Chapter I is done, at last. On with the show.


Arturus Azkaba XXXVIII
by StandardUsername


Chapter I
The Letter


Arturus awoke the morning of his eleventh birthday with no spring in his step, no want for gifts, and none of the characteristics of a boy on his birthday. He slowly rose out of bed and threw the sheets off of his body. He showered, brushed his teeth and hair, and changed his clothes; the usual morning routine. He only realized it was his birthday when he was at breakfast, when it arrived.

He had been dreading this moment for some time. It felt very surreal, having a moment he had anticipated for years sneak up on him. However, Arturus knew it had been coming. He wasn't prepared for, but knew it was coming all the same.

The Letter from Hogwarts had arrived.

Arturus had been walking into the dining room of Azkaban, still trying to shake off the morning stupor. He sat at his customary end of the table, and looked down at the breakfast that had been given to him. He picked up the fork next to his plate and began to eat in silence.

It was not long before he heard heavy footsteps come beyond the doorway. His father entered the room with dark circles under his eyes; he appeared to have barely slept at all the previous night. Despite his sluggish appearance, he was fully dressed for the day. His footsteps were interspersed with the sharp crack of his wooden walking stick. He, in a manner near mirroring Arturus', sat at his customary end of the table, looked down at the breakfast that had been given to him, and ate in silence.

Their silent breakfast was soon interrupted by a great fluttering of wings; an enormous Great Owl flew into the room through the doorway. This did not disturb Arturus, as he was used to the morning mail being delivered by owl. The owl soared over their heads for a moment, then came to rest near his father's plate. His father took the few letters the bird had and shooed him out. The owl, looking offended, flew off after giving a hoot of distaste.

Arturus' father flipped through the letters nonchalantly, grumbling to himself. Arturus only regarded him with slight interest, still trying to finish his morning meal so that he could get to the library. However, he did take notice when his father's demeanor suddenly changed. His eyes widened slightly, his lips parted, and a slight smile crept across his face. Arturus blanched. He knew exactly what his father held in his hands.

His father tore his eyes from the letter and gazed across the room at his son. Arturus knew exactly what he was thinking - the fight a year ago. Hogwarts had not come up in any conversation they had since that event, and the subject was to be avoided at all costs. Now, they had reached a point where the subject must be breached.

His father took his cane from its place beside him. He gripped the bejeweled handle of the ebony wooden stick and pulled, revealing a wand that was maybe 10 and a half inches long. He tapped the letter with his wand, which caused the letter to float in midair. He sent the letter flying across the table, landing directly where Arturus was about to place his fork. Arturus grimaced, but steeled himself enough to open the letter and read.


HOGWARTS SCHOOL
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr. Azkaba,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl no later than July 31.

Yours Sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall,

Deputy Headmistress


HOGWARTS SCHOOL
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

UNIFORM

First-year students will require:

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)

2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear

3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)

4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)

Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags

COURSE BOOKS

All students should have a copy of each of the following:

The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling

A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore

Magical Draughts and Potion by Arsenius Jigger

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

OTHER EQUIPMENT

1 wand

1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)

1 set glass or crystal phials

1 telescope

1 set brass scales

Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS


Well, I suppose I should have been expecting this, thought Arturus. He looked up at his father, who was watching him with captured interest. He waited silently for his father to say something, anything. Finally, he spoke.

"You do know what this means?" his father spoke, addressing the elephant in the room directly. Arturus nodded for reply, not finding the words to speak.

"Very well. I'll allow you a half hour. Then we shall go to Diagon Alley for you school supplies," his father ordered, then he walked out of the room, cane clicking along with him. Arturus stared down at the letter numbly.

He was not terribly excited about the beginning of wizarding school, never mind the fact that it was school. The problem was, despite their fight, Arturus' father still expected that his son follow in his footsteps. Arturus was still to be the model son, and agree with everything his father said and did, regardless of whatever it was. Arturus was still not his own being.

He continued on with this train of thought for sometime. And unending cycle of what was best for him, or what he wanted, or what his father wanted, or anything in between. Perhaps he may not want to let this worry him for awhile; after all, he was still eleven. He had a life ahead of him, and plenty of time to think about destiny later. Right now, he had more pressing matters to attend to. Namely, his father walking into the dining room once more.

"Arturus, let's be on our way," he said swiftly, having donned his overcoat. Arturus looked up and nodded slowly. Had it really been a half hour already? Time flies, he thought as he followed his father up a stairwell to his office. They walked silently, as neither of them found any need for conversation.

They stepped inside the office, which was dark and cold (like the rest of the fortress). His father unsheathed his wand from his cane and flicked it, causing the room to light up. Arturus was used to magic, and admitted his dislike of the idea of going to school, but he'd be insane if he wasn't looking forward to being able to do that.

His father headed straight for the fireplace, which was also glowing brightly. He grabbed a small box from the mantle, which was full of floo powder. As this was the usual method of transportation in and out of Azkaban (besides by boat, but that was usually for transporting prisoners), Arturus was not fazed when his father threw the powder into the fireplace, causing it to light up bright green.

"I shall be waiting on the other side for you, Arturus," his father said, before continuing, "The Leaky Cauldron." The flames leaped around him, and he was gone. Arturus took some of the powder form the box and threw it into the fire as well. He stepped inside.

"The Leaky Cauldron," he said, making sure to articulate every syllable. He experienced the odd feeling of being sucked down a drain, before he felt as though he was spinning at a rapid pace. He snatched glimpses of fireplaces and rooms zooming by, but he remained calm. He had done this only a few times before, but enough to be know what to do. He felt the spinning slow abruptly and instinctively put his foot out.

He stepped out of the new fireplace gracefully, which had taken much practice. He immediately felt as though some enormous burden had been lifted off of his shoulders, probably owing to the fact that he was out of Azkaban at the moment. He looked around the dark and shabby pub, which was nearly as dimly lit as Azkaban. His father was standing to the right of the fireplace, waiting for him.

"Come, Arturus," he said in a stiff tone, likely annoyed by the filthy establishment. Arturus followed his father, not paying much attention to the empty pub, save the old bartender and a few witches at a table mumbling amongst themselves. The bartender gave a wave to his father, who simply nodded in return. He must not like him very much.

His father led him to the back courtyard behind the bar, where he knew the entrance to Diagon Alley was. His father unsheathed his wand once more, and tapped the bricks on the wall above some trashcans. The wall began to shake, and a hole appeared in the middle of the it. The hole engorged until it became an enormous archway. Arturus and his father stepped into the alley.

Though it was early in the morning, Diagon Alley was already bustling with customers and shopkeepers alike. The crowd was large and rowdy, people going every which way. Arturus spotted the Quidditch shop across the street, with a bunch of boys near Arturus' age pressing their noses against the glass with longing, creating a fog around the broom they were viewing. Arturus never cared much for the sport. However, now that he looked around, he noticed that many, if not most, of the multitude were accompanied by children about his age. Hogwarts shopping season was in full swing, apparently.

He looked around more, noticing the numerous apothecaries, robe shops, and herb stores alike. One shop was selling silver instruments Arturus had never seen, barrels full of potion ingredients, rolls of parchment stacked up to his eyes, among other things. Arturus supposed he may visit later that day, but not at the present. He followed his father to their eventual destination: Gringotts, the wizard bank.

Guarded by goblins in shining armor, the marble bank was easily the most noticeable building on the alley. He followed his father up the stone steps to the great bronze doors. They entered through the doors, only to face another silver pair, which had an inscription engraved upon them. He didn't care to read it, as he was sure it was just some warning about not to steal and thievery. They continued on into the main hall of Gringotts.

The hall was lined on his left and right by hundreds of goblins behind long counters, counting money, examining jewels, and writing in ledgers. His father walked up to one of the creatures and cleared his throat. The goblin peered up from behind his ledger, looking obviously annoyed.

"I wish to enter the Azkaba vault," his father commanded. The goblin crinkled his nose in distaste, obviously not enjoying the way he was addressed. Arturus stood behind his father, nervous.

"Do you have a key?" the goblin asked with an annoyed voice. His father put a hand in his pocket and removed a large, ornate key. He handed to the goblin's small hands, who took it and examined it closely.

"This seems to be in order," the goblin said, before shouting, "Gornuk!" Gornuk seemed to be an especially unpleasant goblin, who appeared from behind the counter to his father. Grunting in distaste, he motioned for them to follow him after his father had taken back the key.

They entered into a stone passageway that had a steep drop off. Some railway tracks lined the floor, and the walls were lined with torches. Gornuk whistled, and a cart came whizzing up to the three of them.

"Enter," spoke Gornuk. Arturus climbed in, then his father, then the goblin. As soon as Gornuk had entered, the cart whizzed off. The cart steered itself through twisting caverns and passages, before finally coming to rest at a small archway with large iron doors. The three stepped out of the cart and strolled up to the doors. Arturus' father handed Gornuk the key, who in turn used it to open the doors. The doors opened to reveal mountains upon mountains of golden Galleons and heaps of silver Sickles. He couldn't remember if the Azkaba family vault even had bronze Knuts, the coin of smallest value, in it.

His father pulled out a bag from one of his suit pockets and, overcoat with fur lining flowing behind him, swiftly walked to the nearest mountain of gold. He shoveled gold coins into the bag with his hands, which seamed to be bottomless. Even though he had not even made a dent in the horde of precious coins, Arturus was sure that the coins in that bag could feed an entire family for a year. It was common knowledge that the Azkabas were filthy rich.

His father closed the bag and put it back in his pocket. He walked back to his son and the goblin, before turning to Gornuk.

"That will be all," his father said coldly. Gornuk nodded, then gestured to the cart. The three clambered back into the cart, which sped off as soon as they were all in. After another hazardous and gut-wrenching cart ride, the vehicle came to a stop back in the passageway. Arturus and his father climbed out of the cart and swiftly left the bank.

As they walked down the marble steps once more, Arturus pulled out the letter. He looked it over before handing it to his father.

"Hm," his father said, "Alright. I will take you to get your uniform, and while you are being measured I will collect your books and supplies." Arturus simply nodded. He was about ready for this trip to be over, anyways.

He followed his father into a new shop, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. The shop was lined with linens and cloths and robes of all sizes. Madam Malkin was a small, smiling witch who was dressed in robes of dark red.

"Good morning, Mr. Azkaba," she said, a bit to happy, "Hogwarts, I assume?" His father nodded, then lightly shoved Arturus forward. Arturus walked toward her with a 'morning' and shook her hand.

"I'll be out gathering the rest of his supplies, will that be all right?" his father asked.

"Oh yes, of course." she said, sounding almost relieved. His father nodded, and exited the shop. Madam Malkin huffed and mumbled something to herself, then turned to Arturus.

"Sorry, dear," she said, "Would you go ahead and stand on the stool here, please?" Arturus climbed on the stool and stood. Madam Malkin placed a robe over his small body and began to pin it to the right length. Arturus stood immobile as she attached the pins to the robe, which took a short while. After she had finished, Arturus stepped down from the stool. Madam Malkin flicked her wand, and immediately cloths and fabrics began to sow each other into school clothes. Just as this process concluded, his father reentered the establishment, carrying a large number of books and devices.

"Ah, done already?" his father said gruffly, trying not to sound as though he was carrying much. He set the books on a chair next to the counter of the store.

"So, this will all be-" his father began.

"Seven Galleons." Madam Malkin said. His father opened his bag of money and handed her the amount required. He then enlarged the bag with a spell and stuffed the books, supplies, and robes into the bag. He placed the bag back into his pocket and ushered Arturus out of the door.

"Now," his father began, "all that is left to pick up is..." He pulled out the letter, "a wand." Arturus nodded for what must have been the hundredth time today. However, he knew that the wand was slightly more important than the rest of the other items on the list. Clothes would be grown out of, cauldrons would rust and decay, scales and cases wouldn't last, but a wand would stay with him for life. Though he couldn't quite wrap his head around that long of a time span, he certainly understood its importance.

His father looked around before apparently spotting the outlet he wanted, a shop called 'Ollivanders'. He walked behind his father across the street to the shop, but before they could enter a blond-haired woman exited the shop. Arturus stood aside to let the woman through, but the woman turned to his father.

"Well, look who it is. Arturus, I haven't seen you in forever," the woman said, addressing his father. He recognized the woman immediately.

"Narcissa, it is very good to see you as well," his father said, taking her hand and kissing it. He remembered the Malfoys quite well from the few times he'd met them, which was usually at some refined upper-class dinner party. He knew them to be snobbish and rude, hiding their arrogance behind veiled insults.

"So, shopping for Arturus, I presume?" Narcissa asked, her eyes flashing to where he stood with a forced smile. Arturus gave his best smile and hoped it didn't look like a grimace.

"Yes," he said, putting his arm around Arturus' shoulders, "and you as well?"

"Oh, yes! We just arrived a moment ago, and took Draco to Madam Malkin's for robes. Lucius is over at Flourish and Blotts buying him his books," said Narcissa. Arturus thanked his lucky stars that he hadn't run into that tool at Madam Malkin's. He couldn't stand Draco Malfoy, and they both knew it. He was a pompous and arrogant brat, to put it lightly.

"We were just there a moment ago," said his father, "buying Arturus his robes. Well, we do have to be on our way. Hope to see you later, Narcissa."

"Same to you, Arturus," she said, and walked away. As soon as she left his father pushed him through the door and followed. He closed the door behind him and sighed.

"Abysmal woman," he muttered, and Arturus nodded out of habit. His father saw and patted him on the shoulder. He looked around the room and saw a spindly wooden chair on which his father sat. He noticed the myriad of narrow boxes piled on shelves in the room, like a library. The room itself, however, was very dim and shabby.

"Good morning," a soft, old voice sounded. Arturus whipped around in surprise. An old man was standing before him, with snow-white hair and wide, pale eyes.

"Arturus Azkaba, I presume?" the man asked, though it didn't seem like a question. He nodded, before adding, "the thirty-eighth."

"And Arturus Azkaba the Thirty-Seventh, 10 and a half inches, ebony, dragon heartstring." he said to his father, who nodded.

"Well, let's get started, shall we? Which arm is your wand arm?" Ollivander asked.

"Left." he answered. Ollivander instructed him to hold up his arm, and he did so. The man pulled out a measuring tape and began to measure him at any and all angles. He measured shoulder to finger, wrist to elbow, knee to armpit, and round his head. Ollivander let go of the tape, which then began to do the task on its own. The old man walked behind one of the shelves of wands.

"Yes, this shouldn't be to hard to place..." he said from his place behind the shelf. The tape continued on its job, wrapping around his upper thigh now. Ollivander reappeared from behind the shelf with one of the narrow boxes.

"That will be all." Ollivander said, and the measuring tape dropped to the floor. He opened the box and took out a thin wand.

"Ebony, 11 inches, dragon heartstring. Strong. Here, give it a wave." he said, and handed it to Arturus. Arturus took the wand, and felt a familiarity to it, but also a feeling of foreignness. He waved it, and nothing happened. Ollivander took the wand back, staring at it as though it was out of place.

"Odd. Very odd." he mumbled, before placing it back in the box and setting the box on the floor.

"Maybe... ah, yes!" Ollivander said to himself, and suddenly went for another box. He took it off the shelf and removed it from the box.

"Maple, 12 inches, dragon heartstring, supple. Try this." he said, and handed the wand to Arturus. Again, nothing. Ollivander took the wand back, looking very unsettled.

"Hm," he hummed, and grabbed another box. And another, and another, and another. But none of them gave Arturus anything.

"Well, that's the last of those wands," Ollivander said, sitting down. Arturus wondered what on earth those wands were, but before he could, ask Ollivander had sprung up from his seat.

"Maybe... just, maybe..." he said cryptically, before rushing into the back of the shop. Arturus looked back over to his father, who simply shrugged. Before long, Ollivander had returned with another box.

"12 inches, blackthorn, veela hair, strong. try it out." he said, with a quiver of excitement in his voice. Arturus took the wand and suddenly felt at home. He swished the wand and dazzling sparks of all colors flew out of it. His father applauded politely and patted him on the back.

"Oh, yes, good!" Ollivander said, "ah, perfect. Curious, though... odd, some may say..." Arturus was slightly perturbed.

"Excuse me, Mr. Ollivander, but, what's odd?" he asked, and Ollivander looked from him to his father, then back to him.

"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Azkaba. Even if I didn't, I have records. And my father, and his father before remembered all their wands and took records as well. Every single wand ever given to an Azkaba has contained a dragon heartstring from a Ukrainian Underbelly. Yours, however, does not," Ollivander said. Arturus suddenly shifted uncomfortably as the hand on his back stiffened.

"Well... ah, that will be all, Mr. Ollivander," his father said stiffly. He grabbed the bag, handed him a pile of gold coins (he didn't bother to count) and left the shop, Arturus in tow. He was holding on to Arturus by his arm rather harshly.

"Father-" Arturus began, but the hand on his arm gripped tighter.

"Not now, Arturus," he said shortly. What was bothering him? The two entered the Leaky Cauldron with quickened pace, as though something was wrong. His father quickly located the floo powder, tossed it in, and stepped in with Arturus.

"Azkaban Prison," his father sounded, and they were transported home. They stepped out of the fireplace together, but his father swiftly left the office they had returned to. Arturus was continually disturbed by his father's suddenly distant nature (not that he had not been distant before).

It only occurred to him later in bed how much that the information Ollivander had given them would have effected a man who so desperately wished for his son to be exactly like him.


Ah, that took awhile to complete. I had to buckle up and get it done eventually, though.

Until next time!