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Those of Great Ambition by Raverin105
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Message
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The scorching July sun was finally starting to set over the cookie-cutter brick houses of Addington Green, a relatively normal suburb right outside of Birmingham. A young boy of eleven years, with messy dark auburn hair, ran up the driveway of 23 Dexter Drive with a football under his arm. A well-dressed man opened the door, and said, “Come on in, Matthew. You’re just in time for dinner.”
“Okay, Dad,” said Matthew. He was in such a rush to get to the dinner table that he nearly bumped into his mother.
She just smiled and asked, “How was your game today? Did you score any goals?”
“I’m a goalie, remember?” Matthew said with a laugh.
“Grace, Matthew, come on. Let’s have dinner,” called Matthew’s father.
“Coming, Chris,” replied his wife.
They had just started eating their spaghetti when they heard the doorbell ring. Chris quickly got up and answered it. Standing before him was a tall man with brown hair wearing a suit of the same color. “Good evening, sir,” he said. “I’m looking for a Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Brown, and their son Matthew.”
“That’s me. I’m Chris,” he responded. “Grace, there’s somebody at the door!” Chris called.
Grace walked up to the door and greeted the stranger standing there. “Good evening, sir. You were looking for us?”
“I’m also looking to speak to your son,” said the stranger.
“He’s at the dinner table,” said Grace. “Would you like anything to eat?”
“No, thanks. I already ate. Just some water would be nice.”
“Come on, have a seat,” said Chris as he took the stranger to the dinner table. The stranger sat down as Grace filled a glass of water.
Matthew presumed that the stranger was one of his father’s colleagues at work, and politely greeted him. “Good evening, sir. I’m Matthew Brown.”
“And my name is Professor Neville Longbottom.”
“Longbottom?” Chris spat with a sneer. “What kind of a name is Longbottom, anyway?”
“My father was a great man and I’m proud to bear his name,” asserted Professor Longbottom. “We can discuss that later. Mr. and Mrs. Brown, I would like to tell you something about your son that will have a significant impact on your family.”
“You’re not one of those bloody social workers who thinks my son’s loopy, are you?” Chris asked angrily.
“Actually, I’m not,” replied Professor Longbottom. “I’m the professor of Herbology at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and head of Gryffindor House.”
“What’s Dogwarts?” asked Grace nervously.
“We’ll get to that later. The important thing you need to know is that your son has shown capabilities that most humans don’t,” said the professor. He turned to Matthew and said, “You, young man, are a wizard.”
Matthew nearly dropped his glass of water. “Pardon?” he said.
“Matthew, you can do things that other children cannot, am I right? Made anything odd or unusual happen?”
“There was a time where the football was, like, two inches away from the goal and, somehow, it ended up on the other end of the field, but that’s about it.”
“Matthew, children like you exist all over the world. That’s why we’ve created a school for people like you. To show you how to use your abilities to reach your fullest potential. That’s why I came here.” He handed the boy an envelope, addressed in green ink to
Mr. Matthew Brown
23 Dexter Drive
Addington Green, West Midlands
Matthew carefully opened the letter as his parents looked on in confusion. Inside was a piece of parchment which, in perfect cursive, read:
Dear Mr. Brown,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins 1 September. We await your owl no later than 31 July.
(PS/SS, Ch. 4)
Enclosed was another similar-looking parchment that listed all the school supplies needed for first-years, and a list of books written by people with funny-sounding names like Bathilda Bagshot and Newt Scamander. Matthew’s eyes widened with surprise. “Dad, Mum, can I go?” he asked excitedly.
“We’ll see about that. Professor, tell us more about this school that you’re bent on sending our boy to,” said Chris, his eyes narrowing.
The professor looked Chris in the eye, and said with dead seriousness, “Mr. Brown, this is for your son’s own good. Here, he will learn how to use and control his abilities to realize his greatest potential. Do you want what is best for your son?”
Grace took a breath, and said, “Chris, I think we should. He’s our son, and we need to be supportive. We’d do the same if he got accepted to Eton, right?”
Chris sighed and said, “Grace, you’re right. I’m willing to send him to this school.”
Professor Longbottom pulled out a formal-looking piece of paper, and said to Mr. and Mrs. Brown, “Please sign this to make your permission official.” Both parents pulled out pens and signed. “This is a big step, and I thank you for allowing your son to start his magical education. I’ll be staying in a nearby hotel tonight. Tomorrow, we will all go to London and buy you your school supplies. Mr. and Mrs. Brown, I think that you should come. This will be your first introduction to the wizarding community. And a lot of wizards and witches are highly curious about non-wizarding folk, or as we call them, Muggles. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Matthew, smiling the biggest smile he had ever smiled in eleven years.
Chapter 2: Diagon Alley
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The next morning the Brown family left to meet Professor Longbottom at the local railway station. Mr. and Mrs. Brown had decided to take the day off work to spend the day getting acquainted with the wizarding world. Matthew was so excited to meet other people like him, and his parents were just as curious about the new world their son would become a part of. Once they had found the professor, they all boarded the 9:30 train to London. For the whole journey, Mr. and Mrs. Brown kept asking Professor Longbottom questions about the magical community, while he asked them about Muggle society.
They were able to hail a cab to Charing Cross Road, where Longbottom led them into some pub called the Leaky Cauldron between a bookshop and a record store. “Don’t worry about all the people staring. They don’t mean any harm. My wife owns this place, that’s all,” the professor said reassuringly. He took them out the back door, where they came to a large brick wall. He pulled out some sort of wooden stick, presumably one of the wands mentioned in the school supply list, and tapped certain bricks in a circle. The bricks slowly fell away as Matthew and his parents looked on in surprise. Behind the wall was a bustling street with shops on both sides, filled with wizards and witches wearing robes “Welcome to Diagon Alley,” said Longbottom with a smile. His heart racing with excitement and wonder, Matthew stepped into this strange new world. “First things first. Most of these shops won’t take Muggle money. But Gringotts will gladly exchange it for wizard currency.” They headed over to an old-looking stone building where Longbottom talked to some highly unpleasant creatures with pointy noses and strange-looking ears, then made his way back to them and handed Matthew a pouch filled with coins.
They continued walking through the busy street, buying school supplies, robes, and quills from various stores. They kept walking until they reached and old, sparsely decorated shop, on which a sign claimed that they had been in business since 382 BC. “Now, Matthew, this is the most important shop of all. Every young witch and wizard buys their wand from Ollivander’s. It’s extremely important to use the wand that is right for you. If you use someone else’s wand, it will not understand you well enough.” He turned to Chris and Grace. “Mr. and Mrs. Brown, you wait right here. I don’t want anything funny happening to you.” Longbottom took Matthew’s hand and led him into the shop, where Mr. Ollivander, an elderly gentleman with untamed gray hair was waiting behind the counter.
“Hello, Neville,” he said, standing up to greet the professor. “I see you’ve got a new first-year with you. What’s your name, young man?” he asked.
“I-I’m Matthew. Matthew Brown,” Matthew replied with trepidation.
“No need to be so scared, boy,” said Mr. Ollivander with a laugh. “Let’s see which wand will choose you today.” He searched his many shelves and pulled out a box. In it lay a long stick of maple wood. Matthew slowly picked it up. “Go on, give it a swish,” encouraged Ollivander. Matthew did so, and a few boxes came crashing down onto the floor. “Don’t worry about it, boy. It happens all the time,” he said. He reached into another cabinet and pulled out another box, this one containing a handsome-looking wand made of fir. “Try this one. Cedar, thirteen and a half inches, dragon heartstring. Great for transfiguration, with strong charmwork capabilities.”
Matthew gave this wand a flick, and all of a sudden, the boxes that he had sent crashing down flew back up to their original positions again. Did I just do that? he thought. “Perfect!” exclaimed Mr. Ollivander. He handed Matthew the wand, looked him in the eye, and said, “This wand will help you channel and focus your magic. Use it well, boy.” He wrote something down in some book filled with names and wand details.
Professor Longbottom thanked Mr. Ollivander, and then led Matthew out of the shop.
Chapter 3: Platform Nine and Three Quarters
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The 1st of September quickly arrived, and excitement was at an all-time high at 23 Dexter Drive. Matthew was sure to play as many football games as he could with all his Muggle friends he probably would not see again until next summer. After a quick breakfast of toast and jam, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, filled with pride, drove their son down to King’s Cross Station in London. They entered the station, filled with men and women in business suits getting on and off trains, going about their daily business.
“Six, Seven, Eight, Nine,” muttered Mr. Brown, counting platforms. He stopped between platforms nine and ten. “We’re supposed to be at Platform 9 ¾, that’s what the Professor said. Where’s that?”
A bespectacled, brown-haired man with his wife and three children in tow stopped to answer his question. “Just walk straight at the wall between platforms nine and ten.” He turned to Matthew and said, “Don’t worry. I was nervous the first time I had to enter the platform until someone taught me how to do it right.” The man’s wife smiled. “The faster you go, the better.”
Mr. Brown smiled and said, “Thanks-,” pausing when he realized that he didn’t know the man’s name.
“Harry,” the man said, noticing Mr. Brown’s hesitation. “ Don’t worry at all. It’s totally safe.” He turned to his wife. “Ginny, could you show them how to do this?” he asked.
“Okay,” she replied. “Follow me.” She ran through the wall, and then disappeared.
Harry looked at his three children and said, “Okay, kids, I just need to show this new first year how to get to the platform.” He turned to Matthew. “Let’s do this together. Sir, ma’am, just do exactly what my wife just did. Ready, young man? One, two, three!” They ran through the wall together, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown quickly followed.
Standing before them was a hardy red steam locomotive, which appeared somewhat old-fashioned to Matthew and his parents, but they didn’t wish to offend all the hundreds of witches and wizards saying goodbye to their children for another year. Mr. Brown looked his son straight in the eye, handed him his suitcases, and said, “Work hard, stay safe, and have fun. We’ll see you again for Christmas holidays. Love you so much.”
“Don’t forget to write us as soon as you can,” added Mrs. Brown, handing him some snacks to eat on the train. “Your dad and I are very proud of you.”
Matthew hugged his parents and said, “Thanks, mum. Thanks, dad. See you at Christmas.” He started walking up to board the train, and just before he climbed up the stairs, he turned and waved to his parents, who just waved and smiled. He then boarded the train and sat down. He could feel butterflies in his stomach as the train started moving. As the train pulled out of the station, and out into the English countryside, Matthew Brown didn’t look back even once.
Chapter 4: The Hogwarts Express
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Matthew started walking up the train, looking for a compartment that wasn’t populated by bunches of giggling girls or humongous older boys twice his size. He found a compartment with only one person in it, a dark-skinned, lanky boy about his age with ears slightly too big for the rest of him. “Hello,” said Matthew. “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Vijay. Vijay Kumar,” he responded, holding out his hand.
“I’m Matthew Brown,” said Matthew, shaking Vijay’s hand. “Excited to start at Hogwarts?”
“Of course I am! Both my parents went there, and my brother, Rakesh’s in his fifth year here. But he’s not sitting with me because he’s so important, being a Ravenclaw Prefect and all,” Vijay said sarcastically.
“What’s a prefect?” asked Matthew.
“They go around patrolling the corridors acting important. Honestly, I think they’re a bunch of bloody prats, if you ask me,” said Vijay with a laugh. “Any ideas of what house you want to be in?”
“What are houses? I mean I know what houses are, but at Hogwarts? What are you talking about?” asked Matthew, very confused.
“Oh, you must be Muggle-born,” Vijay said, although Matthew had no idea what a ‘Muggle-born’ was. “Let me tell you. Hogwarts has 4 houses. There’s Gryffindor, known for their bravery and courage. That’s where our headmistress, McGonagall, was. My mum was sorted into Gryffindor. Then there’s Hufflepuff. Loyal, nice, friendly, but they won’t be your biggest competition during exam time. Ravenclaws are known for their learning, brains, and wisdom. My dad was sorted into Ravenclaw, and now Rakesh is an oh-so-important prefect for the house. And then, there’s the Slytherins. They’re cunning, resourceful, and ambitious. The large majority of them are very nice people. In fact, my dad’s best friend, Adrian Pucey, was sorted into Slytherin during his time at Hogwarts. But some Slytherins have turned bad over the years. My mum and dad told me stories about Dolores Umbridge. Cruel, power-hungry, and manipulative. Then there was Tom Riddle. Grew to be the greatest dark wizard of all time. Killed hundreds of people in an effort to establish pure-blood supremacy.”
Matthew’s eyes widened in shock. “What?”
“Don’t worry, they killed him eventually, and they’ve rounded up most of his followers, who were mostly Slytherins. But there’s still some wizarding families who think that they’re more important than others because they have ‘pure blood’ and whatnot. That’s something you’ve got to watch out for, since you’re muggle-born. It’s all a load of nonsense, though. Hermione Granger’s parents were both muggles, but she’s now our Minister for Magic. Most people don’t care about these things anymore, but just remember to keep your eyes open,” Vijay warned.
“Okay,” Matthew replied, with just the slightest twinge of nervousness in his voice.“Would you like a snack? My mum gave me two packets of crisps to eat on the train. Would you like one?”
“Thanks,” said Vijay, opening the packet. “Want some sweets? When the trolley comes, I’ll buy us both some.” The trolley soon came, pushed by an old lady who looked like she had been doing it for years. Vijay ordered some sweets for the both of them, and they started eating.
“Thanks!” said Matthew. Vijay snapped a Liquorice Wand in half and handed half to his new friend. Matthew smiled and thanked him. They snacked on sweets while Matthew answered all of Vijay’s questions about Muggles and their technology, and Vijay answered all of Matthew’s questions about the wizarding world and Hogwarts. They had just about finished all of their sweets when the Hogwarts Express finally pulled into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.