The Sugar Quill
Author: peachpicker  Story: Baby Broomsticks  Chapter: Default
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Baby Broomsticks

Author's Notes: Harry and Ginny Potter's children get the family in trouble with the Ministry of Magic.

It was a beautifully sunny, clear spring day that showed off the English countryside at its best. Ginny Potter was using some time off from work to garden and keep an eye on Megan and Ian, who were flying around the garden on their child-size broomsticks. Ginny understood now why her mother loved gardening so much. It had taken Molly's mind away from her worries for her husband and children during the war years. Yes, it had also helped put food on the table when income was limited and there were so many mouths to feed. But Ginny knew that Molly still enjoyed gardening, and took great pride in her flowers and the wonderful produce that she would put on the table at weekly family dinners.

At least money was something that Ginny had no worries about. She and Harry easily could have lived solely on interest from Harry's inheritance. While the wars were over, she still had the stress of treating her patients, especially those orphans that still had not found families to take care of them. And of course, Harry's Emergency Magical Rescue job was unpredictably dangerous at times. It didn't involve just illness and accidents, but could include dealing with fires, spells gone wrong, violent arguments, and whatever could leave magical people hurt and in need of emergency healing.

Ginny continued to turn the cool, moist earth, slipping the young plants into the soil where they would bloom in late summer. The fun that the children were having added to Ginny's peaceful mood, and she smiled to herself at the children's gleeful cries. One of the best things she and Harry ever did, she thought, was to adopt these two children when the last of their relatives had died.

Then something about the way the children were flying caught her eye. She watched a while with growing alarm and then took out her wand, ready to do an emergency levitation if it became necessary. "Megan! Ian! Come here right now!" Ginny pointed to the grass beside her. They came to a stop next to her. "Get off your brooms and hand them to me." Her manner had an amazing resemblance to one of her mother's sterner moods.

Ginny did a Revealing Spell on each broom. "All right, you two. Both brooms were flying higher and faster than they should have done. What can you tell me about it? Who changed the spells on the brooms?" The children were looking at each other nervously and were holding each other's hands the way they used to do in fearful moments.

"I repeat. Who changed your broom, Ian? Who changed yours, Megan?" They silently pointed to each other. "Explain yourselves. Now! How did you do it? And are you casting blame on each other? You know what your papa and I think about that."

"We have to tell her, Ian. I told you it mightn't be a good idea." Megan looked at Ginny anxiously. "We weren't lying, Mama. I really did change Ian's broom. And he changed mine."

"I showed her how first, Mama!" Ian grinned proudly. "It was brilliant! I read about it in Papa's magazine." Then he saw Ginny's expression. "Oops. We're really in trouble, aren't we?" Ginny nodded grimly.

"Now, you two tell me how you did it. In detail. Whose wand did you use?"

The children looked at each other again, this time in puzzlement. "Were we supposed to use wands?" Ian asked. "We didn't have any and the magazine didn't say anything about a wand."

"Bring me the magazine you used and show me what you read." While the children ran into the house, Ginny locked the brooms in the tool shed. Soon the children scampered back to Ginny and handed her a recent copy of Performance Broomsticks. "Show me what you read." They leafed through the magazine and pointed.

As Ginny finished scanning the article a movement in the sky caught her eye. An owl approached them and landed by Ginny. She removed the message from the owl's leg. The message was a form letter:

Ministry of Magic

Official Notification of Violation

Dear Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s) of (a) Magical Child/Children:

The Ministry of Magic has detected

_____one __X__two _____three _____more than three

instance(s) of Illegal Intentional Underage Magic at your residence within the last

__18__hour(s) ______day(s).

Using the Official Delivery Owl, you are required by law to return to the Ministry the receipt at the bottom of this Official Notice with the appropriate information and box(es) checked. If this is a First Offense, please check the appropriate box and you will be sent a free brochure entitled: Suddenly Magical: What To Do With A Child That Exhibits Unexpected, Uncontrolled Or Alarming Magical Symptoms

If the receipt is not returned immediately, your residence will be visited by a Ministry Official or other Representative within

______hour(s) __3__day(s).

Sign and return portion below dotted line
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Name(s)_______ Address________ Date______________
[ ] Send details of violation(s) [ ] Violation(s) admitted [ ] Violation(s) denied [ ] Send brochure
I/We acknowledge receipt of Notification of Violation(s) ________ (signature required by law)
Date of signature______________

The owl had begun to shuffle from foot to foot and pointedly stare at Ginny. "Just you wait, you. I need to get a quill." When Ginny returned, the owl had just accepted an owl treat from the supply that Megan always seemed to have in her pockets. When the owl spotted Ginny it again lifted one leg and waited for the receipt to be attached.

Ginny glared at the receipt and thought. Whose name? Harry's and mine? The children's? Which address? Floo, physical, or owl post? Obviously the Ministry knows where we are. Date? Do they want today when we got the notification, or yesterday when the supposed violation probably occurred? Ginny did vaguely remember a lot of giggling last night associated with the children's brooms. She and Harry had been unconcerned as long as the children did not try to fly them in the house.

The owl began its impatient shuffling again, until Megan mollified it with another owl treat. Ginny sighed, and attacked the receipt. Okay, use my name. Just check the boxes for brochure and for "violation details." I'm curious what they thought they detected. Even though I'm sure the kids did something, let's not admit to anything, right? I've had enough of the Ministry mucking about. After a final glance over the form, she added the "required signature" and the current date. Why did they put the perforations there, where they don't do any good? Ginny folded the parchment on the dashed, not dotted, line and carefully tore off the receipt.

Ginny jokingly warned Megan, "Don't give the owl any more treats or we'll likely get a notice of attempted bribery of an Official Government Owl." Megan looked up in puzzlement. "Never mind, dear. Let me attach this receipt to his leg."

Megan smiled as she watched the owl fly out of sight. "Oh, Mama, wasn't that a nice owl? He was almost as pretty as Hedwig." Megan's affinity for all sorts of living creatures was a constant source of amusement and sometimes alarm for her family.

"Now, you two..." Ginny's manner became severe. She paused until she knew that she had Megan's and Ian's full attention. "You should have remembered what we told you about doing magic. We said that you were far too young to deliberately do magic. Do you understand me?" Both children nodded uncomfortably.

"But we didn't use a wand, Mama," Ian said plaintively.

"Ian," Megan said worriedly, "I reckon it was still magic, even if we didn't use a wand."

"Too right it was magic," Ginny responded grimly. "You could have seriously hurt yourselves. You are not allowed to deliberately do magic until you go to school at Hogwarts. Even then, you must not do magic away from school until you are seventeen. That is the law, and the Ministry of Magic is very strict about it. That is what the message was about."

"Now, for your punishment..." the children's faces fell, "... each of you is to go to your own room and write an essay on what you did to change the brooms. You may draw pictures if that helps. I want them done before Harry gets home. I will come in from time to time to check on your progress."

"Yes, Mama."

"Yes, Mama."

* * *

All through supper the children had been nervously whispering to each other. As far as they knew, Ginny had not yet told Harry about the afternoon's events. Ginny had told the children not to leave the table when they were done eating.

"Harry, the children put us in serious trouble with the Ministry of Magic today." Ginny handed him the message from the Ministry. Taking a cue from her carefully neutral expression, Harry read the message without comment. "As punishment, I required both children to go to their rooms and write essays about what they did." She handed them to Harry. His eyebrows jumped around as he read them, but otherwise he managed to keep his expression relatively neutral.

Harry looked severely at Ian. "Where did you learn how to do this?" He held up Ian's essay, which consisted mostly of pictures of broomstick parts drawn with a childish hand, surrounded with arrows and little comments.

"I read it in your magazine, Papa. You know, the one with the pretty witch flying a Firebolt Special. It was fun to do and..." Ian stopped his eager explanation when he saw Harry's grim expression. Ginny silently handed the magazine to Harry, who nodded in acknowledgement.

Harry then looked at Megan. "I see that you didn't write just about the broomsticks. We didn't know that other bits of magic were happening around you when you were by yourself. It's very good that you told us. If accidental magic happens around either of you again, you must tell your mama or me. Do you understand?"

Both children nodded solemnly.

"We can help you to learn control of your magic. It is very important for your safety. In my job, I see far too many magical accidents, and we don't want either of you to come to harm. Don't deliberately try to do magic! That's what the Ministry of Magic detected. Do you both understand?" Both children nodded mutely. "Now go to your rooms and stay there. We'll come up at your bedtime to tuck you in."

"And read us a story?" Megan asked hopefully.

"Yes, and read you a story," Harry finally relented and smiled.

"Papa?" Ian looked worried. "Are you going to change them back to baby broomsticks?"

"Yes, for now. And you still must have an adult keeping an eye on you when you fly."

As the children proceeded up the stairs, Ginny and Harry looked at each other with slowly widening grins. After the children's doors closed, Harry and Ginny grabbed each other, and gleefully kissed.

"Harry, it was so funny that I could barely keep a straight face. You know how Ian is always drawing brooms, and Megan has loved to write her little stories. They kept trying to hide from me that they were actually enjoying doing their essays." She paused. "Harry, they did it without wands! Both of them! Is it tricky, what they did to the brooms? I just skimmed the article that they used."

Harry shook his head. "It's actually pretty simple... with a wand. So they did it without a wand just because the article didn't mention on that page that it was needed. It does say all the tuning spells require a wand for proper control, but that's on another page." He thought a moment. "Blimey! We're going to have our hands full until they go to Hogwarts, aren't we?" Harry grinned at Ginny. "Well, anyway, no more worries about whether they will get their letters from Hogwarts, right?"

Ginny's face fell in sudden realization. "Oh, Harry. That's only a year and a half from now, for Megan. Then Ian goes two years after that. They'll be gone for so long. I'll miss them so," she said sadly.

"Dearest love..." Harry kissed her on the forehead and held her close, "...they haven't packed their trunks yet, you know. And you did want to increase your hours at the rehabilitation center eventually, remember? Also Ian will be here without his sister for her first two school years. You know how he's still so dependent on her. You'll need to help him with that."

Ginny murmured against Harry's chest, "Yes, I know how that feels. I was the youngest, and it took a bit of getting used to when Ron left a year before me."

Ginny looked at Harry seriously. "You do realize that my brothers and I were flying faster and higher than these 'baby broomsticks' can, when we were Megan's age, anyway. Ian and Megan will discover that fact eventually. We need to be ready for that."

Harry chuckled. "I was planning to raise the speed and height limits a bit anyway, once I checked over the safety charms on the brooms. Let's hold off on that for a while, so that the children realize we mean business. All right?" Ginny nodded agreement.

"You're hoping to find a real potential for Quidditch, aren't you?" Ginny looked at him with a knowing grin.

"You caught me." Harry laughed. "I think I'll not set the height and speed all the way back, just to see if they notice the difference."

"You think they'll tell you if they notice?" Ginny had a wry smile. "Most kids don't think a thing about being sneaky."

"Especially Weasley kids."

"Harry! Ian and Megan aren't Weasleys."

"They are now. Fred and George are their favorite uncles, aren't they? And they have the prettiest Weasley of all for a mother, too."

"If you say so, love." Ginny smiled up at Harry, then pulled his head down to kiss him thoroughly. "Let's go up now and read them a nice long story. All right?" Then side by side they slowly walked up the stairs, Harry's arm around Ginny's shoulders and her arm around his waist.

Author's Notes: I could not resist doing a parody of badly designed Official Government Forms. This story is a part of my Healer Harry series of stories, still under construction.

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