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Chapter 9 : The New Girl
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Hermione woke early the next day, her whole body aching from being blasted from the full brunt of Harry’s mysterious power. She wanted nothing more than just to go back in the bed, but she needed to see how Harry was doing. She crawled out of bed, and opened the door to where he slept. Professor Dumbledore was sitting up in bed, holding a hot drink in one hand and the Daily Prophet in the other.
“Good morning Professor,” she said quietly. “ How are you feeling?”
Professor Dumbledore sighed. “ I’ve been better, Miss Granger, but I’ll live,” he winked at her. “You came to check on Harry? Madame Pompfrey said he’s still recuperating, and it may take some time for him to fully heal. But feel free to spend some time with him, it speeds up the recovery process,” He smiled, and his eyes went back to his paper.
Hermione looked at Harry. His long hair was peeking out of his heavily bandaged forehead. There was another bandage wrapped from the top of his head and wound under his chin, probably to keep his dislocated jaw from moving too much. His right arm was in a sling, and his wrist had another large bandage wrapped around it. His chest was heavily wrapped as well, and his shoulder was also covered with white bandages. It was horrible, it was if he was some sort of preserved mummy. She gently caressed his cheek, his face was probably the only visible area above his waist.
Don’t you know that a little piece of me dies inside when I see you like this?
She tried to blame him for the huge sense of abandonment and pain she felt every time she thought of him. She had dreamed of their reunion being a happy one, but what she got was Harry broken and bloodied, teetering on the verge of death for the third time in the space of two months. First Lestrange and Statham, then Voldemort, now this. She held the warm fingers of his left hand, probably the only place that did not have any cuts or broken bones she could see. It reassured her to feel the warmth in his veins, and she tried to smile. He was back, and she would not let him leave her again. This summer was the best and worst holidays of her life, and the raw emotional battering she endured still haunted her. She squeezed his hand affectionately, and hoped for any sign of response. None came forth, and a single tear ran down her face. She spent nearly the whole morning sitting with him, simply holding his hand, looking at his sleeping face.
Draco Malfoy was feeling like shit. His back and face hurt, and there was an ugly dark ring around his eye. He got up late on Saturday morning, the other Slytherin Sixth years were already up and about doing whatever it is they did. He looked in the mirror, he felt like shit, and he looked the part. He grumbled audibly and went to take a bath. He would keep a low profile for the while, at least until he found a charm to heal the bruises on his face.
Meanwhile, Kenna was sitting alone on the Hogwarts grounds, idly throwing pebbles into the tranquil surface of the lake. Things were so different here. Nothing seemed real, even the quaint hut further off had a postcard feel to it. The man who lived there was enormous, she had never seen anything of the sort. She leaned against the trunk of the shady tree, thinking of what happened yesterday. Why was her brother fighting last night? And who was that red-haired boy and the other girl? Draco told her that this was a magical school, and that here she could learn to harness the strange phenomena that sometimes occurred around her. He had dodged questions about their parents, telling her that in due time she will know everything. She was scared to go and look in at Harry, she already had nightmares about what had happened.
Ron, Neville, Luna and Cho were having a relatively comfortable breakfast, considering that upstairs their friend was lying up in the hospital ward. Ron’s good mood permeated around him, and everyone found themselves in a lighter mood than they had before he came down with Cho. Ginny was the only one who was still in a surly mood, Marian Shacklebolt had offered to eat with her, but Ginny politely wished to be left alone. Her friend nodded, and went to join their other five year mates. Ron had seen her as soon as he came down, and knew his sister well enough that she wanted to be alone. Ron was telling a funny story about the third year wannabe beater who came to tryouts. She was smaller than Colin Creevy, which said a lot, and managed to totally dominate the quidditch pitch.
“You should have seen her! No bigger than a quaffle; but roughing it with the guys, even knocked Jameson off his broom with a classic bludger to the chest. Brilliant!! A pure talent, that one is. Speak of the devil- JAINA!! Over here!!” A small girl, barely reaching five foot, looked in their direction. She looked behind her, utterly complexed that Ron was calling her.
“Me?” she mouthed silently, pointing to herself
“I don’t see any one else around, so I must be talking to you,” Ron paused, he sounded just like De Niro without noticing it. “Come ‘ere!”
She made her way to them, smiling brightly at everyone. “Hey,” she said, excited to be hanging out with this group.
“Great display yesterday, I see a bright future for you. How come you never tried out before?”
“HAH! Before I even came into school people were talking about the Twin beaters at Gryffindor, I didn’t want to embarrass myself...” she smiled prettily, and Neville was entranced. He paused midway through putting another forkful of pancakes into his mouth, his mouth ajar. When some syrup dripped unto the edge of Luna’s sleeve, she looked up from the latest issue of The Quibbler and nonchalantly tipped up his chin with the tip of her finger.
“Honey stains, and you look ridiculous. Pull yourself together, man!” She buried her nose back into her magazine, and Neville felt really stupid. He looked around covertly, and thanked god no one saw him other than Loony Lovegood. He put the fork in his mouth, his eyes never leaving the pretty girl with light brown hair.
“You’re right, I won’t have either,” Ron agreed, knowing fully well how his brothers would act if they saw her trying to usurp their position. “Hey, have breakfast with us, grab some bench." The closest space at the table was between Cho’s friend Diana and some second year boy, but it was a tight fit, even for her small size. Ron and Cho were at the end of the bench, and when Jaina sat down Diana and Cho had to shift around a bit to accommodate her. Cho was pressed arm to arm with her friend and Ron, and Ron noticed that their was something about Cho that he did not notice before, something about her perfect hair, her exotic eyes, and that, that… intriguing fragrance she had. He smiled at her.
Cho was noticing that Neville was regularly glancing at the newcomer to their little group, and saw the little twinkle in his eye. She smiled knowingly, she just had a knack for these things. She turned to Ron to mention it to him, her perceptive smile still on her face.
“Ron..” she whispered, still looking at Neville. Her eyes went to Ron's , and there was a weird expression plastered on his face. He was gazing dreamily at her.
She paused in mid-word, trying to understand why he was looking at her like that. “Uh- what?” she said, a dumbfounded smile on her face.
Ron said nothing, but looked at her lips for a second, then back into her eyes.
“wow.” He said softly.
She was beyond puzzled. “What is so ‘wow’?” she inquired, blushing a bit now.
He crooked his finger at her, motioning her closer. Cho was intrigued, they were almost packed like sardines- how much closer could they get? She lent in a bit closer, her curiosity piqued. Ron leaned into her and whispered in her ear.
“You’re absolutely stunning.”
He breathed in that scent of hers, she smelt like heaven.
Cho was caught off guard. It was so unexpected, she had to smile. “What?” she asked, thinking it was a joke. The she realized what had happened, she must have put on the wrong perfume in the prefects bathroom! She was holding the bottle in her hand, and was planning to throw away the Eau of Love she had concocted that summer when she heard Ron come in the bathroom, looking proud as a peacock. In her laughter at his antics she must have involuntary squeezed the spray lightly on herself, and he was the first guy to have smelled it!
He looked into her eyes and was about to give her more flowery words when a deep bullfrog voice came up behind him.
“Weasel, you’re a dead man!” Crabbe threatened, standing behind him, smacking his fist into is palm. Ron dismissed him with a glance, and continued to peer deep into Cho’s eyes.
“As I was saying before this thick oaf rudely inter-“
“Hey! I can hear you y’know! And I’m not thick, I’m just twelve pounds overweight!” Crabbe argued. Goyle nodded. "He's right. That's what Witches' Weight Watchers Weekly says."
Ron watched him incredulously. “My god, you’re girls trapped in illiterate masses of blubber,” he tsked sympathetically. ‘I feel for you, I really do.. maybe some counseling is needed, check Anna Nicole Smith for a Trimspa appointment.. it seems she's quite the metamorphmagi...”
“Don't bother,” Ron snickered. Goyle stood dumbly at Crabbe’s side and they looked at each other in mutual confufflement.
“What do we do now?” whispered Crabbe, taking Goyle one side. Goyle creased his brow in concentration.
"Hmmm....” he mused, putting his finger to his mouth. “Maybe we should find out what ‘illiterate’ means,” he replied after some intense brainstorming. They both smiled, but then Goyle’s face crumpled. “Wait, no- there’s a problem.”
“ I don’t think anyone invented something that could give you the meaning of big words, that would be cool huh?”
"Yeah, I'm sure no one's thought of that before. Hey! We could patent our idea! Make millions! "
“Race-broom scientists, those two…” a random voice said from across the hall and there was another bout of laughter. Goyle and Crabbe were again locked in deep contemplation. Crabbe got an idea, and his face brightened, Ron practically ‘saw’ the lightbulb flash over his head.
”Hey! I’m sure Draco would know who to ask to find a spell that would tell us where we could find a person who could create a patent for us so we could get funding to start experiments to formulate a potion to create something, like y'know, those things..Books! " They both grinned.
"Then what?" Goyle urged on.
"Yeah, this book would have ..I dunno, maybe spells or something that could find the meaning of words, like that word .. uh.. umm…” he trailed off. He looked at his mate in a silent question, and Goyle shrugged, clueless.
“Er..Er.. what?" Goyle coaxed.
“I forgot what we were talking about...” Crabbe said dejectedly. “Anyway- Weasel, you're a DEAD man come Friday!” he repeated, once smacking his fist in his right palm. Ron put on a very straight face.
“Right, if by chance you can deduce which day is Friday on a calender, and maybe if you remember these minor “I'm going to kill you” details by then, I'll be sure to have my “I'm really, really scared” expression on, alright?” Ron said seriously.
“You better!” Goyle nodded, a smug expression on his face.
“Yeah, four days, Weasel- four days!” Crabbe added, his fingers held up for emphasis. Ron watched them go, sighing in true disbelief as they pushed a first year Ravenclaw so that his drink spilled over his robes.
“Could somebody please spare them and kindly show them how to count to five? Today is Sunday, for crying out loud,” Ron muttered under his breath as he once again turned his attention to Cho. “Now where were we..ah yes..have I ever told you how cute your nose is?”
That night, two of the Order of the Phoenix were in quiet contemplation. Hagrid and Remus Lupin were nursing a huge mug and goblet of firewhiskey, respectively, in the hut that stood on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It was late, and the moon shone through the clear starry sky. Remus had told Hagrid of what had happened in Italy, and why Harry was in this condition.
“ ‘Unters, where in hell did these two come from? I though’ they ‘ere all wiped out,” Hagrid grumbled after hearing the story. Remus did not answer for a short while, his thoughts going back to the fight, where he was completely helpless and escaped death again by mere seconds. He thought about his best mates at school, that vital extra second was not there for either of them. He took a shot of his drink, and grunted appreciatively at the burning sensation in his throat.
“My friend, you ask questions that cannot be answered. Hunters were specific in their prey, and did not set out to kill unless ordered. So what we’re looking at is either rogue hunters, or someone had given them orders to ..to.. “ he broke off. He looked deep into his goblet again; it was too damn close this past year for Harry. He had sworn at James’ and Lily’s funeral that he would protect their only son alongside Sirius, Albus, Alastor and Proudmore. Now only three of them were alive, and his two other comrades had both fallen and nearly killed by Warlocks. Process of elimination all pointed that he was in next in line to be placed into serious danger, but divination and fear were never his strong points.
“Yeah, I know what you’re tryin’ to say.” Hagrid grumbled, idly petting Fang’s head on the edge of his lap. “ Someone really wants to finish what Voldemort started all those years ago.”
“ I have utmost confidence in him, but Hagrid, it’s gotten to the point where paranoia becomes a part of you, and he’s too young to become like Alastor, even though in Harry’s case its warranted. But he’s still basically a kid, and he should have years to look forward too, instead of lying in hospitals. “
“What’re really saying Moony?”
“No more half-assing around.” Remus muttered vehemently, his eyes fierce. He looked up at Hagrid, whose face also had stern lines of determination etched into them. “We’ve got to find out whose doing this before it’s too late.”
Ginny was still in a state, and needed someone to really relay her feelings unto. But she did not want a friend’s advice, what she really wanted was guidance, and support. She got out of bed in her nightgown and padded silently down to the common room. She took a lamp from the shelf and set it on the table. “ Lecarnum Enflamare!” she whispered, and its light illuminated the darkness. She dipped a quill into ink, and began to write on a roll of parchment.
He’s back. Harry has returned to Hogwarts. He was stretchered in, blood was all over him. The professor was also badly injured, and right now they are both still in the hospital wing. It was worse than before mom, after the party, and I’m having nightmares. I’m only seeing myself at a tombstone, and his name on it. It keeps repeating over and over, and now it’s every night I dream the same thing. I just don’t know what to do. I wish I could just make everything go away, and keep him safe. I know the others also want to know about Harry, but don’t overreact to me having these dreams, I reckon it’s normal considering everything. I just needed to tell someone, and you are always there for me. Tell dad and everyone that I love them, and I miss them already.
She rolled the parchment and tied it with a ribbon. She blew out the candle, and rose from the table. It would be sent to the Burrow first thing in the morning.
Amos Diggory was still awake in his quarters, peering at the high ceiling of his bedroom. Potter was back, and there is a lot he wanted to know from the last person to see his beloved Cedric alive. He linked his fingers behind his head, and reminisced on the past year of mourning he and his wife endured. He lay there awake until the early cries of the early birds pulled him out of his reverie, and he got up out of bed to get ready for work.
Monday morning was like every other Monday morning for Ron Weasley: really, really depressing. Friday was a full five days away. He had a real hard time with his homework, as he had to do it alone. The whole situation with Harry had everything in a mess, the Gryffindor students were only pestering Hermione every time they saw her, as she was the only person to see him so regularly. She was even exempted from today’s classes and the homework given to them for the weekend she completely ignored. Ron fought up to early this morning with some unfinished transfiguration essay that Professor Dumbledore wanted written over, claiming the NEWT standard needed to be more detailed and precise. Hopefully his makeup paper would be sufficient for the new substitute for the substitute transfiguration teacher: no other than the highly delectable Nymphadora Tonks. Last year during the summer he had secretly hoped that she fantasized about him like how he did about her, but painfully concluded that was highly unlikely. Wait until the guys get a load of their new transfiguration teacher, maybe the week won’t be so bad after all.
He was smiling to himself in a sadistic way when a voice startled him out of his very inappropriate thoughts.
“Ron!” Cho Chang called from behind him.
“Huh? Hey Chang, what’s up?” Ron looked at her, and felt that there was something missing or something different about.. about something.. something he said maybe? He couldn’t put a finger to it, but he knew that there was a little bit of tension in the air between them.
“The Professor just told me that he wants to have an improptu assembly in the hall, and to find the other prefects to get their houses in order. I’m going to tell McMillian, find Malfoy and let him know.” With that she was off in another direction, calling names of her own Ravenclaw housemates. Ron found himself checking her out, but shook his head to clear the thoughts that originated from deep down in the gutter. Trying to remember too hard the flashing images he had of her and Tonks doing something that they shouldn’t do was taxing his already “turning-sand-into-leprechaun-gold” and “anti jinx currency spells” congested brain into turmoil. Transfiguration essays were almost as bitchin’ as potions right about now. He cleared his mind and focused on the task at hand.
Find Malfoy? This could be interesting… With a broad smile on his face he set off to the Slytherin Dungeons.
Kenna and Hermione were walking alongside professor Dumbledore along the aisles of the hospital wing. He was clutching onto an old wizarding staff that he used as a makeshift walking stick, taking his time as the young ladies escorted him. Hermione was constantly glancing and worrying over the professor, while Kenna walked along wordlessly. She was very nervous, the old man had told her she needed to be sorted before she started classes. She was dressed in a Hogwarts uniform, and her hair was neatly tied in a bun, her delicate features bearing a shockingly close resemblance to her older brother. Draco had told her that she would join him in his house for sure, it was practically a done deal. She wasn’t sure about that, maybe she could be in the same house as Harry? What did he tell her when she asked him about Quidditch, that he played for a Gryffin-something? She couldn’t remember clearly, but she did remember that kiss they shared in bed that night, it still warmed her insides every time she thought of it. He felt so warm and his muscles were tough under her touch, and she definitely knew that he was attracted to her. The way he had roughly pulled her hair, and pressed his lips against her. But for some reason when she tried to put her tongue in his mouth he freaked out… not the best way to end her first real kiss.
“Excuse me, what house is Harry belong?” she asked the brown haired girl who spent a lot of time with Harry over the weekend. Kenna automatically assumed that it was his sister, seeing that Harry never mentioned he had a girlfriend. And she didn’t seem the type to have a man like that, she was so.. so.. worried to the state of being just plain pathetic. She was always in a sad mood. From her little time with Harry she knew he liked beautiful, lively girls, much more like her. This ordinary girl had to be his sister, or cousin of some sort.
“Harry is in Gryffindor house,” Hermione replied, talking to Kenna for the first time. Where was her manners all of a sudden? Feeling very ashamed of not even trying to make Kenna feel welcome, she stuck out her hand. “hi, I’m Hermione.”
Kenna took her hand and answered good-naturedly, “My name is Kenna Rossil- Malfoy.”
Hermione was a bit take back for a moment.” Malfoy? As in Draco Malfoy?” she felt quite stupid after she said it… How many Malfoys did she know?
“Yes. He is my brother.” She added, pride in her voice. “He is fire wizard, like Harry, no?”
Hermione’s thoughts went back to their fight in the ministry of magic early in the summer and she nodded at Kenna. What were the chances are that two wizards in the same generation of the same age were both Flame Summoners, and also happened to be school rivals?
“Yes, I reckon he is.”
“Maybe I am like Draco and have fire magic as well, no?, Harry is very strong, and is good fighter. Saved me from two Assarisanante. I must thank him when he wakes,” Kenna said, her voice reverent.
Hermione pursed her lips. She did not want to think of assassins and killers at this moment. She took hold of Professor Dumbledore’s arm as they reached the stairs. “Come on Professor: watch your step.”
Ron had given up on finding Malfoy, the Slytherin dungeons were devoid of life. He went back up to the Gryffindor home room and called any scragglers who did not know of the assembly in the great hall this morning.
“C’mon you lot, can’t be sitting lazing around, downatairs!” After checking to make sure the classes were empty of students he went to the flight of stairs, only to see Hermione, Kenna and the professor also going down. Kenna shot him a cold look. “You!! You fight with my brother!”
“Chill out princess, he started it,” Ron countered.
“Ron! You got in a fight with Malfoy?” Hermione asked, totally forgetting that they were right in front of the headmaster. Ron tried to shut her up with a jerkin of his head in the Professor’s direction.
“Do not worry, Mr. Weasley, my ears are sealed.,” Dumbledore said whistling a tune. Ron smiled at him, and told Hermione he would fill her in later. Kenna followed behind the trio, her eyes green as she fumed after them.
There was near pandemonium in the main Hall. The headmaster, Professor Mcgonagall, Professor Snape and Hermione were all absent, and Cho, Justin, Ernie, Susan and Pansy were getting nowhere in trying to maintain order. Draco was leaning against the wall , watching the other prefects’ futile attempts to get everyone quiet. The teachers did not come in as yet, and a Ravenclaw and a huffle puff girl werearguing about who was messing with the other boyfriend over the summer and who was to blame, creating a domino effect of conflicts and arguments.
“Will you quiet down please?!’ Cho begged, trying to placate the two girls. The respective friends of the girls in question were throwing insults at each other, and mayhem was about to ensue. Draco sneered at the lot of them, sometimes words were not enough. He sauntered over to the agitated group and incanted “Inciendo Lasifare!!
The lights went out and a blazing bolt of fire shot down from out of nowhere in between all of them, creating a ten foot pillar of flame to separate the two quarrelsome bitches. Everyone stepped back in fright, completely shocked at what had happened. Some even screamed, and ran back tot heir seats. Draco calmly walked through the fire and it extinguished itself on touching him.
“Shut up. Sit down. My sister is going to be sorted.” He paused for a second until there was dead silence. “Learn some respect.” He sauntered back to where he leaned against the wall, and clapped his hands twice in succession. The numerous chandelier candles re-ignited and the room was once again brightly illuminated. In the next three seconds the teachers, alongside Professor Dumbledore and his young wizard escort entered. The professor smiled his approval at the group of stunned prefects still standing.
“Excellent work on maintaining order. You may take your seats.” Ron and Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table while Kenna remained at the professor’s side, his hand resting lightly on her shoulder. He waved his wand, and a stool with Gryffindor’s old beaten hat magically appeared out of thin air in front of the staff table.
“Good morning all, I have made my way out of bed to have this special assembly. We have a new student in our midst, her name is Kenna Rossilini. Please make her feel welcome.” There was a round of applause, very much influenced by the menacing glare Draco was giving everyone. “Thank you. Kenna joins us from italy, and will be placed into her house by the Sorting hat. Kenna, please have a seat.”
Kenna nervously sat on the chair, her hand trembling slightly. Dumbledore raised the hat, and placed it on her head.
“SLYTH-!!” Draco was already in the middle of making a loud whoop when the hat went silent. He was caught doing an Arseio “whoop whoop” when everyone just diverted their attention and simply stared at him. Feeling embarrassed, he sat down without another word.
“Hmmm…. Difficult.. yes ..very difficult. There’s talent, oh yes, a very unique ability .. and a desire to prove oneself. Not Slytherin eh? You sure? You could be great you know.. It’s all here, and Slyhterin could help you to greatness!”
Ron and Hermione gasped and looked at each other in alarm. “That’s exactly ..when Harry..!” they stammered in unison. The hat spoke again, and their heads whipped back around to the front of the hall.
“Well then.. better be..”
Ron and Hermione held their breath..
There was a round of applause from the Ravenclaws and Kenna smiled brightly, and all the guys took notice. She went happily to her new house, Draco’s mouth still open in shock. Ron couldn’t take his eyes off of her green ones, and she began talking animatedly to Cho and her friends. First it was Tonks, then Cho, now Kenna.. what was it with these Ravenclaw women?
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