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What's in a Name? : The Misadventures of a Miss Ella Rose by caryjanecarter
Chapter 1 : In which Ella moves to England and discovers a few secrets
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 49

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THE MARAUDERS AND LILY AND ALL THOSE OTHER CANON GUYS ARE MINE! MINE, I TELL YOU, ALL MINE!! MWAHAHAHAH- *gets attacked on/around the head by dozens of copyright laws that look remarkably like Hermy's canaries until reduced to a sobbing mess on the floor* . . . or not . . . but Ella is! *copyrights try to attack, but are blocked by invisible wall of law* HA. HAHA! *mocks copyrights with various nah-nah-nah’s and raspberries* I rule. 

{Scribe’s Remark, or S/R: I tried to make this as close to the time period’s culture as possible. It’s very tricky to write about the late ‘60s/ early ‘70s in the 21st century, especially when you weren’t alive then! So, things like Disney movies and ‘90s slang, you’ll just have to live with. Sorry.} 

gorgeous image by Shadowkisses at TDA!

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe, "Eleonora"


“Sim-BA! Get back here!” 

I ran down the hallway, trying to catch my new kitten, Simba. He had escaped, again, while I was trying to put him into his cage for the upcoming flight. It was the end of August, and time to move from my forever hometown of East Wichita, Kansas, to England. ENGLAND. Wow, was I shocked when my parents told me. Why, you may ask, my invisible friend, why was I moving to England? Well, it was because I had gotten my Hogwarts letter just a few short weeks ago. Since my dad was a freelance writer for various magazines and my mother came from a wealthy Wizarding family, we could move almost anywhere, whenever we wanted. It was sad to leave my town, but I had done my crying last night. I was just excited today. 


I finally caught the tiger-striped menace and kind of semi-stuffed him into his pillow-lined cage. I didn’t trust the nice airplane people.

“Come on, Ellie! We’ll be la-ate!” my mom sang up the stairs, completely unstressed. Note the sarcasm. 

“I’m coming! I just had to get Simba in his cage!” 

I zoomed down the stairs, complete with sound effects, Simba in my arms and every-color-between-red-and-yellow pigtails flying behind me. I continued my sound-effected flight through the hall and out the door, stopping by the Mercedes and waited impatiently on the adults, who were still inside the house. “Come on, Mommy! We’ll be la-ate!” 

“Okay, okay, we’re coming, we’re coming!” my dad said, smiling, as they brought out the last of the luggage and locked the door behind them. We all climbed into the overstuffed sedan, and Dad backed the car out of the driveway. I turned around in my seat and watched my old house get smaller and smaller until we turned a corner and we were gone forever. We were leaving my Muggle life in Kansas, and going to my new Wizarding home in England.
As if I couldn’t have enough changes in my life. 

“Okay, Princess, you know what to do, right?” Dad asked as he turned into the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport terminal lane-place a few minutes later. 

“Of course.” I did my fifth-grade eye roll. “Stay close, give Simba to the nice airplane people, don’t talk to strangers, give Simba to the nice airplane people-” 

Mom laughed nervously. “You’ve got it, Ellie.” 

Dad parked by the curb, and I jumped out to help take out all seven of our bags. A light bulb went off over my head, and I pretended to swat the dratted thing away. “What’s happening to the car, Mom?” 

“One of your father’s friends is selling it for us. Sorry it can’t come with us, Ellie.” 

I pouted a little, then patted the car. “Bye, Benzie.”
I said other final good-byes to everything about home, such as the sky, the grass, and the skyscrapers, and helped give everything up to the nice airplane people so we could get on the plane. It was hard to let go of Simba, but one of the nice airplane people jerked him out of my hands. I watched him disappear into the fluorescent-lit conveyor belt tunnel sadly. Mom squeezed my shoulder. “You’ll see him in England, Ellie.” 

I sighed. “You’re right. Let’s go.” 

The rest of the trip was a blur of turbulence, bad movies, and lots of clouds. I highly recommend flying over the ocean at night – it’s AWESOME. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen – except for maybe love. But we’ll cover that matter on another page. 

We touched down in London early the next morning. I stretched and yawned in my cramped window seat. The lights came on in the coach cabin and I exited off the plane in an orderly fashion along with everyone else on the Atlanta-London flight. I went straight to the desk that airports have for the animals from their flights and collected Simba’s cage while Mom and Dad got our bags from the really cool baggage claim. I made a mental note to play Superman or something on it next time I was in an airport. 

We put everything into a waiting taxicab and drove off into... a crowded street. Darn. I was hoping for a sunset. Dad sat in the front so he could give directions to the driver, and Mom and I got squished into the back seat with half of our suitcases. While the yellow menace drove us to our new home, Mom and I talked quietly about Hogwarts. 

“So when does school start?” 

“Your train leaves on September first.” 

“That’s not too far away! How will we get all of my Wizarding junk in time?” 

Mom smiled her little I’ve-got-a-secret smile. “You leave that-” dramatic pause “-to me.” 

You see, I had never been to a magic school before. It’s one of those things I like about being a half-blood. I went to a Muggle elementary school, and now I’m going to a magic middle/high school. Or Hogwarts, whatever you want to call it. Either way, I didn’t know what to expect from this new school, and an English one to boot. In fact, if my mother hadn’t been English herself, I would be going to the Salem Academy, the only Wizarding school in the United States. I hadn’t heard great stuff about it. 

They - my parents - had met when my dad had been on a vacation to England way back when he was in college, where he had met my mother. They had fallen in love, and the rest is pretty much history. But she had gone to Hogwarts, so here I was, following in the family’s footsteps. 

We arrived at our house. I couldn’t tell that there was a house at first – there was a tall, pale stone wall, covered in ivy and surrounded by a lot of densely branched trees, going all around it. It looked like a princess’s summer home. We walked in the gate - a black spindly gate, just like out of a fairytale, and Mom threw her arms wide and spun around as she walked down the gravel drive. “Welcome to your new home, Ellie!” 

It was spec-tac-u-lar. A two-story, light gray, awesome stone castle-like house, just slightly buried in an extensive garden that I think had every plant known to mankind, stood before me. I guess it didn’t really stand, like the development house we had lived in before. It had more of a relaxed air about it, like a hidden tree house you might find in the woods down the street. Like it was just slightly gone to the wild side, but was still exceedingly livable. It had a tower poking out from somewhere in the back, the spire just visible over the gray slate roof. I could tell my mom had picked it out – it reflected the fairy-tale roots she so dearly loves. We’re some sort of distant relation of Andrew Lang, the guy who wrote a bunch of really cool fairytale books with stories from around Europe and Asia and Africa... well, you get the picture. We have a set of them somewhere... 

Anyway. Back to the story. By the time I was done gaping at this amazing house that I barely believed was mine, Dad had paid the cabby and gotten all of our junk out of the cab. “Come on Serena, Eleni. Help me get this stuff inside.” 

We carried our suitcases up to the front of the house. It was an ordeal, because we had to go through the garden and under some rose arbors to get there. But it was worth it in the end. I opened the door onto a small but grand living room, a pair of French doors in front of me, and a fireplace to the side. It was exactly what I had imagined it to be. When we got everything inside the door, Mom said, “Come on, Ellie, I’ll show you your room.” I picked up the non-rolling end of my suitcase and followed her through the dining room, the kitchen, a pretty awesome library/study (if I may say so myself), and a den with some couches, bean bags, and – GASP! – a TV. I saw this and asked, “Mom? Why are we keeping a TV if I am supposed to be living a ‘wizard’s life?’” 

She laughed and replied, “Oh, I know you and I could live without them, but your poor Muggle father, well, he would DIE without his daily dose of CNN. You know that.” 

“Oh, yeah. I sure do.” She opened a door just to the left of the TV and helped me get my suitcase up a medieval spiral staircase. I was excited to see what the top room – my room – would look like. I had realized by then that I had the tower room that I had seen from the front of the house. The stairs went up to a door on the left, and I reached for the doorknob, but Mom smiled and said, “We’re not there yet, Ellie. Keep going.” 

So we went on farther. At the top of the stairs was not just a plain old door like the floor below, but a – 

“I GET A TRAPDOOR!?! AWESOME!!” Oh, man, was I excited to have a trapdoor as the entrance to my room. How many kids can say that they have a TOWER ROOM? Not many, I can tell you. Not many at all. 

Mom laughed. “Yes, Ellie, you get a trapdoor. And that’s not all.” By now I had a self-induced sugar rush. How much cooler could my room GET? 

She pushed open the trapdoor as slow as possible - just to get me, I think - and led me in, holding one end of my suitcase. When I got up, I dropped my end on the floor. I swear I could have fainted from happiness. 

It was a perfect princess room. It had a large window seat, which I later learned was perfect for falling asleep on during sleepless nights, a dark wood four-poster with “hangings,” and a rope ladder off in the corner. It also had some of my favorite things from home, like the inherited Coloured Fairy Tale Books, by Andrew Lang, and my soccer posters, trophies, and pictures of my team. I ran over to the window, where I threw it open and found myself staring at a backyard a lot like the front yard – a big gigantic garden. I had an arbor on the wall next to me, but instead of roses, ivy, or something equally flimsy, it was training a wisteria vine. If I hadn’t loved the house before, that perfectly wild wisteria did it for me. It just begged to be climbed on.
“Mom.” I turned around and saw that she had coaxed my overstuffed striped suitcase onto my bed and had started putting my stuff up. She looked up when I called her. 

“Yes, Ellie?” When I remained speechless, gaping like a goldfish, she asked, “Is everything okay? Do you not like the house?” 

I laughed hysterically for a moment or two. “Who could not like this house, Mom? It’s perfect. It’s beautiful. It’s...” I struggled for the right word. “It’s fairy tale material. How did you find this place?” 

She shrugged. “Realty agencies are a lot more thorough here It seemed that some guy had moved on, so to speak, and left the house to his son. His son happened to work at the place I went to first, and when I told him what I wanted, he offered it to me on the spot. So much better than that cookie-cutter at home.” 

I snorted. “You got that right.” I started helping her put my stuff in my wardrobe, which, coincidentally, matched my bed. I didn’t have much variation in my clothes. I usually wore soccer jerseys, t-shirts, old jeans, and shorts to school and pretty much anywhere. No skirts, no frilly blouses, and NO Mary Jane’s, although my mom had tried to get me to be girlier. I flat-out refused. My guy friends didn’t care what I wore, as long as I could still play soccer - excuse me, football - with them, and the girls already thought I was weird for being too much like a guy - dressing like them wouldn’t change anything. I was perfectly content in my baggy boys’ clothes. In fact, most of my stuff was clothes from sleepovers that my soc - football team had had at my house, long forgotten by their original owners. I had had the biggest house. We finished, and Mom went downstairs to put up her own stuff. When she opened the trapdoor, Simba came scrambling up. 

“Hey, boy! Come here, Simba!” I scooped him up and plopped him on the bed. Mom gave a small smile and went downstairs. I began a spy investigation of my new room while Simba curled up into a tiny ball and fell asleep. 

I soon learned that one; there were no hidden panels in the back of my wardrobe. Two; none of my books caused a door to open, and three; the rope ladder went up to a bathroom, not to a hidden attic with an old lady at a spinning wheel in the corner. Ah well. No need to push my luck. 

I made like a slinky down the stairs to the door Mom and I had passed on the way up and slid inside. 

It was odd seeing a normal-looking hall in this amazingly different house. It was a short, bendy hallway, and the doors along it were all different, but it was still slightly normal. It almost creeped me out, but I stayed calm and opened the first door on my right - 

- And ran headlong into a dark red-covered queen bed. I picked myself up like the graceful ballerina I was and looked around. It was an odd-shaped room, with a window seat almost as cool as mine. It had lots of half-filled bookcases, which I learned, upon closer inspection, were mainly an overflow from my room and from the downstairs library. A matching, overstuffed armchair was in the corner. It begged me to try it out, so I got a running start and jumped, turning around in the air so I landed sitting down, and sighed. It was red-clad heaven. 

After a few minutes of melting into the chair, I got up and did a quick secret-agent-check of the room. 'No hidden secrets in this one, either,' I thought to myself. I went back out to the hall, made a right turn, and found myself with a dilemma. Should I choose Door Number One on the left? Or should I take a gander at Doors Number Two or Three on the right? 

I went with Door Number One, since the other two almost looked like they led to the same room. I thought I’d figure out that secret later. 

Door Number One was a bathroom. It was average sized, a blah square walls, and had a thin-ish door off to the side. The first thing that came to mind was not the size or the shape, however, but just one word. 


EVERYTHING in the room was P-I-N-K. I had never seen that much of a color in such a small place. I literally stepped back a little after I opened the door. It had two light pink marble pedestal sinks, a Barbie-pink shower curtain over a bathtub of the same light pink marble as the sink, and rose-pink tiles on the walls and floors. The towels and soap bars were the sort of pink that they make lipstick out of. I had a few questions to ask Mom about her color scheme choices. 

Since my whole presence basically defied the existence of pink, I backed out without doing my spy search, quickly and quietly closing the door. I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding. “Thank God I have my OWN bathroom,” I said to the door, which was also pink, and opened Door Number Two. 

I had been wrong about the two doors going to the same room. There was a wall between the two rooms, that’s a shocker, but there was a connecting door. I soon discovered that that door was really two doors, each one with one doorknob. I guessed that was so that the guys couldn’t sneak over in the middle of the night and, I dunno, put shaving cream in their hair or whatever it is that they do in the Wizarding world. Personal experience with the shaving cream, by the way.
Door Number Two was more of a girls’ room, with lace curtains and pillows everywhere. It had a set of bunk beds with floral comforters, and other feminine accents scattered around. There was a TV in the corner hooked up to some sort of dancing game, maybe? 

My spy-search proved fruitless, so I journeyed outside and into Door Number Three. 

It was exactly the opposite of Door Number Two. I had kind of expected that, I guess, because if that was the girls’ room, where was the boys’? It had denim bedspreads and thick dark curtains, a gaming system, and a TV. Man, Mom knows how to be thorough. 

I did a spy-search, and I actually found a result this time! 

I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to do at first when I found the handle on the floor under the bunk beds. But I soon recovered my sense of adventure and heaved at it. The paving stone lurched to the side, and I found something I hadn’t really expected in this sort of house. Or maybe I had... 

Either way, I found a small jewelry box, along with a much larger, much more beat-up cardboard box that wasn’t really all that heavy. I took them both out of the small hole, then crawled out from under the bed and sat on top to see what was inside. I opened the cardboard box first, and found a lot of yellowing rolls of paper tied up in green ribbons. I took out the first one I saw and slowly unfurled it so it wouldn’t break. That was how old it was. The paper was covered in frilly handwriting in sapphire ink, and was dated July twenty-fourth, nineteen twenty three. 

Dear Anthony, I read, 

I cannot wait until September. It will be my last year at Beauxbatons – and yours at Hogwarts – and I do not think I could be any more excited. How has your summer been? Mine has been rather dull, since my brothers are off at college and my sister is still at finishing school. It is very boring sometimes, being the baby of the family. Is your brother doing well? I hope he’s over the flu. I have never had it before, but I have heard it is not very fun. 

Your last letter was so sweet. I loved what you did for your friends, putting them first. And I loved the poem. Sadly, I am unable to give one back. I have that sort of permanent writer’s block – the one called “no talent”? Yeah, that is what my demon’s name is. 

I wish there were a way we could meet sometime. I have always wanted to put a face with my mysterious Anthony Tucker from England. Have you ever wanted to meet me, to see who your Genevieve de la Fontaine was? I would be surprised if you didn’t.
Maybe I’ll try to sail over to London at the end of the year, or maybe you can come to ParÌ? 

Beaucoup d'amour,
Genevieve D.L.F. 

Awww. How sweet. Someone had a pen pal with a Beauxbatons student. 

Gag me. 

Wait, wait, what’s Beauxbatons? 

I put my incredible mind to the task, and decided that it was a French Wizarding school in maybe Paris? Hmm. Maybe I’ll learn more about it in Hogwarts. 

After reading that random French letter, putting it away, and pushing the box to the side, I replaced it in my lap with the smaller jewelry box. It wasn’t a ring-size box, but more of a special-occasions-only container. I was so excited to see what priceless artifacts where inside that I had to take a calming breath before opening it, so I wouldn’t throw everything inside all over the room. Slowly, I turned the latch and opened the lid. 

After I got a face full of dust, I gasped at the jewelry inside, which took in yet more dust. There was a pair of light green (emerald? peridot?) stud earrings with a matching necklace. Also beside them was a funky-looking pin, I guess used for a cloak, in the shape of a star. It was made of gold and mother-of-pearl inlay with tiny, bright blue sapphires set in the middle. 'Why did this guy hide this stuff?' I thought. 'I would have definitely used it, or at least sold it for the thousands it’s probably worth.' I took out the pin. It was set in white gold, and had a small engraving on the back - the letters APT

It was about then that I decided not to tell anyone about the letters, or the jewelry. I didn’t know why, but it already seemed like I had stumbled across a secret I hadn’t been meant to know, and I didn’t want to make that feeling any worse. So I put the brooch back inside the box, latched it, and took the two boxes back up to my room. 

“Where to hide you, where to hide you,” I whispered to the boxes as I searched my room. For such an awesome room, it had very little hiding spaces. I eventually put the letterbox under my wardrobe, just behind my suitcase, but I couldn’t find a safe enough place for the jewelry box. I wasn’t about to put it back downstairs – what if someone else did the same thing I did in a search of the premises? I liked the box – it was a dark, very dark, wooden engraved masterpiece. Well, who could tell it wasn’t mine? My brain began churning in overdrive as I put together a plan. I just would hide it in my suitcase until time for Hogwarts, then take it with me with the original jewelry and whatever else I had that was small enough to fit inside. I’d make it a junk drawer-box thing, so no one would really see the amazing earrings or necklace, or the pin. The pin was my favorite. Maybe I’d even allow myself to wear it once in a while. Maybe I’ll take a few letters, too, just to pass the time while I’m there... 

But I was getting too far ahead of myself. I had only half-finished my spy-search, and who knew what else I would find! 

I slunk back down the stairs to the second floor, and went straight past the already-searched doors and opened a plain white door. It was time to get back to business. 

It was a bedroom that seemed to serve more as the junk room for all of the previous owners. Everything under the sun seemed to have been crammed in here like it was a giant closet. I took a breath, then dove into the debris and sorted through it in a frenzy.

A bolt of ugly green plaid cloth? "No," I said out loud, throwing it on the bed.

A ratty old stuffed capuchin monkey? "Nah." It joinged it's comrade on the bed by the express route.

A box of china dolls? "Ew," I muttered, and carefully put it on the far side of the bed.

I continued in this manner for a long time. I don't know how long I was at it, but I almost was breaking a sweat by the time I was done. I turned to leave, but a broom hidden in the corner of the room caught my eye. I walked over to it and picked it up. It was one of the twig-and wood deals, not plastic like the ones I was used to seeing at my old home. I had established from the letters that the last owner of the house had been an aged wizard. Maybe this was his old racing broom... 

Thinking among the lines of ‘what the heck’ and ‘why not,’ I pulled out one of the things I had thrown on the bed – a broom servicing kit from the ‘forties – and started to clean it up. During this time, I talked to the poor broom. “Great,” I said, rubbing in some polish with a rag of the revolting green cloth. “I search this ENTIRE room and all I find is you, a who-knows-how-old broomstick. What a life.” (Well, who knows what would happen if you talked to inanimate objects? It can’t hurt. ... Can it?) 

I finished scrubbing off the grime from the handle and discovered it was called a ‘Zephyr.’ “Well, Zephyr, let’s trim your ends a bit, then maybe I’ll take you for a ride.” 

I swear the broom jumped a little when I said that. But I guess I was imagining things again. I put the tub of polish back in the kit, and rummaged for the small pair of scissors promised to be inside by the cover. “Now where can the- ow!” 

I quickly pulled out my hand and sucked on my finger, which had begun to bleed. “Found, them, Zephyr.” I carefully pulled them with my right hand and started trimming the tail. 

When I was done, I pulled out the dog-eared service manual to see if there was anything else I needed to do. 

After months or even years of disrepair, some brooms may become brittle. If this happens to your broom, soak it in a tub of water for about half an hour, then let it dry by natural means. After it is completely dry, it will most likely be safe enough to fly, unless, like in rare cases, the broom is unable to function at all. If this happens, it is just a normal broom. It will not work as a flying broom anymore. 
Great. So this thing might not even work at all. And how much time had I spent on this thing? I sighed. “I might as well soak you like the book says, Zephie. No harm in it.” 

I took the broom and the kit down the hall to the horridly (see? I can be English, too.) pink bathroom. I turned the tap on in the marble bathtub and filled it to the desired twelve inches. I submerged the broom in the water, then set the alarm on my watch for thirty minutes later, which happened to be two o'clock. Wow, I had been at this for a long time. 

As if on cue, my stomach rumbled. “Well, Zephie, I think I deserve lunch after that amazing job I did cleaning up. You agree?” I few bubbles floated up from between the twigs in the tail. “I thought so. See you in half and hour!” I waved goodbye to the broom, then left the bathroom, the hall, the staircase – 

“Ellie! We were just wondering what had happened to you.” 

I walked into the kitchen and immediately saw a bowl of fruit already on the table. I grabbed an apple and sat down in between my parents. “0h, I’ve been exploring. I’m just taking a food break. How’s your first day in this AMAZING house been?” 

“See, Jonathan. I told you she loved it.” 

“Great!” Dad said to my mom. Then he faced me and said, “I was hoping you’d like the house. I didn’t want you to like being at Hogwarts more than you liked being at home.” 

“Dad, unless Hogwarts is a castle, it won’t be anything compared to this,” I said between bites of my apple. They were silent. I looked back and forth between them. 

“It’s NOT a castle, is it, Mom?” I asked her. 

She sighed heavily, like she had bad news to tell me, and put her hand on my shoulder. “I’m afraid it is, Ellie.” 

My eyes grew wide, and I dropped my apple core onto the table. “No way. No. Freaking. Way. Holy cow. Holy. Cow. I’m going to go to school in a CASTLE!!!!” I jumped up and began to dance around, jabbering the whole time. “I’m going to live in a castle. A REAL CASTLE. Oh my god, oh my god, holy cow... OH MY COW!! THAT IS AWESOME!!” My parents were trying to laugh hysterically at me and stare at me like I was the stuffed monkey from upstairs at the same time. It wasn’t working too well. The laughing side was very strong. I started doing my happy dance. “I’m gonna to live in a castle, I’m gonna live in a castle, I’m gonna live in a CASTLE!” Then I remembered what my dad had said about loving home more than school. “Oh, umm, not like this place is bad or anything...” I trailed off awkwardly. Mom smiled. 

“It’s okay. I had pretty much the same reaction when I learned that piece of information ever so long ago, too.” 

“Oh. Good.” I sat back down and tossed the apple core towards the trashcan from my seat. Needless to say, I missed, so I had to go pick it up and throw it in from a closer distance. “Dad, trust me, I’m never going to forget this place. I may like Hogwarts just as much, or maybe even more, but this is my home. Hogwarts will never be my home, no matter how much it may try. It’ll always be my school. It’s just not going to have the same fairy-tale vibe this house has. So don’t worry about it too much. I’ll always love it here with you guys.” Reassured, Dad went back to his paper. I had never understood how an ex-hippie like himself could like the news so much. 

“So, Ellie. How’s your search been so far?” Mom asked me as I started on a pear. 

“Pretty fun, actually. But I do have a question.” She looked at me expectantly. “Why is the bathroom pink?” 

“Oh. Well, you see, they had a sale on pink at the Home Depot, and -” 

“Mom. I’m asking you in all seriousness here. Notice my ‘serious face.’” I pointed to my freckled features, where I had my pucker and glare trained on her. “Why is the bathroom pink?” 

“I thought you might like it?” She ventured, shrugging sheepishly. My pucker got a little thinner. “Fine. I thought it might help you release your feminine side.” 

“Mom, we’ve been over this before. I’ll let the reins on my inner girl go when I’m good and ready. But for right now, this,” I gestured down to my old best friend’s jersey [number twenty-two], old jeans, and Sheckers sneakers, “is what I am. Nothing you can do will make that time come any faster.” 

She grinned sheepishly. “Who can blame a mom for trying to help her daughter a little bit?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at how much she acted like she was her shoe size, not her age. “I know. But the boys aren’t going to be happy about it.” 

She raised an eyebrow. “You’ve met boys already? But you’ve been upstairs this whole time.” 

“I’m talking about the guys I’m bound to meet and befriend over the years at Hogwarts, Mom. Not real people right yet.” 

“Of course, of course,” Mom said, going back to unpacking the dishes. I finished my pear a few seconds before the alarm on my watch went off. 

“Oh!” I jumped at the alien beeping from my wrist. “My broom!” 

Mom looked puzzled. “What broom?” 

I sighed. “Let me go get it and I’ll show it to you.” 

I dashed upstairs to the Barbie bathroom. Zephie did look a little bit thicker and darker, so I took him out and shook him off a little bit. I wrapped a fuzzy pink towel around him, then wrestled him down the stairs and into the kitchen, where I spilled him onto the table. “This, my beloved mother, is Zephie. I found him in that junk bedroom, the one with the magic window? He was all beat up and stuff, like Harvey after a bad day.” Harvey had been one of my friends in Kansas, who was the class nerd and always got pushed around. He was one of the reasons I had started taking karate. “So I thought I’d fix him up and see what I could do. You like him?” 

Mom was examining the job I had done; searching for bent twigs in the tail, checking the polish all the way up to the name Zephyr inscribed on the top of his handle, etc. Finally, she looked up at me in a sad kind of way. “Oh, Ellie. This broom is ancient. Are you sure it’ll work?” 

“Oh, He’s gonna fly alright. You’ll see. Can I go try him out?” I took Zephie back from her and wiped some extra water off of him. 

“Well . . . this is a predominantly Wizard neighborhood . . . and we do have that incredible wall . . .” 

“Thanks, Mom! I won’t fly too high!” I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and banged out the screen door with Zephie grasped in my small hands. 

“Wait a second!” she called from inside. She ran out to join me on the small patio outside. I was already mounted on Zephie. “Do you know exactly how to fly, Ellie?” 

I waved my hand nonchalantly. “Psh. How hard can it be?” 

“Alright, if you’re sure. Just keep a tight grip, and only go a few feet up until you see what it can do.” 

“Got it.” I thought that now was not the best time to disagree with my mom, since I was planning on doing all that stuff anyway. I tightened my hands on Zephie, bent forward a little, then pushed against the ground as hard as I could. 

“Ha ha ha! I knew it would work!” Zephie had easily gone up a few feet in the air, and stayed there, floating, while Mom clapped and I rejoiced. “Alright, now that we know you can work, Zephie, Let’s see what else you’ve got.” We rose until we were just taller than most of the plants in the garden, then I leaned forward, which I figured meant 'speed up'. 

Zephie and I were an instant team. I guess since I treated him in my mind like a person instead of a thing, he could read my thoughts better, or whatever it was that brooms do to know what you want them to do. I don't know. He wasn’t one of those brooms that got outstripped by passing butterflies, either – he was going at least thirty miles an hour easily in the short time we were up. It was one of the other marvels of this house, not just that there was a working broom in it, but a good one at that. Zephie had a few drawbacks, sure, but I could feel that those could be fixed with a little bit of magic. 

We zoomed down to my mom, and stopped so that I was eye level to her. “You said this was a mostly Wizarding neighborhood. Could you tell me if there are Muggles anywhere near here? Like, say . . . across the wall?” I gestured to the back wall. 

Mom grinned. “No, that family happens to have lived here for centuries. Pureblood, they are – probably some distant relation of mine. I can’t remember what their name was – maybe it was the Parkers?” she pondered as she leaned back into a wire patio chair. “Why?” 

“Oh, no reason. Thanks, Mom. I’ll see you in a little while.” I flew towards the back wall, where there was a good tree on the other side to climb down. 

“And where do you think you’re going, missy?” she shouted after me. I turned Zephie around in a perfect half-spin. 

“Why, to meet the neighbors, of course.”


{S/R: Another disclaimer - ‘OH MY COW’ is an unofficial trademark of my friend Mariel. 

Okay, my Alabama roots are going to show, but y’all, please review! And yes, I’m talking to YOU, chick! And you too, feller! I don’t know how good I’m doing unless I get feedback. I could have everyone in the WORLD read it, and if they don’t tell me how they thought it was, then for all I know they could be just twittering, [*puts on a surfer dude voice*]“Hey, did you read that story about the Eleanor girl? DU-u-U-U-u-uuuu-de, that was TERRIBLE, man!” 

Or something along those lines. 

And I’m rambling. I’ll see you next chapter, where she meets -? – across the wall. And if you haven’t figured out who it is by now, I’m gonna ask why you’re reading a Marauder’s era story. And I'm being serious. [Echo from back of mind: No, I’M Sirius! Differently voiced echoes: SHUT UP, Padfoot!]

it has now been edited, since people seem to think that it needed it. And I have to say, after I went back over it, I agree.}

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