Muggleborn Wizard

8 August, 2005
Lives in
Bexley, London
Significant other
No Information

Last Active: Yesterday at 06:19 am
what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

[tw: death]


The fact that they’re together at all is a mistake, and everyone seems to know it but them. James Grey is an intellectual, a no-nonsense schoolteacher who deals in reason and figures, with little room for the fanciful.

At least, that’s what he thinks, but there is no other way to describe Ophelia Davis than fanciful, flighty and delightful and full of the kind of whimsy that enraptures people helplessly.

(She first arrived in London as an exchange student for university - Comparative Literature, where she wrote her final-year thesis on the emergence of the Byronic Heroine - and promptly decided never to leave such a magical place, working her way through a mishmash of coffee shops to fund her studies until graduation and then happily embracing the destitute but charmingly bohemian life of a struggling author afterwards.)

They meet not long before the submission of her thesis as she sits in a public park, staring off into space and agonising about the best way to wax eloquent about Aurora Raby’s sad beauty in Don Juan without relegating her to the role of “token miserable literary woman”. James, like so many before him, is charmed by her against his better judgment, as she makes fun of his seriousness and coaxes out a grudging playfulness in him that he has never felt before in the entirety of his straight-laced life.

What follows, of course, is recklessness. She moves in with James before she even crosses the stage in her cap and gown, and is pregnant not long afterwards. At first, it is blissful - she writes every day, inspired by the life growing inside of her, and James marvels at the entire new world of possibility and colour that has waltzed into his life.

When the baby is born, they name her Eliza Marianne at Ophelia’s insistence - Eliza Doolittle and Marianne Dashwood have always been two of her favourite characters, after all.

If these seem like the building blocks for an idyllic life, then Ophelia, with all of her stories and Greek tragedies, should know better - it’s hard to get published, it’s hard to find inspiration when you have a screaming toddler, and it’s hard to bear the brunt of her partner’s resentment when he begins to realise that perhaps slow, steady and boring was the best way to live his life after all.

Ophelia has always loved the drama and misery of her favourite Gothic novels, but she realises that she doesn’t want to become one.


Noah Sinclair Grey is brought into the world with the dubious distinction of being a bandaid baby, conceived to fix a rift between two adults who remember that, at some point, they truly loved each other, but can’t quite recall why anymore.

He’s a last ditch effort to smooth things over, named Noah by his father, a family name, and Sinclair by his mother, who coos over his crib that Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth is her favourite Bildungsroman ever written.

As with most children brought into the world out of desperation, his arrival makes a bad situation worse. Eliza, who is six, plays with him and takes her duties as big sister very seriously, often raising her voice as she sings fairytales to him to cover the sound of their parents fighting, again. Noah is a baby, too young to understand, but she hears, and it’s always the same - there’s not enough money, Ophelia is irresponsible, James is too uptight, they’re both miserable, they’re both stupid, they’re both so sorry that they ever met.

And one morning, Ophelia is simply gone, vanished into the ether like one of her mysterious and romantic heroines. Maybe she fancies herself an Anna Karenina, leaving the family she has behind to live her dream, but the fact is that she leaves nonetheless, and there’s no way this story can be written to make it sound any better.

James is left with two small children, bills to pay, and regret.


Eliza discovers her magic in the tense sadness of the weeks that follow her mother’s abandonment. It flows out of her in waves, delighting Noah but shocking James, who doesn’t have the imagination or the sense of wonderment that Ophelia did - magic is beyond his comprehension, and he simply does his best to ignore it, like that might make it go away. It is hard enough already sometimes to not resent his children, without this strangeness folded into the mix.

Ophelia would have loved the magic.

When Eliza receives a letter by owl purporting to be from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, James is privately relieved. Now she’ll be someone else’s problem, not his mystery to solve anymore, and maybe - he still hopes - she’ll find some way to be happy.

Noah, meanwhile, has started school. Muggle school, because James hopes against hope that his strange daughter is a one-off, an anomaly. He is enrolled in the school that James - sorry, Mr. Grey - teaches at, so that his father can keep an eye on him, but children can be cruel. They mock him because of his father, they mock him because he’s missing a mother (and even though he barely knew her, Noah does miss her, terribly, places her and her stories on a pedestal that they don’t deserve).

They make fun of him because they know it will get a rise out of him, and before long not even James’ watchful gaze can keep Noah out of trouble. He remembers the little things that others tend to forget, has always had a knack for memory games and recalling details - and he learns early on that he is also uncannily good at holding a grudge.

Detentions, ripped shirts, brawls, anger, and his father’s shame and disappointment. Noah’s life has a strange, sad rhythm to it, interrupted only when Eliza comes home from the summer and lights up their cramped flat like the sun. She tells Noah all about magic and how wonderful it is, how happy she is, how happy he’ll be too when he joins her at Hogwarts, and God -

Noah wants his own letter to come more than he’s ever wanted anything in his life.


The Sorting Hat sits on his head for all of a few seconds before it declares that he is a Ravenclaw. He joins his house and marvels at the blue trim on his robes, so deep and so different to the goldenrod yellow that marks Eliza, now a seventh year, out as a Hufflepuff.

He can still hardly believe that he’s there, preparing to learn magic of his own, but it’s real. His letter arrived, thick and heavy parchment, and Eliza took him school shopping at Diagon Alley, and when a wand at Ollivander’s chose him it reacted to him so strongly that one of the store windows blew out, confirming once and for all that yes, he was a wizard.

He is a wizard. It’s a mantra that he repeats to himself over and over again, but just because they have spells and potions doesn’t mean that his classmates aren’t still children - and children can be cruel, Muggle or magical. Noah discovers detentions in new and inventive ways as he grows acquainted with the power of his wand, and with the term Mudblood.

Perhaps it would have gone on forever - Noah is ready to fight forever - but Eliza has never seen him this way, and as she graduates at the end of his first year, bright and full of promise and off to Eastwick to study Magical Theory, she makes him promise that he’ll be good, for her.

It feels like his father has only ever been disappointed in him, but as his sister pokes at the Ravenclaw crest on the front of his robes and promises him that there are other ways to be clever than to mouth off and fight smart and dirty, Noah begins to believe in himself too.


The term “no hard feelings” doesn’t make sense to Noah. He is practically made up of hard feelings at all of twelve years old, but the difference when he returns to Hogwarts after the summer - alone now, without the comfort of Eliza - is that he no longer wears them on his sleeve for everyone to see.

If his professors and peers are stunned by this altered and improved version of Noah Grey, they don’t dare to say it to his face just in case it undoes the change in him. In the brave new world in which Noah hands in his essays on time and (mostly) stops sending both himself and other students to the Hospital Wing, he seems to thrive, able to use the talent of his memory to improve his previously woeful grades.

Of course, he hasn’t changed completely - there is a core of resentment in him that doesn’t simply go away overnight, and he still hears the murmurings. Muggleborn who stole his magic, just like his sister, a crass thing who hardly belongs. He hears, and he remembers, and he begrudges, but he holds onto his anger like a beacon, and convinces himself, as he imagines mother would have, that adversity is all part of the great literary hero’s path to happiness - like Odysseus, or Sir Lancelot.

He decides to strive for excellence, and to do what makes him happy - he joins the Wizarding Chess Club and the Gobstones Club, and he practices his charms and dueling magic almost religiously as though to remind himself that these are things that he is capable of. He delights over the rare first editions of books in the Library, becoming a voracious reader, his own and only way of becoming closer to Ophelia through the pages of books that they’ve both read, and magical books that he’s sure she would’ve only ever dreamed of seeing with her own eyes.

With self-acceptance even comes a few friendships over the years, strange to him at first but eventually a source of their own kind of happiness. Those who manage to get close to Noah find him sarcastic and deadpan, not particularly respectful of authority even though he toes the line, surprisingly able to remember insignificant little details about them mentioned once or twice in passing, and gifted with an imagination that seems at odds with the detached and defensive way that he carries himself.

When he graduates from Hogwarts, he makes the decision to study Magical Literature at Eastwick University. Somehow it just feels right.


When he tells people that he wants to be a writer, they raise their eyebrows at him. If Noah was under the impression that Eastwick would somehow be different to Hogwarts because now he is an adult, now he’s immune to judgment, he was sorely mistaken. They try to be polite, but it still sounds the same - was there not anything that he was particularly good at at Hogwarts? Too clumsy to be a potioneer, too weak to be an Auror, too foul-tempered to be a Healer?

He hates that their reaction to finding out that he is Muggleborn is always to have a poorly hidden lightbulb moment - like it makes sense, somehow, that he’s not quite suited to do anything else.

He grows to resent his chosen field of study, an education that he is toiling away at a Hogsmeade bookstore and editing papers in his spare time to pay for, only to calculate that he’ll still complete his degree in debt anyway.

By the time he does graduate at twenty, he is disillusioned with the whole process and with the idea that he’d ever wanted to do something so mundane. He is jaded and sarcastic and closed off, and yes, most of all, disappointed.

Eliza has returned to Hogwarts, the school that made everything in her life begin to make sense, and is now teaching Charms in a traineeship - she’s achieved something that he hasn’t, acceptance and integration and carving out a place for herself in the magical world that is actually, truly, magical.

Noah allows himself a few months to wallow and flip through the pages of the Prophet, searching for something that makes sense.

And then he writes to the Department of Mysteries, just making the deadline for their recruiting process for that year.


Is he passionate about his work? No, not truly, not in a way that consumes him like Hogwarts does Eliza - he doesn’t respect the rules enough to follow them to the letter and something about the structure of the International Ministry rubs him the wrong way, makes him feel a little out of place. That said, working in the Department of Mysteries is a good, impressive job, rigorous learning curve aside, and it makes Noah happy enough to do something that challenges him intellectually and makes other people sit back and say “wow” with respect in their eyes when he uses that word. Unspeakable.

He does enjoy researching, and he finds interesting ways to use his imagination and lateral thinking to brainstorm new, untried solutions and test methods. When, after his training and a rotation through the various sub-departments, he’s ultimately placed into the Time Chamber and tasked with working with his team to unravel the mysteries of the flow of minutes, years, centuries, he does feel a sense of belonging, even if it’s not the one that he originally imagined for himself.

Like his sister many years before him, Noah finally feels at home in the magical world, like he’s proved that he’s earned his place.

A few months later, the news about the explosion at Hogwarts circulates like Fiendfyre through the halls of the Ministry first.


Dearly beloved, Noah is biting down so hard on his grief and anger that he tastes blood in his mouth, hot and metallic, as he watches Eliza’s casket being lowered into the damp, loamy earth.

She leaves behind a husband and a young child - Noah’s niece - but Noah is sure that it is he who feels the most grief, he who has been abandoned by the only person he had ever depended on, he who has just been dealt a body blow from which he is sure, as he aches and his body shakes but he does not cry, that he will never recover.

Eliza loved magic with all her heart, so much so that she wanted to spend her life teaching it to those who came after her, so much that from the very beginning, she was desperate to fit in and prove that it was something she was meant to have.

And now she is dead because of it. She is dead and they pulled her body from the wreckage of the damned school so battered and broken that not even magic, the fixer of all things, can mend her enough that he can see her face in an open casket one last time before she is put to rest.

He probably goes mad for a time - at least, that’s what the rumour mill at the Ministry says - but when Noah returns to work, he is cold and composed. He doesn’t talk about it.

He is burning up from the inside out, but this is no schoolyard grudge.


Noah has always been defiant, but now it isn’t just light discrimination that he rails against and tries to prove wrong with his own achievements - now his rebellion is razor focused, and it is vengeful.

He’s come to know people in interesting places over the years, working at the Department of Mysteries. He knows that he shouldn’t, but just out of curiosity, he tells himself at first, he tracks down a member of the Purium Republic. His sources assure him that the Dark wizard is a murderer, and when he hears these words, Noah sees a closed casket.

He tells himself that he just wants to talk as he buys a second-hand wand from a shady shop in Knockturn Alley and pockets it furtively, face covered. As he waits until the rest of the sleepy English country town is dormant before he forces his way into the locked house, he reasons that he just wants to look this wizard in the eye and ask why.

His breathing is fast and shallow, though, his heart beating triple-time like it’s leaped into his throat.

The flash of green explodes from nowhere, making him throw himself behind an armchair with a painful thud as shockwaves run up the length of his body, both from the impact and his brush with death. This is no joke - what was he thinking? He’s not this person - what was he thinking?

“Shit,” he breathes, the word sticking in his mouth as he fights back a wave of nausea, but then he is moving, throwing a hex, and this is a very bad time to realise that maybe he’s not actually prepared to kill.

His opponent doesn’t have the same moral hangup. Another curse makes that clear, and when Noah glances at the other wizard’s face as it’s briefly illuminated by bright green light, he knows that it’s twisted with murder, mouth open and wand held aloft to end it -

And his own recently bought wand lifts, adrenalin coursing too quickly through his body to allow his hand to shake. Wildly, he shouts one word - Confringo! - and his feet are knocked out from underneath him as he is blown backwards through a window, glass and all, as everything seems perfectly still for one moment before the explosion takes the house apart.

He doesn’t wait to assess the damage or see what happens next. His ears are ringing, he’s half-blind from the flashbang, and his body feels like one united fracture - he Apparates away, as quickly as he can.


The Muggle newspapers say: gas explosion, one dead. The Prophet says: unstable Erumpent horn explodes, one dead.

Noah is at work, taking inventory of the Department’s stock of Time Turners, when someone asks him if he heard the news.

He nods sympathetically when his coworker sighs something about people irresponsibly keeping these volatile and dangerous items in their homes. “Yeah, it’s sad,” Noah says, in that Noah way of his.

He is surprised by how little he means it.
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