I hope you like the edit's I've been making.
Chap 2! Plot thickens....
"This here is a wall," Albus explained, casually leaning into the old brick wall in the back of the Leaky Cauldron.
"And?" I prodded curiously.
"It's a magic wall."
"It is about to do something amazing."
Silence. By that point, though, I had figured out he was messing with me. "Just do it," I complained. "You're incredibly immature."
Yep. Unfortunately, English boys were no different from their American counterparts.
"That's me," Albus laughed, tapping the bricks in a seemingly random pattern. Wriggling like tiny maggots (ok, I guess I do have a messed up mind) they formed an archway into a bustling street.
Whaaaaaat? Is that even physically possible?!
I won't lie, I was impressed. Albus grinned. "So," I said, taking a cautious step forward. "You're a Weasley?"
"No, James just likes to pretend we're not brothers," Albus explained, kicking a stone as we walked into the marketplace. Holy effing cats. This place was real. A stone archway just magically appeared and it led to a magical shopping mall.
"Why exactly would he want to pretend you’re not brothers?" I asked, confused. The bright shop signs distracted me, selling slug-toads and exploding gum.
Albus laughed. "Why not? He's an asshole. James is a complete flirt, I don't know why Kendra is still dating him."
"Probably because he's hot," I thought. Shit. I just said that out loud.
Albus raised his eyebrows. "Hitting on my brother already, Miss Andrews? My, Americans move fast."
"Sorry," I muttered, embarrassed. I pulled my hair onto one shoulder and tried to act like I fit in. How could I say that? Just blew any chances of Albus liking you. Fool.
"Let's get your wand first," Albus ruled, pointing toward a sketchy shop labeled "Olivanders." The shutters were peeling and gnarled with age.
Yeah, that’s probably where we’d get raped.
“You go on,” I yelled after him.
“Don’t be a wimp,” he responded, holding open the shop’s door. Like a perfect gentleman, I must add.
Following him, I entered the murky labyrinth. A strange smell hung in the air, thick, like black licorice and dust. I certainly wouldn’t admit it, but I liked it. It reminded me of my Grandmother, always puffing on a heady cigar and dressed in tawdry silk.
There were more important things, however then reminiscing on good ole Grannie, so I turned to Albus and began giving orders.
"Show me a bit of magic."
Albus cocked an eyebrow
"Please," I added sweetly.
"Hmm," Albus pondered dramatically. "I'm afraid a humble setting such as this shop couldn't hold in my magic, I'm much too powerful."
"You know I don’t believe you, right?"
"It's true, darling, you don't know the ways of the wizarding world. Wizards such as me are bullied for their talent, which surpasses anything you could imagine."
"Al? That you?" a new male voice rang. Behind the corner stepped a tall, thin blond with the build of a long-distance runner. Upon seeing Albus, he let out an easy grin. They walked up to each other and exchanged a "bro hug." I tried not to roll my eyes.
"Who's the blond?" whispered the boy. Seriously? Did he honestly think I couldn't hear him?
"Scorpius, this here is the lovely Miss Cassia Andrews, a new arrival at Hogwarts. In our grade, I might add."
Scorpius let out an laidback smile and reached for my hand. "You can call me Scorp," he added, winking. Albus shoved him playfully. His pale fingers were unusually cool around my hand.
"She's MINE, Scorp, you always get the girls," Albus shouted as Scorpius fumbled to get his wand.
My heart skipped a beat. She’s mine? Maybe I misheard. Or he meant something else. Don’t get your hopes up. You always fall too fast, and too hard.
Ugh. Old habits die hard.
The boys began arguing about something stupid, and a shuffling noise immediately diverted my attention.
There was an odd man wandering down the aisle. He looked incredibly old and wrinkled. His hair was reduced to a sparkling white lint neatly piled atop his freckled scalp.
He turned abruptly and ran over to where I was sitting. Well this is awkward. His eyes were sharp and ice-blue and I felt I had been challenged to a spontaneous staring contest.
“No fighting in the store, boys," the man snapped without breaking eye contact. I squirmed uncomfortably and he finally blinked.
"Name?" he inquired.
"Going to Hogwarts, I presume. Have you a wand before?"
"No, I've never done any magic either," I admitted.
"Let's start out with a 12 1/2 inch maple and dragon heartstring, excellent for transformations." He closed my fingers around the thin rod. There was a brief, uncomfortable silence.
"What should I do?" I whispered, completely mortified.
"Don't worry dear, it's wrong, just terrible," the man (who I assumed was Olivander) sighed, snatching back the wand.
"Just terrible," mimicked Scorpius behind me and I giggled. Turning, I faced the boys.
"How will I know if the wand is right for me?"
"You'll see, love," Scorpius answered, wiggling his eyebrows in a much-too-flirtatious manner, making me laugh again. Chuckling, Albus shook his head, making my head spin.
AGH!! You can see I always get a creepy and immediate obsession with guys. If only I could learn my lesson.
Olivander returned and quickly began thrusting wands into my wand, each one felt cold and lifeless, like a stick. He animatedly continued the process until I was sure I had gone through almost half the store.
"I know," Olivander cried suddenly. "Try this, 11 1/4, unicorn hair and a tad phoenix, oak, excellent craftsmanship, will--"
I stopped listening as soon as my fingers closed around the stick. A slight ringing filled my eyes and a lovely warmth spread throughout my fingers. Excitedly, I flicked the wand and shouted something, I think it was gibberish. Immediately a bunch of white flakes flew from its tip. I bent down and rubbed some between my fingers. "It's snow," I marveled.
Olivander beamed. “Excellent. That will be twenty-six galleons, please.”
“Um, I’m sorry—I have pounds? Do you take those?” I asked, desperately fumbling through my purse.
“Muggle money?” Olivander sounded extremely insulted. “I think not!”
Albus stepped in, placing a neat stack of gold coins on the table. "Trust me, money's not a problem for the Potter family," he explained. I frowned. It looked like a lot to me.
"What a gentleman," Scorpius declared. "Honestly, Albus, you should take my marriage proposal a bit more seriously, I'm wildly attracted to a man with chivalry.
"So, what do you think?" Albus asked, completely ignoring Scorpius.
I grinned. I was holding a honest-to-god magic wand. "It's brilliant," I enthused. "Just fantastic."
The afternoon that ensued was the best I'd had in a long time. I got all sorts of stuff and Scorpius insisted on buying me an owl, but the boys thought it would be incredibly funny if they got me the weirdest one, a strangely large speckled brown owl who wouldn't stop staring at me.
I couldn't help but like the owl, though, after all, he was mine and mine alone. "Ferdinando," laughed Scorpius. "Please, it's the only name. Blink, Ferdinando, please," he begged, "do us a favor! Blink!"
“Nah," I deliberated. "Sasha."
"NO!" cried Scorpius. The gimp owl attempted a cluck that sounded like a chainsaw starting up, sending the boys back into hysteria.
"Isn't Sasha a girl's name?" Albus managed after a while.
"It can be a boy, too," I decided. "Lots of Russian boys are named Sasha. I think. And stop laughing at him. He hates it.”
"No, Sasha is definitely a girl's name," Scorpius insisted.
"Shut up," I replied. "It's Sasha."
"Poor owl," Scorpius said, sticking his finger into the cage, trying to pet him. "You got a girls name, I'm so sorr-- OW!!! HE BIT ME!!"
I couldn't help laughing as Scorpius hopped around madly with his finger in his mouth.
"Get that out of your mouth," scoffed Albus. "That's disgusting."
"HE BIT ME!"
"Do you have any idea when that ugly thing last took a bath?" Albus turned to me. "Let's leave, Scorp can be quite the embarrassing companion in public . Bye, Scorp! I'm not being seen with that crazy scoundrel."
"DON’T LEAVE ME," wailed Scorpius, on his knees in the square. Laughing, Albus escorted me away from the strangely hilarious boy.
I pulled the wand out of my pocket again, I couldn't help it. Muttering gibberish, I waved it about. Unfortunately, only a feeble drizzle of grey sparks were emitted this time. "I'm going to be terrible at Hogwarts," I moaned. "I don't know anything."
Albus paused to think for a second. He was making a decision that would change my life forever.
"I know," he exclaimed suddenly. "How about you stay with us until the start of school? Mum's already hosting Rose, Teddy and Kendra, one more won't change anything."
It felt like my breath had caught in the back of my throat. Was this godly creature seriously inviting me to stay with his family for two weeks? I was basically a stranger, after all!
"Oh, sure," I said casually. "I mean, that'd be great-- I'd love that, if it’s okay with your family and everything."
Albus smiled. "Well then, let's drop by the hotel and grab your stuff."
I couldn’t help but grin wildly as I paid the man.
“Have a nice stay?” he asked cordially as my receipt printed.
“Fantastic. By the way, would you mind telling your blonde co-worker that a girl wanted to thank her generously!”
“Excuse me, ma’am? I’m afraid you must be mistaken. I’m the only receptionist here.”
“What?” I paused, a creeping doubt in my stomach. “The woman that was here this morning? I talked to her. She was at your desk.”
“Miss Andrews,” he said, looking at my name on the computer. “I was here all morning. I really apologize for the confusion.”
“My bad,” I muttered as I left.
What was that about? I certainly didn’t imagine that woman.
Willing my wandering-mind to focus, I joined Albus on the curb. Speculating was worthless.
"That's all?" Albus asked surprised.
"I--" (pant) "pack--" (pant) "light."
"I was being sarcastic," Albus said, and easily hoisted my suitcase and carried it down the remaining steps. Note to self: work out.
Then he began at a brisk pace down the street. I practically had to run to keep up. "Why are you holding your wand like that?" Albus asked when he noticed I was running with my wand in hand.
"Because I'm a WIZARD," I proclaimed proudly.
"Put it away!" Albus hissed. "Muggles can't see you out here flaunting your wand like that."
Frowning sulkily, I stowed my wand in my back pocket like he had. "For the record," I whispered, "I wasn't flaunting it." Albus rolled his eyes. "Where are we going, anyway? The nearest tube station was back that way."
"We're going to the nearest Flu station," Albus explained, still sprint-walking.
“Flu station? That sounds terrible. Is it like a doctor's office?"
"Noooo! Floo-- F-L-O-O. It's-- I dunno how to explain it, we're here, see for yourself."
Albus pointed toward a solid brick wall with a faded sign hanging lopsidedly-- "Flannery's Whiskey 100 yd. ahead." "That's it?" I asked skeptically. "I'm disappointed."
"No," Albus huffed, taking my arm (**taking my arm!**) and pulling me forwards TOWARD THE FRICKING WALL! I tripped and braced for the impact but instead found myself standing in a crowded corridor lined with roaring bluish fires.
“Should I be worried about ventilation?" I whispered, dumbfounded yet again by the magical world. "These fires could produce a lot of carbon monoxide, you know."
Nothing would’ve surprised me right then. If a unicorn began break dancing, I would just assume that was normal.
Albus chose to ignore my question and led me over to a fire. "Ok," he began, grabbing a handful of grey powder. You're going to step into the fire and say--very clearly, mind it-- 'Harry and Ginny Potter.' Understand?"
"What's going to happen? My skin is pretty sensitive to open flames."
"It's going to transport you there, magically."
"Does it hurt?"
"No. Look, do you want me to go first?"
"No, no-- I'm fine, I can do it." The idea of being left there alone terrified me.
"Take a handful of floo powder."
I did and stepped into the fire, initially wincing but then realized there was no pain. The fire felt like cool fabric playfully lapping at my legs.
"Ready?" Albus asked.
"Yeah," I answered shakily. After taking a deep breath, I threw down the dusty powder and shouted in my best pronunciation "Harry and Ginny Potter!" The flames spontaneously roared up over my head and sucked me down and I was engulfed in a squeezing, tickling sensation. Then the flames died down and I was spat forwards and stumbled into a living room. Dust flew up my throat.
Coughing, I looked up to observe my surroundings. The furnishings were modest but tasteful and the space was airy and cozy at the same time.
"Uh, may I help you?"
I couldn't stop coughing as I looked up on all fours to see a lovely lady, middle aged with shiny red hair. To this day, I don't why I blew my first impression or why I was so confused. But of course the first words Ginny Weasley would ever hear from me had to be humiliatingly terrible.
"Are you Harry Potter?" I asked stupidly.
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