“Raven Chronicles” Chapter 3: Diagon Alley – Part 1
At this point, I think I should address some matters as to my life.
Context: I was born three years before the Battle of Hogwarts. By the time I was 11 – eight years after the battle – the school had been repaired, classes had resumed, and normalcy had returned.
Another matter is my parents.
My mum is a Muggle – we’ll leave it at that for now. She is a school teacher, and both Alice and I studied under her when we were seven. She took good care of us before we were shipped off to Hogwarts. She made us food and gave us gifts. She also made us clean the house every day and study for two hours before dinner followed by three hours after.
My father, Charles Husher, is a wizard – a very talented one. He attended Hogwarts a few decades before I was born. He was in Slytherin, got 12 OWLs and 10 NEWTs, and moved straight into a Ministry of Magic career, working as an aid for the werewolf registry. He moved up rapidly, and at age 26, he became an Unspeakable at the Department of Mysteries, which is where he was stationed during the Potter years and when Voldemort came to power for the second time. He was among the wizards and witches who arrived with Minister Fudge after the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort.
Soon after Voldemort’s death, my father transferred to the Department of Magical Creatures – this time as one of their head researchers. It was a big deal. He apparently had run several research programs for the Department of Mysteries and left them for a “quieter life.” There was a whole article about it in the Daily Prophet. For the last eight years, he’s been traveling the globe, researching half-human magical creatures – half-giants, werewolves, vampires, centaurs, anything that is remotely human. When I started attending Hogwarts, he’d already published somewhere around 100 articles and authored books on both vampires and half-giants.
Oh, and my father is in a constant blood feud with the reporter Rita Skeeter.
Now, on to Diagon Alley.
Since my father’s work required him to be in the field and constantly travel, we didn’t see much of him. My first trip to Diagon Alley, he was absent – just as he was on my 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th birthdays. I guess he technically missed Alice’s birthdays as well. He’s missed a lot of events in our family, including Alice accidentally setting her bed on fire when Mum yelled at her one morning and my award ceremony for saving a box of kittens from being crushed by a dustcart.
That’s actually an interesting story, so I’ll quickly go on another tangent.
It was the only other time I ever Apparated after Headmistress McGonagall told me never to again. It was a few weeks before my first trip to Diagon Alley. Muggle school had just ended, and I was walking through an uncommonly late winter storm. We get horrible winters in Crail, but I think we set record lows for the month of June – and the first snow during that month for 240 years.
So there was this dustcart – or garbage truck if you like – and it had just picked up a bin, but it got caught on some ice. It had to back up to get unstuck, and it went over the curb and crashed into the building – a little pub that hadn’t opened yet. Outside the pub door sat a box of kittens, which was being manned by some bloke who smoked a huge cigar. He ran for it the minute he saw the dustcart coming towards him. I saw the box, and then I saw the kittens. I didn’t think. I spun and Apparated. The box flew to my hands with all the kittens tucked inside, and with another crack, I stood just a few feet away. I was in the local Crail paper, and they threw the ceremony. Mum even let us keep one of the cats, a brown tabby my sister named Mochi after her favorite Japanese dessert.
Why Alice got to name the cat, I’ll never know. I saved the damned thing.
I thought for sure McGonagall would turn up at my doorstep and ban me from school – or at least take away 1,000 points from whatever my future House was. Instead, after the ceremony, a letter was on my desk with green ink on the envelope. The contents of the letter were written by Deputy Headmaster Filius Flitwick congratulating me on my acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There was a small note inside that said, “Well done. – MM.”
Back to Diagon Alley, in actuality this time.