Arti Taillon lived in London with her parents for eleven, perfectly normal years. She knew nothing of the secret world her father had concealed from her, except in the bedtime stories he told her in the first seven years of her life.
Everything came true in one minute.
A minute Arti will never forget.
Arti's first year at Hogwarts.
She meets new friends, is Sorted into her House, and takes her very first classes and exams!
Chapter One - ReminisceEdit
August 16, 1971
When I was two months old, I lost both of my maternal grandparents.
Of course, I had never known them, being so small, but my mother and father said that they were both wonderful people, and the world was at a great loss to have them gone from our society. My grandmother died of pneumonia, my grandfather of pancreatic cancer, they say, which are both Muggle diseases. Father tells me that I needn't worry, for they couldn't be cured and weren't in very much pain at the end.
Wizards nowadays, however, have invented spells and potions and things to stop those diseases, so that's another thing I shouldn't fret about. Of course, I still do, being the worry-wart that Father says I am.
When I was a young girl, my father would sit by my bedside with a thick, leatherbound book in his hands, and read stories of wizards and witches to me, which he assured me were fictional. I believed all of that until I was six years old.
At six years old, my sense of inquisitiveness was just beginning to develop, and I was curious about these stories. Afterall, I had learned that all myths and legends were based off of some sort of fact, which meant that there must've been wizards or witches, somewhere some time.
I was right.
I was eight years old when my father told me I was a witch. I remember that day clearly, for it has been imprinted in my mind ever since.
I came home from school to find a long, thin parcel lying on my bed, with my father sitting cross-legged behind it, his normally kindly expression stern and grim. His dark hair, graying, was combed back from hsi face, and he had removed his glasses, and had set them carefully on the table beside my bed. His calloused hands unwrapped the parcel at my insistence, and I had been surprised to find a broom, lying in torn brown wrapping on my bed.
"What is it, Father?" I had asked. Father hadn't replied right away, just gazed at the polished wooden handle, and ran his fingers along the streamlined twigs at the end of the broom. His free hand unconsciously wound itself in, out, and around the white twine. Father's fingers were always busy back then, without a wand.
"It's a broomstick, Arti," Father had said quietly, brushing his fingers against the shaft.
"What would I need a broomstick for, Father? Are you going to make me clean the house?"
"No, of course not, Artemis." Father only used my full name when he was upset. "But there's something I have to tell you."
"Does it involve this broomstick, Father?"
"Yes, Arti." I reached for the handle. "Don't touch it. It came unmarked. I still have to test it for Hurling Hexes."
"Hurling Hexes? Like in your book?" Father remained silent for a few more moments, then gave a resigned sigh and put his hands on my shoulders.
"Arti, what I say now, you must never tell anyone until you're eleven years old, all right?" I nodded obediently as my father continued. "Those stories I used to tell you---they're true."
"Oh, Father! Am I a witch?"
"I'm surprised you hadn't guessed it already," Father had replied dryly.
"Oh, but I had! As soon as you stopped reading to me, I figured as much, but at the beginning, I thought....I thought you had stopped reading to spare my feelings. You know, because I was a Squib or something."
"I wouldn't produce a Squib!" Father exclaimed, laughing. His strong hands enveloped me in a hug, and I slipped on the wrapping paper as I clambered off of my bed.
"Can I tell Mummy?" I asked. I had already started toward the door, but Father jumped off of the bed and grabbed my wrist. I was startled by his abrupt movement, and shrank back against the wall. Father's fierce gaze softened when our eyes met.
"No, Arti. I've already told her. But the thing is....Muggles....they don't like wizards very much."
"Mummy doesn't like me?"
"No, of course not, Artemis! Your mother and I love you with all of our hearts, except...she just doesn't understand why I married her. She thinks what you do, except switched around a bit. She thinks that I don't love her, because I'm a wizard, and she's a Muggle."
"I'll keep quiet about it, around her, then," I had replied. "I love you, Father."
"I love you too, Arti."
Now, Father and I were in the car, driving to London. We lived a bit far out in the country, so it was a bit of a drive. I was excited though, and I had my envelope clenched tightly in my hand to prevent it from blowing out the window in the brisk summer air. Father rolled up the windows as we arrived.
I trotted at his heels, and he looked back at me, grinning. "Someone's eager, aren't they?" he teased, and I nodded, hurrying to catch up with his long stride. Muggles looked at us, two very excited-looking hat-haired supposed Muggles rushing towards a Pet Shop.
Or so the Muggles saw.
In truth, Father and I were heading toward a tall, dark door, with a creaky sign hanging over it, labeled The Leaky Cauldron.
Once we pushed through the door that could've used some oiling, a young man with balding hair strode up to us.
"Will!" cried the man, patting Father on the back.
"Tom," Father said warmly, shaking hands. "This is my daughter, Arti."
I shook hands with Tom. "We're on Hogwarts business," Father added secretly.
"Bit early, isn't it?" Tom joked. "Guess you're a tad eager."
I grinned. "Yup!"
"Well, we best be off. Come along, Arti."
By the end of the day, I was holding a long, thin wand in my hand (chestnut, phoenix feather core, 11 1/2 inches), robes tucked into a bag slung over my back, a pointed had on my head, books, a cauldron, scales, a few potion ingredients, and much, much more stuffed into bags carried by my father and me.
"Who's up for some Quidditch?" asked Father brightly.
Chapter Two - Groundskeeper and SuchEdit
September 1, 1974
"H-Hi. Can I...can I sit here?"
I tucked Beechy's wicker basket up onto the rack and settled down across from the girl. She was picking through some sweets, most likely that her mum had packed her.
The girl had shoulder-length dark hair that was pulled back into a French-braided ponytail. She had rosy skin and dark blue eyes, and was wearing a pink shirt with a green sweater. On her feet she wore brown trainers, and her wand was curled protectively in her hand. Otherwise, she looked perfectly cheerful.
"I'm Wynne," she introduced. "Spelled W-Y-N-N-E. Even my dad doesn't know how to spell it." She rolled her eyes.
Our conversation dwindled for a bit, then took a change of subject, and we began to discuss our family. The train was already speeding along the tracks at this point, and last-minute arrivals were wandering the corridors looking for a place to sit.
"My mum is a Muggle, my dad's a wizard. He had wizard parents too."
"So you're a Pureblood?" asked Wynne curiously. I shook my head.
"No, remember, my mum is a Muggle?"
"But your dad's a Pureblood."
"I'm a Muggle-born. My parents thought it was a joke when I received my letter, but my grandmother thought it was real. When she was young, one of her boyfriends' ex-girlfriend's sister's son's cousin's friend's dog's former owner was a witch, or something. I dunno."
I laughed. "That owner doesn't happen to be related to you, does she?"
The compartment door squealed as it slid open, and a red-haired girl cast a brief glance up at us. Her pale face was red and tear-stained.
"C-C-Can we s-sit h-h-here?" she managed to choke out.
Wynne nodded. "Of course."
The dark-haired boy followed her in. He was wearing the oddest assortment of clothes, probably attempting to be a Muggle. He had a vividly colored smock that was covered by a black coat, and was wearing bright green trainers. The girl was much more expertly dressed, wearing a pale tan shirt with dark brown and strawberry-colored stripes and a brown skirt. Her dark red hair was done up in a curly bun, with two strands framing her face.
"This is Lily," the boy said. "And I'm Severus."
"Hello Lily," Wynne said kindly. Lily sat daintily next to me, her eyes on her feet. Severus settled uncomfortably next to Wynne, who gave him a broad grin.
"Hi Severus. Lily, are you all right?"
Lily gave a loud sniff, and Severus began to explain.
"It was all Potter's fault," he said bitterly. "And Black and Lupin and Pettigrew and them. Potter and his fat head."
Lily dissolved into fresh sobs. "I hate him!"
"It's all right." I patted her shoulder. "Just...just think about something else. Think about Hogwarts, and all of the fantastic food! Lamb, and ice cream, and chocolates and things!"
Wynne's head snapped up at the mention of chocolate, like a dog that had scented a rabbit.
Lily's wails began to fade to small sniffs, and soon the four of us had gotten into a conversation and were becoming great friends. ing.
"Anything off the trolley?"
A young witch with hair the color of chestnuts and green eyes was pushing a trolley heavily laden with sweets and things. Wynne hopped up, evidently hoping to get Mars Bars or something, but came back with her hands overflowing with Licorice Wands, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Cauldrons, lollipops, Chocolate Frogs, and a sweet that I was addicted to, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.
Throughout the rest of the ride, we were all dared to eat the beans with varying levels of disgustingness. I got three of the worst ones, tripe (this one made Wynne cry with laughter), vomit, and earwax. Severus got perhaps the next worst one, which he claimed tasted like passed gas.
"You would know," Lily said with a laugh.
"I would," Sev replied confidently.
"Ooh! We're there!" Wynne's face was pressed against the window. "We've finally arrived!"
The train was slowing to a stop, and I snatched Beechy's cage from the rack. Our luggage would be carried to our dormitories later, but we were to carry our animals up to the castle. Wynne snatched her barn owl's cage.
The train had barely stopped when Wynne, Lily, Severus, and I were hopping onto the platform, our animals and their cages in hand.
"Firs' years! Firs' years, over here!"
"Whoa." A look of awe spread over Wynne's face. "That is a massive man."
"Well, come on!" We hurried over to his feet, which were at least a meter long.
"Is that all o' yeh?" the man boomed. A few more first years scurried over, looking absolutely tiny in comparison to this giant.
"Are we going to move?" a weaselly boy asked loudly, and the man glared at him with beetle-black eyes, but said nothing as he turned and led us down a cobblestone path, the light of the laterns on the platform twinkling out as we got farther and farther away from them.
"Inter the boats, inter the boats," the man said thunderously. A fleet of small boats was bobbing in the water ahead of us, and we slipped and slid down the bank towards them. The big man got a boat all to himself (too right, with anyone else in it, it would have plunged them both into the water), and Lily, Sev, Wynne and I scrambled into one.
"Forward!" commanded the man. The boats lurched, and we were soon gliding through the water, silent, all except for the chirping of the crickets around us.
"Yeh'll get your first view of Hogwarts in a mo'..."
Gasps filled the air, and many of the first years pointed, oohing and ahhing.
The castle, with its many turrets and points, courtyards and windows, was aglow with light, each window like a tiny candle.
"It's beautiful!" I whispered to Wynne, who was sitting next to me on the boat's bench. She nodded, speechless. Severus was grinning widely behind us.
"I'm Hagrid, by the way," the large man said as we clambered out of the boats. "Groundskeeper of Hogwarts, and such. Are you lot ready?"
A few of us nodded, and Hagrid beckoned with a large hand. "Welcome to Hogwarts."
Chapter Three - Call Me TaillonEdit
September 1, 1971
"When I call your name, you will come up to the stool, where I will place the Sorting Hat on your head. You will then go sit with your appropriate table."
The witch holding the patched hat, Professor McGonagall, was tall, middle-aged, and severe. Her dark hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and her blue eyes flashed behind spectacles. Her emerald robes were very stately, and I found myself almost gaping in respect.
"Abbot, Harry!" Professor McGonagall called. A small boy scurried up to the stool, and the hat sank past his eyes. A few students giggled as the hat made its decision, then bellowed the answer to the crowd.
Harry went to sit with the table that cheered the loudest.
A few more names were called until Stephen Avenstein was made the first Slytherin. Jeers were mixed in amongst the cheers, but Stephen Actiou seemed oblivious to them as he sat down next to a long-haired Slytherin prefect.
The silence and tension that settled on the hall was heavier than weights as the curly-haired boy strode confidently up to the stool, looking smug and cocky. The Sorting Hat fit perfectly on his head, and he seemed to realize this, for he sat up straighter.
"Black," repeated Severus beside me with a grimace.
The Sorting Hat made no noise, but Sirius's face was evident enough about is feelings toward its words. Vehement refusal lit his dark eyes, and his face was contorted.
"GRYFFINDOR," roared the Hat, and Sirius beamed.
The claps and cheers, however, were punctuated by a smattering of whispers, and I caught a voice from the end of the Ravenclaw table,
"...first Black not to be a Slytherin..."
More first year students filtered up to the platform to be Sorted, and when Digby, Jonas became a Hufflepuff, I waited in anxiety for Lily's name to be called.
The hush died down as faces turned, wondering which House this new girl would be Sorted into. My fingers were crossed in the sleeves of my robes, and I'm sure that if Lily saw me, she would burst into laughter despite her fear.
Sirius catcalled, and Lily promptly turned her back on him when she sat down.
Lupin, Potter, and Pettigrew were all Sorted into Gryffindor along with Lily and Black.
I watched in apprehension, willing the Sorting Hat to put him into Gryff--
Lily and I exchanged sad smiles, but Wynne just laughed profoundly.
Professor McGonagall's eyes were nearing the bottom of her list, and I was startled when she called the next name.
I stumbled through the parting crowd and sat upon the stool. I'm sure my face was as white as Lily's had been, my eyes wide in fear. My fingers were curled around the edge of the stool, and my vision darkened as the Hat slipped over my eyes.
"A Taillon, eh? I've had a few of you in my time...hm....where to put you..." The Hat's gravelly voice whispered in my head. I was sure it was referring to my father, to his parents, to his parents' parents, and generations back. Taillon, evidently, was a Pureblood name.
"Changing the family name, eh, by being a Ravenclaw?"
No! Not Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor, I want to be a Gryffindor!
"Vehement, vehement," mused the Sorting Hat. "Where to put you....I see...GRYFFINDOR!"
Lily was almost standing on her chair cheering so loudly. As I scrambled toward her, she scooted down the bench and I slid into a seat next to her.
Sirius Black was staring at me across the table, hsi dark eyes boring into mine, his face expressionless.
I nodded slowly. "Black."
"You can call me Sirius," he said, his gaze unchanging.
"You can call me Taillon."
He laughed, and I turned back to the other children being Sorted.
The Hat had barely touched her head when it screamed, "GRYFFINDOR!"
Lily and I yelled and stomped our feet. "Wynne!"
"A friend of yours?" asked Black as Wynne sat next to me. I grinned.
"Oooh," giggled Wynne. "Arti's in loooooooove." I smacked my new friend on the arm, and we both burst into laughter while Black just shook his head in disbelief.
Hogwarts was now my home.
Chapter Four - First StudentsEdit
September 2, 1971 I slid into my seat in the Potions Dungeon a few minutes before the bell rang. Wynne, Sev, and Lily gathered at the table around me, settling on the stools. We stared expectantly at Professor Slughorn's expansive back.
When our new professor turned, he revealed himself to be an enormously fat man with straw-colored hair and a gingery-blond walrus mustache, underneath which you could barely see his mouth. He was dressed quite old-fashionedly, waistcoats with golden buttons and long, pressed pants. Upon his pale-haired head, sat a cap with a few tassels dangling from it.
"My first students, eh?" he boomed in a deep voice. "What are your names?"
"Lily Evans, sir," Lily said quietly.
"Speak up, my dear!" Professor Slughorn seemed like a very boisterous old man, despite behaving like a man half his age.
"Lily Evans, sir," Lily repeated louder.
"Ah, Lily Evans. Don't think I've ever had an Evans before...you three?"
"Severus Snape, Professor," said Sev.
"Oohoo!" Slughorn gave a loud chuckle. "Taillon, eh? I remember--" But just what Professor Slughorn remembered was interrupted by the arrival of the rest of the students - Slytherins and Gryffindors alike.
A dark haired boy eyed Severus with dislike. "Why are you sitting with three Gryffindors, Snape?" he sneered. "Couldn't care to join your own House?"
Severus's palid ears flushed. "I--shut up, Avery!"
A blond-haired boy cackled next to Avery. "Ooh, Avery!"
"Shut up, Mulciber!" snarled Sev.
"Now, now," said Professor Slughorn genially as though all of the swearing and obscene gestures were part of a jovial game. "Everyone here?"
A fellow Gryffindor raised her hand. Marlene McKinnon. Her blond curls bobbed as her arm brushed them.
"Yes, m'dear? What is your name?"
"Marlene McKinnon," Marlene said impatiently. "But--Alice Mariantee--she's in the hospital wing." I noticed Avery and Mulciber sniggering, and pointed this out to Sev. He balled his hands into fists.
"Those two," he muttered angrily. Professor Slughorn nodded his acknowledgement of Marlene, scribbled something down on a scroll of parchment, and magicked it away.
"Now," he said, beginning the lesson. "Today we will be learning the basics of Potionmaking. And what better to learn the basics than to make a potion? We will be practicing the Wideye Potion, or the Awakening Potion. Can anyone hazard a guess as to what it might do?"
My hand shot into the air, and Professor Slughorn grinned. "Miss Taillon?"
"It prevents the drinker from falling asleep. Also, when imbibed, it can awake the sleeper from drugging or a concussion."
"Perfect! Ten points to Gryffindor!"
Lily and Wynne high-fived me under the table, Severus even joining in, despie the fact that the "enemy" House had just gained ten points.
"First points of the year," whispered Wynne, giving me a thumbs-up, I grinned, and stopped speaking, catching Professor Slughorn's eye. He beamed, and magicked the instructions up onto the chalkboard.
"Begin! Twenty points to the pair that can make the best potion!"
Wynne and I paired up, and I squinted. "Add six snake fangs to the mortar," I read. Wynne grabbed the snake fangs and dumped them into the mortar. "Four measures of standard ingredient...six dried Billywig Stings to the cauldron." We dropped the stings in the cauldron and prepared to mash up the ingredients in the mortar.
"Wait," interrupted Wynne. "We're supposed to heat the cauldron....medium temperature....thirty seconds....first." I used my wand to light a fire, causing Wynne to gape in awe. "Where'd you learn to do that?"
"Our Charms book," I said sheepishly.
While our potion was coming along quite well, others' were having much trouble. Marlene and Frank Longbottom were nervously poking their fires with their wands, while Potter and Black were grinning and laughing as green sludge plopped out of their cauldron and began to float about the room. Wynne and I were forced to duck as Professor Slughorn chased the glumpy potion across the room.
Lupin and Pettigrew were doing all right. Pettigrew was sitting on the stool with his oily hair greased back and his ratty fingernails inside of his mouth. Lupin was taking over the potion, muttering under his breath as he squinted at the board.
Lily and Sev were both grinning. They were both magnificent at potionmaking, as it turned out.
The potion began to steam, and soon the air was filled with perfumed and colorful smoke, and we could barely make out the ingredients on the board. Professor Slughorn called time, and began to inspect the potions.
When he reached our table, he beamed. "The clear winners!" he cried.
Lily and I exchanged bewildered glances.
"It's a tie!" announced the professor. "Thirty points to Gryffindor and ten to Slytherin!"
"Ten?" exclaimed the Slytherins in disgust. "Ten, you rotten---"
"I will not tolerate that sort of language in my class," Professor Slughorn said, suddenly growing stern. He waved a threatening finger at Mulciber. "Watch your language, young man." Mulciber muttered something unintelligible, but Slughorn had already turned away.
"You earned twenty points for Gryffindor in one day!" Lily congratulated me as we swept up to Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"Thanks," I said, embarrassed.
I stumbled, suddenly, my books spilling out of my arms and my bag ripping. My glasses slid off of my nose and I tripped over the mess in front of me.
In just a few moments, Lily, Sev, Wynne, Marlene, Frank, and Remus Lupin were crowding over me. "Are you all right?" they echoed.
"Y-yeah," I stammered, pushing myself up. "F-fine. What happened?"
Lupin glared after his friends--Pettigrew, Black, and Potter--who were laughing and punching each other on the arms. "James must've pushed you."
"Potter," snorted Lily. "Potter, that arrogant...arrogant...fathead!"
"He likes you," Lupin said to Lily, and her cheeks colored in anger. My situation was forgotten - it was a battle of wills between Lily and Lupin.
Lily let out a torrent of insults and disgusting noises, before finally forming coherent words.
"Likes me?" she said in disgust. "I--well--I--ugh, I hate him!"
"That much is apparent," Lupin said faintly, and he held out his hand for me to get up. I grabbed it, almost pulling him over in my haste, and grinned, thanking him.
"Ooh," cooed Wynne moments later after everyone had whisked away to our next class. "Someone's in love with twooooo people!"
"Shut up," I teased. "And--I don't like-like Remus, I mean, Lupin, I mean--"
I chose not to answer, and hurried to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.
The teacher was just beginning to speak when we slid into our seats, but only to call role. "Black, Sirius?"
"Here," replied Black offhandedly. The professor continued the role call until he snapped up the parchment and faced us.
"I," he said. "Am Professor Quintin Russell, and I am your Professor."
He continued to explain the rules of our class, and Wynne and I exchanged amused glances. This would be fun.
Chapter Five - An InvitationEdit
September 4, 1971
"Potions, Herbology, and Flying, all in one," groaned Wynne, gesturing to our schedule. She slumped forward onto the table, her face falling into her breakfast.
It was our third day of classes, Wednesday, and we had half of our classes with the Slytherins - whom we now knew were terrible Classmates.
Just the day before, we were walking to lunch from Charms, when Mulciber, Avery, and a mean, burly kid named Goyle rammed into us from behind and stepped on my wrist. Madam Pomfrey said it was a minor fracture, but my arm was still in a sling.
Professor Slughorn had already decided that Lily and I were to be his favorite students - and a few of the best potionmakers in the class.
"Good, good," he would cheer, and award us twenty points simply for showing up. This made Wynne sulk a bit, as she was overlooked, but later she would be excited for us for gaining points for Gryffindor.
Sev, however, was a complete different story.
Every day, overlooked, Professor Slughorn passed right by Severus as he peered into Lily's cauldron, awarding no points to the House of which he was Head - Slytherin.
Severus also seemed to be having bad days in the classes he had with other Houses, especially with the Ravenclaws. In Herbology, his partner was Eddie Clearwater, one of the smartest first years in the whole school. Clearwater was a bit...oversensitive and arrogant, and always demanded to do all of the work, claiming that Sev was doing it improperly or too slowly. Severus came out of Herbology steaming mad every time he had the class.
Currently, we were in Herbology, Professor Sprout anxiously questioning me about my wrist, when a third year girl burst through the door, breathless.
"P-Professor," she gasped. "I-I'm to deliver these to...to...A-Arti T-Taylone?"
"Taillon," I corrected automatically, and she blushed.
"Arti Taillon and Lily Evans," repeated the girl, handing golden scrolls to Professor Sprout. "As soon as possible, Professor Slughorn said."
"Slughorn?" muttered Wynne out of the corner of her mouth as I settled against the dingy wall, my robes smeared with mud.
"Yeah," I breathed slowly. "Listen, I'll read it to you."
Lily read hers to Marlene and Alice while I read mine to Wynne and a pleasant girl named Emmeline Vance.
"Dear Arti, I have enjoyed your presence in my Potions class, but would like something more from you--"
"Ugh, what is he saying?" said Wynne. I laughed, having scanned the next line.
"Let me finish, Wynne! Thus, I request that you join me with Ms. Evans in my office at 7:00 pm along with a few other select students to enjoy the first official meeting of the 'Slug Club'. You may each bring a guest! Sincerely, Professor H. Slughorn"
"Huh," said Wynne.
"That's so awesome," Emmeline agreed. She gave me a shy smile.
"Who are you going to invite?" Wynne asked bluntly. I would have stepped back, but there was a wall behind me. Emmeline smiled again.
"Go ahead and invite Wynne. I'm not going to make you choose," she said. My lips twitched upward into a smile.
"Thanks, Emmeline. Wynne, are you coming?"
"Yeah," grunted Wynne, turning away as though angry.
She didn't reply.
"What?" Wynne asked irritably.
We had just gotten back from Flying Lessons, and Wynne and I discovered we were total fools with broomsticks. Lily and Sev (who joined us with the rest of his House) were too, but the worst part was how spectacular Potter and Black were. Idiots.
Wynne scribbled down some large words on a piece of parchment. She then crossed them out so vehemently it seemed as though she would tear her scroll. We had to write a few lengths for Herbology, and I had already finished. The curly paper was tucked into my bag which was tucked under my bed in our dormitory.
"We have Astronomy tonight," I groaned. "Goodness, I've got to go tell Professor Slughorn!"
"Hrmph," grumped Wynne, and turned back to her essay.
I hurried out the portrait hole - the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. A portrait of a fat lady in a pink silk dress swung closed behind me.
"Goodbye!" she called. I waved a hand absentmindedly behind me.
I dashed along the corridors. Thank goodness it was still before dinner, otherwise there would be no time afterwards.
Of course, Astronomy began at midnight, so we should--
"Miss Taillon! What are you doing out so early?"
"Oh, Professor! I was just coming to find you."
"Ah," Professor Slughorn said, "about the party?"
"Yes," I said breathlessly.
"Miss Evans has already informed me of your predicament. I have rescheduled the party for tomorrow night, when, I believe, you are free."
"Y-Yes," I stammered.
"Good, good! Off you go then, have a nice dinner."
"You too!" I called over my shoulder.
Jeez, Lily, you just beat me to it!
Chapter Six - Muggle-BornEdit
September 7th, 1971
"This is hard," groaned Wynne. "I hate Charms."
"Really? I think it's spectacular!"
"I'm more of a potioneer," Lily said lightly.
The three of us were clustered around a low table in the Gryffindor Common Room, with rain furiously pelting the windows. Lily and I had wondered what we had done wrong to make the weather hate us!
Wynne scribbled out her last few lines. "Does this sound all right?" She began to read us her essay, and I nodded absentmindedly, doodling on a spare bit of parchment.
Lily stood up with such abruptness that my little Quidditch stick-figure person now had a huge slash across its face. I turned my head to stare curiously at Lily.
She was gazing, her eyes cold and hard, across the room, her hands balled into fists. Evidently her hearing was better than mine, for she was listening to Potter's conversation with red ears and hatred clear on her face.
"How dare they insult Severus," she muttered angrily, slamming her fist on the table.
"Lily," Wynne complained. "Now I have to rewrite the whole thing!"
"Tough," snapped Lily, in one of her rare bad moods. She dropped back into her chair and pulled her knees up to her chest, her face almost as red as her hair.
Wynne opened her mouth, evidently at loss for what to say, then closed it.
"I-I'm going to go to the library," I said tentatively, afraid that Lily would boil over at me. She nodded.
"Can I come?" Wynne asked immediately.
"'Course," I said.
We both scrambled out the portrait hole in our haste to get away from the angered Lily. She didn't get angry often, we learned, but when she did - she got angry.
As we wandered toward the library, now at leisure, we came across two other children in our year, Marlene McKinnon and a Hufflepuff named Benjy Fenwick. Benjy was crying.
"What's wrong?" I asked as we arrived at the staircase on which the two were sitting. Marlene had her arm wrapped around Benjy, who sniffled louder.
"It was Black and Potter," spat Marlene disgustedly. "Idiots."
"What did they do to him?"
"I don't know," Marlene replied anxiously. "That's what I've been trying to coax out of him. He won't say."
Benjy's next words were barely distinguishable. "...don't....want...to...get...them..." He gave a loud cough and let loose a fresh torrent of tears. "in....trouble..."
"Oh, Benjy! It would be better to get them in trouble than be..." She stared at us pleadingly, evidently at loss for words.
"Upset," I suggested. "Eternally unhappy?"
"Yeah," Wynne added uncertainly.
"Where did this happen, Benjy?" Marlene said encouragingly. "Tell us, we can help you!"
"Outside of the Great Hall," Benjy muttered, wiping his nose on his sleeve and leaving a large wet mark.
"Scourgify," I muttered, cleaning it for him. He nodded his thanks.
"I just came back from dinner," Benjy continued. "When Black convinced me to eat a small chocolate cake. It must have had sleeping potion in it, or something, because the next thing I knew...I was locked in a broom cupboard with Black and Potter laughing outside. I banged on the door--"
"Did they not let you out?" Wynne interrupted.
"Let him finish," Marlene said, waving a hand at Wynne, who recoiled, evidently offended. I patted my friend teasingly on the back, and she grinned. Benjy went on.
"They opened the door, all right, but they started to tease me. About Oatmeal."
"Oatmeal?" Wynne and I asked blankly.
"He has a teddy bear named Oatmeal, that his mum gave him," explained Marlene. "Go on, Benjy."
"And...and...they said that I was a baby - a babyish Muggle-born. All because I carried around a teddy bear, and then they pushed me between them and poked me with their wand, and joked about testing all of their potions and new tricks and stuff on me because no one would miss a babyish Muggle-born Hufflepuff!" Benjy burst into tears again.
Wynne and I were at loss for words, but evidently Marlene was not.
"Well, they're immature babies for saying that," she said indignantly. "And idiots as well. No mature person goes insulting others to raise themselves up because they're feeling upset. That is simply rude!"
"We've got to tell McGonagall," I insisted.
"N-no," stammered Benjy, rubbing his eyes.
"You won't tell me what?"
The four of us turned around slowly, and saw Professor McGonagall standing behind us, her hands clasped in front of her long, emerald-green cloak, dark hair spun tightly into a bun, as always, and her eyes reproachful over her glasses.
"N-nothing," Marlene said.
"Do not lie to me, Miss McKinnon. Now, what don't you want to tell me, Miss Taillon, Mr. Fenwick?"
"Black and Potter were abusing him," I blurted.
"What?" Professor McGonagall was evidently not expecting such a crude answer, for she straightened her hat and brushed off her robes before she replied. "That is quite--I--come."
"Come, with me, to my office."
"A-all four of us?"
"Yes, Miss White. All four of you. I'll send someone to fetch Black and Potter as well."
Minutes later, we were seated in front of Professor McGonagall's desk in her office. We heard the door bang open behind us and saw two guiltless (though mildly infuriated) second year boys being pushed into the room.
"Not them," barked the professor. "Black and Potter, Winterson!"
The boy backed out, looking quite embarrassed, and hurried away again, to return a while later with Black and Potter in tow.
"Sit," Professor McGonagall demanded.
"We'd rather not, professor," Black said cheekily. "You see, James and I were practicing for Quidditch Tryouts--"
"Which you're too young for," Marlene muttered.
"And," Black continued as though Marlene had not interrupted, "our rear ends are a bit sore."
"Stinks to be you," commented Marlene. Black grinned at her.
Professor McGonagall docked them ten house points (each), and told them to sit or else she would dock more. She explained Benjy's situation to the two.
"Do you know of this?" she asked. We were all surprised by their answers.
"Nope," they replied promptly.
"Twenty house points," Professor McGonagall said, lowering her voice until it was almost a deadly whisper. "Each."
"Yes," they admitted. "It was us."