Continuities » Silmaril » Unbreakable Vow » n'ohere nakwa nha anya
May 24, 2017 7:42 AM
Hogwarts not!Elves
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At Platform 9 3/4, the construction of which a certain little girl just last summer wrote a sternly worded letter to the Ministry to protest only to be predictably ignored, that same small girl is going over a checklist while her mother feeds her owl a treat between the bars of the cage. There are two wands crossed in the girl's hair, a mass of individual braids so tiny that from a distance they could be mistaken for strands in their own right and then bound up in a lump at the nape of her neck. They are not the only black people on the platform but they don't seem to know the other family. No father is evident.

Mother hugs daughter, and daughter hugs back, and daughter steps into the train and goes looking for a compartment.
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"Sit with your cousins," said his mother, and "you don't have cousins," said his father, and "the train's a great place to meet new people; Tad and Zach'll probably be very reassured to think there'll be a couple friendly faces in their year, but if they have any sense at all they won't want to hole up with people they already know," said Timothy, who was wearing a prefect badge and seemed to think it made him as good as a parent.

 

He is doing what Father said, of course. He doesn't have any cousins and he is sitting alone and has pulled out his wand and is swishing it around trying things because most people aren't very creative at eleven and perhaps there are ways to usefully harness impulse magic beyond learning it in class (and he knows he'll excel at that, so he doesn't exactly need to start studying.)

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The door opens. The person who opened it observes its low occupancy. "Hullo," she says, "may I sit here?"
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She's definitely not a not-cousin, so "you may," he says importantly, and waves his wand around - everyone gets sparks or lights or something the first time, why not every time...

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She carefully tucks her trunk under the seat and puts her owl on the bench next to her, opposite him. "What are you trying to cast?"
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"So the dominant theory of how accidental or impulse magic happens is that kids are - don't know, brimming with magic, and since they aren't using it it builds up and then when they're emotional they spontaneously do magic, and the spontaneous magic stops when you start doing trained magic because you're using your reserves instead of letting them spill over. But that's stupid, doesn't make any sense, because grownups who are in prison or pretending to be Muggles or something don't do magic for a long time and I've never heard of accidental magic happening to them, so I have this theory that instead there are different ways of doing magic and once you start doing one you unlearn the others and impulse magic's one of the others and no one's ever noticed because you start learning properly at eleven and most people are stupid at eleven and wouldn't think to try."

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"Isn't potions a different way of doing magic? And people do that and the kind with wands."
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"Yeah so that's evidence there are at least two. Sooooo maybe there's more."

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"But it means you don't automatically unlearn one by learning another."
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He actually looks at her for the first time. "Huh, fair enough." And then more formally, "it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Minor Finis Way."

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"Likewise! I'm Miranda Swan."
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"Maybe you don't automatically unlearn it, but you lose it over time - that would suggest that someone who didn't start potions at the same time as they started wandwork would find it harder to do, or vice versa, are there societies that do one but not the other and were surprised when contact was made that both were possible? Was there ever a year of students who missed potions for six months because of some dungeons disaster, were they slower to learn - no, that's hopelessly confounded..."

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"Maybe there's a fourth thing. Apparition doesn't need a wand, or Animagery. And people pick those up - more the first than the second and pretty much always later."
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"Could be. Has anyone tried relearning impulse magic - yeah, I'm sure someone has, somewhere..."

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"I'd be really surprised if nobody had. But I've never been able to get it to do anything specific on purpose, have you?"
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"No. Aaron - that's my next-older brother - said he sometimes did - he loses his temper way more than me, he did a lot more impulse magic in general - but I don't know if he was directing or predicting, know what I mean?"

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"Yeah, and if you have to lose your temper to do it that might make it harder to systematically notice that you can do specific things than it actually is to do the specific things..."
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"You shouldn't have to, even if it's emotion-powered strong emotions don't all have to be 'losing your temper'-flavored. But yeah, makes it harder to study usefully."

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"I didn't do very much impulse magic at all actually, Mum thinks it's because I intellectualize things."
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"I think I could also be characterized as intellectualizing things and I still did a fair bit? Maybe different kinds of intellectualizing things."

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"Maybe. What's your kind, mine is writing things down a lot."
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"Coming up with theories about how everything works and then getting distracted by them - they tend to sort of branch and have a lot of implications and be more interesting than whatever I was doing -"

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"Were you distracted from something with the impulse magic thing?"
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"...from being sad or homesick or stressed about my parents fighting? I guess?"

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"...oh." Pause. "I don't think I'm going to be homesick, I'm not sure that's a thing I do."
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"My dad is the only person I've ever met who thinks like I do, I'm going to miss him a lot. I'm really excited and really proud and I'm going to do amazing things but I'm definitely going to be homesick."

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