This is the first chapter of my Harry Potter fanfiction 'A Most Interesting Contradiction'. It is writen from the point of view of Arianna, the sister of Avery (the Death Eater). It is set during the MWPP era.It can also be read here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2635800/1/
I do not own the Harry Potter universe. It is the property of J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, etc. Aria and Triss are completely my own characters. Amadeo is the only one who has any sort of root in canon, being a minor character who we only know by surname. He is my personal interpretation of this character and, if Avery is given a larger role in the next book, will probably prove to be drastically different from how J.K. Rowling presents him.
My family are a strange bunch. Father is an Unspeakable with a clock fetish. Mother is an Italian Opera singer who fences in her spare time. My brother is an excellent student who dabbles in the Dark Arts. My sister is a soppily romantic dancer who is always losing things. Uncle Tristan could talk the hind legs off a hippogriff and persuade it to go for a walk afterwards.
As for me, well...A Most Interesting Contradiction
By Alicia S. H.
If one thing could be said of my Uncle Tristan, it was that he could talk. We had been in his car for over three hours and he had barely paused for breath. He had already talked at length about many trivial things. He had now started telling us about health of Auntie Sarah and their new baby. I had been quite keen to hear about that, as Amadeo and I had not had the chance to meet Isabelle yet. He told us how thankful he was that his sister was named Isolde. Apparently Auntie Sarah had always loved the name but had changed her mind the moment she had met my aunt.
‘Not that I would cruel enough to let her name our daughter something like that. Personally, I find that sort of thing disturbing. It’s bad enough having your sister named that but having your daughter named after your namesake’s lover is far worse. If I’d had to, I would have absolutely put my foot down. As it happens, that wasn’t necessary but I still think it’s as bad as calling your children Romeo and Juliet. Worse, even. At least there is no way to mispronounce Juliet. Well, someone might if they’re very drunk or have got a speech impediment, in which case they can’t exactly help it. My sister has a hell of a time with that third syllable that seemingly comes from nowhere. You know she went through a phase were she spelt it Isolda, just so that people would pronounce it her way. I always told her that you can’t go wrong with plain old Izzy. Never did listen to me though. Can’t think why. Oh well. Now, where was I? Hopefully, no one actually does call their two children Romeo and Juliet, and for good reason. It’s just not right. Don’t you agree, Aria?’
‘What? Oh, oh. Yes, Uncle, yes.’ I had been trying to read my book and it had taken me some time to take in all of what Uncle Tristan had just said. I tried to carry on with it but the constant looking down was making me feel sick. So I turned my attention to my uncle instead.
‘But it’s not just that. Imagine having a name like Isolde and being sent to a muggle school. They’d never let her live it down. I doubt that many children that age would actually know the story but it’s such an unusual name. I think I got off lucky with Tristan. Imagine if it had been Siegfried. What a nightmare!’
‘Or Wotan,’ I suggested.
We both laughed. It was a longstanding joke of ours. A few years ago, Uncle Tristan had gone into a bookshop and picked up a book at random. He had opened it and discovered that there was a character called Tristan. But what had really amused him was the discovery that the character’s father, like his own, had been a Wagner addict. As soon as he had finished reading it, he had sent me a copy and we both became fans of James Herriot.
‘Are you alright in the back there?’ Uncle Tristan asked, twitching in the rear-view mirror so that he could see my bother. ‘You haven’t died have you?’
‘Uncle, look at the road!’ I have never felt safe inside a car, much less one that had Uncle Tristan at the wheel. The fact that we were on a narrow country road, with only an old dry stone wall separating us from the valley below, did not help calm my nerves.
‘It’s alright, I’ve been on this road millions of times. No one ever comes on here.’
‘Could you not go so fast, please,’ I begged.
Uncle Tristan shrugged and slowed down. I could now hear Amadeo snoring in the seat behind me. It was amazing that neither of us had noticed that he had fallen asleep but, then again, Uncle Tristan had a gift for distracting people. He could drag someone into conversations about the strangest things and he would still be talking to them hours later. It came as no surprise to anyone that his favourite radio programme was Just a Minute.
I realised that the car had suddenly fallen completely silent. This was such a rare occurrence that I actually looked at my uncle in concern. Probably for the first time since he had taken his driving test, he had his full concentration fixed on the road. I took the opportunity to suggest that we turn on the radio. He agreed and I switched it on, thinking that I could finally get some rest.
However much I dearly loved Uncle Tristan, and was usually the first to join in his conversations, I was also the first to admit that it was very mentally tiring to keep up with him. I never said it to his face, as he was always my favourite relative outside my immediate family. I did not want to hurt his feelings.
I tuned the radio to a music channel that was playing one of our favourite songs and adjusted the volume so that it would not wake my sleeping brother. I then bent down and took a flask of tea out of the bag by my feet. Amazingly, I managed to pour myself some without it flying all over the place, though this was probably due to some sort of anti-spill charm. The tea was just how I like it. Uncle Tristan started singing along and I smiled contentedly as I sat back in my seat. I remembered just how lucky I was to have him as a relative.
It was a long time before anyone spoke. I was just dozing off when my uncle said something that I vaguely connected with the seaside. I opened my eyes and stared at him blankly.
‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you were asleep. I said we ought to go to Robin Hood’s Bay at some point this summer.’
I smiled drowsily. Our family always regretted letting the pair of us loose in Robin Hood’s Bay because we would in variably come back with a ridiculous amount of second hand books.
The radio had been switched over to Radio 4 at some point and the announcer was now informing us that it was time for Just a Minute. Uncle Tristan's hand was on the volume knob in a flash. The minute waltz all but deafened me and I actually thought it might wake my brother up. I needn't have worried about that as Amadeo, always the heavy sleeper, merely sneezed and shifted his head.
'It doesn't have to be so loud,' I said firmly and lowered the volume to a more acceptable level.
There was a sudden squealing of brakes and we were all jerked forward violently. I looked around in confusion and I could hear my brother asking blearily what had happened. A loud chorus of bleating drew my attention back to the front of the car. I saw that a flock of sheep were being herded along the road in front of us.
'Oh dear,' Uncle Tristan said flatly, 'it appears we've hit rush hour.'