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Matters of the Hart by Flavia
Chapter 1 : A Whole New Life
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 12


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I don't own Hogwarts or Hufflepuff or the Wizarding world or anything you recognise.  That all belongs to the brilliant JK Rowling.  I do however own Tabitha, her father, this story line and anything else you don't recognise.

Thanks to laylacitababy @ TDA for the awesome Chapter image!


 

“Well my dear, it would seem that you’re a witch…just like your mother.”   ~Luke Hart



Tabitha’s heart was pounding in her chest as she collapsed against the wall of the tunnel. Her knees were weak and she felt her legs wobble from exhaustion and fear. She slid slowly to the floor, feeling a small shower of soil and rocks rain over her from the rough dirt wall she was using to support herself. She let her injured hand relax a bit but made sure her left one still held her wand. Tabitha sat, still and silent for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes. She started to believe that she hadn’t been followed, that she somehow had managed to get away.  Then, further down the tunnel she heard it – a soft scuffling noise. Someone was coming closer, but in the pitch blackness of the underground shaft, she couldn’t see anything. Who was it? Who could be here in the tunnel, her tunnel, their tunnel. Nobody else knew about this tunnel, no one except for – 

“James?” She whispered. “James, is that you?” Her voice echoed off the walls and back. The scuffling had stopped. Tabitha slowly pulled herself to her feet, her back still against the wall. She tightened her hand around her wand once more. “James?” She tried one more time, hearing the desperate quaver in her voice this time. Then, out of the darkness, a voice came echoing back.

“Good evening Tabitha.”

 It wasn’t James.



Tabitha Hart used to be normal. Very normal. Dangerously normal in fact. She was a skinny little thing, with a mane of blonde hair and sparkling brown eyes. She lived a simple life, in the country, with her father, constantly chasing rabbits across the meadow of climbing up a tree. Tabitha was a typical contented farm girl. Granted she didn’t have a mum anymore but that could hardly be avoided, and anyway, these days, one parent families are normal, Tabitha would tell herself. She would go to school and learn, play with her friends, come home, do her chores, spend time with her father and live a simple, happy, normal life. She was perfectly happy being normal. Tabitha Hart certainly wasn’t looking for Hogwarts.
 
But Hogwarts was looking for her.

In hindsight, Tabitha knew she really should have been suspicious. There was more than one incident that should have tipped her off that she wasn’t quite as normal as she thought. But when you are happy with your life, you don’t tend to look for things that will change everything you thought to be true. When she was 7, she let the chickens out for a ‘walk’. They scattered, and she spent most of the afternoon rounding them up except for one stubborn hen that had flown up a tree and was refusing to come down.  Desperately frightened that the hen would be attacked if she stayed there overnight, Tabitha stood under the tree in tears, wishing she could get her down. Suddenly, the chicken zoomed off the branch and floated down into Tabitha’s waiting arms. Or when she was 9 and a thunderstorm was forecast for the day of her birthday party. Despite the fact that lightning and pelting rain could be seen all around, The Hart’s backyard stayed surprisingly dry. 
 
But Tabitha’s happy, normal mind stayed oblivious to these phenomena’s until one day, exactly one month after her eleventh birthday, when she received the letter that changed her life. It was early in the summer holidays and she had been down at the nearby pond, feeding the ducks with some old bread crusts. Tabitha’s father Luke was the local veterinarian and he was out doing his weekly rounds. She skipped up the lane to their cottage-like house and let herself through the wrought iron fence in the middle of the hedge surrounding the garden. Bosco, her old chocolate brown dog came bounding up excitedly, barking and jumping about. She gave him the obligatory pat, which usually subdued him, but he kept barking excitedly as he bounded back towards the house. Curious, Tabitha followed him to the back door, where she found the most unusual thing. A handsome, brown barn owl was perched on the windowsill staring at her expectantly. Tabitha had never seen an owl this close before, much less in the daytime, but that wasn’t the thing that surprised her. Clamped in the owls mouth, was a long, sand coloured envelope!  

“Hey little guy.” She cooed at the bird, tentatively holding out her hand to see if it would let her pat it. She stroked the feathers on its head and it rubbed her hand happily. Then, it stepped forward on the ledge, holding the envelope out expectantly. Absolutely bemused, Tabitha took the envelope from the bird’s beak. Its job done, the owl suddenly spread its wings and flew off across the sky, Bosco followed it as far as the hedge would allow, barking the whole way. Tabitha watched the owl disappear into the distance and then looked back down at the envelope in her hands. It was, of course, her acceptance letter to Hogwarts. However she’d never heard of Hogwarts and so, when Luke Hart arrived home an hour later, he found his daughter sitting at the kitchen table, a confused expression on her face and the letter still in her hands.

“Tabby, I’m home!” He called as he came through the door. He saw her sitting there, motionless and stopped suddenly, the smile fading from his face. “Tabitha! What’ wrong? Are you ok?” He asked, rushing over to her. She glanced up at him. 

“What’s Hogwarts?” At Tabitha’s words, her father’s eyes widened and he sunk down into the chair next to her. She slid the letter across the wooden table top to him. “This came today.” She added. He took the letter and read silently for several minutes. Tabitha waited, with an eerie patience, for an explanation. And eventually, he looked into her eyes, smiled sadly and said,

“Well my dear, it would seem that you’re a witch…just like your mother.”




“Dad, are you sure we’re going to make it in time?” Tabitha asked nervously as they loaded the large trunk into the back of the car. Luke smiled reassuringly.

“We’ll be fine love, we’ve got plenty of time.” It was September 1st and the Harts were driving to Kings Cross station in London for Tabitha to catch the train to Hogwarts. Tabitha was understandably nervous and kept checking her watch. The last month had passed in a blur of new worlds and ideas and experiences. After the shock of the letter arriving, Luke had explained that Tabitha’s mother had been a witch, she’d had actual magical powers, and supposedly she’d passed them on to her only daughter. Now she was being offered a place in a prestigious wizarding school, and despite the fact he would miss her, Luke wanted Tabitha to go.

“Your mum would want it.” He’d said. “She talked about it since the day you were born.” He had added, his eyes glistening.   “In fact, I have something to show you.” He got up, and without any further explanation, left the room.

Tabitha didn’t know a lot about her mother, only what her father had told her and that wasn’t a lot. She had died when Tabitha was six years old, and her mother had no other living family members. The odd thing was, that even though she could remember everything after her death clearly, Tabitha remembered very little of her mother. In fact, all she had were a few brief images that would flash across her mind when she tried to remember: her mother smiling as they walked down the lane to their house; Tabitha hugging her mother as she crawled into bed; and the mystery image: a white corridor that looked like it belonged to a hospital, although it wasn’t any hospital Tabitha could remember being in since then. Tabitha had never been overly worried by the fact I couldn’t remember, although Luke once took her to a doctor who said this sometimes happened to children when they went through a traumatic experience, like losing a parent. Tabitha had always wished though, that she knew more about her.

Luke came back into the kitchen holding a wooden box, about the size of a microwave oven, and placed it gently on the table. The box was carved with a complicated flowery pattern and on the top was carved three letters: A.S.T. “This was your mother’s,” He explained, touching the letters “Annabeth Sabine Trevena, her maiden name.” There was a brass lock on the front of the box with a small key protruding from the hole. Tabitha turned it gently and the box opened with a light click. She held my breath as she lifted the lid to reveal a collection of mementos. There were newspaper clippings, photo frames and even a tattered old photo album. A piece of yellow and black fabric caught her eye and she pulled it out. It was a flag, bearing a picture of a badger and the word ‘Hufflepuff.’ Tabitha looked at her father curiously.

“It was her house at school.” He replied. Tabitha nodded and continued looking through the box’s contents. She marvelled when she saw the newspaper clippings with their moving photographs. “Just one of those wizarding things.” Luke smiled. She glanced at the caption: Arthur Weasley, head of Muggle Relations welcomes new muggle relations liaison Annabeth Trevena to the Ministry of Magic. Only some of those words made sense to start with, and all together, they seemed to lose any coherent meaning. Tabitha’s head was swimming with all of this new information, but she couldn’t stop looking through the box. Luke sat patiently by her side until the room grew so dark they had to turn the lights on, explaining what he could. He explained that a muggle was a non-magical person and that Annabeth had worked for the ‘Ministry of Magic’ (the wizarding government) as a liaison with muggles, mostly fixing things up when muggles were exposed to magic, that’s how he’d met her. He was training as a vet, and was called out to look at a cow that kept giving chocolate milk. Annabeth had come to fix the situation and it had been love at first sight. “She didn’t tell me she was a witch until the day I proposed though.” Luke smiled. “She was so upset, couldn’t give me an answer until I knew the truth about her. I didn’t care though, when she finished explaining I just looked at her and asked ‘so is that a yes or a no?’” 

When Tabitha found a picture of Annabeth with two older looking people in wizard’s robes, Luke explained that they were her grandparents. “They were killed when your Mum was 17. I never met them. Apparently there was some sort of wizard war and they didn’t make it through. She was away at school when it happened.” Tabitha’s eyes filled with tears for her teenage mother, smiling happily in the picture. Luke fished into the box and found another newspaper clipping. “She fought in the battle, your mother.” He said, holding the yellowing page out to her. It showed the ruined grounds of a castle, where many people were moving about, looking very weary. At the front of the group was a teenage boy, maybe 17 or 18 years old smiling wearily at the camera. He had messy black hair, round glasses and a lightning shaped scar across his forehead. He looked very much the worse for wear as he shook hands with many of the people milling about. The caption read: Harry Potter greets survivors in the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts. “She told me about him.” Dad said. “Was in her year at school. He saved a lot of people.”  At some point that evening, Luke mentioned food, but Tabitha wasn’t hungry, choosing to continue looking through the contents of the box until it was empty.

Three days later, Luke announced that they were going to London to get Tabitha’s school things. At this, Tabitha pulled out her Hogwarts letter and glanced at the list. Some of the items were strange sounding books, and others were things she was sure they couldn’t just pick up at a normal shop.

“Dad, where am I supposed to get a wand from?” She asked. “Or a cauldron for that matter?”

“There’s a place that your mother took me to a few times.” Luke replied. “I’ve been in contact with an old friend of your mother’s and she’s going to help us out.” And so they set off, catching the train into the city and walking a few crowded blocks until they reached an old, run down looking pub. Tabitha glanced at it apprehensively, but followed her father through the doorway. The landlady, a sweet looking woman, rushed over as they entered.

“Luke! Luke Hart!” She beamed, shaking Luke’s hand enthusiastically, Luke smiled back at her. She then turned to Tabitha and smiled warmly. “And this must be Tabitha. Goodness you look just like your mother, the first time I met her.” And to Tabitha’s surprise, she found herself being swept up in a tearful embrace. “She was a lovely woman. So brave, so kind.” She reached into her pocket for a handkerchief which she used to dab at her tears.

“Tabitha, this is Hannah Abbott, she went to school with your mother.” Luke explained, as Hannah let Tabitha go.

“Longbottom.” Hannah corrected him kindly. “I’m married now.” Tabitha thought nothing would surprise her more than the moving photographs in her mother’s old chest, but Diagon Alley was something else. She spent the whole day trying to look five different ways at once as Hannah led them through the shops, buying all of Tabitha’s school needs. Luke had insisted that they stop to look at some of the magical pet shops,
 
“Professional curiosity you know,” He laughed. But the one place that had caught Tabitha’s imagination was Quality Quidditch Supplies which displayed several gleaming racing brooms. 
 
“Oh you’ll learn to fly at school dear.” Hannah had said when Tabitha asked about it. Luke had looked a bit queasy at the thought of his daughter zooming around in the sky on a flimsy piece of wood, but Tabitha couldn’t wait. 



"I’ll write to you every week. I might even get my own mail owl.” Luke was chattering nervously to Tabitha as they stood on the platform next to the scarlet steam engine. Tabitha was starting to get nervous now. For the last month it had all seemed like such an exciting dream to her, but suddenly now it was real. Tabitha couldn’t remember spending more than one night away from her father and she was suddenly very aware of how alone her would be.

“Dad, I still don’t have to go. I mean I could just come home with you.” She interrupted his monologue about owls to make this suggestion. Luke smiled down at his daughter and then wrapped her up in a huge hug.

“You get on that train, go to that school and make your mother proud.” He whispered in her ear. Tabitha felt tears stinging her eyes, and when she pulled back she noticed that Luke’s eyes were shining too. A whistle sounded and students began scrambling to climb into the carriages. Tabitha climbed in too, but leaned out the window to give her father one last hug. And then the train began to move slowly away from the station. Tabitha waved until she couldn’t see the station anymore and then sat back on the seat, ready for the beginning of a whole new life. She certainly hadn’t been expecting this, but she was glad that Hogwarts had come looking for her.


AN:  So what did you think???  Please review!  This is my first time writing an OC (and a next Gen) and I'm a bit nervous. 

So sorry if this story is a bit slow.  It gets better from here on in I promise!  Next couple of chapters are already written so they won't be far away.
 
As always, if you're reading my work then you are wonderful!


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