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*Disclaimer: Hello, it's me again. So please refer to chapter one.*



A Run-In With a Staircase

Lori walked aimlessly over to the Gryffindor table. She sat with an undignified plop and scowled to herself. How could she have been silly enough to accept that ridiculous bet that Cora girl had invented. Lori couldn’t afford 20 galleons. At least, not consciously. How Lori infuriated herself. And Coni. How annoying she was, so sickingly-sweet sometimes. So perky and... well perky.

But Izzy was still a mystery. Why she hadn’t just shut the carriage door after sighting them inside, Lori would never know. She was still as rude as always, though.

Finally Lori took her surroundings in. The Great Hall was elaborate as always with old decorations from last year to impress the first years. The sky swirled with the simulation sunset and settled on an array of colors to the west and a few stars poking through deep navy to the east. No one came to sit with her. Lori searched frantically around for her best friend Janet. Her eyes found no auburn hair floating among the swarming crowd. She sighed a lonely sigh and went back to her process of removing the mushrooms from her Shepard’s pie.

Lori sighed again. This one a deep, drawn-out sigh interrupted by a shriek from the Hufflepuff table. Lori distinctly heard Coni’s grating voice protesting. Glancing discretely up towards the Slytherin table, Lori saw Draco’s shiny head swivel sharply at his name. She snickered under her breath but stared a little too long at his sharp features, causing his searching eyes to connect with hers.

Swearing, Lori nearly felt her heart exit via throat but his eyes moved on swiftly to the back of Harry’s head. There they squinted a small glare before turning back to his present company.

False Alarm. Never mind.

Startling Lori, Dumbledore began his annual speech from his podium. She had never quite gotten what people thought was so great about him. Or horrible in other cases. The only significant about him to her was that he was Headmaster. Granted a powerful, well once powerful, and recognized wizard.

And old, Lori thought, definitely old.

So absorbed in her scrutiny, she didn’t notice as the wizen man looked directly at her and winked. She was so taken aback that she had to blink several times before rapidly glancing around to see if anyone else noticed. No one else was paying any particular attention except the first years.

After another uneventful dinner, Lori stalked back to the Gryffindor tower with her house-mates. Her black hair suddenly whipped around her head and nearly choked her to death from an unexpected draft along the stairway. She stopped and began the long process of removing thin strands of shampoo-tasting hair from the cavern of her mouth. She was about 3/4 of the way done when the floor lurched underneath her.

Her first thought was that it was an Earthquake. But she dismissed the concept in favor of a much more likely one. For example: The staircase moving.

Lori panicked as the stair opened up a new destination and, lurching Lori against the banister, gave her a different landing at the bottom as well. This is not good. This is not good. This is not good. This is not good... Lori chanted to herself as she began to hyperventilate halfway up a set of stairs.

Looking around frantically, she spied no one to help guide her. So she was faced with decision. Up... or down? Indecision was a strong point of hers, so she sadly sat herself down on a higher stair. Her butt fell through the trick stair and she rolled her eyes. Always me isn’t it? She dragged her butt out and replanted herself 3 steps lower. After a good solid 10 minutes of waiting and thinking through the choices, her thoughts began to wander to the back of her mind. Her inner self began sorting through old files she had stored away.

Memories came rushing back to her: she was in the States, visiting relatives. Her sister had died then. They had been twins. Identical no less. Lori still remembered bits of that far away childhood and how different it had been from the one after that turning point.

Like when she and Sarah had gotten their first bikes on their 7th Christmas. They had each thought the other had the better bike and switched them around to their parents’ amusement. She remembered the tree the best. Not it specifically, but decorating it with homemade ornaments from school accented by the popcorn strands and traditional candles charmed by her mother not to burn down the house and trees.

After Sarah’s death though. To put it simply, life in general had never been the same. Lori’s parents had been torn over the loss of their daughter’s life. They felt as if they had failed as guardians. Soon they began to shy away from Lori, a pathetic little nine-year-old who had simply wanted a kiss when she went to bed and hugs from them at least once a day. Instead she just got a nanny and her parents began spending all their time at work.

Lori wiped away threatening tears and refused to break down.

A strange urge took over her and she pointedly got up and trudged up the stairs. At the top was a simple door. A welcoming yellow-orange light shown underneath. Perhaps someone inside with a fireplace?

Apprehension took over the other feeling, completely kicking it back down to where it came from. Lori glanced back to the bottom of the staircase but saw only a dark hallway at the end. No, the light would be better, she decided. Much better. Before she could change her mind, she seized the doorknob and yanked on it.

It didn’t open.

“Alohamora,” Lori whispered. Once again she tried the doorknob, but it still didn’t come with her tug.

Puzzled, she pondered for a minute. She then proceeded to smack herself in the forehead, almost poking her eye with her wand. Then, embarrassment burning on her cheeks and eyes squinted shut with humiliation at her own stupidity, Lori grasped the knob again and pushed.

“I cannot believe that I just did that,” she berated herself.

She smacked herself in the forehead again for good measure and proceeded through the doorway. It looked like all the other hallways except that torches lined the walls. They produced the soft fire light that Lori had seen earlier. Which was nice because it meant that she wasn’t up past curfew quite yet.

After about four hours of wandering, Lori couldn’t walk anymore and collapsed against a wall. She was lost and ready to fall asleep right here on the cold stone floor.

What a wonderful way to spend my first night back.

~Fin



AN: REVIEW, DANGIT!! Thank-You! This chapter was written by me, NeuroticNut. Go ahead and check me out on my page! I also reccomend my friends of course. I just won't say their names and sway you from mine. Check me out! ;)

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