Chapter 46 : Good Magic
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Alby was the first one awake on Easter morning, except for his mum, who was feeding Indigo. It was around seven in the morning and usually Severus beat him in being the first one awake, because he liked to get up early. Alby usually didn't, but Easter morning was different. He scrambled out of bed and rushed into the den in his Snitch pajamas. He knew he'd have to get dressed later into his Easter clothes, but right then his comfy pajamas were fine. He found his mum sitting in the kitchen, giving Indi her morning bottle, and waved as he headed into the den.
There they were, four Easter baskets, each with a name on it. Alby found the one with his, he could read it because of Sevvy. Inside the colored plastic basket were three items—a large chocolate rabbit from Honeydukes, a colorful picture book called The Velveteen Rabbit, and a toy Quidditch player to go with the other ones he'd gotten. This one was a Keeper and could fly on a command word from him. Alby was so excited he wanted to tear into the basket right off, but he knew the rules. No opening the basket until everyone was awake.
He raced back into his room to wake up Severus, then went to get Celia and Harry up too. When everyone was awake, they all trooped back in the den to open the baskets.
Severus' basket had the same chocolate rabbit, but a book called Special Herbs for Special Potions, and some non-breakable vials and labels.
Celia's basket had a rabbit, a pretty Easter hat with purple orchids, a book called The Little Witch's Cauldron, and a letter with some money in it from Dudley. In the letter, Dudley explained how he couldn't come and visit until later on in the day and hoped she'd buy something nice with the 10 pound note he'd left and that he loved her and wished her a happy Easter.
Celia was disappointed she wouldn't get to see her daddy until later, but then remember the manners Monica had drilled into her and went and thanked her aunt and uncle prettily for the basket.
Even Indi had a small basket with a bunny rattle, some cereal, and a little bib with a bunny on it.
Once Alby had looked at everyone's basket, he declared, "I'm hungry, Mummy! When's breakfast?"
"As soon as I get it on the table," Ginny said, and handed Indi to Harry.
She made special pancakes with a hardboiled egg in the middle. Severus and Alby had colored the eggs a couple days ago and they were perfect for this Easter treat. Alby happily dug into his "nest" and so did Severus. Celia, who was still sad, only ate a little of hers.
"We're going to Grammy's house," Alby told the little girl. "We always have an egg hunt there and the one who finds the golden egg gets a big prize!"
"Like what?" asked Celia.
"Umm . . . like some joke products from Uncle George's joke shop, or candy, or something cool," Alby replied.
"Like a certificate to the apothecary?" asked Severus.
"Why's that cool?" Celia wanted to know.
"Because then you can buy ingredients to make potions," Severus replied, a little astonished she didn't know something so obvious. Then he remembered she had been raised Muggle.
"I've never made a potion before. Is it hard?"
"Sometimes. It depends on the potion," Severus said.
"I can show you, Celia," Alby offered, stuffing half an egg in his mouth.
"I can show her better," argued Severus, his eyes flashing. He was a Potions Master, after all. Or at least he had been once.
"You can both show Celia how to brew a potion," Harry said, heading off the argument he could see brewing between the brothers. "But right now everyone eat their breakfast, because in another two hours we'll be going over to the Burrow."
Celia gave Harry an odd look. "What's that, Uncle Harry?"
"It's the name of my in-law's house," Harry explained. "I never really knew why it was called that."
"I do, since I lived there till I was married. It got its name because it was like a burrow where everybody could hide, safe from danger, and it was comfy and cozy, like a rabbit's home," Ginny answered. She finished the last pancake and sat down to eat. "After you're done and have washed up, I want all of you to get dressed in your Easter outfits. You'll find them on the foot of your beds, along with your shoes."
Alby made a face. He hated getting dressed up. "Do we hafta wear a tie?"
"Just for a little," Ginny said.
"Aww, Mum! I hate ties!" Alby cried rebelliously. "They make me choke."
"I'll fix it for you," Harry offered. His school ties had always made him choke too, until George Weasley had shown him how to make a tie correctly.
Severus said nothing, he already knew how to tie a tie and dress for formal occasions.
Celia looked rather alarmed. "Can I wear my hat, Aunt Ginny? Will there be lots of people? Are they magic too, or like my mummy?"
"Yes, Celia, you may wear your hat. That's why I picked it for you. And there's always a crowd at my parents', but you'll find plenty of kids to play with. And yes, everyone there is a witch or wizard like us. So you don't need to worry if you do accidental magic, hon. It's expected."
She gave Celia a smile. Celia tentatively smiled back.
"That goes for us too," Harry added, shifting Indigo to his shoulder and rubbing her back. The baby was fussing a bit. "If you do magic around here, you won't be punished for it, Celia. That's a normal thing for a small witch. The only time you'll be in trouble for using magic is if you touch an adult's wand or deliberately hurt anyone with your power. A witch or wizard's wand is sacred and not to be played with by little girls, and no one should try and hurt anyone with magic . . . unless you're defending yourself."
"But . . . what if another kid hurts me?"
"Then you come tell us," Ginny said. "And we'll handle it."
"Or me or Alby," Severus added firmly. "And we'll get on that brat's ass all right!"
"Yeah!" Alby cried, acting tough, like his big brudder.
"Albus and Severus! You watch your mouths, am I understood?" Ginny cried, her eyes flashing.
"You want to eat a bar of Ivory?" demanded Harry a beat later.
"No, sir," both boys said immediately. It was not an idle threat.
"Good. And if Celia comes to you and tells you something's wrong, you need to come to us, not try and handle it yourselves," Ginny stated. She thought it was rather worthless to say it, considering her brothers had been just like that as kids with her, but it was something she supposed a parent ought to say.
"Unless you can't find us," Harry amended. "Then you can handle it and then tell us."
"What? Would you rather Celia get beaten up, or her cousins help her?" Harry pointed out. "Sometimes you've no time to get an authority figure and you have to act right away."
Ginny sighed. "You're such a typical man, Harry."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Just like my brothers," his wife replied, shaking her head. Then she took Indigo to change her and the other three kids went off to get washed up and to read their new books before changing into their Easter clothes.
Celia held tight to Harry as he introduced her to Molly, Arthur, George, Ron, and Hermione. All of the adults said how adorable she was and then Harry turned her over to Ginny, who introduced her to the rest of the family—like Percy, Bill, Fleur, and Charlie. Percy's wife was sick and couldn't make it, but Beth was there painting faces on the kids. And so were Remus, Dora, and the Lupin boys. After meeting so many new people, Celia was overwhelmed. She wanted to hide in a corner, but Alby insisted she meet the children.
He introduced his new "cousin" to Rose, Sirius, Teddy, James, and Victoire. Rose immediately asked who her parents were.
"Umm . . . my daddy is Dudley Dursley and my mummy's Monica. They're Uncle Harry's family, at least Dad is. My mum doesn't believe in magic."
The kids gasped.
"That's because she's a Muggle," Severus explained. "So's Dudley, that's why Celia's come to stay with us. So she can learn magic like the rest of you."
Rose immediately offered to show Celia how to brew a potion, and Vicki how to make a flower change colors. Celia dutifully allowed the girls and her cousins Severus and Alby to show her how to use a cauldron and cast small charms just by wishing for it.
"It'll get easier when you get a wand," Sirius said.
"When do you?"
"When you start school," Teddy said. "But not primary school, Hogwarts." He explained about the wands choosing you and where and what Hogwarts was.
"But now we're going to play Quidditch, the best game in the world!" Sirius crowed, and ran to get his training broom from the hall.
Teddy quickly divided up the kids into teams, with Celia on his, because he was the oldest. They were Teddy, James, Celia, and Rose against Severus, Alby, Victoire, and Sirius. Victoire was shy and didn't care for Quidditch, she only played so Sirius wouldn't call her a baby. Celia, who'd never even heard of the game, was frightened and made an excuse to run in to use the bathroom. She hoped they would forget about her and start without her. She quickly ran and hid in the extra bedroom off the kitchen, where it was quiet and she could be alone.
They waited and waited. "Maybe she got lost," Rose said.
"Maybe she fell in," Sirius giggled.
"Maybe she's sick," offered Alby.
Severus suspected she was hiding, but didn't say anything. He felt sorry for her.
Finally, James said, "I'll go see where she is," before any of the others could do so. He raced inside the Burrow.
Not spotting the blond haired girl anywhere among the adult throng, most of whom were cooing and making much of baby Indigo, or examining Arthur's talking toaster, James headed into the spare room. He knew that was where kids went to be alone—like Vicki or Severus, who seemed to prefer the quiet. There he found Celia, sitting on the bed with her knees tucked up, tears streaking her face.
James stared. "Hey, what's the matter? You sick or something? Should I get Uncle Harry or Aunt Ginny?"
Celia shook her head. "No. I'm just . . . sad."
James cocked his head. There was something about the little girl that made him . . . feel odd. Like she needed him. "How come? It's been a pretty cool Easter so far. And we still have dinner."
"I miss my daddy," Celia wailed.
"Oh," James said. "Where is he?"
"At home with Mummy. Who thinks I'm bad an' evil for doing magic."
"Huh? But magic's good," James said, puzzled as to why anyone would think otherwise. "We ain't bad people. Like those Death Eaters. Don't she know that?"
"No. Daddy says she's afraid 'cause she never knowed any magic people, 'cept me."
"Well, then she oughta meet some," James declared. "You wanna play with us? Quidditch is real fun."
Celia wiped her eyes. "I . . . I don't know how," she admitted, waiting for him to laugh.
"Oh. Well, I can show you," James offered. "You ever ride a broom?"
"Ride a broom?" Celia gasped. "Brooms are for sweeping, not riding." Then she recalled all the stories about broomsticks and witches. And she was a witch.
"That's only for Muggles," James said, a tad supercilious. "Not wizards. Wizards and witches fly on brooms."
"Can you really?"
"Uh huh. I'm real good. Siri and Teddy think they're better 'cause they're older, but they're not. I'm almost as good as Uncle Harry."
"Is he a good flyer?" Her uncle seemed so quiet.
"Uncle Harry's the best! He was Seeker in school, the best position. And Aunt Ginny too. She used to play pro for the Holyfield Harpies." James said proudly. "C'mon. I'll show you."
"What if I fall off?"
"It's a training broom. Means it doesn't go up more than six feet," James explained. "If you want, I'll get my dad to Stick you to it."
"Stick me to it?"
"With a Sticking Charm, so you can't fall. He'd to do that to me when I was small and first learning."
Celia immediately decided she wouldn't get Stuck to anything. She didn't want to seem like a baby. If the boys could do it, so could she. After all, Rose could fly and she was younger than Celia. "No, I can manage," she said softly.
"'Kay, let's go."
"Wait! What are the rules of this game?"
"Well, it's like this . . ." James quickly explained the rules and then Celia came back out in the yard with him. He showed her how to mount the training broom and hover with it.
Celia was awed that she was actually sitting on a broom in the air. It was almost like being in a fairy tale.
"You can be Keeper," Teddy said kindly. "That way you don't have to chase the Quaffle."
"You gotta keep the Quaffle from going in the goal," James said, pointing to the single small ring on a pole hovering in the air.
"Like in football or la crosse, Celia," Severus called, knowing her Muggle background would be able to relate to those sports.
Because there were only four members on a team, they had to split up the positions. James was Seeker, Teddy Beater, and Rose was the Chaser. They had two Bludgers, not charmed to hurt I they hit a kid, one Quaffle and a Snitch.
Celia had played football, so it wasn't too dissimilar. She stayed alert and tried to prevent the other team from scoring. It was hard, since Severus was the Chaser, but the score was tied, and Celia blocked two out of the four shots directed at her. By then she was getting the hang of the game and wanted to know if she could chase the Quaffle.
"If you think you're all right?" Teddy said. It was the second period, so they could switch positions.
Celia nodded and traded places with Rose.
Soon she was having great fun chasing after the flying oddly shaped red ball. It was better than football. Flying was awesome, and Celia was surprised she wasn't afraid on the broom. Actually, she didn't have time to be afraid or to worry about falling, she was too busy chasing the Quaffle across the sky. She even managed to score a goal, but Severus's team won.
"Way to go, Celia!" clapped Beth from the ground. She looked over at Harry and Ron, who had come out to see the kids' game. "Looks like she's a chip off the old block, huh, Harry?"
Harry smiled. "Yes, she's a natural, like me. Who would have thought?" He was happy Celia was having fun and seemed to be fitting in. He had been worried the little girl wouldn't like it here and beg to go home. But he knew that here was the best place for her and so he would continue to help the child control her developing powers and to feel welcome in his home and the magical community.
"I flew, Uncle Harry! I flew!" she cried, running to him after the game was over.
"I know. I saw," Harry said. "You were very good."
"Just like your uncle," Ron said. "First time on a broom, and he caught a Remembrall and McGonagall made him Seeker. Remember?"
"I remember," Harry said, and hugged Celia. Then he hugged Alby and Severus too.
"You were great, Cee!" said James, grinning.
Celia was happy. She was able to fly and was not scolded or made ashamed of anything she did. And there was still the egg hunt and dinner to look forward to and later on her daddy would visit. She smiled back at James. Maybe being magic was good after all, and living with her aunt and uncle better than she'd thought. At least now she had friends her own age and they wouldn't be horrified if she happened to make her dolls move or her stuffed puppy Nibbler bark. And she could do something none of the girls she'd known could—she could fly. Just like Wendy in Peter Pan. Now that was the best thing about magic.
Dudley listened in awe about Celia's adventures at the Burrow. She told him about the Quidditch game, James teaching her how to fly, the wonderful dinner Molly had cooked, and the fun she had looking for eggs in the grass. "Vicki won the golden egg and got a certificate to her favorite store in Diagon Alley—that's where wizards shop, Dad, like the mall," she explained. "But I got lots of eggs too," she proudly showed him her stash.
"It looks like you had a good Easter, sweetie," he said, his heart clenching. "Sorry I wasn't here for more of it. I'll take you out next week. Maybe we can shop for some clothes or something." He was woefully prepared to shop for anything, Monica had always done that with Celia, but now he had to be both parents and somehow he'd manage. "How're you getting on with your uncle and his family?"
"I'm good. They're all really nice to me, 'specially Sevvy. He's adopted, sort of like me, and he knows how it can be if your parent don't like magic. I miss you though, Daddy."
"Me too, princess," he hugged her again. "If I could take you home, I would."
Then she said something which surprised him. "No. It's better for me like this. At least Uncle Harry n' Aunt Ginny and my cousins understand 'bout me. Mummy and Grandmum and Poppi never did. And they didn't want to neither. I . . . I don't want to go home till they do." His daughter said firmly, looking him in the eye.
"Yes," was all Dudley said. They both knew that might never happen. "You know that I love you, don't you? Even though you're with Uncle Harry now, you'll always be my little girl."
"I know," she whispered and hugged him tighter. Now she had a new wish. That someday her daddy might decide to take her back and move away from her mother, if her mother continued to hate her. But it might never happen, and she didn't really mind living with her uncle. She was a witch, and she belonged here, with others like her.
Dudley saw the acceptance settle in his daughter's eyes and he knew then he had lost her to the magical world. Just like Harry, he thought a little bitterly. Then he chastised himself, for Harry was helping him like no one else would, and he was grateful for Harry's kindness. Only it was hard, knowing his beloved child would go places and do things he never could, in a world he could share with her only through words. But maybe it was for the best. Celia had found a place she could belong. It was what he'd hoped for her, instead of his wife's cold and harsh behavior. If things were different . . . he bit his lip. He would try harder with Monica. Somehow, he had to make her understand. He wanted his daughter back, and to be a part of her life, not just on the fringes. He wondered that it didn't bother Monica, who had not seemed sad at all when he had told her what he'd done. It had bothered him. Surely he could make her see . . . after all he had seen, finally, the truth about his cousin and magic. Why couldn't his wife?
He voiced none of these thoughts aloud, instead concentrating on his child and being with her, which was the most important thing right now. He stayed until Celia fell asleep on the couch, and Harry showed him to her room and he tucked her in bed and then turned to leave.
Harry shook his head. "She's family. And so are you. If you ever get sick of dealing with them, I can get you a place here."
"You'd do that? After everything I did when we were younger . . .?"
"That was the past. This is now. And even though you were a royal dick, Dud, you're still family. If you ever get tired of them, call me."
"I don't know what to say. Except thanks again," Dudley stammered.
"That'll work. Happy Easter."
"You too. Thanks for taking care of my baby."
"Always, Dud." Harry waved from the porch as Dudley drove away. Then he went back inside to rock Indi to sleep.
A/N: A new chappie for you! Please review, thanks!
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