Chapter 1 : The Beginning
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credit to the wonderful rebel_heart at TDA for this awesome chapter image!
It was against the law, so Danny was told.
“Muggles can’t know about magic,” Professor Longbottom had told him kindly but firmly. Longbottom didn’t take no for an answer when he asked the eleven year old boy if Danny can promise him to never speak of magic to any Muggles aside from his parents.
That was the first lie Danny ever told. He could never tell keep a secret from her.
Cara Eleanor Palmer wasn’t just anyone.
She was Danny’s whole world, as he was hers.
***“Cradle to grave” was a rather fitting phrase their parents had coined to the two best friends after watching the old American TV Show Grey’s Anatomy.
Danny had to tell Cara that he was a wizard!
Of all things imaginable, of all people possible, he, Danny Sanford, was a wizard!
“Of course you’d be a wizard, Danny. You’re special,” Cara said, grinned at her friend.
She had known all along that he was different. Once, Danny had fell from the top of a steep hill and wasn’t harmed when he bounced to the bottom of the hill.“This is a new adventure for us, Danny! Isn’t it exciting?”
Danny didn’t answer her, instead choosing to look down at his feet, shuffling awkwardly. He hadn’t yet gotten used to the idea that they’d be apart for most of the year, let alone having to break the news to his best friend.
“Danny? What’s wrong?” Cara frowned, unsure why he looked so gloomy all of a sudden. Her best friend was never gloomy or upset. “Danny, you know you can tell me anything.”
“You can’t come with me, Cara,” he mumbled, his words gliding over quickly.
She laughed it off easily. Danny always made her laugh. “That’s a good one, Danny,” she giggled to herself. “That’s funny.”
“I mean it. Cara. You can’t come with me,” Danny said again, sounding serious.
Cara stopped laughing and paused. Frowning deeply, she worked her mind overtime to try to understand this new development. “What do you mean I can’t come with you? We do everything together.”
It was so a matter-of-fact to Cara that she should be able to join Danny at this new place called Hogwarts. She wasn’t magical, but that was okay, because it was always Cara and Danny.
“I know I’m not magical and special like you, Danny, but that’s okay! I’ll help you with your homework and you can practice your magic on me! I’ll be good, Danny, I promise!” Cara’s eyes shined genuinely as she pleaded with her best friend. Maybe if she begged enough, Danny would relent. “You’ll see, Danny. I won’t be a bother.”
Danny felt his eleven year old heart breaking as he stared back at his best friend, pleading and hoping that he’d change his mind.
But as much as Danny wanted to change his mind, he couldn’t because he knew it was impossible. It was impossible for Cara to even see the wonder that would be Hogwarts and it would be impossible for Cara, a Muggle, to be around the other magical students like him, Danny.
“I can’t, Cara,” Danny told her, his voice breaking. “It doesn’t work like that. Hogwarts can only take magical people. You can’t learn Algebra and Biology there. It’s all about magical learning.”
That was the first experience Cara had with rejection, and she had never expected it would come from Danny, of all people.
Danny, the wonderful and kind Danny, would never betray her. He would never betray her, but he did.
Cara’s eyes, previously shined with hope, now filled with tears. “But we’re best friends, Danny.” Her voice broke as she choked back sobs. Pushing aside her blonde hair, she cried, “Tell me you’re joking, Danny. You can’t leave me!”
“I’m sorry, Cara,” Danny whispered, his bottom lips trembling. He hated saying goodbye, even though it wasn’t really goodbye. “I’m sorry.”
He reached out a hand, presumably to take Cara’s, but she slapped it away. “No!” She screeched. “You lied to me, Danny! You said we’d always be best friends. You lied!”
“Sanford, what are you doing? Hurry up, or we’ll be late!”
Danny, crouched on the forest ground and head bent, looked up and grinned. “Hold your horses, Potter. I’ll be right along.”
Quickly, Danny swiped the smooth, diamond-shaped rock with the colour of obsidian from the ground and pocketed it.
Grinning madly to himself, Danny thought, Cara is going to forgive me after this.
Cara owned a rock collection. She had started back when Danny and Cara were both very little and their parents decided to fly the two families over for vacation.
Cara collected an unique rock from every single significant place in France they visited, and she continued to do this even to this day.
“One day, Danny, I’ll have a rock from every part of this world,” Cara would tell him proudly.
Maybe Danny will be forgiven once he gives Cara a rock from the magical world.
Danny quickly caught up to his new friend, Albus Potter, who was standing several feet away, looking bemused.
“What in Merlin’s name were you doing?” Albus asked, bewildered. He glanced all around him at the Forbidden Forest in confusion.
Danny shrugged. He didn’t feel like explaining just yet about Cara’s rock collection. For the moment, the special diamond-shaped rock was their moment, and Danny wasn’t ready to share that with anyone else. “Souvenir for my family at home,” Danny grinned, half joking, half serious.
Albus snorted and shook his head. “Whatever you say, Sanford. Now, hurry up! The unicorn Victoire caught will run away before we see it.”
Without another word, the two of them sprinted towards the safer parts of the Forbidden Forest, where the beautiful part-Veela seventh year, Victoire Weasley, caught a unicorn for her cousins to see.
By the time that the two boys found Victoire and the unicorn, several of Albus Potter’s other family members were crowded around, at a slight distance so as to not frighten the breathtaking creature.
James Potter, Albus’s older brother, friend, and nearly identical copy, clapped the two boys on the back and whispered, “Look at that, Sanford. Bet you never seen anything like this before.”
Danny couldn’t even find the words to reply to James. His throat was tight and his chest was pounding so fast that he wasn’t sure he could stay alive for another minute.
The unicorn was the single most beautiful thing Danny had ever encountered in his life.
The soft glow, the purity, and the innocence of the unicorn was unlike anything else Danny had ever experienced. So blown away by the unicorn Danny was, his attention wasn’t diverted by Albus’s beautiful cousins Victoire and Dominique.
Happy thoughts ran through Danny’s head about how he had to tell Cara; she would have loved to see a real unicorn, full of beauty and glory.
“They’d gone endangered during the War,” Rose softly explained as the troop of Weasleys, Potters, other friends- including Danny- trudged back through the Forbidden Forest towards the castle. “The Death Eaters obviously didn’t care enough about them to keep their natural habitat safe. Being able to capture one now in the Forbidden Forest is rare. The Ministry keeps a much better track of the magical creatures since Uncle Percy became Minister Shacklebolt’s right-hand man.”
Danny didn’t know what to say. He’d heard all about the War, and Albus had grudgingly explained to him the basics of how important James and Albus’s father, Harry, and Rose’s parents, Ron and Hermione, had been in the War. Apparently, the entire Weasley and Potter family were deemed amongst the most important War heroes of the age, and certainly the most important in the Second Wizarding War.
Deciding to change topics, Danny asked a safer question, “So how come your entire family gravitate towards one another here? Aren’t you tired of each other?”
Albus shifted awkwardly, and Rose coughed. Mumbling an excuse about how she needed to catch up with Roxanne, she hurried away.
Danny groaned to himself. Clearly, that wasn’t a safer question at all.
“Look, Sanford. You’re one of my best mates here aside from my family,” Albus told him several moments later.
Danny resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “Sure, Potter. Of course I didn’t notice that aside from the fact that we have spent every waking hour since we got onto the Hogwarts Express together.”
“Shut it,” Albus said, scowling despite the serious look on his face. Running a hand through his beyond messy hair, he continued. “Look, Victoire spent the majority of her Hogwarts career with Teddy, and afterwards, she spent it with Dominique and Molly. Dominique and Molly didn’t need to find any other friends, seeing as they’re the same age and grew up together.”
“What’s your point?”
“Basically what I’m trying to say is that our family is big enough that none of our cousins really had to go making friends,” Albus said, his tone encouraging as he silently willed Danny to catch his meaning. “We didn’t have to risk ending up with friends who only were our friends because of our last names.”
Slowly, Danny began putting two and two together. Because an outside might only be interested in their last names, they stuck around the people that they’d known for nearly al their lives.
And Albus had accepted Danny because he had come from a background that Voldemort and Death Eaters didn’t exist until he was eleven.
A background to which Cara belonged.
Albus understood the gaze behind Danny’s eyes and nodded. No further words were needed between the two boys.
Still, the diamond-shaped rock burned in Danny’s pocket, and he felt an unexplainable guilt for hiding something as simple as a rock from his friend, a bloke who was friends with him even when the rest of the population at school found him to be some celebrity.
A few days had passed since Danny sent the rock to Cara and wrote to his parents about the unicorn. While at breakfast with Albus and Rose, mail arrived and Danny spotted his owl soaring towards him.
Excited, Danny ripped open the letter as soon as his owl dropped it in front of his plate.
Our dearest Danny,
It’s wonderful to hear how great Hogwarts has been. The unicorn sounded absolutely lovely, and of course sweet Cara would have loved to see it.
It breaks our heart that we have to give you such bad news when you are having an amazing time, but your father and I feel that it’s best you hear the news from us now rather than later.
The both of us think that it is better if you just hear this from us for now.
Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were driving with Cara to see Cara’s grandparents on Mr. Palmer’s side over at Cheshire. They did, unfortunately, get into a car accident.
Mrs. Palmer remains unharmed because she was in the backseat when it happened, but Mr. Palmer and Cara were rushed to the hospital.
Mr. Palmer has since recovered, and should just spend a few good week recovering from his broken bones. He will be just fine, as to the relief of Cara’s grandparents, but Cara isn’t.
The other car had unfortunately hit the Palmers’ car on Cara’s side because she had insisted on sitting in the front seat.
Danny, love, we’re very sorry, but she’s still in a coma. The doctors are sure that she should wake up as soon as her brain is functioning normally, but of course, there is no certain guarantee.
She was still clutching tightly to what you sent her for her collection when she was rushed to the hospital. It’s sitting quite safely in Cara’s room because Mrs. Palmer removed it in case the doctors lost it.
We’re very sorry, Danny.
Let us know if you want to come home for a weekend to see Cara. We know you said the two of you got into an argument over her unable to go to Hogwarts with you, but Mr. and Mrs. Palmer think that Cara would still love to see you.
We love you, Danny, as does Cara. Pray for her health, as you would, and we hope to see you very soon.
With all our love,
Mum and Dad.
(13 Years Later)
Glancing at his wristwatch, the scruffy black-haired man sighed impatiently, tapping his foot.
“Why is Sanford always late?” he muttered to himself with an eye roll. The most important meeting that they could possibly attend, and his best friend just had to be late.
The man tilted his head from side to side, cracking his neck. He cracked his knuckles as well and rolled his shoulders up and down as if he were stretching.
He ignored the curious glances that his fellow Ministry workers were giving him; no doubt they were all wondering why on bloody hell he was still waiting by the Floo Network when he should be up in the Auror Offices.
“Albus!” a breathless voice cried from one of fireplaces as its owner quickly stepped out and gave himself a onceover to ensure there were no soot on his robes.
Albus let out a sigh, rolling his eyes. “Danny, mind you telling me why you’re going to make us late again?”
“Yeah, you didn’t have to wait for me,” Danny pointed out, shaking his light brunette hair out of his face.
“I’m not going to ditch you, if that’s what you’re talking about,” Albus said firmly as the two of them climbed into a lift, taking them to the Auror Office. “It’ll make you look bad if you’re late to an emergency meeting,” Albus added cheekily.
Danny snorted, his hand gripping tightly to the lift’s rails and his hazel eyes closed to prepared for the violent stop.
The lift arrived at Level 2, and Albus swiftly stepped out as his pace quickened. Emergency meetings called in the Auror Office by the Head Auror were never a good sign.
By the time that the two men reached the meeting room of the Auror Office, they noticed that nearly everyone was there.
Albus determinedly looked away from the Head Auror and Assistant Head Auror’s eyes as he and Danny took a seat at two of the available spots.
It had taken Albus ages to get used to the idea that he was working for his father. No matter how much James had teased him when the two of them were younger, he had never quite imagined that he really would be ending up as an Auror one day.
It was even harder to get used to the idea that his father, at the Auror Office, was one that couldn’t be challenged unless it was by the Assistant Head Auror, Albus’s Uncle Ron.
It was difficult to establish the image that Harry Potter’s word was final in the Auror Office when Albus often witnessed his mum scolding the two men who were supposed to have the final say in every single matter that pertains to keeping the Wizarding world safe from Dark wizards and the Dark arts.
Albus watched his father clear his throat after a glance to his uncle Ron. Immediately, the entire room straightened.
“I called this emergency meeting because something has happened that shouldn’t have,” Harry stated, looking grave and worn out from a long night.
“The Muggle Prime Minister and his entire family are dead. Prime Minister Jack Palmer, his wife Eleanor and their daughter Cara Palmer are all dead. All three were murdered by the Killing Curse.”
Author's Note: Hello! The original idea for this novel of a young Hogwarts kid picking up a "rock" is all melian's. I don't own that original idea, the line from Grey's Anatomy, or Harry Potter, but anything else is mine.
***: The line is from Season 3, Episode 13 "Great Expectations" of Grey's Anatomy, created by Shonda Rhimes. Thank you to my wonderful beta, Jchrissy (Jami), for helping me edit this chapter.
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