A Black Flower
Auntie and Severus led me, my sisters and my pseudo-parents down the cobblestone street of Diagon Alley towards the imposing marble of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
"And why can't we just go to a regular bank, again? Or better yet just write a cheque..." Richard muttered, eyeing the goblins dressed in scarlet that were standing guard at the bank's doors. To be honest, I was tempted to stare too, since they looked much different than how they were portrayed in the movies—They were green! Green!— but I managed to refrain.
"Dad!" I chastised. "Don't be rude! Besides, we've explained this—the statute of secrecy prevents muggle banks from carrying wizarding currency, so you can't exchange money there! And it's like going to a foreign country—they don't accept foreign cheques."
"Yes. Yes... I don't see why though. This is England, can't they just accept pounds?" he continued to grumble.
"Dad, please." I begged. "You're being rude, and you really don't want to offend the goblins."
Fortunately, Richard quieted before we reached the bank. Auntie led us inside and directed us to the currency exchange while she and Severus went to withdraw money from their vault. The line was long, with only one goblin serving muggle customers, so I resigned myself to waiting and preventing the rest of my family from saying anything offensive in the mean time.
Finally, we reached the teller. "Exchange rate is four pounds to the galleon. We accept cash or cheque, with a three percent fee for accepting cheques."
"Er, how much for... sixty galleons, if paying by cheque?" Richard asked, taking out his chequebook and a pen. The goblin grunted a number, and Richard wrote the cheque and accepted the galleons in exchange.
We met Auntie and Severus outside of the bank.
"Hm... Let's save wands for last—make sure to keep out about 15 galleons for the two of them." Auntie suggested. "We should probably start with books..."
"Won't those be heavy though? Shouldn't we save those for last?" Lizzie countered.
"I can shrink and lighten things, so we don't need to worry about those sorts of things." Auntie explained kindly, aware that Lizzie and Richard wouldn't be used to the conveniences of magic.
And so Auntie led us to Flourish and Blotts. Walking into the store we were greeted with the smell of parchment and ink. The store was larger inside than outside, bending the laws of physics and evoking a sense of awe in both my family and myself. A sign pointed to a section of the store where required texts for Hogwarts were separated by subject and organized by year, making it easy to locate all our required texts. After finding them all and mentally calculating the total price to be reasonable, I convinced my pseudo-parents to let us pick out some supplementary texts.
Lily was drawn to the history books, and Petunia passed time leafing through Hogwarts: A History. Severus migrated to the potions section and I, naturally, started paging through arithmancy texts. The third year texts seemed to mostly feature extremely basic (by my standards, at the very least. I'm pretty sure it was middle school level math, but I couldn't say for sure.) math and focus on the properties of numbers and the magical theory of the subject, and at the very end of the book, touched on predicting the outcome of simple scenarios. Out of curiosity, I grabbed the seventh year text books and found that most of the math still wasn't terribly advanced, but it was used in unfamiliar formulae to predict the outcome of more complicated scenarios, and towards the end it went into how to create your own formula for non-standard events, and there were references to higher level texts to pursue once the reader mastered the concepts in the book itself. It looked absolutely fascinating.
"Are you done yet, Pansy?" Severus asked, his interruption jerking me back to reality. "It's been forty minutes. The rest of us finished ages ago."
"Huh? Oh. Um. Yeah." I nodded, sliding the book I was going through back onto the shelf. "Where to?"
"Aren't you going to get anything?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. I shook my head, prompting him to roll his eyes. "Tch. You take the longest and aren't even getting anything—typical. Mum's taking us to get our uniforms next."
I followed Severus out of the store, meeting the others at the exit. Auntie led us down the Alley towards a clothing store that was distinctly not Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Whether the store existed or not was up in the air—perhaps it did, perhaps it didn't, perhaps it didn't yet. Regardless, I entered the shop and mentally prepared myself for a necessary but unpleasant task—clothes shopping with my family.
I don't actually dislike clothes shopping in itself. But I've learned that I hate the current stylistic trends and think the things my sisters adore are hideous. Shopping with them frequently turns into a fight because I accidentally tell them the truth, that they look ridiculous in that atrocious top and suddenly I'm the bad guy and grounded.
Despite lacking a bell, there was a chime as the seven of us entered. Almost immediately, a balding man with a tape measure around his shoulders and pins tucked into the front of robes greeted us.
"Welcome to Needles and Threads! Four sets of Hogwarts uniforms, I assume?" he said, glancing at us.
"Three sets." Auntie corrects smoothly. "Two girls, one boy."
"Of course, of course. If you'll just follow me..." The man turned on his heel and led us through the store to the back. We passed rows of colourful fabric squares on display, and racks of equally colourful robes. He stopped in front of a rack full of plain black robes.
"Here we are, girls on the left, boys on the right. There are fitting rooms just over there where you can try them on, and for an extra fee we can alter them for a better fit. Sizing chart is on the wall, if you need any help just let us know."
"Thank you, I believe we'll be fine." Auntie said with a polite smile. With that, the man spun on his heel once more and left.
"Alright, Severus, you know your size, yes? Why don't you go grab a uniform kit in your size and the size up and try them on. See how they fit. You'll surely grow a bit during the school year... I'll help the girls, alright dear?"
"Yes, mum." Severus mumbled and went off to browse the boys' section.
Auntie herded the rest of us over to the sizing chart, which was fairly straight forward. Sizes were given, and then a list of measurements in centimetres that would fit those sizes.
"Sizing is standard across the store." Auntie explained. "Lily, you look like you're probably a Hogwarts 2... Pansy, a Hogwarts 4, I think. Elizabeth, Richard, will you be buying the girls casual robes as well? Or just the uniform?"
"Oh, I hadn't really thought about it to be honest..." Lizzie said. "I suppose just the uniforms for now... we can always come back in the future..."
Auntie nodded and then helped Lily and I find robes to try on in the appropriate sizes.
Uniform kits in hand, Lily and I waited in line behind Severus for a free fitting room. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait long.
I entered the fitting room and pulled the deep red curtain closed behind me. I set the box containing the uniform on the stool in the corner of the room and started to undress.
For the first time, I actually really looked at the robes. Until that point, to be honest, I didn't really process what robes looked like. Like, I saw them, my brain said "oh, robes" and just dismissed them as unimportant.
The Hogwarts uniform was completely different than in the movies. There was no pleated skirt, no button up shirt and tie, no sweater vest. Instead, there were three parts to it.
The first was a very loose, flowing white blouse with huge, elbow length sleeves. Following the diagram included, I put it on first. Next, was a black, fitted sleeveless dress-like garment with a notched collar. It buttoned all the ways down the front. I slipped it on and noticed that it flared out a bit at the waist. The front fell just above me knees, but it was longer in the back. Smoothing it down, I noticed pintucks along the breasts, which went all the ways to the hem. Finally, I pulled out the last major part, which I found to be the most "robe-like" of the uniform. It too was black, with a white collar and Hogwarts crest on the left breast. It appeared to be about ankle length. I slipped it on and found that the sleeves were incredibly loose, especially below the elbow. The front of the robe had buttons on both sides of the garment, with a string connecting them. Looking at the diagram, I saw that tightening the string pulled the two sides together and closed the robes. Last but not least, I grabbed the white cloth belt and wrapped it around my waist, jerking in surprise when it tied itself up in a bow and positioned itself correctly.
A quick glance from the diagram to my reflection in the mirror floating at the back of the fitting room confirmed I seemed to have dressed myself correctly. With a deep breath I stepped out of the fitting room.
"Mum? Auntie?" Upon hearing my call, Lizzie and Auntie came bustling over.
"Ah, Pansy!" Lizzie smiled. "Let's have a look."
"Hm... the outer robe looks good, dear. A little long, but not too much" Auntie said. "Don't you think, Elizabeth? Yes, now take it off and let me see how the under robes fit."
Following her direction, I removed the outer robe, albeit with a bit of difficulty with the unfamiliar garment. Once it was off, Auntie took it from me and started pulling at the under robes.
"Yes, hm... a bit loose, but you'll grow throughout the year I'm sure..." She muttered. "I think these will do. Why don't you change back into your clothes and then grab four more sets? We're still waiting on Severus and Lily."
I walked back into the fitting room, and changed back into my normal clothes. I did my best to fold the uniform up and place it back in the box.
I pushed the curtain aside and found Auntie fussing over Lily, much like she did me, while Severus stood awkwardly to the side in his uniform, likely waiting his turn.
The male uniform was quite different than the female one. The outer robe was similar, but the sleeves weren't as loose and it was completely open.. The under robes, however, resembled one of those gowns typically worn at graduation ceremonies.
Nodding to the others, I wandered back to the section where I'd found my uniform and grabbed four more boxes marked with the correct size. Unsure what to do now, I returned to the fitting area.
"Pansy dear, why don't you go find your dad and Petunia?" Lizzie suggested. "They were looking at the winter cloaks and pointed hats. Eileen says to go up two sizes on the winter cloak, alright?"
"Right, mum." I smiled and left to find Petunia and Richard. It took my awhile, but once I found them they helped me pull the appropriate sized cloak off the rack and try it on. Satisfied with it, we then grabbed two pointed hats—one for myself and one for Lily.
They were actually cuter than I expected, the hats. They weren't too tall, and had a pretty white ribbon tied around the base.
Finally, the three of us grabbed a pair of protective gloves and proceeded to the front of the store to wait for the rest of our party. It didn't take them long to arrive, and the checkout went fairly smoothly.
As soon as we were outside of the store, Lily made a face. "Ugh, I can't believe we have to wear that every day!" she complained. "It was so weird and ugly."
"It... was quite different." Lizzie admitted.
Petunia snorted. "Glad I don't have to wear it."
"Hey!" I protested, my face red. "I thought it looked really cool!"
Fortunately, Auntie wasn't offended by everyone's opinions on robes and just smiled indulgently, and admitted they were a bit odd if you weren't used to them, and that she wasn't exactly used to them herself anymore after so many years in the muggle world.
Next we went to Potage's Cauldron shop, from there to the apothecary, and then over to Wiseacre's for our telescopes, glass phials and scales.
Wiseacre's was full of interesting trinkets, but sadly the adults didn't let us look around much before Auntie herded us over to Scribbulus Writing Instruments for our stationary supplies.
And then, finally, we went to Ollivanders to get our wands.
Richard eyed the peeling gold letters of the sign proclaiming Ollivanders to be fine makers of wands since 382 B.C. "Is... this really the best place?" he asked skeptically.
"The shop may look shabby, but you won't find finer wands in England." Auntie replied and opened the door for us.
Fitting all seven of us into the narrow shop was tight, but we managed to do so just as Ollivander appeared from the back.
"Ah, Eileen Prince. Ebony and phoenix feather, twelve and a half inches. Quite swishy, if I remember correctly?" he said by way of greeting.
"That is correct." Auntie agreed with a small smile.
Ollivander's eyes slid over to Severus. "And this must be your son? Yes, I see the resemblance. And your companions are a muggleborn family I take it?"
"Yes, this is my son, Severus, and our neighbours, the Evans family. Pansy and Lily here are the witches of the family." she gestured to Lily and me.
"Ah! The two of you must be quite excited, hm? Now, who would like to go first?"
After a small debate, Lily won the privilege of going first. I watched in fascination as a measuring tap floated up around her and began measuring everything from her height to the diameter of her irises.
"Hm... one moment please. I have a few ideas..." Ollivander murmured and went off around the small shop, grabbing and summoning boxes seemingly at random.
By the time he returned, Lily was looking a bit awkward as the tape measure was measuring the size of her earlobes. The wandmaker dismissed it with a wave, and pulled out a wand from one of the boxes he had retrieved.
He handed it to my twin, but quickly snatched it from her hand when it made a sizzling noise, muttering "no, not at all..." He repeated this behaviour with four other wands, though some he took longer to take back than others. Finally, he gave her the sixth wand, which let out a round of gorgeous pink sparks.
"Ah yes! A Perfect match!" He crowed in victory. "Willow, ten and a quarter inches with a phoenix feather core. Slightly springy."
Lily beamed and clutched her new wand tightly. "I did it!" she squealed. "Mum, dad, Tuney! I'm a real witch!"
"Congratulations, Lily." Petunia said with a small smile and pulled her in to a hug.
With Lily's wand out of the way, I let Severus go next. The process of matching him with his wand was similar to Lily's, though he went through over a dozen wands, finally finding his partner in a twelve inch ebony wand with a dragon heartstring core after what felt like ages.
And then it was my turn. The tape measure flew around me as Ollivander puttered around his shop grabbing wands, and I sneezed when it measured my nostrils.
The first wand Ollivander placed in my hand felt cold-and-dead-and-wrongwrongWRONG. I shuddered at the feeling at he quickly took it from me. "Most certainly not!"
The next wand, fortunately, did not give off as bad a vibe as the first, but it still felt wrong.
On and on it went, Ollivander handing me wands and snatching them back just as quickly. Some felt just as bad, if not worse, than the first, some didn't induce a sense of wrongness at all, but none of them felt right. Several times he had to go back and grab more wands to try, and each time he did so he seemed more and more gleeful.
"Tricky customer, eh?" He chuckled at one point, rubbing his hands together. I must have tried over thirty wands by then. "Haven't had one this tricky in years."
By that point, Richard and Eileen paid for Lily's and Severus' wands and left to get ice cream, leaving just Lizzie and I in the small, dusty shop.
"You certainly are an interesting young witch, Miss Evans." he said to me. "It's not often I get a customer your age that's so difficult."
"My age?" I repeat in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"When pairing a wand with a witch or wizard, it is easier for children to find matches, than adults." he explained absently, shoving yet another wand in my hand. "Of course, you're trickier than most adults..."
"Why are you trickier than most adults? I couldn't say—"
"No, why is it easier to match kids?" I clarified.
"Ah. It's quite simple, actually. Wands have to match their owner's personality and temperament. Children tend to be less developed and fixed in those areas, so wands are less picky and less likely to find something in their partner they don't like."
"You speak like the wands are sentient." I frowned.
"Not in the way you or I are, perhaps. But they are in their own way." Ollivander mirrored my frown after yet another wand failed to match with me. "Hm... As I said, you are an unusual witch, so perhaps you need an unusual wand... Just a moment..."
I watched the eccentric man disappear into the very back of the shop, where I could hear him rummaging around.
I glanced at Lizzie and mouthed an apology, but she just shook her head and smiled.
When the wand maker emerged, he was covered in dust and carrying three boxes.
"Some of my more unusual combinations—I've made a couple others like these, but they don't sell very often, so I don't often make them anymore... Let's try this one—holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches."
That... sounded like Harry Potter's wand, I thought with trepidation.
He handed me the wand, but I was hesitant to take it. Fortunately, especially since it felt more wrong than any other wand I'd tried, once I did he removed it from my grasp just as quickly.
"No, not at all..." he muttered, pulling out the next wand. "How about this? Yew and unicorn tail hair—a rather volatile pair, but perhaps—"
As soon as he placed it in my hand I knew it was the one. A warmth spread from my fingertips and through my arm. I gave it a little wave and bright blue sparks flew from the tip like miniature fireworks. I never wanted to let it go.
"Bravo! Bravo!" Ollivander clapped. "A perfect match, I must say. Fourteen inches, unyielding. I remember the unicorn quite well, I must say. Quite the young thing, I'd just collected a couple hairs from her mother and she insisted on giving me one as well!"
"Finally!" Lizzie chuckled, pulling the golden coins from her pocket to pay for my new wand. "How many wands was that?"
"Eighty three." Ollivander answered, surprising me. I didn't think he was keeping count, but considering just whom we're talking about, I really shouldn't have been. "That will seven galleons, please. Thank you."
Lizzie thanked him for his time (which amounted to nearly two hours), and I nodded along in agreement. With that, Ollivander bid us farewell and ushered us out of the shop.
Just as the door shut behind me, my ears picked up Ollivander muttering to himself once again, but the words I was able to catch sent a shiver down my spine.
"...interesting witch, certainly... wonder... another one?"
"Pansy, Lily." Petunia said a few days after our trip to Diagon Alley.
"Yeah?" Lily said, looking up from painting her nails and I "hmm'ed", but didn't move from where I lay on the floor.
It was another sweltering summer day, and once again the three of us had sought refuge in the basement. We were once again sprawled out on the cool tile, though Lizzie and Richard had confiscated all the board games because we kept accusing each other of cheating and fighting. So instead we each did our own thing. Today I was reading my transfiguration book, Lily was painting her nails with scarlet polish, and Petunia was trying to compose her own song.
"I was just thinking... Remember that professor that brought your letters?" the elder blonde asked.
"Professor Rosier?" I said. "What about him?"
"Do either of you remember his first name?"
Lily scrunched up her nose, but shook her head after a moment.
"Uh... Artemis, wasn't it?" I said hesitantly, my face pulled into an uncertain grimace.
"That's what I thought." Petunia nodded, and then giggled.
"What?" I said, pushing myself up onto my elbows in surprise. "What's so funny?"
"In Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt." Petunia said through giggles. "It's a girl's name."
At that, Lily broke into giggles as well, but I just dropped back onto the floor with a small "huh."
It hadn't occurred to me that Artemis was a feminine name. Probably because in my last life, I read Artemis Fowl and watched Sailor Moon, which both contained male characters named Artemis. To be honest, my memories of my first childhood are kind of fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure back then I didn't learn the name came from the goddess until long after I'd read and watched those series.
"I feel kind of bad for him." Petunia continued. "But at least he's really cute!"
"P-Petunia!" I spluttered in surprise
"What? I'm almost fourteen! I notice these things!" she huffed.
And with that, I finally joined in with my sisters' laughter.
It was good to laugh with them, and I etched the moment as firmly in my memory as I could, knowing that after Lily and I went to Hogwarts, times like these would start to dwindle away.
I was going to miss Petunia.
There were only a few weeks left before Lily and I left for Hogwarts, and Lizzie and Richard were getting more weepy by the day. They were constantly gushing about how proud they were of us one minute, and then the next they were wiping tears and going on about how much they would miss us.
It was actually rather annoying, and I could see it was making Petunia feel jealous and left out. It made me feel guilty, but to be honest I wasn't sure what to do about it. So I just kept quiet and ignored my pseudo-parents as much as possible, while trying to spend as much time with Petunia as I could.
We decided she should wait to talk to them about auditioning for the Royal Ballet School until after Lily and I left, because they were so focused on the two of us at the moment. I made Petunia promise to write me about how it goes in detail, and that she'll have to tell me all about the school when she gets in.
And then, finally, it was September 1st, 1971.
End Part I
AN: And next chapter we're off to Hogwarts! Sorry this one is a bit short, but there wasn't much left to say for pre-hogwarts.
I wanted to give a reminder that you can find occasional fic news/updates on my profile.
A few chapters ago someone commented that they were worried Pansy was going to be the villain of the story. I assure you, she won't be. While there are going to be antagonists in this story, and I certainly have, what I hope, is an interesting plot, there will be no true "villains" in this story. Basically I'm writing this as if it were real life in many ways—you have problems and conflict, but there aren't really "evil" people.
The summary is a bit vague, but the plot will basically be about Pansy figuring out wtf is going on and how she ended up in Harry Potter, and the problems/events that come with that.
This story is also developing as I go, so I may change my mind about some things at there may be the occasional minor retcon or a plot thread that is hastily written out. Once the work is complete I may come back and fix these sorts of things.
I'll be putting up a link to a rough sketch of the female Hogwarts uniforms on my profile after the posting of the next chapter.
Thank you everyone for your patience and interest in this story! Please forgive any mistakes.