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 Post subject: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 17 March 2009 4:32:17pm 
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I've had this idea for a while to write a short story about how Albus, Rose, Matt, John, and Amanda got their Hogwarts letters. I started writing it a few weeks ago.

I've paired each chapter with a song by Jared Campbell. Each chapter title comes from one of his songs and a few of the lyrics are before the chapter. The lyrics go along with the chapter. The whole story is named after one of his songs as well, Life Is Good. If you want to hear the songs, there are videos on Youtube.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or any of Jared Campbell's songs.

Life Is Good

Chapter 1: I Think I'm Holding Out for Something More

Cause fate, it's in my way
and I don't have the patience to put life on hold,
I think I'm holding out for something more.

~Fate, Jared Campbell

Eleven-year-old Albus Severus Potter was standing in front of the window in the drawing room of his London house, Grimmauld Place. He had been standing perfectly still for the past two minutes, watching as a dot in the sky got larger and larger until it was recognizable as an owl.

The owl was close now and it looked like it was heading straight for Grimmauld Place. It was close enough for Albus to notice its ruffled brown feathers and the letters wrapped around its legs. Albus gulped and he rubbed his sweaty hands on his pants.

Watching for the morning post had become a routine for Albus over the past few days. As soon as he woke up, he would stand by the window waiting for the owl that he knew would arrive soon. The owl from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that would bring him his acceptance letter. Albus's older brother, James, had received his letter a year ago, in mid-July, and Albus was sure his would arrive at roughly the same time.

Albus wrenched open the window and the owl soared inside. It stuck out its leg and Albus quickly detached the letters. The owl gave a loud hoot and then soared out the window. Albus shut it as he rifled through the letters. One was addressed to James. But the other, the other was addressed to Albus.

Albus sat down on the couch and slowly turned the letter over in his hands. He swallowed hard and began to open it with shaking hands. He pulled it out of the envelop and read it.

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.

Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.

Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.

Sincerely,
Padma Patil
Deputy Headmistress


Albus closed the letter, grinning to himself. It had finally arrived. Albus had been kind of anxious about it the entire summer. He knew it would arrive, but after days of no owls from Hogwarts, he had gotten a bit worried.

Albus stood up and ran to the stairs. He had to wake James up. James had been teasing Albus ever since he returned from Hogwarts, telling him he wouldn't get his letter. Albus knew James liked to joke, but it had gotten a bit irritating by the third week.

James's bedroom door was closed, but that didn't stop Albus. After all, James always barged into Albus's room. Albus banged open the door and peered down at James, who was curled up on his bed. He looked rather innocent when he was sleeping, but if anyone could make trouble even while sleeping, it was James.

Albus glanced around the room, trying to think of a creative way to wake him up. He wished he had a wand and could spout water in James's face.

Albus decided to just go with the old standby of staring at James until he woke up. It usually worked. Albus peered down until he was only inches from James and waited.

All of a sudden, James's eyes shot open and he jumped back. He hit his head on the wall behind his bed and winced.

"What the hell, Al?" James shouted as he rubbed his head, "Do you realize what time it is?"

"Nine in the morning," Albus said, "Sorry about your head."

"It's ok," James muttered, "I'll get you back eventually. But why in the name of Merlin did you wake me up so early?"

Albus pulled his letter out of his envelop and proudly shoved it in James's face. James grabbed it and scanned it. He gave it back to Albus and grinned.

"See, you got it," James said.

"I know," Albus said, "But you're the one who said I wouldn't."

"I was only joking," James shrugged, "It's what brothers do. Now you get to do it with Lily."

Albus shrugged. He sort of doubted Lily would believe him if he told her she wasn't going to Hogwarts. She'd been waiting impatiently for her Hogwarts letter since she was five or so. Now she was nine and she still had two years to go.

"Oh, you got your book list, too," Albus handed James the letter addressed to him.

"Excellent," James grinned as he ripped it open, "Maybe Mum and Dad will get me a broom as an early birthday present. Then I can try out for Seeker this year and not have to use one of those school brooms."

James was entering his second year and was determined to become Gryffindor's new Seeker. He had been practicing all summer on one of their mum's old brooms. James's birthday was in November and he had been giving their parents not so subtle hints about a new broom ever since he returned home from school.

"Well, I'm going to go see if we can go to Diagon Alley today," Albus said.

"Then I can get my broom," James replied and laid back down.

Albus looked back at James as he left, and noticed that he already had his eyes closed.

Albus ran back downstairs and to the kitchen. Both of his parents were sitting at the table eating eggs and toast.

"It came!" Albus said proudly as he set his letter down in between his parents.

"Congratulations, Al," Harry grinned and ruffled Ablus's hair, "Told you you just had to be patient."

"That's wonderful, Albus," Ginny got up and kissed the top of his head, "We can go shopping today, if you'd like."

"Definitely," Albus grinned, "James wants to go, too. He wants his new broom."

Ginny rolled her eyes as she put her plate in the sink. "We'll see about that."

"Mummy!!!!" Lily came shrieking down the stairs.

Albus turned around and saw that she had a hair brush stuck in her hair and her eyes were welling up with tears.

"Mummy!" Lily cried, "It's stuck!"

Ginny sighed and picked up her wand. "Lily, what were you doing?"

"I was just trying to make my hair curly like Rosie's," Lily pouted as Ginny started to extricate the brush from her hair.

"Lily, what have I told you about wrapping your hair around your brush?" Ginny asked.

"Not to do it," Lily muttered.

"Exactly," Ginny said, "Albus got his Hogwart's letter."

"Really?" Lily shrieked and ran away from Ginny just as she got the brush free, "Where is it? I want to see!"

Albus grabbed his letter off the table and held it in front of Lily. Lily stared wide eyed at it and tried to grab it away from Albus. Albus held it up above her head.

"I wanna hold it!" Lily shouted.

"No," Albus shook his head.

"Mum!" Lily shouted, "He won't let me see it!"

"It's his letter, Lils," Harry replied.

Lily crossed her arms across her chest. "Fine. I want to go to Hogwarts, too."

"You're not old enough. You just have to be patient, Lily," Ginny told her.

Harry snorted into his juice. "I seem to remember someone else who was impatient about going to Hogwarts."

Ginny smacked Harry playfully on the head with that morning's copy of the Prophet. "Oh, shut it, Harry."

Albus poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down just as the fireplace lit up with green flames. It cleared a few seconds later and out stepped a boy in his late teens who had turquoise colored hair.

"Teddy!" Albus shouted and jumped up from the table, "I got my letter just now!" Albus handed Teddy his letter.

"Brilliant," Teddy grinned and scanned Albus's letter, "Merlin, I wish I still had another year there."

"That's only because then you could put off deciding what you want to do with your life," Ginny laughed.

"No, so I could be there when Albus is there," Teddy groaned, "But I suppose you're right, too."

"Of course I am," Ginny said.

"Anyway, I just stopped by to say hi on my way to work," Teddy said as he grabbed a piece of toast off Harry's plate.

"And to steal my food," Harry muttered.

"That, too," Teddy grinned, "I'm working at the Diagon Alley store today, so will I see you lot there later?"

"Yep," Harry nodded, "We'll be there. I'm going to see if Ron and Hermione want to go as well. Rose probably got her letter today."

"Sounds good," Teddy said as he stepped back into the fireplace and disappeared in green flames.

******

A few hours later (after James had woken up), the Potter family found themselves in Diagon Alley. The street was filled with returning Hogwarts students and their families.

Albus had been to Diagon Alley numerous times before, but there was something very exciting about going there to buy supplies for Hogwarts. He was getting to do everything James had done the previous year. Albus was especially excited about going to Olivander's and getting his wand.

They met Ron and Hermione Weasley, as well as their two kids, Rose and Hugo, in front of Gringott's. Rose was a couple months younger than Albus, but would be turning eleven in August and would be going to Hogwarts as well. Hugo was Lily's age.

"Where to first?" Harry asked.

"Olivander's!" Albus announced.

"Flourish and Blotts!" Rose said excitedly.

Albus stared at her like she had three heads. How could his cousin want to go to the book store before she got her wand?

"You're mental, Rose," James laughed, "I say we go to Quality Quidditch Supplies!"

"Eyelops!" Lily shouted.

"You're not even going to Hogwarts," Albus pointed out.

"I don't care," Lily huffed.

"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," Hugo suggested.

"Then it's settled," Harry grinned, "We're going to the Apothecary first."

Everybody groaned, but followed Harry down the street anyway. Albus sighed to himself. That was always how his dad settled arguments. He'd pick what nobody had suggested.

The trip to the Apothecary was quick. Nobody really wanted to linger in there. Albus didn't particularly enjoy the place. It had an odd smell to it and there were cauldrons full of things that looked like they were decaying.

After the Apothecary, they went to Madam Malkin's, which was boring as well. Albus just didn't find buying robes very exciting. It seemed like his dad was doing the most boring shopping first.

Finally, after a long trip to Flourish and Blotts, Harry announced that Olivander's was next on the list. Albus and Rose ran ahead of the rest of the group and arrived a few minutes before anyone else.

"Ah, Albus and Rose," Olivander turned around and greeted them with a wispy voice.

"Hello, Mr. Olivander. We're getting our wands today," Albus grinned.

"I thought so," Olivander smiled and walked slowly to the rows of wands that were behind him.

Olivander took measurements and then walked to the back of the shop. He returned with a few wands just as the rest of the Potter and Weasley families entered the shop. Olivander greeted them and then handed Albus and Rose each a wand.

Albus smiled as he held the wand in his hand. It was an unbelievable feeling; holding a wand that could be his. He waved it and the window behind him exploded.

James burst out in laughter as Albus's face turned bright red. He set the wand on Olivander's desk and looked sheepishly at his family. Harry grinned and repaired Olivander's window with a wave of his own wand.

"Perhaps this one," Olivander handed Albus another wand, "Eleven and a quarter inches, Ash, phoenix feather."

Albus took the wand and all of a sudden a warm feeling enveloped him. If he didn't know any better, he'd say the wand actually glowed in his hand for a split second. He could feel that it was the right one even before he waved it. He gave it a wave and gold sparks erupted from it.

"Excellent," Olivander grinned.

A little while later, Rose had her wand as well and the group left the shop. Albus was carrying his wand with the utmost care and staring more at the box than what was in front of him.

The adults decided that it would be best to visit Eyelops last since both Albus and Rose were getting owls. They didn't want to have to carry the owls around all day.

James was asking to go to Quality Quidditch Supplies every five minutes or so, but Harry led the way into Weasley's Wizard Wheezes first.

"Ron, Ginny!" George greeted them as they entered, "And Harry and Hermione! You've got everyone with you today."

"Hogwarts shopping," Harry grinned, "Al and Rosie just got their wands."

Albus proudly opened the box and showed his Uncle George his new wand. Rose did the same.

"Brilliant, both of you!" George said, "And now I shall get you both ready for Hogwarts in the prank department...."

Albus followed George into the depths of the shop. He was not at all surprised that his uncle was assisting him with pranks. George was the owner of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and was legendary at Hogwarts as one of the most mischievous students ever to attend.

"Now, every student needs a Skiving Snackbox or two," George said as he handed Albus and Rose each a colorful box, "After all, I can't imagine you'll want to sit through History of Magic very often."

Albus grinned as he took the box of sweets to make one ill. He had heard many a story from his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and James about how boring Professor Binns' classes were.

"And then you'll need some dung bombs," George said as he led them to a different display.

"Last time I checked, those were still forbidden at Hogwarts," Hermione said sternly.

"Oh, I'm sure they are," George winked, "But so long as Filch doesn't find out it was these two who set them off, it doesn't matter."

"George Weasley!" Hermione scolded, "You should be setting a better example for these two! No wonder Fred was in detention every week last year!"

Albus laughed as he took a pack of dung bombs off the shelf. His cousin Fred was George's son and just finished his third year at Hogwarts. Fred had taken after his father as far as pranking went.

"Lighten up, Hermione," Ron laughed, "Let them have their fun."

"Ronald!" Hermione shouted, "You're even worse!"

"Harry!" Teddy burst out of the back room and joined the group, "Getting Al all the pranking products he'll need this year?"

"Sure am," Harry grinned, "Although I don't think Hermione is too happy about it."

"I am not buying this stuff for Rose," Hermione stated.

After a few more minutes of arguing, Hermione gave up and both Albus and Rose had bagfuls of Weasleys' products. James had replenished his stash as well and Albus had a feeling he'd use everything up within a month.

George closed the shop so he and Teddy could get something to eat and everyone went to the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. Albus mainly listened to the conversation but was very content. Going to Hogwarts was something he had been looking forward to for years and now it was finally happening.

James finally got to go to Quality Quidditch Supplies after dinner and got his early birthday present. Albus was slightly jealous about this, but knew that he couldn't have his own broom at Hogwarts anyway. He was determined to make it onto the Quidditch team eventually, though.

The last stop of the day was Eyelops Owl Emporium, which was a place Albus was almost as excited about as he had been about Olivander's. His parents had told him he'd be able to get an owl when he went to Hogwarts.

"I want an owl," Lily whined as they entered the shop.

"In two years," Harry replied.

"That's so far away," Lily groaned.

"I know," Harry said as he picked her up, "But it'll go by faster than you think."

Albus began looking around at all the owls. He didn't really have any ideas about what kind of owl he wanted; he just thought he'd look around and see what owl liked him.

There were owls of all sizes and colors. White ones, black ones, and speckled ones. Small ones, large ones, and medium sized ones. Albus walked slowly through the shop and looked at each owl. His eyes rested on an owl with gleaming topaz eyes and dark brown feathers. The owl had a few flecks of white on its head and it was staring directly at Albus.

Albus walked over to the owl and gave the owl a pat on its head. The owl gave a soft hoot and Albus knew it was the one for him. The owl flew onto his shoulder and Albus walked back to his parents.

"I've got my owl," he grinned.

"What's his name?" Harry asked.

"Dunno," Albus shrugged, "Haven't thought of one yet."

"Name him Salazar," James smirked, "Because you'll be in Slytherin."

"What?" Albus stared at his brother, "I'm not going to be in Slytherin."

"You never know," James said, "There's a 25 percent chance that you might."

Albus was stunned. It was so obvious. There was a 25 percent chance that he'd be in Slytherin. After all, there were four houses. But the thought of being in Slytherin had never crossed his mind. He always thought he'd be in Gryffindor, where everyone in his whole family had been. It was possible for him to be in Slytherin, though. Or Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Neither of those would be that bad, but Albus wanted to be in Gryffindor.

"Ready to go, Al?" Harry asked, "Rose just found her owl."

"Oh, yeah," Albus said quietly, "I'm ready. And I'm naming my owl Godric."

Albus followed his family out of the owl shop and to the Leaky Cauldron. In two months, he'd be at Hogwarts. The place where his parents went and most of the rest of his family. The place he had been impatiently waiting to go to for years. He couldn't think of a time in his life where he had been more excited. All he hoped was that he would wind up in Gryffindor and maybe, just maybe, he would be able to make a name for himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 24 March 2009 5:15:58pm 
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Chapter 2: But He Knows That It's Going to Be Alright

But he knows that it's going to be alright
Cause the love that he's got will keep him warm through the night
Life is good, life is good

~Life Is Good, Jared Campbell

Eleven-year-old Matthew Conan Eckerton was sitting below a large oak tree in his backyard. His eyes were closed and he was resting his head against its rough trunk. The sun was beating down on him through the branches above. For the past hour, the only sound had been the occasional bird chirping or cow mooing. Then a loud revving broke the silence.

Matt slowly opened his eyes and squinted in the bright sunlight. He glanced around to try and find out where the noise was coming from. In the distance, he saw the farmer riding his tractor through the fields that surrounded Matt's house.

Matt lived in the country, far from any towns. His house was on an acre of property that was surrounded by farmland on three sides and a forest on the other. The nearby farmer owned all of the surrounding farmland and was regularly seen plowing or performing other tasks. The farmer's house was quite far away, although Matt could see it from where he was sitting. Other than the farmer, Matt had no other neighbors.

Matt's parents, Walter and Julie, wanted it that way. Matt was not an ordinary eleven-year-old boy, even by wizarding standards. At the age of five, he was bitten by a werewolf and became one himself. For the past five and a half years, over half his life, he had been enduring painful transformations every month that left him exhausted and sick. As if he could be anymore unusual, the Wolfsbane Potion which normally enabled a werewolf to keep his mind during full moons, did not work for Matt.

That particular day happened to be the day of the full moon. In only a few short hours, Matt would be locked in a room in the basement and go through the painful transformation into the wolf.

As the full moon was only a short while away, Matt was already feeling the effects of it. A few days beforehand, he would tire quickly and get a lot of headaches. He also lost his appetite. At the moment, he had a splitting headache which was not helped by the tractor, but felt too exhausted to move. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pounding in his head and the tractor's roaring.

"Matt, are you out here?" someone shouted.

Matt opened his eyes again and saw his sister, Amy, walking towards him. "I'm over by the tree!" he shouted.

Amy ran the rest of the distance and sat down next to him. Her blond hair was thrown up into a messy ponytail and flying everywhere as she walked.

"Thank Merlin," Amy sighed, "I couldn't find you anywhere. You know Mum doesn't like it when you go outside the day of the full moon."

Matt groaned inwardly. His mother was extremely overprotective, in his opinion. He understood she had her reasons and after what had happened in the past, he couldn't really blame her. But he wasn't a baby anymore and he didn't think going outside was going to hurt. He liked going outside before full moons since he'd be cooped up inside for a few days afterwards.

"Is she back yet?" Matt asked. His mother had gone to Diagon Alley to pick up some groceries a little while ago, leaving Amy to 'babysit' him. Matt thought this was ridiculous since he was eleven and certainly did not need a babysitter, but didn't argue with her. Plus, Amy was home anyway.

"No," Amy replied, "But I had to find you because this just came by owl."

Amy grinned as she handed Matt a letter. Matt took it and turned it over. His breath caught in his chest as he saw the Hogwarts crest stamped on it. It was his Hogwarts letter.

Ever since Amy had begun her magical education, when Matt was four, he had been excited about going himself. Even after he had been bitten by a werewolf, he thought he'd get to go. His parents had never said otherwise. Until they received a letter telling them Matt couldn't attend, that is.

The Eckertons had not lived in England their whole lives. Up until three years ago, they had lived in Australia. Amy had attended the Australian School of Sorcery until she was fourteen. That was when their parents had asked the headmaster if Matt would be able to attend. He said he could not.

Everything got worse from there. Someone who held a grudge against Matt's dad at the Ministry announced to the entire country that Matt was a werewolf (something they had successfully hidden for over two years) and then his dad lost his job because of it. He had been the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. After that, the man who had announced Matt's lycanthropy became the head and passed legislation restricting the rights of werewolves.

Matt's parents sent letters to numerous other schools asking if he could attend. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland said yes. Matt's dad found a job at the British Ministry, in Werewolf Support Services, and they moved. Life had been better since then. Amy had a hard time adjusting, but eventually began to enjoy Hogwarts.

Due to all of this, Matt knew he would get a letter from Hogwarts this summer. He had been waiting for it for weeks since he had no idea when it would arrive, but had momentarily forgotten about it that day. Despite knowing it was going to come, there was something very exciting about it actually arriving.

Matt slowly peeled back the seal and opened the envelop. He pulled the letter out and carefully unfolded it.

"Merlin, you're slow with that!" Amy exclaimed, "I think I nearly ripped my letter from Australia when I got it."

"That's why I opened mine slowly," Matt smirked. He looked at the letter and read it aloud.

Dear Mr. Eckerton,

We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.

Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.

Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.

Sincerely,
Padma Patil
Deputy Headmistress

P.S. Please have your parents contact
us so we can set up a time for you to
come to the school so we can discuss
the precautions we have set up for
your lycanthropy.


Matt folded the letter and then looked up at Amy. He still couldn't believe that it was finally his turn to go to Hogwarts. He had been secretly jealous of Amy for years. Every time she got to go shopping for supplies and then speed away on the Hogwarts Express, he watched with envious eyes.

"It'll be both of us going this year," Amy grinned.

Matt nodded. "I just hope I'm in Gryffindor."

"You will be," Amy assured him, "Siblings usually get sorted into the same house. Victoire's sister and brother are in Gryffindor like she is. All their cousins are there, too."

"I got my supply list, too," Matt said as he pulled out another piece of parchment, "You get yours?" Amy was entering her seventh and final year at Hogwarts.

"Yup," Amy nodded, "We can go to Diagon Alley once you're recovered from tonight."

"Yeah," Matt said, wishing he didn't have to wait, "Says I can't get a bring a broom, though."

"Like Mum would let you bring one anyway," Amy laughed, "Speaking of Mum, she'll probably be back anytime. We should go back inside."

"You won't tell her I was out here, will you?" Matt asked as he stuffed his letter back in the envelop.

"Nah," Amy grinned, "Since when have I been one to do what Mum says anyway?"

Matt stood up and felt dizzy as soon as he did so. He stumbled and Amy grabbed his arm. She let him lean on her as they walked slowly back to the house. The thing Matt hated even more than the actual transformation into the wolf was how sick he felt the days leading up to it. It was like getting the flu once a month.

To Matt's relief, his mother was not back from Diagon Alley when they got back to the house. Amy helped him to the couch and he laid down on it.

"I am going to miss so many classes during the full moons," Matt groaned.

"Yeah, you probably will," Amy agreed, "But the teachers are nice so you'll be able to catch up. Well, most of them are nice. Washburn's a nasty piece of work, but the rest are nice. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to miss History of Magic. There's usually about a quarter of the people in my class using Puking Pastilles or Nosebleed Nougats before that class. You'll have a built in excuse once a month. All the rest of the kids in your class will be jealous."

"I doubt that," Matt said darkly. Ever since he had first seen the sweets in a Skiving Snackbox, he was bewildered that people would actually eat sweets that would make you ill. He just couldn't wrap his mind around actually wanting to be ill, even to miss a boring class. He'd rather sit through the class.

"Just keep an open mind," Amy shrugged, "There have been quite a few times where I would rather be in the Hospital Wing than in class."

Matt groaned and closed his eyes. He wished he could go all seven years at Hogwarts without ever setting foot in the Hospital Wing, but that wasn't going to happen.

"Amy, could you get me some of that headache potion?" he asked.

"When did you last have it?" Amy asked.

"When I woke up this morning."

"Sure," Amy replied and got up.

Matt heard the door open a moment later and his mum walked in, her arms laden with grocery bags.

"Amy!" she shouted, "Can you come help me with these bags?"

"Hang on!" Amy shouted from the kitchen.

The bags dropped to the floor with a thump and Matt heard footsteps coming closer. He felt his mother kiss his forehead and ruffle his blonde hair.

"How are you?" she asked softly.

"Tired and I've got a headache," Matt mumbled.

"I'll get you some headache potion."

"Amy's already getting it," Matt replied.

His mum kissed his forehead once more and sat down next to him on the couch. "Amy, could you bring the fever reducer, too?"

Matt squeezed his eyes shut tighter. No wonder he felt awful; he had a fever. Now he was sort of glad he came inside when he did.

"I got my Hogwarts letter, Mum," he whispered.

"That's wonderful, honey," she replied, "We'll go shopping in a few days."

"Here's the potions," Amy said.

Matt cracked open his eyes and took one of the goblets Amy was holding. He drank it quickly and then grabbed the other one. He swallowed that one as fast as he could as well and gagged at the disgusting taste.

"Can I get an owl?" he yawned.

"Of course, honey," his mum said as she rubbed his back, "Just go to sleep now. We'll talk more about it tomorrow."

Matt nodded and closed his eyes. He fell asleep quickly, feeling the happiest he had ever been the day of a full moon.

******

"Matt," someone whispered as they shook him.

Matt opened his eyes and saw his dad bent down in front of the couch. "Hey, Dad."

"I just heard you got your Hogwarts letter," his dad smiled, "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Matt whispered.

"Well, I'll let you get some more sleep. There's still an hour or so until you have to go downstairs," his dad said as he gave him a hug.

Matt watched his dad walk into the kitchen and closed his eyes once more. He drifted off to sleep again, trying not to think about what would happen in an hour.

After what seemed like only a few minutes later, Matt woke up in a cold sweat with an awful headache that no potion could ever help with. He sat up and looked out the window. It was dark, but he didn't need to see the sky to know that the moon would rise soon.

"Mum!" his voice cracked. He swallowed hard. The pain always started before the transformation did. It was awful. He always tried not to cry, but it never worked. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to keep the tears from leaking out.

He heard three sets of footsteps run into the room and felt his mother's arms wrap around him. He leaned into her and rested his head on her shoulder.

"It's time," his dad said quietly.

Matt shakily stood up and his parents helped him stumble towards the basement door. He could hear Amy's footsteps behind them. Nobody said a word as they walked down the stairs and towards his transformation room.

Matt sat down on the padded floor as soon as he got into the room. His head was spinning and he didn't think he'd be able to stand up much longer anyway. His parents and Amy each gave him a hug and then left the room. They didn't say anything, but there was nothing to say. He'd done this so many times there wasn't really any point in his parents saying anything. He knew they'd be there in the morning.

The door locked as his parents and Amy left, and Matt let out a loud sigh as he sat down. This was it. Another full moon. There was nothing he could do now but wait.

For years, he fought the change. He'd clench his hands and jaw and try to prevent the transformation, even though he knew it wouldn't work. The only time he hadn't fought it was the first one, where he had no idea what was going to happen. For the second one, he knew what was going to happen. He was only six, but he understood and he fought it with every part of his being. Now, five and a half years later, with five and a half years of proof that it wouldn't work, he still fought it.

Matt didn't have to wait long for the transformation to begin. His headache became unbearable and he felt his stomach lurch. He learned early on to not try and eat anything beforehand, because it always came back up during the first part of the transformation.

He curled up into a ball and let out a soft moan. He could feel his heart beating a mile a minute. His breathing was short and labored. It felt like he couldn't breathe. He always tried not to scream, but that never worked either. He felt his bones breaking and elongating and hair sprouting everywhere.

He let out a loud scream and clenched his eyes as pain coerced through his body. No amount of previous full moons would ever prepare him for the painful transformation. Nothing helped with it either. His parents had given him so many different potions, but nothing decreased the pain.

His mind was always the last thing to go. Matt hated that. He wished his mind would go first. Then he wouldn't have to remember the actual transformation. He always wished he'd pass out before the transformation began, but that never happened.

Matt took a few more ragged breaths and cried out in pain. He sat up and looked at his hands, which were quickly turning into paws of the wolf. He felt dizzy. The world was spinning around him and it felt like fog was clouding his mind. He let out one more scream and the world disappeared.

******

The wolf slowly stood up and took in his surroundings. It was dark and there was a faint smell of blood and humans lingering in the air. He was also trapped, again. The wolf was always trapped. He began to pace around the room and look for an escape route. It wasn't there. There was never an escape route.

The wolf stood up on his hind legs and pointed his snout towards the ceiling. He let out a long howl and then glared at the opposite wall. He got back down on all fours and charged at it, slamming his head into the abnormally soft wall. He stepped back and repeated the process again and again.

He was alone. Alone and trapped. Every single full moon, the wolf was alone and stuck in the small padded room. He wanted to get out. He wanted to get out and find the people he could faintly smell beyond the walls.

However, there was no way out. No matter how many times the wolf rammed his head into the wall, he could not break it. Eventually, he sat down in the middle of the room and howled once more. He then proceeded to bite at his own body to relieve the urge to attack something.

******

Matt cracked his eyes open and tried to lift his head. A stabbing pain fled through his head and he dropped it back down onto the padded floor. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing. Each short, labored breath hurt. He couldn't even figure out which parts of his body hurt the worse. Everything hurt. From the top of his head to his toes.

"Mum?" he said hoarsely. His voice was little more than a whisper. He knew there was no way his mother could hear him, but he called her name anyway.

The door clicked a short while later, but for Matt it felt like an eternity. Whoever came in the room made no sound as they walked across the mattress covered floor. They put a cloak over him and then picked him up. A wave of dizziness come over him as he was lifted up.

"It's ok, I've got you," his dad whispered.

Matt was hardly aware of being carried up to his room and he passed out on the way.

The next thing he knew, he was laying in his soft bed with layers of blankets on top of him. He could feel the warm sun shining through the window. He opened his eyes slowly and blinked as they adjusted to the brightness.

His body still ached despite the potions he knew his parents had given him. His head was throbbing dully as well. Worse yet, he was exhausted. He knew he had already slept for hours, but it felt like he hadn't slept in days.

Who was he kidding? How was he going to go to Hogwarts? How would he manage full moons when he was by himself? He couldn't even get up when he transformed back the next morning. His parents always had to carry him back to his room.

His parents. Matt felt a jolt in his stomach as he realized that they wouldn't be there every full moon when he was in school. They had been there for every full moon he had ever endured. They took care of him the day of and the days following. They got him his potions and healed all his injuries.

He hated to admit it, but he was scared about doing it by himself. He knew he shouldn't be; he was eleven years old for Merlin's sake. Eleven-year-olds should not be afraid of going to school and being away from their parents.

It was a practical issue, he assured himself. That was all. He couldn't physically deal with full moons by himself. That was why he was worried about going to school. It wasn't like he couldn't deal with being away from home.

Then there was the issue of his classmates. What if they found out? It wasn't like he could sneak away for the full moon and be back in his dormitory the next morning before his roommates woke up. He'd be in the Hospital Wing for at least two days. He doubted he'd be able to go to classes the day of the full moon and he usually needed two days to recover. That was three days of missed classes, but more importantly, it was three days of disappearances to explain. What was he going to say? People didn't normally get sick that much.

It was a stupid idea, he thought, going to school. He bit his lip and tried to stop the tears from welling in his eyes. Why didn't his parents just home school him? It would be easier. They were both knowledgeable in most aspects of magic. If his parents had just decided to home school him, they could have stayed in Australia. Then Amy would have been happier.

No, they couldn't have stayed. He sighed. Not after his dad lost his job and all the laws restricting the rights of werewolves had been passed. They were originally going to move so he could go to school. But then his dad lost his job. It wasn't entirely Matt's fault that they moved, was it? Not if his dad needed another job....

It was his fault his dad lost his job, though. If he hadn't gotten bitten, his dad wouldn't have lost his job. So, for all intents and purposes, his family had moved because of him. He couldn't not go to school after all they'd done for him. He'd just have to suck it up and deal with it, no matter how terrifying the prospect was.

"Matt, are you awake?" Amy peeked her head into his room.

Matt quickly rubbed his eyes and turned to look at her. "Yeah."

Amy gave a small smile and walked into the room. She set a goblet down on the bedside table and then sat on the foot of the bed.

"How are you?" she asked quietly.

"All-" he cut himself off and looked at Amy's concerned expression. Ever since she had first seen him after a transformation, she had this uncanny way of knowing when something was bothering him. He wasn't sure how she did it, but somehow she managed to get him to tell her what was wrong.

It was kind of strange since Amy normally had quite the temper and was very impatient. Their mum had once told Matt that she took after his grandmother, but Amy would never admit to it. The two of them did what they wanted and often disregarded other people's emotions.

Amy used to be a lot like that with Matt, too. When they were younger, their parents insisted on keeping Amy away from the house during full moons. She hated it and resented their parents for keeping her out of the loop. She really had no idea what went on during full moons.

Then life as they knew it fell apart in Australia and Amy began to realize what went on. She did resent Matt for months about having to move, but eventually got used to Hogwarts. Then, the first full moon after her fourth year, she stayed at home during the full moon and saw Matt afterwards.

Amy never told Matt what she had thought of seeing him after a transformation, but her actions spoke more than words would have. She stayed by his side after every full moon that summer. A few weeks after that first full moon of the summer, she announced that she was going to become a healer and hoped to discover a version of the Wolfsbane Potion that would work for Matt.

Matt had been a little shocked when he heard this, but not incredibly surprised. As far back as he could remember, Amy had enjoyed experimenting with potions. She was also an avid star gazer and loved Astronomy. If anyone could come up with a better version about that potion, it was Amy. She had the skills, interests, and motivation to do it.

"Actually," his voice caught in his throat, "I'm not that great."

Amy crawled up the bed and laid down next to him, her mouth turning down in a frown. She grabbed the potion off the table and handed it to him. "What hurts? You should take this potion, it'll help."

"It's not that," Matt swallowed the potion in one gulp, "I mean, my head hurts but no worse than usual. It's," he paused, "It's Hogwarts. I'm just not sure if I should go..." his voice trailed off.

Amy put her arm around Matt's shoulders and looked at him sadly. "Why not?"

"This," he muttered, "This probably sounds stupid, but I don't think I can do it without Mum and Dad."

"It's not stupid," Amy said quietly, "They've always been there for every full moon. But I think you're wrong. You can do it without them."

"How?" Matt's voice wavered, "I can't even get back up to my room without them? How in the name of Merlin will I get from that shack in Hogsmeade back to the castle?"

"The nurse," Amy sighed, "You're forgetting about the nurse. Madam Pomfrey. You've met her, haven't you?"

"I think so," Matt nodded, "But I hardly know her."

"Well, I do," Amy said, "And she's one of the nicest adults at Hogwarts. She'll help. And I'll be there too. I'll be there for your entire first year."

"And you'll be there? Can you go to the shack with Madam Pomfrey?"

"Of course," Amy nodded, "And I'll stay at the Hospital Wing with you except when I'm in class."

Matt nodded. He felt a little better knowing that Amy would be there with him. She could practically do everything in order to heal his injuries after the full moon. Their parents had been teaching her ever since she was fifteen and she had actually been performing them ever since she turned seventeen. But he still felt uneasy about the whole thing.

"I know you'll still miss them," Amy said quietly, "And there's nothing wrong with that. I was so homesick during first year and I didn't have to deal with turning into a wolf once a month. I imagine that'll make it even worse."

Matt turned to his sister and laughed. He sort of liked how she just stated what was true and never tried to soften it.

"Yeah, probably," he replied.

"But you'll get used to it," Amy assured him, "Soon you'll make friends and get into mischief like half of Victoire's cousins do."

Matt shrugged. Making friends was another thing he was worried about. He didn't really have many friends. He occasionally spent time with some of his dad's coworkers' kids, but didn't know them very well.

"If I make any friends," he said.

"You will," Amy said.

"But they won't like me if they find out who I am," Matt replied.

"They won't find out," Amy said adamantly, "You'll make plenty of friends. Victoire said a few of her cousins are starting this year and they're certainly to be in Gryffindor like you will be."

Matt had only met Victoire a few times, but from what he could tell, she was really nice. Matt only hoped her cousins were as well.

"I guess that would be good," he yawned, "What time is it?"

Victoire glanced at her watch. "Just after one. I should let you sleep."

Matt nodded. "Ok. Thanks." He was pretty tired. He didn't normally have such long discussions with Amy so soon after the full moon. He usually slept until dinner time.

"I'll be back later," Amy gave him a gentle hug, grabbed the empty potion bottle, and quietly left the room.

Matt rolled over in bed and huddled under the many blankets. He closed his eyes feeling a bit better about going to Hogwarts, but still worried.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Monday 30 March 2009 8:35:34pm 
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I like the portrayal of Matt's transformation, it seems very realistic. Great work!


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 31 March 2009 6:40:52pm 
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Yay, you read it! I'm glad you liked it. :grin: The transformation part was the bit I was worried about, but so far everyone seems to like it on HPFF.

Chapter 3: It's Not Something That She's Made Up In Her Head

And she knows that this is real
It's not something that she's made up in her head
And there's something that she feels but she hasn't found the words
~It's Love
, Jared Campbell

Eleven-year-old Amanda Genevieve Tagger smiled to herself as she closed her book. She rolled over on her bed and set the it on her bedside table. Her bedside table was stacked high with at least ten books, most of which Amanda had already read.

Amanda had always enjoyed reading. Ever since she was a little girl, books had been some of her best friends. They were great company when she was sad or bored or just wanted to escape into a different world for a while. Best of all, books never made fun of her.

Amanda had always been shy and she was the first to admit it. She didn't have very many friends and kids her age tended to stay away from her. This was most likely because strange things always happened around her.

She was only five when she first realized that she was different. Amanda, her older sister, Jen, who was nine at the time, and a few of her sister's friends were playing outside. They decided to play hide-and-seek and Amanda climbed the biggest tree in their backyard and hid amongst the branches. Jen, who was 'it', had the hardest time finding her. In fact, Jen never found her. Amanda didn't leave the tree until their mom called them in for a snack.

That was when it happened. Amanda's foot caught on one of the branches and she lost her grip. She fell what must have been twenty or thirty feet out of that maple tree, hitting numerous branches on her way down.

When she was a mere five feet from the ground, she suddenly stopped falling. Then, she glided lightly to the ground, and landed softly on her feet. Amanda looked around and saw Jen staring open-mouthed at her. Their mother, who had seen Amanda falling, ran from the house and checked her over. She was completely fine, save for a few minor scratches and bruises. No one knew why it had happened, but Amanda's mother said an angel must have been looking out for her that day.

Whatever it was, Amanda knew she was different that day. It was only the beginning. Strange things had happened to her ever since. When she was six and the class bully stole her biscuits at lunch, new ones appeared out of thin air in front of her. When she was seven and forgot to do her maths homework, it somehow did itself while sitting in her backpack.

A small, relatively harmless tornado had somehow descended upon a few boys who were chasing her when she was eight. That incident was what caused most of the other kids her age to steer clear of her.

There was one girl who did not care that strange things happened around Amanda. Jamie House, Amanda's best friend since Kindergarten, never cared about the strange incidents. She actually thought they were funny. Amanda and Jamie were inseparable at school.

However, Jamie was currently spending a few weeks with her grandparents in Scotland. Without Jamie's company, Amanda had spent most of her time reading. There wasn't really anything else to do. Jen was fifteen and the last thing she wanted to do was hang out with her eleven-year-old sister. Amanda's little brother, Max, was eight and all he wanted to do was ride his bike in the empty lot down the road with the other neighborhood boys.

Amanda was left with her books for company, not that she really minded. She was getting a bit restless, though. She stood up opened her bedroom door. Maybe Jen wasn't on the computer and Amanda would be able to go online. Jamie managed to get on instant messager ever so often at her grandparents' house and Amanda had talked to her a few times over the past week.

The doorbell rang just as Amanda was leaving her room.

"Amanda!" Jen shouted from her room, "Could you get that?"

"Sure," Amanda said as she passed Jen's room. She peeked inside and saw that Jen was in the process of straightening her light brown hair. Jen had straightened Amanda's honey blonde hair a few times, but Amanda actually preferred it with its natural slight wave. Jen hated her own curly hair, though.

Amanda ran down the stairs and towards the door. She pulled it open and saw a man wearing the strangest outfit she had ever seen anyone wear on a day that was not Halloween. It looked like a black graduation gown. The man himself looked relatively sane, though. His blonde hair was neatly combed and he smiled when Amanda opened the door.

"Hello," he greeted her, "Are your parents home?"

"Er," Amanda began, "I think so. Are you selling something?" Her parents hated door to door salesmen. Amanda wasn't exactly sure where her parents were, but she doubted they'd want to be interrupted to listen to someone trying to sell something.

The man laughed. "No, not at all."

"Wait right here," Amanda said and went to find her parents, "Mum! Dad! There's some bloke at the door who wants to talk to you!"

"What's he selling?" Mrs. Tagger shouted from the kitchen.

"Nothing!" Amanda replied.

Mrs. Tagger, a short, plump woman with flecks of grey in her dark brown hair walked out of the kitchen and followed Amanda to the door.

"Can I help you?" she asked the man.

"Yes," the man replied, "I'm a teacher at a private school and I'm here to inform you that your daughter has been accepted."

"Jen?" Mrs. Tagger asked, "I wasn't aware she applied to any private schools."

"No," the man shook his head, "Not Jen. Amanda."

Amanda gaped at the man and then turned to her mother, who was now frowning. Amanda hadn't applied to any private schools. Why would she? She had already gotten into the secondary school she was attending in the fall.

"I know Amanda hasn't applied to anymore schools," Mrs. Tagger said.

"This isn't one she applied for," the man said quietly, "Her name has been down since she was born."

Amanda was stunned. What was this about? How could her name have been down for a school since she was born?

"Could I come in?" the man asked.

"I think you'd better," Mrs. Tagger said in barely more than a whisper.

The man stepped inside the house and followed Mrs. Tagger into the den. Amanda followed and sat down on a chair while the strange man took the couch.

"Henry!" Mrs. Tagger shouted down the basement stairs, "You'd better come upstairs!"

A minute later a tall man with a messy shock of blonde hair on his head walked into the room with Mrs. Tagger.

"My husband, Henry," Mrs. Tagger replied, "And my name is Sarah. Who are you?"

"Professor Neville Longbottom," the man replied as he stood up and shook each of my parents' hands.

"Professor?" Henry raised his eyebrows.

"He told me Amanda has been accepted to a private school. One that her name's been down for since birth," Sarah explained, "Did you sign her up without telling me?"

"No," Henry shook his head.

"I'll explain everything if you'll just sit down," Neville said.

Henry and Sarah nodded and they sat down on the couch Neville had just vacated.

"I teach at a boarding school in Scotland called Hogwarts-"

Henry snorted and Sarah glared at him. "Sorry," he muttered.

Neville grinned. "I get that reaction a lot. Anyway, Hogwarts is not an ordinary school. It is a school of magic. Mr. and Mrs. Tagger, your daughter is a witch."

Amanda was glad she had been sitting down. If she hadn't, she surely would have fainted. She stared in shock at Neville. What did he mean, witch? Amanda had read many stories about witches. Some had good witches and others had bad witches. Which witch was she?

How could she even be a witch? Witches weren't real. They were made up to provide entertainment. They couldn't actually exist. Magic didn't exist.

"What are you getting at?" Henry said defensively, "If this is some sort of prank, it's not funny."

"It's not a prank," Neville said calmly, "Magic does exist. Witches and wizards have been hiding their world for generations. I teach at Britain's only school of magic."

"What do you teach?" Henry asked.

"Herbology. The study of magical plants."

"Prove it," Henry said, "Pull a rabbit out of your hat or something."

Neville grinned and pulled out his wand. Amanda stared at it. A real magic wand. Just like the ones she'd read about in books.

"Accio pillow," Neville pointed his wand at one of the pillows next to Henry. It soared through the air and landed neatly in Neville's hand.

"Where's the string?" Henry stood up and grabbed the pillow. He searched all over it for a string, but didn't find one.

"No string," Neville smiled. He took the pillow back and pointed his wand at it. He muttered something else and the pillow turned into a tea kettle.

"That is brilliant," Amanda grinned, "Can I learn how to do that?"

"When you are older, yes," Neville replied.

"What else can you do?" Amanda asked excitedly.

"Brew potions, various charms, disappear and reappear in a new place-"

"Seriously?" Amanda gaped, "Can you show me that?"

"Sure," Neville replied. He disappeared from the room with a loud crack and then was back a few seconds later.

"What the bloody hell was that?" Jen ran into the room with her hair partially straight and partially curly.

"Language, Jennifer," Sarah warned.

"I'm a witch," Amanda grinned, "I can do magic."

"What?!" Jen shouted and sat down on the nearest chair, clearly intent on staying in the room despite her hair.

"Wait, wait!" Henry shouted, "What if we choose not to let her attend this place?"

"You have to, Dad!" Amanda shouted.

"Henry, are you really so gullible? You can't honestly think there is a school of magic!" Sarah shouted.

"Magic?" Jen asked, "Like pulling rabbits out of hats?"

"Of course it exists, Mum!" Amanda told her.

Sarah shook her head. "No. Amanda, you just want it to exist. Magic isn't real. It's fantasy."

"It does," Neville said quietly, "Can you remember a time Amanda has done something that couldn't be explained? Any time where she should have been hurt and then somehow wasn't?"

Sarah's face went pale white and she turned to Henry. "Yes," she whispered, "Many times."

"It can be explained," Neville replied, "It's magic."

"But what if we don't let her go?" Henry asked again.

"That's fine. But she won't ever learn to control her magic and she will continue to cause strange things to happen."

"I'm going," Amanda crossed her arms on her chest.

"Glad to hear it," Neville reached into his, what could only be described as a cloak, and pulled out a letter. He handed it to Amanda.

It was addressed to her. She turned it over and carefully opened it. She unfolded it and began to read it aloud.

Dear Miss Tagger,

We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.

Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.

Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.

Sincerely,
Padma Patil
Deputy Headmistress


There was another piece of paper that had a list of supplies written on it, including a cauldron, wand, and spell books. Amanda had about a million questions. Where could she buy a real wand? Had they gotten the platform wrong? There couldn't be a Platform 9 3/4, could there? What did the letter mean, broomsticks? Did witches really ride around on brooms like they do in books?

"I'm home!" the front door slammed shut and Max ran into the room, his dark hair disheveled and his face coated in dirt. He stopped at the sight of Neville and grinned. "Nice costume, but Halloween's not for a few months."

"It's not a costume," Jen said, "He's a wizard. He teaches at a school of magic and he's here to tell us that Amanda is a witch."

"That is brilliant," Max grinned, "Am I one, too?"

"You'll find out the summer you are eleven," Neville answered.

"Max, please go upstairs and clean yourself up," Sarah groaned, "You're getting mud all over the carpet."

"Oh, sorry," Max turned and ran up the stairs.

"Mum, Dad," Amanda began, "You've got to let me go to Hogwarts. This explains everything! I want to learn how to control my magic. I won't be the weird girl at Hogwarts."

Henry and Sarah shared a look. "I suppose you're right," Henry sighed, "We'll let you go, so long as this professor explains everything about magic to us."

"I will," Neville nodded, "Actually, if you're not busy today, I could take you to Diagon Alley. That's the shopping area where you will be able to purchase everything Amanda needs for Hogwarts. It's in London."

"We're not busy," Henry said, "We'll just wait for Max."

Amanda grinned as she reread her letter over and over again. She still couldn't believe it. A witch. She was a real witch! Amanda always knew she was different, but she never imagined it would be like this. She pinched herself to make sure it was real. It was. She, Amanda Tagger, was a witch. It was like she had fallen into one of her books.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 21 April 2009 6:01:28pm 
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Sorry I haven't updated this in a while. Life has been busy.

(Pretend the lyrics and the Hogwarts letter are in italics. I'll fix it once the bbcode is reinstated).

Chapter 4: It's Only Getting Better

[i]Days are different then they were before
And we both exchange
It's only getting better
~Only Getting Better[/i], Jared Campbell

Eleven-year-old John Malcolm Brickston was running around in a large circle as fast as he possibly could. He, along with two other boys, was spinning the merry-go-round in the park across the street from his house as fast as he could. A fourth boy was on the merry-go-round shrieking in delight.

It was a daily thing for John, playing with the other boys in his neighborhood at the park. They particularly liked spinning each other until they felt sick on the merry-go-round. Other activities included trying to push each other off the monkey bars and jumping off of the swings. They often spent all day doing this, until one of their mothers called them inside.

John had fun playing with the other boys from his neighborhood even though he was quite different from them. John was a wizard and all of his neighborhood friends were Muggles. John's family was the only wizarding family living in a neighborhood of Muggles. He didn't mind, of course. He was actually glad he lived in a neighborhood full of people to play with, rather than in the middle of nowhere like so many other wizards did. Most of his cousins didn't have any close neighbors.

Without the neighborhood boys around, the only people John would have had to play with were his sisters. John had three of them and while he loved them, they got on his nerves. They were all younger than him and drove him mental on a daily basis.

Despite having so many Muggle friends, John could not wait to get to Hogwarts where he could meet other wizards his age. He knew a couple witches and wizards his age whose parents worked with his dad, but he didn't see them too often. Then there were his cousins, but they were all younger than him.

John had been trying not to think about his Hogwarts letter, which he knew would be arriving soon. Thinking about it just made the time go by slower. So, he tried to get his mind off of it by goofing off at the playground.

"Enough, enough!" the boy on the merry-go-round shouted.

John and the other two boys stepped back and watched it slow down. Once it had almost stopped, the boy jumped off and stumbled around, falling on the ground. John and the others crowded around him.

"My turn!" John shouted as the dizzy boy sat up.

"Johnny!" someone shouted from the entrance to the park.

John turned his head towards the voice and groaned. It was his mother. The previous day she had made him watch over his little sisters when they played at the park and he really didn't want to do that again. But his sisters weren't with his mum, so maybe she wanted something else.

"What?" John shouted.

"You need to come home now!" she shouted back.

John groaned again and reluctantly said goodbye to his friends. He hated it when his mum called him home without explaining why.

"Why do I have to go home now?" John asked as he reached his mum, "It's not dinner time."

"Your letter arrived," she said and began to walk across the street.

That was probably the only thing she could have said to make John no longer mind leaving his friends. He grinned and ran to catch up with his mum. Now it was official, he was going to Hogwarts!

John's house was in its usual state of chaos when he entered it. Not two seconds after they stepped in the door, his second youngest sister, Alyssa, ran up them screaming about how Cassie had taken her toy. Alyssa was six and Cassie, one of their many cousins, was five.

At any given moment there were probably five or six little kids at John's house. He had a lot of cousins who were all younger than him. His mother was a stay at home mum, but a few of his aunts worked outside the home. They often dropped their kids off at John's house while they were at work. Or when they had to go shopping. It was just another reason why John enjoyed spending his free time outside, away from the little kids.

That day, all his little sisters were home, of course. Plus, Cassie and her older sister, Isabelle, who was ten, were there.

"Your Aunt Pam is grocery shopping," his mother, Jan, replied as she picked up Alyssa.

John nodded and stepped over a pile of Wendy Witch dolls that Ashtyn, his nine-year-old sister must have left in the doorway.

"Ashtyn, pick up your toys!" Jan shouted as she carried Alyssa back into the den.

Ashtyn and Isabelle came running through the house, scooped up the dolls, and ran back to wherever they came from.

"Where's my letter?" John asked as Jan set Alyssa back down on the floor.

"It's here somewhere," Jan said as she rifled through a stack of mail, "Merlin! I just had it a second ago. Hang on."

John sighed as he leaned against the wall. He couldn't wait to get to Hogwarts. Then he wouldn't have to deal with all his little sisters and cousins anymore. He would be in a place where he was one of the youngest people. That rarely happened. John had always been the oldest, the one who was expected to be mature.

"Mum!" Ashtyn shrieked from upstairs, "I think John put a dung bomb in the toilet again!"

John grinned. He may be expected to be mature, but he wasn't. Pulling pranks was one of his favorite things to do and the dung bomb in the toilet never got old, especially when Ashtyn was on the receiving end of it.

Jan sent him a withering look. "I cringe to think about the amount of owls I'll be getting from Professor Kendrick about the mischief you get into next year," she sighed, "Ashtyn, just flush it like usual!"

"Mum, she won't give it back!" Alyssa whined.

Jan groaned and walked over to the two girls, who were still fighting over a stuffed dragon. Jan wrenched it from Cassie's hands and stuck it up on a high shelf. She continued searching for John's letter while Alyssa and Cassie complained.

"I think I found it," John said as he bent down.

Three-year-old Gemma was holding a torn envelope in her hands and giggling playfully. John grabbed it from her and she burst out crying. Jan picked her up as John took off for his bedroom, the only toddler free place in the entire house.

The letter wasn't completely destroyed, much to John's relief. He had caught Gemma before she was able to do a lot of damage. The envelope was completely illegible, but the letter inside was spared from tears and baby slobber.

John tossed aside the damp envelope and unfolded the letter. He grinned widely as he read it, even though he already knew the gist of what it said.

[i]Dear Mr. Brickston,

We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.

Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.

Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.

Sincerely,
Padma Patil
Deputy Headmistress[/i]

He was in! John laid down on his bed and stared up at his ceiling. Of course he was in. There was never any doubt. Everyone in his entire family had gone to Hogwarts for as far back as anyone could remember. As far as he knew, his family didn't have any Squibs.

John had been looking forward to Hogwarts for a very long time. His parents had all sorts of stories to tell of the place. Although, their education had been interrupted due to the final battle and Voldemort's defeat. They had only been first years at the time and Hogwarts had closed for a year in order for it to be rebuilt. But after that, his parents had had a somewhat normal education.

There were all sorts of things that John was looking forward to. The Sorting (although his parents refused to tell him how it was done), the feasts, exploding potions, Peeves, Quidditch, Hogsmeade trips when he got older, the Gryffindor common room. John was sure he'd get into Gryffindor even though his mum had been a Hufflepuff. His dad was a Gryffindor and everyone said he took after his dad.

John's dad, Jeff Brickston, had been the Hogwarts prankster when he was in school. John couldn't wait to pull some pranks of his own. His dad had promised to get him well supplied with stuff from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, although his mum wasn't too happy about it.

John remained in his room for the rest of the afternoon. A glance out the window told him that his Muggle friends had left the park. It would have been boring for him to go back. Instead, he stayed in his room and pulled out his old but trusty Nimbus Two Thousand and One.

The broom had been his dad's when he was at Hogwarts. John grabbed a bottle of polish and began to rub it into the worn wood. Jeff had given it to John when he was only five and John had been flying on it ever since.

If John had to pick the one thing he was most looking forward to at Hogwarts, it would be Quidditch. John had been flying for as long as he could remember and he had hopes of making it onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team. If he was sorted into Gryffindor, that is. He just hoped that there was a beater position open at the right time. He doubted he'd get chosen as a beater in his second year due to the fact that beaters were generally quite a lot bigger than the rest of the players. But if a beater position opened when he was in fourth or fifth year, he just might make it.

Isabelle and Cassie had left by the time John left his room. He wandered into the kitchen and found his mum preparing dinner. Ashtyn and Alyssa were 'helping'.

"Can we go to Diagon Alley tomorrow?" John asked as he grabbed a carrot out of a bowl.

"I don't know," Jan replied, "Your Aunt Jodie is working tomorrow and I have to watch Stephanie as well as the twins. I don't particularly want to drag three extra kids to Diagon Alley especially when two are babies. It may have to wait until the weekend. And please don't eat the carrots."

John sighed and sat down at the table. He didn't want to wait until the weekend. He wished his mum didn't watch all of his little cousins all the time.

"I'm home!" someone shouted from the den.

John jumped up from his chair and ran into the den. He saw his dad brushing ash off of his bright green healer robes. John grinned as he saw his great-great grandpa standing just behind his dad.

"Gramps!" John shouted, "What are you doing here?"

"Went to Mungo's," he replied, "Had to get this dang hip checked out. Then Jeffrey here invited me to dinner."

John's great-great grandpa, Zander Brickston, was over one hundred years old but was usually healthy as a hippogriff. He was a bit senile and forgetful at times, but it never bothered him. He was often the life of the party, too, despite his age. John loved him.

"I got my Hogwarts letter!" John said excitedly as he pulled the letter out of his pocket.

"Congratulations," Jeff grinned and gave John a one-armed hug as he set his bag down.

"Well done, Johnny-Boy!" Zander gave him a surprisingly strong clap on the back, "Great place, Hogwarts. Best years of my life, except for the times I found myself in Professor Dippet's office. You'd best stay out of there."

"Professor Dippet's been dead for years, Gramps," John laughed.

"Then you stay out of trouble with whoever's the headmaster now," Zander said and lumbered off into the kitchen, "Where's my girls?"

Dinner was lively that evening, as it always was when Zander was there. He dominated the conversation with stories of his own years at Hogwarts. John was sort of surprised he remembered them so well. He told of the time he and his friends went for a swim in the Black Lake at midnight during the full moon in January. The nurse had not been pleased when they showed up at the hospital wing with slight cases of hypothermia. She scolded them and told them if they were stupid enough to swim in the lake during January, they could at least use cold-repellent charms on themselves.

"Where would the fun be in that?" Zander laughed as he finished the story.

Other stories included the many pranks he pulled on the Slytherins. 'Pranking's a Brickston tradition,' he told John solemnly. The times he snuck out of the castle and into Hogsmeade. The time he fell asleep during his History of Magic O.W.L. ("What do they expect, when Binns makes you fall asleep during class?") Sneaking about the castle at night with whatever girlfriend he had at the time. Jan had to shut him up at that point and she and Jeff began to relay their own Hogwarts stories.

John was, if it was possible, even more excited about Hogwarts after hearing all of the stories. He wanted to swim in the Black Lake in the middle of winter. He wanted to sneak out of school to go to Hogsmeade. He wanted to paint half his face red and the other half gold for the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match.

John didn't know how he was going to be able to wait two days until Saturday to go to Diagon Alley, let alone wait the month and a half until he'd be able to actually go to Hogwarts. It seemed so far away. He had been waiting years to go to Hogwarts, but he had a feeling the last month and a half would drag by even slower than those years had.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 21 April 2009 6:03:15pm 
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Two chapters today, since I never updated last week. There's only one more chapter after this one.

(Again, pretend the lyrics and Hogwarts letter are in italics).

Chapter 5: There's so much yet to see

[i]Cause there's so much yet to see, that I haven't seen yet
And there's so much air to breathe
I want to take it in
~Take It In[/i], Jared Campbell

Ten-year-old Rose Elizabeth Weasley put the end of her quill to her mouth and chewed it thoughtfully as she looked up from her parchment. She smiled and dipped the quill into her pot of ink and then wrote 'Elandra Harvard took a deep breath and sat down on the three-legged stool' onto the parchment. Rose set down the quill and picked up the parchment. She looked at it for a moment and then set it down again.

The parchment was a story. A story about a Muggle-born at Hogwarts. Ever since Rose was little, she liked coming up with stories. She used to just tell them to her parents and little brother, but then she got older and began writing them down.

Rose had spent the whole morning writing about Elandra. She supposed it was because Rose herself was going to Hogwarts soon and that was really all she could think about. Although she tried to come up with other story ideas, she just couldn't. All the ideas were about Hogwarts. It was just about the only thing that could sort of keep her mind off her own Hogwarts letter.

Rose had been waiting for the letter all summer. She wished that Hogwarts would send them out in June instead of the end of July. The end of July was sort of late. That only gave a month and a half to prepare to go to school. Rose had been preparing since May, though. She knew she would get her letter this summer, as she would be turning eleven on August twentieth.

Her dad had located her mum's old trunk in the attic and charmed an engraving of 'REW' to replace the 'HJG' that stood for Hermione Jean Granger. The trunk currently sat on the floor in Rose's room. The only thing in it was a cauldron that her dad had found in the attic as well. It was a perfectly good cauldron, so neither of her parents saw any need to buy her a new one. Rose agreed. She kind of liked the old cauldron. There was something to be said about brewing potions in a cauldron that was older than you were.

"Rose!" someone banged on her door.

Rose groaned and got up. It was Hugo, her nine-year-old brother. He probably wanted to play Quidditch or something. Rose didn't particularly like Quidditch. She preferred reading or pretty much anything that she remained on the ground to do.

"What?" Rose asked when she opened the door, "I don't want to play Quidditch."

"I wasn't going to ask you," Hugo muttered, "You're no fun to play Quidditch with anyway. I'd rather just ask James and Al to play. I just wanted to give you this. The post just arrived."

Hugo thrust an envelope into Rose's hand and she caught a glimpse of the Hogwarts crest on the seal. The breath caught in her chest as she grabbed it. "Thanks, Hugo," she grinned.

Hugo made no move to leave as Rose shakily began to open the envelope. "Hurry up!" he said.

"It's my letter," Rose replied and pulled it out of the envelope. Hugo peered over her shoulder as she began to read it.

[i]Dear Miss Weasley,

We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.

Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.

Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.

Sincerely,
Padma Patil
Deputy Headmistress[/i]

Rose grinned looked at Hugo. "It's official! I'm going to Hogwarts!"

"And I'll get the house to myself," Hugo grinned, "I can go through your stuff and you won't be able to do anything about it."

"Mum and Dad will be here," Rose rolled her eyes, "And you better not go through my stuff."

"You won't be able to do anything about it!" Hugo gleefully ran off towards his room.

Rose turned the other way and went downstairs in order to find her mum. She eventually found her in the library, pouring over numerous books.

"It came," Rose grinned and sat down across the table from Hermione.

Hermione looked up and smiled. "Congratulations!" She leaned over and kissed Rose's forehead.

"What are you working on?" Rose asked.

"Oh, work stuff," Hermione said as she closed the book, "It can wait. Let me see that letter!"

Rose handed her mother the letter and waited while she read it. Hermione handed it back to her and smiled even wider. "I can't believe you're going to Hogwarts already. Time has flown by! My little girl, all grown up."

"I can't wait, Mum," Rose replied.

"We'll have some shopping to do," Hermione said as she stood up.

"Ron! Hermione! Anyone here?" someone shouted from the living room.

"Uncle Harry!" Rose shouted as she ran out of the library and into the living room.

Harry's face was floating amongst green flames in the fireplace and Rose grinned when she saw him. "Hi Uncle Harry! Guess what? I got my letter!"

"Brilliant," Harry grinned, "Al got his, too. Are your parents home?"

"Dad's working at the London shop, but he's supposed to be back soon," Rose replied, "And Mum's-"

"Right here," Hermione said as she came into the room, "Hi Harry."

"Hey, Hermione," Harry said, "We were going to go to Diagon Alley after lunch. Al got his letter a few hours ago. Want to come?"

"That sounds good," Hermione agreed, "We'll meet you there around 1:30. Ron should be back from Weasleys' by then."

"See you then," Harry said.

"Bye," Hermione replied as Harry's head disappeared and the green flames died down.

******

A few hours later Rose was standing with her family in front of Gringotts. She tapped her foot and sighed. They were waiting for the Potters, who were never on time for anything. Rose's parents weren't known for being on time either, but Rose had hurried them along.

"Sorry we're late!" Harry shouted as he ran towards the Weasleys.

"James wouldn't wake up," Albus grinned at Rose.

"What else is new?" Rose smirked.

"Where to first?" Harry asked.

"Olivander's!" Albus announced.

"Flourish and Blotts!" Rose said excitedly. She had been there numerous times, but never to buy books for school.

"You're mental, Rose," James laughed, "I say we go to Quality Quidditch Supplies!"

Rose rolled her eyes. James was the one who was mental. He spent more time at Quality Quidditch Supplies than all the other stores in Diagon Alley combined. Half the time he didn't even buy anything. He just gawked at the broomsticks he wished he could have.

"Eyelops!" Lily shouted.

"You're not even going to Hogwarts," Albus pointed out.

"I don't care," Lily huffed.

"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," Hugo suggested.

"Then it's settled," Harry grinned, "We're going to the Apothecary first."

Rose groaned. The Apothecary was possibly her least favorite shop, next to Quality Quidditch Supplies. It didn't surprise her that Harry chose that store, though. He always did that when they argued. Rose's parents did the same thing.

They finally made it to Flourish and Blott's, after the Apothecary and Madam Malkin's. Rose was the first one through the door and immediately started browsing. She didn't know where everyone else was going in the shop, but she didn't care.

Flourish and Blott's had always fascinated Rose, ever since she was little. There were always at least five books she wanted to buy whenever she went in. Hermione usually bought her one every time they went.

"Rose, are you done yet?" James tapped her on the shoulder.

Rose jumped and looked up from the transfiguration book she was reading. "No."

"Hurry up," James whined, "I want to go get my broom."

"What makes you think you'll get it?"

"I'm trying out for the Quidditch team this year," James told her.

"So?"

"So?" James gawked, "So? I need another broom! A better one! You'll never understand."

James sighed loudly and then walked away. Rose shook her head and went back to her book. A few minutes later her mum told her it was time to go. It was time to go to Ollivander's, which was what Rose had been most looking forward to.

Rose ran ahead of the group with Albus and the two of them arrived at Ollivander's long before the others. Ollivander had taken their measurements and brought out a few wands for Albus to try by the time the others got there.

Albus smashed the window with his first wand, which Rose thought was incredibly funny. She secretly hoped she wouldn't do the same, though. The next wand chose Albus and then it was Rose's turn.

The first three she tried out weren't right. Although she didn't break any windows, they didn't work properly.

"How about this one?" Ollivander handed her another wand, "Ten and a half inches, yew, dragon heartstring."

Rose took the wand and waved it. Red sparks erupted from it and Rose knew it was the right one. She grinned at Ollivander and he smiled.

Next on the list was Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, despite James's constant badgering about the Quidditch store.

"Ron, Ginny!" George greeted them as they entered, "And Harry and Hermione! You've got everyone with you today."

"Hogwarts shopping," Harry grinned, "Al and Rosie just got their wands."

Rose opened the box she was holding and showed her wand to her Uncle George. Albus did the same.

"Brilliant, both of you!" George said, "And now I shall get you both ready for Hogwarts in the prank department...."

Rose followed her uncle across the shop. The one thing she had inherited from the Weasley side of the family was the love for a good prank. So long as no one got hurt, that is.

"Now, every student needs a Skiving Snackbox or two," George said as he handed Rose and Alubs each a colorful box, "After all, I can't imagine you'll want to sit through History of Magic very often."

Rose smirked. She had heard about Professor Binns and his boring lectures, but she really didn't think she'd ever use a Skiving Snackbox. Well, maybe if James wanted her to watch Quidditch practice, but never for skipping a class.

"And then you'll need some dung bombs," George said as he led them to a different display.

"Last time I checked, those were still forbidden at Hogwarts," Hermione said sternly.

"Oh, I'm sure they are," George winked, "But so long as Filch doesn't find out it was these two who set them off, it doesn't matter."

"George Weasley!" Hermione scolded, "You should be setting a better example for these two! No wonder Fred was in detention every week last year!"

"Lighten up, Hermione," Ron laughed, "Let them have their fun."

"Ronald!" Hermione shouted, "You're even worse!"

A few minutes later, Ron had convinced Hermione to let Rose get the dung bombs and other mischief making products. Hermione didn't look too happy about it, though.

George and Teddy, who had also been working, closed the shop and they all went to the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. Everyone told stories about Hogwarts, which made Rose look forward to school even more.

James's whining finally paid off after dinner and they went to Quality Quidditch Supplies. Rose thought he took far too long to pick out the perfect broom and she was bored out of her mind. James, Albus, Teddy, Ron, and Harry all spent at least a half hour going over the pros and cons of each model before they finally made a decision.

"And it goes from zero to 60 in less than twenty seconds!" James said excitedly on their way to Eyelops.

"I don't care, James," Rose groaned.

"The twigs repel water," James added, "So there isn't any drag when you're playing in the rain or snow...."

Rose ignored him for the rest of the walk and then lost him inside of Eyelops. She knew exactly what kind of owl she wanted. A tawny one. She had always liked that kind of owl.

She found three tawny owls together in a cage towards the back of the shop and she put her hand up to the cage. Two of the owls ignored her but the third one hopped over and rubbed its head on her hand like a cat would. Rose grinned and knew that was the owl for her.

Albus found an owl as well and the group left with two hooting owls. James started telling Albus how he was going to wind up in Slytherin, which was kind of ridiculous in Rose's opinion. Albus then announced that he was going to name his owl Godric.

That was a good name, Rose thought. She looked at her owl and thought about names. None of the usual animal names seemed to fit her owl. Godric, she thought. That was it. She would name her owl after another founder. Rose's owl would be Rowena. She didn't really think she'd be in Ravenclaw, but Rowena was a good name for an owl.

The walk back to the Leaky Cauldron was quiet. Hogwarts seemed closer than ever for Rose. She was ready. She had been ready for this for years. Her mum always told her that she had a knack for learning, and Rose was ready to learn everything Hogwarts had to offer.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Tuesday 28 April 2009 7:02:00pm 
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This is the last chapter! I hope everyone enjoyed it.

Chapter 6: I Start My Journey Today

[i]I start my journey today
And I make my claim to fame
Everything around me has changed
~Rainy Labor Day[/i], Jared Campbell

"James, if you don't get out of bed this minute, I swear, I'll-" Ginny shouted up the stairs.

"I'm up, I'm up!" James shouted back.

Albus sighed and sat down on his trunk. He had been up since six and ready to go since seven. His trunk had been packed since the previous night, whereas James had not taken their mother's advice about packing early and was probably running around his room trying to locate his robes.

"Ready, Al?" Harry asked as he walked into the drawing room.

Albus nodded. "I think so. I mean, I've got everything...."

Harry sat down next to his son and put his arm around him. "You're going to be fine, Al."

"I know," Albus sighed. He didn't want to admit that he was nervous, but he was.

Albus hadn't been that nervous when he got his letter. He had been excited. But for the past few days, he had become steadily more nervous.

"Think about it this way," Harry began, "Most of your cousins are already at Hogwarts. It'll be like staying at the Burrow with everybody, only none of us adults."

Albus laughed. He hadn't really thought about that. It would be nice to be away from all his aunts and uncles and parents. The freedom would be nice.

"There are teachers, you know," Albus pointed out.

"Yes, Al, I do know that," Harry laughed, "But you'll have fun. You'll make new friends and have your cousins there. In fact, you'll probably get sick of them."

Albus sort of doubted that. He never got sick of his large and boisterous family. There was never a dull moment.

"I'm ready!" James shouted as he shoved his trunk into the room. It collided with a table and knocked a vase off, which promptly crashed onto the floor. "Oops. Sorry, Dad."

"It's ok," Harry smirked and repaired the vase with a wave of his wand, "Ginny! Lily! Let's go!"

A little while later, Albus was standing in front of King's Cross station. He took a deep breath and helped his dad load his trunk onto a trolley. After James had his own trolley, the five of them walked into the station.

He could do this. Hogwarts was exciting. James and his cousins had fun there. Nothing to be worried about. Well, nothing besides winding up in Slytherin. If he could just get through the sorting, everything would be fine.

"You first, James," Ginny said once they reached Platform 9 3/4.

James casually pushed his trolley into the barrier between platforms nine and ten and then disappeared. Ginny and Lily followed him.

"Together, Al?" Harry asked.

Albus nodded and he and Harry walked towards the barrier. Albus closed his eyes and disappeared from the Muggle world. This was it. Hogwarts. His new home for the next seven years.

******

Matt opened his eyes stopped walking. He had gone through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4 a few times before, but the idea of walking through a brick wall still scared him a bit.

The platform was already crowded. People were running all over the place, chasing loose cats and children alike. It seemed more chaotic than it had when just Amy had gone to Hogwarts the previous years.

"This is it," Amy said from behind him.

Matt turned around and saw his sister pushing her trolley away from the barrier. She had a huge grin on her face.

"Is it always this crowded?" Matt asked.

"Yeah," Amy laughed, "Nervous?"

Matt nodded and Amy put her arm around him. "You're going to be fine."

Matt wasn't so sure about that. He couldn't remember a time when he had been more nervous. Well, that wasn't true. There were some occasions that had been more nerve wracking. But this came close.

He was not used to being around so many strangers. He was not used to being away from his parents. He was definitely not used to living away from home, where he only knew one person. What if he didn't even get Sorted into Gryffindor? Then he wouldn't even be near Amy.

Amy said he would probably be in Gryffindor, but what if he wasn't? Not all siblings were put in the same houses. He didn't think he could handle not being in the same house as his sister.

"Matt, honey, are you all right?" Julie put her hand on his shoulder.

He jumped and shook his head. "Yeah, I'm fine," he muttered.

He wished the first day wasn't so close to the full moon. Going to Hogwarts for the first time only a few days before the full moon wasn't exactly his idea of fun. But he knew he was going to have to get used to things happening around full moons. At home, everything revolved around when the moon became full, but that wouldn't be the case at Hogwarts. Better to just get used to it now.

"Maybe they should just find an empty compartment," Walter suggested quietly, "Before they're all full."

"Good idea," Julie agreed, "Amy, could you help your dad with the trunks and go find a compartment?"

Walter and Amy took the two trolleys and disappeared into the crowd. Julie led Matt over to a somewhat quieter part of the platform and looked at him.

"I know you're scared," she said, "But you can do this. You're strong."

Matt nodded, although he hadn't ever thought of himself as strong before. He knew he had to do this and he wanted to, despite the nerves.

"Remember, we're only an owl or a a Floo message away," Julie assured him, "If you ever need us, just go see Madam Pomfrey. She'll get us. Any time, day or night."

"I know," Matt nodded.

Julie wrapped him in a tight hug. "I just can't believe you're going to school. Time has gone so fast."

"I'll miss you, Mum," Matt hugged her back.

"I'll miss you, too," Julie sniffed, "I love you."

"We've got a compartment," Amy said as she and Walter walked up to them, "We'd better go if we want to keep it, though."

Matt walked alongside his mum as they made their way back to the train. They stopped right in front of one of the doors.

"Bye, Matt. I love you," Walter gave him a hug, "We'll see you soon. Owl us and tell us what house you're in."

"Bye, Dad," Matt bit his lip as he hugged him.

Julie hugged Matt once more as soon as Walter let him go and went to say goodbye to Amy. Matt noticed she was crying as they broke apart, which made it harder for him to hold back his own tears.

"Look after him, Amy," Julie said as she hugged her daughter, "I love you."

"I will, Mum," Amy replied, "Love you, too."

"Remember to go see Madam Pomfrey if you need anything," Julie said one last time, "And remember to go see her for your potions."

"I will," Matt said.

Both of his parents gave him one last hug and then waved as he followed Amy onto the train.

"Well, this is it," Amy said quietly as they began to walk down the corridor. She put her arm around his shoulder.

Matt nodded. This was what he had been waiting for for years. He could do it. Amy would help him. He wiped his eyes and let Amy lead him to their compartment.

******

"This is mental, completely mental," Henry Tagger muttered.

"It's what Professor Longbottom said to do!" Sarah Tagger pointed out.

Amanda sighed. Her parents had been whispering to each other about the process of getting to Platform 9 3/4 for the past ten minutes. Amanda thought it was pretty straightforward. You run straight into the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Not that complicated. A bit nerve wracking, but not complicated. She didn't understand why her parents had to talk about it for ten minutes.

"Can we just go?" Amanda tapped her foot, "I'm going to miss the train."

"I am not running into a solid brick wall," Jen said adamantly, "We'll all wind up in a mental institution."

"I'll do it!" Max started running towards the wall.

"No, you won't," Henry held him back.

"Everyone's staring at us," Jen hissed, "Can't we just get out of here?"

"No!" Amanda said a little too loudly, "Why don't you just trust him?"

"Because I tend not listen when people tell me to run into walls, Amanda," Henry said.

"Hi," someone said from behind Amanda.

She turned around and saw a tall, dark haired boy with a huge grin on his face. He was pushing a trolley that had a trunk and an owl on it. Behind him were three little girls, a man, and a woman.

"Hi," Amanda replied, "Are you, er, a," she whispered the last word, "Wizard?"

John laughed. "Of course! You think a Muggle would have an owl on their trolley?"

"Er, no, I guess," Amanda shrugged, "Listen, are you really supposed to run into the barrier? That's what Professor Longbottom told us, but my parents don't believe him."

"Yes," John laughed even harder, "You must be Muggle-born."

"Yeah," Amanda nodded.

"Look, my parents and sisters can go first and then maybe your parents will believe it," John said.

"It's easy," the woman, who must have been John's mother said as she herded two of the little girls towards the brick wall, "But take it at a run if you're afraid."

They walked straight through the wall and disappeared. Amanda rubbed her eyes and then stared at where they used to be. She had believed Professor Longbottom, but it was still a bit shocking to see someone walk through a seemingly solid wall.

"Now will you let me go?" Amanda asked.

"I suppose," Henry sighed, "But I'm going first."

Amanda watched as her dad cautiously approached the barrier. She thought he should just run through it like John's mum had suggested. Instead, he touched the brick, shook his head, and then slowly walked through. Then he was gone.

Sarah let out a gasp and ran towards the barrier. She looked frantically back at John's dad, who was smirking and shaking his head.

"He's fine," John's dad said.

"Can I please go now?" Amanda said impatiently.

"Fine," Sarah sighed, "We'll follow you."

"I will not," Jen muttered.

Amanda ignored her sister's bickering and maneuvered her trolley to face the barrier. She grinned at John, who had moved his own trolley next to hers, and began running. John ran next to her and the brick wall became closer and closer. Amanda's heart sped up, but she wasn't nervous. It was more of an excited nervous. With one last glance back at her white-faced mother, Amanda closed her eyes and ran through the barrier.

******

John burst through the barrier and slowed down once he realized he was through it. He turned and saw Amanda gawking at the wall and laughed at her pale face.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"That was brilliant," Amanda grinned.

"Thank God," Amanda's father hugged her. Amanda rolled her eyes.

John waited with Amanda as the rest of her family came through the wall. Her little brother looked even more excited than Amanda had as he came through. Her mother looked ready to pass out and her sister looked stunned.

Next came John's dad with his youngest sister. He of course didn't look fazed in the slightest that he just came through a solid wall.

"Is this normal for the wizarding world?" Amanda asked.

"Sure is," John told her.

"Whoa, that bloke has a snake!" Amanda's little brother shouted and ran off towards an older student who had a green snake wrapped around his neck.

"Maxwell!" Amanda's mum shouted and ran after him.

Henry gestured for John to help him with his trunk, and Amanda and her dad followed. They got the trunks loaded onto the train and then rejoined the rest of the group.

The adults exchanged introductions and greetings while John's little sisters ran around the platform.

"Have you ever been to Hogwarts?" Amanda asked.

"Nope," John replied, "But my parents went there and it's absolutely brilliant."

John couldn't wait to get on the train and go. He hadn't even been able to sleep that night out of excitement. The closer September first had gotten, the slower time had seemed to pass and it seemed like it had been an eternity since he had received his letter.

Now that the day had finally arrived, all he wanted to do was get on the train. It's not like his parents were paying much attention to him anyway. They were talking with Amanda's parents while trying to keep an eye on his sisters. He and Amanda could probably get on the train without them even noticing. Well, maybe Amanda's parents would notice. They'd seemed pretty protective about her even getting on the platform.

John glanced at his watch. "Ten minutes until the train leaves. We should probably get on."

"I guess so," Amanda said quietly.

John watched as she went to say goodbye to her family. She had been so excited before, but now she was quiet. Maybe she wasn't as excited about leaving her family as he was.

"Have fun, John," Henry gave him a hug and then clapped him on the back, "Don't make too much trouble. Love you."

"I won't, Dad," John grinned, "Love you, too."

"Oh, Johnny!" Jan squeezed him tight, "I'm going to miss you. I love you and owl us as soon as you find out what house you're in."

"I will," John said, "I love you, too."

All three of John's sisters hugged him at once and Ashtyn and Alyssa demanded that he owl them presents within the week. Gemma giggled and said 'me too' and John rolled his eyes.

"Ready?" John asked Amanda as soon as his sisters let him go.

"Yeah," Amanda nodded.

John practically ran to the train with Amanda following. He climbed on and turned around and waved to his family. He waited until Amanda was done waving to her own family and then with a grin, he and Amanda went to find a compartment.

******

"There's a bloke back there with a snake!" Hugo said excitedly.

Rose rolled her eyes and ignored him. That bloke was going to get in trouble. Snakes weren't allowed as pets. She didn't really care for snakes. Hugo had this fascination with them, though. He liked all animals, actually.

"We're going to miss you, Rosie," Ron gave her a hug, "I hope to get some owls soon about the trouble you cause."

"Don't listen to him," Hermione kissed her on the cheek, "The house is going to be so empty without you."

"Yeah, and I'm taking over your room!" Hugo announced.

"You little prick!" Rose shouted, "You better not!"

"Don't worry, we won't let him," Hermione assured her.

"Especially if you miss the train," Hugo smirked, "It's leaving now."

Rose whipped her head around and saw that the doors were being shut all along the train. She turned and saw that Albus was still talking with his dad. What was taking him so long? He was going to make them miss the train!

"What's Al doing?" Rose asked.

"He'll catch up with you on the train," Ron said as he hugged her, "We'll see you soon, Rose, I love you."

"I'll miss you," Hermione joined the hug, "Love you, Rosie."

"I love you, too," Rose hugged them both, "And I'll miss you. Even you, Hugo."

"I'll miss you, too," Hugo said, "Except it'll be nice having the house to myself."

Rose rolled her eyes. Her brother always had to make a joke. She didn't think he had ever been serious. He took after his uncle George.

Rose gave her parents one last hug and then ran towards the train. Albus was still talking with his dad. She jumped on and waited for Albus to finish.

"There you are," she muttered to Albus when he finally climbed onto the train, "What were you doing?"

"Saying goodbye," Albus said quickly, "Ready for Hogwarts?"

"Ready," Rose grinned.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Is Good
PostPosted: Thursday 20 August 2009 4:56:50am 
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Keeper of the Keys and Dragon Tamer Of The West
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This is awesome! I really like how you described his transformation, a great ending to! :)


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