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Delta Phi Crazy by morganthegreat

Format: Novel
Chapters: 8
Word Count: 31,039
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Fluff, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Albus, Dominique, Fred II, James (II), Lily (II), Louis, Rose, Scorpius, OC
Pairings: James/OC, Rose/Scorpius, OC/OC

First Published: 07/11/2017
Last Chapter: 01/05/2018
Last Updated: 01/05/2018

Summary:
banner by prokaryote. @ tda!




Right when I thought life was going well (friends, family, school, etc), of course with my luck, everything turns upside down. I go from American Citizen to Foreigner New Girl.

I don't know whether this change is for good or for bad yet. I'll let you know.

{James II/OC fluffy Seventh Year shenanigans}


Chapter 1: New News
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Chapter 1

 

“We need to talk.”


I haven’t lived very long, but I know that those four words are never good. Especially when said by your parents. Irene and Daniel Moretti are not the type of parents that have sit-down talks, they just aren’t. They are also not the type to be “hardasses,” as my friend Jess likes to call her own set. My mom is carefree, funny, and trusts me; my dad is social, sensitive, and never seen without a smile on his face. I’ve never had a curfew, they have always respected my space, and in turn I have been very open with them about everything.


So of course when I hear the words, we need to talk, I freak the crap out. I gingerly take a seat on our living room couch, wrapping a huge blue blanket around my body. They sit across from me in a loveseat, sitting upright, and I notice their shoulders are straighter than usual. “Okaaaaaaaay...you’re not having the sex talk with me, are you? Because I know about the whole safe se-”


Nonononononono,” both my parents are frantically waving their hands about, blabbering on about how my Aunt Helen already did that for them a couple years ago, they do not and will not go over it with me, and I relaxed a bit. Until I realized that there was some other topic they wanted to talk to me about.


Drugs? I’ve only tried it once and they know that I have no interest in it. Are they getting a divorce? Oh, God, they’re getting a divorce. But my parents have no reason to, they are and have always been a happy couple - they are always displaying their affection, they have enough money to where it’s not something to argue about… What do they need to talk to me about then???


“Nic, if you just stop talking we can explain everything to you-”


I didn’t realize my internal monologue was actually external. I kind of mumble to myself a lot. “Oh. Okay. Go on th-”


“Dan, maybe we shouldn’t have started off with ‘We need to talk’ you know…” Mom turns to Dad.


“Yes, well, I didn’t realize it would freak her out this much-”


“Well obviously, since we’ve never started a conversation with that and-”


“Guys! Please - just get on with it,” I say exasperated.


“Right, well honey, we know how much you like to travel, so we don’t think it will be a huge problem, but your mother has decided to take a new job,” Dad starts.


He pauses to let me think this over. “Um, okay, well what does traveling have to do with mom changing jobs?” I ask, somewhat getting the hint.


“We’re moving to-” Dad begins to say, until Mom is obviously too excited and finishes with “Scotland!”


“Scotland? Like as in...'across the Pond?' As in Not America?” I question, “Wait, what job? Does it give you more money? Who got in contact with you from Scotland? I…” I notice my parents did not really want to answer them right away, but my mom puts a piece her shoulder length black hair behind her ear and says, “Yes well, it’s another Healer job at a place in Scotland that offered us more money than what I’m making at Blessed Heart,” she takes another small breath and I know she’s not done. I got my talkativeness from her. And my dad too, since they both talk a good amount. “And you know I’m friends with Katie over in the UK - from when she came to America to visit her sister Kimberly Bell. Remember Kimberly? She and I had Healer training together. Even though I ended up being closer with Katie, when her name was still Katie Bell before she got married-”


“Mom, please get on with it-”


“Well Katie said,” my mom went on, ignoring my comment, “around last year or so, that their head Healer is retiring and needs a new replacement in the fall, and we started talking more about it, I got in touch with the boss, and I am to start in September!”


My dad is nodding the whole time, while keeping one eye on his wife and one eye on me, whether or not I will give any reaction. My mom stops with her explanation to see what I have to say, and my dad turns to look at me full-on.


“Um, so we’re moving to Scotland. This fall.” I deadpanned.


They both nod and wait. “So…” Dad giving me an option to finish.


“So . . . um, yay?”


Dad’s eyebrows are knit together to make me confused, “‘Yay?’ All you have to say is yay? to this news?”


“I mean, congrats? I’m glad you’re doing something you want. Okay, when are we moving?”


Mom speaks slower this time, rather than her usual upbeat tone, “Uh yeah - that’s something we weren’t sure about what you would think. We’re moving this weekend. . .”


“This weekend. As in THIS weekend? As in, like, two days from now?” I start to panic a bit, being the planner I am - I’m not a fan of surprises. I like to know what is going to happen and when and what I can do to prepare myself for any situation.


“Now there’s the reaction I was waiting for,” Dad comments. I ignore him.


“Yes. Nicolette, please understand that we are in no way trying to-”


“-Take me away from my friends is what you’re doing! I was trying to process it, accept it, and then you throw that bomb on me, telling me I have two days to let them know and say goodbye? Oh God, Margo is going to be so mad. She’s going to come over and demand an explanation from you, you know,” Margo Anders (best friend and also planner - a bigger one than I am) has that type of relationship with my parents where she can talk to them without me being there. It’s really cool actually, since most people just don’t talk to their friends' parents on a first name basis.


Dad leans forward to get off the couch and adds before he walks into the kitchen, “Yes, well then you better let them all know now then - Irene, I’ll tidy the house up a bit so it looks nice when she heads over here. . .”


He leaves us alone because I know he doesn’t want to hear the bickering Mom and I usually do. “Nikkie,” Mom always calls me that when she tries to get on my good side.


I stand up, “It’s okay, Mom. I need a bit to process this and also let everyone know about leaving,” I’m about to turn, before my brain catches up with all this and I stop. “Wait. If we’re moving so soon that means . . .”


Mom waits for me to verbalize my train of thought. When I don’t, she pipes in saying, “Yes, Nikkie, you’re going to finish your last year at school in Scotland.”


Mom!” I whine - really well might I add, it’s a talent. “It’s my last year. Ilvermorny is going to lose the Quid Finals against Salem, and we’ve done so well already! And everyone is going to hate that I can’t graduate with them-”


Mom pinches the bridge of her nose with a delicate olive hand, something she does when stressed. She looked me in the eye and I knew from that face that there was no arguing tonight. “Nikkie, I know. It’s not something I want to put on you, but we haven’t moved since you finished elementary school, and I know that was hard on you too when you were younger." We moved a lot during elementary school. "But you were going to a boarding school anyway, so we didn’t see a problem with staying. But this is a really good promotion that even my boss at Blessed Heart says I should take.” And that was that. I have had fights with my mother before, but that was when I was more naive; we haven’t been in actual heavy ones in a while. I didn’t want to break the streak.


“Okay. Fine, well I’m going to let the girls know, and Ethan too, all of this.” I stand back up and head downstairs to my room.


“I’m sorry - this was a lot to handle,” Mom’s words made me stop and when I turn I notice her arms are outstretched. I give her a hug, we say more goodnights and exchange cheek kisses.


I flop on my bed and reach for my smartphone, but then stop to my dismay fully knowing it’s pretty late. I don’t want them to wake up to this news, so I make a mental promise that I will let them know tomorrow. And no one is going to be happy with my new news.

 








 

Hello and welcome! I have never written and published anything before, so this is a first for me. I hope you will stay for more, as I have a lot in store for this fic. Please let me know what you think in the reviews, and maybe give suggestions as to what you think will happen? Thanks in advance!

-M

 


Chapter 2: Goodbyes
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Chapter 2



“No way.”


“Yes way.”


No-”


“Amity-”


“But like-”


“What even is-”


“I know, I just found out last night, guys.”


“Okay, but can you visit us?”


“More importantly, can we visit you?”


“Jess, that’s not something you just ask-”


“Yeah, I want to see England!”


“She’s going to Scotland, Victoria-”


“Maybe we can pick up some cute British-”


“-Scottish-”


“Okay, some cute UK boys-”


Ahem-”


“-and girls too, of course-”


“This is not really a time to be discussing the topic of relationship-making-”


“We’re going to miss you so much!” Margo practically shouts, making everyone stop the bickering between the five of us and everyone start cooing of We will miss yous and whatnot.


Once I woke up that morning, I texted our group chat and told them we needed to have a meeting and that it was very important. A couple of us - namely Amity and Margo - thought I was being somewhat dramatic and asked, do we really - or can we just video chat? And I said, no it’s a real friend emergency. Some of us had to move around work shifts, beg parents to let them come meet me, and even sneak out and steal a sibling’s car (insert Jess), but we all finally got together in the end.


And it was downright chaotic. We hadn’t seen each other all together in a while, and since this was definitely not a fun hangout at first, there was a lot of both catching up to do. And now we’ve gotten to the point of just questions and plans for the year.


Right, also I will do a small rundown of our girl group: So Margo (sometimes called Marg, Margie, Go, etc.), my best friend and partner in crime is the tall, socially awkward, yet really caring friend that everyone should have. Because I tend to act on impulse and emotion, she grounds me by helping me be a bit more practical when situations need it the most. And I help her take the plunges that will benefit her in the end, like texting that guy she likes first, or going on a spontaneous road trip, or trying that charm that she thought she couldn’t do, so gave up at doing it at all.


Next is Amity (also called Tee for short), who is really introverted and soft-spoken. She is a huge morning person and loves to read books into the ground. She wants to become a journalist and not go into a Wizarding field. We bonded over poetry, our love for travel, and photography. She and I constantly go on photo shoots together and have a ton of fun. When she opens up to people, you don’t think she’s the snobby bitch she leads everyone to think she is, and can be a little reckless and definitely funny. She’s also the one who’s had the most experience with boys, since they all gravitate to her like a Veela because of her gorgeous Anglo features.


Victoria (or V, since Victoria can be a long name to say, can’t it?) is Margo’s cousin and honestly I forget about that most of the time since we’re all in one friend group. Other than their shared surname, you don’t really see the resemblance unless you look really hard. Victoria is the one who has the science brain, loves building, loves Transfiguration, and loves Quidditch. Her and I work well, because she’s similar to Margo, except a bit more spontaneous and lighthearted. Margo’s in Pukwudgie, whereas V is in Thunderbird like me. Boys also flock to her, and it’s quite amusing to see them try since she’s into girls more than boys, but she’s dated a couple boys in the past and thinks they’re “not too bad.”


And then Jess is the last component to our girl gang; she’s the loudest, curviest, most audacious one of all of us. She completes us, and while I can get annoyed with her constant yellings, I absolutely love her too. Jess has the crazy short curly hair that girls always try to do with beauty spells or heated curling wands. It matches her personality quite well. We say Jess has no boundaries and it can be both a good and bad thing. I am going to miss her funny remarks and hot gossip that she always seems to know before anyone else at school.


“Okay, so this is, like, what? Our goodbye until, like, Thanksgiving break?” asks Jess, who of course wanted to know the details of when they could see me again. This breaks me out of my little cloud of adoring my friends and why I’m going to miss them.


“They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, Jess,” mentions Amity and Victoria at the same time. They glance at each other really quick with a smirk to both of their lips, Amity rolling her huge blue eyes, while Victoria looks like she’s trying to stifle a laugh at Jess’s question. Instead she just puts her long hair to her mouth and makes this little fart noise that makes everyone laugh.


“Yeah, so, Christmas? My family was talking about what to do over break, but we could totally have you come along! I don’t think they would mind, but maybe we can make sure there’s a week where everyone can get together.” Margo, what a planner that girl is. She has calmed down since all this, taking to calling my mother and asking, why on earth Irene, would you do this to me? After a while, they just chatted, Margo seeming like she was feeling better after what I assumed my mom coaxing her and also giving her facts and points why it will be okay. Lil Marg likes her stats and facts. I totally would’ve pegged her for a Horned Serpent at school, but she’s too caring of others.


“I mean, probably? My parents are fine with me probably going on vacation with you guys,” I say now, thinking it over. “I mean, they’ll want to see me a little bit, since Tom-” at mention of my older brother’s name, Jess makes a little swoony sigh and everyone laughs, “-will be around for the holidays.”


We’re all at our favorite cafe, sitting outside and enjoying the August shade that the awning over the shop has to offer. Maybe it’s not the awning, it’s more for decoration, as this cafe is one of the few Wizarding cafes around. Everyone is wearing some variation of shorts, tanks, crop tops, and sundresses, nonetheless. And even though it’s hot as balls outside, the cafe has a slight Cooling Charm on the patio, and we are eating frozen yogurt, so it makes up for it.


The frozen yogurt here is to die for, since they serve them in bowls that have charms on them to keep them cold, while also refilling the contents with a new flavor every time the bottom is reached. Plus everyone is kind of distracted with my news that the heat isn’t as big of a problem as me moving to another continent.


“Ugh, your family is so carefree and cool,” Jess sighs, dipping her spoon into her bowl and swirling the cold contents around.


“That’s because Nic doesn’t sneak out, steal cars, and drink underage-” Margo starts to add.


“Psh, whatever,” Jess says with a wave of her spoon towards Margo, “you’re making it seem like my life is way more exciting than it really is. Marg, you jealous of me, hmm?” she says with a little laugh and wiggle of her eyebrows and we all crack up. Jess really is the one that is the boldest out of all of us (hence why she’s friends with almost everyone in school - everyone wants a crazy, adventurous friend). And that’s saying something since I can never keep my mouth shut, even when I really should filter it a bit more.


After a while of talking and laughing and crying and crying from our laughing, we realize we have been out for nearly four hours and Jess says that her sister is going to realize her car is gone sooner rather than later. Amity mentions that she probably had a long time ago, since Jess’s sleuthing skills aren’t as graceful as she likes to think they are.


Margo and Victoria are discussing something and I hear the name Ethan and I suddenly blurt (more to myself than to the girls), “Oh crap. I haven’t told him yet. I was going to, but this day caught up with us.” Margo gives me a little look of wary, and I know what she’s thinking already. Ethan doesn’t like to be excluded from stuff like this, especially something as big as me moving away. But again, he’s not as close with the other girls as much as me and Margo.


“Well we probably should be going, but not after pictures!” Amity exclaims, pushing her thin brown hair off her forehead. Everyone starts to wipe their face from minimal sweat due to being outside, Jess freaking out over how her huge her curls are and that this is not a time for pictures. “Pictures!” she yells again at us, ignoring Jess’s protests. Amity really does like taking photos, especially memory-collecting ones. And they’re always fun to be in since I love my friends dearly, and we all are pretty cute together.


Once we get a bunch of selfies of all of us, making funny faces, sad faces, and bright smiles, everyone disperses. I hug everyone all around, with mentions of visits, bringing back some cute boys and souvenirs, and postcards. And texting, as always. I told them all that my mom said No-Maj electronics don’t work on the grounds like they do at Ilvermorny and they all looked appalled. I told them that we will write letters and use those five-way mirrors to talk and that seemed to suffice.


“Bye, Jess, bye Tee! Bye V, oh Go, you’re staying a bit, yeah?” I ask while we have these last few moments together.


“Of course,” Margo adds and sits back down as the girls all go to their cars, except for Victoria, who can now Apparate already. We are all so jealous, and you can’t do Side-Along Apparation until about six months after getting your Apparation license anyway, so everyone else brought their cars.


That’s the nice thing about all our friend group, most of us have No-Maj in us, and the only Pureblood in our group is Amity, but even then her parents had her go through the No-Maj basics of driving and stuff while growing up to keep her well-rounded. They didn’t want her to be sheltered from the other half of the world.


“Okay, so when are you going to tell Ethan about all this?” Margo asks me once everyone has left.


I sigh. Ethan Richards is one of my best friends, and yet he is also one of the most emotionally-driven people I’ve ever met. “I don’t know, Marg, it’s something that I wanted to tell him in person, but I knew he wasn’t coming back into town until today.” Ethan went with his family and another family they know well to Costa Rica for research/photography/vacation purposes. “I was going to tell him first though.”


“Yeah, I mean it makes sense. It always takes him a bit longer to process stuff, and since none of his close friends has moved before, I don’t know how he’ll act towards it.” This is also true, and I take a bit of frozen yogurt in my mouth in order to contemplate.


“Well, I mean, do you wanna come with me? I know I already shared the news with you, but we are the Tree Squad,” I say, referring to the name we dubbed the three of us together two years ago. I don’t know why we chose tree as the adjective, since I am just average height, and Ethan and Margo are both very tall, but we did and it stuck.


Margo pauses and thinks over the pros and cons to the situation, as usual. “I could. . . It’s really your call since it’s your information to share, and all. But I could be there for moral support.”


“Yeah, okay. I’d like that. So today then, or tomorrow?” I ask her. I am pretty sure she’s working tomorrow, but I thought I’d ask anyway.


“Let’s do it today. As drained as I am from all this social interaction, I do really want to see Ethan again since he just got back.”


So I text him, and he doesn’t take too long to reply, but while waiting for a one-word response like I always get from Ethan Richards, Margo and I talk some more. We always go into having deep talks, and while I’ve been friends with her for such a long time, we never run out of things to talk about. Sometimes I think she’s way smarter than me when we talk about certain topics, like she’s got all her facts figured out and is very grounded in what she believes in. It intimidates me while also inspires me to research more and more. She’s a great friend, and I think everyone should have a friend like that.


***


After explaining every detail and answering every question, Ethan Richards took some time to compose himself. He at first thought we were joking, and then got very upset, angry, questioning, etc. It’s like he went through all five stages of grief during the hour we had talked about it.


Ethan is my bro, my bud, my best friend. He and I have never been romantically a thing, and neither has Margo or him, and I think that’s what keeps our squad so tight. There’s no weird love triangle or third-wheeling with us. We all talk to each other about our relationship (or lack thereof) problems to each other, we vent, we problem-solve, we joke around. We do it all together, which really is astounding since we are in different Houses at school.


Ethan is such a Horned Serpent, with being so attention to detail in every single work assignment he has, yet he also has this thing where he’s super apathetic towards the current events of our society, which really bugs me.


He’s also very oblivious to when girls like him, and Margo and I remind him all the time. He’s such a flirt, without being aware that he is. I’m convinced there’s got to be some lineage of Veela in him with how many girls’ attentions he gets. Plus he has, like, super blonde hair, a pronounced jawline (but not like, a Greek sculpture, if you get what I mean - unlike his best friend Austin), and is a foot taller than me. Girls love tall boys.


Anyway, we talk another couple hours, and by then Margo leaves due to “social exhaustion,” and needs to “recharge by herself,” as she calls it, something I don’t understand since all I do is talk to people and love it. She calls it a night, we hug it out, and drives back home.


Ethan and I talk another hour or two, and he decides he wants to work on homework of all things. It’s August! I exclaim to him, and he just shakes his head and says we need to be looking for internships, opportunities, and to polish up resumes and portfolios before it’s too late. I understand that, but like, we have so much time for that. That’s Ethan for you, though. He’s that kid; but then again, he’s also going to be less panicky about it than we all will be when the time comes. He’s also the panic type if things aren’t perfect.


I make my way back home after saying another goodbye to him, telling my mom that I had a good time with my friends. She says good, and we hang out until my dad gets home to have dinner together. We have light conversation at the table. She tells me Tom is very serious with his new girlfriend and I say that it’s a shame Jess won’t get to marry him then. And then dad makes some comment on how Jess will land someone that is right for her, and thank God that that someone isn’t Tom.


It’s all around a good, yet very emotional day. I love days like today, though, where time creeps up on you until you’ve realized you had been hanging around with your buddies into the night. It’s when the sun skims over the earth as quickly as a comet that I cherish the days I get to be with my friends. I see their growth since when we first met, I notice the little gray hairs from homework stress or the small wrinkles in their smile lines on their faces that show us that we aren’t youngins anymore. We’re adults about to choose our destiny once school ends next spring and start the rest of our lives after the graduation caps fly in the air and float gracefully down like falling balloons.


And then before I head to bed, my reflections are wiped away as quickly as they came, and my father reminds me that I need to pack for tomorrow. And I don’t know if I’m excited for what’s to come or not.

 







 

And another chapter is here! I've written a few already, so they will come pretty fast. I'm still trying to get the main underlying plot worked out, but fear not! I am determined to make this story a completed one and not abandon it haha.

Thank you for to those that reviewed my last one, as it gave me a lot more confidence than when I uploaded it! Let me know if you enjoyed this one down below!

Up next: New home, coffeeshops, and a boy with as much pride as Nicolette.



 


Chapter 3: A Sticky Note
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 Chapter 3



The house my parents got here was a lot smaller than what we had in Massachusetts, but I guess it’s because I will be at school most of the year and Tom doesn’t live with us anymore. And also because England is way smaller than America, obviously.


We - as in Irene and Dan, not me - decided to get a place in England, right near London for my dad so that he could get a job there. I don’t really know how my mom is going to commute to Scotland, but they said that it’s not really that far away, it just seems that far because it’s another country, when actually it’s the size of a small state. And so I didn’t really question it, as I didn’t want to think about how many countries and states are in between my friends and me right now.


Homes and apartments (what they call flats) are closer together and taller. The have little patches of grass instead of big landscapes. Us Americans like our space, like our big yards, like our open floorplans. English people don’t care about that as much, which is really interesting to me.


I’ve been here for a couple weeks now, just waiting for school to start up already (September really was late to be starting school, as Ilvermorny started mid-to-late August). It has been really interesting (and somewhat scary) to walk around town and explore the shops and parks and places London has to offer. It’s kind of fun to be anonymous here, but also get treated very well because I’m noticeably American. Whenever I go home to my new place, it’s fun to discover little things about this home. I’ve moved some of my essentials into the little room I got, my parents Transfigured the desk that will be in there when I leave into a bed for me.


When I leave, I’m supposed to take the train at a station called King’s Cross. I have already been acquainted with No-Maj transportation (seeing as I couldn’t take an American car to England, now could I?), which was nice. The only thing is, whenever I would walk around King’s Cross, I could never spot Platform 9¾, which really concerned me, since I need to get there to get to my new school.


Speaking of, what kind of a name is Hogwarts? Like really, could the founders have not picked more of a repulsing name? Ah well, it’s really old and probably a nice campus, so who was I to judge? It still made me feel weird, going to a school named after some pig growths.


Whenever I tried to look up Hogwarts, I couldn’t find much about it. It’s really concealed, and even with a Wizard browser, there weren’t any images or info. It made me think that I was going to some creepy crime school, where no one leaves once you go there. I obviously doubt that’s going to happen, but you know, whenever you try to find something and it’s hidden, it makes you question it. Or at least for me it did, since I ask questions all the time. I guess Ilvermorny is like that too, but at least we have a home page for Wizarding parents to look at.


My mom went straight into work, had to get trained and familiar with their premises and all. It didn’t take long, but sometimes she’d be there for a lot longer than I would expect. I didn’t really know the name of where she was working and Dad said it wasn’t his place to tell me, whatever the hell that meant.


Speaking of Dad, he found a great place to work, which was for this newspaper called the Daily Prophet, which apparently is the biggest source of news for Wizards. Because Dad is a No-Maj, but is exposed to Majs like Mom and I, he is allowed this type of No-Maj work Visa. It basically means he can work for certain Maj jobs if he wanted to.


I was super proud of him when he told us, because even though he has a permit to, the Wizarding World is careful to bring in No-Majs for their work. Dad gets to edit for the No-Maj (or what I found to be called “Muggle” here) section of the Daily Prophet in where there is a spread that goes over the current events in the “Muggle” world to keep Wizards informed on what’s going on, if they aren’t a part of it themselves.


It took them a while to adopt this, it’s only been part of their layout for about five years now, a lot of prejudiced Purebloods tried to pay the Daily Prophet to not publish things that have to do with No-Majs. Some even withdrew from their sponsorship to the newspaper, hence why there are more ads than in the past.


I didn’t even think about how many people are still obsessed over blood status. I know for fact that the generation I’m in is not as much (which is great), but those of my grandparents’ generation are still in their ways. I, for one, think it’s a great addition to the newspaper, because we should always be educated about the things around us, even if it’s not relevant to us personally.


The man of the hour shows up, tells me that Mom won’t be home for a pretty long time and hands me a letter. It looked familiar to the one I got already, saying I was accepted to Hogwarts and included a train ticket to school and the list of the supplies I will be needing. This one though, seemed a lot lighter, as if someone sent it as an afterthought to the very heavy letter preceding it. I broke open the seal and started to read.


Dear Miss Moretti,


I forgot to mention in the last letter some things you will be wanting to know for this upcoming transfer of yours to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


First, in order to get onto Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, you need to find the pillar that is marked 9 and 10. It may seem very ridiculous, but once you find that, you will need to run (yes, run) into the pillar.



What the fuck? I think, this lady is crazy. I wonder how old she is, thinking I’m going to run into a wall in public. I keep reading anyway to see if there was any answer.


Yes, this is the way to get into the Hogwarts Station to get onto the Hogwarts Express that will take you here. It may seem very outdated compared to your mode of transportation to Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but I assure you that it is what works for us. We have wards put up so that any Muggle that is passing by will not notice the wall, and if they do end up looking at it or someone running toward it, they immediately have an urge to run off to a forgotten appointment of some kind. It’s the same type of wards as most schools have to make sure no Muggle is exposed to us.


Secondly, I didn’t mention to where to get your supplies that are required for the school year. I assume you already have a wand, Potions cauldron, and a few other supplies from your past school. We have had transfers in the past, so I understand that the supply list I have given you isn’t as relevant to you. You will need to pick up some Hogwarts robes, as Ilvermorny’s will not be needed.


Fortunately for you, I am having the Seventh Year Head Girl, Anusha Reddy of Ravenclaw come meet you at the Leaky Cauldron (address below) to help you get to Diagon Alley and fetch your supplies. She will show you how to make your way around there, as well as answer any questions you have about Hogwarts. Anusha is a very bright girl who I believe can get along with anyone and doesn’t mind an excursion for school early in the season.


And lastly, I need to have a meeting with you here at Hogwarts before school is in session. This is a procedure that needs to be done so that you can be put into the correct classes for the term, as well as have a small tour of the Castle. It will take a couple hours total to get everything figured out. You have the choice to bring your parents or guardians along with you.


There is a section at the bottom of this parchment that you can fill out for both appointments with Miss Reddy for school shopping and myself for class placements. Miss Reddy will also take you to Hogwarts for our appointment. The end section is enchanted, so whatever you fill out will disappear and be written down on a copy on my desk, no need to mail a response.


Thank you, and I look forward to meeting you and showing you your new home here at Hogwarts.


Headmistress Minerva McGonagall



I read the parchment again and my mood lifted significantly since I haven’t talked to many people practically at all today. I was quick to fill out the section for what days I’m available, checked some boxes here and there, and watched the ink from my pen disappear like magic (ha ha). I quickly added a thank you! with a little smiley face and gathered my things to go to town to get a coffee and a new book. The closer it came to being September, the more it became real, going to a new school and being in a new country.


***


The new bookstore that I’ve found (which I discovered is actually very very old) has a nice little coffeeshop inside of it, so I killed two birds with one stone. As I wait for my coffee order, I look around at the bar. It’s very homey, I would say, with all the worn-in couches and low tables. There are legitimate tables with chairs to do any type of paperwork, which is convenient too. It’s not like those modern cafes where almost every table is up high and there are TVs elevated on the walls with young baristas that are obsessed with acting sickly sweet to get a tip.


No, this place is meant for locals, you can just tell. It has the look of being run-down without actually being run-down. So there’s a feeling it’s kept very nice, despite it being years old. The coffeeshop is in the corner of the bookstore, with welcoming windows and dimly-lit lamps on tables. When it gets dark, the cafe is bathed in a golden shade that is perfect on the eyes for reading. There were a couple people dotted here and there with books, laptops, dates, etc. the low humming noise of people quietly chatting amongst themselves, the perfect kind of white noise for a read.


I just love it. It’s only my third or fourth time here since I found it a week ago. It makes me miss The Cozy Leaf, the local coffeeshop I went to back in Massachusetts on a regular basis. Except they didn’t have books, which is something I loved about this one I’m at now.


I was just sitting down with my coffee mug in hand about to read a book I picked up earlier about England’s history, when I forgot to grab a stir stick for my drink. I leave my mug and book at the table to fetch one and when I approach my table again, there is a small little pink sticky note by my mug that says “Mind if I join you?


Looking down at it, I frown, and casually gaze around to see if there was anyone that was expecting me to see them. Growing up in the city on the East Coast, I know what to do with creepers. But everyone is engrossed in what they have been doing the past whatever minutes they’ve been here. I look down again, and notice there was an arrow to flip it over - as if the writer knew what my actions would be - and it reads “I’m the one wearing a green shirt in the corner” so of course, my curiosity got the best of me and I search for someone in a green shirt in one of the few corners of the place.


Right away I make eye contact with a boy that looked to be my age, holding a mug and a book in his hands and a smirk on his face. It took me a second to figure out how he had managed to put a note on my table when he was a good fifty feet from me. I quickly sized him up, debating on whether or not to let a stranger talk to me. Knowing I am in a public space, I sit down at my table facing him and give him a nod, trying to smile.


His face breaks instantly to a grin and he seems less threatening and cocky than he was seconds before. He gets up from his seat and joins me across my table. I realize it’s a good thing I chose to sit at a normal table this time and not a loveseat, as it would’ve been really awkward if someone came to sit right next to me.


“Hi, my name is James, what are you reading there?” he asks me, putting his drink and book down on the mahogany. James makes to shake my hand and I look at it for a second and then he says, “do I sound too eager?” He’s still smiling. I notice his smile is full of really white, straight teeth and his dark hazel eyes slightly squinting as he’s smiling.


“Uh, kinda? Not sure yet,” I manage to say. As much as I love talking to people, this notion caught me off guard since I've been so used to discovering town on my own for the past couple weeks.


I have been asked for my number cleverly by boys during this time, but I just say I'm visiting and don't have long-time plans to be here. They usually understand, but I don't like upsetting people. It’s kind of nice to get the attention here, though, as American boys revert to being pretty perverse in their pursuits and I can easily shut them down with a witty remark.


I made a vow at the beginning of the summer to not really worry about boys for now. That was before I got news that I’m moving to England and this dark brown haired boy is sitting in front of me.


I realize his hand is still gestured toward me and has been like that for about ten seconds, so I grab it and shake his hand. It’s really warm, which is probably from the hot drink he was holding. Then I register we haven’t released our hands for about five seconds later than a normal handshake.


I let go.


He breathes a laugh and the hand he shook mine with goes straight to the back of his head and he ruffles his hair with it, making it stick straight up.


I kind of chuckle and he notices and tries a failed attempt at smoothing it down. Now it’s like a half-up-half-down kind of mess. And I’m smiling at it.


“So, uh, what’s your name then? I told you mine,” we make eye contact again and I bit my lip as I smile, he ruffles his hair again, and I’m noticing I do that lip-bite thing when I’m caught off guard or nervous, and stop to just smile like a regular human being. “I’m Nicolette, but some people call me Nic. You can choose.”


He smiles again, holds his mug with two hands (my guess is to not reach up to his hair) and says, “Ah, I like that I have options.” I notice how deep his voice is and the fact that his eyes are practically scanning my face, as if reading a synopsis about me like I’m on a bookshelf. “I’ll go with. . . Nicolette, I guess.” His voice goes to a whisper. “Do you mind if I switch back and forth?” He leans in towards me, as if telling me a secret with a long-time friend.


I laugh and say sure, and he says I’m American, and I say yes I am, and I realize I never told him what I’m reading and I say I wanted to read up on English history since I just moved here. He says he could tell, and that it is very smart of me to do so.


And we have conversations about history and current events in both England and America. I tell him about the latest political election and my thoughts on it, and he gives me his opinion on what England is trying to do as of late, voting for budgeting in schools and whatnot. He tells me he voted in favor of the schools not cutting certain programs.


It went on like that, for what seemed to be endless, and what I will later tonight find out we were at that table for just over three hours. I don’t talk to people other than my circle of friends for nearly that long. This James boy - he and I apparently can have a conversation that flows so smoothly I didn’t notice any seams in it. We went from topics from our cultures and the differences in them to our favorite foods.


A plus was that he is immensely good looking, what with his messy hair, just-barely tanned skin, and glasses that he wore with such ease he makes glasses look like a really nice accessory. I also took note on that he looked as if he wanted to show people he put effort into what he wears on a day to day basis, which I find very admirable (and attractive).


Not many boys under the age of twenty-five will care what they look like to the public. I found that his green Henley made his hazel eyes look more hazelly and less brown...y.


When he went to the bathroom I watched as when he got up just how tall he really was and the fact that those slim, navy, straight-down pants looked very nice on him.


After noticing his attire, I was more and more aware of how I looked, what I was wearing that day. I didn’t put any effort into my sort-of wavy dark hair, it just kind of laid there, on my back. I did like my cropped turtleneck sweater that wasn’t exactly maroon or purple. And I was glad that I had taken the time to put on my minimal makeup the No-Maj way (it’s very therapeutic, okay), and wear my favorite high-waisted jeans, since they are still in style.


London’s weather was way different than in the States. As it was warm, it didn’t get higher than 80 degrees fahrenheit, and there were usually clouds and a breeze to offset the temperature.


So I was able to bring out my autumn clothes instead of the same set of shorts and tank combos that I’ve cycled through this summer. The air conditioning is always blasted indoors I noticed, and James said that’s due to people who live here are not used to how warm it has been recently, they are adapted to the cold days.


I told him America is super hot in the summer and how high it can get in certain states. He was awed and we conversed more about the differences we share, but then went on to the similarities our countries share.


So it was quite nice, being able to talk to someone as if you’re more than acquaintances, like you’re picking up where you left off with them before when you had hung out last. I know I will never see him again, except maybe over Christmas when I’m back in town, because I’m going to Hogwarts really soon, so I take this encounter as a grain of salt.


Of course my hopes are up a little bit, seeing as how great it went, but I had to remind my feelings that I’m going to a new school and I don’t need a long-distance relationship/friendship right now. There was also no speak of magic shadowed in our interaction either, although he did say he is going to attend a boarding school somewhere in a different country. That could mean anything though, probably like Spain for all I know.


I think James thought I was visiting as well, as he didn't try to ask my number or see if he could see me again. It was like we silently knew this was a one-time thing. And I am okay with that.


I’m planning on going back to the States once I’m done with school though, so why worry about a boy in London?

 



 





 

 



 

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, as it was fun to write. Please let me know what you think below, I never understood the power of a review until I became an author on this story!



 

Up Next: features a trip to Diagon Alley and a familiar face.


Chapter 4: School Shopping
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Chapter 4


Mid-August quickly slips into late-August and I’m not as prepared for it as I initially thought I would be. As excited as I am to start school, I am also very scared for going to a new school. I had found some more books, this time though, I had ordered them off of a Wizarding site so that I could be more familiar with the Wizarding side of Britain and Hogwarts especially.

If I really tried, I could’ve gone into this Leaky Cauldron place and ask around on how to get into Diagon Alley. It was decided that I not go into it alone, since this Anusha Reddy from Ravenclaw girl is going to take me, and I didn’t want to spoil the experience of being a tour guide for her.

Anyway, I ordered this one book called, Hogwarts, A History, which apparently is very famous here. It’s more of a tome than a book, and probably weighs more than a medium-sized dog. I learned more about Hogwarts, while also passing time until school starts up. I read up on the Houses and what their qualities hold, discovering that they use a ratty old hat to do their Sorting. Pretty odd, but whatever.

I also read that the staircases move, and it can get very confusing as they are on this schedule of sorts. Sounds very torturous to newcomers like me and “First Years” as they label them, but I guess we have an equivalent as that at Ilvermorny.

There’s this windy path that leads to the Quidditch field, with a fork in the road that changes every month or so. If taken the wrong one, you can end up in either a village of people that only speak Mermish or a valley of boulders and logs that we students call The Outlands, which is very intimidating. The only way to get back to campus or the Quidd field is by finding a bridge with a Leprechaun to Apparate you back if you give him one galleon.

I’ve never been in that situation myself, since I was told by an upperclassman that the correct one to the field has a blueberry bush the left of it every time. Kids can get really mixed up and scared though, and no one thinks to put up signs.

Being able to read more about Hogwarts has been giving me more of a reason to stay positive about it. My friends would disagree since I’m reading more and talking less to them. I told them that they have school to get to, so I would just be a nuisance to them now and they all opposed, which to be honest, made me feel better. I also told them about my encounter with James and Jess proclaimed that we’re getting married. I had to remind her I haven’t seen him since that day he sat down in front of me. He’s also a No-Maj for all I know, and I’m leaving soon.

My friends all say goodbye, as their next class is about to start just as an owl comes to my window. I think it’s kind of unnecessary to still have them around and treat these owls this way, especially since we have No-Maj technology now. I guess Hogwarts still upholds a lot of old systems like this.

I give the owl some treats that I had Transfigured out of the contents of my garbage can, as I don’t just possess owl treats in my temporary bedroom. It hoots and flies away before I can read the little name tag on its leg.

The letter simply says:

Hi Nicolette!

I hope you have remembered that we are meeting today at 2pm at the Leaky Cauldron so I can help you with school shopping. I am excited to meet you and show you around Diagon Alley! The address is below in case you don’t already have it.


Thanks and see you soon,
Anusha Reddy
Head Girl of Ravenclaw


I did in fact remember both the meeting and the address, but it was a kind gesture to send me a reminder. I also noticed that she gave her title at the bottom, as if just to remind people who she was, but then again I probably would do that too if I was Head Girl (whatever that meant). I glance at my watch and see that I only have about thirty minutes until I need to get to the Leaky Cauldron.

Understanding that I have no idea how far the place is, I get off my bed, change my clothes, and grab my bag to walk there. Before heading out the door, I put a Self-Cooling Charm over my body so that I won’t die from the August heat.

My smartphone luckily has the magical extension in it so I can look up the address. Thank goodness for GPS these days. It says it’s about a thirty minute walk fortunately, and I go along, picking up an iced coffee on the way.

By the time my phone says I have three minutes left, I quickly shut off my phone as it won’t work when in proximity to a concentrated magical community such as this. Why they don’t let No-Maj technology into the Wizarding World of England is beyond me, since it’s so helpful.

Once inside the Leaky Cauldron, my body feels slightly tingly from all the magic around me. Witches and Wizards are in robes, objects are floating and flying on their own, and there is a cheery vibe I get from the atmosphere. I also realize that it’s a pub with some kind of hotel service upstairs, as the sign says. I was expecting something more like an information building, but it is Britain after all - they like their pubs I found out.

I gaze around the room and for any sign of a person waiting for an American, and I notice a girl waving at me from a small booth. I quickly head over to her the same time she gets up from the table to shake my hand.








“Hello, you must be Nicolette, I’m Anusha Reddy!” she kindly says while I’m shaking her hand. I smile and confirm that it is indeed me. Her handshake is delicate, so I conclude she must not be threatening. Her pink shirt and shorts over a thin pair of robes with sandals shows that she’s got to be normal. “Let’s go!” She leads me over to a door on the opposite side the entrance and waves to a lady behind the counter.

She puts up her course, curly hair into a knot on top of her head before retrieving her wand from her pocket. “Okay, so this is the entrance to Diagon Alley.” She gestures to the brick wall in front of us.

“Do we need to run into it too like at King’s Cross?” I ask.

Anusha full-heartedly laughs and says, “Yeah, no, you will get a concussion that way. There’s certain bricks that you tap your wand on in a specific sequence. Like a code, basically.” She pokes some bricks and they magically retreat to the sides of the wall, revealing a huge town. I start to move my feet towards it, but she holds her arm out, the dark limb contrasting with my white sundress.

“Wha-”

“You need to do it yourself so that you can get into Diagon Alley alone in the future, McGonagall’s request,” she says. I can tell now that she has an authority role by how she instructs me.

“Um, okay, can you show me the bricks again, when they go back?” I ask, not wanting to screw up and delay us. The small flash of Diagon Alley has made me quite excited.

She nods, waits for some people to go through the portal, and the bricks start to come back into one solid unit. The girl shows me the bricks I’m supposed to tap and I watch with a focused expression on my face. Being a visual learner is really beneficial at times, since this won’t be too hard.

I pull out my wand (dark brown with hints of orange from being from an acacia tree, with Snallygaster heartstring, ten and a fourth inches, slightly yielding in flexibility, if you must know), feeling the smoothness of it and tap the bricks that Anusha pointed to with ease. The wall springs open once again, and she praises me.

We head inside and I cannot believe my eyes as how many witches and wizards there are in the streets. It’s a pretty wide street to begin with, but with the number of bodies on it, it doesn’t seem as big as it is. We pass by Ollivanders, the Quidditch supply store, and head towards a bookstore.

“Ollivander is so sweet, but he’s barely there anymore - he has a team of elite wizards who studied Wandlore to be there instead,” Anusha mentions when my eyes linger at the window of the shop.

“Really? I got my wand from Ollivander himself, on his annual trip to America,” I say in passing, noticing that Anusha looks down slightly, and I’m guessing that she’s never met the old man. I remember reading a biography of him, saying that even though Ollivander is so old, he’s rumored to be in possession of the Sorcerer's Stone after Nicolas Flamel gifted it to him.

Apparently, Ollivander has been written to to so many people asking him never to give up Wandlore. I guess he gave into peer pressure, didn’t his mother ever tell him not to do so? When you’re that famous though, it probably is more motivating to try and avoid death for a while.

“Do you play Quidditch?” I ask, trying to change the topic to something that will make me feel less bad.

“Oh, no, I never got into the sport, I like watching it though,” she responds, going into a story about how she learned to fly in her first year and didn’t see the hype about it. I can kind of tell she’s a bit of a bookworm like I am, but I enjoy playing sports.

Inside the bookstore, she guides me to the “Seventh Year” aisle. “They don’t categorize it by subject or author?” I ask her.

She looks at the sign, and notices this, “Hmm, I never thought of it that way. No, they don’t here, since I suppose only students really go into this store for their textbooks. It makes sense, doesn’t it, to organize it by year?” I nod and agree with her, guessing I’m not used to it. The Wizarding bookstore we use is huge and goes by genre - almost as big as Powell’s in Oregon - whereas this one is quite small.

After getting myself a ton of books and placing them in my bag with an Undetectable Extension Charm, we exit the store. I ask her a few things about Hogwarts, like how big is the population and how many classes are there you’re suppose to take. She tells me there are about a thousand students total and it wasn’t that big in the past. Anusha also says the requirement is to take at least seven classes, but the subjects vary on what “newts” you take. I asked her about this and she explains it’s their placement test and an acronym. I told her we have a version of that called EAGLEs (Exhausting American Graduation Ludicrous Exams) - so America to come up with that one.

“Since we don’t know your House yet, you can’t really get a bunch of robes, but we’ll still get you some standard ones, as well as the uniform you wear underneath them. We wear ties that are colored according to your House, so we won’t get any of those.” Anusha walks along with me to a clothing store. I can easily tell it’s for Hogwarts and not for fashion, since there’s a bunch of smaller kids hustling and bustling inside.

As we make our way out of the shop, my bag full of attire, I notice a boy. Of course there are many boys around since the place is full of people, but like a familiar boy. The one from the coffeeshop. He’s walking with two other blonde boys and gives me a little smirk, and a once-over my body. Very obviously.

When we pass each other, I give him a quizzical look, hoping that it actually is him, until I notice that he doesn’t seem to know who I am. I look into his eyes, he gives me a wink, and I blink a few times after the short encounter. I look back, but by then he was swallowed by the crowd. I will realize later that day leaving Diagon Alley that his eyes were an emerald green and not brown.

Anusha didn’t see any of this happen, as she took me along to look at some desk supplies, such as quills and parchment. Who uses quills and parchment these days? I thought we were in the twenty-first century, not the seventeenth one. Good Lord, I thought, this school is going to be weird, I know it. Hopefully it isn’t as patriarchal as their traditions hold.

Because I already have a wand, a cauldron, and a pet, we don’t really need to do any other shopping. She asks if there’s anything else  I want to look at or shop for and I say that I’d like to go into the apothecary. I also wanted to see what this hugeass purple shop was at the fork in the road, only to find out it’s a joke shop and lose interest. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes went international a couple years ago and I have a few things from them already.

Once I got some general vials of common remedies for allergies and sickness (you can never be over-prepared), Potions ingredients, and some other things I wanted to test out, we headed towards the Leaky Cauldron once more.

Anusha wishes me a good rest of the day and that she will see me next week to take me into Hogwarts at the same time we met up. I wave and thank her for doing all of this for me, and she says it’s no problem.

On my way back home, I can’t help but think of that boy that looked like James from the coffeeshop. My mind lingers on the passing situation while the sun is fading into the distance, making the sky a color mixed of periwinkle and mauve, and I put away my sunglasses. I didn’t realize that shopping for school supplies would take such a long time, I was getting hungry and knew that dinner would be soon.

It couldn’t have been James, as I remember his dark hair with little hints of auburn in them, his brown eyes, and the fact that his height wasn’t eye-level, but taller. So strange, I thought, but I decided he must’ve been a dopplegänger of James, as that can totally happen.

I thought over everything I bought today instead. I couldn’t help but bask in the fact that people noticed my nationality right away and would instantly ask me questions about America. It was really fun, talking to people who have never been there and listening to their accented voices. Anusha I think got somewhat tired of the constant questions, as she enjoyed my company and me asking her questions she could answer.

Anusha was a very nice girl, and the Headmistress was right - she was easy to talk to and get to know. She seemed to know a lot about Hogwarts, both the castle and the student body in general. I wonder if I will be in Ravenclaw like her or one of the other three Houses. After reading about them, I concluded that I could easily be in any of them, since I have qualities of all four. Anusha thought that I was over exaggerating, because surely one person can’t have all four, but I just shrugged and we talked about her favorite subject, Ancient Runes.

Once Mom and Dad got home, I told them about Diagon Alley and how we all need to go because it’s just beautiful. They both agreed to go on a weekend with me and look around rather than school shop. We then had dinner, video called Tom, and I went to my room to read more about Hogwarts until I fell asleep with the heavy book on my lap.
 










Here's another chapter for ya! Please let me know what you think of it, I love hearing your words, whether they be uplifting or constructive!
Expect chapters to come up every few days for now until September (that's when school starts up), the backlog is about 1 day, and I post in the evenings. Being in the US, I'm in PST zone, so keep that in mind!

Up next: A tour of Hogwarts and Nicolette gets Sorted into a House!
What House do you think she will end up in?


Chapter 5: Tests and Sorts
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For member Glisten, who never ceases to make my day better with their kind words.




Chapter 5


The week went by fast, with having more and more things to do and prepare for. Being able to go into Diagon Alley with my parents was really fun, we’ve gone more than a couple times since I first did with Anusha Reddy.

It was a little difficult to get Dad into the Leaky Cauldron, but luckily the Ministry has granted my father a magical bracelet that lets him get past wards easier, with his job being for a magical business. I would always look at Dad whenever we went out and would count the times he would put his hand on Mom’s back or waist. My mother looks very young for her age, and having Italian roots in her gives her features that most women covet.

This also attracts the eyes of many men, both old and young. Kinda disturbing, but yeah, that’s what happens everywhere we go. It’s why Dad can be a bit possessive, but Mom thinks it’s sweet that he cares that much to publicly show his affection to her. I find it somewhat gross when my friends tell me how hot my mom is and all, but I know they don’t actually want to break up my parents. Dad is very handsome as well, but he can also be pretty intimidating when he wants to be.

Unfortunately, even though I tried to keep my eyes peeled for some sign of James every time we went into Diagon Alley, he (or his look-alike) wasn’t there.

The tour of Hogwarts is today. It is only two days from September first, the day of when move-in is. The days have gotten only slightly shorter as the season progresses.

Not only do I look forward to school, but I look forward to season of autumn; the crisp air, the warmer colors of nature, everyone wearing boots and scarves, the crunch of leaves when you walk outside. It’s like a symbol of beginnings. The beginnings of friendships, new routines, etc. I just love the change that autumn brings.

Headmistress McGonagall has told me that I can bring my parents along if I so desire. I asked if either or both of them want to come with for the tour and they both agreed. Dad’s only seen Ilvermorny a couple times, but he wants to know what an English magic school looks like. I told him because America is only so young, Hogwarts is more historic and Gothic style, so it must have a lot of stone, unlike Ilvermorny’s foundation. Ilvermorny looks more modern and Renaissance style in architecture, with everything being granite and marble, a beautiful castle all the same. I read that Ilvermorny is the closest equivalent wizarding school to Hogwarts.

“Ready?” Mom asks me from my doorway, I notice she’s got her purse and shoes on, and I hardly have gotten out of my pajamas. “Okay I’ll give you a minute, we’ll be in the living room,” she adds before walking away.

“Yeah, probably making out with Dad,” I mumble to myself while I grab my bag, wand, and shoes. I give myself another look in the mirror, and decide to French braid my hair down my back.

I make my way upstairs, taking heavier strides than normal so that my parents stop whatever type of affection they are giving. They smile innocently at me from the couch when I enter, knowing well what my motives were with making a show of meeting them in the living room.

We make our way to the Leaky Cauldron, and I spot Anusha Reddy at a bar talking to one of the employees. She sees me and heads over to greet my parents, shaking their hands and exchanging names.

“So, are we gonna be taking a train to get there or Apparating?” I ask to her.

“No, actually, we are going to Floo into Hogsmeade - the village adjacent to Hogwarts - so that you can see what Hogwarts looks like from the outside,” she steps to the side to gesture the fireplace at the wall closest to us. I realize we don’t Floo as much, since my Dad owns a car and we Apparate more when in the States.

Anusha grabs a handful of Floo powder, throws it into the fire and projects, “The Three Broomsticks!” The flames turn a jade shade and steps into the fireplace, motioning us to join her. I didn’t realize how spacious this fireplace is until I’m inside it.

And then, blackness fills my sight and a warm, squeezing sensation until we arrive in another fireplace. The four of us step out, wiping soot off our clothes (something I don't particularly like about using the Floo Network: the ash), and I take in my surroundings. It seems like we’re in another version of the Leaky Cauldron, but it’s larger and more of a proper restaurant than a pub. And a bit cleaner for that matter.

Anusha leads us out of the place while turning to us and says, “This is the Three Broomsticks, many students will come get food or drinks here when on village excursions.” Once outside, I’m greeted with the warm air that August holds. She walks with us along a pathway and down a ways, chatting amongst ourselves until we reach a lake with a dock. There’s a big canoe that looks like it can hold four people in it. “This is so you get a front view of the castle, usually students that are older than eleven will ride in a carriage to get there, but since it’s your first time here we thought you should see it this way.”

Mom and Dad climb in on the back bench and Anusha and I take the front. Once all of us are seated, the boat takes off as if it’s steering itself. “Wow, no ores, huh?” I hear Dad say softly to Mom, and she only chuckles to him as a response.

The closer we get, the more in awe I am of the place. It’s completely dark stone, darker shingles, with a crap ton of turrets all along it, towers of all sizes that sits atop a cliff. There’s also a bunch of stained glass in almost every window I can see with lots of pointed arches.

The grounds around it are just as nice, with a field of grass all around it, overlooking the lake we are on. In the distance I see a forest just beyond the castle. It’s truly a beautiful building, and whoever designed the architecture of it must be proud of themselves. It’s also a much bigger building (by square feet) than Ilvermorny, even though my school has more people in population.

I see Anusha smile to herself in the corner of my eye, secretly watching all of our amazed faces in reaction to seeing the place. Mom and Dad are pointing at various features, saying things like, “Wow does that piece of stained glass have a mermaid on it, and it’s moving around?” and, “I can’t believe you get to go to school here, Nikkie,” and, “Look! That must be the highest tower, I bet the stars are beautiful from there.”

I can tell Anusha is looking at it in a new light, because it is a new experience for the rest of us. She gives this little lift to the corner of her mouth, as if she’s thinking, Yes, it is very beautiful. And I’ve been going here for seven years now. I’d be the same if I were a tour guide to this hugeass castle. But I told her a bit about what Ilvermorny looks and and she’s looks less proud by the end, realizing I also go to a castle for a school.

Once out of the boat, we trek up to the main doors, where I can see Headmistress McGonagall is waiting for us. She gives a quick look of what I would think to be of knowing to my mom and nods. With a small smile on her lips, she’s eyeing my father, who has had his mouth open since the boat started moving on its own. I think he forgets what magic really can do, as well as how grand a boarding school can be.

“Hello! Mr. and Mrs. Moretti - and you must be Miss Nicolette Moretti - welcome to Hogwarts! We hope that you can make this school your home for the year.”

I hear Dad softly mumble, “I sure could,” and Mom chuckle again.

“Thank you Miss Reddy for escorting them here, you can go into my office and Floo yourself back home or to Hogsmeade if you would like,” the headmistress nods to Anusha, taking her delicate hand in Anusha’s, giving her a piece of what looks like candy and a kind smile. The three of us say our thanks to her. Anusha goes inside, after saying goodbye and you’re welcome to us.

McGonagall turns to me and says, “Now, Miss Moretti, do you want to do the tour or the tests first?”

“The tests?” I ask while tilting my head slightly. I recall something about putting me in the right classes, but I didn’t think I’d have to take a bunch of tests for it.

“Oh, don’t worry,” she laughs a bit, “it’s not like a proper sit-down exam, you’ll need to answer some trivia, do a bit of wandwork, and brew a potion for us so we can see what level you are at. I already got your exam scores from your headmaster at Ivermorny from last year as well as your OWLs from the year before,” we do have OWLs in America, they’re run differently though I think, “but we don’t know exactly what you want to take.”

“Um, then - I guess I’ll do the tests first,” I say. “Excellent,” she replies and turns to open the grand doors of the castle. “This is the entrance room, for the Great Hall is right across from us, and the staircases are just over there.”

She gives us a little time to peek our heads into the Great Hall, Dad, once again with his mouth open wider than before (but then again so was mine).

The room definitely got the name for good reason; there were four long tables that stretched for what seemed like an eternity, until there was a platform with another table on it, with a huge ornate window stretched out on the wall behind. The breathtaking part was the ceiling, which I told my parents is bewitched to look like the sky outside. Dad asked how I knew that and I said common sense, duh, and he gave me a smile and rolled his eyes, then I told him I actually read about it.

The Headmistress leads us up a bunch of different staircases, which awed Mom, and the old lady told us that they move on their own schedule, students will soon figure it out on their own when they need to go to classes. I already knew that bit (again, from reading), but I let the headmistress tell my parents about the facts of the school.

As we walk down a few hallways, I realize that in order to get to her office, we basically went through a lot of the castle. But who am I to know all corners of the castle?

We finally get to her office door and she turns to my parents, asking if they want to wander the castle for a bit, since my tests will take about two hours. They say sure and are handed what looks like a simple map of the castle with the instructions to come up in two hours whenever they want. The password is “lemon sherbet” to come back up.

After they leave, McGonagall and I are finally in her office once she muttered what I assume to be “lemon sherbet,” and up a moving spiral staircase. Interesting - Ilvermorny doesn't use passwords, we have keys (that magically change with the locks every once in awhile) to our offices and lobbies. I guess I will forever be comparing my former school to my current one now.

“Okay, Miss Moretti,” McGonagall says after we take our respective seats, “we are going to go over most of the subjects that are taught from Sixth Year that Hogwarts allows. You will then get to pick which subjects you want to study for the NEWT level. You know what NEWTs are, correct?” I nod in response and she says great.

The headmistress places a globe on her desk and transfigures it into a small replica of Hogwarts, “Please stand Miss Moretti, and take a look at this,” she says to me and I get up from my chair, “Now, I’m going to turn it back into a globe and I want you to try your best to turn it back into Hogwarts from memory.” With a wave of her wand, the castle vanishes and is replaced by the globe from before.

I pull out my wand, and with a couple swishes, change the brass globe into a small stone version of Hogwarts. “Very impressive, you got it almost completely accurate,” McGonagall says with a small smile. “Now I want you to turn it into a kitten, and then back into the globe it once was.”

“What type of kitten?” I ask before I do what she says. Transfiguration is my second best class, so I like to do more complex spells.

“Let’s see a grey tabby,” she instructs, with bright eyes.

“Okay. . . how many?”

“How many what?”

“How many kittens do you want?”

Headmistress McGonagall pauses, her face showing somewhat surprised mixed with a bit of pleasantry. She looks as if she has never been asked this question before, but also wanting to take the bait of challenging me. “Five kittens, all grey tabbies and one orange tabby,” she says slowly, as if I can’t keep up.

With a tiny smirk and determined eyes, I wave my wand in a series of flicks, and there are now five small kittens atop her desk instead of the castle that was occupying it. I turn them back into the globe.

“Well, very well done, Miss Moretti. I am quite impressed; multiple Transfiguration is not taught here until the beginning of Seventh Year. If you must know, I used to teach the subject - before I became the Head of this school,” she tells me. I feel like maybe I’ve given her some brownie points to be on her good side.

“Thank you, Headmistress,” I say. She has me translate some runes, as well as a few Mermish sentences and speak a short basic conversation. Then she has me recognize and point out some constellations to her on a map of the sky. Once I give answers to History of Magic (we were only taught basic level on the UK so her questions weren't too hard), Muggle Studies, and Magical Creatures trivia, it seems like we are done since my parents come up and sit in some chairs off to the side.

Nope.

She then asks me to create an Uncorporeal Patronus, as it is widely known that most wizards cannot cast a Corporeal one (aside from those in Harry Potter’s time, since there was a war among them). I do so easily and then she tells me she is going to perform a Stinging Spell on me, to which I have to pause and realize what she said.

Before I know it, she’s standing with her wand pointed at me and I quickly send a Protego in front of me without thinking too long about it. I stand up straighter afterwards, a frown evident on my face. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to deflect it or to let it hit me and cure myself after.

“You just passed your Defense Against the Dark Arts portion,” McGonagall says in response to my confusion, “even though that wasn't specifically Dark, just a hex.” She asks me a couple questions about Defense and seems satisfied.

“Lastly, I need you to make a Pepperup Potion - I know it’s a potion we here make in Fourth Year - but I want you to do it by memory. The only thing I will provide you is a list of the ingredients.” Ah, shit, I think, this is where I'm going to fail.

I'm just enough able to follow instructions in class, never mind memorize the stupid order of things. I look back at my parents with a grimace. Mom gives me an encouraging smile while Dad just shrugs.

McGonagall turns her globe into a cauldron and brings out a piece of really old looking paper (like the parchment I bought). Thankfully there’s at least the amount of each ingredient next to it. She then gives me a bowl of rocks. I catch on that I'm supposed to transfigure them into the components. Knowing how to change them into the right thing is for Herbology.

After what seems like an eternity, but is most likely just a half hour - the cauldron is slightly emitting steam and has dark orange contents in it. It’s not as thin or as red as it should be, but I know it could qualify as “good enough” for a student.

Mcgonagall looks inside and stirs a long spoon inside it. She nods to me, “Well done, it would've been a bright red shade if you added a bit more mandrake root, and thinner if you simmered it longer. But nonetheless you've now passed all our core credits and basic electives.”

I release a small sigh I didn't know I was holding in. Damn, these English people are serious with their tests (“not like a proper sit-down exam” my ass), she had no mercy for me.

I then sign up for my classes, which she strongly recommends I take Advanced Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts, my best subjects, as well as Advanced Charms. Since I don’t really know exactly what I want to do after school yet, besides go to college in America, I sign up for most general things.

By the end, I have the three McGonagall told me to take, as well as Advanced Potions (to better my poor skills at the subject), Astronomy, Ancient Runes, and Alchemy (because learning the four elements and transmutation really fascinates me).

Headmistress McGonagall tells me that seven NEWTs is pretty average, the minimum being five and the higher average being nine. Technically you can take as many as they allow at NEWT Level, but only one person has had the guts to take over ten in the last fifty years. (Any guesses? Yes, it was Hermione Granger-Weasley when she came back for her last year of school after the war. I think she begged the Headmistress for it too.)

She walks around her desk to a shelf on the far wall saying, “Last, but not least, we are going to Sort you into your Hogwarts House. Do you know about the Houses and their qualities?”

I nod while she comes back towards me to place the Sorting Hat on her desk. My parents are now fully awake (only because Mom elbowed Dad in the side) as the Sorting part would be more fun to an audience.

“Well, hello there,” a small raspy voice says from the huge seam. “I’m assuming you are a transfer student?” it actually turns to McGonagall, who says yes, she is. “Ah, well do you want to hear a small song, since you’ve never been witness to the Sorting Hat Ceremony before?”

I say sure and it starts singing a tune:

You may think I’m just an old hat,
But alas, I am way much more than that!
You see, I was strung together by hands
That wanted to help the lands
Of witches and wizards alike,
To bring them together -- yes, tykes!
Who can learn to control their magic
And to not go about and wreak havok.
So these hands were of four greats:
Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor
Made a school that was anything but bore,
These founders -- they had a great fate,
Who each possessed qualities not as of late:
Courage, humility, ambition, and wit!
To which one of you do you fit?
Well, just put me on your head to find out,
I will then be able to see about
What one caliber you best value,
Let’s start already, shall you?


Wow, I wonder if he makes these up on the spot or not. McGonagall gestures that I take the hat from the desk and I do so. Somewhat scared, if I’m going to be honest. The small voice is now pronounced and clear, but inside my head as if it’s in the back of the room.

“Hmm, interesting. Very interesting. . . I see a big heart - yet a sly mind, but also know that you are very caring towards those you are close with-” Whoa. “-You have the motivation to get what you want, very nice quality indeed - but not if it’s for the wrong reasons, which counters with the good morals I see you have, yes.” Can you hear what I’m thinking too? “Yes. Curious. You’re very curious, many questions you have in your head - yes, I do sing a new song every ceremony! Thank you, it was nice to sing more than one time for once. Let’s see now, where to put you. . ."

And it goes like that. For a long time. I don’t know how long, but it is. He keeps talking, pausing here and there. McGonagall was at first very calm, a smile on her face, until after awhile it went to confusion, but it was gone in a split second when I look up at her. It’s now encouraging.

“Do you have a preference to which House you’d like to be in, Miss Moretti?” The Hat asks me. I think, for a little bit. . . Do I want to be in a House of loyalty, wisdom, ambition, or bravery? Ah I can’t decide. “Which do you value most?” it asks when I don’t give an answer. I don’t know, aren’t you supposed to know this? “Pish posh, I was just asking for reference, girl.” I don’t know much about other than the sterotypes I heard, I guess. “Very well, I will choose. RAVENCLAW!”


The shout makes me jump, in turn making everyone else in the room jump as well. I think I saw even a couple portraits that were interested in my Sorting jump. It was very quiet for some time until now.

“Very interesting, Miss Moretti!” McGonagall claps, “It seems as if the Sorting Hat couldn’t choose which one you best fit in. I don’t think we’ve had a decision take that long for nearly half a century -- not a bad thing, that you have qualities in every House,” she adds upon seeing my wide-eyed expression.

“Seeing as we are now done, we can go to your new Common Room and see a bit of the castle. We’ve gone through the main part of the castle to get here, but if you would like, we can show you the library and anything else. You will need to get Ravenclaw robes before Friday.” We head towards the exit and I swear I see the portrait of Albus Dumbledore wink at me on my way out.

McGonagall briefly shows us a standard classroom, the Hospital Wing, where all the other Common Rooms are located (though we don’t go inside), and the library, which is very close to the Ravenclaw Common Room itself. The door is a cream color with only a bronze eagle knocker on it. Like, literally, there’s no handle or anything. “There’s no password I need to know?” I turn to the principal and she shakes her head, so I grab the eagle and knock.

A small female voice comes from the knocker and says, “You can see me in water, but I can never get wet. What am I?”

Are you fucking kidding me? I have to answer a riddle? What is this? I’m like, no good at riddles. Of course I get the one freakin’ House that uses riddles to get in. What if I’m like all of a sudden mute? How will I get in? What if I’m too tired to answer a stupid riddle? What if I can never answer the riddle and have to wait outside like some sixteen year old who got locked out of their car? Of all things, I need to solve A RIDDLE?

The voice repeats itself and I realize that the adults are either waiting for me to answer, or they’re also confuddled. I heave a sigh, let’s do this then.

If you’re in water, you’re wet. . . If you’re out of water, you’re dry. But if you’re in water and never wet then -- then what? Then you’re just Jesus Christ himself. Well I guess he walked on water technically. So it could be on top of water, like floating in it, and that’s like technically in. Wait wait, she said I can see me in water, but can never get wet. If I see and am not in the water myself, then it’d either be in the water (which would make it wet) or on. I guess it’d be a reflection then. “A reflection,” I conclude. “Well done,” she says and the door opens.

Dad pats me on the back. Damn, that was a lot to do in such a short time. Why did I get put in the logic House? I’m not logical!

All my thoughts dissipate when we enter because I’m stopped in awe once again of the beautiful and grand room that now surrounds me. I see right away, opposite of the entrance, are two doorways are next to each other, with an alcove filled with books in between. I can only guess that’s where the dorms are.

Everything else comes at me in waves. Circular room. Spacious. Velvet. High ceiling. Stars etched on said ceiling. Marble. Arched windows. Lots of natural light. Drapes. Dark wood. White. Blue. Bronze. Home.



A/N: And here you go! I'm sorry this took a lot longer than the others to get up, but hopefully the longer chapter length makes up for it??? Right??? It took me some time to really get everything together on a document from my terribly messy brain.

Please let me know what you think! Love it? Hate it? Did you guess Nicolette's House right? I WANT TO KNOW! Your reviews really encourage me to keep writing this story!!

UP NEXT: A train, a feast, a first night on campus, and a surprise.

Chapter 6: A Girl And A Castle
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Thank you for your feedback in my last chapter! Namely, users Glisten and BBHP, you guys rock!

I don't own anything of the Harry Potter world, as it came from the mind of J.K. Rowling.





Chapter 6

“How are you feeling?”

“A bit of everything, really,” I reply. We are standing in front of a huge red train and I'm about to leave for a new school.

I'm feeling nervous, excited, sad. Nervous because I'll be a new girl that at this new school that will be having to make new friends as a freaking Seven, my last year. Excited for being able to be in a new environment, a clean slate, no one knowing who I am; excited for change. Sad because I left all my freinds from Ilvermorny. It finally hit me last night and became a bit less surreal; I remember Dad bringing me a bowl of ice cream and watching a movie on his and Mom’s bed together after I had bawled my eyes out about how much I will miss my friends.

“That’s normal,” Mom puts a hand on my shoulder before turning me around to look at her, giving me a hug. Dad has a half day of work, I said goodbye to him this morning. “Let me know if you need anything.”

“Will do.” I give her a smile of apprehension and she gives me a smile of encouragement in return.

I'm about to head up the steps to board the train when she calls back at me and I turn, “You’ll be fine! Expect the unexpectable, okay?” I nod and wave as the train heaves forward.

If that’s not cryptic, I don't know what is. I assume she means this is a new school, so I shouldn't make assumptions about anything here.

I walk along the hallway, trying to find an empty compartment, noticing how tiny eleven year olds are. I also notice the looks that some young teens - like Fours and Fives - give me, seeing that I'm obviously older and obviously haven't been going to their school before.

“Who are you?” a female voice asks, she’s coming out of a compartment while I’m about to pass by it. I turn and see a strikingly beautiful strawberry blonde with strong angled features.

“I’m Nicolette, who are you?”

“My name’s Dom, short for Dominique. Ah, you're an American transfer, huh? What year are you?”

I tell her I'm a Seven and she can call me Nic if she wants and she asks if I need somewhere to sit for the ride. I say yes because I didn't really know where else to go. Once seated, I notice there’s one other person with her.

“This is Nic, she's from America,” Dom says to the girl with deep reddish-brown hair and freckles, “This is Rose, she's one of my many cousins.”

“Yes, but one of the least annoying ones,” Rose says to Dom before smiling to me. I notice not only does her white grin look nice against her slightly tanned skin, but her auburn curly locks do too - any other skin tone could've made it totally clash. “There's nine of us at this school.”

I raise my eyebrows and think, damn, that's a big family. I don't have that many cousins, and they didn't even live in the area that I did - much less even go to the same school I did (albeit half of them are No-Majs, but still).

After conversing in small talk, I quickly find out that Dom is in the Slytherin House and Rose is in Gryffindor, and yet they are still friendly despite the “rivalry” the two Houses face. They tell me that most of the Weasley are in Gryffindor. When I tell them I've been Sorted into Ravenclaw, Rose asks if I like to read, to which I say yes, even though that's kind of stereotypical. She seems to ignore my comment and we talk about a few books we both have been enjoying.

A tiny, but unmistakably gorgeous blonde girl opens the door and tells Rose with a small voice that the Prefects are having a meeting and were looking for her. Rose gets up, saying it was nice to meet me and I say the same.

The blonde girl then comes in and sits down next to Dom. “Ellery, this is Nic, she's new.”

“Hi, nice to meet you,” she smiles slightly and nods at me. “You guys better change into school robes before the Prefect meeting gets done, they'll start patrolling soon.”

Dom starts to get up, “She's right, let's get our clothes - Elle, you okay if you watch our spots for us?”

She nods and I only now just realize that she's already in her uniform with her robes folded next to her (they are Slytherin ones).

Since I don't know where the bathroom is, Dom leads the way down the hallway and I quickly look into all the other compartments we pass by. I notice most of them are full, with lots of people chatting amongst themselves or playing games. Some look at me with passing eyes, and some are so immersed in whatever they're doing, they don't have time to look out in the hallway.

While going past one compartment in the middle of the train, I see a big group of boys all talking and joking. They all look to be my age and are quite good friends, sitting all haphazardly. The split second that I pass by their window, a boy with dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a crooked grin turns from his friend, next to the window looking outside, directly to me. His lazy expression goes to a wide-eyed one when he catches my eye. I've already walked past by now, and I know none of the other boys have noticed his reaction.

I swear it was the boy I met at that bookstore coffeeshop, or the one in Diagon Alley. I quickly change into my uniform, my robe hanging off my arm, Dom already far ahead of me as I walk back out to the hallway. I was planning on just walking past, not getting caught up in whatever encounter I just had, when the boy in question is waiting outside his compartment.

Once he sees me, he walks towards me, and since I don't have anywhere else to go, I have to walk towards him as well.

Without thinking, I blurt out, “What are you doing here?” the same time he does. His tone has more of a lightheartedness to it, whereas mine was a bit more sharp than I meant it to be.

“I - uh - I'm going to Hogwarts this year,” I say lamely, since I don't know what other answer to give.

He puts one hand behind his neck and tilts his head a bit. “Well shit, me too,” he says lazily, an easy grin plastered on his face.

“No way, I thought you, like, followed me here or something,” I joke. To that he breathily chuckles and drops his hand to his side and leans against the wall of the train.

“Um, it was . . . Nicole, right? Oh wait - no. . .” he says, drawing out every couple words, “Nicolette,” he says as if it's his final answer.

“Yeah, it is,” I smile, somewhat glad he remembered my name from weeks ago. “James, right?” I shift a little and put my hand in my hair, tousling it a bit - a habit I picked up from my dad.

He doesn't seem to notice it much and just says, “Good memory - fitting for a Ravenclaw,” with his eyes crinkling the tiniest amount trailing down to the emblem on my grey cardigan.

“I guess so,” I laugh. After a pause I say, “shouldn't you change into robes too?” noticing his slim shorts and short-sleeved button down that he filled in quite nicely. Not that I was staring - cause you know what my mother says: staring is rude.

Picking up my hint that we should not be loitering in the hall and are also currently blocking a bit of traffic, he says, “Yeah, probably. Well, I guess I'll see you around now then, Nicolette.”

I say I guess so too, and he goes back into his compartment after side-stepping out of a small boy’s way.

Back inside, Dom asked where I was because she thought I was following her, but I wasn't. I told her I talked to James for a bit, and I guess she knew who he was with only his first name because she said, “Huh, I would've thought Al would have been the one to catch you first.”

After seeing my furrowed brow, she explained that James and Al (short for Albus) are brothers - and her cousins - and that Al is a huge ladies’ man around the school. Never was able to keep a steady girlfriend because he was constantly changing up who he was seeing.

I asked her what Al looks like and she said he's got raven-black hair, bright green eyes, and is more lean than lanky.

“Oh so he must be the one I saw in Diagon Alley the other day,” I say quietly, more to myself than to her. “I thought it was James.”

Ellery put her MagiBuds in to play music and hasn't really been listening to the conversation ever since Dom mentioned Al, deciding to instead gaze out the window.

Dom quickly told me that Ellery doesn't like him that much because of his misogynistic tendencies and turned him down when he asked her out last year. Many a times.

“How did you know James already if you thought that was him in Diagon Alley?” she asks me now.

“Oh, I had met him at a coffeeshop inside this bookstore a couple weeks back. He asked to sit with me and we ended up talking for a while. I thought he was a No-Maj since there were no hints of magic talk,” I tell her, her face turning into a smirk the more and more I explain. “What?”

“James hasn't shut up about the ‘mystery girl’ at that café, saying he's never met someone so smart or relaxed in his presence before,” Dom crosses her arms against her chest, obviously knowing more than me.

“He hardly remembered my name when we spoke just a few minutes ago, that can't be true,” I say, slightly indignant, trying to suppress the little giddy feeling of what she had spilled to me.

Just when the strawberry blonde is about to open her mouth in reply, the door slides open yet again, revealing a very handsome blonde boy with a loose Gryffindor tie around his neck.

“Well, well, well, who is this?” he asks, his eyes on me. I don't even know this boy and yet I catch myself staring at his good looking nature; chiseled facial features, toned arms from his rolled up sleeves, hair hanging down in front of his light blue eyes-

“This is Nic, she's a transfer from America,” Dom says lazily. “This is Louis, he's my twin brother.” Ah, so that's why she was less enthusiastic than I thought she would have been. It's not everyday when a really cute boy comes into your compartment to meet you and even shakes your hand - well I guess she's less of a threat to me. “We’re a quarter Veela, so whatever you're thinking right now, it's most likely because of that.”

I peel my eyes away from his crooked smile to see her smirk at me. I shrug, as if in surrender. “Damn, Dom, didn't need to be so blunt,” his deep voice says. My attention goes back to him, he raises one sculpted arm to mess with the back of his hair.

She turns back to her brother, “Yeah, well, she's gotta find out sometime - oh and Lou loves attention, so don't give it to him - like you are. Right now. Nic!”

The snapping fingers in front of me pull me out of my small daze. “Yeah, totally. I agree completely,” not really knowing what she said, but faking an answer can't hurt.

She laughs at me. Wrong answer. I smile sheepishly at her.

A kid, who I assume to be a Prefect, reprimands him for keeping the door open and not sitting down. Louis turns to us, “Well it was nice to meet you, I better head back to my seat,” he smiles at me, glancing at Ellery (who's still looking out the window as if none of this is happening), and then gives Dom a look only siblings can do to each other.

Dom nudges Ellery’s leg with her foot and once she removes her MagiBud says, “He was totally looking at you,” with a wiggle of her eyebrows.

Ellery rolls her eyes and puts the device back in her ear, resuming her position from before.

Dom turns back to me, “So tell me about Ilvermorny, I heard it's so cool!”

***

By the time the train ride slows down to a halt, I've met countless of people on this train. Most of them are Sevenths, but some are Sixths. Interestingly enough, I haven't seen Al at all or James since we talked in the corridor.

“So, we wear our robes during classes, breakfast, lunch, and formal meetings, such as the Welcome Back Feast and the End of the Year Feast. Other than that, we just wear our uniforms underneath. On weekends and dinner onwards we can wear whatever,” Dom explains to me as we are walking down the hallway and off the train. Everyone's in their robes now, since the feast is soon, plus it's somewhat cool outside.

“First Years, over ‘ere, First Years!” Booms a loud voice in the distance, to which I locate a very large man with a head of burly hair and beard holding a lantern with garbage can-sized hands five feet over the heads of everyone on the street. “First Years, get over ‘ere! Aye, I won’ hurt yeh, just folluh me!”

“That's Hagrid, he's the gamekeeper on Hogwarts grounds,” Dom says when she notes where my eyes are.

“Why is he so . . .”

“Half giant.”

“Ah.”

I follow her through the throng of people, who are all heading through the village and into carriages. “Beautiful,” I say under my breath at the Thestrals that are carrying them.

“You can see them?” Dom asks me.

“My grandmother’s neighbor,” I respond.

“My great-aunt,” she says quietly next to me.

I nod, leaving the short conversation there, as if we have a silent mutual understanding.

Once in the carriage, there are two others already inside.

“Hi, I'm Glenna, and this is Freya - you must be the new girl everyone's mentioned,” the girl, Glenna, shakes my hand lightly and gives me a wide smile.

She's kind of blasé, but I like it. Similar to that girl Rose Weasley. “Yeah, I'm Nic,” I say.

Dom is on my left, and Ellery is on her other side. We're all chatting lightly about classes and professors, since I don't know who teaches what.

I notice Glenna is louder than Freya, who is a curvy wheat-blonde Gryffindor. They seem close, even though Glenna is in Hufflepuff. Her yellow tie compliments her dark hair and fair skin, and the first thing I noticed about her when I got into the carriage was her bold eyebrows.

“Seriously, even though Sinatra can be a hardass when she wants, I heard she's a real softy and social outside of Transfig,” Dom says to Freya, who claimed that Slughorn, the Potions teacher, is one of the biggest pushovers in the school.

“Who's your favorite professor?” I ask to no one in particular.

“Neville - I mean, Longbottom, but that's only because our family is close to him, and I guess Ted too, but that's a given,” Dom says to me, “Ted Lupin, he's Slughorn’s teaching assistant, but he does more than the old wiz does if I'm going to be honest.”

Glenna and Freya sigh dreamily, to which Dom says, ew gross guys, he's practically my brother-in-law ‘cause of my sister Victoire. They both blush and look away.

Ellery briefly says, well he is good looking, even if we're not going to date him and that shuts Dom up (only a little). I notice that Ellery’s not a huge talker, but when she does, it's usually funny or witty.

We all file into the Great Hall and Dom points out which table is which to me. She says that it's not required to sit at your House table throughout the year except for formalities, like tonight's feast.

Everyone is filing into the Hall so she waves goodbye to me and heads towards the Slytherin table with Ellery. I smile back and go to sit down at the Ravenclaw one, next to a girl that I remember briefly meeting on the train.

“Hi - Charlotte, right?” I say when I sit next to her, and she gives me a kind nod, her black side bangs bobbing.

“How are holding up? I bet it's new, experiencing everything in one day,” she asks.

“Actually, I had a tour a couple days ago, that's when I got Sorted into Ravenclaw, although it took a while for the Hat to place me,” I tell her. Some of the people around me are not-so-subtly listening to our conversation. I assumed this would happen before I even set foot in King's Cross, being new and all.

I notice that the tables are decked out with plates and silverware, but there's no food on the surfaces yet. I didn't realize how hungry I was, as chocolate frogs and chili mango ropes don't really stick with you.

“Ah, well that's cool, and probably nice, since now you don't need to be Sorted with all the First Years, now that I think about it,” she says to me.

“What do you mea-”

“Welcome everyone!” McGonagall cuts me off mid-sentence with a clear voice, standing behind a podium on the raised platform. She has this power to silence the din, and all eyes are on her.

“Welcome back to a new year and a new feast! We have a few announcements, but will get to that after our annual First Year Sorting,” she says to the mass of students.

With that, she sits down and a pointed professor (Charlotte tells me that's Professor Sinatra) comes in from the Entrance Hall with a crowd of short kids. They all file in next to the raised platform and she brings a stool and the Sorting Hat to the platform. After another beautiful song sung by the old hat, everyone applauds. Pulling out a scroll, Sinatra calls off the names of students.

After six or seven students, I notice that they all take two minutes or less in their Sorting. By the end, the longest First only took three minutes to decide before the hat is bellowing that the little boy belongs to Hufflepuff. He goes to sit down at the cheering table of yellow.

There's a lot of House pride I ascertain, something not as huge at Ilvremorny. We are of course prideful of our Houses, but our biggest unity is the school itself, not inter-House rivalries.

Once every First has been seated at their respective tables, McGonagall rises again and Sinatra goes to put the Hat and stool away. “Congratulations to everyone on being Sorted. We have a few announcements before we can all tuck in, and I will try to be swift about it.

“Firstly, all boundaries are still in tact as previous years, the Forbidden Forest: still remaining forbidden, the Astronomy tower only used for classes, and teacher areas such as lounges and dormitories are off limits - please go to their office during class hours instead of the Professor Dorms,” I notice her gaze stops at the Gryffindor table a little longer when talking about all the boundaries.

“This year, Prefect meetings will be held in room 211 of the Collin Creevy Wing on Thursday evenings. There will be no Head Common Room, as we want everyone included in their House,” there were a few murmurs about this. I don't know what anything means so I keep quiet.

“And lastly, we have a new addition to our student body,” oh shit - say what? She could be talking about a different transfer student, yeah that's it.

Nope.

She's definitely talking about me, I know it, especially from the few heads that turn towards me and some other students are looking around for who McGonagall is talking about.

“We haven't had a transfer student in a few years, but this year we do,” the headmistress finds my face and there's a small twinkle in her eye and her lips turn ever so slightly up at me. “Miss Moretti, please stand.”

Wait, what? I have to stand in front of everyone? Good lord.

I rise tentatively from the bench and now everyone is looking at me, so I give a wave and a smile, then sit down. There are whispers. Of course there are whispers. It's a boarding school for crying out loud.

“Nicolette Moretti is a Seventh Year from Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in America. For Hogwarts, she has been Sorted into Ravenclaw this year-” everyone at my table applauds and cheers, to which I smile a little at the beaming faces around me, “-which was quite a feat, as she was a very long hatstall-” more whispers. Ugh. “-and she's already has her schedule filled out. So please do make Miss Moretti feel as home here at Hogwarts.”

Now people are looking at me and my stomach is growling, and I hope to God she's about done with these announcements.

“Lastly, I want to announce the situation of Madame Pomfrey, our school nurse of the last sixty-seven years,” even more murmurs, for Sayre's sake, everyone has something to say about everything, don't they?

“She has decided to work a bit less this year, to help when she fades out for her retirement in a few years. Madame Pomfrey asked us if she could spend some time off here and there, so we have brought in an Aid Healer to work alongside her and help whenever it's needed.” At this there's a pause, and McGonagall gestures to someone off to the side in a room I didn't notice before. A lady walks out and there are more mumbles throughout the hall.

Wait a second.

I recognize that dark hair, carefree saunter, olive skin.

“Our school aid will be Mrs. Moretti, Nicolette's mother.”

What the actual fuck, Mom?





A/N: SO SORRY for the awaited update, as I tried to upload yesterday but my server kept crashing and had to wait until today to post it.

ANYWAY. There you have it! Now we know what the surprise is! Did any of you guess it?? Please tell me your thoughts about this chapter and also who your fave character is!!! I love all the reviews I get and try to respond to each one! If you do, here's a high-five from me, or a hug! OH ALSO how do you like the new banner????

UP NEXT: Roommates, classes, and a late-night tour - from a boy, of course.


Chapter 7: The First Night
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 Chapter 7

I didn't notice that my jaw was hanging from its hinges like a pair of string lights off a Christmas tree until I saw people's heads turn in my direction.

I don't know if they were either seeing if I was surprised by this or trying to compare the resemblance between us. I quickly shut my mouth and put on a small smile, as if I had been expecting this.

But really, my mind was going a million miles an hour. We had two days before I moved across the freakin’ world, and we were in England for who knows how long - like two weeks - and my mom didn't find the time to say, Oh by the way, I will be working at your fucking school, Nic! Did they think it was some kind of sick joke? Did they think this would be a pleasant surprise? What was their main goal with not telling me this?

I was so prepared to finish off my last school year meeting people, going to classes, going to parties, whatever upperclassmen do, without my mom in the same building as me.

I slowly get out of my small mental tirade to realize others’ reactions: more mumbling and whispering (of course), some delighted (mainly boys who are Fours and older - which, by the way, EW), and some just shocked (some people just don't like change I guess).

“Okay, so now you can tuck into the wonderful dinner that has been made for us!” McGonagall goes to sit down and the food magically appears (I will never tire of that joke) in front of us. The din arises once again and everyone is eating and talking happily.

“So I take it that you probably didn't know your mom was going to be the Aid, huh? I could tell from your reaction,” Charlotte mumbles to me while I make for the mashed potatoes.

“Yeah, no - she forgot to tell me that little detail when she said to pack up and that we're moving to a different country,” I whisper to her.

Unfortunately the boy across from me heard what we talked about and says, “Well that can't be all that bad, to have your parent here - I get pretty homesick, you see.”

I look up and try not to glare at the kid - I don't want to burn any bridges the first night I get here. “Yeah, well I've always been pretty independent and have never been homesick,” through bites of my asparagus.

“That must be nice, not having to be constantly wanting to be back in your home with a nice bed and siblings - but they have nice comfort food here,” he rambles. Seriously, who is this kid and why is he suddenly in our conversation?

“So, Nicolette. . . What did you like the most at Ilvermorny?” Charlotte asks me, a bit louder, noting my annoyance towards some kid who didn't even tell me his name. I give her a side look of thankfulness for the change in subject, which quickly is changed to a face of disgust at the boy in front of me stuffing a huge chicken leg right in his face, not caring at who in the world is watching.

“I really enjoyed Quidditch, but not sure if I'm going to play here at Hogwarts. It was cool to see and meet the other teams around the whole of North America,” I say to her.

“What do you mean?” the boy in question asks, cutting off what Charlotte was about to say. Although, with his face full of chicken, his tan cheeks protruding out like a squirrel’s would, it came out more like “wguh’d’yuh bean?”

“Our Quiddtich games are House against House, I think he means,” Charlotte explains to me for this boy.

“Oh, okay. Yeah, so we play as one school against other schools. Try-outs end up having two teams with two captains and we scrimmage against each other for practices, mixing the players up. And for travel games, they take people on a type of rotation,” I explain while spearing a tomato half.

“That's so cool!” both Charlotte and the boy in front of me exclaims. Now a girl, next to the boy who's across from me, turns from her previous conversation to listen in.

“Do you play?” I ask Charlotte and the boy.

“Yeah, I'm a Chaser on Ravenclaw’s team, if I make it again it will be my third year,” she beams, her dark brown eyes lighting up.

The boy across from me cuts in and says, “I'm not on the team, but I've been practicing the last two summers and last school term, I hope to make Beater. My aim has been improving my older brother says.” He's now spraying whatever other food he had in his mouth on the table. The more I look at him, the more I decide he does have a Beater’s build.

“I've never played, but I just love to watch. Being a spectator is really nice at times,” the girl diagonal of me says dreamily. “The commentator is so funny and exciting, his voice is perfect for the role.” I'm, like, a hundred percent sure she sighed at the end.

Charlotte and I exchange glances, knowing full well what this girl means even though she didn't say much. The boy on the other hand just gives her an incredulous look, not willing to believe someone wouldn't want to actually play the sport, and chomps down on his food once more.

***

By the time dessert comes around, everyone is full, yet has enough room to eat even more.

I find out during dinner that the boy across from me’s name is Elijah Mii, a dark-haired Five. He is kind of oblivious (“for a Ravenclaw,” Charlotte says), yet has a really good photographic memory and a big goal-getter. The girl sitting next to him is Aria Copenhaver, a thin white-blonde Six who doesn't play, but she has a knack for Arithmancy and decoding Runes.

I also come to find out Charlotte Chang-Watson is in my year, and she loves Quidditch and anything to do with the sea, which is ironic to me since neither of them are on land.

Her mom once was the Seeker for Ravenclaw, but Charlotte wanted to do something different than to follow her footsteps. Her aspiration after Hogwarts is to be a researcher for magical water creatures, and anything that that can entail.

The food and plates disappear and everyone heads to go back to their Common Rooms, McGonagall said the First Years are supposed to go before us. On my way out the Great Hall, Charlotte and I walk together as we are heading to the same place.

Dom somehow manages to weave through the crowd and find me. “Every year there's a back to school party - Fifths and up, this year we’re having it by the lake. Tomorrow night. You in?” She looks to me and then Charlotte, noticing she and I are walking together.

“Yeah sure, sounds good to me,” I tell her; Charlotte nods in response.

Dom wobbles a bit as some people try to push by her, “Great, it's a wandless party, but bring your bathing suit. You want to come see the Slythie Common Room before bed?”

“That would be cool, yeah - give me a minute, I need to do something first,” I say as my eyes trail over where my mom is sitting at the Staff Table. Dom and Charlotte pick up what I mean and say that's fine.

I walk over and up the raised platform, noticing people's eyes are following my body, Mom’s talking to one of the professors who isn't McGonagall (every teacher is “Not McGonagall” to me right now). She looks up when she feels me approach her.

“-I agree. Um, I need to talk to my daughter now, but it was good to meet you Ted,” she says. Ted (I'm guessing Lupin) gives me a nod and a kind smile to my mother; I took note of just how much time he took looking at her body as a whole before turning his attention to a different professor. Ugh, not another one.

Mom gets up from the table and walks down a few steps to where some of the profs have already left. “Hey, Nikkie, what's up?”

I stare. “Wha-what's up? What's up? Well I don't know - maybe the fact that you're here at my boarding school working for the whole year, is what's up. Mom, why didn't you tell me this before so I could know ahead of time?”

Mom sighs, as if she knew this was coming, “Nic, I was going to tell you, but we didn't want to say right away since moving away was already a big change for you. I thought it would be best to wait, but then I was trained more and more and gone from the house more.”

She pauses before saying, “I didn't have time I guess - don't give me that look. I didn't want to freak you out before school, and - hey just wait - I will give you your space so you can still have the same year you were going to. You can even write to me as if I'm not here, plus I probably won't see you much except for Quidditch - if you try out. I'll be in the Hospital Wing, you'll be everywhere else.” She finishes as if she practiced this speech for me.

I weigh my words before saying, “I know, but I just didn't want to be informed with everyone else. I've had time now to let it sink in during the feast, but still not super happy with it all. You promise not to, like, embarrass me or tell me what I'm doing wrong or whatever parents do? Please? Let me make my own mistakes and do what I want?”

She purses her lips into a thin line, thinking of what that would take (which wouldn't be a lot, my parents were never strict, but they also were never at school with me before). “Fine, I guess so. I owe it to you in a way anyway.”

I give a soft squeal and hug her, “Thank you, thank you! So how much will you be here exactly?”

She rolls her eyes, not unlike I do, “Ha ha, I get it - don't want me around too much now do we? Well, during class hours and on Quidditch games. If she needs me for a certain day, she will call me in, but most nights I will be home with your father.”

“Okay, awesomethanksgottagobyeloveyou!” I say while spinning around to my friends that are waiting for me by the doors.

***

The Slytherin Common Room is something I wouldn't have guessed it to be, yet also not surprised by it.

The place has this weird eerie feel yet it's homey at the same time. Dom says it's by the Black Lake, and one of the windows is like an aquarium where fish and creatures swim by. They can't actually see in, since it's enchanted, but it's pretty.

Most of the windows that line the room are bewitched to mimic the outside, like a lot of the windows in The Dungeons. Apparently it was a change Slughorn made and no one wanted to change it or knew how to.

Everything is a deep green shade that could be mistaken for as black, velvet and dark wood being most of the elements. The curtains are the velvet material that the couches are. There are a few fireplaces dotted around, the biggest being on the right side, where most of the upperclassmen are lounging around.

I met Sophie Zabini, who came up to me from the group of lounging students saying, I heard you're into Quidditch, think you're gonna try out this year? To which I said, I don't know. I never even talked to her, but of course word gets around fast at boarding schools. She's been on the team a while now as Slytherin’s Beater. Dom told me later that she was real close to being the captain this year, but it was given to her cousin Al instead.

Dom is a Chaser for their team, even though she doesn't look like the athletic type, being curvy in all the right places with a pretty face and nice social status. She looks more like a Quidd player’s girlfriend than one herself, but I'd never tell her that. She probably already knows anyway, being a quarter Veela.

I find out Dom doesn't particularly love Sophie Zabini, but gets along with her for the game’s sake. Other than that, they don't talk much. Ellery Webster and Celeste Faire (I haven't met her) seem to be her closest friends that's not related to her.

The Slytherin dorms are different to Ravenclaw’s in where all the rooms are on the same level. You go to the girls’ side, up the stairs, and get off the landing, it's all one big hallway.

The Ones are the first door on your left and you make your way back to the Sevens, which is at the end of the hall on the left as well. On the right is a long stretch of a window with stained glass mermaids. They swim back and forth, sitting on rocks or swimming together.

Charlotte and I don't stay too long, but Dom wanted to give me a tour (and Charlotte too, since she's never been).

She said the rooms get progressively bigger the more you age (a similar system to Ilvermorny’s dorms too). The Sevens’ room is fairly large with ample space in between each bed, all having the same color scheme as the Common Room. There are desks and wardrobes for each girl, with a bookshelf that is in the wall above the desk.

After chatting a bit, Dom bids us adieu, and we head all the way up to our Common Room. Luckily Charlotte knows her way around, or I'd be lost already.

Before we can even leave the Common Room, I'm stopped yet again by someone I don't know. This time, it's a boy with black hair who I'm pretty sure I've seen before.

He leans against the exit nonchalantly, “So, you're the new girl. My name’s Al, as in Albus Potter. I see you've met my cousin Dom then?”

“Yeah, she's nice. Very beautiful and smart--”

“I'm sure you are. Are you coming to the welcome back party?” He’s smirking, running his hand through his hair, messing it a bit. Now it’s just sticking straight up. I notice he hasn't acknowledged Charlotte and she hasn't said anything.

“Uh, yeah, we are - Dom invited us, are you going?” I ask, not sure where this is going, but have an educated guess.

“Well, I am - why don't you come with me? We can show up together, it'd help with getting people's attention, if you want any.” He looks down at his nails and then to my feet, going up my body somewhat slow - just like in Diagon Alley.

Yikes. Charlotte looks somewhat uncomfortable and I don't really want to be here any longer. “Um, no thanks, I'm going with my friends. And I've already got people's attention - I'm new, remember? Why do I need more?”

“Oh I know, or else we would've definitely been together already,” he says suggestively, the wink he sends me doesn't help. “Everyone wants attention, at least to some extent. Why wouldn't you want to not hang out with me, Al Potter? So, you down?”

I look at Charlotte and she just gives me a small shrug. I look back at this boy who not only asked me out twice, but claimed going with him will make me popular. I can't help myself and ask, “Are you really that full of yourself? I'm going with my friends, what more do I need to say?”

He stands up fully so we're almost eye level. “I am pretty great - been told by countless of girls. Look, love - it was just an offer, I thought I'd ask so you don't need to be wondering if I would or not. It could always be more than one date to a party, you know,” his eyes flicker down to my lips, my neck, my chest and back up to meet my eyes. The little smirk is back - I want to smack it off.

Charlotte’s mouth drops just a sliver and I've had it with this kid. “Look, love - you're like, what? A year and a half younger than me, prancing around with all types of girls and you expect me to think that's attractive? You have another thing coming if that's it. We need to go,” I make for the door and he actually has the courtesy to move when I do.

The stone door slides and on my way out I hear, “Don't come crawling back for some Al then when you decide you want more!”

“Oh my god, I can't believe you said that to Al Potter,” Charlotte breathes. It seemed like she was holding her breath.

“I mean, Potter is a name we are familiar with obviously, but that doesn't mean he can take what he wants,” I say, climbing the stairs with her.

She nods, “Well, Al does. He always has, and when he hit Fourth Year he went after girl after girl and hardly any of them has turned him down. James could too if he wanted - but he doesn't like to use his surname and good looks for benefits like that.”

I stop, almost causing her to trip, but go again so she wouldn't ask what happened.

James is Al’s brother. Of course he'd be a Potter too, why didn't I realize that and put two and two together? Damn, maybe that old hat was wrong, I'm not meant to be in Ravenclaw.

But James never made it a big deal - or any deal - about his last name. “And how many girls has James been with?” I ask, only half wanting to know the answer.

Charlotte doesn't know that I've met him yet, let alone have talked with him for hours weeks ago.

She's also not related to him so can give me a non-biased rundown.

“He's had two girlfriends; one in Fourth and one last year, and had an unofficial thing with a girl in between girlfriends. He stays within his circle of friends usually, but doesn't pull crazy pranks like Al and his best friend Scorpius do. Louis Weasley sometimes helps when he wants. Those three can get into so much trouble. . .” I remember she's a Prefect and has probably had to deal with them before. “Yeah, no - James is friendly and charming, but never tried to get into trouble or girls or drama, really. At least that's what I know of, being in a different House than him.”

Once we finally (and I mean finally - it's a long trek from The Dungeons to the second highest tower) get into Ravenclaw Tower, we head straight upstairs. There are people hanging around talking, laughing, playing games, but I'm interested in hearing more about who James is, Hogwarts James anyway. Not Coffeeshop James, he was different - and a No-Maj for all I knew back then.

Trying to keep it on the subject I say, “So does he play Quidditch or what?”

We flop on our beds, hers next to mine, “He used to,” she replies, “until this year. Now he’s Head Boy and Hogwarts made a rule that you can't be Head Boy or Girl and be a Quidditch captain, as it's too much responsibility.”

“Are you talking about James Potter?” A head of frizzy black hair pops out of the curtains hanging down from the posters on Anusha’s bed.

Charlotte laughs, “but of course - you know Anusha, right?”

“I gave her a tour of Diagon Alley and took her on the boat ride to Hogwarts before school started,” she says triumphantly.

“We've met,” I say, smiling at Anusha across the room.

The dorm is an almost-circle, not being a half, but not being a whole. Anusha has the end with a bigger desk and bigger bed, being Head Girl. She also has a nice window view and the side with the fireplace and couch, but has told us we can use it if she isn't there. They said it's to make up for not having a Head a Common Room anymore.

We shared the room with Verena Kamazel, Rosabel Flinn-Fletchy, Suri Patil-Musco, and Eve Silverson. They currently were out of the room - except I think Suri is sleeping, but it could be a bunch of pillows - and I haven't met them yet.

“James Potter is the Untouchable One, as we call him,” Anusha continues. She came over closer to us, eager for some girl talk, and is now sitting on Charlotte’s bed. “He doesn't go after a billion girls - we thought he was gay at one point, but then he dated Eve Chelan and that threw off our theory - sure, he jokes around, but doesn't pull crazy huge pranks or anything.”

Charlotte nods her head vigorously, adding, “Most people would have thought he'd be a huge prankster - like his brother and dad and grandfather, but nope; the only time that happened was during his First and Second Year.”

“He's Head Boy this year,” Anusha chimes in, “it's rumored that he took that over being Captain so Al could have the Slytherin Captain’s spot without too much competition. He's like a professor’s dream student.” She's smiling to no one in particular, but I can tell boys are a subject of interest for Anusha.

I can tell they haven't talked about this stuff in a while, if at all together. But nonetheless, I am thoroughly okay with having them tell me all these things, though. Who doesn't when they're new?

I take in what Anusha says, knowing she probably knows a lot about him, working alongside him for things. Twirling a piece of her hair she puts in, “He even tutors, like - how sweet is that?”

“Of course, girls fail classes purposely to be tutored by him, but still. A cute tutor? So hot. A smart, kind man, who puts others first - that's who I want in a guy,” Charlotte says, her dark brown eyes on the ornate blue and bronze ceiling.

“Oh, I thought you'd like the Al type, huh?” I joke at her, and she scoffs, I laugh. We retell the story of being stopped in the Slytherin Common Room to Anusha.

Anusha's mouth is slightly open, “Wow, I knew Al was a player, but not that much. Must've taken some nerve to say that to you?” Her hand is under her chin, she's laying down on her stomach.

“But then again, it is Al Potter,” Charlotte adds.

Not realizing that Verena Kamazel and Suri Patil-Musco had walked in, I still asked, “Who's cuter though - Scorpius Malfoy or Al Potter?” I've met Scorpius on the train, but only very briefly in passing. He is very attractive too - there are a lot of pretty people at this school. I'm very much enjoying this gossip since I need to know who is who and all that. Anusha and Charlotte pause as if they are going through a list in their heads.

“Scorpius.”

“No, totally Al.”

“James, definitely-”

“They’re brothers-” I add.

“-of course they look similar, but-”

“So, both?”

“Louis Weasley.”

I roll my eyes, and we all fall into a pile of giggles. The two girls that came in decided to join in.

Girl talk can really soothe the nerves of being at a completely new school.

***

Waking up in the middle of the night is not an act that I do on a regular basis.

Usually I am one to sleep hard and through the duration of the moon’s stay. Even while I was trying to get on London time, I was only slightly jet-lagged, but was able to switch over time zones in a few days.

Tonight is different though, I guess. I woke up to the small noises of sleeping, one girl’s slightly snoring. I can hear Charlotte next to me mumble something in her sleep that sounded vaguely like a baking recipe.

I look out the window next to me to see the glistening moon greeting me high in the sky. It really is a beautiful view from all of Ravenclaw Tower; we see everything from the Forbidden Forest to the Black Lake, Hagrid’s hut in the distance on the vast grassy grounds in the foreground, rolling mountains far in the background.

I look to the clock and it reads it's almost one in the morning. I could definitely try to go back to sleep, but it's really peaceful right now. Looking at all of Hogwarts’ campus, I almost can't get enough of it. Everything is coated in a translucent opal color, making the atmosphere a mix of eerie and ethereal.

I don't know how long it's been since I've woken up, but I'm basking in the radiance down below, and starting to doze off.

Until I see two figures emerging from the Forbidden Forest.

I shot upright, noticing they are student-shaped, not creature-shaped.

Because I'm so up high, they look like ants and obviously I can't tell who they are. The two figures are striding together quite briskly, one holding their wand out in front of them. Another has just came to greet them from the castle; I turn to a sleeping Charlotte, contemplating on whether or not I should wake her. She is a Prefect after all, so it could be her job to take care of it.

When I look back, all three students have gone.

I strain my eyes to where I once saw them all gathered together at a hault. Seeing there's no one at that spot, I scan my eyes around the rest of the grounds, but come up short.

The Horned Serpent part of me is telling me to let it go and go back to sleep, but the Thunderbird part of me says to find them and figure out what they're up to.

Thunderbird it is.

I get out of bed, put on a pair of fuzzy slippers and a pullover maroon hoodie over my t-shirt and and pajama shorts, and head out the door. Luckily no one else has woken up when I left, the only people up it seems is a couple making out in the corner by a fireplace.

They don't even notice when I leave, too engrossed in the other to let go.

I don't really know where to start, so I start by heading towards the Entrance Hall, where the main doors are.

Portraits are whispering, some knowing that I'm new say I'm going to get caught if I don't go back to bed. I just give them a small smile in return, most of the ones with aggressive comments I ignore completely.

As I've finally hit the first floor, I feel a cool rush of what feels like rain has just drenched me, yet I'm still dry as before.

A translucent figure has materialized in front of me, staring me down.

Before I can apologize to the ghost, he simply states, “Now, I haven't seen you around here, or at least haven't frightened you in the past. Who might you be, girl? Why are you out here so late?”

“I - uh -” I stop short, realizing that saying, I'm trying to see what three students were doing being outside, but then they disappeared out of thin air, isn't really a valid excuse. “I'm new and I wanted to see more of the castle,” I say quite lamely. “Who are you?”

“My name- I am known as the Bloody Baron,” he says slowly.

I look down and see that he is, in fact, covered in dried blood.

“I wonder why,” is all I could say.

To my surprise, the somber-looking man gives a small chuckle. Apparently he is a fan of sarcasm.

“Were you a student here?” I ask.

“But of course - I was in Slytherin,” he says proudly, “What House are you in?”

I tell him Ravenclaw, and notice his features both soften and have an even more somber tint than before. I don't know why, but also I don't really want to ask; this ghost looks like a very intimidating one.

I pause, deciding what to do or say. It seems like he's in this conversation and not planning on leaving right away.

“So what is your real name then, Bloody Baron?”

His eyebrows go up one or two notches, surprised by my question.

“What?” He asks me.

I repeat my question only for him to say no one has asked him that in a few centuries.

It was my turn to raise my eyebrows, “Really? No one?”

The Bloody Baron shakes his head slowly, and says that he frightens people, both intentionally and not; no one really talks to him. He quite likes it that way though.

I let him know that if he wants to talk to someone that he can always find me. He finally smiles to me - a small one, but still a smile no less. I can tell he was once a probably a nice and sweet man, with a smile like that. I say my thought and his features soften slightly once more.

I hear footsteps behind me, and tense up, ready to get busted by a professor - on the first night here no less.

Instead there's a deep, familiar voice that asks, “Who were you talking to?”

I turn around to see James Potter, a ghost of a smile on his face. I swivel my head slightly, only to see that the Bloody Baron has gone.

“Uh - I wasn't. Why are you up?”

“I could ask the same, Nic.” He's grinning now.

“Um. . . I woke up in the middle of the night - hungry,” I shrug. It's a flimsy excuse but I don't really care. Until I realize I am talking to the Head Boy - shit.

“You're not going to give me a detention or anything, right?” I ask tentatively.

He chuckles, “It is only your first night here, I guess I could just give you a warning.” He then looks to his right and then his left, “Come with me.”

I look at his outstretched hand with a raised eyebrow.

“You don't trust me?” He's still grinning.

“Eh, not a lot I must say. . .”

“After all we've been through?”

I realize he's referring to when we spoke for hours at that coffee shop inside the bookstore. He was a No-Maj to me back then, a stranger who was at the same place at the same time. I hardly know him.

Seeing at I didn't give an answer, he grabs my hand and leads me to a tapestry down the hall. I didn't protest, but am still skeptical. My person is too curious to let go and go back to my dorm.

We stop in front of a tapestry of a man surrounded by various plants. Just as I'm about to ask what this is, he pulls it back and there's a passageway behind it. My mouth drops.

He laughs and heads inside after looking both ways. Our hands are still linked.

After walking a ways in silence, “Aren't you going to get in trouble for sneaking around?”

He shakes his head and gives me a small glance back before going forward again. “Nah, I don't really do much of this.”

I nod, even though his back is to me.

I'm looking around, noting that it looks like someone dug it up, the stone walls around us are rigged, the ground dusty. Obviously this passage was meant to be a secret. There are little alcoves as we go by, enough for probably two people if they were close together.

I smile to myself, knowing that people have probably been here to make out or whatever. Ilvermorny has small things like this too, where in our least-used library section has a small seat behind one of the shelves known as The Kissing Bench of the school. When I was a Five, Declan Westcot, my first-ever boyfriend, took me there to give me a sloppy kiss - he was really conservative, so a small kiss was enough for him at the beginning of our relationship.

Not realizing James stopped in front of me, I ran into his back, surprised of the hardness that lay underneath his soft long-sleeved grey shirt.

He side-glances at me, smiling. He lifts the tapestry’s material just a tinge, and peeks out. I try not to stare at his arms that have filled out the sleeves.

Once it's clear, he motions for me to follow. We are in a darker room, I can tell we've descended in elevation, and there are paintings of still life all over the walls.

James goes up in front of a painting of fruit, and starts to reach out to the pear. He's scratching it a bit.

As I'm about to critique James that you don't touch paintings, it swings open, acting as a door.

Warm light floods my eyes and I can feel my pupils detract. He walks forward and I can't stop myself from following.

“Welcome to The Kitchens,” he says to me as a bunch of House Elves come up to greet us.

My jaw has popped open and James simply says, “You said you were hungry,” shrugging.

I smile up at him. I didn't realize he had taken the time to bring me here just because I said I was hungry in a dumb excuse as why I was up at two in the morning.

“A snack for you, Miss?”

I look down to see a squeaky elf. I look at James and say I don't know what to have.

He asks me if I've ever tried strawberries and cream, and I say no - to which his eyebrows raise - and orders us some.

“Thank you Sparky,” he says to her retreating figure.

No later than two minutes, Sparky has brought us a bowl with two spoons, filled with strawberries and cream.

“So why were you out and around the castle tonight?” I ask, curiosity getting the best of me.

“Oh you know. . . I needed a quick snack. Woke up,” he says vaguely.

I notice he doesn't want to share much so I nod and shrug, hoping it suffices as a response.

We talk about other things, like classes and what we did over the summer, Quidditch.

“I just know how competitive Al gets, I didn't want to get in his way. If I was Captain, it'd be the only thing he saw - beating me and not actually playing the game,” he says after a bite of strawberry.

James is the type of boy I hardly ever go for, looking like a model on a food commercial. Boys that attractive don't normally go for me, as I’ve been told I’m outspoken and they usually want the spotlight themselves. “He didn't know I was offered it, but obviously there are rumors.”

I nod my head, take the fruit in my mouth, slowly chewing. “Well, a little competition is healthy, I think.”

He sighs, “Yeah, but you don't know Al. Ever since his Second Year he had to beat me in everything, even though he's a year behind me.”

“But he's your brother-”

“Exactly, which is why I don't want to be in his w-”

“-You can't expect to just leave will solve the proble-” getting frustrated.

“-Moretti, I don't think you-”

“James, come on-”

“So, Quidditch,” he says with finality, like we are done discussing his and Al’s relationship. “Are you going to try out?”

“Not sure yet, I'm torn right now,” I sigh, giving up on convincing him. We've had tiffs like this throughout the night, but every time he just stops the argument, not wanting to start yelling or anything. Every time he's frustrated, I can tell because his hand goes to the back of his neck or hair, pulling at it a bit.

He pauses, seeing my face has a tint of stress in it, “You're a Ravenclaw, tell me - do you like lists?”

I nod.

“Okay, tell me the pros and cons of trying out for the team.”

I smile at him, already equipped with the variables, and he grins at me, fully knowing that he's going to get a long list.






A/N: Thank you for reading another chapter! Hopefully the length makes up for the delay (again). Thank you to those who reviewed my last chapter, as it really gave me the push and motivation to keep going and write! Please tell me what you think about this one! Favorite parts? Least favorite parts? I want to know!!!

UP NEXT: Nicolette gets to know more of her peers at the Back To School Lake Party.

*I do not own anything of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, owned by J.K. Rowling, other than my own O/Cs.


Chapter 8: Back to School Bash
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 Chapter 8

The blinding light from the sun’s beams stream into the dorm and I growl to myself, pulling a pillow over my face and grabbing for the covers to help block the rays that just don’t care that they are interrupting my slumber.

“She’s moving, at least that means she’s alive,” a soft voice from my left says across the room.

“Well I thought we already concluded that she is alive, there will be no corpses in our dormitory,” another (unfamiliar) voice says between what seems like the sounds of brushing teeth.

“I didn’t mean it literally, Suri--”

“Maybe she’s just jet lagged--” a third voice cuts in.

“Yeah, it’s like, a bunch of hours difference from here and the United States--”

“--no no, she’s said she’s been here for a few weeks now--”

“You know she can hear you talking about her.” I sit up, admitting defeat to the bright sky, to see four girls staring at me, some startled at my remark, some smirking.

Three of which I didn't recognize (because I didn't meet them last night, they came in after I went to bed), the other being Charlotte.

The unfamiliar girls were going in and out of the bathroom, across the room from me. They all showed a sense of comfort despite having a roommate they've never actually met before.

“Good morning, princess,” Charlotte cooes sweetly.

I grumble in response and she chuckles at my glare without heat.

“Well technically it’s afternoon, but--”

“What time is it?” I ask, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, only half wanting the real answer.

“Half noon,” a girl with thick light brown hair and striking green eyes says. She’s already dressed, brushing her teeth.

“We just got back from lunch - it’s still going on, though,” a girl with short straight black hair says, who is also dressed. I take the moment to notice everyone's dressed already. And here I am in my soft band tee and shorts in my bed still.

“I brought you some food from breakfast - I wasn't sure what you like and don't,” Charlotte gestures to a very full plate of food on my bedside table. She waves her wand and steam instantly rises from it.

I smile at her gratefully, knowing lunch will most likely be over by the time I’m dressed and ready.

While eating my breakfast-lunch, I quickly met the other three girls before they headed out.

The girl who was brushing her teeth is named
Rosabel Flinn-Fletchy, a kind and sort of quiet brown-haired, green-eyed girl who is close with Verena Kamazel, who is very athletic despite not being on the Quidditch team.

Verena has her hair in a ponytail today, her hair being blonde at the ends and a little darker towards her scalp. Charlotte says she mainly sports joggers, cropped sweatshirts, and running shoes when school is not in session.

Suri Patil-Musco is their third, with a black A-line long bob and lots of animal print adorning her person and her belongings. She doesn't like anything to do with Quidditch, claiming the school is much more peaceful when everyone's out at a match and she’s in the castle. And the first thing I noticed about her when she introduced herself to me was her huge bright smile.

All three girls are gorgeous, which is kind of intimidating. They said Eve, our last roommate, is out with her friend Nia walking around the grounds. I haven't met her, but Charlotte says she’s Ravenclaw’s Seeker.

The three girls leave the room, bidding their goodbyes.

“So, what’re your plans for the day?” I ask Charlotte while changing my clothes. I choose some slim soft jean capris and a white chiffon shirt.

“Well other than the lake party tonight at seven, not sure. Anusha’s out doing Head Girl stuff so I was going to catch up on some reading in the common room - maybe find a fireplace or nice window, you?” She says, pulling out a book from her desk.

“I might go find Dom, then,” I tell her.

Charlotte tells me good luck going all the way down to the dungeons and asks if I need help going there. I tell her no, but thanks and head out.

Luckily I find her on the third floor walking away from an apparent swooning boy, so I don't need to go all the way down to her common room. She asks where I was at lunch and I say I slept in until very recently.

Her wide blue eyes stare at me, “You were still sleeping? Good Lord, and I thought I slept in at half ten.”

I roll my eyes at her and we quickly decide on going to hang out in the Gryffindor common room, as I haven’t seen it yet and also most of her cousins live there.

“As much as I love my own common room, the Gryffindor one has a cozy feel about it, I think the couches were made better or something - honestly the whole common room is more for lounging than studying in my opinion,” she states to me while walking through the portrait hole after the Fat Lady introduces herself to me by singing and commenting on that I look pretty. (I think she complimented me because I actually listened to her high-pitched etude - I have a feeling the Gryffindors could care less.)

“Yeah I kinda get--” I cut off my sentence due to being drowned out from shouting and commotion that is the epitome of Gryffindors (so I’ve been told).

“YOU ARE GOING DOWN, WEASLEY!”

“HEY - YOU’RE A WEASLEY TOO NOW, WEASLEY!”

Dom rolls her eyes and huffs to the sounds of yelling, as if she’s annoyed that this - whatever this actually is - is going on. My guess is that this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Couches and tables are propped up on either side of the large common room, a big space dividing what looks like a furniture battlefield.

The boys crouching behind their shelters are pointing their wands at each other, flinging objects to the other side of the room, which quickly disintegrate before hitting anyone. Currently there is an umbrella and big lantern in the air.

“Uh, what’s happening here?” I tentatively ask Dom, turning my head slightly but not enough to look away from the scene.

The girl next to me sighs, “Rerum Liquefacio. It’s a charm you cast on an object so that when you throw it towards something solid, it will dissolve, ultimately not damaging anyone or anything. Ever since they found it in a library book in Fifth Year, they have a battle of who can conjure up the biggest object, levitate it, and then fling it over to the other side. Kind of ridiculous, but hey - at least they’re practicing I guess.”

“Interesting,” I muse. I haven’t heard of the spell before, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, obviously. I notice there are about four boys on each team.

The only boys I recognize are Louis Weasley and Fred Weasley, both cousins being on opposite sides of each other.

“How long has this been going on?” Dom asks the room, which gets no response from the boys behind their walls of furniture.

“Over an hour, I think,” a small looking girl says from the corner by the fireplace. I notice there is a small group watching them, either in amazement or annoyance.

Dom claps her hands together to get the boys’ attentions, “Okay, so can we make this a common room again? To lounge?”

No response, yet again.

“Guys! Cut it out!” She tries again, in vain.

Suddenly, there are two hugeass trees floating in the center of it all that quickly zoom to each side and break up into a million pieces, no trace left.

Silence.

Everyone’s eyes are up where the trees were, only to drop down and see a girl with auburn curls, looking both fed up and smug with the boys.

“Okay, so I win! Game over,” Rose Weasley chirps, and flounces over to me and Dom.

The boys grumble and levitate all the furniture back to how I’m assuming it previously was.

“Show off,” Dom smirks at her cousin, only to receive one as well.

“You’re welcome,” she curtseys to us.

The sofas are filling up so we head to a very large squishy one and sit down. The boys join us once they see we are lounging about.

“So, new girl - welcome to the Gryffindor Common Room! I am Fred Weasley, at your service,” He gives a low bow to me, standing back up with a huge smile plastered to his face then crashes down onto the couch.

“Okay, so go get us some drinks then, water boy,” Dom quips at him. Everyone laughs and Fred makes a face.

“This is Manny, Mason and Ethan - Ethan is in Ravenclaw with you,” Fred says to me, all the boys smile and nod to me.

“Oi, where’s my intro?” A dark boy asks, slapping the back of Fred’s head.

“You don’t deserve one!”

“I do too, who’s gonna announce your name at the Quidditch matches?”

The two boys then go into some punching match, bickering.

Everyone laughs at this, as if it happens on the daily. I find out from Manny that the boy in question is Mac Jordan, Fred’s family-friend and the Quidditch Commentator at Hogwarts. He seems very lighthearted, not unlike Fred. They could almost pass as being related, but Mac has dark curly locks unlike Fred’s red-brown messy hair.

All the boys are very good looking I note, Fred being a weird-but-beautiful mix of a tan ginger, Mason with his blonde hair that could rival a Malfoy’s, Manny’s very muscley build, and Ethan’s blue eyes that pierce into mine. I smile back at him.

Everyone’s kind of broken off into their own conversations and I end up talking with Ethan for a while. I don’t remember seeing him around Ravenclaw’s common room or at the Feast last night.

But I do learn he’s taking most of the same NEWT levels as me and we have a similar taste in music. He laughs at my jokes and agrees with my stance on why half breeds should be treated equally in Wizarding society. He’s also really sweet and his brown quiffed hair help give more attention to his really blue eyes.

“So, you going to try out for Quidditch, then?” he asks me, his arm thrown over the back of the couch.

Damn, his voice is really low, like dark chocolate cascading down a fountain.

Nic, stop thinking about his voice right now, he’s staring right at you. With his blue eyes. Wow, they are blue. Like a cloudless velvet sky.

“Uh--” I stutter, because he’s smiling at me. His smile is also very cute, did I mention that yet? “Um, yeah, I think I will, but not sure yet,”I cough.

He tells me that he’d love to help with any type of training and I ask him if he’s on the team as well. He says no, but likes doing it on the side because his NEWTs are more important.

I tell him that that seems to be a common theme among Sevens. He agrees.

He compliments my American accent.

I compliment his British one.

He chuckles.

Why am I being such a girl about this?

Because he’s a cute boy giving you attention, that’s why you idiot. You’re, like, ninety-five percent full of hormones.

“--like Nic - right, Nic?” Dom elbows me before turning to me.

I break out of my internal monologue to face her. “Right about what?” I ask her.

“Fred slept in until one today,” Louis mentions to me.

“I did not sleep in that late--”

“Half noon is barely a difference--” Dom friendly scoffs.

“Jordan does that on a daily basis--”

“I don’t remember commenting on your sleeping patterns, now do I--”

“That’s because he snores. Loud,” Mason chips in.

“Why did you sleep in so late, Nic?” Dom asks me.

Eh, shit.

I haven’t told anyone about being out late into the kitchens yet.

“Well, I--”

“Hey guys,” a deep voice that could rival Ethan’s cuts in.

“Oi, James, ol’ boy! Mr. Poe! My main man, J-Money!” Fred exclaims, bouncing up and tackling his cousin.

J-Money? The hell are you on, Freddie?” James laughs.

“Only high on life!” He shouts, his arms spread almost as wide as his grin.

“Where have you been, the love of my life, the spell to my wand, the Gryffin to my dor?” Fred asks him, “You’ve been gone much too long, young man! My heart can barely take it!” He clutches his heart and falls back onto the couch. Everyone’s laughing at both Fred’s outburst and James’s reaction, his face all scrunched up. He immediately breaks into a grin.

“You know I had Head Boy stuff to deal with. I also went to the library afterward, but felt like passing up on inviting you. I know you break out into hives whenever you’re near the place,” James smirks. Everyone chuckles again.

“Now, now, I thought it was that Freddie’s body swells up like a balloon when he goes near the library,” Louis says, amused.

“Get your fact straight - it’s warts! I get warts all over my body and down in my--”

“Oh stop being so dramatic Fred,” Dom shouts. She pushes him over, he falls to the floor with great finesse while screaming, “I am NOT dramatic!”

More laughs. More conversation and jokes.

I’m not aware that both Ethan and James are staring at me and then each other during most of the time we hang out with them all.

***

“Which bathing suit screams, ‘I want to innocently date around, but also not want to get into anything as complicated as an actual relationship due to taking so many NEWTs and being Head Girl this year’?”

Charlotte skips a beat and I laugh.

“Definitely the bikini with the high neck. You’re showing enough skin and wearing a bikini to say you’re available, but not that available,” Dom says to Anusha.

Anusha puts away the purple one-piece she once had on the bed.

“You can say all that with just one outfit?” Charlotte asks Dom in awe. I don’t think she has a sister, or has put all that much effort into an article of clothing before.

Dom shrugs, as if to say, “sure,” and looks to my selection of swimsuits I laid out on the foot of my bed. She’s already dressed in hers with only shorts and sheer cardigan over top. Ellery is sitting on the floor, her back against my bed with Dom above her, my pillow behind her back.

“You have to wear that one,” she points to my rust red one piece that is low in the back.

Charlotte and Anusha look over and nod with smiles.

“It is my favorite one,” I say and they give murmurs of affirmation.


After changing into our appropriate clothing, we head down through the castle, leaving our wands inside.

Even though it is September in Scotland and normally very cloudy and cold, the day granted us with an unusual heat wave that we students greeted happily. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and it’s a delightful type of temperature where there’s no breeze to be found. Really good swimming weather if you ask me.

Many students are already down by the lake; some swimming, some running around, and some sunbathing on towels. There’s upbeat music blaring near the lake from no source in particular and people are drinking bottles of gigglewater and pumpkin juice.

“Being Head Girl, I really shouldn’t be attending a party, should I? I mean, if there’s alcohol around and stuff going around, I have to confiscate it,” Anusha says to us.

“People are just drinking pumpkin juice, don’t worry,” Dom reassures her. Once Anusha’s out of earshot and laying out her towel, she mumbles, “unless they’ve filled it with something other than the label on the bottles. . .”

Ellery smirks and Charlotte laughs. We shed our covering clothes to be clad in our swimsuits before sitting down together.

“Nic!”

We turn our heads to see the clan of boys from the Gryffindor Common Room yet again heading towards us, already soaked from the lake.

“Hey guys,” Dom says to them. They set their towels down around the patch we’ve vacated.

“Going swimming yet?” Ethan asks me with a smile on his face, a light-haired boy standing next to him. “This is Robert, by the way - he’s the ‘Claw Captain this year.”

“Hi, how’s the water, boys?” I ask them.

It all happens in less than two seconds.

Freddie and Mac Jordan look at each other and then at me. In one swift movement they’ve picked me up, despite my yells of protest and head to the dock.

The water hits me and I surface with my hair cascading down in front of my face.

A scream and a splash next to me indicates Dom has joined me.

I push my hair out of my face to see Charlotte and Anusha running, Mason and Manny tailing them. Ellery is sitting the exact same way as before, no one daring to go near her. She’s not really a touchy person. Her quietness also intimidates people, Dom said.

“I didn’t want to get my hair wet!!”

“Too bad, Chang!”

“It’s Chang-Watson--” she’s cut off by a shriek and a splash.

We all look at each other and then slowly head towards the dock, where the boys have congregated, crouching down gazing at us.

Louis’s guard is down for a fraction of a second as Dom smiles sweetly and coos, “oh, brother, how much I adore you is beyond me--” she grabs his arm swiftly.

“DOM!” SPLASH.

“You can’t get me, AY YI YI YI YI!!!!” Fred cannonballs into the water next to us, drenching everyone around him.

"Fre-ed!” Everyone whines.

***

Once dry and back on our towels, sans the boys, I end up meeting even more people at the party. Half of them I forget their names by the time they walk away or I end up giving them nicknames like Girl With White Bikini or Boy With Leg Birthmark.

I meet even more Weasleys, trying to keep count of them all - and failing. One of the only memorable ones was Hugo Weasley, a Five. He came up to greet me hand-in-hand with a boy who waved at me. The boy’s name I forget, maybe Greg, and he was small and had kind eyes.

I learned from Dom that Hugo’s boyfriend is a secret to his parents, being Gryffindor’s Seeker only to please his dad. There’s a lot of family drama apparently with Houses as well, but Dom didn’t want to get into that here at a party.

I also come to realize that the dormitories here are numbered differently. I didn’t realize we had more than one girls’ Seven Dorm, until Anusha explained it to me.

“The dormitories are coded by House, Year, and Gender. So we are R7-A, being Ravenclaws in Seventh Year, the first dorm.”

I guess I never noticed the other dorms down the hall, ours being the first one off the landing. For being a Ravenclaw, I can be so oblivious.

“And the boys in our year have dorms that are R7-1 through 5,” Charlotte supplies. “Girls have letters and boys have numbers.”

“Interesting,” I say.

“Ellery and I are in dormitory S7-D. You can’t expect everyone in the same year to be in one dormitory,” Dom says to me.

“Well, Hogwarts used to be so much smaller than it is now,” Anusha mentions, “after the war, there was a huge baby boom. There are like twenty Harrys and Rons running around our school now.”

Dom rolls her eyes, “So unique.”

While we chatter on some more, Anusha going back to her book, my eyes wander to where James has arrived. He’s only been here for a few minutes, swimming around with his buddies until a girl joined him.

To my slight dismay, she’s blonde, curvy, and really pretty. They’re laughing together. He’s smiling as if he’d rather be nowhere else in the world.

“Who’s that?” I question, Charlotte finding where my eyes are first.

“Ah, Nia Dubois. That’s James’s ex.”

“His--”

“They’re apparently still friends, according to them,” Dom adds before I can question anything else. “They dated a little last year, but it didn’t last too long. She complained he was too secretive and he hated that she didn’t spend enough time with him or something of the sort.”

“Hmm,” I hum. I don’t really know how to take this in.

Of course James is really cute and very sweet, but he’s never made any indication that he’s been interested in me, so I can’t really be jealous over something that isn’t.

“Hey,” Ethan sits down by me, distracting me from the couple in the water.

“Hi,” I smile at him. His eyes match his swimming trunks and the sky. He smells of the lake and something sweet.

“All dry, now?” He chuckles.

“Do not throw me in, Fred already got punched by me today,” I quip. He laughs again. I really like his laugh, it’s throaty and genuine.

“No worries,” he puts his hands up in mock surrender. “I wanted to ask y--”

A high-pitched yell cuts him off and a boy I remember briefly meeting comes running up to me. “HELP! My friend, he can’t swim and is in the lake!”

The change in atmosphere is way different than before.

People are all yelling and gasping.

My mind is zooming, Ethan and me getting to our feet, running up to the dock.

I go into emergency mode, looking for my wand, only to recall that this is supposed to be a wandless party.

“WHO BROUGHT THEIR WAND?” I yell, only to get negative murmurs.

I see the boy in question, face down, feet away from me.

“EVERYONE OUT OF THE WATER!” Movement away from him immediately goes into action.

Jumping into the water, eyes trained on the boy, I grab a random party inflatable.

Quickly I put the floatation device between me and the boy, grabbing his torso under his armpits and pulling him onto his back so he’s laying on the floaty, face-up.

I swim backwards, towards the shore, vaguely hearing a splash near me.

My mind is racing, trying to remember what I learned in CPR class.

Everyone has moved out of the way and evacuated the water.

Someone has come up to help me get him onto land.

James’s amber eyes meet mine and he’s surprisingly calm, waiting for my orders.

“Grab his legs, we need him to lay out on the ground,” I clearly direct.

The boy’s eyes are shut and he’s laying down, I listen for his breathing, checking a pulse.

Starting to press the heel of my palm down on his chest, I hardly hear James directing people to step back, making the circle around the boy and me wider.

People are crying, some are yelling why did we leave our wands in the castle, some are shocked into silence.

After thirty compressions on his chest, I quickly tilt his head back so his airway is clear.

Plugging his nose and gripping his chin, I make a seal on his mouth and blow into it.

No movement, I go back to press on his chest.

Mouth-to-mouth again.

While I’m giving more chest compressions, he suddenly spits up water, coughing heavily.

People are yelling, cheering, sighing.

The boy’s eyes open to the sky and then rolls to the side.

“Are you okay?” I ask him.

The boy’s eyes are wide and on mine, he nods slowly and silently. He sits up.

“You sure you’re okay? Can you walk?” I ask the boy again.

He nods shakily, and James bends down to help him up.

“I will notify a professor later, he’s alright, but I will take him to the Hospital Wing,” James says to me, making his voice a bit louder so that the students around him can hear him clearly.

As they walk away, Anusha gets up and says no more lake party. As the sun is setting now, she says we can make a bonfire closer to Hagrid’s Hut.

People start to walk away after grabbing their things, everyone murmuring to each other of what they just witnessed.

“Wow,” Dom breathes, finding me through the crowd. “How did you know how to do that?”

My mind is still racing, but it’s slowing down as reality swims into my vision. “My mom made me take these No-Maj health classes at the beginning of the summer - she wanted to be cautious, being a Healer and everything.”

***

On our way over to the bonfire spot, people rush by me thanking me or congratulating me. I usually just nodded, not wanting to really talk about it since it was so fresh.

I didn’t want to go back to my dorm, or to the Hospital Wing, even though my friends asked me over and over. I know that if I did I would just wallow or sulk by myself about it all.

The bonfire is pretty big, with benches all around it. I was surprised by the number of people that stayed. Maybe they wanted to see if anything else happened while I am around, who knows.

There’s a clearing around the bonfire that people are standing by to stay warm, as it’s cooled down a lot since earlier in the day. Some people are roasting desserts and foods the No-Maj way, others are just sitting down talking to each other.

The group of friends of the boy who almost drowned went inside the castle and I notice Ethan isn’t anywhere around.

Anusha decided she wants to stay to supervise and Dom went off with a pretty black-haired boy, leaving Ellery and Charlotte to chat for a bit.

I decided to sit off a little ways, watching the fire. I stare at the flames while they lick the huge logs, the sparks shooting out and making crackling noises. Shriveled up ashes flying around occasionally. Fire is enticing, beautiful, yet harmful. It’s a helpful, but a dangerous element.

The sky is a navy velvet color by now, slightly purple by the horizon line and dotted with stars above our heads. The moon is a lovely crescent shape, barely lighting up the faces of students with a small white glow.

The mixture of the warm light from the fire and the cool-tone of the moon gives off a comfortable atmosphere. Now that it’s been a couple hours since the lake, the energy of the area is higher than before.

A figure sits down next to me, making the bench sag a little under their weight.

“Hey,” I look over to see the green eyes of Albus Potter.

I give a small smile and shift my gaze to the center of the fire again.

“Look, Nicolette - I wanted to apologize for being such a - a prick yesterday,” He pushes his hand through his hair, not unlike his brother. I’m thinking it’s a genetic trait.

“Yeah?” I softly ask, my eyes not leaving the warm glow and dark wood.

“Yeah - I. . . was being insensitive, I didn’t really know how else to introduce myself, it’s quite natural to be a wanker and I know that sounds conceited, but it’s just become a habit, I guess.”

“Okay,” I say. I don’t know how else respond, so I don’t.

Albus pauses. “Well, I hope we can become friends sometime--”

My head snaps towards him. “You try to ask me out in a rude way, apologize, then expect a friendship from this?” My eyebrows are up high, a slight frown upon my face.

“Uh - yeah, I g--”

“I’ll think about it.” I pause, turning back to the fire. “You’ll have to make it up to me somehow.”

“Okay,” he states simply. Another pause. “And I wanted to thank you for rescuing Asher back there. It was very Gryffindor of you. I don’t think anyone else really knew what to do, being in shock of it all.”

“Yeah, so I’ve been told.”

Albus eventually turns to look at the fire.

I look back at him. “You look a lot like James.” I don’t know why it came out, but it did.

“Yeah, so I’ve been told.”

I recognize the shadow of bitterness, something common among younger siblings that live in the wake of their older ones.

“Can you answer something for me?” I ask, deciding on to voice my thoughts before I let it go and say nothing.

Albus turns to me, and I take it as a yes.

“Who is Nia Dubois?” Biting my lip, I twist my head back towards the fire.

“She’s not a threat to you, if that’s what you mean.”

Side glancing at him, “I don’t know what you’re--”

“There’s very few reasons why you’d ask who she is.”

I hear Albus sigh next to me after a few moments. “James doesn’t let a lot of people in, no matter how obnoxious or loud he can get. He shuts those that are close to him out, been that way for a while now. . .”

Albus trails off and I think back to when Anusha and Charlotte told me he changed his attitude the end of his second year here.

I’m left alone once again after Albus leaves when the silence is too much for him I think. Dom shortly joins me. I think she heard us talking.

“James is a flirt,” she says quietly. Her soft tone catches me off guard and for a second I think she’s someone else.

I turn my head to look at her. She looks normal, as if we were talking about a school assignment or what she had for dinner.

“James is a flirt,” she says again, in that small volume. “He may be the perfect good boy, but he knows how to use his words and actions to his advantage.” Her eyes are trained on the fire in front of us.

“What do you m--”

“He just - he . . . can get his way easily by flirting with girls and charming professors. It’s what both the Potter boys do - my brother does the same. James may not kiss or bed girls all the time like Al, but he can be like any other teenage boy. Not saying he’s not a great cousin and friend, but - I don’t want you to get hurt--”

“Dom, I won’t get hurt, it’s okay, I’m a big girl,” I reassure her.

She sighs, “Fine. But understand that my cousin always isn’t sunshine and daisies and all that shit, even if he might be my favorite one.”

“There’s always something underneath each person,” I shrug.

She releases a slow exhale, “Yeah.”

People get honest and resilient at night.

When the crickets are out and the darkness encompasses everything, words are subdued, actions are slower, thoughts are reflected. The night is when truths come out, making people more vulnerable, more hazy and lax by nature.


It’s why I both love and hate the night - that time when the day goes to sleep, when one is awake and their true self. And it’s usually not intentional, but an organic component of just being human.




A/N: Hello, I'm back with another update! Did you enjoy that chapter??? Please let me know what you think down below in that nice little review box!! Were you expecting the whole rescue thing? Do you like Ethan as much as Nic does? What did you think of the bonfire bit? Who's your fave character so far? Already bored with this fic?

As I said in one of the first chapters, this story will slow down a little in updates because I am going to be moving back onto my univeristy campus next week, which is going to be downright chaotic! I'm going to try and write as much as I can beforehand then update periodically, so I don't have to stress about it as much.

Anywho, enough about my personal life. Let me know what you think about this chapter! They're longer than beginning chapters, do you like that or would you rather have it in smaller portions?

-Morgan


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com