Unless you happen to be visiting the Harpies' front office when the post arrives, you can't begin to appreciate the amount of fan mail I get. It's hard to take five steps without tripping over a pile of letters addressed to me most days. After an important match, you won't make it two. Once, right after I convinced Ginny Potter to sign with us, we had to cancel practice because the pitch was the only place big enough to hold them all.
Needless to say, I can't read all of it myself, let alone respond. We hire administrative staff and interns specifically to sort through everything and pass the important messages along to me: requests for appearances and interviews, sponsorship offers, expressions of appreciation I haven't heard a million times before, and so on. But inevitably, some get overlooked.
Sometimes even when they're matters of life and death.
I hope you don't mind if I call you that, even though we've never met. You see, I've spent the past six years convincing people we're on a first name basis, what with us being related and all.
Before you hunt me down and turn me into a woodlouse (not that I believe those rumors, but I wouldn't blame you for wanting to), let me explain. My dad's name is Robert Jones. He's a Muggle: an electrician, if that means anything to you. Mum met him in primary school before she found out she was a witch, and somehow they stayed in touch. She tries not to use or talk about magic around the house because she doesn't want him to feel awkward. Anyway, the point is, I got to Hogwarts not knowing much more about anything to do with witches and wizards than if I'd been Muggleborn myself.
On my first night in Hufflepuff, the prefects told us first years that where we came from wasn't important; we were badgers now, and that was all that mattered. But I'd been listening to Susan Bones talk about her Ministry relatives, and Ernie Macmillan's boasts about his nine generations of wizarding kin, and even Justin Finch-Fletchley hinting at his unimaginable wealth, and I had my doubts. Worse, I'd heard what the other students – the ones destined for Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin – had to say about Hufflepuff. I was doomed: a nobody in a house of nobodies, with no hope of making myself noticed.
So when one of the older students overheard my last name while I was walking to class that first week and eagerly asked if I was related to you, I said "yes" without thinking. I knew it was a mistake the second I'd done it, that word would get around and I'd have to answer any number of questions without making a fool of myself (like who you were), but the sudden respect in his eyes made it worth it.
From that point forward, I spent more time researching you than I ever did on my homework. Remember the trivia contest Witch Weekly sponsored two years ago, where the person who answered the most questions about you correctly got to meet you in person? The boy who won got three wrong. I only missed one. Of course, I didn't bother entering. Family wasn't eligible.
It wasn't until sixth year, when I'd finally stopped dreading being caught (you should have heard the convolutions I went into explaining why you were my boggart third year), that everything started to fall apart. If Professor Slughorn had told anyone he was inviting you to his party in advance, or if I hadn't been serving detention with Professor Sinistra that night, things might have been much worse. But my surprise when I found out about the visit, and the fact you didn't stop by the Astronomy Tower or even mention me was enough to raise suspicions, particularly among those of my classmates who were tired of hearing me brag about you. I didn't dare do anything to try and stop the whispering, for fear someone would ask Professor Slughorn and reveal my fraud. I just kept my head down, trying not to be noticed for once, and hoped it would pass.
I know better now. I spend less time reading the sports pages of the Daily Prophet these days, and more on the news. I've read the things they're saying about Muggles and Muggleborns, and mandatory registration. Soon, everyone will know exactly who my relatives are and aren't. I don't know what will happen then, but I'm afraid it'll be worse than anything Professor Slughorn or my classmates or even you could've done. Much worse.
I don't know why I'm confessing all this, honestly. I'm not asking or expecting you to risk anything to help me. I guess I just want you to know that I exist, and I'm sorry for lying all these years. It might have started out as a way to get attention, but sometimes, when I listened to your matches on the WWN or saw a photo of you in the paper, I felt so proud I almost forgot none of it was real. Even if we'd never had anything in common, I think I still would have looked up to you.
The letter didn't get to me until three days after the fire, though I didn't learn that until the assistant who'd left it sitting at the bottom of a neglected pile for weeks brought me the results of her investigation. According to the Daily Prophet and the Muggle papers, some electrical contraption in the Jones' home had caught fire. Megan was being treated for severe burns at St. Mungo's or "a special facility," depending on the source. The healers weren't sure whether she'd survive, which was more than could be said for her parents. Only The Quibbler dared raise the possibility of foul play: not that I needed independent confirmation.
Megan had been right: there wasn't much I could do publicly. The Dark Lord and his followers didn't strike me as Quidditch fans. But that didn't make me powerless to do anything. A few lunches with the right connections, and Megan became the beneficiary of two sizable, previously undiscovered life insurance policies from her parents. And while it might have raised a few eyebrows, I was sure that no one would question the Harpies donating lifetime season tickets to such a devoted fan along with best wishes for her speedy recovery.
It was the least I could do for family.