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Chapter Four: Corrupt Complications

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

“Transfiguration is mere compared to the Animagus transformation,” Professor McGonagall began today’s discussion. “Becoming an Animagus takes certain skill, whereas Transfiguration takes but only a spell. Once a witch or wizard has become a full Animagus, they can change into one at any time without a wand.”

I sighed and flicked my quill around on the paper. Next to me Narcissa was rolling her eyes and rolling her wand between her fingers. Blonde hair neatly settled around her shoulders, she matched my sigh with one of her own.

“As for what form one’s Animagus will take, most seem to follow one’s Patronus. However, there was a case in 13—”

I whispered a hex and watched as my quill continued to write a summary of what McGonagall said.

Narcissa looked at me and smirked, “I may have underestimated you Ravenclaws.”

“We often are,” I picked at a strand of hair.

She looked back to McGonagall and elegantly continued her writing. I internally shrugged and flicked my wand again. She reeled back lightly as her own quill began taking notes for her. I let out a small laugh when she turned to me with a grin of thanks. I nodded and we continued listening to McGonagall.

After Transfiguration on Fridays, I had a longer break before Potions. Potions, a peaceful class, and the one class I shared with the Hufflepuffs. Luckily Slughorn had partnered me with fellow Ravenclaw, Andrew; actually, it’s luckier for him as most wouldn’t give him the time of day in this class. He can’t mix ingredients to save his life and when he reads the directions I sometimes assume he’s reading them in reverse. We were partners last year as well, and I have a feeling Slughorn has been doing his job with the pairings.

I stopped off at the Ravenclaw dorms to switch books before heading down to the dungeons. The air shifted when I reached the bottom of the stairs and I could feel the water around me. I pulled my cloak closer around me and hugged my bag to my chest. Merlin, how the Slytherins stood the temperature down here is beyond me.
When I stepped into the Potions classroom, I was greeted by emptiness. Not even Slughorn had arrived yet, which is quite odd as he usually stays here the entire day. I moved to the table Andrew and I share and brought out my books.

“You’re here early.”

I jumped and let out a noise. I turned to the Hufflepuff and glared, “I could say the same to you.”

The Hufflepuff, Tabitha, walked quickly to her own seat in the back. She sent me a glare of her own and flipped her dark hair. I used to pity her, going after the same guy since second year, but then she turned utterly disturbed. Not rude or evil, just plain disturbed. She would spread horrible things about girls she had seen with him and do other awful things. Of course, the guy just has to have been my Potions partner for the past two years.

Within a few minutes the rest of the class had entered the room and taken their seats. Andrew came in and looked around before sitting in his seat. I gave him a questioning glance.

“Well, I was distracted by the hate-filled glare being sent in what I thought was my direction,” He raised an eyebrow. “But with who it’s coming from, I’m going to assume it’s directed at you.”

“Ugh,” I leaned back on my stood and put my elbows on the table behind us. “It’s getting ridiculous.”

He grinned, “I don’t know…I’m kind of flattered.”

I smacked his arm and lightly glared. “You shouldn’t be, it’s getting dangerous. You talked to Naomi yesterday, this morning she was in the Wing from running into a door. Felt like she was confunded, she said.”

“I didn’t hear about that…”

“Yeah, well, I’m getting more concerned for myself by the day,” I shuddered and looked over my shoulder to the girl still staring. “Not to mention Mar.”

Andrew avoided my eyes and began editing the order of his wand and quills. It was my turn to raise an eyebrow.

“What is going on with you two anyway?” I leaned forward in question.

Before he had a chance to avoid the answer, Slughorn came barreling in and almost knocked over a student.

“Up! Watch yourself, Berry,” The Professor stated and rounded his desk. “Sorry for the tardiness, some Seventh Years were messing with Peeves on the second floor. Apparently the new Defense Professor didn’t have time to deal with it. All that aside, we have a lot of work to do today, so only the necessary speaking. You may all turn to page six hundred fifty six and begin.”

I sighed for the hundredth time that day and opened my book.

“That’s what is wrong!” Regulus exclaimed on our second patrol. “You aren’t wearing your badge.”

I sighed, again. If only he wouldn’t have brought that up. I know it’s what we are supposed to do, I know we are supposed to be proud of it, and I know Hogwarts expects us to take care of it and let everyone know what power we hold over them…but I don’t want the attention.

“Damn, I guess I left it in the dorms,” I looked up at him and shrugged. “Whatever will we do?”

He raised an eyebrow and I looked away. Why did I just say that? That was not only completely uncharacteristic of me…but what was I even thinking when that was said? He is going to be the death of me, and I have no control of it.

“You weren’t wearing it last Friday either,” He commented lightly and I looked up at him. Through my lashes…in a manner I hoped made me look extremely attractive. I hope him stuttering slightly on his next sentence meant it worked.

“You have it though, right? Put it on,” He urged. “Be proud.”

That’s not who I am, I wanted to scream suddenly. I never wanted to be a prefect, I never wanted to be your partner; alright, yes, I cherish every minute I’m in breathing distance of you, but that’s the only reason being a prefect is working out for me. I reached in to my pocket because Regulus Black told me to and pulled out the badge.
I sighed as I stopped to put it on. Regulus went ahead a few paces to open a closet door and, finding no one, came back to see me struggling with the badge.

He let out a small laugh, “Here, let me.”

I completely froze as he brought his hands up and over mine. He worked his long fingers around the metal badge and had it pinned to my robes in a matter of seconds. Seconds that seemed to last hours, mind you. I felt my face heat lightly as we walked forward, checking for rule breakers and wandering people.

I looked up to him without turning my head and caught his eye.

Quickly glancing away, he cleared his throat and the beats in my chest sped up.

This must be how Rowena felt with Salazar.

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