“Cassy! It’s time to go!” Angela called out to her daughter and smiled as she saw the young girl run down the stairs.
“Mum, are you sure about this?” Cassy asked her mother for the millionth time.
“I am sure that if we don’t take this chance, we’d regret it. Now grab your coat while I put that suitcase in the car,” Angela laughed at the beautiful girl she called her own, knowing she could not show her own unease. Which was ever growing inside of her. She was just as scared as her daughter, but she could not let that control her decision. This was good for Cassy.
When Cassy got a letter three weeks ago, she never imagined it could change their lives so utterly. She wasn't sure she had ever wanted it too, not to this magnitude. She wanted better for her daughter, not more complicated. Still, ever since she was born, Angela knew her daughter was different, special. However, Angela never imagined the reason behind that difference could be magic.
Three weeks ago their lives changed so drastically that neither one could really grasp it yet. And Angela was still struggling with the knowledge that Cassy had been home alone when it had happened. Surely she was at work and neither had anticipated it. Neither could have foreseen it. And still Angela wished she could have been home.
Earlier Cassy had called her at work, explaining she had been bored out of her mind and wanting her mother to come home. They had only just moved to a new town and friends were hard to make during the summer holiday. After all, most kids were gone, celebrating this time of year somewhere warm, sunny and ‘un-english’. Something Cassy had hoped to do, but when the job offer had come to Angela, she knew it would be impossible to leave for more then a few days. Thus Cassy had been home alone, far more than Angela had wanted her to be. That summer, however, soon became more eventful for Cassy.
An Owl had swooped down on the lawn before the house and it wouldn't fly off again. Cassy had run out to get it, fearing it had been injured. When she neared it though, it had flown off, leaving a letter behind. Confused and curious Cassy had picked the letter up, discovering it had her name written on top of it. Quickly she opened it and laughed at its contents. She was convinced a joke was being played on her by some neighbouring kids. Somehow they must have gotten their hands on a fully trained owl and thought it to be funny to play a prank on the new girl. She crumbled the letter up and threw it in the dustbin, without informing her mother about it.
The days following, Cassy threw out several more letters. The prank had turned into something more and she wasn't sure it was meant to be funny at all. She was uncomfortable but dared not tell her mother. The new job had saved them from pending poverty. Her mother needed this. She could not let it be ruined by kids who did not know when to stop.
When the weekend rolled around though, Angela encountered an owl as well and Cassy could no longer hide it. Still she told her mother to simply put it aside as a joke. Angela saw her daughters unease, but was unsure what to do about it. She put the letter aside and took her daughter out for a fun-filled day. After shopping and some hours in a local zoo, they returned home to find two more letters. One, however, was addressed to Angela.
The message had been curt; informing her that someone would come by their house later that evening. It told Angela there was more to this than a prank, but it made Cassy more uneasy. Both women were utterly confused, but decided to welcome their unfamiliar visitor in their home.
When the doorbell rang, Angela nervously went to open it. Before her stood a stern, but kind, looking women dressed in long, emerald green robes. Her eyes were rimmed with small glasses and her hair was bound in a tight bun on her head. Angela could see the hair had once been a deep black, now however it was mostly grey. The confusion Angela felt, could not disguise the immediate comfort this woman exuded. This women wasn't dangerous.
She had introduced herself as Professor McGonagal and she held out a copy of the letter Angela had tossed aside earlier that day. The letter stated that Cassiopeia Clarke was in fact a witch and that she was invited to join the education for wizarding and witchcraft at the best school in the world, Hogwarts. This time Angela read it with more care, before she and her daughter started laughing loudly together. This was far too strange to be true. Wasn’t it?!
Calmly but firmly Professor McGonagal had stood her ground. Claiming she was true and asking them to recall any moments where Cassy had done unexplainable things. Things that could not be justified by what they knew. Things that could very well be magic.
They both struggled to accept this new information, but doubt had begun to spread to them. Cassy was extraordinary. Angela had always know that. Sometimes, however, even Angela could not give a proper explanation for what happened around her daughter. Flying pens, windows breaking during perfectly calm weather, exploding toilets in schools. A new job was not the only reason they had moved to a new town, although Angela would never tell her daughter this.
Still doubt was not enough for Angela to believe the woman before her. It wasn't until professor McGonagal showed them what she could do, that Angela felt her doubts turn into certainties.
When Mrs McGonagal turned her teacup into a bird and back, Angela couldn’t help but jump a little.
She was surprised, though not really shocked. In the back of her mind she had always known there was such a thing as magic, she just never thought that she’d encounter it herself. Or that her beautiful daughter would posses it.
That night Professor McGonagal helped Cassy with a small spell herself. Proving to her that she truly did posses magic. Cassy was still sceptical, thinking this woman was playing tricks with her mind. But Angela knew. She suddenly found a whole new understanding for her daughter . And she smiled. Her daughter was even more special, then she had always thought she was. And perhaps Cassy would fit better in this world professor McGonagal described.
Once the truth of the situation set in, things went fast. Angela started making preparations for Cassy to go to Hogwarts, while Cassy was still trying to understand exactly what this discovery meant.
Professor McGonagal had informed Angela that she could get someone to help her with everything. An old student, someone with knowledge of the muggle world. Of course, Angela had no idea what that meant, but she was ready to accept all help she could get.
The offered help came in the form of a lovely woman called Hermione Weasley. She helped the small family with their shopping and some basic information to help ease their minds. She showed them where supplies could be bought. And how magic went undetected in the world. Hermione explained to them how, sometimes, wizards and witches came from muggle families. Of course after that, she had to explain what muggles were exactly. And throughout all the absurdities of the situation Hermione managed to calm them down. She promised that she’d lead them through the entire process. She even promised that Cassy would not be alone, for her own daughter Rose would be entering her first year as well. At least they could sit together for the train ride.
When Hermione took them shopping for school supplies in London, the women were surprised to see how big the wizarding community actually was. The streets were filled with people in robes and occasionally dressed in what they considered ‘normal’ clothing.
“Well I guess we can easily spot the muggles,” Angela muttered as she looked around a little bewildered. She wished that they would not stand out so much, but the people in robes were obviously in bigger numbers. Hermione just laughed and shook her head.
“Trust me, it’s not so bad,” she said.
“How do you reckon?” Angela inquired.
“I’m muggle born and I fit right in, even though I wasn’t the easiest kid to hang out with,” she said smiling and Angela smiled back. Cassy never had been very good at making friends, she was always just a little different. But she had hope that those differences would fall away as soon as she was amongst other wizards and witches.
Angela got out of her trance and spotted an annoyed looking Cassy.
“Mum, you wanted me too hurry, so I could watch you stare into space?” she said annoyed and Angela laughed.
“No, let’s go. Hermione is meeting us with her family,” she said and opened the door to the car, getting in the drivers seat, as Cassy sat down in the passengers seat besides her.
“What if Rose doesn’t like me?” Cassy asked, scared about what was to come.
“Then you’ll just be polite and find different friends as soon as you get to Hogwarts,” Angela reassured her daughter. Secretly praying Rose would be a wonderful friend for Cassy. After all, Hermione had been such a joy to meet, her daughter would be as well.
As they got to Kings Cross, Angela quickly parked the car and grabbed Cassy’s trunk. Cassy quickly went to get a cart for the suitcase. She knew it would be heavy with all the books, clothes and everything else she put in there.
“I can take it Mum,” Cassy offered as Angela started steering the cart towards the station. Angela brushed the comment aside.
“You’ll probably have to carry it when you get there, I’ll take it now,” she said and Cassy just nodded. They spotted Hermione with a flock of red-haired people around her. Angela smiled, she’d seen photo’s of Hermione’s family and realised how easy they were to spot when they were together. Hermione waved them over and Angela quickly ushered Cassy in the right direction.
“When this is all over, we’re going to get some tea,” Hermione whispered to Angela as they walked into Kings Cross station. She had noticed the other mother was quite nervous and smiled. She could still remember the tension she felt, when she first went to Hogwarts. Perhaps she could offer some reassurance to her new found friend.
“I’d like that,” Angela replied, feeling rather nauseous at that point. She was sending her little girl off to a school she had never heard off until a few mere weeks earlier. And the only comfort she had was in people she knew for only three weeks. Though her intuition told her it was all right, she could not help but be scared. The last time she trusted anyone this easily, she was left heartbroken and she did not need to revisit those days.
She was put at ease a little more when she realised the whole family was incredibly kind-hearted. Hermione quickly introduced her to everyone. It was a large group and Angela could only pray she would remember all of the names. Besides Hermione and her husband Ron and their family, her sister-in-law was also there with her own family. Ginger seemed to be a theme. Ginny Potter was just as kind as Hermione had been, just a little more sceptical and sarcastic about things than Hermione. Still she answered any questions there were and when she thought Angela and Cassy weren’t listening, she instructed her own children to be kind to Cassy. Angela smiled as she looked at her daughter. Whether they’d befriend her she didn’t know, but at least she’d be treated kindly. On a first day, there wasn't much more you could ask for, one would reckon.
“When we get to platform 9 and 10 we need to use some magic,” Victiore explained to the scared looking Cassy.
“Really?” Cassy asked bewildered. Did she have to do something already? Like a test, that if she failed, she’d not be allowed to board the train?
“Yes, well sort of,” Victiore now said and Rose sighed, seeing her cousin scare the girl she knew was named Cassiopeia.
“She means to say we have to walk through a wall. So you don’t actually have to do magic just yet,” Rose explained now and Cassy sighed, feeling a little more relieved.
“Don’t worry, Vicky’s never really clear. It’s not just you,” Rose whispered jokingly and Cassy could feel a smile form on her face. Rose wasn’t too bad. Perhaps this would actually not be so scary and lonely.
“Goodbye!” Angela called as she saw the train move out of the station slowly. Tears trickled down her face and she felt Hermione rub her back gently. It was clear both women were emotional over the goodbyes, yet neither took it as bad as Angela.
“Try not to worry too much, she’ll be fine,” Ginny said with a smile and Angela smiled back at her gratefully. Hermione handed her a tissue and Angela batted her eyes quickly, embarrassed to have let her emotions get the best of her. She looked back once more, but the train had rounded a corner and they were no longer in sight.
“I remember the first time I had to put a child on the train, ” Ginny said looking back as well, “I knew very well where they were going of course, but saying goodbye for such at time is not easy.”
Angela smiled at the woman. It was clear she was a much stronger woman when it came to controlling her emotions. And yet she took a moment to reassure Angela. She appreciated it, even if she wasn't sure how to tell her that at this moment.
The group gathered their belongings and rounded up the younger children, before walking back to the exit. However, as they reached it, Angela came to a sudden halt. Her breathing stopped for a moment and her heartbeat quickened dramatically. Hermione noticed the change in demeanour almost instantly and stopped next to her, following Angela's gaze to the other side of the platform.
Hermione could not understand what would have upset the young mother next to her so greatly, but when she saw what Angela was watching her spine tingled and she knew this could not be good.