Chapter 4 : Do You Believe In Magic?
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That had been well over an hour ago and, since then, we had chatted and talked and I had heard many more stories. Some more… interesting, than others.
"Oh Elena! We have to tell you about your very first visit to Hogsmeade! It was hilarious!" That was Dominique, squealing as usual.
"Hogsmeade?" I laughed. "That's an odd name.. Is it some kind of theme park?"
Right. I definitely hadn't misinterpreted the look everyone had just sent her. Fred was full out glaring at Dom. So were James and Harry. Odd.
"N-no." she stuttered, shrinking slightly from Fred's narrowed eyes. "It's a little village near our boarding school.. Weird name right?" She laughed nervously.
"Uh, yeah, weird name.." I paused. "Weren't you going to tell me a story about it?" I prompted.
"Oh, umm… yeah. I've forgotten." She laughed again.
Sure she had. But I was not about to let this one slide. All of them had been accidentally 'letting things slip out' all evening - I was going to figure this one out.
But Fred spoke just as I opened my mouth. The Weasley's had a penchant for doing that too.
He had a wide grin on his face.
"Actually! I remember that story - I was there too… And if I remember correctly, Dom, it wasn't Elena who made that day 'hilarious'" he smirked.
Well if looks could kill.
Fred continued, looking at me.
"It was winter and since our school was in Scotland… Well, it was icy…. and snowy. And Dom..."
Here he paused to snort.
"Well Dom decided it would be a fine idea to wear a pair of high heeled boots! On a two mile walk through two feet of snow!!" Fred was laughing at this stage, and James had joined in. Even Harry and Jenna were grinning.
I myself thought it sounded like a very Dom thing to do.
"But of course it wasn't until we were halfway to Hogsmeade that she realised it might be a bad idea." James picked up the story. "But by then…" he laughed. "It was a little late.
"See Elena, there's this pretty big hill on the way to the village from the school. And in the winter it's snowy. And icy." Fred added. "And therefore" he grinned at Dom. "Slippy."
"Okay! Okay!" Dom interrupted angrily. "May I just make the point that - I. Did. Not. Slip."
"No." James grinned. "You fell."
"My shoes snapped. It was shoddy workmanship. Nothing to do with my decision to wear them or not." Dom huffed. "It was simply coincidence I was standing on the top of a hill at the time."
"A very long hill…"
"Shut up Fred. It's not funny."
"Is too. Your legs went over your head."
"Seriously?! Oh, you are such a child!"
"Alright guys! Enough with the bickering" Harry interrupted.
Everyone stopped. I got the impression that this was a rather common occurrence in the Weasley households (plural).
Dom and Fred stopped glaring at each other. Or rather, Dom stopped glaring. Fred hid his grin (not very well).
A few moments later, everything was forgotten (no one held grudges in the Weasley clan either it seemed) and they were back on their storytelling roll.
I heard stories about lakes and ponds (and falling), water balloon and snowball fights and turkeys on children's heads.
Yeah, you heard that one right. James had once stuck a Christmas turkey on his little sisters head. The story was incredibly hilarious - try to picture an eight year old girl running into cupboards and tables because she has a bird on her head…
Although James insisted he was not the only culprit.
"It was Teddy's idea! And Fred helped! Plus, Lils was fine…"
"Yeah, except that she was traumatised for months afterwards." Dom answered.
"What do you mean it was Teddy's idea!?" This was Harry. James suddenly resembled a cat caught on the headlights.
"Uh.. Did I say that? Um, nope. Nah. Uh uh. My older, sort of, brother had absolutely nothing to do with it. At all!" And he sat there, furiously nodding.
Yeah, right. I bet there was some sort of blackmail involved there. Harry seemed to think so too, if his narrowed eyes were anything to go by, but he let it be. For now.
I heard several more stories in the next while. Though none quite as funny as the turkey incident.
Yet in that entire time, the biggest piece of information I learned was that James and Harry's surname was, in fact, Potter, and that they were related to the Weasleys through James' mum (Harry's wife), whose brothers were Dom and Fred's fathers.
And I was pretty sure that there was more than two Weasley men. In any case, I had heard names such as Rose, Lucy, Albus, Scorpius (Seriously. Who names their kid that?) Molly and Teddy. And that was only off the top of my head. Some were 'honorary' cousins, some were actual cousins and some weren't even cousins at all. I had long since stopped trying to figure out who was who.
Everything was just a blur of stories about people I had never met. Scratch that. People I couldn't remember.
But who, as I was constantly reminding myself, could remember me.
Which just made it all the more daunting that I was going to be meeting them all. Tomorrow. For Sunday dinner.
I wasn't quite sure how it had happened, but I had a feeling I had been set up. Fred had been telling an hilarious story about garden gnomes and cats and a pond and, funnily enough, Nana Weasley's Sunday dinner, when Dom had cut in. And invited me to dinner the following day.
And I said yes. Because I'm clever like that. Agreeing to go to a dinner where every single person who I used to know will be. And (need I say it?) none of whom I remember.
A fact Dominique seems to keep forgetting.
"Oh and Roxy will be there too! You know how she always wanted to travel and stuff?"
No, actually I don't. But Dom continued, barely pausing for breath.
"Well she's just back from Asia. Kadak- no, Kirzak- wait that's not right, Kanzikstan? Well it's something with a 'stan'."
"Kazakhstan?" Fred interrupted dryly.
"That's the one!"
I stifled a smile. For a very sarcastic person, Dom was awful at knowing when someone was mocking her.
"Well even she'll be at lunch, and you know it's important if Roxy is actually coming back from Ka-… wherever."
So everyone would be there… literally, everyone. And all to see me.
"You'll enjoy Granddad Weasley too. He's obsessed with the newest technologies." James added with a smile.
James had really improved over the last hour or so. True, his contribution to the conversation was minimal, but he had actually laughed and told stories. I figured Fred must have given him some kind of pep talk in the kitchen.
His actions seemed kind of controlled though, like he was making a supreme effort to remain civil. Every now and again his laughter would seem forced, his smile strained.
It made me think that there was a lot more to our previous relationship than anyone was letting on. But the only explanation I could come up with was that we had had quite a sour relationship in the past.
He certainly wasn't as ecstatic to see me as everyone else.
I made a mental note to ask Dom about it later on.
They laughed for another while about Granddad Weasley until Jenna finally pointed out the time.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how reluctant they all were to leave - I must have been a much better hostess than I thought.
"What time should I be ready tomorrow?" I asked Dom, as they were all preparing to go.
She exchanged a glance with her companions.
"Early." she answered. "About nine? We should leave plenty of time to.. drive to the Burrow."
I nodded my assent, not missing her hesitation. It was almost as if she hadn't remembered they were using a car to get around, but I shook it off. It was just my overactive imagination at work.
"The car is big enough for all of us right?" I asked, although there wasn't really any reason why I should be asking. "Or do you have two?"
Dom looked confused at my question, so Jenna answered for her.
"We have a family carrier." I nodded in understanding, but Dom still looked confused, as did Fred. Odd.
I decided to continue my interrogation for a little longer. I was actually incredibly curious - even in the smallest things were interesting.
"Where are you all staying?"
Again with the glances. This time it was Jenna who answered.
"An hotel close by, it's not too far."
"Great" I smiled at them, "Are you sure you know the way? It's pretty easy to get lost in a city like this."
But Jenna shook her head.
"It's only a few minutes walk away from here. And I've been to Edinburgh before so I know my way around."
Ah. That could explain why she was here.
Then again, this wasn't really a touristy part of the city - even people who lived in the city didn't know their way around here.
I'd really have to find out why she had come - for definite. But it could wait. For now, I was content to just mull over this extraordinary day… and dream about tomorrow.
Little did I know, I was to find out a lot more than just Jenna's reasons for being here in the morning...
The next morning, to my surprise, I opened the door to only three Weasleys. Or, should I say, two Weasleys and a Potter.
Jenna, Dom and Uncle Harry were standing outside, but there was a curious lack of Fred and James.
I frowned slightly as I motioned the three inside. Opening my mouth to ask where Fred and James were, I was reasonably startled to hear the words coming out of my mouth.
"Where are Tweedledum and Tweedledee?"
Dom looked startled too, not that I could blame her. When had anyone ever called the cousins Tweedledum and Tweedledee??
"W-Why did you call them that?" she asked, in a breathless tone. "How did… Do you remember? You haven't called them that since before…"
Ah. So it turned out someone had called them that before.
"Um.. I really don't know." I answered. "The words just… came out."
She shook her head, laughing slightly.
"I can't believe you remembered that! The amount of times I heard you call them…" she trailed off, still looking startled.
Thankfully, Uncle Harry stepped in to answer the original question.
"Fred and James went on ahead to the Burrow - they had to get some things sorted."
Lovely. Another vague answer.
But before I could press for further information, Jenna decided to contribute to the conversation.
"We said we'd bring you. There's a few things we should… discuss, before we go."
That sounded ominous. However, there was another, rather pressing question on my mind.
"How are James and Fred getting to the Burrow exactly? I was under the impression you only had one car?"
From the rabbit-in-the-headlights look on Dom's face, and the resigned sigh from Harry, I figured I had finally caught them out. I knew I had smelled a rat.
Ha. You can't fool Elena, suckers!
It was Jenna who answered.
"Um, well, you see Elena…" she took a deep breath. "The Burrow is kind of in Devon"
I narrowed my eyes at her. Kind of in Devon?
"As in, Devon in England?" I asked.
She nodded quickly.
"You do realise that we're currently in Scotland? And that Devon is around, oh I don't know, 500 miles away?"
There was no possible way James and Fred could drive to Devon in time for lunch, unless, of course, they had left several hours ago.
In which case, there was absolutely no way we were going to make it to the Burrow by lunchtime… or even dinner time. The rat I had smelled was getting bigger and bigger.
Jenna nodded again.
"Yes. Which is why you should probably sit down."
This time it was Uncle Harry who spoke.
"What we're trying to say, Elena, is that we will be there in time for lunch. Despite the fact that the Burrow is five hundred miles away."
"Right." I said, trying to normalise this conversation. "So we're flying."
"Uh, no. Not exactly."
Not exactly? I laughed nervously.
"So we're what? Teleporting?" I laughed again, but stopped after a few seconds.
No one else was laughing.
"Come on." I looked quickly from one to the other. "You're not seriously trying to say that we're going to be teleporting to Devon?"
"Um, well, we don't call it teleporting…." Dom muttered.
I was suddenly very glad I was sitting down.
"It's a form of transport that… our kind use." she continued. "We call it Apparition"
Our kind? Apparition? Oh God, they were all loonys. Or else this was all some sort of crazy prank.
I didn't actually know which was worse.
"Your kind?" I asked.
"Yes, um.." Her voice was becoming very high-pitched. "Wizards."
I sat there for few minutes, just staring, pretty much stunned into silence. There were two possibilities here.
One: I was currently in the company of a bunch of nutters, who believed they were wizards. Apparently the magical kind, since they thought they could travel several hundred miles in an instant.
This was the option I was inclined to believe, since number two was: They were telling the truth.
In which case wizards were real, and magical, and apparently able to travel hundreds of miles in an instant.
Which was, admittedly, pretty cool.
Although there was a third possibility. One that didn't involve me having crackpots as family.
Three: This was all some sort of joke.
And as soon as I fell for it they were going to run around screaming 'Haha! Got ya!!'
Or I could be insane and currently imagining this entire episode….
That was a bit more than two options, wasn't it?
There was only one way to show that no one in this room was cracked. So I shook my head.
"You're going to have to prove it"
Harry nodded, like he'd been expecting me to say that, and took a deep breath.
"Okay then. Just… be prepared."
I nodded, not trusting myself to say anything. It appeared Option 3 was null and void, since Harry actually seemed to believe he was about to perform magic.
So I prepared myself. I was certain he was going to do something funny with his hands, mutter abracadabra and then pull a coin from my ear. That, I could deal with.
I could explain that away - "Oh, you mean that kind of magic.." You know, the kind with the cheap entertainers and fake smoke and pretty, blonde assistants. I was ready for something like that.
I was not ready for him to take out a long, polished stick of wood. I guessed this was his 'magic wand' - a bit of a departure from tradition but, oh well.
I was also not ready for him to point it at an empty vase to the windowsill, flick it and for the vase to suddenly fill to the brim with water.
But, apparently, very possible. Harry hadn't even spoken a word. There was no 'Abracadabra' or sparks flying from the wand. He simply pointed the stick at the vase.. and it filled.
And there was no way it could be a trick vase. I had bought it at a market five months ago and polished and cleaned it myself. Harry hadn't gone near it yesterday or today. No one had touched it at all.
Then, suddenly, a bouquet of flowers appeared in the vase. My favourites - red tulips.
"How?..." I breathed.
I was getting pretty fed up of thinking 'impossible' all the time.
Jenna looked sympathetic.
"Yeah, I know. It takes a bit of getting used to."
I blinked. "Sorry?"
"When I was told, I pretty much reacted the same way you just did. There was a bit more shouting though.."
Told what, exactly?
"Okay.. Okay.." I breathed, "Let's start again shall we? What exactly is going on!?"
"Magic is real. You're a witch." That was Dom, blunt as usual.
"Right" I said. "So you're a witch, Harry's a wizard and Jenna's a witch too?"
"Um, nope. Not exactly." Jenna answered. "I'm not a witch. I can't do magic or anything. I'm what wizards call a Muggle."
I looked at her in confusion. Muggles. Okay.
"Non-magic folk." Harry answered. "They have no wizarding ancestry and can't perform magic."
"And I'm a witch? A… non-Muggle?" I asked.
They all nodded.
"But I can't do magic! I don't even have one of those whatchamacallit wood things!" I insisted, gesturing wildly at Harry's 'wood thing'.
"A wand." Dom answered. "And yeah, you do."
"It's at the Burrow." Harry cut in. "We've been keeping it safe since you disappeared."
Wow. I had a magic wand. Beyond cool.
As I seemed to be doing quite a bit, I decided to leave that line of question and instead asked a very pressing question.
"So, are all the stories, and.. things you told me true?" Were they really as close to me as they said?
Dom smiled and nodded. "Of course! Except, we kind of omitted things from the stories we told you.."
"Oh? Like what?"
"Um, well, remember Fred and James told you that story about me in Hogsmeade?" she frowned.
"That visit happened in our sixth year. Telling that story was Fred's way of covering for me. I was about to tell you about your first visit to a magical village."
"Oh, I see." I answered, and smiled at her. "You were about to let something slip."
She nodded and sighed, but I was thinking of the other odd moments I had noticed the previous day.
"So yesterday, when you went outside to send your wife a message, you weren't texting her were you?" I asked Harry.
He smiled. It was a rather proud smile, like he was proud I had noticed.
"No. We communicate in other ways."
"There are lots, but the one I used is called a Patronus. I'll show you one sometime."
I filed that in the back of my mind. Sounds interesting.
I looked to Jenna.
"And you weren't staying in a hotel in Edinburgh?"
"James and Fred aren't driving down to Devon are they?" I had sort of resigned myself to acceptance at this stage.
"Nope. Actually, they've been there a while already."
"So your whole family is there too?"
"Your family as well." Dom corrected. "There's so much more to tell you, but we figured it would be easier to say it all there."
"And we thought it would be better to introduce to you to magic first." Jenna added. "The Burrow is… well, it's very magical, and there would've been no hiding it. Plus, you know, plopping you right into it isn't exactly the best way to show someone." She grimaced.
"Fred's an idiot." Dom said, by way of explanation.
I nodded unsurely.
"Right." Harry interrupted. "We'd best get going now, as lunch starts in, oh I don't know, about five minutes?"
"Alright then Lena" grinned Dom. "Hold on tight."
She held out her left arm and I took it, still not quite sure how we were 'teleporting'.
"Wait Dom." Uncle Harry said. "I think we should explain -"
But with a cheeky grin and an extremely unbelievable 'Whoops!', Dom spun around.
And all of a sudden the world collapsed in on itself. It felt like I was spinning through a vortex, but one that had been built for a baby - not a twenty-something year old woman. My lungs were being squeezed so tight, it felt like I was about to be crushed.
Then, what felt like hours later but must have only been seconds, I could breathe again.
I stood up straight, shakily enough, hearing a 'pop' beside me. Which turned out to be Harry and Jenna. Both of whom were glaring at Dom.
I left them to it, and instead gazed at the house they had brought me to. Or perhaps the better term was houses.
Because the building in front of me could not simply be described as a house. It looked as if several cottages had been lifted up and mashed together.
We were at the Burrow.
A/N: Wow. So, feel free to, you know, hurl rocks at my head and stuff :) I can't believe it has been so lomg since I've updated... Sorry, sorry, sorry :)
Anyways, the exams are done and I am free! Which means lots and lots of time to work on this story, you'll be glad to hear :) I will be editing the first few chapters in the next couple of weeks and I'd advise you to read them as I'll be making pretty noticeable changes.. I think :D
Please keep reviewing! I have been delighted with the response to this story so far, so let me know what (or who) you would like to see and what you think is going happen... For instance, which Weasley (Or Potter) are you most looking forward to meeting in the next chapter?
Let me know! And thanks for reading!
*Disclaimer: Tweedledum and Tweedledee are fictional characters from Alice In Wonderland, and are the property of Lewis Carroll.