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Like A Flower Blooming
Author's note: I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I couldn't resist writing this story. It's a little different than the original but I hope you like it.
It was raining outside. Great way to start my day. I pulled on my jeans, my favorite T-shirt for good luck and my leather jacket. I pulled on a hat and laced up my old-fashioned boots that were in style right now.
Mom and Dad were still in bed obviously even though it was 7am. Figures. Since I’m the third out of five, I’m not very important. My older brother, Joe is eighteen and is the quarterback and a GENIUS!!! Margaret, my older sister is sixteen, a soon-to-be famous actress since she got picked for a movie because she got the lead of her Simulation.
Alex is my younger brother. He’s twelve, two years younger than me and is an amazing athlete. I can see another football star in the family. Emily, the youngest, is four. I’m the reason she hasn’t turned into a brat yet. Since she’s so adorable, I’ve been teaching her how to be modest and to think about others first. Since Mom and Dad are never around to do it, I scold her when she’s bad, comfort her when she’s upset, read her bedtime stories and help her with stuff.
Me, Arianna or Ari, is completely normal. Somehow, out of my dark-skinned, -haired, blah blah blah family, I got curly red hair, green eyes and ivory skin. I’d gotten the tiny room with the tiny bathroom on the attic, the coldest room in the house. There were plenty of other rooms where I could have stayed but my parents said that it was best if I had my own privacy. I pulled on my backpack and walked three flights of stairs downstairs.
I set the stove on and started making bacon and eggs. After 14 years of fending for myself, I’d learned a thing or two. I ate my breakfast and walked outside. There was no point in asking anyone for a ride. The answer was always the same.
I walked the five blocks to school, getting there much earlier than anyone else. I got out my sketchbook and started to sketch a random girl’s face. If there was one thing, I was good at, it was art. When I was done, I examined her.
I’d let my hands go free and spaced out while I did it so the girl had brown, bouncy hair that hung to her elbows. Her eyes were showing excitement and her cheeks were flushed. She looked my age, fourteen. She was obviously smiling towards someone who I hadn’t drawn yet. This was the best one I’d ever drawn.
“ Woah,” Ashley, my best friend, sat down next to me. She was everything I wanted to be: a talented singer, popular, straight blonde hair, blue eyes and tanned skin. We’d become friends last year when she’d seen one of my drawings and loved it. I was constently drawing her drawings to hang up in her room.
“ You really need to get one of yours into a art contest. You’re so talented,” she said, looking at me. I shrugged. I really wasn’t that comfortable with people seeing my art. No one in my family except for Emily had seen them. Maybe it was because they never went into my room.
“ Ari... What’s the point of having a gift if you don’t show anyone? Why do you draw at all then?” she asked.
“ Because I love to draw. Anyway, I’m not as brave as you are. I’ll never be brave,” I whispered.
“ Ari... Anyone can be brave. They just have to make the right decisions to be known as brave. If you keep hiding in that shell of yours, you’ll never be brave,” she said. I nodded to make her happy but knew that she was wrong. I wasn’t brave. Nothing or no one could change that.
In class, I slid into my seat and started coloring in the girl’s face. I made her eyes dark blue, adding some light blue in the light and flicks of gray. I made her face tan and laugh lines around her eyes and lips. When the bell rang, I slid the photo and my coloring pencils away. Today, I was listening to what my teacher said in homeroom.
“ Morning, students,” said Mrs. Breiner. The class mumbled a hello to her and I concentrated on her.
“ Today is Simulation Day as all of you know. If you’d like to see your character, press your hand on the keypad on your desk,” she said. Our desks were pretty high-tech. If you put your hand on the keypad, a laptop would pop up or a copy of the class notes or other supplies.
I pressed down my hand and a screen popped up.
‘ Hello, Arianna Phillips. Would you like to see your character? Yes or No,’ read on the screen. I tapped the yes and looked bored at the name.
Harry Potter. Would you like to use your own name? Yes or No. I read again. I went pale. I was going to play Harry Potter in one of the most famous tales of all time! I tapped yes and another word came up: Nickname? I tapped yes and typed in Ari.
I looked up and saw Ashley. She smiled at me. I looked at the screen: Click yes if you are ready to enter the Character Customization. I tapped yes and closed my eyes like Breiner had told me to. I felt the floor disappear suddenly and for five seconds, I was flying. I felt the floor under my feet and opened my eyes.
I was in a store, that was my first guess. It was full of clothes, glasses, hair accessories and etcetera. My hair was straight and white when I looked down. I went down to the first section and chose red, curly hair and green eyes in the screen. I wanted to feel like myself through this whole experience.
I found a suitcase in the next one and chose a purple one, the one that seemed the most intact. The others were falling apart. I reminded myself that Harry had nothing in the beginning. I went towards the glasses and choose ones like Harry. It’s the 90’s, I reminded myself. 20 years ago.
Luckily, 20 years ago, they had jeans and I pulled three pairs, a ton of T-shirts, a few leather jackets, sweaters, 2 dresses, 2 sneakers, dress shoes, a winter jacket, winter hat, gloves, PJ’s, jewelry, other accessories and some other clothes into the suitcase, surprised it all fit in. I got a backpack and stuffed in five drawing pads, coloring pencils, markers, paint brushes, paint, a few canvases, books and a diary to keep my adventures in.
I grabbed an extra pair of glasses, remembering that Harry broke them a lot and stepped into the Finished circle. I opened my eyes and found myself in the dark.
“ Wake up!” I heard a shrill voice. “ Now!”
I rubbed my eyes and groped around for the light switch. I found it and pulled it. I felt above for what felt like a shelf and found my glasses. Putting them on, I noticed that one lens was cracked.
I was in a tiny cupboard. At the end was my backpack and suitcase. I was lying on a thin mattress with a pillow and a thin blanket. There were drawers above me where boxes of stuff were stacked.
I pulled out a T-shirt and jeans from the suitcase. I tied my hair back and tied my sneakers. I opened up the door and walked into the hallway. It was flowery like an old-fashioned English home.
There were a few pictures and when I looked at them, I saw a fat boy with light brown hair smiling at the camera. A black-haired lady stood next to him and another man with gray hair and a mustache. Dudley, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.
I walked through the door, remembering that it led to the kitchen. Aunt Petunia pointed at the stove with a frown and I walked over, seeing bacon in a pan. I remembered the “family” tradition where I had to serve them all breakfast. I got a spatula from the cabinet and lifted up the pan. I piled three on Uncle Vernon’s plate, one on Aunt Petunia, three on Dudley’s and 2 for me.
I looked into the part that was the living room and gasped. You couldn’t see the floor because of all the presents that were lying there. There were tons! I knew instantly that Dudley was a spoiled brat.
Dudley walked in and smiled as he saw the presents. Then he whirled on his dad and shouted,” How many are there?”
“ Thirty-six. Counted them myself,” Uncle Vernon said proudly.
“ Thirty-six! Last year, I had thirty-seven!” he yelled. I could see a Dudley tantrum coming and quickly wolfed up my bacon so that when the table was flipped I was already done with breakfast. Aunt Petunia came to the rescue.
“ When we’re out, we’ll buy you two new presents. How about that?” she said, hurriedly. I heard the doorbell ring and Dudley brightened up. I guessed he didn’t want to be seen crying in front of one of his best friends.
Instead of taking me in the car to the zoo like they’d done in the book, I stayed home which was fine with me. I had to do some sketching. I sat down in my cupboard and started drawing the dusty steps and the cobweb in the corner.
After drawing those, I drew the threadbare blanket and colored it in a filmy, worn-out blue. I colored in the steps and made the cobweb a silvery color. I snuck out and raided the pantry, getting some candy, granola bars and other food that won’t be noticed for a safety supply.
I hid them in my backpack and heard the front door open.
“ Potter!” yelled Uncle Vernon.
“ Coming,” I yelled back. I walked out to face him. His blonde hair was still down flat. Maybe he used gel? Dudley scowled at me and I raised an eyebrow at him.
“ What?” I asked.
“ I didn’t burn the house down, obviously,” I said with extreme sarcasm in my voice. Uncle Vernon’s eyes flashed dangerously but I stood my ground.
“ Cupboard! NOW!” he yelled. I walked over to my cupboard and slammed the door shut behind me. I wish my parents were alive, I thought as I heard the lock click. I flipped open my sketch pad, got out my coloring pencils and a mirror. I wanted a picture of myself to show Emily and to prove to my family that I had been Ari Potter.
I started on the head and made the point of the chin. I made the large green eyes and the small nose. I made my eyebrows brown and drew the ugly lightning scar with my side bangs over it.
I snapped my sketch book shut and stared into space. I leaned back and closed my eyes. When was I going to get out of this prison?
The months went by really quickly considering I spent them in a cupboard. When I was finally let out, summer vacation had started and I was extremely bored. I spent what I could outside or at the library, reading a book in the corner. There were some very interesting ones which I liked a lot.
The letter came a few days before my 11th birthday. I heard the mail come in and went into the hallway to get it like every morning. I looked through the mail, hoping for my letter like every morning and there it was: Ms. A. Potter, The Cupboard Under The Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.
I shoved it into my jacket pocket to open it later and went inside to give the rest of the mail to Uncle Vernon. I sat back down and kept on eating my eggs. Sadly, Dudley was sitting next to me.
“ Dad, Ari’s got something in her jacket,” he tattle-tailed, pulling out the letter before I knew it.
“ Hey! Give that back! It’s mine!” I complained as I lunged for it.
He threw it to his dad who said,” Who’d be writing to YOU?” Chuckling, he read the address and turned it over. He went from skin color to pale to green to purple then back to skin color.
“ P-Petunia!” he gasped. She read the back where there was some kind of seal.
“ V-Vernon!” she gasped, doing the stoplight colors like Uncle Vernon had just done.
“ Can I see it?” said Dudley, impatiently.
“ Give me my letter!” I shouted, standing up.
“ Get out! Dudley, go to your room. Arianna, your cupboard!” he yelled.
“ Give me my letter!” I shouted again. He pushed me out to the room and into the hallway.
After me and Dudley had a fight about who would see through the keyhole, I listened under the door but was unable to hear anything but mumbled words. When Uncle Vernon stalked towards the door, I ran into my cupboard and closed the door as quickly but quietly as I could.
I sketched out the outline of the letter and started coloring it in. After I was done, I had a pretty good drawing. Maybe Ashley was right. I should send mine into a art contest. A few more years of practice ( I would have seven, anyway) and I could be really good.
Later that day, Uncle Vernon came to my cupboard.
“ Where’s my letter?” I asked, fuming.
“ It was misaddressed. I’ve burned it,” he answered.
“ It wasn’t misaddressed. It’s got my cupboard on it!” I said, furious at his lie.
“ Be quiet! About the cupboard, your aunt and I have been thinking that you’ve been getting too old for it and that you should take Dudley’s second bedroom instead,” he said.
“ Move this rubbish upstairs now!” he interrupted me.
Dudley’s second bedroom... or my room was tiny. It was the smallest room in the house and I only needed one trip to take everything upstairs. I left my suitcase in the wardrobe and took out my sketching pad and coloring pencils, putting them on my bedside table. When was I going to get out of here?
The letter was forgotten the next morning, well not by me at least but when Dudley went to get the mail, he found another one. The next few days were full of letters popping up into the weirdest places like our dairy products. Uncle Vernon nailed the mailbox shut and the door so that we couldn’t leave.
“ Dad’s gone mad, hasn’t he, Mum?” I heard Dudley say one day to his mother. He had gone paranoid. But the thing that confirmed it came on Sunday. Uncle Vernon was looking extremely happy when I walked downstairs.
“ Dudley, what’s so special about Sundays?” Uncle Vernon asked. Dudley shrugged.
“ No mail,” I answered.
“ Right, Ari. No more blasted letters TODAY!” he said, stuffing something in his mouth.
Something whacked him in the back of his head and the thing came right out. It was a biscuit. Something came zooming out of the fireplace. When it landed, I saw a letter: Ms. A. Potter, The Smallest Bedroom...
More came shooting out. Dudley started screaming as he cowered behind his mother. I ran up trying to catch one. I felt a letter come into my hand and I ran for it, trying to make it upstairs where I could lock my bedroom door.
When I reached the first step, I felt hands wrap around me and lift me up. Letters were everywhere. I felt the letter tear out of my fist and I yelled.
“ Pack your stuff. We’re going somewhere they won’t be able to find us!” Upstairs, I packed my clothes in the suitcase and put my sketching pad into my backpack. I surveyed the room for something I’d forgotten.
Nothing. I walked downstairs. All the letters were gone. Not one in sight. Uncle Vernon was in a bad mood when he pushed my stuff into the back seat and pointed at me to get in. I don’t know where we drove. I just know it was long.
Sometimes Uncle Vernon would drive one way and drive another, muttering something about “ Shake them off.” What information did “ them” need to give me so bad? Why were they chasing us? How’d they know so much about my life?
While we drove, I considered theories for them, each one more ridiculous than the last one. In the end, I was still clueless and concentrated on where we were heading. Dudley was howling by 7pm. We were in the middle of nowhere, we’d had no food since breakfast and he’d never gone so far without playing a video game.
Uncle Vernon stopped at a store to get some food and came out with a lean package, some food and some drinks. I bit into an apple as soon as I got tossed something to eat. I was starving!
Dudley was eating a bag of chips and drinking soda. I grabbed Coca-Cola before Uncle Vernon took the bag away and popped open the can. We made our final stop at 11pm. I was exhausted when we stepped out of the car and was hit by sea air.
“ Man’s lent us the boat so come on everyone in. I clung to my suitcase and backpack as we crossed the sea. It was extremely stormy today and when we landed on the island, I saw a tiny hut. I walked up into it and saw the tiny two-room hut.
Uncle Vernon tried to make a fire but failed. He was in a good mood because no one in their right mind was going to come in the middle of a storm to deliver a letter. I also agreed with him but that did not make me happy.
Dudley got the couch while I stole a few of his blankets to make a mattress and used my backpack as my pillow. Tomorrow I was going to turn eleven! I thought. Birthdays were never fun with the Dursleys but you weren’t eleven everyday.
I closed my eyes to fall asleep but heard a beeping noise. I opened my eyes and saw Dudley’s digital watch counting down the seconds to midnight. 10-9-8-7-6. Only six seconds to go, Ari. 5-4. I was almost eleven. 3-2-1-0. I was eleven years old. Nothing happened. I closed my eyes, yelling at myself for being so gullible to believe that anything would happen.
Boom! The door thundered like someone was knocking on it. Boom. It went again. Who in their right mind would be outside on a deserted island in the middle of a storm?
“ Where’s the cannon?” Dudley said, stupidly, waking up. I scrambled up and into the corner. Uncle Vernon came running in, holding a gun.
“ Who’s there?” he yelled. “ I warn you. I’m armed.”
The door came right off it’s hooks and a massive figure was seen. Dudley screamed as it came in. Thump, Thump, Thump! went its shoes. When it came into the light, I saw that it was a giant man with bushy brown hair and twinkling brown eyes.
“ Alright. I’m looking for James and Lily’s kid. Wouldn’t happen to know Arianna, would you?” he said, formally. I gulped.
“ Get out of here!” yelled Uncle Vernon, brandishing his gun like it was a knife. The man’s eyes narrowed. He twisted up the gun and threw it into the corner. Uncle Vernon squeaked.
“ Boy. Can you tell where Arianna Potter is?” he said, addressing Dudley.
“ Ar...Ari,” squeaked Dudley. He looked at me and the man turned around.
I stepped out, cautiously.
“ Lily?” said the man, surprised. Aunt Petunia suddenly looked bitter.
“ I’m Ari,” I said, quietly.
“ Well... Ari... you look exactly like your mother,” said the man.
“ You knew my mother?” I said, unbelievingly.
The man sat down and said, “ Yes. I knew her while she was at Hogwarts. Your father, too. They were great people. You’ll know all about Hogwarts, of course.”
“ Um.... What’s Hogwarts?” I asked.
“ Where do you think they learned it all, Ari?” said the man.
“ All what? What’s your name?” I asked.
“ I’m Hagrid, the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts,” he said.
“ Wait a minute. Does she mean that she knows NOTHING? NOTHING AT ALL.”
That was a bit extreme. I could do math and stuff. My grades were okay. Uncle Vernon started turning colors again and shaking.
“ Hey! I can do math and stuff,” I said.
“ Your world. Your parents’ world. My world,” said Hagrid.
“ What world?” I asked.
“ Dursley! I was there when Dumbledore put her on your doorstep and left you lot a letter to tell her. We’d do the rest,” he growled.
“ What letter? You put me on their doorstep?” I said, amazed.
“ Don’t tell her anything. I forbid you!” yelled Uncle Vernon.
“ Oh... shut up! Ari... you’re a witch,” said Hagrid. My world came tumbling down. Aunt Petunia toppled over, her hair curlers falling off. Uncle Vernon glared at Hagrid like he wanted to strangle him.
“ What?!” I gasped.
“ You’re a witch. And a pretty good one once you’ve been trained up a bit,” said Hagrid.
Impossible. I wasn’t- I couldn’t be a witch.
“ Um... Hagrid. There’s no way I could be a witch. It’s impossible,” I said.
“ Ever done anything strange when you were angry or upset,” he said. I’m having this conversation, I thought. But then scenes started to fill my head. My teacher’s wig that I’d turned blue. The rooftop incident.
“ Arianna Potter, not a witch. You’ll fit in right at Hogwarts,” said Hagrid, chuckling.
“ No, she won’t,” yelled Uncle Vernon. “ I’ve read those letters. She has to get all this ridiculous things like a wand and a cauldron.”
“ I’d like to see a great big Muggle like yourself try to stop Arianna Potter from going to Hogwarts. She’ll be with people who will like her and support her the way you haven’t. She’ll learn magic from the finest headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen. Albus Dumbledore,” said Hagrid.
“ I won’t let a crackpot old fool teach her magic tricks!” yelled Uncle Vernon.
Hagrid’s eyes flashed. “ Don’t insult Albus Dumbledore in front of me,” he said. He brought out a flimsy pink umbrella and aimed it at Dudley. Dudley squealed as a pink pig tail grew out of his butt.
I was too shocked to laugh at all. I had just seen magic. Real magic. The Dursleys screamed, running into the other room.
“ Meant to turn him into a pig. But he was already too much like one. Are you alright, Ari?” asked Hagrid.
“ I’m fine,” I said.
“ Oh... I totally forgot. Here,” he reached into his coat pocket and drew out a box. I opened it to find a sticky birthday cake with Happy 11th Birthday, Ari! written on it.
“ Thank you. No one’s ever given me a birthday cake before,” I said, looking up at him.
He smiled and said,” So... if you want to stay with this lot, go ahead. Or do you want to come with me? See the wizarding world? Meet new people?”
“ Go with you,” I said immediately. He smiled.
“ Oh... by the way. If you could keep your last name and your scar to yourself, then I don’t think that you’ll have any problems,” he said.
“ Why?” I asked.
“ Nothing that you have to worry about, just don’t tell anyone your name is Arianna. Ari should be fine though. You-Know-Who’s supporters have been looking for you the last few weeks so it should be good if you keep a low profile, ok?” he asked.
“ Who’s You-Know-Who?” I asked.
“ No one you have to worry about. He’s dead. Well, that’s what people think. His supporters are a different story though,” said Hagrid. I was really confused but I kept my mouth shut. I picked up my backpack and started to roll my suitcase behind me out of the door, following Hagrid.
I woke up in the morning in a soft bed in a room. I tried to remember what had happened the last night and then it all came back. Hagrid- the Dursleys- I was a witch!
My suitcase and stuff was in the room and I pulled out jeans and a blouse. I braided my hair and pinned my bangs so they didn’t show the scar. Was it the reason they’d come looking for me? A scar from a car crash? I thought suddenly. I wasn’t exactly sure.
Downstairs, Hagrid was laughing with some man at the bar.
“ Ah. There you are. Get her a breakfast menu. She needs to get fattened up,” said Hagrid, beaming at me.
I sat down and a menu zoomed towards me. Without thinking, I caught it easily and pulled it in front of me.
“ She’s got good reflexes. How are you on a broom?” asked the bartender.
“ Um.... I’ve never been on one,” I answered.
“ She was raised by Muggles,” answered Hagrid.
“ What are Muggles?” I asked.
“ Non-magic folk. Now what do you want to eat? My treat. Then we get you your gold,” said Hagrid.
After breakfast, Hagrid took me out to the back and took out his umbrella.
“ Uh... Where are we going?” I asked.
“ Diagon Alley,” said Hagrid like it was obvious.
I kept my mouth shut and he started tapping the bricks in an order. Then they started moving! My mouth fell open as they moved away to reveal a huge alley full of people and odd shops and a huge marble building at the end.
“ Welcome to Diagon Alley,” said Hagrid proudly.
My mouth stayed open as we walked past snowy owls in cages, weird flowers, and people in weird clothing.
“ That’s Gringotts,” said Hagrid, pointing at the marble building. “ It’s the wizards’ bank and where we’re headed first.”
“ Um... Hagrid. I’m pretty sure I don’t have money for all of this. Or a bank account,” I said, eyeing the building as we walked closer.
“ No. But your parents did. And all their gold is in there,” said Hagrid. I decided to go with it. Gringotts was huge. We went to one of the goblins at the desks and Hagrid spoke for me.
“ Arianna Potter would like to make a withdrawal,” Hagrid said quietly.
“ Key,” said the goblin after looking at me.
“ Here,” said Hagrid, producing a tiny golden key out of one of his many pockets.
The ride in the cart was long and dark. We stopped first at my vault. The goblin put the key in a hidden keyhole and the door slowly opened. My mouth dropped open. A huge pile of gold, silver and bronze lay in the middle of the room.
Hagrid explained to me about Knuts, Sickles and Gallons as I pooled as much as I could into a pouch. We made one stop before going up. Inside a grubby, cold vault, Hagrid picked up a tiny package.
“ What was that?” I asked him when we were in daylight. He pretended to be deaf.
“ Alright. You have your school supply list, right? You can make it back to the Leaky Cauldron, fine. If you need help, ask one of the shop assistants,” he said.
“ Ok,” I said, looking at my list and back up. Hagrid was gone.
The next few weeks went by like a haze. I woke up, fed Hedwig, the owl Hagrid had left in my room as my birthday present, dressed in Muggle clothes, and went looking around Diagon Alley. I still hadn’t gotten my wand and my school stuff for some reason. I was determined to get them soon so I walked up into Diagon Alley and started to buy stuff. The first thing was a trunk to hold everything in it.
When I was walking past the bookstore with my school supply list in my hand, I noticed a newspaper lying on a stand. I looked closer at the front page: POTTER GIRL STILL MISSING: Is Arianna Potter walking among us? I paid quickly for the magazine and read the article:
It’s been almost 10 years since the historic moment when baby Arianna Potter single-handedly defeated the most evil wizard the world has ever seen and escaped the encounter with nothing more than a scar for the world to remember it.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, has been very close-lipped about the matter only saying,” Arianna has been moved from the place where she’s been living for the next 10 years to a place where she can get used to the idea of magic.”
Further research showed that Arianna has been living for the past 10 years with her mother’s sister, Petunia Dursley, her husband, Vernon and their 11-year-old son, Dudley. Your Daily Prophet Reporter has also found that Arianna may have suffered years of abuse under their ‘ care’ and may have not had any idea that she was a witch until a few weeks or of her famous history. So for the sake of little Arianna Potter, we will tell that horrible tale.
Three decades ago, the wizarding world was terrorized by a evil wizard by the name of Voldemort or as many now call him, You-Know-Who or He-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. He started to murder people purely for the pleasure of it. Those who stood against him were killed immediately by the infamous Killing Curse. There has only been one survivor of that curse.
Then on Halloween, 1980, You-Know-Who went to Godric’s Hallow where Lily, James and Arianna Potter were living happily there. The details of what happened are unknown but what we know is very little. James Potter was found lying on the stairs which can be led to believe that he had stood against You-Know-Who without a wand while his wife ran with their child. Lily was found in the nursery in front of the crib with Arianna inside, crying.
Her forehead was branded by an ugly lightning-shaped scar, that specialists say, that will stay there for the rest of her life. Rubeus Hagrid, gatekeeper at Hogwarts, came shortly to take the baby away and take it to where she lived for the last 10 years.
The Ministry is doing their best to locate Arianna Potter before the term starts at Hogwarts. There have been several searches at the Leaky Cauldron, trying to find a girl with a special scar but it appears if Arianna doesn’t want to be found, she won’t be.
I let the paper drop out of my hands onto the ground. So that’s why he didn’t want me to tell anyone. What had he told me? You-Know-Who’s supporters were out looking for me. I didn’t want anyone to find out who I was right now since the supporters of the guy I’d defeated were looking for me. Plus I didn’t like attention and I was guessing I’d get enough in Hogwarts.
I ordered a sundae to calm down my nerves and stuffed the newspaper into my trunk. I quickly bought all my school books, the school robes, and everything else I needed. My last thing I needed was a wand. I walked into Ollivanders, trying to smile at the people who’d just left.
“Ah... Lily Evans. It’s so nice to see you again. But I thought you were dead,” said a strange old man popping out of nowhere.
“ I’m not... I mean my name is Ari, not Lily,” I said quickly.
“ Ari, short for Arianna, I’m guessing.” I went bright red. “You look extraordinarily like your mother, poor child. Now, back to business, let’s see. Your mother’s first wand would suit you since you look so much like her,” he said as he walked over to the bookshelves and started tapping on the wand cases. He pulled out a case with a “ Ah ha!” and took out the wand inside.
He gave it to me and I held it, feeling stupid.
“ Flick it!” he said, obviously. I gave it a tiny flick and the windows shattered. Wide-eyed, I pressed it onto the desk and put my hands off of it.
“ Hmmm... Maybe your father’s?” he said. That made the bookshelves collapse. The stack of wands grew higher until he said, “ Unusual combination but why not?” He handed me a wand and a warm glow filled up inside me. The wand was shining brightly. Way too bright.
The brightness finally dimmed and I saw a waiting hand.
“ That’ll be seven Gallons please,” he said.
I tested out a few spells from the Charms spellbook when I got back in my room. When I finally managed to get a quill to levitate with the spell, Wingardium Leviosa, it was dinnertime and I felt completely drained.
Why hadn’t he told me? Hagrid should have known that if I didn’t know I was a witch then I wouldn’t have known about my parents’ murder. Car crash. I now realized that everything the Dursleys had told me was a lie. They’d been keeping secrets from me my whole life and I wasn’t a forgiving person.
Downstairs, I sat down, moody.
“ Here you go, Ari. Eat up!” said Tom, enthusiastic.
I nodded at him and started eating the sausages.
“ Can I sit here?” asked a man. I nodded.
“ I’m Kingsley. Kingsley Shacklebolt. I’m an Auror,” he said importantly.
“ Sorry, what’s an Auror?” I asked confused.
“ Muggle-born? A Auror is a very special job in the Ministry that captures Death Eaters that are not in prison,” he said.
I nodded to show I understood.
“ You work for the Ministry? That’s the government for witches and wizards?” I asked.
“ Yes. The Minister is the leader like America’s President. So what’s your name?” he asked.
“ Ari,” I said, quickly.
“ Last name?”
“ I was abandoned. Don’t really have one,” I said. Half of that was true. I had been abandoned on a doorstep.
I finished my dinner and said goodbye. I’d needed to pack for tomorrow since tomorrow I was leaving for Hogwarts. Everything fit into my trunk and I double-checked to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything.
I’d traded a bit of wizard money for Muggle money so I could take the Underground to King’s Cross and to Platform 9 and 3/4. Tom handed me a ticket that Hagrid had told him to give me.
I bought a ticket in the Underground and waited quietly keeping my trunk close by. Hedwig hooted loudly a few times and I got a few weird looks for her. In King’s Cross, I looked around until I found Platform 9 and Platform 10. Platform 9 and 3/4 hadn’t been built yet apparently since I couldn’t find it.
I was pacing around Platform 9 seriously freaking out until I heard a loud voice saying,” Packed as usual with Muggles. Come on, kids. Platform 9 and 3/4 is this way.” The speaker was a plump woman with flaming red hair followed by several boys and one girl each with bright red hair.
I made my mind immediately. I walked over to her and said awkwardly,” Um... Excuse me. I don’t know how to get onto the... platform?”
“ You’re a first-year? My son, Ron is also starting at Hogwarts,” she said, pointing at the youngest of all the boys. I smiled at him and his ears went red.
“ I’m Ari,” I said, nervously.
“ Well, Ari, you walk straight towards that barrier and walk through it. Do it at a run if you’re nervous,” she said, kindly. Run into a wall. You have got to be kidding me!
I took a huge breath and brought out at a run. The barrier was coming closer and closer. I closed my eyes and waited for the impact. Nothing. I opened my eyes and found myself on another platform. The sign said Platform 9 and 3/4. Ron was behind me all of a sudden.
“ I’m Mrs. Weasley. This is my son, Percy, Fred, George, Ron and my daughter Ginny,” she said, pointing at the girl.
“ Thank you for showing me how to get on,” I said.
“ Where are your parents?” said Mrs. Weasley, looking like she’d just realized something.
“ They’re dead,” I said quietly.
“ Oh. I’m so sorry,” she said.
“ How’d it happen?” asked one of the boys. He was a twin, Fred or George?
“ George! “ said Mrs. Weasley, outraged, looking at him.
“ I should get onto the train. Thanks again. And bye,” I said. In a second, I was lost in the crowd of students. I pulled my trunk onto the train and pulled it with Hedwig’s cage into the first empty compartment that I could find.
Ron Weasley found me pretty quickly.
“ Sorry. Can I sit here? Everywhere else is full,” he said, miserably.
“ Sure,” I said.
“ I’m sorry. About your parents and about my brothers. They’re idiots,” he said.
“ Who? My parents? Or your brothers?” I said with a big smile to show him I was joking.
“ My brothers,” he said.
“ It’s not your fault. They died when I was really little,” I said. It’s Voldemort’s fault, I thought to myself.
“ So... how do you...?” asked Ron. I didn’t know what he was going to say because he was loudly interrupted by a “ There you are, Ron!” Fred and George had found us.
I groaned inwardly and put a very fake smile on my face.
“ Oh... look, Fred. Ari’s here too. You never told us how your parents died,” he said.
“ They were murdered,” I said, rummaging through my backpack for my sketchbook. I flipped it open and started sketching the compartment and a red-haired boy with a lopsided smile.
When I looked up, Fred and George were gone and a tiny woman was in the corner with a cart that was piled high with sweets. I bought some of everything and found out what my favorites were.
Ron cheered up when the sweets showed up and I shared with him. Soon, it started getting dark and the sweets were long gone. No one had come in until a chubby, depressed boy came in, yelling about a toad.
“ Sorry. I haven’t seen a toad,” I said, smiling at him to cheer him up.
Ron simply shrugged and, when he left, started to talk to me again.
“ So, do you know what House you’ll be in?” he asked.
“ Houses?” I asked.
“ You know at Hogwarts. There are four: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. My whole family has been in Gryffindor. I’m going to have a lot of exceptions,” he said, dully.
“ I don’t know. My aunt and uncle never talk about my parents. They’re Muggles,” I explained.
“ Have you seen a toad? Neville’s lost one,” said a bossy voice. I turned my head to see a girl with bushy brown hair and blue eyes come in, dragging in the boy who’d been looking for his toad earlier.
“ No. We’ve already told him,” Ron said.
“ Oh. I’m Hermione Granger. Who are you?” she asked.
“ Ron Weasley,” Ron said.
“ Ari,” I said quietly.
“ Is there a last name to that?” she asked.
“ I don’t like my last name that much. People tend to get a different perspective of who I am than what I want,” I said, mixing truth and lie into one.
Hermione shrugged and left.
“ Oh. You’d better change. We’ll be arriving soon,” said Hermione.
The train station was filled with people when I got off. I heard a loud voice, yelling:” First-years! First-years! This way!” I pulled Ron behind me towards Hagrid’s loud voice.
“ Hagrid!” I said, happily.
“ Ari. Nice to see you,” he said, winking at me.
I smiled at him as Ron said: “ Woah,” as he took Hagrid in. He was huge and really scary from a distance. We were led down to the lake where boats bobbed in the water. A boy with silvery-blonde hair sneered at the state of the boats and mumbled something about,” If my father found out...”
Me and Ron took one with Hermione and Neville behind us. The boats floated out onto the lake as soon as Hagrid took his own boat and moved faster than any boat I’d ever been on. We moved in the water and around a corner of the mountain came a huge castle with all its lights twinkling like little lamps from a distance.
Everyone gasped and Hagrid threw out his chest proudly. The boats landed in a dock and we walked up to the castle and into a large room where a stern woman was waiting for us. Her green eyes glistened as she took in the sight of us. I nervously tried to rearrange my hair and straighten the skirt and shirt I was dressed in.
“ Hello. My name is Professor McGonagall. I am Deputy Headmistress here at Hogwarts. I am also here to explain to you the rules of Hogwarts and the Houses. At Hogwarts, your House is your family. You sleep, eat, drink, and take classes with your House. Your Head is in charge of your House and will punish you for any major rule-breaking that you do.” For some reason, she was piercing Ron with her stare.
“ All teachers have the power to deduct and add points from your House. Do good and you will be rewarded. Break the rules and you will be punished. I will give you a few minutes to.. ah... straighten yourselves out,” she said, looking at me slightly with recognition,” finished McGonagall.
I nervously pulled down my sweater and brushed down my hair. A few minutes later, she came back and ordered us to get into 2 lines. Ron and me stood next to each other as we walked into the Great Hall.
It was amazing! Candles floated all around the heads of the kids and instead of a ceiling was a beautiful night sky with the full moon glowing as bright as the sun.
“ It’s not really the night sky. It’s only enchanted to look so. I read it in Hogwarts: A History,” came Hermione’s voice out of nowhere.
I looked in front to where McGonagall was standing next to a stool with a dirty, old hat on it. We gathered in the front and I looked around the staff. A man with long silvery hair and beard sat in the middle, staring intensely at us. For a second, I had the weirdest thought that he was staring at ME! Hagrid was sitting a few chairs away from him and he gave me a big smile and the thumbs-up.
“ Abbott, Hannah,” said Professor McGonagall’s clear voice. A girl with blonde pigtails stepped up, obviously extremely nervous. She sat down on the stool and McGonagall put the hat on her.
“ HUFFLEPUFF!” it announced. I almost fell backwards. A talking hat! You’ve got to be kidding me.
Ron was looking extremely nervous. He’d turned the color of green and started to
“ Bones, Susan,” announced McGonagall.
“ HUFFLEPUFF!” yelled the hat.
“ Boot, Terry.”
The first Gryffindor was Brown, Lavender who became really pink as she sat down next to the yelling Weasley twins. Bulstrode, Millicent was the first Slytherin. Maybe it was my imagination but they didn’t look like the happiest people ever.
I started to notice that for some people, the hat shouted out at once but for others, it took longer to decide. Seamus Finnigan sat on the stool for a whole minute before becoming a Gryffindor. Hermione was next. She ran up and jammed it on eagerly.
“ GRYFFINDOR!” yelled the hat.
Ron groaned next to me. Soon we were on “Moon,”... “ Nott,”.... “Parkinson”.... then two twin girls “ Patil” and “ Patil” until “ Potter, Arianna” was shouted out. Now my stomach was full of butterflies.
“ Did the hat say Potter?”
“ THE Arianna Potter!” I heard it buzz all over the hall.
Completely unsure of myself, I took one small step. Then another. When I hit the stairs, I walked faster, trying to make this a fast as possible.
I turned around and sat down on the stool. Ron looked flabbergasted. His mouth was hanging open and everyone was staring right at me. Then something slid over my eyes and I was thankful for the darkness.
“ Hmm... Arianna Potter....”
“ Ari,” I thought, stubbornly.
“ As stubborn as your father. But you do have bravery. Difficult. Very difficult. There’s talent. A nice tendency to prove yourself. Intelligence. But WHERE to put you?” said the hat.
“ Not Slytherin,” I thought.
“ Not Slytherin. But it could make you great. Are you completely sure?”
I nodded and thought again, “ Not Slytherin.”
“ Well, if you’re sure, you better be.... GRYFFINDOR!!” shouted out the hat. My whole body was relaxed. I slid the hat off and walked down the stairs, smiling at Ron.
The table was cheering the loudest so I walked over and was instantly confronted by hands.
“ Do you really have the scar?”
“ Can you remember how You-Know-Who looks like?”
I sat down next to Hermione who was staring at me.
“ Why didn’t you tell me your last name?” she confronted.
“ The person who explained everything told me not to tell anyone. One part of that lie was true. Everyone is assuming I’m a hero. But I don’t feel like one,” I said.
“ You’re famous...”
“ I’m famous for a cut on my head,” I cut in, watching Ron walk up. I crossed my fingers under the table and pretty quickly the hat announced,” GRYFFINDOR!”
McGonagall took away the stool and hat and Ron sat down next to me.
“ Congrats!” I told him.
“ Why didn’t you tell me you were Arianna Potter?” he asked.
“ Ari,” I corrected. He looked skeptical.
“ It’s my nickname. And it never came up,” I explained.
“ Attention, students!” the silver-bearded guy was talking. “ My name is Professor Dumbledore, to you new students who are new to the world of magic. I am Headmaster of Hogwarts. Our new students... and some of our old need reminding not to go into the Forbidden Forest. There is a reason it’s called that. Also, do not enter the corridor of the third floor unless you want to die a most painful death.”
Some students laughed but I felt really confused.
“ Is he serious, Percy?” asked Ron.
“ Must be. But he didn’t tell the Prefects anything,” said Percy, looking as confused as I felt.
“ Now, eat, drink and what you do best, talk,” said Dumbledore, clapping his hands.
“ Arianna, do you want potatoes?” asked Percy.
I looked at him and my mouth dropped open. The empty golden dishes in front of us were filled with food.
“ I haven’t seen this much food in my life,” I choked out.
“ Well, I promised Mum to make you eat. You look completely starved,” said Percy, filling up my plate with food.
The Dursleys hadn’t exactly starved me but they’d never let me eat as much as I wanted. The cups filled up with my favorite drink, Coke and I attacked the food, eating as much as I could. When I refilled my mashed potatoes, I ate more slowly. When I was full, I leaned back and groaned.
“ You don’t get a lot of food at home, right?” asked Hermione.
“ You think I look starved now? This is from a month of freedom. I was worse at my ‘ home’,” I answered her.
“ They’re that bad?” asked Ron.
“ No, they’re horrible. They never told me about all this. I wish they did. I won’t have been having a heart attack for the last month,” I said.
The dishes cleared away and desserts popped up: all kinds of cake, every flavor of ice cream imaginable.
I filled up my plate and, when I was done, I leaned back again. I yawned, feeling really tired. The desserts disappeared and Percy stood up, yelling,” First-years! This way!”
Groggy, I stood up and started to follow. Soon, I was in my PJ’s and in a soft warm bed. I closed my eyes and fell instantly asleep. I was flying over a city. There were lights on and as my body descended, I saw dozens of Halloween decorations.
I landed in a field and looked around. A sign told me I was in a town called Godric’s Hollow. Why did that sound so familiar? I walked down into a street. Something was propelling me forward. I couldn’t stop.
Suddenly, I tripped in front of a broken-down cottage. Half of the house had been blown apart. I heard a terrifying scream and looked around me. Nothing.
A cruel voice said,” Step aside, girl!”
I was starting to get creeped out. There was no one around me yet I knew that I wasn’t imagining it. Something awful must have happened here. But why was I dreaming about it?
I looked down on a tiny sign and read the words engraved on it: We will always remember you, James, Lily and Arianna Potter.
I woke up with a scream. I was shaking like mad. There was sunlight everywhere.
“ Are you alright, Ari?” asked Hermione, sitting on my bed.
“ I’m fine. It was just a dream, a bad one,” I said.
“ What happened in it?” she asked.
“ I was flying then I landed somewhere.... in a town called Godric’s Hollow. And.... I saw this house. It was completely wrecked. And there was screaming and voices and a sign that had my parents names on it... and mine. That was my home... before You-Know-Who came and completely destroyed my life,” I said, miserably. Her eyes turned soft.
“ I’m really sorry about your parents,” said Hermione.
“ Thanks.” Saying sorry never made it better. They were dead. I got up and walked to my wardrobe. I opened it to see that all my stuff had been hung up, nice and neatly. I looked around, my books were on the bedside table with a bag next to it and a few pieces of paper. I pulled out a few clothes and threw them in the direction of my bed.
When I looked back, they were nice and neat on the bed like I’d laid them there carefully. I pulled them on and picked up the pieces of paper. One was my schedule for the week, another one was the stuff I had to bring to each class, and the last one was a Welcome to Gryffindor House!
I stuffed them in the bag with the stuff I needed for the classes for today: Transfiguration, Potions, Charms, Defense Against The Dark Arts and Flying Lesson. Ron was in the common room when I walked downstairs.
“ Hey,” he said nervously.
“ Hey. Are you ready for classes?” I asked.
“ Yeah,” said Ron, his face turning green.
Downstairs, in the Great Hall, Ron cheered up at the sight of food. I filled my plate and started eating. Hermione was reading one of our class textbooks.
“ Didn’t you read those over the summer?” I asked, cheerfully.
“ Of course, but I want to make sure that I memorize everything,” she said, looking up at me. Memorize? I hadn’t memorized at all. I pushed my plate away, feeling sick.
Me and Ron walked to Transfiguration. I tried to ignore the staring and pointing as I walked down the hallways. McGonagall was tough like yesterday. She gave us a thirty-minute lecture about not misbehaving in her class, turned her desk into a pig and made us start on working to turn a button into a pin.
In the end, Hermione was the only one who managed to do it which got a smile from McGonagall and glares from us. Charms was next. Professor Flitwick was the guy who taught it.
“ Remember the twist and flick!” he shouted out in his squeaky little voice as he leapt up and down, almost falling off his stack of high piled books.
The Potions Master, Snape, was cold and cruel. He shot a pained look at me as he read out my name. I had a feeling we were going to get along fabulously....NOT.
Professor Quirrel’s classes were a joke. Everyone made fun of his strange turban and I could see why. It gave him a pale, pinched look like he wanted to bolt out of his classroom. And I think he did.
He even looked terrified as he talked about what we were going to learn this year: vampires, werewolves, Kappa, unicorns and other stuff I’d thought had only been myths. He even looked terrified at the sight of us. I felt kinda bad for him. What had happened to him?
I’ve got to admit.... I’d always wanted to learn how to fly. Just soaring up above the clouds and laugh at the Dursleys as I left them. That was my favorite daydream when I was stuck at the Dursleys.
When I learned at lunch that we had to practice with them, my stomach dropped to the ground. Hermione was reading furiously a book called “ Quidditch Through The Ages.” Sometimes, she talked, boring us with tips from it. Ron fell asleep after 5 minutes and landed in his mashed potatoes.
When the bell rang, I shook him awake and we trudged down to Flying Lessons. A woman in gray and black robes and a whistle was waiting for us with lots of brooms lying on the ground.
“ Stand next to a broom and wait for my signal!” she ordered with a blow of her whistle. I walked up towards one and waited for everyone to get there.
When everyone was finally there, the woman with the whistle introduced herself as Madam Hooch. She had a naturally loud-piercing voice that make my eardrums pound and gave me a major headache.
She taught us how to mount the broom, correcting grips. Malfoy smirked at me during the whole time. When she told him he’d been doing it wrong for years, I smirked back and Ron looked like he just went to heaven.
Neville had been having trouble ever since the class started. He had this nervous quake in his voice that told all of us, he wanted to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“ When you kick off the ground, you will hover for a few seconds and come down. On my whistle, 3-2-1!” shouted Madam Hooch. She blew her whistle and Neville kicked off first. He rose up in the air and started shouting wildly.
He’d lost control of his broom. His broom carried him away from us and high up in the air. Madam Hooch was panicking with a vein in her forehead pulsing up and down.
“ Neville!” we all shouted as the broom flipped him and sent him crashing down to the earth. Madam Hooch ran over to him and started fussing over him.
“ Oh.... poor dear. That’s probably sprained. First-years! If any of you touch your brooms before I’m back, you’ll be home before you can say ‘ Quidditch’.” Madam Hooch left with Neville clutching his wrist desperately as he whimpered in pain.
When they were out of sight, Malfoy started talking.
“ Did you see his face? The big wimp?” said Malfoy.
“ Shut up, Malfoy,” I said, annoyed. Malfoy strode over where Neville had landed and picked up a large glass ball, a Remembrall that Neville’s Gram had sent him that morning. “ Give that here!” I said, walking over and holding out my hand.
“ You know what. I’m going to put it somewhere for Neville to find. How ‘bout in a tree?” he said, mounting his broom and kicking off. He circled around us and hovered high in the air. “ Or on the roof? Come on, Potter! Or are you too scared?” he said.
I mounted my broom and started to kick off when Hermione tried to stop me.
“ You don’t know how to fly, Ari!” she said. I kicked off and blew past her. “ What an idiot,” I heard her mumble.
“ Give that here, Malfoy!” I yelled as I brought my broom level with his’s. He looked surprised. I didn’t know how but I could do this... and I could do it pretty good.
He raced backwards but I swerved and cut him off. He tried to do it again but I cut him off again.
“ Try to get it then.... Potter!” he said and threw it as far as he could in the opposite direction. I flew past him as quick as I could. The ball started its descent down and I reached out for it. I pointed the handle down and reached out towards the ball. The ground was coming really fast closer.
I pulled the handle up and slid on the soft grass, catching the ball in my fist. Ron ran over to me, gaping. I raised my fist, showing them the intact ball. The Gryffindors started cheering as they jumped up and down around me.
“ ARIANNA POTTER!” I heard a loud shout. I turned around and my smile faded. “ Never, in all my years, have I ever seen...” Professor McGonagall
said, looking completely bewildered.
“ But, Professor...” said Ron, trying to explain.
“ Enough, Weasley!” said McGonagall.
“ But, Ari was baited,” said Hermione, trying to cover for me.
“ Not a word out of you, Granger! Let’s go, Potter!” said McGonagall.
I smiled gratefully at Hermione and Ron. Malfoy was looking like Christmas had come early and that he’d gotten everything he wanted. I scowled at him and turned around, clutching the Remembrall tightly in my hand.
I followed McGonagall wondering where she was taking me. I guessed Dumbledore’s office. But soon we were standing outside a classroom where McGonagall barged in.
“ Excuse me, Professor Quirrell, but can I borrow Wood for a moment?” she asked. Her tone made it clear that he couldn’t say no.
“ Y-Yes, o-of course, P-Professor,” stammered Professor Quirrell.
What’s Wood? A special cane she’s going to beat me with? Actually I prefer a beating over getting expelled. If I get whipped, well I can stay away from the Dursleys longer. Until summer break at least.
Wood was a fifth-year Gryffindor boy who looked extremely confused. He glanced at me, curiously as McGonagall led us to a private classroom. My hopes sank. I was getting expelled.
“ Wood, this is Arianna Potter. Ari, this is Oliver Wood, the Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team,” said McGonagall. I shrugged. I had no idea what that meant.
“ What’s going on, Professor?” asked Wood, looking more confused.
“ I’ve found you a Seeker, Wood. She’s a natural, just like her father. Was that your first time on a broomstick, Potter?” asked McGonagall. I nodded, not trusting my voice.
McGonagall and Wood kept on talking while I thought about some stuff. My dad? He had been a Seeker? Whatever that was.
“ Um... what’s a Seeker? And Quidditch? And am I going to get expelled?” I asked.
“ She doesn’t know the basics?” asked Wood.
“ Um... I was raised in a no-magic house so I don’t have that much knowledge about this world,” I tried to explain.
“ Quidditch is a game played on broomsticks. The Seeker is one of the most important players. Normally, first-years aren’t allowed to play but I can ask Professor Dumbledore to make an exception,” said McGonagall.
“ She’s light and speedy,” said Wood, circling around me. “ She’d be great on a fast broom. Maybe a Cleansweep Seven or a Nimbus Thousand.”
“ You’ll work your hardest, Potter. Or I might think about expelling you. Anyway,Quidditch is in your blood. Your father was an exceptional player. He won a lot of Quidditch cups while he was here,” said McGonagall.
I gulped and nodded. I was going to do my best with this sport. Maybe I was a natural. I had no idea what had happened on the broomstick and catching the ball a few minutes ago. Maybe this is what I would shine at here at Hogwarts.
Ron’s eyes popped as I told him at lunch.
“ Seeker! You’d have to be the youngest player in, like....” he stammered.
“ A hundred years. Wood told me. Professor McGonagall said that she’d take care of getting a broom for me and persuading Dumbledore. I’m really excited... but nervous. Wood’s going to teach me the rules tomorrow, see how my flying is and then introduce me to the team,” I said, biting into a sausage.
Hermione handed me a book called Quidditch through the Ages.
“ I got this for you out of the library. I thought you’d like a little background info about Quidditch,” she said, blushing. I hugged her and said thank you a million times. No one had ever done that for me.
She went as red as Ron’s hair. My classes were getting pretty interesting. There was so much to learn that even Ron and other people, who had known from a young age that they were magical, didn’t have a head start.
I was working on my breakfast when the morning mail came in. The package that caught everyone’s attention was a big, thin one with five owls carrying it. I watched as they dropped it onto my lap. I barely caught it in time and another owl dropped a letter on my plate.
I ripped the letter open and was thankful that I did because it said:
DO NOT OPEN PACKAGE AT TABLE!
This contains your new Nimbus 2000 and I don’t want everyone coming up to me and wanting one as well. Your practice with Wood is at 10am. Practice is at 4pm. DON”T BE LATE!!!
I passed the letter to Ron, unable to hide my glee. Ron’s eyes popped and we rushed out of the Great Hall, our breakfasts forgotten. Malfoy grabbed the package as I ran up the stairs.
“ That’s a broom, Potter! You’ll get in trouble this time,” he sneered.
Ron couldn’t resist. “ It’s not ANY broomstick. It’s a NIMBUS 2000. What do you have at home? A Comet Sixty? The Comets are flashy but nowhere in the same league as the Nimbus.”
Malfoy sputtered as Professor Flitwick came out of the Great Hall.
“ Is everything alright here?” asked Flitwick.
“ Potter got sent a broomstick, Professor,” said Malfoy quickly.
“ Right, Professor McGonagall told me about the special circumstances. What kind is it, Potter?” asked Flitwick.
“ A Nimbus 2000. And it’s thanks to Malfoy that I got it,” I told him. Trying not to laugh at Malfoy’s face, me and Ron walked upstairs to a brighter future.
Since it was Saturday, I cleaned up my stuff, worked on homework and hid the broom in my empty trunk. It was a spectacular broom. Ron had gasped as I had rolled it out on his bed. I’d heard voices and ran into my room, wrapped it up in a blanket and hid it in my trunk.
I opened my textbooks and started working on homework. At 12pm, I took out the broom and walked downstairs to the Quidditch fields. Wood was nowhere to be seen when I got there but I was too anxious to fly again so I mounted my broom and kicked off.
The Nimbus turned with my lightest touch and I felt like an unstoppable force of nature.
“ Hey! Potter!” I heard a voice yell. I looked down and saw Wood waving his arms at me. A big box was lying next to him on the ground.
I flew down and jumped off the broom and smiled nervously at him.
“ McGonagall was right, Potter. You are a natural!” he said, admirably.
“ Ari please. What are we doing today?” I asked excitedly.
“ I’m going to teach you the rules of Quidditch and then we’ll start with regular practices,” said Wood.
“ Okay. So what’s in the box?” I asked. It looked like a regular box but I’d learned by now, things that looked normal could be dangerous. I’d nearly gotten a heart attack when I’d walked into the bathroom and had gotten told off by the mirror for my messy, scorched hair( Seamus Finnigan had sat next to me in class and since his wand had kept on making everything explode, I’d learned my lesson) .
“ You might want to stand back,” he told me. I kept standing where I was and he sighed, mumbling,” It’s your life.”
He lifted off the lid and I saw three balls: a big red one, and two black ones that looked like they were moving against the bonds that tied them into the box. I gulped and took the largest step back I could. He picked up the big, red ball that wasn’t tied into the box.
He passed it to me and said,” This is the Quaffle. You see those three hoops on each side of the ring. The Chasers pass the Quaffle back and forth and try to score through the hoops. A Keeper, that’s me FYI, guards the hoops. Got it?”
“ Yea, Chasers, Keeper, Quaffle. Score through hoops... like in basketball,” I answered, tossing it back.
“ What’s basketball?” asked Wood, confused.
“ Never mind,” I said, quickly. He shook his head like trying to shake off an annoying fly and continued with the balls.
“ Those are the Bludgers. Here. You’ll need this,” he said, pointing at the black, moving balls.
He rummaged around the box and came up with a short wooden bat. I took it and raised an eyebrow at him.
“ Trust me, sweetheart,” he said and released the Bludger.
The Bludger rocketed twenty feet in the air and then down towards my face. I swung my arm and hit the Bludger like I was playing baseball.
The Bludger rocketed away from me and then back. Wood jumped up and caught it and wrestled it back into the box.
“ Woah...” was all I could say.
“ The Beaters protect the players from getting hit from the Bludgers and hit them at the opposite team. Ours are Fred and George Weasley and they’re a pair of human Bludgers. More than a match for the Bludgers,” he explained.
“ If I don’t get hit from one of those nasties, I’ll be really lucky,” I answered.
“ You’re the Seeker. You have the hardest job of all,” he said, opening a tiny secret compartment and taking out the tiny gold ball.
“ This is the Golden Snitch. This is what I want you to focus on. When the Seeker catches it, they earn a hundred and fifty points and the game ends. Some Quidditch matches can be really long. I think the record is three months. They had to keep bringing on substitutes. Well, anyway, YOU have to weave through both teams’ Catchers, Beaters, the Quaffle, the Bludgers and the other team’s Seeker to catch this tiny little ball,” said Wood.
“ It doesn’t look fast,” I answered, picking up the light little ball.
“ Yea, right. It’s wicked fast and near impossible to see,” frowned Wood. The Snitch sprouted wings and flew out of my palm. I kept an eye on it and then caught it easily.
“ It’s not too bad,” I answered, handing him the ball back.
“ Well, since it’s getting dark, we’ll practice with golf balls. Mount your broom,” he answered, putting the Snitch in its cubby.
At the end of the practice, I hadn’t missed one golf ball. Wood was excited as we walked up to the castle.
“ You’re a natural. We’ll have the name on the Quidditch Cup this year! Definitely!” he said, jumping up and down in excitement.
The book, Quidditch Through the Ages, proved to be a really interesting book. I learned all the rules of Quidditch and that there were over a hundred ways to commit a foal and that all of them had been committed in a Quidditch match in the 15th century.
Ron was super excited. He’d loved Quidditch since he was a little kid and was a huge fan of the Chudley Cannons. I was also excited but also extremely nervous. I had no idea how to really play Quidditch and I was terrified of what would happen in the match.
People weren’t helping with the commentary as usual. I didn’t know what was worse: that I’d be great or they’ll run below me, holding a mattress underneath me.
So, as usual, I ignored them and concentrated on practices every Friday and homework. Plus, mastering spells.
But, one day, Hermione came running to me, flustered with excitement. She carried a huge book underneath her arm.
“ Ari! Look at this!” she said, dumping the book on my Potions essay.
“ Hermione! Snape’s going to give me a D! I don’t want another one!” I complained.
“ Ari, focus on this. Not that stupid Potions essay!” she said, flipping through pages.
I stared in complete shock. Hermione Granger telling someone to get off the homework. The world had officially gone insane!
“ Hermione? Have you been brainwashed?” I asked with complete concern in my voice.
“ No. Why?” she asked, looking at me.
“ Because you just told me to do something other than homework.... AND you called the Potions essay stupid,” I answered.
“ No. But this is more important than.... AH HA!” she said, pointing at a picture. It was of a boy with messy hair, hazel eyes and glasses. His hair stuck up in the back and his grin was mischievous like he’d rather be planting a Dungbomb in Filch’s office than taking this picture. The picture waved at me and I read the caption underneath: James Potter. On the top, I read: 2nd Year-Gryffindor.
“ And... your Dad’s in here,” she said, flipping to the back of the yearbook to a team black-and-white photo. The same guy sat in the front bleachers, hugging his teammates. I read the names underneath:
Captain: Jesse Newman-Brown
Seeker: James Potter
Catchers: Ava Mudde, Cassie Radovitch, Sam White, Josh Collins, Sammie Jenkins, J-J Green and Jack Elman
Beaters: Al Newman-Brown and Matthew Rodgers
“ My dad was the Seeker?” I whispered in shock.
“ Apparently. And REALLY good. There are four Quidditch cups in the trophy room that has his name on it. Not one or two, FOUR!” she said.
I went back to the page and stared at the caption on the top. “ He was in Gryffindor... like me.”
“ Ari, do you know anything about your parents?” asked Hermione.
“ No.... I can’t remember them and my aunt and uncle HATE talking about them,” I answered, staring at the picture. My eyes zoomed through all the pictures and stopped on one.
“ Hermione.... why am I in one of these pictures?” I asked.
“ What?” said Hermione, spinning back to come back.
“ Look,” I answered, pointing at the picture. Same green eyes, same facial shape, same color of hair, same everything...
“ Her name is Lily Evans,” said Hermione, checking the caption.
“ Evans... that’s Aunt Petunia’s maiden name and Lily was my mom’s name. That’s my mom! We look so alike,” I said, examining the picture a little more carefully.
“ Thank you, Hermione,” I said, hugging the book to my chest.
“ You’ve never seen a picture of your parents before,” said Hermione.
“ Yea. I was a baby when they died and my aunt hated my mom for some reason. She hates me also,” I answered, cradling the book to my chest as I leaned back in my chair.
“ That’s so sad. That article about you was right?” asked Hermione.
“ Yeah. Most of it.” I reopened my Potions book and kept on writing my three-page essay.
“ So... how’s Quidditch going?” asked Hermione.
“ Great. I’m doing pretty well in it. I’m managing to learn all the rules from that book you gave me. Thanks, by the way!” I answered, scribbling down a sentence.
“ It’s nothing. I’m just glad you managed to find a good use for it. Um.... Ari... you do know that bezoars come from the stomach of a goat, not the belly.”
“ A belly is a stomach,” I answered.
“ No, it isn’t. They’re two completely different things. Just rewrite it!” she said.
“ Hermione, this essay is due TOMORROW. I don’t have enough time to rewrite it. I’ll just cross it out, alright?” I answered.
“ No. It’ll be a messy essay and you know what I say about mes....”
“ STOP! I don’t want the lecture again! Go, do your homework or something! I need to concentrate,” I interrupted her, waving her away and crossed out belly, replacing it with stomach.She huffed and walked away.
Half an hour later, I was done. I blew on the ink to dry and put it in my bag when it was dry. In my dorm, I took a soothing bath and scrubbed my hair clean. I changed into my PJ’s and read a book while all the other girls came in and changed into their PJ’s and nightgowns.
At ten, it was lights-out as the Prefect came to remind us and I closed my eyes and fell asleep in my warm down-comforter.
The next day was Saturday, a free day. After breakfast, I sat by the lake and leaned against a tree, reading a book I’d checked out of the library. It was a historical fiction book that was really interesting.
The days passed by quickly and training kept on going. It went from one day a week to three. After seeing me fly in the first practice I’d been in, the whole team welcomed me aboard and I grew to understand why the whole wizarding world loved Quidditch so much. Quidditch had this sense of excitement and competition that made it so loved. It was a lot like soccer in the Muggle world.
Weeks passed by and soon it was Halloween. Hagrid had been seen for the last week, growing giant pumpkins( with a little help from his pink umbrella, I guessed). And everyone in Gryffindor Tower told us about the exciting feasts from the years before. The first-years hung onto every word that the older kids told them and shared stories that they’d heard from their siblings. We were all extremely excited.
When it was time for the feast, all of us scrambled down to the Great Hall with the hundreds of other excited students. When we came into the Great Hall, all of us gasped at the giant floating pumpkins replacing the candles and the food that was making the tables groan in pain.
I sat between Ron and Hermione who were gasping at a giant turkey in front of us. On either side of the turkey was a gigantic bowl full to the brim with All-Flavor Beans, Ever-Lasting Bubble Gum and other delicious treats. Ron was looking like Christmas had come early and Hermione looked flabbergasted at how much food there was on the table.
“ Alright, students. Calm down. I’m sure you can wait until everyone has had a seat,” said Dumbledore.
When everyone was sitting down, everyone started grabbing for food. I grabbed a turkey leg and a handful of candy and threw them on my plate. I grabbed a Butterbeer and started to eat as fast as I could.
After everyone could eat enough of the food, the desserts appeared. I spooned cake and ice cream on my plate and laughed at Ron who had his mouth covered in chocolate ice cream.
Everything went well until Fred and George decided to enchant the food to bombard the Slytherins. That erupted a silent but furious food fight. I used Wingardium Leviosa on Malfoy’s pie and got him right in the face. He tried with a nearby pie but it fell down after reaching two feet and splattered Hermione completely.
“ Hey. You okay?” I asked as she wiped her face off.
“ I’m going to the bathroom.... to clean up. And devise a way to get Malfoy back,” Hermione answered.
“ Need any help?” I asked.
“ Nope, I’ll be fine,” she answered, flicking her bushy, pie-filled hair back.
She walked out of the hall and Ron finally noticed, his blue eyes full of concern as he watched Hermione turn the corner to the nearest girls’ bathroom.
“ Where’s Hermione going?” asked Ron.
“ She’s cleaning up and I’m going to avenge...” I trailed off as Quirrell ran in with a look of pure terror on his face, his turban lopsided.
Dumbledore stood up as Quirrell opened his mouth to speak but was too scared or nervous that nothing came out.
He tried again and after the third try, he stammered,” T-Troll! I-In the d-dungeon! T-Thought you sh-should know.”
He fell to the ground in a faint. The whole school immediately reacted with a panic. Malfoy’s eyes bulged and he stood up, screaming. But you couldn’t hear it because of the noise that the panicking students were making as they tried to stampede out of the hall.
Ron grabbed my arm and dragged me into the mass as Dumbledore yelled,” QUIET!!!” The school went immediately quiet and every face in the hall stared at the aged, amazingly calm face.
“ Prefects, take your Houses to their common rooms. Do a head count. Teachers, come with me!”
Percy was in his element. “ Gryffindor House, to me, please! Gryffindor.... excuse me, I’m a prefect!!”
Ron set off towards his brother but I grabbed his arm.
“ What??” he asked.
“ Hermione, she doesn’t know!!” I answered. He huffed and rolled his eyes. We snuck into a group of Ravenclaws and ran towards the girls’ bathroom.
“ How did a troll get in the school?” yelled Ron behind me.
“ Hello... you’re the one raised by wizards. You tell me,” I answered.
“ Well, trolls are really dumb. Someone probably let it in as a joke,” said Ron, furrowing his eyebrows to think. He gave me a good impression of Goyle for some reason.
Ron grabbed my arm. “ That smell....” he said, slowly.
He dragged me behind a column as a seven-foot troll walked into the hallway and into a nearby room.
“ We can lock it in,” I answered. Ron ran towards the door and turned the lock. We turned around when we heard a high-pitched scream.
“ Oh no!” Ron went green and I dashed towards the door.
“ You go in. I’ll wait out here,” said Ron.
“ No way. You’re coming with me!!” I answered, dragging him into the bathroom.
Hermione was shrieking, pinned to the sinks as the mountain troll stared at her with a dumb look on his face that reminded me of Goyle.
I started throwing shattered wood from the stalls at his head. One hit his head with a crack and he growled at Hermione. Me and Ron took out our wands at the exact same time. Before he could attack her, I made a brainless move. Running towards the troll, I caught the club as it went up and hung on. The club brought me up high in the air and I crashed onto the troll’s head.
My wand was in my hand and, as the troll jumbled around and I clung on, the wand shoved itself into his nostril.
“ Ron!!!” I screamed.
“ Wingardium Leviosa!” he said, doing the swish and flick. The club stayed where it was: above the troll’s head and then it came crashing down and hit him. I jumped before it hit his head and hit the ground hard. Ron pulled me away and the troll hit the ground. Hermione came out from under the sink where she’d hidden.
“ Is it dead?” she asked.
I approached it and drew out my wand. He growled.
“ No, just unconscious. Let’s get out of here before McGona...”
McGonagall, Snape,and Quirrell all swept in and McGonagall screamed and clung to her heart.
“ What are you three doing here? And you, Ron! You’re a boy!”
“ Uh...” me and Ron said, looking at each other.
“ It’s my fault. I was in the bathroom and Ari and Ron noticed I was missing and went to look for me,” Hermione spoke up.
“ Yea. When we realized it, there weren’t any teachers around so we hurried to the bathroom and saw the troll going in. There wasn’t any time to get a teacher otherwise Hermione would have been dead,” I lied smoothly.
“ Well, five points from Gryffindor for sneaking away from the teachers and the Prefects and ten points for bravery and dumb luck. Now go up to Gryffindor Common Room. The feast has been sent up there.”
We nodded and walked as fast as we could out of there. “ Thank God we’re out of there. Are you guys alright?’
“ Fine.” “ Ditto that.”
We ate the feast in the common room and went to bed.
Days later was my first Quidditch match. I was hyperventilating as I dressed in my Quidditch uniform. I looked at me in the mirror. My hair was French-braided and the goggles were balanced on my head perfectly.
The uniform was tight flexible gold pants, a baggy scarlet raincoat with POTTER and a big 1 on it, a thick sweater and a turtleneck underneath. I put on the boots which reminded me of riding boots and grabbed my broom.
I couldn’t eat when I was downstairs. I took some corn flakes and once I took the first bite, I felt like I was going to puke. I pushed the bowl away and Wood thumped me on the back.
“ You’ll do great, Ari. Now eat. You need your strength for the game.” I nodded and took some bites of the corn flakes and my sausages. I bit into an apple and tried not to think about it.
I walked down to the field with the whole team. I was sweating hard and gripping my broom extra hard.
“ You’ll do fine, Ari. You’re an excellent flyer and a fast learner. Just remember what I taught you and stay up high and look for the Snitch. Avoid collisions and keep an eye out at the Slytherins. They like to cheat.”
I smiled at him and tried to settle my nerves. I heard cheering and the team lined up.
“ Ari, you’re behind me, the Captain,” said Wood.
“ You’ll do fine, Ari. I’m just as nervous as you. It’s also my first game but I guess you have a little more responsibility but yet also less,” said Katie who was a year older than me.
“ You’re a Chaser. All you have to do is weave around people, catch a ball and score. All I have to do is weave around everyone, catch a ball that no one can see before the other Seeker does,” I groaned.
“ 1-2-3, take off!” yelled Wood. I mounted my broom and kicked off. I flew through the air following Wood. The Weasley twins were showing off behind me doing flips off and on each other’s brooms.
“ Fred Weasley and George, STAY ON YOUR BROOMS!!” screeched McGonagall’s voice from the loudspeaker.
One of them stood up on their broom.
“ Fred Weasley or George Weasley----whoever you are---- SIT YOUR A** DOWN”
I hid my laugh behind my hand. We circled around, landing and I stared defiantly into the Slytherin Seeker’s eyes.
“ Madam Hooch, can we forfeit the game and give the win to us? With a team like this, they don’t have a chance. Especially if they have a Seeker that small? I THOUGHT first-years weren’t allowed to play on the teams. The Gryffindors haven’t gotten that memo apparently,” said the Slytherin Captain, sneering at me.
“ Yes, can we but to us? At least then they don’t have to suffer the humiliation of being beaten by such a ‘ small’ first-year and the Gryffindor team in five minutes,” I said, sarcastically.
There were laughs and I felt some thumps on the back and pats on my head. Wood was smirking in plain sight and he put his hand on my shoulder.
“ Don’t underestimate her, boy. If she’s the daughter of James Potter, she’ll have inherited the Quidditch abilities. The Potters have always been good Seekers. James Potter is the reason why Gryffindor won the Cup for four years in a row. Now, I want a nice, clean game from ALL of you,” said Madam Hooch, winking at me. She was staring at the Slytherins as she said that and I felt a lump in my throat.
“ Now, shake hands you two and 1-2-3, go!” She blew her whistle and we kicked off.
I was glad immediately that I’d braided my hair because the wind was strong, very strong. I flew up and up and hovered there, watching and scanning the field for threats.
Katie caught the ball and was about to throw it in the goal when one of the Bludgers hit by a Slytherin Beater hit her in the back.
“ Foal!” screeched Hooch.
“ Ari!! Look out!!” yelled George... or maybe it was Fred. I really didn’t know. I saw a Bludger spiraling towards me. I moved out of the way before it hit me.
It was a strange game. The Slytherin team used all the tactics they had to cheat to try to score and disable the players. Every time Madam Hooch blew her whistle and called a foul. Every time we scored against their Keeper.
I tried to remember how Harry had won the game. Mom had read us the books when we were little and we’d watched the movies after. I vaguely remembered Harry or Daniel Radcliffe choking and catching a Snitch in his hands.
“ GRYFFINDOR SCORES. The score is 90-70, people!!” called out Amy Jordan who was commenting the game. I shook my head and saw a glint of gold. I moved excitedly but it was just Fred’s-or George’s- watch.
I was seriously getting bored, circling around the pitch, looking for the Snitch. I ducked under another Bludger and then I saw it. The Snitch. I zoomed quickly after it, feeling my excitement.
“ POTTER’S SEEN THE SNITCH!! PEOPLE, SHE’S SEEN IT!!!” yelled Jordan. I followed it carefully, reaching my hand out to catch it when all of a sudden, my broom quivered. Before I knew it, it had rolled over and left me dangling with only one hand tightly holding on.
“ WOAH, POTTER’S BROOM HAS FLIPPED HER AND IT’S DOING A LOT OF CRAZY STUFF!” yelled Jordan again.
My broom was doing weird stuff. As I clung desperately on, it did its best to get me off like somersaults, flips all the while moving higher and higher. When people tried to get me onto their broom, my broom would freak out and move away and put me in more danger. I got my other hand on and tried to pull myself up. I did a somersault and I was clinging on with one hand that was getting really sweaty, making the broom slippery.
I’m going to die, I thought suddenly. All of a sudden, it stopped shaking and I got myself on. What the hell just happened?
I pushed it to the back of my head and zoomed towards the Slytherin Seeker who was chasing the Snitch. Luckily, I had the faster broom and he had really bad catching skills. I caught up with him and we sped towards the ground at blinding fast speed. He chickened out a few seconds before hitting the ground and pulled away.
I pulled up just in time. Remembering this scene from the movie, I stood up on my broom and reached out for the Snitch. I inched closer on my broom and hurled myself forward. Landing uncomfortably on the grass, I felt the Snitch go into my mouth. The field was eerily quiet. I thrust my arms into my stomach and spat out the Snitch. I caught it as it fell out and there was cheering.
Thirty minutes later, the Slytherin Captain was yelling how I hadn’t caught it but had almost swallowed it but I hadn’t broken any rules so this was a win for Gryffindor!!
In the common room, there was a huge party with kids ruffling my hair every five minutes. I managed to find Ron and Hermione who were talking intensively.
“ Hey, guys. Why aren’t you guys partying?” I asked and took a drink from my Butterbeer. This stuff was REALLY good.
“ Ari... your broom. Snape tried to KILL you,” said Hermione with deep concern. The bottle dropped from my hand.
“ How do you guys know?” I asked in deep shock.
“ We saw him. He was muttering words while staring at you and your broom. Hagrid says that only Dark Magic can tamper with a broom. Then I lit his cloak on fire and then the broom was fine,” answered Hermione.
“ Thank you, you two. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you two. This party would have been a funeral if you guys hadn’t done something. I guess Hermione you’re smart and brave,” I said, giving them a hug. Ron’s ears went bright red.
I got a little more attention than I would have liked about the match. I spent more time down at Hagrid’s rustic hut. We quickly learned to hide the rock cakes in our pockets that broke our teeth if we bit down on them.
Ron and Hagrid started talking about the robbery that had happened at Gringotts.
“ They think they were Dark Wizards. But why would you break into a vault that was completely empty?” asked Ron.
Hagrid looked suddenly slightly nervous and asked, “ More tea?”
“ Hagrid? You know something? Don’t you?”
Hagrid muttered something that vaguely sounded like “ I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about?”
“ Hagrid? The package? Was that what the thieves were looking for?” I asked.
“ Put that idea out of your head. That information is strictly between me, Professor Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel,” said Hagrid.
“ Nicolas Flamel? Who’s Nicolas Flamel?” I asked.
“ No one... No one... Next you’re going to find out about Fluffy,” muttered Hagrid, looking furious with himself. We looked at each other and agreed silently that Hagrid was going insane. Ron desperately tried to catch the subject to my game.
“ What about the match? With Snape trying to kill Ari?” asked Ron.
“ What?” said Hagrid.
“ We saw Snape muttering a jinx while Ari’s broom went insane. I’ve read about them and you’ve got to keep eye contact. Snape wasn’t blinking. When I set his cloak on fire, Ari’s broom was fine,” Hermione answered, staring at Hagrid intimately.
“ You’re imagining it. You guys have hated Snape since his first lesson. I’m sure you’re just exaggerating it..” Hagrid reassured himself.
“ Hagrid... One, Snape started it. Two, I believe Hermione and Ron. If they say so, it happened that way. Plus one more minute on that bucking broom and I would have been dead. My life has been saved by too many chances,” I answered, swallowing the lump in my throat.
“ Kiddos..” Hagrid started. Then I remembered something and everything clicked.
“ Didn’t you say that some of Voldemort’s,” I ignored the shivers and the “ Don’t-Say-His-Name’s” and continued,” supporters were still free and not in prison and that’s why I had to stay incognito all summer when I found out I was a witch! What if Snape’s one of them?”
“ Ok, Ok. Now, Ari, now you’re getting paranoid. If Dumbledore trusts Snape, then so do I and then so should the three of you. You’re too nosy in other people’s affairs,” said Hagrid, shaking his head.
“ But...” I opened my mouth.
“ No, it’s getting late. Go up to the castle and to dinner. By the way, congrats on the win, Ari. I knew you could do it!” said Hagrid, ruffling my hair. I straightened it out and rolled my eyes at the grin that Ron wasn’t able to keep off his face. I stepped on his foot as hard as I could, smiled at the ‘ OW!!!’ and walked up to the castle, scattering rock cakes out of my pocket onto the ground and trying to get the taste of bitter tea and rock cake out of my mouth.
Looks like it’s not going to happen.
The month passed quickly and soon Christmas Break started. I had signed up as soon as the clipboard had gone around for staying at school during the vacation period. I spent the days, trying not to be hit by snowballs, enchanted by Fred or George or Amy Jordan, their best friend and fellow prankster or, as Filch called them, hooligan.
I was spending my time with Ron and Hermione trying to find out who Flamel was. The name sounded vaguely familiar and when we told Hagrid, he growled at us and slapped his forehead for ever giving us this clue.
I skimmed through the books, Most Magical Names of This Century, ancestry books and many others just trying to find the name ‘Flamel.’
One day, during breakfast, Ron found out I’d never played or heard about wizard chess. So the next few days me and Ron spent together with Ron teaching me the rules and then kicking my butt when we advanced to actually playing it.
Percy tried to help me and I got better and better over time. As Christmas got closer, you could see Hagrid dragging in giant pine trees as easily as if it was a sled. People were spending more time, helping decorate the school than actually doing their break work.
I was one of these people. And so was Ron. We spent more time throwing snowballs at, mostly, Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle ( with the help of Fred and George). Hermione prefered curling up to the warm fireplace with a good book while I liked being outside, probably a trait from long-dead Dad. From the little I’d found out about him, he had been an amazing Seeker, a huge troublemaker and had definitely hated Snape( which I didn’t blame since he didn’t make it hard).
The Christmas feast was incredible with twenty-six Christmas trees lined around the Great Hall. The four long tables had been replaced with a few big round tables around the Great Hall. Me, Ron and Hermione sat at one of the tables, waiting for everyone else to come in and have dinner start.
A few minutes later, everyone was sitting down and the food appeared. The food was three times as amazing as usual. There were the usual party tricks except these were three times better.
When you pulled the string, it didn’t shoot confetti. It went off with a BANG!! and engulfed you with smoke and when it cleared, you were holding a gift. Soon, I had my own wizard chess set, a makeup set, coloring pencils and a few more drawing notebooks, some more art supplies and some jewelry.
Professor Dumbledore had traded his pointy wizard hat for a flower bouquet and was listening to a joke that Professor Flitwick was telling him, chuckling merrily.
The food was amazing with huge turkeys and ice cream scoops that rose to the ceiling. I need to stay here during Easter. The less I stay with the Dursleys, the happier I am!!
I hadn’t thought about the Dursleys in a while. I guessed that Dudley was going to Smeltings, hopefully had his tail removed and was bullying every kid in the school.
He probably had gotten fifty birthday presents so far. I wondered where all the old birthday presents were by now: in the trash can, in my old cupboard or in my room.
After eating to my heart’s content, I walked upstairs, carrying all the presents and put them in my trunk, feeling that this was the best Christmas of my life.
The next morning, I woke up to Hermione’s shaking.
“ Come on! Presents!” she screeched. I groaned and turned over. I felt the flip and opened my eyes as I flew in the air and landed on the floor, head first.
“ Hermione!!!!” I groaned, massaging my sore head.
“ Come on!!” she grabbed my arm and pulled me, in my PJ’s, to the front of my bed where there was a large stack of gifts.
I grabbed my the first gift on the top and ripped open the envelope:
Merry Christmas! Just a present from all the Weasleys! I hope school has been fine and that everyone has been nice! Again... Merry Christmas!
I reminded myself to write a note to her, thanking her for the present as I ripped open the package. There was a green knitted sweater with an A on it. Underneath the sweater was a small Merry Christmas cake!
I cut myself a small slice and smiled. It tasted really good! The next present was from the Dursleys. They’d sent a ten cent piece and a toothpick as a present. There was no note and I didn’t really care about that.
The next gift was from Hermione. She’d given me some jewelry, seeing that I didn’t have any. There were a few pairs of earrings, a necklace with an A on it, another necklace with a witch riding a broomstick charm hanging off it. When I touched the charm, the witch came to life, smiling and waving at me as she rode her broomstick around.
I caught the necklace as it flew away and the witch reverted to her frozen form at my touch. Ron had given me a fuzzy blue hat and matching gloves probably because I got so cold at winter time.
Hagrid had given me a flute that looked like it’d been carved by him. The last gift was light but was wrapped pretty sturdy with a lot of twine. I cut off the twine and undid the paper wrapping. On top was a note written in cursive:
Your father left this in my possession shortly before he died. Use it well.
There was no signature, nothing. I set aside the note on the ground, filled with torn gift paper and random presents. In the package was a silvery, light cloak. Hermione gasped as I lifted it up and wrapped it around me, fastening the clasp.
“ Ari.. Your body’s gone!”
I looked in the mirror and all I saw was a head floating in the air.
“ Jesus Christ!” I flipped up the hood and my head vanished.
“ Ari... That’s an Invisibility Cloak! They’re extremely rare!” Hermione gasped.
“ Really? I’m invisible while wearing a cloak that I just got for Christmas. Hermione, I’m not Ron!”
Hermione giggled. I pulled it off and put it safely in my trunk.
“ Who sent it?” she asked.
“ No idea. All the note said was that was my dad’s and I should ‘use it well’.”
She grabbed the note, lying on the ground.
“ No name,” she said, disappointed.
“ Hermione... This person wanted to stay anonymous obviously and tons of people have cursive handwriting so that’s not a clue. Just let it go!” I answered, rolling my eyes.
Hermione pouted as I pulled on the sweater that Mrs. Weasley had sent me and walked into the common room. Ron turned bright red as he wore a maroon sweater.
“ She made you one too?” he asked.
“ She made me one,” added Hermione. Ron’s ears flared bright red.
“ Come on. Let’s have breakfast!” I said, trying to distract Ron. He nodded and the three of us ran downstairs.
We ate breakfast and spent the whole day having a snowball fight with the rest of the Weasley siblings who were at Hogwarts.
We spent the rest of the day doing more research on Nicolas Flamel. But nothing.
“ Hermione. I give up. We’re never going to find anything about Nicolas Flamel. I’m not ever sure that the guy exists!” I said, closing a huge fat book.
Hermione pouted. “ The guy has to exist. I mean... he has to be famous otherwise Hagrid wouldn’t know about him.”
Ron closed his book and huffed, his large blue eyes looking tired. “ Hermione, it’s Christmas. We’ve been in the library for hours. We skipped lunch. Let’s not skip dinner! Please!” he pleaded.
I tried not to laugh. Ron could eat as much as a horse sometimes. Hermione nodded and we packed up our stuff and headed to the common room.
I took a bath and took a first real look at myself. My hair was long, really long. I made a reminder to myself to get it cut soon. My eyes were bright green and I’d taken to wearing contacts a lot lately. My scar wasn’t visible at all through the dark red hair.
I was a bit taller than before and I’d filled out from all the great food I’d been getting here. I braided my hair into a long braid down to my waist and headed downstairs to the Great Hall.
The feast was amazing like the night before. Ron had brushed his hair for once and Hermione ate as much as Ron tonight. She refused to think about the possibility that Nicolas Flamel didn’t exist and I was sick and tired of trying to open her eyes.
When we went upstairs, I laid down in my bed but felt too excited to fall asleep. So I thought about the cloak. Who sent it? How did they know my dad? I’ve never met ANY of his friends before, not one. Most likely because the Dursleys hated him.
Use it well, the note had said.
As quietly as I could, I drew off the covers and put my feet in my fuzzy slippers. I grabbed the Cloak out of my trunk and wrapped it around me securely. I grabbed a lamp and hurried out of the common room, ignoring the Fat Lady’s “ Who’s there?”.
I need to find out about Nicolas Flamel and why something of his would have been stolen. So Restricted Section in the library, it is!
I tiptoed to the library as fast as I could and into the Restricted Section. I’d never been there before and for good reason. It was constantly guarded by Prefects during the day and had horrible books that gave me the creeps just by looking at them. I took the lantern from under the cloak and started reading the titles of the books. I gulped as I read many of them.
I grabbed one book and opened it. A screaming face came out and I closed it and stuffed it back in.
“ A student out of bed. Sniff them out, Mrs. Norris and we’ll get them in a lot of trouble!” I gulped and drew the Cloak around me tightly. Filch! Just what I need right now!
Filch came into sight and saw the lantern I’d accidentally left , sitting next to the bookshelf. It was still lit unfortunately and I backed away as he hurried forward.
“ Student’s lantern. Still hot and lit. A student’s out of bed!” A satisfied smirk crossed his face and I hurried away from him as quietly as possible. I ducked into the first door outside the library hallway and removed the Cloak once I saw I was safe.
I was in a room, an empty room. How many rooms does Hogwarts have? Eight thousand?
The only thing that stood in the center of the room was a shiny glass mirror. I looked around, sensing someone was watching me but there was no one in the room. I dropped the Cloak on the ground and left it there as I walked towards the mirror.
It was big with strange words etched into the frame on the top: erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohs i. Luckily, I managed to unscramble the words so that it said: I show not your face but your heart’s desire.
My heart’s desire? I walked up closer, close enough to touch the mirror’s face and jumped back in shock. The mirror showed a whole room filled with people. I looked behind me and saw nobody.
I looked back at the mirror... and my terrified-looking reflection and started studying the reflections. There was me and standing a bit behind was a woman with dark red straight hair and big green eyes. A man stood next to her: dark black hair that stuck up in the back with big hazel eyes and lopsided glasses. One of his hands were stuck in his pocket while the other was wrapped around the woman’s waist.
My focus went back to the woman’s face and I studied my reflection and hers. We looked really alike, too alike. Our hair was the same color except mine was extremely curly while hers was straight. Maybe she straightened it? Her eyes were the same shape and color as mine which was really freaky.
The man had some habits that I also had: biting my lip when I was nervous, running his hand through his hair to make it more messed up, and his foot kept tapping, most likely from nervousness.
“ Mom? Dad?” My voice cracked at the words. My real-life parents had never spent that much time with me, making me feel like I’d been abandoned for my whole life. In Harry Potter world, I was an orphan with a huge amount of fake memories to prove it.
I stared back into the faces of my ancestors. I saw similar curly red hair, green eyes, facial structures, noses, etc.
I’m looking at my family. Or Harry’s family. Whatever’s the difference! It was too hard to explain but when you had a ton of extra memories and emotions, you started feeling like you actually were that person but at the same time, you. Your personalities mingled until you became a new you, maybe even a better person than before.
After thirty minutes of just staring at my family, I grabbed the Cloak off the ground and tied it around me.
“ I’ll be back. I promise,” I whispered to the mirror and my family and vanished through the door and into the shadowy castle.
" You saw your parents? In a MIRROR!" Ron's voice squeaked.
" Geez, Ron... I didn't even think a boy's voice could even go up that high!" I answered. We were at breakfast and I was done telling them about my night adventure. Hermione was staring at me with wonder, a piece of bacon hanging from her fork, completely forgotten.
Ron had taken a bad reaction to this. No, that was an understatement. He was furious. For 1) Going on a midnight adventure, 2) NOT taking him, 3) Almost getting caught by Filch and 4) Going on a midnight adventure and NOT taking him... period.
I looked back at Hermione, expecting a lecture and was surprised to see for the first time since I met her, she had no idea what to say.
" Ron... you were asleep. I was excited from what had happened. I thought info about Nicolas Flamel would be in the Restricted Section. I went there. I nearly got caught by Filch. I escaped from him and discovered a mirror that shows my family to me. It's not that bad," I answered.
He opened his mouth and I stepped on his foot hard. " Y- Ow! What was that for?" he yowled. Hermione's shoulders shook with laughter as she looked at her shoes.
" Ron... stop being idiotic. I'm glad someone is trying to find out who Flamel is though I'm not sure how going to the Restricted Section at night would work," Hermione said.
" Thank you.... I think." I scratched my head as I ate some more cereal
" Anyway, did you find anything?" she asked. I rolled my eyes and shook my head like it was obvious. " So... we're nowhere except a freaky mirror that for some reason shows you your dead family?"
" Pretty much. So I'm guessing more looking in the library?" I asked. She nodded and me and Ron groaned at the same time.
" What's the point of looking in the library when we're never going to find the information? There are thousands of books and only three of us. It'd take us years and I don't think we have that kind of time!" complained Ron. I jumped in.
" Ron's right. We're not going to find anything about Nicolas Flamel. Except the fact that he's French and the name sounds familiar! Other than that... we've got nothing!" I agreed. Anything to get out of more chores!
" Wait... Why didn't you tell us he was French, Ari? How do you know he's French?" asked Hermione, looking excited.
" Um... the way his name is spelled and how Hagrid said it. It just sounds French. Wait... wasn't their a philosopher or something who lived in France a really long time ago with the last name Flamel?" I asked.
Hermione squealed then pulled me and Ron up to our feet. In her hurry, she knocked over Ron's full cereal bowl which landed in his lap.
" HEY! Hermione! Seriously! Be careful!" he complained. The Slytherin table started snickering as she rolled her eyes and pushed us out of the Great Hall and towards the library... again.
She made us sit down before running towards the shelves and coming back five minutes later with a huge book. The table groaned as it fell onto the table and I stared at the huge parchment pages.
" Hermione... how exactly is this going to help?" I asked.
" Nicolas Flamel was a alchemist who lived in 14th and 15th century France. But get this... he's still alive today!!" Hermione said, gleefully.
" What?!?" Me and Ron's faces were the same: complete and utter shock. We looked at each other and back.
" Have you guys heard of the Sorcerer's or Philosopher's Stone? ( I put both titles in, depending if you're American or British or whatever)" she asked, clapping her hands.
I had watched the Harry Potter movies a few years ago so I remembered what she was talking about. " Isn't that the Stone that gives you immorality or whatever?" I asked.
She nodded. " That's how Flamel is alive. That's what Hagrid got from the vault. And they have it here somewhere in the castle. Most likely, the third floor corrider with something guarding it. That's what Dumbledore meant by ' die a most gruesome death.'"
Me and Ron looked at each other. " We're in so much trouble, aren't we?" I finally said.
" Yes. Definetely," Ron answered.
" Guys, I think Snape's after it. Remember Halloween? He must have set the troll in the castle as a distraction so that he could get the Stone," Hermione commented.
I mentally slapped myself. How didn't I see that? It was so obvious. " So how do we stop Snape?" I asked, looking at Hermione.
She looked flushed that me and Ron were both staring at her. " What are you looking at me for?" She snapped.
" Well... You ARE the smart one," Ron put in. Hermione went pink.
" Uh.... We should probably snoop around the floor and check out that mirror. I just have this feeling it's connected somehow," said Hermione. I nodded. I remembered there was something important about that mirror. Just not what.
" Tonight? We can look at the third floor corridor with Dad's old invisibility cloak," I suggested. Hermione smiled.
" Great idea, Ari! Tonight. We'll meet up at the common room at eleven then head out. Dress warmly!" She advised. The three of us nodded. It was time to figure out what was guarding the Stone and what was up with that mirror!