The Sugar Quill
Author: Lorelei Lynn  Story: Caught Between  Chapter: Chapter 1: Finding Out
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

JKR owns the Potterverse. I’m just playing in it.

Many thanks to my beta-reader Ara Kane.

CAUGHT BETWEEN

Chapter 1: Finding Out

If it hadn’t been for the new diamond winking at me from my left hand, I would have thought I dreamed the whole thing.

First, he asked me to marry him. Then he told me he was a wizard.

****

We literally crashed into each other outside a London bookshop. My purchases went flying into the puddles left from melting January snow.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” the dark haired man said as he helped me pick everything up. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

While mentally writing off my sodden books as a total loss, I was startled by his offer of coffee in compensation. I’m not sure what made me accept. I was certainly not in the habit of having coffee with clumsy strangers.

“By the way, my name’s Mack Robertson.”

“Elizabeth Snyder,” I replied as we shook hands.

It turned out to be the first of many dates.

****

By the time December rolled around, we had grown so comfortable together that I wasn’t surprised when Mack presented me with a small box one Friday evening in my flat. I answered “yes” immediately. So what if he was somewhat out of touch with pop culture because he didn’t own a television? I liked the fact that he was so different from other guys I knew. Well, not totally different. His bachelor flat always looked like a tornado had just swept through it.

After a celebratory glass of champagne, he suddenly turned serious. “Liz, I have something I need to tell you… I - I‘m a wizard.”

I don’t know what I had expected him to say, but that certainly wasn’t it. I laughingly wrote it off as an attempt to tease me. “Of course you are. You made me fall in love with you, didn’t you?”

“No, I’m dead serious here. And by the way, I wouldn’t dream of using Love Charms on anybody, especially you.”

I just stared at him as if he had lost his mind.

“Here, let me show you what I mean,” he said as he walked over to his jacket and drew a wooden stick from one of the pockets.

“What’s that? A magic wand?” I smirked. He was taking this joke way too far, but I was willing to play along for now.

“As a matter of fact, yes.”

I was still trying not to laugh when Mack waved the stick and muttered something that sounded vaguely like Latin. I stopped short when the vase with the flowers he’d brought me levitated off the table and floated towards me. My brain seemed to freeze, and my mouth dropped open. His next several demonstrations blurred together, but I finally found my voice after he changed one of the sofa cushions into a cat. As it jumped into my lap and started purring, I stammered, “Wh-what? H-H-How?”

Now it was his turn to smirk. “Magic.”

I shook my head in an attempt to clear the fog in my mind. I knew I wasn‘t intoxicated; I’d only had one glass of wine. I tried again, “How does it work? The wand, I mean. Where did you get it? Can I try?”

“You could, but it’ll never work for you…”

“And why not? Show me. I can learn. I’m not stupid, you know!” I started to stand up, causing the cushion-cat to jump down to the floor, hissing.

His voice took on a placating tone. “I know you’re not stupid. But the magic’s not entirely in the wand itself. It’s used as tool to focus. You‘re either born with magic or you‘re not. Let me show you.” He set the wand down and then cupped his hands together. “I haven’t tried this spell in a while.” He closed his eyes in concentration for a moment and then blue flames erupted from his palms.

I dropped back onto the sofa, truly dumbfounded. I generally considered myself a very rational person. After all, weren’t both my parents teachers of science? I’d been raised to attack questions logically, but this defied every one of my attempts. Could magic truly exist? What else could explain these things that violated every law of physics? Nothing at all came to mind. Somehow, believing him seemed to be the only valid option, no matter how crazy it was.

Mack extinguished the flames, sat down beside me, and took my hand. “I can imagine this must be hard to take in. You’ve grown up thinking magic was a myth, but I’ve known the opposite all my life.”

“But how? How could you know? How did you learn to do these things?”

“First, my parents can do it, too. Yes,” he saw the question in my eyes, “the ability’s hereditary. Second, I spent seven years at school learning to use it.”

“A school? There are enough people like you that there’s a school to teach m-magic?” I was still struggling over the word.

“It’s called ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’. It’s housed in a castle that’s been hidden up North for a thousand years. I loved it there. But now, can you see why I’ve been a little evasive about my educational history?”

So many questions were flying through my brain that I couldn’t catch them all. I wasn’t able to keep the hurt out of my voice when I finally came out with, “Why didn’t you tell me all this before?”

“We’re bound by an International Statute of Secrecy regarding the existence of magic. I sometimes help prosecute violations, so I’d be a hypocrite if I broke it myself. So no, I wasn’t lying when I said I do legal research for a living. I just work for the Ministry of Magic, not that obscure law firm I made up. Now that you’re going to be a family member, I’m allowed to tell you everything.” He stopped short, as if something had just occurred to him. “You do still want to marry me, don’t you?” he asked with a pleading look on his face.

I was silent for a moment as I pondered his question. “You’re still the same person, aren’t you? Just with a few, um, unusual talents?” He nodded. “But you‘d better not be hiding anything thing else from me, mister!” I smiled at him.

He visibly relaxed, then pulled me into a bear hug so tight I could hardly breathe. We settled back into the sofa, his arms still around me. “Liz, I knew you’d be able to handle this. But you must have a thousand questions, so fire away!”

I thought for a moment, then grinned. “So what does the initial in E. Macmillan Robertson stand for, anyway?”

He groaned, “You start with the tough ones, don’t you? I’m named after one of Mum’s ancestors, a former Minister of Magic. Ebenezer Macmillan. Stop laughing! See why I go by Mack?”

“Minister of Magic? So you have your own government?” Somehow magic didn’t seem like something that would have its own bureaucracy.

“Essentially. The main objective is to keep the wizarding world hidden from the Muggles. In other words, non-magic people like you. We originally did it to escape any chance of persecution, and now we’ve gotten used to the non-interference. There are some high-ranking officials in the Muggle government, like the Prime Minister, who know about us. They’re sworn to secrecy, of course. Which reminds me, you can’t tell any of your friends about this. I need to check at work, but I’m pretty sure we can tell your parents and sister when we visit them at Christmas like we were planning. Since, um, any children we might have will most likely be magical, it’s probably a good idea to prepare them.”

This was something I hadn’t considered at all. I tried to push back the alarming mental picture of three-year-olds starting fires without matches. “So the fact that I’m a what-did-you-call-it doesn’t change things? You said both your parents…” My mind was still too muddled to work out the genetic puzzle at the moment.

“The Macmillans, Mum’s family, are all wizards for generations back. Very proud of it, too. Grandfather Robertson, on the other hand, was a Muggle, just like you. He died three years ago, otherwise I’m sure he would have been happy to help you adjust.” He grinned. “You know about my obsession with airplanes? He was the one who started it. He was an RAF pilot during the war and had to parachute out after being hit. He landed in my grandmother’s garden, and the rest is history.” He gave my shoulders another squeeze.

I sat there, trying to bring a semblance of order to my whirling thoughts. Suddenly I remembered something. “Those friends of yours we met for dinner? Rob and Cassandra? I thought it was unimportant at the time, but I felt like they were hiding something. Well, now I know what it was, don‘t I? So what do they really do for a living?”

“Rob’s with the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the Ministry. Sometimes he provides evidence for my legal cases. Cassandra’s a professional Quidditch player. I’ve got tickets to one of her matches next month, and I want you to go with me.” Mack gave me a teasing smile. “No, I won’t tell you about the game. I want to surprise you. You don’t know how much I wanted to take you to the World Cup back in August. Even though I’d gotten roped into helping with security, I saw most of the match. Ireland won. It was brilliant. Though it’s probably good that you weren’t there. Afterwards, some people got a little too rowdy…” His face darkened at the memory.

“So that’s where you went that week I visited my parents. You helped with security? No offense, but you’re not exactly the burly bouncer type,” I snickered.

“Hey! You forget I’ve got this,” he picked the wand off the table and twirled it around through his fingers. “Even though I have a desk job, I still try to practice my dueling skills regularly. I always did well at Defense Against the Dark Arts in school.”

My eyebrows went up at the casual mention of “Dark Arts.” So magic wasn’t totally harmless, then. Before I could question him further, he broke into a lengthy, yet fascinating, description of his classes at Hogwarts, complete with more demonstrations. I laughed when he said he’d taken Muggle Studies.

“Well, it was either that or Divination. I certainly didn’t want to waste my time attempting to read some stupid tea leaves.”

“But why do they have a Muggle Studies class anyway? You live right alongside us, don’t you? Wouldn’t you already know about us?”

“Because we’ve kept ourselves hidden for so long, lots of wizards don’t interact much with Muggles. We don’t need electricity, so many students have never seen how it works. Dad always took me along when he visited his Muggle cousins, so the two of us have learned to blend in with you much better than most. Mum, on the other hand, stands out like a sore thumb. I can barely get her to hide her wand.”

I laughed at that. Strangely, everything was starting to make sense. “Is that why you haven’t introduced me to them yet?”

“That’s right. They DO want to meet you, but it had to wait. So, how about tomorrow?”

“TOMORROW?”

“Well, technically, today. It’s way past midnight, and you really look like you could use some sleep. I should probably just go home. I’ll be by at 11:30 to pick you up. I promised Mum we’d see them at noon, and she hates it when I’m late.” Mack stood and grabbed his jacket. He pulled me to my feet and gave me a kiss. Sensing my uneasiness, he murmured, “Liz, it’ll go just fine. If they were at all unsympathetic, I wouldn’t ask you to do this so soon.”

I nodded. I had to meet them sometime. It might as well be today.

Then he gave me another kiss, stepped back, and with no warning whatsoever, vanished into thin air.

//
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