Chapter 2 : Teaser
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“You’ll see,” he said. “Just trust me.” She debated whether or not she should; there was nothing in those trees back there. Truthfully, she did hide in there a few times from the gang that tore her book apart, and once she accidentally stumbled upon a couple snogging in the hidden shelter of the leaves. So she guessed they did serve a purpose; but not one that he would need to show her, she didn’t think. She still hadn’t really made up her mind whether she trusted him or not by the time they were a few yards into the trees (no snogging couples, thank God), so it didn’t really matter.
He stopped and turned to her. He looked around again as if checking to see if anyone was around.
“I think we’re alone,” she said. “Why do you keep looking around as if expecting to see someone?”
“You can never be too careful,” he said. “And I, for one, need to be extremely careful.”
“Why?” she asked and then realized he wouldn’t answer; it did seem a very personal question.
“I’ll tell you later,” he said. “But first I must say something.” She looked at him.
“What?” He chuckled.
“I’ve been watching you for the past seven years,” he said. She blinked. “Only during summers, because I’ve been away at school during the rest of the year.”
“At St. Brutus’s?” she suggested. He frowned.
“No,” he said. “St. Brutus’s doesn’t exist. I go to a school called Hogwarts.” She hid a snicker. “Sounds funny to you, but to me, it’s like the home I never really had.” She tried to find something in his eyes, something that hinted to what he was thinking. She found nothing. “Hogwarts is a school for witches and wizards,” he said staring into her eyes, which widened.
“Wizards?” she said. “That’s not possible—“
“Oh, yes, it is,” he said. “And I’ve been watching you, and I think you’re a witch.” This was getting ridiculous. “I honestly do, and I was just wanting to see if I was right. Would you do something for me?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Like what?” she said. “Ride on my magic broomstick?” He frowned.
“Well, no, you wouldn’t have one,” he said. “You’re a Muggle-born. Your parents can’t do magic,” he explained at her puzzled look. “But you can. The fact that your parents can’t is the only reason I think you didn’t get your acceptance letter to Hogwarts. You see, Muggle-borns are looked down upon in the wizarding world. But I think they should be taught, to learn, to improve, to control. It’s highly dangerous for there to be witches and wizards out there doing accidental magic all the time. I saw a bit of that today, I think, in the park.” He was gazing intently into her eyes now, not letting her get a word in, so she would just let him get it out then leave when he was done; no use hurting his feelings by stopping him. “When you made that twister. And last week when you made that girl get pimples all over her face.” She couldn’t resist smiling at that. The girl had made fun of her hair and then insulted her by saying books made you a freak. She just flipped. “And when you were twelve, you fixed your own teeth because you were afraid to get braces. You woke up one morning and they were perfectly strait and aligned.” She gaped at him.
“How do you know that?!” she all but screamed. “I never told anyone about my bad teeth and the overnight change!”
“I told you I’ve been watching you,” he said. “I noticed your teeth were strait when I saw you.”
“But when did you see me?” she said. “I’ve never seen you until today.”
“Ah,” he said, looking excited now and yanking something out of his pocket. “You see, I’ve been near you almost every single day. Hiding in plain sight.” It was some sort of silver cloak. He held it out for her to touch. It was smooth as silk.
“What is it?” she said. He smirked and threw it over her. “Hey!”
“Just put it on,” he said. She did so, to humor him. This was awkward. It was extremely lightweight and she almost let it slide through her fingers several times before she fastened it around her neck.
“Look down.” She did. Then she screamed. She was gone! Her body was gone! There was nothing but the floor of the woods where her feet should go. She shoved the cloak off of her and backed away several steps. “Wait.”
“You,” she said panting and pointing a finger at him, “are one freaky boy.” He frowned, and she realized she had just been very rude when he hadn’t really done anything to her. She was fine. She stepped closer. “I’m sorry. I just—that’s weird.” He was putting the cloak back into his pocket.
“Yeah,” he said, his voice stony. She took another step closer so there was only about a foot between them.
“I truly am sorry,” she said. “Did you . . . want to show me anything else?” He studied her face for a moment. She seemed genuinely curious, and she was. He decided he would have wasted the last seven summers if he didn’t show her everything he could.
“All right, but you can’t tell anyone,” he said and fished through his other pocket.
“I swear I won’t,” she said. He pulled out a thin piece of wood, like a smooth three branch.
“Guess what it is,” he said. She studied it a moment, taking it from his outstretched hand. One end was a bit larger than the other, almost like a handle. She held it like a small sword and thought some more.
“Magic wand,” she said. There could be no other explanation. He smiled and nodded.
“Good,” he said. “Wave it.” She looked at him, unsure. “Just not at me,” he added holding up his hands. “I don’t want to be sent to the hospital with an extra arm or something.” She looked alarmed at him. Was he joking? So she pointed it instead, at a nearby bush that had started to wither away and waved. The thing that happened next astounded her. Right in front of their eyes, the bush started growing leaves and bright red roses. She gasped and dropped the wand.
“Oh my,” she said. He chuckled and picked up the wand. “Did—did I just do that?”
“Oh, yes,” he said. “Much cooler than what happened when I got this wand. Just some red sparks came out the end.”
“Oh,” she said, eyeing the stick. “Can you show me more?” She was genuinely intrigued. Now that she’d seen what she could do.
“All right,” he said. “Come with me, we’ll go to my house.” And he held out his arm. She looked at him puzzled. “We’re going to Apparate. Just hold tight and keep your eyes closed. Before we do though, I should tell you, it’s a rather uncomfortable feeling. Almost like you’re being squeezed through a rubber tube, but you’re fine when you get to the other end. You get used to it after a while.” She stared at him.
“S—squeezed?” She was very claustrophobic.
“It’s not that bad,” he promised. She linked her arm through his and closed her eyes tight. “Don’t let go until I tell you to, okay?” She nodded, her eyes squeezed shut. “One. Two. Three.”
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