Chapter 15

Every year when Ines would go home for the holidays, she waited for the brief moment in which the train would pass over a specific bridge. It was a place of brilliant sunlight, never undappled. Shafts of lemon-gold brilliance lanced down to the forest floor covered in a white sheet, between bars and pools of brown-green shade; and the light was never still, never constant, because drifting mist would often float among the treetops with the snow, filtering all the sunlight to a pearly sheen and brushing every pine cone with moisture that glistened when the mist lifted. There was a narrow path beside the stream, which led from a village-little more than a cluster of herdsmen dwellings - at the foot of the valley to a half-ruined shrine near the glacier at its head, a place where faded silken flags streamed out in the Perpetual winds from the high mountains, and offerings of barley cakes and dried tea were placed by pious villagers. An odd effect of the light, the ice, and the vapor enveloped the head of the valley in perpetual rainbows.

She basked at the moment for as long as she could, before turning back to face her friends. She was sat with Lily, Emmeline, and Marlene. Dorcas and Mary had stayed behind this year. Mary always stayed behind to avoid her parents yearly Christmas gala, and Dorcas didn't celebrate Christmas and had no issue staying behind to keep Mary company. Emmeline, noticing Ines had snapped out of her trance, turned to face her in excitement. "How long until the wedding?". Ines groaned playfully, "I've been trying not to think of it, but it's in a few days. I suspect the Malfoy Manor is in high gear at the moment preparing.". Lily, excited by the notion of a wizarding wedding. "Is it any different than a muggle one?". Ines turned to answer but spotted over her shoulder Oberon standing in the hall. The girls noticed her hesitation and looked with her, as Ines stood to leave Emmeline decided to answer Lily's question.

Ines slid out the door, trying to draw as little attention as possible to them. Despite her efforts, many people in the halls of the train noticed and stared. "Make it quick" she spat, staring at him menacingly. He was unphased by her manner and returned it to her with ease. "Father told me he won't be getting us from the station, he and mother are on business. Pippy is fetching us.". "When did he tell you that?". He looked up and down the halls, "Last night". Ines rolled her eyes, her head still hurt from all the drinking she did to forget it "Why couldn't he have told me that" she said sarcastically. Oberon paused, not understanding her sarcasm, and not wanting to say what they both knew to be the truth. "I'm kidding, I know why. Goodbye." She took a step backward, slamming the glass sliding door in front of her, and watched him walk away. The rest of the train ride was mostly silent as Ines' interaction with Oberon had put her in a sour mood. Once at the station, Ines gathered her things and walked over to where Pippy stood. Assuming her parents had told her, she stood at the furthest column back. She walked over, spotting Oberon talking to Orion nearby. Walburga turned to her and smiled, a rotten smile. Ines paused, unsure of what this smile meant, Walburga never smiled. "Ines! Beautiful girl! How are you?". Ines warily responded, unsure of her true intentions "Very well Walburga, and yourself?". She nodded, "Very well", muttering. She shot her once last gruesome smile and turned back to Oberon.

Ines greeted Pippy and waited for Oberon to finish. She heard only bits and pieces of their conversation, things about Defense Against the Dark Arts, the Malfoy wedding, and their father's business trip. She only heard as little as she did because she was busy with her goodbyes from the boys. She hugged them all goodbye and they walked off to their respective parents. Sirius sauntered up to her, nodding to his mother, which she clearly didn't approve of due to her disgusted face. "Ines," he said, in his most polite manner, eyes to see if his parents were watching. He shook her hand, and she glared at him impassively, hiding her smile. The two of them had always tried their best to put on their best faces when each other parents were around, or any other pureblood family for that matter. Impressions were everything. Over the years they continued to do it less out of wanting to keep a good impression, and rather as a joke. Ines put on her most polite face and spoke lightly and airy trying to give off a sense of maturity "I'll be seeing you at the wedding won't I?". They let go of each others hands, realizing they had held them for too long. "Of course, I'm looking forward to it, see you then.". He walked into the huddle made up of his mother, father and now Regulus. Oberon was now standing beside Pippy, watching the Blacks but quickly snapped out of it once Ines turned to face them.

"Should we be going now Pippy?" she asked happily. "Of course Master Avery". They pushed their trolleys to the edge of the platform and Pippy apparated them back home. They found themselves at the foot of their driveway, gazing at their home. It was a gracious, tall, residence of two stories, inhabiting its surroundings with comfortable ease. Its classic lines were softened by an abundance of glossy green ivy that mantled the cream stucco façade, and arbors of numerous colored lilacs that arched cheerfully over the courtyard entrance. Two extended wings curved around the front gardens as if the house had decided to fill its arms with bouquets. Nearby, a slope of dark, dreaming forest rested beneath a blanket of sunlight. They walked up the driveway in silence, and without a word Ines head upstairs to the third floor.

She had always loved her bedroom; the vanity with the warped mirror, the squat chairs without armrests, the elaborate dressing screen. At night the purple-fringed lampshades turned the light a hue somewhere between lilac and dusky plum. She had window seats and shutters, lilac flowered wallpaper, and a bed with too many pillows. The one thing she didn't like was the small hallway beside her bathroom that connected her room to Oberons. When they were younger there was a tapestry in the hall, a gift from the Yaxley family when the twins had been born that said: "The right-handed twin tells the truth, the left-handed twin tells lies". It was in poor taste though, because both Ines and Oberon were left-handed. Ines had taken it down in a fit of rage a few years ago, in which Oberon had charmed her door to be stuck open. She was a ball of anger, sending spell after spell at him until he retreated to his room and undid the charm. Her last act was to stare him dead in the eyes and rip the tapestry in two.

She gazed at the hallway, looking at the spot where she had once stood until she noticed Oberon on the other side staring back at her. She turned around, thinking about how the two of them had got made together, cell for cell. They had kept each other company when they didn't have any eyes or hands. Before their souls even got delivered. She reminded herself that while they share the same makeup, there was no way they possessed identical souls, and the thought comforted her. She was brought out of her thoughts by the sight that Oberon's door had closed, so she did the same to hers and went to lay in her bed. She looked up at the canopy, she had charmed last summer to resemble the night sky. Every constellation was unique and intricate, the idea that there was so much out in the world she didn't know gave her the will to pursue on in moments where she felt as though she couldn't.

Her moment of reminiscence was cut short by the sound of two people apparating into their home. She heard Pippy yell from downstairs "Master Avery! Master Avery! Good to see you home!" She heard her father tell her to be quiet and the sound of footsteps walking to the bottom of the spiral staircase. "Oberon!" he yelled, "Come down here!". She listened as Oberon's door opened and he walked down the hall to the stairs. "Oberon!" their mother called, "Good to see you!". "Hello mother," he said gleefully. Once at the bottom of the steps their father said "Come, Oberon, we have much to talk about. Ines listened to their every step until she could no longer hear them.

She had the whole floor to herself now, but all she wanted to do was be in her room. She didn't have much time to read during the school year, and her breaks at home helped remind her how much she loved it. She saw reading as the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul. She was a decent way through the book when she heard a knock on the door. She immediately called for them to come in, knowing it was Pippy as nobody else would knock or come to see her in the first place. "Dinner is ready Master Avery.". Ines stood and walked for the door, and said her 'thank you'. She bowed and let Ines walk in front of her and down the stairs. Their home was usually quiet, her summers between school sitting idly, alone and unresponsive, made her realize that silence has a sound. This sound was different. The tension released in every echo made from her steps battled it as she made her way down the steps. The cruelest lies are often told in silence was something else she learned in her summers. Oberon would tell their parents about his school year, and his friends, adding fuel to her parent's fiery hatred of her.

Walking through the halls, she heard talking from the end of the one leading to the West Wing. She passed the dining room where the food was already set on the table and tiptoed to where her father's study was. The whispers belonged to Oberon and her father. Ines could picture the events behind the door perfectly. Despite all the times she had been in her father's study was for her to reprimand her for her wrongdoing, she doubted he would give Oberon any more courtesy. Her father was to be standing behind his desk, with Oberon seated on the opposite side on the bench. Her mother was sitting in the back right corner next to the mantlepiece, quiet, like her father, wanted her to be. "Oberon, he can help us, help us all. He has our best interests in mind, no matter how ruthless and destructive it may be to get them" he said. She turned to face the hall in shock at these words, and noticed Pippy, wide-eyed, staring at her. "Master Avery," She whispered, "It's time for dinner". "I know Pippy, just pretend I'm not here.". Pippy, despite being very hesitant to it, obliged and walked to the door and knocked. The voices stopped abruptly, Ines heard her father's final words, something along the lines of "for the greater good". Pippy told them dinner was ready, and after a pause, she heard her father's booming voice. "Alright, we'll be there. Oberon, go now.". Oberon strode out of the room, followed by Pippy. Ines stood behind the door, waiting for the moment in which Oberon would be far enough from the study and the door would be closed.

The moment came quickly as the door was shut immediately after Oberon stepped foot out of it. Ines bounded forwards, grabbing Oberon's shoulders. "What was that about?". Oberon shook her off, looking disgusted "Nothing that concerns you". "Oberon, please! Why can't you tell me?" She said, louder this time. "Ines drop it!" he said fiercely. "Why can't you jus-". Before Ines could finish the sound of the door swinging open interrupted her. "Ines!" her father boomed "It doesn't concern you, leave it alone!". Ines groaned "What is so ruthless and destructive! Why can't I know? wha-". Her father cut her off again "It does not concern you! Maybe it would have if you had kept your toes in line and been sorted right! Not become some reckless Gryffindor brat!". These words hung in the air for only moments, as Ines stormed off and up the stairs again. She pulled her trunk out of the corner of her room, pulling everything out of it, searching for a specific book.

In the next ten minutes, her room turned from the light grays and purples to bold reds and glittering golds. All was different, aside from her canopy, and seemed practically identical to the Gryffindor common room. The chandelier was turned from silver to gold, her bed sheets were a deep red. Her walls were a pale red, and her paintings now had inverted their colors to all shades of red and gold. She stood by her sorting and would defend it until her last days. She heard a knock again, Pippy entered holding a tray of food. She gazed at her newly done room, marveling in all the shining colors, before regaining focus. "Your parents have asked you take dinner in your room.". She took the tray "Thank you Pippy". Pippy bowed and left, giving one last glance at the bedroom that represented who Ines truly was.