Inara Kennedy

Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.

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Quote by Richard Baxter

 

Inara was busy. She was still taking all twelve subjects and was, therefore, preparing for all twelve OWLs. And while she didn’t have Quidditch this year, she had… stuff with Linus. She didn’t know how to define that and since she couldn’t tell anyone about it (at least not yet), she was trying to avoid thinking about it in case someone around here knew legilimency. She also didn’t want it to show on her face because Kae how to read her expressions with ease.

 

But no matter how busy she was, she always made time for her siblings. She rarely saw Carter (which was probably okay all around) but she made sure to check in on Mikey and Kaleb as much as she could. Of all of her siblings, she was closest to Mikey. They had always been that way. However, Kaleb was a close second. And since he was a first year, she was keeping special tabs on him in case he needed her (and even if he didn’t need her).

 

He’d asked for tutoring in Transfiguration and she was happy to help him. She’d told him when to meet her in the library and she was there, a stack of books already taken off the shelves. She knew that Kaleb didn’t learn the same way that she did so she was prepared to go over the material in different ways so that something might click for him.

 

When she saw him approaching, she got up to give him a hug. It was probably embarrassing for him but she didn’t care. She gave all her siblings hugs all the time so that they always knew they were loved and that she was there for them. She gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head and then let go so he could sit down (or run away pretending not to know her). “Are you ready?” She didn’t want to dive right in only to have him lost already.

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It was a bit bizarre. His older sister, Inara, seemed to have eyes and ears everywhere. When the First Years had a snowball fight on the front lawn last term, Kaleb found a pair of dry warm socks and a note from Inara on his bed telling him to stay warm after the snowball fight. When Kaleb got his first ever O on an Astronomy assignment, his sister surprised him with a chocolate frog with a super rare trading card inside (score!).  How she knew everything was still a mystery to him, but he had no leads on how to pursue it.

 

So when Kaleb had gotten a P on the latest assignment in Transfiguration, he wasn't surprised when Inara approached him 20 minutes later ever so nonchalantly asking him how Transfiguration was going. He revealed his latest grade, and a tutoring session was scheduled. Inara was the smartest in the family, so Kaleb always tried to emulate her in that regard. But seeing as how magic was proving tough to learn, he would readily take all the help he could.

 

He found her in the library, a room he had entered exactly twice. Once was at the beginning of last term while he was exploring the castle. The second time was at the end of last term while he was revising for exams. He preferred the warm, comfortable couches in the Gryffindor Commonroom to the hard tables in the library. Perhaps that was why he was doing so bad.

 

"No kisses!" he complained, rubbing the spot on his forehead that planted one on. Hugs he didn't mind (especially because his sister was older and could teach everyone that bothered him a lesson), but kisses were a step too far. "Yeah, I'm ready," he answered, a little (aka a lot) unenthusiastic. "Professor Knaggs went from table to table berating us today because a lot of us were having trouble transfiguring a quill into a fork. Obviously with all the screaming, none of us could concentrate, so very few of us did it. Or rather, very few of us did it to an acceptable degree. My quill looked fine, but the feeling definitely felt more metal than feather." Kaleb's ramble went on and on, almost forgetting why they were in the library.

 

He would rather complain than study, obviously.

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She smiled when Kaleb complained about the kiss. She made a note not give him more in public. She would continue to kiss the top of his head until she could no longer reach it (which probably wouldn’t be long from now, anyway, since Mikey was pretty much already taller than she was so how far behind could Kaleb be?). The thought of Kaleb growing up made her sad. She wanted him to grow up to be independent but she loved that her younger siblings were… babies to her.

 

“Alright, alright, I’ll only give you kisses when no one else is around,” she told him, grinning. “This is a deal I’ve had to make with Mikey, too. But I know, deep down inside, you both love it.” She stuck her tongue out at Kaleb and then grabbed a book to flip through to where she thought the first years might be.

 

She listened as Kaleb talked, occasionally looking at him and nodding. “Professor Knaggs is hard to please so don’t take it personally. I’m sure everyone’s attempt, yours included, was better than you think. I remember that I used to struggle to transfigure things in lessons but as soon as I was on my own, I’d get it right away. It’s hard when there’s so much pressure bearing down on you.”

 

Inara thought that sharing her own struggles with Kaleb would help him realize that he wasn’t alone. She had had troubles, too, and she was doing great now. He would learn and get better overtime. He just needed some extra practice and some one-on-one attention from the best sister ever. She placed a quill in front of him. “Let me see what you’ve got and we’ll go from there.”

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It was interesting to him that, just by complaining about the class and Professor Knaggs and admitting that it was tough, he began to feel better. It was almost as if acknowledging the issue made the issue go away. Admittedly, Kaleb knew that that wasn't true and that he would still need to actually learn how to cast the spell correctly. But, for a split second, he felt hopeful that he untapped his natural abilities to transfigure items. "I want to be good at Transfiguration, but I don't know why it's so tough," he huffed, his tone seeming to plead his sister for her help.

 

She relayed her own difficulties, which was probably the first time Kaleb ever knew that his sister struggled with anything. "You would mess up on it?" he gasped, the surprise evident in his voice. He didn't want to make his sister feel bad or have her relive some of the tougher moments she felt, but it was a shocker to him. "Whenever you came back home, you always made it sound like learning magic was so easy," he said, seeming incredulous. What new information!

 

But, the important thing to focus on is that she eventually got it. "Okay, I'll practice with this quill." He dove into his satchel, looking for a fork he grabbed from the Great Hall. "Okay so," he began, reappearing with the fork in hand, "we learned that the incantation is Scribb...scrib...hold on." Kaleb started flipping through his textbook, trying to remind himself what the incantation was. "Oh right, Scribblifors. Okay, okay, so, I point my wand at the fork and envision a quill. And then I say the incantation. Scribblifors." The fork rattled a little, the handle becoming a bit sharper. But it was nothing like a quill.

 

"See? I pictured it in my head and everything! It just won't transfigure," he turned to his sister, pointing at what he was able to do. "Can you do it?"

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Kaleb was surprised at her admission which didn’t surprise Inara in the slightest. She was the Kennedy who always had O’s, who had taken every elective, who had done this all while playing Quidditch and knitting everyone gifts. She was the child who did it all and made it seem easy. But there were times when she had struggled, too. Transfiguration had been hard for her, especially when she had gotten to the years when they worked on animals. She had refused to do it.

 

“I think everyone else made it seem like it was easy for me,” she said. Carter had always gone on and on about it. Mikey was usually joking about it. Inara simply showed her marks and went on with life. She had never been the focus of her parents’ attention and therefore was always hidden in the back, in the shadows, never getting the attention that she so desperately craved.

 

Tossing the thought aside, she looked at Kaleb. She watched him carefully and noted what he was doing and what he was not doing. She nodded her head and said, “Just because you visualize doesn’t mean it’s going to work,” she told him. She slid the fork over and pointed her wand at it. “Scribblifors,” she said and the fork was a perfect quill. She handed it to him to feel and then took it back so she could return it to being a fork.

 

“I think your problem is that you’re overthinking it while not visualizing enough. I also think that you’re talking too much while trying to do it.” She winked at him and nodded for him to try again. “I want you to close your eyes this time. Eventually you won’t need to, but for now give it a try. Clear your mind of everything and only picture the quill you want the fork to be. Then go.” Hopefully this would work for Kaleb. If not, she’d have to think of something else.

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