Kiva had given birth to her daughter, Harper Melissa Kijewski-Jareau, only days after the last day of school last term and spent much of her summer being a new mom and an old mom to the other four children in the house. Emery and Chloe were thrilled, well, initially thrilled anyway. Emery became cranky when the baby cried for too long and Chloe only held interest in her until she became bored and moved on. Knowing they were only ten, Kiva tried not to hold it against them. Ayita and Angel were harder to predict. Ayita seemed to spend as much time away from them as possible. Kiva wasn’t sure if that was a sixteen year old being a sixteen year old or something more. Kiva gave her the space she needed, but also had tried to make sure she knew that she was a part of the family. Angel clung to her more often than she remembered him doing in the past, but didn't seem to enjoy the baby all too much. Sometimes she would catch him watching Harper while she slept, but would immediately run off if the baby woke up. It was strange, but Kiva figured he had never seen a baby before. This was a learning experience for them all.
When the first years were brought in, Kiva stood up and charmed herself to be heard over the crowd. She waited a few minutes for the returning students to settle down before she finally greeted the students. “First and foremost, I want to welcome all of our newest students to Sonora Academy and all of our returning students a welcome back. I do hope your summers were full of fun adventures, but I am happy to find that you have all returned to the school intact.” Kiva was only joking with them really. She knew that students both loved and hated returning to school. They loved it because they were able to see their friends again. They hated it because it meant that they were back in school.
“For those who do not know me, I am Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau, but feel free to call me Professor K. Our first priority for the moment is to have the first years sorted.” Kiva turned her hazel eyes to the newest group of students. “In order for this to be done, I need for each of you to step up one at a time to your new Deputy Headmistress Pierce, who is also the Coach, and take a sip from the potion she will offer to you.” Kiva explained, nodded to Amelia to indicate who Coach Pierce was. “Once you have taken a sip of the potion, your skin will turn into the color of the house you will be spending the next seven years in. Once your house is indicated, please have a seat at your house table. Yellow is for Teppenpaw, blue is for Aladren, red is for Crotalus, and brown is for Pecari. Please, if you could form a line and begin…” She gestured for the first student to step up.
Once the sorting had ended, Kiva regained the students’ attention. “I would like to have Sara Raines and David Wilkes to please come up here and accept your new Head Boy and Head Girl badges.” Kiva called out and when both students approached, she grinned and handed each their appropriate badges. “Congratulations to you both.” She whispered to them before having them return to their seats. “I would also like to have Nora Dobson, Lawrence Stratford, Paul Bennett, and Melanie Goodwill to join me up here for a moment.” Kiva waited for the four to be standing at her side before continuing. “Everyone, I would like you to meet your newest Prefects. Congratulations to you four, please take your new badges.” Kiva gestured for the four to return to their seats. “This year’s Midsummer Event will be the Ball. Normally, there is a theme to the ball, but we wanted to change things up a bit since last term, the event was low-key.” Kiva advised them, waiting for any moans that were bound to come.
“There will be three challenges held during the year. We are going to place you in various groups and in various levels. The Advanced Students will take lead, but the point of these challenges is to see how well you work together.” Kiva wasn’t sure if they would actually enjoy these challenges or their teammates, but it would keep them busy. “At the end of the year, the winners of these challenges will be given awards. The hosts of these challenges will provide you with more detail when we come closer to those. I’ll be posting the teams on your house boards and the main board in the hall within the next couple of days.” Now onto what she assumed would be the worst news. “Due to the challenges this year we decided to forego all Quidditch games.” Now she really waited for the hostility from the students. “Quidditch Captains will still have to uphold their responsibilities with signups, tryouts, and practices, but games will be postponed until next year.”
Kiva waited for any commotion over this news to die down. She knew for the graduating Captains it may have been hard to swallow. Once they had quieted, she continued, “In honor of tradition, please refer to your music sheets as we begin the School Song.” Sheets of music appeared in front of the students. “Let’s begin.”
Every day we strive Learning to survive Life’s hardships and to solve its mystery. Learning to defend Our honour and our friends, Flying high to meet our destiny We will stand and face those who want to harm us. We won’t let the world transfigure, jinx or charm us I won’t fight alone, as long as you are with me. Sonora be my home, my tutor and my spirit Vasita quoque floeat; Even the desert blooms.
Once the song ended, the food appeared before them. A feast of great magnum. “Please enjoy the rest of your evening. When it is time to head back to your Houses, your Head of House will call for your attention and bring you to your destinations. That is all.” Kiva concluded and then took her seat at the staff table.
OOC: Welcome First years! Please do not post on any other board until your Head of House posts his/her welcoming speech. Have fun at the feast and remember the site rules. Happy posting everyone!
“Just like she said...” Charlie breathed to himself as he entered the Cascade Hall. The fact though that Henny had told him all about the water flowing noiselessly down the walls didn't make him any less in awe, good as her powers of description were and accustomed to magic as he was. He'd been taken on various educational trips to historic houses when Henny had got to choose their days out, and he'd seen some pretty fancy spellwork but it was always in places that were clapped out. The spellwork was either not functioning any more or had been restored just for the sake of letting people look at it. This was more real, somehow. It wasn't sectioned off by velvet ropes. There weren't guides around trying to explain about how it worked and how they'd restored it. It just... was.
Charlie lined up with the other first years, the procedure safe and familiar as it happened just as his sister had told him it would. One he'd taken his turn with the goblet, he ran enthusiastically over to her.
“Henny! Henny! Look I'm.... I'm yellow,” he said, doubt and uncertainty creeping into his demeanour for the first time. “I'm not with you,” he said, sounding crestfallen. If it hadn't been for his tone, Henny might have laughed and said something like 'No, of course not,' but she could tell that Charlie was unpleasantly surprised by this turn of events, which to her had been perfectly expected.
“Did you think you would be?” she asked gently. He nodded sadly.
“Well, yes. But siblings don't always go together. And we're not very similar. You'll like Teppenpaw – I'm sure you will.”
“I wanted to be with you,” Charlie said in a very small voice.
“You suit Teppenpaw and I'm sure you'll like it,” she reiterated. “How about we have a breakfast date tomorrow? We can write home and tell Dad and Father about your house. Dad always says nice things about Teppenpaw, I'm sure he'll be pleased.”
Charlie seemed to brighten a little at this idea. With the plan made, he gave his sister a hug and made his way to his own table, still not quite his usual chirpy self, whilst the last few people got sorted. The news in the headmistress' speech made him perk up a bit. Henny had talked about the end of term events and he'd even been to the concert the year before last as an audience member but it sounded like he'd got to school just in time. A ball would be great fun, after all, there were dresses or dress-robes and make-up to be thought about. He glanced around, appreciating the female to male ratio. It would be practically impossible for him not to make at least one or two female friends whom he could help with these things. And not only was there the ball at the end of next term but they would get to do things all through the year too! He clapped for the heads and prefects, vaguely recognising them from the yearbook Henny had brought home. Even if he hadn't, he would have been happy for them anyway – it was nice seeing people get something that made them happy. Charlie sang along enthusiastically and not at all badly to the school song. Upon finding out about it, he had insisted on Henny teaching him the tune so that he would be able to join in. He beamed about at the end of it. It was hard to keep feeling down after a good sing song.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, when a table full of delicious looking food appeared before him. “Wow, this looks great, doesn't it?” he said, turning to the person next to him, “I mean, my sister said it would be great and everything but it's even greater when you actually see it!”
13Charlie (and Henny) B-F-RExcited and a bit surprised211Charlie (and Henny) B-F-R05
Henny sat watching the sorting, eagerly clapping for her brother when he went into Teppenpaw, and trying not to let her jaw hit the floor when he came bounding over to her table instead. She carefully schooled her face not to reveal her surprise over his own surprise at not being in Aladren with her. Charlie tended to bounce through life without really letting most of it touch him too much. He didn't dwell on things. He didn't, in the nicest possible way, really think about things very much. If he had had applied just an ounce of logic to what house he might be in, he surely would have concluded that it would not have been Aladren. Of course, if he had been capable of applying ounces of logic, then perhaps it might have been... She smiled to herself. She liked a good paradox.
She watched him head back to his actual table, feeling pleased with his sorting. She had thought he would be in Teppenpaw or Pecari and was pleased that it was the former. Although Charlie was an outgoing and enthusiastic person, it was not in the same way as most boys of his age, and was definitely very unlike the boisterous outgoingness that one tended to see in Pecari boys. She would have worried about him being bullied, or just failing to fit in with his room-mates had he gone there. But in Teppenpaw, she hoped, he would be safe. Even if his room-mates weren't very like him (and she suspected there was a high chance they wouldn't be) they were more likely to be tolerant of it. She wasn't worried by his disappointment either. Negative emotions with Charlie were like clouds scudding across the sun; the shadows they cast were very clear for everyone to see but, within minutes, they cleared, giving way again to sunshine.
Satisfied that he would be alright, she turned her attention to the headmistress. The upcoming year sounded exciting. She was intrigued by the idea of the challenges and very glad that they were not happening in her CATS year, so that she could properly enjoy them. She also had more than average reason to be cheerful. She'd been mostly signed off by her therapist over the summer. She could request appointments if she needed them and she would be seeing her in the holidays just to check how things were going but she no longer needed an appointment every week. She relished the thought of those weekend afternoons. A lot of them would be spent studying but it would also give her more time to see her brother, whom she was looking forward to having at school, or just to do things that she wanted to do. She tucked into dinner, selecting a hearty slice of lasagne and some potato wedges and peas and feeling happy about the year to come.
13Henny B-F-RThe start of a good year211Henny B-F-R05
To her complete surprise, Omara's skin did not turn a bright yellow. Instead, it started to deepen, a darker shadow of brown over her already golden skin. 'Pecari?' she muttered out loud to herself, even without realising it.
Omara had always assumed she would be in Teppenpaw. She didn't know much about Sonora; her parents never really talked much about it and being the eldest in the family, she didn't have siblings to relay important information back to her.
Yet Teppenpaw always sounded so gentle, and quiet, and peaceful. She liked the idea Irish hills rolling past the windows. But Pecari? Her image of Pecari had always been quite different. She imagined its residents to be impulsive, bold and ... somewhat wild. What did the potion - what did Sonora - see in her that she was yet to discover? 'What does Sonora know?' she wondered.
Omara suddenly caught herself day-dreaming. She had been swept up by the crowd and hurried amongst her new housemates without her noticing. Only the steady rhythm of the school song brought her back to the present."We won't let the world transfigure, jinx or charm us..." 'But what if it's a good charm...' she thought, before restraining her mind from wandering off in another direction again. She mentally noted at this moment that she must put in an extreme effort to focus. She could land in trouble otherwise.
By the time the food appeared before their eyes, everyone around Omara seemed to have become overwhelmingly talkative and busy. She half hoped someone would speak to her. And she half hoped no one would.
0Omara HernandezIt's all quite overwhelming0Omara Hernandez05
Will followed the rest of his peers into the hall, and felt his jaw drop in shock. Down the sides of the expansive room were waterfalls, seemingly coming from nowhere. The waterfalls fell around crystal windows which revealed a color-filled sunset. Following the waterfalls up, Will gaped at the beautifully carved ceiling, from which hung glimmering chandeliers. He finally let his eyes rest on the many students who were seperated at four tables, with the banner of their house hanging over their respective groups. 'Amazing,' he breathlessly thought to himself, if one can think breathlessly. He stood in a group with his soon to be classmates and listened as the woman who identified herself as the headmaster spoke. 'Drink a potion, huh?' He thought, looking around. He had read a little about each house before coming, and thought he could be in any house except Crotalus, which seemed a little too reserved for his energetic personality.However, Will felt that Aladren was a little bit too much thinking for him and that he might be too independent and brash for Teppenpaw. He felt as though he had narrowed it down to Pecari being his house.
Will looked for the first time at the students who were his age, who appeared as anxious as him for the most part. They were a very diverse group, as he could see many varieties of skin, hair and eye color, as well as differing heights and girths. Watching as some of the more knowledgable first years stepped up, Will again glanced around. He turned back to his age mates and nearly jumped when he saw that several of his fellows had turned various colors. Not wanting to be left behind, he hurried up to the teacher holding the cup and took a drink. He gasped as his skin began to darken until it was a coffee color. Smiling, he looked around the hall and headed toward the group of other brown first years, anxious to at least meet one new person in this strange but exciting new place he found himself in.
There was no denying the fact that Ginny was extremely excited to be going to Sonora Academy. She had spent the last couple of years around other kids her age, so she was less anxious about school than she had been when she was eight. Her parents want her to have a proper education and to be around valuable and worthy peers. They had taken her to a strange place for a while, but now they wanted her to make connections and be around people worthy of her time. She knew what they meant by that, but she wasn’t sure if she really would stick to their rules while at Sonora. She had fun with the other kids, even though her parents became angry with her for running outside with them. She wanted to keep doing that. But, she knew that image was important to Mother and Father, so she would do her best to keep to what they told her.
The wagon ride to the school (as fairytale as it was), did not fare well for her dress or bottom, but the excitement of being away from home was far more important than that of a silly ride. And the moment she stepped into the hall, Ginny just knew this was the place she was meant to be. The walls were amazing! She had never seen a waterfall before and now they were everywhere! Oh, she couldn’t wait to see what else the school had that she had never seen before.
There was a part of Ginny who thought she ought to be nervous about starting school. She had been tutored so strictly until she was eight and then the adults at the new place were so laid back that she felt like she had learned nothing at all; Ginny really should be concerned with how her lessons would be here. But, she wasn’t. She would be polite and well mannered, meet others who were what her parents called ‘proper’ and then, when no one was looking, have fun. She felt this was a good plan to have and that no one would know. Well, so long as she was stealthy about it.
Ginny waited quietly in line with the rest of the first years and did as she was told by the Headmistress. A potion was a little nerve-wracking, but she figured that a school wouldn’t force them to take a potion if it was poisonous. So, taking a sip, Ginny waited ever so impatiently until her skin turned a wonderful shade of red. Crotalus. Uncertain as to how to feel to such a house, Ginny wandered off to the appropriate table and sat with other red colored people.
She was clapped politely for the new Head students and Prefects, not really sure what those were, and then tried to take in what was being said about Midsummer events, challenges, and Quidditch. She was not supposed to play Quidditch, but she didn’t want to either. The game was scary. Or so she understood. But she was worried about the challenges too. Well, slightly worried. She was also very enthusiastic about them and wondered what exactly they were. She really hoped she was on a winning team!
Having sung the song and grabbed a bit of food, Ginny started to talk amiably to the persons nearest her, “Are you excited for the challenges? I hope our teams are good.” She said taking a bite of her meal. Having chewed and swallowed (it wasn’t polite to talk with food in your mouth, after all), Ginny grinned. “Hi, I’m Virginia Bellrose of the Alberta Bellroses, but everyone calls me Ginny.” She didn’t realize that some of them may not know that Alberta was a province of Canada.
0Virginia BellroseI'm as red as they come!0Virginia Bellrose05
The small girl near the back of the crowd of first years looked almost doll-like at first glance, dressed in sparklingly clean dark green robes with a matching ribbon in carefully curled dark brown hair and looking all around the Cascade Hall with eyes gone wide in her round face. The impression of neatness lasted only about five seconds, though, before, staring at the waterfalls and not watching exactly where she was going, she stumbled over the hem of the hem robes and nearly fell. Her face turned bright red, and she focused her eyes on the back of the student in front of her after that, hoping that no one had noticed.
This was, Julian thought as she did that, typical, but she tried to pretend she didn’t think it. Things weren’t really that bad, and it was her fault for not paying better attention. She had known her robes were a little long for her from the start, since Mom thought she was about due to grow another inch or two by winter break. Besides, they mostly covered up her shoes, which she didn’t like at all, and so she would have been glad of them if she had not let herself stop paying attention. And now she had something else to pay attention to anyway, as did everyone else, so no one but her was even wasting time thinking about her stumbling as she’d entered the magnificent Cascade Hall for the first time.
Folding her hands at her waist to keep them from shaking, she listened to the Headmistress explain how they would be Sorted, not sure whether she felt more excited or scared. She did not have a lot of history at this school, no large group of relatives who’d attended Sonora before her expecting her to be in one House or another, but she wasn’t sure that really made it any better. If her whole family had come to Sonora before her, she might have had a clear idea of where she was likely to go, and more than school marketing literature to give her an idea of what going into the Houses meant.
Nervously, as the Deputy Headmistress approached her, she put her hand in her pocket and gripped the beads there for a moment to calm herself down, and as she began to feel steady again, it became her turn to take a sip of the potion. After offering Coach Pierce a tentative smile, she did so, her lips turning inward as the bubbly stuff went over her tongue and down her throat. She put her hand up to her chest for a moment as it went down – she always hated taking potions – and then flinched when she saw that it had turned bright yellow.
Yellow, she thought, going blank for a moment before she remembered what she had read that meant, what Professor K had just told them that meant. Yellow meant Teppenpaw; she was a Teppenpaw. She had thought that Mom might like Aladren, but there was nothing wrong with Teppenpaw, either. She was glad, she decided as she scurried over toward that table, to be a Teppenpaw.
Julian didn’t know who the Head Boy and Girl or any of the prefects were, but she applauded politely for them, and just set her features into bland attentiveness as, after that, Professor K began talking about things she wasn’t sure she understood, figuring from what she did get out of the speech about balls and activities that someone would tell her where to go when it was time if she didn’t work it out on her own first. The news about Quidditch was a little disappointing – she enjoyed watching it even though her family made its living from Quodpot, and had been looking forward to a number of games she could go to for free, hopefully with her new friends she hadn’t made yet – but she was distracted by the charm of the school song, and then by the huge amount of food that appeared on the table in front of her. It was easy to wait until Professor K sat down to even think of starting to serve herself, but that was due to amazement over how so much could just appear all at once. It was magic, she knew, but so much at once was even more impressive than her mother's ability to put a Silencing Charm on all five of them at once when she wanted to.
The boy beside her said aloud what she was thinking, and Julian smiled at him. “It’s really awesome,” she agreed. “Oh, it smells good, too! I don’t even know where to start.” She hesitated, wondering if she should hinder him from diving into the feast a few seconds longer, and then offered her hand. “I’m Julian,” she said, not even thinking of how her name was not usually a girl’s at that moment. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Clara stepped through the door of the hall and took in a deep breath. Here she was back at school, but this time she was a third year. She was actaully rather proud of herself for making it this far without causing too much damage to herself or anyone else. Her biggest challenge had been trying to fly. Which seemed to be the bane of her existence up until about a month before school started back up. She had begun flying lessons with Lucian just before last term ended and although they hadn't really gotten very far, he had helped her more than anyone else had been able to. Coach Pierce had helped her not to break her neck last term by keeping her from crashing headfirst into the Quidditch goal posts for which Clara was exceptionally grateful.
She wasn't quite sure why she and Lucian hadn't gotten to part where they were able to get her airborn, but he had made a great impression on her by giving her the helmet to use when she did make it into the air and made her feel much more confident in herself than she had before. For that alone she could have kissed him (so to speak). That encouragement had made it possible for her to seem to manage the impossible over the summer months. While away from school over the summer Clara had gone with her father to visit Grandma and Grandpa Abernathy in England again like they had the summer before only this time she was able to do something she hadn't before. Grandpa took her out with the new broom he had sent her for christmas and had talked her into going flying with him for practice. She of-course had politely declined at first, but she sucked up her fear and instead of telling herself she would fail yet again, she found herself thinking about what Lucian had suggested to her during their first lesson and she went for it.
She had brought the helmet with her for luck and without giving herself time to overthink it or chicken out, she placed the helmet on her head and mounted her broom beside her grandfather. She kicked off of the ground and into the air and told herself the whole time that she could do this...that she wasn't afraid to fail. She watched her grandfather fly around near the family home and she followed him as closely as possible without managing to crash into him or anything else. She was beyond ecstatic when they landed on the back end of the property by the stables. She flung her arms around her grandpa and almost cried with joy. "I actually did it grandpa!" she exclaimed excitedly. "I didn't crash or anything!" she beamed at him with self pride. He smiled proudly at her and patted her head. "Thats my girl," he beamed at her as they walked back into the manor.
Clara couldn't wait to tell her dad all about her first successful trip with the new broom. He listened intently and about crushed her in a hug when she finished. "I knew you could do it peanut," he told her as he let her go. Clara smiled up at her dad's praise and couldn't help thinking about how much she wanted to tell Lucian about her accomplishment and thank him for all his help. When it came time to return home from the visit Clara was both sad to leave, but also excited because that meant she would be heading back to school soon. She looked forward to the new challenges that being a third year would present her. Clara sat down at the Pecari table upon entering the hall and waited for the headmistress to finish her welcome speech. It wasn't that long ago that Clara herself heard those same words spoken to her as she had nervously and excitedly entered Cascade Hall for the first time. She rested her elbows on the table and waited as patiently as she could muster while she listened to the new announcements.
She clapped excitedly for the new head boy and girl and for the new prefects. She couldn't help wondering if she herself might ever be one of those, but she had atleast two more years before she had to worry about that. Right now she was only worried about getting the new year off to a good start. She had promised herself that when she returned to Sonora she would get a message to Lucian thanking him for all his encouragement and help. She just hoped he wouldn't think she was being creepy or anything for doing so. She sang along with everyone else and was positively famished by the time the food started appearing on the table. She reached for one of the bowls and spooned herself a healthy amount of lasagna onto her plate along with some salad. She smiled cheerfully at the person sitting beside her and asked politely, "Would you mind too terribly passing me that plate of rolls and the butter?"
0Clara Abernathy, PecariCan't believe I'm back in one piece232Clara Abernathy, Pecari05
Carter stepped into Cascade Hall with the rest of the returning students and sighed. His first year had been interesting to say the least. He had made atleast one new friend in Wendy and one possible annoyance (if you could call her that) in Carrie. She had seemed to make it her mission to try and chastise him for his lack of "breeding" as she had put it which made the almost 12 yr old grin. He wasn't entirely certain what it was he had done that had annoyed this perfect stranger soo much, but she had seemed hell bent on making sure he knew he had earned her disapproval somehow. Carter laughed to himself as he thought back to their "conversation" and still couldn't help but wonder what made her think she was that important to his or anyone else's existence. He was surprised that he still found her antics to be quite amusing even after all this time. He debated whether or not he should go be the polite boy he knew himself to be and say hello to her, but wasn't certain he really wanted to cause himself the headache. He instead decided it was best to just leave her be for the time being. If she decided he was worth annoying again he would be nothing but polite to her. "Kill'em with kindness" thats what his mother had always said.
Carter found himself a seat at the Teppenpaw table and found his thoughts next drifting towards Wendy. She had been a great partner in Charms class and he was very glad to have met her. If he got the chance he was definatly going to say hello to her. He just hoped she would be equally happy, be it in some small way, to see him again as well. Carter missed seeing her at the bonfire (if she had actually gone) mostly because the idea of camping outside was not exactly something he enjoyed in any way shape or form. He wasn't exactly big on camping. He also couldn't help wondering how Kinley was fairing over at the Crotalis table. He hadn't really seen much of her over the summer months due to his new little sister Payton.
He was surprised with her arrival over the christmas break and had been pretty busy helping out with her over the summer. She was already to the point where she was teething and crawling around on her own. He loved playing peek-a-boo with her and listening to her giggle. He had never really thought he'd ever be a big brother and while adjusting to life with a new baby in the house was weird, it was a good kind of weird. He actually missed his little sister now that he was away at school and couldn't wait for the break where he could go home and see her. He half listened to the headmistress finish her welcome speech and grinned slightly as he watched all the new first years walk forward. Not too long ago he had done the very same thing. He knew exactly how they felt.
He clapped lightly for the new head boy/girl and the new prefects. He wasn't entirely sure who any of them actually were, but that didn't mean he would be rude and not congradulate them. He groaned slightly when the school song began and mostly mouthed the words. Contrary to what his mother thought Carter (in his own opinion) did not have a noteworthy singing voice. He preferred to not sing whenever possible. He was actually glad when the song ended and he could finally eat. His stomache had talked to him more than once during the announcements and he hoped that nobody had heard the rather loud grumbles. He grabbed a couple of pieces of fried chicken off the platter nearest to him, piled some mashed potatoes next to the chicken, covered them with gravy and then placed a spoonful of peas next to the potatoes. He turned to the fellow Teppenpaw seated beside him and asked politely "Could you please pass me the salt and pepper? Thank you."
0Carter Browning, TeppenpawHoping this year is as entertaining as the last0Carter Browning, Teppenpaw05
I am...secretly relieved, but let's keep it a secret.
by David Wilkes
David was halfway across the Cascade Hall, moving toward his usual seat at the Aladren table, when he realized that this was his last Opening Feast and his step faltered a little. It was weird to consider the idea of not coming back to Sonora on one day when everyone else did, of just being…gone. He didn’t know really what to make of it.
After a second, though, he recovered and went on to his seat. There was nothing to do about it, so he just had to go on as though the problem wasn’t going to come up eventually. He was going to graduate, but he wasn’t going to do it today. First, he had a whole year of being Head Boy, and that was more than enough to worry about for now. How on earth he was going to do that and be Quidditch captain and take the RATS, he had no idea, but he had to do it. He didn’t get on well with his family, didn’t feel he fitted in with any of the ideas they might have for him, but his mother was right about that much, anyway. One did what one had to do right now and worried about the future later if it was inevitable.
He watched the Sorting, applauding the Aladrens who joined his table, and then, feeling shaky and half out of his head as soon as he heard his name, went up front to get his new badge. “Thanks,” he said when the headmistress congratulated him and Sara, heading back for his seat, applauding Nora, too, as a sense of normalcy came back to him once he was safely out of the big public view. He had never gotten comfortable with being up on stage, though he knew both of his sisters thrived on it. It was just a difference in people.
He was one of the students who groaned when he heard that they were about to pay for last year’s low-key event, but just sat there stunned when he heard that Quidditch was being cancelled this year. He was sure that his table was making some noise about that, but he couldn’t even process it at first.
At first. Then, after a moment, he dropped his head and muttered to his knees, too low for anyone else to hear him, “thank God.”
He had played it because, after his joke joining the reserves for social time had ended in the captainacy, he’d had to, but he had never really liked it that much, and he had lived for the past two years with the fear of how the team might take it if they should lose on his watch. He had been worried, too, about how it was going to affect his RATS and thus his chances in the world, or in this world at least. He figured he was going to have to deal with angry players for a while because of this, and of course he was still going to have to run the team to keep it sharp for when Arnold took over next year, but he still felt something like relief. No one, this year, was going to hit any Bludgers at his head.
He looked up as the song was sung and then turned his attention to the feast before him, determined to enjoy his second-to-last one for everything it was worth. If they’d only ever done one thing right at Sonora as far as he was concerned, it was feed him. The food here was a million times better than he’d expected when he found out he had to come to boarding school.
16David WilkesI am...secretly relieved, but let's keep it a secret.169David Wilkes05
Angel studied the patch of table in front of him as he thought about beginnings. Angel Jareau. He was a Shield no longer. When Kiva asked if he would like his name changed, Angel had been indifferent to it, as he was to most things. What he was called mattered little to the albino boy. When his mother had been alive, she often called him by the wrong name, names of children who hadn’t survived as he had. Pitiful that survival may have been, he still made it where all of his other siblings failed to do the same. Magic had been enough to keep the sickly boy alive, if just barely.
That had come to an end with his mother’s death, and a new beginning when he was taken into his healer’s custody. Lady Cynthia rarely used his name, in fact, she rarely spoke to the silent ghost like boy at all, unless it was to heap verbal abuse on his head. Another new beginning occurred when her abuse was recognized and he was taken into the Jareau home. A thin smile brushed his alabaster lips. That had been the biggest beginning of all. Kiva was not a woman to ignore him, or abuse him. Thanks to her attentiveness, and insistence on seeking out the best healers, Angel no longer looked like walking death. His cheek bones were still overly sharp, and his ribs, hip bones, collar and shoulder bones were still defined, but a person could no longer count each sharp vertebra of his spine. Angel would never be able to maintain a weight that most people would recognize as healthy, but now he was comfortably in the underweight category instead of the emaciated one.
Joining the Jareau household did not put an end to the new beginnings. First a new name, followed by a new sibling. Baby Harper was in turns frightening and fascinating. Angel had drawn countless sketches of the tiny, helpless being and still he was no closer to understanding her. For such a small thing, the infant could be terribly loud, and when she first arrived he was afraid that she might be sick like him seems she often got ill after eating. But he was reassured when it was explained to him that babies often spit up, and it wasn’t the same as his digestive issues. Angel didn’t know what to make of the little girl, but he knew he liked to watch her as she slept. The sense of peace that came from watching her brought Angel back again and again.
While the rest of the school listened to Kiva’s speech, watched the first years get sorted, and sang, Angel retrieved his sketch book and began to draw image after image of a baby girl, each one startlingly realistic done in shades of endless grey as he thought about new beginnings.
Kitty was angry, no that was an understatement, Kitty was furious. Her summer had been a never ending nightmare of frilly pink dresses, flowers, and hate. Yes, hate. Meredith “just call me Mary” had ruined a perfectly good summer and completely corrupted her beloved older brother Jason. “She’s a succubus I just know it.” The short Aladren growled under her breath as she glared sullenly at everyone.
This attitude would surprise anyone who knew the normally bubbly new fifth year. Kitty was not the sort of girl who had bad moods, but then again after being forced into playing flower girl, flower girl! as Jason was bound to a demon in the wedding that would never end, Kitty was allowed to be upset. She was fifteen! Not a little girl to be dolled up in sausage curls and flinging flower peddles. Sure, she was short, but that didn’t make her a child!
Sighing, Kitty plopped her chin on her steepled fingers and listened dully to the Headmistresses speech. Her favorite brother had sold his soul to the devil, and nothing could be done about it now that all her attempts at sabotage failed, but at least there was always Quidditch.
“Due to the challenges this year we decided to forgo all Quidditch games.”
Kitty’s brain stumbled to a halt. Forgo…all…. “What! You can’t do that!” The dainty looking Aladren lept to her feet, her voice a sharp piercing wail that joined the other voices rejecting the whole idea. They couldn’t do this! The tiny girl glared furiously at the Headmistress and in a kind and just world a bolt of lightning would have struck the woman down for speaking such blasphemes words. How could she do this to them?
The tiny ball of fury that was Kitty McLevy probably made a humorous sight to those seated near her, seems even standing up she was only as tall as many students who were sitting down. Much like her name sake, she looked like an infuriated kitten, fiercely adorable.
He really, desperately tried not to stare. Percival Everett Waterford II is not the kind of person that should be amazed by the room in which he now stood. Percy on the other hand, had never seen anything like it before in his life. His summer tutor had tried to prepare him for this, and she had warned him countless times about standing around Cascade Hall gawking at everything would be a dead give away that he didn't actually belong to the tier of society that he now had to represent. She had described it all in great detail, every step of the way, from the flying wagons to the feast that would present itself after the headmistress' opening speech, but it was still so much for a muggleborn to take in.
The wagon ride from Pennsylvania had been incredible, but he had managed to keep his bored 'this is a perfectly ordinary way to travel' expression on his face. He was also fine dismounting from the wagons into the lush school grounds in the middle of the desert. This... this was just a little to much. Still, he pulled together what self-control he had remaining and tried to ignore it all. He didn't see his tutor at all she was supposed to meet him, but there were so many people here. Most of them were sorting themselves into their respective houses by table, but he had been told to wait for the sorting ceremony so he did.
After a few moments a woman stood and spoke. It was the school's headmistress, Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau. She seemed nice enough. She then introduced the school's deputy headmistress, Coach Amelia Pierce and the sorting ceremony began. Percival took the cup from the deputy headmistress and sipped from it. Whatever it was, it tasted terrible. A moment later his skin turned a bright red color. From what he had learned about the houses, that should make his parents happy. Crotalus was what they had been hoping for, they would have naturally been fine with any of the houses but Crotalus had more of a tradition behind it. He was also a bit relieved that he hadn't wound up in Pecari, for other reasons.
He found a seat at the Crotalus table near the other first years and listened to the rest of the headmistress' speech. The names did not mean much to him, but the other announcements were interesting. No Quidditch games? He had thought Quidditch was one of the big events at the school. Whatever these challenges were, they must be big to displace something like Quidditch. That did leave him with another conundrum however, should he sign up for the team if there weren't going to be any games? Everyone at home thought he probably should, just to get to know some more of the students, but he had never been really interested in sports much. He would have some time to figure out that one.
The food appeared, and before he could properly process it's sudden arrival a girl near him was talking to him. Thankfully it distracted him from further revealing himself as muggleborn. Now, could he remember all of the proper etiquette for this situation? He hadn't heard of the Bellrose family before, but from her introduction they must be significant. That was what he needed to emulate. He returned her smile, "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance Virgina. I am Percival Everett Waterford II of the Pennsylvania Waterfords." All three of them, he thought to himself. Oh well, you need to start somewhere, right? Deciding against asking her more about her family, it might be something he should already know, he went with her other option of conversation. "I'm not quite sure what to think about these challenges." He started collecting food on his plate while he talked. "They must be big to displace something like Quidditch. I wonder what they could be."
2Percival Everett Waterford IIand you're not alone.1502Percival Everett Waterford II05
Alicia walked back into the Cascade Hall with her head held high and a confident smile – the mildest expression she could force her face into after the overwhelming joy she’d felt when she saw the school building again – on her lips, her high heels clicking against the marble floor as she made her way through the other students and to the Aladren table, looking for some of her year to sit with. As much as she was itching to wheedle out of Cepheus what he thought about Theresa Carey, it was traditional for people to sit with their own Houses at this Feast, and since Thad was sure to get Quidditch captain after Arnold, Alicia was aiming to take the prefect’s badge for herself next year so they could remain equals throughout school. She had to make a show of her Aladrenness on major occasions, even more than her feelings compelled her to. If Cepheus or Gareth wanted to join the third year Aladrens, that was all right, but she couldn’t think of joining the third year Crotali tonight, so she made a mental note to make up the slight they’d probably never even notice to them sometime and put the matter aside.
Spotting Henny first, she snagged the seat across from her, assuming Thad and Evan would join them but deciding her roommate was pleasant enough company to spend dinner with if they did all get separated somehow. “Hi!” she said, a little more loudly and brightly than usual over the clamor of a hundred sets of friends reuniting. “Did you have a good trip out?”
They had lived together for three years, and in that time, Alicia had never figured out why it was she came closer to liking Henny more than she did any other girl in the school. It made, after all, no sense, but there it was, and she didn’t hold it against herself too much since Thad seemed to like her, too. Henny wasn’t one of her best friends, but nor was she quite on the second level that hosted Evan and Gareth and Ephanie; instead, she fell into the middle, half a step above the one and half a step below the other. Alicia didn’t care for half-steps, but she had come to accept that situation as it was.
She smiled at the headmistress’ greeting to the first years, contentment spreading through her again at the official end of the summer holidays. She had spent most of her summer as she always did, reading everything she could get her hands on and writing letters to Thad and a good few to Henny about most of it, and writing to Cepheus, too. Evan and Gareth and Ephanie and Andrina, though Alicia still hadn’t remotely forgiven her for her awards in the yearbook at midsummer, had all gotten, or should have gotten, a note last week expressing enthusiasm about coming back to school and seeing them soon. Those had been maintenance letters, upholding the structure of the hierarchy she had constructed; the earlier ones, to her closer friends, had just been to maintain her sanity during her two months of exile from life. It was pleasant to realize she had nine whole months before she had to face that again, and that even when she did, she would have the added consolation of knowing that she’d have a whole year at school with none of her siblings around until Isaac came; it turned the confident smile into a beaming one as the Sorting began, though it became a little confused when a small Teppenpaw ran over to Henny as soon as he was Sorted.
Henny didn’t seem as surprised as Alicia was, and handled the situation, sending the Teppenpaw off to his proper table, and things went smoothly enough except for the Headmistress’ announcement about Quidditch. Alicia knew Thad and the Crotalus boys would be disappointed, and was sorry for Aladren losing their main chance of the year to demonstrate their superiority to everyone else, but she was a little excited to hear about the challenges she would actually be able to participate in; she and her friends, if they were in a group together, would be able to take the whole school on without any Advanced students, she was sure of it. The only trouble would be if they were separated; she wouldn’t know what to do, whether or not she should sabotage whatever people she was with for her friends’ sakes or try to win anyway on her own so she didn’t risk losing their respect. She hoped she didn’t have to deal with it.
The real attraction of the year, though, was what would come after all the competitions. Alicia had been thinking about the ball for almost a whole year, now. This was going to be a year that tested a lot of relationships and assumptions, or so she very much suspected. If the little group of people she cared about made it through the event without any fights that put her in a position to have to choose between people, she thought she might have the basis for something she could count on for the rest of her life. The ratio of boys of a certain age to girls of the same seemed to her like a recipe for conflict, drama, and catfights.
She sang the school song as well as she knew how, which wasn’t a way which would win her any awards but which wasn’t too likely to make anyone stab themselves in the ears with a knitting needle rather than listen to it, and then took a piece of turkey and some mixed vegetables for her plate as Henny cut into the lasagna. “Sounds like we’re in for a fun year,” Alicia remarked before beginning to eat her food. “Have you looked for dress robes at all yet?” That had been a major part of her summer, but she wasn’t sure how Henny and her family would handle that. What was normal for her, she'd gathered over the past three years, really wasn’t for them.
16Alicia BauerI'll agree with that.210Alicia Bauer05
Keme RunningBear was a Native American born of the Magical Blackfoot Tribe who resided in most of the northern Montana area. His tribe broke off from the Non-Magical portion centuries ago and left Canada to seek refuge in America. Although his tribe is powerful, both in blood and in wealth, their numbers were dwindling and so, the Chief (Keme’s Grandfather) decided that the best course of action was to begin sending the children to various schools within America. Keme just turned eleven when this was decided and would be one of the first to ever leave their reservation to seek education elsewhere.
Being a proud Native, Keme held his head high when he left his family and joined the throng of students on the wagon ride to school. He did not speak to anyone other than a polite hello if they spoke directly to him. He did not make eye contact or look interested in them either. Keme just read his book about Sonora and tried to figure out if this would be a good use of his time. The Tribe needed him and others like him to make connections with others of decent blood. His was Pure and his Chief wanted him to meet other Pures, but Keme did not know how to find the difference or if he could even be able to. He knew the history between Natives and others. There was death and violence. Although they had all become civilized over the centuries, Keme knew the stereotypes and prejudices that come from others they deemed ‘different’.
The dark haired and equally dark eyed boy entered the school and found himself staring. He could not deny the beauty of the Cascade Hall. His people were wealthy due to all the farmland, produce, pottery, jewelry, and clothing they were able to sell nationally, but they were simple people. He could never imagine a place like this. He would write home to his family about this. They would be most pleased.
Keme listened as his new Headmistress stood and spoke to them. She seemed nice, but he would have to become used to a female leading him. The Chief’s wife, his grandmother, was a strong woman and she was commanding, but it was always left to the Chief’s final decision on things. That was how it would continue to be. Keme glanced at the woman holding the cup of potion. She was the second in command and the Coach? This school was a strange place. Looking at the staff, he certainly didn’t see very many males. Did that mean anything? Putting the thought aside, Keme took his sip of the potion and waited a few seconds to see his already dark skin turn blue. Nodding in agreement with the potion, Keme moved off and out of the way to find a seat at the Aladren table.
The rest of the sorting finished, Keme listened intently to the Headmistress as she called members of the student body up. From the sound of this, these students were being awarded something? Oh, no, that’s not right. If he recalled from the book, Head Students were the highest honor to have followed by Prefects. These students were given a little bit of authority and were mentors to the others. If Keme wanted to make his family proud, he would have to strive for one of those badges. Or, possibly both.
The next part of the speech was about challenges that they were all going to be forced to do. Keme wasn’t sure if he liked that. Especially if it had to do with magic. He grew up with magic, of course, but had never really practiced it. From the sound of it, the teams were going to be all different years, so if he were teamed with Seventh years, he wouldn’t really have to worry. Hoping that it went well, Keme listened, half amused, by the on slot of angry students when they heard that their Quidditch was cancelled for the season. He didn’t see the issue. If these challenges were as difficult as they seemed to be suggesting, they would get their competitions in that way and it wasn’t like the Headmistress was saying they couldn’t play, they just weren’t getting games. People really needed to look at the bigger picture. Keme shook his head and took a song sheet nearby. He did not participate in the singing but politely waited for it to end.
Finally, the food. Keme was starving. The trip from Montana was a long one and Keme hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He took platefuls of corn, beans, bread, and cornbread. He was having trouble deciding on the meat though. Deciding on turkey, Keme secretly wished for coosh and frybread, but knew he would eventually grow accustomed to more American meals while here. Turning to his neighbor, Keme gave a polite bow of his head. “Good Evening. I am Keme RunningBear of the Blackfoot Tribe in Montana.”
6Keme RunningBearFeeling a little 'blue'249Keme RunningBear05
Charlie surveyed the food as his new housemate verbalised her appreciation for it. Or at least he'd assumed they were a 'her.' His attention snapped back to them slightly abruptly when they said their name was Julian. They definitely looked like a girl. Which presented a few possibilities. They could be a girl with a boy's name – what he had assumed to be a boy's name, he corrected himself. If Julian was a girl and called Julian then that proved that it wasn't just a boy's name. Or they could be a very, VERY girly looking boy. Or possibly a boy who had chosen to live as a girl but not yet changed their name. Besides being mildly curious as to which of these was correct, it didn't really matter. None of the options made much difference. With adoptive gay parents, Charlie knew that people came in all kinds of genders and sexualities, much as they came in all sizes and colours. But you didn't let that bother you. People were just people. Julian was Julian. He could get to know them now. Whether or not they showed up in his room later would answer his other question, if their conversation didn't.
“Nice to meet you,” he said, feeling a little bad for having been surprised by Julian's revelation and hoping they didn't think he had stared rudely or anything. He didn't think he had particularly. They had just caught his attention – he had shaken their hand promptly (typically a male greeting, he thought – though also typically a grown up one, so who knew what that meant) and he had been looking at them more normally since. Julian was definitely pretty, whatever they were. “I'm Charlie.
“Hmmm, where to start...” he mused, returning to their other topic of conversation. “That looks tasty,” he nodded to a dish a paella. It was bright and colourful and the smell wafting off it was amazing, “Plus it's always good to co-ordinate one's accessories. Or dinner, right?” he grinned, inspecting one of his yellow hands. “Would you like some too?” he asked, as he reached for the spoon.
13Charlie B-F-RUnduly surprised but still excited252Charlie B-F-R05
“Yes, thank you,” Henny smiled at Alicia, as she asked about her journey. “You? And thanks for the letters,” she smiled. She had kept up a steady stream of replies to Alicia, also writing to Thad, Waverly and Andri. She hadn't been sure whether Waverly – or her family and their neighbourhood – would be ok with owls, and had had fun going to the Muggle post office and purchasing stamps.
The headmistress' speech and Charlie's visit to their table halted the conversation a little but also provided them with more things to discuss.
“Indeed,” Henny nodded. “I can't wait to find out more about the challenges,” she added, refraining from mentioning that part of this desire came from not wanting to have unexpected magical creatures sprung on her at short notice. She made a mental note to ask out how far in advance they would find out about the challenges and how much detail would be provided. It might be a fairly strong test of her coping abilities if the answers were 'immediately before' and 'you'll just have to wait and see....'
“A bit,” she said, when Alicia asked about dress robes. “I mentioned this year's event would be a ball to Charlie,” she nodded vaguely to the Teppenpaw table, assuming Alicia intelligent enough to make the connection, “And he and Dad got very insistent that we went shopping. Although he said we can't decide until the spring/summer collections come out,” she shrugged, “So I don't know what the point was, except an excuse to go shopping. Which I don't mind. It'll be nice to dress up,” she added, aware that she may coming across as not particularly interested in the subject, whilst she gathered Alicia was somewhat more motivated by it. It wasn't that she was actively opposed to the idea, she just wasn't sure how interested she would be if left to her own devices. She was usually prettily attired but that was because two insistent fashionistas kept dragging her shopping. She liked that she looked nice and she appreciated the things she got. She just wondered whether she would have made the effort without their help. And their shopping trips and clothes-related conversations usually did go on a little long for her taste... “Did you get very far with your shopping?” she asked.
13Henny B-F-RGood. It's usually easier that way.211Henny B-F-R05
Alicia smiled a bit more brightly when Henny actually thanked her for writing over the summer. She worried, sometimes, that her friends secretly thought she wrote too much and had either deduced that she would sooner cut her own throat than spend time with her family (which would not be good) or just started thinking she was a codependent loser (which would be even worse). To hear she hadn’t stepped over a fine line with one person, at least, was reassuring. “You, too,” she said. “And my ride was great, thanks,” she added. No matter how bumpy the ride was, a wagon heading away from her parents was a good wagon.
“The more time we have to prepare, the better,” she agreed about the challenges. “I’m sure we could win it all anyway, but some time to do research and practice ahead of time would be fantastic, it would make everything so much easier.”
Henny was one of the people she hoped would end up in her group, though not strictly because Alicia was afraid of the possibility of falling out with her over who won and who didn’t. She also thought that Henny would be a valuable asset for her team. She was a smart girl, a talented witch; Alicia thought she was probably a little better with a wand, but she did respect Henny’s abilities in the classroom, too. If it came down to a wrench, she thought she would take Henny in a group over Evan, who wasn’t unintelligent but so eccentric that she didn’t really see him as reliable, especially in a cutthroat competition against the rest of the school. She might, she suspected, have to be a big provider of motivation for some of the group, but everyone needed skill and the ability to focus if they were going to win.
The nod to the Teppenpaw table confirmed her suspicion that the first year was Henny’s brother, so she nodded in response and listened as it turned out that Henny’s brother was also very interested in her clothes for the occasion, which she thought was weird but dismissed as weird people doing weird things. Besides, families existed to be irritating and in the way; it was their function in life, and they were very dedicated to fulfilling it. She had gotten the impression that Henny, like Thad, liked hers well enough, but she seemed to lack enthusiasm about this. Understandable enough; men really had no business messing around with clothes.
"I would have gotten further if my mother had stayed out of it," she said, trying not to roll her eyes. "She insisted on my sisters getting all involved, too, since she doesn't think Rachel and I spend enough time together anymore." This was very much contrary to Alicia's thoughts, since Rachel was officially her favorite sibling for the year after having only been home for a few days while Alicia was on her third year's midterm break, but she hadn't argued. She wasn't allowed to argue. She never was. "Still, I'm pleased with our general direction, the main argument right now is over blue or green."
She didn't know about talking boys with Henny, but she did know it wasn't a good idea at the table where some of said boys were, so she moved the subject. "So, your brother's here now. Were you surprised where he was Sorted?" She was curious to know; in sixth year, her brother would come here, too, and she had no idea what to expect as far as Isaac, or her cousin Lionel the year after him, went when it came to Sorting. She'd spent a long time, on several occasions, arguing with herself about whether the three of them were at all alike and had yet to make up her mind about it.
16AliciaArguing takes up too much time.210Alicia05
This winter had been one of the worst since Josh had transferred to Sonora. It even surpassed the winter after the fiasco at the Academy. Since Brianna’s mother had written to him about Brianna’s accident, he had been thinking about his friend constantly. Dark thoughts of his parents’ murder had started to plague him again and nightmares he hadn’t had since he was eleven were coming back. Josh had never been able to sleep for long periods of time, but now his lack of sleep was visible. It was clear that he had lost weight and had dark circles under his eyes. As a general rule, Josh was against taking Dreamless Sleep potions, but he was tempted to take it anyway.
Fighting against his angst had taken a toll on him and Josh had grown tired of it. With hate surrounding him and following him everywhere he went, how long could he survive before succumbing the beliefs everyone else had about him and join the ranks with the McLachlan reputation? No—he never wanted to be like his relatives.
Frustrated, Josh had spent hours in his room brewing potions to keep his mind occupied and hours prowling the cold city at night. He couldn’t escape his past and he knew that. But the more he looked forward, the more his past seemed to haunt him. He was starting to believe he really was bad luck. First his parents, then his stillborn cousin, his grandmother, Cecilia’s sister, and now Brianna. It wasn’t his family’s reputation that brought tragedy; it was him.
The night before he was supposed to go to school, he had gone out late at night to a public playground and screamed until his voice went hoarse. He wanted to escape, he wanted to run away, he wanted to die.
But he was better than that. If he had no one else to live for, he had himself.
It was with a terse goodbye that his uncle sent him off like the years before. Inigo had left his nephew mostly alone this break and Josh had been glad. It had left him to his aunt’s horrible mind games, however. She lived to torture him, Josh was sure, and he always had to be on his guard around her. No matter what she said, every spiteful remark was a lie; he wouldn’t allow himself to be brainwashed by such a woman and he had the brain power to keep any brainwashing from happening to him. Perhaps the only thing they could agree on was that he seemed to be associated with some sort of trouble whenever he made friends and he hated that.
During the carriage ride to school, he stared aimlessly outside the entire time, hardly moving. He walked to the hall with the rest of students without bothering to make eye contact with anyone. As he entered Cascade Hall, his tired gray eyes flickered around at the familiar faces and at the unfamiliar ones. His eyes stopped on the girl he had been looking for and made a beeline for her right away.
“Brianna,” he said as he sat down next to her, ignoring the headmistress’s speech and the sorting ceremony. She looked awful, but like her old self at the same time. Josh didn’t know whether to be anxious or relieved. “How are you? Are you doing better?” Josh wanted to ask a million questions, but he didn’t want to overwhelm her. They had exchanged letters throughout the summer, but he couldn’t believe that she was actually okay till he saw her. He hadn’t really told her anything about how he was feeling, except that he was so sorry that she was going through it. He had wanted updates on her and her therapy mostly. He needed to know that was doing better every day and making progress. “Are you able to walk okay?” His hand rested gently on her shoulder, unsure of her healing progress.
To hell with his academics, his potions, his schooling. If it cost him an arm and his brain to save his friends, he would do it without hesitation. He didn’t care deeply for many people, but those he did he kept close to his heart and was fiercely loyal to them. He wanted to murder the people who had made this accident happen in cold blood, but his rage only made him more frustrated. His fingers were still gentle on her shoulder, though his right hand resting on the seat clenched into a tight fist, hidden from her sight by his leg.
19Maximilian Joshua McLachlanI only came for a friend. (tag Brianna)184Maximilian Joshua McLachlan05
As usual, the summer had been enoyable, but nothing particularly special. The family always enjoyed going to see a show together, and passed much of the time with sports, and lying around when it just got too hot. Linus also indulged in some light studying, told his sister Daphne she was far too young to start wearing make-up, and spent a little time investigating some well-concealed wizarding locations in Vegas. He always made these trips on his own, naturally, seeing as the rest of his family were Muggles. He had felt a little overlooked as his mother had signed up Philip and Johan to a football club over the summer, but he got over it tolerably well when he realized it enabled him to spend time in the house with just his mom, as Daphne had swim meets at the same time. It was the first time in Linus' memory that this had occured, so he made the most of their time together without anyone being able to witness it and make a big deal.
Overall, his summer had been non-descript. He had nothing to dicuss on the wagon ride back to Sonora, which enabled him to overhear the conversations of others. There was always gossip on the return journey to school, and usually Linus could ignore it without regret... or, more accurately, give that impression whilst secretly paying rapt attention and filing away valuable tidbits that might be needed at a later date. On this occasion, however, he overheard some news that instigated emotions he couldn't keep entirely hidden. Hearing about a friend's injuries second hand was sufficient to cause the fifth year to clench his jaw, yet by the time he'd made it into the entrance hall, Linus understood that several of the students in their yeargroup had communicated with Brianna over the summer, but evidently nobody had thought to tell him that one of the select few people at Sonora that he would call a friend had spent the summer seriously injured in hospital. Was he so easily overlooked?
Linus' own feelings of being passed over were dwarfed, however, by concern for Brianna, a concern which only increased when he saw her. His original intention was to approach her directly, but the despicable Joshua MacLachlan beat him to the punch. Instead, Linus settled himself opposite, and was watching Brianna none too secretively, making attempts to ascertain first the state of her health, and second if he had done something to anger or upset her. If he'd somehow done something to make her feel as wretched as he was feeling at that moment, then he would absolutely have to apologise, even though he couldn't recollect behaving in any such way.
The headmistress had already started speaking, and the sorting was soon complete. Still with most of his attention on Brianna, Linus nevertheless was eager to hear Professor Kijewski-Jareau's speech, particularly concerning her imminenet announcement naming prefects. The expression of distaste and disappointement he sported upon hearing his roomate's name called out instead of his own was quickly schooled into a neutral look as he politely applauded Paul and the other prefects. Later he would be frustrated - angry, even - for being overlooked once again, but for now he simply sighed internally. Now was not the time nor place to question his own existence in the minds of others. Outwardly, Linus was more or less composed as he served himself some soup, casting the occasional glance across the table at Brianna. He was anxious to learn she was making a swift and successful recovery, but would not present McLachlan with the opportunity to act with false superiority.
0Linus MacaulayDo I even Exist?205Linus Macaulay05
And here I just thought you were a naturally chirpy person
by Henny B-F-R
Aladrens. It seemed more like the kind of thing geared towards letting everyone have a go. She didn't think who won really mattered.
“I guess we'll just have to see what happens next,” she smiled. “Maybe there will be some where you can research and some where you have to think on your feet so that they're testing different things.
“No, not really,” she said, when Alicia asked about Charlie's house, “Although he was, bless him. He'd just sort of assumed we'd be together because of being siblings. If he'd used an ounce of logic, he might have figured out he wasn't very Aladren like. But then, if he'd been able to do that, maybe he would fit in here,” she smiled, trying out her paradox on her room mate. “I thought he would end up in Pecari or Teppenpaw, and I'm glad it's Teppenpaw. He's outgoing but he isn't boisterous. I'd worry the typical Pecari boys would eat him alive.” Half the typical Pecari girls might too but she stopped just short of saying that. It would take Alicia a nanosecond of time with him to deduce that Charlie was as camp as a row of pink tents but Henny didn't need to make that reputation precede him. She'd already mentioned the shopping, which was probably more than enough. Not that he would care if people knew what he was like and not that she saw anything wrong with it. It was just that other people did. They could be cruel. She didn't want people whispering behind Charlie's back before he'd even got to his first class. Or at least, if that was not preventable, she did not want to be the cause of it.
Alicia's shopping experiences sounded pretty different to hers. Natural enthusiasm, hampered by family, as opposed to... well, unknown natural inclination and all progress possibly being dependent on enthusiastic family. She smiled and nodded politely, not taking Alicia's gripes about her family at any more than face value. People were frequently irritated by their families and rolled their eyes over them. They didn't really mean it.
\r\n\r\nHer roommate's competitiveness over the challenges surprised her a little. She knew Alicia worked hard, and she had occasionally felt like there was more going on beneath the surface than simply thinking over classwork. It came of girls like Alicia not playing Quidditch... it was hard to tell how ruthlessly competitive they were. Henny was also surprised by her roommate's confidence that they would win – especially as it had not been established who 'they' were yet. Of course, Aladren had a good reputation for academics, and the Quidditch team was fairly prolific. It was a good house. But these challenges sounded like they were mixed house, mixed ability, so everyone would have a few Aladrens. It seemed more like the kind of thing geared towards letting everyone have a go. She didn't think who won really mattered.
\r\n\r\n“I guess we'll just have to see what happens next,” she smiled. “Maybe there will be some where you can research and some where you have to think on your feet so that they're testing different things.
\r\n\r\n“No, not really,” she said, when Alicia asked about Charlie's house, “Although he was, bless him. He'd just sort of assumed we'd be together because of being siblings. If he'd used an ounce of logic, he might have figured out he wasn't very Aladren like. But then, if he'd been able to do that, maybe he would fit in here,” she smiled, trying out her paradox on her room mate. “I thought he would end up in Pecari or Teppenpaw, and I'm glad it's Teppenpaw. He's outgoing but he isn't boisterous. I'd worry the typical Pecari boys would eat him alive.” Half the typical Pecari girls might too but she stopped just short of saying that. It would take Alicia a nanosecond of time with him to deduce that Charlie was as camp as a row of pink tents but Henny didn't need to make that reputation precede him. She'd already mentioned the shopping, which was probably more than enough. Not that he would care if people knew what he was like and not that she saw anything wrong with it. It was just that other people did. They could be cruel. She didn't want people whispering behind Charlie's back before he'd even got to his first class. Or at least, if that was not preventable, she did not want to be the cause of it.
13Henny B-F-RAnd here I just thought you were a naturally chirpy person211Henny B-F-R05
On her own, in the playroom at home, Gemma had been practicing her sweep into a room for the past few months. She had watched her older sister sweep into rooms for as long as she could remember, and had seen her grandmothers and one great-grandmother all pull off some impressive sweeps of their very own, so she had assumed it wouldn’t be too difficult, but while she had felt like she was doing it perfectly from the start, and had even been able to picture it looking just right in her head as clearly as she had been able to see her hands in front of her, it had looked all wrong for ages when she tried it in front of a mirror. Finally, though, she thought she had gotten it down, and had been looking forward to sweeping into the Cascade Hall for weeks.
She succeeded, she thought – or imagined, at least – in descending lightly and gracefully from the wagon even though she’d had an awfully bumpy ride, and had even managed a little bit of a sweep through the front doors and into the foyer, but when the first years were led into the Hall itself, she was so awed by what she saw all around her that it was a nearly a whole minute before she realized she had forgotten to sweep through those doors at all. For a moment, her smile faltered as she noticed and was disappointed, but then her eyes fell on another waterfall and she forgot all about it, looking up to admire a chandelier even grander than the one at their old house in Illinois as she got into line for the Sorting.
Her hands were wringing themselves by the time the deputy headmistress got to her, but she thought she felt more excited than nervous as she took a sip of the potion. She did, after all, have a pretty good idea where she was going to go. If her two older siblings had been split up, then anything might have happened, but since Paul and Eliza were both together, she thought it was almost inevitable that she would turn…yellow?
Gemma blinked, looking at her bright yellow hand, and then moved toward the Teppenpaw table. She felt surprised, but not much else as she took a seat among her new Housemates. She wasn’t with Paul and Eliza, and she really wasn’t sure what to think or feel about that. She wasn’t devastated or anything not to be with them, they had always been a little aloof, but she had expected being raised in the same House by the same people, even recycling the same tutors, to have some impact.
She listened to the announcements, sitting up as straight as she could in her chair to try to see the top table better but not really gaining that much ground, even though she didn’t know any of the people who were announced and her mind skipped over the challenges part and straight to the ball when the Headmistress began to talk about what they’d get to do this year. She grinned, delighted with the thought of getting to go to a ball. Gemma had spent years imagining what it would be like to do that, but had thought it would be years and years before she did, and now she got to go to one this year!
She gave the Crotalus table a slightly annoyed look as she picked up her copy of the school song. Paul and Eliza hadn’t told her a thing about this. She forgot to be annoyed, though, as they sang, and then looked, impressed, at all the food that appeared. "Isn't this exciting?" she asked her neighbor, not even thinking of how they were a new person she had never met before. "I'm so happy to be here!"
0Gemma BennettThis is so exciting!251Gemma Bennett05
It was possible that Jeweliah was a little overexcited about going to Sonora. She was going to learn how to do magic on her own, as well as make new friends get away from the ranch for a while. She loved her home, and would definitely miss doing pageants frequently, but she was excited for her next adventure. She’d spent longer packing that she probably should have, and only packed one crown—so as not to intimidate her roommates.
Her parents told her about the wagon ride, and she wanted to travel comfortably, but first impressions were equally as important. She had a few different color schemes in mind that wouldn’t clash horribly with Sonora’s forest green robes. She wanted to wear emerald, as it was the color of the year, but those greens weren’t complimentary.
There was a lot of deliberation, but she finally settled on a peachy pink dress that had gently puffed cap sleeves, and a high waist. The hem hit just below her knees, but since she’d be riding a covered wagon, Jewels decided a pair of nude colored spankies beneath her dress was a good idea. She put on a chunky yellow belt and her favorite cowboy boots. She wore a long multi-strand necklace and a chunky yellow bow ring on her perfectly manicured fingers. Had she had her way, she would have been able to wear make-up, but it was only for pageants, so she settled for clear mascara and lipgloss, as her cheeks were naturally rosy. Her hair was curled and the front bit of her blonde hair was braided back to keep it from her face. It wasn’t her usual pageant garb, but she felt confident, and that was the most important part.
Jeweliah chatted with her fellow year mates, trying to learn a little more about them and guess who would be in which house. It was a little uncomfortable though, and she tried her best to keep her legs tightly crossed so her thick thighs didn’t spill over into the space of others. Her excitement only grew as they entered the castle and the hall—Sonora was so pretty! Cascade hall was definitely going to be one of her favorite places, and not just because of the food.
She waited anxiously with the rest of her year as they began the sorting ceremony. She figured she’d be a Pecari or a Teppenpaw, and wasn’t wholly surprised when her spray tanned skin only darkened. She was glad to see that at least one other girl was sorted into Pecari, and quickly made her way to the Pecari table. She wanted to introduce herself right away, but found herself holding her tongue as the Headmistress announced head students, prefects, and then explained about the year’s challenges.
Jeweliah wasn’t sure what all she could offer to a group, save for comic relief and awesome baton twirling skills. She would definitely give it her best shot though. She muddled through the school song, making it a personal goal to have it memorized before midterm, and then the table began to fill with food, and the Texan’s stomach began to growl. Jewels began to dish up her plate with chicken and macaroni before turning to the brown skinned girl beside her.
“Hi, I’m not quite sure I caught your name earlier, but I’m Jeweliah. It looks like we’re goin’ to be roommates!” She said with a bright smile on her face and a southern twang to her voice.
0Jeweliah DysteLooks like we're in this together!0Jeweliah Dyste05
The noise of all the other students on the wagon had given Rajid Ambrose a bit of a headache. He couldn’t imagine it would be going away anytime soon either, as there was still a feast to be had. Maybe some food and water would help—either way, he was eager to get this part over with.
Rajid often had a lot of his mind, and a long lecture over his breakfast that morning had only served as a catalyst. He had a long list of dos and don’ts rolling over in his mind, and he was concerned that he was going to forget something. He’d been rather forgetful the past year and a half, so it was important for him to write things down. Some of the things his father had been harping on came naturally to the boy—don’t fraternize with muggleborns or blood traitors, study hard, keep your nose clean, and never mention Snoqualmie—the rest would have fallen out of his head had he not committed them to paper.
As the first years we ushered into the Cascade Hall, Rajid felt his stomach turn--there were more people here than he’d expected. He pushed those thoughts aside and waited patiently for his turn to drink the sorting potion. He hesitated when the goblet was given to him. He wanted to wipe the rim of the goblet, but the sleeve of his robe didn’t seem appropriate, so he sucked it up and drank. He knew only a little of Aladren, but had been paying enough attention to know that blue skin meant that was the house he was in.
He made his way to the Aladren table with the other blue skinned first years and sat next to the only other male in his house. He only looked him over for a moment before turning his attention to the Headmistress and the rest of the announcements. He clapped when it was appropriate and couldn’t help but roll his eyes slightly at the student outrage to the lack of Quidditch this term. Raj wasn’t thrilled about being forced to participate in the challenges, but as long as it was mentally stimulating, he’d do what he had to. It was better than Quidditch anyway.
Rajid noticed that the other Aladren boy didn’t participate in the school song, and felt less awkward about sitting it out himself. He filled his plate when the food arrived, hardly noticing he’d chosen mostly meat before the other boy addressed him. He had an interesting name, and was a Native to the United States. That made it a little harder to determine his blood status, as Rajid wasn’t at all familiar with any of their rituals or bloodlines. His father’s words were still ringing in his hears, but the only way to find out if Keme was the kind of person Rajid was allowed to talk to was by asking.
“Pleased to meet you, Keme. I’m Rajid Ambrose, son of Quintus and Malak Ambrose.” He wasn’t quite sure how to word his question without being blunt or rude, and small talk wasn’t exactly his style either. “Do you come from a Wizarding tribe?” He asked decidedly, hoping that his roommate was someone his parents he wouldn’t mind him associating himself with.
Normally, stress was one of the many things – along with annoyance and amusement and often simple boredom – which made Malcolm Carey resort to drama, but as he walked into the Cascade Hall with the other first years, he was unusually subdued. His blond hair was freshly cut and neatly combed, both of which felt a little wrong, his blue sweater vest was, where it was visible beneath his green robes, according to his mirror at home, doing a wonderful job of brining out his blue eyes, and his shoes were freshly shined. Except for his face being paler, beneath a small number of freckles, than his fair coloring would usually account for, he looked like the perfect pureblood heir.
With that thought in mind, he watched the Deputy Headmistress proceeding toward him in much the same way he would have an exotic centipede. He had, after all, probably heard more about her than any other teacher at the school. Both his mother and his older sister – he could see Lucille at what he assumed was the Teppenpaw table, flushed beneath a barely-tidy head full of blonde hair several shades darker than his and looking hopeful as she scanned the line of first years for him; Mal didn’t wave – had spoken long and disapprovingly about the school hiring a disowned person, to the point where he suspected Mother might have tried to have them blocked from coming to Sonora, if she could have.
Mal, for his part, was glad she hadn’t had that power, even if it did mean the power instead rested with Morgaine, their beloved matriarch who Mother always swore had killed their beloved former patriarch, Mal’s father. Maybe Sonora was lacking in moral character, but at least that meant it wasn’t too likely to be boring.
He took his sip of potion without any fuss and held his breath, not caring which of the other three he landed in but hoping he didn’t turn yellow. He breathed again when he saw that he had not and went to the Pecari table to wait for the rest of his classmates to get Sorted and for the feast, after some announcements he tried very carefully to remember because who knew when he might need to know what had been said.
“Good evening,” he said politely, once that was done, to a fellow he supposed was one of those he would have to share a room with now. That part of coming to school was not something he was looking forward to, but he would have to bear it somehow, with stoic grace and all those other terms Mother used without really knowing what they meant. "I am Malcolm Carey, of the North Carolina Careys. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, I'm sure."
Brianna was tired. Her summer break was no break at all and she had spent the last couple of days learning how to use these forearm crutches. She’ll be using them for an undisclosed amount of time. Jonah, her Physical Therapist, told her that they would help strengthen her legs and force her body to move in a particular way so the come the following summer, she may not even need them at all. Brianna doubted that. She would keep up with her swimming routine though, so long as she could find someone willing to sit in there with her as she wasn’t allowed to go in alone in case her back gives out. Actually, she probably wasn’t allowed to really do anything alone if it meant straining her back or legs. Anytime she tried too hard or became tired out physically, she often ended up withering in painful back spasms.
Getting on the wagon had been okay. Her father helped her, but she felt she could have done it on her own. The ride, however, took a number on her body. The jagged bumps of turbulence had her clenching her jaw tightly so as to not cry out in pain. She didn’t want anyone to look at her. Brianna had wished she had taken her Healer up on the offer to take a small vial of pain reliever potion with her for the ride. She learned her lesson real quick. To get through it, Brianna closed her eyes and thought of better things until the wagons landed and she was able to disembark. Or, try to at any rate. Going up the stairs she felt okay about, but she still had trouble with going down the stairs. In the end, after everyone else had gotten off, Brianna asked the Groundskeeper for help. She was aware that the school had been notified about her incident and that leeway was asked for the first few weeks until she was used to the distance and time it would take her to get to each class. Brianna only hoped they wouldn’t be angry with her for it. Still, it was a bit embarrassing to have to get down off the wagon with the help of an adult.
Thanking him, Brianna slowly made her way up the path to the school. She thought she was going to walk in mid-speech because she was going so slowly, worried about having a spasm after the ride and having sat for so long, but everyone was still chatting away when she entered the hall. A rosy hue crept up into her cheeks as she walked over to the Crotalus table because she thought for sure that everyone was watching her. News of her misfortune was bound to have traveled. They were a small school and with Attoria being in her building, Michael having visited her, and Valerie and Josh in correspondence with her, people were going to find out. The most obvious thing about the story and making it true were the crutches, everything else was less obvious, like the back spasms and headaches. But she felt the crutches were all people would see.
Having taken a seat, Brianna disengaged her forearm crutches and set them carefully beside her, hoping to keep them out of the way of other people and then turned to see if she could find Valerie. She was happy about the news of a new potion that was helping her roommate feel better and wanted to let her know. Before she could really look though, Josh was beside her. She took in his appearance first and realized that he looked rather ill with the dark circles under his eyes. She wanted to ask him if he was alright, but he was asking her a bunch of questions and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Linus looking at her.
Guilt crept into her when she realized he might not have known about what happened. If she were honest, she would have said she hadn’t wanted anyone to know. She had been angry at her mom for owling Josh and, in turn, Josh owling Michael and Valerie. She was, in the end, okay with Valerie knowing since Attoria knew and Valerie was never going to see her in the hospital due to her issues. But Michael was a different story. He had actually come and, yet again, managed to bring her to tears. She really hadn’t wanted anyone to see her like that. She didn’t want anyone to even see her now. But that didn’t help the guilt at not having owled Linus. He had always been nice to her. Brianna gave him a small smile in greeting, hoping he wasn't mad at her.
“I’m…” She didn’t know how to answer that question. She wasn’t ‘fine’ per say, but she wasn’t where she was just a couple of weeks ago. Not able to find a word for how she was, she simply shrugged. His next question was easier to answer though, “Not really. I have to wear these-“ Brianna indicated the crutches. “I can’t walk too fast, so it’s a slow process and I have trouble with stairs, mainly going down, but if there are a lot, I get tired out easily, so I have to be careful.” She had to say though, from when she had woken up from her coma until now, she never thought she would even be this far into the walking process.
The sorting had ended and the Headmistress was beginning the real speech. Since Brianna was a fifth year, she wanted to see who would be the new Prefects. She was certain that it wasn’t her and that was something she was okay with, but it was still a little bit of excitement at the announcements. It ended up being Paul. She clapped for him as well as for Mellie, but she wasn’t close to Nora or Laurie. But then the speech turned towards the Midsummer Event and Brianna started to panic. Challenges? How was she supposed to do a challenge?
Taking a couple of deep breaths through the school song, Brianna tried to calm herself. The school knew about her, so they wouldn’t force her into something she wasn’t physically able to do. They just couldn’t… right?
The food had arrived, but Brianna didn’t reach for any. She hardly ate anymore, normally because of the potions she had been taking, but also because when she was anxious, she felt nauseous. She decided to come out with what she needed, “I-er-I have to keep up with my water therapy, but I’m not allowed to do it alone because, well, because my back or legs might give out or I might have an episode.”
Silence. Oh, there was a world going on, students all around her, a speech being made, but Sophie could analyze and process no more. Everything was still to her as she sat idly, frozen in shock. How could this be happening? When it was her last chance… How could they take it away from her? Did they not realize how much it meant to her?
To the staff who decided this, Quidditch was probably just a silly sport. To the blonde, however, it was so much more. Quidditch was an outlet, a time where she could be free. Sophie was only truly self-aware on a broomstick, watching yellow or blue or red Chasers darting her way, her fingers wrapping around the handle as she prepared to fire like a bullet in whatever direction she needed to go. In front of those rings, she was alive.
The small seventeen year old was not that great at other things. She had a gift for Potions and more than average skill in Defense, but essentially everything else found her at the middle of the pack. She knew she was meant to play Quidditch, as melodramatic as it sounded; ever since her first time, one childhood scrimmage with beloved cousins and old friends, she knew she would be a Captain. Sophie was not necessarily the greatest leader—for she was not always, nor did she intend to be, the best example—but on the Pitch, everything changed.
Blue eyes glanced around to gauge other reactions. Some were vocal, as she would have anticipated from herself, yet she sat quietly. Sophie was not the crying type, but she felt hot tears threatening to fall. She only got one year—one chance—to catch victory. One run for the cup had been in vain, and she had not even known it would be her only chance.
Now she was left with only the broken remains of the Not-Just-A-Game she loved so dearly. She was granted only the less entertaining parts of the season, the tryout process for a team that did not exist. She wanted to train the players of tomorrow who would inhabit the field next year, but what did she have to work for? The Pecari did not know where she was going after graduation, but even if she wanted to play professionally, she most certainly could not achieve that now. Scouts would want to see her play, and with no games, that was impossible. A tryout would not be viewed in the same way; someone who was perfect in practice could completely crumble in the real situation.
Sheet music appeared, but Sophie did not sing. For one thing, she felt abandoned and betrayed by the school itself, as if it had been a personal attack against her to steal away her penultimate season. Moreover, with all of the effort she was currently exerting in order to prevent the tears that were so eager to fall, her voice would have been painful for even her own ears. Next appeared the food, but the Pecari could not eat. She feared if she even parted her lips, all of her hurt would spew out. Sophie did not want to cause a scene—not now, anyway—so she remained silent and unmoving, locked in position for fear of falling apart. Any little motion could bring about her utter collapse.
She could not avoid gazing helplessly in the direction of the staff, specifically Coach Pierce. How could she let this happen? There was no way she could be okay with this happening; Quidditch was the summary of her position, and as a lover of the sport, she had to know how Sophie was feeling, right? Maybe, she thought, she would talk to her later, once the hustle and bustle of the first day back had ended and the seventh year had composed herself.
Intentionally she did not look at the Crotali, perhaps for the first Feast in about six years. Ryan would be there; she did not want him to see her like this. Surely, however, the hateful blue eyes of his sister were upon her, soaking in her misery as their owner felt smug. Carrie had not done this—that was obvious—but the third year likely had no qualms in enjoying her pain.
Of course, they had certainly not cut the student leadership programs, so her perpetual roommate still would reap the benefits of her position. Sophie knew it was irrational and unfair to condemn Sara for her victory, but how was it fair to deny the blonde of hers? The world always loved girls like Sara, with their proper curtsies and pleasant smiles, but it hated girls like Sophie, with their tomboy ways and improper outlooks. Frequently, she hated Sara for being so perfect, loathed her for being everything her mother was at their age.
All she felt right now was bitterness and sorrow. What was next in the quest to ruin her? Would they cut Potions? Would they expel Ryan? Without Quidditch—real Quidditch, not a demanded roster Sophie would not provide—those were the only things for her here. A third of her passions was gone, and she did not know what to do. These challenges did not sound promising, not if they came at Quidditch’s expense. She did not want this new team; she had Pecari’s Quidditch team, with Amira and Jhonice and everyone else. That was a real team.
She risked a sigh and, finding she did not physically break into a thousand tiny pieces, ventured to move some muscles, stretching her neck a little to unwind the tense knots. Somewhere in this process, a neighbor spoke. Sophie only caught the end, hearing something or another, maybe a question about her summer? “What was that?” she asked for clarity. “I’m afraid I missed what you said.” She was surprised by how deceivingly strong her forced voice was, only quivering a little. By no means was it the full Sophie, but it was something. It was a promising start to a façade of acceptance.
12Sophie JamisonI don't feel very welcome.34Sophie Jamison05
If Adam was being completely honest, he hadn’t been looking forward to school very much. He looked forward to going to America, but he was used to home. He had never left the U.K. before though he had traveled all over the country. He had grown up quite independent, having lived in London his entire life. Whenever his father was at work at the hospital, Adam was expected to run the errands and look after his family. He wasn’t sure how his sister, Charlotte, was going to survive without him either. She was his best friend and he had never seen her really make any friends of her own. She was usually completely quiet around strangers. His mum would miss him too, he being the eldest. But Grandfather had wanted him to go to school in America along with his cousins so he had to go.
Adam was intrigued by the wagons. He had seen carriages before, of course, but the environment of Arizona was very different. He couldn’t stop looking at the desert ground as the carriage rolled along. When they finally reached the school, he hopped off and helped any of the witches who needed help. He followed the rest of the lot to the school and entered the hall with them as well. He wasn’t sure which house he wanted to be a part, but he knew Cepheus was in Crotalus and Rupert was in Pecari. In all honesty, he hadn’t interacted much with either of them; Cepheus was much older and Rupert was a little too talkative for his taste.
The sorting ceremony began and when it was his turn, Adam took a sip of the potion and watched his skin turn brown. Pecari. He’d be in the same house as Rupert. He wasn’t sure what that meant, exactly, but he didn’t think it was bad. He hadn’t done much research on the different houses of Sonora anyway.
Adam sat down at the Pecari table near the other first years, smiling at his house mates in greeting, and watched the rest of the processions. He had no idea who the Head Boy and Girl were, but that was only to be expected. As the school song was sung, Adam looked at the words and tried to catch the tune. He couldn’t, but he didn’t really mind not singing.
It was all finally over and the food appeared. Adam was ready to tuck in, but his instincts told him to offer the food to the others first. There were two girls next to him, one who had a strange accent. “Looks like we’re going to be in the same house together,” he said conversationally and picked up the plate of mashed potatoes. “Potatoes?” he asked, looking from girl to girl, offering to scoop it for them if they wished. He’d put some on his plate afterwards. That and the chicken looked fantastic on the accented-girl’s plate. If Sonora served food like this every day he would have no reason to complain.
40Adam SpencerDo you mind if I join you?257Adam Spencer05
Omara never really expected to get through the whole dinner without someone speaking to her, and the first to do so was a blonde, flush-cheeked girl with a Texan drawl, who introduced herself as Jeweliah.
"Hi, yes, my name's Omara it does look as though we will be sharing, doesn't it? Jeweliah...that's a very pretty name..."
Omara heard her own voice and it sounded even quieter than usual in the echoing hall, but it didn't look as though Jeweliah minded if it were. Omara thought that it would be nice to have someone like Jeweliah around and hoped they would get along well. Jeweliah came across as so confident and self-assured, traits that Omara always wished she had personally. She had seen her chatting away to other first years before the sorting and couldn't help feeling inside that pretty Texan would fit into Pecari far better than herself.
"I'm surprised to find myself in Pecari, did you know which house you would be sorted into?" she asked Jeweliah.
As hundreds of voices bounced around the large room, Omara's attention was caught by the sound of an English accent. Next thing she knew, a boy she had witnessed being sorted in to Pecari earlier was offering Jeweliah and herself some mashed potato. It caught Omara by surprise. At home, meal times were a battle to compete with her seven year old triplet brothers - there, if you weren't quick, you didn't eat, and consequently she was delighted with such a display of lovely manners.
"Yes, please, I'll never say no to mashed potato...I hope it's as good as my mom's..."
As she spooned the creamy mash onto her plate, she noticed the boy gazing hungrily at the chicken on Jeweliah's plate.
"The chicken is lovely...would you like me to pass it over?"
Omara was fascinated by the boy's English accent. She desperately wanted to ask him about it but didn't want to appear intrusive. Omara had always been fascinated with England since she found out her mother's father was an English muggle, and though she had never visited the country, she had always dreamt of going. Finally, she plucked up the courage to ask him softly,
"Are you English? Which part are you from...?"
0Omara HernandezI'll never say no to mashed potato0Omara Hernandez05
Ginny had to keep her face still when he called her Virginia. She hated her full name and wasn’t sure why he had used it when she had provided him with her nickname. The only thing she could think of was that he was being polite and thought the nickname was only for friends or family, but Ginny was fairly certain she had said that everyone called her that. Or, he just preferred the name Virginia, in which case, what a bore he may end up being. And, from the sound of his name, Ginny had to take a guess that it may end up being the latter in this case. “My, you have quite a well-established name.” Ginny commented, her doe-like green eyes widening ever so slightly at him. Percival sounded as old and stuffy as her own name did. But he was a Second! So, there was an even older and stuffier Percival wondering around.
Her mother had pulled her long brown hair into a low bun that was parted down the middle because her mother wanted everyone to see her face. Ginny grew up being told she was pretty. She had large green eyes, a slim nose that was perfectly proportioned to her face, the perfectly shaped pout of a mouth, thick but nicely sculpted eyebrows, high cheek bones, and freckles that gave her the look of innocence. Ginny, however, didn’t really care. She knew how she looked and that was fine, but she was not one who let such things go to her head. There would always be someone prettier than her no matter what her mother said.
Because she was not used to wearing her hair in such a tight bun, Ginny found herself trying not to reach up and mess with it while she was at the dinner table. If her mother saw her even attempt at such a thing, she’d get a talking to. So, she did her best to keep her hands down.
“Oh yes, it seems this school is very into Quidditch.” Ginny commented, remembering the reaction the school had when it was announced that Quidditch games were not to happen this year. “I’m not allowed to play nor do I care to, so it really doesn’t have much effect for me. But, I was looking forward to seeing how they played.” Her mother never allowed her to watch the games finding them appalling and nothing for a child or girl to see. But Ginny was curious and she always wanted to know what she wasn’t supposed to. “With the reaction they received by the news of its cancellation, I hope the challenges are as big as they implied, otherwise, someone may start a mutiny.” Ginny commented, half-joking.
“I do believe this was a wonderful year to start. Already we have something to look forward too!” She exclaimed happily. She paused in her excitement and looked thoughtful for a moment. “I hope that my team isn’t too dreadful. It would be an awful shame to spend so much time with people who weren’t making it as fun as it ought to be.” Not that she knew if the challenges were meant to be fun or not, but she always liked to think positively about things instead of always sulking about the negative.
0Ginny BellroseThis makes me happy.0Ginny Bellrose05
Will turned at the sound of a "Good Evening," to find another boy who had been dyed brown looking at him. He was very well dressed, and Will suddenly felt self-conscious in his plain brown robes. His formal manner took Will aback for a second before he realized that this must be one of the pure bloods his mother had told him about.
"Will," She had said, when she had been telling him about Sonora," there are three types of wizards and witches at Sonora. There are muggle-borns, who have no magical parent, half-bloods, like you, who have one magical parent, and purebloods. Now, purebloods," she continued, taking a breath," Have two magical parents and are raised around magic. They are very used to manners and polite society."
At Will's raised eyebrow, she scolded him," Don't judge anybody because of their blood status. Just because their more mannered than you are doesn't mean you can't be friends with them. It just means you might have to try a little harder," She finished.
Will remembered his mother's words now, and hoping he was being polite enough, smiled and said,"Hello, Malcolm, my name is William Casey, but you can call me Will if you like. I am a half-blood and my mother is part of the Murphy wizarding clan in Ireland. You can tell by the hair," he finished pointing to his fiery red pony-tail that was cropped at the base of his neck. "It sure is nice here, have you visited before?" he asked, smiling at the other boy.
Appearing at the Opening Feast for the last time was oddly therapeutic, James thought. He had been uniformly unsuccessful in making Head Boy, but he was Aladren's senior prefect this year, so that was something. He also recalled that David Wilkes, his roomate since their first year, had been perfectly agreeable when James had ben named prefect. Luckily, James had been granted the summer break to adjust to the notion, and he was now ready to be equally as amicable in return. Seeing as David was the closest acquaintance James had in his own House (and this event required House clustering), he sat by his roomate and politely paid attention to the Headmistress' speech. The mention of challenges bothered him; would he be expected to complete unsavoury tasks? Merlin he hoped not. As a prefect and a senior student he would no doubt be expected to set an example, but he'd rather not humiliate himself in the process.
"I wonder what these challenges will entail," he mused aloud as he began to serve himself some food. James' plate was soon holding a sizeable slice of lasagne alongside broccoli and fries. Intellectual activities would be more suited to the seventh year. He had, admittedly, been shown up by Josephine as her CATS results had been a slight improvement on his, but the Aladren nevertheless was confident that his above-average IQ and logical approach would contribute to adequate completion of such tasks. Sporting activities might be accomplishable, depending on their rules and requisites, but anything that demanded performance of any form would not be permissable in James' books. If the world was just, his prefectly authority would grant him early insight into what these challengs might be. If not, then perhaps David's extra recognition would be beneficial in that respect.
"Congratulations on your Headship, by the way," he added casually to David. "I don't think I approached you directly when the announcement was made last year, which was perhaps remiss of me." Although perhaps not, as he would certainly not have been so cordial at the time as he could be now, but David did not need to know this.
0James OwenI won't tell if you don't168James Owen05
Julian noticed her new classmate’s moment of surprise and winced a little, though she was impressed by how he didn’t say anything about it. Usually, people said something about her name, though she thought it helped a lot here that she wasn’t standing in the middle of the group of her four brothers, none of whom had names which had gone out of fashion for boys before the invention of the printing press. All things considered, she thought Charlie was doing really well with it.
She glanced shyly toward the other new Teppenpaw girls, wondering if they would be as decent about it. The other girls were the thing at Sonora she was most nervous about, not just because of her name, but because of everything, especially the part where they were going to live together and share a room. Her brothers shared, but since she was the only girl in the family, she never had, and she was worried that she might not be very good at it, or that one of the others might not, or that they all might not be, and that everything there would be terrible. She had been worrying about that since, she thought, a few days after she got her acceptance letter.
Right now, though, she was talking to Charlie, who wasn’t making a big deal out of her name and didn’t react if he had special vision that let him know her robes were secondhand, either, so she chose to focus on that. “Yes, thank you,” she said when he suggested a dish. “The asparagus looks lovely, too,” she added, taking some of that for her plate while he had the first spoon, since she did enjoy it very much when it was prepared well. Her dad's dad made the best asparagus dishes in the world, or so she firmly believed. “Would you like some of it, too?”
Alicia’s eyes sparkled with anticipation when Henny suggested there might be a mix of challenges, some they could prepare for, some they could not. “That would be fun,” she said. Challenges they knew about ahead of time would be easier to win, since she doubted there were a dozen people in the school besides who would really work to prepare and then have people around them who’d do the same, but she thought she could enjoy a challenge where she had to think on her feet purely on its own merits – as long, of course, as she and hers won it.
That thought subdued her a little; she sometimes did wish she could do more things just for their own sakes, and not because she was trying to achieve something by it. The only thing like that she could think of off the top of her head was reading adolescent fiction at home, and she barely had time even there, since she still had so many useful books to read. There was so much to learn in the world; even if she hadn’t needed to do it for other reasons, she thought she might have still spend her holidays reading until she gave herself headaches, then writing lists over and over again, trying to cram as much of the world’s knowledge into her head as she possibly could, as fast as she possibly could, while she had the time.
She couldn’t have it all. She knew that. As hard as she was trying, she would never be able to read all of the books just in the Sonora library, and wouldn’t have been able to even if she’d been a friendless recluse with nothing else to do and had been one for all the years she’d been here. But she wanted it all anyway, and couldn’t stop herself from trying as hard as she could to get it.
Alicia laughed when Henny explained her brother’s conundrum in a paradox. “Got to love that,” she remarked, pouring herself a glass of cold water and only just holding herself back from gulping it all down at once. “Oh, that’s good,” she said of it, then listened as Henny talked about how she’d known it would be Teppenpaw or Pecari, but hoped for Teppenpaw.
“They can be…much sometimes, can’t they?” she remarked of the Pecaris, glancing toward their table. Her lashes lowered slightly, hiding some of the unfriendly expression in her eyes as they landed there for a second. “I’d almost like my brother to be one, but that’s just because that would put all four of us in different Houses; if I had to guess, I’d call him a Crotalus.” It was probably Crotalus or Aladren, anyway, and she thought they would murder each other sometime if they had to live together, so she was hoping for Crotalus. She and Isaac had their understandings, but he liked to lord it over her that he was the boy and a pureblood too much. She smiled. "I'm glad your brother's Sorting went well. Are you glad he's here, or do you think he'll annoy you to death this year?"
16AliciaYou are astonishingly perceptive.210Alicia05
“Say when...” Charlie directed Julian, heaping paella onto their plate until they told him to stop. “I'm not sure...” he said, when they offered him some asparagus, not entirely sure he would have been able to put that name to it if they hadn't provided it. He knew of it and had seen it around, in shops, but he was fairly sure it wasn't something he'd eaten before. But he wasn't really fussy and school, and life in general, was about new experiences. “Can I just have one bit to try, please?” he asked, “I haven't had it before.
“Did you have to come far? We live in San Francisco, so it's definitely not as bad as it could be. I reckon the kids from New York must have pretty tough backsides to stand riding all the way from there,” he grinned.
He took a couple of mouthfuls of paella as Julian answered. Amongst the soft, spicy rice and delicate fish was a sudden salty taste. An olive. He thought it might be a bit rude to spit it out in front of Julian, so he swallowed. He didn't hate olives and thus could eat them if table manners dictated that he really ought to but he didn't love them either. He was definitely of the opinion that his dinner would be better with out them and resolved to take future mouthfuls a bit more carefully.
“You like olives?” he asked. “If you do, you can have mine,” he explained, nudging one out from its hiding place and over to the edge of his plate.
13Charlie B-F-RNew experiences of the culinary variety252Charlie B-F-R05
They didn't put in Aladren just cos blue suits me
by Henny B-F-R
Henny smiled, pleasantly unsurprised by Alicia appreciating her comments on Charlie's sorting.
“Yes,” she nodded, at Alicia's assessment of the Pecaris. “It really will be interesting having all the houses mixed together. I mean, I don't want to be disparaging about anyone, and certainly not just based on their house - I've never found it to be a problem in class but... in bigger groups, mixed ages... Well, it'll be a people-watcher's dream, put it that way.” She tried to imagine some of the more Quidditch obsessed, rough and tough Pecaris having to work collaboratively with some of the equally obsessed Aladrens, source of all Pecari's woes. And then she abruptly stopped trying to as she didn't like scenes which ended up with people going to see the medic. “I wonder whether they're working out teams or drawing them randomly. You'd think the former would be sensible, to make them balanced and avoid teams imploding but teachers do tend to have this crazy idea that if you force people to do something together then that will make them all just get along. Although, with no Quidditch, putting sworn rivals into different teams could end just as badly... Between that and all the pent up Quidditch energy, I'm beginning to think we may see actual bloodshed before this year's out.
“A bit of both, probably,” she laughed, at Alicia's question about Charlie, “We're pretty different but we're pretty close too. Weird how that can work but it does. I guess with everything that happened maybe it makes sense - we were each other's only family for a while. I found it really strange when I had to come here and be without him.” Whilst she'd never sat Alicia down and told her her life history from start to finish, she'd answered anything she'd been asked and, as was happening now, details sometimes occurred naturally in conversation. “I reckon we'll be moving enough with different crowds that he won't get to the point where I've had enough.” That point definitely existed. Usually, Charlie's perpetual good mood simply lifted her own spirits. It was hard to feel down around him However, when she was tired, really worried about something, had a lot to do or had just been dealing with Charlie all day, it could get a bit much. At that point, she usually passed Charlie back to their dad. He seemed about as boundlessly energetic. Hopefully other people, friends of Charlie's own, would step in to soak up any excess chirpiness that she was unable to deal with.
“When does your brother join us?” she asked.
13Henny B-F-RThey didn't put in Aladren just cos blue suits me211Henny B-F-R05
David looked up from his food as he heard James speak about the challenges. “No idea,” he said, since that wasn’t information they’d seen fit to give the new Head Boy ahead of time. “Hopefully something to keep the Quidditch team occupied, they’ll drive me nuts if they don’t get something else to focus their energy on.” He would also have to compete in whatever it was, but he was pretty sure the school couldn’t come up with anything more dangerous than Quidditch. Even after six years in the Wizarding World, he still couldn’t believe what a violent game it was, especially for one which was officially tolerated and even approved of by the staff and parents. He had never gotten hurt himself, but he knew that wasn’t a given even for his position; Nic Sawyer had been a Keeper, too, and he had nearly gotten his neck broken during David’s first year as a reserve.
He had to try hard not to laugh at James’ very formal phrasing as he…did something at least vaguely akin to apologizing, anyway, for not congratulating David on the Head Boy win at the Bonfire last year. “It’s cool, don’t worry about it,” he said, his own word choice slipping a little lower than usual in response to James’ high-brow language. Not that he had ever done fancy language too well unless he was playing the part of a cross between Aragorn, the Movie Announcer Guy, and every football coach ever to grace the frames of a predictable sports flick while giving speeches to the Quidditch team. “Thanks for the congratulations now,” he added, refraining from pointing out that he wasn’t sure congratulations were really the thing he needed. That had been all right with Samantha, but she had been a closer friend than James, despite the years of living together.
Honestly, after he’d seen the Head Boy ballot last spring, David had been kind of worried about James deciding on a Pyrrhic revenge by poisoning him or something, but his roommate had handled the disappointment pretty well, he thought. It just went to show, people could be pretty decent about things, when they wanted to. A lesson a person from as cynical a place as he was should never have learned, he knew, but there it was. Maybe he wasn’t related to any of them, but some people could be all right.
“It’s all gonna be a pain with RATS this year, though,” he said, finishing the careful task of putting together his last Welcoming Feast meal. More care than usual had been necessary; it was a special occasion, not just another old year this time. “Quidditch would have been, too, but at least that’s pretty predictable. Who knows what these challenges are going to be, or how much time we’re gonna have to put into ‘em.” Plus he’d still have to run practices. Oh, his year was going to be busy. Maybe the Bludgers would have been preferable. “How many subjects are you taking?”
“When,” Julian said after Charlie put what she thought was enough of a helping of the paella on her plate. “That’s enough, thank you,” she smiled, thinking the dish did smell nice, but that she didn’t want too much of any one thing right now so she could try more of the options, unless she just found something so delicious that she couldn’t help herself. She did like food a lot, both helping her parents prepare it and eating it.
“Sure,” she said when Charlie asked just to try a little of the asparagus, dishing him out only a small amount. “I’m only going to try a little of it, too, at least right now – I love it when we have it at home, but I don’t know if they do it righ – the way we do here,” she corrected herself, since – as long as everything was sanitary and at the right temperatures, anyway – there wasn’t really ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with food, just what suited the different tastes of different people.
She added a little of it to her plate as Charlie asked about the wagon ride, and laughed at the mental image which occurred to her of New Yorkers with wooden backsides. “You’re probably right,” she said, then took a bite of her paella, tasting shrimp and she thought a little saffron. “I took a wagon from Helena, in Montana,” she went on once she’d swallowed it. “So I think New York would still be worse than my ride, but yours was probably better than mine. I think we went through the beginning of a storm one time, it was awfully bumpy.”
Charlie offered her his olives. “I like black ones,” she replied, looking to see about his. “I’m not crazy about the green ones, but I can eat them, too.”
She decided to venture a personal question. “You said ‘we’ came from San Francisco,” she said, trying a bite of the asparagus and being relieved to find the taste of it agreeable. It wasn’t as good as her dad’s, much less Grandpa’s, but it was good anyway. “Do you have family here?” She was already missing hers, and hoped John would decide to come here with her when he was old enough, when she started her fifth year. “Or friends? Or just a lot of people on the same wagon?” She knew there were lots of wizards in California, so it occurred to her at the last minute that he could have just meant that by 'we'.
16JulianThey can be amazing adventures.254Julian05
Charlie grinned when Julian actually said 'when'. He guessed it was a common, corny joke but they always did it in his family too. He speared the asparagus on his fork, giving it a little sniff just to try to get an indication of what he was about to get before shoving it in his mouth unhesitatingly. He chewed, his eyes moving upwards as if consulting his brain to see whether it had a result to give him on the experience yet.
“It doesn't taste like a vegetable,” he mused. “I mean, I know vegetables taste different to each other but they all have a general... vegetabliness. They taste like green things. This doesn't. It's quite nice though,” he nodded, adding a piece or two more to his plate. He wasn't sure it was something he could shovel down at the same rate as peas or carrots but it was definitely something he could eat a little bit more of. “They seem to be just black ones,” he added, in reference to the olives.
“My Father's from Montana!” he grinned, when Julian announced that was where they were from. “He went to school in Canada though cos it seemed easier than coming all the way over here. Which bit are you from?
“My sister's here. She's over in Aladren. And my Dad came here too so I kind of heard a lot about it before I came – oh, he and Father aren't the same person,” he added, suddenly remembering he was talking to a new person and had just mentioned two male parents and two different schools within a sentence or so of each other. It tended to confuse new people unless it was at least somewhat explained. “I think I asked them about a million questions. But there's still so much I feel like I don't know, and even the things she told me about are even better when you see them, like the Hall and the food, so it's still really exciting. Did you know much about it before you came here?”
13Charlie B-F-RI'm enjoying this one252Charlie B-F-R05
Alicia smiled deeply, amused, when Henny disclaimed a desire to disparage anyone. In her experience, that always meant disparagement was exactly what someone was aiming for with their comments, but she let it go, not least because she had absolutely no problem with anyone disparaging the Pecaris in just about any way they pleased. She approved of their energy, but their priorities were often skewed and some of them could be rude, crude, or both, which she had no patience for.
The idea that they would be on such mixed teams as Henny suggested, though, wasn’t one which had occurred to her before, and she didn’t like it now that it had. Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid…but then, these were adults they were dealing with, as Henny had pointed out. Oh, that could be even worse than being just separated from her friends. There might be bloodshed all right, but it might not have anything to do with Quidditch rivalries. She might be the one who caused it, if they stuck her with a bunch of idiots, or ruffians, or other people who generally just had no good reason to exist…Or worse, a bunch of other girls….
Alicia only just kept from making a face at the thought. Henny was all right, but in general, Alicia did not like other girls. That was all right, too, though, because she was pretty sure they didn’t like her, either. Working with a bunch of them would be nearly as bad as working with Kate or something.
“I would not be surprised,” she said. “A lot of adults do have a problem with being logical enough to walk and chew gum at the same time. I hope I never am one.” She sighed, a little theatrically, and took a bite of her turkey before deciding to add some shrimp and a piece of what she thought was flounder to her plate. It was turning into a strange mix, but she didn’t mind that right now. She was only planning to eat one thing at a time anyway. “We’ll just have to hope for the best.”
She listened to Henny explaining more about her brother, wondering in the back of her mind if being orphaned for a while would have made her like her sisters any better. She tried to imagine it, but there were a number of problems with the idea, so she switched to her friends instead. She could imagine them as the only people she had in the world literally as well as figuratively, and understand the idea of then perhaps becoming so attached to them that she’d put up with just about anything, and willingly. Certainly she knew it would feel strange to go half a year, at the very least, without seeing them; she wasn’t sure she could even stand to do it.
“That’s good,” she said of the thought that different crowds would keep the Boxton-Fox-Reynolds siblings from getting on each other’s nerves too much. Siblings were one of those things, to her, which went down most easily in small doses, and she really did think even people who liked theirs only liked so much of them at one time. Merlin knew Kate and Rachel didn’t always get along, and her parents and their siblings were sometimes no better, especially on her mother’s side, that family was incredibly messed up even by her standards….
“When we’re in sixth year,” she said about her own brother. A glint of mischief and anticipation reentered her brown eyes as a thought she hadn’t had before occurred to her. “And I’ll turn seventeen two weeks after he starts, so when we have to go home for midterm, I’ll be able to do magic all around the house. Oh, I’m going to drive him absolutely crazy!” Her smile was at least a little satisfied as she thought about that. Isaac hated for her to have anything he couldn’t, and since the two of them would surely be the only kids still in the house by then, Rachel having better things to do and Kate obviously pining to run away and be poor and hopefully, as far as Alicia was concerned, never heard from again among the Bauers as soon as she got a chance, she would really be able to rub it in as much as she wanted.
She realized, though, that her company was not intimately familiar with the details of her family life, as it had to be and Alicia was frankly glad it was, and bit her bottom lip after a second of grimly pleasurable reflection, putting on an obviously faked look of contrition. “That’s not nice of me, is it? But believe me, he’s done more than enough irritating over the years to deserve having to watch me Summon things a few dozen times.”
16AliciaBlue suits a lot of people, after all.210Alicia05
Let's give no thought to tomorrow, then.
“My family makes it better,” Julian said as Charlie decided he could eat asparagus. “This isn’t bad, though, I agree.” She ate a few more bites of hers before taking another bite of the paella. “I think the food here is going to be good – unless they just made it special tonight for the feast.”
For a moment, her expression clouded over a little as she thought about that, wondering if the food would be no good at all tomorrow because it had been good tonight and if, if that was so, if it would settle down into a medium place after that and how that would be, but then she shrugged and decided to just hope for the best. That, her mother liked to say, was often all one really could do. At the very least, she had food she could enjoy a lot tonight, and that was something to be grateful for. She tucked back in, the cloudy look passing as quickly as it had descended.
“Thank you,” she said, accepting the black olives from him.
Her first reaction to hearing that his family and hers had at least a wider-scope place in common was surprise, but it was quickly followed by wanting to giggle as he said something else about his father. “It’s sort of – northwesterly,” she said of Helena, waving a hand in an attempt to sum up where it was, able to picture the map but not to show him the picture in her head. “It’s funny, though, because I’m not from there. My dad was born there, just closer to the border, but we live in Calgary now, and that’s over in, er, Canada.” That coincidence amused her a lot, though she wasn’t sure if Charlie would find it funny, too, or not.
She didn’t actually catch him mentioning that his dad had come to Sonora after saying that his father had gone to school in Canada until he pointed out that they weren’t the same person, and Julian looked at him curiously for a second, but didn’t say anything. Maybe his father had died and his mother had remarried when he was little, or…who knew, really. She didn’t come from the most traditional family, either, so she knew these things could get complicated.
“I didn’t,” she said when he asked if she’d known much about Sonora before she started here. “Mom and Dad both went to school in Canada, too, and Stephen’s in his last year there, too – that’s my oldest brother,” she added, realizing that just ‘Stephen’ wouldn’t mean anything to Charlie without some context. “Aunt Mallory and Grandpa Umland came here, but they didn’t say much. What kinds of things did your dad and sister tell you?” She was eager to learn as much as she could about the school; it was, after all, where she’d probably spend most of the next seven years of her life. It would be sort of like a second home to her, so she needed to know it well.
16JulianLet's give no thought to tomorrow, then.254Julian05
The new seventh year entered the Cascada Hall for the last time in her life, and was going through a mixture of emotions about graduating. She had never particularly had an exceptional time at school, but she had gotten used to the people and the place after six years of attending it. She pursued her lips in annoyance at her internal debacle over this newfound love for the place that had taught her so much about herself. The formerly shy Spaniard had spent the better part of the last six years breaking her shell and becoming a more social person, and she was sure she had succeeded to some extent. Valentina had even had a boyfriend!
She was slowly walking towards her place in the Teppenpaw table to officially start her last year at Sonora, carefully looking over the hall. The Cascade Hall was her favorite place – after the dance room at MARS – in the whole school, and she wanted to remember it to perfection. The cascades adorning it had always been relaxing to the Teppenpaw and a place where food was served was just too awesome to not like, especially when it looked like it did. It was just too beautiful for words.
The annoyance she had been feeling dissolved completely as the beauty of the place took over and it was replaced by a bright smile as she sat down to listen to the upcoming announcements. She Spaniard flipped her hair and leaned on her palms as the Headmistress began her speech and the sorting began.
Valentina applauded the new Teppenpaws and smiled at them as they sat down at the table. The Head Students announcement came to no surprise for her since they had been announced during last year’s bonfire. Nevertheless she applauded Sara and David for their title. The Spaniard had never been particularly close to the Pecari or to David, but the new Head Boy was rather attractive. The Teppenpaw had realized just how good looking he was and a slight blush adorned her cheeks as she glanced at him for the second time in the night.
The Spaniard stopped staring at him, afraid of being seen as a creeper, and instead moved his attention to the food that had appeared. The Opening Feast was the only day of the school year where the Teppepaw actually ate something that was filled with calorie yumness. It was hard maintaining her weight for dancing with the loaded tables in front of her, so it was why she indulged during this day to keep her cravings at bay. It wasn’t easy, but it needed to be done. Valentina clapped with enthusiasm as she loaded her plate with some pasta and garlic bread and a glass of coke, which she had been introduced to during the summer, but seldom ever drank. It seemed the Opening Feast Indulge Extravaganza had taken a whole new turn as Valentina quickly glanced at David once again before closing her mouth around the fork that housed some of her pasta.
0Valentina BentancourtThe last dance171Valentina Bentancourt05
Henny giggled, a little nervously, at Alicia's comment. She didn't really want to seem disrespectful to her Professors. Most of them were very intelligent and had her admiration. She possibly thought some of them even had a healthy dose of cynicism regarding children. But adults, even intelligent ones, could be ridiculously naïve when it came to interactions between children. If someone's bullying you, just come and tell a teacher was a prime example. She wondered whether such crisis talks had ever achieved anything positive. She supposed they had to be seen to be doing something, in spite of the fact that nothing they did could really be effective. Luckily, in her closest experience of it – she and Charlie had both received a fair amount of unkind comments about their adoptive parents, and Charlie about his general demeanour - she had been above what was said to her and she thought their Dad's advice to Charlie to just ignore what people said to him had been effective. Bad vibes slid off that boy like water off a duck's back anyway. The phrase sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me had never found a more appropriate personification. She wasn't even convinced about the sticks and stones. He seemed to bounce so much that she could readily believe he was made of rubber...
“Siblings are like that,” she shrugged when Alicia remonstrated herself for her wish to tease her brother, both referencing Alicia's own comment and the fact that her brother was an irritation. “I can see Charlie wheedling for favours more than being annoyed once I'm of age,” she mused. He wasn't really a bad or demanding kid but having one more 'adult' who could do things would just naturally result in said adult being asked if they were nearest.
“So, what did you get up to with the last part of your summer? Anything the correspondence didn't keep me up to date on?” she asked.
13Henny B-F-RIn the sense of the colour...211Henny B-F-R05
“I don't think so,” Charlie reassured his new friend when they worried about the food. “I think there's more choice for tonight but Henny – that's my sister, it's short for Henrietta but no one calls her that – she said the food's pretty nice, and our parents can cook ok, so it's not like she's thinking that having come from a home of burnt fries and spaghetti o's. I reckon they'll feed us OK,” he grinned. “And before that, there's still tonight's dessert to be excited about... I don't think I could have a favourite dessert.... Do you have one? Or a favourite food?
“That's funny,” he exclaimed, when they told him about how their family was kind of opposite to how things were for his Father. “Hey, maybe they were in school together? Which one was it and how old are they? My Father's.... forty-something,” he said. He'd never really been great at keeping track of his parents' ages – it was just old and grown up age. He was fairly sure he'd heard grown ups saying they preferred not to count anyway. But they'd definitely had a 40th birthday party for his dad. But definitely not a 50th. That was really ancient. His eyes scanned the staff table – he'd looked at the staff pictures in Henny's yearbook and seen that some of the staff looked pretty wrinkly. The Potions Professor had to be about a hundred. “And he told me about school a bit too cos he worked here before he left to be with us,” he added, the dots connecting in his head. “He was the librarian. But you should totally ask your parents if they remember him. His name's Tarquin Reynolds. He was in the house that likes reading and stuff. I forget what its name was.
“They told me... I dunno. Just I grew up with it being mentioned. Well, from when we went to live with Father and Dad, I mean, but I don't remember much before that anyway. So effectively, I grew up hearing about it. So I guess I knew what the houses were like. And Henny's been sending letters for the last few years, though they mostly tend to be about classes but also the end of term events – like this year's a ball but they have four that rotate. There's the ball, it was a bonfire last year, the year before was a concert which I got to go see but they didn't have it in the school, so I'd never seen it. And something else. I don't remember. And she brought a yearbook home last year, so I've been flicking through that. I mean, I wasn't all crazy and stalkerish - I haven't memorised everyone's name and house but it was kind of cool just to get a look at people. And Henny told me all about the sorting and I got her to teach me the song so that I could sing it. I don't think people mind if first years don't – or older kids by the looks of it – but I wanted to join in. I like singing.” For someone who found it hard to know what he'd really known he found that he could say a surprising amount. “But never mind what I did know about... What things are you most excited about finding out about?”
13Charlie B-F-RI'm an optimist, so I forecast a fine tomorrow252Charlie B-F-R05
Reggie walked into Cascade Hall with a large smile on her face. After a horrific end of year last term, Reggie had a wonderful summer to relax. Well, not at first. At first, she had to adjust to the life of Canadians with a group of people she was related to but never met. It was awkward. She spent most of it with her maternal grandmother and her own mother had come for a visit, but she eventually braced herself to deal with the rest of the family. She was there for a month, so she needed to really face what was coming.
The month mostly dealt with lame parties and having stuffy conversations with old people. This was not fun to her. At least not until she met Kevin. He was from another Pureblood family in Canada. They met at one of the lame parties, both agreeing that it was a waste of their time. She never told him that she wasn’t a true ‘Bellrose’ or that she was only a half blood, but the omission was worth it. For those few short weeks, Reggie had a summer fling. Nothing complicated or serious. They were just having fun and keeping each other from getting too bored with things. They ended it the day she left for Nebraska, neither of them would write or likely see one another again. It was only a memory now. But what an awesome memory.
The only thing about it was that she hadn’t told anyone. Well, anyone but Maddie. Reggie wasn’t sure why she hadn’t written Derry about it, but for some reason it made her uncomfortable to talk to him about a guy she had briefly dated. Reggie knew that Derry was likely to be happy for her, even if it was only a short period of time, so she shouldn’t keep it from him, but she just couldn’t. She really had no way of describing her feeling to keep him in the dark, but she had and had requested Maddie to not tell anyone, including Derry. She felt guilty about it, but for some reason, she felt it was the right thing to do.
Reggie made her way over to the Teppenpaw table with a large smile on her face and took a seat. “Good Evening, everyone!” She called out to those of her friends who were already there. It wasn’t long before the sorting began and the speech commenced. Reggie clapped for the new Prefects. She didn’t really know Laurie, but she was sure he must be okay if he were in Teppenpaw and she would help him out whenever he needed it. The surprise came when the announcement of the challenges and the cancellation of Quidditch. Reggie did not play sports. She skied, yes, but she did not play sports. Derry, however, did and Reggie wasn’t sure how he would take it. Everyone in the hall seemed to explode under the news, which was amusing to watch, but Reggie was more interested in the challenges and wondered what those would be.
“Der, I spent half the summer with my snobby relatives up in Canada… you proper parties are a real snooze. How ever did you survive?” She commented once the song was over and the food appeared.
The boy next to him, Keme presumed to be his roommate, also seemed to be a minority, which set Keme at ease a bit. His biggest worry had been his lineage. His family told him that he would be okay. Natives were intermixing with others for centuries now and so most people may be descendants of some tribe and not even be aware of it. But having worked within society due to the connections his tribe has with their products, Keme had seen the looks his people received in stores. The Chief was respected within the community and by many company boards since he was a leader, influential, and had money ties in everything, but those who were not aware of who they were or what powers they held, thought little of them and possibly saw them as savages. Of course, this was only in Keme’s thoughts. No one had ever said or done anything other than stare at them to make him think such things.
“Oh yes.” Keme answered, thinking that he was happy he wasn’t the only one who may be considered having a strange name, “The Blackfoot Tribe split centuries ago and those with Magic settled in Montana.” Keme explained, he thoroughly enjoyed discussing his Tribe. He was proud to have come from them. “We run in specific circles, so our Tribe may not be known quite so nationally, but those in the central North area know of our tribe and our resources.” Now he was talking too much.
“I am quite pleased with the look of the school.” Keme commented lightly just to make conversation. “The waterfalls are a nice touch. We do not have them on our reservation.” Keme returned to his meal for a moment. He was not good at small talk. Back at home, he only spoke when he was directly spoken to and that wasn’t very often. Not because he didn’t have friends or anything, but because he spent most of his time studying or with tutors.
“How do you think the classes will be?” Keme asked his new roommate. “I’ve read a bit about the school, but it didn’t really mention the class itinerary for me to reference.” Maybe it wasn’t proper to discuss the classes during the first meal and introductions. “I apologize. I talk when I’m uncomfortable.” He didn’t mind admitting to that and he figured, everyone who was new was nervous about something.
Andri had spent the entire Summer doing what she usually did at home. That was to study books and her younger sisters, not to mention trailing along with their mother to doctors appointments and classes and lessons with two of the triplets. Addison and Aislynn were also taken from doctor to doctor, both getting better, thankfully.
Andri hadn’t really been told full out what was going on with Addison, but she saw drips and drabs of it the school year before. When she’d brought up her worry to Arista, Ris had told her she’d been taking care of it, and it seems as if it had worked for the better. Whatever had been going on was almost right again, and Addison was even a much happier person for it too.
After a long summer away from school Andri longed to be back in classes, with a huge library at her disposal. She’d decided that she was going to beat both her sister’s scores on the CATS when she took them the next year. The Aladren figured she’d had more smarts than her older sisters anyway, otherwise, why would she have been placed in Aladren, and them in Teppenpaw? With a shrug she’d packed up her things once more into her trunk and went with the others to the Wagon.
The uneventful trip was much more boring than the last. Angel was no longer on the wagon for her to watch. She was actually pretty sad about that, but she’d see him at school, she hoped. The Wagon arrived at Sonora and the occupants of it came out and into Cascade Hall. First years separated from the upper years and Andri waved goodbye to Analea as she walked away from the older Thorntons. The older sister in her, (and the fact that the two of them seemed to be more alike than Analea was to any of the other siblings), made her hope that Analea would be with her in Aladren House. Andri was the only one in that house after all, just as Abi was the only in Crotalus. Though Clara was in Pecari with Amira, Mir was still the only Thornton. Strictly speaking, Clara was an Abernathy, not a Thornton.
Andri watched her little sister as she went through the line of first years by Coach Pierce and sat on the edge of her seat not able to let her sister out of her sight until she saw what color she turned by drinking the potion. When Analea turned blue, Andri grinned from ear to ear and actually squealed (which was out of her normal behavior) at the sight of her younger sister the same color as she had been when she was just eleven. When all the first years were sorted, and her sister sat a bit down the table from her in an empty seat, she turned to see who was actually next to her. She hadn’t noticed before, which was odd for her, but she’d been sidetracked by Analea. Noticing it was her friend Kitty she’d sat next to, she smiled at her and made to speak, but stopped when Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau started to speak.
Sara and David were called up to get their badges for Head Boy and Girl and the new prefects were announced. Andri didn’t really know any of them too well with the exception of David, anyway. So when Andri clapped, she was basically clapping for him more than the others. When the Midsummer Event was announced as the Ball and that there would be three challenges this year, Andri stared up at their Headmistress in confusion. But what about Quidditch? Andri wondered. How can we play games and do challenges too?
When the news was broken to them that all Quidditch games were to be postponed, she looked from one side of the room towards Arista at Teppenpaw’s table, to Amira at Pecari’s then next to her at Kitty who had jumped up and shouted back about it.
Arista and Amira both had words to say about this news, Andri knew. What the new fourth year understood of their feelings on the game is that it was basically their lives. Arista was a 7th year now, and this would have been her sister’s last chance to play and now that chance was gone for her. Andri was on Aladren’s team, yes, but she wasn’t a first string player, therefore not as upset as the others could have been. Kitty was clearly upset as were at least two of her sisters. She glanced back at Arista and tears were coming down her cheeks, whereas Amira was bright red all over which showed Andri that she’d been screaming too.
Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau went on and school song sheets appeared in front of them. Andri didn’t sing, but then again, singing wasn’t her strong suit either. Music filtered around her as some of the other students sang and when it was over, the food arrived at the tables and they were told to enjoy the rest of their evening.
Andri turned to Kitty, not touching any of the food in front of her. “Did she really just say what I think she just said?”
0Andrina ThorntonDid she just...?214Andrina Thornton05
Mal’s eyebrows rose fractionally at William Casey’s way of introducing himself. “Red hair is specific to the Clan Murphy?” he asked when the other boy pointed to his hair as evidence of the magical half of his family, before he could help himself. The door for it had just been left so wide open that he didn’t know how he could have possibly refrained from walking through it and making the comment. “We must be distant relatives; the current head of my branch has it, too. You may call me Mal, if you like.”
Such comments always went over Mother’s head, and they often went right over Lucille’s, too, or at least only came close enough for her to suspect she was being insulted without being able to really tell how, but Stepmother had spoken to him before about that kind of thing. He wasn’t sure how it would be taken by an outsider and hoped it wouldn’t involve getting punched in the nose.
“No,” he said when asked if he had visited the school before. “My sister’s a third year, but we didn’t believe visitors were encouraged unless someone was dying at the time. Have you been here before?”
If so, Mal thought that could be a good or a bad thing. On one hand, he’d have someone on hand who might know something about the school, might even be well-connected here; on the other hand, he would have someone who knew more about the school than he did on hand, who might have better connections here than he did, who might take it upon himself to be annoying because of that. Mal really did not want to deal with that. Someone having an edge over him wasn’t a thought that he thought he liked much at all, really.
Amira had spent the beginning of the summer working side jobs for people to earn money. The second half she spent mostly flying on her new broom. There was something about using your own money that you earned yourself, to buy something that you wanted so bad you could taste it. Amira knew this was going to be her last year to be Assistant Captain before she took over as Captain in her 6th year just as Sophie had done the year before. She wanted to have the speed, the talent and anything and everything else Pecari needed in order to win this year. A win going into your own Captaincy would mean so much to any student, she knew this.
With her new broom packed safely beside her, she rode on the wagon off to school with the others. The beginning of her 5th year was starting off slightly bumpy and she had a small feeling it would get bumpier with her own CAT’S exams coming up towards the end of the year, all the Quidditch practices and games and whatever the midsummer’s event is this year. These things were what she was thinking of as the wagon pulled up to the school.
Mira walked into the school with her sisters and pushed Analea over to join the first years to be sorted. Going right to the Pecari table, she sat down a few seats from her cousin Clara and smiled at her. She barely saw her cousin this summer, and it felt odd. At least I’ll see her here! We’re in the same house! she thought to herself, feeling like a big sister to her younger cousin. Being the third of sixteen children probably had something to do with that, but it wasn’t with everyone Amira felt like that. Not even some of her younger sisters or brother. Only with Clara…
Mira felt very protective over Clara, she always had. Waverly too, for some reason had ended up in her protection, as had any Pecari team members (yes, even Jade). The first years lined up for their potions and Analea turned blue, just as Amira had suspected she would. One thing Amira knew though, was that there was a chance that Aladren wouldn’t be the best house for her sister. Her lisp was a big problem for her and the last thing Mira wanted to hear was that Ana was getting picked on for it, like at the Elementary School back at home.
At least she’s with Andri. Andri won’t let anyone hurt her. Mira thought as she smiled towards her younger sister. Andri winked at her and Amira looked back up front. Sara and David accepted their Head Boy and Girl Badges, and then Amira’s heart fluttered. She knew that this would be the year where she’d be made a Prefect. Or at least this is when their year would. She sort of hoped that she would get it, but she had a feeling that she wouldn’t. That whole thing with Jade probably ruined her chances for that. I could just kick myself in my butt for being so stupid when I was younger! she thought as she heard Nora, Laurie, Paul and Mellie’s names get called up.
It wasn’t that she was angry with her roommate for getting the coveted spot, she wasn’t. It was her own self she was mad at. Merlin’s Beard, why was I so damned stupid when I was younger?! she thought as she smiled and clapped for her roommate and the others as they walked back to their seats.
Amira wanted to be sure to congratulate Mellie when they got back to their room, show that she wasn’t mad at her or anything for getting it over her. Midsummer Event was mentioned as the Ball and then that there would be three challenges through the year. Then what she heard next made her blood boil and her body seize up at the same time.
“To forego all Quidditch Games?!” she repeated into the throngs of unhappy students. Mira knew that she wasn’t the only one upset at this news. This was Rista’s seventh year and her last chance to play. This was also Sophie’s last chance too… “How can they do this?!” she added. She knew she’d sat down next to Sophie at the start, that way when the food came out they could discuss the team. Now it just seemed almost worthless to try…
The school song pummeled around her as her bright red face became an even brighter shade of red as all the blood rushed to her face. She didn’t even hear Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau tell them that they should enjoy the rest of their evening. “How can she? How can they?” she repeated althewhile shaking her head in utter disbelief.
When Sophie asked what she’d said, she looked at her, eyes redder than her hair and repeated slowly, “How can she? How can they?” Her words were both sad and angry at the same time, nor did she know how to go about taking all this.
Quidditch was Amira’s life. It was Sophie’s life. It was Arista’s life. How can they do this?
Yes, not everyone's good enough for the House.
Imagining Isaac wheedling for favors was like imagining herself liking him: she couldn’t quite do it. He liked – in the way of weaselly, inferior creatures through all of time and space – to try orders too much for that, at least with her. Either of them would wheedle with the adults, but between themselves, he recognized that she was better than him really and reveled in how society gave him a better position than hers anyway. Still, she had to derive some pleasure from Henny’s generalization; sometimes, she did worry that everyone else’s family really was like those from the stupidest level of the ever-stupid category of novels her mother enjoyed, where at least one side of the family was utterly perfect and the other came around to being so by the end of the book.
“Isaac’s definitely going to be annoyed with me,” she confirmed. “Unless he undergoes a massive change of character, anyway.” She laughed. “The poor boy looks like a starving man in front of a roast chicken every time our sisters take their wands out already.”
Too much like her, and yet not enough, she thought. She knew that Isaac was not doing what she’d done and trying to rectify the situation by teaching himself; he didn’t have the wit or the will for that. He wanted things, sure, but he’d had too many assurances in life to really want them, to want them so much he dreamed of smashing the order just to get them. Maybe he would improve with another few years of age, but Alicia was not sanguine about his chances. He had the money guaranteed to him, and enough of the blood, and so he wasn’t afraid.
“Just more reading,” she said of the end of her summer. “I swear, if I don’t get Os on the CATS, I’m…giving up on life. I do not even know how many books I read this summer, I lost count.” She pressed her fingers into her temples for a second, then looked up again. “And we went to a few more social things, but they were all pretty boring. What about you? Do anything very interesting in the last days of the break?”
16AliciaYes, not everyone's good enough for the House.210Alicia05
The last few weeks before Sonora had been spent at Uncle Frank's ranch. It seemed like her parents just couldn't have her around when Autumn was sick. Like they couldn't handle dealing with her when her sister needed to be the focus of everything. Intellectually, Willow could understand that but emotionally, it kind of hurt. Even though whatever relative she went off to see tried to make things as fun for her as possible. She'd ridden horses everyday and some of her cousins had come for awhile too, including Evan and Portia who were closest to her age as well as Hope and Nora of course. It had been fun helping Evan find things for his projects. There were a lot of creative people in her branch of the family and they often got together to do crafts too. Except for Nora who preferred to peruse the library. Still, Willow liked that better than being there alone. She often felt a need to be around people these days to combat the loneliness she often felt with her parents and sister not around.
The best thing had been getting her supplies, Aunt Penelope had taken her on a special trip for this purpose, though instead of buying a pet, Willow had chosen a pygmy puff from the lot that was around the ranch. There were colonies of those and puffskiens both in abundance. Uncle Frank's ranch had pretty much everything except the most dangerous creatures like dragons and acromantula and in the case of the latter, Willow was pretty glad. She could handle a little spider but a giant one was quite a different matter. Aunt Penelope, though, had really made a day of it and took Willow out to lunch, just the two of them and even bought her new clothes and books-just ones to read and enjoy-in addition to her school supplies.
Of course, the best part was getting her wand. They'd visited her cousin Adam's shop, and instead of sending out their distant cousin-Cory, she thought-to help her, Adam came out and helped her himself. The former Crotalus was very shy so he had hired another relative to help out with the more social aspects of selling wands while Adam made them. However, for Willow, he'd come out to help, to see his cousin select her wand. It had been a proud moment for them both, since she was the first person in their family to use a wand that Adam made. He was now the official wandmaker for the whole family, every descendent of Theron and Gwendolyn Brockert. But Willow still felt special to be the first. She assumed others had bought wands from him too but she was certain Cory had done the selling in that case.
Now, though, Willow was at Sonora and she had to focus on that, and not allow her thoughts to wander to things like how poorly her sister was doing. It would never do to let on the sadness she felt. It might be off-putting to others, and they wouldn't want to be friends with her. Plus, well, it was secret they were supposed to keep. If anyone asked they were supposed to say Autumn was at a spa to rest after her RATS and as a reward for graduating. Not that anyone would ask since the former Crotalus had graduated, at least not anyone Willow was likely to interact with. And if she couldn't hold in her sadness-which she was determined to do-she'd just push it off as homesickness.
She accepted a goblet from the Deputy Headmistress, which she knew was perfectly safe even if it was from someone that all purebloods were warned about. The concoction was probably made by Professor Fawcett anyway. She drank the potion and turned yellow. Teppenpaw, a bit of a disappointment, both her sisters had been in Crotalus and Willow really looked up to them. But it wasn't as if they were there now and anyway, Teppenpaws were nice and friendly and Willow wanted friends more than anything.
The first year followed her housemates to what had been officially designated as the Teppenpaw table for feasts at least, she knew people sat with their friends from other houses at other meals. Willow found herself sitting across from a very enthusiastic seeming girl and smiled back, the girl's happiness was fortunately infectious which was good, as the new Teppenpaw didn't want to dwell on anything sad right now. "It really is!" Willow exclaimed. "I'm Willow Collins, of the Pennsylvania Collinses, Wisconsin sub-branch." She'd always hated giving the proper introduction just because of the differences in location. It was sort of confusing but it was the proper way to introduce herself and she didn't want to be mistaken as not being part of the family she belonged to.
11Willow Collins*tries to be enthusiastic*253Willow Collins05
As soon as she’d gotten off the wagon and looked up, automatically, at the front of the school stretching up to the top of the bell tower, Kate had had a sharp, bittersweet feeling in her chest, realizing in the gesture, which she’d performed every year she’d come to Sonora, that she was on her last first day of school. Oh, there would be college to contend with – she had spent her summer talking about that with her parents, since as much as Momma saw her as a disappointment, she still did think of Kate as her child, which meant she simply didn’t have certain concepts, including the idea that Kate might not at least have a degree to brag about at some point – but that wasn’t the same thing at all. This really was a beginning and an ending all at once.
As she’d gone into the Cascade Hall, then, she’d taken an extra-hard look at everything: the patterns of the floor in the foyer, the portraits, the stairs, the doors of the Hall, and then, of course, the great expanse of the Hall itself, still impressive, when she thought about it, even after six years here. It was all so familiar, and yet, there were so many details she noticed even looking at it now that she was sure she’d never seen before, and it seemed really important to learn them all now, before it was too late….
About the time she’d finished sweeping her gaze over the staff table, though, she had realized she still had all year to memorize the cracks in the marble floors, laughed a little at her own stupidity, and went over to the Teppenpaw table, finding a seat with Valentina and waiting for the main event to start.
Soon enough it did, and she applauded the new Teppenpaws as they joined the table, even the one who ran over to what she was guessing was a relative and thought was actually one of her own sister’s little roommates first. It looked like they had a decent group this year; Teppenpaw, anyway, hadn’t done worse than any other House, which she was glad to see. She applauded, too, for David and Sara and the new prefects, only feeling the slightest twinge of regret over not being up front herself this year, before making a small face at the mention of the ball. Alicia, she knew, was in a flurry of excitement about it, but Kate was dreading it, and wondered if she could tempt her sister to switch places with her somehow for the all-important opening dance. The dancing itself didn’t bother her, that was one of the few things her mother had ever made her learn that she didn’t mind doing, but unlike Alicia, she didn’t like fancy clothes and had not the vaguest thought of what to do for a date. Maybe she and James Owen could do each other a favor out of sheer unsociability….
She blinked, though, her ideas completely leaving that subject, when Headmistress Kijewski sprang a new thing on them. Challenges? In place of Quidditch? Huh. Maybe this year wouldn’t totally suck after all. Admittedly, it was a little hard to not get her one year as captain, but she was pretty sure of how things would have gone anyway. Here, she wouldn’t be solely responsible for how a group fared in a school-wide competition, which would be such a relief that she thought she might even do better, she had always been more of a Chaser than a Seeker to begin with but it had come down to what the team had needed in her first year.
Some of the students seemed much more dismayed than she was, she noticed. David Wilkes had his head bowed, for all she knew he was crying, and the rest of his team was likely plotting to assassinate the Headmistress. She thought Wilkes himself was an okay guy, probably, when Quidditch wasn’t an issue on the table, but his team was its own story. Kate had a feeling he’d become captain off the bench because the headmistress had just wanted to avoid giving one of the next year any bit of power for as long as possible.
She began to serve herself when the food appeared and smiled at Valentina. “I think the food’s one of the things I’m going to miss most about this place,” she said, adding some pasta to her plate, too. “So, what do you think of these challenges? Think they’ll be any fun?” Kate’s own anti-authority streak wasn’t nearly as strong as her younger sister’s, but she had her own reservations about the ability of adults to plan a series of events they would all find really fun, especially in groups of mixed levels. She liked first years well enough, but didn't think she'd like them as well if she spent the whole year directly babysitting them while trying to study for her own RATS at the same time.
Sophie was grateful to be seated next to her second in command. Amira had kind of been an annoying kid when she joined the school, but she had changed considerably over the years. It was definitely difficult for her last year to have to play a new position, especially when it meant someone she did not care for—the rivalry or whatever between her and Jade was pretty obvious—got the spot she wanted. The fifth year had heart; there was a lot of potential in her for more than just Quidditch.
“They can do this,” Sophie replied bitterly, “because they’re adults and they run the school. That means they can do whatever the heck they want.” Of course, she did not actually say heck; the word she chose in reality was much, much harsher, a clear expression of her emotional reaction. The blonde was very unhappy with their situation, but what could she do? As a student, there was no way for her to reverse the decision, even if she was legally of age now. Her adulthood was irrelevant.
Even if she tried to raise support to revoke this—surely the other players felt as passionately as she and Amira did, right? Especially the other Captains and ACs?—it probably would not matter. The staff did not have to satisfy them so long as they educated them and turned them loose. Previously, the seventeen year old had not harbored these feelings of resentment for the establishment, but when she was pushed, she tended to want to push back. Sonora had never pushed her this way before.
“I think instead of traditional practices, we’ll run workshops,” she commented lightly. “I’m definitely not doing a roster. There’s no point.” What would they do about it, anyway? Take away the Captaincy? Big deal. It was essentially worthless now anyway, just a title with nothing behind it. Even if that happened, they could not stop her from playing on the Pitch; there could not possibly be rules against non-team players using the field, right? And if the other Pecaris just happen to show up, that was accidental convenience.
The seventh year continued. “We’ll have everyone practice every position, get them more widely versed. Obviously there will be a focus on their preferred spots, but this way, they’ll know the ins and outs of their opponents.” Sophie consciously said their as opposed to our, given that apparently she would never get to play another match. “Also, I think we should open it up to more than just Pecari. Maybe we can get all of the other teams involved. If there’s no competition, we might as well work together, right?”
“What do you think?” Amira’s opinion was vital here; after all, the next time there was a real team, it would be on the younger girl’s watch, not hers. Sophie did not have a team—that had been stolen from her—but she still had a unit.
It was not an uncommon occurrence for Ayita to be confused. She had been at Sonora for five years now, yet frequently, factors of this world puzzled her. It was all so different from the world she knew for approximately eleven years. Sometimes she longed for her old home, where she knew what was going on at all times and understood her place. Whether she had really liked it or not was inconsequential; at least she knew it.
One thing that perplexed her was Harper Melissa Kijewski-Jareau. The Pecari tried her best to keep her distance from the newborn, hesitant to get close. For one thing, Harper seemed to be broken a considerable amount of time; it was not uncommon for the baby to be crying loudly or spewing violently. No one else seemed too terribly concerned, which confused Ayita even more. How was it not a problem if this child was disturbed this way? She was not familiar with babies, but this did not seem healthy.
The main factor inspiring her distance was her experience with the presence of babies. She had never had a younger sibling—though she assumed her parents had another child, hopefully a son this time—but what from what she had heard, younger siblings were born to replace unfit older siblings. The compiled nature of the Kijewski-Jareau family allotted for the multiple children, so she was unsure which of them was scheduled for replacement. That made her nervous.
Ayita did not want to be replaced. She liked her room. She liked her new family, even if she never knew what to call the Headmistress and her husband—frequently she just said “ma’am” and “sir”—and was sometimes afraid of becoming a nuisance. She liked playing with Chloe and Emery. She liked spending time with Angel; with him, she did not always feel like she had to keep up a conversation, so she did not have to worry about saying something wrong. Just being around him was enough.
For that reason, after the speech and song had concluded and food was available, the sixth year abandoned her Housemates and instead went over to join Angel. The brunette felt close to him, closer than really was logical. They were siblings, legally, and now they shared a last name. That in itself was closer than she had ever been to anyone before. Seating herself beside him, she offered a quiet “Hello” to announce her presence. “Do you mind if I sit here?” Her voice had lost some of its crispness as she grew more comfortable with the language, but it was likely to always hint the strain.
12Ayita JareauBeginnings are so difficult195Ayita Jareau05
Fifth year was not, overall, an idea that Mellie was very comfortable with, with its looming threat of CATS and possible academic ruin at the end, but she wasn’t thinking of it in those terms as she got off the wagon and, beaming, hurried through the gardens and up toward the school building. She didn’t feel like a fifth year – if asked, she would have almost started to say she was going into fourth before she caught herself, because that was what it felt like to her – and that made this, for the moment, anyway, just the beginning of another year, where all manner of things she wouldn’t like were bound to happen but that was all right because tonight she could pretend the clean slate of a new year meant all the writing which would soon fill it up would be to her literary taste.
Getting inside, she waved and called out greetings to people before taking a seat at the Pecari table, feeling a little deflated as she thought about her greetings (Michael, who was evidently dating Eris, was a particular source of that) but trying to shake it off as she chirped a “Hi! Welcome back!” to her neighbors and waited for the Sorting Ceremony to begin. No one she knew was in the group, but she always enjoyed seeing the new first years change colors, and how they reacted to that, and of course seeing which ones joined her in Pecari….
She clapped for all the Sortings, but especially for those, and then for the Head Boy and Girl. Mellie didn’t know what she’d expected during the next set of announcements – maybe for it to be Amira, since she’d already gotten to be Assistant Captain, too, so the staff clearly thought she had the capacity to be a leader – but she froze, shocked, when she heard her own name announced after Paul Bennett’s when Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau called for the new prefects. Eventually, she made her way up, but didn’t really notice much about it until she came to herself a few steps of the way back to the table, realized she had left her badge behind, and scurried back to get it.
Her face, then, was glowing like the setting sun as she fell back into her chair at the Pecari table, trying to hear applause instead of the laughter she knew had to be coming from at least a few people. As the hall settled down again, she barely heard the event announcements and she stumbled her way through the school song before, ignoring the food which had appeared, just looking at the badge still in her hand for a moment before looking up with an embarrassed smile as she pinned it, quickly, as though someone might try to take it away from her, to the front of her robes.
“I did not see that coming,” she announced, as it was the first whole and coherent thought she had. The second, unrelated, rose up and likewise just came out of her mouth. “Um, please pass the artichoke dip, please?”
I'm probably enthusiastic enough for both of us
The other new girl’s formal introduction put a slight damper on Gemma’s spirits, but that wasn’t all a bad thing, since they had been almost hysterically high as she made her first exclamations to her neighbor. She could feel her heart beating too fast beneath her new pale green dress, and she still felt as though she could, if she jumped up in her seat just quickly enough, take flight above the rest of the table. That would not be proper behavior by anyone’s standards, so Gemma was glad she had been kept from it.
“Oh! It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said. “I’m Gemma Bennett, of California – sometimes. My brother and my sister are both in Crotalus, and they came here when we lived in Illinois, so do you think where you leave from has anything to do with where you’re Sorted?”
The question was asked in a bright tone of voice, but she meant it; the thought had just occurred to her as she said it, but she did wonder now if it was true. Paul and Eliza had both left from Chicago, and they had both gone into the same House, even though she didn’t really think they were that much more alike than she was alike with them, so maybe the atmosphere did impact things. But that didn’t make sense, either, because surely, if there was one area of the country that made it more likely you’d be Sorted into a House, wouldn’t everyone figure out what the best one was and move there? And then it would be too crowded, and she supposed the Muggles would find them all and kill them, and that would be just awful….
She wanted at that thought to go wash her face, but couldn’t, so she sat still and waited to see what Willow had to say about it all.
0GemmaI'm probably enthusiastic enough for both of us0Gemma05
The beginning of his sixth-year meant that Preston only had one more year to win the students trust to win the Head Boy badge. It was going to be a very difficult year for the Aladren, but he was resolved to sport the badge next year. There was no other option, really. Sara had been appointed Head Girl for her last year of school and had been a Prefect since her fifth-year, whereas he had nothing to show except his exceptional good grades from his CATS. It was a pretty good achievement, if he said so himself, but he still wanted more. He needed more.
The redhead had been mulling over his plan for his reign as Head Boy the next year during the wagon ride back to school. If he was honest with himself, he was sort of dreading being without Sara, especially since he had gotten used to be with her during their free time. It was going to take time to get used to his girlfriend not being in the same place as him, but instead of stressing about that, he thought it was better to wait until it actually happened. They still had a year ahead.
A yawn crept up as he took his place at the Aladren table and waited for the feast to begin. The now sixth-year was starving after the long ride and quite tired after a long night of insomnia over Back To School nerves. The ride had been exhausting and his bed back in the Aladren House was calling his name over and over. Preston hoped that the speech was quick so he could retire to rest after a light dinner. He deserved it, really. He had to start his social campaign early tomorrow.
Thankfully, the Headmistress started with the whole sorting process almost right away. Good. Preston applauded the new Aladrens and hoped they would keep up with everyone in the house and make everyone proud. They had won the House and Quidditch Cup last term and they needed to keep up with the excellent work and help them retain their well-deserved throne.
And then the announcements came and all just shattered around him. Laurie had made Prefect. His perfect for nothing cousin had the badge he had coveted for so long but had lost to Russell. The redhead didn’t care about Quidditch being cancelled at all; his mind was replaying the scene of Laurie getting up to receive his badge.
Lawrence Stratford had succeeded were he had failed. The world was seriously messed up and he wasn’t going to stand it any longer.
Preston got up from his seat and exited the Cascade Hall with as much dignity as he could muster after the humiliating announcement. This was so wrong and Preston was extremely mad, but he didn’t want to cause a scene in front of everyone. He didn’t want to have a nervous-breakdown when he was trying to show everyone that he was a responsible, intelligent, social and nice boy.
This was the last straw. He didn’t know what perverse game the Staff was playing, but he was sure it was against him. Last term the yearbook had ignored him and Sara over someone that weren’t even dating and now this. The redhead was seriously angry at everyone right now and he seriously wanted to smack his beater bat at someone.
0Preston Stratford...I hate you.0Preston Stratford05
Will ate while talking with who he hoped was a new friend. The boy replied to his haphazard ramblings with a few questions. "Yes," Will replied in response to Mal's question about his hair's relation to his clan," if a child born into the Murphy clan is magical they will always have this color hair. I know it's kind of weird," he continued," but it's just the way it is."
Will listened to the boy's response to his question of whether Mal had visited before, and when he replied in the negative gave a sigh of relief. "Good, so your as new to this as I am, I was afraid I would be behind those who grew up with magic," Will said, relieved," I still think I'll be behind on the class work though."
Chewing his roast beef, Will had another thought. "Have you done any magic other than accidental magic before, Mal? And have you already learned a lot about the subjects we'll be taking, being from the magical world and all?" He turned to his classmate and waited for his response.
Note, Mal thought as his remark about the hair was answered with apparent sincerity. Will Casey is either impervious to sarcasm or even better at it than me.
“How interesting,” Mal said, whose own blond hair was a family trait as well. He didn’t think his was a matter of magical ability, though, or at least that if it was, no one would ever know it. No one in his family had ever been non-magical for them to find out if the fair hair – so unlike what was common in the rest of the family, most of whom were dark; the Georgia branch had a lot of light eyes, but even they usually didn’t have light hair to match – was tied to the trait. At least, he had studied the family trees, and there weren’t any abrupt deaths that would suggest a Squib being found out….
His fork paused on its way up to his mouth, though, when the allegedly half-blood William Casey spoke of growing up without magic. This did not make sense. If you were a half-blood, then at least one of your parents was normal, or at least close enough to it to have attended a magical school. Therefore, you grew up with magic, because only true Muggles didn’t use magic, and they lived a barbarous existence unless they somehow caught the affections of a wizard, as his half-sister’s mother had, long ago. Mother was very definite on those points, and while he didn’t usually put much stock in what Mother said, he had seen their kind of photographs, and they couldn’t even animate a picture, which led him to think they might really still cook on sticks and die of trifling illnesses because they had no potions.
He must, Mal concluded, have misunderstood something, but then the idea was presented to him again. “I’ve learned enough,” he said slowly, thinking of the magical theory classes he’d had. Those had been so he would pick up on the theoretical side of lessons here more quickly, which would make him appear smarter and more skilled than the Muggleborns and the poor people, which was, as everyone knew, utterly essential. Everything was about appearances. “But what do you mean, being from the magical world and, er, all? You said you were a half-blood.” He was genuinely confused, which he didn’t think boded well for his education, happening this early in it.
Rory beamed as she entered Cascade Hall. She had almost always known that magic existed, but she had rarely been around it so plainly and magnificently. When she was with her mom, it was never spoken of. Her mom didn’t particularly like magic, and it was not a welcome topic in her home. When she was with her dad and Ariadne, it was used, but not extravagantly and not all the time. At school, it was going to be totally different. No one would feel the need to do things the muggle way here.
She listened to the headmistress welcome everyone back, but her mind was all the people around her. She had no problem standing among her fellow first years, where she could blend into the crowd, but she dreaded having to be sorted in front of everyone. Surely she would trip on her way to the potion, or spill it. Maybe something had gone terribly wrong and she wasn’t supposed to be at Sonora. Everyone would laugh, or maybe they would just all stare at her. She couldn’t get out of it, though. She had to be sorted.
As her turn grew closer, she began to wish she had just stayed home. She didn’t have to risk embarrassment in front of a ton of people to know where she slept there. It was always one of two places. If she was with her mom, it was the yellow room next to Abby’s. At her dad’s, it was the top bunk in her light blue room, right above Alec. When the coach finally handed her the potion, her hands were nearly shaking. She took a sip, and watched as her hands, as well as the rest of her skin, turned blue.
She exhaled in relief, and joined her new Aladren housemates at the table. Professor K was talking about about teams and challenges, but she wasn’t listening much. She was among people that were apparently like her. She was a part of a house, and she had not been sent away. She would worry about being surrounded by strangers and making impressions later. The feast appeared and she couldn’t help but smile even more. She turned to one of her new housemates, grinning like an idiot.
“Um, hi,” she said, her smile flattering a bit. Her courage had vanished the moment she was face to face with a stranger and a new challenge. She should have brought a book. Why didn’t she think to bring a book to read during the feast? “I’m Rory.”
Analea wouldn’t lie to herself. She was nervous. She’d even gone to talk to Amira before the wagon came to get them and told her older sister how worried she was that the other kids at school would make fun of her lisp or call her ‘baby talk, baby talk, baby sucks her thumb!’ like they had at her old school. Amira told her that nobody would bother her at Sonora, Ana only hoped Mir was right.
The wagon ride was bumpy and the eleven year old was getting more scared as the trip went on. From Oregon all the way to Sonora, her mouth was clasped shut, ears listened to her sisters and the others on the wagon. Her heart beat in synch with the wagon’s movements as it went seemingly over rocks and other gravel like substances. She watched Addison most of all. Addi had been so different when she came home last year, and Analea wondered what had really gone on there at school, but she hadn’t asked.
The wagon reached the school and Andri and Amira pushed her towards the other first years. Her eyes reached for her sisters as her eyes widened by the sight of the large room. “Wow…” she uttered before zipping her lips once more as a woman spoke, welcoming them and welcoming back the older kids. She introduced herself as Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau, before introducing her Deputy Head, Coach Pierce.
Then the line of first years made their way to Coach Pierce for their potions. The brunette ahead of her took her potion and turned blue just like Andri had. Her heart beat even harder and faster than it had on the wagon. It’s my turn next… What if I really don’t belong here? What if I’m not really magical, like the others are? What if-? she thought as she took the goblet in her hand and drank it for dear life. She knew everyone was watching her, but it was better that they were watching her because of the chance her color would change rather than because of how she sounded. Her lisp was a big issue to her, and many a teacher hadn’t been able to help her. The eleven year old hoped Sonora could do what her old school could not.
Analea looked down at her hands quizzically as they turned blue. Her arms as well were blue and she realized something. I really DO belong here! She heard Andri squeal in happiness from the Aladren table and Ana actually giggled at her sister’s ridiculous behavior. She is SO weird… the newest Aladren thought as she walked to her seat, which happened to be a few away from where Andri was sitting. She couldn’t wait to talk to Andri later on to tell her how excited she was to be in Aladren with her!
But unfortunately it would have to wait after all. The Headmistress went on to tell them about the new Head Boy and Girl, as well as the new Prefects, then about the Challenges and the Ball. Then about how Quidditch was going to be postponed. Analea looked at each of her sisters, the only ones who looked (to her) like she didn’t care was Addison and Abigail, but they didn’t play anyway, so why should they? Analea wasn’t really all that interested in sports anyway, but she knew how much Arista and Amira lived by Quidditch. She also knew that Arista was a seventh year, and this was her last chance; and Amira had worked most of the summer to buy herself a new broom… “Uh oh…” she said, thankful that neither word caused her new housemates to hear her lisp!
Food appeared in front of them and Analea’s bottom lip almost hit the table it dropped so far. “WHOA!” she said as she turned to look at the girl who’d been in front of her in line. The girl was grinning so wide Ana thought her face may even break!
“Hi… Nice to meet you Rory.” she started, getting softer by the word, her lisp coming out with her words. Her cheeks blushed and Ana looked at her empty plate before looking back up to Rory again. “I’m Analea Thornton…” Ana swallowed her saliva and looked back down at her empty plate. Merlin’s Beard… Please don’t make fun of me… she chanted in her head, hoping beyond all hopes that this girl, her new roommate, wouldn’t be like the kids at her old school.
0Analea ThorntonJust A LOT nervous...0Analea Thornton05
Rupert had been looking forward to coming back to school all summer. He had been invited, to his surprise, to a ball at the Arbons'. He hadn't thought much of it at first, but his father had insisted that they attend. Rupert was sure Father was afraid that Rup would muck it up, but he had done very well in his opinion. After all, he had social graces, he just didn't enjoy using them.
It was his second year now and he was glad. He knew Adam was coming this year and he looked forward to spending a bit more time with his cousin. Adam had grown up in a very different life than Rupert and, because the Spencers lived in the city, he hardly saw them. He hardly saw anyone, but that was a different story.
Things were going to be different now that he had proved himself at the ball. His parents had decided to let him see more of Surrey and go to trips with them to the city as long as he promised on his honour that he wouldn't run off on his own and talk to any Muggles. Rupert had promised half-heartedly, but it didn't matter. He could breathe easier now that he was here in America and away from them.
He sat down at the Pecari table and watched eagerly as the new first years gathered at the front to be sorted. He crossed his fingers, wishing for Adam to be sorted into his house, and cheered loudly when it happened. He was fond of his younger cousin and thought he'd do well here with the inherent independent spirit he had.
The rest of the procession was a blur as he half-listened and sang loudly along with the rest of the school. Then someone was asking him to pass something. He turned and saw a familiar face. "I'd love to," he said with a big smile and handed the plate over to her. "How are you doing, Clara? How was your summer?"
The entire summer had been torture for the fourteen-year-old. He had been zoning in and out of conversations, hardly living life like he was supposed to; expected to, anyway. The summer months had been spent mostly indoors because he was too busy thinking about his relationships, his friendships and, of course, his attraction toward a certain Pecari.
He knew, and the men of his household had made sure to emphasise, that nothing could ever come from it. Cepheus was expected to marry another witch whom he didn't even like very much. It wasn't that she was ugly beyond belief or anything. He just didn't fancy the idea of getting married to someone who seemed so...complacent with where she was going. Theresa was different to Cepheus: proper, but held her ground and had pride in everything she did. He had thought of writing to Alicia or Gareth about her once or twice, but thought better of it. He knew they didn't have the best track record and he'd be mercilessly pitting them against each other if he told her. So he held back, but he was dying to tell someone.
The beginning of the welcoming feast was a blur. He watched his cousin be sorted into Pecari and didn't find himself surprised or disappointed in the slightest. It was fitting that Adam was in the same house as Rupert, though he found Adam to be much more controlled and respectable than his brother. Cepheus found his eyes glancing more than once towards a certain brunette during the feast, wondering if she still fancied him after he'd made a fool of himself at the bonfire. What an idiot he'd been that spring, and what a way to end the year.
Cepheus played with his food a little, thinking to himself, until a voice brought him out of his thoughts. "Sorry? I didn't catch that," he said, his mind finally coming back to the present.
40Cepheus PrincetonBrooding as usual.216Cepheus Princeton05
One whirlwind of a summer later and Waverly found herself back in the wagon headed towards Sonora for her fourth year. This summer couldn’t even compare with the last in how amazing and wonderful it was. On the car ride back home, Waverly and her sister had looked at the pictures of all the people in their respective years. Wendy thought there were some really cute boys in her older sister’s year, Evan Brockert especially, but Waverly hadn’t thought much of it. She was too googly-eyed right now over a certain dark-headed half-white, half-Japanese friend of hers.
They had hung out almost every day in the first three weeks of summer, and then Waverly had blurted out her feelings while they were getting ice cream and waiting for one of their mutual friends to come out of the bathroom. She had been so embarrassed and would have run away if Brandon hadn’t beamed at her. After that, the summer had been so amazing she didn’t even have words for it.
Their first date had been awkward, to say the least, but beautiful at the same time. They’d watched an action movie with Brandon’s mom dropping them off and picking them up, and they had said goodbye really quickly, both red-faced. She wished it had lasted longer, forever, but she had enjoyed the next three dates after that more. It was only just before she left for school that he finally mustered up enough courage to kiss her, and she was a goner. Her mom tried to tell her that she couldn’t possibly be in love with him yet, but Waverly hadn’t really heard. She was too busy floating around on Cloud Nine.
Going back to school seemed like torture, but she wanted to tell the whole world about Brandon. Wendy was sick of her by the end of the wagon ride to school, but Waverly couldn’t even bring herself to care. She was still in her own world.
The opening feast was great as usual through Waverly’s optimistic green eyes, though it was just another thing keeping her from spending all her time with her beloved. She saw that the headmistress had had her baby and Waverly tried to imagine how cute he or she was. And then she thought about Brandon again. She clapped for the new students, sang the song, and then started piling food onto her plate. It was really hard to stop smiling every time she thought about her “official” boyfriend and she hoped she didn’t look crazy. She just couldn’t help it.
She wanted to make conversation, so she looked over at the person next to her, wondering if they would mind much if she started spewing random facts about Brandon. It was Clara and Rupert, both people she was familiar with. She hadn’t talked to Rupert much before, but he wouldn’t mind hearing about all of her boy stories, right? “Hi! How’re you two liking the welcoming feast this year?” she asked as she began eating.
19Waverly CanterburyGone slightly boy crazy...218Waverly Canterbury05
It was true that Josh hadn't expected a miracle to happen over the summer, but he had expected magic to be able to heal her faster. He hadn't actually seen the extent of her injuries, but it didn't look like she was doing well. Of course she wasn't; she had been in a coma for however long. She wouldn't have been okay after that! Josh rubbed one eye tiredly as the school song started, feeling wearied by all the stressing out he'd done and was currently doing.
The second part was easier to acknowledge because he could actually do something. He was terrible at offering comforting words, but he could certainly show his friendship through action. "I can help you, if you'd like." He knew Brianna had other friends, perhaps other female friends whom she would prefer, but he had put his offer out there for her to take. Josh didn't know how Brianna could be expected to keep up her water therapy out here at school without help. He wasn't even sure what water therapy was, but he certainly wouldn't mind helping her out with it no matter what it was.
He didn't know what else to say after that. He could act like her arms were broken and put all of her food on her plate for her, but he didn't want to treat her like a complete invalid. But Josh didn't feel hungry and so didn't bother putting any food on his plate when the actual feast was starting. "Has the water therapy been helping?"
This conversation wasn't helping Josh's attitude at all. He just felt...angry. Angry at the doctor for not thinking about doing real therapy here at school, angry at the people who had made this accident happen, angry at the bullies for making Brianna feel like nothing, angry at himself for not being able to be the kind of friend she deserved, angry at her parents for not watching out for her more often--but Josh kept it all in as he always did. He kept himself calm by counting up to one hundred and back down again in his head as he conversed with Brianna.
Josh had so many other reasons to be angry, and he had always tried to tell himself that it didn't matter. Now that something worth getting angry about came around, he felt rage just pouring out of his ears. Where it came from, he knew quite well, but his quiet demeanor, his pride, and his lack of social graces kept him from ever telling anyone. All of his life he had been told not to be a burden and was expected not to be a burden, though he was seen as one anyway without his own parents to take care of him. He couldn't allow someone to take his burdens for him, much less the only friend he had who was currently on crutches.
Wendy was humming the catchy song from the musical "Singing in the Rain" and hopping around a little into imaginary puddles when she went with the others into Cascade Hall. While her older sister was busy falling in love with a boy, she was falling in love with old movies like that one, with dancing and singing. She didn't know why movies weren't made like that today. She stopped hopping when she entered the hall, but continued humming until she was well into her seat.
This was already her second year and Wendy spent the time before the food came remembering her last year. She had been so happy with everything that had happened. She had gotten to do actual, controlled magic, she had met lots of new people, and had made lots of new friends. She had really hit it off well with Carter and Abi and Alex and maybe kind of with Henry, but she tended to consider everyone she didn't argue with her friend. She hoped to get to know them all better this year now that she was coming to familiar ground.
The headmistress's speech was over before she knew it and she started eating her food happily. The wagon ride here had been so boring because all Waverly would talk about was her new "boyfriend." It wasn't like he had actually asked Waverly to be his girlfriend, but whatever. What did little Wendy know? It was really annoying and she had decided that people who started dating became ridiculous. And maybe a little stupid. She didn't want to become ridiculous and stupid until she was way older.
Munching on a chicken leg, she ate happily for a little while, oblivious to the world around her. There were lots of things to think about: she had somewhat harder classwork, more spells to learn, and lots of friends to make. If she didn't know everyone in her year by the end, she would have failed herself. But she didn't doubt her capabilities. Except when she zoned out, of course. Maybe now would be a good time to start talking to somebody.
She made sure to chew her food completely and swallow before talking. "It looks like the headmistress had her baby. I wonder what she named it. Or if it's a boy or a girl."
Clara was delighted to see that the seats next to her had been filled by Waverly and Rupert. It had been Rupert who responded to her request and she smiled cheerfully as she took two rolls off the plate he held to her and told him "Thank you." She was just about to take a bite of her lasagna when she heard Rupert ask how her summer had gone and then immediately after Waverly's question about the welcoming feast. "My summer was fantastic!" she gushed putting the hot pasta into her mouth. She went to chew and had to cover the small yelp that almost escaped when she burnt her tongue slightly with the hot food. Her hand still over her mouth she waited for the sting to subside before continuing.
"I actually managed to do something for the first time that I've never been able to get right," she puffed up her chest a little with pride. "I was actually able to go flying on my broomstick without hurting myself or anyone else. It was the best feeling ever!" She took another bite of pasta and grinned like an idiot while she chewed. "My grandpa over in England went flying with me (which was brave of him) because I was soo sure I'd kill us or something," she joked. She smiled for real when she said her next thought. "If it hadn't been for Lucien's help here at school I don't think I could have done it," she told them. "Other than that my dad and I went sightseeing and stayed home mostly," she finished. She gave Waverly's question a quick thought before she replied to it.
"As for the welcoming feast...its okay I suppose. Its better that you both are here, but I can't really believe that they're actually cancelling Quidditch this year. My cousins are probably flipping out right now," she grimaced slightly. "Especially Arista. Its her last year at school and she LIVES for Quidditch. It doesn't seem fair that she can't play this year, ya know? Its not fair to any of the players really if you think about it," she stated matter-of-factly. She glanced from Waverly to Rupert. "So...what did you both do this summer?" she asked them inquisitively eating some more of her pasta and some of her salad.
0Clara AbernathySummer was Amazing!232Clara Abernathy05
Will continued to eat contentedly while talking with Mal,glancing around the hall occasionally. The student body appeared to be talking amongst themselves for the most part, while they weren't feverishly stuffing their faces, that is. Will glanced up to the teacher table where the variety of adults sat. Finally he peered down the Pecari table, and noticed three other first years talking, two of whom had interesting accents.
He turned back to face Mal as he asked him what he meant about being from the magical world. Will nervously gulped down his mashed potatoes. ' Would Mal think him inferior because his Mom had lived amongst muggles?'
"Well, you see, once my mother graduated from Sonora she fell in love with my mother father, who's a farmer. She found life amongst muggles so peaceful, that she joined their world. She had to teach me about it once she found out I was magical, but I've pretty much grown up like a muggle-born," Will hesitantly explained," she has her reasons, but I'm not sure why she left the magical world, I mean it seems like such a wonderful place!" Will shoveled some more food down his throat before sitting back, stuffed.
" I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty tired, all these new things are quite overwhelming," Will said, flexing his legs under the table. "Do you know where we're going after this?"
0William CaseyAnswers to confusion0William Casey05
“Ah,” Mal said, unable to think of anything better to say, when his roommate explained the situation behind his unusual upbringing, not actually feeling any less confused now that he’d heard it. People didn’t just…choose what to be; you were what you were….
Though, of course, that did still allow for it, he thought. He tried not to squint as he worked through the logic. Yes, someone who chose to live among the Muggles would be like the occasional person who got disowned – someone who, well, it wasn’t really anyone’s fault, because the person was just like a mispronounced incantation, intrinsically flawed – broken – somehow. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been capable of making the decisions they did, and so the problem would have never happened. So that was all right.
“Well, we certainly think it has its advantages,” he said as Will exclaimed over how the wizarding world seemed so amazing. To him, it was just the world, but if you’d come from…other…he supposed it would seen amazing. He imagined he would have strong feelings about Will’s world, too, if he ever went to it, but he didn’t plan to test the theory. Just because he was sort of head of the branch – as a matter of daily reference, he was still the heir, but the heir of someone who was already dead, so he was used to technicalities in language being a big deal to people – didn’t mean they would tolerate anything from him, after all. He thought that if he started showing signs of being too much like his father, his mother might kill him before Anthony the Fourth had a chance.
“To our common room, I believe,” he said, feeling a little relieved when the subject moved to something he was sure of his footing with. “Our Head of House will speak to us, and then we’ll go to bed – or so my sister says. I don’t know where the Pecari area of the school is, though, because my sister is a Teppenpaw, and – “ He cut himself off before he called Lucille too unimaginative to go looking for anything. “We’re not supposed to know where other Houses’ common rooms and dormitories are,” he finished instead, since that was very true and much more socially acceptable than his first choice for a comment had been.
Large fat tears crept silently down Kitty’s burning cheeks. She hated this one aggravating fact about herself, her temper was directly wired into her eye balls. It created a rather awful cycle of getting angry, crying, and getting even more angry about crying. Nothing made a girl look weaker than to start bawling when they were mad. The fact that she was already short, and even at the age of fifteen she had little girl looking curls didn’t help matters at all. Growing up with so many older brothers made it even worse, since she was the only one who cried when they were mad, it just made her even more of a girl in their eyes. Sometimes Zach would make her angry on purpose just to get her to cry.
“Did she really just say what I think she just said?” Andri’s voice broke Kitty from her brooding thoughts, and she swiped the back of her hand over her eyes. It did nothing to stop the flow. The small brunette glanced over at her friend, embarrassed that she’d been caught crying even though it was hardly the first time her fellow Aladren had seen her in such a state.
“Yes.” Kitty said curtly, her tone burning with the anger she couldn’t properly express. It wasn’t like she could yell at the Headmistress, well, any more than she already had. And Kitty already knew that there was nothing she could do to change the woman’s mind. Things were what they were, and that was all there was too it. There would be no Quidditch this year. Kitty sniffed, and scrubbed at her eyes again, frustrated that she couldn’t stop crying.
Down cast ruby eyes flitted to the side when Angel heard his sister’s distinctive voice. While that was a common occurrence at home, here at Sonora it was curious since he was fairly sure she was a Pecari. “Good afternoon Ayita.” Angel murmured, he’d latched on to the greeting over the summer, taking pleasure in the way it sounded and often used it regardless of the time of day.
The pale boy did not offer her a smile. He’d learned that his awkward attempts at the expression often failed, and time spent trying to perfect it while looking in the mirror made the macabre smiles even worse, faker as he attempted to achieve the same results as his new family. He could not grin widely like the children without looking vaguely like a demon, and small smiles just looked horribly out of place. Knowing that smiling wasn’t for him, Angel eventually gave up on attempting to mimic the expression. Instead he offered the almost silent hum that indicated his satisfaction.
“Yes. Sit with me.” Angel agreed, his voice still held the warm molasses of Georgia. In truth, he preferred the company of his sister. It was far better to sit with her, than to be stared at by a new comer, or to have to try and answer endless questions or forced to engage in halting conversations. Ayita was used to all his oddities, and wouldn’t ask why he was only eating a small bowl of cubed cantaloupe, or demand to know what he did over the summer. Offering another soft hum of approval, Angel tore the current sheet of sketch paper free, crumpled it and dropped it under the table. Swift pale fingers began sketching out Ayita’s face, different memories of the summer spilled effortlessly over the page of the once stranger who was now his sister.
Pausing in his sketching, Angel nudged the bowl half way between them. “Eat?” The albino hardly noticed that the table around him was ladened with food, he was always willing to share since he could rarely eat a full portion of anything on his own.
Percival was almost certain that he saw Virginia flinch when he said her name. Almost certain, but not quite. Maybe he was just imagining things, but she had also said that everyone calls her Ginny. Maybe she was in something of a reversed position of his, until his parents had found out about Great Uncle Marcus' will he had simply been Percy. However, from that moment on he had been Percival, anything less apparently would have been simply wrong. He shifted a bit uncomfortably at her next comment about his name. It was exactly the kind of reaction for which everyone had been aiming, and that was good, but in his gut there was still something dishonest about the whole situation. He wished he could explain things to her, but he wasn't sure if that was allowed. He managed to stammer out a "Thanks."
It was about at this point that he realized that he'd been focusing on his plate, and not the person he was talking to. That was very rude according to the etiquette books that he had been forced to memorize over the summer. This was not the role he was supposed to be filling, he was supposed to be engaging in the conversation and such. He looked up and smiled at Ginny, "Sorry about that, I got a little distracted." Gesturing to a random strange dish nearby he continued, "I was trying to figure out what that food is, I don't think I've encountered it before." He gazed at the strange food for a moment before waving his hand, "Anyway, you were saying that everyone calls you Ginny, is that by choice or a nickname you just got stuck with? I do know what it is like to get stuck with a name you don't care for much." And now he had to introduce himself with it all the time. Such is life.
"I was never much one for Quidditch either, but thought the school might give me a good chance to see what it is all about. My parents thought I should join the team, but with no games this year I'm not quite sure if there would be much of a point." He ruminated for a moment, "The challenges should be interesting. I just wonder what kind they will be. If the teams are going to be made up of students of all levels, what will stop the older students from doing everything and just having us first years tag along? That would be rather boring." Another thought popped into his head, "If these are going to replace Quidditch for the year, I wonder if the teams will be split along the house lines. What do you think?"
2Percival Everett Waterford IIExcellent! Now what?1502Percival Everett Waterford II05
For Alex, the summer after her third year had passed the same way as the summer after her second year, and the summer after her first year before that: quietly, and without fuss. She had been reunited with her parents, who had made appropriate gestures of affection toward her and heard about her year before going back to their own concerns and leaving her to hers. She had visited cousins a few times, had them at her home in Louisiana one time, gone to lunch every Sunday with her maternal grandparents, and so on. It was all as familiar as the back of her hand, and she had gotten through it without a single difficulty.
Next summer, though, would be a little different; next summer, they would go to the Reunion. Everyone was already talking about it, but every time Alex heard it, she was surprised all over again. Going to the Reunion would mean it was five years since she’d met Theresa and Lucy, since the first Reunion she could really remember clearly, and it just didn’t seem like it had been that long to her. It was going to be a lot of commotion and expense and stress, she knew, but she hoped that it would have some redeeming features to it as well. She, after all, was most likely still too young to get involved in the adult problems; maybe she could have some fun there, or at least stay out of everyone’s way in the library at…whichever house they had it at, she wasn’t sure what they were going to do now that Great-Great-Grandfather was dead.
It was far enough in the future, though, not to stick in her mind for long as she watched the first years getting Sorted, watching with a quickly smothered smile as Lucille’s brother went into Pecari and wondering what the family was going to think of that, and then looked up, as surprised as anyone else, when, after the prefects were announced, they found out that the year was going to be more interesting than they had expected. She didn’t care much about Quidditch – really, she thought her family would be better off without it, since enough of them were on one team for it to cause Theresa, she knew, more stress than the game was probably worth – but the events caught her attention, since she would have to be involved in them. What were they going to be doing, anyway?
The feast came along and she made herself a plate and began to eat, glancing up uncertainly as she realized she was sitting with Cepheus. She had not asked Theresa, over the summer, about the yearbook since her cousin had been in a funny mood anyway, but she had to admit, she was curious. She’d known Theresa had a thing for him – it had been hard to miss – but never thought too much about him reciprocating.
He didn’t look like a man in happy love tonight, but that, she supposed, could have been because there was going to be no Quidditch. Boys – and some girls, she admitted, but mostly boys – did get too worked up about that game. “No appetite?” she asked after a minute.
He was distracted enough to require a repetition. “I said, no appetite?” she said again, gesturing to his played-with food on his plate. “The prairie elves are still cooking as well as they ever did, I promise,” she added, gesturing to her own plate, which was beginning to empty as she enjoyed her first meal of the new academic year.
0Alexandra DevereuxYou could do better or worse things with your time0Alexandra Devereux05
Coming into Sonora, the Anns had a plan. They had thought it was fool-proof. Nobody could tell them apart and everything had gone exactly as it should have. There had been just one little oversight. They had assumed their mother would not punish the innocent. If she could not figure out which of them was guilty, then she would not be able to punish either of them.
They had been wrong. They both had spent the entire summer locked up in their room. Mother didn't even think they were both guilty. She thought Annabelle did it. But she confined them both to their room to impress upon Annabelle how much it would not be tolerated. To press the point that since Annabelle clearly had no respect for herself, she would perhaps toe the line for her innocent sister's sake. People could not tell them apart. Annabelle must understand that the repercussions for one of their actions would be visited upon them both.
Neither twin was allowed to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone. Grounded, in every sense of the word, for the entire summer and they did nothing worse than join the Quidditch Team. Even Melinda had been allowed to play Quidditch when she was young, before there was WAIL, and she'd turned out perfectly respectable. It wasn't fair. They were perfectly willing to be respectable young ladies otherwise, but they wanted to play the forbidden sport, just for the adventure of it. It wasn't like they were even any good at it. There was no chance they'd be able to continue with it beyond Sonora.
They had almost - almost - decided it wasn't worth the deception. Annette had been upset and feeling horribly guilty that she was being held up as the example of good behavior when she'd been the one actually playing in the Quidditch matches. Annabelle had just been upset. They nearly broke several times. Disownment had to be better than those four walls all summer long. But they held it together, waited it out, and here they were.
Back at Sonora, as respectable young ladies still. Names, reputations, and inheritances battered but intact.
They weren't quite sure what they were going to do about Quidditch this year. They didn't want to give it up, but clearly last year's plan wasn't going to work. Mother had made it perfectly clear that neither would be allowed home if 'Ann Pierce' showed up on the Pecari roster again. That had been what they were trying to avoid by not letting anyone know which of them had joined. So it would come down to one of two things: either they would both sign up, or neither of them would. There was little point in splitting their time on the team again if they were both going to be punished for it anyway.
Perhaps if they made a clean break? Sign up as 'Annabelle' and let her fully take the blame? If 'Annette' wasn't protecting her anymore, maybe they could get away with one of them keeping the good life and the other getting disowned, like Melinda and the Other One? They'd take turns being each other, just as they'd taken turns being Ann. The problem with that scenario, however, was that it would split them up permanently and that . . . that was too horrifying to contemplate. So scratch that idea. It was all or nothing for both of them.
Maybe there would be enough Pecari sign-ups that they weren't needed this year. Take one year off to think about it and weigh their options and not do anything irreversible. Quidditch was fun, but it wasn't really enough to give up their whole life for.
All bets were off if Sophie needed them though.
They were oddly quiet on the wagon. Thad and Derry spent most of it talking to each other, and they listened in, but didn't really participate. They had no news to impart. Their room hadn't changed at all. When they got into the Cascade Hall, though, they were starting to feel like normal members of the human race again, and they waved to and greeted the people they knew. Sitting down at the Pecari table near one of their roommates, they chatted quietly to each other, finally feeling that they might have something to talk about again as they pointed out first years and new and missing faces at the staff table.
They had no personal interest in the Sorting, but cheered for the new Pecaris. They cheered for Sara's official promotion to Head Girl as well, knowing they'd never be able to match her success but she did prove they could survive Pecari without getting thrown out of their family, if they just stayed off the Quidditch team. They cheered, too, for Mellie's Prefecture; she had helped both of them learn how to be a mediocre Chaser instead of a bad one and they were sure she'd make a great prefect.
Then came The Announcement. The one that would give them a stay of execution for an entire year. Quidditch was cancelled. They didn't have to pick a side yet. Maybe they could show up for practices without officially joining and no-one proper would know any differently. They could try anyway. It was a hope where they had previously had none.
The Quidditch-cancelling Challenges were a godsend, a distraction from their plight of the highest magnitude. They already loved the Challenges and they had no idea what they even entailed.
Then they sang and the meal showed up. They filled their plates (each of them dishing food from the serving platters onto both their own plate and their sister's until both plates were full) and tucked into the food as if it were their first one after a famine. It was, in fact, the first one in two and a half months that they hadn't eaten on the floor of their room, so in some ways it was. Certainly, it was fresher and in larger quantities than anything the house elves had brought up to them after Mother had finished eating.
They had slowed down a bit, as they started to feel full, when Wendy addressed them. Both twins looked to the Headmistress as if they'd forgotten or hadn't noticed that she wasn't hugely pregnant anymore, but Wendy was right. Professor K had definitely had her baby. "I think it was a girl," Annette stated, based on nothing at all.
Annabelle nodded, taking her sister's word for it even though she knew perfectly well that Annette had no way of knowing that. "She's named Amanda," she added, picking a random name out of a clear blue sky, mostly to see if Wendy would believe her.
1Annabelle and Annette PierceThank Merlin the summer is over246Annabelle and Annette Pierce05
“Why thank you!” Jeweliah said in response to Omara’s comment on her name. She imagined it would be more impressive if she had seen it spelt out. Her mama knew from the beginning that Jewels was meant to be a pageant queen, and changed the spelling of the traditional ‘Julia’ to give her a little extra sparkle during competition. “I like yours too, Omara is very unique.”
“You never know for sure, but I reckoned I would be in either Pecari or Teppenpaw, but considerin’ how loud I am, Pecari makes sense. What house did you think you’d be in?” Jeweliah asked, genuinely interested. She didn’t think it was often that people were missorted, and she was rather glad to have a roommate, but she couldn’t pass up a chance to get to know what Omara was really like—or at least how she perceived herself.
The girls were then joined in conversation by a boy with an accent she couldn’t quite place. She smiled anyway and tried her best to follow what he said over the rest of the school chatting away.
“Looks that way! Only 7 more years to go.”
Jeweliah was pretty polished when it came to 11 year olds, but she was still surprised by the manners of her tablemates. They were away from their parents for the first time, but still offered to pass things and have a civilized meal rather than dig in without a thought of anyone else. “I’ll take some too.” Jewels said, as she waited for Omara to finish up before putting some on her plate.
“Thanks a lot…” She paused, realizing she’d been too lost in the boy’s accent to ask his name. “What was your name again?” She added before the other girl asked the question she wanted to ask as well. Instead of interrupting with her own questions, she decided to turn her attention to her food while her classmates spoke about wherever potato boy was from. Surely there would be another chance for Jeweliah to enter the conversation, but for now, her stomach was growling far too loudly to be ignored.
0Jeweliah DysteThe more the merrier!0Jeweliah Dyste05
Rupert knew Waverly from Quidditch and he greeted her with a friendly hello before taking a roll off for himself and putting the plate back. He put some pasta onto his plate, thankful for warm food for his ravenous stomach. He was looking forward to playing Quidditch again that year and wondered if most of his team-mates were going to be on it again. It had been strange not playing with all wizards, but being the only lad on the team wasn't so terrible. He wanted to beat Aladren, but apparently he hadn't been listening very well because Clara informed him that Quidditch was cancelled for this year. Cancelled? Who in their right mind would cancel Quidditch?
"Quidditch is cancelled?" he managed to choke out, almost coughing out the bits of pasta he had put into his mouth. He tried to catch his breath after swallowing down his food, his face red from the effort. "That can't be!" He groaned. "What am I supposed to do now? Study?" That sounded ridiculous. No Quidditch for the entire year? How was he going to procrastinate now?
"At least we can still fly, can't we?" he grumbled. "Hey, since you know how to fly now, we can practise! You can join too, Waverly, if you'd like. We could make a flying group or something! I still can't believe they cancelled Quidditch..." Rupert grumbled the last bit to himself, wondering what could be more important. He had high hopes to become a professional Beater one day and this wasn't going to help him achieve his dreams any sooner.
Rupert was done pouting quickly because he didn't want to bring the whole table down. He didn't think Clara was all that into Quidditch and Waverly had never seemed too into it herself even if she was a part of the team. Not as obsessed as he could be, anyway. He wondered how Cepheus was taking it all in, but decided to answer his friends first.
"My summer wasn't bad. I went to the Arbons' débutante ball. Did you know Effie Arbon has a sister? It wasn't any fun, really, but the rest of the summer was all right. I'm not a fan of the pure-blood balls. I think they're drab social gatherings, if you ask me." He sighed. "How do you think this year's going to go?" 'Without Quidditch,' he wanted to add, but refrained for their sake.
0RupertRaindrops are falling on my head...0Rupert05
Adam was a bit surprised when the first girl scooped the potatoes onto her own plate when he had offered. He wasn't offended, but wondered if it was that strong female some of his relatives believed in. Feminism; that's what it was called. Adam didn't usually think much about it since his own mother was quieter and less snarky than some of his other female relatives, but he supposed he'd have to get used to it. There were other pure-bloods he'd met who were used to a house-elf doing everything for them including serving them food, but there weren't many house-elves used in the part of the city he lived in. His house wasn't large enough where they needed one.
"It doesn't look terrible," he commented as he handed the bowl over to the other girl. It was strange being surrounded by so many American accents. Finding Americans in the city wasn't uncommon, but being in a place that consisted dominantly of them was interesting. He'd have to see how they all acted when they were with each other in a comfortable place, the older ones especially.
The first girl seemed to have noticed him eyeing the chicken. "Yes, if you could, please. Thank you." He smiled in response to the second girl's thanks. He wanted to hear her talk more so he could listen to that accent, but thought it would be odd to ask for such a request. "Adam Spencer." His father, Henry Spencer, was from a prominent-enough family in London, but more wealthy than powerful. The Spencers were a smaller branch and both of his parents relied on his mother's relation to the Princetons to get respect from the more prominent families. "And you both? What are your names?"
The first girl's question was normal and Adam nodded. "Yes, I am. I grew up in London; Kensington more specifically. Have you ever been?" Adam let them eat for a moment and the first girl answer his question before asking, "What about you two? You both have different accents. Are you from different areas of America?" He knew what an American accent sounded like from the tourists, but he couldn't exactly place the second girl's. There were states in America, fifty if he was remembering correctly, but he only knew New York, California and now Arizona. Perhaps that's what Americans thought of the United Kingdom, but he'd ask later.
"I think I'm just too...quiet for this House," said Omara in response to Jeweliah's earlier question, "I guess I'd kind of assumed I'd be in Teppenpaw...I mean, I don't mind," she added quickly not wanting to offend, "but I'm still a little confused, I wouldn't want anyone to get...bored with me..." and with that she trailed off into her own thoughts.
Omara sensed that Adam was a little annoyed she'd taken some potato first and now Omara was worried she was going to go about offending people all the time. She had always been extremely perceptive but sometimes it was difficult for her to tell the difference between what someone's actually feeling and what she just imagines they are. 'I must stop worrying about every little thing!' she muttered too herself inside her head, knowing it wouldn't make an ounce of difference.
However, she was desperate to find out more about Adam and his accent so was glad when he answered straightforwardly. "No, I haven't been to England at all. My mother's father was English though, a muggle, but she never knew him, we don't even know what part of England he was from..." Omara had always been fascinated by her ancestors' countries - both Cuba and England but had never had the chance to visit either. Her Cuban roots were the very core of her being and her day to day life at home with her family but the 'little English mystery' as her mother called it, that enthralled her.
Omara caught herself in her thoughts just enough to hear that Adam had asked about her accent, "I live in New York City...so we're both from the city..." and trailed off into her own mind again.
0AnonymousRe: Glad we're all on the same page0Anonymous05
Liam was glad to be back at Sonora. He loved being with his family, but he felt like he was denying some integral part of himself when he was away from magic. Plus, he was pretty sure that everything he’d learned the past year would fall out of his head if he didn’t practice it. Then again, wasn’t that exactly what happened during summer?
Scott had been around a lot more, while his older brothers were not, and Mom had actually taken the first week of summer break off. She felt bad for so abruptly altering Liam's world so she wanted to make sure they had time to talk about it if he wanted to, but he'd had time over the second part of his school year to come to terms with things. It was nice to spend time with her, and to get to know Scott.
He didn't have to, but Scott seemed to be helping out with things around the house so that Mom didn’t have to do everything on her own, and that was definitely something Liam could appreciate. The girls seemed to like him as well, and even though he tried to do a little prying, they didn’t have anything really bad to say about their mother’s boyfriend. This relieved the 13 year old, but he couldn’t help but feel that Scott was going to end up being an axe murderer or would be proposing at some point. At least at Sonora he could distract himself with other things.
He really didn’t love the wagon ride all the way from Oregon, particularly since there was an overwhelming number of ginger haired girls along for the ride. He tried not to pay too much attention to them, but they seemed to be multiplying. Liam mostly kept to himself on the wagon, plus he was sure no one was going to recognize him considering how much he’d grown over the summer anyway. He shot up about 3 ½ inches, which caused him to thin out substantially, and his mom had also agreed to let him get a proper hair cut—one that required hair product.
The feast was business as usual as far as Liam was concerned. He was now considered an intermediate student, so the newbies didn’t matter a whole lot to him. The thought had crossed his mind over whether or not either of his sisters would end up at Sonora, but he had another year before they’d know, so he tried not to dwell on it. Instead he found a vacant seat at the Pecari table and tried to pay attention to the Headmistress’ speeches. He liked her well enough, she’d been particularly helpful last year when he asked about vegan marshmallows; Liam was just hungry and ready to get to the good part of the feast.
He clapped when the head students were announced, and the challenges piqued his interest, but a sense of foreboding washed over him at the mention of the ball. Balls meant dressing up in fancy clothes, and dancing was implied. More than that, it was also implied that you were supposed to ask someone to go with you—like a date. He didn’t care about Quidditch, and couldn’t stomach the singing, still stuck on the concept of having to sway awkwardly back and forth with a girl in a room with the rest of the student body. Luckily that was a way off yet, and maybe somehow he could convince Aria to go with him. They were best friends, after all.
Liam was glad when the food began to appear and began filling his plate with anything he could reach. He wasn’t paying attention when he went for the rolls and knocked his goblet over, showering his plate and himself with milk. His initial reaction was to grab for the napkins, but then he remembered—he was back at school, it was alright to use magic. He took his wand from his pocket and pointed it at the pool of liquid.
“Tergeo” Liam said, as his wand began to suck up the spilt liquid. “Sorry, did I get you?” He asked his neighbor, wand still in hand.
The Teppenpaw almost choked on her pasta at the voice of Kate beside her. She hoped she hadn’t noticed the long stares towards David Wilkes, just the thought made Valentina blushed and the food that was in her mouth treaded down her throat a tad bit painfully. The Spaniard looked at her roommate with a sheepish grin, “Welcome back, Kate!” she finally mustered after the awkward minutes of Valentina worrying about whether Kate had seen or not that her line of vision hadn’t changed too much. Why hadn’t she seen this before? Her blue-eyes demurely looked around the Cascade Hall and took in the diverse male population of Sonora. In her year there were only four boys, but all of them were rather attractive. From the small pool of males in her year she had dated Marcus –which in her personal opinion was the more handsome of them all --, but didn’t really know the rest of them. In her opinion, James Owen wasn’t bad looking – but had a horrible personality from what she had seen the last six years –, David Wilkes had grown into his looks and Ryan OMalley was attractive – but had the very big flaw of having no spine.
The years and years of the Teppenpaw being a shy girl had made her very observant of the people around her and even when she didn’t personally know some people she had learned about their personalities through being part of a wall. Valentina had realized that observing gave one a lot of weapons when it came to social interactions.
“The food here is amazing, and I will definitely miss my Start of Term banquet,” she added with a grin. The prairie-elves ran an amazing kitchen and the Spaniard would miss her short conversations with them over food. For someone that rarely ate anything that could help her gain any weight she sure loved food.
She smiled at her roommate, “I don’t know what to think about the challenges. I mean, they might be fun,” she responded with her heavy accented English. It was always the same story when it came to her accent; it dwindled during the year, but when summer came it returned with full force after three months of living in Spain with her grandparents.
“It depends on what they make us do,” she finished before taking another forceful of pasta into her mouth and savoring the creamy texture of the alfredo sauce. Valentina was in culinary heaven. She eyed some chicken strips near her and she decided to snatch one or two for her palate’s enjoyment.
Amira had been looking forward to sitting next to Sophie at the Opening Feast and discussing their team. There was something about talking to her Captain that made her feel even older and more mature than her sisters probably ever thought she would feel after the way she had acted when she was younger. It took her little stupid spill on her broom that caused her head to be injured to the point where they had benched her a whole year until she was better, for her to grow up. Even just after that, when she'd lost her coveted role as Seeker to Jade Owen, to be honest. Sure, she was angry, but who in their right mind wouldn't be?
Since she started playing at Sonora, she'd played Seeker, Chaser and Beater. She'd become multi-hatted in that way. She knew she didn't want to be Chaser or Beater, but in order for Pecari to play in any games she'd needed to. The now fifth year wanted so badly for Pecari to win that she'd do anything for it, even play a role on the team other than her coveted Seeker spot. But how can they do this to me? To Arista? To Sophie? I'll have another two years to play, but not Ris and not Sophie. It just isn't fair! she thought as Sophie answered her questions.
"I know they're adults and they run the school, but that still doesn't make it fair! Sophie, how can you and Ris play Quidditch professionally if nobody can see either of you really play?" Amira said, eyes still blazing mad as she tried hard to keep the tears from falling from her eyes. She was not normally an emotional person. Heated, maybe, but not emotional. It felt odd to her, and she didn't like it one little bit.
"Workshops?" Mir repeated curiously, wondering what Sophie had in mind as the Captain went on. "True, I don't really see a point in a roster. A list of who may want to participate maybe, but what's the point in deciding who'd be first strings in games that won't ever be played?"
When Sophie went on, Amira nodded. Excitement grew inside her angered heart for the next year when she'd take over the reigns as Captain herself. Everyone would know every role... It would stop them from really not knowing how to do something... Pecari could have a roster that changes, we'd surprise the opponents that way... she thought as she actually smiled for the first time since the terrible news broke out.
Her thoughts took her away until Sophie spoke again about including more than just Pecari. "Maybe... But if we just did that with Pecari, we could quite literally surprise the other three teams next year if we changed up our roles... If everyone knows how to play each role, we can win so much easier... Do you see it?" Amira asked her Captain.
Willow grinned. Her roommate seemed to be such an excellent mood and she hoped that would rub off on her. The new Teppenpaw had to admit that she was pretty excited to be at Sonora. Who wouldn't be? No matter what was going on at home, it was a still a special time. Even though they'd have six more opening feasts after this, this one would always have meaning, that time when she was Sorted, where she met her very first person at Sonora who wasn't a relative, her first impression of at all, which so far, was pretty good.
Gemma's not exactly proper introduction put her at ease too. Willow had heard of the Bennetts anyway, part of what she learned prior to coming to Sonora was what purebloods would be coming in her year. Even though Willow didn't especially care. To her it was just people she wasn't supposed to embarrass herself in front of, other than that she just wanted friends. "It's a pleasure to meet you too." She responded with a big friendly smile. "You can call me Willow." The Teppenpaw offered. They were going to be roommates after all and it just seemed so much nicer to be on first name basis.
The question Gemma posed was interesting too. Willow wasn't sure how to answer, because she knew it wasn't true but she didn't want to hurt her roommate's feelings or make her feel stupid. "I don't think so. My sister was in Crotalus too, and we both were living in Wisconsin when we were sorted. Plus, I have some cousins in Oregon. Two were in Teppenpaw, two were in Aladren, one was in Pecari and one was in Crotalus." She smiled again, hoping that would put the other girl at ease. The last thing Willow wanted to do was offend her roommate on their very first night. The first year wanted Gemma as a friend and certainly didn't want to spend the next seven years sharing a room with someone who didn't like her.
Plus, more than anything WIllow did not want to be a downer. She didn't want to think about her sister and be sad and ruin Gemma's evening, even though she was seriously worried. Instead, she wanted Gemma's positivity to lift her up, put her in a good mood and so far, Willow was thrilled that she'd have such an upbeat interesting roommate. It seemed like the other Teppenpaw was one who thought differently, kind of like Evan, but not necessarily in an artistic manner. The first year didn't think anyone was like her cousin that way.
Willow took a bite of her lasagna before continuing. It was important to eat well, to maintain a healthy weight so she wouldn't get sick too. "Perhaps just happen to have different qualities than your siblings. Personally, I was hoping for Crotalus too because both of my sisters were there and I really look up to them." That was all right to say. She just wasn't supposed to say that Autumn was ill and that Lily was the illegitimate child of her father and someone who wasn't important in pureblood society. That didn't mean Willow loved them any less. "But I really don't mind Teppenpaw. At least everyone is supposed to be really nice and friendly." And that was so important to Willow, more so than anything else, and maybe people would think she was that way too and want to be friends with her.
It was Alex who disturbed him and Cepheus didn't mind the company. He didn't interact much with her or the other witches in his house and year because he had many friends in Aladren. How that had happened he wasn't quite sure since he hated the Aladren Quidditch team.
"I don't doubt you," replied Cepheus, straightening his posture a bit to stretch the muscles in his back. "After three years you'd think it'd get old." He smirked at her and then stretched. "How was your summer? Go anywhere interesting?" He liked talking with the girls in his house; many of them were pure-bloods like him, which was nearly a necessity to gain his interest nowadays, respectable and easy to converse with. He had gotten better at being able to tell who the mudbloods were and found it easier to surround himself with the right sort.
He was paying attention to his conversation with Alex, but he glanced over at Megan, wondering what she'd thought after seeing the yearbook award he and Theresa shared. He didn't loathe her in particular, but what she represented to him. She was part of the reason why he couldn't pursue any relationships with other girls he fancied. And there were loads of pretty girls in his year. There was Theresa, of course, and Alicia, and he had caught himself looking more than once at Alex, Eris, the new transfer, and Henny. The muggle-born was cute too, but she was completely off-limits because of her blood and strange personality. Girls were suddenly attractive to Cepheus who had never really fancied anyone before. Until now.
Cepheus's eyes travelled back to Theresa before looking back at Alex, his wandering eyes not hindering his hearing. His glances from Megan to Theresa had been less than a minute and it wasn't obvious enough that Alex would have noticed. At least he hoped. He didn't want to be too obvious and get caught in his affections. He was certain his best mates were going to ask him about it when they got the chance, but he didn't want to share too much. He wasn't sure what they would even say about it.
Kate noticed that Valentina seemed almost flustered at being spoken to, and wondered what was up. She had, though, seemed to catch what Kate had been talking about, so maybe she was just excited about being back at school, or having some kind of strong feelings about it, anyway. That was understandable; it was their last year, and they were already on a ‘last’ milestone, since, unless they became professors (and Kate knew that for her, anyway, that was almost certainly never going to happen), they would never attend this particular event again.
Valentina’s accent, as always, had thickened again over the summer, but Kate could understand her well enough. She wondered if having relatives from a part of the country that had a pretty difficult accent, for an outsider, anyway, to understand had something to do with it; Momma wasn’t so bad after more than twenty years away from South Carolina, but Granddad and Aunt Lavinia still had pretty strong accents of their own, especially Granddad when he relaxed and began to use regional turns of phrase on top of it. Kate nodded a little sadly, though still with a smile on her face, as she looked down at her food.
“It’s good food,” she agreed, and then ate some more of it.
Kate laughed when Valentina also agreed that the fun quotient of the events was going to rely heavily on what they were asked to do. “Don’t forget about the ‘and who we do it with,’” she added, taking a pitcher of juice and pouring herself an ice-cold glass. She rubbed the palm of her hand after she put the pitcher back down, since the handle had chilled it. “I had a brief vision of, like, one seventh year per five or six first and second years, does that sound right? Or did I wander completely off base, do you think?”
Rajid was relieved to find that Keme’s family, at least from what he gathered, seemed to be pureblooded. The Ambrose family claimed to be so, but if one really studied the lineage hard enough there were bound to be a few less attractive members. When Quintus took Malak for his wife, there was a bit of talk within the family, but the main concern was her blood status. As long as she was pure, her nationality didn’t matter as much. Unfortunately this wasn’t a sentiment shared with many of those outside of the family, particularly considering the United States and their conflicts in the Middle East. Malak and her children, with the exception of Lelia, her eldest daughter, often fell victim to racial profiling and prejudices. Maybe it was because of this that Rajid felt a sort of kinship already forming with Keme. He was sure this was subject to change if his roommate ever found out about some of his darker secrets. His shoulder itched at the thought of it, and he couldn’t keep from scratching it.
“Interesting. We have tribes where I’m from, but I think they are largely muggles. I could be wrong though. We try not to dabble too much into the affairs of muggles in my family.” He was glad when Keme changed the subject, too much talk about home could lead to him slipping about where he was from. Surely Arizona had its own share of Native American residents; Rajid just didn’t want to look like an idiot by getting something wrong. School was a safe subject however.
“Yeah…it seems nice enough.” He agreed, “I’m interested to see the rest of it though.” Rajid paused for a moment when he considered Keme’s question. He had no idea what classes would be like. Some of his cousins on the east coast had moaned about their class work, but they were some of the lazier Ambroses. The rest of his cousins, including some of the more ambitious, were all younger than himself, so his frame of reference was limited.
“I’m not sure, but I hope they are challenging.” Raj started, before pausing to take a sip of his water. “I also hope that these, extracurricular endeavors don’t interfere with our learning.” Maybe that wasn’t the most popular opinion to have, seeing as girls at some of the other tables were crying over the lack of Quidditch that year. Rajid Ambrose had a handicap that needed to be compensated for, and he planned to do that with intellect and talent. He craved as much class time as he could get.
Rajid took another drink of his water when Keme admitted to being uncomfortable. He didn’t know about his secret, did he? How could he, this early on? Maintaining an emotionless face, Rajid merely shook his head—no reason to be paranoid. Shy of securing him a private room; his father ensured him that anyone that didn’t need to know, wouldn’t. He just couldn’t help but wonder how long he’d be able to keep things from Keme.
“No need for apologies, but you’d better get used to this, this is life for the next seven years.”
“If you were sorted in to this house, I think the chance that you’ll bore someone is slim.” Jewels said with a shrug in response to Omara’s answer. She was sure the girl had a valid reason to be concerned, but it was in her nature to look on the bright side. “If that were the case, I reckon they’d have sorted you into Aladren.” She added with a smile.
Jeweliah was a subscriber to the notion that everything happened for a reason, even if she didn’t always like the outcome. Maybe there was some part of Omara waiting to spring forth that landed her in Pecari afterall. Either way, Jeweliah was glad to have a roommate. She got on well enough with boys, but it would have been rather lonely in a strange room all by herself. She was an only child, so being alone wasn’t new, but in a huge castle surrounded by children her own age, who would have wanted to have their own room?
Potatoes and chicken were exchanged, and the boy sitting with them turned out to be Adam Spencer.
“Nice to meet you Adam! I’m Jeweliah Dyste, but you can call me Jewels, and this is Omara.” Jeweliah realized she hadn’t caught Omara’s last name, and hoped that the girl didn’t mind that she took the liberty of introducing her. She didn’t mean to step on toes, she was just a little outspoken. She wasn’t sure if it was his accent, or something else about him that made Adam seem so fancy, but she tried to be less obvious about her interest in him by eating while he and Omara talked about where they were from. She was a little surprised that they had both traveled so far in order to attend school at Sonora.
“I’ve never been either, but I hope to some day for Fashion Week.” Jewels said with a smile. “I’m from Lufkin Texas. Two states over. I have what they call a Southern accent, and New York is up north, and on the east coast, so quite a ways away.”
“Oh,” Gemma said as Willow listed all of her relatives who, despite being from the same place, had gone into different Houses when they came to Sonora. “Well, I didn’t think it was very likely, anyway. Or else it’s just a – a peculiarity – “ she was proud of herself for only stumbling a little over the long word – “of my family.”
That, too, was possible – less likely, but possible. Gemma had no idea, after all, if her family was normal or not, since it was the only one she’d ever had. Someday, when she got married, she would know about another family and be able to see how they compared to her own and answer that particular question then, but that wouldn’t happen for years and years and years, so she wasn’t very concerned with it right now. Maybe when Paul and Eliza got married, she would know about the families they were related to before she got to her own and would know if their family was peculiar sooner that way, since she didn’t think she would have any luck if she tried to get to know the families of her aunts-by-marriage.
“That’s funny, isn’t it? That we’d both have two older siblings, and them all in the same House, and then us in the same House,” she explained. “Do you have two younger ones, too? I’ve got two more brothers – maybe they can be Teppenpaws, too, and we’ll outnumber all the Crotali in the family.” What the purpose of the exercise would be, Gemma had no idea, but it had seemed like the thing to say at the time. It was not, after all, as though anything she said was of any consequence, she wasn’t much like her sister, who talked about the news at breakfast with Father and Mother and took things so seriously all the time.
“No,” Alex said of Sonora’s food, “but I’m sure it tastes a little better at the Opening Feast because we’ve been at home for two months without it.” The food at home was good, too, but different, and not too similar to a feast; her father was a frugal wizard who didn’t believe in living too high a life, so when they weren’t hosting an event, he and Alex, anyway, if not her mother, tended to wear old robes around the house and eat very simply. He calculated all their expenses, she thought, down to the knut, and because of that, she was going to have a fairly impressive inheritance.
Her summer warranted only a shrug. “No,” she said. “I hardly left home, to tell you the truth. I went for a week to North Carolina with Theresa – “ she couldn’t help but watch him closely, wondering how he might react to the name – “to visit our cousin, but that was all. I read and gardened and listened to my mother fuss about clothes.”
When Alex was young, her mother had, she knew, hoped that one day she would grow into her face and joints and end up, if not a great beauty, since neither of her parents had many features to give a great beauty, at least a decent-looking girl, but Victoria seemed to have given up her hopes of it now. At fourteen, she was still too tall, too bony and angular, and looked too much like her father in the face, with the same narrow brown eyes, big nose, and sharp chin that weren’t too bad on a man but weren’t much good at all for a girl. Her looks bothered Alex herself almost not at all, but her mother still seemed to hold out some dim hope that a color and cut of robes somewhere could make her look a little better at least. It was alternatively frustrating and amusing, but more than anything just something Alex knew had an inevitable beginning and end, which had to come sometime, if she just bore it patiently now.
“What about you?” she asked, since she assumed most people did have more interesting holidays than she did. If nothing else, they generally had siblings, which at least gave them someone to fight with and then to complain to their friends about at school more often than she had anyone.
Ginny wasn’t really sure what to think of Percival. Thus far, he was nice. So, that was a bonus for him. But his name made her feel like maybe he was only half faking being nice. Ginny hadn’t attended many social gatherings before moving with her family, but she had gone to a few family events and any boy with a prestigious name ended up being a pompous jerk. She didn’t want to have this false idea of him being a pretty nice person only to have him turn on her after some time and really let his name take over. She wasn’t so sure why she was stuck on his name so much. It was only a name after all. She didn’t want people thinking terrible things of her just because her parents had given her the name of Virginia. It wasn’t fair and she knew it. She could only hope that Percival proved her wrong about names. “You are welcome.” She replied pleasantly.
She took a couple fork fulls of her dinner and gave Percival a look when he apologized for looking elsewhere. Her eyes glanced in the general direction of where he was indicating. As a joke, Ginny commented, “You mean the plate of chicken?” Her ever so present smile grew, “Only joshing.” She commented with a giggle. “Ginny is by choice.” She said, feeling weird about sounding sort of in third person to him. “I mean, I suppose it’s just something I’ve always been called, but Mother and Father only use Virginia when they are trying to get my attention. Otherwise, I prefer Ginny.” Besides, Ginny was much better. It didn’t sound old or mean or anything else you could think of that was negative.
“Do you not like to be called Percival?” Ginny asked him. “I can call you something else if you prefer? Are you one of those people like prefer the numeral of their name? Do I call you Junior or Second?” She asked in all seriousness. If he preferred his numeral name over his actual name, she felt that was even worse than a stuff name. Numerals were definitely someone arrogant.
“Why not still sign up?” Ginny asked him. “This way, you’ll get a whole year to learn your teammates, make friends, learn the routines and everything. I think that would be way less stressing than signing up and only having a short period of time to practice before you’re playing in the first game.” She really had no idea if this was true since she had never played a sport in her life, but she thought it sounded somewhat reasonable.
“Well, she did say that it’s all about teamwork. I can’t imagine a team getting much in points if only the older ones were doing all the work. But, I’m guessing it’s likely to happen anyway. I guess there’s no guarantee that they won’t.” Ginny said, but she hoped that wasn’t true. Plus, how was she supposed to learn if she couldn’t do anything on her own? “If they are house teams, don’t you think they’ll be sort of big? You would have to have people from each level and hopefully even in number…” Not that she would mind working with her housemates… she hoped, but the challenges seemed to make her believe she could meet so many more people! “I think it’d be fun working with other people from other houses. You get to meet so many others that way.”
Aladren. Not bad. Not, she thought, a disadvantage. It had been a three-horse race, as far as she was concerned. Pecari might have marked her out as trouble – although she noted the head girl appeared to be a Pecari from a good family – but it might have made it easier to meet a certain kind of person. Crotalus was where the good Pureblood girls tended to go. Although there was a liberal scattering of them throughout the school, it was where the archetypal ones tended to be found. She could see why she had not, therefore, ended up there, although it would have put her in good standing – it was like a shorthand for respectability. Aladren, too, seemed to have a lot of those in her class, although mostly boys. Crotalus for good Pureblood girls, Aladren for the boys. Hopefully she would not stick out as too much of an anomaly early on. And no one would think she was stupid or underestimate her. That would be to her advantage. Teppenpaw was the only house she hadn’t considered a possibility. She wasn’t that nice. If people were stupid she would need to tell them it, their feelings be damned.
Her looks would be to her advantage too. She was never going to be crowned class beauty but nor was she unpleasant to look at by any stretch of the imagination. Had she been, the comments that would follow her around would be all too predictable. But no one could realistically claim that her actions were born from hopes of getting a boyfriend being unrealistic or – worse still – unwanted. Her frame was slight but strong-looking, not that this was easily perceivable beneath her robes. It was the type of figure that would be described as athletic had it not been decided that that was demeaning to women. There was nothing wrong with her hair, which she had swept into a ponytail out of habit rather than necessity. Her hair was free of split ends, it was healthy and glossy, and the ponytail ran smoothly away from her forehead. It was a sandy blonde that she felt no need to highlight or overly tamper with. She wore it up because she was a practical person rather than because she devoted her time to styling. Her face and nose were both long and thin and her eyes were blue. They looked like they were thinking about something.
She listened with interest to the news that Quidditch was cancelled. Initially she was relieved that she could forgo the sport in favour of making friends without losing out, although it seemed the team would still be in training, so some opportunities to make herself favoured for a position next year were to be lost. Aladren seemed particularly passionate about the sport. She wondered with interest whether the girl very vocally protesting was a Pureblood. She doubted it. She was sure she would have heard about it if so. Scanning the table, she noted that all of the other first years, marked out by their blue skin, were in little knots of conversation already. No matter, she would meet them all easily enough. There were bound to be people in the years around her who were also worth talking to.
She helped herself to some fish, sole she thought, plus potatoes and peas. The fish was dressed in a buttery lemon dressing and was delicious. People watching was not going to get her anywhere, and so she drew her thoughts away from the rest of the table and to the person next to her.
“Good evening,” she smiled. “I am Francesca of the Wolseithcrafte family.” It was one small concession to the mainstream that they had made to start introducing themselves in this fashion. Although they did not have branch affiliations, it had the right sort of structure to it to convey that she was from a Pureblood family. She waited for the effect of her name to become apparent. It was variable. Her family’s politics not lining up with the mainstream meant that parents usually either warned their children against them or kept them in complete ignorance of their existence – the fact that a point of view other than their own existed was, apparently, a terrible danger. She had yet to meet anyone whose parents had explained that there were different points of view but that that didn’t change a person’s blood status, although there was a first time for everything.
Adam got the notion that Omara was quieter while Jewels was not. Omara reminded him of his sister when she was being asked questions by adults. Adam was usually the outspoken one who spoke for the both of them most of the time. He wondered how she was faring and found himself missing her considerably. "New York City may be the only city I know in the States," he commented. "That and Los Angeles." He had come into contact with all sorts of blood types unlike his cousins who lived in the country, and his relatives on his dad's side were a bit more liberal with bloodlines.
"Pleased to meet you both," replied Adam to Jewels's greeting. She had some sort of Southern accent, then. He had no real concept of the states though he'd brought a map with him he had received a map of the United States from his mother after being told Adam was going to attend school there. She must miss him dreadfully too, but Adam didn't want to worry about his family so far away.
The chicken was delicious as Adam began eating. The food was better than he had been expecting it to be, and he hoped it continued this way all year. They had a cook who prepared their meals for them, but though she cooked well, it was not nearly as good as this. He wondered if Sonora had elves working in the kitchens. That would certainly be interesting if house-elves could cook better than witches.
Jewels had mentioned something about Fashion Week, a term Adam was familiar with. "My aunt is going to the Fashion Week in Paris this September. It's a Muggle thing, isn't it?" He wasn't sure if wizards and witches were a part of it, but he knew London had a Fashion Week of its own. It was too much of a risk for his aunt to be seen at one here, so she thought going to one in France would be a better idea. She was lucky she was a Spencer; if his mum had ever tried something like that, he was certain Grandfather would disown her in a second. He couldn't understand how anyone could live on the same estate with him.
"I'm put out that the school decided to cancel Quidditch this year. Do either of you play?" Adam was used to both witches and wizards playing the sport, though wizards usually made up most of the team. Charlotte didn't play most of the time, though on occasion he was able to convince her. He wasn't sure if these witches would be interested in talking about sports, but they could change the subject if they wanted to.
Omara decided she liked Jewels. Her comment about Aladren was cheeky but funny, and she was sure was at least in part designed to make her feel better. Sure, Jewels was a great deal louder than herself but Omara had always been drawn to friends who were a bit more outspoken. She didn't mind listening. In fact, she liked it. She saw the possibility that they could become friends as well as room mates and found that comforting.
Adam, she wasn't yet sure about. And she was extremely puzzled as to why he was attending Sonora rather than a British school but had a strange kind of hunch she shouldn't ask about it. She didn't know if that was her imagination or her perception. She listened with interest to talk of Fashion Weeks. Omara had heard of them but in the grand scheme of things, wasn't all that interested and she focussed on the desserts that were beginning to appear on the table before them.
She scanned the table to see if there was apple pie and to her delight there was; she offered it over to Adam and Jewels just as the conversation switched to the subject of Quidditch.
"I haven't played a proper game," Omara answered in response to Adam's question, "but my dad sometimes takes my brothers and I to a quieter spot in Central Park at dusk and uses a muggle-repelling charm so we can have a go on brooms and pass a quaffle to each other...mom doesn't know though...she'd kill him if she found out...we can only do it on the rare occasions she's away..." She wasn't sure if Adam approved of witches playing Quidditch or not. She was aware that some of the old pure blood families were against it; not that she really cared what they thought. "I'm surprised about there being no games this year though, I've never really been into watching matches, my dad and brothers do...I suspect it's upset a lot of people...I wonder what these challenges are about?"
She was warming to them both and found her mind wasn't drifting and heard her voice as louder and steadier. "More pie?"
It was good to be back. After everything that had happened, Jhonice felt like things were back to normal. At least as much as they could be considering the circumstances. Her summer had been fantastic, and now she was back at school. Thoughts of the dreaded fifth year CATS didn't even enter her mind. Instead she was focused on reconnecting with everybody, after she had located her minion.... err student and made sure he was okay. It didn't take her to long to spot him standing with the other first-years. Excellent, she thought to herself, the kid is a natural. With that done she found her way to the Pecari table and sat down next to her roommate.
She watched intently as the first-years were sorted, Matriarch Pierce moved just as graceful and elegant as ever. She nearly cheered when Percy turned red, her plan had succeeded! She had a minion in Crotalus! After that elation, she settled back for the standard, boring, run-of-the-mill welcoming speech by Headmistress K. She was instead very much surprised by it. She cheered on Mellie at her acquisition of Prefect, that was awesome! She couldn't hide a slight giggle as Mellie had to run back to get her badge, but tried her best to suppress it as her roommate returned as red as the new Crotali. The challenges sounded interesting... but no Quidditch? That was just unheard of! These challenges had better be good... on the other hand that meant she didn't have to worry which of the brooms were cursed anymore.
As the food appeared Jhonice turned to congratulate her roommate officially, and as if Mellie could read her mind she responded. “I did not see that coming”. Jhonice passed her the dip and responded, "Well, congratulations anyway, you deserve it. How did your summer go? Mine was awesome!"
Hoping the Teachers see me being Prefectly
by Thad Pierce
Thad's summer had been more boring than usual. Winston was still far too small to be interesting. Alicia Pierce's (certainly not to be confused with Alicia Bauer - two Alicia Pierces would have been confusing, so maybe that was why Grandmother had really forbid the match; Alicia was worth far more than her poor choice of grandfather) second pregnancy was something to talk about for a couple of minutes but there wasn't really much to say about it beyond that it happened and perhaps a bit of speculation on names and gender.
The Anns being grounded for the whole summer meant he'd had nobody even close to his age to spend time with. Derry was in Boston, of course, and Derwent Two did not even try to make his disinherited (but not disowned!) son come to visit, which Thad was maybe a little bit angry about. Aside from making friends (which Thaddeus was fairly sure he was constitutionally unable to help, any more than Duesius could help being slow) with a bunch of mixed bloods and muggleborns, Derry hadn't ever done anything wrong. Well, that and decide to give up his inheritance in order to live with his mother among disowned blood traitors when his parents got divorced. But that wasn't really his fault either. There had to be some kind of disorder, like antisocial behavior, only instead of being unable to recognize right from wrong, the patient had an inability to recognize proper from improper, and Derry had that. He never meant any disrespect; if anything, he was usually trying to make sure people were happy. He just didn't understand that Grandmother's happiness came first.
The wagon ride at least gave him a chance to talk with Derry again, like they had before the Anns came to Sonora. The girls were unusually quiet. Thad was a little worried about them, honestly, but he didn't want to crowd them, so he'd just talked with Derry and made sure the twins knew they were welcome to join in if they wanted to. They had seemed to be asking more questions towards the end, so he hoped that meant they were getting over their own summer isolation. Thad had at least gotten to socialize with the adults and the baby, so maybe they had needed an adjustment period to get used to people who were not themselves again.
Entering the Hall, Thad looked around the Aladren table, trying to decide where to sit. Alicia and Henny were already seated together, so he opted to let them to themselves. He was mildly tempted to join them and ask them what they had both read over the summer - he'd done nothing but read so he had some recommendations to offer - but decided maybe he should think about something other than books for a little while. Being bookish was all well and good, but he had established that facet of himself clearly already. For Prefect, the teachers would also be looking for someone with at least some social skills and an interest in the school body as a whole rather than just their own friends. And since this was his last year to impress upon the staff that he was the best option in his year for Prefect next year, he chose a seat with another empty seat next to it and hoped a first year would sit there.
The plan succeeded marvelously when a blue skinned girl sat down right where he hoped a first year of that hue might.
"Good evening," he greeted her politely before the Headmistress's speech commenced, and he clapped for his Captain and Miss Raines, as well as the new prefects. He couldn't help but try to compare himself to Nora Dobson, to see if she had any qualities the staff had felt made her stand out from her peers that he didn't. She was intelligent, he knew that, she always did well in her classes, but so did he. She was in the book club, but so was he. She was related to Evan, but (a) he didn't think that was a trait the teachers were looking for, and (b) so was he, albeit through marriage. He made a note to be seen socializing with her sometime this year, so the staff would know he could get along with the older prefects. He was already a teammate of Russell's on the Quidditch team, so that contact link was already established.
Unfortunately, he didn't think he was going to get Assistant Captain in time for it to make an impact on Prefect determinations next year. Kitty was older than him, so she'd probably get it at the end of this year. Though maybe Arnold would request him. That was an outside possibility. He supposed it depended on whether the Carey twins (and Arthur would surely play a role in the decision) were more likely to choose a female muggleborn to appease the liberal Coach, or a male pureblood (who was, coincidentally, the Coach's biological brother, which was almost as much an appeasement even if she was disowned) to remain traditional. It wasn't a decision Thaddeus envied. He even liked Kitty (in the properly distant way it was all right to like those of different social classes), and didn't particularly want to usurp her spot, though he'd certainly like to have the badge.
His thoughts on his impending Quidditch Assistant Captaincy were abruptly derailed by the announcement that Quidditch games were cancelled for the year. "What?" he asked aloud, though nowhere near as vehemently as Kitty did (she really should probably get the A.C. badge next year). He looked to David, and saw the Captain and Head Boy lowering his head. He wondered if maybe he should be more actively and visibly upset, but felt he'd missed the window for it. The challenges had sounded intriguing prior to that dungbomb thrown into the mix, and he tried to stay upbeat about them. He really was curious and hoped more details became available soon.
He participated in the school song (as a point of school pride, he had memorized the lyrics during his first year, so he didn't have to refer to the sheet music), and then eagerly began filling his plate with food. He was fourteen now, and it had been a long time since the wagon left New England. He had just finished adding a large dollop of mashed potatoes to his plate when the first year addressed him and he remembered his original plan.
"Hello," he returned politely with a smile and an abbreviated sitting bow, "I am Thaddeus Pierce of the New Hampshire Pierces." Wolseithcrafte sounded familiar and he tried to remember where it had come up. It wasn't the usual list of families. Oh. Oh, oh. His eyes widened and he looked at her, but she didn't look like a radical. The Wolseithcraftes weren't even exactly liberals. They were on an entirely different third side from WAIL and DISCUSS. It wasn't a philosophy the Pierces approved of, but his mother and father were not into hiding unpleasant truths from him (which was where a lot of Derry's problems came from, he thought), so he had read some Heritage literature a year or two ago, just so he would be aware of its arguments. He didn't entirely even disagree with their points, but his family was too deeply entrenched in WAIL to acknowledge that.
Still, she was a Housemate and a first year, and he could be polite to people whose views were different from his own. If he could be cordial to Henny and Kitty, he could certainly be cordial to a Wolseithcrafte. "Welcome to Sonora, Miss Wolseithcrafte," he continued, smiling. "I am a fourth year, so if you have any questions, I am sure I'd be able to shed at least some light on them."
1Thad PierceHoping the Teachers see me being Prefectly213Thad Pierce05
Mr McLachlan, there are many here who'd grant that wish
Mechanically, Linus ate his soup, completing the repetetive motion of lifting the spoon from his bowl to his mouth without really appreciating the taste of the food, or little else of what was going on around him. Brianna had acknowledged him in a way that reassured Linus he had not committed some grievous offense for which she had been punishing him. It provided little relief, however, considering his relative state of contentment in comparison to his comrade's obvious discomfort. He had always known that it was his duty and responsibility as a decent human being to help those less fortunate than himself, but his desire to aid Brianna came from a far deeper desire; he couldn't explain his reasoning, but Linus felt driven to help her, in any way possible.
As if she could read his mind, Brianna actually made a request for assistance. Linus lowered his spoon in anticpation of offering whatever it was she needed, but he remained silent as Joshua spoke again, saying words similar, yet not so eloquent, to those Linus himself was about to utter. Of course, Brianna had been speaking to Joshua, not to him. In fact, as much as Linus disliked Mr McLachlan (which actually wasn't a great deal; they'd had little to do with each other in the past, but a good impression had not been made, nonetheless), it did appear that the Aladren was genuinely concerned for Miss Japos' welfare. Perhaps, then, Linus ought to withdraw from eavesdropping on others' conversations for the time being, and gracefully allow the sixth year privacy of conversation.
Yet before he could commit to this resolve and vacate the area, an unbidden force held Linus in place, and caused him to clear his throat before boldly declaring, "If I can help you with this, or with any other task, please do not hesitate to ask, as I would be delighted to do so." He paused a short moment before adding, "I can assit you back to the commons later this evening, if you would permit me." For some reason he felt compelled to grace McLachlan with a frowning glare that implicated impaticence and something dangeorusly akin to protectivity. He acted upon this impulse, but quelled it after a just a second or two, schooling his features once more into their previous expression of mild concern.
0LinusMr McLachlan, there are many here who'd grant that wish0Linus05
It would not have occurred to James that the Quidditch players might be disappointed to have a year off from the violent sport, but the various reactions the news had been sufficient to enlighten him, and David's hopes that the challenges might distract his team further cemented the notion. James was not opposed to sport in any way - he followed the national Quidditch League with guarded interest - but he had no personal interest in participating in a game which more or less guaranteed injury at some juncture. At least if the challenges did require some sort of dangerous athletic display he could probably call on one of the many Quidditch enthusiasts to fulfill that particular requirement. If individual participation was stipulated he could potentially forfeit. Sadly, David was not currently in a position to offer an more information on the topic.
David's reply of, "It’s cool, don’t worry about it," would not usually have registered with James as unusual in any way, but as it had followed a relatively verbose comment from his own lips, the short phrase sounded peculiarly unrefined. Admittedlty, it also had the effect of causing James' own utterings to sound almost pretentious in their propriety. He had the good grace to be entertained by the contrast, and managed a rare, quirky smile, but remained unabashed. He knew that to succeed in this world he needed to talk the talk required to fit in with the fat cats, and he was sure that David knew that, too. Luckily he didn't ever complain about James' more obvious attempts to appear more superior than he really ought, nor did he seem concerned that the congratulations had been late in their arrival. Really, James considered, he had never fully appreciated how lucky he was in having David as a roomate. he could have been stuck with an entirely different arrangement if he'd have been born a year later, and that was something for which he couldn't give sufficient thanks.
Another aspect which he hadn't considered was that of co-ordinating studies for RATS alongside David role of Head Boy. All of a sudden James found himself feeling rather more appreciative of his current position than he ever would have anticipated. With an ideal roommate and no extra headship duties to concern him in his final year, he might, one day, even look back on his school days with fondness. One day, many years from now.
"I'm taking everything except Magical Creatures," James replied, knowing his courseload was identical to Josephine's this year, and if she could manage it then he liked to think he'd be adept, too. "I don't think I'll really need any of it in terms of a specific skillset, but you never know what's around the corner." What he meant by this vague collection of ambiguity and metaphor was that he intended to present himself as an apprentice to a soliciting body as soon as he graduated, but if he was unsuccessful as a lawyer for any reason, it wouldn't hurt to have some qualifications to fall back on. Plus he wanted to have at least as many RATS as Josephine.
Cepheus didn't think the food here beat the food he had at home, but that was his own opinion. The house-elves at the manor were very skilled. They had been cooking for the Princetons for years just like their ancestors before them. It wasn't that he really missed food at home, however; there were just too many things on his mind that he didn't want to share.
Getting a bit of insight into Theresa's life before talking to her did make Cepheus look up. He had been aware that Alex and Theresa were related, but he hadn't known how. He still didn't know how, but Theresa did seem to be related to quite a few people here at Sonora, a couple being the Quidditch Careys, as he had come to calling them, that he so loathed. Fussing about clothing also sounded like Theresa, but he didn't want to give away his affections too soon. If he couldn't tell his best mates, he wasn't going to tell anyone, much less Thersa herself.
There wasn't much to say about his holiday, it mostly being Cepheus wallowing in his misery. "Nothing interesting, really. I stayed home most of the summer as well. I did visit my cousins in London once. One of them, Adam, is here now and my aunt wanted me to come and give him a pep talk or something of the sort." He glanced over at his cousin now. He seemed to be doing well, but Cepheus hadn't been too worried. He hadn't really cared, either.
"Other than that, it was dull." The family reunion would be next year if it went on schedule, but Father was trying to convince Grandfather to make the reunion every five years instead of two. Cepheus really hoped it went through. He couldn't stand many of his relatives even if he was older now and supposedly more mature. Cepheus had grown substantially over the summer, however. But it had come at a price: he was now 182 cm tall, but he was all arms and legs. He bet he was still eight stone as he had been for most of his adolescent life up to now. He hated being scrawny as he was, but hopefully getting back into Quidditch would help. If there were any Quidditch practises this year.
"Looking forward to classes at all? I wonder what the challenges are going to be about," said Cepheus as he picked up an orange. He didn't fancy getting his fingers all sticky and dirty, so he put it down and picked up an apple instead. Maybe eating some fruit would help his appetite, but he didn't count on it. He bit into the apple, finding it juicier than he had expected.
Somehow, David was not surprised to hear that James was taking a lot of classes. They were, after all, Aladrens, and unlike him, James wasn’t about as lazy as one could get before the potion couldn’t justify letting a person become one. Taking a lot of classes, having big plans for what to do with them, and then pulling it all off was pretty typical Aladren behavior, he thought. Having some of those subjects as contingency plans rather than direct elements in a preferred ambition was a little more Crotalus-like, but still not at all un-Aladren.
“That’s pretty much what my mother said when she was badgering me about classes this summer,” David said, in spite of his mother being a Muggle. She had, as far as he could tell, decided to see magic as something like his being male and his father’s abrupt decision to revert to his childhood religious practice and have their kids in common at least half brought up in the same tradition after Anna was born: it was unexpected, it was not something that she liked, but she would work around it to get what she wanted in the end anyway. His mother was, or would have been if she’d been a witch, he was sure, a Crotalus, and of the most terrifying type. When he’d turned out to be a wizard, she had started buying extra books that caught her fancy when they went to get his school list every year, and had gradually educated herself until she could come out of nowhere and start talking about his RATS as though she were as familiar with them as with the obscure medical acronyms she spoke in when telling the family about her day at supper. “You can never have too many backup plans.”
That was, he supposed, a settling sentiment for those who had a bunch of backup plans, but for David, it was less comforting. “Of course, I’m a great guy to talk, since I’m still trying to figure out Plan A,” he said casually, more casually than he really felt about the issue. “This is one of the many times I’ve wished I was born in the wizarding world, at least I’d know more about what’s available.” Since he did hope to avoid going back to the Muggle world for more than the occasional birthday party or big mother’s family reunion thing. He would deny the idea of pureblood superiority as fast as the next Muggleborn, even throw some profanity in for emphasis in the right company, but that was more on general principles and familiarity with the accomplishments of Muggles he wasn't related to than because of any specific liking for where he, personally, came from.
I'm not an optimist, but I'll make an exception this time.
by Julian U.
Julian wondered why anyone would want to be called Henny when they had a pretty name like Henrietta, but she knew enough people asked why anyone would ever call a girl ‘Julian’ – a name she actually liked; the idea of going by 'Bridget,' her much more traditionally feminine second name, had never really occurred to her, and she had resisted all attempts anyone had ever made to call her ‘Julie’ on a regular basis – to also know that she had no right to talk about that. Instead, then, she nodded and smiled as Charlie said he thought they would still be well-fed after tonight.
“My mother’s mother makes a wonderful chocolate-raisin cake,” she said, deciding, after a moment’s reflection, that it was a good answer to both the questions about her favorite dessert and her favorite food in general. She preferred sweets to savories generally, though she had no objection to the foods eaten for actual meals before they got to the sweet parts, either. One of her short-term ambitions when she was littler had been to be a famous chef someday, though right now, she was back to not knowing what she wanted to do when she grew up. “She makes one for Dad on his birthday, and one for Christmas, and that’s it, but I can taste it right now.” She closed her eyes for a second, doing just that.
“There’s one in every school, isn’t there?” Julian laughed when Charlie said his father had been in the house that liked reading at his school. “Mom was in hers, too, but Dad wasn’t. She says that’s why she’s a medievalist and he’s a Quodpot announcer.” Technically, her mother had never really worked in the field she’d studied, staying home instead to raise five children, but she still identified with it. “But she’s just joking,” she felt obliged to add. “Hers was Arrandore House, at the Deloy School, it’s in British Columbia. My oldest brother’s there now, but he’s in Zelona’s.” Stephen hadn’t been very happy there, either, for the past six years, which was part of why Julian was here now instead of there. “Mom and Dad – I know Mom just turned forty-two. Their names are Chris and Alison.”
She blinked, startled and confused, when Charlie mentioned living with Father and Dad, then flushed as one possible interpretation occurred to her, which she decided, as he had not commented on her name, not to say anything about, especially since Charlie was still talking away about what he’d heard about the school from them and his sister and the yearbook. She nodded when he said he liked singing, since she did, too.
“Looking around the building,” she admitted when Charlie asked what she was most looking forward to learning about Sonora. “I’ve always dreamed about getting to go out and explore whatever school I went to…is that strange? I just want to know all about it, where everything is, what, where all the little places in it are. What about you?”
16Julian U.I'm not an optimist, but I'll make an exception this time.254Julian U.05
Confidence was not entirely an alien concept - Josephine had confidence in her intelligence, ability to dress to her advantage, and the inherent inability of mankind to take care of each other - but she had rarely had such self confidence that the feeling surprised her. As the Pecari entered Sonora to begin her sixth year, she did so with her head held high and the hint of a smile playing on her lips. The regime she had imposed upon herself since midterm, helped along a little by the withdrawal of puberty, which had been cruel, had certainly been beneficial to her physique. Josephine would always be short, and she would always be curvy, but she no longer thought of these aspects as the grievous faults she had perceived them to be in the past.
Saving up her meagre allowance for the entire of last year had enable Josephine to purchase some hair serum, which she could only afford to use on special occasions, but she had deemed this to be such; her chestnut locks gleamed like smooth glass in the sunshine as she passed under the chandeliers. A fitted white blouse coupled with a short A-line skirt emphasised the trim waist she now possessed, and a pair of second-hand slingback sandals gave her a couple of extra inches to lengthen the appearance of her legs. The sixth year prefect had also added her customary touch of black eyeliner, and the briefest glaze of clear lipgloss. She wouldn't have the faintest idea what a million dollars felt like, but she was fairly sure that feeling this good about herself probably came close.
As she strode smartly to where her fellow Pecari students were gathered, Josephine hoped that others might be looking her way. Specifically gorgeous girls like Jordan Adair, so they could see that Josephine was no longer a dumpy, self-conscious loner, and boys like Topher Calhoun and Russell Layne. She didn't actually fancy either of them, specifically, but maybe if they noticed her, or if anyone thought she was impressicve beyond her test scores, then maybe that would be nice. She sat down with her heels together and her back straight, and tried to be subtle as she scanned the Hall to see whether anyone had watched her magnificently understated entrance.
0Josephine OwenStrutting my stuff196Josephine Owen05
Ayita was not surprised that Angel granted her request to join him; she had not expected him to turn her away, but asking was polite. Really she had only asked for manners. Those tended to be important to people, though maybe less so to her brother. He was very different than most people she encountered, but then again, so was she.
In fact, they were likely the oddest occupants of Sonora. She did not recall what Angel had been declared in the yearbook from the prior year, but the Pecari was issued the title of “Most Dazed and Confused”. In every yearbook she could remember from the school, she was this. Therefore her apparently confusion was obvious; she was always confused because she was odd, an Outsider to the Outside, trying to adjust. She did not know where Angel originally hailed from, but maybe he was odd in the same way she was.
It did not matter where they came from anymore, she reminded herself. They had a new home and a new family. They also had each other. Ayita liked that. Angel tossed away a page from his notebook and offered her some of his food. “Thank you, I will,” she replied cheerily, taking a couple of orange cubes in front of him. She was fairly sure the fruit was known as cantaloupe.
She only enjoyed a few, however, because her grey eyes return to the crumbled page Angel had dropped, suddenly curious about its content. Reaching down, the sixth year retrieved the paper, pausing instead of unfolding. She inquired, “Why did you throw this one away?” She had never gotten to see his work before, but often she had noticed him with a sketch book. “May I look at it?” Angel had thrown it away, but Ayita did not want to disrespect his privacy by examining the wadded paper without permission.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s fair,” Sophie stated bluntly. Amira maybe had not been placed where she would experience how unfair life was—or had she? Didn’t she have sick siblings or something?—but there were no laws or rules that could ever make reality fair. A lot of Sophie’s childhood was unfair, the losses she suffered so young. Ryan’s childhood was definitely not fair either; essentially getting tortured was completely wrong when he was so good.
Amira posed a good question in her hysteria, though. If Arista (or Ris, as her sister called her) wanted to play professionally, how would that happen now? Scouts could probably attend the practices or whatever, but that was completely different. The small blonde was not sure whether or not she wanted to play pro ball, mostly given how hard it would be to get a shot. Her size contradicted her talent, and being a girl definitely didn’t help. Professional teams were supposedly coed, but it was hard for women nonetheless. “I don’t know how we can get there,” she confessed.
At the workshop idea, the younger Pecari seemed please. Sophie let her react aloud, nodding to her comments about the roster not mattering. Really, what was the point of it? If someone wanted to explain it to her, she was willing to listen, but it made no sense to the seventeen year old why she would need a roster for a match that would never come.
Next she said something about limiting it to Pecari to surprise the other Houses next year. Sophie considered the idea for a moment before responding. “I think even if we include the other Houses, switching up the positions next year can come as a surprise. Even if we practice together all year, it’d be unsettling to watch someone play Seeker and then Chase against them next time.”
She paused. “I mean, I would like to include the other Houses because it seems like the curriculum is going to fall apart otherwise.” The other Captains might not have been as dedicated to the game as she was; what if they slacked off, let their teams down? Then their players would be out of luck. “For the sake of the players—not for victory—is why I’m saying. I guess since the next time Quidditch will matter you’ll be Captain, it’s your decision.” This year was overall wasted; sure, they could make progress practicing, but it was easier to learn what not to do in the high-pressure environment of a game than the relaxed atmosphere of a practice.
Brianna wasn’t sure what was wrong with Josh. He looked exhausted. She felt exhausted, but she hoped she didn’t look it the way that he did. She wondered how terrible his summer had been for him to look like that. In their correspondence, now that she realized it, she thought that most of it had been about her. But even if she had asked after him, would he have even told her the truth? Probably not. She didn’t know anything about him other than what little information her parents had found out for her. She didn’t know if they were friends or not. She thought they were because he had come to sit with her and make sure she was okay and he had given them money to help with medical expenses, so Brianna felt that made them friends, but he never talked to her about things. Instead, she just spilled all of her problems onto him. It wasn’t very nice of her.
And now she was expecting more of him.
He offered his assistance with her water therapy and, much to her surprise, Linus did as well. Brianna smiled, it was genuine and honest and probably the first real smile she had given in a long time. She hadn’t expected Linus to want to help and maybe he was only doing it to be polite, but she could use it when it came to getting to the commons and possibly to classes. She couldn’t very well keep Josh from doing his own studies all the time, so if Linus was willing to help as he claimed to be, it meant that Josh didn’t have to from time to time. “Really, Linus?” She asked him. “I’d really like that. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the common room. Plus, Josh, now you don’t have to worry so much and have time to do whatever you want.” She commented, looking his way for a moment and missing the look Linus had given him, however brief it had been.
Her back really was hurting. The ride to school had been too much for her and all she really wanted to do was take her potion and go to sleep. She didn’t want to end Linus’s evening so quickly if he wanted to finish his meal, so she would wait until he was ready. Knowing that she shouldn’t take the potion on an empty stomach, Brianna scooped up some soup of her own into a bowl. School food was so much better than hospital food.
“I think it has.” She answered. “After they repaired my spine and started regular therapy, I couldn’t move my legs at all. So, Jonah put me in the water because the resistance would balance me out. It seems to work, I didn’t need a chair or walker anymore and I can technically walk, I am just really slow at it.” She didn’t want to mention the fact that everything was still painful for her from all the damage that even magic couldn’t heal, but Josh already looked pretty unhappy and Linus didn’t need to know all the details.
“Oh, and he had me start in a synchronized swimmers group to help strength and connect my brain to my legs. It’s hard, but I kind of like it.”
Marcus was really excited to be back at Sonora. He had fun with his parents over the summer, and sometimes Martin visited with Tawny. Martin didn’t play with him like he used to (usually “play” meant “fly around on brooms and maybe run into each other”) when his wife was around, maybe because he was too old to hang out with his stupid little brother, but still. Spending time with them was nice. He liked Tawny because she was perfect for Martin.
Now the fun of summer was over, so it was time for the fun of Sonora. The blond enjoyed his classes and was eager to get back to them. Maybe this year he could get better grades; last year’s weren’t awful, but Dad said he wanted him to try a little harder. He was also looking forward to seeing his schoolmates again. Marcus didn’t have a lot of friends yet—mostly just Melanie and maybe Lucrezia, depending on if they saw him as friends too—but he was sure this would be the year he made bonds for life.
He was a little disappointed that his cousin Sally hadn’t been made Prefect, but it was okay because he knew that she probably did not want it. Sally didn’t ever seem to want authority or anything. plus, the girl that did win for Aladren was Nora, who he didn’t know well. He did know that she was Sally’s best friend, which meant he was certain his cousin was happy with the results. That meant he was too.
The Headmistress said there was no Quidditch this year, but Marcus didn’t really mind all that much. He liked playing, but he only played casually. For him, it was just about having fun, so practices would be fine. He was pretty sure other people who were really passionate about the game were probably upset, though, which was sad. At least there would be fun challenges! The thirteen year old was ecstatic to learn more about that.
As usual, for the singing, Marcus was probably one of the loudest and also one of the worst. He had fun singing, so he did it when he could. The only problem was for other people’s ears, because he was very off-key almost all of the time. The Teppenpaw did not seem notice his lack of talent, and if he did, he hardly minded.
All of the commotion-y bits ceased, and he began compiling a plate. Mostly he added chicken, because that was what he felt like today. (Funny, I don’t look like a chicken at all. Haha.) Next to him, his Quidditch teammate Carter asked if he would pass him the salt and pepper, Marcus shot a big grin. “Sure!” he replied cooperatively, grabbing and passing the desired seasonings. “Here you go.” He paused to allow a possible expression of gratitude, but he didn’t really need one. “Did you have a nice summer?"
12Marcus CrosbyEvery year is excellent!225Marcus Crosby05
A friendly greeting. Then the eyes widening before flicking her up and down as he took her name in. He knew about her family's politics then. She supposed that made sense for a family so political as the Pierces – one had to know what one was up against. It was those who did not care to step into the debate who tended to simply brainwash their children with the lie that theirs was the only point of view. Still, she was a little surprised as Thaddeus Pierce continued to talk to her. It gained him an iota of credit, although he was starting from a very low baseline. The Pierces were the cause of everything that was wrong with her life - and with everyone else's, although the majority of people were too stupid to acknowledge it. WAIL and DISCUSS. DISCUSS and WAIL. They were both equally stupid and equally to blame in her eyes, and both the fault of the Pierces. Without DISCUSS, WAIL would have run out of steam - it would have screamed itself hoarse with no one listening. But DISCUSS forced people over to its side. Instead of recognising them as idiots who couldn't string a logical idea together, DISCUSS made them the lesser of two evils. Once there were two, you could tango. You could create a situation where people were polarised and the sensible middle ground was lost. DISCUSS wouldn't have been such a powerful force if a Pierce had not thrown her weight behind it, polarising her family and gaining it all the attention that it really did not need or deserve. If it had been one sad, lone, sinful girl from a family no one cared about anyway, she too could have screamed herself hoarse without gaining the slightest bit of attention. The weight of the Pierces behind each side had set the ball in motion. It had been careening unchecked through all their lives since, dragging everyone in under its catastrophic gravity.
"That's very kind of you," she murmured, "How are the classes? Challenging?" she asked, in the tone of one who hoped they would be. She did not really feel she had much that she wanted to ask of him but it seemed courteous to avail herself of his offer. If the Pierce was being civil she should be too even if she took up her part in the interaction with a healthy dose of cynacism that he was trying to get to know the enemy rather than being genuinely pleasant. Highly political people should have been useful, in that they clearly had an interest in the ideas and were capable of using their brains but people with such strong convictions rarely changed their minds. She suspected the Pierce was a lost cause but, assuming there was anything genuine in his kindness, not being enemies off the field was a bonus she hadn't expected. It would be nice if not everyone in the school hated her as a person, even if they despised her politics. She had steeled herself against the idea that the two were seperable
"And," she added, once he had answered her original question, "What is there to join in the way of clubs and societies?"
13Francesca WolseithcrafteYou're only speaking to me due to an alterior motive?250Francesca Wolseithcrafte05
Carter heard a familiar voice beside him and was pleasantly surprised to see Marcus sitting next to him. He was holding out the salt/pepper shakers as Carter had requested and was grinning at him. Carter offered him a smile back and said, "Thanks man." He took the shakers from his teammate and sprinkled his food before setting them back onto the table. He was about to take a bite of his dinner when he heard Marcus' question. “Did you have a nice summer?" Carter nodded slightly as he put the bite into his mouth and chewed. Once he had swallowed it he replied. "It was decent," he began, shrugging slightly. "I spent most of it practicing for Quidditch, which seems to have been just for fun now..." he chuckled thinking about the Headmistress' announcement.
"The rest of it I spent getting to know my new baby sister, Payton. Outside of that I went to Effie and her sister's party. Gotta admit that was kind-of a first for me." He grimmaced awkwardly. "I mean I've been to formal parties before, but that was mostly for my parents and their friends so it was mostly adults. It was kind-of nice to be at a party where there were people my own age there. Other than that I vegged." He took a couple more bites off his plate giving himself a chance to eat while his food was still hot. Having spent most of his summer helping his mom take care of Payton hot meals were now kind of a luxury. Payton needed soo much time and attention that he found himself eating mostly cold sandwiches instead of hot food while she napped. He had to admit though that despite the attention she needed, his little sister was pretty neat.
Carter turned his attention back to his table mate and hoping he hadn't been too impolite returned Marcus' question. He was actually curious whether Marcus had a good summer or not. Where he didn't seem to be completely invisible here at Sonora, Carter really hadn't made many friends yet. Sure, Arista was cool and she took care of him out on the Quidditch field, but she was also a 7th year and he was pretty sure that she had other things she'd rather be doing than hanging out with a 12 year old. Not that he blamed her. There was always Wendy. He had taken an instant liking to her last term and was hoping to be able to say Hi again soon, but she was in Pecari House so he'd have to wait until their first class for that.
Then there was Carrie O'Malley. Carter still wasn't sure just what planet that girl came from, but he was hoping that despite the interest she seemed to have taken in him last term that she didn't feel he would require her attention this term. One can only hope he told himself. "I'm over here being rude and running my mouth and haven't even asked how your summer was," he apologized to Marcus. "What did you do this summer? Did you go to Effie's party too?" he asked the slightly older boy. He ate some more of his food while he waited politely for Marcus to answer.
“Congratulations,” Alex said, her tone deliberately neutral, when Cepheus said he had a cousin here now. She would have thought the chief charm of going to what, for him, was an international school would have been to have some time away from being surrounded by a crowd of relatives, but she supposed that if she’d taken that option, or any of them had, that the family would have just sent others along as soon as possible to keep an eye on them. It was expected that they would keep each other on the straight and narrow that way, and let the family know if someone deviated and refused to get back on just from their encouragement during the year; Alex herself didn’t carry tales, playing dull when her mother asked questions so that she imagined the Careys at large thought she was either stupid or at the very least not a social creature as well as unattractive, but she had never asked any of the others what they did.
She didn’t really hold it against them. If she had children, she’d use them the same way. The world was built on intelligence networks, and they, after all, were both a free one, which was never to be sneezed at, and the people who were just kids now but would be on their way to influencing things probably while their parents and grandparents were still alive. Knowing about them wasn’t as important as knowing about some people, but it was important, regardless of the expertise with several hexes she would display if she ever found someone reporting back on her.
“Better classes and challenges than dresses,” Alex said of the year to come, sentiments which were not exactly subversive, by family standards, but which approached being so. Most Carey girls would rather hex someone to win a game than host a tea party, but they weren’t supposed to admit it; what could not be eliminated could at least be denied. “As for the second, they’ll probably either be too easy or too hard, but tonight I’m going to hope for the best.”
She, too, examined the fruit, settling on a pear. “What’s your take on it?” she asked, since for all she knew he knew something she didn’t, or might just be better at guessing at how the teachers would think when creating a massive, all-inclusive tournament for their seven years of students.
Cepheus shrugged off Alex's congratulations. It wasn't really something he cared too much about, nor was it notable because Adam was not technically considered a true Princeton. He was only connected through his mum and Grandfather regarded that connection highly, though it was only because the Spencers had loads of money but not much prestige. The only way his daughter and son-in-law was going to receive any attention was through her connection to the Princetons.
Cepheus thought all that was silly; if he had daughters, he wouldn't try to share his power with them if they decided to marry wealthy nobodys. With all respect, he didn't have much respect for Adam's father, and he wasn't sure if his own father did either. Corvus had been a bit upset at his sister's wedding, or so Mum had said to Cepheus privately. But Ceph knew better than to say all this outloud. He kept his opinions to himself. Most of the time.
Fussing about clothes all day long was not something Cepheus was very interested about, and he was glad to find that Alex didn't seem very interested in that either. Cepheus liked looking sharp, certainly, but he couldn't go on and on fussing about it. Classes and challenges were definitely more interesting. "I agree, although I would be very concerned if my mother started talking to me about dresses." He grinned teasingly and took another bite of his apple as he pondered his take on everything that was currently going on here. He would have to get used to answering questions like a diplomat. When he was the patriarch of the family, the press would be asking him questions and Cepheus would have to learn how to answer both vaguely and directly.
"It'll definitely be interesting," he finally decided. "A good break from the monotony of school life. I'm really going to miss Quidditch though. I don't know how else I'm going to keep all my muscle." He didn't think it would be proper to talk about gaining weight and muscle with a lady, but he and Alex were on informal terms anyway. It wasn't like there was any visible muscle on his skinny frame anyway. For all Alex knew, he could be making a sarcastic joke. "The challenges have me intrigued. I suppose I'm looking forward to it. But poor first years." He smirked. "I'm sure they expected a relatively normal school when they came here. They won't know what hit them."
“Ooh, that sounds amazing. My parents are fine at cooking but they’re not very good at baking. Apparently though there’s a baking club here, run by a girl whose mum runs a bakery, so I’m really excited about joining. I’d love to be able to make all kinds of fancy cakes and cookies!” Charlie grinned, “There’s also a book club which my sister runs,” he added, rather matter of factly and out of the feeling of loyalty that told him he should give equal airtime to advertising his sister’s club even if it wasn’t nearly so delicious sounding.
“That was where my Father went!” he beamed enthusiastically, “That was probably his house too, if it’s the reading-y one. I forget what it was called but that sounds kind of familiar. Dad was a Pecari when he was here though. It’s funny how such different people can be happy together, isn’t it?” he pondered, inadvertently answering Julian’s unansked question. He tended to talk about his family without really worrying about whether it revealed how unconventional they were – after all, it wasn’t something he really considered it necessary to hide or feel uncomfortable about. “Nice though,” he added, smiling.
“How come you and your brother aren’t in the same school?” he asked. He didn’t really stop to consider whether that was an overly personal thing to ask, given that there was probably a good, possibly slightly unpleasant reason for the situation. Charlie tended to wear his heart on his sleeve, which meant he was very open about the few problems he had and hadn’t fully grasped that not everyone felt the same way about thier feelings, although he had learnt to make specific exceptions. Father, for example, did not tend to talk a lot about things that upset him. Not to Charlie anyway. He had decided that that was just how Father was though, rather than it being the case that Father was one of a particular type of people, more of whom he may encounter in life.
“That doesn’t sound strange at all and I couldn’t have put it better. That’s what I want to do too! Even when someone tells you what a building looks like, it’s not the same as seeing it. It’s not like my family had described like... every single route between places in ridiculous detail – no one does that and it’d be super boring to listen to but actually doing it, and seeing all the little details like all the pictures and stuff and working out how it all links up is going to be really exciting.”
13Charlie B-F-RHurrah! Always look on the brightside of life252Charlie B-F-R05
I'm glad you understood that's what I was referencing
by Henny B-F-R
Henny giggled a little at Alicia’s analogy regarding her brother – it was a very good one and she could just picture the scene, apart from not really knowing what Alicia’s brother looked like. She tried to recall whether he’d come to cheer on his sister at the concert as Charlie had done but nothing specific came to mind, and so she just pictured a boy version of her room mate.
“Not much different to what I wrote to you about. Studying and so forth. Packing. We went out for dinner on our last night.” There was also the fact that she had been mostly signed off by her therapist but leaving her room mate to interpret her lack of weekly absences was as close as she was getting to discussing that. She wasn’t even sure Alicia knew she went anywhere. Her room mate was very perceptive but it was only a couple of hours a week and it wasn’t like they were ordinarily glued to each other’s sides.
“I had to post off some assignments for my correspondence course by the end of the last week, so that kept me quite busy but they were fun. I wish Sonora did literature though...” she sighed. She had mentioned the course in her letters to Alicia, and possibly bemoaned the lack of teaching on it at the school too. Her passion had always been wizarding literature. She had thought she would be content with reading for her own amusement and discussing things with any similarly inclined friends – and so few schools offered the subject anyway – so it hadn’t seemed an issue to send her to Sonora. However, she was becoming more and more certain that it was what she wanted to study at University, and so had begun a course by post. A formal qualification was not necessary for most of the University programmes but it would be good to prove that she was passionate about the subject, as well as giving her a bit of a head start in those studies.
13Henny B-F-RI'm glad you understood that's what I was referencing211Henny B-F-R05
Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a fire.
by Julian U.
Julian thought both clubs sounded interesting. “Wow,” she said, smiling. “Those sound fun. It sounds like there’s a lot to do here.”
That was, in her mind, a definite plus to the school, even if it was a little scary to contemplate at the same time. Dealing with people and getting involved with activities made her nervous, but she still wanted to do it. She knew that while she would be uncomfortable at first, she would, if the people turned out to be nice enough and didn’t go out of their way to keep her uncomfortable, end up enjoying herself, especially in the two areas Charlie mentioned. Books and food were pretty much the foundations on which her house was built. The idea of tons of them not being around at pretty much all times and open for her to interact with was a little strange.
Dad and Father being happy together seemed to confirm what she had thought, which made Julian a little uncomfortable. This was one of the things her family sometimes argued about around the dinner table, and though she knew everyone’s arguments – her mother’s, her father’s, her older brothers’, her priest’s, still others on the news, since her parents didn’t believe in just knowing about one side – she had never really decided what she thought was right, except that she agreed with her mother that she ought to be nice, as far as possible, to everyone unless they were assaulting things she did really believe in, and even then that she ought to try to be polite even while she disagreed. Charlie was being perfectly nice to her, and they were not talking about Issues right now, just about a similarity in their family histories, so she just said, “yes, it is,” and let the conversation move on.
“My dad says he doesn’t believe in coincidences, but I think I have to believe in coincidences now,” she said. “What were the chances we’d have families from the same school and then come to the same other school and be in the same House?”
She shrugged a little when asked about the school situation. “Well, Stephen didn’t like it very much there,” she said. “And some of Dad’s family had come here – Mom’s Muggleborn, so she didn’t really get a choice, but he did, and his sister came here instead – so we decided to give it a try. Stephen’s going to leave at the end of this year, and my first little brother, John, he won’t come to any school until we’re fifth years, so it wasn’t really about being with them.”
She was glad to hear that she wasn’t too strange, at least in Charlie’s opinion, so if she was, at least she had some company. “We’ll have to go exploring sometime,” she declared. “Maybe this weekend would be good? Maybe some of the others – “ she gestured vaguely toward the other Teppenpaw first years – “would want to come, too, do you think we should ask them later?” She liked making plans, having a feeling of having a plan, even if it wasn't something hugely important.
16Julian U.Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a fire.254Julian U.05
I am the Grand Mistress of comprehension.
Henny’s correspondence course was something Alicia had found interesting, and she had spent bits of time during her summer looking around for similar things she might do over this summer, though she hadn’t told her roommate about it because she had had no desire to look like a copycat. Her desire, after all, didn’t extend from a desire to do whatever Henny did, though she had to admit she had no liking for anyone knowing something she didn’t; it was because she realized that by taking a correspondence course – or better yet, something she spent time at some kind of campus for over the summer – she would have a perfectly valid excuse for spending even less time than usual with her relatives while she was home.
“It is too bad,” she agreed. “We could have had some great times with that. Have you found out how you did yet? And are there any more courses you could keep working on while we’re here?”
Truthfully, she sort of hoped there were not, since if Henny took on an extra class then Alicia would have to at least attempt it, too, and that would be a lot of work on top of the lot of work she was already doing all the time, but she said it anyway. There was always part of her, whatever the logical part of her mind told her about biting off more than she could chew, that couldn’t resist the thought of one more challenge; she recognized it, she knew it was a little off, but she couldn’t quite get past it anyway. She knew, too, in the end, that she would meet the challenge, and what was a little extra sleep deprivation beside that?
As she listened for the answer, she glanced up the table and spotted Thad talking to a first year, and the corners of her mouth lifted for a moment into a fond smile as she looked back at Henny. He really was good at playing that part with the firsties; he’d done it last year, too, around talking to her. If she lost the prefect’s badge to anyone, she would rather it was him, though she didn’t plan on putting up with any whining from him if she did get the badge anyway. He was already sure to get Quidditch captain; he could spare her one victory until they got to the first and only two-person prize of their education.
16AliciaI am the Grand Mistress of comprehension.210Alicia05
Mellie turned even redder, if that was possible, when Jhon told her she deserved the badge she hadn’t expected to get, and she ducked her head to try to conceal it. “Thanks,” she said. “Really.” If, after all, it had ever occurred to her that she might become prefect, she would have been worried about her roommates being upset about it, so it was good to see one, at least, was okay with things.
“That’s great!” she said when Jhonice said she’d had a great summer. “Mine was good, too – mostly I was just, you know, at home and stuff, but for two weeks, we – my parents and me, I mean – we went camping somewhere in the Rockies, and that was just amazing, it was really beautiful out there.”
The vacation had been remarkable, but Mellie didn’t think she could find the words to describe it. The mountains, the grass, the lakes…She was from Illinois, used to flat land all around as far as she could see, and more than that she was a city girl, so she was really more used to seeing tall buildings and concrete than she was to seeing flat land. Being out in the middle of nature had been a real shock to her system, but in the best way, she thought. Her parents had really enjoyed it, too; Dad had seemed happier than she’d seen him in ages, and both of her parents had completely forgotten to complain about their supervisors, as far as she had heard, the whole time they’d been out there.
She realized, though, that she was rambling too much. Her head, she guessed, was still not quite on straight after the surprise. “So, what did you do?” she asked. “What are the fantastic details?” She thought Jhonice was a better talker than she was, anyway, so listening would definitely work better than speaking for a minute, plus she was really interested.
Waverly was really glad Clara had learned to fly and it was a little of her happiness for her friend and a lot of her inner joy from the summer that made her seem extra excited for Clara. “I’m so proud of you!” she squealed. “That’s awesome! You can finally fly! We’ll have to go flying sometime on the pitch. It’s really cool.” She beamed at Clara, but was startled by Rupert’s sudden outburst about no Quidditch this year. Apparently he hadn’t really been listening, but that was okay because Waverly hadn’t really been listening too much either.
“It’ll be okay, Rupert,” she said, putting a hand on his arm. “Don’t worry. I’m sure you can find other Quidditch players to set up mock games or something.” She wanted to hug him, but she wanted to hug everyone all the time nowadays. Instead, she beamed at him as a way to comfort him without actually breaking into his personal bubble.
“A debutante ball? That sounds kind of fun, I guess. What did you do?” She paused. “Um, what do you do at a debutante ball? Is it like dancing with food?” She had watched period movies with her mom and they had balls sometimes, like in Pride and Prejudice. She didn’t think Clara or Rupert had seen that movie, but maybe that was the kind of life they lived in, being purebloods. Sometimes Waverly wondered what that was like, but right now she loved her life just the way it was.
She hadn’t mentioned that over the summer she had spent lots and lots of time with Eris and had gotten her ears pierced too. It was healed now so she could wear hoops and long earrings. She was just wearing small pearls on her earlobes now that would have stood out more if her brown hair was tied up. The pearl earrings had been her first pair of earrings from her mom and were currently her favorite.
Waverly didn’t really know who Effie Arbon was, though she had heard her name around the small school. She did know how to answer the next question, though. “I think it’s going to go really great!” she gushed. “I’m really glad the school is trying something kind of new. At least new since I’ve been here. It would be even more fun if we could do the challenges with friends.” Waverly had lots of friends and she loved it.
Though it was hard for her to leave Brandon (and to stop thinking about him constantly), she was excited to meet the new first-years. Brandon would be starting high school this year and she was just a little sad that she would be missing out on high school dances and prom and stuff. She wouldn’t be able to be his date to any of those events and she was super bummed about that. But it would be okay. They could write letters even if it was in a weird, indirect way: from owl to mom to post office to Brandon. He couldn’t know that she was a witch till they got married, and though Waverly was sometimes bursting with the desire to tell him, she thought she could wait till then.
It wasn’t clear to Josh as to why Linus Macaulay would offer his services to help Brianna. To his knowledge, Linus and Brianna weren’t very close. Then again, Brianna was sure to have friends that Josh was didn’t know about. He was surprised by the glare Linus shot him. Josh hadn’t interacted much with the boy at all to warrant a glare, but it must’ve been Josh’s reputation that did it. There must be some sort of protectiveness that Linus felt for Brianna. It seemed like Brianna, as much as she moaned and groaned about having no friends or anyone who cared about her, had plenty of boys who did care. Josh didn’t give a glare back, but turned to look at Brianna who was looking his way.
God, her injuries sounded so horrible. Josh had temporarily forgotten about her broken spine and her pain almost felt like a sharp needle was going through his body. He hated thinking that someone like her, one of his friends, had gone through something like that. Jonah, he guessed, was her therapist. He was an idiot in sending Brianna back to school. If she couldn’t walk much, they could have sent her her work by post or something, couldn’t they?
At least Brianna was finding some happiness in synchronized swimming. “That’s good,” he said. “Are you going to try and keep up that synchronized swimming here?” He paused. “I guess there are no synchronized swimmers here officially, but I’m sure you could find people who would be interested.” Sonorans, from his observation, always seemed open enough to try new things. There were purebloods in a baking club, for instance, and Josh could not see the point of learning how to bake like a muggle or however they baked in that club.
He poured himself a glass of water and downed it all, wondering if he should acknowledge Linus’s existence after he had sent him that glare. Linus was an ally only through Brianna; otherwise he didn’t doubt the Crotalus would brush him off in a second. Thinking of getting to school made Josh wonder about the wagon ride, and he decided to ask. There was no harm in it unless she outright lied to him. “How was the wagon ride here?” he asked carefully. “Does it…still hurt?” Even after having a broken back, he was sure magic could take away the pain, his faith in it was so great, but he would be watching Brianna carefully just in case.
But what could he do? Stand on the side, watching her wince and walk slowly throughout the castle, getting angry at his inability to help. Josh made a mental note to begin experimenting with pain-lessening potions, though he knew too much tampering could make those potions highly dangerous.
0Josh McLachlanCan't deny the truth.0Josh McLachlan05
Rory nodded, committing the name to memory. She thought it was funny that her first friend’s name started with an A, just like most of her family. The only exceptions in her family were her dad, Kristian, and her little brother, Kristian Jr. Her mom was Anne, her sisters were Abby and Alec, and her other brother was Adam. Her stepparents even had A names, Al, which she was pretty sure was short for Alan, and Ariadne. She technically had one too, Aurora, but she liked Rory better. It would be easy to remember her roommate’s name since it blended so well with the other names she had lived with.
She noticed Analea had gotten quieter as she spoke, and she had a little lisp. Rory didn’t care though. She was glad that the girl was nervous and scared too. She was used to being the only nervous one to read in front of the class or try something even the slightest bit different. It was nice to know that at least one of the new kids was worried about starting Sonora too. Rory had been so sure that she would be the only one so nervous about learning magic. She had seen Ariadne and her dad use it most of her life, and she had had her fair share of accidental magic. Learning to do it on purpose though was scary though. What if she was bad at it?
“Analea’s a pretty name,” she said, because it was the first thing that came to her mind. That was what adults always said when her dad called her Aurora. She always thought it sounded like an old lady’s name. “Um, are you excited? Do you come from a magical family?”
The second question had escaped her on accident. She didn’t know a whole lot about the magical world, but she knew that some people were picky about what kind of families people had. Ariadne and her dad had always made sure that she knew that didn’t matter though. Her stepmom was a pureblood, but her dad was a muggleborn and they both seemed to have the same amount of magic to her. Rory desperately hoped Analea didn’t take it the wrong way. She didn’t want her to dislike her before they even reached their dormitories.
She tried to form a correction in her head before saying it. She didn’t want to wait for the girl to be offended though, so she let one tumble out quickly and without much thought. “I, um, didn’t mean that to be rude. It doesn’t matter. I was just curious.” She busied herself with filling her plate because she was far too embarrassed to look Analea in the eye.
0Rory RoyaleMaybe we'll be less nervous together0Rory Royale05
Andri wasn't sure what she was supposed to feel. There were so many strange emotions running through her mind. Ones she wasn't used to, nor did she ever want to see again. Andri was a happy girl on a normal basis. Her day was great as long as she learned something. She made it a point that if she hadn't learned anything new before crawling into bed she picked up one of her books and flipped to a random page and learned something she hadn't ever understood before.
But this... This was odd. It was sort of happy, because this news meant that she didn't have to worry for another year about ending up on the bench. She knew she had drive to play, but she knew she didn't have as much as the older boys did. Sure, she dreamed to be first string with Kitty, but there was always next year or the year after for that for double trouble to be together. (Okay, so double trouble was the nickname that Andri herself gave the pair of them, not anyone else, nor had anyone else known about it, including Kitty.)
But she was sad and angry too. No Quidditch matches this year meant that Arista lost her last chance at being able to get onto a professional team. Andri knew that was what Ris wanted, and now her chance had been taken away.
Andri had been thinking deeply, mind roaring with activity and emotions when she realized that not only had Kitty been screaming at the news, but she was also crying large tears. It was clear to Andri that Ris and Mira weren't the only people who were seriously broken up over the announcement and Andri wished that she knew a way to take away their pain, their anger, and bring back what they love and want so much.
When Andri asked softly if Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau really said what she'd said, she looked at Kitty. Her older friend wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Andri guessed that Kitty had been trying to stop the tears from coming, but wasn't having much luck. The younger Aladren didn't say anything to her friend, she wanted to give her the chance to express what she felt, then later on Andri would be more than happy to pick up the pieces.
When Kitty answered in one word in the curt way that only her older teammate could use, Andri nodded solemnly and sighed.
"You know, its okay to cry when you're sad or angry... Its healthier to do it that way, much more than holding it all inside of you. All it does is fester there and then when it rears its ugly head... Merlin, is it ugly... My Momma always told that to us." she said, looking at her friend, hoping what she'd said at least helped a little bit...
Clara beamed at the praise from Waverly. She was just as proud of herself for being able to fly now as Waverly was to hear the news. She had been trying to fly without injuring herself for almost 5 years with no success. It felt good to finally be able to do something without hurting herself. Granted there were plenty of oppertunities to harm ones self still open for the plucky 13 year old. Classes were certainly always interesting because you never quite knew just how a spell or potion might go totally awry. Her last attempt at color changing, for example, left her and her cousin Bri different colors literally. This year she would DADA and gods only knew what that might have her doing and if she can manage to do it without accidentally blowing something up.
When she heard Rupert mention a debutante ball Clara gave him the same quizzical face that Waverly seemed to. She found herself wondering the same question as Waverly. "What do you do at a debutante ball?" she mirrored Waverly's question almost exactly. She found herself sorta scratching her head on that one. She had been to a few fancy parties due to her grandparents and other members of her family, but she couldn't for the life of her say whether those had counted as "debutante" parties. She was slightly intrigued now. "Is that like a fancy clothes party or something?" she asked Rupert, tilting her head of unruly red hair slightly. "Sounds like a strange question, but you have to keep in mind that I live in the middle of wine country in California...never exactly heard of those kinds of parties. What exactly are they for?" she asked both of them not really caring if it made her sound like somekind of half-wit. Clara was pretty sure most of the time people debated as to whether or not she was goofy on purpose or if it was because she had been dropped too many times on her head as a baby. She never did quite find it necessary to ask which. She looked from Rupert to Waverly as she waited eagerly for an answer.
Rupert noticed Waverly seemed a little happier than normal, but he didn't think it was all that strange. His house-mate always seemed to be really happy about everything. Rupert considered himself quite optimistic and most definitely an extrovert, but he couldn't keep it up for as long as she could. From what he'd seen, of course.
The word 'débutante' didn't seem to be a familiar word to either witch and he felt a little proud that he could share his knowledge of pure-blood affairs even if he wasn't proud that he always participated in them. "In a sense, it's a 'coming out' ball," he told them. "A pure-blood lady does that when it's time for her to officially be introduced into society. After her ball, she's allowed to attend social events, like private or public balls, and socialise with others and make connections of her own. Although, if you ask me, it doesn't seem to me that the Arbons do much socialising. They live on an island all on their own."
It confused Rup still as to why anyone would want to have their own island and live on it without any visitors, but he didn't always understand the pure-bloods anyway. "There was dinner and dancing and loads of chatting, but that was about it. I danced with Effie's sister and got to know her a bit. That might have been the only fun part." He was very glad that the wizards of their society weren't expected to do that. He was also glad he didn't have any sisters who would have to go through such a thing. He wasn't sure how it worked for his female cousins, really.
Alex didn’t trouble to stop herself from laughing when Cepheus said he’d be concerned if his mother talked to him about dresses. She did not have a loud or very high-pitched laugh anyway – it was more of a noise from her chest and nose than her throat – and the remark was funny. Besides, she thought she was in no danger whatsoever of ever marrying him, so she didn’t worry as much about things as she might have.
Not that she worried too much about impressing boys anyway. She knew she was too plain and too contrary to ever win anyone over with her charms, so if someone did marry her, it would be because they wanted all her father’s money someday and a connection to the Louisiana Careys in the meantime, not because of her immaculate manners or shining personality. For her, anyway, there was a great freedom in knowing that and accepting it; she felt almost sorry, sometimes, for pretty girls like Theresa and Lissy, and naïve ones like Lucille, who did still think about those things all the time. She had to stay within the limits of propriety, of course, but she wasn’t worried about achieving absolute perfection, at least not most of the time, and that was much more comfortable than the appearance of what the others seemed to go through.
“I’d say that would be a problem, yes,” she agreed dryly. “Though a ‘nice empire waistline in lavender’ – “ her voice rose for a moment in imitation of her mother’s before dropping back into its usual register – “might look better on you than it would on me.” If Cepheus grew his hair down to his shoulders and let someone curl it, and put on enough makeup, he might pass for a plain girl, she thought. He did better as a pretty boy, but it was, now that she thought about him and a dress in the same sentence, not an impossibility, if the world and everyone in it happened to go completely mad sometime.
She didn’t see what muscle Cepheus was talking about that he was afraid to lose from the lack of Quidditch, but knew – it was an unavoidable thing when you were close cousins with Theresa who was close cousins with Arnold whose life very nearly seemed to revolve around the sport – that Seekers were hardly weaklings in spite of usually being small men or women. “If worst comes to worst, there’s always MARS,” she suggested.
She laughed again about the poor, unfortunate first years. “Poor them,” she agreed. “I guess they’ll just have to adjust their expectations. Welcome to Sonora, first years.” The school usually wasn’t as unexpected as that, but it did have the potential to be an interesting place no matter what the staff had them doing any given year. Really, she thought, in the end it was all down to who happened to be born between two Septembers that made one school experience and not another more than special activities.
Uh-oh... I feel sorry for your feet already
Percival's eyes moved back to the dish he had randomly picked at her response. Chicken? Was it really...? "Only joshing." she interrupted before his train of thought got any farther. She was giggling, so he smiled back at her and chuckled, "That would be strangest looking chicken I had ever ever seen." He nodded at her response to his name question. Maybe it was allowed to be a bit more familiar with classmates and such. "Ginny it is then, if that is what you prefer." He thought for a moment about the questions she pummeled him with. "I'm honestly not really sure if I like Percival or not, it is my father's name so it seems like it should get some respect. On the other hand, until a few months ago, I was just Percy. Then my parents decided that it was time I took my proper place in the family, so now I get to be Percival Everett Waterford II. As I understand things," which he didn't really at all yet, "it depends greatly on the formality of the event and to get me used to it, everything has been formal." He sighed quietly, "I don't mind if you want to call me Percy instead."
"You might be onto something there," He responded to her Quidditch suggestion, "I could sign up, see if I even make the team and such without actually having to worry about it and fouling up in front of the whole school when everyone is depending on me. It would be a free trial year to see if I'm even any good at it." Something else was nagging at him from something that she had said, "You're not allowed to play? Why not?" As soon as he asked he realized that had been a horribly rude question, "I'm sorry," he quickly followed up while turning red, "That wasn't.. umm... just ignore me. Yes. Forget it."
"Yeah, I guess we will see what happens with the challenges. It would be nice to get in a group with at least one person I know." The thought of him in a group of people that he didn't know but they all knew each other unnerved him, "Granted if I may now include you, I know a grand total of two people at the school. I guess it will be a little bit before the teams get posted and we will get to know some of our other classmates by then as well, right?"
2PercivalUh-oh... I feel sorry for your feet already1502Percival05
Well, that, and because it is polite to be polite.
by Thad Pierce
His smile turned genuine (it had previously been a politely friendly sort of expression, like candidates made to potential voters, so the teachers could see he was being kind and engaging with the first year) as she turned the conversation from introductions that were somewhat fraught with potential to go badly to a topic much more fundamental and agreeable among members of Aladren: classes. "The classes are pretty challenging," he granted, letting his tone suggest that they could have been improved with a little more challenge, but they were generally challenging enough to hold interest. "Some teachers recommend supplemental material, so if you go through all of those, it's definitely worthwhile. The basic readings are more aimed at the average student." As she was an Aladren now, Thad naturally assumed Francesca was better than merely average. It was a House conceit, admittedly, but one he'd only rarely seen disproved. "Professor Fawcett is our Head of House, so he caters to us more than some of the other teachers, with lots of homework and readings, but none of them are really push-overs in the core subjects. Professor Olivers in Charms is kind of flamboyant, which turns some people off, but she's competent enough. Professors Levy and Skies both know what they're doing. Levy gets substitutes a lot though. She's got young twins at home or something and sometimes has to take time off. She used to be an Auror, though, so she's very knowledgeable and keeps good disciple when she is there. Professor Skies was new last year, so I didn't have her for beginner classes, but she kept the Intermediate level class challenging."
He tried to remember if he was forgetting anything important. "We lost our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, so that's going to be all substitutes unless they hire a new one soon, which is unfortunate. I read a lot of supplemental books on the subject and hope that'll be enough to get me through the CATS next year. And you'll have Flying Lessons, of course. Um." He wasn't quite sure how to address Flying Lessons to a Wolseithcrafte, especially a female one. He decided to keep it very basic and not mention the coach at all. "It's a pretty easy grade. That one's not challenging unless you have trouble riding a broom. No homework, tests, or readings. You just need to participate in class and fly across the Pitch and back for the final."
Francesca's second question was almost as good as the first for redirecting them back to safer grounds. "We have three formal clubs this year, I believe, if all of the ones we had last year continue. There's a cooking club that meets in the potions room and bakes really tasty desserts. Personally, I'm a fan of the brownies," he offered with acknowledged bias on the topic. "We also have a book club that meets in the library, where everyone reads the same book then we get together to discuss it. If you only join one club, I highly recommend that one. The third is the Horse Lover's Club, but I don't love horses, so I don't know much about it," he admitted. "For all of them, there will be signs with meeting places and times, so keep an eye out for them on the bulletin boards if you're interested."
"Was there a particular kind of club you were hoping for?" he asked curiously. "The administration is pretty accommodating about letting students create new ones."
1Thad PierceWell, that, and because it is polite to be polite.213Thad Pierce05
"Okay, point taken. It doesn't matter to them if its fair or not. But they're educators, and we are the students... Doesn't that matter?"
When Amira went on to talk about the fact that she knew her oldest sister wanted to play professionally and when Sophie said she didn't know, Mira sighed again. What can be done? she thought as Sophie spoke about her idea for a workshop.
Mira pointed out the fact that she thought it should be just Pecari and Sophie explained what she was thinking. "Well, that's true... I didn't think of it that way... This is why we have Captains and Assistant Captains. Two heads are better than one." she replied, putting her thinking face on. "Let's do it." Amira finished, when a definitive nod of her head.
"Sophie? Uhm..." she started, unsure of the best way to ask the question she was about to ask. "How did you decide who would play what position? Was it easy to judge?" Lack of confidence in her character was not normal for the hot-headed fifth year, so these thoughts were quite worrisome.
Amira, understanding the unfortunate lack of games this year, and not being able to really watch Sophie as she chooses her first strings, was terribly worried about next year. It wasn't that she didn't think she was a leader in her own right, she knew she was. The role of seeker was going to produce quite a bit of unwanted drama and she didn't think that would be good in any sense of the word. The fifth year wanted her Captain's expert advice now more than ever. The last think she wanted was for Pecari's team to suffer losses under her Captaincy!
Figures, adults always do stuff like this
“Yeah.” Kitty grumbled as she took her napkin and blew her nose. Sure it might be healthier and all that, but as the only girl in a house full of older brothers it wasn’t something Kitty enjoyed doing. At least in cases like this where she didn’t want to cry. Tears had their place in the grand scheme of things, and that place was getting older brothers to feel bad and do whatever she wanted them to do. It was amazing what a trembling lip and watery eyes could accomplish.
But this crying was different, it was against her will and just added to her anger. Kitty sniffled a bit before forcing the rest of the tears away and drying her eyes. That was quite enough of that, and she wasn’t going to keep crying in front of everyone like a big baby. Straightening up, Kitty offered Andri a watery smile. “So, what do you think these challenges are all about?” She wondered out loud as she scooped some mashed potatoes onto her plate.
If it hadn’t come at the cost of Quidditch, Kitty would have been happy about the challenges. She loved competition in all its forms, even Monopoly became intense when played with the small girl. “I bet my team will win! Oh I hope we’re on the same team,” Kitty said excitedly, her earlier upset fading fast under the weight of the new idea.
0KittyFigures, adults always do stuff like this0Kitty05
“Why did you throw this one away? Ayita asked, after accepting a portion of his food. Angel tilted his head slightly, allowing him to better watch her out of the corner of his eye. Many people were bothered by the fact that the albino boy rarely looked at them, preferring to keep his strange red eyes down cast. As a young boy, he’d been punished often for looking at his mother, and later his caretaker so now looking at another person straight on made him feel uncomfortable.
“Always do. Keep if you want it.” Angel said softly, the pencil never stopped its endless sketching. Her face appeared, a rare smile touching her lips. He couldn’t recall the moment he drew, but he remembered that he liked it when she smiled. Balls of crumpled up drawings were common with Angel, he never kept his art. Any time he finished a sketch, or wished to start something new, he would simply tear the top page free and throw it away. He’d learned over the summer that it wasn’t good to just throw them on the floor, so he usually used the trash can, but at school it was easy to forget since the elves kept the floors clean.
Angel’s speech, writing, and reading comprehension had all improved but the pale boy still had a tendency to drop words that he didn’t feel were needed to convey his thoughts. This was most prominent when he spoke, with writing he was able to think of the words as a structure that needed to be followed, so his sentences were better because he could actually see them. There were still times when he had difficulty finding the right word, but Angel could usually find a good equivalent and at times a poor one. Reaching out, he plucked one of the cantaloupe cubes out of the dish and ate it.
Ruby eyes flicked over the others at the table briefly, and paused in confusion when he noticed that some of the students appeared to be upset. He dropped his gaze back to the sketch pad, staring at the face of his new sister, content with the remembered smile as he chose to ignore the current unrest.
Derry's summer had been a good one. He'd joined the summer baseball league again, and his nephew Ben was was four now, which was almost old enough to do stuff with. So the summer also included trips to the Science Museum and the Aquarium and the New England Zoo and all those sorts of places you bring a kid who is starting to learn about the world around him. Derry hadn't seen any of those before either, so they had been fun. At times, he thought Ben's reactions to the animals and exhibits were better than the animals and exhibits themselves, so he was glad he'd waited to go with Three and Gabby instead of just with Mom when he'd found out they existed last year.
He'd sent letters and photographs of their adventures (still, muggle-style ones, since wizarding cameras wouldn't have looked quite right next to the tiny digital cameras muggles used these days, though Gabby claimed they used to blend in better) to Reggie and some of his other classmates, including Maddie and Hope and Josephine and one or two even to Addie and the Ben who had been his roommate before he left Sonora. He thought about sending a couple to Laurie, too, but wasn't sure Laurie's family would approve of muggle photos, so he just sent letters to his fellow Beater and tried not to talk to much about muggle stuff. Thad had received similarly edited versions of the summer written to him, though Derry had filled in the blanks on the wagon ride back to school. Derry only left them out in the first place in case Grandmother ever read them so she wouldn't decide that Thad shouldn't be corresponding to Derry after all. Thad himself didn't mind hearing about muggle things because Thad couldn't stand not knowing anything, and that went doubly true if Derry did know it.
Getting off the wagon, Derry walked to the Hall with his younger cousins but they all split off to their respective House tables once they got there. Derry found Reggie and sat down with her, grinning cheerfully in greeting and saying, "Hey. Welcome back." They chatted a bit, but soon the Sorting interrupted them, and then the announcements.
Derry cheered Laurie's prefect promotion loudest. The others he didn't know as well, and he hadn't voted for either of new Heads, though he clapped for both of them, having only a Quidditch-related bias against David getting his badge, and nothing at all against Sara.
He was just starting to get excited about the Challenges that would go along with the midsummer event, and wonder who he should ask to the dance itself, when both thoughts were temporarily startled aside when he found out Quidditch Games were cancelled for the year. He momentarily touched the Assistant Captain badge Amelia, er, Coach Pierce, had given him just that morning (the advantage to being the Coach's relative, he guessed, was getting Quidditch badges early so she didn't have to bother tracking him down in the school when she was handing out the other new badges) and kind of wished she'd warned him about this. He wasn't even angry or even really upset about. Just surprised.
But he got through the school song, and wasted no time in filling his plate full of food once that appeared. Reggie offered further distraction, and he grinned, "I found a girl who wasn't boring to dance with the whole time. Then you have both an interesting conversation and something to do and most people won't interrupt to introduce you to more boring people. It's the only way to make it through with your sanity."
0Derry PierceCan we get beginner lessons again?0Derry Pierce05
Although Nora had spent a good deal of time at Great-Grandfather Frank's with her cousins, and had a rather good time, though she knew they were all there to keep Willow's mind off of things, the Aladren was glad to be back at school. Fifth year was a big year. Later, there were the CATS which she expected to ace, of course. Now, however, more immediately were the prefect announcements and as wonderful of a candidate as Sally would have made,Nora had a pretty good feeling about that too.
Not that she would be too upset if her friend got it. The other Aladren had been going through some rough things lately. Still, well, prefect was something that Nora had wanted for as long as she could remember, before even coming to Sonora. For as long as she had known such a thing existed. Nora had always thought she was a shining example of what a prefect should be-especially given her Sorting into Aladren. She was mature, responsible, intelligent-a model student. The sort of person Sonora should be proud to have representing their organization.
First, though the new first years had to be Sorted, she watched her cousin turn yellow for Teppenpaw. So far, things were going just as predicted. Nora was not the type who assumed that things would have to go a certain way-like if Willow had gone into Crotalus, it would have had no bearing on how anything things would go for the fifth year later-but for her there was a certain predictability to the world. The Aladren was the sort who could figure out how a story would end half way too. It was probably why she didn't read fiction all that much. it took all the fun out of things if you knew what was going to happen.
As soon as the first years were settled down at their tables, Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau asked the Head Boy and Girl to join her on stage, the very next name called after theirs, however, was Nora's, followed by those of Laurie, Paul and Mellie. Not that she necessarily noticed who her fellow new prefects were initially. She was too excited as she stood there recieving the badge yet she presented herself in a completely dignified manner. It would never do to shame herself, her family and that of her betrothed, her house and the office of prefect.
Nora returned to her seat, and attached her gleaming badge to her robes, prominently displaying it. She listened to politely to the rest of the Headmistress's speech. The loss of Quidditch obviously didn't bother her, she didn't play and would have had no use for doing so had she been allowed. Besides, how many more times did people need it beat into their heads that Aladren had the best team in the school? The challenges sounded far more interesting, a way to get more people involved. She just hoped there would be some more intellectually based for the sake of those whose brains surpassed their physical capabilities.
She sang the school song in a clear strong voice, neither the best nor the worst about, but she felt so much pride and happiness tonight.
Analea watched as Rory nodded, seemingly to remember her name. Maybe I can have real friends here? Not the fake ones that say they're your friend, real true friends... she thought as a small smile crept up to her face after the compliment on her name.
“I think Rory’s pretty too… I had a friend Rory once, years ago. Her full name was Aurora, is yours?” she asked, still quiet, barely loud enough for Rory to hear her, much less anyone else. When Rory started asking question, Ana was a little shocked for a few seconds, but got herself back to reality and answered her new friend (hopefully) and roommate. “I’m excited, but I’m scared too… As you can surely tell, I have a lisp and…” she paused, sighed and glanced down at her plate in front of her.
When Rory’s second question came about, Ana took it as an escape from the rest of her answer to the first. She nodded. “Well, sorta. Mommy’s pureblood, but Dad’s a Muggle.” she started. “It’s okay, I didn’t think you were being rude. We’re halfies as some people say.” Ana was still only talking loud enough for Rory to hear her. So far, it seemed as if Rory wouldn’t care about her lisp, and she hoped it was true!
Rory started filling her plate, Ana knew she should too, but she wanted to find out more about her new roommate. This could well be the first person, other than family, who wouldn’t make fun of her either to her face or behind her back, in her whole life.
In some ways, this past summer changed everything. Yet, somehow, everything was exactly the same as it had always been. He still lived in the same house, still went to the same school, still lived with the same people he had lived with for two years already.
The only difference was that now he had a dad where before his mom had a boyfriend. He probably wouldn't much, due to habit more than any distaste or intentional stubbornness, but he could now call himself Sullivan Quincy-Tellerman of the Calinfornia Pierces if he wanted to. Simon had insisted on a formal adoption of both Sully and Karen. Fortunately, he hadn't insisted on a moniker of 'Dad' because that would have just been weird. He had been 'Simon' for far too long even if the title hadn't been completely foreign to Sully and his sister.
Still, Sully kind of liked having a dad now. He could have done without the junior groomsman tux and the whole affair of the wedding as put on by the California Pierces, but having a dad was cool. For the first time, when Simon took him out for a just-us-guys outing, Sully had actually enjoyed riding a broom.
He still wasn't about to lose his mind and do anything as insane as join the Quidditch team, but he could now admit that maybe brooms weren't completely useless.
Returning to school was always a mixed blessing. Being Simon's son didn't change that. The food was still better here. His room was bigger, his bed more comfortable, and being the only guy in his house and year, he didn't have to share the space with anyone. Plus, Karen wasn't here. These perks, sadly, were aggravated by needing to go to class and do homework and, this year, find a date for the stupid ball. Worst of all, this was his CATS year, so there was the additional threat of impending doom as they approached.
He was already feeling pessimistic about his fifth year as he entered the Cascade Hall. His eyes swept over the Pecari table, finding first Jhonice who actually had a reason to stalk him now, he guessed, but she was aleady sitting with Mellie, so he was safe from her for now. Next they landed on Josephine Owen, who he could recognize from class but who had never made much of an impression on him before.
'Before' being the operative word there.
Maybe it was because he was fifteen now. Maybe it was because of the unavoidable and upcoming dance. Maybe it was because she had gotten beautiful over the summer. But he was noticing her now.
He screwed up his courage - he was a Pecari, he was supposed to have something like courage, he thought; nobody ever heard of cowardly adventurers, after all - and sat down across from her. He even managed a hi, but that was as far as his courage held out.
The Headmistress started talking and sorting, then, so it didn't get too awkward. Sully had no connection to any of the new first years, so he wasn't really paying that part of it much attention. Mostly, he was thinking about what came next: prefect announcements.
He didn't expect to get it. He wasn't even sure he wanted it. But the hope/dread of his name being summoned after the Heads got badged was, he imagined, as much a rite of passage as the CATS were.
It turned out to be Mellie for Pecari this year, and Sully's shoulders slumped at little but he wasn't surprised or even disappointed, much. He was neither social, or active in school clubs or Quidditch, and the only time he emerged from the middle of the pack academically was when he fell behind. There had been no logical reason to expect he might even have made the short list.
He had no idea why he had held his breath and hoped to hear the Headmistress call out Sullivan Quincy.
The talk of the challenges and Quidditch's cancellation largely passed him by, though he did look up in surprise and confusion at the loud student outcry at the latter announcement. Once he figured out it had nothing to do with him, he disregarded it though.
He mumbled and hummed his way thpugh the school song, started filling his plate, and got a second wind on his courage. Not a big one, just enough to smile and tell Josephine, "You look like your summer agreed with you." t
1Sullivan Quincy-TellermanYou caught my eye anyway.207Sullivan Quincy-Tellerman05
Cepheus really enjoyed making people laugh only when he was attempting to be funny. Alex's reaction made him want to smile, but he supressed it as best he could. Girls like Georgina, who put on such an act to show off in front of wizards, put him off a bit. Their effort to suppress their laughter made him laugh at them, and their dull faces made Cepheus feel uncomfortable. He liked girls more natural, although he was starting to feel himself put on more of a front in front of really pretty girls himself. Unless they were his friend, anyway, like Alicia and Alex.
Alex's blatant laugh at his comment made him chuckle in return at her rebuttal. "Do you think so?" he asked in faux interest, putting his hands around his skinny waist, not having any idea of what an empire waistline might be. He had quite an embarassing amount of knowledge concerning dress robes, but he didn't completely understand all of the different cuts or ties or waistlines for witches.
The MARS room was a good idea. Ceph hadn't thought about occupying that room for practises. Perhaps if he could get enough people, they could get full practises done and he would hardly miss the matches. That was a lie, though. He would always miss the competition Quidditch matches provided. He didn't know if the room had Qudditch materials already, but he could always look into it tomorrow after classes.
"Welcome first years," he repeated, chuckling a little to himself. He wondered what their parents would think, sending their child to a seemingly prestigious institution that had them do obstacle courses and challenges for a fun learning experience. Knowing many conservative pure-blood families, those conservatives would dislike the unconventional teaching method very much. He didn't think the Spencers were like that, but he didn't know the family very well. He knew his family didn't mind Sonora's teaching methods and he didn't think the Spencers would either.
But of course, there were always the more conventional families to think about who hated any change in traditional teaching styles. Or change in any aspect of life, really. He supposed that's why pure-blood traditions lasted so long as opposed to Muggles who seemed to be changing all the time. Not that he really knew any Muggle traditions, but that was besides the point.
"Yes, welcome indeed," repeated Cepheus with another bite into his apple. Chatting with Alex was certainly getting his mind off of things and he decided he was completely glad to be back at school after all. There was a sort of freedom here that he had gotten used to. It would be difficult to go back home after graduation and live with his family for the rest of his life. At least then he would be working at the hospital. "Do you have any new relatives coming in?" He didn't doubt it knowing how much her family was spread out in the States. It was much like the Princetons in Western Europe.
Andri watched her friend, worried about how she'd take her mother's advice. Andri loved her mother, there was no doubt about it, but sometimes even Andri repeated what she'd said at the wrong times. When Kitty grumbled one single word and blew her nose with her napkin, Andri was almost sure this was one of those times once more.
Seeing how upset and angry this was making her friend, made Andri even madder at the fact that the news was handed out to them. Kitty sniffled a bit and looked like she was trying to force her tears to go away. Andri said nothing until Kitty sent her a watery smile and asked her what she thought the Challenges were going to be about.
"I'm not sure... But what I do know is that they'd better be more fun than what we should have had..." Kitty served herself some mashed potatoes and when she finished, Andri held her hand out for the bowl. Andri knew Kitty loved anything competitive, then again, so did she. But there was a line drawn here. A line of Challenges vs. Quidditch. A line of happy people and unhappy people. The question is, who would choose which side?
Suddenly, as Kitty's angry tears began, her excitement boiled up to the top of her head. "I hope we're on the same team too... I really do..." Andri said, almost sure now that because it was what they wanted, that it wouldn't happen...
Reggie was really happy that Derry was finding life in Boston to be so much fun. For a while, Reggie wasn’t sure if he would acclimate to the change of the environment, but he had proven her wrong. She probably shouldn’t have been so surprised by such a thing considering that it was Derry, but she could still remember their first feast together and how she had to translate the conversation for Maddie and him. Looking back, it was probably a conversation that was funny for someone to witness, but there was so much to the Muggle world that Magical folk just could never grasp. She wasn’t sure if his difference would mark him with Muggle teens as being strange. Reggie loved Derry so she wanted others to love him too… within reason. But she was also aware that being different could lead to very bad things.
“Oh, I should have thought of that.” Reggie said with a grin. Well, she sort of had, but not right away. Most of the girls at the parties snubbed their noses at her because she was ‘new’ to their Canadian parties. The boys just looked at her like she was an alien. She guessed this was something they were meant to be a part of from birth and since she wasn’t, they could smell it on her. “Well, I’ll probably never have to do it again, so I’m safe.” Reggie commented. “Unless I marry you, but even then I’m pretty sure that means you’re completely out of it too.” She meant that in jest. Or, at least, she thought she did. It was hard for her to say for sure anymore. It had always been the two of them and it felt weird to her for there to be anyone in between them. Even if it were someone like Maddie, who was her closest female friend, having someone else around was strange. Maybe that was why she hadn’t written him about Kevin?
“Your summer seemed fun though.” Reggie commented. “You’ll have to take me to the aquarium sometime. I love those things. Omaha has one of the largest zoos in the nation. I’ll take you there when you come to visit at some point.” Reggie told him. Actually, she was really big on those site seeing things. Whenever her dad took her on vacation, she made them become real tourists.
“Oh yeah, are you upset about Quidditch?” She asked, remembering that he had earned the badge at the end of last term. “Think the challenges will be stimulating enough for you to keep your mind from missing out on your crazy matches?” Actually, she didn’t think Derry was so much crazy in the matches as a few of his teammates, but she tended to keep those thoughts to herself. She didn’t want to upset him if he were close with them.
“Oh, but I’m sure there are so many different and strange ways a person can prepare chicken.” Ginny said lightly. Not that she had ever prepared food before or been in a kitchen. Well, that wasn’t true. In their new home where they couldn’t tell anyone about, it was small and she walked into it, the kitchen was open and to her right. So, she had been in a kitchen, but it didn’t really mean much. They ate in the hall with everyone else. Ginny was fairly certain her mother had no idea how to manage anything in that room anyway. “I’ve read all sorts of travel books and they are always discussing very strange cuisines from ordinary chicken and fish and beef. It’s a little unnerving to read, but Mother says they are all quite tasty.” Ginny informed him as though this was something they normally would discuss.
“I do prefer!” She advised happily. She wasn’t sure if that was something her mother wanted since she was supposed to be the perfect lady so that no one would suspect anything about their sudden change in location. Maybe she was supposed to go by Virginia now? But, she knew that was never going to happen. She didn’t mind the name Virginia so much, but she felt like it didn’t fit her well enough. “I think Percy is a much better name.” Ginny commented. “But during those proper and formal events, I will strictly stick to Percival Everett Waterford II. That way, your parents cannot be upset with knowing you’ve allowed me to call you by your other name.” She felt this was a fair trade off.
Ginny nodded at him, agreeing that her thoughts on Quidditch were the right ones to have. But his trail of thought quickly turned to her random comment about playing and then he was suddenly apologizing for having asked anything at all. “Mother says Quidditch is for boys. Ladies are meant to be elegant and refine. So, I take ballet, I play the piano, and I sing. But, I do not play Quidditch.” She explained to him. “Not that I would want to anyway. I’ve never flown, so I can’t even say for sure if I’d be talented at that. But from what I’ve understood about Quidditch is that it is very dangerous and aggressive. Mother says girls who play tend to be more masculine and undesirable.”
Ginny wondered how long it would be before they knew what the challenges were. She could only guess at them. She knew very little about schooling since she had been raised on tutors and they did nothing fun…. Ever. “Do you think they are dangerous too? I mean, if they took away Quidditch, they might just replace it with something equally as dangerous…”
0Ginny BellroseThey've been through worse, probably.0Ginny Bellrose05
“Simply smashing,” she said when Cepheus played along with the dress comment, in, though her fellow Crotalus couldn’t have known it, an almost perfect imitation of her father. Many people who knew him, even some of those who knew him fairly well, would have sworn that Charles Devereux had no sense of humor, but Alex knew better, since Father was both a little less guarded around her when he forgot she was her mother’s daughter, too, and she shared the same sensibilities. Her mother found them both incomprehensible, but since that was the least of the problems her immediate family had, Alex wasn’t worried about it.
“They’ll make it somehow,” she said, though Cepheus didn’t seem much more sincerely worried about the first years than she was. Alex supposed he and his cousin weren’t close, or else the Princetons were like the Careys in more ways than one. Not only did she have tons of cousins she was hardly expected to feel anything for even if she did have to help them if they needed it, but she expected them to be able to take care of themselves most of the time, too. Especially the boys, and the family wasn’t putting forward a girl this year. The girls in her family were often usually tougher than the boys, but the boys were expected to act tougher in public, and the challenges were just the kind of thing they were expected to do that in.
It was, she thought, highly likely to drive Theresa crazy by the end of the year. It wasn’t really Terry’s fault she had been raised in a group of six boys, but it wasn’t really anyone else’s, either, unless you felt like blaming her parents, and Alex had never decided why she thought Donnie and Gigi had so many kids. There were a number of theories she found plausible, and it wasn’t like she could just ask.
“Just a distant cousin,” she said, tilting her head toward the Pecari table and a particularly scrawny blond-haired boy. He could have been Cepheus’ brother. “Lucille’s brother. He’s the North Carolina heir.” Technically, he was the North Carolina head, but since he had never acted in the position a day in his life because of his age and the chances of him ever becoming the head in fact as well as technicality seemed pretty slim, it was easier all around to just call him the heir. "Our honored cousin Malcolm. I'm kind of surprised he's in Pecari, I thought he'd be one of us." She gestured up and down the Crotalus table to show what she meant by 'us.' "Which House did your cousin get?"
0AlexAs long as you're not cursing me, I guess0Alex05
Waverly was really glad that Clara didn't know what a debutant ball was either. She listened closely to what Rupert was saying, and found it to be a lot like a Jane Austen book or something. It seemed really old-fashioned to her, but the purebloods did seem to live in their own world. There weren't even electronics in the magical world which Waverly was still really sad about. She couldn't call or text Brandon when she was away for months at a time. She wasn't sure how she was going to survive, but she would try. At least she had her friends around.
Living on an island with only your family sounded really isolated and lonely too. She remembered asking her friends and family the popular question, "If you could bring one thing on an island with you, what would you bring?" Waverly's answer would have always been people because she really couldn't live without them. If she had to live like that guy from Cast Away, she would probably die really fast too.
Since it was a ball like Waverly imagined they'd be like in the movies, she guessed all of the dinner and dancing and socializing part was free. That would actually be pretty fun to dress up and go dance. The only problem was that Waverly didn't know how to dance, not even the way her friends danced at the junior high dances they always talked about. Brandon had only gone to one in 8th grade with one of his female friends, unknowingly making her insanely jealous, but it hadn't really been a noteworthy event, so he said.
Rupert, it seemed, really didn't have fun, but he did say that he'd met a girl. Waverly grinned. "Ooh," she said teasingly. "Was she pretty?" As much as she wanted to tease him about his new lady friend, she was also curious about the debutant balls. "Do you have to have a 'coming out' ball too? Who gets invited, usually?" From the movies, she always assumed everyone was invited, or at least friends, but maybe that wasn't the case.
Addison had known right from CAT’s Exams that she hadn’t failed. She was even able to actually pass the practical portion with flying colors (somehow!) and from the day the exams ended, life was so much better for her. She ate right, exercised daily and even made it a point to be a positive person both around others and when she was alone. It hadn’t worked all the time, but she was trying and that was what counted. Of course the time she’d spent with both Josephine (even though she hadn’t realized it then) and with her therapist, Emma, definitely helped. \r\n
\r\nShe was taller, thinner, her hair was done up all pretty and she was even wearing makeup. She even felt good about herself when it came time to start the next school year. She’d have a whole year before the RAT’s Exams and with the tools learned from Emma and Medic Bailey, Addi was sure what happened last year would not rear its ugly head again. (At least she hoped so from the bottom of her heart!) The now sixth year couldn’t wait to go find her best friend and tell her, no show her, who she’d become over the summer. She knew she wasn’t all the way better, but she’d begun the changeover to the new Addison. That was huge for her. \r\n
\r\nAddi knew that since she and Josephine were not in the same house and Josie was a Prefect, it would be hard to do at the Opening Feast, but she was okay with that. She’d sent her an owl just before school, asking her best friend to meet her for breakfast the following morning. There hadn’t been a response yet, but she was assuming one would come to her either in their travels or that night after the feast. If there was still no reply, she would assume that she’d be at breakfast anyway and go, as planned. But now, entering Cascade Hall, Addison looked around. She’d felt so different this time. Like she was ready to go and actually make the friends she should have made a LONG time ago. Addi was even sure that her roommates wouldn’t even recognize her. The sixth year walked inside the hall and heads turned. \r\n
\r\nWhat was best about that is: She. Didn’t. Care. Much…\r\n
\r\nDressed in fitted jeans and a pretty sweater which also seemed fitted to her slightly slimmer frame (her school robes were on, but not closed, she sat down in the first chair she saw that was open, but not completely alone and smiled at the person she’d sat next to and Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau started making the announcements. This was also a big step for her. Emma had told her small steps would be what landed her better in time. But this was a step that the sixth year had to make. She wanted it so badly. \r\n
\r\nThe first years came out in a line, including her little sister, Analea. Addi watched as she turned blue, just as Andri had done years before. The sixth year smiled at her sister and then clapped for the new Head Boy and Girl, the new Prefects too. She actually smiled at her neighbor a second time, when they all came back to their seats. Though she didn’t say anything yet, because of announcements that went on, she actually wanted to. What a change in her! \r\n
\r\n“Challenges and a Ball, huh?” she said to her neighbor, unsure completely how to take this news, knowing that these things had cancelled Quidditch. Addison herself could care less what happened, though these challenges meant that she’d actually have to do something in them, but there was always Josephine and Emma to think about and talk to. Even Arista had been helpful to her over last year and the Summer. It’s alright. It will be okay. she thought as she looked around the room at the reaction to ‘no Quidditch’. Arista, Amira, Sophie and Kitty were the first four people she’d looked to, and she watched with slight trepidation at what could possibly happen. Addi looked at the same neighbor and said, “Uh oh… This isn’t going to be too pretty…”
0Addison Thornton, TeppenpawThe New Me, Really. 0Addison Thornton, Teppenpaw05
Clara listened closely to Rupert's description of the ball and nodded slightly. "So...its an introduction of sorts for Pureblood girls?" she asked quizzically. "Why do they need a fancy ball for such an introduction? Wouldn't it just be easier to walk up to people and say "Hi...my name is" and be done with it?" She really didn't see the need for all the ceremony. She came from a Pureblood family as they were called and she seemed to be doing just fine without all the hooplaa. Granted, sometimes she wondered if she herself would be considered a Pureblood by other Purebloods if they knew what her mother had been, but she really wasn't all that concerned by it. She had always been naturally curious what they would call someone like her, but it had never occured to her to ask.
"Any parties I ever went to with my dad we didn't bother with all of that," she told them. "We basically just walked up to people and said Hi and introduced ourselves. Seems to work just fine for us...although I could be wrong," she admitted laughing slightly. "I've never really given much thought to all the etiquette stuff. I mean my grandparents always insist upon it when we visit, but other than that I don't worry about it much. You guys aren't offended by my "lack of social skills" are you?" she asked them half-seriously. Granted she wasn't going to feel too great if they both said yes, but she somehow suspected that wasn't going to stop her from being herself. She asked her dad once if she should worry about people liking her for her. He gave her that "dad" smile and told her "Not everyone will appreciate your sense of humor Peanut and thats okay. The people that will will be worth knowing and the people that don't won't matter in the end. You just keep being you regardless of what they think" She still smiled whenever she thought about that.
She pulled apart one of her dinner rolls and ate it while she waited for their reply.
"Anything I can do," Linus repeated his sentiment. He thought Brianna sounded a little surprised by his offering to help, which perplexed him. It's possible he could have been misinterpreting her, of course, but he still worried that maybe he had been portraying the wrong impression; he had hoped that Brianna might know him a little better than that. Just about everything Linus ever did was for the benefit of others, especially those who might be less fortunate than himself. Of course he also worked to better his own skills and increase his own knowledge, but that usually meant he was better equipped at supporting others. Brianna should surely have noticed these tendencies within him, furthermore she was a friend, and therefore even more entitled to his help than she otherwise would have been. He was very close to being offended, but reminded himself once more that this situation was not about him, and girls could be unpredictable, anyway.
He continued quietly eating while Brianna explained a little more about her injuries, and mentioned sychronized swimming. That sounded like torture, even for a healthy person, than an effective healing approach, but Linus was not a qualified doctor or Healer, and so he kept his opinions on the matter to himself. He would help brianna with that if she specifically asked him too, but prancing around in water wasn't something he would offer to do of his own volition. On the other hand, the opportunity of being in close quarters with Brianna in a bathing suit was oddly compelling.
"Does it…still hurt?" Joshua asked then, snapping Linus' mind back to the conversation at hand. He waited on tenterhooks for Brianna's answer, and only after she had spoken did he realize that he had now finished his meal. He would wait until Brianna had finished eating, too, before he repeated his offer to help her back to the commons. He was prepared to help her to and from the crotalus quarters every day; for every class, if necessary. Whatever it would take to make her life easier after... whatever it was that had happened to her. He wouldn't ask her directly, because that seemed insensitive, but he was sure that he could find out exactly what had happened to her just by saying the right things to other people who might already know the full story. Discovering information about others was one of his strengths.
"You look like your summer agreed with you," Sully said, once Josephine had finished singing the school song and was contemplating whether to celebrate her new look by taking a day off her diet, or if that was the slippery slope to piling the pounds back on again. She returned his smile with one of her own; she bit back the radiant beam that she would have liked to offer at being noticed - that had been her primary aim, after all - as it would spoil her carefully groomed appearance, and instead offered a more subtle, coy smile.
"It did indeed," she said, deciding to play it safe and serve herself some kind of white fish and an assortment of green vegetables. "I think the relief of CATS being over helped," she added, and then offered an apologetic shrug of her shoulders as she realised this would be Sully's exam year. She wasn't going to insult him by pretending that fifth year wasn't the gruelling nightmare that it was heavily rumoured to be. Between studies, exercises, and liaising with Addison, Josephine had barely had time around classes and clubs to breathe. Lookign back, she wondered how she'd managed it all.
Thinking of Addi caused Josephine to casually glance around for her friend. They'd kept in touch over the summer, and were due to meet at breakfast, so when Josephine couldn't spy the Teppenpaw at first glance then she gave up and returned her attention to Sully. "How was your summer?" she began by asking the traditional start of term question, but then she recalled a more personal tidbit and added, "Didn't your mother get married?"
Despite not being part of the social scene, technically speaking, Josephine had been lucky in unexpectedly securing invitations to a number of social events of the past few years. Plus she read all the society papers and free magazines that she could to keep up to date on the world she had previously admired from affar. Having been a previous groundskeeper at Sonora, Simon Tellerman was hardly at the top of the society league, but he was technically a Pierce, and so it was inevitable that Josephine would know about his marriage to the mother of a boy in the year below her own. Plus she was certain Sully had mentioned it at some point.
Brianna felt relief that Linus was willing to help her. She knew it was unfair of her to expect anything from anyone. She really shouldn’t feel so inclined to ask for help and to lean on people to get her through this. She needed to do it on her own. Being a burden to others was not fair. Her family and her Healers were one thing, but friends were something completely different. If she asked too much of them, they would eventually hate her for it. She would have to be careful with how often she asked for it from anyone. Even so, she was happy that Linus could help her, if only because then she wouldn’t have to keep asking Josh. She supposed she could have asked someone else, but Valerie wouldn’t be able to help her up if she fell and Brianna wasn’t going to ask Michael for anything.
“Oh no!” Brianna said with a shake of her head. “I don’t actually do the synchronized swimming part. They are teaching my some of the leg movements. The girls are nice about it and take their time to show me. I do enjoy watching them though. There is so much skill there when it’s all put together.” Brianna stated, honestly happy to be discussing the swimming. Maybe, when her legs were working properly again, she would consider actually and officially joining the team, but it was too taxing on her at the moment just keeping up with the basics. She understood the reason why Jonah felt this would be good for her. Walking and running in the water was useful but the way a swimmer uses their legs builds strength. It was just so difficult sometimes for her to work through it.
Josh asked about the wagon ride and for a moment, Brianna thought about lying to him about it. With the way he was looking, she thought he’d throw a gasket or something. Or try to carry her to her room or other such nonsense. Her father had tried to do that a couple of times. Not carry her, of course, but do things for her that she could do just fine on her own. But, she didn’t think it would do any good to not be honest about what was happening and what had happened. “It was pretty rough. My Healer offered to give me a pain reliever vial to take with me for the ride, but I thought I could handle it. I should have listened. I always forget how long and bumpy the travel is.” She had learned her lesson and since she had been sitting down at the table, the pain was bearable. “I’ll take something when I get up to my dorm room though, to help with it.”
“It never really stops hurting.” She answered without much thought. “They don’t like me taking potions, so I just get used to it. Normally, it’s a dull pain and not a big deal. But if I move around too much, or like the ride, it burns and the pain is sharp, sometimes to the point where I can’t breathe.” She didn’t think that adequately described her pain, but she wasn’t sure how else to do it. “The worst is when I have a spasm. I don’t know how to explain those. I just feel like my body is being ripped apart. It’s… agonizing.” And definitely something she hoped never happened in front of anyone here. She had one in front of Michael during his hospital visit. She had just got done telling him she hated him and that she never wanted to see him again when it hit her. It was a mild one in comparison to what she had in the past. Michael just left her there alone. She was scared that if she had one here, they would leave her too.
“The Healers say it’s all the nerve damage. There’s no guarantee that the pain will go away or the spasms will stop completely. As long as I am careful with how tired I am and to not strain myself too much, I should be okay though.” Brianna gave a half-hearted shrug. This was her life now, so, there was no point in denying it.
0BriannaI don't think that's true at all.0Brianna05
Clara posed a good point and Rup didn't really have an answer, so he shrugged his shoulders. "No clue," he said. "I think it's just a way of officially saying, 'Hello, I exist and I'm now eligible to be betrothed for marriage. And I'm also not a child.' Silly, if you ask me, but it's all right. It's just how things are done for the girls." Rupert could see the point of it for some families, but he would never go through with all that trouble himself. It was all just so unnecessary.
Waverly asked a question and also insinuated something that made Rupert pause. "I guess," he said indifferently, shrugging again. He had loads of pretty female relatives and had seen loads of pretty girls before at school. Though they were pretty, it wasn't like he'd fallen in love with them or anything. She dropped the subject, thankfully, and Rup answered her next question. He felt a bit like a professor of etiquette, ironically enough. "No, the wizards don't get one, thankfully. Um, usually the family invites people who might prove to be advantageous, family friends, acquaintances; I don't know the full list. I've only been to one and I'm certain it's different for every family."
It sounded like Clara had grown up in a much less restricted environment and Rup envied her slightly. He wasn't nearly as restricted as his older brother, but he had his fair share of etiquette lessons. Rupert raised his blonde eyebrows at her half-serious question as if he were looking down at her. "Your social skills are quite atrocious," he said, drawling in a posh accent and making his voice deeper. He pretended to sip a cup of tea with his pinky sticking straight out. "Lessons in etiquette for you, young lady."
Rupert broke character and groaned. "You're lucky you aren't expected to put up a polite front all the time. I get so tired of it. I'm really glad neither of you expect me to be polite all the time." He poured himself some soda and drank the carbonated drink happily. He hardly ever got sugary drinks as such at home. "Anyhow,
“Mmhm. Well maybe it won’t be so bad, I mean with Quidditch it is usually more or less the same people. Which is great for team work and all, but it’s always by house. This will be a really good way to mix up the houses a bit and get to know people we might not have met before.” Kitty said as she continued to fill her plate with all the delicious offerings. The small dark haired Aladren had a quick temper, but much like a firework it exploded but swiftly fizzled. She couldn’t hold a grudge to save her life.
“And there’s the whole mystery element, we’ve been given a small piece of the puzzle, that there will be multiple challenges, and that the teams will be a mix of younger and elder students. What will they be? Just imagine all the cool spells we’ll learn from the upper years!” Kitty chirped after taking a long drink of pumpkin juice. That was one of the things she missed terribly over summer break. The real world didn’t have pumpkin juice, and Kitty had fallen in love with the stuff. This summer she even attempted to make her own using her mother’s juicing machine and carving up a huge pumpkin. Sadly it didn’t taste very good at all even when she dumped a bunch of cinnamon into it.
For a few minutes the endless stream of thoughts and ideas was halted as Kitty ate. Her mom had spent most of Kitty’s early childhood chastening her over talking with her mouth full, and after endless repetition it managed to stick. Swallowing the last bite of her roll, she bounced in her seat, “Maybe they’ll have flying challenges! You know like the air shows, and we’ll have to catch rings or go through hoops or drop things on targets. We used to go to the hot air balloon shows and they had all sorts of cool aerial challenges for the balloon pilots to complete.”
Aubrielle had returned home just in time. Auditions for one of her favorite all-time-ever shows was the afternoon after she got home. Aislynn had written her the last week of school to tell her. Bri was beside herself with glee when she found out that she’d be home for the auditions and also because they were allowed to use a song from the show for auditions. As a matter of fact, the director had even requested the children use a song from the character they wanted to do the role of.
As soon as she found that out, Bri knew exactly what song she would be using. ‘A Little Fall of Rain’. She’d done it, and she’d done it well If she could say so herself The director called her the next day after auditions to tell her that the part of Eponine was hers, no its ands or buts about it. He told her that she was the best choice, hands down. Through the summer she ate, drank and slept Les Mis, even what the almost thirteen year old wore, reflected her character role. Brielle took it to the extreme when she got a role in a show on a normal scale, but one of her favorites, she lived them.
Even still, now that she was heading back to Sonora, memory of one of the best summers of her whole life, she wore a long skirt, peasant blouse and a hat that covered up her trademark Thornton red hair. On the wagon, she and Clara were inseparable after a summer apart and the pair excitedly jabbered about both of their successes after the summer months. Clara had actually managed to fly and even STAY on her broom, Bri was so excited for her cousin! Clara too, was seemingly excited for the fact that Bri got to play one of her dream roles. Either way, they jibber-jabbered the whole ride and Brielle hardly realized how fast time flew!
It felt, to the new third year, that they had only just left Oregon even when they arrived at school! The Thorntons and Clara walked into the Hall and separated to their respective house tables. Bri waved goodbye to Clara and Analea specifically as she sat down at the Teppenpaw table, a few seats from Arista. She noticed Addison had sat next to people instead of at an empty seat surrounded by other empty seats. She smiled at her older sister, though she was almost sure that Addison hadn’t seen her.
Analea lined up with the other first years and when it was her turn to drink the potion, Bri was sitting on the edge of her seat with excitement to see where her younger sister would end up. When Ana turned blue just as Andri had when she was a first year, Brielle smiled and waved at her again as Ana ran over towards Andri and the other Aladrens. Bri smiled at her neighbor and was about to say something to them, but Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau started talking. As much as Brielle loved to talk, she wasn’t going to interrupt anyone, certainly not the Headmistress! The third year zipped her lips, clapping for the new Head Boy and Girl, as well as the Prefects before the bomb was dropped. “No Quidditch?” she whispered as the crowd reacted around her. Yes, Bri was a Drama Queen, but she was proud to say that she was nothing compared to some of the students around her…
Kitty had stood up screaming, Adnri looked shocked, Sophie and Amira looked besides themselves and Arista was actually crying. “Is she serious?” she said, underneath the reactions of those more Quidditch obsessed than herself. Sure, Bri was on Teppenpaw’s team, but even up to last year she was only a reserve. She didn’t really want to play at the beginning, but Ris had been worried that Tepp wouldn’t have enough players and Bri had felt bad. Even when they’d realized there were enough players, Bri still enjoyed it and wasn’t planning on quitting. But now, a whole year without the thrills of the games seemed a bit foreboding to her. Then it hit her…
Arista’s a seventh year…
“Oh no…” she started. “This is NOT going to be pretty…” Bri looked at her neighbor and tried to read their reaction to it all.
0Aubrielle ThorntonJust in time... for RAIN!0Aubrielle Thornton05
Jude wasn't often scared. Not really anyway. The one thing that did scare her, however, was fire. When she was younger the house next door had burned down completely before anyone was able to save it. There had been quite a bit of drama over it and to this day, Jude was still terrified of flames of any sort because of it. The old woman who lived in the house passed away that day, and it had messed Jude up pretty bad for a while.
Jude had been babysat by the lady and used to go over after school for cookies and milk too, she'd called her Grandma Carol. Grandma Carol had this attic that was filled with stuff. She and the others (but mostly her) used to go up into the attic right before they left to go home and picked a new (yet really old) toy to take home with them. Jude had cried for weeks after her death, until her older siblings sat her down and explained that Grandma Carol was in a better place now and Jude should be happy for her. They'd also told her that Grandma Carol was never really going to be gone as long as she was remembered. Jude promised them then and there to always remember her. The teddy bear Grandma Carol had gotten her for her birthday before the fire, was dubbed Carol, in memory of the very special person that she was.
Her teddy bear was with her, packed in her trunk safely, protected by her clothes. But she didn't want to take it out just yet. She didn't want to be laughed at for it, but she felt better that Carol Bear was with her. This was her first time really away from home, and it was going to a magical school that she wasn't really understanding as she was a Muggleborn (which she wasn't even sure what that even meant yet!). It's just plain scary! she thought, even though her family was behind her the whole way. Each of them was super excited that she got this opportunity, but she wasn't sure if she shared their joy when she had to pack her trunk and leave them on some wagon taking her away, to the unknown.
Jude was scared, there was no other word for it. She even shook in her seat towards the end of the trip from fear of the unknown. The eleven year old wanted so badly to pull Carol Bear out of her trunk, but she didn't want to be the laughingstock of the school either, so she dealt with her fear as best as she could...
By trying to ignore it completely.
The wagon arrived and she was shuffled alongside other students into a line of first years. When the woman started talking, she explained that she was Headmistress Kijewski-Jareau and her Deputy Headmistress/Coach Pierce would hand the first years a potion to drink to learn what house they would be in for the next seven years. Jude was scared. Again.
Its just like a mystery, I'm just the thing that needs solving... It's just going to sort it out, I don't need to do anything but drink it... she said to herself as she managed to shuffle herself further down the line of first years. I'm not sure if I want to find out how this turns out to be... she thought as finally, she was at the Coach's side.
Jude took the goblet from her and taking in a deep breath before letting it out slowly and taking a fast swig of the stuff inside it. She felt the same. Looking around at the other first years, they had only changed color, they hadn't started choking, they hadn't gotten sick, or died. So I should be fine, this isn't just some cruel trick... Right? she thought as she realized that she was turning darker than her already almost olive skinned color. In fact, she was turning brown, almost mimicking her brown hair or eyes.
“I belong?” she said quietly as she walked towards the other brown children. There wasn't any seats nearby any of them, but there was a seat next to a taller boy, and Jude took it for fear that someone else would sit there and she wouldn’t get a seat after all, like a game of 'Musical Chairs'.
The Headmistress spoke again and she clapped for the new Head Boy, Head Girl and Prefects, even though she had no idea what they were. She was sure she'd find out eventually though. Then Challenges were mentioned and a Ball, then something called Quidditch was canceled and Jude looked even more confused as more things were said. Then music just appeared in front of her and, shocked, she fell over in her chair almost completely, but she'd caught herself on the table. Is all this magic? she thought, heart pounding as food just appeared in front of them just like the music had. “Ohmygosh!” she said as her arm flew out to try to catch herself. (She was starting to feel like a serious klutz!) Her arm hit the table, and thankfully caught her again just as a goblet showered her neighbor and his plate with milk. Some of it showered her too, but it was just another surprise to her.
The boy pulled out his wand, or what she'd been told was a wand, like the one packed up in her trunk, and said a word. The spilled milk was being sucked up by the wand and Jude's mouth dropped. “WHOAH!” as a response to both the milk spill reversal and the question he'd asked.
It sounded like Mellie had a fun summer, Jhonice liked the mountains as well and nodded along as her roommate described her summer adventures. "Yeah, I love the mountains. The sounds and smells, it's great!" She hadn't been on an official camping trip lately, but she remembered it from a few years ago when they had gone to 'get away from it all' as her parents had said at the time. It sounded like Mellie had really enjoyed it as well.
"My summer..." Jhonice started with a grin and something of a flourish, "was absolutely unprecedented! I got to..." she paused mid smile for a moment then her face dropped. "Actually, I wonder how much I'm allowed to talk about. Hmm..." She stopped and thought for a moment, "Okay! I got to spend all summer with a very influential family. Their son was coming here as a first year student this year, and they wanted him to get some tutoring beforehand. It was great! I got to teach him all about the school, how to fly, all sorts of stuff!"
Cepheus didn't care much about the first years as he had the year before. This year he had loads of his own problems to get through before trying his best to study for his C.A.T.S. and be as much of a role-model student as possible to become a Prefect. He was glad all this drama in his own head was happening this year rather than the next. He certainly hoped it would stay that way.
When Alex gestured towards the Pecari table, he looked over to see the wizard she was indicating. He reminded him much of himself at that age; blonde and scrawny. And if Malcolm was the heir to the North Carolina Careys, then he had much expected of him. Cepheus remembered himself as a naive first year then, thinking that all he had to do was follow in his father's footsteps; he hadn't known how difficult it was going to be then. His eyes glanced over at the other students and he found both Adam and Rupert. He had expected Adam to sit next to Rup, but Cepheus was glad Adam seemed to be meeting the others in his year.
He turned back to Alex and tilted his head toward the Pecari table as well. "He's a Pecari as well. They'll be room-mates, then. I didn't really know what to expect for Adam, but Pecari should fit him, I think." Cepheus knew his cousin could take care of himself, and if Adam ever needed help Rupert would be more willing to help him than Ceph would. "For the challenges, do you think they'll put us in teams?" he asked. It had to be so; individual challenges would be much too time-consuming and chaotic in Ceph's opinion.
Andri listened to Kitty, confused at first at how her friend's mood could shift so quickly. But then she realized that Addison's mood did the same thing. Maybe its normal? she thought as Kitty brought up a good point. “That's true, Quidditch is the same people over and over, and it IS great for teamwork, but its kinda only the first string players really unless someone gets hurt...”
Andrina understood that Kitty was right. This would mix it up and be an easy way to get to know other people and see more house camaraderie. Kitty kept filling up her plate with food and it wasn't till then that Andri realized that her plate was still empty. The bowl of mashed potatoes was still in her hand, un-served onto her own plate.
Kitty chattered excitedly about the element of mystery and bits of puzzle pieces and cool spells they'd learn from the older kids. And Andri nodded to her friend. Sure, there was something about putting together a puzzle and seeing the end result, and a fantastic view when the element of mystery was gone. And learning from the older kids would be great. Andri only hoped that she and Kitty would be on the same team! Kitty started eating again and it wasn't till that time that Andri actually put the mashed potatoes on her plate.
Andri spooned some pasta on her plate as well, but still she didn't eat any of it. “Maybe... Anything is possible really, they haven't told us what the Challenges will be.” Andri actually took that point to put a spoonful of potatoes into her mouth and waited to see what Kitty would say.
Liam was surprised to find a first year seated beside him. From what he knew, they often clumped together after sorting and got to know each other. That wasn’t what he’d done, but it seemed fairly common from what he’d observed. Having a little girl stuck to his side wasn’t uncommon for the third year when he was at home, but school was another story. As he looked her over, he noticed he had managed to get milk on her as well. What a great first feast she must be having.
“Looks like I did. Sorry about that.” He said, offering a crooked smile. Liam pointed his wand toward the milk soaked spots on the girl’s robes and repeated the spell. Soon her robes would be dry, and she’d be no worse for wear.
He didn’t know if her response had been to the sudden milk shower, or the magic itself. He thought back to when he was a first year, and tried to remember how he felt. Liam vaguely recalled being excited, but also really confused. Then again, he was a muggleborn, so everything was new to him. He even mistakenly thought people were saying “squid itch” as opposed to the Wizarding sport. An older boy, Elijah, had walked him through the first feast—apparently it had been painfully obvious that Liam had come from a non-magical background. It was a little harder to tell with this girl.
“That was a bit of a wet welcoming, but hey! Welcome to Pecari!” Liam tucked his wand away and took up his goblet which had refilled itself. He carefully took a drink before returning his attention to the girl. “My name is Liam, what’s yours?”
Jude had seen so many new things that day, and each one of them scared her. It was the unknown that scared her. The fact that she had NO idea what was happening or going on around her.
When he apologized for getting her with some of his milk and smiled at her, she almost melted... He's like Joseph and Dane and Seanan and the others... He's like my big brothers... she thought as he pointed his wand at her robes. The milk disappeared and her robes dried just like what had been on his plate and she looked at him, shocked look on her face. Ohmygosh... she thought.
The new and unknown stuff was really starting to scare her more than she thought it would and she found herself slightly shivering, holding back a few tears.
“Yeah... It kinda was...” she pushed out each word, hoping that she didn't cry in front of this boy or anyone, she didn't even know his name! “Thanks...” she added to him as he put his wand back away and took a drink from his goblet before turning back to her again.
“Hi Liam... I'm Jude... Jude Butler...” she said, still trying to hold back tears of fear.
“Thank you,” Rory said, remembering the lecture her mother had given her about maintaining her manners. “Yeah, I’m named after my grandma.” She had never met another Aurora except for her grandmother, and she didn’t really consider herself one. She had been Rory to everybody except for her father and her grandmother for as long as she could remember, unless she was in trouble. Her mother pulled it out when she forgot to do her chores or backtalked.
Analea confessed to having a lisp, and Rory felt bad for her. It didn’t bother her personally, but she knew that other kids liked to tease people for it. Unsure of what to say, she kept quiet while Analea launched into her second answer. She was elated at the news that Analea’s family wasn’t all that different from hers. Rory had twice the parents though, but they were still half muggle, half magical.
“I’m a halfblood too, I think,” she said, but she was unsure how it worked. “My dad’s a Muggleborn, and my mom’s Muggle. My stepmom, Ari, is a pureblood, but Al, that’s my stepdad, is a Muggle like mom.” She was aware that was probably confusing her with all of her family’s details, but it would only become more confusing when her siblings were brought up. There were four of them, which some people considered a lot, but who was on which side is what people were mixed up on.
“Do you have any siblings?” she asked, before taking a bite of potatoes. She already missed her own brothers and sisters. Dinner was more peacefully without Abby being a little terror child, but she always hated not eating with all of them. She liked the daily ritual of sitting down at the table with her mother’s half of her family. The only change she didn’t mind was swapping which side of her family she was with. “I have four, but they’re only half siblings.”
"You're welcome." Ana said to her new friend and roommate. "Well, you and your grandma have such a pretty name... All of us have the same initials..." Ana added, cheeks turning redder than her hair from how many words made her lisp so clear. She quieted down to just about a whisper by the end of it. Rory went on to tell about her family and Ana smiled. She loved hearing about other people and she created a fairytale in her head about how Rory's parents must have met.
When Rory asked if she had any siblings, Analea blushed again and nodded. Rory said she had four half siblings. The look on her face told Ana that Rory thought that was a lot. Ana looked at Rory and said, "I'm seventh out of sixteen children..." she said, biting her bottom lip. "There's fifteen girls and one boy... He's Daddy's pride and joy..." Ana said, getting a little glum. It was hard on the girls when their father wanted nothing to do with them, Ana and the younger ones worse than all the others. Arista and the older girls had gotten over it, or so Ana thought.
Analea herself felt like the best fairy tale ever was her daddy actually telling her that he loved her. But she had a feeling that would never ever happen. She sighed and if Rory was looking she could actually see a tear fall from Ana's eye at the thought of her father's inability or lack of desire to love her or her sisters.
Sometimes Ana even wondered what she'd done wrong to get her lisp and to have her father hate his girls, including her. With a sigh, she looked up at Rory. “Uhm... So tell me about your siblings...?” she asked, trying to change the subject just a little bit. Even thought Rory hadn't been mean to her or anything, nor did she think that her new friend and roommate would be, but that didn't mean the others around them wouldn’t be...
Rory looked at Analea in shock. How could anyone have that many siblings? She thought four younger siblings were a handful, and she only had to deal with two at a time. She quickly did the mental math and found out that Analea had nine. That was more than double what she had. How did she live with that? Rory was regularly irritated when she had to avoid one of her brothers or sisters, and she couldn’t imagine having to deal with more than what she had.
“Sixteen?!” she finally got out, moving her focus from Analea to her plate. The little sigh caused her to glance back up at see how upset she was. It was obviously a touchy subject, but Rory didn’t know why. She loved her siblings, however irritating they could be. She remembered her dad telling her how lucky she was to have a good home with her mom, and realized that maybe her new friend’s home life wasn’t the best. She didn’t want to make Analea even more upset, so she didn’t ask anything more.
“Um, I have two with each parent. I’m the only one Mom and Dad had together,” she answered, “Alec and Kris live with Dad and Ari. Alec’s my little sister, and she’s nine. Kris is five, and he’s named after Dad. They’re all magical. Mom and Al have Adam, who’s five too, and Abby, who’s three.” She was sure to include that Alec was her sister and not her brother. It was a name that could be used for either, and she didn’t think that Alec would appreciate Rory letting her first friend believe that she was a boy.
“I only see Alec about once or twice every couple weeks, because I live with Mom and Al most the time, but she’s the only one I can really talk to. All the others are too little, especially Abby.” She couldn’t wait until Alec was actually old enough to really be friends with. She had a habit of whining about Alec being annoying after returning from her father’s, and Al always promised her that they would be best friends when they were a little older. She loved her sister all the time, but she only liked her most of the time.
Analea looked at Rory. The look on her friend's face was one of shock. "I know... Its a lot..." she said softly, due to the letters that made her lisp.
When Analea asked about Rory's siblings, she'd asked both to change the subject but also because she really wanted to know. Sure, she hated having a conversation where her father was involved in any way, but it was inevitable as the 'new kid'. Ana knew that she wasn't the only 'new kid' but they all would be talking about who they are, where and what they came from. She, for one, didn't really want to say much of anything. That was all thanks to her lisp and her father...
Rory told her about her brothers and sisters, Ana was trying to remember their names so that her friend knew that she was paying attention and that she cared about her new friend, like a best friend would. Like a hopeful best friend would... Alec and Kris live with her Dad, Adam and Abby live with her Mom. she said to herself
"Alec sounds special to you... Is she your favorite?" Ana asked. She had so many siblings, but it was clear to her which ones she loved because of the fact that they were her siblings, rather than which ones she loved for who they were.
Arista had always been like a second Mom, Addi had always been like a third Mom. Amira had been there for her in ways that the oldest two couldn't be. Andri had been one of her biggest role models, Bri was the energy in the family, Abi, the animal lover and then there was her. She loved most of her siblings for who they were, but there was two in particular that she wouldn't be all that upset about if they'd disappeared. Ariel and Alexander needed to get their prioirities in life checked, and even Ana knew it. (That was saying something, especially where Ana's fairy-tale life was concerned.)
Liam knew the look on the girl’s face. He’d seen it many times on the faces of his little sisters—she was on the verge of tears. He couldn’t imagine why, the feast was awesome, and arguably one of the best parts of Sonora. Then again, when he stopped to think about it, it could be scary if you didn’t really know anyone. Plus going from the muggle world to the magical one was a little jarring, probably even more so if you were a little girl. He was torn. He wanted to eat, drink, and be merry and then catch up with Aria and talk about their summers—but here was this little first year, that he had soaked with his beverage, who was looking all sad.
He was glad that she at least managed to get her name out. Jude Butler. The connection to the Beatles was pretty obvious, and he fought his urge to sing it. After all, he definitely wasn’t a singer.
“Hey Jude, don't be afraid…” He sang to himself as he thought about ways to cheer her up. There was Lexi’s default, but he hasn’t sure he was ready to have the entire Hall as an audience. “Sadly those are the only words I know, and I am a terrible singer.” Liam laughed a little as he spoke and turned his attention back to the first year.
“So, is this your first time away from home?” He asked, his kind blue eyes settling on Jude’s face. “No finishing schools or summer camps or anything?” He added, just for clarification. “Sonora can be a little overwhelming at first. When I first got here, people were using all kinds of weird words I didn’t understand. It was like being on another planet or something. It gets easier though, so don’t worry about that part. The teachers are nice, and for the most part the other kids are too. Plus, after dinner, the table loads up with desserts. Who can be sad with a table full of desserts?!”
“Yep.” Kitty agreed happily as she cut up a thick slice of ham. “That’s what’s so awesome about it right now.” She added before she began eating again. She dearly loved Quidditch, and was sad to see it lost for the year, but now the Challenges dominated her thoughts and imagination. The earlier upset was forgotten, a small summer squall that appeared and passed, leaving freshness and clear skies in its wake.
With a contented sigh, Kitty pushed her plate away. “Really, right now is the very best. It’s like the night before Christmas, where anything could be wrapped under the tree. When they tell us what the challenges are, then we lose that endless possibility. But, for now, sky’s the limit. The challenges are anything and everything we can imagine.” She said as she sat back, looking thoughtful. They could be flying, or dueling, or doing giant logic puzzles where one person is blindfolded and the others have to lead them through a maze.
“Hmm, well they’ll have to be made for team work, since the whole thing is about team work. I wonder how long they’ll be?” She pictured them being put out into the wilderness to survive for a weekend, having to fend for themselves and create shelter, and hunt, and fend off the coyotes. “Maybe we’ll have to fight off magical animals too!” She said, blue eyes bright, as her words continued where her thoughts left off, not really noticing the difference as her mind worked feverishly over the problem.
Jude watched Liam's face as she tried hard not to cry in front of him. He didn't know her from Adam, so who was she to start crying to him? She hadn't been able to say much more than her name, but at least that was something...
When Liam started singing the Beatles song (what she assumed was mostly to himself), she looked at him, sort of shocked that he would know a Beatles song... Unless... she thought to herself as a shocked look came upon her face. (And it had nothing to do with the fact that he was singing!) Unless he's a muggleborn or a halfblood... she finished as he spoke again.
She nodded to him. "Nothing..." With a sigh, she went on. "I've been to Bible Camp, but even that was a day camp..." Hanging her head, Jude felt somewhat incapable of living her own life. Her whole eleven years she'd been taken care of, and there she was, suddenly having to do it herself and so far from home. It was scary...
When Liam told her that Sonora could be overwhelming, she nodded and felt that maybe she was right in the fact that he knew just how she was feeling. Part of her hoped that he really did and wasn't just saying words he'd heard others say. There was something about the older boy that made her feel more comfortable, safe even.
And she liked that.
"It gets easier?" she repeated, hoping from the bottom of her heart that he was right about that. Right then and there she just felt so out of place, so strange. "I like desserts..." she said, dreaming of pudding, ice cream and jello, cookies, cakes, pies.
"Liam?" she asked, nervously playing with her dark brown hair. "Will everything be okay?" Sure, it was a serious question, but the eleven year old was worried that her life had been upturned and nothing would ever be okay again.
0Jude ButlerPease pudding and saveloys!0Jude Butler05
Kitty agreed with her and Andri nodded as her friend cut up a slice of ham. "Yeah... It is awesome, isn't it?!" she said as she kept spooning mashed potatoes in her mouth between talking. Kitty sighed contentedly and pushed her plate away as she explained that not knowing what the challenges were was like not knowing what was inside your Christmas presents.
Andri smiled even wider, thinking about how that felt (especially in her house with all of her siblings!). "Yeah!" she said, stopping her chewing to think of what the challenges could be. "I hope there will be a logical challenge! We'd win!" she said, a grin reaching from ear to ear.
"Ooo!" Andri said happily as her knee jumped up and down in excitement. "I'm so excited now! They could be anything! Absolutely anything!"
"Maybe they'll be like a prequel to the CATs or RATs Exams? Or maybe one of them is a scavenger hunt? Or maybe one will be a match of some kind? Like one group would play another like Aladren plays Teppenpaw, Pecari or Crotalus?" Andri added excitedly as she thought about what she and Kitty would have to do to win. And she knew that the could and would if they were on the same team!
"What do you think?" she asked her friend as she ate some more of her food from her plate.