Chapter 4 : Sisters
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He headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast just as the owls were arriving. Before he could make it to the table, Victoire’s eagle owl circled him once then landed lightly on his shoulder.
“Hello, Althea,” he said as he reached up to remove the letter tied to her leg. “Want a bit of bacon?”
The owl hooted in response, and as soon as Louis sat down, he placed a few pieces near the side of his plate for her to enjoy. Removing the protective covering from the letter, he unfolded it and began to read.
I honestly thought you’d keep up the trend and end up in Ravenclaw. You seemed one, but I suppose the hat saw something different? Odd. You don’t seem the conquering the world type. I’ll have to keep a better eye on you when you’re home from now on.
I’m only kidding. I know that in whatever you do, you’ll only make us proud. Slytherin house could not have asked for a better member. If there happens to be a few who don’t want you there, don’t worry about it too much. Always be the great person you’ve been raised to be.
Have you formed any friendships yet? What are your classes like? Dominique mentioned that you have two new professors, and that one of them has taken over Charms. I hadn’t realised Flitwick finally retired. He was a favourite of mine, but Dominique said midway through the previous year he started having memory issues. I know it’s too early to really tell, but let me know what Clearwater is like.
I love you, kiddo. Write soon.
P.S. Maman’s home. She says hello.
He bit his lip as he refolded the letter. It would have been nice if Maman had written his first letter, but he knew that it was too much to ask for. So instead of dwelling, he stored the sheet of parchment within a pocket of his robe and quickly ate his breakfast so that he could properly utilize his free period.
Once in the library, he located a few books on Transfiguration, and parked himself at an empty table. He was halfway through a chapter containing pertinent information when he was interrupted.
“Hello. Mind if we sit with you?”
He looked up, and the Malfoy twins came into focus.
“Sure,” he said with a shrug. There was enough space at the table after all.
While they pulled books from their bags, he took the moment to view them. Despite his confusion at the Sorting Ceremony, they were noticeably different. They both had blonde hair and green eyes, yes, but their faces were different shapes. Atria’s was narrower, her chin a bit more pointed. He had no idea about what they were like due to not having spent any time with either of them, but he wondered if there was a prominent difference in their personalities as well.
“What are you working on?” Atria whispered. If he had been confused about who was who, the Hufflepuff badge on her robes would have provided the answer.
“Charms. Have to write a few inches on Wingardium Leviosa because I blew up Clearwater’s desk.”
“That was you?” He had heard about that, but he had thought it was a rumour. “How on earth did you manage that?”
“Wasn’t concentrating enough, and I said the spell wrong, so...” She shrugged as if it didn’t matter.
“Your technique is wrong too,” Lyra said quietly, and dipped her quill in blue ink.
Atria rolled her eyes. “Not all of us can be perfect with our wandwork, you know.”
“I wasn’t sayi--”
“Remind me to tell you about proper technique after you get done with flying lessons, okay?” Atria interrupted, successfully talking over her sister.
Lyra blushed and lowered her head once more as she returned to whatever it was she was writing.
Seemingly proud of herself, Atria reverted her attention to him. “Looking forward to flying?”
Louis shook his head. “Not really. I’ve never been on a broom, and--”
Atria raised her brows. “Never been on a broom? Ridiculous. Daddy bought us brooms when we were eight. I’m practically a pro.”
Louis wasn’t sure how much he was liking Atria, but he wasn’t about to pass judgment just yet. “That’s nice.”
“Yep,” she said, and twisted a lock of hair around her index finger. “Pity I couldn’t bring it with me. It’s a Firebolt SL model.”
He’d heard about those. Currently, they were the fastest racing broom in the world, and there were stories in the Prophet about high-speed races between teenagers at night. The only reason it made the paper was because many were turning up at St. Mungo’s with serious injuries. Not only that, but the more adventurous took to the skies above Muggle towns. A couple were spotted, and the Ministry was urging everyone involved to quit with the dangerous games. Anyone caught in a race could face fines, and repeat offenders risked spending a short stint in the now solely wizard-guarded Azkaban.
Atria appeared to be waiting for him to respond, and so he said, “Ah.”
Apparently that wasn’t a suitable enough response to news she thought would impress, for she seemed somewhat put out. She grew silent, and then without warning, stood and wandered down the nearest aisle, probably to find someone else to brag to.
He glanced at Lyra. “I bet I won’t be that good. In the air, I mean.”
She peered up at him, and a small smile appeared. “At least I won’t be the only one.”
“I’m sure no one is expected to be good on the first day,” he said quietly, still mindful of the fact they were in the library. “Besides, not everyone is meant to fly. My sister Dominique is afraid of brooms. Broke down during the first lesson back in First Year. And she’s very brave.”
She raised her brows at him. “You’re not justing saying that?”
He shook his head. “My other sister, Victoire, says that outside of Quidditch, brooms are useless because there are better ways to travel. She keeps telling Aunt Hermione that flying lessons should be scrapped because they only last one term.”
As it was, many wizards were now using Muggle transportation to travel if Apparating wasn’t a possibility. He’d heard Victoire make mention of cars being much more comfortable than sitting on a broom for hours on end.
Lyra set her parchment aside to dry and pulled Atria’s unfinished assignment nearer. After reading the first few lines, she started filling in the rest in a print that to his eye, was the same as her sister’s. He vaguely wondered if they practiced each other’s handwriting.
“Mum says the same thing,” she said after a moment. “I think Dad’s disappointed that I can’t fly, but he doesn’t say anything, so I’m not sure.” She paused, briefly glanced up at him. “I want to be a curse breaker. They don’t need to fly, right?”
He felt slightly uncomfortable after she mentioned curse breaking, since it was that exact profession that had gotten his father killed. He’d helped fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, had been attacked by a werewolf, and survived. Attempting to disable curses at a site that many were hesitant to, happened to be what ended him.
Mum had been his biggest supporter when he had been asked to return to his previous profession. He had been used in a purely training fashion before asked to tackle a few jobs with a team of curse breakers that were the best the field had ever seen. They had been successful too, up until that last job that had wiped out all but one. Anita Sheffield still laid in a bed on the Fourth Floor of St. Mungo’s to this day.
He blinked a few times to clear his head. Lyra was staring at him in concern, and he wondered if his appearance had changed any. With his hands under the desk, he formed fists until his knuckles were white.
“My Dad could,” he said slowly. “But I don’t think that you need to know how. They used portkeys to get to the sites.”
He had never gotten to ask what they did once there.
The bell sounded before they could converse more, and Louis packed up his things. He told Lyra that he’d see her later since Flying Lessons were with the Ravenclaws, and without waiting for her to finish storing her items, he went to the front desk, where Madam Strange checked out a book for him.
As he walked towards History of Magic, he hoped there wasn’t anything else to remind him of his father.
Flying Lessons were held in the Training Grounds, Louis found upon being led onto it by Madam Torres, their instructor. He looked around as they stood near their brooms, and it wasn’t lost on him how many of his fellow First Years seemed hesitant or afraid. One shook like a leaf, while another was as pale as a ghost.
“There’s no reason to be frightened,” Madam Torres said, as she was probably cognizant of the fact that many would rather be anywhere but there. “There won’t be anything in this lesson that should endanger anyone. Now, hold your hands out and tell your brooms, ‘Up’. Clear, strong voices now, or they won’t budge an inch.”
Louis did as was instructed, and was as surprised as any when the broom shot up into his hand on his third effort; he had expected it to ignore him completely. As to why they were speaking to the brooms, he didn’t know. When his Uncles flew, they just mounted their brooms and went on their way.
Lyra was standing about three students away from him. Her brows were scrunched in effort, and her broom twitched a few times before shooting upward. Prematurely relieved that the broom had moved, she lowered her defences, only to be struck in the face by the handle. A few students laughed, but Louis frowned when he noticed her bloody nose. With a hard look at those who thought it was funny, Madam Torres extracted her wand and quickly fixed Lyra up. Too bad the spell didn’t work on emotions, for he could see the tears gathered in her eyes. He’d take a guess it had more to do with embarrassment than hurt.
“Now that we have advanced past the first stage, we’ll mount our brooms and attempt to fly for the first time. Not too far. Only our toes should skim the grass.”
Louis mounted his broom, and with his hands gripping the handle very hard, he followed the instructions. It was a shaky effort at best, and with his heart beating fairly fast, he waited for the the instructor to tell them to lower once more. He could already tell that he wouldn’t enjoy these lessons too much; brooms were incredibly uncomfortable.
They lowered and repeated the instructions. With his confidence only slightly elevated, he managed to survey the others. Irving was looking bored while he circled, and Lyra was struggling. She kept slipping on her broom, which refused to lift properly.
“That’s it for today,” Madam Torres said after a brief blow on her whistle. “By the end of our time together, all of you will be able to circle the goalposts with ease. I’ll see you all next week.”
With long strides, Louis caught up with Lyra, who appeared to be trying to escape. He merely walked alongside her and waited for her to talk.
“Least Attie wasn’t there to watch me fail,” she said flatly. “I wouldn’t be able to bear it.”
“You didn’t fail.” She tutted at his blatant lie. “Fine. But you heard Torres. By December you’ll be as high as the goalposts.”
“If I don’t break my neck first,” she said glumly.
He sincerely hoped she didn't.
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