Birds of a Feather
Book One: First Flight
by Nethilia

Author's Notes: Yay, my first HP fiction. This is a fic that's about the Ravenclaws of Harry's year. I'm starting with the first book, which is a parallel of HP and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone. There might be a few vague mentions of Harry and the other major characters, but not a lot. I want you to look at these as what happens in the other house. (Always Gryffindor and Slytherin. I need fics about MY people, thank you.) There are a lot of author's liberties here, with a lot of characters. Not set ones though. Since almost none of the students I mentioned are seen in canon, other than a quick name mention, I've taken full liberty with who they are and what they act/look like/etc. I got their names from pulling last names and granting firsts, making them up entirely, or using the Harry Potter Lexicon to gather them. This fic was started after reading the first four books, and thus anything seen wrong in later books is not my fault. Got that?

I don't ship. So don't expect me to add any relationships that you care for. I don't care if Harry gets with Hermione and Draco gets with Ginny and Pig gets with Hedwig and Scabbers gets with Snuffles and Crookshanks gets with the Nimbus 2000. I'm just not that kinda person.

Oh, and please don't review me or e-mail me and state the obvious such as, "We don't know where Morag was sorted, or if Moon is female, or if Lisa Turpin is a short squat brunette instead of a tall lanky blond." It's called fanfic, and as such I get to take liberties. Especially because these people have no faces and names. And please please please compare my personality of Terry Boot--or any one else in canon--to the other fics you've read about him. No one knows what he acts like, honestly, except for a few spits. So if you would rather him be a suave sexy lover of all instead of how I make him, I'll have to decline. After all, we don't need TWO Siriuses in the world. *grin*

As we know, I don't own HP. Do I look like JKR, or Warner Bros., or Scholastic, or blahblahblah? No....

Many many thanks and cookies to my beta readers Haggridd and Madhuri (Otherwise I would have mixed names, Britishisms, and the fact that Wizards don't have fridges!) 20 points to each of them.

Okay, I'm done ranting happily. Thank you for dealing with me, read onward.


Birds of a Feather: First Flight

Chapter One:
Owl Post

Carolina Kipley dropped her binoculars after squinting through them at the barn owl that hovered near the barn. She had seen many owls flying out around the moors she lived near, so seeing one was no big deal. She lifted the binoculars again and looked more closely at this particular barn owl, first moving some of her thick curly auburn hair out of the way of her dark eyes.

Wait a minute… She looked more closely. Since when do owls carry papers in their beaks? She looked again, highly confused by now. No, not paper—parchment!

She dropped the binoculars and watched the owl. It looked as though it was flying towards her house. She watched as it came closer and closer, then swooped and started to descend towards her front door. It swooped, dropped the parchment on the ground, pecked twice on the front door, then flew off.

Carolina scrambled out and picked up the thick yellow parchment letter. The address on it was written in emerald green ink, and there was no stamp. She read the address aloud, finding it moderately strange. "Miss Carolina Kipley, The Second Bedroom, 12 Gully Lane…" She didn't get any further before she saw through the front door her father looming over her, looking at the letter. "Papa, what’s this?"

Her father looked at the letter, his eyes widening. He took it from her and flipped it over to examine the purple wax seal. "I—I don’t know…"


Morag MacDougal’s mother, Mavericka, sat down as she looked at the letter. ..."Oh my! I never suspected—I wasn't certain that this would ever come, but your father said it would…"

Morag stared at his mother with surprise. He’d gotten many letters before, but when he got this one, with its strange calligraphy and the unusual parchment, he’d taken it straight to his mother. She opened it, read over it, and then gasped in surprise. He waited till she sat down, then asked what had been preying on his mind. "Where is this letter from? What is Hogwarts? What do they mean 'You have been accepted'? I never applied to any Hogwarts."

Mavericka looked at her son, whose thick black hair fell into his wide almond shaped eyes, as it always did, and sighed. "Your father, rest his soul, was a wizard. I am what he would have called a Muggle, that is, a person with no magical skills. As the letter says, my son, you have been accepted to Hogwarts. Hogwarts is a school that trains wizards."

Weak at the knees with shock, it was now Morag's turn to sit down. "I'm a—a wizard?"



Padma Patil and her twin sister Parvati were not the least bit surprised by their Hogwarts letters. It would have been a major disappointment if they hadn’t come, actually. They were in a very well known wizarding family, and both their parents had been in Hogwarts when they were children. Anything less would have been a family embarrassment. They grinned in twin likeness as their parents read the letters.

"When do we go shopping at Diagon Alley, Father?" Parvati asked happily. "I can’t wait to get my wand."

"I want to get my books," Padma said. She’d been reading all the books she could get her hands on her whole life, wizarding books about everything. She especially liked the novels, and the books about magical beasts. Parvati wasn't into books as much as Padma, but she would read a lot as well.

"We’ll go in a few weeks," their father said in his thick English accent, patting Padma on the head. "Term starts in a little over a month, and we have to make sure that you two have everything you need."

Their mother hugged them tightly, grinning broadly. "My little girls are growing up!" she beamed. From his spot on the floor, their little brother Amar giggled as he played with a set of wooden blocks, each of them chiming a different note as he touched them. He flung one at Padma as she left the room, and the sound of an A sharp rang through the air. Luckily, their mother had charmed the blocks so that they glided slowly through the air and fell harmlessly to the floor.

Padma and Parvati ran up to their room, grinning. "Hogwarts," they said in a hushed whisper. "In a month and a half we’ll be at Hogwarts."


Antigone held the letter up in front of her, reading the words over and over, shocked beyond belief. "Dear Miss Moon, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Since you are Muggle-born we have arranged for you and you parents to be visited in the forthcoming weeks by an official from the Ministry of Magic to explain your situation in full. Please reply by post no later than July 31 to confirm your enrollment. Yours sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress."

Above her she could hear her mother and father fighting, screaming at each other. She knew they were screaming because of her. Her mother wasn't even supposed to acknowledge these things. She certainly was not supposed to give her daughter the letter-- but she had. She had replied to the Deputy Headmistress as instructed, and arranged to meet the Ministry spokesperson along with Antigone later that week. Now these actions had set off her father once again.

The other kids were crying as she hid there in the basement, sniffling. There were loud screams, and the sound of fighting. Antigone curled up, her light brown eyes red from crying. She hid there in the basement for almost an hour, until the screams died and she heard the basement door open. She wiped her tears from her cheeks, and hoped that it wasn't her father

"Antigone?" Her mother’s soft voice whispered. "Antigone, are you here?"

"Yes, Mummy," Antigone replied softly. Her mother shuffled into view. Antigone snuffled as her mom pulled her into her arms. "Mummy, Daddy won’t let me go there. I’ll have to go to his school. You know how he feels about things like this."

"Antigone, this is a wonderful opportunity for you, and I won't let your father take it from you. You're going to learn magic, honey, real, honest to goodness magic. Do you know how proud this makes me?" Her mother hugged Antigone proudly. "Come on. We’re going to spend the night at my sister’s, and later this month, we’ll meet this official person and learn everything we can about this school. This wonderful school…"





Carolina and her father sat at a London café that was across the street from a record shop and a large bookstore. "The letter said to meet Ms. Toners here," her father said, as Carolina looked up and down the street from her seat.

"Did you bring what she asked you over the phone?" Carolina said.

"Yes, enough to buy your supplies for the year." He looked around, then checked his watch. "She said she would be here around noon, that there had been a change of plans with the other people she was meeting today and she had to pick them up. She’ll be here shortly, I hope."

Carolina, bored from waiting, gazed up and down the street. She hoped that it wouldn’t take too long. She was about to reach into her backpack and pull out the copy of Trumpet of the Swan when a very nice Miata pulled into the parking lot beside them. She watched as a woman in a pair of comfy jeans and a loose T-shirt climbed out, her long black hair back in a long braid. She seemed to be carrying something over her arm, a long cloth, and she had what looked like a wand in her hand. "We’re here, Mrs. Moon," she said, closing her door.

A black woman with thick curly hair climbed out of the car, wearing sunglasses. She opened the back door and a young girl, about Carolina’s age, stepped out. She was lighter than her mother, and her hair wasn’t as curly. She looked around fearfully, then gripped her mom’s hand. She’s awfully big to still be holding her mother’s hand, Carolina thought to herself. Well, whatever makes a person feel safe.

The trio walked over to where Carolina and her father sat. "Mr. Kipley?" the tall raven-haired woman asked. Carolina’s father nodded. "Good, good!" She took his hand and shook it firmly with her free hand. "I’m Esmerelda Toners, the lady who spoke to you on the telephone from my home. Just call me Esmerelda."

"The Ministry official?" Carolina piped up.

Esmerelda grinned. "Yes, Carolina, just one of many at the Muggle-born Wizard and Witch Liaison Office. This is Mrs. Moon and her daughter Antigone. She is starting at Hogwarts too. My assignment is to help you all during your first visit to Diagon Alley, where you will learn more about the wizarding world, and about what the children will be doing this first year." She motioned for the Kipleys to follow her. "To the Leaky Cauldron."

"You’ve done this often?" Antigone said. Her voice was much quieter than Carolina’s, and she still clung tightly to her mother’s hand.

"It’s my job, Antigone. I help Muggle students adjust to the wizarding world. I’ve been doing it since the letters started going out this summer."

"What's a Muggle?" asked Carolina.

"It’s people like your parents, with no magical talent. There are many young witches and wizards who are Muggle born or reared, and it’s the job of my department to lessen the shock a little for their families. Yesterday I spent the day with a charming young family named Granger. When she got to Flourish & Blotts, little Miss Hermione wanted to buy every book she saw. Bright girl, she'll make a great witch. Ah, here we are."

Antigone and Carolina saw a tiny, grubby looking pub that was nestled tightly between the record store and the book store. Those walking past didn’t even notice it, except for a few people who waved at Esmerelda before entering. A heavyset man in a blue suit and tie called, " ‘Lo, Esme! Taking more Muggle-borns on their first visit to Diagon Alley?"

"Sure am," she grinned. "Meet Antigone and Carolina."

The jolly man waved at the two girls. "Have fun! You’ve got one perky woman with you."

Grinning broadly, Carolina waved back. Antigone managed a half smile and a little wave before Esmerelda hustled them all in. The pub was dark and rather shabby. People dressed in long wizard's robes sat around tables, conversing while drinking unfamiliar drinks. Esmerelda shook out the garment she was carrying. The girls could then tell that it was a set of what could be considered rather fashionable dark grey robes. She pulled them over her clothes and tied them shut, then walked over to speak to the bartender, a toothless old man. then walked over to the bartender, a toothless old man. After speaking for a few minutes, she motioned to the girls’ parents. Carolina's father and Antigone's mother walked over. Carolina took this moment to speak to Antigone.

"Nervous?" she asked.

"A—a little," Antigone admitted. "I don’t know what to expect."

"Me too. I bet all the other first years that weren’t born to—what did she say our parents are?"


"That's it. Muggles. I bet the wizard-born kids are all used to this. I feel sort of out of place."

"Me too."

"Well, we can be out of place together, right?"

Antigone grinned meekly. "I guess so."

Esmerelda walked back to where they stood and led them to one of the booths. "Come on, let’s sit at this table over here. Tom's going to bring us our drinks. Till then we can talk. I think I’ll start with the basics, is that okay?"

Mrs. Moon and Mr. Kipley nodded. Carolina and Antigone slid into the booth so that they sat between their parents.

"I'll begin with Hogwarts. It is the best school of witchcraft and wizardry in the country; to be enrolled there is quite an honor. We don't know how Muggles can have children with magical powers, but they do. Don't worry, you won't be alone-- far from it. There are a lot of Muggle-born students at Hogwarts; and at Hogwarts, you children will learn to use their powers safely, with skill and with ease."

The bartender walked up with a large teapot and five cups, along with a plate of crumpets. There was a few minutes of silence, while they were all served, then Esmerelda continued while the others sipped at their cups. "Any questions so far?"

Antigone spoke up. "You don't seem so much like a witch as do the other people here. You wore normal clothes..."

"Muggle clothing," Esmerelda corrected. "There’s nothing unusual about wizardry. It’s just a different world."

"Muggle clothing, then. And—and you drove a car up here and you said you called Mr. Kipley and Carolina from a phone. Do wizards know about things like that?"

"Not really," Esmerelda said. "But you see, I was Muggle-born, like you."

Carolina blinked. "But you blend in as if you were born to this world!"

Esmerelda shrugged. "I’m used to it now, after my years at Hogwarts and then at the Ministry. At first, they didn’t want to hire me—thought I was a bit daft to want to work in a high Department. Lots of stress there, most Hogwarts students who go into the Ministry pick something a little easier and work their way up. But when they saw my ease at communicating with Muggle-borns, and how easily I calmed their fears, they knew I was perfect for the Muggle-born Wizard and Witch Liaison Office. After all, having an owl deliver the letter was shock enough for your families, I expect."

Mrs. Moon nodded hard. "Very much so."

"Precisely. We Muggle-born witches and wizards explained to the Liaison Office that it wouldn't help much to have us pop out of thin air, wand out, at the new students' houses, dump them at the Leaky Cauldron, and then leave them to fend for themselves. We came up with this method of meeting and guiding each of you the first time. It's much nicer, I'm sure you all agree." She finished her tea and crumpet. "First of all, we’ll have to have your money converted. They don’t use Muggle money in Diagon Alley."

Mr. Kipley nodded. "Surely. Are we all done?"

Everyone nodded.

"Good!" Esmerelda rose to her feet. "Let’s head there now." She led them outside to a small walled courtyard, with a dustbin at the back wall. "Now remember this. Tap on the brick that’s three up and two across from the dustbin. Once you have wands, you’ll be able to do it yourselves. Very easy." She pulled out her wand and tapped the brick. It started to move, then a small hole appeared and opened up to make an archway onto a cobbled street that twisted into the distance.

They were all considerably surprised, and Esmerelda grinned. "I always get that reaction. Welcome to Diagon Alley."


Morag watched in fascination as his Aunt Opaline held out a pot of glittering powder. After the initial shock, his mother had alerted his aunt, his father’s sister, and she had Morag come over and explained to him all about Hogwarts. She was still a practicing witch, and she had sat down and spoken frankly to Morag about his magical heritage and what he could expect. He'd taken it all in, but was still a bit confused. Soon he would be going to get his school supplies and other material. Aunt Opaline's daughter Miriam was holding his hand tightly. Cousin Miriam was sixteen and a half years old, and would be starting her seventh and final year at Hogwarts. She had explained some of the things his aunt had not, and so she would be taking Morag to get his things.

"This is Floo powder." Aunt Opaline showed Morag. "Dead useful for traveling. Just take a pinch and toss it into the fire, then say ‘Diagon Alley’ very clearly and loudly. I’ve heard you speak in school plays, speak just like that. Once you get there, don’t move from the fireplace until Miriam gets there."

Morag pinched up the powder and tossed it gently into the flames. It turned emerald green and flamed up brightly. He stepped into the flames, which were as warm as a comfortable bath, and said clearly, "Diagon Alley."

Immediately there was a feeling of being sucked through a tube...He spun fast, feeling dizzy, but, thinking of it like a roller coaster ride, he stayed still as he spun. Minutes later he stumbled out of the flames and barely caught his footing as he stepped into a dark, shabby pub. He stood, taking in all the sights. Then he waited until Miriam showed up, wearing her Muggle clothing.

"You made it okay," she grinned. "Come on, that was the hardest part." She let him out into the courtyard, and then pointed out one of the bricks on the back wall before tapping it and waiting for the portal to open. Once it was open she led him through. "Mum has a vault in Gringotts Bank. She said that Aunt Mavericka can just pay her back, I’ll take out enough for both of us to buy things. I need to get new dress robes, my old ones are a big snug across the hips."

She took Morag’s hand—--even though he was big, she didn't want him to get lost here in this new world—and led him to a snowy white building that was much larger than the little shops around it. A goblin stood on the stairs wearing a uniform of vibrant red and sparkling gold. Morag looked somewhat fascinated, and grinned at the goblin. He bowed to them and they reached a pair of silver doors. Miriam skipped over the words as they were bowed through the door by two more goblins.

"What do the doors say?" Morag asked.

"Only that you’d be daft to try and rob the place. They’ve got dragons, and griffins, all sorts of tricks and security measures." She walked up to a free goblin stationed at the long counters. "I am Mrs. Opaline MacDougal's daughter Miriam," she said, holding up a small key, "I need to open her vault."

The goblin examined it closely. "Yes, that is her key. Who is this boy?"

"Mrs. MacDougal's nephew Morag. He starts at Hogwarts this term."

The goblin nodded and waved over another goblin. He led Morag and Miriam to one of the many doors that led off the hall. In this room was a stone passageway with tracks on the floor. The goblin whistled and a small rail cart wheeled up. They all climbed in and the car sped off.

Now this is like a roller coaster, Morag thought as they zipped down the tracks. They sped up and down, back and forth, over hills and into valleys, until they stopped at a small door. Miriam climbed out carefully and then unlocked the door. "It shouldn't take more than a hundred Galleons for both of us, more for you than for me, because you have to get fully outfitted. So, we'll take another handful, and toss in some Sickles as well."


Miriam held up a gold, silver, and bronze coin. "Galleons are gold; sickles, silver. These little bronze ones are Knuts. Mum’s got a lot for me, and your papa left a lot for your education. Mum will just have Aunt Mave pay out of her vault."

"But what if I hadn’t made it into Hogwarts?"

"Gringotts has a transfer service," Miriam closed up the bag, and she and Morag got into the cart. "Your mum's been using it for years, especially that first year after Uncle Geoffrey died, before she found a job. She didn't tell you-- she felt bad about using it for awhile. She only used it when she had to, mind."


A few minutes later they were outside and Miriam led them towards Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. A squat, happy looking witch in mauve robes and a tape measure around her neck spoke while pulling out a pincushion. "What’ll it be, miss?"

Miriam glanced at the school list. "Three sets of plain work robes, one plain pointed day hat, and a winter cloak—all of these black—and a pair of protective gloves. All tagged." She pointed at Morag, who pushed some of his hair out of his eyes. "First year at Hogwarts."

"Ah." She pulled out a stool and had Morag stand on it, then dropped a long black robe over his head and started to pin it up. "I do this once a year, near the start of term. You’re not the only one who’s been here today. A half hour ago I outfitted twins—twin girls, mind you, and alike as night and day. However, there’s always a subtle variation in the measurements. Can't have one wearing the other's robes. Wouldn’t do a bit." She finished with the first robe and dropped another over Morag’s head, then continued speaking. "Miss MacDougal, yes? Daughter of Opaline?"

Miriam nodded. "He’s my cousin."

"Ah, son of the late Geoffrey MacDougal. He was a nice man-- I remember him from when we were in school together. Smart as they come, was Geoffrey. You anything like him?"

Morag nodded.

"You do look like him—you’ve got his eye color, but not his hair. Geoff had thick red hair all over the place. Now you—you take after your mum. Pretty Muggle woman I saw her at the wedding. Yes, Geoff was a close friend of mine. Wish he hadn’t died like that." She finished up the third robe—Morag hadn’t even noticed that she’s finished the second and dropped the third on him—and took them in her hands. "I’ll have these hemmed in the time it takes you to pick out a cloak, hat and gloves. Boys to the left. And Opaline, you need a new set of dress robes, yes?"

Opaline nodded. "Morag, find a good pair of dragon hide or the like for gloves, and your cloak needs silver fastenings. Got that?"

Morag nodded, searching around the store. He settled on one of the simpler black cloaks, a basic nice pointed hat, and a pair of shiny silver-blue gloves just as Miriam came up to the counter. She held a beautiful floaty pale yellow dress robe. (It looked like a normal dress to Morag, only fancier.) She also had picked up a set of ribbons to match. She paid for the robes and got her change. "Thank you," she replied, carrying her packages and Morag carrying his much larger ones.

"Morag! Miriam!" Aunt Opaline and Morag’s mother ran up. Morag’s mother looked a bit calmer. Miriam suspected that Aunt Mave and Mother had been drinking some of Aunt Opaline’s tea with rum. "How goes the shopping?"

"Just got the robes," Miriam said.

"Ah, we’ll go with you the rest of the way."

Morag’s mother grinned. She hadn’t had that much; she was calm but not giggly like when she was sloshed. "What to next?"

"Wands take the longest. Let’s get the books next."


Padma flipped through her books while Parvati tried out wands at Ollivander’s. She already had hers—oak, ten and a half inches, dragon heartstring. This was the last thing to get—they had been to the other shops, for their supplies and uniforms. Before counting out the cost of both their wands, their father had said that they could each have a gift. Parvati had immediately selected a pretty set of quills and pink ink with matching parchment. It was the kind of thing she was into. Padma had passed over the stationery in favor of a novel—Maria and the Griffin of West End. She was now reading silently to herself. She was almost to the part where Maria would learn who her captors were when Parvati walked out. "All done," she said. "Let’s go home."

"I was just getting to a good part," Padma complained, rising to her feet. She stuffed her book in with her things and followed her mother and father up towards the Leaky Cauldron, carrying all her packages she could handle. Her father carried the rest, whatever she and Parvati could not.

"When we get home, start packing your trunks," their mother said as Amar chewed on a Cauldron Cake. She turned to her husband. "Do you know who was here last week? We should have done our shopping then."

"Who?" Parvati piped up.

"Harry Potter," Mother whispered. "With the groundskeeper from Hogwarts. It seems he starts this year.

Madam Jakarta—you remember the Jakartas?"

"Vaguely," Father said. "Weren’t they our neighbors once?"

"Yes. Well, they saw him. Scar and everything."

"Ooo!!" Parvati trilled. "Tell me more, Mother!"

Padma kept out of the conversation, and silently carried her parcels. She didn't fancy gossiping about Harry Potter as if he were some vague figure. She had read a great deal about him in those books that she kept on her shelf--the special ones. She held her packages tightly to her as they traveled by Floo powder—she didn’t want to lose anything. As soon as she tumbled out of the fireplace, she waited for her father and set her packages on the kitchen table before fishing something out of the pantry. As she munched on carrot sticks, Parvati landed in the fireplace and tumbled out. Her things didn’t fall, however. She dumped her packages and bags on the chair and dug out her wand. "Look!" she chirped. "It’s ten and a half inches, yew, with unicorn hair. What’s yours?"

"Same length, only oak with dragon heartstring."

"I wonder if I can do anything yet, like Mother and Father." She probably would have swished it around if their mother hadn’t stepped in the kitchen that minute.

"Parvati! Put your wand away! You know better than to play with that. Go on, put it back in the box." Parvati pouted, but she did as her mother said. "Now do like I told you and go pack. Term is almost upon you. Two weeks and I’ll have to take you to King’s Cross Station and put you on the train. Go on!"

Parvati gathered up her things and sulkily carried her things to their room. Padma was right behind. She opened up the steamer truck that their parents had purchased for them a few months back. She cleaned out all the dust and other things, then started to lay her things in. First was her black robes—all but one, she would have to change on the train. She also left her hat out, just in case. She did pack her cloak, gloves, school books and cauldron. She put her potions equipment and supplies in the cauldron so they would be protected during shipping. She then neatly placed her parchment, quills, ink bottles, and other little things she knew she would need. She had enough room to add some extra things, so she pulled her favorite books from the shelves. She also added her journal and some of and some of her "Famous Wizards" cards--she had been been collecting the Chocolate Frogs cards since she was little and kept them in a nice wooden box. Parvati had collected them once, but she tired of them and gave all hers to Padma last year. (A lot of them had been sticky and smeared with chocolate, but that was Parvati for you. Padma had always been the neater twin.) She finished and plopped on her bed with her novel, when she heard Parvati complaining.

"Oh, I can’t get everything in here!" She tried to stuff in A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration and huffed.

Padma groaned and put her novel down. "Hold on, Parvati. I’ll help you pack."

"Oh, would you, please? I hate folding and making everything neat, and you do it so nicely." Parvati grinned broadly at her sister.

"Stop with the buttering up. I said I would do it."

"Thank you."

"Yeah, yeah," Padma snorted, pulling everything out of her sister’s trunk.


Antigone grinned brightly as her and Carolina stood inside Eeylops. This auburn haired girl with dark eyes had been nice and charming since they had met outside the café. She’d also stayed with her while they went to Flourish and Blotts, and together they’d found their books and parchment and quills. They’d chatted while Madam Malkin had adjusted their robes, giggled at the beetle eyes and other supplies in the apothecary, and watched as they each tried out wands and finally both received theirs (Carolina’s was ebony and phoenix, Antigone’s was holly and unicorn). At the moment, Esmerelda, her mother and Carolina’s father were outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, keeping an eye on their packages while each enjoyed a charmed lowfat milkshake. Esmerelda had assisted the Muggle families with their purchases, and they had obtained all the essentials. They each had some money left over and so they decided to get pets. Esmerelda had told them that as long as they didn’t wander too far, they could explore by themselves. They had wandered, looking at everything there was to see, then headed to Eeylops.

"Ooo!" cooed Antigone, as she looked at the pretty brown owl that Carolina had picked out from Eeylops Owl Emporium. "That’s such a beautiful owl!"

"Yah." Carolina laid her fifteen galleons on the counter and watched as the clerk gently placed the owl in a pretty silver cage. "The clerk said she was a girl. What should I name her?"

"How about…" Antigone thought for a moment. "Nike—wasn’t she the Greek goddess of victory?"

"I like the sound of that," Carolina grinned, "Nike it is, then! Are you getting an owl?"

"I dunno…" Antigone chewed on her bottom lip. "I do have enough, but I really want one of those adorable kittens they had at the Magical Menagerie."

"Well, get a kitten then."

"But owls are so useful, you heard Esmerelda. They take your mail and everything."

"The school has owls. You can use a school owl."

"But school owls are used by everyone…"

"Tell you what. Whenever you need to send a letter, I'll let you use Nike even if we're Sorted into different Houses. Fair enough?"


Once Carolina had Nike (and a book on owl care), they walked over to the Magical Menagerie. Antigone rushed over to the basket and started to examine the mewling kittens in the basket near the counter. "This one!" she crooned, picking up what looked like a puffy black ball. "Can I have this one?"

"You can have whichever one you want, so long as you pay for it." the witch behind the counter said, checking on a basket with large mustard colored puffs in it. "That one’s a tomcat."

"How much are they?"

"Seven Galleons each."

"Oh." Antigone looked crestfallen. "I only have six."

"Here." Carolina dug out a Galleon and pressed it into Antigone’s hand. "Get your kitty."

Antigone blushed. "I can’t accept money from you."

"Sure you can. You’re my friend." Carolina smiled.

Antigone looked at Carolina. "Thank you," she replied. She dropped the money on the counter and watched as the witch placed the black puff in a small carrying cage and scooped the money off the counter. Then she handed Antigone the cage and they left.

"Thanks a lot, Carolina!" Antigone hugged Carolina tightly.

"No trouble, no trouble at all."

Antigone practically bounced as she went to show her mother. "Mummy, mummy, look what I got! A little boy kitty!"

Her mother looked in the cage. "It’s a kitten! Oh, how precious! What will you call him?"

"How about Shadow?"

"Shadow is good."

Esmerelda stuck a finger and watched as he batted at it. "Feisty little one!" She smiled. "Is that it?"

Antigone and Carolina nodded. "Well, then back to the street." She rose to her feet. They all gathered their packages and headed back through the wall and then into the Leaky Cauldron. The bartender was cleaning the tables and grinned toothlessly as they stepped outside. The sun was setting as Esmerelda handed their train tickets to their parents.

"Now, remember what I told you about getting onto the platform, Mr. Kipley and Mrs. Moon. Just in case, a group from M.B.W.W.L.O. will be there on duty. I'll be one of them, and I’ll help you. Just look for me, I’ll be in normal clothes and I’ll wave at you. Okay?"

"Okay," Mrs. Moon said. Even with the sun setting, she kept on her sunglasses.

"Remember, the train leaves at eleven o'clock, the first of September. Don’t be late."

"We won’t," Carolina nodded. "Will we, Papa?"


"Well, I have to drive the Moons home," Esmerelda said. She had pulled off her robe inside The Leaky Cauldron, and the Muggles on the street didn’t bother them. (There were a few weird or bemused glances towards Nike, who was asleep in her cage.) "See you the first of September."

"See you then, Antigone!" Carolina chirped as her and her father packed her things into their car and placed Nike in the backseat.

"See you," Antigone said shyly. She climbed into the car with her mother after they packed everything inside the car, and she held Shadow’s case on her lap. They pulled off in a separate direction from the Kipleys, and headed towards Antigone’s aunt’s house.

"Mrs. Moon?" Esmerelda looked at Antigone’s mother. "Will you and Antigone be okay at your sister’s?"

Her mother nodded. "Yes. Her father doesn’t like my sister much. He won’t come over."

"Good. Good. I’ll pick you and Antigone up on the first of September, and we’ll send her off." She placed a hand on Mrs. Moon’s shoulder. "Don’t feel isolated. You’re not the only Muggle parent who’s dealt with things like this to get your child into Hogwarts. It’ll be okay."

Antigone held Shadow’s cage closer to her chest. "Yah. I’ve even got a friend there to be with me, Mummy."

"Good. You should make friends that are like you," Mrs. Moon said, turning to her daughter. "It’s good to make friends."

Antigone nodded. She could see the faint outline of the former black eye around the rim of her mother’s sunglasses.


Chapter 2

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