Jan 27, 2022 6:06 AM
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Naomi is still in shock, a bit -- Headmistress McGonagall has only just left her house and now she and her parents are off to buy school supplies. It's nice to have explanations for the weird hats and the broken video game system and the time with her school sprinklers, but it's not nice to not get a decent answer to why everyone doesn't know about magic. Obviously they should, it helps so many people, the headmistress said so many nice things about how safe magic is and what she could do when she's grown up so her parents won't worry.

She probably needs more information. Books help with that. Asking people helps -- and she's good at asking people for information she needs. Computers are supposed to help with that, but apparently they don't work near magic, and isn't that just terrible. She'll probably have to leave Hogwarts regularly so she can do experiments, or maybe sneak some of her things to school with a sufficiently large trunk, she could maybe get her parents to get one of those for her if she asks for Christmas and her birthday.

Now she's in the bookshop. There sure are a lot of books and she has no idea which ones will be helpful other than the school ones she's supposed to get.

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There's a boy about her age bouncing on his toes, carrying a stack that's nearly half his height. 

He's with a man who is interrogating the hapless clerk about something or other, and a woman who is surrounded by a circle of eager listeners.

When he wanders in her direction, they don't really notice. 

It doesn't surprise anyone when some of his books falls off the top, landing next to her. He doesn't stop until he reaches his destination: what looks to be a shelf of books on charms and temporary effects.

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Thump.

Naomi doesn't jump. She's more observant than that. (She did, and she's not -- she really wasn't paying attention.)

She grabs the books, leafing through them. They don't seem to be the kind of thing she was interested in, but she is going to be learning charms, maybe these ones will be useful.

When she's had about a minute with them she walks over and puts on a great big smile. "Hi! Some of your books fell by me when I was looking at the shelves and here they are back if you want them!"

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"Thank you." 

The statement sounds rote, like thanking people is something he's memorized how to do. 

"Done any charms yet?"

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"No, I don't even have my wand, right now I'm looking at books! I guess you're interested in charms? Any reason why those kinds of charms in particular?"

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"You haven't done anything yet? Not even a little?" 

He inches towards her, his voice dropping to a whisper. 

"We're not supposed to, so no one has an unfair advantage, but nobody listens. You can tell me." 

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"How could I do anything without a wand?" 

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"For kids they call it accidental magic but for adults it's called wandless magic. They're obviously the same thing, the school just wants you to do it their way." 

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Huh. 

"Oh, I didn't know that! Do you know anything else about wandless magic? Do you know how to do it so it's on purpose, I've only ever done things when I haven't been actually thinking about them."

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"Hold on, that's super advanced stuff. First you have to make sure that when you have accidental magic, it comes out how you want. If you're scared, don't just push away the scary thing or hurt it, pick one and make that happen. Can you just put those ones back on top please? We can share them later." 

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Sharing! Sharing is good! Especially when it's books. Naomi beams.

"Sure! ... so. What isn't advanced stuff? Other than the history and culture things, I guess -- I'll have to make sure I get enough books on those because computers don't work here ..."

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"What are computers?" 

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"Oh! You're a native! Right, so, computers are like -- hm, I don't know how much technology you have here, I only know some of it doesn't work, I was going to get some books on it, maybe that will help me explain? Or I could just give you a summary and you could ask me lots of questions, that works too."

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"Uh, if you're a Muggle kid you should really keep it down. There's bad blood, after the war and all. If you want a native to help you learn the history and culture things, stay close." 

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"Oh. Okay. Thanks, wow. I'm lucky I talked to you first." 

(That could have gone unimaginably horribly and Naomi is not thinking about that right now.)

"Okay, so -- point me toward book titles, maybe, if we aren't going to be loud about it. Um. I'm really bad at not being loud, also I don't know what makes it obvious that, um."

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"If there's other stuff like computers that you think might not work here, don't mention it. We can talk about it at school. Otherwise I can buy books for you, no one thinks it's weird if I want basic stuff explained. Watch my stack?" 

He places his books on a shelf next to her and goes looking for introductory books on wizarding culture. 

She can examine his books at her leisure, or try to meet new people. 

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Meeting new people sounds like a bad idea because her idea of meeting people involves talking at them. So she will look at books!

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Josh has lots of books for her to look at!

An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe, Blood Brothers: My Time Living Among Vampires, Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst is Coming, Hogwarts: A History...

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Naomi starts with Death Omens because it's shortest, then after skimming it moves on to Hogwarts: A History, which is topical, long and detailed but poorly indexed. 

 

 

She's still reading it by the time he gets back. "What house do you think you're going to be in?"

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"Slytherin, like my dad."

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"Cool, I don't know enough about them to know yet; I'm thinking probably Ravenclaw -- oh, and I realized I don't know your name! Mine's Naomi, last name McPherson, nice to meet you!"

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"Josh Fawley. Ravenclaw is cool too, my mom was in Ravenclaw. Definitely one of those is good."

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"Thanks for letting me borrow your books; you picked some really good ones. Hogwarts: A History is very informative so far, so is Death Omens, I haven't started skimming the others yet ..."

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"Death Omens is good. I'm thinking of getting one on dreams and other divination, but my dad says that it doesn't work for everyone."

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"Oh really."

Naomi lowers her voice. It's probably a bit more dramatic than she was intending. "What's divination?"

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"Predicting the future, understanding omens, interpreting dreams...I don't know everything that counts as divination, that's what the books were supposed to be for."

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