Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.


3 August 1991

The parents sat up and pushed empty ice cream dishes to the side as the children came down the street from Ollivander's, talking excitedly. Terry ran forward to his parents. "Look! Actual magic wands!" Several of the children unwrapped the long, thin boxes from their parcels, pulled out the wands, and began waving them, filling the air with glittery showers.

Hermione noticed that Harry had gone straight to Dr Aymler, who had one of her new books open. He looked up and pulled Harry to him in a half-hug, shutting the book. "I found something. We'll take a closer look when we get back."

Harry nodded and moved over to Viola, who had the cage with his owl. He had just stuck his fingers in for her to preen against when a loud noise sounded, like the crack of a rifle, and Albert Clott appeared, still resplendent in his bright uniform and shiny buttons.

He strode toward Terry and Justin, who were mock-fighting with their wands, brandishing them as if they were swords, and sending sparkling lights everywhere. Hermione heard him mutter as he passed, "Every single time. There's always at least one stupid Muggleborn who doesn't listen." In a louder voice, he scolded, "Put those away at once! You are not to touch those wands until you are at Hogwarts. All it takes is one Muggle catching sight of you doing magic and then the Ministry of Magic has to spend time and resources sending in the Obliviators…oh, do put those away! Every time you cast a spell outside of Ollivander's or Hogwarts, you set off alarms!" He held up something that looked like an ornate watch fob. Before their eyes, the angry red glow it gave off began to fade.

Hermione frowned and glanced at Harry. He nodded and she stepped forward. "Pardon me, Mr Clott. No one said not to use our wands. We didn't mean to cause trouble."

Clott turned to face her, slightly calmed by her humble tone. "You mean Mr Ollivander didn't give you instructions?"

"No, sir. He was distracted when Harry got his wand."

Clott brightened. "That makes sense. I've certainly been the talk of the Ministry this afternoon for escorting you all here. Why, even Junior Undersecretary Umbridge herself stopped me to talk…" As the liaison got lost in his tale, Harry edged behind him and waved to Dean. He pointed at Dean's wand, still in its box, and mimed waving it. Dean winked and began unwrapping his wand. Harry concentrated on Clott's shoes.

Slowly, the shoelaces loosened, the ends falling to the cobblestones. When Clott showed no sign of noticing, Harry looked at Hermione. She was watching Clott's detector and shook her head very slightly. Harry then nodded to Dean, who had gotten his wand. Dean swung his arm, looking casual, but the wand still threw out sparks. Clott jumped and grabbed the detector, once more glowing red.

"Please! Please put your wands away and keep them away until you are at Hogwarts! This is the rule you must obey as part of being a young witch or wizard! No magic outside of school until you are of age!"

At this point most of the adults began taking the wands, putting them back in their boxes. Hermione, still facing Clott, gave one of her little curtsies. "Thank you for telling us, sir." Clott smiled and patted her head. She resisted the urge to make a face as Harry and Dean both turned away to keep from laughing.

Her father approached. "Since you're here anyway, I believe we are all done with our errands. Could you escort us back to that pub and send us home?"

Clott looked around at everyone, loaded with parcels. "Really? Done already? It usually takes hours with a group this large, especially at Ollivander's."

"We got lucky," Hermione said, helping her parents gather her things.

"Lucky, indeed. Well, there's no need to go back through the pub. I have everyone's tickets to the Hogwarts Express and portkeys back to everyone's destination." He began handing the tickets out and paused. "I see we're short one."

Harry answered, "Kevin Entwhistle and his mum have decided on the other school. They went to talk to them."

Clott beamed, "Thank you, Harry. May I call you Harry? So exciting to meet you at last. That's very helpful of you. I'll stop by and check in with them. Now, you were the very large group, correct? Here's a nice long scarf, should be easy for everyone to grab on to. Have you got a good grip on your supplies? Everyone have the scarf? Hold on, then!" He touched the end of the scarf with his wand and commanded, "Portus!"

The invisible line yanked through them all, depositing them in a conference room that suddenly felt much too small with people, parcels, and protesting owls everywhere.


Dr Aymler sent for Pippa to help the kids sort their purchases. As Hermione stacked potion phials, her telescope, and scales into her cauldron, she suddenly smacked her forehead. "We completely forgot about trunks! They weren't on the list!"

Viola, refolding the robes, looked over. "We were going back next week anyway. We can take Harry and Dean as well and get trunks for all three of you. Robert, you might call the other families and remind them. Perhaps we could even meet up at that ice cream shop again. They had the most amazing sundaes."

Dean looked up from flipping through A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration. "You all traded numbers?"

Robert held up his address book. "While you were in the last shop, we talked. It turns out that none of us were given any clue at all about the existence of magic. No contact of any sort while the poor kids were experiencing these incidents and practically becoming recluses while the parents got more and more frantic. I'm not sure yet who to complain to, but there has to be someone in their government who can see the problem."

Andrea took the box holding Dean's wand. "I think we'll hang onto this, just to be safe."

Dean waved a hand in easy agreement. "No problem. Put it on the top shelf in your clothes cupboard where you hide our Christmas gifts. No one else can reach it but us three."

As his parents stared at him in unhappy surprise, Hermione handed her box to her mother. "Here's mine."

Harry dug around for his and held it out to Dr Aymler. He took it and looked at the three of them. "You're taking that pompous idiot's orders?"

Harry shrugged. "We don't need them. We tried something at the café. That detector of his only works if magic happens with a wand. I untied his shoes and he never noticed a thing. But Dean waving his wand around got his attention."

Hermione nodded in agreement. "We can keep practicing what we do while we wait for September."

The parents traded looks, then turned to the doctor for his opinion. "Well, they've been learning all along without any major trouble. I don't see a problem as long as they continue to be careful. After all, it would appear that they're at a disadvantage compared to the other students, not having known that magic existed before."

With that, the adults released the owls through a window and Pippa arranged to store everything in a cupboard up on the first floor, where the children were not permitted. She took one set of textbooks and the extra history books to find covers for hiding the titles so the trio could start reading them.

Dean and Hermione followed their parents, who were ready to pack up from their overnight stay and return to their homes. Harry was about to follow them when Dr Aymler stopped him.

"I need to show you what that wand person was talking about. I'll get the books when Pippa's covered them. Meet me in my office after dinner?"

Harry nodded, realizing that whatever the story was, it must be something huge.


At dinner, Hermione had the camouflaged The Standard Book of Spells propped open while the three of them ate at a corner table, a bit away from most of the residents. She was providing a running commentary. "This one will be useful, Alohomora, which is an unlocking spell, and there's a locking spell as well. Oh, here's our floating thing, the Levitation Charm. And look!" She turned the book toward Harry in excitement. "A mending charm! Reparo! That's what I did to the kitchen at home!"

Dean read the page, trying to sound out the strange words. "How is that pronounced? Wing-AR-dee-yum Lev-EYE-oh-sa?"

Hermione shook her head. "It looks like a lot of these words are from Latin. That would make it Lev-ee-OH-sa."

"Where'd you learn Latin, then?" Dean asked, making his fork hover a few centimetres over his plate with one finger.

"One of my teachers from before. She had a positive mania for building words from Latin and Greek roots."

"So tell me this. If we're able to do all of these things on our own with a bit of practice, why are we suddenly being told that there's no magic done away from the school and we have to actually wave wands around and say silly Latin things to make it happen?"

Hermione twisted a lock of hair around her fingers. "Well, I'm not sure. But I get the feeling that maybe…we're doing things differently from what's expected. Remember how shocked Ms McGonagall was when we stopped her from using her wand? And how she didn't try anything at all when she didn't have it? I mean, if we didn't have each other to talk to and compare notes with, what would we have done when the letters came?"

Dean nodded. "I get you. We'd've gone along with whatever they said, including the notion that you've got to have a wand to do these things correctly."

Hermione looked over at their third member. "Harry? All right there?"

Harry had taken the book and was scanning the list of spells in the contents. While Hermione had been concentrating on things she recognised as what they could do, he had noticed some other spells with more sinister effects. Incendio was for making fire, which could be helpful or dangerous depending on the situation. He was also unsure about Diffindo, or the Severing Charm. It was all too easy to imagine the thing being severed as a finger or hand…

He tried to drive such thoughts from his head when Hermione addressed him. "Sorry, just looking at all of these results that they have a name for. Seems awfully complicated. I mean, just imagine what you want to happen, concentrate on it, and it happens." He waved his hand slightly and the empty chair at their table slid back on its own. "No wand, no funny words." He stood, handing the book back to Hermione and gathering his dishes. "Dr Aymler wanted to see me. He found what Mr Ollivander was talking about."

Hermione leaned over the table and snagged his hand. "Dean and I'll wait for you if you want to talk about it after."

Harry nodded and squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I know. See you later."


Patrick had left messages for Emily and Pippa to meet in his office for dinner and for Pippa to bring the extra books from Flourish and Blotts. Emily arrived with loaded plates from the canteen and Pippa followed her with the books.

Patrick pulled out the three books he remembered and handed one to each of them. "Check the index for the right pages, then read what they say about Harry. I want to compare them and see where they all agree."

They began reading and eating, but gradually left the food to grow cold as they read and traded books and made notes. Patrick spread their jottings on the table.

"So, what ties in is the following: this evil lord person, who is apparently so bad that they won't print his real name, was going around and killing lots of people, not just magical people. He targeted Harry's parents and killed them on 31 October, 1981, with something called the Killing Curse. It's assumed but not proven that he tried to use the same curse on Harry, but somehow Harry repelled it and-poof!-the evil guy was no longer a threat. Harry is famous throughout magical Europe for being the only known person to survive this curse and is tagged as The Boy Who Lived." Patrick leaned back and rubbed his hands across his face. "Christ in a teacup, every time we think we have a handle on Harry's situation, something else up and smacks us in the gob."

Pippa was looking through The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts. "Here, this one actually gives us the bad guy's name, but only the very first time he's mentioned. He was known as Lord Voldemort, but called either the Dark Lord, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who. I suppose they think there's something to that old fairy-tale notion of names having power. Since that Modern Magical History writer quotes some official called the 'Supreme Mugwump' as speculating that Voldemort is banished but not dead, I guess people just don't want to take the chance of saying his name lest they get his attention."

Emily held out Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. "Did you see this illustrated faceplate in the centre of this one? The artist tried to draw Harry as a toddler with that zigzag scar on his forehead. The caption claims it's the only evidence left that Harry was attacked by this guy and calls it a 'curse scar'. I'm rather relieved that Harry likes to keep his fringe long to hide it-I get the feeling that you were very lucky only the wand artist recognized him, otherwise you could've been dealing with a mob."

Patrick grimaced. "Is it safe for him to go back this weekend with the others for his trunk?"

Emily looked down at the illustration again. "Frankly, I'm having second thoughts about this entire school thing, period. Bad enough that the kids were left in the dark all their lives about having this power. How much worse will it be for Harry to deal with this kind of notoriety, this reverence people have for him over something he doesn't even remember happening? How many of those students will be trying to become his new best friend and push Hermione and Dean out? And since we know Harry won't stand for that, what if they turn on him?" She shut the book. "I know she wasn't telling us everything, but I'd like to talk to that McGonagall woman again. I honestly feel we don't have enough information to decide, now that we know this."

Before the others could reply, there was a knock at the door. Patrick glanced at his watch. "That should be Harry now." He raised his voice and called, "Come in."


Author's Note: Thanks for reading! And thanks for your patience as I got through the last couple of months of work. With a little luck and some fast beta-ing I should be back to my biweekly schedule now.