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Chapter 10

The two remained silent as they passed through the Leaky Cauldron, and back onto the muggle street. Alexis felt completely isolated in this new place, whatever understanding she had previous hoped to gain by this move had backfired on her. She had wanted to know about her father, his past and connection to the wizardry world. Instead she found only more questions and an uncle who wouldn’t say anything. Sure every family had some secrets, but why couldn’t Alexis know them?

Lost in thought, Alexis paid no attention to where Crow drove, and only snapped to when the car stopped suddenly outside of a large white, three storey stone building. They were in some old commercial district of London, a few pubs and restaurants, shops and apartment buildings thrown in the middle. Most of the buildings looked old, though every once in a while there seemed to be a new building, that seemed out-of-place along the historic street.

It was not a place Alexis would have thought to live in, everything seemed too noisy, and with the pubs and night clubs around… she didn’t know how she would get to sleep at night. She watched her uncle grab her trunk and bags and climb the five steps to the large wooden door of the building.

“Wait… you live above a night club?” Alexis asked as she followed Crow up the stairs, noticing a second set of stairs going down to the basement of the building. A large sign hung above the entrance way, depicting a parchment scroll with a silhouette of a dragon on it. “The Dragon’s Scroll?” Alexis asked.

“Yes,” Crow replied, opening the door and stepping in. Alexis followed then stopped abruptly. She had expected an apartment layout, chopping up the place, worn down and rugged. Instead, she gazed out upon a marble floor, an elegant hard wood staircase going up to the second floor, wide open entry way, lined with pictures of record albums all down the hallway. “My club.”

“You own a night club?” Alexis asked, raising an eyebrow. “What sort of nightclub?”

“A universal one.” Crow said simply, dumping her possessions on the ground. “MINKY!”

A small house elf with light grey skin, wearing a clean toga style sheet and a white, crocheted flower hat popped into existence next to them.

“Master Crow is back?” The little elf asked, an excited expression on it’s face.

“Yes, I’m back. This is Alexis, make sure she has everything she needs… she’ll be staying with us for now.” Crow said, glancing over to the teenager.

“Will do sir, there are a number of messages waiting for you in the study.” Minky replied and snapped her fingers. All of Alexis’s bags disappeared.

“That’s… that’s an house elf.” Alexis stated, though she meant it as a question.

“Never seen one?” Crow asked, she shook her head. “I thought a big name family like the Takana’s would have a bunch of those running around.”

“It’s not like that.” Alexis said, her face growing with anger. “We look after a shrine. Part of the responsibilities and discipline are the chores that keeps the shrine in good condition. House elves… they defeat the purpose.”

“So, you’re not used having a house elf here?”

“I… no… I just don’t know why they are needed at all.” Alexis said, her voice trailing off.

“Neither do I. Minky’s a free one, so she doesn’t have to take orders from you… but she likes it so I let her hang about and do what she likes doing the most.” Crow shrugged his shoulders and entered the room to their left. There was a large desk, with a few book cases filled with books, a number more posters and portraits of bands, and album covers. Some of the photos moved, some didn’t. A large black figure suddenly flapped towards Alexis, she ducked as a crow came and landed on her uncle’s shoulders.

“Who’s that?”

“Cadfan.” Crow said, moving down the hallway towards with the greasy food they picked up. The rear of the house opened up with a living room to the left and a kitchen to the right, an island separating the two. A large screen TV hung off a stone wall of the living room, with shelves full of movies and video games, black leather sofas, and more rock band posters. It was an expensive set up, and full of muggle technology. She didn’t know night clubs were so successful.

“How’d you get Minky?” Alexis asked.

“I didn’t, she just followed me.” Crow said, his silver eyes level with hers. There was a warning in them.

“Followed you from where?” Alexis asked, ignoring the warning. She was determined to get some answers today.

“Minky belonged to the Rune family once. She even knew your dad when he was younger. When father disowned me, she risked everything and stood up for me. In the end, she was given her freedom and followed me.”

“Don’t they want freedom?” Alexis asked, puzzled over the concept of a sentient being liking servitude.

“Most don’t. They get a satisfaction with serving others. I don’t get it myself, but some wizards abuse their house elves. If they are happy, fine, but when they get mistreated, it pisses me off.”

“Did your father mistreated Minky?”

“No, not really, at least not when I’m around. But there must have been something if she preferred to give everything up for me.”

“Wow, that must have been hard.” Alexis said, “What happened?”

Crowe’s jaw tightened at the question, Alexis could see him mull over his reply, if he was going to give one.

“I disagreed with my father’s choices for my life. I left school, joined a band and made a lot of money.” He winked at her.

“A band?” Alexis asked, looking around the living room once more at the rock concert poster. “Necro Vein?”

“Yup. Left the magical community behind, started a brand new life for myself.” Crowe continued. “Had some bumps along the way, but with Minky’s help managed to pull myself together and get myself back on the right road. I’ve opened up the nightclub below as a place where both muggles and wizards could come and party without prejudice.”

“Wait, that club below us is open to both?”

“Of course. Not going to discriminate between the two. Everyone loves music.”

“But… do you have… I mean what about …”

“The magic?” Crowe’s lips turned up into a smile. “That’s part of the allure, you wouldn’t believe how many muggles are into it, or think thy are, and those that are just plain stupid and think all the moving pictures are just screens. Science has advanced so much that the line between magic and technology are blurred. I’m able to exploit that in the night club to my own satisfaction.”

Alexis blinked, she really didn’t know what to say. She was actually excited over what her uncle had done, made a safe place for both communities to have fun in. It was what her mother had aimed to do with the Gala. She was sure there were risks though, and if the British Ministry of Magic was anything like Japan, there would have been complications. How Crow managed to get by them all… it was curios but also pretty cool.

“Now for the tour.” Crow said, spreading his arms about. Cadfan the actual crow flapped his wings. “You’ve seen the kitchen and living room. The dining room is just next to the kitchen.” He said moving back down the hallway and opening a pair of french doors to his left, to show the large walnut table with high back chairs. “To the right is my office. Out of bounds for you. Front room to the right is the sitting room, or parlour, to left the library.” Alexis followed her uncle up the stairs. “Bathroom first door to the right, my bedroom’s at the front on the left. And this, this is Minky’s room.” The door Crow pointed to a door covered with stickers, a larger one hung in the centre with Minky’s name written over it. It made Alexis smile.

“She seems to be adjusting to her freedom well.” She commented to her uncle. “Which room is mine?”

Crow walked down the short hallway towards a small narrow doorway and opened it. Alexis stuck her head in and frowned at the steps that stood before her.

“The attic? You’re stuffing me in the attic?”

“Take a look.”

Hesitantly, Alexis climbed the wooden staircase. The room was larger than any room she had back in Japan. Her trunk sat at the foot of a double size bed with an elaborate wooden headboard against the far all, a desk was seat against the wall to her left, right in front of a window. To the right of her bed was an oak wardrobe with a fold up screen next to it. On the opposite side of the room was an antique sofa and chair with a wooden coffee table, all set up towards a flat screen TV that hung in the corner. Beside that was an oval window, with built-in bench underneath.

“This…” Alexis started, then stopped. She couldn’t find the words to fit the wonder she was feeling. Uncle Avery not only cleaned it up, but made the attic her room. It was as if he really did want her to stay. “Why is it all white?”

“I didn’t know what colours you like, so thought you’d can pick them out yourself. I hope you like painting.” Crowe said coming up from behind. “The paint’s over here.” Crowe moved to the centre of the room and pulled a grey tarp off of a heap, revealing a number of paint cans, and a working table. “So, this is my permission for you to go wild. If you need anything, more paint, brushes or whatever, Minky can help. She’s actually seemed very curious and interested with all of this. Don’t be surprised if she asks you to paint her room next.”

Alexis was only half listing, she was already taking a stick and opening up the first can of paint to see what colours she had. “I don’t mind. I’m sure I can help Minky if she wants.” Alexis stopped, her uncle was staring down at her with an odd look on his face. “What?”

“You still want to go back home?” He asked, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed in front of him. Alexis blushed, first of embarrassment of her earlier outbreak, and then of anger for him to bring it up again.

“I’m thinking on it.” She pouted before returning to the cans of paint.

“Let me know when you make up your mind.” Crowe said before leaving.

Chapter 9                                     INDEX