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Chapter 2 : The Second.
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Professor Kettleburn didn’t even notice me slip into the ground floor classroom a few minutes late. Unfortunately this left me with a seat at the back. I looked at the two remaining seats, both on the back row. One was next to a group of Slytherin girls who for some reason I remember not liking and the other was in-between a slytherin boy and Peter Pettigrew.
I went to sit next to Peter. I had never really talked to the boy, he didn’t seem very sociable though. I would always see him with Sirius and James, I guess he was sort of like a minion. When he sat down he seemed thankful I had separated him from the Slytherins. I couldn’t blame him. They were perfectly civil to Ravenclaws but everyone knew they hated Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors.
I took out my slightly battered copy of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’, the book was timeless. I think I had used it in every single year of Hogwarts. I was leafing through it in order to identify the creature which Professor Kettleburn was showing to the class with his only arm. He had lost the left one three years ago when a fire crab went on a rampage.
The creature wasn’t small, nor was it particularly large. It was a light colour although there were some dark spots over it’s body. It resembled slightly more than a large, rather angry cat. It was eyeing everyone in the class suspiciously. When it looked at me, I stared right back at it. I couldn’t really gauge it’s reaction but hoped that it did not think of me as untrustworthy.
I had identified the beast nearly immediately. It was a kneazle, I was surprised to see it, we had already gone over kneazles and they were usually covered in fifth year for O.W.L.S. I was wondering what Professor Kettleburn was going to do this lesson as I thought we were going to start creatures like cockatrice or quintapeds. Maybe not.
“Can any one tell me what this creature is?” said Professor Kettleburn at last.
“A kneazle, sir,” I said, barely bothering to raise my hand.
“A kneazle, sir,” mimicked one of the Slytherin girls nastily. This was why I hated sitting at the back.
“Correct, Miss Warrender. Would you like to come up here please?”
I did as I was told, obviously. As I approached the kneazle, it turned it’s cat-like head towards me so as to examine me further. I walked slightly slower as I got closer to the animal, not wanting to throw it off. I passed my fellow Ravenclaws on my way up to the front. They seemed eager to see the animal’s reaction. Judging by a kneazle was a fail-safe way of knowing how trustworthy someone was.
It looked at me and then approached me slowly as it made it’s mind up. Then it circled my feet, it reached just above knee level, whilst brushing the backs of my knees with its lion like tail, It was pretty tickley to be honest. I was wearing a skirt but I didn’t want to jerk my knee away in case it took it as a sign of mistrust. Not a sign you want to give a kneazle.
As it got to the front again, the kneazle curled up and seemed to fall asleep on my feet. It looked much more like a cat now. It’s light spotted fur was thicker than it looked and kept my feet warm. It had deemed me trustworthy. Thank Merlin. I couldn’t even imagine the embarrassment if the kneazle had instead decided to tackle me to the floor even though it was only small.
“Very good, Miss Warrender” said Professor Kettleburn even though I hadn’t done anything.
“You may sit down again now Miss Warrender. Would anyone else like to come up and meet the kneazle? One at a time if course, don’t want to aggravate the poor beast.”
Feeling oddly satisfied with myself I sat back down with several glares from the Slytherin girls. I didn’t particularly care if they didn’t like me. It just shortened the list of people who I would try to make friends with. So far I had done pretty well considering it was only the first day. It was just a good thing I didn’t have to start from scratch. I already knew most of the people.
“Are you not going up, Peter?” I tried to sound friendly.
“I, uh, no. I don’t really feel like it.” He was very nervous for a marauder.
“Oh, why not?” I asked with a fake smile on my face.
“I’m not very good with animals,” he laughed. I laughed too.
“Why’d you take this class then?” I asked, still chuckling slightly.
“It’s easy I guess.”
“I can understand that.”
“Plus I’m the only marauder in this class so I finally get the attention.”
“So, what’s your favourite animal then?”
“A rat you?”
“A rat? That’s not very interesting. I guess mines is a leopard.”
“That’s pretty cool I guess. But rats are still awesome.”
We continued the rest of the lesson arguing about whose favorite animal was cooler. In the end we had to go with mine because of the way a leopard could kill pretty much anything it wanted without being seen or even heard. The most evolved predator known to muggles. Peter was much more talkative once you got to know him, he was just a bit shy.
I had no more classes for the rest of the day, one of the perks of only taking three N.E.W.T.S. I was acing them all but that didn’t mean I was going to over work myself. I decided to go up to my dorm again and do some more studying. Learning as much as I could about Anamagi would hopefully make it easier to become one myself. Hopefully.
When I returned to the library in the evening, there was an extremely unexpected sight. I was just away to return ‘Amazing Anamagi’ when I spotted four visitor to the library who I was pretty sure had never been in before. The marauders. They all seemed to be very interested in a blank piece of parchment. Strange.
When I wondered over I still had a fair amount of book in my arms. Curiosity killed the cat but I bet he found out the answer. I was smiling slightly as I approached them. It probably looked really, really creepy. I wasn’t really fussed. I had never cared much for what people thought of me.
“Howdy there guys,” I said, smirking like an idiot.
“Hey there Nyx.” Sirius was the first to answer. I then got a mumbled hello from Peter, a cheery hey from James and an all too casual nod from Remus.
“What freak accident caused the four of you to be in the library?”
“No accident,” said Remus, smiling for some reason.
“Ah, so it’s a secret then.” I said, smiling as I wondered what it could be.
“No, no secret,” said Peter, a little too quickly to be true. Sirius nudged him hard in the ribs with his elbow. Clearly they were up to something.
“Well, I don’t really have time to guess so see you all later.”
“Wait, what?” asked Sirius, baffled.
“I have to go to bed now, I’m pretty tired.” I said, acting dumb.
“You don’t want to know what we’re up to?”
“Nope, not really. See you.”
When someone has a secret, they really want to tell someone. I knew that. If you seemed to eager they would assume you just wanted more information to gossip with. I knew that to be true. So if you seemed like you didn’t really care about what was going on, whoever had the secret, craves to tell. It’s pretty simple really. Kind of like playing hard to get.
“You know what, Sirius, I will stay up a bit longer.”
“Sirius!” whispered Remus harshly, “why would you invite her to stay?”
Well that didn’t really make me feel great, knowing Remus didn’t want me around. In fact, I had to hide my sudden frown pretty quickly to avoid them seeing it as they continued their hushed up argument.
“Err, thanks.” I said, pretty sullen.
“No, it’s not you,” Remus insisted. I didn’t believe him one little bit.
It was strange having him not like me. I’d never had much trouble with guys in the past. I mean none of them were marauders but still. Leto and I had been pretty popular and some what promiscuous ourselves. It was probably why girls didn’t like us very much. I hadn’t noticed it until now.
“On second thought, I might go to bed after all.”
“Smooth, Remus,” chuckled James. I didn’t hear him say this, I was too busy trying to flee without looking like I was fleeing.
On my rush out of the library, I felt someone catch my arm. I turned around to see Remus looking at me really strangely. I gave him a funny look and he dropped my arm. Maybe he did like me. His face changed to ice. Then again maybe not.
“I didn’t mean to offend you.” He said simply.
“Okay, thanks I guess.” What else was I meant to say?
He walked back into the library with an angry sort of strut to his walk. He was pretty strange when I thought about it. Moody almost. I continued my way to the Ravenclaw common room very confused indeed.
We had decided to have an almost sleepover in the dorm. It was pretty fun. We had pushed all of our beds nearer the stove in the centre of the room and were eating every piece of chocolate we had managed to scrounge together.
“So,” Maia started off, “who does everyone like right now?”
“Don’t beat about the bush then Maia!” I laughed.
“Nope,” she said, shoving another piece of chocolate in her mouth.
Clearly this question had made everyone uncomfortable. Nobody wanted to be the first to answer just in case everyone else either made fun of them, or told the person our secret. I cleared my throat loudly to interrupt the silence and decided to go first.
“I quite like Remus.” I said matter-of-factly.
“Ooh, nice choice, Nyx. Well I guess I quite like Tom.” Maia said. Right now we were the only two talking.
“I like Peter.” We all turned round to see that Annabelle was the one who had said this. She had never really talked much before so it came as quite a surprise.
“You like Peter?” said Maia, skeptical. Annabelle looked slightly hurt by this total disregard of the boy she happened to like.
“Peter’s nice.” I said kindly to her. “I sit next to him in Care of Magical Creatures. He seems alright to be honest.”
“I know, I’m in that class too.” She said. “I wish he would notice me.” She looked down into her lap as she said this. She seemed really embarrassed for some reason.
“Well that’s easy.” I told her. “All you have to do is sit next to me next lesson and you’re sorted for a talking opportunity. No problem.” I smiled at her. It was nice that someone liked Peter, he always got cast in the shadows.
“It’s no problem, seriously. I’m happy to help.”
“Trust us Annabelle. You’ll be going out with peter in no time at all.” Maia added
“So,” I said, removing the attention from Annabelle who didn’t want it, “Tom then, Maia?”
“What? O right, yeah. Tom is so cute. Plus he’s captain of Ravenclaw Quidditch team this year.”
“Really, I didn’t know they’d made him captain?” said Isabelle curiously.
“Yep, he’s holding trials next week. Think I should go for it?”
“Don’t know. Do you know how to play Quidditch?” I asked.
“Well, not right now but if I were to go to the try-outs and do okay, maybe Tom will give me private lessons.” She winked as she said this and we all laughed.
“I think you’ll have to practice for bit first.” I said. “Do you have a broom?”
“Actually I do. My parents got me it for my O.W.L results but I’ve never used it.”
“We should all practice.” Annabelle said, “like as a group.”
“Sure.” We all said pretty much simultaneously.
“Sounds like fun.” Isabelle added.
“Now, how do we help out Nyx?” Isabelle cast the question to the group. My ears perked at the sound of my name, I hadn’t really been listening.
“Wait, What? Why do I need help? I’m confused.”
“With Remus, Idiot,” Maia said, rolling her eyes.
“Oh, right. Well, I was just going to hang out with them for a while, you know see what happens.”
“That’s not going to work on Remus.” Maia told me.
“He’s not like normal boys. He’s actually nice.”
“Well how do I get a nice one then?” I asked, doubtful.
“It’s pretty uncharted territory for most of us, we usually pick assholes so I have no solid advice yet.”
“That’s helpful.” I said sarcastically.
“We’ll just have to wing-it I’m afraid.”
“Great, winging it. Sounds like a plan.” I said.
“So what’s your asshole advice then Maia? I’m after Sirius.” Isabelle said.
“Ah, well he’s easy. Just shorten your skirt and giggle a lot.” We all laughed at that.
“Great, it should be easy. I don’t need him to love me, just to snog my face off.”
When we all finally went to sleep, it was with a renewed feeling of friendship which we hadn’t really had since first year when everyone stuck to their houses all the time. It was nice having a group of friends rather than one friend and a string of useless boyfriends.
A/N: I got the information about the animals in this story from 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' which is still on sale for charity with some snazzy new covers. I came across the newer ones two days ago but I still love my beaten old copy and of course, the whole Harry Potter Universe belongs to JKR (:
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