Chapter 4 : Here at Diagon Alley
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“Welcome to the International Apparation Agency.” The voice said. “Please step out the door into the reception area.”
Hermione led my into the reception area where I promptly fell against the wall.
“The farther we go, the worse it is. Are you okay?” Hermione asked.
“Yep, I’m good.” I stood up on shaky legs and walked to the reception desk. Hermione followed.
“Where do you need to go?” The gum popping witch at the desk asked me.
“Southampton, England, please.” Hermione filled in for me.
“New York City, USA, to Southampton, England, coming right up.” The witch said. “Follow Buela.”
“We’re in New York?” I asked Hermione in amazement. “I’ve always wanted to come here ever since I read The Devil Wears Prada.”
“You read?” Hermione asked, looking genuinely interested.
We followed the beckoning witch to a door.
“Of course! I’ll be able to get some books, right?” I asked Hermione.
“Yes, of course.” She said smiling, offering me her are arm once we were in the room.
I grabbed her arm and I thought I was going to die. It was five million times worse than home to New York City.
“The farther away the worse it is.” Hermione reiterated once we landed in a pretty, light blue room.
“Welcome to the International Apparation Agency. Please step out the door into the reception area.” A voice, not unlike the other one, said. This one had a British accent like Hermione.
We stepped out the door, and once I regained my balance, out of a set of glass doors into the sunshine.
“Now to Diagon Alley, “ Hermione said, offering her arm once again.
I eyed it warily but grabbed it nonetheless. She turned, and I wasn’t almost dead by the time we stopped spinning. But I did land in a pile of trash.
“This is Diagon Alley?” I asked, disgusted.
“No, just some muggle alley.”
“A dirty muggle alley.”
We stepped out of the alley and onto a busy sidewalk. No one seemed to notice or care that we just came out of a trash alley. In America, we would have gotten several odd looks already.
Hermione started walking, and I followed her. We eventually got to a pub and walked in. Once inside I realized it was the Leaky Cauldron. I must have squeaked a little, because Hermione looked at me weird, but I didn’t care, I was too busy looking at all the witches and wizards in robes or badly chosen muggle outfits.
“Are you hungry at all?” Hermione asked.
“Not yet, but I might be after shopping!” I said enthusiastically.
“Well then let’s get going.” She said, leading me into a back room with THE trash bins. “I’ll let you do the honors, just tap here, here, and here.” She handed me her wand.
I gently took the wand and apprehensively touched the bricks. I was still worried I wasn’t really a witch, and this all a joke. But as I tapped the third brick, the wall gave a grown, and shuttered as it started moving, revealing a narrow, crowed alley with shops lining either side of the street, leading up to Gringotts. I squealed. I handed Hermione her wand back and she was smiling.
Hermione started talking immediately as we stepped into the throng of people. “First we need to go to Gringotts, and you’ll need a wand…” I stopped listening and just looked around at the sight. It was all I had imagined it to be and so much more. Everything was medieval looking, except for Gringotts, which had a Romanesque look to it.
Before I knew it, we were walking up the steps into Gringotts. Hermione was saying how there was an account for me with enough money to get my supplies. But I wasn’t really listening, just nodding. The place was swarming with goblins and people.
Before I knew it we were getting into a cart, and I started paying attention. The cart jerked forward and we were flying down the tunnels. Hermione grabbed my hand and when I looked at her she was white. I squeezed and gave her a smile.
We stopped and got out after the goblin, who handed me the lantern. He asked for the key, and Hermione gave it to him. He opened my vault and showed me in. There were some piles of gallons, but mostly sickles and knuts. I pushed some into my bag, per Hermione’s instructions, and got back into the cart. We were off again, but this time Hermione didn’t grab my hand.
We left Gringotts and I noticed the alley just curved at Gringotts, and kept going farther than I could see. We walked to a little ways to Ollivanders and stepped inside.
“Good day, ladies.” Said a stooped, middle-aged wizard coming out of the back of the shop.
“Hello, Mr. Ollivander. This young lady is in search of a wand.” Hermione said.
“Yes, she does look excited.”
He was extremely right. My eyes were open wide and I could practically feel them sparkle. I must have looked a little crazy, but that was okay.
“Let’s get started then.” He said, pointing to a measuring tape with his wand. It flew off the counter and started whirling around me, prodding my arms up and measuring every aspect of arms you can think of.
“Of course most new shops use that new fangled spell that just takes down the measurements with a flick of the wand but here at Ollivander’s we feel that that doesn’t quite get the job done.” He explained to Hermione. “That’s all the measuring I need.” And at his command the measuring tape flew to a hook on the wall. “I’ll just go get a few selections to try.”
He came back with his arms full of wand boxes. Just a few, sure.
“Try this one.” He said, grabbing a box of the top of the mountain and handing the wand to me. “Birch, dragon heartstring, 7 inches.”
I didn’t really now what to do so I thought ‘lumos’ when the tip lit up. Then I thought how easy that was and I better not think ‘stupefy,’ when a red beam shot out of the end of the wand, ricocheted around the shop, and stopped on a chair, which exploded. I dropped the wand on the counter.
“I don’t like this one.” I said to Mr. Ollivander.
“Neither do I. Those with low brain power work well with birch wands.” He said, taking that wand, now in its box, with several others to the back.
Hermione giggled as she repaired the chair.
Ollivander came back out we tried another, and another, and another. Eventually there were only two wands left. Ollivander had given up on bringing them to the back, and there was a pile of tried wands on the other end of the counter.
“Hawthorn, unicorn tail, 8 ½ inches.” Ollivander said in a bored voice handing me a wand.
Once I grabbed it, it felt funny. At the look on my face, Ollivander took it.
“I’ve seen that look enough times to know it would take you a long time to love this wand, to long in our case.”
He handed me the last wand as Hermione sighed, flipping another page of the book she had started a fourth of the way through the wands.
“Hazel, Unicorn tail, 10 1/16 inches.” Ollivander said with bated breath.
Once I had it in my hand, it felt perfect. I looked at Ollivander who mimicked waving a wand with his hand. I waved my wand, and from the end came a cold winter wind, complete with snowflakes, my favourite time of year. Hermione looked up and smiled, and I smiled back.
“It’s always the first I pick out.” Ollivander said, perplexed.
I wanted to break a failed wand over his head.
After we left Ollivanders with my beautiful wand, we ran around Diagon Alley getting my other things. That included my cauldron and potion ingredients and robes that would get the lining colored with my house once I was sorted. Then we went to Flourish and Blotts. It was my new favorite place. There were shelves everywhere, stacked to the ceiling with books. It was beautiful.
“We have to get your school books first, and then you can get some for yourself, as long as you leave plenty of coins for writing items and an owl.” Hermione said.
We got every book I’d need for 1-3 year. I’d come with my family to get my fourth year stuff when I got that letter. Hermione also picked out some books she said were useful. Then we went separate ways to get our own books.
I got a beauty book, The Outside Really Counts, by Lavender Brown. I didn’t need the make up charms, but the hair ones would be useful.
I found another about reforms after the second war and everyday household spells.
I found Hermione and we bought the books.
We left Flourish and Blotts, and started walking past Gringotts.
“You still need parchment, quills, and ink, but first I need to go see Ron.” Hermione said.
“Ron Weasely? Are you guys still dating?” I asked.
“How do you know that, you’re muggle-born?” Hermione asked with wide eyes.
“How do I not know that? I read the Harry Potter books, of course.”
“But there’s a charm on every book for muggles keeping registered magic folk from…. You weren’t registered until a few days ago. If you had been registered, you wouldn’t even know the books existed, and wouldn’t be able to because even muggles couldn’t tell you.”
“Well I’m glad I wasn’t registered, or else I wouldn’t know so much. So let’s go see Ron!” I said, walking ahead of her to get her going a little faster.
“We have to get parchment first, and Caroline,” Hermione said as she pulled me to the side of the street. “Being able to read those books was an extreme privilege. You must never tell anyone about them.” Hermione pleaded.
“Of course I won’t, I wouldn’t want someone to bring that much evil upon my new world. Don’t worry, I understand.” I said sincerely. “Why did the ministry let the author do that anyway?”
“She is a proven and gifted seer, for a start. It was in effort to see how accepted magic would be in the muggle world. But it received too much opposition, or too many people would take advantage of it. So it will stay a secret for a while to come. And it was a good excuse to change the entrance to Platform 9 ¾. The wall just wasn’t going to work anymore.” She said the last bit with a smile. “Now we have to get writing supplies.”
After I got a ton of parchment – “You’ll be corresponding with your professors a lot, so you’ll need a lot” – several things of ink, including a pretty purple for my personal use, quills, and stationary, we left Scribbulus Everchanging Inks and headed for Weasely Wizard Wheezes.
When we got there, I tell you, it was amazing. We walked inside and there was things flying around in the air and hanging from the ceiling. The shelves were filled with stuff. I would have gotten several things, but I felt as if I had spent enough money today. And Hermione didn’t stop anyway. I followed her, hoping she wanted me to. Which she must have, because she turned around to make sure I was still following her into a back room.
“Hermione! I thought you wouldn’t be back for a few days.” Ron said, getting up from a desk where he was doing what looked like bookwork, and hugged Hermione.
“I’m not back, I just had to take Caroline here shopping and I decided to stop in.” Hermione answered.
“Well hello, Caroline, I’m – “Ron began, shaking my hand.
“Ronald Weasely, I know. But I’m not supposed to know, but don’t worry I won’t tell a soul.” I said excitedly.
Ron looked taken back as he looked at Hermione, who shrugged her shoulders.
“Would you like to meet George?” Ron asked me.
“I’d love to.”
A/N: Well, here you have an amazingly long chapter (at least for me), to help make up for the tiny one before hand. Review!
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