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Secrets That Remain Untold by rachelhanke

Format: Novel
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 25,826
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Action/Adventure, AU, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Sirius, Blaise (M), Draco, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings:

First Published: 08/13/2017
Last Chapter: 02/13/2018
Last Updated: 02/13/2018

Summary:
"Something's wrong with me."
"Why do you say that?"
Why had she said that? Was she referring to what happened just now, or who her father was? Both. And she wasn't sure which frightened her more. Heat pulsed away from her, and she looked down the corridor as every candle was extinguished for the length of it. She let out a rattling breath that ghosted away from her. A small layer of frost surrounded her feet, clinging to her robes, a physical manifestation of the cold aftershock. She turned to him the half light.
"That's why."


Chapter 1: Hadley's Crazies
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Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any part of the Harry Potter characters or universe as crafted by JK Rowling. The Hogwarts letter is straight from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 4.




Sunlight filtered into the room through the enormous west facing windows, slowly beginning to creep its way across the floor, washing out the gray carpet as it went. The room was designed to have a calming effect on those who waited within it. The walls were a pale shade of blue that imitated the sky on a clear and carefree day. The chairs were arranged in a sort of open circle with a table at their center, and a few plants were strategically placed about the room as well. The only sound was the gentle scratching of a pencil against paper.

The receptionist had stepped out to use the restroom so there was only one occupant in the room and she sat quietly. She was curled up in the corner recliner, the only comfortable place in the entire office, and worked with her pencil over her sketchpad. She was focused entirely on what she was doing but her expression was soft, like she hadn’t a worry in the world. Her eyes followed the path of her pencil, carefully bringing the image in her mind to life on the paper. To a casual observer she may have appeared peaceful, at ease in this tranquil place, but that was far from reality.

A loud bang came from down the hall, immediately followed by shouting, but she wasn’t fazed in the slightest. Every Tuesday afternoon at 3 o’clock she had an appointment with Dr. Hadley, and every Tuesday at 2 o’clock Ms. Lewis had her appointment. Ms. Lewis was one of what the girl had deemed ‘Hadley’s Crazies’, because crazy is exactly what each one of her patients was, each one except the girl. She had no reason or desire to be there; she would have rather been anywhere else, but she had no say in the matter. It had been mandated by the system she was stuck in, they thought, or pretended to think, it would help her. The two oblivious parent wanna-be’s that had adopted her were more than willing to abide, they treated her more like an accessory than a daughter anyway.

So there she went, every Tuesday, and every Tuesday Ms. Lewis would slam open the office door at five minutes to 3 o’cock and leave in a terrible fit, you could set your watch by her, she was that predictable. Of course the first few times had given the girl a start, but she and Ms. Lewis had been coming here for many years now and they had always had those same appointments. The girl no longer batted an eye at her outbursts. She wasn’t sure what caused them, only the doctor could know that, but it was like Ms. Lewis was an alarm programmed to go off each Tuesday at 2:55 in the afternoon. Sometimes the girl wondered if it was restricted to Tuesday’s or if it happened every other day of the week as well.

“Ms. Lewis!” the receptionist came rushing out of the bathroom.

Claire or maybe it was Claudia; the girl never made the effort to remember her name.

“Ms. Lewis!” She wrenched open the front door, which Ms. Lewis had just disappeared through and yelled after her, “Ms. Lewis, don’t forget your appointment next Tuesday at 2pm!”

The receptionist turned around looking flustered, as she always did after chasing Ms. Lewis out the door, though today Claudia had the added bonus of a half tucked shirt from her trip to the bathroom. The girl didn’t understand why the receptionist insisted on running after Ms. Lewis and shouting her appointment time after her each week, it never changed, at least not for the past five years.

Claire took a moment to collect herself before returning to her desk. Once there she looked to the girl and said with that annoyingly bright smile, “Dr. Hadley will be right with you, you can go and wait in her office if you’d like.” It was the same thing she said every Tuesday, of every week, of every year.

The girl flipped her notebook closed and tucked it along with her pencils away into her bag. As she rose she hoisted it up onto her shoulder and crossed the lobby to take the familiar path to the doctor’s office, nothing she hadn’t done well over a hundred times by now. Down the hall, third door on the left, gently open the door so it didn’t knock down the poorly placed wall hanging behind it. So familiar was she with her path that she was several steps into the room before she looked up and saw a not so familiar occupant.

3 o’clock had been her appointment for as long as she could remember, every Tuesday of every month of every year for the past five years; it was always the same. But it seemed someone had made an error, somewhere along the lines there had been a mix up or misunderstanding because there was an elderly man in the room, and judging by his appearance he too was one of Hadley’s Crazies. He had chosen to sit in the doctor’s seat rather than the patient’s and he looked quite comfortable there. He had sparkling blue eyes that sat behind half moon spectacles; his beard and hair were each at least two feet long and as white as snow; and he wore floor length midnight blue robes with a matching hat. He was most definitely one of Hadley’s Crazies.

“I’m sorry, she told me to come back. There must have been a mix up,” she said.

“No need to apologize, there was no mix up,” the man said plainly.

She paused, wondering how he had even managed to get into the office without passing her in the waiting room. Unless he could teleport, which was absurd.

She shook the outrageous thought away, “I’m going to go ask Claire what’s going on.”

She made to turn around when he spoke again, “Clarissa won’t be able to tell you, she isn’t aware that I am here.” So that was the receptionist’s name, although the man was likely a patient, which would put his credibility level somewhere south of zero.

“So you’re invisible to everyone but me, is that it?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

He gave a small chuckle, “In a manner of speaking, yes I am.”

She suppressed a small laugh, “okay then, why is it I can see you?”

“Because you’re the one I came to speak with,” he said still smiling.

She was still slightly amused by his delusion but decided it was best not to participate any longer. “I’ll go and get the doc for you, I think she’s the one you need to speak with.” She turned to leave the office but stopped dead when he spoke again.

“No Kaelix, I came to speak with you,” he corrected her.

The slight amusement fell from her face and her mind started doing cartwheels. She turned back slowly to see his still smiling face, though now she felt as though it was mocking her, like he knew something she did not.

“And how is it that you know my name?” she asked flatly.

“That is a story best saved for another time and place, but please come and sit down, there is plenty for us to discuss today,” he said, indicating the chair across from his own.

Kaelix still hesitated, “How do I know that you’re not one of Hadley’s Crazies?”

“How would you know if I was?” he asked simply

“Well it seems rather obvious; you’re not exactly dressed for a stroll through town,” she pointed out.

“That depends on the town,” he said with a smile.

She suppressed another scoff, “Are you suggesting that there are towns where your current attire is acceptable on a daily basis?”

“Of course there are, several in fact.”

“Now you look and sound crazy.”

“And you haven’t even heard any of what I came here to discuss with you.”

“Well, why don’t you tell me already.”

“Very well then, I’ve come here to extend to you an invitation to study at my school.”

“And what school is that?” she asked doubtfully.

“Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But that should come as no surprise to you.”

There was a moment of silence during which Kaelix contemplated who was crazier; him for telling her this story, or her for staying to listen. “Did you think that would make you sound less crazy?”

“Not at all and I never claimed such a thing. But the fact is you are still here.”

“What does that matter?”

“If you truly believed that I was one of, how did you put it? Ah, yes, Hadley’s Crazies, then you would have left already. The fact that you’re still here means that you believe otherwise.”

“You have no idea what I do or do not believe, Old Man. Now how is it that you know who I am?”

“Unfortunately, it is much too long of a story for today,” he said with a small sigh.

“Give me the short version,” she said stubbornly.

He paused and considered her for a moment with a soft expression; his gaze however, was striking. She wondered what he contemplated behind his unwavering façade, what did he hide there? Surely it was something significant for it to be so well guarded. Despite his outwardly eccentric appearance, the man had a certain air of greatness about him that asserted credibility. And although he carried it without arrogance, Kaelix was not impressed with his humility either; it felt more like a tactic than sincerity; he wasn’t here to offer her anything, he was here because he wanted something.

“Very well,” he said without warning. “I came to know you through a friend of mine.”

Kaelix waited for more but he did not elaborate.

“That’s it?” she asked incredulously.

“That is the short version, as you requested. Now if you’ll come and have a seat, we have other matters to discuss.”

She stood in the doorway stuck in uncertainty. She wasn’t convinced that she could trust this man. This stranger that mysteriously showed up in her appointment room, waiting for her, knowing she would be there and somehow knowing her name. Kaelix glanced back down the hall toward the waiting room and wondered; if she simply walked out, would the man be back again the next week, patiently waiting for her in Dr. Hadley’s chair? Somehow, though she didn’t understand how, somehow she knew he would be.

“Don’t worry, we won’t be disturbed,” he said, mistaking her reason for looking.

She looked back into the room at him with her brow furrowed. What he said made no sense at all considering she had an appointment and the doc would be there at any moment. But again for some unexplainable reason, she believed that he was right, they would not be interrupted.

“I almost forgot, I have something for you,” he said as he reached into his robes.

When his hand emerged he was holding a small envelope. He extended it in her direction, indicating that she should take it. She hesitated for a moment but then made her way into the room to see what this envelope contained. It was thicker than she had imagined it would be, not just the contents but the envelope itself seemed to be made of rough thick paper, almost like parchment. On the front, in emerald green ink was her name, Kaelix Williams, and an address that had once been hers.

“What is this?” she said a little sharper than she had intended.

“Something long overdue.” He said with that warm yet mysterious smile.

When it was clear that he was not going to add anything else, Kaelix flipped the envelope over and carefully broke the seal with her finger. Inside the envelope there were three separate pieces of the parchment style paper, she removed the foremost one first. As she unfolded it she began to recognize the same cursive handwriting as was on the exterior. Unconsciously holding her breath she began to read:



HOGWARTS SCHOOL

of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY

Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards.)



Dear Miss Williams,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.



Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress



“If this is some kind of joke, it’s not funny in the least,” she said quietly.

“I can assure you this is not a joke; it is an invitation, to someplace quite real,” he said calmly.

“You mean to tell me that, this place, your school,” -she looked back down at the letter again- “this Hogwarts. You actually teach magic?”

“And more.” There was that damnable smile again.

“Why should I believe you? How can I be sure that this isn’t some kind of trick? And you’re not just some psychopath who kidnaps children?” she asked.

“Ah yes, there are always those few who take some convincing,” he said, still smiling.

He reached inside his robes and withdrew a slender piece of polished wood. Kaelix’s eyes widened a bit when she put two and two together and realized that it was his magic wand. He adjusted himself in his seat slightly as he looked around the room searching for something, though Kaelix had no idea what. His eyes settled on a plant on a little table in the corner of the room. It was supposed to help create a calming and restorative atmosphere, or some other such nonsense. But really it was just a pathetic and depressing little green plant due to the fact that it appeared to be in a constant state of wilt.

The Old Man, as she had titled him, smiled. He looked at the dying plant and smiled. Kaelix was about to ask if there was something amusing that she wasn’t aware of when he lifted his wand and made a few quick motions with it. Immediately the plant began to come to life, and not just straightening up either, it began to grow, it spread along the walls of the room and grew until it reached the ceiling and didn’t stop there. The stems grew until they could be considered vines, and the leaves spread until they covered the walls and ceiling completely. The picture frames and bookshelves were overcome by the plant, it had come to life. The vines crawled across the floor toward Kaelix and she wondered if they would wrap and grow over her as well but they simply parted and continued past her to the rest of the room. Eventually they encompassed the door and swung it shut behind her. The light from the window could hardly penetrate the thick wall of greenery that had grown over it. When all of the furniture had disappeared beneath a sea of green leaves, all of the life seemed to leave the plant and it stilled. Kaelix was now standing in the middle of a jungle.

Her eyes travelled along the thick vines, giant leaves, and flowers that had grown and blossomed in mere seconds and she had to remind herself to breathe.

“This could still be a trick you know, there are plenty of ways to create the illusion of magic,” she said as flatly as she could manage.

“You may investigate as you wish but you will find no assistance, no hidden leavers, no invisible strings, and no secret doors. It is purely magic,” he said so sincerely she almost had to believe him, but she didn’t want to.

“There’s no way to prove that, any proof you offer could just as easily be fabricated,” she argued stubbornly.

“Why do you protest something so strongly when you know it to be true?” he asked.

“Because magic isn’t real, it can’t be.”

“You just witnessed magic turn a frail dying plant into a lush thriving jungle in mere moments, and you would still deny its existence? Even when this isn’t the first instance of magic you’ve been privy to?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, her mind instantly jumping to the memory she knew he must be referring to.

“Kaelix, you’re far too smart of a young girl to ask a question that you already know the answer to,” he was no longer smiling.

She wanted to argue with him, deny knowing anything about it, and forget this conversation had ever happened. But she couldn’t for one simple reason; he was right.

“Magic is real,” she said quietly, finally admitting something that she’d denied for nearly six years now.

“Indeed it is,” he said smiling yet again.

“He was right,” she said quieter still, then scoffed, “he was always right.”

“Pardon, I didn’t catch that?” he asked.

Kaelix gave herself a small shake to dislodge the old memories before she became lost in them, and turned once more to the Old Man sitting before her.

“Why do you wish me to attend your school so desperately?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” he asked in return.

“You seem to have a vested interest in my acceptance of your invitation, or does the headmaster of the school invite every student personally?”

“Ahh, I see. Well, yours is a bit of a special case. You see normally students receive their letter upon their eleventh birthday, and that is the year they begin at Hogwarts. But for some reason unbeknownst to me our delivery system failed to deliver your letter. It is an unprecedented problem and therefor I thought it deserved an unprecedented solution.”

“So I would be two years behind in classes?”

“I’m still working out the finer details with my staff but don’t let that deter you from coming. I assure you, should you choose to attend Hogwarts you will learn much more than you ever imagined.”

Kaelix felt there was a double meaning behind his words but she knew that if she pressed the matter he would not admit to it. It was plain that something was there, he did not reveal it but it was as though he wanted it so strongly that he could not conceal it entirely, at least not from her. She stood in contemplation for a short time and realized that at some point she had resigned to believing him, no matter how nonsensical it sounded, because now she was contemplating whether or not she would go. She disregarded her ‘parents’ because she knew that the Old Man would likely have a solution for that as well. In the end she realized not what her decision was, but what it had to be. She looked back to the Old Man and found him looking at her intently again; when their gazes locked she saw the corner of his mouth turn up with a knowing smile.

“Well that settles it then. You’ll find a list of supplies in with your letter, and a list of extra classes of which you will need to pick two. The train leaves from platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station at exactly 11 o’clock on September the first, you’ll find your ticket in with your letter as well. Now let’s see, anything else.. Anything else… Ah, yes, of course. You’ll need to go visit Diagon Alley to purchase your supplies, would you like someone to escort you there? Or would you rather find your way back on your own?”

Her brow furrowed in question, “back?” she asked.

“Well, I suppose you didn’t make it all the way there last time, but you did manage to find the Leaky Cauldron quite easily, if you remember.”

Kaelix did remember the Leaky Cauldron, quite well. She had stumbled across it when she’d been on holiday with her parents in London last month. Though it was more like bring your daughter to work to show all your colleagues what amazing parents you are, rather than a holiday. No one else on the street that day seemed to have seen it. Apart from the one man that she had followed right through the front door.

“You will find the entrance to Diagon Alley in the back of the Leaky Cauldron. Just ask Tom, the bartender, he will be more than happy to show you the way.” He stood rather abruptly, shaking Kaelix from her thoughts about buying supplies for a magical school down a seemingly random alley located behind a selectively visible pub in the middle of London.

“Now I’m afraid I must be off but before I go, take this.” He withdrew a small pouch from his robes and held it out to her.

He dropped it into her outstretched hand with a small clink. “I believe that will be sufficient for everything you need. If you have any problems with anything, the owls know how to find me. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember, the train leaves at exactly 11 o’clock.” He gave her one last warm smile that still seemed to be masking something, before striding across the room and disappearing down the hallway.

Kaelix hesitated for a moment before rushing over to the door herself, wondering if he would truly just walk out the front door. But when she peered down the hallway he was already gone.

“Miss Williams, sorry I’m a bit late.” Kaelix heard Dr. Hadley say from behind her.

She turned around to see that the clock read 3:05pm, being approximately 7 minutes faster than the clock in the reception area it was the same time it had been when she’d found the Old Man in the office. On top of that, everything in the room was just as it had been before; the jungle had disappeared and the small potted plant was back to its original pathetic size.

“How on Earth…?” She whispered to herself.

“So,” the doctor began, indicating she should take her usual seat on the sofa. “Did anything of interest happen this week?”






 

A/N: Hey there! If you're here reading this I just want to thank you for coming this far! I started this fanfic a long, long, long, LONG time ago and finally got around to finishing it recently so I hope to be posting pretty regularly (maybe once a week) as I edit my way back through it! It would mean the actual world to me if you left a review!!! I know there's not much to go on here because things are just getting started but let me know what your first impressions are/what you liked/didn't like/etc. See you in a week! <3 <3 <3


 


Chapter 2: 27
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Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any part of the Harry Potter characters or universe as crafted by JK Rowling. The Firebolt description is taken directly from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4.






“You’re done now, dear.”

Her curiosity had gotten the better of her and it had landed her right here, standing on a pedestal in the middle of a robe shop. Kaelix stepped down from the stool she’d been standing on for nearly twenty minutes. A measuring tape had been flying all around her taking every sort of measurement possible, many of which she was certain were completely useless. Now it gently floated down to rest on the stool where she’d just been standing. More than happy to be done with the unnecessary poking, prodding, and squeezing of the tape; she made her way to the counter to pay for the robes.

The wizard money that the Old Man had given her felt cold and heavy in her hand as she pulled it out, even through the cloth pouch it was stored in.

“How much?” she asked, hoping she remembered what each piece was called.

“3 of the gold ones and 4 of the bronze.” She answered with a warm smile.

Kaelix forced a polite smile, “you could tell?” she asked.

“You often can when someone comes along who hasn’t grown up around it. You watch differently than those that are used to it, you appreciate it more.” She added.

Kaelix smiled politely again and handed the money to the woman. As she exited the shop into the warm August sun she thought about what the shop owner had said, “you often can when someone comes along who hasn’t grown up around it.” So she wasn’t the only one that knew nothing of this place before coming, she wasn’t the only one who’s reality had been altered one day, by one conversation. Shifting the universe that she’d come to know and accept.

It’d been one week since Professor Dumbledore’s unexpected visit and his invitation for her to come to Hogwarts. If anyone had told her before that conversation that in one week’s time she would be walking up and down the cobblestone streets of a magical village, then she would have said that they would be walking into an asylum with a straight jacket before sundown. But here she was walking past a shop that was selling newt eyes, unicorn horns, bat wings, and more. She could hardly believe her eyes when Tom, the bartender at the Leaky Cauldron, had shown her through the brick wall behind the pub. Part of her amazement was due to all the shops and the items they were selling, the other part was at how many people were in the small village. Doors to shops were constantly being closed and opened, kids yelled across the street to their parents, friends laughed and joked while shopping together, and owls flew overhead, their eyes watching everyone in the street in an almost hawk like fashion.

The street was filled with liveliness, but as more and more time passed Kaelix began to feel as if it were all an act, as if the happiness was being forced. Once in awhile she would see someone look cautiously over his or her shoulder before hurrying on ahead. They were on edge; every single person in the village was on edge. As Kaelix looked closer she could see that the doors were being snapped shut with impatience and growing anxiety; the kids weren’t yelling for their parents, their parents were yelling for them to stay close and not wander; friends were staying together in tight groups, most accompanied by an adult, and their jokes were simply attempts to ease the nervousness in the air.

Kaelix pressed on searching for a place to buy a wand, the only thing that she had not yet acquired. She noticed that the anxiety of the crowds seemed to be increasing as time passed and they began to thin out a little as evening approached. What was it that all of these people were afraid of? She wondered. Did some kind of monster come out when the sun went down, or perhaps everything would turn back into stone, or maybe pumpkins?

“Mom I want a FIREBOLT!” someone yelled to her left.
She turned to see a brat of a little boy tugging his mother’s robes begging for something.

“Michael gets one, how come I don’t!” he demanded.

“I told you already Connor, because you’re six and he’s seventeen. Now come on. We have to go home and feed the owls. And prepare dinner for your father...”

The women hauled her son away as he continued to protest. But he hadn’t been the only one ogling at the widow of that particular shop. She had noticed a crowd outside the window of that particular shop before but hadn’t paid any attention before. Now she was curious about what was provoking the curiosity of so many people. And what the hell was a Firebolt anyway? Something like a lightning bolt she supposed. Even now there was a group of boys, whose ages appeared to range from seven or eight to as old as mid-twenties, crowding around and a few girls too.

Kaelix stepped closer and heard snatches of conversation, “it’ll be a favorite for the world cup.” “Price on request though. Hmm...” “It’s the best ever! Everyone will want one!” Want one what? She wondered.

She walked closer to try and see what they were all looking at. It wasn’t easy considering the number of people there and all the bags she was carrying. Somehow she managed to squeeze her way up to the front of the mass of people and lay eyes on what they were all here for.

A broom. That was it. A charcoal black broom lay on a ruby red pillow inside the window. With a raised eyebrow Kaelix looked around. They were all here for a broom. And she thought that the shop selling clocks had been a joke. When she turned her gaze back to the window she saw a sign next to the Firebolt, it read;

THE FIREBOLT
This state-of-the-art racing broom sports a streamlined, superfine handle of ash,
treated with a diamond-hard polish and hand-numbered with its own registration
number. Each individually selected birch twig in the broomtail has been honed to
aerodynamic perfection, giving the Firebolt unsurpassable balance and pinpoint
precision. The Firebolt has an acceleration of 150 miles an hour in ten seconds
and incorporates an unbreakable Braking Charm. Price on request.

“Oh brother,” she sighed, “this really is the whole deal, flying brooms and everything,” she muttered to herself.

“Haven’t you ever seen a broom before?” a voice asked.

Kaelix looked around. The voice had come from her right. A boy was standing there looking at her, a questioning gleam in his eyes. She stared at him. She didn’t know him at all.

“Excuse me?” she said.

“A broom, haven’t you ever seen one before?” he asked slowly.

Kaelix opened her mouth to reply but she was pushed sideways into him.

“Watch it!” someone said behind them.

Whoever it was that they had knocked into, shoved them back. Kaelix hit someone else, lost her balance, and fell to the ground just past the now thinning group of people. She lost grip of her shopping bags and they tumbled to the ground, some of the contents scattering. Kaelix sighed in aggravation and started collecting the scattered books and supplies. She reached out for her divination book, titled Unfogging The Future but instead of the rough book cover her hand met another hand. She followed the arm with her gaze to see whom it belonged to. Her eyes met emerald green ones. It was the boy who’d asked her if she’d ever seen a broom before.

She withdrew her hand quickly and stood up. After dusting off her pants Kaelix picked up her bags and looked up.

“I see you’re taking Divination, I am too, maybe we’ll be in the same class.” The boy held out her divination book.

She shifted the bags in her hands and took it from him without a word.

“I don’t think we’ve met before, my name is Harry,” he offered. “What’s yours?”

Kaelix returned the book to her bag and did not reply.

“Are you okay? He asked.

“Fine.” she replied shortly.

She stepped sideways and began walking away from him, and away from the flying broomstick.

“Wait, I asked for your name.” he called.

Kaelix turned slightly to look back at him.

“And do you always get what you ask for?” she said, a little more harshly than she’d intended.

When he didn’t say anything in return she turned and continued once more down the street, leaving him to stare after her. She shook her head to clear it and pushed all thoughts of him and his flying broomsticks out of her head as she returned to her search for a place to buy a wand. She passed many new shops that she hadn’t seen yet. One of which was Eyelopes Owl Emporium, as she walked by she heard a soft ‘hooting’ from inside, then a screech and someone yelling. “No don’t- those mice are for sale Arwin, they aren’t your dinner! No, BAD OWL!” she laughed softly to herself at the image of a shopkeeper struggling with a large owl trying to keep it from eating pet mice and kept walking.

The street, she noticed, was significantly emptier now than when she had arrived earlier that day. Though it was still quite busy, she no longer bumped into someone every time she tried to avoid bumping into someone. And those who remained were very edgy. Some jumped as she walked by, others cast threatening looks at her over their shoulders. But they were all hurrying to get done as if they didn’t want to be there any longer than they absolutely had too.

Kaelix was just about to turn around, thinking she was so near the end of the Alley that she must have missed seeing the wand shop, but she was so intent on her search that she didn’t see the boy headed right for her. Apparently he took no notice of her either because they knocked shoulders half way across the street. Kaelix almost lost hold of one of her bags but managed to maintain her grip and resume walking. She was several more paces across the street before she felt someone grab her shoulder.
“Hey.” She heard a male voice say as she spun around and took a step back, not knowing who was after her attention. “I think you owe me an apology.” Said the same voice.

Kaelix faced a haughty looking boy with blonde hair and a smirk. He was standing a few paces off from her with his arms crossed in front of his chest and an expectant look on his face. She stared at him blankly, an apology, was he kidding himself? People scurried all around them, some cursed at the ‘kids’ standing in the middle of the path, while others silently moved to walk around them. The silence between them lingered only a little while longer before he spoke again, and when he did it was the same drawling voice as before, but this time he spoke slowly as if he were explaining the rules of hide and seek to a seven year old.

“For running into me.” He sounded somewhat condescending but she thought she saw a bit of mischief in his eyes.

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“What, do I not look serious to you?” he asked with a smile that only added more mischief to his expression...

“No,” She said catching on to his game, “no, not at all.”

“What?” he said with mock disbelief.

“You look about half as serious as a clown.” She said playing along.

“See now that just hurts, I was being completely serious. So now I think you owe me two apologies.” he said.

“Well the way I see it you owe me two as well, so you could say that we’re even.” she explained.

“And how do you figure that?” he asked.

“Well it takes two to collide so I’d say you owe me an apology for that and then you went on to begin this conversation without even introducing yourself. How am I to apologize if I don’t even know who I’m apologizing to?”

“You have made an excellent point, I’ve been extremely rude.”

“I’m certain your mother would be ashamed.”

“She would probably disown me.”

“I’m surprised she hasn’t already.”

“Have some mercy, we’ve only just met. How can we get along if you’re so cruel?” he asked.

“Technically we still haven’t met, and not at all if you’re as self important as you seem.” she countered.

“Do you think I’m too arrogant?”

“Truly?” she asked playfully, but then she paused for a moment holding his gaze. “No. No, I think you’re guarded which is why you seem arrogant, so as not to appear vulnerable to anyone.”

He looked taken aback by her answer.

She shook her head with a small laugh, “but what do I know, we haven’t even really met yet.”

“Well then,” he stepped closer to her and offered his hand, “I’m Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, and you are?” There was something in his eyes that she almost recognized, something that felt familiar, but she wasn’t sure what it was. She took the offered hand.

“Williams,” she answered, imitating him, “Kaelix Williams.”

“Williams? I don’t recognize that name.” He said, looking at her curiously now.

“Well you will now. Is there anywhere around here I can get a wand? It’s the last thing on my list and I’d like to be on my way.” She tried to distract him from any questions he might ask.

“What, bored of me already?”

“Yes, ages ago. Now kindly direct me to a shop that sells wands and all my suffering won’t have been in vain.” she added with a mocking smile.

“Your suffering? I’ve just spent the last while talking to a first year, how do you think I’m doing?”

“Oh I’d say you’re holding your own, but just barely.”

“Are you this kind to everyone you meet or is it just my lucky day?”

“Oh no, normally I’m much more spiteful and sarcastic; you must have caught me on an off day.”

“I’d like to see that.”

“What?”

“You spiteful and sarcastic.”

She furrowed her brow, “have you been here for this conversation?”

“Yeah I have actually,” he nodded. “And on the spiteful and sarcastic scale I’d say you’re probably somewhere around… warm and fuzzy?”

She narrowed her eyes a bit. “Warm and fuzzy, huh? You couldn’t handle anything more than that.”

“Wanna bet, Williams?”

She paused. “I don’t gamble. The wand shop, Malfoy?”

“Maybe you should.” He said with a smirk.

Then he raised a hand to indicate a place somewhere behind her. She turned slightly to see and at first she couldn’t tell where he had pointed but then a sign caught her eye. It read; Ollivanders: Makers of fine Wands since 382 B.C. The letters were gold and peeling off of the hanging wooden sign above the shop. It looked small and quite old, like it really had been around since 382 B.C.

“Thanks.” She turned and quickly made for the shop.

“I’ll see you at the start of term then?”

“You might” she called back without looking. She adjusted her course to cross the street, the quicker she got her wand, the quicker she could get out of there and away from all the people. As she entered she heard a small bell and the ring seemed to travel very far. She looked back out to see if Malfoy had followed her but he was nowhere to be seen. She watched the hustle and bustle of the thinning crowd for a moment and her mind wandered. There had been something almost familiar about him. As if she knew him somehow even though she was certain they had never met before. It was faint but still, it was there. And it made him easy to talk to.

She looked down thinking that Draco Malfoy might make for an interesting classmate. Her eyes traced a purple cushion on which a single wand lay in the windowsill. A shiver went down her spine. It was a scary thought, that something so simple could hold so much power. Power that could destroy. It looked plain enough, made of slick brown wood and recently polished. Who would know that it contained the potential to do any harm to the world?

Kaelix turned and looked around the small shop. It was empty except for a small spindly chair near the door, which Kaelix filled with her shopping bags.

“Good afternoon.” a soft voice said to her right.

She turned slightly to see whom it belonged to. Behind the old wooden front desk of the shop stood an elderly looking man in dark blue robes.

He offered his hand; “it’s nice to meet you, Miss...” he trailed off indicating that she was to finish for him.

She looked down at his hand. He was old; his fingers were thin and looked as if they could easily be broken. Nice to meet me, she laughed to herself, he doesn’t even know me.

Her gaze returned to his face and without taking the offered hand she finished his sentence, “Miss Williams.”

He lowered his hand and his bright blue eyes studied her. It was a few moments before he spoke again. “Well, Miss Williams, have you come to buy a wand?” he asked in his soft almost vacant voice.

Kaelix bit back all the sarcastic responses that came immediately to mind, and settled with nodding curtly in response. Mr. Ollivander turned quickly and disappeared behind tall shelves and Kaelix didn’t even know if he’d seen her answer. Upon the shelves sat several boxes that looked to be roughly an inch tall and two inches wide, from where she stood Kaelix guessed that she could see well over five hundred boxes. From the looks of it the shelves continued on deep into the shop that she had initially thought to be small and cramped.

Mr. Ollivander returned with a box in hand and a small smile across his lips.

“Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance.” he began as he opened the box and took out the slender piece of wood. “We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, phoenixes, or people are the same. Here you are try this one. Maple and phoenix feather, seven inches, quite whippy.” he held it out for her to take. “Go on just give it a small wave.”

Kaelix took the wand from him hesitantly. As she touched it she almost let it drop to the floor, it was cold. But with tense muscles she grabbed it, making sure not to drop it, and then gave it the smallest of flicks. Nothing happened.

“Not to worry,” Mr. Ollivander said as he snatched the wand away so quickly Kaelix almost jumped, “it always takes at least two tries if not more.” he discarded the wand onto the end of his desk and left to go find another. When he returned he had several boxes in hand. He set them all down on his desk and opened the top one and handed it to her.

“Beach wood and unicorn hair, ten and a quarter inches, springy. Try.”

Again the wand felt ice cold to the touch and Kaelix doubted it would work, but she tried waving it a little, feeling a bit like an idiot. Mr. Ollivander snatched the wand back, placed it with the other that she had tried, and immediately held out another for her. “Willow and dragon heartstring, ten inches, rather swishy.” he said as she tried again.

But she had barely moved it when he took that one back as well, discarding it with the others. He smiled slightly, “going to be tricky.” he said almost to himself, and was it her imagination or was there a bit of excitement in his voice.

He continued to pull wand after wand off the shelves and have her try them, some were completely lifeless in her hand and did nothing, and some were so full of life they shot out at random things and made unbearable noises. The more wands that they went through and the more useless Kaelix thought the whole thing was, the happier Mr. Ollivander seemed to get, smiling, laughing, and talking to no one in particular. Was this man’s life really so boring that when it was hard to find someone a wand it excited him. It was as if he were a kid trying to figure out a puzzle, so many pieces but only one of them would fit here, with her.

After Mr. Ollivander put out a fire that was set by a particularly temperamental wand, Kaelix began to wonder if it would ever end. What if they went through the whole shop and none of the wands were right, none of them fit with her. Maybe because she wasn’t right, she was never supposed to be here. That would be rather remarkable, she thought, a witch without a wand. She tucked a strand of her long dark hair behind her ear and looked up to see if Mr. Ollivander had another wand for her to try but his eyes were searching her face, studying her closely instead of looking for another box.

“I wonder...” he whispered and Kaelix couldn’t tell if he was talking to her or himself. Then his eyes stopped searching her and went glassy as if he were deep in thought. “Yes...” he said to himself. He looked to be contemplating something, something that took his full attention. Then suddenly his eyes snapped back to focus on her and widened like he had just remembered something very important.

The stepping stool that he stood on to reach the higher shelves creaked slightly as he stepped down onto the ground. His eyes had returned to normal size now but he hadn’t moved his gaze from her face. He walked forward to his desk, and Kaelix wished that he would look elsewhere. His penetrating blue eyes gave her the feeling of transparency; he could see right through her barriers and read her like an open book. Her thoughts, her movements, nothing escaped his fathoming gaze.

“It has been sometime,” he began slowly, “since it has taken so long to find the specific wand that is looking for a customer. Perhaps...” he did not finish his thought aloud, but simply acted. He tore his gaze from her and looked instead at a drawer of his desk. Reaching inside his robes he withdrew his own wand, gave it a small wave and muttered something that Kaelix could not discern. He then opened it.

Slightly intrigued Kaelix leaned onto her tiptoes and looked over the desk at the open drawer trying to distinguish its contents. Laying in the drawer was a single long slender silver box, it looked just like the thousands of other boxes stacked throughout the shop that contained wands. Except this box had a good thick layer of dust on it, which made it appear as though it hadn’t been touched in many years. Mr. Ollivander changed that though, when he removed the box, closed the drawer, and blew the dust off, filling the room with the subtle smell of an old attic. Kaelix almost sneezed as some of the dust went up her nose and made her eyes water.

Mr. Ollivander however seemed unaffected by the dust now occupying the room with them. He slid the lid off the box to reveal a very dark colored wand. Without a word he held it out for her to take and she did so without question. When she took hold of the wand she was surprised, she had fully expected it to be cold to the touch just as all the others had been. But this wand was different it sent a wave of warmth that spread from her fingertips to the tips of her toes. As with all the other wands she waved it in a small circle a silver mist emitted from the tip of the wand and sparkled sending a shiver down her back. It shined illuminating the room slightly before it dissipated.

“What is it made of?” she couldn’t help asking. Kaelix met Mr. Ollivander’s gaze, waiting for an answer. There was something in his eyes, a question, curiosity, fear. She couldn’t tell which, maybe it was all three.

“That wand is rigid,” he said but his voice was different from when he had described the other wands, it was no longer soft but hard and almost sharp, “Nine inches in length, it is made of ebony and contains one hippogriff tail hair.”

Kaelix blinked. Hippogriff?

“You mean unicorn.”

He shook his head slightly and said, “no, the core of that wand is a hippogriff’s tail hair.”

“But you said-,” Kaelix started.

He held up a hand to silence her. “Ollivanders was founded by my ancestors in 382 B.C. when they opened they had a stock of wands that were made with dragon heart strings, phoenix tail feathers, and hippogriff tail hairs. However hippogriffs are very dangerous creatures and back then not too easy to find, so only twenty-seven Ollivander wands were ever made with hippogriff tail hair. They switched to unicorn hair after too many were injured, it’s more expensive but not as dangerous or hard to find. Twenty-seven wands with a core from the same hippogriff differing only in length and wood. One mahogany, one willow, one beachwood, one maple, one ebony, and well you get it, right. All different on the outside but connected through their core. It is the wand that chooses the wizard, or in this case the witch, Miss Williams. And that wand is the last of those twenty seven, and it has chosen you.”

Questions sprung up in Kaelix’s mind, the loudest of which was screaming why me? If this wand was so special and had been sitting in that musty old drawer for centuries why did it choose her? It was special, it had meaning, why did it choose her of all people to be its owner. There was nothing special about her, she was cursed maybe, but not special.

“That will be eight Galleons.” Mr. Ollivander’s voice broke into her thoughts.

Kaelix absentmindedly took out the pouch of money that Dumbledore had given her still thinking about the wand’s history. She counted out eight of the gold Galleons to pay for the wand- her wand.

“Miss Williams?”

Her wand.

“Miss Williams?”

Kaelix jerked out of her thoughts, “what?” she asked.

He arched one of his white eyebrows at her and eyed her questioningly before answering, “would you like me to wrap it up for you or are you going to carry it out?”

“Oh,” she realized that she was still holding her wand out in front of her slightly. “You can wrap it up.” she held it out to him. He took it and returned it to its box quickly wrapped it in brown paper and returned it to her.

“Have a good day,” he said as she was turning to leave, but before she could think about it a question slipped out of her mouth.

“Mr. Ollivander, you said that this wand, my wand was the last of the twenty-seven to be sold?”

“That is correct.”

“Well,” she paused, should she really ask. “Were you the one that sold them, all twenty-seven?”

He seemed to think before he answered as if not sure of what to say.

“Miss Williams I remember every wand I ever sold as well as every customer. I’m sorry to say but that is only the fifth wand that I have a memory of selling myself. The others though, I have heard many a story about. The first fifteen went sometime between the year 300 and 415 not much is known about them because that was before we kept track of our customers. The sixteenth wand went over three hundred years later, sometime in the year 755. The seventeenth went in 976, the eighteenth went in 1177, the nineteenth in 1301, the twentieth in 1442, the twenty-first in 1672, and the twenty-second went in 1753. The twenty third was the first that I sold, it was when my father was teaching me how to run the store in 1920, I sold the twenty-fourth in 1959, and then the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth both went just twenty-three years ago in 1970, and now the last of the set, the twenty-seventh has gone to you. So ends the stories, but not the mystery.

“The old stories, myths rather, tell of the wands and how they only chose special wizards and witches. Those that wield these wands are said to be somewhat removed from the rest of the wizarding world, though no one is quite certain how. And so it is assumed that the remaining wands waited until similarly unique owners would come forward to claim them. There isn’t much to prove the stories are anything more than just that. The wand chooses the wizard Miss. Williams. Perhaps these wands are just particularly picky in who they choose,” he arched a white eyebrow before turning to go into the depths of the shop where he could not be seen.

“Who did you sell them to?” She asked.

Mr. Ollivander stopped mid-step and then slowly turned to face her, his eyes searching. He had questions but he did not ask them. Whether it was because he did not want to or because so many years had taught him that not all questions are meant to be asked, she did not know. His eyes were narrowed and for a second Kaelix thought that he might yell at her and tell her to leave his shop but he did nothing of the sort, in fact when he spoke his voice was quite calm.

“The first that I sold went to a girl, her name was Alexandra Fuhrmann. I have never heard what became of her after school. The second went to a boy by the name of Michael O’Conner, who as I understand it, met a rather unpleasant end. The third went to a young woman by the name of Katherine Holstein. She was a nice shy girl. I believe that she became an Auror, but I’m not quite certain. The fourth went a week later to a young man. He was rather outspoken and quite the troublemaker at school I believe. And as for what happened to him after school, he did not make good choices. Now the fifth has gone to you, and only you can determine its legacy.”

It was silent for a few moments and Kaelix did not think that Mr. Ollivander was going to explain, she opened her mouth to ask but he gestured over her shoulder with his hand. She turned to see what he was pointing at; it was a sign, a wanted sign. It read; Have You Seen This Wizard? Above a picture of a very shabby looking man. Kaelix thought he looked somewhat like a skeleton with hair because of the color of his pale white skin and the hollows in his cheeks. But one thing betrayed the fact that he really was alive; dark eyes were staring straight ahead emotionless black holes. Below the picture there was a small red box that contained a warning; Approach with Extreme caution! Do not Attempt to use magic against this man!

“He committed the ultimate crime. He went to Azkaban for it where he resided for twelve years. About a month ago he broke out. Sirius Black is one of the most dangerous wizards alive. Your wand, Miss Holstein’s, Mr. O’Conner’s, Miss Fuhrmann’s, and all the others are brothers of his wand. It’s strange the way these things happen. Good day Miss Williams.”






A/N: So it's definitely been more than a week, heh... but I'm scheduling my updates in my calendar so I do them more regularly I promise! A little bit of excitement happened here, right? Okay, at least something mildly interesting, right? Let me know your thoughts and I'll do my best to update in a week or two!!!

 


Chapter 3: Luminescent
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Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any part of the Harry Potter characters or universe as crafted by JK Rowling. Anything recognizable in this chapter is taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.





 
The wind howled outside as it whipped around the train that had been traveling steadily northward at an unwavering, if not increasing, speed since precisely eleven o’clock that morning. Over the past hour or so Kaelix had noticed the light beginning to fade from the overcast sky, signaling that they were traveling well into the evening. The lanterns above the luggage rack had flickered to life of their own accord some time ago to combat the fading light. Her attention drawn, she investigated the light source briefly, thinking it odd that it didn’t appear to be hooked up to a power source. After a moment of wondering she concluded that they must have been triggered by magic. Obviously, she thought after her conclusion.

Not particularly in the mood to socialize, Kaelix had chosen a compartment near the end of the train that had been empty. She remained its only occupant and was undisturbed for the entire ride so far, save the pleasant elderly lady that came by with the lunch trolley. She was grateful for the peace and quiet, it allowed her to breathe. She’d spent some of the ride investigating her textbooks a bit more, transfiguration seemed intriguing, divination seemed like a joke and she thought she might regret having chosen that class. But her favorite so far was the potions book. It was the most familiar to her, with different recipes and instructions for creating potions, it was almost like a regular cookbook, almost.

After reading another recipe that required eye of newt she closed the book softly, ready for a break from all of the overwhelming information that still seemed like it belonged in a fairy tale land and not in her reality. She traded her potions book for her sketchbook and turned to a blank page. She paused for a moment, trying to think of what to draw. Then settled on a topic that seemed all too perfect, the potion ingredients that she’d just been reading about. She filled a few pages with newts, worms, and other things from the recipes, forgetting for a bit where she was and focusing only on the lines on her paper.

She had always carried a sketchbook with her, for as long as she could remember. She filled it with all sorts of things; people, buildings, animals, and sometimes even things from her imagination. It was enchanting to her, trying to get just the right line, just the right shape, just the right shade to create something from nothing. She’d never taken any lessons before, her ability was developed over the years with practice and study.

The flickering lanterns distracted Kaelix and her attention was diverted from the severed beetle carcass she had been working on. She began to wonder again just what she had gotten herself into. Accepting an invitation on a whim from a slightly eccentric looking old man didn’t seem like a very smart thing to do. Although after walking up and down the cobblestone street of Diagon Alley and boarding a train from a platform that was concealed within a solid stonewall, Kaelix was having a hard time doubting his story at all. The whole thing, if not real, was either a vivid hallucination or an elaborate hoax. The former did not seem likely because Kaelix was not prone to hallucinations and the latter seemed even less likely because there was nothing to be gained from it.

A thunderclap sounded unusually loud outside, and that’s when Kaelix noticed that the normal sounds of the train were beginning to fade. It was slowing down. Finally, she thought looking out the window into the night for some sign that they had arrived. No light penetrated the darkness of the clouded night and she couldn’t make out anything except the slightest movement just outside her window, something was very close to the still moving train. She leaned forward in her seat and looked more intently trying to discern a shape. There it was again, for a fleeting moment, Kaelix could make out a hooded figure passing by the window that somehow seemed to be even darker than the night itself. But as quickly as she had seen it, it was gone. She blinked, on the edge of her seat now, and continued to look out the window in case it went by again.

Suddenly the screeching of the train’s brakes ceased and as it jerked to a stop Kaelix was thrown from her perch to the floor of the compartment where she landed with a small thud. Not the most graceful way to stop, but she wouldn’t have thought it particularly strange except that as soon as she stood up the lanterns extinguished themselves, plunging her compartment and the rest of the train into the same impenetrable darkness that was outside. Kaelix wondered for a fleeting moment if they were having engine trouble, but she shook her head at the ridiculous thought. Given that this was supposed to be a magical train, how could it possibly break down?

Kaelix looked toward the door, but it was almost impossible to see her hand an inch from her face, let alone a door that was nearly six feet away from her. It was hopeless, there were no longer any light sources on the train and the moonlight had long since been obscured by the storm clouds outside. It was so dark that a cat would have been lost. Kaelix remained still, wondering what she should do. There was a chance that this was just part of the normal routine of the magical train, having never taken this trip before she couldn’t be sure what normal was, but something about it just didn’t feel right.

It was as if the light had taken the warmth with it when it went out. The air was growing colder and colder by the minute and Kaelix was certain she would be able to see her breath by now if she could see anything at all. She listened intently for any sound that would indicate what was happening outside her compartment, but the eerie quiet that had taken over the train seemed to drown out the sound from the storm. It was the loudest silence she’d ever heard, and if she didn’t know any better she would think the train was abandoned.

Her head snapped back toward her compartment door when a small muffled sound drew her attention. Almost simultaneously, a brief flash of light was granted to her by the thunderstorm still raging outside, and in that instant of visibility she saw the door to her compartment sliding open. Thunder rumbled along through the night, chasing after it’s partner in a race it would never win, all the while it was pitch black in the compartment once more. Kaelix didn’t need any light to know that there was someone, or something, standing in the now open doorway. The already frigid air turned impossibly colder, tainted with the smell of death. Kaelix felt as though the air was frozen in place. It hit the back of her throat like a suckerpunch when she inhaled, the iciness making it difficult to breathe. It was as if the presence in the doorway was sucking the very life from the room and replacing it with nothing but coldness.

For a moment all was silent and still, Kaelix didn’t dare make a sound. She wondered briefly if whatever had opened the door had moved on but the still freezing temperature of her surroundings suggested otherwise. Another flash of lightening illuminated the unknown figure before her and confirmed her suspicions; the something hadn’t left. From the brief glimpse that the lightening provided, Kaelix could tell that if the figure had at one time been human, it was something different now. It was tall and foreboding, taking up the entire doorway with it’s hooded silhouette. It was cloaked in long black robes almost entirely concealed, but with a second flash of light Kaelix saw the exposed hand that still remained on the door. It looked like flesh from a corpse that had been long since dead, shrivelled from lack of blood flow, reduced to nothing more than skin clinging to bone.This couldn’t possibly be routine, could it?

The silence was finally broken by a muffled explosion, sounding like it must have come from outside. Her heart rate quickened and she listened for any indication of the other students on the train. She heard screams, shrieks of surprise and terror that were muffled just as the explosion had been, but then they grew clearer, sharper. They were loud enough to be on the train now, in the corridor just beyond the hooded figure. Then she heard laughter, crazed laughter so loud that it seemed to be in the room with her.

She felt the icy air around her compress, threatening to suffocate her. She couldn’t see it but she knew the figure was moving into the compartment, toward her. She heard more screams and then a young girl’s voice was yelling ‘Stop it! Please, stop it!’. And then a gruff grown man’s voice, ‘How dare you speak to me that way, you ungrateful little bitch.’ A shiver went down her spine, that voice was familiar, she knew that voice. She also knew that it couldn’t possibly be here, there was no way. The figure’s presence was still pressing on her, forcing her to take a step back.This was definitely not routine.

The little girl’s voice came again and she knew what it would say before it said it. “Please, we’ll go straight up to our room, we won’t make a sound, I promise.” Kaelix heard crying and then the man’s voice came again ‘Oh, you won’t make a sound. You don’t even belong here. you’re not helping anyone, I should just get rid of you.’ There were even more voices now, most of them were screaming and they drowned out the little girl and the angry man. They were in her head, assaulting her mind. She closed her eyes and wished for it to end. It was too much, the living corpse before her, the icy air surrounding her, the voices screaming relentlessly. It was a nightmare that she couldn’t wake up from. Her breathing was coming in heavy gasps now and she’d broken out in a cold sweat. She prayed for it all to end, she wished the screaming would stop, the air would warm up, and the monster would vanish.

Then, as if by sheer force of will, the room began to warm up. In fact the temperature was increasing so quickly that she was no longer sweating from the cold but from the heat instead. The heat made her light headed and she stumbled back until she reached the window for support. She pressed a hand against it to steady herself and was both surprised and relieved to find it was still quite cold. The heat continued to build, and the room, which had been deathly cold only moments ago, now seemed to be a furnace. She pressed her back to the window trying to absorb it’s coolness into her overheating body but seconds later it shattered beneath her fingertips. She grabbed for the wall of the compartment and discovered that it too was still freezing cold.

She opened her eyes to see if the figure had retreated and was surprised at how well she could see. The entire compartment was illuminated by some kind of silver lightsource that had formed in front of her. The figure was still there but seemed to shy away from the light which was slowly growing in intensity. The screaming voices had begun to fade as well and Kaelix removed her hands from the wall. As she lowered her hands she glanced at them, they appeared to be glowing in the light of the mysterious silver mist that had formed. But then she did a double take and realized that they weren’t being illuminated by the light source, but rather they were illuminating the light source. Kaelix’s eyes widened and she examined her own hands as if they were foreign to her.

They were emitting an otherworldly glow that seemed to feed the mist in front of her. She turned her hands over to examine the back and saw that a pattern had appeared. Her nails glowed with near blinding intensity and from them stemmed an intricate pattern that weaved it’s way across her skin. Her hands began to shake, and she touched part of the pattern on one hand, and tried to rub it off but she couldn’t. The light was inside her skin. Frantically she pulled back her sleeve and saw that the light continued up her forearm and disappeared beneath the top of her shirt sleeve. At this point she wasn’t sure what was more terrifying, the mysterious hooded figure that seemed threatening or her suddenly luminescent skin. Though it appeared that the figure was shying away from the mass of light that had formed in front of her so for the moment she was thankful for it.

Another dizzy spell washed over her and she grabbed for the wall to steady herself again, closing her eyes to combat it. Though even with her eyes closed she could tell the glowing mist was intensifying to the same near blinding level that her own skin was emitting. Cold night air whipped in through the broken window but the heat and screams were still stifling her. Just when Kaelix thought she might pass out, she felt a wave of cold wash over her and pulse outward, extinguishing the light and the screams as it went. Her breathing was still labored and though the voices had stopped screaming she could still hear the echoes of their pain ringing through her head. She blinked her eyes open to find herself in darkness once more, her skin no longer glowed, the mist had dissipated, and somehow she could tell that the figure had moved on and her compartment door remained open.

She slid down to the floor, slightly dazed and found herself shivering again. The compartment itself was not cold but she was freezing. The room had gone from burning up and sensory overload to freezing cold and numbing in less than a second. No, not the room, she thought, her body. The window and compartment wall had been cold to the touch while she felt like a sauna; the room had been cold the whole time. She pulled her knees to her chest and put her hands in her armpits trying to warm herself. With a million different possible questions the only thing she kept thinking was, is that how.. was that … magic?

She sat on the floor for several minutes trying to warm herself up and process what had just happened. But she had no idea where to even begin. She had too many questions and no answers. The only thing she felt certain of was that figure, whatever it was, was not friendly. The echos of the screaming voices faded from her mind and she was surprised by how quiet it was around her again. Had everyone on the train been approached by a figure as she had? Were they all as dazed and disoriented as she was now? After a few moments of silence in the darkness she heard the smallest little clicking noise and then lights began flaring back to life, one by one. Her breathing had steadied and her body warmed enough to return the feeling to her fingers, though in the light she noticed they still had a tinge of purple to them and she was still shivering.

She heard more nondescript noise and looked up to see that the broken window appeared to be putting itself back together. She pulled herself up off the floor to examine the work the train had done to fix itself. She reached out a hand and gently touched the now flawless surface that had been in several thousand pieces mere seconds ago. For a moment she stood in awe of just how magical that was.

There was a loud whistle and simultaneously the train lurched into motion once more, almost putting her off balance but she managed not to fall over this time. They were back on course as if nothing had happened. Maybe that was routine after all, she thought, and if that was the case, she wasn’t sure she ever wanted to take this train again. There were muffled voices coming from the next compartment over and they reminded her of the muffled voices she’d heard when the figure was in her compartment. She decided to investigate, she at least wanted to find out what that thing had been and why it seemed to assault her.

She crossed the compartment and peered down the corridor, wary of the possibility that more of the cloaked figures could be on the train but reasonably sure that they had all gone prior to the lights returning. Nothing; not a single soul occupied the train corridor except her. Though she could still hear voices, they were too quiet and too muffled for her to make out what they were saying. She contemplated knocking on the door to see if they knew anything more than she did, but before she could decide what she wanted to do the compartment door slid open.

She took a step back and quickly examined the man that emerged from head to toe. He appeared very tired and he was scruffy, in need of a shave. His robes were quite worn out but his eyes were alert and locked onto Kaelix as he closed the door. A flash of recognition crossed his features but was quickly replaced by slight confusion. They stood in silence for a moment while each analyzed the other; the look of puzzlement never leaving the man’s face.

“Are you… alright?” he asked hesitantly, making Kaelix feel as though it wasn’t the question he truly wanted to ask.

“Fine,” she replied shortly, dismissing his perplexed look and unspoken question. “What was that hooded thing that came onto the train?”

“It was a dementor, one of the guards of Azkaban.” His voice was steady and sure but his eyes still held a hint of confusion and seemed to be focused elsewhere, he looked on the verge of asking a question.

“The prison?” she thought aloud, remembering her conversation with Ollivander. “What was it doing here?”

“It was searching the train for Sirius Black.”

It was Kaelix’s turn to look confused. “Why would an escaped prisoner be on board a school train?”

“I think it was more of a precautionary search.” He replied.

“Is that a routine thing around here, menacing hooded figures attacking students?” she asked.

“No, it’s not. And menacing they may be but they weren’t here to attack the students.”

“Could’ve fooled me.”

“Dementors lack the ability to regulate the effects that their proximity has on people, but believe me that is nothing compared to what would happen to Black if they find him.”

Kaelix nodded, unsure of what else to say, his tone left little room for argument. She had a lot of questions but she had no idea how to ask them or who this man even was. She didn’t want to invite any question from him by asking her own but she wanted to know more about the dementor. Before she could decide whether to ask him anything, he interrupted her thoughts.

“I’m sorry but may I ask, what is your name?”

Kaelix hesitated for a moment, taking in his expression. It was curious and relaxed but his eyes were still focused intently, awaiting her reply.

“Kaelix,” she said. “Kaelix Williams.”

He blinked and the intensity in his gaze was finally gone, but his curiosity was not. He did not recognize her name but he had thought that he would. Then he gave her a weak smile.

“I’m Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, nice to meet you.” He extended his hand.

She took it and managed a small polite smile in return, knowing that it wasn’t as ‘nice to meet’ her as he had been hoping. A shiver went down her spine and she hugged herself a little tighter to stave off the chill.

“Are you sure you’re feeling alright?” he asked, sounding genuinely concerned. “Dementors can leave you a bit drained. Here have some of this.” he pulled something out of his pocket and offered it to her.

She recognized the smell almost immediately and shook her head, “I can’t.”

“Please, I insist. It will help you feel better.” he urged.

“No, I can’t. I’m allergic.” she explained.

His brow furrowed, “Isn’t that a rather rare allergy?”

She shrugged, “somebody has to be the person who makes it rare.”

He gave her another weak smile and returned the chocolate to his pocket.

“Are we almost there then?” Kaelix asked.

“I was just about to go and ask the driver, but I can’t imagine that it will be more than a half hour,”

Kaelix nodded and then turned back toward her compartment, leaving the man to be on his way. Standing just inside the closed door she had another thing to contemplate; who had he thought she was before learning her name? She shook herself from her thoughts and her eyes settled on her sketchbook where it had been left on the seat. Before her thoughts could fall back into things she still didn’t understand she took her seat and let the world fall away again as she continued to fill pages of her sketchbook, adding a foreboding hooded figure to her collection of monsters.




 

A/N: So now that we've established that I'm horrible at updating this regularly... I'm terribly sorry! I'm trying to be better, New Year's Resolutions amiright? Anyway.... What did you think of this chapter??? What's going on, that was some weird stuff right??? I would love you all to death if you left even a short review for me! (even if it's just to comment on my atrociously long wait between chapters heh...) I hope to post another chapter around the same time next week, if not sooner!


 


Chapter 4: Fine Dining and Casual Conversation
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Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any part of the Harry Potter characters or universe as crafted by JK Rowling. Anything recognizable in this chapter is taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

 






After she became absorbed in her drawing once more, the remaining time passed by quickly for Kaelix. It seemed like only ten minutes had passed when she noticed the subtle slowing of the train and the soft squealing of the brakes. Her dementor wasn’t quite finished but it would have to wait for another time. She packed her sketchbook back into her trunk and, as instructed earlier, left all of her belongings on the train; trusting that they would make it safely to wherever she would be staying.

The corridor of the train was loud and full of life now, a stark contrast to a short time ago when it had been devoid of any signs of it and occupied by dangerous prison guards on the trail of a fugitive. There was hardly any room to move in the over crowded walkway; progress toward the exit was slow going and more than a few toes were stepped on in the tight space. As Kaelix observed the atmosphere of the students around her, although they didn’t appear outwardly shaken by the dementor, she could sense a bit of unease hanging in the air.

Before she even exited the train she heard a booming voice above the chatter of the crowd. Upon exiting she could make out exactly what the voice was saying, it was calling to all the first year students. She hesitated, unsure of whether she technically fit that criteria. The absence of all the students’ luggage was scarcely noticeable on the small landing, though it was highly appreciated.

“Firs’ years this way.” Called the booming voice once more.

She decided it would be best to start there, the Old Man hadn’t been completely clear on her situation but the simple fact was, this was her first year. There were more students heading away from the voice than toward it, making the trip a bit challenging. Most of the other students heading the same direction as her looked like they were the youngest of the crowd, they also looked the most in-awe of their surroundings. Kaelix could now see a very tall man, well over seven feet, with worn looking clothes. His long shaggy hair and beard looked as though they hadn’t been combed in years. He continued to call out to the first year students that hadn’t yet gathered around his enormous frame. But when he saw Kaelix standing a head taller than the rest he stopped and his face contorted a bit in confusion.

“An’ who might you be miss? Yeh look a tad too old ter be a firs’ year.” He said, and then slowly a look of realization crossed his face. “Oh, yeh must be Kaelix. Dumbledore told me ter keep an eye out for yeh, said yeh might not be sure where ter go.” He was nodding as he remembered his instructions. “Well he told me ter tell you ter follow the older students and ride in the carriages up ter the castle. No sense in going in the boats with the firs’ years when you aren’t one.” He laughed.

Kaelix cocked a slender eyebrow in question, castle? Boats, carriages, and a castle, was this a school or an amusement park? He was definitely friendly, this big man, but she did not know what he was talking about.

The man noticed her look of uncertainty and proceeded to explain. “The firs’ years here get ter ride across the lake in the boats before the sortin’ ceremony. But the older kids, well they don’t need sortin’ so they just ride up to the castle in those carriages right over there.” He pointed somewhere over Kaelix’s head in the general direction she had come from. “Just climb in, any ol’ one’ll due yeh just fine. Go on now before they’ve all gone up to the castle.”

The big man went back to calling out the remaining first years that still had not made their way to him yet. So Kaelix turned around and began making her way back across the small landing. The crowd had thinned out a bit during their exchange, although, some might consider it a moment of instruction rather than an exchange; Kaelix had not said a single word. But time had passed and the older students had made their way to the carriages, leaving more maneuvering room for those that still remained.

Slowly Kaelix approached the area where the remaining older students seemed to be gathering to wait in the rain for an open carriage. Beyond the platform and crowd of students, was a muddy track and on it stood at least one hundred horse drawn carriages. Though upon closer inspection Kaelix realized that they weren’t normal horses; their skin was black and clung to them like wet clothing to skeletons; they had velvety black wings drawn close to their bodies; and when one turned it’s head toward her, she saw white glowing orbs staring back. She gazed with interest at the slightly disturbing yet magnificent creatures that most on the platform seemed to ignore. Each carriage was pulled by a pair of the creatures, who moved gracefully despite their lanky and awkward appearance.

She watched them for a bit longer, admiring the air of intelligence they emitted and how each movement seemed deliberate, no wasted energy. Her thoughts were interrupted by the complaints of an impatient student.

“Can’t these bloody carriages go any faster? It’s pouring.”

Now she realized just how wet she had gotten from the rain. By now there wasn’t much point in hurrying along but she proceeded toward the nearest open carriage. Once she climbed inside she was surprised to see someone she knew.

“Well, well, look who we have here.” he said with a smirk.

There were only two people in the entire school she would recognize and she just happened to get into a carriage that contained one of them, what were the odds?

“You might want to sit down before we start moving.” he added.

She took the empty seat next to him as a shrill voice called his name from outside the carriage.

Kaelix glanced sideways at him and saw a look of disgust cross his features, “you going to answer that?” she teased.

“Not if I can help it.” Just then the carriage started moving. “Finally. So tell me, why aren’t you taking a boat across the lake with the rest of the first years?”

“Oh, I’m terrified of water.”

“How on Earth did you make it through the rain then?”

“Sorry, it’s the boats actually.”

“Pardon?”

“The boats, I’m terrified of being in a boat on the water. I heard about what happened to the Titanic and that was it for me, no more boats.”

“The Ti-what?”

“The Titanic.” His look of puzzlement remained so she elaborated, “the unsinkable ship that sank in the North Atlantic in 1912, have you never taken a history class?”

“You’re joking?” he asked.

She opened her mouth to reply but hesitated, her attention drawn by a familiar chill sending a shiver down her spine. She turned and saw that they were approaching an iron gate with a dementor stationed on each side. She was slightly intrigued by them, these monsters that seemed to suck the very life out of the air around them. She wondered how they came to be, had they once been human or were they something else entirely? As they neared the gate she could hear faint muffled screams, similar to what she’d heard on the train. They grew a bit louder and then that laughter again; high, cold and cruel, just as before but she heard something else there too, was it sorrow? Defeat?

“Williams?” Malfoy asked.

She’d previously thought that most of the screaming had come from the other students on the train, but as they faded from her mind she realized that they hadn’t come from a person at all. Was that the effect that Professor Lupin had referred to on the train, when you got too close to a dementor they filled your mind with crazed screams? And were those the screams of past victims that they had already driven to insanity?

“It really did sink.” She said, watching the dementors disappear as the carriage finally passed through the gate, “The boat, after it hit an iceberg, I’m afraid of those too.”

“You cannot be serious?”

“What,” she gave him a grin, “do I not look serious to you?”

He smirked back at her “about half as serious as a clown. So I guess I am seeing you at the start of term after all.”

“Unless you’ve gone tragically blind in the last few weeks and recognized me with some mysterious sixth sense just now.”

He gave a small laugh, “do you ever just simply answer a question?”

“Do you care this much about the Q&A habits of all the other students, or just the ones you can’t keep up with?”

“Just the interesting ones, the ones who provide a challenge.”

They paused for a moment, silently sizing each other up. Then Kaelix broke the standoff.

“So do they speak or are they just here for decoration?” she asked, gesturing toward the other two carriage occupants who had neither moved nor spoken since she’d entered.

“They’re not very good at either, actually. That’s Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.” He gestured to each without looking away from her, “This is Kaelix Williams.” he said to them.

“Pleasure.” she said, they each gave her a nod in return.

Malfoy scoffed, “just wait until you’ve actually tried to have a conversation with one of them.”

“I can’t imagine it being any worse than having one with you.”

“And you think you’re a joy to talk to?”

“Actually, Joy is my middle name.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” he said, almost laughing.

“I’m not,” she said with complete seriousness, “that really is my middle name.”

The smile faltered on his face, “oh - er - I didn’t… what I meant was…” he broke eye contact and suddenly seemed a bit flustered.

He looked up at her again and found her smiling, “what’s that for?”

“You totally bought that.” she was almost laughing now, “you should have seen your face.”

“Joy isn’t your middle name, is it?” he tried to scowl at her but he found it difficult to keep his lips from turning up in a smile.

“Nope.”

“So what is it then?” he asked as the carriage came to a halt.

“Oh look, we’re here.” she said, avoiding the question.

She stepped out of the carriage with the laugh still on her features but it quickly faded as she caught sight of the castle for the first time. She stopped in her tracks without even realizing as she craned her neck to take in the entirety of the structure. The entrance was made up of two enormous and intricately carved wooden doors. Beyond that her eyes traced brick and mortar, which formed towers that seemed to extend all the way to the sky. The tower walls were broken up by windows lit by the flicker of flame. As her gaze reached the sky she saw a few owls circling a particular tower, some entered and some departed. Her eyes traced the structure back down and she had to remind herself to breathe. It looked like something straight out of the fairy tales that Ms. Adams used to read to her class. It looked... magical, she thought.

“Williams,” she was torn from her thoughts by Malfoy’s voice, “are you going to stand out here gawking in the rain all night?”

Kaelix turned to face him, her tongue ready with a sharp retort but his attention was already directed elsewhere. She followed his gaze to a round boy who was talking nervously with a few other students on their way up the stone steps. He looked back behind Kaelix to where the carriages were unloading with glinting eyes and an almost gleeful grin. She watched as he moved across the steps intent on intercepting someone, Crabbe and Goyle flanked him like two oversized shadows. Kaelix followed but remained a few steps behind.

“You fainted, Potter? Is Longbottom telling the truth? you actually fainted?” He pushed past a bushy brown haired girl to block the way up the steps.

Kaelix was surprised to see the second person she recognized in this school full of strangers. His raven colored hair and bright green eyes were unmistakable. He’d given her his name, H-something. Henry?

“Shove off, Malfoy.” Another boy said, he was taller with red hair and freckles.

“Did you faint as well, Weasley?” Malfoy asked, addressing the redhead. “Did the scary old dementor frighten you too, Weasley?”

“Is there a problem?” a mild voice asked. Remus Lupin had just emerged from the next carriage.

Malfoy looked the professor over with an impertinent stare, he saw the shabby robes and the small dilapidated suitcase and seemed less than impressed by the man. “Oh, no- er- Professor.” He said sarcastically. He smirked at Crabbe and Goyle and then toward Kaelix as well, looking proud of himself.

She didn’t return the smirk and instead watched the three other students. As they moved past Kaelix made eye contact with the boy from Diagon Alley. She still couldn’t recall his name, Harvey? Or maybe Harley? But now his attitude was much colder toward her than it had been in the Alley, he glanced between her and Malfoy with a look of disdain and suspicion.

“What the hell was that about?” she asked.

“Just a bit of fun with Potter and his Weasel. I heard Longbottom saying Potter fainted when the dementor got on the train.” He joined the rest of the students moving up the staircase into the castle.

“Why would you make fun of someone for that?” she asked walking beside him.

“Because it’s pathetic to be scared by a dementor. And because it’s Potter.” he said as if were obvious.

“Are you trying to say that you’re not the least bit afraid of those things?”

“Those things don’t scare me.”

“Then what does?” she challenged.

“Nothing,” he said coming to a halt again. “I’m not afraid of anything.” he added with emphasis.

“Everyone’s afraid of something. But if you can’t even admit it, well, then you must be downright terrified.” she was holding his gaze, daring him to challenge the truth in her words.

“Miss Williams, over here please!” A woman’s voice called above the rest.

Their gazes remained locked for a moment longer before she turned and left him to follow the voice. He watched her go with a scowl across his features. At the edge of the crowd of students swarming through a second pair of great oak doors she saw a stern looking woman watching her expectantly. As Kaelix made her way through the crowd she looked around at the cavernous entrance hall. One of the most noteable things was the magnificent white marble staircase that she assumed led to the upper floors of the enormous castle. She caught a glimpse of an enormous hall with four long tables through the second pair of doors. Students were slowly filling up each of the four tables and a fifth table at the far end of the hall was already almost entirely occupied by adults that Kaelix could only assume were other professors.

“Welcome to Hogwarts,” the elderly woman said with a small smile.

Kaelix gave a polite smile in return and noticed the two other students waiting there as well. It was the raven haired boy, Potter as Malfoy had referred to him, and the bushy haired girl that had been with him on the steps.

“My name is Professor McGonagall and I am the Transfiguration teacher. Follow me.” She led the way across the entrance hall and the three of them silently followed her up the marble staircase and along a corridor.

Once they arrived outside her office she motioned the other two in, “have a seat, I will be with you in a moment.” She turned back to Kaelix and motioned her to follow again.

They continued on a short distance down the hall to another door that Professor McGonagall opened, “Professor Dumbledore will be with you in a moment.”

Kaelix gave a nod of acknowledgment and entered the room. A quick glance around the room gave her the impression that it used to be a small classroom but it looked as if it hadn’t been used for years.

“Hello Miss Williams, I’m glad to see you made it here safely.” Professor Dumbledore said entering the room. “We’ve just a few things to attend to here.” he set an old shabby looking hat down on a dusty desk.

“Hogwarts is made up of four houses. Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. For the remainder of your time here the house you are sorted into will be like your family. The Sorting Hat,” he gestured to the old shabby looking hat that he’d brought with him. “Will sort you into your house, all you have to do is put it on. Normally our first year students are sorted in the Great Hall in front of all the other students, but I thought you might not want to go through that seeing as you are a bit older than most first years and that may draw some unwanted attention. Shall we?”

Kaelix gave the hat a skeptical look but after what she’d already seen she wasn’t the least bit surprised. Professor Dumbledore picked the hat up and placed it over her head. As it sunk down almost over her eyes she wondered how a hat was supposed to ‘sort’ her into a house.

“Oh, you doubt me do you?” a voice said in her ear.

Of course it was a talking hat, a mind reading talking hat.

“In a manner of speaking, yes. I can see what you’re made of, your character, and tell where you belong. So, let’s see… Oh, you’re a little different aren’t you, Kaelix Williams? And a little late, it’s your first year here but you are a third year aren’t you.”

Kaelix was a little impressed and also a little concerned, how did it possibly know so much about her? And why did she keep hearing that she was different, first the Old Man, then Mr. Ollivander, and now a hat was telling her the same thing, could it be a coincidence?

“Oh, I have my ways but you needn’t concern yourself with that. Now where to put you, where to put you? Many relatives in Slytherin I see, relatives in many places actually. But no matter, this is about you and for you it has to be… Gryffindor!” The hat yelled the last word to the room.

“Very good.” said Professor Dumbledore as he whisked the hat off of her head.

He handed it to a short wizard who had appeared in the doorway and immediately disappeared with it down the hall.

“Now that we have that taken care of.” Professor Dumbledore said. “We have another matter to discuss.”

Kaelix’s first thought was the incident with the dementor on the train but she waited for him to speak.

“After giving it a great deal of consideration, I thought it best to keep you in classes with students your own age. So, you will be joining the other third years in their daily classes. However, in order to catch you up on those things you will have missed from first and second year classes you will have a few additional private lessons each week. I still need to sort out the details with the professor but I hope you’ll be able to start with him next week at the latest.”

He paused for a moment before continuing, “I believe that was everything, do you have any questions?”

She almost shook her head no but then she did think of something, “the hat, it said I had relatives in all the houses. Does that mean my parents went here, my real parents?”

“Not necessarily, though it is quite possible.” it had not been a confirmation but there was something Kaelix sensed, something unspoken that led her to believe she was right, and it was that same feeling that compelled her to ask her next question, “Did you know them?”

“Sadly, no. I did not know either of them.” he answered solemnly.

Even if she was right in thinking they had attended school here, it was absurd to think the headmaster would remember two students out of the thousands that must have come and gone over the years. But she still couldn’t shake that feeling, even if he didn’t know them he knew more than he was letting on.

“Kaelix, I want you to remember something while you’re here. It is our choices, our actions, that define who we are. Where you’ve come from and how you got here contribute in their own way but neither are as important as what you choose now.” He paused a moment and then his serious expression softened. “Come now or we shall be late for the feast.”

He led the way out the door and down the corridor where they found Potter waiting outside Professor McGonagall’s office.

“Ah, Harry wonderful to see you.” Harry? Who names their kid Harry? Kaelix thought. “Kaelix would you mind waiting here and returning to the feast with Harry and Hermione? I’m afraid I have another stop to make on the way. Enjoy the feast.” He smiled and disappeared down another corridor.

“So you’re in Gryffindor then.” Potter said more as a statement than a question.

“How did you-” he gestured to her robes, she looked down and saw that where there had previously been the school crest, now was a red and gold house crest complete with a roaring lion. Her neutral black tie had also been changed to be striped red and gold.

“You shouldn’t hang out with Malfoy and his lot, they’re no good.”

“What?” she asked.

“Just stay away from the Slytherins, the whole lot of them.”

“Excuse me?” she couldn’t believe he was trying to order her about, he didn’t even know her.

“Look, I’m not trying to tell you who you can and can’t be friends with, it’s just-”

“Actually, I think that’s exactly what you were saying, do I need your permission to eat sweets and stay out late on the weekends too?”

“No, that’s not what I meant-”

Just then the bushy haired girl that Kaelix assumed to be Hermione emerged from the professor’s office looking quite pleased about something. Professor McGonagall emerged next, she gave a small nod of approval to Kaelix when she noticed her house robes. The four of them made their way back down the large marble staircase toward the second set of oak doors.

This time Kaelix got a much better view of the hall. It was a sea of black pointed hats with each of the long tables full of students. There were thousands of candles floating above the tables in mid air, casting the glimmer of firelight onto the students faces. Higher still was a ceiling, only it didn’t appear to be a ceiling at all, it reflected the night sky so well that Kaelix expected rain to fall at any moment. A few people looked around as they passed by and pointed at Potter, but for the most part their late entrance went unnoticed. Up at the end of the hall, as the cheering died down a final time, the tiny wizard who had retrieved the hat from Professor Dumbledore earlier was now carrying it and a small stool out of the hall.

“Oh,” Hermione whispered to Potter, “we’ve missed the Sorting.”

Kaelix followed the other two toward their table, they sat down on either side of their red headed companion, Weasel, who had saved them seats; and Hermione ordered those next to her to make room for Kaelix too. She accepted the seat next to Hermione without protest as there wasn’t any room elsewhere, and Hermione didn’t seem so bad.

“What was all that about? And what’s she doing here?” he muttered to Potter.

“Ron, don’t be rude!” Hermione scolded him.

Harry opened his mouth to explain but just then the headmaster rose to speak and he stopped to listen.

“Welcome! Welcome, to another year at Hogwarts!” He began smiling. “I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before we become befuddled by our excellent feast...

“As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business. They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave the school without permission. Dementors are not fooled by tricks or disguises, or even invisibility cloaks.” Kaelix noticed Potter and his friend exchange a glance and wondered if they had an invisibility cloak. “It is not in the nature of a dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore want each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the prefects and our new Head Boy and Girl to make sure that no students run afoul of the dementors.” He paused here, looking around the hall very seriously and not one student made a sound. Even Malfoy, who she spotted at the table across the hall, seemed to be taking heed of his words.

“On a happier note,” he continued, “I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our staff this year. First, Professor Lupin who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.”

Dumbledore gestured toward Professor Lupin and some scattered applause rose in the hall. Though a few at her table, Potter included, clapped earnestly for him. The new Professor looked particularly shabby next to the other teachers in their best robes, and he looked weary, like he hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep in ages.

“As to our second new appointment. Well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy time with his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid who has agreed to take on his teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties.” Dumbledore gestured toward the large man that had been calling the first years on the platform, now he was wiping his eyes on the table cloth.

This time applause broke out confident and loud, especially at the Gryffindor table, lasting much longer than it had for Professor Lupin. Kaelix glanced toward him to see what he thought of the giant getting more applause than he, but he wore a genuine smile and clapped politely with the rest. His eyes were roaming the crowd now, perhaps sizing up his new students. When he found her he paused for a moment and there it was again, that flash of recognition followed by a furrowed brow. Dumbledore spoke and Professor Lupin looked away.

“Well I think that is everything of importance. Let the feast begin.”

The golden plates, bowls, and goblets before them were suddenly filled with food and drink. Chatter immediately filled the enormous hall while everyone filled their plates and discussed their summers. The teachers conversed pleasantly at the high table, except for one. Kaelix noticed a professor with greasy black hair, jet-black robes and a hooked nose silently eating, exchanging no conversation with anyone. At one point he’d looked straight at Kaelix, but unlike professor Lupin his gaze had not lingered. She caught Malfoy’s eye briefly but he scowled and turned away quickly. What the hell was that about? she wondered. Looking around she noticed each table had it’s own groups of friends huddled together gossiping and exchanging summer break stories. Kaelix noticed a pair of particularly giggly girls at her own table only a few seats away. The closest one glanced at Kaelix then turned back to her friends laughing even harder. Kaelix rolled her eyes and turned her attention back toward her plate.

“Don’t mind them,” Hermione said, “most of their vocabulary is made up of giggling.”

“Oi, now can you explain what she’s doing here, wasn’t she with Malfoy on the stairs earlier?”

“Ron!” she scolded again, he glared back while chomping on an oversized bite of steak. “I’m sorry, what he lacks in table manners he also lacks in all other forms.”

“He’s a Slytherin, Hermione.” said Weasel through a mouthful of half chewed food.

“I am perfectly aware of Malfoy’s house assignment, but it seems to have escaped your attention that she has been sorted into Gryffindor with us.”

“Ron’s just trying to say if you’re in Gryffindor you shouldn’t be hanging out with Malfoy.” Potter chimed in.

“Do you actually have a reason that I shouldn’t be or do you just get off on telling other people what to do?” asked Kaelix.

“He’s a Slytherin.” Weasel and Potter said in unison as if that were enough of an explanation.

“Unless Slytherin is also a code word for psycho killer in addition to a house name then I don’t really see the problem. I also don’t see why it’s any of your business.”

“Look, I tried to tell you before, all of Slytherin house is bad. The whole lot of them, but especially Malfoy. We’re just trying to help.” Potter said irritatedly.

“Last I checked ordering someone about wasn’t considered helping, it was considered tyranny. Irregardless, I don’t remember asking for your help, and certainly not for your orders.” Kaelix shot back at him.

Hermione opened her mouth to interject but stopped when the hall went quiet. At the high table Professor Dumbledore had risen to his feet again.

“Now that we’ve all filled ourselves with food and each other’s news, it is time for bed.”

All at once everyone rose from their seats and began moving towards the doorway. Kaelix moved quickly away to avoid another lecture from Potter and followed the mass of her fellow Gryffindor students out the large oak doors. They went up the marble staircase and from there the path they took winded, twisted, and turned but Kaelix managed to keep track all the while. At one point they entered a room with hundreds of marble staircases that moved of their own accord. Some of the group was separated from the rest when one of the staircases decided to move while they were still on it. After they climbed at least half a dozen of those they went behind a tapestry and down the corridor beyond. Finally they stopped where a slight crowd had already gathered. From where she stood near the back she could see a large portrait of a rather large woman in a pink dress.

“Coming through, coming through!” A voice called from behind the crowd. “The new password is ‘Fortuna Major’!”

The portrait swung open like a door and Kaelix heard someone mutter “oh no” in an exasperated tone. The crowd moved into the common room through the small hole behind the portrait. Once inside the crowd parted in two; the girls went one way and boys headed the other. Kaelix followed a few girls up a spiral staircase. Golden letters on the first door said Seventh Years, the next read First Years, and after that it was Second Years, and then finally Third Years. Kaelix stopped and opened the door to find the room empty of any other students. She looked around and noted the five four-poster beds, each with a trunk at the foot. The closest trunk to her right had the initials LB on the end, the one next to that had the initials PP The one at the end of the room was printed with KW, which Kaelix recognized as her own. The two remaining trunks, she noticed as she crossed the room to her bed, read HG and RN.

Kaelix quickly changed her robes and lay down on her bed with the curtain drawn. She heard footsteps and voices enter the room. They were laughing with light conversation. After a few moments of talking, she heard springs creak and sheets rustle. They all said goodnight.

“Wait.” She heard someone, whispering now as if afraid of being heard.

“What Parvati?” Said a second, slightly irritated voice.

“That trunk” Parvati, the owner of the first voice whispered. “Has it always been there? I thought that bed was empty.”

“Parvati, what are you-“ The third voice stopped. “You’re right I’ve never seen that trunk before. What are its initials?”

“K.W.” Parvati’s voice replied.

“Strange. I don’t know anyone by those initials.” Came the third unidentified voice again.

“Nor do I.” The second voice said.

“Why don’t you just ask her yourselves in the morning.” A voice she recognized chimed in.

“You’re so boring sometimes Hermione. Goodnight.” Parvati said.

“Goodnight.” The other three replied.

Kaelix listened, wondering how they would react to her, and not just them but the whole school. The Old Man had said that most everyone came to Hogwarts as a first year after their eleventh birthday, so just how unusual was it for someone to just show up at thirteen like she had. She’d already gotten questions from Potter and his sidekick, how many more questions would be thrown her way tomorrow? Kaelix lay awake for a time thinking about how the next day would go. She heard a clock somewhere strike the midnight hour before she finally fell asleep.




 

 



A/N: Look at me, updating within a week! Bet you thought you'd never hear from me again, it's okay, I deserve it... Anywho! What did we think of this chapter? A bit of witty banter, a bit of friction, a bit of dinner... did you like it? Did you hate it? Be brutally honest. Was it boring or did it flow pretty well? How do you think first day of classes will go??? I would love you forever if you left me a quick review! Thanks so much for even reading this far, means the world to me :)
 


Chapter 5: Expiration Date
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Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any part of the Harry Potter characters or universe as crafted by JK Rowling. Anything recognizable in this chapter is taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.



 

Where’d she come from?

She can’t be trusted.

Why is she here?

She doesn’t belong here.

Who is she?

She’s not one of us.


Kaelix was surrounded by a sea of hazy indistinguishable faces that were exchanging whispers about her. She tried to talk to them but she couldn’t get her mouth to work. She felt nervous, the crowd surrounding her was becoming more and more agitated. Suddenly, a hush fell over the dimly lit room and the whispers turned to a dull hum. A figure stepped forward from the rest of the crowd; Kaelix’s breath caught in her throat and her stomach churned. This face was crystal clear and she knew exactly who it was.

“How could you?” the boy asked quietly, though his words echoed on as if he screamed them.

She still couldn’t speak. The dull hum of the crowd began to grow.

“How could you?” he asked again, louder this time.

All she could do was stare as the voices of the crowd continued to grow. They were all asking the same thing now, How could you? Over and over again they demanded an answer. How could you? A fire erupted at the boy’s feet and Kaelix gasped. How could you? Her heart was racing and she could feel the heat from the flames. How could you? How could you? They spread quickly up, burning fast and hot. How could you? How could you? How could you?

“How could you?!” the boy shouted as he was engulfed.

Kaelix jolted upright in her bed, breathing hard, heart pounding, the boy’s words echoing through her mind.

Just a dream, she thought, taking a deep breath to steady her shaking body, or a nightmare, rather. It had been a long time since she’d seen him in her dreams, even longer since she’d really seen him. How could she? How dare he haunt her sleep with his accusing questions when she was the one that had left her all alone. How could he?

Kaelix drew back her curtain slightly and found light pouring in through the window near her bed. With the voices from her dream still echoing through her head, Kaelix got out of bed to prepare herself for her first day of classes. She managed to make it all the way back down to the Great Hall for breakfast where she received her class schedule from Professor McGonagall. Divination with Professor Trelawney, Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall, and Care of Magical Creatures with Professor Hagrid. Kaelix had to read it at least ten times to imprint it over the memory of her dream.

“Divination, top of the north tower can you believe it?” someone was saying.

Kaelix scooped one last bite of food into her mouth before she got up to follow the other students. She followed a few paces behind a small group of her fellow Gryffindors heading toward the north tower. They climbed over half a dozen staircases including a tight spiraling one before emerging on a rather small landing where most of the class was already gathered. Kaelix looked around the tiny landing and hoped that they weren’t having class right there in the empty space but there didn’t appear to be any doors leading elsewhere. Though they were at the top of a fairly narrow tower so really the only direction to go would be… There, plain as day in the center of the ceiling was a round trap door with a small plaque on it. Someone else had just noticed this as well and read the inscription aloud.

“Sibyll Trelawney, Divination Professor.” Said a somewhat familiar voice.

Kaelix turned to see who had spoken, hoping she was wrong. Please don’t let it be Potter… she thought, looking toward the origin of the voice. But there he was, standing on the opposite side of the landing from her, with Weasel and Hermione. Did they go everywhere together?

Damn. She’d been hoping she wouldn’t have to endure another session of ‘Who you can and can’t talk to’ but the odds were already against her and it was barely nine in the morning.

“How’re we supposed to get up there?” he asked.

Then, as if it had been waiting for someone to voice that very question, the trap door suddenly opened and a silver ladder descended straight to his feet.

“After you.” Weasel said grinning.

He shrugged and then proceeded to climb up the ladder, followed by his friends, most of the class and eventually Kaelix. As soon as she crossed the threshold of the room she was hit with a sickly sweet sort of perfume and almost choked. The room was hardly any larger than the landing they came from but it was filled with several small round tables surrounded by chintz armchairs and fat little poufs. It didn’t feel or look like any other classroom she’d ever been in before, although this was her first class at a magic school, but judging by the looks on the faces of those around her, this room was strange even for them. It appeared as though someone had merged an attic full of old furniture and an antique tea shop.

Everything was lit by a dim, crimson light; curtains were drawn across all the windows and each of the many lamps in the room were draped with dark red scarves. It was stiflingly warm due to the large fire that was burning below the mantelpiece that was crowded with incense. The shelves along the perimeter of the room were crammed with dusty looking feathers, stubs of candles, many packs of tattered playing cards, countless crystal balls, and a huge array of tea cups.

Whispers had already broken out among the students filling in around Kaelix.

“Where is she?” Someone asked.

Again as if waiting for someone to voice that very question, a voice came out of the shadows. It was a soft, misty sort of voice. “Welcome,” it said, “how nice to see you all in the physical world at last.”

Kaelix was intrigued by the idea behind the divination class but she couldn’t help but feel a bit skeptical after the overly dramatic and, frankly, cheesy ambiance that this woman was trying to create. She hoped the room was not a reflection of what the class would be like.

Professor Trelawney stepped forward into the firelight and it was all Kaelix could do to keep from shielding her eyes. A gauzy spangled shawl was draped across her shoulders, innumerable chains and beads hung around her spindly neck, and her arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings; every one of them shining in one-way or another. To complete her look she wore huge glasses that magnified her eyes several times their normal size. Maybe she just had a flair for the dramatics and the class would turn out alright.

“Sit, my children, sit,” she said.

Kaelix skirted the back of the room and sat down at a round table while the rest of the class climbed awkwardly into armchairs and poufs.

“Oh, you’ve got to be joking.” Kaelix said as Potter and his friends approached her table.

“No way, c’mon Harry let’s go sit somewhere else.” Weasel said.

“Ron, could you at least make an effort not to be rude? Grow up and sit down, besides everywhere else is full. Sit.” Hermione ordered.

He sat down with the rest of them but not without a stubborn glare of defiance directed at Hermione.

“Welcome to Divination.” the professor said as she seated herself in a winged armchair in front of the fire. “My name is Professor Trelawney.  You may not have seen me before. I find that descending to the hustle and bustle of the main school too often clouds my inner eye.”

Potter leaned toward Kaelix and whispered, “I didn’t follow you to this table on purpose, I didn’t even know you were in this class.”

Kaelix tried to ignore him, still hoping she might avoid another episode of ‘Who Potter Says You’re Allowed to Talk to’.

Professor Trelawney adjusted her shawl and continued.

“So you have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts. I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the sight there is very little I can teach you. Books can take you only so far in this field…”

Kaelix noticed Weasel grin and glance toward Hermione, who looked startled by this news.

“Many witches and wizards talented though they are…” Professor Trelawney went on.

“I think we got off on the wrong foot, can we just start over?” Potter asked.

“Why? So we can redo the part where you tell me who I’m allowed to talk to?” Kaelix asked, trying to keep her attention on what the professor was saying, something about bangs, smells, and disappearing.

“... yet unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future,” her enormous eyes were gleaming in the firelight.

“We’re in the same house, we have this class together and probably others as well. It would be better if we could at least get along.” he explained.

“I disagree. I have no need to ‘get along’ with anyone who insists on bossing me around.” she shot back.

“It is a gift granted to few. You, boy,” the professor said suddenly, and a scared looking boy nearly toppled off of his pouf. “Is your grandmother well?”

“I think so,” the boy responded trembling.

Kaelix missed the professor’s reply as Potter spoke again, “I wasn’t bossing you around. Even though you’re third year, you’re obviously new here. I was just trying to explain how things are.”

The frightened boy gulped loudly and Professor Trelawney continued on, “We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to…”

“How things are, or your interpretation of how things are?” Kaelix retorted, “I don’t take kindly to people who hate others for no reason.”

“By the way, my dear,” Trelawney shot suddenly toward a dark haired girl. “Beware a redheaded man.”

The girl gave a startled look at Weasel, sitting opposite Kaelix, and then edged her chair away. Kaelix almost smiled at her reaction; Professor Trelawney certainly had them all hooked.

“Well you’ve chosen great company then,” Potter pressed on, “Malfoy is about as prejudice as they come.”

“That’s rich coming from the guy who hates him just because he’s in a different house.”

“In the second term,” Professor Trelawney continued. “We shall progress to crystal balls…”

“It’s not that he’s in a different house, he’s in Slytherin.”

“You say that like it’s the devil’s spawn.”

“That entire house is made up of pureblood elitists and Malfoy is one of the worst.”

“Harry, leave it. She obviously belongs with them if that’s how she is.” Weasel interjected.

Kaelix was about to reply but Professor Trelawney’s words distracted her, “and around Easter or… maybe a bit later, one of our number will leave us forever.” She said plainly.

This statement was followed by a very tense silence but Professor Trelawney seemed to take no notice and continued on.

“I wonder dear,” she said to a girl near her. “If you could pass me the largest silver teapot.”

The girl looked extremely relieved and happily fetched the enormous silver teapot from it’s place on the shelf and set it down carefully in front of the Professor.

“Thank you my dear,” she said as the girl took her seat again. “Incidentally that thing you are dreading – it will happen on Friday the sixteenth of October.” The girl trembled with a look of despair on her face.

“So far the only elitist I’ve seen is you with your disdain for those outside your house.” Kaelix said.

“Fine, have it your way then, just know that hanging out with Slytherins isn’t a popular choice with any of the other houses.” He shot at her.

“Well if Malfoy does turn out to be just as much of a git as you are then I can figure that out for myself, I don’t need you to protect me.” She shot back with a glare to match her tone.

“Now I want you all to divide into pairs.” Professor Trelawney was saying now.

“I wasn’t trying to prot-” Potter started.

“Will both of you be quiet, she’s giving us instructions now.” Hermione snapped and Potter fell silent.

“Collect a teacup from the shelf, come to me and I will fill it. Then sit down and drink, drink until only the drags remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand then turn the cup upside down on its saucer, wait till the last of the tea has drained away, then give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using pages five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, helping and instructing. Oh and dear,” she added to the same frightened boy she had addressed earlier. “After you’ve broken your first cup would you be so kind as to select one of the blue patterned ones? I’m rather attached to the pink.”

Kaelix was intrigued and watched as the boy crossed the room to retrieve a teacup, the moment he reached for one of the pink ones there was a small crash of broken china. Professor Trelawney wasted no time; she swept over with a dustpan and brush.

“One of the blue ones then, dear, if you wouldn’t mind. Thank you.” She said quietly.

Kaelix shook her head, wondering if Professor Trelawney had really known that boy would drop her teacup or whether she had simply noticed his nervous fidgeting and taken advantage of the opportunity. It seemed that all of her ‘foresight’ was somewhat vague and inherently suggestive, would the boy have broken the cup it the professor hadn’t planted the idea in his head?

Kaelix rose from her seat to retrieve and fill a teacup for herself. Moments later Potter and his friends returned with their own cups of scalding hot tea. Kaelix gently blew at her tea to cool it down a bit but when she took a tentative sip she instantly regretted the decision. The searing hot tea burned her tongue on contact and she instinctively pulled back while a shiver went down her spine. She sucked air in trying to soothe her burnt tongue and silently cursed herself. The others were still blowing on their cups, attempting to cool the still steaming liquid. As she glared down at her offending beverage she noticed that it was no longer giving off any steam.

Reaching out she tested the drink again, though this time with her finger. It was no longer burning hot, in fact it wasn’t warm at all, it was nearly ice cold. She wondered what had caused the temperature to change so quickly as she lifted the cup again and began sipping. Most of the other students in the room had done similar to Kaelix and burned their tongues on their first attempt, and some on their second and third attempts as well. Many were still trying to cool their tea by simply blowing on it and she couldn’t help but smile inwardly at the situation. Here she was sitting in a room full of witches and wizards but not a single one of them had thought to cast a spell to cool their tea. Her smile faded as a thought occurred to her; was that what she had done to her own cup without even knowing it?

When the last of the tea had been drained from her cup, Kaelix took the small handle with her left hand and swirled the dregs three times just as instructed. She then turned the cup upside down over the saucer to drain the very last remnants of liquid.

“I’ll be your partner.” Hermione said, gently sliding her cup across the table.

Kaelix passed her own cup across to Hermione who eagerly took it and began pouring over her textbook trying to discern some kind of pattern in the mush of sodden tea leaves. Kaelix opened her copy of Unfogging the Future to pages five and six and was surprised by how many different shapes were shown, each with their own short description of their meaning.

Kaelix pondered the potential shapes in Hermione’s cup, trying to determine if anything matched up well enough with the ones shown in the book. As she turned the cup she saw the vague impression of a book, with another turn she saw part of cat, then the impression of a cross, and another turn revealed an eye. Kaelix recalled the feeling of itchy grass beneath her as she lay on her back looking up at the sky trying to pick shapes out of the clouds the same way she picked them out of the tea leaves now.

“Look there, that one looks like a dog!” she said.

“Nah, it looks like a horse.” he said.

“A horse, how is that a horse?” she asked.

“Well, it’s not a normal horse, it’s got scales like a dragon and teeth like a tiger. You have to use your imagination more.” he explained.

“How do I do that?” she asked.

“It takes practice, but mostly you look at what’s there and then you imagine what’s not there that would make it better.” he said.

“Like the scales and the teeth?”

“Mhm, like the scales and the teeth.”


She had looked long and hard at that cloud far up in the sky, and after a few minutes of an intense unblinking stare she saw the dragon scales and tiger teeth. She shook her head and turned to her divination book, trying to push the old memory from her mind. All of the patterns and symbols in the book were clearly defined, easily identifiable, and nothing like what she saw in the cup. There were, however, a few vague shapes that could be considered matches with an open mind.

The easiest one for Kaelix to match was the cross, it was a bit crooked but it was there and the book listed it’s meaning as ‘trials and suffering’. The only other one that she could justify as a ‘match’ was the impression of an eye she’d seen. Consulting her book she found that the eye was representing the art of divination also known as the ‘inner eye’. So she was going to suffer in divination? Kaelix looked up at Hermione who was still alternating between pouring over the teacup and textbook muttering to herself and looking a little frazzled. Recalling Weasel’s snicker and Hermione’s subsequent look of panic when Professor Trelawney announced that books would only take them so far in this field, Kaelix thought perhaps the omen in Hermione’s cup was correct; she certainly seemed to be suffering at the moment.

She kept watching Hermione, trying to make out what she was muttering to herself. Hermione brushed a piece of her wavy brown hair away from her face and Kaelix caught her next words. “That could be a mountain I suppose, which means…” she turned to her textbook, “either ‘many obstacles’ or ‘tremendous power’. This is nonsense.” her eyes shifted back to the teacup and Kaelix continued to listen. “This sort of looks like... a club, no, no it looks more like a cross, no not really… a blob of wet leaves, it looks like a blob of wet tea leaves, this is ridiculous.”

“Broaden your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane.” Professor Trelawney cried.

Kaelix rolled her eyes, the over dramatic antics of the professor were making it even more difficult to take this already skeptical class seriously.

“Oh brother,” Hermione muttered, still hovering over the cup.

She turned it slightly to the right.

“That bit there almost looks like a key?” She consulted her book. “A key means ‘unveiling mystery’, well that could mean anything. This class is insane.” Hermione looked up, distracted by her two friends as they tried to stifle laughter.

Kaelix didn’t care what was so funny to the boys, she was more interested in what Hermione had seen in her cup, curious that it might have some truth to it. A mountain: many obstacles or tremendous power, it could be the first meaning referring to her being behind in classes. A key: unveiling mystery, well she certainly had been learning many things since she first met the Old Man.  And maybe a club or a cross: either an attack or trials and suffering, she had no idea what that could be referring to.

Kaelix heard Potter snort and an agitated Professor Trelawney said, “Let me see that, my dear.” She’d snatched up Potter’s teacup from in front of Weasel and was staring intensely into it as she rotated it counter clockwise. The whole room was silent in anticipation; all attention focused on her.

“The falcon… my dear, you have a deadly enemy.”

“But everybody knows that” Hermione said in a loud whisper, making very little effort not to be heard. “Well they do” she said when the professor had given her a blank stare.

“Everybody knows about Harry and you-know-who.”

Well, not everyone, Kaelix thought. She watched the professor return her attention to the cup. Professor Trelawney had, evidently chosen not to respond. A quick glance at some of the other students’ expressions told her that they seemed to know who the ‘you-know-who’ was that Hermione was talking about. Kaelix immediately thought of Malfoy and how Potter had tried to tell her he was no good. Malfoy couldn’t possibly be this deadly enemy they were all thinking about, could he?

Professor Trelawney continued her reading of the cup, “the club… an attack. Dear, dear this is not a happy cup.”

“I thought that was a bowler hat,” Weasel said.

She continued without acknowledging him, “the staff, danger in your path, my dear.” It was silent for a few seconds as professor Trelawney turned the cup once more, then gasped and let out a small scream causing the rest of the room to break out in a clamor of exclamations and questions. Kaelix heard another smash of breaking china but didn’t turn her attention away from the Professor, wondering what the woman had seen to cause such a reaction.

Professor Trelawney sank down into an empty armchair, her glittering hands held over her heart and her magnified eyes closed behind her glasses.

“My dear boy… my poor, dear boy… no it is kinder not to say… no… don’t ask me…” she moaned.

“What is it, Professor?” Someone asked at once.

Everyone began rising from their seats and crowded around the table to see what was in the cup.

“My dear.” Professor Trelawney’s huge eyes opened in, what she clearly hoped was, a dramatic way. “You have the Grim.”

“The what?” Potter asked.

Kaelix had the same reaction as Potter but nearly everyone else clamped their hands over their mouths, eyes wide with horror.

“The grim, my dear, the grim.” The Professor cried as though the name itself should be enough of an explanation.

Potter’s confused expression remained and Professor Trelawney looked shocked that he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen- the worst omen- of death.” She delivered the explanation with as much grandeur as she could muster but Kaelix could sense her exasperation at having to explain the omen, as if it detracted from the impact of it.

Kaelix looked at Potter and was a bit surprised to see that shock and horror filled his eyes as he stared into the cup across the table. Even though he and Weasel had spent most of the class cracking jokes and stifling laughter, it appeared as though he believed the omen was true.

“I don’t think it looks like the grim” Hermione said.

Professor Trelawney looked her up and down with growing dislike.

“You’ll forgive me for saying so, my dear, but I perceive very little aura around you. Very little receptivity to the resonations of the future.”

“It looks like a grim if you do this.” A boy said with his eyes almost completely shut. “But it looks like a donkey from here.” He said leaning to the left.

“When you’ve all finished deciding whether I’m going to die or not.” Potter exclaimed.

Now no one was looking at him. Kaelix had to hand it to Professor Trelawney, whether there was any accuracy in the tea leaf omens or not, she had managed to put on enough of a show, planted just enough evidence in their minds to convince them that this omen she saw would, without a doubt, come true. Kaelix couldn’t help but wonder if there was any kind of a timeline attached to the omen, of course he’d die eventually, everyone in the room would, but how soon did the omen imply. Not that Kaelix lacked all faith in divination just yet, Hermione’s cup seemed to be accurate, but she wasn’t completely sold on the belief that everything this woman predicted was destined to come true.

“Is there some kind of experation date on this omen?” Kaelix ventured.

Potter turned her way, a sour look still on his face.

“I beg your pardon, my dear?” turning to fix her magnified eyes on Kaelix.

“Is he in the clear if he makes it to the end of the week? perhaps the month? or even the year? How long until his death is no longer attributed to this one omen, ten years, twenty? If there’s no implied timeframe then, technically speaking, that omen is true for anyone and everyone in this room.”

Professor Trelawney didn’t respond immediately, instead she took a moment to look Kaelix up and down with a scrutinizing gaze as if trying to learn everything about her with a single look.

“Even if the omen did reveal the exact time of death, I would not burden anyone with such information. As it is, the art of Divination is not as easily defined as other subjects, the omen signifies that death is looming over him, it is close, much closer than the eventual passing of all mortal beings.” She finally replied, never moving her gaze.

“So, since the art of Divination is not so easily defined then how do you know that it’s his own death that’s looming close, couldn’t it be the death of someone close to him, maybe even that deadly enemy of his you mentioned earlier?” Kaelix could see Hermione smiling in approval out of the corner of her eye, though the rest of the class still looked convinced that Potter would drop dead at any second.

“Undefined as it may be, the art of reading tea leaves dates back for centuries, it is a time tested art and omens refer solely to those who drink the tea from the cup being read.” She sounded a bit annoyed by Kaelix’s questions, but continued on, “I think we’ll leave the lesson here for today,” she said, adding a thick layer of mistiness to her voice to hide her irritation, “yes… please pack away your things…” with that she withdrew to the back of her classroom, no doubt preparing to mystify another class with her fortune telling antics.

The room was silent except for the clink of china and the rustle of books and bags as the class packed away their things. Everyone was doing their best to avoid eye contact with Potter, who still seemed to be in a bit of shock from the Grim. He and his friends packed their things away quickly and were among the first to exit the classroom, but not before Professor Trelawney bid them farewell.

“Until we meet again, fair fortune be yours. Oh and dear you’ll be late next time so mind you work extra hard to catch up.”

Kaelix took a bit more time collecting her things, not at all disappointed that she’d managed to escape Potter’s company for the time being. She made her way to the ladder and looked back at the now empty classroom wondering if every class would be as strange as this one had been. Pulling her bookbag a bit higher up on her shoulder, she began descending from the room. With her mind occupied by her previous class and thoughts of trying to locate her next class, she didn’t notice the slight movement of the ladder. She released her hold on the ladder as she stepped for the ground but her stomach lurched when her foot didn’t find the floor where it should have been. Before she could regain her balance or grab the ladder again she tumbled to the floor, landing hard on her leg.

She let out a grunt of pain.

“Merlin’s beard, are you alright dear?”

Kaelix looked up just in time to see the last bit of the ladder retract through the trapdoor and Professor Trelawney appeared looking down at her through the hole in the ceiling.

“I’m fine.” Kaelix answered.

She could already feel the bruise forming on her knee and hip from the fall but she could tell nothing was broken.

“That was quite the tumble Miss Williams. I only wish I could’ve stopped you before it happened.” She added dramatically. “Are you sure you’re alright? Maybe you ought to go see Poppy, just to be sure.”

Kaelix stared blankly up at the professor. Poppy? She wanted her to go visit a flower?

“What?” she asked.

“Madame Pompfrey in the Hospital Wing. Honestly, my dear, are you sure you didn’t hit your head when you fell?” Professor Trelawney asked.

Kaelix rolled her eyes, this woman is irritating.

She slowly rose to her feet, carefully testing her weight on her sore leg. Soft footsteps began to echo up from the spiral staircase that led down to the main castle.

“Now what am I to do? It’s evident that you need to be escorted to the Hospital Wing…” Professor Trelawney muttered to herself. “But I have a class to prepare for…”

The echoing footsteps grew louder. Kaelix would have told Professor Trelawney again that she was fine and she didn’t need to go to the Hospital Wing to see Madame Poppy or whatever her name was but she didn’t think it would make a difference.

“Ah excellent, I shall ask Mr. Malfoy to escort you.” Said Professor Trelawney, sounding proud of herself for coming up with a solution.

The echoing footsteps had stopped and Malfoy was standing at the edge of the landing.

“Excellent, Mr. Malfoy, perfect timing. Would you be so kind as to take Miss Williams to the Hospital Wing? She doesn’t seem to know where it’s located.” Professor Trelawney asked, still perched over the hole in the ceiling. “Don’t worry about being late for class, Mr. Malfoy, I’ll excuse you from the first activity if you miss it.”

“Certainly, Professor.” he replied.

“Wonderful, I’m off to prepare my next class. Take care going down stairs in the future Miss Williams.” She called down as she disappeared from sight, no doubt preparing to mystify another class with her mysterious entrance and somewhat lucky predictions.

Malfoy was looking Kaelix over with a scowl similar to the one she’d seen the previous night during the feast, when he caught her eye he quickly turned and began descending the staircase without stopping to check that she was following. She crossed the landing quickly to catch up, her knee protesting slightly. They descended in silence and entered back into the main castle with only the echoes of footsteps as evidence of their passing. Malfoy was walking briskly and seemed to have no interest in conversing, a stark contrast to their first two meetings. What had caused his sudden shift in behavior?

“Is everything alright?” she asked.

He gave only a curt nod in response.

“Are you sure?” she was doubtful.

“Positive.” he answered without looking at her

“Alright then, I’m fine. I don’t need you to escort me any farther.”

“Fine.” He turned around and began walking back the way they came.

“What’s this about?” she called after him.

He stopped and turned back to face her, “what do you mean?”

“Why am I suddenly getting the cold shoulder?” she demanded.

“Because you’re in Gryffindor.” he snapped at her.

“You’ve got to be joking? First Potter and now you, why does it matter so much to people which house I ended up in?” she asked.

“It just does, I can’t be associated with a Gryffindor. Especially one who hangs out with that no good Potter.” he spat the name.

“I was not hanging out with him.” she said.

“You certainly looked pretty cozy last night at the feast.” he said accusingly.

Kaelix couldn’t believe what she was hearing, “I was anything but cozy with him at the feast and I have no desire to be cozy with him, ever.”

Malfoy’s expression softened a bit, “so you don’t like him?”

“Like him? I don’t know if I can stand having another class with him. Believe me I’m just as disappointed at being in the same house as him as you are. And is he always such an arrogant, bossy, nosy git?”

A ghost of a smirk crossed his features. “Well, if you can’t stand Potter then maybe we can still get along.”

“He’s just so…” she trailed off trying to find the right word.

“Infuriating?” he supplied.

“Yes, exactly.” she agreed.

“He always has to be the center of attention, everyone fawning over him like he’s some sort of saint.”

“Why does everyone like him so much? So far he hasn’t done anything to impress me.”

“Because they’re all idiots and they think he’s some sort of quidditch star. Boy Wonder with his stupid scar.” he explained.

“What star?” she asked.

“Quidditch.” he replied.

“Oh.”she feigned understanding, she must have still looked confused though because he went on.

“Quidditch, it’s a sport, played on broomsticks, there’s seven players, three different kinds of balls.. you’ve never heard of it before?” now he looked confused.

“Flying broomsticks? Is that why everyone in Diagon Alley was so excited about the Fire-whats-its?” she asked.

“The Firebolt yeah. It’s brand new and the best out there right now. How is it you’ve never heard of quidditch before?” he asked.

“Oh, I’m just not that into sports I guess. Look I really don’t need to go to the Hospital Wing, I’m fine. But do you think you could point me to where my next class is?” Trying to avoid any real answer to his question.

He nodded, “sure, what is it?”

She pulled her schedule out of her pocket and unfolded it, “Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall.”

“That’s actually not too far from here. I can show you.”

“Are you sure? You’re already late for Divination.”

“Yeah. Besides Trelawney already excused me from the first activity anyway, it would be a shame if I got back before they finished it.” He smirked as he motioned for her to follow him once more.




~ ~ ~





Harry was sitting in the very back of McGonagall’s Transfiguration lesson, though it didn’t prevent the other students from continuing to glance at him every few minutes as if he was going to drop dead at any moment. No one, including him, was listening to Professor McGonagall talk about Animagi, as interesting as it was for wizards to be able to transform into animals it wasn’t enough to distract the students from the depressing omen he’d received during their previous class. His attention was drawn toward the door, which creaked as it swung open slowly to reveal a somewhat familiar face, it was Williams. If the class hadn’t been focused on Professor McGonagall before Williams’ interruption, it certainly wasn’t now.

“Well, Miss Williams, how nice of you to join us.” Professor McGonagall said in her stern voice but Harry noticed a softness in her expression that wasn’t usually present.

Harry watched as the girl’s gaze swept over the class and then settled on Professor McGonagall. She looked a bit uncomfortable and out of place standing alone in the doorway but she did not shy away from McGonagall at all.

“Although this is the most attentive the rest of my students have been all morning, why don’t you have a seat, we’ve just been discussing Animagi.” Professor McGonagall said with a small smile.

Harry didn’t miss the discrete insult that Professor McGonagall had just given to the class, nor the slight easing of Williams’ features and the small smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. With a slight nod to the Professor she quickly made her way straight down the nearest row and, much to his surprise, chose the seat right beside him. She immediately began shuffling through her book bag while Professor McGonagall continued her lecture on Animagi. Harry was only half listening because he was watching Williams look through her bag, she either hadn’t noticed him yet or was doing a fantastic job ignoring him.

Then she suddenly stopped searching for her book and turned quickly to look at him. He heard her breath catch, and saw the subtle stiffening of her body; she hadn’t been ignoring him, she hadn’t even known he was there. There were so many things he wanted to say and ask but he didn’t even know where to start. Not to mention every time he tried to start a conversation with her, she either left or turned hostile. She rolled her eyes and scoffed lightly as if he had somehow planned for this to happen. Her body relaxed and her face returned to the impassive state that he had witnessed during their first encounter. Before he could decide on something to say she was looking toward the front of the room.

“Really, what has gotten into you all today?” Professor McGonagall said in an irritated tone. “Not that it matters but that’s the first time my transformation hasn’t gotten applause from a class.”

There was a subtle shifting and shuffling among the students as many of them turned toward Harry again, but no one dared to speak. Then Hermione raised her hand.

“Please, Professor, we’ve just had our first Divination class and we were reading tea leaves and-“

“Ah of course,” said Professor McGonagall suddenly frowning. “There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?”

This time no one even turned toward him, they just stared at her.

“Me,” said Harry, finally.

“I see,” she said, looking directly at Harry. “Then you should know, Potter, that Sibyll Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class. If it were not for the fact that I never speak ill of my colleagues –“

Professor McGonagall broke off abruptly, and her frustration was plain in her expression. She took a deep breath before continuing on more calmly. “Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have very little patience with it. True Seers are very rare, and Professor Trelawney –“

She stopped again, and then said in a very assured tone, “you look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don’t let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in.”

Hermione laughed and Harry felt better after McGonagall’s words. The tea leaves seemed much less threatening away from Trelawney’s dimly lit and perfume-doused classroom. Not everyone was convinced though; a few, including Ron, still shot him nervous glances. He hardly noticed though because his attention was again focused on the girl in the seat beside him. Her lips had curled into the second small smile he’d seen in twenty minutes.

When the Transfiguration class ended Williams packed her things and quickly rose to leave. But, much to Harry’s surprise, before she left she turned to him and said something so softly that he almost didn’t catch it. “She probably picked you for the death omen because you were the first one to walk into the classroom.”

After that she left so quickly that Harry didn’t get a chance to say anything back. On their way to the Great Hall for lunch Hermione was trying to convince Ron that Harry wasn’t going to drop dead before the first quidditch match of the season. Harry still wasn’t paying much attention, he was busy wondering what had possessed Williams to make that comment as she left. She hadn’t been mocking him, in fact it was almost like she had been trying to reassure him that Professor McGonagall was right and Trelawney’s death omen had just been a show. But why would she be civil, friendly even, now? She hadn’t shown any interest in being friends during their previous encounters, and she seemed to be falling in with Malfoy and his lot, so what did she get out of it? He might just have to find her later and ask.




 

A/N: Hello my darlings! I'm trying desperately to be more consistent with my updates but life is just always there, telling me I have to do things like be a responsible adult and go to work everyday and clean my house and walk my dog, it's rediculous really, well except walking my dog ;) But another chapter is here! Be lovely little readers and leave me a review if you have a minute, I will adore you forever. Thanks so much for reading!


 


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