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“There, look,”

 

“Where?”

 

“Next to the tall kid with the red hair and the girl with brown hair.”

 

“Wearing the glasses?”

 

“Did you see his face?”

 

“Did you see his scar-”

 

“Can you guys shut up? He’s a real person you know. He has feelings,” I finally said to the two boys in Hufflepuff uniforms making them quickly run away.

 

Harry shot me a grateful smile.

 

We had just finished Herbology and were now making our way to Charms with Professor Flitwick. All day people had been looking at Harry and whispering behind his back acting like he couldn’t hear them. I felt really bad for him and those two boys were the last straw.

 

As class started Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher who was so short that he had to stand on a tall pile of books, took the roll call. Once he reached Harry’s name he gave him an excited squeak and toppled out of sight. I rolled my eyes.

 

McGonagall was different from the other teachers though. She made it known within the first five minutes not to cross her.

 

“Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts,” she said. “Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned."

 

I was pretty impressed when she changed her desk into a pig and back again.

 

After what seemed like a lifetime of taking notes, we were each given a match and were told to start turning it into a needle. By the end of the lesson the only people who had done it successfully were Hermione Granger and I. 

 

Although I would never admit this Ron or Harry, Hermione had started to grow on me. Sharing a dorm with her made me realize that I was wrong about her when I first met her on the train. She’s really smart and nice once you get to know her. 

_________

 

“What have we got today?” I asked Ron and Harry at breakfast on Friday.

 

“Double Potions with the Slytherins,” said Ron. “Snape’s Head of Slytherin House. They say he always favors them-we’ll be able to see if it’s true.”

 

“Wish McGonagall favored us,” Harry said and I nodded in agreement. Professor McGonagall was head of Gryffindor House, but it didn’t stop her from giving us huge piles of homework.

 

Just then the mail arrived. I didn’t get any letters from Mrs. Weasley today but Harry got his first letter which made up for it. Harry tore it open right away and read it out loud so Ron and I could both hear.

 

“Dear Harry, I know you get Friday afternoons off, so would you like to come and have a cup of tea with me around three? I want to hear all about your first week. Send us an answer back with Hedwig. Hagrid,” Harry said.

 

He quickly grabbed Ron’s quill and scribbled what I assumed to be yes and sent Hedwig off again.

 

After finishing breakfast, we made our way down to Potions which took place in one of the dungeons. It was definitely colder down here than up in the castle.

 

Snape, like Flitwick, started the class off by taking the roll call, and like Flitwick, paused at Harry’s name. What he did next though was not what I expected.

 

“Ah, yes,” he said softly, “Harry Potter. Our new-celebrity.”

 

Draco Malfoy and his annoying friends Crabbe and Goyle sniggered behind their hands. Snape finished calling the names and looked up at the class. His eyes were black at Hagrid’s, but they had none of the warmth that Hagrid’s did when I saw him on the first night we arrived at Hogwarts. Snape’s were cold and empty, reminding me of dark tunnels.

 

“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion making,” he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but I caught every word-like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort.

 

“As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic,” Professor Snape continued. “I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses….I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stop death-if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

 

Everyone was silent after his speech. Harry and Ron exchanged looks with raised eyebrows at me. Meanwhile, Hermione was on the edge of her seat and looked desperate to start proving that she wasn’t a dunderhead.

Potter!” Snape said suddenly. “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

 

I mentally slapped myself.

 

Harry looked stumped; Hermione's hand had shot in the air.

 

“I don’t know sir,” Harry said.

 

Snape’s lip curled into a small smile.

 

“Tut, tut-fame clearly isn’t everything,” Snape said, ignoring Hermione’s hand.

 

“Let’s try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?” Snape asked.

 

This time Hermione stretched her hand so high I thought she would lose her balance and fall over. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, were shaking with laughter which Snape definitely found even more amusing.

 

“I don’t know sir,” Harry repeated.

 

“Thought you wouldn’t open a book before coming, eh, Potter?” Snape said.

 

Harry looked like he wanted to say something, but instead just stared at Snape. Probably wondering if Snape was the Devil himself.

 

Snape asked Harry another question but instead of just saying he didn’t know, Harry chose to go down a different route.

 

“I don’t know,” Harry said quietly. “I think Hermione does, though, why don’t you try her?”

 

This got a few people to laugh, mainly the Gryffindors. Snape, however, was not pleased.

 

“Sit down,” he snapped at Hermione. “For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Aren’t you all copying that down?”

 

I rummaged for my quill and parchment asking Hermione if she could repeat what he had said.

 

“And a point will be taken from Gryffindor House for your cheek, Potter,” Snape said over the noise.

 

Things went downhill from there for the Gryffindors. Snape put us into pairs and criticized almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like for some reason. He was always telling us to look at how perfect Malfoy did and to follow how he did it. 

 

Poor Neville, got it almost as worse as Harry. Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus’s cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people’s shoes. Within seconds, the whole class was standing on their stools while Neville, who had been drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils sprang up all over his body.

 

“Idiot boy!” snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion away with one wave of his wand. “I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?”

 

Neville continued to whimper as boils started to pop up on his nose.

 

“Take him up to the Hospital Wing,” Snape spat at Seamus. Then he rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

 

“You-Potter-why didn’t you tell him not to add the quills? Thought he’d made you look good if he got it wrong, did you?” That’s another point you’ve lost for Gryffindor.”

 

That was unfair. Harry opened his mouth to argue but it looked Ron had stopped him in time.

 

As the three of us climbed up from the steps on the Dungeon, I could see the anger and disappointment all over Harry’s face.

 

“Cheer up,” I said, “Snape’s always taking points off Fred and George. Trust me, you’re not only one.”

 

“Hey can Mads and I come with you and meet Hagrid today?” Ron said.

 

Harry nodded so five minutes before three, we left the castle and made our way across the grounds. Hagrid lived in a small wooden house on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. 

 

When Harry knocked, we heard a frantic scrambling from inside and several booming barks.

 

Then Hagrid’s voice rang out saying, “Back, Fang. Back!”

 

Hagrid’s big, hairy face appeared in the crack as he pulled open the door.

 

“Hang on,” he said. “Back, Fang.”

 

He let us in, struggling to keep a hold on the collar of an enormous black boarhound.

 

There was only one room inside. Hams and pheasants were hanging from the ceiling, a copper kettle was boiling on the open fire, and in the corner stood a massive bed with patchwork quilt over it.

 

“Make yerselves at home,” said Hagrid, letting go of Fang, who bounded straight at Ron and I. I realized that, like Hagrid, Fang wasn’t as fierce as he looked.

 

“This is Ron and Madison,” Harry told Hagrid.

 

“But you can call me Mads if you like. I go by either,” I clarified to Hagrid, who smiled.

 

Hagrid turned back to Ron, “Another Weasley, eh? I spent half me life chasin’ yer twin brothers away from the forest.”

 

Hagrid passed out rock cakes that we pretended to enjoy, as we told him about our first week of lessons. Fang rested his head on Harry’s knee which I was jealous about at first until I realized that Fang had drooled all over his robes.

 

I, along with Harry and Ron, was delighted when Hagrid called Filch “that old git.”

 

“An’ as fer that cat, Mrs. Norris, I’d like ter introduce her to Fang sometime. D’yeh know, every time I go up ter the school, she follows me everywhere? Can’t get rid of her-Filch puts her up to it.”

 

Harry told Hagrid about Snape’s lesson. Hagrid, like me, told Harry not to worry about it, saying that Snape hardly likes any of his students, especially first years.

 

As Hagrid asked Ron about Charlie, I noticed something on Hagrid’s counter catch Harry’s eye.

 

“Hagrid!” said Harry, “That Gringotts break-in happened on my birthday! It might’ve been happening while we were there!”

 

In response, Hagrid didn’t meet Harry’s eyes. Instead he grunted and offered more rock cakes, making me suspicious.

_________

 

“Typical,” Harry said. “Just what I always wanted. To make a fool of myself on a broomstick in front of Malfoy.”

 

“You don’t know that you’ll make a fool of yourself Harry,” I said.

 

“Exactly. Anyway, I know Malfoy’s always going on about how good he is at Quidditch, but I bet that’s all talk,” Ron said.

 

Malfoy did talk about flying a lot. He complained loudly that first years never got on their house Quidditch teams. He wasn’t the only one though, that had stories of him flying at home. The way that Seamus Finnigan told it, he’d spent most of his childhood zooming around the countryside on his broomstick.

 

Ron and I would always play around with the older Weasley boys and for the most part, I was able to stand my ground around them.

Obviously, I wanted to try out for the Gryffindor team but like Malfoy said, the first years never made the team.

 

As Hermione lectured at Breakfast about flying tips that she had learned from reading Quidditch Through the Ages, the mail arrived.

 

A barn owl brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. He opened it excitedly and showed us a glass ball the size of a large marble, which seemed to be filled with white smoke.

 

“It’s a Remembrall!” he explained. “Gran knows I forget things-this tells you if there’s something you’ve forgetten to do. Look, you hold it tight like this and if it turns red-oh….” His face fell, because the Remembrall had suddenly glowed scarlett, “....you’ve forgotten something…”

 

It looked like Neville was trying to remember what he had forgotten when Malfoy, who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of Neville’s hand.

 

I jumped to my feet but Professor McGonagall was there in a flash,

 

“What’s going on?” she asked.

 

“Malfoy’s got my Remembrall, Professor,” Neville explained.

 

Malfoy scowled, then quickly dropped the Remembrall on the table and walked away with Crabbe and Goyle behind him.

 

At three-thirty that afternoon, the other Gryffindors and I hurried down to our first flying lesson with Madam Hooch. The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying in neat lines on the ground. Fred and George would always complain about the school brooms, saying that some of them would start to vibrate when you flew too high.

 

“Well, what are you waiting for?” our teacher Madam Hooch barked. She had short, gray hair, and yellow eyes like a hawk. “Everyone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up.”

 

I glanced down at my broom noticing how old it looked. Some of the twigs stuck out in odd angles.

 

“Stick out your right hand over your broom,” called Madam Hooch at the front, “and say ‘Up!’”

 

“UP!” everyone shouted.

 

My broom jumped into my hand and so had Harry’s. But there were only a few that did. 

 

Madam Hooch then showed us how to mount our brooms without sliding off the end, and walked up and corrected people’s grips. I was delighted when Madam Hooch said that Malfoy had been doing it wrong for years.

 

“Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard,” said Madam Hooch. “Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle-three-two-”

 

“Neville!” I said.

 

Neville had pushed off hard before the whistle had touched Hooch’s lips.

 

“Come back boy!” she shouted, but Neville was rising straight up like a cork shot out of a bottle-twelve feet-twenty feet. His scared white face looked down at the ground falling away, saw him gasp, slip sideways off the broom and-

 

WHAM-a thud and a nasty crack and Neville lay facedown on the grass in a heap. His broomstick was still rising higher and higher, and started to drift lazily toward the Forbidden Forest and out of sight.

 

Madam Hooch was bending over Neville, her face as white as his.

 

“Broken wrist,” I heard her mutter. “Come on boy-it’s all right, up you go.”

 

She turned to our class

 

“None of you is to move while I take this boy to the Hospital Wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you’ll be out of Hogwarts before you can say Quidditch. Come on dear.”

 

As soon as they were out of earshot, Malfoy burst in laughter.

 

“Did you see his face?” Draco said as he picked up Neville’s Remembrall on the ground.

 

“Give it here Malfoy,” I said at the same time as Harry. Everyone stopped talking.

 

“No, I think I’ll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find,” Draco said as he flew up into the air. “What’s the matter Potter and Carter? A bit out of your reach?”

 

“Mads. Harry. Don’t you dare,” Ron said.

 

I looked at Harry and we both nodded before mounting on our brooms and taking off after Malfoy.

 

“Give it here,” Harry called, “or I’ll knock you off that broom!”

 

“Oh yeah?” Malfoy said, trying to sound sneer.

 

“No Crabbe and Goyle up here to save your neck Malfoy,” I called.

 

“Catch it if you can then!” Malfoy shouted, and he threw the glass ball high into the air and streaked back toward the ground.

 

Harry leaned forward and pointed his broom handle down as I flew behind him. He gathered speed and stretched out his hand, catching it just in time to pull his broom straight. He threw it to me and we both toppled gently onto the grass.

 

“HARRY POTTER! MADISON CARTER!”


All credit for original characters and original plot goes to J.K. Rowling. I own only my OCs and select scenes that are not from the original series. Thank you, J.K. Rowling for writing this series and changing so many lives. Thank you all, for reading.

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