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Chapter 9 : The one with misunderstandings, pet scarves, and elusive air bender tactics
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“You go in first Em, say you got caught in a trip stair and you had to wait for someone to get you out” I suggested.
“No, that sounds like a Vida thing to do” She replied, and I gave her a wounded look. Al chuckled.
“Fine, tell him you fell down the stairs and had to drag your sorry behind to Madame Mason, Dad falls for that one every time” He said, and Em grumbled, but agreed. Al and I scurried out of the view of the door and Em disappeared inside, shutting the door behind her. I nervously tried to run my hands through my hair, as my air bending had sorta messed it up (and when I say ‘sorta’, I mean that it looks like I’ve been on a broom in a storm and crashed into the whomping willow. Yeah, it was that bad). Al chuckled at me, and Jinjin squeaked on his shoulder.
“We need to put Jinjin back in my dorm” I said, scared of someone seeing my pet.
“You can’t, you’ll be even later” He said. I sighed as he wore his thinking face, before plucking my pet from his shoulder and transfigured him into a colourful scarf. I stared, shocked, as he draped it over my shoulders.
“Jinjin, is a scarf?” I squeaked.
“Only temporarily” Al replied. I ran a hand over the scarf, worried for Jinjin’s lack of squeaking.
“Al Potter, I’m no longer going easy on you during our duel. You can’t transfigure my pet into winter wear!” I cried.
“Hey, I saved you from running back up to your dorm with him!”
“But-but- Winter wear!”
“What the bloody hell is it with you and winter wear?” Al exclaimed dramatically.
And that was when Mr Potter opened the door.
“What is the yelling abou- ah, I somehow knew it would be you two” He said, and even though those words seemed cold, he said them kindly, shaking his head at us. We glanced at each other like thieves caught red-handed, and I wondered whether we should be coming up with an excuse.
“Ah, dad! Fancy meeting you here!” Al cried suddenly, causing Mr Potter to roll his eyes.
“Get inside, I want to know why you two are late, and having an argument about winter wear outside the class you should have entered half an hour ago. Were you late to first lesson as well?” He asked, and I followed Al into the classroom, scowling as Emma waved merrily from her usual desk, and Rose gave us disapproving looks.
“Uh, well it’s a funny story, you see-
“Peeves locked us in a broom cupboard and Al called my scarf ugly and I was trying to convince him about the joys of winter wear but he wouldn’t listen!” I blurted, and I was met with a classroom of blank stares, and Al’s familiar ‘what did you tell him that for?’ look. He gave me that look so often I was surprised he wasn't stuck like that.
“Okay…so why is your sleeve all burnt?” Mr Potter asked. I laughed nervously. My arm was burnt too; he didn't seem to notice.
“Well, Peeves said that the only way we could get out was to set our pants on fire, and I’m not wearing pants so I thought that a good sleeve may appease him, and it did! I saved us!” I cried, and I could see that Mr Potter was trying very hard not to laugh.
“I bet they had a lot of fun in that broom cupboard before they got out though; look at her hair, looks ravished, doesn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to set your sleeve on fire” I heard a girl mutter, and I spluttered, turning a nice bright red that would put Gryffindor scarves to shame. I looked at Al; he was red too. Giggling broke out.
“See? Look how red they’ve gone! Just friends my arse” Another girl muttered. Mr Potter was torn between amusement and horror.
“Sit down you two, the rest of you stop being so immature. And since it seems to be causing arguments, I’ll take that scarf. Try to stay away from broom cupboards, you two” Mr Potter advised, taking Jinjin the scarf away and tucking into his desk draw. I shot Al a murderous look, and he visibly gulped. If that scarf wasn’t back in my possession by the time this lesson ended, he was dead meat.
“I’ll see you two at the end, to discuss your so called excuse for being late. For now, everyone get out your wands; I want you practicing your silent shield charm”
I pulled out my wand and waited as the rest of the class got up, dividing into pairs. Rose, Scorpius and Emma joined us, Em looking particularly smug about us two being in trouble and her not.
“Wow, you two should stay out of broom cupboards. By the looks of things, you had a ball” Em said, and I stared at her in disbelief.
“Don’t you dare” I warned, and she smirked.
“Do what? Point out that after you came in late together you had very messed up hair?” She said. Scorp chuckled. I glared darkly at her. She knew what happened, yet she was still trying to change the story? Maybe I should whip up another tornado and dump her in the black lake. Or central Russia.
“Looks to me like someone had their hands tangled in it, and believe me, I know how that looks” Scorp pointed out. I poked my wand at his chest.
“Well no one did, okay? I’m. Having. A. Bad. Hair. Day” I said, prodding him with each word.
“You weren’t this morning. In fact, your hair looked very nice. We’re you styling it to impress someone? I noticed how you practically dragged Al out of the hall at breakfast” Rose said, and Scorp and Em looked particularly triumphant as I spluttered, my cheeks feeling hotter than Nikita’s fire. How could I be misunderstood so badly? This is all wrong!
“That’s not- we didn’t- Albus Potter are you not even going to say anything?” I demanded, rounding on him. He was blushing furiously, leaning against the desk silently and refusing to meet anybody’s eyes.
“I have a feeling that you’ve dug us into a hole we’re not getting out of, even if nothing happened” He said.
“Me? Me?! Digging?” I squeaked, and he raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah, you. You told everyone we were in a broom cupboard; what do you expect them to think?”
I floundered for a moment, not having a good retort for his point. Em, Scorp and Rose were giggling madly, probably not caring that the whole classroom now thought that Al and I just snogged in a broom cupboard. Those damn birds were beating their wings against my insides, and now they were saying things, yelling to my brain as if willing it to understand. Apparently, snogging Al in a broom cupboard pleased them greatly, and I blushed even more as the image came to mind.
No, stop, bad mental Vida! Get away from mental Al! This is terrifying! WHERE ARE YOUR HANDS GOING MENTAL AL, THIS IS WAY BEYOND THE LINE OF FRIENDSHIP! Abort abort abort!
I turned my back on the spectators, facing Al and giving him my darkest look.
“You wait until our duel” I said quietly “If we get Jinjin back, I might not be so bad, but if not; well then its bye bye Al”
Al was stuck between terror and that same odd expression he’d had for the past few minutes. I hoped it wasn’t because he was repulsed at the idea of me and him in a broom cupboard- not that it would bother me if he was, where did you get such a silly idea?- he did look redder than before.
“I’ll get Jjnjin back. Please don’t kill me” He replied, and I nodded, satisfied.
“Alright, lets split Romeo and Juliet up. Come on Vida, you can come and practice with me” Rose said, ushering me away and leaving Al, Em and scorp behind. I sulked. Big time. Rose sent silent spells at me, and I moodily blocked them. She chuckled.
“You didn’t really get locked in a broom cupboard, did you?” She asked. I shook my head.
“I knew it wasn’t like you, you have more class. I mean I wouldn’t put it past Al, but you wouldn’t hook up in a broom cupboard. Anyway, I wanna ask you something” She continued. I was flattered by her faith in my class, because right now that image of Al and I in a broom cupboard, crossing the friendship line didn’t want to go away. I don’t know why, but it didn’t. And I wasn’t trying as hard as I could be to banishing it from my brain forever. In fact, I should really get on that.
“Ask away” I replied, shooting a silent stunning spell at her and watching as she easily blocked it.
“Does Em really like Hugo? I mean, you were talking about it that night, but it was Nikita that did most of the talking” Rose said. I smiled.
“You can’t tell him. But yeah, she does. Uh, how much of that conversation did you hear?” I asked cautiously. Rose giggled.
“Why? Did you admit your undying love for my cousin? I’m sad I missed that”
I sent a particularly nasty bat bogey hex at her for that, and was quite annoyed that she blocked it. An uneasy wind blew through the classroom, and I laughed it away.
“Nah, nothing like that. I was just wondering” I said.
“Well, I was concentrating on my book. I only heard a few words here and there; nothing important”
That made me sigh with relief.
“Alright, get in get out. You ready?” Al whispered, stood outside the DADA classroom, the darkness making it hard to see him clearly. I nodded, determined to save Jinjin no matter what. Even if it did mean breaking into Harry Potter’s classroom in the middle of the night and stealing him. We stayed behind when lesson finished, and he'd informed me that I would not be getting my scarf back (I thought he was just going to give me a detention; apparently Harry Potter seemed to realise that the scarf was more important to me). I didn't talk to Al for hours, until he'd suggested we went and got Jinjin back.
“Alohamora” Al muttered and the door swung open, and with a flurry of wind I was in, sweeping past the desks like a leaf in the wind and heading for Mr Potter’s desk. I floated over the simple wood top, leaning over and pulling open the draw carefully, spotting the scarf immediately and pulling it out. I zoomed out of the classroom and hugged the scarf.
“Okay, now turn it back” I ordered, holding it out. Al tapped the scarf, and it shortened, growing back into the shape of Jinjin. He wrinkled his nose and sneezed, and what looked suspiciously like the fluff he'd previously been made from fell to the floor.
“Oh thank Korra you’re okay!” I squeaked happily, my feet leaving the floor momentarily. Al tugged on my arm.
“We have to go, Old Filch likes to patrol these corridors, I’d hate for him to catch us” He muttered and I nodded, hurrying alongside Al with Jinjin in my arms.
Old Filch was ancient and nasty, and he may look like he was a weak old man but he sure could move fast. I had to jump out of a window to get away from him once, it was terrifying.
We headed up a flight of stairs, Al leading the way (he knew the way around better than I did, I’d get us lost If I led), me using gusts of wind to speed us along occasionally.
“You know, now would be a good time for our duel” I whispered, looking at all the empty space we had to use.
“Now? Filch will skin us alive if he catches us!” Al hissed back.
“That’s the fun of it, isn’t it? Come on, the trophy room is right there; a midnight duel, it will be fun!” I persuaded, and Jinjin squeaked in agreement. Al sighed and darted into the trophy room, pulling me with him.
It wasn’t exactly a room, more like another corridor that was attached to this one. It was full of cabinets and cases, dedicated to students. There was one suspicious, empty circle devoid of dust in one of the cabinets, as if a trophy had been taken out. Then there was a cabinet full of trophies for those who fought for Hogwarts in 1998. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger had a cabinet of their own, and there were odd objects placed in there too; like a sock, a locket, and a book with a whole burnt through it. Strange.
“Okay, Jinjin, you sit here” I said, setting Jinjin down on a lower glass stand that contained a Herbology award, the Sprout award. It had Neville Longbottom written on it in shiny golden letters, and I smiled. Jinjin sat quietly on the stand and watched as I stood at one end of the room, and Al backed up to the other, pointing his wand at me. I’d been in duels before, bending duels and magic duels, but never in one that involved both. It felt weird not to be holding my wand; it looked weird for Al to be holding his when I was about to bend. I felt a little shiver of excitement travel up my spine; I didn’t know who would win this. I said I would, but Al was great at magic, as good as he could be for a sixth year. I was in for an even match, at least. I shifted my feet closer together, arms up, almost like a boxer, and Al smiled.
“On three. One, two, three!” He whisper/shouted, and sent a silent spell at me, a jet of red light lighting the trophy room eerily. I shot up to the ceiling, my left side completely flat against the dusty concrete, and I pushed off, swiping my arm and bending a swift wind against his wand arm as he shot another spell. His whole arm was knocked sideways, and the spell hit Jinjin, who began to tapdance on top of Professor Longbottom’s award. He squeaked in fright, whilst I giggled.
“Tap dancing? Really?” I whispered from a dark corner, where a concrete arch sat supporting the ceiling. There was a row of them along the edges of the walls, and I grinned. Al took the spell of Jinjin and looked around, to find that I’d vanished. He frowned, and I jumped to the next arch, bending another gust of wind to hit the back of Al’s legs. He yelped in surprise as his back hit the floor, and my laugh echoed quietly around the room. He scrambled to his feet, pointing his wand upward, turning slowly in a circle.
“You know, this is where I have an advantage” I said, and he whipped around at the sound of my voice. I cursed, thinking. I’d get caught if I taunted him, which I wanted to do, as he’d hear me straight away and curse me. I looked at my hands. I’d made my voice louder with bending. I’d moved my body fifty feet in the air and made a tornado. There was a chance I could carry sounds, wasn’t there? I began speaking again.
“You can’t see me” I said, and caught my voice in my hand, and threw it across the room to an arch opposite me. Al’s spell followed. I gaped, before that devious little smile appeared on my face. I jumped to the next arch, on line with Al.
“I could be anywhere” I said, tossing the sound toward the door. He sent a spell there.
“How are you moving so fast?” He whispered.
“I could even be…right behind you” I hissed, and aimed the sound directly in his left ear. He jumped about three feet and let out a (very manly-not) yell. I swiped, knocking his wand arm again, and began brewing up a powerful ball of air in my hands, seeing it swirling. Al wouldn’t see it in the dark. I threw it at his exposed chest. Then I ran through the air to the next corner arch and waited.
“This is cheating” He wheezed, rubbing his chest. I giggled.
“No it isn’t. Air benders are known for being elusive” I replied, making sure that I directed the sound somewhere else. Al turned toward it, his back facing me, and I left the arch, touching the floor silently. I crept forward.
“Why have I got you then?” He asked. I raised an eyebrow.
“Got me?” I asked. He nodded.
“You’re so elusive, but I know more about you than anyone” He continued, creeping to the corner he thought I was lurking in, not knowing I was following. I put my finger to my lips as Jinjin squeaked at me from his spot, and he fell silent.
“Even my cousins?” I asked, and he nodded again.
“I know you inside out. You trust me, Vida”
“So why are you hiding?”
“Where are you then?”
I smiled and walked closer, the air cushioning my steps, silently approaching until I couldn’t get any nearer. This was ninja stuff right here folks. The famous Al Potter couldn’t find me, and I didn’t make a sound when I walked. I should be a spy.
“I’m behind you” I whispered. He jumped, and I chuckled, hands on his shoulders, holding him in place. I wasn’t letting him turn around, because he’d probably send another spell at me, and at close range I might not get away.
“How did you do that?” He whispered.
“Elusive Air bender tacticts. I thought you had me?” I teased.
“I’ve always got you. I figured out you could bend before you told me” He gloated. I shook my head.
“You figured out I could do something” I corrected.
“Same thing. I bet I could figure out anything about you, you’re so obvious”
I frowned, wondering if that was true.
“No you couldn’t” I replied, and he turned around, a gleam in his eyes that I didn’t like. He came closer, and my bending instinct told me to back up, get to a safer position. I was about to do that, but he grabbed my hands.
“Now, why are you running away? I thought you trusted me?” He asked. That damn image from earlier barged its way in, the stupid broom closet and those words, ‘you trust me, don’t you?’, all at once. I really needed a safer position.
“I do; but I trust instinct more” I told him, eyes darting to his hand holding mine, his wand digging into my knuckles. He chuckled.
“Elusive my arse; you air benders are scared” He taunted, and I gasped, offended, meeting his eyes and giving him my best death glare. He seemed smug.
“We are not” I growled. Jinjin squeaked in agreement from across the room.
“You spent this whole time hiding. That’s cowardly; I thought you were a Gryffindor?”
Alright, that was low. My hands shook in his, the wind was picking up around us, and I glared evenly into his eyes, whilst he smirked.
“I am, and you really should shut your mouth before I show you just how Gryffindor I am”
“Sweetheart, that’s all I want”
I didn’t even hear the last part of that sentence, because the word ‘sweetheart’ made me snap. I used his hands to support me as my feet left the floor and made contact with his stomach, not lightly, and I kicked out, pushing him back and forcing him to let me go.
I twisted around, landing back on my feet and bringing my arms up, the air being drawn to me, and the cabinets in the trophy room began coming toward me too, Al being dragged up to his feet. Once he was upright I punched forward, a whistling noise heard as the air followed, aimed at his abdomen. His feet slid across the floor as he was forced backward. He sent a silent spell at me and I refused to dodge it, and instead I did something completely new; I twisted around, arms following and guiding the red light around my body, before being directed back the way it came. Al’s wand shuddered as it made contact.
“That’s more like it” He said, and began sending spell after spell at me. My arms almost fell off I was moving them so much. There was a barrier of air pressure building around me in my determination to fight, the spells slowing right down as they hit it as if they were trying to fly through peanut butter. Al was continuously being lifted off the floor, flipped over, distracted so he couldn’t aim for me, and the air pressure was almost too much to bear.
“Okay, I think you wi- Vida, stop now, you won!” Al cried, eyes widening in alarm as he saw the last five spells he sent being held back by sheer force of will. Five stunning spells, suspended in air that probably would feel like a brick wall if you tried to run through it. It hurt, it was closing in on me, and I had to let it go. I had to send it away. This wasn't an air bender's nature.
“Al, grab Jinjin and get down!” I ordered, and he did as he was told, grabbing Jinjin from his terrified position. This had happened before; Grandpa told me not to try too much, not to bend on emotion, and that’s what I had done- now the emotion was in control, and as much as it could help a person's bending sometimes, it was a burden now. Earth benders often bended better when their emotions were stronger; air benders did not.
“Al, get down!” I yelled at him again, annoyed that he hadn't listened to me and instead was stood staring in shock. He shook his head.
“Vida, what’s wrong?” He called back. I struggled, keeping one spell in particular away from my arm.
“Just get on the floor you idiot!” I ordered, and he lowered himself and Jinjin to the floor, and I released my anger, letting it explode outward, and five stunning spells were thrown around the room, searching for a live body to put to sleep. The wind blew me forwards toward Al, flattening me to the floor too.
Al let out a yell as it hit him, so strong that we couldn’t even raise our heads an inch. Eventually the roaring wind died, and I found that there was no longer any glass in the cabinets, but shiny dust on the floor. The wind I’d just released was so strong it had gone beyond smashing; it had turned the fragile glass into tiny little pieces of nothing. I was a little overwhelmed. Al looked up at me, glasses in the same state.
“You know, I thought provoking you would make you stop hiding. I didn’t think that would happen” He said weakly. I breathed deeply, the floor feeling cool against my skin and pounding head. Al had said those things on purpose, to get a better fight, but I was too done to yell at him for it. I sighed.
“Air benders are meant to stay out of reach, Al. That’s more important than I think you realise. Its our technique, our personality, almost. You can’t make an air bender stand and fight like that; we can’t rely on strong emotions to get us by. We wear our opponent out, we dodge attacks, stay out of reach. You were trying to get me to fight like an earth bender, and doing that; it hurts Al, it hurts my head” I said, trying to ignore the fact that I could feel the blood rushing too fast through my head, under too much pressure. I felt a soft hand in my hair, gently brushing it from my face.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know” Al said quietly. I waved a hand weakly.
“Make sure you’ve actually got me next time” I told him. He smiled and helped me sit up, and I held my head, the pain enough to reduce me into sitting with my knees to my chest and my head in my hands, groaning occasionally. Al just held me like that.
One moment I was sat there, and the next two strong arms wrapped around me, pulling into an even warmer body, surrounding me like a shield, a head resting on mine. Jinjin wormed his way between my legs and chest and fell asleep, and we sat like that for longer than I could judge. The silence was welcome for my head, and I was able to sort through the guilt of damaging the trophy room and why my arms were tingling where Al touched them.
I felt Al kiss my head occasionally, as if he couldn’t help it, though I wasn’t complaining, and the birds that had now made a home in my tummy raised their heads sleepily, brushing their wings against my insides and most probably smiling. Stupid birds. Al seemed content with the silence too. I guess that two loud people like us must have to sit in silence sometimes.
After what seemed like hours, the pain in my head died, and I loosened my grip on my hair, instead holding onto Al’s shoulder and leaning into him. He shifted, allowing me to stretch my legs to the side, and I nestled in the gap between his.
“Feeling better?” He asked quietly, and I nodded.
“Yeah. But I’m tired now” I replied. He chuckled. I heard him pull something from his robes, and it felt like a silky blanket. He pulled it over the both of us.
“Why didn’t you use the invisibility cloak before?” I asked drowsily.
“I like the thrill of the chase” He replied.
And I fell asleep just like that.
Bonjour! Or should I say, Hola, since that is the language I'm doing a GCSE in! I hope you enjoyed this chapter; magic vs bending, ooh exciting! It makes my day to see a review, so please leave one if you want!
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