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Black Ties by Neeka
Chapter 2 : Unorthodox Introductions
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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The next few weeks passed quickly so that before Harriet knew it Tab and her were on their way to meet Daniel at Kings Cross Station. Visiting Diagon Alley had been, well, magical. They’d gone at dusk because Daniel had said that was the best time to shop and although she had no experience in the matter apart from her ‘Harry Potter’ reading, she completely agreed. The Alley buzzed with excited chatter while folk-like music flowed out from the various shops. It reminded Harriet of a festival, like a folk festival where everyone is laid back, contented to bask in the buzzing atmosphere and good juju swirled in the air.


Little orbs of multicoloured light had bobbed above the masses of people in the fading light. They were like fairy lights without the bulbs or wires, with no orb sharing the exact same shade of colour. Harriet spotted a glowing sort of purpley-black one, and caught it in her hand. The little orb was surprisingly cold when she caught it. After a moment, however, the orb grew warmer and Harriet watched in awe as the little orb bobbing in her hands changed from purple-black, to purple, to red, and stopped at a kind of orangey red colour.
“She’s an Enfysinkel and she just chose your shade.” Daniel had said, then added with a bemused laugh, “the colour of a Maple leaf.”


Harriet had never been a raging shopaholic, in fact she rather hated the hobby, but this… This was an adventure. She dragged Daniel into shop after shop, looking at all the different things from quills to invisible books, figurines of a famous black haired wizard (special edition with his redhead and bushy haired sidekicks) to diary parchment that only revealed itself at the touch of its owner. Daniel was patient enough but he clearly thought her quite annoying as she did not miss a single shop.


The evening could not have gotten any better for Harriet. Until it did. She got her wand. As she walked into ‘Olivanders Wand Shop’ there was a strong and unmistakable scent of wood. She approached a desk, behind which were rows and rows of rectangular boxes within which, Harriet deduced, were wands. A disheveled, old Olivander, much more fragile looking then Harriet had perceived him to be in the Harry Potter book, came out and started trying Harriet on for wands.


Finally, after about fifteen minutes of being handed wand after wand, Olivander finally found the one that fit. It was a supple, 12 ½ inch, Spruce wand with a dragon core. Olivander handed Harriet two pamphlets, one had written in golden letters across the top ‘Spruce Wands: maintenance and tendencies’ while the other pictured a majestic dragon and was titled ‘The Properties of the Dragon Core Wand’. Harriet had read the Spruce one to herself,


“Unskilled wandmakers call spruce a difficult wood, but in doing so they reveal their own ineptitude. It is quite true that it requires particular deftness to work with spruce, which produces wands that are ill-matched with cautious or nervous natures, and become positively dangerous in fumbling fingers. The spruce wand requires a firm hand, because it often appears to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. However, when a spruce wand meets its match - which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour - it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.”


Harriet had shoved the pamphlets in her pocket and jogged to catch up with Daniel. When she had investigated every last shop in diagon alley, it was time for Harriet to reluctantly leave. When she got home, rocketing out of the fire place and into the living room Harriet grabbed Tabitha and headed straight to Harriet’s room, locking her door. Tabitha looked through all Harriet’s new things, really taking the whole ‘magic is real’ thing in her stride. Tab would not put down my wand, and being the ultra responsible sister Harriet was (coughcough) she told her sister to try to avoid blowing the house up or anything. While Tab analyzed every last item Harriet took out the second pamphlet, the one on the Dragon Heartstring core and read aloud,


”As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands with the most power, and which are capable of the most flamboyant spells. Dragon wands tend to learn more quickly than other types. While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner. The dragon wand tends to be easiest to turn to the Dark Arts, though it will not incline that way of its own accord. It is also the most prone of the three cores to accidents, being somewhat temperamental.”


Harriet and Tabitha spent hours there, scouring every last new item, and when they’d gotten through all of them Harriet started rambling to Tabby, telling her everything about Diagon alley and how one day she would take her to see it. 


A few weeks after Diagon Alley, on September 1st, Harriet was on her way to kings cross to meet Daniel. The journey there on public transport, with all of their stuff was highly difficult. Their father had refused to drive them, telling the eleven year old that if she wanted to go to boarding school (which was all she had told him) then he was not going to stop her, but that he was not going to encourage this behavior either. Just before they had left, though, he had grabbed Harriet’s wrist and taken her aside, “Look, I know I haven’t been the best father but I don’t want you girls to leave, I love you, you know that right?”
“no,” Harriet had replied, “I don’t. And even if you do, you certainly don’t like us. We have a real chance here, dad, and if what you say is true and you do love us, let us get out.”


He had  let go of Harriet’s wrist then and she had walked out of the door before he could change his mind.


Daniel had instructed her to bring Tabby and everything she needed for the year. Since Tabby was small for her age, she struggled to carry the smaller of her two suitcases, leaving  Harriet to carry both of their big trunks plus Her own carry-on bag. When she found Daniel at platform nine she almost cried in relief. He was standing, leaning against the wall but when he caught sight of the two little girls struggling with the bags he ran to help. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think. I should have offered you a lift. I guess I just thought someone would.” Harriet didn’t reply- he really should have. “Okay, so all you have to do is run straight at the wall.” Just like in the book.
“oh, okay,” Harriet’s voice dripping with sarcasm. He laughed, “Trust me.” She gave him a skeptical look, hesitated, then thought ‘to hell with it’ and started running at the wall like a doofus. 


And then she ran into the wall.


And then she was out the other side. And then she almost sped onto the train tracks. She pulled up just in time and took a step back, only to be pushed back into the balancing act. A hand caught her arm, saving Harriet from falling on her face in a tumble of trunks. She turned around to see Tabatha looking extremely apologetic. A dark haired boy was still holding Harriet’s arm, grinning widely, and Daniel was laughing at her impressive performance.


Harriet looked at the train platform surrounding her. Platform nine and three quarters. There must have been thousands of people on the platform, witch and wizard parents, muggle parents, siblings, a few adults who must have been teachers judging by their travelling cloaks, and, of course, students of all grades. Students were packing suitcases into the train, kissing their parents goodbye and making sure their pets were securely locked away in their cages. People had pets from toads to cats to owls. How they stopped them eating each other once they got to Hogwarts was beyond Harriet.


“I’m so sorry!” squeaked Tabatha. Harriet rolled her eyes at her “Jesus, Tab.” she said ruffling her sister’s hair, still a bit preoccupied with the platform. Daniel composed himself now putting on a serious expression “congratulations, you have been accepted into the Hogwarts Gymnastics club! May your extreme coordination  be an inspiration to us all.” He gave a bow and then a T position and walked off. Now Harriet was laughing too.


“James Potter, your knight in shining armor.” Said the scruffy, haughty looking boy with a wink of a brown eye. Harriet thought knight in shining ego would have been a more accurate description, but he had just saved her from a spectacularly humiliating fall so she kept her eye roll as small as her pride would allow. “Thanks, I guess, Harriet Maple” she said, introducing herself, “Wait, did you say Potter. James? As in Harry’s father James? I knew he wasn’t really dead!” she said enthusiastically before she had a chance to think things through. Timelines got a bit fuzzy to Harriet when she read books, especially when the book was set twenty-six years ago.


“What? Um, no. He is really dead. As in Harry’s son James.” James said, looking a little weirded out. He turned to Tabitha, “and who is this little lady?”
“Tabatha,” She said, smiling. He winked back, the winking was just getting seedy now, “You better get on the train it’s about to leave, I have to go tell my parents something” He said with a mischievous grin.  “Of course, your father, Harry Potter” Harriet muttered incredulously out of earshot of James.


She went to pick up her Trunk then realized she had no idea whether Tabitha was, in fact, getting on the train. A rush of panic came over her as she scoured the crowd for Daniel. She told Tabitha to stay with the bags while Harriet barged through the mass of people. A bag came out of nowhere and smacked Harriet in the face. She winced, as her eyes started to water.
“Ohhh my god!! Soz babe! You ‘kay?” A small girl about Harriet’s age, how she managed to swing the bag with that much force in the first place was beyond Harriet. “’s alright” Harriet mumbled, all nasally. She laughed and it too was nasally, the girl joined in.


“I see your making friends.” Said a familiar voice from behind Harriet. “Daniel! Thank god!,” She waved goodbye to the girl. The girl mouthed ‘Sorry’ again, which Harriet waved off, turning back to Daniel, “Where the hell have you been? Is Tabitha coming on the train?”
“Yes, actually that's where I was, I went to see Hagrid in person and he says that he has hired a new game keeper to replace him. Kalvin Lue. Hagrid said he can add it to his Job description to care for your little sister. He can school her and feed her and she can stay in the guest rooms in the castle. She will have to help him in his duties as game keeper though, just until she is old enough and then in two years when she returns from the summer holidays she can commence her magical education.”


Harriet just blinked for a moment then excitement began to consume her, her sister would be with her! “So she won’t have to go to some random boarding school? She’ll be at Hogwarts with me? She is gonna lose her shit!” Harriet said, then adding quickly, “I mean, in a good way.”
“She didn’t deserve to be in that house, no one does.” Daniel said quietly, he must have had to do a lot of convincing to get Hagrid to agree to this, Harriet thought. She reluctantly decided to give him a quick hug, rare for her, she’d never been the huggy type as a youngen, something that would no doubt change when she actually made friends. “Best. Muggle-born tutor. Ever.” She said with a laugh.









Kthnxbi xx


Edited: March 9 2014- sentence structure and little derps.

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