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All recognizable character, locations, spells and events belong to J.K. Rowling. The rest are all mine!

Early the next morning Elizabeth was awakened by the female prefect opening the door and telling the students to get up. She rolled over and displaced Tiger, who found himself suddenly headed for the floor as he fell off of the bed. She sprang from the bed and gathered up her pet.

“I’m sorry, Tiger, I’ll try to warn you next time.” She gave him a light kiss and then put him back onto the bed where he settled back down to resume his rudely interrupted sleep. Then she headed down to shower before dressing and heading to breakfast.

She was soon sitting at the Gryffindor table eating with her friends. The girls paid no attention to the Slytherin table or Scorpius Malfoy as he stared at Elizabeth. She was enjoying the pumpkin juice while they talked about classes. The older students filled her in about which teachers were the hardest and where the classes were held. The students at Beauxbatons had left her to her own devices to find out these things. She had been late to many classes that first day which had started her problems at that school. Rose told an incredible joke about Scorpius that caused Elizabeth to cough and spit pumpkin juice out as she laughed.

After breakfast she rushed back to the dorm and gathered her books. The stairs and corridors were crammed with students hurrying to the first classes of the year. Elizabeth scurried down the hall towards the classroom as she chattered with her friends. Rose turned and hurried towards her class as Elizabeth and Lily stepped into the Transfiguration classroom. Professor McGonagall stood at the front of the room and waited as the students found a place to sit.

“May I have your attention please? Today we will be transforming rats into ink wells."

The students watched with fascination as their teacher transformed the rat before her into an inkwell and then back again.

“The key to this spell is the pronunciation of the words. Fail to pronounce them correctly and you will have some rather interesting results.”

The next hour passed quickly as they began to learn about transforming objects into a different form. A rat sat in a cage on the edge of her desk looking at Elizabeth with a wary look in his eyes. It was almost as if he were begging her not to transform him. Then it was her turn to attempt the spell, she gently pulled him from the cage and then drew her wand.

Ferra Vaerto’,” she said as she tried to copy the words that the professor had spoken. Evidently she was not totally correct in her pronunciation of the spell because she suddenly had a pink rat with feathers. Her eyes widened as she beheld the results of the spell that she had cast. Laughter tittered through the room as others took notice of the mistake she had made.

“Miss Blackwell, you need to transform your rat back to his proper form before the end of the class.” The teacher looked up from the rat to face the other students as, one after the other, more rats underwent peculiar transformations. “ I will take one point from the house of any student who does not return their rat as they received it.”

Several students gasped at the thought of losing points for their houses. They began casting the spell in a hurried and frantic attempt to restore the animals. The desks were soon filled with strange looking creatures that, in some cases, bore no resemblance to rats.

“Five points will go to the house of the first student who transforms their rats into an ink well and then back to their correct form.”

Elizabeth looked at the rat before her and smiled. He was rather cute this way. She sighed and cast the spell once again. Suddenly her rat was brown again but he still had feathers. A quick glance around the room made her realize that she was not the only person having difficulty. One poor rat could have passed for a giraffe, the girl from Slytherin that it belonged to sat there perplexed as she regarded the animal. Lily’s rat was a beautiful shade of blue and Lily looked like she wanted it to stay that way. A sudden noise and the Slytherin rat was a hippo with a giraffe neck.

The sounds of spells being cast and transfigurations occurring filled the room as a wild menagerie of animals appeared. Just as quickly the animals would change into new forms as the students attempted to remedy what they had done. Worried students kept a watchful eye on the clock as the class drew nearer to a close. None had managed to produce an ink well, though a rather odd fur covered vase had appeared in front of a boy from Hufflepuff

Once again Elizabeth cast the spell and finally the rat looked like it should. She felt like she was getting the hang of the spell and cast it once again. An ink well sat where the rat had been and Elizabeth felt a glow of pride as Professor McGonagall picked it up to display it to the class.

“Five points to Gryffindor for the first successful transfiguration and return to original form,” Professor McGonagall said as the rat reappeared with the next spell the girl cast.

Her face beaming as she took in the fact that a teacher had rewarded her instead of berating her, Elizabeth transformed her rat once again. This time into a quill to go with the ink well that Lily had just produced. She swiftly reached over and placed the quill in the well before the teacher could return. McGonagall stared in amazement at the scene on the desk and then at the girl who had come to them. Most second years were not at all adept at transfiguration, but Miss Blackwell seemed to be very good at it. Theteacher watched in amazement as the girl returned both rats to the proper form.

The girl from Slytherin was nearly in tears as she tried to remedy her problem. Elizabeth looked at her and suddenly felt sorry for her. She saw no reason to hate the girl, regardless of what house she belonged to.

“Would you like me to help?” she asked politely.

A silent nod of the head was the only response and Elizabeth cast the spell a final time that day. The rat reappeared on the desk of the girl who stared at it in surprise. She was more surprised that a Gryffindor had offered to help her before a member of her own house. In fact, several people from her own house had ignored her plight even though they had managed to finally restore their rats. The strangest part of it was that the girl who had helped her seemed to have done it out of a desire to help rather than gloat. Minerva McGonagall looked at the scene with surprise, a display like the one before her was rare indeed.

“Five points to Gryffindor for an outstanding display of compassion for another student.”

Elizabeth looked up with surprise, she hadn’t helped the girl for points. She had helped her because she wanted to. She blushed deeply and turned back around to face forward, but not before she heard a quiet ‘thank you’ from the girl.

They left the classroom at the end of class and rushed towards Potions class. Lily walked by her side as they talked.

“She gave you ten points in one class, almost nobody gets that many points from Professor McGonagall.”

“I didn’t help her because I wanted points. I helped her because it was the right thing to do.”

As the girls talked neither saw the Slytherin girl approaching fast from behind. She caught up with the Gryffindor pair as they prepared to enter the classroom.

“Elizabeth, can I talk to you?”

Elizabeth turned to face the girl who had finally caught up with her. Lily walked on into the classroom as other students cast curious gazes at the two girls who had stopped.

“I wanted to thank you again. I know you didn’t have to help me, but I’m glad you did. I was kind of wondering if we could be friends.”

“I’d love to be your friend, but I don’t even know your name.”

"Oh, it’s Beatrice Campbell, I guess you know already I’m from Slytherin house.”

“Yeah, I know, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.

Abruptly the door opened and the teacher stepped out to usher the girls into the room. He looked strangely at the unlikely pair as they found their seats. Elizabeth sat down next to Lily, ignoring the stares from other Gryffindors who could not believe their eyes.

Professor Tindwell made Potions class tolerable, but Elizabeth was relieved when the class ended and they could escape the dark room. Elizabeth found herself explaining at lunch about why she had befriended the girl from Slytherin. Obviously Beatrice was not having as easy a time, Elizabeth watched as several Slytherins questioned the girl about her new friend. Scorpius Malfoy looked across the room and fixed Elizabeth with a stony glare. The rest of the day went quietly as they went from class to class.

After lunch, Elizabeth found herself dozing off in Charms class and luckily Lily noticed it before Professor Marks did. Beatrice tried to sit close to her new friend, but there always seemed to be a Slytherin nearby to prevent them from speaking. Many times she noticed baleful glares from students that disliked the possibility of the new friendship.

When classes finally ended she walked to the Great Hall with her friends. Dinner was a little uncomfortable as members of Slytherin House glared at her and prevented any contact with Beatrice. Elizabeth hurriedly ate her food and tried to concentrate on the conversation with Lily and Rose. She lost herself in the idle chatter and the time passed without incident. Finally they rose from the table and walked towards the doors to the Great Hall. Elizabeth cast a glance back at Beatrice that was swiftly blocked by a large girl that looked somewhat like her new friend.

The large girl shot a withering scowl at the young Gryffinodr and acted like she wanted to pursue Elizabeth, but was stopped by the passage of a teacher.

The Gryffindor group made their way up the stairs to the portrait that covered the entrance to their common room. Elizabeth watched as the Fat Lady opened the door for them after the correct password was given. She entered common room and scurried up the stairs to the dorm where Tiger waited for her as she changed her clothes.

She was happy to see the day end and she gratefully sank into bed to sleep. Tiger snuggled against her and purred softly while she gently stroked his fur. The day had been glorious and she had made a new friend, not to mention the fact that she had earned ten points for Gryffindor. She fell asleep and dreamed peaceful dreams.

She awoke the next day to find Tiger sitting in the window. He was watching birds as they flew past and seemed to be having a wonderful time. A glance at the floor ensured her that the house elves had brought food and water to her pet. She ruffled his tortoise-shell colored fur and then raced to shower and get dressed for breakfast.

As she walked into the Great Hall she saw her friends already seated at their table. All of them were staring at something at the Slytherin table. She followed their gaze and found out what they were looking at. Beatrice sat miserably at the table, her face puffy and bruised. Tears still coursed down her face as she avoided facing Elizabeth. The large girl sat next to Beatrice and glared at Elizabeth. Lily and Rose quickly grabbed Elizabeth and steered her to their table.

“What happened to her?” Elizabeth quickly asked as she shot quick glances over her shoulder.

“The story they’re telling is that she fell down some stairs last night,” Rose explained.

“But I heard that her sister really gave her a hard time and knocked her around a bit.”

“Her sister did that just because we became friends?”

“Maureen Campbell really doesn’t need a reason to be cruel, she just is. Stay away from her, she’ll be out to hurt you now and she never goes anywhere without her friends.”

“She gets away with doing that to people?”

“There’s never any proof,” Lily said. “They are really good at hiding things like that. Last year they beat up a first year from Gryffindor. The caught him in a dark corridor and really worked him over. There was no way to prove it, but everybody knew who had done it.”

Elizabeth ate silently as she thought about what she had been told and then left the hall with her friends to go to Transfiguration. She sat quietly as Professor McGonagall explained the lesson, but felt no desire to attempt the spell. She simply felt sick. A glance behind her proved that Beatrice was not in class. She looked back around as the teacher approached her desk.

“Is there a problem, Miss Blackwell? I haven’t seen your wand out once.”

“I don’t feel well, Professor McGonagall. May I be excused to the Hospital Wing?”

A quick nod was all that Elizabeth needed to gather her things and race for her destination. She got only as far as the nearest bathroom before she realized what was about to happen. A few moments later she was leaning over a toilet as she lost what she had eaten that morning. Her throat burned from the bile that had come up with the food and she felt light-headed briefly. She turned and left the restroom to head for the Hospital Wing. She arrived there in time to see Madame Pomfrey approaching the door.

“Did you need something, dear?”

“I’m not feeling very well, can I lay down for a while?”

The woman led her to a bed in the sunshine filled room and she soon was fast asleep. The older woman checked on the girl frequently and was relieved to see color starting to return to her face. The girl had been dreadfully pale when she entered the room. Obviously, sleep was what the girl needed and the nurse left her to rest. Elizabeth’s dreams were peaceful, but still filled with thoughts of Beatrice. She saw the battered face of her friend in her dreams. Several hours later, Elizabeth woke up to find Professor McGonagall looking down at her with concern.

“Are you alright, Miss Blackwell? The other students told me that they hadn’t seen you after you left Transfiguration class.”

“I’m feeling better now.”

Elizabeth got out of the bed and walked alongside the older woman as they headed for the Great Hall. Lily and Rose saw her enter and hurried to their friend’s side.

“Are you alright, Elizabeth? You were almost as pale as Nearly Headless Nick when you left class.”

Elizabeth smiled at Lily’s comment and sat down with her friends. Dinner was great and they were soon involved in conversation that avoided Slytherins. Elizabeth slipped a small piece of chicken into her robes and took it up to Tiger when they returned to their dorm. The other girls in the dorm sat and watched as the cat ate the food and rubbed against his owner. He had become quite popular with the girls in the dorm and could always count on being petted or played with by someone.

The next few days passed much as the first two with one exception, Beatrice was missing. She had not returned to classes and Elizabeth missed her presence. Although she was progressing in her studies Elizabeth felt sad when she looked at the vacant chair in each class. Elizabeth considered Tranfiguration her favorite class, followed by the Care of Magical Creatures. Although many of the Slytherin hated Hagrid, she felt that she was learning a lot about the creatures in her world.

One day, while in the forest she noticed a huge Great Horned Owl. She had never seen such a large owl before and she felt a curious bond with it. It was strange, to feel a kinship with an animal, and she was a little frightened by the encounter. She tried to ignore the feelings of unease, but they kept returning to haunt her. She was relieved when Hagrid led them from the forest where they had been studying a Unicorn. As they walked back to the castle, she turned to look over her shoulder. The great owl that she had seen deep in the forest was now perched in a tree on the edge of the forest. It was strange, she thought, but it seemed to be watching her!

She walked into the castle with the rest of the students and soon forgot about the owl. Defense Against the Dark Arts class with Professor Grims was next. This was her least favorite class, they often discussed things that made her uneasy. Today they were discussing the Animagi, wizards and witches that could assume animal shapes. They weren’t like werewolves who had no control over their affliction, an Animagus could transform at will. Elizabeth knew that her mother’s father had been an Animagus and she knew that he had fought alongside Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts, but he had died there that day. Suddenly her hand was in the air.

“Miss Blackwell, do you have a question?”

“Professor, is being an Animagus something that they would pass along to their children or grandchildren?”

“One does not become an Animagus simply because a member of their family is one. It is a learned skill, but some are more adept at it than others. A true Animagus is extremely powerful and the Ministry tries to keep a very close eye on them. Unfortunately, not all of them let the Ministry know about their ability and that is why some of them can be so dangerous.”

She slowly sat back in her chair and looked around the room. The other students were hanging on every word the professor spoke. She swiftly copied the text that the teacher wrote on the board while her mind swam with thoughts of Animagi.

The day finally came to an end and, as she sat eating her dinner, Elizabeth became aware of a shadow looming over her. The rest of the Gryffindors looked up as Maureen Campbell leaned down to hiss at Elizabeth. Conversations ceased around the hall as students and teachers alike watched the looming confrontation. Several teachers began to rise as the larger girl stood over the object of her anger. Students watched and anticipated the fight that might begin.

“My sister had to leave Hogwarts because of you. She left this morning and won’t be back this term, that is, unless you get expelled from here like you did from Beauxbatons. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and just leave Hogwarts. Make it easy on yourself, just pack your things and go. If you don’t you might find yourself getting hurt.”

Elizabeth calmly looked up at the larger girl and sized her up. Then she turned back around and showed the girl the back of her head. The older girl was puzzled by the response to her statements and, after standing there for a long moment, finally moved away. She stalked back over to the Slytherin table, aware that the teachers had been watching her every move. They knew that there was going to be trouble between the girls. The Blackwell girl had angered the older girl by turning her back and not responding.

The meal finished, Elizabeth calmly got up and walked with her friends back to the Gryffindor Common Room where Tiger waited. He sat on a chair and watched as she came into the room. She picked him up and walked up to the dorm to change her clothing, play with her pet and feed him some smuggled chicken.

Finally, she crawled into bed and fell asleep, unaware of the Great Horned Owl that had landed on the ledge outside her window. It perched there watching her as she slept. She was the one that it had waited for and soon, very soon, things would change at Hogwarts. Not all of the changes would be for the best.

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