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Chapter 7 : the one with a letter, pets, and bending revealed
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The closer December got, the happier I got (impossible, right?). Christmas was on its way, and I am the Christmas spirit; I loved everything to do with the holiday. The first signs of snow appeared, the castle smelled of cookies all the time (waking up at four in the morning because you smell cookies is awesome but tiring let me tell you), and the decorations were going up. It was a week into December that I got the all-important letter from my mum. She didn’t send many throughout the year as she hated to burden the owls (muggles are adorable), but I was glad she sent this one. It arrived at breakfast and I read through it carefully, grinning more and more as I went:
I hope you’re having fun since last time I saw you, as I know it wasn’t the best of circumstances. I know I don’t write to you often- makes me feel terrible!- but I think that you should have some prior warning before you come home for Christmas.
I’ve been talking you your Aunt Allison, who told me about Emma’s avatar plan. I know what your deal was and I must say- its one of the most mature things I’ve heard you say; no offence of course. I know that some may be against bending being revealed, but I think it’ll be great, and I want to take the first step.
As you know, it’s our annual Christmas party, and since you’re of age now, its basically dedicated to you this year (all grown up, how time flies!). As an early Christmas present to you, you’re allowed to bring a guest. It can be anyone you want, bender or not, and as a bonus, Emma and Nikita can bring a guest too if they wish, and they’ll learn about bending. Please bring someone I can actually like Vida, you know how I am with horrible teens! They’ll arrive three days before the party to be prepared (lets be honest, we throw a big party, they need some sort of prior preparation) and they’ll leave on Christmas Eve.
When you come home I want to know if you’re going to the Potter’s house sometime during the holiday, so I know and don’t worry like last year since you disappeared for hours and didn’t tell me- still not forgiven you for that- and I can send Mrs Potter a nice gift.
I can’t wait to see you and my nieces dear, send them my love, and try and come home in one piece!
See you soon, my little air bender,
Love mum xx
Oh. My. AANG. I think I’m having a heart attack, oh Spirits, I can’t believe it, BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! I dived over the table and launched myself at Emma, laughing as we tumbled to the floor. I heard people laughing, but I didn’t care; Emma had just made my year, and my mum did too, but it was Emma’s plan that started it all. And she was the only one here I could hug.
“Emma I love you so so so so so so much! YOU’RE THE BEST COUSIN EVER!” I yelled.
“Can’t- breathe- Vida get off!” Emma choked, and I rolled off her, pulling her up into another rib-cracking hug.
“You told your mum your plan, and she told my mum, and now we can have guests for the party, and they will know about bending! EMMA I’M SO EXCITED!” I squealed. Emma grumbled and looked around self-consciously.
“Oh my God shut up, everyone is staring at us”
“I DON’T CARE! NIKITA, HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS?!” I yelled, and Nikita ran over, wearing a joyful expression, clutching a letter that had just been delivered in her hand.
“HELL YEAH, EMMA I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE MY FAVOURITE!”
I wasn’t even offended by my cousin’s favouritism; Emma was now my favourite too. Nikita joined in on the hugging, or the suffocating, depending on who’s perspective you were looking at, and we giggled, turning into the biggest teenage girls on the planet all at once. It was rather fun.
“Who’re you gonna invite?”
“Do you even have to ask?”
“What will we wear?”
“Three day party, this will be a blast!”
“Will you two get off me?!”
We finally released Emma and she breathed heavily, scowling at us. Her hair was all mussed up on one side and she was bright red from us squishing her. Nikita coughed to hide her laughing, whilst I just laughed freely. She looked pretty hilarious, especially with a banana slice stuck to her shirt (that was my fault- she was eating bananas on toast when I dived on her).
“I’ll never tell my mum anything again if you two strangle me for it” She said, and I chuckled.
“You love it really” I told her “Who’re you gonna take?”
“No clue yet. I doubt I can take Al; Vida is probably taking him” She replied, and I nodded.
“Yup, Al’s mine. What about you ‘Kita, who’s your guest?” I asked her. She thought for a moment.
“Well if you’re taking Al I’ll take James. Emma could take Hugo, or Rose”
“I think I’ll go with Hugo; Rose isn’t the party type is she? Aunt Anna’s Christmas party lasted three days last time” Emma mused. Nikita laughed, and we exchanged knowing glances. Ever since Em’s confession to liking Hugo Nikita’s been giving me a look every time his name was mentioned. I found it quite funny, but Em wasn’t amused.
“She learned that from my lot. Fire benders throw the biggest parties ever. Not even Vida can get through it all”
That was true. Fire bender parties were massive, and they tired me out. A hyperactive tornado like me, and I couldn’t get through the full three days. I needed my sleep.
“What are you three deafening us for?” Al asked, finally appearing for breakfast. I grinned and dived back over the table, beaming at him. He slid over as I sat right next to him, beaming widely.
“You’re mine Al!”
Al spluttered. It was a good job he hadn’t been drinking water, otherwise he would’ve done a magnificent spit take. I’ll have to have better timing next time.
“What?” He asked.
“My guest! My mum, thanks to Emma, is letting us bring a guest to our annual Christmas party! You’ll need to talk to your mum though because you’ll be at mine for like a week-“
“I’m there” He interrupted. I laughed.
“Well then Mr Potter, I have a lot to show you. Starting with Jinjin” I said. Al frowned.
“Your cat? What does that have to do with a Christmas party?” He asked. I giggled.
“Its more than just a party Al. Emma, Nikita, grab your guests and Breezy, and meet me in Al’s dorm!” I ordered, and they nodded, seeking out their chosen guests. I pulled Al up
“Hey, I haven’t had breakfast!” He complained.
“Don’t worry, I hid loads of food in your dorm for when I go up there. You can eat that if you can find it. Now hurry up slowpoke, Jinjin will be waiting!” I reassured, and dragged him out of the hall by his arm.
He followed me to the common room and I grabbed Jinjin on the way, who was trying to paw at something under a cupboard. Probably someone’s pet mouse or that weird animal that Fred let loose in here last week; I was pretty sure it could spit fire, but no one believed me.
“Jinjin, you’re going to like this” I told him, when he squirmed in my hand.
“I still don’t understand what’s going on” Al admitted.
“You’ll see! Now, lets wait for the others” I replied, skipping into his dorm and making myself comfortable on Al’s bed. I came in here far too often during fourth year, as we had this massive project to do for DADA. It made me very comfortable sprawled out on Al’s bed. He tutted and smiled as I stretched out leisurely.
“So, what is this party that I’ve been invited to?” Al asked. He sat down on the bed, leaning against the wall above his pillows. I sat up next to him, Jinjin in my lap.
“It’s a celebration for our community. People come from pretty far to our house. We’re very well known”
“My family is very diverse, and very respected. You’ll see when we get home, it’s just I’m not sure how much I should tell you-
“Alright, we’re here; what’s so important about an owl and a cat?” James demanded, marching into Al’s dorm with Nikita, Emma, Hugo and Breezy the owl. Of course he wasn’t really an owl. That would be stupid.
I sat cross-legged and made room for them, and placed Jinjin and Breezy on the bed. They looked at each other in confusion, probably used to seeing each other in different forms. Breezy hooted and nudged Jinjin with his head, and Jinjin pawed at Breezy’s wings. It must be weird to see someone you know in a different body. Like me walking down the street and seeing Al as Chuck Norris. Freaky.
“You wanna go first?” Nikita asked, and I nodded.
“Okay, you’re all coming to our house for Christmas; and that means you’ll be spending time around our pets. They’re very strange. Jinjin here, for example isn’t a cat. Ready Jinjin?” I asked. Jinjin meowed, and I pulled out my wand, removing the spell I put on him. The meow turned to a squeak, and the little butterfly kangaroo looked a lot happier. His wings had grown a little, and I smiled as he hopped toward me, snuggling into my arms. The non-benders of the group leaned forward to look at my pet, and he squeaked again, fluttering his wings almost proudly. Jinjin never was a modest creature.
“What is that?” Hugo asked curiously.
“It’s Jinjin, my butterfly kangaroo. He came from the mountains where herds of them live together” I explained. I picked Jinjin up around the middle and held him up to sniff at Al. As a cat he didn’t like people very much, but in his real form, butterfly kangaroos tend to go for very trustworthy people. Jinjin sniffed at Al’s cheek before licking him softly; Al was good. Jinjin hopped into Al’s lap and he smiled, carefully stroking him. They both looked adorable, and Al was being very gentle with my pet. Thank spirits, I didn’t really trust anyone else with him. Jinjin squeaked happily, nuzzling Al’s hands.
“That’s very manly of you Al” Hugo snorted. Al threw a pillow at him.
“He’s cute” Was his reply “Pity you’re not”
“Hey, you wanna see a manly pet? Nikita, show them Breezy” I suggested. Nikita shared a wicked grin with me and tapped the owl on the head. It began to growl and grow, a long spotted tail sprouting along with two powerful spotted back legs. Spotted ears grew on his head and his talons became sharp, his feathers an inky black, wings folded into his sides. Hugo, Al and James jumped back as Breezy rumbled, before pouncing on Hugo. The boy let out a high-pitched squeak, falling backwards into Emma, who barely moved an inch, but went very red, as Hugo was now on her lap. I gave her a thumbs up. She flipped me the finger in return.
“Rude” I mouthed.
“I don’t care” She mouthed back. Nikita giggled.
“Alright, heel Breezy, he doesn’t know you’re just playing” Nikita scolded and Breezy backed up, nuzzling Nikita’s side affectionately. It was a cross between a cheetah, and what I guessed was an eagle, though Emma always said it was a falcon. Cheetah Eagle sounds much better than cheetah Falcon, right? Right!
“Where do you get these pets from?” James asked, looking nervous as Breezy watched him closely. I laughed.
“You haven’t seen the flying lemurs or turtle ducks or giant bisons yet. And of course the elephant birds. You ever heard of dumbo?” I asked, and Emma laughed at the boy’s expressions.
“Uh, so where’s your animal?” Hugo asked “You don’t have something that bites do you?”
“No no, I just have three bear dogs. They’re very sweet”
“Bear dogs?!” James spluttered, hardly moving now that Breezy had approached him, and was pecking at his robes. I giggled. Al looked at Jinjin a little more wearily now.
“Yeah. Don’t worry, they’re softies, and they probably won’t be at Vida’s house for the party. What’s with the face Al?” Nikita asked.
“Nothing. Jinjin doesn’t bite does he?” He asked. Jinjin had climbed up Al’s arm and curled up in the curve of his neck, his wings fluttering and tail flicking gently. He was totally relaxed; Jinjin had taken to Al very well, which pleased me greatly. If my pet liked someone, it was good news.
“No, he just likes cuddling. He’s just like me!” I reassured him. Jinjin squeaked in agreement, and I sighed. Al looked perfect with Jinjin on his shoulder, as if he fitted there. I almost can’t remember why I didn’t tell him about my pet before. And then I remembered that I didn't show off Jinjin for the same reason that wizards didn't ride Hippogriffs up the motorway; something about discretion.
“Could I get one of these?” Hugo asked, patting Breezy’s head fondly. Breezy had made himself comfortable between Hugo and James, and I knew that he was scoping them out; keeping an eye on them. That’s how Nikita knew who he liked; if they passed this test, Breezy would give them an affectionate peck. If not; well, they better be good at running.
“Well no, for years now they’ve only liked; um, people like us” Emma said. I nodded. As the non-bender population thrived and benders went under the radar the animals went too. Many species are in serious danger of extinction. Now, animals like this, that have been around for millennia, only allow benders to befriend them. House pets like ours only tolerate non-benders that their owners are very close to. I looked toward Emma, and knew this was it; she was ready to tell them. And if the avatar was ready to tell the bending secret; how could I argue? I smiled and ran a gentle hand along Jinjin’s back.
“People like you?” James asked. I looked at Nikita and Emma. This was a secret I’d kept from my friends for so long. How would it feel to finally tell them the truth? I could already feel a sort of weight lifting off my shoulders that I hadn’t noticed before; it felt good.
“People who can bend the elements” Nikita told them. Hugo, James and Al stared at us in confusion, and I but back a laugh.
“I don’t understand” Al admitted.
“Well, there are people who can control an element. I’m a fire bender” Nikita explained, and her hand set alight. She wiggled her fingers and the fire danced along her fingertips, and then disappeared. James gasped. Hugo was looking impressed, and Al was gaping, trying hard not to move, as Jinjin had made it clear that he was not moving off his shoulder.
“How did you do that?” Hugo asked in awe. Nikita smiled.
“It has run in our family for years. It isn’t magic; there are many muggles that bend. Benders have been around for longer than most” Nikita explained. James gently took her hand and examined it, probably looking for burns even though there wouldn’t be any; Nikita never got burned by anything. She could put her hand in boiling water and pick up coal out of a roaring fire and be completely fine. She was pretty much heatproof.
“Yeah, we learnt it from animals. Fire benders learned from the dragons, earth benders from the badger moles, air benders from the bison; It became almost genetic, like magic, and we can bend our element to do almost anything we want” I explained.
“So you’re all fire benders?” Hugo asked, looking around at us as if we were the coolest thing since knitted cardigans. Al shook his head.
“Vida isn’t” He said. We all stared at him, me a little shocked. Jinjin wiggled his nose as if impressed.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re not a fire bender” He told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. He looked me right in the eyes when he said it, and I couldn't look away. He had me, and somehow I just knew that he knew. I didn't even have to tell him; Al just knew me inside out.
“Then what do I bend?” I asked, and he smiled easily, as if this was an answer to a simple question in class and the professor called him out, thinking he didn't know the answer, only for him to answer correctly. Korra, he wasn't half smug when he did that.
“You bend the Wind. I see it sometimes, although I never really believed it until now. The wind picks you up, its always blowing your hair around, and at Quidditch try outs; you were the reason we flew” He said. I nodded dumbly, still staring at him. His gaze hadn't dropped, and neither had mine. There was a relief spreading through me, and the breeze picked up slightly, because he knew. I didn't have to hide the biggest part of myself from my best friend. It made me want to fly. I smiled.
“You saved our lives you know” He said quietly. I blushed a little. Jinjin squeaked, and Al finally looked away. I let out a breath I didn't remember holding, and turned back to Nikita, who was wearing the biggest smirk of my life. Oh Aang, she'd never let that full ten seconds of eye contact go. This would be her revenge for me always barging in on her and James.
“Okay, so yeah, Vida’s an air bender. And I’m the avatar” Emma told them. I heard a little pride in her voice, and I was glad that she no longer said those words like she did at the beginning of the year-with fear and a little bitterness- but with-gasp- happiness. Call that development or what? I smiled brightly at her as she sat up, waiting for the reaction of awe that she deserved.
“What’s an avatar?” James asked.
“The only bender in existence to bend all four elements. She’s still learning to keep it in control, she was the one that split the platform back in September” Nikita said. Hugo looked impressed. I didn't see how dropping several girls into the earth was impress- wait, nevermind, I see why he's impressed.
“And caused that storm during Quidditch try outs, and summon the giant squid” I added, not wanting my cousin's wayward avatar ways to go unnoticed. Emma scowled.
“I was angry. I told you I was sorry” She mumbled, picking at loose threads in her tights.
“We know Em, it’s alright. But yeah, little miss Anger issues here will be the most powerful bender in the world when she’s trained. Of course, I’ll still kick her butt at air bending, since I’m almost a master and all” I gloated. Nikita chuckled whilst Al tutted. He was used to my gloating. As my best friend, it was his duty to listen to me gloat.
“You had a whole summer to train with a master, so technically you got a head start” Emma argued.
“And I’m better than both if you at fire bending, so I win. Or are you gonna challenge me again?” Nikita asked. I grinned mischievously. I had a 'lightbulb-above-the-head' idea, which would be much more fun than lessons.
“Well, a battle would be a great way to show our guests what bending really is” I began innocently. Emma matched my expression perfectly. Now I see why people sometimes thought we were sisters.
“And it’s a good stress reliever” She continued. I punched the air, and Al laughed as dust fell from the ceiling. Everyone got off the bed pretty quickly in fear of the ceiling falling on them.
“To the room of requirement!” I cried happily.
“We have lessons!” Hugo argued. Nikita rolled her eyes.
“Fine, you go to your lessons and miss out on me setting my cousins on fire” She told him. Ooh, I could tell he was tempted now. How could he turn that offer down? Watching us get set on fire? So interesting.
“I’ll just water bend myself out” Emma retorted. We left the dorm and headed downstairs.
“Yeah, and water bending is all you’ll be doing. We only have one element; you will too” I warned. No way was she getting to use her avatar advantage, I wouldn’t have it. It would be a fair fight between water, air, and fire. And air would obviously win of course. Wow, I really am big-headed sometimes. I should work on that. I’ll do it later.
“Fine, water bending only. That’s all I’ll need” She said smugly. Oh, she talked big. My cousins liked to challenge each other, as they were water and fire, always trying to see who was best; air bending often got overlooked between them. Well, I guess that was understandable, as before the summer they didn’t have to concentrate on me because all I did was dodge, my air bending purely defence. They would get a shock soon. They were so busy threatening each other that they didn’t realise that I was their biggest worry. I think this is how Hufflepuffs feel all the time. I walked with Al at the back of the group as we climbed out of the portrait hole, Jinjin darting into his robes so he was hidden from view. Ah, I trained him well. Al smiled a little, as Jinjin squeaked, and I watched him carefully as my cousins openly discussed bending, gauging his reaction to it. I prayed to the spirits that it was a good one; I wouldn’t know what to do if it wasn’t.
Ah, the sweet smell of another chapter. Breathe in the update! As it is officially November, I'd like to point out that it IS ALMOST CHRISTMAS. Do with that information what you will. So, what did you think of the chapter? Leave your thoughts in the box you lovely people, and thank you for the reviews you've left already! I love reading them a lot!
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