Between sleep and consciousness, there exists a moment when one is unable to differentiate between dreams and reality, a fragile balance that one could remain in, suspended in the silence within their mind. Tucked warmly between the scarlet covers of her bed, Kira peacefully remained in this state. At least, that was before piercing voice ripped through the room.
"Kira! Do you have any idea what time it is? Honestly, it's only the first day back, and already you're planning to be late to class!" Kira groaned, reluctant to open her eyes. Nine times out of ten, if one had asked her, she would have said that she loved being one of the Hermione Granger's best friends. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. Instead, she merely pulled the covers over her head, a futile attempt to block out the sound, until the meaning of Hermione's words finally sank in.
"We're late? What time is it?" Kira asked, sitting up, with a note of alarm.
"It's almost six," Hermione said, disapprovingly. With another groan, Kira sank back into bed. "Not only do you have to get dressed, you'll have to get your books ready, and then there's the fact that you haven't even finished unpacking yet, and-"
"Leave me alone," Kira mumbled, still drowsed with sleep. Just as she was about to reenter the world of dreams, there was a sudden absence of warmth as her covers were yanked away from her. "Hey!"
"If you don't hurry up, you're going to miss breakfast," Hermione said, in a singsong voice. Kira opened her eyes and looked blearily to see her best friend already dressed in her school robes.
"I hate you," Kira said, sighing as she finally admitted defeat. There was no point in trying to go back to sleep now. Now that Hermione had mentioned it, she was pretty hungry. She looked around before noticing that none of them were awake, all asleep behind the curtains. "How did they manage to sleep through that?" she asked, curious.
"Oh, that. They remembered to cast a silencing charm around their beds before they went to sleep," she said simply.
Kira shook her head. "Alright just give me a moment to get ready," she said, walking over to the bathroom. Turning the water on full blast, she stepped into the shower, grateful for the scorching hot water.
Finally she was back home in Hogwarts. The summer had been way too long for her liking, and with this shower, it felt like she was finally washing away everything unpleasant that she had left from before. Quickly she forgot about her telling Hermione that she would just be a moment, and let her thoughts disappear.
It was a while before she stepped out. After quickly getting dressed, she applied only a little makeup, just enough to cover up the bags under her eyes. As she always said, natural beauty was the best. Afterwards, the brush and her hair got into a brief fight, as she struggled to make the long tangle of brown that was her hair stay neat and organized. In the end, she had resorted to magic. She would never understand how muggles managed to live without it.
So it was a good hour before she was finally out of the bathroom, to the complaints of some of the other girls who had woken up. However, all of them were used to it after almost four years of living together. "Ready?" Kira asked Hermione.
"Do you think we'll need both of the Charms textbooks today? I'm not sure what Binns will want to teach on the first day, but maybe-"
"I really doubt it," she said, sighing. "Just bring the first one."
"I think it'll be safer if I bring both," Hermione said, satisfied as she put both of them in her bag. Finally, both of the girls headed towards the Great Hall, falling into easy conversation. She had missed Hermione over the summer. Writing letters back and forth, it simply wasn't enough for Kira, who was used to seeing her friends every day.
Seeing the food in the Great Hall was enough to take her breath away for a brief moment, her mouth quickly watering at the sight of so many options. Quickly, she grabbed a seat at the Gryffindor table, piling waffles and pancakes onto her plate. Hermione, being the more patient one, took her time in sitting down, before reaching for one muffin. "Honestly Kira, you're just like Ron," she said, in disapproval.
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating your food," Kira argued, as she poured a generous amount of honey onto her food.
"That's disgusting," Hermione protested.
Kira merely took up her knife and fork before taking a bite. "It's really good, actually. Want to try some?"
"I'll pass," she said with a shudder.
"Morning," Harry said, yawning as he joined the girls. Ron grumbled some, before sitting down next to them. "For the record, you do eat a little too much for a girl," Harry added, staring at Kira's plate.
"No one asked you," Kira answered cheerfully. "Who said girls had to eat less than guys anyways?"
Hermione ignored Kira, before saying, "Hold on, I'm going to get our schedules from McGonagall."
"Thanks 'Mione," Kira said, before looking over at Ron. "What's wrong with him?"
"Oh nothing. He just got teased a little too much by the guys last night about becoming a prefect," Harry said, shrugging.
Ron groaned, viciously stabbing his own pancake. "You should have heard them, Kir! Going on and on about how 'little Ronnie was finally growing up'," he said, sighing.
"Aww, poor little Ron," Kira said, smirking. "Although shouldn't you be a little more happier about that?" she asked, trying to help him see the bright side. "If anything, you'll be able to get out of trouble more easily."
"Don't corrupt him, Kira," Hermione said with a sigh, as she came back.
"Relax, it's not like I'm going to abuse my power or anything," as Harry gave a small snort. "Think Malfoy will be more than capable of doing that," Ron said with a shrug.
At this, Kira rolled her eyes. "You guys make him sound like You-Know-Who, the way you keep talking about him. Oh, pass me the pumpkin juice?"
Harry poured her a goblet, before saying, "Just say his name already. And Kira, you know you're the only Gryffindor that even bothers being nice to him."
"He's not that bad." Kira sipped a bit of the juice, before smiling again. The house elves here made the best pumpkin juice she had ever tasted, and for her, it tasted of home.
"Then again, she's nice to everyone," Ron said to Harry. "Even Hermione doesn't do that."
"Well, he's a Slytherin," Harry said, as if that justified everything, before quickly backtracking when he caught the glare from Kira. "Okay okay, fine, I know your brother's in Slytherin too, but everyone aside from Daniel, everyone else is horrid."
"Not to mention what he called me back in second year," Hermione added, as she studied the schedules closely.
"Well, that's the way he's been raised, isn't it? I mean, think about it. All our lives we've been taught about the light side, about how everyone is equal. Well, what if we weren't?" Kira said, thoughtfully.
"It's still a choice. Take Sirius for example," Harry replied.
"Not everyone can be a Sirius, can they?" Kira said, stubborn.
"Forget it, she's not going to give up," Ron said, shaking his head. "Even though the guy hates her."
"I'm right here you know," she said, shaking her head. "And he doesn't… hate me," she defended. "We just haven't gotten the chance to truly bond yet."
"If I remember correctly, he insulted you as well last time," Harry said.
"That was nothing," she said, determined to think the best of him for now.
"Well it's good that you can stand Malfoy," Hermione said, sighing as she handed out the schedules. "We have double potions to begin with." Her words were greeted with groans from both of the boys. "You'll have plenty of time to 'bond' with him then," she said, sarcastically.
"Snape hates me," Harry lamented. "Probably wants me to test out some poison in class for him." At that moment, owls came swooping in with the morning mail.
"A bit late today, isn't it?" Hermione commented, before picking up the latest edition of the Prophet. Kira shrugged, taking her mail from Aria, the owl she shared with her brother, before thanking her for travelling so long. Aria gave a small hoot before flying off, no doubt to the Owlery. "Who's that from? Alex?"
"Yep." Kira carefully tore open the envelope. She smiled as she read through it. What she had liked perhaps the most about him, was how witty he could be, and how much he made her laugh.
"Who's Alex?" Harry asked, after looking through his schedule.
"The guy Kira was dating over the summer. Didn't you read any of her letters?" Hermione asked, exasperated.
"Oh, him. Isn't he a muggle?"
"Nope, wizard. But he goes to Salem instead," Kira said, shrugging. "He's extremely nice… and he's pretty cute," she said, smiling. "Too bad I had to end it."
"You broke up with someone else already?" Ron asked, surprised. "What is he, number four?"
"Well… yeah… long distance relationships never work. And for the record, he's number three."
"And you're still writing to him?" Ron asked, picking another muffin.
"We both decided that we were going to remain friends." When she caught the unbelieving looks from her friends, she sighed. "It was a mutual decision! And stop eating already," Kira said, before finishing up the last of her pumpkin juice. "It's time for class already."
"You're done with all that?" Hermione asked, staring at Kira's empty plate. "You had almost as much as Ron!"
"I don't eat that much," Ron denied. "And come on, wait, I want to have one more muffin."
Rolling her eyes, Kira said, "Please? Snape always kills us for being late to the first class."
"Why would anyone want to be early for Potions?" Harry grumbled, but at least he had abandoned the muffin and stood up.
"Why would anyone want to be late?" Kira retorted, before looking back at Ron. "Ron…"
"He'll find a way to torture us even if we're not late," Ron muttered before looking back at Kira. "Oh, alright, alright," he said, giving one last, longing look towards the muffin, then sighing as he picked up his things as well. "Let's go."
"So, what other classes do we have together?" Harry asked, as the group started off towards the dungeons.
"Well, since I quit Divination, you three will have that while I'll have Arithmacy. We have basically the same schedule after that, except I have Ancient Runes while you guys have study hall," Hermione said.
"I'll never understand why you actually enjoy killing yourself with all those classes," Ron said, in disbelief.
"At least we're together. I wonder what Umbridge is like," Kira said, thinking about Dumbledore's words last night.
"Well you heard what Umbridge said, and we all know what that means," Hermione said, her lips pursed. There was a moment of silence as the other three tried to work out what was meant by that.
"'Mione… mind reminding us again what exactly that means?" Kira asked, tentatively, only to earn a sigh from the other girl.
"You weren't listening, were you?" Then after thinking again, she shook her head. "Never mind, don't answer that. The point is that she's been sent by the Ministry."
"Which means?" Ron asked, as Kira gave a small 'oh' of realization.
"It means that the Ministry is trying to control Hogwarts from the inside, doesn't it?" Kira asked, serious for once.
"Well, basically, yes," Hermione said, nodding.
"So what does that mean for us?" Harry asked.
"We'll just have to find out then, won't we?" Hermione said, before looking at the time. "We're going to be late," she muttered, before starting to run.
"Again?" Kira asked, quickly chasing after her. It took them several minutes before they made it down to the right classroom, and by then, they could already hear Snape's voice as it droned out. Quietly, they tried to slip in unnoticed, but with four teenagers, the chances of them managing it was minimal.
"So you and your friends finally decided to join us, Potter?" Snape asked, walking towards them.
"Sorry, Professor," Kira said automatically.
"I wasn't speaking to you, Ms. White. That will be ten points from Gryffindor," Snape drawled. "Each."
"But that'll put us behind by 40 points!" Ron blurted, before realizing his mistake.
"Make that 50," Snape added, before addressing the rest of the class again, as they found their seats.
"Idiot," Harry muttered under his breath.
"As I was saying, before Potter and friends finally decided to grace us with their presence, fifth year potions, is no joke. I will be doing all that is within my power to pass some of my knowledge to those whose brains have the capacity to hold it. Now because the Headmaster… is so intent on promoting house-unity, he suggested that this year's grouping be done by pairing each of you with someone of another house," he said, voicing his distaste.
"Bet he's going to pair one of us with Crabbe," Ron whispered.
"Or worse, Malfoy," Harry answered.
"Guys, I thought we were over this," Kira hissed.
"Ms. White, are you so determined to make sure that Gryffindor gets last place for the House Cup again?" Snape asked, stopping in front of her desk.
"Sorry, Professor," she repeated, her cheeks a light blush.
With a final look, Snape continued. "In addition to working together for the rest of the year, you are expected to also complete a project on a difficult potion that I will choose for you. Now, the groupings."
"Longbottom and Goyle." Neville's eyes shone with fright, as he walked over to join Goyle.
"Potter and Parkinson."
"Me with him?" Pansy asked, in disgust, a comment that Snape chose to ignore. Harry rolled his eyes before accepting his fate, moving over to join the Slytherin.
"Granger and Zabini."
"At least he's better than Malfoy," she whispered, before gathering her books.
"Weasley and Crabbe."
"Told you," Ron muttered, before sighing and moving over. For a moment, she wondered who she would be paired with. There was no one that she was particularly against. If she had to choose, she supposed she would have chosen Zabini. From the way he treated his friends, he seemed to be a decent guy. But Hermione already had him, so who could she possibly end up with? She had to suppress a laugh as she remembered what Hermione had said just at breakfast.
"You'll have plenty of time to 'bond' with him then."
Impossible. Even Snape wasn't twisted enough to-
"Malfoy and White."
Surprise registered on her face, as Hermione gave her a look of pity. This was certainly going to be an interesting year.
I'll be switching between time periods sometimes, but if I do, I'll warn you guys ahead of time. Mostly the story will be written chronologically. Reviews are absolutely loved! Don't hesitate to give me some pointers, or simply say what you liked / didn't like from what you read. I like seeing what other people have to say. Thank you!