"Swoosh!" The rain was falling down hard on a hot day in early May. The streets of Calcutta were filled with passerby despite the horrible downpour. It was almost monsoon season, but activities went on as was normal. A pair of kids burst through an alley, running to the train station, which would take them from their schools back to their neighborhood. Their names were Rana Rai, age 10, and Rishi Khanna, age 15. Rishi attended Calcutta School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. Rana, on the other hand, attended a preparatory school as she awaited her letter from Calcutta. Calcutta was a unique Wizarding School. It was the most prestigious school in all of Asia. To get accepted was a huge honor. In addition, students had a choice. They could live in the dormitories or commute from home. Either way, students still belonged in houses. Rishi was one such student, who commuted from home, right by his best friend and playmate, Rana Rai. Rana was shoved as they made their way through the crowded streets and fell in a pile of mud, her Salwar Kameez getting all dirty. She moaned. Her mum would not be very happy if she came home all muddy again. Rana often had the tendency to leave mudprints all over the house. She wasn't a tomboy or anything, but was different than your average girl. Rana loved to play Quidditch more than anything, She wasn't all that interested in acting like a "lady." She did of course, around company. Rana wouldn't want to ruin her family's reputation. However, when there wasn't company-- that was a different story. Rishi smiled and dragged her off in the direction of the marketplace. They turned a corner and walked up a pair of steps of a shop.
"Hi Kali!" Rishi called.
"Why, hello there, Rishi, Rana." He grinned. Rishi had his hand in Rana's. They were young. Rana was only 10 but somehow, given a few years, their friendship had the possibility of developing into more. Kali had become fond of the two children, as did his wife. They often stopped by after school. Rishi usually parked his scooter by the shop. Rana often complained of never getting to drive it. It wasn't that she was too young, but she was too young to drive it on busy streets. However, within the village, Rishi happily let Rana ride it, provided he was seated behind her. Rishi and Rana ran into the back of the store and into a room. Rishi shut the door. He faced Rana and slowly waved his wand. She immediately was cleaned up. Rana grinned. Rana, after, all didn't even have a wand yet, but that didn't mean she didn't get herself into trouble. She and Rishi tended to be pranksters of a sort, yet extremely studious.
"Anytime Rani!" He shoved her playfully and the two ran out of the store. Kali laughed at the two kids before looking at the time. "You two best be getting home before it gets too late!"
Rana and Rishi nodded. Rishi helped Rana onto the back seat of his scooter and helped her with her helmet before sitting down himself. He put on his helmet. Rana wrapped her arms around Rishi's waist and the two waved to Kali before Rishi kicked the gear and drove off towards their village.
It was pouring when Rishi dropped Rana in front of her bungalow. Rana pouted.
"There goes our game of Quidditch," she muttered. Her mum would definitely not let her on a broom in this weather. Rishi chortled. His Rana was definitely the Quidditch nut. He grinned, helping her off before hopping back onto his scooter.
"I'll see you at the match tomorrow Rani!" Rana grinned and waved as he rode off. She skipped inside.
"Rani! Finally you're home. Quickly now, go change."
"Yes Mum." Rana ran up into her bedroom. The Rais were a pureblood family. Aditi Rai was a beautiful young woman in her mid-thirties, but she still looked as if she was 20. Rana was the spitting image of her mother, although her eyes and her personality, she took after her father, Sahan Rai. Sahan was still at work. He worked in the Calcutta branch of the Ministry as the Minster of Magic. Thus, they were very well off, but chose to live a simple life. Inside their bungalow, however, it was clear they were rich by their marble floors and crystal staircase. Their backyard was often used to play Quidditch, but it just looked like your average pitch. Still, they didn't keep many belongings. No one had any clue that soon it was all about to change.
Rana skipped downstairs in a new Salwar Kameez. Aditi smiled and sat her down in a chair as she began to brush out Rana's hair and put it in a fresh plait. Aditi kissed her on the head. "Go on into the kitchen, honey. Your father will be home soon."
"Mohan!" Aditi called her servant. They didn't keep house-elves. Instead, they kept an 8-year old servant boy. The boy had great potential to be great, but unfortunately, his family had fallen under bad times. In exchange for him working around the house, the Rais gave him food, lodging, and would see him through school. The Rais were a loving and caring family.
The eight year old boy hurried out from the kitchen. "Yes, Ms. Rai?"
"Take your meal. Take it with Rana." She smiled warmly.
"Thanks, Ms. Rai." Aditi gently pushed Rana into the kitchen.
The day of the Quidditch match finally arrived. Rana was bouncing around the house. Sahan laughed at his 10 year-old daughter. Yes, he had no doubt she would make the house team when she enrolled in Calcutta. Sahan and Aditi had no doubt she would be accepted. She'd shown signs of magic at age 5 and was at the top of her class in her preparatory school. The two of them often played with a Quaffle and Snitch when he had days off. Otherwise Rishi and Rana joyfully competed against each other. Rana grabbed her broom.
"Rani," Aditi sighed.
Rana made puppy dog eyes. "Pwease!"
"Oh let her, Aditya." Sahan smiled. Aditi glared at her husband.
"Pwease Mummy! With a Chocolate Fwoggie on top."
Aditi sighed. She couldn't resist those eyes. "Alright Rani." Rana squealed happily. "But…" Aditi put up her hand. Rana tilted her head. "Only if Rishi rides with you."
"Alright," she mumbled, but perked up at the concept of riding on her broom Rishi chose that moment to ride in on his scooter. "Rishi!" Rana squealed. Sahan and Aditi laughed at Rana's antics. She was such an adorable child. Rishi laughed as Rana came running at him with her broom. He raised his eyebrows.
"She insists on flying. I told her it was alright if you flew with her." Rishi smiled at his friend. She was so cute. He lifted up Rana.
"You. Rani…are obsessed with flying and Quidditch. What are we going to do with you?" Rana giggled. He smiled. "I'll see you at the stadium Mr. and Mrs. Rai" he said, mounting the broom behind Rana and wrapping his arms around her waist."
Rana giggled and shot into the air. She was 10, but an amazing flier.
"Rana! Slow down!" Rishi laughed. Rana giggled and she made a quick turn and turned right. She grinned, seeing the stadium and landed smoothly at the landing area. The two of them ran up to the high box, the best seat in the stadium. What with Rana's father being Minister of Magic, they always had good seats. It was a heated game between the Indian Team and the Norwegian Team. So far, the Indian Tigers were winning. Rana clapped. "Yaaaay!" She giggled. Aditi smiled at her daughter as she and Sahan joined the two of them in the box.
"And Iyer has seen the snitch!" the commenter called. "The Norwegian Seeker is hot on her toes. They are neck to neck. What's this? Iyer has caught the Snitch! India Wins!" Rana jumped up, jumping up and down. Rishi grinned, picking her up and swinging her around before placing a soft kiss on her head. Rana giggled cutely.
The four of them slowly exited the Stadium., Rana dragging her broom along happily, yet sleepily. Rishi smiled at Rana and lifted her up, carrying her in his arms as they walked. Sahan took the broom, watching as Rana lay comfortably in Rishi's arms. She let out a sleepy yawn. She'd had a lot of excitement for one afternoon. They walked into the wizarding marketplace as they had a few things to do before heading home. Rishi slowly walked with Rana in his arms. He sat on a bench as he waited for Mr. and Mrs. Rai. Rishi smiled at the young child he held in his arms, brushing some hair away from her eyes. Rana was growing up to be a beautiful girl. She would definitely have boys after her when she grew up.
"Hey Rishi!" Anjuli, one of his classmates called. Rishi put a finger to his lips, pointing to Rana and patted the seat next to him. Rana had snuggled up to Rishi, mumbling things about Quidditch in her sleep. Anjuli giggled at the girl, stroking Rana's head. "You know, everyone seems to think when she's older, something will develop between the two of you." Rishi raised his eyebrows in amusement. "I love her, yes. But she's a baby sister." He laughed.
"She adores you." She laughed as Rana continued talking in her sleep. "And seems to be destined for Quidditch."
Rishi rolled his eyes. "She is obsessed."
Mr. and Mrs. Rai walked out of the store at that moment. "Hi Anjuli."
"Hi Mr. and Mrs. Rai" She smiled. "Your daughter is adorable." She grinned.
"Thanks, dear. And how are your parents?"
"Oh; they are good. They wanted you to come over next weekend."
"We'll be there."
"Speaking of which, I better run. I see them now." She gently kissed Rana on the forehead before running off.
"Rishi, I can take Rana if you need to go."
"No It's ok Mrs. Rai. " He smiled. "I was just going to go home anyways." He slowly stood up, gently with little Rana in his arms. He slowly placed Rana on her bed when they reached her home. He smiled at her, before turning around to leave, waving to Mr. and Mrs. Rai,
A few hours later, Rana slowly sat up, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
"Morning, Princess." Sahan teased.
Rana let out a little yawn as Sahan lifted her up and sat her at the kitchen. Rana slowly drank her buttermilk and was soon a bundle of energy, He laughed. "Go on! Rishi is waiting to play Quidditch with you."
Rana ran out of the house, giggling madly. Sahan and Aditi shook their heads before heading into town. Rishi grinned.
"I need to make a trip to town first, Rani."
Rana nodded her head. They slowly waked through the marketplace when suddenly, Rishi pulled Rana behind him.
"Shh. Rani. Don't move." He lifted her up and put her behind a shop stall.
"Rishi?" she asked fearfully, hearing the shouts and screams. He watched carefully.
"Stay." He told Rana before walking towards the exit. The scene before him was horrible. Bodies lay dead on the floor, wands were raised, women and children were screaming. He paled, seeing in a corner, his sister and parents. Rishi ran over to them. "Mum? Dad? Lil sis?" They lay unmoving. Tears built in his eyes. He looked up, seeing screaming children being taken away.
"I need to get Rani out of here," he muttered. He kissed his family before running back into the marketplace. There would be time to grieve for his family later. Right now, he was focused on getting Rana away from the riot, having a sinking feeling, a similar situation was occurring in the Muggle World.
Rishi sighed, lifting the young girl in his arms and holding her close to him. She was softly crying from the screaming. He looked around, hoping to see Mr. and Mrs. Rai. He hoped they were safe." Shhh." He soothed. "Be brave my little princess! I'm going to get you out of here." He looked around. How to get her away was the question. Rishi looked at Rana worriedly. The poor thing was so young and he could sense the riot entering the marketplace. He clutched Rana to him tightly and ran in the other direction. If he could just get through the crowd and get Rana to the river, he could save her. Rishi sighed, seeing the crowd. There was nothing he could do, but run, Rana was sobbing against his chest, hearing the screams and seeing the fighting.
"Rishi? What's happening?"
"Riot, honey. We have to get you out of here."
"Where's Mummy and Daddy?"
"I don't know, love. Hopefully, safe."
A little boy screamed as his mum fell down dead. Holding Rana in his arms, with one hand, he shifted her over on one arm, and grabbed the boy's hand, as he ran through the crowd. He ran through a clearing. The boy's dad glanced at him.
"Raju!" The boy ran to his dad. Rishi continued running, still caught in the riot. He sighed in relief, seeing Sahan and Aditi.
"Go, honey. And don't look back." He put Rana down as he pushed his way through.
"Mummy! Daddy!" Rana to her parents. Aditi scooped Rana in her arms."Thank you Rishi." He nodded.
"Go, swiftly!" Sahan called to his wife and daughter. As Minister of Magic, he had to try and break it up. "You too, Rishi," he said as he ran towards another area. Rishi nodded and ran, but was grabbed at that moment. He struggled to get out of the hold. Sahan had disappeared towards the other side.
"Rishi!" Rana screamed." She struggled in her mother's arms.
"Rani!" She held on to her. Rana jumped out of her arms, running towards Rishi.
"Rishi!" Rana screamed.
"Rana!" Aditi picked her up, running as Rishi was carried away, knocked out. Within moments, Aurors had enveloped the scene and slowly the riot had broken up. Rana was crying. "Rishi!"
Sahan ran to his wife and daughter. The Aurors would handle it from here on out. Nikita would take over as Minister. It was no longer safe in India and his family was his priority. "Daddy! Rishi!" Rana cried. She put out her arms, wanting her dad to carry her. He sighed, taking his daughter in his arms. She slowly fell into a fitful sleep. He looked back with sadness, leaving their country and knowing Rana's beloved Rishi had been taken.
"This way, Aditya!"
They ran towards an apparition point and apparated to the Ministry. They walked into a building and went through several security measures before reaching the top floor. He took out a letter and scribbled a note out to Nikita and wrote a few urgent owls. Sahan sighed, sending them out, before taking out a key to a secure vault in his office. They would be able to take just enough money to afford a room in the Leaky Cauldron for a while till they could afford a home. They rushed out of the building and apparated to England, Rana asleep in his arms.
Weeks passed. Sahan had managed to get a position as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement in the London Branch of the Ministry of Magic. He got paid well and soon, they had bought a rather large home in a Wizarding Town in London. Rana still cried for Rishi and refused to stay in her new room. She'd changed. She'd become rather shy and lost herself in books these days. No longer was she the excited girl that was hard to control.
"Rani," Aditi whispered, lifting her up. It was May 31stth, her 11th birthday at last. Rana slowly woke up, rubbing her eyes.
"Mummy?" Aditi smiled.
"Happy Birthday, sweetie. Come on. Daddy has a surprise for you."
Aditi carefully lifted up Rana and took her out in the backyard. Sahan smiled and moved away. Rana's eyes widened. There in front of her was her own Quidditch Pitch, minus the bleachers. Sahan held in his hand a new Comet and a Quidditch Set lay on the ground in front of him. Rana squealed, jumping out of Aditi's arms and running to Sahan.
"Daddy!" Rana squealed, smiling happily for the first time since the escape. Sahan picked her up and swung her around. "Happy Birthday!" Rana giggled cutely. She was slowly adjusting to her new life.
"Can I fly? Can I? Can I?"
Sahan laughed. "Let's get you something to eat and get you ready first." Rana nodded fervently and skipped inside.
Aditi looked at her daughter than to Sahan.
"Why hasn't an owl come yet, Sahan?" She looked at him worriedly.
"Don't worry, Aditya. It will come. I made sure Hogwarts has known that we have moved here and Rana will no longer be trying for Calcutta."
Aditi nodded and went inside, followed by Sahan, placing some food in front of Rana when a pecking was heard on the window.
"Right on time," Sahan smiled as the owl soared into the house, dropping a letter in front of Rana. Sahan fed it some owl treats before it flew off.
"Well, go on honey, open it." Aditi said excitedly.
Rana grinned and slowly opened the letter.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITHCRAFT & WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Armando Dipett
Dear Ms. Rai:
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 equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
"Mummy! Daddy! I got accepted into Hogwarts!" She giggled, bouncing around the room. Sahan and Aditi smiled, glad to see their little girl was smiling again. Sahan lifted Rana up and tossed her in the air before catching her. Rana giggled happily. Things were finally starting to look up again for the Rais. No one knew in a few years, the family would be hit once again by not one, but two tragic events. For now, though, everything was going wonderfully for the Rais and Rana would soon begin her adventures at Hogwarts.