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Being accepted into Hogwarts goes like this

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Tessa, Happy Birthday to you.” My dads sing. Papa is a really bad singer, dad is only moderately better. It is my eleventh birthday. And a extremely drizzly day in June. But eh, that is England for ya, right? I look at them. I love them. They might be my adoptive dads, but my gods, do I love them. Papa is a werewolf, just like me. Dad is a vampire, a very old vampire. They look at me like I am the center of their world. The eleven year old center.

There is a knock on the window, a soft one, like tapping of nails.

Dad gets up. He goes over to the window, opening it. A large brown owl flies in, dropping a letter on my plate. It perches on dad’s tall backed chair. My dad sits back in his chair. “Go on, open it.” He says. I pick up the letter. The envelope is made of heavy parchment and sealed shut with emerald green wax. I turn it around. It is addressed to me, in strange detail. ‘Tessa Storm, Tower Bedroom, Hellsing Manor, East Heath Road 13, Hampstead, London’. I break the seal and pull out the equally heavy parchment letter out of the envelope. With a shake of my head I unfold the letter and read.

HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Ms. Storm,
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 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress


I place the first page down. The second page reads:

HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY


UNIFORM
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupil's clothes should carry name tags.
COURSE BOOKS
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1)
by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic
by Bathilda Bagshot
Magical Theory
by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration
by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi
by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions
by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
by Quentin Trimble
OTHER EQUIPMENT
1 wand
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 telescope
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring, if they desire, an owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS

ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK


Yours sincerely,

Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus
Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions


I look up at my dad and papa. They are both showing fangs. “I am a witch?” I ask. Dad nods. He is beaming with pride. “Yes you are.” He nods. “We are so proud, lieverd.” Says papa.

Walter, the butler, comes in with paper and a pen. “They do expect your answer.” Dad says. Walter hands me the pen and paper. I swiftly jolt down my answer, that I will indeed attend Hogwarts. I am in fact, already pumped up to go. But I will have to wait at least two and a half months. Golly!
I roll up the sheet of paper and hand it to papa. Papa ties it to the owl’s leg and the owl immediately takes off.

“Can we go buy the school things, now?” I ask, bouncing in my chair. Dad chuckles, but papa shakes his head. “We will go in juli, when you have summer holiday.” He says. I give him my best puppy eyes. “No.” Papa knows how to be strict.


~


Mid Juli we venture to in inner city, nearby Golders Green. We drive there with dad’s limo. We get out at a small dingy pub. It is called the leaky cauldron. “This is us.” Dad says. He leads us inside. The bartender greets papa. “Good day Mr. Van Helsing, can I get you anything.” He asks. “No Tom, we are here for our daughter.” Papa says. He leads to the back of the pub, opening up to a tiny little yard. There is only room for us and the three dustbins. Papa draws his wand and taps the brick wall of the yard. The bricks begin to wriggle and move away to form an arch. An arch to a shopping street, bathing in golden sunlight.
I look up at my dads. “Welcome to diagonally.” Papa says. “Why don’t we go get you your robes, a wand and a pet. Gabe will get your books and other supplies.” Dad says. “Alright.” I say with a bright smile. Papa walks one way and dad and I the other. We head to Madam Malkin’s.
I have to stand still while a witch takes my measures. It is boring. My ADHD is kicking in. I have to really bite my lip to not hop up and down on my toes. I am just so excited to be here. “Calm down, little fox.” Dad purrs. “But daaaad, I wana go see everything.” I whine. Dad shakes his head. “Be calm.” He says, with some finality in his voice.

Once the witch is done taking my measurements, I am allowed to go. We can pick up the robes later. Dad leads me to Ollivander's wand shop. Ollivander is an elderly John Hurt-esque wizard with big full moon eyes. He spots dad first. “My Lord, it has been a long while since I last saw you.” He says, with a small bow. Dad waves his hand dismissively. “I am here to buy a wand for my daughter. She will start attending Hogwarts this year.” Again I recognise how proud dad is of that.
Mr Ollivander hurried to provide me with at least twenty wands to try. “Wand chooses the witch. Just try some out.” He says. I pick up a few, but Mr Ollivander seems not the be very satisfied with the way I do it, because the pulls them from my hands about as quick as I picked them up. “What am I even supposed to do.” I whine, as the eighteenth wand is pulled from my grasp. “The right wand will find you.” Dad says encouragingly. Ollivander walks away to retrieve more wands.

I pick up a thin specimin, which is rather long. It is varnished light brown with a pattern of light green leaves and purple flowers. A rather artsifartsy wand. But I feel energy and warm sear through my body. I lose control, if only a little, showing my dad yellow eyes. He gives me a warning look. I school my features, quickly, before Ollivander comes back to me.
“Ah yes, that is the right one. A beautiful one, fit for a lady.” Ollivander says, as he spots me with the wand. “Apple wood, 30 cm, a tad rigid and with a unicorn hair core.” He gently takes it from my hand and put it back in the box. “That will be ten galleons.” He hands me the box. Dad rummages in the pockets of his red coat and hands Ollivander ten golden coins. I clutch my wand, in it’s box, tightly against my chest. I thank Ollivander and dad and I leave the shop.

“Would you like an owl?” Dad asks. I grin up at him. “I would love that dad!” I say cheerfully. Dad takes me to Eeylops Owl Emporium. I pick out a small sized barn owl. Dad pays and we head out to find papa.
Papa is at the apothecary, loading potion ingredients in a large paper bag. “Are you all done?” He asks. “Only the robes to pick up. Shall we grab lunch until then?” Dad replies. Papa peers doubtfully at his big bag of ingredients. “Sure, why not.” He mumbles.

We eat our lunch on a small terrace. Or rather, papa and I eat, while papa drinks a glass of AB negative.
After lunch, we pick up my new robes and go back home.


~


September first, papa bring me to King’s Cross, by himself. He pushes a cart with my trunk and the cage with my owl, which I have called Bragi, on top. Papa guides me to platform nine and ten. “We go straight through.” He pointed at the dividing stone beam. I nod. I grab onto the cart and together we make a mad dash for the beam. And indeed, right through.
There, on the tracks stands a big red steamer. I marvel at it. “Woah, papa, this is great.” I says. Had I a tail, I would have wagged it. “It is.” Papa nods. He helps my with getting my trunk and Bragi inside. We find an empty compartment and papa hoists my trunk up into the luggage rack. “Have fun, lieverd and behave yourself.” He says gently. “Ja papa.” I say in my most angelic tone. Papa kisses me on the forehead and exits the train.

I lean out of the window to talk to papa, until the train rides away.

I sit alone in the compartment for a while. That is, until a dark skinned boy wanders in. “Are you all alone?” He asks. I nod in reply. The boy sits down. “Erm … I am Lee Jordan, who are you?” He asks. “I am Tessa Storm.” I reply. “Nice to meet you.” Lee smiles. I chance a smile in return. “Do you know in what house you want to be?” Lee asks. I shake my head. “I .. I don’t even know what houses there are.” I mumble. “There is Gryffindor, for the brave one’s. Ravenclaw for the smart one’s, Slytherin for the assholes and everyone else goes to Hufflepuff.” Lee explains. “I am sure that is oversimplified.” I say. Lee shrugs. “Are you muggleborn?” He asks. “I don’t know, I got adopted. It was a closed adoption.” I reply. “Oh .. sorry.” Lee mutters.
We don’t say much the rest of the journey. I read a book papa gave me for my birthday, something dutch, not very relevant. Lee doesn’t try to make further conversation. We do share a bit of candy when the lady with the trolly comes ‘round.

After a good while, it is already dark out, the train pulls noisily to a halt. A disembodied voice announces that our luggage will be taken to the castle separately and for all students to get off the train.

Lee and I walk out together. Soon we are joined by a twin with red hair.

“First years, this way!” A larger than life guy with a shaggy beard calls out. The twins run straight to him. Lee and I follow. What other choice do we have, right?

The big shaggy man leads us to, surprise bloody surprise, tiny boats. “What the bloody hell?” Lee calls out. “Just get in the boat, the lake is not that wide.” One of the twins says. “How do you know?” I ask him. “We got three older brothers, they said it is no biggy.” The other twin says. Lee gets in the boat and the twins step in after him. One of them helps me in as well. “We are Fred and George Weasley.” They say in unison. “I am Lee.” Says Lee. “I am Tessa.” I say.
The boats float towards the castle. It is amazing to behold from this angle. And the twins are right, soon enough the boats beach themselves on a small natural harbour underneath the castle.

A strict looking witch is waiting for us on the shore.

We scramble out of our boats. “Follow me.” The Strict witch says. Everyone is quick to obey. I stay close to Lee and the twin. We are lead into the great hall. Four long tables stand from end to end and on a small dais stands the teachers table. We wait as the strict witch walks off. All eyes are on us.

The strict witch comes back with a small stool and a shabby looking hat. She places the hat on the chair. A tear at the front opens and the hat begins to sing. The song is a little informative tale about the founders of the school.
“If I call your name, you come forward and sit down to be sorted.” The strict witch says. Davies, Roger is the first be called forward. He sits down the stool and the shabby hat is placed on his head. The hat makes a thinking sound. “Ravenclaw!” It calls out after a long moment. Davies’ tie and lapels change from black to blue and he heads to the table that cheers for him. “Diggory, Cedric.” The strict witch calls out. Another boy comes forward. He is sorted into Hufflepuff at once. His tie and lapels change to yellow.

Johnson, Angeline is sorted in Gryffindor.

“Jordan, Lee.” Lee stumbles forward and sits down on the stool. He sits down and the hat is placed down on his head. “Gryffindor!” The hat shouts. Lee trotts off to the Gryffindor table.

Pucey, Adrian is sorted in Slytherin.

Spinnet, Alicia is another Gryffindor.

Stimpson, Patricia is sorted in Slytherin.

“Storm, Tessa.” My name is called out. I go up to the stool, red as a beet. All eyes are on me and that is very uncomfortable. I sit down on the stool. The sorting hat is put on my head. There is no single moment of hesitation. “Hufflepuff!” It shouts.
I get up and wander over to the Hufflepuff table. Cedric Diggory scoots over so I can sit down beside him. I smile gratefully at him.

Towler, Kenneth is sorted in Gryffindor.

Warrington, Cassius is sorted in Slytherin.

The twins are called forward last. First Weasley, Fred, then Weasley, George. They are both sorted in Gryffindor.

The strict witch brings the stool and the hat away. At the head table, the most important teacher stands up. I know this because he is in the middle of the table and has the most ornate chair. He is elderly, with long white hair and a long white beard. I suppose that is Headmaster Dumbeldore.
“Welcome and welcome back.” He says in an old but gentle voice. “I hope that you had a good summer. Now first eat.” He claps his hands. Food appears spontaneously on the plates in front of us and everyone digs in.

During dinner, I get to know Cedric Diggory. His father works at the ministry. His mother is a teacher at a muggle school, even though she is a witch. She keeps her eye out for children that show magic to make sure they are safe, which really interests me. Cedric doesn’t mind me hearing him out. He seems happy enough to talk about his mum and dad.
“And your parents? What do they do?” Cedric asks. He doesn’t ask me for my blood status, thankfully. “My dads are both dark creature hunters.” I answer. “Cool.” Cedric says. I nod, my dads are pretty cool. I love them to tiny bits.

When all the food has been eaten, the plates clean themselves. Headmaster Dumbledore stands up again. “Now that we are all sated and caught up, I have a few things to say.” He talk loud and clear. Everyone falls silent. “I want all the students to know the Forbidden Forest is in fact forbidden. The use of wands between classes, is discouraged and curfew is at nine.” Dumbledore announces. “Now, I bid you, good night and do your very best this year.” He sends the entire hall a smile.
Everyone gets up. “First years, follow us.” Two tall girls tell those at the Hufflepuff table. Cedric and I get up as well and follow the girls out of the hall. They lead us down a flight of stairs and through a couple of halls. One of the girls pulls out a her wand and taps out something on a couple of barrels that stand over in a corner. A door which was previously not there swings open. “Girls are on the left and boys on the right. Don’t stay up too late, breakfast will start at eight tomorrow morning and your schedules will be handed out then.” The older girls say in unison.

“Goodnight.” I tell Cedric. I head down the left stairs and find I have a little dorm room to myself. All the better, no one needs to know of my lycanthropia. Not yet.


~


The following morning Cedric and I go up to the great hall. As soon as sit down an older boy hand down what first seems blank sheets of parchment. But when we have picked one of the pile and handed the pile on, the parchment changes into a personalized schedule sheet. “Look, we have first hour off.” Cedric points out. “Starting the year off good.” I joke. “Second hour is Herbology with the Gryffindors.” Cedric then says. “It is in a classroom though, didn’t I hear that herbology is in greenhouses?” I point out. “That sure is curious.” Cedric replies.

We hang out in the great hall until it is time to go to class. We nip back to the dorm for our books.

Together with the Gryffindors we wait in front of the classroom. Lee and the twins come up to us. “Shame you didn’t get sorted into Gryffindor.” Lee says. “Guess I am not brave enough.” I mutter. The twins laugh. But Cedric shakes his head. “Hufflepuffs are known to be loyal and honest and hard working. She will make an excellent friend.” He says. I look over my shoulder at him. Cedric smiles at me. The twins snort.
A stocky, homely looking witch walks up to us. “Ah, what a lovely batch of first years.” She says. She opens the classroom. We flood inside. Not that there are many of us, but it seems we make noise enough for a full fledge class. I sit down at the front of the class with Cedric. Lee and the twins sit all the way at the back. “You three, come forward.” The witch calls them out on it at once. Reluctantly the three boys sit in the row behind Cedric and me.
“I am Professor Pomona Sprout. I am head of house for Hufflepuff.” She swipes her wand and a piece of chalk writes her name and functions on the blackboard. “I will teach you Herbology. The study of magical plants.” She motions again and the piece of chalk draw a potted plant. Fred and George laugh.

Professor Sprout explains what herbology will teach us and what type of plants we will be dealing with this semester. She informs us that our next class, coming thursday afternoon, will be in greenhouse one.

Cedric and I try not to get lost on our way to defense against the dark arts.

We share this class with the Ravenclaws. The teacher, Professor Brandwyn is a young witch with a loud voice. We are set to reading the first chapter of our book. First years only get theory, Professor Brandwyn says.

After lunch we have Transfiguration with the Slytherins.

Transfiguration is taught by the strict witch who oversaw the sorting. She introduces herself as Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House. She makes us try turning a match stick into a needle. I only manage to turn mine slightly more pointy. Cedric’s turns his match perfectly silver, but the shape is exactly the same.

We have no class until dinner, but we are advised to take a nap, because after dinner, we have astrology.

Astrology isn’t very interesting, we are taught our way around our telescope and have to find the northstar.

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