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Chapter 3: Transfiguration and inventions
I opened my eyes and looked around my dorm room. The four poster beds with the gorgeous blue hangings were set in a ring, all of them evenly spaced with a bedside table and a window for each. I was the first up and so I took my time inspecting every aspect of my room, including my dorm mates. I wondered which of them would be my friends, and which my rivals.
Aaron was already my friend, a fact that made me very glad as I had been hoping to meet a muggle born who had never heard of my relatives’ adventures. Some people only wanted to talk to me to ask questions about how they’d defeated Voldemort. I hated stupid people like that. But I didn’t like Aaron just because he knew nothing about me, he was genuinely a nice person and he got along well with me and my friends. Even Lilly liked him which was quite rare. She usually distrusted people until she’d known them for at least a year or two. It had taken so long for her to accept Lysander and Lorcan that they thought she hated them and were really surprised when one day she had invited them round to play.
I watched as Aaron’s chest rose and fell in the plodding beat of sleep. He looked anxious, like he was having a bad dream and I considered going to wake him up, but it could have been nothing and I liked watching people sleep. Which isn’t as creepy as it sounds... ok maybe it is but it’s because when people are awake, they move a lot (well done me prize for genius research). So when they are asleep, it’s the only time they’re still enough to properly take in. Whenever I had sleepovers with Lilly she would always have a go at me when she caught me staring at her. She said it was “weird and creepy and I’ll tell your mum if you don’t stop.”
I went to sit on the windowsill and stared out into a misty morning over the castle grounds as the sun rose above the horizon. In the distance I could see Hagrid herding a group of hippogriff with the help of a grey dog. I reminded myself that I had to visit Hagrid at some point, it had been ages since I saw him and Aaron and Anna had never met him. I grinned when I thought about how many of my friends had got into Ravenclaw, but it faltered when I remembered that Lorcan and Lilly were in Slytherin. I hoped that they would still hang out with us, particularly Lorcan since he was sure Lilly wouldn’t have stopped talking to him if she’d been sent to Durmstrang.
As I was thinking about what lessons we would share with the Slytherins I heard a huge yawn behind me and looked around to see Lysander stretching and blinking, looking around at me blearily.
“How long you been up Hugo?” He asked, suppressing another giant yawn.
“Only about ten minutes.” I said looking back out the window. “I think we should only wake the others if they’re still asleep in fifteen – “
It was too late. Lysander had already drawn his wand and charmed little balls of ice to slip underneath everyone’s sheets. Then he quickly jumped under his own covers and pretending to wake up with a cry at the same time everyone else did. I was left staring in horror as five boys woke with a shout and glared towards the only awake person in the room, me. I spluttered and then growled at Lysander before tearing my own wand out, pointing it at him and thinking “levicorpus” as I flicked my wand up.
Lysander flew upwards with a shout, dangling near the ceiling by his ankle.
“If you think early morning magic is such a good idea Lysander,” I said smirking, “Then let’s see if you can get yourself down before we’re all dressed and ready to go to breakfast.”
Suddenly everyone had stopped glaring and begun laughing, starting to hobble towards the bathroom to brush teeth and get dressed. It was only then that I noticed one person hadn’t got out of bed. Aaron was still lying on his bed, fast asleep. If it wasn’t for his breathing I would have thought he’d died.
I walked over to him and shook him gently. As soon as my hand touched his shoulder his eyes snapped wide open, a strange violet colour. He sat bolt upright and I could see that his nails had turned a similar shade of violet.
As I stared at him, he looked over at me, looked down, spotted his nails looked back up at me and then waved his hand, turning his eyes and nails back to their normal colour.
“Sorry” He said looking sheepish, “I sometimes... well I change colour in my sleep. Mostly I just accidentally transfigure my eyes and nails to some weird shade, but sometimes my entire body goes blue or yellow or something.” He shrugged. “It’s been happening since I first got magic, I don’t mind since it isn’t hard to change back.” He shrugged again, looking down with an embarrassed face.
“I think it’s awesome!” I said grinning. “I wish I could change how looked so easily. Are you sure you aren’t a metamorphmagus? I could introduce you to my cousin teddy, he’s one and could tell you whether you are.”
“I don’t think I am” Aaron said uncomfortably. “It doesn’t feel like it’s part of me. It’s like putting on clothes rather than moving an arm. Except the clothes are magic and change the way I look.” He looked up then, a sad expression on his face. “Apparently it’s likely to get harder as I grow older and my magic matures. I’ll start using my wand more and it’ll make my spells stronger, but the instinctive use of magic that we all have before we come to Hogwarts will go away. Or at least it does in most people. It didn’t in Albus Dumbledore or Tom riddle – er – Voldemort, apparently. But they were two of the strongest wizards ever.”
“Hey” I said. “Who’s to say you aren’t one of the most powerful wizards? I mean I’ve already decided that I am so why can’t you be?” This last bit I said with a wink, trying to make him cheer up.
“Well that’s all very nice.” Said a voice from across the room. “But can someone PLEASE help me down. I dropped my wand and now can’t reach it.” Me and Aaron turned around to see Lysander still hanging upside down, face going red. Aaron looked shocked for a second, and then started laughing.
“Hugo’s work? Well I don’t know the countercurse so you’re just going to have to ask Hugo nicely” Aaron said, smiling now. Lysander turned a beseeching look on me.
“Well.” I said. “I suppose I could. Supposing that you promise never to make me look guilty again.”
“I promise.” Lysander said quickly. “Now let me down or I’ll tell Lorcan and together we’ll trap you somewhere really horrible.”
“Now, now.” I said, wagging my finger. “Threats aren’t going to get you anywhere. Except that they are because you and Lorcan are terrifying together so...” I waved my wand thinking “liberacorpus” and watched Lysander fall to the bed in a heap.
Aaron walked toward the bathroom still laughing and I noticed that there was still a ball of ice in his bed. It hadn’t melted even a little bit.
* * *
Breakfast was an interesting affair. Lorcan and Lilly came to sit at the Ravenclaw table with us and quickly worked with Lysander to reverse the magic on the plates and send a thank you note down to the house elves. This was quickly followed by extra plates of sausages and pancakes being sent up, so I guess the house elves must have appreciated the thanks.
“We should go and thank them in person some time.” I said to Aaron, tucking into a pancake that turned out to have chocolate chips in. “My uncle George said that they give you a lot of food if you see them. And I could do with getting fatter.”
“No you couldn’t” Lilly said, leaning over me to grab a handful of toast and poking me in the stomach.
“Do you even know where the kitchens are?” Aaron asked around a mouthful of bacon as I batted Lilly away with a grin. “I think I’m going to have to spend my first three years here learning how to get around everywhere. And I mean everywhere.”
“Good luck trying to fit that around your school work” said a Ravenclaw girl sitting nearby smiling. “I hear it can all get a bit hard at first with all the new stuff we have t learn.”
Lorcan turned to her and sneered. “Yeah ‘cos that’ll be sooo difficult.” He rolled his eyes. “I’ve already done the work up until Christmas. Soon they’ll just have to move me up a year. Don’t suppose you’re so Ravenclaw after all are you?”
She turned bright red and her eyes brimmed with tears, got up and ran out.
“That was so mean.” Lysander said, glaring at his twin. He wasn’t the only one shooting Lorcan sharp glances. “You need to apologise to her quickly.”
“You shouldn’t have said that.” I said, feeling like the great start to the day had been ruined a bit. “She was just trying to be nice.”
“Well,” Lorcan said, getting defensive, “What does it say about her that she’d in Ravenclaw and is worrying about how hard first year’s going to be? Come on. You’ve all seen the textbooks, they were simple.”
“What does it say about our house,” Lilly cut in with eyes like slits, “that you’re already insulting people and being cruel? Because you know, Slytherins really need a bad reputation don’t they?”
At this Lorcan seemed to deflate. “You’re right. I was being a prat.” He looked down, “I’ll make it up to her. Offer to be study-buddy or something.”
As everyone packed up and began to move out of the hall towards our first lesson, transfiguration, I noticed that Aaron had been silent throughout this exchange, and was looking a bit upset. I patted his shoulder and said “Don’t worry about Lorcan. He always gets like this when he’s stressed or nervous. He probably just wants to go home and see his mum. In a few days he’ll be loving it here and he’ll be nice to everyone. But for now, transfiguration. Your best subject isn’t it?”
“Yeah” He said, mouth turning up slightly. “I love transforming things. When do we start learning more about human transfiguration? I only know how to do it to myself at the moment.”
“Uh...” I said “Aaron, I don’t that’s until sixth year.”
“What?” I laughed at his aghast expression, “What will we be doing?”
“Simple stuff like pins and matches. No living things for a while yet.” I told him, smile on my face.
“Stupid... easy...” He began to mutter and I laughed again. “Thank you for making me feel better.” This last bit, he whispered. And we walked the rest of the way to transfiguration in silence. Just watching Anna and Lysander discuss house elves further.
* * *
“And then point your wand and say ‘acussus’ which after a few attempts should transform the match, into a needle. Now let’s practice that motion again...” Aaron groaned quietly, something which unfortunately didn’t go unnoticed by Professor Bones. “You think you’re ready to do it, hmm, Mr Callidus?” She said, looking over at Aaron, “You are welcome to try...”
I smiled as Aaron drew his wand out, knowing what would happen next. He muttered something which sounded similar to the spell we’d been taught and every match in the room, poofed, into a perfect, pointed needle.
“Ah.” Spluttered professor bones as most of the class looked towards Aaron with open mouthed astonishment. “Well. Then Aaron you will come and talk to me at the front of the classroom about how far you have progressed in your transfiguration and the rest of the class...” She waved her wand turning all the needles back into matches. “Can continue attempting to turn these matches into needles.”
I started working with a smile as Aaron and Professor Bones began what looked to be a long conversation. I stared down at my match, drew his wand down and forward and said “acussus”, I could tell before I saw that I had failed. The wand motion had been a little too over-eager and I put the wrong emphasis on the incantation. I tried again and after a few practices to get the separate parts to work together, my match turned metallic and sharp.
I looked to the side and a few seconds later Lysander’s and Anna’s matches changed, although their needles still looked a little red at one end. There were only two other people in the class who managed as quickly and some people didn’t even manage it before the end of the lesson, which according to Professor Bones was “perfectly normal and okay.”
Anna looked over at me and said “How did you manage to do it so fast and well? I mean obviously Aaron did it... well quicker, but he’s got some weird transfiguration gift.”
“It wasn’t much faster than you; I bet you’ll be much better than me at something else.” I said, getting the start of a blush.
“I doubt that.” She said. “I’m... um... well I just don’t think I’ll be as good as Hermione Granger’s son.”
I blushed “Don’t be thick. That’s my Mum not me. Just you wait and see, I bet you’ll surprise us all.”
She smiled and said, “Thanks. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see won’t we?”
* * *
The next term sped by with Aaron outclassing most people until seventh year in transfiguration and me and Anna competing for top spot in DADA. Aaron was picking up the defensive spells just as fast but seemed to lack interest in fighting and not be able to make up his mind which counter jinxes to use.
“Why do I even need these? I could beat them with transfiguration.” He grumbled on a daily basis.
We shared Potions and Charms with the Slytherins and it was there that they got to see the charms geniuses that were Lorcan and Lysander, and the potions master that Lilly was. By the end of the term I already had several cold potions stored just because Lilly had extra. Not to mention all the little trinkets and knick knacks Lorcan and Lysander had charmed to float around their respective dormitories. In fact it was approaching Christmas when Professor Clearwater approached us all about moving up a year.
“Oh no. However would we cope with second year work?” Lorcan fake sobbed when Anna’s mum had left to go and see to a detention involving my cousin, James. I smiled and said, “At least we’ll get to duel then. And technically we’ll all be able to try out for the Quidditch teams.”
“Only if they agree to schedule matches and practices at night.” Aaron said with a lopsided grin. “I don’t much fancy throwing up and fainting when I’m 50 feet in the air. I think your Uncle covered what that would be like when he was here.”
“True.” I said, frowning. I didn’t like the idea that my best friend wouldn’t even be able to watch Quidditch matches. “You can still come flying with us in the evenings. And aren’t you excited about duelling?” I asked, I would love to duel this muggle born prodigy and say that I’d won.
Reading my thoughts exactly he replied “Only if I’m allowed to use transfiguration.” He smiled thinking I’d either have to back down like a coward or let him use his spells and win.
“Ah my poor ignorant muggle-born vampire” Lilly said, patting him on the shoulder. “You’re only allowed to use jinxes and counter curses in official duelling matches.” Aaron’s face fell so fast I thought it’d hit the floor.
“It’s a good job I spend most of my lunches in the library learning new spells.” Aaron muttered looking down and frowning.
I leaned over and gave Aaron a hug, it was something all of us had adopted, it felt to nice to have friends I could be so comfortable with. It wasn’t something I got often what with most people only wanting to know us because of our family.
“You already know all the spells. It’s just the instinct you don’t have. And we can have an unofficial duel sometime and I’ll let you use transfiguration. But not before I’ve kicked your ass with my spells first.”
“Fine.” Aaron mumbled, looking fairly adorable as he scowled. “But you’ll be in the hospital wings for weeks once I’ve finished with you.”
“It’s a date.” I said, smiling lopsidedly.
“You two are so cute!” Lilly squealed “Get together. That is an order by the way.”
“Surprisingly.” Lorcan said.
“We’d have to agree.” Lysander finished.
“Um... guys. We were joking you know.” Aaron said, blushing violently. “It’s just a duel or two and you lot will be there to join in as well.”
“Only if we get to fight together.” Lysander said quickly.
“Yeah” said Lorcan, “There’s no way I’m going up against any of you on my own. Except perhaps Lilly.”
“Hey” Said Lilly. “I’ll have drugged you so much that you won’t even know how to pick up your wand.” She smiled wickedly at Lorcan.
“Speaking of drugs and you Lils.” I said, glad that the conversation had moved on. “Where are you getting all the books and ingredients for the potions you’re making. Polyjuice potion isn’t readily make-able here and I something suspiciously green and gloopy in a bottle by your bed the other day.”
“Hmm” Lilly snorted, flicking her hair back, “The Polyjuice was easy. You should see some of the awesome stuff in other restricted section books. Not to mention the cool ones I’ve managed to make myself.” She said this last bit with a smug look.
“Lilly!” Anna said with an open mouth, “That can be dangerous, not just making your own but the restricted section isn’t a nice place. You could get seriously hurt, or expelled if you’re caught.”
“Oh stop worrying” Lilly said, waving away Anna’s concerned look, “I’ve started using a protective spell that Lorcan helped me with since the last time it all went wrong. Brewing potions has never been safer.”
“Since what went wrong?” I asked, slightly alarmed. Our families wouldn’t like it if they found out. Harry ad Ron had decided that nothing dangerous was an appropriate activity for their children. Hypocritical of them if you ask me, but no one ever did so –
“Oh don’t be such a worrier.” Lilly said. “Lorcan knew enough to stop any permanent scarring. I even still have full use of my hands.”
It was then that Aaron joined in the debate, saying that worse things had nearly happened to him when he’d written his own spells. I just sat back and smiled. School was awesome.
Now everyone was shouting about the restricted section. Of course no one knew as much about it as I did. There were some really interesting spells in there as well as everything else. Still not what I was looking for though. Still nothing to do with the darker arts of souls, still I didn’t expect them to be there really, they’d all surely been cleared out. But it was still worth a try. I’d already found enough secret, hidden books in there for there to be a chance. Just a small one but a chance all the same.
I looked over at Aaron and Hugo, I would have to go and watch their duel, it would be interesting to see which might pose a bigger threat. See how much work I’d have to do. Soon I would start looking for it anyway. The first part of the plan.
Find the stone.
A/N So yeah, I hope you're enjoying it because I'm loving writing it. Please please please review even if it's to tell me something's rubbish. I hope you're interested by that last bit and I also own nothing but my original characters and the specific situations they find themselves in.