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Vladimir Valentin

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

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The weeks since Vladimir had left Hogwarts seemed to pass by much too quickly for the boy's liking. It seemed as though just yesterday he had arrived in Sighisoara, being enveloped in a crushing hug by Bunică, seeing the animals, sights, sounds of his hometown, old friends from primary school... And now he was back home in Oxford, preparing for the upcoming performance with Oxford Philharmonic.

He had not realized the burst in height he had until it was time to try on his suit for the performance, to find that the trousers were now much too short, and the jacket now tight on the shoulders. Truth be told Vladimir had thought his mother had only been jesting with him when she stated that he was growing at a rapid rate; clearly he was wrong, and she was most definitely right.

While Valentina had helped Vladimir with the purchase of a new suit, Ivan had procured the tickets, and taken them to Gerard, whilst confirming the legal documents currently in motion.

"Vladdy! Vladdy! Marina's trying to play with Dracul again!" Vladimir heard Anastasia call out.

"Did you open my bedroom door earlier, Anastasia?" Vladimir questioned as he left the music room and entered the living room. The twin clad in orange sheepishly nodded her head. "Yes Vladdy, Orpheus wanted to go inside, so I let him and Dracul flew out, and Orpheus tried to chase him but gave up, and now Dracul is flying in circles around Marina's playpen."

With a smile, he let his sister take his hand and lead him to the red model dragon, and their baby sister.

- - -

The evening before the concert, the same day that his father was due to to give Sophia and her family the tickets, Vladimir sat at his desk in his room. Dracul was curled up on the edge, eyeing Vladimir, while Orpheus was asleep at the foot of Vladimir's bed. He was not at all nervous for the performance tomorrow; on the contrary he was entirely more worried over whether or not Sophia, Anton, and their parents would be attending. Ivan had assured that everything was exchanged and ready but...

Vladimir's solution was to take the two way mirror he had won, and attempted to contact Sophia. He had not had the opportunity to speak with her since his arrival back in Oxford the few days prior. "Sophia Hunter," Vladimir said to the mirror, waiting for it to activate. "Good evening, Sophia... I do apologize for being unable to contact you until now. The past number of days have been incredibly busy, forgive me."

"Did you receive the tickets from my father?"


Edited by Vladimir Valentin

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The summer holiday seemed to fly by for Sophia as various events and errands filled the days. Their annual trip to Greece to visit her mother's family was fun as always and once back home, it appeared that they needed to do a bit of shopping for an appropriate dress for the concert they would be attending at the London Philarmonic. The young celloist they were going to see wasn't the only one who had grown a bit. None of her dresses fit quite right.

 

It was the night before the concert when the two way mirror Vladimir had given her activated and she picked it up to look in. . .

 

And was immediately blocked from seeing anything by Intarsia's sudden landing on her wrist and shoving her tiny dragon head in front of the looking glass. Sophia shook her head, sighed and simply responded to the inquiry she heard even if she currently was pulling a red model dragon from in front of said mirror. "Hi Vladimir. It's okay. It's been pretty hec. . ."

 

Cue return of dragon head in mirror. "Intarsia!" Repeat removal of said model dragon. ". . . tic here too. How was your trip to Russia?"

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Vladimir was unperturbed as Intarsia's head was in the way of the mirror, considering the tiny red dragon had done similarly when he had been in Russia and Romania. The sound of the other red dragon had Dracul making his way to the two way mirror, a small roar coming from his mouth before Vladimir nudged him away.

"Dracul is excited to see Intarsia, clearly," Vladimir mused quietly, before he addressed Sophia's question. "My travels went well, although my Grandmother Elena was ill while I was in Russia... Our time in Romania was cut short due to the concert and tournament." Vladimir felt a weight land on his shoulder, and turning his head, saw that Orpheus had decided to join the impromptu meeting.

"Orpheus says hello as well," he added with a hint of a smile before asking, "And has your summer travels been amicable?"

Vladimir moved Dracul away from the mirror once more, and the boy glanced at the clock on his desk. It was approaching a late hour, but true to form, Vladimir knew he would not be attempting sleep as of yet; this was not an excuse to keep Sophia up later than what her norm was, however.

"I apologize if I am keeping you up at this later hour. My father paid a visit to your father today to give the tickets... The performance starts at 7 o'clock sharp, but I will not be able to see you and your family until after the concert... Warm up, and whatnot."

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"Oi! Intarsia! This is my mirror not yo. . ." Sophia began to tell her little red dragon but was interrupted by a reply from the other side of the mirror that was clearly not for Sophia. She sighed and laughed, finally getting Intarsia out of the way. "I'm beginning to suspect we need to get these two their own set of mirrors," Sophia told Vladimir while making a mental note to keep hers safely put away when not in use before there were too many model dragon to model dragon calls.

 

"Hi Orpheus!" Sophia replied with a laugh. Talk about a group effort. "It has been good. Grandfather stayed in Greece and will come back next week. He wanted to do some work on the old house."

 

"Yes, I heard him arrive earlier and you're not keeping me up," she assured her friend. "I understand," she added as Vladimir explained not being able to see them till after.

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Post #1,200, huzzah!

Vladimir fell into a polite silence as he listened to Sophia recount her trip to Greece. It was interesting, to Vladimir at least; travel was a way to explore the world in ways that the muggle television and books could not do complete justice. "Bunică has visited Greece in the past. She says it is a beautiful land," Vladimir said quietly, sitting back in his chair slightly, his eyes traveling to Dracul sleeping on the edge of his desk, then back to the mirror.

Orpheus quietly purred as Vladimir reached his hand back to scratch the kitten behind his ears, as one of the only ways to get the cat to make any sort of noise. Silent... like his master.

At the very least, Vladimir was content that the tickets were in their hands and that tomorrow there would be no trouble. "The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing the music of Ennio Morricone... featuring myself on the cello," he explained to her, before he turned his head slightly to the side at the sound of the clock chiming the top of the hour.

"I should allow you to get some rest, Sophia. I look forward to seeing you and Anton tomorrow after the performance," Vladimir said quietly, "It is time I see if I too may sleep... perhaps." He would not know until he lay in his bed and attempted to rest.

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Sophia enjoyed telling of her trip, especially since Vladimir was truly interested and she smiled when he mentioned his grandmother's trip to there. "It is. The mainland has so much to see on it. Grandfather has a home on one of the smaller islands that we get to by boat. It's one of my favorite places," she told him.

 

She smiled at the sound of Orpheus' purring on the other side of the mirror and Tink landed on the desk at the sound of his friend. Hoot was all the owl said softly.

 

The conversation was ending all too soon as Vladimir began his good nights. "Till tomorrow," she replied with a smile. "Good night."

 

With that, she, too, headed for some sleep before the big night tomorrow.

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Vladimir quietly bid Sophia good night before attempting to get some rest. Tomorrow was going to be a very long day...

- - -

And so it was that Vladimir, after eventually managing to get some sleep, had spent the day in preparation for the night ahead. His concert suit ironed, his hair brushed, cello polished, the boy was waiting backstage with the rest of the adults. His mismatched eyes would glance around from time to time, listening as the audience took their seats. He had tried to see where his family and Sophia's were seated, but from his current vantage point, he could not.

The rest of the orchestra made their way on stage, until finally Vladimir was left in the back, waiting for the maestro to make the announcement. Inwardly the boy was nervous, he always was before having to perform in front of such large crowds of people, but by the time he took his seat, he knew all would be well.

The boy heard his name and with a small breath, took his cello and walked out onto the stage, stopping next to the maestro and bowing to the man, the orchestra, and then the audience. Taking his seat, his eyes did a quick scan of the audience, and he spotted his family; next to them were Sophia, Anton, and their parents.

He would focus on that later; now, the performance was to begin, and they began with the first piece.

More emotion expressed on Vladimir's face in a few minutes of song than what normally crossed his features over months at Hogwarts; every cord, tremolo, note and rest were expressed on his face, especially as the orchestra came in and joined him in song.

By the time the evening was done, and every piece had been played, Vladimir stood up again and took a bow, emotionally spent from everything, but content with how the performance played out. Now however, Vladimir wanted to escape the frenzy of the group and return to his family and friends. Half an hour later, Vladimir was traversing the lobby with his cello case at his back, looking for his family and the Hunters.

'Look Sophia, Anton! It's Vladdy! VLADDY OVER HERE!" The boy heard one of the twins cry out, waving to catch his attention; Vladimir followed orders and approached the group, giving a bow. "Greetings Sophia, Anton, Mr. Hunter, Mrs. Hunter. I do hope you enjoyed the performance this evening."

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To sleep, perchance to dream. . .

 

Or toss and turn with anticipation and nerves. Yes, nerves. No, Sophia wasn't performing the next day but it was a big event and it was formal and it was involving both families and she was worried about everything going well. Not that it was a date or anything, right?

 

- - -

 

Eventually, however, sleep came and Sophia woke the next day in a flurry of activity to prepare for the evening's event. Finally, they were at the theatre and settled in their seats as the house lights lowered and the orchestra entered. There was no sign of Vladimir but she knew he would be out there soon and he was. She felt somewhere between nervous and excited to hear the maestro introduce him and sat quietly, focused on the musician and his music throughout the performance. The end seemed to come all too quickly.

 

Or not quick enough, Sophia thought as she waited with their families in the lobby for him to join them. She didn't see him as much as heard the announcement by his sisters that they had spotted their brother. As the girls called out to Vladimir, Sophia waved and smiled at his arrival. She remained quiet as her parents greeted him and offered their congratulations, letting the adults have their time.

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Not having any idea of the anxiety and nerves of his twin the night before, Anton had no trouble sleeping. However, he did notice her state of being the next day while they were getting ready to attend Vladimir's concert with the philharmonic orchestra. Twin intuition, Anton could sense a disturbance in the force.

 

But, true to form, Anton didn't say anything at first, especially as they got settled in the theater and waited for Vladimir to come out and get settled to play the music for the night. He kept an eye on his sister, before focusing on the performance. Vladimir was a pretty wicked musician for his age; bring a drummer, the boy could totally identify with the cellist.

 

Vladimir was ten times better a musician than Anton though.

 

While they waited in the lobby for the cellist of the hour, Anton looked at Sophia and said quietly, "It all went well, see? Nothing to worry over."

 

He didn't have much time to say much else as Vladimir's twin sisters pointed out that the teen of the hour had arrived. Anton waved at the boy and after the adults had their moment he told Vladimir, "That was brilliant, Vladimir!" Anton wasn't about to embarrass his sister by telling Vladimir that she had been all nervous for him.

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Vladimir nodded at the Hunters and thanked them for their kind words and congratulations, but his attention, truthfully, was not fully on them. No, his mismatched eyes were focused on his friend and her brother, although more so on the former than on the latter; not even the younger twins on either side of him were able to distract him.

As Vladimir's parents conversed with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, the boy said to Sophia quietly, "You look very lovely."

Hearing the twins giggle, Vladimir quickly then diverted attention to Anton as the boy said his congratulations. "Thank you for that assessment, Anton," he replied, his face expressionless, though his tone of voice exuded exhaustion from the performance that had just been undertaken. Expressing his emotions and channeling that into his music took a lot out of the boy.

Especially for a boy who held a trademark in not expressing anything he did not wish to the public.

"Of course Vladdy is the best, he's our brother!" Viktoriya exclaimed with a huff, as though it was the most obvious observation in the world. Vladimir smiled briefly, his guard down, before turning his attention back to the Hunter twins.

"Did you enjoy the performance?"


Edited by Vladimir Valentin

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Her brother's comment after the concert was a very valid comment and quite innocent -- which is exactly why she was just about matching her dress when he said it. "Fine.. I'm fine..." she replied to Anton doing her best to keep the color out of her face with less than half success.

 

She wasn't sure if she was happy and thankful Vladimir had arrived when he did since Anton didn't say anything more on that fact or wishing he had delayed just a few minutes longer for her to restore herself to a less warmed complexion. However, it appeared to her that possibly, Vladimir did not notice and she managed to greet him with a smile.

 

And then Vladimir paid her an unexpected compliment. Cue return to red though, thankfully, not quite as much as before. "Thank you. You look rather dashing yourself," she said softly, still a bit nervous with it all. She smiled at his sister's enthused assessment of her older brother and when he returned his attention to them, she nodded. "It was beautiful."

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