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Chapter 7 : Return: Smoke, Silver and Scarlet
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September 1, 1998; 9:47 AM
She threw her arm across the bed, expecting a curse when it manages to hit his sleeping form. To her surprise, he wasn’t there. In fact, Draco’s side of the bed had already gone cold. He’s been up for hours, it seems.
“Draco,” she called out, “where are you?”
When she heard no reply, she got up frantically almost missing the folded piece of paper on the bedside table.
“Very funny, Draco. Merlin, I’m late! “
September 1, 1998; 9:53 AM
Platform 9 ¾
I checked my watch as soon as I stepped through the barrier. A few minutes early. Perfect. I made my way to the Head’s Compartment immediately to stow my luggage. It was empty, meaning the HeadBoy had yet to make an appearance. I sat on the cushioned seat, my latest read open in my lap. I wasn’t paying attention to it though. I was staring out the window, lost in my thoughts once again.
“Head Girl, Granger?” A voice drawled from the open compartment door. “I was right not to bet against you.”
I turned to see who had interrupted my trip to la-la land. “Zabini. Please do not tell me you’re Head Boy.”
He walked in proudly and sat directly opposite me. “Au contraire my dear Mud- Muggleborn, I’m proud to say I am.”
I raised one eyebrow at his almost slip up. It wasn’t that he had the brass to call me that derogatory term after all this time. It was actually the initiative to correct himself that surprised me. And to think, he was under no threat.
“Ah yes, that. Habit, I’m afraid. One does not live amongst Death Eaters and not pick up a few things.” His statement and the smirk that accompanied it confused me. “If we are to work and live together for the year, we might as well settle a truce. What say you, Gryffindor? Are you brave enough to trust me?”
I eyed his outstretched hand with slight suspicion before firmly grasping it in my own. “I fought in a battle Slytherin, I’m willing to give this ‘truce’ of yours a chance.”
“I do hope, for everyone’s sake, that this truce is not only for show,” McGonagall said as she stood in the doorway. She walked in and waved her wand to conjure a comfy armchair. The simple gesture reminded me of Professor Dumbledore and my vision went blurry for a while. She must have noticed my expression and guessed my thoughts for she stopped for a moment before gracefully setting herself down on the chair. She took out two black binders and handed one to Zabini and me. “For traditions’ sake, included here are most of the things both of you need to know about your duties as Heads. Yes, you are allowed to dock higher points from the students now, including the prefects. But I must warn you, abuse this power and there will be consequences. You are also allowed to give out detentions. Do not forget to inform any faculty member if they are to serve detention with us. The two of you are responsible in designating patrol rounds for the House Prefects. All other information is in there. I expect you to read them and know them by heart. Here are your schedules. You will notice that your Friday afternoons are free. Those are reserved for your Head Duties. I will be meeting with you every other week starting this week to check up on your progress. Both of you will be meeting the prefects once a week to delegate their individual duties. Kindly find the time when everyone is free, most probably in the evenings. Do remember though, that the curfew still applies to them albeit being one hour later than the regular students. Any questions?”
“Professor, I heard that L’Istituto Italiano di Stregoneria has closed down for repairs. I was wondering if-“
“Ah, yes. Thank you for reminding me Miss Granger. The Italian Institute of Witchcraft has indeed been shut down. Hogwarts has decided to open its doors to students who wish to transfer. Aside from the incoming first years, an additional of about fifty students are to be included in our school books. Three of them are repeating seventh years like some of you, two are incoming seventh years, another two are sixth years and the rest from five down.”
“But how about Housing accommodations, Professor? Will they be sorted along with the first years?”
“As a matter of fact, Mr. Zabini, they will not be. I have asked these particular students to come any time before the start of term to be sorted. They will already be joining you in your respective Houses. I do not wish for them to feel separate from the school. This is the main reason why I have asked all repeating seventh years to stay after the feast. Due to an increase in the number of older students and the almost doubling of incoming first years, we have no choice but to relocate your sleeping quarters. All of this and the rest will be discussed later this evening. If there are no more queries, kindly change into your school robes and pin your badges. We will be assisting the students as they arrive.” She stood up and made to leave. Yet she lingered by the doorway for a few moments before turning back to face the both of us. Her eyes caught mine “And Miss Granger,” a small smile graced her lips, “welcome back.”
“The washroom is just across the compartment. I-“
“I guess some things don’t change, huh? The term hasn’t even begun and McGonagall already started playing favorites.”
I bristled as his insinuation. “I am not-"
“Save it, Granger. I reckon I shouldn’t be too surprised at her favoring you. I mean, she is your godmother after all.”
The compartment door shut a bit too loudly in my opinion.
There weren’t that many people yet as I made my way towards the Slytherin part of the train. It wasn’t surprising though that those who were there were openly staring at me. I could hear their whispers clearly, almost as if the words were being spoken right next to my ears. Great! Can’t wait ‘til the whole school gets here. I opened the very last compartment at the back of the train and set both mine and Callie’s trunks on the rack. I was drifting off to sleep when Blaise walked in.
“Draco! You sleeping, mate?”
“Not anymore,” I mumbled.
“What was that?” He asked as he sat down. “You look shattered, mate. Who’s the new chick?”
“Callie” One eyebrow shot up. “Nightmares.”
“Almost choked on my own spit there. She still has nightmares? She’s been having them since we were kids. What are they about now? Her latest stalker perhaps?” He chuckled lightly.
“My dearly deranged aunt and her colleagues paid the school a visit a few months back.”
“She didn’t recognize her?”
“Apparently not. She got introduced to our good friend, Crucio.” I spat. I couldn’t get the image of Callie writhing in pain on the floor out of my head. Ever since I was made aware of this particular event, I’ve hated myself for not being there. I’ve cursed myself for not trying harder to protect her. I felt Blaise’s hand on my shoulder.
“She’s strong, Draco. She knew the risks when she decided to stay in Italy alone. She’s a fighter. And she learned from the best.”
I could do nothing but nod. More awkward silence.
“So, when are Quidditch tryouts Captain?”
“You. Self-Absorbed. Prick! How dare you. Leave. Me. Behind?! I almost. Missed. The train!” Callie shrieked in between smacks on my arm. She arrived not long ago and headed straight for my compartment.
“Remind me to thank Blaise for pointing out my compartment.”
“I hate you.” She pouted.
“I love you, too Cal.”
She stared at me. I snorted. She’s one of those people who firmly believe I’m heartless.
“And you’re not late. The train doesn’t leave for another half hour.”
“Still, that was uncalled for.”
“I know. Want to have a look around first?”
“Uhm, I guess. And can you show me to the Ravenclaw part of the train? I’m supposed to meet up with a few people.”
“People? You mean Rix-whatshisname?”
She glared at me. “Rixon. Rixon Alistair Restault”
“Okay spill,” she frowned, “What are you not telling me?”
“Nothing alright? Come on. I need to find Blaise and kick his sorry ass.”
“I still don’t know if this is a good idea, Iz. Shouldn’t you just get this over with?”
“I agree with Kyle, Iz. You’re making this harder than it already is.”
Kyle was slumped against the pillar that hid us from the busy train station. I reached out a hand him while the other sought out to grab Rixon’s shirt. His pacing was making me dizzy.
“If it was that easy, believe me I wouldn’t have gone through all this trouble. But fixing this right now wouldn’t be such a good idea. Give me just a bit more time, alright? Trust me on this.”
“Whatever you say, princess.” Kyle mumbled. I gave him a weak smile. Somehow, I knew this conversation was far from over.
“Heads up, someone spotted us. They’re coming over.”
I gave my wand a little flick and stepped from behind the pillar to face the crowd.
A/N: Like it? Hate it? Too short, isn't it? I know, I know. And for what it's worth, I apologize for taking too long in updating.. Let's just say, the past few months in between the last chapter and this one were not very encouraging, Anyway, thanks for being so patient with me. And I do hope, I'll be able to update more frequently. And also a BIG thank you to those who stayed loyal. ^^,
You may leave your rantings of disapointment in me in that little box below.. ^^,