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Chapter 4 : My Time of Mourning & Change
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“The Halloween Ball,” explained Professor McGonagall as I got back from my last detention “will be attended by all those in years 5 and above.” She was standing in the centre of the Common Room, surrounded by excited chitters from the girls and groans from the boys. “Unless, of course, you had been invited.” She glanced at a bunch of fourth year girls who had looked upset at the thought of not being able to attend. “It is a time to relax, and to enjoy the night.” She concluded lamely, then nodded and left.
“A Halloween Ball? That’s new.” I mumbled. Not really fancying the thought of a Ball so early in the semester.
“That’s what we had to discuss when McGonagall told us to come with her.” Ron said plopping himself down on to his favourite arm chair as the crowd slowly dispersed, “Malfoy was there too.”
“What, was it a vote?” I asked, mildly interested in the topic.
“Yeah, Malfoy motioned it.”
“That’s weird.” I trailed.
“Yeah, tell me about it.” mumbled Ron, looking rather gruntled.
“He’s probably wanting to show off his new dress robes” said Harry, looking as disturbed as Ron was.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity,” Hermione exclaimed, a broad smile on her face.
“A wonderful opportunity for what, exactly?” Ron grunted, looking at Hermione with a strained look on his face.
“For your brother, to ask Sofie out.” She chortled.
“Hermione, he already has.” I told her, not sure whether she remembered or not.
“Yes, well, not really,” again, I wondered how she knew; “he merely told you he liked you.”
“Oooh, here he comes,” her smile seemed too big for her face.
“Hey Soph.” George looked rather flushed.
“Hi,” I smiled, kissing him on the cheek. His face seemed to have turned as bright as his hair. Behind him, I saw Fred, Ron, Harry and Hermione watching, eyes round and bright with eagerness.
“So you’ve heard about the Halloween Ball yeah?” George mumbled, looking down.
“Yes, I have.” It was an awkward moment, Hermione nodded encouragingly behind his back; as though he was able to see.
“Well, uh... Do you want to, you know, come with me to the Ball?” he still hadn’t looked up at me. The trouble maker I once knew wasn’t there anymore.
I smiled faintly, “’Course.”
He finally looked up at me and smiled. “Cool.”
I watched as he left with Fred and Lee. Harry and Ron had already left to go to bed.
“Hey, what’s up? You don’t look too happy.” Hermione asked, as the last person in the common room walked up the stairs.
“Oh, uh nothing.” I stuttered, pulling my legs up closer towards me as I leaned against the back of the arm chair.
“Is it George?” she raised an eyebrow over the sock she was knitting.
I sighed, “Yeah, he doesn’t seem… normal anymore.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed. He’s changed.” she stated, eyes lowering back to her knitting.
“Yeah, it’s like his confidence’s gone down the drain” I mumbled, feeling guilty and miserable.
“That’s because he’s not sure if you mean it or not,” she stopped knitting, “You do, don’t you?”
I looked at Hermione and decided to tell her the truth. “I’m not sure.”
“Yes, well, feelings can’t be put into ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I’m sure it’ll become clearer sooner or later.”
“So, should I stop it with him? Or what?” I asked, desperately needing some advice.
“I say, you go with him to the Halloween Ball and if you still feel unsure, then break up.”
I sat there, thoughtfully, until I realised, “I don’t have a dress!”
Hermione stopped knitting. “We can go shopping! There’s a Hogsmeade visit on Sunday.”
Sunday couldn’t come any faster. I was looking forward to spending a ‘girl’s day out’, looking for dresses, although, it was just me and Hermione. As we walked steadily towards Hogsmeade, a bunch of Slytherin girls were huddled near the entrance to Hogsmeade.
“No, Draco hasn’t asked me to the Ball yet. Although, I’m sure he will.” Pansy laughed, looking towards our direction. “I’m sure he’s going to make it romantic.” The other girls giggled and they too looked at me and Hermione.
We just raised an eyebrow and walked right past them.
“You going with the blood traitor, Rivers?” Pansy sneered.
“None of your business.” I grunted, not stopping.
“What about you mudblood?” I spun and drew my wand.
“No, Soph, don’t worry.” Hermione implored, holding my arm down.
“Just shut your mouth Pansy.” I glared at her.
“Sometimes I wonder why do you hang out with these people? You're father never did.” she retorted, as Hermione pulled me away.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I yanked my hand out of Hermione's and held my wand out, pointing it at her while her friends backed away edgily. My eyes shot daggers at her and she shot some back. I hated her.
"Don't pretend you knew my father Parkinson," I growled as Hermione tried again to pull on my arm.
“You should’ve let me take her on, Hermione. Let me build a reputation.” I grumbled half jokingly as we walked through the door, into Gladrag’s Wizardwear. “I’ve never been here” I mumbled softly, as I looked around at the different dresses which were put on the enchanted moving manikins.
“How can I help you?” a stout woman around her mid-40’s stepped out from behind a rack. She had blue, frizzy hair, which stuck out in all directions.
“Oh, we’re just looking for a dress.” Hermione said, as I continued looking around.
“I wonder why there aren’t hundreds of girls here.” I said, absent-mindedly.
“They’re all across the street,” Hermione pointed towards the shop directly across from us. It was packed with Hogwarts girls.
I looked around the racks for a decent looking dress. I picked out a bright red dress which looked as though it had been worn by someone who had a weak bladder problem.
“Sofie, come here.”
Looking at the dress disdainfully, I placed it back and treaded towards Hermione.
“Hermione are you sure we should be looking for dresses here.”
“Soph, try this on.” She lifted a beautiful violet dress with a pink bow tied just on the waist.
“Wow, that’s pretty decent looking.” I muttered under my breath.
“Try it on.” She said, holding the dress out towards the dressing room.
I sighed. I’ve never been into the whole ‘try it on’ thing.
She pushed me inside the changing room. “Don’t forget to show me what you look like.”
I held the dress out in front of me, God I can’t believe I’m doing this, I thought to myself.
I laced it up from the back using magic and I gasped as I looked at myself in the mirror. The fitted top bodice pronounced my curves more than I imagined and the gathered skirt was amazing.
“Sooofiee,” Hermione called, “You done yet?”
“Just about.” I replied as the door opened.
“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Hermione, pulling my hair up as though analysing the possibilities of my hair.
“Hermione,” I said wearily, “I don’t think so.”
Hermione looked like she had just been slapped. “What? Why?”
“Hermione, this isn’t me. I just don’t do dresses.”
“That’s because you’re not used to it!”
Right at that moment, Ginny and a few of her friends walked in.
“Sofie?!” she shrieked. “Wow, is that your dress??”
“N – “
“Yes,” Hermione interrupted, giving me a look.
“Wow! George would love that.” Ginny winked at me, then went in search for her own dress in the racks.
I groaned and closed the door to the changing room and just looked at my reflection. I traced the pink bow along the waist absent mindedly.
With little persuasion by Hermione, I decided to buy the dress. Hermione and I made our way towards the Three Broomsticks, I felt someone following us. I turned around, but no one was there.
“What’s up?” Hermione asked, looking back to where I was looking.
“Nothing…” I voiced, then turned and opened the door to the Three Broomsticks.
We sat down at a table in the corner. The other tables were filled with students whom we rarely talked to.
“What will it be, girls?” asked Madam Rosmerta briskly.
“Two butterbeers please.” Hermione said as I studied the students at each table. A bunch of Slytherins were sitting in the opposite corner. I watched as they laughed and giggled at something Malfoy must’ve said. Then I realised, Malfoy wasn’t there. I stared at them, brows furrowed.
Zabini looked at me and whispered to the person beside him. The others turned and started laughing even louder.
“Did this place just seem to get dirtier? Oh wait, no, it’s just the mudblood and the desperate whore sitting in the corner, over there.” Unfortunately, Pansy Parkinson was also there.
“Just leave it, don’t listen to them.” whispered Hermione as Madam Rosmerta came back with the butterbeers.
The giggles and sounds of laughter intensified and I found my temper rising.
“I need to pee.” I muttered, getting off of my seat and started towards the stairs leading to the bathroom.
As I got to the landing, Draco had come out of the boys toilets, rubbing his left arm. I stopped abruptly.
He raised an eyebrow, “Rivers?”
“What?” I sneered, too pissed off for manners.
“Someone’s got their rags.” he muttered.
My mouth dropped. “Wh – what?! How dare you! You insolent little prick!”
“Why are you so angry for then?” he asked, clearly not at all affected by my last statement.
I glared at him, “No reason.” I walked past him, shoving him slightly.
I let out a long breath and turned to look at Draco, who had stepped closer towards me. He was looking down into my eyes.
“We – “
“Come to the Ball with me.” I was taken aback.
“What?” I blinked.
“Come to the Halloween Ball with me Rivers.”
“What? No! Draco?” I let out an exasperated sigh, “You’re joking right?”
He looked at me seriously and stepped closer as I stepped back. He was so tall I had to crane my head upwards to look at him.
“Yeah, I am.” And like that, he left.
Completely nonplussed, I mouthed the words “What The Hell?”
By the time Hermione and I had reached the castle, we were starving like pigs who hadn’t eaten their slop for days, so we left our things in our dorm and left straight to the Great Hall to get some dinner.
“Whoa, you two are hungry,” said Harry, placing his spoon in his mouth slowly as he watched us eat.
“It’s rude to stare, you know.” I mumbled as I filled my mouth with mashed potato.
“Oh, so did you hear?” Pansy said loudly, over at the Slytherin table. “Draco asked me to the Ball.” She could’ve been screaming it, the way she talked.
Excited murmurs formed around her. “He asked when he came back from the bathroom at the Three Broomsticks.”
I momentarily stopped eating, unable to stop listening to Pansy.
“How did he ask?” a high-pitched girl squeaked.
“Well, he did seem a bit reluctant about it, but I’m sure he was just nervous.” Pansy said. I rolled my eyes. How thick can she get?
“Hermione, do you want to come with me to the Ball?” I made a loud choking noise as the mashed potato became stuck inside my throat. It was Ron, and his ears had a flushed a deep crimson colour.
“Why, Ron, I’d thought you’d never asked.” Hermione beamed, blushing slightly.
“Well, that’s settled then.” Ron mumbled with relief.
“What about you Harry? You asked anyone yet?” I asked, now understanding how Ron had felt when he was choking.
“No, not yet.” he said, playing with his meatballs with his fork.
“Do you have anyone in mind mate?” Ron said, face dimming down a bit.
“Nah, I don’t know.” Harry’s meatball flew across to the Hufflepuff’s table.
“Maybe we can get you a date?” I suggested, looking at Hermione with a sly grin.
“Yeah!” she squealed, “What about that fourth year in Hufflepuff?”
“There are loads of girls who’d want to go with Harry, no doubt ‘bout that.” Ron said, grinning along.
“Hey Luna,” I shouted as I spotted her about to leave the Great Hall, “Do you want to go to the Ball with Harry?”
Harry shot me an agonized look as Luna drifted towards us dreamily.
“Go to the Ball with Harry?” her voice far away.
I grinned at Harry, “Yeah, do you want to Luna?”
“I guess.” she said, voice still far off in la-la land.
“Thanks… Soph, really, thanks.” Harry muttered sarcastically.
“Hey, at least we all got dates now.” I got up and lifted my leg over the bench. “I’ll see you guys at the Common Room. Got to burn off this fat.” I gestured at my plate on the table.
“Where are you going?” Hermione called after me. I replied with a short wave.
I walked along the corridor – the same one as the one I’d bumped into Draco - with a slight spring in my step.
I hummed a simple song, thoughts on the day I just had. I stopped humming as I saw Draco, head bent out the window.
I slowed down and I stopped besides him. I peeked my head to the side, looking at what Draco was looking at. He still didn’t seem notice me. Slightly taken aback by Draco’s lack of alertness, I poked him on the shoulder.
“Rivers?” he turned his body, startled. “What do you want?”
“Quite rude, aren’t you Draco?” I asked him, taking his place at looking out the window.
“Look who’s talking.” he muttered, barely audibly.
Ignoring him, I said, “Congratulations on asking Pansy out to the Ball.”
“How’d you find out ‘bout that?” he asked, crossing his arms across his chest.
“Pansy’s been bragging.” I turned to face him. “She said you seemed reluctant.”
“What, she’s been gossiping about me to you?” he asked, quite confusedly.
“No, I just overheard.”
“See, there you go with your eavesdropping.”
“I wasn’t eavesdropping!” I retorted defensively. “It was hard not to overhear.”
“Ha, yeah okay.” The corners of Malfoy's lips lifted and his top lip curled slightly.
I turned back to look out the window. “It’s funny you know, you’re not so big headed when you’re by yourself.”
His cheeks flushed and he moved to lean against the wall. “What do you mean by that?”
“For one, you’re not sneering at me. Two –” I turned my body so that my back was leaning against the window wall. “You’re not teasing me the way your normally do.”
“Maybe I just think you’ve got enough to deal with already. Don’t want to add an extra load of lowering your self esteem. Tell me Rivers, you don’t seem so much like a bitch when you’re by yourself.”
My mouth dropped open. “We –”
“Calm down, calm down,” he interrupted, “I was kidding.”
“That wasn’t very funny, Draco.” He merely just grunted. “What are you doing here anyway?”
“I like the view.” he said simply.
“You can see the same view from all over Hogwarts.” I said, slightly amused.
“Yeah, well, this place is nice and secluded.” He uncrossed his arms, “That is, before you came.”
I eyed him, “Well, if you wanted me gone you could’ve just said so.” With that, I turned on my heel and walked away heatedly.
When I got back to the common room, the others hadn’t returned yet so I got a scrap piece of parchment, an ink bottle and my quill out. I decided to skip homework for tonight so I wrote a letter to Sirius.
Where are you staying now? I really hope you’re okay. Well, you’d never guess Snuffles, but I got a weeks detention last week from Snape. Certainly the high light of my week. Not really actually, they’ve decided to hold a Halloween Ball on, well, Halloween.
Well, Snuffles, I’m not sure if you’ve heard from Mrs. Weasley or not, but George and I are going out. Not so sure about how I feel about him though. He’s changed ever since I said ‘Yes’, metaphorically speaking. I never really did say Yes.
Hermione brought me on a shopping expedition in Hogsmeade today. Bought a pretty dress too. I’ll take it home for the Christmas party shall I? That is if we are having a Christmas Party this year?
I still don’t get it, how did you not pay rent Snuffles? Honestly.
Well, hoping to see you soon.
Lots of Love, Sofie.
I re-read the letter then rolled it up. With a quick glance at the clock, I decided to leave to the Owlery as there was still an hour and forty five minutes left until curfew.
I called down a grey owl, which had been chewing on what seemed to be a little bone.
“Sirius Black.” I said softly to the owl so that no one could hear. I watched as it flew out into the darkness. Although I didn’t say it much, I loved Sirius. He had been the father figure I’d been missing since I was six. Even though he had been locked up in Azkaban for most of it, I felt a special bond with him. I’d been one of the few who had believed he was innocent. My parents had known him and they refused to believe that he had been the cause of the murder of Harry’s parents. I sighed sadly as I thought of Sirius, being trapped and misunderstood.
My memory shifted to the night when my parents had been murdered.
There was a loud bang outside our house. My parents were scrambling about. My dad was locking doors and windows and with his wand, moving tables and drawers to block the doors.
“Sofie,” my mum panted, finally spotting me in my dotted pyjamas, “Sofie, honey, get under your bed and put on your cloak.” She was talking about my Invisibility cloak which had been a gift from Sirius.
I held my miniature wand in my right hand, and the arm of my bewitched – now partly alive – teddy bear in the other. I watched as my parents scrambled around the house frantically.
“Sofie!” my mum walked up to me, “Get under your bed.”
“Mummy, you’re crying.” I looked at her teary, wet eyes.
“Sofie,” my dad picked me up and walked towards my bed, quite hastily. “Stay under your bed and keep your cloak on okay?”
“Mm, okay daddy.” He gave me a quick kiss on the forehead and went back to blocking doors until soon; we were running out of things to use as a block.
“Carter, they’re here.” My mother half screamed, trembling. She quickened her pace at barring the windows. “Sofie,” she looked at where she thought I was to be sharply, her eyes becoming even more watery, “Whatever you hear or see, please Sofie, don’t come out.” I felt a sickening feeling inside my stomach as I watched her from under my bed. “Sofie, we love you.” She let out a dry sob.
Then the door burst open, tables and chairs flying across the room.
“Avada -” a hoarse, rough voice began.
“Stupefy!” I heard my father yell.
“Protego.” The other man drawled. My father’s spell rebounded off of his shield. He walked towards my father as my father backed away warily.
“Expelliarmus!” my mum screamed, voice cracking slightly. A wand landed feets away from where I was. Except, it wasn’t the man’s wand. I recognised the auburn, bright handle, flashing at me. It was my father’s. Although I was only six years old, I knew exactly what was going to happen. My mother’s mistake had costed us our lives. I held my hand around my mouth, to stop myself from screaming.
The man chuckled. “Avada Kedavra.” I felt myself go cold as a blinding green light filled my room. My father was lying on the floor, his ocean blue eyes lifeless. I stifled a sob as my mother fell back towards my bed, dropping her wand and holding on to my dad'sbody tightly. The tall man, platinum blonde hair falling on his shoulders had his wand, pointing towards my mother. She began to whimper and sob.
“Avada Kedavra.” The man said again. A deafening scream filled the room. I couldn’t hold it in, I let out a loud gasp of breath as my mother fell to the floor right in front of me. The man looked down to where I was and I felt the invisibility cloak fly off of me. He smiled. Smiled a smile that was evil and menacing. A smile that left me feeling helpless and defenceless. He opened his mouth, then –
“Impedimenta!” Sirius’ voice flooded the room. “Sofie, get up. He won’t stay that way for long.” He ran towards me and lifted me up with one hand, snatching the Invisibility cloak with the other. I wept as I saw my parents’ dead bodies. “Sofie, come on.” he held my arm tightly and pulled me. I caught a glance at the man who had killed my parents. He snared at me while he was immobilised.
“Sofie, don’t let go.” Sirius said as he led me outside. “I’m going to take you somewhere safe okay?”
And the uncomfortable sensation of apparition flooded the memory. In the end, Sirius took me to Dumbledore where he took me in for a few days, helped me through my time of mourning. Until, of course, that day where Sirius had been sent into Azkaban. It took the Ministry six years to capture Sirius and him, not wanting to set a bad example for me, left quietly.
I was left alone, with only Dumbledore. Until, he too, finally decided to send me to an orphanage.
The hoot of an owl made me realise where I was. I let out a long sigh and stared at the moonlight before turning and walking back to the Common Room.
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