Chapter 20: Strong Family Ties
For the second time in less than a month, the Stephenses found themselves in a waiting room at FBS Headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, to await the fate of a family member who had been accused of violating Wizarding Law. This time, Adam's Grandmother Endora was being called to account for taking unilateral action against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the UK.
But unlike the first time when they awaited the decision of when ten-year-old Matthew Starr Stephens had set a hornet's nest on three Eighth Grade bullies, the mood in the room was a lot lighter. As with the first time, the ladies sat at one table, and the gentlemen sat at another. But there were far more differences than similarities with the last time.
For one thing, this time the Stephenses were not alone. The Cattermole family was there, and they waited for the outcome of Endora's hearing with them, as did three muggles; Samantha's husband Darrin, and Janelle's mother and father, Retired Air Force / NASA Col. Etienne and Marie-Claire Facillier.
Mrs. Facillier sat with her daughter and Mary-Elizabeth Cattermole as they did their best to keep Samantha's spirits up. Though Samantha had said that she was confident that nothing would happen to her infamous mother, she was nonetheless worried, and could not shake the nagging feeling that this time, Endora may have gone too far.
And this was a sentiment echoed by Darrin at the "men's table," where he sat with his son Adam, as well as with Reginald Cattermole, and Janelle's father, Col. Facillier. Darrin sighed, and said, "I'm sorry to have to say it, son. But this time, your grandmother's gotten herself into a dead-end that even she can't magic herself out of . . . ." Adam had heard his dad talk this way about his grandmother for as long as he could remember. But this time was different. This time, Adam's father actually seemed to be more worried for Endora's well-being than happy that she was about to get her comeuppance for everything that she did to him, real and imagined.
The topic soon turned to a muggle sport called "Football," but from what Reg could follow, it was not the kind of "Football" that he was somewhat familiar with. Mostly, Reg just nodded as he sipped some tea and munched on some beignets that Adam's mother-in-law brought with her.
As the adults talked amongst themselves over coffee, tea, and beignets, the children played happily on their own. Knowing that telling them to play quietly would be a futile request, spells were cast around the adults' tables that helped to deaden - but not completely block out - the sounds around them in case parental intervention was needed.
At the "girl's table," Maisie sat with her younger sister Ellie and Ellie's her newest BFF Evie Garland Stephens. The girls watched a Disney movie on VHS as they colored in coloring books and played with some new Barbie dolls provided by the Addams Siblings as they snacked on their own plate of beignets and drank Shmoo-produced chocolate milk.
The "boy's table" was empty (as was the plate of beignets and the pitcher of chocolate milk on it.) Matt and Alfred were done eating, bored with the "Princess" movie, and now they played around the tables with an enchanted practice quaffle that was also a gift from the Addams Siblings. As the boys played catch, the ball, which had a mind of its own, did not make this task easy for them, and would as like as not abruptly veer away to avoid being caught.
True, the adults knew that a Room of Requirement configured as a gym or playground would be better for this. But the unspoken opinion of the adults was that the kids probably did not want to be away from their families at this time, and the two, rambunctious boys were tolerated.
Back at the "ladies table," Janelle told the story of when she and Mary had detention at Hogwarts during their third year in an attempt to keep the conversation lighthearted for the sake of her mother-in-law, Samantha.
"Anyway," said Janelle, "we thought that we would have detention with Professor McGonagall, and we were both terrified! But, instead, we had it with our Potions teacher; a new teacher named Professor Snape.
"Now, this guy was a bit creepy looking; kind of like a movie vampire. And he talked really, really funny – I don't mean his accent, which was pretty cool. I mean that he practically made a sentence out of each and every word that came from his mouth!
"So, he tells us that for our detention, we all had to write a five-page parchment essay on – get this - "Who. We. Think. We. REALLY. Are!"
"Well, Mary and I had just seen the movie, "The Breakfast Club," a few months earlier, and when Professor Snape told us our assignment, and then said, "Any. Questions?" I just couldn't resist raising my hand, and when he called on me, I said, "Does Count Orlok know that you raid his wardrobe?"
Janelle continued. "But, to my horror, Mary and I must have been the only two people in the room at the time that had seen "The Breakfast Club." The other kids were raised in the Wizarding World, and probably never saw a movie in their entire lives, and they just gave me a blank stare! One kid was a Gryffindor, two others were Ravenclaws, and three were Slytherins. Mary and I represented Hufflepuff."
"You know," said Mary. "I still think that Professor Snape must have seen the movie, too. I mean, not only because of his choice of assignments, but because of the way he answered your cheeky remark."
Somewhat distracted, Samantha said, "Why, what did your professor say to you?"
Janelle cleared her throat, and in a decent imitation of her old Potions Professor's voice, said, "You've. Just. Bought. Yourself. Another. Week. In. Detention. Miss Facillier!"
"Oh, how I wanted to see if the Professor and I could do the exchange from the movie between John Bender and Vice Principal Vernon, but I didn't want detention for the entire time I was at Hogwarts! I just know that he must have seen that movie, too!"
"It might have been a coincidence," opined Marie-Claire. "Except . . . Why don't you tell Samantha what happened at the end of your detention when you turned in your essay?"
"Sure Maman," said Janelle. "I ended my essay with a version of the line from the movie. I stated that however we see ourselves, you – Professor Snape – see us as you want to see us. "As Hufflepuffs, Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, and Slytherins." What really got me was that he gave me a high mark on my essay, and wrote that my next weeks' detention that I'd 'so richly deserved,' has been waived."
Samantha said, "He sounds like a decent person. A bit dark, maybe; but decent . . . ."
"That's what I thought too, mom," said Janelle. "And I didn't have any trouble with him the rest of the time I was at Hogwarts.
"But Snape was the one who murdered Headmaster Dumbledore with an unforgivable killing curse last year! And now he is Headmaster at Hogwarts and takes orders from What's-His-Face!" Janelle shook a bit. "If I knew that at the time, I would never have sass-mouthed him!"
Then everyone in the room was startled by a voice coming from everywhere that even penetrated the privacy spells cast around the adults' tables. "You needn't worry yourself over that, Janelle . . . ." With the sound of a gentle chime, Endora then apparated into the middle of the waiting room. "My Sam has the truth of it; Severus' mood is perpetually dark. But he is not evil."
"How do you know?" said Samantha neutrally as she got up from the table and went over to her mother, wide-eyed with worry. She was soon joined by everyone else in the room, the kids included, who looked to the Matriarch of the Magical Side of the Stephens Family with anxious anticipation for what was likely to be a very good story. "You 'skipped-ahead,' didn't you, mother," Samantha scolded. "I suppose that you are in trouble for that, too . . . ?"
"I'm not in any trouble, Sam," said Endora shaking her head reassuringly. "Before I could be formally charged with anything, I was interviewed by the Bureau's Unspeakables."
Darrin came over to his wife and put an arm around her. "You got some kind of plea-deal, Endora?"
"I cannot discuss it with anyone, Derwood," said Endora seriously. "Least of all with you!
"Yes, I saw the future, Sam. And what I saw will prove invaluable to MACUSA and the UK's TRUE Ministry of Magic in Exile. Even as we speak, MACUSA Representatives are smoothing things over with Minister Thickhead; who is not anxious to hear from me in person, I can assure you . . . .
"It seems that MACUSA will overlook the actions of "Madame Senior Undersecretary Dumb-loser Umpteenth," and her minions, and the UK's "official" MoM will not press the issue of my promise to act against the Dork Lard and his Dumb Waiters – provided that they heed my warning to them, of course.
"The "bottom line," as Dustbin here might say it, is that Lord Oldafart and his gang will not harm any of you – including the Cattermoles – in any way, shape or form, from this moment onward – and I would know if they even contemplated it. Believe me; they won't!"
As Endora spoke, Maisie whispered to Matt, "Why does your Greatgran always mess-up the names of people she doesn't like, Matt?"
Matt replied sotto voce, "She told me that if she uses a person's true name when she is angry at them, that she might accidentally curse them without even trying to."
Maisie's eyes went wide. "Your dad, too?"
"Nah, not now," said Matt. "Maybe at first. She told me that she calls grandpa "Derwood" or "Dumdum" as a "term of endearment," more than out of anger . . . ."
Endora continued. "Adam, I know that you and your family want to move to Louisiana with your in-laws. And now, thanks to me, this will be safe as well as feasible – something that my Godchildren – the Addams Siblings, will be grateful to hear. Oh, they were having conniption fits trying to figure out where to safely place you . . . .
"As for Reg, Mary and their children, they could even move back to their home in Evesham, if they wanted to. Trust me; NOBODY is going to give you any more problems because of your lineage or imagined lack thereof." Endora smiled, and added, almost as an afterthought, "Though for now, at least, it might be best if the Cattermole family stay here in the States for a while longer . . . ."
Reginald Cattermole breathed a sigh of relief that he had been holding in for as long as he could remember. "We can't even begin to thank you enough, Endora. In fact, we cannot even begin to thank everyone here!"
Mary began crying tears of joy. "G-d bless you all! For your kindness as well as your courage!"
"So, everything turns out alright in the end." Said Matthew; a statement, not a question.
Endora smiled at her great-grandson, "I can only tell you that your current nightmare is now over. But you will still have many, many challenges ahead of you. That's just life. But if you continue to meet these challenges as you have been - as a strong, loving family - then you will never fail. In fact, if Dumbridge had any understanding of this, any at all; then she would scarcely have dabbled with such powerful forces beyond her ken."
"Meaning you, Greatgran Endora!" said Evie grinning proudly from ear-to-ear. Like her brother, she was making a statement, not asking a question.
"Oh, I am powerful," said Endora matter-of-factly. "But the power that I was referring to that the Fat, Pink Toad cannot understand is the love of a family; the most powerful magic there is!" Endora rolled her eyes. "You know, I almost feel sorry for her . . . ."
At that moment, the Addams Siblings entered the room along with a blonde woman. Wednesday said, "Reg, Mary, I have some good news for you. We found a family willing to take you in for the duration."
Pugsley added, "And they didn't even know that Endora made certain that there will be absolutely no risk to their own safety when they made the offer to help!"
Wednesday indicated the blonde woman with them, and continued, "You all know Ms. Marilyn Matheson? Director DeMarigny's Secretary? Well, she has spoken with her family, and you will be able to stay with her Uncle Herman and Aunt Lily for as long as you like."
Marilyn said, "My family's home is at the other end of the country, all the way in California. You kids will be going to the same school that my younger cousin, Eddie – though I think of him more as my younger brother – and I went to." Then Marilyn sighed, and said, "Now, I should tell you that my Uncle Herman is a Flesh Golem, and my cousin Eddie is a Werewolf. If this is a . . . cause for concern for you, then I will understand if you would like to go somewhere else."
Reg smiled. "It isn't a problem at all. Not in the least!" The other Cattermoles nodded enthusiastically. Reg continued, "You know, I recall once at the Ministry Cafeteria hearing two Wizards who worked in the Werewolf Registry mention that a notorious werewolf named Fenrir Greyback had once gotten into a scrape with a lad from Across the Pond named Edward Munster back in the 1960's, and that Greyback had gotten the worst of it."
Marilyn laughed, "That's my Cousin Eddie, alright! We were in England on family business about 20 years ago, and Eddie was thirteen at the time. Greyback was about twenty and a lot bigger. But as they say, it isn't the size of the werewolf in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the werewolf!"
After everyone there had a good laugh, Mary said, "When would your family like us to come over, Mrs. Matheson?"
"Any time you are ready, Mrs. Cattermole," said Marilyn, who sighed and added sadly, "I don't suppose that you have a lot of packing, to do . . . .
"You can leave now, if you want to. In fact, if you do, you'll be just in time for lunch. Aunt Lily told me that she is making her famous bat wing soup.
"Frankly, I wish that I could join you. I haven't seen my family in months. But with everything that's going on in the UK right now and the ever-present threat of Storybrooke in Maine to worry about; leaves of absence at the FBS are hard to come by . . . ."
"Bat-wing soup?" mused Reg. "I haven't had that for ages! Mary never learned how to make it, you see." And besides, thought Reg. Wizarding delicacies can be quite expensive here in mostly muggle areas. Reg shook his head. Making excuses so as not to admit to being financially embarrassed? Merlin's beard! Now I'm starting to think like a bloody Yank . . . .
Marilyn took out her cellphone (as a squib, she could not make a mirror work,) and called ahead. "C'mon, I'll escort you to the Floo Hearth as soon as you are ready."
"Well," said Endora. "My work here is done." Before leaving, Endora gave her great grandchildren a big kiss goodbye, and as she leaned into Matt to kiss him, she whispered, "By the way, your mother does get a Chocolate Frog card in her honor, sometime from now. But not a word to anyone else about this; the Unspeakables will have my head on a platter. It will be OUR own little secret . . . ."
After gathering up what little they had, the Cattermole family went to the Floo Hearth, with the Stephenses coming with them to see them off. Evie and Ellie promised each other to stay in touch by telephone, mail (both muggle and Owl Post,) and mirror.
As they walked to the Floo Hearth, Etienne Facillier turned to Adam, and said, "We should all be heading to N'awlins ourselves, soon. You've to get settled and find yourself some work, young man."
"Yes, sir," said Adam.
"You know," said Etienne. "Maybe it's time you start calling me "Pa," now."
Adam was too shocked to reply, but Janelle replied for him by giving her father a big kiss on his cheek. "Oh, thank you, Papa!"
And then Maisie Cattermole decided to make her move. She went over to Matt, and said, "I hope that we get to see each other again, either at Randolph Carter, Ilvermorny, or maybe even at Hogwarts, when things get better!"
Matt said, "They have to get better! Greatgran Endora said so!"
Maisie said, "Well . . . goodbye Matthew Starr Stephens." And before Matt could reply, Maisie leaned in and kissed the boy on his cheek before joining her family over at the Floo Hearth. "That's for being a good and brave friend!"
The adults all smiled. Evie, Ellie and Alfred all laughed. And while Matt made a big scene and complained about getting cooties, Matt also broke-out in a wide, ten-year-old's grin in spite of himself. It was his first his first kiss from a girl that he was not related to. And Matt had to admit that it was kind of nice.
And for the first time in a long time, it was hard to imagine that half a world away, a war for the very soul of the Wizarding World was raging . . . .
This story was a long time in the making. The idea for it began about nine years ago after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" had first been published in 2007.
When I read about what happened to the Cattermole family at the hands of Dolores Umbridge, Yaxley, and the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, and how they were rescued by Harry, Ron and Hermione, who told them to ". . . get their kids and leave the country," I wondered what had happened to them. Did they get out safely? Where did they go? Who did they stay with?
According to the Harry Potter Wiki, "It is unknown if Mary and Reginald managed to escape successfully, or what happened to them after the war." So I decided to explore this sidebar to the "Harry Potter" saga in fanfiction, to see what might have happened. And I wanted the story to be a crossover with the classic, American supernatural TV show, "Bewitched," which I find to be remarkably compatible with "Harry Potter."
I did not do this alone. I had A LOT of help from fellow fanfiction hobbyists whose work may be found on this site.
First, I would like to thank Argonaut57, who helped me with general details about life in the UK in general, and in the Wizarding Community in particular, and everything in between (such as how much Wizards in the UK might know about Muggles.)
We also discussed my ideas about what the American Wizarding Community might be like. I had started this project long before the information revealed in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" became available. And while I guessed wrong on so many points to the extent that my Unified Storyverse must now be considered A/U, I was able to weave in some canon details, such as references to MACUSA, Ilvermorny, and the Rappaport Laws (which were, fortunately for my story, repealed a year after Samantha married Darrin on "Bewitched" in 1964.)
Argonaut57 even honored me by giving my story a pre-publication-shout-out in his 2013 crossover between "Harry Potter" and "Grimm" titled, "The Wicked Witch in the West." At one point, he mentioned that the Stephens family had had a run-in with Dolores Umbridge back in 1997. As this was long before I even began posting my story in March of this year (2016,) I want to thank him also for his vote of confidence.
Next, I would like to thank the Marquis-Carabas, who also assisted me with making my UK "Harry Potter" characters not sound too "American." I also want to thank him for allowing me to mention his own Original Character of Judith Fairweather; the only Muggle-Born to be sorted into Slytherin House at Hogwarts. Her story, "Starnlicht," may be found on this site, and is well worth the read.
I would also like to thank the many other hobbyists on this site for their encouragement to keep this project moving along. Primarily, I want to thank horacethepig and Esther-Channah for taking the time to assist me at a moment's notice whenever I needed advice, and for making a lot of useful suggestions that got me out of a writer's block trap more than once.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read and review this story. I hope that you had as much fun reading it as much as I did writing it.
Thanks again, and don't forget to keep your imaginations unleashed!