Potter-less

By: CJ

Disclaimer: This character came about from my imagination while reading the Harry Potter books, so any references to the wizarding world are based off of JK Rowling’s works.  While I will try my best to explain things, I will probably write with the assumption that you’ve at least seen the movies. And I hope I don’t offend Ms. Rowling if she somehow stumbles upon this.

Back into the Wizarding World

Leah Rickman looked up from the bar when she heard the door open, a couple of men dressed in fancy suits entered and took a seat in a quiet corner, not that it was hard to find one, the pub was empty.  She finished cleaning the glass she held in her hand and approached the men with menus.  “Anything to drink to start out?”

“Just a couple pints of ale, please,” the older gentleman said, holding up a fifty, “And privacy, please.”  She nodded, took the bill and returned to the bar, locking the front door on her way.

She poured the two ales and set them down in front of the two men, “Anything to eat?”

“Nothing right now.”

“Alright then, my name’s Leah, I’ll be in the back if you need anything.”

The older gentleman nodded, “Much appreciated.”

She went into the kitchen and found herself a seat on the counter where they usually prepped salads.  Arnold, the cook snarled, “What the ‘ell is that about?”

“They look important and want privacy, gave me fifty quid.  Who am I to complain?”

“How’s the little tyke?”

“Al?  He’s fine, finishing primary school soon.”

“Any leads on secondary?”

“There’s a private school up north, I expect he’ll get into.”

“Private?  ‘ow can you afford that?”

“I’ve been saving up since he was born.”

“What about ‘is father?”

Leah snarled, “He’s out of the picture…”

Her attention was drawn back out into the pub, the two gentlemen wanted another round.  The younger gentleman asked, “I think a couple of onion soups would do as well.”

“Certainly.”

“Thank you.“  She returned back, placed the order, and resumed her spot on the counter.

“So who do you think they are?”  Arnold asked.

Leah shrugged, “I’m not sure, they look important though.”  And Leah thought to herself, the older gentleman looks like an old acquaintance of my father’s.  She couldn’t place his name.

When the soup was ready, she crept out into the pub overhearing, “You’re sure that’s the right course of action?  It’s a bit dirty isn’t it?”

She cleared her throat, the older gentleman, turned, smiled and remarked, “Ah lovely.  Say by chance you wouldn’t be Leah Rickman, would you?”

Leah nodded, “I am, sir.”

He turned to his colleague, “I thought so, Major General Rickman was a brilliant man, would have done well as Secretary of Defense.”

He turned back to Leah, “I was very sorry to hear of his passing.”  She nodded politely.  The gentleman continued, “Ah, but I’m sure you don’t remember me, it has been a spell, Lord Anthony Cartwright.”

Leah smiled, “Of course, my Lord, it is a pleasure to see you again.”

She bowed slightly, Lord Cartwright indicated his colleague, “And this is my advisor, Michael Goodrich.”

He nodded curtly, “My Lord, there are still a few things to discuss.”

“Yes, yes, my apologies Leah, but um…”

“Of course, My Lord…”  She excused herself and stole back into the kitchen.

Arnold was clearing up some dishes, “Friends of yours?”

“My father’s.”  Arnold raised an eyebrow and went back to doing the dishes, he and Leah had an unspoken agreement to not discuss each other’s past.  She peeked into the pub after a bit, and saw they were both finished with their soup, and appeared to be wrapping up their meeting, Michael nodded that she could come in and take care of things.

“My Lord, I think you be pleased with this strategy.”

“It’s a bit unconventional…”

“And that’s why I think it’ll work.  Ah yes, the bill when you’ve had the chance.”  Leah fished the check out of her apron and cleared everything away.  When she returned, she found they had left a very generous tip.

She helped Arnold close up a couple hours later, exited the pub, turned down a dark alley glanced around to see no one was looking and vanished with a crack.  She reappeared a moment later in a similar alley miles away.  She headed towards the street, turned the corner and entered the apartment building, checked the mail and climbed the five flights of stairs, knocked on the door for 5B, while unlocking the door for 5C.  A kindly old woman opened the door, smiling at her, and clearing the path for the small boy bolting out the door.  Leah smirked, “Everything alright Mrs. Fisck?”

“Lovely dear, his homework is all finished, I’ve been spoiling him with some TV, hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Thank you again.”

“Oh anytime dear, he’s such a lovely boy.”

The boy was tugging at Leah’s coat, “Mum, mum, I have to tell you about school today!”

“Can I get in the door first? Have a good evening Mrs. Fisck.”

“You too, dear.”

She closed the door, set a bag on the small kitchen table, went to the window, and peered out and up to a box mounted on the wall, “Any post, Miles?”  An owl poked its head out and hooted at her.  She shrugged and pulled herself back inside, Al was bouncing around like a crazy person, “Mum! Mum!  You won’t believe what happened today!”

Leah headed back to the kitchen unpacking the bag, extracting a large container of soup and a loaf of bread, “Well? What happened?”

“We learned about witches in history!”

“Anything about wizards?”

“No, but it seems like people were very mean to the witches.”

“And did you tell your classmates about me?”

“No, but I did ask Mrs. Poppins why people were so quick to judge the witches, maybe they weren’t such bad people.”

Leah smiled, “And what did Mrs. Poppins say?”

“She told us that at the time people’s beliefs were that witches were viewed as evil beings who worshipped the Devil.”

Leah giggled, “So I’m a Devil worshipper?”

Al scoffed, “I know I’m only eleven, but I think it’s a bit of hogwash, you’re the best, Mum.”

“Next year, you’ll get proper history lessons, I promise.”

“You’re so sure I’ll get in?”

“Al, you are a wizard, you’ve proven that, your letter will be coming any day, and if not, there are other options.”

“But I want to go where you and Dad went.”

“I know you do.”

“Would Dad be disappointed if I didn’t get in?”  Leah hesitated, yes he would be, but she couldn’t tell her son that.

“He’d be proud of you either way.  Now eat your soup and show me your homework.” Al obliged.

The following week, Miles delivered the letter they had both anxiously been waiting for.  Al was shocked to discover it was addressed to Alphard Rickman-Black, “But Mum, no one knows my full name!”  She smiled uncomfortably, she worried he would be judged as harshly as she had been for ten years.  She told Alphard the truth as soon as he started asking questions.  His father wasn’t around because he was in prison for killing someone.  Other people like her, witches and wizards, shunned her for her association with him because he betrayed his best friend to a very bad wizard.  And she told Alphard the story of Harry Potter and He Who Must Not Be Named, but added in her doubts that his father was in league with such a man, but thought he was capable of killing the man Peter Pettigrew.

“I’m sorry to say this Al, but your father could be brash and quite selfish at times.”

“He didn’t want to raise me?”

“I was just finding out about your existence when all this happened. He came home with the news about Lily and James as I was going to tell him about you, he left to go after Peter.  He didn’t know I was pregnant with you until he was imprisoned.”

“Can we visit him?”

“No, he’s not allowed visitors.”  This was true, even if she could visit, she wouldn’t because she couldn’t bear being around the guards. She’d written him a letter, chastising him for his abrupt departure and informing him that she bore his son, naming him Alphard after the uncle that was so kind to both her and Sirius.

But the wizarding world had made up its mind, Sirius Black was a top supporter of You Know Who, his fiancé must be too; even though her own family was murdered before her very eyes by You Know Who himself.  Rather than continue to endure the ridicule she reinstated herself into the Muggle world, living off the inheritance her father had left her landing a job as a barkeep in London because as far as muggles were concerned, that’s all she was qualified to do, not getting any proper schooling due to the fact that she had a child out of wedlock.  A vicious cycle, but they made it work, Al seemed to understand it all and didn’t blab to his schoolmates that his mother could do magic, but came home a couple times with weird instances of accidently knocking everyone out with one throw of the dodgeball or jumping off a swing at the peak and gliding all too gracefully to the ground when the child next to him had broken his arm doing the exact same thing.  The school ticked it off as lucky. Leah knew it was her son showing signs of having magic in him as well.

Al read his letter over and over, bouncing off the walls wondering when they could go out and get his new school things.  She sighed, “We can go Monday is that alright?”

“Perfect!!!”

That Monday, Al woke up earlier than usual and bounded into her room, “Mum! Mum! It’s Monday, let’s go!”

“Alright, alright get yourself together, the shops don’t open at the crack of dawn you know.”

“But we have to get there!   And they could be miles away.”

“They are all in London.  Don’t you worry.  Can we eat breakfast first?”  He huffed, “Oh alright.”

Leah smirked, and pulled out her wand, instantly catching Al’s attention.  She waved it around and made the dishes and pans started flying around as if they knew what to do on their own.  The table was set as the bacon and eggs started to sizzle.  A pot of tea started to boil and poured itself into two cups.  Toast popped out and each sliced was buttered to perfection.  Everything came floating to the table ready to be served.  Al was delighted, “When can I start doing that?”

“You have to wait until you get to school.  We cannot reveal our magic to muggles, and because you’re underage, you cannot and I mean absolutely cannot practice magic at home, understand?”

She could see he understood the seriousness of her tone and nodded sheepishly, “Yes, Mum.”

Once they finished breakfast, Leah waved her wand and everything cleared and cleaned itself.  They both got dressed and were soon out the door heading towards Diagon Alley.  She stopped a little ways before the Leaky Cauldron, Al looked up at her, “Why’d we stop?”

“Look around, see anything unusual?”

He looked around anxiously, and then started to frown, “No, nothin…. That door was not there a moment ago!”

Leah smirked, “That’s the Leaky Cauldron, it conceals the entrance to Diagon Alley, only witches and wizards can find it.”  Al’s face lit up with pure joy and bounded towards the door. Leah caught up to him and nervously pushed it open.  To her relief the bustling continued, though the barman looked up and seemed to be glaring at her.

Al tugged on her sleeve, “What now?”  She grabbed his hand and led him through to the back.  As they stared at the brick wall, she thought back and eventually pulled out her wand, tapping the necessary bricks to reveal the entrance.

She watched Al’s attention go from one shop to another, the wonderment on his face as they passed Madam Malkin’s and Eeylop’s Owl Emporium on their way to Gringott’s.  As they entered the bank, Al’s grip tightened when he saw his first goblin, whispering, “Mum, what’s that?”

She replied, “He’s a goblin, and as long as you’re not here to take something that is not yours, then they will not harm you.”  As they approached the next open window, Leah fished a key out of her purse, “I’d like to make a withdrawal from the Rickman vault.”

The goblin took the key examined it closely and looked at her, “This account has been inactive for some time.”

“I believe you’ll find I’ve been making regular deposits in Muggle currency.”

The goblin sneered, “Indeed. Very well, follow me.”

It was a short cart ride to her small vault, but it thrilled Alphard none the less.  Leah, remembered Sirius telling her that the ride to his vault was full of sharp turns and drops, and you could even glimpse the dragon that lived near the higher security vaults.  The goblin opened the vault and Al gasped, “Is that gold?!”

She smiled, “Yes, wizarding money consists of Gold Galleons, Silver Sickles, and Bronze Knuts.”  She grabbed a couple handfuls of each and swept them into her purse.  They reemerged into Diagon Alley where Leah pulled out the list of required school items, “OK Al, where to first?  Spellbooks?  Robes?”

“I want to get my wand!!!” He answered excitedly.

Leah laughed and replied, “Of course my Lord.” In a joking manner and led him to Ollivander’s.

As they entered the shop, Mr. Ollivander was finishing up with another customer.  The parents nodded politely as their daughter had finally had a wand choose her.  They paid the seven galleons and exited the shop, which a moment ago looked to be in complete disarray, but was now very neatly organized, just like when Leah stepped in her first time all those years ago.  Mr. Ollivander looked up, “Ms. Rickman, twelve and quarter inches, dogwood, unicorn, pretty ridged if I remember correctly.”

Leah smiled, “Indeed, but as I recall you remember every wand you’ve ever sold.”

He merely smiled, “And this young lad,” he looked at Alphard, “my, my he seems to have his father’s mischievous look.”  He pulled some measuring tape out of his pocket and asked Alphard to hold out his wand arm and watched the look of amazement on Al’s face as the tape started taking various measurements on its own accord.

Mr. Ollivander poured through the boxes of various wands and started to present them each in turn to Al.  And one by one as he flicked, and waved, and swished, and jabbed the rejection pile grew.  Leah could see the worried look on her son’s face become more pronounced.  Mr. Ollivander merely said, “We’ve got a tricky one here, let’s see, how about this one?”  Al tentatively took hold of what seemed to be the five hundredth wand and there was a look of serenity.  Mr. Ollivander then said, “Larch, with a phoenix core, very pliable, eleven and a half inches, an exceptional wand for an exceptional boy.”

They exited the shop with Alphard skipping with glee.  They made their way through the other items on the list.  It was in Florish and Blotts as they gathered all the necessary books that Alphard asked, “Mum, can we afford all these?  Should we get some second hand?”

Leah was taken aback, but proud and she had come prepared, “If you don’t mind used books, then perhaps you can use mine.  I wrote down the editions I have, let’s compare.”  And they ended up putting back, The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1), A History of Magic, One Thousand Herbs and Fungi, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.    She was actually thankful for Al’s modesty because the Gilderoy Lockhart set nearly depleted their budget for the day.

Back home, Leah had to confiscate Al’s wand as he tried to perform a couple of spells from A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration causing the refuse bin to start squeaking.  She directed his attention to the Magical Theory book while she decided to read Gadding with Ghouls.  After finishing it, she concluded that Gilderoy Lockhart sounded like a pompous, self-absorbed prat.

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