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Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: G
Title: From Minerva McGonagall's mailbox.
Disclaimer: Based on characters and situations created by J K Rowling. She owns them, I just borrow the universe.
Notes: I started this one by thinking about what the wizarding world would look like in other countries, given the situation in Britain. I had originally planned this as a slightly non-standard "exchange student" fic (student from Hogwarts going to the Australian equivalent, Bluegums), but instead, I wound up with one of Professor McGonagall's relations. Characters do what they will. There may be other letters coming out of this, but don't bargain on it.

(Oh, and a dugite (pronounced dew-gite) is a type of poisonous snake native to the south-west of Western Australia.)

Dear Great-Aunt Minerva,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It's good to hear you're feeling much improved. I must repeat my invitation for you to come and visit us here in Western Australia - I'm sure the climate would do you good, and you must admit, after taking four Stunners in the chest, a convalescence would do you the world of good. But I know you'll say you don't wish to leave things as they are, which I quite understand.

So, rather than waste time and effort in trying to persuade you, I'll just let you know how things are over here. The birthday presents were greatly appreciated, although the girls did have something to say about your preference for plaid. Susan is starting to study for her exams - both the magical ones, and the standard ones. It's her final year at school, and she's taking two Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English Literature and Biology for her standard exams, as well as studying for her practicals for the Equivalencies. Unlike her great-great-aunt, she's not much good at Transfiguration, although her charm work is very strong, and she's positively phenomenal at Herbology. She says she's planning to go to the University here, and study Medicine (the Muggle version of Healing), and see whether she can supplement it with magical Healing as well. So two degrees, both requiring many years of study. She's speaking of seeing whether she can get a scholarship to the Healing college attached to St Mungo's, although given what you've been writing, I think she's best off finishing her Muggle studies first. Give things a chance to settle down a bit.

Laura has just turned fifteen, and she's started noticing boys. But not just any boys. One of her favourites is a distant cousin of the Malfoy family on his mother's side, from what I can gather. Certainly the lad talks the whole Malfoy line - Pure-bloods, Mud-bloods, the natural aristocracy of magic. I swear, being in the room with him is like being back at Hogwarts listening to Lucius Malfoy or Bellatrix Black. I can manage about ten minutes before I leave the room to howl with laughter. Honestly! The Australian wizarding population is so small if this lad insists on only marrying someone from a pureblooded family, he's going to wind up wed to one of his cousins. I've discussed this with Laura, and pointed out if she is developing a taste for poisonous reptiles, it's easy enough for us to go to AntipoDeans and purchase her a dugite! Further news when she comes out of the sulks - some time next week.

Mark sends his love. His family have finally got used to the notion of having a wizard in the family - I think they started mellowing when he and I assisted at his sister's eldest's wedding. Everyone wanted to know who arranged the catering, and Mary (Mark's mother, if you remember - stout lady, very strident voice) still says she doesn't know how I managed to get it all organised so well. She's so busy maintaining her delusion that it's a combination of her superb organising skills and my skill at microwave cooking. I haven't let her in on the truth, but let's just say the next time I get a chance to visit Olivanders, I'm going to find out whether there's a way of getting a grip for the base of a wand. I wound up with blisters from all the gesturing!

Hmmm, what else has happened that you'd be interested in? Oh, Aaron has gone up another belt in tae-kwon-do. He's very pleased with himself, and we have some photos of the grading that I'll send on to you. Sadly, these are Muggle photos - the only wizarding processor in the whole of Australia is in Canberra, and they take weeks to process a film. (It'd almost be quicker to set up a darkroom myself.) Anyway, the grading was last weekend, so I decided to get them processed by the Muggle one-hour processors, rather than waiting on sending this letter.

From your last letter, I understand there's been a great deal of excitement over in England. I feel very sorry for that poor Potter boy. It must be so hard for him to have to try and complete his schooling in the middle of so much upheaval. I wonder, do you think he'd want to come and visit Australia for a little while? Just for a holiday or something? A bit of time away from all these things which must remind him of so many people he doesn't have any more. I'm a bit hesitant to suggest it, but from the little you've put in your letters, it sounds as though the poor child has undergone an awful lot in the past five years.

No, I'm not suggesting I turn up there in London and whisk the child away, Aunt Minerva. Not when I can feel you looking sternly at the letter even as I'm writing it. But you might want to consider suggesting the notion to Albus Dumbledore, and raising it as a possibility with the lad. I'm sure we could find a bed for him if he decides to visit.

Alternatively - as you may or may not be aware, I'm now on the board of the Bluegum Academy. So, given the way things are turning out over there, it might be worthwhile for us to see about a student exchange program. Or at least a scholarship. Well past time we got some new blood over here Down Under, after all. I'll talk with the board, and we'll see what we can do. If we can work the thing, it's a way of getting at least one child out of range of all the troubles.

Anyway, I do hope you're feeling much better soon, and that you remember to take things easier (note that I'm not saying "take things easy" - I know you!) while you're recovering.
Lots of love from all the family,

Millicent Murdoch

P.S: Given the situation with YKW, remember we're available whenever you need us - rest, recreation, hideyhole, new identities for people you want to disappear - you name it, we'll do it.
P.P.S: Don't forget that portkey I gave you when you last visited. It should still work, and I keep checking the landing site to ensure nothing's built there. Remember it for emergencies.
P.P.P.S: Mark's just come in from speaking with Eric Johnson, and they're getting together to see about organising an Australian auxilliary force. It'll probably be some of the younger ones - the ones who can pretend it's just a "working holiday" in England. But it's a few more people, and it means we'll be able to ship over some more long-distance portkeys. For if the worst should happen...

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