Chapter 1 : C'est la
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“Time to wake, Nad,” calls an odiously loud woman.
“Mon nom est Nadja,” mumbles an ill tempered young girl from beneath a pile of covers, “pas Nad.”
Nadja pulls in her sheets close, still taken in by the sweet embrace of slumbering bliss.
Alright. Perhaps not.
Actually, I’d been awake for hours.
I had been unable to shut an eye for more than half a minute together from sheer exhilaration of reading my favourite of all stories, those tales as told by one bard names Beedle. I really like folk tales. At trios heures I finally fell into a horridly indecisive state of half dormancy.
“Nad,” mum cries again, “we really must hurry, chère.”
“D’accord,” I call back, almost petulant.
“Your tone young lady,” mum warns benignly.
“Wah, wah, wah, wah-wah,” I mimic as I prepare myself to wash.
Afterwards, I throw on my favorite flats, skirt and loose top. Comfort comes first when travelling after all, as grand mère says.
I hop down the steps two at a time and slide my way over to my dearest mother.
I lean in to peck her ‘good morning’ on the cheek.
I take a slice of toasted bread with marmalade spread and sit across from my mother to eat.
“Why don’t you speak French at home?”
“I do speak French at home,” I insist, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and unwittingly getting brown eye crayon residue on the length of my index finger.
“Nadja Jane,” mother sighs despairingly, “please refrain from foul language.”
“In either language,” she adds before I can quip a characteristic witticism of mine own.
My smile grows.
Mum smiles back.
Amusement is quite catching.
I hear a hoot and smile widely; far more than I had before.
Octave flies in and plops into my lap.
“Mon petit chère!” I cry in delight, offering him some toast, I scan the letter and look up at my mum, “it’s from grand mère.”
Ma petite chère, it begins.
Mum comes to my side of the table to read over my shoulder and I smile at all that dearest grand mère has to say.
Half of my life has been spent avec ma grand mère. We live in France for the most part but travel everywhere all the time. She is the most wonderful woman one may ever have the pleasure to meet.
Not that I am in any way biased.
She’s off in les États-Unis d'Amérique at the moment.
I am off to Hogwarts in two days.
Therein lies my reason for being home in England a week earlier than usual, that and the fact that I prefer apparating short distances and am rubbish on a broom.
I wish I were home in France. J’adore Londres, really I do, but there is something about our lovely château in the country by the waters that makes me happy in a simple and complete way.
It’s funny but I often feel like a visitor at home with mum.
“Are you ready to go to Diagon Alley?”
I finish up my breakfast with a draught of orange juice and smile in reply to mum. She gets up and takes the plates as I follow with the glasses, setting them to the side of the counter top.
“Let’s floo off then,” mum says, rushing in her enthusiasm at the prospect of going off to shops.
I follow behind, grabbing my bag and some coins as well as mum’s things.
We enter through the establishment belonging to a distant cousin of mum’s - one Florean Fortescue whom I thoroughly adore.
“G’day Nadja,” he calls as I step through the grate of the fireplace.
I grin winningly and run to peck him on the cheek, “’lo, Florean,” I greet cheerily, “business booming?”
“Quite,” he laughs but his smile cracks a little around the edges, seeming less easy than before, “considering there are two days left of the summer holiday.”
“Off to buy books, I presume?”
I nod. Mum rolls her eyes. Such is life.
“Have fun,” he smiles then turns mildly stern and says, “and leave room for dessert, young lady.”
I laugh, “yes, sir.”
We turn onto high street and I am instantly assaulted with the horrid presence of youthful excitement.
I invariable feel myself revert to my eleven year old person whenever I come to Diagon Alley, I’ve lived in France for most of my life and haven't often had the leisure of wandering about London’s finest boulevard.
Unfortunately, Diagon Alley has done quite the turn around in seven years. Witches and wizards barely meet each other’s eye, let alone stop for a quick chat as mum and me weave through to Obscurus Books for a quick gander.
I gaze longingly at the piling stock of Potions books as mum chats with the shop owner; an old classmate of hers I think.
We leave rather quickly and mum turns to me to ask if I’d rather browse through Flourish and Blotts or accompany her to Gringotts. As much as I adore goblins and dragons, I loathe the lines that this time of year invariably attracts, so I opt for books.
Mum nods and takes off down the street to the glorious marble building; very much the witch on a mission.
I glide over to the stuffy shop full of dusty bookshelves and shiny new books.
Very much a witch at her leisure, I find myself skipping through the shop, picking up the few books that I need.
Alright, perhaps not.
I may already have my books for Hogwarts bought and paid for at home, but I still need more books. One can never have too many books. And this one about the Properties of the Secondary Xylem is only three galleons two sickles untaxed. That’s a bargain for a herbology book. Really.
“She’s fit alright, but has nothing on Rosenbloom,” I hear from behind a shelf.
What’s this impertinence?
“Rosenbloom,” I hear another young man ponder aloud, “She's fit, but she doesn't know it - certainly has a fine -”
I step from behind the shelf and am confronted with two Slytherin fifth years.
“Smile,” finishes Dmitri Pratchett, smarmy grin in place.
"Alright, Nadja?" asks his tiresome friend, one Regulus Black.
I smile noncommittally and say, "Fine, thanks," as I find an unscruffled copy of the Properties of the Secondary Xylem on the shelf.
Running my finger along the binding and flipping through the book makes me smile quite involuntarily. Particularly because it seems that this copy is exquisitely unhandled.
I excuse myself from the young Slytherins with a look and inclining nod to make my way over to the section of the shop that has stacks of history books.
"Told you she's fit."
I’m not woman’s lib or anything, but that comment was rather uncalled for.
I roll my eyes but do not deign to respond.
"Some dignity in the presence of a lady, boys," I hear from behind me, "or do you need be taught how to behave?"
I stumble in my steps. No. I haven't stumbled.
That was my heart stuttering.
I cringe at my mildly embarrassing thoughts.
Why must he have this effect on me?
I invariably turn into an utter sod when confronted by R.J.Lupin.
I half busy myself by looking at a bookshelf and can only hear mumbled responses. Silence follows and I look to see the retreating backs of two Slytherin fifth years. I toy with the idea of going over to R.J. and go so far as to step out from behind the bookshelf when I hear a boisterous bunch of young men enter the shop.
"There you are, Moony," calls the voice of James Potter.
I jump and hide behind a tall pile of books that are clearly supported by messy charmwork.
"G'day Prongs," R.J. says, "Alright Padfoot, Wormtail?"
The shop is getting full and I have to strain to hear their conversation.
Not that I do.
Strain, that is; I am not spying on Remus and his friends. I am waiting for mum and looking at books; a totally innocent and habitual past time.
I sigh in something akin to disappointment and recall a new biography I was reading about in the Daily Prophet about Bathilda Bagshot that I am dying to get my hands on.
I browse through the new biography books and only find a couple by that wretched old Rebecca Skeeter - who I believe is related to Rita Skeeter, a particularly witch that graduated a couple years ago - when I find myself in worryingly close proximity to R.J. Lupin, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew. I amble away - slower than I'd like to as I am weighed down by two rather cumbersome books. I hear the words "full moon" followed by what sounds a lot like something soft being walloped and a hasty "shut your gob".
I turn behind a bookshelf and find myself colliding head first into Sirius Black.
Such is life.
Disclaimer: The world as created by J.K. is a mighty fun place to make OCs dabble with the Marauders & co. No infringment of any sort is intended.
C'est la: so it is; as is
Mon nom est Nadja, pas Nad: My name is Nadja, not Nad.
A trois heures du matin: at three in the morning
Chèr: dear (masc.)
Chère: dear (fem.)
D’accord: a statement of agreement or consent.
Merde: an exclamation of discontent referring to excrement
Ma grand mère: grand mother
avec: with; in the cmpany of
Mon/Ma petit/petite chèr(e): Dearest little one of mine
Les États-Unis d'Amérique: The United States of America
J’adore Londres: I love London passionately
Tone sort gets shuffled and knocked about in the translation I'm afraid but I did my best
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