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Damsels by potterholic_22

Format: Short story
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 7,724
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language

Genres: Mystery, Romance, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Snape, Cho, Luna, Fred, George, OC
Pairings:

First Published: 12/30/2004
Last Chapter: 03/13/2005
Last Updated: 05/29/2005

Summary:
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Harry and Ron accidentally stumbled across a portkey and found themselves whizzed into the Muggle world, landing head-first (ouch) into an apartment occupied by two orphaned sisters. What happens next? Gotta read to find out! Bunch of thanx to the nutty imp for my wonderful chapter pictures!


Chapter 1: Hogsmeade
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*inhales*....*exhales* Okay guys this is my first fanfic ever and English isn't my native language - I'm originally from Vietnam. So be kind with the reviews though I'm not surprised to expect flames - LOTS OF THEM!

Disclaimer: I own everything except for the Flobberworms! *sigh* I wish. I have a great fear for lawyers and no, I don't own anything except for the plot, the new shops in Hogsmeade and the muggle girls.



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It was their sixth and second-last year at Hogwarts – the infamous trio was strolling along the streets of Hogsmeade with their arms full of Zonko’s Exploding Deck Cards, Honeydukes’ Fuming Fritters and steaming mugs of hot Butterbeer.

Hermione was the one breathing the hardest – it wasn’t too hard to see why. There were at least a half a dozen textbooks she had bought in the new bookshop, Esmeralda’s Book Bin, zipped up in a muggle bag which was dangling off her right arm, and her fat ginger cat named Crookshanks tucked under her left. Ron munched heartily on a Chocolate Frog, glaring at Crookshanks out of the corner of his eye.

‘You planning on using that time-turner of yours again to get to all your classes this year, ’Mione?’ Ron asked, smirking.
‘How did you know?’ Hermione said incredulously, almost stumbling under the weight of her textbooks.

‘Gee, I wonder why.’ Harry said with a grin. Hermione looked up at the boys and rolled her eyes.

‘What do you figure’s gonna happen to Fudge now that he almost brought down disastrous consequences on to the wizarding world by ignoring Voldemort last year?’ she changed the subject.

‘Dunno, maybe he’s getting sacked. Even better, my dad might get the position,’ Ron chuckled from the hard-attempted joke.
Hermione and Harry both gave him the look.

Ron’s ears started to tinge red, swallowing the last bit of Chocolate Frog in his hand, he continued.

‘Dad mentioned once at breakfast that some lady named Geraldine Gobstopper’s nominated Minister of Magic.’

‘Never heard of her,’ Harry said, brushing off some snow off his tousled jet black mess of hair, which was sort of staying put on his head that moment instead of sticking in multiple directions from all the wet snow.

‘I’ve heard of her!’ Hermione said eagerly, then furrowed her brow thoughtfully. ‘That’s pretty strange though, she’s a Muggle.’

‘Really?’ the boys said in unison, interested.

‘She’s the prettiest and everyone’s favorite MC for the Saturday night news, which mum and dad always watches,’ Hermione explained. ‘Harry, you know all those incidents with the owls and the Flying Ford Angelia in the last years? (Ron’s ears went red at the mention of the car) She was especially awfully interested in them, but that’s about all I know of her till now. Wonder how she ended up in the Wizarding World?’

‘Catch me, I’m going to faint,’ Ron cried and mocked a pretty convincing impression of passing out that made Harry and Hermione look back in alarm. ‘For the first time in our history together Hermione’s pondering over something she doesn’t know.’

Harry was just about to take a sip from his butterbeer when –
CRACK

Ron yelped, making Harry choke on his butterbeer. Hermione gasped and almost dropped her bag of textbooks, and Crookshanks was hissing and clawing at whatever it was that had apparated right on Ron’s foot.

Ron snatched his foot away, cursing under his breath.

‘Oh jinx, out-of-plans destination,’ two familiar voices muttered in unison.

‘You two need to improve your apparating skills – for all we know, you aren’t exactly light as feathers.’

There was a devilish sort of chuckle, and the twins appeared behind a silver cloak, grinning ear to ear.

‘Hey that’s mine! Where’d you get it?’ Harry cried. He attempted to snatch it away from Fred’s hands, but George was quicker and he held it high above Harry’s reach.

‘We have our ways, you ought to realize that by now, young Potter,’ smiled Fred.

‘Sorry, Harry mate, but we’re afraid this is crucial to our next mission,’ said George.

‘And what exactly is that, aren’t you two in enough trouble all ready from taking flight last year?’ Hermione scowled, soothing and scratching a spitting Crookshanks behind the ear.

‘We can’t tell you, Hermione – ’ Fred began.

‘ – top secret this time, little bros – ’ George continued.

‘ – so that’s that,’ finished Fred.

‘Like we’d want to know,’ Ron muttered, still rubbing his foot irritably. ‘But you better keep mum out of earshot, lucky for you two Harry still hasn’t spilt anything about the Triwizard gold and the joke shop, or may heaven help you kiss goodbye to your eardrums from all the shouting you’re going to have to endure.’

‘Thanks for the tip, little bro, but we got it all covered,’ George winked. ‘Mum thinks we’re on holiday with Bill in Romania at the moment, and can’t wait till we get back so she could talk us into following dad’s footsteps and serve the Ministry.’ He screwed up his face in an incredibly accurate impression of Mrs. Weasley telling someone off.

‘But that’s four months away, yes, that’s how long she’s going to think we’re away in Romania, and no, that is not too little time for us to decide how to wiggle our way out then,’ said Fred.

‘We’re always bound to come up with something,’ said George.

Hermione simply shook her head. Ron’s eyebrows disappeared behind his fringe of bright red hair. ‘And Bill’s on your side? How can you trust him not to run up to mum?’

‘Ah, but you’ve forgotten about the consequences he might and possibly will have to face if he broke his word to us, which he unfortunately already confirmed,’ Fred said, smirking.

‘We all know that he’s going out with Fleur Delacour, who’s delighted now that oh-so-cool Bill Weasley is kindly substituting her English tutor who’s helping her to eemprove ’er eengleesh,’ said George.

‘He certainly wouldn’t be happy if mum knows about that, and nor would she for that girl is part Veela,’ said Fred. ‘So trust us, his lips are zipped, he’s even overdoing it (George sniggered) – mailing mum three times a week ensuring her how much fun we’re having in Romania skinning dragons with him,’ said Fred.

‘Anyways, the reason we apparated on your foot was partly because of a simple matter of carelessness, Ron. We were aiming for The Hog’s Head, so later!’

And with another loud CRACK they disappeared into thin air.

There was a moment of silence, and Hermione finally broke it with a tsk-tsk.

‘Something tells me they’re solemnly up to no good.’

Harry’s lips curled into a smile.

author's note: there's been seven reads already but no reviews at all! Waaaah! How tragic. Plz read and review, I need to know if to continue or not.


Chapter 2: There they go again
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The sky was darkening slowly. Harry glanced at his watch – they have exactly two hours before McGonagall start gathering them all up and head back to Hogwarts.

‘Let’s go to Zap’s,’ Ron suggested. He pulled out seven sickles from his pocket, gazing at them adoringly. ‘Mum gave me this much money just for helping her clean out the rusty old garage. I’ve been dying to start collecting those new Galaxy Stardom cards – Dean bragged about getting one of Egotistic Eagoll from a Chocolate Frog, but everyone reckons he’s lying. Coming, Hermione?’

Hermione didn’t answer, but instead suddenly picked up her pace, followed suit by Harry and Ron. By the time they reached the end of the street, they were all panting.

Hermione turned her heels and changed directions, turning into a street that Harry realized unmistakably lead to the new Madam Malkin’s affiliate (he had heard off through Parvati and Lavender) – Aphrodite’s Dress Robes for All Ocassions. Psychically, somehow Harry could tell the same thoughts were running through Ron’s head. Hermione stopped abruptly and spoke feverishly, as if in a hurry to get rid of Harry and Ron.

‘Listen guys, I’ve got to go get mom and dad something from er… Dervish and Banges, so why don’t you two head off to Zaps without me? I’ll meet you there in half an hour.’

‘Hermione, what are you up to?’ Harry asked suspiciously. ‘Dervish and Banges is on the other side of Hogsmeade.’

‘Oh, I guess I f-forgot where it was. Thanks, Harry, you two go on ahead, I’ll be right with you soon.’

Ron’s right eyebrow went straight up. Harry clearly knew Hermione was definitely not wishing to set foot in Dervish and Banges. Ron shrugged and turned but Harry stood still.

‘Next Yule Balls not coming till our seventh year, and don’t you already have some really nice robes? And why didn’t you get them at Diagon Alley instead?’

Hermione flushed a deep shade of red. Obviously, she had not been expecting Harry to realize where she actually wanted to go. Ron was chewing his last bit of Chocolate Frog and staring at her at the same time. Between a mouthful, he muttered.

‘Hermione, what’s going on?’

‘Viktor’s invited me to Christmas dinner back at his home in Bulgaria,’ she said quietly, not looking at either Ron or Harry but suddenly taken extreme interest in her textbook-crammed bag.

Crookshanks raised its squashed face up to meet Hermione’s, who smiled lightly and started scratching it on the back.

It took a while for the words to sink in for Ron, at least in Harry’s observations. He stopped chewing in a halt as if realizing he’d just eaten a vomit-flavored Bertie bean. Then his eyes went wide, ears went scarlet, the freckles on his face deepened in color so much it looked like it was going to spring away from his now beet-root red face any minute, and Harry wasn’t sure if his wild red hair didn’t stand up on their roots, electrical sparks seizing through it.

Then his mildly surprised expression transformed dramatically into a not-so-heart-warming snarl.

‘Ooh, Vicky’s still sending letters to Hermi-ninny, isn’t he? Starting to miss her, isn’t he? Hoping for this occasion and longing for her to accept so he can possibly even propose a ring asking for her hand in marriage, isn’t he?’

‘RON!’ Hermione shrieked. Now Ron’s hair wasn’t the only one sizzling with electric sparks.

Harry longed to get away from here. He can stand their rows – ranging from Ron’s homework-copying to Hermione’s obsessions with SPEW – but this one concerning the famous seeker for the Bulgarian Quidditch Team, Viktor Krum, is one he’d rather write a two-foot essay for Snape on the properties of the guts of a leech than listen to the two of them spitting furiously at each other.

Ron was looking at Hermione as though she had made a really offensive comment about his family. Hermione’s white-eyed glare wasn’t reassuring either.

‘It’s none of your business to care about my whereabouts during holiday times which are the only times that I will finally get a chance to get away from YOU!’ Hermione said hotly. ‘You and your lousy homework, your outrageous remarks about SPEW, you – you biting my head off at the very mention of Viktor’s name! You make me SICK!’ She was practically screaming her head off now.

Crookshanks opened a mouth full of teeth with wads of mice stuck between them and uttered a loud yawn, distracting nobody nevertheless.

‘Nobody said I ever CARED if you go off and live with that stuck-up spoilt brat of a quidditch player for all everybody cared!’ yelled Ron furiously. ‘All I’m saying is that someone like him doesn’t deserve you!’

Ron’s face, if possible at the time being, went redder and he said no more.

Hermione’s expression softened for a millisecond. Then tears spilt from her bloodshot eyes and she simply took off in the direction of Aphrodite’s without another word.

After Hermione was off a few paces, Harry caught sight of a mane of flaming red hair and in the distance, Ginny was sprinting towards Hermione, clearly unaware of the argument judging by the excited look on her face.

Harry noticed that no sooner, swarms of girls were crowded around the shop, gasping and pointing and the show windows. Hermione and Ginny set off towards the big visible sign in glittering blue and turquoise, ‘Aphrodite’s Dress Robes for All Ocassions’ without a back glance at Harry and Ron.

As for Ron, Harry nervously checked out his friend, he was breathing hard, his hands balled into hard fists. Harry wasn’t sure if he should say anything at all or simply walk off, leaving the decision to follow him or not up to Ron.

He selected the first choice. Harry strode off to the right, leaving behind a fuming but somewhat depressed-looking Ron.

Seconds later Harry heard footsteps behind him and Ron quickly caught up. Harry glanced sideways at his friend.

Ron’s face had stopped looking angry, now somewhat even sorry for what he had said to her, though he never mentioned a thing about this to Harry.

After seconds of silent walking, Ron broke it with an audible smirk. ‘Anyone could tell why she didn’t choose to Madam Malkin’s at the start of the year instead. Aphrodite’s been posting an ad for a special sale on the Daily Prophet for the past month. Ginny’s crazy about the new dresses made from spun unicorn hair.'

'Softer than the finest silk, shinier than the most valuable satin, fit for a queen - a girl’s dream dress robes perfectly ideal for formal occasions,’ Ron mocked Ginny reading from the newspaper with an over-excited look on his face.

‘Pfft! No doubt Hermione’s going to empty all her pocket money for one that’ll make Vicky’s eyes pop out of his head, or at least, that’s what she hopes to do, for not even the whomping willow could shake that insufferable grim expression off the idiot’s face.’

Harry took in ever bitter word flowing out of Ron but said nothing. Ron was in fact rather grateful for Harry’s silence, for at the moment it was the most sympathetic thing Harry could have done for him.

Soon they were standing in front of a shop with large windows and a big sign which read ‘Zap’s Trading Cards Bungalow’ and a big (gulp, alive) marble statue of a wizard dressed in robes decorated with lightning bolts was standing beside the doorway to greet them. A booming voice rang through the statue as Ron was just about to reach for the doorknob. ‘Welcome to Zap’s, a wizard’s most favored source for treating themselves with sweets only second-best to Honeydukes, each and every one accompanied with a trading card. Witches’ Woes, Pirates’ Tea Party, Galaxy Stardom – you name it, only the most popular ones up to date endeavored by young witches and wizards of all ages!’

Ron grinned while Harry stood beside him open-mouthed.

Just then, a black boy whom both Harry and Ron recognized right away as their fellow Gryffindor Dean Thomas came bursting through the door.

‘Help me guys! Lee’s trying to set my Egotistic Eagoll card on fire with his fire-breathing Devil’s Dragon!’





>>lol R&R plz many thanx
much love, Sunny


Chapter 3: Ouch!
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Dean rushed straight past Harry and ran as fast as he could. No sooner than Harry could glance back at the door, a tall black boy with dreadlocks whooshed straight past Harry and Ron, his right hand holding (caressing more like) a card which apparently looked like it was on fire, but with a closer look Harry caught a glimpse of the head of a dragon protruding from the flat, shiny and colorful surface, furiously huffing small but dangerous-looking orange flames, his other hand clutching a bag of Honeydukes sweets.


‘Come back here, Dean!’ Lee shouted. ‘I was only kidding! I promise I’ll tell it to stop! Oh man – GET BACK HERE!’


Ron and Harry looked at each other and grinned simultaneously. Lee, aside Fred and George of course, is one of the best – or shall we say worse – troublemakers in school. With a bow, the marble wizard opened the door and Ron and Harry stepped inside.


The shop looked similar to Honeydukes – warm and crowded with students, only huger. It was roughly twice the size of the Dursleys’ home, according to Harry’s observations. The floor, ceiling, wall, and every single piece of furniture were made of beautifully-carved mahogany, and hundreds of little candles with even tinier orange flames suspended mid-air near the ceiling, lighting up the whole shop with a magical glow.


All around were dozens of towering shelves stacked with rows and rows of countless wizard trading-cards, and the check-out desk was piled with baskets of sweets of all colors, shapes, sizes and flavors.


Behind the desk, which had a little sign that said ‘Hello, my name is Zulu Zap’ stood a tall, pretty and friendly-looking witch wearing star-shaped spectacles and whose short spiky orange hair matched her glittering orange robes inked with yellow lightning bolts just like the statue of the wizard outside.


She looked up from her book at the sound of the doorbell ringing as the two entered, smiled at Harry and Ron, who stepped on Harry’s foot, who yelped.


‘S-sorry, Harry,’ Ron apologized with a face as red as the setting sun. ‘Er – you go have a look around, I’ll be right with you in a moment.’ With that he patted Harry on the back and headed straight for a crowd of Hogwarts boys surrounding a single shelf, murmuring excitedly and pointing at a row of tiny cards that made squeaky noises and shot out purple sparks every few seconds.


Harry looked to the left, next to Zulu Zap’s desk was a small corner furnished with circular tables rounded with three-legged stools, occupied by numerous Hogwarts boys dueling cards on the tables. He walked towards them, interested.

A blonde fourth year was sitting opposite a red-headed third year, and they were taking turns dealing cards face-up onto the table. The blonde one slammed a card face-down onto the table, then retreated to his deck, seemingly searching for another one. The redhead glanced down at his own deck in his hands, grinned evilly and slammed a card down face-up.

Harry jumped back as a silver-backed gorilla the size of a basketball jumped out of the card and ripped the other card to shreds.


Beating its chest triumphantly, it hopped back to its card and disappeared. The blonde flushed, upset and flabbergasted. ‘Dude, where’d you get that monster?’


‘From a branch of Zap’s in Ethiopia.’ said the redhead, smirking. ‘Went there on holiday during the summer. It’s the one with the best destruction ability yet. You saw it ripping that card to bits even though you put it face-down, didn’t you? It’s defense power is even higher than the latest version of Monstro Pack’s thick-hoofed unicorn.’


Harry suddenly heard two loud gasps coming from somewhere to his left, and turning his head so quickly that he cricked his neck, he caught a glimpse of the back of two red heads. But then –


CRACK


They were gone. Rubbing his neck, Harry could have sworn that they were Fred and George, but before he had time to think about it, Ron almost knocked the wind out of him colliding straight into his back.


‘Oh gee, s-sorry again, Harry,’ Ron ranted feverishly. ‘Man, am I clumsy today.’


‘It’s quite all right, Ron,’ Harry groaned, rubbing his back and chest. ‘What’s your hurry to get to me?’


With this Ron scratched his head awkwardly and stared at the floor for a few seconds. Harry could feel the words practically banging themselves against Ron’s mouth trying to get out.


‘Come on, mate, say it and get it over with,’ Harry said kindly.


‘Um – okay,’ Ron stuttered. ‘Y-you know Harry about me telling you and – ’ he paused, his expression transforming to a scowl for a millisecond and went right back to the awkward grin. ‘ – you and Hermione that my mum gave me seven sickles for helping her clean out the garage. Well, that much money’s still not enough for me to get that, um – Galaxy Stardom card. And I was hoping that you could – er, if you don’t want to then I won’t nag of course – but, er – ’


Harry looked at Ron concernedly, then realized it. ‘No problem, Ron. I got two spare Galleons! I could lend them to you, is that what you’re on?’


Ron’s face brightened up so much it was practically glowing. ‘Really? You’d – you’d let me lend two galleons? Oh thank you so much, Harry! But please don’t say a word about this to mum, she’d go berserk. I promise I’ll pay you back sometime before new year.’


Harry dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out two shiny golden galleons, and handed them to Ron.


Ron skipped away to the shelf, fought through the crowd of kids and reached for a bright indigo card dotted with glittering galaxies on the second-tallest shelf. A few kids glared at Ron hungrily as he walked towards the desk. The witch smiled and took the card out of his hand, and again Harry saw Ron blush.


With a tap of her wand the card was carefully wrapped in purple paper, and a small slip of parchment which unmistakably was the check popped out of nowhere into her hand.


She handed the wrapped card and the parchment to Ron. Words started to smoothly roll out her mouth like pebbles.


‘That would be two galleons five sickles, here is your bonus Chocolate Frog and a free sample of our newest concoction of peanut butter-and-chocolate fudge. Thank you for purchasing at Zap’s Trading Cards Bungalow, have a nice day and come again.’ She winked and her spiky orange hair turned violet. Ron blushed again, more furiously this time, grabbing his stuff and mumbled ‘thank you’.


He turned, took one step towards Harry and tripped over an upturned floorboard. The witch chuckled and went back to her book.


But now Harry wasn’t noticing any of this. His sixth sense was tingling. He reconsidered for a few milliseconds and grabbed Ron from behind, who turned from his stride to the doorway and stared at Harry in mild surprise.


‘What’s the matter, Harry?’ asked Ron. ‘You want to buy a wizard card yourself?’


‘No,’ said Harry. ‘Ron – this might sound pointless but something in this room is causing my curiosity level to overflow. Follow me.’


Ron, though looking as blank as ever, followed swift as Harry walked rather blindly around the room, hoping to catch a glimpse of the two red-headed figures he saw earlier.

Could they be who he thought they might be? Harry pondered. No, didn’t they already tell him two minutes ago that they were planning to meet in the Hog’s Head?


‘Harry, can you tell me exactly what is going on?’ Ron said quietly as they lurked between the jostles of kids and approached a small corner in the shop where the crowds were significantly rare.


‘I d-don’t know…’ Harry said unsteadily, his legs carrying him onward like they had puppet strings attached to them. ‘But I sense something unusual here, Ron. Just follow…hang on, what’s this?’


They had just walked right in front of a satin-curtained window. A couple of Hufflepuff boys were huddled in the corner whispering to each other beside the curtains, and walked away as they saw Harry and Ron stride to their direction.


Something about these curtains jabbed a needle into Harry’s stomach, and he immediately wished he hadn’t recall that depressing memory of the death of the infamous Marauder. He waved that thought away, and focused on what he’s looking at right now.


Ron walked up beside him and whispered. ‘Harry, McGonagall’s reassembling all Hogwarts students in fifteen minutes, we better get going!’


Harry ignored him. He reached out his hand and pulled one of the beautiful rose-red satin curtains aside, revealing – a door.


Ron’s eyes were as round as marbles. ‘Merlin’s beard, what’s all this?


Harry, don’t – ’


But Harry had already clasped his hand around the oval-shaped, bronze doorknob, and with a closer look, a tiny but visible cat was carved on the side. He turned the doorknob and surprisingly the door easily clicked open.


The two were standing in a dimly-lit circular room, with no furniture in sight at all except for a small stool four meters directly in front of them.


There was an object sitting on the stool, glinting slightly in the glow from the feeble torches surrounding the columns and the light from outside the room. Harry made a move towards it right away, and surprisingly Ron followed without question.

It was – a Muggle portable CD Player. Ron’s look was no doubt one of impress and wonder, Harry’s was no different except for that annoying little voice in his head asking him how on earth could a Muggle device be doing here in Zap’s Wizard Trading Cards Bungalow, in this tiny room which possibly only Harry, Ron and of course the people who brought it here, knew about?


‘My dad’s eyes are so going to pop out of his head if he so much as glimpses this thing,’ Ron said, a little breathless. He reached out his lanky arm, smoothing the shiny surface of the electronic device with his bony fingers.


‘These Muggles can come up with such brilliant gizmos, man! But what’s with all these holes and protruding bumps?’


Harry knew what Ron meant the speakers and the buttons.


‘Wonder if Zap herself knows about this thing,’ said Harry. ‘Isn’t it kinda weird, though? I mean, why would she want to keep something like that in her shop which over crowds twenty-four hours a day? And with that unlocked door, I’m not surprised if we’re the eleventh visitors to this place.’


Ron didn’t say anything, just moved his fingers from the top of the object to one of the ‘protruding bumps’.


‘Ron, no! We shouldn’t touch – ’ warned Harry, then choked himself mid-sentence.


For two seconds he could feel himself being sucked violently into…nothingness. It sounds simple enough, but nothing could be harder to describe. There was nothing at all whatsoever – the room around him and Ron had disappeared by then and now they’re swirling uncontrollably somewhere towards the left, in a vast void of blankness – there was no color surrounding them, yet things weren’t exactly invisible.


Harry could still see the outline of Ron beside him, with an arm stiffly stretched out touching the now slightly glowing CD Player. Harry tried to yell to Ron, but his muscles couldn’t work.


Everything was…empty.


But things were going very fast. Harry could feel time and space rush past him, or away from him, or swirling and circling this empty world.


This all lasted for five seconds, and Harry’s lungs started to gulp in air again as he miraculously reappeared to the rest of the world. His hand was gripping Ron’s, whose other hand was clutching that CD Player, which was balanced at an odd angle on his hand.


‘Ron, wha – ’ Harry began. Then for an absolute millisecond his brain jolted back to its senses as his eyes gave a swift hundred-and-eighty degree dart around his surroundings.

Things didn’t make sense yet – directly above him, he saw a white, cracked surface. Then to the right was part of what appeared to be a wooden many-armed stick figure holding numerous balls, and to the left was – blinding sunlight.


THUD


CRASH


‘OW!’ Harry and Ron shrieked.


They had landed on their head and back onto fortunately at the time, carpeted floor. As Harry panted, he opened an eye and looked directly above – the stick figure with balls turned out to be an old-fashioned chandelier. Ron was white-faced and his left hand was grabbing thin air. And as Harry moved his eyes quickly towards Ron’s left, he found out what had caused the crash accompanying their fall.


The CD Player was smashed to smithereens – the speakers were sprawled across the floor and little metal bits were scattered all over the spot where it had landed from the top of the ceiling.


Ron gave a soft whimper and sat up. Harry did the same, and gasped.


They were definitely not in Zap’s anymore.


The room was, if possibly descriptive at the time, miniscule. Two bookshelves were standing, sides touching, in the corner. A tiny closet was positioned to the left of the bookshelves. A bed was standing somewhat lop-sided and absolutely unmade behind Harry, and a purple sleeping bag covered from head to foot in moth holes lie at an angle beside the bed and behind Ron.


The boys had landed on what appeared to be not only carpet but a bunch of paper and garbage which provided quite a soft surface to land on. Harry gulped at the thought of what might have happened to them if the floor was a simple matter of wooden floorboards – they’ll probably be either bones or internal organs broken, for though the room was so small, the ceiling was at least four meters from the floor.


‘Ron, you okay?’ asked Harry shakily, rubbing his back and the back of his head.


‘Yeah, I guess,’ said Ron. ‘Where are we, Harry?’


‘You tell me!’ Harry snapped. ‘You shouldn’t have touched anything on that CD Player! That was a portkey. Now how are we supposed to get back to the wizarding world with that CD Player reduced to a mini-mountain of metal chunks beside you there?’


Ron ignored Harry’s hotness. Harry seemed to realize he was being a bit mean, so stopped right there and the two was silent for a while observing the location.


Besides being tiny, the room was a disaster. The mess was worth the comparison with a pigsty. Scrunches of paper was scattered all around the room, a bag with a broken zipper lay across the bed, folders, files and pens spilling out onto the sheets. A small writing desk was placed between the window out-looking the blinding-bright streets outside was stacked with piles of textbooks and dictionaries. On the wall above the desk were two small photo frames. One was off a kind-looking lady who had red curls and wore red lipstick. The one beside it was of a good-looking teenage blonde boy with what looked like red lipstick smeared on the frame in the shape of a heart around his handsome face.

Oviously there’s a girl living in this place.


As if fate has decided, for the first time ever Harry noticed the door - because as it burst open, he and Ron gasped as two anxious-looking girls stepped inside.


Chapter 4: Meet the Rovers
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‘WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN HERE?’


Harry and Ron’s faces scrunched up at the utterly sour different-accented tone of voice issued from one of the girls that had just entered the room.


‘Chloe Rover!’ exclaimed the other girl, looking extremely disapproving.


Harry surveyed the two Muggle inhabitants of the place they had unwantedly violated. The girl who swore at the sight of them was…impressively tall. She was at least three inches taller than Harry, and just half-an inch shorter than Ron. Her short red hair was done in a hip pixie, gelled wisps framing her tanned, pointed face. Besides being bare-foot, she was wearing a glittering diamond-studded V-neck dress that reached just past her knees, deep red in color. As she took a step towards the boys (Ron took one backwards), Harry could see that her eyes were a beautiful electric blue, her nose was pierced and her full, rouge lips sparkling. Harry looked sideways at Ron – he looked dazed.


The other girl was a lot smaller, but even though Chloe looked old and big enough to be her mother, Harry could tell that they were blood-related sisters. Her eyes were also a dazzling blue, but her hair was dark brown, falling all the way down to her waistline in elegant waves. She was only about up to Harry’s chin in height, and he uncomfortably noticed her transfixing gaze circling the scar on his forehead. She was wearing a flowery turquoise nightdress and purple furry slippers.


‘You two can start explaining yourselves,’ Chloe said dangerously. ‘And how the bloody hell did you manage to get in?’ She turned to the other girl. ‘Esmeralda, didn’t I tell you to lock the door the instant I leave?’


‘I did,’ said Esmeralda simply. Her eyes were still fixed on Harry, who felt uncomfortable and pleasant at the same time for unknown reasons.


Chloe rolled her eyes and turned back to face Harry and Ron. ‘Well?’ she growled.


Ron whimpered in his throat and stuttered. ‘We’re sorry, w-we never meant to trespass. But…w-we’re from – ouch!’


Harry had just elbowed Ron in the ribs. ‘W-we entered the wrong house.’


Chloe’s left eyebrow disappeared behind her bangs. ‘Then you probably need new glasses.’


‘N-no, all the houses in this neighborhood basically look the same both inside and out,’ lied Harry. ‘Me and my friend Ron just, g-got back from a party you see, and we walked right into this house.’


‘I see, you’re both mean drunk,’ said Chloe. She flopped down on the bed and spread herself comfortably across the sheets, closing her eyes. Esmeralda walked over and sat down beside her on the bed.


Chloe’s fiery attitude had somewhat evaporated the instant her body hit the bed, and Harry could tell he wasn’t the only one watching in awe at the beautiful girl lying there peacefully. There was silence. Harry and Ron didn’t dare move a muscle, waiting for somebody to speak up or even shove them right out the door.


Chloe’s chest moved up and down as she breathed steadily, her gelled hair loosening itself gradually and blowing slightly in the soft breeze from the opened window. After another half a minute, it was unmistakable – the girl was fast asleep.


‘Tired, poor thing,’ Esmeralda broke the silence. She stood up gently, walked towards the closet beside the bookshelf and took out a blanket and covered Chloe’s body with it. Chloe’s body’s now letting off a strong smell of alcohol. ‘Clubbing every single night now that she hooked up with that down-right creep Jason Walters. Oh, geez – ’ She pinched her nose. ‘This stink’s gonna stay in here for a week.’


Harry was pretty sure all the words though seemingly directed at him and Ron, Esmeralda was talking to herself, because then she looked up from the sleeping Chloe to Harry and met his eyes. His stomach did a somersault – her eyes were so beautiful…


‘Well, what are you two doing standing there gawking?’ Esmeralda said curtly, though the tone of her voice wasn’t cold but strangely soft and soulful. Harry’s heart skipped a beat as she walked over and laid a hand on his forehead, gently brushing his hair away to reveal the bold, lightning-shaped scar.


‘Funny accident that must have been, for you to receive a souvenir shaped like that,’ she said, and Harry thought he saw her eyes sparkle under the impression that she knows more than what she said.


Esmeralda lowered her hand – Harry wished she hadn’t – her hand had felt so soft, so loving, so full of the feel Harry had lacked ever since the death of his loved ones.


‘Are…aren’t you going to kick us out?’ Harry asked softly. Ron nodded.


For the first time, Esmeralda’s plum-accented lips curled into a soft and friendly smile. ‘Do you want me to?’


‘Do we really have a choice?’ Harry said, and he wasn’t being sarcastic. Esmeralda just turned around and walked to the door.


‘If you choose to leave, then the front door’s not locked – ’, Harry and Ron looked at each other, remembering what she had answered when Chloe had asked her if she had locked the door. ‘ – if you choose to remain in this mouse hole of an apartment, then there are two spare sleeping bags in the closet. There’s only one bathroom, so if you two don’t mind I’ll be obliged to use it first.’


Harry and Ron stood there, slightly stunned. Esmeralda entered the bathroom located near the front door, closing the door behind her. Then they heard the sound of running water.


The boys stared at the spot in front of the bathroom, then at each other.


‘Well?’ said Harry. ‘What now, Mr. I-love-shiny-muggle-things?’


Ron stared at the shattered CD player on the floor and whimpered. ‘We can’t get back by using that, that’s for sure.’


Harry rolled his eyes. ‘First step of getting back – we need to find out where WE are at the moment.’


Harry looked around the room, walking slowly over the piles of junk on the carpeted floor. A small travel guide half-buried under a pile of laundry dumped beside the writing desk caught his eye. He picked it up, and flipped through a few pages. Ron looked eagerly over his shoulder, reading along a few words, and gulped.


‘We are so dead, Harry,’ Ron said quietly.


‘What makes you think so?’ said Harry, turning back to face Ron, hot irony flowing out of his mouth. ‘We’re in Calgary, Canada, which is half-way across the globe, what’s so bad about that?’


Ron’s face drooped. ‘M-maybe, we could try and find an owl, a-and write to Dumbledore…’


Harry let out an exasperated sigh. ‘What’s done is done, all we can do now is think of a way to contact Hogwarts. Wonder if there are any wizards or witches in a country like Canada. How are we supposed to find out?’


Ron piped up. ‘Dad has a colleague in the Ministry of Magic who was born in Canada, his name’s Will-Williamson, I think.’

‘Gee, that’s really helpful. Thanks, Ron.’


Harry flopped down onto the floor, staring at the travel guide. Ron sat down beside him and observed the room. They both stared out at the window – the blinding sunlight was maximized by the unreal whiteness around in the streets. Everything was covered in snow.


CLICK


Harry and Ron both jumped and turned their heads so fast their necks cricked.


Esmeralda was standing beside the closed bathroom door, gazing intently at them both.


‘How long have you been standing there?’ Harry asked urgently. Ron gaped open-mouthed at the dark-haired slender figure now crossing her arms.


‘Long enough to know you two aren’t normal people,’ she said softly. Harry stood up so quickly that Ron looked up him alarmingly. ‘Harry, don’t – ’


‘Now listen here,’ Harry said slowly. ‘You musn’t leak a word to anybody else, please don’t. Things will get really ugly if you do, its breaking the wizard law revealing about the magical world to Mug – to normal people like you.’


‘Muggles?’ Esmeralda said with a smile, her eyes sparkling strangely.


Harry’s jaw dropped open.


Chapter 5: The Rovers' secret
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She unfolded her arms and walked calmly towards the gawking boys.


‘Y-you know about p-people like us?’ Harry said, flabbergasted.


Esmeralda’s smile faded, and she said. ‘Not only yes, you’re looking at Luna Lovegood’s step-sister.’


Harry’s backside made hard contact with the floor as he flopped down, unbelieving. ‘Y-you’re Luna’s step-sister?’


‘You’re also looking at a squib,’ said Esmeralda sadly. The boys just sat there on the floor gaping at her, open-mouthed to the point of looking ridiculous, both desperate for some sort of an explanation. She sighed heavily and sat down cross-legged in front of them.


‘Nineteen years ago, Levesque Lovegood married a Canadian muggle named Geraldine Gobstopper,’ Esmeralda began.

Harry’s stomach contracted. Ron hiccupped nervously, elbowed sharply in the arm by Harry, though Esmeralda didn’t seem to notice any of this confusion as she continued on with her story.


‘A year after their marriage, Mrs. Lovegood gave birth to a beautiful baby girl –’


Esmeralda and the boys glanced sideways at the sleeping form of Chloe on the bed simultaneously.


‘ – and gave birth to her second and last girl three years afterwards.' (half a second pause)


' The family of four lived together happily for three wonderful years, but when Chloe and Esmeralda Lovegood reached their early teens, things started to get messy.'


Esmeralda sighed deeply and looked most reluctant to carry on, but the way the boys were gaping at her like that was unbearable.


'It turned out that Luna Lovegood was born to Levesque Lovegood and Abigail Cauldrons shortly before the birth of Esmeralda Lovegood. Levesque and Geraldine got into a heated argument and in the end decided to separate.'


'So a happy marriage turned into a traumatic memory. With his new family, Levesque officially spent all his time with The Quibbler, and Abigail got a job as an assistant to the officials in the Department of Mysteries.There wasn't a word between him and Geraldine after that. They were just minding each other's business and completely forgetting that their ex-significant other had even existed.’


‘But things weren’t going to carry on perfectly from then on, at least for Levesque. After a few years, Abigail died a mysterious death. Levesque was depressed and spent less and less time with his daughter Luna, who grew up without the loving feel of a family atmosphere. It did things to her, making her somewhat a person separated from the rest of the world.'


Harry could almost hear the thoughts bumping around inside Ron's head, which happened to be identical to his own at the moment. So that's why that certain somebody wearing radishes and butterbeer corks for jewellry could bear in mind that doing such those kind of things wouldn't ridicule her out of the school.


'Luna Lovegood got enrolled into Hogwarts at the age of eleven, and that was the worst experiences for me and Chloe. Reading our ex-dad’s letter informing the happy news, us two sisters sit here all alone and forgotten, bearing the painful knowledge of being squibs.’


‘Geraldine couldn’t possibly leave her job in Britain for even one day, so the best she could do for us was to constantly send money for the gas and electricity bills and occasionally money for other purposes. Chloe now working her fingers to the bone at Pizza Hut to supply all our other needs.’


Esmeralda stopped there. Her lovely blue eyes were on the verge of watering up but she held it all back, staring with all her might at the carpet. Harry and Ron were speechless. You could have heard a pin drop. There they sat, seconds and minutes rolled by unnoticed.


Suddenly, Chloe stirred and yawned loudly. Ron’s breath cut short and his face glowed peach as a tuft of wild-red hair appeared from the top of the bed visible to the spot on the floor where they were sitting.


‘Oh…oh…oh…Esmeralda, are they gone?’ she said croakily, stretching.


‘Chloe,’ said Esmeralda seriously, sitting up straight. ‘They’re one of them.’


The moment the word ‘them’ slipped out of Esmeralda’s mouth Chloe shot up in bed and stared at Harry and Ron, who were still sitting, frozen, in front of Esmeralda.


‘W-what are you doing here? Why are you here?’ Chloe blurted. She shifted towards the edge of bed and bent down so that her face was about three inches away from Harry, Ron and Esmeralda. Ron's Adam ’s apple bobbed up and down rapidly, his face turning twelve shades of pink. Harry couldn’t help but find out why – quite unexpectedly Chloe was accidentally revealing a bit too much of herself as she bent down wearing the red V-neck.


‘It was an accident,’ Harry finally found his voice again, snappily taking his eyes off Chloe (Ron couldn’t) and looked at Esmeralda instead, who was seemingly lost in thought, her eyes slightly furrowed. ‘W-we came across an unidentified portkey and found ourselves here seconds later. And now we have no clue how to get back! Can you please help us?’


‘A portkey?’ said Chloe. ‘Oh dear, afraid we can’t help you in any way. Neither of us is the magical one here, I myself only remember hearing the term twice.’


‘Can’t you contact anybody you know from the wizarding world?’ asked Esmeralda, sniffing slightly. She unfolded her legs and stood up. Harry and Ron did the same, Ron knocking over a little wooden stool as he did so.


‘We definitely can, if only there’s an – ahem,’ Harry had gotten used to being around the Dursleys so much that now whenever he’s somewhere that isn’t Hogwarts he treats others just like one would be sensible enough to treat the Dursleys. ‘ – owl.’


‘I haven’t seen one around here for two years,’ Chloe said, sitting upright. ‘Owls only come to this area where we’re living when there’s a big source of food. That can only be found on hilltops and deep forests with lots of trees and animals, here in this messed-up speck of a city is out of the question.’


‘There’s a pet store right around the corner,’ said Esmeralda. ‘You can check it out, but I’m not guaranteeing any owls. Muggles think that having owls for pets is - erm - old-fashioned these days.’


Harry’s hopes soared right up. Beside him Ron let out a satisfying sigh of relief. ‘Right then, we’d waste no time! After all there is the Christmas dinner to look forward to tomorrow, right Ron?’


Ron mumbled ‘right’ and took off in the direction of the door. Harry was just about to when he stopped dead in his tracks before he even took a step as Chloe’s hand touched his shoulder.


Chills and tingles coursed through Harry’s body and he could feel his hands sweat. Why is this happening? As he turned around to face her Harry could feel his cheeks burning. Those eyes, oh those eyes…


‘I never even got your name,’ said Esmeralda gently, her dazzling eyes sparkling vividly. ‘You and your friend.’
Harry felt his skin tingle as her soft, white hand rested on his now aching shoulders from the fall.


As long as he could feel her hand on his shoulder, as long as she’s standing so close he could hear her breathing, as long as those sapphire eyes peered deeply into his own, nothing mattered. He wouldn’t even let Dumbledore take her away from him, not even if he apparated in this room right now to take him and Ron back to Hogwarts and ending all this confusion. As long as she’s here, I don’t care for anything…

‘I-it’s Harry,’ Harry whispered. ‘Harry and Ron.’


Despite himself, Harry gently took hold of her hand and moved it off his shoulder. And with that he walked quickly out of the door, closing it behind him.

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