Long, Introductory A/N: I thought that I should explain my interpretation and usage of the Addams family before going any further, especially since this chapter begins developing some of their characters a lot more than that brief glimpse in the previous chapter.
I will be basing my interpretation of the Addams Family off of a combination of the 1960's TV show and the movies The Addams Family and Addams Family Values. I want to lean more towards the movie, but no promises. Gomez will echo the more jovial TV show Gomez for the most part, whereas Morticia will be quieter and more contemplative like her movie counterpart. The children I'm taking even further liberty with, since the portrayal of the movies bothers me a tiny bit in that Pugsley is more of a spare than anything. He's his own person. So is Wednesday.
Grandmama is Gomez's mother for this story and Fester is Morticia's uncle. Wednesday is a year younger than Henbane, who is a year younger than Pugsley. Henbane will NOT be paired with Wednesday. They're siblings. I wouldn't do my sister, so the same holds true for Henbane.
Other details on this story are available in my profile, if you're curious. I had an essay of an A/N written out before deciding that it would fair better in my profile. I need to add this story to the list, anyway. I'll probably be adding to it every now and then, or fixing it up. I can't guarantee my ramblings will always make sense, either. Feel free to ask me for clarification on certain things. Also, feel free to let me know if the tone of the story is slipping a little. Writing like this is a challenge, but one I'm enjoying. Also, apologies for the short chapter. I was going to include more, but then I realized just how well the chapter ended where it did.
I also apologize for any changes in summary or story title that might come about. I'm not sure if I want to make separate stories for the whole thing or one big story. Either way I'm not a huge fan of the current summary/title, I just needed to put something down. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to message me/leave a review. Due credit will be given, even if I don't use it but it gives me an idea.
Hogwarts letters are not handwritten. People like Professor Minerva McGonagall have better things to be doing than writing the same letter over and over again when a simple charmed quill can do it. The only part Professor McGonagall takes in the process is the name signing.
At least, that was the case until a couple of years ago, when she finally purchased a quill to do that for her as well. It was a rather specialized quill, the kind that a famous author would probably own. Professor McGonagall probably got more use out of it than any famous author, too, since every year she sent around four hundred letters. The numbers had been small more recently, since these were the children who had been born towards the end of the war. In fact, this year the number of first years was down in the low forties, and next year's would probably be as well. Very few people wanted to bring a child into the world during a war, after all. This also meant that there was a higher percentage of muggleborns, since the muggles hadn't been aware of the war and kept reproducing as usual.
Professor McGonagall put down the note she was writing to the staff members with a sigh, unable to put her thoughts into words for the moment. Instead, she stood up and walked over to the table where the three charmed quills were at work. One of the quills was writing the standard acceptance letter to the wizard-born children who expected nothing else, or at least who knew about magic and Hogwarts. A second quill was writing out a slightly more detailed letter to the muggleborns, with directions on how to get to the Leaky Cauldron and how to get onto Platform 9 ¾. There would, of course, be teachers sent out to the muggleborn houses with the letter, and they would also accompany the family to Diagon Alley if so asked, but there was simply no way for the teachers to show them how to get onto the platform on the first of September.
Professor McGonagall picked up the list of muggleborn first years and did a quick cross-check of the list against the letters that had been written so far, making sure that no names had been left out. Satisfied that no letters were missing at the moment, she put down that list and moved onto the wizard-born page. There were no missing names there either, but one small oddity did make her frown.
That's odd, she thought, this Addams child is in the middle of the list instead of at the beginning. And for that matter, why does that name sound so familiar?
Then it hit her.
Oh dear… I had better let Albus know.
In her shock, Professor McGonagall failed to notice which name should have been on the list in place of Henbane Addams.
There was a mansion on a small hill overlooking a family cemetery in New Jersey. This mansion was a couple hundred years old, and it showed. The paint was peeling, the gates were rusting, and the trees and wildlife looked to be on the verge of death, appearing sickly and weak. Not that any of it ever actually died; at least, not in any readily apparent manner, and certainly not unless asked.
The house was said to be haunted, and the people who lived there very rarely ventured outside. They were a wealthy, eccentric, somewhat creepy family. The people who visited swore they weren't human. Every now and then, someone from the outside would venture into the house in order to conduct business. Almost all of them ran out screaming. The mailmen who frequented that house had very few fingers left, though they never wanted to talk about it.
There were eight apparently-human beings who lived in this particular mansion. Inside 0001 Cemetery Drive, within the frail yet indestructible walls of the family home, chaos reigned. Not that it was unwelcome.
First there was the crazed uncle Fester, who was teaching one of the children, Pugsley, a new way to wire dynamite that changed the color of the explosion. This particular activity involved a lot of examples and test runs, which shook the house every couple of minutes. Then there was the grandmother, gleefully mixing dinner in three pots and a cauldron. Two of the pots were giving off a greenish smoke, and the cauldron was boiling messily in a way that spattered the kitchen (and Grandmama Addams) in a dark purple sludge. The two children who were not playing with explosives, Henbane and Wednesday, were sword fighting, which for this particular family meant that every single object in the entire house could potentially be used as a prop. Lurch the butler was playing his harpsichord happily (though only the family could tell it was happiness) in a morbid waltz. As for the matriarch and the patriarch, Morticia and Gomez, they had been dancing to the music until Morticia had remarked upon the improving skills of Henbane and Wednesday. It was not the fact that she had brought up the children that had sent Gomez into a romantic frenzy, but the fact that she had, of course, referred to them as les enfants.
So began an average day in the Addams household, assuming that they could have such a thing.
"Henbane, darling," Morticia called out from beneath the flurry of kisses being bestowed upon her person by her amorous husband, "why don't you go help Grandmama with breakfast? Like your father always says: the more hands, the better."
Henbane, who had ended up in the kitchen while defending against Wednesday's onslaught, looked in the direction of his mother's voice, his long black hair flying about as he turned his head, only for some of it to be caught by Wednesday's sword as she tried to take advantage of his distraction. Henbane had unfortunately dodged just in time, and was now standing by some chopped Blue-ringed Octopus. He quickly used his sword to neatly flip the chopped pieces across the room into the cauldron, splashing the dark purple concoction about just a bit more before the addition caused it to settle down, and then he brought his sword up to block another attempt on his life by way of his sister.
Fester, who was summoned by the hellishly revolting scent of the green smoke and had left Pugsley to finish whatever destruction that he so loved, laughed gleefully at Henbane and Wednesday's fight.
"The children are doing well!" he said to Morticia and Gomez as they settled at the breakfast table.
"Indeed," Morticia said in her smooth, breathy voice, resting her chin on her hand thoughtfully. "Their slashes and swipes are becoming deadlier and more accurate; their dodges are wilder and quicker. Soon they might even be able to take down Gomez."
"Ah, and what a wonderful way to be taken!" Gomez declared. "My own children cutting me down, slashing me limb from limb! Of course they would avoid the major arteries," he added on with a quirky smile. "Some kills should be made quickly, of course, but one's own father should be killed in style, in a truly horrible, torturous manner, one worthy of an Addams."
There was a sudden screech that rang through the house, only to be quickly cut off. Silence descended for a moment, the adults all looking up at the dining hall doorway. Henbane peeked his head through a few seconds later, a brown feather caught in his hair.
"Why is a Scottish Wizarding school sending me an acceptance letter?"
The Addams Family was an old one, traceable back through the long centuries. Impeccable records existed on every family member since Alyce Addams began weaving stories of the lives of her parents, a couple who had spoken to the gods for forty years before expiring, leaving detailed memories and instructions for their only daughter. Their daughter could not hear the gods, but her parents told her everything that she needed to know to prepare the family for the day that someone would be born who could. There were rituals to be followed, ceremonies to hold, magics to be encouraged and spirits to be bargained with. Alyce never married; she sought men who she found worthy of impregnating her and giving her the strongest, most devastatingly beautiful children possible. She would seduce them with a certain song, a specific dance. When they had fulfilled their use, she would sacrifice them to the gods who she so wished to please.
Oh, and what healthy children she had been blessed with! Every single child she that bore to full term lived a (relatively) long and healthy life, and they followed their mother's teachings, and they passed the same teachings and traditions on to their children. It did not take long for children to be brought into the world who could hear or speak to the gods in the same manner their ancestors had.
The Family was one of all types of magic. There were no specifications of "witch" or "wizard," for such names meant nothing to the Family as a whole. The only thing that mattered was what each individual could do, and every single member of the Family had their own abilities, their own strength and weaknesses. Talent wasn't a question, it was a constant. So-called "wizards" were simply one ligament of an entire living, breathing being, a being that cared only for itself and those it chose, a complex being that was the Family.
The main branch of the Addams Family, the family who kept track and record of the entire Family, was the one that Henbane had been brought into. They all happened to possess the kind of magic that denoted them as "wizards," not that they tended to think of themselves as such. The children had all grown up being taught the various Family magics that surrounded them. They already knew plenty of magic in a basic, instinctual form, the kind that any and every Family member knew and used. However, since they had "wizard" abilities, they were all to be sent to the regional school for such things, the North-Eastern States' School of Magic, located in Western Pennsylvania (much to the Addams' delight, since Pennsylvania is in many spots a rather vile place). The North-Eastern States' School of Magic was a decent school in a handsome building, with a nearby building solely for housing students during the week, as well as the weekend if the student and his/her family so chose. It wasn't necessarily the first choice of schooling for the children, but the entire Family knew that every single potential talent should be nurtured and developed as much as comfortably (or more often uncomfortably) as possible. Gomez and Morticia knew that in order for their children to receive a well-rounded, detailed education, they would be best off learning under people specially trained to teach the many subjects that surrounded Wizards' Magic.
Pugsley had begun attending school the previous year, and had both done the necessary amount of work and caused the necessary amount of trouble expected of an Addams. He had already learned a lot the previous year, and Henbane was impatiently awaiting his own chance to learn Wizards' Magic.
They had not been expecting a letter from anywhere besides the NES School of Magic.
Unexpected was not unwelcome.
Gomez held out his hand expectantly and Henbane walked over and placed the letter in his palm, brushing a few more brown feathers from his shirt absentmindedly with his sword. Gomez smiled fondly at him and glanced through the letter, his eyes taking in everything from the brevity to the multiple titles attached to the Headmaster's name, from the item list to the blotch of ink next to Henbane's name where it looked like a quill had paused. He frowned thoughtfully and passed the letter on to his wife, angling his palm so that as she took it from him the parchment sliced lightly through his skin. He was never one to turn down a paper cut, after all.
Morticia held the letter lightly, as she held most things. It read:
Dear Mr. Addams,
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.
Very short and to the point. Considering there hadn't been an Addams at Hogwarts since just before they had emigrated from the UK to the New World, you'd think there would be more detail. Of course...
Morticia glanced at Henbane's curious face, green eyes that were his alone and neither Morticia's nor Gomez's looking up at her patiently but curiously, a mouth shaped like one she'd seen on none but for a distant cousin of Gomez almost-smiling in a content yet faintly puzzled manner. The nose was too sharp and small to be Gomez's but too soft and long to be hers. The ghastly skin, raven-black hair and air of grace and deadliness was all too familiar, of course; there was no doubting that he was an Addams. However, he was also something else, and while it was known to only some family what specifically that something else was - and they would just as soon speak as they would eat a chocolate bar - apparently there was enough of that something else to be acknowledged by outside forces.
Forces that can wreak havoc.
Sensing her thoughts, so did Gomez.
They shared a loving glance, one of understanding and passion, before addressing Henbane.
"Well, son," Gomez said with a grin, pulling an already-lit cigar out of his breast pocked and taking a whiff, "it's up to you whether you want to go or not. They've sent you a friendly invitation, so either way I imagine they'll be expecting a reply, and an Addams never ignores propriety." He said the last part with a grand gesture of finality, one that barely missed striking Uncle Fester on his way out of the room after sensing that breakfast would be delayed.
Henbane furrowed his brows. "But, father, I thought we always ignored propriety."
Gomez laughed. "No, my boy, there's a difference between propriety and socially-accepted norms." His grin turned rather sharp. "We may not subscribe to commonly-accepted ideas, but an Addams is never rude. You may put as much poison ivy in a polite reply as you wish, as long as it's still a polite reply."
Henbane continued to look confused. Gomez laughed again and clapped a hand on Henbane's shoulder. "Don't worry, son, an Addams also makes the rules work in our favor. Just because propriety exists doesn't mean that it can't be fixed up a bit."
This part Henbane understood. "But, then, do I have to go?"
"You don't have to," Gomez assured him. "The choice is yours."
"Why are they even writing to me?"
"It has to do with where I found you," Morticia piped up. "It has to do with your long-distant past. Don't worry," she added, "they probably don't even know why they're inviting you, and since they don't know, they probably won't care for a few years if you choose to go to the States' School of Magic with Pugsley. In fact, if you stay here, there's a good chance that you can avoid that nastiness for quite a few years to come."
"You can't avoid it forever," Grandmama whispered from by the cooking pots, her eyes a tad glassier than usual.
Gomez sighed. "The old crone's right." He lifted his cigar to his lips again. "Wizards are a bit off in the head when it comes to their ideas of right and wrong."
Henbane took this all in silently. What a choice. He would miss his family if he went, and he would have to deal with things that weren't necessarily his to deal with. Pugsley had told him about how the wizards at the School of Magic tended to behave, as if everything was relevant to everybody, with no exceptions ever. Even the adults tended to group everyone together in strange ways, as if they were many of the same person instead of different children with different values and different ideas of how things should be, how things can be if so chosen.
As he considered all of this, he fingered the sword in his hand thoughtfully, sliding his right hand along the flat of the blade.
There would be a lot of unnecessary difficulties if he went.
He slid his hand up to the tip, where he touched his pointer finger to the sharp blade.
His moves would be limited, his creativity and family values restrained without the weekend visits home that he could take if he went to school with Pugsley.
He slowly ran the edge of the sword along his finger, down until he reached the bottom of his palm.
There would be nastiness.
Blood rose from the line made by the blade, pooling in the palm of his hand. He looked back up at his parents and smiled sharply.
"The Family likes nastiness," he told them. They smiled back.
"By George, he's got it! That true Addams spirit!" his father crowed. His mother said nothing, she simply dipped her finger into the growing pool of blood in his hand, brought it to her face to study for a moment, then licked it off.
There was never any choice, really.
"An Addams, eh?" Professor Albus Dumbledore said thoughtfully, popping another candy into his mouth. "Interesting."
Minerva McGonagall gave him a worried glance, tapping her fingers on the desk in a way that she only did when she was nervous or agitated.
"Yes," she told him, "Henbane Addams, I believe."
"What an interesting name," Dumbledore mused.
McGonagall studied him carefully, gauging his reaction. "Yes, that rather... eccentric family."
Albus smiled calmly at her. "There's nothing wrong with eccentric, my dear."
Minerva's right eye twitched. He clearly wasn't getting this. "Certainly there's nothing wrong with eccentric," she said tersely. "Perhaps I was being too mild. Allow me to rectify my description: that rather dark, detestable family whose taste for blood-lust and disregard for others makes Lucius Malfoy look like a benevolent angel."
Dumbledore continued smiling. "All the more reason to allow him into Hogwarts. If the family's as bad as the rumors make them out to be - and I doubt that - even Severus when you've interrupted his potion-making should have a positive influence on him. That's the good thing about hitting the bottom: there's nowhere to go but up." The last part was said in a tone of finality that informed Minerva that the conversation was over. She exited the office with a huff, obviously not having accomplished what she'd hoped to with this conversation.
Dumbledore watched her go thoughtfully, the smile fading the moment the door closed behind her.
"An Addams, eh?" the Sorting Hat chucked from its spot on the topmost shelf to the left. "Now that should be interesting."
Dumbledore got up and walked to his window. An Addams indeed. Interesting, but hopefully irrelevant. Sighing, Albus shook his head and turned his brilliant mind to other thoughts.
Now, Harry Potter's arrival... That's something worth thinking about.