"Come, children - no classes today." Professor Longbottom waved his cane at them. "We're going to London today to purchase what you will need for the coming year. Finish your breakfasts quickly."
Dickon couldn't believe it. But. Purchase? He raised his hand.
"Professor, what if we don't have money?"
He smiled - a smile that always made Dickon feel safe and warm, though he'd never tell anyone. "That's not a problem, lad. There's a fund for such as you."
"I don't take charity."
"And it's not. One day, when you're a full grown wizard, you'll put money back in to help other children. So, it's more of a loan. Now, finish up and try not to get all over egg, please."
Of course, Freddy did, but Miss Rivers took out her wand and the egg was gone, so no harm done. Then the five of them and the three adults walked down to the village, into a pub.
"May we make use of your fireplace, Mr Higgles?"
"Taking the M...children for an outing, then? Of course you may, Professor." The handsome blond man smiled.
"Thank you. Now, children. Say these words after me. Diagon Alley."
"Again, as clear as you can!"
Twice more he had them say it. Then Mr Douglas took a handful of powder and tossed it into the fire, which turned green. "Diagon Alley!" he shouted, and then walked in.
"Now the rest of you children - Dickon first, I think." Dickon nodded. He did just as Mr Douglas said. After oh, so many fireplaces passed by, he found himself tumbling out of one, right into Mr Douglas' arms. "That's a boy. Well done, Dickon! Now, stand out of the way."
They followed one by one, with Miss Rivers in the middle and Professor Longbottom stumbling out in the end, to be caught by the other two adults and the barman. They all brushed themselves off right there at the hearth, and then Professor Longbottom pressed bricks in a pattern and it opened up. And there was a street more marvelous than anything Dickon had ever seen, and he'd seen all of London.
The eight of them went from shop to shop, buying books and cauldrons and, in the most marvelous place ever, wands just like the adults had. Dickon's was ash with a unicorn hair. Mr Ollivander said it would be good for Charms. He made flowers come out the end, did Mr Ollivander. And then they were measured for school robes, which wasn't much fun, except the girls liked it.
Finally, after a hot and busy morning, they all sat outside a shop that sold something called ice cream. This turned out to be wonderful - cold and sweet and lovely. As they ate, they saw another pair of adults shepherding several children his own age. "Professor? Who are they?"
"Those are some of your future schoolmates. They're also Muggleborn, like you." He looked at them oddly. "But they already had some schooling, so we let them stay home until now."
Ah. Gentry and the like. Well, they may have had more schooling, but he had more cunning and he already knew a little magic. So he'd not let them get the best of him. Not Dickon. He looked around some more, and saw others, of different ages, walking in groups alone or singly with adults. "Those others - their parents are wizards, then?"
"Most of them, yes. The others are old enough that they can shop on their own. Everyone got their letters recently, so they needed to get supplies."
Daisy put down her dish of ice cream. "Professor, will you be their teacher, too?" She looked about to cry.
"Yes, lass, but if you need to talk to me I will be available. But you'll have your head of house, too, and other friends."
"I only want you, Professor!"
Dickon couldn't look at her. She was such a baby. Sure, Professor Longbottom was nice, but he was going to be at the school.
He looked around Diagon Alley and at his new books and robes and wand, and decided that he just might stay in this world a bit longer.