Chapter 6 : Be careful what you witch for
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I would especially like to thank brittish and jesstierney for reviewing every single chapter so far - i always look forward to your reviews and i love you both for them!
I would also especially like to thank han_padfoot for basically helping me write this and telling me that its not, in fact, crap. Love you han! and check out her story - its awesome.
Im wondering what you guys thought of the chapter image? Just to clarify, it is actually the same girl as the one on the banner, just a very different picture. Her names Alexis Bledal and i think shes gorgeous. okay, sorry to drag out this authors note. Well done for reading it :)
Here is chapter six, enjoy.
I do not like side-along apparation.
I felt as though I had been squished inside a very tight tube and I did not appreciate the sensation. As I opened my eyes, dizzy from lack of breath, I saw that straight in front of me was my house.
Even in the darkness of the night I could clearly see it. The front garden, a plain, primly trimmed lawn that lead up to a neat, brick, box of a house was enough to make me freak out and attempt to swallow down the lump threatening to bulge out of my throat.
I was going to die.
I’m not even being melodramatic right now.
Dumbledore was waiting for me to adjust myself, politely examining the house I live in. Or used to live in, I wasn’t very sure at the moment. I was actually considering a coffin to be my new home. I could furnish it in red …
Hearing the shuffling of my feet, Dumbledore looked over and without a word, began striding forwards, up the concrete foot path that was like an isle, with grass on either side. It wasn’t a pretty house, or a fancy modern house or even a cheap scummy house. It was an orderly house. It was boring and nondescript – everything my mother strived for me to be.
I followed Dumbledore up the path, hanging a little behind him due to my fear. It would have been amusing to anyone else, to see the contrast in our attitudes. While I was positively quaking with fear, Dumbledore seemed almost cheery. He was even humming a little tune to himself as he stepped onto the threshold and rang the doorbell. Through the walls, I could hear the classical ding dong of the bell ringing throughout the house. In my head it echoed menacingly, like in a scary movie … although normally the murder victim was inside the house rather than the visitor.
Ah well, I suppose we can make an exception this time.
I tried not to shake visibly as I waited for the inevitable door to open. I say inevitable not because we’d called first to make sure she was home, but because it’s more likely that my mum is secretly a frog than for her to be out after eight-o-clock at night.
The door flung open to reveal a middle aged, dark haired woman, that resembled me in some aspects. She had the same dark hair and high cheek bones and the same petite body. But where my face was very soft and open - easily read - hers was tight and firm. She also had blue eyes but a darker blue than mine.
She had her arms crossed tightly around her thin body and was in a pale pink night gown, her hair pulled back into a neat pony tail. Her face was closed and guarded underneath the momentary shock of seeing us. She seemed to inhale quickly when she saw my face but didn’t say anything, choosing to stare instead. She tore her gaze from mine and to the old man beside me. She looked him up and down critically with a shrewd eye. When her eye sight reached his purple robes she whipped her face back to mine with an expression that could be called nothing but fear. Indeed, Sarah Renald looked frightened for a few moments before all emotion left her face, leaving it cold and even more withdrawn than before.
It did not surprise me that my mum was scared of Dumbledore, despite his pleasant smile. Anything out of the ordinary freaked out my mum and Dumbledore’s whole demeanor definitely fell under the category of ‘out of the ordinary’.
I felt the need to break the silence and I looked, bewildered, up at Dumbledore, wondering how to do it. He sent me an encouraging nod so, with many breaths I attempted to smile at the woman before me.
She didn’t answer me and silence took over again. This time, it was Dumbledore who broke it.
“Good evening, Ms Renald. My name is Albus Dumbledore and I know it is awfully rude of me to ask, but I was wondering if your daughter and I might be invited inside.”
My mother made no move and I knew her well enough to know that the calm, cold expression that was brewing on her face was used only when she was incredibly angry or incredibly frightened. She blocked the doorway with no intention on her face of moving.
Dumbledore sighed. “Ms Renald, I apologize for the late hour but the conversation I wish to have with you is not one suitable for the public ear.”
He directed his eyesight pointedly to the house next door where a woman hastily pulled her curious face away from the window and shut the blinds. My mum glanced at the window and back, scowling.
“And why must we have this conversation?” she asked briskly, finally speaking.
“It is concerning your daughter,” Dumbledore pointed out.
My mum’s blue eyes were brought back to mine swiftly. “Kate, come inside,” she commanded.
I gave a tiny nervous glance at Dumbledore who silently seemed to tell me to obey her. I slid past my mother and into the small living room.
“I’m sorry, sir but I have no desire to hold a conversation with a stranger,” I heard my mum tell Dumbledore coldly, attempting to shut the door on him. His hand blocked it easily.
“I’m afraid it is rather important we discuss this, not least because it is relevant to Kate’s well-being.”
My mum’s eyes reached up to Dumbledore’s and they had a silent staring competition for a few moments before mum broke it. Sighing, she allowed the door to widen so Dumbledore could enter. He did so and he followed my mum as she led the way to the living room couch. Settling himself on it as comfortably as though it were his own, Dumbledore smiled expectantly up at my mother who was standing in front of him, her arms still crossed tightly. It made her look smaller than she already was. I quickly copied Dumbledore and sat down beside him.
When it was clear that Dumbledore was waiting for my mother to speak she did so grudgingly.
“Well? What is it? Where has my daughter been for the last twelve hours?” she demanded impatiently.
Dumbledore eyed her carefully. “Ms Renald, the question of where Kate has been is one which will confuse you if you do not know the whole story. It is an important story. Do you wish to hear it?”
My mum looked at him as though wondering if he was making fun of her. “Yes,” she answered slowly.
“Then I suggest you have a seat as you undoubtedly will need one,” he replied.
She opened her mouth to speak but appeared to think better of it and stiffly sat down in an armchair across from the couch, waiting.
Dumbledore began to speak as soon as she was seated. “Ms Renald, I would like to show you something, if you would allow it,” he told her politely.
She stared at him sharply and gave a tight nod of her head.
Dumbledore then drew his wand from within his robes and I gasped. This wasn’t the right way to tell her!
I bit my lip with worry as my mum eyed the wand skeptically, examining it across the room with her eyes. She didn’t speak. She must have thought it a stick.
Dumbledore then pointed his wand at the coffee table, situated between us and my mum and a glass appeared, filled with water.
My mum’s eyes grew wide as saucers and she gasped to herself. She clutched her heart and drew deep breaths as she closed her eyes. It seemed odd that she closed her eyes but I supposed she was entitled to any reaction she wanted. Maybe she was hoping it would disappear when she opened them.
She stayed that way for about ten seconds before her eyes snapped open and she had the calm, cold expression on again. Her eyes were fixed on Dumbledore.
Dumbledore was not as cheerful as before, he was watching her warily. “Ms Renald, I am magical. I have magic powers and I did that -“ he gestured towards the glass of water. “Kate is too,” he added softly.
My mum’s eyes scrutinized me sharply as soon as the words left Dumbledore’s mouth and she had her face of coldness and calmness on in full force. I looked away from her intense gaze, unable to stand it. I felt guilty, even though I knew it wasn’t actually my fault.
She still hadn’t said anything and I was wondering what was going on inside of her head. My mum is woman of few words. She was probably analyzing this whole situation inside of her head, probably having a conversation to herself. Sometimes I wonder if she’s crazy.
“You’re not magical Kate,” she said after what felt like an hour of silence. She said it with finality.
“I am, mum. Professor Dumbledore proved it to me,” I mumbled, trying to meet her stare and settling on her nose.
“You’re not,” she snapped angrily.
I didn’t answer her.
“Ms Renald, I am afraid Kate is magical. She’s a witch and I would like very much for her to attend my school. I own a school called Hogwarts which teaches magic to its students,” Dumbledore informed her seriously.
She shook her head fiercely. “She’s not magical!”
Squeezing my eyes together tightly, I said, “I am, mum!”
I felt angry at her for trying to deny who I was, for not accepting it. She couldn’t handle me being something so strange and different and that made me mad. It was who I was, not who she was and she had no right to be mad at me for something I couldn’t help. I wanted to scream at her for not loving me unconditionally, for not allowing me to be myself. Isn’t that what a mother is supposed to do? Isn’t she the only person who is meant to love their daughter no matter what? If she didn’t love me as I truly was, who would?
I wanted to tell her all of this and blame her for feeling so suffocated. It was so much easier to blame her than to admit it was me.
But I didn’t.
I jumped when I heard the sound of breaking glass. I looked up to see the glass Dumbledore had conjured shattered into pieces, its contents in a puddle on the coffee table, dripping off the sides.
“Did you do that?” I asked fearfully to Dumbledore.
He smiled slightly. “You did, Kate.”
My mouth opened in shock. I had done that? I’d done magic! I felt a smile creep onto my face as I finally had concrete proof that I really and truly was a witch. I wondered why I'd never done any magic before.
My mum was staring at the glass in absolute shock, just watching. She hadn’t screamed or anything. But I found myself more worried at this reaction.
“I’m going to Hogwarts, Mum,” I told her, still angry despite my brief happiness at my magic. That was the boldest I had ever spoken to her and her eyes quickly went back to my face from the glass, the shocked expression gone to make way for a fierce one.
She shook her head again. “No,” she commanded.
“Yes!” I fumed back.
“No, Kate,” she said, in her most firm and final voice. I could hear fear in there as well, though. “This is your home, you live here.”
I crossed my arms stubbornly and turned my head, frowning.
“Kate, you can’t go,” she repeated but it came out as more of a plea now. I’d never heard my mum plead for anything.
I shut my eyes tight but reluctantly turned my head back to face her. “I am,” I replied, still with my eyes closed. I found it easier to refuse if I didn’t look at her. She suddenly grasped my hand and held it so tight it almost hurt.
“Please,” she begged, her firm, cold voice gone completely.
I felt a sob rise in my throat at her vulnerable tone. I hated seeing her vulnerable. I hated seeing her like this; weak and scared. My mother hardly ever showed her fear and it scared me to see her this terrified. I had to open my eyes and when I did, it was to find my mum’s face, close to mine and the cold expression gone for once. There was hurt on her face and fear too.
It was so hard to say no to.
“No,” I gritted out, blinking back the tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stay here. I couldn’t. I felt suffocated now, just minutes into seeing her again.
She stared into my eyes for a moment that felt longer than it was and for once I stared back. Then she dropped my hand and looked away, the cold expression back.
I nodded before I could give in to my compassion for her and turned to walk out the door.
Dumbledore followed, but paused in the doorway. He looked serious as he faced me. “I would like to speak to your mother alone quickly, Kate. Please wait outside.”
I looked between them, a little worried. But I did as he told me and stepped through the door. Before I could reach the pavement however, I heard my mum’s voice call out to me again.
I turned slowly to see her watching me by the door with frightened eyes, the closest to tears that I’d ever seen her.
“Be careful,” she warned me quietly, her voice shaking. The words were innocent enough, the kind of words most mothers would say when their daughter was leaving them for months but the way she spoke, told me it was a real warning. She said the words with meaning. I nodded, fighting the tears and stepped onto the road, waiting for Dumbledore to finish talking with my mum.
I wasn’t able to hear what they were saying and I gave up after a few moments, sticking to kicking the stones around on the gravel. I didn’t dwell on what I had heard, choosing to focus on more trivial things instead. The night was cool and I pulled my jacket closer to my body, huddling up for warmth. I heard a cat hiss and looked up jumpily to see a tabby cat with a flashy collar on, stalking off from the next door neighbour’s house and down the street. I looked around the deserted street a little nervously; I’d never liked being outside alone in the dark.
Finally, Dumbledore emerged from the house and he walked up until he stood beside me on the side of the road. He looked strained but I knew that if he’d wanted to talk to my mum alone, then I probably wasn’t going to hear what it was about. He turned his head to look at me and then smiled, holding out his arm. Sighing, I grabbed hold of it tightly and as we were transported back to Hogwarts, we were squeezed so tight that I wondered if I would ever breathe again. And then, finally we were released and I stumbled around in Dumbledore’s office, gasping for air.
He chuckled. “It takes a bit of getting used to.”
“I’m not sure I want to get used to it,” I mumbled, bracing myself against my knees for support. Before he put his wand away, Dumbledore muttered some incantations and spun in a slow circle so that his wand tip faced every part of the office in turn. He noticed me watching him with curiosity written on my face.
“Hogwarts is protected from anyone apparating in or out of the grounds. I had to lift the spell before we left, just for my office, and now I’m redoing it,” he explained.
I sat, or collapsed would probably be the more accurate word, into one of the chairs that Dumbledore had conjured previously. I felt exhausted. Once he was finished, Dumbledore sat down in his own chair and smiled at me a little tiredly as well. His eyes pierced me through again but they were comforting despite that, he looked as though he honestly cared about what I was going through.
“I am deeply sorry, Kate but there is one more thing I must ask of you before you can go to bed,” Dumbledore requested.
“You noticed the house tables at the feast, I’m sure?” he checked and I nodded. “Well, you must be sorted into a house. You will sleep in a dormitory with the people in your own house and you will most likely be in lots of classes with them.”
I felt a little worried. What if I wasn’t in the same house as the Marauders?
“Okay,” I answered in a small voice.
Smiling kindly, he reached for a hat which I now noticed was the same as the one from the feast. He placed it on the desk in front of me and gestured with his hand for me to pop it on.
With slightly shaky hands I took hold of the rim and pulled it onto my head. It was a little big but it didn’t fall past my eyes like it had for most of the first years. I jumped when I heard a raspy voice begin to speak in my ear.
Oh, a quiet one we have here, yes you’ve been a little battered, my dear.
You have opinions, I see although it’s not easy for you to voice them.
You’re spirit is confined but there is definitely spirit there – you are braver then people perceive you to be.
Smart too, but not brilliant.
Hm, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor?
You are loyal, most definitely and a true friend, I believe as well …
Gryffindor, I thought desperately. Please let me be in Gryffindor.
Oh all right then –
Then the hat went limp on my head and the horse voice I’d heard disappeared. I looked up to see Dumbledore still smiling as he heard which house I was in. I smiled back, happy to be in the house of bravery. I’m really not a brave person though – maybe the hat was going senile. Oh well, I didn’t mind so long as I was with my friends.
I took the hat off and put it back on Dumbledore’s desk. “Can I go to bed now?” I asked him.
“Yes, I think that you have had quite a long enough day as it is. I’ll escort you back myself.”
I pushed myself up off the seat and Dumbledore strode ahead of me, down the moving spiral staircase and through the gargoyles. We walked in silence and I was grateful - I’d had a long day and I had enough to think about without trying to come up with a way to make small talk with the Headmaster of a magic school. After about ten minutes of staircases, corridors and talking portraits which Dumbledore talked cheerily back to, we reached the place that must have been where we’d stopped earlier tonight, but I couldn’t really recognize it. Everything looked the same to me. The only thing that I remembered was the portrait of the Fat Lady. I decided I would use her as a marker. We stepped up to the portrait of the Fat Lady and he turned his wrinkled face back to me.
“I’m afraid this is where I must leave you, Kate,” he told me. “The password is Fairy lights and the girls dormitories are off to the left of the common room. If you wouldn’t mind, meet me at my office tomorrow morning at seven thirty to discuss your classes. Good night.”
He left with a twinkle eyed smile as he turned and returned to, I assume his office. He was a little strange but I liked him. I stared at the moving portrait of the Fat Lady for a few moments while she crossed her arms huffily.
“You can say the password anytime you like, dear,” she told me impatiently.
Right. Password. It was easy to get lost in the magic.
“Fairy lights,” I mumbled and she swung forwards so that I could enter. The common room, as Dumbledore had told me, was nothing like home room at my old school. While the home room in my muggle school was a plain classroom, this was a little like a lounge room. It was furnished mainly in red and gold and there was a fire in one corner, struggling to keep the embers alight. There were round coffee tables with groups of armchairs scattered around them and armchairs by the fire as well as some couches. There was a bookcase with books I hoped would be full of magic and a chandelier hung from the roof.
It had a homey look about it and I fell in love with it. Before I could take in more than that, I heard voices to the left of me and looked to see all the Marauders looking up apprehensively at my arrival.
“Kate!” James exclaimed. “How’d it go?”
They all started bouncing up to me and I was touched that they had waited up to see how it had gone.
“Wait a minute,” Sirius said excitedly before I could answer James, “if you’re here then you must be in Gryffindor!”
I grinned at them all in answer and there were some air swooping’s and high fives.
“It went … well, I guess. I had to go tell my mum that I was a witch and she didn’t take it all that well.” I grimaced as I remembered her reaction to magic. “But I told her that I wanted to go to Hogwarts and that she couldn’t change my mind,” I finished firmly, happy yet strangely a little sad that I had stood up to her and disregarded her opinion.
Remus smiled at me warmly. “Well done, Kate. I’m glad you get to stay at Hogwarts,”
“Me too,” Peter piped up.
“Thanks,” I smiled at them.
Then, as though they had rehearsed it, James and Sirius both scooped me up in a three person bear hug. I laughed and hugged them back.
“Only the cool people get into Gryffindor,” Sirius told me and James nodded his agreement.
They set me down and we went and sat by the fire in some of the armchairs. I asked them some more questions about Hogwarts and about magic and about what would happen tomorrow. They told me heaps of things but I still could tell that there was so much more to know about it all. After about an hour, I decided to leave some of my questions for another night as I really was exhausted and it was about one-o-clock in the morning now.
I yawned and stretched my arms. “I’m going to go to bed. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”
“Okay. Hey do you know your classes yet?” James asked.
I shook my head. “I’m meeting Dumbledore tomorrow to talk about them. Night guys,”
There was a chorus of, ‘night Kate,”.
Smiling at them all, I got up from the comfy armchair and made my way over to the left staircase. I went up six flights of stairs, until I found the landing with a sign that read Sixth Year Girls and entered.
It was dark and there were five beds with only one unoccupied one on the end furthest from me. I dragged myself over and collapsed onto the bed. It felt strange not to have any belongings and I felt a little naked without them. It was amazing how drastically my whole life had changed in one day. As I crawled under the covers and rested my head on the pillow I smiled.
Something exciting was finally happening to me … and I was going to let it happen.
A/N - I'm sorry that there was not much Sirius in this chapter. I promise theres more of him in the next few. So any predictions? Likes? Dislikes?
You know what to do ;)
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