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25 September 2010 @ 02:44 pm
Fic: Transfiguration  
Fic amnesty!
(aka unfinished *g*)

Harry Potter/Charmed crossover
5 K words

Summary: A stranger visits Piper with an unexpected plan to protect her unborn child.

(This was, IIRC, originally prompted by an episode while Piper was pregnant, and she realized how Halliwell Manor was not the safest place for an tiny baby to live. This was planned as an AU to Goblet of Fire although I never even got to the part where it overlaps)

Pofessor Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk in his study, idly stroking Fawkes' feathers. Had anyone else been there, a visitor would have thought he was either deep in thought or waiting for something to happen.

But of course, this was Dumbledore. He could do both at the same time.

A blue-white shimmer behind him had the faint sound of chimes, and then a young man was standing there. But even the most unobservant person would realize that this man was definitely not a student, though he looked about the same age as a seventh-year. For one thing, his brown hair was long and tied with a ribbon at the nape of his neck, which didn't quite go with his modern clothes of blue jeans and white T-shirt. But his eyes were the other give-away -- they were old, as only someone who has experienced death could be.

Dumbledore slowly turned and smiled in greeting. "Good evening, Charles."


Dumbledore raised his brows, taking in Charles' appearance. "Blue jeans?" he asked.

Charles shrugged. "One must keep up with the times. My younger charges tend to be dubious of old 'fuddy-duddies'." He wandered slowly around the desk, glancing at the various paraphenalia and books in the office. He saw Fawkes and his smile broadened. "Evening, Fawkes. Are you keeping him in line?"

Fawkes burbled happily and extended his neck for Charles to stroke his head, which he did.

"Would you care for tea, Charles? Pumpkin juice?" Dumbledore invited politely, and waved a hand to bring the dish of candies closer.

"No, thank you. I really must not be here long." But Charles did take a chocolate frog, Dumbledore noted with a smile.

After letting the silence linger a little while, Dumbledore asked, "I presume the Elders have a message for me?"

"Instructions, actually," Charles said. He lifted his gaze to meet the wizard's. "There is a child, not long ago conceived. A very special child, Albus. A child of prophecy and power, whose mother is a witch, and father her Whitelighter."

Dumbledore raised bushy eyebrows in surprise. "Is that allowed?"

Charles wouldn't quite meet his eyes. "No. A witch and her Whitelighter as a couple is forbidden. But these two proved to the Elders that they could be allowed to be together and earned permission to wed. The child, though …. that was intervention by the Higher Power." He glanced up at the ceiling, indicating the greater, guiding power of the universe. "The Elders had no choice but accept it. As I said, this is a very special child. The mother is Piper Halliwell, one of the Charmed Ones."

Dumbledore sat back in his chair, surprised. He knew of the Halliwell line of witches. It was very strong, going back to the founding of America and before that, in England. But even more, the Halliwell line was called the Charmed Ones, because of one of those ancient witches. She had cast a spell while sacrificing her life to save her three daughters that permitted the daughters to combine their individual powers into one mighty power, stronger than the sum of the three. It was called the Power of Three, and when invoked by three descendants, it was -- so far as Dumbledore knew -- nearly invincible.

"And what, old friend, would the Elders like me to do about it?" Dumbledore asked, but was nearly sure of the answer already.

"Piper Halliwell and the child within her need protection. The Halliwells face danger nearly everyday, much of it attempts to kill them and steal their power. She is terrified for the child's safety. But here," he glanced around at the hallowed walls of Hogwarts, "Underworld forces cannot reach."

"We have dangers of our own, Charles," Dumbledore reminded him. "Unfortunately, Hogwarts is not the haven of safety I wish it could be."

Charles nodded in agreement. "I know. But still, it is safer than where she is now. Her enemies would not dare to attack her here. And as for your enemy, Albus -- " Charles smiled, "perhaps she can help you. American magic, and especially Halliwell magic, is not like ours. And she is powerful."

Dumbledore idly popped a jelly bean in his mouth from the dish on the corner of his desk, and smiled. "Caramel trifle," he explained to Charles. "A much more pleasant surprise than the usual." He stood and gave Fawkes' a pat. "Shall we go, my friend? Your way, or mine?"

"I'll take you. I know where she is, and if we Orb in, she might not try to kill us right away."

With that reassuring thought, Charles took hold of his sleeve and they both turned into pillars of blue-white energy and vanished.

Piper whisked the eggs in the mixing bowl more vigorously than was probably necessary, but she needed to get rid of tension. The fact that her pants were too tight, and the smell of coffee -- previously one of her favorites -- made her throw up nowadays wasn't helping the tension, but she knew it was fear. She knew it, but couldn't say it aloud, even to those who loved her best. She was alone in the house, and even though Leo was only a shout away, and Phoebe and Paige would come running in an instant, she still felt vulnerable.

"You are a powerful witch," she whispered to herself. "Get a hold of yourself."

Taking a deep breath, she returned to her baking. Usually she found cooking and baking fun and relaxing -- the worst that could happen was a fallen souffle, unlike the similar but more exacting potion-making. But it wasn't helping.

But since giving up wasn't in the Halliwell dictionary, she poured her egg mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and started to mix them together. The bowl moved just a little, knocking against the measuring cups, pushing at the egg carton which was still open and precariously perched on the edge of the counter.

Another vigorous mix was like flipping a domino, and the egg carton wobbled and then fell, overturning its remaining six eggs toward the floor.

"No!" Piper threw out her hands, including the mixing spoon, spraying batter everywhere.

The batter, the eggs, and the carton all froze, suspended in mid-air. She let out an aggravated groan. "Damn, isn't this just perfect?" Kneeling, she began plucking the eggs out of the air like she was picking apples off a tree.

Hearing the distinct chimes of an incoming Orb, she started in relief, "Leo! You're back! What's going …"

She rose to her feet and her voice trailed off, as she stared at her visitors. Not Leo. Not even close to Leo.

There was a young-looking man in jeans and a T-shirt. And a really old looking man, with a really long silver beard, wearing what she could only describe as wizard's robes.

"Good evening, Miss Hallliwell," the old man nodded to her graciously. His voice was deep and calming, and his accent was English. But that made the fact that he knew her name only slightly less alarming.

She stepped back warily, powers ready, as she tried to ignore the tightness in her chest. "Who are you?" she demanded. "What are you doing in my kitchen?"

The young one smiled, in attempted reassurance. "My name is Charles De Raybourne. I am a Whitelighter, like your Leo Wyatt."

"You know Leo?" she asked, hands still poised in front of her. It seemed unlikely for the forces of evil to claim to be a Whitelighter, but it was still possible.

"I do, but not well. I spend most of my time in Britain," he explained. "I am in fact *his* Whitelighter," he nodded toward his companion. "Miss Halliwell, this is Albus Dumbledore, a wizard. He is also headmaster of Hogwarts Academy."

She frowned, now puzzled. She had heard of Hogwarts, the main magic school in Britain, but she had no idea of what they might want with her. "Hogwarts? I'm a little old to be going there, don't you think?"

Dumbledore smiled. "Indeed you are. I am not here to invite you to be a student. Charles has informed me of your… predicament, Miss Halliwell. I thought to offer you the protection of Hogwarts, at least while you wait for the birth of your child."

Her hand automatically went to cradle her stomach, thinking of the baby. But that didn't make her less annoyed. She narrowed her eyes at Charles. "Let me guess -- this was the Elders' idea? That's why Leo's not back yet." It made sense. Only if Leo were arguing with them about something would he take so long. And he would only be arguing about something he knew she would see as yet another interference. She didn't wait for an answer and shifted her gaze to Dumbledore. "Thanks for your offer, but I'm fine. I have powers of my own, and my sisters are here to help."

"They are?" Dumbledore asked in mild surprise, frowning. "Strange, I thought the house felt empty, other than ourselves." He stepped forward and glanced down at the still-frozen egg carton and two eggs she hadn't rescued yet. "Very impressive." Suddenly there was a slender wooden wand in his hand and he waved it once. "leviosa."

The carton and eggs floated up to the top of the table, and the eggs put themselves back into the carton.

She watched, astounded. "You spelled my frozen eggs? I -- I didn't think that was … possible…" she trailed off, aware what an idiot she sounded like. A shiver ran down her spine as she realized what it meant -- Dumbledore was powerful. Immensely powerful. There were few -- until this moment she would have said none -- magic-users who could have broken her spell, once it was cast.

She only realized she had stepped back when she felt the counter behind her.

He smiled gently at her, and she relaxed at the kindness in his eyes. "Miss Halliwell," he said, "I'm here to help. You are correct, you are powerful and I'm sure your sisters and your husband will do everything in their own considerable powers to help protect you and your baby. Yet, if I am not mistaken, you are still afraid. What I can offer is a place your enemies cannot reach. Hogwarts is not only under my protection, but the protection of my fellow professors, several hundred students, ghosts, magical creatures, and walls that have been permeated by one thousand years of magic. It is -- as the phrase goes -- a tough nut to crack."

"That," she started and had to dampen her lips to continue speaking, "that sounds very nice. But -- I can't. I have… responsibilities. Phoebe and Paige need me. They need the power of Three. And if I'm not here -- it's just the power of two and that's not the same thing at all… "

The words came so hard. They were true, but she really didn't want them to be true.

The sound of bells chiming in the distance announced another person Orbing in, and this time she waited to see who it was. But it was in fact Leo, who appeared at her left, in front of the sink, facing her.

He smiled at her, just a little reluctance in his eyes, "Hi. Sorry it took so long. The Elders have a suggestion about keeping you and the baby safe. I told them I would tell --"

"I've heard it, sweetie," she glanced deliberately behind him and he turned to see, moving closer to her, within reach so they could Orb out if necessary.

"Oh," he said, blinking in surprise. Then strode forward to offer Charles his hand. "Charles. It's been awhile."

"Leo." They shook hands very politely.

Leo stepped back to her side and he had the look on his face which told her he was mad, but being his usual polite self. "I thought I was going to tell Piper."

Charles smiled. "Well, Professor Dumbledore here is my charge and once he heard the idea, we Orbed over. I did not expect to beat you here, Leo. I apologize."

Leo nodded, still looking a little perturbed to Piper's eyes, but he was willing to let it go. And if he was, she would too. That was, she decided, one of the advantages to having an angel as a husband -- his presence made her behave better.

Until her angelic husband turned to her and asked, with that earnest expression she knew *so* well, "So? I think it could be an answer to our problem, don't you?"

She stared at him for a moment, blinked once, grabbed his shirt and proceeded to force him out of the kitchen. "Please excuse us -- Make yourself at home -- We need to talk --" she smiled at her guests through gritted teeth on her way past.

Charles, like most Whitelighters, simply observed, but Dumbledore had a distinct glint of amusement in his eyes, she noted.

In the conservatory, she turned to him and pushed all extraneous thoughts out of her head. "Leo! How can you say that?" she demanded in a harsh whisper. "What kind of answer is it for me to go away? All the way to England --"

"Hogwarts is actually in Scotland," he started, and grimaced when she poked him in the chest.

"Don't change the subject! If I'm in *Scotland*" she emphasized sarcastically, "there is no Power of Three. There is just Phoebe and Paige."

"Powerful witches on their own," he put in. "And there's Cole."

She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, whichever side of the moral line he's walking on today. I don't trust --" But she stopped and threw up her hands as if to physically push the thought aside. Talking about Phoebe's lover/husband was always distracting, and at the moment, not the point. "No, I'm not talking about Cole. I'm talking about *my responsibilities*. You understand that, Leo. You have them too. I can't abandon everything to run away and hide in some *school*!"

He grabbed her hands, and only then did she realize they were shaking. "Piper --" he started and looked into her eyes. Instead of speaking, he pulled her in for a hug. It was embarrassing how quickly hot tears were stinging her eyes at the feel of his warmth and his strength wrapped around her. She held him tightly back, and her feelings refused to stay hidden anymore, pushing out through the lump in her throat.

"I want to be safe," she choked out. "I want the baby to be safe. I don't want to be so *afraid*. But how can I?" the wail broke from her. "It wouldn't be right -- leaving my sisters here to fend for themselves -- they need my powers -- "

"Hush, Piper," he murmured, and stroked her hair. "It'll be all right. Scotland is just an Orb away. Paige and I can come visit you anytime we want, and we'll bring Phoebe. And I can come get you just as easily there as if you were at P3 if they need the power of three. But I don't think they will. You know why?"

She shook her head against his shoulder. "No --"

He pulled back a little to look into her eyes. "The underworld is in chaos right now. They're going to be in-fighting, clawing for a new leader. Knowing that one-third of the Charmed Ones is safe and protected will take away a lot of the lure to try to rise up in the heirarchy by coming after any of you. Plus, once word gets around that you're at a magic school, learning new ways of kicking demon ass, they'll be cautious."

She perked up at the thought of new ways of kicking demon ass, and a little amused by Leo's choice of words. He usually left the swearing to her. Lifting her head, she met his gaze, blinking back residual tears. "I would get to learn new stuff, wouldn't I?"

He smiled. "You'd be at Hogwarts, Piper. Just think -- entire books about things that are only a page in the Book of Shadows. I fully expect they'll have to pry you out of the library with a crowbar."

She finally found a smile to give him back. "And you'll come visit?"

He nodded, his grip tightening. "You'll get sick of me."

"Never." She leaned forward for a kiss and then rested against him for a long moment. "You really think this is a good idea?" she murmured against his shoulder.

"I do," he answered. "I want you -- you both --" he added with a gentle touch against her stomach, "to be somewhere safe. And this house …"

"It's not," she agreed softly. They got attacked what seemed like every other day in the manor. And she couldn't take it anymore, wondering when the next attack was going to come and if something would happen to her or the baby. Letting out a long breath, she pulled back. "Okay. I'll do it."

Hand in hand, they went back into the kitchen. Charles was still where they had left him, but Dumbledore had opened the cabinet to the potion ingredients and was examining them. He turned when he heard them, and beamed at her. "And?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

She didn't think it was much of a surprise when she said, "I think I should go with you, after all."

"Splendid!" he exclaimed. "We will be delighted to have you. It's going to be an exciting year at Hogwarts, and I'm sure we can find a use for your talents. Some advisory capacity, perhaps. Or," he paused a moment, then seemed struck by a sudden thought, "are you the potions master of your family, by chance?"

Taken by surprise by the question, she wondered why that was of any importance at all. Leo answered for her. "Yes, she is. She learned from her grandmother."

Dumbledore smiled. "Ah, yes, the redoubtable Penelope Halliwell."

"You knew Grams?" Piper asked.

The old wizard nodded. "We met twice. This was -- oh, years ago, before the great war. A remarkable woman."

Piper felt a little bit better about going off with strangers, knowing that Dumbledore had met her grandmother. Which might have been the whole point of the potions comment that Dumbledore had made, she suddenly realized. She glanced into the blue eyes set above the long, crooked nose, and was not fooled by their affable gleam. There was deep intelligence there and strength.

"So. What should I do?" she asked. "Can Leo Orb me there?"

Dumbledore nodded slowly. "He can. Although most magical forms of transport are not possible on the grounds of Hogwarts, Orbing is. But I think first I should prepare the way for you. And you should get a few supplies at Diagon Alley…"

She blinked. "Where? What sort of supplies?"

"Diagon Alley," he repeated.

"A sort of wizards' shopping mall in London," Leo explained as an aside.

She brightened. She wasn't a shopaholic like her sisters, but she enjoyed buying things as much as the next woman. But Dumbledore continued before she could speak. "I will ask Minerva to help you. Minerva McGonagall is our professor of Transfiguration. She will know what sort of things you should have," he explained. "Tomorrow, noon, at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, she will meet you there and bring you back to Hogwarts. I advise that you not Orb into public view," he told Leo. "Whitelighters are not common knowledge among our population, and your ability will draw unwise attention."

Leo nodded. He had a serious expression on his face, and seemed to know something she was missing. But it wasn't a surprise, really -- she had enough to do keeping track of the San Francisco magic scene, without paying attention to the overseas situation. All she was sure of was that their magic was far more institutionalized and traditional in its forms than in America.

But Leo would tell her what he knew, and she was sure this McGonagall would also tell her what she needed to hear about.

In any case, though it was a big step to take, and far from home, the trip sounded interesting and exciting.

Dumbledore smiled and held out his hand. "It is with great pleasure, Miss Halliwell, that I welcome you to Hogwarts." Instead of shaking her hand as she expected, he kissed it European-style with a genuine gentility she had never experienced before. "Until tomorrow evening."

"Thank you for inviting me," she said quickly, as he stepped back and Charles put his hand on the older wizard's shoulder.

Dumbledore nodded to her, as the blue sparkles of Orb travel took them up and away.

Her gaze met Leo's and she quirked a bit of a smile. "Well, now we get to explain it to Phoebe and Paige."

"They'll be glad," he reassured her, even though she wasn't nearly as certain.

It turned out that he was right. It seemed like no time at all they were gathered around her closet and an opened suitcase helping her pack.

"And these?" Phoebe held up Piper's beloved black leather pants for the decision whether to pack them or leave them home.

Paige shook her head negatively. "It's a boarding school. In Britain. They probably have uniforms."

"She's not a student," Phoebe rolled her eyes. "She won't have to wear a uniform."

"But still, I doubt they encourage leather pants among the teachers."

"Considering Dumbledore was wearing full velvet graduation-type robes," Piper decided to intervene, before the young ones could argue, "I suspect the school's fashion sense stops somewhere aroung the turn of the *last* century. But it doesn't really matter -- I doubt I can wear them another month, before they won't fit anymore anyway."

But it was with a pang of regret that she watched Phoebe put them back in the closet. Leo really liked her in them, and she had to admit they made her feel more sexy and confident. "No," she changed her mind. "Put them in, Phoebes. I want them with me, even if I don't wear them."

Grinning in triumph, Phoebe pulled them back down and folded the pants into the suitcase. "That's the spirit!"

After packing, she went into P3 one last time. It was only two in the afternoon, so the place was empty, but as much as she loved it being full, she also loved the quiet. Leo started to wipe down the bar, just for something to do, while she went into the office. She confirmed the artist bookings for the next four weeks, and left four pages of instructions and notes for her manager, who would probably never even look at them. Ginger knew what to do, which was heartening. Paige had also promised to keep a close eye on the place.

Then there was nothing left to do. It was a little discouraging to realize that it was probably going to do just fine without her. The club was her baby, carefully tended these past few years, but it was all grown up and she could leave it in other people's hands.

Leo's arm came around her shoulder. "You're going to be back," he reassured her. "This isn't forever."

"I know," she tucked her hand around his waist and they stood together, looking at the empty stage area. "But in a way, this is forever. When I come back, I'll be a different person. I don't think the club will mean as much to me then, as it does now."

"Probably not," he agreed.

"But then," she realized, looking up at him with a smile, "it hasn't meant as much to me since you were tending bar here."

He chuckled and squeezed her shoulder. "You were kind to an unemployed Whitelighter."

"I've noticed that job doesn't pay very well," she teased. "Come on. Let's go."

When she locked up, she touched the small sign on the back door just once, and turned away resolute.

One chapter in her life was ending, but another was beginning.

Leo got the word through the Whitelighter grapevine when to leave. He'd already taken her suitcase to Hogwarts, and had her overnight bag over his shoulder, leaving her with just her small purse. She hugged both her sisters. "You be good," she chided them with a smile then took Leo's hand. "If you need me, don't be afraid to call."

Then she Orbed out, seeing Phoebe waving.

They arrived in a small dark space, and just before she started to get alarmed, the doors before them opened up and Leo led her out.

They emerged out into the bustling crowd of Diagon Alley. She glanced back to see they had arrived in – a fireplace? But that was the smallest of things to attract her attention, when there were so many people and things to look at on the small street.

Her hand crept into Leo's, even while she cursed herself for her weakness. Heedless of the crowd, he pulled her close and kissed her temple. "It's okay. Let's find the Leaky Cauldron."

Diagon Alley was fascinating. It reminded her of some of the narrowest bits of Chinatown, but with a distinctly Dickensian flair. There was a shop selling owls, another selling wands. Then broomsticks, of all things.

Then finally the Leaky Cauldron. It was a pub, with the wooden furnishings and muted lighting she would have expected, but much larger. There was a long bar and booths, but also two sets of stairs, leading up to a second floor of seating, and what she suspected were rooms to stay.

The place was packed. Men and women, even children in families, were sitting in the booths and at some long tables. It was loud, but invigorating – it reminded her of an English version of P3 on a good night. Some of the customers wore regular clothes, and others wore robes and even the occasional pointy black witches' hat. The hats made Piper cringe inwardly – how long had it taken American witches to get *rid* of that Halloween image, and here were witches actually wearing them.

Leo brought her up to the bar, and one of the barkeeps came over. "We're here to meet Minerva MacGonagall," Leo said.

"Ah, right," the barkeep said and hollered, "Mistress Corrigy?"

One of the waitresses – a heavy-set older woman in a black witch's hat and black dress – came back to the bar.

"These two are meeting Professor MacGonagall," the barkeep told her.

"Of course," Mistress Corrigy bestowed a motherly smile on Piper. "The young Americans. Right this way, you two."

She wound her way through the patrons like a ship at full sail and up the stairs, to the second level where it seemed to be quieter – a tea room instead of a pub.

Mistress Corrigy led the way straight over to a table near one of the windows that overlooked the street. It was less shadowy there, and Piper could clearly see an older woman, her grey hair pulled into a knot, which emphasized pale skin and sharp features that had probably been quite stunning in her youth. Her eyes were bright and alert, and saw them right away.

She stood to greet them. She was wearing a sensible ensemble of a long grey wool skirt and beige blouse, that made Piper aware of her tank top and snug white jeans. "Miss Halliwell? Mister Wyatt?" At her nods, she smiled in genuine pleasure. "I am Minerva MacGonagall." She had an accent, Piper noticed, a sort of lilt that Piper guessed was Scottish.

MacGonagall indicated the chairs opposite her own. "Please, won't you join me?"

As soon as they were seated, she glanced up at the hovering Mistress Corrigy. "A light tea, Jessica, for my guests. They've traveled a long way today. Nothing heavy."

"Perhaps some cucumber and tomato sandwiches, and a scone or two?"

"And a glass of water, please?" Piper asked. She wasn't sure about the cucumbers, but the bread would help settle her stomach. Thank God she didn't have to take a plane – Orbing was not only quicker, but much easier on the body.

"Of course, dearie," Mistress Corrigy went on her way.

MacGonagall took a long, slender stick from the inner pocket of her jacket and flicked it once. "Repellius," she murmured.

Piper felt the magic around her twist somehow and she frowned. "What was that?"

"So we cannot be overheard," MacGonagall explained. "To an outsider, we are speaking of trivialities. Few can know that I even cast the spell, and none can break it without my knowledge." She leaned forward and reached across the table to pat Piper's hand.

"Professor Dumbledore told me of your dilemma, Miss Halliwell. I'm very pleased to welcome you to Hogwarts."

"thank you. I'm looking forward to it," Piper answered. Amazing how just a British accent put her on her best manners, she reflected with an inner smile.

"The Professor was a little vague about what Piper could do there," Leo said. "Since she's not in school. And my understanding is that her magic isn't the style you teach."

"True," MacGonagall agreed. "Amercian witchcraft is not what we teach at Hogwarts. However, Professor Dumbledore and I agreed it would be no bad notion to exxpose the students to the idea that not everyone uses their talents the same way. You see," she leaned forward with a gleam in her blue eyes, "for the first time in centuries, the Ministries of Magic have decided to bring back the Tri-Wizard Tournament." At their blank looks, she explained, "Each of the three major wizardry schools in Europe – Hogwardts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons – selects a champion to compete a number of challenges. Hogwarts will host the tournament this year, which will mean that students from the other two schools will spend time with us. The other two schools, though more similar to Hogwarts, are also different, and we thought an American would be a valuable teaching tool as well."

Because Piper knew that all magic had to be paid for, one way or another, she said slowly, "I'd be glad to do what I can, of course, but it doesn't seem like enough for spending months at Hogwarts…"

"Oh, then Albus didn't tell you the rest of his plan?" Macgonagall realized and shook her head ruefully. She almost spoke, but stopped as a young woman approached bearing a tea pot, three cups, and a glass of ice water.

MacGonagall thanked her and poured tea for all of them. "Cheers," she saluted them with her cup and sipped. She set it back down on the table and leaned forward.

"Albus told me you're a fine hand at potions," she began.

Piper shrugged. "I enjoy making them. They usually work, but it's not as if I have formal training. My grandmother taught me."

MacGonagall nodded. "That should do. You see, our Potions master, Severus Snape is – how shall I put this? – not the easiest person to get along with." She grimaced, her nose wrinkling. "But he is a good man," she added after a moment, almost unwillingly, "who still managed to be good after very trying times, on which I will not elaborate here. But he makes it difficult to remember when he is arrogant and sneering. He is admittedly brilliant, but he expects a great deal of his students. They are, quite frankly, terrified of him. It is Professor Dumbledore's thought that if you become the assistant potions master, you can put a younger, softer face on Potions. That the students might come to you with their difficulties before Severus has a chance to yell at them."

Piper didn't know what to say to that. She glanced at Leo, who gave her an encouraging smile, and she faced MacGonagall again. "Sounds… challenging."

MacGonagall chuckled. "I didn't mean to alarm you, dear. As I said, Severus is of good heart, and he has sacrificed much for the side of good, but he is certainly not tolerant of sloppiness or stupidity. And he does have a capacity to hold a grudge a very long time," she added thoughtfully. "But I have the feeling that you are not a young woman who is easily cowed."

Leo snorted, and Piper smacked him with the back of her hand. "I'd be glad to help," she said.

The food arrived and MacGonagall indicated for Piper and Leo to eat. "Please. Take your time. I thought we should visit Ollivander's for your wand after this."

"A wand?" Piper asked, carefully plucking the cucumbers off her triangles of sandwich. "I don't use one."

"Isn't part of your reason for coming to Hogwarts to learn how we practice magic?" MacGonagall asked.

Piper swallowed her bite of bread and tomato hastily. "Yes, of course. But…" she hesitated, feeling awkward, "Are they very expensive? I didn't bring many pounds with me, and I get the feeling nobody takes credit cards here."

MacGonagall straightened, and Piper at first thought she was offended, but the look in her eyes was kind. "My dear, do you expect us to force you to work for us without salary? You are a visiting teaching professor, that means your expenses will be taken care of by the school and you will receive a stipend. Not large, I'm afraid, but enough that you will be able to visit Hogesmeade without using your own funds."

"Oh," Piper felt foolish, but figured she'd better get used to the feeling. This was a whole different world from the one she knew. "Thank you."

It wasn't long before they were going down the stairs and out into the alley. Macgonagall pushed open the door to Ollivander's wand shop and Piper went in, Leo at her heels.

The place was small, but packed to the rafters with small rectangular boxes on shelves and piled up on the one counter. There was barely enough space for the three of them and Piper's bag that Leo was still carrying.

A small, hunched old man who reminded Piper of a gnome, slouched into view. "G'day, Minerva," he greeted. "How's your No. 7 with Unicorn hair treating you?"

"Very well, Mr. Ollivander," she answered politely. "I am bringing a young American witch to you for her first wand."

"American, eh?" he peered up at Piper with bright eyes behind his glasses, and gave a sudden smile. "Ah, one of the Halliwell witches, I can feel it. So, your first wand? Hmmm…" he moved away, still muttering, climbed a step-ladder to retrieve a box. He opened it on the counter to reveal a long grey wooden stick inside. "Try that one."

Remembering what MacGonagall had done with hers, Piper picked it up and, feeling very ridiculous, waved it once. Nothing happened.

Ollivander grunted. "Hm. Let's try…"

MacGonagall explained quietly, as he went away again, "The connection between witch and wand is a very personal and unique one. I remember I had to try twelve before I found one that felt as though it belonged in my hand."

Piper thought about sitting through dozens of attempts and knew she did not have the patience for such things. She shut her eyes, trying out the words in her head, and then held out her hand, calling up the power and reciting, "Of all the wands in all the world, one there is unique to each witch girl. Bring here the wand best for me, Piper Halliwell, Blessed Be."

There was a sharp crack! And a faint smell of musty books, and Piper closed her hand around a wand.

It was just as MacGonagall said. This one felt as though it belonged. It was an extension of her arm. A little longer than the elder witch's, it was dark brown, almost black, but with age, and twisted like a unicorn's horn.

She glanced up to see Ollivander watching, his eyes wide with either fear or amazement. MacGonagall was also staring.

Piper suddenly realized that she might have committed a terrible wizarding faux pas, and smiled self-consciously. "I'm sorry. I was just trying to save us all some time…"

"Quite all right, Miss Halliwell," Ollivander said. He climbed slowly down the ladder and returned to the counter. "May I see that wand, Miss Halliwell?" he asked, very politely

She handed it to him and he nodded thoughtfully. "Ten inches," he murmured, giving it a close look, "twirled rowan wood with a core of … " He closed his eyes, weighing the wand across his palm. His eyes sprang open. "Pegasus feather. I know this wand." He very carefully set the wand on the counter and stepped away. "It should not exist."

"Mister Ollivander?" MacGonagall asked politely, but her voice was threaded with steel, expecting him to elaborate.

"It is the wand of Phaedra Halliwell. It was destroyed when she was killed," he explained in a whisper. "It is a legend."

Amazed, Piper looked at the wand. It had belonged her many-times great grandmother from the seventeenth century, the most powerful witch of her line, whose death had created the Power of Three.

"Maybe the wand was waiting for Piper," Leo offered, "Or at least some other Halliwell witch to return to England "

The suggestion had Ollivander nodding his agreement and looking more relaxed, but Piper gave her husband a sharp look. The wand hadn't been "waiting." Far more likely was that the Elders had been keeping it all this time, until Piper's spell called it from them. The only reason they would've let it go, was because Somebody thought she might need it.

More business-like, MacGonagall said, "I presume then, Mister Ollivander, that this wand is not out of your stock?"

"Precisely so, Minerva," he answered. "I can take no money for a wand that does not belong to me."

"Then we thank you for your assistance," MacGonagall said and turned to go.

and I'm sorry, that's all! She was going to go to the Cup match when the DE's appear, and then meet Snape at Hogwarts with lots of Hilarity Ensuing, of course. Then help Harry with the Cup and finally at the end, be there in the graveyard to kick Voldy's ass (because you don't hurt a child under a Halliwell's watch, yo.)

aw, it's so sad to find unfinished fic that could be awesome but it's time passed a long time ago... :(((
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mrsdrjackson: Fangirl - Ginny Weasly - HPmrsdrjackson on September 26th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC)
What a fun fic! I love it, thank you for posting it for me. :D The part where she leaves P3 is so sad, poor Piper.

Umm...one thing though. Melinda Warren is the witch who died and created the Power of Three in the Halliwell line. She died in America (out East somewhere) during the tail end of the Burning Times. They meet her when Pru accidentally lets a warlock out of her locket at Bucklands.
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on September 27th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
Hee, thx. I should've done more on it way back when. . I remember at least figuring out the new version of the DE attack that opens GOF, but didn't write it down. :(

hee. that actually works better, since then the power of Three would be this wacky American thing :) But I'd still give her Phaedra's wand, I think. oh well.

Stephanie: Piperflareonfury on October 10th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely brilliant! ♥ seriously I just love the idea that Piper would be Snape's assistant. That would be hilarious.

You should totally post this to hp_charmed, or if you don't want to join it, may I post a link to this story?
lizardbeth: Anna - TVDlizardbeth_j on October 10th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
oh, thanks! It feels like someone else wrote it, practically, since I did this so long ago.

But feel free to post a link anyplace - I never object to that sort of thing. :)