Paige didn't see Harry outside of class again until summer started. According to him, he had a rather long lock time in the cupboard, quite a bit of it without food, all followed by a nice long lock in the house. And by another call to child's service's by Mrs. Palmer.
Finally, though, Paige got to see Harry.
It was just her completely bad luck that she had to pretend to be Dudley's best friend to do it.
*I hope you realize I am never, ever doing this again. I'll sneak you out the window, first.* She signed to Harry, all the while smiling at Mrs. Dursley, who was currently trying to, in her honest opinion, set her up with Dudley. Um.....eww!
*Noted,* Harry signed from where he was serving breakfast. *Although there is no window by the cupboard. You'll have to sneak me out at night.*
Paige almost rolled her eyes. *I hate you. Why haven't I punched you in the face by now?*
*Who else would put up with your craziness?* He teased.
"And, of course, Dudley has the most marvelous Smeltings stick to go with his uniform," Mrs. Dursley gushed. "Did you show Paige your Smeltings stick, dear?"
*Oh God,* Paige signed. *Some idiot gave that boy a stick? If you weren't my best friend, I would kill you for not warning me, Harry Potter. As it was, I barely got away with just stealing the salt and pepper shakers.* After quickly saying what she wished to Harry, she replied to Mrs. Dursley. "Actually, no, Mrs. Dursley, he hasn't shown me his Smeltings stick. I would love to see it, Dudley,"
*Oh, so it was you who stole the salt and pepper shakers. Somehow I should have known.* Harry smirked after she was back in eye contact.
*Shut up, Harry.*
*Not talking, Paige.*
*Harry James Potter, you know what I mean!*
"Oh, my baby boy is growing up! I can't believe he made it into Smeltings!" Mrs. Dursley hugged Dudley to her side as he smiled fearfully at Paige. He held the stick behind his back, knowing she had fast reflexes.
*Oh dear God.* She signed to Harry. Luckily, she was saved from answering by the thump of mail on the welcome mat.
"Dudley, get the mail," Mr. Dursley said almost immediately. Paige was surprised the oaf was given any chore to do, no matter how small.
Dudley, of course, argued. "Make Harry get it,"
"Harry, get the mail,"
Harry shared a knowing look with Paige. He always got a beating when he fought back but that didn't mean he'd stop trying. "Make Dudley get it,"
"Hit him with your Smeltings stick, Dudley,"
Harry quickly got up and went to grab the mail. He didn't want to be hit by the stick again.
Harry came back from the door with a surprised look on his face. He gave his Uncle Vernon a couple of bills and a post card that he knew fully well Paige was probably going to figure out how to get out of the house just to see the Dursleys squirm and sat down, with his very first, very own letter.
Although she was not getting a full on brain attack, Paige had a small, pulsing headache. She assumed it was from spending so much time with the Dursleys. She noticed the letter and tapped Harry on the shoulder from where he sat next to her. She didn't even have to sign her question before he signed the answer.
*It came for me,* he signed in surprise.
Her eyes widened as well. *Seriously? Well, open it you goof!*
Harry had just begun to tear it when Dudley leaped up and grabbed it, not giving Paige a second's chance to react. "Dad! Dad!" He cried. "Harry got a letter!"
"Give it back!" Harry cried. "It's mine!"
Paige jumped up. "Don't you know it's illegal to steal someone else's mail?"
Dudley looked scared, but Vernon (who Paige had always wanted to hit but never got the chance) looked indifferent. "Don't be ridiculous," he chuckled. "Who would be writing to him?" He gestured toward Harry offhandedly as he turned the letter around.
Suddenly, his face got very, very white. "Pe-Petunia!" He yelled.
As Harry's Aunt Petunia came over, she saw the coat of arms and grew a strangely crazed expression, not unlike her husband's. "Paige," she said, barely above a whisper. "I think it's best you leave. Right now,"
It was an order, not a suggestion. Paige's head grew slightly more achy as she wondered what could be in the letter. "That's alright......I was just about to say I needed to go, anyway," Make them feel at ease, a voice in her head told her. You're more likely to get answers later.
"See you later, Dudley," As expected, she said nothing to Harry. But the two shared a meaningful look as she started to walk out of the kitchen.
Just before she walked out of the door, he noticed a mysteriously empty spot on the table and a small postcard hanging out of Paige's pocket.
A few days later, Paige finished getting ready to the sound of a pounding next door.
Walking over, she was greeted by a red faced, distraught Vernon and nails in the letter box. Using his distraction to her advantage, she peaked inside Harry's cupboard, but found nothing there- not even Harry's things.
"Psst!" She heard. She looked up, and saw Harry's green eyes and lightning bolt scar peaking down at her.
"What are you doing up there?" she asked in confusion.
He smiled, for the first time, truly, in a month. "Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia moved me to the toy room. Come on!"
So that's how Paige found herself in Harry's new room, finally standing the ability to get some answers. "How...."
"I don't know," He told his best friend honestly, as both of them sat on the bed. "Those letters have Uncle Vernon freaked out; he's nailing the letterbox opening shut,"
She stared at him. "Um....I gathered," obviously she wasn't getting anything else out of Harry- he didn't seem to know anything, either. "That branch," She pointed out a thick, sturdy branch, leading from a few inches away from Harry's window to a few inches away from hers. "You can sneak out through the window, and get to my room, easy. I guess now I was right; I don't have to pretend Dudley's my best friend anymore,"
"HARRY JAMES POTTER!" Petunia Dursley yelled.
Knowing that: A. Petunia probably didn't know that Paige was in the house, if Vernon was as distracted as he thought he was, and B. It would be very, very bad if they were found, Harry turned to Paige. "I think that's about to be tested,"
Paige nodded, hugging him carefully in case of new bruises. "You know my number,"
With the last sentiment, she turned and almost flew out the window.
So, tea with Harry's family......why, oh why was this becoming a regular thing?
*Sorry, Paige," Harry signed. *I'm not supposed to be out of the house. Something about those letters*
*Crazy letters,* Paige signed offhandedly. Her real task was trying to get out of sitting knee to knee with Dudley Dursley.
"I love Sundays," Vernon said, somewhat randomly. "Why do you think that is, Dudley?"
"Uhh...." The dumbfounded boy looked somewhat like a monkey without the scratching of the head.
"Let me guess," Paige said, beating him to it, "No post?"
"Very cleaver, Paige!" He said in delight. Harry smiled at her, indicating that that would have been his answer as well. "No post on Sundays. No bloody letters today! Not one! Not one single blasted....."
A rumbling from the fireplace silenced him, and Harry and Paige shared a somewhat surprised and confused look as one, single letter was blasted into his lap. A sharp spike pierced Paige's head, but she ignored it.
The house began to rumble, as if caught in an earthquake. One by one, letters began to pour out of the fireplace, until a whimper from Dudley seemed to be the catalyst.
The full power of a canon seemed to be behind letters shooting out from the fireplace. Letters began to fill the room , and fall from the sky like snow. Dudley and Petunia huddled in the corner, squealing lightly.
Paige looked in disbelief as mountains of letters poured out of the fireplace. Harry was enjoying it, as he tried to grab letters out of the air as they were falling. She smiled, but gently placed a finger on her temple as she inconspicuously picked up a letter and placed it in her jean pocket, hoping that, if Harry didn't manage to catch one of the letters, she'd have one waiting for him at her house.
Unfortunately, that wish didn't come true.
Harry finally caught a letter and joyously sprinted to his cupboard, the closest thing he could get to to lock from the inside. Vernon sprinted after him, and, in order to help her friend, she sprinted after Vernon.
Vernon pinned Harry down and tore the letter out of Harry's scrawny hand with his beefy little one. And when Paige tried to dig Harry out from under Vernon, he managed to grab the letter out of Paige's pocket.
'He's barely touched me before today,' Paige thought, -This letter thing has to be big.'
"That's it!" He yelled, trying to keep both Paige and Harry down. "We're going away! Far away! Where they can't find us!"
Dudley turned to Petunia in fear. "Daddy's gone mad, hasn't he?"
Paige couldn't make a snarky comment- she was to busy trying to snake Harry out from under Vernon.
The Dursleys took a spur-of-the-moment family vacation, dropping Paige quickly and quite roughly on her front porch before taking off, barely allowing her to say goodbye to Harry before taking off. Later, she and Harry would both look on the moment of their goodbye and laugh their butts off. Now, she felt scared for her friend and sent a quick prayer up to whatever higher power was listening that Harry would be safe and wouldn't be abused to much on this trip.
Yet, walking into the living room, almost all thoughts of Harry pretty much flew out the window.
Suddenly, the pulsing pain that she had pushed to the back of her mind made itself known, trying to bust out of her temples. She collapsed, and she heard tiny voices behind her, but they just seemed so far away, and she was in so much pain......
Then, clarity came.
Kneeling in front of her was an older woman, with grey hair and a kind looking expression. "Miss Palmer, are you alright?"
Paige blinked a couple of times, tested her fingers, then pushed herself upright. "Yeah, I think so,"
"Paige!" Mrs. Palmer grabbed Paige into a bear hug. Paige's eyes squeezed out of her sockets, and she patted her mother's back, trying to be released.
"Um....Mom? Oxygen's good, too,"
"Oh dear!" Mrs. Palmer let go of go of Paige and checked her all over. "Are you sure your alright? You collapsed!"
"Positive, Mom," Paige said. "It was just....."
She looked to the grey haired lady with the specticals, who now had a slightly more severe expression. "This has happened before?"
"Only a couple of times," Paige admitted. "To that point anyway, but the headaches are pretty common,"
"You had a block on your magic, dear, which is slightly worrying. Don't worry, I removed it, but I have no idea why someone would bind the magic of a muggleborn child. This does explain the lack of accidental magic, though," She muttered.
Paige looked confused. "Magic? Muggleborn? Mom, what's going on?"
Her mother looked uncomfortable. "Paige, this is Professor McGonagall. She's from a boarding school in London,"
Paige smiled. "Um......Hello?"
"Yes, I'm from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," She said, pulling a letter that looked a lot like Harry's from inside of her robes.
"Witchcraft and......what?" Paige asked in awe. She looked on the back of the letter- very specifically addressed, by the way. How did they know she had the bedroom next to the tree?- and saw the same symbol that was on the back of Harry's letters.
"You're a witch, Paige," McGonagall told her with a smile. "You have magic. You can do unexplainable things, wonderful things. If, of course, you work hard in your studies,"
Her mind went numb. If she was a witch, being accepted into a school of magic- for that was the only thing the school could be, and Harry was getting the same letter......
"Professor," she said carefully, "Do you know if a boy named Harry Potter was accepted as well?"
Professor McGonagall inhaled sharply. "How do you know about Harry Potter?"
"What do you mean, Professor McGonagall?" Mrs. Palmer asked in confusion. "Harry and Paige are good friends. Harry's our neighbor," something dawned on Mrs. Palmer, and she turned to Paige. "Paige Loretta Palmer....."
Paige bit her lip. "Harry's been getting letters too," she told them. "But Mr. Dursley's been stealing his letters,"
Both women gasped. "Paige, why didn't you tell me?" Mrs. Palmer asked.
Paige uncomfortably rolled her wrist, where Mr. Dursley had accidently slammed her down when she was trying to get to Harry.
Mrs. Palmer noticed, and suddenly there was rage in her eyes. "My God, I never thought he would stoop this low. I'm going to kill that Dursley!"
"Would someone please explain to me what in goodness name is going on!?" Professor McGonagall asked.
Paige spoke up in a quiet voice. "Harry's been abused by his Aunt and Uncle for years. They've been stealing his letters, but today they all started blasting through the fire place, there were so many," She looked up a McGonagall, who was smirking. "Professor, I've seen Harry do crazy things, but I think that that's as good of an explanation for magic being real as anything. Anyway, Mr. Dursley slammed him into the ground to keep him from getting any of the letters. I tried to get Harry out from under him, but Mr. Dursley's so heavy....an-and he kind of......"
"Kind of what, Paige?" Mrs. Palmer asked dangerously.
Finally, she held out her wrist, which was in the process of turning slightly black and blue. She shrugged. "It's not anything worse than I've gotten on the slopes,"
The professor took out her spectacles and examined it. "It doesn't look very bad," she admitted. "Nothing one of the mediwitches at Diagon Ally couldn't fix,"
"Mediwitches? Diagon Ally?"
McGonagall smiled at Mrs. Palmer. "Mediwitches are our version of doctors, and Diagon Ally is the best place in London where young Miss Palmer can buy her school supplies. You can open your letter if you like," she said gently to the girl.
Paige did just that, with her mother granting her a little help as her wrist was slightly more painful than she was letting on. Paige smiled when she saw the same thing McGonagall had basically told her, but frowned at the "we await your owl" part.
"Umm, professor? What does it mean by 'we await your owl'?" She asked.
"Owl post is our version of mail," she explained. "We use trained owls,"
Paige looked to her mother. "This....this just might take a little getting used to,"
"I agree," Mrs. Palmer said in earnest.
"Does Dad know about this?" Paige asked her mother.
Mrs. Palmer nodded. "I called him at work. Honey, Tyler would be so proud of you,"
Paige looked down. Tyler Mathews had died when she was just a baby, so she didn't remember him at all. But she always knew it was high praise when her Mom said her first Dad would be so proud of her.
She looked up to professor McGonagall. "Wait a moment, what about skiing. If I'm going to school here, does that mean I can't ski?"
"It is a boarding school for magic, so we don't have a ski team," McGonagall admitted.
"Whoa, wait a moment. Boarding school?!" Paige asked. She looked to her mother. "Boarding school!?"
"Yes, Paige. It's a boarding school. But you could send as many letters as you wanted, and you could come home every holiday. Does this change your mind?" Mrs. Palmer asked. She was a little apprehensive about it as well, but if Paige wanted to.....
"As long as I can still train at least," Paige said. "And if Harry's going to be there, I guess not. He is going to be there, right?"
McGonagall nodded. "Mr. Potter may not have told you this, but his parents were very powerful wizards. His mother was a muggleborn, just like you, so his relatives that he has been staying with don't have any magic,"
Paige shook her head. "Look, I don't think Harry knew. He was just as surprised about the letters and that talking snake at the zoo as I was,"
"Paige," Her mother started carefully. "What talking snake?"
"The snake, at the zoo, when the glass disappeared last week and Dudley got trapped in the exhibit last week," she looked at Professor McGonagall. "That was magic, right?"
McGonagall's eyes almost flew out of her head. "You.....you and Mr. Potter.....you both spoke to a snake....."
"Yeah," Paige said with a frown. "Isn't that a witch thing?"
McGonagall looked at Paige with a mixture of fear and yet, interest. "Not exactly, Miss Palmer. What you are saying.....it sounds like it could be Parseltoungue, a type of language. Most of the wizarding world can't speak it, it's very rare......and for you to be a Parselmouth...... " she clapped her hands together. "Well, now, I can take you to Diagon Ally, if you like, get away from all this negative chatter,"
Paige looked up sheepishly. "Um, actually professor.....you said Harry's going, right? If you don't mind, I'd rather not go to Diagon Ally without him. We've been best friends for years, you know, and.....I just want to share this with him,"
McGonagall saw the incredible bond that she had with Harry in just a few minutes, and against her better judgment, nodded. "Of course. Since you've told us Mr. Potter is not getting his letters, I guess we'll just have to send Hagrid. Would you like to go with him?"
"Will it be dangerous?" Mrs. Palmer immediately asked.
McGonagall snorted. "While sometimes Hagrid can be absentminded, with Mr. Potter and Miss Palmer together, I highly doubt that they will be in any danger. It seems, from your story at the zoo," she said, remembering Paige had mentioned the glass disappearing, "that you and Mr. Potter together are a formidable force. Especially against the muggles we know as the Dursleys,"
Reluctantly, Paige's mother nodded. "Alright. Paige, would you like to go find Harry with...err.....Hagrid,"
Paige nodded quickly. She knew that, depending on how far out of the way they were, by the time the found Harry he could be anywhere from being fatigued and having a loaf of bread, to being beaten within an inch of his life.
"Alright, I'll apparate with you to the school, and we'll walk to the headmasters office and explain the situation. Then we'll send you on your way with Hagrid," She looked over towards her mother. "Muggle....err.....cell phones won't work- many of the areas Miss Palmer will be visiting have a large magical build up, and as such, electricity often malfunctions around the areas. However, when I'm at the school, I can send someone to have your fireplace connected to the floo, so that she can talk to you in any area where there is a fireplace connected to the floo as well. Would you like me to do so?"
Mutely, Paige's mother nodded again. She didn't really want to admit her ignorance, but she had no idea what a floo was.
Meanwhile, Paige was full of questions. "What's apperation? And what's a muggle?"
"A muggle is simply a mortal- someone who does not have the ability to use magic. And apparation is a type of transport.....I suppose you would call it 'teleportation''. Shall we go?"
Paige considered for a moment. "Ok. I'll see you later, Mom,"
But Paige was facing away from the door, so when it slammed, in surprise, she did something equally surprising.
She orbed. She flashed out into a large amount of light blue, sparkly balls, and then reappeared and looked as surprised as everyone else in the room (including her father, who had just walked in).
Paige paled at the surprised look on Professor McGonagall's face. The orbs had to be that accidental magic that she was talking about- right? But as she looked at the woman, her hopes were dashed. "That wasn't accidental magic, was it?" she asked, dreading the answer.
McGonagall's lips pursed. "No....I'll have to check the records, but.....I believe that was something else entirely. Have you ever done that before?" McGonagall somewhat figured it would be a no, with the mental block.
And, exactly as expected, Paige shook her head. "No, never,"
"What is it, do you think? Oh, dear, this is Professor McGonagall, who I was telling you about," Mrs. Palmer quickly explained to the confused Mathew Palmer.
"Pleased to meet you, ma'am," Mr. Palmer said in his warm tone. "What was it that Paige just did?"
"Well," the professor said carefully. "If I'm right, it's a different type of magic entirely. The earth has several different types of magic that work with it in harmony- in general circles, Miss Palmer and I possess 'wand magic', named because it generally is controlled with this," she held out her own wand. "There are some spells that can be done without a wand, and a wizard or witch can learn to do wandless magic, but often we channel it through this to make sure it does not go out of control. What Miss Palmer did...." she trailed off. "If I'm right, it's called orbing, a type of teleportation, though I don't think Miss Palmer can use it to teleport just yet, if she's only just learning, but it's usually reserved to creatures known as whitelighters- people who have done good in their lives that guide others with important destinies. But for Paige to be a whitelighter.....that's impossible. Whitelighters, while they breathe and walk and live- well, they don't age. They're dead,"
The Palmers all looked freaked out, and Professor McGonagall rushed to assure them. "I'll ask around, and see if we can get some answers. Alright?"
"Alright," Mrs. Palmer said. "Can we get a hug from Paige before she leaves?"
There was a hushed whispered conversation between Paige's parents as Mrs. Palmer tried to explain what was going on. Mr. Palmer smiled at it's end. "Come here, sweetheart,"
Paige was pulled into a tight group hug with her parents, then realized she had forgotten something. "Wait!" She cried, running up into her room. She came down with a wrapped package and sped to the professor's side. "Ok, I'm ready,"
"What is that, Paige?" Professor McGonagall asked.
Paige grinned sheepishly. "I'm an artist along with the skiing- I painted Harry something for his birthday. It's July 31 tomorrow,"
The Professor smiled. "Alright, we'll get going, then,"
"Wait," she said again. "Mom?"
Paige sighed. "In my room, there's a box: inside, there's a postcard, salt and pepper shakers, and a hammer and some nails. Would you mind putting it on the Dursley's front porch for me?"
Mrs. Palmer rubbed her nose. "Do I want to know why?"
"Not particularly," Paige replied with a grimace.
"Alright," Mrs. Palmer sighed. "But you know you are only getting away with this because I don't like the Dursleys either, and it's very close to your birthday, are we clear?"
Paige gulped. "Yes, Mom, completely,"
And with that, they apparated away.
Paige pulled a small sweater that Hagrid had gotten her from the school stores yesterday tighter around her lean frame. Who in their right mind would drag anyone to a place like this?
Oh, that's right; the Dursley's weren't in their right mind. She had almost forgotten.
She smiled at Hagrid as a hermit crab slowly scuttled away from her foot, and she bent down to pick up a shell: Paige loved to collect lost things, and she particularly loved seashells when she could get them. She placed it in her pocket, and ran slightly to catch up.
"Now, look 'ere, Paige: We'll be arrivin' soon to where Harry's supposed to be," Hagrid told her, as he pointed at the small building on the rock. It was less of a building, and more of a hut.
They saw the lights flicker on and off, not unlike the newt's exhibit and Harry's cupboard, as they drew closer. Paige picked up a small piece of seaweed in her shoe and gripped in her hand to squeeze: she was slightly nervous.
Finally, they reached the door, and Hagrid began to knock.
Sorry for the long time, no update: it mostly has to do with school and word count issues. Real life is busy, sometimes, sorry.
Anyway, I need an answer from my lovely readers, in which would you prefer:
I am either planning on making this a Paige/Harry story, or a Paige/Henry story, in which Henry is also a muggleborn and Harry and Paige have a sister-brother like relationship. I can see merits in both, and I think both could be very successful fics. So I could use a little help. I need the answer by the fifth chapter (if this ends up being a Paige/Henry fic, I'll need to do a bit more incorporation than I would for a Paige/Harry), so let me know your views!