"Penny Halliwell? Who is Penny Halliwell?" muttered a girl looking at the list she had gotten from the bank.
Her third year was about to begin in a week, and in a fit of boredom she had gone to the bank and paid for a heritage test, if only to find if her aunt really was the last of her family.
Turned out she was related to the Warren clan of America through her great uncle, who married the last family head.
Further investigation revealed that the Warren family was primarily matriarchal.
She looked outside to Diagon alley.
On one hand, being a witch was the only reason she felt even remotely safe. On the other, the last three years had been horrible.
Teachers that wouldn't listen to reason, people expecting more of her than she was willing to give, and the worst part was that she suspected her friends weren't the kind of friends she wanted.
So she picked up a quill and wrote a letter to Penny Halliwell explaining who she was and asking if it were possible for them to meet. She went down to the Post Owlry which was for people who didn't own owls.
Normally she would use Hedwig, the pet owl Hagrid had gotten her years ago...but she didn't want anyone to know she might be leaving the country soon. Besides, she fully planned to get a cat. Hedwig was great, but she left much to be desired when it came to comforting. And a cat would draw less suspicion than a dog would.
She shuddered as she remembered the last two dogs she had a run in with. That creepy as hell black one that nearly got her run over and Marge's damn bull dog.
Definitely a cat.
A few days, nothing. Then she got a letter in the claws of an owl...all the way from America.
Looks like she would need to get a passport.
Prudence Halliwell was the oldest of three sisters, and unfortunately for her the only one with a legal license. Which meant she would have to pick up her cousin from the air port after that weird letter Grams had gotten four days ago. Why an owl delivered it, she had no idea.
She had already been sent circling twice.
Fifteen minutes later and the cop coming back to send her circling again, a girl appeared. There had been a second letter three days after the first, and it included a picture of their cousin.
She wasn't even fourteen from the looks of it.
Prue honked twice, alerting the girl to her presence. The girl grabbed her luggage and the closer she got, the more Prue frowned.
This girl was skinny, unhealthily so. Her skin tone was far too pale, her eyes too sharp, and her clothes looked like they barely fit her at all. About the only saving grace was that she was at least clean.
Prue wouldn't say she was a mind reader, but judging by how guarded the girl was she had a feeling that by the end of the week she would be getting a new little sister.
Phoebe might actually be thrilled.
"Prudence?" she asked questioning.
"Just call me Prue. Are you Eris?"
"Yeah. Hang on while I let Hedwig loose," said Eris Potter.
"You own a pet owl?"
"She was a gift," explained Eris. The owl sat on the girl's wrist without trying to savage her. "Follow me, okay girl?"
Eris managed to put her small suitcase into the trunk, and Prue drove them to the manor. Eris wasn't one to talk, and Prue was privately cataloging all the things that really set alarms off about her cousin.
Five minutes after meeting Eris, Penny Halliwell was fully prepared to deal with something she hated.
Eris privately noticed the subtle signs of magic. Prue had to go to her job and the other two were out of the house, so the first thing she asked was "Are they aware or have you been hiding it?"
"Their powers were bound years ago. However in order to keep their core from stagnating I set the binding spell to subtly drain it every night so that it can get used to being expended. Once they're ready the attic door will be unlocked and one of them can find the book. The first spell they'll find is the one to unbind their cores," said Penny flatly.
She hmmed in her throat.
"So why contact me now?"
"Twelve years ago my parents were murdered. I was sent to live with my maternal aunt who knows about magic and considers it evil. She won't even allow the word to be mentioned. I was stuck in the pub because of a small incident earlier this month and when I found out I have relatives on my father's side I figured it was a safe bet to try and contact you. Frankly I would rather be in America than Britain right now," said Eris honestly.
"Hypothetically, if you had to chose between Hogwarts and a school that served more than just witches..." said Penny carefully, an idea forming in her mind.
She couldn't enroll Eris into Salem, the school had already started and it would get the English down on them both. Magic School, on the other hand, offered night classes and would allow Eris to get her normal education with Phoebe.
"I have no issues with creatures if that's what your asking. So long as they don't try to eat, maim or kill me we'll get along fine," said Eris flatly.
"Do you mind sharing room with one of the girls? Phoebe's the closest to your age," said Penny pleasantly.
"Not at all, so long as she doesn't snore. Otherwise I might be obligated to smother her with a pillow," joked Eris.
Hermione snored, loudly. End of story.
"This house was built with old wards and is powered by a localized leyline. No messy ward stones to be found by a gardener, and I have a well stocked garden out back. None of the girls seemed interested in keeping up though," said Penny, "Besides, the so long as you maintain the secrecy pact and don't do harm, the American Ministry won't come down on you for magic use. We are a Wiccan clan after all."
"Harm none and do what ye will," said Eris without thinking about it. The older religions fascinated her when she was little, especially since Petunia wanted nothing to do with magic. She always found it fascinating that a few herbs and ingredients could do so much.
Unfortunately Snape had somewhat ruined that for her.
"Exactly. If you're interested I can teach you how to grow the proper herbs and you can cover potions here," said Penny.
She knew she had the girl hooked with that. Finally, someone who could help her around the garden without any complaints!
"You don't have anything against owls or cats do you?"
"So long as they don't make a mess, then no. And none of the girls are allergic."
Eris looked relieved.
"I have a pet owl, and I've always wanted a cat," she admitted.
"So, Eris, are you open to being adopted as a Halliwell?"
"Being a Potter has brought me nothing but grief. And I would much rather live here than go back to England," admitted Eris.
"We'll get started on the paperwork tomorrow. Thankfully we share a blood bond, or the girls do, otherwise the English and the goblins would be a nightmare to deal with."
Penny could live with a witch in the family, and Eris seemed very open to the idea of learning the Wiccan way.
Should be a...nice...surprise for those stuck up pure bloods in England.
Phoebe was giddy. They were getting a new little sister! Well, technically she was their cousin, but still!
Piper didn't know what to think...until she found out Eris loved to cook too. After that the two were happily swapping recipes.
Prue, well Prue had seen this coming the minute she noted the abuse. She would withhold judgment for at least a week, and she only hoped the girl wasn't as bad as Phoebe was. Though she was acting more like Piper at the moment.
"This is Eris, your cousin. Though she is free to change it once the adoption goes through," said Penny.
Really, what was James thinking naming his daughter after the primordial goddess of chaos and discord?
"Well if we go with the theme of mythology, how about Psyche?" asked Eris.
"Psyche was considered more beautiful than Aphrodite, and when the goddess ordered Eros to make her fall in love with something hideous he fell for her instead," explained Eris with a shrug.
"What about Pandora?" said Phoebe impishly.
Eris made a face.
"Pandora was Zeus' punishment for Prometheus and was a gift to his brother. She was nothing more than a tool," said Eris.
"Persephone," said Prue.
"Remind me not to eat any pomegranates," joked Eris.
"Hades tricked her into staying with him through a pomegranate seed. Because she had eaten something of his realm, she wasn't able to escape. So they had to make a compromise because Demeter was enraged that he took her daughter. Which was kind of weird that he would take her because Persephone was his niece through Zeus," said Eris.
Prue was grinning. She couldn't help it. It was so rare to find anyone who loved history and mythology like she did. And very few were aware that Persephone had been tricked by a pomegranate.
"How about Cerridwen?" asked Eris.
"Who is..." started Phoebe, when Prue answered.
"Welsh goddess of wisdom, knowledge and transformation. She once tried to make a potion of knowledge but one of her apprentice accidentally caught a few drops on his tongue. Enraged she chased after him and killed him when he took the form of a chicken. Nine months later she gave birth to him in another form as a bard."
"Cerridwen is a perfectly acceptable name for a girl," said Penny firmly. Certainly more appropriate than Eris.
"So is Cerri staying?" asked Phoebe hopefully.
"You'll be sharing a room," said Penny.
Phoebe looked really happy about that news. Finally, she wouldn't be the youngest! She immediately hugged the girl, who tensed before she relaxed. Phoebe didn't notice, but Prue did.
It was just another sign that she was better off in their house rather than Europe.
Cerridwen Eris Halliwell (formerly Eris Potter) hummed along to the radio as she expertly weeded the garden. Penny, or Grams as she insisted the teen call her, cheerfully quizzed her over the various plants and what they were used for in potions.
While the potions class in Hogwarts had gone down hill in a hurry, their herbology department was second to none in Europe.
Grams was very happy someone was finally helping her in the garden. It would have been a terrible waste if the girls let it go... she had always found working in the yard very soothing.
It had taken a bit of paperwork and a few sleepless nights, but the adoption had gone through faster than it normally might have when Cerri presented evidence of abuse, neglect and the most damning evidence of all for Dumbledore's case, the misadventures she had in Hogwarts because the teachers were ill equipped and poorly trained in their jobs.
Once their relation was confirmed (or more specifically the marriage license to Cerri's great uncle Mark and the fact Prue, Piper and Phoebe were all his granddaughters) there was little Dumbledore could do to stop it. Especially since very few people could access Magic School without the specially warded portal key, which Dumbledore couldn't get since he headed a rival school.
All Cerri had to do was go to a mirror taller than she was, put the key onto the glass and say the pass phrase to activate the spell.
And she was loving every minute of magic school. It was one of the few accredited schools for any magical creature so long as they agreed to a truce among the species, and much to the anger of the European pure bloods, was so exclusive it was almost impossible to get into unless you knew someone. So the fact Cerri had openly dumped Hogwarts and had gotten accepted in a rather quick manner had the Ministry (and some of the Hogwarts staff) fuming because it was like she was saying that Hogwarts wasn't good enough for her.
The thing that really pissed off the European crowd was the fact that they accepted werewolves, vampires, even the occasional centaur so long as they didn't start anything. Creatures deemed not worthy of entering Hogwarts.
Even Hagrid could have gotten a place in the school...if he had known about it that is.
However while she was attending the Magic School at night, Cerri was catching up on her muggle schooling. Thankfully her new 'sisters' were more than happy to help her.
"Very good Cerri. Now what about this?"
"Lavender. Used to calm nerves," said Cerri dutifully.
"Catnip. A few springs in hot water can ease headaches, can also be used in tea. Part of the mint family."
"Why couldn't Piper have taken an interest in gardening. Or perhaps Phoebe?" sighed Grams. Cerri was the only one who knew anything about how to maintain an herb garden. Piper had initially been interested, until she found her passion for cooking. Grams looked at a dirty Cerri. "You will teach them when I'm gone, won't you?"
"They're family. And heaven knows they'll need all the help they can get once they awaken their powers. Especially once word spreads about who they are."
Penny had explained about the prophecy of the Charmed ones, three sisters who had the power to put evil in it's place and restore a delicate balance. The thing was that as long as the girls were unaware of their powers, evil couldn't seek them out and kill them.
She was getting old. Too old to maintain the spell keeping those powers contained and hidden. And her health was fading. Even for a witch she knew her death would happen within a few years or so.
To be honest, Cerri's appearance had come as a blessing in disguise. She had never taught any of the girls magic, and their mother had wanted nothing to do with it.
So it was nice to have someone to pass her skills onto.
As it was, only Cerri was allowed into the attic. The portal she typically used happened to be a rather large mirror in there, and a simple phasing spell allowed her to walk through the wall into the attic, since it was heavily warded until Penny's death.
And every night, Cerri studied the Book of Shadows. So she could guide her older sisters into the world of magic without them having to rely on the Whitelighters, who weren't very good at keeping their charges safe like they were supposed to.
Penny had a dim view of the Whitelighter Council of Elders.