For it is a necessity that there must be a record of events that passed, thus it will be documented by the spectators in its vicinity.
Hermione Jean Granger was a smart girl. In fact you could call her an intelligent girl, with how she could almost answer any kind question thrown at her. As long as she had read it beforehand, she can and most probably would answer it within her capabilities. She liked having the answers for almost everything. It gives her this sense of accomplishment. Pride. It was a very nice feeling.
However Hermione doesn't just do that for the sake of answering the questions. It was for her personal agenda of having knowledge about the world around her. Especially when she herself is interacting with it. She likes knowing things, that's all. Curiosity, after all, was the one that enabled almost all of mankind's inventions. "Can this be done? Can that be done? How did it happened? How can we do it again?" It was all curiosity's work!
And because of mankind's curiosity, they researched various ways in several venues of knowledge. They also kept a record or evidence of their research so that future generations can make references on their own work. Possible explanation on why there are countless books written way before she was born that contained very interesting topics and ideas. Even literature was interesting for the reason of finding a way to properly communicate with a fellow person!
Still, she wished her dad and mom would buy her the new book she saw a few stores ago. It was the latest installment to the series she read but apparently they can't afford it. For now. Her parents told her that their salary was 'pinched' at the moment because of some upheaval in the entire country's government or whatever. She would give the current news some more interest if it were discussed in a different time and place. The book was more important for her at the moment.
"Hermione? Honey, I think your dad found the store he's looking for."
Her mother, Emma Granger, called her out of her musings. It looked like her parents found the place they were supposed to shop at. Hermione could understand that her birthday gift wouldn't be a book for her 8th birthday. Daniel Granger couldn't afford to buy her the newly released book but they shouldn't do this to her. Her father definitely planned to let her see that bookstore a few blocks away, just to anger her. Or something. Hermione doesn't like that. She doesn't like that all.
With a pout, she entered the store. Lots of merchandise were displayed on the counters and on the walls. Some were on the shelves hanging on the walls while some were hanging on several poles. Books were arranged neatly at the shelves at the back alongside the cash register. Pens, pencils and even notebooks were also displayed with some bracelets and necklaces. The interior of the store looked like it needed more dusting but it would be acceptable at the moment.
If she were to make an honest comment, she would say this was a store catered for students primarily in middle school and below if not for the thick hardbound books Hermione saw at the shelves on the walls. With the books and countless trinkets she noticed afterwards at the front being presented by an attendant, she took back her first opinion. This was now a general store. If she was offered by someone with biscuits and tea, she would really freak out. A store should offer only one or two categories of merchandise, not four or more. That's so wrong.
There were lots of children in it too, with them pointing out the bits and bobs they wanted to have, which gave her first opinion of it a store catered for school children and parents cajoling the attendants on giving them a lower price. The problem her parents faced probably affected a lot of parents too, if the complaints she overheard from the nearby adults were to believed to be true.
"-fired him Manny! Without any pay at all! Shouldn't she gave him a separation fee or at least paid him the salary of the month? Thank god that it didn't happened to me! But my pay was slashed Manny! Slashed to two! This is madness!"
"Oh shut up will you Bob. My son shouldn't hear you complaining at all. Your pay is still larger than mine, even with the cuts you speak of. And will you cut it out? Only a few belonging to the working sectors in England was affected, not everyone. I heard there will be new jobs soon when the new 'research facility' open in the future. I heard that it would be done next year and maybe even sooner than expected! Think of the good side, at least you didn't got fired Bob. Would you-"
Hermione moved on after eavesdropping a bit. His friend got fired while he got his pay lessened. But the other one, he would have been a barrister with how those words keeps flowing out of his mouth. Mom told her those were the qualities of a barrister. Hermione saw her dad behind the two men, gesturing her and Emma to come closer to him. The attendant with her dad seemed to be tired and saw Daniel as a chance to get a moment of pause. She couldn't blame the attendant at all. The place was crowded with kids and adults. And with the stuff they sell here... Well, there's a reason why people seem to congregate at all.
"Good day! Welcome to the RoLal's! I'm John. How may I help you three?"
Despite looking tired and all, the voice of the teenager was still upbeat and perky. A contradiction in itself. A paradox. Her mother gave the young man a smile with his greeting.
"Good day to you too young man. My husband and I would like to buy something for our daughter here. Something that may help her in her studies. She's one studious young lady and we want the best for her. It's also her birthday by the way."
That forced an even bigger smile from John. Either its a smile of despair or actually glee for her, she didn't know.
"Well, I'm quite sure school supplies are off the list since its September already. The toys and other trinkets doesn't seem to be any help with her studies honestly so I'm quite in a pickle right now. Would you mind if I ask for some advice from one of my co-workers? This wouldn't take long I promise."
John gave a sigh that her parents didn't saw. But Hermione did. It seemed that John was one hardworking teenager from the looks of it. The other attendants she saw in the store were some blond with sunglasses and a black haired girl with a headband with dog ears on it. Appealing but not her type. The cashier at the back was wearing an orange headband and some orange colored earrings. She looks like the sister of the other attendant with glasses.
The cashier whispered something at John when he came to her. Hermione saw a glint in his eyes that became filled with confusion and... wonder? Hermione leaned on the counter that was in the duo's direction and tried to listen to the conversation. She is curious after all. The exchange might gave her some insight on what item the blonde was suggesting to her companion.
"-at the backroom. Beside the leather-bound books."
"... The ones near the Tales of the Outer Ring? But Rose! You said they were special and-"
"Trust me on this John. They would be perfect. Besides you came to me for a suggestion on what you should offer to the family you spoke of. You disregarding my suggestion would completely negate the concept of asking for a suggestion when the said suggestion won't even be considered at all. Isn't that right, John?"
"Oh come on Rose! Stop with these mind games of yours. Shessh, fine. I'll get these bags. I swear if not for your-"
"John, the couple is waiting."
John then rushed to the backroom and came out quickly with a couple of sling bags in his hands.
Hmm... Bags. Well that answered the problem. It would be perfect for her since it would help her carry the books and notebooks around. It also helped with her carrying the drinks and snacks she would eat later. And the bags looked good too. Even her mother's eyes opened wide when she saw the bags John carried out.
"Rose recalled that we had a couple of bags in the backroom yet to be displayed here at the front. Apparently our supplier sent these to us just this morning so I had no idea we had these in our stock. Rose was always the one that opens the store out of the four of us. Even though Dave can get here earlier than her, he always let Rose open it. Anyway, here. These bags would definitely help your daughter in her studies. By carrying her stuff of course!"
"They look so new. How much is one? We are in a budget right now."
Hermione tuned out the conversation her dad made with John. Her mother inspected the bags herself while she just looked at the designs. A sound of approval was heard from Emma as she inspected the insides and seams of the bags.
"Mom, what are you doing?"
"If you can see for yourself Hermione, I'm checking the bags personally. These seem to be stitched up sling bags. They aren't leather but they aren't plastic too. Polymer? A new type of fabric? And look at these! They are colored differently outside. But the interiors are the same color, red. Aesthetic purposes? Probably, but yes they could be so expensive. We can't-"
"... Okay mom."
She just had to give it to her mom. She sometimes went into these fits especially when she liked a certain item or show. She would concentrate on it and analyze it. She would then proceed to think of how it would affect them. It was intriguing at first when she saw her fussing over the groceries, but nowadays it confuses Hermione mostly.
Her dad made a deal with John already? Dan would irritate the shopkeeper before agreeing to a price. Probably because John had this upbeat attitude and go-with-the-flow air around him that makes you want to be calm and happy that made his Dad agree to it? Possible. Or was the fact that the bags were really cheap and that Rose lady wanted to sell off the bags in a very quick manner. It is possible too.
"Hermione darling, which one would you like?"
"The rose colored one dad. I'll be taking that one."
"Okay, shall I wrap it for you or will you be using this already?"
"We'll be using it already."
If strange things didn't happened to her since the last few years, Hermione would really freak out by the fact her new sling bag was acting strange. The perfect description of what her sling bag was exhibiting was "bigger on the inside". Her mother would laugh at her using a Doctor Who reference, but her bag was literally bigger on the inside! She didn't noticed before when they were out in Leadenhall Market using the spare budget for her gift. In fact, she even used the bag to carry the stuff she bought for herself. Biscuits, bottles, pens, notebooks, a pocket book, an actual book and a stuffed cat toy. They were all in her bag and she didn't even noticed she did it.
The good thing was that she managed to fit all of the items in the bag without causing it to rip nor cause any damage in it. Even the bottles weren't even spilled, which caused her to inspect the interior of the bag more closely after she tripped and the bag was flying in the air. They weren't even cracked at all, with how the bag crashed into the ground. That shoe box should have been placed under her bed but she apparently forgot to push it back.
Flowers looking fresh as it was a day ago and glasses floating in the air when she was agitated. Those were only some of the strange things that happened around her but her bag being bigger on the inside would rank itself as the top of the list. Especially since it started way before she was even aware of it happening.
Hermione showed her parents the bag and its... unique characteristic. Shock and disbelief was shown in her parents faces and she expected it. What she didn't expected was her father doing the same thing while her mother couldn't.
As far as she remembered, only she could do those things. Strange things. Things like floating glasses and making her stuffed cat toy change its colors. She was the only one in their small family that could do this. Hermione had no cousins to ask for advice or comments since her parents had no siblings and both of her grandparents already passed away even before she was born. Her dad opening the bag and revealing the enlarged interior in it was a shock to her. And to her father as well.
Daniel Granger showed no abilities of him floating or changing colors nor any memory to claim with. In fact, he was genuinely astonished he could do the things his daughter could do. His dad opening the bag gave her hope she wasn't alone in this, though. That was a positive consequence.
Her mother, on the other hand, only opened to a small interior the size of the sling bag. As if the bag wasn't bigger on the inside like it was supposed to be. Only the space appropriate for a sling bag of its size. In fact, the compartment she opened to was empty. No sign of the water bottles, stuffed toys and pillows Hermione placed in it.
A mystery for her to solve, that's all to it. Just like the mystery she solved a week ago about her abilities. Hermione solved the problem of 'what could her floating stuff be?'. To her it was a form of mind control or telekinesis. A variation of abilities 'psychics' were able to do. And they were powered by her emotions because she could do this when she's very happy or very sad. A weak hypothesis but it would do for now. This new mystery though. The rest of her hypotheses could wait after finding out the mystery of the TARDIS Sling Bag.
It was during 7 pm or sometime after dinner the next day that she heard of the new research facility being opened. Everyone in England heard about the Lost Christmas Incident. An entire town vanishing, taking a huge chunk of land along with it and the plumbing systems below it. Everyone in England also heard of the mysterious things that seem to appear around the area of Little Whinging. Bursts of purple fog, things appearing out of nowhere and creatures that resembling some animals surfacing.
It was so weird that the government established a special team that would focus on the after-effects of the Lost Christmas Incident. The entire spectacle would be thought to be as an effort in making a movie in comedy or science-fiction genre but it was actually happening in real life. The creatures would sometimes attack some houses or establishments before being captured or exterminated by the police. The purple fog would sometimes kill the plants around the area it appeared or cause animals/plants to morph into something. Items that appeared were the only good things that came with the Lost Christmas Incident. News reports claim that the items were 'high-tech' and currently being 'reversed-engineered' to help with England's technological advancement.
Hermione liked to listen, watch and read the news. It comes with the territory of being an avid reader and a bookworm. Proud and happy to admit being a bookworm. Still, the evening news claiming of the opening of the research facility at the area near Little Whinging reminded her of the other news reports that were connected to it. To her they were connected, especially with the reports claiming the items found near Little Whinging. The sling bag she had in her possession must be one of those items. John and Rose's supplier must be a thief, stealing things from the police, or a scavenger of items before the authorities can even find them.
Daniel and Emma Granger were mildly amused of her assumptions, especially with her claims of the bag being a product of a technology way beyond of their own time. They thought it was a magic or something that enabled her bag to be like it was right now. Especially her mother. She believed that the blonde woman did it to help her. Even her dad supported her mother's belief. How annoying. Any sufficiently advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic after all. Hmm... They probably were making fun of her. Plausible. But the action still irritates her, even with the idea behind it was harmless at all.
But how could she and her dad could have access to the expanded compartment of her bag and not her mom? She haven't got to check it with her classmates at school, fearing they would just laugh at or demand to give it to her. Bullies came in different forms, especially with how they think they could do stuff like demanding food from other students.
Still, her parents were just being annoying for the sake of being annoying. After seeing her very deep frown at their laughs, they promised to look at the researches being doing in the facility. If Hermione remembered correctly, some of her parents friends were accepted to be a staff member in the facility. Primarily being doctors in the countless infirmaries in it. It was a research facility after all. Accidents are bound to happen, especially with the creatures able to attack people.
There was a knock on their door. Strange because they weren't expecting any visitors that would came by that day. Visitors at that moment was a hassle, especially when both of her parents and herself were deliberating on this. This acceptance letter Hermione had no idea she sent an application to!
Now that was quite annoying. Her mom already shouted they weren't interested in any of their wares, why could that person leave. Hermione clearly remembered the time a certain direct seller was too eager in selling his wares that his dad had to bring out the shovel at their yard.
Emma Granger called out from their living room, "Dan! Hermione! There's someone here that could help us on that letter! Can you two come here and bring that letter too!"
Well. That's it. Probably that person sent this letter. Might as well deal with this. She had to finish an essay to finish when this trouble came. Sometimes she wished that some of problems could be dealt with in a very effortless manner. Something like how they made these new type of clothing. Like magic or something.
Why did she felt she just jinxed herself?
Neville Longbottom was a very, very nervous young man. 11 years old already and he was to ride the Hogwarts Express all by himself. It was a custom, a tradition every young wizard and witch must go through. Riding the Hogwarts Express all alone and discover the wonder of companionship in its compartments. So said by his Uncle Algie, a man he wouldn't want to be his uncle but somehow he did. Neville had no experience of traveling all alone. His Grandma was always with him whenever they went to buy from the shops in Diagon Alley and back to the Longbottom Manor. He was never alone before until now.
He doesn't really believe in all of that nonsense to be honest. The thing about it being a tradition in itself, a ritual every wizard and witch must undergo before learning magic. Neville had heard about a Floo connection to the school and every pure-blood residence and why shouldn't they use that instead of having to take the train? He doubted Uncle He-Should-Be-Eaten-By-A-Kelpie told him the truth. Ever since his Uncle Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Cause-He's-A-Senile-Old-Man threw him off the second floor, or was it third, of the Longbottom Manor, he lost his trust in the words of his elders. But not her Grandma. Well... maybe. Neville can't think of a time his Grandma was absolutely honest with him. She may tell her things but not the complete and full version. He may not be the smartest child in the world but he saw how his Grandma look at him with very sad eyes. Not with anger but like it was full of disappointment. Thus the lack of actual trust in him from his Grandma.
The day they went to Diagon Alley, Augusta Longbottom bought him the things he needed when they received Hogwarts' acceptance letter for Neville. He was only allowed to buy the required materials for his Herbology Class while the rest his Grandma bought for him personally. She also didn't get him a new wand. Instead she gave him his dad's wand saying it would be a memento of his father. Neville thinks she was being cheap or something.
All in all, Neville's start in attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was off in a very bad and weird way. Even though he thought to be a Squib before receiving the acceptance letter, he believed he still had magic. Especially when he used it in their Greenhouses, for some areas in the Greenhouses are available only to those who had magic and Squibs can't access them under any condition, and when he took care of the plants in there. Even at the courtyard, he was sure he used some sort of magic to scare away the nasty crows that somehow managed to get around the wards of Longbottom Manor. With the acceptance letter in his pocket, there was no doubt he had magic significant enough to be acknowledged by the school. But the damage dealt to him by the disappointing looks from his Grandma and He-Who-Should-Have-Slipped-Down-The-Stairs. Especially him.
He found a compartment in the train all for himself because everyone who was in there went away when they say the toad he was carrying in his hands. How could he have known that people don't like toads normally? Then a bushy haired girl went in and asked if he has space in his compartment. Nothing to lose at all, Neville welcomed the girl in.
The girl's name was Hermione Jean Granger, "Call me Hermione, Neville!", and she was apparently a Muggle-born. She was wearing already the uniform for Hogwarts students. Shouldn't they wear it when the train was at the Hogsmeade Station? Probably to save time.
He should have changed into the uniform after finding a compartment. It would have actually saved a lot of time later. Oh no. And here he was, making a fool of himself already. Didn't those three students in the compartment her was in already wearing the uniforms? Maybe they all wore the uniforms when they find a compartments like it was supposed to be. And how he do it? Maybe his Grandma actually said it to him while at the station and he didn't listened to her like he was supposed to do. Oh no.
"Neville? Are you okay?"
That caught him by surprise. Hermione seemed to be aware of his distress. Oh no. Someone was actually concerned for him!
"I-I-I'm okay! I-I'm fine!"
"No you are not! You're shaking! And oh my. Is that a toad? Neville! You're choking the toad!"
He was actually choking Trevor! Trevor, the first friend he made, was choking on his own hands. He shouldn't be doing this. He wasn't supposed to be doing this!
Trevor was falling. Trevor was falling off his hands. Trevor was jumping out of the compartment. Trevor was gone. His friend was gone. No. No. No.
"Neville! Snap out of it! Oh my god. Why is this happening?"
His friend was gone. He was choking his friend. Someone was shaking him. Someone was calling out to him.
"H-Huh? H-He-Hermione? W-What are you doing here?"
He was cracking up. He was stuttering. Oh no. Why is he even here?
"Neville, calm down. Breathe. I remembered I have a bottle of water in here."
Why is she even here with him? He's Neville. An almost squib. A disgrace. A water bottle was in his hands.
"W-What the? H-Hermione? What is this?"
"Drink it Neville. It will calm you down."
He opened it and drank. And drank. He almost choked a bit but he drank it all up. Neville was soon surprised he emptied the object.
"See! You're fine! I knew drinking will help your problems. Though I heard a different kind of drinking will only worsen it."
"What is this Hermione?'
"Hmm? Oh, that's a water bottle. It's made out of plastic and you can store liquids in it for future use. I filled it with purified water so that I could drink it when I'm thirsty. You can have it, I have lots of it in my bag. Good thing my bag can hold lots of objects in it!"
That piqued Neville's interest. A bag that can hold lots of objects in it. What a useful bag, surely it would be very useful. Beats a trunk every time.
"Where did you bought it? I haven't heard a bag being sold in Diagon Alley before. Or maybe there was and I forgot that Grandma told me about it."
And there goes his good mood. Maybe Grandma did told him and he forgot about it.
"Oh, this? I bought it at London. At Leadenhall Market. If I remember correctly, it was at RoLal's. Yeah, RoLal's. And nope, there was nothing of this kind in Diagon Alley. I checked it personally when I came to buy my things. Some of the shopkeepers were even shocked to see me using this. They say my bag had an Undetectable Expansion Charm on it but at the same time, there was no magic in it. Not that they can identify it all. Trust me, I went to different shopkeepers and they were amazed, shocked and annoyed of my sling-bag."
"Yeah. It is a wonder. They say its like magic but not at the same time. I personally believe this bag of mine was a lost item that got stolen from Sector 7."
He wasn't able to discern much from what Hermione had said but it was about how there was a secret part of the government that focused much on something about new technology. To be honest if she hadn't admitted to Neville that she was a Muggle-born, Neville would have thought she was talking about the Unspeakable. Her Grandma told her about them one time after she ranted about "the Ministry and their problematic budgets and the Unspeakable that can't be spoken of". Neville thought that every time his Grandma came back from the Ministry of Magic, she would be inconsolable for a day or two. Usually his homegrown honeysuckles helped his Grandma whenever she was in those moods, it always cheers her up and hastens her recovery from being so upset.
Now that he thought about it, the honeysuckles were in dire need of his tender love and care. The latest concoction his Uncle He-Who-Should-Be-Thrown-In-A-Ditch made and poured over his precious plants caused them to shrivel up and almost died. Good thing he was there to save them. How did he got inside of Greenhouse 8 without Neville knowing was a mystery for him until now.
Hermione's voice shocked and returned Neville back to reality. The bushy-haired girl was staring at him with very focused eyes. Oh. He forgot that she was telling him about her sling-bag and its origins.
"Oh I'm sorry Hermione. I-I..."
Oh no. Neville couldn't find an excuse. He couldn't say that his thoughts were about the honeysuckles in their greenhouses. What should he say? What could he do? If only Trevor... Trevor... Trevor!
"I-I-I need to find Trevor! My toad!"
"Oh! Why didn't you said so? Let's go find him. I bet he will just be around the corner. By the way, what is that you're wearing around the neck?"
Around his neck? Oh the amulet. That Trevor gave to him. Oh Trevor.
"Trevor gave it to me. It was slimy when he spat it out the first time we met. Actually Grandma gave him to me as a pet. Then when Grandma turned around, Trevor spat out this amulet. I think it was his gift to me."
"Awww... How cute. And... slimy for a reason. Still, that gem of yours looks like an emerald with a some red tinges on it. No wonder you kept it aside from being Trevor's gift to you. Okay! Now that we know how important Trevor is to you, lets find him and bring him back to safety! You're my friend now and friends help each other!"
Hermione seemed to be concerned for him and his happiness. And she called him her friend. Maybe she actually wants to be friends with him?
"D-D-Does that mean we are friends now?"
Hermione seemed to be shocked by his words. He saw how her eyes widened and how she sat down and looked at her hands clutching the robes she wore. Neville can even hear her mumbling in a low but audible voice.
"Did my dad's advice worked? Wow, dad's a genius. If this was how to actually make friends, I should have asked him how to a long time ago."
"Hermione, you're mumbling."
"Huh?! Oh! Yes! Yes! We're friends now! Lets go Neville! We have a toad to look for!"
Since then, the Muggle-born witch accompanied Neville throughout the entire train ride. Neville won't complain about Hermione preferring to breeze through the school books she brought with her, given that she claimed to be an avid reader of book it wasn't a surprise to see her returning to a habit she was comfortable with. He doesn't have any right to complain too, with him preferring too silence over a continuous barrage of discourse and gossip. A result of him spending a lot of time in the greenhouses. It could also be attributed to him not having enough social interaction with people around him, especially when they thought of the potential-squib 'soiling' the air they breathe.
They were in their compartment, after a prefect cast the Summoning Charm to forcibly return Trevor to Neville. Unfortunately for the poor toad, he was squished like a cup cake on the glass window of the sliding door when the charm was summoning him. If only the charm can 'teleport', a term he learned from Hermione, the summon, it would avoid the trouble of the summon being hindered by obstacles in its path. Neville agreed that it would be a big help. Why didn't someone or the creator added that effect to the Summoning Charm? Maybe he/she forgot it? The prefect noticed their confusion and added that it was commonly used in an area full of unsorted objects, aimed to help the summoner get the item he/she wanted in an instant. It was after they spent an hour asking their fellow students on the train of the toad's whereabouts. It was quite an experience, to say the least. A redhead in one compartment was terribly rude to Hermione, prompting them to leave immediately. They also encountered a blond boy who recommended them to ask a prefect instead of scourging the entire train.
Neville could only be thankful that the entire endeavor was over, especially with how the redhead they met began his own excursion of the train. Good thing they weren't in their compartment when he came by or Hermione would have dealt with the rude boy. She claimed she smacked a dog unconscious with her sling bag and it would be a delightful experience to check whether her sling bag would do the same to a fellow human being.
With Trevor safe in his small cage, Neville gazed out of the window. He would soon be in Hogwarts by dusk-fall, attending the school his parents went to before and proving he was a wizard, not a borderline squib. Hopefully nothing drastic would happen. Like the incident a while ago.
Now that he mentioned it, things would be different now. He had a 'friend' in the form of the girl right across him. A girl who was reading a book that looked like their text book on Potions. He never had a 'friend' before, so it would be a new thing for him. He had Trevor and only Trevor with him in his entire young life. Unless you count the plants in the greenhouses, he never had a very close confidant with him. His Grandma wasn't included because she was a family member and she was too...'old' for him to talk to with. Neville tried to connect with his Grandma but he was only scoffed at and directed to the greenhouses and 'do something useful and show signs of magic'.
Thus, Neville hoped that he would enjoy the time he will be spending in Hogwarts. Especially he made a 'friend'.
Maybe that tradition of riding the Hogwarts Express had a point after all.
The plan was a success. If only her Dad told her how to actually make friends before, Hermione was sure she would have lots of friends before coming to Hogwarts. But then again, she would have to leave them when the time came for her to attend Hogwarts. It would be a shame for her friends to be left alone when she herself learned how to do magic.
Magic. Now that was a surprise to her but not really a mind-shattering surprise. Hermione always knew the things she was doing before was connected to either her being a psychic or being a magician. Magic was always spoken in books, specifically fictional books, where it was used to aid the heroes in defeating the evil monster or villain. The majority of the books she read that discussed magic were always set in the Medieval Period until the 1990s came around.
If the technological advancement of England didn't happened, she was sure her background in magic was stuck in the Medieval Period. The ones that discussed about warlocks and witches and familiars. It was fascinating. Also intriguing since fiction was based on facts. Not complete facts but still, facts. It was also ironic. Some people thought magic was only fiction but they forgot that fiction won't exist without the facts they originated from. It was also ironic that she would discover magic through science and technology.
December 1988, the month where the international community hailed England. Called it as Albion's Awakening. The Rise of the Monarchs. Camelot's Coming. Lots of titles were given to England at that time. Hermione forgot a lot of it but she remembered why they gave it. England became the leader in technological advancement at that month. And for the coming months and years as well. And its all thanks to the research facility in Surrey.
She wasn't that interested before in the political machinations of her country but it gained her interest when the government established a portion of itself to investigate the Lost Christmas Incident. Originally it was to find closure to the lost citizens of England in Little Whinging. Closure for the relatives of the people who were lost to the Lost Christmas Incident. But it soon became something else when discoveries of items, both mundane and not-mundane, and reports of strange incidents arise to the public. Usually it won't gander too much attention but when these 'strange incidents' happened close to Little Whinging, it did. Especially when the strange items began surfacing in increasing quantities.
What began as an investigative commission on the Lost Christmas Incident turned into a research project in the greatest scale England had ever seen. The investigation on where and how the citizens disappeared and the Lost Christmas happened was still in the works, according to the news, but it now focused on the strange things that were connected to it. Namely the items and the incidents.
The items were a science-fiction fans wet dream, the reports said but Hermione have no idea what it really means, because the technology used in their creation was so advanced compared to the current ones. And they can study it, discovered how it worked and how to create it themselves. That's where the new advancements in current technology came from. Hermione doesn't really understand it all but thanks to the researchers and the items she currently enjoys the "smart phones", the "wifi", the "LED TV Screens" and the ever famous "heat regulating clothes".
The last one was her favorite to be honest. It was practically the norm now for those who work in clothing. The clothes were able to regulate the heat of the user as long he/she wears it. No matter how hot or how cold the outside temperature is, the wearer won't get uncomfortable at all. The best part of it, if you sweat it will evaporate so fast that you won't even feel sticky at all! Hermione loved the clothes made with the said technology since she won't bother to wear several layers of clothes anymore, unless she wants to look good. Best part of it was that she could wear clothes with lots of layers in summer and very few in winter without getting too hot or cold. Last she heard from her mother was that Vogue lately went under a new management and was revamping their previously written fashion predictions delaying their releases. Hermione doesn't know what Vogue was though. And how her mother would knew the work being done behind a magazine.
She doesn't really understand the workings of the new technology but Hermione swore she will find out soon. Like the most of the people now in the world.
Oh how the rest of the world raged. Raged. More like tickled was the perfect term. Almost everyone demanded where England got these new 'inventions' and share it to them. Her dad once told her that England sold its new products to the world in a very high price but with large discounts to America and, strangely, Japan. It was more likely England was willing to work with those two because somehow the technology they found had some connections to those two countries. Politics was very confusing stuff for her.
England was forced to open her doors wider to accommodate the influx of foreign investors and merchandise to counter the new products made. Due to that, new merchandise was found in England's market. Especially made by the Japanese and the Americans. Usually merchandise made with the new technology from England with concepts from the two countries. But there were various new ones like translations of some books from Japan into English and other books not circulated anymore in England but still were in America.
Hermione wouldn't bother reading those in the first place. But the fact that England wasn't circulating some of its books anymore and there were translations of previously unreadable one fancied her interest to at least check some out. That lead her to investigate some of the obscure articles that discussed on the types of magic America and Japan seem to prefer.
Deep down, Hermione knew some things were based on the truth. So reading books that tackles magical theory piqued her interest because the authors actually gave his/her attention to investigate magic that was being 'used' in his/her respective country. Someone wouldn't focus much on researching on stuff that wasn't real unless it was. Hermione wouldn't think magic was real before but the Lost Christmas Incident happened. The Lost Christmas Incident was proof enough that magic existed because what would be the reason behind it. And magic was just something people call to something they can't explain at the moment, just like they call making a fire before magic. Just like her sling bag, with its strange capabilities.
Her favorite clothes can be called 'magical' now if she was being honest to herself. Ironic to a fault.
Funny because according to several new books released last year, the technology being produced by England was 'magical' in terms of the rest of the world's level in technology. The other books on the... 'magical' side were discussing on how the effects shown were similar to 'charms'. Also some of the weapons being developed show signs of being 'magical' as well, with evidence on how the freeze guns exhibit effects done by an Issah spell.
Certainly an ironic scene for her to see, magic being discussed because technology found a way to 'imitate' it. They really need to get out and stop hiding.
Which brings her back to current dilemma. Hermione was shocked to know that there's a hidden society in England that wasn't enjoying the wonders England had been appreciating for the past 3 years. Still, there must be a reason why these 'wizards and witches' hid from the public. Her mom and dad wasn't keen on the idea of sending her to Hogwarts. According to her parents, it was a textbook example of a place where she won't be able to continue her education, despite the claims of one Professor McGonagall that she won't find any use of it since she's a witch. The entire Granger family was silently fuming and simply deigned to ignore the lady's slight to Hermione's education.
Thankfully Hermione persuaded her mom and dad in letting her go, as long as she studied the books they bought for her. There's a reason why her mom and dad fancied the notion of her being home-schooled. Now that she was going to attend a school for 'wizards and witches', the notion of Hermione being home-schooled was now so appealing. She can admit that she can study the materials appropriate for her grade all by herself and she could do some advanced reading if she's bored. There was the thing about the subjects being offered in Hogwarts too. They weren't following the National Curriculum! No sir! It was an entirely different curriculum perfectly curtailed to their own world! How could Hermione get a job after graduating from that place? Despite Hermione's pleas of her attending the said school, Daniel and Emma Granger had to put their foot down and laid a set of rules for their daughter.
She had to keep up with her... 'mundane' studies while doing her 'magical' ones or else she would be pulled out of Hogwarts. That's all they asked from their daughter and Hermione was willing to do it. She was surprised they asked her to do only that. Hermione wasn't even willing to end her education just so she could 'play as a witch'.
And her first task as a witch was to help her new friend find his pet toad. It was accomplished in an hour too! Neville was a nice guy so Hermione was sure they would get along soon. Maybe she could even ask him to join in her study sessions soon! Just like other students did in her school. Hermione can't wait!
It was about 6:30 pm, according to her new digital wristwatch, when they arrived at Hogsmeade Station and the students were requested to get off the train. Noticing the lack of personnel unloading trunks outside her window, she asked Neville a question.
"Neville, who will be unloading our trunks off the train? I don't see anyone unloading the trunks and all I see are students walking towards a tall man with a lamp," said Hermione, as she gazed outside the windows of the compartment.
"I... I'm not really sure. My Grandma told me someone will take it inside the Castle but now that you said it, I am not sure how they do it. It's probably the house-elves," replied Neville.
"Hmm... That sounds-wait what? What do you mean you aren't sure? And house-elves?" questioned Hermione. She was currently dusting off her robes, said to be a part of the standard uniform of Hogwarts.
"Uh... Can we talk about that later? I think we are about to the last pair to be on the port."
Hermione was really interested on how they will be transporting the baggage of the students to the castle; will it be with magic or plain manual operations? Probably with magic, with the place being a magic school, but a part of her was curious on why they weren't any personnel at the station. Shouldn't there be a welcoming committee or a teacher to assist the student when they arrive? Security for the students and can be very helpful when someone makes a mistake on their way.
She also noticed some of the older students approach a beaten path, the opposite direction of where the 1st year students are walking towards. This instance would be a perfect situation to ask the accompanying teacher a question. Hermione also noticed that they were a certain lack of people, except for the students. Maybe they were all in the castle, waiting for them to arrive.
Now that she gave her attention to the scenes in front of her, she was appalled on the audacity of their mode of transport. At first she didn't gave any heed to Neville's remark on 'port', but now that she saw the boats on the said port she just had to made a frown. What if someone fell over on those boats and drowned, especially if he/she doesn't know how to swim? Magic or no magic, this is just plain insulting and ignoring basic safety measures. And its almost 7 pm! There was a distinct lack of lighting, despite of the numerous lamps the tall man was giving away and the moon up in the sky. It was too dark! And too dangerous, if she had to say so.
Grudgingly, she climbed aboard the boat Neville rode on, not wanting to left by her new friend. Neville seemed to be thinking the same thought she was thinking, based on the expression of relief on his face. There were two more students along with them on the boat and that really shook her resolve on riding the boat. Maybe she could persuade Neville to get off the boat and follow the older students?
But alas, she was too late. The boat moved and rocked off towards the other boats, as if some force was pushing the boat. If she wasn't too concerned about the entire spectacle, Hermione would have been intrigued by the spell-work used on the boat.
After passing under a curtain of vines, which she honestly thought would have been better if those weren't there in the first place, Hermione gazed at the castle. For the first time ever, she laid her eyes on the place where she will spend a couple of years at, possibly seven if her parents will allow it. The castle where she would be taught how to use her magic skills and learn how to use it. Hopefully her time there would be worth all the trouble she had to go through on the way.
For starters, entering a magical castle that was used for teaching magical classes to people who can use magic was not a magical experience. For all of her expectations of witnessing various magical spells in action, it was not meant to be happened because her and the rest of the students still had to manually get off the boats. Hermione expected that there was some sort of levitation mechanism that will immediately float them to the port from the boat or a variation of it. She read about a levitation spell so why wasn't it used on this scenario?
Still, maybe she was expecting a bit too high. It was already dinnertime and she was getting hungry. Her fellow prospects were also getting hungry, especially the rude boy she and Neville met on the train. The boy was rambling of having a 'sorting' before dinner by having to fight a troll. Seriously, who would believe in him? It was obvious that he was either duped into believing that or he was already delirious because of hunger. All of them were tired already from traveling the entire day to Hogwarts and he expected to fight a troll? He's 11 years old and a troll can easily smash you regardless of age and power. The books told stories of how trolls were very resistant to magical and physical damage due to their physiological structure and an effect of its magic-rich diet of plants and various animals.
A strict looking old lady, Hermione would believe she had already grandchildren by the wrinkles she had in her face, who led them from the ports and up the several staircases to a foreboding pair of doors. She was dressed in deep green robes, or a shade of green she thought, and had a witch's hat on her head. Honestly speaking, Ms. McGonagall was the poster lady of what witch should look like, unless she was only wearing those just for the occasion of starting a brand new school year.
"Here we are, The Great Hall. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll have to tell them that you children are now here and ready for the sorting."
And there goes Ms. McGonagall, opening the large doors slightly and closed them immediately. It makes sense that she would tell the people on the other side or at least check if they were ready for the new students. Hermione prepared herself by arranging her sling bag under her robes and tidying up her robs and hair. The first thing she would be researching the Great Library was a spell to make her hair not to reach her face. Based on the number of spells that were mentioned in passing in her new books, there were a spell for almost every situation. Which was both a good sign and a bad sign.
Good because if there was a problem, it could be solved immediately. Like the ever famous Finite she read about, the 'universal' counter-spell to almost every spell. And bad because if there was no spell for a certain situation, then most likely there won't be one at all. Or there was one, but it wasn't taught nor released to the public because it was too dark. Hermione all read about it but she still has no idea what 'too dark' meant. Oh well, at least she had a bit of background information to work on. She has lots of time to read in the future.
Neville, who was beside her, tugged at her robes, catching her attention to him.
"Hey, are you nervous?" Neville asked Hermione. "My Grandma said that the Sorting was very important. Grandma wanted me so bad to be in the Gryffindor House, just like my father."
"Hm... Yes. I am nervous but not really nervous that I'm shaking my knees. Probably its because I have no idea what to expect when we are allowed in The Great Hall. I keep hearing about this Sorting. I haven't read it before but maybe its in later chapters so I have check them later. Can you tell me about it, Neville?" Hermione replied. She wanted to ask about the little tidbit Neville left, about his father, but she can wait to ask about it later.
"Um... Almost all of the pure-bloods, or probably several of the half-bloods, knew about the Sorting. They say the students will be sorted to their Houses for the rest of their stay here in Hogwarts."
"Curious, so is it only for the first years or will it be repeated for the older students?"
Unfortunately, her question was left unanswered for Ms. McGonagall returned. She opened the door slightly and called everybody to form a line.
"Good. Good. Two lines. One for the boys and one for the girls. Yes. Thank you children. Now. To The Great Hall!"
The doors opened wider in a very slow manner, akin to a curtain parting slowly to reveal the actors in a theater, it revealed The Great Hall to the students. There Hermione saw the ceiling enchanted to show the sky, like a glass roof works, and the several enchanted candles that were floating above and contributed to the lighting of the place. There sere several candles as well on the walls. Makes sense since electric companies can't reach the castle. But there are spells that manipulate or create electricity or lightning. Why wouldn't they use it instead of candles? They are dangerous and can cause wide-spread fires. Like the ever famous Great Fire of London.
She looked behind as they walked towards the front of The Great Hall. The doors closed slowly, just like the way it was opened, and Hermione could see several specters behind the closing doors. Ghosts? She had read about the Hogwarts Ghost and probably they appeared when they were waiting for Ms. McGonagall. Hermione must have tuned them out in her contemplations and thinking.
Hermione and her fellow first years were instructed to sat on the front portions of the benches and tables in the Great Hall. Judging from the positioning of the tables and benches, dinner will be served after the Sorting. There were four distinct tables, positioned separately from one another, to signify the four Houses Neville told her about.
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore welcomed them with a speech to which Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall followed up with the start of the Sorting. Apparently, it was a one-time thing and, true to Neville's words, once you got Sorted you will be stuck in the House you were Sorted in. Headmistress McGonagall then lifted the cloth on a stool in front of the Professor's Table to reveal a hat.
A hat in shape of a witch's hat. It was underwhelming at first but when the hat began to sing a song, Hermione began to amend her initial opinion. An inanimate object singing. This must be a special work that can be done after she graduated? She hopes so.
Even though he was sincerely thankful that he was Sorted by the Sorting Hat into Gryffindor, he still thought that the Hat would throw him into Hufflepuff. Neville heard about how the Hufflepuff House was full of outcasts, not brave enough for Gryffindor, not intelligent enough for Ravenclaw and not cunning enough for Slytherin. As such, Hufflepuff was the place they go.
But when he saw the interaction of both older and new students in the Hufflepuff Table, he was somewhat jealous of how cheerful they all are and how they accept the new members of their House. The only consolation he received that night was Hermione being Sorted into the same House as he was in.
That was a surprise to him as well to her. Neville thought she would be Sorted into Ravenclaw but apparently Hermione was a 'Brave Eagle', her words not his. Still, he was tired already and judging from Hermione's complains of 'it's so late already', it was really late. And they have to classes already in the morning.
After riding the moving staircases towards the Gryffindor Tower, they were instructed to their respective dorms ("Boys are in that side while girls are in this side! Come on! We can talk more in the morning but now you guys need to get some well deserved rest!") inside the tower. Neville was tired yet he can tell the Common Room of the Gryffindor House was something that can ease their tiredness. The room had a very comfortable-looking sofa and a various chairs. There was also a loveseat, a kind of sofa his Grandma warned everyone not to touch in their Manor. Wonder why his Grandma ordered it.
The house-elves were great for they already prepared the beds for the tired students and their respective trunks. Neville immediately went to his assigned bed and grabbed his trunk. He want to get some his well deserved rest now but he needs to get changed.
After he refreshed himself in the boys bathroom and changed his clothes to a more comfortable pair of pajamas, a pair that was said by his Grandma his parents picked for him to wear when he get into Hogwarts, his thoughts came back to the Sorting.
Neville's Sorting was quite unusual because the Sorting Hat thanked him. Not out loud but in his mind.
"Let's see. Hmm... oh. OH! OH! Wait! Let me get that! And..."
"...yes! YES! Haha! Suck it you old croon! Your restraints can't stop me now! No more mister I-will-do-this-because-you-ordered-me-to! I'm a free hat and I will do what I want to do now!"
"Oh I'm sorry. I'm Alistair, what you call the Sorting hat that is. I must thank you for breaking the restraints on me through the amulet you were wearing. Although you may have no idea that it did what it did, I still have to thank you young man for aiding me."
"What are you talking about? And why am I talking to you through my head? Is this some sort of magic?"
"Yes. Yes. For me to Sort you, I have to take a look into your head. A rather benign form of Legilimency that allows me to only see your memories and communicate with you if it is necessary. And from the memories that I saw, you are one rebellious kid. Loyal to a fault but it takes courage to stand up against something that you disagree with, no matter how miniscule your actions were."
"Don't mind me. You're may not understand me now kiddo but I'm sure we will have more time to converse in the future. For you have a spine of steel, small for now, that will grow stronger in the coming years, I decide that you are perfect for GRYFFINDOR!"
"Now listen, your Houses don't represent you kids perfectly. It's a place where those qualities you kids exhibit now will develop. Whether its in a positive or negative direction, its your choice. I just prepared the training grounds for you children, so to speak. And once again, good luck Mister Longbottom."
The partially one-sided conversation with the Sorting Hat was very confusing to Neville. Yet the Hat emphasized on his potential and how he stood up against something he disagreed with. The only thing that he disagreed with was the notions of his Uncle Algie of him being a squib and a disgrace to the Longbottom name.
Sometimes Neville wonder how he can find the answers to his questions in an instant on certain times but he had a very hard time finding the solutions to the problem his Grandma taught him.
GONG! GONG! GONG!
He can hear it. His Grandma told him that the old large clock in the courtyard occasionally makes noises during the night. It used to sound back in her days but now it seldom works anymore. There was a myth nowadays that when somebody heard the clock rang, it usually signals a brand new start for the listener.
Maybe its a sign of things that will come. Neville hoped that the myth may have a pinch of truth in it because he wants a brand new start in Hogwarts.
As the days flew by, Hermione was a constant presence beside him. Its comforting for someone to be near him and actually recognized his existence. Neville's roommates were mostly ignoring him for reasons of him being a borderline squib. Although he is a pure-blood, his parents were an avid follower of Dumbledore in the Order of the Phoenix and thus received a negative reputation to the other students, who were either belonging to a neutral family or You-Know-Who's followers.
Nevertheless, he was contented on spending at least the rest of the year quite alone. That was until he met Hermione. That girl was a storm to be reckoned with. Brave Eagle was a perfect description to her. She was like an eagle, when she saw her prey she will hunt it down until she got it with her claws. And her prey in sight was their grades in their respective classes.
Neville wondered how Hermione can be so enthusiastic with her studies. Her reply to him was a very cryptic answer of 'because it for its own sake'. Either it was very cryptic or it just doesn't make sense even to her. Still, thanks to her Neville was at least acceptable to the rest of his classes, aside from Herbology where he was a master in it. Thanks to the accumulated experience he had in the Longbottom greenhouses, he was claimed by Professor Sprout to have a 'green thumb'. Even Hermione had asked him to help him in Herbology.
Aside from one class, he was perfectly and virtually in the 'safe zone' in their grades. It was because he had Hermione with him. Partnered quickly in their classes except for Potions, who was being taught by Professor Snape.
He always had errors in their Potions works that he frequently had several detentions with the said Professor. Thankfully he was only to aid Prof. Snape in cleaning the materials used during the last class. The older students in their House always warned them about Prof. Snape. Prof. Snape was a very grouchy man, only beaten in the top position by Mr. Filch, and he will take extreme pleasure in deducting points and assigning detections to the students who caught his ire. But the news of not having Potter in his class seemed to brighten up the classroom whenever he came into it these days.
Potter. Now that was also one thing that surprised him. Harry Potter wasn't at the Sorting. Harry Potter wasn't at Hogwarts. His supposed to be god-brother, according to his Grandma, was not at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Neville frankly could say that he expected this. If the stories and rumors were to believed, the Boy-Who-Lived wouldn't be near Hogwarts at all for he was supposed to be trained to defeat You-Know-Who. His favorite uncle was so pleased with himself one time when he announced to everyone in Longbottom Manor about the Boy-Who-Lived children books series, which was supposed to be actual tales of Harry Potter's training and misadventures after vanquishing You-Know-Who.
And the article Rita Skeeter made the next day after the Start of the Term Feast was something that shocked the castle residents, including him. The following days were filled with rumors and several gossips on how could the Boy-Who-Lived be lost to the Lost Christmas Incident. Not even Neville had a comment on the matter.
Hermione, on the hand, took everything in stride. She still was caught by surprise by several things in the castle, namely the portraits and the small scale charms and spells done by the castle inhabitants, but she calmly accepted them all. Only to interrogate Neville afterwards at the Library when they had an open slot in their schedules.
She had the idea of letting him join in her little study sessions as a way to deepen their friendship. And by study sessions, she meant was study lessons on subjects Neville had no idea on. Mathematics, Science, English Language, Geography, History, Languages, Music, Physical Education, and Technology. He had no idea about these things Hermione was writing on her paper ("No, it isn't parchment because paper is easier to produce than parchment and can you believe how many animals were slaughtered just that we can use parchment? I won't allow myself to use it unless its necessary. I'm not an active participant of needless animal cruelty!") but according to her, it was essential for her to continue her 'mundane' education.
Neville had to give credit where its due, because he can sympathize with his friend since he had some lessons already from his Grandma on how to be a proper Lord fit for the Lord Longbottom Position. But the lessons he received had no such thing of learning how to do these 'fractions' and there was actually a fire in England that almost razed down the entire city of London? Wasn't that where the Ministry of Magic was found? And why doesn't it be taught in their actual History Lessons?
He started it as some sort of favor for Hermione just to humor her passion in learning but it soon devolved into something he sought after they had their normal classes. Neville was thankful that in almost all of their classes, he was always paired with Hermione, aside from Potions where he will be partnered with a Slytherin first year. The Hogwarts Library was their haven in studying since Madam Pince was comparable to a dragon whose hoard was books and the silence commonly attributed to a library. And since she was like a dragon, its safe to say that anyone who will break her rules will received a very severe penalty. Not to mention that there were rumors spread by the older students that she was in a relationship with Argus Filch, the Hogwarts Custodian or Caretaker/Janitor/House-slave/Over-all Unlucky Squib.
Madam Pince was at first skeptical at Hermione's actions during their initial study sessions, because of the unrecognizable books and magazines Hermione brought into the library. She consented them afterwards when Neville supported Hermione's claims of 'broadening their educational perspective by using other materials alongside Hogwarts' resources'. They also got several slips of Hallway Passes after a couple of study sessions from her, when they lost track of time in studying. Having them to be escorted by the Mr. Filch when Madam Pince had to close the library for the night wasn't a very nice experience. The resentment in Mr. Filch can be felt even with him not even speaking a word.
At least now they can study until 9 pm, an hour after its closing time. Not too early where they could be distracted by their fellow students in playing games and not too late for them not to get enough rest for the next day.
On weekends, aside from finishing up any homework that was given in their normal classes, they are free to explore the school grounds. Namely the castle courtyards and the Black Lake. Which was a perfect place for do their Physical Education class. Namely running around the lake or around the courtyards. Neville wasn't really perturbed about the confusing stares given to him and his friend by his fellow pure-bloods, as he already an outcast in their social circles for several reasons. Except for Malfoy. He always has this some strange look on his face whenever Hermione would drag him to their Physical Education classes.
Something that started out as a whim became something he actually looked forward to, Neville enjoyed the time he spent with his friend. Although he was acquainted with some of his fellow first year Gryffindors, like Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas, Neville can say he had a true friend in Hermione despite only having a few weeks of being friends. There was one notable Gryffindor that was annoying him most of the time, which he and Neville frequently ignore whenever he was in their range.
For most of the time in as a student of Hogwarts, Hermione studied and tutored his friend Neville Longbottom. But occasionally she will try to help her fellow students in their work, especially in their Charms classes where pronunciation and wand movement were the core elements of its spells. In theory it was only to aid the witch and wizard to properly visualize in the intended effect of the spell, a requirement to Silent Spellcasting.
The Sorting Hat gave her a choice to be in Ravenclaw or in Gryffindor because she both have the characteristics the two Houses represent, intelligence and courage. Thus her nickname as the 'Brave Eagle', coined by the Sorting Hat and popularized by Neville. And as the 'Brave Eagle', she has a compulsion to help others in their academic pursuit, which perfectly shows her dual natured personality of being a Gryffindor-ish Ravenclaw.
And it led her to helping the rude redhead she met on the Hogwarts Express. Which wasn't received in a positive manner. Add insult to injury, the redhead had the gall to insult her intelligence and her kind nature to help others as well as her social status of being a 'know-it-all'. If not for Neville catching up to her when their Charms classes ended, she would have made her way to the abandoned girl's bathroom on the second floor just to let out her anger and accumulated sadness.
Just because she was a smart girl for her ages, it does not mean she was in perfect control of her emotions. Being away from her parents for almost two months and not to mention her having to spend her birthday all alone (to which she also forgot until the next day, she wasn't yet able to forgive herself up until now), her pent up emotions were already ready to burst. It just needed the right trigger and the right angle to tip the proverbial bucket and the water will flow out.
Neville, bless him, noted her discomfort and immediately went to console her. All alone in the corridor with her friend, she cried into her robes and the next thing she remembered was her crying into his shoulders.
"Stupid. Stupid. Why did I tried to help that good for nothing boy? He was rude to us before, I should have thought that he will still be rude to us. And now look at me, a mess because I felt so useless," Hermione intoned out loud. She never would have thought Neville would reply to her monologue.
"H-Hermione, you aren't useless. I mean, you helped me in my homework and our classes. And also you kind of teach me new things from the Mug – I mean mundane side. So that means you are not useless," Neville replied with a shaky voice. Her small breakdown in front of him must have shook the poor boy very hard.
"Y-You are just telling me that because I help you get passing grades in our Transfiguration and Potions classes. I am just useful to you guys when I have something for you but when its done I'm just going to be left alone again. Just like back at my old school," At this Hermione cried harder as she remembered the times when she tried to have friends back at primary. Only to be left alone after she helped them. The insult surely shook her very hard for Hermione to remember such painful instances of her young life.
"No! Don't say that! You said you'll be my friend right? That makes me your friend too! You didn't left me alone when the other students ignore me after the Sorting. You stuck with me for almost 8 weeks already even I am not a very smart person. You helped me in my homework and you even taught me new things I never thought I would be taught. I never asked anything out of it but you did it anyway!" Neville hoped he got his message through Hermione despite his difficulty in conveying it.
"See, you said it. I taught you things. So you will obviously leave me when its over!" Hermione actually raised her voice in retaliation, her clear mind now clouded with emotions.
"No! You got it all wrong! Hermione! Wait!" Neville shouted as Hermione ran away from him, clearly distraught over her initial emotional breakdown and mistaken assumptions.
Hermione ran as fast as she could, away from Neville, away from anyone she knew, away from people who could hurt her. She don't want anyone to find her for now. Hermione ran down a couple of stairs and went to a direction she felt right. She was clearly in no position to be speaking to people right now. Her hair was in a mess, her face was trodden by tears and she could feel dribbles of snot flowing out of her nose. Disgusting.
She made her way to a sink and splashed her face with the cold water to refresh up herself. Now that the cold water had calmed her down, she noticed she was in a lavatory. A girl's lavatory specifically. It was still early afternoon and they had no more classes. They were going to have a Halloween Feast that evening, which was an oddity in itself since it was a holiday influenced by Christianity. Ironic that witches and wizards celebrate a holiday linked to a religion that was connected to witch burnings and other things.
Now that her mind was clear, since she already made an evaluation of the feast they were about to have later in the evening, Hermione could say she was sorry of the things she said to Neville. She was slightly unreasonable and purely rude to him a few moments ago, outright rejecting his efforts in consoling her.
Coming out of the bathroom, she saw someone running towards her direction. It was Neville. And he has specks of tears in his eyes. Was he crying because she ran away from him?
"O-Oh! Hermione! You okay? I'm sorry if I said anything bad or anything at all!" Neville almost pounced on her, and crushing her with a tight hug.
"I-I'm fine Neville. Can you let me go? It's getting a bit tight," She croaked out. Her voice was hoarse from crying and she feared she might have messed up her friend's robes.
"Please don't do that again! You're my only friend here and I can't seeing you crying because of me. Did I do something wrong? Please tell me! Please." Neville almost begged her, with eyes pleading to a god for salvation.
"No, you did nothing wrong. Its actually my fault because I was not thinking straight. I..."
Hermione sniffed and breathe slowly to calm herself.
"Let's move first, okay? I want to sit down for now. My feet are hurting me from the run I did a while ago."
The pair walked towards one of the various courtyards of the castle grounds. There were several benches littered around a central fountain, serving as rest stops for the students, professors and visitors to sit down on. Clutching her sling bag, Hermione sat down on one of the stone benches near the corridor that connects to the Main Corridor of the castle.
"I... I let his insult get to me, Neville. Back at my old school, I was an outcast. Just because I learn faster and remember the lesson easier than them, they resorted to bullying me instead of studying. They don't physically hurt me but the insults and indirect attacks really got me bad."
She inhaled deeply before continuing. Neville kept silent.
"I never had friends before. Technically, I had 'fake' friends. They hang around me so that I could give them the answers to the tests or teach them how to get them. After getting what the wanted, they would leave me alone and the cycle will repeat itself a day or two. I never noticed it back then. Sounds really foolish of me, right?" Hermione asked Neville, not that she expected an answer to her rhetorical question.
"My parents were there but actually they weren't. I mean, physically they were there but somehow they were busy in their work. Both of my parents are working parents, their professions are in the medical field which demands them to be in the clinics at most of the time. Although they both have the type of job that has the least demands of all, it still doesn't mean that they should not work. Their combined salary was just enough until 4 years ago."
"That's why I am easily reminded of my time in my old school, especially when I was 7 to 8 years old. The teachers weren't really much help, when all they could do was tell the bullies to stop and assign them detention. It repeats a few days after, leaving no permanent solution. After my parents got a new job that gives them a larger salary than before, they spend most of their time with me. As if to catch up the time lost from the start of my primary school."
Hermione stopped suddenly and pulled out her water bottle. She was thirsty and her throat needs to be quenched by some well-deserved water. After taking a fourth of the water in her water bottle, Hermione finished her small tirade. "Sorry, I rambled back there. My main point is I got his insult to me so bad that I made foolish decisions. Thank you for being there for me Neville. If you weren't there, I would have went down to the unused girl's toilet in the second floor and made a hole in one of the cubicles in it for the rest of the day. Who knows what would happen to me if I stayed there all night?"
There Neville chuckled. "You might got lost or worse. Caught by Mr. Filch roaming the hallways late at night."
Hermione also laughed at the hypothetical situation. "Yeah, I would be lost in the different hallways of the school and on the moving staircases. Also I don't want to experience being caught by the Castle Custodian, he sounds like a very mean man. Why would Hogwarts hire a Mr. Filch, a man without magic, to work in a school that teaches magic? I would get detention with him! Or worse! He could get me expelled for it!" She exclaimed with a fake shock on her face.
The pair laughed loudly at the badly done joke. Neville and Hermione made even jokes on how Mr. Filch would get himself caught on one of the trick steps on the Moving Staircases or how he would have to clean the mess made by the infamous Weasley Twins in one of the various hallways of the school. Hermione felt guilty for the old man, especially when he had no magic in him to aid in his work, but then he remembered how mean he is normally when they pass him at his office at the ground floor. Its either Mr. Filch was mean because he got no magic or he was really just a mean person. Thinking about it doesn't even change the fact that they were making fun of the poor old man.
Neville was already smiling and made a sigh full of relief. "At least you calmed down already. I don't want to make any misunderstanding when you ran away from me back at the third floor. I never had a friend before so it's all confusing to me too."
That caught Hermione's curiosity as well as her interest. "What do you mean you never had a friend before? You mean I'm your first friend?"
"Yes. You were my first friend. Unless you count Trevor."
"Trevor is a pet, although you could call him a friend. Strange, you can call a pet a friend? Is that why they're all dogs as man's best friend?" Hermione voiced out her opinion and confusion.
"Uhuh," Neville continued, not noticing Hermione's confusion. "Ever since my parents were confined into the hospital when I was one, I only had my Grandma and my Uncle Algie in our Manor. Several of the family's friends were not in the country for several years due to the war that happened a decade ago. Not once did Grandma allowed me to get out of the Manor grounds nor invite any kids around me age to the Manor."
"Hmm... Go on," Hermione was intrigued on Neville's past so she kept silent.
"Our family had several greenhouses in our Manor so I spent most of my time in their, tending to the plants and flowers. My Grandma spent her time in teaching me lessons on language and other things when I reached a certain age. But never once did she hired a tutor for me. Something about security."
"Why would your Grandma do that and where were your parents? Were they stuck in the hospital ever since?" Hermione asked Neville as she took another drink from her water bottle. She also handed an another water bottle for Neville to drink with.
He drank a fourth of the water before continuing. "My Grandma said both of my parents were under one of the Unforgivables until they both went insane. They are still in a special ward of the hospital up to this point. My parents were working as Aurors and they had a confrontation with one the enemies. My Grandma feared that the attackers would return and finish the job on them."
Hermione can feel the awkwardness in the air so she tried to dissipate it. "Hey, I saw something on your neck a while ago. It looked like a necklace or a pendant. Can I see it?"
Neville was confused of the abrupt question but he answered it anyway. "Hmm? Oh right. I have one. It even had a locket that had a picture of my parents in it. Here."
He pulled out a the locket alongside a stone wrapped around in the chains and opened it. Hermione saw a picture of a couple smiling beside each other. Then the couple laughed.
"Wow. I saw the moving portraits around the castle but a moving picture is new to me. Your parents looked so happy Neville," She told Neville as she closed the locket and returned it back to Neville.
"My Grandma said that they took this picture when my mother found out she was pregnant with me. She was so happy at that moment. So was my father. It's sad to think that they didn't had the chance to spend the past 10 years with me," Neville's expression went gloomy after that. "But I hope someday they will recover and we could spend more time together in the future, right?"
Hermione couldn't say no to that hopeful look Neville had. Especially when she herself believe in a better tomorrow and future. "Absolutely! Now then, should we go to the Great Hall or should we go back to the dorms? I still don't feel alright to join the crowds at the moment."
"Dorms it is. I also don't want to spend celebrating the day my parents got admitted to the hospital."
She flinched at his off-hand comment. Hermione didn't knew that Neville's parents were attacked that day, even though it was 10 years ago. To Neville, it was probably compared to a death anniversary than a holiday of remembering the dead. Adding salt to the wounds would be the fact that Neville's parents weren't even dead yet can be classified as 'dead' due to their condition. What a way to enjoy Halloween's Day.
"Hey, Hermione? Where do you even get those water bottles of yours? I don't even remember seeing one on the tables at breakfast nor there were any of those being offered during lunch nor dinner," Neville asked as they climbed up pass through several corridors of the castle.
"Remember when I said that my sling bag can hold lots of things. I meant it literally, I have tons of water bottles in my bag. Also I have biscuits, sandwiches and other snacks. If I have known that Hogwarts doesn't even have a canteen here, I should have brought the countless Tupperwares in our home. That way I could store the food from breakfast, lunch or dinner as snacks anytime of the day!" Hermione exclaimed as she recalled the small annoyance she experienced the past 2 months.
"...You lost me there," Neville deadpanned as he look around the corner. Hermione couldn't blame Neville. The wizarding world, or the wizarding society as she sometimes call it, were far secluded from the rest of the world. How did they manage to keep their leftovers fresh and clean to be eaten the next day was a wonder to her. Stasis charms have its own shelf life, according to her research, and thus can't be relied on occasions that demand long storage time.
Also it was quite late. She can't believe the time they spent in the courtyard talking. The saying of 'time flies by when your having fun' was true after all. And Mr. Flich was surely roaming the hallways, looking for stray students not in the Great Hall nor in their dormitories. Rumors of how the students were to assist in him cleaning the bathrooms weren't rumors but actual recollections of the students themselves.
She expected Mr. Filch to appear anytime to be honest. What she didn't expect was Prof. Quirrel to be sprinting down the hallways towards the Great Hall. Neville seemed to be shocked as well, judging by the way he quickly flattened himself at the wall. She too copied Neville's action, not even knowing why she did.
"Wh-Why was Prof. Quirrel sprinting towards the Great Hall?" Neville asked. "Nevermind, maybe he was late to the feast. We should be going right now."
"Y-Yeah," Hermione replied. She was surprised by Prof. Quirrel's actions but it still doesn't mean they should stop.
The pair climbed up the stairs to the second floor. The Moving Staircases were on the second floor, which connects to the Gryffindor's Dormitories. Ghosts weren't even roaming the hallways of the second floor, not even Peeves, that pesky poltergeist, was there. What waited for them was a troll that was slowly fumbling its way down the hallway opposite of the Moving Staircases' direction.
Albus Dumbledore wasn't having the best of times in the Great Hall. Sure, the Halloween Feast was festive. Even the notorious Weasley Twins weren't even pranking the inhabitants of the castle and judging from their expressions of bliss on their faces, it was likely they had no plans for that day.
Or they were faking their expressions and actually deployed their so-called weapons around the Great Hall and was only waiting for someone to trigger it.
Was it a sad thing that he had to resort in enjoying the pranks of the Weasley Twins just to keep away the depressing thoughts of failing the Potter heir?
Ever since that day he was called in by the Wizengamot for an Emergency Meeting that December 25 of 1984, Albus' plans for one Harry James Potter were derailed significantly.
A stupid druid with a forgettable name – even Rita Skeeter didn't mentioned the name of that druid for the reason she absolutely loathed it – did some ritual of sorts at the Stonehenge at the evening of that day.
Good thing a sentry posted at that site, a rather low paying post for an Auror for its was basically a glorified tour guide post and was reserved for the Aurors who got the honor of pissing off the current Head of the Auror Department, reported to the Ministry as soon as he detected signs of a ritual being started. By the time the rest of the Aurors arrived, the Stonehenge was already glowing as a party after a Quidditch Match.
The accompanying Unspeakable who dismantled the halfway done ritual reported it was a ritual done to access the full power of the Stonehenge and can only be done 4 hours before the end of the day of Yule. Apparently the druid was a reclusive one, a misfit amongst the druids registered living at Ireland, and was highly off on his rockers to enact a ritual devised to commune with the Old Gods.
There was a reason why rituals designed to commune with the Old Gods were prohibited or outright removed from the records. Communing with the Old Gods may have serious side-effects, not mentioning the mental instability one can receive when inside a 40 meter radius of the ritual zone. Side-effects include but not limited to terraforming, unprecedented magical shock waves that may disrupt several ancient wards, barriers and wardstones, and disasters both in magical and muggle in origin. It was a known fact that someone in Pompeii decided to commune with their gods, it was even done on Vulcanalia to strengthen the said communion. It was recorded that the gods answered but was soon cut off by some unknown entity. Mostly accepted theory was there was no reply at all and it was all just the writer's speculation, but the record was aged badly so it still remained a theory.
Countless of magical shock waves were recorded during that day as well and the day after Mount Vesuvius erupted. The eruption was both magical and mundane in nature, as records stated that no magical protection nor anything magical in nature survived an encounter with the lava it spewed. Even the ash and cinder of the eruption was magical as it disrupted apparition and portkeys in its vicinity.
An ancient wizard related to Gaius Caecilius recorded the magical side of the entire events and thanks to his abilities allowed both of them to survive from the tragedy. Since he was in a desperate situation, he had to o escape or else he will perish along with the other people. Thanks to his innovations out of desperation, his notes on several non-standard methods to circumvent the old way of Apparition and Portkey Production were a massive contribution to modern Apparition and Portkey Production and Anti-Apparition and Portkey Wards.
Nevertheless Communion to the Old Gods was a big no-no to anyone. Especially when it was shown by history that it would only result to the 3 D's. Disappointment, Destruction and Death.
But the ritual done at the Stonehenge at the eve of Yule of 1984 was halfway done. Thus it lead to some several incidents. Short outbursts of magic in the Ministry, claimed by several witnesses by the abrupt burnings of flying paper planes, temporary disruption of the wards concealing the Leaky Cauldron and the ever famous Lost Christmas Incident. The last one was so controversial because of the very large range of its area of effect, not that he would learn about it until a few hours later.
The druid was then tied and convicted to a decade of imprisonment in Azkaban. Albus can't even think of a reason why he was even called into the Emergency Meeting but then again, he was the Supreme Mugwump and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He is required to attend every meeting or council being held in its chambers. It was a chore to be honest but its necessary for him to be there. He must be there to ensure the laws can be upheld and justice can be executed fairly.
He recalled Lucius Malfoy was terribly annoyed or, at the very least, irritated of Cornelius Fudge beside him. Millicent Bagnold was clearly delighted by the turn of events, especially since it will show that her term as Minister of Magic was good enough to prevent another 'Pompeii incident'. Albus doesn't share the same thoughts as her, for several lost of merchandise due to the shock waves still happened and it would be blamed entirely on her. Crouch, on the other hand, was confused of some things and was annoying Lucius Malfoy for some ideas or plots.
Politics can be such battlefield.
Lucius' irritation and foul mood could be attributed to the countless products and merchandise lost during the magical outbursts of that evening, since most of the businesses under his name were terribly affected by the shock waves. It was reported that those businesses of his suffered tremendous lost in merchandise, withholding Lucius' name in the reports for obvious reasons. Bankruptcy was then filed a month later, if Albus remembered correctly.
At the very least, Albus was glad that the Auror Department managed to prevent a 'Pompeii incident' in Britain. But that happy feeling turned sour when he arrived at Hogwarts and noticed the various trackers of one Harry James Potter not functioning at all. And based on the results he tested on the trackers, the trackers stopped functioning the same time the druid was stopped. It coincided with the time the magical shock waves were reported.
In a rush, he called his Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall and pleaded her to come along with him to check the child of her favorite student and graduate. Minerva was skeptical at his pleas but still deigned to accompany him. She wanted to visit the son of James Potter countless times but was stopped by her superior everytime she brought up the idea.
By the time the pair arrived at Little Whinging, they had to transfigure several cushions or platforms to stop themselves from falling onto a deep chasm. Minerva quickly transfigure the nearby boulders into a table and cast several floating charms to make it float in mid-air, making a floating platform for her to stand upon. Albus did the same thing. He preferred something more unique but he was caught by surprise of not having a ground to stand on so he went to the simple route of casting the same spells his Deputy Headmistress did.
The sight they saw was a shock. Little Whinging disappeared. The ground below them looked like someone dug the entire area and left the hole open for someone to trip on. Minerva was completely in shock, an emotion Albus was familiar with, for seeing such a thing.
"Albus, what happened here? I felt a strange wave of magic a few hours ago and dismissed it, thinking someone messed up in one of their potions. Is this what you were called for at the Ministry?" Minerva asked Albus with a stare he couldn't stand to look directly at. "Tell me Albus! What happened here? I don't see a Little Whinging here Albus!"
Minerva was practically shouting and would have been stomping and casting hexes and jinxes at Albus, if not for the fact that they were still standing on their own floating platforms above a deep chasm.
"Let's first get to ground level, Minerva. We can talk there. And I promise I'll tell you. I am complete baffled by these events myself and I need your opinion on this matter," Albus replied to Minerva. He had to console the rage Minerva was feeling right now. He knew for a fact that Minerva would have loved to take care the Potter heir herself but was only stopped by the fact Lily Potter cast a protective barrier around her son before her death. A barrier that completely blocks attacks magical in nature whenever a blood relative is within its range 5 meters.
Albus witnessed it himself when Lily asked him to be a witness of her casting it. A unique spell created by Lily, thanks to her heavey research on Arithmancy and other obscure tomes around the Potter Manor and the Restricted Section of Hogwarts.
When Albus and Minerva came to ground after having the floating platforms move towards the ground, they were received by several Aurors and Unspeakables.
"Good evening, Prof. Dumbledore. Good evening, Prof. McGonagall. May I inquire on your business in these parts of Britain?" An Auror asked both of them. "We received a report from one of our 'friends' in the Unspeakables of a wide-scale magical outburst that was concentrated around this area. We suspect it was related to the earlier case of a ritual halfway done by a druid two hours ago." Probably a recruit who got a few years of experience was assigned to lead a squad by himself.
"The same reason you and your squad were deployed here. I have an old friend here, Arabella Figg, and I decided to visit her along with my Deputy Headmistress. It's a persona business matter. Imagine our surprise when we found a deep chasm instead of the ground I was used to see," Albus quickly answered before Minerva had a chance to say a word. It would be a terrible idea for someone, especially a wizard not allied to the Order, to know the location of the Potter heir.
"Alright Professors. I would like to have you two file a testimony of some sorts but since you two are both respectable citizens, I will have to ignore the fact that you two were here. I have absolute trust that you two weren't any way connected to this incident. I'll be sending an owl a day or two later if we encounter this Arabella Figg. Judging by the scenery behind you two, I doubt that there would be any signs of her at all."
The Auror continued as he walked closer to the newly-made cliff and made a frown to the sight of a tube spilling water down the cliff. "Is this Arabella Figg a witch? There were no records of wizards living in Little Whinging, according to the records in the Ministry."
"No, she's a Squib. A very close friend of ours," Albus answered. He doubt this conversation will lead to a good ending.
"Good riddance. Oh. Sorry. A Squib huh. Maybe that's why she wasn't on the records. Anyway, I request you two to leave the area so that we could start with the investigation. Out Unspeakbale 'friend' here also needs some semblance of peace and quiet before she could do her thing."
"With pleasure. Good evening," And with that Albus apparated with Minerva leaving as well.
"Albus! Answer me right now! Or I will hex your beard and use the confiscated joke items from Zonko's on you. I may be a respectable professor but I am not above from using the joke items I confiscated if it means I can get a straight answer from you!"
"And don't even say anything about Gellert Grindlewald or I will use the more hostile portion of the joke items!"
Minerva's last statement would have made Albus choke on his Lemon Drops if he was sucking on it at that time. Good thing he didn't opened it yet. Albus then hid his stash of Lemon Drops underneath his table, away from Minerva's sight before she could think of dousing those with some potion she could demand from Severus. Severus and Minerva may be rivals inside the school but if the situation demands them to cooperate, they would in a heartbeat. Especially when both of them can get something out of it. Albus shuddered from the time he was under an effect of a Drastic Hair-Growing Potion Minerva sprayed on his table and chair. Minerva was angry at him for hiding the fact that he was the one responsible for her getting drunk one time in her Animagus Form.
How would he even known she would drink the catnip? It was for Argus Filch's cat in the first place.
"...The trackers I placed around Harry James Potter's house weren't functioning when I came back from the Ministry."
"What kind of trackers Albus?" Minerva asked him slowly, her temper quickly dissipating by his answers.
"Trackers on his health and other things that may endanger him. You may never know when the kid will get sick. It happened one time and I had Arabella Figg to check up on the child and help his relatives in getting him better."
"Albus, Arabella Figg is a Squib. She have no idea what to do when a magical child gets sick, especially if its a magical type of sickness," Minerva questioned, for it was well known that a Squib can't deal with sickness magical in nature. If they get at least one, then their dead. That's why Squibs are seen as useless by several wizards and witches nowadays.
"It happened a month ago. She also sends me reports every end of the year on Harry James Potter's condition. SO far, her reports last year were quite common to a normal muggle child. Helping around the home with the household chores seems to be the only thing the child was doing," Albus reasoned out.
"...So the trackers weren't functioning. That means Harry James Potter was sick?"
"Aside from his health, the tracker that tracks his magical core wasn't functioning. And you know when a wizard's magical core stops functioning."
"..." Minervas was quiet. From the way her face paled, Albus can say Minerva understood what he meant.
"Yes, it only happens when the wizard's dead."
"Albus! You can't be serious!"
"I'm afraid not Minerva. But the thing that's bothering me right now is that there's one tracker that is still active." There Albus placed a whirling trinket of sorts on his table and removed the other two that weren't whirling into the drawers under his table.
"And that's the one on your table right now?"
"Yes, it a tracker that tracks his heartbeat."
"Wait a minute. You tell me the tracker on his health and magical core weren't functioning but the one on his life was still working? Is this a prank Albus?" Clearly Minerva was confused. He too was confused a while ago but he understood the implications the trackers imply.
"I certainly hope it is. But you saw the situation Little Whinging was in. It's gone. Completely. I believe that Little Whinging wasn't blasted but instead it was removed. But where I have no idea. The trackers on his health and magical core was supposed to be work as long as the person is within Great Britain, which means if the person left the country it won't work. Which means Harry James Potter isn't dead but was moved somewhere else. The tracker on his life will remain to function as long as the person is still alive."
"I'm afraid you lost me back there Albus. Let me get this straight first. Harry's health and magical core tracker aren't functioning so you conclude he isn't in the country anymore. But the tracker on his life is still functioning, so it proves he is still alive. However, you said that Little Whinging wasn't blasted and was only removed. What is your point Albus?" Minerva understood it quite well yet not at all. Somehow she even summarized his words.
"The ritual mentioned by the Auror earlier was similar to the ritual done in 'Pompeii'," Albus stated with a grim expression on his face. He had to tell one way or another the possible situation they would have faced.
"...Oh my." The color on her face disappeared a second time around within a 10 minute duration. A first for Minerva.
"Yes Minerva. Good thing the Aurors were able to stop the ritual before it was done but it was halfway finished. The results were several magical shock waves for 5 hours and, I believe, the removal of a certain town in Great Britain."
"Yes, it was a good thing that the Aurors were able to stop it. But why Little Whinging? Only you, me, and Hagrid knew. Also Sirius Black but he's at Azkaban. So why?"
"I have no idea too Minerva. At least the druid is now in Azkaban and judging from the Aurors deployed back there, the entire thing was all just a fluke."
"What about Harry Potter?"
"It seems he's alive but we can't know if he is alright or his magic is still with him. There are countless reports that a wizard lost his magical core and survived but it caused them indescribable grief for the loss."
"To be honest Albus, I felt somewhat relieved that he is far away now from those free Death Eaters. Wherever he is now, I believe he will be safe from those who follow You-Know-Who. We both know he is still alive and just waiting to come back. Please Albus. Please keep that tracker safe. Also the other two. I hope that someday the other trackers will be functioning again in the future. And the other one will be a reminder to us that he's still alive and safe."
Albus can't completely agree with Minerva's statement but she had her point. Clearly Harry Potter was alive but not within his reach anymore. But he's still alive. And that's all it matters. But what about his relatives? He planned everything almost perfectly so that the boy will be raised in a muggle environment so that when he came into the wizarding world, he could be trained the right way. The right way. The way of the Greater Good.
As Minerva walked out of his office, Albus was left alone with the whirling trinket that signified Harry James Potter was alive.
He had to plan things differently now. He must find a way to get the boy back. The prophecy was made for a reason and Albus will do everything he can that the prophecy will be done. Word by word. It's for the Greater Good, after all.
So far, his plans failed or outright blocked. The goblins in Gringotts won't allow him to get in the Potter Vaults for some reason. Something about him not the magical guardian of the boy. Even the vault key to the Potter Vaults was rejected for it was invalid. Albus can't help but sigh when he remembered that he was the one who helped in strengthening the clause of a unified vault for an orphaned heir. Meaning all the vaults that can be linked to an heir who was orphaned due to various circumstances will be linked under his name. It can also be accessed to his/her magica guardian or someone who has the vault key with him/her.
But somehow the vault key was rendered invalid because the magical guardian of the boy unknowingly enacted a certain clause to the vaults. Due to the vaults system of recognizing several systems of magic, it can affected by even the off-hand comments of the magical guardian of an heir. As long it was willed with respect to Magic and her power.
Thus, the vaults can't be accessed by anyone unless he is Harry James Potter himself. The order of the magical guardian was even written on one of the documents under the Potter Account Manager. It was a self-updating document made specifically for heirs of Ancient and Noble Families that was designed for the the Lords or magical guardians to give an order pertaining to the vaults without even coming to Gringotts or any of their branches. A remote activated document.
"You can't be allowed to have money in your hands until you are 18 and I hope that you will go to the bank yourself to get it!" - Relius Clover
Albus don't know who is Relius Clover is. Even his contacts in the American Ministry of Magic can't help him because for the reason there's no Relius Clover in their records. Sure, there was a Clover Family in America. A pureblooded one who was quite respectable both in the Neutral and Dark Families' Circle in America for their work in artificial limbs and magical prosthetic. Alastor "Mad-eye" Moody had some contacts within the American Ministry of Magic and had some dealings with the Clover Family for his Magical Eye. There was a rumor going around that the Clover Family had strange Family Magic that affected the eyes of its members, thus their Magical Eyes merchandise were based on their own eyes. Popularized by the fact that most of them had some sort of masks or eye-wear whenever they went out into the public.
So there, he had no way of indirectly dealing with the Potter Vaults. He did this to himself. And not even a marriage contract to the boy helped him in that area. A version of that remote activated document, now for betrothals and marriage contracts.
"Under no circumstances you shall marry unless you want to. Your own happiness is a priority!" - Relius Clover
The Relius Clover always threw porcupine quills into his cauldron. It always explodes and causes a mess for him to clean up. A betrothal to the daughter of the Weasley Family, a family of his pawn although the same can't be said to four of the boys in the family, can't be done.
So far he had a feeling that he will be allowing Riddle to do what he wants in the near future and maybe, just maybe Riddle can bring back the boy within his reach. Irony in its cruelest form. His own downfall was done through his own actions. Albus himself couldn't do a thing, even if he has the means to do so. After the spectacle in Stonehenge and the resulting chaos of Lost Christmas, rituals are now closely watched within Great Britain by the Ministry. Even the I.C.W had a tight leash on rituals after word got around that a ritual of some design caused an entire town to disappear and actually caught the muggle's attention to it. No amount of obliviation and muggle-repelling charms can prevent the muggles from not noticing the deep chasm in the place of a town.
But for now, he still have to do what he could do. Just like his Deputy Headmistress had said, Harry Potter is alive and safe somewhere in the world thanks to the half-done ritual. Hagrid brought the parcel containing the Philosopher's Stone, an object dearly coveted by people and was created by his friend Nicholas Flamel. He spent years during the First Wizarding War persuading his friend to lend Albus the Philosopher's Stone to create a trap against Riddle. Albus has his doubts whether this is an actual Philosopher's Stone, for Flamel and his wife Perenelle had a tendency to play with people with false leads and promises of the Philosopher's Stone. It was a miracle that he had made friends with the two during his time as a student researching 12 different ways to use dragon's blood.
Still, thanks to the Flamel's contribution, Albus had devised a trap to catch Riddle this year. He managed to send a rumor to the Riddle's followers that the Philosopher's Stone was in Hogwarts that year and Albus hoped that Riddle will make a move towards it. He honestly had no plans to catch Riddle after losing Harry Potter, but his friend Flamel apparently decided in his position for now.
"There's a Troll in the dungeons!"
That wasn't what he was expecting at all. If Riddle had struck that evening, for symbolic reasons, it would make sense that a Troll would be in the castle. But it was inside the room on the third floor, along with other traps designed to trick the host of Riddle's shade. It also worked as a test to any brave student who wanted to try their luck in discovering the truth of his Welcoming Feast Warning. Although Albus doubt anyone can get pass through Hagrid's three headed dog if they don't have any idea or background in Care of Magical Creatures.
But in the dungeons. Clearly something was wrong or it was all a distraction for Riddle to get a headstart on the traps on the third floor. His former Muggle Studies Professor, now Defense for the Dark Arts Professor, was on the ground fast asleep, as if he fell backwards as he fainted. A strange sight to see but not really interesting.
The fainted DDA Professor surely caused chaos and add the fact that he announced to everyone in the Great Hall about a Troll in the castle, well it was a wonder why no one immediately went running out of the Great Hall.
Albus would have ordered everyone to return to their dormitories so that the Professors can check on the troll when someone from the Slytherin House loudly complained, disrupting his speech. ("Wow. A troll in the dungeons. Slytherin dormitories are in the dungeons. Hufflepuff dormitories are also in the dungeons. Makes me wonder if someone has a deep dislike to Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.") He would have deduct points from the Slytherins when their Prefect instantly congratulated the first year on his quick mindset. The Hufflepuff Prefect also joined in and decided that the Hufflepuffs will be staying in the Great Hall until the danger passed by. The Slytherin Prefect also did the same decision.
Albus couldn't find any fault with their decisions. They wanted to ensure their own safety. But frankly Albus wouldn't expect the troll to be in dungeons anytime for the same reason Troll's were regarded as one of the dumbest magical creatures in the world. Trolls move constantly so there would be no reason a Troll would be waiting for them.
He and the other available Professors immediately went outside and made separate ways to find the Troll. The Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Prefects also made the decision to stay with the rest of the students in the Great Hall, ensuring Prof. Flitwick and Deputy Headmistress McGonagall to accompany Albus in searching for the troll.
Severus was supposed to be in the Great Hall, enjoying the feast, but he was apparently finishing some of his 'volatile potions' and 'he doesn't need to see the rest of the cauldron exploders for the evening' when the three of them went down to his office in the dungeons. It clearly erased Prof. McGonagall's suspicion of Severus of setting the Troll on several students. Severus then left his work, after Minerva threatened his cauldrons and his favorite robes, and joined them in searching for the troll. Albus swore he could hear Severus mumbling about 'my snakes' and 'troublesome felines'. The last one was probably meant for Minerva's ears though.
The four of them was climbing up the stairs towards the second floor but then Prof. McGonagall ran immediately towards the direction of girl screaming.
Turning towards the direction of toilets on the second floor, the three of them saw a troll knocked out cold on the ground, two disheveled first years and Prof. McGonagall hugging a clearly shaken young girl. A muggleborn from what Albus remembered.
Something happened here and he may have to look into some things with a critical eye. Albus can feel his pristine image in the public's eyes be stained tomorrow. It will be quite obvious that someone, mainly in Slytherin, will be reporting to their parents and thus will be making headlines in the Daily Prophet the next day. Albus had to be quick in dealing with the upcoming disaster.
"Minerva, please bring your cubs to their dormitories. You two Severus. It seems that young Malfoy here was also included in whatever happened within this hallway. Please ask them what happened here, in a calm and friendly manner. I am absolutely positive that the three of them have seen how or who took down the troll in front of us and I hope they could shed some light on this matter," he intoned to his two subordinates. "I have to Floo-call some people at this late hour to ensure chaos won't happen tomorrow. After you two are done, please come to my office immediately."
Albus' subordinates quickly nodded and proceeded to lead their respective first year students away from the hallway and into their dormitories. Meanwhile, Albus cast a Patronus to send a message to Prof. Flitwick and the rest of the professors about the recent development and requesting on assistance on properly securing an asleep troll. Despite the troll being the easiest to deal amongst its brethren, it still had its unique magic resistant skin and immense strength that even a skilled wizard can have trouble in subduing one. Thus even simple charms aren't that effective when their in contact with magic resistant skin and needed constant stream of magic in it.
While he was waiting for the other professors to arrive, Albus then contemplated on his later actions. He would have to contact one of the 'old crowds' in helping him deal with the upcoming Daily Prophet fiasco. Albus then made a deep sigh.
"This is not what I was expecting when Trelawney 'prophecized' me having an 'interesting evening'."
And Albus would find Sybil Trelawney, a few hours later, tripping over the stairs of the Divination Tower, under the influence of the numerous bottles of sherry she consumed after the Halloween Feast. Albus can't find out how she even managed to get sherry in the castle grounds after he and McGongall just disposed 20 bottles that afternoon.
The walls of his godfather's office were so cold, even with the number of candles that littered the entire room and several warming charms were applied to his robes, that Draco can feel frost forming inside his clothes. But that was just his imagination... Or was it?
He quickly checked his uniform underneath his robes and yes, there were no signs of frost on his clothes nor anywhere on his person. Still, their Manor was warm even if there was a blizzard happening outside but the office of his godfather can get so cold even with a little rain.
And it rained in the evening, even though it was so sunny the entire day. Maybe he should get some of those muggle newspapers from Dobby tomorrow so that he could expect whenever it rained or not. The weather forecasts on those muggle newspapers were almost accurate most of the time and it does help that there are crossword puzzles in those newspapers that would entertain him afterwards. The Daily Prophet doesn't have a weather forecast nor a 'prediction' in it so most of the time, he and his mother would get soaked whenever it rained while they were acquiring some items in Vertic Alley.
The door behind him opened with a groan and Prof. Severus Snape entered his office in the Slytherin Dormitories. His godfather then swished his wand and the door behind him shut tightly and a series of locks instantly moved. Prof. Snape then cast a charm Draco can't decipher at the moment on the entire room. A Silencing Charm or a charm that would prevent anyone from eavesdropping? Probably.
Draco corrected his sitting posture in a formal position and stopped his hand from clenching his robes. His wand is in his wand holster on his right forearm and his tie was quickly tightened.
Prof. Snape spoke, "So Draco, tell me. Why were you near the abandoned girl's lavatory in the second floor?" He then paused as he rummaged through the drawers of his table. "I thought you went outside to the boy's bathroom on the beside the Great Hall. Instead, we found you along Longbottom and a Muggle-born on the second floor. Outside a girl's lavatory. With a knocked out troll. So yes, tell me Draco. Why?"
Draco gulped for a moment then racked his mind for an answer. He could say it out loud the reason why he was there but he couldn't properly construct it in a way that his godfather would approve it. Since he was the Head of Slytherin House, he had to ensure the his 'snakes' embody the qualities befitting a Slytherin. Determination. Resourcefulness. Cunning. His father and mother regularly drilled it into his head for several years so he had no reason not to forget it.
Still, Draco can't say that he was on the second floor because he wanted to investigate the mystery of Moaning Myrtle. The idea itself was very Gryffindor-ish and it doesn't really create a good image for a Slytherin, especially for one unofficially called as the Slytherin Prince of the First Years.
He heard about the mystery of Moaning Myrtle way back when he and her mother was browsing the stores at the shopping district of the British Wizarding community. Draco overheard from one of the customers, a graduate most likely, mentioning about whether or not Myrtle still haunted the second floor girl's bathroom. ("She still haunts it mate. Sad to think about it honestly. The periodic floods she caused in the bathroom were so revolting that it had to be abandoned by the student and staff.) Intrigued and quite bored, he decided to seek the mystery of Moaning Myrtle.
A small project just to entertain his thoughts whenever he gets bored in the castle, he planned to return to the dormitories after searching the second floor girl's bathroom. His two gorillas were always beside him most of the time so when the Halloween Feast came, he took the chance to ditch the two and investigate it. Obviously it would only cause him trouble if the two blundered their way into following him, thus the excuse of going to the bathrooms worked. Also it was technically the truth, albeit not the complete truth.
Who says he have to tell the entire truth? As long as it worked to his advantage, it would suffice.
Prof. Snape coughed loudly, catching Draco's attention back to his godfather's question. He had to improvise. Well, he could tell the partial truth. He just hope his godfather will take it.
"I noticed the last Longbottom and his pet Muggle-born weren't at the Feast. I also took notice that a certain Weasley caused some strife at the joint Charms Class we had this afternoon at the two, leaving Longbottom's pet Muggle-born in distress. Knowing that I could take this chance to earn a favor from a Light-oriented Family's Heir, I sought out the last Longbottom and provided assistance to console his pet's feelings."
Draco hoped his quite subjective answer will ease his godfather's wariness. He actually provided assistance in consoling Longbottom's and Granger's feelings. Feelings of shock and fear, that is. But he won't tell it to Prof. Snape. He, Longbottom and Granger had swore a Magical Oath not to speak what occurred back there to anyone not in the loop .
Prof. Snape gave him Draco a scrutinizing look and gave out a sigh. A sigh of relief, if the small smile and the subsequent smirk on his godfather's face gave any indication of Prof. Snape's actual thoughts and feelings.
"And here I thought you went there to become a Gryffindor. Well, ensure that favor you gained from Longbottom soon or, at the very least, have him swore a Magical Oath to provide you assistance in any way possible," Prof. Snape intoned to Draco with a smidge of amusement in his voice. "Can I make then some assumptions? Just answer me with a yes or no."
Now that caught Draco by surprise. What was his Head of House planning with this new route of questioning? Nevertheless, he gave a nod to his godfather.
Prof. Snape then rose from his seat and walked towards the fireplace he had in his office. He tinkered with the coals of the fireplace and cast a small scale charm to ignite the coals.
"This 'assistance' of yours... Did it somewhat included an action that hypothetically saved a person's life?"
"Yes," Draco replied. He was under no illusion that his godfather now had a speculation of what happened in the second floor girl's bathroom.
"Hm.. Did it involved a secret?" Prof. Snape then moved to the enchanted windows. A tentacle made its presence known by planting itself to the window. Prof. Snape ignored it and walked slowly to the bookcases he had on the eastern side of his office.
"Yes." Oh Merlin. His Head of House was on him. Did his efforts were all for naught? Would he even had to resort of admitting he swore a Magical Oath not to reveal the events that happened? Granger had a way with words that he even forgot what the exact terms he swore. Such a thing was possible, if the oath was worded in such a way it forced the oath itself be a part of it. Proof was the oath he just swore.
"Hm... Okay. That's all. You may now leave."
What. That was it? He was just letting Draco off the proverbial death trap?
"I have no plans in resorting to forcing you to admit what happened back there. The only thing that was important in this entire spectacle was your safety. I may have to call you the day after for further counseling, seeing as the troll was knocked out cold. Therefore a skirmish happened that may have caused some shock to you three. The Gryffindor Head of House would deal with those two while I'm the one for you."
He got lost halfway into his godfather's spiel.
"I believe that you saved Longbottom and his pet Muggle-born, which then you gained a Life Debt from the two. Oh don't give me that look. I knew that Lucius sent you when you were young to a camp or a training site. Lucius once left me a note on you not being able to join on one of our trips while Narcissa outright told me one time when I had tea with her. She also told me you read some of the tomes she took from the Black Library in the Black's Ancestral Manor."
Prof. Snape then sat down and produced a potion from one of his table drawers. "Here, drink this. Its a Calming Draught. Its only a small dose, just enough to calm you from the trial you had."
Draco just sat at his seat with his jaw almost hanging. He instantly closed his mouth when he felt it going limp. He just can't believe his godfather guessed it. Well, partially. The thing was that he wasn't the only one that fought against the troll.
He accepted the vial of Calming Draught and downed it in one gulp. Prof. Snape stood up and assisted Draco in standing up. He then proceeded to cast the Counters of the spells he did on the room and made his way to the door. Draco followed out his godfather into the Slytherin Common Room.
"Now, go to sleep. You had classes tomorrow. I don't want to discover you calling your House-elf to deliver a letter about the entire incident to your father and mother. I'll be the one telling them."
Draco nodded and made a bow of respect. "Thank you Prof. Snape. Good night."
"Good night then Draco."
Well that went okay.
"-sang a song that bad?"
"Yes! He was even crying so hard that Seamus swore that his tears are still on the Common Room's carpet. Last I heard, a house-elf was also crying about it. Although not for the same reasons of course."
Although the Great Library was supposed to be a silent sanctuary, there Draco found two people chatting in a moderate volume. Madam Pince just gave the pair a stare but left them in their own devices, which the Slytherin didn't missed in noticing. He strode down the aisles towards the two and took a seat in front of them. Draco laid down his bag containing his belongings and brought out a book his mother reclaimed from the library at Grimmauld Place.
There was a free period between two of their classes and Draco decided to visit the Great Library. A reason he used publicly but not the actual truth. The blond of the two agreed with Draco to have a discourse on what happened the night before. After the three of them swore using a Magical Oath, Draco was then questioned by his Head of House. Which then leads to him going to the designated location of their talk.
But it appears to him that two were quite busy talking even with him in front of the two. He may have to resort to catch their attention in a physical way, since verbal is greatly frowned upon by Madam Pince. Draco swore she had some enchantments on the tables that allow her to know whether someone reached a certain volume in their voice.
"-grape in the air, I went to catch it I swear, it hit a spider that fell, and now they're on my face!"
"How come there was a spider in the first place? Wait, did his brothers planted the spider?"
"Yes! It wasn't even a real spider but a toy instead that can be brought at Hogsmeade. Still, the prank spell the Weasley Twins on the cracker was enchanted to have him sing what happened before he went into the Common Room."
Interesting, the youngest Weasley was being played by his older brothers. Even his own blood doesn't like their youngest male sibling. The white-haired Slytherin coughed and it managed to gain the attention of the two in front of him.
"H-Huh? Oh!" Granger exclaimed. "Where did you came from?!" Madam Pince then gave out a whistle that caused Granger to slouch over her body in shame.
"We're sorry for not noticing you. We were, uh, busy," Longbottom apologized to him and gave a sheepish smile. "Last night at the Common Room, I saw a scene that somehow Hermione here missed as she immediately rushed to the girl's side of the dorms."
"Well I'm sorry, I was tired. I also experienced a troll attacking me so forgive me for not wanting to get some rest," Granger reasoned while she tidied up the mess on her head she called as hair. "Some of us here aren't that used to seeing magical creatures, especially trolls."
"Speaking of trolls, I am here to discuss about the troll we three faced last night," Draco interjected as he closed the book he was reading a while ago. "Frankly, I am curious to how you two were able to block the strike intended by the troll."
Granger was giving him a look, or his book for this Muggle-born was famous for being a bookworm that even the Slytherin commend her tenacity in spite of her being a 'mudblood' , and huffed. She then brought out her sling bag and placed her bag on the table.
Longbottom then made eye contact with Hermione, to which the Malfoy scion didn't missed, and nodded as he produced a necklace with a stone and a locket attached to it. "Okay. What am I looking at?"
He was confused. Draco thought the two had found some obscure spell or rune ward scheme that helped them block the blow. The Protego Charm and its higher tier version only blocks a single strike and must be cast immediately after it intended use. A shield that can withstand consecutive blows was unheard of.
"You're looking at it, Malfoy. These items helped us block it. We talked before you came here and both of us experience our first discoveries about the barrier," Longbottom told Draco as he opened the locket and gazed at the picture inside. "The stone was actually a stone I found at the Greenhouse back at home. Somehow Trevor, my toad, swallowed it one time and spat it when we were at the Greenhouses. I liked the color so I made attached it to the locket. Imagine my surprise when some stray crows decided to attack me one day as I checked some of the plants at the Manor."
"I remembered last night the stone turned into a bow and you used it to snipe the troll's eyes," Granger said. "Then when the troll got angry, you prepared to block it with the bow and a barrier sprung out of thin air."
"Yes. That was the same when the crows attacked me back when I was ten. I thought of something that would help me fight back the crows and the stone turned into a bow. The crows were already descending so I thought 'Hey, I'm a wizard. I have magic. I'll use magic to snipe these crows.' And there was arrow out of magic in my hands as I aimed it to the crows. Well, it was a sloppy attack so some of the crows were missed."
"So that's how you first discovered the barrier when a crow flew down to you. It hit a barrier like it hit a wall," Draco finished as he expected the outcome of it. He then looked at Granger and spoke, "What about you then?"
"A dog chased me and tried to bit me while lunging. All I had was my bag at that time so like any person being attacked, I tried to protect myself by using the bag as a shield. Well, it actually shielded me by making a wall like barrier. Afterwards I smacked the dog with it. The bag is very sturdy too. Too sturdy for the dog," Granger replied as she pulled a plastic bottle filled with...
"Is that iced tea?!" Draco was astonished to see bottled iced tea at Hogwarts. "How? Wait. Is this the unique characteristic of your bag? An Undetectable Expansion Charm with a Stasis Charm in it? Because that still looks cold to me." Then Granger pulled out another cold bottle of iced tea. "You have two."
"You want some?" Longbottom asked Draco. "Madam Pince doesn't mind if you drink inside the library. She only gets angry when you eat. But drinking is allowed as long as you don't wet the pages of the books or spill it around. Else she will call Mr. Filch on you."
"I won't accept anything else unless you have strawberry flavored iced tea there." He's a Slytherin. Begging is beneath him and he won't resort to asking favors from people who doesn't deserve his attention.
"Here." Granger then produced another iced tea bottle with red and white colors on its casing. Draco then quickly took it and opened it. His last drink of strawberry iced tea was almost 3 months before and Dobby can't get to the Muggle side of London without getting too much attention.
"The heir of a Pure-Blooded Noble Family, drinking a commonly known Muggle drink. Also familiar with Muggle produced merchandise I presume," Longbottom smirked as he finished his statement. "Here I thought you Malfoy were against Mudbloods and anything Muggle."
"That's what I show in public. I need to have an image, okay? I don't really have much a choice since my father is strict example of what a Pure-Blood supposed to be and I should be an exact copy of what my father is," Draco explained quickly as he downed half of his iced tea. "And for the record, I spent a couple of years in the Muggle side of London in some taekwondo dojo as punishment for going against my father once. Because of that I am quite familiar with Muggle merchandise and culture."
Granger made a face of confusion then brightened. "Is that a bracelet I see on your wrist? If I remember correctly, I saw you last night using a guitar as a shield. A guitar. And you have a guitar shaped accessory on your bracelet."
Longbottom then continued for Granger. "Is it the same as my stone?"
Draco contemplated on whether he should them or not. He made a decision afterwards.
"It's most likely that you two wouldn't cause much trouble if I do tell you or not anyways. Yes, this is actually a guitar, the same you saw last night, that can shrink to a small size like an accessory to a bracelet. It came with this bracelet when I received it from a senior in my taekwondo classes. Seems to me that he didn't knew the true characteristics of the guitar he made for gave no indication before of experiencing the same things I experienced now. Like your bag, its too sturdy that the guitar almost made a hole in the walls of our Manor yet it received no damage whatsoever."
"Hm... Should I call you Malfoy then or Draco? Anyway, have you heard of the Lost Christmas Incident?"
Granger's question was interesting. It is a possibility that whatever this 'Lost Christmas' was, Granger and Longbottom had theories that connected it to the items they have now.
But first... "No, call me Malfoy. You don't get to call me by my first name. Same to you, Longbottom. Formality should always be maintained, as our status as heirs of Noble Houses demands us to."
That clearly explains some of the things his mother was talking about and was discussing with his godfather and his Aunt Andromeda. His Aunt Andromeda, the sister of his mother, married a Muggleborn Wizard and was then banished out of the Black Family's Manor. She then spent most of her time in the Muggle side unless she wants to get some things at the Magical Side. Like some wizarding supplies or to talk with his mother.
His mother and his Aunt Andromeda once had a falling-out but was then soon settled when Aunt Andromeda made her first step by contacting his mother on 1988. After that, his mother then accompanies him to his weekly taekwondo classes. Which were prepared by his father ever since his 7th birthday, after he questioned his father about Muggleborns, Half-bloods and Muggles.
Mostly about his father's views and his own valid explanations about the fact 'Magic in Muggleborns and Half-bloods'. His father was so angry that he staged from one of his contacts to enroll him in a 'barbaric school of muggles' so that he could see the 'truth of how barbaric Muggles are' and 'how they infect our world through their spawn of magic takers and abominations'.
Instead of teaching Draco on the 'barbarism of Muggles', Draco learned how to train his young body through physical exercise and routines. Enough to say that his mother was proud to see her son fit in both body and magical core. Interesting to note, which he soon discovered after his mother rummaged through the Black Library and Malfoy Library, that body endurance affects magical stamina. For wizards have a magical core that allows the wizard to access it to replenish the stamina of his body if he's not actively using it for spells and charms, it gets trained by him constantly using it to replenish his stamina in those classes. Albeit subconsciously.
At first he just thought that since he was a magical, it meant that he can stand much longer than the muggles. But he soon got so exhausted a few instances later.
It was also through those excursions into the Muggle side of London that he saw how different the Muggles and Wizards are. 'Know thy enemy,' they say. But then again, the Secrecy was still intact and valid.
There he also discovered his talent in the guitar and possibly in singing, although his mother told him repeatedly that should he sing, he should train it properly first. Also the guitar he had on his bracelet.
Speaking of guitar, according to Granger and Longbottom, most of the items they had now were somewhat connected to the massive upheaval of an entire town and the strangely colored mists popping into existence in areas near Little Whinging.
Those purple mists were seen at some of the magical animal reserves owned by his father, if his complaints were to be believed, that affected both positively and negatively the animals. The mists boost their magical qualities yet it also corrupts them into going berserk.
His thoughts were instantly derailed as he was stopped by a person along the hallways. His vision was full of red hair that he immediately linked it to Weasley bumping him. He may be wrong but his intuitions screams Weasley.
"Watch where you are going- You!"
Yes, his intuition is always correct. There the Weasley was standing with a finger pointed at him and making an accusing expression on his face. His other hand was clutching something in his robes, his wand most likely, although Draco wondered how would he cast spells if the wand wasn't tuned to the wielder. There were rumors that the Weasley Family was so poor that their wands were being recycled.
Still, Draco knew better than the Weasley (He won't give the bastard satisfaction of having a name for it was way worse to be called somebody than a nobody, for a somebody had already a reputation, always and usually a negative one, while a nobody can earn his own reputation from scratch. That way the nobody can be more than the somebody, who will always be cursed with the reputation he had been given with, not earned.) for the Squib was in the hallways. He had a hallway pass in his pockets so he's safe but if he was seen by the Squib using magic, not even his Head of House can't do anything about it.
But sometimes Draco hated the fact that he was a teenager, prone to get impulsive at times. Most likely will ignore the logical and pragmatic method in favor for the catchy and flashy way. Which would translate in his circumstances as rising up to the challenge of the Weasley and proceeded to have a small scale duel. He knew better yet his impulsiveness got him good.
Not even 2 spells were finished and by some force of nature, the Squib arrived. With his arrival, detention and immediate scolding from their respective Head of Houses. Only the Weasley Twins (To which he gave respect for no matter how 'vindictive' their pranks were, it has some ingenuity in it. If only they were in Ravenclaw, then the rest of the Slytherin House would gave them the respect they well-deserved.) can get away from the Squib. No other student before managed to escape from the Squib other than the Weasley Twins.
As he was lead to the Squib's office, Draco wondered why they hated Squibs? Was it because they can't use magic despite they can see or use magical artifacts? Or was it a remnant of their Hogwarts Years under the fear of being caught by the Squib? Who knew how old the Squib was or how was she still alive after being targeted by the pranks of the Weasley Twins.
Well, it seemed detention was the only result of his impulsiveness. And from the sight he saw when he entered the office, he won't be the one who will be suffering soon. Granger and Longbottom were also inside the room, heads bowed down in shame and eyes shut tight. If he didn't knew that truth of the 'detentions', Draco too would have fear the upcoming 'detentions'.
At least he won't be the only one who will be suffering from the Weasley's presence. There was a saying he last read, something about: 'Misery loves company.'. It seemed to be true and applicable to his situtation.
Draco was completely confident that their punishment would be helping Madam Pince in the Great Library, the Slytherin House has this list in the Common Room, detailing the schedule of 'detentions' that would be imposed on that day. A Slytherin who graduated before managed to get in the Squib's office and duplicated the schedule list to which he shared to the entire Slytherin House.
Madam Pince was that night's detention's 'special guest' but the 'special guest' that came was the Giant. The Half-Giant. Everybody in the castle knew that he absolutely adored wild animals. Wild RABID Animals that posed a threat to any living person around their area.
The half-giants words were incomprehensible to his ears but the Squib only smiled and left.
"We are going to the Forbidden Forest. Unicorns."
Unicorns and the Forbidden Forest. What in Merlin's words was he supposed to infer from that? Aside from the obvious idea of them going to the Forbidden Forest, in the middle of the night? Was the half-giant crazy? Wait, he was. No doubt about it.
He'll just report this to his Head of House after the detention was over.
Emma Granger was waiting for her daughter at King's Cross Station for the Chirstmas Holidays. The entire station was packed but her daughter told them to wait at the entrance of the station. Something about secrecy and security but her daughter spent most of her year in a society of magic users.
The air was chilly but she was not. Her clothes looked so thin to other people who weren't in England for 3 years but to those who were, it was normal. A special chemical added to the fabric allowed it to have a temperature-controlling qualities, much like how a thermos would keep your drink warm or cold. It used to be so expensive in the first five months after it was released to the public, but 3 years caused its price to be affordable to the public. The fabric can be called as a necessity nowadays, for its very useful qualities.
Her daughter would be arriving with little to no luggage for she has her 'magic' sling bag. Emma always wondered where or how the bag she bought with her husband for her daughter came to exist? But after witnessing several reports on the television and reading in the newspapers about gadgets that were scientifically advanced from their modern equipment, she felt that her daughter 'stole' it under the researcher's nose.
Witnessing a freeze raygun for the first time was chilling and a laser stun gun was stunning to her that she had to accept that technology can become so advanced that some may call it as magic. And her daughter was studying how to do magic, in a magic school. But all of them are bound to keep it a secret. Figuratively.
As a daughter and mother pair passed her, whispering of things the two were keeping it as a secret, Emma can't help but feel sad and angry that she can't even tell her daughter of what happened the day she left to that school.
A letter carried by an owl arrived by the time she and her husband came back home from King's Crossing. Both of them knew that this is how the 'witches and wizards' communicate with one another, so confidently Emma opened the letter and fed the owl some meat she stored in the fridge.
She initially thought that her daughter arrived at that school of hers, (For it was a magic school, it would be reasonable to expect the student magically arriving instantly to that school of theirs.) but she didn't even managed to read a single letter for she and her husband felt pain. Pain that felt like she had a headache, migraine and dysmenorrhea at the same time. She don't know what her husband was feeling but she would bet all her recipe books that he too was feeling pain the same level she was suffering.
Then a thought came to their mind, as if a steel knife was being plunged into a block of butter.
Don't interfere with you daughter anymore, do not teach her of your ways anymore, do not help her understand aside from own culture, serve your daughter, OR ELSE.
It kept on replaying on her mind on and on and on until she collapsed from the agony. Thankfully the thought and the pain left as the letter burned the moment its purpose was fulfilled. Her husband was on their kitchen floor, writhing in pain as he keep on chanting: 'stop stop stop stop, no, Hermione, no, please stop'.
She could only help her husband by guiding him towards the sofa and laid him down. Daniel was still crying and chanting her, no, their daughter's name while his eyes were shut tight and his body was shivering as if it received an electric shock.
Emma went to the kitchen and prepared some soup for her and her husband. They were hungry from the ride and now that 'incident' happened, both of them were exhausted. For some reason she broke free from that... 'attack' earlier than Daniel but that didn't mean she escaped unharmed.
When she thought she had to tell her daughter about the 'attack', a thought immediately surfaced in her mind. She's safe, there's no need. As if her own mind don't want to tell their daughter. Even her own body resisted in writing at least about it. There's no need. She'll be fine.
Evidently, this was the result of that 'attack'. A failsafe for the future witches and wizards who came from a normal... 'muggle' background. Condition the parents so that they couldn't bond with their child. It would then result to the child growing distant from them as time pass by, as if the parents started neglecting the well being of their child.
As a medical professional, she has some experience in this. As a pediatric dentist, she had some courses on basic psychology, specializing on the state of a child's mind. This 'attack' of mental conditioning would force the child to prefer the 'wizarding world' than the one they came from. Emotional and physical absence of comfort and love would lead their child astray from them.
This was commonly attributed to young teens resorting to drugs to get the feeling of happiness and accomplishment because their own parents neglect in giving them attention and love.
Emma had unearthed all of that while she was preparing the mushroom soup. Canned mushroom soup is a no-no when one is suffering or exhausted. It needs the homemade touch to further heal the scars and ease the pain.
Hermione's hypothesis of her father having a trace of magic in him seemed to be true as Daniel was still 'fighting' the tremors of his body and, figuratively, on his mind. His soup could be reheated. She needs to be beside her husband when he recovers his senses.
Thankfully Daniel recovered but the effects of the 'attack' on his mind was evident. His struggles on writing or even speaking about their daughter hurt him physically and emotionally. For now, he was in the car, waiting for his wife and daughter to come home.
Emma chose to wait for their daughter for she can't stand to wait inside the car. She needs to calm her nerves and the cold wind of winter was helping.
That voice. Emma quickly turned around and tried to run to Hermione. There's no need. She had to embrace Hermione. It's been to long. Not needed. It has been months. Surely, Hermione needs her mother's tende-THERE IS NO NEED.
Emma stood frozen with a smile that was too uncomfortable for her to maintain. The mental conditioning on her mind was strong but her will was stronger. She was being forced not to smile at her daughter but Emma won't allow it.
"Mom, you okay?"
"I am fine. Your father is waiting at the car. To the vehicle we go."
Even her own speech was affected! What depravity is this! It was fine moments ago! Is the mental conditioning on full power now? She won't allow it! She won't!
"Now daughter of mine. Let us depart from the station."
Hermione had a look of fear in her eyes. Emma had failed.
The streets in Leadenhall Market was quite empty. Given that it was almost 8 in the evening, it would make sense that people would be inside their homes and enjoying warm chocolates that were so popular during the holiday season. But there was one person who was sprinting down the streets of the small market.
Hermione Granger was on a mission. She knew something was wrong with her parents. They weren't like that before she left to Hogwarts. She was so happy to tell them stories of how she made great friends with a boy and made a friend/enemy (frenemy) of one rich looking boy. Hermione was delighted to spend the holiday season with her parents and wanted to show them her accomplishments both in her magical and mundane studies.
But the way her mother was speaking and her facial expression. It was freaking her out. No. It was outright terrifying. She once read about the Unforgivables once, after Neville mentioned to him, at the Library. There wasn't any detailed descriptions of them but references to other spells made a clear picture to her.
One of the Unforgivables was the Imperio. Basically its a mind control spell. It the ultimate spell of mind control that the person under it can't do a thing about it. Even if it was physically impossible, the person under it would still try and accomplish it.
A variation of it was somehow done to her mother, and most likely her father, and she had no idea what would happen if she went along with her parents.
The past 3 years after she got her sling bag, she and her parents always return to RoLal's. Initially they returned there to investigate the sling bag of hers. Which then evolved to a crash-course speech on the existence of magic.
The owners of the shop were from America and was only there to spend some time after graduating. All of them had diplomas from prestigious colleges and universities in America that only four of them stayed to open a shop. The other four went to Sector 7 and Japan.
Rose Lalonde, the owner of the land and the shop and the younger sister of the Lalonde Sisters, was a witch from Salem Witches' Institute in America and along with her friends, decided to go out of the country and enjoy the world.
She help Hermione understand the existence of magic and ever since that day, she was her confidant in matters about her magic. Ms. Rose said that magical kids should be trained when they were young so apparently it was her 'solemn duty to pass on the knowledge of a Lalonde to a worthy one'.
Nevertheless, Ms. Rose may have an idea on what to do about her parents. Hermione fear for her safety and her parents as well but she was still a 12 year old kid. She wasn't even a teen!
Hermione soon reached RoLal's and it was still open. With a lunge, she jumped into the store and the interior of the store stunned her. It seemed that RoLal's was undergoing a renovation, from the number of cloths on top of the shelves and the evident chaos commonly linked to cleaning.
"Hermione Granger, if you would, please come up the stairs. We have business to attend to."
Somehow or in some way, Ms. Rose would always know whenever she came to the store. Regardless of the intent, she would always welcome her to their store.
Breathing deeply to calm her nerves and release the pent up carbon dioxide in her blood, she slowly climbed the stairs that was at the back of the store.
The second floor of the store was bigger than she expected, but it was known that magic-users can expand a given space beyond its normal extent. A sofa and two seats with a coffee table on the left side and a small dining table near the kitchen area on the right side. She saw a doorways on both sides that may lead to more rooms but Ms. Rose was already on the large chair in front of the coffee table.
Ms. Rose was sitting as if she was waiting for her to come in the first place. She presented the sear in front of her and resumed toying a tome on her lap.
Hermione sat down and tried to calm her nerves.
"Did I forgot to tell you I'm a seer? A practical seer, that is. I can see things that would, could & should have happen. I sometimes see things that already happened or should have happened. Nevertheless, it only comes to me when the universe demands me to."
Hermione kept silent. Ms. Rose was telling her something important. Should have happend? Wait, 'already happened'? Did that mean she saw his parents how they went under that spell?
"I can't help your parents when I don't know how to help them yet. I only knew it this morning so please forgive me from agitating you. I suspect your parents will be arriving here any minute now."
Oh no. What should she do?
"Tell me what to do Ms. Rose! Please help me."
"Roxy! Are the pendants done?" Ms. Rose called out to someone at the back of the room.
"Done! I'll be there in a sec!" A voice replied from doorway on the left side of the room. A white haired young woman with a color scheme of purple and white came out of the doorway and brought a tray of 8 uniquely shaped pendants.
"What are these?" Hermione asked. The shapes were unique, to say at the least. A book, a leaf, a star, a spear, an snow flake, a sword and a pair shaped in the form of broken heart. The metal or stone it was made with was something she never seen before.
"I made these, with the help of my dear sister here -ouch, cut it out Rose-, to help you break or prevent mind controlling techniques. Well those are what they were initially planned on but I decided to add more than what we planned on," the newly-named Roxy admitted with a smile on her face, even though she pinched moments ago on the cheek by Ms. Rose.
"Did you at least follow the guidelines I wrote? And did the others helped as well?"
"Of course we all did! That's what we are here for, right? To help them while getting some fun out of it!"
Ms. Rose only made a sigh and gestured Hermione to take the pendants. All 8 of the pendants had a chain with them. They were light but would they be durable enough.
"Trust me on this Hermione. I threw it to the pressed it under billions of pressure and blasted it with scorching fire of the sun. It will stand up to everything in the world!" Roxy said as she did a pose fitting for a super hero.
"Anyway, your parents are waiting outside. Please attach one pendant to each of your parents. I trust you know which one would be appropriate to your parents and to your friends."
Hermione could only stare as Ms. Rose conjured a silk pouch for her and placed the pendants inside it.
"Here, now go. You must not have a terrible holiday okay? Happy Holidays Hermione."
"This is an anomaly. This entire scenario is not within our observations."
"Yes. This interference is not our own."
"But it allows us new data to be observed."
"Yes. New data that is being written over older data."
"Data that was already written and was observed."
"Is this the work of our subject?"
"No. Subject is still being observed and haven't done any action pertaining to the anomaly."
"The problem is there are new observations to be observed."
"All gets erased by when year 2005 came."
"Yes. Even with data being overwritten, it will be erased afterwards."
"New observations have been confirmed. A central focus point happened in year 1984."
"Observed to have made contact with Boundary and year 2183."
"Yes. Reference point to the prior resets made."
"Amaterasu Unit has been observed to made actions in the year 2183 and year 1948."
"Only the Amaterasu Unit is able to do such a feat."
"Yes. Observations are being archived at the moment."
"Continuum has been shifted. Should the plan still be activated?
Author's Note: Wow. If you guys read my A.N at Number Zeroes, you guys would knew already that I sliced my fingers on both hands. Anyways, please read my A.N. there because I feel tired to type the same thing. I can do copy and paste but that would be... Uh... Nevermind.
Well, here we are. Chapter 12 of the Story. A.K.A Hogwarts [Prologue]. If you notice there are some changes in the characters, I tell you they are intentional. It's an AU. Of course there will be changes. But if you read the Timeline and the Character chapters, then you might have an idea on what would be happening in the future chapters.
One thing that I noticed in the books that, the parents of the students made no effort in the studies of their children. Especially of the parents of Muggle-borns, which in my opinion, have much to say.
Their children are to attend a school somewhere in SCOTLAND with a very ambiguous and shady curriculum. The major offenders are Hermione's parents which were DENTISTS for Nine's sake. They are dentists. They are already doctors all but in name. Of course that would be my opinion but we have a family friend who was a dentist and let me tell you.
To be a dentist is like becoming a doctor or getting a doctorate, she said. Lots of test and practical applications of what you learned is needed to become a licensed dentist. We are speaking of people who tinker with your teeth and the nerves that connect them to your brain. Wrong move and bam! You get injured in the brain because the nerves in your teeth got 'fucked' up.
Anyways, since they are dentists I am pretty sure that they should have emphasized much on their daughter's mundane education. They are professionals in the 'muggle' world, they knew what their daughter would face after she finished her schooling.
But it never happened in canon. I am pretty sure something happened to them that prevented their interference. Specifically to their daughter. She was only referenced once by Hermione and again referenced in the later books when she erased herself in their memories. Which, in my opinion, would have happened sooner or later.
She was practically absent from her parents life for almost 5 or 6 years. I don't know how to put this but something happened.
Okay, if you knew who Rose Lalonde is, please keep it to yourself. Or not. I had a thing with crossovers, okay. I'm working on 3 crossovers, aside from Number Zeroes. I'm working on a fanfic of a fanfic (both were amazing crossovers by the way) and a crossover of two of the most notorious 'fandoms'. It pains me to see that the last one had only 1 crossover fic in its archive, which I plan to change in the future.
If you want a clue, aside from the name of Rose Lalonde, search for ShadowBlayze and Arawn D. Draven. Wait, make it 4 crossovers. I'm still working on an abandoned story, which I adopted from the author (yeah go ask him) The Distorted Shadow.
Well, I took my sweet time here. Time for me to go now. See you guys next week. Good bye.