May 1984

Jo sat curled on her tattered couch, a glass of strong wine clutched in her right hand, and a notebook in her left. It'd been an awfully long week and she was dead tired, even though it was only seven o'clock in the evening. She was attempting to read over one of her latest short children's stories before sleep claimed her. Just as she was about to take her first long sip of wine, her bell rang. Rolling her eyes, she set her things aside and went to the door. She was greeted by a most curious woman. On her tiny door step stood a woman of medium height, slender, with a head of incredibly busy brown curls. But it wasn't her physical attributes that stuck Jo as odd, but more so the clothing she wore and the things she carried. The woman, who couldn't have been all that much older than Jo by the looks of it, was wearing some sort of long dark robe and clutching a clipboard in one hand and some sort of stick in the other.

"Hello." the woman said in a somewhat frazzled manner. Jo looked back at her blankly, temporarily lost for words. The woman shifted uncomfortably and glanced at the clipboard in her hand. "Er," she began again. "Miss Joann Rowling?"

Jo furrowed her forehead slightly and nodded. "Yes?"

"Oh," the harried woman let out a sigh of relief. "Good. I'm Mrs. Hermione Granger-Weasley." she said as if that explained it all.

Jo gave a slight shake of her head. "Sorry?"

Hermione looked around in confusion. "Hermione Granger-Weasley," she said again, slower this time. "You've received our letters?"

Again Jo shook her head. "No, sorry. I've just moved in here. I haven't had any post yet."

"No," Hermione snorted kindly. "not normal post; owl post."

Jo looked at the woman for a long moment. "Owl post, ah," she looked around. "wait, you mean all those owls tapping at my windows the past few weeks?"

"Yes!" Hermione said cheerfully. "Then you gotten our letters and you're ready to go?"

Jo took a step back. "Um, I called animal control. They got rid of the owls."

Hermione turned an odd shade of green. "You did what?"

"I mean," Jo cut in suddenly. "I didn't, I mean they didn't kill them. They just sent them elsewhere."

"Oh." Hermione said quietly. "Well then you never received the letters. Oh my," she tutted softly. She waved the stick in her hand, and Jo swore she saw something white shoot out of the end and fly away.

"Ah," Jo said slowly backing away. "What is it you want of me?"

"Well," Hermione huffed her stick carrying hand on her hip. "it isn't going to be easy to explain. May I come in?"

Jo hesitated, panic creeping into her chest. "I don't really know you; I, I, don't think that would be a good idea."

Hermione regarded Jo for a moment. "Let me put it this way, dear; I'm Hermione Granger-Weasley and I'm a witch. And so are you."

Jo blinked once, twice. "Sorry?"

Hermione smiled sweetly. "You heard me, dear. Now invite me in and let's have some tea. It's going to be a long night."

"I'm sorry ma'am, but you really beginning to scare me." Jo mumbled as she began to close the door.

"I can prove it." Hermione said as she reached out and stopped the door.

"Really? Can you fly or something?" Jo nearly laughed.

"No, I haven't brought my broom." Hermione muttered as she raised the stick she was carrying. Jo stared in obvious shock at the ridiculousness of the situation. Then she heard the woman murmur something unintelligible and watched in awe as the old tree beside her flat burst into flame. A moment, and another incantation, later the flames were gone without leaving a trace. Jo turned her disbelieving eyes back to the woman grinning in front of her. She stood aside and let Hermione enter her home. She tossed one more incredulous gaze at the old tree before closing the door.

"Damned if I do, damned if I don't." she muttered, following the bushy haired witch into her own kitchen.