i - pilot
Kara Ivorie Perriwinkle, or more fondly known as Kip, groaned into her pillow. "Bel, please, just—just five more minutes."
Belamie, Kip's step—well, only mother she had ever known—clicked her tongue thrice at the slumbering 15-year-old with a knowing smile. "I thought you'd be more excited for your first day of terrorizing your new school."
A grin split Kip's face, and she literally shot up from bed, hovering for a moment in the air as she stretched, then came to land, feet first, on her mattress which, as it had been in the States, was on the floor. It was one of her favorite things about her room, and she hadn't changed it since she was a child. "Oh, they have no idea what's coming to them."
Belamie tinkled with a laugh. "I'm sure Fontaine communicated your record with Dumbledore."
Kip rolled her eyes, grumbling something about old men and gossip.
Belamie cocked a brow. "Well, the shower's free, and your father has breakfast going on the stove, so whenever you're done, come on down and eat something before we leave." She then left the room, but not before snatching a kiss from Kip's cheek, much to the young witch's dismay.
"Curse you!" Kip exclaimed after her, shaking a fist, then she wiped the smudge of chapstick off as she followed Bel's trail out of her new British bedroom.
"Okay, so these gold ones are..."
"Galleons," replied a grumpy goblin.
"And the silver ones-"
"Sickles, and the bronze ones are Knuts, now if you don't mind, I have other clients to assist. I'm sure someone on the train will explain it all."
Kip suppressed her smirk; she understood the first time around, she just wanted to gauge the patience of the goblins so infamous for their unpleasant manner. Satisfied with her results, she gathered her converted wizard money into a black velvet pouch and turned to her parents.
Maverick Perriwinkle, Kip's father, handed over his daughter's rolling trunk as she pocketed the pouch, her brand new Firebolt propped on his shoulder. "One more stop."
"Dragots are so much simpler than this Galleon-Sickle-Knut deal," Kip complained.
Belamie laughed on Kip's other side. "Oh no! Not...MATH!"
Kip glared at her in jest, then stuck out her tongue.
Diagon Alley was so unlike the wizard shops in America. There was a whole street dedicated to them and it was filled to the brim with witches and wizards, young and old. Kip eyed the younger ones, wondering if any of them would turn out to be her best friends.
She hadn't exactly had the greatest friend group in America. It wasn't horrible, but there were just some things that she didn't agree with them about, most of which had to do with the laws about wizard—No-Maj (or —Muggle in England) relations. Her parents had brought her up with the belief that there should be no problem with a No-Maj and wizard being together, at least as friends. But the harsh reality of Rappaport's Law forced Kip into a double life: one with her family and one at school. From what she'd heard, England was supposed to have a lot more flexibility when it came to their relations with the Muggles, which made her hopeful in at least that sense.
Maverick stopped them in front of a store with a swinging sign that read 'Magical Menagerie'. A question splayed on Kip's face, and Maverick took her trunk back, motioning for her to enter. With a suspicious eye on her father, Kip pulled open the door and stepped inside.
Her heart leaped.
Back in America, she had been allowed a pet to accompany her to Ilvermorny; a Siamese cat by the name of Eloise had been Kip's companion, but sadly their relationship ended far too quickly when, in Kip's third year, Eloise was found mauled by some beast on the grounds. She couldn't bring herself to get another pet for a year, but when she found out she would be transferring to her Hogwarts, she decided that a new start deserved a new pet.
As Kip gazed over the many cages and glass terrariums, she was almost overwhelmed with the possibilities. She weaved through the cramped aisles, making her way toward the back where she could see an old, raggedy-looking witch at the counter, gleaming black mice performing tricks inside one of the smaller, wired cages.
"Excuse me," Kip announced herself, and the woman looked up at her. "What would you recommend for a first time Hogwarts student?"
"You seem a little old to be starting at Hogwarts," the witch noted in a scratchy voice.
"Oh, no, I'm a transfer, from the States. I don't quite recall which pets are allowed, so I was wondering if I could have a professional opinion."
The old witch wheezed and hacked on a laugh, then waved Kip off. "'Professional', HA! I'm what most would simply call experienced, dear. Now, depending on what you're looking for, a cat makes for a nice friend, however, owls are helpful in bringing your post to and from friends and family."
Kip thought about this for a moment. It felt wrong to just take up another cat after Eloise, and she figured she'd be writing to her parents often. "An owl, I think."
The witch nodded and pointed her in the direction of the large birds. Kip knew there wasn't much time left before she needed to be at King's Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express, so she closed her eyes and let her intuition guide her. She was drawn deep into the store, past many hoots and squawks, until finally, she felt it. The connection, the spark. She stopped and opened her eyes. In the cage before her was a gorgeous, golden barn owl. And the name came to her instantly.
"Aurelia," Kip whispered to her. The owl cocked its head in interest, as if her true name had never been spoken before. Kip grinned. She was perfect.
"I run at it?"
"Only if you're nervous. Trust me, Kip."
Kip was doubtful that she could pass through the brick column before her but she trusted her father, so she shrugged nonetheless and shot straight for the platform barrier between 9 and 10. As the brick came to meet her, she was almost sure she would crash, but then she slipped through the solid structure and came out onto an older-looking part of the station with a great red steam engine and a sign high up on the wall that read 'Platform 9 3/4.' Families were clustered about, saying final goodbyes or just checking in their luggage, and again she looked about, wondering who she would sit with, who she would befriend.
Belamie put a gentle hand on Kip's shoulder and the young Perriwinkle grounded herself in her body. "I'll check your things in, why don't you say goodbye to your dad."
Kip nodded thankfully, and passed her trolley to her stepmother, blowing a kiss to Aurelia. Maverick was standing a few paces behind Kip when she turned to look for him. He had tears welling in his eyes and his hands were stuffed in his jean pockets. Kip couldn't stop the lines of saltwater spilling down her cheeks; every year they had to say goodbye to one another, but they both knew this year was different. It was as new to Maverick and Belamie as it was to Kip, and that scared the parents of this precious daughter they shared. She ran over to him, snaking her arms under his and pressing her cheek to his chest. This was her safe space. It always had been. From the time she was a newborn living with her father as a fresh widower, to now, as a grown adolescent with a happily remarried man.
"I'll be okay, pops," she tried to laugh, but it got caught in her tightening throat.
He freed his hands and wrapped them around her, kissing the top of her head. "My strong, brave girl..."
They stood like this for a long moment, relishing the safety and comfort. A sharp whistle from the conductor told them it was the last call for students to board and Maverick pulled them apart. He smiled down at his daughter; she scrunched up her nose at him.
"I'll be sure to send your broom straight to your dorm, don't want anyone stealing it," he told her.
She rolled her eyes. "Dad, this isn't America, I'm sure it'll be fine." Kip then turned to find Belamie, fresh tears streaking down her face, smiling sadly at the two of them. "Ugh, not you too," Kip playfully complained and wrapped her stepmother in a quick hug.
"You'll write every week?"
Kip let out a small chuckle. "If I can find the time."
They pulled apart, and as she left to board the train to Hogwarts, Kip snatched a kiss from Belamie's cheek.
A/N: I know, I know, where's Fred? You need to know Kip first, so shut it and just keep reading, alright?