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Muggle Studies by RogueSlytherin

Format: Novella
Chapters: 16
Word Count: 40,301

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Albus, James (II), Rose, Scorpius, OC
Pairings: OC/OC

First Published: 12/11/2018
Last Chapter: 05/30/2019
Last Updated: 05/24/2020


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James wanted a summer away from the expectations of the wizarding world, but falling for a muggle wasn't supposed to be part of the syllabus. 

Chapter 5: Chapter 5

Turns out I’m not even qualified to work with muggles. A lesser man might have let that hurt their pride, but I chose to look at the positive: I was the worst at almost everything – which is an achievement all its own.


What it really meant was that I had little to offer the Muggle Liaison Office. However, I apparently had something to offer the museum.


“There’s three or four artifacts that need assessed.” I followed Gemma around the maze of filing cabinets until we abruptly stopped at the corner. “The museum wants them translated and authenticated. My office wants the same translation along with a threat assessment and report of intent.”


“You want me to translate runes?” I asked in disbelief.


To which my friend replied, “I know you like to pretend Hogwarts was all mischief, but I’ve seen your records. You sat five N.E.W.T. courses your seventh year and got an ‘E’ in Ancient Runes.”


Okay, so maybe I was wallowing a bit before. I did have some valuable skills, but the only jobs that cared about runes and history were in an office somewhere underground. I let out a sigh and shrugged to maintain my devil-may-care reputation.


“Oh, I’m confident I can translate your little relics, what I meant to ask is if this was really to take me all summer?” She handed me a folder stuffed with papers that was about as thick as my Runes textbook itself.


“Those are photo images of your first artifact. It’s essentially just a stone about as tall as you - was dug up in Estonia. We’ve curse-breakers standing by to finish the dig once you’ve assessed the risk. If there isn’t a threat we’ll let the muggles have it back.”


She took off again and I had to lengthen my stride to catch up to her.


“There’s nothing you’re looking at that isn’t common muggle knowledge. We love our mythology and ancient texts; makes us feel connected to our ancestors I think.” She stopped abruptly again and spun around to look me in the eye, “If anyone asks, you have a degree in ancient languages- but no one’s going to ask.”


Then she spun on her heel again and was back off in the direction of her office. I slumped into the chair of one of the tables and opened the folder begrudgingly. Why didn’t I say I’d taken up a job training dragons?

Despite my earlier arrogance, it had taken me two weeks to get anywhere with the translation. However it’d only taken me two days to miss my wand. I never realized how often I used magic until I was suddenly supposed to stop. Freddie had insisted we keep a microwave and I am now eternally grateful.


Apparating was the other biggest shift - I suddenly understood the need for phones. I still refused to use it for anything beyond a call, something that truly irritated Freddie. He hated talking on the phone for some paradoxical reason. Instead he would send me scrolls of text that had to have taken him ages to punch in.


The only thing more annoying than having to wait for water to boil was knowing my dad didn’t think I could. Every lap to the water cooler instead of a quick ‘aquamenti’ I thought of his self-satisfied smirk holding out his hand for my wand. I couldn’t give him the satisfaction of being right.


Besides, it was three months not the rest of my life...and water cooler laps weren’t always bad.


“You’ve got to be one of the most hydrated people in this office.”


Logan was sitting cross legged in her cushioned chair. The cooler just happened to be across from her cubicle. She pushed from the desk so she’d spin ‘round. Tuesdays were the worst for her. Her boss was in off-site meetings all day and she was expected to use this time to file paperwork. I was growing particularly fond of Tuesdays.


“If I don’t do a lap every half-hour there’s a solid chance I’ll nod-off and the last thing I need is an inquiry.”


She laughed and kept spinning and I returned to my own workspace.


There were only three or four of us below forty in the whole of the museum, so it was no wonder Logan and I made fast friends. I didn’t understand half of what she’d go on about, but usually a nod or shrug was all she needed to carry the rest of the conversation forward.

Our talks were pretty brief that first week anyways. Just short quips when I’d go to fill my cup.  The next Tuesday she actually sought me out; brought her lunch into my make-shift work space and we were able to really talk. She studied cultures. Anthra-something...which is why she traveled so much. It sounded like every other month she was at a different dig site. She’d just turned down a dig near the Yellow River and instead was spending her summer assisting the Egyptian curator. I still wasn’t sure what any of that meant, but she was very passionate about it when she spoke.


She had lunch with me every day since and I know what you’re thinking – James, you’re in this whole mess because of a woman; shouldn’t I have been focused on academia and the like? Well the answer is yes. Yes I should’ve.


“And you said you’re the oldest?”


Logan questioned after I finished telling a story about my siblings.


“What, you don’t believe me?”


I sat my pen down next to the notebook I’d been transcribing into. The brunette leaned back in her chair across from me so that the front legs of the chair lifted off the ground.


“I don’t know.” She paused and brushed her bangs out of her face, “Older kids are usually the conventional ones. Responsible and all that.”


I feigned offense, but didn’t really have anything to combat her assumption.


“Yeah, well my family’s not exactly conventional...”


“How so?”


I opened my mouth to answer, but realized I didn’t have one. How could I explain who my family was to a muggle? But I also couldn’t bring myself to lie to her. I always lied to muggles. Who are you? What do you do for work? Where are you from? Will you call me?

Lies were what got me into this mess to begin with. No, if I was going to be a muggle, then I was going to be an honest one….as best I could.


“There was a lot of expectations growing up - I suppose I’ve always just pushed against them.”


She rocked back and forth, balancing on the back legs of her chair while she mulled over my response.


“A regular James Dean.”


She smiled to herself at the reference, but it was over my head - most of her references were. My blank expression was clearly not the reaction she’d wanted. Her chair crashed back onto the floor and she leaned forward onto the table,


“Rebel Without a Cause?! James Dean? Do you not get that all the time?”


I shook my head back and forth to answer her.


“What about you, then? My money’s on only-child.”


She hesitated for a moment and I suddenly felt like my question was somehow too personal.


“I have an older brother, but we don’t really talk. Haven’t for a while now.”


“Sorry, I didn’t mean to-”


“It’s okay, we’re just...we lead very different lives is all.”


She twisted one of the photos I’d been using to translate around to her vantage point.


“There’s something fascinating about ancient cultures isn’t there? That people lived exactly where we’re living today, but they had entirely different beliefs. Different morals and customs. We don’t share language or technology...but one thing seems to underpin every society.”


She spun the photo back around for me, “he must have been someone very important.”


I looked down at the runes again following her logic, “You think it’s an epitaph?”


“Death and taxes, James.”


She smirked and I assumed she was making another muggle reference I was never going understand. I looked back at the runes and realized she was right. I thought I’d been translating a story, some sort of oral tradition - but it wasn’t a random etching, it was a gravestone.


“Logan, Mr. Coons was asking about you. Should probably be off.”


Gemma had popped her head into the office.


“Let me know how it ends…” Logan winked at me before standing and passing by Gemma on her way to the Egyptian Gallery.


I could feel Gemma’s eyes still on me so I turned around to face her.


“What now? I’m working as fast as I can,” I tried to assure her.


“Oh I bet you are,” She muttered almost under breath, but was sure to be loud enough that I could hear the implication.


I knew what she meant, but it really wasn’t like that with Logan. I mean, obviously I was attracted to her, but it was just nice to talk to someone who didn’t think they already knew me. Someone who didn’t want to fix me. She just asked questions and listened intently when I answered them. It’s strange to think how long it’d been since I’d actually turned a stranger into a friend.


“Hey Gemma, wait up!” She had made it to the hallway before I was able to catch up to her, taking one of the photos with me, “It’s part of a grave field.”


“Who’s?” was all she asked still walking.


“I don’t know yet. Judging by the novel written about him, probably someone important.”


“Important to who?”


I stopped chasing after her and threw my hands into the air, “What are you on about? It’s a burial site - that means high risk of enchantment.”


In retrospect, shouting the word enchantment down the hallway was a bad idea - but it had gotten Gemma to finally stop walking. She quickly turned and made her way back to me.


“Will you at least try to have some self-control?!” She pointed at the papers in my hand, “You think persecution started in Salem, Jamey? Just because they’re using our language doesn’t mean it holds any actual magic. Tons of germanic tribes pretended to have magic so they could rise to power. Fear is a powerful motivator.”


If her goal was to make me feel two feet tall than she’d succeeded. She must have seen how deflated I’d gotten because she took a deep breath in and out and started again with a calmer tone.


“Look James, we’ve learned a lot since Tut’s tomb, one of the biggest lessons being don’t assume. Thank you for your current assessment, but you need to be thorough and certain before I can file a report.”


I returned back to my office with a new determination. Sitting down at my little table I realized that, even without magic, I was still living life like a wizard. Magic had me convinced that life was meant to be lived at a certain pace, that answers could be immediate and circumstances changed with a snap of your fingers. Muggles didn’t have that luxury - or that curse. They had to take their time. Well, most muggles. Logan had a way of talking as fast as a firebolt when she was excited...or nervous, or - actually she usually talked that fast...maybe that's why I found her so oddly comforting.

I had one leg straddled over my bike ready to leave for the day when I heard someone shouting my name.


“Potter! James, hang on!”


I was surprised to see Gemma was the one flagging me down.


“I get it Gemma, all right? I’ll be more thorough from now on…”


“Tighten up, Potter.” She slapped the visor of my helmet down to mess with me before continuing, “Logan wants me to invite you to the pub with us later. However, I don’t want to invite you to the pub with us later. So you’re going to politely decline my offer - understood?”


She had a forced smile put on for a reason that escaped me since she clearly wasn’t happy with me. Then her flatmate started over and everything clicked into place. I pushed my visor back up so I was able to respond,


“Sure thing, Gemma.” I started with the same sickly sweet tone that she’d been giving me. Then, just as Logan was within ear shot, “I wouldn’t miss it. See you guys later, yeah?”


I gave Gemma a mischievous wink before shutting my visor on my own terms and kick-starting the ignition.