Disclaimer: Thank JK Rowling for everything!
“Pinny! Pinny, is it here?”
Addie was practically jumping up and down in her seat. Today, June 12th, was her eleventh birthday, and every young witch or wizard knew what that meant.
“Ariadne!” Her grandmother said sternly “Is this any way for a young lady to act at the table? Sit quietly. Pinny will bring the letter to you after breakfast.”
Ariadne sat. She felt like pouting, but she knew it would get her nowhere—and if there was anything she had learned from her grandmother, it was that emotion should only be expressed for one’s advantage, not simply as a matter of course. So instead of pouting, Addie simply sat and picked at her breakfast.
Finally the adults were down to their final cups of tea. Galacia Malfoy watched her granddaughter. The poor girl was fidgeting with her napkin, folding and refolding it, unable to completely suppress her impatience. Galacia hid a smile.
“Pinny. Bring in the mail.”
Addie’s head jerked up. She was sure that everyone in the room must hear her heart pounding. It would surely beat its way out of her chest if it kept pounding like this. She sat on her hands to keep them from doing anything horrible—like banging on the table, or pulling out her hair, or playing with her napkin.
Pinny came in with several missives. Addie barely noticed the letters for the others. Finally, Pinny came around to her.
“And one for you Miss.” The elf smiled at her encouragingly, and disappeared.
The letter was heavy parchment with a red wax seal stamped with the Hogwarts crest—the four house animals surrounding a large letter H. On the front, her address was printed down to the very last detail—how could they know that I sleep in the green bedroom in the northwest corner?
A small, detached part of Addie wondered.
“Ahem.” Her uncle cleared his throat.
“Do not keep us waiting,” Aunt Eustacia said in a bored voice. “Open it.”
Addie no longer thought her heart would beat out of her chest. Rather, it seemed to have stopped beating altogether. She turned the letter over broke the seal. The letter slid out folded onto the table. She lifted it and shook it open.
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Ms. Clarke,
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 on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
Addie let out a breath she had not realized she was holding. She had gotten in! Really, she shouldn’t have been so surprised. She had performed her first bit of magic when she was only two, according to her mother—something having to do with fish and flowerpots.
She passed the acceptance letter to her grandmother, and picked up the second page.
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
First-year students will require:
1.Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2.One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3.One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4.One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils’ clothes should carry name tags.
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Draughts, Poisons, Elixirs and Brews: An Introduction by Wendy Slinkhard
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
Lessons in Magical Defense, Volume 1 by Nestor Borian
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS
“We will have to go to Diagon alley as soon as possible, before the crowds begin,” her grandmother commented. “Sunday will do.”
There was a nervous shuffling of paper. “I think I should accompany Ariadne, Mother.”
Addie looked up from the book list to see what was going on. Her mother was tense, as if she were holding her breath, and she was holding her copy of Witch Weekly upside down. There was an expression on her face Addie couldn’t place. She’s scared
Addie suddenly realized. Scared that Gran will will say no.
Mum had always ruled their household with an iron hand. Dad and Addie used to jokingly call her “lady general,” saluting as they followed orders. To Addie’s eight-year-old mind, her mother was absolutely fearless, and she just about worshipped her. After the move to Malfoy Manor however, Mum had retreated into herself. She barely left her rooms and sat at meals in subdued silence. At first, Addie had sought her mother out. But whenever she went her rooms, the house elves would turn her away. At meals, Mum avoided her gaze and disappeared as soon as she could be excused. Addie wondered if her mother was ill, but no healer was ever called for. Eventually, she realized that Mum just did not want to be disturbed, and she left her alone. If Addie felt any pang of sadness at the loss of her mother, she never let on.
“That will not be necessary, Persephone,” Gran said calmly, putting down her reading glasses.
“I ought to be there when my daughter chooses her first wand!” Mum said, her voice rising hysterically with every word.
Gran raised an eyebrow. “Please lower your voice,” she replied. “That tone is reserved for muggles at sporting events.”
Mum paled, but opened her mouth again. “What I wished to say is that I am available on Sunday, and—”
“The matter is not open to conversation, Persephone,” Gran interrupted with finality. She turned away from the table and snapped her fingers. Several house elves appeared and began clearing the dishes.
Mum’s chin trembled and her eyes seemed over bright. Maybe she is ill
, Addie thought, examining her mother’s thin and horribly pale face without interest. She was slightly surprised at her own lack of sympathy for the woman before her.
“Ariadne, you may be excused,” her grandmother instructed, waving her toward the door.
Addie stood quickly and left before her mother could catch her eye. The moment she closed the door, she felt her whole body relax. But the excitement of the morning was gone forever.
It was Sunday afternoon by the time Addie and her grandmother entered the wand shop. There was already a small family in there—a redheaded girl and her parents. As Addie watched, the man behind the counter picked up a wand and passed it to the girl.
“Ash and unicorn tail hair. Nine inches. Nice and flexible.” He said.
The girl, concentrating hard, gave the wand a wave. Nothing happened.
“No!” The man exclaimed, grabbing the wand out of her hand.
“Cherry and dragon heart-string. Ten and a half inches. Quite springy. A very versatile wand.”
Again the girl waved the wand, and again with no result.
The man snatched the wand back.
“Here,” he said, thrusting a new wand into her hands. “Willow and dragon heart-string. Ten and a quarter inches. Swishy, nice for charms work.”
This time something was different. When the girl held the wand, Addie could feel anticipation building in the room. She raised the wand and brought it down. A stream of gold and red sparks flew out of the wand.
“Ah, a match,” the man declared happily. “Very nice, Miss Evans, yes a very good choice. Though of course, it is really the wand that chooses the wizard.”
Addie was mystified by the comment, but it seemed that the redhead understood it. Or at least, she wasn’t particularly curious. Her parents paid for the willow wand, and turned to exit the shop. As she passed, the redhead gave Addie a big smile. Addie smiled in return, but her grandmother ignored the entire family, pulling Addie towards the now vacated counter.
“Ollivander,” she said haughtily.
Mr. Ollivander seemed to brighten. “Madame Malfoy. What a wonderful surprise!”
Grandmother gestured to Addie. “I have come for my granddaughter, Ariadne Clarke.”
“Ah,” Mr. Ollivander smiled sycophantically, turning to gaze at Addie. “Indeed.”
His eyes were misty and bulbous. I wonder if he’s related to Pinny
, Addie thought, and had to stifle a giggle. What would her grandmother say if she could hear such unladylike thoughts?
“I remember your parents,” Mr. Ollivander continued. “Cherry and dragon-heartstring, nine and a half inches. Inflexible. That was your mother’s. Now, your father preferred a hawthorn and unicorn tail hair wand. Twelve inches. Rather bendy.”
Merlin’s beard! Does he know all that off by heart?
Addie thought in shock. Her grandmother, on the other hand, didn’t look surprised in the least. In fact, she looked a little impatient.
“Here Miss Clarke.” Ollivaner held out a rather short wand for her. “Willow and unicorn tail hair. Eight and one quarter inches.”
Addie grasped the wand tightly and gave it a wave. Nothing.
Ollivander grabbed the offending wand and passed her a new one. “Ash and phoenix feather, ten inches. Whippy.”
But again, the wand failed to produce a reaction. The next two were also incompatible. But finally…
“I think I have it now!” Mr. Ollivander said excitedly. He thrust a new wand into her hands. “Oak and phoenix feather. Ten and a half inches, reasonably pliable.”
Again, a sense of anticipation grew. Addie felt the wand warm in her hand. She raised it and cut a long stroke through the air. Silvery white sparks streamed out of the wand.
“Perfect,” Mr. Ollivander beamed. “A rather surprising choice—not much like your parents.”
“Hmph,” sniffed Gran.
Ollivander hastily bowed his head. “But a very good wand, yes, very good.” He scuttled over to the register while Gran paid.
Addie rubbed the smooth wood of the wand—now her
wand. It fit perfectly in her hand. She couldn’t wait to try some of the spells in her new schoolbooks.
“Come now Ariadne.”
They left the shop. As they walked back towards the Leaky Cauldron, Addie saw the Evans family again. They were standing in the middle of the street looking rather lost. As Addie and her grandmother walked by, the redheaded girl tried to her eye. But Addie kept her eyes glued to the ground. She was shy—and unsure of what her grandmother would think.
After they had passed though, Addie looked up at Gran. “Should we—?” She waved back towards the family.
Gran refused to meet her gaze, instead staring ahead towards the end of the alley. “We do not associate with their kind.”
Their kind. They must be muggles
, Addie thought. She glanced back over her shoulder at the redheaded girl again. Another family shopping with their son had stopped to help the Evans. As the parents smiled and introduced each other, the two children stared bashfully. Finally, the boy ruffled his already messy black hair nervously and said something. The Evans girl smiled cheekily and answered. Whatever she said must have been funny, because the boy laughed and soon the two were chatting as if they were old friends.
Addie felt a sudden chill despite the bright June sun.
“Keep up Ariadne.”
Addie turned her back on the two families and hurried to catch up with her grandmother. They trudged slowly down the street, pausing every once and a while as Gran greeted old friends. As they turned the final corner, Gran pulled up short. Addie, who had been glaring with great concentration at her shoelaces, walked right into her.
“Oomph! Sorry, Gran,” she said, embarrassed.
Surprisingly, Gran did not seem to notice. Addie bent around her to see what her grandmother was looking at, and spotted a rather strange couple: a tall man with a monocle and curling whiskers accompanied by a tiny girl with matching curly hair. The man bowed courteously as Addie’s grandmother nodded.
“Galacia, how nice to see you. Is this your daughter?”
Gran smiled thinly. “You are too kind, Francis. This is my granddaughter, Ariadne.” She gave Addie a little poke. Addie curtsied.
“Ah, doing some shopping I see. My daughter is starting Hogwarts this year as well. Say hello Kimberly.”
“Hullo.” The tiny girl attempted a wobbly curtsey and almost fell. Addie covered her grin with a hand. The girl pulled a disgusting face, but luckily no one important was looking.
The girl leaned toward Addie. “How do you do it so well?” She hissed. “I always
“I wasn’t much good at first, but Gran made me practice forever.”
The tiny girl glanced up at the adults, who were now deeply involved in a conversation about Gringotts and the Wizarding economy. “Come on, let’s get out of here. They won’t miss us.” She grabbed Addie’s hand and dragged her back around the corner of the alley.
“Merlin’s pants, you’re strong!” Addie yelped, reclaiming her sore wrist. She frowned. “We should go back. We’re going to get in such big trouble.”
The girl crossed her arms. “Oh don’t be a sissy. It’s not like we’re going far, I just want an ice cream.”
“I don’t have any gold.”
“Sweet Circe, you are such a downer! I have some, don’t worry.” She began to walk toward the ice cream shop, but stopped when she realized Addie wasn’t following. She sighed in annoyance and stalked back to Addie. The girl considered her for a moment, then said, “Look, we got off on the wrong foot. Let’s start again.”
She stuck out a pink hand. “Kim Pons.”
Addie paused. The girl seemed good-natured, but she didn’t want trouble...and this girl was definitely trouble. But abruptly the unbidden memory of the Evans girl and the black-haired boy laughing in the alley rose in her mind, and Addie found that she was grasping the other girl’s hand firmly.
“Addie Clarke. Nice to meet you.”
Kim grinned hugely. “Great. D’you like strawberry? Because I’ve heard that Fortescue’s Famous deluxe sundae is amazing but I hate strawberry.”
“Sure,” Addie replied, as the two of them entered the shop.
Kim strutted right up to the counter. “One Fortescue’s Famous deluxe sundae with extra chocolate sauce and two spoons please.”
As Kim ordered, Addie looked around for a table. The place was packed, but she could see a half-full table outside. It was occupied by just one girl, about her own age, with short black hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was flipping though a quidditch magazine. Addie wasn’t sure why, but she liked her.
“SOS! Addie, save me!”
Addie jerked around every nerve tense for danger, but found only Kim carrying a precariously balanced tower of ice cream. Merlin! You’d think she was dying, saying all that. What a drama queen,
Addie thought, amused. But she “rescued” the ice cream all the same and carried it outside.
“Where can we sit?” Whispered Kim, surveying the tables. “Everywhere is taken.”
“That one isn’t full. Over there, where that girl is sitting.”
“Oh. Do you know her?” Addie was a little surprised—Kim actually seemed nervous. She had no trouble kidnapping me
, Addie thought, mentally rolling her eyes. What a time to get shy.
“No, but—let’s just sit, okay? The ice cream is melting.”
Kim looked at Addie in horror. “I paid for that ice cream and I’ll be darned if it melts before I get to eat it!” She shoved over to the table and threw herself down next to the unsuspecting girl. “Sorry, it’s an emergency. Melting ice cream coming through.”
Addie had to grin at that as she deposited the sundae on the table.
“I’m Addie Clarke,” she said to the new girl. “And this nutcase is Kim Pons.” Kim stuck her tongue out at Addie.
“Zuleika Zlatko,” the girl replied. She surveyed their sundae. “That looks amazing. Who knew you could fit that much ice cream onto one bowl?”
“It’s magic!” Kim replied, winking cheekily.
Zuleika groaned. “Pleeeaaase, no magic jokes. It makes you sound like a muggle. ”
Kim dispersed the spoons (somehow there were three and not two, which made Addie wonder if Fortescue had a talent for divination) and soon all three girls were devouring the ice cream, talking between bites.
“Are you nervous about the sorting?” Addie asked Zuleika and Kim.
“Mmmmnah,” Zuleika said around a mouthful of choco-nut crunch. “All my family’s been in Slytherin for ages. Doubt I’d be sorted into anything else.”
“Me too. I really want to be in Slytherin,” Kim said. “Though you know, kids aren’t always in the same house as the rest of their family. Wasn’t there some girl sorted into Ravenclaw a while ago whose whole family was in Slytherin?”
“Yeah, that was Andromeda Black,” Addie said, happy she could contribute to the conversation. “It caused a serious uproar. I don’t think she’s speaking with her family anymore.”
“A Black in Ravenclaw? Merlin’s lucky socks, the hat’s gone completely batty!” Kim exclaimed. “Well, I doubt that’ll happen to any of us. I’m destined to join Slytherin. The house of the devious and the sly! The tough and the hardened!” She wriggled her eyebrows in an attempt to look shifty, but the result landed a lot closer to ludicrously scatty.
Addie quickly swallowed a huge mouthful of strawberry ice cream to keep from choking, as Zuleika poked Kim’s slightly pudgy stomach with a giant grin. “Yes you are. Tough and hardened to the core.” Addie giggled.
“You guys are just jealous of my obvious talent,” Kim said, turning up her nose. “You’ll probably end up in Ravenclaw…or even worse,” she ended darkly.
“Oh the horror of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff,” Zuleika returned with a smirk. “I’ll take my chances, but I’m pretty much sure I’ll end up in Slytherin.”
“If the hat isn’t as batty as it seems,” Addie commented. Secretly, she was feeling a little nervous about the sorting. Unlike her pure-blood friends, her parents had been in different houses. What if she ended up in Ravenclaw like her Dad? Once upon a time, she had wanted to be in Ravenclaw, but now she felt differently. I’ll think about it if it happens
, she thought, firmly putting an end to that train of thought. No use worrying about it now
“S’pose we should be getting back,” Kim said regretfully. “Bet our families are wondering where we got to.”
“Yeah. My mum should be swinging by to pick me up soon with my brother’s stuff. See you guys on September 1st.”
Addie and Kim left the shop, practically bouncing with sugar and high spirits. And they really needed it, because almost immediately—
“Oh no,” Addie whispered to Kim, eyes wide.
Kim squeezed her hand bracingly. “Chin up soldier. I’ll see you on the Hogwarts Express.” She saluted her and set off.
Addie swung about in trepidation. Her grandmother was bearing down on her, like a battleship taking aim. She sighed.
Next update: six years later...