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Magda Trickett

Sit down, you're rocking the boat

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Magda Trickett

The cool night air hummed with the nervous chatter of the first year students. Magda bounced on the balls of her feet, trying to peer over the heads of her new classmates, her limbs vibrating with a mixture of elation and anxiety. She could almost see the castle. It was there in the distance, looming over a lake like a sheet of black, gleaming glass, and glittering under a halo of moon and clouds.

 

Having never before stepped foot outside of wizarding London, Magda had never seen anything like the castle or its surrounding landscape of rolling green. It was like something out of a storybook, or a dream, and the strangeness of this perspective set everything just slightly off-kilt.

 

As she hurried to the boats, her overlarge school robes dragging through the dirt (the woman at the shop had suggested her mother hem them, but Gnissa had disagreed), Magda spotted the taller head of one of her friends farther down the path. Bitsy had eluded her for most of the train journey, but here, at least, was someone she knew.

 

“Lucas!” she cried, bobbing and weaving through the crowd. She caught up just as he reached the edge of the lake, then stumbled to a stop, tripping on her robes and beaming widely. “This is amazing! I can’t believe we get to ride across the water! In boats!

Edited by Magda Trickett

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Lucas Kettering

The train ride had been normal, except for owls, cart ladies, a spilled potion’s fumes, runaway chocolate frogs, the not-too-distant crack of a hex and its subsequent laugh. Hogwarts, he surmised, would be like one long class with a substitute teacher. He cautiously followed the small herd through school grounds.

 

The lake was a cracked marble, a black hole halved and jagged with waves that cut along the shoreline. Lucas knew how to swim but he couldn’t imagine himself crossing it. He felt more like some deep-water creature in its pit, eyes blinking through a muddled future, than a boy promised some form of destiny in a magical castle.

 

“Lucas!”

 

He turned in a gasp of wind, his dark hair disheveled, and looked at the small girl who stumbled closer. He looked toward her directed excitement: “Oh.” The word was better than its rhyme, and he remembered suddenly what he’d given to be here. “Witchcraft is fancy, I guess.” Other students climbed into the boats, and not wanting to be stuck behind, he shrugged. “Come on, Magda—” He glanced at the dusty ends of her robe. “I’ll help you in.”  With a yank and more than one ‘stop pointing/moving/shouting/etcetera’, he accomplished his one helping act of the day.

 

The boat did not capsize. He glanced over his shoulder. “Oi Jo!” Lucas called out, mouth crooked. “These are better than those dumb swan boats in Victoria Park at least.”

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Josephine Tindall

 

The crowd of first years were a pushy bunch, eager to get to the castle after the long train journey and eager to start the next chapter of this adventure.  Jo wasn't so eager. Grumbling as the wind whipped around them, they moved forward. She had stuck close to Brooklyn’s side, a shiny blonde light of familiarity, as Lucas led the way. 

 

They’d already lost sight Winston in the crowd when they finally made it to the boats. She glanced over her shoulder in a lame attempt to try and locate him, almost tripping over the person in front of her as they came to a sudden stop. A scowl curling onto her lips, Jo was ready to snap when the castle lights caught her attention. 

 

She wasn’t a person who was easily impressed (or if she was she generally wore an expression of apathy) but the sight of the castle on the other side of the lake, imposing and grand, caused her stomach to lurch in excitement.  

 

Settling into the boat, she bumped her shoulder against Brooklyn's and smiled. “They’re really trying to sell this mystical magic thing aren’t they?” A bloody boat crossing a dark and mysterious looking lake, the scenario had been plucked straight from the pages of a fantasy novel. 

 

Her name called, she turned towards the familiar voice and grinned, her eyes wrinkling at the corners. "Right? At least we're not bloody peddling these." 

Edited by Josephine Tindall

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Brooklyn Shea

Overbright eyes gazed upon the lake, its body dark and vast but glittering with life. The boats turned from specks to shadows, then closed in, and there was one thing on Brooklyn's mind: ensuring she was not stuck on a boat with people she hated, or losers. This, to her, was of greater interest than the castle itself. As far as she was concerned, the castle and sorting was her future and this, the boat ride, was her now.

 

Brooklyn wasn't sure exactly who she was looking for. Luckily, she had Jo at her side already—one of her few classmates she respected. Unfortunately, she knew they couldn't get a boat with just the two of them. Groups of four were the norm, it seemed. Brooklyn wasn't sure yet what to make of the boy who was with Jo—Lucas—the one she knew from back home. She trusted her friend(?)'s judgment to a degree, but Brooklyn could be more critical than most.

 

Still, he clearly wasn't a total idiot, which was enough for her right now.

 

"I forgot about the boats," Brooklyn murmured to herself, tying her hair back as she stepped in after Jo and Lucas, and spotting Magda a moment later. Magda was strange, but due to Brooklyn's Unbreakable Vow with the other girl, she had no choice but to try to adapt to her peculiarities. "My mum mentioned something about them. God," she nudged Jo. "Yeah. This must be so weird for you." She tilted toward Magda, and smiled lightly. "Hi, Magda. Where's Bitsy?" She'd hardly seen the two separated, but Brooklyn had other reasons for asking. Bitsy had hair of spun gold, and a shimmering presence that made her a desirable companion.

 

She wanted to say more, comment on how she hoped some of her year-mates would fall in the lake and miss sorting, but around Magda and Lucas, she held back. "Everyone ready?" she said instead, her smile painted wide.

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Winston Hughes

It was official. Winston’s cheeks literally hurt from smiling so much. A grin, so large it was annoying even himself, had been etched into his face since the moment he woke up. Not even the grumpiness or apathy of some of his new schoolmates could wipe the expression from his face or lessen his excitement in any way. It was the day Winston had been waiting for since his mother came clean and explained that magic was real. The train ride was a blur of fun and it was with a deep understanding that a new phase of his life was beginning that Winston jumped off from the train once it arrived at Hogsmeade Station.

 

He took a moment to breathe it all in.

 

And then a swarm of confused and hyper children surrounded him, shoved past him with their bulky elbows, and separated the gawky boy from his friends. And for the first time that day, Winston felt a wave of panic go through him. He didn’t want to take this next step alone. Although technically Winston really was never alone with Croissant the small corgi hiding in his moleskin fanny pack... he wanted to be with familiar human faces for such a momentous event. And with that thought, Winston hurried after the swarm to the boats to find his friends. 

 

Spotting not only the familiar gleam of Brooklyn’s blonde hair but also that the boats were starting to move, Winston ran in all his long legged awkward stride glory to the boat. “Hey, wait for me!” Not one to consider personal space, Winston jumped aboard and shimmied his butt into the small space next to Brooklyn before smiling up at her. “Nice and comfy, right?" Grinning at the rest of the boats inhabitants and wearing his heart much more on his sleeve, he exclaimed "This is going to be wicked!" 

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Magda Trickett

Lucas deposited her into the boat (as he had, once, deposited her into a dumpster), and Magda stumbled a little upon dismount. Having never ridden in a boat before, she had not expected its surface to be so unsteady beneath her feet. She almost felt as though the boat was a living creature, irritated with its passengers and attempting to buck them off its back. Up close, she could see now that the lake was less smooth glass, more wrinkled velvet, with an ever-changing surface.

 

She unsteadily made her way to the front of the small boat, jostling into people as she went. “Ragnuk’s pants, are these things normally this wobbly?”

 

Her fear, and therefore her care, were short-lived. As soon as she caught sight of the castle again, she was back to thrilled agitation. She also beamed happily when she saw Brooklyn, the pretty friend to whom she was eternally bound with a very serious spit-oath. “I got distracted by a pigeon on the train and lost her. But I’m sure we’ll see Bitsy in the castle!”

 

A boy leapt onto their boat just as the others began taking off around them, a fleet of small wooden dinghies with bobbing lanterns gliding triumphantly toward their towering destination. As the new boy determinedly wedged himself onto the bench already occupied by Brooklyn and Jo, Magda peered down at their boat expectantly, waiting for it to join the pack.

 

The boat did not move.

 

Magda looked back at the others, frowning. “What’s the matter with our boat? Is it faulty? Do you think we have to tell it to move?” She climbed onto the front bench and began hopping up and down, causing the boat to bounce wildly. “COME ON BOAT, IT'S TIME TO GO.”

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Lucas Kettering

Lucas watched with great amusement as Winston shimmied into the space next to Brooklyn. He briefly checked whether the girl’s wide smile might wither like a citrus peel in dry heat before noticing for the first time (somehow) on this journey the unbelievable fanny pack. He did not need to guess at what might be inside. Since Lucas had a secret soft spot for cute animals, he made no comment.

 

When the other boats began to glide through the water with no paddles disrupting its surface, he felt a moment of enchantment, a realization again that this was real, as real as the moment his fingertips touched a wand and felt its magic. His magic.

 

So why wasn’t it moving?

 

His body wobbled with the boat, shaken with the force of Magda’s light weight. “Does it need an incantation?” Lucas asked. What the hell did primary prepare us for? His brain shuffled through flashes of open spellbooks. He had not studied them—summer was for maths, he’d decided—and now he sat on the boat with a tongue knotted with some combination of aloha wingardamn. He and Jo were Muggleborn, and Winston was something like it, though he held the boy’s status in confidence. Magda was, well, Magda. Grey eyes set on the final occupant. “Do you know, Brooklyn?”

Edited by Lucas Kettering

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Josephine Tindall

Winston's late arrival was a welcome one, Jo smiling at the boy and his hideous bum bag. The smile soon faltering as he squished his way onto the already crowded bench seat, squishing her against the side of the boat. "Bit of a tight fit, yeah?" Not that Winston could go elsewhere, most of the other boats had magically pulled away from the jagged shoreline. 

 

Yet they were still sitting there. 

 

"I think we got a dud boat," the brunette answered Magda, her mouth twisting into a frown. Leaning over the edge, the rowboat wobbling beneath them. "Yo!" Following Magda's lead, Jo instructed the boat, knocking on its side and feeling like a bit of an idiot for talking to a boat. "It's time to go." 

 

Nothing. 

 

Lucas' suggestion that they maybe needed to use magic caused Jo to balk. She didn't know any magic and, despite her apathy towards PHP, she had actually paid attention to the instructors when they were teaching. "An incantation? They haven't taught us any!" The only thing that joke of a summer school taught her was that majority of her future classmates were to be avoided. Jo too turned to Brooklyn, she knew the most about magic. "Yeah, any ideas?"   

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Brooklyn Shea

When Winston squeezed in beside her, Brooklyn's smile faltered for a moment, before quickly reassembling. She wanted personal space and she wasn't sure how to feel about the boy, but she did remember he had the adorable dog. "Croissant!" Brooklyn whisper-squealed, beaming, before her smile dropped another inch at the sight of the fanny pack. "Remember I told you to get rid of that?" Brooklyn muttered under her breath. "You can hide Croissant somewhere else.. a bag, or something," she added. 

 

She was about to say more, too, when she realized that the too-large crowd on the boat hadn't budged.

 

"Er—" She echoed, a hand placed upon her forehead as a visor. She discerned the movement of other boats, all of which were seemingly well on their way toward the castle now. "Maybe we've gotta do something to get it going? A spell?" She agreed with Lucas. She hadn't realized that was part of their sorting-test—the judgment of a battered hat alone was what her mum had told her—but the process could've easily changed. 

 

It seemed Lucas wasn't the only one relying on her, though. Jo, Brooklyn knew, was a muggle born, and the both of them had expectations that Brooklyn knew she couldn't meet. Although she knew information—the gossip type—about the castle and the wizarding world, she knew virtually nothing about performing magic herself, never mind how to spark a still boat.

 

She had to pull something out of her arse, and fast.

 

"Usually these things have minds of their own," Brooklyn invented. "Like most magic objects, right?" It sort of made sense. She may have heard it somewhere. "Our boat may be taking a nap, not ready to go. We need to get its attention in some way. Or maybe it's too lazy to carry everyone? Maybe one of us should swim?" The corner of her mouth lifted in a half-smile, completely external. "Anyone a good swimmer?"

 

Anything to steer the conversation away from her lack of prowess in magic. 

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Winston Hughes

“You say tight, I say cozy.” Winston turned an indulgent grin towards Jo. The idea that a friend would really mind squeezing to allow him to sit never crossed his mind because that would just be crazy. It’d be almost as ridiculous as Brooklyn’s suggestion. Still laughing at her joke, he playfully agreed “Riiight… like I’d get something else because bum bags are stupid and so inconvenient and not handy at all. Uh huh.” His friends, especially Jo and Brooklyn, could be so silly sometimes. 

 

It was only right that the youths moved onto something real and important. Winston adjusted his thick glasses, squinting as he compared the other boats’ movements and their own. “Huh. Weird.”

 

While the other children started to shout out suggestions or try to force the boat ‘awake’, Winston went through the puzzle in his mind. His mum a researcher at the University of London, she installed the practice of employing the scientific method for all issues. But right now, the only hypothesis the boy could come up with after making his observations was that their boat was the only one with more than four people…

 

As the fifth person, Winston was not about to point that observation out loud. 

 

“Not me.” Winston was not about to volunteer to swim in a lake either. “If none of us know the magic to get it working, I think we have two options. We start screaming to get the other boats’ attention or we can just wait here until the school realizes we’re missing.” The second option sounded pretty enticing to Winston. He always wanted the reputation of a bad boy but, as he readjusted his glasses and fanny pack, it just never seemed to happen. 

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Magda Trickett

Magda waited, still bouncing a little on her bench, as the others discussed their current dilemma. Since shouting at the boat had not yielded results, she was pretty much out of ideas. She was also generally of the opinion that her classmates, wonderful and well-educated as they all were, would know much more about the situation than she did. She was confident that they would be able to solve the problem.

 

When Brookyln asked whether anyone could swim (so clever, that girl!), Magda furrowed her brow in consideration. “I don’t know whether I can swim or not. I’ve never tried!”

 

As far as she was concerned, swimming was like whistling or folding your tongue into a three-leaf clover—it was just one of those things some people could do naturally. Content that her logic was flawless, she climbed toward the back of the boat, physically clambering over the Jo-Brooklyn-Winston wall to reach her destination. The boat wobbled again at this flurry of movement.

 

When Magda reached the back, she stared down at the black water for approximately two seconds before jumping off the boat. The sudden chill forced a gasp into her throat, and she was surprised by the emptiness of the space beneath her feet. There was nothing to stand on! She quickly reached up to grip the side of the boat and keep herself afloat, already beginning to seriously doubt the wisdom of her decision. Shivering, she attempted a couple of weak kicks. The movements were sluggish—she felt like she was submerged in thick, unyielding jelly.

 

Then, to her amazement, the boat actually began to move. “Look, look, I’m pushing it!” she cried, teeth chattering. “It’s really working!”

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Lucas Kettering

Let it be known that Lucas would’ve endorsed Winston’s second suggestion.

 

He resisted the urge to forehead slap himself as Magda launched across the boat. He might have preferred seeing her go again for that girl in primary, sharp teeth and all, than to be dreadfully aware that she could not swim and yet, with a lyrical splash, had gone underwater.

 

Lucas counted. Slowly.

 

The lake was a basin of unknowns. He didn’t believe in the normalcy of objects with minds of their own, but creatures beneath the surface would always be like those above. The need to eat was common.

 

When Magda emerged, a ghostly pale from lake sheen, he sighed. As ridiculous as it was, the boat started to move. He was really glad he went to a school where child manslaughter was really desirable to having bigger boats or better engines(?). He flicked a glance toward the other boats, still distant but coming closer, and then back toward the three squeezed on the bench. He could hear her little splashes. “Let’s just make sure she doesn’t drown.”

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Josephine Tindall

They were getting nowhere...

 

Literally.

 

The boat was still docked at the shore as they sat around spit-balling their weak ideas.  Well Jo wasn't, she remained silent and listened to Brooklyn's suggestion which sort of made sense but Jo couldn't help but raise a questioning eyebrow. "It's not ready?" All the other boats had been ready though. She was about to interject, strongly opposed to the idea of somebody swimming when Magda launched herself towards them, scrambling over the three crammed together. Jo, surprised by this current tiny persons movement and the wobbling of the boat, was knocked forward onto her knees. 

 

She didn't see Magda's next move but she sure heard the splash. 

 

"Oh bloody hell, " Jo groaned, turning over and sitting on the bottom of the rowboat. A knot of tension twisting in her stomach as she waited and, just as she was about to get to her feet, the boat moved and she heard Magda's excited cries. 

 

With knees shaking, Jo unsteadily got to her feet and gracelessly plonked herself beside Lucas, craning her neck to glimpse the struggling Magda. "It's going now," she looked to Winston. "Can you grab her? Pull back on the boat." She really didn't want to jump in herself if she let go and y'know...drowned. 

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Brooklyn Shea

Tight, indeed. Brooklyn felt the heat of Winston's body beside her, and suddenly realized the value of personal space (like an epiphany!) Thinking of Croissant was all that got her through the uncomfortable time.

 

Neither of Winston's suggestions struck Brooklyn as particularly appealing. She didn't mind the occasional scream, but incessantly screaming for help would numb her ear drums, and if they merely waited—well, who could tell how much they'd miss?

 

Luckily, Magda saved the day. The girl hopped off the boat, and suddenly they were moving. "Brilliant. Thanks!" Brooklyn singsonged, beaming. As far as she knew, her unbreakable vow didn't involve ensuring the part-goblin knew how to swim. What mattered was the boat was moving toward Hogwarts, and they'd arrive in time for sorting.

 

Plus, she figured, she had to have gleaned some street cred—or wiz cred—now, since it was her suggestion that'd worked.

 

"He probably shouldn't grab her," Brooklyn added casually in response to Jo's suggestion. "Then the boat won't move again, right? I'm guessing it was a weight thing or whatever. Magda's fine!"

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Winston Hughes

When no one spoke up in favor of his suggestions, Winston began to worry that someone would soon realize his presence was what was wrong with the boat. There was no way anyone could convince him to get into that water. What really worried the gangly boy was that all the other occupants could easily overpower him. Lucas, Jo, even Brooklyn could probably shove him off the boat and Magda’s teeth looked very sharp… 

 

For a second, he feared his worries were coming to fruition while the small girl approached but she actually forced her way through the Great Wall (of friendship.) The relieved boy watched in astonishment as the girl jumped off the boat, his jaw dropping.

 

As cartoons taught him to do, Winston removed his glasses to wipe them on his shirt to make sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him.

 

“Wow…” Winston finally spoke up. “I can’t believe the boat is moving.” That was a lie. While he internally cheered his hypothesis proved right, he didn’t want Magda to get sick or drown on her first night of school. Jo’s suggestion really threw him into a moral dilemma. If he plucked the girl out of the water and the boat stopped moving, weren’t the occupants more likely to figure out the 4-not-5 rule? But again, he didn’t want to cause any harm to his new classmate…

 

Fortunately, Brooklyn seemed to be thinking along the same lines as him. Inspired, Winston pretended to take the educated and sophisticated road. Peering down at Magda over the boat's edge, he finally spoke up. “As your own witch in the year 2039, who doesn’t need a man to speak for her, I won’t make your choice for you. Are you okay in there or would you like me to help you out of the water? It’s likely the boat will stop and we might be late for the feast and not get sorted... but it’s your call."

 

His mum would be so proud at her feminist son.

Edited by Winston Hughes

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Magda Trickett

Magda’s fine, Brooklyn said, and Magda was! She was fine! Sure, the icy water had soaked through the inner layers of her overlarge clothes, making her shiver violently. Her waterlogged robes, now thick and heavy, made her feel as though she was at least twenty pounds heavier. Her weak, scrawny arms were beginning to tremble from the effort of clinging onto the back of the boat.

 

None of that mattered. The castle was growing larger ahead of her, glittering with promise and possibilities. The castle represented a new life. A perfect life, even. She would swim to that life if she had to.

 

Even though swimming was a lot harder and colder and more exhausting than she had anticipated.

 

Most of what Winston said went straight over Magda’s head, partially because she was struggling to stay afloat and partially because the only ideologies she had ever been taught were individualism and ethical egoism (though not specifically under those labels). She didn’t know what the year had to do with anything, nor what it meant to be “her own witch.” What other kind of witch existed?

 

She considered the perplexing proposal for approximately two seconds before shaking her head vigorously, her long, pale fingers tightening on the edge of the boat. “I can’t miss the sorting!” she exclaimed, her forceful determination undercut only by the persistent chattering of her teeth. “No way. I’m not going back to Knockturn, not yet. It's fine, I can make it!"

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Lucas Kettering

“Magda is not fine.” It’d been on an exhale when he said it, where he could feel the cold outlines of his teeth. He could count them in his head, now, at peace and dry with Jo unsquished beside him, but the eyes had sharpened against distant lights, moonlit ripples, and faraway laughter. Lucas had only what’s in front of him to make decisions, and neither Brooklyn nor Winston had said anything that ended up mattering. It would’ve been fine if Magda was fine, but she wasn’t (her teeth reminded him of tambourines). “She doesn’t know how to swim.”

 

He emptied his pockets of keys, wallet, and wand. He set them gingerly on Jo’s lap. “Watch these for me, yeah?”

 

It only took a second for Lucas to dive into murky water. He didn’t believe that being late would forfeit their place at Hogwarts. He also didn’t believe water was something he needed to be afraid of—if there was something unseen beneath, it was simply him doing a stupid thing. A bare backstroke later, he reached the boat’s rear. A hand rested beside the small girl. “You look like a drowned bunny.” Or a just-bathed one. “Go up.” Weightlessness  flooded him; it was not colder than April in Cornwall. “I got it.”

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Josephine Tindall

Was Jo the only voice of sensible logic and reasoning aboard this boat? Brooklyn's response didn't surprise her but when Winston started with the most tired spiel of 2039 her green eyes squinted skeptically at the bespectacled boy. "What the hell, Winston?" Exasperation was apparent in her tone, Jo leaned towards the scrawny boy, a hand reaching out and flicking Winston sharply on the end of the nose. "No." 

 

The foreign weight suddenly in her lap made Jo to turn her attention towards Lucas. "Oh?" She had barely a few moments to register what he had asked of her before he dove into the water. "Well okay then."

 

Quickly tucking away his possessions, she glowered at both Brooklyn and Winston. She wasn't necessarily frustrated with them, just the entire situation. It was clearly the fault of the faculty and not the eleven year olds in this boat. "You two move," Jo instructed as she unsteadily moved towards the rear of the small boat, freeing up the bench she and Lucas had occupied moments earlier.

 

With all the weight towards the rear of the boat it angled awkwardly, the nose pointing oddly out of the water. Jo paid this no mind, the odds of the boat capsizing were slim to none. Reaching a hand out to Magda, she smiled at the idiot girl with her chattering teeth. "C'mon, grab my hand." 

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Brooklyn Shea

The ghost of a smirk lingered on her lips through Winston's speech. Indeed, she found it an impressive maneuver (whether or not he meant it that way)—while she didn't entirely understand why he brought up a witch on her own in 2039, it made sense to her and, more importantly, it effectively got him out of work, which Brooklyn could respect. Maybe there was more to the gangly boy with the glasses and fanny pack than his dog.

 

"See," Brooklyn smiled softly, gaze fluttering across the shivering Magda. "She says she can make it!" Why help someone who wasn't asking for help? 

 

Unfortunately, her fellow companions didn't hold this same outlook. Brooklyn's eyes, blue flecks of sky, nearly rolled to the back of her head when Lucas and Jo took it upon themselves to help Magda back up. Didn't they understand that would put them right back where they started, on a still boat? Magda had made a sacrifice for the good of the group. It was a miracle she managed to bite her tongue and grit her teeth, but she wasn't going to be the one who went out of her way to get up from her spot and lug Magda up.

 

Lucas dove in, causing a splash of icy water to hit her. She gave a start, and her own teeth began to chatter. As Brooklyn struggled to compose herself, she realized that the returned form of Magda would not cause the boat to stop now. "Thanks, Lucas," she spoke suddenly with a simmering smile, as if she wasn't wholly opposed to the idea of saving Magda and "rocking the boat," so to speak. She sidled over at Jo's request, more-so to shield herself from water-splash than out of any desire to be accommodating. Heaving a sigh, Brooklyn's words came strained.

 

"You got this Jo, right? Is there anything I can do?" Her question was spun pointedly at the exact moment that Magda was pulled up onto the boat, and her own smile grew. “Well! Looks like everything’s set. I think I can even see the castle.”

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Winston Hughes

Winston pushed down whatever feelings of guilt he had and offered the small girl a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. Fortunately his thick glasses hid whatever insincerity visible in them. When Lucas spoke up, Winston was torn between relief that the girl would no longer be exposed to the cold and despair that the other children would realize he was the root if the problem. His relief won out when Lucas declared Magda didn’t know how to swim as well as shame in himself. Winston never intended to put the girl’s life at risk with his misleading words. 

 

Winston's mum would not be proud of her son, feminist or not, at all. 

 

He deserved Jo's flick to the nose and wordlessly, Winston complied with her demand and he followed the order accordingly. While Jo struggled  getting Magda out of the water, Winston was wrestling with his own feelings of shames. So rarely did he realize the consequences of his own sneaky underplays. 

 

Once the girl made it back out of the boat, Winston noticed how awfully she was shivering. He didn’t even need to think about it as the spindly boy took off his cloak and wrapped it around the girl. It might have been entirely too large for her but uncharacteristically, no jokes came to mind and his lips lacked even a hint of amusement. “Here you go, Magda. Take this seat.” Almost helplessly, he struggled to apologize and instead settled with “I didn’t know you couldn’t swim. Are you feeling any warmer?”

 

He even wrapped a too-long-for-his-body arm around the smaller girl as Brooklyn pointed out the castle. Some color came back to his cheeks as he exclaimed in a captivated whisper “It’s beautiful."

Edited by Winston Hughes

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Magda Trickett

Magda watched in a haze of confusion and possibly pneumonia as Lucas jumped off the boat and then swam toward her, cutting through the water with decisive windmill-strokes. She was perfectly willing to push the boat all the way to the castle. It was a more appealing prospect than returning to Trickett Tower as a failure. The idea of proving her mother right was even more miserable than freezing to death in a cold, dark Scottish lake.

 

“It’s 2039!” Magda protested when he reached her, still unsure of what the statement meant—except that Winston had used it as an argument in favor of her continued boat-pushing. “I’m not a bunny, I’m a witch. I’m my own witch.” Said like that, she had to admit that the declaration had a certain persuasive ring.

 

She realized, then, that boat was still moving even though she had stopped kicking. She also remembered that Lucas was a lot stronger than she was (he was better at carrying large metal cages full of stolen rats), which meant that he would probably be able to push the boat without her help. Her self-preservation instincts kicked in at the realization, and she allowed Jo to pull her up into the boat without further protest. Jo, like Lucas, was remarkably strong. Or perhaps that was just the norm for wizard children?

 

Magda’s eyes were flickering toward the place where Lucas’s wallet had disappeared into Jo’s pocket when Winston suddenly bundled her up in his cloak and then his long, spindly arms.

 

It was super awkward?

 

She shifted uncomfortably, unaccustomed to this sort of prolonged human contact. Bitsy had hugged her on occasion, but that was different—Bitsy was her best friend. She barely knew Winston. Still, it was warm in the circle of his arms, and his robes were soft against her cheek, and the glowing castle was drawing ever closer. As she relaxed her stiffened posture, her fingers also crept to the odd-looking bag Winston wore around his waist (probably because Fashion). Lucas’s wallet had eluded her, but perhaps there was still money aboard the boat that she could claim.

 

Something wet flicked over her searching fingers, then there was a bite—not hard or painful, but startling enough that Magda simultaneously screamed, withdrew her hand, and jumped about five feet in the air, quite possibly breaking Winston’s nose and/or glasses with the force of her colliding head. “What was that?!”

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Lucas Kettering

In retrospect, aloha wingardamn may have been the better option (or attempt) for speedy success. A boat on fire was sure to attract attention. “Yes, you are your own witch,” Lucas agreed lazily, as it’d never been in contention. He didn’t repeat the part about how she was also a witch who didn’t know how to swim. That hadn’t been a good argument to make, except in Jo’s case. Perhaps magical folks had ways to beat death that any end would be inconsequential. Still, he was relieved when Jo managed to pull Magda on board and she accepted Winston’s hold.

 

Caught in his own drift, Lucas studied dark forest edges. It was no effort at all when the boat moved ahead, aided by no machinery at all. Winston said the castle was beautiful, and Lucas couldn’t disagree. It was so unlike Hackney that he felt a sudden pang of panic and guilt. He was his own wizard, boy, person, too, and he shouldn’t be bought so easily. When Magda jumped and yelled, Lucas shuddered in the water as well. He looked back toward the boat, where Magda stood in front of the other boy. His brain worked quickly; a laugh as light as his heart stifled in wet clothes.

 

“Winston, did you touch Magda?” Lucas asked with a hint of factitiousness, chin at the boat’s edge. “Bad boy!"

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Josephine Tindall

Magda now pulled to safety, Jo wiped her damp hand on the front of her robe and plonked down beside Brooklyn as Winston bundled Magda up in his robes, providing her comfort that Jo wasn't at all comfortable giving. The brunette almost felt bad for the way she had reprimanded her bespectacled friend earlier...almost

 

Brooklyn's announcement caused Jo's eyes to flicker away from Magda and Winston to focus on the grand castle that was growing close—and she thought it had looked imposing before, but now it was just there and that ceremony they had been told about was creeping closer. 

 

Jo wasn't necessarily scared of the unknown. She was a little apprehensive to this sudden change and uprooting of her life but that was perfectly normal, right? Needing a familiarity, something that felt like home to keep her from falling into the realm of anxiety, she rotated in her seat to face Lucas hanging at the boats edge.

 

"Cold?" Jo questioned, leaning towards the water herself. She reached a hand out to touch the water, shivering as it licked and splashed onto her hand and robe. 

 

Magda's scream pierced through the momentary peace and Jo quirked a brow at Lucas' comment, a shadow of a smirk on her lips as she looked to Brooklyn. "Has he been exposed?" Brooklyn would know what Jo was referring to. Not even turning back to Lucas, Jo added: "Not like that, Kettering."

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Brooklyn Shea

Brooklyn hadn't wanted Magda to die or anything drastic like that. She had just thought it was fine--and it may have been fine--people were always causing fusses over nothing. Although, she had to admit (she'd never out-loud), relief dropped like a stone in her gut when she knew with certainty that everything actually was fine.

 

They were so close now, the castle's shadow growing and shimmering bright with life. Even Brooklyn, who'd grown up around magic, had to admit it was impressive. The lights sharpened, contrasting the darkening sky and creating a surreal sensation within her. For a moment, she could only stare. Brooklyn, however, had learned long ago that peace was ephemeral; no time passed before Magda's scream rippled through the air.

 

"I guess so," Brooklyn muttered to Jo. A smile sprung to her features at the thought of the corgi. She stood up abruptly, the boat teetering, and stepped forward tentatively once, then a second time (more brazenly). "Can I hold him again? Please, Winston?" She patted Magda's shoulder awkwardly. "You're fine." Granted, Brooklyn's idea of 'fine' could not be trusted.

 

"It was only the puppy." Duh!

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Winston Hughes

All four of Winston’s eyes were taking in the beauty of the ancient castle. He’d only known about Hogwarts for a little less than a year but it still felt like he was waiting for this moment his whole life. He couldn’t wait to spend the next seven years learning, testing, and practicing magic. Magic may have existed since the beginning of time but it was practically unchartered waters, a whole new frontier for Winston to understand and immerse himself in. A traitorous thought pulsed through his happy musing reminding him it’d be his only chance to feel close to his father and maybe even possibly finding out who the man that abandoned his family was… 

 

Winston didn’t need to stop this train of thought as it was both literally and figuratively knocked away. The top of Magda’s head slammed into his face with a ferocity that knocked the thin lanky boy onto his arse. The view of Hogwarts was replaced with a blurred image of the Scotland night sky, bright stars the only thing standing out in a foggy field of black. 

 

“What the hell?” Winston bemoaned from his spot on the floor as he frantically searched the boat for his glasses. Fortunately, he found them relatively quickly and put together what happened on his own. As he adjusted his glasses back on top of his nose, he gave Magda a less than pleased look for having the audacity to attempt to still something from his fanny pack. “That was my guard dog. He’s vicious. I hope you still have all your fingers…”

 

But it was all for nothing. Not only did Brooklyn ruin the imposing image Winston had tried to paint of Croissant, said puppy’s was already escaping the magically expanded fanny pack. It’s dopey little smile greeted the the five boat inhabitants as it struggled to squeeze it’s chubby little body through the unzippered opening Magda created. It panted happily at seeing everyone. "Alright, fine Brooklyn.” Winston helped his little buddy out and was rewarded with an excited puppy lick putting him back in a good mood almost immediately. 

 

Eyeing the other boats off in the distance and realizing if they hadn't noticed Lucas or Magda swimming in the water he should be fine, he handed Croissant over to the blonde. “Just try to keep him out of sight from the other boats. I don’t need him being sent back home the first night.” Or ever. 

Edited by Winston Hughes

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