Harry Potter and the American Sisters
Chapter Two: Magic Menagerie
I suppose Mom got sick of being left out of the loop, for she grabbed the letter from my hand. As she read my letter I watched, as her face grew pale as white alabaster. "Mom," I asked, cautiously, "are you okay?"
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes briefly before handing me back my letter. "I suppose I have some explaining to do," she said with a small smile. "But first-" She retrieved a piece of paper and a pen and began to write. I could just make out the words.
Dear Professor McGonagall,
The girls and I would be happy to receive such a guest from the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We anxiously a wait.
Mom folded the letter and handed it to the waiting owl. With letter in talon the owl took off with a "hoot," out the window and into the sky. With a frown on my face I looked at my mother. "What was that all about?" I asked…no demanded of her.
I looked between my mother and older sister as Mom began to explain. "Honey, I know this may come as a surprise to you but, well, how do I say this…your grandfather, my father, was a wizard which makes you two witches."
Okay, that was really unexpected, NOT. No shit, Sherlock, why else would we have been invited to Hogwarts. This is like a freakin' Harry Potter dream or somethin'. I wanted to open my mouth and tell her all about those thoughts that were running through my head, but Jennifer caught my eye. When Mom wasn't looking, she put her finger to her lips in a shushing position. I frowned a little but obeyed. She'd explain it to me later.
"When you think about it, Mom, its not so surprising that Chelsey and I turned out to be witches," Jennifer said lightly.
True, we've never really been ordinary. Then again being normal is so highly overrated. "Me neither," I said in agreement with my sister.
Mom nodded. "Well then, we just have to wait for our guest.
Jennifer and I didn't get a chance to talk alone until that evening when Mom was cooking dinner. Spaghetti, you know. We went into her room, locking the door behind us. Jennifer turned on some music to hopefully drown out our words. The stereo blared out the Bangles' "Manic Monday."
"I don't think we should talk about the Harry Potter books," Jennifer stated. "It could cause some problems."
I agreed not to for I could see her reasoning. If Hogwarts existed then so did the characters that went to the school. Wouldn't do much to have everyone think us insane. 'Sides maybe I'll see Draco…
The representative from Hogwarts didn't arrive for another two days. During that time Chelsey and I grew used to being ten and eleven instead of thirteen and seventeen. My mom told me how her father was a wizard but her mother, her, and her older sister my Aunt Patty were all muggles (Non-magic folk). The power must have skipped a generation.
The doorbell rang while I was reading a story on . My sister was in her room listening to her O-town CD at a high volume and my mother was taking a nap in her bedroom. (For those of you wondering, my parents are divorced). Making the page window small I got up and headed for the front door, the cats following behind me.
Peaking through the tiny hole in the door I saw an unusual woman with gray hair, dressed in green robes, and wearing a rather unique pointed hat. From the description alone I knew who it was: Professor Minerva McGonagall.
I opened the door immediately. With hawk-like eyes she stared at me in a scrutinizing fashion. I knew she was taking in every little detail about me, from the color of my hair to what clothes I currently was wearing. I had on baggy blue jeans and a blue soccer jersey (Go Spirits! My team rules). A normal eleven-year-old might have felt awkward and down right nervous, I was neither. I stared right back into her eyes with the same intensity. For some reason she was satisfied with my act of fearlessness.
"Jennifer Kitchens, I presume?" she said with a British accent.
I nodded. "If I perhaps could come in. I believe I have some things to discuss with your mother about you and your sister."
I stepped back so she could come in. "I'll go get her," I said, heading to my mom's room. I could feel McGonagall's eyes following me. Ignoring the stare I knocked on Mom's door before opening it slightly.
"Mom?" I asked hesitantly.
"Yes?" came her voice from the darkened room.
"Professor McGonagall's here," I whispered.
That woke her up. "I'll be there in a minute. Meet me in the living room with Chelsey," she told me.
Within five minutes Professor McGonagall and us three Kitchens girls were sitting in the living room. McGonagall cleared her throat. "As I'm sure you've realized by now this situation is quite unusual."-She folded her hands-"Normally, your children would go to the Salem Institute of Magic located here in America buts its our policy that every child who's name appears in our book receives an invitation to Hogwarts. We are prepared to arrange for transport for your two children."
She and my mother continued discuss our future. In the end it was decided that Chelsey and I would go to Hogwarts. A portkey was created from an old flowerpot that we kept out in the garage. It would take us straight to the brick wall courtyard that led to Diagon Alley, which was full of magic stores, which was behind the Leaky Cauldron Pub in London, England. We went there about a week before school started to get our school supplies. Professor McGonagall arranged for us to meet up with someone else from the school for our first visit to Diagon Alley. Mom's coming of course, seeing as how she has all the money.
The portkey took us to a small, walled courtyard. A single trashcan was our connecting portkey. As I adjusted to my new surroundings I realized that two people already occupied the courtyard: a bearded giant and a dark-haired boy in overly large clothes. The giant I had no trouble recognizing as Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. The boy with him would be harder to recognize. The unruly dark hair, the taped glasses, the green eyes, and the lightning bolt scar on his forehead left no doubt to who this was: Harry Potter.
"Yeh must be the Kitchens," Hagrid said.
"Yes, Mr.?" Mom inquired.
"Hagrid, Rubeus Hagrid, ma'am." He turned to the boy at his side. "Harry, these are two of your classmates and their mother."
"I'm Jennifer," I said, "and this is Chelsey."
Chelsey just stared, unblinking. I inconspicuously stepped on her foot. That snapped her out of her thoughts. "OWW! What did you do that for!"
"You were being rude," I told her.
"Doesn't mean you have to step on my foot," she shot back.
"Girls," Mom said in a warning voice.
We dropped it, no point in getting in trouble over such a little thing. "Now then let's go on shall we?" Hagrid said as he pulled out his pink umbrella. He started counting bricks in the wall above the trash can. "Three up…two across…" he muttered. "Right, stand back." He tapped the wall three times with the point of his umbrella. The bricks amazingly enough seemed to reorder themselves until a large archway that led to a cobbled street had been revealed. "Welcome to Diagon Alley."
I grinned at the same time as the giant; the look on my mother and Harry's faces was just too funny. As soon as we stepped through the archway closed behind us. "Cool," Chelsey breathed and I had to agree with her.
It was on thing to read about it but to see all the things Diagon Alley had to offer with your own eyes was…simply amazing. "First we go to Gringotts Wizard Bank for Harry's money and you'll need to exchange the muggle money you have for wizard currency," Hagrid told my mom.
We passed by many stores on our way until we reached a snowy white building. We passed through burnished bronze doors. Standing beside the doors, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold, was a goblin that bowed as we walked inside. We faced a second pair of doors, silver this time, with words engraved upon them:
Enter, stranger, but take heed Of what awaits the sin of greed, For those who take, but do not earn, Must pay dearly in their turn. So if you seek beneath our floors A treasure that was never yours, Thief, you have been warned, beware Of finding more than treasure there.
"Yeh'd be mad ter try an' rob it," Hagrid declared. A pair of goblins bowed as we walked through the doors and into a vast marble hall. Goblins worked at stations on each side and others led people in and out of many other doors. We made for a counter. "Morning," said Hagrid to a free goblin. Before he said anything else he pointed at the exchange counter. Mom, Chelsey, and I headed there leaving Harry and Hagrid. I wasn't worried after all I knew what was going on.
The exchange didn't take long, explained the currency to Mom did. (She didn't once question how we knew so much.) Seventeen silver Sickles to a gold Galleon and twenty-nine bronze Knuts to a Sickle.
Hagrid and Harry showed back up a few minutes later, Harry was holding a bag full of money. Hagrid pointed out Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions before he slipped off for a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. He was muttering about fast carts as he left. Harry looked nervous being left alone with people he didn't know. I smiled at him. "We don't bite, you know."
He blushed as I grabbed his hand. "Come on, we've got lots to buy," I said as I dragged him into the store.
Madam Malkin was a squat; smiling witch dressed all in mauve. "Hogwarts, dears?" she said as we entered. "Got the lot here—another young man being fitted up just now in fact."
In the back of the shop was a pale boy with silver blond hair who was being fitted for his robes. I had no trouble recognizing who it was, Draco Malfroy. I headed over to him while Madam Malkin took care of Harry and my sister.
"Hello," he said as I came closer. "Hogwarts, too?"
"Yes," I said, fully aware that Mom, Harry, and my sister were listening to us.
"My father's next door buying my books and Mother's up the street looking at wands," said Draco. I loved the way his voice sounded with his British accent. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow. Have you got your own broom?"
"Play Quidditch at all?"
"A little"-That is if you count computer and playstation games-"I'm looking forward to trying out for my house team."
"So am I—father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. Know what house you'll be in yet?"
"No, but I'm hoping to get into Slytherin."
He smiled at my answer. "I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been—imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
"Maybe," I admitted. What if I didn't get into a house at all?
We left Madam Malkin's, of which I was really relieved. Draco Malfroy is such a-a prick! (A.N.: No offense to Draco fans, its not my real opinion!) As we walked Harry talked to Hagrid, probably getting explanations for what he'd heard, but every once in a while he'd look back at me with those lovely green eyes of his. We bought our schoolbooks at a shop called Flourish and Blotts. There the books were stacked to the sky. "Look, Mom, its Jennifer's idea of heaven," cracked Chelsey.
I frowned and gave her a blue-eyed glare. Just because I like to read seven hundred page books on a daily basis doesn't mean she had to make fun of me. Though I suppose Chelsey was right, I did thoroughly enjoy the store. Besides my schoolbooks I talked Mom into buying me some extra books. The first book I got was Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp, I don't think I need to explain that one. The second I got was Hogwarts, A History. I then went ahead and bought the Standard Book of Spells set, grade one through seven, after all it never hurts to be prepared.
"You keep this up," Chelsey told me as I carried my newly purchased books out of the store, "and you'll end up in Ravenclaw."
Harry looked confused. "What's wrong with Ravenclaw?"
"Nothing," I assured him, "It's just that I've been hoping to get into Gryffindor."
We next bought our cauldrons, scales for weighing potion ingredients, and collapsible brass telescopes. After we basic potion ingredients at the Apothecary. Outside, Hagrid checked Harry's list. "Just yer wands left—oh yeah, an' I still haven't got yeh a birthday present."
To my surprise Harry actually went red in the face and began to stutter.
"I know I don't have to. Tell yeh what, I'll get yer animal. Not a toad, toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh'd be laughed at—an' I don' like cats, they make me sneeze." Chelsey and I frowned at this; we both were avid cat lovers. "I'll get yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry yer mail an' everythin'."
We left Eeylops Owl Emporium, Harry with a snowy owl he named Hedwig and Mom with a Spotted owl I named Gavin. She thought we could use a family owl, seeing as how he would be trustworthier than using the school's owls. Chelsey and I had decided we would take our cats.
"Just Ollivanders left now—only place for wands," Hagrid stated.
The last shop was narrow and shabby. Peeling gold letters over the door read
Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.
Dusty thousands of boxes piled up high. "Good afternoon," said Mr. Ollivander. We all gave our hellos. He stared at Harry more intently than at the rest of us.
He talked some to Hagrid and Harry until he finally started business. "Well, now let me see." He pulled a long tape measure with silver markings out of his pocket. "Which are your wand arms?"
"Er-Well, I'm right-handed," Harry said at the same time Chelsey and I raised our right hands.
He then measured each of us. As he measured he said, "Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are the same. And of course, you will never get such good result with another wizard's wand."
"Try this one. Beachwood and dragon heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. Just take it and give it a wave."
Harry took the wand and waved it around a bit, but Mr. Ollivander snatched it out of his hand almost at once. He handed the wand to me; I didn't even need to wave it to know that it wasn't meant for me. I gave it over to Chelsey for a try. Her body went alert as she grasped the wand. When she waved it around it shot out blue and green sparkles. "Wonderful," Mr. Ollivander shouted, "and her first try too."
He pulled out another wand for Harry and I to try. "Maple and phoenix feathers. Seven inches. Quite whippy." Then, "Ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches." The piles of wands mounted higher and higher. Amazing enough, he seemed to be happy at this. "Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we'll find the perfect match here somewhere—I wonder, now—yes, why not—unusual combination—holly and phoenix feathers, eleven inches, nice and supple."
Harry raised the wand above his head, brought it down with a stream of red and gold sparks shooting out like fireworks. Hagrid whooped and clapped and Mr. Ollivander cried, "Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very good. Well, well…how curious…how very curious…"
"Sorry," said Harry, "but what's curious?"
Mr. Ollivander fixed Harry with his pale stare. "I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather—just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother—why, its brother gave you that scar." I could see Harry swallow visibly. "Yes, thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…I think we must expect great tings from you Mr. Potter….After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things—terrible, yes, but great."
I think the mention of Voldemort in such a way scared Harry, not that I blame him. In the world of witches and wizards no one said his name preferring to call him You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Harry's parents, James and Lily Potter, were killed by Voldemort, an attack that should have killed Harry as well. Instead he survived and spent his life with his horrible muggle aunt, uncle, and cousin.
Mr. Ollivander turned his attention back to me. I tried so very many wands without any success. Finally, Mr. Ollivander put his last wand in my hand without even giving me the description.
It's difficult to describe what I felt as I touched that wand. My body felt hot and cold at the same time and oh, so right. The tip shot our white and gold sparks in glittering glory. The wand shop owner looked like he was looking through me. "When I was young and foolish I made a wand meant to be the most powerful ever. This was the result. Funny, in all this time no one but you has gotten so much as a spark out of it." He carefully took the wand from me. "It's made out of a silver maple tree that was once inhabited by a nymph. It is twelve inches long. Its core is very special indeed. Hair of a unicorn, werewolf, and succubus braided together and soaked in phoenix tears. The power of light, dark, and chaos all in one wand."
"Don't yeh think that's a bit much for a young witch?" spoke up Hagrid.
"Only her body is young, Rubeus," he answered as he put my wand, amazing how quickly I had become possessive of it, back into its cushioned box. "Besides this wand and no other has chosen her." Silence reigned.
We all paid for our wands. As we exited the shop I discovered that it was already dusk. Hagrid gave Chelsey and I our tickets for the Hogwarts Express. We left for home by the portkey but not before I slipped Harry my entire American phone number. "If those muggles give you any trouble you just give us a call anytime of the day," I told him. I gave him a quick peck on the cheek and hurried away. Chelsey and Mom could only stare flabbergasted.