Chapter 3 : Nancy Drew
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“Last year I chose to assign my first years these projects, and it went well. So this year, I’m assigning them to you!” A cheery, middle-aged woman that went by the name of Professor Tina Talon clapped her hands, and a pot of Popsicle sticks with our names on them flew into them.
Scorpius and Selene said that when they were in first year, they didn’t have Professor Talon. They had Professor Binns, a century-old ghost that made the bloodiest of wars sound more boring than Auntie Liza’s cats. But then Professor Roberts became headmistress, and Binns was out, and Talon in.
“I will pull your name from this jar,” She gave the jar with our names in it a little shake, “And you will receive the next topic on the list.” She pointed to the blackboard, which had a list of wars and important events in history written on it. “For example, if I called my name, Tina Talon, I would get the topic, ‘The Treaty of the Austrian Wizards.’” That was the first topic written on the board. “Easy enough?”
Our whole class nodded in assent. Professor Talon wasn’t a bad professor, per say, but she could be boring, or over-enthusiastic, depending on the mood.
I zoned out, staring at the clouds that were racing each other across the sky. I only looked back to the front of the classroom when my name was called.
I glanced at the topic on the board. The ones that had been chosen were crossed out, and I read the one that was next.
“Prominent Figures of the Great Battle.”
“Looks like you get to learn about your Death Eater father after all.” Pauline hissed in my ear. I elbowed her angrily.
“Shut up, Pauline, or I’ll hex you into next Tuesday.”
Pauline snorted, but she didn’t dare retort. After that stunt that Morgan had pulled off with Cameron and the lake, they had become a bit more cautious around us. I wasn’t expecting it to last long, though. They had to figure out sometime that Morgan was the only one with that sort of magical ability so far.
At the end of class, Morgan and the boys met me outside the door, as usual, before walking down to the Great Hall together. Morgan chattered on and on about her topic, Battles of the Midwestern Magical Community, and Phillip, Sander, Oliver and I made fun of her for being a ‘typical Ravenclaw.’ But I was secretly excited for the project too. Finally I would have an excuse to research my father.
“Hey, Arianthe.” I looked up from my new novel to Morgan. “I’m going to go get a head start on that History report. Do you want to come with me?”
“Sure.” I said, marking my page and swinging out of bed. In truth, I had been waiting for Morgan to ask me that question all day. I was itching to research what my father had done in the war that made people treat me so badly.
As we exited the Common Room, we spotted Oliver and Sander playing wizard’s chess, Phillip commentating, trying to distract them. I turned to Morgan. “Should we invite them?” I asked.
“Nah,” Morgan said casually. “They’ll only distract us.” I gave her an odd sideways glance. Usually Morgan wanted the guys to come with us everywhere. They were a laugh to be around and took the stress of everything. So why did she want to leave them behind now? Maybe something had happened between them when I wasn’t there?
It was silent as Morgan and I walked to the library. I was trembling with excitement. I could finally find evidence of the supposed crimes my father had committed without looking like I cared.
When we reached the library, Morgan whispered to me, “You find a table; I’ll get the books we need.” Morgan knew what my topic was, and she had proved herself several times over to be a quick and efficient person when it came to finding books.
I chose a table in the back of the library, near the Restricted Section. I gazed into the rows of forbidden books. Something stirred, deep in the pit of my stomach. There was something in that section, a book, maybe, that was calling to me, luring me to it.
“Arianthe? Where are you going?”
I realized that I was halfway out of my chair. Morgan had come back from her search, and had a stack of books in her arms.
“Nowhere.” I said, blushing as I sat down. I grabbed the first book on top, and read the title. “Prominent Figures of the Great Battle of the 20th Century. Wow,” I looked at Morgan. “Specific.”
“That’s what makes your topic so easy.” Morgan grumbled. “It’s very specific.” Morgan’s topic was very broad, and didn’t have a specific time period that she was supposed to be researching. She grumbled and moaned about it, but I knew that on the inside she was excited. She was a Ravenclaw, after all. She loved to learn.
I rolled my eyes, and opened my book to the Table of Contents. It looked as if there were only about three pages on every person, and there were about 100 people in the whole book. “300 pages . . . does she want me to memorize all of this stuff?” I asked disbelievingly.
Morgan shrugged, and I opened the book to the first person: Abbott, Hannah.
I tried to read every person’s little biography slowly and carefully, but I ended up just skimming most of it until I came to one person: Malfoy, Draco.
I stared at the outdated picture of my father, about sixteen or seventeen. He had white-blonde hair and cold, grey eyes. His lips seemed to be turned down in a permanent frown, and his face was a sick, grey colour.
I moved onto the paragraph, reading quickly.
Draco Malfoy went to school from the years 1991-1998. He was a pureblood from an old pureblood family. Malfoy was sorted into Slytherin. Malfoy was made Seeker of his house team in 1992 (2nd year). Malfoy was part of the Inquisitorial Squad led by Dolores Umbridge (see pg. 245). Malfoy was made a Prefect in 1996 (5th year). In 1997, Malfoy was made a Death Eater, and was at the scene of Albus Dumbledore’s (see pg. 23) death.
The biography went on to describe the events that occurred in my father’s life in 1998, the year of the Great Battle. Most of them were bad. I felt bad, on the inside. My father had tortured. My father had killed.
I reached the last paragraph, and had to reread it in surprise. It was about us. Our family.
Malfoy went on to marry Astoria Greengrass in 2003. The pair had a set of twins, Scorpius and Selene Malfoy, in 2006. In 2008, they had another daughter, Arianthe Malfoy. However, the world did not know of this child until 2010, when they disclosed that they had sent her to a hospital in Africa, because she suffered from a rare sickness.
Suffered from a rare sickness? No I hadn’t.
I double-checked the dates. I would’ve been two when my mother and father told the world about me, if I had really been sick. I shrugged. I’d ask Scorpius or Selene about it later.
It was dark in the dormitory. Every girl was breathing evenly. Well, Natasha was snoring. But other than that, every girl was breathing evenly. The shadows taunted me, making me pull my blankets up to my chin and sweat. It was one of those nights.
As I desperately tried to think of something to do, I groped under my blankets to find my wand, which was buried somewhere in the bedding. Instead, my hand skidded over a smooth surface: a book cover.
I grabbed the book and brought it out from under the covers. It was the book I had checked out from the library for my History of Magic report. I found my wand, and whispered, “Lumos,” A spell Selene had taught me when she learned that I was afraid of the dark.
I drew my hangings shut tight, so none of the incandescent light would seep through the curtains and wake somebody up. Then, I opened my book to the page that my dark blue bookmark was marking and began to read.
I went through so many names. Neilson, Gregor. Nickolson, Patricia. O’ Leary, Justin. Patil, Parvati. Patil, Padma.
I stopped at Padma Patil’s name. Our Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Professor Patil . . . her first name was Padma. This must be her.
I read her short biography, and felt horrified. No wonder she wasn’t thrilled to be teaching DADA. It must be terrifying to think back on those experiences, to remember, and relay them to other people, and not just other people, but mere teenagers, who were renowned for being tactless slobs.
I shut the book tightly. I had something to think about now, and had no troubles falling to sleep with somebody else’s nightmare’s occupying my own head and forcing mine out.
“Sickness?” Selene asked. I was sitting at the Slytherin table with Albus, Selene, and Scorpius. “No, I don’t know of you being sick . . . but then, I was four. Scorpius, do you know anything?”
Scorpius shook his head. “I’d owl Mum, if I were you.” He recommended. “If anybody were to know about it, it would be her.
“Thanks, guys.” I said, swinging my leg over the bench. “I’ll do that.” They said goodbye and I walked over to the Ravenclaw table, where Morgan was sitting alone. I looked down the table to see Sander, Oliver, and Phillip with their heads close together, whispering and glancing furtively over at Morgan every three seconds.
“Okay,” I said, sitting across from Morgan. “I know something’s up. What happened between you and the boys?”
“Happened?” Morgan asked distractedly, sneaking a glance in said boys’ direction. “Nothing happened.”
“Morgan.” I said flatly. “I’m not stupid. Tell me. Or I’ll just ask them. And I’ll bet my wand that their version is less than flattering to you.”
Morgan hesitated. “Fine,” She said. “A couple of days ago, Sander called me an—” She paused.
“He called you an . . .” I prompted.
“He called me an uptight bitch,” Morgan rushed the words out, and I got the impression she didn’t like swearing at all. “And he absolutely won’t apologize for it.”
I gaped. “Sander?” I asked in disbelief. “Sander called you an uptight bitch?”
“Shh!” Morgan said, flapping her hands at me. “You’re going to get in trouble!” She glanced around furtively, to see if anybody had heard my language.
No, Morgan definitely did not like swearing.
“What did you do?” I asked, leaning forward and glancing at the boys.
“That’s the thing!” Morgan whispered conspiratorially. “I don’t know! I mean, I didn’t let him copy off my essay, and I called him a disgrace to Ravenclaw that day in the library, but other than that . . .”
“That’s probably it, actually.” I said. Sander didn’t seem the type to call somebody, especially Morgan, ‘uptight bitch’, but then again, I didn’t know Sander that well at all. “I’ll go talk to him.”
“No, sit down!” Morgan hissed. “He’ll know that I told you, and then he’ll know that it’s bothering me!”
“Morgan, this is ridiculous!” I told her as I reluctantly sat again. “You two can’t go on like this forever! I am not going to be the bridge!”
“You won’t be, Arianthe, I swear, I just want him to see that it’s not affecting me!” Morgan pleaded.
“I think you already blew that one out of the water by ignoring him for how long? Three days? You’re obviously affecting by it, now man up and go talk to him!” I said. “Or I’ll do it for you.”
“Lucky me, I’m not a man.” Morgan muttered. “He should be the one talking to me.”
“So this is about pride?” I asked. “Merlin, you two are never going to be friends again, are you?”
“Maybe, if he doesn’t apologize!” Morgan said hotly. I rolled my eyes, and pressed the heel of my hand into my forehead.
“You two are ridiculous.”
“It’s time for Potions.” Morgan said, getting up and walking off.
I was Sander’s partner that day in Potions. As soon as I reached the table that we were working at he asked me, “Did Morgan tell you?”
“Yes,” I said through gritted teeth. “I think you’re being a git and need to apologize to her.”
“I can’t apologize.” Sander said, as though the thought was appalling.
“Why not?” I asked exasperatedly. “You are in the wrong! You called her an uptight bitch!”
“Still!” Sander said.
“It was just an essay, Sander.” I said, changing tactics. “That was totally uncalled for. She was just being an honest student.”
“What do you know about honest studentry, Miss I-Copy-Off-My-Friends-For-Every-Peice-Of-Homework-In-Herbology?”
“‘Studentry’ isn’t a word, Sander.”
“Fine!” He yelled. The pairs working at the tables closest to us stared. “I’ll apologize!”
He stomped up to the table where Morgan and Taylor were working and said, “Morgan, I’m sorry for calling you an uptight bitch. Happy?”
“Don’t swear.” Morgan hissed. “But I accept your apology.”
“Just wanna let you know that Arianthe made me!” Sander said, before he marched back to where I was standing.
“You are an idiot.” I said. Sander glared at me, and focused on the potion that we were supposed to be making.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Hogwarts is wonderful. I’ve made a couple of new friends, Morgan Moon, Phillip Orville (like the popcorn), Sander Scamander, and Oliver Jones. They’re all nice.
For History of Magic, I got this project to research prominent figures of the Great Battle, and your name came up in the book, Dad. It had a paragraph on us, and it said that I was sick for two years before you told the world about me. Was I really sick?
I read over my words carefully. I didn’t see any mistakes, so I attached the letter to Scorpius’s owl, and it flew out of the Owlery.
After the letter was mailed, I found Morgan, Phillip, and Oliver, (Sander was nowhere to be found, and the best we could hope for was that whatever he was doing was legal) and we hit the library to study for our projects.
I had my book, as usual, and was finishing up with Parkinson, Pansy. She was a Death Eater, and a close friend of my dad’s, I discovered. There was a picture of her, and she was rather ugly. She had a face like my Auntie Greengrass’s pug.
I turned the page. The person was Potter, Harry. I felt a faint interest as I began to read his biography. This was the person that Professor Patil had been talking about, the guy who had defeated Voldemort.
The stories that were written in the book were exciting, or they would be, if they weren’t written in such a boring form. There were more pages than normal, so it took me longer to reach the end paragraph.
After the war, Potter became an Auror, and later, department Head. He married Ginevra Weasley (pg. 267) in 2000. He had three children, James Potter, Albus Potter, and Lily Potter. However, when his youngest child, Lily, was two years old, she was kidnapped, and never found again. His oldest child, James, will attend Hogwarts in 2016, and his younger brother, Albus, will attend the next year.
I paused, rereading the age when Lily was kidnapped. Two years old. When I had recovered from the sickness. We would have been friends, maybe, if she had made it to Hogwarts.
“Finally!” Morgan said, interrupting my thoughts.
“What?” Phillip asked.
“I’m done with the research part of my project.” She said, rolling her eyes, thankfully (I never thought that was possible before, but Morgan made it so). “I can finally start on the presentation.”
“You’re done?” Oliver asked incredulously. “I’m not even halfway! And I still need to work on the presentation!”
“I’m nearly finished.” I said. “Maybe just a couple days more of reading and then I can work on presentation. There’s really not much to my project.”
“I’ve given up.” Phillip said. “I’ll suffer with a bad grade. I’m sure it won’t matter, we’re in first year. My sister said that it was in fourth and fifth year that you really need to worry about the whole grade thing.”
“It matters all the time!” Morgan said. “Your grades now can determine your whole future later!”
“My older brother is a Hit Wizard in the Magical Law Enforcement department at the Ministry, and he never needed his History of Magic NEWT.” Oliver remarked.
“Yes, well, Phillip may not become a Hit Wizard, he might need it.” Morgan retorted. “Phillip, what’s your project again?”
As Morgan pulled Phillip’s research towards her, he muttered, “You’re a lifesaver. Remind me to never be rude to you again.”
“She’s going to hold you to that.” I said.
“Whatever. Arianthe, do you want to go find Sander with me? It’s about time we discovered where he’s been hiding.” Phillip asked.
“No,” Morgan said before I could answer. “You need to stay here. I’m not blatantly doing your homework for you, Phillip. How will you learn? And Arianthe’s not done either.”
“There’s no need to find him, anyway.” Oliver said. “He’s right there.” Oliver pointed behind me. I turned to see Sander looking around, craning his neck, trying to find where we were sitting.
I waved him over. He sat in between Oliver and me, shooting a shifty glance at Morgan, as if she might explode any moment. I rolled my eyes. “Where’ve you been?” I asked.
“Well, I was taking a school broom out for a ride—” Sander began.
“Knew it wasn’t legal.” Phillip muttered.
“and I broke my finger.” I gasped and Morgan sat forward. “But that’s not the point; Madam Pomfrey mended it in a second. I have a letter for you, Arianthe. It’s from your parents.” He held out a piece of parchment to me.
"Wow, that was fast. I only sent it out this morning. Did you read it?"
“That’s even more illegal.” Phillip muttered.
“No,” Sander said, shooting a glare in Phillip’s direction. “But your brother gave it to me. I’m not sure if he read it or not.”
“Scorpius,” I muttered, grabbing the letter from Sander’s hand and unfolding it. “Nosy little twat.”
The letter was, indeed from my parents.
It’s nice to finally receive a letter from you! I’ve even received a letter from your brother, and you know how bad he is at writing letters. But you’re forgiven, since it’s only your first year away.
Now, about the sickness. Honey, you were mortally sick with a disease that Mungo’s couldn’t cure. So we sent you abroad, and two years later, they found a medication that could help you. So we got to take you home. That’s why you take your medication before bed and every morning.
I can’t wait to meet your friends. Maybe you could consider inviting one to our humble abode over Christmas. Merlin knows we have enough space for them.
I miss you, Peadunk, and I love you.
“Peadunk? What kind of weird nickname is that?” Oliver was peeking over my shoulder, reading my letter.
“Quit it,” I said, scowling as I shoved the incriminating letter into the pocket of my robes.
I was glad she sent it though. It cleared up a lot. I never really knew why I had to take that potion ever morning and evening, but knowing that I could get fatally sick if I didn’t would definitely help me remember it.
And yet, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that my mother was lying.
But why would she lie? I shook the thought away. She wasn’t lying. She’s my mother. Why would she?
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