Those few students who had not fled the sight before them, Tom included, stared at the thing that Sarah had become. Armando Dippet shooed the other children onward before turning to the girl that Dumbledore had released. She stood silently as her form began to return to what they were more accustomed to. Sarah hung her head as she understood that more than just a few now knew what she could become when angered and that the mystique that she had held for many had vanished.
“Miss Jenkins, I assume that we were seeing the form that you can become when you are angered?” Headmaster Dippet queried.
“Yes, Headmaster Dippet,” a quiet voice replied.
“Then you are at least part Veela?”
“Yes, Headmaster Dippet.”
“And I assume that at some point in time you were going to tell us about your heritage?”
“I did not think it necessary.”
“Miss Jenkins, as the Headmaster of Hogwarts, I feel that this is information that I was entitled to be privy to. Veela, while not considered hostile by the Ministry of Magic, are considered at least marginally capable of wild magic. While I would not have refused to allow you entrance to this school, I would have ensured that all that needed to know about your capabilities were properly notified, that certainly included the professors in whose classes you sit.”
“I understand, Professor Dippet.”
“Now that we are all aware of your nature and inherent capabilities I believe that it is safe to assume that you will be inclined to behave yourself.”
“Yes, sir, Professor Dippet.”
“Then move on to your next class and I want no further trouble with Miss Porter or any other student. Failure to heed my warnings will result in your immediate expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Sarah nodded numbly as she accepted the books that she was handed and she walked away to join Tom as they walked to their next class. Tom walked silently next to the girl as he realized that much of her usefulness had now vanished. Now that all knew about her, and those that did not were certain to find out, all would be watching her for any misbehavior. If she were to step out of line Professor Dippet would not give a moment’s thought about sending her from the school, then he would be in jeopardy himself.
“I cannot believe that I was so stupid as to reveal myself,” she muttered quietly as they walked towards the greenhouses and Herbology class. Professor Beery watched the pair as they entered and it was obvious that he was going to have an interesting time bringing the class to order. Those few students who had not seen Sarah’s transformation had been told and she was the center of attention through the multitude of furtive glances sent her way by her classmates.
Molly watched the girl while she gingerly patted at the darkening bruise on her face where one of Sarah’s slaps had landed. Sooner or later one of the nurses from the Hospital wing would come to deal with it and then she would be rid of the minor irritation. She walked with Carol to their workstation and listened intently while ignoring the icy stares that both Tom and Sarah sent their direction. Without doing much, Molly had revealed information that had put a huge damper on the plans that the pair were obviously making. The girl knew that she would get a reprisal from home once the news of the fight reached her parents, likely in the form of a Howler, and she didn’t look forward to it.
“Now that I have your attention, second years, I want you to continue with the work that you began yesterday. While we may have finished re-potting the Amazonian Red-Leafed Serpenticulars, we are not finished caring for them. Be certain to where your gloves to prevent direct contact with the plants or be prepared to face the aftereffects of that contact.”
Molly and her friend hurried to slip their gloves on and soon were tending to the plants as they had been directed. The girls kept a close eye on the wildly wriggling tentacles of their subjects and knew that it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened. It did soon enough.
A sudden alarmed shout from Goyle announced the mishap and all eyes turned to see the portly boy covered with growing red pustules, the side effects of touching the plant with unprotected skin.
“Mister Goyle,” Beery announced as he approached the victim of both the plant and the titters of laughter from his classmates, “did I not give you express directions about being careful about touching these plants with bare skin? Go immediately to the Hospital wing for the remedy.”
The stout boy hurried from the room while trying to both ignore the laughter of those that he passed in the corridors and cover the increasingly numerous pustules. Carol and Molly continued to take great pains to ignore both Tom and Sarah and soon were deeply involved in the assignment that they had been given.
“Molly, did you know that she was a Veela?”
The girl paused in her efforts before turning to her friend and shaking her head. Molly glanced at Sarah and then spoke.
"My father will be very interested in finding out that a Veela is at Hogwarts, especially if there was no record of her leaving her homeland. The Ministry tries to keep a very tight rein on them, they are so unpredictable and potentially violent especially when they are our age. I am just lucky, I guess, that she did not use some of the magic that she can without trying. Did you know that they can throw fire when they are angered?”
Carol’s eyes opened wide at the news and she shook her head.
“Is she that dangerous?”
“If she got really angry she might be,” Molly responded to her friend. “I have read a great deal about them and from what I have learned it does not take much to make them angry.”
“I guess that you got off lucky then.”
“Maybe,” Molly countered. “Now that she has been revealed, Sarah will be a bit more cautious about her actions. I think that we can expect some sort of response, either from her or Tom.”
“Are you going to send an owl to your father tonight?”
“I have to, Carol, this is that serious. The Veela are suspect in a great many things in the area where they live and if they have started to spread out from there it may mean that there is trouble brewing. I mean, she could just be a rogue, one that managed to leave without being noticed but my father will want to know about it and I think that Hogwarts can expect a visit from the Ministry of Magic because of this. They are going to want to know why they were not notified about her departure from her homeland.”
As the girls talked they knew very well that they were being watched by Tom and Sarah. Both of the Slytherin were at a loss as to how to deal with the pair of girls that now held many of the cards that they had once been denied. Tom knew that Molly was now a very formidable opponent and that a word from her to her father could result in his permanent expulsion from the school. This terrified the boy; he had not yet learned what he wanted to know about his family, or learned the secret of the ring.
A nurse suddenly appeared next to Molly to deal with the bruises and then hurried to do the same for Sarah. Sarah growled internally while the adult that the girl felt superior to dealt with the damage that had been dealt to her face. Molly ignored the other girl and finally turned to Professor Beery with her hand raised.
“Professor Beery, I think that I have finished.”
Tom watched as the wizard approached the girl and frowned as the professor nodded his agreement with the girl’s belief. Molly smiled at the praise that she was obviously receiving and then stood quietly as Carol’s efforts were also accepted. Then the girls, who had received the permission of the wizard, gathered their belongings and hurried from the classroom. They stopped long enough to each take a parchment that contained their next assignment from a stack that waited for them. Then the pair made haste to leave the room behind them. They made their way to a quiet place where Molly wrote a hurried note to her father about the events of the day before they walked to the Great Hall and the mid-day meal.
Neither girl had any intent of dropping their guard for both were certain that there would be certain reprisal for the fight. Sarah might not do anything outwardly, but Tom had demonstrated an ability to get others to do his dirty work for him. Crabbe and Goyle were particularly gullible and Malfoy was not much better when it came to resisting the proposals of their compatriot. They weren’t afraid to hurt someone and thus needed to be watched.
Abraxas watched Sarah too, she had demonstrated what she could do on the Hogwarts Express and he really was not quite certain how to deal with someone of the girl’s heritage. He really was not sure that anyone in his family would know how to either. One thing that was certain was the fact that the girl had replaced him easily as Tom’s right hand and he was not ready to contest the girl to reassume the position. He had to be content for the mean time to work in the shadows to curry favor with Tom and wait for the girl to make a mistake that would get her removed from Hogwarts.
That eventuality had two rewards when it happened, and he was certain that it would, because Veela were not known for being forgiving and she was certain to strike at Porter or Markham again. She likely would not be very subtle about it, discretion was not one of her strong suits not to mention the fact that all knew what she was and she would be a prime suspect when it happened.
‘You will do something, Jenkins, something that will get you tossed out of Hogwarts so fast that even the magic of the Veela cannot protect you. I hate to admit it, but you have more to fear from Porter than I do, because she is certain to contact her father at the Ministry and that will trigger an investigation by one of those offices. You may have already written your ticket on the train ride out of here and just do not know it yet.’
The attention of the boy was drawn by the professor stating that the class was at an end and that they could depart. All were reminded to take one of the parchments as they left and he grabbed one, only to stuff it into his bag. Maybe he would work on it, maybe he would not, he had taken it and in his mind that was all that mattered. He swept out of the room to join the waiting Crabbe, Goyle had yet to return from the Hospital Wing.
“Jenkins is going to be her own undoing, I tell you that,” he announced to the heavier boy. “She is going to do something to get herself tossed out of this castle and I, for one, cannot wait for it to happen. Things just have not been the same since she flounced into Hogwarts on the arm of that prat and I cannot wait for them to return to normal, even if it means that they both get the boot.”
“But how do we do it?” Crabbe queried. “We both know what she can do and I do not want to face her in a duel. My father knows all about Veela and has said that not many wizards or witches can hope to stand up to one in a straight on fight and survive, let alone win.”
“I was thinking about that, William, and it may be that what she can do does not work in all parts of the castle. Why is it that she could not transfigure that bird into a dragon? Something in that room was blocking her from doing it and I wonder what it was. My bet would be on Dumbledore himself! He knows enough about Sarah to block her abilities.”
“If it was him, why did he not block Tom? He was the first to get the lesson done. Porter and Markham finished next and nothing happened to stop them. If it was Dumbledore, why did he not stop you?”
Malfoy’s eyes widened at the sudden, uncustomary spark of brilliance from his companion. Of course, William was right, if it had been the professor, why was it that only Jenkins had been affected? Dumbledore could have made nonsense of any of their attempts but only the girl had been stymied. That meant that something, or someone, else was responsible for Sarah’s misfortune.
The pair arrived in the room reserved for their study time and, although neither had any intent on working on the assignment given by Professor Beery, they both took their assigned places to continue their discussion. This was a fact that did not go unnoticed by Professor Leeds, who made a point to steer a stern gaze in their direction. The gaze had the effect of stifling the talking between the boys and both made a great show of pretending to work.
Sarah watched the pair as well, while also trying to keep an eye on Molly and Carol. This had the effect of failing to placate the rather tousled feelings of Tom, who now questioned just how valuable an ally the girl was. He opened his potions book and pretended to read while thinking about getting back into the room at the base of the Isolation Tower where the office of Salazar Slytherin, and the spirit of the long dead founder, waited.
‘He is the only one in the castle who can answer the questions that I have. I have to know how I am connected to those people in the hut and what that ring means. It has to be important somehow, it just has to be. Then I have to decide whether or not to cut ties with Sarah, it could be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. I know what she can do and that makes her both useful and dangerous. Just what do I do and how do I do it?’
A direct physical assault on another student was out of the question, that had the possibility of getting one expelled and he had no desire to live the life of a muggle or, worse than that, a squib. If it happened they would destroy his wand and he would be nearly helpless. Misuse of magic could land him in Azkaban, certainly not a desirable outcome. But perhaps there was still a way to get what he wanted without creating too much distress for himself.
His deepness in thought and plotting meant that he did not hear the rather desperate pleadings of the girl that was seated next to him. Sarah finally gave up her attempts as she realized that he was either too deep in concentration on the assignment, not likely, or ignoring her which she found to be more likely the case. This stung deeply and she considered responding in anger, but knew that this meant a likely trip to the office of Headmaster Dippet and possible expulsion from the school. She glanced at Molly and Carol and knew that they had likely been watching her as well, although both had quickly turned their attention back to their parchments when she looked up. The fact that they could do this without possibility of reprisal angered her. Sarah Jenkins finally returned her attention back to what she had been doing.
“I think that she saw us looking at her, Molly,” Carol whispered to her friend.
“”I thought so too, Carol, but there is nothing that she can do about us looking at her. She has certainly thrown us enough glares since we sat down.”
Carol nodded her agreement and turned her attention back to her parchment as the junior professor made his way down the aisle near where she was seated. Professor Leeds was nice enough, but did not allow talking at all in his study sessions. It was a swift and certain way to gain detention and she shuddered at the thought of that. He passed by the girls while also directing at rather stern glance at the children.
As the dreadful silence filled the chamber, Tom realized that there was a way to get into the Isolation Tower. It would not risk expulsion and yet would give him a chance to speak to the founder again. He watched as the professor turned away from him and then hefted a crumpled up piece of parchment before casting at Malfoy and calling to the other boy in a rather loud pseudo whisper.
The attempt had immediate results as all heads in the chamber turned towards Tom, including that of Tobias Leeds. Pivoting swiftly, the professor returned to the table at which the boy was seated to glare down at the second year student.
“Mister Riddle, as you have seen fit to disturb everyone in this room, I trust that you have something valuable to share with all of us. Am I correct?”
“Then if I am incorrect in my assumption, I would like it very much if you would share with all of us what you could not wait ten minutes to say.”
“”I do not wish to do that, Professor Leeds.”
Gasps echoed around the room as the boy spoke and the young professor straightened to his full height.
“Mister Riddle, I am giving you one more chance to tell us all what was so important to say that you decided to interrupt my classroom.”
“I cannot do that, Professor Leeds.”
Tobias Leeds looked down at the steely eyes of the child before him and then spoke in a tone which left nothing to the imagination of the others in the chamber.
“Mister Riddle, you shall report to the Isolation Tower for tonight and all day tomorrow. I will not tolerate the cheeky attitude that you have displayed here today. I shall also take ten points from Slytherin for this insubordination. Now, gather your things and go! The door into the tower shall be waiting for you. Go directly there and do not dawdle for I shall know if you have not followed my instructions.”
Tom rose and made a show of being indignant before gathering his things and then fairly bolting from the room. No one, not even Sarah, understood that the young professor had done exactly what Tom had wanted him to do. The boy hurried along the familiar corridors and then up staircases until he arrived at his destination. He watched as the door before him opened silently as though beckoning him inside. Tom Riddle, a smile on his face, walked into the passage way that lead to the Isolation Common Room and did not feel a bit of remorse at the barrier closed behind him.
The remaining students in Leeds’ classroom finished the time with him in amazement. For all of Tom’s bravado, none of them could believe what he had done and all wondered what had possessed him to gain yet another stain on the parchment that reflected his time in the castle as a student.
Sarah glanced again at the seat that he had vacated before making her way to the final class of the day.
‘What are you up to, Tom Riddle,’ she wondered, ‘and how does it affect me?’
For one of the first times Sarah was alone within the castle. The lack of Tom’s presence near her made the girl uneasy and the close proximity of Molly and Carol, not to mention Abraxas, brought a feeling of near nausea to her. The girls from Hufflepuff knew what she was, a fact that made her extremely uncomfortable, especially given the fact that Molly’s father worked for the Ministry of Magic. If Molly complained loudly enough to her father, Sarah knew that she could possibly be on the Hogwarts Express and on a return trip to King’s Cross.
‘I have to stop her from contacting her father, but how?’ the girl fretted as she sat alone at the table.
The class finally rose when the professor released them and Sarah, minus the comforting presence of Tom, realized for the first time just how large the castle really was. Nearly to tears, the girl slowly made her way the field that was reserved for Flying Practice. She walked silently to the broom that waited for her and, in an uncustomary show of acquiescence, followed the instructions of Professor Horst while wondering what had possessed Tom to do what he had done.
‘He almost appeared that he wanted to be sent to the Isolation Tower,’ she considered, ‘but what could be so important that he would want to do that?’
While she pondered his motivations for his actions, Tom was already making his way to the office so far below the Isolation Common Room. As his had closed on the handle of the door Tom wondered what he would learn from the spirit of the long dead founder and just how useful that information would be.
‘Here I go, Professor Slytherin, back into your office. Just what will you be willing to tell me and how useful will it be? Come to think of it, if it is useful, will it be enough so that I can be rid of Sarah? Her usefulness is now diminished and she has become a liability. With her at my side anything that happens to Porter or Markham will bring attention right to her and I have no desire to be in the path if she gets put out of the castle.’
He turned the handle and stepped into the darkened room before considering another thought.
‘I guess that I go it alone, but then again there is nothing different about that.’
The door closed quietly behind him as he entered the domain of Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for what he hoped would be a lesson not prescribed in the normal course of study.
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