Term break had been real bodgie. His last two years of breakers had skiffed past all chipper with family game nights and buckets of Christmas cookies, but this go it’d been a mashup of that plus trying to avoid Paige and her buckets of accusations. The cookie buckets were sometimes literal but the accusation buckets were all meta, and all wrong too. Like, it wasn’t his fault she couldn’t go to RMI. His parents had decided - well, Mum decided and Dad agreed, like all decisions went - to send her to the New Zealand Academy, cos she had a learning disorder and was super koala clingy and it all made ‘em nervous to have her far away. They got some shmancy arrangement at NZAM so Paige could come home on weekends and get extra help like normal. Which sounded ace to him, but apparently she’d wanted to go to RMI more than she wanted to sluff round the beach. Baffling.
Anyways, he’d wrapped their last convo agreeing to beg their parents to let her come to RMI next year, but he hadn’t actually gotten to that part yet, and honestly? Joey didn’t mind his sister, but he was startin’ to spec that the reason why he didn’t mind her was cos he didn’t see her much any more. Of course he wouldn’t actually say that out loud; he didn’t need that kinda thing floating around out there to smack him in the bum later.
That thought was still in his head when he was getting ready, which’d splain his distraction, and how he wound up plonking down in class before realizing the buttons on his cardy were off by one. Fixing that gave him something to do while Boot was yammering, at least. And hoo boy was it a yammer. The fogey even dropped a joke, but then laughed at it all serious, like it hadn’t just been a low-key dad-level kidder. Or maybe he was laughing at his har-har clever analogy of people being magic. (Despite his inner mockin’, Joey actually really liked Boot. Weren’t ever obvi if the dude was actually smart or just faked it, but either way he did his own thing, like making teenagers draw family trees for no good reason. He admired that kinda chill.)
Scrawling his name into the first box and Paige’s into one beside it, Joey swiped out the other sibling boxes and moved up. Mum, Maimai, and Pawpaw were all labelled with Muggle/Thai, while Dad and Grams were Pure/Ozzie. (Gramps was, too, but with the extra label v dead. It wasn’t morbid, really. He’d never even met the guy!) Then he added Aunty Estelle and Uncle Noah, and his Thai aunty and uncle, and doubled back to add Uncle Liam and his cousins, and scribbled question marks over the boxes for Uncle Liam’s parents with a note that they were also dead, and cos Boot had asked for anecdotes he decided to add an extra note that they lived in a giant old house somewhere in England that once he’d gotten lost in trying to find the bathroom and instead found a room with actual skeletons in it.
...Then an extra-extra note that the skeletons were probably just cos they were archaeologists and Boot shouldn’t worry about it too much. Just in case.
He glanced over when his yearmate spoke. Joey wasn’t one to gripe about easy homework, but Norah was takin’ it hard for some reason. “Prolly so,” he shrugged agreeably, “but what do ya wanna do instead, zonk off to more goblin war stories? Hell naw.” Drawing a family tree was topper by comparison, really. “What I wanna know is why Boot’s collectin’ anecdotes. Cos it’s a bit of an odd ask, ey?” Now that he’d said it, he was a little more worried about what he’d just wrote. He held out his paper to show Norah the skeleton story. “I dunno he’s the type to call coppers on this, but whaddaya think, should I scratch it out?