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My Not-So-Imaginary Fiend by The Quiet Girl
Chapter 9 : IX: Grades Aren't All That Important
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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IX: Grades Aren’t All That Important

I’ve heard somewhere that standing indoors with an open umbrella was supposed to be bad luck. I don’t know how it was supposed to be a bad thing, but I knew standing where I currently was without said umbrella would have been an even worse idea.

Madam Kole looked down at me in silence, obviously wondering why I was in her post office while carrying an open umbrella over my head just fifteen minutes after sunrise on that Friday morning.

“You do know that Hogwarts has an owlery, right?” Madam Kole asked, her aged voice sounding like rough sandpaper on my ears.

“Yes,” I answered cheerfully, as if nothing were out of the ordinary. You know, besides the fact that I was out of Hogwarts on a school day super early in the morning with an umbrella over my head and had ten envelopes resting on the counter between us.

Madam Kole looked me over a minute more. I’ve known her, and everyone else in Hogsmeade, all my life. I had never visited the old woman in her post office before for obvious reasons. But I couldn’t wait another month for the next official Hogsmeade visit.

“Did you get expelled?”

I raised an eyebrow at that. “Really?” I asked. “Does everyone in this village expect me to get expelled from school? I don’t cause that much trouble.”

But everyone remembers all the trouble you got into before starting Hogwarts.

Benjamin leaned against the counter on my right, his arms crossed over his chest and staring darkly at the door behind me.

“Okay, I don’t get caught bending the rules so much,” I amended, both for Madam Kole and Benjamin’s sake. “But in my defense, I’m naturally a very curious person. Nowadays I’m just skiving off on my homework assignments. Nothing too big.”

“So let me ask you this,” Madam Kole said slowly, “what are you doing all the way down here in Hogsmeade when you should still be sleeping? And why do you have an umbrella?”

I pointed to the shelves behind her. I had only seen the vast assortment of owls from afar before. Standing so close to them, though, I realized that a simple umbrella might protect me from owl droppings but wouldn’t help me too much against their sharp talons and powerful beaks. “Owls don’t like me. I’m not going to get myself killed just to send out ten letters.”

Madam Kole chuckled, probably not taking me too seriously. “What’s the matter, afraid of getting feathers in your hair?”

I shrugged a shoulder. Sure, I could go with that.

Madam Kole gathered the envelopes between us and surveyed the names written across them. Her eyes widened every now and then, probably wondering why I was writing to several famous Quidditch players.

“I also don’t know the exact addresses for all of these people,” I explained. “But I figured that you would, seeing as you run the sole wizard-only post office in all of Britain. If you don’t know someone’s address, no one would.” I then tilted my head off to the side slightly, fluttered my eyes a bit, and gave a bright smile.

If this didn’t flatter Madam Kole enough to help me out without telling the rest of the village, then nothing else would.

Madam Kole surprised me a bit and started laughing. I struggled to maintain my smile, not really enjoying the way her rough voice sounded in my ears.

“Oh Sally-Anne,” she chuckled, pulling out a massive book from under her side of the counter. “I fear for the day you take an interest in boys. You will have them wrapped around your little finger in no time!” She smiled to herself as she flipped through the pages, writing down the correct addresses on the envelopes as she found each name.

She’s right on that point,” Benjamin commented softly, though his eyes remained focused on the door behind me. “You will probably end up breaking a few hearts too.

I stuck out my tongue at the thought. “Really? Like that will ever happen!” I thought of my male friends. I couldn’t see me going out with any of them.

I’ll remind you about this conversation in a few years.

Madam Kole just kept laughing to herself as she finished up with the last envelope. “Well, they’re all addressed and ready to go,” she said. “Taken up an interest in Quidditch, have we?”

“Just some bit of personal research,” I said brightly. I hoped she didn’t ask me anything further about this subject. If she talked to Mum and Dad, they might feel hurt that I was taking such an interest in learning who my birth parents were. Or rather, now I was looking to see who my father was.

“Do you need these answers immediately?” she asked, glancing at the owls resting on the red shelves. “If you need responses for a homework assignment due later this afternoon, though, I’m afraid not even these owls can help you.”

“No, there’s no rush,” I said. As Madam Kole went to the owls resting on the blue shelf, I continued, “I’m not really expecting that great of responses, really. But it was suggested that I try to contact the people that would have the answers I seek.”

“Well, if it’s about which team will make it to the Quidditch World Cup, each of these players will say that they wish it were them.”

I watched as ten owls took flight out of the office. Six were destined for past or present professional Quidditch players. The other four were heading towards what remained of Marta Kulinski’s Hogwarts teammates. The ones who weren’t dead or traitors, of course.

“Thank you so much for your help, Madam Kole!” I said cheerfully as the sun shone brightly through the window. It was a welcome relief from the days of rain. “Um, if you could do me a favor and not tell my parents I snuck out of school . . .”

Madam Kole nodded. “As far as I’m concerned, I have had a quiet morning. I only hope you can get back into school without much trouble.”

“Madam Kole, it’s me,” I said, backing away to the door. “Remember who you’re talking to.”

“Of course. It’s the girl who is borrowing Ambrosius’s umbrella, which is currently decorated with an assortment of owl droppings.” Madam Kole walked around the counter. “Here, let me clean it for you, dear. Scourgify.”

“Thank you,” I said. “See you at the next Hogsmeade visit!”

“Or when you get expelled,” she called. “Whichever happens first!”

Rolling my eyes, I pushed open the post office door, which displayed a giant wanted sign for Sirius Black. Honestly, like I wanted to see that tosser before breakfast. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, I ran down the path to Honeydukes.

I thought you were only sending six letters,” Benjamin said, running at my side down the still-slumbering streets.

“Marta Kulinski was . . . only with the Magpies . . . for one year . . .” I was breathing heavily as I got into Honeydukes, put the umbrella away, locked the door behind me, and made my way into the cellar. I was so grateful that the Flumes usually slept late. I got into the secret passage without incident.

“But she was on the Gryffindor team for six years,” I continued. “Lumos.” I began my jog back up to the castle, setting myself into an easy pace. My wand light created many shadows as I ran, but I was familiar with the way.

You’ll be lucky if you get even one response saying they don’t remember anything,” Benjamin said, not sounding out of breath.

“Puberty must be hitting you hard, Benjamin,” I huffed, picking up my pace a bit to get ahead of him. “I really hope I don’t get so negative when I turn fourteen.”

Benjamin took the hint and ran two steps behind me. We didn’t talk for the rest of our jog back up to the castle. But that was okay.

By the time I got back to school, totally exhausted and sweaty, I had a choice. I could either go to my dorm to change out my robes (which smelled really funky) or I could go to the Great Hall and eat.

I vote for a change of robes,” Benjamin said as we walked away from the statue of the humpbacked witch and to the nearest stairwell. “I’m imaginary and all, but after an hour I don’t think even I will be willing to stay by your side. Besides, you need to get your book bag.

“True,” I said, heading up instead of down. “But if I start to eat today’s Herbology project, try to stop me.”

That’s another lovely thought,” Benjamin commented idly. “You’ll be starting work on properly harvesting sneezewort today. That paired with your detention tonight over toilets? That will indeed be a pleasant image.

Huh? We were studying sneezeworts today? I didn’t know that. I had hardly finished my Herbology homework last night after drafting my letter and copying it nine times for this morning.

The common room was particularly empty as I ran up to the girls’ dorm, huffing and puffing with each step. Honestly, why did Gryffindor decide that his students had to sleep in a tower? With our entrance on the seventh floor? It was no wonder why we didn’t need a physical fitness class- getting around the school was a workout by itself!

“Where am I going again this morning?” I asked, grabbing my book bag that I had packed last night.

Herbology.” Benjamin readjusted his robes, signaling that I should do the same with mine. Wow, they were really crooked. “At least you smell better. Not that anyone will notice with all the fertilizer that’ll be around.

“Then why did I have to come all the way up here and change clothes?!” I whined loudly. When I got back down to the common room, only two sixth years remained. They must have had a free period. I smiled at them, waved, then continued to Benjamin, “I don’t think I can make it to class.”

Sally-Anne, these girls heard you talk to me,” Benjamin groaned, putting his hand to his head and shaking it back and forth. “Couldn’t you be a bit more discrete?

“I’ll be more discrete if you can give me a piggy back ride!” I turned to him, smiled broadly, and held my arms open to him. “Yeah, give me a ride to class!”

Do you realize how non-discrete that would be?!” Benjamin snapped at me, though he still looked ready to laugh at the ridiculous idea. “Just imagine what other people would see! A girl, floating in mid-air with . . . nothing but air . . . attracting unwanted attention . . .

I lowered my arms to my side, watching Benjamin’s expression. His eyes got a glassy look, as if his mind was a million miles away. His complexion paled a bit. His shoulders slumped. His lips parted as his jaw dropped ever so slightly.

“Benjamin?” I looked up and down the hall. No one was in sight. The portraits around here were just landscapes. Even if someone was around, how was I going to ask for help with my petrified-like imaginary friend?

“Benjamin?” I reached up and poked his face. His skin even felt cold and clammy. Was it possible for imaginary friends to get sick? And worse, could I catch whatever bug he got?

Luckily, I didn’t get too far in worrying about whether I was going to die from whatever disease Benjamin had. He snapped himself out of it after my fifth poke to his face, taking a step away from me at the same time.

“You okay now?” I asked.

You will not get a piggy back ride from me, ever,” Benjamin said harshly, his eyes now cold. “You have ten minutes until class. And stop this idiotic search for information on Marta Kulinski. She’s dead! And there’s nothing you can do about it!

He then started to fade. In two seconds, he and his furious expression had faded into nothingness.

“Benjamin?” I whispered. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and reopened them. And with a heavy heart, I used the last of my energy to dash to class.

I took some of the secret passages that everyone knew about to get down to the grounds faster. Hardly anyone was standing outside of the greenhouses. Well, except for Dean.

“Glad you could make it!” Dean called as I ran the last hundred feet to the greenhouse. He checked his watch. “One minute to spare. Does that give you enough time to eat this?”

It was then that I noticed that he held a napkin in his other hand. Two pancakes and a bit of scrambled eggs.

“Food!” I snatched the napkin. The eggs were a bit cold, but the pancakes still felt warm. Making a scrambled eggs and pancake sandwich, I devoured the offering in about twenty seconds.

Dean just watched me eat, though he seemed a bit disturbed with the haste in which my pancakes and egg sandwich entered my system. “If you’re that hungry,” he said slowly, leading the way into the greenhouse, “why weren’t you at breakfast?”

I couldn’t answer right away. My food got stuck half way down my esophagus. I could actually feel the bulge in my throat, making its way slowly down to my stomach. As I took a seat to Parvati’s right, I felt the food finally plop out, making me feel so much better.

“I was just following up on some personal research. Wow, I can actually feel that food in my stomach!”

Dean let out a weak laugh as he took a seat to Seamus’s left. As class began, Professor Sprout gathered everyone’s attention as she introduced our new plant: sneezewort.

The first half of our class was actually rather dull. We learned about the plants’ attributes and whatnot. It got better when we were each finally given a bowl of sneezewort flowers and directed to crush them into incredibly fine powder. With a final warning about how we shouldn’t let the dust get into the air, the class broke out into quiet chatter.

“So, where were you really this morning?” Dean asked.

I stripped my first flower of its petals, dumped them into the mortar, and ground my pestle hard into the plant.

“Sally-Anne?”

“I know I’m being stupid,” I said softly, keeping my eyes focused on my task. “I should be happy knowing my birth mother’s name. There are other things I should be doing with my time, like homework. But I can’t help but look for more information about her and my still-unknown father. I just need to know more about her than just her name and occupation.”

I tore off the petals from a few more flowers. The large chunks quickly became smaller and smaller. Eventually, my crushing motions became just a search of any clumps among the powdered remains.

“It’s not really stupid,” Dean said, breaking me out of my silent thoughts.

I looked back up at him.

Dean poured his first batch of finely crushed sneezewort petals into a glass jar, working slowly so not too much powder got into the air. Once it settled down, he started prepping for his next set. “It’s not really stupid to look for your parents,” he repeated softly, keeping his eyes focused on his work.

“Everyone else thinks so,” I said, thinking back to last night and the lecture Hermione gave me about not getting my homework done on time. Lavender surprised me by siding with Hermione after our resident know-it-all went off to the library. “And maybe they’re right. What good is it going to do me anyway? If both of my parents end up being dead, everything stays the same.”

“First of all,” Dean said, “I think your petals are done. I don’t think they can get any smaller. Second, you’ll still have gained the knowledge of where you came from.”

“Not many other people think that’s valuable.” I poured my powdered sneezewort into my jar. I didn’t have as much as Dean did, though.

“Well, I think you’re doing the right thing,” Dean said.

“You’re just saying that.” I put five sneezewort flowers’ worth of petals into my mortar. “I’ve seen you with your family at King‘s Cross. Your mum and dad seem nice, and your brothers and sisters look up to you. How could you understand?”

“You’ve noticed my family?”

“Yeah. So?” I ground the pestle harder into the petals, thinking that I probably put in too many.

There was a pause between us. When Dean spoke again, I had to strain to hear him. “My dad is actually my stepfather. My ‘real’ father walked out on my mum and me when I was a little kid. I don’t even remember him.” Dean poured more powder into his jar. “I really don’t have any feelings for him, but if I could find out who he was, I would still be interested.”

I looked up at him. He wasn’t part of a ‘normal’ family? Then again, what was normal? Okay, make that ‘traditional’ then. But Dean’s dad always greeted him fondly. Well, my parents did the same, and they had adopted me.

I didn’t say anything until I finished putting my second crushed batch into my jar and was working on my third. When I spoke, I told Dean about how I sent out ten letters this morning to the people who have played on a Quidditch team with my mother. I omitted how I got the letters sent out, of course. And unlike the girls, Dean actually thought my plan was a good idea.

“Really?” I poured my next batch into my jar. “I don’t know how long it will take to get a response, but-”

I thought I was going slowly. But some of my powdered sneezewort became airborne. I saw the pale white cloud move up. I tried to hold my breath, but some of the powder must have already gotten into my nose. “A’CHOO!”

I sneezed straight into my jar, sending all of my hard work into the air.

“Oh no, Sally- A’CHOO!” Dean sneezed, though he covered his face with his arm.

“A’choo! A’choo! A’CHOO!” I wondered if it was possible to sneeze one’s brains out.

“Perks?” Professor Sprout made a beeline for me but stopped right out of the powder’s range. “Class, cover your faces! Some sneezewort has become-”

Parvati sneezed, the force propelling her away from her work.

Seamus laughed as Dean let out another loud sneeze.

Dean responded to his best friend by taking a pinch of his sneezewort and throwing it at Seamus’s face.

Seamus stopped laughing as he fell victim to the sneeze attack, sending all of his work into the air to join my cloud.

“Students, everyone step away from your work!” Sprout called, covering her mouth with a handkerchief. “Do not breathe in-”

But her voice, muffled by the cloth protecting her, was lost as practically all of us joined the sneezing frenzy. By an uncharacteristic stroke of luck, Neville seemed to have been the only student spared from the sneeze attack, his mouth and nose safe under the pulled-up collar of his robes. His eyes remained wide as he looked to Professor Sprout, probably wondering what he could do to help.

All in all, it took the rest of the class period to get most everyone back to normal. But, lucky me, I couldn’t stop sneezing, even after all the sneezewort was covered and the dust had settled. So much for me getting clean robes this morning. My left sleeve looked like it would never be a proper black shade again.

Professor Spout ended up dismissing our class early and escorted us to Transfiguration, then took me to the Hospital Wing when I still couldn’t stop sneezing.

“Of course it had to be you,” Madam Pomfrey said as Professor Sprout left. She fumbled around in her cabinets, looking for something.

“Yeah,” I said, “this is just my luck day, isn’t- A’CHOO!”

I spent all of Transfiguration in the Hospital Wing.

I was released for lunch but almost forgot my Ancient Runes homework in my dorm. Hermione gave me a reproachful look as I arrived to class almost late, then told me afterwards that if I wanted to do ‘pointless’ research, I should make certain my academics were in order first. I knew she was just worried about me losing any House points from Gryffindor.

But no matter how much Hermione wanted to lecture me, I couldn’t exactly follow her advice that night as I served my detention scrubbing toilets. Mr. Filch checked on me every now and then, as if checking to see if I was cheating by using magic.

On Saturday night (over toilets again), I started wondering when I would get a response back from my letters. My mind played out different scenarios as to when and how I would get more answers. I mean, Benjamin wasn’t being helpful- he hadn’t showed his face since before Herbology yesterday.

Sunday turned out to be a waste. I had a mountain of homework piled up. I had to endure a twenty minute lecture from Hermione as she collected magical law texts for her own personal research. I spent my afternoon studying in my dorm with the window open, which earned me a trip to the Hospital Wing and a complimentary dose of Pepperup Potion. Seamus didn’t bother to hide how amused he was that my ears were steaming during dinner.

On Monday, it was back to raining again. The owls that delivered the post were soaking wet. I was a bit damp as I went to class that morning, actually disappointed that none of the dreaded owls had come to me with anything except water droplets.

On Wednesday night, when I was supposed to be plotting the path of Mars and Saturn across the night sky, I kept looking for a shooting star with feathers, wondering if five days was still too early to expect a response.

On Friday afternoon, after tripping down some stairs after Peeves tried smashing a suit of armor over me for no reason, I missed another class thanks to my visit to the Hospital Wing. The school Healer seemed both disappointed with me and amused at the same time, commenting that I was visiting her for something besides an illness for once. I wondered if she would still be smiling if ten owls all showed up at once with responses for me. It had been a week, after all.

But nothing came.

The following weekend came and went. My professors continued to pile on the homework. I almost fell behind Hermione in Arithmancy, taking the entire class period plus fifteen seconds to finish our latest exam. I watched the Hufflepuff vs. Ravenclaw Quidditch game while bundled in as many layers of robes and winter cloaks as I could find (and I still ended up visiting the Hospital Wing with a case of sniffles after standing in the rain for that long).

And I still received no response.

“Two and a half weeks,” I groaned, watching the owls leave the Great Hall on the first Monday of December.

“Pardon?” Parvati asked, looking confused.

“She’s talking about the letters she sent out to people connected with her mum,” Dean reminded her.

“Oh, that,” Lavender said, sitting across from us and next to Seamus. “Maybe they’re all too busy.”

“They’re not all active Quidditch players,” I argued. “My mother’s classmates aren’t in the public eye. And only three of the six from my mum’s team still play. How can all seven people not have time to respond?!”

No one really had a good answer for me. I just ate my meal in silence, watching my friends chat normally. Maybe I should just give up. Double Potions seemed to last eight times as long as usual as I felt my hope fade.

And then, it happened.

I was in Defense Against the Dark Arts class when it arrived. A tiny tan owl tapped on the glass to our classroom while Professor Lupin was explaining the main characteristics of a bundimum. He stopped mid-sentence as all attention focused on the window directly behind him.

The owl perched itself on a ledge, the letter tied to its leg looking too heavy for its tiny body to carry. It pecked on the glass several times, telling us that it wanted in.

“Looks like someone has mail,” Professor Lupin said, walking towards the window.

“Probably for Sally-Anne,” Seamus called. “Careful, though, that tiny owl might kill her!”

Half the class laughed, knowing Seamus was right. I just raised my arms to cover my head.

I even heard Professor Lupin chuckle. “Don’t worry, Sally-Anne, I won’t let him inside.” He cracked the window open slightly, said a few words to the owl, then closed the window. As the owl flew off into the distance, Lupin turned back to the class with a letter in his hands.

“It is indeed for you, Sally-Anne,” Lupin said, reading the front. “You can have it at the end of class.”

“Awe,” I groaned. “I can’t have it now? You don’t think I would wait until after class to read it?”

“Like I said,” Lupin said, smiling knowingly, “come see me after class. Now, where was I again?”

Hermione’s hand shot straight up into the air.

Lupin smiled. “Yes, Hermione?”

“Sir, you were just going to tell us-”

I couldn’t care less where we had been. I couldn’t even remember the name of the dark creature we were studying now. All I could focus on was my letter. Who was it from? What did it say? Would it help me?

Before I knew it, the bell rang, signaling the end of class. I was instantly in front of Professor Lupin, beaming up at him.

Lupin actually took a step away from me as the others behind me started getting to their feet. He raised an eyebrow in initial confusion. “Yes?” His eyes flickered to the rest of the class as they shuffled out to History of Magic.

“It’s after class. And I’m seeing you. Can I have my letter?!”

“This must be very important to you,” Lupin said, reaching back to his desk. He looked about ready to pass it to me but hesitated. “How much of today’s lecture did you hear?”

“Uh . . . I heard all of it. I didn’t fall asleep in class today.”

“Okay. Where does this guy like to be when he’s not on display for a class of third years?” He pointed to the glass bowl behind him filled with green moss with brown, bored looking eyes.

“Uh, visiting an optometrist in hopes of getting glasses designed for blinking moss creatures?”

“Uh-huh. Where do you think I got him?”

“Probably from the Hogsmeade station as a delivery.”

“Okay. Let’s try an easier question. What is this creature’s name?”

“Ralph?”

Professor Lupin closed his eyes but held the envelope out to me. “Here. Go. Just please, read someone else’s notes before our next class.”

“Yay! My letter!” My fingers started tingling at the touch of it. I just knew it had to be something good!

“I’m almost afraid to read the homework you just turned in.” Lupin turned to said homework stacked on his desk.

“Ooh, you’re going to have fun with my essay!” I made sure to cackle like a crazy lady as I left the classroom. I then had to come back for my book bag. I restarted my cackle, but Lupin was almost in his office already. He probably figured out that I was exaggerating about my homework being that bad.

“I got my letter! I got my letter!” I skipped all the way to History of Magic. “I got my letter!”

Shut. Up.

He was standing just outside the classroom door. Arms crossed as usual, Benjamin glared at me.

“Wow, you still exist?” I hadn’t seen or heard from Benjamin in the two and a half weeks since sending out my ten letters. “Look, look! I got my letter!”

To Hell with that letter! While you are acting like an idiotic dolt, your friends are inside this classroom learning about actual history!

My smile faded. “You’re not much fun anymore, Benjamin,” I said. I stuffed my letter into an interior pocket of my robes, right next to my family tree. “See? Me? Going into class? I’ll read the letter after class, okay?”

Benjamin didn’t do anything but scowl before disappearing.

“Honestly,” I said to myself, entering the classroom at the same time Professor Binns arrived through the blackboard. “Why show up at all if all you’re going to do is be negative?” I took a seat next to Parvati. “Hey, I got my letter!”

Our ghostly professor didn’t seem to notice my excitement, though it was obviously not about the subject matter. I mean, who could really get excited about the first wizards who founded the Ministry for Magic trying to get their acts together? Okay, maybe that’s not what Professor Binns said, but that’s the message I got after sitting through the entire lesson.

Class ended. Everyone went to leave. Except me.

“Sally-Anne, aren’t you coming?” Parvati asked.

“Nope,” I said, pulling out my letter as Binns left through the blackboard from which he came. “I’m going to read my letter, then figure out where to go from here!”

“Well, enjoy,” Parvati said. She left with Lavender.

I tore into the envelope. The letter wasn’t as long as I expected. I pushed aside my feelings of disappointment, telling myself that this person at least had the courtesy to send me a response.

Dear Sally-Anne Perks,

I must say, your letter was quite a surprise when I initially received it. I haven’t thought of Marta Kulinski in many, many years. And I thought it was odd that you had even heard of her. You mention in your letter that you’re only thirteen years old. Of course, that explains how you found my name in connection with Marta, but I’m still unsure why you want to know ‘as much as possible’ about a person you’ve never met.

I only knew Marta for two years, when I joined the Gryffindor Quidditch team in my third year. She was a sixth year. I played Seeker and she was Keeper. What can I say about her? In the air, she had a certain confidence about her. There were many times, particularly when I had first joined the team, when she would even step up and help get our team reorganized during practices.

Like I said, I was three years younger than her, so I can’t tell you how she was outside of practice. I think she had some personal problems near the end of her sixth year because she became a lot less friendly and more short-tempered. In my fourth year, her seventh, she became all-business. I think it was because she was so focused on becoming a professional Quidditch player. I was thrilled when I read about her acceptance onto the Montrose Magpies. And since you know about her death because you mentioned it in your letter, I was saddened when I read about her passing.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can provide the information you really wanted. I think she had a few boyfriends while at school, but I was your age and wasn’t interested in that sort of thing at the time. I never heard anything about her family, but I’m assuming that she was an only child. I do remember seeing her spend quite a bit of time with a popular group of boys at our school, but that was only for a short time. The only name I can think of giving you would be Remus Lupin, one of those popular boys in school. I think he and Marta even dated for a few weeks too. If you can get his contact information, he might have more to share with you than I ever could.

I’m sorry if I couldn’t be of more help. Whatever you’re really looking for, I hope you get your answers.

Sincerely,

Erin Sanderson, née Miller

I finished reading the letter. Sat still for a few minutes. Reread the letter. And focused on the one name that Erin Miller, I mean Erin Sanderson, provided me with.

Slowly, my mind came out of its shock. Only one thought echoed through my mind: if I had been able to read this letter when it was first delivered, I definitely would have made a scene in my Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
 


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