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A Thousand Letters
#1
Private 
August 4th, 1889 — Florish and Blotts

Ronan stood outside the massive bookstore whose pillars of pages seemed to keep the old place upright. Perhaps if she had more time to read, and had a better education she wouldn't be intimidated by such a place, but as it were she was lacking in the book learning. She looked to the list in hand, her gaze struggling over some of the words, it always took her a minute or two to figure out what a line of rhetoric was trying to say.

She looked to Alina after a few minutes, and tried to suppress the defeat she felt. "Eh why don' ye see if ye can sort out which we got as hand me downs and which ye need. Then eh we'll see if there is ah wee bit to spare for some extra reading." She may not have been good with books, but she encouraged her daughter to hone the skill. One day wee bit was going to be ah grand bit. She opened the door to lead her in.

@Alina O'Malley

#2
One would not think of Alina as more educated than her mother. But she certainly was. Sitting in on actual lessons with her more well-to-do friends, as well as borrowing books whenever possible, had helped aid her to rise above her mother in book smarts.

It was disappointing, yet understandable as to why her mother needed assistance with this sort of thing. She took the letter and read it slowly. "Only a few. Missing a few pages in one of the books. Seems like important pages as well. Wouldn't want to mess up a potion because of it." She mumbled thoughtfully. She walked inside and gazed around with a smile.

#3
Ronan followed in after her daughter, looking to the towers of books as though they were dementors themselves looming over her, reminding her of all her failures. She shoved the thought aside, "Good point wee bit." She stated with a firm not. She watched after her daughter as they browsed through the books, pride swelled in her bosom. Alina was going to go places, Ronan knew it, and honestly she wanted it just as bad for the girl and the girl probably wanted it for herself.

"So just one?" She confirmed. "See if ye can find ah used copy lass, if anything we can clear the words of ye other book and you'll have extra parchment." If she was anything these days it was resourceful. "That will save us ah bit, can get at least 20 uses out of ah page before it starts to fall apart." Granted this meant letters would not be saved, as the parchment would be reused, but Ronan had a damn good memory.

#4
Books weren't something too special to her, but the knowledge inside was. How that knowledge helped her anyway. To move forward and up in the world. To make life better for herself and her family. Her mother's pride wasn't something she worked for, but she did appreciate it.

"Just one that needs replacing, ma. I don't have another one of these. But I have the rest. And a cauldron. We don't need either." Extra parchment was good. Both for letters and any extra notes.

#5
Ronan made a note, though her expression soured, "Oy Ella get ye ah cauldron from that family she be workin for?" There was a hint of annoyance, "Because while she's at it she could replace the family one, blasted one has six holes in it." It had been a complaint among all the women in their shabby little room, but if they didn't have that to fuss after surely they would find another thing. Squabbling in their tenement never ended.

"Well ye do need dragon skin gloves, scales, telescope, and we gots the phials." Her and Alina had been slipping them out here and there to give her a small stock pile for school. Ronan didn't usually steal, but she knew Pettigrew wouldn't miss them, not with the number that were broken everyday thanks to rogue bludgers and the like. She began rummaging through the books so as to look busy, not because she knew what she was looking for. Indeed some of the covers were nice to the touch.

A snide young man with his father moved by them remarking to Alina, "The picture books are to the back, where the help should be." He had jet black hair and inky black eyes.

#6
"Ma, if you want another cauldron, ask aunt Ella. If I ask, I'll be accused of being ungrateful." That was one thing she didn't want to seem as in her family. She was grateful. For everything they did to help her rise in life.

Obviously Alina was not stupid enough to mention what her mother was likely thinking. She simply nodded as she looked through the list again. Unlike her mother, she was genuinely looking through each book, calculating in her eyes which could be seen as 'lesser quality', and therefore easier to bargain with.

Alina glanced at the man with a cold, neutral stare. "Then you should have a right good time taking a look back there. Enjoy your time." She stated before picking out the first of the two books she would need, flipping through the pages to make sure nothing was torn.

#7
"Me did!" She thought, maybe she hadn't? Either way she wasn't about to admit to it. If Ronan was anything it was stubborn, well that and scrappy, hence why she made absolutely no move to reprimand her daughter for giving the uppity snot a tongue lashing. In fact the only time Ronan did care if the girl talked back was when it regarded an elder.
Best to pick on someone your own size, not that Ronan followed her own advice.

She heard the boy retort, "At least I can afford them, street scum." He had a cruel smile as he moved by her shoving her with his shoulder into the pile of books that began to teeter and wobble threatening to fall.

#8
Alina had held her tongue in the presence of the sales girl. Even if the wench was insulting her mother. But this boy was a pup who had never worked a day in his life.

Still, she wasn't one to take insults sitting down when directly confronted with them. She steadied the book shelf quickly, having gotten quite good at doing so when living with far too many people in such a small space.

"Don't you mean your pa can? Cause you certainly don't do anything to deserve your money." She stated bluntly before moving on to a few aisles over, on the hunt for her other book.

#9
A smirk played on her lips at her daughter tactfully left the boy dumb founded, and she quietly followed after her, so as to keep an eye on her. "What book ye lookin for, maybe I can help lass? What's it look like? Not like those in that cage there is it?" A beastiery book looked about ready to devour anyone that came near it, meanwhile other books of quidditch flew about diving and weaving.

Granted this should have been her first clue as to what was about to happen. A hefty volume bound in thick brown leather slammed right into her gut. She was quick to wrap her arms about it an contain it, but unfortunately this lead to a hacking fit.

Cough. Cough. Cough. Her stomach heaved under the effort as her lungs spasmed, and she leaned against one of the tables, still clutching the book onto A History of Bludgers Old brown lung, a curse for people who work or previously worked in the textile mills. Her face began to redden as she struggled to breathe.

#10
It was nice to no longer hear the whiny voice of the brat as she browsed. The books rattling in the cage were a relief, though not what she was looking for.

Before she could say such to her mother, she heard a thump, followed by her mother gasping in pain. Turning, her eyes widened at the sight. "Ma!" she exclaimed as she hurried over. She grabbed the book to get it away from her mother, before the darn thing could hurt her again.

#11
Ronan relinquished the book to her daughter, nodding emphatically as if to say she would be ok, despite the fact she was turning as red as a tomato. After several minutes and her sinking to the floor in a shade of purple though the coughing eased and Ronan gasped for breath.

"I'm ok, ok lass?" She said trying to reassure her. The coughing fits were normal, but not normally this bad, and Ronan refused to see a doctor about it, calling them all quacks and murders, perhaps because the medi witch that had tended to her mother was not able to save the woman.

"Just keep after ye book aye?" People stared after them with slight alarm, but as Ronan moved to get up they went back to their business.

#12
Alina had put several books on top of the quidditch one to keep it from flying again before attending to her mother. Her worried expression was painfully obvious. What else could she do?

The young girl had more faith in healers than her mother did. No one could save everyone. That was simply how it was. Not that she wanted to be a healer. She would likely try to obtain a Ministry job. Work towards a better life. Perhaps one day she could buy a house.

"Ma, sit back down. Please. If you won't let me take you to a healer, could you at least pray for your health please?" And she meant it. It would certainly make her feel better. With that, she reluctantly kept looking through the books.

#13
Ronan finally caught her breath, but with her daughter's insistence plopped down on a pile of books. She watched the girl, "Aye, I'll pray, good Lord knows I'll pray." She said after a time. Her gaze wondered to the other books, "Ye see anything me might like?" It was a question that stemmed from curiosity more than anything. Though she shook her head, "Kidding lass." Like she had the time to read?

"Ye will write me, when ye at Hogwarts? Everyday?" It was her turn to worry. This would be the first time they would be apart from each other. She hated that thought, the girl had done her more good then either of them could ever imagine.

#14
That did give her a hint of relief as she continued browsing. Her mother's next statement was one that did shock her. She looked over at her mother in bewilderment. The woman never really took time to read at all. And with the shake of her mother's head, and the fact that the older woman stated that she was kidding, Alina gave a tiny shrug and looked back at the books.

Yes, the same question she had probably been asked about a million times. "When I can, ma. I have to make homework and prayer a priority." Though mainly homework. While she would pray, she mainly said that to give her mother more of a reason to not protest. Alina wasn't really upset over the space between her and her mother. This needed to happen. For Alina to reach her goals, it needed to happen.

#15
"Pray ye dear Ma won't fall ill with heart ache," bemoaned Ronan, laying thr guilt on a bit thick. She rested her hand in her chin. "Ye ah fast one with ah feather, bet ye could manage." There was hope in her voice, nothing in life had prepared for empty nest syndrome, and no doubt the other boarders of their tenemant would have their hands full.

"I'm better now, I can help ye know. Not dead yet." Ronan was horrible at sitting still. Idle hands were the devil's work. "This place sure could usensome.better organizin...maybe by color?"

#16
Well that certainly did not help. The young witch gave a small sigh. Hopefully one her mother had not heard. "I'll do my best, ma." That was all she would add to the matter. Not one to give false hope unless it suited her. In this case, it wouldn't.

At the moment, Alina was busy looking for the author's name. "It is organized, ma. First by what the books are about, than by who made them." One of her friends had told her that a few years ago. It didn't help when some of these authors had very odd names.

Just then, the stack of books shook as the quidditch book tried to get free. "Could you bring that quidditch book to the worker up front. I'm sure they'll have a key to the little beast's den."



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