The Sugar Quill
Author: ChaosStorm  Story: Hermione's Summers  Chapter: Chapter 2: Summer 1991 (continued), Meeting with Magic
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Chapter 2: Summer 1991 (continued), Meeting with Magic

Foreword

Here is chapter 2 of Hermione’s Summers. I hope you enjoyed the first chapter and I would like to thank everyone who left comments.
You are now about to read the chapter I found most difficult to write for Summer 1991. In the comments to my story “Summer of Terror”, I was taught an important lesson about fan-fiction writing. Only the biggest fans will read it, and as they already know all the facts from the original source, there is no need to repeat those.
With that in mind, I really cut out a lot from this chapter – parts that were repeating the original books. It should now be a lot more interesting to read. However, it was still a very hard chapter to write to keep interesting.
Kaitie, my beta-reader, gave a few good pointers in improving this chapter. My thanks go to her for her assistance.
I hope you will enjoy chapter 2 of Hermione’s Summers.



Chapter 2: Summer 1991 (continued), Meeting with Magic

 

It was the first of August. Hermione stepped out of the Underground at Charing Cross Station in London, she was a little nervous. Her parents followed her closely. It was ten minutes to noon, and so the three of them stood there waiting, uncertain what to do.

 

Hermione usually spent a lot of time in the library, but in the past month, she had been there every day. Completely ignoring the beautiful weather, Hermione had been searching in every book she could, to find out about witches and witchcraft. She could not find any non-fiction books about modern witches, although she was seriously worried about the stories of the witch burnings hundreds of years ago. One night she even had a horrible nightmare of being chased down by an angry mob herself.

 

“Excuse me,” said a pink faced girl with blonde hair to Hermione; she was accompanied by what seemed to be her parents. “Are you here for the… you-know-what, too?”

 

“The you-know-what?” said Hermione a bit nervously. “Oh… you mean the meeting?”

 

The other girl nodded and she showed Hermione a piece of folded up parchment.

 

“I’ve got one of those too,” said Hermione.

 

For some reason she was not sure if she could say “Hogwarts” or “The Leaky Cauldron” out loud, and it seemed as if the other girl had the same problem.

 

“I’m Hannah Abbott,” the other girl said a little shyly.

 

“Hermione Granger,” said Hermione and smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

 

Hermione had a reputation in primary school of being a know-it-all, which caused her often to be singled out and avoided by the other children. She knew nothing about magic yet, so perhaps she would be able to make friends. Hannah certainly seemed nice.

 

“Are we supposed to gather somewhere?” Hannah’s mother said uncertainly. “I believe there are more people than just us coming.”

 

“I am not sure,” Mr. Granger answered. “But if they are as good as those birds of theirs, I guess they’ll find us.”

 

Just outside the station, a young woman with long black hair, dressed in a horrible combination or a red blouse and a pink skirt seemed to be looking for people and checking them of on a list.

 

“Do you think that is you-know-who?” Hannah asked, pointing at the woman.

 

“Whom do you mean?” Hermione asked, looking at the same woman. “Shimmerfield?”

 

“Yes, or perhaps McGonagall,” Hannah hissed through closed teeth, not wanting to speak aloud.

 

The woman approached, looking from her list to the girls.

 

“Miss Abbott and Miss Granger?” she asked.

 

“That will be us,” said Hannah, a little nervously.

 

“I am Susan Shimmerfield,” said the woman, shaking the hands of the two girls and their parents. “If you all would please follow me.”

 

She guided them to a group of people just outside the station.

 

“I think that’s everyone,” she said, checking off a scroll of parchment with a quill.

 

“Everyone, please follow me,” she yelled to the group.

 

Hermione kept safely in the middle between her parents. Hannah was just behind her.

 

Three hundred yards of walking later, they stopped in front of a small pub, which was squished in between a bookshop and a record shop. As Shimmerfield opened the door, the parents all gave a gasp. Hermione wondered why. The pub was small, but still clearly visible.

 

“Everyone inside please,” she commanded. “And do hurry up a little please.”

 

“Did you see that door appear out of nowhere?” Mrs. Granger asked, in a surprised voice to Hermione.

 

“Out of nowhere?” Hermione said a little confused. “It’s been there all the time.”

 

They stepped inside a little crowded pub.

 

“The new Muggle-borns of Hogwarts?” the barman asked interestedly to Shimmerfield.

 

“Yes, Tom,” Shimmerfield replied. “All of them.”

 

“I see. Three guesses who was here yesterday?” Tom asked, brightly.

 

“I don’t know,” answered Shimmerfield, impatiently.

 

“Harry Potter!”

 

Hermione wondered who this Harry Potter person might be.

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes,” said Tom. “But he didn’t seem to have a clue about the wizarding world. Why didn’t you guys take him with you today?”

 

“Because Dumbledore thought it was best to give the boy a personal guide, considering his history,” said a tall woman. She was wearing emerald green robes. Her black hair was in a little bun and the look on her face indicated, to Hermione’s pleasure, that she was a woman who would punish rule breakers swiftly, severely but with justice. Hermione immediately had the feeling that she would like this woman.

 

“If you all come with me, please,” said the woman. “We have a room in the back.”

 

Everyone scrambled in a small but cosy room. Hermione guessed there were roughly ten children and about fifteen parents. Some of the children had brought only one parent. Hermione sat down in the middle between her mother and father. Exactly on the same chair one row in front of her, sat Hannah.

 

“Well, this is it then,” Hannah smiled over her shoulder to Hermione. “You really think we are real witches?”

 

“I don’t know,” said Hermione. “What they showed so far with the owls and such seemed to be true.”

 

There was some murmur in the room, as everyone was being seated.

 

Shimmerfield tapped herself on the head with a thing, long piece of wood and muttered some complicated words. Her awful combination of a red blouse and pink skirt disappeared. It was instantly replaced by black robes. Everyone gasped and some applauded.

 

“That’s better,” Shimmerfield said. “And thank you for the applause, but I am not giving a show here.”

 

“Welcome everyone. I am Susan Shimmerfield from the Bureau of Muggle Relations at the Ministry of Magic, and that is Professor Minerva McGonagall,” said Shimmerfield, pointing at the woman with the black bunned hair. “She is Deputy Headmistress, Head of House and Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. The two of us will be introducing all of you to the wizarding world this afternoon. I shall be talking mainly about the wizard society in general and our laws, while Professor McGonagall will be addressing issues related to Hogwarts.”

 

“Welcome everyone,” McGonagall said. “We can imagine you have had many doubts when you first received your letters from Hogwarts, but today we shall take away any doubts you might have about the wizarding world.”

 

“That is true, Professor,” said Shimmerfield. “There is a lot to tell, so we’d best get started right away.”

 

Shimmerfield continued in a long but interesting speech about the wizarding world. She explained the difference between wizards and Muggles. She explained that Muggle-borns, like all the children present, are wizards who have two Muggle parents.

 

She continued about the need of wands. Then she explained that there were several magical places, which only wizards could see. Hogwarts was one of those and the door to The Leaky Cauldron could only be seen by Muggles if it was opened.

 

After that, she told a little about laws by which witches and wizards were to keep themselves. The two most important laws, she said, were that wizards under the age of seventeen were not allowed to do magic away from school, and that a wizard was never allowed to do magic in front of Muggles.

 

Parents and siblings of Muggle-borns were allowed to see and benefit from magic on the condition that they signed a magical contract of secrecy. However, this would not allow an underage wizard to do magic away from school. The parents could expect their contracts somewhere in August.

 

“Also important to know,” Shimmerfield added. “Is that the wizarding world has its criminals, just as in the Muggle world. They often practice and use illegal spells. I trust that none of you will ever get on the wrong side of the Ministry’s Department of Magical Law Enforcement.”

 

After that, Professor McGonagall took over. She told them about Hogwarts, being the main magic school in Great Britain. After that, she said that students were to come to Hogwarts by train, which left on the first of September. She explained how to get on the hidden platform nine and three quarters at King’s Cross Station.

 

Finally, McGonagall assured the Muggle-borns that they would not be very much behind the other children at Hogwarts on the schoolwork, although they might be a little behind on many of the traditions and slang.

 

The entire meeting took about two hours. The longer it went on the more and more Hermione was convinced everything was true. The moment McGonagall asked if there were any questions (almost everyone raised their hands), Hermione had the feeling as if she had known of wizards and witches all her life.

 

“What job opportunities does one have after graduation from Hogwarts?” was the first question by one of the parents and by the agreeing murmuring it seemed to be an important question for nearly everyone.

 

“All job opportunities will be within the wizarding world of course,” Shimmerfield said. “There is a wizarding economy which nearly equals the Muggle economy. One could work in the magical hospitals, work with many of the magical beasts, teach at Hogwarts, or get a job at the Ministry. There are plenty of jobs a wizard can take and there will be a career opportunity for everyone.”

 

“May I add to that, please,” McGonagall interrupted. “In fifth year at Hogwarts there will be a one-on-one conversation with each student in which we try to find out what jobs fit that student best. Hogwarts guides each student in the attempt to find them a fitting job when they graduate.”

 

“Isn’t magic something from fairytales and children’s books?” Mrs. Granger asked. Hermione got slightly embarrassed by her mother’s question.

 

“Most of those children’s books have been written by skilled wizards,” Shimmerfield explained. “They have been written to make sure Muggles will cease the believe in magic once they are adults.”

 

There was some modest laughter in the room. After that, the questions kept on going, about the wizarding world in general and about Hogwarts in specific.

 

“Will you teach my child normal subjects as math and science?” Hannah’s mother asked.

“Once you child can do magic, she will find that she has no need for math and science.”

 

The questions kept on coming until finally the last question of the afternoon came, it was asked by Hermione’s father.

 

“Once my daughter has socialized in the wizarding world and is part of your society, will I still be able to see her?”

 

“Hogwarts is a boarding school,” McGonagall answered. “And we usually do not allow visits, to protect the secrecy the wizarding world deems necessary. The children will go home in July and August every year, with Christmas they will have the choice of going home or staying at Hogwarts. Once the children have left Hogwarts, there can be normal contact again between the child and the parents.”

 

“Are there any more questions?” Shimmerfield asked and looked around the room. “No?”

 

“May I then suggest I lead you all to Diagon Alley?” McGonagall said. “It is a shopping street especially for wizards. There you can buy your schoolbooks, robes, cauldron and most importantly, your wand. As Mrs. Shimmerfield has already said, you will be unable to perform and study magic without a wand. First years are not allowed to bring their own broomstick, so please keep that in consideration if you have the wish to buy one.”

 

“Broomstick?” Hannah blurted out in confusion.

 

“Yes, broomstick,” Shimmerfield replied. “The classic image of a witch flying on a broomstick is true. Witches and wizards can fly on specially crafted broomsticks. Unless I am very mistaken, you will be taught how to fly at Hogwarts.”

 

“First years will get flying lessons on school brooms,” McGonagall confirmed. “And Hogwarts has its own Quidditch competition. Quidditch is a game played on broomsticks.”

 

There was some laughter in the room, mainly from the Muggle parents.

 

“If you all please follow me,” McGonagall said. “I shall show you how to get to Diagon Alley.”

 

“Pay close attention everyone,” McGonagall said. “To access Diagon Alley you will need to have a wand. I sincerely recommend everyone to buy a wand as soon as possible. Tap your wand three bricks up and two across from the dustbin - like this.”

 

McGonagall tapped the wall, which instantly split in two. If Hermione still had any doubts about the existence of the secret wizarding world, those doubts had all vanished right there. She was gazing at a beautiful old-fashioned shopping street, which was crowded by people in all kinds of colourful robes.

 

McGonagall led everyone into Diagon Alley and as they walked on, she pointed out several places of interest.

 

“There is Flourish and Blotts, the biggest bookshop in Diagon Alley; you will certainly find all your school books there… Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Palour, ice-cream must be one of the best Muggle inventions… There is Ollivanders, the best wand maker in Britain; I never buy my wands anywhere else… There is Madam Malkin’s shop, Hogwarts has a contract with her, and so she has the best prices on Hogwarts Uniforms. You will not need to purchase ties and scarves in the first year; Hogwarts will be supplying them to first years, as you do not know into which House you will be sorted yet. Ties and scarves always match the colours of your House… Ah and there is our first stop, Gringotts. You can exchange Muggle money here for Galleons.”

 

They walked up the stairs of the gigantic wizard banking building of Gringotts. On top of the stairs, McGonagall turned around.

 

“Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen, a little moment of attention please,” she said. “Before you go to Gringotts, changing money and spread over Diagon Alley buying your supplies, I would like to point out to everyone that I will be sitting in The Leaky Cauldron until seven o’clock, in case you have any questions. I recommend that everyone stay out of Knockturn Alley. There is no need to go there for school supplies and the shopkeepers are generally not very friendly towards Muggles and Muggle-borns. If there are no more questions right now, I would like to thank everyone for your attention and for attending the meeting. I hope to see all the children at Hogwarts on the first of September.”

 

There was a polite applause.

//
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