Chapter 2 : The one with the Potters, bison riding and a new friend
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"So this Romilda gave the chocolates to Harry, right? But of course Ron, being Ron, ate them, and all of a sudden he was all like 'Romilda Vane, please bear my children'"
Lily was in fits laughing, whilst Emma and I were holding each other up, me trying not to cause too much wind change as I let out huge bursts of laughter. Stories about the misadventures of love potions were always so funny, especially if it involved Ron.
"Was Aunt Hermione mad?" Lily asked.
"I think she was a little at first, but then Ron accidentally drank some poisoned mead-"
"Hang on, you've never mentioned that before" James cut in, and Ginny shrugged, as if her brother drinking poison wasn't that much of a big deal.
"Oh you finally appear Al, you missed brownies!" Nana Weasley beamed, and Al appeared in the kitchen, wearing one of his old Quidditch jerseys, hair even messier than usual and glasses hooked on his collar. I guess he was familiar enough with his own house to walk around it half blind. He shuffled across the room and put the kettle on, and my heart just leapt at the sight of him. Which totally isn't cheesy at all, okay? I am the opposite of cheesy.
"At least say hello to your nan Al" Harry said, looking amused as Al made himself a cup of tea, completely unaware of the several people trying not to laugh at his obliviousness to everyone. Nikita and James were covering their mouths, shaking their heads. Had he not noticed the full table of people chatting in his kitchen? Blimey, I bet I could break into his house and he wouldn't notice. Maybe I should, Al owns some really cool shirts.
"Hey Nan" Al greeted, kissing his Nana on the cheek before heading for the fridge. Harry snickered.
"Albus Potter, please just put your glasses on" He advised. Al frowned.
"Why? I don't wear my glasses in the house" He replied.
"Because your girlfriend is beaming like she's just been hit with a cheering charm and you haven't even noticed" Nikita told him. Was I beaming? Blimey, I didn't even notice! Have I stopped? Is it too weird to ask? How does one stop smiling when they don't know they started? Al shoved his glasses on and his eyes scanned the room, fixing on me and he grinned.
"Vida! You're here!" He cried, sweeping around the table to engulf me in a tight hug, kissing my temple. I laughed.
"Yep, and I've been here ages. Where were you?"
"Moping" Harry teased, and Al looked up, not letting go of me.
"I don't mope" He said.
"Yes you do" The rest of the table, including me, replied, then proceeding to laugh at the look of pure outrage on his face.
"Can’t deny it, little bro" James laughed, throwing an arm around Nikita and looking like a picture of ease.
"You can't say anything- and you know why" Al replied. Lily cackled whilst James glared at his brother in a 'don't say anything way'. Nikita looked like she was dying to ask, and I was curious too.
"What's that look about James? What embarrassing thing have you done?" Ginny asked curiously.
"Leave the poor boy alone Ginny, you hated it when your brothers and I asked about your business" Nana Weasley chided. Ginny huffed.
"Mum, you ruin all my fun"
Mrs Weasley just smirked into her mug of tea.
Nana Weasley left not long after and Ginny returned to her sports article, muttering about deadlines and 'the new captain is a right cow'. Harry challenged us all to a Quidditch match and we played in the back yard, thankful for the high hedges around the perimeter. Lily captained one team, her father the other, and we all split off, determined to beat the opposite team. But there was a catch, and that was that we didn't have enough brooms, so we all shared; I was with James, Emma with Al and Nikita with Lily. It was a blessing and a curse; we had more arms to push each other and wrestle for the football that we used as a quaffle, but James was far too competitive and I was clinging to him for dear life the majority of the game as he did barrel rolls over everyone to get the ball. Al was laughing at me as I feared for my life, and I kicked him in the shin as we flew around him in retaliation (because we are all mature and adult here).
Al and I returned inside, me grinning because hell yeah, I won (well maybe not just me, it was mostly because of James and Lily) and collapsed into a heap on the couch, just glad to be around each other again like we are at Hogwarts.
"Right, back upstairs" James announced, and he and Nikita made their way toward the door, looking as if they were up to something suspicious. Both Al and I looked up in alarm.
"Mum and Dad will go spare" Al warned, and NIkita laughed.
"I'm just helping him pack Al, he's useless- we'll leave the door open" She winked, and then she and James left the room. Al whistled, stretching out on the couch and tucking me under his arm.
"Dad will go spare" He repeated "He'll never be able to come with us if he carries on"
"That'll be his own fault; you just have to make sure you behave" I replied, and Al chuckled.
"Hey, I'm good!" He said, and I laughed, thinking back to the stupid things he did at Hogwarts.
"Yeah, and I'm the Queen of Scotland"
"Scotland doesn't have a queen" Al pointed out.
"Exactly!" I cried. Al just stared at me for a moment, silent and thoughtful, and It made me blush.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing, I just missed you, that's all" He admitted quietly, and I smiled.
"You are a bit whipped aren't you?" I teased. Al looked outraged and I giggled, patting his head fondly.
"It's okay Al, I'm a bit whipped too; Emma keeps laughing at me. When she gets a boyfriend she won't know what hit her"
"Ooh, you sound as if you're gonna do something evil" Al grinned.
"I am- fear me" I said, disappointed that he was smiling instead of trembling at my threats.
"Vida, you have a terrifying looking bison as a pet, and you named it Fluffy- I am not scared of anything you say or do"
How dare Al dismiss my terror! I am scary! Though yeah fine he had a point with Fluffy- maybe letting Hagrid name him wasn't the best idea.
"So what am I, if I'm not scary?" I asked mopily, and Al tucked my hair behind my ear.
"You're adorable" He told me. I sighed dramatically.
"I guess that's not so bad" I allowed, and he laughed, leaning in to press a gentle kiss against my lips. I hadn't kissed Al that much, it was still a surprise sometimes, and it still gave me butterflies. It was nice to slide a hand into his hair, feel safe as he pulled me closer to him- just to feel safe in general was my favourite thing about kissing him.
Al pulled away and rested his forehead against mine, smiling slightly.
"You taste like chocolate" He informed me.
"I ate brownies" I replied, and he laughed.
"And you didn't save me any? Frankly I'm offended"
"You were too busy sulking in your room to come and get one" I pointed out, and he sighed.
"Fine, I admit defeat. But I was packing for Republic city. What's the weather like there?" He asked.
"Well, its very high up in the mountains, but I heard that the lion turtle heats the city- dress for chilly weather but take something cooler in case"
"This lion turtle sounds awesome" Al grinned, and I nodded.
"Republic city has been built on his back, and he keeps it safe from non-benders and such. You can't enter the city without the Lion turtle's permission, so we'll be meeting him on arrival. And he'll be granting you air bending"
"I-what?!" Al spluttered, coughing a little. Ah, I forgot to tell him about the getting bending thing. Whoopsies.
"The only way to enter the city is to be born into bending- the lion turtle will give you air bending and take it away when you go home- so that when you are there you become one of us, and we do not cause harm to our cities. It’s a way of ensuring that you won't bother us"
Al thought for a moment and I ran a hand through his unruly hair, pushing it away from his eyes. I could imagine us in Republic city, me teaching him basic air bending, going on flights- I almost couldn't wait.
"You- you won't let me float away, will you?" He asked, and I giggled.
"Unless I was going with you to sneak away from my dad- otherwise no, I'll stop you floating away" I reassured him.
"What, like on secret Republic city dates?"
"Yep, I heard the Eastern park is beautiful" I confirmed.
"I don't mind where it is Vida, as long as your dad won't jump out of a tree and try to kill me"
I laughed, imagining my dad climbing a tree in the first place to catch us together.
"Don't worry Al, the minute we sneak out, I'll be all yours" I promised, and he grinned.
"I like the sound of that" Al admitted, and I blushed.
"I- I bet you do"
At five to nine we assembled in the livingroom, Al and James holding cases, Nikita and I waiting for Emma.
"We can't be late, Mum will murder me" I muttered, shifting from foot to foot with unease.
"Don't worry, Em will grab Hugo and be back in no time" My cousin replied chirpily, not worried in the slightest about my mother's potential murder spree if we turned up late. We were on a tight schedule!
"They're here Vida, keep your knickers on" James grinned, as Emma and Hugo burst into the room, Hugo pulling a case and Em rolling her eyes.
"This bloody idiot had to go back for his toothbrush" She gritted, and Hugo shrugged.
"I can't leave it behind, its an essential!"
"You should've packed it in the first place!"
"And do tell me, how would I have brushed my teeth this morning?" Hugo asked sweetly. Em scowled "Yeah, that's what I thought"
"Right, let's go, before Vida has a breakdown. Ready you lot?" Nikita asked, and we paired up, since Hugo and I couldn't apparate and Nikita hadn't got her licence yet- luckily there were three people that wouldn't get us arrested if they tried.
"Ugh, I hate that bloody magic" Nikita groaned when we appeared with a snap in my livingroom, random family members like Aunts and Uncles patiently (or not, looking at my parents) waiting for our arrival.
"Ah, you decide to grace us with your presence! All of you, back yard, now" Mum commanded briskly, and Emma giggled.
"She'll take it out on you- she can't yell at any of us, we're not her kids" She said. I huffed.
"I'll tell your Mum about us filling all her socks with daffodils when we were seven and see who's getting yelled at then" I shot back. Em's Mum was still trying to find out who she was going to punish for that- turns out my Aunt is allergic to daffodils and she thinks it was someone trying to sabotage her. Em gave me a 'don't-say-anything' look. I returned it with a 'well-stop-laughing-at-my-misfortune' glare. Ah, true cousin love is communicating without speaking. Al, James and Hugo snickered whilst Nikita rolled her eyes at our maturity.
"You know she thinks it's me- she tries to get me to slip up and admit it every time she speaks to me" She informed us haughtily. We laughed.
The night air was warm and the huge amount of fireflies in my back yard made it a truly lovely setting to start an adventure in. There were two large bison lying in the grass- Lumen, and her son Fluffy, who had been brought down from Scotland not two days ago by Hagrid. Lumen was grumbling as Grandpa and Dad tried to coax her to her feet, and I cast a worried look her way; she'd not been eating lately or as lively as before, and since we couldn't get a bison veterinarian to us we had to take her to the city to figure out what was wrong with her, but she refused to fly too. Grandpa told me she was fine, but I didn't believe him.
Every time I looked at Lumen, I had a feeling that something was ending.
"Right you youngsters, you're with Fluffy- oldies with me!" Grandpa called, and I bounced over to my pet, who was getting to his six feet and grumbling in greeting, nuzzling me with his massive nose. Jinjin hopped onto my head from his and I laughed.
"You guys ready? You have been resting haven't you Fluffy? This is a big trip!" I told him, and he growled, happy to finally be out of the forest and on his first real long distance flight.
"Vida, what's wrong with Lumen?" Nikita asked, watching as she skittered away from everyone but grandpa, growling threateningly.
"We don't know- we're hoping we can make it to the city to find out" I told them.
We climbed aboard Fluffy in a sober silence, and eventually Lumen calmed down enough to let everyone sit on the saddle on her back too, and Grandpa looked around.
"Lumen, Yip yip!"
The bison was hesitant, but she did take off, and Fluffy shot up when I flicked the reins around his horns. The night air cooled as we rose, refreshing from a hot day. We passed through a layer of irritating midgies, heading for the cloud cover where non-benders wouldn't see us. I heard Jinjin scamper away from me, probably toward Al where he could be petted, and I chuckled to myself.
"Where's Breezy?" James asked curiously.
"He's flying ahead, he knows the way" Nikita replied.
For a while there was conversation, and a few hours later it trailed off into an easy silence. I felt the air change slightly, and I didn't need to see through the cloud below to know that we'd reached the sea. Fluffy shuddered, and I patted his head.
"I know the sea air seems scary, but its just a small stretch and then we’re back above land again" I soothed.
"Never seen the sea, huh? I guess these days Bison can't go too far without being seen" A voice said from above, and everyone's head snapped up.
"What the- is that a giant flying rabbit?!" Al exclaimed, and so it was; a huge white rabbit the size of me, using it's ears as wings, flying right above us. Sat atop it was a woman older than us, with air bending tattoos and short dark hair. The woman was smiling, so I supposed it would be rude to just ignore her.
"Yeah, I guess non-benders would freak if they saw him- he's not been too far. This is his first real trip" I called up to her.
"Are you off to the city as well? Where are you flying from?" The woman asked.
"The western air temple village over in Canada. For me, this trip is as far east as east goes" She told me.
"Aren't you tired?" Em asked.
"Buddy here is exhausted; not many places to stop in the middle of the ocean, but we're hoping to-"
"Hey, ride with us for a while; the poor guy needs a break" I suggested. Buddy the rabbit all but collapsed into fluffy's saddle.
"Thanks friends, that's real nice of you. I'm Mira by the way" The woman greeted. We made our introductions and Mira sat next to Emma.
"Wow, Non-benders huh? I haven't heard of the council allowing non-benders into the city this close to a welcoming before. Unless someone real special asked that is" She mused, and I smiled.
"The council never could deny the avatar- Em here got them to give us a week with them" Hugo grinned, no doubt ruffling Em's hair. I was busy stopping Fluffy from flying after a flock of birds that had appeared below us, keeping him steady and on course behind Lumen. He probably only wanted to play, but if I lost sight of Lumen we were well and truly lost. Best to keep close as my Geography skills aren't great.
"Whoa, Avatar? You're the avatar? Man, we only discovered you last year and I'm already meeting you, that's insane!" Mira gushed, and Em chuckled.
"Yeah, its not quite sunk in for any of us yet" She replied.
"Except me! I called it!" I cried.
"Um Mira, does Buddy need water or anything? He looks a little....passed out" James said.
"He's fine, he's just glad for somewhere to rest. I kept him fed and watered throughout our flight. So, are you guys hoping to see all the sights this week? I heard Republic city is an amazing place"
"Well, Vida and Emma are likely to be with the air benders a lot and stuff, but I'm hoping to take everyone to see the pro-bending as soon as possible" Nikita announced. I really hoped she was paying, pro-bending was an expensive sport.
Nikita was a real pro-bending fan, you should've seen her face when she found out she could tune in to the commentaries at Hogwarts. True, she could only pick up the station if she sat on the Astronomy tower, but she was dedicated enough to freeze her arse off to find out who won.
"I get the Air benders wanting to see the Avatar's talents before the welcoming. How talented are you at air bending, Vida? Any good?" Mira inquired.
"Are you joking? The masters have been asking for her for years, Grandpa was hoping to wait until she'd finished school before they met her, but with the welcoming we're a bit early. No doubt they'll be offering her tattoos the minute she gets there" Em said.
"Whoa, you must be good then, they aren't as keen on letting young ones that aren't trained by the City's masters get their tattoos. I had to wait until I was twenty to get mine, and even three years later they are mad that I didn't go to the city for a proper ceremony. Better late than never though, eh?"
I laughed, flicking the reins to get closer to Lumen, wondering if I'd be leaving Republic City after the ceremony with arrow tattoos when I still had a full year at Hogwarts left to complete.
Despite us gaining a travel buddy, the conversations we fell into as the hours went on was very comfortable; Mira was easily accepted, she and Hugo chatting about the different types of bending animals in Canada, Emma listening whilst running her hands through Buddy's fur. Nikita and James were playing thumb wars, cursing each other violently but quietly, and Al had joined me, bringing Jinjin along too. He was sat behind me, legs on either side and arms around my waist. He rested his head on my shoulder and Jinjin curled up in my lap, and I felt a lot warmer than I did two minutes ago, sat in the wind blowing from the north.
"What’s having bending like? Is it hard?" Al asked curiously.
"You're thinking about it a lot aren't you? Don't worry, its very easy, and I'll help you" I told him.
"How does the lion turtle do it? Give air bending?"
I thought about that for a moment, re-thinking the old legends that Grandpa used to tell me.
"I'm not sure, but he can only give air bending. There are other Lion Turtles that hold up other cities somewhere, that give other bending, but we always kind of just accepted them"
Al was quiet for a moment, burying his head in my shoulder as more chilly wind came in from the North, and Jinjin squeaked, trying to squirm under my knee.
"Are you cold Al?" I asked, now used to the chill and glad I brought an extra jumper.
"How long is this trip?" He chattered.
"Um, don't know; I’ll ask. GRANDPA, HOW LONG IS THIS FLIGHT?" I bellowed.
"WE'LL BE THERE BY SUNRISE!" A voice bellowed back, and Al chuckled.
"Are you flying that whole way?"
"Nah, we're taking turns, so that we'll all have had a little rest and won't fall asleep during our introductions with the council; they don't like it if you fall asleep on them, apparently"
"Makes sense" Al mumbled, and Jinjin squeaked in agreement.
Al fell asleep not long after, and I tuned into the conversation going on behind me as I wasn't really too tired and needed some form of entertainment.
"So, you're a spirit master?" Em asked curiously.
"Yeah, I was always more connected to the spirits than other air benders in the village- from an early age I could see them and talk to them" Mira explained.
"Maybe Vida could do that; she was always good at getting into the spirit world and stuff" Em supposed.
"Maybe, no doubt the masters will test her when we meet them- we could always use more spirit masters, especially for the welcoming"
"To be honest I think any sort of master is a blessing for the air benders" Em said, and I agreed quietly. Even after the whole 'repopulation' thing, we were still lacking in numbers where other benders weren't. There were more people born non-benders from air bending parents, more air benders staying nomads and we were generally the opposite of the baby boomer generation. Still, we'd grown since the dark times where we'd only had one single air bender, and that was good.
"Vida? Is Al asleep?" Em asked quietly. I looked down to check; Al's head was on my shoulder, glasses hanging off one ear, nose pressed into my neck, and I chortled.
"Yeah, like a baby bison" I reported.
"Are you okay to fly? I can take over now if you want" She offered.
"I'm not tired yet, and I don't really fancy moving"
"Yeah, wonder why"
If a strong gust of wind happened to fly in and almost throw my cousin from Fluffy's back, it had nothing to do with me.
Em and I swapped when the sky cleared of clouds, revealing a sky full of beautiful stars, and a moon that looked like a silver coin, giving us some light. I woke Al and we went to sit in the saddle, cuddling together out of the wind, and I barely even got to admire the stars before I fell asleep.
Hi all! So, this is chapter two, look I'm updating! Its a halloween miracle, right? Anyway, leave a review, feedback is my very favourite thing, tell me what you think about Mira and Buddy and team Avatar- and if any of you have watched the new episodes of Korra, I hope I'm not the only one who loves literally everyone. E v e r y o n e. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the chapter!
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