Ice flooding my throat, choking out everything that was — because, honestly, I didn’t even realize I was warm before until it was suddenly gone — and surrounding me, sharp and biting. Intense pain, my bones felt like they were being crushed, and a humming all around me that intensified. I didn’t even realize that it was there, just like the warmth, until it was too much. Everything was too much…
Are my senses stupidly slow or something today? I thought, because I didn’t realize until I was screaming that someone else was, too.
And the humming, and low murmuring, assaulted my ears as tears did the same to my eyes. I couldn’t open my eyes for some reason, and it made me scream more because apparently I couldn’t control myself properly, either.
The screaming of the other stopped, so it was only me. But that stopped, too, when I heard something soothing. It wasn’t as pretty as the humming around me — soft and quiet and, really, barely there — but it was familiar, and with how fucking weird this all was, I craved something familiar. So I quieted down, clamping down some internal urge to keep wailing my head off, and was instantly rewarded with warmth all around me. A different kind of warmth, I think, but it was as close to the before that I would probably ever get, so I let out a sigh of content that I felt all the way down to my bones.
Okay, this is better. It hurts like a bitch, but this is much better…
Something grazed my cheek — large and rough-textured — and I frowned, wishing I could see.
I didn’t like not-seeing. Considering the last thing I remember seeing with my own eyes was my own death, I really didn’t like whatever this was.
Purgatory? Because if this was hell, I’d think that the intense pain would be more… long-lasting. And if this was heaven, I wouldn’t be in pain in the first place, right? And… Well, I honestly didn’t know any other terms for other religions’ ideas of the afterlife. Valhalla was out, since even I knew that that place was for warriors, and it wasn’t extremely warrior-like to be killed in some stupid-fuck car accident. Nirvana? No, it couldn’t have been… Nirvana was for enlightened people or something, and I was anything but enlightened. I couldn’t even get through high school without anti-depression medication, there was no way I was “enlightened.” OH! Wait, there was one more — limbo was a thing, right? In some religion, it was like…
Fuck, I didn’t even know.
Dying sucks. I thought, sighing. But at least the music’s nice.
It was to that strange humming — all sorts of soft songs, unrecognizable, layered on top of each other and blending strangely but not badly — that I began to drift off, into whatever version of sleep there was after one died.
Black and white blurs.
My eyes opened and that’s all I could see. The world was made of blobs of grey and black, white shining in my eyes sometimes and making me cringe. I didn’t experience any more intense bouts of pain or cold anymore, though, so maybe I passed some sort of test? And the music had gotten easier to hear, and sometimes I could pinpoint where its source was; different humming got louder depending on where it drifted by, usually all of it above me or sometimes besides me. If the humming was an indication of some sort of after-life ghost-angel-thing, then I was learning to recognize them (there were four I knew very well, three of them much stronger than the fourth). And there was always one present, enough that I sometimes forgot about it — that’s how soft and subtle the humming was, but being dead, I could only really spend my time listening for it.
Warmth and cool alternated, touching at me randomly; really, this entire after-life shit was random. Random fucking humming, random sensations of touch, random shapes dancing across my eyes — not that I had any physical body anymore, right? — and random… Well, a random after-life. This wasn’t what I learned in those fucking religion classes I’d been forced to take as a kid.
It might disappoint some people, if they knew that no version of the after-life was quite correct, I thought pityingly.
But as much as a dead person could sleep and be awake, the random, what-the-fuck-is-this-crap-that-I-can’t-explain shit only began when I was sleeping.
All the more… familiar stuff, I guess, started up when I went to “sleep.”
(It was sad that I thought the “dreams” were more normal than the “awakeness.”)
I’d… see things.
Color, for one. Strangers, sometimes. Different things. Like I was watching a TV that couldn’t decide what channel to stay on; a TV that sharpened and distorted and fogged at random intervals, blurring things from me but showing me visions of… something — of everything — at the whim of something as capricious as the weather.
I saw a girl with pale skin and hair the color of blood. She ran through fields with overgrown grass, hands running along the soft fibers of yellowing-green, laughter like bells. Woodland surrounded her field, a blurry building towering in the background. A creek ran through the woods near, shining with twilight.
Then I saw the deep blue sea, a pod of gigantic shapes — whales, I recognized — traveling together. Their rumbling and high-pitched whines melded together like songs, and I watched as their underwater songs changed.
Dark-colored swallowtail butterflies — hundreds of them — swarmed a figure, and I could only see a flash of dark crimson hair before the vision blurred. Then there was a towering mountain, mocking the figures below it, white teeth ripping at fur jackets and shivering frames. The snow was unforgiving, and it buried everything. And then green sprouted from the frozen earth, roots grew, weak stem to young bark to ringed, ringed tree that towered. Rain in the desert, wind in the valley, a stumbling woman on the sidewalk being helped up with good-natured laughter.
A woman held a baby awkwardly (She’s not used to it, she can’t be.) and her dark blonde hair fell over her eyes, the background blurred, the baby blue-eyed. She sniffled, the baby smiled, and the more the child laughed the more the woman cried.
Green lights flashed and people died. Their bodies went still, eyes wide with surprise and skin cooling to the touch as time passed. Sometimes people cried over them, sometimes they were buried emotionlessly.
Roses bloomed over months and months, red and yellow and white and pink and all sorts of colors, dark stems and pale thorns of warning.
The sailboat was a dot of red and white in the blue. The whales nudged the boat, the companion in the water, and the boy and his father with their bright orange vests laughed at the sight. Their song was welcoming.
Shadows with masks of bone towered over the night, laughing maliciously. There was death in their footsteps. The moon made their masks glow, and the stars shivered as they were somehow flying through the sky with them-
And then the “awakeness” took over, and I was seeing shapeless forms of grey and black with flashes of white.
Maybe these black and white blurs were the dreams, and the visions of color were the wakefulness? Because, honestly, it would make more sense, afterlife-wise, for me to be seeing the world, for me to be a spectator of the world, as some sort of divine… punishment? Wasn’t there a theory that all energy returns to the earth? Maybe that’s where I was, scattered across the world and somehow conscious of it?
But I didn’t feel a part of the world. I felt like I was watching it, like I was dreaming of it. My understanding of the images was too inconsistent for me to be part of the world.
And there were these urges, these instincts, deep in my mind, trying to tell me how to act. How to flinch against the cool (Cry.) and how to welcome the taste of warmth (Drink.) and how to treat the humming that only showed up when I was in that black-and-white world, the fuzzy world that might've been sleep (Ignore.) It seemed I’d be moving according to those instincts when the black and white blurs came, and I was more free in the dreams.
So I allowed myself to sink into the very depths of myself, and dream on in color.
(Where am I?)
(And what am I doing?)
Well… I was starting to have suspicions that I wasn’t quite… dead.
Color seeped into the black and white very slowly. I couldn’t make out complex shapes, but the color really helped. The humming grew louder, though I could make it recede to the background if I tried hard enough. I started to realize that I could feel things, textures, pain, heat and cool, and on different parts of myself, like… like I had a body. And when I started to entertain the idea that I was inside a body and maybe wasn’t quite as dead as I remember, I started to realize I could feel a fluttering in my chest, the rise and fall of my breast, scratchy fabric against skin (?), the musty air cool in my body and warm as it left again — flashes of dark, blinking, a prodding in my arm, touching, proprioception — there was something below what I was seeing, a neck, a body, arms and legs and hands and feet.
I had a body.
That’s… not what I was expecting.
And after a few… actually, I didn't know how time is passing... but after a long period of internal debate (How the fuck did I not realize I was alive? Well, I saw myself die, so- But you feel pain! And the religion nuts say hell hurts, so of course I didn’t think anything of it-) I realized that the reason it took me this embarrassingly long to realize I was inside a body was because it didn’t feel the same as before my death. For one thing, I couldn’t. Fucking. Move. Well, I couldn’t rightly move when I was dying either, so I was okay with that… But I felt… different.
I remembered very clearly what it was like in my last body, and it wasn’t like this. Blurred blobs of color, familiar voices that I couldn’t understand, humming in my ears — soothing and gentle and barely-there. An awareness of my body, an ease in detection of my physical self, the instincts that were currently locked in some foreign piece of mental space so I could think without having urges to squirm or cry. Why did I want to cry so badly?
Was I a …
Was I a baby.
No, no, no… Think about this… Just because you can’t see or hear properly, are oddly restricted in movement by what suspiciously feels like cloth, and have urges to cry and excrete without abandon doesn’t mean you’re a baby…!
(Who did I think I was kidding?)
I was a motherfucking baby again, wasn’t I?
I felt my eyes blink rapidly as I thought back to the first instance of icy air and pain. Where I was trying to figure out which afterlife I’d landed myself in after my untimely death… I’d said Nirvana. Nirvana was Buddhist, I think, and Buddhism was really big on the whole idea of…
Oh, fuck me. Whyyyyyy…
I’m not sure how much time passed before I started screaming, definitely calling whoever was taking care of the baby-me in to calm me down. It made sense, all of a sudden, the strange feeling of being airborne, then being pressed to something warm, with a muttering, familiar voice and one of the strange humming-songs whispering around me. I was being held as I cried in abject, incredulous hysteria.
At least those damn instincts that always wanted me to goddamn cry would be happy.
Wait a second…
Was I reborn or am I living my own childhood out again?
If I was reborn, was it just me being born again or did I hijack an infant’s body?
(Were the instincts the infant’s, and I was just… taking over?)
If there was anyone that didn’t deserve to be reincarnated with their memories, it was me. Unless I was redoing my childhood. I still didn’t really deserve that, though. I literally did NOTHING with my life. I hadn’t been around long enough to, right? And it’s not that I was an overwhelmingly bad person, or a ridiculously good person… I was average, I think. I drew a lot, I wrote a lot, I swore too much, I did well in school, I hung out with friends, I was an underage drinker, I was a middle child, I was just… Normal. And then I’d died in some bullshit car accident.
And now I was here?
Well. It’s not like I was gonna waste the chance if it was reincarnation. And if I was redoing my life, then hell yeah I had a lot of mistakes under my belt. It’d be nice to make up for them, whatever the case was.
Even though being a baby sucked.
Those baby-instincts. I’m fairly sure they’re what’s been driving the action of my newly-realized infant body. While I space out behind them, sometimes listening to that strange ever-present humming and sometimes dreaming in weird, colorful dreams… well, I was here, but I wasn’t really here. Meaning, I was acting like a real baby because of these instincts, while I retained my adult intelligence and old memories.
Legit, this is the best deal I’ve ever taken, unknowingly or not. I could just hang out until my body was developed enough to actually see and hear things! And, really, even when I pushed the instincts down to look at what was what, they’d still be there — a fallback, of sorts. Wherever I was, I was still an infant… meaning these were necessary, meaning I was golden in the ‘do-not-incite-suspicions’ department.
(Obviously, I wasn’t going to be going around yelling, ‘HEY I’M A REINCARNATION!’)
Even so… It wasn’t quite normal, was it? Duh. The being born again, the strange humming in my ears that’d never been present in my last life, the vivid dreams. The dreams were from perspectives I’d never seen before, either; and they were so normal (I had some crazy dreams in life, before). It was surreal, and a little beautiful, too. Sometimes.
Sometimes, the instincts saw what I did, and they’d react for me. The dreams of shadows, of death — my adult mind handled it well, but the instincts were snapping my body awake and having it wail and scream. I tried to contain myself, not wanting to bring trouble to my caretakers, but it was difficult.
It was… getting less difficult, though.
As time passed. I couldn’t mark its passage that well, but I knew that color was seeping into my vision, just as the blobs of shapes were sharpening into real objects. And my hearing was beginning to pick up on lower and lower sounds, discerning tones and voices from each other. Sometimes the humming was useful, allowing me to recognize people. Sometimes I’d see sharpened strings of color, floating by like they were underwater or crackling across the air like it was thunder; it would be a blink, and that’s it, but sometimes they lingered in the corners of my eyes. Taunting me, making me wonder what kind of freaky body I’d been put into.
(It was growing less and less likely that I was going to be reliving my life.)
As my senses sharpened into something normal for a human, the instincts faded. And the humming and colors flared up, and the dreams grew more sporadic, more random, more… like how it was to be a baby. Like things were randomly blurred, noises were randomly made incomprehensible, images flickered and distorted like a far-off object on a hot day.
And finally, one day my eyes blinked open from a dream, and I felt whole and aware.
A ceiling of planked wood, walls the color of cream and crowned in white, a deeply fuzzy carpet, sort of a faded red color. There were muffled noises above, playful and fun but far away (I flinched when there was a loud BANG! but with no other sounds forthcoming and the continuation of muffled play, I figured it was a normal occurrence); there was humming, always humming, and laughter somewhere outside the large windows drawn with curtains. The air itself seemed to shimmer and sing, but in a way that was in the corners of my eyes and I thought I might be hallucinating it, if I weren’t so used to it being there. Pale, smooth bars blocking my sight of the rest of the room, and someone (?) beside me.
Someone… a familiar hum. And that color, that sort of deep, pretty maroon; it seemed more concentrated than before, spiderweb-like strings gently crackling in and out of sight, its source right beside me.
Another… another baby?
I blinked in awe.
I’m a twin? COOL!
The baby next to me was a girl, I thought, by the pale pink she was dressed in; it was an identical color to mine, actually, which meant I was also a girl (thank God, because I really didn’t want to try my hand at being a male even if I was a bit too boyish for my old-mother’s taste). She was adorable, and I was surprised she was sleeping through the muffled THUD-CLANK-BANG! upstairs somewhere, her little breaths making that gentle maroon color pulse with each rise of her chest.
My observations of my twin sister were broken when the door to our room opened, and sound poured in unfiltered:
“Check on the girls, won’t you, Arthur? I’ve got the twins- er- well- Fred and George to sort out, I don’t know what they’re doing upstairs, but it’s probably nothing good!” called a woman’s voice (Familiar.), heavy with a British accent.
Was I in England?
The door creaked close, then, and the sounds became muffled. I blinked at the flickers of deep, deep blue across the room; the strings seemed to just be floating off the main body of color, strings an electric tone compared to that soft and fading central glow, which bounded closer to the crib. The strings of blue were much larger and longer and stronger than my twin’s little maroon, or my own little… violet? Some sort of warm purple, which rose weakly to meet the blue. They touched fleetingly, and I was hit with a sense of extreme adorationlovehappinessawelovelovelove out of nowhere, enough to make me jolt and blink rapidly again.
My eyes met blue ones.
They were set in a long, smooth face topped with rust-red hair. Freckles splattered cross high cheekbones and a crooked nose, underneath black-framed glasses. He was just a bit younger than middle-age, but still handsome — in a sort of clumsy way, I think. I drank in his appearance, not knowing who he was but understanding that this was the first time I’d physically seen someone properly in this world.
I didn’t need the infant-instincts to tell me to smile.
“Hello, luv. Awake, are you?” the man said, a pleasant baritone voicing another British accent.
(I was probably in England.)
His hands reached down, huge to my little eyes. My world tilted as I was picked up, surprising me and eliciting a happy squeak from my limited range of vocal expression; I felt the rumbling of his chuckles as he pressed me to his chest, and my world shifted with every step he took, though I could tell he was trying to walk steadily for me. He sat down somewhere, the perspective of the room was all different now, and I was cradled in his arms comfortably, warmly, with his face smiling down at me with so much love it made me twinge a bit in grief, knowing I hadn’t been able to give someone that kind of look before I’d died.
(But I wasn’t going to think of that, right? Bad idea, to linger on the past.)
I was being rocked oh-so-gently, and it was lulling me to sleep with how safe I felt… But I stubbornly kept my eyes open, blinking rapidly in my effort. I had subsisted of six hours of sleep per night before the whole death thing, so it was irritating to think that I’d have to sleep all the time now…
My father (and I knew without a doubt he was my father) laughed at my wandering eyes.
“You look very awake today, my Lys,” he whispered lovingly. “Your mother will kill me. I’m sure this is the first time you’ve smiled.”
Another grin hit my lips then; I knew how important the first smile was to parents. I’d been the receiver of my nephew’s first smile, actually, and it had pissed off my cousin and her husband something silly. That, of course, was a lifetime ago.
His large, calloused finger grazed against my cheek gently; I was surprised that I had the dexterity to grab at it. My father looked surprised, too, and humored me — his smile was crooked and I loved it (and dearly hoped I got some of his genes, since he was a very handsome man). I resisted the urge to gnaw on his fingers valiantly (fucking baby-instincts), not wanting to tear my eyes away from the this first clear memory of my new father.
“My Guinevere Lysandra Weasley,” my father murmured lovingly. “So awake and aware now… You’re going to do just fine in this world, luv. You and Ginevra are perfect.” He smiled, then. “My perfect girls.”
Warmth filled my chest at his words, for some reason. So, despite the glaring implications, I couldn’t help but smile.
What the FUCK was I thinking? Why the FUCK was I in the bloody Harry Potter universe?
Weasley. As in Molly and Arthur Weasley. Parents of Ron Weasley. And Fred and George Weasley. And Ginny Potter née Weasley. In-laws of the famous Harry Potter and Hermione Granger themselves.
Harry Potter universe.
Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God… I chanted in my head, staring at the night-darkened ceiling of the sleeping house.
I was torn between screaming about the sheer awesomeness of it and crying in horror at the implications of my existence. Obviously, there was no Guinevere Weasley in the books. (What the hell was my name anyways, Ginny/Ginevra was my twin, they're practically the same name!) So, I didn’t hijack a baby; it was the… I dunno, the baby instincts that made me so attached to the red-haired couple that often invaded my room to hold us. Molly Weasley, whose voice was oddly gentle and Arthur Weasley, who was so awed by the existence of twin daughters so soon after twin sons that he nearly teared up today when he saw us.
Damn, it was so cute to see a grown man that happy, I always wanted to laugh — though I don’t think I was quite developed enough to do so — when he came in to check on us. It had the added effect of making my father even more giddy at the sight of one of his daughters always smiling when he was in eyesight, which just led to more happy, cushy feelings. A positive feedback loop of smiling, except one of us shouldn’t exist, and I wasn’t sure who.
The book character or the reincarnation that shouldn’t exist in the book? What on earth was I… How did I… Why the fucking hell was this even possible?
Reincarnation was one thing.
Reincarnation into a FICTIONAL BOOK/MOVIE SERIES?
Suffice to say, I screamed.
Like, the windows shattered.
And that confirmed it, of course; accidental fucking magic. I was an infant witch of a Pureblood family, a character that shouldn’t have existed. My magic thrashed where I could not, reacting to my panic and horror and confusion and fading sense of self, because I should not be alive right now.
There was a deep violet at the edges of my vision, erratic and bristling; it roared with power and distorted the natural ambiance of the room, and especially the quiet slumber of the soft maroon beside me. The humming was menacing, almost screaming — copying me, reflecting me, I don’t know.
(The colors and humming. Was that magic???)
The thin, faint violet twine shot out from its source (me), strong and twisting around itself, forming itself into something powerful and shaking. It seeped into the air, it sunk into the glass of the windows and then the glass CRACK!ed and shattered, and if that wasn’t enough, the wood of the panes began to splinter, and I was screaming in terror as my twin — my sister — fuCKING GINNY WEASLEY — did the same, crying and wailing as my magic was out of control, suffocating her own colors.
HOLY SHIT YOU’RE GONNA KILL YOUR SISTER STOP STOP STOP-!
But I couldn’t get a handle on this fucking magic shit, it just got WORSE. I frantically tried to yell at it to stop, tried to sit up or something to protect Ginny from this stupid uncontrollable shit, but it wasn’t working and then-
“Boys, go back to your rooms, I mean it, do NOT follow us!”
“Reducio! Depulso! Depulso!”
“What on earth- Arthur, is it Guinevere or Ginevra?”
“Depulso! I don’t know, Molly, I think it’s Guinevere-“ Then my world tilted again, more quickly and harshly than before, I was suddenly surrounded in the warm soothing of my father’s blue colors and gentle humming, hugged to his chest. “Shhh, Guinevere, shhhh, luv. Come now, my little Guinevere Lysandra, what’s wrong? Shhhh, my little queen, shhhhh… My Lys, don’t worry, Daddy’s here, Mummy, too, shhh…”
I should have been mortified, knowing that just the presence of my father and such ridiculously gentle words managed to calm me (and my magic) down. I wrestled with my frenzying magic, shoving it down — being metaphysical for so long helped lots, I think — and getting its crazed roar down to the normal, if a bit grudging, hum. The tears that sprung up courtesy of my baby-instincts dried and the cries descended to hiccups, and I was worried for Ginny, but mostly relieved that it was over and I was safe and my dad was here-
“Well, that’s got to break the record for earliest case of accidental magic.” said my father lightly.
My mother — Molly Weasley, no doubt — let out a watery chuckle, but she didn’t sound very… well, cheered up, I suppose.
“That’s the fourteenth time she’s woken up screaming, Arthur,” said Molly Weasley’s voice, wobbling. “Arthur, dear, this is her first bout of accidental magic — she’s going to do more, now! What if- What if she hurts herself next time? Arthur, we might need to request a bind on her magical core!”
Arthur Weasley scoffed. “No child of mine is going to have their magic bound, Molly. Little Lys just needs to be watched a little more closely, is all. She’s a smiler, this one.”
“Lys? I thought we agreed she’d be called Gwen!”
“Er… Well… I called her Lys, and she stopped crying, and-"
“Well, she smiled when I called her that before-"
“You said yourself she was a smiler!”
“Er- Well- See- With a- er- Gin and a Gwen, I thought she’d be confused-"
“She’ll be right confused if we’re calling her by two different names, won’t she?”
At this point, I took it upon myself to gurgle out a somewhat-laugh at Arthur’s guilty face. It was a mixture of amusement and relief that my parents weren't absolutely pissed that I trashed my room. (Though how pissed one can be at a magical baby is... Yeah, no.) Plus, I somehow wiggled out of the prospect of a block on my magic core, which didn’t sound very nice… If it was what I thought it was, I really didn’t think the idea of that; especially since I was apparently looking at magic when I saw these strange little colors and heard those soft little humming songs.
Arthur — father — smiled winningly at me. “See? She likes the name!”
“Oh, hush, you! And give Lys over so I can put Charlie on watch; we’ve got to repair the room.”
It wasn’t until later, when I was snuggled down in my and Ginny’s newly repaired crib (it had also been a victim of my magic) that I calmly decided to take this one step at a time. There were variables upon variables that I had to study and look at, but for now… well, I couldn’t do much until I could actually walk now, could I?
Still, I reached inside myself and poked and prodded at something tangible but metaphysical, until the humming purple at the edge of my vision slowly crawled over to Ginny’s maroon and soothingly sung an apology. It was almost instinct, but there was no word to describe it. Love? Apology? Closeness? Sister? Sorry? Something like that, something I just knew I could do to soothe the sister I’d scared and almost injured.
When Ginny smiled at me and clutched at my clothes with her chubby fingers, I knew I was forgiven. Her eyes were wide and hazel and innocent, free of any lingering fear with our tendrils of violet and maroon magics twisted together.
And I thought that maybe this wasn’t all that bad.
There was a glass jar in his small hand — he looked determined — little light of the moon. The forest was dark — trees cast menacing shadows — the fireflies were out tonight — the boy beamed as he was bathed in their warm glow. He ran through the grass — dew drops — and tried to keep a little piece of their light with him.
( Stop. )
The snake slithered through — the dry, scaling shining — chips of obsidian. Her tongue flickered out — fear and glee in the air. Shadows towered over her — they were afraid — she wanted to laugh. Colors dead — distorted — fading…
( Stop. )
I blinked my eyes, trying to process the fact that, yes, I was awake. It was happening more and more often, that I’d start daydreaming. I always dreamed of strange things at night, and though the accidental magic occurred a few more times when I had particularly horrifying dreams — Thank God I’m a realized reincarnation, otherwise the shit I see would really fuck child-me up… — it was slowly getting under control.
(That was a bit of a lie, by the way. Neither the dreams or the magic was under control. I was just getting better at predicting it all. Probably. Look, there wasn't a manual for this shit, alright?)
As I learned to wrangle my purple-tinged magic into submission, it seemed to grow. Like it was trying to outdo me and my hard fucking work. And when it grew, well… so did the dreams. They were, after all, spilling into my wakefulness. And they were a lot more horrifying than dreaming of roses and whales and growing trees and stuff, for some reason. Like the dreams decided that once I'd figured out the reincarnation thing, all bets were off, time to mentally torment me~!
Yeah. I'd much rather pay attention to real life, too, since my own head was trying to scare the hell out of me.
Ginny was grinning at me, a tiny little three-year-old. She was pale as cream and dotted with freckles, hair like fire and drawn into pigtails, our mother’s hazel-brown eyes set in her face. She preferred wearing bright, warm colors, and was waving her red mittens in my face.
I smiled at her faintly, recognizing the patterns of excitement in her magic swirling around her, sliding on her skin, drifting into the air. That excitement connected to the eagerness in her eyes. I was getting quite good at recognizing the moods of my many siblings and my parents — magic seemed to show a lot more than just power, after all, and once I put that together with facial and bodily expression, well…
(It would be a useful skill, later, to read body language like this.)
My sister and I were three, and as much as it pained me to admit, we were not identical.
“Braid, Lys? Please?” my sister begged, smiling though she tried to project her usual puppy-dog eyes at me.
Conniving little thing, she was — she knew that our parents and eldest brothers were weak to that look. She was in the process of learning that I was not… Hah! Another lie, so with a smile and a nod from me, Ginny sat in front of me — wiggling all over the place, like the toddler she was — and let me undo her pigtails and comb her hair into a neatness a bit more suitable for braiding.
I wasn’t sure where everyone else was, exactly; it was cold outside, so our brothers were probably inside the house. Though, Bill and Charlie were at Hogwarts already. But Percy was probably reading in his room, the twins were probably playing a prank on him since Ron had been nearly terrified to death when they turned his teddy bear into a spider a couple months ago (Mum's lectures on that were legendary, honestly). Dad was at work, so he definitely wasn't in the house, though Mum was probably in the kitchen — her favorite haunt — with Ron…
Normally, Ginny’d be with her, but Ginny had been a lot more conscientious lately in regards to me (she's finally begun to understand what twins are, I think) so she was working on trying to get me to play with her more. Or, at least, do things for her since she knew I usually did more things better than she did. Courtesy of my lovely adult mind.
“Is Mummy gon’ make hot cocoa today?” she asked.
“I dunno,” I replied, concentrating on my fingers; being only three, it was a bit hard to have nimble fingers for braiding.
And, as a general rule, I tried not to talk a lot. I wasn’t good at the British accent yet, and I wasn’t good at dumbing myself down, either. I’d get carried away and start spouting complete and grammar-perfect sentences — which was a telling sign of something wrong, for sure. I already worried my parents and eldest brothers with how I’d been able to perform accidental magic so early, along with the nightmares.
“I want! It’s yum!”
“I wan’ Bill, too. An’ Charlie!”
My twin chattered on as I very carefully did her hair. I’d glance up every now and then to look — with fondness — at our intertwining magic. Her maroon had become more of a wine-red, blending with our mother’s candy-apple crimson, and mine had become something a bit more indigo, as I spent a lot of time with our father’s deep blue. And, for whatever reason, my magic was growing more rapidly than hers was; it was even bigger than Ron’s dawn-colored magic, though not as large as the twins’ — that is, Fred and George’s.
My and my twin’s differences, of course, went beyond our magic.
Fred and George were identical, but Ginny and I were fraternal. Obviously so. (Which meant no switching around pranks, sadly…) It had surprised me, the first time I’d looked at a mirror in this world. Ginny was pale and freckly and autumn-fire; she was all bright and bold. I seemed to be a lot… well, toned down — my colors were cooler-toned than hers. My skin wasn’t her ivory, but rather, almost beige; I had less freckles, only some light ones splattered on my cheekbones and down my nose; I was a bit smaller and slighter than her, and I could tell already that I’d be a lot shorter; my hair was textured differently, thick and heavy and wavy, and instead of carrot-colored, it was a darker copper-orange.
I had managed to bring some of my features from my last life into this one, it seemed. It was like I was a blend of Ginny and my old self; her pale, obviously Caucasian features melded together with my old honey-colored skin, dark hair, petite stature… The only thing I had that I think was completely free of past-life interference were dad’s blue eyes.
“All done,” I announced, admiring my work. Crooked little braids, tied with badly knotted ribbons. Heh. Not bad, for a three-year-old.
Ginny hopped up, beaming. “Thanks, Lyssie!”
“You’re welcome, Ginny,” I said, not surprised when she took my hand and started dragging me down the stairs to our mother. Like always, really.
Ginny was just… brighter, I think. More enthusiastic about things. She was a little bratty; it delighted her that Molly and Arthur catered to us so quickly (because we were the daughters, because I had nightmares and very powerful magic, because blah blah blah…) and she took full advantage of it. She was obsessed with Harry Potter paraphernalia — way more than I’d have thought — and she blew up quickly, her temper obviously inherited from Molly. The only ones who’d calm her down were Molly or me, and I was cheating with my indigo magic being so familiar to her.
On the other side, I was quieter and let her take the lead — How the hell was I supposed to be a child again? — and where Gin mostly ignored everyone but Molly, Arthur, the exuberant twins, and me (recently), I liked to follow everyone around.
(It’s a magical fucking household, I was curious!)
And if I wasn’t following people around, trying to learn everything about the magical world (I died a little inside when I thought about going to Hogwarts and getting wand and being a fucking WITCH holy hell this was so cool, very much almost worth the nightmares and shit), I was usually sitting somewhere with a book nicked from Percy, reading…
Or pretending to read as another daydream hit me.
Like I said, the daydreams got worse. More frequent.
Shining powder, glowing softly — mixed into the base solvent — soft green — then blue, like the ocean, deep and pretty and unnatural in such a small quantity. More of the shining powder, gently added in pinches and pieces — blue crimsons into a deep violet color. Black flowers — crushed and melted and milked — into a amber-reflective liquid turns it turquoise — color fades as the fire heats it.
Sharp, deep brown powder — not like the shining prior — makes the potion turn shades of fire, more un-shining powder turns it turquoise again, it stubbornly clings to its violet color as the fire caresses — silvery substance — light and feathery — pinks — reds — purples again — shining powder, it greys, tries to become fire again — it’s just pearl-white when the brown powder quells its color down.
Draught of Peace, written sharply on the board in spidery handwriting. It is not as beautiful as the woman’s feather and ink-borne hand.
( Stop. )
Jets of light flew across the field — screams echoing and being buried by the sounds of destruction — the moon again — the inferno — shadows with their skull-like faces cackled. A bird of fire cried, sweeping over the battlefield, distorting the air around it. The stars winked madly — the sight of the bird. The song was silent, though it was there. The edges of the image were blurry.
( Stop. )
“Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.”
( Stop. )
She sat at the writing desk serenely, eyes cast down at her letter — skirts gathered about her. The feather dipped in the ink — words were elegant and artful — writing to her sister, she missed her. A sigh from painted lips. The window opened into the garden — gazed outside in admiration. Her writing was beautiful — all feathers and ink.
( Stop. )
Sometimes… Well, honestly, sometimes I felt like I was dreaming about real things. And, really, with magic… It was possible, wasn’t it? Sometimes they’d teach me things. And sometimes I’d actually dream about something that hadn’t happened yet, like when Ginny almost fell down the stairs but I’d managed to catch her and fell instead-
“Lyssie? What’re you doing?”
(Damn displacing daydreams — they made me loose track of where I was, what I was doing, all that.)
I whipped around, thoughts going a mile a minute — Nighttime, alone, everyone’s asleep except whoever this is, stupid dreams dammit! — and guiltily hid a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them behind my back in a way that was completely convincing.
Enough that my fourteen-year-old brother Bill smiled at me indulgently. “Getting into Charlie’s books, Lyssie?”
“Mmm… No,” I said, blinking owlishly at my brother.
Bill was like Dad, built tall and lanky, all angles and edges. There was still a softness about him, of course, with age and with our mother’s genes, but he’d be a very tall, very handsome one — one day. (He, Percy, and Ron were more like our dad in physique; Charlie and the twins taking more after our Prewett lineage, more stockily built, though all my brothers would be pretty tall, fucking Europeans.) Bill’s hair was getting a bit long, and I knew he was doing it on purpose, and I was rather excited to see him when he got his fang-earring and whatnot.
(It was a little strange, seeing a barely-teenage Bill Weasley. Maybe a little less so since no one matched their movie counterpart completely; meaning I was evidently in a more bookverse-based world.)
“That’s a pretty high-level book, Lys,” said my eldest brother gently. “That’s for Hogwarts age, you know. I don’t really think you’re quite that old yet.”
I smiled at the gentle teasing. Bill was a good older brother; a model older brother, really. I definitely wasn’t like him when I was fourteen. It was little wonder that Bill was Ginny’s absolute favorite older brother, with how gently he treated us and how fun he could make things. He emulated our dad, I think.
“Was gonna ask Dad to read,” I said, using my go-to Weasley. (Dad was kinda my favorite.)
Bill smiled. “I’m not good enough to read to you, Lys?”
My eyes lit up, and I could tell that Bill saw — which he smiled at, definitely pleased that he could get the most sheltered member of the family that happy that quickly. I was Ginny’s little sister, meaning I was the absolute youngest Weasley. Add that to my status as one of the few Weasley females, my tendency to stare into space (the daydreams), my quiet, intelligent nature — worse than Percy, sometimes — and my nightmares that everyone had quickly learned to quell through crawling under the covers with me (it was usually Ginny who performed this sibling duty, without complaint and with much enthusiasm)…
Well, yes, I was the most sheltered Weasley.
So Bill scooped me up in his arms, book and all, and I let the last remnants of childish instinct giggle quietly as he walked across the hall, exiting Charlie and Percy’s shared room — both brothers were off with friends overnight, which was why I’d been rooting around their bookshelves this early in the morning — and into his lone one (since Ron had decided he was old enough to sleep in the attic a few months ago, just to prove Fred and George wrong about the fact he was “an ickle baby”).
Bill flicked on his bedside lamp and I settled in his lap comfortably.
“Hm, are you sure you want to read this one, Lyssie? What about Ginny’s books?”
“No,” I said, hoping vainly to never see another damn Harry Potter's Adventures book again, “This one.”
Bill snorted. “Alright, Lys. But if you don’t understand something, make sure you ask, okay? That’s how you learn. Even the demon twins- er, that is, Fred and George have to ask for help,” he said patiently.
(As there were two sets of twins in the house, Ginny and I were dubbed uncreatively ‘the girls’ while Fred and George were usually ‘the demon twins’ since, honestly, they were like little monsters on sugar-highs all the time. Of course, much of the time, that was shortened down to 'the demons,' which they delighted in and Mum disapproved of.)
“Alright, then, Lys. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by Newt Scamander…”
Right, then. Reason for the book thievery: Ginny’s Harry Potter picture books were not only grossly untrue, but boring. And picture books. I wanted to learn about spells and magical creatures and stuff. Not… how to tell colors apart, or whatever nonsense. I knew how to do that. In fact, I knew how to see everyone’s colors. Their colors were even getting more detailed as I grew up, too, like my eyes were unlocking new layers.
I was indigo, of course, though the edges were a bit darker than usual and the strings were like electric lavender. Dad was all these shades of blue, normally a nice royal tone with bits of violet and crimson swimming inside. Mum was bright, cheerful red; sometimes there were wine tones and her strings glittered like gold. Bill was cool-colored like Dad and I, him and Percy were purples and blues and violets. Charlie was primarily jungle green, with bits of gold in his electric green “strings” — the tendrils of magic that actually did stuff, I hypothesized. The twins were actually different, which was how I told them apart: Fred was a cool burgundy with bits of darkish lilac, while George was almost my color, with bits of playful plum. Ron was like an explosion of sunsets and sunrises, orange dominating golds and crimsons and pale off-whites. Ginny, of course, was maroon-red, flecks of gold.
Oh, and him.
The rat-bastard that was currently owned by Percy was a pale, weak yellow; not nice dawn-yellow or wheat-gold, but almost mustard. It was barely there, which I attributed to the fact that he was a rat, and didn’t often use magic anymore, and there was a slow, crippled tension to the tendrils that made me almost sad when I saw it. Not sad enough to not throw my gentle version of tantrums whenever I had to spend an extended amount of time with the rat, of course. I didn't want him near me.
I was waiting for when I was old enough or when there'd be a neat little opening for me to reveal the rat-bastard. Wasn't going to jeopardize myself for him since he wasn't doing anything bad — and I ensured that he always slept in his cage, never on my brothers' beds anymore, by having a fucking conniption about it. My family is under the impression that I have a crippling fear of rats, like Ron and spiders, which he's liked me better for ever since finding out.
“Lyssie? Are you falling asleep?” whispered Bill.
I shook my head. “Augery tells rain. ’N their feathers can’t be quills,” I said dutifully.
Bill sucked in a tiny breath. I suppose it was strange, to see how easily I could summarize concepts beyond my age’s level of understanding. Well… That was a mistake on my part, then, but really, it’s hard to act stupid around people who watch you 24/7.
When I looked up, he was smiling (albeit, upside-down in my perspective). “You’re a smart one, aren’t you, Lys? But it is late, you know, and you really should go to sleep. Ginny might be missing her bunk-mate.”
Clever Bill! You know I spoil Ginny.
(Probably something I’ll regret later, honestly.)
I nodded, and he closed the small, dog-eared book and took me up in his arms again, quietly padding out to the landing and down to the second floor, which consisted only of my and Ginny’s room. Inside, Ginny’s maroon-red almost jumped to tangle with mine — it was much too used to my presence to not do so — and when Bill tucked me into bed, Ginny’s little hands immediately clutched at my clothing.
He smiled at the sight. “No nightmares tonight, Lyssie?”
I grinned a little. “Ginny won’ let the bad dreams get me.”