Red and White (A Story Based on Harry Potter)

Are you tired of only hearing about Magical Britain? Me too.

Chapter 2

The Peregreen House

They appeared in the kitchen, where... all the pots were dirty.

Alicia felt a twinge of dismay. Her mum always did the dishes. It was so easy. Like a patronus, all you had to do was wave your wand, think a happy thought...

The house was dark. So dark, in fact, that she whispered 'Lumos' and raised her wand. "Mum? Is... everything okay?"

For a brief flick of a second, her mum most definitely was not. Her eyes took on a distressed quality beyond any emotion Alicia had ever seen, or felt, before. But it was as fleeting as it was potent. Within a second, within a blink, her mum looked merely serious.

"I... don't know."

Alicia had never been much of a worrier, so she had no idea what could be going on. Was it an imminent divorce? A deceased grandparent? Money trouble?

It occured to Alicia that he little brother wasn't there. So that expensive daycare had become an option. Whatever her mother was going through, it meant she was willing to send off her child to daycare. Now that was serious.

"Honey, can you turn on the lights for me?"

"Ok," said Alicia. She pointed her wand at the ceiling, concentrated, and everything in the room lit up.

Looking embarrassed, her mum flicked her wand at the dirty dishes in the sink. It took several tries. "Want any snacks?"

"No thanks," Alicia mumbled. She wanted to say Why did you take me out of school?

"You're... wondering why I took you out of school," her mother said. She wasn't a Legilemens, just a very good guesser. Without waiting for an answer, she plowed on, the words sounding like cardboard in her mouth. "Your.... your brother...."

Her breathing got heavy. "Cayden. He-- there was a-- accident."

Alicia felt her whole body tighten, like a zipper forcing the entire contents of her body into a duffel bag.

"He must've accidentally flown onto the table, and I left m-my wand there..."

Alicia said nothing. Silence roared in her ears, more powerful than a thousand stunning spells. The world stopped spinning. Her blood slowed down. Her brain shut down. It died. She died.

And yet her mother kept talking. "...he... didn't make it. I don't know what happened, I was in the other room... St. Mungo's... told me yesterday..."

Alicia swallowed. She always thought crying was for stupid romance novels. But she was crying. A loud sob broke from her throat. Tears sprang to her eyes. Where did tears come from? How did they come so fast?

She realized she was wailing, and some Slytherin part of her demanded that she stopped, but she couldn't. Her mother steered her into the living room, and then into an armchair.

When she finished crying, her whole body felt hollow. She didn't want to stop, because then she'd have to think about it. How long had it been? Ten minutes? Ten minutes of solid crying? Oh, it didn't matter. Part of her wanted to blow up the Slytherin in her head, the thing that kept working inside of her, and thinking, even when the rest of her shut down.

She wanted to wail a bit more, but her body said something like too bad. We're done. Please wait 24 hours for your weeping-bar to recharge.

So instead, she glared at the floor. Maybe she'd just lie there in total despair for the rest of her life. Why had her mother told her? Why hadn't her mother told her earlier? Why...

Her vision clogged up with tears again, and her nose ran, and she didn't know how long she was crying that time. All she knew was that when she was done, father was standing next to her, looking distant. Broken, but glued back together. Glued enough to smile hollowly at her.

"Big news, Allie girl. We're moving to Mexico."

What? Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no. Not when Hogwarts had been like a second home, the one school where she found a best friend, where she liked more than half of the teachers, where they taught divination...

All these thoughts drained out of her. Selfish of you. Hammer to the head in her mind. Cayden is...

Her lip trembled. It took all her willpower not to seize her father and bury herself in a hug. Third-years did not 'hug'. Especially not Slytherins. Not that that meant anything anymore, now that she was moving to another country... again. Stupid magical diplomats. Maybe her dad could quit and become a hogwarts professor.

"I hate to spring this on you, but it's an emergency trip. Go pack your stuff."

Alicia stared. She wasn't ready for this right now! She hadn't even said goodbye to Hogwarts! How was this even remotely fair?

Nevertheless, she found out that her legs still worked. Her ability to walk was still intact. And so she went to her room. They were moving to Mexico. Mexico!

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