Chapter 5 : Introductions
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By the time September 1st rolled around I’d been in Godric’s Hollow for two and a half weeks. It had become somewhat of a home and I was enjoying the slowly cooling summer; walking in the setting sun or early dawn. Occasionally, I would venture out into the moonlight but lately the air seemed to weigh down with an out of place obscurity and Aunt ‘Linda seemed to come back from work more on edge than usual, although she soon shook off her woes and relaxed. I hadn’t seen the boy with moonlit eyes since that first night, though in all honesty I don’t think I’d have been able to recognise him in the light of day. Currently, I sat on the soft white bed in the endearing little room that I’d called mine for the past two weeks and toyed with my new wand.
I remembered arriving in London – the clammy grey streets teaming with life as people bustled about everywhere. I followed after my aunt as she wove knowingly through the crowds to some place unknown. When she finally stopped, we stood outside a dilapidated old pub that muggles seemed to bustle past without a second glance. ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ hung etched on a rickety plank of wood by chains under an eave. We made our way through the oddly dressed throng of merrily drinking magical folk towards the back as my aunt tapped an inconspicuous brick; an arch opened up to reveal a multitude of bustling shoppers moving ineptly through the narrow, diagonal alley. As I entered through the archway with Aunt ‘Linda I scanned the myriad of stores trying to fit everything I possibly could into my eyes. There seemed to be endless amounts of magical stores that sold anything you could desire; one store was filled with nothing but books. Stacked high from the floor all the way to its lofty ceiling, selling every title from ‘Double Bubble, Nail and Hair Troubles: a witch’s comprehensive guide to beauty spells’ to a rather risqué uh ... book? guide? in the upper levels of the store. Another store sold the most delicious ice-cream I have ever tasted – the mango raspberry coconut sorbet was like the flare of summer in my mouth – they even offered odd combinations that I wasn’t brave enough to try like chilli-chocolate gelato. The one store that caught my attention was the most interesting and by far the most important to the British wizarding community; Ollivanders.
Ollivanders was of course, the resident wand maker’s store of Diagon Alley. He was by all means a strange man who flustered about his infinitesimal ancient shop. His eyes had a cloudy look to them as if he hadn’t blinked in years so that dust clung to his pale off white irises though they did seem to glimmer with a gentle kindness. I remembered the tinkling of the bell over head as I entered the ancient shop. Dust mites saturated the musty air and clung mercilessly to everything. I stared through the spinning dust at the many intricately decorated boxes that presumably held the wands. Mr. Ollivander came bustling around the corner with a whisper.
“Ah, a new face!” he said smiling a toothy grin.
I coughed slightly and politely greeted the aging man
“Hello, Mr. Ollivander, I’m Lucina Stone” I said flashing a smile.
“Ah, not related to the Stones of Sussex are you?”
“I’m afraid not sir. See I’m from New Zealand and I’m entering into an exchange program at Hogwarts so I’m in need of a wand”
“Ah yes, the wandless magic of New Zealand is quite notorious in the wand makers guild.” He muttered quietly as I held back a giggle. He then spoke a little louder
“Of course, of course. I’ll just take a few measurements first”
He proceeded to deftly flick at a measuring tape with his wand as it appraised me in the oddest of places like the space between my eyes, the width of my ear and the circumference of my ankle.
He returned after a few moments with a long, rectangular blood red box.
“Let’s see how you do with this one then” he said as he unveiled the midnight black wand that was dead straight sitting nestled in its blood red trimmings. Quite frankly, it scared me.
“Hawthorne, 9 ¾ inches, Dragon Heartstring.” Mr. Ollivander informed me as he motioned for me to take it.
Hesitantly, I wrapped by fingers around the black wand and instantly felt an odd clammy feeling cover my skin - like being covered with a wet shower curtain. I wanted to throw it across the room but instead I flicked it with a martyred expression which quickly turned to horror when a hoard of shadowy bats appeared and began attacking the many, many boxes. I dropped the wand quickly, immediately expelling the sickening feeling.
”Well that one is a no” Mr. Ollivander said calmly as he raised his own wand and expelled the ravenous bats as he bustled off and picked out a second box.
He returned with a viciously pink coloured box with elaborate rose designs snaking across it. I scrunched up my nose as the lid revealed a just as nauseating pink wand. As I laid a hand over it I felt a sickly sweet feeling in my stomach– this was the kind of wand Naomi would have, innocent on the outside but hiding an undercurrent of power. “Cherry, 12 inches, Unicorn Hair” Ollivander said as I flicked the wand in the direction of the crooked spiral staircase which promptly turned into a blindingly bright hot pink before the metal whined in protest and began to collapse.
Mr Ollivander smirked slightly waving his wand to right my mess.
“No matter, no matter” he said dismissively.
I pulled on my lip with my teeth and laughed awkwardly as Mr. Ollivander bustled off again. He returned several moments later with a third long rectangular box. This one was intricately decorated with curling patterns over the pale yellow box; it had a quaint look to it and was stunning. The wand that it housed was just as charming; long light brown wood that curved to the left ever so slightly.
“Ivy, 10 ¼ inches, Dragon Heartstring, swishy, perfect for charms” Mr Ollivander said as he offered me the beige wand.
Well third time lucky I guess
I thought wryly as I reached for it. As soon as my fingertips grazed the wood I felt a warmth seep into my fingers – like holding a warm cup of tea on chilly winters day. Pleasant. Familiar. Comforting. I smiled widely as I waved the Ivy wand and to my pleasant surprise produced a plume of serene red smoke which quickly materialised into a long stemmed red rose.
“Ah, that’s the one.” The wand maker said, smiling widely at me.
“Luce’?” Aunt ‘Linda’s voice floated up the stairwell; breaking into my reverie and pulling me back to the present.
“Breakfast” she called.
I sighed and tucked my wand safely away in the pocket of my baby doll dress, making my way down stairs. Puhi mewed quietly as I slumped past her perch on the couch and then stopped shocked by the spread that Aunt Linda had made.
“You really shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble” I said looking at her as my eyebrows knitted together.
”Oh nonsense dear!” she said as she sat beside me,
“I wanted to make today special, you only leave for Hogwarts- for the first time- once.”
She said, smirking at me in a motherly, teasing sort of way. I hadn’t seen anyone smile at me that way in years. I thought as visions of my mother flicked through my head. We ate breakfast together in comfortable silence as the clock ticked over to 10 o’clock. Clambering into the now crowded fireplace with a caged Puhi and a large trunk, we flooed over to my aunt’s office in London making our way to the endlessly busy train station.
Well this is … different.
I thought as I looked around King’s Cross. It was so busy! And big! People were congealed in thick veins as they bustled about to their various destinations. Occasionally, there would be the odd person who would be a still moment among the chaos – reading a book or muttering a quiet conversation with someone. Every so often you’d come across a heated argument some patron was having with the train station staff. Compared to the breezy, calm, small atmosphere of the wharf back home; different was the word.
Today, dotted throughout the crowd, you’d could pick the Hogwarts students by the similar trunks topped with an animal of some sort and loaded on to a trolley; a teenage girl with long hair the colour of copper glided past me, her father pushing her trolley and talking with each other in demure tones.
“Luce’ this way” Aunt Linda said, guiding me by the elbow towards the barrier between platforms 9 and 10. Steering us and picking up speed, she smirked as I fidgeted nervously … oh no. I held my breath waiting for the hit and looked at the rapidly oncoming brick barrier through narrow slitted eyes. Instead I felt a warm airy feeling wash over my skin and letting the air in my lungs rush out in relief I glanced around at Platform 9¾.
Different didn’t even cover it.
My world was small and quaint. This one ... was in a whole different solar system. There were masses and masses of students milling about talking with parents, catching up with friends or making their way on to the huge scarlet steam train that stood puffing merrily, dominating the space. Little paper birds fluttered about the platform, children ran amongst each other, cats mewed at one and other from their cages, owls hooted in their hollow tones or snoozed beneath their wing. Magic, mischief and laughter hung in the air. Teary eyed mothers clutched handkerchiefs as they watched their young children board the train while fathers stood by proudly. Older students who were already dressed in black school robes walked in a righteous manner among their younger peers, a glistening badge on their chest marking them as prefects or the head boy or girl.
Aunt ‘Linda and I continued to people watch as we strolled down the platform, the red headed girl who I recognised from the main train complex approached us with a confident smile and a polite air.
“Hello” she called in friendly tone and holding out a small hand. “I’m Lily Evans” she continued as she shook our hands and graced us with a genuine smile that made her green eyes beam, instantly reminding me of Tayla. Warm and authentic. I returned her smile and cleared my throat a little nervously
“Lucina Stone.” I said inclining my head and shaking her hand.
“Belinda Botts.” my aunt said with an easy smile also taking her head. “It’s nice to meet you”
“Likewise” she smiled and then turned an inquisitive eye in my direction
“So ...why is it that I’m only just meeting you?”
I laughed quietly, “I’m an exchange student from New Zealand so I –”
“Oh!” she said excitedly “You’re the girl starting 6th year! I hear great things about New Zealand; the wandless magic, the small community, and I hear its beautiful.” her smile widening as she was talking.
I beamed at her, “Wow. I’m impressed! Most people think New Zealand is either a state of Australia or some tiny little island in the middle of nowhere where we all live in huts with pet sheep and no power” I laughed and rolled my eyes.
She laughed with me, before leaning in and whispering “I’ll admit, I researched once they told us you’d be coming” she said smiling at me.
“Oh, well then I really am impressed”
I looked around nervously watching the cheerful people (Aunt ‘Linda stood in quiet conversation with someone I didn’t recognise). I tugged on my lip with my teeth. Lily’s sharp eyes caught my movements as she knowingly asked “Nervous?”
I nodded mutely.
“Don’t worry; you’ll be fine” she said, rubbing my arm encouragingly as my aunt returned.
“I’ve got to go and do some prefect duties now but if you’d like, I could join you in a compartment once they’re done?” she continued kindly and raising her eyebrows questioningly.
I bobbed my head just a little too enthusiastically and with a smile she left bidding my aunt a good day.
Aunt ‘Linda wrapped an arm around my shoulders, giving me a gentle squeeze.
“See? You’ll be fine. Now, let’s get you on that train”
I eyed the scarlet train uncertainly. It looked like an infant giant’s windup toy; rearing to go and full of energy. A lot of the younger children seemed to mirror the steam train, full of energy, excitement and innocence. Like child’s plaything. I said my final goodbyes to Aunt ‘Linda as we stood in a train compartment after we’d loaded my trunk. Aunt ‘Linda left and, as the last of the students filtered onto the train, I took my seat next to the window. The whistle sounded piercingly - the infant giant letting go of his windup toy; the train gathered speed and began to shoot forward. I watched the smiling (and teary) faces of loved ones slip away and for the first time since leaving New Zealand, felt a pang of homesickness.
* * *
About three or four hours into my journey I turned expectantly toward the compartment door as it rattled with movement, a wide smile plastered on my face ready to greet Lily (it’d been a lonely four hours) Instead, a tall stocky boy came in flanked by two cronies. I felt a chill coat the air as his huge frame towered over me. They were... Intimidating, to say the least and seemed to give off a slimy overpowering feeling. Two of the three boys wore sardonic smirks and leered at me. The other, I was intrigued by; he seemed to hang back a little veiled by a split curtain of greasy black hair, his hooked nose jutting out. He didn’t seem to have the same arrogant air.
A chilling drawl interrupted my musings.
"Well, if it isn't the exotic mudblood everyone's been talking about" he said as his twinning friend snickered appreciatively. The greasy boy however flinched at the statement, looking awkwardly the other way.
I felt my face crumple in confusion.
Mudblood? What the heck is a mudblood?
In any case; coupled with the arrogant set of his chin and the harsh sneer, I assumed it wasn’t a good thing. Not being one to cower when confronted; I wiped the confused look off my face and drew myself up from my seat - summoning my best Naomi-esque voice I said
“My my, aren’t we a little impudent?” with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.
He set his jaw when the anger flashed his eyes,
I pouted “Too bigger words for you?” I said mockingly.
“Filthy Mud –“ he began again as the door rattled a second time.
Lily stood in the doorway, her critical eyes gauging the boy.
“Lucina, are you okay?” she asked.
I flicked my eyes back to the boy in front of me, who by now had relaxed back into his chilly arrogant swagger. I gave Lily one curt nod.
She appraised me for a second longer before nodding and turning back to the trio.
“Avery.” She addressed the boy opposite me. “What exactly are doing here?”
He pushed past her before turning on his heel in the doorway
“It’s no business of yours. Nosy Mudblood” Avery said. I noticed his greasy companion shoot him an oddly livid glare as Avery pinned me with a glare that shot a bullet of ice down my spine.
I'm baaack. I hope you all had a wonderful christmas and i wish you a (belateded) Happy New Year. May 2012 bring you health,wealth and all the good in life :)
I'm sorry for my rather long hiatus - the amount of excuses and blah blah blah i could tell you would be endless. So i won't. :)
Anyway; after losing this chapter four times and much ass kicking from my bestfriend, this chapter is FINALLY here and do so hope you enjoyed it. I'm currently writing the next one so hopefully it'll be up soon-ish..
Thank You for reading ( .. and bearing with me)