A/N: So, this is just an idea I had. This is just the test chapter, but if I get some good feedback, then I'll post another chapter (which will probably quite a bit shorter). Enjoy. :)
Calliope - An Introduction to Change
For as long as I can remember, my family's been essentially playing a game of international hide-and-seek. We've never stayed in one city for more than a year. I switch schools a lot. Having been the new kid a grand total of twelve times, you would think that the idea of finally settling down in one place would make me ecstatic. But it didn't, not really. Because I knew it wouldn't last. Good things never last for me. Still, when I received an acceptance letter from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic on the first morning in our latest stop – a quaint little house in the general vicinity of Nice, France – my mind couldn't stop racing at the possibility of having a semi-permanent residence.
Beauxbatons was great. We'd lived in a few French-speaking countries before, so there was only a small language barrier. The food was an acquired taste, but I was just happy to be somewhere that I would be able to acquire such a taste. The other female students were generally a bit too girly for me to be friends with, but I did end up meeting some really cool girls. And let's not even get started on the boys, yeah? Two words – drool worthy.
Beauxbatons was my home for five years. Every summer, I would return to my family, and we'd switch houses again. But we stayed in or near France, and I'd return to Beauxbatons when the school year resumed. This was the longest I had stayed in one place in my whole life. Never had I been happier. But, I'd apparently done something to piss Karma off, for when I returned home for the summer after my fifth year, my mother had some tragic news.
"Poppy, we're moving," she blurts as soon as I arrived in our flat. I flick a few scarce ashes out of my curly, dirty-blonde hair. Years ago, traveling by Floo would have left me in a much more disheveled state. But elegant Floo travel is just another eccentric part of the Beauxbatons curriculum.
"I know, Maman. We move every year." I shrug as if it wasn't really a big deal. Which it wasn't. Not anymore. Besides, I'd only be at the new house for a few weeks before the new school year began. Moving didn't really affect me anymore.
"We're moving to England," Maman adds. I don't care that I've taken five years of etiquette class (Beauxbatons is a big enforcer of manners); my jaw drops anyways. It's a natural reaction to life-changing news, I think. It's completely justified.
"But…Maman!" I shriek. Non, non, non. This could not be happening. She could not be doing this to me! "But what about Beauxbatons?"
"You'll be attending my alma mater, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," she replies nonchalantly. As if I was complaining about continuing my magical education, as opposed to me complaining about being ripped away from the best thing in my life! This might be the teen 'angst' talking, but I swear that woman never understands me.
"Maman, this is not fair! I finally settle down somewhere, and you want me to pack up and move again? Just like I've been doing my whole life! Why can't we stay put? What are we running from?"
"All in good time, Poppy," she tries to assure me, but I will have none of it. They've been force-feeding me lies and deception for a long time. I'm very tired of it.
"Tell me!" I demand indignantly, "This has affected me for fifteen years, and it's time for you to tell me what's going on!"
"I will not have you speaking to me like that, young lady," Maman's voice gets low, and I can practically cut through the – metaphorical – cloud of her anger. "I am your mother, and you will listen to what I tell you. Now is not the time for you to learn what is going on, and you will respect my decision. Go to your room, and stay there till supper."
I huff as I begin to – in a decidedly unladylike manner – stomp up the stairs. "Oh, and I would start packing if I were you, dear," Maman adds in a sickly sweet voice. This is not going to turn out well.
"And why would that be?" I use the same sickly sweet tone. Turn-about is fair play in this 'war'. Or so I think. But I've been wrong about quite a few things today, haven't I?
"Because we move tomorrow." Once again, my mother has beaten me. I need to start paying better attention to my instincts. I knew this permanency was too good to be true.
I don't pack when I reach my room. All of my things – those which didn't go to Beauxbatons with me – are still boxed from our move to this house. I choose to sit at my desk, where I pull a piece of stationary, a pot of purple ink, and a quill out of various drawers. I have to write a letter to my best friends. Luckily, I only have to write one letter. The three of them are all staying at Marie's house. I was supposed to join them after the move, but that now seems unlikely.
"Dear Marie, Isa, and Nettie,
There has been a change in plans. I will not be able to join you all in a few days.
My mother has informed me that we are moving to England. Not only that, but I will not be at Beauxbatons next year. I will, instead, be forced to attend Hogwarts. Yes, Isa, I did argue, but she has made up her mind. I will miss you all dearly. We must write each other, and perhaps we will be able to get together for Noël. Know that you three have made my years at Beauxbatons the happiest of my life. Thank you for being my best friends.
All my love,
I sigh as I seal the letter. Beauxbatons is the only place I have ever considered as home. To be forced to leave it, and my only friends, behind is a heart-breaking experience. And England will be so much different! I will have to speak English all day, every day. And the terminology of British English will almost certainly be different from that of American English (the last country I spoke English in). The only people that I will know at Hogwarts are my younger twin half-brothers, Christopher and Andrew. I will be alone!
My thoughts are disrupted by a soft rap on the door. I call for them to come in as I open my owl's cage. I take great pride in Enyala. She is a beautiful Spotted owl, and was given to me by my three friends for my thirteenth birthday. She will by my only friend in the bleak U.K.
"Poppy, you know that we're not trying to hurt you, don't you?" asks a male voice as I transfer Enyala from her cage to the window ledge. That woulod be my stepfather, Jonathan. He's very nice, and the only father I have ever known. But he's always acted as more of a friend than a father. I've never asked him, but I believe it has something to do with the fact that my father left Maman and I when I was just days old.
I only answer when I have tied the letter to Enyala's leg and have sent her on her way. That gives me enough time to gather my thoughts. I lean back, my hands on the windowsill as support, as I speak. "I do know that, but Maman is so frustrating at times! I would like to understand why we're always moving, but she refuses to tell me. Perhaps I would not be as spiteful if I knew that she has a good reason. Until I can find out, I will be as angry as I please."
Jonathan smiles at that. "I promise that you will find out someday soon. How about I take you shopping when we get to England, as an apology?" He always know what to say. I don't know how he's so good at it. But that's okay. It's one of the few things that I'm comfortable with not understanding.
"That sounds wonderful. Thank you." I'm smiling for the first time since I returned. It's nice.
Before he leaves, he hands me a stack of twenty-Euro notes and he tells me that dinner will be ready in two hours. My smile grows. I have just enough time to do some shopping. A new country and a new school needs new clothes, after all.
The move goes smoothly. All of our boxes were shrunken and stacked in another box. Jonathan went through first, carrying the box. He was followed by the – oddly excited – twins. Then went Maman, and finally me. I'm tempted to Floo to Marie's house instead, out of protest, but the others have my things, so that's not the best idea. I sigh before throwing a handful of Floo powder into the fire, declaring my new address, and stepping into the green flames.
The new house is nothing special. It's an average two-level, with three bedrooms (the twins always share), two loos (one for the adults and one for the teens), and other normal house stuff. As I step into the new living room, I'm handed my shrunken boxes and told that I get first pick of the bedrooms. Just to antagonize Maman, I pick what is clearly the master room. She owes me.
When Jonathan comes to unshrink my boxes, he informs me that I have a lot to do in the next two weeks (Beauxbatons' school year starts and ends later than that of Hogwarts, so my summer break is very short this year). Unlike Beauxbatons, Hogwarts has the students take their end of their fifth year. So I will have to take these exams, choose my classes, get sorted into a house (whatever that means), go shopping for my school equipment, and register my wand with the British Ministry of Magic. And here I was hoping to actually relax this (brief) summer.
The Beauxbatons palace is grand, without a doubt. But the Hogwarts castle is on an entirely different scale. It's an assorted plethora of towers surrounding a huge main building, which has to have at least five floors. While Beauxbatons is white marble and daffodils, Hogwarts is brown granite and weeping willows. It's gloomy in a majestic sort of way.
The Headmistress, an aged woman called Professor McGonagall, meets my family at the front gates two days after the move. As we begin the long walk up to the castle, she explains what will happen. "The first thing is to get the three of them Sorted," she explains to Maman and Jonathan, who nod as if they know what she means, "Then we'll quickly get the boys signed up for classes, and they'll be on their way."
Then she turns to me. "Calliope, you'll have to stay here overnight, to get your O.W.L.s done in a timely manner." I nod even though I have no idea what she's talking about. I'm getting the feeling that I should get used to it, for now at least. I definitely don't like it, though.