Not only was this the year Madeleine could go to Pearl Street all by herself, she had also decided that this was the year she was going to start becoming an Animagus. She had tried to do the ritual to find out her Animagus form last year, but it turned out that holding a mandrake leaf in your mouth for a month when you were the lead in the school musical was basically impossible and she had given up after only a week because she had almost spit it out during vocal warmups and it was hard to get the diction on Quiet when you were trying to keep a soggy old leaf in your mouth. But that was okay because Madeleine liked surprises, and being surprised by her Animagus form when she finally finished was perfectly okay with her.
She would need Aaron-Dad’s help, and she hadn’t quite brought it up to him yet, but he always liked helping with Spellwork projects so she was sure he would say yes. Plus she had gotten really good at meditating, which meant he would know she was ready for the next step. Madeleine was pretty sure that that was nonverbal magic, so she tried to work on it over the summer. She thought that maybe she made some of her book pages flutter by pointing her wand at it and thinking ventus really hard, but that also could’ve been a breeze.
Madeleine had a good feeling about this year, though. She was going to master nonverbal magic and make lots of progress on Animagus. It was going to be so much better than last year. Madeleine felt like she couldn’t even look over at the Lyra bonfire when all the live-away students popped in (except she did, to wave hi to Eugene and Kit). But Drew was feeling so much better and Madeleine was a third year so this term was going to be great.
She flounced over to the Draco bonfire, her twirly mint green skirt swishing under her silver robes. When Toby announced that Drew was one of the head students, Madeleine let out the loudest cheer in the room. (She also cheered for Anssi, and for Eugene and Sadie being prefects, but none of them was her brother.)
See? This year was amazing.
After the sorting and the speech, the house elves came out. Madeleine took a dish from the first house elf who offered because it felt rude to say no, even though she didn’t really want veggie pizza. She was carefully picking the red onions off when Joey asked about her holidays.
“It was great,” Madeleine said. “Drew visited our family for part of it so it was just the six of us,” herself, her dads, Caliban the macaw, Circe the cat, and Jennyanydots the puffskein, “but it was still really fun. We went to a bunch of shows on Pearl Street.” Her favorite was the four-person troupe that did Shakespeare improv, and they’d picked Madeleine out of the audience to be Audrey in the As You Like It skit. “Oh!” she said, eyes falling on the new badge pinned to Joey’s clothes, “congrats on Prefect, you’re gonna do a great job.”
Looking at Joey more closely, she could see that he had put on lipstick but missed. Or maybe the fish and chips had smeared it because he didn’t know the makeup-fixing charm. It was probably hard when you were a boy who was learning to wear makeup. Eugene was fantastic at it but she was sure he had practiced tons. Joey could probably use some encouragement. “I like your lipstick,” Madeleine said, with an uplifting smile. “It’s very, um, creative.”