The Lost Boys
by Netgirl

Buying his school supplies in Diagon Alley had always given Harry a sense of belonging, of being part of the larger wizarding community. But not this time, today he avoiding the eyes that followed him, bad mood wrapped around him like a cloak as he trailed in Professor Lupin's wake.

Lupin who had forced himself into the role of Harry's de-facto Godfather, Lupin who insisted Harry call him Remus, and spoke in that tone of forced cheerfulness that Harry was used to hearing in his own voice.

Harry almost dropped the armful of schoolbooks and potions ingredients that he barely remembered buying as Professor Lupin (Remus) halted in front of him.

"Harry, I have to go to Knockturn Alley, to get some anti-dark arts supplies for the order..." Lupin left the invitation unspoken.

Harry stared at his feet, scuffed trainers with a hole in the toe, and his jeans (still too long even after his growth spurt) ripped at the bottom from being trodden on emerging from his too short robes.

"S'alright, you go on, I have to go buy some new robes anyway."

Harry watched Lupin move off towards the dark side street, before he turned towards the window of Madam Malkins, the shop was swarming with little kids, all being fitted out in first year robes. The last thing Harry felt equipped to do was stand on a stool, answering questions on how close he liked his robes to fit while being goggled at by a load of children. These robes would last until Christmas at least; he turned sharply away colliding with a shopper who hadn't seen him over their own armful of parcels.

"Ow, oh no." Harry looked down at Neville Longbottom, the-boy-who-could-have-been-the-boy-who-lived, surrounded by advanced Herbology and Charms books, newt eyes and bottles of vividly coloured liquids. "Hi, Harry."

Harry stooped to help Neville pick up his purchases, "Alright, Neville. Have you got everything?" He asked as he piled the last book into Neville's arms.

"Almost," Neville answered, "I've still got to get a new wand," he said nervously, paling as he looked towards Ollivanders.

"Oh," Harry remembered Neville's wand breaking, during the fight when Sirius had...

"D'you, I mean if you don't mind, er, would you come with me? To get my wand?"

Harry looked towards Knockturn Alley, no sign of Lupin. "Ok, if you want."

They trudged up the street in silence, "You must be looking forward to having a wand again," Harry commented, just for something to say.

"Not really, my Gran was mental that I broke my Dad's," then quieter, "it was the only thing of his that I had."

"Oh. Doesn't your Gran keep anything of his?

"Yeah, loads of stuff, but she keeps it all as a shrine. I'm not allowed to touch it." Harry had never heard Neville sound so miserable. "Have you got anything of your dad's?"

"I've got..." Out of the blue it struck Harry that the only thing of his dad's he had was his invisibility cloak, the thought struck him so suddenly that he didn't want to share it with Neville. "I've got an old cloak of his, just."

"Oh, well I suppose that's something." Neville said trying to sound positive.

Thankfully the conversation stopped as the boys slipped into the cool, dark interior of Ollivander's wands.

"Ah Mr Potter," a voice murmured, "I hope you haven't damaged my creation with your dramatics."

"No," Harry snapped automatically, even as he reached into his pocket to check on his wand was still there, and in one piece.

"Ah, so my business must be with your companion. I don't believe we've met before, you look a little old to be buying your first wand. Tell me, you haven't been using any of my competitors, have you?"

"No, I was using my dad's old one," Neville stared up at Ollivander with something between awe and fear. "His name Is Frank Longbottom."

"Frank Longbottom's son? I remember your father well, Oak and Phoenix feather, nine inches. Excellent wand, terrible shame about it's fate."

Neville's cheeks flushed red. Harry reached out and touched his shoulder to calm him. He could feel Neville's tension in his coiled muscle, he understood it perfectly, after all if Ollivander had turned to him and said ‘What a shame that Lily Potter got blown up, waste of a good wand' Harry would not be responsible for his actions.

"Well, alright, you'd better follow me and we'll find the right wand for you." Neville was almost visibly shaking as the imposing Ollivander ignored all rules of personal space as he measured Neville for his wand.

Harry backed into a shadowy corner before the older wizard could make any reference to Harry's own wand, or it's brother. From his corner he watched as Ollivander became increasingly frustrated as Neville waved wand after wand to no effect whatsoever. Ollivander looked irritated, Neville just looked resigned, like he had never expected anything to happen, Harry opened his mouth to tell Neville that it had taken him ages to find his wand. Before he could say anything reassuring the frowning Ollivander shoved another wand at Neville. "Elm and dragon heartstring, on you go."

Neville gave the wand an apathetic sort of wave. Green vines shot out of the tip, they tipped boxes of wands over, wrapped themselves around table legs, crept up the walls and across the ceiling, then sprouted large, luminous yellow flowers that cast a glow into the musty shop.

"Wow," Breathed Neville.

"Wow," Said Harry.

"That will be seven galleons, five sickles," Said Ollivander, ignoring the fact that the inside of his shop had been turned into an arboretum.


"Did you see that, Harry?" Neville asked, practically bouncing along the street.

There was no way Harry could have missed it, but he didn't give the sarcastic answer that he would of earlier, despite the dark mood that had been following him like a rain cloud all summer Neville's joy was contagious. "You know," Harry said thoughtfully, "that might actually help you back at Hogwarts, Ron's Transfiguration and Charms got well better after he got his own wand."

"Shame it won't do me any good in potions." Neville joked and Harry laughed at the mental image of Snape bound by creepers, furious, while yellow flowers sprouted all over his classroom. He told Neville between wheezes about the image and Neville started to laugh as well. It was the first genuine laugh Harry had shared all summer.

Laughing, the two boys came to the hidden doorway back to the leaky cauldron. "I should wait here for Professor Lupin," Harry commented.

"Oh, is he who you came here with?" Neville asked vaguely, now back to gazing at his new wand in rapture.

"Yeah, he's a...friend of my family."

"Listen Harry," Neville set down his wand to look at Harry seriously, "I know I've said this before, but I'm so sorry I broke your prophecy last year."

Neville didn't know, of course he didn't, how could he? Why hadn't Dumbledore told him? All of this raced through Harry's mind as Neville's expressive face looked up at him, hoping to be absolved.

Harry was overwhelmed with the desire to pour his heart out to Neville, to share the burden of the prophecy. He and Neville shared a bond, both part of the prophecy, both with parents taken away by Voldemort. That was why he had felt more comfortable in Neville's company than he had with anyone else all summer, even Ron and Hermione. Odd that Neville Longbottom was the person who could most fully understand what it was like to be Harry Potter. The words were bubbling in his throat, waiting for his mouth to open.

"Nev! There you are!" A blotchy faced wizard was leaning through the magical doorway, "come on, lad, better get you back before your Gran sends out the aurors."

"Alright, Uncle Algie, see you on the train, Harry."

Harry grunted in response, the moment had passed. There was no way he could have inflicting even a shadow of his life on poor Neville, it wouldn't have been fair. Harry was best alone, with his dark mood and Remus's wide smiles that never quite made it to his eyes for company.


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