Chapter 10: The Spark
I arranged to meet Lily in the clearing so that she could tell me all about her mysterious visitor.
When I arrived at the clearing at about 10 o’clock, Lily was already there waiting for me. She looked extremely excited and I was filled with anticipation for her story.
She beckoned for me to sit down beside her and so I did, my senses tingling with eagerness.
‘So… I was in bed and I think it was um… about twelve o’clock? Well, it was late anyway. And then I heard this huge CRACK from downstairs. It echoed off of the walls and up into my bedroom. It was so loud!’ Her emerald eyes were wide and bright with excitement. ‘So, naturally, I went down to investigate. Mummy and Daddy had heard too and they came down just behind me with Petunia clutching daddy’s hand.’ I could hear my heart beating fast up in my head as if I had just run a marathon. ‘In the lounge stood a tall man, midnight blue robes, long silver hair and beard, wearing a pointed hat on his head.’ My heart skipped a beat. I had only heard such a description once before – in a fairy tale mother had told me when I was younger.
His slight, tall figure was draped in midnight blue robes. A pointed hat was perched atop his long silver hair which trailed into a long beard. His hair gleamed silver along with the stars on his hat in the moonlight.
I held my breath as she continued.
‘I think you now know who I’m talking about. Don’t you, Sev?’
She was right. I did know.
She smiled at me, ‘And then he extended his hand towards my parents and they shook hands. And then you’ll never guess what happened! He handed me a letter identical to yours and said that it had gotten lost in the muggle post. Then he asked me if I would please leave the room so that he could have a little chat with my parents. Petunia got to stay though. Professor Dumbledore said she had to know all about it as well.’
‘I can’t believe Albus Dumbledore actually came to your house in the middle of the night!’ I exclaimed.
‘Yes! It was absolutely amazing! But…’ She looked sheepish as she said, ‘I’m sorry I doubted you. It’s just that… when the letter didn’t come – I –’
“Hey, hey! Don’t be silly! I’m just glad you know I was telling the truth now!” I said truthfully.
‘Thanks Sev!’ she smiled. ‘I just don’t know where we’re going to find all of this stuff!’ She pulled out her letter and opened it to the first page. ‘I mean, where are we going to get a wand and a cauldron from?’
‘It’s easy if you know the place to go! Do you know the shabby, old bar called the Leaky Cauldron?’
‘Yes, I think I’ve heard about it. Why?’
‘Well, in the storeroom is a brick wall. If you tap the correct bricks it will open and reveal a wizarding street called Diagon Alley.’
‘How on earth am I to pay for all of this?’ Lily asked, looking worried, ‘I don’t have any wizarding money!’
‘At the Wizarding Bank called Gringotts you can trade muggle money for wizarding money.’
‘Wow! But how do they stop muggles accidentally getting in if they only have to tap the bricks?’
‘You need to tap them with a wand,’ I said.
‘Oh… But then how do I get in?’
‘Well… I suppose either the school will send someone to escort you or…’ I paused for effect, ‘you can come with us.’
‘Do you mean it, Sev?’ Lily said, jumping over and hugging me. ‘That would be so fun!’
The rest of the day we spent playing with the chatter-box and lying on our backs in the grass talking about the wizarding world.
I propped myself up with one elbow and looked over at Lily. Her burning red hair was splayed out around her face as she lay staring at the canopy of leaves and meadow flowers of all different colours brushed her cheek as they danced in the breeze.
‘Professor Dumbledore mentioned something about the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. What’s that all about?’
‘Well, you see, as the hunts for witches got harder to avoid, families began to live double lives, using charms to protect themselves and their families. Eventually, any witch or wizard who chose to fraternise with muggles became an outcast in their own town,’ I explained to Lily.
‘Oh my gosh!’ Lily whispered.
‘Yes it was horrible. Some witches and wizards were locked up or even sentenced to death for being magical.’
‘Wouldn’t they be able to escape though? They had wands and everything didn’t they?’
‘Well… yes. Some witches and wizards did manage to escape using magic but others weren’t so lucky. There is a ghost at Hogwarts who was beheaded by Witch-Hunters. His name is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington but all of the students just call him Nearly Headless Nick.’
‘Hang on a second. How can you be nearly headless?’
‘Well… I don’t know actually. Maybe you should ask him when we get there.’ Excitement coursed through me at the thought.
“Alright, I will!” Lily said, her eyes bright. ‘But… is he scary?’
‘Everything I’ve been told suggests he’s the kindest ghost there ever was.
But anyway, when the International Statute of Secrecy was made wizards went into hiding for good. They had to wear muggle clothing so that they fit in. That’s when they made the Ministry of Magic. There is a Ministry of Magic in every country and each Ministry is responsible for hiding its witches and wizards, magical beasts and dealing with sightings.’
‘Wow! You sure know a lot about the wizarding world, Lily remarked.
‘Well I grew up in it. It’s harder for you to learn all of these things because you didn’t grow up hearing stories about it.’
‘Yes. I suppose you’re right.’ Lily hugged her knees to her chest and stared at the glittering river. Flecks of light reflected off the stream danced on Lily’s cheeks as the water gushed over the rocks.
I nudged her leg with my elbow. ‘Oh come on, Lily! Cheer up! We’re going to Hogwarts next week! AND…’ I paused for effect again, “Professor Albus Dumbledore came to your house last night!”
I laughed at her when she brightened up considerably.
‘Even when I was angry with you yesterday I had to fight with myself to stay angry…’ she hesitated, “You make me smile.”
I beamed. She grinned back. And in that moment, I was actually happy.
The next day, we decided to go and snoop in Petunia’s room again. It had become a sort of hobby for the both of us. Whenever we ran out of things to talk about, albeit not very often, one of us would suggest we go back to her house.
We arrived in front of Petunia’s door and once again, my eyes found the 3D letters on her door. I shook my head at the sight of it, marveling at how intelligent muggles would have to be to invent a non-magical substance that could stick to walls.
Lily opened the door quietly. I chuckled as she tiptoed dramatically across the room and swept up Petunia’s diary with a flourish. She handed the book to me and giggled when I smirked at her. I opened the book.
Charlie Benwright asked me out!!! SO was not expecting that! If anything I actually thought he liked Lily! But he doesn’t! He is so cute and sweet! We’re going to see Bonvoyage! It’s a movie about a boy called James who stows away on a boat to Australia.’
I read aloud. I glanced up at Lily and smiled when I saw her face was shocked and white. She looked worried.
‘What’s up?’ I asked, tilting my head to the side.
‘Charlie Benwright does like me! All of his friends even said so!’
Jealousy flared up inside me like a balloon. ‘So? Do you like him back?’ I asked loudly.
‘NO!’ Lily blushed.
‘Then what’s the problem?’ I yelled.
Lily grinned at my angry face and began to laugh.
‘You make me smile, remember?’ She pushed her long read hair out of her face and I smiled helplessly. She made me smile too.
She calmed herself down and said ‘Charlie is using Tuney so he can be closer to me. That’s the problem.’
‘Well… I don’t want Tuney to be hurt.’
‘What are you going to do?’ I asked softly.
‘I don’t know,’ she said feebly. I took her hand gently and looked into her eyes sorrowfully. We stood like that until a plan formed in my head.
A mischievous smile was the only warning she received as I set off running out of her room, her hand still clamped firmly in my grip. She yelped in shock when she was propelled forward by my momentum but giggled as we ran out of Petunia’s room.
Out the back door, laughing, jumping, and holding hands. Down the path we went until we reached the shade of the forest. We fell down on the grass in the shade of the Beech tree, no longer holding hands, our stomachs aching with laughter.
There was a pause as we calmed down. Lily turned her head so that her cheek was resting against the mossy ground. I did the same so that I was looking at her.
‘You’re my best friend, Severus.’
‘You’re mine too, Lily.’