Status: Being Rewritten

Make This Place Your Home

Explanations

Two weeks passed.

Try as she might, Felicity could get no answers from her mother. Whenever she tried to talk about what had happened in the manor, her mother changed the subject or became suddenly busy with housework. It was maddening, but pressing her for information only made her irritable.

Felix was somewhat traumatized by the whole event, spending much more time indoors and having no remaining interest in Hangman Hill. Felicity didn’t bother trying to talk to him about it, either, as the first time she mentioned it, he’d clapped his hands over his ears and shouted for her to leave him alone.

Felicity had never felt so alone and confused as she did those two weeks. Though she tried to put it out of her mind, it nagged quietly at her, at all hours of the day. Try as she might, she couldn’t seem to let it go.

One morning during the first week of June, while Esther was at work, there came a knock on the door. Felicity looked up from her book - she wasn’t expecting company. Setting Alice in Wonderland aside, she went to the door.

On the doorstep stood the boy Felicity now associated with danger and dislike - Sebastian.

The moment she recognized him, Felicity attempted to slam the door on him, but he stuck his foot in the door and forced his way in. He closed the door behind him and looked down at Felicity cautiously, as though he expected her to brutally attack. Today, Felicity noted, he was dressed a little more conspicuously, in khaki pants and an overlarge, green sweater.

“What do you want?” Felicity demanded.

“I came to apologize,” he said. His deep voice was full of remorse, but Felicity didn’t buy it. When she showed no sign of accepting his apology, Sebastian reached into his pocket and pulled out an oddly shaped package. “I have a late birthday gift.”

“I don’t want anything out of your pocket,” said Felicity stubbornly, crossing her arms.

“What if it’s something really nice?” he asked, giving her a crooked grin. “I reckon it has to be, to make up for nearly getting you killed. Though, to be honest, you did a lot of the actual endangering. Not that I didn’t talk you into it,” he added quickly.

Felicity was astonished by the drastic change from the Sebastian she’d first met to the one standing before her now. Instead of scowling and judgemental, he was now friendly and just a touch awkward. He stood with his back against the door, free hand in his pocket, waiting to see if Felicity would accept his gift.

With a sigh, Felicity reached out and wrapped her fingers around the oddly shaped gift. It was round and long, firm under her touch, and she unwrapped it curiously. It was a small, brass telescope, perfect for stargazing, and she fought the alarming urge to give Sebastian a hug. Instead, she gave him a sincere smile and said, “Thank you. I love it.”

“Brilliant,” said Sebastian, mirroring her smile.

There was a bit of an awkward silence then and, casting about for something to say, Felicity offered, “Why don’t we sit down?” She led the way to the sitting area, where she took the window seat and Sebastian sank into the oversized armchair. “So...where’s Uncle Markus?”

“In town, looking for your mum. See, we’ve got a letter for you.” He was smiling in a knowing way that made Felicity curious to know what she was missing.

“Oh?” she said casually, busying herself with turning the telescope over in her hands.

“Yeah, see, Markus gave me the honor of delivering your letter personally. Dumbledore didn’t know about your, ah, situation, so it’s bloody good that Markus asked him about it, actually. If it’d just been delivered the normal way, you might’ve just tossed it, dismissed it as a joke.”

“Why?” she asked, too curious about this letter to be offended by his jab at her “situation.”

“You’ll see,” said Sebastian, reaching into his pocket and pulling out an envelope, which he placed purposefully into her open palm. The paper was thick and slightly browned, as though it were quite old, and it was slightly heavy in her hands. Felicity blinked at the familiar address but unfamiliar name, for letters were always addressed to Esther James, not Felicity.

Itching to satisfy her curiosity, Felicity tore open the envelope and withdrew two pieces of similar paper. The first and frontmost paper was decorated in dark, elegant script that read Dear Miss James-

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,
Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress


Felicity read and reread the letter before looking skeptically up at Sebastian. She understood why, without explanation, she indeed would have tossed the letter straight into the bin. It must be some sort of joke, and she promptly told Sebastian so.

“Don’t be thick,” said Sebastian irritably. “Don’t you remember what you did last time we met? You sent me through a wall. That was magic.”

“Rubbish. There’s no such thing as magic.”

“Alright,” Sebastian said, standing up and pulling a long, thin stick from his pocket. It was the same one he’d shown her last time. He looked around, spotted Felicity’s pile of unopened birthday presents, and seized the topmost one. “Or this,” he added, tearing the paper off and brandishing a book in her face. The title read Standard Book of Spells, Grade One. “Or this.” Digging in his pocket, he produced a newspaper clipping. It was entitled The Daily Prophet and Felicity had to look twice as she saw the photograph, a picture of a handsome, curly-headed man, smile and wave at her.

Felicity couldn’t think of a word to say as she spread the newspaper out in front of her and read incredible headlines such as Ministry Captures Werewolf in London Underground and Self-Stirring Cauldrons - A Revolution!

Frowning, Felicity looked up at Sebastian, still suspicious. “And I suppose you still can’t show me magic. Because you can’t use it outside school.”

“But Markus can,” he said confidently. “He’ll show you when he arrives.”

“Why didn’t I get in trouble, then, if I did magic last time you were here?”

“That was accidental magic. You won’t get expelled or anything for that.”

“So this...this Hogwarts. It’s...it’s real?”

“Of course it’s real. Why would I make it up?”

“I don’t know you,” answered Felicity shortly.

“But you will,” he said with a laugh. “We’ll be such friends at Hogwarts, you’ll see. I'll show you all the secrets of the castle and teach you things no one else knows. I mean, no one knows the place quite like the damned Weasleys, but I know enough, I reckon. And wait until you-”

“I haven’t said if I’m going,” said Felicity quietly. Her head was spinning. Could she really be a…? Could magic really be real? And, if it was, could she really go off to this mysterious Hogwarts for who-knew-how-long, away from her mother and Felix and everything she knew?

Just when she thought she couldn’t stand it, a picture suddenly blossomed in her mind, a wonderful image of a secret, magical world something like out of The Chronicles of Narnia. And the thought was so irresistible that she forgot about leaving her home and family and asked softly, “Will I get a magic wand, too? Can I hold yours?”

Sebastian chuckled and held out his wand, adding as an afterthought, “Don’t point it at anything breakable.”

Felicity took the long wand, made of a handsome, light brown wood, and waited for some kind of magical feeling to wash over her. All she felt, however, was mildly foolish. She looked up at Sebastian and he mimed waving it. So, still feeling foolish, Felicity gave the wand an idle wave.

Crash!

Felicity shrieked as several books went flying violently off the shelf by the window, sending dust and paper scraps into the air and raining down like snow. Sebastian, choking, snatching his wand back.

Suddenly, the front door banged open, making Felicity shriek again, and Esther stormed in, Markus at her heels. “Felicity, wait, before you-” The two adults froze at the sight of their young charges, standing in the middle of an apparent dust storm and covered in bits of paper, ankle deep in scatter books, Felicity still clutching her letter in her left hand.

“I told you to let me Apparate us, but no,” Markus said, rolling his eyes. “Now you’ve missed her expression.”

“Why are the books on the floor?” Esther asked. “Where’s Felix?”

“Here,” came Felix’s small voice. He was peering around the corner, drawn from his room by all the commotion. He took in the scene with wide eyes, curiosity burning in them, but stayed a safe distance from the mess.

“Felicity was stupid with my wand,” Sebastian said, answering Esther’s earlier question.

Esther sank into one of the kitchen chairs, running a hand over her tired face, and said, “I never thought I’d have to do this.”

“I told you so two weeks ago,” said Markus, making himself comfortable in the armchair.

“Is it true?” Felicity asked her mother. “Am I really a...a witch?”

“You will be, kiddo,” answered Markus jovially.

“Yes, you will. I suppose I have some explaining to do,” said Esther softly.

“I could, if you like.”

“No. No, you’ve done quite enough.”

“Alright, then. Felix, my boy, join us, won’t you?” Catching Esther’s expression, Markus shrugged his shoulders and added, “He’ll be going in a few years, so he should hear it, too, eh?”

“Felix is one, too?” Felicity asked, her face falling. She loved her brother, of course, but she couldn’t imagine having to look after him at school, too.

“Yes, but not for some years,” said Esther. “You get the letter when you’re eleven.”

“Everyone does? You, too?” she asked, turning her gaze to Sebastian.

“I’m a third year,” he confirmed. “There’s seven, in all.”

“What’s it like, Hogwarts?”

Sebastian grinned. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.” Then, giving her a pat on the shoulder, he brushed past her and took her vacated seat by the window. Felicity fought the urge to cringe at his touch, still not quite trusting him and still wary from the trouble he’d gotten them into two weeks ago.

“Sit down, Felicity,” said Esther tiredly. “You, too, Fee. I’ll start some tea.”

When Felicity and Felix were settled on the couch, tea cups clutched in their small hands, Esther settled herself and the table and took a deep breath, wondering where exactly to begin. Finally, she said, “Markus and I were born quite close together. Because of it, we were both going to get our Hogwarts letters at the same time. Because our family is all wizards, we just assumed we’d both be going. Your grandmother and her nieces, Narcissa and Bellatrix, were visiting and bore witness to it.

“An owl came, but there was only one letter. A letter for Markus. And, as it turned out, my name was never put down for Hogwarts because I… I was born without magic.”

“How come?” asked Felix.

“It happens sometimes,” said Esther sadly. “Just like a magical child can sometimes be born to a non-magic family, a non-magic child can sometimes be born to a magical one.”

“Mum was furious,” said Markus, oddly upbeat considering the subject. “She went right up to Hogwarts and gave it to old Dippet, but he showed her the list himself and there it was - my name, but not hers.”

“Is that why we never visit any family?” asked Felicity. “You’ve always said there was no one…”

“Yes, and I’m sorry for lying to you. I was afraid to even tell you about the wizarding world because I… I didn’t want you to be disappointed if you didn’t get the letter.”

“Of course, we forgive you,” said Felicity with a smile, going to her mother and wrapping her in a warm hug.

“So,” said Markus, standing up and stretching, as though the story had taken hours rather than a few minutes, “Felicity, are you ready to become who you were meant to be?”

Felicity looked from Markus to her mother and back again. Then, grinning, she answered, “Absolutely.”

“Fantastic. Now, let’s get this mess cleaned up, shall we?”

Markus drew his wand and gave it a wave. The books leapt from the floor, flying back onto the bookshelf in properly alphabetical order. The layer of dust that had settled on the floor and furniture, took to the air, swirling until it simply popped out of existence. The bits of paper scattered about the room gathered into a cluster and then soared, uniformly, into the wastepaper bin.

Felix and Felicity both watched this with wide eyes and Felix began to scream, “More, more, more magic!”

Felicity, feeling nervous and excited all at once, merely whispered, “Magic.
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This one's quite different than the original - there was, like, a two year time jump originally. I kinda like this better. :)

@AngelicWasteland; Thank you so much! I hope I don't disappoint ;)

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