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A Change in Events by Silverleaf
Chapter 1: 1: Halfbloods Sit in the Back
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(Sensitive topics warning for those that did not notice[allusions to slavery])
Shivering at the chilling air, a minuscule girl named Emma wrapped her blue jumper tighter around her. Her father Thomas Aspen smiled encouragingly at his only child. “Ready to go?” Emma didn’t nod enthusiastically at the question like her dad did many years ago when he was only a child. Hogwarts wasn’t something to be excited about. You never came out the same.
Instead, she shrugged and grabbed the handles of her trolley. Her father and mother Monica following suit, they all charged at the wall between platforms 9 and 10.
Though she flinched, they easily passed through the wall, and Emma opened her eyes after a moment, being greeted with the scarlet engine of the Hogwarts express. It glimmered brightly in the light of the station, betraying no ill-intentions of the destination. The resting frown didn’t move at the sight though. This was her prison bus.
Her dad clapped a hand on her shoulder. “Quite the sight isn’t it? I remember seeing this for the first time.” He laughed trying to cheer her up, but she didn’t look any cheerier.
Many figures in black cloaks moved about. It was the standard style to wear such, but some glided with a greater purpose. Their noses were upturned, they glared at any child they didn’t like the look of, the left sleeve of their cloaks was always cut, leaving their forearms exposed. However, the open sleeve was not a chilling inconvenience. A distinctive black mark covered their arm where cloth might normally.
True Death Eaters would not come for such minor tasks as patrolling the Hogwarts Express, but the Dark Lord had employed a lower class for his followers(Their dark marks had differences that told what position they held). Still, that would not stop a stab of fear from striking Emma.
One of these figures sent a suspicious glance to Emma. A weak smile immediately appeared. “It’s great Dad.” Mr. Aspen nodded in approval.
Mrs. Aspen sighed and dabbed her eyes. One look at her daughter, and she burst into tears. She knelt down and looked at her daughter. “You’re going to do great Sweetie okay?”
Emma bobbed her head up and down.
Mrs. Aspen laughed a bit. “And we know what how you’re going to ask the hat for right?”
‘Ravenclaw’ Emma mouthed with a nervous giggle. The Dark Lord had eliminated houses in the beginning of his reign, but found the idea useful after some thought. It was an easy way to weed out his best and worst. Slytherins, cream of the crop; Hufflepuffs, moldable minds if he could gain their trust; Ravenclaw, researchers and workers behind the scenes; and Gryffindor… no one wanted to be a Gryffindor.
Her mother grasped her hands and giggled along quietly. She softly kissed her child on her forehead. “Be safe.”
“Okay,” Emma whispered back, her eyes closed as she longingly savored the last kiss she'd receive from her mother for a long time. Mrs. Aspen stood up and held her daughter’s right hand. Mr. Aspen took hold of the left. They awkwardly drove the trolley to the train, never relinquishing their grips. Mr. Aspen loaded Emma’s trunk onto the train. He reached under his glasses quickly and rubbed his eyes.
He picked up his little wisp of a girl and hugged her. Oh gosh, how could he even stand to let go knowing what was in store? “Love you.”
“Love you too Daddy.”
Her dad kept holding her and placed her in the train’s doorway.
Emma waved goodbye. The train whistled with a piercing sound signaling it’s departure. She stepped deeper inside the car, waving until her parents were out of her sight. A hollow feeling was left inside her when they disappeared. Her father and mother couldn’t protect her anymore. She was alone.
With a heavy sigh, Emma picked up her equally heavy trunk and pulled it behind her, searching for a good compartment to sit in. Surprisingly, the first few ones were quite empty, but the reason became apparent soon. A sign in the corner of these first few windows read purebloods only. What constituted a pureblood had been blurred as the Dark Lord needed more and more followers, but it was apparent when you weren’t considered one. Emma continued down the line without a second though.
She passed every compartment to make sure she was not missing a good one and it did not disappoint. The compartments abruptly ended, and Emma was met to find a compartment with only one other kid in it. A boy with a pointed face and blonde hair. His robes were luxury along with everything item beside him, yet he didn’t seem extremely arrogant. His head was tilted downwards. Emma timidly stepped inside the compartment.
“May I sit here?”
He looked up slowly. “I guess.” Emma tried to heave her trunk and cat inside quickly to not cause any trouble, but failed miserably with the heavy luggage. She heard a little noise a bit like a cough behind her as she worked to lift the luggage onto her seat and turned around to see the boy trying not to smile.
“Were you laughing at me?” Emma inquired.
The boy was still fighting his battle and settled for a nod.
She didn’t know how to respond. The desire or ability for snide remarks were not something that came naturally as she had never been faced with the opportunity. “Oh.” Awkwardly, Emma went back to lifting her trunk unsuccessfully. It was an effort not to appear like she was slowly withering inside as the boy watched. Of course, Emma was most likely not triumphing in that effort either.
“Would you like some help?” the boy asked after a while.
Emma paused, debating. “Yes.” The boy stood up and grabbed one corner on the trunk.
“On three. One, two, three.” They both lifted and the trunk was seated nicely. Emma leaned down to pick up her cat’s cage and let him out, a calico cat named Patches.
“Allergic?” She asked as Patches settled in Emma’s lap. The boy shook his head.
Emma stroked the cat’s tail as he purred. “Thanks for helping me.”
“Your welcome,” he smiled out of politeness.
“I’m Emma,” She ventured. He seemed nice enough even if he hadn’t said much. For a boy with so much money, it was strange for him to not say anything rude and help her as well. How could he have so much money anyway? He wasn’t sitting with the purebloods.
The boy stared at her for a bit, debating whether to answer. “I’m Scorpius.”
A strange name. “That’s a nice name.”
The smirk returned. “No it’s not. You can just say so if you want.”
Emma shook her head and looked away from him. “That would be rude.”
She could feel him staring. “I can take a joke you know. Not like I’m going to run and tell for someone thinking my name’s a bit odd.”
That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, Emma thought sharply in her head. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Scorpius waited for her to say something else, but he finally accepted her silence with an annoyed grunt, muttering a couple things under his breath. One sounded distinctly like halfbloods and Emma shifted nervously in her seat.
Later on, an older student ducked in wearing his robes and a shiny green prefect badge. “Get dressed. We’re arriving soon,” he said roughly. Emma quickly dug into her bag for her robes to change into at once, but Scorpius didn’t seem to move much. His eyes stayed glued outside the window.
“Didn’t you hear me? You need to get dressed,” He spoke with exasperation as if he was too good to be ordering around some stupid first years. Scorpius nodded slowly, but the prefect didn’t move. “Hey wait…” The blond boy winced.
He stepped into the compartment. “What are you doing outside of the pureblood section Malfoy? And associating with a halfblood no less.” Emma’s blood ran cold. She had been talking to a Malfoy. The Malfoy’s were a family apart of the inner ring of Death Eaters. And Emma had spoken to him like a normal person.
“I didn’t want to sit with anyone else. She just happened to sit as well,” Scorpius spoke to her as if she were lower than him, which she was. Why was he even polite in the first place?
“Then you could have made her leave. Are you forgetting who you are?” The prefect demanded.
Scorpius shook his head. “No.”
“Well then kick her out.”
He looked at her and spoke without emotion. “Leave.” Emma quickly packed her things and heaved her trunk back off the seat. Patches padded around her feet as the two walked out together and the purebloods stayed. Just her luck to have something like that happen before her first day at Hogwarts!
Emma found the bathroom and changed in a stall. She was about to leave when she realized that her compartment wasn’t available to her anymore. Patches purred and kept weaving between Emma’s legs as she stared at her things. They would stay safe if she camped out in the loo right? They would have to. Emma went back inside.
She camped out on a seat in one of the stalls. Patches leaped onto Emma’s lap, still purring and rubbing around for petting. Emma mindlessly obliged and did only this, not wanting to dwell on earlier event. They sat there until the train’s whistle blew and came to a halt.
Thank you for reading the first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it and will continue reading.
Having reached the end, you will need to have some information. I started this story before Cursed Child came out and before I knew any specific details of the plot. Despite this, I am confident I can feasibly have this "What If" story within the new canon presented. Sorry if this is vague, but I want to avoid spoilers for those who have not read Cursed Child.
If you have read the Cursed Child and need some explanation as to how I fit my story along with new canon, I will be glad to give it in a private message.
Chapter 2: Somber March
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“FIRST YEARS!” A man barked as Emma hopped off the train. She flinched in mid-air and landed awkwardly on her ankle, hissing a bit. The man glared at her a bit and kept on shouting. Everything about him signaled that he didn’t want to be here doing this job. Emma decided it best to hobble along instead of alerting him for help.
A sizable amount of small children had reluctantly gathered around the man. He took out a pocket watch and barely gave it a glance before snapping it shut. “Follow me.” Everyone had to double their pace to keep up with the man’s long strides.
Eventually they all reached a large lake. Mist floated above with a ghostly aura and small boats unstably bobbed up and down. Other than the boats, nothing was above the water. Emma wasn’t happy to see shadowy, cloaked dementors not too far from the edge though. She wondered if the lake was actually supposed to be so cold.
“Get in,” The man impatiently commanded. No one moved. “I said get in!”
A boy with soft black hair and a superior smirk stepped up first. Even for an eleven year old, he was gorgeous and his expensive tastes suited that. Emma remembered seeing obituary pictures of a woman that looked strangely like him in the Prophet. A model, her last name starting with a Z. Must be her grandkid or something. He put his foot in the boat and it wobbled uncertainly. “Could someone help me?” A few girls moved forward, but a boy made it first.
It was Scorpius. He frowned a little as he helped the boy into the boat. “Stop antagonizing them Zabini. You haven’t even spent a full day here.” It could have come off as a joke if not for Scorpius’ condescending tone. Zabini waved him off and argued a bit quieter. Emma was near the back of the group and she didn’t catch it.
“Hurry up! Four to a boat!” The man cut in, sending the other first years in a scurry. Scorpius’ boat gained two more members quickly, a boy and a girl, obviously his kind. The girl even held back her hair with a snake clip. Emma passed by them quickly, resisting the urge to look back at him. It was so strange, a pureblood that had seemed nice. She picked a boat with only two children. Two girls sat in the front. One had a curtain of dirty blonde hair failing to cover her acne. Another looked serenely off at the moon as she quietly took off a pair of dangly earrings. Were those radishes? She tucked them into her pocket and let down her ponytail of almost white hair.
The first looked at her funny. “Were you wearing vegetables?”
“Yes,” She nodded slowly. “They have properties that make the wearer lucky. My aunt says that the teachers might not appreciate them though.”
“What’s your name?”
“Radiance Scamander. What’s your name?”
The girl frowned, obviously not wanting a conversation. “Marigold. Harlow,” She added.
Radiance turned to Emma. “And you?”
“Um, Emma Aspen.” She shrunk up against the edge of the boat, not liking the attention being drawn to her. Marigold shrugged, but Radiance smiled.
“Pretty,” Radiance smiled with a brightness that was unusual to receive. “If we end up in the same house, we should be friends.” Emma didn’t really know how to answer. She could deal with pleasantries, but she didn’t exactly like the idea of friends. Trust was a big mistake outside of one’s family, no matter what anyone said. The boat lurched forward, and Emma leaned over the boat as if she was seasick, thankful for a distraction.
A glow overtook the water after a bit of floating. The fleet had rounded the corner of the lake and a chorus of ‘ooh’s echoed. Emma looked up and smiled seeing Hogwarts. It shone brightly with all of it’s glory that her father used to describe to her. Her fear almost left her and she was even able to ignore the floating figures high at the top of the castle.
The boats hit the docks roughly and jostled the kids. Radiance climbed out first. She offered her hand to Emma and Marigold, but both girls climbed out on their own.
The man waited at the top of a staircase with an entrance behind them. “I am Professor Burke. I am your Transfiguration teacher and expect you all,” Professor Burke glared at a group of shivering children, “To behave well.”
“This is your first year at Hogwarts. We require discipline and respect for whatever we command. Obey, and your time should be easy here. You may even find favor with the Dark Lord if you work hard enough.” Kids smirked to each other.
Professor Burke turned around abruptly and walked through the entrance. The first years shuffled after him.
The Great Hall awaited them. Torches blazed on the side of the wall and lanterns hung from the ceiling, casting a greenish light. The strings to the lanterns seemed to go on forever, for the ceiling opened up to the night sky where stars twinkled. However, the magical effect was diminished as dementors passed overhead as well.
Four bench-like tables stretched across the room. The largest table had a yellow banner with a badger above it. The students wore matching yellow, but the colors meshed strangely with the green hue from the lights. A snake banner was above the seconds most populated table. Their table had a noticeable amount of sneers. A crowd of curious eyes watched them from a noticeably smaller bench. They seemed to like blue a lot. Ravenclaws, Emma thought urgently.
Lastly was the table with students clad in red and gold. Very few students sat there, but they all bundled together tightly. They seemed to have a camaraderie, but everyone looked tired-and scared. Emma met the eyes of a girl much older than her. She jerked her head a fraction of an inch when she locked eyes with one of the first years. You don’t want to be here.
Emma shivered, fearing her fate once she saw them.
Professor Burke signaled for the First Years to stop walking. He walked up to the podium at the front of the room and began to speak.
“Welcome to another delightful year at Hogwarts,” the man started. Students shifted at this introduction but didn’t contradict. “I trust that any returning students will maintain their best behavior like years before and that any first years will follow suit. We will begin with the rules momentarily-but first.”
Professor Burke walked away from the podium and went over to a small stool covered with a cloth. He whipped it off and there sat a deteriorating hat, smudged with burn marks. Some students took in a bit of a breath at it. That hat was made of legends.
It was first created by the founders of Hogwarts; Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Godric Gryffindor. The hat’s purpose was to sort students into houses even after the founders died, and was used for centuries.
On the fateful Battle of Hogwarts, the Dark Lord set the hat to fire. A rebel was barely able to save it and murder the Dark Lord’s pet before dying at the hands of a Death Eater. For a while, the deed had no meaning as Slytherin had become the only house, but the houses had been reinstated later. No reason was given, but everyone knows. The Dark Lord wanted a way to weed out and categorize his subjects. Slytherins became his closest followers. Hufflepuffs were put into mindless or labor filled jobs. Ravenclaw were given jobs with much calculating and technical magic. Gryffindors were lucky to survive through Hogwarts after all the curse practice they were used for.
Emma watched with interest as Professor Burke picked up the stool and placed it in front of the podium. It opened it’s wide brim just like her father said it would, but the act seemed very difficult for it. Still, it began to sing.
“So I might have seen better days,
But my knowledge is still to be seen.
I’d be surprised to see a hat
That could sort as well as me.
Hufflepuffs, the loyal
Gryffindor, the brave
Slytherin, the cunning
And Ravenclaw, the wise
These four houses stand alone,
Waiting to see where you’ll be thrown.
So climb upon my little stool,
Be careful as I’m placed on you.
Face the path fate laid.
Whether good or bad,
Please try to stay brave.
For I just sort what I see.
I can’t choose the path that will save.”
The hat closed it’s brim, but the clapping was reluctant. The staff seemed a bit irked by the song. The first years didn’t even move. Emma had turned pale. What happened to the singing sorting hat that gave wise words and hope to the school of Hogwarts? Was there not any verses of encouragement to be given?
Professor Burke came up with a scroll in hand. He unraveled it slowly and meticulously, enjoying seeing the students squirm.
Finally the first name escaped his mouth. “Abbot, Eleanor.”
Chapter 3: Wits Like a Raven
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A short and stout little blonde girl squeaked at the mention of her name. Noticing everyone's laughs at her squeal, the girl looked down and cursed under her breath. Emma couldn’t help feeling a bit relieved though. Having a last name ending with an A often made Emma one of the first in line for these sorts of things. She was sure to be called up soon.
The little girl, Eleanor, went up the steps and sat on the rickety stool. She leaned back a little so that the seat wobbled on it’s uneven legs and turned bright red at doing anything to draw attention to herself. Professor Burke just rolled his eyes and sat the hat on the girl’s head. There was only a few seconds before it shouted. “HUFFLEPUFF!” Eleanor frowned at her placement but was brave when she stood up and met her house.
“Arnold, Paul.” Professor Burke called the second Eleanor sat down. He was sorted into Hufflepuff as well.
“Aspen, Emma.” Emma flinched at her name and tried to pass through the crowd quickly. She saw a flash of blond hair move when she passed by and noted how brilliantly white it was. That couldn’t have been Scorpius could it? Once on the stool, Emma glanced into the first year crowd. It was definitely Scorpius. He seemed to make eyes contact with her the second she looked at him, but the hat went over her eyes before she could decide if he did.
First member of a new Aspen generation I see the hat commented inside her head.
Last of it’s kind Emma answered back. There was no family that could pass on the name. Mrs. Aspen couldn’t have another child either. The name would die with her.
Quite a shame. I liked your father. He had spunk even if he didn’t show it much.
Emma knew that too. Mr. Aspen was a master at blending in. He was the best little subservient worker the Ministry had ever seen, but would still find ways to pick out and befriend more rebellious allies at his job. And Emma’s mother nearly had heart attacks every other week with all the things he shouted inside their home. Mrs. Aspen never believed someone wasn’t watching the family. Or anyone for that matter.
The hat waited for Emma to finish her thoughts before continuing. Ah yes, I’ve sorted more children of your parent’s sort than you think, but let’s get on with houses. You are a bit brave…
No! Emma restrained herself from actually shouting.
Let me finish. None of you kids ever want Gryffindor anymore, though I can’t blame you. You are willing to be brave if you have to, but I don’t see you standing up for anything unless obligated or pressured.
Emma squirmed under her seat. She didn’t know that being sorted was going to include an in depth personality analysis. And she could too be brave! Emma was just too smart to be brash-
-Yes! You aren’t brash! Good amount of common sense and wisdom on you.
So I can be in Ravenclaw?, she thought hopefully.
The hat seemed to be thinking to itself for a moment. The Half-Bloods always want Ravenclaw… Anyway, you aren’t cunning, and I can’t figure out if you’re loyal.
What’s that supposed to mean?
You haven’t had loyalty tested yet in the slightest. Emma had avoided making friends at all costs. She would absolutely be loyal to her parents if they wanted her to, but the chance had thankfully never come.
So that leaves Ravenclaw then?
Yes, Fine. You do have some brains on you I will admit. Better be, ”RAVENCLAW!”
Emma broke out into a wide smile as the Ravenclaw table was allowed a small bit of cheering. A couple older students shook her hand as she sat down and a boy with a prefect badge handed her a little blue badge with the Ravenclaw crest. She proudly pinned it on and gave a sigh of relief. This house could lead her to relative safety. She could life with a prestigious enough job and not have to interact with anyone. Ravenclaws were too smart to go making friends for the most part.
Emma was pulled back into the sorting at a familiar name being called. “Harlow, Marigold!” The unpleasant girl from the boat took her walk up the stairs. Marigold’s dark, brown streaked blonde hair curtained her lowered face. Just walking alone, with complete silence around her, the girl looked so much more tiny. Her shoulders were hunched and each step echoed across the hall. Gruff silence on a boat didn’t seem as rude when Marigold looked just as terrified as Emma felt inside. Some couldn’t hide their emotions as well.
But when Marigold turned to sit down, Emma almost missed the terror in her eyes before being replaced with a look that could kill. Everyone here was scared and scarred in their own way. Harlow wasn’t going to let that slow her down. No one was going to touch her. The hat hadn’t even fully settled on her head before shouting, “SLYTHERIN!”
The applause was respectable from the Slytherins for their new member, but it was not hard to tell they would send Harlow to another table if they could. True Slytherin virtues would be tossed away if good breeding could be the only way into the house. Harlow was obviously a Half-Blood, and her used shoes peeking under a too-short robe signaled she was a lowly one at that.
“Ilhm, Dean.” A taller and broad boy pushed through the crowd. He sat on the seat with purpose, but his shaking hands betrayed him. Emma felt her stomach drop. Dean’s first impression emanated bravery. He acted like he had confidence when he wanted to have a nervous break down. The hat was kind enough to let the boy wear him for a couple seconds before shouting, “GRYFFINDOR!” The strong looking boy’s chin wavered, but he made it to his house before starting to cry. The Gryffindors kept a brave face and cheered loudly for him and any student that was assigned to them.
“Malfoy, Scorpius.” Emma’s waning interest snapped back into focus. Scorpius was professional with his march up. Each step was perfectly timed in with each other and the seat didn’t even wobble when he sat down. His face was perfectly composed and didn’t reveal anything through his entire silent exchange with the hat. It was scary. He was like a chameleon, making a complete flip of disposition with every situation. That wasn’t anything compared to what came out of the hat’s opening brim. “RAVENCLAW!”
The Slytherins dropped their hands in shock. The Ravenclaws almost forget to clap altogether, Emma included. The many expressions of the teachers couldn’t be read. Scorpius didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal though. He sighed like ‘what can you do?’ and seemed to bounce over to the blue clad table while every single eye stayed glued to him and many jaws couldn’t find a way to close. Death Eater spawn did get put in other houses sometimes, but it had never occurred yet with the child of an inner circle member. Did this mean the Malfoy offspring was a genius? Did this mean punishment for breaking tradition? He didn’t even seem upset!
Scorpius sat down next to Emma strangely enough. There was definitely less people on the side across from her, so he had consciously chosen to sit next to her. More questions piled onto Emma’s previous mound of queries at this like heavy rocks. Emma’s thoughts were mostly consumed by questions for the rest of the sorting. She barely even noted when the vegetable earring girl, Radiance, was sorted into Gryffindor.
When the last child was sorted (Zabini, Jack. SLYTHERIN!), food appeared on the table and talk began roaring like a waterfall. Emma absentmindedly reached out for some bread when a voice breathed into her ear. “I’m sorry.” She turned around so fast that her face knocked into Scorpius’s retracting hand.
“What?” Emma questioned in a normal voice tone. A couple other first years sent suspicious looks to her. Who gave her the right to talk to a Pureblood, a Malfoy? Why would she want to mix with them?
Scorpius looked down at his food and didn’t answer until people stopped looking at them. “I’m sorry for being rude on the train,” he muttered.
She stopped nibbling on bread and whispered back. “Um, why-”
“Never mind. Can I talk to you in the common room later?”
“Great! Wait for me.”
Chapter 4: Malfoy Doesn't Mean Ignorant
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He sat in the middle of a long, imposing table at the front of the Great Hall, cloaked in a sweeping black robe. The left sleeve of the robe was shortened to reveal a Dark Mark. Long fangs hung from the serpent’s mouth and a shield crest was placed behind the hollow skull on the man’s wrist, unique features from most Marks. The headmaster was in the Dark Lord’s closest circle and it was apparent how much this pleased the man as he ate with his left wrist flashed up the whole time. Emma felt immense fear looking up at this man. She knew his name, heard the stories. This was Thomas Nott. Many laughed behind his back, calling him weedy and sickly looking with his thin frame, giant eyebags, and , but their smiled were wiped clean off once Nott found out and got to them
When all of the children were finished, the Headmaster made a point to take his last bite of food, a small bite of potatoes. He had been waiting to eat it. Must have been icy cold. Suddenly, all the leftover food and used silverware vanished. Some wide-eyed first years couldn’t help reaching out for where their spoon had been. Even Emma couldn’t remain immune to all magical charm. She was one of those wide eyed children.
Nott ceremoniously rose from his chair and swept past the staff to the podium. He gave a stiff smile to the students and began to speak. “Welcome to another year at Hogwarts. I hope that everyone had a nice break over the summer, but we are back to gain a magical education. You would do well to remember that on your coming weeks back. There are no new changes with staff this year as you see. Now for business; There are no new rules this year. However, I would like to address that half-blood students need to remain outside of the pure-blood designated areas even if no staff member is in sight. These spots are created for a reason.” The headmaster paused as if his silence would explain what that reason was.
“I hope returning students will remember these rules as I fill in our newcomers. Students cannot be outside of their common room from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Students must obey a teacher’s orders. Cheating is not acceptable. Magical items to get out of class are not acceptable. Major disturbances like shouting and ruckus in a classroom will be punished. Duels are not allowed. The Forbidden Forest is off limits. Do not disturb the Dementors. First Years cannot join the Quidditch Team or fly a broom without authorization.
“And as for punishments.” Headmaster Nott gave his first genuine smile as he looked over at the Gryffindor table with sick delight. “Detentions are customary for small offenses. Caretakers, professors Prefects, and Head boys and girls are allowed to give out these detentions. Only professors and caretakers can assign specified detentions if they feel inclined to do so. If not, the customary writing of lines will be used.” The Gryffindors all felt the back of their hand. Emma noticed some older Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs do the same. The Slytherins didn’t react except for the occasional knowing grin.
“Larger infractions will result in helping out the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes with lessons.” There was that sick smile again. “And of course Suspension from activities and expulsion is always an option. With that, I think I have gone over the basics. Prefects and Heads may lead their first years to the common room now.”
A group of older kids stood up from each table. A fair haired boy towering above the other standing Ravenclaws shouted “All students head to the common room, but first years stick with us.” The other Ravenclaws dispersed while the first years stayed stubbornly glued to their seats. The boy couldn’t help smiling. “Oi, aren’t you guys in the smart house? Stand up and let’s go.” Emma slowly stood. She caught eyes with Scorpius who nodded. The Head Boy and Girl began to walk forward while the prefects circled around the group of small children. At the beginning, each Prefect and Head gave their name and year. Sometimes a little about herself too. Emma found out that the fair haired boy was named Peter Montgomery. He was the Ravenclaw head boy and seemed quite easygoing for such a high position. Maybe it was the Heads of Houses who appointed such positions.
The walk was long, tiring, and boring despite the information the superiors gave out between breaths. Most of the Ravenclaws had seemed quite thin, but Emma was beginning to realize there was a reason; the long walks they took everyday. There always seemed to be another staircase, Emma estimated she had reached the fourth or fifth floor before being given a break. The Head Girl, Michelle, signaled a stop. Everybody gladly obliged. After Emma’s side felt well enough for her to stop stooping down, she realized there were two way the children could go now. There was a hallway full of painting and few doors and there was a tall, spiraling staircase she felt she was standing a little too near next to. Sure enough, the Ravenclaws began a trek up the spiral stairway into the western tower.
At the top, a door greeted them. There was no handle, but a little eagle shaped bronze knocker. The Head boy lightly held up the knocker then let it crash back onto the door. Immediately, the knocker eagle began to speak in a smooth, melodious female voice. “What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?” The children looked up to the older children for an answer, but they all shook their heads.
The 6th year prefect Margaret spoke, “If you’re going to be a Ravenclaw, you need to learn how to enter your common room. Does anyone have any suggestions?”
“Air?” a little girl shyly guessed.
The prefect thought for a second then shrugged. “Why not? Air,” she answered to the door.
The knocker clucked her beak. “Not quite.”
“Good effort,” The Margaret encouraged. “Anyone else?”
“Rope? Y’know to tie it in air.” A boy suggested.
Margaret retained her sigh and spoke to the knocker. “A rope lifting the barrel.”
The Head Boy, Peter, took over for Margaret who was getting a bit impatient. “We can always try. Wings.”
“Position does not affect lightness of an object.”
“Putting in a candle?” Another boy spoke up. Emma turned and looked at Scorpius. He just grinned.
Peter nodded his head approvingly. “A candle inside to make a dark barrel lighter.”
“Quite original.” The door flew open waiting for the flood of students.
“Good job…” Peter looked over to the kid that spoke and instantly quailed in at the sight of tiny eleven year old Scorpius. “Um, what would you like to be called?”
“My first name works just as fine as anything.” Scorpius made an effort to be friendly, reputation the least of his worries, but the atmosphere had already frozen over. Emma couldn’t help feeling something she didn’t like feeling. She felt sympathy towards a pure-blood. Everyone filed inside without another word.
A giant domed ceiling meeting smooth walls down to a central circular floor like an astronomy tower for stargazing. A fluffy, deep blue rug covered the central floor. Wide windows placed in strange looking spots in the dark, but Emma expected a brilliant view tomorrow morning. Small alcoves dipped into the walls holding sitting areas, most with tables. A decent library full of stories and basic learning books was composed of random bookshelves along the room (“The books fly out of your hands if you walk out of the common room with them and are replaced when you’re done.” Margaret commented). Other chairs and tables were around as well. Two staircases were on both sides of a bust. The bust was of a woman, a tiara on her head. No other students were around. They must have gone to bed.
The prefects were already heading up to bed. Peter and Michelle headed up as well after a few more comments. “Girl’s dormitories are to the right staircase. Boy’s are to the left. There’s a names plate for everyone to find their room.” “Be down to breakfast for times tables at eight.” Most of the first years went up with them, but Emma lingered with a couple others, Scorpius included.
Emma went to meet with Scorpius, but he turned around, making his way to one of the seating alcoves. She uncertainly followed behind him.
He stayed standing, his eyes avoiding hers and his hands stuffed into his robes pockets.
“Well… I’m here.” Emma didn’t know what to say. He was the one who had wanted to talk to her.
“I needed to say I was sorry.” Scorpius spoke clearly, but Emma need a clarification.
“Why would you need to apologize?”
Scorpius shrugged. “You obviously needed a place to sit considering I was the last compartment available. You also had a lot of stuff to carry that you were struggling to carry, and that cat of yours was already out of it’s cage too. It was too much trouble when I could have just turned the prefect down. My family has much higher authority than him.”
“Yes, but you don’t need to apologize for it.”
The smirk from the train finally returned, a bit more bitter than before. “I don’t need to apologize for being a coward and kicking you out?” He let the question hang.
“…Well. People like, um, of your caliber do not need to really.”
“A pure-blood is too good to feel remorse towards a half-blood you mean? Being raised a Malfoy doesn’t mean I don’t know the difference between right and wrong.”
Emma restrained from looking confused. That was exactly what being raised a Malfoy meant. He was born on a cushion of privilege, able to be blind to the truth and cruel without knowing it was wrong. He didn’t have to worry about being outcast and tortured by the Dark Lord for the small price of knowing his place.
“Life is different for us than what you people think. Whatever, I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
“Thank you.” Emma watched Scorpius turn around to leave before suddenly calling out, “But why did you have to be so secretive?”
Scorpius shrugged. “Having morals doesn’t mean there isn’t my reputation to think about. Of course, heh, I’m not in Slytherin like I thought I would be. I could probably get away with way more than ever now.” He didn’t seem to have malicious intents when saying this, only a happy smile. “So talk to you some other time Emma.”
“Scorpius. I know it’s a mouthful, but it’s better than Malfoy.”
“Okay then Scorpius.”
Chapter 5: Stars
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“Welcome to Astronomy class.” A serene and strangely familiar voice called. Emma turned around and met eyes with a woman. Her hair was an unearthly, straggly blonde and pale gray eyes peeked out behind her fringe of bangs. Despite being in her thirties, a young quality hung about her and Emma felt safe. This was a teacher she could trust to be with. The other Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw first years seemed to think so as well. The entire class just had a feeling of awe and ease about them.
The woman stepped forward. “My name is Luna Lovegood-Scamander, but you may call me Professor Lovegood.”
A little boy raised his hand. “Isn’t your kids here?”
Professor Lovegood simply shook her head. “They are too young.”
One of the more arrogant girls from Ravenclaw didn’t even bother to be called upon. “Isn’t your husband that magical creatures guy?” Professor Lovegood frowned and nodded. “Then why are you teaching Astronomy?”
“Bonds are not created as strongly with my house when I teach an optional class I’m the Ravenclaw head of house. Astronomy was one of my best classes at Hogwarts. That is what I was told to say at least.” Emma looked over to Scorpius as he did the same. How could she admit to that so easily? This was a strange woman, and as daring the things she said were, Emma was a little worried for Professor Lovegood’s job.
“I am here to teach you about different matters though. In this class, you will learn about the planets, stars, comets, celestial movements, the galaxy,” She took out her wand and gave a slow twirl. The room gave a slow twirl, though nothing actually moved but the scenery. “It seems muggle-like to some, but it reveals a great more than a simple muggle class. We can go inside of Jupiter.” With a flick of her wand, the gas-like planet surrounded the class. Nothing had truly changed, but Emma found it harder to breath in the illusionary swirling gases. “We can explore the birth and death of stars in undiscovered areas.” Professor Lovegood pulled her wand arm back with a large yank and everything was a blur of light until the sudden stop. A rainbow light surged into itself, before imploding. A mess of multicolored lights shined upon the children.
“But we must first learn the basics.” Another simple flick and the universe from the beginning of class was put back into place, somehow not as breathtaking after what the students saw. “It will be hard, but the beauty of the universe can be unlocked with hard work.”
“So how about class then?” Scorpius unexpectedly inquired as they made their way down the Astronomy Tower to Transfiguration. Emma didn’t know how to answer, not because of the class, class was amazing, but because he was talking her. Apologies had been made. What was the point to this? She remembered their conversation in the common room last night. Talk to you some other time. He wasn’t joking when he said that then?
“It was nice.”
“Nice? That’s all I’m going to get out of you? You don’t talk much.”
Emma shrugged and couldn’t help smiling a little at the exasperated sigh she earned.
“You really should talk more.”
There wasn’t a good way to respond truthfully. Speaking out too much gets people in trouble. Speaking out to someone who can directly relay information to a Death Eater is just stupid, no matter what that someone said. “I like to keep to myself.”
“That doesn’t mean you can’t use more than ten words to a sente-”
“Hey Malfoy!” a voice shouted out. An eerily familiar voice. Scorpius’s relaxed attitude dissipated as he grew rigid. His gaze dropped from Emma’s in shame and he plastered on an indifferent face. Emma’s eyes darted away from him for a second and green immediately caught her eyes.
“No need to shout Zabini.” He waved his hand down as to get quieter.
Zabini laughed carelessly from the desk he sat at. Three other people sat with him and followed suit. Only one of them didn’t have the same glossy robes and polished demeanor like him. “Didn’t know if I would catch your attention without it. You seeming to be engrossed in a conversation with a half-blood and all. Who is she, your girlfriend? A bit plain for a Malfoy if you ask me. You’d have a hard time shaping her into a pureblood.” He watched her with calculating eyes. Emma turned away from them.
“Well it’s a good thing I wasn’t asking then. Try finding a pureblood to talk to outside of Slytherin why don’t you? Even in there it must be pretty hard finding enough to follow you judging by your minions. You think I don’t see that Harlow girl sitting at your table?” Marigold turned red at the mention of her and just disappeared further behind her bangs with a sullen glare. Despite being the most shabby out of the group, she held her place with a menacing air.
Zabini glared at Scorpius. “Shut up. She has potential.”
“I wouldn’t be throwing around such words so easily if I were you. Let’s not forget who had more power here.” It was Zabini’s turn to lapse into red faced silence. Scorpius went to go sit down at a table far away from Zabini and Emma uncertainly followed him. As he walked past tables and chairs, Ravenclaws and Slytherins backed away, but Emma caught many mixed emotions towards her. Why did she have to sit in that train compartment?
Scorpius seemed quite calm when they both sat down at a table with one other extremely uncomfortable looking Ravenclaw boy. Like the argument had never transpired.
“Who was that boy?”
Scorpius smirked. “So now you start talking eh?”
Emma opened her mouth to apologize, but he held up his head. “It was a joke. That’s Jack Zabini. His family was promoted to pure-blood status a few years after the Dark Lord’s rule started. He flaunts his status for more than it’s worth-they aren’t a very prominent family-and absolutely hates my guts because I put him in his place when he steps out of line, which is always. You can see those cronies he gathered already, a bunch of people lower than him looking to climb the social ladder.”
Emma chewed on this information. “And you openly fought with him?”
“Emma, I get in trouble for doing things like disobeying my father or hanging out with half-bloods too much. Yelling at Zabini for mouthing off is something they tell me to do.” He didn’t seem very happy about this. In fact, reminding himself of this fact seemed to subdue him a bit, make him a bit more serious.
Emma fidgeted with her ring a bit and glanced at the boy next to them that was looking elsewhere but obviously eavesdropping.
Scorpius seemed to be reading her thoughts. “We can talk later.” Emma just nodded and kept messing with her little ring.
Potions class wasn’t very interesting. Professor Slughorn just sat and lectured the children, taking particular interest in Scorpius for bloodline and peculiar situation. He would quiz them all on information and was already seeming to pick favorites. The few times Scorpius spoke to Emma caught Slughorn’s attention. She was seeming to be one of the possible favorites in the future.
At lunch, Scorpius groaned, picking up an apple as he sat down leaning his side on the table as he looked at Emma. They had just finished their first History of Magic Class. “You’d think the Dark Lord would find a way to fire some ghost, but he’s still there.”
Emma set down her books on the table, sitting for an actual meal.
If the Dark Lord had fired Professor Binns, there would probably be a much more biased curriculum. Sadly, her textbooks were definitely a revised version compared to her parents old tomes. Horrifying tales had been told to her regarding the massive amounts of homework as well.
“I like having something my parents experienced at Hogwarts,” she said with a small smile. With natural or magical sunlight from outside lighting the Great Hall instead of torches burning dreary green fire, the place seemed much cheerier. Students actually chattered a bit like regular school children. The couple stern teachers at the front did dampen the change of pace a bit though.
Scorpius shrugged. “Hogwarts never was that great for Father.” He took in a breath, wondering if to continue, but did not speak.
“My parents only shared a couple of years with your father.” How did she know that? Well because Scorpius’s father Draco Malfoy went to school the same years as Harry Potter. Pure-bloods and half-bloods alike knew about him in detail. He was the vile little creature that had hindered the Dark Lord for sixteen long year, finally to cowardly walk to his own death according to propaganda. He was used as a lesson to people with thoughts of rebelling, proving the Dark Lord will get them in the end, but no one could keep him from becoming a martyr along with many of his friends. Too many people alive today knew what a good person he actually was. Too many people
“They escaped most of the excitement then.” He bit into his apple loudly with frustration and swung his legs over the bench correctly. Emma simply reached for a small pot pie and let it cool down.
Scorpius frowned and returned to an earlier conversation. “We need to fix this not talking problem if I’m going to hang out with you.”
“I’m not making you talk to me Scorpius. There are plenty of people who would love to hang out with you.”
“You’re funny,” he laughed dryly. “You see the way they all scurry around me.”
“You could make them talk to you.”
“I’m not trying to force company Emma.”
Then why do you keep talking to me? Emma thought. Her short responses should be reason enough to clue in that she wasn’t interested in making friends. If this wasn’t a Malfoy-no- If he wasn’t so persistent for Emma to be his friend, she could have faded out already.
It took a bit to realize that Scorpius was intensely staring at her, as if trying to read her mind. She was a bit frightened to find out when looking up from her meal. “Yes?”
“I’m not making you do anything Emma, and you know that. You could step up from this table and never speak to me again. I wouldn’t do anything.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well now that you do, go ahead and leave if you want to. I won’t hold it against you.”
She didn’t stand up.
“You can trust me. I have done nothing to prove otherwise.”
He was wrong saying that. He was born a pure-blood. That was enough for Emma to think him untrustworthy. Yet still, she believed him. Every fiber in her being said he was telling the truth despite logic screaming at her otherwise. She could get up and live a quiet, normal life like her parents that found the perfect level of invisibility. She wanted that. She wanted to escape this extreme pressure of having a pure-blood threatening her peaceful existence. No drama. No danger. Something kept her back.
“What if I order you to stand up and leave this table?”
“I don’t know what I would do.”
“Well then leave right now.”
She didn’t leave.
Scorpius smiled. “Now that we’ve gotten that argument out of the way let’s continue with our current problem.”
“Which would be?”
"You have a serious issue with not talking." For the first time since she got here, Emma truly laughed.
Chapter 6: An Appraisal
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Her stomach turned a little when she saw them all sitting mutely in their desks. The broad boy from the Sorting had his face stubbornly turned away from the other kids, but his red, puffy eyes were still evident. Radiance gave a small smile to Emma when they locked eyes, yet it was somber. Not peaceful and serene like on the boat. Why hadn’t she checked her times table before walking into this class? She couldn’t take her eyes away from Radiance’s. This couldn’t be happening. Any class but this.
Scorpius had to take Emma’s wrist to drag her to the other side of the room, but she kept staring at the golden clad half even when she sat down. He whispered harshly into her ear. “What are you doing?”
She slowly came to her senses. “Scorpius. It’s them. Why did it have to be them?”
He softened for a second. “I don’t know Emma, but you need to make sure to stay as far away as possible from them. I don’t care what the Professor does to them.” That much was obvious. Emma wasn’t stupid. She wasn’t going to jeopardize her safety to help them. Still, it wasn’t going to be easy sitting through this.
The Professor did not have any grace about him unlike other chilling teachers. He had a strange limping walk despite no visible injuries and stood hunched over. He was not fat but almost comically lumpy and resembled a pig-a quite ugly pig. A sheathed knife bounced against his side and he moved with surprising quickness at a moment’s notice.
He stared across to the class with small, beady eyes and grinned sadistically at the sight of Gryffindors. “This will be a fun class I see,” he laughed not bothering to be secretive.
“I’m Professor Amycus Carrow. You will call me Professor Carrow just like my sister who teaches muggle studies. In Defense Against the Dark Arts we believe having a good offense is the best defense. You will learn many curses over your time here and it is also required that I teach you about dangerous creatures some.
“Rules state injuries that sustain life altering damage are not allowed to be inflicted.” Emma couldn’t help glaring a bit at this. How come so many addled students now lived at St. Mungos then? How come her father always came home with stories about young assistants and workers scarred both mentally and physically then?
“The Headmaster did not go into depth about punishments and I take it upon myself to demonstrate these punishments being the head of punishment along with the other Professor Carrow. Could I have a volunteer up here?” No one students moved. In fact, the room seemed even stiller than before he spoke. Emma held her breath. Please, don’t do anything-
“Fine then!” Professor Carrow snapped, angry somehow. “You! Come up here!” He pointed his wand at-no!-Radiance. She looked around herself, hoping it wasn’t her.
“Yes you! Up now!” He grabbed her arm when she came. “What’s your name girl?”
“Scamander eh? I’d hope for Professor Lovegood you don’t misbehave like the rest of those filthy Gryffindors.” Radiance, all whimsy about her gone, just nodded mutely.
At once, Professor Carrow pointed his wand to Radiance and shouted, ”CRUCIO!”
The tall frame of Radiance collapsed as she hit the ground, hitting her head on a desk. She writhed on the floor like a lizard’s severed tail and emitted an ear-splitting shriek. She occasionally cried out for release when she could bear the pain long enough to speak, but it was mostly just scream after scream, engulfing the entire classroom. Emma began to cry and hide her face in her hands but Professor Carrow shouted, “Pay attention!”
He released her after an eternity. Radiance stayed down, curled in the fetal position and releasing wheezy sobs. Emma couldn’t bear to look at the sight of the pitiful girl.
Professor Carrow allowed the annoyance and continued to speak. “That there was the Cruciatus Curse. It is standard punishment for larger infractions where a student will go to classes and be used for practice by higher year students. Other curses are used too. Being only first years, you will not be learning such magic. There is also the writing of lines. Take out a roll of parchment.” The class did as told without hesitation.
“And get up girl. Pathetic,” he scoffed. Radiance wearily stood, but she fell at the professor’s forceful push to start moving. The same thing happened again. Professor Carrow rolled his eyes as Radiance then crawled to her desk.
“Now then lines. I will hand out the quills. When you get one, begin writing I will not break the rules.” The sharp intakes of breath could be heard before the Professor even reached Emma and Scorpius. As Emma began to write, she joined in with their pain. No ink was provided for these quills. They made use of her own blood as I will not break the rules came out on the paper in shiny red. The back of her left hand first itched, and then stung greatly. The words were beginning to etch themselves into the back of her hand. Scorpius gritted his teeth as he wrote and kept his eyes trained on the paper. Emma wondered if the Slytherins were required to write this as well.
Professor Carrow kept talking once all the quills were handed out. “Writing lines is a normal detention if the teacher who assigns it does not find a replacement punishment.” He pulled out his knife. Even in the dim light it flashed. “I also find a quick nick with this puts students in line easily.” Emma put her head back down and prayed for class to be over. She prayed for this year to be over as soon as possible.
“I didn’t think the first class would be like that,” Emma whispered to herself as she and Scorpius walked to class together. Her brain seemed to be at a standstill. All her senses felt dulled except for Emma’s glazed watering eyes.
Scorpius was tracing the pale lines on the back of his hand that had closed up in his own little world. They wouldn’t heal so quickly next time. “What is my father going to say?” He froze for a second and his mind went back into full force. “What’s our next class?”
“Oh no. No, this isn’t- Not right now-” Scorpius groaned and nervously tugged his left sleeve over his hand.
“What’s wrong Scorpius?”
“Do you know my mother’s maiden name Emma?”
“Greengrass. Astoria Greengrass. Do you know who’s the Charms teacher?”
“Roland Greengrass! I’m going to walk into my uncle’s classroom with scars on my hand unlike all of those Slytherins and some unknown Half-Blood as my only friend. I can’t even imagine Grandfather’s reaction when he finds out I’m a Ravenclaw from whoever tells him-it’s sure not me. Now this?”
“Scorpius I’m sure he wouldn’t get you in trouble for something you can’t control.”
“You don’t get it Emma. I’m not worried about me. My entire family probably being made a laughingstock over there for my house. Now I’m befriending the half-bloods and parading around with scars that almost no Slytherins get on my second day here. Your kind can slip through the cracks. My family? One slip up and we’re ostracized.”
“But you said you could probably get away with more as a Ravenclaw. It’s not you choice to be in here.”
Scorpius’s eyes shifted a bit, but his breathing evened out a little bit. “Yeah… you’re right. I’ve done a lot of things without any word of approval from my family though. Should probably be taking it easy.” He eyed Emma. “It’s a good thing you’re polite.”
Emma’s brows furrowed. “What do you mean by that?” Her mind went back to Scorpius’s argument with Zabini yesterday, the moment Marigold and Emma, the half-bloods, were brought into this. Marigold had ‘potential’. For what? Emma didn’t want to know. She had a feeling she would find out eventually, and the list of this friendship’s consequences grew a bit longer.
“Nothing.” Emma wanted to press the issue, but she held back. Scorpius had closed the subject for now.
Speaking lightly Emma picked up the thread they had been on earlier. “Maybe Professor Greengrass won’t tell your family.”
Scorpius thought about it and shrugged. “He might, but Father will most likely press him for information. I don’t know him that well really. Probably will be closer than I’d like when my schooling is over.” Emma looked at him quizzically. He seemed to display his warmer side to the strangest of people. Not family, no. The terrified prefect? The random girl from the train car? Come right on in!
“Why is that so bad?”
The Charms classroom didn’t look much different from any other conventional one, not keeping in mind the barely closed wardrobes most likely stocking mounds of supplies for classes. Scorpius ducked his head down as they walked in and hissed to Emma. “Sit down. Don’t follow me.” She did as told and picked a seat farther back while Scorpius went forward and greeted his uncle, sleeves draping over his hands. The other Ravenclaws were settling in, still in a mostly shocked and pained state.
Emma kept her eyes trained on Scorpius and Professor Greengrass, trying to find something warning in their interactions. They hugged normally, but Professor Greengrass kept his eyes trained on the blue button pinned to his nephew’s chest. He wore a look of concern and pity. They spoke some more and the professor’s eyebrows raised. His eyes shifting to Scorpius’s left hand-
“See Malfoy still decided to keep you around.” Emma jumped and found Zabini leering over her. She turned pale and leaned back a bit.
He gave her that same judging stare from potions. “I see his problem with his house and all, but of all people… There must be something I’m missing here.” Zabini laughed. “Maybe he really does have screw loose.” He was doing it again. Appraising her as if she was some animal to be groomed and trained for a purpose. She couldn’t just be his friend. Everything had strings attached to it. He loosely lifted up a lock of her wavy auburn hair, not saying anything.
“Get away from her.” Zabini jumped a bit, dropping the hair, but he fixed his face into a mask of annoyed apathy before smoothly turning around.
“No need to be so hostile. Just making conversation.”
Scorpius didn’t say anything,
Zabini frowned, his composure and patience wearing down easily. “Fair enough.” He sat down with his friends from yesterday a few tables over. Emma found the color to her face returning easily now that he was gone.
“What did he do?”
Emma turned around and found Scorpius angrier than she thought he would be. “Nothing I can pinpoint other than being creepy.”
She couldn’t avoid telling him. Not for how long Zabini had been over here. “He was the same as in potions. Judging me. Trying to figure out why you ‘chose me’ if that makes sense.”
Scorpius’s jaw tightened, but he nodded. “Yes. Thankfully, you know why we ended up friends.”
Circumstantial events of course. The train, their house, a natural bond after Scorpius’s persistence and Emma giving up. Emma smiled and nodded thinking of this. Not everything was a move in a larger game. Scorpius wasn’t the same as all of the pure-bloods.
“What did Professor Greengrass do?”
“It was going fine until he found out my last class was DADA. I asked him to not mention it to Father, but that’s when I saw Zabini harassing you-”
“-I wouldn’t take it that far.”
“Trust me on this Emma. I’ve known Zabini longer. He’s amazing at just barely being at the edge of the line he shouldn’t cross. It’s infuriating. Anyway, I saw Zabini and came over before he could answer.”
“So was it bad?”
“I can’t tell. He seems to be going for an ‘I want to help’ approach about everything. I’ll see how it plays out.”
Emma slumped forward on her desk, mind swimming with new information. At home, Emma didn’t have to worry about the safety of friends. All there was were her parents. Her angry and fearful, but safe parents. She should write to them, but it was hard to think of what to write. Dear Mom and Dad, Hogwarts had been great. I saw a nice girl tortured yesterday and I may or may not have a Malfoy for my only friend and another Death Eater’s son for an enemy. Pray I make it back home in one piece.
Chapter 7: Peaceful Slumber
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“Why don’t you just give up already? You don’t really know if that’s a door.” Scorpius patronized his friend.
Emma took in a deep breath and coughed once more before answering. “I do know though. I can tell. It’s just the way the wood is cut, how the slits are placed illogically and how wide they are compared to the rest.”
“Maybe someone made them to drive nosy Ravenclaws crazy.”
“Just hold my ring. It’s getting dusty.” Emma lifted up the little silver ring she always wore around her finger up where Scorpius could see it. It only held a black oval stone, but swirling designs covered the simple object. Scorpius leaned over and took the jewelry.
He looked intently at the little ring. “You sure do like this ring.”
“It’s a family heirloom. It’s passed on to the first child the year they start schooling.”
“Any magical properties?”
“Only one. I’ll show you some other time.”
Scorpius leaned over the side of the chair and came face to face with Emma. They stared at each other calmly for a bit, minds occupied with their own thoughts until Scorpius cracked a small grin. He did smile a lot more than to be expected. “Going back under then?”
“As always.” She disappeared under the chair.
“You can be quite stubborn when you want to be.” Scorpius laughed, turning his head to the outside of the common room. A few faces pointed to them quickly repositioned themselves and his light mood deflated a bit. It was October now. He had been here for over a month, yet his own housemates still shied away in fear. Only a few of the older kids and prefects didn’t give him strange looks. Even with Emma always around him, a little half-blood as fearful about life as anyone else, no one ever seemed to consider that he may be an okay person. Emma was treated differently as well, but she didn’t seem as bothered. Being invisible was her original plan for Hogwarts. Being ignored wasn’t much different. Or so she said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. It’s stupid.”
“Okay Scorpius.” Little scratching noises could be heard for a bit until Emma’s arm poked out from under the chair and reached around for her wand. “I think I found something.”
“What is it?”
“Looks like a tiny keyhole. Alohomora.” A clicking could be heard. Emma punched up her fist in triumph and hit her knuckles on the chair. She rubbed the back of her hand a little where scars were printed. Professor Carrow had made the Ravenclaws write the rest of that first week. No one’s scars had faded yet. Emma doubted if they ever would completely. She pushed the thought out of her mind to enjoy her triumph.
“So you got it then?”
“I think so…” She felt around the edge of what should be the door and felt a couple more keyholes. With them all open, the panel fell on her chest with an oomph!
“You okay?” Scorpius’s head hung upside down to peer under the chair.
Emma nodded. She shoved the panel to the side and inspected the cubby hole. Nothing was inside it but a key, undoubtedly the one to the panel. “Nothing’s in here, but it’ll be a good place to keep stuff.”
“You do realize that all of the Ravenclaws have seen you under here for the past hour or so now right?”
“I can find a charm to made this thing impervious to Alohomora. We don’t have to put in anything important in here either.” Emma however was already making a list of all the cool things she could put under the chair. It was only really them two that hung out in this two chair alcove. Under normal circumstances, it would be a moderately popular spot, but most kids stayed away not wanting to annoy Scorpius with it being occupied. A silly thought really, but useful.
“If you want to.” Emma smiled and placed back the panel, pocketing the key. She wiggled out from under the chair and stood up. Dust covered the front of her torso. Scorpius scrunched up his nose causing her to giggle a little. She violently brushed off the grey fluff and powder, trying her best to get some on Scorpius.
He held his hands in front of him as a shield and protested until Emma gave up and sat down across her own chair, staring up into the ceiling.
“What if your father came into the common room right now?” Emma asked. It was a common jest, sometimes, between them. Whenever one of the two did something that could be considered improper to the Malfoy family, they liked to speculate how Scorpius’s father, Draco Malfoy, would react. By now, he knew of her existence but had yet to meet the her obviously.
“He would… ground me and ship me off to Durmstrang.” Scorpius predicted as he waved his arms clumsily in the air.
Emma nodded sagely. She looked at the roll of parchment on the desk. “Which class?”
“Astronomy.” Scorpius replied. It was easily their favorite class at Hogwarts. The work was tedious, mostly memorizing stars and such, but Professor Lovegood brought an amount of mystery and perspective to it. She loved to speculate about the purpose of planets and other celestial bodies some days no matter how zany the theory was. She wouldn’t mind pointing out how small all of them were in the grand universe either Somehow, they all existed and mattered to each other though. Professor Lovegood could make Emma feel so many things at once. And she had a sort of fierce love and protectiveness for her students.
Emma rubbed the back of her hand again. “I can never figure out how I feel about this place.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well… I know I don’t like it here. There’s the Carrows and Headmaster Nott. They suck life out of this place. Yet somehow, I feel something else beneath it. With people like Professor Lovegood or Professor Abbot or by having you as a friend. It makes it all bearable. Sometimes even enjoyable. Look at the Gryffindors. Their lives are terrible here, but their bond is stronger than any other house. They have more strength and hope than any of us.”
“I feel the same way.” Emma moved her head backwards so that she gained an upside down view of her only friend. Scorpius did the same. “But I think we’re going to be just fine if things stay the way they are.”