Chapter 1 : Rock-a-Bye Baby
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Author’s Note: This is a prologue to my “Gravel on the Ground” series. It is meant to provide brief glimpses into the lives of Charlie and Jenny McLauchlin, the parents of my character Sadie McLauchlin from the main series, as well as a few others. It will not be updated at any set schedule, but once certain plot points have come up in the main story, I will post here to provide more background.
Standard notes from the main series:
I’ve borrowed a concept for this story from another fandom. In the TV series Charmed (created by Constance M. Burge and Aaron Spelling) strong magic is passed down through the women in a family, and each witch usually inherits skills that focus on one of three abilities: moving objects, manipulating time, or mental abilities like seeing the past or future. I’ve made my characters descended from the same magical line – the Warren family – which means that they have these magical traits, but because they are combined with the form of magic used in Harry Potter, they have been altered slightly. It explains the ability to do wandless magic easier than usual and a few unique characteristics, but that’s the only connection to Charmed. This isn’t meant to be a crossover between the show and the Harry Potter books.
I intend to remain as faithful as possible to the plots and events of all the books, with a few exceptions:
1. The inclusion of original characters in events they obviously weren’t present for.
2. The appearance of characters may reflect the movie characters more than the book versions.
3. When I read the books, they seemed to be sort of timeless. I had no idea they were set in a specific year until I read DH and saw the dates on Lily and James’ tombstone. I was a little peeved, as it messed with my mental image of things, but I digress. Anyway, to make this story work with things I have planned farther down the line, I needed to adjust the HP dates. I have added five years to the HP timeline, pushing it forward slightly, but it really shouldn’t change anything for readers.
Also I consider all the “extra” information JKR has given us about characters that wasn’t included in the actual books to be “suggestions” rather than canon. I don’t want to know everything! It doesn’t leave my imagination any room to play!
Special thanks to Smuffly for being the heart behind this story and loving it as much as I do. For hours of endless plot help, encouragement, reading and re-reading, and editing. For making me keep writing it, and convincing me to post it. Without her, this story wouldn’t exist, so, Smuffly, this story is for you.
Disclaimer: The characters, settings, and world of the Harry Potter books are created by J.K. Rowling and belong to her. Only the original characters and the story idea belong to me. I make no profit from this.
Gravel on the Ground: As the Days Go By
It was all they could do to just be brave
But they smiled for the camera anyway
Sometimes all you can do is just take a picture to hold your place in time
As the days go by
- Cherie Call
Chapter 1: Rock-a-Bye Baby
“You’re what?” eleven-year-old Jenny Potter cried, glancing back and forth between her parents, fork forgotten in her hand.
“We’re going to have a baby, dear,” her mother repeated, smiling at her across the dinner table.
“You’re going to be a big sister,” her father added, wrapping an arm around her mother and pulling her close. “In about six months or so.”
Jenny felt her jaw drop and her parents laughed at her gently.
“Surprised, love?” asked her dad, winking at her across the table before picking his spoon back up and attacking the pudding.
Jenny nodded, still staring at them with huge eyes. “What do you want a baby for?” she finally blurted.
Her father choked on his dessert while her mother tilted her head back and let her laugh ring out.
“Because we believe that this family has enough love for two children, don’t you agree?” her father managed to answer.
“Don’t you want a brother or sister?” added her mum.
“Well, I suppose. It’s just… You should have asked me first!” she scolded, scowling at her parents with her arms crossed. For some reason she didn’t quite understand this caused her parents to start laughing again.
“Do you want to hold him?”
Jenny looked with awe at the tiny bundle in her mother’s arms, seeing the wispy black hair, tiny red face, bitsy fingers and toes… He looked just like the dolls she’d put carefully away last year, declaring herself too old for that now.
“Yes,” she answered, nodding her head eagerly. She climbed quickly onto the edge of her parents’ bed and held her breath as her mum placed the baby in her arms. Alert, gray eyes stared back at her, studying her solemnly.
“We’re going to name him James,” her dad said. “What do you think? Does it fit him?”
Jenny peered thoughtfully at the little, wrinkled human she was holding. I don’t know, she thought. Baby, are you a James?
Suddenly, the baby closed and reopened one eye.
“He winked at me!” Jenny cried.
“Oh, probably not, love,” her mother said tiredly. “Babies this tiny can’t really control things like that.”
“No, Mum,” Jenny said seriously. “I know he winked. He’s telling us he likes the name James.”
As she stood before the great, scarlet engine for the first time, her traitorous lip began to wobble. Hordes of others jostled her on all sides, children eager to find the best seats on the train, parents holding onto them until they absolutely had to let go. But Jenny didn’t care about any of it.
“Jenny, what’s wrong?” her mum asked, crouching down to her height. “Why are you crying?”
“I want to go home,” Jenny whispered.
“Why? You’ve been excited to go to Hogwarts for years,” her dad added, standing beside them and guarding the pram that held Baby James, not caring that a baby pram didn’t exactly match his distinguished robes and graying mustache.
“But what, dear. What’s different all of the sudden?” her mother pressed, worried.
Jenny sniffed loudly and then pointed to her baby brother.
“James?” her dad asked, confused. “Why would James make you want to go home?”
“What if…what if he forgets me!” she blurted suddenly, all the worry she’d been hiding for the last week finally spilling out. “He’s so little, and I’ve only just got to know him! What if he forgets all about me while I’m gone?”
“Oh, Jenny, love! He’s not going to forget you! You’ll come home at holidays, and then next summer you’ll have all sorts of splendid adventures to tell him! And when he’s older, he’ll send you pictures and you can send him notes back. He’ll be so proud of his big sister, off at Hogwarts!”
“Are you sure?” she asked her parents.
“Of course,” her dad replied.
Jenny stepped up to the pram and pushed the cover back, gazing at her baby brother. He saw her face and grinned, reaching for her with fists that were starting to get chubby.
“And are you sure I can’t take him with me? I promise to take care of him! He can stay in my dorm, and come to classes with me in my bag, and…”
“Jenny,” said her mother, with an exasperated laugh. “Just go get on the train.”