Cover art below!
Lance sighs, trying to stay awake as his brother, Marco, flips aimlessly through the channels on the TV. The house has been quiet for the past month and a half Lance and Marco have been home from school. Lance, Marco, and their older brother, Carlos, are the only ones home since Luis and Isa have been sent on a special Ministry trip to deal with something that they both claim to be “confidential.” Lance’s twin sisters, Hannah and Lucy, aren’t home either because they’re each with their significant other in a different country. Lucy is with Ryland and his family in Ireland while Hannah is with Tasha Parks and her family in France. Lance would probably be less bored if he had Keith over like the plan was so he wouldn’t have to spend time in foster homes, but ever since Shiro managed to clear most of Krolia’s name, he’s been living with her.
Don’t get him wrong - Lance is ecstatic that Keith finally gets to live with a parent, but Lance misses having him around.
“Ugh! Marco! Pick a damn channel and stay there!” Carlos yells, clearly getting annoyed from his relaxed position on the couch.
Lance looks over at Marco from the chair he’s in. Since Carlos decided to hog the whole couch, Lance claimed the chair which left the carpet for Marco.
“Jeez, fine!” Marco exclaims, stopping on the news channel. “Let’s see if anyone has died since You-Know-Who came back.”
Carlos chucks a pillow at Marco. “That’s rude!”
Lance ignores their bickering as the day’s headlines are announced, feeling relieved when there’s nothing about mass destruction or anything that could indicate the work of the evil wizard, Lord Zarkon.
As he opens his mouth to say something, a thunderous crack rips through the neighborhood which causes the lights to flicker and causes Lance and his brothers to jump up in fear.
“What the hell was that?” Lance wonders.
“It could be someone either apparating or disapparating,” Carlos answers, pulling his wand out. “We should go investigate.”
Marco and Lance pull their wands out too and follow Carlos outside. He leads them through the immense fields in their backyard towards the forest where the noise originated. Trees start popping up as they get farther away from their house. It starts off as trees spread apart but gets gradually denser and darker. The boys make their wands brighter once they get deeper into the forest.
The more they walk, the more Lance begins to get lost in his thoughts. He hasn’t heard anything from his best friends, Pidge, Keith, and Hunk. Well, Lance doesn’t really blame Hunk because his parents had to go on the Ministry trip with Luis and Isa so he’s staying with Shay’s family. However, he is mad at Keith and Pidge because he’s sent them numerous letters but hasn’t heard anything from them. Lance is beginning to think something’s up with them, but he can’t really confirm anything since neither are talking to him.
Lance breaks out of his thoughts when the sky suddenly gets darker and the air gets even colder. He sees Marco pointing at some frost beginning to form on the trees and grass around them. “What the hell is that?!” he demands.
“Dementors,” Lance says breathlessly.
“Excuse me?” Marco wonders with a raised eyebrow.
“Guys, get your wands ready to attack,” Lance instructs, lifting his wand up.
Carlos lifts his, muttering Lumos so the tip of his wand glows. “What do you-ah!” He winces as Lance sees a Dementor float past his head.
“Carlos!” Lance exclaims. He raises his wand, taking a deep breath, focusing on the happiest memory he can think of: winning his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts. “Expecto Patronum!”
He expects a white light to come out of his wand but nothing happens. Lance starts to panic, seeing both of his brothers beginning to lose their energy. He thinks of a different memory, thoughts heading towards Keith and how they spent the entire summer together last year…
“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” Lance yells.
A blast of white light bursts out of his wand and a mighty, majestic Phoenix Patronus flies out of the tip of his wand. Its wings open widely before rocketing off into the sky, circling above the Dementor before chasing it away.
Lance lowers his wand, breathing heavily while his brothers look at him in awe.
“Lance, how did you-” he starts but stops when they see an older woman approaching them.
The three McClain brothers begin to panic, trying to hide her wands, but the woman holds her hands up. “Wait! Keep those out! There could be more Dementors nearby,” she says.
“Who are you? Are you a wizard too?” Marco wonders.
Lance shoots a glare at him for asking such a dumb question while Carlos hits him lightly on the arm.
“No,” she replies, “and I’m your neighbor from down the road, Mary Figg. I’m a Squib.”
“What’s a-” Marco starts.
“That means she has magic parents, but no magical abilities of her own,” Carlos hisses at him. “ Now shut up. ”
She motions for them to follow her back to the McClain house. “A wizard named Trugg Kroh was in charge of following Lance to keep him safe, but she must’ve left her watch to go buy some more stolen cauldrons.” They arrive at the front door and Mrs. Figg stops Lance before he walks inside. “Lance, Shiro will soon know that you used your magic outside of Hogwarts, but he’ll do everything he can to sort it out.”
Lance opens his mouth to ask what he’ll have to sort out, but another loud crack sounds through the street and another woman appears, holding a sandwich. She tilts her head in confusion. “What’s this?”
“Trugg, go back to Hogwarts and explain to Shiro why Lance needed to use his magic,” Mrs. Figg instructs. “There were Dementors and he had to use the Patronus spell.”
Trugg nods then disapparates once again. Mrs. Figg makes sure Lance gets safely in the house before heading back to her own house. Lance walks inside and shuts the door, walking over to his brothers who are standing in the living room. They immediately start trying to make sense of what happened, but an owl flies through the open window and drops a letter into Lance’s hands. He slowly opens it and sees it’s a letter expelling him from Hogwarts and it says that someone will be arriving shortly to destroy his wand.
His eyes widen in fear as he hands it off to Carlos to read. “That can’t be true, right? I was defending us!” Lance exclaims.
“Shiro will fix it,” Carlos reassures him. “Don’t worry.”
Suddenly another owl flies through the window, dropping another letter into Lance’s hand. He notes that this one is from Pidge’s father, Samuel Holt. Lance opens it eagerly and reads that Shiro is attempting to sort the issue out with the Ministry of Magic and that Lance should not surrender his wand nor leave his house.
Just as he finishes reading that letter, a third owl appears and drops the letter into Marco’s hand. “What’s that one say?” Lance asks.
“It’s from the Ministry,” Marco says as he starts opening it. “Oh, there’s a disciplinary hearing for you on August Twelve. You’re allowed to keep your wand until then.”
Lance opens his mouth to reply, but a fourth owl flies in, Lance recognizing this one as Rover. He eagerly grabs it, hoping it’s a letter from Pidge, but his spirits diminish slightly when he sees it’s from Krolia instead. He opens it up and furrows his eyebrows in confusion when it just reads:
“Okay, what the hell is going on?” Carlos asks.
The boys end the night discussing theories in the living room before heading up to bed.