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Matters of the Hart by Flavia
Chapter 3 : Missing Beds and Prefects
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 6


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I do not own Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat, The Whomping Willow or the Fat Lady.  Quite frankly all of these awesome things plus the characters and world of Harry Potter belong to Her Majesty JK Rowling, all hail the queen!
 
I do own Tabitha, Natalie, Annie, Rheydyn and Rowan though =)
 


Thanks to laylacitababy @ TDA for the lovely chapter image


“Don’t think I won’t hex you just because we’re in a room full of teachers.”  ~Tabitha Hart




Tabitha had always loved the start of term feast at Hogwarts. There was something about walking into that huge room, gazing up again at the enchanted ceiling reflecting the night sky, before taking a seat at the huge Gryffindor table, the golden plates and goblets gleaming in the candle light. There was always a lot of chattering as people called out greetings to old friends they hadn’t seen over the summer months. There were stories to be swapped and jokes to be told. It always had the warm feel of a homecoming, and it always made Tabitha feel close to her mother as she imagined her here, experiencing a feast just like this one. Before long Professor Longbottom, the deputy headmaster, entered the room followed by a long line of frightened looking first years. They seemed to get smaller as the years progressed. 

“Do you think we were ever that tiny?” Tabitha whispered to Natalie, nodding towards a particularly petite girl near the end of the line.

“Well you weren’t Hart. You were like a little tree sapling with those stringy arms and legs of yours.” James whispered from where he sat across from Natalie. Tabitha shot him an angry glare. “Oh don’t worry…you grew in to them ok. Eventually.” He flashed a smile in her direction, causing her to hiss back:
 
“Don’t think I won’t hex you just because we’re in a room full of teachers.” James continued to smile but she was sure she saw something else (she hoped it was fear) flash across his eyes for a moment.

“Hufflepuff!” The sorting hat cried from atop a young girl’s head, and Tabitha whipped her head back towards the front of the room, her blonde hair dancing madly around her face. She had always loved the sorting, but unlike most students who watched for new additions to their own house, Tabitha loved to watch for new Hufflepuffs. She had never told anyone about her silly habit, but whenever she saw a young girl climb off the stool and make her way to join those wearing the yellow and black crest; she liked to imagine it was her mother. It was little things like this that made Annabeth real to her. And with her lack of solid memories, Tabitha took anything she could that increased the reality of her mother.

The sorting finished and the feast passed in the usual manner, with a lot of eating and good natured chatter. Eventually, as the dessert dishes became clean once more, Professor Sprout stood to make her usual address. A short, dumpy, yet incredibly likable woman, Professor Sprout always looked like she’d just come in from one of the greenhouses (and she very often had).  She wore olive green robes, a pointy hat with several patches on it sitting jauntily atop her head. She beamed at the students, their happy faces glowing back up at her.

“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts!” She said, her surprisingly loud voice reaching the students at the very back of the hall. “As always, it is so wonderful to see you all here. I have a few announcements to make. Firstly, the Forbidden Forest is…well…forbidden to all students. It’s sort of obvious isn’t it?” She said the last sentence in a stage whisper to the first year Hufflepuffs sitting closest to her. She winked at them and continued. “Secondly, it must be mentioned that magic is not to be used in the corridors between classes. And lastly,” Her face took on a motherly expression and she spoke gently, as though about a young child. “I will remind you to all please keep a safe distance from the very rare and delicate Whomping Willow we have out in the grounds. It is a very unique botanical feature of our lovely home here, and it would be dreadful if it were damaged in any way.” Tabitha grinned to herself. Professor Sprout always added in the last reminder about the Whomping Willow, even though most students in their right mind gave it a wide berth when they crossed the grounds. Of course there were the odd few mischief makers who tried to make it fling its limbs about, and for this their Headmistress obviously thought an annual reminder was necessary. “Now it is getting quite late and we all have classes in the morning, so I bid you good night!” She announced, and with that, the students all began to talk as they stood up and made their way out of the Great Hall. 

Rowan squeezed past Tabitha, calling out to the first years to follow him, the silver prefect badge on his chest glinting in the candle light. Tabitha had always been a bit sore about the fact she hadn’t made it as a prefect, although the fact that James hadn’t either had rather appeased her. Now he’s Quidditch captain he’s as good as been made prefect though. The thought crossed her mind bitterly. Tabitha tried not to dwell on this as she climbed the stairs with Natalie and Annie. 
 
“Rowan told me the password before he rushed off.” Annie said as they approached the painting of the Fat Lady in her pink silk dress. “It’s Fluxweed.” The portrait swung forward, revealing a large hole, which all three girls quickly scarpered through. They quietly edged around to the girls’ dormitory staircase, avoiding the group of first years being shown around the common room. Once on the stairs, Natalie and Tabitha broke into a run. Tabitha, being the taller of the two, managed to get there a few steps before Natalie, and burst through the door happily. It was a cosy, round room, with windows that offered a view of the Forbidden Forest and just a glimpse of the Quidditch pitch. Four poster beds were placed at intervals against the wall, with cheerful silk hangings. The girls’ luggage had been brought up and their trunks sat neatly at the ends of their beds. When she first entered the door, Tabitha smiled at the familiar room. Then she frowned…something wasn’t right. 

“What’s wrong?” Natalie asked as she walked in and saw the look on Tabitha’s face. 

“Four beds.”

“Sorry?”

“Four beds.” Tabitha waved her arm, causing Natalie to look around the room.

“Oh.” Natalie replied. “Four Beds.” She had finally noticed that the number of beds and therefore the room’s inhabitants (she assumed) had gone down in number over the summer break. “I wonder who isn’t coming back.” She added. Neither girl had to wait long, because at that moment Annie (who never ran up the stairs if she could help, lest she begin to perspire) entered with her arm around a girl with auburn curls. The girl was short but slim, with sparkling blue eyes that were currently welling up with tears.

“D…didn’t…even kn...kn…know until three d...days ago.” She was sobbing quietly. 

“Rheydyn! What’s wrong?” Tabitha asked, although she was pretty sure she knew. Rheydyn Pritchard had shared the dormitory with them since first year, as had her best friend Amy Reed. Tabitha could only assume the missing bed belonged to the missing girl.

“Amy’s moved away.” She said through her tears. “Her dad was offered a job with the Wollongong Warriors Quidditch team and the whole family’s moved to Australia!” And with a fresh wave of tears, she began to sob into the sleeve of her robes. Natalie and Tabitha put their arms around her too and led her over to her bed to sit down. Annie and Tabitha sat either side of her, while Natalie sat cross legged on the rug in front of the sobbing girl. 

“She sent me an owl last week saying they were moving. She’d only found out the night before and now she’s gone halfway across the world and I might never see her again.” She hiccoughed. Tabitha pulled a box of tissues from the bedside table and passed Rheydyn one.

“It’ll be alright.” Natalie offered gently. “Don’t forget, we’re witches and when you use magical travel it’s not that far away really.” Rheydyn gave them a sad, watery smile.

“I know." She sighed. "I’m just really going to miss having her here, you know?” They all nodded gravely because at that moment they were all thinking the same thing: how devastated they would be if either of their close trio had to leave. “I think I’m going to go to bed. I’m so exhausted.” Amy said. “Thanks for listening girls.” She added, before standing and heading to the bathroom. The three girls watched her leave. Natalie looked a Tabitha and said,

“You know what this means don’t you?” Tabitha replied by giving Natalie a confused expression. “Well this means Peter’s gone too.” Natalie clarified. Tabitha let out a small gasp of understanding. Amy’s younger brother Peter, a fourth year, had been the seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Natalie nodded to herself, “Looks like James is going to have his work cut out for him.”



Rheydyn was still looking a little bit lost the next morning when they headed down for breakfast, but she had at least stopped crying. Annie offered to do her hair and makeup – her way of showing care and concern. Rheydyn politely refused, although promised Annie that if she was successful in her campaign for a ball, she could straighten her auburn curls with Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion.
 
“You know I think she’s really serious about this ball nonsense.” Tabitha whispered to Natalie as they followed their dorm-mates down stairs for breakfast. “Hopefully the professors have more sense.”

“Oh I don’t know.” Natalie said dreamily. “It could be fun, getting all dressed up, dancing under the candles in the great hall…” She faded out with a stupid smile on her face. Tabitha shot her an apprehensive look. She knew that expression – it crossed Annie’s face every time a good looking boy walked past her.

“Natalie? Who are you daydreaming about?” She asked. Natalie snapped out of her reverie and looked quite alarmed.

“What? Me? No I’m…I’m not daydreaming about anyone.” She laughed nervously. “Don’t be ridiculous Tabby!”

“Hart being ridiculous is she? Oh she must be listing her reasons why I shouldn’t be Quidditch captain.” James laughed as he joined the girls, Rowan right behind him. Tabitha was about to snap back at him but was distracted by Natalie’s reaction.  She was blushing profusely and had become very focussed on straightening the front of her robes. Tabitha gawked at her in disbelief. James! She screamed inside her head, wishing she could communicate telepathically with her friend. James! Oh dear no Nattie…please no! Develop some taste girl! James took her stunned silence to mean that he had left her speechless with his comment and he added gleefully. “Oh and I get to use the prefect bathroom now too. Have you ever been in there Hart? No I suppose you haven’t. It’s absolutely amazing!” Tabitha rolled her eyes at him and entered the Great Hall, dragging Natalie behind her.

“I cannot believe you Natalie Cooper! You are as bad as Annie!” She hissed. Natalie, her blush now fading just smiled and said,

“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about,” and before Tabitha could respond, slipped onto the bench between Annie and Rheydyn. Tabitha sat down on Rheydyn’s other side and poured herself a glass of pumpkin juice. As they were finishing their breakfast, Professor Longbottom came down the aisle, handing out timetables. When he reached Tabitha, he said,
“Oh Miss Hart, if you have finished eating, the Headmistress would like to speak with you.” She looked up from the parchment in her hands in surprise.

“Did she say why?” She asked, a worried crease forming on her forehead. 

“I imagine she will tell you once you get there.” The Herbology professor smiled at her. Taking the hint, Tabitha stood, ignored the curious glances of her friends (and James) and followed the professor to the Headmistress’s office. “Bubotuber.” He said to the stone Gargoyle that guarded the entrance to the office Tabitha had only ever visited once before. The gargoyle turned, revealing a set of moving stairs and Professor Longbottom indicated that she should step on to them. She did so, and rose silently up to the office door. She gave the wood a timid tap and was greeted with a cheerful greeting to enter. Tabitha pushed open the door and entered the large room. It was decorated with hundreds of magical plants in a vast array of colours, giving the impression that one had just entered a private, magical jungle. Leaves and vines grew around the many portraits of Hogwarts headmasters and headmistresses on the wall, creating frames of foliage. Professor Sprout was sitting at the far end of the room, behind a large wooden desk. 
 
“Come in dear, come in!” She beamed at the nervous sixth year in the door way. “Please, take a seat.” She indicated to the soft armchair across from her. Tabitha sat, her back straight and her hands clasped in her lap. A baby Mimbulus Mimbletonia sat in a vibrant orange pot on a small pedestal to the right of the desk, catching her attention. The pot had a large purple bow around it and a small card sat next to it. Someone had obviously given it to her as a present. “Oh yes, it’s sweet isn’t it?” The professor smiled, following Tabitha’s gaze to the plant. “Professor Longbottom gave it to me…a cutting from his own garden.”  She turned back to the nervous girl in front of her. “Now, now dear, there’s no need to look so worried. You aren’t in any trouble,” she laughed gently. Tabitha tried to put on a casual smile, as the Headmistress continued. “I assume that by now, you know that the Reed family have left our school, in particular Miss Amy Reed?” Tabitha nodded mutely, still wondering what all of this was about. “Yes, quite an exciting time for the family. But Miss Reed’s absence has left something of a hole in Gryffindor House.” 

“Well we’ll all miss her Professor, but I think Rheydyn would be feeling it more than me. They are best friends.” Tabitha replied. She could not imagine why on earth the Headmistress would be talking to her about this. Perhaps she had got her wires crossed and thought that Tabitha was the one crying over the missing Gryffindor?

“Oh yes, the loss of a friend is difficult,” Professor Sprout mused. “But that is not what I wanted to speak about with you. You are aware, I am sure, that Miss Reed was made a Gryffindor prefect last year?” She asked. Tabitha nodded. She remembered how disappointed she had been when her Hogwarts letter had come, and there was no prefect badge inside. “Well Miss Hart, it would seem that we are now one prefect down in the Gryffindor Tower, and I am looking for a young lady to fill that position.” Tabitha’s eyes widened with understanding. Is she saying what I think she’s saying?   “I am of the opinion that you would be the best candidate for the job, and if you agree, you will be the next sixth year Gryffindor female prefect. Does that sound like something you would be interested in Miss Hart?”

“Oh absolutely!” Tabitha burst out, barely able to contain herself. “I mean, yes, Professor. I think I could do it very well.” The Headmistress smiled happily at Tabitha and stood up. She opened a small wooden box on her desk and pulled something small and shiny out. She handed it to Tabitha. It was a small silver badge, shaped into a letter ‘P’ with the Gryffindor lion etched on to it.

“Congratulations Miss Hart.” Professor Sprout beamed. “Now you had better hurry along, I’m sure you don’t want to be late for Professor Hagrid.” Tabitha flashed the Headmistress a wide smile and then left the office. As she headed across the sunlit grounds to her first class, Care of Magical Creatures, she pinned the badge to her chest, the smile still playing on her lips.
 



AN: Hope you enjoyed it.  As always, please review.  Reviews make authors smile like crazy people!



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