Birds of a Feather
Book One: First Flight
Authors note: This chapter may offend Christians. Im trying to be as inoffensive as possible, but you cant please everyone. And this is a crucial part of my story, especially when it comes to Antigone, so it's gotta stay.
Thanks to Haggridd and Madhuri for Beta reading.
Return To Term
Carolina Kipley sighed as she worked at her Herbology homework. Looking back from mid-March, the Winter Break seemed far in the past. When she and Padma Patil had returned to Hogwarts just before the start of term, theyd all had a warm reunion and told about their holidays. Carolina had spent it at her fathers, working contentedly on her homework and owling Antigone Moon every once in awhile. Padma had spent her holiday visiting relatives in India with her family, and had come back with lots of interesting books and facts about Indian wizarding life. Antigone had showed them both the Luni Pendant, which Padma immediately recognized. Morag MacDougal had told them about sneaking out to Hogsmeade, and added that Antigone had gotten them out of trouble-- which greatly surprised Carolina-- though he'd said nothing about why he had done so.
Since then, things had fallen into a rather dull pattern of classes, homework, and points earned or taken away. Thered been a Quidditch match near then end of FebruaryHufflepuff versus Gryffindor. A buzz had gone around at the news that Snape had decided to referee the game, but Carolina and Antigone had barely gotten settled into their seats when Harry Potter caught the Snitch and ended the game five minutes after it had started. Padma and Morag didn't even make it out to the stands because Padma had been sending off an owl right before the game and had planned to make a late entrance.
The only interesting gossip to come out of it was about the fight in the stands between Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy, which had resulted in detentions for both. There had also been the delightfully close game between Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Slytherin, despite rampant cheating, had lost by ten because Lawrence made a goal seconds before the Slytherin Seeker caught the Snitch. Thats when Carolina learned a team could catch the Snitch and still lose if they didnt focus on making goals as well. Afterwards, Lawrence had been cheered by all the Ravenclaws in a raucous party that had kept the Ravenclaws up well into the night.
Potions was still a bother, with Snape taking points left and rightespecially from Antigone, who was still intimidated by him. But Carolina had been learning wellthough unfair, he knew his subject, Potions, thoroughly. For the most part Antigone made up those lost points in Charms, and what she didnt do in Charms, Carolina did in Transfiguration. She adored Transfigurationand McGonagall was quite proud of Carolinas progress.
It was evening. Antigone, having finished her homework, had her nose buried in what was starting to become her trademark book, As The Gods Make It, when she started shaking. Blinking, Carolina turned to Antigone. "What is it, Tig?" she asked, as she set down her quill.
Antigone was trembling, the book shaking visibly in her hands. She gulped, then looked at Carolina with wide eyes. She looked like shed just had an illusion shattered. "Carolina, are you almost done with your homework?"
"I am done. Im adding extra information about dittany for more points. Why?"
"Because I want you to go to the library with me. Do you mind?
"Not at all, but why?"
"Because Ive got to look something up. Something very important. And I need you there for support."
Carolina bit her bottom lipshed never seen Antigone so tense. "Ill go then." She swept her books into her bag and stood up. The pair quickly made their way to the library, and Antigone made a beeline for the shelves and was gone for a few minutes, during which time Carolina added the extra half-inch of homework onto her parchment. She came back with five or six books which she set on the table. Her eyes were still wide, and she still looked very confused. Carolina got a good look at the title of the one on the top of the stack, and blinked: Yeshua Bar-Yosef: The Life and Times of The Middle Easts Most Famous Wizard. "Antigone, whos Yeshua Bar-Yosef?"
Antigone looked at her hands, then opened her copy of As The Gods Make It. She rapidly flipped through the pages, and stopped at the picture of a tan-skinned, gently smiling man of Middle-Eastern heritage.
He stared up at them and waved as he calmly poured water from one old earthenware pitcher into another. Carolina could see that he was obviously a master of Transfigurationas the water was pouring down, he waved his old-fashioned wand and adeptly turned it into wine.
"Thats Yeshua." Antigones voice held a tone that Carolina had never heard beforeof fear and of secret knowledge.
"He looks like a master transfigurist."
"He was. One of the best of his time, in fact. Look at what the book says about him."
Carolina skimmed the page. "Hmm '... born sometime around 4 B.C.E., the oldest child of Muggle parents and the only wizarding one ... one of the few survivors of the "Massacre of Mages" shortly after the time of is birth ... discovered in his hometown of Bethlehem to be a wizard by a traveling mage ... trained at the prestigious Mount Sinai Academy of Magic; graduated at the top of his class ... explored the Mediterranean area, then returned to his family at the age of thirty ... Master of transfiguration ... best of his time ... world-renowned philosopher ... died at the age of thirty-three as one of the victims of intra-Muggle politics and the general unrest in the Muggle community at the time...'."
She looked up at Antigone. "He sounds familiar."
Antigone sat down across from Carolina. "Youd probably heard about him before you came to Hogwarts, if you ever had gone to church."
"When I was a little girl, my grandmother took me to church on Easter, but I never paid attention. Papas a freethinker and not one for religion, and only allowed me to go to church with my gramma because she asked. I dont remember much from it, and when I turned four I said I didnt want to go anymore and he let me stay home. I havent been to one since."
Antigone looked at Carolina in a mixture of shock and confusion. "So youve never heard about the story of Christ?"
Carolina tensed reflexively. "I hope you didnt bring me up here to try and convert me, Antigone Moon. I had enough of that last year when a friend of mine found out that that Papa and I were agnostics."
Carolina barely heard Antigones reply. "After reading this, so am I."
Antigone looked up at Carolina. The look in her eyes was that of a child whod lost her innocent outlook on life. "Yeshua Bar-Yosef is his Hebrew name. In Greek he's called 'Jesus the Anointed'Jesus Christosand he was a wizard!"
"MORAG ARNOLD MACDOUGAL!"
Morag spun around as he sat in the Great Hall, his most recent spoonful of porridge still in his mouth. His cousin Miriam was storming towards him, her green-grey eyes flashing angrily, shoving several Second-Years out of her path. He tried to swallow so he could ask what was wrong, but he didn't have the time. As soon as she got to the table, she slapped him as hard as she could, snapping his head sideways and causing him to spit porridge all over Joseph Rogerss robes.
Morag turned to look at her like shed suddenly sprouted a second head. "What the bloody hell was that for, Miriam?!" he screamed.
"You nosy, good-for-nothing little twit!" Miriam shrieked, causing every student to turn to look at her and Morag. "You arrogant, ignorant slime! If I could see straight Id curse you seven ways from Saturday! You dont deserve to be in Hogwarts! You dont even deserve to be a wizard, you half-blood bastard!"
"Thats a horrible thing to say, Miriam!" he snarled, rising to his feet.
"I dont care! Shes your aunt, Morag! Shes the only aunt youve ever known, she taught you everything about coming here when your mother could tell you nothing, she lost the respect of the whole MacDougal clan because of your damned Muggle motherand you go and do this to her?"
"I dont even know what I did!" Morags cheeks were flushed in anger, rivaling his cousins.
"You told Uncle Alex where she lived!"
"Uncle Alex? But he asked me! He wanted to see her!"
"You mean youve been talking to him? Are you blind? Are you stupid?!"
"Hes the only person who will tell me anything about my fathers family!"
"The last thing you need is to go nosing around in family records about the MacDougals! Mother had that pain all closed up, had gotten over that stigma, had finally fixed up her lifeand then you go and do this to her!"
"I didnt do anything!"
Miriam grabbed Morag by the collar of his robes, nearly snatching him off his feet. "Mothers lucky shes not dead because of you!"
"Aunt Opaline had nothing to fear from him!"
"Morag, hes the reason your father is dead!" Miriam shoved Morag onto the table, scattering the plates across the table and into various Ravenclaw laps. Morags mouth fell open, his elbow in Lisa Turpins orange juice, as Miriam burst into hysterical tears. He watched silently as Miriam ran off, sobbing audibly.
Uncle Alex is the reason my fathers dead? Morag blinked, trying to preserve what remained of his dignity as he climbed off the table. His robes were covered in bits of breakfast. There was complete silence in the Hall as students stared at Morag. There was no saving face from this one. He would just have to deal with the consequences of this later. He was still flushing, but it was more out of anger than in embarrassment.
He heard snickering at the Slytherin table behind him from one blond headed First-Year. Angrily, he grabbed the rest of his porridge and poured the whole mess onto the top of Moira Ryanss head, covering her eyes and causing her to gasp in shock. She turned to look at him, porridge dripping from her hair.
"Fuck you, you arrogant Slytherin bitch," he hissed at Moira before she could speak. "If youre an example of pure blood Im damned glad Im a half-blood."
Draco Malfoy leapt to his feet as if to curse him but was restrained down by Alph Kamain. Then Morag stormed out of the Great Hall and right into Professor McGonagall. He didnt know why she was there, though he suspected she had been chasing down Miriam.
Professor McGonagall looked down at Morag through her glasses, her lips set in a firm line. "What was that little spectacle?" she said, her voice controlled. "Porridge is for eating, not for pouring into the hair of your fellow classmates. Explain yourself, Mr. MacDougal."
Morag had to bite his tongue not to yell at Professor McGonagall and lose more points than he was already going to. "Moira was laughing at me, Professor McGonagall," he said, staring at the floor.
"And your temper is so short that you poured the remains of your breakfast on her head?"
"I was already upset, maam."
"Because my cousin Miriam embarrassed me publicly in front of everyone. She slapped me and accused me of endangering her mothers life." It took every ounce of control not to let a tear fall. No matter how upset he was, he was not going to let a teacher see him cry. "She said that my uncle is the reason my father is dead."
He wasnt sure, but he thought he saw a sympathetic look in Professor McGonagalls eyes. Her face didnt change. "Angry or not, your actions were an embarrassment to your house. Especially your language. Forty points from Ravenclaw for such appalling behavior, and a detention. Be glad its not more."
Morag felt like hed been slapped again. Forty points was going to be very hard to make up or explain to the other Ravenclaws.
"Go and clean yourself, Master MacDougal, then report to my office."
"What about Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts?"
"You can report to Professor Flitwick and Professor Quirrell after class to find out what youve missed."
"Yes, Professor McGonagall." Morag quietly made his way up to Ravenclaw Corners. One tear slipped down his cheek and plopped silently on the stone floor.
Padma didn't need her twin sister Parvati in order to hear what had happened in the Great Hall during breakfast that morning. Carolina and Mandy Brocklehurst told her themselves in clear detail. Even Parvati wasnt this accurate when it came to her information.
She still couldnt believe it. Forty points gone in one swoop because of Morags temper. Though she had to admit that Moira should have had more sense that to draw attention to herself when Morag was that upset, shed hoped Morag would have had more sense than to react so fiercely.
At the end of CharmsAntigone managed to get three points for doing so well at her Re-Coloring Charmthe First-Years silently filed out. She saw Morag standing meekly besides the door, and while Antigone and Carolina both went over to him and spoke in hushed tones, the rest of the First-Years shot him a collective dirty look as they headed up to Ravenclaw Corners.
Padma also stepped out of the queue to say something to Morag when he waved them all off. "Head back up to Ravenclaw Corners, guys," he said softly. "Ill be there after I get the assignment from Professor Flitwick."
"Where were you?" Padma asked.
"In Professor McGonagalls office. Ill tell you more about it later." He stepped into the classroom, and as the door closed they could hear Professor Flitwicks voice.
"Master MacDougal, Professor McGonagall informed me before class. I am very disappointed "
The trio slowly made their way up to Ravenclaw Corners. Morag didnt make an appearance until fifteen minutes later, and immediately commenced to silently sitting over in one of the overstuffed chairs and pulling his knees up to his chest.
"Nice going, Morag," Lisa Turpin hissed audibly, "losing so many points all by yourself. For someone who constantly derides Gryffindors for not thinking you set a prime example this morning."
"Im sorry," Morag said, his voice muffled. He didnt move from his chair the entire time before lunch, just stared silently at the wall. When the Ravenclaws got up to head down to lunch, Morag was still sitting in his chair. Padma looked at him sympathetically as she headed out. "You coming along, Morag?"
Morag looked up, a dazed look. "Eryes." He slowly got to his feet and followed Padma to the Great Hall. All through lunch Morag was silent and afterwards, in class. He looked greatly upset. It wasnt until late after dinner that night that Padma, Antigone, and Carolina cornered him.
"So what happened?" Padma asked first. The four of them were the only First-Years awakePadma, Carolina, and Antigone had decided to wait until the other First-Years were in bed before talking to him. "I heard about breakfast this morningI was late and just grabbed some toast, so I missed everything."
"I was there," said Antigone, looking at Morag with a pained expression. "What did Miriam mean, 'Alex is the reason your father's dead'?"
"Alex?" Carolina sat down in the chair across from Morag. "Whos Alex?"
Morag sighed heavily. "Id guess Id better tell you everything."
And, Antigone noted to herself, so he did.
He told them about finding out from Madam Hooch that his father and most of the MacDougals had been in Slytherin, including his aunt; about reading about his father and the MacDougals in Families of the Dark Era and finding out that he had an Uncle Alexander; about trying to ask his aunt, reaching a dead end and so turning to Alexander; about receiving a reply before the first Quidditch game of the year and writing back, but hearing nothing until Christmas Day; that the reason he and Antigone had gone to Hogsmeade was to meet his uncle; that he'd given his uncle information to contact his aunt; and that now, Miriam had told him that his uncle was the reason he was fatherless. The whole time his face was a blank expression, as if he was reading a report instead of letting all his secrets out. Antigone knew all of this, so she didnt react as strongly as Padma and Carolina, who both looked absolutely shocked.
"Did he?" Padma whispered.
"Did what?" Morag replied.
"Did your uncle Alex kill your father?"
Morag gulped, clearly upset. "I dont know. Its the reason I was in McGonagalls office all morning. She was telling me what happened."
"What?" Antigone asked. This was the part of the story she didnt know yet.
"The day my father died, he and Uncle Alexander were together. My family was in hiding. It wasnt because of You-Know-Who. Hed just fallen. It was about two weeks later, when backlash was just starting. My mother and father were hiding because they feared the wrath of the rest of the MacDougals."
"And how does Professor McGonagall know?"
"Professor McGonagall knows this because she was my fathers advisor. Shed told him, my aunt, and my uncle what to do so that the rest of the MacDougals wouldn't take their rage out on them. They had gotten out of the thick of things early, but the other MacDougals still had reason to want to lash out at my father. Uncle Alexander hadnt seen mehed never seen me, hed been out of the country when I was born and when he came back we were in hiding. My father went to go see him at his place. That evening, Uncle Alexander came over and told my mother and Aunt Opaline that my father was dead. I dont remember, I was only a little under two years old. My mother had always told me that hed died when I was very small, but shed never told me how."
Morags voice quavered. "No one but Alexander knew how hed died, and Alexander wasnt telling. Then my aunt and mother found out that Alexander had killed him, that theyd been the only two at the house when my father died and that theyd had to tell Professor McGonagall about this, since she'd been the one hiding my family and now she had to hide me, my mother and Aunt Opaline's family as well, because we all were in danger." He sighed, heavily.
The other three sat there, silent. Antigone was trying to process all this. Alexander hadnt acted like a murderer. Hed been nice to both of them. If hed been out to hurt Morag, he could have done it when they were in Hogsmeade, or told them to meet him somewhere else. Right? Her brow furrowed in concentration. I'm not in any position to know though
Her train of thought was broken when Morag spoke again. "I should write to him and find out."
"Morag! You cant!" Carolina shrieked. "He could hurt you!"
"He didnt hurt me before."
"You had Antigone with you. One can hide one dead body a lot easier than two."
"He still could have killed her." Padma looked disgusted.
Antigone felt faint. Im not that big. He could have killed me She felt the room swirl slightly.
Carolina was standing now, shaking her finger at Morag. "Dont you dare contact him, Morag. Dont you dare."
"But I want to know the truth."
"Oh, do you really think hes going to say, Yes, I killed your father? I dont think so. I mean it, Morag. You just ignore him from now on. Im going to have to agree with Miriamyou nearly got your aunt hurt." Carolina huffed and headed into her dorm.
Padma rose to her feet. "I cant tell you what to do, Morag. But dont do anything that would get you or anyone else hurt, okay?" She shook her head and headed to their dorm.
Antigone rose to her feet. She was still thinking when Morag grabbed her arm gently. "Tig?" he said.
"Im going to contact him again. Im going to ask him."
"Yes, I know they all say he's guilty, even Professor McGonagall. But I just have to, Tig. Something inside me tells me that my uncle Alexander is innocent."
Antigone nodded. "Me too."
Morag looked up at her with his grey eyes. "Ive told Carolina and Padma my secret. One of these days youll have to tell them yours."
Antigone gulped. She was still shaken by the memory of seeing a revered figure from her household in a magical book earlier, and so the next day she'd spent hours poring over the books she'd checked out of the library after Carolina had left. Theyd all said the same thingthings she had come to believe, things that had shaken all her father's beliefs to their very foundations. These beliefs weren't hers anymore. "I cant yet."
"Dont let someone else force you to."
Antigone nodded. "I wont."
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