Sunday was when Al cheered up. I agreed to train with him ready for Quidditch try-outs later in the month, which consisted of me wielding a beater’s bat and hitting balls at him whilst he zoomed around the pitch. Al was Griffindor’s star seeker; he could do all those fancy moves and trick the other seeker into going the wrong way. He was humble about his skill generally, but as his best friend, I was apparently the one that he gloated to ALL THE TIME, and had to help him improve. However, for our first training session, it wasn’t him in the spotlight.
“Bloody hell Vida, where did that come from? Nearly knocked me off my broom!” He called.
“Well mr fancy seeker, if you didn’t recall, that’s kind of what I’m here for!” I called back. I retrieved the volley ball I was hitting at him and carried on. The next time I got him in the back and he dropped a few feet.
“Vida how are you doing that?” He asked. Okay I’ll admit; it isn’t all down to me suddenly becoming an amazing beater, I was cheating and air bending. But, thanks to grandpa and his summer of training, it wasn’t so hard to whack a volleyball at Al whilst he flew around like a prat. In fact, it was quite fun.
“I’ve got mad skillz” I said, smirking at him as I swung my beater’s bat around. That’s right; I said it with a ‘Z’.
“Well you bloody well didn’t last year, what did you do all summer?” He demanded. I tapped the side of my nose.
“Keep your little noggin out of my business, its very rude to pry” I said. He grumbled.
“You never tell me anything about your home life. I just meant that you’ve gotten good, and we’re a beater down; you could try out!” He suggested, and I laughed. One, I never told Al about home because that means I’d have to tell him about bending and that was a huge no. And then I also laughed because me? A beater? On a team? I’d never really done that before.
“Come on Al, quit joking about. I’ll tell you about my home life later in very brief details” I laughed.
“I’m not joking about! You should try out Vida, you could be on the team!” He said, and I chuckled.
“Doubt that. But then, I do need a good excuse to be at try outs this year; I got kicked out last year because I threw a bottle at one of the other seekers”
“Why would you do that?”
“It was the one that was pulling on your broom twigs”
“Ah; you should make sure to do that again if she shows up”
I laughed at that and got ready to smack another volleyball.
Since I had said I would tell Al about home he hadn’t forgotten. He asked me endless questions, and he wasn’t the only one. After our conversation weeks ago about me changing over the summer, I finally noticed that I was being noticed, and I didn’t particularly like it.
“Wow Vida, you have a strong arm” Scorp complimented, as we sat in muggle studies. The boy behind us was nursing sore arm and a bruised ego. I felt like Bruce lee or something. I should have given myself house points for that.
“I don’t like being talked to like that” I told him.
“What, like you’re a girl?”
“Excuse me? That wasn’t what that was. He was being awfully sexist. It felt like I am obliged to go out with him, and I am not”
“He was only being nice”
“Ugh, you boys have a warped view on nice. If I find out that you’re talking to girls like that Scorpius Malfoy you’ll be in the spirit world for sure” I grumbled.
“The spirit world? Is that like the afterlife?” He asked. I nodded.
“That’s what I call it. My family have many beliefs on the spirit world”
“Like what?” Scorp asked. He seemed genuinely interested.
“You two at the back; stop talking or I’ll have you both in detention” Professor Chancey called, and I sighed. I hated that woman, and she hated me. You know that one teacher you just cannot stand at all? This one is mine. She irks me, and I don’t really know why.
“I’ll tell you later” I muttered.
Al however, was not letting the tiny matter of a teacher telling him to be quiet to stop him asking me questions.
“So your family are religious aren’t they? I’ve seen you praying” He said.
“Its not praying; I meditate. But yes, I guess you could say there was religion in there” I whispered back, trying to listen to mr Potter as he told us about dementors. He was explaining that a patronus charm would ward them away, and that since the second wizarding war all students starting at sixth year had to learn how to produce one. He showed us his own, a beautiful white stag and it pranced around the room, nudging me as it passed. It was from the spirit world, I was sure of it.
“Now, I’m going to ask you to try and produce your own patronus. Everyone will have a patronus that echoes them, and I’ll tell you now that it is very hard to make a full-body patronus first time; many full grown wizards still have trouble with this spell. Now, repeat after me- expecto patronum!”
“What religion is it?” Al hissed, as the class echoed Mr Potter’s chant.
“Mine is kinda like Buddhism. Nikita’s is Sikhism, Emma’s family go along with whatever; like a fast flowing stream” I rushed, excited to be finally showing off my spirit animal. That’s what benders called Patronuses. Everyone had one, yet for most it was very hard to contact them. Air benders, being more in tune with the spirit world, were able to communicate easier with theirs, whilst the others had to have hard work and training to cross the bridge and bring their spirit animal to them. The bridge between the spirit and normal worlds was very hard to cross, only the avatar was truly able to do it, but over the years other benders were able to make progress. That’s why grandpa and I could still speak with gran gran; we met in the middle. I put my hand up.
“Yes, Vida?” Mr Potter asked.
“Sir, can I show you my patronus?” I asked. He looked surprised.
“You can make a patronus Vida?”
“Well almost, grandpa has been teaching me to contact him for many years. Its very hard for him to stay here for very long, I never get to see him physically” I explained. Mr Potter looked confused, but he allowed me to show him. Al gave me the raised eyebrow look and I waved him off, shutting my eyes and pressing my fists together.
“Here spirit animal, where are you?” I called into the mist. For me, since I wasn’t the avatar, or dead, the spirit world was a huge mist, I couldn’t see much else. I stayed where I appeared; wandering off here was far too dangerous.
“Here he comes Vida” Gran gran said, appearing a few feet away, smiling.
“Hello gran gran” I greeted, bowing my head.
“its lovely to see you my dear” Was her reply, and then my spirit animal was there. He came from behind, so all I saw was white light- or maybe that was because he was there in real life too, doing his thing, shining brightly enough to penetrate my eyelids. I could hear gasps and mutters as the light moved, and I grew a little tired.
“Even for full-grown benders its hard to keep your spirit animal with you. Let him go Vida, he’ll return when you need him” Gran gran said, and I nodded. The light died.
“See ya Gran gran. Don’t wander too far!” I called, as the mist began to replace itself with tables, chairs and shocked faces.
“You too my dear!” She replied, and then the spirit world was gone.
“Vida did you just- make a patronus without a wand?” Al asked. I nodded.
“My spirit animal. You see, my family taught me how to meditate and find him spiritually, so that when I need him I can call him and he’ll come. My family aren’t wizards Al; they can’t summon theirs with magic, so they have other ways” I explained.
“That is incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it. And an eagle too; that’s a very strong patronus to have. Your family are very clever” Mr Potter complimented, and I grinned.
“Aw stop it sir, I’m blushing” I replied. Al smirked and I yawned, hiding it with my hand. My yawns often made the paper on my desk fly across the room, its better not to let it go.
Al carried on his question asking throughout divination, my meditating time. He was resting his head on the table, staring up at me drowsily with those bright green eyes. No one in our class was immune to the fumes of Trelawney’s room, even the ancient woman herself nodded off sometimes. I was sat cross-legged on my usual little chair, trying to ignore Al and his questions.
“What are you doing now?” He asked quietly, his voice all deep from almost falling asleep. He looked really cute with all his hair messed up from being on the table.
“Why? You do this every lesson”
“Because I want to, its what I do” I replied. Meditating calmed a hyperactive tornado like me into a summer breeze, which was useful because damn, I got tired sometimes. Plus, Trelawney had given up on us two since it was obvious in third year that we didn’t have the gift of sight (but let’s be honest, neither did she) and we had nothing better to do all lesson.
“Yeah, but why?” Al whined. He seemed to be getting impatient at my vague answers.
“I’ve just always done it. Me and my grandpa always meditated together when I got too rowdy. He used to call me hurricane, he still does sometimes” I told him, feeling the fumes of Trelawney’s candles dulling my senses and slowing my brain down. Apparently these were perfect conditions for looking into the future; I disagreed.
“You are a hurricane Vida, but I like it. Why would you calm down?” He asked. I chuckled.
“Ah, there it is! You’re always so squishy and nice when you’re tired like this”
“No I’m not. I’m telling the truth. Its fun when you’re around and all happy and stuff”
“Squish squish squishy squish. You’re like a pygmy puff Al” I giggled, and he buried his head in his arms, probably finally falling asleep.
“so is your grandpa a Buddhist?”
“Al, shut up and go to sleep”
It took a few more days for Al to stop with his questions and return to warding off all the boys who thought it appropriate to approach me (stay away from the queen, peasants!), but then disaster, once again, struck. It was the beginning of October; the early stages of Quidditch season where players would try out and houses would get their teams together for the matches that started sometime during November. That meant that one mild Saturday morning, I was dragged out of bed by Emma and Rose and forced out onto the pitch.
“Why must you do this to me you betrayers!” I wailed. They ignored me “Not even giving breakfast!” Ignored again. Then I kicked Emma in the shin and got some sort of response, however Al had seen me so it was too late to bolt. He hugged us all at once, grinning.
“You come to watch us try out Rose?” Al asked. She nodded.
“Yeah, course” She muttered. I knew she wasn’t here for us; across the pitch, the Slytherin team were doing try outs too, and Scorp was waiting in line for the seeker’s position, broom in hand. I knew there would be no support from her for the next hour or so.
“Ah you sneaky flameo noodle. At least try and look like you’re not drooling at him” I muttered and grinned as she turned into a tomato. I loved doing that to her. Emma and Al shouldered their brooms and looked up at the stands where other potential Griffindor players were sat. Emma was going for the chaser position so she went ahead and sat with the rest of them, some of them looking very green as James Potter marched onto the pitch in his full Quidditch gear. He was obsessed with this game. Weirdo. Al sat with a smaller group of seekers and I parked myself next to Fred Weasley, who was once again going for a beater position. He was good at beating, was Fred, and he grinned as I sat down with my broom and bat. At least if I got on the team I could use it for more than helping Al. And taking long and often (shh) unauthorised flights just about everywhere.
“Alright people listen up!” James called, turning from charming Potter to very serious captain in five seconds flat. The crowd of Griffindors stopped chatting and stared at him expectantly.
“We’ve got a lot of people to go through, so I want your full attention! Do as I say and we’ll have a team in no time!” He called up, and Fred and I whooped. We were the only ones. James flashed a smiled at us.
“Ah he likes a bit of reaction does our James. Just whoop and clap at everything he says and he’ll probably let you on the team just to follow him around all day” Fred told me and I nodded.
“Okay, so, Keepers, get up and line up by the goal posts!” James ordered, and Fred and I gave him a round of applause.
“Yeah, you boss ‘em around Jamesie boy!” Fred called. I laughed as James winked at us. He mounted his broom and shot up into the air with the quaffle under his arm, and waved the first person up.
“Look at that boy go!” A voice said from beside Fred. I leaned forward, and Nikita grinned at me.
“What the bloody spirits are you doing here?” I asked. Nikita never went to try outs, she just watched the games and got awfully colourful in her language during. This was an outrage! I can’t have her and her mad passion for Quidditch here when I’m going to be trying out! She grinned.
“Showing my boys some support. James and Fred have become my best mates” She said, and Fred nodded.
“What can we say? Can’t miss a girl with flair” He said. Oh, Nikita has flair all right. She comes to school with a bag full of explosives, just so she can set fire to them for fun later. I swear, she’s more mental than me, and I jumped off the astronomy tower without any backup for the sake of it. Al almost had a heart attack when he heard. Of course, no one told him I was fine at first, that I simply did a super cool roll and stood up like it was nothing. Don’t listen to people when they say air benders are all really sweet; we can be right douche bags.
“Aw thanks Fred. And of course I can’t miss two guys who like to make big explosions either” Nikita replied.
“Oh spirits, its three peas in a pod” I groaned. The whole school will be rubble one day and it will be their fault!
“Well more like two. I swear she and James are harbouring some serious sexual tension and let me tell you how it is to be caught in the middle of that-
“Or lets not” Nikita cut in, and Fred grinned at me. I smirked at my older cousin.
“Hey, don’t get all defensive. James is a good-looking lad, I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Fred had some sexual tension too-
“Yeah Vida, me and James can’t even be in the same room as each other sometimes, its just too much” Fred said.
“What, really?” I asked. He roared with laughter.
“No you daft sod, we’re cousins! Although, maybe if we weren’t…”
“Fred Weasley you fiend” Nikita said, and Fred and I laughed so hard that James flew over and smacked Fred with the quaffle. At least he shut up after that. I certainly didn’t.
“Your-face- oh spirits!” I giggled, and a breeze began blowing my hair everywhere. Nikita rolled her eyes as the warm gusts of air made her nice neat bun go all askew. What? I couldn’t help that I made the wind blow when I laughed! And I knew Nikita couldn’t say anything, because when she was angry she’d get so hot that she melted half the fireplace off the wall and then some.
“Okay, beaters!” James called, and Fred and I, along with a few other people, got into the air, and I had the air around me help me speed along a little. I could be sat on one of those rickety old nimbus brooms and with a wave of the hand I’d take over a person sat on the newest firebolt. Ah, air bender privileges are the best privileges to have. We all flew up to James, who tossed someone a beater’s bat.
“Now I’m going to have these lot throw some balls at a volunteer. I’ll be counting how many you successfully block, and just how well you protect your player. Everyone will be getting a turn at this, so don’t be too smug! Fred, since you look the most smug, you can be my first volunteer. Everyone, grab a ball and aim for that ginger git!” James instructed and I whooped, diving down to scoop up a ball. When I returned, the boy with the beater’s bat was flying in front of Fred, who was making faces at us all. I so wanted to get him in the face.
The first few beaters were all right, then a few more were total disasters. Fred of course blew the bar so high up everyone else looked ridiculous, and then it was my turn.
“Why do I have to go after Fred?” I huffed, flying forward with a bat to protect my player. James blew the whistle and the balls came thick and fast, but thankfully I knew what I was doing. I smacked a few out of the way, kicking a few and then when one was heading for my player’s face, I walloped it so hard it flew back and hit the person who threw it in the stomach, winding her. Whoops. I was so busy whacking balls away, that I hadn’t noticed that the wind had picked up. The players around me were trying to keep their brooms in check, dropping a few feet below me. I made some complicated arm movements and my broom stayed still, even though the wind picked up. The sky above us was darkening, more than it was this morning, and I looked down.
“Guys, it’s a storm, we better call this off for now!” James called, but he was wrong. It wasn’t a storm that had hit us; It was a very angry teenage girl. Emma was sat in the stands and from here I could the white glow of her eyes. The wind around her was so fierce that those sat next to her had escaped to lower seats. I flew toward her, bending the wind the opposite way so I could get to her. Al was trying to do the same, climbing up the stands to reach her. He couldn’t see her eyes from where he was, and I prayed he didn’t.
“Emma come on we need to get inside!” Al called, but his voice was whipped away by the wind. I touched down on one of the benches and looked up at her. She looked terrifying as the avatar, nothing like my cousin at all. I could see her old lives in her eyes, the many bodies she had had and the years she’d lived. It made my head hurt.
“EMMA!” I yelled, making damn sure that my voice reached her. It was like I threw it at her, not letting the wind take it away.
“Vida get away from her!” Nikita yelled from several rows down, with a desperate look in her eyes.
“Why?!” I called.
“She’s- I can’t bend!” Nikita called, and I saw that she was sobbing, just as James swooped in on his broom and took her away. Can’t bend. Nikita can’t bend. I looked back up at Emma. She’d done that? She knows that a bender almost loses everything when their bending is lost, it’s the biggest part of them. I set my jaw, and stood against the battering wind, forcing myself up to her before Al got there. She couldn’t take his bending, but she could do much worse.
“Snap out of this, right now! I know you can hear me, you’ll regret this when you come to! Come on!” I snarled, sending a sharp gust to her cheek, strong enough to feel like a slap. I had gotten close enough to touch her now, and I could feel how the wind was being manipulated, how she was mentally pulling it and pushing it around as if it was nothing. No movement, just thought and anger and it obeyed her. It terrified me, because the wind had always been mine between us three cousins. She had the sea, Nikita fire, and the wind was mine, and now she’d taken it.
“Vida, go inside, its too dangerous!” Al yelled, managing to heave himself onto the bench behind us. Emma ignored us completely.
“No Al, she’s my cousin, and she’s not staying here!” I yelled back.
“Then we’ll carry her! She needs to go to the hospital wing, she must be having a seizure or something-
“What was that?” Al demanded.
“Move” I ordered. He frowned. I was looking above the stands, horrified.
“MOVE NOW!” I screamed, grabbing him and Emma and flinging myself backward, propelling us upward as a huge wave of water crashed over the top of the stands. The black lake had paid us a visit.
“THAT’S THE GIANT SQUID!” Al yelled, and of course it was. Emma, in her fit of rage, had dragged the creature along for a joy ride and to crush us under its mass. I kicked my legs as we fell under it, and we zoomed backward, staying air born thanks to me. I had the air cushion us and lower us slowly.
“ARE WE FLYING?!” Al demanded. I kneed him in the stomach.
“DOES IT MATTER?!” I replied. Emma had stayed completely still through all of this, arm limp in my hand. Then she moved.
“No, no Emma don’t, don’t you dare Emma NO!” I cried, as her hand reached up to my forehead. Something in me seemed to just shut down, I felt like someone had yanked my soul out of my body or stabbed my in the gut. Now, waving my arms and kicking my legs didn’t work. For the first time in my life, I was falling from the sky, and I couldn’t cushion my fall or stop or fly up again. I couldn’t do anything. We dropped like a stone, all three of us, me just letting it happen, staring up at the clouds blankly. Al was screaming, Emma was coming to or something, and I shut my eyes.
I didn’t open them again when the screaming stopped.
Hello! Wow, I've had a busy week, but Its always nice to sit down and add chapters to this story, always cheers me up. You know what else cheers me up? Reviews! Feedback! Make a girl's day by writing your thoughts in the box!