Blessed Are the Geeks
By Kenya Starflight
Co-authored by Zachariasofborg
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my second foray into the Potterverse (after "The Stag and the Dragon"), but my first attempt at a straight-out, non-crossover Harry Potter fic. However, as Star Wars is my first love, it will still have influences in this fic, including and especially in the interests of the main character.
The title of this fic was inspired by Matthew 5:5, which reads "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." I tweaked the wording, of course.
This fic has been a long time in development, and I owe inspiration and ideas to many sources. The main contributor (aside from Rowling herself) is Zachariasofborg, who created the character of this story's Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and donated many funny and wonderful ideas for scenes and jokes. It took some talking, but I finally talked him into allowing me to put his name up as co-author. (And even if he'd said no, I'd have done it anyway, being a couple thousand miles away and therefore far out of pummeling range. Insert evil grin here...)
Chapter I – Next Time Shoot the Owl
I still wonder if things would have turned out differently if we'd just shut the dining room window before trying to play a game of Clue.
Or maybe not. Maybe I'd still be sitting here writing this dumb story of the craziest year of my life even if we'd shut the stupid window. They'd have gotten ahold of me somehow, I know it...
Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself…
I was just about to announce that Mrs. Peacock had done it in the ballroom with the revolver when the bird blundered through the window and crashed into the board, scattering pieces all over the floor. The four of us, being city kids who had never seen an uncaged or uncollared critter in our lives, just sat there and stared a few minutes while the bird flapped around clumsily, the draft of its wings blowing our cards all over the place. Finally it got to its feet and shook itself, dropping a few feathers in the process.
"Is that an owl?" Apollo finally asked.
"No, Dipstick, it's a duck!" Athena sniped at her twin brother, sticking out her tongue and twirling a finger around her ear.
"Shut up!" Apollo griped.
"You two can it," I barked. "Indy, go get Dad…"
"I wanna touch it!" Indy demanded, reaching out to grab the bird.
"Indy, don't!" I barked, slapping his sticky hand away. "Look at that thing's claws, it'll rip your fingers off…"
"Nuh-uh!" countered Athena. "Owls have never been known to attack humans! In fact, they're good for the environment – they help keep the mouse population under control…"
"Ask Dad if we can keep it!" begged Apollo. "That would be so cool, an owl for a pet!"
"You can't keep an owl as a pet, Dipstick!" screeched Athena. If you haven't guessed by now, Apollo has a second name in this household.
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks for the lesson on owls, Miss Animal Genius. No, we can't keep it, Dipstick…"
Indy chose that moment to lunge and make a grab for the owl. A musty-smelling wing whacked me in the face as the bird jumped back and flapped violently about the table for a minute. Athena screamed bloody murder, Apollo laughed, Indy made another grab, and I struggled to spit feathers out of my mouth.
Finally the owl had had enough, and it jumped out the window and took off as if it had been set on fire. I watched it go, wishing I'd thought to videotape this little incident. It would be solid proof that no living creature could remain in the same room with my annoying siblings for longer than thirty seconds and remain sane.
Indy stuck his lip out in an exaggerated pout. "I didn't even get to touch it…"
"Great, it wrecked the board," Apollo grumped.
"A real live owl!" gushed Athena. "That's so cool! This never would have happened back in Oakland…"
And the kids galloped off, still chattering about the event and leaving me to clean up after them. I sighed and collected scattered game pieces and dropped feathers, wondering why in the name of James Earl Jones did whatever god, Force, daemon, or other entity see fit to dump me into this lunatic asylum of a family.
Oh, you say I judge too harshly? Believe me, dear reader, you'd only have to spend half an hour – no, five minutes tops – around this family to know that this isn't so much a family as it is the Brady Bunch on Prozac.
First there's my engineer Dad, who I swear is the flesh-and-blood version of Dilbert, and my ditzy blond romance-novelist stepmom Matilda (honestly, who names their kid Matilda?). They claim theirs is a match made in heaven, but really, they get along about as well as oil and water. C'mon, it's saying something when they fight over the remote at night because one of them wants to watch "America's Next Top Model" and the other wants to watch "Stargate." What they saw in each other, I'll never know.
There's my only full brother, Jefferson, who's seventeen and a wannabe musician, though in reality he mostly just slinks around and raids the fridge when he's not off in his friends' garages banging on a drum set. Dad's still in denial about the music thing – he's convinced Jeff's going to college to be an engineer like dear old Dad, though I know for a fact Jeff would sooner chew off his own ears than be caught dead in a tie.
There's Matilda's two kids she brought with her – Hillary, who's sixteen, and Logan, who's my age. I share a room with the former, who's as blond and ditzy as her mother and obsessed with her clothes, and the latter mostly sits in front of the Playstation and grunts from time to time.
And as if that weren't enough, when Dad and Matilda got married, they decided it wasn't enough to just blend their families – they had to have more kids! (Nobel Prizes never figured big in either family.) So enter Athena and Apollo, nine-year-old twins who are way too hyper for their own good; Independence, seven and a cyclone of destruction; Egyptus, five years old and unusually wise for her years; and Kilenya, the baby. Don't ask me why the two of them suddenly went on a weird name kick – maybe the hormones went to Matilda's brain.
You might think things can't get any crazier? Think again. Three months ago Dad decided it would be a wonderful thing to take a transfer to Great Britain – expose his kids to some culture. So it was goodbye to California and all our friends there, and hello to the land where they speak weird English and drive on the wrong side of the road. Thanks for nothing, Dad.
And where do I fit into all this mess? Simple – I don't.
Dad says I look more like Mom than Jefferson does, which is a blessing since Jefferson would make an ugly girl. I don't remember her – she died when I was a baby – but in her pictures I can see that I got her black hair and strange gray eyes that look brown in certain lights. I'm also the only one in the family with ANY taste in movies and music – I mean, come on, From Justin to Kelley? Give me a break.
I wish we'd stayed in Oakland. I had friends there, and people at school didn't stare at me like I was some kind of freak. Matilda told me to give it time, but it was hard to be patient when people were whispering behind your back about the "weird Yank in the Star Trek shirt." (Star Wars, girls, STAR WARS, get it right!)
I tossed the feathers in the garbage, then went to put the lid on the box...
Strange. That envelope didn't come with the game. What was it doing in the game box?
I pulled out the envelope and had a look. Just mail. One of the brats probably threw it in the box trying to be helpful...
Wait... why was it addressed to me? I never got mail – not even from my friends back home in Oakland that promised to write to me every week without fail and never did. Shoving the game box aside, I reread the envelope:
Emily Wall – North Half of Girls' Bedroom – 24 White Rd – Bradford, England
Okaaaaaaayyyyy... one of my siblings playing a stupid joke. I mean, what normal person addresses an envelope like that? Besides, the thing didn't have a stamp or postmark, so it couldn't have come by regular post.
Curiousity got the better of me, and I took the envelope upstairs to peruse it in private.
The door to the bedroom I shared with my stepsister bears two signs, each designed to irk the other of us as much as possible. Hillary's reads "Headquarters of the Johnny Depp Fanclub – Nonmembers and Geeks Not Allowed." Mine reads "Darth Vader's Meditation Chamber – Trespassers Will Be Asphyxiated." She really hates my sign and has asked Dad to take it down before – I think it's because she has no idea what "asphyxiated" means.
I kicked open the door and go to my side of the room. The bedroom is partitioned exactly down the middle with a strip of duct tape across the floor and up the walls, dividing the room into strict territories that we dare not encroach on. Hillary's side is littered with clothes, some still in their shopping bags, and the walls are plastered with smirking, pouting boy-toys, most with their shirts open or off. Her bedcovers and other decor are in various shades of pink and aqua, and the top of her dresser is a mess of makeup containers, stacks of CDs by all her weird alternative bands, and stuffed animals. The inhabitant of this lair was currently sprawled on the bed, engaged in inane conversation on a cell phone with some bosom buddy or boy toy or whoever, I didn't care.
"Sock off my side," I told her, picking up the offending article and throwing it at her. Hey, I work hard to keep my side clean.
"Gross!" she complained. "Oh, not you, just my weird stepsister..." she tells whoever's on the phone. "You're lucky, you don't have to share your room with a total nerd..."
I sat down on my own bed, laying down on the TIE fighter blanket and scanning my half of the room – Star Wars posters, of course, and a good-sized collection of action figures and models and books dedicated to my passion. A huge Phantom of the Opera poster hangs over the head of my bed, and my own collection of CDs is stacked neatly on my bedside table, right next to my Boba Fett Unleashed statue – RENT, Fleetwood Mac, West Side Story, Three Dog Night, 1776, Santana, and other Broadway and '70s albums. In short, good music for a change.
I ripped open the envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper. Weird paper, I'd never seen something like this before. Like old-time parchment almost. The words had been written in emerald-green ink in an old-fashioned type of handwriting. A glittering crest with a giant letter H served as a letterhead. I absorbed all these details before glancing over the text:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE (Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Miss Wall,
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 books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
I reread the letter, just to be sure of what I was seeing. Then I crumpled it up in a ball and tossed it at the garbage can on Hillary's side of the room. It bounced off the rim and hit the floor, but it's not like another wad of paper on the floor was going to be noticed.
Okay, Logan, nice try. I'm not stupid, you know, so don't pull this gag.
And I pulled my copy of Darth Bane: Path of Destruction out from under my pillow, found where I'd left off, and forgot entirely about the stupid prank letter. End of story.
Or so I thought...