In a world where Dumbledore killed Voldemort before he ever killed Harry's parents, we follow three characters during their time at Hogwarts


    Chapter Four

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    filigreewitch
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    Chapter Four

    Post  filigreewitch on Sat May 12, 2012 2:37 pm

    That night the Slytherin common room was decorated and held a cheerful vibe. The Slytherins' hatred for Astrid seemed to be forgotten as they celebrated their first win of the season. They celebrated until about midnight when Professor Snape came in yelling for everyone to go to bed.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A few weeks passed getting closer to Christmas vacation. Students were cheery and not paying much attention to classes, except of course Hermione. The list of who was staying over Christmas break was being passed around. Astrid saw where Teal and Jenson's names were on it. They would virtually have the school to themselves.

    Astrid awoke early to leave the school on time. She found Teal and Jenson by the lake. It seemed to have become "their place".
    "Hey guys," she said stopping behind them.
    "Hey," they said in unison.
    "I'm sorry you guys have to stay at the school," Astrid said sitting on the side of her trunk. "But I have your presents all ready and under the trees. No peeking early. I put a spell on them. If you so much as put a finger on them, it will latch on and won't unattach until I get back."
    "Wow. Okay, Astrid we won't peek," Jenson assured her.
    "Good," she laughed.
    The three of them sat there staring at the lake for a few moments.
    Astrid sighed. "Well I guess I should head out. Wouldn't want to miss the train."
    Astrid gave her friends hugs and told them that she'd see them in the new year.

    Astrid found a car to herself and pulled out a book. She took off her plaid jacket, laid it on one end of the seats and laid down. She opened her book and began to read.
    Not too much later, her reading was inturrpted when someone walked into the car.
    "May I sit here," a girl's voice asked.
    Astrid groaned inwardly, knowing that voice anywhere.
    "Sure, Hermyone," she said not looking away from her book.
    "Thank you."
    "Hnn," she mumbled.

    The train ride went by fairly quietly. Up until they started getting close to King's Cross.
    "What's it like to be from America? I've been there once. To New York. It was fascinating. My family and I went to a place called Broadway. It-"

    "Look Hermione," Astrid sighed. "America's awesome. I love Broadway. But I'm not the biggest fan of you. You're an insufferable know-it-all, annoying, and you don't know when to shut up. But for some reason, unknown to all, Jenson likes you. He's your friend; he's my friend. It seems I will be around you a lot while at Hogwarts. I will pretend to like you and I won't even yell at you that much, if you promise to leave me alone when Jenson isn't around. It's win, win, win. What do you say?"
    Hermione gulped. "O-okay," she stuttered.
    "Great," Astrid said getting something from her trunk. "I figured you'd find me on the train, so here."
    Astrid chunked a box at Hermione.
    "What is it?"
    "A Christmas present. Open it."
    Hermione opened the box. Inside were a pair of black, stylish shoes.
    "I may dislike you, but I hate your shoes even more." Astrid said. "Feel free to tell Jenson. Maybe he'll lay off and not be so stressed over our non-friendship"
    "Thank you, Astrid. This is really sweet."
    "Hey. Remember our deal."
    Hermione nodded, smiling down at the shoes.
    Astrid laid back down and continued reading.

    Astrid and her dads pulled up to their new England home. It was almost as big as a mansion.
    "Welcome to our new home," Anson said opening the double doors.
    Astrid's mouth fell open and she let Nipsy down so they could explore.

    The foyer was quite big and had a crystal chandlier hanging from the ceiling. The living room and sitting room were huge!
    "Where's my room," Astrid asked excitedly.
    Anson and Eli laughed as they watched her jump up and down.
    "Up in the tower."
    "Great. Like Hogwarts?" She asked coming off her high slightly.
    "Just go look," Eli said.
    Astrid ran up the stairs and then up a set of steps.
    The doors were pink with glittering A's on them. She wrapped her hands around the french door handles, pushing in. What greeted her from the inside of the room was nothing she could have imagined. The floor was purple wood with a yellow shag, fuzzy area rug. The walls were decorated with chalk and the bed was as if two queen sized beds were pushed together. There was a light blue canopy around the bed that had rhinestones all over it. The bedding was silky and smooth. There was a bay window, with the two of the panes made of stained glass. One with a moon and stars and the other the sun. There was a pink leather couch and a purple leather oversized round chair. There was also a desk and a huge TV that was connected to her game system.

    Astrid then noticed a spiral white staircase leading to a door on the ceiling, much like the one at Hogwarts that lead to the Divination classroom. Astrid climbed the stairs and pulled on the string. Green steps folded out. She walked up them and she instantly saw a piano and guitar. She walked further in and there was an easel with different sized canvases. A small window door lead to a balcony. On the balcony was a telescope.
    Eli and Anson came into the room.
    "So what do you think," Eli asked.
    Astrid raced down to them. "What do I think? I love it! It's amazing! It's perfect! It's- thank y'all so much!"

    Astrid and Nipsy slept really well that night on their new bed.

    The next few days passed by fairly quickly and it was Christmas Eve. Astrid wondered what Jenson and Teal were up to and how they were doing, so she sent them a letter with her dad's owl, Salem.
    Astrid's dads called her downstairs.
    "Our usual Christmas Eve party will be held tonight at 7:30. There will be some new faces as well some of the usual guests."
    "Yay! Can I help decorate?"
    "You know you can't do magic outside school," Anson said.
    "Ugh, fine. I'll go get dressed then," she said walking sadly to the stairs.
    "You'll find a new dress in the closet," Eli sang.
    Astrid's eyes lit up and she squealed, running up the stairs. She reached her walk-in closet and put her hands on the doorknobs, but stopped.
    "No. Not yet." She said to herself. "After a bath."
    Astrid walked to the bathroom with her fuzzy purple robe draped over her arm.
    "Whoa."
    The word echoed through the bathroom. It was also large. The tub was big enough so that she could practically swim in it.

    After she relaxed in the tub for about an hour, she noticed her fingers were super pruney and decided it was time to get out. She dried off and wrapped her robe around her and quickly did her hair in loose curls and her make-up. Then she walked back over to the closet. As soon as she opened the doors there was a shiny silver dress staring back at her. It was the most beautiful dress she'd ever possessed. The top part was halter style while the skirt was floor length. She pulled on the dress and paired it with a pair of silver heels. Then she heard the doorbell. She glanced at the clock. 7:30 sharp. She walked downstairs and saw Draco Malfoy.

    The two stared at each other in awkward silence as their parents talked.
    "And this is our daughter, Astrid," Eli said to Draco's parents.
    "Hello," she said as she bowed.
    "And this is our Draco," Narcissa said. "I believe you two are in the same house?"
    "Yes ma'am," Astrid said.
    The doorbell rang again and Professor Snape walked in.
    "Professor," Astrid and Draco said confusedly.
    Snape smiled as he embraced Eli.
    "It's been a while."
    "Too long," Eli said.
    "Anson," Snape said shaking his head.
    "Severus," he smiled warmly.
    Draco and Astrid looked at each other, confused.

    An hour later the party was in full swing. Old people were everywhere. The only other kid was Draco.
    Astrid walked outside on the balcony with her butterbeer. She stared at the sky, finding what constellations she could with the naked eye.
    A few moments later Draco walked out on the same balcony.
    "Oh, sorry," he said.
    "It's fine," Astrid said. "Come, join me. I know it's boring in there."
    "Yea." he said. "Too many old people.
    "Mmhmm."
    "So is that the entire Chudley Cannons team in there?"
    "Umm, yea. Eli's on the team."
    "Oh cool."
    "Yup."
    "So Snape, huh," he asked.
    "Yeah, that was weird. But my dad was friends with him when he was in school."
    Awkward silence surrounded them almost instantly.
    Draco cleared his throat. "You look pretty."
    "Thank you. You look pretty handsome yourself."
    "I know," Draco said and laughed slightly. "Oh. My dad made me get a present for you."
    "Oh," Astrid said.
    He shoved a small box into Astrid's hands, "Here."
    Astrid pulled the silver bow off the green velvet box. She opened the box and inside was the most beautiful necklace. It was white gold with a star charm.
    "Thank you. It's beautiful."
    "You're welcome." Draco cleared his throat again. "I noticed you were about the only one to thoroughly enjoy Astronomy."
    Astrid nodded as she put the necklace on.

    Draco and Astrid sat outside nearly the whole time. It was nearing eleven before Draco's mom came to collect him.
    "Draco, honey, we're leaving," she said before disappearing back inside.
    "Thanks for sticking this out with me," Astrid said.
    "Thank you," he said.
    "And thank you for the gift. I'll have you one tomorrow."
    "I'll be looking forward to it. Bye, Astrid."
    "Bye, Draco."
    Draco left the balcony and Astrid touched her star and smiled.

    "Figured you were out here," Eli said.
    Astrid smiled and walked inside.
    "I see Draco got you a present."
    "Yeah. I told him I'd send him something tomorrow. Now I just have to figure out what."
    Anson thought a moment. "I think I have the perfect thing."
    Anson rushed to his room, Astrid right behind him. He pulled a small trunk from the closet.
    "This trunk is from my days at Hogwarts."
    Eli appeared at the door then.
    He rummaged through it. He pulled out a small green box, similar to the one Astrid's necklace came in, and handed it to her.
    Astrid opened the box, "Really?"
    "Yeah. I have two. My dad and one of my uncles accidentally got me the same present one year. This is the spare."
    "Thanks, dad."
    "No problem," he said kissing his daughter on the side of the head.
    Astrid smiled at Eli as she passed and went to her room to wrap the present.

    "Your uncle didn't give you that," Eli said knowingly as he walked over to Anson.
    "And you know I hated it."
    Eli leaned over giving Anson a backwards hug. "I know. And it was very sweet of you."
    Eli dropped a kiss on Anson's head before sitting next him.
    "I do not miss Lucius."
    "Neither do I," Anson said putting the trunk away.

    On Christmas morning Astrid woke up super early. She sprang from bed, scaring Nipsy as she ran to her dads' bedroom. She ran into the room, after knocking, and asked them to wake up loudly.
    Eli and Anson stirred.
    "What time is it," Eli asked sleepily.
    "5:24."
    "Way too early," Anson said rolling over.
    "Dads," she whined.
    "Fine, fine. We'll be up in a minute," Eli said.
    "Thank you."
    Astrid ran back to her room, grabbing Draco's present from the desk and ran to Salem. She tied the present to his leg. "Take this to Draco, okay?"
    Salem took off and flew into the morning sky.
    Astrid walked into the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. She then went to the family room to turn on their muggle TV so she could watch muggle Christmas cartoons.

    At six Astrid went back upstairs.
    "Coffee's done and it's six. Now get up, please," she begged.
    "Alright, alright," Eli said getting up.
    Anson rolled over too far and rolled off the bed.
    Astrid and Eli laughed as Anson got up. He was laughing as well.
    The family went downstairs and poured themselves coffee and sat around the eight foot white Christmas tree.
    "I'll pass out gifts this year," Astrid yelled.
    She gave Eli and Anson one present and gave herself one. They opened them on the count of three.

    Around seven, Draco stirred in his bed hearing a tapping on the window. He arose sleepily, rubbing his eyes. He opened the window and let the strange owl in. Draco untied the gift. Seeing the blue star pattern on the wrapping and he knew it was from Astrid. He sat back on is bed and took the wrapping off. He opened the box and inside was the best present he'd ever received. It was a white gold ring in the form of a snake with an emerald eye. He carefully took out the ring and placed it on his right ring finger.
    He went to his desk and scribbled a thank you note and gave it to the owl to take back to Astrid.

    "Thank you for the presents, dads!" Astrid said excitedly.
    "You're welcome," Eli said.
    "And thank you for ours," Anson said.

    Astrid got some new notebooks, a bike, some new video games, some new movies, and some new clothes.

    Salem came through the window dropping Draco's letter on her lap and another owl flew through and landed on her leg. She untied the box and saw it was from Teal. She opened the present and saw a bracelet made from some sort of dark blue leaves. She slipped the bracelet on and sent back a thank you note written on the wrapping paper.

    Astrid couldn't wait to get back to Hogwarts to see Teal and Jenson. And to ask what Christmas at Hogwarts was like.


    Last edited by Skitso on Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Tetheas
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    Re: Chapter Four

    Post  Tetheas on Wed May 16, 2012 3:20 pm

    Teal’s first Quidditch game was an interesting experience. He went not because he actually cared at all for Quidditch, but because Astrid was so enthusiastic about it and it seemed to matter so much to her. In all actuality, Teal didn’t even really know the basics of Quidditch. All he knew was that it was a sport and that it was played on broomsticks. He had never even witnessed a game before now.

    Slytherin ended up winning the first game of the year, and they all cheered, Astrid most of all by far. Teal didn’t really like most of the Slytherins he had met so far, but it was Astrid’s house, so he could at least support them for her.

    *********************

    It wasn’t much longer -- about a month and a half after the first Quidditch game -- before it was time for Christmas break. Teal had learned from one of the earlier letters from his godmother that he would be staying at Hogwarts for Christmas this year. His godmother was doing a bout of traveling, for various reasons, and couldn’t afford to take Teal with her, due to all the apparating that would be required of her. She would, however, be coming to visit him for a day over the break.

    As Christmas drew closer, however, Teal realized that he didn’t know what to get for Jenson or Astrid, and he really wanted to get them something. After conferring with his godmother through a series of owls, he finally had an idea. It wouldn’t even cost him much, if anything, which was good, as Teal and his godmother were on the lower end of wealth.

    The time came for the students who were leaving for break (nearly all of them) to head down to the Hogwarts Express. Astrid met with Teal and Jenson briefly, giving them the gifts she had gotten for them and telling them goodbye, before making her way towards the train.

    And then it was just the two of them.

    It seemed like they were the only two still left at the school. With the exception of the meals, they hardly even saw any of the other students, and the teachers weren’t exactly omnipresent either.

    For breakfast, lunch and dinner they had removed the four house tables from the Great Hall and replaced it with one table, slightly smaller in size than the others, so that the few remaining students could eat together. Teal liked it better this way. It meant he got to sit with Jenson, too, without having to feel like people didn’t want him there. The Great Hall was also laden with a number of different Christmas trees, which Hagrid had been seen lugging inside on several occasions, as well as fairy lights, fake snow, and numerous other decorations.

    The two boys spent the majority of their time together over the next two weeks, sometimes up in the library reading or researching, sometimes off exploring the grounds, and others just finding their way around the school, attempting to familiarize themselves with it. They had already been here a few months, but it didn’t feel like they really knew the castle any better than they had when they’d first arrived.

    *****************************

    Teal’s godmother arrived on the twenty-third, bringing with her a number of items, including his two Christmas presents and the supplies he had asked her for in order to make the presents for Astrid and Jenson. Teal took his two gifts from her, knowing what the first one was, as he had requested it, and placed them under the Christmas tree that had been erected in the Hufflepuff common room. He had left Jenson in the library to spend some time with just his godmother for a bit.

    “How about a trip down memory lane?” Teal’s godmother said, motioning for Teal to lead the way. It had been such a long time since she had attended the school, so Teal showed her around as best he could and was excited to see a few of the places that she still remembered, which he had yet to discover himself.

    Teal’s godmother also spoke to several of the professors while she was there, Professor Sprout in particular, who had apparently been her favorite. Like Teal, his godmother had a great affinity for plants. In fact, it was highly likely that Teal had gotten his interest in them from her. She was always working with some new type of magical herb.

    “Teal’s doing quite well in Herbology so far,” Professor Sprout informed her. “He has a green thumb, if ever I’ve seen one.” She gave him a plump smile and Teal couldn’t help but to return the gesture. He couldn’t think of many things in life that were better than being good at the things you liked.

    Teal's godmother and Professor Sprout then proceeded to journey through the different greenhouses, admiring the plants. It was the first time Teal had been in any of the other greenhouses, as the first year students were only allowed in greenhouse one. As Professor Sprout showed his godmother some of their newest additions, Teal paid close attention, happy to be getting a sneak peak at some of the plants he would be working with in the future.

    "Ah, here's a new one," Professor Sprout said, walking over to a pot containing what seemed to be a giant black slug, covered in boils. It was wriggling about disgustingly and Teal couldn't help but wonder if it was actually even a plant. "Bubotubers," Professor Sprout continued. "We get the students to pop the pustules on these little fellows and we use it to help with acne... who would have guessed?" Teal was fairly certain that she seemed entirely too excited about that.

    They made their way into the dungeons after that, where they found the most unpleasant of people, his greasy hair hanging down around his sullen face.

    “Flora,” Snape acknowledged Teal’s godmother almost menacingly.

    “Severus,” she returned with an almost equally ill tone, one that Teal had rarely heard in her voice before.

    “Still taking care of the boy, I see. It is the least you can do, after all, sin-”

    Don’t!” she warned, pointing her finger at his long, crooked nose.

    Teal took a slight step back. This was a side of her he had never seen before. And what was Snape talking about? Teal had no idea that she had known him in any way other than a fellow student, but the exchange seemed to imply otherwise.

    “This isn’t the time or the place,” she finished, her voice softening, and with that she walked away, leading Teal by the wrist.

    They left the dungeons almost immediately and headed outside. It was more peaceful, especially with the ground laden with snow. Everywhere they looked was white. Even the sky had paled to match the ground. They tromped across the lawn until they reached Hagrid’s cabin. Teal’s godmother wanted to say hello to him before she left. Night was already drawing near and she had to be on her way soon.

    Hagrid invited them inside and they sat in front of the warm fire, thankfully. Teal ignored most of their conversation, not because he was necessarily uninterested, but because this was the first time he’d ever met Fang, Hagrid’s bloodhound, and Teal was having a wonderful time just petting and talking to him. After close to an hour of visiting, the two finally left, both of them waving to Hagrid. Teal was glad he had gotten to officially meet both the giant man and his dog. They seemed like they would make great friends.

    With only a small portion of time left before his godmother had to leave, Teal decided that it was time to introduce her to Jenson. They made their way to the library to find Jenson in virtually the same place Teal had left him. The bespectacled boy looked up and gave them a smile as they entered. Teal couldn't help but to smile back, so happy that his godmother and his best human friend were finally meeting.

    They headed down to dinner, Teal wanting to eat at least one meal with his godmother, and the three of them sat together at the table. Even though their conversation consisted mostly of Jenson and Teal's godmother discussing the differences between the wizarding world and the muggle world, Teal still enjoyed it immensely. It was a memory that he was sure would stick with him for some time.

    Teal hugged and kissed his godmother goodbye and she departed, flying off into the dark sky on her broom. He tried not to let himself cry. Having to tell her goodbye for several more months was almost as hard as his first night at Hogwarts had been. He wiped his tears away with his sleeve, while Edgar’s tongue slapped him on the cheek, letting him know it would be alright.

    **********************

    Christmas day was a very new experience for Teal. Up until now, Christmas had always just been spent with his godmother, like most days. He woke up early, too excited to sleep much anyways, and ran downstairs to the entrance of the Hufflepuff common room to let Jenson inside. They had decided earlier that week that they would celebrate together.

    Jenson ambled into the room, his arms filled with the few presents he’d gotten, and deposited them beneath the tree with Teal’s. After entirely too much debate, they decided to open their presents from Astrid first. While Jenson ripped into the gift, as most eleven year old boys would be expected to do, Teal pulled his apart slowly, doing his best not to rip the brightly decorated paper. The contrast in their movements would have been amusing had anyone been watching.

    Their eyes each lit with excitement when they finally saw their gifts. Jenson had gotten a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages and Teal had received Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean. Teal smiled at the coincidence. This would help him greatly with the Christmas gift he had requested from his godmother. He had already opened it and left it in his room, though. That was to be his own special project.

    They moved on to opening the rest of their presents, which weren’t very numerous, and marveled at each one.

    Finally, there was only one small present left beneath the tree. “You’ve got one more,” Jenson said as he pointed at the tiny gift, recognizing that it was not one he had brought with him. Teal looked down at the gift too, but smiled, knowing the truth.

    “No I don’t,” he said simply, looking back up at Jenson. The dark haired boy did a double take, realizing for the first time that the present had his name on it, and slowly picked it up.

    “You got me a present?” Jenson asked, as if the idea was unusual to him.

    Teal bit down on a smile and nodded. “Merry Christmas, Jenson.”

    It had taken Teal less than an hour to make both Jenson’s and Astrid’s gifts, and he had sent hers to her already via owl. Jenson looked back at the gift, seemingly still mulling over the idea of it, then finally began to tear away the small amount of wrapping paper.  A second later he pulled out a small bracelet, simple and made of large, dark blue leaves.

    “Wow, did you make this?” Jenson asked. Teal gave another nod. “What is it?”

    “It’s made from a special type of leaf,” Teal told him. “They’re called Perrio leaves.”

    “Teal, that’s awesome,” Jenson replied, though he looked sad about something. Perhaps it was just the absence of his family, though. Unlike Teal, he hadn’t even gotten to see them over break. The Hufflepuff boy smiled back, hoping that Jenson would cheer up. No one should be sad on Christmas.

    They headed downstairs for a breakfast, where a giant feast was set up for the few remaining students and teachers. Dumbledore and the other Professors were seated at the table with the students today. They had enchanted a small band of instruments to play cheery christmas tunes while they dined. The meal was perfect, with the exception of one event.

    Peeves, wailing about not being treated fairly, zoomed into the Great Hall at one point and began to play with the instruments, turning their tunes into a disastrous cacophony.

    “Peeves! You stop that this instant!” Professor McGonagall yelled, her hands balled into fists, possibly in an attempt to keep from reaching for her wand.

    Surprising everyone in the room, Peeves actually listened, but it was quickly revealed that he had only done so in favor of messing up the feast itself. He was just flying down towards the food when another ghost, whom Teal was fairly certain belonged to the Slytherin house, shot up through the floor and grabbed him. Peeves was pulled back through the floor with a surprised look on his translucent face, which quickly turned back to anger at the last minute.

    After breakfast, Teal and Jenson headed out to the courtyard to practice flying. As neither of them were allowed a broom, they were forced to use the ones provided by the school. Teal laid back on the broomstick, slowly rising into the air and then back down again, while Jenson flew about the courtyard, having fun zooming through the air at what he considered high speeds.

    After watching him for a few minutes, Teal flipped over on his broom and soared over to give Jenson a few tips that he thought might help him control his broom a little better. He had just barely avoided crashing into a tree, and Teal didn’t want him to get hurt. They practiced a little while longer before taking a quick trip around the castle on their brooms. Jenson started to get a little shaky as they got higher up, so Teal began flying closer to him, both to help him feel safer and so that he would be able to grab him, should the worst happen.

    Hogwarts looked so different from up above. It was the first time Teal actually realized just how massive it was. He had known it was huge, but had never really been able to tell how much so until he was able to see the whole of the castle at once. He briefly wondered if other wizarding schools were this big, as it must be quite the task to hide it from the muggle world, or if Hogwarts was the exception.

    Lunch went much the same way as breakfast, though the selection of food was a little different. Again, they all ate together, enjoying the meal, and again Peeves came in to disturb them.

    “Peeves is simply upset because we’ve informed him that he is not allowed to join us for Christmas dinner,” Dumbledore explained after the poltergeist had been removed a second time. “Perhaps, if he did not act like the child of a grindylow, there wouldn’t be an issue.”

    Once they had finished their lunch, the two boys made their way up to the Owlery. They needed to thank Astrid for their gifts, and wanted to do so before they forgot. Teal left Edgar in his inside pocket, as several of the owls had attempted to eat the frog the first time Teal had brought him up in plain view. They scribbled out their thank you letters, slid them snugly inside their envelopes, wrote Astrid’s name on the front, and sent them both off with Jenson’s owl, Ezra.

    After dinner that night, they found themselves in the library. Teal had buried his nose in Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean, and Jenson, who had his book from Astrid with him as well, had been looking through different books from the shelves, but was now sitting down next to Teal. After finishing with one, he turned back to look at the shelf, spotting the next book he wanted.

    “Wingardium Leviosa!” he whispered pointing his wand towards the desired book.

    The charm seemed to work for a second, but then the two books on either side of the one he was aiming for were pulled from the shelf as well. They, however, did not stay in the air, but crashed loudly to the ground. The clatter caused Teal to jump, and Jenson withdrew like a turtle going into his shell. Madam Pince was over at their table so fast Teal almost thought she had apparated. She glared at them before telling them to keep it down and be respectful of the books as she picked them up and placed them back on their shelf.

    Perhaps one day they would be able to achieve better accuracy with such magic, but as of right now they still needed a little practice.

    ******************

    Despite only having each other to entertain themselves, the end of Christmas break had arrived before Teal and Jenson even knew it. They had spent almost all of the two weeks together, most of that time used for studying and practicing spells and charms.

    The other students returned, and with them came the return of classes as well. It didn’t take long before it started to become clear that each Jenson, Teal and Astrid had at least one subject in which they seemed particularly skilled. For Jenson, it seemed to be transfiguration. Astrid had a knack for potions and Teal, as Professor Sprout had said, was rather skilled when it came to Herbology.

    Realizing their strengths, the three friends helped each other through their studies, and on the occasions where none of them were doing well with something, Hermione would step in to assist them most enthusiastically. They had exams at the end of the year, after all, and Teal wanted to make sure he did well. He hadn’t even really been that worried until Hermione had begun drawing every conversation back to their exams and preaching about how important it was that they be prepared.

    Lost in their classes and studies, the time seemed to slip through their fingers. Another Quidditch match came and went, and Teal barely remembered who had won. It seemed like it had only been a week or two since Christmas, and yet Valentine’s day had already arrived. Teal had never actually viewed Valentine’s day as much of a holiday. He didn’t really get the point of it. Astrid, however, could not stop talking about it... or boys. That was the only reason Teal was even aware of the day before it came.

    The castle was decorated with hearts in seemingly every possibly way. The students had somehow acquired heart candies as well, though Teal wasn’t sure where from. Though he didn’t care for the holiday, he did find these particular candies interesting, as they had been enchanted to change colors based on the mood of the person holding them. If it hadn’t been for all the girls he’d seen with pink hearts, he probably would have discovered this sooner.

    The Professors seemed to agree with Teal about the status of the holiday, as they still held classes and students were still expected to do the same amount of work. Nothing special really happened that day, though, at least not as far as Teal was concerned. He went to bed the same way he had woken up, feeling like it was just another Thursday at Hogwarts. One thursday closer to the end of the year...


    Last edited by Tetheas on Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:41 am; edited 6 times in total
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    MedGrad911
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    continued...

    Post  MedGrad911 on Thu May 31, 2012 2:11 pm

    Christmas caught Jenson completely unawares. Between acclimating to his new life as a wizard, juggling the increasingly difficult coursework, staying ahead with his homework, studying about the wizarding world with Hermione, meeting some more of his fellow Ravenclaws, and hanging out with Teal and Astrid, Jenson stayed busy and plenty distracted from the coming holidays.

    “…and so I’ll finally get to see our new house this Christmas. My dads’ say that it’s terrific, so I’m super excited to explore it with Nipsy…isn’t that right?” Astrid cooed, cuddling the kitten to her face. Nipsy, on the other hand, seemed distracted by a floating Christmas decoration overhead and her eyes remained transfixed on that rather than her adoring owner.

    Jenson, who was walking with Astrid and Teal passed the Great Hall on the way to the grounds outdoors, halted in his tracks at this. “Wait, you’re going home for Christmas?” The thought that you could choose to do that had not occurred to Jenson. Astrid and Teal also stopped in the hallway. Thankfully, the hall was pretty deserted.

    “Well, of course. Aren’t you?”

    “I…I didn’t know that we could.” Jenson’s heart sank. He knew that it would be a stretch to ask his mother for a ticket just to visit for a few days. Sure, she would do her best to scrape together the money…but then she and Jason would struggle for the next few months. Jenson felt a familiar lump rising in his throat at the thought. He turned to Teal. “What about you, Teal? Are you going home?”

    Teal shook his head, but did not elaborate.

    Well, at least I’ll have someone that I know to talk to on Christmas… Jenson thought glumly.

    Jenson found it hard to enjoy the next few days after that. His mood was further soured in their final Charms class before the holidays. Professor Flitwick had assigned each group to perform three increasingly difficult charms on their baubles. Levitate them semi-permanently, charm them to change colors, and charm them to play Christmas carols. As usual, his class partners were Anthony Goldstein and Hermione. After several attempts, Anthony managed to properly swish and flick without making their Christmas orb fly through the air at nearby students. It was now Jenson’s turn for the next charm.

    “Palpitate aureus et cyaneus et argenteus lumens,” Jenson said with a flourish of his wand, making their decoration pulse with an alternating golden, blue and silver glow. Beside him, Anthony Goldstein mimed applause while Hermione smiled brightly.

    “That was wonderful, Jenson.”

    “Indeed, Mr. Shirey,” professor Flitwick called from his podium, beaming, “Fifteen points to Ravenclaw.”

    Hermione, who decided that she wanted the most difficult of the three charms for herself, had almost finished writing out her incantation. While hers required less wording, it required immense concentration.

    A moment later, their bauble rang out with I Saw Three Ships, to Flitwick’s apparent delight and approval. Another fifteen points for Ravenclaw were earned. With their group finished first, and with almost ten minutes left in the period, they set about talking about the upcoming break. Anthony’s family was apparently visiting Brazil over the break because they favored warmer weather over England’s blustery, damp winters.

    “My parents want to take me skiing this year. It will be the first year I’ve ever been, so I’m very excited,” Hermione said excitedly, packing her bag to leave. “What about you, Jenson?”

    Jenson packed his bag silently at this news. So, Hermione would be leaving too. Even Anthony was going off somewhere. Well, he had Teal, at least. He might not say much…but at least he was good company.

    “Jenson?” Hermione asked again, her voice filled with concern. “Are you alright?”

    “I’m staying here for Christmas…” Jenson said, unable to keep all of the bitterness from his voice.

    “Oh…”

    Jenson hated the looks of pity on their faces and, when professor Flitwick dismissed the class a few moments later, he pretended that he had to use the bathroom to avoid an awkward walk with them to Transfiguration. As he tried to leave, professor Flitwick stopped him.

    “Mr. Shirey? I was wondering if you would come by my office later, after all of your classes are finished. I believe that potions are your last class today?”

    “Yes, sir. Is there any time in particular that would be best?”

    “I’ll be in my office before and after dinner today, so anytime will be fine. Now, off to Transfiguration! I’d hate to keep one of Minerva’s best students from her…” he said with a kind smile, motioning for Jenson to hurry out.

    Jenson felt warmed by the sincerity of professor Flitwick’s compliment, but could not help but wonder what the meeting would be about…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Thank you again, professor! It means the world to me,” Jenson said fervently, wondering if his forehead was bruised from all of the kowtowing and head scraping that he had been doing. Professor Flitwick gave him a sad smile as he waved him away.

    “You’re very welcome Mr. Shirey. I do remember what it is like, being a first year and facing all of this for the first time on your own.” A strange emotion passed over his features quickly but, before Jenson could even be sure he had seen it, Flitwick’s face broke into a smile. “I’ll see you then! Until then, happy holidays!”

    Jenson’s bag bounced at his side as he literally ran to the owlery, his foul mood from earlier completely replaced by elation.

    He had trouble finishing his letter legibly; his hands shook with excitement. He had to calm himself down, stroking Ezra slowly, listening to her quiet hoots for several minutes before he was able to finish his letter. After tying it to her leg, he gave Ezra one final pat before letting her fly through the great window, gliding silently into the clear, dusky sky.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Where have you been?!”

    Having solved the Ravenclaw riddle (“thyme”), Jenson nearly tripped over his own feet at the unexpected interrogation. Regaining his footing, he straightened up to find Hermione, not ten feet away, tapping her foot impatiently, her hands on her hips. She looked highly annoyed.

    “You told me that we would do our homework together, starting at five. It is…6:20. Dinner had already started and I was waiting for you all this time. Where did you go?”

    Crap! He’d forgotten all about that.

    After professor Flitwick had told him to stop by after potions, Jenson had been distracted during both Transfiguration, turning his Christmas bow into a quill, and History of Magic, where he actually stayed awake the entire time. In Potions, he almost dumped the entirety of their cauldron’s contents into his own lap (thankfully, professor Snape did not seem to notice).

    He had also been distant with Hermione, both annoyed that she was also leaving for the holidays (it shamed him to admit it) and distracted as he was, and she had certainly noticed. He had completely forgotten his promise to work on their holiday homework today before the students left tomorrow.

    “I’m sorry, Hermione. Professor Flitwick wanted to have a word with me after Potions today and, well, I guess we lost track of time talking.”

    She appeared surprised by his admission and her expression changed from angry to curious quite rapidly.

    “Really? What did he want to talk to you about? Was it about your splendid color-change charm?”

    From her smile, Jenson guessed that she was now curious instead of angry at him.

    “Not exactly…”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Well I’m excited for you,” Hermione said enthusiastically, “professors aren’t usually allowed to do this sort of thing for the students. He must have had to talk to Dumbledore, or maybe even the Minister of Magic, in order to get permission.”

    “He said to keep it between us…but I figured that I owed you an explanation. I’m sorry that I reacted so immaturely. That’s exciting that you’re going skiing with your parents. I’ve never done anything like that.”

    Hermione looked thoughtful for a second.

    “Maybe…”

    “Hmm?”

    “N-nevermind…”

    Dinner had been delicious, as usual. As the last dinner before the New Year with the entire school body present, Dumbledore and the Hogwarts’ staff pulled out all of the stops. Live fairies had flitted to and fro, glowing musical baubles bounced overhead, roasted foul and wild game littered the table tops; puddings, glazed carrots, treacle-desserts, roasted and souffléd vegetables adored shining gold and silver platters; foaming pumpkin juice and butterbeer (a butterscotch-like beverage that Jenson had grown to adore) flowed freely from floating, chilled casks; even the ghosts were merrier and more exciting to talk to. Even the Grey Lady, the stoic Ravenclaw ghost, made brief appearance before ignoring Peeves and disappeared through a nearby suit of armor.

    Even Astrid and Teal, who were usually quite sullen during meal times, seemed happier and more excited in the light of the celebratory mood. Afterwards, the three of them (minus Hermione, to Astrid’s delight) took a stroll on the grounds, marveling at the beauty of the fresh snow on the already beautiful scenery of the Hogwarts’ surroundings.

    Hermione had decided to get a jump on packing for tomorrow and wait for Jenson before finishing and packing her homework, so after his walk, he had wished a good night to Teal and Astrid and made his way back to the Ravenclaw dorm. They had finished their Potion’s essay on nightshade and were just finishing their transfiguration essays on the basics of inanimate to inanimate transfiguration spells. For extra practice, while she was about to sign her name at the top, he quietly transfigured her quill into a noodle. At her stern look, he laughed and transfigured it back.

    “Well,” he said, stretching and popping a kink in his neck, “it’s after one and you have to be up pretty early to catch the Hogwarts Express. Why don’t we call it a night?”

    “Alright. It’d be silly to go halfway through an essay and stop, anyway.”

    They gathered their things and, standing to go their separate ways, stared at each other awkwardly for a moment before Jenson broke the silence.

    “Well, good night Hermione. I’ll see you in the morning before you leave, right?”

    “Sure. I mean, I’m going to breakfast after all. Good night, Jenson.”

    As she reached the foot of the staircase, Jenson called again.

    “Merry Christmas, Hermione.”

    “Merry Christmas, Jenson.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Hey guys!” Astrid called cheerily.

    “Hey,” Jenson and Teal replied, their eyes still on the frozen lake surface. Teal had sworn to Jenson that he had seen a large tentacle rub against the icy top layer from below. Astrid set down her trunk next to Teal’s other side and sat on it, matching their curious gazes. Suddenly, Teal’s hand shot up and pointed further out, almost in the center of the lake.

    Jenson, now that he knew where to look, could make out a large, dark, thin form pressing against the clear surface from beneath it.

    “Cool,” was hardly befitting, but was all Jenson could think to say.

    “So…” Astrid began, realizing that she finally could catch their attention now that the mystery of the tentacle had been solved, “I’m sorry you guys have to stay at the school, but I have your presents all ready and under the trees. No peeking early! I put a spell on them. If you so much as put a finger on them, it will latch on and won’t un-attach until I get back.”

    “Wow,” Jenson said raising his hands defensively in front of him, as if offended by her apparent distrust, “Okay, Astrid, we won’t peek.”
    Astrid laughed.

    “Good!”

    After sitting for a few more minutes, Astrid finally stood up and dusted off the back of her skirt.

    "Well I guess I should head out. Wouldn't want to miss the train."

    After hugging Teal and Jenson goodbye, she left, leaving Teal and Jenson standing by the lakeside. Then Teal gave a sudden start.

    “I forgot to tell her I'm sending her gift by owl.”

    “Well, you can probably catch her,” Jenson said with a grin. “The train doesn’t leave for 20 more minutes.”

    While Teal ran (or, more like walked quickly) to catch up with Astrid, Hermione came back to say goodbye.

    “I figured that you’d be down here. This is like Teal’s favorite spot.”

    “Is it?” Jenson asked, genuinely surprised. He had not really noticed but, now that he thought about it, their walks often brought them back here, lakeside. “I guess that you’re right. I’d never thought about it before.”

    Hermione gave him an exasperated look before looking over her shoulder to the scarlet engine in the distance. The sounds of the students boarding could be heard even from here.

    “Wel-” Hermione started before Jenson cut her off with a hug.

    “Bye, Hermione. See you after the New Year,” Jenson said brightly.

    She sighed. “See you after the New Year,” she echoed, before leaving him at the edge of the lake.

    Alone, Jenson sat back down at the base of the tree, sighing as a wintry gust made him pull his hood tighter around his face…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Winter break passed in a mixture of tedium and excitement. Each day seemed to pass slowly, like idling through a neighborhood; with less than 30 students staying at Hogwarts, and even some of the teacher’s leaving for the holidays, the castle seemed deserted most of the time. Teal and Jenson spent their days between finishing their homework, practicing spells and exploring the castle’s interior (several blizzards made going outside nearly unbearable).

    On December 23rd, Teal’s godmother arrived, leaving Jenson on his own as Teal went to meet her down on the grounds.

    Jenson spent the day in the library reading Hogwarts, A History, marveling at the sheer amount of information on the school that he and the other students (excepting Hermione, he supposed) seemed ignorant of: rooms that rearranged the furniture to suit their liking, bathrooms in rarely-used areas that released sweet-smelling fragrances to entice students to find and use them, enchanted floors that sometimes turned invisible to frighten those standing on them, etc…

    Jenson also learned that electronics did not work inside of Hogwarts. That, he thought, was very interesting. The lack of outlets made not being able to use devices requiring plugs obvious, but even battery operated electronics were unusable within the grounds of Hogwarts. Jenson would have to mention that to his family back home, lest they should send him something rendered totally unusable as a gift, like an alarm clock.

    After taking a lunch break (in which Dumbledore fired a Christmas cracker and produced a rather large firework, making Jenson almost choke on his mashed potatoes and peas), Jenson made his way back to the library to read some more. He was already over a quarter of the way through the enormous tome, and hoped to finish it by the next day.

    At just before six o’clock, Jenson heard other people shuffling into the library and, when he looked up, found Teal and a tall, thin woman with long, wavy brown hair. Assuming that this was Teal’s godmother, he gave them a smile and stood up to shake her hand in greeting. She was a taller than either Jenson or Teal, so Jenson supposed that she was about five foot five, or five foot six, and she was younger than he expected. She appeared to be in her late twenties or early thirties and, when she took his hand, pulled him in for a tight hug, showing that she was also stronger than she looked. Jenson felt one of his spinal discs pop as it realigned itself under the pressure.

    “So,” she said, breaking the hug and pulling back to give him a better look, “you’re Jenson. Teal has told me quite a bit about you and his friend Astrid. It is a pleasure to actually meet you.”

    Jenson could feel himself reddening under her gaze. Her eyes were a piercing shade of blue and, with her dark bangs completely hiding her forehead, they stood out even more. The expression on her face made it seem as if whatever he was about to say might be the most interesting thing that she had ever heard. It was a lot of pressure.

    “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Teal has told us a lot about you, but, uh…” Jenson struggled to figure out how to finish his sentence without offending her.

    “…but you were expecting someone older?” she asked knowingly.

    Jenson nodded slowly while she gave Teal a fond look and a one-armed hug.

    “He’s a wonderful kid, but he often forgets that others cannot read his mind.”

    They left the library and worked their way to the Great Hall, where they had a fabulous dinner (as always) and Jenson learned that Teal’s godmother was named Flora and that she had a knack for both Herbology (which Teal had told him) and Divination (which Teal had never mentioned).

    “What is divination exactly?” Jenson asked politely around a mouthful of treacle pudding.

    Flora put down her tea cup before speaking.

    “Divination, in a nutshell, is the magic of divining the future using various means – the stars, palm-readings, animals innards…”

    Jenson almost choked at the last one.

    “I don’t believe in killing animals, but I do use palm-reading and stargazing…and,” she said, lifting her cup back off of the table, “reading tea leaves.”

    After finishing dessert and discussing the differences between the muggle and the wizarding world (electricity seemed to fascinate her to no end), it was about time for Flora to leave.

    “Would you like a palm-reading, Jenson?” she asked. Teal went to fetch her broom and coat from the room where they were kept.

    Jenson, who had never even had his own fortune cookie, was not sure how to answer, but did not want to offend Teal’s guardian.

    “Yes, please.”

    What followed would stay with Jenson the rest of his life.

    Holding one of his palms in her own, Flora began to trace the creases of his palm slowly. Jenson struggled not to laugh as her light caresses tickled his skin.

    “Hmmm…you’re life-line is unusually long and deep…you have a doubled head line, so you’re certainly a Ravenclaw…now that’s interesting…” she mumbled.

    “…what’s interesting?” Jenson asked nervously.

    “You don’t appear to have a fate line…” she said with a slight frown.

    “What does that mean?”

    She met his eyes, sending a chill down his spine.

    “You lie outside of fate. You are, in essence, chaos, free from the reigns of outside control. Does that frighten you?”

    “Should it?” Jenson asked, genuinely unsure. To his surprise, she smiled at that.

    “That’s what I like to hear. Now on to the fun stuff…” she said with a wicked smile, tracing her finger back over his palm. After a few seconds, she let his hand go with a smile that, for some reason, made him blush heavily.

    Teal returned at precisely that moment, so Jenson did not get a chance to ask her what she found. They walked out onto the grounds together while Jenson stood there, wondering what she had seen…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Jenson sat on one of the barrels outside of the Hufflepuff entrance, his Christmas presents from home beside him. There were four in total: one from both Jason and their mom, one from Jason and one from their mom exclusively. The fourth was from…him.

    At the creaking of hinges, Jenson hopped down from his barrel and grabbed his gifts, giving Teal a small smile as he scrambled into the Hufflepuff common room, depositing his gifts below the enormous fir tree in the corner, alongside what he assumed were Teal’s own gifts.

    They started by opening Astrid’s gifts. A large green tome entitled Quidditch Through The Ages fell into his lap while Teal, with an audible “hmph,” experienced a similar situation as a smaller, thicker tomb entitled Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean slipped out of his carefully unwrapped package and onto his crossed legs.

    “Whoa,” they both marveled before grinning at each other. Quidditch, along with actually performing magic, was probably the most exciting thing that Jenson had discovered at Hogwarts. Jenson missed playing baseball when he was a kid, and the beaters reminded Jenson of how he used to practice at the batting cages – wildly swinging with one arm while his coach or mother told him to “stop playing around and do it right.”

    Judging from the expression on Teal’s face, Astrid must have made the right choice with him as well. It must be nice to have money, Jenson thought. From the looks of the gilded pages and the colorful illustrations throughout the books, they must have been quite expensive. They carefully put their new books aside and continued opening their gifts.

    Jenson’s brother had sent him a pack of Sour Patch Kids and a pack of Reese’s Pieces, two of Jenson’s favorite candies. At Teal’s curious expression, Jenson explained what they were and, after assuring him that there were no fecal-flavored ones, let him try them. While Teal made a face at the sour candies, the expression on his face when he bit into the tiny peanut-butter candies was one that Jenson had never seen on Teal’s face before: absolutely unequivocal rapture. Jenson decided that Teal should have them and, since it was a two pound bag, that it would last him a while.

    Jenson’s mother and brother, together, sent him a hat and scarf (being from the southeastern US, he had experienced a little trouble acclimating to the relatively harsh English winters). He excitedly put them on and opened the gift from his mother.

    Jenson gave an adulated cry as he tore the wrapping off of his gift, revealing an excited-looking blond boy and a concerned looking tiger flying off the end of a pier over an open expanse of water. Teal, wrist deep in his final present, turned to Jenson in surprise, alarm tracing his features. Jenson tried to find the words to explain his excitement.

    “It’s a, um, comic series from back home,” Jenson said excitedly, “about a little boy and his stuffed tiger, whom he imagines to be alive, and they get into all sorts of trouble, because the boy is really mischievous, and…”

    At Teal’s blank stare, Jenson could see that he was not getting his point across and gave up. “It’s just something from back home that I didn’t realize I missed until this moment…”

    His final present from home lay untouched by his right knee. He would open that later, alone.

    He noticed that there was one more present beneath the tree. “You’ve got one more,” Jenson said, pointing it out. Teal smiled.

    “No I don’t.”

    Picking up the package, Jenson recognized his own name written in Teal’s meticulously tidy handwriting.

    “You got me a present?”

    “Merry Christmas Jenson,” Teal said, popping another peanut-butter candy into his mouth, watching Jenson with a small smile.

    Unwrapping the present slowly, he found a dark blue circlet, obviously made for a wrist, made from a smooth, but lightly-veined, soft material. He turned to Teal, awestruck.

    “Wow, did you make this?” At Teal’s nod, he asked, “What is it?”

    “It’s made from a special type of leaf. They’re called Perrio leaves.”

    Teal didn't say anything else about the bracelet, but simply smiled as Jenson slipped it on.

    “Teal, that’s awesome,” he said, feeling terrible that he did not have anything of equal value or meaning to reciprocate…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Late in the evening, excusing himself from Teal for a moment, he made his way to Professor Flitwick’s office. Jenson was greeted by a red-faced charms teacher and the strong odor of cherry and spirits. Within the office, he could hear muffled conversations, laughter, giggles and music.

    Apparently, professor Flitwick was hosting a Christmas get-together in his office.

    After reminded Flitwick who he was, the diminutive professor appeared to immediately sober up.

    “Of course, Mr. Shirey. Follow me.”

    Professor Flitwick led Jenson between a crowd of people, most of whom Jenson did not recognize from around school, though he did see professor McGonagall with a flaming glass in one hand, smiling while talking to an animated little man wearing 3 different hats on his head.

    Professor Flitwick opened the door to his study, ushered Jenson in and shut the door behind them. Leading Jenson over to a glass case, he opened it and retrieved a mirror, the size of a small serving tray, and placed it on a stand next to his desk, waving his wand. A comfortable looking chair set it self down in front of the mirror and, motioning for Jenson to take a seat, Flitwick tapped the mirror twice with his wand. What looked to be fog spread within the mirror, obscuring the reflection of Jenson’s face.

    “I will leave you to it, then,” Flitwick said with a smile, patting Jenson on the back before leaving, shutting the door behind him.

    After a moment, the fog dissipated, revealing a familiar face and pair of twinkling, though tired, hazel eyes. Jenson felt his throat close up a bit as he tried not to cry.

    “Merry Christmas mom…”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I don’t understand it. Why do people act like idiots during Valentine’s day?” Jenson groused.

    After the winter holidays, classes and students had returned in full swing and, as if to drive the point that their first year was nearly over, the teachers had been piling on the homework lately. Even Hermione, while she preached on the necessity to keep up with their work and prepare for upcoming exams, seemed more irritable as the end of the year approached. Today, after History of Magic, Astrid, Jenson and Hermione had found themselves in the library, finishing professor Binns’ essay before it could sneak up on them later. For the third time since they had been there, a giggling group of girls had been shooed out by Madam Pince for reading their valentines too loudly and, for Jenson, too obnoxiously.

    Hermione kept silent, but Astrid, on the other hand…
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    filigreewitch
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    Re: Chapter Four

    Post  filigreewitch on Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:08 pm

    Astrid and the gang sat in the library working on Professor Binn’s paper. Hermione was babbling away about the paper, Astrid ignoring her and the giggling girls in the corner that were also grating her nerves.

    Astrid had been civil towards Hermione since Christmas by ignoring her most of the time. This could probably contribute to her semi-sour mood-bottling everything up. But Jenson seemed to be happier and she didn’t want Jenson to be sad again.

    Jenson’s voice brought Astrid out of her thoughts. “I don’t understand it. Why do people act like idiots during Valentine’s day?”

    Astrid looked in her bag. There were three gifts, one for each of her friends. Instead she pulled out a velvet bag and plopped it in the middle of the table.
    “Because dudes give chicks stupid presents and sappy cards and expect them to swoon. And the stupid chicks fall for it,” she answered sourly.
    Teal and Jenson gave each other a look. They'd thought she liked Valentine’s Day since that’s all she’d been basically been talking about for days.
    Sensing this, Astrid explained. “Normally I like Valentine’s Day, but this kind of puts me in a bad mood,” she said, meaning the gift.
    Jenson picked up the bag and spilled its contents. A sugar quill and a card fell out.
    “I know you like sugar quills," Jensen said knowingly, remembering seeing her eat some in class.
    “Who’s it from,” Teal asked.
    “Harry freaking Potter,” Astrid groaned. “He thinks he’s all that when really he’s just arrogant. He’s been pestering me all year. He’s quite annoying. Listen to the card.”
    Astrid opened the card and began to read aloud.
    “’Dearest Astrid’, blek. ‘You are a ray of sunshine. You bestill my beating heart. We should go out to dine, sometime. With all my love, H. Potter.’ I mean where does an eleven year old get this shit?”
    “It sounds sweet,” Hermione said ogling.
    “It probably would… if I didn’t know him.”
    “Well not to get off topic but we should really get back to this paper,” Hermione said.
    Astrid took a deep breath. “Yes, you are so right Hermy-ione.”
    She picked up her quill and sighed.
    “You know what. I’m getting a headache. I’ll catch up with you later,” Astrid said putting her stuff in her bag.
    Astrid stood and tossed the three bags on the table.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    And she left the library.

    Astrid made her way back to her common room and sat on the couch. She noticed a gift on the table with her name on it. Assuming it was a prank, Astrid opened it with extreme caution.
    About twenty or so sugar quills spilled out and a simple note. ‘I knew you liked these.’
    Astrid turned the slip of parchment over but there was no name.
    Smiling, she opened one of the quills and stuck one in her mouth.

    That’s when Pansy and her followers walked in.
    “Oh look, Burkeheart got a present. Someone probably felt sorry for her.”
    The girls giggled.
    “Well I got a present as well. From my Drakie-Poo.” She showed Astrid a green stuffed teddy bear. “And he didn’t feel sorry for me.”
    Pansy and her girls giggled, walking toward the dorms and leaving Astrid behind, digging her nails into her palms. This was not how she wanted Valentine's Day to end up.
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    Tetheas
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    Re: Chapter Four

    Post  Tetheas on Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:36 pm

    The winter season continued on, moving fast at times, but slow for the most part. The snow was beginning to melt around the grounds and patches of green were starting to show through in various locations. Teal liked the snow, but he was glad that the bright weather was coming back. He noticed that it seemed to make people happier, himself included. Not to mention it meant he could start on his project soon.

    However, as exciting as the prospect of the end of the school year approaching was, this meant that their exams we’re quickly approaching as well. Hermione had written out a studying schedule, not only for herself, but also for Astrid, Jenson and Teal.

    “These will help to make sure you have plenty of time to study for your finals this year,” she said, passing them each their respective schedules. “As you can see, I’ve planned them carefully around each of your classes, and the great part is that you won’t even have to skip any meals!”

    “How did you get my class schedule?” Astrid asked, staring at Hermione with a bit of disbelief.

    “Oh, that was easy!” Hermione replied, not actually answering the Slytherin girl’s question. “So, what do you think?”

    “My brain hurts,” Teal replied softly, attempting to take in the incredible amount of studying she had them scheduled to do.

    “Hermione, you have us studying every single day...” Jenson told her.

    “Well, yes, we only have a few weeks left till exams-”

    “Nine and a half,” Astrid interjected.

    “-and you can never be too prepared. Besides, your lack of classes on Saturdays and Sundays give you ample studying time while still leaving a bit of free time to your advantage.”

    “I agree that studying is important, Hermione, but how about we have at least one day where we don’t have to worry about it? Saturday or Sunday, preferably, that way we can have at least 24 hours a week where we can just rest and not worry about our grades.”

    Hermione seemed almost appalled by the idea of not worrying about her grades, but took a deep breath and finally nodded.

    Herbology continued to come easily to Teal, while Charms, Astronomy and Defense Against The Dark Arts didn’t come naturally, but he didn’t find them hard either. Transfiguration, however, was still an issue for him, and he wasn’t doing much better in Potions either. He also couldn’t tell if it was becoming easier or harder to stay awake during History of Magic. He liked to think that the class might actually be interesting with a different teacher, but Professor Binns was the most boring person Teal had ever met, dead or alive.

    On their free day, which they had declared to be Saturday, Teal split off from the others momentarily, telling them he’d catch up with them again shortly. He didn’t tell them where he was going and they didn’t ask why, so without another word he ran off to the Hufflepuff dormitory and crawled through the entrance barrel after knocking five times.

    He jogged up the steps to his room and went straight for his trunk. Zacharias Smith was seated on his bed, tossing a white ball with red stitching into the air and then catching it repeatedly. Teal didn’t even bother to look at him. He bent down in front of his trunk and opened it, Edgar leaping from his shoulder and landing on the now vertical lid. He pulled a large pile of his clothes aside, revealing a glass jar, and pulled it out quickly, the contents of it sloshing about.

    “Edgar, you should stay here for a bit. I don’t want you to get lost while I’m doing this,” Teal whispered to the amphibian.

    “That frog can’t understand you, Teal,” Zacharias said, alerting Teal to the fact that he was apparently being watched. As if to prove him wrong, Edgar looked at Zacharias, then back to Teal, and let out a single croak before turning and jumping onto the bed. Teal smiled at him and closed his trunk back, then turned and raced back out of the room, carrying the jar under his arm.

    “What you got?” Zacharias called after him.

    “My Christmas present,” Teal shouted back, refusing to give the other Hufflepuff boy any further information. He made his way down to the lake, which he so frequently visited now, and found a spot that seemed deserted from all other students. He looked around, attempting to burn his location into his mind’s eye, and then turned to look out across the lake.

    When Teal rejoined Hermione, Astrid and Jenson, the latter of whom was flying around the courtyard on one of the castle’s brooms, his clothes were soaked from the chest down, creating an even odder appearance than his usual. Hermione was sitting upright on the grass reading a book, probably for a class, while Astrid was lying a few feet from her, writing something in what Teal thought was a notebook.

    “Jeeze, Teal, what did you do, go for a swim?” Jenson asked as he soared by, causing the girls to look up at him in unison.

    “More or less,” Teal replied, smiling.

    “Well, I certainly hope it was worth getting pneumonia,” Hermione scolded, putting down her book carefully and marching over to Teal. She pulled out her wand and quickly pointed it in his direction. “Calidum aerum!” A gust of hot air suddenly shot out of the tip of her wand and the sensation of it against his soggy clothes made Teal shutter.

    After a few moments of this he was almost completely dry again. He thanked Hermione quickly, then ran off to grab a broom and join Jenson in the air.

    ****************

    Ever since winter break Professor McGonagall had moved the class on to transfiguring animals into inanimate objects. Their current task, which was to turn a stick bug into a writing quill, was unsurprisingly their hardest one yet. Teal and Neville sat side by side, neither of them making much progress, which was usual for their first day on a new transfiguration.

    “Nothing’s... happening...” Neville muttered, clearly frustrated with the lack of change in his stick bug as he tapped it repeatedly with his wand.

    “Mine’s about the same,” Teal replied. He was gently prodding his stick bug with the tip of his wand, too afraid of hurting it to touch it any harder or faster. The truth was that he had had enough trouble just changing one inanimate object to another, and that was before he was worried about hurting the thing he was changing. This new development only made the task at hand that much more difficult.

    The smell of smoke reached his nose and Teal turned his head to look across the room. One of the Gryffindor boys’ stick bug was currently scampering across the table, it’s head on fire like a mobile torch. Teal watched with horror, sure that the bug was definitely in pain, until Professor McGonagall strolled by and put it out with a flick of her wand. “Try not to kill your animals in the process, would you Seamus?” she said to the boy before walking away.

    Teal turned back to his bug, now even more concerned for its safety, and closed his eyes for a moment to help himself concentrate. Then, once he’d opened them again, he raised his wand tapped the head of his stick bug three times. It took Teal a second to noticed that anything had even happened, but sure enough, the head of the stick bug head transformed into the tip of a writing quill.

    “Hey, good job!” Neville congratulated him as the bug waddled towards him, despite the fact that he was far from completing the assignment. Teal smiled and thanked him, looking up to see if anyone had actually completed the full transformation yet. It appeared that no one had, though. At least that made him feel better about his lack of success.

    Teal was suddenly brought back to his own table as Neville gave a shriek of pain. He looked down to see his stick bug removing its pointed head from the back of Neville’s hand, which was now bleeding. “Oh no! Neville, I’m so sorry!” Teal half shouted as he pulled his bug back towards him.

    McGonagall made her way over to them, looking down at Neville’s hand as he clasped it tightly. “Let me see, Longbottom.” She pulled his hand out and examined it quickly. “Not even worthy of Madam Pomfrey. Episkey.” She said with a wave of her wand, and the small wound disappeared almost instantly. “Be a bit more mindful of your stick bug, would you Mr. Andrews?”

    Teal nodded and lowered his head in embarrassment and shame. McGonagall was rather strict at times, but ever since the first day of school he had not been able to tell whether it was just her personality or whether she just didn’t like him. Either way, he didn’t want to do anything to upset her further, and not only had he done so, but he had hurt Neville as well. Transfiguration was definitely not his subject.

    Potions didn’t go much better that week either.

    “Could you pass me the eel eyes?” Hermione asked from the other side of Jenson, where she had just finished chopping up some dandelion roots. Teal grabbed the bowl in front of him and passed it along to her. She took them and was about to grab one when she looked down at the bowl and stopped. “Teal, honestly, these are putter-fish eyes. Those are eel eyes,” she said, pointing to a bowl to his left.

    Teal squinted his eyes, attempting to tell the difference between the two ingredients, then shook his head and passed the second bowl to her. “Sorry,” he muttered and lowered his head as he went back to extracting the slime from his billywig stings. How was he ever going to do well in this class if he couldn’t even tell the difference between, what Hermione at least implied, were two very different ingredients.

    ************

    The final Quidditch game of the year, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, came as a welcome distraction from his lack of improvement in the two classes. This would decide who won the Quidditch cup for the year. Slytherin was currently in first place for it, but if Gryffindor could score enough points during this game, they would win, or so Astrid explained.

    Teal didn’t actually pay too much attention to who scored, as had been the case with all games prior, but simply marveled at the different tricks the players did on their brooms, or the speeds at which the two seekers often flew around. Every now and then Astrid and Jenson would cheer or boo loudly and Teal will join in the correct reaction.

    Judging by the reactions of his friends throughout the game, Gryffindor was taking the lead. Teal couldn’t say he was surprised, either, after watching the team’s beaters, two identical boys with bright red hair, fly about and knocking the bludgers at different players as if they were operating with one mind. Teal had never seen two people so in sync before.

    Teal found himself suddenly distracted from the players in the air as a flash of gold flew in front of his face. He looked around for a second, barely sure what he had seen, but couldn’t find it anywhere. And then he looked up. The snitch was hovering a mere two feet above his head. Teal smiled, just watching it rapidly flap its wings in place for a moment, and then slowly he reached up. His fingers were just a few inches beneath it when the snitch took off again, as suddenly as it had arrived.

    Teal’s smile faded and he looked back out across the field just in time to duck. The Ravenclaw seeker, an asian girl that Teal had seen Jenson talking to at meals before, was speeding towards them. A few people around them in the stands gasped as she pulled her broom up at the last minute to pursue the snitch. Teal stood back up, his eyes wide, and reached up to feel his hair. When he pulled out a twig from the tail of her broom he promised himself that he would never attempt to catch the snitch again.

    The Ravenclaw seeker caught the snitch a few minutes later, effectively ending the game and securing the Quidditch cup for Slytherin. This meant that Slytherin was also in the lead for the house cup now, and with Quidditch over, Teal didn’t see how that was going to change before the end of the year. Not that he minded. Slytherin was, after all, Astrid’s house.

    *****************

    “Spongify!” Astrid screamed, her wand pointed at the goblet that she had been trying to charm for the last ten minutes. She let out a scream that reminded Teal of a frightened cat, causing Professor Flitwick to quickly avert his eyes to the floor and wobble away towards the other side of the room.

    Teal didn’t know how to react. Sure, it was a little frustrating when he couldn’t get the hang of something, he understood that, but Astrid seemed to be overreacting. She never got this upset in class. In fact, the only time he’d ever seen her this upset was... well, now.

    “Maybe if you just-” Teal began, reaching over to show Astrid a specific wand movement, but was quickly cut off.

    “Don’t help me!” Astrid shouted, not taking her eyes off of the cup. “Spongify!” But still nothing happened.

    Teal scooted his chair a few inches away, sure that she wouldn’t notice while she was so temperamentally concentrating on their task. She was seriously scaring him. He’d never seen her so upset before, and over something so small too. She was like an entirely different person.

    Astrid finally managed to get the charm to work right before the end of class, at which point she threw the cup down at the floor with an angry shout of “Finally!” Professor Flitwick chased the cup down as it bounced across the classroom and placed it carefully down on top of his desk, continuing to avoid eye contact with Astrid.

    They packed their things and headed out, Teal to a free period and Astrid yelling “See ya later!” in an angry voice as she made her way to Defense Against The Dark Arts. Teal didn’t respond, too confused and worried for her, and shot off with his head between his shoulders. He needed to find Jenson.

    Thankfully, the Ravenclaw boy was in the library, which was the first place that Teal had expected him to be. He was so immersed in a book that he was reading in one of the aisles that he didn’t even notice Teal standing wide-eyed right in front of him until he lowered the book and jumped.

    “Wah- jeeze! ...what’s up, Teal?”

    “I think someone’s possessing Astrid,” Teal replied with complete seriousness.

    “What?! What makes you say that?”

    Teal looked down at the floor as he spoke, recalling everything that had happened the entire class. She really hadn’t acted herself at all, and he had no other explanation for her change in behavior. If something had happened to her, she would have just told them like she always did, wouldn’t she?

    “-and then she screamed that she would see me later when she left! ...or maybe she’s injured,” Teal added last minute, thinking about the way animals act when they’re hurt: not wanting anyone to bother them or touch them, growling in warning when someone gets too close. “Do you think she’s injured?”

    Jenson was biting down on his lips, attempting to hide a smile that had been forming over the course of Teal’s account of Astrid-related events.

    “What?” Teal asked, finally realizing that’s what Jenson was doing. A few months ago he never would have picked up on it.

    “Teal... I don’t think anything’s wrong with Astrid,” he said somewhat quietly.

    “But she’s never acted like this before!” Teal almost shouted, earning him a violent shoosh and a disturbing glare from Madam Pince.

    “I know, I know,” Jenson replied, raising his hand in a calming gesture, “but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. I think it’s just... natural.”

    “Natural?” Teal questioned, completely unsure of any way in which Astrid’s attitude would be considered natural.

    “Yeah, well, sometimes girls are just like that...” Jenson said cautiously.

    “Why?”

    “I- ...I don’t... know, actually.”

    “We should ask a girl,” Teal replied instantly.

    “What?!”

    “Where’s Hermione?” Teal turned on his heel and headed off towards the tables, Jenson struggling to shove his book back onto the shelf before hurrying after him, knowing that Madam Pince would probably kick him out if he yelled for Teal to wait.

    “Teal! Teal!” Jenson whispered, catching the Hufflepuff boy by the shoulder and turning him around. “We can’t ask Hermione.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because when you ask girls about that, they either get really mad or really embarrassed, and then they don’t want to talk to you.”

    “Why?”

    “Because-” Jenson stopped and looked to the side as if thinking about something. Then his tension seemed to dissolve, as if he’d just done well on a test that he hadn’t studied for, and he turned back to look at Teal again. “Let’s find Hermione.”

    ************

    “But why would that happen?!” Teal asked Hermione, his eyes wide in fear and disgust. They had moved outside beside the lake, Hermione having said that she couldn’t explain it to them with anyone else around. Jenson was looking at the ground with his upper lip curled in a form of slight repugnance.

    “It’s just a process that we go through as we get older and our bodies develop,” Hermione replied scientifically. Teal’s mouth dropped open.

    “Is that gonna happen to me?!”

    “NO! No! It only happens to girls... that’s why girls can’t get pregnant until they’re older.”

    “Astrid’s gonna get pregnant?!”

    “No! Well, not any time soon, anyways. That doesn’t make girls pregnant, it just means they can get pregnant.”

    “Then how do they get pregnant?” Teal asked, this time with less disgust and more genuine curiosity.

    “Oh, look, it’s time for lunch!” Hermione said quickly, raising her wrist and checking the time on her imaginary watch before suddenly tromping back towards the school.

    “Wait!” Teal called, getting to his feet to chase after her. “Why did you look at your wrist?”

    **********************

    Exams had arrived before they knew it and everyone except for Hermione seemed to feel unprepared. First for Teal was their Defense Against The Dark Arts exam with Jenson and Hermione. They were first given a written test in which they had to identify a few of the creatures they had covered so far, as well as their weaknesses, amongst other things. After that they were each required to perform the Curse of the Bogies, which ended up sending a few unfortunate students to the Hospital Wing.

    Next up for Teal was History of Magic, which all the houses had together. Their exam for this class was not only the most simple, but, like the class itself, the most boring. It was nothing but a written test chock-full of what Teal suspected was every single piece of information Professor Binns had covered over the past few months.

    Then came Herbology with the Gryffindors. They were required to identify every plant that they’d learned about in the class, and then give the most common uses for each and where they could be found. Teal was so thankful for this final that he actually let out a tiny laugh when he learned what was required of them. He knew all the answers almost instinctually and was glad that he had decided to study for it, even though he hadn’t really felt he needed to.

    For potions Snape had the class brew a Forgetfulness Potion, which most of the students had seemed to coincidentally forgotten how to make. It could have just been the fact, however, that Snape was watching them each like a hawk, making them that much more nervous. Teal actually seemed to remember the necessary ingredients, surprising himself, and when his potion turned out mostly right he made a mental note to thank Hermione later for her rigorous studying schedules.

    Charms proved to be easier than Teal had expected and, though it took him a few moments, he finally managed to get his pineapple to dance across the desk for Professor Flitwick. Unlike the other exams so far, they had been called into the room individually to perform their test. This made Teal slightly more nervous, but it was also easier for him to concentrate.

    Transfiguration was a different story entirely though. Where Teal had at least felt that he had done fairly well on most of his other exams, he knew he’d done poorly with this one. Professor McGonagall wanted them to turn a mouse into a snuff box, and as soon as he heard this Teal’s panic began. It took him almost ten minutes just to get the subtlest of changes, which was a slight difference in the color of his mouse.

    When their time was up, Teal had managed to complete the transformation for the most part. However, not only did his box still have whiskers, it looked rather fuzzy as well, a few tufts of hair still springing up about it. Teal left the class with his head hung low, glad that the only exam he had left before he was done was their Astronomy exam. He wasn’t as prepared for it as he wished he was, but he wasn’t really concerned either.

    A few constellations later, Teal made his way out to the lake where he collapsed onto its sunny shore, face first into the green grass. They had all run to their respective dorms after the test to free themselves of school supplies and had decided to meet up here. Even Hermione, who normally had no problem being cooped up in a room with various books and papers, had been inside more than she cared to be with the past week of exams.

    Anyone watching the students could have easily gathered that they’d finished for the year. Everyone was celebrating in some way, a few students even out splashing in the shallow area of the lake. Teal turned to look at them and his head shot up off of the ground. The two redheaded beaters from the Gryffindor Quidditch team appeared to be tickling a shiny, massive shape in the water that Teal could only imagine to be one thing - the giant squid.

    He picked himself up, unwilling to pass up this opportunity, and slowly made his way out into the water, a smile on his face that refused to leave...


    Last edited by Tetheas on Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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    MedGrad911
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    Jenson's finale

    Post  MedGrad911 on Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:27 pm

    “…Lethe water…two Valerian sprigs…and…uh…”

    Jenson fumbled while searching through the ingredients surrounding him on the table. For his final potion’s exam, Professor Snape had assigned them to brew a Forgetfulness Potion which, ironically, Jenson actually remembered how to brew. Now if he could only find…

    “Aha!” Jenson crowed quietly, finding the mistletoe behind a large jar of Puffer-fish eyes. He peeled off several mistletoe berries and set them beside his cauldron before continuing through the directions that he’d memorized.

    Though barbaric, Hermione’s studying schedule had paid off thus far. His Defense against the Dark Arts Bogies curse had been perfect…maybe too perfect (he accidentally sent Zacharias Smith to Madam Pomfrey from loss of fluids). His pineapple had tap-danced quite beautifully, though it had been more “soft-shoe” than Jenson would have liked. Professor Flitwick had applauded quite merrily though, so Jenson supposed that that was enough for him. He had also managed to Transfigure his mouse into a snuff box in two attempts (his first had left the beautifully ornate snuff box with an adorably naked tail).

    Though his class had been a dull as dirt, Professor Binn’s exam had been straight forward and Jenson had been surprised by the sheer amount of information he had recalled on Gaspard Shingleton and his Self-Stirring Cauldron. Of course he had remembered the Werewolf Code of 1637 and the Uprising of Elfric the Eager, but remembering Shingleton’s daffodil allergy had been a ridiculous detail to recall…which is probably why he had remembered it.

    After his potions exam, Jenson would only have Herbology left…well Herbology and Astronomy.
    “…three, four, five times counter clockwise…” he murmured, stirring his potion for the final time, being careful to avoid breathing in any fumes lest he screw the concoction up by continuing to add ingredients to it. Professor Snape had already passed by him several times making non-committal grunts every so often.

    Bottled a portion of the potion in a small glass vial and stoppering it, he carried it to professor Snape’s desk carefully with both hands and deposited it gently in his collection box. He met Snape’s unyielding gaze with a broad smile and practically bounced back to his desk to clean up, ignoring the unfriendly muttering of his brooding potions professor.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Hey, Hermione…”

    “Shhh…”

    “Hermione…”

    “Shhhh!”

    If it were possible, their Astronomy exam was even more boring than History of Magic’s classes had been. At least Professor Binn’s subjects were pretty interesting... thus, Jenson had to find other means of entertaining himself while waiting for Venus’ orbit to complete.

    “Hermione…”

    “…”

    He had yet to be successful. Anthony Goldstein and a Ravenclaw girl, Padma Patil, sat within earshot nearby. Anthony tried to keep a smile off of his face while Padma, unused to Jenson’s antics, looked thoroughly confused by Jenson’s incredible trolling technique.
    “Hermiiiiiiione…”

    “What?!” she hissed, her eyebrows furrowed in annoyance.

    “What’s the worst thing about letting Saturn borrow your bathroom?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Just try and answer it. What’s the worst thing about letting Saturn use your bathroom?”

    The look on Hermione’s face was priceless. Though they were trying, terribly, to hide the fact that they were eavesdropping, Anthony and Padma had stopped even pretending to write on their parchments. Hermione sighed.

    “I honestly have no idea.”

    “The ring it leaves in your tub,” Jenson said with a smile, stifling a laugh as Anthony snorted unexpectedly and Padma, apparently not expecting a punch line at all, knocked over her ink pot, spilling it onto the floor to the dismay of their Astronomy professor, professor Sinistra, who had turned around just in time to witness the spill.
    Hermione covered her face in annoyance while Jenson silently chuckled, filling out the rest of his sheet and, finishing, asking professor Sinistra if he might be able to help her in cleaning up.

    As she had “scourgified” the mess, she had given him a rather strict glare, remarkably similar to professor McGonagall’s, as if the spilling of the ink could have possibly been his fault…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Jenson collapsed into a large, squishy armchair by the Ravenclaw fire, sighing wearily as his exhaustion finally caught up with him. It was rapidly warming up outside as spring was now in full swing, so the addition of the roaring fire before him lulled him into a half-sleeping phase in which he drifted in and out of consciousness.
    His first year of Hogwarts was nearly over. In less than a week, he would be leaving to go back home, back to his mother and brother, and back to the muggle world. Though he missed his family terribly, he grimaced slightly at the thought of leaving behind this rich new world he had discovered. What waited him at home was surely a pile of muggle textbooks waiting to be perused through and studied. Just because he was a wizard now, his mother had said, did not mean he got to skip out on a proper education. Astrid and Teal would probably be appalled by the work waiting for him at home, but he had a feeling that Hermione would approve. If nothing else, because he was learning something over break instead of letting his grey matter rot.

    He stretched in his armchair, hearing a few Ravenclaws pass by behind him, chattering about summer plans. In front of him, the fire twisted and leapt, casting strange shadows in the hearth and interesting shapes within the flames.

    “Ah, there you are,” called the familiar voice of Hermione as she appeared a moment later in his field of vision. She plopped down next to him in an identical seat, sighing in obvious satisfaction.

    “Well, that wasn’t so bad after all, was it? I mean, besides you making poor Padma knock over her inkpot…”

    Jenson had to chuckle at that. He was pleased he could create a little mischief, even if it was at the expense of a fellow Ravenclaw. At least Anthony had thought that it was funny.

    “…and this Tuesday we should be getting our results, so that will be exciting.” Hermione seemed to be waiting for something and kept giving him an odd look while she spoke. It took a moment before Jenson realized what he was supposed to say.

    “And we all have you to thank, Hermione, for keeping us on task and giving us that brilliant study guide. What would we do without you?” He tried to keep the image of Astrid’s reaction to his obvious kowtowing from his mind. Hermione seemed miffed by his attitude.

    “Well maybe you’ll find out next year, if you’re going to act like that…”

    He grinned. “Oh, come on Hermione…you know I appreciated it, and Teal too. And, deep down, Astrid (probably) appreciates it. In the mean time…” he trailed off, noticing two Ravenclaws play a game of wizard’s chess, “…why don’t we enjoy the time we have off.”
    Her eyes lit up as she sat forward in her seat.

    “Actually, I just found this fascinating series of texts by a Gilderoy Lockhart concerning his defeating of various dark creatures, including vampires, werewolves, banshees…”

    Jenson sighed inwardly. Hermione was a great friend, but she enjoyed reading even more than he did. Back in his muggle classes, he would receive detentions for reading other books during lectures, but even his unnaturally strong love of reading was unmatched by Hermione’s shear exhilaration. Jenson was not sure if it was healthy.

    “I’ll tell you what Hermione – for every hour we spend with Rockhearts’…”

    “Lockhart,” she corrected.

    “…Lockhart’s books, let’s do something more…active and…fun. Like some more broomstick practices! Teal’s been giving me some pointers and he says that soon I might be able to fly as well as him…maybe…”
    Hermione, normally faced with groans and, from Astrid, sarcasm, at the suggestion of spending even more time reading than usual, made a show of taking a moment to consider his proposal before agreeing heartily and standing, walking to the door.

    “Where’re you going now?” Jenson called to her.

    “The library. We can start right away!”

    Jenson groaned.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Explain to me, again, how this is going to work."

    "It's simple, Jenson." Astrid said with a twinkle in her eye, "If Slytherin wins this game by more than 40 points," she said with no small satisfaction, "then they will win the quidditch cup."

    Jenson was happy to notice both Teal and Hermione listening intently. At least he was not alone in his confusion. Ever since they had finished exams, they had been looking for ways to wind down and, other than spending time with Hermione's Lockhart books, practicing his flying, wading in the lake and exploring the rest of Hogwarts, there was a severe lack of action to be had. All the clubs had ended for the year and Filch was adamantly stalking anyone using magic in the hallways, tossing around last minute punishments like a one who had gone mad with imaginary power. Luckily, the quidditch finale was here to add a bit of spring to everyone's step. Jenson and Astrid, particularly, were excited about the match; Jenson, because he had grown to love the game and because his house was playing, and Astrid because her house had a good chance to take away the cup if Ravenclaw didn't blow Slytherin out of the water.

    "If Ravenclaw wins by less than 30 points, they'll win the match, but Hufflepuff will win the cup."

    Teal made no response, much to Astrid's displeasure. Jenson bumped him with an elbow, motioning for him to respond.

    "Uh...wow. That's good..."

    Astrid sighed with exasperation and continued.

    "If Ravenclaw wins by at least 30 points but less than 80, then Gryffindor wins the cup."

    "So, if Ravenclaw wins by 80 points or more, then we win the match and cup?"

    "Correct."

    "Honestly, this seems far more complicated than necessary. Why not just give the cup to whoever wins the most games?" Hermione sighed from behind her copy of Hogwarts, A History.

    "It keeps the pressure on the teams until the very end," Jenson replied before Astrid had the chance to make a biting remark. "It gets awarded to whoever scores the most points overall throughout the season. That way, the team who actually wins the cup stays a mystery until the end. It gives the game that much more adrenaline until the very end."

    "If you say so."

    Hermione was a bit miffed that the quidditch final was cutting in to her library time, so Jenson let it slide. Astrid seemed to find much more difficult to do. Luckily Lee Jordan's voice rang out from the speakers a moment before she could say anything.

    "It is a beautiful June morning, perfect for quidditch! Right, Professor?"

    "Jordan, please just get on with it..." Professor McGonagall's amplified sigh resonated throughout the stadium.

    "Right you are professor! Couldn't have said it better myself."

    "..."

    "And here they are, your Slytherin and Ravenclaw teams!"

    The emerald- and sapphire-hued figures marched onto the field, Madam Hooch trudging between them carrying the ball-carrier in one hand and her broom stick in the other. The two captains, Slytherin's Marcus Flint and Ravenclaw's Roger Davies, shook hands roughly, glaring daggers at each other.

    "Oh, Flint looks pissed," Astrid said gleefully.

    "Astrid!" Hermione admonished, giving her a stern look. Her tone softened though as she turned her attention back to the field. "Although, you are right. He does appear quite agitated."

    "Maybe he didn't sleep well last night. This is the final match after all," Jenson mused.

    "He received detention from professor Flitwick yesterday," Teal said quietly.

    "What for?"

    "Professor Flitwick said it was for 'acting like an ape.'"

    Hermione gave a disapproving look.

    "Well that is hardly a just cause fo-"

    "He was holding a first-year Hufflepuff upside down by the ankle."

    "Oh...well then good for professor Flitwick then. No offense Astrid, but I hope Ravenclaw flattens him."

    "Either way, I win." Astrid said with a grin. "Either my house wins the cup, or I get to see Flint's smug ass throw a tantrum."

    "And they're off!" Lee Jordan's voice once again filled the stadium. "Slytherin chaser Teresa Goldrip snatches the quaffle...passes to Pucey who, unfortunately, dodges a rather nasty bludger hit by Davies!"

    "Jordan..."

    "Only joking, professor. Pucey passes to Flint...pass to Goldrip and...ouch!"

    The Slytherin section erupted into groans as the other bludger, hit by Ravenclaw's Jonathan Baltrap, caught Teresa in the small of the back, making her drop the quaffle and, for a moment, drop slightly out of the sky.

    "Oh that's going to be sore, I'm sure."

    Beside Jenson, Hermione gasped and Jenson likewise felt a pang. Goldrip was now flying slower and seemed less coordinated.

    "That'll surely be a loss for the Slytherin team. Goldrip is their highest scoring chaser in eight years. And it's Rosswell with the quaffle recovery!"

    A dark-haired girl in blue quidditch robes weaved between the players on both sides quickly, dodging chasers and bludgers alike.

    "Impressive," Jenson muttered, watching with interest.

    "Rosswell ducks Pucey, Flint...rolls to avoid Goldrip and...nice dodge there and SCORE!"

    A mixture of cheers and groans erupted from the stands as Rosswell literally punted the quaffle through the goal ring, astonishing the Slytherin keeper Miles Bletchley.

    "I've never seen her do that before, but it certainly caught Bletchley off-guard. Ten-to-one, Ravenclaw."

    "You can do that?" Hermione asked.

    "Of course you can. The captain and lead chaser for the [all female quidditch team] Harpies likes to smash them through the goal ring using the tail of her broom!"

    "So, as long as you aren't holding it or magicking it through the hoop, anything goes?"

    "Exactly."

    The quidditch game which followed got quite brutal after that. Though Slytherin’s other chasers put up quite a fight, Goldrip was unable to fly as well as before, though she seemed to be recovering as the game went on. Ravenclaw's chasers, on the other hand, were on fire. They scored six more goals in the span of a few minutes, while Slytherin only managed one.

    "...and that makes the score 70-10, Ravenclaw!"

    Suddenly, Jenson noticed a flash of gold in his periphery. He turned quickly up towards the tower by the Ravenclaw hoops to see the snitch, at long last, hovering not two feet behind Ravenclaw keeper Gregory Paiten's left ear. Cho Chang, their seeker, was on the other end of the pitch, high above, watching for it. But Higgs, Slytherin's seeker, was hovering near the center of the pitch.

    Jenson nudged Hermione and Astrid.

    "Jenson, wha-" Astrid started, swallowing loudly when she noticed the golden ball listing lazily behind the Ravenclaw keeper, like a sundrenched hummingbird. Hermione was likewise stunned to silence. Teal, who was always quiet, whispered.

    "Whoever notices it first..."
    It was as if his words were a spell of [Reveal Snitch], because immediately after they left his lips, Terence Higgs glanced in the direction of the Ravenclaw goals posts and took off. Cho Chang, realizing that he had spotted the snitch before her, followed him, her broom slightly faster but unable to make up the 30 meters or so distance between them.

    Luckily for Ravenclaw fans, the snitch, realizing it had been spotted, apparently, dove towards the ground, weaving around the posts erratically, like a drunken lightning bolt. Higgs managed to touch it with a finger before it instantly changed direction and left him to fly into one of Ravenclaw’s chasers, Jennifer Hayes. They tumbled towards the ground for a second before righting themselves amidst the shriek of Madam Hooch’s whistle.

    “And that will be a foul for Slytherin.”

    “Wow, that’s kind of harsh,” Astrid muttered.

    Jenson silently agreed, especially since Hayes made her penalty goal and Ravenclaw was now enjoying 70 point lead.

    Among the confusion, both Chang and Higgs had lost sight of the snitch, as had Jenson and the others.

    “…and Pucey gets a hand on the quaffle and passes to Flint…”

    The Slytherin chasers flew in unison down the pitch, tossing the quaffle back and forth to each other.

    “Pucey, Goldrip, Flint, Goldrip, Flint, Pucey…” Lee shouted, trying to keep up. The Ravenclaw chasers tried to swarm around them, but they were flying too fast and straight that they would have collided with them in mid-air, giving at least one if not all three of them a penalty shot. It finally ended with a quick toss from Goldrip to Flint who, with a toss that would have made a MLB pitcher proud, fired the quaffle through the central hoop so hard it knocked both Paiten and itself through the hoop, much to the delight and cheers of the Slytherin fans.

    “Wow, he’s a bit of a monster, isn’t he?” Hermione said with awe.

    “I wonder how Greg is feeling like now,” Jenson mused.

    Gingerly holding his ribs, Ravenclaw’s keeper, still holding the quaffle beneath his other arm, flew back up to the level of the center goal post.

    “What a shot by Flint! Madam Hooch indicates no foul has been committed, so the game will continue. 80-20, Ravenclaw.”

    A chorus of groans and angry shouts erupted from the Ravenclaw section, but Jenson was not among them. If he was going to use his strength to intimidate the Ravenclaw keeper, that was a rather smart move by Flint, Jenson thought. Paiten certainly seemed more wary of him after taking a quaffle so hard to the chest. He shakily tossed the quaffle to Benjamin Morstep, the last Ravenclaw chaser, who took off down the pitch with it.

    Perhaps driven to avenge their keeper, the Ravenclaw chasers and beaters renewed their initial competitive spark. Between Baltrap’s incredible accuracy with a beater-club (Davies was much less impressive) and the chasers’ newly energized formations, they scored ten times within the next 20 minutes, unanswered by Slytherin's poor beater performance and their partially crippled chasers.

    “180-20, Ravenclaw!”

    The Ravenclaw section was absolutely wild. Even from where he sat, Jenson could see, almost even feel, the displeasure on professor Snape’s countenance. It was a great tribute to his character to point out that Flitwick remained quite reserved. Although, perhaps that was due to the fact that Snape was seated right beside him.

    “Look!” Hermione hissed, pointing up near the teacher’s section. Jenson and the others followed her gaze and, to their great surprise, there was the snitch, hovering just in front of the point of the headmaster’s hat. Dumbledore appeared quite amused that neither seeker had noticed it thus far. Jenson wondered how long it had been there and why it remained so close to the headmaster. It was easily within his arms’ reach.

    Chang and Higgs, appearing to have spotted the snitch simultaneously, raced from opposite directions to the teachers section. Cho, being slightly faster, managed to get to Dumbledore first, but the snitch bolted away… straight into Higgs, who quickly snatched it in passing.

    “Unbelievable! The snitch ran straight into Slytherin's seeker, Terence Higgs! 180-170, Ravenclaw wins the match, Hufflepuff wins the cup!”

    Groans and cheers alike rose from the stands as the players landed and were forced to shake hands. The quidditch captains assembled on the field below as the points and the cup were presented.

    “This’ll be the first time in over 50 years that Hufflepuff has won the Quidditch Cup,” Hermione whispered. “I read about it in…”

    “…Hogwarts: A History,” Jenson, Teal, and Astrid chorused.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was Tuesday morning, the final Tuesday before they were to leave Hogwarts, and the four of them were supposed to meet up that morning to practice on the quidditch field and talk about summer plans. Jenson, unusually early for once, had been the first down to breakfast and had chosen to sit at the very end of the Ravenclaw table, saving the immediate spaces around him for Teal and the others. Teal had joined him while he had been loading his plate, catching him off guard.

    Jenson shoveled a quarter of a waffle into his mouth as Teal, who sat beside him, eyeballed an unfamiliar-looking pastry that Jenson had handed to him to try.

    Astrid, with Nipsy riding upon her shoulder, sat down across from Jenson at the tail-end of the Ravenclaw table, dropping her bag heavily on the bench next to her. Hermione, who had been following two steps behind, followed suit.

    Apparently finding nothing to his obvious distaste, Teal took a bite out of his pastry. His eyes alit with pleasure as he quickly devoured the remainder of it, licking his lips. Edgar croaked rather loudly as Teal fed him a crumb, the only piece left of the flakey treat.

    “Ah aoominh oo iketit,” Jenson mumbled around his waffle while Astrid and Hermione shared looks of disgust. Teal nodded.

    “What was that?”

    “Ease anush.”

    “Cheese Danish,” Astrid helpfully translated. “My dad Eli speaks ‘face-stuffedinese,’ so I’ve had to learn how to understand it.” Nipsy purred as if in agreement.

    Hermione opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted by screeches. They looked to the arched opening at the end of the Hallway to find the morning owls swooping in. A chorus of chatter and panicked voices erupted around them as students remembered that today was the day of their exam results. Jenson, who was pretty confident that he had done well, excitedly reached up and allowed Ezra to land on his outstretched hand, hooting softly as Jenson brought her back down to rub his nose against her beak. He gave her a square of his waffle and untied the letter from her leg.


    Likewise, Astrid, Hermione and Teal received their school owls with letters of their own. Teal’s hands shook as he untied his letter. Astrid tore into her excitedly, not even removing it from her owl’s leg first. Jenson worked on that while she opened her parchment. He then noticed that Hermione was simply staring at her own owl while it glared back, annoyed that its burden had yet to be removed. It hooted indignantly.

    “Hermione, just take the letter off. The results will be the same and your owl probably needs to rest back up in the owlery,” Jenson said, watching as Astrid’s owl took off in a flurry of feathers, along with Teal’s. Ezra waited patiently by Jenson’s plate, eyeing a bit of hardboiled egg that Jenson had left on his plate. He gave it to her, along with a pat on her tail feathers, and she took off after the others.

    Hermione began untying hers, but could not seem to untie her knot. Jenson sighed and helped her, holding the owl’s leg still with one hand and tugging gently on the knot’s bow with the other. Hermione’s owl soon followed the others back through the ceiling gap, leaving the four of them with their exam results. Astrid squealed.

    “An ‘O,’ four ‘E’s and two ‘A’s!” she said with a bright smile, showing the others her results.

    “Me too,” Teal said in awe, staring at his results as though they might dissolve in his hands.

    Jenson checked his results, suddenly nervous. What did the results mean? He had received four ‘E’s in History of Magic, Astronomy, Potions and Herbology, and three ‘O’s in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration and Charms. But what did they mean? There was no grading scale written on the parchment. He checked both sides, catching Astrid’s attention.

    “How did you do, Jenson?”

    “I’m not sure,” he said, feeling frustrated. “It doesn’t say what the letters stand for!”

    Teal looked over his shoulder at his results.

    “That’s really good, Jenson.”

    “Let me see,” said Astrid, tugging it out of his hand. Jenson just sat there quietly while she looked it over.

    “Wow, that is good,” she agreed, giving it back to Jenson.

    “The ‘A’s stand for Acceptable, the ‘E’s for Exceeds Expectations, and the ‘O’s stand for Outstanding.”

    “Oh…well ‘yay’ then,” Jenson said, flashing some jazz hands. “What about you Hermione?”

    Hermione still stared at her results.

    “Um…I did well…”

    Astrid pulled it out of her hands to look at it, much to Hermione’s dismay.

    “Hey!”

    “Hey yourself, Hermi-whatsit, we told you ours. Don’t mess up the group dynamic…I knew it,” Astrid said with a sigh, showing Teal and Jenson Hermione’s results. “Six “O”s and an “E.” What happened in Astronomy, Hermyone?”

    Hermione shot a look at Jenson, at which point he laughed and snorted into his milk glass.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    As they exited the scarlet locomotive, Teal, Jenson, Astrid, and Hermione gave each other a final farewell. After giving each of them a hug goodbye (despite Astrid’s vehement requests to avoid said contact), Hermione collected her bags and passed through the archway of Platform 9 ¾, leaving the other three behind.

    Jenson took a look around him, his last look at the wizarding world before September finally rolled around. The Hogwarts Express, bathed lightly in a cloud of steam and the occasional shower of wand sparks, was a bittersweet sight to see: while it signified the end of his first year, it also represented the inevitability of the next year and the new opportunities awaiting him there. He could hear the screeching of owls, the mewing of cats and, above it all, the sound of Neville searching, eternally, for his beloved toad, Trevor.

    “Well guys,” Jenson said slowly, trying to make the moment last, “this is it…”

    Teal’s eyes were lightly misty, but that may have been because Astrid had set her trunk down on his toe and had not noticed her mistake. Astrid, seeming to lose control of herself, hugged the two of them together, causing them to bash their eyes together.

    “Jeeze Astrid…”

    “…”

    “Look, I didn’t tell Hermaniwanni this,” she started, ignoring the look in Jenson’s eyes as he realized where she was going, “but I want you guys to visit over the summer. We have a place in London and we can practice flying and play games and what-not…”

    She trailed off as she looked to both Teal and Jenson hopefully.

    Teal appeared pensive. Jenson, on the other hand, was concerned.
    “I’m not sure if my mom will let me. But,” he said, cutting her off as she started to interrupt, “I will ask her and see what she says. Now, bye you two. I’m off to do…stuff!”

    With that, Jenson strode through the archway with his cart, Ezra hooting softly as they emerged on the other side. He was, for the time-being, a muggle again.


    Last edited by Tetheas on Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:51 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : I was threatened...)
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    filigreewitch
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    Re: Chapter Four

    Post  filigreewitch on Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:06 am

    It was the end of the year feast and Astrid somehow ended up sitting next to Draco and his flunkies. Draco was yaking about his summer and all the things he was going to do. And every so often she'd hear Pansy sigh and coo over him.

    Astrid rolled her eyes and looked over to find Teal happily waiting for the announcement of the House Cup and Jenson chatting away and laughing like there was no tomorrow.

    A bright smile crept over Astrid's face as she thought about her first year. She made new friends with Teal and Jenson and Hermione, though she'd deny it even under the cruciatus curse. All of her classes were amazing and she couldn't wait to see what she got on her exams. She was disappointed about not winning the Quidditch Cup but they had won the House Cup, by looks of the Great Hall being decorated in green and silver and Slytherin flags hanging all about.

    The Great Hall quieted as Dumbledore stepped up to the podium. Astrid, as well as her peers, were antsy in their seats as they waited to hear who had won the House Cup.

    Dumbledore cleared his throat quickly before speaking.

    "Another year gone," he said cheerfully. "And I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were... you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year starts..."

    Dumbledore smiled brightly.

    "So with that being said, it's time for us to get our belly's full before bedtime."

    The whole Great Hall started buzzing. Astrid's breathing became uneven, worried that no one had won the House Cup. She knew she had lost Slytherin some points but she had gained just as many to make up for them. Astrid's vision blurred slightly and noticed Dumbledore turn back to the podium.

    Dumbledore laughed heartily at the small panic.

    "You wouldn't seriously think I'd forget to announce the winnings of the House Cup?"

    Astrid let out a breath.

    Dumbledore looked over the hall, nodding.

    "The points stand thus: in fourth place, Gryffindor, with 312 points; in third, Hufflepuff with 352; Ravenclaw has 426 and Slytherin, 472 points. Well done Slytherin, well done."

    The Slytherin table erupted with cheers and banging. Not being able to contain her excitement, Astrid turned and hugged the first person she could grab a hold of, which of course was Draco. Draco jumped up and down with Astrid, not really caring, as he too couldn't contain his happiness. Once Astrid and Draco released she looked up to see Professor Snape clapping, and what she thought was a smile. Astrid caught Teal's eye for a moment and tried to look sympathetic but couldn't contain her smiling long enough. Slytherin had won the House Cup.

    Food appeared on the plates and they ate until they could eat no more.

    Astrid walked to her dorm to sleep in that bed for the last time until the next school year. She settled into her bed and Nipsy curled up by feet.

    That's when Pansy swung the door open and stomped in.

    "Don't think I didn't see that, Burkeheart," Pansy yelled. "I saw you hugging my Draco."

    Astrid, not wanting to hear Pansy's complaining snapped at her.

    "Oh my god, Pansy. Shut up. We won the House Cup. You could be happy for one damn day. It won't kill you."

    Pansy stood there baffled. "Yea, well you better stay away from him come next year."

    Astrid shook her head and turned on her side, ignoring the other girls as she tried to sleep.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The last day of school was an exciting and sad day. Astrid was excited about getting her exam results and it being the end of year; yet she was sad because it was the end of the year and she wouldn't be able to see her friends.

    Astrid, Jenson, Teal, and Hermione sat at a table in the Great Hall awaiting their exam grades. Screeching owls made their way into the Great Hall. Astrid and Hermione's faces were quite comical as they were both smiling ear to ear. When the owl landed in front of Astrid, she greedily took the envelope off of the bird's leg and ripped it open. She hurriedly unfolded the parchment to look at her grades, which were:

    Transfiguration- E
    Potions- E
    Charms- E
    Defense Against the Dark Arts- E
    Herbology- A
    History of Magic- A
    Astronomy- O

    Astrid made a high pitched sound that scared the surrounding owls.

    She turned her paper around to show the others.

    "An 'O', four 'E's and two A's!"

    She turned the paper back around and hugged it closely to her chest, still smiling brightly.

    "Me too," Teal said looking at his grades.

    Astrid high fived him with "Yea!"

    Astrid then turned to Jenson. "How'd you do?"

    "I'm not sure. It doesn't say what the letters are for."

    Teal looked at Jenson's grades. "That's really good, Jenson."

    "Let me see," Astrid said half whining, half sternly as she took the paper from him.

    She read down the list, her eyes growing wider every second.

    "Wow, that is good." She agreed.

    Teal ran down the list and explained the grades to Jenson.

    "Oh, well, yay then." He said happily and turned toward Hermione. "What about you, Hermione?"

    "Umm... I did well..."

    Astrid rolled her eyes, snatching Hermione's paper.

    "Hey!" Hermione called.

    “Hey yourself, Hermi-whatsit, we told you ours. Don’t mess up the group dynamic!" Astrid looked over her grades.

    "I knew it,” Astrid sighed and showed the others Hermione's grades. “Six “O”s and an “E.” What happened in Astronomy, Hermyone?” She half taunted.

    Hermione death glared at Jenson, who in turn laughed into his milk.
    Astrid tossed Hermione back her grades and marveled over her own once more.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Astrid, Jenson, and Teal stood on Platform 9 3/4. Hermione having already left, Astrid threw herself at Jenson and Teal hugging them closely, accidently making them bump their eyes.

    "Jeeze, Astrid..."

    Astrid waved Jenson's impending complaint off and excitedly said, "Look, I didn’t tell Hermaniwanni this, but I want you guys to visit over the summer. We have a place in London and we can practice flying and play games and what-not..."

    She looked at Jenson and Teal, hope in her eyes, as she waited for the responses.

    Jenson replied first. “I’m not sure if my mom will let me. But,"
    Astrid opened her mouth to speak but Jenson quickly cut her off. "I will ask her and see what she says. Now, bye you two. I’m off to do…stuff!”

    With that Jenson left, Astrid and Teal waving after him.

    "What about you, stud?" she asked.

    "I'll have to ask my godmother. But I think she'll let me."

    "Great! I'll be sure to write you over the summer. And I'll hopefully see you and Jenson before school starts!"

    "Okay," Teal said, still a little on edge around Astrid's excessive hyperness, but you could tell he was getting used to it.

    Astrid hugged Teal one more time and walked over to her awaiting dads.

    "So how was your first year at Hogwarts," Eli asked, taking her trunk from her.

    "Wonderful! We won the House Cup!"

    "That's great to hear! We should go have ice cream to celebrate," Anson awarded.

    "And you can tell us more about the year."

    "I like that idea very much!"

    Astrid took her dads hands in hers and they skipped away, laughing all the while.


    Last edited by Skitso on Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Tetheas
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    Re: Chapter Four

    Post  Tetheas on Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:06 am

    Teal woke up early the day of their departure from Hogwarts. He had to make one last visit to the lake before they left for the summer. He hadn’t been able to sleep well during the night though, so waking up with the sun turned out to be rather easy. He rolled out of bed, landing on light feet in an attempt to keep from stirring the other boys in the room, and crept out of the dorm, not even bothering to change out of his pajamas.

    Edgar perched atop his head, the Hufflepuff boy and his amphibian friend snuck through the quiet halls of Hogwarts. Teal wasn’t sure if he was technically allowed to be out of bed at this hour or not, but as Mr. Filch didn’t pop up on the way, he figured that the old wizard
    mustn’t be too concerned with it.

    The moist morning air flooded Teal’s nostrils as he left the castle, waking him up completely, not that he had been that sleepy to begin with. He scurried down the path, Edgar letting out a soft croak. The large frog was no doubt just as excited. He loved the lake just as much as Teal, if not more. Whether or not this was actually possible was still up for debate.

    Teal’s bare feet padded along the grass which quickly dampened as he neared the water’s edge. He made his way along the shore of the lake, watching the ground intently until he reached the familiar groove which marked the spot he had picked. He stuck his big toe out experimentally, watching with a sense of mild interest as it sunk into the soft mud, then pulled it back out. He smiled as he shook his foot off and then looked straight ahead as he started sloppily rolling up the legs of his pajama pants. Once they somewhat resembled shorts, Teal began wading into the water. By the time he came to a stop it was already to his knees.

    He crouched down, careful still to keep his pants dry, and lowered his hand slowly into the water. His fingers brushed something and he smiled once again, just barely able to see it below the water’s surface. He stayed there for a few moments, his fingers slowly tracing the slimy portions that resided above the mud and hoping that nothing would go wrong over the summer.

    A sudden, unexpected splash caused Teal to jerk his head up, wandering for half a second if Edgar had decided to go for a swim. He barely had time to notice the lack of absence of the frog’s weight on his head, or that the splash had been much too big, before he found himself face to face with the giant squid. Teal’s eyes grew wide, never having been this close to the aquatic creature before. Even when he had gone to pet it after their exams, Teal had stopped, not knowing the two boys who had been there and feeling that the situation might be odd if he joined them. By the time he had finally worked up the nerve, the squid had left, back into the watery depths of the lake.

    The giant eye in front of him, half as tall as he was, blinked and Teal mimicked the action involuntarily, his own eyes still rather wide at the moment. They just stayed there, neither of them moving. For how long Teal was not sure. And then, with what the young boy believed to be a smile in its eyes, the squid turned and swam away, disappearing almost as quickly as it had come.

    Teal couldn’t keep the smile off of his face as he climbed back beneath the covers of his bed, giving Edgar a pat on the head as the frog let out a jealous croak. The day had barely even begun, and already it was great. Perhaps, Teal mused, this was a sign. Perhaps this meant that this summer was going to be more wonderful than he expected. After all, this past school year definitely had.

    ******************

    Breakfast that day seemed to be used for one of three things by everyone in the Great Hall: A last meal, a last chance to socialize, and a discovery of the year’s grades. Teal was surprised by the high markings he’d received, having expected all of his friends to do much better than he. This gave him a new found sense of academic hope for the next school year. He had been so worried about how he would do in some of the classes, but apparently Hermione’s studying had really payed off, even more than he could have expected.

    After breakfast, it was back to their dorms for last minute packing and the collecting of personal belongings. They waved goodbye to the professors and the rest of the staff that had come down to see them off, and then headed towards Hogsmeade, where the Hogwarts Express awaited them. Several hundred tiny (and some not so tiny) bodies piled onto the large, red engine, quick to claim their compartments before anyone else.

    Astrid managed to procure a compartment for them, despite snapping at a first year Gryffindor boy in order to do so, as if she were an upperclassmen already. The boy had ducked like a turtle back into its shell and hurried off in the other direction. Teal felt somewhat bad for him, even though he didn’t know the boy past seeing him in some classes, but he was already gone by the time Teal was able to say anything. Instead, he made his way into the compartment after his three friends, closing the door behind them.

    The engine roared to life and they were off, back to the world that knew nothing of magic. It was true that Teal’s godmother did use magic in every day life, but now that Teal had begun school he wouldn’t be allowed to use any magic, especially not on purpose, until he was back there again. He had five long years before he’d be able to do that. What was a young wizard supposed to do for five summers without the use of magic, especially now that he actually knew how to do some of it?

    “Favorite class!” Astrid shouted, the next question in the line-up of the game she had begun shortly after the trolley had come around.

    “Transfiguration,” Jenson answered first, smiling around a lucky pick of a Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Bean.

    “Herbology!” Teal replied almost as quickly, a little too excited in his answer.

    “Mm, I’m an Astronomy girl, myself!” Astrid chirped. “What about you, Hermoodle?”

    “I don’t have a favorite,” Hermione replied almost prestigiously. “That’s simply absurd. I favor all our classes equa-.”

    “Boo!” Astrid shouted, cutting her off. “Lame answer. I give you a T for effort. Okay, next! Favorite thing that happened this year.”

    The question sent Teal into an instant spiral of memories, zoning out and missing the answers the others gave. There were so many good things that had happened this past year. Sure, there were bad things too. There were bad grades in classes, getting yelled at by Mr. Filch, or scolded by Professor McGonagall. There were exams, and homesickness, and having Zacharias Smith as a roommate. His least favorite things about the school year were easy to pinpoint. But his favorite things? His favorite things were so numerous and he felt they could only grow with each year he attended Hogwarts.

    “Teal? What about you?” Astrid prompted, and Teal realized that he had been sitting there silently for quite some time. Astrid, Jenson and Hermione were all staring at him, curious look on their faces. Teal bit down on his lip and thought hard. Could he really narrow his favorite things about this past year down to just one?

    Yes. He could.

    “Becoming friends with you guys...” Teal finally answered, giving a slight smile as he did.

    Before he knew what was happening, Astrid was squealing and leaning across the compartment to smother him with a hug. Edgar jumped from Teal’s shoulder onto his lap as Nipsy came too close for comfort. Astrid let him go a moment later and Teal met Jenson’s eyes, the two boys sharing an expression of slight fear and horror.

    It was at that moment, glad to be able to breathe again, that Teal accepted a warily offered bean from the other boy and popped it into his mouth. He instantly regretted it.

    “What flavor?” Jenson asked, a sympathetic expression already on his face.

    “Rust...” Teal answered disgustedly, forcing himself to swallow the bean whole instead of spitting it out. He shook his head and scraped his tongue against his teeth, attempting to remove the taste. It didn’t work. He plucked a lemon drop from Astrid’s small platter of candies and began to suck on it vigorously.

    *********************

    Several hours later the Hogwarts Express pulled into the station and came to a halt. Teal almost couldn’t believe how different an experience it had been traveling from Hogwarts, as opposed to towards it. Physically it had been rather the same, but emotionally it had been the exact opposite. It seemed to take forever for all of the students to retrieve their luggage from the cargo hold, and Teal, Jenson, Astrid and Hermione were among the last ones.

    They stepped down off of the train and said their last goodbyes, Hermione being the first of their small group to leave. After Astrid’s summer invitation, Jenson made his way off of the platform, leaving just Teal and Astrid. The fact that he had met them in the opposite order that they had left didn’t escape Teal for a moment. It was just one of the many unintentionally curious things that had happened since he met them.

    With a final farewell, Astrid turned and skipped off towards her fathers, leaving Teal to stand there and wait. His godmother would be here soon to get him, no doubt held up by her busy schedule at the moment. Though her current lack of punctuality didn’t really bother him, he couldn’t help but to hope she would arrive soon.

    As he watched Astrid leave with her two dads, Teal found it hard to pull his eyes away from the exit. The three figures made their way out of sight and then Teal found himself somewhere he had almost forgotten about: back at the beginning. Alone again, in the middle of platform 9 3/4, wondering what the next chapter of his life would hold.

    But things weren’t the same this time. No, this time things were very different indeed. This time Teal had friends. People who liked and cared about him, other than just Edgar and his godmother. People who had already begun to craft the person he was to become. People who, in less than a year, had taken him from a boy who was afraid to wave, to a boy who could more easily express his thoughts and feelings, both vocally and physically. A boy who was beginning to gain a greater understanding of not only other people, but himself as well. They had taken him from a boy who cared about all living things, to a boy who still cared, but now felt love for more than just his godmother and his frog.

    Yes, Teal was changing, and though no one could say for certain if it was for the better... it was for good.

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    Re: Chapter Four

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      Current date/time is Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:20 am