of pigtails and penvranes
“Dai? What does disruptive influence mean?” Tatty questioned.
There were two pigtails fixed to the side of her head, her chocolate brown hair cascading down in smooth waves to just below her shoulders, swinging back and forth as she turned. Her fringe was in her face, and Tatty swiped at it impatiently as she continued counting on her fingers. “I’ve got my lunch, and my snack, and my backpack, and my pencils, and my—“she froze suddenly in horror.
The older Penvrane quickly strode down the hall, bending so that she was her daughter’s level, eye to eye. “What’s wrong?”
Tatiana paused, her lip quivering slightly. “I don’t want to go to school.”
Josephine Penvrane stifled a sigh of relief that her daughter hadn’t actually been yelling for her out of fear, merely anxiety. She brushed back her daughter’s bangs that kept falling forward into her eyes and smiled at the young girl. “It won’t be so bad. You’ll get to learn things like your brother does, and you’ll make new friends too! Doesn’t that sound like fun?”
The young witch nodded and then hesitated before shaking her head. “But you and Daddy won’t be there,” she sniffed miserably.
“I will.” Daniel was sitting on the steps nearby, lacing his shoes patiently with the air of someone who’d spent far too much time around his worrying sister in the past few days (which he most certainly had). “It’ll be fine. I’ll even give you my piece of chocolate at lunch if you don’t cry when we get there.”
The sniffling stopped, and hazel eyes lit up. “You promise?”
“Only if you don’t cry.”
“Okay!” The youngest Penvrane turned back to her mother and stuck out her foot, the shoe half on. “Can you help me tie it?” She watched carefully as her mother showed her how to loop it, making up some rhyme about a dragon going through the castle, before she tried to do it herself on her other foot and stood again triumphantly.
After pressing a kiss to her father’s cheek, standing on tiptoes, the brunette followed her mother and brother on the way to school, heading out the door and waving at the house elves as she did so.
“What are the rules again?” Josie asked her daughter as she carefully avoiding stepping on the cracks of the sidewalk.
“No hitting anyone, be nice, say please and thank you, don’t mention magic, no talking when the teacher is, no playing with mud,” Tatiana listed off easily with practiced ease.
“And?” Josie prompted.
Tatty sighed. “No calling anyone a goblin booger,” she murmured under her breath.
“I only did it once!” Tatiana protested.
“One time too many,” Josie amended, stopping as they finally reached the school gate. “Alright, I’ll be back to pick you up after school is over. Give me a hug, okay?” When they did so, she stepped back and pulled out a camera. Daniel groaned but the brunette frowned at him and he reluctantly smiled until the flash went off.
Waving bye to their mother, the siblings continued inside. “Remember, no crying,” he told Tatiana sternly, and she nodded solemnly as he walked her to her class. “I’ll see you at lunch,” he added, waving her off and stepping down toward his second grade room with his own friends.
Tatiana apprehensively stepped inside and sat down at a nearby table – the chair was pink, so it had to be a good spot, right? She began to unzip her bag and pull out her pencils, and smiled eagerly at the girl with a head full of blonde curls who sat down next to her. “What’s your name?” she inquired curiously.
“Kate,” the girl replied, her pale gaze on the brunette’s hair. She pointed suddenly. “I like your ribbons.”
“Thank you!” Tatiana beamed and straightened one on the top of her pigtail. “My Daddy got them.”
“Can I have one?”
The brunette pouted. “They’re mine! My Daddy got them for me, and if I gave you one, then my pigtails would be uneven.”
The other girl didn’t listen and tugged at Tatty’s hair. The brunette gasped, and then the ribbon came loose, her hair tumbling down her left shoulder suddenly as it was released. “Give it back!” she complained petulantly, swiping for it, but the blonde closed her fist around it.
Hazel eyes considered the classroom, but she was early; there were few there, and the teacher was still in the hall, tracking down the others who hadn’t arrived yet. The five year old turned back to Kate mutinously. “Give it back right now or I’ll tell my brother to come hit you. He’s seven,” she added, as if that meant that he was virtually invincible.
It had the desired effect. The girl looked wary, but then the teacher came in. “Good morning, Kindergarten! We’re going to go around and introduce ourselves by our names.” She pointed at a student on the opposite end of the room to begin, and in the meantime, the brunette turned back to the side.
“Give it back.”
“It’s mine now.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes, it is.”
Kate responded by tugging off Tatiana’s other ribbon, loosening her chocolate locks. Tatty gasped and reached for them in disbelief, but once more, they were snatched away from her.
The youngest Penvrane had had enough. It was her turn to introduce herself, but she stood up, and with the last of her willpower quickly crumbling, she hurled the worst insult she could think of at the girl beside her, “You’re a icky green goblin booger!”
There was a gasp, and the brunette turned to see the teacher’s arms crossed, frowning crossly at the young witch. She suddenly felt very small and took a hasty seat, only for the teacher to shake her head and motion for the girl to follow her into the hall, presumably to discuss her behavior.
“Dai? What does disruptive influence mean?” Tatty questioned later that day, trying to read the letter that the teacher had given her to give to her mother.
“It means that you talk too much,” her brother answered as they stepped toward the lunch room.
“Is Mama going to be upset?” Tatiana inquired nervously.
Daniel considered this. “Probably,” he affirmed, and the brunette’s heart sank. Sensing her discomfort, the boy added, “Did you cry today?”
“Not at all,” she answered, a little bit proudly.
“Well, you’ve earned this.” He pulled his chocolate from his lunch bag and presented it to his sister, who took it with a dazzling smile. “Just don’t tell Mama that I encouraged you or we’ll both be in trouble.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Tatiana answered, already unwrapping the chocolate in her hands.