Chapter 1 : Introductions
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"Oh good. You're already out of bed"
In my sleep muddled battle I hadn't noticed Mum coming up the stairs and into my room. I repeated my incomprehensible groan from before.
"Why don't you turn that alarm off and come down for breakfast. Your dad and I will be leaving soon and we want to make sure you get your trunk down to David's before that."
I groaned in reply and Mum simply chuckled before she left. Feeling bruises coming on I raised myself from the floor and turned the blasted alarm off. There was a reason I never used that thing. Still in a sleep induced stupor, but much more awake than a few minutes earlier, I stumbled out of my room to join my parents for breakfast.
The light charming of my alarm clock roused me from my light sleep. I rubbed my eyes as I sat up, scolding myself at the same time because there was no way I was going to have bloodshot eyes on my first day back. I turned the alarm off quickly because I didn't want to risk waking anyone else in the house. Not that it would be much of a problem; everyone would be up soon anyway. I stepped into my bathroom and started making myself look presentable for the coming day. Leaving my room without at least a shower and some make up was out of the question. I secured my brown hair in a tidy ponytail. Brushing out my fringe, I then pinned it to the side before dusting my face with make-up. I was looking forward to finally turning seventeen. It would mean that this year would be the last year I had to put up with not being able to use magic in the holidays. Back in my room I packed the final things into my suitcase.
"Elizabeth dear, are you up yet? Binky has breakfast served"
The soft sound of my mother's voice floated up the stairs. I pulled the lid of my suitcase shut. Binky, our house elf, would bring it down later. Checking my appearance one final time in the mirror, I left my room and walked downstairs to have breakfast.
"Morning Max." The cheerful tone of my dad's voice amazed me. How one could be so bright at this unnatural hour of the morning perplexed me. Granted this unnatural hour is the time I will be rising each weekday for the school year but even at school I don't function properly until I have a cup of coffee in me. Wonderful invention coffee is.
On the topic of coffee, my dad was currently laughing at my attempts at fixing myself a cup. Eventually, after more tries than I thought was necessary, he took pity on me and fixed the cup for me. But not after another round of hysterical laughter at my sleep befuddled actions.
"Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Look at you, even your hair is black!"
"Woke up on the floor more like it," I mumbled. Dad's gleeful tone did not improve things at all. I was born a metamorphmagus and while it was highly useful for things like hide and seek and sneaking around the castle, it also meant my parents could read my mood. When I was born my hair and eye colours were changing constantly and as I grew older, my parents and siblings realised that my moods and the colours correlated. Most of the time the colour changed without me realising and at some point they figured what colour was which mood. I’ve had no peace since then. Of course I have gotten much better at controlling it as I’ve gotten older but I still let slip from time to time. One doesn’t realise how much individuality you lose when your parents can practically read your mind (or mood, the difference wasn’t huge)
Dad had obviously noticed the black look I was throwing his way and had wisely decided to say no more. He handed me the cup of coffee as I poured a bowl of cereal. With some food in my stomach and some caffeine in my system I was bound to brighten up in no time. It wasn't until Mum came down the stairs and inquired about my trunk that I began to freak out. This was a yearly tradition where I attempt to locate my belongings the day that school goes back.
Running back upstairs I burst into my room only to be confronted by a packed trunk and a clean bedroom. Then the painful memory of Mum locking me into my room until it looked like this confronted me. At least I didn't have to stress today. I really didn't give her enough credit yesterday. Who knew it would be easier to pack earlier than the last minute.
"Maggie, remember you have to leave soon. You might want to have a shower before you go" I was still slightly astounded at the sight that was my room but turned and went into the bathroom anyway. The fact that Mum had called me Maggie grated a little bit but I was used to it. Max was what most people called me, it was a nickname given by my brother who failed to pronounce Maggie and thought Max was easier and it stuck. But I didn't really mind Maggie. It totally trumped my real name. The name that should be cursed and would drive me to hex anyone who dared to use it.
"Morning Beth" The cheerful sound of my younger brother greeted me as I entered the dining room. I did not like it when people shortened my name. I felt like my parents went to the effort of giving me the name, the least I could do was use it. Liam was the only person who could get away with calling me Beth. I liked it when he called me that. He made it sound so bright and happy. He could always make me smile.
Binky bought my usual plate of yogurt and fresh fruit out and I started eating. "Are you excited about school?" Liam was ever inquisitive and entirely selfless.
"You know I never look forward to it much. Are you sure you will be ok?" I looked with concern at the frail frame of my younger brother. He was sick, had been since he was about 4 years old. And he was never going to get truly better.
"Course Beth. I'm always ok." His mischievous smile belayed my worries. He really was a sweet thing. Liam was nine years old and steadily getting sicker. Each year that I returned to school I worried more and more about him. He had a rare illness of which there are few accounts in history. His magic was eating him up from the inside. No cure has been discovered, all the healers could do was delay the inevitable. A couple of lucky cases ended up as squibs for the rest of their lives. The rest died. The healers were doubtful that my wonderful brother was going to be lucky. If he didn't have the disease he would be a very powerful young wizard. With the disease it simply means his young life will be taken from us sooner.
"Beth. Don't worry. You always worry too much. Mum and Binky can look after me fine." I half growled at this. Mum doesn't work. She says she does this to look after Liam's fragile health. In reality she simply uses his condition as an excuse to throw sympathy parties for her friends. Otherwise she ignores Liam. I'm just thankful we have Binky to make sure he gets all his potions and gets enough rest.
Liam gave up on the attempted conversation. He knew that going to school brings up feelings I manage to hide over the summer. It was so unfair. Why do we get to live and he has to die?
I ran ahead of Dad who was levitating my trunk down the stairs. "Now Max. You need to be nice to David. I know you think he has endless energy but he actually is an old man." I rolled my eyes at Dad as he laughed back at me.
“Great joke, Dad.” Everyone knew that my grandfather rivalled me in boundless energy and was in severe denial about his age. David was the best grandfather ever and I was his favourite kid. The boys scared him a little. It was wonderful being the youngest in the family.
We walked down the road to David's place. Mum and Dad both had to work so David was taking me to the school train. Not that I minded, in fact it was the complete opposite. I loved going anywhere and doing anything with my granddad.
I burst into the doors of his house yelling incomprehensible words at him. He simply laughed and reassured my dad that he was fine with taking me to the train. We would be driving in his car. David was a wizard but when he fell in love with a muggle he decided love was the greater magic and split completely with the wizarding world at age 18. Despite his daughter and son-in-law being openly magical, he was still far too oblivious of the magical world. It was so much fun to watch him start in wonder at every new thing he came across.
Dad levitated my trunk into the boot of the car, gave me a quick kiss and left to go to work. His final parting words were "Don't get into too much trouble." David and I looked at each other and laughed. Everyone knew trouble was my middle name. With an excited hug and much chatter David and I got into the car and started making our way to the station. I was on time for the first time in six years.
I finished by breakfast and went to brief Binky. I had taken over Liam's care during the holidays and needed to make sure she knew all the routines that Liam needed to stick to. She was a good elf and I could trust her to look after my brother. That was more than I could say about my parents.
My father made an appearance just as I finished giving Binky instructions. "Right dear, all packed? You need to be leaving soon." I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at him. My parents were so frustrating. Mother only cared about Liam because it meant that she could have her friends over to feel sorry for her. Father spent all his time either at work or locked away in his office. It was like they didn't care.
The look I gave him answered his question so Father patted me on the back and left the room. Bending down, I gave my frail eight-year-old brother a hug. I held him close and told him to owl me if he had any problems at all. I would gladly give up my schooling for him, he just wouldn't let me.
As my mother entered the room I grabbed my trunk, which was conveniently placed next to the fireplace, and tipped it on its end. After the use of some floo powder I made sure I was carefully positioned so I didn't damage any body parts and shouted my destination. All this was achieved before Mother could open her mouth to say anything. I was off to start my sixth year at Hogwarts and the last thing I wanted was to say goodbye to my parents.
So. What do you think? What are your impressions of the characters so far? This should be the only chapter that is split like this. The rest are from either Max or Elizabeth's POV only. Hope you enjoy!