Freya finished her dinner quicker than usual. Just as she was about to leave the Hufflepuff table and head for the Hospital wing, a strong hand grabbed her shoulder.
“Where do you think you are going, Keen?” A boy’s voice sounded from behind her.
Freya took hold of his wrist and pulled him down. His nose was only a few centimetres from the last of her mashed potatoes. “Don’t start with me, Zabini, I could do something a lot worse than stuff your nose in some leftovers.” Freya stated, trying hard to hold back a chuckle.
He took a chunk of the mashed potatoes in his free hand and hovered it over her head, a big grin spreading across his face. “Do you give?” he asked, turning his hand around grabbing her wrist instead.
With the situation reversed, Freya saw no way out. She finally let out a chuckle as she said, “I give! I give!”
Eliot let out a triumphant roar, letting go of her hand and dropping the potatoes on her plate. He took a seat beside her. “So where were you at lunch, I haven’t seen you all day?” He looked at her with concern, his fingers fiddling with her empty goblet.
“I just had to get out, that’s all.” His sceptical expression didn’t miss her attention. Freya, getting annoyed with him, decided that it was none of his business. “It’s not like we see each other every day, you know. I didn’t know I had to account for everything I did!” She knew she was being harsh, but that didn’t stop her. He was being meddlesome and that was just as bad.
“You’re right, sorry!” With that, Eliot got up from his seat beside her. The goblet still in his hand, he stormed out of the Great Hall.
Several people gave Freya an inquisitive look, but she just glared directly at them until they got uncomfortable and looked away.
‘Great,’ Freya thought. He was the only person she had left, and now she wasn’t even sure of him anymore. Trying to ignore the lump forming in her throat, Freya got up from her seat and headed towards the Hospital Wing. She crossed her fingers, hoping Madam Pomfrey was in a good mood.
Hesitating for a bit, Freya silently pushed the door open to peak inside. Harry’s bed was surrounded by a small group of people. Harry himself lay still, the only indication of the life that remained in his body was his chest’s rise and fall.
“We don’t know that for sure, not until we speak to Harry. We must try to keep calm, Sean.” Dumbledore said, glancing nervously at Harry.
Freya noted that ‘Sean’ had to be the first name of professor Jordan.
“I know that, Albus. I’m just saying that the circumstances seem familiar, that’s all.” His features seemed to glaze over for a moment, as if he was remembering something. He then turned so that Freya could no longer see his face. He too was looking at Harry.
“We have to hope for the best. Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.” McGonagall added, entering the conversation. Madam Pomfrey just gave a silent nod.
Feeling as if she was intruding, which she was, Freya closed the door softly. Harry wouldn’t know if she had been there or not anyway. At least she knew that he wasn’t so badly beaten up that he had to go to Saint Mungo’s. As she turned to walk back to the Hufflepuff common room she saw Eliot disappear around a corner. ‘Did he follow me?’ She ran after him, hoping to get a chance to make things right. He was the only one who had yet to disappoint her, except for Harry. She was sure that he would have been right there in the library along with his friends if he hadn’t been injured. ‘How did that happen anyway?” she mused as she tried to catch up with Eliot.
“Eliot!” Freya shouted. Still running, she turned the same corner as she had seen him disappear around. Startled at the fact that he was waiting for her only a couple of metres away, she almost bumped into him while slowing down.
“So, that is where you were all day, visiting Potter? “The last two words were spat at her. He stood leaning against the wall, looking at the ground, trying to hide his hurt.
“No… no!” She was confused; it sounded like he was mad, but it seemed to be something more than her rudeness earlier. “Are you mad at me?” she finally asked.
He didn’t answer, and Freya didn’t want to push him. She edged closer and rested her back against the wall next to him.
“I am not mad… not at all. I just wish you would trust me.” He finally met her eyes. “Can you trust me?” he asked, taking her hand in his.
Freya felt her heart beat fiercely. She looked him in the eyes, felt the warmth of his hand, and she knew she could trust him. She had so much on her mind, so much she needed to share with someone other than professor Dumbledore. She trusted Eliot, she had to.
“I do trust you, and I want to talk to you about what happened today.” She held his hand a little tighter and felt him doing the same. “I don’t want anyone else to hear, though,” she added quietly.
Eliot gave her a big smile and started to walk towards a staircase nearby. He didn’t let go of her hand. Eliot led her down an empty hallway, at the end of which a large oak door resided. He pushed the door open.
“What is this place?” Freya asked. Her eyes wandered across the unfamiliar room. Freya found it too small to be a regular classroom, but it looked unmistakably like one. The walls were decorated with several muggle pictures, mostly showing historical buildings: the Eiffel tower, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum and many more. Freya had seen a lot of muggle pictures before. Astrid, her next-door neighbour at home, was a muggle and therefore had tons of them. Her gaze moved from the walls to the desk. Instead of feathers and ink, the teacher’s desk played host to pencils and pens in different shapes and colours. The sheet of paper laying beside the writing tools looked too white, too clean.
“This is the Muggle Studies classroom,” Eliot answered, finally letting go of her hand as he entered. He took a seat at one of the tables.
“It seems much too small, I only see tables enough for ten pupils.” Freya pointed out.
“Well, I don’t know about other years,” Eliot began, “we’re only eight!” He smiled at her and waved his hand at the seat next to him.
“I didn’t even know you took Muggle Studies.” Freya said, trying hard not to sound as surprised as she was. She took the seat beside him as he spoke.
“Never asked, did you?” He grinned at her, showing that he had no ill will on the matter and continued, “I actually don’t know your last subject either. We have Divination together, so that’s a no-brainer.” He chuckled at lightly at his own bad attempt at humour.
“Ancient Runes and Arithmancy,” Freya answered.
“You took three?! Why?” He tilted back on his chair, casually putting his feet on the table and folding his hands across his chest.
“I wanted all three of them, Professor Sprout told me that it was no problem. Some people take four or even five!” Freya retaliated. She didn’t want him to think she was a nerd.
They sat in silence. Freya looked curiously around the unknown room; Eliot just observed her. After a while, she remembered why they had come there in the first place. “So, was there anything in particular you wanted to ask me?” Freya looked at Eliot, hoping that she was making the right choice in trusting him. ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’ she thought, taking chances was a part of life.
“You tell me…” He locked their eyes together, placing his feet back on the ground and sitting up straight.
His Brown eyes illuminated with compassion; she felt like he was showing her a piece of his soul, and she wanted to do the same. Everything that had come to pass since that morning in the kitchen with her father, up to the meeting with Verdante Enron, poured out of her. Freya hadn’t realised how much she needed someone to share the burden with her. Someone to give another perspective on things, or even just listen. Eliot paid attention to everything she said. He listened with curiosity and a hint of sorrow that only surfaced when Freya worded the despair she was feeling. He didn’t interrupt her once, neither with questions nor comments. He waited patiently until she had finished.
“… My birthday is in a little less than four weeks, I have no idea what will happen. I just don’t know what to expect.” Freya finished, her eyes glazing over. She was trying hard to hold back her tears, a crying girl was probably the last thing he wanted on his hands. She didn’t want him to know how scared she was.
“I wouldn’t worry about it just yet.” he said, placing a hand gently on her shoulder. “There is nothing you can do about it now anyway, you’ll… We will just have to wait and see.” He rubbed her back soothingly.
“Mm… That is not as easy as it sounds, though.” She wished she could be careless about it. Every time she wasn’t occupied by something else, her mind wandered and it always found it’s its way back to the same topic.
“I know, but I will do anything I can to help you. You are not alone anymore.” He bit his lip and furrowed his brows, as if debating something. He started speaking again; apparently he had come to a conclusion. “Me and some of my friends have a study group. We meet once, sometime twice, a week. Uh… I could ask them if you could join?” He looked at her with anticipation. His hand lay motionless on her back.
Freya hesitated shortly; if they were his friends, then most of them would be in Slytherin. If it had been only two days ago she would have declined, but she had experienced for herself that it didn’t matter if someone was an ‘oh-so-noble Gryffindor’ Right now she could only think of the fact that she had befriended at least one person from each of the other houses. The only ‘house’ that hadn’t let her down was Slytherin.
“Ok!” Freya exclaimed, a little louder than intended.
“Really? Great!” Eliot jumped up from his seat, removing his hand from her back in the process. He headed towards the door. “ ‘You coming?” he asked her, beaming.
“I don’t really have a choice,” Freya stated, laughing, “I haven’t the faintest idea where we are!” She got up from her seat and followed Eliot out the door.
“The next study-session is this Wednesday, you can come with me then. It’ll be harder for the others to say no if you’re there…” Eliot looked over his shoulder smirking slightly. He was a Slytherin, no doubt.
Wednesday came faster than expected; Freya was finding herself getting very nervous. Eliot had told her that the group did mainly consist of Slytherins, from fourth to sixth year. Freya knew that Hufflepuffs weren’t exactly popular amongst Slytherins, she was mentally preparing to be asked to leave. Eliot had tried to convince her that he had a pretty good say in the matter, but Freya was still doubtful.
Her last class of the day was Herbology with the Gryffindors. She placed herself as far away from Ginny as possible, which resulted in an unfortunate turn of events; One of her fellow Hufflepuff girls came and joined her: Melandra Vicio. She had long blond hair, plain blue eyes and she had too much of her muggle mother’s foundation on. Even though Freya had no evidence to back up her suspicions, she was almost certain that Melandra had used magic to make her hair longer and blonder. Nobody grew their hair more than twenty centimetres in one summer.
“I wondered how long it would take before Harry Potter and his friends grew tired of you.” Melandra whispered this from the corner of her mouth while she pretended to listen to their head of house; Professor Sprout was going on about the proper care of the Halletrux flower. The leaves were yellow, which made the plant look sick. The flower itself was blue and, apparently, if well taken care of, the juices from the light blue flower could be used to make the well-known ‘dreamless-sleep-potion’.
“Maybe I grew tired of them,” Freya hissed back. She knew she would be better off just ignoring Melandra; she was awful.
“Oh, really?” The condescending tone in her voice was not at all subtle. “Like you grew tired of every girl in our dorm?” She chuckled a little at her own wit and went on, “Did your new friends find out that you have quite long fingers, or did you quit being a little klepto, when I caught you? It was lucky… I mean, who knows how much you could have taken from us over the years?” She smirked briefly at Freya, then she turned her attention to professor Sprout. The conversation was over.
Freya still remembered the day, just before Christmas. It was almost four years ago.
A twelve-year-old girl hurried from the Owlery towards the Hufflepuff dormitories. Her best friend, Nadine, had told her at dinner that she had something important to ask her. Freya had had to write a Christmas letter to her parents; it was her first Christmas away from her family. She actually looked forward to trying an English Christmas. Nadine had told her that everybody got their presents on the 25th in the morning, not on Christmas eve as Freya was used to. When Freya had told Nadine that they danced around their Christmas tree, she had laughed so hard that she fell down from the bed she was sitting on at the time.
Entering her dorm, the smile upon Freya’s face faded. Her trunk lay open on the floor, surrounded by angry, hurt looking first year Hufflepuff girls.
“What’s going on?” Freya asked, breaking the building tension in the room. She stayed in the doorway, scared of the anger radiating from the five other girls.
Nadine grabbed something from Freya’s trunk and held it out for Freya, and everyone else, to see.
“I’ve been looking for my dragon-hide glows for more than two weeks. I finally found them…” Tears were welling up in her dark eyes, her brown hands still holding out the red glows. “How could you, Freya?”
It finally dawned on the somewhat slow first year what Nadine and the other girls were insinuating. “I…” Freya began, but she didn’t know what to say. She knew that she hadn’t taken anything, from anyone, but there was no way to prove it. The past month all the girls in their dorm had been losing things. Everyone, except Freya. Melandra had thought Freya to be guilty, but Nadine had stuck up for her. Now the trunk lay open on the floor, stuffed with quills, robes and several other things, that didn’t belong to her. Tears started forming in the corners of her eyes.
“I knew it, I told all of you that she was the one who took our stuff,” Melandra began. “Lucky I knocked over her trunk, who knows how much she could have taken over the years?” She smirked at the others and began to empty Freya’s trunk of all the things that didn’t belong to her.
“I didn’t… Nadine… You know I didn’t do it!” Freya looked at her best friend pleadingly. She moved towards Nadine and placed a hand on her arm.
Nadine’s eyes turned cold, tears still running down her cheeks, “I wanted to invite you to my place for Christmas,” she said, tearing her arm free of Freya’s hold. “I cant believe I almost invited you in to my home. I hate you.” With that, Nadine turned away and threw herself on her bed, refusing to talk to Freya or anyone else.
To this day, Freya had no clue as to what had happened. She knew she hadn’t taken those things, she was no thief. The experience had thought her something valuable though: never trust anyone completely. She and Nadine had been best friends, Nadine should have believed her. Now she hung out with that awful tart Melandra Vicio. Freya didn’t even care anymore, she had Eliot now. Maybe, just maybe, he was worth trusting.
Thank you Finchy and Jenova for helping me out once again! What would I do without you two...
I have decided to wait untill I have read HBP to put up another chapter... I would prefer it if this story was not AU but I will have to decide that when I have read all of HBP...