Harry Potter Soft Plush Toys and Stuffed Animals
Harry Potter The Monster Book of Monsters Plush
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Joined: 4 November 2001
Location: Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, England
Posted: Tuesday 19 July 2011 07 08 04 pm Post subject: Re: We have been upgraded in topic:We have been upgraded
Hee hee - you could always sign up for a few of those "win a free ipad" contests. I'm sure they would love to send you some spam to get keep your email proggie binging away.
"Cluck cluck - did I hear a museum mentioned.*shivers* Last time I visited one of those it was full of stuffed animals. Eeeek!"
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 9 May 2010 01 54 25 pm Post subject: Re: Beyond the Shadow in topic:Beyond the Shadow
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Wednesday 5 May 2010 12 04 55 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 11 April 2010 01 14 38 pm Post subject: Re: Beyond the Shadow in topic:Beyond the Shadow
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Thursday 1 October 2009 07 22 34 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 3: Microwaved Eggs
Dinner with Matt's parents was interesting. Mealtimes at Albus's house were always chaotic and never really planned in great detail. It seemed like one of his parents was always coming or going. Then there was the fact that at least one of his cousins or Teddy always seemed to be showing up partway through the meal. But Albus didn't really mind. He kind of liked the chaos that was his family.
Mealtimes at Matt's house, on the other hand, seemed more formal and planned. His mum and house elf, Ellie, cooked a lavish spread and served it on fancier dishes than Albus's family had. And Matt didn't have any relatives to randomly drop in. Albus enjoyed it, though. The formality of it didn't faze Kaden in the least and he dominated the conversation, which centered around Hogwarts, Quidditch, and football.
The boys spent the evening in the den playing round after round of Exploding Snap. Since Rose wasn't there, they all had a chance of winning. Matt's parents joined in for a few rounds and once they left, Albus and his friends talked about the upcoming school year. John and Kaden agreed that they needed to pull a few marauderesque pranks, but Albus and Matt were a bit reluctant. The job of school pranksters was currently held by James and his friends and Albus really didn't want everyone to think he was a just like his brother.
Eventually, Mrs. Eckerton returned to the room and told them they needed to get to bed. Albus followed Matt up the stairs and into the library. They all changed into pajamas, but they didn't go to bed. Their conversations continued until Mrs. Eckerton knocked on the door and told them they had to go to bed.
"Albus?" Matt whispered a few minutes later, "Are you awake?"
"Yeah," Albus whispered back.
"I'm really glad you came," Matt replied.
"Me, too," Albus said.
"You three are the first friends I've ever had over here," Matt said quietly, "I never really thought it would ever happen."
Albus really didn't know what to say to that. He knew Matt had had a lonely childhood until going to Hogwarts, but the fact that he had never had friends over to his house before never crossed his mind.
"Well, I'll definitely want to come back," Albus decided to say.
"Thanks," Matt said, "Well, good night."
Albus fell asleep quickly to the muffled sound of Kaden's snoring. But what seemed like a short while later, he awoke again to the sound of somebody's whispering.
"Kaden," someone whispered, "Kaden!"
"Wh-what is it?" Kaden yawned.
"Are you hungry?" Albus recognized John's voice.
"Erm, a little, I guess," Kaden replied.
"Want to go find some food?" John asked.
Albus listened as John and Kaden got up from their cots and crept out of the room. There was the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and then quiet.
Albus leaned over his cot and poked Matt. "Matt!" he whispered, "Get up!"
Matt rolled over and Albus groaned. It was always so difficult to wake him up. "Matt!" Albus shouted a little louder.
Matt rolled over again and mumbled something incoherent. Albus poked him a little harder and he finally opened his eyes.
"What?" he asked.
"John and Kaden went to get a snack," Albus told him. Albus didn't know what kind of snack the two of them were going to get, but he had a feeling they wouldn't make it simple. John and Kaden were known to come up with some pretty mad ideas when they were together, especially when they didn't have Albus or Matt to counteract them.
"All right," Matt groaned and got out of his cot, "Let's go."
Albus got up and the two of them quietly left the room and went down to the kitchen. The light was on, but Albus couldn't hear anything going on. That could either be a good sign or a bad sign.
When the kitchen came into view, Albus saw John and Kaden rummaging around in the refrigerator.
"We could combine this with that," Kaden was saying.
"That is disgusting," John commented, "But brilliant."
John and Kaden emerged from the refrigerator carrying various containers. They set them down on the counter and then turned around.
"Oh, hey Albus and Matt!" John grinned, "Want any of our midnight snack?"
"Depends on what it is," Albus smiled wryly and sat down on one of the counter stools, "If you think something is both disgusting and brilliant, I'll bet it's really disgusting."
"Oh, come on, Albus," Kaden grinned, "Mashed potatoes and chocolate cake would be a good combination."
"Oh, nasty!" Matt grimaced and sat down next to Albus.
"It's only nasty if you forget the ketchup," John replied.
Even the idea of a combination like that made Albus want to vomit. It sounded like some sort of new Bertie Bott's flavor.
"No thanks," Albus said.
"Your loss," Kaden shrugged and opened the container of potatoes.
"So, if you're not down here to eat our delicious food, what are you here for?" John asked as he dumped the cake into the potatoes.
"To supervise you," Matt replied, "I can't let the two of you cook unsupervised in my kitchen."
"Oh, relax," John grinned.
Albus watched as Kaden stirred the potatoes and cake combination. It actually didn't look that bad. Almost like some sort of strange pudding. Albus was sure the ketchup would negate any sort of potential edibility, though.
"Hey, what's this thing?" John gestured to a black box that was attached to the bottom of the cupboards along the wall. He pushed a few buttons and the whole thing lit up inside and started whirring.
Albus stared at it. He vaguely remembered seeing something like it at some of his cousins' houses, but he couldn't ever recall using it.
"It's a microwave," Matt jumped off his stool and pushed a button on it. It stopped whirring and turned dark again. "And you can't turn it on when it's empty."
John stared at it. "What's it do? What's the point?"
"It cooks food," Matt explained, "Faster than an oven."
"Oh," John shrugged and picked up a fork that was sitting on the counter. He put it in the microwave and went to turn it on.
Matt grabbed his arm. "You can't put metal in it! It'll break!"
Albus smirked. And John said he didn't need supervision. He definitely did, especially since there were Muggle appliances everywhere.
"Well that's stupid," John replied and took the fork out.
Matt shrugged. "It's Muggle technology."
"Why's it in here then?" John asked.
"Came with the house. And my mum likes Muggle technology for cooking."
"Oh," John said and turned to Kaden, who had begun pouring ketchup in the mixture, "Let's put the whole thing in the microwave!"
Matt groaned and turned to Albus. "This won't turn out good."
Albus laughed. "Probably not. But Kaden's Muggle born, so I'm pretty sure he knows how to work the microwave."
"Good point," Matt said, "John! Let Kaden do the microwaving."
"Aw," John sighed, "It looks fun."
Kaden took the bowl and put it in the microwave. He turned it on and Albus watched as the bowl turned around and around on the inside plate. It was rather clever, he thought. Almost like magic. It seemed like a magic box that cooked food in record time.
A minute or so later, the microwave beeped, which caused John to jump. "Bloody hell!" he shouted, "What was that?"
"It means it's done," Kaden laughed and took the bowl out, "Who wants to try it?"
"Me!" John shouted and grabbed a few spoons off the counter.
"No way," Albus shook his head. The mixture in the bowl was the consistency of pudding, but was a strange reddish brown color that was absolutely disgusting looking.
"Me either," Matt said, "Just the smell of that grosses me out."
John took a whiff and grinned. "Smells good!"
"Oh, gross!" Matt covered his mouth.
"You look a bit green," Albus said to Matt.
"Good thing he's not having any," Kaden took a huge spoonful and stuffed it in his mouth.
Albus watched as Kaden swallowed the food. He was actually smiling when he had finished. Matt really looked like he was going to vomit after watching Kaden eat it.
"Delicious!" Kaden grinned.
"Kaden, that is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen you eat," Albus announced.
John tried it next and pronounced it delicious as well. Albus and Matt just stared at each other and tried not to watch as John and Kaden polished off the rest of the concoction.
"Are you done yet?" Matt asked, "The smell of it is really getting to me."
"Almost," John said.
"Done," Kaden replied.
"You'd better wash the bowls out," Matt said.
Kaden nodded and began to wash the dishes. John returned to the refrigerator and started rummaging around again.
"You're not still hungry, are you?" Albus asked.
"Not really," John shrugged, "Just looking."
He closed the refrigerator and went back over to the microwave. He stuck something in it, pushed a few buttons, and it lit up and started whirring again.
"What did you put in there?" Matt asked suspiciously.
"Er," John stammered, "Well, I just kind of wanted something else to eat-"
"I thought you weren't hungry," Albus pointed out.
"I wasn't, but then I got an idea and I thought I'd make an egg-"
"AN EGG?!" Matt shouted as he jumped up, "Did you put an egg in the microwave?"
"Er, yes," John said, "Why?"
Matt never got to finish his sentence. A loud pop came from the microwave before he could continue. He quickly turned the thing off and glared at John. John was grinning and looking at the microwave.
"Explode in microwaves," Matt finished.
"Oh, er, sorry," John said, trying not to laugh.
"That's brilliant!" Kaden grinned and opened the microwave, "I've always wanted to try that!"
Albus stood behind Matt and looked into the microwave. The inside was covered in egg yolk, white, and shell. It was a complete mess, yet kind of funny at the same time.
Matt groaned, "I can't believe you did that. Well, ok, I can. I told you not to touch the microwave."
"Sorry," John shrugged, "I'll clean it up."
"Clean what up?"
Albus turned around and saw Matt's parents standing in the entrance to the kitchen. Both of them looked half asleep.
"John decided to put an egg in the microwave," Matt explained.
Mr. Eckerton burst out laughing and his wife glared at him. "I did the same thing when we first moved here," Mr. Eckerton grinned.
"See?" John said, "I'm not the only one!"
"I know," Matt sighed, "At least I caught you before you put the fork in there."
"Do I even want to know what you boys were doing down here?" Mrs. Eckerton asked.
"John and Kaden wanted a snack," Matt replied, "So they made a disgusting combination of mashed potatoes, chocolate cake, and ketchup. They liked it, but Albus and I thought it was vile. Just the smell of it made me sick."
Mrs. Eckerton groaned. "Well, just clean up the microwave and go back bed."
"Ok, Mum," Matt replied.
"You have to admit that was funny, Julie," Mr. Eckerton laughed.
"Yes, I do actually find it funny that you made the same mistake five years ago, and now John did it and he's a thirteen year old boy," Mrs. Eckerton smirked.
"How was I supposed to know eggs exploded in the microwave?" Mr. Eckerton asked as they stared back towards the stairs.
"You should have taken Muggle Studies," Mrs. Eckerton said.
Albus, Matt, and Kaden waited while John cleaned the microwave. It didn't take him long and soon the four of them returned to their cots in the library. Albus fell asleep thinking about what Rose would say when he told her John exploded an egg in Matt's microwave.
"What do you want to do?" Albus asked the next day. The boys were all sitting in the den throwing a Quaffle around.
"Let's microwave random stuff," John suggested.
"No way," Matt replied.
Matt's parents had officially banned them from cooking for the remainder of the visit. Albus found this rather funny, especially the looks on John and Kaden's faces when they were told they couldn't cook. The two of them spent a good twenty minutes trying to find a loophole in the rule.
"Do wizards play hide and seek?" Kaden asked.
"That was random," Albus commented, "But yes, wizards do play hide and seek."
"I play it with my cousins all the time," John said.
"Me, too," Albus said. He loved games of hide and seek at the Burrow. There were excellent places to hide there.
"We should play it," Kaden announced, "It's always boring to play it at my house because the only one there to play it with is Bethany. And she never hides in good places."
"That's what Amy said about me when I was little," Matt said, "I would always hide in the same place."
"Ok, let's play," John stood up, "The couch in here can be home and we can hide anywhere in the house."
"Sounds good. But no going outside," Matt agreed, "Who's it?"
"Albus," John said.
Albus shrugged. He always liked being it. "All right. You lot can all go hide and I'll count to 100."
Albus closed his eyes and started counting. He heard the footsteps of his friends disappear as he got closer to 100. Usually, one of his older cousins was it whenever he played hide and seek. Albus rarely got to be it.
"Ready or not, here I come!" he shouted and looked around the den. The den would be the perfect spot for hiding because it was close to the home couch. But there weren't very many places to hide in it.
Albus walked quietly over to the one closet that was in the room. He pulled it open and looked inside. Empty. He left the room and looked down the corridor. The bathroom, he thought, that would be a good hiding place. Albus himself hid in the bathtub on numerous occasions.
He stepped into the bathroom and sure enough, the shower curtain was pulled shut. Albus yanked it open and saw John laying in the tub.
"Got you," Albus grinned.
"Merlin, this is always a good spot!" John groaned as he got out of the tub.
"Yeah, which is why it's always where I hide," Albus grinned, "Come on, you can help me search for Matt and Kaden."
Albus and John left the bathroom and resumed the search. Albus really didn't feel comfortable searching in Matt's dad's study, so they left it alone. Albus figured no one would hide in there anyway. They searched the rest of the downstairs, looking in every nook and cranny and closet. But Matt and Kaden were no where to be found.
Next they went upstairs and searched all the bedrooms except Matt's parents'. The library and bathroom were searched as well, but still no luck. The game was reminding Albus of the ones he played at the Burrow. James was always impossible to find. Although one time he got a broom and decided to hover above the house to hide. No one found him for hours and then the adults made a 'no flying' rule for hide and seek.
"Where are they?" John said as they searched the library for the second time, "We've searched the entire house!"
"Not the basement," Albus pointed out.
"Good idea," John agreed.
Albus and John ran down the stairs and towards the basement. They opened the door and ran down another flight of stairs. Albus flipped on the light and the two of them began to look around. Matt had showed them the basement earlier, when he showed them Amy's potion brewing room.
John checked the potion brewing room while Albus looked in the main part of the basement that seemed to be a combination storage area and den. Still nothing. The basement was perfectly quiet, too.
"What about that room?" John pointed to a room at the back of the basement.
"Matt said it was just storage," Albus replied, "I doubt either of them are in there. Plus, it's so quiet. We'd hear some sort of movement. No one's down here."
"Then where are they?" John asked.
"Maybe they made it to the couch," Albus suggested.
Albus and John returned the den and Matt was laying on the couch. He grinned and sat up when Albus and John entered the room.
Albus gaped at Matt. "Where were you hiding? We didn't even see you run in here!"
"I was in that closet," Matt pointed to the closet Albus had searched earlier.
"But I checked that as soon as I finished counting!" Albus groaned, "And no one was in there!"
"There's a smaller door in there that leads to a smaller closet," Matt got up off the couch and walked over to the closet. "Look," he opened the door.
Matt pulled back a few coats that were hanging up and Albus noticed a very tiny door in the wall. Matt opened it and revealed a tiny closet that was just big enough for a small person to climb into.
"See?" Matt grinned.
"You had an unfair advantage," John said, "You know stuff about this house that we don't."
"Well, when we play at your house, then you'll have an advantage."
"My house doesn't have any little secret closets," John muttered.
"What's that for anyway?" Albus asked.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged and looked around the room, "Hey, where's Kaden? Didn't you find him?"
"Nope," Albus replied. He never would have thought that Kaden would be this good at hide and seek.
"We'd better go find him," John said.
"Wonder why he hasn't tried to run to the couch," Albus said as they left the room.
"No idea," Matt said, "But with Kaden, it could be anything."
The boys searched the entire house twice, but they still couldn't find Kaden. He was the ultimate hide and seek player, Albus thought. He could even give James lessons.
"Where the ruddy hell is he?" John shouted as they walked down the stairs.
"I wonder if he'll ever even come out if we don't find him," Albus said.
"He'll come out once he's hungry," Matt pointed out.
"What are you boys doing?" Mrs. Eckerton asked. She was sitting on the couch reading a book in the living room.
"Playing hide and seek," Matt replied and sat down on a chair, "But we can't find Kaden."
"Did you look outside?" Mrs. Eckerton asked as she set down her book.
"Outside was off limits," John said.
"We've searched the house twice just now," Matt said, "And Albus and John searched it twice before that. We've looked everywhere."
"Everywhere?" Mrs. Eckerton raised her eyebrows, "Even in the basement?"
Matt's face paled. "Oh, Merlin! Not the entire basement!"
"You'd better go check," Mrs. Eckerton said.
Matt jumped off the couch and ran towards the basement door. Albus shrugged at John as they followed. He didn't have a clue as to why Matt was so nervous about Kaden hiding in the basement. Plus, Albus and John checked the basement. Except that storage room. But why would that make Matt nervous? What was in it?
Albus ran down the stairs and followed Matt. Sure enough, Matt went straight to the storage room.
"Merlin!" Matt muttered and paused in front of the door, "Why did he hide in here?"
"Er, are you ok?" Albus asked.
Matt sighed, but didn't answer. He put his hand on the doorknob and slowly opened it.
Albus gaped as he saw what was in the room. Well, what wasn't in it. The room was completely empty and had no windows. But the strangest part was that it was padded. The floor and walls were completely covered with what looked like mattresses.
"Is that?" John asked, "A padded room?"
"Hey!" Kaden, who was running around and literally bouncing off the walls, ran over to them, "Took you long enough! Matt, why didn't you tell us you had a padded room in your house? This is brilliant!"
Albus didn't think that Matt thought it was so brilliant. He was staring at Kaden and was as white as he had been when his mum suggested they search the basement.
"Bloody hell, this is brilliant!" John grinned and walked into the room.
"No it's not," Matt said quietly, "Come on."
Matt turned and left without waiting to see if the others would follow. Albus followed immediately and he heard John and Kaden run after him. Matt didn't say anything as they walked back upstairs, and Albus hoped Kaden would have the sense not to say anything either.
"Did you find him?" Mrs. Eckerton asked as they entered the living room.
"Yeah," Matt muttered.
"Yeah," Matt said without stopping.
Albus followed him all the way upstairs and into his bedroom. Matt flopped down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. Albus sat down on the floor and John and Kaden sat down on either side of him.
"Er, what did I do?" Kaden whispered to Albus.
"Shush," Albus replied. He had an inkling as to what that room was used for, but he wasn't sure. He did know that it was usually best to let Matt tell them what was going on in his own time, though. Kaden's pestering questions certainly weren't going to help.
Albus sat quietly for a while as they waited for Matt to say something. He was still laying on his bed staring at the ceiling. Kaden kept glancing at Albus and then at Matt and back again. John was playing with a gobstone that he had found on the floor.
Matt sighed and sat up. Albus glanced up from the floor and looked at him. "You ok?" he asked.
"I guess," he nodded, "I should have just told you not to hide in that room."
Albus nodded and sent Kaden a look so he wouldn't ask about the room.
"I don't know if you guessed what that room is for," Matt began, "But I guess I'll tell you."
"You don't have to," Albus said quietly.
"I know," Matt sighed, "But I will," he paused, "That room is where I transform."
Albus nodded. That's what he had guessed. Judging by the calm look on John's face, he had guessed it too. Kaden on the other hand, was gaping at Matt.
"Wait, what?" he asked.
"That's where I go during full moons," Matt said.
"Oh," Kaden replied, "Why is it padded?"
Albus groaned inwardly. Kaden really needed to learn not to ask about these sorts of things.
Matt laid back down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. "Back when I was five and I went through my first transformation, I spent the whole night ramming into the wall trying to get out. My dad put the padding on the walls before the next full moon. Then when we moved here, my dad recreated the same room in the basement of this house."
Albus winced at the thought of Matt ramming himself into a wall. Every time Matt told him something else about the full moons, Albus felt even sorrier for him.
"Oh," Kaden muttered, "Er, sorry for hiding there, then."
Matt sighed, "It's ok. I should have told you not to hide there."
"What about the Shrieking Shack?" Kaden asked, "Is that padded?"
"No," Matt replied, "But it's bigger, so I don't bang my head as much."
Kaden nodded. "Well, I can't say I've ever seen a padded room in anyone else's house."
"You'll probably never see one again," Matt said dryly.
Joined: 31 December 2006
Location: No idea, all I know is that there are a LOT of felt-tipped pens...
Posted: Wednesday 2 September 2009 11 41 29 pm Post subject: Re: Some Secrets in topic:Some Secrets
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 30 August 2009 11 47 40 am Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Joined: 13 January 2008
Location: In role play game of course!
Posted: Sunday 9 August 2009 09 03 28 pm Post subject: Re: RPG: The Six Wizards in topic:RPG: The Six Wizards
Ouki was instantly pulled to the side and asked to put her bag on the table. Ouki complied sweetly. Beside her two other girls were being told to open their bags, and it was just by chance that she was randomly selected. IT was all procedure; they had to be seen as doing their jobs. The custom officer opened her suitcase. Ouki smiled. She had already put charms on the items inside to trick any muggle who looked at them. She watched as they picked up the blades she had packed, the cruel wooden weapons she had created while on the island. They turned them over and looked at Ouki, and Ouki simply smiled. she tried to laugh at how they were so calmly picking up item after item which would normally envoke terror, but instead, no more emotion than if they had picked up some plush toys. They zipped up her back, and let her through. Ouki walked out of customs looking un phased. She met Damien in the foyer outside.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 19 July 2009 11 07 10 am Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 21 June 2009 10 49 13 am Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Chapter 50: The Slug Club
I began working even harder to avoid Monica after the incident during Astronomy. If I set my alarm a half hour earlier than I usually did I could get ready for class before Monica woke up and I could be down in the Great Hall before she was ready. That way I could avoid her and get extra studying done during brekkie. It was a win-win situation. Well, except for the lack of sleep.
I was trying to get more sleep like Madam Pomfrey told me to, but it was hard. I was so far behind in History of Magic and it got worse every day. I was completely lost in class and it didn't help that Professor Binns's voice could put a screaming mandrake to sleep.
I was slowly catching up in Charms and Transfiguration, although I was beginning to form a hatred of Charms. The professor, Professor Washburn, was possibly the nastiest professor I had ever met in my life. He clearly despised Gryffindor and favored the Slytherins in our class. Not only that, but he didn't really help when I needed help. All he did was yell at me and tell me I should practice more. Charms quickly became one of my least favorite classes.
Potions was my favorite class, despite the fact that Quinton Willinson continually talked to me while I was brewing. I learned to ignore him and found he was pretty easy to tune out.
"Miss Eckerton," Slughorn said to me as I was leaving Potions in early October.
"Yes, Professor?" I paused near his desk.
"I'm having a little get together this Friday evening at six for certain students who possess a lot of magical ability," Slughorn told me, "You've proven yourself to be an excellent potion brewer, so you are welcome to attend."
I nodded. "Er, thanks, Professor."
"You've been invited to the Slug Club," Willinson said smugly after I left the room. He had been standing outside the door, waiting for me, much to my disgust.
"The what?" I looked at him strangely.
"The Slug Club," Willinson repeated, "That's what we call it."
"And do you go to these things?"
"Ever since first year," Willinson grinned.
I rolled my eyes. Of course. I sped up to try and escape from him, but he followed me all the way to the Great Hall for lunch. I turned to sit down at the Gryffindor table and he finally left me alone.
I spent the rest of the week thinking about the 'Slug Club' meeting. Part of me was a little excited at being picked for what seemed to be an exclusive club, but the other part of me was kind of nervous about what it would entail. The prospect of spending more time with Willinson wasn't that great either.
I owled both my parents and Olivia about it, but Olivia didn't get back to me before Friday. My parents thought I should go because they thought I'd make friends there. I sort of doubted that because I had already been at Hogwarts for a month and didn't really have any friends. I had one enemy, one bloke who occasionally said hi to me, a girl who was slightly annoying but liked to talk to me in Herbology, and a bloke who was constantly trying to beat me in potions contests. But none of them could be considered friends.
Eventually I decided to go, mainly because I knew Monica wouldn't be there. I had heard her complaining about the Slug Club to Victoire the previous night. Victoire had just said 'mmm-hmm' every once in a while and then told Monica that the only reason she didn't like it was because she had never been invited. Monica wasn't too happy about this. Apparently Victoire occasionally went to Slug Club meetings but usually didn't because none of her friends went.
I was at the door to the potions classroom at exactly six o'clock and took a deep breath before entering. There were chairs arranged in a circle and a table of food a few feet away.
People were milling about, getting food and talking. I recognized two of the girls I had ridden in a carriage with on the first day. Gabriella and Georgia Weasley. I learned a few weeks ago that Gabriella was Victoire's sister and Georgia was their cousin. In fact, I learned that most of the red-haired people in Gryffindor were the infamous Weasley cousins. A few other Weasleys were in the room including the two first years, Fred and Heather. Apparently they were cousins and not twins. Teddy Lupin was there, along with the prefect, Landon Comer, who had woken me up on the first morning. Willinson was sitting down and talking with Slughorn.
I wandered over to the food table, where Teddy and Landon were piling their plates high with all sorts of stuff. I picked up a plate and peered down at a pile of something that looked like chicken.
"It's pheasant," Teddy grinned at me, "So you're in the Slug Club now, huh, Aussie?"
I had given up trying to get Teddy to stop calling me 'Aussie' weeks ago. It was a lost cause and as long as no one else started doing it, I didn't mind.
"Pheasant?" I hesitated before picking up a very small piece. It sounded like something Cinda would serve at a fancy party.
"It's not bad," Teddy shrugged as he put some pheasant on his own plate.
I took some potatoes and carrots and then followed Teddy and Landon to the chairs. They sat down near Gabriella and Georgia, which thankfully was far away from Willinson.
I tentatively bit the pheasant while Teddy watched. It was disgusting. I grimaced and swallowed it, dropping the remaining bit onto my plate. Teddy burst out laughing.
"I guess it's an acquired taste," he grinned.
"Not one I'll be acquiring," I said as I took a large gulp of water.
"So, how'd you wind up here?" Teddy asked, "Good at potions or were your parents famous in Australia?"
I choked on my water and coughed it all over my plate. How did Teddy know to ask that? What did it have to do with the Slug Club? My heart started beating fast. Were people going to find out about Matt before he even had a chance to enter Hogwarts?
"You ok?" Teddy looked at me strangely.
"Yeah," I coughed. I could feel my cheeks turning red. "But why would you think my parents are famous?"
"You don't know much about the Slug Club, do you?"
Teddy laughed. "There's two ways you can get into the Slug Club. One, you're good at potions. Two, your parents or grandparents or some other relative are famous. Slughorn likes to establish contacts with famous people. That's how I got into this club. It definitely wasn't my potions ability. I'm rubbish at brewing. Must have inherited my dad's brewing ability. My mum was an auror who fought in the war against Voldemort. My dad fought against Voldemort, too, even though he wasn't an auror. Both of them were in the Order of the Phoenix. They died in the final battle."
I nodded. "Victoire told me about that." Voldemort? Order of the Phoenix? Final battle? I really needed to get to that book Victoire recommended.
"So what is it, then? Potions or parents?"
"Potions," I told him, "My parents aren't famous." Not in England, that is, but I didn't tell him that.
"Like Landon, then," Teddy gestured to his friend, "He tutors me in potions. If it weren't for him, I'd be failing."
"You're hardly passing as it is," Landon replied.
"You'd better step up the tutoring, then," Teddy laughed.
"There's only so much I can do," Landon sighed, "I think you were born without the potions section of your brain."
"Welcome, everyone!" Slughorn stood up, "I think we're all here now. We have one new member since our September meeting. Everyone say hello to Amy Eckerton."
Slughorn gestured to me and everyone muttered hello. I blushed even more and waved.
"Miss Eckerton has proved herself to be a most brilliant potions brewer!" Slughorn said excitedly, "Perhaps the best in her year, no offense to Mr. Willinson."
Willinson did in fact look offended, but said nothing. He merely continued chewing his pheasant and glared at me.
"Now, Amy," Slughorn went on, "Might you tell us a bit about your family? And what made your parents decide to move from, Australia, right?"
I groaned inwardly. I shouldn't have came. I should have known this would happen. Everyone, including Slughorn, was watching me and waiting for me to explain why I had moved to England.
"Er, well, my dad's working at the Ministry. In Werewolf Support Services," I said quietly, "And we did move from Australia."
"Interesting!" Slughorn replied, "Very interesting career choice. And did he do that sort of work in Australia?"
"Erm, yeah," I muttered.
"Then why did you move?" a Hufflepuff who looked to be a little older than me asked.
"Uh," I stammered, "The Ministry was downsizing. Budget cuts. So my dad got let go. He found a new job up here and that's it."
"Ah, yes, budgets," Slughorn sighed, "A necessary, but irritating fact of life. And sadly Werewolf Support Services is always the first to go."
I nodded, hoping that he would divert the conversation from werewolves. The last thing I wanted was for the club to debate the importance of Werewolf Support Services. Although I had a feeling Teddy would at least share my opinion.
Luckily one of the Ravenclaws announced that her cousin had just signed a contract to become the Wimbourne Wasps's new Chaser, so the conversation turned to Quidditch. I paid vague attention while I ate my potatoes and carrots.
The meeting was actually rather boring. I found myself stealing glances at the clock a few times and wondering what time Slughorn would decide to end the meeting.
It finally ended shortly before eight o'clock and I left with Teddy and Landon.
"What did you think?" Teddy asked as we walked back to Gryffindor.
"That was one of the most boring things I've ever experienced and that includes fancy dinners with my grandparents," I said, "Why in the name of Merlin do you two go?"
"Slughorn's got connections," Landon replied, "He might be able to help me get a job once I'm out of here."
"I'm hoping for extra credit in potions," Teddy grinned, "Haven't gotten it yet, but I'm still trying."
"You're hopeless," Landon laughed.
"Well, I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate and I don't think I need any extra credit in potions," I replied, "I don't think I'm going to go to another one of those."
"Suit yourself," Teddy shrugged, "But you'll come back once you realize you've got a craving for pheasant."
I cringed at the thought of eating pheasant again and shook my head. Teddy certainly had a good sense of humor. He seemed to like everyone. I'd noticed that he was often the center of attention in the common room. Victoire was often with him, when she wasn't with Monica, and the two of them seemed to be really good friends.
The common room was buzzing with excitement the next morning. There was a large crowd around the notice board and quite a few people were talking about 'stocking up' on stuff. I waited until most of the crowd had dissipated and went to see what all the excitement was about.
There was a note on the board that announced the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. It was in two weeks, on the nineteenth. Brilliant, I thought, I could use a break from school. From what little I'd seen of Hogsmeade during our trip to Hogwarts, it seemed to be a cute village. It would be fun to explore it some more.
After brekkie I went back up to my dormitory and wrote another letter to my parents. I wanted to know if they could go to Hogsmeade when I was going. I hadn't seen them in over a month and I was missing them more than I wanted to admit. I had gotten so used to seeing them everyday and Hogwarts didn't have holidays every few weeks like the Australian School of Sorcery did. I wouldn't get to go home until Christmas.
My weekend was full of studying and just wandering around the grounds. I liked walking near the Forbidden Forest and tried to see what was in it without actually stepping foot in the place. What I wanted to do was go explore it, but was too afraid to get caught.
Mum and Dad's reply arrived Sunday night while I was eating dinner. Pollux still hadn't gotten the hang of delivering mail at the same time as the other owls. I hurried up to my dormitory and shut the hangings around my bed before I opened it.
We're sorry to hear that the Slug Club
was a bit of a disaster. At least those
two boys, Teddy and Landon, seem nice.
Don't feel that you have to attend
another one of those if you don't want
The Hogsmeade visit sounds like fun.
Unfortunately, it is the day after the
full moon. It's not likely that either
of us will be able to meet you. One of
us will need to be home with Matt, and
Dad thinks he'll have to work that
morning. We'll let you know if his
work schedule changes.
Your birthday is the week after. We'll
owl Professor Kendrick and see if we
could go with you to Hogsmeade that
weekend. It's a better time.
Try and have fun in Hogsmeade. Maybe you
could see if some of the other girls in
your dormitory would go with you?
Write soon. We love you and miss you.
Mum, Dad, Matt, and Ellie
I put the letter back in its envelop and sighed. I leaned back against my pillows and stared at the top of my bed. The full moon was the day before the Hogsmeade visit. I hadn't even realized that. Of course they wouldn't be able to go.
I guess I would be going to Hogsmeade alone. Victoire would be going with Monica and I did not want to go with her. The other girls always talked about Quidditch and I didn't want to spend a whole day doing that. They pretty much ignored me anyway. I couldn't just ask if they'd go to Hogsmeade with me.
Maybe my family would be able to go on my birthday. To be honest, I had almost forgotten it was coming up. My past three birthdays had been spent with Olivia in our dormitory. We always threw each other mini parties on each other's birthdays. That wasn't going to happen this year. No one in my dormitory would so much as mutter a 'happy birthday' on their way out the door.
I heard footsteps come into the room and I hoped it was Samantha or one of her friends, not Monica and Victoire.
"I think Eckerton is here," Monica said. No such luck.
"So?" Victoire replied.
"I'm surprised she's not in the library, studying," Monica went on, "That's all she ever does."
"Maybe she wants to get good grades," Victoire muttered, "Until this year, you studied a lot, too."
"I know. I just don't see the point anymore. I still get decent marks when I don't study. I'd rather just spend more time having fun."
"You know it's best to have marks that are better than decent," Victoire told her, "You'll need them when you go to look for a job when we graduate."
"Well, I don't know what I want to do with my life," Monica said and I heard a bed creak, "We haven't all had our lives planned out since first year."
"I have not," Victoire replied.
"Yes, you have," Monica laughed, "You're going to become a Healer and marry Teddy Lupin. You'll probably have two or three kids. At least one of them will have a French name."
Teddy Lupin? How could Monica think Victoire was going to marry him? They weren't even going out, as far as I knew. I thought it was pretty strange to know who you wanted to marry at the age of fourteen anyway. I certainly had no idea.
"I do not!" Victoire shouted, "Teddy's just a friend! I've known him since I was born. We grew up together."
"Which is what makes it so adorable," Monica giggled, "Oh, come on, you know you like him."
"I don't," Victoire muttered.
"You'll have a perfect life together. Like a fairy tale. The poor orphan boy whose parents died working to defeat an evil wizard falls in love with the beautiful quarter veela girl who led a sheltered life. You get married, have three beautiful children, and everything's perfect," Monica sighed.
Quarter-veela? No wonder Victoire was so pretty. That explained her and Gabriella's white blonde hair. I had noticed that they were the only ones out of the Weasley cousins who didn't have red hair. I guess the veela blood overcame the red hair gene.
"Monica, you've been reading too many love stories," Victoire groaned, "Real life doesn't work that way."
That was for sure, I thought. My family was proof of that. My parents' lives had been like a fairy tale, until they had trouble getting pregnant. But then when I was born, the fairy tale was back. Then it shattered in mere minutes when Matt had been bitten. Nothing ever stayed perfect.
I was sort of surprised that Monica was the one to bring all of this up. I would never have guessed her to be the hopeless romantic of the dormitory. It was a complete contrast to the girl who had been making fun of me for the past month.
"Maybe not usually," Monica said, "But if it would work for anyone, it would be you. Anyway, you're still set on becoming a healer, right?"
"As long as I keep my potions grade up," Victoire sighed, "I have to get at least an E on my O.W.L. next year."
I had no idea what an O.W.L. was. It did sound vaguely familiar, like it was one of those things Kendrick had mentioned when I was sorted. That was something I'd have to find out soon, though, if it was happening the next year.
"Maybe you could get Teddy to help you," Monica said. Both of them burst out laughing and I smirked.
"I'll muddle through," Victoire said.
"Of course you will," Monica replied, "You're smart."
"So are you, if you'd just study," Victoire said.
The next couple of weeks went by fast and soon it was the night before the Hogsmeade visit. Dad had owled me earlier in the day and told me that he had to work the next day and wouldn't be able to meet me in Hogsmeade. I hadn't really thought that he'd be able to go, but I was still disappointed.
It was also the night of the full moon. The common room was noisy and filled with excitement which greatly contrasted my own mood. I was sitting off by myself trying to read a History of Magic book. I wasn't really concentrating on it, though. I was staring out the window, watching the moon, and thinking about Matt.
There was a howl of laughter and I turned to look at the middle of the common room. Teddy had morphed to look like Professor Washburn and was giving a speech in which he professed an unhealthy love for hippogriffs. I had no doubt that the story was fake, but it was still incredibly funny. I laughed to myself and tried to get back to my reading. I had only seen Teddy morph a few times, but it no longer shocked me. The first time I saw him change his hair, my jaw dropped to the floor, which sent Teddy into hysterics.
I didn't really want to stay in the common room and listen to the happy chatter of the other Gryffindors, but I had no other place to go. Monica was in our dormitory with a few sixth year friends and I didn't want to go up there. Victoire wasn't with them. She was with Teddy.
I was half tempted to wander to the Hospital Wing and just stay there for the night. I hadn't been there since the last full moon when I had spilled my guts to Madam Pomfrey. I didn't want to repeat that, but I had a feeling that Madam Pomfrey wouldn't question why I was there if I showed up tonight. But at the same time, I didn't want to get in the habit of going there every month.
I wound up just staying in the common room until it emptied out. The younger students started going up to their dormitories around eleven and by one in the morning, the place was deserted.
I wasn't tired and had no desire to go up to my dormitory until I knew the other girls were asleep. I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway. I hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep on the night of a full moon in nearly three years. Even when I went to school in Australia I had sleepless nights during full moons.
Eventually I went up to my dormitory and laid down in my bed. Whoever snores (I still hadn't figured it out yet) was snoring, but I didn't bother using the silencing charm since I wasn't really tired.
The next thing I knew I was waking up to the sound of an owl hooting. I cracked my eyes open and squinted in the sunlight. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost noon.
I sat up and yawned. Pollux was sitting on the foot of my bed with a letter wrapped around his left leg. I laughed to myself as Pollux flew over to me. I doubted he was ever going to deliver letters at the right time. Although I had slept through brekkie that day.
I untied the letter and patted Pollux on the head. He hooted and then flew out the window. I opened the letter and began to read it.
I'm not sure if you'll get this before
you go to Hogsmeade or not, but if you
do, we hope you have fun. Get out of
the castle and enjoy yourself. It's
your chance to explore the village
without us telling you where to go.
You've always wanted to do that.
The full moon was last night, although
I'm sure you know that. It was a
bad one. Matt had been sicker than
usual for the days leading up to it.
We think he actually caught the flu
a few days ago. It's never good
when he catches a bug right before
the full moon. He's pretty sick
right now. We're going to take
him to St. Mungo's if he isn't a
little better by the afternoon.
We just wanted to let you know.
Don't worry too much. We'll keep
you updated. Have fun in Hogsmeade.
P.S. Pollux is a very smart owl.
He was sitting on the deck this
morning, right when the sun rose,
like he knew we had a letter to
send to you.
Have fun in Hogsmeade. That wasn't going to happen now. My stomach churned as I stuffed the letter back in its envelope. How could I have fun in Hogsmeade knowing that Matt was really sick?
It wasn't fair. He just got over the injuries from the full moon at the transformation center in Australia. Why did he have to catch the flu right around the full moon?
Matt had caught the flu right before the full moon once before, about a year ago. I hadn't been home at the time, but Mum and Dad had told me what had happened. It was bad for him to get sick right before the full moon because then his system was already run down and trying to recover from whatever bug he had, and then he had to turn into a wolf. It had taken him a week to recover the last time it had happened.
I got out of bed and got dressed. Everyone else in my dormitory was gone, presumably in Hogsmeade. I wasn't really in the mood to do anything fun, but figured going to Hogsmeade might take my mind off Matt. My only other choice was to wander around the castle all day.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Tuesday 21 April 2009 01 01 28 pm Post subject: Re: Life Is Good in topic:Life Is Good
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.
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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