Chapter 10 : The one with a train ride, permanent marker, and angry mothers
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Now Al knew about bending I could do it more often, and he’d laugh as I’d air scooter down deserted corridors or blow big blasts of air at the ceiling when I laughed. One time I grabbed his hands and jumped down a flight of stairs, landing safely at the bottom and tried to help him to breathe again as I’d given him a heart attack (he was overreacting, though I did let go at one point. Maybe I shouldn’t do that in future).
“How do you even stop? You air bend all the time. How has no one caught you?” He marvelled during DADA, where his dad was telling us amazing stories about the war and I was creating miniature tornadoes on the desk to race with Emma’s miniature tsunamis. I shrugged. I watched Mr Potter at the front of the class, explaining how Molly Weasley (the first one) had killed Bellatrix Lestrange, refusing to let any more harm come to her children. The woman was an inspiration; if I ever had kids I was gonna kill anyone who tried to harm them too. I’ll probably see you all in Azkaban in ten years, as I’d probably mistake a kind old lady for a child hurter or something. I was a bad person deep down, I could feel it.
Emma’s tsunami took over my tornado and I picked up the pace.
“Its been difficult, but I managed. You should see me at home” I said. He chuckled.
“I will soon”
We tuned back into Mr Potter’s story-telling, snickering as the girls ‘oohed’ and ‘ahed’ and Rose made little scoffing noises when they did. She got annoyed at all the girls swooning at her Uncle, as she strongly believed he was getting more credit than he deserved. Its not like he killed the dark Lord or anything Rose. I just rolled my eyes. I doubted Mr Potter wanted as much attention as he got; he just wanted to do good. He reminded me a little bit of batman, though I wasn’t going to tell him that because I feared it may upset him and boost his ego at the same time. No one wanted that. Em’s Tsunami beat my tornado and promptly flew up to splash in my face; I messed up her hair with my tornado in retaliation. She refused to talk to me after that.
“We all know it was my mum that saved the world really” Rose said quietly, sat next to Scorp in front of us. They had just abandoned a game of thumb wars, as Rose had almost broken poor Scorp’s thumb. It was quite funny to watch them from our position. Scorp looked like he was going to cry.
“That’s quite right Rosie; Hermione saved my life so many times. She is the smartest witch you’ll ever meet; and she punched Draco Malfoy in the face when he was being a little git”
Al and I giggled at Scorp’s offended face and Rose’s smug one, and Mr Potter smiled.
“Don’t worry Scorpius; your father and I didn’t get along at school, but that doesn’t mean I’ll treat you badly because of it. I knew a man who bullied students because of their parents; he was brave, but he was also cruel. I don’t want to be like that”
“You’re not sir” One girl said breathlessly “You’re wonderful”
Al had to leave the room because of his laughing, and Rose and I had to join him five minutes later when the same girl almost fell of her chair when he said her name. Merlin, that was so funny.
Mr Potter stopped us at the end of the lesson to invite me and my cousins to his annual new year’s eve party, since two of their sons were coming to our Christmas one. I remember going to a few in earlier years but not recently, as we’d had a few New year’s just with family. This year was party year though; Mum had said in September that this was the year I’d be able to go out to more parties before my N.E.W.Ts and Master training started. Basically, it would be the best year ever.
“Of course I’ll be there Mr Potter, and I’m sure Emma and Nikita will be there too. This will be so fun; your parties are a blast!”
“You can say that, since I’ve left George in charge of the fireworks” Mr Potter chuckled. My face probably lit up like a Christmas tree.
“You’ve given George firework duty? I’ll be there!” I promised, and he laughed.
“See you then Vida. Have a nice Christmas!”
“And you Mr Potter!”
It was almost too soon that we were packing for the Christmas holidays. Due to the blizzard that had hit us last year and stopped anyone from going home, we’d been allowed to get the train early, as it was threatening to do it again. It was only a few days, but still. It was a win.
Emma and I shared our compartment with our usual company; Hugo, Rose, and Al (James and Nikita left at some point and no one had any idea where Roxy, Molly and Lily went), and we happily caught the train home.
“So, who’s picking you up today?” Al asked. He was sat comfortably in his seat, my legs across his lap as I leaned against the window. He had propped a transfiguration book on my knees and was trying very hard to read it, but he kept getting distracted. It was very entertaining to watch him scrunch his nose in concentration before looking up at what someone else is doing. It was also funny to watch as the book slid off my knees, as my leggings didn’t have that much grip. Al had zero chance of reading that book.
“Grandpa’s taking us all to Vida’s house to prepare for the party, and since Vida is FINALLY of age, she has to do the first dances” Emma told him, and I scowled. Emma was sixteen way before me, as I was a summer child, so I only just hit sixteen during the summer holidays. She missed out on her party with the dancing because of last year’s blizzard; lucky turtle duck. I was being forced to dance with a boy from each element, and that meant those dreadful water tribe boys that I hated.
They teased me a lot over the years. I was a particularly loud and goofy looking kid, and that made me a target for their attacks (water benders can be very mean. Just look at Em. No, I’m joking, she’s lovely really. She’d kill me if I called her mean). We had a bending war last time we met- mum grounded me for a month. It was the water bending boy’ fault; he was the one calling me names, I just happened to be the one who threw him out of an upstairs window. No is really allowed upstairs during the parties anymore.
“I hate the dancing- I don’t wanna dance with a mean water tribe boy!” I moaned, running my hands through my hair. Al chuckled and patted my legs.
“If they’re mean to you, I’ll punch them. Deal?” He asked. I smiled.
“Deal. And then I’ll put them in a tornado and send them to china” I added. He nodded and laughed.
“Yep, definitely a deal"
He chuckled and closed his book, yawning a little.
Apparently, him and the other boys in his dorm had snuck out last night (pretty stupid, but then the boys aren’t really known for their intellect, are they?) and ended up getting far too little sleep. I chuckled at Al as he dozed lightly, eventually taking pity on him and putting my legs down so he could lie with his head in my lap and sleep for a little while.
The rest of the compartment chatted away and I had to fight off Hugo, who was pleading for me to let him draw inappropriate things on Al’s forehead in permanent marker. I shooed him away and he sat next to Emma sulkily, until she grabbed the pen and began drawing on his forearm.
“Ooh, give me a sleeve; like a biker” He asked. I giggled as I watched Emma draw girly images all up his arm, and I knew it was a joke because Em didn’t do that many girly drawings at one time. A permanent marker sleeve full of rainbows and cupids with arrows, and a banner with the name ‘Shirley’ written in it, surrounded by hearts. It was a masterpiece.
Hugo looked appalled, whilst Emma roared with laughter.
“You asked for a sleeve; you shouldn’t trust me with permanent marker” She advised. He looked at it for a minute, before smiling widely. Weirdo. I’m pretty sure his parents already question his sanity; this will confirm it.
“Knew there was a reason I liked you so much” He said. She blushed. I grinned at her and she went even redder, before I looked down at Al. He was peacefully sleeping, mouth slightly open as it always was when he was out of it. I smiled and ran a hand through his hair, because Aang knows I don’t get to do it often enough. Emma coughed loudly and I scowled at her, knowing that this was her getting me back from all the teasing I did to her. I stuck my tongue out.
“Very mature Vida; try not to drool on him would you?” She mocked, and I threw Al’s book at her, feeling satisfied when it hit her on the head. She sulked and ignored me to speak with Hugo for the rest of the train ride, leaving me to mess with Al’s hair in peace.
At the station, grandpa was waiting for us. I woke Al (it took a while, he clung to my waist and refused to get up-lazy arse) and we climbed off the train, trunks and in hand and put them on the trolley he’d brought us. Nikita appeared out of nowhere and joined Emma and I as we bowed respectfully, before I gave grandpa a big hug.
He smelled of summer berries, like that path through the woods near my house that was surrounded by wildflowers in the spring. It was a beautiful smell, and it didn’t seem out of place on my grandpa; it was just him.
“Hello my little air bender, how are you?” He asked.
“I’m blooming grandpa. Has mum gone ballistic yet?” I asked.
“Almost, child. She wants you to clean your room” He told me, very gravely. As he should; this was terrible news.
“But the party isn’t in my bedroom!” I complained.
“I know, but you will be sharing with your guest, she wants them to think we’re tidy people. Who are you bringing?” Grandpa asked.
“Al Potter, you’ve met him before” I told him. He nodded, a small smile creeping onto his thin lips.
“Ah, the famous best friend of yours, good choice my dear, your mother is particularly fond of him. However, your father might not like you sharing a room” He said, and I reddened.
“Its not like we- how could he- grandpa!” I scowled, as he chuckled away. Cheeky grandpa, he knew I’d blush at that. This was just as bad as everyone thinking Al and I liked to go to random broom cupboards from time to time and ‘have fun’. Perverts.
“Sorry child. And look at you two! I’m a lucky man to have three beautiful granddaughters” Grandpa said kindly, and my cousins grinned and blushed. Well Emma did. Nikita smiled smugly. Damn fire benders, always so arrogant; no wonder she and James got along so well. He can be just as arrogant, though I think ‘Kita tones him down when he gets too much. Must be nice to get someone to stop being a prat like that. I wish I could do that to the water bending boy.
“Thanks grandpa. Are we sharing a guest room with our guests too?” Emma asked.
“Yes. You’re not all bringing boys are you? Oh those innocent faces don’t fool me, you are! My little girls are growing up fast. Let’s hope your Uncle is topped up on a nice level of alcohol during this next week; otherwise I will pity those boys”
We all laughed, and Grandpa began pushing the trolley along the platform, back out of the barrier and into King’s cross.
“How are we getting to your house Grandpa?” Emma asked.
“We’re taking Lumen of course, I wouldn’t travel any other way” He replied, and I jumped in excitement. Lumen was the family bison, mother of my own bison Fluffy. She adores grandpa, it’s him she truly belongs to.
She’s been there since before I was born, its hard to imagine home without Lumen there. I smiled at the thought of seeing her.
“Where is she?” I asked when we emerged from the station, looking around as if she’d be stood in one of the parking spaces. It would be hilarious to watch the non-bender’s reactions if she was.
“Circling with Breezy, just above the clouds” Grandpa replied. Nikita had let Breezy stretch his wings and fly to London ahead of us as his normal self, and I had transfigured Jinjin back to normal before we left. I couldn’t do it at home because I may be of age in the bending world, but I had to be seventeen in the wizarding one. So not fair.
We walked across the car park and picked up our trunks, leaving the trolley behind and following grandpa to a small park nearby. It was freezing in London; there was a thin layer of snow covering the floor, and I could see that Nikita was grumbling and Emma looked much happier; this was water bending season.
Years ago, the water benders came only from either the north or south poles; the sister tribes, where it was always cold. In winter the water benders were much more powerful. I could almost guarantee that Nikita was praying for summer to return. It was a fact that somewhere, hidden in both poles, was a small city full of water benders. It made me sad when I realised that non-benders didn’t know this. It should be front page news; ‘humans can actually survive the north and south poles’.
We reached an empty part of the park and grandpa whistled, and within two minutes a giant bison landed in front of us. shaking snow out of her shaggy white coat.
“Lumen!” I cried, hugging her as I did Fluffy; air bending up to her head and hugging her there. She growled affectionately and grandpa patted her cheek.
“My dear, we’ve got to go, are you ready?” He asked. She grumbled. Grandpa and I air bended the trunks onto the massive saddle on her back and I joined them, Nikita and Emma climbing up her tail instead.
“Lumen, yip yip!” Grandpa cried, flicking the reins, and Lumen took off, speeding upward and blending immediately with the clouds.
“We’ll be there in ten!” Grandpa called. Lumen was a thing of speed, whilst Fluffy was more of a fancy flyer. It took a lot longer to travel from king’s cross to home by car; but Lumen was a bison, and she knew how to navigate the skies. Even with this much weight she was still fast, and you had to applaud her for that.
She was much smaller than Fluffy, more feminine looking (although with bison you couldn’t just tell which was which; they kinda all looked the same, mostly) and had a slightly longer tail to speed her along. If you stood the two bison together, it would be fairly obvious which was which, despite them being mother and son.
I stood and carefully walked onto Lumen’s head, sitting next to Grandpa. I hadn’t seen him nearly enough this year. I missed him a lot. He smiled and glanced over at me knowingly.
“Have you missed your grandpa, child?” He asked, and I nodded.
“Yeah, I have. Its been far too long!” I replied. He chuckled.
“It has, but you need your magical education. It will do you good. Plus, I have a feeling it helps your bending” He said wisely, guiding Lumen slightly to the left. It was a joy watching grandpa fly; due to his age, he didn’t get in the air as often, and I could just see the content in his eyes when he flew.
“Really?” I asked. He nodded, and in the sun the blue arrow tattooed onto his bald head stood out boldly against his skin. The mark of a master; Grandpa was the closest to the embodiment of what an air bender should be, in my opinion.
“I was surprised how quickly you picked up some of the things I taught you Vida; summoning a spirit animal should take much longer than it did. As should many of the hand movements I taught. I have a theory that your magic has helped you master them, and another theory that your magic will allow you to do more than other air benders”
“You think?” I asked, wondering if being able to bend sound was something magical, as I had never seen an air bender do such a thing, not even grandpa, and that was a difficult task.
“Yes I do. Maybe next summer, we can work on it. You will be of age, so you will be able to do magic of your own accord” He suggested, and I grinned in delight. That sounded perfect.
“Yes please Grandpa. Oh, I’m so excited!”
He laughed and I headed back to my seat with Em and Nikita, telling them what he said. Nikita nodded.
“I think he’s right; I mean, a lot of the time when I do a spell, it sets on fire half way to the person I aimed it at. I stunned someone once and he burst into flames. Good times” She said, a dreamy look on her face as if imagining a boy burst into flames was a great daydream.
“And maybe magic effects my avatar state too. The moment I stepped off the train I felt much more relaxed, whereas in school I could go avatar any minute” Em added.
“What, so magic makes you go avatar?” I asked.
“Not always. I think it just makes the avatar state more active. I swear I can see ghosts half the time, and I don’t mean nearly headless Nick. I had a two-hour conversation with our Great Uncle last Tuesday”
Nikita and I stared at this. I could see Nikita’s hair burning at the ends; a nervous tick she had.
“He died ten years ago. Em, you’re talking to dead people” She said, and I rolled my eyes.
“We established that ‘Kita. I think, what she’s trying to say, is that the avatar is meant to be the bridge between the spirit and living worlds; and you’re sort of in both at the same time. According to the histories the avatar is completely useless in the living world when they’re talking to spirits. They leave their bodies behind. It sounds like your taking yours with you” I explained. Em shrugged.
“Well, maybe I’ll talk to grandpa about it. It sounds dangerous”
“You don’t sound worried” Nikita pointed out.
“Well, I was worried at first, but after my great-grandmother followed me around for half a day insulting Hufflepuffs, I decided it wasn’t so bad after all”
We laughed at this, and hoped that Em’s constant ghost spotting wasn’t a worrying topic. Hopefully it will be a good thing; only time will tell.
As predicted, we dropped from the sky after exactly ten minutes of flying. I left the saddle completely, laughing as I free fell alongside Lumen. She turned her head to me and growled, and since I had lived around her my whole life, I sort of understood what she was saying; something along the lines of 'woohoo! Isn't this great?!'.
Nikita and Emma held onto the saddle for dear life as we plummeted, and Grandpa was chuckling lightly the whole way. I fell through the clouds and my house and garden came into view, and I could see that even in this cold weather the glass doors were open into the living room. I swung my arms upward and I hit the floor with a soft thud, Lumen using her six legs to absorb the impact. Nikita and Emma threw down our trunks and joined me on the ground and we headed inside, to the big open room that was kitchen, dining room and living room all in one.
The kitchen was on my immediate left, only a breakfast bar separating it from the rest of the room. There were two large red corner couches taking up the centre of the room, facing each other like a halved square, and there was a TV on the wall above the fire place in front of them.
The whole room was coloured warmly in reds, oranges and golds, and the room seemed cluttered and cosy because of random tables and air bending equipment including a huge metal sphere that sat innocently next to the fireplace taking up all the empty spaces.
My glider, which I had named Aeolus (Greek God of the wind, suits it right?) was in its stand against the wall on the other side of the glass doors. I grabbed it and beamed.
“Ooh I’ve missed you Aeolus, you’re so much better than a broom!” I cried, and grandpa chuckled. His own glider was next to mine, although he never flew on it any more, just used it as a bending weapon. It was named Vie, which kinda sounded like Vida; which was Spanish for life. I remember Grandpa telling me he had a part in naming me- this was where his inspiration came from.
Nikita and Emma were admiring the bending mementos we had displayed on little tables with interest. Nikita picked out the coals that young fire benders trained with out of a bowl and Emma was examining the air bending scrolls on the wall. They came over a lot, and every single time I caught them admiring these things. Heck, I'd been here all my life and I still found something knew to examine.
“Alright Vida, put the glider down; your mother has spotted you” Grandpa warned, and I put Aeolus back in his holder. Jinjin squeaked and popped his head out of my shirt as my mum appeared on the walkway that stretched around the top floor, with a look on her face that I didn’t like, her light hair tied up in a no-nonsense bun. I gulped, and Em, Nikita and grandpa pretended to be busy in the living room.
My mum, when mad, was one of the most intimating people on the planet. A typical mother that you don’t want to get into trouble with. That’s why I got so few detentions- she scared me into being a good child. Of course, when she wasn’t angry, she was lovely, a caring woman who would do anything for her family. But of course now, she was angry. And she was looking at me like I had killed her cat. Wait, my mum didn’t have a cat. Well, she’s looking at me like I did something bad. Granted, in a mum's point of view, I probably did something despicable. But from a normal point of view, I am innocent, I swear!
“Vida” Mum said warningly, and Jinjin hid back in my shirt. At least he had some sense. I didn’t have a shirt to hide in (I could hide behind Grandpa, but I doubt that would impress mum too much).
“Yeah, mum? It’s good to see you, you know, almost four months apart and all that-
“I just went into your room” She said, and I grimaced. The night before I left for Hogwarts I was searching for my (ahem, Al’s) Weird sister’s T-shirt, and I pulled out literally everything to find it. Thing was, I didn’t put any of it back. It was currently strewn across my room very messily, and I knew that mum hated mess. Whoops.
“Uh-oh” I mumbled. Mum raised an eyebrow. I swear Jinjin quivered inside my shirt, although maybe it was because of the cold; the glass door was still open and a cold wind had just blown through, bringing what felt like snow with it. Em and Nikita snickered at me under their breath and Grandpa whistled innocently. Looks like those traitors aren’t gonna stick up for me. I wasn’t really surprised.
“Uh-oh is exactly the right word I’d use too” Mum said, and I knew that today was a day of doom.
Merry Christmas Vida; you’re in trouble.
Well, this has been another chapter! What did you think? I want to know, I am a curious being :) So, leave a review, even if its just to say hello. I promise to say hello back!
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