LIZZIE'S FIRST YEAR
Rating: T – English – Action/Adventure/Romance
Disclaimer: The characters and their world are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers and Warner Bros. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: This is a sequel Harry Potter and the Sword of Astragal. It's out of canon with HBP. In my story Dumbledore still lives; Snape is not a traitor, and Harry Potter believes the war is over.
The name of Lizzie's pet wolf, Piowackket, is taken from the witches' familiar in the movie Bell, Book and Candle, and no infringement is intended.
Background Notes: Voldemort is dead, and the wizarding world is at peace. Harry Potter has married his own true love, and together they have set forth towards a bright future. A year later, on exactly the same day, two rather unique children are born in Ottery St. Catchpole: Elizabeth Grace Potter and Ron Weasley Jr. But even then, evil forces were planning the ruthless destruction of this idyllic picture; only two young children, and their parents, might be able to prevent a return to the darkness of the past.
CHAPTER 1: BEST FRIENDS
"Faster!" the woman screamed, as she turned briefly from the window to watch the House Elves as they hurriedly packed the few trunks that she would be able to take. She turned once again back to the window and drew the heavy drapes aside. She peered out into the darkness of the night, dreading what she might see; but all was silent and still. There was yet time, albeit precious little.
Turning back to the elves she was enraged to see that the packing was not yet completed. Her cold blue eyes flashed with raw fury as she withdrew the wand from her robes and cast a spell on the elf nearest her. With a squeak of pain the helpless creature disappeared in a puff of black smoke, leaving only a small burned spot on the rich Persian carpet. "I said faster!" she screamed.
The elves, in absolute terror, were now literally throwing clothing into the trunks; fearful of another demonstration of the terrible wrath of their mistress. After incinerating the helpless elf, her eyes had once again returned to the window, and the neatly manicured gardens that lay beyond; but all was still quiet.
At that very moment a spirit of general celebration was sweeping through the wizarding communities of Europe, for the Dark Lord was now dead. The Ministry of Magic had immediately announced that both Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood were to receive the Order of Merlin in a grand ceremony to be held in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. No one had really thought to ask the two teens if they wanted such awards; because if they had, they would have learned that medals were the last thing on their minds. What Harry and Luna really wanted was to settle down and begin a peaceful life together; but that would have to wait until all the commotion died down.
But within the walls of this ancient manor house, built on a lonely crag near the Welsh border, there was no spirit of jubilation, only one of mourning. The family that had lived there had traced their lineage back over one hundred generations. One hundred generations of power, privilege, and cruelty. This was a family that had always prided itself on its wealth, power, and the purity of its blood. But now there was only two left, only two surviving members of the once-great house of Malfoy.
Narcissa Malfoy turned from the window and noted with grim satisfaction that the packing was now complete. She would have to flee quickly before members of Dumbledore's accursed Order of the Phoenix arrived to take her into custody. She had only learned a few hours before that both her son Draco and Lord Voldemort, whom she had worshiped as a god, had fallen before that upstart Harry Potter. The shock was almost too much for her to endure, but endure it she must; and she would yet return for her revenge. The thought of that revenge would give her the strength that she would need in the months to come.
But for now, escape was the order of the day. And so, with her infant daughter Helena, Narcissa Malfoy would flee from the country of her birth and seek sanctuary elsewhere. Like her mother, the child had blond hair and blue eyes. But the child's innocence had not yet been corrupted by years of exposure to the dark forces in the world; there would be enough time for that later. The baby had been born six months to the day after her Father, Lucius Malfoy, had been killed in the Battle of Avalon. But Narcissa had made sure that the infant had received the sacred rites that consecrated her life to Hecate, the protectress of witches. Now, with both her son and the Dark Lord dead, there was nothing for her but to take the child and flee from England.
There were those who would later say that she fled out of fear that she would be punished for her crimes, and the crimes of her family. But they were wrong. Narciaas Malfoy was a Death Eater in her own right as well as the last member of the House of Black; which had produced more dark witches and wizards than any other family in England. This was a witch who would never surrender to the forces of light, and would not run like a coward in the night. The battle had been lost, but as she stole away from her home in the wee small hours in the morning, she fully intended to carry on the war. Late that night the two crossed the Channel to France, disguised as a muggle mother and child going on holiday. This was yet another indignity that Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter made her suffer, and for which she was determined to have her revenge.
And so began her long search, one that would take Narcissa Malfoy through the most remote towns and villages of Eastern Europe. During the hard months that followed she suffered from hunger, loneliness and frequent unsheltered nights; but they only served to strengthen her resolve. Finally, in the wild country of northern Greece, she found sanctuary among a coven of dark witches dedicated to the worship of Hecate. This coven, which dated from the days of ancient Greece, consecrated their worship with torture and blood sacrifice. These practices made them outcast from other worshipers of the goddess; for Hecate would never condone such grisly offerings. Nevertheless, Narcissa felt quite at home in this group, taking great pleasure in the torture of muggles as practiced by the coven. With her vast knowledge of the dark arts, Narcissa Malfoy rose quickly within their ranks; and upon the death of their leader took over the leadership role herself. This position gave her the tool that she needed to accomplish her mission; that being the control of a dark coven knowledgeable in the practices of ancient dark magic.
With her immediate safety secured, she began to develop a plan so evil that even the Dark Lord himself would be proud. Realizing that her design would take a dozen years or more to execute, she immediately set about learning the complicated spells and charms necessary to make it work. But Narcissa Malfoy had all the patience of her master, and she was willing to wait for such a perfect revenge.
Like her sister Belletrix Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy had nurtured the evil that was within her through years of worshiping the Dark Lord. In fact, Lord Voldemort had always considered the two sisters to be his strongest supporters. Now she had developed a plan of perfect revenge, one that would use her own daughter as a pawn to destroy her enemies and the forces of light.
Twelve years later very different events were taking place in a small forest near the village of Ottery St. Catchpole, County of Devon, in the south of England. There a young boy with flaming red hair hovered on his broomstick about twenty meters above the forest floor, trying in vain to watch in all directions at the same time.
Ronnie Weasley was worried, he had the strange feeling that he was about to be ambushed. There was no sign of her, but he knew that she was close by. Even when they were small they seemed able to sense each other's presence. Perhaps it was because they shared the same birthday, the 10th of July; or perhaps it was because they had been best friends for as long as either of them could remember. But there had always existed a unique bond between the two children, a bond that they had always reveled in. And now Ronnie Weasley knew that Lizzie Potter was close by, and getting closer.
Suddenly he heard a high-pitched scream, and a small figure darted past him on a bright orange broom. She tagged him lightly on the arm and disappeared into the trees off to the right, her long dirty-blond hair streaming out behind her like a pennant. No one was as good at broom-tag as Lizzie Potter was, and she knew this forest like the back of her hand. Ronnie was disgusted by how easily she had crept up on him, made even more amazing by the fact that she always wore a purple "Weasley-jumper" and flew on a bright orange broom. He never ceased to be amazed by how effectively she could blend in with the green colors of the forest; but he guessed that was just one of Lizzie's gifts, of which she had many.
He sighed deeply and began to weave in and out among the trees looking for one of the others; he knew that he would never catch Lizzie, not in these woods. But then off to his right he caught sight of movement in the tree-tops. There, about forty meters off the ground, he saw his cousins Heather and Holly Longbottom hiding among the upper branches of an ancient oak tree.
The twin sisters always seemed to be whispering together, as identical twins do, and Ronnie thought that there was a good chance that he could sneak up on them. He silently glided into the leafy branches of a nearby tree, and took a moment to analyze the forest around him. Like his Father, the young boy had a natural gift for strategy and tactics. The two girls had ceased their whispering and were now carefully watching the woods around them; as if they too could sense an attack coming.
Ronnie realized that a direct attack was out of the question; as they would flee the moment they saw him coming. No, this would require stealth and planning. He could see that the ground had a heavy covering of vegetation, and that, combined with the lower branches of the tree, obscured their vision of the ground. That would therefore be his best line of attack.
He turned his broom around and silently retreated the way he had come, nearly running into a hidden Lizzie Potter as he did so. Lizzie wasn't bad at strategy herself, as Ronnie knew from the many games of Wizard Chess that the two had played, and she realized that the safest place for her to be was behind Ronnie. After tagging her best friend she had circled around and come up behind, and had been following him ever since.
After he passed by without seeing her, she watched as he circled around to the west in a wide arc. She moved carefully forward in the direction from which he had come, and saw Heather and Holly hovering high in the tree opposite her. In a flash she could see his plan. Of course she could always warn the twins, but that simply wouldn't be good form. Besides, it was more fun to play teams with Ronnie. So Lizzie simply watched the two sisters from her own hiding place in the tall tree.
Ronnie had circled around to approach the tree from behind, where the vegetation was the thickest. He came in low to the ground, well out of their field of vision, and picked his way carefully around the bushes so as to make as little noise as possible. Then, timing it perfectly, he shot straight up along the trunk of the tree, and before they could even react, tagged Heather lightly on the arm. He continued to accelerate skywards, and shot out through the topmost branches of the tree. It was a daring strategy, but just what you would expect from the son of one of England's top professional Quidditch players. And then he flew off to the west, and Lizzie soon joined him.
"Nice move," she said in admiration.
"Thanks; you taught it to me," he answered, not at all surprised that she had been watching.
The two children always preferred to play together on the same team; partly because they were both skillful and talented flyers. But more than that, they knew that they could always trust and depend on each other.
At that moment they were both riding the new brooms that they had received for their eleventh birthdays, just a few weeks before. In the dense forest they were unable to employ the superior speed of the new Firebolts, but the intricate maneuvering through the branches was made much easier.
Ronnie's father, Ron Weasley, had tried to give his son a new broom on his birthday of the previous year; but the young boy would have none of it. He simply told his father that he loved his old broom, and would he please take the new one back. But that wasn't the true reason; Ronnie just didn't want to have a better broom than his best friend had. Lizzie Potter still had the old broom that her mother had given her when she was nine. The young boy just thought that his father couldn't understand that the boy wouldn't accept an advantage over his best friend; but Lizzie certainly understood. But perhaps Ronnie was wrong about his Father, because on their eleventh birthday both children received identical new Firebolts, and they were both thrilled. The only difference was that Lizzie's broom was the bright pumpkin orange color that had always been her favorite, as it was her Mother's before her.
Heather and Holly had no real chance of catching either Ronnie or Lizzie; even though they were talented flyers in their own right and it had been allowed for the two of them to play as a team. They made a half-hearted attempt to search for their cousin and his friend, but they knew it was of little use. They soon gave up and the four of them found another game. As the day grew warmer the four children ventured deeper into the woods to a secluded pool and waterfall. It was a magical place, and a favorite haunt of theirs; especially on warm summer days. They were all eleven-years-old, and would be starting their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a little over two weeks. This would likely be one of their last chances to run free in the woods, and swim in the pool. It was the perfect place to spend a hot summer day; the water was always cool and refreshing, and Lizzie's Father had transfigured the waterfall into a natural slide.
Lizzie and Ronnie had spent the last six years attending the muggle school in the village, where they learned the basic skills of reading, writing, mathematics, and muggle history. But now they were going to a school where they could learn magic, and make friends with children of their own kind. Neither Ronnie nor Lizzie seemed to conform very well to muggle school, but then neither of them really tried very hard to fit in. They were both from magical families, and tended to be most comfortable with their own kind.
In Ronnie's first year of muggle school the class bully had began to pick on the young boy because of his bright red hair. Even at such a young age Ronnie Weasley was not the kind of boy to back down to anyone, and on more than one occasion his fiery temper got him into trouble. This time it resulted in a schoolyard fight against a previously undefeated opponent. The other children watched, but none stepped forward to help the young boy; all of them thinking that it was better not to get involved. To everyone's surprise, the young boy began to land some effective blows, and the older boy soon had to call on his two cronies to help him. The tide of battle began to steadily turn against the Ronnie, and the three older boys forcing him into a corner; then out of nowhere Lizzie Potter charged into the fight. Using all of her strength, she tackled one of the older boys and knocked him to the ground, and then began to beat him with her clenched fists. Ronnie knocked a second boy down, and the third one ran away in fear. It was clearly a rout, and after that the school bullies left the two odd children alone.
Ronnie would have gotten into many more fights at school, except that Lizzie seemed to have a naturally calming effect on the boy. A few years later it would be Ronnie's turn to return the favor.
Lizzie Potter was by nature terribly shy, so her outburst against the school bullies was rather out of character. She rarely spoke to anyone outside a very small circle of friends and family, and Ronnie usually ended up doing the talking for both of them. With people she knew and trusted, the girl was lively and animated; but outsiders saw her as rather odd and unfriendly. A young girl might be able to deal with a degree of shyness quite successfully, as many young girls are able to, but in addition to shyness Lizzie had inherited a strong streak of stubbornness from her Father. Her close friends and family could deal with it quite easily, using simple logic to make Lizzie see their point of view; but the combination of shyness and stubbornness made Lizzie Potter a nightmare for her teachers.
A new teacher came to Ottery St. Catchpole at the beginning of her sixth year of muggle school, and he seemed to take an immediate dislike to the young girl. Lizzie never liked to wear dresses, thinking they were silly and rather impractical. After all, you couldn't climb trees or play soccer in a dress, and Quidditch was nearly impossible. She always thought that jeans were much more sensible, and that was what she always wore. This teacher, however, thought that young ladies should be properly attired in dresses. He made his views quite clear to his class immediately after his arrival, and the other girls chose to adopt a submissive attitude and conform to his wishes; but not Lizzie Potter. Not willing to accept defeat at the hands of this rather odd-looking child, and knowing that he had no real authority to enforce such a dress code, the teacher decided that the best way to ensure conformity was through open humiliation of the child before her classmates.
"What are you, a girl or a boy? Girls wear dresses and boys wear jeans," he declared in a mocking tone in front of the whole class. The other students laughed at her embarrassment; all that is except Ronnie Weasley. His face was red with anger, and he stood up defiantly in front of the teacher and the class.
"Lizzie's a girl, and my best friend, and you better leave her alone," he declared fiercely.
The teacher asserted his authority, and declared that the boy would be kept after class every day that week for his insolence; but Ronnie didn't care. At the end of his first detention he found Lizzie faithfully waiting to walk home with him. Halfway there, Lizzie leaned over and gave him a grateful kiss on the cheek. Ronnie turned the brightest shade of Weasley red; but then he slipped his hand into hers and smiled at her shyly. At that moment both children shared the same thought of what a fine thing it was that each of them had a friend like the other. They were only ten years old, and there was nothing romantic about their feelings. They were still too young for thoughts of romance. But true love starts with absolute trust, and that was something that the two children already shared.
When Luna Potter found out about the incident at school she baked Ronnie three dozen Chocolate Snorkacks, and mother and daughter delivered them the same night. The next day the teacher was out sick, and he remained out of class for the next two weeks. The rumor going around town was that he had a strange blue rash all over his body, and had developed an unnatural desire for a baby's pacifier. At the end of two weeks it was announced that he was leaving the teaching profession for health reasons. The funny part of it was that when the children told their mothers about it, neither Luna nor Hermione seemed at all surprised.
Still, in spite of occasional bumps, Lizzie's life in Ottery St. Catchpole was rather idyllic; especially compared with the rather lonely childhoods that her parents had experienced. Harry and Luna, like all parents, wanted their children to have a happy and carefree childhood. Lizzie had grown up in a friendly old house, in the middle of an ancient forest, just east of Ottery St. Catchpole. From the day of her birth she was surrounded by a protective web of uncles, aunts and family friends that had helped introduce her to the magical world at a very early age. It didn't matter that most of these people had no blood connection to the young girl, she still thought of them as family nonetheless.
In fact, in the short space of Lizzie Potter's life, Ottery St. Catchpole had become the center of a growing colony of magical folk. The Weasley and Lovegood families had lived there for generations; but in the last dozen years several other magical families had moved into the neighborhood. Neville and Ginny Longbottom had moved into a new home between the Weasley and Lovegood properties. Within a year, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks had also married and moved to the area. Fred and George Weasley also became neighbors, shortly after their girlfriends succeeded in dragging them to the altar.
This extended family provided a very warm and nurturing environment which resulted in children who were happy, well adjusted and possessed by an adventurous nature common to those raised is a rural environment. As a result, the children were always involved in one adventure or another; which bred a degree of independence from their parents but a certain healthy dependence upon each other.
Lizzie, like her Mother, made it a common practice to go for midnight walks in her woods, knowing full well that there was nothing there that would hurt her. Many were the nights that Ronnie Weasley would be woken from a sound sleep by the sound of pebbles thrown against his bedroom windows. It was always Lizzie Potter, who on one of her nocturnal meanderings had discovered some wonder that her friend needed to see right away.
From anyone else, such a disturbance would bring on an explosion of the famed Weasley temper; but never with Lizzie. The boy would put his cloths on, grumbling a bit, and he would go out to meet his friend. Like as not the two children would be out exploring until after sunrise, when they would turn up at one house or the other famished and ready for breakfast. Their parents simply accepted it as one of the consequences of raising adventurous children.
Molly Weasley so missed the sounds of children's laughter that she actively solicited the parents to leave their children while they were at work. She soon took on the role of grandmother to all of the children of this rather unique colony; a role in which she thrived.
But it would be wrong to assume that Lizzie grew up in an isolated environment; because hardly a summer went by that Harry and Luna didn't take their children out on expedition in search of rare and unique animals. Ronnie Weasley was always an invited guest on these expeditions; because the two children were always happiest together. In the process of these expeditions, the children visited most of the countries of Europe, and had the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of different peoples. They never regarded it as an educational experience, but their parents certainly did.
And on those rare occasions when Molly Weasley was unable to sit with the children, their parents took them to Hogwarts for the day, thus giving them a glimpse of their futures. These were days that the children took particular delight in, because they inevitably ended with their favorite uncle, Hagrid. He had the most wonderful creatures for his classes and all the children took the greatest delight in learning about them; especially Ronnie and Lizzie. For some strange reason, that the two young children simply couldn't understand, many of his regular students seemed actually afraid of the wondrous animals.
The proudest moment in Ronnie and Lizzie's young lives came during one of his classes when they were ten years old. As Hagrid always did, he allowed the younger children to watch as he taught his class; even though they received some curious looks from the older students. This morning the class was for third-year students, and Hagrid led them away from his hut and down to a small paddock on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. There stood several of the most bizarre and frightening creatures that most of the students had ever seen. They had the bodies of horses, but the wings and heads of giant eagles; and their powerful beaks and talons was enough to unnerve the most confident of students. Their gleaming coats changed smoothly from hair to feathers; and their brilliant orange eyes gave them a truly savage appearance.
"Now, can any of yeh tell me what these are?' Hagrid asked.
But the rest of the class was too petrified to hazard an answer, and merely took the opportunity to back further away from the powerful creatures.
When none of the regular students dared to answer, Ronnie and Lizzie very timidly raised their hands.
With a wide smile on his face, the half-giant pointed to the young girl sitting behind the rest of the class. "Yeh, Lizzie. Do yah know what they are?"
"They're Hippogriffs, Sir." The young girl responded. Lizzie thought she should call Hagrid 'Sir' rather than uncle since he was teaching his class, and she wanted to be respectful.
"Tha's it, Hippogriffs!" Hagrid declared happily. "Beau'iful aren' they?"
The rest of the class didn't seem to share their teacher's assessment of the fearsome creatures, and continued to back away from the paddock. Their "Uncle Hagrid" had introduced Ronnie and Lizzie to the marvelous creatures the previous summer, and they were both fascinated by them. Seeing the rest of his class on the verge of flight, Hagrid suddenly got an idea.
"Can any of yeh tell me anything abou' them?" He asked, and it was clear that he was directing his questions at the two youngsters.
"They're very proud and you need to be respectful with them," Ronnie answered knowingly.
"And you have to bow when you first meet them," Lizzie added.
"Yeh're both right," Hagrid announced proudly. "Would yeh two like ter take ah ride?"
In spite of the collective gasp from the rest of the class, Ronnie and Lizzie squealed with delight. They both walked through the gate and up to the Hagrid. Next to the half-giant the two young children looked small indeed, and the rest of the class didn't give much for their chances with such a fearsome beast.
"Righ' then. Ah put yeh two up on Buckbeak. E's an old friend of yeh Dad, and I reckon he would let yeh ride im."
The two children walked slowly up to a Hippogriff with slightly graying feathers. The two bowed formally from the waist, and the old Hippogriff nodded his head regally in return.
"Well done, children, very well done." Hagrid said happily. "Now yeh can pat im."
Ronnie and Lizzie lost no time in patting and stroking the great beast, and he seemed to actually like it. The rest of the class hardly noticed it, but they had all began to move closer to watch this strangest of sights. All of them wondered who these strange children were, and they were all amazed that they showed no fear of the large animal.
"Now I reckon e'd let yeh have a ride," Hagrid declared, and lifted the two delighted children up on the Hippogriff's back. Ronnie was in front, and Lizzie was holding on behind him.
"On then!" Hagrid shouted, and the great wings began to flap and the creature soared up into the air. Hagrid had quietly put a securing charm on the children before they took off, just to be safe. Buckbeak flew up above the tree-tops and out over the lake. The Hippogriff skimmed low over the water, and Ronnie and Lizzie extended their arms out to feel the pure exhilaration of flight. When they returned after their all too brief ride, they were both out of breath but terribly happy. It the most exciting thing that either of them had ever experienced and they wished it had lasted longer.
The rest of the class, embarrassed by what two ten-year-olds had done, began to step forward one by one to inspect the Hippogriff more closely. None of the others dared ride him, but some of the braver children did pat him. As they all walked up to the castle for lunch, one of the third- year Gryffindor boys walked over to them, and shyly made a suggestion.
"Why don't you eat lunch with us; next year you two are certain to go to Gryffindor House?" They did as the boy suggested, and both had a wonderful lunch as the story of the incident swept around the Great Hall.
Ronnie's Mother, Hermione Weasley, said nothing about the incident; but her son could tell that she wanted to say that it was too dangerous. She held her tongue however, because the stories of her adventures with Harry Potter had become Hogwarts legend. Harry and Luna, on the other hand, were delighted that their daughter had such a wonderful opportunity at such an early age, and was brave enough to take it. They knew that Hagrid could be trusted to look after their child.
Of course, the children already knew quite a bit of magic. Several years before, Albus Dumbledore had advised their parents that wizarding law permitted a child to obtain a first wand at nine years of age under the condition that it was only used with adult supervision. All four children had been taken to the shop of old Mr. Ollivander on their ninth birthday, and received their first wand. Their parents had immediately started their instruction in the use of the wands, and by the time they received their Hogwarts letters they were quite adept at simple spells.
That evening, after an exciting day of play in the forest, Lizzie sat happily on her bed at home. Her room was done in wonderfully clashing shades of bright orange and purple, but she loved it. On the foot of her bed lay a large grey wolf, watching his mistress with intelligent eyes. His name was Piowacket, but Lizzie simply called him Pie. He had been born in the same year as she, and the two had been together ever since. Her mother Luna had been raised with the wolf's mother, Grimmy; so it seemed almost predestined that the young girl would have also have a wolf as a pet. When Lizzie was only a baby, Grimmy had brought her latest litter of pups to visit Harry and Luna. One particularly precocious pup had wandered away from the others and had gone exploring. Discovering that one of her children was missing, the mother wolf began a systematic search of the house, assisted by Harry and Luna. They found the pup snuggled close to their infant daughter, both sound asleep; and from that moment onwards the two were inseparable.
The little girl knew that she would miss her faithful friend; but her Father had told her that a dorm room was just not a suitable place for a large wolf, and that her roommates would simply not understand. Strangely enough it was not Piowacket, but the quiet evenings at home that the little girl thought that she would miss the most. With Grimmy and Pie curled up on the floor before the blazing fire, her Father helping her little brother learn his first spells, and Lizzie herself sharing the large chair with her Mum as she graded that day's rune assignments.
That was how Lizzie had learned about runes: watching her Mother correct student papers and asking about the strangely hypnotic symbols. Luna would patiently explain the meaning of each symbol to her little girl, and show her how to read them. Soon Lizzie came to love the mysterious runic symbols as much as her Mother did, and eagerly looked forward to the treasure maps which Luna would prepare.
Sometimes Ronnie would come over to spend the night, and the two children would play Exploding Snap or Wizard Chess in front of the fire. Like as not they would fall asleep there, dreaming of the magical world of which they were a part, and then wake up the next morning to the smell of bacon cooking in the kitchen. It was a happy and secure life, with no room for regrets or apprehensions. And so when the time finally came for Lizzie to go off to school, it was with a light heart and eager anticipation.
The Saturday before school was to start Lizzie was up with the sun. She dressed hurriedly and rushed downstairs to the kitchen where her parents were already busy preparing breakfast. Luna was cooking bacon at the stove while Harry stood at the kitchen table mixing batter for Blueberry waffles; which happened to be Lizzie's favorite. This was a familiar sight to the child, because Harry and Luna loved cooking together, and had since they were teenagers. In fact, the two enjoyed doing everything together. Even after a dozen years of marriage they were still best friends and still acted like newlyweds. But today would be special. Today was the day they were all going to Diagon Alley to buy Lizzie's school supplies; and the little girl could barely contain herself.
Harry looked over at his daughter and gave her a sly wink, and then he quietly walked up behind Luna and kissed her on the back of the neck. She laughed like a schoolgirl, and spinning about, threw both of her arms around him. If this was what marriage would be like, then Lizzie couldn't wait to grow up.
"Good morning, Pumpkin. Are you all ready for today?" Harry asked her affectionately as he kissed her good morning before returned to his work.
"Oh yes, Daddy. When are we going?" She answered excitedly.
"Well not before you eat a good breakfast; it's going to be a long day," Luna said, and sat a plate of bacon and eggs in front of her daughter.
"Yes, Mum," the little girl replied happily, and quietly slipped a piece of bacon under the table to Pie. Luna Potter saw what her daughter was doing, and smiled to herself. It had only been a few years before when she herself had done exactly the same thing with her own pet wolf. She caught her husband's eye, and saw that he was smiling as well. Both parents were very proud of the independent little girl that they had created.
At that moment their nine-year-old son Jamie came bouncing down the stairs and plopped down into his place by his sister. "Morning Daddy, morning Mum," he said happily. The little boy was as excited about the day to come as his sister was, but for a different reason. While his parents and sister were going to Diagon Alley, he was going to spend the day at The Burrow with his best friend, little Molly Weasley.
Lizzie had asked her Father if they could fly their brooms to The Burrow; the floo network would have been faster, but not nearly as much fun as flying with her parents. Harry knew that it was important to the young girl, and as it would probably be her last chance to fly with her family before school started, so he willingly agreed. Her little brother Jamie had just soloed on his own broom a few weeks before, and he was also delighted with the prospect. So were Harry and Luna, for that matter, because it was the first opportunity for the whole family to go flying together.
Lizzie took off first, riding the new Firebolt that she had received for her birthday. She loved the fast acceleration of her new broom as well as its excellent maneuverability; both were so much better than her old broom. Harry followed; riding the Firebolt Plus that Luna had given him for a Christmas present the first year that they were married. There were better and faster brooms available now, but none would ever mean as much as this gift from his wife. Luna and Jamie took off last. The little boy loved flying, but was still a little unsteady on his broom; and so his Mother stayed close. The forest was still shrouded in morning mist as the four rose into the air and flew east in the direction of the rising sun. Harry had put on a concealment charm so any early-rising muggles wouldn't be shocked. The Ministry of Magic had only recently released data showing that most muggle reports of flying saucers was really magical folk flying without concealment charms; and it would never do for the Headmaster of Hogwarts to encourage this behavior.
After dropping Jamie off at The Burrow, the Potters and Weasleys used the floo network to reach Diagon Alley. Both children loved traveling by floo, and they stepped out of the fire at the Leaky Cauldron with the grace born of a lifetime of such travel. But even after so many years of such travel, Harry Potter still stumbled once and a while. Waiting for them were Neville and Ginny Longbottom and their two daughters. After nodding to Tom, the ancient barman, they stepped out the back door and entered into the wonders of Diagon Alley.
The hustle and bustle of the alley was always greatest in late summer, as parents brought their children in to be fitted out for the new term at Hogwarts; and this year was no exception. The merchants, realizing that here was a market ready to be tapped, filled their display windows with things that would appeal to children and teens. The Pretty Witch and The Fashion Wizard had displays of the new fall line for the fashion conscious witch and wizard. Quality Quidditch Supplies had the latest racing broom on display, as well as the Quidditch uniforms for all four houses of Hogwarts School. It was all just a little overwhelming for children who had been raised in the country, and their eyes were as large as Galleons as they ran from one window to the next.
Harry and Luna watched their daughter running down the alley, amused by her enthusiasm and remembering the day, not so very long ago, when they themselves had first visited this wondrous place. Glancing over at his friends, Harry saw that they wore the same sentimental smile as he and Luna had, as they watched their own children take this very important first step towards adulthood.
The first stop was The Cauldron Shoppe, where Ronnie and his cousins would buy their first cauldrons. Lizzie Potter loved portion making as much as her grandmother did, and had received her first pewter cauldron when she was ten.
"Can I get one of these self-stirring cauldrons?" Young Ronnie Weasley asked hopefully, and pointed at a bright display model that was busy stirring itself. From the cauldron rose a green-smoke message that declared that it was guaranteed to make mistake-free potions for ninety-days.
"What does your list say? His mother asked patiently.
"It says 'one standard number two sized pewter cauldron.'" The boy answered with an air of resignation.
"That's right. And that is exactly what Professor Snape will expect you to have. You don't want to get off on the wrong foot with Professor Snape." Hermione Weasley warned her son. "Besides, those self-stirring cauldrons are for people in the business of potion making."
The young boy picked out one of the pewter cauldrons from the stack by the door, and paid the sales witch three galleons from his money bag. While he and his cousins were making their purchases, Lizzie was looking at the gold and silver cauldrons in the display behind the counter, and questioning her Mother on what kinds of potions they were used for. Luna explained that silver cauldrons were used in the preparation of advanced protective potions and the gold cauldrons were used for specialized healing potions.
From The Cauldron Shoppe, the group proceeded on to Florish and Botts, and began the process of book selection from the lists that they had received a few days before. Hermione had advised that they get their books in June, so that the four children could study all summer, but the other adults quickly vetoed the idea. Harry could see that his old friend looked rather nostalgic, as she ran her fingers over the fine leather bindings.
"Bring back pleasant memories?" he asked softly, placing a gentle hand on her arm.
She turned and gave him a dreamy smile, "Yes, the best memories of my life."
And he understood exactly what she meant, remembering his first visit to the overcrowded book shop. But her dreamy mood didn't stop Hermione from selecting at least a dozen extra books that her son and his friends would really benefit from reading. Both children enjoyed reading, but also wanted time for fun at Hogwarts; and Hermione Weasley was known to go a little overboard on the subject of study.
Both Ronnie and Lizzie gave their Fathers pleading glances, and with their help they were able to reduce Hermione's extra reading list to just six books. But then Ron and Harry slipped one additional book into their stack. Looking at the cover they were delighted to find that the title was "The Rules and Tactics of Quidditch."
Ron Sr. winked at his son and whispered. "You have to have a little fun."
"Ron, I heard that," Hermione declared, a warning tone to her voice.
After they had finished their school shopping, Ronnie and Lizzie were given the surprise that their parents had promised them. Their parents took them to Eeylops Owl Emporium where they were each allowed to pick out an owl of their very own. Lizzie selected a Snow Owl that looked very much like Hedwig, who was now becoming rather old; while Ronnie selected a rather intelligent looking Grey Owl.
As she looked through her textbooks that evening before bed, Lizzie was certain that her favorite class was going to be Transfiguration. Her Mother had already shown her some basic Transfiguration spells, and she wasn't bad at it. She was already able to transform a match into a needle, and she had almost mastered changing a leaf into a feather; but she longed to learn the more complex transformation spells described in her textbook.
As she went to sleep later that night, Lizzie thought about how much fun it was going to be to go to school at Hogwarts and learn magic. Little did she know that there was also adventure, and even deadly danger, awaiting her.
Many changes had taken place at Hogwarts since Harry and Luna had been students. Albus Dumbledore had retired to private life immediately after his two favorite students had graduated; citing a desire to pursue his own researches into forgotten areas of ancient magic. He had moved to his family's estate in northern England, where he lived a peaceful and contemplative retirement with his books and his memories. Three years after his retirement the old headmaster married Grizel Dane, who he had met one hundred and fifty years before, when he had been a student at Hogwarts himself. But he maintained strong contacts with his two favorite students, and when their daughter was born he willingly assumed the role of a second grandfather. It was a role that suited him well, and he took great delight in his visits with Lizzie and later her brother.
Professor McGonagall's tenure as headmistress began with a surprise, when she named Harry Potter as the new deputy headmaster. The move surprised everyone, including Harry himself, because the young man had only just begun his career as a teacher. But professors Dumbledore and McGonagall had discussed the matter thoroughly, and no one dared challenge their combined judgment. It didn't take long for Harry to vindicate their decision. His boundless energy and innovative teaching style made him an immediate success. He continued to live with Luna at "The Meadows," because being close to his family was the most important thing in his life, but each day he would floo to Hogwarts to carry out his responsibilities as instructor for Defense Against the Dark Arts and deputy headmaster.
Six years after assuming the post, Professor McGonagall announced her own retirement. She and Edward Lovegood had become very close, and had decided to marry. Luna Lovegood Potter was delighted with their decision, seeing the two as being a perfect match. The old headmistress had eagerly assumed the role of "grandmother" to Harry and Luna's children from the day they were born.
Suddenly twenty-four year old Harry Potter found himself thrust into the role of Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While the wizarding community of Britain seemed willing to accept the change, Harry himself had some real doubts. But Dumbledore and McGonagall, and his wife Luna, convinced him that he was ready for the new responsibilities. Harry almost immediately put his own unique stamp on the school, and the Board of Governors, encouraged by Albus Dumbledore, gave him their full support.
One of his very first actions was to rescind the rule that prohibited first year students from having their own brooms. Flying was such an important part of Harry's life, and so much a part of the magical life, that he felt it should be encouraged as much as possible. Junior Quidditch teams were created so that everyone would have the opportunity to play, not just the elite few of a given House. And all students, first-years included, were encouraged to come to try-outs if they had the desire to play.
In classroom instruction he encouraged new ideas and innovation, and was open to any new ideas that would stimulate the student's interest in learning. And in spite of the warnings of a few doubters, student test results began to climb dramatically. By the time Lizzie Potter came to Hogwarts, her Father was already being compared favorably to the great Albus Dumbledore as an educator.