One - The Grotto

One - The Grotto

A Chapter by Alex
"

Meet Rosie Weasley and her family!

"

Hidden in the hills near Ottery St. Catchpole, past the streetlights and corner stores, and just through the wood, there lies a house. At first glance, there might not seem to be anything out of the ordinary about this house.


Well, maybe the fact that this house has no driveway could seem slightly strange to someone used to such a thing. The stonework of the building might become more curious than impressive after an admirer realizes that not a single wooden board was used in its construction. And yet, charming wooden shutters affix every window, and the front door is quite plainly made of solid oak. A cursory glance at the vegetable garden reveals strange, unusual plants " if “plants” is even the proper name for some of them. Spying on this house long enough, one would definitely notice more owls than they were likely to see otherwise. And then there’s the sign; as one strolls from the quaint pebbled road, up the cozy wooded path, and onto the front yard, one comes face-to-face with a large sign reading Welcome to the Grotto.


No, on second thought, this house is certainly not plain. Whoever lives in this house must be strange, nutty, or at the very least abnormally eccentric. Well this too is untrue. The family who lives in this house may seem strange by the standards of the denizens of Ottery St. Catchpole, but among their own kind, this family was just another family " a mother and father, a son, and a daughter. A daughter who, unfortunately, missed her first four wakeup calls.


“Oi! Rosie!” Hugo’s yell was followed by a heavy thump on the bedroom door.


             Rosie flew up into a sitting position, throwing her poor cat nearly past the foot of her bed. Instead, Rosie felt a stab of pain as cat claws sank through the thin blanket and into her right foot.


                “Ouch! Sorry, Beolet,” Rosie moaned, fighting back tears. The cat responded with a grumpy hiss before hopping down to the floor and sauntering away to his cushioned windowsill, his length-and-a-half black tail raised limply behind him.


                “Rosie, wake up, Albus and Lily will be here any minute!” Hugo’s muffled voice called from behind Rosie’s door.


                Then another voice joined Hugo’s. “She’s still asleep?” A sharp knock cut through the door and gritted Rosie’s teeth. “Rosie, wake up already!” Her father said.


                “I’m up!” Rosie finally shrieked, perhaps a little louder and more shrilly than she had intended, “For crying out loud, give me a minute!”


                There was a silence in which Rosie could barely hear her brother mumble “We made her mad.”


                A tiny grin escaped through Rosie’s scowl. Then her father said, in a more pacified tone, “Well, get a move on, your cousins will be here soon!”


                “Yes, OK!”


                Rosie could hear the sound of her brother and father’s footsteps going back toward the kitchen. With a deep exhale, she finished nursing her clawed foot and got out of bed. She picked up a blouse, which had been draped over her potion making kit, and slapped some of the wrinkles out of it. She stepped carefully around her school trunk " which held dozens of thick books, from Transfiguration to Care of Magical Creatures " and found a jumper to wear.


After getting dressed, Rosie made her way to the mirror on the other side of her room. A thin girl of seventeen glowered back at her. Her shoulder-length, bushy red hair sat in clumps, evidence of her night-long row with her bedding and pillow. Freckles dotted her face. Rosie reached for her wand and sat in front of her mirror, gazing stupidly at her reflection. Finally, she realized she couldn’t remember the spell she wanted and swapped her wand for a large brush and began to yank at the tangles in her hair.


If she hadn’t been so tired, Rosie could have fixed her hair in a matter of seconds with magic, for Rosie Weasley wasn’t a normal teenage girl. No, Rosie Weasley was a witch. She lived in a house full of them. Well, she and her mother were Witches. Her brother and father were Wizards. Her cousins Albus and Lily were also full of magic.


There were many Witches and Wizards throughout the world, all living in secret among Muggles - non-magic folk. Well, most of the time; there were some Muggles who knew of the Magical world, and kept its existence a secret. Rosie’s grandma and grandpa - her mother’s parents - were Muggles. It wasn’t unheard of for Muggles to occasionally give birth to a Witch or Wizard. These were called Muggle-borns. Rosie’s Nana and Papa - her father’s parents - were magical folks born from magical folks. Her father was referred to as Pureblooded - at least by a more old-fashioned crowd. Rosie and her brother Hugo were born from a Muggle-born Witch and a Pureblooded Wizard - Making them something her father liked to call “Over-easy”, which he found immensely funny for some reason.


After brushing her hair into an acceptable state, Rosie stood up and opened her bedroom door. The greasy smell of eggs and bacon immediately hit her nostrils, and her stomach grumbled happily. She quickened her pace into the kitchen and found her brother, Hugo, with bushy red hair, just like hers, though much shorter. He was two years younger than Rosie, but was already much taller than her. He had inherited their father’s tall, gangly build, while Rosie stood a bit shorter than most.


“Done hibernating, are you?” Hugo said, a mischievous smile on his face.


Hugo sat across the table from their mother, Hermione Weasley, who was finishing a slice of jellied toast over a newspaper - The Daily Prophet. Her mother was the only one in the house with brown hair, not red. If it had been red, though, hers and Rosie’s hair would look identical.


“Good morning, Rosie,” Her mother said pleasantly when she caught sight of her.


“Morning, Mum,” Rosie said as she sat down, waiting hungrily for her breakfast.


She didn’t need to wait long - her father, Ron Weasley had just finished another batch of bacon and eggs and had piled them onto a plate, which he placed before Rosie. Her father - like Hugo - was tall and gangly, though he had gained a portly belly and his hair had begun to thin. A bright orange apron hung down his front, Wizards on broomsticks zooming here and there between its borders. On Rosie’s plate were six thick slices of bacon and four eggs - over-easy. Her father gave her a wink and returned to the oven. Rosie stared blankly at the back of her father’s head for a moment. She still didn’t get it…


With another grumble of her stomach, Rosie switched her attention back to her plate and began devouring her breakfast. Her father returned to the table with his own plate in hand.


“Pewter drop the case yet?” He asked Hermione casually.


Hermione ruffled the paper slightly. “Not yet. I’m telling you, at this point, he’s just stalling. He probably thinks if he holds out long enough, Bones will give in, but I’ve told her at least a dozen times Pewter doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”


Rosie didn’t pay much attention to conversations like this; her mother was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic, and talks of legal cases or regulations were common between her parents over breakfast. Her father was a part owner of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, a joke shop run by her Uncle George.


Her mother folded the paper and placed it on the table. “Oh, Rosie, don’t forget that you still need to respond to Mary’s owl; she’s waiting for your decision.”


Rosie stopped inhaling her eggs and moaned. When she chanced a look at her mother, it was to find a stern look, with a thin line where her mouth used to be.


“What?” Rosie asked, “I still don’t know!” Halfway through the summer, Rosie had been offered an internship at the Ministry under Mary Velour, a friend of her Papa’s. The internship would begin immediately after her seventh and final term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which was to begin in only a week from now. The trouble was, Mary Velour worked in the Muggle Liaison office, which Rosie found very boring.


“Rosie,” her father said, mouth half full of eggs, “It’s hard nowadays to get a job right out of school, and an internship like this would be a great way to get your foot in the door. If you don’t take that spot soon, they’ll give it to someone else.”


“James got a job right out of school,” Rosie mumbled, poking what was left of her breakfast with her fork. James was Rosie’s cousin too, and Albus’ and Lily’s older brother. He had been drafted onto the England Reserve Team for Quidditch - a fast, dangerous sport played on flying broomsticks - right after he finished school last year.


“Well, first off: James knew what he wanted to do after he was through with school,” Rosie’s mother said, with a matter of fact look on her face. “And second: James was still extremely fortunate to get drafted as quickly as he did. If he hadn’t, he might be looking for a job for the entire year while he waited for the next set of drafts.”


After being stared at by her mother for another few seconds in silence, Rosie finally dropped her fork with a clatter onto her plate and said “Alright, fine, I’ll tell Mary Velour I’m simply animated about interning in the Muggle Liaison office!”


“Good.” Her mother took a calm sip of tea, as if Rosie’s voice hadn’t just been dripping with sarcasm.


Rosie lowered her head and pretended to be fascinated with her breakfast. The table was quite silent except for Hugo’s snorts of laughter at Rosie’s last comment. She pretended to not hear them, but finally couldn’t help herself and chanced a look at her brother. They made eye contact and both burst out laughing.


“Where are your cousins?” Rosie’s father wondered aloud as he cleared all the empty plates off the table.


As he was taking them to the sink, Rosie asked “Oh, Dad, have I gotten any Owls yet today?”


Her father came to a halt a few feet from the sink. He glanced at Rosie behind him a couple times and said “Erm…Well, yes.”


Rosie’s face started to grow hot. “Well?” She was not in the mood to do this today.


Her father put the dishes in the sink with a sigh and turned around, shuffling his feet guiltily. He was holding an envelope which said Rosie in green ink. The seal had been broken.


Rosie immediately jumped out of her chair. “DAD! You can’t just help yourself to every letter I get from him!” Rosie marched over and snatched the envelope from her father’s hand.


Behind her, Rosie’s mother said “Ron, please tell me you haven’t been going through Rosie’s mail again.”


Her father straightened up and said with more dignity than he likely deserved “Hermione, I don’t like the two of them talking, it’s not-“


“Talking!” Rosie gasped disbelievingly, “we’re WAY past talking, Dad, and you’re not going to stop us by reading my mail! Stop being such a great big prat!”


“Hey!” Rosie’s father shouted.


“Rosie, do not speak to your father like that!” Her mother had stood up and was glaring at her.


Hugo was very wisely focused on his breakfast, but had unfortunately run out of food and was pressing his fork down on toast crumbs. At this moment, a bright green flash issued from the sitting room, followed by a loud CRACK like a bullwhip.


“Yoo-hoo?” Lily’s voice called from the sitting room.


Rosie’s mother gave a heavy sigh. “Your cousins are here.


Hugo sprang from his chair and ran into the sitting room. Rosie could hear him gabbing excitedly with Lily and Albus. Rosie’s mother followed, stopping before she left the kitchen and turning around. “You two behave yourselves today.”


Then Rosie and her father were in the kitchen alone. Rosie sent one final glare at her father - which he sheepishly returned - and stormed out of the kitchen. Instead of heading to the sitting room, however, she took a right-hand turn and slammed her bedroom door shut behind her.


Rosie removed the folded letter from the envelope addressed to her. She laid it out on top of her desk. In neat, green ink, the letter said:


Dear Rosie,
How are your summer holidays going? Mine are going quite well. I’m looking forward to seeing you at school.


The shortness of this letter didn’t bother Rosie. On the contrary, she grinned widely at the tiny message, which meant that her father still hadn’t figured out how to really read them. Rosie quickly pulled out her wand, pointed it at the paper, and whispered “Incendio!


In the blink of an eye, a magical flame had consumed the paper, and just as quickly as it had appeared, gone out. Black, crispy ash lay on her desk where the letter had been. With shaking hands, Rosie pulled a small black cauldron out from under her bed. She removed the lid and revealed about three pints of milky white potion, which seemed to ripple and squirm at the slightest breeze, even gliding her hand several feet over the surface made deep ruts in the potion, as if her hand was scooping its way through its depths.


There was a knock on her door, and Rosie nearly tipped the cauldron on its side. “Rosie?” Hugo called in, “you’re still coming to Diagon Ally with us, right?”


It was tradition. One week before the start of term, James, Albus, Lily, Hugo, and Rosie all went to Diagon Ally together to get their school things. Rosie’s mother was always so busy with work, and her cousins’ mother, Ginny, was always exceptionally busy this time of year with her job - Quidditch Correspondent for the Daily Prophet - that it was a trip exclusively for the kids and the dads. This would be the first year that James wouldn’t be joining them, as he graduated last year. It would also be the last year for Rosie and Albus.


“Don’t worry, Hugo, I’m coming. Just give me one minute.”


Hugo’s footsteps bounded back to the sitting room to relay her message as Rosie pointed her wand at the black ashes on her desk and whispered “Wingardium Leviosa!


The ashes flew through the air at Rosie’s guidance, and fell neatly into the cauldron. As the ashes neared the potion’s surface, the liquid parted to make way for the invading matter. Finally, when the ashes had fallen so deep, the bottom of the cauldron was visible, the unnatural walls of the potion collapsed onto themselves, and the ashes disappeared.


Rosie waited only a couple seconds before reaching her hand into the cauldron. As with the ashes, the potion didn’t seem to want to touch her. The surface of the potion parted and let her hand reach unhindered into its depths. This time, it wasn’t the bottom of the cauldron that Rosie could see, but a fresh, unburned sheet of paper. Rosie scooped it up and placed it on her desk. This time, a much longer and personal message was present:


Dear Rosie,
            I grow weary of using these steps to write you a simple letter. Hopefully, your father will come to his senses by end of term. Meanwhile, he’ll have a time separating us come September first.
            I hope your plan of going to Diagon Ally on the twenty-fifth is still in motion; my father was quite frustrated with me when I insisted waiting a week longer than usual. I told him I needed Feythorns picked after the new moon, and Slug and Jiggers wouldn’t have them stocked until then.
            I plan to give him the slip just after lunch. Meet me at One O'clock  on the second floor of Flourish and Blotts, deep in the Bestiary Section. Only then will my holidays have been quite well.
            With Love,
            Scorpius


Rosie closed her eyes and breathed a deep, blissful sigh. She folded the letter carefully and placed it back in the envelope. She put the envelope in a lock box on her nightstand, and recovered her cauldron, which again lay hidden under her bed. She gave Beolet one firm pet from head to tail, and left her room, much happier than when she had entered.


No one was in the sitting room, though. Rosie poked her head into the kitchen, and saw her mother pulling her traveling cloak on. When her mother spotted her, she said “Oh, good. We didn’t know how long you’d be, so they decided to let you catch up when you’re ready.”


A twang of guilt squirmed through Rosie’s gut. She didn’t mean to make everyone go on without her. It was tradition to go to Diagon Ally together, and she had already put a hitch in the routine. Her mother seemed to know what she was thinking, for she strode through the kitchen and gave Rosie a firm hug.


“You know your father means well, right?”


Rosie rolled her eyes under her mother’s shoulder. “He has an immature way of showing it.”


Her mother pulled out of the hug, but kept her hands on Rosie’s shoulders, so they were looking eye-to-eye. “Your father loves you, and he’s just worried that his old school nemesis fathered a hell spawn that’s waiting to suck out your soul.”


Rosie laughed. “Well, he should know that I can recognize a hell spawn when I see it.”


Her mother smiled. “I know. Don’t worry, I’ll talk to him.”


Her mother let go, and briskly walked to the front door. They exchanged “I love you”’s, and her mother closed the door behind her, and a muffled POP told Rosie that her mother had disapparated to work.


With a confident stride, Rosie went back into the sitting room, grabbed a pinch of floo powder from the fireplace mantle, and threw it into the still crackling fire. The flames turned bright green, and Rosie stepped right into it.


“Diagon Ally!” She shouted, and the Grotto spun out of sight.



© 2016 Alex


Author's Note

Alex
Thank you to Sukieblackmore for the amazing drawing of Rosie I used for this book's picture!

I am not British, and I am not a girl. I'm curious to know how apparent that is to anyone who read this. I'm trying to keep this writing as close to the Harry Potter books as I can, as far as style and atmosphere goes, so feedback on that will also be welcome, as well as pretty much any feedback. I hope HP fans will enjoy this!

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I wouldn't term myself a die-hard HP fan but having read just two of the books from the book series, I must say you almost fooled me in thinking your name 'Alex' was another pseudonym for J. K. Rowlings. It is was indeed and interesting read and I really enjoyed the flow of the narrative.

However, like Jgra duly pointed out, you risk loosing readers out to the expository nature of your description. I only felt a nudge to go on reading because I caught a glimpse of the length and I honestly wanted to see what it was about. But, if I am being honest, I'd suggest a re-write of the first three paragraphs of this chapter. Try giving it a more narrative feel, let us as readers experiences the house in smell, touch and sight. Let our senses be a judge on how we perceive the house -the awkwardness of an absent driveway or the strangeness of the stonework that holds up the building.

Honestly, if you can get we as readers to through your writing paint a mental picture our how our senses perceive the setting, your tale would be as spellbinding as the entire magical premise of the narrative. Heading straight for the next chapter right now. Keep at it!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Second and third paragraphs have stray quotation marks. Also, travelling* near the end.
Minor notes: used "curious/ly" really close together in first paragraph, could maybe find a replacement word for one so it doesn't seem like it's being repeated. You also referenced Ron's gangly appearance twice (once when describing Hugo and again right after for Ron directly).

So far, so good, can't wait to see where it goes.

Posted 5 Years Ago


Harry Potter was the first real book series I read as a kid. I was eight or nine and I absolutely loved the books. Even now, I love the books and I haven't even seen all the movies. I think you did a great job and it sounds so much like J.K. Rowling that i think you would make her proud. I' going to read your next chapters shortly and I'll let you know what I think.

Posted 5 Years Ago


Alex

5 Years Ago

Thank you so much!
I wouldn't term myself a die-hard HP fan but having read just two of the books from the book series, I must say you almost fooled me in thinking your name 'Alex' was another pseudonym for J. K. Rowlings. It is was indeed and interesting read and I really enjoyed the flow of the narrative.

However, like Jgra duly pointed out, you risk loosing readers out to the expository nature of your description. I only felt a nudge to go on reading because I caught a glimpse of the length and I honestly wanted to see what it was about. But, if I am being honest, I'd suggest a re-write of the first three paragraphs of this chapter. Try giving it a more narrative feel, let us as readers experiences the house in smell, touch and sight. Let our senses be a judge on how we perceive the house -the awkwardness of an absent driveway or the strangeness of the stonework that holds up the building.

Honestly, if you can get we as readers to through your writing paint a mental picture our how our senses perceive the setting, your tale would be as spellbinding as the entire magical premise of the narrative. Heading straight for the next chapter right now. Keep at it!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Description was 10/10, felt like I was in the house. Though I think you could show Rosie thinking just a bit more. I'm inexperienced but if there's one thing I've learned about writing , it's that you have to balance action, description/exposition, dialogue and thought/emotion, that's the key. The beginning of the story was all exposition/description, which you have to be careful doing because it can start your story out with a bore however you did a good job of grabbing my interest. I wasn't really sure why her brother was laughing at her comment at the breakfast table, i thin you need to clarify that scene and it's dialogue a bit. Good job keep it up! 87/100

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Alex

5 Years Ago

Thanks for the input! I tend to do less "this character thinks this thing," or "they feel that way",.. read more
Don't worry too much, I think you're going in the right direction. I don't think you have to be british or anywhere else to write a character from said place, since the place doesn't really define you, nobody believes me I'm from the place I was born in :D .

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on July 28, 2015
Last Updated on June 27, 2016
Tags: Harry Potter, Fanfiction, Fantasy


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Alex
Alex

Cohoes, NY



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Though I will occasionally write a poem here or there, poetry is not something that I consider myself well versed in - no pun untended. Because of that, I will usually not review other poems, as the b.. more..

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