~ Harry continued down diagon alley, and before long "Muggle Worthy" came into view, his first thoughts upon seeing the shop were, 'Okay, I've got this, no problem.' As he approached the door, he told himself, 'it'll be fine, I deserve to be able to wear nice things, there is nothing wrong with that!' And just as the door was within reach, he totally panicked, 'Nope, can't do it!' and continued walking right past.
A couple shops over, and a couple minutes later, Harry straightened up from the wall he was leaning on. Lost in thought, he wasn't paying attention to what he was doing as he began to nibble the end of his hoodie's drawstring, before remembering how long it had been since it's last wash.
"Elg!" He groaned as he spit it out. "Okay okay, fine! I'm going already," and he angrily marched back to the shop.
Taking a deep breath, Harry steeled the last bit of nerve he had left for the day, and reached for the door. He quickly jumped back in alarm, a decidedly high pitched cry slipping out, as the door was yanked open from the inside, just as he was grabbing the handle.
"Oh hey, sorry there young man! Didn't see you," laughed an older, but fit man in a mustache.
"Why do people keep doing that today!?" Harry complained.
The gentleman just laughed harder, gave Harry a cheeky wave and set off down the road, bags in hand.
Harry gently banged his head into the door a few times, gave himself a good mental shake, and stepped inside.
"You alright there little one?" Called out a young woman, who couldn't possibly have graduated school more than a year or two ago.
"Huh, oh sorry. Yup I'm okay, just a little, out of it or something."
"That's alright, welcome to my shop. You out shopping on your own today?"
"Yeah, so wait, your shop? As in you own it?" Harry asked, rather impressed.
"That's right kiddo! I saw a need and ran with it. Seriously, you should see the outfits some of these pure bloods think are proper muggle wear, they clearly needed someone to teach them how to dress if they wanna fit in. Not that business is exactly booming, turns out old bloods don't like it when you tell them they are wrong, but as long as I keep earning a small profit I'm happy," and clearly the young witch was.
"So you're muggle born then? I was raised by my aunt and uncle and their both muggles, but one of my best friends is pure blood, and wow you are so right. His dad is really nice, but the questions he asks about muggles are so funny."
Smiling, the young blond continued, "Righty-o you are kid, well mostly. My aunty was also magical. Mom's happy for me, but she's more than a little jealous." Giggling, probably at some memory of her mom, she continued, "Now then, I'm Winry, mind if I ask your name?"
"Oh, sorry, umm, my name's Harry," he'd almost decided to make up a name, but Winry had been nice thus far, and Harry really didn't like lying without a good reason.
"Well then young Harry, did you want some help picking things out, or would you rather explore by yourself?"
'Yay, a not pushy salesperson,' Harry's inner dialogue volunteered.
"I think I've got it, but umm, could you tell me which way to the kid's section?" Harry asked shyly.
Smiling again, Jess pointed toward the back of the shop. Harry walked by several rows stuffed with familiar things like muggle boardgames, some simple looking electronics (Harry was actually pretty tempted when he spotted a Nintendo GameBoy, but wasn't sure it'd work at Hogwarts), and even some sports memorabilia. He eventually found the right section, and browsed for about fifteen minutes before returning with an armful of shirts and trousers. Windy led him over to the dressing room eyeing his choices a bit dubiously. Harry emerged a few minutes later looking skeptical.
"Having trouble Harry?"
"I don't know… it's just, like... they weren't, uh, they didn't look right," Harry finished dejectedly. He abruptly looked up clearly distressed, "Oh, uh not that your stuff doesn't look right or anything like that, its just like, it didn't fit me right or someth-," Harry broke off as Winry interrupted him.
"Wow, easy there kiddo, I'm not insulted," she laughed, "but it's sweet of you to worry. And besides, the reason they didn't feel right is cause you didn't do a very good job matching your outfits." As she rifled through his selections she also pointed out that most of them were too big for him as well.
Harry admitted this was the first time he'd ever gotten to buy his own clothing, and he really wasn't sure what he was doing. Winry was more than happy to help, and together they sorted him out an entirely new wardrobe, including undergarments, much to Harry's embarrassment. They even found some new trainers to replace his old, two sizes too big and duct taped monstrosities he'd had to suffer through for the last two years. Harry tried on half a dozen shoes, but kept coming back to a pair of red low top converse.
"Can't make up your mind huh kiddo?" Winry asked.
"Umm, well, I do like these ones, but… do you maybe have them in a different color?"
"Ha, not a problem Harry. What color would you like?"
Harry couldn't help a quick glance over towards the girl's shoes before offering a small shrug.
Trying not to give away that she'd noticed, she couldn't help but tease him a little. Winry pulled out her wand, and with a subtle gesture she muttered a spell, "Colorem," and magically the shoes changed to a bright blue.
Harry's eyes went wide as he gushed over how cool that had been. Grinning like mad, Winry cast the spell again, turning the shoes a pale yellow. At Harry's head shake she changed the them to horrible, puke green.
"Eww! Definitely not," Harry exclaimed with a grimace.
Laughing over how he was so easy to tease, she finally relented and with a final wave the shoes turned a hot pink with black laces.
Harry's breath caught, but after a moment she watched as the little light in his eyes died, and he started to shake his head no.
Winry sat down so abruptly, and so closely, Harry almost fell off the bench from scooting over too quickly!
"It's okay Harry, you know there is nothing wrong with boys liking pink right? Plenty of boys wear pink."
Harry just shook his head, swiftly standing up, he thanked her for all her help and suggested he should really start to head back.
"Okay hon, but… Hey, I bet you didn't know that originally pink was meant for boys and blue for girls, and before that colors didn't correspond to gender at all?"
Finally meeting her gaze again, Harry quietly asked, with maybe a touch of skepticism, "Really, but, how did... are you sure?"
"For reals kiddo, and you can blame big name department stores for the idea. They thought it'd be easier to charge more for their stuff if they could market it to new mothers. Oh hey, you ought to ask your pure blood friend what he wore when he was just a few years old. Dollars to donuts his mom had him in dresses until he was potty trained. The magical community tend to change it's trends a bit slower than the muggles do."
"So," she reached over and grabbed one of Harry's hands, "it's okay to like pink, or purple, or any color you want okay? I promise that if you look hard enough at school, you'll see at least a couple other boys with pink stuff. Some of the other kids will probably tease you about 'em, sure, but most won't care one wit, alright?"
Harry thought about, but eventually decided, "Okay, I… I'll take them please."
They decided to go through Harry's selections once more, with Winry using the color changing charm to add in a few embellishments here and there. Satisfied with their progress, they started to head up to the register, only for Harry to stop beside a pink and black, flowy skirt that looked like it would stop just below his knees.
"Uh, did you want to try the skirt on too? I'm okay with it, but I'm pretty sure you'd have a lot more people picking on you if you wore that to school."
Even though Win had gone out of her way to help him today, he was still surprised to hear that, she meant it. She didn't sound mad at all at the idea of him trying on a skirt, just concerned for his well being.
"Yeah, I'm already used to being picked on, at least by the Slytherins anyway, but no. I was just, uh, do you think it'd be okay if, you know for my sister, well cousin really, but since we were raised together, and umm, I mean, do you think this would be a good like, Christmas gift, for her?" By the time Harry finished his rambling he was trying hard to stop blushing.
"Oh! Yeah sure, she might like it. What size does she wear?"
"Uhhh, I'm not sure? She's pretty much the same size as me I think. Umm, Maybe a little bigger?"
Winry's inner monologue, 'Right, timid, sweet kid that loves pink, stops dead in front of a pink and black skirt, one he'd look adorable in, and has a female cousin that just so happens to be the same size as him… well, it could happen I guess.'
She sorted through the hangers to find one that should fit, "Here you are kiddo. Since these have an elastic waist, they outta fit."
Seeing just how many bags the little guy had, she asked, "Hey Harry, you said you were raised by muggles right? So you probably wouldn't have someone at home that could unshrink these for you huh? That would make it a lot easier for you to carry it all."
"Oh umm, I guess Tom would probably do it if I asked. I'm staying at the leaky cauldron for the week."
Glancing at the clock Winry offered, "Oh, in that case would you like some company on your walk back? I normally close up pretty soon anyway."
Harry tried to decline, as he really didn't want to be a bother, but after she convinced him, they happily made their way back to the inn, stopping at Fortescue's ice cream parlor along the way, where Harry purchased them both sundaes as a thank you for all Win's help. After unshrinking all of Harry's purchases, apart from what he'd worn out of the shop, they left them on the bed and made their way back to the common room to say their goodbyes.
Stooping to give the kid a hug, Winry made Harry promise to stop in whenever he had a chance. Pausing once she'd reached the door, she looked back, and watched his tiny frame heading back up the stair, she fervently hoped she was wrong about the poor kid, because if she wasn't, well, no one deserve all the bigoted things people were sure to say, but especially not a sweet kid like him.
Winry whispered, "You are far too easy to fall in love with, you know that kiddo?"
The stuff about clothing colors, and them originally being reversed is a true fact! It's also true that, once upon a time, boys and girls all wore dresses until somewhere around 5-10. They used less fabric, and would make changing diapers so much simpler.
That's all for now, hope you enjoy.
Next up we finally get into some golden trio action!