image by SwissMiss @ TDA
Chapter 3: Letters from Home
“Miss Weasley?” Professor Flitwick called out in his squeaky voice. “Can you show us how to perform the colour changing charm?” With a wave of his wand, he conjured up a white rat on my desk.
“Erm, yes,” I muttered, pulling my wand from behind my ear and pointing it at the rat hopefully. Charms wasn’t my strongest class, but at least Mum was a Triwizard Champion (though I can’t picture that to save my life) and my father was Head Boy in his day, so that had to count for something, right? If they could fight against Death Eaters, I could bloody well colour this rat.
I put a hand on the rat, to keep the bloody creature from moving, pointed my wand at it and thought the incantation. Nothing happened. I prodded it a bit with the tip of my wand, still nothing. The silence in the classroom was getting more and more audible and I knew that there were only a few more seconds left before Flitwick would sigh and assign me practice for homework. Damn that rat, I thought and closed my eyes, ready to be humiliated.
A few laughs began but they turned into gasps of surprise. I opened my eyes, wondering what they thought was so strange.
Oh. The rat was definitely not white anymore. Not even close. I couldn’t even see a single white patch. Instead, it sported red plaid fur. I definitely hadn’t know I could do that.
“Well done, Miss Weasley!” Flitwick cried, or rather, squeaked, sounding a bit too astonished for my liking. “Fifteen points to Gryffindor!”
I grinned at my small success, though it was more of a surprise to me than anything.
“Homework, practice colour changing charms!” the professor called, “Class dismissed!”
I practically skipped out of the Charms classroom, feeling almost giddy about it all. I, Victoire Weasley, had gotten fifteen points to Gryffindor, for a spell. “That was bloody brilliant, Vicky!” Grace chattered, smoothing at her dark wavy locks. “You should have seen the look on Flitwick’s face!”
“Oh yeah?” I asked, not quite sure that I should be happy that the teacher was surprised at my success.
“Where are you off to next?” I questioned Grace as we headed down the corridor. We had a free period now, right before lunch, one of the few plusses of being a Sixth Year.
She paused and moved closer to the wall, apparently rummaging around for something in her bag. “I need to send a letter to my Mum.” She made a face as she rummaged through the bag. “Here we go,” a rather long roll of parchment emerged, “Mum’ll murder me if I don’t send it today. As if Polly hasn’t already told her that she made Ravenclaw!”
I really didn’t fancy a trip up all those stairs, but if I said so, Grace would drag me along. “I’ll stay here then, maybe get a start on that essay for Potions,” I invented. Since Grace wasn’t taking NEWT Potions, she wouldn’t realize I was lying. “D’you think you could see if they’re any letters for me there?”
“Alright.” Grace agreed with a nod, “See you at lunch?”
“Yeah.” I turned around and walked in the other direction towards the Common Room. Even if I didn’t have a potion’s essay, I had loads of other homework and in the Common Room, I could meet up with Meera and Neel.
Someone pushed me to the side, causing me to stumble into a tapestry. “Oi!” I cried, as a bunch of first years swarmed past me. I even wasn’t that tall the kids seemed like midgets.
One of them jumped when they heard me, but the rest continued past, completely oblivious. It was times like this that I wished I was a prefect, so that I could dock the midgets down a few points.
I fumed all the way back to the tower and I think I got more than a few strange looks. Honestly, couldn’t a girl mumble in peace, without getting stared at like she was Harry Potter or something?
Luckily, for the inhabitants of Hogwarts, no one else had the bad luck to bump me. I stomped and huffed up the stairs, till I reached the familiar portrait of the corpulent woman.
The Fat Lady looked very bored in her portrait, though she had enough energy giving me a dirty look when I said the password. “That’s right,” she said, in her pompous voice, as if annoyed that I had been right.
“I know,” I couldn’t help but to retort.
She looked at me again, and then swung open. I scrambled through the hole, making my way to a chair by the fire before sitting down. “Damn,” I muttered loudly.
“What’s the matter, love?” a dull voice asked from another chair.
I turned around to see Nigel Remington, slouched in his chair, a book open over his lap. “Oh, hello, Nigel.” I smiled slightly at the Seventh Year.
“Hi Vicky,” he replied, sinking a bit more into the chair. “Having a nice year so far?”
“Pleasant enough,” I said, though that really wasn’t true. It was only the third day back and besides the compliment from Flitwick in Charms, I had had nothing but complaints from professors. That and homework.
“Free period then?” he asked me, blinking his blue eyes very sleepily.
I nodded. “Yeah. My only one though.” And I wasn’t about to waste it talking to him, though I didn’t say that bit out loud.
“Really?” Nigel looked shocked. “How many NEWT’s are you taking?”
“Umm,” I paused, “Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. So seven.”
“Blimey!” Nigel gulped. “I’m just taking three.”
I guess that explains why he’s the only other person in the common room right now. “That’s great,” I said vaguely. “Well, I have a Potion’s essay to write, so I’d uh, better go do that.” Yep, that was me, the awkward nerd, leaving the company of perfectly eligible boys to write a fake essay.
He nodded and looked a bit shellshocked. I’m not sure if it’s because of my class load or because of my Veela blood. Honestly, every time blokes look a bit funny eyed around me, I know it’s Veela sex magic at the work. If I’m actually trying to have a serious conversation, a good slap is the only thing that rights them.
The Girl’s Dormitory was practically empty, I realized when I entered the room that I shared with Grace, Meera and two other girls, Lola and Emmeline. Only Lola’s cat, Rudy, was inside and he didn’t even give me so much as a meow when I came in.
I dropped my bag heavily onto the floor and then sank into my very comfortable four poster. “Hello, pillow,” I whispered affectionately. “Nice to see you again. My name’s Vicky, in case you forgot. We haven’t seen each other much recently.”
The pillow, thankfully, didn’t respond. Though the fact that I was already talking to things was a sign that I desperately needed a nap. I had a whole period to waste anyways. And nap would be quite productive...
“VICKY!” Someone yelled at me.
“Wah?” I mumbled, blinking my eyes. “Is it morning? What’d you want?”
The pillow was yanked away from my head and very bright light blinded me. “Bloody hell!” I cursed. “Give that back, Grace!”
She cackled merrily. “Lunch is almost over, you twit!”
That got me up. “What? What happened?”
“Do you need me to spell it out?” Grace asked cheekily. “You. Were. Asleep. During. Your. Free. Period.” She said each word with deliberate pronunciation, as if she was talking to baby.
“Yeah, I got that,” I said bitterly, swinging my legs out of bed. “Don’t be such a smart arse, Michaels. I just woke up, I’m not in the mood.”
“I can’t help it,” Grace declared. “Smart Arse is my middle name.”
By now I was awake enough to hit her upside the head. “I’ll bet you ten galleons that your name isn’t Grace Smart Arse Michaels.” I declared. If Grace was going to be difficult, at least I could get some money out of it.
“Same initials,” Grace Sarah Anne Michaels shrugged. “No one would have to know, darling. Our little secret. Forever and ever. I promise.”
I rolled my eyes and started to giggle. That’s what happens to sleep deprived people. Excess giggling.
“Gracie, darling, rambling,” a voice said from the doorway.
I turned around to see Lola, our roommate standing in the doorway, looking as pretty as ever. A star Quidditch player, Lola was thin and fit, with long dark hair she always wore plaited. She had mastered the sporty-sexy look long ago.
“’Lo, Lo,” Grace called out. “I was just waking Vicky up. She seems to think that taking a nap in the middle of the bloody day is a good idea.”
I gave Grace a look that often makes people crumple, but not Grace; she merely laughed and fixed her hair. “Hullo, Lola,” I nodded, politely. While I’d roomed with Lo since I was a First Year, we weren’t the best of friends. She had her Quidditch friends, plus a few Hufflepuffs that she tended to talk to.
“Just about to let Rudy out,” she lunged for that cat. “Come here you bugger!” But Rudy had made his way from the bed out the door and presumably down the stairs.
“Damn!” Lola exclaimed, and dashed out the door after the cat without so much as a word of goodbye.
I watched where she’d left for a moment, hoping that she’d come back, but when she didn’t reappear, I turned to Grace. “Where’s my food?” I demanded.
She looked blankly at me for a moment. “I didn’t bring you any. If you were really hungry, you would have eaten lunch like the rest of us.”
I made a face. “But I’m hungry!” And it was true, my stomach was growling angrily under my sweater.
“Yeah? Well stop whining!” Grace declared. “And don’t despair, I brought you your letter, too!” She fished around in her bag for a moment before tossing an envelope at me.
I caught it and studied the handwriting for a moment. “Mum,” I declared with a wrinkle of my nose. I would recognize the cursive anywhere. I knew I would still have to read it, so I ripped it open and pulled out several sheets of paper and ten galleons.
How are you
ma cherée? Ça va? How is Hogwarts so far this year? I’ve missed you so much; I don’t know what to do without my little girl here.
Papa and I have been doing well, though it’s so strange for us to be alone, with Louis at Hogwarts this year. He’s already written us with the news of course. It’s wonderful, no? I always knew that none of you would end up in Hufflepuff or Slytherin. And honestly, I don’t think I could have taken the shame if you had. But luckily that’s not a problem.
We visited your Uncle Harry the other day. It was little Lily’s birthday and she was feeling rather down, since her brother was off at Hogwarts. Everything was simply lovely. I must say that your Aunt Ginerva does have style when it comes to decorating. The Potter house had been transfigured into a castle of sorts, with flowers everywhere. Lilies, in honour of your cousin.
You have your first Hogsmeade trip next weekend, I’ve heard. That’s always exciting, isn’t it, love? I’ve sent some pocket money for you, so make sure to buy yourself something pretty. Just promise me that you won’t go anywhere near the Hog’s Head. That’s not a place for a young lady like yourself to congregate.
Anyways, darling expect a package soon. I’m going to go to Paulette’s today and pick up some croissants to send to you. I know the food at Hogwarts is quite second rate, so I thought I’d send you a little something to make up for it.
All my love,
I looked up from reading the letter and turned to Grace. “I think my mum’s gone mental!” I declared, holding up the money.
“How is that news?” Grace asked. She’d heard enough of my Mad-Mum stories to share my view that my mother was absolutely positively bonkers.
I skimmed the letter again, trying to make sense of it all. “No, it’s not news,” I said distractedly. All my love
. What was that? I think the last time that Mum had told me she loved me was three years ago and that was because I had found her favourite hat that she’d lost. “This is worse. She’s being nice to me! She even gave me spending money!”
“Stop the presses!”
“I’m serious,” I shoved the letter in her face. “Read this.”
Grace’s eyes moved back and forth rapidly for a moment, then she reached over and pinched my arm, hard. “Hey!” I cried out angrily. “What was that for?”
“To convince you you’re not dreaming,” she replied. “Now quick, pinch me!”
“No!” I rubbed the spot where she’d pinched me. “But seriously, isn’t it odd? I don’t know what’s gotten into her!”
Grace tossed the letter back and sat down on my bed. “I don’t know either. Your mum’s a psycho though. Maybe it’s one of her phases?”
“Psycho yes, but not bipolar,” I mused. I traced the letters with my fingers, “Definitely her handwriting, too. Not some imposter.”
“She could have been imperiused
, you know.” Grace suggested.
I gave her a look. “Not funny, Gracie.” My parents had made sure that, from an early age, I hadn’t joked about anything to do with Unforgivable Curses. They’d lost family and friends in the Battle of Hogwarts. And no matter how much other students joked, I could never make myself laugh about it all.
“Right, sorry,” she muttered. “I don’t know then.”
“She writes to me, in this awful sappy way, and forgets Dom,” I shook my head. “What’s the world coming too?” Laughable, that’s what the situation was, simply laughable.
“Oh!” Grace’s face took on a comical look as she dived to the floor to rummage through her bag. “I forgot! She’s sent a letter for your sister too.” She emerged with another scroll clutched in her manicured fingers.
“Why’d you get it for her?” I asked. Dom could get her own bloody mail. I wasn’t about to have to deliver it to her.
Grace faced me, sitting cross legged on the bed. “Really, Vicky? Is that all you can come up with? Some sibling rivalry comment?” She shook her head sadly. “I have the bloody letter, so why don’t we read it? I can’t wait to see how she treats Dom if she was fawning over you like that.”
She had a point. “Alright, then, go ahead, read away,” I smiled. “Since you got it.”
“Cheers!” Grace broke the seal and opened it, a look of pure glee on her face. She skimmed it a moment, and the smile fell off her face. She stared at the parchment for a moment a frown slowly creasing her forehead.
“What is it?” I asked, reaching for the letter, with a grin. “That bad?”
But she pulled away before I could reach it and just kept reading. “What?” I repeated. “Grace, give it here!”
She scooted farther away, shaking her head. “No.” She clutched it to her chest. “You really don’t want me to.”
“Yeah, I really do.” I said, getting confused. “Give it here, Grace!”
“You’re not going to like this,” she warned, but handed it over anyways.
“How bad can it be?” I asked, and unfolded the parchment.
Why haven’t your written yet? Honestly, as the oldest child, I expect you to write me about important things, like your brother’s sorting for instance. But I guess I can’t hope too much that you’ve changed this year.
If I hear one rumour that you’ve been getting into trouble again or that you’ve been neglecting your studies, I’ll send an owl to Professor McGonagall and tell her to revoke your Hogsmeade privileges.
“Oh Merlin,” I breathed. “She mixed up the owls.” Damn.
Grace nodded. “Oh, Vicky, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” I scoffed, though I felt a pain growing in my chest. “It’s a comfort to know that she hasn’t finally lost it.”
“She’s a real bitch, your mother.”
I stood up, crumpling the letter in my hands. “Yeah, she is.” I grabbed my wand and set the paper on fire with a simple incantation, watching it burn until it was only ashes.
“Vicky?” Grace came up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder. “What about Dom’s letter? Do you want to burn that too?”
“Oh no,” I shook my head. “I’m going to deliver it to her, personally.”
“You sure about that?”
“Quite,” I grinned wryly. “My sister and I have quite a lot to talk about.” With one last glance at the pile of ashes, I stepped back to my bed and picked up the letter, stuffing it into my pocket and grabbing my bag.
Grace eyed me carefully, “What about the galleons?” She pointed to the pile of gold on my bedspread.
“At least I get one good thing out of this,” I said meanly. “I’m keeping them.”