Disclaimer: Not mine, but the
wonderful J.K. Rowling’s except for Alicia’s little brother who I claim as
A/N: Many thanks to my beta reader Zsenya who suggested I add narratives to the letters and fixed
my comma errors (I’m working on them.)
The church bell down the lane
clanged the hour as the gentle hum of lawnmowers filled the air of Williston
Avenue. Alicia Spinnet leaned out of her window,
breathed in the grass scent of summer and sneezed. It happened every summer.
For the first week after she returned home from Hogwarts, she developed
allergies and then, just as suddenly they were gone. Alicia figured it was a
combination of psychology and biology. She was homesick for Hogwarts and
reacting to the lack of magic in the air. Still, it was always nice to be home
especially now. She was surprised that the Muggle world didn’t notice anything,
but then, they never did.
“Alicia! I’m going down to the
shops. Watch Will, would you?”
“All right, Mum.” Alicia shut the
window. So much for the book about the Holyhead Harpies.
Will was not exactly what one would call sedentary. As if to prove it, there
was a loud crash from downstairs. Alicia rolled her eyes and headed downstairs.
Ten-year-old Will was sitting in the middle of the wreckage of a jar full of
“Will! Are you all right?”
Will nodded, “I’m fine”
“Well, the biscuits aren’t. Will,
you could have asked me”
“I wanted to do it myself” Will
“Yes, that’s exactly what you said
when you fell out of the apple tree last year. Reparo.”
“I hate when you do that. Just
because you’re a witch . . . ”
Alicia sighed. Being a witch in a
family of Muggles was no easy task. She knew her family loved her, but
sometimes they didn’t quite know what to make of her. They had never been sure whether her
abilities were a gift or a curse. They almost hadn’t let her attend Hogwarts,
but she’d begged and pleaded and promised to do well and they had relented. She
was reluctant to tell them about what had taken place that year for fear she
wouldn’t be able to come.
“Look, Will, tell you what, I’ll
let you borrow my copy of Quidditch Through the
Ages, and you let me write a letter in peace”
Will jumped up, “Really?! I’ll be
quiet; you can write your letter!”
“Come on,” Alicia led her little
brother up the stairs. When they reached her room, she handed him the book,
which he took reverently. He sat down on the floor and began to read as Alicia
took out quill and parchment.
It’s so strange to be back in the Muggle world.
Everyone is so calm and it feels so wrong for it to be so calm when so much has
happened. I still can’t believe Cedric is dead and You Know Who is back.
Remember fifth year when we all had crushes on him? And after Harry fell, he
wanted a rematch? Why is it always the good people who are killed or have
dreadful things happen to them? I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on
Harry’s face. And that’s the worst part. At that time, I was horrified that
Cedric was dead but at the same time, all I was saying to myself was Thank God it’s not Harry. It makes me feel so
guilty. I guess it’s because even though I don’t know Harry that well, I feel
as though he’s an extra little brother. It’s not fair for someone like him to
be picked on so much.
speaking of bad things happening to good people, Angie, please watch out for
yourself and if you see Fred don’t let him persuade you to be completely
reckless. After all, we can’t have a Best Chaser’s Union with only two and I know how you are
Alicia folded the letter and opened
Athena’s cage. The brown owl clicked her beak and stuck out her leg for the
“Go on, to Angelina.” Athena gave
her an affectionate nip and left through the window that Will had thoughtfully
Angelina Johnson was studying the
broom models in Which Broomstick. She’d done very well that year and her
parents had offered to get her a new broom. She really wanted a Firebolt like
Harry’s, but it was much too expensive. The Nimbus line was looking good. Maybe
she could get a Nimbus 2000. Yes, that was it. A Nimbus
2000. She circled the Nimbus and shut the magazine. A Nimbus 2000 though was a reminder of
what had happened a few years ago. In
fact, broomsticks in general, only reminded her what
had happened at Hogwarts that year. Angelina shook her head. She didn’t want to
think about that. She glanced up at the photo on her bookshelf.
The whole team waved wildly at her
as Wood held up the Cup. The twins had used their clubs to form a sort of
archway over Wood’s head. Harry stood in front of Wood while she, Katie and
Alicia kneeled in front holding up two fingers in victory signs.
She grinned back at the photo as something
knocked at her window. She glanced up. Alicia’s owl was waiting outside the
window. Angelina smiled and opened the window. She eagerly removed the letter
and read it through. Oh dear, poor Alicia, but it was nice to know that she
wasn’t crazy, or if she was, that both she and Alicia were. She scribbled a
reply and sent it off.
Reckless things? With Fred?
You must be joking.
I understand why you feel guilty
because I feel the same way. I think all of us do. We’re all so glad Harry’s
all right. I wonder if it is because we need him in the future. He could be the
Boy Who Lived Twice. I know that sounds flippant but sometimes in dark times
you really need a sense of humor.
Mum works for the Ministry and she
says Fudge is trying to discredit Harry. She was beginning to believe him but
then I told her that I’d seen Harry
after he came out of the maze and if he was making it up, then he was an
extremely good actor. Anyone who looked like that must have encountered You
Know Who. I’m scared, Lis, I don’t mind telling you
that and I know Kit is scared too. And
to think, before I was worrying about whether I’d be Quidditch captain or Head
Girl. I don’t care that much about either now. What I care about is friendship
and sticking together.
Oh, and by the way, how is your Weasley
pursuit coming along?
watched the owl go, it occurred to her that perhaps Fred might appreciate a
letter as well. She pulled out a fresh piece of parchment and began to write.
Get over here!” Mrs. Alvers glared at Katie who had
been cleaning the window, “I don’t know what I’m paying you for. Honestly . .
a face at Mrs. Alvers’ back. Working and boarding at the tea shop had been
her parents’ idea. She had to slow down, they said, and learn some discipline. Or, Katie amended, be tortured for a while.
Mrs. Alvers treated her as a sort of paid
Cinderella. Sometimes it was hard to
paste a bright smile on her face when serving a customer because she was just
waiting for Mrs. Alvers to reprimand her for neglecting
another. Slowing down was an
impossibility. Discipline, on the other hand, well, Katie was keeping a
notebook filled with all the things she’d like to say to Mrs. Alvers. If it hadn’t
been for the tea shop’s proximity to Zonko’s and
Quality Quidditch Supplies, Katie concluded that she would have long ago been
driven insane. She did tend to dawdle by the shop windows when she went out to
Mrs. Alvers’ harsh voice broke into her thoughts, “Bell!
You’re supposed to be helping me close the shop!”
sighed and climbed up to pull down the curtain over the door. Her foot slipped
and she fell with a crash onto the floor of the shop as a letter floated in
through the window she’d forgotten to close and landed on her chest. She picked
it up, read the address and giggled. Boy, did Alicia know her. The address read
Diagon Alley, London
How are you? I’m still trying to
understand everything that’s happened. Angie says right now the most important
thing is friendship. I want you to know that I’m here if you ever need to talk
especially with your parents being Aurors.
I’ve got some nice photos from the
Yule Ball. You really were the “Bell” of the Ball if you pardon the
expression. Poor Wood, but then again, you gave him a chance, didn’t you?
It just all seems so unreal to me,
you know? Which is why I keep focusing on mundane things.
Did you feel at all glad that Harry was alive and Cedric wasn’t? That sounds
awful. I mean, did you feel bad that Cedric died but glad that it wasn’t Harry?
If you felt that way, don’t worry, so did Angelina and I.
I told her if she saw Fred not to let him persuade her into doing anything
reckless. Don’t you do anything reckless
either, Katie. I know you.
As Katie read her letter, she
reflected on how useful it was to be named Katherine. It was a versatile name
especially for nicknames. She could be anything depending on her mood and
depending on the friend she was talking to. The twins, Lee, Angelina and Alicia
all called her Kit. To Oliver, she’d
been Kates, to her family she was Katie except for her
Aunt Katherine who, for obvious reasons, addressed her as Katherine. And when
she was in a bad mood, she was Kathy.
Alicia did sound awfully worried,
but at the same time, Katie was relieved to know that she was not the only one who had been disturbed
by Dumbledore’s statement at the feast at the end of the year. She pondered
briefly what to write back and chewed for a moment on her quill before writing.
The Bell of
the Ball? That’s the worst pun I ever heard. But you have to send me the photos
anyway especially that one of you and George. Talk about cute couples. Focusing
on mundane things is good; it keeps you from focusing on the morbid.
And I’m so glad that you said that about Cedric and
Harry. When I tried to explain it to Mum and Dad, they didn’t understand. Cedric was, well, Cedric but Harry, Harry is our
Harry if that makes any sense. I wish there were some way we could make
that clear to him. Maybe we should send him an owl.
The Daily Prophet is going to
make a mess of things as usual. Stupid rag. Why can’t
the wizarding world be like the Muggle world and have more than one paper?
You told Angelina not to be reckless if she saw
Fred? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If you saw George, you’d do
something reckless in a heartbeat wouldn’t you? Speaking of which, how is your
web to trap the Weasley coming, Spinnet?
You make me sound like a black widow
a name like Spinnet, how could you not have some arachnid tendencies?
Harry lay in the flower bed hoping
to hear something on the Muggle news, but, as usual, there was nothing. The sun
was setting and Harry stood up just as a small brown owl swooped down on him.
The owl looked vaguely familiar, he knew he’d seen it at the Gryffindor table
before, but he didn’t know whose it was. He didn’t recognize the scripted
handwriting on the address either. Curious, Harry opened the letter. It was
from his fellow Gryffindor Chasers.
We hope your summer is going well
(read: not too terrible although from what we’ve heard about the Muggles you
live with . . .). We missed Quidditch practice with you this year although from
your flying against the Horntail you clearly don’t need any. Next year, we’re
definitely going to get the Cup again.
We know that we’re boring older
girls but we want you to know that we don’t just think of you as a teammate or
a fellow Gryffindor, you’re our friend too and we missed you this year. Lady
Green-eyes says life just wasn’t the same without her Lord.
Katie, Angelina and Alicia, aka
He read the letter several times, hoping that maybe there
was something in between the lines that might
tell him something about Voldemort, but, just like the Muggle news,
there was nothing. Well, he reflected, it was at least nice of them to write to
him and it wasn’t as if they would necessarily know anything. And it would be
the polite thing to write back to them.
Things could be
worse, I suppose. But it was nice to get your owl. I didn’t expect to get an
owl from you. I hope your summers are going better than mine.