Disclaimer: This story is a prequel to the Harry Potter series, and it belongs to JK Rowling. All information belongs to her and to the HP Lexicon, except for the OC's. Author's Note: For those who don't like reading loooooong stories, don't even start this. I've decided to make this novel-length. Apart from the Prologue, each chapter will cover events in two months (eg. July-August) - twelve months every year, for the seven years at Hogwarts. In other words, for every year there will be six chapters. Are you still following? Never mind. I just want to make this turn out as believable as possible. So if someone sees something that isn't completely in order - please tell me. I'm not freaky enough to know when every single student did or didn't go to Hogwarts, so don't expect me to get it all right. Apart from that, I'll do my best to keep things in character and interesting. I update at least twice a week - sometimes a lot more and sometimes a lot less. Now without further ado, enjoy!
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CHAPTER 1 - The Teacup Trick
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July - August, 1971
Frederick Purgis stuck out a long, skinny finger and pressed on the bell. He listened patiently while a buzzing sound filled the house behind the door, a warm smile on his face. Muggle inventions always excited and interested him. That was the main reason he had chosen this job - as a Special Agent in the Ministry of Magic, with the assignment of finding and recruiting Muggle-born children of their gift. In all of his years of work, Muggles never ceased surprising him with their ingeniousness. It weighed heavily against their ignorance when it came to Magic, and the difficulty they had accepting it.
Purgis looked up as the door opened, and a pleasant-looking woman in an apron greeted him.
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" She asked politely, her eyes lingering momentarily on his unique clothes. Purgis always wore robes on his visits, no matter what the Ministry said. It was his way of showing that he truly belonged to the Wizarding world. Unfortunately, it led to many Muggles considered him 'suspicious'.
"Good afternoon Ma'am, Purgis at your service," Purgis said amicably, shaking the woman's hand. She still regarded him in a curious, but well-mannered way.
"I have come here to discuss your daughter, Mrs. Evans. Would you mind terribly if I came in? This could take some time," Purgis added promptly. The woman's eyebrows rose up, but she opened the door further to let him in. He followed her into a cozy-looking livingroom, and dropped onto a couch.
"Are you one of Petunia's teachers?" Mrs. Evans inquired, taking a seat on an armchair. She suddenly jumped up again. "I'm terribly sorry, how rude of me, can I offer you a cup of tea?"
Purgis considered answering her other question later, and nodded in agreement. It would be easier to stall for time if he had a cup of hot liquid in his hands.
He waited in silence while Mrs. Evans bustled off into the kitchen, and took his time to inspect the livingroom. There was an ample fireplace, one that would have been very adequate for Floo-ing, had this been a Wizarding family. On top of it, photos of the family were displayed. Purgis recognized Mrs. Evans, along with her husband and two little girls. One of them was red-haired and very pretty, and the other blond with rather ugly horse-teeth. He wondered which of the two was magical.
"Here you are," Mrs. Evans said kindly, handing Purgis a cup of steaming tea. He smiled in appreciation and took a sip before starting to talk.
"I'm here to tell you something very unsettling, and hard to believe, Mrs. Evans. I'm not one of Petunia's teachers, I'm a Special Agent for the Ministry." Purgis flipped out a badge from his robes, one that had proven very useful at times. Muggles were always more inclined to believe a person with a badge.
"A-a Special Agent? You work for the police?" Mrs. Evans asked, suddenly looking worried.
"Don't worry, I'm here to bring good news," Purgis replied in soothing voice. "Members of my Department at the Ministry have discovered that your daughter Lily has a special gift, and I'm here to tell you all about it."
The woman's brows furrowed and the politely puzzled look had dissapeared.
"What do you mean, a 'special gift'? And how do you know this? Have you been following my daugther?" There was an edge of suspicion in her voice.
"We've done nothing of the sort! And the special gift that I'm refering to, is something that all of us share." Purgis knew that the woman would start thinking he was crazy any second now. It was part of his job.
Mrs. Evans, far from looking more suspicious, suddenly had a forlorn, worried look in her eyes.
"Lily always has been a bit... Different. Brilliant at her school, of course, but there's also the little things... When her sister teases her, strange things happen sometimes..." Her voice faltered. Purgis smiled to himself; this was exactly what he'd been hoping for.
"Do you believe in the paranormal?" Purgis asked abruptly. He took another sip of his tea, enjoying the surprised look in the woman's eyes.
"Well, I think there are UFO's out there somewhere... The universe is so endless..."
"And what about here on earth? Mythical creatures? Vampires? Wizards?" He let the last word slip innocently, as though it was the most normal thing in the world. But he could see that the Muggle woman in front of him was shifting uneasily in her seat. She had probably been baking a cake or something like that before he had arrived, while the children were at school and her husband at work. It would turn out to be a strange afternoon for her indeed...
"What are you getting at?" Mrs. Evans asked suddenly. "No, I don't believe in those things... They're stories, that's all, passed on through generations to keep children from doing misschief."
"But those stories started somewhere.... Didn't they? Don't you believe that somewhere, sometime, something odd happened to lead people to believe that illogical things were possible?"
Mrs. Evans was quiet, watching him with wide eyes.
"I'm here to tell you, Mrs. Evans, that Magic does exist. That things happen in the world that noone is aware of... Other than people like me, and your daughter."
Her mouth thinning into a line, the previously pleasant woman got up stiffly. She pointed a finger at the door.
"Get out. Immediately, before I call the police."
Purgis sighed, having dreaded this moment. But in all the years that he had worked, everyone reacted the same. Noone ever simply believed. That was the dissapointing thing about Muggles.
He stuck his hand into the pocket of his robes once more, and pulled out a wand. He pointed it at his empty cup of tea on the table. Small things at first, he reminded himself.
"Would you like some more tea, Mrs. Evans?" He asked kindly, and waved his wand.
Mrs. Evans stood rooted to the ground, watching with round eyes as his cup filled steadily until tea came upto the brim.
"What sort of circus trick is this?" she hissed, lifting up the cup of tea and staring at it in her hand. Purgis shook his head, and held up his wand for her to see.
"This is a wand. I can perform Magic with it. I'm a wizard, Mrs. Evans. And your daughter Lily, is a witch. I've come here to tell you this, and inform you that she has been accepted at the best school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Europe, Hogwarts. Here is her letter of acceptance." He placed a roll of parchment gently on the table.
Mrs. Evans was still frozen in the same position, still staring at the teacup. Purgis wondered whether she had heard a word he said.
It had been a very effective way of getting the woman's attention. She shrieked, jumping back from the zooming cup as though it was on fire. Clutching her heart, she stared at Purgis in a mixture of fear, and admiration.
"There, there," Purgis coaxed, placing the cup of tea back onto the table. "I'm a wizard, but it's nothing to be afraid of. This is exactly why I have been sent - to explain to you everything about the world of Magic, and what Lily can expect at her new school. She's a witch, but that doesn't mean she's evil. People like yourself-" Purgis never used the word Muggle in fear of offending someone "-believe that witches and wizards are dark, and dangerous. But at Hogwarts, we teach students values and discipline as well as magic. They are taught to respect others, as well as how to turn a frog into a cauldron, of course." Purgis chuckled.
Ever so slowly, Mrs. Evans lowered herself into an armchair again, although still eyeing his wand warily.
"I... I believe you. You've shown me what you can do, and I've never seen anything like. It does make sense that my Lily is special - different from the rest. But I never imagined something like this... Does it mean you're taking her away from me?" The kind woman was suddenly looking fearfull again.
"Oh heavens no, don't be silly," Purgis laughed. He decided to act as light-hearted as possible, it always worked as a charm to calm people down.
"Hogwarts is a boarding school, but students can return home in the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays. They are also encouraged to write home often. You certainly won't be losing your daughter."
Mrs. Evans managed a weak smile.
"I can't believe we're actually having this discussion. I must admitt I thought you were a lunatic - and a part of me still does."
"Oh, Muggles always think I'm bonkers," Purgis replied.
"Non-magical folk," Purgis explained quickly. "Someone like yourself. We keep magic hidden from you for exactly that reason - you'll think we're crazy. And not to mention the mobs with demands for us to solve their every desire with magic..." He shook his head.
"So, when Lily comes home in the holidays, she'll be able to perform all these - 'tricks'?" Mrs. Evans asked anxiously.
"Oh, no, children under the age of seventeen aren't allowed to do Magic outside school. But she could be taking things with her that surprise you... As frightening as it may seem, you are very lucky. Very few Muggles have magical children, most of them come from mixed or pure marriages. In the long run, you'll discover how beautiful Magic really is and how happy Lily will be at our school," Purgis said in a reasuring voice. "I know that those were the best years of my life. And I didn't turn out too bad, did I?"
Mrs. Evans laughed nervously. Suddenly the large grandfather clock in the corner of the livingroom chimed, three times.
"Oh dear!" She said, covering her mouth. "The girls will be here soon, what will I tell them?"
"Exactly what I have told you," Purgis replied, smiling, and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone. Only the roll of parchment on the table survived as evidence of his visit.
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