Irene tapped her fingers lightly along the wood of her dresser, gazing at the collection of perfume bottles arranged on its surface. She had no plans for the afternoon, and instead of engaging her mind in what her mother would call a ‘productive pursuit’, she was shut up in her room. Calling hour would soon be upon the household, and Irene was in no mood for social obligations today. The ball had finished fairly late at night, a sure sign of its success, and had given her much to think about.
Hogwarts was quickly approaching too, and she found herself often going over and over her theories and concoctions in her mind, trying to find and prevent any faults. She couldn’t entirely say why she was so adamant at going ahead with the plan. Elizabeth was keen, but Irene was almost positive that her friend wasn’t aware of the real dangers. For Irene, it was the unknown factors that scared her.
Yet, at the same time, she wanted to go ahead with it just for sheer curiosity, and excitement. She wanted at least to have attempted to have adventures before becoming someone’s wife.
Oh, if only her mother could see her thoughts. Irene was well aware that she was being a ‘dreamer’, something her mother delighted in scolding her for.
“You’ll never manage to outrun the sun, my dear,” her mother always said whenever she went on with one her fantastical ideas.
Ideas were never something Irene Selwyn was short of. She’d had many, but this idea of time travel would be the first to be tested, if she did go ahead with it.
Irene sighed, switching her position to stare at herself in the mirror instead. She tilted her head to the side, and found herself trying to imagine her life in a year, or five, perhaps even ten. As a little girl, she’d delighted in imagining herself roaming the halls of Hogwarts, as many budding witches and wizards did at that age. Now, as a young lady, she found herself longing for a kind of freedom, or at least, recognition and remembrance. Above all, she wanted to be remembered as someone other than a wife. She wanted to be remembered for something she did, as opposed to something her parents or husband achieved.
With a jolt, Irene stood up, resolving to find some sort of activity to engage her mind in, instead of wallowing in dreams. The clock was slowly ticking closer to a respectable calling hour anyhow, so she wouldn’t have long. One never did know who to expect to drop by for a visit on a Sunday afternoon.
Irene passed her way through hallways and past shut doors, paying them no mind. The house was quiet today, and with a few inquisitive glances, she determined that many of the portraits were sleeping. Recovering from the previous night’s frivolities, no doubt.
With no real plan in mind, Irene headed to the library. Both her parents were firm on the matter of her improving her mind and keeping up with her school work whilst on holidays. There was no shame in knowing how to properly perform spells, but if one could not, they were ridiculed.
In some ways, Irene mused, girls like herself had it far harder than the boys. As she settled in with a Charms book, reading ahead for the year, she noted that not only did she have to have a thorough understanding of social etiquette for balls, basic skills to organize social gatherings and the necessarily feminine wiles to secure a husband, but she also had school material to learn. The men, at least as far as she knew, hardly needed such skills.
She would never admit it, but she’d much rather work away at a proper job, perhaps in the Ministry, and earn money to support herself using the skills she’d learn at Hogwarts, than lounge about at home waiting for a man to come and support her himself.
Silently she scolded herself for dreaming again, and buried her nose in the book resolutely. Thinking in these ways only ever made her mood turn foul, there was no point to it.
“You just left her standing next to the dance floor, just like that?” Harold Prewett remarked incredulously to his friend. Leaning against the fence, the two boys, Harold and William, looked very much relaxed.
Both the Prewett and MacDougal families had extensive land in areas outside the city, where both boys had grown up.
William ran a hand through his hair, gazing at the lines of trees signifying the wood in the distance.
“Yes, I did,” he said, not quite sure how he felt about his actions, in the light of the day.
“She can’t have been at all pleased with that!”
Harold laughed, clapping his friend’s shoulder. William didn’t quite share his friend’s enthusiasm, and Harold, having known Will long enough to pick up on his subtleties, narrowed his eyes.
“What is it, Will?” he enquired, his brow furrowing, “don’t…don’t tell me you have some sort of affection towards the Selwyn girl?”
His tone hardened as the family name crossed his tongue. The two boys never thought particularly highly of their city counterparts. They may all be pureblood, but the country folk knew they were considered rather rough. The powerful pureblood families who resided in London never did hesitate to turn their noses up at them.
“They never speak to us, Will! She’s just as bad. All they want is to marry up, and keep the money in the family. They’ll hardly accept you, when you’re taking their money away!”
Will scuffed his boots into the grass at their feet, taking a moment to gather his thoughts.
“I wouldn’t exactly say I have affections for her,” He started slowly, his gaze confused, “not in that sense. She merely…intrigues me. Haven’t you noticed how she tends to escape the formalities as much as possible?”
He sighed, and turned to face his friend full on.
“She’s one of them, I know, and to that extent, I can’t stand to be around her. I can’t help but wonder, though, that there’s more to her underneath all that,” he concluded, his mouth twisting with thought.
Harold raised his eyebrows skeptically. Harold, unlike his friend, thought little of the city folk.
“She expected you to dance with her, didn’t she? I’d say she’s no different from the rest, they all believe everything is theirs, and everyone is there to serve them,” he stated roughly.
William knew better than to argue with his friend’s resolute tone. Will didn’t entirely disagree – some of the families, the Lestrange’s, the Black’s, the Gamp’s, the Nott’s – they most definitely viewed the world in that way. The majority of those families seemed to end up in Slytherin house, he noted. Irene, and a few of her close friends, were in Ravenclaw. He himself, along with Harold, belonged to the house of Gryffindor.
Gryffindors like himself very rarely got along with the other houses, and Will had no difficulty seeing why in the case of the Slytherins. The ball last night had been an unpleasant experience for him, populated as it was by young men and women content to look down their noses at him. Irene had been the sole exception to that.
“Are you looking forward to returning to Hogwarts for our last year, Miss Selwyn?”
Irene blinked, startled out of her musings, and turned on a dazzling smile for her companion.
“Yes, I suppose I am,” she replied vaguely.
The young Mr. Lestrange, who’d strategically been sent over for by his mother (though he, of course, hadn’t outright told her that, but it had been obvious enough), sat opposite her, sipping away at his cup of tea rather delicately. Irene felt distinctly uncomfortable, and couldn’t help but shift her position slightly every few minutes.
“I’m rather looking forward to the Quidditch season, I must say,” he started, and Irene chose to tune his chatter out once again.
She had rather enough to think about, as Liz had dropped by not long before. She hadn’t stayed long, but she’d posed the question to Irene that, if their device did work, where would they travel to?
Both girls had, of course, pondered travelling to more romantic times, perhaps to see the great King Arthur, or back to days of great music and art. Neither had really considered it, and Irene had been quick to point out that, most likely, they wouldn’t’ be able to control it very much to begin with.
“Perhaps we should start with only a few minutes into the past, to be sure we can control it,” she had suggested carefully to Liz.
Liz was full of ideas and possible eras just as much as Irene, but unlike her friend, she didn’t have the practical edge. Liz would call Irene over cautious and a bit of a wet fish. Irene, on the other hand, would say that Liz was impulsive and spontaneous, and hardly ever thought things through. Together, the two would either head for disaster or genius. Irene, at least, was still rather unsure which one this particular idea was leaning towards.
As romantic as the idea of travelling to the time of King Arthur and Merlin might sound, Irene had one great flaw in the system. They had not figured out a way, not even in theory, to transport people or objects forward in time. Backwards was another matter, and much easier achieved. Using a Pensieve was similar to going back in time, in a way, and that had been Irene’s basis for the theory. To travel forward, however, would require knowing what happened in every intervening year, and being able to exactly describe the future world one was going to.
That was almost impossible, and she was well aware of that fact. She had nothing against trying, however, and had been toying with the idea of being able to return to one’s original time after travelling back. After all, there were muggle researchers of some kind who said that what went one way, must then go back in the other, or something similar to that. If she took that theory, then one would have to return to their original time eventually, or risk causing a great imbalance.
All she’d been able to figure was that one did know their own time rather intimately – at least, she could describe the very room she was sitting in now at great accuracy, and surely, if asked, could account some significant conversation or another to transport herself to as a landmark.
It was only a theory, and she had no way of testing such things until they knew they had a device possible of achieving such miracles.
“Good day, Miss Irene,” Mr Lestrange was saying, and Irene blushed slightly, embarrassed that she hadn’t heard a word of what he’d been saying to her.
She hoped her mother hadn’t noticed her distraction, or she’d be in for a scolding.
“Good day to you too, Mr Lestrange,” she replied formally, seeing him to the door.
With that done, she returned to her mother’s presence, finding the woman practically bursting with excitement.
“So, dear, how do you like Mr Lestrange? I know he did so enjoy himself last night, I’m sure he was quite taken with you now as well,” Clara Selwyn started, rubbing her hands together triumphantly.
Irene blinked, momentarily stunned by her mother’s actions. Her mother did always like to meddle, but today Irene was simply not in the mood for it.
“I hardly care, mother,” she said bluntly, well aware that she was being rude, “he’s a rather abhorrent boy at school.”
She refused to sit, instead staring down at her shocked mother.
“Quite honestly, I don’t see the rush in finding suitors, mother. It will happen eventually. I’m plenty capable of looking after myself.”
With that, Irene turned and fled both the room and a sure scolding. She did enjoy speaking back to her mother on occasion, though she’d pay dearly for it later, especially if word got around to her father.
She couldn’t stop a smile spreading on her face as she retreated to her room, however. What was the point in life if one didn’t have fun once in a while?
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