In a world where Dumbledore killed Voldemort before he ever killed Harry's parents, we follow three characters during their time at Hogwarts


    Chapter One

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    filigreewitch
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    Chapter One

    Post  filigreewitch on Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:16 am

    Astrid and her dads pulled up to their mansion in America. Astrid stepped out of their car and sighed. As much as she loved England, it was good to be back in America. Astrid skipped to the front door and opened it. Anson and Eli brought in Astrid's luggage.

    Astrid turned to look at her dads, eyes widening.
    "The clue is in your room." Anson said.
    Astrid squealed and started to her room.

    Astrid couldn't wait to get to her room. Inside held the hint of where they were going on vacation. Last year there was an Eiffel Tower obscurely placed on her brick-a-brack shelf. She had loads of fun in Paris.

    She came up to her pink glitter-encrusted door and threw it open. She went to that same brick-a-brack shelf, just in case; but there was nothing new. Huffing, she turned around and her eyes darted everywhere. They landed on her sticker collection on her book shelf and there was a small sticker of Mickey Mouse. She gasped and let out an excited squeal. She ran down the stairs and stumbled, tripping over Nipsy.

    "Excited?" Eli asked.
    "Duh! Thank you, thank you!"
    She bounced over to her dads and hugged them. Her dads laughed.
    "When do we leave," she asked quickly as she let go of them.
    "Next Monday," Anson answered, still chuckling.

    Astrid sighed as she collapsed onto the couch that was behind her.
    "So far away," she half whined, falling over, kind of laying on the couch.

    "Well, anyway, get changed. We're going out to dinner for your welcome home," Eli instructed.

    Astrid sat up quickly, "Okay!"

    Astrid ran back up the stairs and opened her closet. She walked in and pulled out a pink plaid skirt and black ruffled top. She changed quickly and slipped on a pair of black flats. She brushed over hair and slid down the banister.

    ~~~~~~~~

    The Burkeheart family got out of their mini limo and stepped into Longhorn's Steakhouse.

    "Oh, the Burkehearts. We've been waiting for you," the hostess said. "Right this way."
    Astrid took hold of Eli and Anson's hand as they made their way over to their table.

    Astrid stepped up to the booth and crawled to the center of the semi- circle seat. Eli and Anson slid in on either side.

    The waitress came over with three teas.

    "Your usual?" she asked, setting down the drinks.

    "Yes, ma'am," Anson said.

    "It'll be right up."

    "Thank you."

    Eli turned toward Astrid.

    "So, Astrid. How was the second term of school?"

    "It was okay. Did you see my grades?"

    "We did," he said as he took a sip of his tea.

    "You did well," Anson said, smiling.

    "I could've done better." Astrid said. "I made two Acceptables."

    "Well, Anson couldn't quite master History of Magic either," Eli half taunted.

    "Hey," Anson playfully snapped. "That class was so boring."

    The waitress came back over with two steaks and a cheeseburger.

    "Here we are," she said distributing the plates.

    "Thank you, Margaret."

    Margaret blushed and smiled. "Is there anything else I can get you?"

    "No, that'll be all. Thanks," Anson answered.

    Anson cut into his steak as well as Eli.

    "This is delicious." Anson said. "You want a piece?"

    Astrid's eyes widened as she had just stuffed her mouth with the cheeseburger. She finished chewing and shook her head no.

    Astrid hurriedly chewed the bite of cheeseburger.
    "So, really, I just need to study harder in those subjects. I mean I'm okay with Excellents. Just Acceptables are just like bleh, you know? A's on my papers look like bloody-" Astrid broke off into gurgled noises.

    "Calm down, sweetie," Eli said, patting her head.

    Astrid scrunched up her nose and rolled her eyes.


    On the way back home from Longhorn's Steakhouse Astrid fell asleep in the car. They pulled up to their house and Anson scooped her out of the car. Eli opened the door to the house and Anson took her to her room. Nipsy curled up by her feet and fell asleep as well.

    ~~~~

    Astrid awoke with a start. It was finally Monday. She hopped out of bed and accidentally threw Nipsy in the floor along with the covers. She did a variety of hopping, skipping, and running to her parents room. She barely knocked before swinging the door open.

    "It's time to get up! Time for Disney!" She announced loudly.

    Anson threw his pillow at Astrid, missing by a few feet.

    "Don't hurt the child," Eli groaned.

    Anson made an odd noise before pulling the covers over his head.

    Eli smiled sleepily.

    "Our plane doesn't leave until eleven. And it's only," Eli looked at the bedside clock. "six am. You should get back to sleep."

    "Are you kidding? I can't sleep. We're going to Disney today," she yelled again, twirling. "Fine."

    Astrid left the room, sulking.

    Anson pulled Eli's pillow from under him and rested his own head on it.

    "We shouldn't have told her what day we were leaving," Anson mumbled.

    "She's your daughter," Eli giggled.

    "This morning, she's yours."

    Astrid pulled out her suitcases to make sure she had everything for the trip. She pulled over her clipboard and started shifting through her things checking off items.
    After she was satisfied, she pulled her luggage down the stairs and sat them by the couch before turning the TV on to cartoons.

    Anson and Eli woke up a bit later, got dressed, and took their luggage downstairs. There, on the couch was Astrid, sound asleep on the couch.

    Eli laughed.

    "Wake up, it's Disney time," Anson yelled, copying Astrid from earlier.

    Astrid groaned. If she woke up herself, she was fine. But being woken up, she hated. She was very much like Anson in this way.

    Astrid looked through slits, glaring daggers into her dads as she sat up.

    The family ate breakfast and headed to the airport. Astrid got her excitement back as they boarded the plane.

    The plane trip wasn't all that bad. The movie that had played was, ironically, a Disney movie, "The Little Mermaid". The plane ride also consisted of some journal writing and sleeping.

    The family made it to the Walt Disney Hotel and made their way to their room.

    Astrid ran into her room, kicking off her shoes, and jumped on the bed.

    "We're finally here," she squealed, jumping on the bed.

    "Quit jumping on the bed," Eli instructed from the living room, looking out the balcony.

    Astrid jumped onto the floor and made her way to the window to see the Disney park. Her eyes sparkled with excitement.

    Astrid made her way into the living room where her dads were sitting on the couch.

    "So, what do we want to do first?" Eli asked.

    "Food," Anson and Astrid answered, quickly.

    "Food it is then." He laughed.

    The Burkehearts walked to a Disney themed restaurant, where the waitress and hostess were dressed like Disney characters.

    Astrid's face stayed in a smile the entire time.

    "Hi, my name is Belle, and I'll be your waitress this evening."

    Astrid squealed. Beauty and the Beast had just come out the year before and was her new favorite Disney movie.

    "We'll have two steaks with fries and the side salad with ranch, and a cheeseburger with fries." Anson ordered.

    "Okay, and to drink?"

    "Teas?" He asked.

    Astrid and Eli nodded.

    "I'll be right back with that."

    "When she returns, I want a picture with her," Astrid said.

    Astrid looked around the building and took the disposable camera from Eli and snapped some pictures of the place.

    "Thank you for this vacation," Astrid said.

    "You're welcome," Anson smiled.

    Belle came back with their drinks. Astrid crawled from under the table and stood beside her while Eli took a picture.

    "Thank you," Astrid said.

    "You're welcome," she replied.

    Astrid sat back at the table and took a sip of tea and scrunched up her face.

    Anson and Eli tasted their tea.

    Anson scrunched up his face as Eli said, "It's pretty good."

    Belle came back with their food and Anson and Astrid got Pepsi.

    A bit later the family finished their meal.

    Astrid jumped onto the couch back in their hotel room.

    "That place was fantabulous! And our waitress, Belle!"

    Eli chuckled and sat down in the chair. "So, what do we want to do tomorrow?"

    Anson was holding a pamphlet as he turned the coffee pot on. "Well there are limitless options." He scratched the back of his neck.

    "I think we should just look around the park tomorrow. You know, get a feel for things," Eli suggested.

    "Boring," Anson and Astrid sang in unison.

    Eli stuck out his tongue.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The next couple of days the Burkeheart family spent most of their time at the park riding rides and exploring the park. They rode on roller coasters, much to Astrid's chagrin; and they rode water slides. They met all sorts of characters like Mickey and Minnie; Donald and Goofy; Snow White and Fernindad, along with all of the seven dwarfs; Aurora and Phillip, who were much more interesting in real life than in the movie, so Astrid thought. They also ran into Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, Astrid's favorite fairy; Mowgli; Bambi, Thumper and Flower; and the evil step sisters from Cinderella. There were other characters they ran into as well, but Astrid's main concern was finding Belle and Adam.
    They finally ran into them a few moments later and she had a list of questions prepared.

    Astrid stood in between Belle and Adam as the beast while their picture was being taken. After the mini photo shoot Astrid whipped out her notebook and pen from her little backpack. She turned half way through the book and started in on her questioning.

    "I have a few questions, if you don't mind." She started, but didn't let them answer. "So Belle, I'll start with you. Let's just get right down to it. What is your favorite book?"

    The Belle character looked stunned for a moment, her smile faltering a tad. She quickly regained her composure. "Why it's 'The Prince and the Pauper, of course."

    Astrid looked contemplative. "That's odd. I thought for sure you'd say 'Sleeping Beauty'. Or 'Jack and the Beanstalk', or even 'Romeo and Juliet'."

    Belle laughed, briefly. "Well, of course I like those as well."

    Astrid chewed on her bottom lip as she wrote something down.

    "Let's move on. Who is your favorite friend from the castle? Lumiere? Cogsworth? Don't tell me, Chip, right?"

    "Yes, Chip, that's right."

    "Thought so. He is quite adorable. Okay, so how did your father feel about the marriage?"

    "He was fully supportive."

    "Did you cry when Gaston died?"

    "I felt very saddened," she answered quickly. She was starting to get the hang of this.

    "Okay, thank you. I think I have all I need from you." Astrid turned toward the beast. "Adam, how do you feel about always having to be in Beast form? I mean, you changed back into a human at the end so it must frustrate you that you'll always be seen as a beast."

    The beast shrugged, shaking his head.

    "I see, it's difficult for you to speak. No worries, I can translate."

    Astrid scribbled in the notebook.

    "Last question. How did you feel about being ten when you were turned into the beast? Personally, I think it was quite unfair. What ten year old isn't selfish? I myself was ten just last year! I was quite selfish. So really that lady had no right. She didn't even give you a chance! And you had to spend your teens as a beast. No wonder why you were so angry. I don't blame you in the slightest." Astrid took a breath before starting up again. "I just want to say, you did excellent giving Belle that library. I was floored by that library. I would love to have that in my house! So if you feel like giving out more libraries, look me up! My name is Astrid Burkeheart and I live in Tennessee!"

    Anson and Eli laughed. "Okay, that's quite enough. I'm sure there are other children waiting to see them." Eli said guiding her away.

    "Wait! I want to give them a hug!"

    Astrid turned back and gave Belle and Adam a quick hug before joining her dads again.

    "So you finally got to meet Belle," Anson commented. "How do you feel?"

    "Lousy. She was an impostor. I didn't even feel like interviewing her after she answered the first question. While 'The Prince and the Pauper' is a good book, that shouldn't have been her answer. She wasn't the real Belle."

    Astrid let out a puff of breath as they continued their walk.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The next day the Burkehearts took a little drive and went to Sea World. Astrid absolutely loved seeing all the different animals. Her favorite part was swimming with the dolphins. Ceasar, one of the male dolphins, seemed to have taken a liking to her. This trip made her question Ariel as to why she would want to become human when she could live under the sea with all the fascinating creatures. Though, she admitted, she'd have a hard time giving up snow cones.

    ~~~~~~~

    The rest of the trip seemed to go by quickly. They rode more rides and went through more fun and haunted houses. They watched showings of "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Jungle Book" as well as "Peter Pan". Anson had won her a few stuffed animals as well as bought her a plush of Flounder, a doll of Belle, and a plush of Malificent as the dragon.

    "I have to admit," Astrid said to her dads as they left the gift shop. "I think Adam is much cuter than Fernindad but Phillip is cuter than Adam, but then Eric is pretty much a cutie hisself."

    Astrid took out the dragon and held it out. "Though Phillip is cuter than Eric, I think. And the best part is when he beats Malificent in the fight. But other than that the movie sucked. But Adam is pretty cute..."

    "Are you trying to decide which prince you'd pick?" Anson chuckled.

    "Well it's not the matter of which prince; it's which princess would I want to be? But yes, that is what I'm doing." She growled lowly and tossed Malificent back into the bag.

    "We should probably go back to the hotel now," Eli said.

    "Why?" Astrid questioned sadly.

    "Because we have a surprise for you, but you need a nap."

    "Fine." Astrid said, stretching out the word a few beats.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    When the sun started to set Eli went into Astrid's room and gently woke her up.

    "It's time for the surprise," he cooed.

    Astrid bolted right up, excitedly. She hopped out of bed and bounded into the living room.

    "Surprise. Surprise." She chanted.

    Anson grabbed Astrid's hand from the air and guided her out the door, with Eli behind them.

    They walked to the front yard of Aurora's Castle and stopped.

    "What are we doing here?" she asked.

    "You'll see." Eli answered, patting her head.

    About five minutes later a firework shot into the air and the castle began turning different colors.

    "Oh my gosh." Astrid awed.

    More fireworks shot up and exploded into different shapes.

    This lasted a couple of hours, ending at midnight. A Mickey Mouse-head-shaped firework exploded and disappeared as the last firework was shot into the sky. It spelled out "Thank you".

    The crowd started to disperse as Astrid stood there, still looking at the sky in amazement.

    "These Disney guys sure know how to put on a show," She complimented.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The next morning, Astrid was sad to leave. She had so much fun on their vacation, she didn't want it to end. She had no idea how they were going to top this vacation next year.

    Astrid, Anson, and Eli waved bye to the castle as they made their way to the airport.

    "So, did you have fun?" Eli asked as they waited for the plane to take off.

    "You're seriously asking me that? Of course I had fun! I was thinking earlier I didn't know how y'all were going to top this year's vacation next year."

    Anson laughed. "I'm sure we'll think of something."

    "Oh, you're birthday is in a few weeks. Did you decide what your theme is going to be?"

    "I certainly did, Eli. I certainly did."

    Astrid smiled and closed her eyes as the plane took off.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The weeks between the vacation and Astrid's birthday crept by. It seemed very dull compared to when they were at Disney. She played video games, read and wrote, but the excitement of the new adventures were lacking. She couldn't wait to be with Teal and Jenson again. They wrote each other often. She was happy about going back to Hogwarts and seeing what new adventures awaited them. But first they had to get to the week before school started. The week that they would come to visit her! The week of her birthday.

    ~~

    Astrid tied two letters to her owl and opened the glass pane doors in her room. She held out her arm to let Mitzy fly away.
    Astrid was excited for Teal and Jenson to receive these letters. Inside were invitations to the birthday party. Her theme this year: "Under the Sea".
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    Tetheas
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    Re: Chapter One

    Post  Tetheas on Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:13 pm

    “EDGAR!”

    The frog’s name echoed across the dandelion-covered fields behind Teal’s home. The young boy had fallen asleep and awoken with a start, submerged in a sea of yellow and green, with the realization that it was almost time to leave. It was then that he had discovered his amphibian companion had wandered off, probably in pursuit of any number of evasive insects. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but their departure was close at hand. Teal needed to retrieve his tiny friend as quickly as possible.

    It wasn’t long after the calling of his name that Edgar came bounding over the tall grass and hopped up onto Teal’s shoulder. The twelve year old sprang to his feet and lifted his hand, shouting the word “Up!” as he did so. His aunt’s broom, previously hidden beneath the grass and flowers, shot up into the palm of the young Hufflepuff boy’s hand. Teal held the broom in front of him and then hopped onto it, taking off across the fields before he had even gotten seated.

    Now that he was officially a student at Hogwarts, he was banned from using magic outside of school until he was no longer under age. Seventeen. Five years seemed like such an awful long time to wait. Thankfully, flying was one of the few magical activities in which he could still partake. He raced back to the house, hopping off the broom as soon as he reached the door, and scrambled inside.

    “Teal, do you have all of your things packed?” his godmother asked as she took her broom from him. School didn’t actually start for another two weeks, but they had received a letter from Astrid a few days ago, a follow up to her invitation at the end of last school year, asking if Teal could spend the last two weeks of summer with her and her fathers. Teal’s godmother had only seemed to think about it briefly before saying it was alright, but only under the condition that she got to meet Astrid’s parents ahead of time.

    Sure enough, two days later Teal’s godmother apparated out of the house, telling him she’d be back shortly, and returned a few hours later with a smile on her face. Astrid’s dads had made a good impression.

    So now here he was, gathering all of his things together in one place for school, ready to see his friend again. It was exciting enough just getting to spend part of the year somewhere that was neither school nor home, but on top of that he was getting to see his two best friends. Teal was very excited.

    Teal nodded excitedly in response to his godmother’s question.

    “Astrid’s and Jenson’s presents too?” she reminded him. Teal’s eyes grew large as he realized he had forgotten the two gifts and he ran to his room to retrieve them. The main reason Teal and Jenson were going to spend the last two weeks at Astrid’s house, besides the fact that it was closer to Hogwarts than both of their homes, was because it was Astrid’s birthday as well. She was going to have a big celebration, with a theme and everything. And though they weren’t going to be having a party for him, Jenson’s birthday had been earlier that summer.

    Teal had never been to a birthday party before. Even for his own birthdays they didn’t really have a party. It was just his godmother, Edgar, and himself. Teal’s godmother would make him a cupcake with a single candle on it, which he would then blow out, and then she would present him with a present she had either bought or made specifically for him. The hand-made presents were more common, but he liked those more anyways. However, as he had been at school during his birthday last year, his godmother had simply included an extra gift for him at Christmas.

    Teal scooped the two gifts off of his bedside table and into his arms, then ran back into the main room of the tiny house. Astrid’s gift was a shiny, purple, flower-shaped hair clip. He had crafted it out of clay, then gotten the paint and gloss finish with which to coat it from his godmother. He had contemplated the accessory once it was done, unsure about the popularity of hair clips, but his godmother had reassured him that Astrid would like it.

    Jenson’s gift was a bit more challenging to come up with. From what Teal knew of both his friends, it was much harder to find something the Ravenclaw would like. The young Hufflepuff finally decided to make Jenson something out of clay as well, though he didn’t actually decide what it would be until he was already half way done sculpting. The finished product was a tiny sculpture, about four inches high, of Jenson himself. Teal then finished by painting it with the closest colors he could create to Jenson's actual complexion and hair.

    “Alright! This is all of it!” Teal exclaimed as he added the two presents to his pile of things, flashing his godmother a big grin. She smiled back at him and then turned to make sure she had everything she needed herself before leaving.

    “Alright, then. Let’s go,” his godmother said as she turned and headed for the door. Teal followed after her, leaving his things where they were piled. This was how they had handled the trip to Kings Cross Station last year. They’d gotten all the way there through a combination of traveling by portkey, flying and Floo powder, as Teal wasn’t allowed to use magic then either, and then his godmother had made the quick trip back to get the rest of his things. When she’d picked him up at the end of the year, she had simply apparated his stuff home first, and then apparated back to get him.

    Teal slipped Edgar into the pocket of his shirt, which he had make-shiftedly sown on himself for that exact purpose, and he and his godmother walked out into the front yard. Teal’s godmother closed the door behind them. “Defigo,” she said calmly, pointing her wand at the doorknob, and a tiny clicking sound followed. She turned then and threw one leg over her broom. Teal climbed on behind her quickly, just as the broom began to lift up into the air.

    Astrid, like both Teal and Jenson, lived in America. However, when she had started school last year, her fathers bought a house in London as well in order to make things more convenient. Every summer, about a month before school started, they would temporarily move from their house in Tennessee to their house in London. Then, when the school year ended, they would move back to their home in America for the majority of the summer. Teal had been greatly amused by the idea of someone having more than one house when Astrid first told him this.

    As it was now only two weeks before the new school year was set to start, this meant that Teal and his godmother would be making the long trip to the Burkeheart’s London home. Flying straight to London from Teal’s home would take about three days, and that was without stopping. It was for this reason that Teal’s godmother had set up a portkey with the help of one of her friends in the Ministry of Magic, Sergius Diggle, which would take them directly to London. For safety measures, Teal’s godmother had placed the Portkey a short distance from their house.

    Teal smiled as the warm summer breeze blew through his hair and over his face, a massive blur of green and yellow passing beneath his feet. Every now and then another color would make an appearance, various flowers consuming the open fields and hills. They flew higher and higher, making their way above the clouds. They had to make sure to stay hidden, should anyone be around and possibly see them. After what seemed like only a few minutes, Teal’s godmother pulled the broom to an easy stop and lowered them to the ground. Teal looked around to see if he could spot anyone nearby, but the area seemed rather deserted, as was always the case at his house.

    They hopped off the broom and walked the last few feet towards the magical object, half hidden below the tall grass. It was an old, broken, three-fourths-of-what-used-to-be a metal bucket. They had used it to carry ashes in from the fireplace until a magical accident caused its destruction a few years ago. Teal’s godmother had held onto it though, and he had never understood why until last year when she told him about using it as a portkey.

    “We’ve got about two minutes,” Teal’s godmother said as they stopped in front of the bucket. Teal looked up to see her examining her tiny pocket watch. She kept in on a chain around her neck, like a necklace, and usually hidden beneath her robes. Teal looked back at the bucket for a moment, then reached down into his shirt pocket as a thought occurred to him.

    “Alright, Edgar,” The young wizard said as he pulled his tiny green friend out of his pocket. “Last chance to go to the bathroom. I don’t know if there’s anywhere you can go between here and Astrid’s house.” Edgar jumped out of Teal’s hand and hopped a few feet away before coming to a stop. Teal turned back to his godmother. “Thank you.”

    “For what?” she asked curiously, pulling her eyes away from the hands of the watch to look at him.
    
“For letting me go... To Astrid’s.”

    “Of course. Did you think I wouldn’t?” Teal replied with a shrug, turning to look at the bucket again. His true answer was obvious though. “Why would you think that?”

    Teal took a second to answer. He wasn’t quite sure what to say. “I don’t know, I just... I don’t really get to leave home... except for school.”

    There was a long moment of silence before Teal’s godmother replied, but Teal didn’t look at her even then. He felt as though he shouldn’t have said anything, as if maybe he was being ungrateful. “Well... you know we don’t have a lot of money, Teal. We can’t really afford to go on vacations.”

    “No, I didn’t mean vacations,” Teal replied quickly, turning to give his godmother a look that let her know he wasn’t complaining that they didn’t have luxuries like Astrid’s family. “I just meant... I’ve barely ever left home for as long as I can remember. Even when you go on trips, I always have to stay home. I just don’t understand why you never take me...”

    There was another moment of silence, in which Edgar came hopping back and Teal dropped him into his pocket again.

    “...it’s time. We have to go now,” Teal’s godmother finally replied, her voice traced ever so slightly with sadness. “You ready?”

    Teal nodded, attempting to erase the conversation from his mind. He had never even realized that there was anything odd about his godmother always keeping him at home until his first year at Hogwarts. It was only then, talking to other students (mainly Astrid and Jenson), that he realized most kids got to leave home on a regular basis, even if only for short trips to get supplies and such. Perhaps one day he would understand why his godmother didn’t like for him to leave, but that day wasn’t today.

    Teal’s godmother bent over and grabbed the bucket, then held it up until it was about level with Teal’s chest. Teal reached his right hand out and placed it on the curved surface of the bucket. For a few seconds they just stood there, nothing happening, and then, with a great tugging sensation in his stomach, Teal found himself airborne. His hand stuck to the bucket as if it were some sort of strong magnet, while his feet flew out behind him and the world around him blurred past.

    Then, as suddenly as it had come, the sensation left and the bucket released its magical grip on him. Teal landed hard on his feet, but not with enough balance to keep from falling back onto his rear. Almost comically, he shook his head for a second in order to stop everything from spinning, and then picked himself up to stand beside his godmother, who had landed just fine.

    “Right on time!” came a masculine voice from somewhere behind Teal. The young boy turned around to see a stout man in green wizarding robes strutting towards them. Teal recognized him instantly, even though this was only the third time he had seen the wizard in his life. It wasn’t too hard to guess who he was though, had Teal not remembered him, as they were standing in his backyard. “I almost forgot you were coming early this year.”

    “Hello, Sergius,” Teal’s godmother beamed, walking up to greet the man with a hug.

    “Flora,” Sergius replied, an endearing expression on his face as well. “It seems like it’s been longer than three months. How are you?”

    “Doing well. Thank you. And you?”

    “Oh, you know me! Keeping busy as ever! There hasn’t been a whole lot of work-inducing happenings lately, so they’ve entrusted me with the task of creating things for the Ministry workers to do,” Sergius answered, ending his sentence with a wide-eyed laugh. “And young master Teal! How are you this fine morning?”

    “I’m well, Mr. Diggle,” Teal said with a smile. “Thanks.”

    “So, tell me, will you two be joining me for lunch?” Sergius questioned, his hand moving to rest on his belly.

    “Well, I’m afraid Teal has a bit of a schedule to make... but I could stop by for lunch on the way back, if the offer still stands,” Teal’s godmother replied.

    “Of course! Yes, please do,” Sergius chimed, bouncing on the balls of his feet a bit. “Let me not keep you from your schedule any longer, though! You’ll be needing to use the Floo Network to get where you’re going, I assume?”

    “Actually, no. The house we’re going to, despite the many things they do have, isn’t set up with the Network, so we’re going to attempt to make it there on broom without being spotted. If we fly high enough it should be fine.”

    “Oh, nonsense!” Sergius half-shouted, almost cutting Teal’s godmother off. “No need to take such a risk. I can have a Ministry car come and pick you up.”

    “Oh, Sergius, you really don-”

    “I know I don’t have to. I want to! Anything I can do to help an old friend,” he told her with his almost ever-present smile. “It’ll be here in no time.”

    And with that he turned on his heel and bounced into his house through the back door. Teal and his godmother both seemed to hesitate for a second, but then finally followed him inside. Teal couldn’t help but to get a little excited. His godmother had told him about the Ministry of Magic’s vehicles before, but he never thought he would actually get to ride in one.


    **************


    Teal’s face lit up as the Ministry car pulled up in front of the home of one Sergius Diggle, vacant of all forms of life. “There’s no driver!” Teal said excitedly, turning to look at his godmother and Mr. Diggle. Before going to Kings Cross Station last year Teal had only seen a car maybe twice in his life, and now, the first one he was going to ride in drove itself. His excitement was reaching ‘barely containable’.

    “Thank you again, Sergius,” Teal’s godmother said as Teal pressed his face to the back seat window to get a better look, as if he wasn’t about to be sitting inside of it. “I’ve got to apparate back and get his things after I get him there, but then I’ll come back and join you for lunch.”

    “I can’t wait!” Sergius chirped.

    Teal’s godmother turned and opened the passenger side door, then gracefully slid inside. Teal climbed in after her, waving goodbye to Mr. Diggle before closing the door behind them. Almost immediately the car took off down the street. Teal wondered how it knew where to go. Perhaps Mr. Diggle had instructed it ahead of time. Or maybe Ministry cars were psychic. He mentally shrugged and moved on to staring out the window.

    They were soon traveling through a busy part of London, whirring through traffic. Teal’s head spun around like a whirligig, attempting to get a good look at their surroundings. Apart from his trip to Kings Cross Station last year, he had never seen so many buildings in his life, and definitely not in the city. Now, not only was he surrounded by them, but by other cars as well. It was like a treat for him, getting to witness all of this.

    Teal suddenly found himself thinking back to last summer, when he was on his way to Hogwarts for the first time. All of this excitement had then been anxiousness. Not only was all of this such a task for him to take in a year ago, but he was so worried about leaving home and being gone for almost a whole year, away from his godmother and everyone he knew. With the exception of Edgar, of course. Teal pulled back the sleeve of his pocket to check on the frog. Fast asleep.

    It was all just so unusual to think about. Last year he had been so scared to be away from home, and spent most of the school year feeling uncomfortable, wishing he could go back. Then, summer had come, and within a week of being home he was ready to go back to school. Ready to use magic again. Ready to spend time with his friends. He had been so content with his life at home, and then he had discovered a world full of fun activities and infinite possibilities. How could he not miss it, now that he knew it was there? And in that moment, for the first time in his life, Teal felt a small tinge of anger towards his godmother for keeping him from that world for so long.

    The car finally slowed to a stop and Teal pulled himself away from his thoughts to see where they were. “Woah...” Teal drawled. This was a house? It had to be at least six times the size of his, if not bigger. It was a bright, bright blue, more vibrant than the sky above it. The only thing about the house that wasn’t bigger and more extravagant than Teal’s was the yard. While it was more vast and nicely kept than the those of the nearby houses, which weren’t really so nearby, Teal’s yard was literally a field.

    Teal caught sight of someone walking past one of the windows on the first floor and then disappearing out of sight. He was just about to look away from the window when the person took a step back into view, looking out in his direction. They disappeared again and a few seconds later the front door opened slightly, a head popping out from inside. Teal could now clearly see that the head belonged to a man with dark hair and oddly shaped facial hair. He raised an eyebrow in suspicion as he looked out at the car in which Teal and his godmother were still sitting.

    “Astrid!” the man called, turning back slightly into the house. “Did you call the Ministry of Magic on us again? I told you you can’t do that every time we don’t buy you something you want! You already had that same teddy bear in seven different colors!” Teal’s godmother chose that moment to open the car door and step out, allowing the man to fully see her. “Oh... Nevermind, it’s just your friend!”

    The man stepped out of the house completely then and Teal vaguely recognized him as one of Astrid’s dads. He had only seen them the once, at the end of last school year when they had picked her up from platform nine and three-quarters. He hadn’t gotten a very good look at them though. The man made his way down the front steps and across the sidewalk to meet them.

    “Flora. Good to see you again,” he said with a charming smile as he took her hand and kissed it gently. Teal’s godmother smiled in return. “And you must be Teal! You got a... crazy hair thing going on there,” he observed, waving his hand above his head. “I like it. I’m Astrid’s dad, Anson. The cool one.” And with that he stuck out his hand. Teal took his hand and shook, his arm flapping up and down like a spaghetti noodle under Mr. Burkeheart’s grip.

    “It’s nice to meet you,” Teal replied, his body readjusting to being still.

    “Likewise. Astrid told me you were gonna travel light, but this is impressive,” he commented, motioning to Teal’s lack of luggage.

    “Oh, no, we just couldn’t carry his things with us,” Teal’s godmother replied. “They’re back at the house. If you’ll just give me one second...” and without further warning she disappeared, a loud pop filling the air as she vanished.

    “TEAL!”

    Teal’s head shot up to the front door as Astrid came charging out of the house, her arms flapping out beside her as if she was attempting to fly. Teal barely had time to react before she crashed into him, encircling both his waist and arms with her own in an impressive attack-hug. A sudden croak from Edgar caused her to jump back in alarm.

    “Oh my gosh! Edgar! I’m sorry!” The large frog leapt out of Teal’s pocket and landed on Astrid’s shoulder. “Nice to see you too!” she chirped, then turned back to Teal to give him a slightly more proper hug: One where he could actually hug her back. “I’ve missed you sooooooo much!”

    “I missed you too!” Teal replied honestly.

    Another pop filled the air then, causing all three of them to jump, and Teal’s godmother reappeared with all of Teal’s luggage. “Got it,” she said, lifting one of his bags into the air demonstratively. At that moment there came the sound of an angry cat’s meow and they all turned to see what was happening.

    “Nipsy, no!” Astrid shouted, pointing a finger at the cat who was currently running down the sidewalk towards her. Edgar sprang from Astrid’s shoulder onto Teal’s head and Nipsy leapt into the air, attempting to catch him. Both Teal and Astrid screamed and jumped apart as the cat flew towards their faces. Instead of catching the frog, as intended, Nipsy landed on Teal’s godmother’s chest, causing her to cry out in pain and drop the luggage she was holding.

    “Hey!” Anson shouted, reaching forward and plucking the cat from Teal’s godmother’s chest. “We do not attack our guests! That is incredibly impolite. Astrid, control your beast,” he said, tossing the cat to the young Slytherin girl. “Sorry about that,” he apologized, attempting to clear her chest of any unwanted cat hair and claw marks. “I’m... just gonna let you take care of that. Let’s get these bags in the house, shall we?”

    Anson reached for the bags but Teal beat him to it, wanting to grab Astrid’s and Jenson’s gifts first to make sure that they didn’t break. The four of them carried Teal’s bags into the house, following Mr. Burkeheart to the room where he would be staying while he was there, and set them down. Teal’s godmother didn’t stay very long, telling them that she had to get back for lunch with a friend.

    “Here,” she whispered to Teal, pulling him aside and handing him a small satchel.

    “What’s this?” he asked as he took it from her.

    “Galleons, for school supplies. Mr. Burkeheart will be taking you to Diagon Alley to get everything you need for school this year. I want you to look for the least expensive things for what you need, just like last year, okay? There’s not much there, but it should be enough if you don’t buy anything fancy. You can keep whatever is left for candy from the trolley.”

    Teal nodded his understanding and then moved forward to hug his godmother. “Thank you. I love you.”

    “You’re welcome,” she replied softly. “I love you too. See you at Christmas.”

    
They stepped out of the hug and with another loud pop she was gone. Teal turned back to look at Astrid and her dad. Her other dad was apparently at the airport, picking up Jenson. A smile grew on Teal’s face. This was the start of what he knew was going to be a great year.


    Last edited by Tetheas on Wed May 29, 2013 2:32 am; edited 8 times in total
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    MedGrad911
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    And now it's my turn to write:

    Post  MedGrad911 on Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:04 pm

    “This is pretty boss…” Jenson whispered rather loudly to Ezra, who seemed to hoot in agreement.
    Jenson’s mother, surprisingly, had told him that he may spend his last two weeks of summer in England with two of his new friends from school. Though his reunion with his mother and Jason had been tearful and much love and many stories had been exchanged, she had wasted no time in putting him back to work, this time with muggle studies.

    This time last year, Jenson had been informed by a small gentleman in mismatched attire, Professor Filius Flitwick, that he was a rarity – a wizard born to completely muggle, non-magical, parents. Along with this revelation, Jenson had received a full scholarship to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to cover his supplies and even his flight to and from the Southeastern United States to England.

    After Professor Flitwick had helped Jenson turn their living room coffee table a vibrant shade of pink, Jenson’s mother had agreed to allow him to attend the school on the condition that he keep her in touch of the goings on and that he would keep up with his muggle education when he returned.

    True to her word, the day he arrived home, she had presented him with textbooks to have read and workbooks to have finished before he returned to school in September. So in addition to a Potions essay, an Astronomy lunar chart to keep for July, a list of questions to answer for Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms, and a book to have read and written an essay about for Transfiguration, Jenson had to learn the multiplication and division tables up to 20, ‘learn’ to write compound sentences (although he used them all the time), master cursive writing (he didn’t see the point) and read a book from a list about 10 pages long. He had settled on a book of Greek myths. That had been, by far, the most exciting portion of his muggle homework.

    On a quiet Friday evening in mid-July, just as Ms. Shirey had returned home from work, Jenson received a rather strange letter.

    Well, the letter wasn’t quite strange so much as the way in which it was delivered. Just as his mother had settled down to take off her shoes and check on his workbook completion, there was a screech at the back door and, as they both turned to look, a barn owl landed on the banister just outside of the window. Jenson had perked up instantly.

    “Is…is that a school owl?” his mother had asked. A year’s worth of receiving this type of mail service had jaded her to the experience…though she wished that they would send them by ‘muggle post’ every once in a while. “If nothing else, just to give us some more business. Keep’s me in work and all.”

    Noticing the pink and purple bow tied to the owl’s neck, Jenson’s mind had raced. “It’s probably from Astrid. I don’t know anyone else who would decorate their owl.”

    Opening the door, Jenson coaxed the owl in, amazed at how such a tiny owl carried such a relatively large envelope. Jenson checked the envelop face, smiling when he read To Jenson From the Coolest Chick in the World, Astrid Soliel Burleheart.

    “It’s from Astrid alright,” he said with a sigh, opening the letter. His mother looked over his books while he began to read.

    Jenson! I hope your summer has been as awesome as my summer has been, even though it would have been more awesome if you and Teal had been here too, but you will be so ‘yay’ for that! We went to Disneyworld this year and Belle and the Beast were there, but they were fake, but it was still fun, and Mickey and Donald and Minnie and Snow White were there, and -

    Jenson took a second to catch his breath. It’s like she writes exactly what she’s thinking as it comes to mind. He continued reading, finally getting to a part that concerned him.

    Oh! Remember at the end of the year when I told you that you guys were coming to spend the last two weeks before school over here? I just realized that I haven’t sent you a formal invitation, so enclosed is an official invitation. Anyhoo, remember to bring something to wear for my birthday party! The theme is Under The Sea, so make sure you look the part and stuff and be ready to have an awesome time!

    Jenson checked behind the other letter and, sure enough, there was an elaborately decorated letterhead and an invitation to spend the final two weeks before the Hogwarts school year and the Burkeheart home in London, England. Like many other pictures and drawings in the wizarding world, all of the doodles and decorations around the edges of the invitation were moving, dancing and generally seeming to have a good time. A Seahorse was doing the limbo in the bottom right corner while, in the top center, a mermaid was waving excitedly to a sailing ship. Jenson was speechless.

    And that was how he, along with Teal, had been invited to spend the final two weeks before Hogwarts with Astrid and her family at their home in England. When Jenson had shown her his finished workbooks and his nearly finished Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, she had given him the okay.

    “After all, maybe that Hermione girl could help you finish your Hogwarts homework. Or this girl Astrid’s parents.”

    Well, he thought glumly, Hermione would not be there, of that he was nearly certain. On the bright side, he could finally be done with work and not have her comparing notes with him as she often enjoyed doing. And, he thought as he packed his bags excitedly, he would be able to fly again and, perhaps, even use magic? He had shared another tearful goodbye with his mother and brother, especially with Jason. He had not seen much of Jason because he had been busy playing baseball that summer and had practiced until late evening, leaving their only encounters as weekend romps and short, before-bed wrestling matches for the remote.

    His flight, which he had opted to take two weeks early (since his school ticket was open-ended) was uneventful and, after a restless nap, he found himself back in the bustle of the London International Airport.

    He and Ezra had landed, not an hour ago, at the London International Airport, much to the surprise of many a muggle as he exited the plane with his owl and backpack in tow. After picking up his trunk, he took a moment to calm himself. Astrid’s dad was supposed to pick him up…but it was at that moment that Jenson realized that he did not know which dad was picking him up.

    Um…okay. I know that one is a Slytherin…and that’s…Mr. Anson? And her other dad…Eli…plays for the Chudley Cannons. And he’s a Hufflepuff.

    Jenson’s plan had been to look for someone dressed oddly and mention something about muggles, just to gauge their reaction. If it was one of her dads, he would try to figure out which house they belonged to and boom! Instantly impress your friends’ parents. Of course, there didn’t seem to be anyone else there with a huge trunk and an owl, so maybe they would pick him out of the crowd and save him the trouble.

    “You must be Jenson.”

    That had taken considerably less time than he had imagined. Jenson had turned to find a tallish man with a mess of short, dirty-blonde hair, a pair of steel-blue eyes, a rather high, sloping forehead, prominent dimples and a mischievous smile grinning at him as he walked from a nearby coffee kiosk. Jenson was quite taken aback.

    “I- I am. And you would be, Astrid’s -?”

    “- dad. Yes sir, Mr. Shirey, that is one of my many hats. My name,” he said with a sweep of an imaginary hat, “is Eli Jeevas. But please, call me Eli.”

    Jenson was not sure what took him aback the most – his theatrical manner or his obviously well-tailored blue suit which matched his eyes perfectly. Since the only other time Jenson had seen a wizard dressing as a muggle was Professor Flitwick and his…interesting choice of raiment, Jenson had expected that picking the wizard out of this muggle crowd would be like picking out an exploding firework against a night sky.

    “Well, it is a pleasure to meet you Eli,” Jenson said with a broad smile, offering him a hand in greeting.

    Eli took his hand with a grin, and Jenson noticed that, despite Eli’s obviously impeccable grooming (even his molars seem to flash in the fluorescent lighting!), Jenson could feel light calluses running along the pads of Eli’s palm and fingers. As a keeper, Jenson surmised, his hands must take a lot of punishment.

    “Well, that is quite a grip you have there,” Eli said kindly, looking impressed. “I do so hate it when all you get is a limp fish instead of a hearty handshake.”

    “Well, that is one thing I DID learn from my dad…” Jenson said, trying to keep his voice light.

    Eli seemed to sense his slight discomfort with the direction of the conversation, and chose at that precise moment to clap his hands together rather loudly.

    “Well then, master Jenson, shall we get along now? We don’t want to keep Astrid waiting, do we?”

    Jenson grinned at Eli’s suddenly overly grave expression.

    “No, no…that would be terrible.”

    And that is how Jenson managed to find himself standing in front of a house a shade of blue that shamed the August sky above. Jenson’s house was not small, by any means, but this house made his look like a broom cupboard next to a master bedroom. The house was situated in a very tidy neighborhood that was so orderly that Jenson expected, at any minute, a troupe of grandmotherly type-women to be strolling through with cameras around their necks.

    “This is pretty boss…”

    Eli insisted on grabbing his bag and, up till this point, Jenson realized that Eli had yet to use any magic. They had taken their apparently enchanted limousine (it was a bit disconcerting to watch the steering wheel spin without hands), but otherwise nothing that Jenson had seen indicated any magical activity.

    There was an abrupt explosion from the first floor of the house. Jenson could hear someone yelling and, abruptly, the second window to the right of the door flew open with a shower of colorful sparks and smoke visible from the front yard. Jenson heard Eli sigh.

    “He just won’t learn, will he?”

    Jenson looked around the neighborhood, surprised that no one else on the street had come streaking out of the house to find the source of the noise. Eli noticed Jenson’s reaction.

    “Oh, we have placed an anti-muggle charm on this house. Any noises and sights within the edge of the yard are completely unnoticed by neighbors and, whenever a neighbor feels the urge to be neighborly and pay a visit, they suddenly remember a very important meeting that they simply must attend to. Oh bless their little hearts,” he said without a trace of sarcasm, turning to watch a family exit their car down the street.

    Jenson was still concerned.

    “Do you think that they’re alright in there?”

    Eli laughed and turned his attention back to Jenson. “Oh yes, I’m sure that they’re fine. Every so often, Anson tries to whip up something in the kitchen and, Rowling-bless him, he can’t even boil water properly unless it’s in a cauldron.” Still chuckling, he picked up Jenson’s bags and motioned for Jenson to follow him inside. “All those years as an ‘outstanding’ potions student and he still can’t manage to make oatmeal. Wolfsbane potion? No problem. Veritaserum? Sure thing. Bundt cake? Make sure you have St. Mungo’s ready and on alert…”

    Jenson had never heard of Veritaserum or St. Mungo’s, but it all sounded very exciting.

    Just as they reached the door, it burst open and a dark-haired gentleman dressed in a form-fitting button down purple shirt and a pair of equally form-fitting khakis stumbled out of the door, coughing and wiping his eyes with a flowery apron that was tossed over his shoulder. As he recovered, he began brushing himself off, still coughing softly, before realizing that he was no longer alone. He looked up to find both Eli and Jenson staring at him, Jenson with a look of concern, Eli with a look of amusement. As he started to say something, the dark-haired gentleman, Jenson assumed Anson, raised a finger in warning.

    “I don’t want to hear it. I know that we agreed that I would stay out of the kitchen and that I then agreed that our agreement was discriminatory and that you were being a spoil-sport. I take it that you’re Jenson?” He said smoothly, turning his attention from Eli so nonchalantly that it took Jenson a second to recover.

    “Oh, uh, yes sir.”

    He had a closely-cropped beard covering his chin and an equally tidy mustache, both of which were currently dusted in what looked like flour. He brushed some off as he took a step forward, offering his hand in greeting.

    “I’m Anson, Anson Burkeheart. I’ve heard things about you from Astrid.”

    Jenson suddenly felt nervous as he shook Anson’s hand. Anson’s gaze reminded him of Dumbledore’s soul-piercing stare. “Good things, I certainly hope.”

    “Oh, this and that…” Anson said with mock gravity, waving his hand in a flimsy, wishy-washy manner. As he released Jenson’s hand, he said, “That’s a fine handshake you got there. You get a lot of practice?”

    Eli groaned as Jenson looked confused. He pushed past Anson, bumping him lightly with his shoulder. “He’s 12, Anson. Jesus…”

    “I don’t underst-“

    “Ah it’s fine, it’s fine. Well, doesn’t make sense to stand on the porch all day. Let’s go inside and alert the queen that you have arrived. Wait until you see what she’s planned for you three…”

    He ushered Jenson through the door, chuckling evilly.




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    filigreewitch
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    Re: Chapter One

    Post  filigreewitch on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:07 pm

    "I'm so glad you two are finally here!" Astrid exclaimed as she led Jenson to her room.

    "Your house." Jenson simply stated as they climbed the elaborate staircase.

    "Thank you!"

    The two friends climbed the rest of the stairs, Jenson looking around.

    "Here we are," Astrid said in sing song voice as she opened the purple door.

    They were greeted with piano music. Jenson stepped inside the door.

    "It's very... Astridy," he said carefully, eying the overflowing bookshelf and the purple and yellow floor.

    Astrid giggled. "Thanks! Teal was overwhelmed. I think he still is a bit."

    She went over to the tower.

    "Where is Teal?"

    "In the tower," she explained, pulling the string that pulled down the stairs. "playing the piano. Or he was."

    Astrid and Jenson climbed the stairs and found Teal at the telescope.
    Jenson stared around the room, coming out of his awestruck, slightly.

    "This is awesome, Astrid!" Jenson complimented.

    "Thank you!"

    "Hey Teal," Jenson greeted.

    "Hey Jenson," Teal replied with a bright smile.

    "How was your flight?" Astrid asked.

    "It was fine," he answered, distracted.

    The three friends climbed back down the tower. Astrid flopped back onto her bed.

    "So what do you two want to do? There's the pool, the tennis court, the bowling alley, and there's the movie room."

    Jenson and Teal were floored.

    "I know," Astrid said getting up and walking to her desk.
    She got four small pieces of paper and wrote on them. She then got her Chudley Cannons hat and scrambled the papers. She pulled out a piece of paper.

    "Bowling!" She exclaimed. "Come on!"

    Astrid, Jenson, and Teal made their way down the main staircase to a door, then down some other stairs to another door where the bowling lanes were.

    "Pick a ball, guys," Astrid instructed as she picked up her own purple ball.

    Teal picked up a ball and immediately put it back. He picked up another and felt the weight, deciding on that one. Jenson picked up the right ball on the first try. The two boys walked over to Astrid who was writing their names on the score sheet.

    "This is going to be fun!"

    Astrid walked toward the lane and tossed the ball down the lane. The ball veered to the left knocking down only four pins. She walked back to retrieve her ball.

    "I know," she said looking at the boys' faces, misreading them completely. "You'd think since I have a bowling alley, I'd be really good; but that is not the case."

    Teal and Jenson looked at one another as Astrid walked away, throwing the ball down the aisle. She knocked down three more.

    "Aww, poo," she whined walking to the score card. "Your turn, Jenson."

    Astrid recorded her own scores and watched Jenson walk down the aisle.
    Jenson threw the ball down the aisle and managed to knock over eight pins.

    "Way to go, Jenson!" Astrid cheered as she marked the number down.

    Jenson tossed the ball down the lane once more, striking down the final two pins.

    "Spare! Right on!" Astrid complimented. "You've played before?"

    "Dabbled," he said, sitting down in his original seat.

    "You're up Teal."

    Teal slowly walked up to the lane, mimicking what Jenson and Astrid had done. He put his fingers in the holes before releasing it down the lane. The ball struck one pin.
    "Go Teal!" Astrid cheered with the same enthusiasm as she had with Jenson.

    Teal picked up his ball.

    "Don't worry; everyone starts somewhere." Astrid smiled.

    Teal threw the ball for his last turn; he guttered. He made his way back to his seat.

    The friends continued to play. Jenson was by far the better bowler. He had just made his second strike when they heard Eli's voice.

    "All children please report to the dining room. All children to the dining area."

    Teal and Jenson looked around the room.

    "Let's go!" Astrid grabbed Teal's and Jenson's hands and scurried up the stairs.

    The trio sat down at the dining table. Astrid immediately went to grab a slice of toast. Eli slapped her hand away.

    "Ow," she said in shock. "What?"

    "Guests go first. I already had to explain that Anson."

    Astrid looked over at her dad where he sat slumped over, eying the food.

    "Well go on," Eli said cheerfully.

    Jenson and Teal moved to get a slice of toast and spaghetti.

    "Now, I'll go next since we have some greedy hands."

    By this point Astrid was in the same position as Anson.

    "Can we get food now?" Anson asked, unamused.

    "Please." Eli said.

    Anson and Astrid lunged forward to fill their plates.

    "So what have you three been up to?" Eli asked, making dinner conversation.

    "Bowling," Astrid answered. "Jenson was kicking our butts! Wasn't he, Teal?"

    Teal choked a little on his drink. "Yes, he was," he sputtered.

    "And how are you two adjusting here?"

    "Wh-What do you mean?" Teal asked, obviously confused.

    "Just, how are you adjusting?"

    "This house is... big. It's very nice."

    "And Jenson?" Eli asked putting a forkful of spaghetti into his mouth.

    "It's like the world's greatest hotel, I imagine."

    Eli smiled. "Why, thank you. But I meant how are you adjusting to the magical world?"

    "Oh. I'm taking it one day at a time," he answered.

    The group ate in silence for a few minutes before Anson spoke up.
    "What does your mother do, Jenson?"

    Jenson quickly swallowed his food before answering.

    "She's a postal worker. She sorts mail and ensures that addresses are correct."

    "Solid work. And your godmother, Teal? What does she do?"

    "She travels and helps people with different things. Like, sometimes she transports plants, or she heals... different things."

    "She works with plants?" Anson asked intrigued. "Maybe she could help with our Venus Flytrap. She isn't eating flies."


    "What is she eating?" Jenson asked, slightly afraid to find out. Anson replied only with a suggestive eyebrow raise.

    Astrid rolled her eyes and violently shoved toast in her mouth.

    The group finished eating in near silence.

    "It was delicious, Mr. Jeevas." Jenson complimented when he was finished.

    "Thank you."

    "Okay; we're going to do stuff now," Astrid said, pulling on the two boys' hands.

    Astrid plopped onto the couch in the family room.

    "I'm so excited about the party tomorrow! I can't wait to see what you two dress up as!" Astrid's eyes lit up. "You should tell me now!"

    Jenson opened his mouth but Astrid cut him off. "No. Don't. I want to surprised!"

    The three friends stayed up fairly late talking and having fun. At ten thirty Eli came into the room and told them it was time for bed.

    "Night," they told each other as they parted ways.

    The next morning Astrid woke up, excited. She ran through the hall banging on her parents' door as well as Teal's and Jenson's doors. Teal and Jenson came out of their rooms rubbing their eyes.

    "Breakfast time," Astrid explained.

    She opened her parents' door after knocking. They weren't in bed. She slid down the railing of the stairs and waited for Teal and Jenson, who had walked down the stairs.

    Eli was walking around the corner and ran into Astrid. She stumbled before righting herself against the wall.

    "Oh good; y'all are awake. Breakfast is ready."

    They made their way to the garden and sat around the table.

    "It was a pretty morning so we decided to eat out here," Anson explained.

    "I like your cow pajamas, Mr. Burkeheart." Jenson said, high-fiving him.

    "Thank you! I'm rather fond of them myself."

    "So, Astrid, are you excited for your party?" Anson asked.

    "Mmhmm!" She answered as she put gravy on her biscuit.

    "How did you sleep last night?" Eli asked the boys.

    "Great! There was so much room on the bed!" Jenson answered animatedly.

    "Very comfortable," Teal agreed.

    "People will be arriving at eleven," Eli reminded Astrid. "So after you finish eating; I want you to hurry up and get dressed."

    "Okay."

    "And while you're doing that, we'll be transforming the ballroom," Anson said.

    "I can't wait!"

    Astrid scarfed down her food so she could hurry up and get dressed.
    Teal watched Astrid, enthralled by her fast eating.

    "Okay! I'm done! I'm going to take a shower and get dressed! I'll see you two when we're all dressed. At ten thirty!"

    Astrid disappeared into the house leaving Teal and Jenson outside with her dads.

    Astrid stepped out of the shower in a towel and walked up to the mirror. She brushed her hair and ran a hair dryer through it. She then braided her hair to one side and let it hang over her shoulder. Astrid then moved to her closet to put on her mermaid costume. It was a shimmery purple and blue and the bottom had two opaque fins off to either side.

    It was nearing ten thirty so Astrid left and knocked on the boys' doors. Jenson stepped out first.

    "Prince Eric?" Astrid guessed at his costume.

    "Right-a-mundo."

    "It's very good! I'm a mermaid! But I guess you can see that."

    "The dress is-"

    Teal came out of his room and fell into the wall. Jenson hopped around Astrid and helped him up. Astrid spun around. Teal was in a homemade costume that looked like a fish with two eyes on one side.

    "Teal! That's a great... What are you supposed to be?"

    "A flounder. My godmother made it," he said.

    "Well, it's very lovely," Astrid complimented. "I just hope you can get down the stairs okay."

    "Umm..." Teal sounded.

    "Daddy!" Astrid yelled from the top of the stairs.

    Anson appeared at the bottom of the stairs. "Yes?"

    "Teal needs help down the stairs."

    Anson looked confused. Teal hopped beside Astrid while holding onto Jenson.

    "Ah," Anson said.

    The black haired man walked up the stairs and threw Teal over his shoulder and made his way back down. Astrid and Jenson were on his heels. Anson let Teal down in front of the door to the ballroom. Anson stuck his head through the door.

    "The children are ready."

    "One moment." Eli answered.

    "It looks fine, Eli. I don't think there's much more you can do without actually have us be under water."

    "But I just need to-"

    Anson looked at the children and smiled widely before turning back.
    "Eli!" Anson interrupted. "It looks wonderful."

    "Fine. But if I hear one complaint, I'm blaming you!"

    "That's perfectly acceptable."

    "Okay, okay. Bring them in."

    Anson opened the doors and revealed the room.

    "Whoa," the three kids said unison.

    The room was decorated with seaweed, star fish, sea anemones, coral, and other under the water things on the walls. There was a Great Barrier Reef type place in the corner and the lights on the ceiling were blue, purple, and pink giving the whole room an underwater look. The floor was amazing, bewitched to look like gentle waves on the ocean floor.

    "It. is. AMAZING!" Astrid ended, shouting.

    "I'm glad you like it. It took us ages to perfect it," Anson said, proudly.

    Eli cleared his throat. "I believe I did all the work."

    "Pish posh."

    "All you did was make the Great Barrier Reef," Eli said calling Anson out.

    Anson stuck out his tongue.

    "Well, what do you guys think?" Astrid asked her friends.

    "Greatest hotel ever," Jenson joked.

    Teal stood there, eyes wide, looking around.

    The clock struck eleven and the doorbell rang.

    "I'll get it!" Astrid yelled running to the door.

    "Not if I get it first!" Anson replied.

    Father and daughter took off towards the front door, Anson lagging only a bit.

    Astrid put her hand on the doorknob. "Ha!"

    "You cheated!"

    Astrid laughed as she opened the door. Severus Snape and The Malfoys once again greeted her at the door.

    "Ah, Severus, Lucious. Welcome! And the lovely, Cissy. Do come in all."

    The four guests walked in. Draco was behind them, looking sour. Astrid caught a laugh in her throat and threw her hand up to cover her smile.
    "Not a word, Burkeheart." Lobster-Draco instructed.

    Astrid shook her head but was struggling to keep her laughter away.

    "Astrid, show them to the ballroom. More people are arriving."

    Astrid led the way to the room, shoulders shaking every few seconds from muffled laughter. She let them enter the room before she ran over to her friends.

    The last of the guests arrived a few moments later; the Potters.

    'Why is he here?' Astrid whined in her brain. 'I didn't invite them. Then again, I didn't invite Snape or the Malfoys.'

    The adults went off near the Great Barrier Reef which was code for alcohol corner. Jenson, Astrid, and Teal were in the center of the dance floor dancing, after being drug out there by Astrid.

    "That's a lovely costume, Malfoy," Harry rudely said.

    Draco groaned and ripped off the costume and threw it to the side, leaving him in black slacks and a white tank top. Harry left Draco standing there and sought out Astrid.

    "Happy Birthday, Astrid," Harry said, taking Astrid's hand and kissing it.

    "Thanks," Astrid said wiping off her hand on her dress.

    "I like your costume," He complimented.

    Astrid kind of smiled and moved away from him.

    "Game time," she announced.

    Eli put up the picture of the quidditch player on the wall.

    "Okay, line up kiddies. It's time for Pin the Snitch on the Quidditch Player," Anson announced. "Who's first?"

    "Me, me, me. Meeee!" Astrid shouted, raising her hand and jumping.
    "Okay birthday girl, come on up!"

    Astrid went up to her dad. He handed her the snitch, put the black fold on her, and spun her around five times. Astrid walked crookedly toward the direction of where she thought the player was. She stuck in the pin and removed the blind fold, excitedly. She pinned the snitch on the player's butt.

    "Not quite close enough," Eli said.

    "Next!" Anson called.

    Jenson stepped up. The same procedure was done to him and he walked wobbly toward the player and stuck the snitch pin in. He removed the blind fold and saw that he had stuck the pin in the player's arm.

    "That's pretty close." Jenson said happily.

    "Next!"

    Harry stepped up and pinned the snitch on the player's mouth.

    "Are you trying to kill him, Harry?" James, his dad, joked.

    "Next!"

    "Go on, Teal," Jenson cheered.

    Teal wobbled slowly to Anson to have himself blind-folded and spun around. Teal took two steps and fell over but not before sticking the snitch in the player's foot.

    "Oh my gosh!" Astrid and Jenson called out.

    Eli helped up Teal and set him right.

    "I think your costume is a little binding," James said.

    Astrid looked at James through squinted eyes. She had caught the undertone in his voice.

    "Are you alright?" Jenson asked.

    "I'm fine. It is a little binding, isn't it?"

    "It looks good," Astrid said comfortingly.

    "Next!" Anson called. "Come on, Draco!"

    Draco was sitting at a table at the far end of the room. Astrid walked over to him.

    "Come on. You should play! It's more fun than it looks! Especially when you get all dizzy and try to walk!"

    "No thank you."

    "Aww. Please! It's okay to have fun and enjoy yourself. Come on!"

    Astrid pulled Draco over against his will and placed him in front of Anson. Anson handed Draco the snitch, placed the blind fold on him, and spun him around. Draco walked slowly and carefully but still shaky towards the player. He pushed the pin in and removed the blind fold.

    "And the winner is, Draco Malfoy!" Eli called out.

    Draco had placed it right on the tip of his fingers. Astrid grabbed the prize of two tickets to the Chudley Cannons Quidditch Match and handed them to Draco.

    "Oh neat!" Draco exclaimed taking them from her.

    "Cake time!" Anson yelled!

    Eli pushed in a two-tiered cake that was blue and had characters from "The Little Mermaid" all over it. And two candles on top; a "1" and "2". The lot sang "Happy Birthday" awkwardly. She made a wish and blew out the candles.

    "Line up to get your cake!" Anson yelled as he set Astrid down.

    Astrid, Jenson, and Teal sat at one table, chatting. While the grown ups, Harry, and Draco sat at another table.

    "So, are you guys enjoying yourselves?" Astrid asked.

    "Definitely! I was just hoping to win that snitch game. It was very fun though!" Jenson said happily. "And this cake is delicious."

    "Delicious," Teal agreed.

    "It's my favorite! Sprinkled vanilla with sprinkle icing!"

    When everyone finished eating cake Anson brought out the presents.
    Astrid grabbed a present and read the tag. It was from Teal. She quickly opened it to reveal a purple flowere clip.
    "This is so pretty, Teal. Thank you!" Astrid said and clipped it in her hair.

    The next one was from Jenson. She opened the long skinny box. Inside was the most beautiful Quick Notes Quill Astrid had ever seen.

    "It's so beautiful! Thank you, Jenson. This was perfect."

    Anson handed her one from the other side. It was from Harry. Astrid rolled her eyes and opened it. Inside was a doll that looked eerily like her and had a Ravenclaw uniform on with a detached Ravenclaw scarf.

    'Of course. He gets me something I love but I don't like him. So should I like this doll? Curse you, Harry Potter.' Astrid thought.

    "Thank you Harry. The doll is really pretty."

    "It's kind of eerie," Anson said.

    Eli knocked Anson's arm.

    "But pretty," he added.

    Then Snape handed her a present. It was a slip of paper that had "one free E" in Snape's handwriting.

    "I suppose you can use that if you manage to achieve a low test score," He explained further, his voice as dull and menacing as always.

    "Wow; that's great! Thank you!"

    She then opened the biggest one, from her parents. It was the Super Nintendo that had come out the year before. Astrid screamed in excitement. She had been wanting this since it came out. They also got her four games: The Legend of Zelda- A Link to the Past, Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, Super Castlevania IV, and Super Mario World.

    "Thanks, dads! This is awesome! Thank you everyone!"

    As the group dispersed to go back to their conversations, Astrid found a little present under wrapping paper. It was jewelry a box with a silver ribbon on it. There was no name. Astrid opened the box and inside was a bracelet with a star that matched her necklace. She looked over at Draco. He was watching her. She smiled and nodded her thanks. He nodded back. She put it on and joined her friends.

    A while later the party was dying down and people started leaving.

    "I'll be back. I have to go say goodbye to the guests," Astrid told Jenson and Teal, leaving them at the table.

    The Potters were the first to leave.

    "Thank you for inviting us," James said.

    "I love the room," Lily complimented.

    "Thank you." Anson said.

    "Thank you for coming," Astrid said tightly.

    "See you in school, Astrid," Harry said as they left.

    Snape came up then. "I should get going. I have to set up for the new year. That coupon is only good for this year," he told Astrid.

    "Oh don't worry! I'll use it," She laughed.

    "It was good seeing you again, Severus." Anson said.

    "You as well. You as well."

    Finally the Malfoys left.

    Lucius and Narcissa were talking to Anson and Eli. Astrid looked at Draco.

    "Thank you for the present. I'm sorry I kind of laughed at you before."

    "It's okay. I felt ridiculous," Draco said.

    "Well, you don't now. You look like a cute cast away."

    "Cute?"

    "Did I say cute?" Astrid laughed nervously.

    "I like your costume," Draco said instead.

    "Thank you. Want to know a secret?"

    Draco shook his head.

    "I threw the pinning game. I meant to lose. I get to go to the games for free all the time. But I've never seen you at a Chudley Cannons game."

    "Yeah; my father doesn't really... Well you know."

    "Unfortunately. But anyway, thank you for coming."

    They kind of hugged goodbye, which shocked them both.

    "Yeah, uh, bye," Draco said and walked by his mom.

    The Malfoys walked outside.

    "We'll be there next year," Anson called as he closed the door.

    "Where will we be going?" Astrid asked as the three of them went back into the ballroom.

    "To Draco's birthday party next year," Eli answered.

    "Cool."

    Astrid walked over to Teal and Jenson.

    "Who's ready to change?" She asked, raising her hand.

    "I am," Teal said. "I'm getting hot."

    "Daddy," Astrid called once more. "Can you take Teal upstairs?"

    "On it," Anson said as he hoisted the boy over his shoulder again.

    "I'm kind of comfortable," Jenson commented.

    "I think you had one of the most comfortable costumes. Well before Draco took off his lobster costume. Also, what was Harry supposed to be? Prince Eric's waiter? Well, I'm off to change!"

    The rest of the day went by fairly fast. They had cheeseburgers and fries for supper and the group watched a movie in the movie room: "The Breakfast Club". After the movie was bed time. Astrid told her friends and dads goodnight and fell face-first into her bed. She was exhausted but she wanted to try out the Quick Notes Quill. She took it out of the case and opened her journal where she wrote until she fell asleep.
    avatar
    Tetheas
    Admin

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    Age : 27

    Re: Chapter One

    Post  Tetheas on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:28 am

    Astrid’s birthday party had been an interesting event. It was the first one Teal had ever been to, and he had the feeling that, like everything else seemed to be in Astrid’s home, it was more extravagant than it would have been for most people. The party ended and they moved on to supper, after which they watched a movie: “The Breakfast Club”.

    Teal had never watched a movie before. Like Hogwarts, his house ran by means of magic, not electricity, and though he knew enough about electricity to understand how it worked, (his godmother had tried to give him some information about the Muggle world during his lessons at home, though she found the wizarding world to be far more important) he had never witnessed it very far past the point of lighting a building. Daily life in Astrid’s house was an avenue of new experiences for him. The simple act of heating food or finding a source of entertainment was entirely different here, not to mention the electronic box that Astrid had called a computer.

    “The Breakfast Club” turned out to be a movie about five teenagers who had gotten Saturday morning detention at their Muggle school, and was filled with words that Teal’s godmother would be shocked to know he was hearing. Teal wanted to say that maybe they shouldn’t be watching this movie. Maybe his first cinematic experience should be something more “their age”. But he didn’t. If Astrid’s dads were letting them watch it, then it must be okay. Perhaps this was just one of those things that he didn’t understand the way everyone else did.

    Despite the language he knew he was forbidden to use and the adult conversations the teenagers were having, Teal found himself actually learning a lot about the Muggle world from the movie. The most depressing discovery of all for Teal, however, was not that some teachers were mean and wrong (he knew Professor Snape, after all), or that people stole things for no other reason than the fact that they could. It wasn’t that some kids had parents who didn’t love them, who didn’t care about them, who treated them badly. It wasn’t even that sometimes you have to pretend to be someone you don’t want to be because you feel like it’s the only way you can survive. No. The most depressing discovery for Teal was that “when you grow up, your heart dies.”

    “Who cares?” the boy on the screen had asked.

    “I care,” the girl replied.

    “I care,” thought Teal. “I really, really care...”


    ****************


    They headed up to their rooms that night, Teal’s heart still heavy with the frightening knowledge he had just gained. It wasn’t until he reached for the doorknob of the room he was staying in that he remembered something very important. Jenson’s gift.

    “Jenson!” Teal called, trying to keep his voice simultaneously soft, as it was now time for bed. The Ravenclaw boy turned his head to look at Teal from the room next door, which he was about to enter to go to sleep himself. “I forgot,” Teal informed him, “I have to give you your present.”

    Teal rushed inside his room and over to the end table, where the wrapped gift was sitting, exactly where he had first placed it. He snatched it up as carefully as he could and returned to the Hallway. “Happy Birthday, Jenson,” he said as he handed the wrapping-covered statue to him.

    Jenson fumbled with the paper for a second, struggling in the dark hallway to find the adhesive that held the paper together, before he finally just gave in and ripped it apart. Teal watched for Jenson’s expression as his eyes landed on the small statue, self-conscious about the gift. Even though it had felt like a fitting gift as he made it, Teal still wasn’t sure that Jenson would really like it. It hadn’t felt... close. It had felt like something that was made for Jenson, not something that existed for him.

    Jenson smiled, but Teal couldn’t tell if it was genuine or not. Now that he knew people pretended to be other things sometimes, how could he be sure? “Thank you, Teal!” Jenson said, seeming excited. “You didn’t have to get me anything.”

    Teal shrugged, forcing a tiny smile onto his face.

    “I wanted to...”


    ****************


    The next few days would blur together in Teal’s memory as a plethora of tiny adventures and huge amounts of fun. They watched several more movies, including “The Little Mermaid”, (which Astrid’s birthday had apparently been inspired by) and Astrid and Jenson sang along with all of the songs. Teal found himself to be enjoying this movie far better than the first one he had seen. It was magical in a way that magic wasn’t.

    “You know, mermaids don’t really look like that,” Teal had informed his two friends at first. “If you saw one, you would know it wasn’t a human.” He had never actually seen one himself, except for illustrations in books, but his godmother had assured them that they were accurate.

    Astrid gave him a curious look, both informed and slightly agitated, as if this wasn’t new information to her, but he had somehow just ruined something she loved by pointing it out. She pursed her lips for a second before smiling and saying, “It’s just a cartoon, Teal. Fish can’t really talk, either.”

    Teal didn’t bother telling her that some of them could, even though they were very rare, or in some cases enchanted. He didn’t think she would appreciate it very much.

    A few more games of bowling improved Teal’s skill, though he wasn’t sure where or when he’d ever get to play it again. (Though he loved the idea of visiting Astrid’s house again, there were no official plans to do so yet, and therefore no way of knowing if it would actually happen.) Astrid’s skill level seemed to stay about the same, but it was hard to tell about Jenson, as he had continued to beat both of them from their first game, and spent so much of the game goofing off that it was difficult to decipher which points he made by direct intention and which ones he made by luck.

    “Hey, dad, can Teal and Jenson fly around on two of your brooms for a bit?” Astrid had asked Eli one day after she spotted Teal staring at one of the enchanted sweepers enviously. Eli had gone to one of the closets, moved around inside for a moment, and returned with a broom in each hand, smiling at the two boys as he handed them over.

    They had been flying around for close to an hour -- Astrid lying on the grass and writing in one of her notebooks as they did -- when Eli had come outside and called them back to the ground. He didn’t look or sound angry, but for the briefest of moments Teal felt as though they were about to be reprimanded for something. Eli’s actual reason for calling them was quite the opposite, though.

    “You two are pretty good, for only having a little bit of experience on brooms,” he told the two boys as they landed on the soft, green grass.

    “Oh, Teal’s got more than a little experience,” Jenson replied quickly, partially to shift the attention away from himself. He still felt very uncomfortable with flying, even though he found it enjoyable. “He was basically already an expert by the time we had our first lesson.”

    “Well, I can’t say I’m surprised, given some of the tricks you were pulling up there,” Eli said to Teal, smiling.

    “I was pulling tricks?” Teal asked, not realizing that flying in any way other than the traditional form constituted as this.

    “Have you ever considered playing Quidditch?”

    “Um, no sir,” Teal replied, feeling as though he was letting Astrid’s father down.

    “Why not? You’ve definitely got the skill.”

    “I... um...” Teal wasn’t sure how to reply. He knew how he felt, but not how to communicate it. “I... I like flying, but... I think... I think if I had to do it, I wouldn’t like it so much anymore...”

    “Nobody would be making you do it,” Eli replied through a bit of a chuckle. “I mean, you’d have to try out first, and then if you get on the team, which you definitely would, you-”

    “Teal doesn’t like sports, dad!” Astrid called from her leisurely pose on the grass. Nipsy, who had been lying beside her peacefully, jumped up and began chasing a fly that had decided to move in too close.

    “Well, that’s a shame,” Eli told Teal as he turned back to him. “You would make an excellent Seeker. What about you, Jenson?”

    “Me? I... I’m really not that good. I just think flying is kind of fun. There’s nothing like it in the Muggle world.”

    “Well, I don’t know about that. I mean, you could use some practice, sure, but I think you have some definite potential...” Eli looked Jenson up and down, trying to get a read on his build. Jenson gave him a quizzical look in return, trying to figure out where he was getting this idea from. “Let’s see something,” Eli said as he took a step closer to Jenson and tapped on his broom without warning. “Up!”

    Jenson gasped as the broom shot up into the air, his grip on it increasing reflexively. His feet kicked below him, as if attempting to run in mid air, while the broom came to a halt and hovered above his head. When he finally looked down his panic resided a bit. He was only a few feet off the ground. It had felt like much higher during the course of his ascension.

    “Um... what’s the test, exactly?” Jenson asked, his body dangling loosely beneath the broom.

    “Just like I thought, you do have a firm grip,” he replied, more to himself than to Jenson. “Let’s just hope Anson was wrong about why...” he murmured.

    “What was that?”

    “Nothing! I was just deducing that you might make a pretty good Beater... curse you, Anson,” he finished, shaking his head.

    “Those are the ones that whack the balls with sticks, right?”

    “...yep.” Eli replied slowly. “That’s them...”

    He called the broom back down a few minutes later, once Jenson was really beginning to struggle to hold on, and they continued talking about Quidditch, moving on to more technical terms and explanations that Teal neither cared about nor understood. He lifted his broom about a foot off the ground, then laid across it as easily as if it were several inches wider, and drifted over to Astrid.

    “What are you writing?” he asked, having been curious for some time now. She had already filled up several pages with whatever it was just since they had gotten outside.

    “Just my journal. I haven’t written anything for a few days, and I want to make sure I have everything that happens this summer. I want to remember it forever.”

    “Cool... Can I read it?”

    “It’s... kind of private, Teal. No offense! It’s just, journals are only supposed to be read by the person who writes them, that way they’re free to express their thoughts, even the ones that they’re not sure about or don’t want other people to see,” she explained, as if talking to a young child.

    “Oh. Why do you want to remember your thoughts?”

    “Well... lots of reasons! I guess for me... mainly so I can remember what I was thinking when certain things happened, and stuff like that. But, also so one day, when I’m older, I can read back over this and see how much I’ve grown up and changed. Like a mental chart, almost!”

    Teal made no verbal reply, but stared off into the distance, contemplating this new information. He had seen Astrid writing in books many times before at school, but he had never thought twice about it. He had always figured they were notes for classes or something of the like. This seemed to make sense, though: what she was saying. Teal wondered if maybe he should start a journal. He knew he had already learned a lot in the past year, but it was hard to remember exactly what. It would be neat to be able to look back and see. Then again, he didn’t like writing nearly as much as Astrid... He would have to think about it.

    Over the course of their two weeks at Astrid’s house, Teal also tried his hand at tennis, which he turned out to be, unsurprisingly, not very good at. Like with bowling, he had to be taught everything about the game, as he was fairly certain he had never even heard of it before, and definitely didn’t know how to play. Once again, Jenson ended up being the best of the three friends, but didn’t play quite as much as Astrid and Teal, as he had begun taking some flying lessons from Astrid’s dad.

    When it got dark outside, Teal would take every opportunity to lie in Astrid’s backyard and look up at the star-filled sky. It was the only thing their two houses had in common. Every single thing about the two buildings and their surroundings was completely different, but they had the same beautiful sky.

    “I like the stars, too,” came Astrid’s soft voice, suddenly, one night. Teal must have been caught in a fantasy because he hadn’t noticed her join him. After the initial scare of her sudden presence, he turned his head to the side to look at her. She was mimicking his position, eyes glued to the giant glittering canvas above them.

    “They’re really beautiful,” Teal replied after a second, turning his attention upwards again.

    “Yeah... that’s one of the reasons I like them. They’re so magical. So full of dazzling mystery. Each one is so bright that we can see it from lightyears away.” She let out a content sigh. “They remind me of my dream: to be a famous journalist. I’m gonna be more famous than Rita Skeeter herself: that crazy, old bat. There won’t be a Witch or Wizard alive who hasn’t read at least one of my articles. I’ll be everyone’s number one source for honest information. And one day, when I’ve finally reached my potential, I’ll be shining so bright that every star in the sky will weep with envy... it’s gonna be awesome!”

    “That’s a really big dream.”

    “Yeah... I know.”

    A peaceful silence fell, only to be disturbed by the sound of padded footsteps a few moments later. Jenson collapsed on the other side of Teal. “What are you guys talking about?”

    “The stars,” Astrid answered, her smile evident through her words.

    “I should have guessed,” Jenson replied with a smile of his own. “Did you know that, as far away as the stars are, it takes their light so long to reach us that some of them have already died, and what we’re seeing now is not even there any more? We’re literally looking at the past.”

    “I know!” Astrid replied, clearly upset as she pushed herself up on her elbows to look at Jenson. “I used to think stars lived forever!”

    “Nothing lives forever,” Jenson replied calmly. “Everything has to die at some point: people, animals, the earth, the stars... marriages.”

    Your heart
    , Teal thought.

    “Wow...” Astrid replied after a few seconds of silence. “Way to make everything super depressing.” She laid back down and the three friends continued to stare up at the sky.

    “It’s just a simple fact... everything dies eventually.”

    “My parents died...”

    
Astrid and Jenson turned to look at Teal simultaneously.

    “I’m sorry, Teal,” Jenson replied softly.

    Teal turned to look at him, his brow furrowed. “Why? You didn’t kill them.”

    “Well... no, but, I’m sorry that it happened.”

    “We both are,” Astrid added, slipping her hand into his.

    “Oh...” Teal turned back to the sky again. “I don’t even remember them.”

    “What does your godmother say about them?” Astrid asked.

    “She doesn’t... she doesn’t like to talk about them. I don’t know why. I think maybe she’s just sad that they’re gone. They were friends, and now they’re gone. She just tells me that they were good people, and that I should be proud to be their son. ‘They died an honorable death’... I’m not really sure what that means.”

    “Honorable is like when-”

    “Astrid,” Jenson interrupted her. “I don’t think that’s what he meant...”

    “Oh...”

    Another silence fell, this one longer and less peaceful than the first. They just laid there, looking at the stars, reminding them each of different things: beginnings and endings, the past and the future, loss and gain. And so the silence continued in this fashion, seeming to last for both an eternity and a matter of seconds, before the sound of Mr. Burkeheart’s voice brought them back to the present.

    “Okay, kids! Time for bed! You need to be rested for our trip to Diagon Alley tomorrow so I don’t have to drag around three tiny, sleepless bodies!”

    With one last, longing look at the sky, the three friends picked themselves up off of the soft lawn and shuffled into the house. They hugged each other goodnight and then made for their respective rooms, doing their best to clear their busy minds. Tomorrow was a big day.


    Last edited by Tetheas on Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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    MedGrad911
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    Continued bro (sorry for the hiatus)

    Post  MedGrad911 on Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:15 am

    “Well, that should be everything I need for tomorrow.”

    Jenson glanced at his bedside table, to where the tiny figurine stood guard. Roughly 4 inches tall, it resembled Jenson most uncannily, down to his sloppy, dark hair and his magnanimous mandible. Even its glasses, which were thankfully not removable, looked just like his own. That Teal had crafted this from memory…impressed wasn’t a strong enough word to describe what Jenson was feeling.
    Fascinated? Perhaps that was it. Either way, Teal’s mental imagery must be top-notch to have done this without something to work from…even a photograph.

    I wonder what else he can do with such a powerful imagination…

    Jenson, now that he had finished all of his muggle schoolwork and was nearly finished with his Hogwarts summer work, had also finished reading his first year text books as well as several books that Hermione had lent him by owl, including some advanced spellwork books. Among the reading, he had come across a spell called the ‘Patronus’ charm, which was said to repel Dementors, a creature of intensely foul magic.

    It required a ‘feeling or memory of extreme elation and exuberance.’ The more vivid the recollection or thought, the more powerful the charm. So for an artist with a vivid imagination…

    Speaking of elation, Jenson glanced back around his room. The bed, a queen-sized monstrosity with four carefully carved posts and darker-than-Ravenclaw-blue drapes, was strategically placed so that whoever was in it could glance out the window and see a low, tree-covered hill in the distance which, Jenson had learned, offered a marvelous view of the sunrise. Jenson figured that Eli must have done that. Anson didn’t seem like the type to worry about trivial matters such as an exquisite view to wake up to in the morning. The room also had a rather large television and stereo system, which Jenson had yet to use.

    That seemed more Anson’s decorative style, Jenson mused.

    The rest of the furniture was remarkably understated compared to the rest of the house – dark wood finishes, perhaps cherry, thick carpet to match the bed drapes, bronze trim along the tops and bottoms of cream-colored walls…all in all, it was very warm and comfortable.

    I wonder if this is what my life would have been like if…

    No.

    It did no good to dwell on the past.

    Jenson had been surprised to find that, other than obvious opulence, Astrid and her family lived like American Muggles rather than wizards. He had yet to see Anson pick up a wand, although Jenson knew that he and Eli had spent considerable time and magic setting up Astrid’s party. And Eli used magic very sparingly, preferring, apparently, to use his hands for menial labor.

    Astrid, on the other hand, used magic whenever she could get away with it, but it was almost always for chores and similar menial tasks. Eli had told them, while Anson was putting out a fire he had made making ice-cream, that Anson had no talent for domestic magic, so they had agreed to do things by hand to ‘build character’ (a phrase used by adults that Jenson noticed always had something to do with boring, tedious, unpaid physical labor). Astrid was also supposed to abide by this rule, but always managed to get away with it, somehow.

    Jenson yawned and scratched his belly sleepily. Tomorrow, they would be going back to Diagon Alley. Jenson perked up at the thought as, unlike last time, he would be accompanied by friends instead of a Hogwarts official who spoke no more than the barest essentials. He would get to explore a little more of the wizarding world and, hopefully, buy something interesting with a little bit of his leftover gold from the school funds…maybe a hat for Ezra, he thought jokingly. He glanced at her empty cage next to the bed, sitting on a side table within arm’s reach of where Jenson usually slept. He had been letting her out for several hours a day, allowing her plenty of exercise to stay in good shape, especially while hunting at night.

    He would never dress his feathered friend in clothes…people who did that were…come to think of it, Jenson was pretty sure he had remembered seeing Nipsy dressed in hats and/or sweaters before.

    On that note, I believe that I shall go to bed.

    It was a warm night and he was on the second floor, so he left the window open for Ezra to come back in at her leisure.

    Turning out the lights, he took a running leap into the bed, sighing in satisfaction as the incredibly soft sheets and comforter enveloped him.

    “Nom, nom, nom…” he mumbled sleepily.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Look at the crowd at Flourish and Blotts!” Jenson said with a groan, rubbing his temples dramatically and he stared at the huge line of assorted witches and wizards in front of the magical bookshop. “There must be over 60 people outside alone!”

    “I wonder what’s going on in there?” Eli muttered curiously, eyeing the school list for the 13th time that morning, by Jenson’s count. “Say Anson, have you noticed all of the Gilderoy Lockhart books on this year’s list? I mean, besides new quills, robes and a few other basic supplies, they’re really the only thing really changed from last year’s supplies. Don’t you find that odd?”

    “Maybe the DADA professor gets some sort of kickback from Lockhart’s sales,” Anson said with a grimace, eyeing the crowd somewhat suspiciously. Eli looked equally grave.

    “I would think that Dumbledore would frown on that sort profiteering.”

    “Who is Gilderoy Lockhart?” Teal asked, eyeing the large crowd nervously. Since he’d been pretty isolated all summer, it was certainly understandable. Jenson hated crowds too.

    “He’s this pretty wizard who claims to have done all of these amazing things and he’s written books about them all,” Astrid said without looking up, playing with Nipsy down by her feet. “Personally, I find it all a bit hard to believe. One or two, sure okay…but he’s got at least seven books on our list that I know of.”

    “He’s not prettier than me,” Anson said with a smirk, earning an eye-roll from both Eli and Jenson who, over the last week or so, had noticed that Anson loved to be contrary for the sake of being contrary. Then again, both he and Eli were quite good-looking, so he may have been seriously offended by his daughter’s flippant statement.

    “Of course not, daddy…” Astrid said with a sigh and an air of hearing this sort of thing many times before. Teal was silent, perhaps not even paying them any attention as he appeared to have turned his attention to a small shop near the back of the line. Its dusty sign was almost unreadable from this distance, but there was what looked to be a frog or toad next to the shop’s name.

    “Besides,” continued Anson, “if Lockhart’s done half the things he says he has, I’ll eat my hat.”

    “You don’t own a hat,” Eli reminded him, “you don’t like hat hair, remember?”

    “Well then, I’ll buy a hat and chew on it for a while.”

    Eli rubbed his temples tiredly.

    “Let’s just get in line, shall we?”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Holy crap…” Jenson murmured as he looked at the price of the, well, “textbook” in front of him. From skimming throughout it, it seemed more like a piece of work by a popular muggle author, R. L. Stein – it and its brothers in the series each bore a catchy title (this one read Holidays with Hags) and were only about 100 or so pages long. Unlike their muggle-esque counterparts, they were relatively expensive.

    “5 galleons and 8 sickles for this? For this?! They must be bonkers…” he whispered. Beside him, Teal nodded, eyes wide and expression fretful. Like Jenson, he was sure to be calculating the total costs of these books alone. “Blimey…that’s going to be…over 38 galleons!”

    Jenson and Teal exchanged looks. Jenson thought that he had a little more money than Teal, but not that much more.

    “My godmother told me that you could sometimes find books second-hand. A few of mine were, last year.”

    Jenson’s eyes widened in surprise. When he had been escorted that year by the Hogwarts official, he had not even mentioned this to Jenson. He had simply pointed out the books he needed and ushered Jenson to the checkout.

    This changed everything. If there was something that Jenson knew how to do, it was bargain hunt.

    “Come on Teal,” Jenson said, heading off to find a store employee, “let’s go bargain bingeing.”

    Astrid was perusing through a multitude of other books with her dads, piling them into Eli’s and Anson’s arms while they tried to talk her out of some of them. Money wasn’t going to be an issue there, so this would be Jenson’s and Teal’s adventure…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “That’s better,” Teal said simply, while Jenson agreed silently beside him. Among their gems was a copy of Gadding with Ghouls marked down to 13 sickles (the final paragraph appeared to have been licked off of the paper, leaving behind a large inky smudge), two copies of Voyages with Vampires for less than a galleon each (each of their edges appeared to have been chewed on a some point in their lifetimes) and their prized find: Lockhart’s Break with a Banshee for 3 sickles and 14 knuts – The only problem that they could find with it seemed to be that the Gilderoy Lockhart in its cover was sporting what appeared to be a rather sizeable mole that it was trying, quite unsuccessfully, to hide. Lockhart’s other books, they found for about half of their normal prices.

    They agreed to split the costs of their books together, since some of the books were found cheaper than others. Jenson took the more bedraggled copies for himself.

    “I can always use Hermione’s copy if I have a problem,” he assured Teal as they made their way back to Astrid, Anson and Eli. “Heck, she may know a spell to fix my copies, knowing her.”

    He and Teal spotted Eli’s blond hair through the dense crowd between two aisles – one which held an assortment of impressively detailed planetariums and models, and the other which appeared to hold various types of cauldrons. It was these that appeared to be holding Astrid’s and Anson’s attention while Eli looked up and noticed Jenson and Teal’s approach.

    “Oh good, there you two are,” Eli said as they approached. “We were worried you two might leave without us.” His fears were not really unfounded. They had waited for almost an hour to get into Flourish and Blotts and it was quite crowded in here still. “We found out why it’s so crowded in here. Gilderoy Lockhart is signing autographs this week. He’ll be here any minute.”

    In their quest for bargains, Teal and Jenson had not paid much attention to their surroundings. Now that he cared to look, Jenson realized that much of the shop was occupied by witches in their early- to mid- adulthood. He also noticed a number of them giving Eli and/or Anson appreciating glances, but he decided not to draw attention to it.

    Astrid, trying to convince Anson that she needed a Self-Stirring, Perfect-Temperature charmed, bronze cauldron, suddenly straightened up upon hearing this news.

    “I should corner him and get an interview,” she practically yelled, a manic gleam in her eye. Nipsy, whom she had been holding, looked startled by her outburst and back-flipped in her hands, slipping out of her grasp and onto the ground. She quickly darted at and up Anson’s leg.

    “Cat!” he shouted, scooping Nipsy with one hand off of his thigh and through the air, into Eli’s waiting arms.

    Jenson and Teal applauded.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I still say we should have stayed and let me interview him. It would be a great experience for my future as a Journalist.”

    Astrid pouted slighted as Madam Malkin’s measured her across the shoulders, an enchanted quill jotting down her measurements off to the side.

    “Well, Teal and I, Teal especially, needed to get to get our robes fitted before lunch. And Anson and Eli wanted to go to Twilfitt and Tatting’s for their own robes and they couldn’t miss their appointment, could they?” Jenson yawned as the magical measuring tape measured his inseam.

    “We could always go back, if you wanted to,” Teal said, standing straight as his own measuring tape measured him axilla to ankle.

    Astrid hemmed and hawed over this suggestion. Before she came to her answer, Madam Malkin straightened up again and retrieved her wand and the list of measurements.

    “I’ll have them ready by one. Will that be all dearies?”

    “Yes ma’am. And thank you ever so much,” Jenson said cheerfully as they started to leave.

    “Wait…Edgar!” Teal said with a start, turning back just in time to see him emerge from the chest pocket of the robe Madam Malkin had given him to try on.

    “Good heavens!” She screamed with a start, holding the robe out from her like it was on fire. Teal ran forward to snag his beloved pet.

    Teal was about three feet away when Edgar gave a mighty leap and landed *plop,* right on Teal’s forehead. He smiled sheepishly at the seamstress as he gently grabbed the tree frog and placed him on his shoulder.

    “Sorry about that…”

    Giving them the evil eye, Madam Malkin walked them to the door and, after they had left, flipped the OPEN sign to say OUT FOR A SPELL.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I’m just saying, you should really consider playing on the team, Jenson. You’d love it!”

    “Astrid, I don’t have a broom. Plus, I’ve never played before. What makes you think I’d be any good?”

    Teal remained silent as he looked through the tiny shop. He had not so much dragged Astrid and Jenson inside so much as given them a look that said how-often-do-I-ask-for-things? They were compelled to follow him inside of what, by all appearances, was a shop specializing in amphibians and reptile care. Aquariums filled with newts, turtles, snakes, toads, and species that Jenson did not recognize, filled all of the shelves eye-level and above. Below them were various treats, McMeera’s Scale Shine, Gabbing Gertrude’s All Purpose Wart Remover and Producer and all manner of crazy-looking gadgets whose function Jenson could only guess at. While Teal searched the shop for who knew what, Astrid was trying to convince Jenson to be the new Ravenclaw Beater for the upcoming Hogwart’s quidditch season and beyond.

    “Look, my dad said you had plenty of raw talent for it and he’s a really good judge at these kinds of things. I mean, he’s been a Keeper for over 20 years! He knows talent when he sees it. Plus, it will look good on your resume down the road: leadership, team-building and things like that.”

    “Well, yeah, I guess, but-“

    “Oh, Teal! What have you got there?” Astrid asked, eyes wide as she turned her attention to the small bag he was carrying back to them. Jenson became likewise curious. Teal rarely purchased anything Jenson would call frivolous.

    “Well…” Teal said, reaching into the bag, “Edgar got cold last winter so…”

    “Oh my Rowling!” Astrid squealed as Teal’s purchase emerged from its packaging. “That is the cutest thing I have ever seen!”

    A tiny, tree frog-sized, fur-lined hoodie. Jenson could only imagine the expression on his face.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Quality Quidditch Supplies, while not quite as packed as Flourish and Blott’s had been, was teaming with school-age witches and wizards and younger, all gawking at the newest broom models and various other quidditch items. The biggest display, the display for the Nimbus 2001, was five to six people deep around it and Jenson was unwilling to muscle his way to the front to check it out.

    “0-90 kmph in 5.4 seconds. Anti-Theft charm, Anti-Inertal-Breaking charm…” Teal read aloud over the heads of the others.

    Then again, maybe Jenson would not need to muscle his way to the front after all.

    “Hey Teal,” he whispered to the taller boy, “can you see the price tag on that thing?” Teal nodded solemnly. “How much?”

    “220.”

    Jenson felt his knees almost buckle. “Galleons?”

    Teal nodded again as Jenson calculated in his head. He was given a little over 30 galleons a year by the Hogwarts’ public funds for supplies. This broomstick cost more than his entire seven year Hogwart’s education budget.

    “Well, I guess that idea’s out,” muttered Jenson as he walked over to the other supplies to look at a beautiful, walnut, Beater’s bat with a Sure-Grip charm to prevent precipitation and/or perspiration from loosening the Beater’s grasp. Even this was, to Jenson, quite expensive. He would settle for window shopping.

    Although she had not yet learned how to Apparate, Astrid appeared at his side silently and suddenly.

    “So,” she squealed excitedly, “what do you think? Isn’t this place the bomb?” Nipsy, who now sat on her shoulder, eyed Jenson with a slight air of contempt before leaping to his shoulder and climbing atop his head.

    “Yeah,” Jenson agreed, “The bomb. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive…” he grumbled, turning back to gaze longingly at the beautifully dark, polished wood and the gold script along the handle.

    Above his head, he heard a humming, buzzing sound and, when he looked up, spotted a snitch whirling and darting overhead. He glared at it for a second before Astrid bumped him in the ribs with an elbow.

    “Oh cheer up, Jenson! You haven’t even seen your birthday present from me yet.” She bit her lip as if to keep the secret from literally tumbling out of her mouth. Jenson’s expression softened.

    “Oh Astrid…you didn’t have to get me anything…”

    “Oh, but w- I wanted to! Speaking of which…” she said, glancing over at the clock on the wall, “It’s time for dinner!” She grabbed Jenson’s arm and rushed over to Teal, grabbing him likewise by the wrist and dragging them to the door. As they exited, they ran into Draco Malfoy and his goons…literally.

    “Jesus, Burkeheart…watch where you’re going, eh?” Draco sneered, peeling himself off of Goyle’s chest where he had bounced off of Astrid. Astrid, who had bounced off of Draco, ricocheted between Teal and Jenson. She regained her bearings while Draco brushed off the front of his robes. Jenson snorted while Teal, who appeared to be having a staring contest with Crabbe, was silent. Jenson did not really have any hard feelings towards Malfoy…not yet at least. But, he could be insufferably haughty and bitingly sarcastic. Although, it could be worse…

    Astrid, having regained her senses, flashed Draco and his cronies a smile.

    “Sorry Draco, no time to talk!” She pulled Jenson and Teal passed him and down Diagon Alley’s twisted streets, calling back over her shoulder, “See you on the Hogwarts express!”

    “Hey, wait a minute-” Draco called out before they lost him around a bend in the street.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “So, did everyone enjoy their day?” Eli asked smoothly, twirling a brandy around in a glass. Anson, who appeared completely enthralled in his menu, was mumbling to himself behind it.

    Before Teal or Jenson could say a word, Astrid excitedly described the entirety of their day together. After Eli told her to take a moment to breathe and figure out what she was ordering, Jenson, and sometimes Teal, described their bargain hunting adventure and, more importantly, their run-in with Malfoy (which Astrid had neglected to mention). From the redness of her face and the glare she shot Jenson, she had apparently not wanted to share that particular story. Even Anson glanced over his menu at the mention of the Slytherin boy.

    “I hope you played nicely with your housemates, Astrid. I would hate to receive a letter from Professor Snape this semester...” he waggled his eyebrows suggestively, then immediately glanced back at his menu to avoid his daughter’s glare.

    “Daddy…” she whined.

    “Oh, before we forget,” Eli, reaching under the table to draw out a satchel about the size of a handbag, “we have something for both Jenson and Teal…late birthday presents.”

    At this, Astrid began to clap excitedly and Anson, who had been flagging down a waitress for his drink order, immediately set his attention on the two of them.

    “For Jenson…we’d like to sponsor your quidditch needs.”

    Jenson, who was completely caught off guard by the sudden change in the direction of conversation, was speechless.

    “I- I’m not su-…” he started, not sure what to say.

    “But first,” continued Eli, “you’ll be needing one of these…”

    He reached into the bag and drew out a long, midnight blue bag that was much larger than the bag he was drawing it from. The larger, blue bag appeared to be made of a felt or velvety material. Still unable to form coherent speech, Jenson took the larger bag from Eli, hefting it in his hands.

    Apparently amused by Jenson’s shocked expression, Anson spoke up, a not-unkind smirk on his face.

    “You’re going to want to open that one up, too.”

    Astrid, watching Jenson’s expression intently, shhed her dad and waved away his commentary flippantly.

    Jenson opened the drawstring clasp and reaching in, felt his heart thud in his temples as his fingers curled around a smooth, polished surface. Slowly drawing whatever it was from its velvety sack, Jenson was glad that he was sitting down.

    A Nimbus 2001 lay in his lap, its dark, polished handle gleaming in the restaurant’s dim candlelight. He traced the gold leaf lettering of the model name, a lump forming in his throat. He couldn’t accept this. It was too much. As he opened his mouth to say something, anything, Eli put a hand on his shoulder.

    “I’d like to talk to you more about this later, if that’s alright Jenson. You don’t have to make your decision yet.” He turned his attention back to Teal. “And for you, Mr. Andrews…” He picked up the satchel he had drawn Jenson’s broom sack from. It was a handsome bag. Made of what looked to be a dark, supple leather material, it looked like what, in America, was called a “messenger bag,” but smaller. It looked like it couldn’t hold anything much larger than a large textbook, but that apparently was not the case.

    “This satchel contains an enchantment that allows it to hold much, much more than it looks like it can…” Eli started, looking to Anson to continue.

    “Right…it’s like this: if it fits through opening, it can go in the bag. It’s not limitless, but it can hold at least as much as our attic. Probably.”

    Jenson, who was just now recovering from the shock of his gift, felt his brain melting in his skull. They had created an alternate space, an almost literal Bag of Holding, and were giving it as a birthday gift. He had reached his limit for incredibility that day.

    Teal, looking not quite as shocked as Jenson (but possibly only because Teal seemed to have very tight control over his emotions), accepted the give quietly as Astrid cheered to his right. He looked at the bag, back to Eli, back to the bag, to Anson, back to the bag, and finally to Astrid.

    “Thank you…thank you very, very much. This is…wonderful.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Mr. Jeevas,” Jenson started, trying to put into words how generous he thought that Astrid and her dads were being without sounding ungrateful, “I can’t accept this broom. It’s too much.”

    “It’s Eli, please, Jenson. And if you’re going to play quidditch, you’re going to want a good broom. I understand it seems like a lot, but this isn’t truly that uncommon.” Eli put a hand on Jenson’s shoulder and they walked across their backyard to a gazebo with benches. He motioned for Jenson to take a seat and sat himself on the bench across from him. “When I received my first broom and played for the Hufflepuff house quidditch team, it was a gift from a family friend. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, Jenson,” Eli said, his voice heavy with wistful recollection, “but they saw talent in me and wanted to give me the chance to succeed. I would like to take this opportunity to ‘pay it forward,’ as it were.”

    “But Mr. J- but Eli, what if I’m no good? What if I don’t make the team?” Jenson turned his gaze to the trees behind Eli, unable to look him in the eye. “What if I’m not good enough? What if your generosity is wasted by my ineptitude?” Jenson hated himself for tearing up, but he could not keep the lump from his throat any more than he could keep the moisture from leaking into his tear ducts. Eli grabbed both of Jenson’s shoulders.

    “Jenson, look at me.” Jenson turned his gaze to meet Eli’s only through the greatest force of will. Another part of him wanted to burrow into the dirt where he sat and hide. “I have never, ever considered generosity of any sort a waste. I just want to give you an opportunity to excel. I want to give you this opportunity because, unlike many others, I know how much you will appreciate it and I know that you have the chance to do something great with it. From everything Astrid has told us, and from everything Anson and I have seen, you and Teal are two exceptional young men and we would like to aid you in your education and possible future endeavors. Will you let us do that, Jenson? Will you let us assist you so that, one day, you may be able to do the same for another young boy or girl? Because that is one of the greatest gifts you can give another human being – a chance. An opportunity.”

    “Eli!” Anson called from the back porch, “You’re going to talk the boy’s ears off! Come back inside so he can make a smore or something!”

    Eli sighed.

    “I love that man, but his timing is absolutely dreadful.” Jenson smiled, wiping his eyes.

    “Okay Eli…I’ll do it…”

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    filigreewitch
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    Re: Chapter One

    Post  filigreewitch on Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:42 am

    That night after returning from Diagon Alley, Astrid went straight to her room to look at her new school books. She got out the books by Lockhart and started flipping through Gadding with Ghouls.

    "This is utter crap. There's no way. There's no way," Astrid commented after reading a few chapters.

    She moved through the books, one by one, and read a couple of chapters of each. When she was done she despised Lockhart even more. There was no way one person could do that all by themselves.
    A knock at her door startled her.

    "Come in," she called.

    Anson and Eli were standing in the doorway.

    "I see you've been reading through Lockhart's books," Eli noticed.

    "There has got to be a way to expose him. He couldn't have done this himself. I'm going to uncover the truth! I've got to get back to Hogwarts!"

    Astrid was standing on her bed with a toy scepter, jabbing it into the bed.

    "Sounds great. But for now, you need to get to sleep. Big day tomorrow," Eli said, taking the scepter away before she poked a hole in the bed.

    Astrid jumped down from her bed.

    "And by the way, why don't I have one of those awesome bags you got Teal? I, of all people, should have one of those bags!"

    Anson groaned and stuffed his other twinkie in Astrid's mouth.

    "Now good night," he said.

    "Night!" Astrid said as she took a bite of her twinkie.

    "Good night," Eli said as he turned out the light.

    Astrid finished the twinkie and got in bed.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    The next day Astrid, her dads, and her two best friends were standing on Platform 9 3/4.

    "Thank you for letting us stay at your house," Jenson said.

    "It was no trouble," Anson replied.

    "And thank you for the broom."

    "Don't forget to try out and let us know if you made the team!" Eli instructed.

    "It was nice to meet you, Teal," Eli said turning to facing the other boy.

    "Thank you, Mr. Jeevas. I had fun."

    "I'm glad."

    "Okay, dads, we need to get on the train," Astrid said semi-whiningly.

    "Alright, alright."

    The group said their goodbyes and Astrid practically flew to the train to find a compartment for them.

    While the trio got settled into their compartment, Astrid started right in on her Lockhart theory, speaking quickly and without stopping for breaths. Someone had to believe her!

    "And that's why I don't think he could have done all this stuff," she ended. "What do you guys think?"

    "He seems... pretty?" Teal offered.

    "Pretty? You think he's pretty? He's nothing but a no good-"

    "Here you guys are. I thought I'd never find you." Hermione said as she closed the compartment door.

    Astrid huffed and stared at the other side of the cart. How dare Hermione interrupt her! What with Hermione in the cart now, and her rudely interrupting her, Astrid finally noticed Teal's get up.
    'Hmm... Teal's clothes fit a little better. His sleeves come a half an inch past his wrists. His pants- Well I'm sure his pants come past his shoes when he stands up. Hey! His shoes match! Does the rest of his outfit? I didn't notice.'

    Astrid was looking Teal up and down but he didn't notice as he was listening to Hermione and Jenson's conversation of which he was a part, kind of.

    'Oh. Well, they match slightly better than before. At least he's keeping a color theme. Which looks smashing on him. He should wear green more often. This shade. This hunter-y green. But do his shoes match his clothes? Well, they are a brown. Which almost matches the brown in his pants. I did this. This pretty-good outfit is because of me. I inspired him! I'm so proud! Oh, shoes! I wonder if Hermininny is back to awful shoes.'

    Astrid stole a glance at Hermione's shoes without anyone noticing.
    'That- Those shoes are not the ones I bought her! What? Is she too good to wear the shoes I bought her? They were great shoes! And they cost a pretty penny! The ones she's wearing now are alright, I guess. You can tell they aren't designer, like the ones I gave her. Alright, maybe they weren't a big top designer, but still a designer! And what are these? K-Mart shoes? This girl! This girl is- Wait, did she just say Lockhart?'

    "Wait, what about Lockhart?" Astrid asked aloud.

    "Just that I read his books over the summer. He's brilliant! I mean the way that ghoul was-"

    "Ha!" Astrid interrupted. 'That's right! Now I interrupted you!' Astrid thought. "You're insane!"

    "Excuse me?"

    "Yeah, I said it. Insane. You must be daft to believe a word of those books!" Astrid exclaimed, making air quotes around the word, 'books'.

    "What are you saying?" Hermione asked.

    "I"m saying there's no way Lockhart did all these things! Maybe one or two, okay, but not all of it! He'd have to be a pretty excellent wizard, which from what I've seen he doesn't look very bright. He'd have to be the same level of wizard as Dumbledore! Which I would bet all my shoes he isn't! I don't even understand why Quirrell put them on the list this year."

    "Because he understands Lockhart's greatness! And furthermore, he could be the same level as Dumbledore," Hermione put in.

    "Don't make me laugh! If you think that then you don't know one thing about Dumbledore's greatness!"

    "How dare you say that! Of course I know how great Dumbledore is! I do read, you know!"

    "Oh, of course! You read so you know all the things! Sorry, I forgot that!"

    "Don't you like to read?" Teal asked quietly.

    Astrid shook her head and muttered, "Not now, Teal."

    "Sorry," he sort of mumbled.

    "I did not say I know 'all the things.' There is still a lot for me to learn. I'm only 12 for goodness sakes!" Hermione said, exasperated.

    Jenson groaned as he stood up. Both girls watched him, confused. "Open wide," he instructed.

    "Absolutely not," Astrid said as Hermione asked, "What for?"

    Before either girl had time to fully object, Jenson popped three Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans into each of their mouths. Astrid bit down before coughing.

    "Oh god, Jenson!" She yelled in disgust. "Vomit, booger, and earwax! Did you go through them specifically?"

    "Mine taste rather good," Hermione commented.

    Astrid rolled her eyes. "Of course they do."

    Astrid settled back in her seat, staring out the window. How could Hermione be so daft? She's supposedly so bright. Then you'd think she'd figure this out! There's just so much that doesn't add up. And she can't see that. She's so obnoxious. And those shoes! Where did she get them? Why isn't she wearing mine?

    Astrid let out a small groan, totally ignoring the conversation going on. She pulled out her notebook and started writing, quickly.

    A few hours later there was a knock at their compartment. The door opened up.

    "Just a warning, we'll be at Hogwarts soon. Everyone should be dressed," the red, curly headed boy said and then closed the door.

    "Who is that guy?" Astrid asked.

    "Percy Weasley, the Gryffindor Head boy," Hermione answered.

    Astrid fought back an eye roll. Does she have to know everything? She left the compartment to change into her robes. When she came back she was actually in a better mood.

    "You seem to be in a better mood," Jenson observed.

    Astrid nodded. "I'm excited for this year! This is the year the carriages take us to the castle!" Astrid put her bag away and sat down with a gasp.

    The door to their cart jiggled and opened. Harry Potter stepped through, his smile gleaming. He sat right next Astrid and draped an arm around her shoulders. Astrid slowly looked over to Harry and hacked in his face. Harry shot up out of the seat.

    "What do you think you're doing?"

    "Sorry, sick," Astrid mumbled.

    "Well, keep your sick away from me!"

    With that Harry bolted out of the door.

    Astrid got the willies. "Man, I can't stand that guy!"

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    Re: Chapter One

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      Current date/time is Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:58 am