A Winter’s See You Soon


Author’s Note: Back in April, I visited Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time. As my companion and I were heading down the walkway to catch the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley from Hogsmeade, I had the distinct feeling and vision of two students, arm in arm, making their way from Hogwarts Castle to Hogsmeade to catch the train home for the holidays. I even wrote it up but I do not think I ever posted it. Perhaps I am wrong but, either way, this is a good thing. I had originally envisioned and written this as a summer holiday leave-taking, BUT in honor of the Christmas holidays of which we are in the midst, I changed it slightly. I hope you enjoy, dear Readers. 

Also, standard disclaimers: All things Harry Potter, Hogwarts, etc., belong to Ms. J.K. Rowling. They are her creative babies and I thank her for lending us all the use of them to enjoy. The image belongs to Pottermore.com

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Arm in arm, they walked down the path to Hogsmeade, much slower than the gaggles of fellow students streaming out of Hogwarts and into the gently-swirling snow. The Christmas excitement was palpable, but, for those two students, it was bittersweet.

“So I can still come down to London for New Year’s Eve?” she asked hopefully.

“Definitely, and don’t forget: I’m taking you to see Celestina on Twelfth Night, right before we come back,” he reminded her tenderly.

She beamed at that. “I still canna believe you wrangled tickets to it! It’ll be the best!” she gushed, at which her Slytherin companion tapped the cold-pinked tip of her nose, causing her cheeks to flush an even deeper shade of the rosy color.

The gold of her cozy scarf lent a softer glow to the emerald and silver sheen of his, and he found himself drawing her closer. She responded in kind, her grip a bit tighter on him.

“We will have the whole train ride, don’t worry,” he reassured her, to which she smiled, completely ignoring the looks some of Slytherin girls gave as they passed them.

“I hate leaving,” she then murmured softly, “Even if only for a little bit.”

“Me, too,” he agreed, gazing at her with those piercing blue eyes, once again marveling at the warmth of the Hufflepuff’s brown ones.

The peaked, snow-capped roofs of Hogsmeade appeared in the closing distance and they could see the hot steam of the Hogwarts Express frothing up in the cold December air, waiting to take the students back to Kings Cross and their families. Professor—excuse me, Headmistress—McGonagall had waved those heading home off from the gates of the castle, warmly wishing them a Happy Christmas and good winter holiday. Now these two drew closer and closer to goodbye, for now, at least.

She drew physically closer to him, her arm around his waist and his over her shoulders, a kiss dropped sweetly on her temple beneath her grey knit hat. Friends rushed by the sedately-strolling pair, calling out teasings and happy Christmases and see-you-soons, to which they replied with smiles and waves. They would be there in plenty of time, and she knew a friend would save a compartment for them; sixth years had a code, after all.

The train ride from Hogsmeade to Kings Cross felt all too short, filled with soft moments, laughter and reminisces and plans made with friends for the new year, last hours of togetherness shared. When they reached snowy Kings Cross and all were about to part ways—him staying in London and her for the platform back up north—he reached out and drew her to him before leaving their compartment. This kiss was deep but gentle, almost chaste and yet still blistering.

“To tide us over,” he murmured, squeezing his lovely Hufflegirl close.

“Just a week,” she agreed, sniffling back tears and clinging to the back of the hoodie he’d changed into.

Donning their coats, they left the train hand in hand. Their families waited in opposite directions and so fingertips lingered and parted, and he watched the lovely coral of her flutter beneath the warm, plummy coat as she moved to greet her parents, a look over her shoulder given just for him.

All around were shouts and greetings and well-mets and holiday greetings; one couldn’t help but smile, for whatever reason. Christmas was here.

Pottermore-poa8

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[Wizarding World] Ruby-Slippered Magical


The stars twinkle and wink, flirting with the hazel-eyed woman who watches them ever so closely from below. She used to imagine the constellations wheeling and spinning to make themselves shine all the brighter, each trying to arrest her attention away from others. She peers through her telescope, noting placement and brightness for her charts, color and orientation, before mobiliscopium’ing the telescope carefully back into its cupboard. She hates leaving it out to the elements and human clumsiness, however shielded the castle may be. Once the beautiful instrument is tucked away, she makes her way from the observatory, her apple-shiny crimson stilettos sounding along the slat boards of the floor before hollow echoes give way to solid clicks as wood concedes its place to stone when she enters the castle proper again. Seating herself on the bannister of the winding stair, she outdoes the storied nanny-witch Mary Poppins as she slides all the way down to the base of the tower. Why walk when one can glide?

“Professor Penuryst is magical!” a first-year, a flash of muted yellow at her skirt, whispers to her companion as they flatten themselves back against the staircase wall at the woman’s jolly “On your right, mamselles!”

“Well, of course she is, you git! She is a professor.” The second-year, badge emblazoned in emerald, rolls her eyes.

“No. I mean, she’s, like, ruby-slippers magical!” the awed Muggle-born sighs.

Of course, her pureblood classmate had not the foggiest notion of what she was talking about, Dorothy and her yellow brick road not being overly common bedtime fare for witchy children.

“And those shoes…!”

The woman hits the floor moving, never breaking stride as she manoeuvres through the night-shadowed corridors. A few students scurry about from the library and study groups, off to their common rooms and dorms before curfew chimes throughout the castle and she hurries them along their way. Making her way to a wing off-limits to students, the female professor draws out her rich cherry-wood wand, waving it succinctly at an unremarkable door in the hallway. It swings open and admits her to a comfortable parlor, the fire in the grate leaping up into life and causing the handsome barn owl perched before it to ruffle his speckled feathers and preen.

“Gawain, you’re supposed to be in the Owlery, or, better yet, out hunting,” she chides, to which the owl only clicks his formidable beak and settles once again on his now-warm perch.

How on earth did the witch expect him to be out hunting when he knew he would be delivering missives near and far for her once she completed her charts? Even an owl needs his sleep.

Delorah Penuryst merely chuckles and proceeds into her study from the parlor, setting down her scrolls and wand. Twisting up her abundantly unruly hair into a bun, which she then secures with said wand, she settles down with journal, fresh stationary, and fountain pen (yes, she was a fan of a few more modern epistolary devices than just quill and inkwell and parchment). She then goes on to compose several different letters, one of which to be delivered just over the hill. But, in that particular case, letters were far safer than face-to-face conversations, as she didn’t wish to get Firenze into trouble with his herd after all.

The night deepens as Delorah writes, first the letters and then in her journal, taking in the sweet silence of the night, with only the crackling fire in the next room for company. She writes not only to Firenze but old friends, colleagues, and mentors. She writes to the head of the Magical Creature Rehabilitation Conservatory in Wales, the mother of her best childhood mate. She writes in German to her grandmother, currently serving on the Board of Governors of Beauxbatons Academie of Magic. Delorah writes until the paper bullets in her brain run out. Letters enveloped, sealed, and addressed, they wait in their parcel stack for when Gawain awakes in the pre-dawn, ready for work.

Delorah, meanwhile, rises from her desk and makes her way to bed, weary of mind and body but utterly content. There is nowhere she would rather be than where she is right now, at home in Hogwarts, teaching the art and science of Charms and Astrology to rising young witches and wizards. No, nowhere else in the world. Freeing her abundant curls, she settles beneath the covers of her bed, a threadbare and oft-kissed rag doll at her side. Tomorrow will be here soon enough for this “ruby-slippered magical” woman. Giving the wand one more flick, Delorah bids the world sweet dreams and good night.

“Nox.”

 

A Long Way From Home, Day 7: Expecto Patronum!


Today, I figured out what my patronus is. Or it finally told me, I’m not entirely sure which. BUT the point is that I know what it is and it fits! But, first, an explanation.

I and several of my friends and loved ones (and perhaps you, too) are sometimes plagued by nasty little thoughts and mindsets that lie to us and cause us to doubt ourselves, our voices, feelings, and our worth. We call them ‘brain weasels’ and we hates them. The cruel little things tell us that what we have to say is crap, that no one cares, no one will listen, it isn’t worth saying or writing, we are not worth it, we should be ashamed about taking up space and air, we have no right to feel what we are feeling, we don’t try enough, it’s our fault, and on and on and on. They silence our souls, break our hearts, and drown our thoughts. I have been fortunate enough to have dear ones who, when the brain weasels attack, will fight them with every ounce of everything they have, determined to beat them off with a red-hot poker and remind me that I am loved, I have worth, and I am not forgotten.

And so I endeavor to do the same for others to the best of my ability. Today, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had wanted to post her thoughts today but that the brain weasels were on the prowl, telling her that what she had to say was no good or that no one would care. I found myself commenting on her post and telling her, “You are safe here. I have a lovely weasel-hunting…” And then I paused before finishing the sentence. What animals hunt weasels, I wondered? So, what else? I looked it up and the animal on the weasel predator list that immediately stood out at me was a fox. Something inside me bloomed and smiled. Perfect!  It did. It felt perfect. So I finished my comment: “…I have a lovely weasel-hunting fox patronus.”

It fit. It absolutely fit. But “why?” was my next wondering. I knew that foxes are typically associated with being cunning and tricksters, but what else could they represent? (And friends who are knowledgeable and skilled with animal spirituality and totems, please feel free to chime in here, by all means!) One source lists the fox as representing patience, wisdom, intelligence, and adaptability, as characters who can straddle either or both sides of the spectrum (https://www.quotev.com/story/3671161/Patronuses-and-Meanings/1). Another source notes that the fox can represent observational skills, cunning, courage, invisibility, ability to observe unseen,
persistence, gentleness, swiftness, and a reliable friend (http://www.shamanicjourney.com/fox-power-animal-symbol-of-camouflage-quick-wit-cunning-agility-magic).

The fox has sat happily in my mind since the moment of its realization, and I cannot help but smile as I think about a silver-white-blue fox frolicking around, a manifestation of my imagination, heart, and soul for those I love. I have been blessed with a good assortment of reliable friends and family and more than a few very happy thoughts and memories.

When you, my friends, family, and dear ones, are beset by these brain weasels, I want you to know that you are safe from their lies with me. I am willing to hear you, listen to you, see you, and remind you of just how wonderful you are. Your thoughts are not stupid to me, nor are your feelings. You are valid and relevant as you are and you are still who you are, whether it is a great day or a bad day. I love you as you are. If you need a defender, I will gladly wrap you up in my arms (figuratively or literally, whichever is needed and allowing for distance) and point my wand at that nasty brain weasel of a Dementor.

This is my friend, they are mine to support and defend. My advice? Don’t mess with those I love because, believe me…

You won’t expecto this patronum!

 

(Featured photo credit: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Seamus_Finnigan)

A Sorting Hat Rhyme


So I am guilty of exactly ONE piece of Harry Potter fanfiction from several years ago (not including the online Hogwarts forum roleplay game that I ran for a short amount of time), and I will say that I worked very hard on the Sorting Hat rhyme for the beginning of the story. Hope you like it.

Welcome to Hogwarts,

First years of all.

We welcome all,

Witches tall and small.

Wizards bold or quiet as mice.

You’ll learn your lessons here

In a quick trice.

Now I am brought here

To Sort you, you see,

Into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff,

Or Ravenclaw tree.

Or perhaps into Slytherin,

Sly as a snake.

Here’s hoping that you all

Will very well take

To the House you belong in,

Made so long ago

By witches and wizards

Of the very best, you know.

Gryffindor, brave and strong

As a beast.

Ravenclaw’s intelligence when

All else has ceased.

Hufflepuffs work away to

Achieve the best marks.

Slytherins plot and plan.

In them, resourcefulness is art.

So step forward now

No need to be shy.

I am the Sorting Hat!

You’ll go where

Say I.

The Sorting Hat by liquidscissors on Deviantart.com