Perhaps Diagon Alley was always this hustling and bustling, but with the pressures of the school year approaching, everybody seemed to be rushing to grab new books, robes, owls, cats, toads, and wands for the new students entering Hogwarts this year.
Wands. Now that was a conversation starter! As Katrina looked over at Ollivander's shop, a wave of nostalgia seemed to pour over every fiber of her being. In great detail, she could remember the day she acquired her wand — the store was dusty, yet clean, and Ollivander himself had taken her measurements (not that they really mattered for her) and gave the little first year to be the very wand she used to this day.
"Yes, yes, of course! Katrina Rhinehart, daughter to the one and only Robert Rhinehart. I could tell you were his daughter from a mile away, and I would say you looked just like him if I didn't know any better." Katrina found herself eying the man suspiciously despite herself. "Ah, yes, here we go!" Ollivander pulled out a thin, long black box etched with words Katrina never caught fully with her bedazzled, excited eyes. Any apprehensiveness had dissipated immediately at the sight of her potential wand. The lanky old man carefully slid the box out from its sheath, and then quite daintily picked up the magical stick.
"Ebony," he muttered, handing it to the young brunette, "Fourteen and a half inches, core of Phoenix Feather, and firm as could be!" Katrina lightly traced her fingers on the decorative handle, donned with nearly marble-looking wood — a thin layer of Dogwood, she would later learn, added a bit of a boost to Transfiguration techniques — that made for a steady handle as decorative vines seemed to spiral around the length of the wand. Grasping it in her hands, an odd feeling of comfort wafted over her as the contours fell in sink with every line in her palm. The wand seemed to glow with pride at Olivander's choice, and in the man's eyes, he seemed very proud of himself and the new witch before him.
"Take care of that one, it can be prone to mischief." With a wink and a wave, he ushered the girl off to continue her journey to learn the secrets those Muggles would never understand — Magic.
If it was up to Katrina, she would have danced around in her memories for the rest of the day; However, given no choice, she instead lurched and threw her books onto the ground as somebody — or somebodies — bumped into her.
"Oh, shoot!" her voice seethed, "I just bought those, too!" Katrina began to crouch and pick up her things, but was interrupted by a set of voices.
"Sorry, love! Didn't see you there!"
"Let us get those for you!"
Two redheads suddenly appeared before her, kneeling and hastily grabbing whatever they could find sprawled out on the cobblestone. As she stood with them, Katrina looked them both in the face with an odd expression, and then realized as they handed her books back to her. She grimaced.
Twins. Identical twins. They both wore the same clothes, sweaters and slacks, and each had their own cheeky grin that was far from apologetic. Their hair was generally long for boys, coming down to their necks and fringe that was straight and split down the middle (an atrocious cut, in Katrina's opinion), and was a brilliant orange-red that certainly stood out from the rest of the crowd. Dread began to pool in Katrina's stomach.
"I know you two," she said, "You're those twins in Gryffindor, aren't you?"
"Look George, we're famous!" said one of them, elbowing his brother in the ribs.
"Well blimey, Fred, of course we are! We're the best looking blokes in the whole of Hogwarts, wouldn't you say?" George replied.
"I suppose," Fred's eyebrows furrowed, "But how would she know us, George, when we've never even seen her before?"
"Can't be a second year, too old."
"Can't be a third year either, look at her books!"
"You're in the same year as us, are you? Fifth?"
"Possibly," Katrina said coolly. "Now if you'd be so kind as to excuse me, I have to buy a new quill — "
"Now, now, love, don't just run away," Fred said, grasping Katrina's arm as she began to walk in the other direction, "We haven't even introduced ourselves yet!"
"Amanuensis is in the other direction, anyway." George raised his eyebrows cheekily.
She gave them both an icy glare, faced them, and stood herself straight. They still towered over her regardless, but Katrina at least felt more intimidating. "Get on with it, then."
"You first," said George, "we've practically already told you who we are." At this, Katrina's shoulder slumped.
"I'm not telling you anything," she said, "Not when you haven't got the decency to act a gentleman — er, gentlemen."
"Ooh, feisty, are we?" cooed Fred, "I do believe we've bumped into a harpy, George! We can finally check that off of our bucket list now. Thanks, love, we've been searching for a good fowl for ages — "
"It was getting quite exhausting, really," George continued, "You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a right cranky lady such as yourself. Maybe during 'that time of the month', but it's a bit hard to figure out just when one of you women actually start draining."
Katrina's scalp began to burn as if her skin was boiling. She must calm herself, said Katrina's mind, she mustn't attract more attention.
Heaving a sigh, Katrina said exasperatedly, "I've heard enough about you two to know where this is going, and quite frankly I would like to get on with my business before my parents come to get me."
"What, you're not going to run to your mum, are you?" Fred leaned over, at Katrina's eye level, and smirked as she glared malevolently.
Before Katrina couple open her mouth to retort, a loud voice suddenly broke through the crowd. Fred and George both suddenly stood up, rigid, and stared off in random directions until a stocky, redheaded woman marched through the crowd.
"FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY, I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AROUND FOR YOU FOR AGES. HAVE YOU NOT HEARD ME CALLING?" she bellowed, and the two boys began to glow a wonderful pink. Katrina had to fight herself to keep from laughing at their horrified faces. "YOU TWO GET OVER HERE THIS INSTANT SO I CAN FINALLY FINISH SCHOOL SHOPPING! And sorry, dear, I'm sure they were dreadful to you," the woman turned to Katrina, making her jump and straighten up herself.
"Oh, oh no, they were okay," Katrina sputtered out in surprise, and then immediately regretted it. She should've ratted them out for doing something horrible, but no, she had to be the good kid.
Immediately, the woman seemed to relax (albeit not very much). "Well, good. If they bother you again, dear, just come to me. Now I've got to be off, lots of shopping to do, you know!" And with a brisk wave, the lady took her sons by the arms and began to pull them away. There was an irony to it, Katrina thought and grinned. If she ever saw them again, she would definitely have to gloat about how they were pulled away by their mum.
With foul mood uplifted, she then plowed through the witches and wizards and to-be or old students back to the Leaky Cauldron.
It was a nice pub, even though everything was covered in a constant coat of dust. Quite popular too, Katrina thought as she shimmied between a group of older wizards. With an exasperated sigh, she gripped her books tightly in one hand and briefcase in the other, preparing for the long trek up to room number twenty-four.
"Finally!" came Katrina's gasp of exhaustion as she shoved open the door, slowly stomping into the temporary flat, closing the door with her foot, and throwing her books and things onto one of the two beds. Her brother, Alex, was bunking with her for the moment — he must have still been shopping. Exhaling deeply, Katrina swiveled around on one foot and fell onto the other bed face-first with a loud thunk and a groan that could have meant either exuberant joy or wilting tiredness. For a moment, she lay there motionless except for her chest, heaving as she sucked in the odd, not enjoyable but not horrible scent of the quilts.
Katrina heaved herself up after a moan of protest. Alex would be back any moment now, and he wouldn't be keen to see his older sister hoarding both the beds. She faced the large, shabby-ish leather briefcase on her sheets and look at it for a brief second before swiftly swinging her hands onto it's two locked clasps and clicking them open.
The top of the briefcase suddenly snapped open, only to reveal nothing. It was completely black inside, almost as if it were deeper than the few inches any regular briefcase would hold. This, however, was no regular briefcase.
"I wonder where I put it. . . ." Katrina mused to herself before dipping a hand into the depths, reaching so far as to her elbow. Setting her jaw and furrowing her brow, she quickly became frustrated. Her fingers brushed a set of clothes, socks, a Sneakoscope, a cool, round container of sorts (probably some Colour-Change Ink), and a multitude of Sugar Quills. However, she wasn't looking for any of these things, meaning that it was all only getting in her way.
Abruptly, she felt a long, smooth surface. After a quick jerk and grasp, Katrina pulled out a simple, rounded mirror out of her briefcase by the handle. She smiled at it, pulling it up and looking over her features in great interest. Brown eyes, mousy hair, young face — nothing short of normal. Suddenly, her reflection scrunched her mouth over to one side, squinting.
"Eyes are a bit dull," it seemed to whisper in multiple different voices. Katrina turned her face left and right, gazing at the reflection, who now followed in suit.
"I agree," she concluded and gave the mirror a strained, thoughtful look.
The door swung open and Katrina jumped. Slapping her mirror to her chest and looking aghast at her intruder, Katrina's eyes seemed to show translucently clear, for a moment, and then gleamed aqua. It was only Alex.
"Wotcher," he said with a grin as his sister shook her head suddenly, hair returning to its mousy brown before he got a good look at the color change. He himself had dirty, dark brown hair and eyes like Katrina now donned. His expression was amused and slightly cocky, though not particularly obnoxious.
"You scared the bullocks out of me!" Katrina exclaimed with a small, almost squeaky laugh.
"Come off it," Alex answered with a lopsided smile and, not unlike his sister, kicked the door shut behind him as he entered the room and threw his things (a new cauldron and some robes as he had grown since the last school year) onto his bed. "Still gazing at your reflection, I see? Just enthralled with yourself, aren't you? I don't think you've ever stopped gloating how you're the firstborn —"
"Hush," Katrina replied quickly with a smile. He was only teasing, she knew, but she despised the thought of her bragging about something so trivial towards him to the point that she didn't want Alex to finish his sentence. "I was just trying to spice myself up a bit, is that too much to ask?"
"Considering how often you look at that ruddy mirror for image advice, yeah, it is a bit much." Alex began to laugh as the mirror audibly gasped. Katrina quickly stuffed it back into her briefcase and snapped the locks shut before it could hear another word.
"Did you see the new Firebolt on display?" she asked, changing the subject before Alex could continue on his badgering. Immediately, like she had expected, her brother bounced up as if he were a firecracker.
"Did I see it? Did I see it? Of course I have, you bloody dolt, and it's made of dreams and angel wings!"
"More like made of Galleons and Galleons," Katrina mumbled, picking up one of her books (The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5 by Miranda Goshawk) and flipping through it absentmindedly. "Oh, look, I never knew you could make a ghost solid . . . Only works for a few minutes though, how boring. . . ."
Alex was sulking on his bed now, no doubt thinking of the expensive Firebolt.
"Anapneo. . . . I'll have to use that next time you choke on a slice of ham," Katrina laughed lightly, tapping her brother's leg with her foot and giving him a playful gaze. Alex smiled his lopsided smile again, although it seemed strained. "It'll unclog your airway. Maybe it'll help teach you to stop inhaling what you eat and actually chew."
"I'm hungry, actually," Alex mumbled as he got to his feet and stretched his arms high above his head. "Have you got a few sickles?"
Katrina snapped her book shut, stood, and began to surf through her pants pockets. "Two Galleons, about . . . twelve Sickles, and a few Knuts, yeah. I'll come with you?" She asked as Alex headed toward the door.
"Sure," he replied, opening the door again and slipping outside, followed closely by Katrina.
The trip downstairs was much more enjoyable than going up, and much faster without carrying a briefcase that continued to smack against your knees. Katrina did carry her book of spells with her though, deciding a bit of pre-school studying wouldn't do her any harm.
As the two of them entered the main pub, they were greeted by Tom, the hunch-backed innkeeper and owner, and three tables shuffled together in the middle of the large room.
"Probably for a big family," Alex whispered over his shoulder as he led Katrina over to a small table not too far from the stairs, "I'd bet they're wanting to have a good dinner before their kids go off until the holidays. . . ."
Katrina nodded. It certainly made sense. After sitting down, she opened up her book again and began to study the Impediment Jinx with great interest.
She jumped as Alex's foot collided with her shin.
"Ow!" Katrina exclaimed loudly, and then noticed Tom looking at her expectantly. "Oh! Oh, just a water and the — er — pea soup, please?"
Tom nodded in a wompy way, and then walked off with a wheezing laugh. Katrina looked at her brother, and they both shared a brief grimace. Alex's eyes suddenly focused on something behind her, though, and before Katrina could get a good look, a hand shot out from behind her a pointed at another spell in her book, where there was a boy depicted with a pumpkin for a head.
"That's a good one," said a familiar voice from behind her, "Melofors, we used it loads of times during our third year, didn't we, Fred?"
Katrina groaned as she heard Fred reply, "Yeah, imagine about twenty Hufflepuff first years running around with pumpkins for heads! Sprout made us clean up Bubotuber pus for a week, but it was worth it."
Alex had suddenly paled. Katrina laughed grimly as she leaned forward in her seat, hiding her face in her hands and said, "Have you met the company I bumped into today, Alex? Or rather, who bumped into me. . . ."
"What, no greeting?" Fred chimed as he pulled up a chair and shimmied beside Katrina. George followed in suit, seating himself across from his twin and beside a very white Alex.
"Wotcher," Katrina mumbled as she flipped a page of her book, hoping they would just go away if she was quiet enough. It didn't work, however, as George began to prod her brother.
"This can't be your boyfriend," he said as he placed a finger on his chin and looked at Alex, perplexed, "too young. Maybe a cousin?"
"Brother?" Fred suggested.
The two looked at each other and nodded. "Brother."
"You don't look anything alike though," Fred said as he nudged Katrina with his elbow. She ignored him again, but felt her scalp prickle and her cheeks flush. Alex was growing paler by the minute, to the point where he looked ghostly.
"It was you two that barged into my Herbology class," he mumbled almost inaudibly, but caught the twins' attention, "and turned us all into pumpkin-heads. . . ."
They were all silent for a moment, and Katrina flipped through another page of her book, fighting to hide laughter as she thought of her brother with his head replaced by a pumpkin. Suddenly, Fred and George couldn't seem to control themselves anymore, and began to crack up. Alex's face suddenly flushed with blood, and Katrina found herself shaking to keep herself from laughing with them.
"We remember you!" bellowed George, clapping Alex on the shoulder.
"You were the one that stood up for that girl!"
"We got her too, in the end —"
"Right after we hit you and you went off screaming, that is!"
Alex glared at them both, his face turning a brilliant shade of purple as people began to look their way. Fred and George both wiped tears from their eyes, and finally began to subdue their howling into mere snickers.
Katrina shook her head lightly, trying to get the image of Pumpkin-Head Alex out before it could brand itself into her brain. Just then, Tom decided to wobble back with a tray that held two bowls of pea soup and a couple of glasses of water. As the man placed down Alex's things, Alex quickly picked them up, shot Katrina a look, and announced, "I'm going back up to the room. Pay for me, will you?"
He then stood and clambered up the steps without another word, balancing the water and bowl of soup between his arms. Katrina, Fred, George, and Tom all watched him with mouths slightly ajar, but righted themselves almost simultaneously and before she thought much of it, Katrina handed Tom a Galleon.
"Keep the change," she said as Tom tried to shove the Galleon back into her hand. He was then off with a shrug, apparently happy with his tip even though his customer didn't seem quite satisfied.
"What's his problem?" Fred and George asked Katrina, who couldn't hold in a chuckle any longer.
"He's not the best with embarrassment," she replied, and then ducked in closer towards the two boys, "And that was you? He's been ranting on and off about that day since his first year!"
Fred and George grinned, and Katrina didn't need an answer before the three of them began to laugh again — though this time, they made sure to keep their voices down.
"Nice of you to invite us to dinner, by the way, love," Fred said as he plucked the spoon out of Katrina's hand and pulled her bowl of soup towards him, "We've been dying for a bite and Ron's going to hog all the food like always —"
"Excuse you," Katrina said reproachfully, sliding her soup out of Fred's grasp just as he was about to get a spoonful, "But I never invited you for anything, let alone dinner!"
"Are you sure, love?" George asked as he scooted over and sat in Alex's abandoned seat, "Because I distinctly remember you saying that we were allowed a date anytime."
"Are you mental?" Katrina asked with an eyebrow raised. She sounded incredulous.
"Are you mental is the question," Fred replied, slowly sliding the soup back to himself right under Katrina's nose.
"I'd never agree to a date with either of you, let alone both of you!" Katrina hissed. Fred dipped his spoon into the soup and took a bite, triumphantly looking at his brother, who slid him a sickle under the table along with a subtle glare.
"I don't see why you wouldn't," George continued, leaning back into his chair and folding his arms behind his head, "You already told us we were the most dashing blokes in all of Hogwarts. Remember that, Fred?"
"Like it was thirty minutes ago," Fred sighed, taking another bite of Katrina's soup.
"That's because it was! And it was you who said — Hey!" Katrina jerked her bowl back to her, splashing a good portion of it onto the table. "Oh, see what you did?"
"Now you actually did that, love," Fred pointed at the mess with his spoon, raising his eyebrows at Katrina who was turning positively scarlet.
For a moment, Katrina felt as if she ought to forget about her boiling scalp and throw caution to the wind, but decided against it and allowed her face to burn redder and redder.
The boys suddenly sat bolt upright, horror-struck for a brief moment and then slumping their shoulders in exasperation.
"But Mum!" They began together, but were quickly silenced as Katrina turned and saw the same short woman from before.
"No buts! Get your rears to our table right this moment or so help me —"
"Alright, alright!" George said as he stood, raising his hands up as though caught by the fuzz. Fred followed his actions almost instantly. The woman, their mother, clenched her jaw.
"We're getting, woman, don't get your knickers in a twist!" Fred replied as he and his twin tip-toed around her and off to the large, merged tables that Tom was preparing before. Their mother huffed, hands on her hips, and then faced Katrina with a soft, motherly smile.
"Sorry, dear, they never obey me, no matter what I do." She exhaled promptly from her nose, and then added, "If they ever bother you again, just come to me, alright dear? Mrs. Weasley, I'm just a letter away."
Katrina smiled sheepishly and glanced back at the twins, who were looking at her from over their shoulders and miming slashing movements with their hands at their necks, frowning animatedly. Shooting her eyes back to Mrs. Weasley she said in a voice that was sure to carry a bit around the room:
"Katrina, Katrina Rhinehart. I'll be sure to owl you if they step a toe out of line." And Mrs. Weasley could have sworn she saw a few strands of Katrina's hair flash pink.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
How do you even write author's notes? I don't even
But anyways! There you have it. Not only is Innuendo my first fanfiction since I was twelve, but it's the first one that I've actually planned out and grown extremely close to the characters. I've got big dreams for this one, and hopefully, I'll live up to it!
On another note, however, I'll never get better without feedback. That's one of the many reasons I posted this one here in the first place, besides making you people as happy as I am — for advice. Do you like it, do you not? Is something bothering you, or is everything amazing? I hold all of your opinions in the highest of respects, and please don't feel afraid to tell me about something!
Thank you uwu
NOTICE: There is a blog specifically made for this line of fanfiction! You can find it at dont-let-this-magic-die on tumblr!
ALSO, I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT WHATEVER YOU FIND IS REMOTELY FAMILIAR OR FROM THE HARRY POTTER SERIES IS PROPERTY OF J.K. ROWLING, THANK YOU!