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Prologue IX

August 1, 1987

When Waver's booklist came in, his mother had insisted on him leading her to wherever the magical bookstore was on a day she had off.

His explanation that it was in London did not sit well with her, nor that he hadn't known where in London it was until he checked the envelope which had held the booklist again, as it seemed an additional note had been enclosed with directional details. Reaching London would require a great deal of tightly scheduled public transport.

As a result, Waver was now squeezed into a seat on a bus with his mother that had stops in the nearest town and London as it pulled into the city.

Waver was fairly confident they were going to get lost attempting to navigate as they departed. And that he'd exhaust himself from walking so much.

They had to ask patrolling policemen for directions multiple times before they finally found the street indicated in the note.

"The note lied, there's no run-down taverns here," Waver's mother stated as she surveyed the street.

"It's thereā€¦ the note did say you wouldn't notice it or be able to enter it without my help." Why did he have to bring her if she was just going to act like this? Dragging her toward what she likely saw as empty space, Waver swung open the door and marched her through.

The pub was a lot busier than the outward appearance would suggest. And if it had any effect, it made Waver's mother even more suspicious. "This is what greets you at the entrance? A pub frequented by that sort?" she hissed in Waver's ear as they walked through the establishment to the back entrance.

"Maybe you should judge people by their looks less," Waver hissed back as they headed out to the back alley. He quickly followed the direction on how to get past the brick wall that greeted them, before promptly marching toward Flourish and Blotts.

Waver doubted the new Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook would be any more engaging than the last one (from what he'd heard, competent teachers for the subject were becoming hard to come by as seemingly no one could hold the position for an extended periods of time). The reaction of his mother to the titles of the books she saw was simply to scoff at how ridiculous some of them sounded. Waver couldn't help but agree with her to some degree, some of the titles did sound very silly, particularly the fiction. While he had been in Hogwarts, he had tried looking for mystery novels written by wizards, but had come up quite empty-handed. Most of the fiction he'd read had, frankly, made little sense narratively. Magic was too powerful for the conclusions to make any sense in the few he had found, he could think of several other possibilities for an outcome that still could logically add up based on what he knew of magic.

Waver and his mother barely looked at each other as they left the shop and went to restock on basic potion supplies. It was obvious that she was regretting coming, even if, without an escort, she lacked much choice.

"None of these things make sense," Waver's mother huffed as she looked over the wares in the shop. "Some aren't even magical. What's magical about a caterpillar?"

"The caterpillar by itself isn't magical, but it can be used as a conduit for it." Waver replied absently. "It's less a reactant, and more a catalyst."

"Then wouldn't anything non-magical work? Why a caterpillar specifically?"

"Caterpillars completely change over their lives. The concept of the potential to become something else is what makes it the catalyst, in this regard."

The cashier in the shop seemed amused by the conversation as Waver was paying for the supplies. "It's something most muggles feel, boy. Don't get too frustrated that she's no different," he was saying cheerfully.

Waver's mother seemed beyond insulted by this, despite the man's lighthearted tone. Her demands to know what she was being called were cut off as Waver hurriedly finished counting the coins and dragged her out of the shop before she could embarrass him further before quietly explaining to her that he hadn't meant to insult her and was simply pointing out that she wasn't magical.

Returning to their hometown after was a silent affair, Waver would have read his books if revealing them in front of all these non-magical people wasn't a potential secrecy break. Waver dearly hoped she wouldn't start crying again when they made it. The first time had been awkward enough.

"How do you put up with all that?" Waver's mother demanded as he made a beeline for his room. "None of it is normal."

"You get used to it." Waver gave the simplest explanation he could. "I'm going to go read these, don't bother me."

She grabbed his shoulder. "You can do that later."

"I am doing it now." Waver hissed, shaking her off. "I'm not going to fall behind, mother." He marched into his room and began to hold the door closed, hoping she'd eventually give up if he did so long enough.

He really wished it would continue to just lock itself. Studying in peace had been so much easier then.

I am so sorry this took so long. Like I said in the previous chapter's updated AN, Proto is very thorough with criticism and I'd rather it be all corrected before I publish the chapter, and he was feeling quite miserable and unmotivated. Cheering him up was a greater priority than forcing him to beta immediately. Combined with an irl issue making me miserable myself, it just wasn't the formula for a swift update.

Review replies:

VGBlackwing: Yeah, Waver is being pretty mean to her and deserves being yelled at for it. I felt pretty bad for her while I was writing it, even though I was the one who shoved her into that situation to begin with.

Sorry nameless mother character. You deserve better than what I'm giving you.