"Hocus Pocus or hocus-pocus is a generic term used by magicians, usually the magic words spoken when bringing about some sort of change." - Wikipedia
Adele Polkiss crouched under the Dursley's agapanthus listening to the dragging footsteps draw nearer. Her hand tugged at the thin, hand-plated cord in anticipation. Past the thick leaves she could see the rope trailing across the footpath, tied to the telephone pole with a thick knot. She shuffled further into the bushes, hoping the wool she had chosen would camouflage well enough.
She waited until the exact right moment – and she'd had plenty of practice finding it – before yanking the rope as hard as she could, leaning back as to give it the strength of her full weight. There was a sharp pull that almost wrenched it out of her hands and then a soft thud punctuated with a gasp of surprise.
Adele stood, emerging from the agapanthus with an expression of glee. Harry Potter lay sprawled on the pavement before her, hastily rubbing the bruises that were already appearing on his knees.
'You again!' he groaned, frowning. Adele couldn't contain the sense of pride. Over and over again, Harry fell for the same trick.
'You should start watching where you're walking,' she announced, bending down to untie the rope from the telephone pole. 'I've gotten you at least four times.'
Harry glared at her. Though he was almost eleven, he was not much taller than seven-year-old Adele. Of course, this came as no surprise to anyone as Harry was the scrawniest boy of almost-eleven they had ever seen. With a pale, thin face, lurid green eyes hidden behind glasses and an explosion of black hair; people had a hard time believing that he was related to the Dursleys at all.
As it was, Harry Potter was not related to the Dursleys. His aunt, Petunia Dursley née Evans, was the sister of his mother Lily Potter who had died when Harry was a baby. Harry had been told all his life that both his parents had died in that same crash and only he had survived, a lightning-bolt scar etched into his forehead as a permanent reminder.
Adele eyed the scar. She knew all of this, and found it exciting. She wished her mother, father and brother had been killed in a car crash, too. Not because she wanted them dead – though there were times when her brother Piers brought her close to it – but because being an orphan seemed like such a ridiculously exciting thing to be.
'Is Piers here, then?' Harry asked, subconsciously crouching next to Adele in an attempt to hide. Adele nodded, grinning.
'They're making a mud pie in the back yard. Piers says they're going to put it in your bed. Say, Harry, do you really live in a cupboard?'
Harry scowled at her wide-eyed curiosity. 'Because Piers says you do,' she continued. 'And he says that every morning, Dudley comes down the stairs as loudly as he can. Which,' she added in a whisper, 'is probably very loud.' She paused for a moment, watching Harry's mouth for a smile that didn't come. 'So is it true?' she finished eventually.
'Yes,' Harry said shortly.
'Can I see it?'
Adele scowled. 'Why not? I'd let you see my room.'
'I don't want to see your room,' Harry retorted. 'I want you to go away.'
'I'm going to see anyway,' Adele announced, clutching her coiled rope in her hands and standing. She turned on her heel and marched towards the house.
'I said no!' Harry cried, racing after her. He grabbed her arm as she tried to run away.
'Let me go!' she snapped, hitting him with a clenched fist. Harry wrestled her to the ground easily, sitting on her chest. Eleven years experience with Dudley had taught him as much, and though small he had a certain hidden strength about him.
'You're hurting me!' Adele whined, wriggling. 'Get off! Harry! Oh – MUM!'
Harry leapt off her and bolted across the front lawn and down the street as his aunt Petunia Durlsey and Mrs. Polkiss hurried out the front door.
Through her tears Adele told them how Harry had wrestled her and sat on her – rather heavily, she insisted – and Aunt Petunia remarked on how he had grown to be such a vile boy and Mrs. Polkiss agreed, wondering at how Harry could have turned out so wrong when Dudley had turned out so right.
At that moment, Dudley and Piers appeared, curious as to what the racket was all about. When Mrs. Polkiss told them, Dudley promised – "like a guardian angel!" Petunia would say later – that the next time he saw Harry he'd set him straight.
And no doubt Dudley kept his word and 'set Harry straight', for Harry would often appear with bruises and torn clothing, and Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon would tell him off for being a nuisance, before praising Dudley on how pristine he had kept himself (while beating up Harry).
The next time Adele saw Harry was when they were dropping Piers at the Durlsey's for Dudley's birthday. The little girl had tagged along with her mother as she often did.
Adele Polkiss was a particular favourite of Aunt Petunia's. Having no daughter of her own, Petunia often found herself doting on Adele. The girl was slight with a pointed face, though not so scrawny and rat-like as her brother, but a certain black-haired boy might argue against that. Aunt Petunia thought that, next to Dudley, Adele was the most angelic creature on Earth.
So when, as Petunia was telling Mrs. Polkiss that they had to take 'the boy' to the zoo with them, Adele expressed a desire to see the giraffes, she was more than happy to squeeze the girl into their car along with the three boys, Vernon and herself. When Harry found himself wedged between her and Dudley though, he began to wish Mrs. Figg had never broken her leg. Even cats and cabbage-smells was more agreeable than her.
Adele, however, chose to make the day as special as possible and vowed not to pull any pranks on Harry. This was, after all, their first ever play-date together, and she wanted it to be perfect.
Ever since forever Adele had wanted to be friends with Harry, in a peculiar way. She still enjoyed picking on him, and she loved watching him walk into Piers' and Dudley's pranks, but she was quite enthralled by his scar, his glasses, even his cupboard. After she'd learnt of the cupboard, she had begged her mother for weeks to allow her to sleep in their cupboard under the stairs. Mrs. Polkiss had repeatedly said no, however, reminding Adele that the dust would only aggravate her asthma.
As Dudley took them from exhibit to exhibit, and Harry pointed out a rather clever comparison between Dudley and a gorilla, Adele made sure to stick by Harry's side and to concentrate very hard on not tripping him over or making fun of him, though it was absurdly difficult.
After the giraffes – as Adele had insisted they see them – Dudley demanded it was time to see the reptiles. So off they marched towards the snakes, Adele suddenly sticking very close to Harry's side.
It was cool and dark inside the reptile house. Adele flinched away from the sudden movement of a lizard in its little glass enclosure. Still, she followed Harry in bravely, walking so close that their feet kept getting tangled.
'What are you doing?' Harry snapped, after he had almost tripped over Adele's feet for the third time. She scowled at him, clutching a handful of his sleeve
'Get off me!' Harry hissed. 'Let go of – hang on, you aren't afraid, are you?' his disbelieving expression hurt Adele more than the accusation and she immediately released her grip on his sleeve, aiming a sharp kick at his knee.
'Of course not!' she cried shrilly. 'Don't be stupid!' And so she finally moved away from Harry, taking care to stay away from any of the exhibits.
From where she stood, she could still see Harry, wandering about the reptile house and looking in all the windows.
Dudley was kicking up a fuss in front of the Boa Constrictor, demanding this his father wake it up. Adele could see the telltale signs of a tantrum blossoming behind the boy's round pink face. Sometimes she wondered where Mrs. Dursley got the idea that Dudley was an angel.
Harry had approached the snake now, and Adele watched as he began to speak to it in hushed tones. Adele's gaze flicked from Harry to the snake and to her surprise, she found that it had partially uncoiled itself, moving instead to look at Harry.
She stepped forward, almost feeling like she was in a dream. Was Harry talking to the snake? Of course he was, she could see that, but how on Earth did the snake understand him? How had he gotten it to move like that? The mystery that surrounded him was maddening, Adele couldn't believe that her life could be so boring.
She was almost knocked over as her brother, rat-faced Piers walked into her. 'Watch it,' he snapped before glancing behind him to see what she was looking at.
Before she could even move, he was running towards Harry and the snake, bellowing. 'DUDLEY! MR DURSLEY! COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT'S DOING!'
Adele watched as Dudley punched Harry aside. She saw his hurt look, and the flash of anger. And the next thing she knew, Piers and Dudley were screaming and the snake was gone.
Not quite gone, in fact, but no longer in its enclosure. Adele watched in absolute horror as it slithered towards her. Before it could reach her, however, she let out a piercing scream and leapt over its fat, brown body, running to where Harry was picking himself up off the floor. Flinging herself at him she continued to scream for a few moments, clinging to his baggy grey shirt as if her life depended on it.
Later in the car Piers and Dudley fervently recounted the snake's escape in ever changing details, from the size of the snake to its actions, to even go so far as to suggest that it had made off with a small child clenched in its jaws. Piers even calmed down long enough to claim that Harry was talking to it. Aunt Petunia, already pale and thin-lipped, seemed suddenly almost transparent, while Uncle Vernon turned a bruised plum colour. Adele glanced at Harry beside her as he sat, eyes fixed on the world outside the window. His expression was stony, his mouth set in a hard line. She wondered what he was thinking behind his green eyes.
For the next few weeks Adele kept her ear pressed to doors, waiting for any sign of Harry. After the zoo incident she heard her brother, mother and father retell the adventure (which was getting even more ridiculous by the second) to countless others, always mentioning that it seemed 'the boy' had been involved.
And then Harry dropped off the spectrum altogether, as the mothers had something new to gossip about. It appeared that Mr. Dursley had had some sort of mental breakdown, had begun nailing up the doors and windows and such, before finally uprooting the entire family and disappearing.
They were gone for three days before Piers finally received word from his friend. Dudley had appeared at the door one day, looking ashen and sick. He and Piers had retreated to Piers' bedroom to talk, shutting Adele out firmly.
Wondering what on earth could have upset Dudley so much, and curious to see if Harry had shared a part in it, Adele decided to go over and visit. Usually she didn't dare set foot in the house without her mother or her brother, but she knew that Petunia wouldn't mind seeing her, and that perhaps it would be a good chance to get Harry alone. Besides, the house was only a few blocks away, and with her mother engrossed in the planning of a Tupperware party, she didn't believe she would be missed.
And so, trying to tie bows in her laces (and only succeeding in making impossible knots) Adele donned her yellow hat and stepped out the front door, closing it quietly behind her. The summer had been a warm one, though not out of the usual, and she was increasingly looking forward to their cool, England weather again.
Harry was not out in the garden, as she had hoped, nor was he in the nearby park. Adele was left with the only option of knocking on the door. She hesitated, though, recalling the stories of Uncle Vernon's mysterious breakdown. Her mummy had said it meant he just found everything too hard, like a maths problem, and it made him go a tad peculiar. Adele wasn't sure exactly how much a tad was, but she knocked on the door anyway, putting her brave face on.
A drawn and tired Aunt Petunia opened the door, immediately brightening when she saw Adelle. 'Hello, dear,' she said, glancing over her shoulder. 'Are you looking for your brother?'
'Oh, no, I know where he is,' Adele replied smiling. 'I came to see you.'
Petunia beamed, glancing over her shoulder again. Adele realized that the sound she had thought was traffic was actually the low rumble of Mr. Dursley's snores.
'Vernon's having a bit of a lie down,' Aunt Petunia explained, 'but you're welcome to come in for a glass of milk, if you'd like.'
'Oh, yes please,' Adele said, following Petunia into the house.
Climbing onto a stool by the bench, Adele patiently listened to the woman talking about Dudley, and how he was looking forward to starting at his new school. 'He's taken to carrying his stick about with him everywhere, and the uniform makes him look so charming,' Petunia gushed. Adele's stomach turned at the mention of Dudley and 'charming' in the same sentence.
Okay. The plan had worked so far to get into the house, but she had no idea how to get to Harry. Through the kitchen door she could see the bottom of the stairs. Harry's cupboard was barely a few steps away. She could make it if she sprinted, but then there was the question of how to explain herself to Petunia.
As luck would have it, however, it was just then that Mr. Dursley woke up. He called down the stairs for Petunia, his voice groggy.
'I'm coming, dear,' Petunia answered, giving Adele an apologetic glance. 'I'll just go see what he's up to.'
Adele continued sipping her milk, listening to Petunia climb the stairs. As soon as she heard their bedroom door open, she leapt up, tiptoeing into the passage.
There, in the side of the stairs, was the doorway. She approached it and knocked smartly three times. When no one answered, she tried calling.
'Harry? It's Adele. I'm coming in, even if you don't want me to see your room.'
'What are you doing here?'
Adele jumped at the voice which came from above. Jerking away from the door and looking to the top of the stairs, she found Harry leaning on the banister scowling at her.
'What are you doing up there?' she exclaimed.
'I was in my room, but came to get some water,' was all Harry said, continuing down the stairs. Adele followed him into the kitchen, clambering back onto her stool. Harry eyed her glass of milk apprehensively as he filled his with water.
'You can have some, if you'd like,' Adele offered suddenly. Harry glanced at the stairs, where you could hear the rumble of voices, and then at the glass in Adele's outstretched hand. There was perhaps only a mouthful left, but a mouthful was still a lot to a boy who didn't have much.
'Thank you,' he said gracefully, reaching for the cup. Before he could touch it though, Adele snatched it away, swigging the last few drops.
'Hey!' Harry cried, before quickly hushing his voice, eyes flicking back to the stairs. 'You said that..!'
'Your mum poured it for me,' Adele teased sticking out her tongue. Harry's face darkened.
'She's not my mum!' he retorted angrily. Adele brightened, they'd hit on something she wanted to talk about.
'What was her name, your mother?' she asked, swinging her legs lazily. Harry was still visibly fuming, but he answered anyway.
'Her name was Lily,' he muttered. 'I think. Lily Potter.'
'And what about your dad?'
'James. Like my middle name.'
'Lily and James,' Adele murmured dreamily. 'That's much better than my parent's names. Harold and Viviette.'
'At least your parents are alive,' Harry said turning away. The mood immediately turned sombre.
'How come you weren't in your cupboard?' Adele asked in an attempt to change the subject. This time Harry's thin face formed a smile, lighting up his green eyes.
'I've got Dudley's old room, now,' he gloated. 'The one with all his broken toys in it.'
'How come?' Adele gasped. 'Why?'
Harry glanced to the stairs, and then to the front door. 'I'm not supposed to talk about it,' he said quietly.
Sensing (yet another!) mystery to be solved, Adele pressed harder. 'Is it to do with your uncle's nervous breakdown?' she whispered. 'My mother said he'd gone crazy, and had dropped off the face of the Earth.'
Harry again glanced at the stairs. 'Alright. I'll tell you. But you have to keep it a secret. You can't tell anyone, especially not my aunt, or your mum, or your brother.'
'Can I tell my friends?'
'Can I tell Dudley?'
'No. It's a secret.'
'Come on then,' Harry said suddenly. 'Not in the house, they might hear.'
Adele followed him out obediently, wondering what Petunia would think when she came downstairs to find two empty glasses and an empty kitchen.
'...You're a wizard.'
They were sitting in the nearby park, and Harry had just finished explaining the terrifying events of his past week. From the letters pouring in through windows and fireplaces, to the lonely shack out of the weather beaten rock. Even the giant, with a head of dark, shaggy hair sent a shiver down Adele's spine.
'Yes, Hagrid said I can do magic,' Harry said enthusiastically. 'It's the reason why I'm so different! It must be the reason... why my hair grows back, and why the glass disappeared...'
'And you get your letter when you turn eleven?'
Harry nodded, 'that's what Hagrid said.'
'Do you think I'll get one?' Adele found herself asking, the wistfulness in her voice unmistakable. Harry looked her over carefully.
'I don't know. Your brother didn't get one, did he? And your parents didn't go to Hogwarts either. If they did, your dad wouldn't be a bank teller.'
'Even wizards have to have banks,' Adele snapped angrily. 'And your parents weren't wizards either!'
'Yes they were!' Harry challenged. 'Hagrid said that they were killed by the meanest, most baddest wizard of all time, NOT in a car crash. And that's how I got my scar, and then a man called Dumbledore left me on my aunt and uncle's doorstep and-'
'Stop it!' Adele cried suddenly, standing up. 'Don't lie!'
'You're telling stories! Everyone knows magic doesn't exist!'
'It does too, Hagrid said-'
'Then you can go marry Hagrid, even if he is a big, stupid, half-giant!'
Turning on her heel, Adele ran away as fast as she could. It wasn't fair. Harry got to be an orphan, Harry got to escape from his evil aunt and uncle. Harry got to be magic. Adele wanted to be magic too, even if she couldn't be an orphan. There was no way her father, a boring bank teller, could actually be a wizard in disguise. He was far, far too sensible.
It wasn't fair.
ARGH. I'm sorry to those that I'd promised the chapter to months ago 3 I just got stuck trying to time-line it all, 'cause it runs in accordance with the books and that.
A little bit different to what I've written before, but I like the idea and hope you will too.
Oh, the line that Piers says; 'DUDLEY! MR DURSLEY! COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT'S DOING!' is taken directly from the book XD (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone). It's just such an awesome line, I had to include it.
Rest is by me.