Dave Lalonde, the letter is addressed to.
It’s not your last name, but when you looks closer, you sees that instead of just an address, it also says, “The hidden apartment, small bedroom.”
The return address says, “Hogwarts.”
You are curious, and it’s not like this Lalonde guy who shares half your name is gonna come get the letter. It doesn’t even have a stamp on it, what the fuck.
You open it.
The letter inside is full of crazy shit. A school of witchcraft and wizardry. Magical book lists. They want you to reply by owl.
Welp. That’s a prank, alright. You would suspect John, but it’s too weird to be a prank from him- John is a lot of things, but a subtle mindfuck like addressing a letter to the wrong name is a bit beyond him. Nope- this is meant for someone else.
You toss the letter in the garbage along with the junk mail, and don’t think much more about it.
The next time you gets the mail, a couple days later, there are three more letters, identical to the first. None of them have stamps, and they’re all addressed to Dave Lalonde.
“Huh,” you say. When you open one, it is the same as before. Book list. Supplies. Welcome letter. Reply by owl.
You look up to see an owl on a bike rack outside.
“The fuck?” you say.
The owl is large. It also looks exhausted. It looks at you with an intelligence you usually associate more with corvids than owls. Crows are the smart ones- owls are generally pretty dumb.
You think, well, why not?
You find a pencil and scrawls a hasty reply.
My name’s Dave Strider, you writes. I think you’re sending this to the wrong address or something. Great prank though, I’ve got a couple friends who would be super impressed. I like the weird parchment, that’s a nice touch.
You go outside. The owl is still there.
“If you bite me,” you says, “All the crows around here are going to mob you. They know me. They like me. I feed them.”
The owl just stares wide-eyed. Because it’s an owl, and doesn’t speak English. Duh.
You cautiously approach. There’s a little tube on the owl’s leg, ready for a letter. You roll up your reply and stick it in. Mission accomplished.
The owl nips you a bit and then flies off.
“Fucker,” you mutter, and when a passing troll gives you a weird look you flip him the bird.
The next letter, the next day, is addressed to Dave Strider, and that’s when you get really annoyed. Bro is on the couch when you walk in. You toss the bills at Bro and walk into your room with the letter.
“What do you have there?” Bro asks.
“Stupid prank letter,” you say. “Someone trained an owl to deliver letters, can you believe it? I didn’t think owls were smart enough to train.”
The next minute, the letter is torn from your hands.
“Hey!” you say, spinning to face Bro.
Bro is already reading the letter.
“Well damn,” he says. “I thought for sure you must be a squib. Hell if you ever showed any talent when we were strifing.”
“You’re a wizard,” Bro says, monotone. “Congrats.”
You can never tell when Bro is fucking with you, but you’re pretty sure this has got to be one of those times.
“Whatever,” you say. You finish the walk to your room, and shut the door.
“Egbert, John,” the hat calls out. John walks up to the stool, looking slightly nervous. The hat sits on his head for only a moment before it announces, “Gryffindor!” Ther’s a lot of applause from the table in red. You’re kind of hoping to get into the same house as him- he’s the only person you know here.
(Rose and Jade don’t count yet. You just met on the train, even if they’re John’s friends already.)
There are a few students in front of Rose in line. Eventually the call of “Lalonde” comes, and then, because the universe hates you, the first name that comes with it is “Dave.”
Everyone looks around, especially Rose. Awkward. You maintain your poker face. You’re going to run into trouble if “Strider” isn’t on the list anywhere, but there’s nearly half an alphabet to go between now and then. Maybe you’ll think of something before you get there.
“Dave Lalonde,” the professor at the front of the room repeats. She looks slightly put-upon, lips going thin.
She turns to the tall, wide man who brought you all across the lake. “Surely we haven’t lost a first year since the train?”
Someone gets the bright idea to count all of you. Meanwhile, one of the girls at the blue table- Ravenclaw- gets up and walks over to chat with the professor. She looks lot like Rose (like you).
“No one missing,” the man- Hagrid- eventually reports. No plan has occurred to you yet.
“I see,” the woman says. She shakes her head.
“Lalonde,” she calls again. “Rose.”
Rose goes up. “Slytherin,” the had declares after a short pause. Rose goes to the green table with applause A guy who looks very much like a younger Bro gives her a hug.
“I need to go,” you announce, and push past the troll behind you-
“Watch it, fucknugget,” he says absently-
-and you abscond.
You don’t make it very far. You are nearly immediately lost, and make up for it by flashstepping along as fast as you can. You don’t know where you’re hoping to go, but you need to get away. Maybe you’ll go live in the woods. The woods sound simpler than your life right now.
You turn a corner and flashstep straight into the Ravenclaw who’d spoken to the professor a few moments ago.
You both fall over. You manage to do a fucking pirouette over her and hit the stone wall hard enough to knock the wind out of you.
“Are you okay?” she asks, once she’s made it back to her feet.
You manage to catch your breath, and sit up. “mfine,” you manage. You’re about to flashstep away again, but she catches your hand and the human contact freezes you to the spot.
“Dave?” she asks. She looks really hopeful, emotion written all over her pink eyes.
“Strider,” you say. “Dave STRIDER, and everyone keeps getting my name wrong, or- or lying to me by fuckin' omission by never telling me about magic or where I was born, and if you have somethin' to say it had better be clear as the finest crystal because I have had it with mysterious bullshit, I have enough bullshit to start my own farm and fertilize it for years-”
She pulls you into a hug, which is kind of alarming. She’s not even that much older than you- maybe 13 years old, maybe 14, hard to tell. But she’s surprisingly strong.
“You’re my little bro,” she says. “No BS, no mysteries. Rosie doesn’t know she has a twin. We never thought we’d see you again.”
It isn’t long before a professor comes along. “You’re missing your own sorting,” he points how. But he clearly sees you’re in the middle of a moment, and he doesn’t sound pissed. Just- worried.
“I don’t understand,” you say, more to this girl who says she is your sister than to the professor, who is still taking in the situation.
“Our dad absconded with you when you were a baby,” she explains. “No one knows why. You’ve been missing all this time.” She is still holding your hand, apparently afraid that you might run again, but she has released you from the hug.
You want to call BS, but she doesn’t seem to be kidding. And this makes more sense than you would like to admit.
“Wait,” you say. “Does that mean that Bro is actually…”
“Ambrose Lalonde,” she says.
“He can’t be my dad,” you say in a voice that comes out small. “He’s just- Bro.”
The professor has realized this is a pressing issue. “Should I call your mother?” he asks the girl, whose name you still don’t know.
“That’s prolly a good idea,” she says. “We’re eventually going to need Dirk and Hal and Rose, too, but let’s wait a minute on that.” She looks at you with something tender in her eyes. “Dude’s been through enough tonight,” she says firmly. “Let’s not be all overwhelming right now.”
You are ushered to an office, where some “House-elves” bring you and the girl- Roxy- some food. You realize you’ve reached your weirdness quota for the day because you don’t even blink.