Thank you to Jedi Boadicea and Zsenya for betareading, and especially to
Jedi B. for helping me channel my internal Bulgarian Muggle.
Chapter 2: Morning Star
Viktor hovered in mid-air, staring at the girl. He had to act fast, he knew, or she would run
back to the village and tell everyone she met what she had seen. He couldn’t let that happen.
But he also couldn’t very well cast a Memory Charm on her
until he had gotten to the ground and hidden his broomstick.
Viktor pulled his wand from his robes and pointed it at
her carefully. “Impedimenta,” he
said, and the girl froze in place, staring up at him. Of course, she had seemed frozen to the spot
in surprise before he had even cast the spell, but he couldn’t count on that
Viktor soared over the girl’s head, and could see her
frightened eyes following him. He felt a
pang of guilt at this, but reminded himself that she would not remember any of
this soon, and she would be better off that way. He descended into the trees and made a smooth
landing on the forest floor. After
taking a moment to cast a protective charm on his broomstick, he set it to
hovering inconspicuously in the branches of a nearby beech and turned toward
He crept out of the trees. There was no apparent need for secrecy, as
the girl was still frozen in place with her back to him. However, if his time at Durmstrang had taught
him anything, it was to be suspicious of any situation that seemed innocent or
under his control. Viktor scanned the
area. It was quite likely the girl was
not alone - the rumors about the woods meant that the Muggles usually came up
in groups, when they bothered to come up at all.
There were no signs of others, however, and Viktor turned
his attention back to the girl. A large
notebook of some kind lay on the ground at her feet, its pages bent as if it
had been dropped in a rush.
“What...” said the girl, in a strangled voice.
The spell was wearing off. Viktor took one last look around
the clearing and stepped forward. “Obliviate!”
The girl shook her head.
Viktor thrust his wand back into his robes and turned, hoping to get
back to the cover of the woods before she saw him.
Viktor winced and turned around. The girl was facing him, her expression still
slightly dazed. When he had seen her
from above, he had thought her to be about twelve or thirteen, but now that he
was close to her, the curves of her white blouse and blue flowered skirt made
it quite clear that she was older than that.
Her dark hair fell in soft ringlets, stopping just above her shoulders,
and he was close enough to see that her eyes were dark blue.
“Hello,” replied Viktor.
The girl smiled, the expression looking almost dreamy in
her still-bemused state. She glanced
down at the notebook. “Oh!” she said,
bending to pick it up. “You must have
startled me. I didn’t hear you behind
Viktor breathed an internal sigh of relief. The Memory Charm
had worked. “I am sorry. I did not mean to - ”
“Oh, that’s all right.”
The girl smiled again and shook her head as if to clear it. “Sometimes when I am drawing I don’t hear
anything. My father says it is as if I
am in another world.” She looked down at
her notebook, smoothing the pages that had been bent.
Viktor watched her as she carefully turned the pages,
looking utterly absorbed. He was
reminded of Hermione, and he frowned at his own thoughts. Why did everything have to remind him of her?
But this girl seemed...softer, somehow. Much as he cared for
Hermione, there was a hardness to her manner sometimes that could be intimidating.
He felt guilty for thinking such a thing, but then, he reminded himself, it
hardly mattered now.
“What are you doing up here?” he asked.
“I just came to draw,” she said. “I love the forest in the morning.” She turned and gazed up at the surrounding
trees. Viktor recognized the look on her
face. She felt at home in these
mountains, the way he did. This forest,
she felt, was hers.
He frowned. “I
have never seen you here before.”
“Oh, do you come up here often? I thought I was the only one.” She smiled sheepishly. “My sister thinks I will be caught by the
ghosts, but I only tell her that she is being silly.” She paused and cocked her head to one
side. “Are you from the village as
well? I have never seen you there.”
Viktor swallowed. He should have crept away while she had
been absorbed with her notebook. “It...is a long walk from the village.”
The girl laughed, and the sound of it startled him. It was like a soft wind rustling the beech
leaves – something that crept up on you, but was not at all unpleasant. “You sound like my father. I like the walk. It gives me time to think.” She paused.
“But you did not answer my question.”
Viktor looked instinctively behind him, back to where his
broom hovered. He wondered whether he
could get back to it quickly enough to avoid being seen, if he cast another
Memory Charm on her.
“You are not from the village, are you?” The girl narrowed her eyes and took a step
backwards. “What are you doing up here?” She looked around warily, as though she
suspected he would do her harm.
“No, I...I was just going for a walk,” said Viktor
quickly. For some reason, the thought of
her believing him capable of harming her was discomfiting.
She continued to eye him suspiciously, and Viktor found
himself stumbling to offer her explanations.
“I...I do not live in the village.
You are correct. I live up here,
in the mountains.”
The girl’s mouth dropped open. “But no one lives in these mountains! Everyone knows these forests are haunted!”
Viktor raised his eyebrows at her. “I thought that you said such beliefs are
“Well...they are, of course,” she said, looking
embarrassed. “But...I did not know that
anyone lived up here.”
There were actually about a dozen wizarding homes
scattered throughout the mountainside, with the Krums’ being the largest. All had Muggle-Repelling Charms placed around
them, so it was easy to see why she wouldn’t know about them.
Viktor pondered how he should answer her, and decided to
go with simplicity. “I do.”
She nodded, her eyes roaming over his dark brown work
robes. A look of sudden comprehension
appeared on her face. “Oh!” she
said. “Are you a brother?”
Viktor frowned. What
a strange question. “No, I am an
She gave him an odd look.
Viktor fidgeted slightly.
He had the feeling he had just said something wrong, but he didn’t know
what. He knew he would probably have to
cast another Memory Charm, but he found himself unwilling to do so. He wasn’t sure why.
“What is your name?”
Viktor started. It
had been quite some time since he had had to introduce himself to anyone. Usually people already knew who he was, and
what they wanted from him, before he even entered a room. “Viktor,” he said. “My name is Viktor Krum.”
She smiled and stuck out her hand. “And I am Rositza Christova. It is nice to meet you, Viktor Krum.”
Viktor shook her outstretched hand, subconsciously noting
how small and soft it was next to his own Quidditch-roughened one. “How old are you?” he blurted out, before he
had decided to ask the question.
“I am nineteen years old,” she replied, and looked
down. Viktor realized that he was still
clutching her hand, and let go abruptly.
Rositza bent her head to her notebook again, and Viktor thought he saw
her smile shyly before her hair fell in front of her face and obscured her
They stood there in silence, the awkwardness of the
moment hovering around them, and then Rositza looked up at him. “And you?”
Viktor had no idea what she was talking about. “I...?”
“How old are you?”
“Ah. I am eighteen
years old. I will turn nineteen in
October.” He wasn’t sure why he had
volunteered this information; it had certainly never been his way in the past.
“I see.” Rositza
beamed up at him, as if he had said exactly the right thing. Viktor looked back at her, slightly
bewildered but pleased, nonetheless, to be the recipient of her gentle smile.
Viktor was suddenly vibrantly aware of the forest around
them, the trees swaying in the morning breeze.
Birds were twittering in all directions, and, from high above, the cry
of a lone vulture could be heard. The
sun shone down on the clearing, catching Rositza’s dark curls and highlighting
them with auburn.
Then a cloud passed across the sun, and the moment was
broken. Viktor and Rositza both moved
suddenly, she to examine her notebook, he to look up, feigning interest in the
bird of prey that still circled high above.
“I...I suppose I should be getting home,” said Rositza. “It is a long walk.”
Viktor nodded, relief mingling with disappointment as he
watched her turn to go. “Be careful,” he
She turned back to him.
“I will,” she said, smiling slightly.
“Perhaps...perhaps I will see you up here in the forest again, Viktor
And then she was gone, darting through the trees before
he could even respond.
Viktor walked back to where his broom waited for him and
pulled out his wand. “Accio Baranof,”
he said absently, and the broom dropped into his grasp.
He decided to walk at least part of the way home, to make
sure that he wasn’t spotted again. Once
he was further up the mountainside, he cast a Revealing Charm to make sure
there were no Muggles nearby. There
weren’t, so he mounted his broomstick once more and rose into the air. He shoved his wand into the pocket of his
robes, and frowned as it rustled against something. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a
piece of parchment – Hermione’s letter.
He must have shoved it into his pocket without thinking, as he had left
his room that morning.
Viktor let his broom hover in the shadow of a large fir
tree and swept his eyes over the parchment.
hope everything is going well. Take care
write her back, this he knew. But all the
things he had wanted to say to her this morning, the things he had forced
himself not to write, seemed suddenly less urgent, less...painful.
Viktor held up his hand, loosening his fingers so that the
wind tugged the parchment from his grasp. He watched it flutter away into
the forest below. Then, taking a deep breath, he nudged his broom higher,
above the trees, so that he could feel the sun on his face.