Chapter 4 : Diagon Alley and Harry Potter
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"It's about time, Dad!" I snapped.
"Rosetta, stop. I couldn't help it. Serious things are going on, no pun intended." He sat beside me.
"I kinda caught something was up when we moved to England, Dad." I said snidely. Silent fit time?
"A wizard by the name of Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban. We think he maybe after a 13 year old wizard by the named Harry Potter. There is a Dark Wizard that Albus Dumbledore think is on the verge of rising again, Rosetta. Things are a lot more serious than you moving." He severely stated.
I sat speechless. In America, wizards don't have these issues. I had heard of Harry Potter, who hasn't? But I didn't think things were happening again.
"He's coming back?" I stammered. "V-Vol-V.."
"Stop," Dad interrupted. I looked at him, hoping for reassurance, because I really needed it. "He won't make it back, because we will prevent it! I will let nothing happen to you, Rosie. We will catch Sirius Black, and we will be well again. But, here in the U.K., they do not use his name. He is 'He-who-must-not-be-named' or 'you-know-who.'"
"Let's go see our new house! I hope the kitchen looks better!"
It didn't. There was a sink that was growing something unknown to wizard-kind. "Could be deadly," I thought. There were no counters. The cabinets were sitting on the floor. The fridge, broken. No stove at all. The walls were gray from filth, not paint. It was down right nasty.
"Dad, we can't live here. No way!"
"Rosie, magic!" He gave me a 'Duh' look as he waved his wand.
"Um," I said.
"Weird," He said. "Must be charmed to stay this way. Here, have some Doritos. I'll go straighten this out." And he apparated, leaving me to ministry filth and a bag of Doritos. Sigh.
Pop! Dad apparated back not too long later.
"Grab the bags. We are going to your Aunt Nessie's."
"Aunt Nessie's! Why didn't we just go there?" I squeaked! Aunt Nessie was Dad's aunt, and she was great! She wasn't the pinch-your-cheeks kind either, but she did do the "why! haven't you grown!" bit. Anyhow, she came and visited us before mom got sick, and we all had a blast.
"Because she lives in Surrey," Dad said, flatly. "We will go Flo powder. She knows we are coming. Follow me, now. Be careful to get off where I do."
"I will," I promised.
"Say, 'Ivy House' when you step in. It will get you going to the right place," Dad explained, grabbing a handful of Flo powder, and stepping over to the fireplace. He flicked his wand and a bright and cheerful fire crackled around the decrepit apartment. It must not know where it's at.
"Ready?" He asked. I nodded.
"Ivy House!" He yelled as he stepped into the fire. He was gone in a second.
I grabbed my Flo powder, stepped to the fireplace, put my legs into the fire, threw the powder down, yelled "Ivy House" and was sucked into the Flo network. I could see Dad a few feet ahead of me, so I knew I was going the right way. I hated spinning past peoples' fireplaces; no one had any shame anymore! Gross! Old men in boxer shorts!
Finally, Dad waves to stop, and he disappears. I am so dizzy by the time I reach the fireplace that I fall onto the carpet and stay there. The living room has an old charm to it. There are old books, dark leather chairs and the rug is an old Persian type. The walls are paneled in dark wood and old woolen tabards hand beside each of the two doors in the room. This must be a family home.
I can hear my Dad and Aunt Nessie talking in the other room, but I still don't trust my legs to hold me up, so I don't think I'll join them just yet. I can also smell something good cooking. Oh, I hope it's yummy. I am starving! Famished, even!
"Dad!" I yell from the floor. "Dad!"
"Yes?" I hear back, still from the other room.
"Food!" I yell back.
"Cooking!" He answers.
"Ugh! Drink!" I say softer.
"Sure. Come and get it Sweeting." I hear Aunt Nessie say. Gotta love Aunt Nessie.
"Donwanna move, Auntie." I cry. I start to get up, already knowing the answer.
"Well, you know you can't drink lying on the floor. Especially on a 500 year old Persian flying carpet." She said as she came into the room. "The charm has worn off, off course, but you still cannot drink on it. Now, up you go! My, My, haven't you grown. I do declare you are at least a foot taller! Come on, let's get you something to drink!"
"Yes, Ma'am." Manners were minded around Aunt Nessie, no if-ands-or-buts about it.
I got up and followed her to the dinning room. It was just as extravagant as the other room, but lighter and more airy. The walls were a light peach color, and the furniture was all white. The curtains were a pearl color and the floors were a light wood. There was a large crystal chandelier that hung over the large table that could easily sit thirty people. I was amazed.
"Your ancestral home, Rosetta," Aunt Nessie said.
I quacked a "wow."
"Your Great-great-grandmother, Elspeth, redid this room after her husband, Roald, misfired his wand and set it on fire. From I've read in her diary, it was an improvement!" Aunt Nessie laughed.
"Wow. She left diaries? Did anyone else?" Eager Beaver Rosie to the rescue!
"She left two. She started one after she married Roald; and the other when the first was filled," Aunt Nessie said. "No others left stuff that I have found."
"Food is ready!" Squeaked a tiny voice.
"Oh! Thank you Minnie!" Aunt Nessie exclaimed.
"Food!" I yelled excitedly.
"Minnie is thankful to serve your guests, Mrs. Nessie." Minnie was really tiny, even for a house elf. She had tan, leathery skin, large ears, and the oddest part, clothes. Dad and I looked at Minnie with our jaws open.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you!" Aunt Nessie said. "I run a rescue for house elves that have been forcefully freed from their families by no fault of their own. I give them what they need and want. Some, I even pay!"
"Minnie does not accept pay! No she does not! She is a good house elf!" Minnie said while serving dinner.
"You are, Minnie! Minnie had to be freed because her family died out. He last owner gave her a sock before he passed and sent her to me. She's been wonderful! I hope the food is to your liking, Rosie. Your Dad told me that you like fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. I couldn't resist giving it to you since I couldn't last time I saw you!" Aunt Nessie said.
I gave her a weak smile. The last time I saw Aunt Nessie was the year before my Mom got sick. Ironically, my mom was on a health kick and I couldn't have anything that wasn't good for you.
"Very good, Nessie," Dad said.
"Yep," I agreed.
"Bedtime, Rosie," Dad said, waking me up. After dinner, we had moved back into the room we arrived in. It was creepier at night, when oil lamps and candles lit it. I never did understand why British wizards rejected electricity.
"Lumos," Dad said, as he walked me up to my room. We passed paintings of witches and wizards who complained about the light from Dad's wand, which hung in a staircase that was grander than I had ever seen in my entire life. Dark woods and rich carpets all around, and not a spec of dust in sight.
"Aunt Nessie said your room is right at the top of the stairs. She calls it the Princess room." Dad explained as we reached the top of the staircase.
I yawned, too tired to care.
The last thing I remember is my head on a soft pillow.
I awoke when the sun hit my face and streamed into my eyes. Stupid sun. I think it is brighter in the U.K. I don't remember the sun ever waking me up so early in D.C. If this is gonna happen every day, we may have a serious issue.
At least the bed is soft. And huge! Good Merlin, it could fit at least five people comfortably! And the room, wow! There were little violets painted on the walls, with ivy weaving between the tiny purple flowers. The furniture was a soft yellow color and there was no shine to it at all. There was a built in dresser across from the bed and table and chairs in front of the large windows to my right. The curtains on the windows were a soft purple color, and were pulled open and tied back. Well, at least I knew why the sun was in my face.
"Miss Rosie," said a squeak. I jumped.
"You are awake!" The squeak said again.
"Would you like some breakfast? Mrs. Nessie usually eats in her room in the mornings, so she sent me to ask how you would prefer to have yours. Would you like it here, or in the dinning room?" The voice was from a house help of rather ugly proportions; longer than normal nose and hands; smaller than normal feet and ears. Odd combination.
"I can eat in here. Is my dad still here?"
"No, Miss. He left for work. After you eat, you are going to Diagon Alley. So get dressed!" The house elf squeaked and walked out.
I went to the table to wait for my breakfast. The view out of the window was beautiful. I could see far into Surrey. What a great place! Too bad the sun is so bright. Sigh.
"Here we are Miss Rosie." Squeakie said. Hey, if he isn't gonna tell me his name, gotta call him something, right?
"Thanks." It was standard fare. Eggs, bacon, et cetera. I'm an omelet kinda gal when I eat this kinda stuff, but oh well. I ate in silence while I thought of everything that had happened in the last few days.
About an hour later, Squeakie came in to get the dishes and rush me along.
"Get dressed, Missus! You have to go soon! Mrs. Nessie is almost ready to go to Diagon Alley!"
"Okay." I said, getting up and going over to the dresser.
"Hurry up!" And he was gone in a pop. They were strange creatures, house elves.
I grab a pair of jeans and a long sleeve tee-shirt. Nothing fancy for today. It isn't like I'm going to run into a classmate. They are all already at school! I pull my hair into a simply pony, brush my teeth, put on my sneakers, and declare myself ready to go.
I walked down to the living room area where we arrived yesterday and found Aunt Nessie waiting. She was wearing pastel pink robes that flowed beautifully around her. She looked amazing!
"Wow, Auntie! You look great!" I said. She smiled.
"Shall we go?" Aunt Nessie asked, still beaming at my comment.
"Yes, Ma'am." Into the fireplace we went.
We came through the fireplace of a bar. It was shabby and smelled stale, but it was quaint too. There were wizards and witches everywhere, and they were of every status of society.
"This is the Leaky Cauldron, Rosie. Through here, we get to Diagon Alley. We will eat lunch here later. Let's go say hello to Tom, the owner and barman, before we go through. Manners, you know." Aunt Nessie explained. I followed.
"Tom! How nice to see you!" Aunt Nessie exclaimed as she went up to a balding man.
"Nessie!" Tom said.
"We are only passing through right now, but we will be back for lunch. Let me introduce you to my niece, Rosetta."
"Nice to meet you, Rosetta. I will have something good for you when you get back, Nessie. Rosetta," Tom said.
And off we went out the back door to the courtyard. There were trash cans on one side, and a long brick wall on the back side.
"How do we get to Diagon Alley, Auntie?" I asked. You can't go through bricks, and there is no way Aunt Nessie is gonna get her robes dirty by dropping in those trash cans.
"The wall is magic. We tap this brick and..."
The wall opened to a road with a long row of shops on either side. It was truly magical, in the Walt Disney sense of the word. Being a witch couldn't get any better! The shops were filled with everything from cauldrons to robes, and you could get your hearts desire in them. It was amazing!
We walked down the road into the first store, a parchment and quill store, where I could get the basic supplies that I needed. I was spellbound by all of the choices there were.
After getting my supplies, books, robes, and other various needs from the plethora of stores, we found ourselves back at the Leaky Cauldron and starving to boot. I sat at one of the tables, looking at one of the 'extra needs' Aunt Nessie got for me. It was a bound set of parchment that I could write a rough draft of an eassy in that would tell me if I needed to improve a portion of the essay based on grammar or spelling. After I had written the essay on a parchment that I could turn in, a simple spell would erase it for the next use. I could work on a few essays at a time.
I wanted to try it out, so I wrote, "A witch ain't gonna be no wizard" on it. Immediately, the parchment told me the entire sentence was wrong! How cool!
"I hope they catch Sirius Black before he finds Harry Potter." A witch said as she sat down at the table next to mine. She was very large; the chair looked like it was straining under weight.
Her companion, a very short, and very skinny wizard, sat down in the chair across from her. His hat was taller than he was.
"Harry Potter will be fine. He defeated He-who-must-not-be-named twice in the last two years! Plus as a baby! He can defend himself against Black." Skinny said.
"Maybe so, but Black is dangerous. Look at what he did to poor Peter Pettigrew! Just one finger!" Large said.
"But Potter beat You-know-who!" Skinny exclaimed.
"What if Black catches Potter away from Dumbledore? What will happen then? I'll tell you. Potter is a gonner, and so are the other two that hang around him too. That's what will happen!" Large said.
"Dumbledore won't let Potter out of his sight. There is no way!" Skinny said.
"Reports have it that Black was already up in Hogsmead. It's only a short walk up to the school. Dementors or not, Black could find his way in, I'm sure." Large answered.
"Rosie, lunch." Aunt Nessie said as she sat down. Tom followed with a tray laden with steak and kidney pie and steaming bread.
"Tom, what do you think about the Black/Potter issue?" Large asked.
"I hope Black is caught soon, for all of our sakes, not just Potter's. Black is dangerous. Any Death Eater is dangerous. Let's hope he is found soon." Tom replied and walked away.
"I think we shouldn't talk about it in front of a 13 year old witch who has just come to Great Britain from the U.S. and has been kept in the dark about a lof of things," Aunt Nessie said with finality. Large fumed at the order and Skinny looked guilty. I tried very hard not laugh.
After we finished eating, we gathered up our purchases, said goodbye to Tom the barman, and went through the fireplace again.
"Rosie, I'd like to talk to you," Aunt Nessie said.
This ain't gonna be good. Ha ha, my new parchment would have a field day with that one!
"Harry Potter is in danger, but I don't want you to treat him any different. He needs friends right now. Black can't get to him as long as Dumbledore lives. Trust you that, dear!" Aunt Nessie said.
"I do. I wasn't planning on treating him any different. My dad is the one hunting Black right now. My dad is risking his life for Potter right now. If anything, he shouldn't treat me any different!" I yell.
Oh, silent fit time! I get quiet.
"That's not what I meant, Darling, and you know it. Stop your fit right now. I will not have it in this house! You are to not be mean to that boy no matter what happens. Do you understand me, Young Lady?" Aunt Nessie fired back.
"Go to your room until you decide your fit is over. If you want to act like you are two, I will treat you like you are two. When you are done, we will have tea and talk."
I glared even meaner. How dare she!
I stomp up the stairs. I reach my room. I slam the door. I realize she is right. I open the door. I walk back down the stairs.
Aunt Nessie was sitting in the living room, resting her feet. She looked stressed and worried. I realized then that Dad and I living with her couldn't be easy. Maybe this was why we didn't just come here first.
"I'm sorry, Auntie."
"That's better, Sweeting. Now, take your bags to your room and I will ring for you when it is tea time. I honestly thought it would take you longer. The only thing I will say now is to befriend Potter. He needs all the friends he can get."
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