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Chapter 6 Home Away From Home Remus, despite his full belly and sleepy appearance on top of his ill one, leapt at these words. He was a very enthusiastic Prefect. James, his two other best friends, and Claire, followed behind him. As they prepared to go up opposite hallways, Ande and Claire said good-bye and gave each other promising smiles. Ande followed a seventh year Ravenclaw Prefect named Melissa Shorn to the common room. Even with her baggy robes, it was obvious that Melissa was well built. She moved quickly and gracefully ahead of them. Her shoulder-length black hair was tightly tied back and held in place with a head band to keep the wind from whipping it loose. A Chaser was easily spotted. Every hallway entered and each corridor followed was more brilliant that the one before it. Despite her drooping eyes and the fact that she was dragging her feet, her mind wouldn’t allow her to be tired as her eyes darted over the sleek stone, the lush tapestries, and stunning pictures on the walls of Hogwarts castle. “Keep up, now!” said Melissa as she turned another corner. What Ande did not expect to see was the Slytherins round an opposite corner. Lucius was at the head of the group, and as he saw the Ravenclaws, he eyed them dangerously. “Just thought you ought to know, Shorn,” snarled Malfoy, “You have a snake among you.” “The only snake I see is wearing a silver and green tie, Malfoy,” replied Melissa shortly, “Now, if you would excuse us...” She shoved roughly passed him, but the first years were a little more cautious and swerved around the Slytherin line. As Ande approached him, he ground his teeth and growled, barely above a whisper. “Your going to get yours, Moon. All of you will.” Ande stalked passed him and disappeared along with the rest of her house. Before they walked through another wooden door, a pretty sixth year girl named Jessica Harenott, who had introduced herself to Ande at dinner, tapped her on the shoulder. She had long blond hair and brilliant blue eyes. Her face was long and thin, but she had a warm smile. “That was Lucius, Malfoy,” she said, “You don’t want to go messing around with him or get on his bad side. His little gang of Slytherins really now how to make your life miserable.” “Oh, don’t worry about me,” replied Ande casually. Jessica was about to inquire further, but Melissa had suddenly come to a halt. Standing before her at the end of a short hallway was a fifteen foot tall bronze eagle, its wings spread as if taking off, its wild eyes boring into theirs. Melissa looked the eagle statue and said, “Grimmy the Ghoul.” Before their eyes, the statue groaned, and began to move and shift. It lowered its feathered head to the floor, and splayed his scaly taloned feet. The tail feathers spread wide and slanted upward into a square hole in the wall. The eagle’s wing were folded back and raised on its side so that the longest gold feathers pointed up, making a stable railing for the climb. When the initial shock of seeing a statue move and appear alive wore off, everyone carefully climbed the eagle’s back to crawl through the common room entrance. The Ravenclaw’s followed their Prefect into the room and listened as the statue came back to life behind them, sealing the entrance once more. Ande looked about her and her eyes shone. The room was heavily decorated in blue and bronze. Blue wall paper was the main decor, but bronze curtains and the dozen smaller bronze eagles that were placed around the room stood out all their own. Instead of a fireplace against one wall, a firepit surrounded by grey marble waited in the center of the room circled by benches covered in fluffy blue cushions. Elaborately carved chestnut tables and chairs lined the walls, and on the opposide side of the room, large, warm couches were hidden in the shadow of a stone landing. The landing could be reached by two short staircases on either side of the chamber and held more studying areas for students who wished to read in a soft leather chair with a view of the Hogwarts grounds before them. On either side of the firepit, a black spiral staircase curved directly into the ceiling. The room smelled of an herb shed and Ande was fairly reminded of the farm back home. Melissa turned back to the students. “The girls’ dormitories are up to the left, the boys’ on your right. Your things have already been placed in your rooms. Lights out will be in an hour, but I would recommend that you try an get to sleep earlier since you’ll be waking up early tomorrow to get to breakfast on time. Mark Jules is another Ravenclaw Prefect-” Ande turned and saw a boy wave politely to the rest of the group. He had dark brown, thick hair, tan skin, and dark eyes. He caught Ande’s eye as he waved and nodded politely. Ande blushed and looked back to Melissa who had continued her speech. “Mark and I will be going down to the Great Hall in two shifts to lead you, who don’t know your way, down to breakfast, so be ready when we’re about to leave.” As she finished, the crowd dispersed to their separate dorms. Ande caught Mark’s eye once more before he vanished through the ceiling and she hastilly caught up with Jessica. When they reached the sixth opening, Jessica led Ande off the staircase and they watched as the seventh years climbed one story higher. “Well, here it is,” gasped Jessica, slightly winded by the long climb. Ande looked around the small, circular room. Six sleigh beds draped from end to end with blue silk surrounded them. Two small open windows showed that the storm had faded into the east, leaving a midnight blue sky sprinkled with stars. A nealry full moon spilled pale light into the dimly-lit dorm. One girl suddenly ran over to the open windows as a strong gust filled the room with cold air. “What were you thinking, Samantha?!” the girl yelled as she slammed them shut, “Are you trying to freeze us all to death?!” A small girl on the other side of the room squeaked at the volume of the other girl’s voice. She was nearly a head shorter than Ande, was extremely pale, and had long, braided hair as white as the moon outside. “Sorry,” she whimpered. “It’s just that... this dorm smells like my mum’s spice cupboard and... and I wanted to air it out-” “I don’t care, Saman-” The louder girl had turned around and saw Jessica and Ande standing by the stairs. She had deep brown eyes, dark features, and was a little taller and wider than the rest of them, adding to her dominant personality. “Why can’t you just leave Samantha alone, Germaine?” asked Jessica skeptically. “She’s not doing harm to anyone...” “Except turning us all into ice cubes!” Germaine bellowed, turning back to her own trunk and throwing her clothes furiously onto her bed. Jessica rolled her eyes in Germaine’s direction and spoke to Ande again. “That’s Germaine Zukoff, she has a temper but she grows on you after a while. Then there’s Katie Bennett, Alex Bursher, and the small one by the window is Samantha Simmons. She’s Ravenclaw’s Seeker, and one hell of a Seeker if I do say so myself.” Ande waved to each of her new roommates and noted how much Katie and Alex looked alike. Each had green eyes, dark blond hair pulled up into short pigtails, and round, cheery faces. The only really noticable difference was that Katie was a little taller and had pink glasses. Ande asked, “Are you too like related or something?” Both girls giggled furiously and tried to keep a straight face as they replied at the same time, “We’re cousins.” Jessica shook her head slowly and whispered, “They aren’t really related at all. They just want people to think they are since they look alike and hang around each other so much. I think they have nearly the entire school fooled.” Alex hurried over to them. “That was some entrance,” she said so quick that Ande had to take a second to comprehend her words. “Oh, thanks.” “Have you and your sister been animagi long?” “Only since our third year-” “You’ve been able to do that since you were thirteen?!” “Well-” Kaite seemed to be less than friendly, however. “Yeah, but now it seems she’s moving onto something more challenging,” she snapped. “What?” asked Ande confused. “Practically every girl in school noticed how you were hanging all over James Potter.” After gagging, Ande waved her hands furiously in front her her, “No! No, no, no! James is my cousin!” A wave of relief swept over the Katie’s and Alex’s faces then and their attitude toward her changed dramatically. Ande admitted that James was attractive, but she had no idea that her goofy cousin was such a heart-throb with the girls. “I’ll have to tell Liz the good news in the morning,” said Germaine suddenly. “When she saw you and your sister get onto the train with him, she nearly lost it. She’s probably crying herself to sleep right now one room down. Poor girl, practically has a shrine to him...” “Don’t we all,” commented Jessica sarcastically as she moved over to her own bed. “Of course, give me one moment with Sirius Black and it would be a difficult choice!” Ande moved away to escape the rapid giggling. She saw her trunk next to a bed by a window and walked over to it where she began to unpack her own things. But it wasn’t a few moments before she felt a shiver run up her spine. At first she thought Samantha had snuck over and opened the windows again, but when she found them closed, a deeper search through herself told her why she was suddenly uneasy. As her mind wandered over the days events, a pale, hard face kept popping up, his words echoing in her ears. “You’re going to get yours, Moon. All of you will.” Lucius Malfoy might as well been screaming it. A small tap on the shoulder and Ande looked into the confused face of Samantha. “Is something wrong?” she squeaked, “Homesick?” “A little,” Ande lied, “And I was just wondering how my sister was doing.” This seemed to satisfy Samantha and with a reassuring smile, she went back to her own bed. “Why don’t you say good night then? You have an owl.” Ande agreed and wrote a short note and started to step over to the window, owl in hand. Germaine cast her a dirty look. “I’m only going to open it for a second,” Ande insisted. With that, she let her pet fly into the night. When everyone had finished turning their simply furnished room into a small piece of home with home-knitted pillows on their beds and posters and pictures on the walls, the yawning eventually drew all occupants under their covers. Ande got into bed, expecting a long night of tossing and turning in the new environment, but the moment her head touched the pillow, the world began to fade. Malfoy’s words continued to slither through her train of thought and as the lights went out, the last words she heard was the stern warning of Germaine. “Samantha, if you get one step closer to that window I’m going to throw you out of it!” After the feast, Remus led the Gryffindors up changing staircases and maze-like corridors, pointing out trick stairs and certain sneaky pictures on the walls that would be an ill choice to ask directions from. Claire looked about her, as astounded as the first-years and didn’t close her mouth until they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. “The password is Nimbi Caelorum,” Remus said to the people behind him. The Fat Lady smiled warmly and swung forward, allowing everyone to clamber through the portrait hole. The fire was crackling in the fireplace and the familiar red and gold decore added to the good will of the students. Most of the younger students proceeded up to their rooms, but Claire, who was used to going to sleep late, stayed in the common room with the other older students. She sat down in one of the comfy arm chairs and was joined by James and the others. “So,” James said, “How do you like Hogwarts so far?” “It seems great from what I’ve seen,” Claire replied. “Then why do you look less than thrilled?” asked Sirius. “It’s just weird without Ande. I mean, she’s my twin. We almost never spend very long apart. It’s going to feel strange not seeing her every night,” Claire explained. A single snore escaped Remus’ mouth. He had fallen asleep almost the instant her had sat down. Now he was fast asleep with his head on his chest. Claire looked from him to the others. “What’s up with him? He’s looked a it off all afternoon.” Nobody answered her at first. Elsa came down the stairs from the girls’ dormitories and jumped onto her owner’s lap. “Well?” Claire pressed. Suprisingly, Peter was the first to answer. “He’s ill.” Elsa’s head turned quickly toward Peter. She let out one long hiss then went back to sleep. Claire looked skeptically at Peter, making everyone nervous. Unfortunately, Peter did not react well under pressure. Beads of sweat quickly formed on his palms which he hid in his pockets. “Are you lying?” Claire asked, looking slightly confused. “N-no,” Peter stuttered, backed by vigorous nods from James and Sirius. Claire still looked slightly suspicious and confused. “I’m sorry for being so paranoid. It’s just that Elsa half kneazle. Usually she only hisses out of nowhere like that when someone is being untrustworthy. But maybe she just doesn’t like you. That’s probably the case; she’s not very nice even to me,” Claire said. James laughed nervously and quickly changed the subject. “Are you going to sign up for Quidditch try-outs? The team needs a new Chaser and a Beater.” “I think I’ll try for Chaser,” Claire said. She shoved Elsa off of her lap and then went over to the message board. While she was signing the try-out list, James gave Remus a poke in the arm. “What did you do that for?” Remus asked sleepily, rubbing his arm. “Go upstairs and go to sleep. Claire was asking questions,” James answered. Remus rubbed his eyes and got up. He looked miserable again. “Why did it have to be a full moon now?” he muttered, sounding hurt. He trudged off toward the spiral staircase. Peter scampered after him, saying that he was tired too. After they had left, Claire returned to her seat. She talked with James and Sirius for awhile. Then Lily and another girl came over. James looked like he was about to say something, but an elbow in the rib from Sirius made him think better of it. “You should probably get some sleep,” Lily suggested. “Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t want to sleep through my first class,” Claire said, standing up and stretching. “Hi, I’m June Harper,” the other girl said. She was a pretty black girl and they shook hands warmly. “I’m a sixth-year too, so I’ll be sharing a room with you. Here, we can show you around.” As they walked over to the staircase, Claire waved good-night to James and his friends as she was led away by Lily, who she would also be sharing a room with. Before the girls could leave, however, James had to have the last word. “Evans, don’t you want to come tuck me in?” Most of the other girls giggled and blushed, but Lily just glared at him for addressing her that way in front of her friends. “Why, your mum’s not around to do it for you?” she said coyly. They disappeared and Sirius was startled to see the happy expression on his best friend’s face. “I think that’s the nicest thing she’s ever said to me...” “That’s sad, mate,” laughed Sirius. They basked in the warmth of the fire for a few more minutes and then headed up the stairs. The familiar four-poster beds looked warm and inviting and their pets and belongings lay at the foot of each bed. Remus, Peter, and their roommate were snoring loudly. James breathed deeply; it was good to be home. Meanwhile, up in the girls’ dormitories, Claire was having a look around. The room looked almost identical to the boys’ dorms except that an extra bed had been added for her. Elsa had followed after her and quickly curled up on Claire’s bed. Three other girls were all ready sleeping in the room, so Claire had to lower her voice as she talked to Lily and June for a few minutes. Fifteen minutes later, she was the only one left awake. She rolled restlessly in bed until she heard a tap on the window. She jumped out of bed when she saw a barn owl flying outside. “Orion?” Claire whispered excitedly. She opened the window and detatched the small note from his leg. She unfolded the piece of paper and read her sister’s neat handwriting, “Good night you bum.” Claire smiled. She pulled a quill off of her bed-side table and scribbled a simliar note back. Feeling suddenly much more comfortable in her new bed far from home, she drifted off into a sound sleep. Authors\' notes: Whoa! There\'s chapter 6! We know there was no action, but just you wait, it\'s coming! When, you ask? We can\'t say; you\'ll just have to keep reading!!! Please review!!!

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