Chapter 1 : The First.
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The chair was black, the leather was fading slightly which made the chair much more comfortable than the newer chairs in the common room. I swung my legs over one arm and rested my shoulders on the other. Clearly she was going to keep me waiting. Leto was late, again. She was rarely ever on time so I prepared myself for a long wait, which I received.
Leto and I had been friends since first year, both cursed with annoying names which hardly anyone managed to pronounce correctly the first time. I looked around the room as I waited. The circular room was much smaller than it appeared, making it cosy and airy all at once. I’d never seen inside any of the other common rooms but I would wager that ours was the nicest.
It wasn’t until I was rudely awoken did I realise that I had drifted off at some point between eleven and twelve o’clock. I would have yelled but it was Professor Flitwick who woke me and I felt that yelling at the head of house would not be a productive start to what would hopefully be a very good school year. He didn’t look well, bless him. His hands were shaky and his hair more flyaway than usual.
“I have some rather important news to tell you.”
“What is it, Professor?”
“Your friend, Miss Elliot, will not be returning to Hogwarts this year.”
“Oh my goodness, is she alright, Professor?”
“Yes, yes, she is. Her parents have decided to keep her at home this year due to their fears for their daughter. They may choose to leave the country. Goodnight, Miss Warrender.”
He turned on his heel and walked briskly towards the exit, he obviously had other things to do. I couldn’t help but be gobsmacked over the news. A lot of people were considering going into hiding due to voldemort’s new reign of power but I had never suspected that my friend would join them. We had never even been that close. Just study partners who would occasionally chat if we were waiting on busy books.
I looked up into the canopy of my four poster, gazing into the magical stars without really looking at them. When I thought about it, I didn’t really have any close friends, I just thought that all Ravenclaws spent most of their time studying. Exemplary grades had earned me a prefects badge and an in with most of the professors but I guess it must have alienated me from a lot of the other students in my year.
I twirled my mahogany wand in my fingers as I tried to think of ways to turn my abundance of acquaintances into people who I could talk to without feeling like a bludger. I would start off with the prefects and the head boy and girl. They would be the most like me. Studious and able to respect rules. I rallied off their names in my head as I analyzed their characters and how best to approach them.
When I got to Remus Lupin, something funny happened. My stomach jolted for some reason and the stars above my head flashed for a spilt second. Unless I was seeing things because I was so exhausted. I guessed he liked books. I’d always see him carrying one. Maybe that would make him the easiest to relate to. I scolded myself mentally for not being more sociable in the past.
I woke up late the next morning, as to be expected considering my rather late sleeping hour. I had to rush in order to get to the great hall in time for breakfast. When I made my way to the Ravenclaw table, I encountered a problem. I didn’t know where to sit. Usually Leto and I would just sit together wherever was available. I didn’t know wether to approach the other seventh year girls or purposefully isolate myself. I went with the former.
I sat down next to, but not too close to, a girl named Maia who I remembered being potions partners with in fifth year. I hoped she would remember my name so I didn’t have to tell her. It would be really awkward if that happened. I could picture the awkward silence and the concealed judgement about me not exactly being friendly over the years. I sat down and received four small smiles. One from each of the girls.
“We heard about Leto, that sucks,” said Maia, who I think was addressing me.
“Yep, I guess it makes sense though right?” Chipped another girl with curly, blonde hair.
“I know, I wouldn’t stay either if I thought my family were in danger,” said the girl opposite me.
“It’s a shame she won’t be able to finish her N.E.W.T.S,” said a girl who had just recently finished her butty.
I wasn't as upset as you would have imagined about Leto not being here. It gave me a chance to make new friends or re-establish ones who I had lost contact with. I guess having a best friend can distract you from others sometimes.
I smiled happily, they were just like any other Ravenclaw, just like me. Worried about exams and easy to start a conversation with. It had taken absolutely no effort on my behalf apart from sitting down. I continued to eat breakfast with my new acquaintances before making my way to Transfiguration. By far my favorite class ever.
You could usually tell which house someone was in judging by the seating arrangement. Ravenclaws would usually fill up the front two rows, the next two were a mix of Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors and the last two the Slytherins and the Gryffindors who were much more casual about their learnings. I had managed to get a seat which left me practically nose to the chalkboard. Merlin was clearly on my side today.
McGonagall did her usual, first day of term, transformation to start the class. It was even more amazing now that we were the most senior pupils and we knew how difficult it was to become an Animagus. McGonagall was clearly a very talented witch and one of the best teachers in the school. Probably the reason her class was still the most popular even though it was one of the hardest to pass.
She had a very stern look about her but by now we all knew she was a softie at heart. Her tightly pulled up hair which, to the first years, showed focus, but to us showed the professor who spends more time planning lessons than doing her hair. Professor McGonagall was pretty much my favorite teacher. She was in the lead with Flitwick as a joint first.
The first class of term was usually a skive. We would discuss revision plans and the course over the next year as well as McGonagall showing off some particularly complex magic which she assured us we would be able to do by the time our exams came around. She also assigned us our partners for the practical side of the course which took up half of our overall class time.
Being the fair woman she was, our partners were chosen through a name out of the wizard’s hat scenario. When someone took a name out, that would be their partner and that person’s name would vanish from inside the hat. I didn’t have any particular preference as to who my partner would be as long as they weren’t going to skive off so I had to do all the work.
Maia pulled out Lily Evans which caused James’ face to fall considerably. I had no idea why he looked so upset. He got to share a common room with her now they were head boy and girl. A common room which would be occupied by no one but them most of the time. I suppose it was sort of sweet that he wanted to spend all of his time with her. Sweet but also slightly creepy.
Because of my favorable seating choice, I got to pick a partner fairly quickly. As I plunged my hand into the wizards hat I found myself hoping that a Ravenclaw’s name would come out. Or Remus Lupin’s name. Wait no, I didn’t hope that. I was rational and clear minded. I shouldn’t hope for someone who would most likely distract me from the class.
I took a deep breath in as I unrolled the small piece of parchment. I read the name in my head at the same time my voice read the name to the class.
“Sirius Black.” I said reluctantly. There was no way he was going to take this seriously. He was a marauder for Merlin’s sake. I sighed as the rest of the girls swooned and cursed me for picking him.
I looked round to find him winking at James and Remus. Remus looked especially sweet today next to Black who was grinning as he turned towards me. Probably thinking ‘great a Ravenclaw, this will be an easy ride’. Hopefully I would make sure it was anything but. I had never really cared for his cockiness or boyish charm. I was more of a Remus kind of girl. Not that I’d admit that to anyone.
When McGonagall instructed us to sit next to our partners, I had a silent battle with Sirius Black. He wasn’t going to move from his right at the back of the class seat and I didn’t want to move from my right at the front of the class seat. I looked round at him to see if he was giving up. Nope, he was already talking to James and Remus who were sitting at the desk in front of him.
As I sat down, the three of them looked at me like they were surveying me. I have to admit it was really unnerving but I was pretty curious as to what they would think of me. I pretended to search in my bag for an extra quill in order to give them some more gawping time which would be a lot less awkward if I wasn’t staring right back at them.
“Nice Haul, Padfoot. You got a Ravenclaw.” said James, nodding in approval.
“She’s not too bad looking either.” Said Sirius. They knew I was right next to them right?
“You’re right there Padfoot.” Said Remus. Thank Merlin for that.
“I think Moony has a crush,” laughed James, turning back to the front of the class as Remus punched his arm.
“Sirius, Sirius Black,” he said, winking and holding out his hand to me.
“Nyx Warrender,” he snorted as he heard my name. “Thanks.” I said sarcastically.
“Sorry,” he said still chuckling, “I know what it’s like to have a bizarre name”
“Yep, parents can be a bitch can’t they?” I said, smiling too at this point. Sirius wasn’t actually that bad.
“You’re telling me. I’m so glad I moved out.”
“What? You got your own place?”
“Nope, the Potters took me in. They’re pretty much my family.”
“That’s pretty cool” I said. “I don’t think I’d have the guts to leave.”
“Which is why I am a daring Gryffindor,” he said in mock bravado.
“And I am a bookish Ravenclaw,” I said, taking notes even as we talked.
“Bookish can also be described as smart you know.”
“Daring can also be described as arrogance, or stupidity.”
“My, my we’re very negative today aren’t we Nyx?” he said, mocking me.
“Well I want an O in this so shhhhh!”
“Alright then,” he said, still chuckling. He leaned back in chair as McGonagall talked about how advanced transfiguration was in seventh year. Many of us might have to drop the course.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I was going to be partnerless by the end of the year. Sirius didn’t even seem to be paying the least but of attention. I had to admit I was kind of jealous of the marauders. They seemed to have to put in no effort whatsoever in class yet still reach the end of the year with O’s and E’s.
At the end of the class, I hovered behind as everyone left, saying goodbye to Sirius and Co. When I approached McGonagall she seemed pleasant enough so I decided to ask her something which had been on my mind since starting the N.E.W.T last year. It was always something I had wanted to do even though I knew how difficult it was going to be.
“Professor? I was wondering if you would help me to become an Animagus.”
“Well, I would usually say no to most students, but you have shown yourself more than capable at Transfiguration. I don’t think you’ve ever received anything less than an O in my class. I hope you realise how difficult this is going to be. How many classes are you taking this year?”
“Only three professor. Transfiguration, Charms and Care of Magical Creatures.”
“No defense Miss Warrender?”
“No, Professor. The class is bursting at the moment and I think my O at O.W.L level was enough to get me into the Regulation of Magical Creatures office at the Ministry.”
“Very Well, Miss Warrender. At least this leaves you with a fairly free schedule. Most of the progress will have to be undertaken yourself. I can only go over the theory of the transformation with you, the rest will be self study and practicing on a weekly basis at least. I think you would manage to learn within four months. You are a very skilled witch.”
I made my way to library immediately. I was going to check out every single book Madam Pince had on Animaguses. McGonagall had said four months. I knew it had only taken her a month. It was extremely difficult to learn and most people were put off by the horror stories of painful transformations and being stuck as an animal for life.
If I managed it, I would be the eighth witch this century to manage it. The thought excited me a lot. Imagine the looks on everyones’ faces when Dumbledore presented me with an ‘you’re totally awesome’ award or something. They would all be jealous. I sort of enjoyed having people be jealous of me. I wasn’t proud of it but I’m not going to lie, it was nice.
A/N: First chapter, of course, I own nothing. The wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. This is just something I thought of and I hope you like it. :) Big plans for this story.
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