very Christmas since her graduation from Hogwarts seemed particularly strange to Raina. By all accounts, most things were the same: she was still returning home from Hogwarts castle, though as a librarian rather than a student now, and she still got to endure relentless teasing from her twin about abandoning her. Of course, the context was a little different - instead of the distance between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor's towers, they now had several more miles separating them.
Christmas this year was to be celebrated at the Carrigan house, a few miles west of the Muggle city of St. Andrews in Scotland. When they were all attending school, the siblings used to ride the train together, but this year, they were a little more disparate. Raina had offered to travel with Kirstine for her last trip home from Hogwarts, but she was turned down. So now, Raina walked to the edge of Hogwarts' grounds, bag in hand, and Apparated home alone.
Raina was the first to arrive as snow began to fall. Leaving footprints in the snow behind her, she walked through the door and set down her bag, alerting her parents and their three dogs to her presence. She could smell the adorned fir tree from the foyer, where it mixed in with the smell of gingerbread in the oven. Raina sighed happily. It was good to be home.
she liked christmas like some people liked autumn leaves or the swirling wind. It wasn't that it was the very christmasy-ness of it, the religion behind it that attracted Kira. It was the festivity. For once, as she had grown up, people acted and believed in the best of humanity. It was the festive gatherings, the silly traditions, the random acts of kindness. The pranks. The crisp air. The family gatherings. She wanted to be in the room where it all happened, but not at the center. If not weaving her way through gatherings like a spinning top, she'd be fluttering around the edges, sliding off the tops of furnitures with her time-trusted camera around her neck, all in the effort to capture just the next shot.
Kira crunched through the the snow. She had been out by one of the castles, or the ruins as they were now over a hundred years past. Glittering lights were said to be visible at first snowfall of Christmas. She had caught them once but never on camera. But now she clutched the cool metal of her prized posession, confident she had the evidence to share.
"Home," she called on entering the foyer. The scent of fir wafted like a walk in the woods and scent a shiver up her spine. Was she Kira or was she creature come from the woods? It was a Fraser fir, appropriate for home and country. She scrubbed her boots on the mat, leaving them out of the way but still haphazardly discarded, soldiers returned to bunk and one too tired to do more than fall over. From the foyer she wandered into the kitchen after nesting her camera in basket by the stairs. It would serve nothing to take it upstairs to her room only to have to retrieve it once the family gathered.
It wasn't that Kirstine didn't love her eldest sister. That couldn't be farther from the truth. But being a typical seventeen year-old, she had wished to travel home with her peers without the presence of her older sister, who happened to be the (utterly sexy) librarian at the school. It was just a little awkward having an older sister hovering around when she was trying to hang out with her friends, especially one who was a Hogwarts staff at that. Even though Raina was still young enough to socialize with teenagers, the fact that she was regarded in a professional manner by the other students made the difference.
Not that Raina would really mind, of course. The separation was slight and they'd see each other again soon enough. After all, it was all about being reunited with her siblings for the holiday, so what did it matter if they flocked home using separate modes when it all lead to their reunion in the Carrigan residence? Kirstine was especially excited to see Kira and Reagan again. She saw Raina often enough at the school, her older brother and other older sister less so. She was more than looking forward to their spirited liveliness, which balanced out her more diluted fire within her.
After getting off the train, Kirstine apparated from the station to the Carrigan residence in Scotland. Upon arriving in front of the house, she proceeded to enter it and found herself in the foyer. And in the foyer, she found her two beloved sisters.
Her eyes immediately landed upon Kira, the one she hadn't seen in a long period of time. Kirstine instantly dropped her luggage on the floor of the foyer. "Kira!" she cried out in a rather rare expression of excitement; the girl was usually very subdued, but when it came to her siblings it was a little hard to be dull all the time.
The Gryffindor quickly ran up to Kira and engulfed her in an embrace. "I've missed you so much!" She would definitely acknowledge Raina, too, but given that she hadn't seen Kira in so long, surely the eldest one of the Carrigan lasses would understand her need to throw herself on Kira first.
Ah, home for the holidays. Well, it wasn't his current residence--obviously, a prideful, rowdy, and independent guy like him who, as much as he loved his lovely sisters, didn't fancy sharing his personal space with three girls on a daily basis, had moved out as soon as he could afford to support himself; which, obviously, he made sure to do early after graduation.
But there was also no such thing as being completely isolated from them, either. He had to be there for his baby sisters (well, Raina was technically as old as he was, but he still felt like the older one for sibling rivalry reasons), so Reagan was definitely looking forward to being reunited with them in the house they had grown up together. Not only was it purely for familial warmth, but as mentioned, he had a duty to check up on them.
Raina, he hoped, wasn't being overly dour and serious as she was usually predisposed to behaving (in his eyes, at least). Kira--no problems there, she was probably ruling the world as she usually did. He was especially looking forward to seeing that one again. As for baby Kirsty...she could always use some encouragement. Well, actually, a ton of encouragement. Being a Carrigan, Kirstine was definitely no weakling, but she still had a lot more backbone to grow before he could breathe easy whenever her thought of her. It was a good thing Raina was there to look after her in his stead. For all of her shortcomings, at least Raina was capable of that much.
He had apparated from his apartment to the Carrigan house in Scotland, all decked out in warm attire, luggage in hand. Reagan was probably not dressed as fashionably as the girls would be, but hey, he was a guy, so what need was there to be a beauty queen? And he still looked presentable enough. Even though Reagan gravitated more toward simple fashions, he made sure to wear what was in style. He had a good image to maintain, after all, what with him being so well-liked and popular (especially with the ladies).
The moment he entered, he found Kirstine engulfing Kira in a warm hug while Raina stood idly by. His eyes quickly darted from the younger siblings toward his twin. It seemed that the little ones were already engaging in their secret handshake, which left him with one he liked to teasingly call the rain on the parade. But really, it was all in jest, and putting their trivial rivalry aside, he really did enjoy being around her.
He spread out his arms in her direction for an embrace. "Well, what are you waiting for? Come here and give me a hug, lassie!" he said with a wide grin and mischief sparkling in his blue eyes.
Kira staggered beneath the onslaught of love from @kirstine, until she slipped from her wrapped arms - thank you jiu jitsu- and turned it back onto her. "Hey you,". She was pleasantly, no, delighted by the rare show of exuberance from her sister. "I want all the highlights from term." Because she didn't miss being at Hogwarts, but she only slightly missed not having to thoroughly plan her time, and more importantly she was sure that Kirstine had stories to tell. She was good at that, stringing pictures and ideas and events together. Over her sister's shoulder she spotted @reagan, and @raina who emerged from somewhere within the house. "Lovies!"
Kirstine wasn't aware of how strong she was. She had always been rather light and fragile, so it was probably a surprise that she was able to almost unbalance her much stronger sister. But then again, she had pretty much tackled her. All was well, however, and soon Kirstine felt herself being embraced by Kira in turn.
She nodded vigorously. "I'll let you in on everything," she promised. Kirsty wasn't shy about confiding in all three of her older siblings. She was the baby sister who looked up to each and every one of the older Carrigans with utter trust and confidence. They each gave sound--or maybe not always sound, but at least reasonable--advice in their own unique ways. It was the variety of expertise that she liked the most from not just having one confidante among her siblings.
Kirsty then turned toward the twins at the same time Kira did. She beamed at them, especially at the sight of Reagan, who she was seeing for the first time in awhile. "Reagan! It's good to see you again," she said. "And I'm glad you made it home safely, Raina." Well, she had only been apparating which a woman her age would be skilled at by now, but it was still a pleasure to see her in the Carrigan home in one piece.