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Sleeping well for once after all the recent worries, Hilda didn’t hear Nell get up in the middle of the night and stealthily go through her pockets. Finding what she wanted, she slipped out of the room, returning a few minutes later. The look on her face would have terrified Hilda if she’d woken to see it, but luck was with Nell, and she slipped back into bed undetected, and highly satisfied with her work.

The next morning, Dr Travers was surprised to receive a letter in a scarlet envelope. That surprise, however, was nothing compared to his astonishment when, on slitting it open, it began to lecture him in Miss Wilson’s voice. As the insults heaped upon him grew worse and worse, he became more and more incensed, so by the time it reached the end he was quite literally incandescent with rage. This was unfortunate for him, since when the letter reached its conclusion and burst into flame, he spontaneously combusted along with it.

That was the end of Dr Travers. Luckily, no-one else was harmed by the explosion, his landlady philosophically remarking that she’d been meaning to redecorate that room anyway.

That evening, Hilda was very nearly startled out of her wits by the sudden appearance in her sitting room of a man clad in a purple robe, long white beard tucked into his belt. The fact that Nell was barely startled at all, and in fact greeted the apparition warmly, caused her to wonder whether she’d quite lost her mind. 

Seeing her puzzlement, Nell hastily began to explain. It took a good deal of talking, and a hasty practical demonstration (perhaps turning a paperweight into a mouse wasn’t the finest idea Nell ever had), for Hilda to grasp the fact that her partner was, in fact, a witch, and the man - who introduced himself as Albus Dumbledore - a wizard. Even more startling, it seemed that Nell had used magic which was somehow connected with Dr Travers’ sudden demise. 

She sat silent, half dazed, through the discussion the other two held about ‘rare and unfortunate effects of Howlers’ and what exactly constituted ‘a breach of the Statute of Secrecy’. She was roused eventually by Dumbledore’s calm affirmation that “Of course you should have told her! You’re allowed to tell your partner, my dear girl.”

Nell had gone crimson. “I know spouses and relatives are exempted from the Statute, but I didn’t think friends...”

“She’s not just your friend, though, is she?” His eyes twinkled over his half-moon glasses at the stunned pair. Before either could reply, he said, “Well, I must fly. I’ve been away from Hogwarts quite long enough - That’s the wizarding school, I’m Headmaster there, you see,” he added in an aside to Hilda. “I hope I can pop by again soon, though ideally not on similar business. I don’t get to meet many Muggle Heads, I’m sure we can learn a great deal from each others’ methods. Goodbye for the time being! Don’t blow up anyone else, Nell!” With that, he spun on the spot and vanished with a loud crack.

It took some time for Hilda to come to terms with all the revelations of that day, but she accepted it eventually. Professor Dumbledore kept to his word, and proved an excellent if often startling visitor, with whom they had many enjoyable conversations. And Nell was still Nell, after all. After declaring a ukase against the transforming her possessions into rodents, Hilda came to quite enjoy magic. It was rather handy for Nell to be able to instantly transport herself from the School to St Mildred’s and back, and her spells proved themselves most useful on a few occasions. Yes, Hilda decided, watching lazily as a flick of Nell’s wand tidied her room, all in all everything had turned out splendidly.




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