Eddie hunched over to rest his chin in his hands. From his spot on a tree stump, he watched his cousins cut through the air on their broomsticks, tossing an old quaffle around. He hated family picnics: they were just another reminder of how powerless he was.
"Food's ready! Come and get it!" his uncle called.
At least I can get first dibs at the food, Eddie thought excitedly. He jumped up and began sprinting towards the savory smell of his aunt's newt stew. However, in the middle of his race back to the gathering, he felt the gusts of wind all around him, telling him that his cousins would get there before him.
Stupid brooms, Eddie cursed silently.
By the time he got to the table, his cousins had dismounted and ambushed the dinner plates. Eddie tried to poke his hand through the bodies to grab a plate, but he was roughly pushed to the ground by one of the older boys.
"Squibs go last," the boy spit over his shoulder.
Before Eddie could process his surprise at the aggressive action, one of uncles stepped over him. Not bothering to help his little nephew up off the ground, his uncle only gave a look of disgust. "Get up. You bring enough filth to this family without being covered in dirt."
Eddie couldn't stop his eyes from watering as he scrambled away from the group. He ran into the nearby woods, his face streaked with tears. He didn't stop running until he tripped, scraping his hands and knees on the woody forest floor. He curled into a ball, and his small body shook with sobs.
He hated his mother for telling everyone that he hadn't received a Hogwarts letter, but he hated himself even more for not deserving a letter in the first place. Why didn't he have magic? He was a disgrace.
When his crying faded, his self-hatred turned into motivation: he would get to Hogwarts whether the magical world wanted him there or not.
Three weeks later, Eddie watched his parents leave for some special dinner. They didn't say good-bye. They didn't say much of anything to their son these days. They hardly looked at him because every time they did, his mother began crying and his father's eyes darkened.
Eddie didn't care ‒the lack of parental attention gave him ample time for research.
Like every distinguished wizarding family, the Brock family had a library in their estate. From polished new books to faded scrolls, they had books of every topic. Luckily for Eddie, they also had a few volumes on some very dark magic. It hadn't taken the boy long to find what he was looking for.
Eddie ran to his room as soon as the front door clicked shut. He pulled an old book out from under his bed, flipping to the page that had been dog-eared. After skimming the instructions, he set out to work.
There wasn't much to do before the declaration, but Eddie knew that powerful, old magic was usually simpler than modern magic. First, he pushed the area rug against the wall. Then he pulled out a small container of black ink and a small pocketknife from his desk drawer. He inhaled sharply as he pressed the blade into his palm, drawing blood. After stirring his blood into the ink pot, he used it to draw the symbol in the book as large as he could on the hardwood floor. Standing over the intricate sign, he slowly began to read the ancient language from the leather-bound book. Over the past week, he had studied each word, marking the book with the correct pronunciation. The first declaration of a conjuring spell holds the most potential, so he wanted it to be perfect.
Halfway through, the temperature in the room suddenly dropped, bringing goosebumps to Eddie's skin. A few words later, the lights in his room blinked and blew out. Nevertheless, he continued.
As firmly as he could manage, Eddie shouted the final word.
Suddenly, a gust of wind pushed him forward into the center of the insignia with such force that his head smacked against the hardwood floor, knocking the boy unconscious.
When he woke up, the first thing he felt was the throbbing in his head from where it hit the ground. Without opening his eyes, he groaned and went to rub it, but stopped when he felt the dried blood on his palm.
Sorry, I can fix that.
Eddie's eyes snapped open. "Who is that?" He yelled into the darkness. "Where are you?!"
I am Venom. You called for me.
The book didn't say what would happen if the conjuring worked. Eddie wasn't sure what to do. "How come I can't see you?" he asked.
I'm inside you, child. My power is too strong and volatile to exist independently.
Eddie was quiet for a minute as his brain started making connections. Yes, this could work.
What could work?
"You can hear my thoughts?"
Of course. Now, human child, it has been centuries since I have been released. Tell me, what is it that you want from me?
"I want to go to Hogwarts. Can you give me enough magic to get to Hogwarts?"
Enough magic to attend the wizarding school? Oh, I can give you that and so much more. However, there would be some conditions…
Eddie sat up at this new information. He swallowed his excitement before he got ahead of himself. They could talk about a contract later. How could he be sure that his would work though?
I can show you. Point to the light fixture in this room.
Slowly, Eddie raised his hand towards his ceiling light. He felt movement from somewhere deep within himself. Then there was a crackling sound as the light flickered and re-lit, illuminating the dark room.
Eddie's mouth fell open in shock. Magic! His very own magic! He stared down at his hands. His own magic.
Oh, let me fix that for you.
Eddie's eyes widened in amazement as he felt warmth in the palm and his cut healed in seconds. "Thank you," Eddie whispered, remembering his manners.
"So, you'll come with me to Hogwarts?"
I haven't worked in centuries. It would be my pleasure to accompany you.
Eddie jumped up, unable to contain his enthusiasm. "YES!" He hooted and jumped around his room. "I'm going to Hogwarts! I'll be best in my class and show my stupid cousins who's boss!"
Since we're in an alliance now, will you tell me your name, child?
"Eddie. My name is Eddie Brock."
Eddie laughed. "Nice to meet you, Venom!"
For the first time, Mrs. Brock cried tears of joy when Eddie received his invitation to attend Hogwarts Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry the next day. Eddie had been worried that his parents would sense the dark magic behind their son's eyes, but they hadn't noticed yet. Venom suggested that they would never notice, that they were more concerned with the family reputation than the source of magic.
Now, Eddie was out with his parents at Diagon Alley. They had him measured for new robes, selected his new textbooks, and even bought him some prank candies from the joke shop. Last on their list was his wand. Eddie's parents were talking to the store owner, so Eddie occupied himself by staring at the stacks of wand boxes.
Eddie felt nervous about getting a wand. What if it didn't work? What if none of them fit because he wasn't a real wizard?
You are a real wizard, Eddie. You performed an advanced, ancient conjuring spell.
Yeah, Venom had a point there. If he could do that, then surely he could handle a wand meet-and-greet.
"Eddie, sweetie, come here," his mother called.
"Based on your parents' wand makeups, I have a few candidates here for you to try," the store owner explained.
Eddie picked up the first one and, sensing Venom's movement through his arm and hand, gave it a flick. Immediately, the wand split down its center, splintering into scraps of wood.
Oh, no, Eddie thought. Venom, what did you do?
It's not my fault that the wood was weak.
Eddie held his breath when he picked up the next wand.
No, put that back. It's wrong.
"Uh, this one is wrong," Eddie said, gently placing the wand back in the box without testing it at all. The owner and his parents gave him a strange look, but he ignored them as he picked up a different wand.
Venom allowed him to try this one, but the flick of this wand set fire to the rest of the potential wand matches on the counter. In fear, Eddie threw the wand into the fire and backed away until the fire was put out. He bit his lip, even more scared of his parents' disappointment than the physical destruction of the shop.
The owner gave Eddie a look of suspicion and scratched his beard in thought. "Let me try something different." A few minutes later, he came back with a single box. The store owner explained, "You're lucky: I have only one, but I think this will work."
Eddie picked up the wand.
Yes, Eddie. This will do.
You have to show them, Eddie thought.
Heat spread across his shoulders as wind swirled around his body. Eddie smiled as his parents cheered for their son, their pride in him restored.
"Yew wood, thirteen and three quarters of an inch, very flexible" the store owner described. He gave Eddie a knowing look before finishing. "A Thestral-hair core."
The train ride was long, but Eddie kept himself amused by thinking back to the look on his cousins' faces when they saw him on the train platform. One of the girls tried to be nice by offering him one of her chocolate frogs, but he declined and decided to sit by himself.
It wasn't long before he was seated in a boat with the other first year students, crossing the lake towards the castle. They were shuffled through the large, heavy doors, and lined up to be sorted into houses where they would stay for the next seven years.
Eddie kept waiting for someone to expose him as a fraud. Sure, he got a letter to Hogwarts. Yes, he was able to get a wand. But he knew the Sorting Hat wasn't human. If there were to be a moment of truth, this would be it.
I'm not human either, Eddie.
That's true, Eddie thought. After spending so much time with his new companion, Eddie couldn't help but feel a little trust in the demon.
With the last name of Brock, Eddie didn't have to wait long for his turn. At the sound of his name, he stepped up to the stool. The large hat was placed over his head.
"Another Brock heir?" the Sorting Hat asked rhetorically in a voice audible only to Eddie. "A family of Hufflepuffs, that is."
Eddie nodded. He already knew that his family was full of Hufflepuffs. On the way to the train station, his parents had each described their sorting moments. In fact, they had met when his mother knew the password for the Common Room that his father had forgotten.
We really won't fit in there.
"What's this? Oh, you have played with some very dark magic, haven't you, Mister Brock?" the Sorting Hat continued. "Now, if we take your companion into account…"
"No, don't worry about that. Just sort me!" Eddie whispered.
"Oh, but it can't be ignored. This will be with you throughout your entire journey at Hogwarts, Mister Brock," the Sorting Hat said wisely.
Venom, I'm supposed to be in Hufflepuff like the rest of my family, Eddie thought.
We're not like your family, Eddie: we're much more powerful.
"…Yes, that's it," the Sorting Hat concluded. It paused before declaring, "SLYTHERIN!"
Eddie was stunned. He looked down to see the gray in his robes wash away, replaced by green. He stood up and walked over to the Slytherin table where the older students were cheering for their newest recruit.
See, Eddie? They're happy to have you.
Okay, maybe this isn't so bad, Eddie thought. At least he got to be sorted at all.
It was then that the reality of the situation really sunk in: he made it. Eddie Brock had found his own magic; he was on his way to being one of the most powerful wizards in his family. He had Venom, and no one could take that away from him.