It was summer break, and all was at peace in the Granger household.
Well mostly at peace.
“I cast fireball at the minotaur!” said Vincent Crabbe, a Slytherin, as he picked up his dice and began to roll for damage. His miniature, a small, enchanted sword and sorcery version of a wizard, began to make that motions that would cast the fireball spell.
Rosalina Granger, adopted daughter of Meredith and Tom Granger, had just had the most interesting school year she’d ever experienced. For she and her sister Hermione were both witches and were attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to master their powers.
“Crabbe, I’m right next to it, if you hit it there’s no way you won’t hit me too,” said Daphne Greengrass, another Slytherin. Her own miniature, an enchanted fighter, pointed an accusatory finger at Crabbe’s miniature reflecting her attitude.
“Oh, right,” said Crabbe, setting down the six sided dice needed to cast his spell and picking up a four sided dice. “Then I cast magic missile at the minotaur for,” and he rolled the dice, “12 damage. Not great.” Crabbe frowned at the dice as his miniature mimed the spell and four little bursts of light went out from its fingertips and struck the minotaur, who soundlessly howled in pain.
At Hogwarts, there were four houses that students could be placed into: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. Slytherin and Gryffindor were historically the bitterest of rivals but that felt like it wasn’t the case so much anymore so far as Rosalina could tell. She had been sorted in Slytherin while Hermione, her sister, had been sorted into Gryffindor and no one seemed to mind at all.
“Well it’s still up, so I’m going to throw a knife and do a sneak attack,” said Neville Longbottom, a Gryffindor, rolling his dice and cheering. “Nice! 18!” His own miniature, a rogue who had hidden behind a column, threw a little knife and the minotaur howled again.
“I cast Guiding Bolt at it for,” and Heidi Macavoy, Hufflepuff, “another 18 points of damage, nice!” Her miniature was a little spellcaster as well, a cleric.
Rosalina had started the game partway through the last school year, with a bit of help from Mr Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker.
“It’s still up. It charges at you, Crabbe,” said Rosalina, and the little minotaur huffed a couple of times as it got ready to charge.
“But not before my fighter takes an attack of opportunity for 13 damage,” said Daphne, and her fighter mimicked this, stabbing the minotaur with its little sword.
With that, the little minotaur howled, then fell to the ground, twitching a few times before its tongue flopped out and little Xs took the place of its eyes.
“And that gets it! Everyone, welcome to eighth level,” said Rosalina and everyone cheered as she began to distribute loot.
By the time they’d finished figuring out who got what and leveling up their characters, it was late enough that they figured it was time to call it a day. One by one, they left through the Floo network, a magically interconnected series of fireplaces. Muggle homes weren’t normally connected to it, but the Grangers had gotten an exception.
“Bye Mr and Mrs Granger, bye Miss Felicity,” said Heidi, Crabbe and Daphne each in turn said as they went back to their respective homes.
Miss Felicity was a recent addition to the Granger household. While she and Hermione had been away at school, their parents had been learning more about the wizarding world and had eventually wound up in a three-way relationship with Miss Felicity Smith, a witch who worked at Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley. She was also part of why their home was connected to the Floo network, though the three of them had never really explained the details of how that had been arranged to Rosalina or Hermione.
“Rosalina, where’s Hermione? Each time we’ve come by I’ve not seen her,” asked Neville before he went back to his own home.
Rosalina shrugged. “Hard at work on summer homework, I think. We’ve got a double load, one from Hogwarts and one from our muggle studies tutor.”
Their tutor, Mr Potts, had been a special arrangement that Professor Mcgonagall had made with their parents to ensure that they kept up to speed with their muggle schools studies. He taught them math, science, logic, history, that sort of thing.
“Which you should also be working on, since you’re not done yet! Oh, and hi Neville! Hope the game went well,” said Hermione, poking her head out from their shared room.
“I’ve got at least two months to get it done! I’ll be fine!” said Rosalina, sticking out her tongue at her in return. Hermione just rolled her eyes and popped back into the room.
“Well, I’ll see you next session,” said Neville, and with that he was off as well, vanishing through the Floo network.
Miss Felicity and Mum had vanished into their bedroom by the time that Rosalina had gotten to the kitchen, where her dad was busy preparing dinner.
“Are mum and Miss Felicity going out tonight?” asked Rosalina as she began to get out plates and such for dinner. They’d needed to embiggen the table so that everyone would be able to sit around it since there were more often five people at meals now, instead of just the four of them. On Sundays there were six people, as Miss Felicity’s sister, Miss Rachel, would join them (“Part of the deal we made for the Floo connection,” said Dad, not saying anything else about it).
“That was their plan. I was thinking that we could watch a movie,” said Dad, slicing up vegetables.
“Oh, could we invite the Weasleys over‽” asked Rosalina, sitting on the edge of her seat.
The Weasleys were another wizarding family. She’d not met the oldest two, but the four younger boys, Ron, Fred, George, and Percy, had stayed over with them the past Christmas and it had been good fun. They were also connected to the Floo network, but as wizards it was a bit more normal for them.
“Maybe not this time, but you could write them an owl and ask about their coming in a few days, maybe!” said Dad, looking over at her and smiling.
Rosalina sighed, but nodded in agreement.
Magic could do a lot of things, but the one thing it couldn’t do was give a person more time. Or let them travel about in time, which would also be handy.
Dinner was as wonderful as it ever was. Even after having had Hogwarts cooking, Rosalina still felt that Dad’s cooking was the best that there was. And from the look of things, so did Hermione.
“Now, to business,” said Miss Felicty, and she cleared her throat.
Could you pass the , oh, um, oh! green beans , hissed Miss Felicity, half in parselmouth and half in … well, very much not parselmouth.
Rosalina was a natural-born parselmouth, but she’d taught Hermione when they were younger. For ages they’d thought it was just a secret sister language that she’d made up, until Professor Mcgonagall came to talk to them about going to the Hogwarts for the first time. That’s when they learned it was a talent, and one that could be taught.
Hermione and Harry Potter, one of the first people they met when they’d gone to Diagon Alley and another Parseltongue (what someone who spoke parselmouth was called), had taught Ron bits of it . Enough that he could have a basic conversation with local snakes. So Rosalina had decided that it was time to try to bring their family into the loop as well.
Certainly! Hissed Hermoine, passing the beans as asked.
I am glad you are sharing us in this , hissed Mum, halting as she hissed each word. Rosalina wasn’t sure if muggles were supposed to be able to learn this sort of thing, but wizarding rules were silly anyway. They both had wands already anyway (“We punched a wizard, now we have wands!” said Dad), so what was one more thing?
This with us, Mum, hissed Hermione, and they smiled at one another.
This with us , hissed Mum back to her. To them both.
Chapter 2: Monster Mash (Meredith)
“And you’re sure that you’ll be alright?” asked Meredith once again. She knew that she was being worrisome, but still.
“It’s fine. We’re going to watch a movie. It’s time for you two to have a girl’s night out. Go. Have fun,” said Tom, give her a little peck before shooing her towards Felicity, who was shifting her weight from one foot to the other and biting her lower lip.
“Right then, we’re off! Bye girls!” said Meredith, waving at Rosalina and Hermione one last time before turning on the flames in their fireplace and casting the floo powder into them.
“The Werewolf’s Howl!” she said as once she’d stepped in and she felt herself be whisked away from their home and into the ethereum. She’d travelled via ride-along apparition with Felicity a few times but no matter how pleasant Felicity was to hold, apparition always made Meredith feel sick.
The Werewolf’s Howl was a wizarding nightclub located in Knockturn Alley. Owned by closest thing the wizarding world had ever had to a necromancer and staffed by a pair particularly well preserved inferi he crafted for reasons known only to himself, it was quite the place to be if a witch or wizard wanted to go out and go wild.
At least, that’s what all the rumors said.
“Meredith, darling! You’ve come!” said Ashton Plotz, stepping out into the street to greet her, arms wide and a grin on his face. Ashton Plotz was, overall, a well-intentioned if forgetful wizard with a knack for magic that might generously be called ‘uncouth’ (“I don’t do Dark magic, just Mildly Unsettling magic. Dark magic requires a depth of malevolence that I do not possess.”).
“Of course I’m here! I love your special nights, you never fail to disappoint!” said Meredith, stepping up and giving him a little hug.
James, a tall, pale, and looming figure, stood by the door and, seeing that Ashton had greeted her, simply nodded as she passed, which she returned. Felicity was already inside when she’d walked up to the bar. From the look of things, she’s started heavy and had not let up yet.
“Meredith, it is always a pleasure to see you. Tonight is a special night. You should be in for some fun,” said Sara as she turned from Felicity to her, already whipping up a drink for her.
Sara and James were indeed inferi, but other than the fact that they were dead, they were quite friendly and pleasant to be around so long as you weren’t a complete ass.
Like whoever the man in the center of the dance floor was being right now.
“I challenge any werewolf here to face me down, and I’ll show you what an alpha is!” said the loud, boisterous man. He looked like a homeless man, but not the ‘spare some change please’ kind. No, he looked like he’d shank you for fun and leave you to die in an alley because you looked at him wrong.
“Who’s the asshole,” said Meredith as she took her drink from Sara.
“Oh, he’s,” she began, but in an instant the man was in front of her, teeth bared. He was much hairier up close than she’d thought he’d be.
“The Asshole is the chiefmost werewolf in all Britain. Wizards fear my name and shrink from my presence. The Aurors do not dare come close to me. I am …”
“Accosting another patron, Fenrir, and I’ve given you one warning already. Consider this warning number two. Do you want to go for three? Cause you know what that means, don’t you?” said Sara, crossing her arms.
“Yes. I was coming to pay my tab and,” and Fenrir sniffed me a couple of times as he slammed a few coins down on the bar, then grinned, “Greet the muggle. Hello, muggle.”
“Goodbye, Fenrir,” said Sara, ice in her voice.
The conversation around Meredith died away a little once he left and the folks around her scooted away a bit. Felicity looking rattled.
“Sara, I love coming down here but Fenrir Greyback is a menace. I don’t know why you keep letting him come,” said Felicity as she sidled closer to Meredith.
“It is Ashton’s rule, not mine. Three strikes. He has had two as of tonight. So long as he does not earn a third strike, he shall be permitted to enter the premises,” said Sara in a way that suggested that had it been up to her alone, this would not be the case.
“And the fact that he comes is half the reason why everyone else comes,” said a voice next to Meredith.
Meredith turned and there next to her was a woman whose fashion sense almost mirrored her own. Wearing a red and black dress, fishnets, and black combat boots, she couldn’t help but stare in wonder.
“You have excellent taste,” said Meredith, grinning. She was wearing a skirt, fishnets, combat boots and one of her old band shirts.
“You as well,” said the woman, grinning in turn.
“Ah, you’ve met!” said Ashton, appearing next to them. “Meredith, I’d like for you to meet Sara U. She works at a muggle university in,” and he trailed off and looked at Sara U, biting his upper lip as he did so.
“Durham. I’m the assistant professor of logic and philosophy of language,” said Sara, rolling her eyes a bit.
“She’s the one who helped me put this whole thing together. Tonight, I mean. Werewolf night. Well, Therenthrope night, there’s more than just werewolves here,” said Ashton with a glance around the club.
“Therenthrope?” said Meredith, glancing at Sara U.
“A more technical term for people who turn into animals, although werebeast is catching on in the community. Taking back the word from the establishment,” said Sara U.
“Werebeast and proud!” said a man standing nearby, and there was a general chorus of cheers on the dance floor.
Meredith smiled at Sara U but caught that Felicity seemed more skittish than not. Normally Felicity was one of the first ones to finish a drink and head to the dance floor, but tonight she seemed content to stay near Sara the bartender.
“I take it that you’re a muggle?” said Sara U after a moment, sipping slowly from her own drink.
“What gave it away?” I asked, rubbing a hand on Felicity’s back. She leaned into it and sighed.
“You weren’t terrified when Fenrir came up to you, mostly. He tends to be a bit much for most wizarding folks, werebeasts included,” said Sara U, scowling as she spoke.
“You don’t seem afraid of him,” said Meredith, part statement and part question.
“That’s because I know how to deal with him,” said Sara U, taking a deep drink of beer and not going into more detail than that.
They just stood there for a bit, drinking and idly passing the time.
“So, is your last name U or is U short for something?” asked Meredith when the music died down a bit. She would normally have gone to the dance floor by now as well, but with Felicity acting as timid as she was, she didn’t want to leave her be. Besides, she felt a sort of kingship with Sara U that she couldn’t quite explain.
“It’s Uckelman, but since that Sara was here before I was, everyone just started calling me Sara U to tell us apart,” said Sara U, shrugging. “It’s not bad, as nicknames go.”
“Right on.’ Meredith bit her lip, then asked the question on the tip of her mind. “I take it you’re a werebeast as well, then?”
Felicity nearly choked on her drink. “Meredith, you can’t just ask someone if they’re a therenthrope!” she said after she’d stopped coughing.
Sara, however, just laughed.
“It’s a valid question considering the circumstances. And yes, I’m a werebeast. A werewolf in particular, although there are more than werewolves here tonight. Jones, by the music box, is one of the few werebears left in Britain while Thomas and Andy over there are werefoxes,” said Sara, pointing out various people in the crowd, each of whom waved when pointed at.
Meredith couldn’t help but batter Sara with questions, each one of which Sara felt more than happy to answer as the night went on.
(“Yes we call groups packs, but it’s much more familial than not”)
(“The only alphas that exist are either sad loners or brutes like Fenrir”)
And so on and so forth. The last one was the really unsettling one, which she’d asked of Felicity rather than Sara.
“Why are you acting so odd? It’s like you expect something to jump out and bite you?” asked Meredith. Felicity, seemed to be just as nervous now as she had been when she’d started drinking, perhaps even more so.
“Well, it’s just, you know, there’s more, umm, well,” and on like that she went, not able to really string together a sentence as she avoided looking at both Sara U and Merdith, instead focusing intently on her drink.
“It is because the room is full of werebeasts, and she fears them, as do many witches and wizards,” said Sara from behind the bar, cleaning a glass with a rag.
Meredith was horrified, but Sara U seemed unperturbed.
“We turn into monsters a few nights a month and a bite from us infects you. And not many of us can hold down real jobs, so we’re even more outsiders,” said Sara U, speaking as if she was simply saying how trees grew or why the sky was blue. Felicity at least had the decency to look ashamed over herself.
“Sorry,” she muttered, still not looking at them.
“Nothing to be sorry about. It’s not the first time a witch has been scared of me for existing,” said Sara U before taking a deep drink of beer.
“I wish there was something I could do to help,” said Meredith, looking out at the crowd. None of them seemed particularly unsettled or deranged. Just happy to have fun.
“Come out to werebeast night again, that’s all I can suggest. Break the taboos,” said Sara U. She perked up a bit, then smiled. “This is my song! I gotta go dance. It was lovely speaking with you, Meredith, we should chat again.”
And just like that she’d vanished back out into the crowd, leaving Meredith curious and Felicity still muttering apologies into her drink.
Chapter 3: Movie Night
It had almost been inevitable from the first moment they’d taken the Weasley boys to see Beauty and the Beast that past Christmas, when the four boys had stayed over with them.
“And you say the muggles have special rooms set up just to watch them?” asked Mr Weasley as they put the finishing touches on magically projecting the sound and images from their cassette copy of Beauty and the Beast onto the side of the Weasley home, the Burrow.
“Special buildings, actually. It’s a different experience in a theater,” said Rosalina and Hermoine’s dad as they watched Mr Weasley put the finishing touches on his enchanted projector.
Not only were Ron, Fred, George, and Percy, the boys that had spent the winter with them, there but their younger sister, Ginny, was there as well. She was due to start at Hogwarts with them in the fall.
Hermione was happy enough to sit and talk with Ron and Harry, who had been rescued from his home by the Weasley boys a few days back. Rosalina, though, was far more interested in talking to Ginny.
“What house do you want to be sorted into?” asked Rosalina as the adults continued to get the projection system to work.
“I’ve not thought about it. Siblings almost always go into the same house so it’s not like I have much of a choice,” said Ginny, looking over at Harry Potter and sighing.
“Hermione and I are in different houses and we’re siblings,” said Rosalina, rolling her eyes at a pun that Percy had tried to tell Fred and George. He’d gotten a book of puns the Christmas before and he’d really started to embrace the terribleness of them.
“What, really? What house are you in?” asked Ginny, alert all at once now.
“I’m in Slytherin! It’s great,” said Rosalina, puffing up a bit. “I’m planning to join the quidditch team this year, George and Fred have been teaching me.”
“Fred and George have been teaching you? Even though you’re in Slytherin? I thought that Slytherins were all terrible At least, that’s what everyone’s always made it out to be,” said Ginny, sitting back, knees pulled tight to her chest as she absorbed this.
“I think that last year’s lot wasn’t so bad. Well, not all bad, at least,” said Fred, watching Mr Weasley as Tom Granger continued to try and help.
“Yeah. That Malfoy boy is almost tolerable now,” said George.
Rosalina smiled at that. Draco had joined them a few times at the Gryffindor table nearer to the end of the year. He’d mostly chatted with Hermione, but he was welcomed by everyone else as well. Well, maybe not welcomed, but he and the various other Gryffindors weren’t at each other’s throats all the time.
A couple shouts of triumph from Mr Weasley seemed to indicate that they’d managed to get things going.
“Now we’re talking! Everyone, get ready for the excitement of the ages! Muggle entertainment!” said Mr Weasley, and a picture flickered into being in the air and music began to fill the air. It was nearly as exciting as the theater. Nearly.
“Rosa, have you seen mum?” asked Hermione, turning from her conversation with Harry and Ron.
“I think she stepped out for a bit, I’ll go get her,” said Rosalina, and she stood up and shook herself off.
Mum would do that sometimes in large gatherings. It wasn’t that she didn’t like people or going out. She went out on dates with either Felicity or Dad all the time. It’s just that sometimes she said everything could be a bit much, so she’d occasionally need to get some fresh air.
Sometimes she’d just be out the door, but other times both Dad and Hermione lost track of her and that’s where Rosalina really shined. She could find just about anything if she set her mind to it, and Mum’s wandering was no exception.
Rosalina pulled out her wand, focused on it, and her sense of finding was increased. It wasn’t a spell that she was doing, exactly. At least, not one that she’d been taught. It was more of a way for her to focus, but the wand amplified it. The wand twitched towards the clump of trees near the Burrow and Rosalina bounded over to it
When she peeked through the trees she almost burst out laughing. There, in the middle of the field that the cluster of trees surrounded, was her mother. She had her wand out and was waving it about wildly, jabbing it forward at times.
“Take that, you fiend! No dark lord will so much as touch my daughters, even if you are Lord Voldemort!” she said, jumping forward and swishing her wand through the air and making little sound effects with her mouth as she did so.
Rosalina stifled a giggle as she looked on, clutching her own wand to her chest, but a very warm filling bubbled up in her.
Lord Voldemort, more commonly known as He Who Shall Not Be Named, was a notorious dark wizard who’d vanished over a decade ago. She didn’t know what her mum could possibly do against him if he ever came back, as she was a muggle, but still. It felt nice to hear it.
It was in that brief moment, between her happiness and wondering how best to call out to her mum, that Rosalina saw the thing in the woods. It looked like a dog, but wrong somehow. It was too long in its limbs, and its fur was far more bristled than any dog she’d ever seen.
“Mum!” Rosalina shouted out, but that might have been the wrong thing to do, for the instant her mum turned to look at her, her cheeks a little red in the starlight, the beast sprung. It was on top of her mother, snapping at her like it had a personal vendetta against her.
Not that her mother didn’t fight back. Gone were the little bits of silliness that she’d had before. Her mum thrown her left arm up and so it had latched onto that, pulling like a puppy at a toy. It almost looked like it was grinning.
Then, while it was latched onto her arm, her mum raised her wand up in her right hand and slammed it into one of the creature’s eyes. Following this was a brief, but intense, brilliant burst of light and the smell of seared flesh filled the air. She pulled it back to do it again, but the creature let go and began to skitter away, tail between its legs. At least, it tried to skitter away.
Rosalina pulled out her wand and, without any more hesitation, shouted “Petrificus totalus!” and the creature was then bound into place as its limbs snapped to its sides.
She rushed over to her mum and in moments she was no longer alone. Hermione, her dad, and the whole Weasley clan were in the clearing clustered around her as well.
“Merlin’s Beard,” said Mr Weasley as he walked up to them and took in the damage that had been done to her mum. “Molly, get Dumbledore.”
Mrs Weasley nodded and in a few moments (“Accio broom!”) vanished into thin air with a little pop.
“Percy,” began Mr Weasley, but Percy, Fred, and George had already turned and run back to the house.
“Now. Incarcerous!” said Mr Weasley, as if he’d only just taken in the creature that was bound on the ground nearby. “A werewolf. Mercy of Nimue, a werewolf. Rosalina, was that your spell?” he asked, finally turning to look up at her.
“Yes. It was attacking her. I would have done something sooner, but I, but I,” said Rosalina, moving on autopilot.
“It’s alright,” said Mr Weasley, patting her a little on the back.
Meanwhile, Hermione and her dad had clustered near Mum as well, Dad holding her hand and swaying back and forth on the ground. Hermione mostly seemed stunned and all the blood had run out from her face.
“What did you do to its eye?” asked Ron as he moved over to look at the creature. The werewolf.
“Skewered it. On my wand,” said her mum. Her voice sounded a little distant. She was still clutching her now bloody wand, and there were little sparks flickering from it now.
“It looks like it's been burned out,” said Harry.
Percy and the twins came back holding a few bundles of little jars which they handed over to Mr Weasley. At the same time, Mrs Weasley popped back into place with Professor Dumbledore, who looked madder than Rosalina had ever seen. A few moments after that, Madam Pomfrey and Professor Snape popped into being beside them and the two of them set to work on her mum like a pair of worker bees.
The evening went rather quickly after that as Madam Pomfrey bustled Mum off to the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts (“I still don’t think that we should do this undercover business, Professor”) while Snape dealt with the werewolf after a brief staredown with Professor Dumbledore.
“Hermione, Rosalina, Tom, if I might have a word with the three of you,” said Professor Dumbledore. He began to stride off the center of the field while the Harry and the Weasley clan shuffled about awkwardly as the three of them followed after him.
“Girls, Tom, Meredith is about to undergo some of the most drastic changes to her life that she’s ever experienced,” said Professor Dumbledore, stopping near the far trees.
“Like becoming a werewolf,” said Hermione, her eyes filling with tears.
“And becoming a witch. Wands do not react that way to just anyone,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“But I thought you had to be born a witch?” said her dad, his eyes going wide.
“No. Our world’s spells are set to detect natural-born witches and wizards, so they’re usually the ones who are accepted to Hogwarts. However, one can gain access to magic in times of great stress, among other things, although it’s harder to find those sorts of wizarding folk. That is the reason for the great schism between the founders of Hogwarts, after all. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw thought that anyone with magical ability should be accepted, while Sytherin only would accept born-wizarding folk,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“But … but that’s not what the books say!” said Hermoine, coming into her own now. “The books said that Sytherin would only take purebloods!”
“My dear, blood purity only came into importance after the passing of the Statute of Secrecy. Hogwarts was and is a school of magic for all who have the ability and wish to learn,” said Professor Dumbledore, a small twinkle of a smile crossing his face.
“So is that why you took her to the Hospital wing?” asked Rosalina, slightly grumpy. She didn’t like the idea that her house’s founder had been so close minded.
“In part,” said Professor Dumbledore, but then it was her father’s turn.
“Memory modification. Because we’re muggles. Dear God. Will you be at risk?” asked her dad, the blood draining from his face.
Professor Dumbledore laughed at that. “I can assure you that I will be fine, though I thank you for your concern. It is Arthur Weasley you should really be thanking. You would be in the tender care of the Aurors if not for his foresight.”
“Or I’d have a dead wife. Thank you still. You didn’t need to help,” said her dad, and he pulled Professor Dumbledore into a hug.
Professor Dumbledore looked a little surprised at this, but embraced her dad in turn.
“She’ll be alright,” he said, patting her dad on the back a couple times. She realized that he’d begun to sob, and in seconds she and Hermione were around him, hugging both Dumbledore and their dad and all three of them were sobbing.
Chapter 4: The Hospital Wing (Meredith)
Meredith’s memories of her first few days in the hospital wing were fuzzy. She knew that Tom, Felicity, and the girls had stopped in to see her each day, but for the life of her she didn’t know what they’d spoken about. Just that she’d be exceedingly happy to see them whenever they come in.
As the, well, shock she supposed, wore off, her visitors became less lighthearted and joyful and more officious.
“All I’m saying, Dumbledore, is that this is a serious violation of the Statute of Secrecy,” said a rather stuffy looking, pasty-skinned man in a bowler hat at the door of the hospital wing early in the morning, a few days after things had begun to clear up.
“Show me where she and her husband violated the Statute of Secrecy and I will act accordingly, Minster. Otherwise, we shall continue to care for her here,” said Professor Dumbledore.
The other man scowled at him, then turned to walk away. The little toad-faced woman that she and her family had met upon their first journey into Diagon Alley, Dolores Umbridge, was close behind him. Meredith nearly stuck her tongue out at her.
“Good morning, Mrs Granger,” said Professor Dumbledore when he turned and saw that she was awake. “I hope you’re feeling better.”
“Much, thank you. We didn’t break the law, did we?” asked Meredith, moving to sit up in her bed. She winced as she moved her arm; it was still tender from the bite.
“Of course not. There isn’t a rule against wizarding kind speaking with muggles, nor is there a rule against families of muggleborns interacting with the wizarding world. The Minster is simply confusing outdated taboos with law,” said Professor Dumbledore. He waved his wand and a chair manifested behind and he sat beside her.
“Will I be alright?” asked Meredith, wiggling her fingers a bit.
“Your arm will heal with time, though the scar will stay with you forever. But I do believe that you’ve been infected with lycanthropy,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“I met other werewolves a couple weeks back. Other werebeasts. Therianthropes. They don’t seem so bad,” said Meredith, thinking about Sara. They’d have a lot more in common next time they spoke.
Professor Dumbledore smiled at her. “And that is the attitude you should keep in mind going forward. There are ways of processing your new style of being, and their community will be able to help you. In a way you’re very lucky. The wizarding world has a rather dim view of werewolves, so the fact that you can work in your muggle job is a great boon.”
“It can’t be that hard for werewolves to find work, can it?” asked Meredith, frowning.
“Wizards can be very clever while also very stupid at some thoughts. The majority opinion on werewolves is, in my opinion, one of those thoughts,” said Professor Dumbledore.
It would have been wonderful if that had been the end of it, but word seemed to get out that she was feeling up to good conversations and so that evening a few more official looking folks dropped in to visit her.
Folks from the Ministry of Magic.
Three of them.
Two of them she already knew, Auror Rachel Smith. She was Felicity’s sister and joined Tom, Felicity, and herself for brunch on Sundays. And Rosalina and Hermione, now that they were back home. The, Mr Ollivander, owned the sole legitimate wand shop in Diagon Alley and looked almost old enough to be her grandfather.
The other man she didn’t know. He was a very stern looking man with a wooden leg, a peculiar eye, and the tanned brown skin of a man who spent much of his time outside.
“Hallo, Meredith,” said Rachel, giving her a half smile as she walked into the hospital wing.
“Hallo, Rachel. Who’s your friend?” Merdith asked, doing her best to not seem fretful.
“I’m her partner, Alastor Moody,” said the man with the odd eye. He looked like he’d seen better decades as his face was heavily scarred.
“Is it true you blasted out his eye?” blurted Tonks, her eyes wide.
“Well it was that or let him finish my arm off. I’d only meant to jab it out, though,” said Meredith, trying and failing to not look too smug.
“That’s one of the things we’re here to ask about, actually. How’d you manage that?” asked Auror Moody, eyes narrowed.
“Manage what?” asked Meredith.
“Manage to blast his eye out. I can accept a lot of things. I can accept a muggle gaining magic in a moment of stress. But what I’ve heard say is that you used a wand to do it. How?” asked Moody, leaning in towards her.
“How what?” asked Meredith, sitting back a bit in her bed.
“How did you get that wand to respond? Wands don’t work that well for just anyone, especially untalented and previously unmagical folks like you. It didn’t belong to anyone in your family. So far as I know, it was just some wand you got off a no-talent hack of a wizard,” he said, glaring at her. She felt like his eye was looking past her clothes and into her soul.
“I don’t know. I jabbed my wand into its eye and it did that on its own so far as I could tell. As for the wand, I won it. In a duel,” said Meredith. She glanced at Rachel, who coughed and looked away.
“I can confirm that she won it, but I had no idea it was still active. I thought it was dead the moment it became hers. This is beginning to sound like an Ollivander question,” said Rachel, glancing over at Moody.
“Not really,” said Moody, his attention never leaving Meredith. “Mrs Granger,”
“Doctor,” interrupted Meredith. “Doctor Granger. I didn’t go to medical school to be called Miss.” She didn’t normally insist, but this man wasn’t a normal occurrence.
He nodded slightly. “Dr Granger, if you could pull out your wand and swish it about a couple of times for us. Just try to make it do a bit of magic, nothing big.”
She shrugged and pulled her wand out from under the covers, where it had been laying beside her. Then she swished it about in the air a little bit. She gave a delighted squeak when it shot off a little stream of glittering light as she did so.
“It did something! It’s never done that before,” she said, grinning broadly at Rachel, who grinned back.
“You’re a witch through and through, now. You’ve certainly earned it, stabbing no less than Fenrir Greyback in the eye,” said Tonks, giving her a toothy smile. “And there’s a reward for his capture, too. Your family would be splitting that with the Weasleys, of course, but still. Its nothing to sneeze at.”
Meredith’s smiled faded a bit. “Fenrir Greyback is who bit me? That … overbearing, brutish thug?”
“You’ve met him, then,” said Moody, raising an eyebrow at her.
“We crossed paths at a club once. Where is he now?” asked Meredith, her mood darkening.
“Azkaban, where he belongs. He’s got a laundry list of crimes he’s committed over the years so he had a cell waiting for him there,” said Rachel. Azkaban was the wizarding prison, meant for the worst of the worst.
“Good. Did you neuter him? Because I’m told that’s what you’re supposed to do with feral dogs,” said Meredith, scowling. She knew it was a nasty thing to say, but he’d just been such an utter ass.
Moody laughed, a full throated hearty thing. “No, but I’ll inquire about it.”
From there, her meeting with Rachel, Moody and Tonks went smoothly enough. They confirmed details of the attack (“We spoke to your daughter Rosalina already but we wanted to hear your take on it as well. Don’t worry, we’ve already got more than enough to convict him”) and clarified things that she’d suspected to be true (“You’ll have to go down to the ministry to fill out a few bits of paperwork and follow-up with Ollivander but that shouldn’t be too much trouble”).
Tom and the girls came to visit as often as they could, of course. At least, as often as they were allowed to visit. It seemed that students on campus over the summer was something of a taboo, so all the castle ghosts (Ghosts were something else to get used to) kept coming in and out of the Hospital wing to look at her. It wasn’t until an ancient ghost, dripping with blood and covered by chains, shooed them all away that she got any real peace from the ghosts.
She met Peeves. Or at least, Peeves tried to meet her until the bloody ghost terrified him away. She got the sense that the bloody ghost wasn’t quite like the others. The other ghosts, except for Peeves, seemed to be tied to who they were in life and afraid to move past that. The bloody ghost just seemed angry. She didn’t know if it was himself or the world he was angry at, but she was very happy that she wasn’t on the receiving end there.
The most interesting person, though, the one with the most secrets, was Mr Filch.
He was … old. She didn’t know if he’d come to that by stress or years, but he was in no way a young man. And from the lines on his face, he’d more or less earned a permanent scowl.
“You got yourself some magic. You’re a muggle and you got yourself some magic,” were his first words to her, on her last day in bed.
She shrugged. “By getting attacked by and turned into a werewolf. Almost doesn’t seem worth it. You must be Argus Filch.”
“I am, and it will. In time. You just paid your price up front, that’s all. Instead of in the end, like the rest do,” said Mr Filch, sitting down in the chair next to her bed.
“I bet if you got attacked by a werewolf you could get magic,” said Meredith, rolling her eyes. “Then you could pay your price up front too.”
Mr Filch just laughed. “ ‘S not how it works. See, wizarding folks heal faster from injuries that would do a real number on muggle folks. Cept me, I got cancer and a whole host of other deformities. I only look as pretty as I do because what magic I’ve got is bound up keeping me alive. If I ever start slinging spells that’s it for me.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Meredith.
He shrugged. “ ‘S alright. Dumbledore let me work here, which is about as close to magic as I’ll ever get, and that’s enough for me.”
“And Rosalina. She’s very fond of you. I don’t know what she’d’ve done last year if you’d not been there for her,” said Meredith.
Mr Filch looked at her like he’d only just seen her for the first time. “She … she’s fond of me, is she? I’m … I’m very glad to hear that. I’m rather fond of her myself. Thank you.”
Then he snuffled a bit and excused himself from the room, and that was that. She didn’t quite know why Hermione seemed to dislike him so much. For the most part he just seemed to be a lonely old man.
But as it was, that last day flew by as well and in no time at all she was home again, absent the girls and Felicity. There was a very strongly worded letter from the Ministry waiting for her and a little kong sat in a box on the bed, next to a little bag of dog treats which smelled better than she would have cared to admit.
The girls gaining magic had been one thing, but this, she was beginning to realize, was quite another thing altogether. Life, as she knew it, had just changed for her and her family forever.