Chapter 1 : the first ever night. Of sixth year, that is.
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It was too early to be awake. Too, too early. So early I needed two ‘too’s’ to emphasise my point. Excitement did that you see, and boy, I was excited. No, its not Christmas. Its not my birthday. As disappointing as it is, I’m not getting showered in gifts when the rest of the house wakes. I was excited because after a summer of training hard, I was going back to Hogwarts. Sixth year Baby! This is more exciting than third year and man, that was a total blast. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, pushing my hair away from my face so I could see. Although, it was four in the morning, so there wasn’t much to see since it was still dark and the sun had yet to find the horizon and get its lazy bum over it. I was completely awake as I sat up and bunched my long hair up in a hair tie so that it didn’t get in my face. My stomach rumbled loudly, so I decided to just go ahead and have an early morning snack. Just because I could.
As I left my room I heard a familiar little squeak and looked around; Jinjin was awake too, and he had hopped after me on his tiny little legs. He was my pet butterfly kangaroo, still just a pup. I got him when I was eleven and they grew very slowly, and often not found anywhere near magical folk. He was a tiny, fluffy tree kangaroo with butterfly wings on his back, which were just growing out, too weak to lift him yet. The world I grew up in, we had a lot of weird animal crosses like that. He looked up at me expectantly, his big black eyes melting me like they always did. I smiled.
“Okay Jinjin, you can keep me company” I whispered, and he squeaked, hopping alongside me as I shut my bedroom door. My house was built differently to other houses I’d been to; outside my bedroom door was a walkway, with a sturdy barrier, and leaning over that you could see the whole downstairs, a big open place with large couches and a fireplace and the glass doors that lead outside, where no doubt Lumen was sleeping. This walkway extended all around the room, leading to mum and dad’s bedroom, grandpa’s bedroom and the spiritual room we all just call the study. There was a huge room under mine, not opened very often, as it had family heirlooms in it. For a small family like ours, it was a very big house, although the amount of celebrations that took place here it was often full of people.
I headed downstairs and made myself a snack (toast drizzled with nutella of course, what did you expect?), watching as the first glimmers of sunrise shone through the window. I thought about going back to Hogwarts giddily, seeing my cousins and my friends again. It had been a tough summer not seeing them at all. They probably thought I was dead or something and it was my ghost that was writing the occasional letter to them. Jinjin squeaked, nudging me with his nose, probably saying something along the lines of ‘hey Vida, give me some of that food already!’. Vida was me, by the way, just in case you didn’t catch on. It means life in Spanish, and I had a lot of life in me. Most of the time. I fed him some toast which he ate quite happily, and carried on watching the sunrise. I had a moment of panic, wondering if butterfly kangaroos could eat chocolate, then relaxed; this was not the first occasion, and he was fine, so I could stop worrying.
“Vida? What are you doing up so early?” A voice asked, and I turned. Grandpa was awake. I bowed my head, which was a sign of respect, and grinned, praying there was no chocolate on my face.
“My excitement woke me up early” I told him, and he chuckled. For an old man, grandpa was very tall and broad shouldered, and he looked a lot younger than he was. From all his meditating he had very few lines on his face, which made his tattoos stand out more. Grandpa was an air bender, like me. What’s an air bender, I hear you ask? Good question! It’s a very old skill of being able to control the air and bend it to your will. Air benders can create hurricanes or gentle breezes or even balls of air that can be thrown across great distances. It runs in families, my parents both being air benders too. Grandpa was a master, which meant he had the tattoos; full blocked arrows that run down his arms, legs back and even the top of his head, stopping at his forehead. He had promised me that my skills were that of someone at a much higher level than I; I could become a master myself sooner than we expected.
“Your emotions get the better of you sometimes Vida. You need your sleep. Although, I guess that goes along with the magic” He said gently. My magic didn’t come from my parents, or grandpa. I was what the wizarding world called a ‘muggle born’, and hell if I knew how to explain how I became a witch. My parents had searched my whole family history, and there were no traces of magic in them- just benders of all kinds, except for this generation, which had not one, not two, but three witches all in one. Just a random occurrence in which the universe had just decided to give magic to any random person. I wasn’t complaining though; magic was brilliant.
“I’m not tired grandpa, and if I get up now I can be ready when its time to go; I’m always late, and I’m sure Emma and Nikita want to see me after training all summer, sooner rather than later” I said, and he chuckled again. I had a busy summer alright. Grandpa had finally taught me the moves of a master, which took a lot of patience and practice and it kept me away from my two cousins all summer. Nikita was a fire bender, a year older than me but still just as immature at times. She was in her last year at Hogwarts, and with her family’s traditions, I had a feeling she’d be in for a tough seventh year. Emma was a water bender- well, she used to be. Her family were stumped at first- they were air benders like us, no water bending in them- until Emma had visited us and created a mountain in the back yard with a stomp of her foot. Her parents called in some experts from republic city, who confirmed what I had been telling everyone all along; they’d finally found the avatar, and it was my cousin! Let me clarify, I had guessed this YEARS ago. Just so you know. Don’t forget that. Its very important. Well not very, but- ugh, just remember that it was me who guessed it, okay?!
Our lot were the strangest of all the bending families. We had fire, air, the avatar and magic in just one generation. Oh, and FYI, in case you were wondering what the avatar was- this was the only person (and I mean the ONLY person) who could bend all four elements. There had been a single avatar, reincarnated for thousands of years, and Emma was it. The avatar. She’s like a celebrity now. I hope it doesn’t go to her head. Heck, its gone to my head and I’m just her cousin. Wow, my cousin is thousands of years old! She was a man at times! I’ll never let her live it down!
“I’m sure they will be happy to see you child. They’ll be happy to see what a lovely swan you grew into” He joked, and I rolled my eyes. I had that joke with him for years- my favourite story being the ugly duckling and now he was telling me I had become the swan. Nice, grandpa. I’ll give you that. I had become graceful with my bending.
“Grandpa, don’t embarrass me” I moaned. Yes Grandpa, don’t embarrass me in front of Jinjin, he’ll tease me forever. Jinjin squeaked through a mouthful of toast, as if he knew what I was thinking.
“What? You have changed this summer Vida; your training has made you stronger, more yourself. I should’ve done this years ago- if you weren’t more of a hurricane than a spring breeze”
“So you’re saying I was a hurricane?” I asked.
“You still are sometimes. Your parents hardly knew what to do with you”
“Neither did my teachers” I admitted, and he laughed, those few lines on his face crinkling even more. I was a hyperactive being; mix that with magic, air bending and sugar and yeah, you got yourself a hurricane.
“Go and get dressed child; the sun is already up” He said, and I nodded, finishing my toast and returning to my room, Jinjin hopping along after me.
It wasn’t too long before I was out the door and into dad’s car, trunk packed and Jinjin sat in a wicker basket pretending to be a cat. He had to sit in there every year until I’m of age so I can transfigure him legally. No one at school bar my cousins knew about bending, so they’d be freaked out if they saw a butterfly kangaroo hopping onto the train every year. So Jinjin was locked away for the train ride, and became a cat when we arrived. He hates it, but I have to sneak him in somehow, I’m not leaving him behind.
“You got everything Vida?” Dad asked. I checked my trunk and my pockets and nodded.
“Yep, let’s go!” I said, and he started the car, beginning the long drive from the middle of the countryside to London. Mum and grandpa waved goodbye from the door and I returned the gesture, grinning madly as the excited butterflies churned in my stomach. I was actually going, oh spirits I was so excited.
Luckily, I didn’t throw up this time. I could see dad glancing at me in the mirror, checking I was okay. He sometimes muttered ‘nearly there now Vida’, which was a total lie but it made me feel better. As air benders, neither him nor me were fit for ground travel like cars, and it made us both a little sick. Like Nikita hated boats and water benders hated travelling by floo (well I supposed they did; Emma was the closest I ever got to a water bender, and she couldn’t stand it).
Dad and I almost threw ourselves out of the car once we’d parked at king’s cross, laughing at each other’s green faces. I loaded my trunk and cat basket onto a trolley and dad pushed it through the station, weaving past random muggles who were on their way to work. I skipped along beside him as we weaved through the crowds, occasionally air bending to give people a gentle push out of our way so we could get through.
“This is my favourite bit” Dad grinned, as we reached the barrier between platform’s nine and ten.
“Mine too!” I squeaked, and he laughed. We waited until there was no one looking before running at the wall, both flinching even though we never crashed. The wall seemed to melt past us and we arrived on the other side in one piece, a completely different platform and entirely different people waiting for us. The scarlet Hogwarts express gleamed as it waited for the students to get on board, shooting steam everywhere so it was hard to see. Many adults were wearing robes and I could see things you’d only find in the wizarding world being passed from person to person or being shown off to friends.
“Are they here yet?” Dad asked, walking through the crowds and looking around for my cousins. Being the tall person that I am, I craned my neck and searched, squinting through the white haze.
“Dunno, I can’t see them” I said, looking around. I spotted some people from my year, and some familiar popular people, but no one that I would leave the safety of my dad for and risk getting lost. I was not re-living those childhood nightmares of running through the supermarket trying to find my mum and ending up at the customer help desk. Not fun, I cried for hours. I still would.
“This steam is annoying” Dad muttered, sending it away completely with a wave of his hand. Dad wasn’t a master, but he knew what he was doing with air bending. As soon as the steam cleared we saw our family, Emma and Nikita stood together with my aunts and uncles. I grinned.
“’Kita! Emma!” I called, and they turned, smiling. I engulfed them both in a hug, laughing as they stumbled back from the force of it. I had definitely gotten stronger this summer.
“Vida! We missed you!” Nikita said, and I laughed. She looked the same as usual if not a little taller. Her dark hair was in a neat bun, a few shorter strands falling into deep brown eyes. Her mother had given her darker skin, like a caramel brown a very pretty shade, making us look nothing like cousins at all. Emma and I however, were often recognised as related. She was shorter than me, with shoulder length brown hair, brilliant blue eyes and tanned skin. My hair was lighter than hers, eyes just a different shade of blue but we were the same build, and being in the same year we spent a lot of time together so we had the same sense of humour sometimes. My dad had begun laughing with his brother (Nikita’s dad) and his sister (Emma’s mum) whilst his In-laws fussed over their daughters. Emma was being particularly fussed over.
“You send us a letter if anything changes okay? If you make anything happen, the littlest thing-
“Dad, I know okay? Trust me, it’ll be fine” She said, and I nodded, throwing an arm over her shoulder in an over-exaggerated sort of way, making a gust of wind mess Nikita’s hair up. She scowled and I giggled.
“Don’t worry I’ll look after her” I promised. Nikita scoffed.
“Yeah, that’s reassuring” She muttered. I stuck my tongue out at her.
“Okay girls, I think the train is ready to go, you should get a seat now before it fills up” Dad said, giving me a hug.
“Make sure you do look out for her, okay? She’s bound to be a little confused” He said in my ear, and I nodded.
“What are cousins for, eh?” I replied, and he smiled. I took my trunk and Jinjin and lead the way to the train, climbing on board with my cousins behind me, looking for a compartment.
“Maybe Al has saved us some seats; he normally does” Emma suggested. I nodded, smiling. I couldn’t wait to see Al again, having exchanged a few letters over summer but not actually seeing him. He was my best friend, and being away from a best friend that long, I missed him a lot. Before this summer we spent loads of time together; during the holidays we normally met up at least twice a week, I wasn’t used to such isolation.
“I think he’ll get tongue tied when he sees you- have you looked at yourself lately?” Nikita asked, and Emma snickered. I worried a little then. It was true that I wound the window down on the motorway on the way here, which meant my hair was messy, and I woke up at four so I would definitely look tired. Plus I’m quite sure I missed a spot of nutella when I washed my face earlier, but I tried to think it wasn’t that obvious. Was that enough to tongue tie someone? Had I suddenly gotten a spot that I didn’t notice before? I was never good at first impressions after a long time apart!
“Vida, chill, I didn’t mean it in a bad way!” Nikita laughed. I didn’t really see how she could mean it in a good way, so I just kept walking. I wondered if I was taller than Al now. Maybe that was what she meant. I grew a lot- I was tiny in first year but now I had shot up so even the towering Potter boys didn’t seem so big. Al was a Potter boy. I hadn’t known in first year what a big deal that was, being a muggle born, which meant I wasn’t following him around like the other girls. He said that was why he became my friend. That, and my ‘charming personality’. He sure knows how to flatter a girl, because I was not a pretty first year. Anyway. Since I didn’t really know who he was I didn’t treat him like everyone else did, so we became friends fast. He told me stories about his dad then, which were fascinating, and I wondered how a story like that hadn’t been made into a book or something. He told me the ministry were putting someone on that.
“Hey Nikita! What, you’re ignoring me now?” A voice called. The compartment we’d just passed was apparently the one Nikita’s friends were in. A pretty seventh year with dark hair and green eyes was calling to her, and she hugged her.
“See you guys- say hello to Rosie for me!” Nikita said, and followed her friend inside. I rolled my eyes. Nikita and Rose had the weirdest friendship- they weren’t the likeliest of pairs. Rose was very academic; whilst Nikita was more social. However, I often saw them wandering the corridors together, and sitting at Quidditch matches together. Rose had even let Nikita call her ‘Rosie’, which she absolutely hated anyone else calling her. Even her little brother Hugo was forbidden from using the name. I would have to find out what her secret is. Mind control maybe?
“Alright Em, they can’t be too far. Let’s find our friends” I said, looking into each compartment as we passed, pulling faces at people when they weren’t who I wanted them to be.
“For God sake Vida, let me lead the way, you’re being embarrassing” Emma said, and I gasped dramatically.
“Me? Embarrassing? Oh Emma how you hurt me” I said, and she rolled her eyes, trying to get past me. I put my trunk in the way. She just hopped over it.
“We are not wrestling here” She said, and I giggled. Killjoy.
“Emma! Hey, Emma!” A voice called from in front of us. Hugo Weasley had stuck his head out of a compartment further down the train, and he had spotted us. He was a little heartthrob was Hugo. He had just missed out on getting into our year, so he preferred our company to fifth year’s. He had dark brown, almost red hair, in that naturally messy style that the girls loved so much. He was, as every Weasley was, quite tall, just taller than I was, with broad shoulders and freckles dotted across his nose. I’d say he was very attractive, but we had a brother-sister or ‘kind of close cousin’ sort of friendship going on.
“Hey Hugo, aren’t you gonna hang out with your own year for a change?” Emma replied.
“Please, all they do is moan and whine” Hugo replied.
“And you don’t?” Emma asked. I snickered as he looked dramatically offended.
“Em, you are on a roll today, is that smoke I see?” I said, and she shrugged. Hugo gave her a swift hug once she was close enough and she entered the compartment.
“Well hello Vida, am I getting a hug this year?” He teased, a hand across the door so I couldn’t get through.
“Is this because your parents don’t hug you enough or because you’ve heard that my hugs are the best?” I replied.
“Wow, you two are cold” He said, his weird gold coloured eyes doing the puppy dog trick. I was a sucker for puppy eyes.
“Sorry Hugo, come here” I said, and hugged him tight. He grinned and hugged me back, squeezing the life out of me deliberately.
“Hugo, can’t breathe” I wheezed. He hugged me tighter. Wow, was the carriage always this white?
“You’re right, your hugs are the best” He said, letting me go.
“Jerk” I muttered, and he laughed, before ducking into the compartment and sitting down.
The conversation was in full flow as I stood at the door. Rose, Hugo, Lily, Al, Emma and Roxy were chatting away, laughing as they mingled. I cleared my throat.
“Hey, who’s in my seat?” I asked, pointedly staring at Al, who was in the seat I sat in no matter what compartment we were in. He gaped.
“Vida! You’re- wow you’re here! I missed you!” He said, and I smiled, shutting the compartment door as I stepped further inside. Al had grown over the summer. Judging by the tan he now had, I guessed he’d been away. He looked even better than usual. His black hair was messy and his green eyes were bright under those worn glasses. I also knew from his letters he’d been working out as a bet against James and Fred; which he hadn’t filled me in on all the details but it was something about having the best muscles. I haven’t seen James or Fred yet, but if they had beaten Al, I’d be surprised.
“I missed you too Al, I wish I could’ve seen you over the summer” I said, throwing my arms around his middle and hugging him. I’d forgotten what he smelled like over the holidays but it came rushing back as I inhaled, smelling wood and broom polish. I could reach his shoulder now, and my chin could rest there comfortably. Ah, sweet success! I’d been trying to be able to do that for years.
“Why didn’t you? You could’ve floo’d over to France easily” He said, pulling away and lifting my trunk easily, putting it on the overhead rack. What a gentlemen, I forgotten how nice Al was to me. He could be a right brat sometimes, when the mood strikes. I know how to cut him down though; I don’t worry about it too much.
“I was training too Al. Didn’t you notice, I’m totally Hench now” I boasted, holding my arm up and flexing. The compartment laughed.
“Vida, after knowing you for five years, you can’t possibly be Hench” Lily said, and I put my hands on my hips. Lily knew how weak I was before the summer; she used to be able to pin me down easily. This family was very tight knit, so play fighting was pretty common. I got roped in all the time since I knew them for so long.
“You wanna bet Lils? I am Hench. Sit down Albus, I’m about to beat up your sister” I said, and everyone ‘oohed’, because nobody dared challenge Lily Potter to a fight. Everyone pulled their feet up as Lily got up, ignoring the train whistling and beginning to move. I handed the cat basket containing Jinjin to Al, and grinned at her. I knew her moves, but she never gave me a chance to show her mine. She charged at me and grabbed my waist and I was surprised that only that used to knock me flat. I twisted around and swiped my leg under hers, making her lose her footing and fall back. She grabbed my arms and tried twisting them around but training with wind so strong it was like a brick wall made the gesture feel like a mild Chinese burn. I forced Lily down and grabbed both her wrists in one hand, pushing them to the floor above her head, knees holding down her middle and I laughed.
“Told you, I’m Hench. Bow down to me, peasants!” I called, getting up and pulling Lily to her feet, laughing at the complete and utter shock on her face. There were similar faces around the room, except for Emma and Hugo who were in fits in the corner.
“How- how do you go from a little weakling to beating Lily in just one summer?” Rose asked.
“Now now, wouldn’t want you learning my secrets. Nikita says hello by the way” I replied, taking Jinjin’s basket back from Al and sitting beside him. He laughed a little.
“Does this mean your beating skills have improved and I have a suitable person to practice with?” He asked me. Al always wanted to practice Quidditch, and me being the only one stupid enough to help him, that meant that I had to play beater. I wasn’t too good. I shrugged.
“You’ll just have to wait and see” I replied, in a sing-song voice.
After getting over my first ever victory, everyone fell back into the conversations they had been having before. The Potters and Weasleys had been to France over the holidays, where their Aunt’s French parents lived. Rose and Lily told me the story of how Dominique had been swept of her feet by a French boy who spoke no English, and what fun they had with that.
“We also snuck off to Paris one weekend, do you remember that?” Lily asked.
“Oh that was amazing!” Rose agreed.
“Isn’t Fleur’s parent’s house in the south of France?” I asked. They nodded.
“So how did you get to Paris in a weekend?” I asked. They couldn’t just grab a giant bison and fly over. It would take longer than that by car. They giggled.
“We used floo powder silly! I guess, coming from a muggle family, you don’t use floo do you?” Lily asked. I shook my head.
“No, we have other ways of getting around” I told her. Wizards had their transport, I had mine. I thought air bender transport was way cooler that wizard transport, but that was me being biased. I loved using an air scooter to zoom everywhere or using my glider to fly. I wasn’t allowed to bring my glider to school as it was very valuable and hard to come by so I settled with air scooters or brooms.
“So Vida, what did you train for all summer?” Al asked.
“Nothing really; just something I’m going to do when I’m older” I told him. I was going to be a master when I was out of Hogwarts, and train young prodigies or normal kids.
“That involves beating Lily at wrestling?” He asked, smiling. His teeth had somehow become a lot straighter over the summer, as if he’d worn a brace (or knowing him, charmed them that way). They suited him though, and it threw me for a moment.
“Well, you always need to know self-defence in case a little ginger demon comes running at you” I said, and he laughed.
“Still, I missed you over the summer. I could’ve helped you train; I’m good at that” He said, and I smirked. Al had learnt how to train people from James, the Griffindor Quidditch captain.
“Well, next time eh? You could teach me some beater skills next time we practice, deal?” I asked.
“Deal” He replied. We shook on it.
The morning passed pretty quick with everyone sat around. We were louder than usual after a summer of no talking so it was like one of those big family dinners that were always loud and full of gossip about other family members that weren’t there. It was mostly about the dream team, Fred Weasley and James Potter.
“Did you see them when they went on that bender in France? Well they were drunk right…” Roxy began, and I knew it was going to be good, because every story that began with ‘they were drunk’ was worth the listen. Especially if Roxy told it.
“They’re already stumbling and me and Dom are there trying to get them home before mum and dad know their gone, and these two girls walk over and are batting their eyelids in French and Dom says they’re being offensive right, so what else are we to do then yell at them in English, right? So then things get offensive and these girls are getting snarky and then Dom pours the largest glass of alcohol she can find on them, and then loads of people flock in, so we turn around to get James and Fred and where are they? Hell if we know! So we’re there, with two angry French girls yapping in our ear, looking around for two drunk and vulnerable teens past crowds of people wanting to see a fight and then we hear ‘who wants to see my wand’ and Dom just says ‘oh for Merlin sakes they’re on the table’. Do you know how hard it is to get two drunk lads off a table before they either reveal the secret of the wizarding world or get arrested for public indecency? It could’ve gone either way!” Roxy was waving her hands around like some sort of loon now, whilst the others were laughing loudly. Or maybe that was just me; I had a very loud laugh.
“So, how did you get them down without them doing something stupid?” Emma asked.
“Luckily James passed out, and Fred laughed and then jumped down himself. Took us another four hours to get them to go home though, Fred was talking to some blonde girl and I didn’t wanna hear it”
“Ugh, Fred’s talks with blonde girls normally sound like some sex hotline” Al muttered.
“Excuse me? How do you know what a sex hotline sounds like?” I asked him.
“I live with James, genius, and I am a man” Was his reply, and he poked me in the temple. I scowled. The others laughed.
“Man my arse” I muttered, and we began a rib elbowing war whilst Roxy continued.
“Well, Aunt Ginny and Fleur got us when we got home, I swear Fred wet himself. Of course we weren’t off the hook either, but us two not being smashed made them a little less furious”
“I wouldn’t be surprised that Fred wet himself; have you seen that double team technique mum and Fleur do? Its petrifying!” Al squeaked, after I got a particularly bony elbow right in a sensitive part of his rib. I giggled.
“Yeah, that was real manly” I teased, and he frowned.
“Jesus, have you got a pin up there or something, that really hurt!” He said, rubbing his rib. Emma scowled.
“She got naturally bony elbows; it was her only saviour when we had play fights. Gave me a black eye once, remember that?” She asked, and I laughed.
“Oh yeah, and you learned I also have very resilient knee caps. Aunt Allison almost murdered me when she came in to find you black and blue” I said.
“Well, I got you back” She replied. She sure did, as it took me several weeks to trust anyone enough to pour my drinks or let me through a door first. I never truly got all the water out of my ears.
Lily decided it was high time to find some of her own friends, so with a hug to everyone (she deliberately squeezed me extra tight so I was wheezing for several minutes afterward) she left, and Roxy followed, leaving Hugo and Emma to stretch out in Lily’s absence, and Al and I to stretch in Roxy’s.
“Ah, finally, leg room. Move up there Em, or I will lie on you” Hugo said. Rose just sighed from Emma’s right and tugged on one of his curls, and he sat up.
“Really Rose?” He cursed “I am sensitive!”
Rose laughed at him, and she and Emma took up the rest of the space. Hugo was scowling as he rubbed his head and I giggled.
“Hey, at least you can’t get yours stuck in bag straps” I said.
“Or doors” Rose added. Her hair was a curly mess, I’m surprised its never got caught in something. I still loved it though, it was very pretty.
“Or your clothes” Emma agreed.
“I think Vida’s is most likely to get caught in places” Rose said. I rolled my eyes.
“Vida, you spent an hour trying to untangle it from the candle bracket in the common room” Al said.
“Yeah, no thanks to you, you’re the one that decided we needed a candle bracket in the first place, you arse” I said, and he laughed.
“I don’t even know how you do it. You’d think Rose would be the one, but no, your hair is the most troublesome” He said. I shrugged. It was straight and didn’t have that natural volume that everyone was so worked up about lately, but being an air bender, it was very susceptible to changes in the air. The wind had an effect on it, and it blew about film style, like it had a life of its own. It knotted a lot, you understand. If I thought about it, it was moving as if in a light breeze now, and the window wasn’t even open. It was also quite long; which meant that door handles and bag straps were absolute nightmares when it was down.
“Leave my hair alone” I said, clutching the ends. Al just patted my arm reassuringly whilst Emma openly laughed at me. I stuck my tongue out at her.
After more teasing about plenty of other things, the Trolley lady came by. We’d had two trolley ladies in my time here, the first one retiring in my second year. Mrs. Tran was a lovely woman, all cute and old and posh British like the late queen (she’s no longer around either, which is a shame because I thought she was great- she was the only reason I watched national events). She was a tiny little thing, barely reaching my shoulder, and it was a rule that you could only be the trolley lady if you were a kind old woman, so she was perfect for the job.
“Mrs. Tran!” I squealed, sliding open the door to see her. The others were chuckling at me, but I didn’t care.
Me and Mrs. Tran were tight.
Hello Vida dear, my you’ve grown!” She said. I was great with old ladies and small children, and I grinned.
“Isn’t it great? I’m still immature though” I said, and she smiled.
“You’ve gotten so pretty dear, you’ll be a real heartbreaker this year” She said, with that knowing look. She was like a typical grandma. Most boys at Hogwarts were afraid I bite (it was after this one time, total accident, okay? Don’t believe anything Al tells you) but she thought I was some sort of sweet innocent child. Ha.
“Maybe Mrs. Tran. Can I have some chocolate frogs please?”
I returned to my compartment with an armful of chocolate frogs, whilst the others bought what they wanted. I learned that having breakfast at four in the morning wasn’t a good idea because you couldn’t buy a snack until twelve and eight hours was a long time with no food.
“Why do you still buy those things, they’re too old fashioned; the charm is so old” Rose said, sitting down with her sugar laces. I didn’t care that the charm was old and the frogs didn’t hop as good as real frogs; this girl loved chocolate, and she got it any way she could. Plus, the frogs couldn’t hop away and I got really cool cards with them. I liked learning about famous wizards, even if it was one I had met before. Yes, I had met Harry Potter, the first time in the Easter holidays when I went for a sleepover at Al’s in second year. It was cool, even though I didn’t really know him and I had to be told his life story whilst I was there. I think Mr. Potter enjoyed having a friend over that didn’t ogle at him all the time, but rather I steered clear because he was a stranger and strangers made me uncomfortable. But when I got a chocolate frog card of someone else, I kept it. I had Albus Dumbledore (he was my favourite) Merlin (close second), all the Hogwarts founders and Bathilda Bagshot. Plus a truckload of others stashed under my bed. My mum got freaked out by the moving pictures and threw them out at first, until I had learned to hide them. I also learned to lock my door so she wouldn’t panic when she saw my photographs pull stupid faces at her (immature even as a photo, my personality cannot be contained) when she passed. My mum could literally bend air, and she couldn’t deal with moving pictures. Pathetic.
“So, Rose, think you can keep up with all your prefect duties this year?” I asked curiously. Rose was a busy girl, I barely saw her outside of class, as she was always studying or running after stupid kids. I think she enjoyed it though. I didn’t really enjoy studying, as it had the word dying in it, so I avoided it. Of course last year was the exception. It almost killed me.
“Yeah, now we’re not doing exams until seventh year, I can deal with it, as long as you lot and James and Fred keep your noses clean” She said, and we smirked. Yeah, right.
“You know, I still have no idea how James got head boy” Al mused, and I sat up straight.
“James got WHAT?! What is Longbottom thinking? Is he off his rocker?!” I demanded.
“I know! You’ve missed a lot over the Summer Vida, I’m telling you. It was even weirder when James was being yelled at by mum for being ‘too irresponsible’ and the letter came through the window” Al agreed. James Potter, head boy. I think I’m in an alternate universe where up is down and right is wrong. James is notorious, he’s wild.
“Maybe Professor Longbottom thought that giving him responsibility might change his ways”
“Please, now he’s just got a get out of jail free card and advance to go privilege” I said. I got a few blank stares except for Emma, who nodded.
“What? You guys have never played monopoly? Wizards!” I cursed, and they giggled.
“You didn’t know what gob stones were, you thought it was played with sticks” Hugo pointed out.
“Well, it should be, those things squirt awful goo at you, I wouldn’t go near them without a trusty ten foot stick” I replied. He chuckled and rolled his eyes.
“Where would you find a ten foot stick?” Emma asked.
“At the top of a ten foot tree, how am I supposed to know? I’m a witch, I’ll make one”
“I know where you can find something else that’s ten foot-
“Hugo Weasley, if the end of that sentence is sexual I will ram a ten foot stick so far up your arse you won’t be able to sit down for the rest of your life” Rose warned, and I exploded into fits of laughter, at Hugo’s horrified face and Rose’s stern one. Al lost it too, and Emma also let out a few good laughs. I tended to find a lot of things funnier than everyone else (just ask me a knock knock joke, you’ll find out pretty quick) so it took me a little while longer to settle down, and the others were laughing at me laughing, which made me laugh even more. See my problem? It’s a vicious cycle. Eventually I was quiet, grinning at the others who were shaking their heads and smiling.
“Its been far too quiet without you Vida” Al told me, and I nodded.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be pleading for quiet soon” I replied.
“I’ll look forward to it”
It began to get dark a few hours after that, and I helped kick Al and Hugo out of the compartment so we could get changed. I wore air bending robes all summer, so coming back and wearing my uniform was odd and it felt a little uncomfortable. I pulled some nice bright shorts on under my skirt and my long black socks over my knees, so my legs would be safely covered. No doubt I’d sneeze and my skirt would fly up (my sneezing tended to send me twenty feet in the air- air bender problems) but it was nice to know at least my legs would be safe. I buttoned up my shirt and tied my tie, and even though it was very uneven I just left it because ties and I didn’t mix, and I pulled my robes over the top. I slid into my shoes and waited for the others to dress, before letting the boys in and waiting outside.
“Wow, its weird wearing a skirt, I spent my whole summer in shorts” Rose said, tugging the black material down as far as it would go. Mine was high waisted, the right length for my long legs so I was fine. I wore a shoulder bag anyway so should my skirt not be behaving, I had a bag there instead. Vida? Genius? Oh, I know.
After a couple of minutes, Emma banged on the door.
“Hurry up, I’m bored” She called. The door opened, and Al let us in. He looked good in a school uniform, and he straightened my tie for me whilst I fastened his top buttons (Al liked to have them undone but he always got shouted at for it, so really I was saving him some time). He grumbled as I tightened his tie.
“Come on Al, you know the teachers don’t want you having them undone so all the girls don’t swoon at your collarbones” I said lightly, and he chuckled, finishing with my tie.
“Really? Or is it so you don’t swoon over my collarbones?” He asked. I rolled my eyes.
“Oh please, I’ve known you for six years, I’m totally over it” I said, and he laughed.
Yeah Al, and everyone knows the best part of you is your cheekbones. What? I don’t usually go around looking at boys but when I do, cheekbones are my favourite. Hell, I know a few muggle celebrities who have outstanding cheekbones. Really, you could cut yourself on those things. I wish I had cheekbones. I mean, I have the standard ‘oh look you have bones in your face’ cheekbones, but not like Al’s ‘hey look at my fantastically structured face’ cheekbones. They’re the best kind.
We sat back down and chatted quietly for the last half an hour of the train ride, in which the sun was going down on the other side of the train, making a nice filtered effect through the window on the compartment door.
“So, what do ya think? Are we gonna make our predictions this year? I like winning and having you all bow down to me” I said. We had a yearly train ride talk about what would happen this year, and it was all good fun and games.
“Well, I think Rose will fall in love. Well I hope she does, it might pull that stick out of her arse” Al said, and Rose threw his jacket he had discarded across the compartment at him, making me laugh.
“I’m betting that Dom will get pregnant” Hugo said. I could see where he was coming from and so could the others because they nodded, but none of us openly said what we were thinking. Maybe it was because three of us were here cousins and the other two were too polite to point it out. We knew Dom; what she got up to in the bedroom didn’t deter from the fact that she was funny and feisty and damn scary sometimes.
“I think that James will settle down and find a girl” Emma said.
“Wow, boring predictions. I think this year will go off with a bang! Or some other loud noises” I interrupted and they laughed, rolling their eyes.
“You always go for that one. I predict that Vida will cause at least one catastrophe before December, and I will probably catch Lily in a broom cupboard and beat the crap out of her ‘friend’ who was in there with her. Oh! And I Predict that Griffindor will win the Quidditch cup” Al said.
“Hey, those are obvious ones too, I always cause a catastrophe before December” I countered. It wasn’t that I was clumsy; I could be very graceful. But I was made for air, and the ground didn’t quite agree with me, so mastering it was troublesome, and I often tripped or fell completely, normally taking several people or objects down with me. People don’t even laugh anymore, just roll their eyes and keep going.
“You really need to master this gravity thing Vida, people would think you were made to fly or something” Emma said sarcastically.
“Well, at least that’s all I’ve got to master, you however, have got your work cut out for you. How’s your gravity mastering going?” I replied, and she smirked.
“Touché” She allowed. Emma had to learn all four elements now she was the Avatar, and at the moment, Earth was on the agenda. However, finding an earth bender close enough to come and teach her was a problem, as most were in more adventurous areas like the grand canyon instead of urban Britain. My aunt was going crazy trying to find a teacher for her, but Emma had hoped that the Avatar duty could wait until after her school years were finished. Republic city had already requested her visit and radio shows broadcasted to the bending world wanted her to speak and to tell everyone she was there. She was just sixteen, and she was being forced into the media spotlight, and I knew that the one thing Emma hated was being looked at and talked about. She must be terrified.
“What are you talking about, Emma is barely clumsy at all” Al said. I shrugged.
“Just an inside joke” I replied, patting his head “Don’t you worry about it”
I felt the train slowing down before the others. I had been concentrating on that quiet whistle of air coming through the teeniest of holes in the window, right in the corner, and I felt the air resistance shift.
“We’re stopping” I announced.
“What? They haven’t even…”
The brakes then sounded, pistons and all sorts of noises signalling that the train was indeed coming to a very slow stop.
“…put the brakes on. How do you do that?” Hugo asked, and I grinned.
“’Tis a secret, young one” I told him.
“Hey, I’m only two months younger than you Vida, shut it”
I loved teasing Hugo about the fact that he was born very late in August, so he had just missed the opening for my year. He was a few minutes early of being born in September apparently, which meant he was just older than the people in fifth year but just younger than those in sixth. I just smiled at him.
It seemed that everyone was eager to get off the train when it stopped, because the moment I stepped out of the compartment I was shoved back in by waves of people, caught by Rose before my arse hit the floor.
“Right, I’ll sort this out” She said, and left, yelling at the top of her voice for everyone to stop pushing.
“Okay Jinjin, you stay here. Do not try and escape okay? You’ll be up in the castle in no time” I said through the wicker basket, as Jinjin squeaked. I could imagine him yelling rude insults at me for locking him in there, but him being such a rare animal he couldn’t just hop around in plain sight. Not even Headmaster Longbottom knew he was here, because once in school I just transfigured him into a cat. He was always a bit more colourful because of his wings though. Have you ever seen a cat with green fur? You will do soon my friend.
“Vida, stop talking to your cat and come on, before we get left behind; the others have already gone!” Al said, and I followed him out, being shoved around by the hundreds of students trying to get to the same place we were; the platform.
“Oh spirits, its freezing!” I squeaked as we stepped off the train, into the chilly night air. It was windy, so that made it worse, and I stepped toward Al, who let me in his cloak. After a summer of being on my own it was strange to be so close to him but I knew I had six years-worth of hugs and kisses to the top of the head (it was a tradition) to stop me from blushing too hard. I would just have to get used to him being so close again.
“Firs’ years!” Hagrid boomed over the crowd, beckoning to the terrified little munchkins who were panicking around, trying to find a friend.
“Hey Hagrid!” Al called and we waved to him. He was huge, twice my size and five times as wide, with wild hair and warm brown eyes that twinkled when he saw us.
“Alrigh’ you two? You gonna come an’ visit me sometime?” He asked.
“Yeah of course!” Al called.
“I’ll be dropping by soon, need to say hello to Fluffy!” I called to him, and he beamed.
“’E’s been pinin’ after yeh all summer!” He informed me and I laughed.
“I’ll see him soon!”
In case you were wondering, Fluffy was my giant bison, son of Lumen, the family bison. Since bisons were so incredibly huge we could only keep one, and when Lumen gave birth to the tiny litter most had been given away. Dad had decided to sneak me one in first year, telling me that he’d done some research, and there was a forest there were the bison could stay. Luckily, when I arrived, there was also a man there that could help me look after him. Hagrid was over the moon at the new arrival and dubbed him fluffy, and when I told him that he’d grow from that tiny creature to the size of a double decker bus he was more enthusiastic about keeping it. I loved Hagrid, because he was the only one who had met Jinjin and Fluffy, and he had never asked where they come from and how I got them; only that if I had any more animals like that I’d show him. That lead me to convince Nikita to introduce him to Breezy, her cheetah eagle (he is absolutely gorgeous, let me tell you, but he could rip you to shreds should you pull a feather out) and he became our best friend.
Al and I tried to get past the first years to go toward the carriages, but there was some sort of argument going on ahead of us. A group of girls had formed around one girl, and with her bright blue eyes, I recognised her.
“Its Em. Oh no, they’re starting on Em. Oi! Arseholes!” I called, but my voice had been carried the other way by the wind and they didn’t hear me. Now I knew that Emma was the avatar, I knew that any raw emotion she felt could cause a full scale fit, making her go into the avatar state and possibly kill us all. Nothing to worry about or anything. I could see that Emma was getting worked up, and the ground knew it too.
“Are we having an earthquake? In Scotland?” Al asked suddenly. He was right. The ground was rumbling, and the students began to panic, running toward the carriages.
“Oh spirits, bad bad bad. Mother of Aang!” I cursed. I tended to become a full bender when disaster struck, and that meant using the language.
“Who is Aang?” Al asked. He didn’t have time to answer. The ground beneath us cracked and then jutted open, and if it weren’t for me air bending us sideways, we would’ve fell right in. I had no idea how far down the platform just cracked, and I didn’t want to find out by hitting the bottom. The girls that had been surrounding Emma had fell down into the crack, leaving Emma stood on the edge, chest heaving and a sort of glow dying down in her eyes. The crack began at her feet, and ended just where mine and Al’s had been.
“Well, I guess I was right about the year going off with a bang” I said, laughing uneasily.
“What in Merlin’s name was that? Emma! You alright, you almost fell in!” Al called, and she nodded.
“I’m- I’m good” She replied. She met my eyes, and she looked terrified. She turned on her heel and ran.
“Em, wait!” I called, but she was fast and unless I made an air scooter I wasn’t catching her.
“Let her go and calm down Vida, she’s probably scared- it just missed her” Al soothed, and I nodded. Hagrid had forcefully loaded all the first years into the boats and had gone, leaving just a few of us on the platform, looking around at the damage. The crack was deep enough that if I were to stand up in it, I couldn’t reach the ledge and therefore couldn’t get out.
“Hey! Help us!” The girls cried, from the crack.
“Don’t look at me, that was my cousin you were starting on. Karmas a bitch, ain’t it? Lets go Al, we gotta go find Em” I said, walking past the girls stuck in the earth without a second glance. I may have also made a few rude gestures at them and flipped them the finger before leaving. Just in case they didn’t know I was mad at them.
“Wow, I went out with all of those girls, and now I’m leaving them in a hole” Al muttered.
“They deserve it. And don’t touch them again” I said darkly. Emma had mentioned a group of girls harassing her whilst I wasn’t there before, but I hadn’t seen them. Now I knew their faces, and guess who knew Peeves? Yeah, me, that’s right. Him and me were tight. Me, Peeves and Mrs.Tran would take down those girls.
We have this weird friendship which began in first year when he jumped out at me and I used the wind to blow him through several classrooms. Since then, whenever he needed some horsepower, I’ve been his go to gal. Should’ve seen how far he went when I pushed him up the corridor so he could pour invisibility potion all over the students and turn their clothes invisible. I know I shouldn’t help him, but It is simply too fun not too. My God you should have seen- oh, but I’m getting off topic. I’m meant to be worrying about Emma and plotting up pranks that Peeves can play on those girls. Yeah. That’s what I was doing.
Al seemed to realise I was no longer paying attention to where I was going and he led me instead, right to the carriages. I learnt about what pulled them in fourth year; and it made me sad every time I saw them. I still said hello though, patting them onto the way into the carriages.
“I’ve always wanted to see a Thestral. Not in that way, I’d hate to see someone die. I just want to know what they look like, you know?” Al said, and I nodded, as a few strangers joined us, gossiping about the earthquake.
“Yeah I get you. It’s a pity that such a pretty animal can only be seen by seeing death. It’s a little mean” I replied, and he sighed, as the carriage began to move, in his eyes, all on its own. I could see the bony hide of the Threstral out of the tiny little window, and although most said they were awful, I found them to be quite beautiful creatures (but then, I liked most animals, and some people would say that Fluffy was a little scary- don’t worry though, he’s like a big puppy dog).
“Oh, I’ve missed the view” A girl piped up next to me. The castle had loomed into sight out of the windows, huge and intimidating looking but giving off an aura of warmth from the huge open doors waiting for us. I smiled at the castle, because I knew how much fun I could have inside, with the ghosts and living people and at two in the morning when I took a stroll and got lost.
“Okay, time to eat our body weight in food” Al announced, hopping out of the carriage the moment it stopped and waiting for me to join him, linking my arm.
“Yay! And save room for pudding this time Al, you missed out on the nicest chocolate cake I ever sunk my teeth into” I reminded him, and he laughed.
“This year I’m gonna eat all of that chocolate cake before you even get a chance” He told me. I rolled my eyes.
“Keep dreaming buster” I said in reply. We hurried into the double doors out of the wind, and I noticed even now that people moved out of Al’s way when he approached. Firstly because his whole family was mega famous, and then because Al had this sort of authority about him that could work a crowd even when he was just walking through one. He was a prefect at first, but after the teachers realised he was just using his patrols to get off with random girls, they gave it to me, who spent my patrols causing more trouble than I stopped. We both lasted barely a week.
“Aw man, I’ve missed this” Al said, as we passed through the entranceway and entered the great hall. It was huge and welcoming, and I could see our friends sitting down already. However when I looked, Emma wasn’t there.
“Vida!” Nikita called, running up the hall.
“Did you see Em? She just ran past here crying, I don’t know where she went!” She told me when she was close enough, and I sighed.
“She had a sort of, accident. Can you help me find her?” I asked. Nikita nodded. I turned to Al.
“Will you save us a seat?” I asked. He nodded, and I gave him a swift hug. I then pulled his head down and kissed the top of his hair, which was something we’ve done since we were second years (and both the same size). Whoever was going was the one that kissed the top of the other’s head. It was hard to reach Al’s head. He smiled.
“Alright, go find your cousin, I’ll make sure there’s cake for you when you come back” He said, and I grinned, before dragging Nikita out of the hall.
“So, what happened?” She asked me. I was leading the way, because I knew where Emma would be; a very wide window sill on a quiet corridor on the fourth floor, where people only went when they wanted to be alone. Every student knew that it wasn’t just a chilling spot, and they abided by the rules and steered clear unless they really needed to sit there.
“She was being started on, and she lost her cool. Split the platform in half, almost got me and Al with it” I explained.
“Oh” Nikita said softly. There was nothing else to say, really. Eventually, she found a question to ask.
“Who was it?”
“Some bitches in our year, you know the ones that think they own the place but can’t even count to ten”
“Yeah, I know who you mean”
It seems that stupidity was a good way to pick someone out of the crowd. Nikita and I emerged on the fourth floor, and walked swiftly to the corridor with the window. From my worrying, I had very little air resistance and I realised that I had left Nikita half way down the corridor in a flurry of wind. I stopped and waited for her to catch up before carrying on.
“I will set you on fire if you keep making really cold wind, mark my words” She warned, and as a threat, her hand ignited. It lit up a smirk on her face, so I bended a sharp, swift wind to blow it out. The smirk turned to a scowl.
“Emma?” I asked, seeing a silhouette sat on the sill. She had been crying a little, staring down at the ground outside the window, the old ruined fountain that no longer worked. Nikita and I exchanged a glance and sat beside her.
“You wanna talk about it?” Nikita asked, putting an arm around her.
“I don’t know what happened. I guess I was just so tired of them having a go, I just cracked, and so did the floor. I don’t know how to control it” She said, putting her forehead to her knees.
“I could teach you meditation” I suggested helpfully. Nikita and Emma didn’t really understand my meditation, but being an air bender it was something I just grew up with. It really did help.
“Maybe, but how can I control my bending without a teacher? And what if I start setting fire to stuff? Or blasting people out of windows?” She groaned.
“Hey, we’re not here for decoration, we can teach you. I’m ready to take the next fire bending steps and Vida has spent all summer training to become a master with her grandpa, and you know how good he is. We’ll help” Nikita soothed. Emma looked up with wide eyes.
“But what if-
“Oh, what if! What if I jump off the astronomy tower without a glider? What if Nikita singes her eyebrows off? You can’t live in fear of what if Em, you might as well not live at all” I cut her short, staring her down until she sighed.
“But I’m dangerous Vida. I only just managed to convince mum and dad to let me come back without a mentor, and look what happens, we’ve not even been here an hour! Maybe I should just go home” Emma said glumly. I smacked her over the head with a cold gust of wind, which blew all her hair out of place.
“Don’t you dare, we can handle this. I’ll start teaching you meditation, Nikita- well earth bending is more similar to fire bending, so you can have a crack at helping her control that-and should the stress get too much we’ll take you into the forest where you can knock a few trees down to let off some steam” I decided, and Nikita nodded.
“I’m up for that” She said. We both looked at Emma expectantly. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, and wiped the tears from her eyes.
“Fine. Okay. You win, we’ll do that, but if I hurt someone I’m going home” She said. Nikita and I high-fived, squealing in celebration. I jumped up with a flurry of wind, setting me gracefully on my feet and grinned.
“Alright, the feast isn’t going to eat itself, and if we don’t hurry Al will eat all the cake, so what are we waiting for? Get your arses into gear!” I cried, and Nikita extinguished the lamps, and Emma water bended the last of her tears away so her eyes were dry and no longer red-rimmed. I pulled her up and the three of us made our merry way back down four floors, me running ahead and jumping over bannisters, landing safely on the landing below and yelling ‘PARKOUR!’ every time. I could almost feel the jealousy coming from my cousins as I was able to spring around like a ninja and sparky over there could only set herself on fire. Maybe to her that was cool.
“Vida, do you want to get caught?!” Nikita hissed, as I surfed down the bannister on the marble staircase and floated down to the ground like a feather. It only took a few arm movements and I was safe from bruises and broken bones. I rolled my eyes.
“Everyone is watching the sorting, I’m fine, stop worrying” I said, and she sighed. We benders sort of had a statue of secrecy, like wizards, and Nikita wasn’t keen on breaking that because unlike wizards, who could do a small amount of wand less magic when they had it taken away, we had our bending removed completely, and that was sort of like taking the wings off an eagle; they needed them. I could hear the sorting still going in the hall, thousands of heads turned to see the little tykes join their houses, and I smiled. I used to be that small, even more so, I was the midget of first and second year before I just one day shot up and became one of the tallest ones. I could still remember how big everyone seemed in my first year and how terrified I was. I walked with my cousins into the hall, Nikita staying with us because her friends seemed to have joined ours on the table and not sat in their usual places. The reason was evident when we loomed closer; James Potter had decided to sit with his family, and they had subsequently followed him like little sheep.
“Hey Emma, you alright?” Hugo asked when he spotted us. Al let us sit down in the seat he saved us and Nikita forced her friends to make room for her, and Emma nodded.
“Yeah just-panicked. I’m fine now, really” She said. I looked around at the table, and noticed that all of Al’s Griffindor relatives had joined us, meaning that my non Potter/Weasley friends were further down. I leaned past Al and waved to them, and they gave enthusiastic waves back. I was sort of more of an extra wheel to them but I didn’t really mind, as I didn’t really hang around with them too much; there was a lot of drama going on and that wasn’t really my style. I just listened and nodded along most of the time even though I hardly had any idea what was going on. I doubted I would spend that much time with them this year.
“Man, I’m so glad there’s no more Weasleys joining the school now. I hate the sorting and how I had to listen because my family was in it” James muttered, as some little kid became a Slytherin.
“You didn’t listen anyway, you thought that Lucy was in Griffindor for like three weeks before she told you she was a Hufflepuff” Al said.
“Well sorry for noticing that she always sat at this table instead of her own. Although if I was in Hufflepuff, I’d rather sit over here too” James replied.
“That’s horrible, Hufflepuffs are actually really nice” Nikita interjected.
“Well yeah, but they are a bunch of pushovers” James argued. I saw that look in Nikita’s eye that said ‘ah, a challenge!’ or maybe it was just ‘oh look this annoying dude is trying to argue with me’. Could go either way, with Nikita. They began to bicker but it fast faded away when the last student had been sorted and the feast appeared. Al and I dived for the pizza, a new arrival that had delighted us both, whilst the others who weren’t tucking in looked at us in disgust.
“I don’t know how you two look so good, you eat absolute crap” Lily said, eyeing the melted cheese that was in the corner of Al’s mouth with a sick expression. I just shrugged.
“Fast metabolism” I said, and carried on eating. She rolled her eyes. Al nodded in agreement and stole some of my pizza, which I slapped at his hand for.
The hall was rowdy as we all ate, James and Nikita arguing the toss about houses, in a more playful manner than I expected. Lily, Hugo and Emma were discussing classes, laughing about how their father and Uncle had tricked both Albus and Fred into taking Divination, and how I took it too, although I just took it so I had a place to meditate. Emma was a more academic type and she went for the ancient runes; boring! At least she took defence against the dark arts with me and we were in a good few other classes together, but whether it’s the same this year is to be found out tomorrow.
Everyone was distracted from whatever they were doing in the next ten minutes. The food disappeared, replaced by desserts of every shape and size, and Al and I lunged for the cake. When it became clear that neither of us were letting go Fred became referee, the others stopping to watch as we tugged at the plate.
“No, you ate it all last year!” Al complained.
“That’s because you ate too much dinner!” I replied. James, Lily, Hugo, Rose, Fred, Emma and Nikita were watching in amusement, as I released one hand to try and prize Al’s fingers from the plate. He had really strong hands, I found out. He let go of one hand too, and grabbed my free hand, squeezing it far too tight. I squealed. The plate was pushed aside for a moment as my hand throbbed from being pressed all the wrong ways.
“Truce! Truce! Ow, Albus Potter, let go of me!” I cried, and he laughed, until-
“Jeez Vida, did you seriously just bite me?!” He yelped, letting go. There was a satisfying bite mark on his hand which he was rubbing, whilst I nursed my hand that he had squeezed.
“You were hurting my hand!”
We glared at each other for a moment before we both dissolved into giggles at the same time, the cake lying between us forgotten, which Emma gladly moved out of our way and Fred decided to tuck into. She was torn between an expression of embarrassment and amusement. The same could be said for James and Nikita, looking at each relative respectively.
“How do I even come from the same person as you?” Lily asked Al, who rolled his eyes.
“Alright, before there’s any more biting involved, lets give you both some different dessert, yeah?” Rose suggested, handing me a plate of éclairs and Al some treacle tart. Ah Rose, the peacekeeper of the group. I happily ate a few before trying a fork full of the tart, and Al tried some of mine.
“So you can share?” James asked.
“Everything but chocolate cake” Al confirmed.
“Not everything” I corrected “Take my chair or my lucky quill and you’re dead”
He just chuckled and took another éclair.
Eventually, the desserts vanished too, and Professor Longbottom announced that it was time to go to bed. I felt full and sloshy, and I got up like a zombie.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten all that food” I grumbled. I was ignored; this happened every year.
The walk up to the common room was slow going; every Griffindor seemed to be in front of us, full and sleepy and walking at a snail’s pace. I nudged Emma and shoved a few along with some blasts of air, making them stumble quicker, and she rolled her eyes.
“If you get caught don’t expect me to bail you out of prison” She said.
“Oh Emma, don’t you think that if I ended up in prison you wouldn’t be in there with me?” I replied sweetly. Don’t let Emma’s innocent first impression fool you; I swear she’s the one that blew up half the staff in second year for fun. Besides, we wouldn’t be put in prison for revealing bending anyway; we’d get much worse than that. Benders are mean.
Finally, finally, we made it to the fat Lady’s corridor, where James appeared seemingly out of nowhere to give the password. How he managed to escape the crowds to lead the first years up here before us was beyond me; maybe he was a secret air bender too.
“Dumbledore” James announced, and the portrait swung open, the first years pouring inside and immediately being sent to their dorms. We filed inside a few at a time, Emma and I hopping through easily and grinning. The common room was the same as ever; warm and cosy, decorated red and gold and it was squishy and comfortable. There were tables dotted around with cushioned chairs, as well as the old couches and armchairs beside the fire and the couches under the two windows on either side of the tower. I loved this common room, because it felt like home.
“Ah, its good to be back” I said dreamily, falling into my usual armchair and dangling my legs over the arm. Hugo leaned over the back and grinned at me.
“You comfy there?” He asked. I nodded.
“Alright, I’m going to bed. You better not make too much noise when you come up” Rose said, and she headed up to our dorm.
“Its not like I’m gonna be down here long, I’m just making sure that everyone knows that this is my chair” I called to her.
“Okay, I’m gonna go too. Night guys” Nikita said. The seventh years all disappeared up the stairs, and then the others years went too, leaving Al, Emma and I. God knows where Lily went; because Merlin knows she didn’t go to bed. I sat up and smiled.
“So, d’you think that maybe we’ll be able to sit together in classes this year?” I asked. They laughed.
“Merlin, the teachers would have to be a bit thick wouldn’t they?” Al asked.
“Yeah, like when we had a rubber chicken war in the back of charms” Emma remembered.
“Where did we even get rubber chickens?” I wondered.
“Oh, I swapped our wands with fake ones from uncle George’s joke shop; he finally gave me a ‘family discount’ although I think he was just in a good mood”
I smiled from the memory of us beating each other senseless with rubber chickens until we were sent out to calm down. I never saw them after that. I wonder if Professor Adams still has them stashed away in that ‘confiscated items’ draw that all the teachers have in their classes? It wouldn’t surprise me. Half the stuff in that draw is mine, I want it back when I leave.
“Okay girls, we should all go to bed to sleep off this food and be ready for tomorrow. Night Emma, night Vida” Al said, and leaned over my chair to kiss the top of my head. Then he wandered up the boy’s staircase. I sighed and got up, Emma and I dragging our feet along to the girl’s staircase. I’d heard a rumour that it turned to a slide if boys try and come up, but no boy would test my theory. Rose suggested I read Hogwarts a history, but everyone knows I only read fictional tales of fantastic adventures, the more fantasy, the better.
Our dorm was quite high up in the tower, one of several sixth year dorms. I shared with Emma, Rose, Molly (another Weasley cousin that we didn’t really talk to because she bored me half to death when she was explaining about cauldrons- nutcase that one, I tell you) and a girl named Jo, who was alright but she could be a right bitch sometimes so we just stuck to being ‘acquaintances’. She didn’t get my sense of humour; I didn’t get her privacy rules. We had a hard time living together, that was for sure. How was I supposed to know that she would flip out if I tipped her mattress over building a fort? None of the others did; in fact, Emma and Rose helped and we even wore hats. You’re missing out Jo. Big time. Anyway, I opened the door to see the same traditional dorm, five four poster beds spaced out along the walls, each one with a trunk and respective pet at the bottom. I could see Jinjin’s basket at the bed nearest the window (yes! Window bed for Vida!) and I bounded over, throwing myself onto the soft squishy mattress. I heard Jinjin squeak as Jo followed us inside, and I pulled his basket onto my bed.
“Keep that thing away from my clothes alright? I don’t want cat hairs down my robes” Jo said as she sat on her bed by the door. I guess she was pretty. She had choppy black hair and blue eyes, as well as thousands of freckles thrown across her nose and cheeks. She was quite a lot shorter than me but I heard she did boxing so I wouldn’t say that I was at an advantage there because there was more of me to hit if I annoyed her. I nodded.
“Don’t worry Jo; Jinjin isn’t fond of your clothes anyway” I told her solemnly, and she just pulled the curtains around her bed shut without saying goodnight. Rude.
“I think you offended her” Emma said quietly, from the bed next to mine. Rose had the bed opposite her, already tucked up like a little kid, sleeping safe and sound. How she fell asleep so quickly was beyond me; I had to dream up a whole life story with awesome background music before I felt drowsy. Molly was also sleeping across from Jo, curled up and snoring slightly. I smirked.
“Really? I thought that Jinjin not going in her clothes would be a relief” I said, undoing the straps on the basket.
“It’s the way you said it, stupid” Emma muttered. I opened the cat basket to find a very annoyed Jinjin waiting for me, still looking adorable even when he looked as though he would try and scratch my eyes out the minute I transfigured him into a cat. I stroked his soft brown ears.
“Sorry Jinjin, but I couldn’t let you out just yet. People would ask silly questions. You stretch out here” I said, and he hopped out of the basket, his butterfly wings carrying him high enough to escape the wicker, and he tumbled onto the bed. His wings were more for decoration at the moment, far too weak to fly, but grandpa assured me that once he grew he could fly for very long distances, maybe not very fast or high, but Butterfly Kangaroos did like to explore until they found their favourite place (it was often in mountainous areas with little human habitation). I threw the basket under my bed and changed into comfortable ‘pyjamas’, which was basically a t-shirt that (shh) used to belong to Al and some pyjama shorts that I never found the top for. So I wore pink monkey bottoms with a black weird sisters shirt. I was so coordinated, it was unreal. I then turned to Jinjin.
“Lets turn you into something more normal” I said softly, pulling my wand from the bundle of my robes and tapping him on the head. It was only a simple transfiguration charm, but with a slight accent on the words you could make it a little more permanent; so your seemingly normal cat wouldn’t turn into a kangaroo with wings a week later. Jinjin the cat was brown, with white paws and streaks of colour up his back. He had the same brown eyes and charisma, but at least he looked like he was allowed.
I admired my work with a smug smile and Jinjin flexed his back, before plodding to the end of my bed and curling up there.
“Night Jinjin” I said. He meowed. I lay down and curled up beneath the heated covers, sighing comfortably as my head hit the pillow. I was out like a light.