Chapter 1 : Bucklebee's Academy: The New Girl
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The table of Unicorn house was clapping wildly, as all houses do when they are welcoming a new student. Bryony was a little different though, she was a transfer student, starting the year halfway through after Christmas break. It had been a little embarrassing being sorted by herself up on the stage, but she was brave. ‘I am not shy; I am a Gryffindor for Merlin’s sake!’ she thought as she sat down beside a girl who appeared to be her age; she was praying she was a third year. Bryony smiled meekly at the other girl, who returned it.
“I’m Carina Brown”, the other girl said, holding her hand out for a shake.
Bryony took her hand and gently shook it, “Bryony Thurston-Dursley.” she replied.
“Oooh, you’re British!” Carina squeaked upon hearing the accent. “Did you go to Hogwarts? I’ve dreamed of going to Hogwarts my whole life! Tell me all about it!” she demanded.
Bryony laughed, “Yes, I did go there until Christmas break. My dad just got transferred to Canada with his job.”
She would have talked a little more, but the dinner appeared on the tables and as she was starving, she tucked in. She sat quietly beside Carina while eating the delicious dinner of roast beef, with wine sauce, mashed, and corn. There were also big, fluffy biscuits for dipping in the sauce.
Carina was eating her dinner as well. She had a lot of fluffy brown hair, which seemed to have a mind of its own. Or maybe she wasn’t fond of styling it? Bryony couldn’t tell. She wore small, rectangle glasses on her small, pointy nose. She was actually small everywhere. She had tiny hands and Bryony suddenly thought, ‘I must have sat with the first years!’
“Which year are you in?” she quickly asked Carina.
“Third,” Carina smiled, probably guessing what had brought on the question. ‘Maybe she gets mistaken a lot for a first year?’ Bryony thought.
“I know; I look too small.” Carina giggled. “My family is just all rather small. I’m taller than my mom already.”
“Oh, I’m glad. I was just afraid to have sat with the first years!” Bryony laughed.
“No, this is where the thirds sit; the firsts are down there closer to the door.”
Bryony looked around the Dining Hall again, and saw the small first years all sitting together at the end of the table. The Dining Hall was actually similar to the one at Hogwarts, except that there were only three long tables for the houses. Above each table floated house banners, with achievements woven into the tapestry. The Unicorn banners were all academic achievements. Bryony audibly sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Carina asked.
“I’m afraid I won’t belong in the Unicorn House, I was a Gryffindor back home.”
“A Gryffindor?” Carina asked, “That’s one of the houses at Hogwarts, right?”
“Yes, and I think it is fairly similar to your Gryphon house. I thought I would end up there.”
“Well, the sorting magic is never wrong. There must be something about you that is Unicorn.”
“I’m not terribly good at studies, and I’m pretty competitive.” Bryony explained.
“Well, I guess we’ll find out, won’t we.” Carina smiled.
Maybe Unicorn wouldn’t be so bad with her around Bryony thought.
“Who are the other girls in third in Unicorn?” Bryony asked Carina.
“Well, this here is Megan Stanowski.” Carina gestured to the girl on the other side, who was talking with a girl next to her. “And Becky Johnson to her left. Across there is Abby Burke, she’s sort of my best friend.” Abby was chatting with another girl, and they both pulled away from the conversation to introduce themselves properly.
“Abby,” The girl with curly blonde hair said, shaking Bryony’s hand. She was very pretty; she had a warm round-ish face, with a cute nose. Her teeth were perfect and from what Bryony could observe, she’d never had a blemish in her life. The girl next to her was dark skinned, and also gorgeous. She had long, straight black hair and a thin, pointed face.
“Niobe Nguyen “she introduced herself. She had a slight accent, and Bryony wondered where she was from.
“Chelsea Tobin is over there with the fourth years, she likes Darcy Michaels”, Carina said. “Her best friend Tori Winters is over there too. And that’s all of us girls. The boys are: Drake Russell, Daniel James, Fred Barnes, Aiden Smith, Casey Tobin, Chelsea’s twin brother and Heath Lowe.” Carina said, in one breath. Bryony knew she wasn’t going to remember that, so she just nodded.
“Who am I missing?” Carina asked Niobe and Abby.
“Cory.” Abby giggled.
“Oh yeah, Cory Davis, but most people forget about him anyways. He’s so quiet that you never notice he’s around.” Carina added. She pointed to a boy at the edge of the third year area, who was engrossed in a book while eating his dinner slowly.
Bryony wondered again if she’s fit in in this house. Dessert was served then and the three girls chatted a bit more about what Hogwarts was like while they enjoyed the strawberry tart. One of the third year boys came down the table and sat across from Bryony. He was cute, she thought. He had light brown hair that was outgrown from its latest haircut, so it flipped up around his ears. He was quite tall for thirteen, and his green eyes matched perfectly with his school robes. He smiled at Bryony as she finished telling the girls what the Hogwarts Great Hall looked like.
“Gonna introduce me, Carina?” the boy asked after Bryony had finished.
“Yeah, I suppose.” Carina replied, a little snappily. “Heath Lowe, this is Bryony Thurston-Dursley. She’s just transferred here from Britain. She went to Hogwarts before.”
“Hey.” Heath nodded at Bryony. “How’d you say that name?”
“Bry-ohn-ee” Bryony said.
“Ah, so, Bry-ohn-ee. What’s up?” Heath smiled.
Bryony just looked at him. ‘Is this what passes for intelligible conversation in Canada?’
“Ummm, nothing much just yet.” She replied. ‘Is he trying to be cute?’ she wondered. ‘Well he is kind of cute.’ She reminded herself. She felt herself blush a little.
“Butt out Heath”, Carina snapped.
“Eh, can’t I meet the new girl?”
“You did, now we’re going to the dorm, so goodbye.” Carina stood up and dragged Bryony out.
“Erm, ok. Nice to meet you.” She waved lamely at Heath as she followed Carina. Niobe and Abby follow suite.
“What’s that about?” Bryony asked Carina once they were in the Entrance Hall. I wasn’t as grand as the entrance at Hogwarts, but it had its own charm.
The Entrance Hall at Bucklebee’s Academy was a large, open area. There was a spiral staircase in the centre, which lead all the way to the eighth floor. There were landings at each floor, open to the area below with a railing at the edge. The walls all the way to the top were covered in pictures of important wizarding figures. In each corner of the main floor (as the bottom floor was referred to as), were entrances to the four towers. The tower to the right of the doors was the Unicorn house dormitory. The floor was marble and ‘clicked’ under the heels of the girls walking to their tower. Carina opened the tower door by tapping the door with her wand and saying the password. “Wormwort”
The bottom floors of the towers were a large common area. The common area was circular, as the entire tower was. There were three fireplaces in the common area, all surrounded in plush couches and study tables with chairs. There were bookcases and some tables holding sets of Wizard Chess and the cards for playing Exploding Snap. There were a few students already in the common area, some were studying, and a few were sitting and chatting in front of one of the fireplaces. Bryony couldn’t see all the way around the common area because in the centre of the common area was the centre pillar that ensconced the stairs that lead up to the dorm rooms. Beside the entry to the stair well, a boy and girl who appeared to be in seventh year were wrapped in each other’s arms, snogging. Bryony looked away quickly, but Carina stalked right on up to them.
“David Brown! I’m owling mom.” She snapped at the couple. “At least get a damn room!”
“Oh, shut up Carina. You know you won’t owl mom, cause then I’d have to, too.” David, who Bryony guessed was Carina’s older brother winked at her.
“Ugh, you’re so annoying!” Carina cried and ran up the stairs.
Bryony, Abby and Niobe stood a little longer, lingering before the older students. David gave them a smirk and returned to snoging the girl, waving his little sisters friends away.
The girls quickly turned away and followed Carina up the stairs. The climb up three flights of spiralling stairs only took them a second or two, and Bryony guessed that they were magical. At the third floor landing, there were two doors on either end. One said Third Year Girls and the other was the boy’s dorm. ‘They keep the boys and girls a lot closer to each other here than at Hogwarts’ Bryony thought. She was curious what kept the boys from walking into the girl’s dorm. Abby pulled out her wand and tapped it 3 times on the door and it unlocked allowing them in.
“Intruder! Intruder!!” a loud voice squawked through out the entire dormitory when Bryony walked through the doorway. “Intruder! Intruder!!” ‘I guess that’s what’ Bryony thought, clapping her hands to her ears.
Suddenly the seventh year girl who had been busy snogging Carina’s brother in the common area appeared behind them.
“Oh dear, they must not have added you into the registry yet.” She said when she saw Bryony standing in the doorway, with a look of utter terror on her face. “I’ll be right back.” The older girl said.
A few moments later, she arrived back in the company of who Bryony guessed was a teacher. The teacher was a middle-aged witch who had a pleasant look about her. She tapped the door a few times and whispered some kind of spell at it and it finally shut up. Bryony sighed her relief.
“Sorry about that.” The teacher said looking at Bryony, “I guess they didn’t get you registered into Unicorn just yet. I’m Mathilda Makkeroy, the charms teacher and Patron of Unicorn house.” Ms. Makkeroy held her hand out to Bryony, and she shook it.
“N-nice to meet you.” Bryony stuttered. She was still a little bewildered from the increasingly loud alarm that had gone off.
“Right, nice to meet you too, Miss Thurston-Dursley. I’ll let Patricia here show how to unlock the door for next time and I’ll personally ensure that you’ve been added so that won’t happen to you again. Your things should be brought up shortly by one of the House elves. Sorry again.” Ms. Makkeroy said and headed down the stairs.
“You just have to tap the door three times and the door will know it’s you, not hard at all.” Patricia the seventh year said. She left down the stairs and Bryony joined the other girls in the dorm room.
“At Hogwarts, all that happens if a boy tries to get up to the girls side of the dormitory, the stairs turn into a slide.” She laughed. The other girls giggled too. “I guess security’s a bit tighter around here!”
“I remember in my first year a boy accidently tapped his wand on the girl’s door and the alarms went off, he was so embarrassed.” Abby said.
“Well if Ms. Makkeroy is looking into it, it won’t happen to you again Bryony.” Niobe said.
“So, was that your brother down there, snoging Patricia?” Bryony asked Carina.
“Ugh, yeah, he’s such a pig!” she cried. “I don’t know what Patricia sees in him, she’s such a nice girl. And I love how you call that snoging! We just say making out.”
“My older brother is a git as well, but I’ve never caught him ‘making out’ with a girl before!” Bryony laughed. “So, why did you pull me from the dining hall so quick? Do you not like that Heath boy?”
Carina moaned and covered her reddening face.
“She got caught ‘snoging’ him in the hall after lights out just before Christmas break!” Abby said, giggling at Carina’s discomfort. “That’s why David said he’d owl their mom if she did!”
“We weren’t making out Abby, he just found us out after lights out!” Carina threw a pillow at Abby.
“Sure you weren’t!” Abby threw the pillow back at her.
Bryony laughed, these girls were very much like the third years back home.
The dorm room was rather different from Hogwarts; since it was a half circle shape. The beds were all ringed around the outside wall, with a wardrobe on one side and a window with a bench seat to the other. The beds were four-poster beds though, and each had a curtain for privacy. There were 10 beds in the room, but Bryony knew there were only eight third year girls.
“There’s only eight of us right?” she checked with Carina.
“Yeah, they have room for ten, but most years only have 6 or 7 girls and boys in them. We’re now one of the larger years since you’ve come. I guess there used to be more witches back in the day. But there are also the other wizarding schools now too. Do you know about our sister schools?”
“I know about Bucklebee’s School of Wizardry, that’s where my brother transferred to. Is there more?”
“Well, there’s also Bucklebee’s Witches Institute in Prince Edward Island. It’s an all-girls school like Bucklebee’s School of Wizardry is all-boys. My mom wanted me to go to the Institute, but they are smaller and my families not ritzy enough, plus I don’t think she could have afforded the tuition.”
“I’m glad mum didn’t try to make me go there. I think the co-gender school is better.” Bryony giggled.
“I’m glad you didn’t go there either, I think this year’s going to be quite fun!” Carina said.
Abby, Niobe and Bryony nodded and smiled in agreement.
‘Maybe I’ll do better in Unicorn house than I thought.’