the wand only spat sparks.
"Hmm. No. Not a match. Try this one. Holly, ten inches, dragon heartstring core."
That one only shot a single spark.
"No. Let's try this one."
Harry went through wand after wand, some of them gave off a few sparks but none really felt right. He began to panic. No wand had chosen him and he had gone through at least thirty. His hand closed upon a holly wand with a phoenix core. Finally the wand responded and shot green and gold sparks into the air.
"Ah, now that wand has a feather in it from a phoenix that is the same as—"
"No! Not that one," interrupted Severus, grabbing the wand from Harry.
"But why? It seems to have connected well with the boy . . ."
"No. Any one but this one," Insisted the Unspeakable. He was not about to reveal that he had a vision about this wand, and in it Harry nearly died because of it. "You know the history of this wand, Ollivander, and it is not safe."
Harry bit his lip. He was frustrated and angry. Why was Snape being such a git? "Let me try it again." He made a grab for the wand.
"I said no!" snapped Severus, glaring at the boy.
Harry stepped back, glaring at him. "But it chose me."
"There is another wand here better suited to you," Severus countered. "Keep trying."
Harry sulked. Ollivander resumed picking off boxes from the shelf.
Harry lifted them and waved them, but without any real enthusiasm. Severus had spoiled everything. What on earth was wrong with the wand he had before?
Finally, Ollivander found a dusty box at the back of the bottom of the cabinet and withdrew it. "Oh, I had forgotten this was still here. Perhaps . . .take it, lad."
Harry unwrapped a wand carved of a creamy rowan, the wood that protected against evil. In the handle of the wand was a strange bluish-black stone that glinted silver. It was like nothing he had ever seen before. He gingerly took the wand and felt it warm to his touch. A feeling of utter peace swept over him, followed by an overwhelming sense of rightness. He waved the wand and sparks of all colors exploded from it and knocked over several boxes.
Harry gasped. "I'm so sorry . . ."
But Ollivander was unconcerned. "At last it has found a partner. Mr. Snape, do you know what this means? Do you know what this wand is?"
"The Wand of the Celestial Wayfarer," answered Severus. "Legend has it that your great-grandfather found a piece of a cooling meteor and he took it and placed it in a rowan wand he was working on. Next to the meteor was a single pure white feather, edged in gilt. When your grandfather picked it up, he knew he had found the core of this wand. It was a wand designed to protect its holder from evil and also fight it. Only one pure in heart and strong in spirit would be able to use it."
"Yes, and it was also said the feather was a gift . . . a gift from an angel. Hence the name Celestial Wayfarer. You were right, Mr. Snape. This wand suits him better than the other. Much better."
Harry pointed his wand and saw it light up with a pure silver glow. "I have a wand," he murmured, feeling his magic stirring. "I really am a wizard."
Severus clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Never doubt it," he whispered in Harry's ear. "Now, once I settle this account, how would you like something to eat?"
"Yes, please. I'm starving."
Harry elected to carry his wand rather than placing it in its box. Then he followed Severus to one of the numerous cafes that dotted Diagon Alley and they ate a wonderful lunch of crunchy crispy fish and chips, followed by a treacle tart for Harry and an espresso for Severus.
Severus was pleased. He had averted the disaster he had seen last night, now that the Celestial Wayfarer was in play again, ready and willing to do anything necessary to protect its wizard.
How did you all like Harry's new wand? It will play a big part in an upcoming chapter. I shall be updating Prince Manor soon, it's just been a rather exhausting week for me, returning to freezing NJ and getting my mom to all her doctor appointments this week. I feel so drained.
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