Year 4, June
It was early Saturday morning. The whole castle lay quiet after the feast last night. Almost everybody were still asleep, even the portraits along the hallways, but in her bed in the fourth grade Slytherin girls’ dormitory, Samanta was wide awake. She was deep down in her own thoughts, but it was not her house’s loss against Ravenclaw last weekend nor the Gryffindor’s victory in the house cup that kept her awake. Those disappointments were probably bothering her house-mates quite a lot, but she had other things to worry about.
Today she would leave Hogwarts, and she was nervous. She had always been a little saddened when leaving, but that was usually just because she really liked the school, and there would be a long time until she would see her friends again, though the last part had never been extremely important. This year however, it was different. Her worries were not about what she would leave, but what would meet her when coming home. Home. How weird, she had not really thought about that in a while, home. Being too busy worrying about her current situation and how it would turn out when coming home, she had hardly thought about the good things of returning. The lovely woods surrounding their property, the rural house with thatched roof, the constant smoke coming out of the chimney from all of Bertha’s cooking. Bertha! It had been ages since she had seen the adoring maid who had practically raised her since age six.
Bertha had been hired by Samanta’s mother to help around the house a long time ago, because having a house elf was out of the question for Diana Mortons. Sadly, she had died from a horrible disease when Samanta was six. She had been young when it happened, but she still remembered her mother very well. A joyful and caring woman who laughed and smiled all the time, making everybody around her happy. Her father had been quite joyful at the time as well, working a lot, but still far from the amount of work he did nowadays. He always lit up when he saw his wife, and Samanta could not remember feeling anything but joy and comfort while being around her parents. That was before the disease though.
When her mother got sick, everything changed. Her father was worried all the time, spending all his time either at work or at St. Mungo’s, leaving Samanta alone with Bertha all the time. Bertha was nice; she played with her, baked with her and went for long walks in the woods with her. Still, it was not the same as having one’s parents around. It lasted for around eight months, and Samanta was not allowed to come see her mother once. She overheard her father and Bertha argue about it once, late at night when she was supposed to be asleep. Bertha had said that he should take his daughter to see her mother; it was not fair to keep her in the dark any longer. Her father had refused though, claiming she was too young, that she would not understand, and that it would be too hard for her. Samanta had not understood everything right there and then, but as she got older she had started thinking that maybe he was the one who would have found it too hard.
It was just after her sixth birthday that it happened. Her father was crushed, and did not come out of his study for days. Bertha had to explain it all to Samanta, but even though she was just a child; after eight months of not seeing her mother she had started to understand what might happen. It was a great loss for their little family, and they had never been the same again, especially her father. From that moment on he had just started working more and more, and Bertha had completely taken over raising Samanta.
Still, they had kept the rural house, even though it was far from what Samanta’s paternal family would usually prefer. Not that it was poor or very humble, it was well kept and had expensive furniture, but it was just a little too, well, rural. However, Samanta felt that keeping it was her father’s way of keeping a little bit of Diana, and she could not have been happier about it. Despite her rather broken relationship with her father, home was still home. Yes, she smiled there she lay in the bed; she did look forward to go home again. Sleeping in her own bed, seeing Bertha and riding Magistral, her impressive thoroughbred stallion. The other problems, all her questions that needed answers, they could wait. Her father had told her to come straight home anyway; she could talk him into going to Narizza later.
A couple of hours later she got on the Hogwarts Express together with Miranda and Felicia. They found an empty compartment and sat down. Pretty soon they got companied by Electra Fey and Jane-Marie Castel. Miranda and Felicia both raised an eye-brow as they entered, but most compartments had to be filled up to make room for all the students anyway, and it was not the first time they had shared one with the other forth-year girls. However, Samanta had a feeling they would have preferred sitting with the guys in stead. Felicia confirmed her thoughts a second later.
“Do you know where the boys are?” she asked Miranda, who sat next to her.
“No, but they’re probably with the rest of the team,” Miranda answered. Samanta sat opposite them, staring through the window to her right.
“Yes, they are, five compartments down the hall,” Electra said from where she was sitting next to Samanta, “We saw them before we went over here.” Felicia looked over at her with a raised eye-brow, like telling her this was none of her business, even though she had just answered her question. A short silence occurred.
“How was your year, Electra?” Miranda then said out of the blue, underlining the fact that they had barely spoken the whole year and that the two girls could have found another place to sit.
“Very good, actually, what about yours, Miranda?” she answered without hesitation, she respected Miranda, anyone who did not was not thinking straight, but she had no wish to be bossed around by her. The older girl got the point, but did not give up.
“Great,” she said, then turned to Jane-Marie, sitting on the other side of Electra, “and you, Castal?”
“Ehm,” the petite girl stuttered “f-fine.” Miranda smiled pleased, Electra’s best-friend was not as confident, and her war of words was considered won. Samanta shook her head quietly; she found the cat-fight between house-mates completely pointless. Then Electra was about to say something to cover up her friend’s failure to seem secure, but Samanta had had enough and cut her off.
“Was Zane with the other guys?” Electra stumbled for a second, she had been ready to take up the verbal fight with Miranda, but lowered her shoulders and turned to Samanta.
“I’m not sure. I just had a quick look, don’t think I saw him. Why?”
“Okay, just wondering. I think I’ll go find him,” she answered, and Electra nodded with a slightly forced smile. The brawny brunette was not exactly Samanta’s favorite person in the world, and vice versa, but they got along fine, since Samanta was not as hostile as her friends.
“Well, good luck then,” the girl said as Samanta went out of the compartment and five doors down the hall. She had a quick look inside, and saw him next to the window, where she had just been sitting herself. Sitting with the boys for the rest of the trip was not that tempting right now; especially considering Scorpius was sitting in there, so she continued down the hall. A few doors down she found Gyda Lithrin, sitting in what must have been the only compartment on the train occupied by only one person. Samanta shrugged and went inside, Gyda usually spoke little, and that was just what she needed right now. Since she had spent most of her time lately completely alone with her own thoughts, she figured a few more hours could not hurt. She sat down beside the window and continued the morning hours’ thinking of what would meet her when coming home.
Big, grey cloud. Smaller white clouds. Clear sky. A few sun-rays through the window. Rain. The time went by, and her feelings towards coming home changed as quickly and drastic as the weather. In the end though, it was still home.
Samanta was quiet throughout, and when the train finally stopped at King's Cross, she had not uttered a word since the short conversation with Electra. Somehow she felt like this would be the right way to cope with things right now. She had tried getting over it, just go back to her normal self, her slightly boring, but still normal self. It did not work. Maybe it was time to start adjusting. She was not normal anymore. Still she was no less, she thought while stepping off the train. No matter how nervous and uncomfortable this whole situation got her, it had not made her a lesser person. She was not normal anymore. She was way above.