Early in the morning, when the clear dew still dripped off the tender green leaves, Quinn struck at two grey globes floating in the sky; they fluttered in front of him randomly, pulling away and pushing toward him at various speeds and angles, and would blow up and shrink in size at random. Quinn utilized all eight points of contact on his body to strike the globes, which would distort each hit. He continued until he could hear the busy chirping of birds as they flew around to start their day.
Quinn pushed all the air out of his lungs and drew in a fresh breath as he vanished all the sweat over his body with magic. He rotated his shoulder and twitched his leg— not only did they not hurt anymore, but they were also back to their full strength. Magic was marvelous in its capabilities that lay in the supernatural; even if humans were able to regrow limbs, it would've taken several months to regain their original strength— but here was back to full strength only after a month on recovery potions and regular physical therapy and exercise.
Quinn sighed. Including the month he was in the hospital, stuck on the bed, it had been two months since Voldemort's death. Since then, DMLE had launched a spree of raids against all Death Eaters and accomplices they could get their hands on. Trials were expedited, and the followers of the Death Eaters were made to face the court of law.
Justice. Quinn shook his head. In theory, prosecution and defense in the court were supposed to be a simple process with two sides presenting facts, statements, and evidence to decide guilt or lack of it— but the world was never so ideal. The followers of Dark Lord Voldemort were many, and his influence reached far and wide; there were many levels in the organization, with so many key players that one could find involved in every corner of the country.
Among those people, many were smart, and more were influential. When there were as many bad people as good— as many people hiding and distorting facts as those digging and revealing them— the procedure of law and justice got convoluted and complicated. On the day Voldemort attacked Hogsmeade, his Death Eaters accompanied him and fought against the Aurors and Hit Wizard. Many were defeated, caught, and arrested— but many escaped, using the non-human allies fighting alongside them.
To ensure they place their net in the best position possible and catch as many Death Eater fishes, the DMLE sat down with the people they were hunting for and discussed deals of lighter sentences and even immunities. People on the lower rung of the ladder sold out those above them for leniency, and those on the very top began selling out those around them in hopes of saving their skin.
Lucius Malfoy was one such example. Quinn's secret spy had offered to strike a deal with the DMLE, who had agreed to negotiate with Lucius after Quinn had told them about Lucius' role and 'contribution.' Quinn didn't know the exact terms of the deal, but Lucius had apparently been able to negotiate his sentence to only a couple odd years in Azkaban along with a heavy financial fine. What DMLE got in return was a top-ranking Death Eaters, the once leader of the inner circle, willing to open his mouth to all the secrets and shine a Lumos to all the DMLE needed to trap all the big fish they were hungry for. For what horrendous acts Lucius had done as a Death Eater, a couple years in the new Azkaban without the threat of Dementors was almost as good as no punishment.
While Quinn thought Lucius had been lucky, he pitied Draco and Narcissa. The one horrible thing they couldn't escape was the destruction of everything the Malfoy name stood for. They could live in the country in seclusion, but if they ever wished for a social life fitting their station (or any social life) the British Isles was the last place they would get it. They would need to leave for a place far away from where Voldemort had ever reached and even then adorn a different identity to have a chance at a normal life. The same went for the prominent Death Eater families. Only a fool wouldn't leave after all that happened. Alas, Quinn knew there were many in the country.
'Leave,' Quinn sighed. The Death Eaters weren't the only ones who had to leave the country in their future.
The West mansion stood behind him, as grand as ever in its peaceful presence. The residence hadn't changed much since he arrived in this world, all thanks to the magic in the walls and foundation, keeping the structure resilient and unaging. He gazed at his home for a silent moment and decided that it was time.
- (Scene Break) -
The mornings at the West household were calm. The breakfast table was always busy with residents flipping through newspapers, reports, books— much to Ms. Rosey's dismay. Today was no different; the people around the table consumed their breakfast with their eyes stuck to their reading material.
George, sitting at the head of the table, was reading a newspaper, Elliot was reading one of his many from his to-read pile, and Lia, who was home, was flipping through reports with one hand holding a spoon full of lentils and beans. Only Ms. Rosey ate her breakfast in silence without any distractions, sitting at the table just for breakfast.
Quinn sat at the other head of the table. He set his knife and fork down on his empty plate in a cross pattern and cleaned his hand with magic. He gazed at his family for a few moments before gaining their attention by flicking his goblet with his finger, creating a ringing sound that reverberated throughout the mostly silent room.
Quinn cleared his throat. "I would like to tell you all something important."
"That you're dating two girls at once?" Lia spoke before Quinn could continue.
Quinn, who had taken a breath, coughed it right out. He stared at his sister with bewilderedness painted on his naked face; he didn't have any time to respond any other way.
"It was suspicious how much both of them visited you while you were in the hospital."
Lia thinned her eyes at Quinn, "It took me a lengthy conversation with them with him standing behind me for them to spill your peculiar situation," she pointed to George.
Quinn didn't know what expression he was making when he looked at George, who simply stared at Quinn and made it clear that this wasn't new information. Quinn looked at Elliot, who shrugged. Ms. Rosey fixed him one of her classic disapproving stares.
"Why didn't you say anything?" asked Quinn— they had known for so long and hadn't spoken a word of it.
"We were waiting for you to tell us," George sent a frown toward Lia. "None of us can understand your relationship."
"It is not normal," Ms. Rosey added sharply.
"— Not for us," George continued. "If you could explain to us, maybe then we would understand."
'Maybe,' Quinn noticed the wording. It was something he expected to face, despite that it was disheartening to actually face it. "I will tell you that when I'm comfortable doing so," he wasn't willing to open up about his love life to them right now.
"Do the girls' families know," George asked.
"No," Quinn said. Though recently, Ivy had told him that her parents had sat her down and tried to grill her about her relationship with him— she had refused to speak up about it because, just like him, she wasn't ready to open up about their relationship yet, "and do not talk about this with their families."
It wasn't a good time to do so. Daphne's parents were conservative folks, and they didn't have any inkling about the nature of the relationship their daughter was in. And with Ivy, the relationship was so complicated that anytime was better than now.
"If you didn't want to talk about your relationship, then what was it about," Lia asked, confused.
Quinn gave Lia a look. Why she suddenly thought he was talking about his relationship was out of his understanding. Quinn sighed, took out a paper folded thrice, and lightly waved it in his hand. "I wrote to Alan D. Baddeley yesterday, and he wrote back in a couple of hours— I think it's time for me to start my apprenticeship, and he's ready to start as well and receive me at his home in New Zealand. . ."
It had been two months since he had been freed of the chains, and every passing day made him feel frustrated that his life hadn't moved on to the decided next stage— his apprenticeship with Alan. He was feeling moody and cranky, and recently it was becoming difficult to hold back from showing. Quinn knew as long as he just reached Alan's home, everything would be resolved— and that's exactly what he wanted to do— take the next step and solidly close this chapter of his life.
". . . When are you leaving?" asked George.
Lia interjected, "When?! It's only a month since he got out of the hospital." She frowned at Quinn, "You should rest before even thinking about doing something so big."
Quinn removed his eyes from Lia and looked at George. "I will be leaving in a week." Reasonably, there wasn't anything wrong with waiting some more, but Quinn internally was feeling trapped, and logic wasn't helping alleviate it.
Hearing his sister all but scream, Quinn sighed, "It's not like I'm going forever; I can visit every week with Portkeys. And I can't delay this anymore. I was supposed to start my apprenticeship months ago. I can't make Alan wait any longer, and I'm not letting this opportunity go. . . My health? I'm fine now. . . Lia, you're just unnecessarily fussing now."
George broke up the impending argument and asked Quinn. "Is your decision final?"
"Then you may go." George raised his hand to silence Lia, who scowled. "It's his decision. He's no longer a child; he hasn't been one for long— he can do whatever he wishes."
Quinn smiled brightly.
- (Scene Break) -
Quinn pushed open the old door of the shabby and narrow shop. The letters on the door, gilded in gold, were peeling off, showing the lack of maintenance done on the shop. A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. It was a tiny place, empty except for a single, spindly chair sitting in the corner. The shop was as quiet as a library— only it had thousands of narrow boxes instead of tomes and books piled neatly right up to the ceiling.
The door directly behind the front counter opened, and Garrick Ollivander stepped out with his back pushing the door open with his hands busy holding more narrow boxes like those lining the walls.
Ollivander turned to face Quinn and was surprised. "Apologies. . . Ah, Quinn West. I wasn't expecting to see you today."
Quinn smiled, "Until yesterday, even I wasn't planning to visit you, Mr. Ollivander. However, I realized that it was imperative for me to do this." Quinn stepped to the front counter and placed a cuboidal piece of wood in front of Ollivander.
"What this might be?"
Quinn tapped the box, and like an elaborate puzzle, the wood opened up into smaller cuboids that split from the block, opening up like a complex puzzle. The top half of the block had moved to the side, exposing the middle where a wand made from a darker stained wood sat.
"I believe you remember it," asked Quinn.
"I do. It's the wand I sold you when you stepped into my shop all those years ago. . . May I?"
Quinn nodded, and Ollivander picked up the wand, studying it with eyes unusually bright for someone his age. "It has been terrifically well maintained. I'm only used to seeing this level of care on adults on their second wands, and even that is rare," Ollivander remarked impressively.
"I don't deserve that compliment. The wand's condition is because of its lack of use."
"I haven't used this wand since the day I took it home with me. I have held it twice and used it once; other than that, this wand has rested in this state," Quinn stared at the wand that, in one way, shaped up his magic to what it was today. "I'm here to entrust the wand to you today. I hope that you will find another partner who will actually use it and appreciate its services, for I have failed to do so."
The wand had been with him for close to eight years, but Quinn held no attachment to it. He had no use for it, and thus it didn't make sense for him to keep it nearby, especially with susceptible Quinn was to its temptation. Quinn could've destroyed and pronounce the matter over, but he deemed that to be a waste and decided to return the wand to Ollivander so it could be used by another hand.
"If that is what you wish for," Ollivander said, "but are you sure about this?"
"Do you want me to tell you about the new wizard when he or she pairs with the wand, whenever that may be," Ollivander asked.
Quinn gazed down at the wand. The wand was made from acacia and phoenix feather core— a combination that Ollivander had said was excessively picky and only chose those who were a perfect match for it— after all, the wand chose the wizard.
Quinn shrugged. "Sure, why not? That'd be interesting in some way, I suppose." He wanted to see who the wand deemed worthy and compare.
When Quinn left, Ollivander stared at the wand that had returned to his shop after so many years. He looked at his walls where his creations sat in their boxes, then returned to Quinn's wand. Ollivander took out his own wand and waved it for the wood block to reassemble and encase the wand, just as how Quinn had brought it. Ollivander picked up the wooden box, walked to the wall, and slipped it into one of the empty spaces, making it part of the wand wall once again.
- (Scene Break) -
Hogsmeade was in the midst of reconstruction happening at full speed, with workers everywhere around the village rebuilding houses and establishments. The village that had been razed to the ground had to be built from the foundation up. Reconstruction wasn't even the first problem the residents had to deal with— the village was marred with dark magic seeping into the soil and buildings from the battle, especially where Voldemort had fought, as that area had to be quarantined for complete sanitization.
Specialists hired by the Ministry had worked for weeks to make Hogsmeade a place safe to live, and only after the checks were done and reports came back with negative signs of any dark magic remnants did the reconstruction begin.
The residents that had been driven away from their homes, forced to live in tents(magical), were now slowly coming back to their homes rebuilt by Ministry contractors who had been working day and night to quickly and safely rebuild the village back to normalcy and of course, everything was being paid by the Ministry.
In the center of the village sat the Three Broomsticks, the favorite bar and inn of the village, owned by the charming Madam Rosmerta. The establishment had been all but uprooted from the ground during the skirmish, and the structure was so damaged the contractors had deemed the structure unsuitable to be fixed and declared that it needed to be rebuilt from scratch. Rosmerta was distraught for a moment about losing the place where she had so many memories, but cheered up and decided to put in some money of her own in addition to the Ministry funds to rebuild the Three Broomsticks with all the little customizations and design changes she had always wanted, a place better than the one she had before and where she would make new memories.
Rosmerta looked up from her documents and saw the fund manager from the Ministry in charge of all the financing happening in Hogsmeade step into the Three Broomsticks. The building had already been completed, and the work had been shifted to interior design.
"Yes, Mr. Fulton?" she asked, removing her reading glasses.
Fulton, the scholarly man with gold-framed spectacles, sat down on the chair opposite Rosmerta across the table. He took out his handkerchief and dabbed the sweat off his forehead.
"Are you alright, Mr. Fulton? Are they any problems?" Rosmerta asked, worried.
"No-no, no problems," Fulton shook his head hard. "Well, I don't know how to put it, but it is definitely a good thing."
"Then why do you look so?"
Fulton retrieved an envelope from his robes and placed it on the table. "This came in the mail yesterday for the charity."
Rosmerta's eyes shined with appreciation when she heard him. While Ministry had promised to pay for all the reconstruction, they couldn't replace the personal items and belongings the residents had lost— they could only provide a basic compensation package based on the damage that could be quantified with proof— a lot of which had been eradicated during the battle. There were many in Hogsmeade who had lost not only their homes but also their business, their source of income. People like them had to wait for their homes and place of work to be rebuilt before they could start work again, and even then, they would be under financial stress from setting up shop again. Even the reconstruction funding had to be capped somewhere, and while it was generous, it could only cover the basic needs of the village; there were things that the residents would have to pay out of their own pocket for the communal spaces they used.
The woes of the village had been communicated through the newspapers and had reached every corner of the country. And then came the donations aimed towards helping the residents who had it the worse. It was heartwarming to see such a vigorous response that made people keep their hopes about humanity.
The residents needed someone to manage the incoming donations, and they decided to use Fulton, who was handling the Ministry money, and since then, he had been keeping the money in check.
"Another donation! God, bless the kind people," said Rosmerta, genuinely touched by the kindness.
"Yes, yes," Fulton gulped, "but the amount?"
"Amount. . . is there something wrong with it."
Fulton pushed his glasses up as he spoke, "It's around five times the amount we have received to date— all that money from a single donor."
"F-Five times!" Rosmerta stuttered. She was the appointed contact between the village and Ministry, so she knew how much money they had received as part of the charity— it was a huge amount, and hearing that someone had just submitted five times was a strike to the head. "W-Who is it?"
"I-I. . . It seems they wanted to be anonymous. They only left behind a name, but no matter how much I checked in Ministry records, there was no such person. I visited the goblins this morning, and even they refused to give me more details— I know they know, but they refuse to reveal anything," Fulton sighed. Gringotts goblins had the monopoly over money, and since the money had come through legitimate means, Gringotts was surely supposed to know the donor, but when asked, they sent Fulton away without a real answer.
"What is the name?" asked Rosmerta.
- (Scene Break) -
Quinn saw the rainbow colors pass through his eyes as he was whisked across space before, finally, the dizzying colors stopped, and the world around him returned to normal.
He looked around and found himself standing on a beach overlooking a clear blue shimmering ocean with a clear sky with faint clouds dotting the sky. He closed his eyes and took in the ocean's calming sound, rhythmically reaching his ears.
'I could get used to this sound,' Quinn thought as a smile surfaced on his face. Thinking about studying with this sound in the background.
Quinn opened his eyes when he heard a voice behind him call out to him. "The birds are going to poop on your head if you aren't careful."
Quinn smiled and turned to face his master, the one and only, Alan D. Baddeley. "Oh my, you have gotten old since the last time I saw you. I fear I will have to hire a team of nurses to take care of you," Quinn couldn't help but quip.
Alan smirked. "I will think about that at your funeral, watching them putting dirt on your coffin."
"I prefer to be cremated. That or build a pyramid as my burial grounds."
Alan laughed. "Now that you're here, come on, let's go; we're getting started."
"Now?" Quinn was surprised.
"Of course, now. I have been waiting for you for months. Do you know how many plans I had to alter to accommodate you? Let's get going. I want to see how much you have improved or gotten worse." Alan turned and walked towards a posh beach house standing on a cliff near the beach, overlooking the ocean.
A smile crept up on Quinn's face as he followed after Alan.
It was a new start. The start of. . . A Magical Journey.