Birds of a Feather
Book One: First Flight
Author's Notes: I hate this chapter, it feels too short to me, I only got eight pages in Word. Meh, oh well, I'll write more the next chapter, let's call this one yummy filler.
Again, I reiterate that though most of the Ravenclaws are my creation, the world they live in isn't.
As per usual, credit and kudos to the best beta readers a ficcer could have, Haggridd and Madhuri.
For Padma Patil, the first thing of note was the shape of the large Common Room that was Ravenclaw Corners. There were ten walls set in a circle, with two doors in each except for the wall through whose large double doors they had entered. Between each pair of doors were set tables with padded benches along either side. Above, blue candles in simple bronze sconces cast the light. A fire blazed in the center of the room on a stone platform surrounded by a low metal grate. Scattered around the room were padded chairs, footstools, settees and little occasional tables.
"For every pair of doors," the prefect explained, "the witches’ dormitories are on the left and the wizards’ dormitories are on the right. The First Year dorms are located opposite the main entrance. The Witches Bathroom is directly to the left of the main entrance coming in and the Wizards Bathroom to the right. So, proceeding clockwise from the top you have the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Years, the Wizard’s Bathroom, the main entrance, the Witch’s Bathroom, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Years, back to the First Years. Have you all got that?" The prefect witch looked at her watch-- a magic watch, Padma noted, not like Carolina's-- and said, "It's late. Breakfast comes early tomorrow. You can stay up if you want, but I suggest you all get to bed."
Antigone yawned. "Ill just go to bed, Im too tired to talk." Lisa nodded as well.
"Im going to stay up a bit," Padma said.
"I'll stay up with you." Carolina was wide awake; everything was new and exciting. "Let's go change into our pajamas first. We can look at the dorms and find which beds are ours." While the boys went right to their own dorms, the girls headed left. Just beyond the door sat five tall four-poster beds, each enveloped by deep blue silk curtains. Their trunks had been carried up and neatly placed at the foot of each. Padma opened hers to take out her nightgown, while Carolina fished out her pajamas. They changed and left the dormitory to sit in the Common Room, leaving the other three witches to sleep undisturbed. Padma had brought her trading cards to show Carolina, who was clearly fascinated as she viewed all of them. Padma pointed out some of her favorites: Agrippa, Morgana, Merlin-- who wasn't in his picture at the moment-- and Hippolyta.
"How long have you been collecting these?" Carolina read the back of the Cassandra card as she spoke.
"Since I was about seven years old. I have a lot of duplicates, because I like to trade. Im only missing three or four. My sister used to collect them, but she gave me all hers when she tired of it." She sighed to herself. "I wonder what Parvatis doing nowor if she can even sleep."
"Youve shared a room your whole life?"
Padma nodded. "We've always been together, since we were little babies. Probably the longest time we were apart was the ten minutes I had to wait before she was born. We always played together, roomed togetherweve never even slept in a room without each other."
"Oh. Ive always been by myself, mind. Just me and Papa in this snug little house on the moors. Most of Papas friends thought he was mad to take on raising a little girl all by himself. But I turned out okay, I guess. On the moors my neighbors were so far away, and a lot of them didnt have kids my age or who liked to do what I did. They thought I was a bit odd, you know, because I liked to read and learn, as well as play around in dirt and things. Most of them didn't like to do either."
Padma nodded. "When Parvati and I were younger, we loved to play together. We also used to do accidental magicthings like making the flowers change colors when we held them and stuff like that. Once Parvati got hold of Fathers wand when she shouldnt have been playing with it and almost burned down the kitchen. We were only four, but she got punished severely. Did you do anything unusual when you were little?"
Carolina looked thoughtful. "Theres only one thing I remember that was odd to meI was about five years old, and it was a warm summer evening. I was playing outside near the porch where Papa could see me. He was on the telephone, and he didnt see what happened. Suddenly I heard this deep frightening growling. I turned and saw this giant dog snarling at me, like he was going to rip me apart. One minute I was standing there, trembling the next, I was hanging half off our roof, screaming my head off while the dog barked and snapped at me. Papa scared him off finally, by throwing scalding hot dishwater at him. But to this day I dont know how I got on the roof."
"Do you think it was a werewolf? They do exist you know."
Carolina looked surprised to find out that werewolves were real. "No, I remember it being somewhat darker out because the moon wasnt full. It was a normal wild dog." Carolina yawned. "Lets go to bed now, we can talk tomorrow."
Padma picked up her Wizard Card Album. They walked to the dorm and climbed into bed. Just as Padma's head touched her pillow, Carolina spoke. "Where do they keep the owls? I noticed that Nike isn't here. I suppose there's a place for her."
"Probably in the Owlery-- we'll go look for it tomorrow. I need to send a Hogwarts owl to Mother-- if she hasn't sent me one first on Amazon. I didn't get my own owl. We just have one for the family, but we don't need more than one. Amazon is still young and hearty for her age."
"Okay." Padma heard Carolina yawn again. "Goodnight, Padma."
" Night, Carolina."
"Whats our class today?" Oliver asked Morag as he pulled on his robes. It was the first day of classes, and everyone in Morags dorm was getting ready. Lawrence Hillbourgh had volunteered to show all the first years the way back to the Main Hall for breakfast. Hed pounded on the door at seven o clock, startling Morag into tumbling out of bed and tangling himself in the bed curtains.
"Lawrence said the schedule is posted by the main doors." Oliver ducked out as Morag tied his sneakers and memorized the timetable before walking back in the dorm. "Charms and Herbology in the morning, and History of Magic this afternoon. We can probably return to the dorm after lunch and get our things for History of Magic." Morag reached for his tote bag, his copies of The Standard Book of Spells and One Hundred Magical Herbs and Fungi, and wand (eleven inches, beech and dragon heartstring) as well as several rolls of parchment and quills. Hed been practicing at home over the summer and could now write fairly neatly with one. He stepped out with the rest of the boys to see Lawrence and the witches already standing there. Carolina looked like she wanted to jump up and down.
"Hey, Antigone, wheres Shadow?" Morag asked her as Lawrence led them out the doors.
"I left him in the dorms, hes still asleep." Antigone shifted her backpack to her other handshe was carrying it by the straps instead of over her shoulder and was the only one of the group carrying one.
Breakfast was interrupted many times by lots of owls flying to the Great Hall to make deliveries. Afterwards, all the First Years rose and went to go find the Charms classroom. It took quite a while, because some doors werent true doors and things kept moving around. One staircase moved to point the other way just as they all had made it on, which scared little Oliver Hutchins quite a bit. They finally managed to get to the Charms classroom and take their seats. A tiny man with a large shock of white hair stood on a stack of books behind his desk.
"My name is Professor Flitwick. As you may already know, Im the Head of Ravenclaw House as well as the Charms teacher." He quickly called the roll, then held out his wand. "You'll be learning various charms in this class which are the bases for many more complicated spells." He pointed his wand at Lisa's inkwell. "Wingardium Leviosa!" The inkwell shot straight up and hovered about a foot off the desk. Morag looked impressed. With another spell, Professor Flitwick set the inkwell down. "Of course, we won't be doing that immediately. First we will learn the basic mechanics of holding one's wand to move things while they are on stable surfaces. Does anyone know the spell for moving stationary objects?"
Morag raised his hand. Hed read over one of his books this morning. Flitwick motioned at him. "Yes, Mr. MacDougal?"
"It's 'Movova!' sir." He pronounced it as best he could.
"Excellent! Five points for Ravenclaw. First Ill show you, then you may practice. Dont expect to get it right the first time, of course. " Professor Flitwick pointed at one of the books on his table. "Movova!" The book slid neatly across the desk as he moved his wand back and forth. "Now, you wont be allowed to move books quite yet. For now I want you practice with these buttons. Just practice till you can move them back and forth with your wand. Just a quick flick for now. Once you can move them, then well try fluid moving."
Morag looked at the button in front of him. He bit his bottom lip and then held out his wand. "Movova!" he spoke clearly, flicking his wrist sharply. The button sat there. Scowling, he tried again. The entire class seemed to be annoyed with their motionless buttons. Antigone looked as if she was going to cry as she sat there moving her wand, but not her button. Morag patted her hand. "Youre trying a bit too hard. Dont stutter."
Antigone nodded. She stared at her button, then spoke clearly, flicking the wand with her right hand. "Movova!" Morag noticed she seemed to be having trouble holding her wand.
"Antigone, are you left handed?" he asked.
"Which hand did you use when you first got your wand? Which hand was holding it?"
"Then use that one. Lets try at the same time."
Antigone switched hands, holding the wand in her left. "Movova!" they both said together with a sharp flick of their wrists. The buttons both moved jerkily and clicked into each other audibly.
"Ah, has someone done it?" Professor Flitwick made his way to Antigone from Olivers seat.
"We both did, Professor," Morag said.
"Splendid! Do it again, if you don't mind, first individually, then together."
Morag went first, flicking his wand and moving his button neatly. Antigone did the same, clearly surprised. Finally, working together, they made the buttons move apart.
"Good! Very good!" Flitwick clapped. "Ten points each for Ravenclaw. Class dismissed." He looked at Morag cheerily as they packed up to go. "You know, your father was good with charms too. I remember having him in my class. Knew him well."
"You know about my father? I dont even remember him."
Flitwick looked a bit compassionate. "You mother didnt tell you about him? Shes Muggle, yes?"
"Yes she is, sir. She told me nothing, other than the fact he died right before I was born. She didnt like to talk about him much."
"I'll tell you what. I advise you to start asking around about him. Almost all the teachers who were here at the time remember your father well. See if you don't learn something new about your dad every week. He was very well known in the wizarding world-- trust me, you may be surprised at what you find out."
Morag nodded, feeling odd at the prospect of learning what Professor Flitwick might know. He picked up his tote and headed out to follow the others.
"Argh." Carolina groaned as she and rest of the Ravenclaws left History of Magic that Wednesday. Most of them looked all too grateful to leavethis had been their second time to the class and no one liked it. "Professor Binnss class had to be the most boring thing Ive ever sat through. Herbology was better than thatand I dont even like plants!"
"Well, we cant expect much from a ghost for a professor." Padma pointed out.
"At least that was the last class of the day. No more classes today, we can go study in our common room." Carolina looked at her parchment scroll, which was spotted with blotches. "I should have practiced writing with quillsmy notes are a mess. Who would have thought you had to learn all about history and things?"
"I guess its that those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it, idea."
"Goblin rebellions and troll outbreaks are not the stuff that dreams are made of. And he never ever gives us points. Im glad Im doing so very well in TransfigurationI almost have my match into a needle, Professor McGonagall is very proud of me. She gave Ravenclaw ten points for it."
"Youre the only one making such good progress." Padma, being near the head of the group, reached and tickled the door in front of them to make it open. It shivered as if giggling and then swung open to reveal a staircase. "The most I could do was get my match a little bit shiny."
"You seem to make up for Transfiguration by doing good in Astronomy. Professor Sinistra is always giving you points. "One might think you were her favorite. Sometimes I wonder if Binns even knows that were there."
"At least Professor Binns doesnt notice when we sleep in class," Oliver spoke up.
"Like you were?" Carolina teased.
Oliver appeared as if he was going to say something else, but was cut off when a wastepaper basket fell on his head and splattered him with trash. The group's attention was drawn to the sight of a little man wearing a Fool's cap and bells with an orange bowtie cackling hysterically while Oliver looked disgusted. "Oooo I got an Ickle Firstie!" he squealed.
Carolina scowled as the other first years huddled together. Carolina knew this was probably some type of ghost, but she hadnt seen him before. "Come on guys, lets keep going towards the rooms. We can't go down to dinner until we get Oliver all cleaned up." She marched forward towards the common room, but was blocked as the poltergeist darted in front of her.
"Nothing doing, Firstie," he snapped, throwing handfuls of trash at all of them.
Carolina brought her arms in front of her face to block the trash. She would have thrown it back, but she assumed it would have probably gone right through him. Behind her Mandy was shrieking and trying to duck the assault.
"PEEVES!" The Grey Ladys voice rang out as she came soaring down the hall and stopped in front of the group. "Leave them alone!"
"I was just having fun with the Firsties, your Ladyship." Peeves continued to fling more things.
"Im warning you, Peeves "
Peeves blew a raspberry.
"I will call the Bloody Baron, Peeves. Would you rather have him deal with you?"
Peeves snarled and zoomed off through the left wall. The Grey Lady turned to the others and let out a sigh. "Peeves is our resident poltergeist. The only person than can control him is the Baron, annoyingly enough." She clucked her tongue at Oliver. "Poor dear, youll have to clean that up before you go to dinner tonight. Ill see you later, dears." She floated off towards the Great Hall.
Oliver sighed. "Now I have to have this robe washed and take a long bath before dinner."
Carolina helped pick little bits of trash out of Olivers hair as they walked on. "Well, we don't mind waiting for you, do we, guys?" The others nodded.
Antigone loved being at Hogwarts. There was nothing more exciting to her than watching the owls zoom in over breakfast and deliver mail to the students. She hadnt gotten any yet, but Carolinas father had quickly understood the mechanics of owl post over the summer with Nike and had recently sent Carolina a package of candies from her favorite Muggle candy store. She always shared with all the first years, and the wizard-borns were fascinated by lemon drops, and jelly beans that never held unpleasant flavors.
Shed been doing very well so far in classes. Charms was Antigone's favorite class, and she excelled wonderfullyshe and Morag almost always were first to get a new spell to work, and Professor Flitwick had begun to have them demonstrate to the class, from time to time. On Wednesday nights Professor Sinistra had them monitor the stars through telescopes along with the Gryffindors. She had once shared a telescope with Harry Potter and discovered that he wasnt all that high and mighty about himselfjust a young boy who didnt know a lot about magic himself, and, at times, he struggled just as much as she did. Shed held a small conversation with him, but not much of one. (She still didn't understand what all the fuss was about.) History of Magic bored her, as Professor Binns lectured monotonously, but she still managed to learn what she needed to know. Defense Against the Dark Arts was almost pointless thoughProfessor Quirrell, a pale young wizard with who wore a dark purple turban, seemed to avoid the topic altogether whenever a student spoke about it. Afterwards Antigones robes reeked of garlic due to the thick ropes of it hanging all over the room and it took a half hour to wash the smell out of her hair.
Herbology with the Slytherins was a pain, but not because of the teacher. Professor Sprout was very nice and patient, a short little witch with flyaway grey hair and dirty fingernails. She almost always gave them hands-on work with the different plants. The problem she had was with the Slytherins themselves, who always made smart remarks and insulted anyone who wasnt one of them. The worst incident in class had been when she and Terry Boot were paired with two Slytherins to help replant one of the baby prickleback bushes. Blaise Zabini had purposely let one of the fragile seedlings go flying at her face, and she had pulled her hands up just in time to avoid getting her eyes gouged out. It had sliced her hand open though, and she bled all over the potting soil while the Slytherins snickered meanly. Blaise had received two detentions for it, which made Antigone feel a little better, and Madame Pomfrey (the school nurse) had healed her hand up neatly, which made her feel a whole lot better.
She couldnt get the hang of Transfiguration, though. Professor McGonagall had given them a stern lecture on how serious the subject was. She had impressed them by turning her desk into a pig and then back, but there was no chance that any of them would be allowed near something so complicated yet. There had been notes upon notes, and then they were given the task of turning matches into needles. The only one who had made any change the first class was Carolina, who had at least made the match turn a bit silver. By Friday she could do it perfectly, and Professor McGonagall had favored her with a small smile and a "Well done, Miss Kipley, ten points for Ravenclaw."
The worst class was probably Potions. Lawrence Hillbourgh, the Third Year, had told Antigone that Professor Snape, Housemaster for Slytherin, favored his house above all others, and Lawrence had been dead on. Snape would insult both the Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs, and would find any excuse to dock points. So far she had been very good and rarely made mistakes. Once the rest of the class figured this out, they made sure they had a potion down and did everything perfectly and silently, speaking to Professor Snape only when he spoke first. The Hufflepuffs hadnt quite picked up on the strategy though, and so they almost always got on Snapes bad side. Snape loathed that he almost never found an excuse to dock the first year Ravenclaws, and made up for it by docking Cho Chang's second year Potions class every time they stepped out of line. Cho had complained about it at night when they were all in the common room and found it very unfair.
It had been a week since the start of term when Antigone got a very nasty shock.
At Saturday morning breakfast, a school owl swooped down and dropped a letter right on top of her cream of wheat. She noticed it was from Esmerelda before she ripped it open and read the small note scrawled on Ministry parchment:
"Antigone, I need to see you immediately. You need to come home right away, it is highly important. Something major involving your mother has come up. I have informed the Headmaster, the Deputy Headmistress and your Housemaster, Professor Flitwick, and they all understand the circumstances. Your Housemaster will escort you to Hogsmeade Station, where I will pick you up. It will just be overnight. You will be back in time for classes Monday. No reply is required; report to Professor Flitwick once you have received this owl."
Esmerelda had signed at the bottom in bright violet ink.
Antigones eyes widened. Ignoring the rest of her breakfast, she took off to Ravenclaw Corners amid the surprised looks of her fellow first years and a concerned look from Lawrence. She rummaged through her trunk, stuffing two outfits and various necessities in her backpack along with her wand, homework and A Beginners Guide to Transfiguration before she made the trek up to Flitwicks seventh floor office. She didn't even have to rap on the door. Professor Flitwick had left it open and was waiting in a neat blue traveling cloak. "Are you ready to go, Miss Moon?" he asked with concern as she entered the office, the note gripped tightly in her hand.
"Has Esme-- I mean Miss Toners-- told you anything about why I have to go home?" Please dont let him have hurt her
He shook his head. ..."I am sorry to say that she has not." He pulled out a pocket watch (a magical one, Antigone noticed absently) and nodded. "We should leave now so well get there in time."
Antigone nodded, her eyes welling up. Silently she followed Professor Flitwick down the stairs and corridors towards the entrance. Antigone was in a daze of fear and apprehension; she merely trailed behind, scribbling out a note half-heartedly until they had made it to Hogsmeade and to the rail station. Esmerelda was standing there, with thick purple robes on over her Muggle clothing. The letters "M.B.W.W.L.O." were stitched on neatly on the left side, so Antigone guessed they were Ministry Uniform robes. She looked exhausted, as if shed spent the night awake. ..."Thank you, professor," she said softly, "I'll take over from here."
Just as Professor Flitwick was turning to leave, Antigone called him. "Yes?" he replied in his squeaky voice.
Antigone pressed a small note into his hand. "Can you give this to Carolina Kipley? I dont want her to worry about me while Im gone." He nodded sagely and then left in the same carriage that had brought them.
Esmerelda took Antigones hand. "I hate to pull you out of classes, but your mothershe asked for you, she wont talk to me much, and your aunts hysterical herselfwhat with all that happened, I wouldnt be surprised."
"What happened?" Antigone looked at Esmerelda terrified. "Did did Daddy go to my aunts house?"
Esmerelda nodded, then hugged Antigone as she burst into tears.
Carolina was very worried when Antigone hadn't returned after her sudden exit from breakfast. She had just read her letter and taken off, without even so much as a whisper. Even stranger was that Antigone hadn't been seen. She quickly finished her toast and then ran to Ravenclaw Corners. She must have just missed Antigone, because her trunk was open and her backpack missing. Carolina noted that one of Antigones textbooks and her homework rolls were also missing as she put Antigones things awaywherever she had gone, she had left in a rush. Shadow meowed as she walked in, but he didnt follow her out.
Morag, Padma, Cho and Lawrence caught up with Carolina as she came out of the dormitory and into the common room. "Wheres Antigone?" Morag asked worriedly.
"I dont know."
"Where do you think she went?" Cho asked, looking concerned. Carolina realized that Cho too had become friends with Antigone. She looked as frightened as the first years.
Lawrence muttered, deep in thought. "I can remember no time they ever removed a student from the Hogwarts grounds before. I can't think of any reasonAntigone has done nothing to warrant expulsionshe's practically a model student."
"The worst she did was to lose five points in Potions, but that was an accident, and Snape is just vindictive that way." Carolina was past scared and approaching terrified. Where did she go? What happened that would have called her off the grounds? Unless...could it be a problem in her family? I dont think everythings right with her family, but it would be rude beyond belief to suspect whats not there
"Miss Kipley?" Carolina turned to see Professor Flitwick walk in. He barely came up to her shoulder, he was so little.
He held out a note. "Miss Moon wanted me to give this to you. She had to go home for a family emergency."
Carolina whimpered like shed been kicked. "What kind of family emergency?"
"I wasn't told, Miss Kipley, but an official in Ministry Uniform robes was at Hogsmeade Station to take charge of her."
"Was she a witch with long black hair and distinctively Muggle clothing?" Flitwick nodded. Carolina waited until he had departed before speaking again. "I know her, thats Esmereldashe helped us in Diagon Alley, she works for the Muggle-born Wizard and Witch Liaison Office. Why would she be here for Antigone?"
"Read the note," Padma said, poking at it.
Carolina unrolled it and started reading the rushed handwriting. "Sorry for the rush in leaving, but Esmereldas letter told me I had to leave this morning and go straight home. Something about Mummy came up. I dont want to tell you yet, but I will once I can. Dont worry, Ill be home on Sunday night. Watch out for Shadow, Ill owl you if I can. Antigone."
"Well, we know shes okay," Morag said. "But whats wrong with her mother?"
"I dont know," Carolina said. She sat down on one of the footstools, still holding the note. But Im definitely worried.
Padma was right shocked when Carolina told them that Antigone had left the school grounds after breakfast and hadn't been seen since that sudden departure. As the others came in and saw she was missing, Carolina explained that Antigone would be gone for the weekend on family business. This had calmed the others down, but not Padma and Morag. The other First Years gathered at the table in front of their dorm and debated how best to personalize their assigned personal wall, but the three sought out stools and arranged them around an occasional table as they pretended to do their Herbology homework.
Morag was the first to speak. "Lets get right to it," he said. "Are you two worried about Antigone as well, or am I the only one?"
"Of course Im worried," Carolina said. "Ive been worried since I first met hershes withdrawn, and very timid."
"I noticed that too," Padma said, chewing her bottom lip. She thought that Antigone was more than simply timid, though—in her opinion, Antigone was downright terrified of adults. But she kept that to herself. "She almost never argues or talks backnot even when Professor Snape grilled her for accidentally tipping the cauldron over in class and splattering his robes with unfinished boil remover wherever it touched." Padma giggled a bit. "Although it was hilarious when his robes erupted into little blue spots wherever the touched." They all laughed at the memory, then quickly sobered. "But y'know... she just stood there with tears running down her face, stammering an apology as she wiped the table, like being yelled at was normal." She scribbled something on her homework as a group of fifth years walked by, then spoke again. "At least she didn't mess up like Neville Longbottom over in Gryffindor. He completely ruined a cauldron and broke out all over in boils.
"After a while even Snape didn't have the heart to keep complaining. Antigone did nothing but accept the abuse he doled out at her. So she lost only five points for the whole episode—Cho lost five times more when she dropped a vial on the floor and set the tables on fire in her Potions Class."
Morag nodded. "Its almost creepy, the way she takes thingswhen things go wrong, she immediately takes the blame." He chewed on a peppermint thoughtfully, sharing them with Padma. Padma had taken a liking to thesethey didnt turn your tongue colors or let you spit purple, but as Muggle sweets went, they were delicious.
Carolina made sure that no one was eavesdropping, then whispered. "You two didn't see what I saw. When I first met her, Antigone's mother was wearing sunglasses, and I could see a bruise under them. I think she had a black eye, or at least a healing one."
Padma blinked. "She didnt get that healed immediately? It would only make sense to do that."
Morag shook his head. "Theres nothing like mediwizards with us Muggles. We get hurt and we just have to tough it out."
Padma could have kicked herself. Antigone learned things so quickly that Padma sometimes forgot that her friend was in fact Muggle-born.
"But how would her mother get a black eye? Unless" Padma looked at Morag and Carolina shocked. "Youyou dont mean? Do Muggle couples do that to one another?"
Morag's expression was grim. "Someone socked her, for sure. We won't press Antigone at all about what happened, it's not respectful. We'll let her tell her friends in her own time. I do think that there is something going on in her family that Antigone doesn't want to tell us about right at this moment."
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