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May 18, 2021 4:44 AM
yer a wizard joey
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"-I have nine siblings, Professor Suliman," Joey says, trying not to be short with the nice lady. "I have a fraternal twin. You're telling me I'm a wizard, but not one of them is too?"

     "We can't be sure of your younger brothers," she hedges. "But your elder siblings, and your twin, are entirely nonmagical. You are a Muggleborn, after all; it is only by chance that you have magic at all."

"And I'd be going to school in Scotland." It's not that he dislikes the idea, he's an Anglophile at heart, but it seems... unusual. Him being from California, and all.

     "Yes. Your first act of accidental magic was performed on our shores, and that means that, legally speaking, you are a resident of Wizarding Britain. I'm sure you'll like it there."

He shakes his head. "No doubt, ma'am. I just - it's a lot to take in."

     "I understand," she says kindly. "I'm here to answer any questions you have."

He turns to Daddy Michael hesitantly. "Um. Do we have any questions?"

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"I don't want to sound cheap, Professor, but what will this cost? We can afford regular private school tuition - couldn't for all of them, but we can as long as the rest of 'em don't all turn out magic - but if you guys are the best magical school in Britain that might imply things about your price point."

     She laughs. "No, no - we're very generously subsidized by the Ministry of Magic. Tuition plus room and board are free, and the shopping list amounts to about five hundred American dollars per year. No one wants untrained wizards and witches running around."

"That does sound like it'd get pretty dangerous," Daddy Michael admits. "Um. That being the case, how do you deal with families who don't want their kids going to boarding school?"

     "There are magical tutors. You wouldn't go to them if you wanted the best education for your child, but in cases where the family is really recalcitrant, they can be engaged."

He breathes a sigh of relief. "I was worried you were gonna say something about - wizard CPS turning us into frogs, or something."

     "We try not to turn anyone into anything," the witch says primly. "If you failed to provide your wizard child with any formal education, naturally we would involve ourselves, but it doesn't sound like that's what you're thinking of?"

"I'm not thinking of anything," Daddy Michael clarifies hastily. "Just getting a feel for how all this works."

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"Don't scare the nice witch, Dad."

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"I'm not! I'm not!"

     She chuckles indulgently. "Any further questions?"

"Do you have - I feel like a tool, but. Brochures, pamphlets, anything like that?"

     "Yes, let me-" She reaches into one of the deep pockets of her robe and pulls out a small stack of thick vellumy paper, which she places on the coffee table. "There you go. Anything specific you were wondering?"

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Joey picks one up himself, and starts leafing through, then makes an undignified squeaking sound and drops it back on the table.

     "Oh, yes, the pictures move, I should've warned you," the witch says nonchalantly.

He picks it back up. "Cool," he breathes. "Um, okay, so the core subjects are - Transfiguration, Charms, Potions... Herbology? Enchantment, History of Magic, Healing, Defense against the Dark Arts- is that, um, a common problem for wizards, the Dark Arts and defending against them-"

     "Ah, not a common problem, but common enough that we wouldn't want anyone to run into it unprepared."

"Oh, that makes sense. I'm guessing Transfiguration is how you turned the mug into a mouse? Just going off word roots."

     "Yes, Transfiguration is the art of turning one thing into another. Charms covers common spells, Potions and Healing and History are fairly obvious, Enchantment is the art of creating magical objects, Herbology is the study of magical plants, and Defense covers both the study of Dark creatures and spells to defend oneself in magical combat."

"Cool, magical combat. Hopefully I'm better at that than I am at Tae Kwon Do."

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"I don't know if you could realistically be worse."

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"Thanks, Daddy, I knew there was a reason Daddy Jordan was my favorite and I just could not put my finger on it."

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For this comment, Joey receives an intense and remorseless hair-tousling.

     Professor Suliman clears her throat.

Daddy Michael remembers his audience and tries to stifle a chuckle. "Ahem. I did notice that there's no... math, science, English, the common core requirements?"

     "Yes, if you are particularly interested in Muggle subjects then there are student study groups within Hogwarts and you can of course find tutors over the holidays."

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"Understood," Daddy Michael says. "Well, I expect Joey will keep up with... at least English... and Arthur can hammer the rest into him during the summer."

     "Arthur being your eldest?" she asks. "Most professions in the Wizarding World do not require any particular proficiency in those subjects, you understand - this would only be relevant if he chose to return to Muggle life in adulthood."

"I understand that magic is more important to you folks, but I'll be more comfortable if my son knows what an electron is by the time he's twenty."

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"I know what an electron is now, Daddy."

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"You understand what I'm getting at, though? I want you to know everything you would've if you'd never heard of, uh, Hogwarts. I don't want this to take anything away from you."

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"I get it, yeah. I don't want to be dumb either."

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"You're never gonna be dumb, Joey. Just keep working as hard as you can, okay?"

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"Okay. Uh, I think that's all, Miss - Professor Suliman."

     She nods and stands up. "Well, Mr. Reed, it was lovely to meet you, and Joseph, I very much look forward to seeing you at Hogwarts."

"Same to you, Professor."

     And she spins around and, with a loud crack, vanishes into thin air.

Joey and his daddy are left sitting by the coffee table, a mug of cooling tea sitting on its surface. Joey stands up and stretches, producing a litany of ungodly crackling sounds.

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"Christ, my joints don't sound like that, where do you get off?"

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"I probably have extra-crackly wizard bones."

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There's a family meeting that night. Everybody's there, except Finn, who can't meaningfully participate because he's two, and would be cranky to miss his bedtime. Daddy Michael explains the situation: Joey has some kind of magic, and- 

     "Sorcery!" Dylan crows excitedly. "I knew it!"

          "He's not a sorcerer," Arthur says severely. "He's just - what actually are you, Joey?"

"Wizard," Joey mumbles.

          "He's a wizard," Arthur says. "...the distinction admittedly seems kind of academic."

               "Is that how you did that-" Gil makes an explosion noise and gestures broadly. "Thing? On the London trip?"

"It wasn't really a-" Joey makes a smaller explosion noise, "thing. But, um, yeah."

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"And he's going to have to learn to control his magic. So he's going off to boarding school. In Britain."

     "What?!"

          "No!"

               "Why?!"

"Nobody likes this," Daddy Michael says firmly, "but it's the only way. The lady came all the way from Scotland to tell us about this school, and they say it's one of the best in the world."

     "Everybody says their school is the best," Jake says, folding his arms. "Couldn't he go to the best school in LA?"

Daddy Michael sighs. "It's- complicated. Wizards don't follow the same rules that we do, and apparently they consider Joey legally a British national because of the London incident."

          "Is it an incident when you set people on fire now?" Nathan wonders.

               "But-" Ben has tears in his eyes. That's not unusual. "Family has to stick together! Nobody gets left behind!"

"We're not leaving him behind. He'll be home for Christmas and summer break. But it's important that he learn to control this. What if the next person who - gets on the wrong side of an incident - doesn't do so well? Besides, don't you want your brother to have the best opportunities he can?"

               "I want my brother," Ben wails.

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Joey lets out a strangled noise, leaps off the couch and runs up the stairs.

     "No, Joey, wait-" Arthur shouts as he disappears upstairs.

          "He moves fast," Gil muses. "Is that a wizard thing?" Arthur glares at him.

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"Okay, that's my cue to go make sure he's okay. I know this isn't going to be easy," Daddy Michael says to the assembled family members, standing up. "But - it's gonna happen anyway. And it's not going to help Joey if we get messed up about it. So - I'm not saying we can't be sad, just, remember that he didn't choose this."

And he ascends the stairs, leaving the rest of his kids to talk amongst themselves, and Daddy Jordan to calm Ben down.

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Ben is talked down pretty quickly, still sniffling but no longer sobbing.

Joey's in his and Ezra's room, predictably; the door isn't locked but it is closed. When Michael opens it he turns, obviously having been crying himself.

"It really sucks that I'm getting to go back to Britain and I'm not even excited," he says morosely.

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"Yeah," Daddy Michael sighs, and scoops him into a hug. "I'm sure it won't be that bad once you get used to it, but getting used to it is probably gonna suck."

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"Great pep talk, Dad," Joey mumbles into his father's shoulder. "I feel infinitely better."

He does, actually, feel somewhat better. Hugs are good for that.

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Daddy Michael tousles his hair apologetically. "I think by the time you come home for Christmas you'll be fine. It's just about - getting there."

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"Yeah," Joey sighs. "Just- wish I didn't have to get there. And that Ezra was a wizard too - it's gonna be. Weird. Not having him around."

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"I know. You can do whatever it is wizards do instead of phone calls about it, but. I know."

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