“You did what?” Rupert demanded of Ethan.
“I took young Tom to this enclave I found.”
“Who?” Rupert asked in furious and confused tone.
“That kid at the orphanage.” Ethan said slowly.
Rupert took a moment to remember. “Oh, right, him.” The pause the resulted from that statement did not last long. Rupert glared at Ethan, his face tightened in anger and incomprehension. “After all these months you take a child we met once instead of contacting me?” He snarled. “What would posses you to do that?”
Ethan didn’t look concerned at all by Rupert’s tirade. “I needed to know if the kid could see it, it was a thought of mine.” He began. “Ripper, the magic here is nothing like I’ve ever seen.” Ethan took the brown sack and several more out of his coat pocket. “They have their own kind of currency and literature.” He pulled out one of the children’s books along with a few others.
“Where did you get those?” Rupert asked snatching one from him. “Charms and their theory?” He opened it and frowned. “I haven’t heard of half of this,” he said as he began to read.
“No, I wouldn’t think so.” Ethan replied with a frown. “They use wands of all things to cast their magic and from what I can tell,” he said pulling out another book, “only a small population can do magic.” When Rupert gave him a pointed look, Ethan rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean. An idiot just can’t grab a magic book a say ‘Incanto’ or whatever nonsense to give them what they want.”
Rupert nodded before grabbing at the other book Ethan grabbed. “Introduction to the Wizarding World.” He muttered as he began reading.
“So why did you take the boy?” Rupert asked once again, his anger lessened at the books’ presence.
“Hm, I wanted to see what happened to him.” Ethan said. “I also needed him. If my arms were full it wouldn’t look odd that I didn’t use any magic.” Ethan told him.
“Arms full?” Rupert asked not following.
“I carried him,” Ethan said easily. “Boy was tired by the time we got there but didn’t let me help at all. I just grabbed him. He didn’t say a word the whole trip so I figured he wouldn’t scream or something annoying.” Ethan said recalling the day.
Ripper sighed as he flipped through the charms book and cursed, profusely. Ethan began laughing. “Shut up, Eth.” Ripper snapped as he began looking through the books Ethan bought. “Get your arse up and help.” Ethan grabbed a random book.
Tom looked opened the book again, his eyes following the flying witch as she zoomed across the page. Tom tried to grab her. The witched zoomed to another part of the page. He smiled slightly before his brows furrowed in concentration as he tried to read the bottom of the page again.
“Ro-when-ah?” He tried. He gave up, he was tired but didn’t want to go to sleep. Jimmy had noticed his books and didn’t want the older boy discovering them and taking them away. Tom frowned. Ethan said no one would notice the book as long as he kept it hidden but Tom had been looking at it after dinnertime, not intent to keep it hidden. Was that why Jimmy had seen it?
Tom placed the book behind the headboard, making sure it stayed in place. They wouldn't look there at first; his pillow and mattress would be the first thing someone looked at. Tom wasn’t stupid enough to hide his things there. His money was stashed in the wall, a place only Tom knew about. He smiled thinking about his money. Ethan had given him a galleon, knut, and sickle before he had left. As his eyes drifted shut, Tom moved into a more comfortable position.
Ethan had said he’d be back to talk to Tom. “Now, Timmy,” Ethan said, a hint of mischief in his voice but the look in his eyes kept Tom on his feet. Tom didn’t bother correcting the man that time. “We’re going to discuss this little trip of ours the future ones.”
“Future ones?” Tom asked. He did want to visit the place again.
“Yes,” Ethan said easily. “You do want to come back?” He asked him. Tom nodded, not too urgently he hoped. Ethan smiled. “That’s good.” He reached to Tom’s bag. Tom gave it to him before he got too close. Ethan took the bag and took out a book. “As you can see,” Ethan said flipping open to a page. He lowered it. Tom still had to crane his head to see. The drawing was using a stick to a giant mushroom into throne. The giant caterpillar that had been on top fell off. The image moved again, back to what it had done. “He’s using this to do his magic.” Ethan said pointing to the stick.
Tom nodded. “The people in the shops were using them too.”
“Yes, they’re wands.” He said pointing to a word on the bottom of the page. Tom nodded, not wanting to seem dumb. “As you can tell me and Ripper don’t use them,”
Tom looked at him curiously. “Why not?”
Ethan shrugged. “We learned magic differently.” He closed the book, placed it back into the bag and handed them to Tom. Tom snatched it back. His book was in here. “That doorway, the wall, you remember it?” Tom nodded. “I don’t think it would pose a problem if I had enough time to study it to open it but as you saw a wand was used to open it. I don’t know how uncommon my brand of magic is so I don’t want to open the door without a.” Ethan said easily. “I need you to keep my arms full, act disruptive so that when a group of them is going through they don’t notice.”
Tom nodded; he understood that. “I get to go through and you can come along. Does that sound reasonable to you?” Ethan asked, his tone clearly stating he did not enjoy having to reason with Tom.
“Yes.” Tom said quietly. His eyes were shining with excitement.
“Good, now I’ll take to Ripper about it and then you.” He had said.
Tom smiled. He was going back to learn about magic. He just wasn’t another orphan. He had magic and was going to learn about it. Comforted with this thought, the four year old drifted off to sleep, his dreams filled with magical possibility.
Rupert turned the pages again, not understanding more than half the works referenced. Although he tried to play down his education and background, Rupert was more than adequately educated in the occult. Ethan had the same problem but the man was remarkably less than visual with his frustration.
“I talked to the boy before I dropped him off.” Ethan said as he turned the page to another book. “We can use him to get into the place. I think it’s called Deacon Alley or something like that.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Rupert asked frustrated. “Take the bloody kid along if it gets us in. I don’t particularly care. The greedy little bastard will get a ransom out of us at this rate though,” he snapped as he through down the book in disgust.
Ethan smirked. “I wouldn’t say that. The little bugger probably will want to come at any cost now that he’s seen it. We’ll just have to convince him we don’t really need him.” Rupert smirked back.
Tom looked up again, anxious. Ethan said he’d get back but it had been almost a week since he’d left. Tom wanted to go back, needed to. It was the only way he would know he wasn’t just another orphan, to be forgotten unless he got in the way.
Tom chewed on a piece of taffy, a very small amount he’d gotten with his money. Tom was sitting in the courtyard again, waiting for either one of the two. The taffy was making his stomach hurt; he couldn’t keep it though. The ants would get to it if he didn’t finish it.
Tom looked up again, he felt like crying and shouting. He needed to go back. Tom glanced up and looked at his hands, they were sticky now. He got up and ran inside, ignoring his stomach’s churning. He raced to the washroom and washed his hands then rushed out again.
He settled down again in the same corner of the courtyard he’d been in the last two time’s they’d seen him. He sat back down and tried to make his magic work. He couldn’t concentrate enough and the small toys only shook in place instead of levitating. Tom nearly gave up for the day until again, a shadow fell over him. He quickly looked up and saw Ripper. Tom’s heart sped up.
“Hello, Tom.” Ripper said smiling. Tom smiled back, his stomach rumbling and his anxiety surging back to the forefront. “How are you?”
Tom shrugged. Ripper’s smile grew. “Ethan and I are planning on going tomorrow, do you think you’d be able to be a distraction?” Tom nodded vigorously. Ripper smirked. “That a boy. We’ll come to pick you up at dawn.”
At Tom’s furrowed brow, no matter how quickly it passed it had been seen, Ripper smiled gently. “At sunup, when the sun comes up.”
“What time is that?”
“Sunup.” Ripper said again, his voice showing his irritation at the question. “If you don’t think you can get up at that time we can always get you next time we go.” Ripper frowned. “Next month or so.”
“No!” Tom said horrified. They’d forget about him in a month’s time. They’d be distracted by their new magic world. Tom wasn’t sure or cared why Ethan had taken him the first time but he didn’t care. He wasn’t going to be left out of this. He wouldn’t sleep if he needed to. “I’ll be up.” He said seriously.
Ripper gave him a kind smile. “We’ll see you then.” Ripper said wondering how Tom did not brought up the home’s caretaker. Tom smiled looking relieved and rather pale. “Are you alright?” Ripper asked concerned. He didn’t want a child ill, no matter how annoying.
“Yes.” Tom said firmly, still looking pale. “My tummy just hurts. I ate too much taffy.” He turned a bit green.
“Go and rest.” Ripper ordered. Tom nodded, his stomach churning more violently now.
“See you tomorrow.” Ripper said dismissively.
Tom nodded. “Sunrise.” Tom said firmly, he headed toward the orphanage before turning back to see that Ripper was there. Ripper raised a brow towards him before turning around and walking out of the courtyard. Tom staggered into the building, feeling ill and worried.
Rupert sat down again at the Leaky Cauldron seeing Ethan holding another cup of what was labeled Dragon’s Brew on the menu or possibly the same one he had when he left. “How’d it go?” Ethan asked in a casual and quiet tone.
“Well, I said sunrise.”
“Sunrise?” Ethan asked looking a bit annoyed. “I take it it’ll be me that will need to pick him up.”
“Just leave the little sod.” Rupert said bored. “We really don’t need him.”
“No, get him.” Ethan said frowning.
“Fine.” Rupert said agitated. He hadn’t gone into the alley more than a few hours that week. It was confusing and stealing was getting harder, the wizard’s
police was upping its patrols with the increase in thefts. Luckily, Ethan had discovered the bank Grinotts would exchange normal money, although it took a bit more money to match what they had stolen. “I’ll get him.” He said lazily, his attitude hiding his excitement. “He’ll be out for a few hours most likely.” He frowned. “How old is he?”
Ethan frowned. “I don’t know. He can’t be too old. Maybe six?”
“Doesn’t seem right.” Rupert snagged the cup from Ethan and downed the now tepid drink. He winced at its taste.
Ethan dropped a few coins onto the table and stood up. Rupert did the same. The two left.
Tom hesitantly crawled out of bed, he still felt sick but everyone was asleep, or it looked like. He crawled toward his things, grabbed his clothing and struggled to get dressed in the dark. The dark didn’t bother Tom like it did some children but he didn’t like the silence that pressed him. He made sure his wizard money was in his pocket in case he wanted or needed something. He would be careful how he spent it, knowing it couldn’t be a lot but he could still need it.
He grabbed his coat and managed to sneak out into the courtyard. He wrapped his coat around his arms and sat down in his corner. He waited.