Chapter 14 : Chapter 14
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We were allowed to go out to Little Paris during the week, which gave Taylor a chance to show me around and talk about the times she'd been there before with her friends. I was so grateful for that break from Hogwarts talk. I didn't think I really felt ready to go back there yet but Taylor would be with me and I would still have all my friends. I was also hoping that Remus would have stopped avoiding me; this past week would have given him a pretty good break from having to see me. Another small part of me was just wishing that Lily was right about James trying to find who released the information in the article because as much as I was trying to deny it, even to myself, it felt good to think that he was in my corner again.
On the Thursday evening I got some more mail from Hogwarts, one letter was from Joe and the other from Lily. Susie wrote to me earlier in the week,
I'm missing you like mad; Gabby's gone off with Sirius, Remus is no-where to be found, Lily seems to be worried about something and incapable of holding a conversation, Potter is out for the blood of whoever drove you out of school, Dorcas is sulking about Sirius, and Alice is being a pain about Frank again. I need you to come please? I think I will likely go crazy if you stay away until Christmas!
The only person I've been able to have a proper conversation with is your brother and that's just weird since he's a professor. I need you!
Hope you're having a good time in France, come home soon though!
Love Susie xx
I didn't bother replying to her, knowing that I was going to be seeing her in a few days. Lily's letter was something a bit more substantial,
I'm glad you're having a good time with Taylor. Little Paris is beautiful isn't it! I managed to convince my parents to take me one year when we were on holiday in France, I loved it, shame Petunia didn't enjoy herself as much; she kept screaming and flinching every time she saw someone do any magic, we didn't get to stay for long.
As for what's happening at Hogwarts I don't really know what to tell you, it's like everyone has gone crazy or something. No one's speaking to anyone else; Dorcas is still sulking, Alice is still going on and on about Frank, Susie has been spending a lot of time with Professor Hunt; said she's been having trouble in transfiguration. Black told Remus what he said to me, thinking that Remus would be amused by it but Remus has said that he isn't going to speak to Black until he tells Potter what he did. Remus thinks it was Black who did it and apparently he did something last year that has made him believe that Black would be more than capable of something like that.
There's a Hogsmeade visit this weekend, and Gabby just announced that she's agreed to go with Black, I'm certain that it won't end well. But it did kind of bring everyone together; gossip will do that I suppose! Well Dorcas stormed off but Alice and Susie seemed to forget about their fight for a little while.
I think it would be safe for you to come home now. I'm sure Potter will make sure there aren't any more pranks against you, well not relating to the vampire thing, just the normal kind.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your visit.
I sighed at the continuing use of James' surname instead of his given name. Joe's letter just basically told me that I didn't have anything to worry about, that although he was less than impressed about what Dumbledore said he wasn't about to go and risk losing the only job he's likely to be able to get. It didn't say much else but it served its purpose of putting my mind at rest.
The last couple of days of my visit flew by without me even noticing and suddenly Taylor and I were in Madame Charlot's office preparing to floo back to Hogwarts. I was so nervous about going back that my hands were trembling, which was ridiculous; Hogwarts had been my home for the past six years and now I was dreading going back there. "I can't wait to meet all of your friends! I bet you're looking forward to seeing James!" I grimaced,
"I'm just hoping I can make it to Christmas without any more drama! I can't believe so much has happened already this year!" Taylor laughed at that,
"You're about to make your headmaster look like a fool in front of your whole school and you're hoping for no drama?" I had to admit she had a point there. Her words actually did help stop my nerves; that was one part of this I was definitely looking forward to, Dumbledore's face when he saw the two of us. We had discussed it at length earlier that day, Taylor had wanted to make it all dramatic and have me come in and sit down like everything was normal and greet my friends, and Dumbledore would stand up to announce that he had decided that it was safe for me to be around the rest of the students, and then just as he had finished his speech Tay would come in and join me at the Gryffindor table and then we would just sit and wait to hear how he would explain that.
We had decided not to do that though, we decided that we would just come into the Great Hall together and sit down like nothing was wrong and I would introduce her to my friends and then we would wait.
It was time to go and I had calmed down, I was ready to go back. I knew that nothing would have changed, that everyone would still treat me with caution and they would still whisper and probably still prank me or avoid me but it was going to be okay because if they weren't willing to accept me then they weren't worth the trouble. "Where are we flooing to?"
"Your Professor McGonagall said you could use 'er office, so zat Professor Dumbledore would not know you are zere until you enter ze Great Hall for dinner." Madame Charlot was grinning, turned out she didn't think too highly of what Dumbledore had said either and was looking forward to him being taken down a peg. Especially by one of her students.
I went first and threw the floo powder into the flames, taking a deep breath I shouted "Professor McGonagall's office, Hogwarts." And stepped in and started to spin back home. Taylor came through seconds after I'd stepped out of the way,
"Madame Charlot told me to tell you that she forgot to mention that Professor McGonagall isn't back yet, her daughter and the baby still aren't too well. So Joe should be-"
"Why didn't you two tell me about this little plan?" Joe was standing in the doorway grinning, and I couldn't help but grin back at him.
"We wanted it to be a surprise."
"But clearly McGonagall can't keep a secret." We both assumed our put out faces, which we had perfected at a young age, and Joe laughed at us and pulled us both into a hug.
"Well I'm glad you're both here. Does the Professor Dumbledore know?" we both shook our heads, I'm sure I looked a little bit guilty about this but Taylor was still smiling happily. "Well then this should be an interesting dinner. Come on, we're already late."
As we made our way down to the Great Hall Taylor was quietly muttering about how cold it was here, and how the Beauxbaton's Palace was a lot prettier. "Wait until you see the castle from the outside, then you'll change your mind. When we get the train back after Christmas, the view from the carriages really will take your breath away." Taylor looked pleased about this,
"Glad to see you're finally excited to be back." We'd made it to the Great Hall by this point and Joe turned to us with his hand on the door handle, and grinned again,
"Together?" Taylor and I looked at each other before we turned back and nodded, all three of us fought down our smiles and made our way into the hall. Joe went straight up to the Head Table while I looked up the Gryffindor table; my face made a slight frown when I noticed that Gabby was sitting next to Sirius and glaring, almost unblinkingly at Lily, but I made my way over to the rest of them anyway. When I was standing by Lily she turned round and jumped up to hug me,
"I'm so glad you're home!" when she was done with the trying to squeeze the breath out of me she noticed Taylor, "Oh, wow. I wasn't expecting that." The rest of the group turned to see what she was talking about and Susie leapt up from her seat and grabbed my arm across the table to pull me into an incredibly awkward hug, as we were separated by the table,
"Thank Merlin you're back! I missed you!" She pulled away and noticed Taylor in the same way Lily had, "Oh Merlin, you brought your sister with you?" this was shouted pretty loudly; loud enough, in fact, to draw the attention of the rest of the hall, and that's when people started to whisper.
But this time I relished in it, sure they were whispering because I was back and I'd brought some more of my vampire family to their school but why did it really matter what they were saying? I had my friends and now my family around me, they couldn't hurt me. Professor Dumbledore's attention had finally been attracted, and he moved to stand at the podium to make a speech.
"Good evening, settle down now, settle down. As you have all, no doubt, noticed Miss Riley Hunt has returned to the castle this evening. For the past week I have been in talks with the governors about whether or not it would be safe to bring her back to live in the school and it has been decided that Miss Hunt, like her brother, poses no threat to this school, its students or its staff so we have welcomed her back with open arms." Dumbledore smiled and returned to his seat,
"But Professor, who's the other girl?"
"In order to make things easier for their family at this hard time Miss Taylor Hunt has been invited to join her siblings here at Hogwarts until the end of term." Tay and I looked at each other and smirked as Joe leant over to say something to Dumbledore, "Misses Hunt if you could both please stay behind after dinner, I would very much like to hear about your trip and news from Beauxbatons." We both nodded, our smirks turning into something more acceptable… not letting it show that we had just made a small victory over the most powerful wizard of our time.
Taylor had wanted to stand up and tell him right there, for the whole school to hear that she was a student here now, but I managed to convince her- with some help from Joey- that it was enough to have the victory and that flaunting it in front of the whole school would be going a step too far… we didn't want to make an enemy out of the headmaster, that could make life very difficult for the both of us.
Taylor was introduced to all my friends, she was a little put off by Susie at first, but most people are and by the end of the meal she realised how much like her own friend, Monica, Susie is. Gabby didn't seem to be too impressed by the addition to the group at first and seemed eager to find out exactly when Tay would be leaving, but I think it was because she was used to being the centre of attention and that wasn't the case during that particular dinner. I figured, maybe 'hoped' is a better word, that Gabby would get over that and accept her into the group. Lily was fascinated with hearing about Beauxbatons, wanting to hear about the building, the history of the school, the classes, the teachers, and the culture surrounding them. It was almost like an interview or interrogation but Tay found it amusing that someone could be so interested in hearing about a school and happily answered all the questions that lily threw at her.
After Lily's letters I had expected James to actually speak to me, I caught myself thinking about it; wishing that he would just say something to me, but then I remembered about my revelation from France and stopped myself from going down that road of thought again. Remus stayed unusually quiet but did pipe in the occasional question, when he thought that Lily had missed something interesting. Black's only input into the conversation was to wink and ask whether Tay had a boyfriend, which was answered with a snort and a bit of a sneering 'yes' from Tay, a glare from me and a smack round the back of the head from Gabby. After that they started their own little conversation but I did notice Gabby occasionally sneaking looks of contempt at both Tay and Lily, but I wasn't sure what the problem was between her and Lily.
Dinner certainly was interesting, my friends had been distracted by the presence of my sister so I got to sit back and just listen as they questioned her about what life was like at Beauxbaton's. I spent a lot of my time looking around the hall, there were a lot of people still glancing over at us and whispering; it must have been a slow week while I was away. While I was looking around I noticed that Professor Dumbledore didn't have the usual twinkle in his eyes, he looked a little bit worried. Almost like he was trying to think of a way to explain this to the governors, surely they wouldn't be happy to have all three of us back again.
After dinner Taylor and I made our way up to the Headmaster's study, we met Joey along the way, "Professor Dumbledore asked me to join you. I don't think he was too pleased by the surprise." Taylor grinned,
"Well good. I can't wait to see how he talks his way out of it with the governors." I nodded, agreeing with her but at the same time I was so nervous. It was just starting to sink in what we were doing to the headmaster, we were making a fool of him in his own school and it suddenly occurred to me that it possibly wasn't the best of ideas. "Lee, we only have just over six months left here anyway, what can he really do to us?" I shrugged, because I wasn't really sure; it wasn't really something I had thought about until we were waiting next to the gargoyle,
"Did he not tell you the password Joey?" Joey nodded,
"He did, I'm just waiting to see what you want to do before we go in."
"Let's just do it, Tay's right; there isn't much he can do about it at this point."
The headmaster was sitting behind his desk when we got into his study, he didn't look happy to see us. He motioned for us all to sit down in the chairs in front of his desk, there were only two so Taylor had to conjure her own, something which Professor Dumbledore was very impressed with, "That's a very advance piece of magic Miss Hunt. However, as advanced as you are and as good a student as you are; good enough to be trusted to miss two weeks of your schooling to spend time with family, I must say it wasn't exactly a pleasant surprise to see you here." Taylor and I exchanged a glance and Joe inclined his head to tell us to start our explanation,
"Well you see Sir, the kids at Beauxbatons are a lot more open-minded about situations like ours. They understand that we aren't dangerous and that we won't be hunting for their blood any time soon, so we discussed it and decided that it would be better for us to be here so that it can be dealt with."
"I had the break from the stares and the whispering that I needed and I've realised that running away to France probably did more harm than good because it took away any doubt anyone had about the story being true." Joe opened his mouth but I beat him to it, "I know you told me that Joey but I needed to get away. But I'm ready to be back here now, especially with Tay here." Professor Dumbledore smiled,
"Yes it is always good to have family around us at times like these and I will be happy to continue to allow you to have time out of classes until after Christmas when Taylor goes home." Joe frowned but didn't say anything while Taylor and I looked at each other with confusion written across both of our faces,
"I told you before you left for France, Miss Hunt, that I felt you could be trusted to continue with your studies out of lessons. I will allow that to continue for the duration of your sister's visit."
"But Professor, Taylor isn't going home after Christmas; Professor McGonagall said that she would write to you when we spoke to her on Wednesday." The headmaster frowned and the regrowing twinkle was snuffed out again, a slight anger took its place,
"Regarding what Miss Hunt?" His ton was one that I didn't want to mess with, luckily Taylor and Joe seemed to pick up on my reluctance to speak up again and took over for me,
"Regarding my transfer to Hogwarts, Professor." Professor Dumbledore's eyes widened with shock, even I was surprised at the coldness in her voice; it wasn't something I'd experienced before. I made note not to make her angry again, I don't think I'd last very long against that voice.
The old wizard regained his composure and smiled in what should have been a placating manor but it was too late for that, "I'm afraid we don't accept transfers, especially not in the middle of the year during the N.E.W.T years. It just can't be done, here at Hogwarts we believe that you should finish your schooling wherever it was started." All three of us smirked at that, Professor McGonagall had mentioned that but she had decided that in our circumstances exceptions could be made.
"Actually Professor, Professor McGonagall's letter wasn't a request for Tay to be transferred it was to notify you that it had already been done, our parents signed off on it already."
"As did Madame Charlot and Professor McGonagall. She also took the liberty of sorting me, so that we wouldn't have to go through all of that just now." The headmaster now seemed to incapable of speech, we just kept sitting smirking at him,
"Minerva said she had the paperwork on your desk first thing Thursday morning at the latest, so it should be here somewhere. She also asked me to inform you that the records have already been updated, although I'm not sure why she wanted me to tell you that in particular but she was very clear about wanting you to hear that." Of course all four of us knew exactly why she had told him to say that; so that it couldn't be undone by the headmaster.
We all sat there in silence for a few minutes, Professor Dumbledore had found the paperwork that Professor McGonagall had sent over and it seemed to be that it was all in order, "If that's all Professor, I believe my sister's friends are waiting to continue their line of questioning in the Gryffindor common room. Goodnight Sir." The headmaster nodded slowly and suddenly looked a lot older than he had when we first arrived, I felt bad about it for most of the walk back to the common room.
Back in the common room there was a crowd forming a circle in one corner of the room, we elbowed our way into the middle to see what was happening. Susie caught my arm to stop me from going further into the middle when I saw that it was Gabby and Lily who were standing at either side of the circle screaming at each other.
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