Chapter 1 : Prologue
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I was informed that you were the person to contact about this matter. I am Judy Walsh; I live in a small town in Canada. I volunteer at The Green’s House of Love, a kind family that look after abandoned and orphaned children. There is a young girl, Eliza Prat, who is portraying strong magical abilities. I usually wouldn’t make a fuss, perhaps persuade her parents to let me teach her. But she has no family, no prospects, just a ward of the Canadian government. In Canada most of the Wizarding schools are reserved for Pure-blood’s, or children of well known wizards. Most other magical children have to rely on their parents to teach them; it’s a long standing tradition. I would teach her myself, but I don’t have the time. I have three children, and my husband and I barely make enough to provide for our own family.
The reason I ask is because in Britain, Muggle-born’s are better accepted. And she is already such an extraordinary witch.
Neville glanced over the note sitting on his desk in Hogwarts once more. This wasn’t the first letter of its kind to find its way to him, although he had never been to a home full of orphans or Canada. It was rather lucky for Eliza to have a witch close by to notice her. He rubbed his face with his hands, stood up and slowly made his way to Minerva’s office.
After knocking on the door he slowly entered, “Evening Minerva,” He smiled at his old teacher, “I just received this letter from a witch in Canada, she’s encountered a possible Muggle-born, and wishes for the girl to come to Hogwarts.”
Minerva looked curious. “And you wish to investigate?”
Neville shrugged. “It’s an idea.”
There was a knowing look in Minerva’s eye. “Then it’s adventure you want?”
“I’m curious, to be honest, it’s intriguing to say the least.”
Minerva looked thoughtful. “You know Rose and Albus are starting in September? And so is Scorpius, Draco’s son; it should be an interesting year,” Minerva leaned back as she reflected. It wasn’t so long ago that she met Harry and the young man standing in front of her.
Neville glanced at Minerva, he could tell she was remembering his first year; life was full of excitement then. This would be her last year, he was glad she would share it with Al and Rose’s first year. He was also looking forward to taking over for her the following year.
“Can I assume I have your permission?” Neville asked.
“I don’t think it matters, you seem to have your mind made up.” Minerva gave a thin smile. “It seems you have a letter to write? A trip to plan.”
Neville nodded. “There is something else-”
“She’s an orphan. I know we have a fund for children like this but it’s not only a matter of money. No family – where would she stay during the holidays? Never mind the legal issues.” Neville explained.
Minerva leaned forward in her seat with a twinkle in her eye that would rival Dumbledore’s. “If she is as special as you believe, then you will figure it out.”
“But where would she stay?”
Minerva looked thoughtful. “Perhaps she could stay with you and Dean?”
“I’m sorry,” Neville faltered.
“Neville, you can’t possibly know the answers to these questions until you have gone to see the girl first.”
“Right, well I guess I’ll be traveling to Canada,” Neville sputtered.
“Write me once you are there.” Minerva instructed.
“Yes, will do.” Neville nodded, bowing his head and turning to leave.
“Have a good trip!” Minerva called as he exited the office.
North Bay is a place few people have heard of. A small cottage town in Northern Ontario, Canada, it holds the reputation of being a nice place to vacation in the humid Ontario summers. But for Eliza Prat it was the only place she had ever known. In the small bay she had learned to swim, to skate and how to catch fish. The Green’s was home to hundreds of children that had passed through its walls. For forty years the institution of sorts had been home to abandoned and orphaned children that the Green’s had taken an interest in; some had been abandoned at the door, others orphaned as babies and sent to the family. Regardless, all the children had no home, no roots, and the Green’s did their best to create such a place for the children that would never get adopted. One of said abandoned children was Eliza Prat. She had been abandoned at the Green’s door step as a baby on this very day, eleven years ago.
Eliza Prat was standing idle looking out over the bay. One might think she was spacing out, or perhaps watching the waves lapping back and forth against the rocks. Instead Eliza’s thoughts were focused on something much different. She was in fact imagining that she was a butterfly flying across the bay feeling the air beneath her papery wings. She didn’t bother to glance down and notice that although she wasn’t floating away, the rocks on the ground were. When she opened her eyes Eliza smiled to herself as she saw the rocks hovering and revelled in the energy surrounding her.
“Eliza!” a familiar voice called.
The rocks fell with a splash. Eliza looked up calmly facing Judy, one of the volunteers, as she slowly made her way down the rocky path towards Eliza.
“Eliza, it’s time to come in and eat your cake,” Judy said with a warm smile, “There are presents waiting for you.”
Eliza’s deep brown eyes lit up at this, she only ever received presents at Christmas and on her birthday. The small girl stood up and walked over to Mrs Walsh and put her arms around her waist, “Aren’t the rocks around here so pretty Mrs Walsh? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if rocks could float?”
Judy gave a knowing smile and replied, “Why would you want rocks to float sweet heart?”
Eliza stared blankly for a second thinking, “Why not! Come on lets go see what everyone got me!” Eliza exclaimed tugging on Mrs Walsh’s hand.
Miss Walsh followed the young girl, watching as she ran ahead. Judy was a close friend of the Green family and had been volunteering with the Muggles for as long as Eliza had been a resident at the home. Judy hoped she would like the book her and the other volunteers had bought her for her birthday. The spot where she found Eliza was her favourite place to be, and was the first place to look if Eliza had gone amiss. Eliza was the type of girl to be found on her own but was always cheerful and bright; a shining sun to the other children on bad days. Eliza could stop any and all tears from falling.
Judy admitted she would miss Eliza if she went away to Hogwarts, but it would be an amazing opportunity, a place where she could become her own person. Anyway, she didn’t have long to wait to find out, Neville had come this morning. Neville had explained to Mrs Green, that he was here to see if Eliza was smart enough to come to his elite school in Scotland - Mrs Green was thrilled of course. She was stern but she had a big heart and wanted to see all the children succeed.
Judy caught up with Eliza as they reached the house. They climbed the back deck, and entered through the back door into the kitchen where everyone was waiting for Eliza by the cake. In the large galley kitchen the entire inhabitants of the Green home was in attendance. Along with the twelve other children who were currently living in the house, Mr and Mrs Green and other volunteers stood in the room. Judy silently giggled as Eliza’s eyes immediately shot to Neville with curiosity. Judy caught the eyes of the others and started to sing happy birthday and laughed as Eliza took in a huge breath and blew out the eleven candles.
On the other side of the room, Neville was carefully watching the girl. It was obvious that she was loved; the family had put a lot of effort into this party. Mrs Green hadn’t even agreed to let him talk to Eliza until he fully explained the fake school. He looked at her more clearly. She was fairly short, rather small and slight. She had long, straight brunette hair and wore purple wired glasses. She seemed to be a very simple girl - one would almost think plain, but she had a bright smile and wide chocolate eye. Neville was sure she’d grow up to break many hearts at Hogwarts.
You don’t even know if she’s a witch. Neville could hear Dean Thomas’ words echo in his head. His roommate and closest friend had been less than understanding when Neville told him of his plans to travel to Canada, let alone possibly house the girl for the rest of the summer. Hannah had been, of course, much more understanding, reminding Dean Thomas that he hadn’t liked it when she first moved in either.
“Would you like some cake, Mr. Longbottom?” Mr. Green asked; holding a plate of cake out in front of him.
“Please call me Neville, and yes please,” Neville said taking the plate. After eating some cake and agonizing small chat, Neville decided it was time to speak to Eliza alone. He drifted over to Judy, and asked where he could find Eliza. The kind witch smiled and pointed out the window towards the rocky path leading to the lake.
Neville made his way slowly wishing he could light his way with his wand. He came upon Eliza sitting at the lake running her hands through the water. “Hey there Eliza, I’m Neville Longbottom,” he introduced himself, “Mind if I sit down?”
“You’re from England!” she burst out, “I noticed you during cake and presies, what are you here for?” she said in a small voice.
Neville smiled, “Yes, I’m from England, I just wanted to ask you some questions, if that’s okay?” Eliza suddenly looked down and avoided his eyes, but she nodded, Neville continued on, “Have you ever made anything happen? Maybe while you were mad or excited?”
After several minutes where Eliza looked very thoughtful she replied, “I can make rocks float out of the water. And once I set a leaf on fire when I was mad about it being fall when I was eight,” Eliza confessed. After some thought, she gave a curious look, “Why are you asking mister?”
Neville smiled at her innocence and contagious happiness. He decided that now was a good time to make some magic. He pulled out his wand slowly, watching her calculating eyes, and transfigured some rocks into bright yellow butterflies.
Eliza watched the butterflies burst into the air and giggled and turned to Neville, “I knew I wasn’t the only one, they’re my favourite animal too!!”
For once Neville was the one speechless. When he was able to speak again he said, “Eliza, I’m a wizard. I can do magic with the help of this wand. I think you are a witch.”
“That’s not a very nice thing to say!” Eliza said offended.
Neville chuckled, “What I mean is that you can do magic Eliza. The world I come from, being a witch isn’t a bad thing. There are lots of people like you and I in the world. I’m here to offer you a place at a wizarding school in Scotland, where other children like yourself learn how to control your magic.”
Without knowing it, Eliza had caused the rocks to rise out of the water again. Neville looked from her to the rocks. Eliza followed his eyes, “I’m a witch.”
“A powerful one by the looks of it,” Neville declared.
At once the rocks dropped. Eliza looked at Neville. “I don’t know if I could leave. You should see the bay at winter when the water freezes and it snows. Does it snow in Scotland?” Eliza finished taking a deep breath and looked at Neville expectantly; he had that surprised look again.
“Yes it snows in Scotland,” Neville stuttered, “Not as much as here, but I assure you it’s beautiful.”
Eliza smiled and turned her wide eyes to Neville and stated simply, “So what now Mr Neville?”
“Well if you agree, you’ll come back to England with me and I’ll help you get all your stuff for school and get acquainted with the magical world. Does that sound like a plan?” Neville asked.
Eliza smiled brightly, “Yes, it sounds like a very good plan. So, what do I need to go to school, how do I pay for it and how do I get there?”
A smile crossed Neville’s warm features, this girl was very clever. “Well, Miss Prat, all of that information is in this letter, and it will be paid by a grant offered at the school for children such as yourself.”
“Stellar, thank you so much! Now please excuse me, but I’m going to go to sleep, turning eleven can be quite strenuous.” Eliza stated, she started running up the path, changed her mind and gave the kind man a tight loving hug and then proceeded back to her house.
It was then that Neville knew that he would grow to love this girl as a daughter, if only Dean could connect to her in such a way.
That night, Eliza didn’t sleep one wink. She stayed up late and daydreamed about all the years and adventure to come. She had a very big imagination for such a small girl.
This is my first fic! I think you’ll enjoy the story and I’m very proud of this first chapter and Eliza Prat.
Reviews and criticism are always welcome.