Tea Time

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Twelve-year-olds think they know everything, and what they don't know, they make up.
Twelve-year-olds need guidance.
Twelve-year-olds make messes.
...Certain twelve-year-old girls can't even braid their hair without supervision.

Submitted: May 25, 2010

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Submitted: May 25, 2010

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Brushing hair shouldn’t be a competitive sport. However, when one’s hair is long enough to get caught in the door when leaving the room, anything can become competitive. It is a constant battle of strength and cunning wills to see who will come out victorious.

Twelve-year-old Riona Nightingale sat on the floor of her dormitory surrounded by scores of hair paraphernalia. She had a brush, comb, ribbon, pins, some random feathers she wasn’t sure how she got, barrettes, three bottles of hair potion and tonic. It looked like she was getting ready to cast a spell rather than tie up her hair for the day. After a few moments of planning what she was going to do first, and putting her cat out of the way, Riona picked up the first bottle in her battle plans.

“‘Un-Tangle Woods Tonic,’” She read aloud. “’Guaranteed to smooth and soothe the most wayward hair.’ We’ll see about that.” At least it smelled halfway decent. The previous concoction she had tried worked well enough, but smelled like something died on her head. It was hard to make friends with a swarm of flies buzzing around one’s head.

The tonic squelched as she poured it into her hand. “Eww! Gross! Nothing should ever be that color, or make that sound. Never ever. Yuck.”

With a gulp, Riona spread the goopy tonic across her hands and slowly worked the stuff into her hair. It was thick and felt like syrup. It smelled vaguely of syrup too. It suddenly crossed her mind that she should have read the label completely for instructions- and ingredients for that matter. Now that she had the tonic in her hair, what did she do next?

Reaching out with a very sticky hand, Riona grabbed at the tonic bottle. “‘Warning: Do not use in or on direct sunlight, humid days, wet hair, wet dogs, long hair, short hair or dragons. May result in a horrid mess. Don’t send us an owl, we’ll owl you.’ Well, of all the-“ She tried to throw the bottle across the room in her frustration. The bottle, however, stayed stuck in her hand. “I can’t believe this! Argh!”

With in a matter of minutes, Riona had two combs stuck in her hair, another potion spilled on the floor and her cat climbing up the back of her shirt. The cat always seemed to choose the most inconvenient times to be affectionate. Adorable, but inconvenient. It was at this moment that Riona was most frustrated, that she began to laugh. The ridiculousness of it all hit her and rather than get upset and cry, which is what she really felt like doing, she giggled. She giggled and laughed long and hard enough, it finally caught the attention of her dorm mate, who, truth be told, was rather used to Riona’s random giggle fits.

“Someone tell a joke?” she asked, stalking into the room like an irritated goat. “Because if they did, they- Merlin! What did you do? Riona, the floor! Its covered in…something. What is that stuff?”

Trying very hard to quell the giggles and remember exactly how all this happened, Riona covered her face with her hands. That proved a mistake, because her hand was still stuck fast to the tonic bottle. “Ow!” Then she giggled again. She looked up at her dorm mate and choked out “Oh, hi, Abigail. Um, just trying to do my hair.”

Far away on the other side of the castle, someone was having a very different morning. Audrey Goodfellow was used to being in a house full of people, so anytime there wasn’t pandemonium, she found herself feeling slightly bored. The morning had gone suspiciously without a hitch and even her dorm mates were quietly and unhurriedly getting ready for their own days. Most boring morning ever.

The only thing that was mildly interesting was Audrey’s friend Orenda Stormcrow popping in from time to time to ‘borrow’ various things. So far, she had taken earrings, socks, a sweater and a hairbrush. Audrey had learned that his was part of Hogwarts life. Her dorm mates, on the other hand, thought it odd and slightly disturbing.

“Who was that?” a girl with a lisp asked Audrey just as Orenda closed the door on her way out.

“Who?” Audrey replied, not glancing away from tying her shoes.

“That girl. The one who keeps coming in here and taking your things.”

“She’s a gypsy,” hissed a redhead from her bed. “She goes to school here, can you believe it?”

“Never! A gypsy? At Hogwarts? Gypsies don’t go to school, everyone knows that. What are you talking about?” Apparently this conversation no longer needed Audrey, so she kept her peace and listened instead.

“Really! She’s a gypsy from a foreign country or something. Gypsies steal stuff, everyone knows that. She’s come to school to learn how too train trolls and ogres to do her evil bidding.”

“I heard she’s learning to steal babies and practices on students’ books. You think you have a school book, but it’s really a piece of wood.”

“And to think she was in here! Ugh!”

“Worse than that, she’s in our House!”

“How did that happen?”

“Hang on a tic,” the redhead who had started the whole thing turned toward Audrey with an accusing look. “She comes and takes your things, no one else’s. Why is that?”

Audrey shrugged and picked up her book bag. “Maybe because I’m under her evil spell and am slowly preparing to steal your souls for her while you sleep unknowing in your beds.” She said rather matter-of-factly. Silence and horrified stares were the only response she got. It was probably the hardest thing she had ever done to keep a straight face through the whole thing.

“Anyway, she might be back at any moment and finally cast the final part of the spell before breakfast. Don’t be shocked if she does.” Audrey turned and left the room, her footsteps on the stone floor the only sound. Just as she was about to put her hand on the door knob and leave the sillies to squirm, the door swung open on its own, smacking her in the face.

It was Orenda. “Oh! I was coming to tell you I found my other shoe, the cursed thing.” She made a spitting noise over her shoulder. The silly girls cringed as if expecting to be turned into toads at any moment. “You can have yours back as soon as I find them. What’s the matter with your face?”

“You are, broom head. You hit me with the door.”

“Sorry. I’m off for breakfast. Don’t forget, you’re all mine tonight.” Orenda wiggled her eyebrows and sauntered off.

Audrey winked at her dorm mates. “Hear that? All her’s tonight.” She closed the door quickly as the screams of confused terror exploded full force from the dormitory. As she descended the stairs, the Head Girl was going up to investigate.

“What’s going on up there?” she demanded.

“No idea.” Audrey shrugged. She decided the hilarious confusion was far funnier than the simple fact that she and Orenda had plans to study for class that evening, just to two of them. She allowed herself a slight cackle as she left Gryffindor Tower and headed to Great Hall. The morning was slowly getting better. If there wasn’t chaos, at least there was confusion.

Her hair now under control, Riona had faced the day with a smile and a sunny disposition. It was amazing what a good wash will do for one’s morale. Granted, the wash wasn’t really her idea. It was her dorm mate who had decided that the best way to deal with the mess Riona had made was to upend the wash basin on her head, clothes and all. It made a terrific mess and it took a Prefect, the Head Girl and a few House Elves to get the room to rights again. Plus, there was a liberal dosage of Sticky-Away, which is normally reserved for non-hair messes. This was a special case.

It was late in the morning when Riona was still sticking hair pins into the mass that was her coiffeur and she spotted Mary Cartwright in Great Hall wrestling with something white and furry. Riona was pretty sure it wasn’t a polar bear or her grandfather’s beard, so she went to investigate.

“Hi! What are you up to?”

With a shriek, Mary whipped around to face her. “Unicorn turds! Riona, you scared the life out of me!” Mary clutched at her fuzzy white thing which let out a shrill squeak. “Goodness.”

“Sorry...what are you up to?”

“You can’t sneak up on me like that. You know I might hex you or something.”

“So I’ve heard, but you and I both know we haven’t covered hexes in our classes yet. What are you up to?”

“That’s beside the point. I could hex you if I wanted.”

“What are you up to?”

“You have a one track mind today, apparently. I, my silly friend, am playing with Quick.”

“Come again?”

“Quick.”

“To where?”

“Not to where,” Mary said evenly. “Here,” and thrust the white thing into Riona’s hands. It squirmed and squealed and generally started making a huge amount of noise.

“What is this thing?” Riona almost dropped whatever it was, but somehow managed to keep a grasp on the thing.

“Quick. It’s Quick.”

“So you’ve said. It seems that I’m not the only one with a one track mind today. Is it called a Quick or is that what you’ve named it?”

A sort of pride shown in Mary’s eyes that on an older person would have been called maternal. “Maman sent it to me as a present for my birthday. Isn’t he wonderful?”

It took Riona a second or two to remember that Mary used the French term for mother. She suspected it was because Mary liked to be different. “How very nice. What is a Quick and how do I get it out of my hair?”

“Hmm?”

“My hair. Your Quick seems to be sucking on my braids.”

“Good grief! Quick, stop that!” Mary disentangled the white thing from Riona’s hair with some effort. She sat back down and petted it fondly, then looked at Riona quizzically. “Why do you smell like maple syrup?”

“Long story. You still haven’t told me what Quick is,” Riona said with a grin.

It took some time, but eventually Riona learned that Quick was a silver ferret whose favorite food was cheese (only that stolen from someone’s sandwich), preferred sleeping place was in Mary’s left house slipper and bath day was on Tuesdays. Riona told Mary all about her morning’s adventures in hair-land and earned herself a point and a few giggles from her Slytherin friend.

A large bell chimed somewhere in the vaults of the enchanted ceiling of Great Hall signaling that breakfast was now being served. Riona waved a small good-bye to Mary (who didn’t see because she had ducked under the table to retrieve Quick) and hurried over to her own table.

“I see you got yourself settled alright.” Riona’s dorm mate muttered darkly, stabbing a sausage with ferocity. “You’re hair looks nice.”

“Thank you. You did an excellent job with the ribbons.”

Grunt.

“Pass the orange juice.”

She was answered with another grunt and the juice pitcher. Abigail was a girl of very few words and even fewer facial expressions. She seemed to be permanently stuck in ‘sod off’, however, she seemed to like Riona all right. There had been no attempts on Riona’s life. Yet.

“You left this in our room,” Abigail bleated irritably and plucked a tiny calico cat out of her book bag. “It was hiding in my shoe.”

“Oh, my darling Sophie! Thanks a bunch!” Riona gently took her cat and cuddled and cooed at it. Abigail just glared at her.

“Your darling Sophie left darling cat hairs all over my jumper. My favorite jumper, I might add.”

“Oh…sorry?”

Grunt.

“Want me to wash it for you?”

Grunt.

“I’ll assume that is a ‘yes’ and carry on with my life.”

Breakfast was wonderful, as always. As the plates began to clear away, Riona felt herself poked in the back. She turned around and found a Hufflepuff Prefect looking at her earnestly. He motioned for her to lean closer to him, holding a finger to his lips for her to be quiet.

“The Gathering,” was the only thing he said as he tried to pass her a slip of parchment.

“Pardon?”

“The Gathering,” he said again, just as quietly. He raised both eyebrows and nodded slightly, as if expecting her to understand now that he had said it again. Her look must have been really blank, because he pointed to the parchment and rolled his eyes. “Just read the instructions, dummy.”

Riona didn’t have time to react to him or his comment. Another bell had rung and the stampede of students heading off to classes had begun. She held the parchment in dazed confusion as a jumble of thoughts bombarded her.

“The Gathering. Fairies gather. So do groups of other beings. He said it as though there was no doubt the second word was capitalized. What is the capitol city of Turkey? For that matter, where is Turkey? Armies gather. Is it a secret gathering? Should I tell a teacher? That would probably be tattling and I don’t want to do that. Where do Fairies gather? Always in a Ring, marked by the toadstools that grows there when they leave. Ankara is the capitol. Big like the letter. Am I supposed to go to this gathering? Perhaps he thought I was someone else…”

Riona felt another poke on her back and turned to see Abigail glowering at her. “What are you doing? And what have you got?” She snatched the parchment from her and read what was written. Riona shook her head and looked over Abigail’s shoulder to see what was so blasted important to the Hufflepuff Prefect. It was just a time and one word:

“6:30Clocktower”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

“Excuse me; do I know you or something?”

The Ravenclaw boy stopped a looked slightly awkward. He had been following her almost all morning, waving to get her attention and attempting to make conversation. Audrey had no idea who he was or why he was tailing her. By the time she had gotten around to finally asking who he was, he was practically walking right beside her. Walking rather closely beside her, it might be added.

The boy blinked at her. “Well, of course you do. We’ve known each other for years. Wand, remember?”

“I live in Wand, but I know for a fact that you don’t. For one, I’ve never seen you before. For another, it is audibly clear that you are from Scotland, not Wand. Plus,” she added before he could say anything, “I’m pretty sure I’d remember meeting you.” It was true. If Audrey had ever met someone as scrawny and, well, pretty, she would have remembered. Whoever this boy was obviously had her confused with another tall blonde Gryffindor. She shook her head and stated this fact. “You’re wrong.”

“No, no, no. We know the same people. Uh, Thalia Banning?”

“Nope.”

“Lauren O’Neil?”

“Try again.”

“Laertes St John?”

“No.”

“Titus Savko?”

“You’re just making names up.”

“No, wait! Um, How about Thelonious Boniface-McGrath?”

“Now you really are just making names up! I don’t have time for this. Excuse me.” Audrey started walking away from him.

“I know your brother then.”

“Which one?”

“Henry.”

“Lovely. Go bother him.” Or someone in your own house who knows you.

The boy shrugged awkwardly and grinned at her. “Maybe I will. But we do know each other.”

Audrey watched him meander down the hallway, his face now buried in a journal or notebook of some kind. He was so scrawny; she bet her younger sister could have beaten him up with no trouble at all. But he did have a nice looking face and rather good looking hair. It would be better if it was styled differently…

Working her way around the herd of students bustling about in the hallway, Audrey somehow made it outside. The monsoon that had plagued the castle had finally abated and the day was warmly pleasant with not a cloud in the sky. She could see some of the boys pulling off their sweaters, some because they were getting to warm, others because they wanted to show off. Not that twelve year olds had much to show, that is. One particular boy was surrounded by a gaggle of girls from different years, all giggling and swooning. He was somewhat shorter than the other boys, but had a grin that was brighter than the early morning sunshine. Audrey rolled her eyes.

Professor Greenway marched out onto the lawn and immediately began giving instructions without a hello or taking roll. “Put your things away and queue up with the brooms. You, short kid, get in line with everyone else. Come along, queue up! Don’t make me ask again, short kid, or you’ll regret it. Right! Everyone ready? Set? Up!”

At this, all the students cried, “Up!” and hoped that the broomsticks would obey. It was known that some wizards had the ability to command brooms well, whereas others didn’t have that skill. Some brooms didn’t move, others flew higher than the student intended. One or two unfortunates got hit on the knees and someone to the left of Audrey began crying.

“No, say ‘up!’. You can do it, curly kid, c’mon.” Greenway barked. Audrey looked across from her to see a boy with dark curls having a fit with his broom. His hand was outstretched, just as they were instructed their first day to do, and the broom was quivering on the ground as if it wanted to be up, but wasn’t. Greenway sighed and looked at Audrey. “Come here, tall blonde girl.”

She obediently trotted over. “Sir?”

“Show curly kid here how to command his broom. I have to stop that short kid from smiling so much. Curly kid!”

“Ma’am?”

“Do what tall blonde girl tells you.” And with that, Professor Greenway marched over to where the boy who had all the girls fawning over him was winking at a Ravenclaw. “Short kid! What are you doing?”

Audrey sighed and looked at her new charge. He was about as tall as she was, and his hair was indeed curly. Strangely enough, it reminded her of black sheep’s wool, mostly dark and somewhat matted. “Alright, uh, curly kid. First off…no, first off telling me your name. I refuse to call you ‘curly kid’.”

“Vincent Albright, Hufflepuff.”

“Good. I’m Audrey Goodfellow, not ‘tall blonde girl’, got it? And I’m pretty sure you can tell by my uniform that I’m in Gryffindor.” She cleared her throat and carried on. “Now, to begin, you don’t squint your eyes when you command a broom to come up. You have to really want it to.”

“I wasn’t squinting! I was really telling it what to do!”

“Right.” Audrey raised an eyebrow. “So why wasn’t it coming up?”

Vincent squirmed a little. “Greenway makes me nervous sometimes. She’s rather intimidating, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“Greenway is a man,” Audrey corrected.

“No, woman.”

“No! Man! Look at the way he walks!”

“I have never seen a man with boobies, have you?”

Both students blushed over this, but didn’t want the other to know they were uncomfortable discussing boobies with the other. Audrey got over the awkwardness first. “Those aren’t, well…those just aren’t boobs. It’s the way his robes fit.”

“Pft. Right. And mandrakes don’t look like people, they look like roots. It’s the same thing.”

Audrey narrowed her eyes and prepared for an argument she was more than willing to win, with force if necessary. However, both were saved from the fight by Professor Greenway lumbering back toward them. Knowing that she didn’t complete her instructions and got the boy’s broom in his hand, Audrey hissed at Vincent. “Say ‘up’ with force, or I’m going to have to hurt you.”

Vincent gave her a dirty look and yelled “UP!” as loud as he possibly could and with more gusto than was probably needed, but it had the desired effect. The broom promptly jumped off the ground and into his outstretched hand. He smirked and Audrey, who smirked back. So much for witty dialogue.

Professor Greenway wasn’t that impressed with Vincent’s victory or Audrey’s start of a bad mood. “Well, what are two of you still doing on the ground? Stop lollygagging and get in the air, double quick!”

“This isn’t over, Vincent Albright. We’ll finish our discussion later.” Audrey said with as much force as she could while mounting a broom. “Don’t get all satisfied yet.” Before he could answer, she was in the air, following the line of students flying around an obstacle course.


© Copyright 2019 ariella. All rights reserved.

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