Thank you for choosing to read my story. I hope you find it enjoyable. Shout out to my beta, Dimond. Thank u!
Britain was colder.
The sun was weaker, and the atmosphere was blanketed, like a light mist that smoothed all edges. Everything seemed to carry a chill, just lacking enough heat that it was noticeable. Whenever she touched something, a zap raced up her arm and Eleonor couldn't help but shiver.
The little tearoom was cramped, like everything in London was. Everything was covered with a fine layer of grime as if it was the 1800s and soot was almost as common as air. But to Eleonor? It had character. Everything seemed to fit together like a puzzle, making up one huge, gorgeous picture. There was something about the uneven wooden table and stools, the game busts, the oil lamps attached to the wall, flame flickering gently in the darkish restaurant.
Jenny returned, sliding into the seat next to Eleonor, a small cup of what looked like beer set in front of her. This must be the British drink butterbeer if Eleonor remembered correctly. It was nearly the only kiddie drink these wizards offered in public zones, with firewiskey being the other icon of the UK.
"How long is he going to be?" Eleonor sips the drink, a mouthful of the cream and the fizzy liquid tipping down her throat. The cream was delicious, but the drink vaguely reminded her of Sprite. A hyped-up version and slightly different from what she was used to, but lemonade nevertheless.
Eleonor's potential school principle had named this dinky, backwater place was a place of meeting. But despite its interior, the store was situated on the main street of London's iconic wizarding street, Diagon Ally. Its prime location meant constant advertising and convenience. It was no wonder why every table had a small family crowded around the edges, children of all edges eagerly waiting for their food or tucking in with gusto.
Her drink was gone in seconds, leaving Eleonor there to eye Jenny's cup with contemplation. A flurry of movement caught her eyes, her head turning upwards to an older man. He had an epic beard, white, and almost reaching the floor. The end was even tucked into his waist. The man wore the traditional British robes, although the colour of them reminded Eleonor of a 10-year-old trying to be fashionable and forgetting everything about colour theory.
"Albus," Jenny smiles, standing up to welcome the aged man to their table. Even sitting down, he towered over Eleonor. But his face was kind, beard thin around his mouth to showcase his bright smile.
"Jenny, my child, I haven't seen you in a while." He spoke as he settled onto the stool. "And you must be Eleonor."
"Yes. Nice to meet you Mr Dumbledore."
"So why choose Hogwarts, Eleonor?"
There were a lot of reasons why Hogwarts was coming into question. Some of them were circumstantial, some of them came out of nowhere, and some of them were just silly.
Both Eleonor and Jenny were Australians. Born and raised along the coast of Queensland, they could trace their ancestry back to the original owners of the land. Australia had their own magical school and was in the same league as Hogwarts. It was called the Sacred Sanctuary and replicated non-magical schools across the country.
Eleonor was slated to enrol there after she graduated from her current non-magical school. But something happened. Nobody is sure what, but the Sacred mysteriously vanished, leaving a literal hole in the ground. The Sacred was built on a magical tremor line, meaning that magic sometimes acted very strange, so no one suspected foul play. Like most of her would-be classmates, she would continue to high school on the non-magical scene.
But it came to light that Eleonor's ancestry wasn't pure Aboriginal after all. She knew that her grandmother was a part of the Stolen generation, meaning one of her parents were white. But when the email came from the Sacred (or what was left, as it vanished during the school year with all the students and staff) it also told Eleonor that they had found that she could attend a magical British school instead.
Eleonor gulped, mind rushing as she thought of the exact words she would say.
"I want to become a magizoologist and I thought, well, seeing as I already know all the magical animals at home, being over in Britain could allow me to learn about a wider variety of animals."
"An interesting concept, but you do realise that you're missing a year?"
There was a little hiccup in that plan. Because non-magical Queensland primary school still had their year 7, unlike the rest of the country, it meant that Eleonor was already 11-turning-12 in the eyes of Hogwarts school year. By all rights she was to start year 2 in September, missing the vital year 1. If she went to Sacred she would automatically go to Year 8, despite the fact the most of her grade would be a year younger than her.
"Yes. I… was thinking…" Eleonor glanced over at Jenny who simply blinked back and gave her a small smile. "I'll wait until I graduate primary school in December and when Hogwarts returns in January, I'll come with them. In the next few months, I'll have someone teach me the basics of British magic."
"Ah, a good solution." Mr Dumbledore fell silent, contemplating the problem and solution inside his head, like turning two balls over and over in his hands. Eleonor wished she had more self-control, hand twitching around her cup, knowing if she raised it all she'll see is the glass bottom.
"I know a few friends who graduated from your school." Jenny gently interjects, "I've already asked them, and they're willing."
"It's sound," Mr Dumbledore warmly smiles, "I'll go back to my staff and have a chat with them." An ache rose, settling into her shoulders. This basically meant no, right?
"But, I highly doubt that you're not coming to Hogwarts after the Christmas holidays." He smiled and then stood. "Thank you for coming to talk to me, all the way to Britain. I know it isn't much effort, but thank you very much."
Eleonor hurriedly stood along with Jenny, "thank you" and "nice to meet you" spilling from her lips without much thought, mind more content to freak out about the new development. In all honesty, she thought that she would've to pull out of her primary school early and join Year 1 to be accepted. Her wild idea was spoken out of humour, and yet Jenny was the only one to take her idea into consideration.
Mr Dumbledore disappeared out the door, leaving with a final smile and a gentle wave of his hand, and as soon as the door swung shut, Eleonor launched herself at Jenny, wrapping her hands around her shoulders and squeezing with all her might.
"Thank you thank you thank you!" Eleonor loudly whispered, burying her face in Jenny's stomach. Her friend laughed and patted her on the head.
Jenny was an old family friend. When Eleonor's parents were in university, Jenny was halfway through her years at the Sacred. Despite the weird age gap, Jenny was a close friend of Eleonor's mum, and then her dad. Since Eleonor was born Jenny was always a certain factor in her life, a best friend however old Eleonor was.
Jenny was a magizoologist, and probably the best one in Australia. She travelled far and wide across the globe heeding the call of other magizoologists, from those who dwell deep in the Polish forests to those who survive across African deserts. It was Jenny who inspired Eleonor, although it was still a dream at work.
"Come on," Jenny laughs, lifting Eleonor up and hugging her. "It's still midnight back in Australia. Let's go home."