Monday morning found me waking up at half passed five while breakfast didn’t start until eight. I laid there for awhile listening to the sounds of my dorm mates in their slumber. Mumbling, light snoring, the shifting of blankets and whine of mattresses as they moved.
The first alarm went off at six, belonging to Mary who hit her snooze three times before rising and being the first to shuffle into the bathroom. For as long as I could remember, well at least since the girls discovered make-up, Mary was always the first one up because her beauty regimen took the longest.
Six thirty came, waking Alice and Lily who grumbled general morning pleasantries to one another, but they were incoherent. They passed Mary on their way into the bathroom who was wrapped in a towel with her honey curls soaking wet.
Six forty-five, and I finally decided to get out of bed, drawing my hangings open with a sigh. A couple minutes later, Marlene followed, stretching her arms high above her head. I passed Lily on the way into the bathroom and mumbled a general morning greeting, trying to make her believe I hadn’t already been awake for an hour. As I showered, I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I heard Marlene singing like always. She wasn’t very good, but she didn’t care, Marlene sang loudly and out of key as confidently as a front man for a band.
Mary was gone by the time I walked back into the dorm room and Alice and Lily were in various states of dress. Alice was leaning toward the mirror, applying mascara with her mouth hanging open, while Lily was pulling her fiery hair into a pony tail. I cast a drying charm on my own dark tendrils and began to furiously pull the knots out of it.
Marlene walked out of the bathroom with her usual spring in her step as she made her way to her bed and plopped down. Alice finished getting dressed and told us all that she’d see us at breakfast, then left. Just as I was sliding on my crisp button down shirt, Lily slid her arms through her robe.
“I’ll save you a seat Elaina,” she told me with a smile.
I sent her one in return, “Thanks Lily.”
She sent me one last smile, threw her bag onto her shoulder and left. I walked over to our shared vanity - it had five drawers one for each of our beauty products and opened my drawer, taking out my make-up bag. I could feel Marlene watching me as I put on my make-up, but I chose not to acknowledge it. Just as I was applying a little bit of color to my cheeks, I heard Marlene take a few steps toward me.
“You know, I’ve always wondered how you do it,” she said.
I cast her a confused look in the mirror. “Do what?”
“Manage to look so perfectly gorgeous everyday,” she sighed. “I mean, you spend a quarter of the time Mary does on her make-up and always look ten times prettier than her.”
I laughed. It wasn’t that Mary was unattractive in the first place because she wasn’t. With her curvy figure, honey blonde hair and almond shaped eyes; if you looked at Mary before she “put on her face”, you would probably realize that brown eyed blondes were one of the Creator’s better ideas. If she would just tone down her make-up a little bit she would look so much prettier.
“That’s because Mary mistakenly equates make-up with beauty,” I replied. “Whoever taught her about make-up didn’t teach her that it was meant to enhance.”
Marlene scoffed, “I really don’t even know why you wear it; as if you have any flaws.”
I turned back to my reflection and assessed myself. Concealer was hiding the dark circles under my eyes, blue tinted eyeliner was supposed to distract from the bloodshot whites of my eyes, smoothing chap-stick was nourishing my chapped lips, blush was meant to give my unusually pale pallor a healthy flush. This make-up and beauty routine wasn’t to make me prettier or more beautiful; it was to make me look like normal.
Then I discreetly turned my gaze to Marlene, who, without a speck of make-up on her face was still stunning. Her long, sleek hair was pitch black set against the creamy ivory of her skin and her eyes were the deepest blue I’ve ever seen.
“I’ll do your make-up for you sometime if you like,” I offered hesitantly.
Marlene’s eyes lit up, “Really? That’d be great - I don’t know a thing about make-up!”
A few minutes later, I was surprised to find myself arm in arm with Marlene as we headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Marlene waved to Alice who, I noticed, was sitting a ways down the table with her boyfriend Frank. I sat myself on Lily’s other side, across from Remus who greeted me with a warm ‘good morning’, while Marlene took the open seat next to me. Sirius caught my eye on Remus’ left and sent me a wink, but I just rolled my eyes at him. James and Peter appeared a few minutes later, both of whom said good morning to everyone. Despite the fact that it was the first day of classes, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
Everyone in the Great Hall began to quiet down and we all turned our attention to Dumbledore who was standing at the teacher’s table, with his arms outstretched, calling for silence.
“Good morning everyone!” he called cheerily. “Before you head off to your first classes, there’s an announcement I would like to make. Due to the departure of Professor Beddor at the close of last year, I would like to introduce you all to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor: Derek Perkins.”
My eyes widened as I watched my father’s friend exit the side door and take the place Professor Beddor had once occupied. I almost couldn’t believe my luck because from what I had been told Professor Beddor was a tyrant, not that I expected Derek to give me preferential treatment, but I’m sure he would be a more tolerable teacher.
His announcement made, Dumbledore retook his seat and a moment or so later, food appeared on the table. I watched in mild disgust as the boys wolfed down whatever they could get their hands on, as if they hadn’t eaten in weeks. From the way Lily’s lip was curling, I guessed she shared my disgust.
“You guys could breathe,” Marlene told them.
“Or, you know, actually chew,” Lily added.
“Ve’re ongry!” Peter said through a mouthful of masticated bacon.
“Ugh, I’m not hungry any more,” Mary said with disgust as she pushed her plate away from her. “And if you could not talk with your mouthful that’d be greatly appreciated.”
“Wha’re ‘oo so ch-ranky ‘bout?” Sirius asked her, his mouth full (I suspected on purpose).
“Just so you know: if you choke I’m not helping you,” I told him.
Sirius swallowed and feigned hurt, “But I thought you loved me, ’Laina!”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” I scoffed. “By the way, you’ve got something on your face.”
Everyone laughed as Sirius quickly picked up his napkin and wiped at his face. McGonagall came down the table, handing out everyone’s timetables and giving me a friendly reminder that if I didn’t keep up in her class that I would be dropped from it. Comparing schedules, I found that I had most of my classes with everyone with the exception of Divination which I had with only Mary, and Astronomy which I had with Marlene, Sirius and Remus.
When the first bell rang, we all went our separate ways; Mary and I making the long trek to the Divination classroom. And Merlin, was it ever awkward. Her and I walked with three feet of space between us, both of us having our arms crossed and watching where we were walking.
“Don’t think this means I trust you,” Mary suddenly said. After a moment she added, “Or that I even like you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Well then, I invite you to consider the feeling mutual,” I told her.
“I see right through you, Elaina,” Mary told me.
“I’m sure you do,” I replied in deadpan.
“They do too. They’ll never trust you - you should’ve been in Slytherin with all your slimy friends,” she spat. “They’re only being nice to you because they feel sorry for you - having lost your parents and all.”
I stopped walking and turned to Mary. She wasn’t glaring at me so much as looking at me very intently, but I’m sure she thought she was glaring at me. I found it difficult to take her seriously the way her face was puckering in her current temperament.
“You’re right, I should’ve been put into Slytherin,” I told her. “Unfortunately for you, the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor. And you know what? I never asked for all of this, Mary.” I spread my arms out to either side for emphasis. “I never asked for my parents to be killed, I never asked to end up living with James’ family for the summer, and I sure as hell didn’t ask them to befriend me. But they did, and seeing as I’m in short supply of friends, I’m not going to turn them away.”
I knew Mary didn’t hate me for the kindness her friends were showing me, it ran deeper than that; she wasn’t that superficial. I took a slow step forward, like a predator attempting to back its prey into a corner. I saw Mary’s contempt for me falter into fear for a moment before it vanished and she looked up at me with as much distaste as she could manage.
“Trying to intimidate me, Elaina?” she sneered. “How very Slytherin of you.”
“What’s it going to take for you to realize that comparing me to them doesn’t affect me? I don’t consider it an insult - clearly you’ve been around James and Sirius too long if that is your default insult,” I replied casually. “Besides, I would have thought I proved that I was different from them the day I helped you.”
Anger, bright and malicious glowed in her eyes and I watched her hand twitch near the pocket of her robe where her wand was cresting its hem. Even if she had drawn her wand, I still would’ve had the upper hand in a duel. She was angry, rash, and any spell or curse she cast would be wild, easily blocked or avoidable. My father had taught me that in a duel anger was trite and while it may have burned white hot, once you did what damage made you feel better, it was gone and then you had nothing to motivate you.
“I told you never to bring that up!” Mary hissed. “And you only helped me to save your skin, and believe me, if I had told anyone you were there as well, you would not be enjoying the luxury of Lily’s friendship.”
I shook my head, “I helped you because it was the right thing to do. And you wouldn’t have told anyone I helped you because I’m sure you like your series of events better - that you managed to subdue them and get away and clean yourself up.”
“I didn’t need your help!” Mary shouted, and it echoed off the walls.
“Well, you weren’t exactly turning me away when I offered it, were you?”
I turned without another word and continued to walk to the Divination classroom, the bell would ring any minute now and I was not about to be late to my first class on the first day.
The classroom was, as always, hazy with incense smoke and without even looking around I crossed the room and took the first open seat I came across plopping myself beside a boy from Ravenclaw who started at the admittedly violent way I slammed by bag onto the table. Mary came in just as the bell rang and I couldn’t help the satisfied smirk that spread across my lips as I watched her stand there awkwardly looking for somewhere to sit. She finally decided on sitting next to a girl from Hufflepuff. This was one of the only classes where all the houses were mixed into it because there were only a few people from each house taking it.
Professor Kiraly entered a moment later and class began. In her rasping, husky voice she told us that we would be honing our inner eye more than ever using meditation and the help of trance inducing herbs like the once famous oracles at Delphi, and analyzing our dreams to determine if they were just dreams, or our inner eye giving us glimpses into the future when our minds and bodies are most at ease. I didn’t hear much of what she said after that. The reason I took Divination when most people chose to drop it when they could, was that it gave me the chance to sleep in class and not miss anything and, double bonus, I had Divination three days a week as my first class. It was easy to fake your way through assignments as long as you had a creative imagination.
The bell rang and I gathered my things and headed to double Transfiguration, but as I was walking out of the classroom, Mary decided it would be a good idea to throw her shoulder into me, almost knocking me from my feet. And the only reason I didn’t retaliate, like say, tripping her down the spiral stairs, is because she sped up to be at least six people ahead of me.
Mary flounced into the Transfiguration room ahead of me and I paused, looking around the room for an open seat. Gryffindor had this class with Ravenclaw and as I looked around Lily was sitting with James, Remus with Peter, Alice with Frank, but Marlene and Sirius were sitting by themselves and three guesses where Mary went first.
She waltzed right over to Sirius and flipped her hair over her shoulder as she took the open seat. He turned with a look that clearly read “what do you think you’re doing?” but was too polite to actually say anything. Sirius turned around in his seat and found me standing in the doorway, he promptly sent me a look that begged for my help. All I did was smirk and make my way to the open seat beside Marlene.
“Hey!” she said with a smile. “How was Divination with Mary?”
I rolled my eyes. “You don’t want to know.”
Marlene then looked past me to where Mary was attempting to engage Sirius in conversation, but he was clearly not paying any attention from the glazed over look in his eyes. “She’s not exactly warming up to you, is she?”
“Are we honestly surprised?” I whispered as Professor McGonagall entered the room.
McGonagall told us that this year she would be focusing on getting us prepared for our N.E.W.T exams at the end of June and that the theorems we were to be learning were far more advanced than anything we encountered thus far and that our transfigurations were only going to become more complex as the year progressed. I almost wanted to slam my forehead against the desk as she spoke because I had the fleeting suspicion that she was only saying all of this to maybe frighten me into dropping the class before I failed so miserably at it.
After she was done, she told us that for today’s lesson we would transfiguring chameleons into clocks and would be pairing off. I watched everyone look around the room, making eye contact with their potential partner and nodding in acknowledgment. I leaned forward when McGonagall had her back turned, tapping Remus on the shoulder.
“Be my partner?” I asked almost desperately.
He smiled and nodded, “Sure, Elaina.”
“Your instructions are on the board and I will be coming around to check your progress,” McGonagall said. “You are to perform this transfiguration first aloud and then, after you have succeeded, silently.”
There was the scratching of chairs against the floor as people stood, moving to the table their partners were at. Remus slid over the table dividing us with a witty smile. I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and turned around a little surprised to see Sirius.
“Tired of Mary already?” I asked.
“I swear she was never this insufferable when we were dating,” he replied. “Be my partner?”
I hissed through my teeth. “I’m sorry Sirius, I asked Remus to be my partner. He’s the one who’s always helped me with Transfiguration in the past.”
Sirius looked to Remus who shrugged, “Sorry Padfoot.”
Sirius’ expression fell, “Oh, no it’s fine.”
I grabbed Marlene’s arm, “I’m sure Marlene wouldn’t mind saving you from Mary, right Marlene?”
Marlene grinned in reply, “Sure, I’ll be your partner Sirius just give me a minute to get my stuff.”
“Now I feel bad,” I told Remus as Sirius and Marlene went back to his table. But I couldn’t help but inwardly grin seeing that Mary had to partner with Peter, who, in all honesty, didn’t look too thrilled about their partnership either.
“Sirius will get over it,” Remus assured me. “But I suggest we start working because McGonagall is giving us the stink eye.”
I really never made it to the “perform it silently” part of the lesson. Remus, smart as he was, managed to successfully transfigure the chameleon after only a couple tries while I struggled a bit more. Remus helped me as much as he could, but by the end of the lesson the only thing I had managed to accomplish was a clock whose face kept continually changing colors… and had a tail.
“Remus, just promise me you’ll be my partner for the rest of the year,” I told him as we walked out of the classroom.
“You weren’t that bad,” he tried to tell me.
“Yeah well, if I don’t keep up my grade in that class, McGonagall will drop me from it,” I told him. “It’s not something I can afford right now.”
“It’s only the first day of classes,” James said coming up on my other side after saying good-bye to Lily who was headed to Ancient Runes. “She’s not gonna drop you after one class.”
“That’s easy for you to say, how many tries did it take you?” I asked,.
“I dunno, like, four?” he replied with a shrug.
“Four!?” I cried, incredulously. I threw my head back and groaned, “I’m going to be out of the class by the end of the week!”
“Maybe not,” came Sirius’ voice, followed by an arm around my shoulder. “What was your Transfiguration O.W.L?”
“I got an E,” I replied.
“Then you’ll be fine, I think,” said Peter. “McGonagall wouldn’t take you if you got anything less.”
That wasn’t exactly a comforting thought considering McGonagall only agreed to me being put in her N.E.W.T level class because Dumbledore let me change my schedule.
Sirius, sensing my sudden uneasiness, held me closer to his side. “You’ll be fine! I have full confidence in you!”
Yes another lovely filler chapter!
I really just wanted to use this chapter to set up Elaina and Mary's mutual dislike. If you can't figure out why Mary doesn't like Elaina from the clues in this chapter it'll be explained in a bit. And I wanted to show that Elaina is going to have friends outside of the Marauders and Lily, right now that being Marlene. But there is another character who is probably my favorite and she'll be introduced when it's time for Quidditch try-outs.
Next chapter we're headed to DADA to find out what Derek has in store for their final year!
Also I have another story posted, it's a James S. Potter/OC story, and I think you guys should check it out! :P
Thank you everyone that reviewed, this story has finally breached the 100 review mark! You guys are the most amazing readers/reviewers I could ask for :D
Write a Review Fragile Things : Ch. 12 - First Day