~Harry's exuberance at the prospect of staying at the inn, an all magical inn at that, lasted through introductions with the ministry personnel at the table with Fudge, through check in where Tom led Harry up to his room, and exactly three spoonfuls of the soup Tom summoned, but finally the day caught up to him. Harry let out a huge yawn, and all but fell out of his seat. Giving in, Harry stumbled over to the bed and simply fell across it and into sleep.
Tom woke the slight youth up at seven a.m. with a knock on his door and a tray of breakfast. He winced as he sat up, his back stiff and his belly growling. After proclaiming his undying gratitude for the meal, feeling rather ravenous, he dug in with gusto and tried to figure out his game plan for the day. Harry felt slightly foolish that he hadn't thought to ask Fudge about retrieving his school trunk. Not really knowing much about wizarding finances, he'd just have to ask the Goblins for an estimate on how much he'd need for school compared to how much gold he actually had.
"At least I won't need to re-buy any of my old school books. I think my stuff will be safe, since Uncle Vernon said I could go back next sum…" Harry flopped back onto the bed with a loud groan, he'd suddenly realized, all his homework! He'd worked so hard to get it all finished early and he'd left it at home. "Dang it," he thought, "maybe I do have to buy last year's books again, it's not like Snape or McGonagall would accept an excuse." The green eyed child lets out a sigh, thinking how much doing it all over again is going to suck. "Wait..." Harry interrupted his own whining and suddenly sitting back up, "what were my assignments!?"
After a fair amount of deliberation Harry decided he'd send a letter to both Ron and Hermione, both so they'd know where he was, and to find out where/what time they should meet up once his friends arrived to get their own supplies. He figured he'd try to downplay how bad the fight had been, and maybe only ask Hermione for help with the homework. He didn't really love the idea of admitting what happened, but he needed the assignments, he knew she was too smart to believe him if he claimed he'd simply forgotten his things at home. Unlike Ron, at least, 'mione would drop it when he asked.
"Huh, actually," he suggested to the empty room at large, "I should go ahead and ask her for the assignments list now, but maybe she'd be willing to bring some of last year's books when she comes to do her shopping." Beginning to pace the room he continued talking it out to himself. "Potions and Transfiguration will be the hardest, so if I go out and buy the books for those today I can start on them tonight when 'mione owls back," He flipped open his bag and grabbed a pen and some scrap parchment, "Okay, time to make a list."
-Write to Ron and Hermione
-Get new clothes
-Pick up my school things and last year's
-Potions Transfig' books.
Harry paused, he leaned back in his chair and started to nibble on the end of the pen as he thought, "Dang it, I'll need a whole new potions kit too and a telescope... Sheesh, and a new trunk to carry everything! Man this is starting to sound expensive. Hmm, 'kay, I definitely need to ask the goblins about managing my money. I don't have a clue if I have enough to splurge occasionally or if I'll need to be really careful."
Well, okay first stop Greengots, then to get a new trunk.Harry finished up his shopping lists, snagged his beanie, and made his way to the magical archway, but first stopped to let Tom know not to expect him back for a while. As he walked down diagon alley, Harry reached up and gently fingered the blue and greenish beanie he'd found at the Park. It wasn't TOO girly he thought, and with the beanie on he'd scarcely received a second look. Sadly, his characteristic messy black hair and scar were much too noticeable.
While Harry had been smart enough not to actually wear the, well okay, the admittedly somewhat girly beanie in his aunt and uncle's presence, Dudley had more than made up for their missed insults. Dudley and his gang had predictably spent every chance they had on their favorite game of "Harry Hunting," which consisted of nothing more than chasing him around the neighborhood. They'd beat him on the rare instance when they could catch him, and shout taunts of "freak," "queer," "poof," and every other insult imaginable when they couldn't. Harry might be unusually small for his age, but he hadn't gotten really good at running away over the years.
Even with the extra ammunition it had provided Dudley, Harry was still happy for the hat, it made for a good compromise. At the very least it had kept his ears warm last night, and was protecting his anonymity now.
As he came into view of the enormous, white facade of Gringotts he gave his head a little shake to push aside his thoughts and focus on today's task.
Harry managed to walk straight over to a counter, no lines as it was still fairly early and there were very few other witches or wizards present. At the goblin teller's acknowledgement he began.
"Harry Potter umm, sir. I wanted to make a withdrawal, and uh, well I was hoping maybe there was someone who might maybe could tell me how much gold is actually in there and like, maybe give me an idea on how much I'll need to make it through school and that kinda stuff?"
"Do you have your key?" the goblin asked straight faced.
"Uh, yeah sure, right here," Harry stammered while pulling his key out of his shoulder bag.
"Corpin will escort you to your vault, and he is more than qualified to act as financial advisor for simple matters such as this," the desk goblin explained while gesturing to another goblin standing by a door beside the desk.
"Thank you," Harry squeaked, somewhat terrified by the typically brusque manner all goblins used when addressing wizards.
After a brief introduction, not much was said until they reached Harry's vault.
As Harry withdrew roughly double the amount he took last year, Corpin the gobbo related the exact amount Harry's vault contained, minus today's withdrawal. When Harry timidly asked if Corpin thought that would be enough to get him through school and perhaps a small apartment somewhere, the goblin simply stared at him as if he were a simpleton.
"Child, you possess enough gold to live a modest yet comfortable life for the next hundred years," explained Corpin, surprisingly gently.
"Woah!" Harry just stood there for a moment gobsmacked. "I… wow, so, umm, if you don't mind, about how much would you say, like, a small house would be?" inquired Harry?
"At today's market prices it would be approximately twenty thousand gallons for a smaller two bedroom home, so long as it is not custom built, and resides in an affordable village."
"I have way more than enough for that!" Exclaimed the boy practically bouncing in excitement. "Wow, okay umm, in that case I might want to make a couple bigger purchases today. I don't really wanna carry around thousands of galeons though. Is there a way to have things like, credited to my account?"
"Debited," Corpin corrected, shaking his head in exacerbation. "Yes, there are two methods. The first is by using a Gringotts note. I believe muggle checks are similar in practice. The second is through a creditor's draft. A Creditor's draft is when the seller allows the buyer to take possession of merchandise without payment up front. The seller will submit a draft note to Gringotts, we will review said note and then send an authorization slip to the owner of the account in question. If that is all sir, I believe it is time to return above ground," Corpin clarified with obviously waning patience.
After making their way back to the front Harry grabbed a small book of Gringotts Notes, and asked for directions for somewhere to replace his old trunk. Along the way Harry spotted a few shops he definitely wanted to check out, including one that looked like it sold muggle clothing! Harry bit the inside of his cheek hard in reproof when his eyes lingered too long on a really pretty outfit showcased by a moving mannequin.
Shaking his head once again to clear his thoughts he continued on until he found, "Larkwin's Luxurious Luggage!"
Harry stepped inside, taking several moments for his vision to adjust, he immediately felt overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of adverts, and the sheer variety of bags, briefcases, totes, trunks, and purses!
"Wow, there are far too many signs in here," Harry muttered. There were banners hanging from the ceiling, signs resting on top of shelving, and posts propped up against every end cap. "How am I supposed to see the actual stuff!"
"Hello young man, how can I assist you today?" Harry heard the overly cheery voice coming from somewhere near a large display of an obnoxiously vibrant orange, two wheeled case that kept opening and closing. Just as Harry started to reply he realized that the case had a different inside each time it reopened. He stared, mouth still open as each new interior was revealed.
"Ah, I see our upright Rollaboard has caught your attention," preened the salesman as Harry watched the case cycle through at least ten interiors.
"Uh, no actually. I, umm, I just wanted to replace my old trunk?" Harry stammered, trying his best to overcome his sudden bout of nervousness. Probably cause this place is kinda expensive looking, Harry thought. I really hope the sales guy isn't pushy.
"Well you've certainly come to the right place," simpered the man. "Now, is this for your school trips, Hogwarts I assume, or do you travel over the summer holidays as well?"
"Umm, not really, but do you have any that..." Harry trailed off as they made their way around the aisles and a display of a trunk which was normal sized on the outside, but bigger on the inside, came into view. It sat angled forward so that he could see down into what appeared to be an enormous walk-in closet! As he watched, the lid slowly closed only to reopen on a large sitting room with several couches and bizarrely, a merrily blazing fireplace. A couple moments later and the trunk transformed again to house a luxurious looking bathing room with claw foot tub. Harry's gaze finally drifted to the other side of the aisle, where he was equally amazed to see the showcase of a slowly revolving trunk that would periodically shrink to be no larger than a tin of beans, and a few moments later return to full size..
"Wow! Would I be able to have one that does that, what with me being underage and it obviously using magic?" Harry excitedly inquired.
Harry thought the clerk seemed a bit easily impressed as he answered, "Why what a responsible question! The short answer is absolutely, however showcasing your new trunk's magical abilities to muggles would still be a violation of the international standard of secrecy. That's why all our magical merchandise has this nifty 'muggle worthy' feature," explained Berkley (Harry had spotted the man's name badge) as he demonstrated the ability by turning a decorative carving 90 and reopening said trunk to reveal a plain interior.
After almost an hour back and forth, Harry was pretty sure the salesman had gotten the better of him, but he didn't begrudge the upsale too much. Harry was the proud new owner of not one, but three fairly fantastical trunks. Somewhere in the discussion of what he wanted in a trunk for himself, he decided that Hermione and Ron definitely needed one for an early Christmas gift.
Harry's trunk had 2 furnished rooms, the muggle worthy mode, and a 4th compartment spelled to accept a new room configuration, currently just a small, empty room. Climbing down into Harry's first compartment unveiled a space approximately (3 meters by 2.5 meters)10 feet by 8 feet. On one side of the ladder, along the front wall stood a collection of built-in shelves and drawers, which continued a couple feet along the right side wall. Where the shelves stopped sat a modest Chaise lounge, followed by about three feet of wall space dedicated to two rows of downward angled pegs with clothes hangers. The back wall was one long clothes hanging rod with dividers for organization. Along the left wall continued several feet of open space ending in a pocket door, and then in the corner was a floor to ceiling, three-sided mirror, which continued on the adjacent wall, so that wherever you stood in the modest space you could see your reflection. Between the mirror and ladder back on the front wall was a modest built in vanity with mirror, light, and several small nooks typically used for morning grooming supplies.
Harry was amazed to see that the center of the vanity desktop even had a removable piece which revealed an inset bowl which could be filled with an Aguamenti charm for washing up. Harry had never really been too big on mirrors before, but maybe with new clothes, and maybe in such a private space...
The next compartment in Harry's new trunk could be accessed either from a separate latch on the outside, or via the pocket door, which was a pretty neat trick in his opinion. Stepping through the doorway would reveal a rectangular room, about 15 foot by 8 foot. The door was along one of the long walls, with a fireplace to the right (Harry wondered just where he was supposed to store wood for a fireplace?) And a cozy looking loveseat that looked great for reading on. Which was very appropriate as most of the remaining wall space was dedicated to built-in book shelves! The small space was essentially a portable library, with a work desk on one end. Harry couldn't wait to start filling the shelves. He was already happily imagining how to organize the shelves. School books and other educational booklets would probably be best by the desk. Harry thought he could probably split his favorite muggle fictions on one side of the fireplace, and hopefully he could find enough fun magical fictions to fill the other. Harry hadn't had a chance to read many magical fictions, he was looking forward to visiting the book store today. With no one else to worry about, he could spend as long browsing as he wanted. Escaping into a fantasy world definitely beat real life with the Dursleys. Even books weren't a safe escape from Dudley though. Harry had been ridiculed and beaten by the bigoted boy nearly every time he'd been caught reading. While most any book would get him ridiculed, if he'd spied Harry with anything girly sounding, like the Nancy Drew books, then Dudley would be relentless.
Harry left "Larkwin's" with a promise of his chests to be delivered to his room at the leaky cauldron by end of day tomorrow. Harry had wanted the shrinking and featherweight charms added to all three. After having abandoned his possessions once before, now that Harry knew pocketing his trunk was possible, he never wanted to have to leave them behind again. The runic based charms didn't come standard on any but the most expensive items, once installed though, all Harry and friends would have to do was touch one of the decorative runes and will a bit of their magic through it. The shopkeeper, Berkley, Harry belatedly remembered, had assured Him that, though it would be a little tricky to figure out at first, it was very simple once they got the hang of it.
Harry's and Hermione's trunk were nearly the same, as Harry knew the witch would adore the library compartment just as much as he did. Ron's trunk was much simpler, but Harry had something else in mind for the rest of his Christmas gift. All told Harry had just dropped one hundred and twenty-seven gallons and change. Harry was reeling a bit, truth be told. With a stray thought he realized, somewhat forlorn, that that was more money then the Dursley's had probably ever spent on him in his entire life! Still, those shrinking charms would definitely be worth the extra. Harry laughed softly to himself thinking about how much easier it would be to traverse King's cross station and board the Hogwarts express now!
Harry took out his list trying to figure out what to do next. Book store or clothes... Book store he decided. If clothes shopping was going to be nearly as anxiety inducing as he expected, it should probably be his last adventure of the day.
As Harry entered Flourish and Blotts, he noted the large cage housing about a hundred of, "The Monster Book of Monsters." Unfortunately, the monster books being, well, monsters, they were busily attacking each other. Little bits of paper littered the floor of the cage, and as Harry watched two of the books seized a third and slowly began to rip it asunder. The manager ran over, grinning a knobby walking stick.
"Stop it! Stop it!" cried the manager, poking the walking stick through the bars and knocking the books apart. "I'm never stocking them again, never! It's been bedlam! I thought we'd seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility — cost a fortune, and we never found them. . . . Well, what can I help you with today?" *
The manager looked mighty crestfallen when Harry handed over his book list and it contained a monster book. As the began to pull on a pair of thick gloves Harry asked if they had any twine to tie the book closed.
"We've just been stuffing them into these bags here," the man complained. He gestured to a small stack of cloth bags barely large enough to fit over one book, presumably so as to keep them from opening up.
"That'll work, but why haven't you just gone ahead and tied them all closed? It would have stopped, well all of that!" Harry said while pointing to the still ongoing bedlam in the cage.
"Trust me when I say that we wanted to, however the owner insisted they be allowed to move freely, 'So as to show off their full capabilities.' Honestly, that man has no business acumen at all. Anyway, shall we continue collecting your supplies?"
Harry and the manager made small talk while fetching the rest of Harry's books. The manager practically had to drag the youth away from, "Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst Is Coming." The cover had a large, savage looking black dog that was almost familiar to Harry, though he couldn't remember ever seeing one like it before. While collecting his potions book for the year, Harry noticed another book labelled, "Compendium of Potion Brewing Tips and Tricks." Harry snagged it, figuring that if Snape was going to continue to be a terrible teacher, he'd just have to find a workaround. After pointing Harry towards the fiction section, the manager offered to hold the rest of Harry's selection at the counter while he continued his perusal of the store.
Several long hours of shopping, debating, reminding himself over and over that he truly DID have the money to spend, Harry made his final selections, and only after the clerk had applied feather light spells to his bulging bags did he make his way back to his room for lunch. Harry was used to hoarding every single pence (penny equivalent) he came across. Goodness knows the Dursleys weren't going to give him any. Buying anything other than vending machine crisps was ridiculously foreign to Harry, even with two years in the wizarding world under his belt. To Harry's delight, buying for himself was very satisfying, but buying for others was almost addictive! He'd gotten every Gryffindor in his year something for the coming Christmas. There were enough permanently inked quills, chocolate frogs, and a bag of every flavor bean for each. He'd found a cheap but interesting second hand book, "Moderate Level Charms for Everyday Use," he thought Hermione would probably like, and for Ron he'd gotten two books, (hopefully he'd enjoy them) "A Beginner's Guide to Dueling Techniques" and a rather old but serious looking book on chess strategies. He'd still needed to pick up Ron's main Christmas gift tomorrow.
Harry had even found Ginny a collector's edition illustrated guide on Last year's lineup for The Holly Head Harpies, and it was a signed copy! Fred, or maybe George, had mentioned her being a huge fan during one of their Quidditch practice lulls.
Harry wasn't entirely sure what he was going to get his teammates yet, so that was another reason for a visit to Quality Quidditch Supply, as well as his own curiosity of course. Harry wasn't quite as big of a Quidditch maniac as most of his teammates, and Ron, but he liked playing, and he absolutely loved to fly.
Harry stopped by the bar on his return to the tavern to put in his late lunch order, then headed upstairs to his room. After so many years performing chores to his aunt's exacting standards, Harry had rebelled against admitting to a need for organization. After fighting it for two years he'd finally decided to just own that after 13 years, the compulsion had been hardwired into him. His first year he had allowed himself to enjoy being lazy with his things for a while, but by the end of the year he was nearing his breaking point. The pressure of exams was literally so much worse when you couldn't quickly find the right class supplies, let alone a clean pair of pants. In his second year he'd tried to find a balance, and things had gone better, but it was still an extra bit of anxiety not having his things exactly so. While he wanted to fight against his aunt's programming, refusing to give in to "her", Harry had finally decided to compromise. He would do what felt natural, and if the cleaning and organizing started to take up too much of his free time he'd back off again.
The bespectacled boy carefully laid out all of his recent purchases. Harry had his year three books, as well as second hand copies of both the Transfiguration and Charms text from last year. Deciding that working on the two hardest assignments at the same time was a horrible idea, he'd swapped Potions for Charms since he was reasonably good at it. He set these two out separately so that he could start on his summer schoolwork, at least he would as soon as he could send Hedwig out with his plea for help. Hopefully 'mione would send the assignments back with Hedwig by tomorrow morning.
Next to his new texts Harry set all of the interesting books the clerk had recommended as classic wizarding children's tales. To Harry's surprise there had even been a very small section of popular muggle books, and Harry had finally been able to purchase his very own copy of "Tuck Everlasting". Harry had probably checked that one out at the library half a dozen times. They hadn't had Susan Fletcher's "Dragon Chronicles," but at least they did have a couple "Artemis Fowl" books, and a few others he wasn't familiar with but wanted to check out anyway.
In another tidy pile Harry placed his new potions kit, telescope, scales, and parchment and quills.
Harry thought about it for a few seconds before stepping over to Hermione's letter and asking for spiral notebooks and pencils for each class. Screw wizard tradition in this instance, pencil and paper would make it WAY easier to take notes.
As he was finishing up, Tom, the manager, knocked on his door, which Harry had apparently left ajar. Stupid of him really, Harry KNEW he had enemies, and even worse, fans.
"Come in," Harry beckoned.
Tom bowed as he stepped through the doorway, "Your shepherd's pie and butter beer young sir."
"Er," flinching slightly at the honorific, "just Harry is fine please," He entreated.
"Of course sir," the old-timer commented.
Shaking his head, Harry started to offer thanks before Tom's words caught up to him, "Wait, I'm not old enough for beer sir!?"
As he set the tray on the bedside table he offered a, "not to worry young sir, it's virtually non-alcoholic and I'm quite certain you will like it," and with that he retreated back to his duties.
He was right, the butter beer was amazing. After a surprisingly delicious meal, especially from such a bleak and dingy looking pub, Harry was seriously sorry his stomach wasn't yet readjusted for full sized meals. It always took a couple weeks after the start of term to get used to normal sized proportions. Ron, of course, was always oblivious, but Hermione had been eyeing him during their meals those first couple weeks last year. Harry knew Hermione was observant, but he hoped she wasn't catching on.
Harry sat on his bed considering his options. He still needed to pick-up his school robes and, considering all he had currently were the clothes on his back, enough everyday wear to make it through the year.
That thought led Harry to suddenly realize that, since he hadn't managed to get uncle Vernon to sign his Hogsmeade letter, he had lost out on his opportunity to buy anything, let alone new clothes, during the school year. "Elg," Harry groaned, flopping back onto the bed. He was sure to be the only third year NOT getting to explore the village. Was it really too much to ask for just a normal childhood?
"Okay Harry, that sucks, but today's been pretty great otherwise. We might as well take advantage of it, yeah? Let's do this, clothes that fit!" Harry excitedly offered to the room at large.
As Harry entered Madam Malkin's he heard a familiar voice behind one of the fitting stations.
"Is that you Parvati? " Harry called out, walking over to stand next to a floor length curtain meant to isolate the fittings area.
"Harry!? Yes it's me, oh my goodness hold on a sec," shrieked Harry's housemate.
After a minor crash, Madam Malkins, or one of her employees, cursed as Parvati barreled around the curtain to collide into Harry, catching him up in a crushing hug and squeezing a laugh out of them both.
Completely caught off guard by the unexpected gesture, it took Harry a moment to regain his voice. "Not that I don't appreciate the hug, but what the heck?" He laughed.
"I've been stuck on vacation with just my parents and Padma until yesterday! They're great and all, but you have no idea how much I've missed my friends! And yes, that includes you too, mister. "
Harry was taken by surprise, but smiled softly as a warm feeling bubbled up in his chest. The small boy fidgeted a little before choking out, "I, uh, yeah I've missed you too actually," he murmured, not quite able to make eye contact. He valiantly fault back an unbidden tear.
Parvati bumped his shoulder, "You okay Harry?"
Harry gave himself an internal shake, since when did he wear his heart on his sleeve like that? Parvati must have just caught him off guard with her enthusiastic embrace. Smiling, Harry assured her it was nothing.
"I, well yeah, I've just been kinda lonely this summer too is all, Parvati. But I'm supposed to meet Ron and Hermione here this weekend to get their supplies. Anyway, where's the twin and your parents?" Harry finished brightly.
"Oh, Padma is more worried about books than what she wears, and since we are so close in size I'm picking out our robes while they pick up our new books. And yay that you get to see them soon! So, how come you didn't wait for them before you came to do your shipping? Were you going a bit stir crazy too?" a smiling Parvati asked.
"Erm, well… okay, but please don't spread it around, I'm trying not to attract too much attention, but I'm staying at the leaky cauldron for a few days. It was uhh, more convenient for my relatives. Now I'll, uh, be able to head back with Ron to his place till school starts back," Harry finished awkwardly.
They were interrupted from both Harry's hopes that maybe the Wesley's really would take him back with them, and Parvati asking if the beanie was his idea of a disguise, by a grumbling assistant who walked around the curtain, scowling at the two of them.
"Please be more careful in the future, miss, we were not yet finished and you knocked over your stool in your rush," fumed the relatively young man.
"Am I to assume you are in need of your Hogwarts robes as well mister?"
"Erm, Harry. And yes please," Harry replied, somewhat cowed by the tailor's obvious annoyance.
"Right, come on back Harry, miss Patil. Yes, that stool next to your friend is fine. Just let me finish pinning her sleeves and we will start on your measurements."
As Parvati chatted away about her summer trips to the more magical areas around Northern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, Harry was only half listening. The ancient temples and hidden villages did sound interesting, but Harry was distracted by the colorful robes of the man working on Parvati's hem.
"Alright dear, that's you. Come back in an hour or so and we'll have the set ready to go," informed the tailor. "Now, Harry, I'm going to take your measurements before finding the right size robes to start you out on okay? You don't need to strip, so it's your choice if Miss Patil can stay?"
Harry nodded that it was fine and after just half a dozen deft measurements dictated to a quill that Harry was amazed to see writing on its own, the clerk ambled off deeper into the shop.
"Sheesh Harry you're tiny, you really need to hit your growth spurt soon, you're making me feel fat," laughed Parvati, causing Harry to blush.
Not entirely sure how to feel about his small stature, Harry quickly changed the subject.
"Hey Parvati, so umm, what exactly is the difference between men's and women's robes?" Harry inquired, looking off towards where the clerk had headed.
"Oh right, I keep forgetting, it's so hard to picture 'the-child-who-lived' being raised by muggles. Basically, women's robes close to the left instead of the right, and typically have a lot more decorative adornments, except for our boring old school robes of course. Pastel colors are a bit more common in ours, but it's not a big deal for guys to have any color they like. Just look at Dumbledore," she giggled.
"But yeah, Terry there, I think that's what he said his name was anyway, if you are confused by his robes I can't blame you. They were a bit flamboyant huh?"
"Well, I guess it makes sense for a seamstress, umm tailor? Someone who works at a clothing place to have fancy robes right?" Harry guessed.
"Ehh, well actually I kinda got the feeling he was, umm, well a bit of a poof is all."
At Harry's scowl Parvati continued angrily, "not that there's anything wrong with that, right?"
"Oh, no not at all. It shouldn't matter who someone fancies. It's just," Harry rubbed the back of his neck while looking away, "I just don't really like that word. My cousin kinda started a rumor around the neighborhood when I was little so a lot of the kids would call me that."
Parvati reached over and squeezed Harry's hand. Harry smiled softly.
"It's fine Parvti," Harry laughed, "trust me I've called him worse, besides I have plenty of friends at Hogwarts." As Terry made his way back with an arm load of Hogwarts black robes Harry looked back to Parvati, "Hey, once he's done pinning up my robe, wanna help me pick out a few casual wear ones? You know way more about what's stylish than me!"
Parvati positively beamed, bouncing in excitement, "Heck yeah Harry! I'll go pick some for you right now!"
Harry chuckled at her enthusiasm.
Sighing, Terry commented, "I'm not entirely sure you know what you just unleashed upon yourself young man. She'll probably have you trying on half the store," frowning he added, more to himself then to Harry, "and I'll be the one to have to put it all away."
As it turned out, the shop assistant was mostly right. Harry must have tried on at least 30 different robes. The first few seemed fairly standard, but when Parvati handed Harry one she had deemed, "a bit more daring," and Harry hadn't balked, the robes became more and more elaborate.
The last ten or so had Harry sputtering. They seemed awfully feminine. Even though Harry complained, it didn't take much convincing for him to try them on.
The last one she offered was clearly a girl's formal robe. Harry just stared at it in the changing room for several minutes. This one was fitted almost like a dress, it was a pale, rich purple with silver lace trim accented with black stones, and buckles of black and purple that Harry suspected were made from amethyst, and it was gorgeous! Harry was panicking at how much he wanted to put it on, but he was terrified to do so.
Finally Harry choked out, "You have got to be kidding me Parvati."
She giggled lightly, "Just put it on! Consider it a thank you for all my help."
Harry sighed audibly, "Okay, okay." He called out before mumbling to himself, "see if I ever ask for your help again."
Parvati cackled, having obviously heard his grumbles. Blushing furiously, he carefully pulled them on, struggling with the buckles due to his trembling fingers.
Harry emerged a few minutes later with obvious trepidation. Face as red as a tomato, he avoided eye contact as Parvati gushed over how gorgeous Harry looked. He was too nervous to process what she was saying in the moment, but a small part of himself tucked her words away for later.
Harry was very careful to make all the right noises of discontent, but at the same time he couldn't peel his eyes off his reflection. Parvati smiled a bit mischievously. She had already noticed how his eyes lit up every time he tried on one of the more feminine robes she'd selected, no matter how much he complained, so of course she had continued to push the limit, this last one was just confirmation.
Harry finally tore his gaze away, looking over to an obviously smirking Parvati. Harry, beginning to feel real shame, desperately clinging to a sense of nonchalance, he asked if he could change back now. Feeling guilty for having pushed her friend so far past his comfort zone, she reached over to give him a quick hug before gently shoving him back toward the changing room. Once he had returned they narrowed down their selection. Harry decided on a fairly simple dark maroon robe. A trendy fitted black robe with silver trim, with dark blue buckles shot through with greys and golds, that Parvati informed him were made from a stone called Lapis Lazuli. After a fair bit of back and forth Parvati finally managed to convince Harry to get the really nice teal robes he'd tried to put aside. He obviously loved them, but was scared of being picked on if he wore them.
Despite Parvati's whining, Harry had made sure they helped return all of their rejections before paying. As they walked out of Madam Malkin's, Parvati clutched several bulging bags, while Harry had opted for his purchases to be delivered to the inn. After saying their farewells, Harry impulsively reached over to hug her. Parvati, laughing, told him he had better be more social this year instead of always hanging out with Ron and Hermione. Agreeing readily enough, Harry headed off to find the muggle clothing store he'd spotted earlier, surprised at how much fun he'd just had with Parvati. It wasn't as if they'd never talked before, but this was definitely the first time they'd spend anytime alone together.