The next thing I know, I’m waking up. As I open my eyes I can tell it’s still fairly early in the morning. I can see that the sun is just beginning to rise through the window on the opposite side of the room, casting a golden glow upon everything.
I suddenly realize why I awoke so suddenly; I have to use the bathroom. As I sit up and swing my legs to the right side of my bed, I realize I’m still in my clothes from yesterday. I decide that since I’m already going to the bathroom, I might as well take a bath and get dressed for the day.
So I open my trunk and dig through it until I find the clothes I want to wear today, set them on my bed, and then close and lock my trunk. I pick up my clothes and prepare to walk to the bathroom when I realize there’s one small problem: I don’t know where it is.
I don’t want to wake any of the sleeping girls in my room to ask them such a silly question, so I walk out of the room quietly thinking that I’ll just keep looking until I find the bathroom. When I get back into the hallway, I try to think of the most practical approach to take to find the bathroom. Unable to think of anything else, I decide to try all the doors in the hallway one by one.
I cross the hall and quietly open the door directly in front of me. Yes! I think upon seeing that door number one was clearly the right choice. I enter, set my clothes on the sink, and use the bathroom. Then I grab a towel, run myself a warm bath with lots of bubbles, and sit back in the huge tub, relaxing.
As I soak, my mind wanders to Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor, and I begin to feel sad. I think about how difficult it will be to get used to this new school and all these new people, and I start to feel anxious. I allow myself to cry for a few moments; it feels good to let all these emotions out. Afraid that I’ll get too upset and either space out or cause a hurricane, I stop crying and make myself focus on bathing.
When I’m finished, I let the water out of the tub and use a charm I learned at Dunamase to dry my hair. I dress, grab my towel and dirty clothes, and walk back across the hallway into my room. I fold my dirty clothes and towel and lay them on the dresser beside my bed, telling myself that I’ll need to ask Hermione where I should take them to be washed.
Not wanting to sit around and watch the other girls sleep, I decide to walk down to the common room and sit for a while. I dig through my trunk again to find one of my new school books; I’ll read it while I’m sitting in the common room. I leave my room and slip quietly down the hallway and through the door. I walk down the winding staircase and into the now-empty common room that’s still fairly dark, as the sun still isn’t completely up yet.
I walk around for a few moments, looking at all the paintings and portraits on the walls. Then I decide to have a seat and read my book, just to see if there are any major differences between it and the books I had at Dunamase. I look around to find a good spot to read and notice a sofa sitting directly in front of the fireplace on the left side of the room. There’s a small window on the wall to the left of the sofa which should provide ample light for me to read by. I sit down and begin reading through my new book, glad to see that I’m already familiar with many of the spells in it.
I stay there for nearly two hours reading and finally get bored with it. I am seriously considering going back to my room and unpacking when I hear someone coming down the stairs into the common room. I turn to see Hermione walking towards me.
“Good morning,” she says brightly. “Are you feeling better now that you’ve had some sleep? You looked really tired.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I say, amazed by how nice everyone here is being to me.
“Good,” she says. “It’s time for breakfast. Harry and Ron should be down any minute, you’re welcome to come with us, if you’d like. That way you won’t have to find your way back to the Great Hall by yourself.”
“Okay,” I say, realizing how hungry I am and glad to have something to do. “Let me just go put my book up,” I say, and I walk past her, up the stairs, and into our dorm. I place the book on my bed and then turn and walk back to the common room. Hermione is sitting on the sofa, waiting. I sit down beside her and stare at the floor, feeling a bit awkward.
After about 10 minutes of silence, we hear footsteps on the stairs. Harry is coming down the stairs, and Ron is dragging along behind him, yawning. Hermione and I stand as they approach. “Jayde’s coming down to breakfast with us,” Hermione tells them.
“Okay,” the boys say sleepily.
I follow Hermione to the portrait hole and climb out behind her, with Harry and Ron bringing up the rear. As we walk down the never-ending flights of stairs, I look around at my new school. There are hundreds of portraits and paintings scattered along the walls, some of their subjects moving.
We finally reach the Great Hall and enter. I notice that there are very few students in here; most of them must still be asleep. In fact, apparently we’re the only Gryffindors who are awake - the table is completely empty until the four of us sit down. As soon as we sit, food appears on the table in front of us, just as it had done last night. I place a few things on my plate and as I start eating a strange feeling sweeps over me. It’s the unmistakable sense of uneasiness you get when you’re being watched.
Unsure of who’s watching me or why they’re doing so, I try to just ignore it and finish my meal. When I’ve had my fill, I look over at the others to see if they’re almost done; I’m ready to get out of the Great Hall and away from whoever’s staring at me. Ron appears to have just gotten started, even though we’ve been sitting here for at least fifteen minutes, and though Harry and Hermione seem to be done, they’re talking to Ron, so I’m sure they’ll be here for as long as he is. So I stand up, thank the others for letting me have breakfast with them, and tell them I’m going back to my room to unpack.
I walk swiftly out of the Great Hall, but for some reason the feeling of being watched doesn’t go away when I walk into the hallway. Panicking, I start walking faster in hopes of getting away from whoever’s following me. That, however, was obviously a mistake, because as I walk quickly up the steps that lead from the Great Hall to the grand staircase, several little boys run around the corner on their way to breakfast. Trying to avoid a collision with one of them, I quickly jump back closer to the wall and out of their way, but my right foot misses the step and I fall on my butt hard. I let out a quiet, “Ow!”
Not realizing what happened, the boys continue down the steps and into the Great Hall. Someone else, however, has seen the whole thing. “Oi! Stop running and watch where you’re going!” a voice yells after the boys. Then the same voice calls up to me in a less menacing tone, “Are you all right?”
Extremely embarrassed, I look to my right to see the blond boy I bumped into last night walking up the steps towards me, and his friends are right behind him. Just great, I think to myself. I fall on my butt and of course the most handsome guy in the school just HAD to see it.
“Are you all right?” he asks again.
“Yeah,” I say quietly. He’s reached me by this point, and I start trying to get up, my tailbone throbbing. I expect him to start laughing at any moment, but he doesn’t.
Seeing my struggle, he extends his right hand and says, “Let me help you up.”
“Thanks,” I say, taking his hand. I notice that his hand is shaking, like he’s nervous or something.
As soon as my skin touches his, a tingling sensation shoots through my hand and up my arm. It feels like an electric current is passing through my body. I can tell he feels it, too, because his eyebrows furrow and he looks down at my hand. Ignoring the feeling, he pulls me up, and quite easily, I might add - he’s very strong. Once I’m back on my feet, I release his hand and the tingling stops. “Sorry about that,” I say, nodding my head toward his hand. “I didn’t mean to shock you”.
“It’s okay,” he says. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yeah,” I say again, nodding my head.
“Good,” he says, smiling. His smile makes me want to melt. “When I see those boys again I’ll teach them a lesson about knocking people down in hallways,” he continues.
“No, really, that’s not necessary. I’m fine. They were just in a hurry to get to breakfast,” I say, a little wary of what he means when he says he’ll ‘teach them a lesson’.
Then out of the corner of my eye I see Harry, Ron, and Hermione coming out of the Great Hall. They look worried when they see us and start walking faster. “Malfoy, leave her alone, it’s her first day!” Ron says.
The boy steps away from me and turns to face them, a sour expression on his handsome face. His friends also look angry. “Shut up, you filthy Muggle lover!” he says angrily.
The next thing I know, five wands are drawn and everyone’s got their wand aimed at someone else, except for Hermione and I.
“No!” Hermione and I say loudly, and the blond boy turns to look at me. Just as he does so, Harry fires a spell at him, but he doesn’t see it. Panicking and not wanting my hero to be hexed for something he didn’t do, I grab him by the arm, ignoring the tingling sensation his skin is giving me, and pull him as hard as I can out of harm’s way.
I pull him so hard that we bump into each other, which causes more of the tingling I’d felt before. Moving in front of him and having no other way to defend him, I throw my arms up protectively; I left my wand in my dorm room. “STOP!” I yell. “Just stop!”
“We’re trying to help you!” Ron replies. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t need help!” I say loudly. “He didn’t do anything wrong! I fell down - he was just helping me up!”
“Oh,” Ron says, looking more than a bit confused. He looks around at Harry and Hermione, who also look confused. He and Harry lower their wands, however, and everyone else does, too. I lower my arms, feeling even more embarrassed now than I did when I fell down. I turn around and look at the blond boy, who is staring down at me with an odd expression on his face.
“Are you all right?” I ask him. He nods. My feeling of embarrassment grows by the second. I try to fight them, but the tears slowly begin to flow. “I’m sorry,” I say to him. Not wanting to seem like a big baby, I quickly walk past him and upstairs. As I’m running up the stairs, I hear Hermione fussing, though I’m not sure who at.
“Don’t you understand? You can’t upset her like that!” she says. Then she calls after me, “Jayde, wait!”
I ignore her and continue up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower. I pass many students in the hallways and on the stairways, but I ignore the curious looks they’re giving me. When I reach the portrait of the Fat Lady, I give her the password and enter the common room. Many of the other students are awake now, Ginny being one of them. I nearly run into her in my haste to get back to my room. She notices that I’m crying and asks me what’s wrong.
I don’t answer her, but push past her and continue up the winding stairs, through the hallway door, and into my now-empty dorm room, with Ginny hot on my heels. I sit down on my bed, still crying, and she sits down beside me. “Jayde, what happened?” she asks.
I shake my head and don’t answer her. We sit in silence for a moment before Hermione bursts through the door, out of breath. She sits down on my bed also; Ginny’s on my left, Hermione’s on my right. “Are you ok?” Hermione asks me.
“Look, I know you’re just trying to be nice and make me feel welcome because you’re Head Girl,” I say quietly. “But don’t even bother; it’s just a waste of time. I’m used to being alone. In fact, I’m better off that way.”
“Nobody’s better off alone,” she replies.
“Hermione, what happened?” Ginny asks.
“Jayde’s just a little embarrassed is all,” Hermione replies.
“A little embarrassed?” I ask incredulously. “I’m more than a little embarrassed. In my first twenty-four hours at a new school where I don’t know anybody, I’ve managed to run into someone, fall on my arse, get helped up by the same someone I ran into, and then get the same person who helped me up off my arse into a fight! It doesn’t look like I’ll be making anything but enemies here.”
“Jayde, that fight wasn’t your fault,” Hermione says. “Harry and Ron thought they were helping you, they thought Malfoy was picking on you or something.”
“And why would they just assume that when they saw me standing near him?” I ask, looking up at her.
“Wait, did I hear that correctly? Did you just ask her why Harry and Ron might think Malfoy was picking on you?” Ginny asks. I’m not sure what to make of the tone in her voice.
“Yes,” I say, turning to look at her and nodding my head.
“Because he’s always picking on everyone!” she exclaims. “He’s a spoiled, selfish prat who enjoys giving people grief!”
“Really?” I ask Hermione.
“Yes,” she says. “Draco Malfoy is not the kind of person you want as a friend, Jayde. Or at least, not the kind of person I’d want to make friends with if it were my first day at Hogwarts. Honestly, even if he had helped me up, I wouldn’t have pulled him away from Harry’s curse. You shouldn’t worry about what he thinks of you at all, he doesn’t like anyone.”
“But why?” I ask.
“I don’t really know,” she replies. “He and Harry had it out their first day here and they’ve been at it ever since. He comes from one of those old, wealthy, pureblood families who think they’re better than everyone else. He thinks Muggle-borns and half-bloods are scum and they shouldn’t be allowed to learn magic, trust me. The disgusting git has called me a Mudblood quite a few times.”
“That’s horrible!” I say, shocked to learn his true nature.
I’ve stopped crying now, and wipe away my last tears with my index finger. “That’s what Harry thinks, too,” Hermione says. “That’s why he and Draco fight all the time. Draco picks on Muggle-borns and Harry defends them.”
“Oh,” I say quietly. By this point I’m starting to feel bad for being angry with Harry and Ron. “But if he’s so despicable, why did he even bother to help me up?” I ask her.
“WHOA! Hold on a minute!” Ginny exclaims, “Draco Malfoy helped you up?” I turn to look at her and nod my head. She looks absolutely bewildered, but Hermione doesn’t give her the chance to speak again.
“I don’t know why he did that,” she says quietly, “but he must’ve had something up his sleeve.”
I’m shocked. I feel as though someone just splashed a lot of cold water on my face and woke me up. I’m amazed that someone who looks so much like a god apparently acts so much like a devil. “Wow,” I say quietly. “It’s probably a good thing that you three walked up then.”
“I’ll say,” Ginny says.
“Hermione, where are Harry and Ron?” I ask.
“They started walking upstairs behind me, so they’re probably in the common room,” she answers.
“I think I need to go apologize to them,” I say, standing. “They were just trying to help and I got way too upset.”
“Okay,” she says, “Ginny and I will go with you.” The two of them stand and we head down to the common room.
Harry and Ron are sitting at a table near a window on the right side of the room, playing a game of wizard’s chess. I’m nervous as we walk up to them, but they look up when they see us approaching. “Jayde, we’re sorry,” Harry begins, but I cut him off.
“No” I say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how much of a prat Malfoy is. Hermione and Ginny just finished telling me about some of the things he’s done. You were just trying to help me and I appreciate it. I just lost my cool for a moment.” Harry and Ron both look up at me and smile.
"It’s okay,” Ron says politely. “You’re probably just stressed out. I mean, it can’t be easy transferring to a new school in your seventh year, and having to make new friends. You just didn’t want anyone getting a bad opinion of you on your first day… although I should warn you that Malfoy has a bad opinion of everyone who isn’t a rich, arrogant git who’s also a pureblood in Slytherin.”
I can’t help but laugh at his last statement, and Harry, Hermione, and Ginny do too. “Point taken,” I say, smiling down at him. Then the other two girls and I stand there watching Harry and Ron play wizard’s chess for a while.
I finally decide I’d better get started unpacking, and head back up to my room. I spend the entire morning and most of the afternoon getting settled in, rearranging things several times before I’m satisfied. When I’m finished, I walk back down to the common room in hopes of finding Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but they’re not in there.
Ginny is, however, and she says she’d rather bat-bogey-hex herself than spend the rest of the day cooped up in the common room. She offers to give me a grand tour of the castle and grounds, and, delighted to have something to do and grateful for the opportunity to look at the castle without getting lost, I accept. She takes me throughout the entire castle, even to the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor. She shows me all my classrooms so I’ll stand a better chance of finding them tomorrow.
Then we go outside and she shows me the courtyards, greenhouses, Hagrid’s hut and the Whomping Willow. She tells me a little about herself as we walk, and I can’t help but start to like her - she’s funny. And I imagine that if I had older brothers like her twin brothers Fred and George, I’d be funny, too. She asks me about my life, and I tell her as much as I know about my parents. I tell her about Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor and what Dunamase was like, and she seems fascinated.
At dusk, she tells me that we should get to the Great Hall for dinner. So I follow her inside and we sit together at the Gryffindor table and continue talking while we wait for the rest of the students to arrive. Harry, Ron, and Hermione join us a few moments later. The whole time I’m eating I feel someone staring at me again, but I ignore it as best I can by concentrating on the conversation going on at the table. Just after I’ve finished eating my dessert, Hermione gets my attention and tells me to turn around. As I turn, I see the dark-haired man from Professor Dumbledore’s office standing to my right.
“Good evening, Miss Newsome,” he says, “You will need to come to my office after you’ve finished eating to take your potion”.
“Yes, sir,” I say politely, and he quickly walks off. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all give each other a knowing look, but I decide to ignore it. When I finish my dessert, I ask Ginny to remind me where Professor Snape’s office is. She tells me and I thank her.
As I stand up to leave the table, Harry stands and says, “Jayde, I’m finished, I’ll go with you.” I find this a little odd and uncomfortable. I’ve never walked anywhere alone with a boy, but I figure I owe it to him to make up for my behavior this morning. So I say okay and head towards the doors to the Great Hall. Harry, who had sat on my right since Ginny was sitting on my left, starts out walking behind me but quickly catches up to match my stride. As we walk through the doors, I still feel someone’s eyes on me but now it’s a more intense feeling - it feels like whoever it is will soon burn a hole through my back with their piercing gaze.
Harry and I walk in silence for a moment before he, too, asks me about my life before coming to Hogwarts. I tell him basically the same information I told Ginny earlier, but I leave out the part about my parents. He asks a few questions about Dunamase, clearly interested. Then he asks what my parents are like, and I hesitate before answering him. I explain to him that I don’t know what they’re like because they died when I was very young, and he apologizes for asking. I tell him it’s okay, but he still seems a little embarrassed.
“So what do you know about them?” he asks me. I tell him their names, and that my dad was a Nimbimagus and Englishman, and that Dumbledore told Mrs. McGreggor in one of his letters that my dad and all his family members before him attended Hogwarts. “What about your mother?” he asks. “Do you know if she was a witch?”
“Yes,” I answer. “She went to Dunamase. According to Dunamase’s records she came from a very old Irish wizarding family.”
“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” he says after a moment of silence, “but how did they die? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“The story I’ve been told is that they died in a house fire, but I survived. But that doesn’t really make sense to me - they were wizards. They should’ve been able to put out a simple house fire. And I don’t understand why I survived either. Sorry,” I say as I realize I’m rambling on. “I sort of started thinking out loud there.”
“It’s okay,” he says. “I wonder about the same things all the time.”
“What do you mean?” I ask him.
“You know,” he clarifies. “I wonder about the night my parents died, like you do.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I reply, feeling a bit embarrassed. “I didn’t know your parents were dead.” Harry gives me a look that clearly says he can’t believe I didn’t know this, and I immediately wonder why.
“Oh,” Harry says. “I’m sorry, I thought I told you who I am. I’m Harry Potter,” he says slowly, as if hoping I’ll get some hidden meaning out of his words.
“I know, you told me yesterday,” I reply.
“You mean, you don’t know who I am?” Harry asks; I simply shake my head in response. “What about the Dark Lord? Have you heard of him?” he asks. Again, I shake my head in response. “How can you not know about him?” Harry asks with a hint of frustration in his voice. “He was only the darkest wizard of all time! Surely you’ve read about him in your History of Magic classes at Dunamase!”
“We didn’t have a History of Magic course at Dunamase,” I reply. “The headmistress felt that if we were taught about previous wars and violence, it would only be more likely to start another war. History books were banned from the school and we weren’t allowed to talk privately about history either.”
Harry is completely taken aback by this statement. “Oh,” he says quietly. “Well, then I guess you don’t know who I am.” Though I can’t be sure, I thought I detected a hint of a smile on Harry’s face when he said that, as though he were pleased that I didn’t know who he was.
Harry proceeds to tell me how his parents were murdered by some wizard called ‘Voldemort’ when he was just a baby, and he alone survived. “I’m sorry, Harry,” I say quietly, feeling a wave of sympathy for him - he had it worse than I did. At least my parents weren’t murdered, I think to myself.
We reach the door to Professor Snape’s office, and Harry opens it for me but doesn’t step inside.
“Aren’t you coming?” I ask.
“No, I’ll wait out here,” he says, “Professor Snape and I don’t exactly see eye to eye.”
So I step into the professor’s office and close the door behind me. It’s a very dark room; there’s barely enough light to see by. The professor is sitting behind his desk, and doesn’t look up when I enter. I walk over and stand at the front of his desk, and after a moment he puts down the quill he’s writing with and stands up. He walks over to a cauldron sitting on a table to the left of his desk and uses a ladle to scoop some of the violet-colored potion into a vial he picks up from beside the cauldron.
“You should feel no adverse affects from this potion,” he says. “Unless you get very upset, you won’t even be able to tell you’ve taken it. If you do become very upset, you’ll need to come see me immediately to take another dose.” He hands the vial to me and says that I should go ahead and take it. When I’m finished, he extends his hand and I give the empty vial to him. “Now,” he says, “you will need to come here every evening before dinner to take your potion.”
“Yes, sir,” I say respectfully. Then he hands me a piece of parchment.
“This is your class schedule,” he says. “The headmaster asked me to give it to you. I took the liberty of writing the day and time of our private class at the bottom. Now I suggest you get to bed, you’ve got a full day tomorrow.”
“Yes, sir, thank you,” I say, before turning and leaving his office. I didn’t necessarily have a bad experience in his office, but I am glad to get out of it - it’s so dark and gloomy. I shut the office door and turn around. Harry is leaning against the wall just to my left.
We start making our way back through the hallways silently. The silence is almost deafening; I’m very grateful when we get back to the common room. I thank Harry for walking with me and go up to my room. I change into my pajamas and lay down on my bed, both nervous and excited about the next day. I decide to go ahead and get some sleep even though it’s still early. I’ll need to be up early in the morning to get a bath and eat breakfast before my classes start.