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Chapter 1: One
Why did Professor McGonagall always have to give this many notes? I shook my hand out a few times, but I could still feel the cramp developing within it. Even after going through two jars of ink and my quill almost being diminished to stubble, I feared that McGonagall was only halfway through the lecture. It certainly seemed so, anyway.
We had gone through this before, about third year, but the day before, when McGonagall had begun the lecture, she said we were now going to go through it in much more detail. However, I had the sneaking suspicion that because she was one herself and knew the difficulty it required, McGonagall was giving us a refresher now. Everyone knew that attempting to become an animagus required a lot of concentration and skill, not to mention bravery and, in some cases, outright stupidity. It was very dangerous work. She had warned us several times of the injuries incurred when attempting to become an animagus, as if many of us, especially at N.E.W.T. level, were thinking of becoming one without outside help.
Unlike the rest of the class, even us Ravenclaws, who were writing furiously, the four so-called Marauders were sitting back in their chairs, arms crossed, relaxed. They seemed as if they would rather not care if they passed or failed, so long as they enjoyed the class period, even if it meant missing the entire lecture.
Well, only three of the Marauders. The fourth, perhaps living up to his status as a prefect, was writing just as furiously as the rest of us. I studied him for a few moments, neglecting my own notes, watching his head bob up and down from Professor McGonagall to his parchment. I had never really noticed him before; usually, he was greatly overshadowed by the doings of his mischievous friends.
“Miss Chambers, I do not think that my lecture should be less interesting than the back of Mr. Lupin’s head. Please be so kind as to attempt to pay attention,” Professor McGonagall reprimanded, cutting into my thoughts.
I turned beat red as the rest of the class turned to stare at me, nearly as if I had escaped their memory and they were just now remembering who I was. I quickly mumbled an apology, my eyes never leaving the table in front of me.
“Now that I have everyone’s attention,” McGonagall went on, finally turning her severe gaze away from me and to the class in general, “it is my, er, pleasure to announce that in an unprecedented event, Hogwarts will play host to a ballet called The Nutcracker.”
“But I thought our tradition was not to have a tradition of shows,” someone in the front said, rather timidly, as if she did not be called out for posing a question to a teacher as stern as McGonagall. However, the professor plowed on as if she had not heard the question.
“It was, to the best of my knowledge, written by a Muggle musician in the late eighteenth century in an adaptation of a popular children’s book. This is a very popular ballet in Muggle circles, and in an attempt to better educate our students in Muggle entertainment, we have decided to bring this ballet to Hogwarts for a Christmas presentation. Students fifth year and up are allowed to audition for the main roles, and third and fourth years are allowed to audition for the minor ones. Anyone with ballet experience is required to audition,” she continued, almost in passing, or so I thought until her eyes rested on me meaningfully for a solid thirty seconds.
How could she possibly know? I asked myself, bewildered.
“Auditions will be held in the Great Hall this Saturday at three. Everyone with even a slight interest is invited to attend and more information about the ballet will be made readily available. If you have any further questions, you may ask me, any of the Prefects, or the Head Boy or Girl, all of whom will be most happy to help,” McGonagall went on, with a hint of winding down to her voice. “It is my expectation to see all of you on Saturday. Any questions?”
Almost at once, there was a flurry of people raising their hands and talking out of turn, so filled with excitement were they. I, on the other hand, sank in my chair, a feeling of despair settling itself in the folds of my stomach.
Why did it have to be ballet?
“Oh, look, Prongs. She may actually cry this time,” Sirius Black muttered just loud enough for me to hear.
The class had long dissipated and I was taking my time gathering my books in my bag. Only when Black’s voice entered my ear did I realize that I was not alone. I straightened, wondering what else the almighty gods had in store for me today; it could hardly get any worse.
Black put his face just inches away from my own, his grey eyes boring into mine. “Come on, Chambers. Just one tear. Give me a reason to laugh,” he insisted, grinning.
“Let me alone,” I grumbled, swallowing the lump in my throat as I turned away from him. “Surely you have something better to do than to ridicule me.”
“Oh, but would it be as fun?” he asked. He blew me a kiss. “You really do make life too enjoyable, Chambers. We might as well make up a nickname for you as we have Snivellus.” He laughed harshly.
I turned in his direction, ready to administer a dozen vile threats that were just bursting to be known, but he had gone. I couldn’t even dole out curses right.
The class now empty, I worried little now about letting the tears fall, but now, when I was ready for them to come, they denied me. My eyes were dry, as if they, too, took some small happiness in making me feel inferior and incompetent.
Sighing, I grabbed my bag and left the room, having the strange feeling that even though I thought was alone, someone else was there, bearing witness to my failed attempt at displaying my sadness.
A/N: So I haven't written in a long, long time. I used to have another account on here, but having forgotten both the username and the password, I decided it would be easier just to create a new account. I'm sorry if this chappie doesn't seem very good (I know the summary definitely isn't), but I'm kind of out of practice, and I'm hoping that you'll be good to me and fill out that box below to tell me how I can improve and make this story more enjoyable for you. I, for one, really like it so far, but then, I know what's going to happen. lol. If you've gotten this far, thank you so much for reading!