Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).
The ten-year-old girl giggled at the sound of her name but didn't stop running. It was a perfect summer day – bright sunshine, warm temperature, slight cool breeze – and she had just pulled off another successful prank on her brother.
"I'm gonna tell Mother!" The blonde-haired, normally stuck-up boy called after her. Isabelle glanced back over her shoulder and burst out laughing again. Draco stood there still holding his broomstick, his favorite Quidditch team uniform now a bright hot pink. This was the third time that month that the younger dark-haired sister had bested her brother.
"No, you won't," Izzy called back to him, "or I'll tell her about the plates!" She smirked at Draco, knowing she had him caught.
"Fine. I'll just get even –" He jumped on his broom and began flying straight at Isabelle. His sister dove to the ground just in time as he flew past her. Taking her chance as he worked on turning the broomstick around, she scooped up a handful of muddy dirt, preparing to throw. She may not be able to fly like her brother but she still had pretty good aim. As the brightly-dressed eleven-year-old flew at her once again, Iz hit him square in the face. Surprised, Draco fell the couple of feet to the ground into a muddy patch of grass.
"Gah!" The blonde spit out some dirt and attempted to wipe off his face.
"Are you okay?" Izzy stopped laughing, genuine concern that he had hurt himself in the fall. She slowly moved closer, wary that he could retaliate. When he could open his eyes, Draco gave a small smirk. At that, his sister tried to turn and escape what was surely going to be a messy retaliation.
Isabelle was the younger and only sibling of Draco Malfoy. She was also the "black sheep" of the family, almost literally, a mess of black, long hair among the pristine blonde of her mother, father, and brother. She prided herself on her intelligence, a lover of books and reading with a knack at retaining detailed information. She had nearly memorized the entirety of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black family tree by the age of seven. She now spent the majority of her days reading, that is, when she was not trying to prank her brother.
By the time Narcissa came outside carrying a piece of parchment, the two tweens were nearly covered head to toe in mud. They were both still laughing at each other, Draco at the mud in his sister's now-messy hair and Iz at the small hints of her earlier prank now covered in the brown sticky mess. The tall, thin woman's proud smile turned quickly to surprise, disappointment, and a little bit of horror. She crossed her arms in that stereotypical motherly way, giving the two of them a look.
"Is this any way for either of you to behave?"
Her sharp tone cut through the children's laughter, both turning to look at her with large, innocent eyes. They stood promptly, Iz brushing herself off as best she could (making it worse in the process).
"No, Mother," they replied in quiet unison.
After a brief pause and pointed looks, Narcissa asked, "Who started this?"
"She turned my favorite Quidditch robe pink, and then knocked me off my broom and started throwing mud at me!"
Narcissa turned to the younger sibling disapprovingly. "Is that true, Isabelle?"
Hating getting into trouble but also hating when Draco lied (though only partially, in this case), she spoke up meekly. "Yes and no. I started it, I turned his robe pink – which I think I can turn back – and I accidentally knocked Draco off his broom, but I asked him if he was okay and he started the actual mud-throwing and now it's all in my hair –!"
"Enough! You started this and must take ownership of your actions. Apologize to your brother for his robe and for knocking him off his broom."
Isabelle turned to face her brother, who was smirking away that their mother believed him. Quietly, she said, "I'm sorry, Draco."
"Good." The blonde-haired brother continued to smirk triumphantly. "Now Draco, apologize to Isabelle for throwing mud at her."
"But she started it –!"
"Even so, apologize. Go on." Draco proceeded to mutter his own apology in the general direction of his sister, not happy that his mother did not believe him."
"Now, if you two are ready, I came out to bring you good news." She held the parchment up in the air, Iz attempting to read it before Narcissa folded it up again. All she could catch was something about "arts."
"What is it?" Izzy leaned in, curious as ever.
"I think… I will wait to share it until the two of you are more presentable. Go get cleaned up and changed, then meet your father and I in the South Lawn Drawing Room. Understood?" After exchanging looks, both children nodded and headed into the extravagant manor.
"Do you think grandfather is coming to visit again?" Iz whispered to Draco as they climbed the main staircase upstairs to their bedrooms, the quarrel already forgotten.
"Nah, seems too important… What if the Minister is coming to dinner again? Should we get dressed up?" Draco ran his hand through the mud-dried blonde hair on his head nervously.
"I don't think so either. Mother would have told us a guest was coming… Maybe we're going on a trip somewhere, like Italy! I saw something about 'the arts' but I'm not sure what that means –"
"Oh, yes!" Draco exclaimed excitedly. "That must be it, minus the 'arts' part, 'cause that's boring. I hope they let me choose, it was just my birthday."
Iz rolled her eyes, said a quick, "We'll see," and went into her bedroom to do as her mother asked. Only the second door on the left in the long hallway, this had been her room for as long as she could remember. It now consisted of a four-poster bed, a large desk of silvery green which had always been in the room, a couple of bookshelves filled to the brim, a walk-in closet, a small balcony, and a comfy reading corner.
Walking carefully towards the closet door, Izzy heard the faint yet familiar pop of a house-elf. Turning slightly to see which one, she nodded before beginning to change.
"Daisy," Iz said softly yet commandingly, "can you please fix my hair so that it is presentable for Mother?"
"Of course, mistress." With a quick snap of her tiny fingers, the house-elf got all of the mud out of Isabelle's hair and began to style it as best she could. After fussing with it a minute or two to make it perfect, Iz was satisfied with the work and went back to her closet.
"Daisy, let Mother know I'll be right down." Hearing the house-elf pop away, Izzy quickly dressed herself in an easy yet pretty lilac gown. (It wasn't too fancy so as to be overdressed for a nice occasion but could certainly pass for formal if necessary.)
Hurrying downstairs now clean and presentable, Isabelle couldn't help but daydream about all the possible vacation spots the family could travel to this summer. It couldn't be France again, they had just been there visiting distant family only a few months before…
She quickly reached the South Lawn Drawing Room, the door already open and the rest of the family waiting for her in silence. Taking a seat in her favorite arm chair, she glanced at Draco in the chair opposite her before looking at her parents on the couch. Both looked their normal, stoic selves but with a hint of pride hidden in their demeanor. Lucius, who had just gotten home from the Ministry, did not seem his normal annoyed temperament but rather was practically beaming at Draco.
Narcissa leaned forward, once again holding the piece of parchment. Quietly, she offered it to her son, nodding for him to open it and read.
In a clear, steady voice, Draco repeated,
"Dear Mr. Malfoy, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1. We await your owl no later than July 31. Yours sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress."
As Draco glanced back up at his parents in joy, Izzy grabbed the parchment before he could even set it on the table. She barely listened to the conversation around her. She had dreamed of the day she could finally go to her parents' infamous school of magic. She almost couldn't hold back her excitement at the thought of brewing potions, practicing spells, and the library – all the books she could read! Finishing the list of supplies and equipment, Iz looked at her parents in anticipation of her own letter – despite the fact that she knew it would the same as Draco's.
"– can't wait to be in Slytherin and be on a real Quidditch team and –"
"Do you have my letter too?" Izzy interrupted her brother, holding out her hand expectantly. Narcissa glanced at Lucius, who gave Isabelle a disapproving look for interrupting Draco. He replied in a slightly cold and unremorseful tone,
"You will not be going to Hogwarts this year, Isabelle. You are only ten years old and are not yet ready."
Narcissa quickly chimed in empathetically, "You get to go next year, sweetie, don't worry. We'll have fun here –"
"But I want to go to Hogwarts! Why does Draco get to go and I can't?" Izzy remarked in a distinct, whiny tone. She was used to getting what she wanted – most of the time. She continued, crossing her arms, "I'm going to be eleven in only a couple of months! Plus, I'm smarter than Draco and I'll actually study –"
"Do not take that tone with your mother." Lucius retorted back to her coldly. He had never seemed to even mildly be fond of Iz as a child and only treated her like a daughter or even part of the family when in public. At the manor, he mostly ignored her and always favorited Draco. Sometimes it seemed to Isabelle like he hated her…
"But it's not fair that I have to wait a whole nother year! I want to go to school with Draco. Please?" Izzy turned to Narcissa, no longer whining but diplomatically pleading.
"Perhaps…" Narcissa turned to look at Lucius. "We could appeal to have Isabelle start in September. It really isn't all that early, she'll be eleven by November. Then Draco doesn't need to begin alone," she smiled at her son, "and I'm sure she could keep up with the work. Severus would even be her House leader, he could look after her if needed – "
"It is not necessary, and it is inconvenient. She can start next year like any other child." Lucius' tone suggested no further discussion on the topic and rather returned to congratulating Draco. Izzy glanced at her older brother, who had seemed unconcerned that she would not be joining him at the school. Narcissa, on the other hand, knew he was merely trying to please his father, like always, and had seen the flutter of hope that Isabelle may be joining him on his new adventure in September. She leaned over to her disappointed daughter and assured quietly,
"I'll take care of it. Don't worry, sweetie, we'll see what we can do. I know you're ready for school – just don't show your brother up too much." Stroking Isabelle's hair gently and giving her a reassuring smile, Narcissa leaned back and returned to listening to the congratulations.
Izzy took the list of Draco's supplies once again in her hands, re-reading the required materials. Excited about the long list of textbooks as well as the other items, she couldn't wait to go to Hogwarts. She had a feeling that it would be the beginning of something wonderful.
: : : : :
It was only a few weeks later that the wealthy, pureblood family of four were strolling along Diagon Alley, shopping for supplies for, not one, but two new First Years of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Thank you for reading! Reviews are welcome :)