The next morning I woke up around 5 a.m. My muscles felt a bit sore from not using them much during the summer. Thankfully I remembered my training lessons from last year or I’d probably have a few bruises.
Quietly, I got showered and dressed then went downstairs to the common room with the charms book I had been reading yesterday. I glanced around, the room was empty of course. I didn’t exactly want to be sitting here as everyone passed through later on. Shrugging to myself I headed out the portrait hole and down to the Great Hall.
There was no one here either so I slowly walked to the front end of Gryffindor table while staring up at the ceiling. The rain had stopped but it was still very cloudy out. I sat down facing the wall once again. After pushing the plate aside I pulled out my book and began reading.
After several pages I heard footsteps and the sound of someone speaking. As they got closer to the Great Hall I could make out a female voice. I wondered who the other person was because surely people didn’t just walk around talking to themselves out loud. I naturally assumed the other person was Dumbledore, he seemed like the kind of person who would wake up at the crack of dawn.
“It is rather unusual Albus,” told you it was Dumbledore, “you must admit.” I heard the woman say just before they entered the Hall. I kept my head down and continued reading.
“Minerva, I assure you-“ Dumbledore stopped suddenly, I imagine this was when he noticed me. “Miss Lestrange.” Yeah, that would be me. “I did not expect any students up this early. Did you sleep well?” I turned to look at them. ‘Minerva’ looked rather surprised and a bit guilty. Oh, so they had been talking about me.
“Yes, sir.” Politeness was probably the best approach. “I’m an early riser. Should I have stayed in the common room?”
“Not a problem at all. Though you may have to explain to Mr. Filch should be find you here or wandering the halls before six,” Dumbledore said pleasantly. He and Minerva continued towards the front table and I shifted focus back to the charms book. “This is Professor McGonagall by the way, Miss Lestrange. She is the Deputy Headmistress and head of Gryffindor house,” Dumbledore informed me before sitting down. I looked towards them and nodded at McGonagall.
“Ma’am.” Once again I turned back to my book. I could feel their eyes on me though. Ignoring it, I read another page before McGonagall spoke.
“Miss Lestrange,” she began. “I believe that perhaps you are not wearing the…correct school uniform.”
I looked down at myself feigning ignorance at her meaning. “Ma’am?” I questioned looking back at her.
“The female students are expected to wear a skirt as part of their uniform.”
I looked back down at my pants. I had expected this, even prepared for it. “I read the rules Professor. It states that all students are required to follow the dress code. Also that skirts or pants are part of the uniform. However, it doesn’t specifically say that girls must wear a skirt and boy pants. I think you’ll find my outfit is far within the guidelines, ma’am.”
McGonagall’s lips pressed into a thin line as she stared at me. “Using that line of logic, male students could claim they are allowed to wear skirts,” she stated sounding disapproving.
“I won’t tell them about the loophole if you don’t,” I responded instantly. She turned to look at Dumbledore for assistance. “Some female students might not feel comfortable wearing a skirt. Is it really that horrible for them to wear regulated pants?” I said before Dumbledore could speak.
He observed me over his half moon glasses. “Miss Lestrange is correct with the dress code. We shall however, hold her to the same standards as any male student.”
“Thank you, sir,” I said keeping polite.
I really hated skirts, dresses too. Growing up with the Malfoys there had been several parties. Only for rich purebloods or influential people of course. During them Draco and I would have to dress in the very best clothes. My dresses always had frills or something equally stupid. I really hated those dresses, but even worse were the adults who would comment on how precious or lovely I looked. Then I would have to pretend to be the most wonderful, polite witch on the planet, thanking and complimenting them in return. It was sickening. Those parties along with the ridiculous outfit I’d been forced to wear at Beauxbatons had ruined any desire for me to wear a dress or skirt ever again.
A few other teachers had joined us in the Great Hall now, Snape and Hagrid included. I wondered if Dumbledore would ask about the Dementors and patronus. Maybe he wouldn’t today just to keep me on my toes. The smell of food caught my attention, causing me to look up. A few of the dishes around me were full of your typical breakfast foods. I reached out, grabbing a chocolate chip muffin and began eating it. Flitwick and Lupin along with another teacher I didn’t know arrived next. Still Dumbledore said nothing, I had a feeling he was still watching me though.
I was finishing off my second plate when other students started arriving. I continued eating and reading until I heard two people sit across from me. Over 50% of Gryffindor table was empty and they sit across from me? I looked up and saw a set of red haired twins staring at me.
“Yes…?” I asked setting down my book.
“We were just wondering-“
“If it was really true?”
“If what was true?”
“That you’re the one-“
“Who made that dragon-“
“That chased away the Dementors.”
I groaned wondering how many others had heard this.
“Should we take that as a yes-“
“Or a no-“
“Or a ‘shut up and bugger off you gits?’”
“The third one,” I responded while rubbing my shoulder.
“Looks like we’ve got ourselves a joker over here George.”
“Who says I’m joking?” I said seriously.
“Ouch, Fred. Don’t think she appreciates us.”
“I’d appreciate you leaving.”
Both Fred and George put their hands over their hearts, acting like I had wounded them greatly. I scoffed at them but couldn’t keep a small smile off my face.
“Ah ha!” Fred exclaimed.
“She does have a sense of humor,” said George.
“Do you two rehearse your conversations before hand?” I asked raising an eyebrow at them.
They looked at each other and shrugged. “It’s a twin thing,” they said in unison.
“Doesn’t that drive your mother bonkers?”
“Course it does-“
“That’s why we keep doing it.”
“I’m sure she appreciates it,” I said sarcastically.
“After having Percy-“
“Who wouldn’t appreciate us?”
“Percy?” I asked curiously.
“Git always polishing his badge.” They gestured down the table to the red haired boy I’d met last night.
“Percy, huh? Here I was calling him Sir Snooty Britches.”
Fred and George choked on their food. “I like her already George.”
“I quite agree, Fred.”
“Though she hasn’t answered our original question.” I rolled my eyes.
“Yes,” I said grudgingly. I picked up my book again.
“Oi, what’s that?” asked Fred.
“What’s it say on the cover though?” asked George.
“Dual Spells. How to Curse two targets in half the time.” I gave them a very pointed look.
“Perhaps we should go Fred.”
“Yes, lots to do.” They stood up and gave me a quick bow.
“Farewell my lady.”
“Until we meet again.”
I watched them leave and take seats near the end of Gryffindor table. Those two were absolute nutters.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My first class at Hogwarts turned out to be Arithmancy. Hermione Granger and I were the only Gryffindors, the rest were Ravenclaws. Apparently Hermione had taken Dumbledore’s words to heart and insisted on walking with me to class even though she also had never been to the classroom before. She pointed out the Transfiguration and Charms classrooms along the way. I stored that information in the back of my mind so I wouldn’t have to follow her around to every class like a lost puppy.
Once we reached the correct room, Hermione headed to the desk right at the front. Normally I would have taken a seat at the back, but since Hermione was the only one I knew, I chose the seat next to her. She didn’t seem to mind, actually she looked more like something else was on her mind. I didn’t particularly care and I sat there silently during the hour, listening to Professor Vector welcome us and give us an overview of what we would be covering over the course of the year.
After class Hermione left, not before making sure I knew the way to our next class-Transfiguration. After assuring her three times that I would be fine she nodded, saying she’d see me there and went in the opposite direction. Rather than ponder her behavior I took off.
When I arrived, all of the other Gryffindors were already there, including Hermione. I sat down at one of the tables near the back of the room. I was curious about how Hermione had got here before me, but I brushed it off, probably some secret passage.
McGonagall seemed rather strict, someone you pay attention to or risk getting into trouble. However, every other Gryffindor kept glancing to the back of the class looking like their cat had just died. At first I thought it might be me, but I hadn’t done anything yet. Well besides the patronus, that hardly seemed worth all of this attention and it wouldn’t explain the miserable look, so it must have been something else. McGonagall caught on to the distracted class as well.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Two years ago if anyone would have mentioned Seers and prophecies I would have mocked them for believing in such things. That was before I had met a Seer though. Well, I suppose I hadn’t actually ‘met’ her. I’ve just been taken to her estate and trained by her lead bodyguard as I slept. I didn’t even know what the Seer looked like. There were things she knew though, things not even Snape knew, so I hadn’t doubted her abilities. Well after a week. The first week I thought I was going crazy.
Tsukino was more than a Seer I guess. Maybe that’s why it seemed so different than the ‘Seer’ at Hogwarts. I mean really, predicting Harry Potter’s death while Sirius Black was at large. That was less than impressive. Certainly everyone looking at Potter like he was about to keel over and die was a bit dramatic. How much garbage would these people believe? Only Hermione and I seemed to pick up on this though. The way Potter’s red haired friend was looking, he might as well start writing Potter’s eulogy. I rolled my eyes thinking about how ridiculous they were acting as I ate my lunch.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I clenched my hands into fists at my sides, nails digging into my palms. It took every part of my will power not to move as Draco was attacked. Why had he been so foolish insulting a hippogriff right after Hagrid had told us not to? Was trying to show off really worth this?
I watched Hagrid carry him up the lawns towards the castle. ‘It’s just a cut, he’ll be ok,’ I kept telling myself. Surely the mediwitch would be able to heal him quickly.
I went to bed early that night, not even attempting to start homework. Seeing Draco being carried away, covered in blood brought back a memory I tried to block out everyday. It made me feel helpless and frightened. Nothing was worse than the guilt though. ‘Some wounds never go away,’ I had been told once. As I rubbed my shoulder I wondered how, even after five years, I still seemed as useless at helping Draco as I’d ever been.