Natalie woke up on the first day of classes and felt nervous for the first time since she'd met Hermione.
“You’ll be fine,” Harry said as they walked down to breakfast. “We all have the same classes today.” Natalie gave him a queasy smile and didn’t say a word. She didn’t say anything or eat anything throughout breakfast either.
Harry was right, though, and Natalie’s first day was perfectly fine. The Gryffindors had History of Magic with the Hufflepuffs. Natalie had never been taught by a ghost before, so it was a little strange being taught by Professor Binns, and also a little dull. The highlight of the class was when Ron levitated his book through Professor Binns, who didn’t think it was as funny as the rest of the class.
The next class was Transfiguration with the Slytherins. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Harry didn’t get into a fight with one of the Slytherins. He had platinum blond hair and a long, thin face, and he had picked a fight with Harry for no reason. Luckily, Professor McGonagall was not only the Transfiguration teacher, but also the head of Gryffindor, so she favored Harry by giving the other boy a detention.
After lunch, the Gryffindors had double Charms with the Ravenclaws. Although it was four hours long, Natalie felt it flew by. Professor Flitwick spent the entire time going over charms they had learned in previous years as a review, so Natalie spent the entire time passing notes back and forth with Harry. Hermione spent the entire time with her hand raised, anxious to answer a question or perform a charm. Seamus and Dean spent the entire time flying a paper airplane over a frustrated Neville’s head. And Ron spent the entire time snoring loudly, his face smushed on the desk in a puddle of drool.
The rest of the week went by fairly quickly as well. Tuesday the Gryffindors had double Defense Against the Dark Arts in the morning, and then Natalie went off with Hermione to Ancient Runes and Arithmancy after lunch. Wednesday morning they all had History of Magic and Transfiguration again, and Harry, Ron, and Natalie spent the afternoon relaxing in the empty common room. After dinner, Natalie and Harry begrudgingly moped up the stairs of the Astronomy Tower, and didn’t get back to the common room until after midnight. Thursday morning, Natalie was the only one of her friends taking classes. She elected to take Muggle Studies and Divination, since neither were available at Beauxbatons and she was curious. Thursday afternoon was double Potions with the Slytherins.
Friday finally came, and after a morning of double Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and double Care of Magical Creatures (Natalie, Seamus, Dean, and Neville were the only Gryffindors in the class) in the afternoon, Natalie went straight to the plushest couch and plopped down just as Harry came down from the boys’ dormitory.
“Long week?” he said, snickering as he sat down next to Natalie.
“You could say that,” said Natalie, grinning. She refused to think of how stressful the weeks would become once they actually had homework and papers and projects to do. “Where is everyone?” She glanced around and saw that the common room held only a few second years playing games and a fifth year couple getting cozy on an armchair.
“Hermione dragged Ron to the library,” Harry said.
“To do what? We don’t have any work yet.”
“Beats me,” Harry said. “But he’s the boyfriend, so he gets dragged wherever she likes.” They both laughed and then sat in silence for a few minutes.
“So, are you going to Hogsmeade tomorrow?” Harry asked.
“Well I – what’s Hogsmeade?” Natalie asked, suddenly feeling foolish.
Harry just laughed. “It’s a little village just off the school grounds. There’s usually not a trip until October, but since the first dance is tomorrow a bunch of girls petitioned for a trip since they didn’t have dresses.”
Natalie just laughed. “Oh, well I’m not going to the dance, so I probably won’t go to Hogsmeade,” she said.
“Why aren’t you going?” Harry asked. He wasn’t sure why he asked. He wasn’t going either.
“I dunno, I don’t really know anyone yet,” Natalie said.
“So, you should go. There’ll be plenty of people to get to know there.”
“Eh,” Natalie pondered. She’d never been to a dance, she’d only seen them in movies and it was something that she felt she could miss out on. “Girls get too crazy about them. I don’t need to spend my day worrying over who’s going to ask me to dance or who I’m going to get rejected by.”
Harry didn’t know why, but he blurted out, “So let’s just go as friends.”
“Really?” Natalie asked. “You don’t seem the type to wanna go.”
“I’m not, but Hermione’s taking Ron and he’s begging me to go,” Harry said.
“Oh,” Natalie said, looking down. “I’d love to go,” she finally said, honestly.
“Great,” Harry said. They started chatting about classes, and before they knew it, the common room was full of loud and hungry students waiting for dinner.
The next day, Natalie was woken up by Lavender excitedly jumping on her bed. “Wake up, wake up!” she shouted.
Natalie just moaned. “Ughhh, what time is it?” she croaked.
“Seven,” Lavender said, climbing off Natalie’s bed and pulling the sheets back.
“It’s Saturday,” Natalie complained, reaching for the covers to pull them back up. Lavender grabbed them, though, and threw them on the ground.
“I know,” she exclaimed, as Natalie sat up. “And we have to go down to breakfast now so we can be the first to Hogsmeade and get the good dresses before anyone else.”
Natalie sighed and laid back down. “Come on!” Parvati said, shaking Natalie as she passed her bed. She and Lavender were already completely dressed and ready to go.
“We’ll meet you down there,” Hermione said, who was awake, but still sitting in bed.
“We’ll be waiting in the common room so don’t go back to sleep,” Lavender said as she followed Parvati out the door.
“I think she’s serious,” Hermione laughed a few minutes after Lavender left. Natalie laughed, and finally after another ten minutes, rolled out of bed, got dressed, and headed down to breakfast.
The walk down to Hogsmeade was quick. It was a sunny day with a light breeze, and everyone was anxious to get there. When they did, they decided to split up.
“Can’t I just pick one out really quick then go to that joke shop?” Natalie pleaded.
“No!” Lavender said. “You have to come with us.” She grabbed Natalie by the arm and dragged her in the opposite way from Harry, Ron, Dean, Seamus, and Neville. Hermione and Ginny just laughed and followed Lavender, who was trailing behind Parvati and her twin sister, Padma, as they raced towards the first store.
Four excruciating hours later, the girls met the boys in The Three Broomsticks for butterbeers. Natalie had picked out a short-sleeved, royal blue dress that stopped just above her knee in the first store, but was still forced to endure five more stores. She’d seen enough pink chiffon and periwinkle satin and white silk to last her entire life.
After an hour at The Three Broomsticks, Lavender and Parvati rushed everyone back up to the castle to get ready, even though it was only one o’clock and the dance didn’t start until seven.
Natalie realized why they needed so much time when she saw them doing their hair and makeup. They tried every different hair style imaginable, and Natalie was thankful they could use magic or it would take an entire day for them to get ready. She just relaxed on her bed and started reading the copy of Quidditch Through the Ages that Harry had lent her.
Finally, at six thirty, she got up and got dressed. She only wore a silver pair of sandals, a tiny bit of mascara, and her hair fell in loose ringlets over her shoulders. She thought she looked rather plain next to Lavender and Parvati, who went all out with gowns, heels, diamond jewelry. Even Hermione’s hair was twisted into an elegant knot. But it was better to be comfortable, so Natalie took one last look in the mirror and headed downstairs.
Lavender was already squealing at the corsages that Ron and Dean reluctantly got Hermione and Ginny. “I wonder what color Cormac got me!”
“You look, stunning,” Harry said, never taking his eyes from Natalie’s.
“Thanks,” she said, blushing. They looked at each other for a long moment while everyone else greeted their dates. “I hope this isn’t awkward,” Natalie blurted out.
Harry’s nervous look vanished and was replaced with a smile. “Just friends,” he said, reaching into his pocket. It made Natalie nervous; she didn’t want to walk around with giant flowers on her wrist all night. She was relieved when she just saw a tiny green box in his hands. He smiled. “It’s just some ton-tongue toffee, from Honeydukes. I know you didn’t get to do much in Hogsmeade. I’ll take you to Zonko’s next trip.”
An ear to ear grin formed on Natalie’s face. “Thanks!” she said through laughter.
“They’re really good, but you won’t be able to talk for about an hour,” Harry chuckled. “So I wouldn’t eat them now.”
Natalie smiled again and tucked them into Hermione’s purse, since she didn’t have one. “Don’t let me forget that,” she said.
At seven on the dot, they all headed down to the Great Hall. And when they got there, Natalie was happy that she went. The Great Hall had been transformed into some sort of dream-like fantasy. A thin layer of fog covered the ground so it looked as if everyone was walking on clouds. Natalie was convinced that the ceiling had even more enchantments on it, because there was no way the sky outside was that beautiful. The stars were twinkling, set into a clear, deep purple sky, and the crescent moon gave off a silvery-blue glow. The four house tables were gone and along the border of the room were round tables covered with shimmery white cloths with centerpieces of bouquets of magically floating white roses and baby’s breath. Behind the head table was a massive ice sculpture with a waterfall flowing down the front.
Everyone was speechless when they entered the room, but every girl was chattering once they sat down about how amazing it was. The feast was just as amazing as the first night.
Once the desserts were cleared, the music started. Nobody had any idea where it was coming from, but there was a sudden eruption of screams and girls started dragging their dates onto the dance floor. Ron looked at Hermione with the most pathetic look on his face. “Don’t worry, I won’t make you dance,” she said. She leaned over to Natalie and whispered, “Yet.”
Natalie couldn’t hold her laughter so Hermione quickly changed the subject before Ron figured out what was going on. They all talked for the next few minutes, but one by one, the couples started getting up to dance. Lavender and Cormac didn’t last a minute after dessert, then Parvati and Justin Finch-Fletchley, then Neville and Luna, followed shortly by Ginny and Dean. Eventually, Hermione lured Ron onto the dance floor by promising to do his next Potions paper.
“Well,” Harry said, shrugging and looking at Natalie. “Do you wanna dance?”
Natalie just smiled and went with it. She stood up and held out her hand. Harry took a deep breath, took her hand, and followed her to the crowd of people dancing in the middle of the room.
Of course the moment had to turn awkward, and the quick, upbeat music that was blasting changed to a slow, somber melody. Harry smiled a crooked smile at Natalie, and she stepped towards him, placing one hand on his shoulder. Harry wrapped one arm around her waist and took her free hand in his, and they slowly began to waltz around the Great Hall.
Natalie, Harry, Ron, and even Hermione had much more fun than they’d thought. They spent most of the night on the dance floor just laughing and goofing off together. It also made Sunday more enjoyable, since they were so tired and sore from dancing that they didn’t feel bad about wasting the day doing nothing.
They faced reality the next day, though, when Professor Binns gave them a long assignment, due the following Monday. To everyone’s relief, they were allowed to work in partners, and Ron immediately chose Hermione, thinking he wouldn’t have to do any work. Hermione frowned, knowing he was right. “I’d rather do all the work for both of us and pass then do half of it and fail,” she said to Natalie. Natalie just laughed, and her and Harry partnered up.
That night, Harry held Quidditch tryouts for Gryffindor after dinner. “Are you trying out?” he asked Natalie as they made their way down the grounds to the Quidditch Pitch.
“Oh, no,” Natalie said, cracking up. “I’ve never even flown before, I’m just coming to watch with Hermione.”
“Wow, I can’t believe you’ve never flown before,” said Harry, who was of course an amazing flyer.
“Well Quidditch isn’t exactly popular at Beauxbatons,” she replied. Harry got the image of a bunch of prissy girls in light blue robes flying around.
He laughed. “I can’t picture you fitting in at Beauxbatons,” he said. He’d met the girls who attended the French school during his fourth year, and Natalie did not fit in with them at all. She just smiled and they continued down to the Pitch.
Hermione and Natalie cheered obnoxiously throughout the whole tryouts, partially just to let off some steam, partially to embarrass Ron, who was the only one who tried out for Keeper.
After the tryouts were over, Harry thanked everyone for coming, and told them he would post who made the team by the next morning, even though it was obvious to everyone who would make it and who wouldn’t.
“Good job, Captain,” Natalie said to Harry, nudging his arm, as he landed next to her on the Pitch.
“So you’ve really never flown before?” he asked.
Natalie just shook her head. “Well hop on,” Harry said, motioning his head towards the back of his broomstick.
“No way,” Natalie said. She had watched Harry during the tryouts and could see that he flew very well, but there was no way she was sitting behind him on a thin little broomstick whizzing through the air.
“Come on, you’ll be fine, I’ll take it slow,” Harry said, tapping Natalie in her side with the broomstick.
“I’ll pass, the ground is fine with me,” she joked.
In one swift movement, Harry swung the back of his broomstick behind Natalie’s legs, causing her knees to buckle. She grabbed onto the broomstick to catch her fall, but Harry was already rising into the air, leaving Natalie swinging from the broomstick by just her hands and legs. “You can stay like that if you want,” Harry said, turning around with a grin on his face, “but I think you’ll be more comfortable if you sit like I am.”
Natalie, furious, pulled herself onto the broomstick and swung her left leg across it. She scooted closer to Harry and held onto his waist for dear life as he rocketed up higher, getting faster and faster. “I thought you said you would take it slow!” Natalie screamed into his ear.
“I am taking it slow!” he yelled back. Laughing, he sped up even more, weaving in and out of the bleachers. He suddenly took off out of the Pitch and towards the castle. Down below, Ron and Hermione, who were still walking back up to the castle, watched Harry and laughed, hoping he wouldn’t start showing off.
Natalie thought Harry was just flying them back to the castle, but he soared over it, bypassing it to head towards the lake. He flew down so close to it and their feet splashed in the water. As he started to fly back upwards again, Natalie began to feel comfortable, realizing that Harry wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. She wrapped her legs tightly around his and let go of his waist, spreading her arms wide in the air. She screamed as the wind whipped against her face and blew her hair out behind her.
Harry eventually turned around and headed towards the castle. Natalie kept her eye on the Quidditch Pitch, but Harry swerved closer and closer to the castle. They were soon close enough the touch it, and Harry slowed down until they circled to the west side of the castle, just around the corner from the Gryffindor Tower. He hovered the broomstick by one of the windows, peering inside to make sure no one was around. When they saw that it was clear, Harry turned along the window so it was easy for Natalie to climb inside. He then followed her, carefully pulling his broom in after him.
“So, what’d you think?” Harry asked as they headed towards the common room.
“That was so fun!” Natalie exclaimed.
“See? Maybe you’ll even wanna go again one day,” he said.
“Emphasis on the maybe,” Natalie said, winking. They laughed all the way back to their rooms, where they slept a sound and dreamless night.
That next Wednesday, Harry and Natalie decided to get their paper done for History of Magic after lunch. They sat huddled over books and parchment in the common room, with Ron peering over their shoulders.
“You’re lucky you can do this now, Hermione’s in the library right now,” Ron said.
“Yeah, probably doing the paper for you,” Harry said without taking his eyes off what he was reading.
“Maybe, but maybe not,” Ron pressed.
“You know she’s doing it right now,” Natalie said, chuckling. “You’re just bored, so leave us alone so we can finish ours before the weekend!” Harry stifled a laugh and kept his head down as Ron walked away, his jaw wide open, worrying again that Natalie would steal Harry away and ruin the Quidditch season.