Chapter 9: Diagonally through Diagon Alley

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He stepped out into the sun, it was a nice warm summer day and it had gotten even better now that Hadrian was officially his son. Salazar looked around and spotted them in the ice café “Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour” across the street. Hadrian looked much better now, a bit anxious because he wasn’t with him but better now that he has eaten something. He went up to them and Hadrian seemed to be relieved to see him.

“And did you have a nice ice?” he asked while sitting down on the empty chair.

“Yes James got me a `Hogwarts Special´, it really looked like a small castle with little chocolate bats flying around it. It was so cool” Hadrian rambled excitedly.

“It’s good to see you’re well, I feared it might be too much for you again.”

“Some time ago in the office of this goblin my head started buzzing again because it was a bit much but now everything is fine again” he slightly blushed.

The waitress came to their table and Salazar ordered an ice coffee.

“Hadrian I want you to tell me when things get too much for you.  I don’t want that this…incident repeats. Okay?” the worry was clearly showing on his face.

Hadrian nodded. “I’ll tell you when it happens again but now I’m really okay.”

He was concerned that Salazar would want to go back home but he wanted to explore this street and its shops a bit more and the buzzing in his head had vanished completely while he ate his ice.

“So what do you think about a nice stroll through Diagon Alley after I finished my coffee?” he asked sipping said drink he just received.

Hadrian’s face brightened up upon hearing that, he wanted to see so much especially the book store and the apothecary. He loved cooking despite his aunt regularly beating him for it because it wasn’t as she liked it and from what he had heard the last days brewing wasn’t that different. So he wanted to see whether he could get a potions book for beginners and perhaps the ingredients for some of the potions to try.

“I’d like to go to the book shop I saw on the way to Gringotts and after that perhaps a small visit in that apothecary, please?” he asked nearly pleadingly.

“Sure why not? Though I doubt you will find a book there we don’t have at home” Salazar laughed. “I only have to visit `Eeylops Owl Emporium´ before we get back home but the rest is up to you.”

Hadrian observed the people passing them while Salazar drank his coffee. There were so many different people here. Some were dressed as any mundane person while others wore long simple robes, some with a few ornaments some without, like Salazar, and a few of the people looked like they just escaped a loony bin. They wore such bright colours and crazy mixes of those it was a true eyesore. He watched them as they talked to each other, looked at shop windows or bargained with a street peddler over the price of an object.

It was very fascinating for Hadrian but finally Salazar finished his coffee and paid for everything so they got up. They first went to the book shop “Flourish and Blotts” because it was right next to the ice café.

Hadrian strolled around the shop looking at the books there, sometimes opening one and looking inside at the index but they all didn’t interest him that much. Only when he reached the section with the potions books he stopped. Salazar who followed him now stood right next to him while James stayed outside the shop so that he wasn’t in the way and also could have a look out for people they definitely didn’t want to meet.

Hadrian looked through the books not knowing which would suit him because there was none that was called “for beginners” or something the like as he had hoped. So he just stood there looking confused.

“I see you are interested in potions. For beginners I would recommend those two: One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi and Magical Drafts and Potions. These are the one a first year in Hogwarts has to read and they are quite good beginner books but we have both at home” Salazar supplied the information when he saw that Hadrian was stuck.

“But I’d like to have my own copies of those so that I can read them and mark things important without having yours blemished, if this is okay with you” Hadrian indicated.

“Well if you want them I have no problem with it and it isn’t that I can’t afford second copies of them” Salazar smiled while picking up one of each book. “Is there anything else you want to look for here?”

“Do they have cookbooks?” he asked curiously.

“Cookbooks? Wow you really found the only category I don’t have at home. What do you want those for?”

“Well I love cooking even with how my aunt has treated me and I’d like to get to know some wizarding recipes so I wonder whether they have some books on that topic” he said sheepishly.

“Hmmm I don’t know where they have them but we can always ask.”

So they both went to the man who was sorting some new books into the shelves and asked him about cookbooks. He showed them and after a few more questions from Hadrian which of them featured dishes not known to the mundane world and what he would recommend they had three additional books next to the potion ones. They went to the counter and Salazar paid for them. He cast a feather-light charm on the bag they got and they went out to meet with James.

“So I see you got quite a few books. Don’t we have enough at home?” he asked with a smile.

“Hadrian wanted to get his own copies of the first year Hogwarts potion books and he wanted to get some cookbooks and those we definitely don’t have at home” Salazar clarified.

“Cookbooks…right those we don’t have because neither the elves nor I need those. So I assume you like cooking?”

Hadrian nodded with a slight blush.

“You know you can always attend us with cooking if you like, not that you have to if you don’t want to” he hastily added upon seeing Salazar’s gaze.

Salazar didn’t want Hadrian to think that he needed to cook, if he wanted to he had no problem with it but he would never force him.

“From time to time I’d gladly join you. I love cooking but my aunt always forced me to cook unhealthy and disgusting things and I never had the opportunity to cook things I like to.”

“If you tell us what you want to cook and what you need for it in advance we should be able to get everything needed so that you can cook whatever you like” James thought about it.

They talked a bit further about it and about recipes Hadrian would like to try out when they passed a shop where bags and trunks were sold.

“What so you think, wouldn’t it be a good idea to buy you a bag or such so you can put your stuff in when you leave home for some occasions?” Salazar interrupted the discussion about food and the various dishes.

Hadrian looked at him cocking his head.

“But I don’t have any stuff I could put in there” he asked curiously but Salazar just smiled and pointed at the other side of the street at a magical toy shop he surely wanted to go into after.

Hadrian’s face brightened up and so they went buying a bag. In the end he got one in several shades of black and green he could wear across his back which was enchanted with a feather-light charm, a bottomless charm and several security charms that would only allow him to access it. It also had three different compartments to sort things into. The first things that went into it were the books they previously bought.

After that they went into the toy shop. This was the first time Salazar saw Hadrian acting like a real child. Previously he always seemed to be more mature than a child his age should be. But now when he saw the childish excitement with which Hadrian went through the toys looking at every one of them he was relieved. Hadrian went on in awe from time to time giving off an “oh” or “wow” in delight while showing things to Salazar. When they finally were through the shop Salazar bought him a wizard chess set made of jade and marble, a magical card game that started to insult the player when the cards were hold for too long and a few other things. Not enough that one might think Hadrian was a spoiled brat but more than enough to let him bounce like a bouncing ball because he never got toys before.

When they went back out James couldn’t help it but started to chuckle upon Hadrian’s behaviour and also Salazar smiled like there was no tomorrow.

“How do you feel Hadrian?” Salazar asked him a bit later after Hadrian had stopped bouncing around.

“I feel very good, a bit excited but good” he replied after a short time thinking about it.

“So then the apothecary. I recall you wanted to go there” originally he wanted to suggest going to Madam Malkin’s first to get him some more clothes but then he decided against it. He could always call for a private tailor any day so there was no need to put Hadrian through the stress of getting clothes made for him now.

Hadrian speed forward towards the apothecary when Salazar turned to James.

“Would you please go to the sweet’s shop and buy some for Hadrian? We’ll meet at either the apothecary or the cauldron shop” he asked and James nodded before turning around and going where he was asked to.

Salazar walked up to Hadrian who had stopped in front of the broom shop which was right before the apothecary. In the window several of the latest brooms were displayed.

“A broom…I’m sorry but that’s nothing I’ll buy you right now. They are pretty expensive and we have enough good brooms you can try to fly at home” he told Hadrian.

“I know I just wanted to have a look while you were talking to James. We have brooms at home I can fly with? I’d like to try that someday” Hadrian mused. There were so many things he wanted to do and try out, flying on a broom one of them but for now it could wait.

Salazar nodded. “Well not where we are living at the moment but at the mansion outside of London, sure. There is also enough space for you to fly properly.”

With a last look at the brooms in the window they went on and into the apothecary. Hadrian just wanted to take out his new potion book in order to see what he would need when Salazar put a hand on his arm to stop him. He knew Hadrian would want to have his own brewing equipment and ingredients so he didn’t even suggest to use his own stock.

“I know what you’ll need” he went to the man behind the counter.

“We’ll need a good amount of the basic ingredients and some of the following: …” with that he gave him a list of some of the more expensive ingredients he knew were mostly harmless but quite useful for Hadrian. After he was through with Hadrian’s supplies he also ordered some for his own stock he knew he would need when he started to brew for Sylvia. That everything was only the best quality went without saying.

After they were finished and had packed everything into Hadrian’s bag they went to the cauldron shop next door and got the basic brewing equipment including a silver cauldron. Pewter was nice and all but in Salazar’s opinion as a Potions Master silver even if much more expensive was far better, the potions more stable and the cauldron easier to clean.

“So I think now we have everything you would need for now” Salazar mused while exiting the shop and walking up to James who stood on the other side.

He cast a quick tempus charm and saw that it nearly was half past five.

“Hmm I just need to go to the owl shop but what do you think of going to the Leaky Cauldron after to have a nice meal?”

Hadrian thought about it for a second before he answered. “Yes that sounds nice. I’m quite hungry.”

So they went to the owl shop, Hadrian walked through it while Salazar talked to the owner.

“I need two normal owls” he explained before he continued with a whisper. “If possible I would need them without the standard tracking charm to send some letters without the receiver being able to trace them back to me.”

“I have some of those here but they cost extra. Twenty-five Galleons each. Thirty and you get them with even charms against tracing through outside means” he replied with an equal whisper.

Salazar nodded. “I’d take those for thirty galleons.”

The shop owner went into the back of the shop. Salazar in the meantime looked after Hadrian who now stood in front of a huge snowy owl. The owl cocked his head and hooted softly at Hadrian who put a finger through the cage bars and started to stroke the owl. This was when the owner came back with the two owls for Salazar.

“If I were you I wouldn’t do…” he stopped when he saw the owl leaning against Hadrian’s hand, again hooting softly while nibbling at the finger that stroke him.

“Wow I never saw her doing this. Normally she bites and scratches everyone who is stupid enough to put a finger in and screeches at everyone passing by when she’s not sleeping” he explained.

The owl in the meantime looked at the owner like she was scolding him for the treatment he gave her. Salazar looked in the eyes of the bird an knew instantly that this was in no way a normal snowy owl but that wasn’t something he would tell the shop owner.

“If you want this owl I can grant you a discount. Normally they cost fifteen galleons but I’d be glad to have her of my hands so you can have her for ten.”

Hadrian looked pleadingly at Salazar and even the owl looked at him as she wanted to say “Don’t you dare saying no”. Salazar started to laugh upon this sight before he opened the cage. The owl hooted approvingly before hopping out and settling herself on Hadrian’s left shoulder.

“Really mysterious” the owner mused.

With that settled they returned to the counter. Salazar paid for the three owls and also bought an owl post and owl treats for Hadrian’s new owl. He also wanted to buy a cage for him but the owl hooted at him reproachfully and pecked him on the head so he gave her only a glance and left it be. There was definitely something about this owl and he was determined to find out what later.

After paying he shrunk the things from Hadrian and helped him putting them in his bag before they left the shop Salazar with an owl on each of his shoulders. He hadn’t bought a cage for them either because he wanted to outright send them and when they returned to the house they would live in the Owlery of the house so there was no need for cages.

So he now directed Hadrian and James to a small side road where he halted. He gave one of the owls to James who hold her in front of him. Salazar took out his wand and checked the owl upon tracking charms and the like and was happy to not find a single one. She even had the promised charms on her against tracking through outside means. He took out one of the letters he had written this morning and tied it to the leg of the owl before he send her on the way. This one was addressed to the Daily Prophet. He repeated the entire thing with the second owl before he tied the letter addressed to the head of the DMLE to her leg and send her on the way as well. This owl also got the order to wait for a reply.

Pleased with himself he went out of the side road into Diagon Alley again followed by the others. He casted a quick tempus only to see that it now was ten past six and he frowned. He wasn’t concerned that the letters wouldn’t reach their destination this evening, the Daily Prophet just started to work on the issue of tomorrow and the Ministry didn’t close until eight p.m. and the heads of the divisions often worked even longer. But it had been a long day and he was concerned that Hadrian would be exhausted. He looked at him but only saw that he was eagerly awaiting what to do next.

“So now that everything is done and bought how does dinner in the Leaky Cauldron sound?” he asked.

The others nodded in approval and so they all sat into motion to get something to eat.

“Say Hadrian isn’t the owl on your shoulder a bit too heavy for you?” he was a bit confused because of the size of the owl but Hadrian moved as if she wasn’t even there.

“Hmmm no, now that you ask it is like she isn’t even there…curious” Hadrian answered with a smile after shortly thinking about it and the owl hooted before nibbling at Hadrian’s ear. “But I don’t mind if she wants to sit there. She doesn’t bother me.”

Salazar shrugged. “I will have to ward your bedroom window so that you can leave it open for her.”

The owl hooted approvingly and again he wondered about the intelligence and behaviour of the animal.

They entered the Leaky Cauldron through the back door and sat down in a secluded niche when Tom arrived to take their orders. He gave the owl who had now settled on the back of the empty chair a quizzical look but left it be. Salazar ordered a Butterbeer and a meal for each of them and Tom left after nodding to him.

When they were alone again James and Salazar started to talk about the events of the day while Hadrian took out one of his new toys they had bought. It was a black snake which was enchanted so that when you tap it on the head it starts to move and behave like a real one and with another tap it curled itself up again and froze. Salazar had laughed when Hadrian showed it to him and couldn’t hold himself back to buy it for him. It remembered him of his animagus form and the day they had met for the first time. Hadrian played with it until the meal arrived.

They ate silently until Salazar spoke up.

“How do you plan to name your owl?” he asked.

Hadrian looked at the snowy owl and cocked his head thinking about it when an idea came to him.

“I think Hedwig would be a nice name for her” he said on which the owl who had put his head under one of her wings and slept woke up and hooted questioningly at him as if she had woken up upon hearing her name.

“Would you like to be called Hedwig?” he asked the owl.

The owl in return hooted approvingly and so it was set, her name was Hedwig. Hadrian smiled while Hedwig again went to sleep.

The three ate up their meal, Hadrian again stopped after being half through before they returned to their conversation. Hadrian told them that he wanted to try brewing soon.

“Hadrian I would ask you not to brew a potion without James or me being with you. Potions can be quite dangerous to brew even the simple ones and I don’t want you to get hurt because something goes wrong” Salazar told him.

“Sure, I would have to carefully read my books first so it will take some time before I can start with it but I’ll tell you when I’m through with them so that we can start.”

Salazar nodded in relieve. He knew very well what potions could be like and he wasn’t even sure whether it was a good idea that Hadrian already started the difficult art of potion brewing without being six years old yet. On the other hand Hadrian had been so excited about it that Salazar didn’t want to hurt the boy by saying no to him. It also seemed to be a thing he was really interested in and as long as it kept him from remembering his old life Salazar would have to take it. As long as one of them was with him he should be okay.

They talked for some time more when suddenly Hadrian started to yawn. It had been a very long day and now he was exhausted. So Salazar paid for the meal and the drinks before they took the floo back to the manor, Hedwig again sitting on Hadrian’s shoulder.

Salazar took out the potion equipment and the ingredients from Hadrian’s bag and brought it to the portions lab next to his study telling the boy that it would wait there for him when he was ready to start. After that he brought the boy to his room and waited until he had changed. In the meantime Salazar set up the owl post next to the window on which the owl instantly landed and made herself comfortable. He also enchanted the window so that no one could break in through it while it was open and so that the warmth would stay inside and no cold air could come in. When he was ready he took Hadrian to bed.

He waited until he fell asleep which was quite quick because of his exhaustion. With one last glance at the boy and the owl confirming that nothing was wrong he left the room and went to his study where he sat down and worked through some business papers that started to stack on his table because he had no time to work through them lately.

Amelia Bones sat in her office at the DMLE when suddenly a brown owl swooped in, landed on her desk and reached out with his right leg at which a letter was bound. She removed the letter and expected the owl to leave but it just sat there obviously waiting for a reply. So she opened the letter well knowing that it was harmless because otherwise the owl wouldn’t have been able to enter the Ministry because of some special wards.

She read the letter and had to lean back in her chair. She had to read the letter two more times before she could process what it stated.

It seemed to be from a German freelancing journalist who wanted to write an article about Sirius Black and his crimes. But as he wrote in the letter he had found some inconsistency in the case during his research and he wanted to speak to her about it since she was the head of the DMLE and this was a huge case. He therefore asked for an appointment within the next week knowing that this week was a too short amount of time for her to also take a look into said case of Sirius Black. She should send him a letter via the owl that still sat on her desk that included date and time she would have time for him. He was eagerly awaiting her answer.

She sat there thinking about it. Inconsistency in the Black case? This was grave. She would have to take a look into the case herself before she met with the man and she could only hope that everything was correct. Otherwise she had a huge problem and not only her. Picking up quill and parchment she wrote a reply saying that Wednesday at ten o’clock in the morning was okay with her and that she looked forward to meeting him and getting to know what he had found.

After sending the reply via the owl she leaned back again before she took out a single malt whiskey from a drawer of her desk and called for her assistance to bring her the files of the Black case. This would be a long weekend.

In the meantime another owl reached Barnabas Cuffe the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Prophet. He was very careful with the owl and casted several revealing charms on it before even attempting anything because he never could be sure whether a letter could harm him or not since not everyone was pleased with the news they printed. But the charm told him that the owl and the letter was harmless and so he removed and opened it.

He also had to read his letter several times before he had digested the information contained within it. First he thought it was a joke and so he casted additional spells on letter and owl who stayed because Cuffe closed the window after letting her in only to find that both was not traceable back to its owner and also hadn’t been tampered with. The information in it also were very specific, too specific for it being just a joke. Nobody would go through such means only to muck him about this.

He called for one of his best reporters Andy Smudgley and showed him the anonymous letter. The man slumped down his seat and looked at Cuffe.

“Is this real?” he asked.

“The sender of this letter has taken a lot of precautions to be not revealed and the information are also very specific. Therefore I highly doubt it is a fake. I want you to investigate this case and be quick. If this isn’t a hoax I want it published within the tomorrow’s issue” Cuffe ordered the man.

Smudgley nodded and rushed out of the chief’s office much work laying ahead of him. Cuffe grinned broadly. If this was real it would be a news that would shock the entire wizarding community especially those mentioned in the letter.

It was the end of an eventful day but Salazar was pleased with it. Harry or now Hadrian was legally his son and they had a nice day in Diagon Alley. His son had gotten a few new things and had been a joyful child.

He also had set off an avalanche on the magical world and everyone would have to think whether he wanted to be in blast range or not when it came down. Well some people wouldn’t be able to avoid it and those will definitely see and feel the first signs of it very soon.

He just had received the owl from Ms. Bones that gave him the requested appointment. Another step done.

Yes this definitely had been a very good day Salazar mused.

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