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Aug 08, 2022 4:16 AM
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She tolerates hug.  It even seems like an okay thing to do about this big weird emotion, at least for a short moment.

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Dehug.  "But to answer your original question," she says with a smile, "the reason you and I sound different from people in America is because we have British accents.  British people speak English the same as people in America, but Americans pronounce everything differently.  You might pick up a different accent, as you grow up, from listening to so many Americans talk, or you might not."

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"Thank you."  She's gotten into the habit of saying this to her mother whenever it seems to make a vague kind of sense, as an easy vector for maintaining a usable relationship with her.  She stands up.  "I think I am done talking now."  She's gotten more comfortable speaking naturally around her mother, instead of modulating everything into a theatrical tone and padding out her sentences with phatic asides, ever since that day in the car a year or so ago.  She still prepends an "I think" to sentences like that one, though, because she thinks it makes her mother more comfortable, and it is useful to have your mother be comfortable with you.

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"All right," she says.  "I think we had a good talk."

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She nods in acknowledgment and departs for her room.

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She is ten, coming up on eleven, when there is a knock at the door, and she puts on her childsface and answers it -

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"Good day, young lady.  My name is Minerva McGonagall.  Is this the house of Petunia Evans and Clover Evans-Potter?"

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Oh this is several kinds of interesting, because first of all this woman is very familiar to her somehow despite having never met her in her life, and second of all whoever it is very nearly perfectly concealed her startlement at something about Clover that she could glean just from looking at her face - and she has a very good childsface these days, she doesn't think most people see through it -

(And third of all thinking this flavor of thought, this quickly, feels so correct, like she's closer now to being the thing she once was than she has been in ten years - )

She does a little curtsy.  "Good day, Ms. McGonagall.  I'm Clover Evans-Potter, yes.  My mother Petunia is out running errands, she should be back shortly; but I don't think she'd appreciate me letting a stranger into the house on my own recognizance."  (Clover fancies she does a very good "precocious little girl who knows big words like recognizance.")

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"That's quite reasonable.  Why don't I leave this letter with you - "

And she withdraws a thick parchment envelope from a sleeve of her robes.

" - and return in an hour, to meet your mother?"

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"Thank you kindly."  She takes the letter and glances over it briefly.

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Ms. McGonagall doffs her tall pointed hat to Clover, and departs with pleasantries.

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Clover lets the smile fall from her face as the door swings shut, and opens the letter.

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Dear Ms. Evans-Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.  Term begins 1 September.  A member of Hogwarts faculty will visit your home in order to assist you with beginning your transition into the magical world no later than 31 June.

Yours sincerely,

Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall

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Hm.

This should probably surprise her more than it does.

Next page.

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UNIFORM

First year students will require:

(1.) Three sets of plain work robes, black, Sorting-compatible trim; (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 Sorting-compatible fastenings.

COURSE BOOKS

All students should have a copy of each of the following:

Introduction to Magical Theory and Practice, by Adalbert Waffling

Magical Europe: A History, by Bathilda Bagshot

A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration, by Emeric Switch

The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1, by Miranda Goshawk

The Student's Compendium of Defensive Spells, by Quentin Trimble

Basic Potioneering and Other Witchcraft, by Phyllida Spore

Knowing One's Enemy: A Study of the Dark Arts as they are Practiced and Fought, edited by Quentin Trimble

OTHER EQUIPMENT

1 feather quill and plenty of ink; we recommend your child also bring their own supply of parchment

1 cauldron, pewter, standard size 2

1 set glass or crystal phials

1 set brass scales

1 telescope

1 wand

Students are permitted an owl, cat, toad, or other familiar (companion animal) of comparable size and demeanor.

First years are not permitted to fly their own broomsticks on the grounds of Hogwarts.

IT IS IN VIOLATION OF MINISTRY WAND USE REGULATIONS FOR ANY WIZARD UNDER THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN TO OWN MORE THAN ONE WAND.

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She waits for her mother to return home with the groceries, and brings her up to speed; and her mother gets a very dark look on her face, and clams up.

Hm.

She's worried, now, that her mother is going to make herself her enemy on this - because she has every intention of transitioning into the magical world.

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Minerva will return.

There will be a Conversation, to which Clover is Not Party.

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She listens at the door, obviously.

Her mother doesn't want her to go.

Her mother is very angry at Ms. McGonagall.  Ms. McGonagall was not supposed to be able to find the Evanses, in America.  Her mother was told that Clover would be safe from all that nonsense, here.

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Ms. McGonagall is of the opinion that it should not be Petunia's unilateral decision whether to cut Clover off from magical Britain, which is an important part of her heritage.

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She likes Ms. McGonagall.

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Can Ms. McGonagall guarantee Clover's safety?  She couldn't guarantee her sister's safety.

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"The situation in magical Britain has changed drastically in the last ten years.  The Death Eaters are gone.  They are not prosecuting any wars.  Our country is stable and at peace.  Your daughter will be as safe or safer in magical Britain, among other wizards who understand the political situation, than hiding among nonmagi in North America who will necessarily have a very foggy idea of what magical power groups exist and what they are doing."

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"My sister was under the impression that Clover and I would be much safer in America.  And not to put too fine a point on it, Ms. McGonagall, I think that impression has been rather well borne out."

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"I don't mean to be insensitive," says McGonagall, somehow firmly.  "Ten years ago that was quite true.  Magical Britain was a dangerous place after Maledict Gaunt's demise.  I might have recommended that Ms. Evans-Potter be taken to America myself, or perhaps Australia.  But the Death Eaters have well and truly disintegrated now, and the Ministry of Magic has regained control of the country."

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"I think the government has regained control of our country in the last ten years is less reassuring than you think, at least to - what is it you called us, nonmagi?  What's to stop you from losing control of it again?"

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