Kaylee was over joyed when Alexis asked her to go shopping with her, in fact Kaylee was the first to volunteer tot take her back to Diagon Ally to collect all her new school supplies. Alexis enjoyed the high energy Kaylee sent out, it reminded her a little of Suki and having someone that excited around helped push the homesickness from Alexis’s mind. Starting a new school, a new Wizarding school had it’s own excitement. She had emailed her cousins the news and they seemed more excited than her. All of the world’s wizarding schools were kept secret from one another, very rarely has one student been able to attend more than just one – unless they are doing an exchange program.
Kaylee picked out a free day she had the following week and the two were off. Alexis was actually thankful that Kaylee came along this time, she was more talkative and easier to talk to than either her uncle or Jason. It was on the bus, heading towards the Leaky Cauldron that Alexis was able to voice one of her observations of her uncle.
“Does Crowe not like the magical world?”
“I don’t think like is the right term.” Kaylee answered with a sigh. “More like despise. Though, despite his feelings, he doesn’t avoid using magic himself, when it’s required. I mean look at The Dragon’s Scroll, a place for both muggles and wizards, he has to use some magic, even if it’s a few charms… but ever since he walked out of his father’s house, he turned his back on the magical world too.”
“That must have been some argument.” Alexis mused.
“No kidding. But Jason’s right, we can’t invade Crow’s private life, he’s not one to make rash decisions like that, at least not anymore. There had to be a good reason behind it.”
Alexis nodded, but couldn’t really understand why anyone with magic could turn their back on that part of their life. She was already getting that Europe and England had a different set up than what she was used to back in Japan, but still, Alexis wouldn’t turn her back against all magic.
Once they arrived at the wizard’s pub, they entered the secret passage to Diagon Ally and Kaylee’s high spirits picked up and had a contagious effect on Alexis. With Kaylee at the reins she showed Alexis the different shops where she would get her supplies such as potion supplies and cauldrons, quills and ink, parchment scrolls – which were the most unusual for Alexis being so used to typing all of her assignments. She joked with Kaylee about having to practice her handwriting again. There were other stores, pets stores, sweet shops, jokes shops. Alexis finally had time to window shop, and listen to Kaylee as she explained what each store sold.
“Brooms?” Alexis asked. “Do you all ride brooms too?”
“Another culture shock?” Kaylee asked.
“Sort of, I mean its’ not unheard of, but not that common. The only brooms I remember seeing being flown are those who joined the Quidditch team.”
“Not that popular of a sport in Japan?”
“No, but it’s growing, along with many other trends from the western world. It might have to do with the large population back home, I doubt you could fly anywhere on a broom and not get noticed but at least a handful of muggles.”
“Well, maybe you can take a flying class this year at Hogwarts, surprise your cousins back home.” Kaylee mused, making Alexis giggle. “Okay, next on the list, robes. Madam Malkin’s is right up a head. Maybe we can get you a nice dress robe for some special occasion?”
Alexis followed Kaylee down the street until they reached a shop that displayed the odd clothes that many witches and wizards wore around here. Malkin seemed to be busy with another set of customers, giving Kaylee and Alexis time to look through the designs. Alexis was drawn to the charmed leather gloves, while Kaylee kept pulling dress robes off the racks and placing them next to Alexis.
Suddenly the shop was filled with the sound of a phone ringing. It was the first time she’s heard a cell phone ring tone since entering Diagon Ally. She shouldn’t have been surprised it was Kaylee’s – and besides some rude looks, none of the other customers seemed overly shocked by it.
“Hello?” Keylee asked, her face brightened for a second then grew darker as she moved into a corner to talk to whomever was on the other line. Arguing with them about something.
“Can I help you?” Madam Malkin’s assistant became free and approached Alexis.
“Ah, yes, I need a set of school uniforms.” Alexis said.
“Of course, what House are you in?”
“House?” Alexis asked, confused. “I…”
“She’s a transfer student. First time at Hogwarts, entering the Fourth Year.” Kaylee said coming up behind Alexis. “I guess they’ll sort her with the First Years. Some generic robes would work for now, Alexis you just send Crow the news of what house you’re in and we’ll make sure you get the right colours.”
“Ah, I still don’t understand.”
“Sorry, but I’ve got to go. Emergency with one of my friends. I know I promised your uncle I’ll be with you but… I really can’t shove Witney aside, not in her current state.” Kaylee said, looking troubled and apologetic. She then turned the assistant. “Four sets would do, you think?”
“Yes, of course. First time at Hogwarts, you must be excited.” She said to Alexis. “Well be sure to send your colours the very next day.” She assured, taking Alexis’s arm and dragging her to a change room.
“Alexis, you should have enough gold to take care of this and I think the bookstore is the last place to go. Will you be alright to get back home yourself?” Kaylee asked, just as a measuring table flew through the air and began to wrap itself around Alexis’ body.
“Yeah, I made it back from Forharn didn’t I?”
“Yes you did. Alright, call the house if you get lost, and if you get back to the Dragon’s Scroll before me, tell your uncle that I’ll be back for my shift. And that I’m sorry.”
“Kaylee,” Alexis called out, but the bartender was already out the door.
“Everything alright miss?” The Assistant asked.
“Yes, I think so.” Alexis said with a sigh.
The measuring for her robes took longer than Alexis thought. But in the end they turned out quite well, the uniform wasn’t much different from the suit and skirt outfit she wore back at Kitsune Academy. The only main difference was the black robe and pointed hat. With the parcels gathering under her arm, Alexis exited Madam’s Milkin’s store with one store left to go. Flourish and Blotts.
Alexis was looking forward to wasting the rest of the afternoon in the store. She had a rather long list of books to get, having to make up for the years she hadn’t been there. Crow didn’t say anything but that morning there were a stack of gently used books including many of the spell books from the past years that was suggested for her. Still, there were books on Rune Symbols, Divination and a book on incredible beasts to pick up for her extra classes.
Once she gathered those, Alexis began to search the shelves randomly. She was looking for histories, fiction and other cultural stories that may help her understand the ways of this country better. Not to mention anything that could be used as an escape for her imagination.
She found some books about wandlore that caught her interest, as well as some novels, including one about a Witch who was flung into a world that didn’t have magic and how she tried to use her magic to find a way back home. Alexis sat down on the floor in some narrow dead-end aisle, her mind already loosing herself in the words on the page when a loud explosion erupted in the streets. Glass shattered, the ground shook, and screams could be heard from all directions. Alexis looked up from her sitting position just in time to see a blaze of bluish-red fire streak across the window. The bookcases around her moved violently and before the teenager could get clear of the danger zone, several hundred volumes of books toppled down on top of her, followed by the bookcase itself. Before she knew it, she was pinned down and trapped.
“Help!” Aelxis called, though she heard muffled sounds all around her, she was sure she wasn’t the only one buried. She waited a few minutes, trying not to panic and think her way through this situation. She began to slowly focus on one arm, the one closer to the surface, pushing books aside, until she could feel clean air against her skin.
“Hold on.” A voice sounded nearby. Seconds later, the books that had been holding Alexis down lifted into the air, and were stacked in neat piles next to her. “There, are you alright?”
A man, in his late thirties, dark hair with some grey around the edges, and glasses came to her side, stretching out a hand to help Alexis up. It wasn’t until he got close to her, that she saw the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
“Ah, yeah, fine.” Alexis stumbled out. Was this really Harry Potter?
“You’re bleeding.” He said. “Lilly?” A red-haired girl, about her age appeared next to him and pressed a cloth against her forehead.
“It’s just a scratch.” Alexis said, though she was thankful. “What happened?” She then asked.
“Some explosion on the street, probably a gas bomb from one of the joke shops.” Lilly said with a grin. However, her father looked more serious and disturbed.
“I need to go see if everyone is alright, can you stay here with her?”
“Yeah, sure dad.” Lilly said as the man who Alexis thought was Harry Potter left. “Wow, you’re lucky, I mean, those bookcases are heavy, there’s a witch three aisles from here that looks pretty flattened.”
“Is she, alright?” Alexis thought, the idea of dying from a pile of books had never crossed her mind until now.
“Yeah, she was the first they got out, but there’s a lot of chaos going on right now, there are probably others in worse circumstances.”
Alexis finished whipping the blood from her head, it stung a little but it wasn’t bad and handed the cloth back to the girl. “Does this sort of stuff happen a lot here?”
“No, not really… but there’s this criminal organization that dad’s been busy trying to track down.”
“What happened to the gas bomb excuse?” Alexis asked, noticing the change of tone. “You think this was an attack?”
“Who knows, everyone’s keeping a tight lip on it, even dad. I’m Lilly Potter by the way.” She said, her smile brightening as she helped Alexis back to her feet, and helped her gather all of her parcels that were now scattered and half buried.
“Are you knew here or something?” Lilly asked, noticing the supplies and books Alexis picked up.
“Yeah, this is really only my second time in Diagon Ally.” Alexis said with a soft, embarrassing smile. “It’s actually quite a bit different from what I’m used to.”
“Where were you before?”
“Japan.” Alexis said.
“Really? You speak amazing English.”
“My dad was from London, he taught English.”
“That is amazing. Wow, and you’re going to Hogwarts too! This must be some huge culture shock for you.”
“Yeah, everyone seems to say that.” Alexis added with a blush. The bookcases were beginning to right themselves, as the staff and others were helping to replace the books on them. “Listen, I should probably get back. Thanks, for saving me back there.”
“No problem, Dad’s like that, the hero.” Lilly said with a shrug, though she didn’t leave Alexis’s side when she approached the sales counter. A woman who had the same red hair as Lilly was there waiting it seemed for her.
“Lilly, are you alright?” She asked, “We heard the commotion!.”
“I’m fine mom, really. Dad went out to see if he could help anyone else.”
“More like trying to find who caused this. There’s a hole the size of a cauldron in front of Gringots. The goblins are in an uproar.” The woman’s face, which had been furious, calmed when she looked back down at her daughter. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”
“Oh, mom, this is Alexis. She’s new here, she used to attend a wizarding school in Japan!” Lilly than said to her mom, pulling Alexis arm forward. “Alexis, this is my mom Ginny. And those two over there are my brothers James and Al.”
“Hi.” Alexis said, feeling the blush returning. The brothers said some inaudible greeting then turned their attention back to the window looking onto the crumbled street.
“Some first impression.” Ginny said. “Are you alright?”
“It’s fine. I’m fine… I really should be going though.” Alexis said, blustering, paying quickly for her books.
“Where are you headed?” One of the brothers asked, Alexis had already forgotten who was who.
“Ah, the Leaky Cauldron, then to the bus stop.” Alexis replied.
“We’ll walk you, since we’re meeting our friends there anyways..” Ginny said with a smile.
There wasn’t anything left for Alexis to say, but to accept the offer. The eldest brother picked up her robes and Lilly her books, the group headed back to the Leaky Cauldron. The streets were a mess, chaotic as witches and wizards ran back and forth, trying to locate loved ones, or just trying to see what had happened. Alexis was glad that Ginny the rest of Lily’s family helped her get through the growing mob of people and towards their destination.
“Thanks, for everything.” Alexis said, with a forced smile as they dropped her off at the bus station on the muggle street.
“Don’t mention it, it’s the least we can do after all that commotion.” Lily said. “I’ll see you on the Hogwarts Express!” she said eagerly. As Alexis climbed the steps on the bus, giving one last wave of goodbye to the family.