First I apologize for the previous chapters, I know they're short, disjointed, and a bit off putting. Getting back into this story took some time and effort and I apologize for that.
Second, I hate the required Diagon Alley trip, seriously it is one of the things that stalled this out because frankly not only do I not like reading it, I dislike writing it. Had to be done though, so at least we yanked the bandage off quickly and we're now moving on.
Iris felt like she had been squeezed through a rather small straw while also experiencing the most extreme roller coaster her mum had let her go on all at once as the group teleported before a tatty old pub. She of course responded as she should to such a scenario and keenly ignored her siblings reproving glares.
"Again! That was brilliant! What spell was that!?"
The two Hogwarts professors gave her reproving looks before McGonagall sighed and replied, "Apparation, vanishing from one point and appearing in another near simultaneously."
Iris nodded slowly as she stroked her chin and glanced over to her siblings, "Long distance shimmering you think?"
Dudley nodded, "Makes sense, shimmering doesn't take much effort but it's nearly line of sight, this is..."
Hermione picked up his line of thought as he trailed off, "Long distance pre-determined orientation to a specific space and time. Fascinating..."
Professor Snape coughed into his hand before gesturing to the pub, "While this speculation is...oddly intriguing we must be moving on. Now if you would please, follow?"
Having no desire to anger one of her future teachers Iris quickly followed the man while he flicked his wand and muttered a spell that shifted his suit into a set of robes, Iris was immediately enamored with this bit of magic.
"How did you do that?! That was amazing!"
Before the man could respond McGonagall smirked lightly as she did the same to her own clothing, "That my dear was transfiguration, a skill you will learn around your third or fourth year if you put your mind to it."
Iris fell back slightly so she could clearly speak to Hermione and Dudley without being overheard, "And just like that I'm sold, thoughts?"
Dudley shrugged, "Useful skills to learn, plus they've been doing this for a long time obviously. Stay back and observe is my opinion."
Hermione nodded in agreement, "We need more information, a library, or book store would be beneficial but all told I think these people are our best bet to learn what we really are. We just have to remember to not apply their self imposed limitations to ourselves."
Iris nodded at her siblings in acknowledgment as they entered the dark and musty tavern, and my wasn't it a bit of a let down at all corners? Dusty, dank, looked like it was from around turn of the eighteenth century, and the bar itself was tended by a man that appeared to need skin treatment and possibly a toupee.
As the said bartender grinned at the approaching party Hermione grimaced and just as quickly blanched as she glanced away muttering, "Fixing that mans teeth would make mum and dad rich as the Queen." Taking in the half dozen rotten teeth exposed by the man's smile, Iris couldn't disagree with her sister in all but blood if she had wanted to.
"Another batch of young'uns eh? Surprised they sent two of ya this time aroun' but I suppose ol' Dumbledore 'as his reasons. Go on through Min, you and Severus have a good un eh?"
As the adults made their salutations Iris turned to Dudley while muttering, "It's like listening to that bloke who sells his 'wares' at the bus stop isn't it?"
Dudley snorted in amusement as he nodded, "No doubt, and why are we staring at a brick wall?"
Iris glanced forward and raised a crimson brow as she silently mirrored her brothers ruminations. A moment later she along with Hermione and Dudley took a shocked step back as the bricks folded in on themselves revealing a chaotic tableau of Victorian era, magic infused chaos.
"Welcome children, to Diagon alley," Professor McGonagall stated tersely as she stepped through the barrier followed by Professor Snape. The kids quickly followed her as they took in their surroundings, trying to catalog and memorize all they could see.
It was an odd feeling, being both highly impressed, while also being incredibly let down. Iris reflected on this while she looked about the cobbled streets as the professors led them past various vendors hawking their wares while leading them to a gleaming white marble building.
"Now that is impressive," the Red Mage muttered to herself with a grin upon her lips as she took in the massive staircase leading up to several pillars supporting a large overhang. Glancing further up the edifice she took in the flying buttresses and carved gargoyles which made her come to a rather startling conclusion.
This was a dungeon, and there would be loot to claim. Too bad her party wasn't complete...yet...
"This is Gringotts Wizarding Bank," Professor McGonagall stated as she began walking up the steps, party in tow. "It is run by the Goblin Nation and they are a rather prickly bunch, so do be on your best manners."
Ok, so no raiding the dungeon just yet regardless, good to know. Still...goblins...
As they reached the top landing Iris noted the scarlet armored midgets flanking the open doors and assumed they had to be the previously mentioned goblins, and did it ever gall her not being able to farm them for XP. Resisting her gamer urges to commit goblincide Iris followed the professors into the antechamber that was sealed by a set of silver doors, pausing a moment she read the engraving set in its surface.
'Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.'
Iris stared at the poem a few moments before nodding slowly while clearly stating, "Challenge accepted."
Dudley and Hermione simply rolled their eyes while Severus and Minerva glanced at Iris in worry. Moments later the doors swung open and the party entered the main chambers, what followed was, truthfully, rather boring for Iris. They exchanged muggle currency for wizard gold, which was ridiculous in her opinion, took a ride down a mine cart to her parents vault which was fun, but needlessly complicated, and after grabbing some galleons left for the alley proper.
The only thing Iris had done differently from the others was sneaking off to one of the tellers and getting a Chequebook connected to her vaults. Because seriously, why the heck would she waste her time like this whenever she needed her money?
What followed after that was, all told, a shopping spree. Their first stop was the trunk shop, and after some gentle prodding the salesman pointed her to the best trunks they had, which were made of brass strapped mahogany enchanted with multi-chamber, weightless, and self shrinking charms.
The professors tried to dissuade them from buying such expensive items but really, none of the trio really cared about their opinions on this matter and bought them anyway.
Next was the book shop, Dudley bought what was required and nothing else, the girls practically bought a copy of every volume in the store and had them dropped into the library section of their trunks for later perusal. After that was the apothecary where they let Professor Snape dictate everything they needed for potion brewing, because he was the professional here after all, why wouldn't they do what he said?
The wands were next, and Hell's bells Iris wasn't even going to go into detail on that mess. In the end she managed to destroy roughly a dozen wands before Mr. Ollivander threw his hands up in the air in frustration and offered her the brother wand connected to none other than Lord Voldemort. She, along with her professors, was deeply unsettled that the holly wood phoenix feather core focus sang with her magic, and all that this implied.
She decided it was best not to think too deeply about that one for now.
Things did get rather interesting at the pet shop, Hermione was drawn to several kittens who were rolling around in all their fluffy adorableness, Dudley sauntered over to the reptiles, and Iris gravitated towards the owls. Walking past the various preening birds Iris froze when she saw a snowy white owl who stared at her imperiously.
"Jareth..." she muttered to herself while leaning forward. Nose to beak she stared into the owl's golden eyes evenly before speaking in a low tone. "If you can help me turn myself into an owl, I'll bring you along on all my adventures and feed you as much bacon as you want. Sound good?"
The owl tilted her head to the side a moment before clacking her beak in amusement, if this little human wanted to learn how to become a superior life form, who was she to deny her? Plus...bacon. Raising one foot slowly, and making sure not to cut her new pet human with her talons, the owl shook her hand slowly.
"Brill! We'll have to find a good name for you later, but until then wanna come with?" The owl barked out in an agreeable tone and caused her human to giggle as she hopped onto her slim shoulder, it was a tight fit, but it would work.
Iris made her way to Hermione who was cuddling what appeared to be a bandy legged, squashfaced ball of ginger furred yellow eyed hatred. Not for the first time she wondered about her chosen sister's choice in aesthetics and couldn't quite help commenting on it.
"That is either a very large cat, or a quite small tiger," Hermione rather than being angry, grinned up at Iris while nodding quickly in agreement.
"Isn't he darling? I think I'll name him Crookshanks, according to the saleslady he's a part Kneazel which means he can judge peoples character, and since we're going into an entirely new world I think that's a good thing yes?"
Not...really agreeing with her sister, but having no desire to dissuade her from purchasing a monster that was pointy on four of its five appendages Iris simply nodded in agreement.
"Yes...that sounds great, I'm gonna go check on Big D, catch you at the register." Hermione smiled then turned back to the yellow eyed ball of hate and began nuzzling it which only caused it to purr happily. To each their own really, who was she to judge?
Approaching Dudley she watched him speaking kindly to a rather fetching black and red striped snake, "It really mussst be boring here for you then. If you want you can come with me?"
Stopping beside her brother she leaned into his shoulder, very nearly dislodging her now grumpy owl in the process, "Who isss your friend Big D?"
The snake turned to her and sounded a bit shocked as it spoke, "A sssecond ssspeaker! How fortuitousss! Yes young massster I ssshall come with you to this Hogwartsss."
Dudley grinned and stuck his hand into the tank allowing the snake to slither up his arm, "Brilliant!" Turning to his sister he noted her new owl companion and rubbed her head feathers with his snake free hand, immediately earning said owl's respect. Hearing a choking noise behind them the siblings turned around to see their future professors, both bone white and openly gaping.
"Y-you can talk to snakes?" Professor Snape asked in a hushed whisper, this caused the Dursley kids to exchange a confused glance before turning back to the adults.
"Err...yeah? All our lives? I mean...why is that a big deal? Seriously, I can throw fireballs and lightning bolts at will, Dud can tear trees out of the ground, and Hermione can levitate tanker trucks with a flick of her finger. Why is the talking to snakes thing a problem?"
Their professors exchanged a look before they both turned to leave as Snape spat out, "Pay for your purchases and be quick about it, it is time to return you to your parents."
Dudley raised one blonde brow as they followed the adults hasty retreat, he glanced down at his new pet snake a moment then back to his sister, "God wizards are bloody weird."
Hermione, who had approached them cat in hand echoed Iris as the girls stated, "Language," before they both paused and nodded, Iris speaking for the two of them, "And yes...yes they are."
After their final stop, getting fitted for robes and school uniforms the kids were telaported home by their now pensive professors, both of whom seemed to be deeply unsettled about something. Iris really didn't care what had put them on edge, but she was slightly worried this would carry over into their school careers, but there was nothing she could really do for that at the moment.
After settling back into their normal routine Iris had decided to name her new owl Hedwig after finding the name in 'A History of Magic'. Dudley for his part did a bit of research on the specific genus of his new familiar and decided to name him Nilgiri after the mountain range he hailed from.
Ironically, while Dudley's magical prowess improved immensely with a wand, both Iris and Hermione floundered a bit. Neither of the girls feeling comfortable limiting themselves to incantations and wand movements after years of simply using their own wills to command their magic.
As September loomed ahead Iris couldn't help feeling a sense of deep frustration, knowing full well these wizards would demand she use this...gimp stick... All while being self aware enough to know how annoying her coming school years would be because of it.
Sighing Iris pulled Hedwig into her lap and began stroking the beautiful birds head slowly as she stared out the window in exasperation, "Well...no matter what girl...it'll be an adventure, right?"
Hedwig for her part clacked her beak once in agreement, and fell asleep in the embrace of her pet human.
IT TOOK MONTHS! But Diagon Alley is done and over with! MWHAHAHA!
Oh and you read that right, Big D is a parselmouth just like his little sister, oh the webs we weave...please review!