Just so y'all know, religion will and will not play a large role in this fic. It will plot-wise; but there won't be too much of it in each chapter. There is, however, a bit of prayer in this chapter.
An Unexpected Birthday Gift
"Wake up, Sweetheart."
Hazel slowly opened her eyes and sat up. She smiled sleepily at her mother, Jaime, who stood in the doorway. She stretched and barely succeeded in stifling a yawn, causing her mother to laugh.
"Mum, it's Saturday…" It was ritual, almost, that Hazel slept in on Saturdays.
"I know, Darling; but it's also the 27th of June. Happy Birthday!"
Hazel grinned, despite her tiredness. Here was the exception to the Saturday rule; on her birthday, her parents would always take her out to breakfast at The Bridge, her favourite restaurant.
She all but jumped out of bed and pulled on a bright yellow dress and her most comfortable white jumper. She passed a brush through her ginger hair and hurried out of her bedroom. She was about to put her shoes on when her father, Daniel, stopped her, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Just a moment, little miss." He said, using his own endearment for her, "Your mother and I have something for you before we head out." He held out to her a thin, white box. She smiled and took it from him. Upon opening it, her smile widened; inside was a pretty, sapphire-encrusted cross on a sterling silver chain.
"It's beautiful!" she breathed.
"Only the best for our daughter." said Jaime. Hazel hugged both of her parents in turn. Her father helped her to put the necklace on and, shortly thereafter, the three of them were out the door.
The Bridge was moderately busy that morning; but they were still able to get a table. Hazel could hardly keep the smile of her face. She could tell that it would be a good day. Their food ordered and the family left to wait, Hazel said a quiet prayer to thank the Lord for all that He had brought her on this day; moreover, she thanked Him for giving her a loving family and a good home.
Her parents shared a smile, knowing that she was praying without having to hear her.
Their food soon came and they enjoyed a rather delightful meal, filled with good food and happy chatter.
"Are you excited for the Summer break, Dear?" Jaime asked her daughter. Hazel nodded as she chewed a piece of potato.
"Jenny's invited me to go camping with her family." She said after she had swallowed, "Can I?"
"Well, I don't see why not." Daniel replied.
"You and Jenny will have fun, I'm sure." Jaime agreed.
The rest of the meal passed in much the same way– the same way it did every year, really. It was when they got home and saw and owl perched on the roof that the yearly ritual changed– and changed for good, for never, after that day, would anything ever be the same.
Hazel tilted her head upward to look at the bird once she had got out of the car. She had never seen an owl before, save for in pictures or on TV.
"That's odd." Daniel commented.
Then the three noticed an oddly dressed woman sitting on their front porch, as if waiting for them. She stood as they approached and smiled pleasantly at each of them in turn.
"Good day," she greeted them, "And happy birthday to you, Miss Pond. My name is Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus, Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
The three of them stared at her with confused expressions. Had she just said witchcraft? And wizardry? Surely they had misheard…
"I understand that the two of you," with this, she addressed Daniel and Jaime, "are muggles. Of course, I should need to explain myself. We should probably go inside."
Muggles? What was that? Who was this strange woman? How did she know who they were?
"Please, the news I've come to deliver would be better told inside."
Despite their better judgement, they listened to this Lucinda and led her into the house.
Once seated in the rather comfortable living room, Lucinda began to explain, speaking directly to Hazel,
"You, Miss Pond, are what we call a muggle-born witch. A muggle is a non-magical person, such as your parents."
"What are you talking about?" asked Jaime, "How dare you call our angel a witch!?"
"Have you ever noticed how strange things happen around your daughter?"
"Acts of God." Daniel dismissed. Lucinda withdrew her wand.
"As proof; lumos!" The tip of her wand lit up. The three jumped.
"Witch!" Daniel cried.
"Yes, I've explained that already." Lucinda replied coolly, "And Hazel is one as well."
Hazel had remained silent through all of this, processing what was being said. Surely it couldn't be true… could it? It would certainly explain a lot; like how the piano would play itself. But only God was supposed to be capable of such acts, right? Wouldn't that make her evil? Would that mean that she was a sinner? No… She wasn't a sinner, of course not! She went to church every Sunday and never disobeyed her parents. She was a good girl! And if what this woman said was true, she was also a witch. Could she be both? She could she be a witch and a good girl?
It seemed bizarre to even think of. Witches didn't exist, right? Yet, for some reason, Hazel couldn't help but believe this Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus. In a way, it made sense. When she wanted the piano to play, it played; when the cat got on her nerves, it ended up hanging from the chandelier. Besides, the woman had just proven that magic existed; she had created light. But wasn't only He supposed to be able to create light? This was all so confusing! She no longer knew what to believe. If she believed the bible, then that meant that she must be in league with the Devil, did it not? But she was a good girl!
"Miss Pond, here is your letter." Lucinda handed her an envelope.
Miss H Pond
Second Room on the Left
8 Queen Elizabeth Walk
Hazel opened the letter,
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Miss Pond,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Hazel looked at the next page,
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags.
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring, if they desire, an owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS
ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK
Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions
Hazel blinked a few times. She had been accepted into a magic school. She was a witch.
Her eyes rolled back into her head and she abruptly fainted.