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these little powerless bones

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ugh okay but now i want a squib who did make it through hogwarts;

a squib who spent her childhood pretending to magically start accidental fires with the lighter up her sleeve; who got her bemused little sister to grow her hair long overnight after a bad trim;

a squib who shook all through shopping at diagon alley and who was so relieved that her parents were almost suspicious when they said that there wasn’t enough money that year to get her a new wand from ollivander’s— she’d have to take great-aunt jenny’s hand-me-down, eight and a half inches of oak and unicorn hair;

a squib who made it to platform 9 3/4, who made friends with some shy kid in the back of the express, who made it across the lake and up the stairs and through the great hall doors and by the great long tables and onto the wobbly old stool—

until the hat drops over her eyes

well what do we have here?

she’s got a forged hogwarts letter with penmanship that’s perfect down to the ink splatter; she’s got a complicated string of owls, only half of them forged, from parents to administration to ministry that’s so complicated her name ended up on the first year roll call anyway. she’s got ten arguments, four pleas, and one smothered threat on the tip of her mental tongue for why the house that comes out of this hat’s brim better not be squib

she’s got a lighter up her sleeve and an eight and a half inch wand in her belt that will never, ever work for her. 

well, says the hat, better be slytherin then

she finds the room of requirement in her second week, because she has always been a hallway-pacer, her head always ringing with i want i want i need i need i will do this. the room of requirement gives her books of muggle magic tricks, sleight of hand, chemical ways to turn ‘water’ into ‘wine.’ 

she bribes another first-year slytherin to wingardium leviosa her feathers in flitwick’s class. her shy friend from the train, a hufflepuff and a muggleborn, buys her a new lighter for christmas without being asked. when a gryffindor finds her scrubbing at tears in the back of the library and guesses what’s the matter (he’s seen her classwork), she tells him the story, tells him what it’s like to be denied a whole world because they think different means broken— she expects him to tattle, but instead the gryff transfigures her needles for the rest of her academic career; and she whispers hints to him when his black thumb keeps making him fail herbology. 

(the first thing she’d said, when she realized he’d guessed her secret, had been ‘you should’ve been in ravenclaw’ and he had looked at her gravely until she apologized)

the room of requirement gives her books and books on potions, arithmancy, herbology— these things are not about magic. these things are not about power that lives in your bones. she knows power, knows the way sparks fly from her little sister’s wand when they take her to ollivanders, knows the way it flicks under her quill when she practices mcgonagall’s signature and sends home disciplinary letters to the parents of every student who ever bullied her friend from the train. 

she waters nightshade and re-pots mandrakes, can tell poisonous mushrooms from magical (…also poisonous) ones by a glance. she drops in just the right amount of unicorn horn powder in potions class (.025 g more than the instructions suggest) and when making sleeping draught stirs for half a stir extra. 

this is about power that you make

she studies and invents, schemes and lies and excels. she holds potions tutoring in the slytherin common room when her friend from the train suggests it, then moves it to the room of requirement after it gets too large and someone stains the green-and-silver upholstery. (her arithmancy sessions are much less well attended). 

she keeps her lighter, her little packets of carefully measured powder, her jokeshop tricks up her sleeve—she keeps the names of people who she can trust, who she can call on for distraction, for help, for a needed lie on the tip of her tongue—she keeps her gryffindor’s heavy wand and quick wit close at hand; keeps her hufflepuff’s steady patience closer; keeps her own bright improvisations at her fingertips. 

her bemused little sister ends up in ravenclaw, and they all eat at the hufflepuff table for breakfast because (she says) slytherins weren’t meant to follow rules and because (her sister says) how stupid is this seating thing and because (her shy friend says) didn’t you hear the hat? helga said she’d take them all, so hold your tongue, macmillian, scoot over, and pass my friends here the hashbrowns.

when she graduates, she heads for the ministry. she has plans, and she has brave, smart, true, cunning friends to back her up. 

power should never be something born into your bones.