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PostPosted: Sunday 3 May 2009 5:10:23pm 
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Thanks hprocks! Willinson will be back in future chapters as well.

Chapter 45: Tense Moon

I spent the next week and a half pouring over my new Potions and Astronomy books. After reading the first chapter of my Potions book, I brewed the first potion in it. It took a few tries, but I eventually got it right. My Astronomy book was quite different from previous year's. This one focused on the Northern Hemisphere and I realized that my knowledge of that hemisphere was limited.

The last thing I wanted was to go to Hogwarts without knowing the required Astronomy curriculum, so I found a few Astronomy books that Dad had put in the library and spent hours memorizing the stars of the Northern sky. I even named my new owl after one of the stars I discovered. Pollux. As soon as I read the name, I knew it fit my owl. I'm not sure why, but it did.

Mum and Dad were remaining mysteriously quiet about the upcoming full moon and their plans for it. Neither of them said anything about me flying to Richard and Cinda's, which gave me the feeling I wasn't going to. They would have had to book tickets ahead of time and I hadn't heard any mention of that. But at the same time, I doubted they'd actually let me stay home during the full moon. Sure, they were becoming a little more lax about keeping me away in the days following, but I had a feeling that was due to logistics more than anything else.

The day before the full moon, Mum and Dad holed up in Dad's study, much like they had done when we were in Australia. Dad had gotten the day off, as well as the day of the actual full moon and the day after. Apparently when he asked for the days off, his boss didn't even ask why and let him have them without even thinking about it.

I was sitting in a chair in the den trying to memorize more of the Northern sky, but kept looking up at the door to see if Mum and Dad left Dad's study. I knew they were talking about the full moon, and me.

After what seemed like nearly an hour, I heard footsteps coming into the room and immediately closed my book and looked up.

Mum and Dad walked in and sat down on either side of Matt, who was laying on the couch, but was still awake. Mum gazed softly down at him and rubbed his back. Dad looked up at me.

"Amy, we've been talking about tomorrow," Dad said quietly.

"I figured," I said, "I'm guessing I'm not going to Richard and Cinda's?"

"No," Dad replied, "It's too complicated to fly you down there once a month. I don't want you flying alone, so one of us would have to go with you. That's two round-trip tickets once a month, which is too costly."

I nodded. That made sense. Although I was sort of afraid to hear their alternative plan.

"This is the last full moon before school and there isn't a full moon over your Christmas holiday this year. Once we get through this one, we won't have to think about it until next summer," Dad went on, "So we have a temporary plan just for tomorrow. I know you won't like it, but it's our only option. I'm asking you to just accept it, Amy."

I shrugged. "I suppose."

"You and your mother are going to spend the night in an inn," Dad explained, "One in Hogsmeade, that we've never been to. You can't go to the Leaky Cauldron or the Three Broomsticks since the owners know us now. They would find it incredibly odd that you would be spending a night there after already moving. The one you're staying at is called the Hog's Head."

My jaw dropped and I stared at him. Then I looked at Mum, who didn't look at all happy with this plan. Staying at an inn with Mum during the full moon hadn't even crossed my mind. Both of my parents had been with Matt on every full moon since he was bitten (well, not with him, but in the same house). I knew Mum wouldn't want to be away from him tomorrow night.

"How in the name of Merlin did you come up with that?" I asked.

Dad sighed, "The original plan was for Jack to come visit and he would stay at an inn with you, but he couldn't get time off work. He's used up all his holiday time for the year, between the estate sale and Matt's being in St. Mungo's. So, Mum will go with you."

"Er, ok, then," I muttered, still shocked at the lengths they would go to keep me out of the house once a month.

"Thanks, Amy," Dad sighed, "I really appreciate you not protesting this."

I shrugged. It wasn't that different than spending the night with Richard and Cinda, except I'd be with Mum instead.

******

I never was home the day of the full moon until a few months ago, shortly before the whole moving saga started. Mum and Dad always shuttled me out of the house at least the day before. I hadn't known what to expect that day in December, when I spent the morning of the full moon at home. That day seemed to have loosened my parents because after that, I spent a few more full moon mornings at home. But even then, I was still out of the house by early afternoon. This full moon was different.

Mum clearly wanted to stay at home with Matt. She barely left his side all day. I briefly wondered why she didn't stay home with him instead of Dad, but then figured it was because Dad had a more extensive knowledge of werewolves and spells that would overcome one, should that become necessary.

I made the mistake of suggesting that I just stay home, but that earned me a fifteen minute lecture from Mum, who was already short-tempered and tense. She only stopped yelling when Matt, who had been sleeping on the couch, woke up and pitifully told her to stop screaming so loud.

After that, I just decided to steer clear of her and spent the day in my room. I came out briefly to scrounge for something to eat, but then went back in. I didn't come out until Dad told me that the moon would be rising in an hour and it was time for me to leave.

I grabbed the bag I had packed and tentatively walked down the stairs. After my earlier interaction with Mum, I didn't really want to spend the night with her.

Mum and Dad were both sitting on the couch in the living room. Matt was shaking in Mum's arms. She looked up at me when I walked in and then turned back to Matt.

"Honey, I'm going to have to go," she whispered.

"N-no," Matt cried, "Mummy, don't go!"

"I have to, honey, but I'll be back in the morning. I promise I'll be there when you wake up," Mum soothed.

Mum and Dad both stood up and Dad took Matt out of Mum's arms. He was crying hysterically and I kind of stood awkwardly to the side. I had no idea what to say and figured it would probably be best not to say anything.

"C'mon, Matt, we're going to go down to the basement," Dad said quietly and then turned to Mum, "Bye, Jule. See you in the morning. I love you."

"Love you, too," Mum replied. She kissed Matt's head. "Bye, honey, I love you. I'll be there when you wake up."

"Bye, Amy. Love you," Dad said.

"Love you, too, Dad," I replied.

"Good luck," Mum said quietly.

"We'll be fine," Dad assured her.

Mum picked up her bag and walked wordlessly to the door. I followed her and shut the door behind us. We walked a short distance until we reached the end of the anti-Apparition wards and then Mum beckoned for me to Apparate with her.

We reappeared in Hogsmeade and no one gave us a second glance as we began to walk down the street. I had no idea where we were going, but Mum seemed to have a slight idea.

A short while later we found the pub called the Hog's Head. The building looked in dire need of repairs and I could've sworn I saw a few goats in the backyard.

I followed Mum inside and realized that this place was the complete opposite of the Three Broomsticks. It was dark and dusty inside and the air had a faint smell of what I could only describe as goat. There were a few patrons, but none of them seemed to be conversing with each other. Most of them were clad in layers of cloaks and shawls, despite the warm weather outside.

Mum and I walked up to the bar, where a very old man with ridiculously long and unkempt grey hair was absentmindedly rubbing a cloth along the counter. I gawked as I saw that there was another goat behind him. It was chewing on something and I didn't want to know what.

"I'd like a room for the night," Mum said once we got his attention.

The man grumbled and walked over to the other end of the bar. He returned and slammed a key down on the table. "Room two," he muttered.

"Thank you," Mum said as she reached into her pocket. She pulled out a couple Galleons and tossed them on the bar. "Keep the change. We'll likely be gone before you open for the day."

"Mm-hmm," the man grunted, "'S fine."

We left the bar and located a staircase, which lead us up to a small corridor with about four rooms leading off of it. We stopped at the one labeled 'two' and Mum unlocked it.

The room was about as dirty as the pub below. The bedspread on the only bed looked to be older than the bloke who was running the place. It was patched and frayed and missing some chunks of fabric. There was no doubt in my mind that a goat had chewed on it. I was thoroughly surprised that Mum was actually willing to stay at this place. Of course, maybe now she'd be less likely to tell me that my room was messy. Compared to this place, my room was the neatest room around.

I tossed my bag down on the bed and a cloud of dust appeared around it. I then went over to the window and yanked the curtains open to try and get some light in the place. The sun had mostly set, but the moon hadn't quite risen. I went back to my bag and pulled out a book, fully prepared to read and not say a word to Mum the entire night. There was no way I'd actually sleep, even if that bed had been cleaned during the last century. Despite my dislike for the current arrangement, I was still worried about my brother.

Mum planted herself on the dusty bed, seemingly completely unaware of the dirtiness of it. I couldn't ever remember a time where Mum did not make a comment on the cleanliness of an obviously dirty room. It was a sure sign that she was distracted. She sat there, utterly devoid of movement for a full half an hour.

During that half hour, I alternated reading a few sentences from my book and gazing out at the sky. I was watching the moon rise. It was something I did during most full moons, but normally did alone. I certainly hadn't done it with Mum before, except before Matt had been bitten.

Of course, Mum was so quiet and still that I could have pretended that she wasn't even there. Part of me thought I should say something to comfort her or reassure her everything would be ok, but I sort of knew it would be pointless.

Mum made the first sound since her short conversation with the barman the moment the moon rose. It was a short intake of breath, that was just audible for me to hear. I turned around and saw that her moonlit face was etched with anguish.

The moon had risen. At that moment, my brother was turning into a wolf. Even though it had been happening for two and a half years, the idea of my tiny, quiet brother turning into a monster boggled my mind.

Although she had made some sort of noise, my mother still didn't move. She sat on the bed, staring out the window as I read in the rickety chair that was next to the bed.

I was just beginning to get used to the idea that Mum would sit on that bed for the entire night when she suddenly stood up. The bed creaked and I nearly dropped my book in surprise.

"Ellie!" Mum said suddenly.

There was a loud crack and Ellie appeared out of thin air. She was looking curiously at Mum, who looked determined. I could see why Ellie was so confused. We rarely ever called her like that. We didn't treat her like someone who would act on our every whim and desire and feed us peeled grapes poolside. She was a member of the family, and that was that.

"Is you needing something, Mistress?" Ellie asked.

"I'm sorry, Ellie," Mum croaked, "I know we don't normally call you to us like that. But I have to know. How is-" her voice cracked, "How is Matt?"

"Master Matt is in the basement," Ellie replied, "Ellie is not knowing anything else."

"C-could you ask Walter?" Mum said quietly.

"Of course, Mistress," Ellie disappeared with a crack.

Mum sighed and collapsed onto the bed again. She coughed as a cloud of dust erupted around her.

Ellie Apparated into the room a few minutes later. Mum looked up. "Well?" she asked.

"Master says nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Other than that, Master does not know. Matt is in the basement, like usual," Ellie told her.

"Thanks, Ellie," Mum whispered. Ellie nodded and then Disapparated.

Mum returned to her vigil on the bed after Ellie left. I resumed my reading and decided not to talk unless Mum asked me something. The tense look on her face told me the smallest thing would set her off.

As the night progressed, Mum continued to call Ellie every few hours. I wasn't sure what the point of it was. As long as the moon remained full, nobody was going to know what was going on in the basement. I did understand Mum's worry. I was worried. I was afraid of what was happening at that very moment. But I understood that there was nothing I could do. That was one difference between Mum and I. She couldn't accept that this was one thing she couldn't make easier for Matt. I was sure this had something to do with her motherly instincts, but as I wasn't a mother, I couldn't be sure. What I did know was that I couldn't do a thing to help Matt and I wasn't going to anguish over it.

"Ellie?" Mum said for what must have been the fifth time that night. It was just after two in the morning and I was beginning to become tired, but didn't want to succumb to the fatigue.

Ellie Apparated once again into the dank room we were spending the night in. She looked wearily at Mum. Mum stood up and opened her mouth to speak, but Ellie was faster.

"Nothing has changed since the last time you called Ellie," Ellie sighed, "And Ellie must tell you that she is needing to sleep."

Mum sank down onto the bed and put her face in her hands. "Oh, Merlin, you're right. I'm so sorry, Ellie. I didn't even think- I just- Oh, I don't know..." her voice trailed off.

"It's all right," Ellie assured her, "Everything will be ok. Ellie will see you in a few hours."

Mum nodded and Ellie Disapparated.

I glanced up from my book and saw that Mum still had her head in her hands. I could hear quiet sobs coming from her. I looked out at the moon once again and then just decided to get up and sit on the bed next to Mum.

I awkwardly got up and sat down next to Mum. The bed creaked and she looked at me, but said nothing. Something told me to put my arm around her, so I did. It was strange. I was the daughter and she was the mother, yet I was comforting her. That fact hit me like a bludger to the stomach. Things were changing, faster than I would have thought or wanted.

******

I must have fallen asleep sometime after that, because the next thing I knew Mum was shaking me awake.

"Amy," she whispered, "Amy!" she shouted a little louder.

"Urgh," I muttered and sat up. The room was dark, but when I looked out the window, I saw that the moon had set and the first rays of morning sun were peeking their way over the horizon.

"Come on, Amy," Mum said urgently, "Get up! The moon's set. We're going home."

"Mmm-kay," I replied and sleepily sat up. I shoved my book back into the bag of pajamas that I had never changed into and followed Mum out the door.

The pub below was deserted save for a goat that was chewing on one of the tables. I still thought it was extremely bizarre that goats lived in the pub. I suppose if I hadn't been to the Three Broomsticks or the Leaky Cauldron, I would have thought that goats were a standard fixture in British wizarding pubs. But, I had, so the goats in the Hog's Head was very odd indeed.

Mum left the key on the bar and we headed out to the street. Hogsmeade was quiet and empty. Not a soul was out that early. The only living thing I saw was a cat milling about a few trees.

Mum and I Disapparated once we'd walked a few meters. We reappeared in our backyard and Mum paused before continuing to the house.

"Amy, I want you to go to your room once we're inside. Your father and I have to heal Matt's injuries and start to get his strength back. I don't want you in the room for that. Please, don't argue with me. Just go to your room, get some sleep, and Dad or I will get you in a few hours."

I nodded, somehow not even wanting to argue with her. A few months ago I would have. But after the whole ordeal in Australia, I was beginning to see that there was no point to arguing. Plus, after seeing Mum that night, I actually didn't want to cause her anymore stress.

Neither Mum or Dad came to get me until late in the afternoon. I didn't really notice since I slept all day. I knew I would regret that once nighttime came, but I was knackered.

Dad woke me up shortly before dinner and told me that Matt was no worse than usual. He was sleeping, so I wasn't allowed to go see him. I ate a quiet dinner with Mum and Dad, who both still looked exhausted.

I laid awake for half the night since I wasn't tired. I realized that that was the last full moon before I'd go to school. It was strange to think about going back to school. I hadn't been in school for over six months. I had gotten used to being home with my family. We had been through so much since December and me going back to school was sort of like things were getting back to normal.

What was normal? I had no idea anymore. Normal used to be living in Australia, going to the Australian School of Sorcery, seeing Richard and Cinda all the time, and visiting with Kenzie and Olivia. None of that was going to be normal now. Now I lived in England, would go to Hogwarts, rarely see my grandparents, and I had no friends here. I guess that would soon be normal.

The next week flew by in a blur. Matt had a few more visits from Healer Norlam, who decided to decrease the visits to once a week now that Matt was making so much progress. Mum and Dad were thrilled by that.

I became increasingly more nervous about Hogwarts as the week progressed. I couldn't go to a new school for fourth year. My parents were mental for making me do this. The only people in that entire school I would know were Teddy and the bloke from the Apothecary, and he was an arse. How in the name of Merlin was I going to fit into a group of kids who had been together since first year?

"We're going to miss you, Amy," Mum said at dinner the night before the first day of school.

I nodded as I picked at the food on my plate. Mum had made spaghetti, my favorite. It reminded me of my first day back from school, way back in December, before I had any idea that we were going to move.

"You are going to do fine at Hogwarts," Dad assured me, "It's a great school."

"I can't wait to go to Hogwarts!" Matt said excitedly, "You'll have to tell me everything about it."

"Yeah, sure," I muttered. He had enough enthusiasm for the both of us. I wished he could just go instead of me.

Mum smiled sympathetically. "You are going to be fine. You'll make new friends."

Easier said than done, I thought. "I'm not really that hungry. I think I'll just go to bed," I said quietly as I got up from the table.

"Ok, we'll see you in the morning. Good night," Mum got up and gave me a hug, "I love you."

"'Night, Amy," Dad said, "Love you."

"Love you too," I replied and left the room.

I ran up the stairs and into my room. The first thing I saw was my packed trunk. I sighed and collapsed onto my bed. This was so different than when I was eleven and first going to the Australian School of Sorcery.

I had been so excited then. From the moment I received my letter, I couldn't wait to go to school. The summer had seemed to drag on. Everything from shopping for my wand to packing my trunk had been exciting to me. I think I drove my parents mad with the amount of questions I asked them about school that summer.

Life had been so carefree back then. It was hard to believe that that had only been three and a half years ago. So much had changed. I really had nothing to worry about back then. Sure, I still had problems making friends, but as soon as I became friends with Olivia, I didn't worry about it.

So much had happened since then. Matt was bitten, Dad got promoted, Killigan denied Matt admission to school, Dad got fired, we moved. And now, here I was again entering a school for the first time. Only this time I wasn't filled with excitement. I was filled with dread. I didn't want to go.

I tossed and turned the entire night. I stared at the clock and watched as the numbers slowly ticked towards morning. Eventually, I gave up. I got up and read my new Potions text book. It couldn't hurt to get continue with the reading.


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PostPosted: Monday 4 May 2009 3:03:30am 
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great chapter cant wait for the rest


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PostPosted: Monday 11 May 2009 3:57:02am 
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Thanks, hprocks!

This chapter is named after the song by Rascal Flatts, Here Comes Goodbye. Some of the lyrics go along with this chapter nicely, if you care to Google them. I don't own that song, nor do I own Harry Potter.

Chapter 46: Here Comes Goodbye

I woke up to Pollux nipping my hand. I groggily lifted my head off my book and groaned. This was it. September first. I fed Pollux and slowly changed into jeans and a t-shirt.

My parents and Matt were already eating brekkie when I went downstairs. Mum and Dad gave me half-hearted smiles as I sat down with a bowl of Fruit Loops. I doubted they'd have those at Hogwarts, but I was too nervous to eat very much.

"Are you all packed?" Mum asked.

I nodded. "Yeah, I just have to shut Pollux in his cage."

"Good. We'll leave in an hour or so," Mum replied.

I nodded again and finished my cereal. Once I was done, I got up and went outside. It was a warm sunny day, but I really had no idea what the weather was supposed to be like in England in September. The weather seemed to be the opposite of my mood. It would have been more appropriate for it to be rainy and cold.

I wandered around the property, not really wanting to settle in one spot. I watched the farmer's cows chewing grass in the nearby field and watched a few birds fly around.

"Hi, Amy," someone said from behind me.

I turned around and saw Matt walking towards me. I sighed. I couldn't really believe it, but I was actually going to miss him. This whole thing was his fault, but I just couldn't be as angry with him as I used to be. Not after he went through so much in the last few months.

"Hi, Matt," I said quietly as I sat down on the low fence that surrounded the property. Matt started to climb up after me. "Be careful," I said as I helped him up. I put my arm around his back so he couldn't fall off.

"I will," he said, "I don't want you to go."

Neither do I, I thought. "I have to," I replied.

"I'm going to miss you," he said.

"Me, too," I swallowed hard. Why did this seem worse than when I went away to school in first year?

"It's going to be boring without you here," Matt announced.

I giggled. "It'll be like it was when I was at school in Australia."

"It was boring then, too. There's nothing to do when you're not here."

He really needed some friends. Mum and Dad should just let him go to Muggle school. That would never happen, though.

"I'll be back over Christmas," I told him, trying to reassure myself as much as him.

Matt nodded. "Yeah, but that's a long time away."

"I know it is," I said quietly.

"Amy! Matt! Are you out here?" Mum shouted from the window.

"Yeah!" I shouted back.

"It's time to go!" she told us.

I took a deep breath and jumped off the fence. I looked at Matt and his eyes were tearing up. Just seeing that made me want to cry. He really was going to miss me.

"Want me to carry you?" I asked.

He nodded and held out his arms. I lifted him up and we walked slowly back to the house, neither of us saying a word.

"Did he hurt himself again?" Mum asked as we entered the house.

"No," I whispered, "We were just...saying goodbye...and stuff."

Mum nodded as I set Matt down on the floor. I looked up and saw Dad standing a few yards away with my trunk propped up on its side. Pollux's cage was sitting on the table and he was hooting inside of it.

"Ready?" Dad asked.

I nodded as I grabbed Pollux. "I guess," I muttered.

Mum grabbed Matt's hand and I followed them out the door. Dad followed with my trunk. We walked silently until we reached the end of the anti-Apparition wards. Dad wrapped me in a one-armed hug and the four of us Disapparated.

We appeared in a back alley that I assumed was near the King's Cross station. We followed Dad down the street until we reached the station. Dad found a trolley and heaved my trunk onto it. I placed Pollux on top.

The station was crowded. Muggles were bustling everywhere. A few glanced at Pollux, but none of them really paid much attention. Matt stepped closer to Mum as a few men brushed past us.

"Nine and three-quarters, right?" Mum whispered to Dad.

"Right," Dad muttered.

I followed my parents through the crowded station until we got to the brick wall between platforms nine and ten. I figured we would have to run straight at the brick wall, since that's what we had to do in Australia, too.

"I'll go first with the trolley," Dad said. He glanced around to make sure no Muggles were paying attention and slipped through the wall.

Mum gestured for me to go next. I held my breath and closed my eyes even though I knew I wouldn't actually hit the wall. I opened my eyes a few seconds later and saw Platform 9 3/4.

Students and families alike were running around. Students were reuniting with each other and shrieking about what they did over the holiday. Parents were loading trunks onto the train. Owls were hooting, cats were meowing, little kids were shouting. I felt horribly out of place. Everyone knew each other. Everyone except the first years, that is. I felt like a first year as I stood with my parents and Matt.

Dad went to load my trunk and Pollux onto the train and returned a few minutes later. He grinned at me, but I didn't grin back.

"Well, this is it," he said, "This feels like your first year all over again."

"You have no idea," I muttered.

"You'll do fine, Amy," Mum assured me, "We've been through so much this past nine months. You can get through anything." She gave me a hug.

"I know, I know," I sighed and bit my lip.

"You're bound to make new friends," Mum said.

Yeah, friends I'd have to keep secrets from. I was dreading explaining to people why I transferred to Hogwarts for my fourth year.

We stood there not saying anything for a few more minutes. I watched as students said goodbye to their parents and ran onto the train. A few first years were sharing tearful goodbyes.

"I think you're going to have to get on the train," Dad said quietly.

I nodded. "Yeah. I love you guys."

"We love you, too," Dad squeezed me and kissed the top of my head.

"We'll miss you," Mum gave me another hug.

"I'll miss you, too," my voice cracked and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. What was wrong with me? I hardly cried when I left for my first year.

"We'll owl all the time," Dad said.

"Bye, Amy," Matt gave me a big hug.

I picked him up. "Bye, Matt. I love you. I'm going to miss you."

"Me, too," he sniffled.

I set him down as the train whistled. I wiped my eyes and waved as I ran towards the train. I jumped on just as it was starting to move. I stood in the doorway and waved as my eyes filled up with more tears. I kept waving until the train turned a corner and I could no longer see my family.

I wiped my eyes again and started down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment. The last thing I wanted was to meet anyone new right then. Eventually I found an empty one towards the back of the train. I ran right into it and shut the door behind me.

I sat down next to the window and watched the scenery fly by. It was kind of mesmerizing. I just let my eyes glaze over and everything blurred together. The time sort of flew by faster then. I wasn't even thinking about anything in particular.

I think I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, the compartment door creaked open. I jerked up and winced as my neck cracked. Falling asleep against a glass window wasn't the smartest of ideas.

"Oh, sorry. Were you sleeping?" a girl asked.

I looked up and saw two kids standing timidly in the doorway. The girl had a round face framed by messy long brown hair. She wore glasses and was already dressed in Hogwarts robes. A boy, who was a few inches taller than her, stood aside her. He was skinny with lighter brown hair and a few freckles on his pale face. They looked to be first or second years.

"Er, I was," I muttered.

"Can we sit here?" the boy asked, "There's no room anyplace else."

"Go ahead," I gestured to the empty seat across from me.

The two of them walked inside and the boy shut the door behind them. They both sat down on the bench across from me. The girl stared at me while the boy fidgeted next to her.

"I'm Jessie Briggs," the girl announced, "What's your name?"

"Amy Eckerton," I replied.

"And I'm Timothy Porter," the boy said.

I nodded. Well, now I knew a few Hogwarts students. Too bad they were probably closer to my brother's age than mine.

"What house are you in?" Jessie asked.

"Gryffindor," I told her, happier than ever that I had decided to be sorted over the summer.

"I want to be in Ravenclaw," Jessie said.

"Ravenclaw?" Timothy raised his eyebrows, "You must be smart. I don't want to be in Ravenclaw. All they do is study all the time."

They were definitely first years. Although, when I thought about it, sitting with first years was a good thing. Neither of them had any idea this was my first year at Hogwarts, too. They wouldn't ask me why I moved here.

"My mother was in Ravenclaw," Jessie huffed, "And she didn't study all the time."

"What about your dad?" Timothy asked.

"He's a Muggle," Jessie answered, "What about you? Where do you want to be?"

"Slytherin," Timothy smirked, "Where all the best wizards go."

"Slytherin?" Jessie looked taken aback, "Why would you want to be there?"

"It's where my parents were. All of my family has been in Slytherin. I'm not going to break that tradition," Timothy boasted.

Slytherin, I thought. That's where that Willinson bloke I had met in Diagon Alley was.

"And it's where all the evil wizards came from," Jessie told him, "Voldemort was in Slytherin."

"So was Severus Snape," Timothy countered.

I just sat there listening to them. I had no idea who Voldemort or Severus Snape were. The names sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place them. I assumed they were famous wizards from Britain. They don't teach World History of Magic until fourth year in Australia.

"True," Jessie nodded, "But no evil wizards came from Ravenclaw."

"None that you know of," Timothy said.

"I would know," Jessie replied, "I've been learning about magical history for years."

"Well, aren't you Miss Smarty Pants," Timothy muttered.

"Thank you," Jessie smirked.

Jessie and Timothy argued about the houses for the next half an hour or so. It was actually kind of interesting since I didn't know a thing about most of the houses. Apparently Slytherins had the reputation of being evil, Ravenclaws of being annoyingly smart, Hufflepuffs of being kind of dense, and Gryffindors of being brave to the point of stupidity. I had to stifle a laugh at the last one. I didn't think I was brave to the point of stupidity.

I got the idea that there was a lot of house rivalry going on at Hogwarts. From the sound of it, there was more there than in Australia. I was kind of grateful for everything I was learning from the two first years. I now knew to mainly stick with Gryffindors and definitely not mingle with too many Slytherins. Hopefully that would help me blend in better.

The compartment door opened once again and an old witch popped her head in. "Anything from the trolley, dears?"

The two first years jumped up and ran out the door. I followed more slowly as I dug a few Galleons out of my pocket. There were a few people standing around the trolley buying various sweets.

"Amy?" someone shouted as I reached for a Cauldron Cake.

I looked up and saw none other than turquoise-haired Ted Lupin grinning at me. He actually remembered my name? I hadn't seen him in months.

"Hi, Ted," I replied.

"So, your family decided to move here?" he asked, "Excellent choice."

"Yeah," I said as I paid for my food.

"You been sorted yet?"

"Yup, Gryffindor," I smiled, remembering that he was a Gryffindor as well.

"Brilliant," he grinned, "Guess I'll see you at the feast."

I nodded. "Yeah, see you then."

I followed Jessie and Timothy (who both had armfuls of sweets) back into the compartment.

"So," Timothy began as he opened up a Chocolate Frog, "You just moved here?"

I groaned inwardly. He had heard what Ted said. Oh, well, I sighed. Might as well practice my story on a few first years before telling it to people I would actually spend a lot of time with.

"Yeah," I sighed.

"Where from?" Jessie asked.

"And you've never been to Hogwarts before?" Timothy asked at the same time.

"Australia and I've visited Hogwarts," I answered.

"Whoa, Australia?" Jessie looked impressed, "Why'd you move here?"

"My dad's job," I told her.

"Where does he work?" she asked.

"How do you know you're in Gryffindor already?" Timothy asked.

"The Ministry. And I got sorted over the summer," I said as I opened my Cauldron Cake.

"I've never heard of anyone transferring to Hogwarts," Timothy announced.

"Yeah, well..." my voice trailed off, "Stuff happens."

"You sound Australian," Timothy mentioned.

"Duh," Jessie rolled her eyes, "She's from Australia."

"I was just saying..." he muttered.

"Well, I wouldn't say to you, 'You sound British,'" Jessie groaned, "It's just kind of a stupid thing to say."

"We can't all be Ravenclaws," Timothy sighed loudly.

"Even Slytherins have to have some brains," Jessie told him.

I breathed a sigh of relief as they resumed their bickering. That hadn't been too bad. Luckily they didn't ask for details about Dad's job. I just had to hope that no one else asked for details.

The rest of the train ride passed relatively quickly. I fell asleep again and didn't wake up until Jessie prodded me.

"We're almost there," she said, "You should change into your robes."

I yawned and got up. I rummaged around in my trunk and pulled out a pair of new robes. I hastily put them on over my clothes and waited for the train to stop.

I followed Jessie and Timothy into the corridor as the train began to slow. Once it stopped, I joined the sea of black-clad Hogwarts students onto the platform of Hogsmeade station. I actually recognized it from our trip to Hogwarts.

I soon lost track of Jessie and Timothy. I heard someone shouting 'First years, over here!', so they must have been going some place different anyway. I had no idea where I was going, so I just followed the rest of the students.

I ended up near a line of what appeared to be horseless carriages. I guessed they were just pulled by thestrals. Dad had mentioned that Hogwarts had a herd. Everyone was climbing into them, so I did the same.

My carriage was empty when I got inside, but I was soon joined by three girls who looked a tad bit older than Timothy and Jessie. One had long, brilliant red hair, the second had curly pale blonde hair that rivaled my own, and the other had long, thick black hair.

"The carriages must be pulled by magic," the black-haired girl said.

"Yeah, I think they are," the red-haired girl agreed.

"They're pulled by thestrals," I told them.

"Told you," the blonde girl smirked, "Teddy said they were pulled by thestrals."

"Yeah, well, Teddy likes a joke, doesn't he?" the red head pointed out.

I wondered if they were talking about Ted Lupin. Maybe they were related or something.

The three girls quickly started talking about their summers and I let my attention wander. I did find out that the red head and the blonde were cousins and all three were second year Gryffindors.

The carriage lurched to a stop and I followed the younger students out into the warm air and into the castle. I had been in it before, but the size of it still amazed me. I looked around as people jostled me in their haste to get into the Great Hall.

I stopped in the doorway and realized that I had no idea where to sit. There were four long tables and then the staff table at the opposite end of the room. Were we supposed to sit with our houses? Or wherever we wanted? I glanced around the room and spotted Ted's hair at the table to the right. It couldn't hurt to sit at his table.

I made my way through the crowd and found an empty seat at the table. The golden plates were empty. Everyone around me was chatting happily. I leaned my head on my hand and stared down at my reflection in the shining plate. I felt so out of place.

A few minutes later, everyone quieted down. I looked up and saw a tall witch leading a group of kids into the room. I assumed they were the first years. They all crowded around each other near the staff table.

The witch reached around the staff table and came out with a three-legged stool and the Sorting Hat. She placed the stool on the ground and the hat on the stool.

The rim of the hat opened and it burst out in song. My eyes widened in shock, but nobody else seemed fazed. A few of the first years looked taken aback, but that was about it. I guessed this was a normal occurrence. I don't know why it surprised me since I knew the hat could talk, but singing was just even stranger.

The hat sung about the different houses and everyone clapped once it finished.

"When I call your name, come sit on the stool and the hat will tell you which house you are in. Then go sit at the appropriate table," the witch announced.

I guess we were supposed to sit with our houses. I was glad I wound up sitting at the Gryffindor table.

Everyone was quiet during the sorting ceremony. I watched, but to be honest, I was kind of eager to just go to bed. I just wanted to be alone.

Jessie was one of the first kids to be sorted and she was sorted into Ravenclaw. She grinned as she ran towards the Ravenclaw table. I smiled as she sat down amongst the other Ravenclaws.

My attention wandered after that until I heard Timothy's name announced. I watched as he was sorted into Slytherin. I wondered if he and Jessie would ever really become friends, now that they were officially in other houses.

The Gryffindor table clapped loudly for every new Gryffindor, but two of the last students sorted got the loudest applause of all. They were two red-heads named Fred and Heather Weasley. I didn't know if they were brother and sister or cousins. I think they were related to the red-head and blonde girls I shared a carriage with, though. The two of them were roaring with excitement when Fred and Heather were sorted. There were a few other red-heads who stood up and roared along with them. I guessed they were all related somehow. They must have a huge family.

Professor Kendrick stood up once the sorting was finished. "I have a few announcements, but as usual, they can wait until after dinner." He waved his wand and huge amounts of food appeared on all the tables.

I served myself some chicken, potatoes, and carrots and began to pick at it. Everyone around me began talking again and I tried to remain inconspicuous. I had been hoping to just blend in with everyone else. I happened to be sitting near a few of the new Gryffindor first years, so nobody really paid much attention to me.

Desserts appeared once people stopped eating dinner. I wasn't that hungry, so I just waited for Kendrick to make the announcements he said he was going to make.

After what seemed like forever, the dessert vanished and the golden plates returned to their clean state. I looked up at the staff table and saw Kendrick rise to his feet.

"I hope everyone is feeling a bit better now that we've eaten," Kendrick smiled, "Please be aware that the Forbidden Forest is out of bounds, hence its name. Please stay away from the Whomping Willow as well."

I could feel my cheeks reddening at the name 'Whomping Willow'. I was probably the only student in the room who knew what that tree concealed.

"If you wish to try out for your house Quidditch team, please give your name to your head of house," Kendrick continued.

That wasn't something I'd be doing, I thought. Come to think of it, I didn't even know who my head of house was. I guess I'd figure it out soon enough.

"I suggest you all turn in early, as classes start tomorrow," Kendrick said, "Prefects, please lead the first years up to your common rooms. Everyone have a good night."

Common room. It would help if I knew where the Gryffindor common room was. I sighed and got up from the table. I decided to just follow the first years at a distance.

I couldn't help but gaze around as I followed the group of chattering first years to the common room. The walls were adorned with all sorts of portraits. There was hardly any wall space left. Every few feet there was a statue or suit of armor.

We walked up flight after flight of stairs (which like to move, I soon discovered) until I didn't think we could get any higher. It was taking forever. The castle was even larger on the inside than it looked on the outside.

The group of first years finally stopped in front of a portrait of a very large woman.

"This is the Fat Lady," one of the Prefects announced, "The password is 'Niffler'."

The portrait swung open and I followed everyone into the common room. I stopped as soon as I got in. The room was round and decorated almost exclusively in scarlet and gold. Various arm chairs, couches, tables, and chairs were scattered about the room. A fire was crackling in the large fireplace. Two doors were side by side in the back of the room. Every few seconds, someone would go through one of them.

"Dormitories are through the doors," the prefect said, "Girls to the right, boys to the left."

I swallowed and walked slowly towards the doors. This was it. Time to meet my new roommate. I hoped the doors were labeled, since nobody had shown me where my new dormitory was.

The door to the girls' dormitories revealed a spiral staircase that I followed to the top. At the top of the staircase were seven doors. Only seven. How many roommates was I going to have?

I walked down the short corridor until I reached the door labeled 'Fourth Years'. That must be it, I thought. I took a deep breath and entered the room.


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PostPosted: Saturday 16 May 2009 1:50:17am 
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great chapter


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PostPosted: Sunday 17 May 2009 8:05:25pm 
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Thanks hprocks!

Chapter 47: First Day

Five girls were already inside. Three of them were hanging up posters and giggling with each other. The other two were whispering with each other on one of the beds. I stepped inside and a floorboard creaked beneath my feet. All five girls looked up at me.

"This would explain the sixth bed," a tall, skinny girl with waist-length dark brown hair said as she jumped off the bed she was standing on.

"So, you're new here?" one of the other giggling girls, with short black hair, said.

I nodded and walked over to the bed that had my trunk at the foot of it. I pulled back the curtains and sat down, not sure what to do. The other girls just stared at me. None of them went back to their conversations.

"I'm Seren Frazier," the tall girl announced as she walked towards me.

"Samantha Meyers," the girl with the short black hair said.

"Yeah, and don't call her Sam or Sammy," Seren laughed, "Or she'll kill you."

"Naw," Samantha smirked, "I'll just hex you."

"Alyssa Brown," the third giggling girl hopped off her bed and walked over to me with her curly light brown hair bouncing behind her.

"Victoire Weasley," one of the whispering girls, who had very long blonde hair and looked a lot like the blonde girl I shared a carriage with, smiled from her bed.

Weasley, I thought. She must be related to the two first years who practically got a standing ovation when they were sorted.

"Monica Kramer," the other whispering girl said. She had very curly dark brown hair and wore glasses.

I nodded. Six people in one dormitory. I seriously hoped none of them snored or I would never get to sleep.

"What's your name?" Seren asked.

"Amy Eckerton," I muttered.

"Why did you move here?" Samantha sat down on the bed next to mine and looked at me curiously, "I've never heard of anyone transferring schools for their fourth year."

"Yeah, and where did you live before?" Alyssa asked.

"When did you get sorted?" Monica asked.

I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. Everyone was looking at me curiously. This was what I wasn't looking forward to. The demanding questions, curious stares. It was giving me a headache and I knew I'd have to do it all again tomorrow.

"I moved here from Australia," I answered, "My dad changed jobs. I was sorted over the summer."

I had decided earlier that I wouldn't tell anyone Dad got fired. That would raise more questions. People would ask why he was fired.

"Australia?" Seren looked impressed, "Wow, you came a long ways."

"What job does your dad have?" Samantha asked.

"He works in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry," I replied.

"My dad works for the Ministry, too," Samantha said, "Muggle-Worthy Excuse Department."

"So, what do you know about Hogwarts?" Alyssa asked, "We'll tell you all about the professors."

"Yeah," Seren agreed, "You'll want to stay away from Washburn. He hates Gryffindors, but nobody knows why."

"Slughorn's nice, but don't get into his Slug Club," Alyssa shook her head, "Bloody hell, I'll never go to one of those again."

"They're not that bad," Victoire said.

"Well, you actually like Potions," Alyssa laughed.

"But I'm horrible at it," Victoire sighed.

"No, you're not," Monica groaned, "You've got the best grade out of all of us."

"So, do you play Quidditch?" Samantha asked eagerly.

"No," I shook my head, "I hate flying."

Samantha looked taken aback. "Oh, well, that's too bad. I'm a Chaser for Gryffindor."

"What do you like?" Seren asked.

"Er, Astronomy. And Potions," I said quietly.

"Those are my two least favorite classes," Alyssa laughed, "Well, those and History of Magic."

"Do you at least follow professional Quidditch?" Samantha asked, "What's your favorite team?"

"Australia, I guess," I said, "Look, I think I just want to go to bed."

The constant questions were driving me mad. I was already deprived of sleep and that wasn't helping my mood. I located my pajamas and headed into the bathroom. When I returned, the other girls had gone back to what they were doing before I entered the room. Seren and Samantha looked up at me as I walked back to my bed, but nobody said anything, which I was grateful for.

I climbed into my new bed and buried myself under the covers. I stared up at the scarlet colored ceiling and listened to the quiet voices of my new roommates. Despite the tight quarters, I felt more alone than ever before.

Eventually the chattering and giggling stopped and I heard beds creaking. Someone turned out the light. I turned over and stared at the bed hangings until my eyes adjusted to the dark.

There was a small amount of moonlight streaming in through the window next to my bed and it shown through the curtains around my bed. The moon was the one constant thing in my life. No matter where I was, the moon always shown through my bedroom window. My house in Australia, my dormitory in Australia, my room at Richard and Cinda's, Uncle Jack's house, my house in England, and now Hogwarts.

Despite my fatigue, I couldn't get to sleep. I kept thinking about classes the next day and I couldn't clear my mind. Then, somebody started snoring. I had no way of telling who it was, but it was so loud that even putting my pillow over my ears didn't help. I needed a muffling charm. I'd have to look one up in the library the next day. If I could find the library, that is.

I groaned and sat up in bed. This was hopeless. I'd never get to sleep in my dormitory. I quietly slipped out of bed and out the door.

The common room was cold and empty when I got there. It had already been cleaned, too. It must have been really late. I curled up on one of the scarlet couches and closed my eyes. The room was so quiet, just how I liked. Somehow it made me feel even more lonely, though. I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter and felt tears streaming down my cheeks.

******

"Hey, Aussie Eckerton," someone said.

I snapped my eyes open and quickly closed them again as I was blinded by sunlight. I sat up slowly and rubbed my eyes.

Ted Lupin was standing next to the couch smirking to himself. There was another bloke next to him. He was a bit taller than Ted, with shaggy brown hair that my mum would say needed to be cut. Both of them were in their school robes and had bags over their shoulders.

"Er, hi," I muttered.

"Why are you sleeping down here?" Ted asked with an amused look on his face.

"Um, couldn't sleep," I replied.

"Oh, this is Landon Comer," Ted gestured to the other boy.

"Nice to meet you," I said as I got up from the couch.

"You too," Landon replied, "But since I'm a Prefect, I have to let you know that technically you're not supposed to sleep in the common room. Since you're new, I'll let it slide this once."

"Thanks," I blushed. Figures, I broke a rule my first night there.

"Classes start in fifteen minutes, Aussie," Ted told me.

I groaned inwardly and muttered goodbye to Ted and Landon. I ran back up the stairs and to my dormitory. None of the other girls were there, but that didn't surprise me. I threw on robes and crammed all of my books into my bag. I then realized I had no idea which classes I had that day.

I groaned out loud and ran back to the common room, hoping that Ted or Landon would still be there. They were just leaving as I entered.

"Ted!" I shouted.

Ted looked back at me. "What is it?"

"Um, how do I know where my classes are?" I asked as my cheeks reddened again.

"Longbottom, he's our head of house, has the schedules in the Great Hall. You'd better hurry, though."

"Thanks," I muttered as I rushed past them and out into the hallway.

I didn't really remember how to get to the Great Hall, but since it was on the first floor and Gryffindor Tower was on the top, I figured I should just run down all the flights of stairs I found. This method worked and I was soon in the deserted Great Hall.

A few of the professors were still milling about, but I had no idea which one was Longbottom. I grabbed a piece of toast from the Gryffindor table and hoped that someone would see me there and give me a schedule.

A man with blonde hair shaping his round face walked over to me. I hoped he was Longbottom.

"Hello. I'm Professor Longbottom. You must be Amy?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," I replied.

"Welcome to Gryffindor," he smiled, "I'm your head of house and I teach Herbology. Here's your schedule."

"Thanks," I said as I took the piece of parchment he handed me.

"Well, I've got to get to class and you should, too. I'll see you soon," he said and then left the room.

I shoved the rest of the toast into my mouth and glanced down at my new schedule. Potions was first, in the dungeons. Well, that was pretty straight forward. Dungeons were obviously underground, so all I had to do was find another set of stairs.

I left the empty Great Hall and looked around for another staircase. I found a door that was labeled 'dungeons' and wrenched it open. I followed a dank staircase into an even danker stone corridor. Looked like dungeons to me.

I ran down the corridor until I found the classroom. The door was shut. Great, I thought, the class had already started. I opened the door as quietly as I could, but I knew there would be no way to slip in unnoticed.

"The directions are on the board-" the professor said and then turned to the door.

He was a short, round man with no hair on his head and a very prominent grey mustache.

"Are you Amy Eckerton?" he asked.

I nodded, but didn't move from the doorway. The entire class was staring at me. From the looks of it, the class consisted of Gryffindors and Slytherins. To my dismay, I recognized Quinton Willinson. He was sitting in the front row and for some odd reason was smiling wryly at me.

"Well, my name is Professor Slughorn and I will forgive your tardiness as this is your first day."

The whole class erupted in whispers at 'first day'.

"You can take a seat next to Mr. Willinson," Slughorn gestured to the vacant seat in the front row, "He can inform you about today's potion."

I nodded and reluctantly walked over to Willinson's table. Why did that have to be the only empty place in the room? I made a mental note to get to Potions earlier the next time. I really didn't want my favorite class spoiled by a creepy bloke.

"We're brewing Wit-Sharpening Potion," Willinson announced, "It's a very advanced potion for fourth years, not usually learned until later in the year, but Slughorn likes to give challenges on the first day. We're having a contest. Whoever brews the best potion gets chocolate. I usually win all the contests since I'm the best brewer in the fourth year."

I raised my eyebrow at him. He was even more arrogant than I had originally thought. I didn't think so much arrogance could be put in one sentence, but apparently it could. He was in for a surprise, though. I had taught myself how to brew Wit-Sharpening Potion months ago.

I set my cauldron down on the table and lit a fire underneath it. I avoided Willinson's gaze as I got up and joined the queue of students at what I assumed was the storage closet.

Willinson followed me and collected his own ingredients. I returned to the table and began to prepare mine.

"How do you like Gryffindor?" Willinson asked.

"It's fine," I muttered as I tossed a few beetles into my cauldron and raised the flame.

"You'd be happier in Slytherin," he drawled.

"I doubt that," I told him.

"You should chop those lacewing flies into smaller pieces," Willinson announced and pointed to his own, "Like mine."

I glared at him. "Mine are perfectly fine," I said shortly.

"Just thought you'd like some advice from a master potions brewer," he shrugged, "Australia might be behind Hogwarts in terms of potion brewing."

"No fourth year could be considered a 'master potions brewer,'" I smirked, "And Australia is not behind Hogwarts in potion brewing."

I stirred my lacewing flies into my cauldron and the potion turned the appropriate emerald green color. I glanced at Willinson's cauldron and saw that his potion was more of a forest green. I smirked and began to mince my anise.

"Ah, wonderful, Miss Eckerton!" Slughorn grinned as he peered into my cauldron, "Your potion is the exact shade of green it should be at this point. You might want to take note of what Miss Eckerton is doing, Mr. Willinson."

I grinned and turned to Willinson, who was turning a purplish color. He hastily added another few lacewing flies in an attempt to change the color, but his potion turned slightly yellow instead of emerald green.

"Looks like another for the Slug Club," I heard someone whisper from behind me.

If the Slug Club meant I was the best potion brewer in the class, I was fine with it.

"Told you my lacewing flies were the appropriate size," I told Willinson.

"But, but-" he stuttered, "Fine, your lacewing flies are the right size. But your anise is too finely chopped."

"It is not," I groaned, "And I prefer not to talk while I brew."

I ignored him from that moment on. I could feel his eyes on me, but figured he'd stop talking if I stopped responding.

Slughorn walked around the room and looked at everyone's potion near the end of the double period. Willinson was looking very smug as he stood next to his potion, but I personally thought his potion was too thick.

"Quinton, m'boy," Slughorn grinned and then peered into the cauldron, "Very nice. A bit too heavy on the anise. Put less in and your potion won't be so thick. It needs to be a tad thinner."

I smirked as Slughorn moved onto my own potion.

"Amy from Australia," Slughorn said as he looked in my cauldron, "Well, it seems that they do know their potions in the land down under! Excellent work. I believe you have won the chocolate."

Slughorn produced a very large bar of chocolate and gave it to me. I said thank you and pocketed it. So far, potions was a great class at Hogwarts. I got to brew and I got chocolate for it.

"So, you think you're better at Potions than me?" Willinson said as we left the room after cleaning up.

"I never said that," I snapped. He was really getting on my nerves. "I learned how to brew that potion months ago, if you must know."

"Don't bother," Victoire Weasley appeared next to me, "He's not worth arguing with."

"Victoire!" Willinson grinned, "Will you go to Hogsmeade with me this year?"

"Not a chance, Willinson," Victoire growled, "And give up already, I'm never going to."

Victoire sped up and walked ahead of us with Monica. I tried to get away from Willinson, but he kept following me. Why was it that the only person in the entire school who seemed to want to be friends with me was mental?

"What else do you know how to brew?" Willinson asked as we climbed the stairs to the Entrance Hall.

I rattled off a few potions that I had brewed recently. Quite a few of them were ones in the fourth year curriculum at Hogwarts.

"Oh, er, I can brew all of those as well," Willinson stuttered.

I kind of doubted that, but nodded anyway. "Well, that's good."

I managed to shake him when we got to the Great Hall and I went to the Gryffindor table and he went to the Slytherin table. I ate a quiet lunch and then glanced at my schedule and saw that I had History of Magic next.

I waited until I saw Seren, Samantha, and Alyssa get up from the table to get up myself. I had no idea where the History of Magic classroom was, so I figured it would be a good idea to just follow them.

I walked a few feet behind them and they didn't notice me. I sat down at one of the tables in the back and pulled out a roll of parchment, ink, and a quill. The classroom filled up quickly and two Gryffindor boys I didn't know sat down at my table. It looked like we shared that class with the Ravenclaws.

The two boys at my table were goofing around with each other and weren't acting like they were ready to sit through a class. I edged away and tried to keep a healthy distance in between them and myself.

A few moments later, a ghost floated through the blackboard. I gaped and nearly fell out of my chair. I looked around the room, but nobody else seemed at all surprised by this. The two boys at my table stopped messing around. I picked up my quill and continued to gawk at the well, ghostly, professor. All the professors at the Australian School of Sorcery were alive. I had never heard of a ghost professor before.

"This year we'll be moving onto modern history of magic in Britain," the professor said in a very monotone voice, "We'll start with the late nineteenth century. At this time, witches and wizards all over Britain were dealing with the beginnings of what is now known as the Gringotts Strike of 1892...."

I scrambled to write down everything he said. He didn't waver at all in the tone of his voice and he spoke at the same constant rate. He didn't pause at all for people to take notes, or even to breathe. Of course, he didn't really need to pause for breath. Nor did he write any of the notes on the board, but he probably couldn't pick up the chalk.

This was one of the classes I had been worried about. I knew absolutely nothing about British history of magic. Everyone else in the room had grown up in England and probably heard about this stuff before. I hadn't.

My hand was hurting before the class was even half over. I had already written a quarter of a roll of parchment, and the teacher had yet to take a break. I knew I was missing information and I probably wouldn't even be able to read my notes.

I shook out my hand and glanced around the room. Hardly anyone else was taking notes. A few Ravenclaws were, but none of the Gryffindors were. A few were whispering to each other and passing notes. A quarter of the class had their heads down on their tables.

"For three years, half the goblins at Gringotts refused to let people access their vaults resulting in a depression like state for hundreds of witches and wizards..." the ghost droned on.

I looked at the clock and groaned. The class was only half over. The teacher's voice was so monotone that I wasn't surprised people were falling asleep. I could feel my own eyes beginning to droop.

A half hour later I shoved my illegible notes into my bag and left the room as fast as I could. I knew it already. I was going to fail History of Magic. I bit my lip and sped up. It was hopeless. Potions had been the exception. It was the only class at Hogwarts I would do all right in. Everything else I was bound to be behind in, especially History of Magic.

How was I supposed to pass that class when I couldn't even take decent notes? How did everyone else manage it? Nobody took notes. Nobody even paid attention.

I pulled out my schedule again and saw that I had Herbology next. The last thing I felt like doing was finding the greenhouses and sitting through another class.

I walked down flights of stairs until I finally got to the Entrance Hall. I left the castle and gazed about the grounds. I hadn't seen them in the daylight in months. I saw a few buildings that looked like greenhouses in the distance and started down a path I hoped would lead to them.

I breathed a sigh of relief as they came into sight. Professor Longbottom was standing in front of the greenhouse on the right and waved to me.

"Hello, Amy," he smiled, "How's the first day going?"

I shrugged. "As expected."

"Well, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask," he said, "You can go on inside and find a seat."

I nodded and walked into the greenhouse. It didn't look that different than the ones in Australia, although some of the plants were different. Of course, I thought, Britain probably had different magical plants. More stuff I'd be clueless about.

There were a few other students in the greenhouse. I found an empty seat and slumped down in it. The greenhouse slowly filled up and a short Hufflepuff sat down next to me. Her hair was dirty blonde with purple streaks in it. She had put a few small ponytails throughout it and it was kind of messy. Her robes were askew and they revealed a tie-dye t-shirt underneath.

"Hi!" she grinned at me, "I've never seen you before."

"Hi," I replied, "Erm, I just moved here."

"Really?" her eyes widened as she bounced in her seat, "That's brilliant! You'll love it here. Where did you move from?"

"Australia," I told her. She was possibly the most hyper person I had met at Hogwarts so far.

"I've always wanted to go there," she sighed, "Oh, I'm being rude. I'm Laney Hall."

"Amy Eckerton," I replied.

"Do you want to be my partner in class?" Laney asked excitedly, "We usually work in groups of two in Herbology, only there's an odd number of us so I usually work in a group of three. But since you're here now, there's an even number so you can work with me. Won't that be fun?"

I nodded, although I wasn't sure about the 'fun' part. Laney ignored my lack of enthusiasm and began to rattle off a bunch of information about Hogwarts that I only partially paid attention to. Longbottom walked in a few minutes later and she shut up.

By the end of the class I was feeling very happy that I had not wound up in Hufflepuff. Laney Hall was the most excitable person I had ever met and working with her for an hour was making me want to scream. She chattered on and on about anything and everything as we transplanted Flibbery Flowers from small single pots to large ones that housed five of the colorful flowers.

Laney followed me back to the castle and continued talking about the importance of showing house spirit at Quidditch matches. I just nodded every once and a while, but didn't pay much attention. That's what I did the entire class as well. I breathed a sigh of relief when she bade me goodbye to go to the Hufflepuff common room while I continued up the stairs to Gryffindor tower.


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PostPosted: Sunday 17 May 2009 11:57:08pm 
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poor amy on the snoring deal :)


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PostPosted: Thursday 28 May 2009 9:59:36pm 
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Thanks hprocks! Yeah, I can't sleep when people snore either.

Chapter 48: Strange Acquaintances

After dinner I returned to my dormitory and pulled the curtains around my bed. All of my roommates were in the common room, but I didn't feel like talking to them if they came up to the dormitory. I wanted to be alone.

I pulled out a roll of parchment and leaned up against my headboard. I found a quill and thought about what I should tell my family about my first day.

Dear Mum, Dad, Matt, and Ellie,

I just finished my first day and it was
kind of insane. It started off bad and
just went down hill.

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I went
down to the common room. I fell asleep
down there, but woke up late. A boy named
Ted Lupin (who has blue hair) woke me up
along with a prefect named Landon Comer.
He told me I can't sleep in the common room.

I was late to my first class, Potions. The
professor didn't mind, though. He seems
nice. He had a brewing contest for the first
day's lesson, which I won. The bloke I was
working next to was not happy. Apparently he
thinks he's the best potion brewer in the
school.

After lunch I had History of Magic, which I am
very behind in. The professor is a ghost and
he's so boring! Half the class was asleep! I
couldn't even take decent notes.

I had Herbology after that and I had to work with
a girl who is possibly the most hyper person in
the entire world. She was practically bouncing
up and down in her seat as she told me about
Hogwarts.

I'm just glad the day is over. It feels like it's
dragged on forever. I can't say that I like it
here. All my roommates are nice, but they all have
friends. Everyone already has friends. The only
person I've met who pays any attention to me and I
actually like is Ted Lupin.

I miss you guys. Write soon.

Love,
Amy

I shoved the letter into an envelope and then wrote similar ones to Olivia and Kenzie. Well, Kenzie's was pretty different since I had to make it sound like I was at a Muggle school.

I left the dormitory and squeezed my way through the crowded common room. All I had to do was find the owlery.

The corridor was much emptier than the common room. I set off for the owlery and only saw a few people on my way there. It took me a while to find it, but I didn't really mind since I had nothing better to do. It was kind of nice to walk the deserted corridors alone.

Once I'd mailed my letters, I returned to the dormitory and spent the remainder of the evening reading my History of Magic book. It only seemed to cover what we were going to learn in class, though. I needed to read about the history that the professor had been teaching the past three years. I'd have to go to the library for that.

I had the curtains pulled shut around my bed before my roommates came in for the night. I huddled under my blankets and listened to their whispered conversations as I tried to go to sleep. Hearing their late night conversations made me miss Olivia even more. I remembered all the nights we stayed up giggling with each other.

I had another very restless night of sleep. Someone was snoring again and I hadn't been able to research a good muffling charm yet. I wanted more than anything to just go sleep in the common room again, but I couldn't risk waking up late and getting yelled at by Landon Comer. I doubted he'd let me off a second time.

Despite the fact that I stayed in my dormitory, I still woke up late. I rushed to the Great Hall and grabbed a couple pieces of toast before attempting to find the Charms classroom. The worst thing about waking up late was that I couldn't follow any of my fellow classmates to the room.

I practically ran all over the entire castle before I finally found the correct room. The worst part was that I walked into a class of seventh years thinking it was the Charms classroom. It was actually the Arithmancy classroom. The professor told me where the Charms room was, but it was incredibly embarrassing.

The Charms professor was a short man with thinning black hair and very bushy eyebrows. He turned away from the class when I walked in five minutes late. He glared at me with such menace that I was taken aback.

"Who are you?" he barked.

"Erm, Amy Eckerton," I muttered, wanting nothing more than to run from the room and skip Charms all together.

"Oh, you're that new girl, right?" the professor glanced at his desk and then looked back at me. "Another Gryffindor. Brilliant," he said flatly, "Sit down. And five points from Gryffindor for being late."

I nodded, knowing not to argue with him. Perfect, I had managed to lose points on my second day at Hogwarts. The only seat left was in the front row. I groaned inwardly and sat down in it.

The professor, whose name I soon learned was Washburn, only got worse as the class progressed. He docked points for every little thing, including staring off into space and not addressing him as 'sir'. I no longer felt as bad about losing five points for being late. Gryffindor had lost nearly thirty points by the time the class was over. We shared that class with the Hufflepuffs and they had lost about twenty-five.

I was the first one out the door when the bell finally rang. I walked with the rest of the Gryffindors (who were all complaining loudly about Washburn) to our next class, which was Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Defense has never been my strong suit. I'm rubbish at dueling and if I was ever in a fight, it would be better for me to just run than try and hex my attacker. I only hoped that Defense wasn't harder at Hogwarts than in Australia.

Much to my dismay, Defense class was with the Slytherins. I didn't mind Slytherins in general. Most of them didn't seem nearly as bad as they were made out to be, but Quinton Willinson drove me mad. I purposely chose a seat as far away from him as possible, even though it meant sitting in the front row.

A tall middle-aged man with rectangular shaped glasses walked in a few moments later. I was very happy to see that he was smiling. I could use with a nice teacher after having to sit through Washburn's class.

"Hello, everyone," he greeted the class, "I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. I'll just run through the attendance.

"All here," he said once he finished calling everyone's names. He had paused briefly on my name, but didn't say anything, "Now, as you all surely remember, last year's curriculum focused on dark creatures."

Last year's curriculum was dark creatures? In Australia, they teach about dark creatures in fourth year. Another thing for me to be behind on. I knew what I'd be doing this weekend. Catching up. At least I already knew a fair bit about dark creatures because of Dad's job, but there was probably some stuff I still needed to learn.

"I think it would be a good idea to review what you learned last year, so I have come up with a class project. I am going to split you up into five groups of four and each group will be assigned a creature we learned about last year. You will prepare a presentation and teach the class about your creature," the professor explained, "You will have today to prepare and the presentations will be on Thursday and next Tuesday if need be.

"I've already chosen the groups and I will not switch them, so don't bother asking. I've chosen the more advanced creatures we learned about towards the end of the year. How you choose to teach is up to you. You may use visual aids and hand-outs, if you like.

"The creatures I've chosen are the chimaera, lethifold, manticore, vampire, and werewolf."

I had been writing the instructions on a piece of parchment, but my head snapped up at the word 'werewolf'. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing that I missed the main instruction about werewolves. I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut if the professor had mentioned anything bad about them. Of course, now I was going to have to listen to my classmates talk about them.

The professor began to read off the names of the groups, which resulted in a lot of groaning from the class.

"The following people will be in the werewolf group. Charisse Kebby, Monica Kramer, Quinton Willinson, and Amy Eckerton."

I stared at the professor. It hadn't even occurred to me that I could be in the werewolf group. The possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. Well, I did know more about werewolves than the other creatures, but it was still going to be very strange. I hoped my group members weren't people who disliked werewolves.

It was just my luck that Quinton Willinson was in my group. Now I was going to have to cooperate with him. But if he said anything that was anti-werewolf, I wouldn't hesitate to yell at him for it.

After the professor finished announcing the groups, everyone got up and sat with their group members. I got up and found Monica, who was sitting in the back. Quinton Willinson was near her and moved to the seat next to mine as soon as I sat down. A bored looking Slytherin girl slid into the chair next to Monica.

"Are you new here or something?" the girl, who I presumed was Charisse Kebby, asked, "I don't think I've seen you before."

"Very observant, Kebby," Monica rolled her eyes, "She moved here over the summer."

"From Australia," Willinson added.

That was odd. I didn't have to say a thing. Everyone else was telling my story for me. I wasn't sure if I liked that or not.

"Now can we just get on with it?" Monica asked impatiently as she pulled out a roll of parchment.

"Fine," Charisse muttered, "But you don't need to be so bossy."

"I don't know about you, but I want a decent grade," Monica replied icily, "So can we cut the small talk and get started?"

Bossy was certainly a good way of describing Monica. I got the feeling that she and Charisse hadn't gotten along very well in the past.

"Werewolves," Monica went on, "Do you two remember anything about them? And Amy, do you know anything about them?"

Did I know anything about werewolves? I could do the entire project myself and it would probably take less time than working together.

"Yeah," I nodded. Willinson and Charisse nodded as well.

"Good," Monica said, "Let's see, werewolves are classified as dangerous beasts by the Ministry of Magic because they pose a serious threat to witches and wizards. They thrive on biting people on every full moon in order to create more werewolves-"

"Wait, what?" I interrupted. I stared at her. Was that what the professor had taught them last year? What a load of dung. "Is that seriously what this professor taught you lot last year?"

"Well, not really," Monica replied, "But I've done a lot of research outside of class. Professor Torro doesn't really agree with all of the books I've read, though."

"What you've read is a load of dung," I said flatly.

Monica gaped at me. "Oh, really? Loads of books have been written about werewolves and a lot of them stress how dangerous werewolves are to wizards because they want to bite as many wizards as possible. Plenty of authors have written about how there needs to be tight restrictions on werewolves."

I let out a loud sigh. I was absolutely disgusted. This girl was like a miniature version of Professor Killigan. "Again, that's completely untrue. Werewolves are just wizards who happen to have a disease that turns them into a raging wolf once a month. It's a disease, just like any other disease."

Monica laughed. "A disease? Is that what they taught you down there? Maybe Australia is chummy with werewolves, but that's not how it works in Britain."

I had to try hard to stifle my laugh at that one. The irony of it! Australia being 'chummy' with werewolves? "Werewolves are treated worse than animals in Australia," I glared at her, "And that's not what they taught us. I've done my own research as well."

"So you think you're the resident werewolf expert?" Monica snapped.

I groaned. I was going to have to be careful or I'd spill Matt's secret before he even entered Hogwarts. "I never said that. All I'm saying is that werewolves aren't as bad as books make them out to be."

"How would you know?" Monica demanded.

"I just do!" I shouted.

"Will you two stop?" Charisse rolled her eyes, "I thought you wanted to do the project, Kramer, and here you are wasting time arguing with the new girl."

"Well, I would do the project except the new girl is arguing with everything I say!"

"Because what you're saying isn't true!" I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. This girl was mental.

"Look, let's just get the project done," Charisse said, "Can't you just compromise? I mean, come on, Kramer. Werewolves are only dangerous on the full moon."

"And isn't there a potion that makes them not dangerous on full moons?" Willinson asked.

"Wolfsbane," I said immediately.

"Right," Willinson said, "So if they take that, they're not as dangerous."

"Wolfsbane causes the person to no longer be dangerous to themselves or others," I explained, "But they still turn into a wolf. They're just a calm, not dangerous wolf."

"But they're still a werewolf!" Monica insisted, "And werewolves are dangerous! I am not going to do a presentation where we talk about how safe werewolves are!"

"And I am not going to do one where all we talk about is how dangerous they are, because they aren't," I folded my arms across my chest.

"Let's vote then," Monica glared at me, "Whoever agrees with me, raise your hand."

Not a single hand went into the air. I smirked at Monica. "Ha. We're doing one about how werewolves are not raging lunatics."

"Then I'm talking to Professor Torro," Monica huffed.

"He won't listen," Charisse said, "He won't switch your group."

"Then I'm doing a separate one," Monica replied.

"Who cares," Charisse muttered.

We spent the rest of the hour working on our project without Monica. I was surprised at how open Charisse and Willinson were to hearing what I had to say. Even Willinson was bearable, which truly shocked me. Both of them actually agreed that I should be the one to do most of the presenting on Thursday, which I was sort of nervous about. I was mostly nervous about what Monica was going to do. She was still in our group even though she refused to work with us, so she'd be presenting something at the same time we would be.

******

"It's just she comes in here thinking she knows everything!" someone said as they stomped loudly into the dormitory.

I had just returned from dinner and was looking through my Charms book for a good muffling charm. I was sitting on my bed with the curtains drawn. Judging by the loud obnoxious voice, Monica had just entered the room. I held my breath and listened to her rant, because I figured it was about me.

"She doesn't seem that bad," someone else with quieter footsteps said. She sounded like Victoire.

"She just totally took over my group!" Monica shouted, "Even Willinson agreed with her!"

"Willinson is a squirmy git and he's going to side with whoever he likes better," Victoire said, "I think he fancies Amy."

I shuddered at the very idea of that. Willinson did not like me that way. He was an irritating git who just happened to side with me instead of Monica.

"He fancies you, Victoire," Monica laughed.

"He can fancy me all he likes, but I'm not going out with the git," Victoire muttered.

"Back to the new girl," Monica groaned, "She just kept preaching to us about how lycanthropy is a disease. I mean, come on!"

"You know what I think about that, Mon," Victoire said in a warning tone, "I think we agreed to disagree about it. You're not going to convince me that werewolves are evil. I'm the wrong person to convince of that. You know about Teddy's dad. Hell, you know about my own dad!"

What did Victoire mean by that? My heart sped up and I strained my ears to hear Monica's response.

"Your dad is not a werewolf, Victoire," Monica sighed, "I have nothing against your dad."

"And what about Teddy's dad?" Victoire asked.

Was Teddy's dad a werewolf? Victoire was certainly hinting at that. Why else would Monica have anything against him?

"Teddy's dad is dead," Monica stated.

"I know that!" Victoire groaned, "But what if he wasn't?"

"Then I could be friends with Teddy without liking his dad," Monica muttered.

Ted's dad was a werewolf. He had to be. I leaned back against my headboard and stared at the curtains. Ted's dad, even though he was dead, had been a werewolf. Ted might actually understand my situation. He wouldn't run screaming if I told him about Matt. But I couldn't. I shook the thought from my head. There was no way I could tell anyone, even if that person's own father had been a werewolf.

Poor Ted, though. I wondered how his dad had died. Had it happened during a transformation? I couldn't imagine going through something like that. Well, I had come close twice, but Matt hadn't actually died.

"Look, I don't want to get into this again," Victoire sighed, "We agreed to disagree last year and I don't want to row about it again."

"I don't either," Monica said quietly, "But that new girl just drives me mad. She got both Willinson and Kebby to work with her instead of me."

"Well, Kebby's always hated you," Victoire pointed out, "But how are you going to do your presentation while they do theirs?"

"You'll find out," Monica said.

"Oh, Merlin," Victoire muttered.

"What?" Monica asked, "It won't be that bad."

"No, not that," Victoire sighed, "Amy's curtains are shut. She's always hanging out in here. I bet she's in there and heard everything you just said."

"I don't care," Monica said and I heard a bed creak.

I held my breath as I heard her footsteps coming over to my bed. The curtains were yanked open and I saw Monica smirking down at me. Victoire was a few feet behind her, looking a bit nervous.

"I'm sorry," Victoire said, "We didn't know you were here."

"I'm not sorry," Monica huffed.

"Good. I wouldn't accept your apology anyway," I glared at her, "And just to let you know, you drive me mad as well."

Monica shot me a dirty look and then stomped away from the bed. Victoire watched her leave and then looked back at me.

"Was Ted's dad a werewolf?" I asked quietly.

"Yes," Victoire told me, "But Ted isn't."

I nodded, even though I kind of figured that. Kendrick said there had only been one werewolf at Hogwarts and that was decades ago.

"Erm, how did he die?" I asked. I had to know if it was from a transformation. I knew there was always the possibility of a werewolf dying during a transformation, but I had only heard of it happening once or twice.

"He was killed in the Final Battle," Victoire told me, "Teddy was only a few months old."

"Final Battle?" I asked curiously. I hadn't ever heard of that before. I had to admit that I was kind of relieved he hadn't died during a transformation.

"You've never heard of the Final Battle?" Victoire looked shocked, "The war against Voldemort? Harry Potter?"

Voldemort and Harry Potter sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't remember where I'd heard them before. I shook my head. "Nope."

"Victoire!" Monica shouted from the doorway, "I thought you were going to help me with my Potions homework! Come on!"

"I'll be right there!" Victoire shouted back and then turned to me, "Go to the library and get the book called 'The Rise and Fall of Lord Voldemort' by Minerva McGonagall. Look for the name Remus Lupin. That's Teddy's dad."

I nodded and Victoire turned and ran out of the room. I sat there completely still for a few minutes. In the span of two days I had already figured out who the other werewolf who had attended Hogwarts was, and I knew his son.

Not only that, but I already had one girl who hated me and I hated her. Then there was Laney Hall, who for some odd reason liked to talk to me constantly. Throw in Quinton Willinson and I had strange acquaintances at Hogwarts. But I hadn't made a single real friend yet.

******

I was extremely nervous by the time Defense class arrived on Thursday. I still had no idea what Monica was planning on doing, but she looked very smug when I walked into class, so I took that as a bad sign.

I barely paid attention during the presentations on vampires, manticores, and lethifolds that were before mine. From what I did get, there was nothing presented that I didn't already know.

"Now we will have the werewolf presentation by Amy Eckerton, Charisse Kebby, Monica Kramer, and Quinton Willinson," Torro announced after the lethifold group sat down.

I swallowed hard and wiped my sweaty palms on my robes as I stood up. I grabbed my notes and walked up to the front of the room. Willinson and Charisse stood on either side of me but Monica stood a few meters away.

"Um, hi," I began, "We're going to talk to you about lycanthropy. Werewolves are often portrayed as monsters, but in reality, they are just like us twenty-seven days out of twenty-eight-"

"But that one day, they are raging monsters who would turn on their best friend," Monica interrupted.

I stared at her and then shuffled through my notes. What was she doing? "Yes, that is true," I went on, "But they have no control over it. Most werewolves would choose not to transform if given the choice."

"But they're not given the choice," Monica said, "So whether they'd choose to or not is not relevant."

"Yes, it is," I said a little louder, "It proves that they are not monsters, but victims of a crippling disease. If they truly were monsters, they would enjoy attacking people."

"If they weren't monsters, we wouldn't study them in this class," Monica smirked. A few people giggled.

Suddenly it hit me. She was going to refute every single thing I said. Two people could play at that game, I thought. We could debate if she wanted.

"We study them because they have the potential to be dangerous when transformed and we need to be careful," I countered.

"Potential?" Monica gaped, "Potential? They've got more than just a potential!"

"The point is, is that they should not be treated like rubbish for what happens one night out of twenty-eight," I said, "They don't choose to become werewolves. They're victims of a disease. Of a curse. Nobody is going to put restrictions on a wizard with dragon pox just because they could transmit it to another wizard. Lycanthropy is the same principle."

Monica rolled her eyes. "Dragon pox is curable. Lycanthropy is not a disease. Lycanthropes are monsters."

I glared at her. "So they should suffer just because nobody's found a cure? It's a chronic disease that can be controlled." I turned to Charisse, who was supposed to explain about Wolfsbane.

"Wolfsbane is a potion that enables a werewolf to transform safely. A werewolf under the influence of Wolfsbane will transform into a calm wolf who will not attack anyone. It enables the person to keep their mind," Charisse explained.

"But you said it doesn't work on all werewolves," Monica pointed out.

I sighed. "Yes, that's true."

"So why don't we just put more restrictions on those werewolves?" Monica smirked.

I shot her a dirty look. I could feel my heart pounding harder in my chest. She was getting worse and worse. "That would be stupid," I seethed, "Werewolves whom Wolfsbane does not work for are suffering even more than other werewolves. They endure a painful, crippling transformation every single month. They get sick every month for a few days before the full moon. After it, it takes days for them to get their strength back up."

"Yeah, it's such a shame that they suffer when they inflict their horrible curse on other people every month," Monica laughed.

She laughed. She actually laughed. Although she didn't know it, she was indirectly laughing at what my brother had to go through every month. She reminded me of Lubar. It was awful.

"You," I seethed, "Are one of the most close minded people I have ever met in my life."

"All right!" Torro announced, "That's enough. Class dismissed. We'll continue with the next group at the beginning of next class. If the werewolf group could please see me before you leave."

I sent the dirtiest look I could muster at Monica as I stomped towards Torro's desk. Willinson and Charisse stood on either side of me. Monica stood a few feet to my left.

"I think you both made your points. That was certainly an unorthodox take on my assignment," Torro said, "However, you did miss the general point of my assignment. The purpose was to present the facts about werewolves. How to identify one, what happens during a transformation, and what the characteristics of an untransformed werewolf are, and perhaps a bit about the Wolfsbane potion. Nowhere in this assignment were you instructed to debate the ethics of how werewolves are to be treated in society.

"Therefore, I am assigning a two foot essay on the characteristics of werewolves to all of you. You will hand it in at the beginning of class on Tuesday. It is not a group essay, either. You should complete it alone. Now you'd best be getting to your next class."

"Thanks a lot, Eckerton," Monica muttered.

"You were just a part of this as she was, Miss Kramer," Torro replied.

I ignored her comment and stomped back to my desk. I threw my notes into my bag and stormed out of the room. I ran all the way to Gryffindor Tower. I didn't want lunch; I wasn't hungry.

I didn't even care that Torro had assigned us an extra essay. It had been worth it. There was no way I could have stood there and let Monica insult werewolves like that. Plus, I could probably write that essay in a half hour.

I climbed the stairs to my dormitory and pulled the curtains around my bed. I laid on my stomach and screamed into my pillow. There were very few people who had gotten me as angry as Monica had. Sure, a lot of people annoyed me and I'd be the first to admit it. Vivien's friends annoyed me. Cinda's rich friends annoyed me. The girls in my year at the Australian School of Sorcery (besides Olivia) annoyed me. Kenzie's sisters annoyed me.

Monica had gone beyond the state of annoyance. She angered me in ways I didn't think possible. The only people who had ever done that were Clarence, Lubar, and Killigan and they were adults, so I didn't really argue with them.

Monica just knew the exact ways to get to me. I doubted she knew it herself and she was definitely clueless as to why, but she seemed to push all of my buttons at once. The worst part was, was that she made me want to spill Matt's secret. I had been so close to just telling the class about him. I told them what went on during his transformations with such detail that everyone was bound to know why I knew so much. I was going to have to be more careful, that was for sure. No matter how hard it was to do, I was just going to have to ignore Monica.


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PostPosted: Tuesday 2 June 2009 11:41:29pm 
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poor amy i would have felt the same way


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PostPosted: Sunday 7 June 2009 6:20:12pm 
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Thanks hprocks!

Chapter 49: In the Hospital Wing

I was at the library bright and early on Saturday morning. The place was pretty much deserted when I got there. The only person in the quiet room was the ancient librarian. She looked just like she had when we visited Hogwarts months ago.

She looked up when I shut the door and glared at me as I walked over to a table. It looked to me like she was just itching to demand why I was there at such an early hour. I ignored her and found a secluded table in the back. I had no idea what time the library started to fill up and didn't really want anyone to see me.

It didn't take me long to crank out Torro's werewolf essay. I didn't even bother to look up any facts in any books. I just used what I already knew. Before I even realized it, I had two and a half feet of parchment scrawled on with tiny printing. I wrapped up the essay with a three inch conclusion and set it aside. It would probably be the easiest assignment I would have the entire year.

Then it was time to play catch up. After a week of classes, I had had at least one lesson in all my subjects and realized I was quite behind in a few of them. I wished that all the schools would just coordinate curricula; it would make life so much easier. I was behind in Charms and Transfiguration. I was really behind in History of Magic. I would have been behind in Astronomy if it hadn't been for the fact that I spent weeks researching the Northern night sky before we moved. I was actually ahead in Ancient Runes, Potions, and Herbology, although I had a feeling I was only ahead in Potions because I spent so much time outside of school brewing. I also would have been behind in Defense and Care of Magical Creatures if it weren't for Dad teaching me so much about them.

I found text books for Charms and Transfiguration, as well as what might as well have been an entire set of encyclopedias' worth of History of Magic books. I grabbed my quill and a fresh roll of parchment and settled down to read my huge stack of books.

"There you are, Eckerton," someone said.

I jumped and I knocked my ink bottle onto my notes. Merlin! I groaned and started to siphon off the ink with my wand. Then I looked up to see who had found me.

It was Monica. Monica Kramer. I had been avoiding her for the past two days. Whenever she was in the dormitory, I went to the common room, and vice versa. The only time we were together was at night and during classes, and I liked it that way. Victoire Weasley was standing behind her, looking slightly uncomfortable.

"What do you want," I crossed my arms across my chest.

"Your werewolf essay," she sat down across from me. She looked down at the table and picked it up.

"Give that back!" I snatched it out of her hands.

"You finished it," Monica gaped, "And it's longer than Torro wanted."

"Yeah, so?"

"So you have to let me copy it!" Monica replied, "It's your fault we have to do this stupid bloody essay!"

"No way," I said, "Now could you please just leave me alone?"

"I told you not to do this," Victoire muttered.

Monica whipped her head around and looked at Victoire. "I'll do what I want. And this freak is the reason I have extra homework!"

"Freak?" I seethed, "And what exactly makes me a freak, Kramer?"

"Your love for werewolves, Eckerton," Monica turned back around.

"Are you serious, Monica?" Victoire looked astonished, "Because if you are, then I must be a freak, too."

"You're different," Monica sighed.

"No, I don't really see that I am," Victoire said, "You know what? I'll see you later, Monica. And you can find someone else to help you with your essay."

Victoire turned and left, with Monica gaping at the spot she used to stand. She then looked back at me. "Well, look at that, Eckerton. You got my best friend mad at me."

"Just leave," I muttered. I had way too much studying to do to put up with her. I looked at my watch. It was just after noon and I hadn't even started on my actual homework. I was still on the first book I had to read, too.

"No, I want you to help me with my essay since you're the werewolf expert," Monica said.

"Go away!" I shouted a bit too loudly.

"Quiet!" Madam Pince shouted, "This is a library!"

"Fine!" Monica glared at me, "I'll leave. Everything you know about werewolves is probably wrong anyway."

Monica got up and ran out of the library, slamming the door behind her. Madam Pince shouted after her, but she probably didn't even hear the scolding.

I picked up my quill and resumed my reading, but I couldn't concentrate. I didn't understand how Victoire could put up with Monica. So far, Victoire seemed nice enough.

I spent the rest of the day in the library and luckily had no more visits from Monica. I managed to read a good bit of the Charms book and put a dent in the History of Magic reading. I took a break before dinner and wandered around the castle for a bit, but went back to studying after dinner.

The next few weeks dragged by and I got into a routine. Ignoring and avoiding Monica was my top priority, so I spent most of my free time in the library. For someone who claimed to be so smart, she didn't frequent the place too often.

I went to class and studied well into the evening. But it did become apparent that catching up wasn't as easy as I originally thought. After two weeks I was somewhat caught up in Charms and Transfiguration, but learning hundreds of years' worth of British magical history in two weeks was pretty much impossible.

With the exception of Monica, the dormitory situation was going well. It was crowded, but the rest of the girls were nice. I soon learned that Samantha, Seren, and Alyssa were avid Quidditch fans, although Samantha was the only one with any skill in the sport. Much of their conversations revolved around Quidditch. They pretty much left me alone, which was nice. I hardly saw Victoire since she made up with Monica and avoiding Monica soon became avoiding Victoire as well.

There were three people who actually paid attention to me. The first being Teddy Lupin. He made it a routine to say hello to me and ask me how I was whenever we passed each other in the common room or in the Great Hall. He seemed to be a smart and somewhat mischievous bloke who preferred to spend all his time on the Quidditch pitch than studying.

Laney Hall continued to partner with me in Herbology and try to talk to me, but I found her rather annoying. She was just too hyper, in my opinion. However, I did prefer her company to Quinton Willinson's. Willinson's brief alliance during Defense didn't last long. He went right back to trying to compete with me in Potions and grew steadily angrier as I continued to beat him in every contest Slughorn set to us.

Besides Potions, the only class I really enjoyed was Astronomy. The Astronomy professor, Professor Polo was a kind man who clearly had a love for the stars. It was quite relaxing to look out one of the school telescopes while he gave commentary on what was happening with all the celestial bodies.

My third Astronomy lesson of the year took place the night of the full moon, which left me really distracted. I only half listened to Polo's lecture, which was about the unique opportunity we had in having class the night of the full moon. All I could think about was what was happening to my brother.

It was kind of strange. I hadn't been at school for a full moon in months and I had sort of gotten used to it. Even though I was never home during them, I had gotten used to going home shortly after and seeing how my brother was. I had also begun to realize what sort of affect the transformations had on him. Since I was at school in Australia for most of the full moons prior to finding out I'd have to move, I never really knew exactly what went on.

I was surprised to find out that I was actually really worried about the full moon. I had sent my family a letter the previous night and was hoping they'd let me know how the transformation went as soon as possible. I knew Matt had gotten through many full moons, but I couldn't shake the worry.

I pointed my telescope towards the moon and stared at it until my eyes glazed over. I lifted my head up and blinked. I looked at my watch and saw that class was only half over. It was going by much slower than usual, probably partly because of the headache I'd been steadily been developing all evening. I was beginning to think that my late night studying was catching up to me. I was constantly tired and just wanted to go to bed.

"What did you get on that werewolf essay?" Monica, who had unfortunately picked the telescope next to me, asked.

"100," I muttered. Torro had given the essays back earlier. It certainly had taken him long enough to grade them.

"Figures," Monica muttered, "Guess what I got."

"Don't know, don't care," I said and stuck my eye back in my telescope.

"I only got a 95."

I personally didn't think a 95 was that bad, but I chose not to say anything else.

"So, tonight's a full moon," Monica went on. Why she continued to talk despite her obvious hatred, was beyond me. "It's the night all the werewolves come out and attack people."

I turned my head in surprise and knocked my eye into the telescope in the process. I winced at the pain and then glared at her. Why was she bringing that up? The werewolf project was long over and we weren't learning about any dark creatures in Defense class.

Monica was looking at me with the smuggest look I had ever seen on her. It just made my blood boil despite the autumn chill that was in the air.

"Yep, it's the one night that proves that werewolves are monsters and not people with a horrible disease," Monica continued.

That was it. My head felt like someone was driving a rod into it and as far as I could tell, Monica was the one doing the driving. Everything she said increased my headache tenfold. I was sick of it. Sick of her. She's the one that kept bringing up the werewolf stuff. Why couldn't she just leave it alone?

"You," I seethed, "Have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."

"I do too," Monica said, "At this moment, some werewolf is probably attacking an innocent child."

It felt like she had hit a Bludger into my stomach. I froze and just looked at her. She seemed to have known that she hit a nerve and smirked at me.

"Just. Shut. Up," I growled. I couldn't take it anymore. If I kept listening to her, I was afraid I'd let something slip. I grabbed my bag and ran to the door, wrenching it open.

"Miss Eckerton?" Polo asked.

I didn't say anything and slammed the door behind me. I ran as fast as I could down the stairs and began to run towards Gryffindor Tower. Then I stopped. I couldn't go to Gryffindor. In less than a half an hour, Monica would be there.

I turned around and ran in the opposite direction. I had no idea where I was going, but I couldn't go to Gryffindor. Monica would just taunt me again. Why did she have to mention a werewolf attacking a kid? I bit my lip and squeezed my eyes shut. I vividly saw an image of the werewolf attacking Matt and snapped them open again.

I somehow wound up in front of the hospital wing and guessed it was because I must have wanted something for my headache. And my eye, which still hurt from ramming it with a telescope. I quietly opened the door and walked into the darkened ward. There was a stream of moonlight coming in through one of the windows and it was illuminating one of the beds. The nurse was nowhere in sight.

I collapsed onto the illuminated bed and buried my head in the pillow. I didn't really feel like looking for the nurse. I was too exhausted. I thought of what was happening to Matt and let the resulting tears leak out of my eyes and be absorbed in the pillow. The pillow muffled my sobbing. Maybe I could just sleep there and leave before the nurse woke up in the morning. No one would have to know.

My hospital wing trips at Australia were limited. In fact, I could count the number of times I'd been there on one hand. The first time was because someone in my first potions class had exploded his potion and some had landed on my arm and burned it. After that, I had gotten sick once in first year and once in second. Then I had to go there again because of an exploded potion and then once because I'd been hexed. I was never one of the kids who would go see the nurse every other day and ask for a potion for every little thing.

I didn't want to become one of those kids at Hogwarts either, but I had no place else to go. If I slept in the common room again, I'd probably get yelled at by a prefect.

"Is someone out there?" someone said.

I froze and stopped sobbing. I was caught. So much for slipping away before the nurse found me. I sat up and looked towards where the voice was coming from.

The lights came on revealing Madam Pomfrey, whom I had met when we visited Hogwarts but hadn't seen since. She was a short and kind of chubby woman with a kind face that had a hint of sternness to it.

She walked slowly over to my bed and paused at the foot of it. She gave me a curious look and waited for me to say something.

"Er, hi," I sniffled and wiped my eyes.

"Hello," she smiled, "You're Amy Eckerton, aren't you?"

I nodded. "Uh-huh."

Madam Pomfrey sat down on the end of the bed and looked at me like she was waiting for me to say something else. I really didn't know what else to say, except that I might like a headache potion.

"What's wrong, dear?" she asked after a while.

Everything, I thought. Nothing was going right. "I- I don't know," I said, afraid that if I elaborated, I'd start crying again.

"Well, let me heal that bruise near your eye," she replied as she pulled out her wand, "What happened?"

I guess my eye looked worse than I thought, if she noticed it without me saying anything. "Banged it on a telescope," I muttered as she tapped her wand to my eyebrow. It immediately felt better.

"Were you in Astronomy?" Madam Pomfrey asked as she walked over to a cupboard.

"Yeah," I said.

She returned with a potion and told me to drink it. I recognized it as the pain potion Mum usually gave to Matt after full moons. I downed it in one gulp.

"I always loved Astronomy," the nurse told me as she sat back down on the bed.

"I do, too," I sighed, wishing the class hadn't been ruined by Monica.

"I sense there's something else troubling you," she said quietly, "You look too miserable for someone who just got her head knocked into a telescope."

I bit my lip and looked down at the blanket. I started messing with a loose thread and then looked back up at Madam Pomfrey. She was just sitting on the bed, waiting for me to say something.

"I-" I began, not sure what I wanted to tell her, or even if I wanted to tell her anything. "It's just hard to catch up on everything. I mean, I know nothing about British history of magic and I've been trying to read about five books on the subject as fast as I can, so I've been getting no sleep. Plus, I'm trying to catch up in Charms and Transfiguration, too. I've had a headache since dinner and had to stay up for Astronomy, which I normally love, but just wanted to skip tonight. But I can't skip any classes."

"Yes, that would be hard," the nurse sighed, "You might find it more productive to spread out your studying instead of trying to learn everything as soon as possible."

"I guess," my voice cracked, "But I already failed the first History of Magic exam! There was so much stuff on it that I should have learned last year."

"You'll do better on the next one," she assured me, "And you don't want to study so hard that you're too tired for Astronomy, especially if it's something you really enjoy."

"It wouldn't matter," I said shortly, "Astronomy is not going to be any fun because there's this girl who has been driving me mad. She's in my dormitory so she's in all my classes. She's why I ran out of Astronomy tonight, not because of my eye. She just kept saying stuff that made me want to hex her. Not that I ever wood," I said quickly.

Madam Pomfrey smiled, "I know you wouldn't. She's just one of those girls who knows how to get to you."

I nodded. "She just doesn't understand anything!" I said as my eyes began to water. "I was just minding my own business and doing what Polo told us to and she just started talking to me. I was already tired and my head hurt and I was worried about," I paused and glanced out the window at the bright full moon, "Other things."

Madam Pomfrey followed my gaze and then looked at me knowingly. "Ah. Now I understand."

I stared at her. Then it hit me; she already knew about Matt. We had met her when we visited Hogwarts and Kendrick had told her. Going to school at Hogwarts was not going to be like Australia. I didn't have to hide everything from everyone. There was someone I could talk to about Matt.

"You're worried about your brother," she continued.

I nodded and silent tears began to stream down my cheeks. I hastily wiped them away.

"It's ok to be worried," Madam Pomfrey assured me, "I'd think it strange if you weren't."

"Sh-she hates werewolves," I said, not really sure why I was telling the nurse all of this, "The girl who I was talking about. In Astronomy, she was telling me that tonight was the night all the werewolves came out and attacked people. She s-said that a werewolf was attacking an innocent ch-child r-right now."

"Oh, Amy," Madam Pomfrey got up and sat down right next to me. She put her arm around my shoulder and rubbed my back, "I'm so sorry she did that."

"She doesn't understand," I wailed, "Matt was the innocent child who got attacked."

"She doesn't know about that," Madam Pomfrey said quietly.

"I know," I sobbed, "But I've almost told her. A few times. In Defense class and tonight. I don't want her to know, but I just wish she'd stop bringing up the topic of werewolves."

"She won't find out," Madam Pomfrey assured me, "Now would you like to spend the night here?"

I nodded, grateful that I wouldn't have to return to my dormitory that night. "Thanks."

"Not a problem," she smiled, and got up to return to her room.

I climbed under the covers, still in my robes, and curled up into a ball. I stared out the window and watched the moon. Despite my fatigue, it took me a long time to fall asleep.

Madam Pomfrey made no mention of our talk in the morning, which I was grateful for. I didn't normally spill my guts like that, but I had just felt so awful. I felt somewhat better that morning, but was still anxious for a letter from my parents. I was very relieved to find that Monica had already left the dormitory when I went there to get my books before class. I wondered if there was any way I could switch dormitories.

The letter from my parents arrived at dinner, which resulted in quite a few odd looks from the people sitting closest to me. Apparently it was customary to receive mail at brekkie at Hogwarts. I detached the letter from Jasper's leg, gave him a pat on the head, and watched as he soared out the nearest window. I shoveled a few more bites of dinner into my mouth and then ran all the way back to the common room to read it.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read that Matt was ok. Sure, it was going to take a few days for him to recover, but his transformation hadn't been any worse than normal. Mum also told me that Dad was starting to get the hang of working the microwave. He had only exploded one thing that week. I laughed as I shoved the letter in my pocket, wishing I had been there to see the look on Dad's face when he had so much success with it.


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PostPosted: Thursday 18 June 2009 1:40:19pm 
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great chapter duckie


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PostPosted: Sunday 21 June 2009 3:49:13pm 
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Thanks, hprocks!

Chapter 50: The Slug Club

I began working even harder to avoid Monica after the incident during Astronomy. If I set my alarm a half hour earlier than I usually did I could get ready for class before Monica woke up and I could be down in the Great Hall before she was ready. That way I could avoid her and get extra studying done during brekkie. It was a win-win situation. Well, except for the lack of sleep.

I was trying to get more sleep like Madam Pomfrey told me to, but it was hard. I was so far behind in History of Magic and it got worse every day. I was completely lost in class and it didn't help that Professor Binns's voice could put a screaming mandrake to sleep.

I was slowly catching up in Charms and Transfiguration, although I was beginning to form a hatred of Charms. The professor, Professor Washburn, was possibly the nastiest professor I had ever met in my life. He clearly despised Gryffindor and favored the Slytherins in our class. Not only that, but he didn't really help when I needed help. All he did was yell at me and tell me I should practice more. Charms quickly became one of my least favorite classes.

Potions was my favorite class, despite the fact that Quinton Willinson continually talked to me while I was brewing. I learned to ignore him and found he was pretty easy to tune out.

"Miss Eckerton," Slughorn said to me as I was leaving Potions in early October.

"Yes, Professor?" I paused near his desk.

"I'm having a little get together this Friday evening at six for certain students who possess a lot of magical ability," Slughorn told me, "You've proven yourself to be an excellent potion brewer, so you are welcome to attend."

I nodded. "Er, thanks, Professor."

"You've been invited to the Slug Club," Willinson said smugly after I left the room. He had been standing outside the door, waiting for me, much to my disgust.

"The what?" I looked at him strangely.

"The Slug Club," Willinson repeated, "That's what we call it."

"And do you go to these things?"

"Ever since first year," Willinson grinned.

I rolled my eyes. Of course. I sped up to try and escape from him, but he followed me all the way to the Great Hall for lunch. I turned to sit down at the Gryffindor table and he finally left me alone.

I spent the rest of the week thinking about the 'Slug Club' meeting. Part of me was a little excited at being picked for what seemed to be an exclusive club, but the other part of me was kind of nervous about what it would entail. The prospect of spending more time with Willinson wasn't that great either.

I owled both my parents and Olivia about it, but Olivia didn't get back to me before Friday. My parents thought I should go because they thought I'd make friends there. I sort of doubted that because I had already been at Hogwarts for a month and didn't really have any friends. I had one enemy, one bloke who occasionally said hi to me, a girl who was slightly annoying but liked to talk to me in Herbology, and a bloke who was constantly trying to beat me in potions contests. But none of them could be considered friends.

Eventually I decided to go, mainly because I knew Monica wouldn't be there. I had heard her complaining about the Slug Club to Victoire the previous night. Victoire had just said 'mmm-hmm' every once in a while and then told Monica that the only reason she didn't like it was because she had never been invited. Monica wasn't too happy about this. Apparently Victoire occasionally went to Slug Club meetings but usually didn't because none of her friends went.

I was at the door to the potions classroom at exactly six o'clock and took a deep breath before entering. There were chairs arranged in a circle and a table of food a few feet away.

People were milling about, getting food and talking. I recognized two of the girls I had ridden in a carriage with on the first day. Gabriella and Georgia Weasley. I learned a few weeks ago that Gabriella was Victoire's sister and Georgia was their cousin. In fact, I learned that most of the red-haired people in Gryffindor were the infamous Weasley cousins. A few other Weasleys were in the room including the two first years, Fred and Heather. Apparently they were cousins and not twins. Teddy Lupin was there, along with the prefect, Landon Comer, who had woken me up on the first morning. Willinson was sitting down and talking with Slughorn.

I wandered over to the food table, where Teddy and Landon were piling their plates high with all sorts of stuff. I picked up a plate and peered down at a pile of something that looked like chicken.

"It's pheasant," Teddy grinned at me, "So you're in the Slug Club now, huh, Aussie?"

I had given up trying to get Teddy to stop calling me 'Aussie' weeks ago. It was a lost cause and as long as no one else started doing it, I didn't mind.

"Pheasant?" I hesitated before picking up a very small piece. It sounded like something Cinda would serve at a fancy party.

"It's not bad," Teddy shrugged as he put some pheasant on his own plate.

I took some potatoes and carrots and then followed Teddy and Landon to the chairs. They sat down near Gabriella and Georgia, which thankfully was far away from Willinson.

I tentatively bit the pheasant while Teddy watched. It was disgusting. I grimaced and swallowed it, dropping the remaining bit onto my plate. Teddy burst out laughing.

"I guess it's an acquired taste," he grinned.

"Not one I'll be acquiring," I said as I took a large gulp of water.

"So, how'd you wind up here?" Teddy asked, "Good at potions or were your parents famous in Australia?"

I choked on my water and coughed it all over my plate. How did Teddy know to ask that? What did it have to do with the Slug Club? My heart started beating fast. Were people going to find out about Matt before he even had a chance to enter Hogwarts?

"You ok?" Teddy looked at me strangely.

"Yeah," I coughed. I could feel my cheeks turning red. "But why would you think my parents are famous?"

"You don't know much about the Slug Club, do you?"

"Er, no."

Teddy laughed. "There's two ways you can get into the Slug Club. One, you're good at potions. Two, your parents or grandparents or some other relative are famous. Slughorn likes to establish contacts with famous people. That's how I got into this club. It definitely wasn't my potions ability. I'm rubbish at brewing. Must have inherited my dad's brewing ability. My mum was an auror who fought in the war against Voldemort. My dad fought against Voldemort, too, even though he wasn't an auror. Both of them were in the Order of the Phoenix. They died in the final battle."

I nodded. "Victoire told me about that." Voldemort? Order of the Phoenix? Final battle? I really needed to get to that book Victoire recommended.

"So what is it, then? Potions or parents?"

"Potions," I told him, "My parents aren't famous." Not in England, that is, but I didn't tell him that.

"Like Landon, then," Teddy gestured to his friend, "He tutors me in potions. If it weren't for him, I'd be failing."

"You're hardly passing as it is," Landon replied.

"You'd better step up the tutoring, then," Teddy laughed.

"There's only so much I can do," Landon sighed, "I think you were born without the potions section of your brain."

"Welcome, everyone!" Slughorn stood up, "I think we're all here now. We have one new member since our September meeting. Everyone say hello to Amy Eckerton."

Slughorn gestured to me and everyone muttered hello. I blushed even more and waved.

"Miss Eckerton has proved herself to be a most brilliant potions brewer!" Slughorn said excitedly, "Perhaps the best in her year, no offense to Mr. Willinson."

Willinson did in fact look offended, but said nothing. He merely continued chewing his pheasant and glared at me.

"Now, Amy," Slughorn went on, "Might you tell us a bit about your family? And what made your parents decide to move from, Australia, right?"

I groaned inwardly. I shouldn't have came. I should have known this would happen. Everyone, including Slughorn, was watching me and waiting for me to explain why I had moved to England.

"Er, well, my dad's working at the Ministry. In Werewolf Support Services," I said quietly, "And we did move from Australia."

"Interesting!" Slughorn replied, "Very interesting career choice. And did he do that sort of work in Australia?"

"Erm, yeah," I muttered.

"Then why did you move?" a Hufflepuff who looked to be a little older than me asked.

"Uh," I stammered, "The Ministry was downsizing. Budget cuts. So my dad got let go. He found a new job up here and that's it."

"Ah, yes, budgets," Slughorn sighed, "A necessary, but irritating fact of life. And sadly Werewolf Support Services is always the first to go."

I nodded, hoping that he would divert the conversation from werewolves. The last thing I wanted was for the club to debate the importance of Werewolf Support Services. Although I had a feeling Teddy would at least share my opinion.

Luckily one of the Ravenclaws announced that her cousin had just signed a contract to become the Wimbourne Wasps's new Chaser, so the conversation turned to Quidditch. I paid vague attention while I ate my potatoes and carrots.

The meeting was actually rather boring. I found myself stealing glances at the clock a few times and wondering what time Slughorn would decide to end the meeting.

It finally ended shortly before eight o'clock and I left with Teddy and Landon.

"What did you think?" Teddy asked as we walked back to Gryffindor.

"That was one of the most boring things I've ever experienced and that includes fancy dinners with my grandparents," I said, "Why in the name of Merlin do you two go?"

"Slughorn's got connections," Landon replied, "He might be able to help me get a job once I'm out of here."

"I'm hoping for extra credit in potions," Teddy grinned, "Haven't gotten it yet, but I'm still trying."

"You're hopeless," Landon laughed.

"Well, I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate and I don't think I need any extra credit in potions," I replied, "I don't think I'm going to go to another one of those."

"Suit yourself," Teddy shrugged, "But you'll come back once you realize you've got a craving for pheasant."

I cringed at the thought of eating pheasant again and shook my head. Teddy certainly had a good sense of humor. He seemed to like everyone. I'd noticed that he was often the center of attention in the common room. Victoire was often with him, when she wasn't with Monica, and the two of them seemed to be really good friends.

******

The common room was buzzing with excitement the next morning. There was a large crowd around the notice board and quite a few people were talking about 'stocking up' on stuff. I waited until most of the crowd had dissipated and went to see what all the excitement was about.

There was a note on the board that announced the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. It was in two weeks, on the nineteenth. Brilliant, I thought, I could use a break from school. From what little I'd seen of Hogsmeade during our trip to Hogwarts, it seemed to be a cute village. It would be fun to explore it some more.

After brekkie I went back up to my dormitory and wrote another letter to my parents. I wanted to know if they could go to Hogsmeade when I was going. I hadn't seen them in over a month and I was missing them more than I wanted to admit. I had gotten so used to seeing them everyday and Hogwarts didn't have holidays every few weeks like the Australian School of Sorcery did. I wouldn't get to go home until Christmas.

My weekend was full of studying and just wandering around the grounds. I liked walking near the Forbidden Forest and tried to see what was in it without actually stepping foot in the place. What I wanted to do was go explore it, but was too afraid to get caught.

Mum and Dad's reply arrived Sunday night while I was eating dinner. Pollux still hadn't gotten the hang of delivering mail at the same time as the other owls. I hurried up to my dormitory and shut the hangings around my bed before I opened it.

Dear Amy,

We're sorry to hear that the Slug Club
was a bit of a disaster. At least those
two boys, Teddy and Landon, seem nice.
Don't feel that you have to attend
another one of those if you don't want
to.

The Hogsmeade visit sounds like fun.
Unfortunately, it is the day after the
full moon. It's not likely that either
of us will be able to meet you. One of
us will need to be home with Matt, and
Dad thinks he'll have to work that
morning. We'll let you know if his
work schedule changes.

Your birthday is the week after. We'll
owl Professor Kendrick and see if we
could go with you to Hogsmeade that
weekend. It's a better time.

Try and have fun in Hogsmeade. Maybe you
could see if some of the other girls in
your dormitory would go with you?

Write soon. We love you and miss you.

Love,
Mum, Dad, Matt, and Ellie

I put the letter back in its envelop and sighed. I leaned back against my pillows and stared at the top of my bed. The full moon was the day before the Hogsmeade visit. I hadn't even realized that. Of course they wouldn't be able to go.

I guess I would be going to Hogsmeade alone. Victoire would be going with Monica and I did not want to go with her. The other girls always talked about Quidditch and I didn't want to spend a whole day doing that. They pretty much ignored me anyway. I couldn't just ask if they'd go to Hogsmeade with me.

Maybe my family would be able to go on my birthday. To be honest, I had almost forgotten it was coming up. My past three birthdays had been spent with Olivia in our dormitory. We always threw each other mini parties on each other's birthdays. That wasn't going to happen this year. No one in my dormitory would so much as mutter a 'happy birthday' on their way out the door.

I heard footsteps come into the room and I hoped it was Samantha or one of her friends, not Monica and Victoire.

"I think Eckerton is here," Monica said. No such luck.

"So?" Victoire replied.

"I'm surprised she's not in the library, studying," Monica went on, "That's all she ever does."

"Maybe she wants to get good grades," Victoire muttered, "Until this year, you studied a lot, too."

"I know. I just don't see the point anymore. I still get decent marks when I don't study. I'd rather just spend more time having fun."

"You know it's best to have marks that are better than decent," Victoire told her, "You'll need them when you go to look for a job when we graduate."

"Well, I don't know what I want to do with my life," Monica said and I heard a bed creak, "We haven't all had our lives planned out since first year."

"I have not," Victoire replied.

"Yes, you have," Monica laughed, "You're going to become a Healer and marry Teddy Lupin. You'll probably have two or three kids. At least one of them will have a French name."

Teddy Lupin? How could Monica think Victoire was going to marry him? They weren't even going out, as far as I knew. I thought it was pretty strange to know who you wanted to marry at the age of fourteen anyway. I certainly had no idea.

"I do not!" Victoire shouted, "Teddy's just a friend! I've known him since I was born. We grew up together."

"Which is what makes it so adorable," Monica giggled, "Oh, come on, you know you like him."

"I don't," Victoire muttered.

"You'll have a perfect life together. Like a fairy tale. The poor orphan boy whose parents died working to defeat an evil wizard falls in love with the beautiful quarter veela girl who led a sheltered life. You get married, have three beautiful children, and everything's perfect," Monica sighed.

Quarter-veela? No wonder Victoire was so pretty. That explained her and Gabriella's white blonde hair. I had noticed that they were the only ones out of the Weasley cousins who didn't have red hair. I guess the veela blood overcame the red hair gene.

"Monica, you've been reading too many love stories," Victoire groaned, "Real life doesn't work that way."

That was for sure, I thought. My family was proof of that. My parents' lives had been like a fairy tale, until they had trouble getting pregnant. But then when I was born, the fairy tale was back. Then it shattered in mere minutes when Matt had been bitten. Nothing ever stayed perfect.

I was sort of surprised that Monica was the one to bring all of this up. I would never have guessed her to be the hopeless romantic of the dormitory. It was a complete contrast to the girl who had been making fun of me for the past month.

"Maybe not usually," Monica said, "But if it would work for anyone, it would be you. Anyway, you're still set on becoming a healer, right?"

"As long as I keep my potions grade up," Victoire sighed, "I have to get at least an E on my O.W.L. next year."

I had no idea what an O.W.L. was. It did sound vaguely familiar, like it was one of those things Kendrick had mentioned when I was sorted. That was something I'd have to find out soon, though, if it was happening the next year.

"Maybe you could get Teddy to help you," Monica said. Both of them burst out laughing and I smirked.

"I'll muddle through," Victoire said.

"Of course you will," Monica replied, "You're smart."

"So are you, if you'd just study," Victoire said.

******

The next couple of weeks went by fast and soon it was the night before the Hogsmeade visit. Dad had owled me earlier in the day and told me that he had to work the next day and wouldn't be able to meet me in Hogsmeade. I hadn't really thought that he'd be able to go, but I was still disappointed.

It was also the night of the full moon. The common room was noisy and filled with excitement which greatly contrasted my own mood. I was sitting off by myself trying to read a History of Magic book. I wasn't really concentrating on it, though. I was staring out the window, watching the moon, and thinking about Matt.

There was a howl of laughter and I turned to look at the middle of the common room. Teddy had morphed to look like Professor Washburn and was giving a speech in which he professed an unhealthy love for hippogriffs. I had no doubt that the story was fake, but it was still incredibly funny. I laughed to myself and tried to get back to my reading. I had only seen Teddy morph a few times, but it no longer shocked me. The first time I saw him change his hair, my jaw dropped to the floor, which sent Teddy into hysterics.

I didn't really want to stay in the common room and listen to the happy chatter of the other Gryffindors, but I had no other place to go. Monica was in our dormitory with a few sixth year friends and I didn't want to go up there. Victoire wasn't with them. She was with Teddy.

I was half tempted to wander to the Hospital Wing and just stay there for the night. I hadn't been there since the last full moon when I had spilled my guts to Madam Pomfrey. I didn't want to repeat that, but I had a feeling that Madam Pomfrey wouldn't question why I was there if I showed up tonight. But at the same time, I didn't want to get in the habit of going there every month.

I wound up just staying in the common room until it emptied out. The younger students started going up to their dormitories around eleven and by one in the morning, the place was deserted.

I wasn't tired and had no desire to go up to my dormitory until I knew the other girls were asleep. I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway. I hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep on the night of a full moon in nearly three years. Even when I went to school in Australia I had sleepless nights during full moons.

Eventually I went up to my dormitory and laid down in my bed. Whoever snores (I still hadn't figured it out yet) was snoring, but I didn't bother using the silencing charm since I wasn't really tired.

The next thing I knew I was waking up to the sound of an owl hooting. I cracked my eyes open and squinted in the sunlight. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost noon.

I sat up and yawned. Pollux was sitting on the foot of my bed with a letter wrapped around his left leg. I laughed to myself as Pollux flew over to me. I doubted he was ever going to deliver letters at the right time. Although I had slept through brekkie that day.

I untied the letter and patted Pollux on the head. He hooted and then flew out the window. I opened the letter and began to read it.

Dear Amy,

I'm not sure if you'll get this before
you go to Hogsmeade or not, but if you
do, we hope you have fun. Get out of
the castle and enjoy yourself. It's
your chance to explore the village
without us telling you where to go.
You've always wanted to do that.

The full moon was last night, although
I'm sure you know that. It was a
bad one. Matt had been sicker than
usual for the days leading up to it.
We think he actually caught the flu
a few days ago. It's never good
when he catches a bug right before
the full moon. He's pretty sick
right now. We're going to take
him to St. Mungo's if he isn't a
little better by the afternoon.

We just wanted to let you know.
Don't worry too much. We'll keep
you updated. Have fun in Hogsmeade.

Love,
Dad

P.S. Pollux is a very smart owl.
He was sitting on the deck this
morning, right when the sun rose,
like he knew we had a letter to
send to you.

Have fun in Hogsmeade. That wasn't going to happen now. My stomach churned as I stuffed the letter back in its envelope. How could I have fun in Hogsmeade knowing that Matt was really sick?

It wasn't fair. He just got over the injuries from the full moon at the transformation center in Australia. Why did he have to catch the flu right around the full moon?

Matt had caught the flu right before the full moon once before, about a year ago. I hadn't been home at the time, but Mum and Dad had told me what had happened. It was bad for him to get sick right before the full moon because then his system was already run down and trying to recover from whatever bug he had, and then he had to turn into a wolf. It had taken him a week to recover the last time it had happened.

I got out of bed and got dressed. Everyone else in my dormitory was gone, presumably in Hogsmeade. I wasn't really in the mood to do anything fun, but figured going to Hogsmeade might take my mind off Matt. My only other choice was to wander around the castle all day.


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PostPosted: Monday 22 June 2009 3:54:51am 
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great chapter i like the comment on pollex or pollux


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PostPosted: Tuesday 23 June 2009 1:30:07am 
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Great chapter! its a very interesting fic :D


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PostPosted: Sunday 28 June 2009 3:30:49pm 
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Thanks hprocks and firemal!

Chapter 51: Hogsmeade

The grounds were deserted when I set off on the path towards Hogsmeade. A few first and second years were running around near the lake, but I didn't see any older students. Hogsmeade was going to be packed. Maybe I should have just stayed inside. I had a feeling that if I saw Monica I would hex her before she had a chance to say anything to me.

The weather was chilly and there was a slight breeze in the air. It was cloudy, but I didn't think it was going to rain. I had no idea if that weather was normal for this time of year.

I had been right; Hogsmeade was crowded. Students were walking around the streets and laughing. Others were running in and out of the already crowded shops. I had no idea where I wanted to go.

I walked slowly up the street, passing the Three Broomsticks, Honeyduke's, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, and numerous other shops. I wasn't in the mood for butterbeer, sweets, or jokes, though.

The shops were replaced by little houses as I walked further up the street. Then the houses became farther and farther apart until I was nearly out of the village. I looked to the right and saw that I was next to the Shrieking Shack.

I sighed and walked towards the broken fence that surrounded it and remembered the time I had practically dragged Matt towards the place. The old lady who had talked to us that day wasn't anywhere to be seen.

The dilapidated old building was going to be Matt's in just a few short years. He'd spend the night there once a month, completely alone. He was always alone on full moons, obviously, but my parents were always in the same house. It was going to be strange when he transformed in that shack. The place would live up to its name once again. It would shriek again.

"Place is haunted, you know," someone said from behind me.

I turned around and saw Willinson standing a few feet away. "What do you want?"

"Nothing," he shrugged as he walked towards me, "Just wandering around Hogsmeade, by myself, since Victoire refused to go out with me."

"There's a surprise," I muttered. Why anyone, let alone Victoire, would want to go out with Willinson was beyond me.

"I see you're alone, too," Willinson replied as he leaned against the fence.

"So?"

"So, you're alone. I'm alone..." Willinson raised his eyebrow, "Victoire may have been dense enough to refuse my company, but you're surely not."

I rolled my eyes. "There's a reason Victoire won't go out with you. You're arrogant and all you do is talk about yourself or pry into other people's business."

"Aw, come on, Amy," Willinson said, "Would you really rather be alone than with me?"

"Yes," I snapped, "I do want to be alone!"

I glared at him and then stalked back to the street. I couldn't even go for a walk in peace. Did he honestly think I would spend the day with him? Had I not made it clear in class that he drove me mad?

"I'll be at the Three Broomsticks later, if you change your mind!" Willinson shouted after me.

I ignored him and kept walking. I would not be going to the Three Broomsticks, then. Surely there were other pubs in Hogsmeade.

I passed a small pub named Madam Puddifoot's and didn't bother to check it out. From the window display, I gathered it was a place for lovesick couples only. There were cupids dangling in the window with heart shaped cakes below them.

The next one made me pause. The Hog's Head. The place had been disgusting when Mum and I spent the night during the August full moon. It seemed kind of dodgy as well. But it had been empty and quiet.

I lingered outside the door for a minute before going inside. Nobody had told me the place was out of bounds, but it didn't seem like the kind of place students normally went to.

It was dark inside and most of the tables were empty. There were a few cloaked figures at the bar and one of the tables in the back was occupied. Two wizards were talking in hushed tones at it.

I walked up to the bar and sat down a few stools away from the cloaked figures, hoping nobody would yell at me to leave. The old bartender was the only one who seemed to notice me, though. He ambled over, followed by a goat, and looked at me funny.

"Can I get you something?" he asked.

"Butterbeer," I said as I tossed a few Sickles onto the bar.

The barkeep grabbed the coins and slammed a dusty bottle onto the bar. I muttered a thank you and opened it.

I wondered if Mum and Dad would owl me if they had to take Matt to St. Mungo's. Had they already taken him? I looked at my watch. It was just after two. They may have already taken him.

I hated being so out of touch with everything. Ten months ago I would have given anything to be back in school and away from my family. Now, I would give anything to just be back at home with them.

"Something wrong with the Three Broomsticks today?" the barkeep asked after two of the cloaked figures left.

"Er, I don't think so," I muttered.

"Don't often get students in here," he said, "They usually like Rosmerta's place."

"It's too crowded. And happy," I added.

"Well, Rosmerta's customers like that," he replied, "You look familiar."

I shrugged. "I do go to Hogwarts."

"Nah, that's not what I meant. You stayed here over the summer. You and an older lady, she your mum?"

I nodded, surprised that he remembered. I looked at him curiously and noticed that his eyes were bright blue. They had a certain sadness to them, though. Then it hit me that they reminded me of my dad's. It was kind of eery. They were the same shade of blue and had the same hint of sadness. Granted, the barkeep was significantly older than Dad, but it was still strange.

"Not the usual clientele, you and your mum," he said, "Mostly get old hags and wizards who won't show their faces. Goblins, the occasional vampire. But I tell ya, you and your mum were out of here so early in the morning I thought you looked more suspicious than half the folks I usually get in this old place."

"We had, er, things to do," I stared down at the bar.

"No need to tell me," he said quickly, "I never ask what business my customers are in. Bad idea to be that nosy, if you ask me."

I looked back up and gave him a half smile. Maybe this was the right place for me. I liked people who didn't pry into your business. Mum had been right to stay at the Hog's Head instead of the Three Broomsticks.

The barkeep went back to scrubbing out empty glasses and I slowly sipped my butterbeer. I muttered goodbye to him after I'd finished and went back outside.

The small amount of sunlight was blinding after being inside the darkened pub for so long. I blinked and started down the street towards Honeyduke's. I figured I'd get Matt a get well present.

Honeyduke's was packed when I got there, but it was worth it. I stood in the doorway for a full minute staring at the amount of sweets they had. Someone pushed me into the shop and I started wandering around. Never before had I seen such an impressive selection of chocolate. The sweets shop near the Australian School of Sorcery paled in comparison.

Barrels upon barrels of every sweet imaginable were all over the place. Bins of other sweets were against the wall and displays of chocolate were scattered throughout the floor.

It was officially my favorite store in Hogsmeade. The place was brilliant and it was almost enough to take my mind off Matt. He would have loved Honeyduke's. I'd have to take him there if he and my parents made it to Hogsmeade for my birthday.

I spent nearly an hour browsing all the sweets. I grabbed a shopping basket and filled it to the brim. My parents had given me quite a bit of money at the beginning of the year and I decided then and there that I would spend all of it on Honeyduke's stuff throughout the year.

I found a variety pack of chocolate frogs for Matt. There were milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. But there were also strawberry, vanilla, toffee, caramel, and butterscotch flavored ones. I snagged a box of those for myself as well.

It was nearly dinnertime when I left Honeyduke's, so I just decided to go back to school. I spent the whole walk thinking about my brother and whether he was at St. Mungo's or not. If my parents decided to take him, they would have taken him hours ago.

The common room was crowded when I got there. It seemed that most people were already back from Hogsmeade. Teddy was setting off a round of Weasleys' indoor fireworks and had a large crowd of people watching him.

I bypassed the commotion and headed up to my dormitory. I had to hide my sweets and send Matt's chocolate frogs off with Pollux.

Monica was sitting on her bed when I got there, along with a few girls I didn't recognize. I think they were sixth years.

"Could you get out?" Monica said as soon as I stepped foot in the room.

"It's my room, too," I muttered as I crossed the room to my trunk.

"We're busy," Monica snapped, "So get out."

"No," I said. I shoved the bag into my trunk and then noticed that Pollux was sitting on my bed, with a letter attached to his leg.

"Your stupid owl bit me," Monica told me, "It shouldn't be allowed to be here."

"What did you do to him?" I asked as I patted his head.

"Nothing," Monica huffed, "I was just trying to get the letter off his leg-"

"Wait," I turned to look at her, "You were trying to read my mail?"

"No," Monica replied, "Why would I want to read your stupid mail? I was just trying to get the owl to leave. It kept hooting and it was driving me mad."

Like I was going to believe that. I glared at her as my heart started beating faster. Monica couldn't read my mail. What if the letter was from my parents? She'd find out about Matt.

"Don't. Ever. Touch. Pollux. Or. My. Mail. Again," I seethed. I was really grateful that Pollux had bit her. He was such a good owl.

"And you don't ever come in here when I'm busy," Monica replied.

"I'll come in here whenever I want," I said as I detached the letter from Pollux's leg. I shoved it in my pocket and stomped out of the room. I didn't want Monica anywhere near me when I read it, in case it was about Matt.

The common room proved to be much too crowded to find a place to read my letter. There wasn't a single chair available that wasn't more than two feet away from another person.

I left the room and decided to try and find an empty classroom. The first two I tried were locked, but the Transfiguration room wasn't. I ran inside and flicked my wand at the torches on the wall. The room lit up and I sat down on one of the tables. I took a deep breath and ripped the envelop open.

Dear Amy,

I hope you had fun in Hogsmeade.
We can't wait to hear all about it.
Send us a letter and tell us what
you did.

We did wind up taking Matt to St.
Mungo's. He woke up around noon
with a headache that wouldn't go
away with potions and he got sick
every time he tried to eat something.
With the combination of having the
flu and then the full moon, he
hadn't eaten anything in nearly
three days-

"You're not allowed to be in here," someone said from the doorway.

I hastily shoved the letter in my pocket and looked up. An older Hufflepuff was standing just inside the room. She had her arms crossed over her chest and was frowning at me in a way that reminded me of my really strict Defense teacher from Australia.

"Er, it was unlocked..." I said.

"You're still not allowed," she replied, "You don't look familiar. You're not one of the usual trouble makers."

"I'm new here," I said quickly. I was getting kind of tired of telling people that.

"Oh," the girl walked towards me and stuck out her hand, "Camilla Redwood, Head Girl."

"Amy Eckerton," I shook her hand. Head Girl. That would explain her extensive knowledge of the rules.

"Nice to meet you, Amy Eckerton," Camilla smiled, "I'll let you off this time, since you don't know all of the rules. But from now on, don't go into any empty classrooms at night."

I nodded and followed her out of the room. She sped off down the corridor shouting after a couple first years who ran shrieking past us.

I sighed and walked in the other direction at a much slower pace. I doubted the common room had emptied in the fifteen minutes I had been gone and I was sure Monica was still in the dormitory.

I wandered around aimlessly for a while trying to find someplace to go read my letter. Eventually I wound up in front of the hospital wing. That was where I could read my letter, I thought. It was quiet and there were beds with curtains. If Madam Pomfrey asked why I was there, I would just tell her the truth. She was the only one in the castle who I could tell the truth.

The place was empty when I got inside, which was better than I could have asked for. Madam Pomfrey was behind her desk and got up as soon as I walked inside.

"Amy," she smiled, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," I nodded, "I just needed someplace private to read a letter. It's, um, from my parents..." my voice trailed off.

"Of course," Madam Pomfrey said softly, "Stay as long as you'd like."

"Thanks," I said and walked towards the nearest bed. I pulled the curtains shut and pulled the letter out again.

Healer Sterling gave him a stronger
pain potion for his headache and
got a nutrient potion in him.
He's staying overnight, though, for
observation. Sterling said that
he should be able to go home
tomorrow if he continues getting
better. We're staying with him.
I'll owl you when we're home.

Hope to see you next week for your
birthday. Professor Kendrick has
not yet owled us back about it,
but I'm sure he's busy and will
reply soon. I'll let you know as
soon as he gets back to me.

Love,
Dad

I stared at the letter until the words became blurry. They had gone to St. Mungo's. Matt was in St. Mungo's again. I wanted to go visit him. I felt so helpless being so far away. I couldn't do anything. It was true that there was nothing I could do even if I was at St. Mungo's, but being there would be better than being at school.

How long would it even take for him to get better? Sterling hoped he'd get to go home tomorrow, but who knew if that would happen? I wondered if he would even be better in a week, if he would be better in time to go to Hogsmeade for my birthday.

I shook my head. That was selfish. He was the one who got the flu and then had to turn into a wolf and was now in the hospital. I shouldn't be thinking about my birthday. I was fine. The worse I had to deal with was an arrogant and irritating roommate. I didn't have to turn into a wolf once a month.

"Everything ok?"

I jumped and hastily rubbed the moisture from my eyes as I turned around. Madam Pomfrey had popped her head through the curtains.

"Er," I sighed. There was no point in pretending everything was ok. Yet again, I felt compelled to just tell the nurse everything. "No, not really."

Madam Pomfrey sat down on the bed next to me and patted my shoulder. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"My brother is at St. Mungo's," I whispered and handed her the letter.

She looked at me sadly and took the letter. She hesitated before reading it, but I nodded and she scanned it.

"Oh, Amy," she put down the letter and sighed, "I know it's hard being away while he's sick, but I think he'll be fine. Think back to when you went to school in Australia. He had bad full moons then, right? And he was fine."

I nodded, knowing she was right. The only thing was, was that back then I didn't really know when Matt had a bad full moon. My parents didn't tell me much. They sent a letter after every full moon and basically just told me if it was bad or good, but not the details. Now my parents were letting me in on the details and it was worrying me.

"Now, why don't you go down to the Great Hall and get some dinner. Then go do something to get your mind off your brother. It won't do him any good for you to worry," Madam Pomfrey handed me back the letter and stood up. She patted my knee and went back to her desk.

I shoved the letter into my pocket and wiped the rest of the tears from my eyes. I stood up and pulled back the curtains. The ward was still empty and Madam Pomfrey had returned to her work at her desk.

"The door is always open," she said.

"Thanks," I whispered as I left.

I did go to the Great Hall for dinner, but I didn't eat much. I mainly mixed my food around on my plate and when the first years sitting near me started having a food fight, I decided it was time to leave. I ran up to my dormitory and grabbed the chocolate frogs I had bought for Matt. I walked slowly to the owlery and sent them off with a letter. Hopefully they would cheer Matt up while he was in the hospital.

******

Pollux brought me a letter Monday morning from my parents. Matt was able to go home late on Sunday and was doing better. Kendrick had also given me permission to go to Hogsmeade for my birthday and my parents were sure that Matt would be well enough to go. Between that and the fact that Monica overslept and was late to Double Potions, my week had gotten off to a good start.

The rest of the week was uneventful. I fell asleep in History of Magic but no one noticed since Samantha did the same and began snoring partway through the lesson. Apparently the Gryffindor Quidditch team had practiced for three hours straight the night before so she got very little sleep.

By the time Saturday arrived I was quite excited to see my family. I decided to devote the day to studying since I probably wouldn't get much done on Sunday. I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with my history studying and it was about time. I figured I'd be able to make it partway through the twentieth century by the evening and after that I'd be able to start on The Rise and Fall of Lord Voldemort, which is what I was really interested in.

"You sure do study a lot."

I looked up from my book about the wand shortage of 1932 and saw Ted Lupin and Landon Comer collapsing into the chairs in front of me. Both looked out of breath and were sporting huge grins.

I shrugged. "I've got a lot of catching up to do."

"I think she rivals Victoire," Landon replied, "And I had never seen anyone study more than Victoire."

"But even Victoire knows when it's time for fun," Ted pointed out.

"Why are you two so out of breath?" I asked warily.

"Erm, probably best you didn't know," Teddy muttered, "So you can say you didn't know anything about it if you're asked."

"We figured the library would be the best place to hide," Landon grinned, "We'll blend in with all the academic types, like you."

I raised my eyebrows. "But you're a prefect."

"Doesn't mean I can't have fun," Landon shrugged.

"My dad was a prefect," Teddy said, "And he made plenty of trouble."

"Anyway, you should find out what we did at any moment," Landon said.

Teddy checked his watch. "Yup, anytime now."

The two boys didn't say anything else and I went back to my book. I hadn't read two paragraphs when I heard a faint explosion in the distant.

"Right on time," Teddy grinned as he stood up.

The entire library erupted in chatter and half the people ran out of their chairs and towards the door. I followed Teddy and Landon, who were leading the pack.

"This is a library!" Madam Pince shouted as we stormed out the door.

I had no idea where we were going, but I followed Teddy and Landon until they reached the Charms classroom. They came to an abrupt halt in front of it. There was already a crowd of students in front of the room and most of them were laughing hysterically.

"What did you do?" I whispered to Teddy. I couldn't see a thing with everyone standing in front of me. I realized within a few days of being at Hogwarts that I was one of the shortest, if not the shortest, person in the fourth year. It didn't help that most of the people in front of me were sixth and seventh years.

"Portable swamp," Teddy whispered, "Right in Washburn's room. Bit of a specialty of George Weasley."

I gaped at him and then squeezed my way to the front of the crowd so I could see. When I finally managed to see it, I let out a loud gasp. The Charms classroom had been turned into a swamp. There were various plants throughout the room and every inch of the floor was covered in a thick layer of mud.

It was unbelievable. The swamp was one thing, but to put it in Washburn's room? Even I knew that he was the foulest professor in the school and I had only been there for two months. It was common knowledge that a good, healthy fear of Professor Washburn was necessary for survival at Hogwarts. Teddy and Landon apparently did not have that fear.

"What's going on here?" someone shouted.

The group immediately dispersed and someone grabbed my arm. I saw that it was Teddy and looked at him questioningly.

"Filch," he muttered, "Don't want to be caught near that room when Filch is around. He's the caretaker and worse than Washburn when it comes to anger. Some say he's senile and others say he's just mad. Whatever it is, it's best not to be near him."

I nodded and kept running. We didn't stop until we reached the Fat Lady's portrait. Landon shouted the password and we ran inside, followed by what looked to be at least a quarter of Gryffindor house.

Everyone started clapping when the portrait closed and Teddy and Landon both took enormous bows. I got the feeling that they were the resident mischief makers and apparently everyone seemed to know that they were responsible for the swamp.

"Let's just hope that he can't get rid of it by Monday and Charms is canceled!" Teddy shouted.

Half the people in the room, presumably the ones who had Charms on Monday, shouted with excitement and continued to congratulate Teddy and Landon.

I collapsed into a nearby chair and grinned as I watched the two boys run around the room. That had been more fun than I'd had in ages. I wasn't really one to pull pranks at school, but it was certainly fun to watch them take place. Teddy and Landon hadn't even gotten caught, which was amazing. They must have had good practice.

It wasn't until the shouting and excitement began to calm down that I realized that I left all of my books in the library.


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PostPosted: Monday 29 June 2009 7:54:40pm 
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great chapter evil monica


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