Within a Mile of Home
Disclaimer: Everything HP belong to JK Rowling, obviously. The title of this story is from a song of the same name by the band Flogging Molly.
The spectacle of two girls fumbling with two trunks in the middle of King's Cross Station was beginning to attract a lot of attention from the regular people walking past. One of the girls was trying to lift her trunk onto the cart, while the other was pulling other the end.
“Here, I've got it,” the slim blonde girl said as she struggled to lift the heavy trunk. She managed to lift it off the ground, only to have it promptly fall back down, narrowly missing her toes. The sudden shift caused the brunette holding the other end to fall forward onto the cart. She pushed herself up and brushed her dark bangs out of her eyes, glaring at the other girl.
“Yeah, you had it.” The blonde laughed and bent down to pick up the trunk again. The brunette rolled her eyes before glancing around the busy station. Quite a few people were watching them as they passed. “Holly, we should probably hurry this up. We're causing a scene.” The blonde looked up from her trunk and shrugged.
“I don't know how to make this go any faster, Del.” She struggled once more before finally dropping the trunk and sighing. “Maybe I did pack a little much.” Del started at her.
“You think?” she asked, her voice incredulous. “You packed at least three times as much as me.” She glanced down at her trunk and then back to Holly's. They were the same size, but Holly always found a way to stuff as much as she could into hers. She looked back up at Holly, who was glancing at her watch.
“Umm, Del?” The brunette looked up in response. Holly's horrified eyes were on her. “We've got five minutes before the train leaves.”
“WHAT!?” More than a few heads turned in their direction. Del threw her hands up to her face in horror. Holly looked like she was about to cry. “We can't miss this train! It's our last year for Merlin's sake!”
The blonde began pulling at her trunk hysterically in the direction of Platform 9 ¾. She was moving at a snail's pace and would never make it to the platform, let alone get it on the train before it departed. Del grabbed her trunk by one of the side handles and began to drag hers as well. Unlike Holly, she was able to pull hers along with some effort.
They had almost made it to the platform with less than three minutes to spare. The usual crowds that occupied Platform 9 ¾ on September 1st were already dispersing, with some last minute stragglers saying goodbye to their families.
The scarlet engine's whistle blew and the two girls looked at each other in horror. They had almost reached the train, Holly was pulling her trunk with all her might and Del was trying to help her, while pulling her own, albeit much lighter trunk.
“After all these years, you never thought to pack lighter?” Del asked, almost out of breath.
“I need it all!” Holly replied, equally as oxygen deprived. Del rolled her eyes and pulled both trunks harder. She pulled a little too hard, causing Holly to lose her balance and tumble backwards. Before Del could grab her arm to steady her, someone else had beaten her to it.
“You girls are aware that the train is about to leave any second, aren't you?” Both girls looked up at a very serious Percy Weasley. He quickly let go of Holly's arm once she was steady.
“We are indeed, Perce,” Del replied with a grin. “Holly packed her whole house again and we can't lift her trunk.” She pointed to the dark mahogany trunk lying at Holly's feet. Percy sighed, a rather arrogant sigh Del thought.
“I did pack a little much,” Holly added sheepishly. “Any way you could help us get it on the train, Percy?” Percy glanced back down at the trunk, while adjusting his posture so he stood up straighter. He straightened the shiny badge on his chest.
“As Head Boy, it is my duty to help other students.” Del rolled her eyes, but turned to watch as he bent down to lift the trunk. Obviously he didn't believe her when she had told him it weighed a ton. He managed to pick it up about a foot before almost falling over. Del had to hold back her snickers, while Holly tried to help him lift it.
Just then the whistle blew again and the sounds of the train beginning to move reached them. Del stopped laughing and grabbed her own trunk. In one swift move, though she never understood how she did it, threw it through the still open door on the train. Percy and Holly were still struggling with the trunk that may or may not have been full of bricks.
“Let me help!” Del grabbed underneath the middle of the trunk and Holly and Percy each grabbed an end. With all three of them, they managed to finally get it onto the now, slowly, moving train. The three quickly hopped through the door as it began to close.
Del leaned against the wall with exasperated sigh. Holly looked relieved and Percy immediately straightened out his robes. The train was on its way out of the station Del noticed. They had definitely cut it close.
“Well,” Percy began, now fixing his Head Boy badge, “You two should go find a compartment. No one is supposed to be in the hall.” He nodded to them both before walking off. Del began to laugh as he disappeared around the corner. Holly gave her a look and smacked her arm.
“Leave him alone, Del,” she said. Del rolled her eyes, but followed the blonde as she began to look for an empty compartment. Of course, all of them were filled with people who had not packed ridiculously heavy trunks and had made it on the train early.
“Look, there's Fred and George,” Del said, pointing to a compartment way in the back. Holly looked at her questioningly.
“How can you tell?”
“Well, I can hear...” The rest of Del's comment was drowned out by the sound of a small explosion. The compartment she had been pointing to now had smoke pouring out of it. She gave Holly an 'I told you so' look and dragged her down the hall.
Re: Within a Mile of Home
Del led Holly to the end of the car which was by now almost completely filled with smoke. The two Gryffindors coughed as they attempted to pull the door all the way open. Holly had her shirt pulled up over her mouth and nose, while Del was trying to hold her breath. Inside they found the two red headed twins hunched over something. Both of their clothes and faces were covered in what looked like soot.
"What the hell did you two do?" Del asked, stepping over them to open the two boys looked up and smiled.
"If it isn't the beautiful Adelphie!" One, Del was pretty sure it was George, said.
"And the gorgeous Holly as well!" The other replied. Del rolled her eyes and tried to wave some of the smoke out of the window. The compartment finally seemed a little less smokey and Holly pulled the collar of her shirt back down.
"I can't believe you two get away with these things," Holly said, waving some left over smoke out of her face. The twins grinned and motioned for them to sit down.
"This, ladies, is the prototype of our newest product," George said, motioning to a small, charred pile between them.
"What is it?" Holly asked, leaning over them to get a better view. Fred and George shared a scandalized look.
"It's an exploding quill of course!" They cried in unison.
"You mean it was an exploding quill," Del said, watching them with her arms crossed. The twins grinned.
"Exactly! It was a success," Fred said, poking the slightly smoking pile with his wand. George nodded excitedly.
"Well, congratulations," Holly said with a smile. "Just don't ever slip me one." Del laughed.
"If you messed up her hair like yours right now, she just might kill you," she said, grinning at Holly. The blond nodded, her face completely serious.
"We know not to mess with Holly's hair," George said, chuckling.
"Do you remember that time Flint turned it blue?" Fred added. Holly's face turned murderous.
"It would be best not to remind me," she said, glaring at the twins threateningly. Del couldn't help but laugh.
"Don't worry, Holly, we got him back," she said, trying to control her giggles.
"I still don't think charming his robes pink for the week was enough," Holly replied. The two boys and Del burst into laughter and even Holly couldn't completely hide her smile.
Just as they were all trying to recover from their laughter, the compartment door opened to a very serious looking Percy.
"What have you four done already?" He asked his arms crossed. Del grinned at him.
"Oh, nothing, Perce," she replied. "Just discussing some good memories."
"We haven't even gotten to Hogwarts and you have already caused some havoc," Percy said, ignoring Del's reply.
"Come on, Perce, lighten up a bit," Fred said, grinning at his older brother.
"I'm going to have to take ten points from Gryffindor for causing a disturbance on the train," the Head Boy said, standing up far too straight. Del rolled her eyes. Percy's gaze switched to her and frowned.
"I really thought you and Holly were more mature than this, being seventh years and all." He said, before walking out of the compartment.
"Ugh, he is such a prat," Del said, leaning back into her seat. Holly sighed.
"He is only doing his job..." she said apprehensively. Fred and George stared at her.
"I don't think that not letting us have any fun is in his job description."
"Oh well. You two should have seen him attempt to lift Holly's trunk," Del said with a smirk. The twins laughed, knowing far too well how much the blond always packed.
A couple hours into the train ride, the four were relaxing after cleaning up the mess the twins had made. The two red heads were playing a game of exploding snap and the two girls were discussing their classes.
"I still don't understand why you dropped Divination," Holly said, playing with a lock of her hair. Del gaped at her.
"Are you kidding me?" She replied after popping a chocolate frog into her mouth.
"I mean it's so easy! All you have to do is make up a story Trelawney will believe."
"It is not easy! She never believes anything I claim to See. Honestly, I don't know how you got away with the one about you suffering romantic hardships because your fiance will be severely injured by stampeding nifflers." Holly giggled.
"You just need to be more creative and depressing."
"What about the one I said about Wood falling from his broom and becoming paralyzed from the neck down? She didn't believe that one," Del said, pouting. "And it's way more possible than yours!"
"What's possible?" A voice said from the door. Del and Holly glanced up at the newcomer. Del rolled her eyes while Holly grinned.
"Hullo, Oliver!" she said, almost with a little too much excitement. The twins looked up and greeted him as well.
"What's up, Oliver?" Fred asked, pausing the twins' game. Wood nodded hello to them all, before focusing his attention on the twins.
"Just came in to tell you about our Quidditch meeting tonight at ten," the Quidditch captain replied. The twins stared at him.
"We haven't even gotten to school yet!" George exclaimed. Wood raised his hand to stop him.
"I know that, but this is my last year to win the cup. I need, we need, to win this year. Remember, ten o'clock." He turned to walk out of the compartment, but turned and looked back at Del.
"Now what was possible again?" Del smiled sweetly.
"Oh, just you falling off a broom and getting paralyzed," she told him. He stared at her for a second before smiling.
"Let's hope not," he said, finally leaving the compartment. The four watched him go and were silent for a minute."
"He's finally lost it," Fred said, shaking his head. George nodded in agreement. Del and Holly grinned at them.
"You didn't expect this at all?" Holly asked.
"He's been insane all along," Del added. They sat in silence for the next few minutes, until Holly glanced out the window.
"I think we're stopping..." she said, edging closer to the window. The other three looked at her and after a moment it was clear that the train had stopped.
"What's going on?" George asked, getting up to look into the hall.
"It probably couldn't pull the weight of Percy's big head," Fred replied. They all began to laugh, but were suddenly hit with a wave of cold. Even Del stopped mid-laugh and began to feel a sense of despair. Fred stood up and joined his brother at the door.
"We're going to go see what's going on," he said as they both left the compartment. Del shared a look with Holly.
"What is this?" Holly asked, her eyes filled with fear. Del couldn't answer. The lights suddenly began to flicker and went out. Del stood up and walked towards the open door. She could hear the other confused students asking each other what was going on. The most terrible part for Del was the depressing aura that had settles on the train. She hated to admit, but she was frightened.
"Please don't leave, Del," she heard Holly say from behind her.
"Don't worry, I'm not leaving," Del replied. She took a step out of the door, but ran into something mid step. She let out a small scream, which caused Holly to scream quite loudly. Hands grabbed her arms and pushed her back into the compartment.
"What are you two screaming about?" asked the thing, well person, that Del had run into.
"Oliver?" Holly asked, now standing as well. Del squinted at the dark shape that still held her arms.
"Yeah," Wood replied, pushing Del down onto the seat. He sat down next to her, across from where Holly was still standing. "Where did the Weasleys go?"
"They left to see what was going on," Holly replied, finally sitting down.
"Do you have any idea what's going on?" Del asked, inching away slightly from the Keeper next to her. She could just make out Wood shaking his head in the darkness.
"No, but some people are claiming it's dementors," he replied, his voice serious. Both girls stared at him.
"What?" Holly asked, her fright evident in her voice. "Why would they be on the train?"
"Probably looking for Sirius Black," Del replied, crossing her arms tightly. Holly looked at her in horror.
"But..but what would he be doing on the train?" she asked.
"If it is Dementors they probably want to make sure no one is smuggling him aboard," Wood said, running a hand through his hair.
"I don't like this at all," Holly said, her arms tightly wrapped around herself. "I feel like I'll never be happy again." Del sighed and looked at her.
"I know, Holly," she said, her voice heavy. "I feel the same way." After what seemed like an eternity,though it was probably only a few minutes, the lights finally flickered back on and the train began to move. Del glanced over and saw how close she still was to Wood and scooted over a bit more. The boy looked at her and rolled his eyes.
"Well, it seems that whatever happened is over," he said, getting to his feet. Del got up as well and sat next to Holly, who was still visibly shaking. "I'll see you girls at the feast." The girls watched him walk to the door, but he stopped and turned to them with a grin. "Don't worry, Sable, I won't tell anyone about you screaming like a girl." Dell glared at him.
"I am a girl, Wood, and I didn't scream!" She grabbed one of the forgotten chocolate frogs on the seat next to her and threw it at him. He caught it before it hit him and laughed.
"What ever you say, Sable, but I'm keeping this." He finally turned and left the compartment.
"I hope you choke on it!" Del called after him. She narrowed her eyes as he laughed in the hall. She turned to Holly, who was finally looking a little less pale. Holly smiled back weakly. Del rolled her eyes and tossed a chocolate frog into her lap.
"I suppose chocolate does fix everything," Holly said as she unwrapped the candy, causing Del to laugh.
"Well, duh." Soon, Holly was looking much better and had gone back to chatting Del's ear off about Divination and her favorite subject, Potions. Del sat back into the seat, content to listen to her friend's ramblings for the rest of the trip.
Re: Within a Mile of Home
The train had finally reached Hogsmeade and Del was more than happy to get off the metal contraption. She and Holly walked down the road towards the waiting carriage. The village looked the same as always, small and quaint. Del could see the bright windows of the castle in the distance and felt a pang in her chest. This was her last year and she wasn't sure if she was ready for it. She glanced at Holly, who had a vacant look on her face as she smiled in the dark. Del smiled at her friend before looking back towards the castle.
She hated to admit, but she was nervous. Even though she had been here for six years, it was always weird to return. Every year was always different and something interesting always seemed to happen. Last year with the crazed giant snake petrifying people and the strange disappearance of Professor Quirrel the year before. Not that they didn't have a different Defense Against the Dark Arts professor every year, but none of them just disappeared into thin air.
She thought about the unfortunate Lockhart last year and couldn't help but chuckle. He was just about the worst professor they had ever had. Everyone had done terribly in his class, even Del, whose best subject was Defense. She glanced over at Holly and remembered how smitten she had been with the fool. She tried to bring it up as much as often, to Holly's horror. Del really hoped that they would finally have a competent professor, where she would actually learn something. But, knowing the past few, this could be a very slim possibility.
Del sighed and ran a hand through her dark hair. Her thoughts had now drifted to the terrible task of finding a job. She had to start looking for one because her poor mother couldn't support her forever. She had it tough enough raising Del on her own and working at her clothing store in Diagon Alley. Del worked there during the summer, but it wasn't something she'd be keen on doing for the rest of her life.
Truthfully, she had no idea what she wanted to do. Holly had already decided that she wanted to work at St. Mungo's, which was actually a great fit for her, since her best subject was Potions. She had already begun to look into what she needed to apply. This slightly scared Del because she was so lost. Her best subject was Defense, but she knew she wasn't cut out to be an Auror. Too much work...
"Knut for your thoughts?" Holly asked, watching the brunette. Del turned and smiled.
"Just thinking about the new Defense professor and what I'm going to do with the rest of my life." Holly laughed.
"Well, snap out of it because we've reached the carriages." Del glanced ahead and saw that they were, indeed, waiting for the next carriage. Holly grabbed her arm and pulled her to the nearest empty one. Although it wasn't as empty as they had thought. Once they climbed in, they realized that Percy Weasley and his girlfriend Penelope Clearwater were already seated inside. The carriage began to move and the two girls were trapped inside.
"Hello Percy, Penelope," Holly said, smiling at them. Penelope smiled back, while Percy nodded.
"Hey Perce," Del began, ignoring the face he made at the nickname,"Do you know what happened on the train?" Percy sighed and nodded.
"I asked the conductor and he told me that it was dementors searching the train for Sirius Black," he said, consciously making himself sound important.
"That's what we thought," Del said, laying her head back.
"It was terrible wasn't it?" Penelope asked, her hand gripping Percy's. Holly nodded solemnly.
"I don't think I've ever been so unhappy," she replied, looking at the floor.
"Well, I heard that they are going to be guarding the doors of Hogwarts as well, I'm afraid," Percy said, patting the terrified Penelope's hand. Holly looked horrified, while Del scowled.
"How can they let those creatures near a school?" Penelope asked, looking at Percy pathetically. Del would have gagged if it hadn't been such a serious matter.
"I know Dumbledore is not happy with it, but it's orders from the ministry. They can't be too careful with Sirius Black on the loose," he replied.
"Ridiculous," Del said, crossing her arms. Percy glanced at her.
"The ministry believes it is in our best interest, so I'm sure it's warranted," he replied, almost sounding offended. Del ignored the comment and the four spent the rest of their ride in silence.
The Great Hall looked the same as usual, though the starry sky above was rather cloudy, as was the real sky outside. Del and Holly were some of the last to enter the Great Hall, barring the first years. The only seats open at the Gryffindor table were, to Del's disgust next to either Wood or Percy, who were sitting across from another. Del decided to pick the lesser of two evils and bee-lined for the seat next to Wood. She felt slightly bad for abandoning Holly, but the blond didn't mind the Head Boy's company as much as she did.
She quickly sat down, not acknowledging the Quidditch captain next to her as Holly took the seat across from her. Del could see her best friend was trying not to laugh and glared at her. This only made Holly laugh harder.
"I know where you keep your make-up," Del threatened. Holly immediately stopped laughing and looked up to where Dumbledore had just stood up. Del followed her gaze as the headmaster called everyone's attention.
The speech was nothing new, except for the announcement that the dementors would, indeed, be guarding the castle. Del snuck a look at Holly, who shivered slightly. The brunette understood how her best friend felt. When the awful creatures had come onto the train, Del felt like she had lost all hope. All her doubts had come to light and it terrified her. She couldn't imagine what would happen if she felt that all the time. With that thought, she promised herself that she would never murder anyone and get sent to Azkaban.
Del suddenly realized that she hadn't been paying attention to Dumbledore's speech and quickly tuned back in. He was now introducing the two newest professors. Del scanned the head table with interest, trying to spot the two new faces.
“First, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.”
Del eyes moved down the table and landed on a man with rather straggly robes. He looked nice enough, if not a little sickly. Del immediately thought of the so called curse on the class and felt that she wouldn't be surprised if he became deathly ill, or something along those lines. She clapped politely, though not very loudly, as not very many people had joined in the applause. Other than a couple Gryffindors father down the table behind her, who were clapping like crazy.
"As to our second appointment," Del heard the headmaster announce. She tore her eyes from the politely smiling Lupin in surprise. Another new professor? There shouldn't have been any other spots open...
“Well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs.” Del tried to conceal her snort of laughter, but Holly heard and glared at her. Del grinned. When Kettleburn had taught them last year he had been missing part of his leg and a good amount of fingers on both hands. Classes with him were always interesting to say the least. He was prone to tripping over the smallest twigs and Del couldn't help but laugh every time. Holly always reprimanded her afterward.
Her green eyes wandered down the table, finally landing on a man who towered over McGonagall, who was seated next to him. Hagrid? She ran her eyes back and forth down the head table trying to find any other new faces. Perhaps the new professor was late?
“However,” Dumbledore continued, “I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties.”
She couldn't help but gape at the news. Hagrid? Really? Del knew he was a nice guy and everything, but she wasn't sure if he was professor quality. She couldn't help but feel a little relieved that she had stopped taking Care of Magical Creatures.
"Interesting new professors, eh?" Holly asked, leaning across the table towards her. Del nodded.
"Yeah, Hagrid the most." The blond giggled.
"No doubt about that." Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the food. Del grinned and immediately dug in. She hadn't eaten anything but chocolate frogs all day and nothing was better than the food at the welcome feast. She quickly grabbed a helping of everything before Holly even had a chance to get a piece of chicken.
Del happily ate in silence, preferring to listen to Wood explain this years training schedule to Alicia Spinnet, a chaser on the Quidditch team. She looked quit angry and Del figured she had not planned on spending her first night back discussing training or tactics. Wood was in the middle of explaining a complicated move with exaggerated arm movements, when he smacked Del in the back of the head. She nearly choked on her potatoes.
“Oy, Wood,” she said, turning to shove him. He fell forward and nearly onto Alicia. He spun around and glared at her.
“What the hell, Sable?” he asked, his voice quite loud.
“Watch where you're swinging those arms! You just hit me!” she replied, motioning to her head.
“It was an accident, you idiot. You didn't need to push me!” Del rolled her eyes.
“Sorry, I just thought that Quidditch players had better motor skills than that.” Wood rolled his eyes and turned back to Alicia, but the young chaser had disappeared. He looked around, confused for a moment. Del spotted her sliding in next to the twins who were farther down the table. She couldn't hold in her laughter as Wood finally saw where the girl had gone.
“Looks like she didn't want to talk Quidditch anymore,” Del said through her giggles. Wood turned and sent her a murderous look. She almost flinched.
“I hate you,” he said, before getting up from the table. The brunette smiled and waved as he walked away.
“Del,” Holly said, leaning across the table, “Was that really necessary?” Del stared at her.
“Yes,” she replied, before taking a bite of her pie.
Re: Within a Mile of Home
Hey guys! I'd love to hear any feedback anyone has on this story so far! I hope everyone's enjoying it, but let me know.
Del and Holly finally made it to the Gryffindor tower, following behind the mass of other students in their house. Del wondered why no one could ever figure out where other house's dormitories were. All they needed to do was follow the huge horde of students after a feast or something along those lines. It really wasn't that difficult. She was about to voice this concern to Holly, but she was interrupted by a certain Head Boy pushing his way through the crowd.
“Coming through, coming through!” he said, as he rudely pushed past everyone. “The new password's 'Fortuna Major'”!
“Geez, Perce!” Del said, as he shoved past her. “Way to say excuse me!” He didn't seem to notice her as he entered through the portrait hole. Holly giggled next to her.
“Come on,” the blond said, pulling her best friend by the arm. Del sighed and allowed Holly to lead the way.
Del had to admit, seeing the ridiculous amount of red and gold did make her feel like home. She and Holly followed the other girls through the common room and up to the female tower. As they walked up the stairs, another thought came to the brunette.
“Holly,” she said, glancing at the girl next to her, “I know that the staircase flattens out when boys try to climb it, but what if a girl carried a boy?” Holly raised an eyebrow.
“Del, I have no idea,” she said, smiling. The two walked into the seventh year dorm, where their three other dorm mates were already unpacking. “Just let me know when you plan on carrying a boy up here.”
“Wa...” Del attempted, looking at Holly dumbfounded, “I didn't mean me! It was hypothetical!” Holly began to laugh uncontrollably and had to sit down on her bed. The other three girls were staring at them.
“Let me know if that works, won't you, Del?” one of the girls asked, a grin on her face. Del sent a glare her way.
“As a matter of fact, I won't, Alexandra,” she said, her hands on her hips. “You'll find out when you hear noises one night.” The other dark haired girl just laughed and returned to her unpacking. Del sighed and flopped backwards on her bed.
“I would rather not hear any noises, Adelphie,” came the voice of another girl in the room. Linette Laurence was not one of Del's favorite people. She wasn't the nicest person, not that Del was either, but Linette was oblivious to it.
“Don't worry, Lin,” Del said, staring up at the canopy of her bed. “I'll make sure it's when you're out with a boy till all hours of the night.” An angry sound came from the other side of the room, as Holly stifled a laugh next to her. She swore she heard Alexandra laugh as well.
“Hey Del, you going unpack sometime tonight?” A teasing voice said from the bed on her other side.
“What are you my mother, Hadley?” Del asked, rolling over to face the girl. Hadley laughed from her place in front of her trunk.
“Someone has to get you motivated,” she replied, neatly folding a set of robes. Del rolled her eyes and swung her legs off of her bed.
“Fine, fine,” she said, settling herself in front of her own trunk. She had so much stuff to unpack and really was not feeling up to it. She wished she could do it in the morning, but with her first class being Charms, she figured it was best to get it over with now.
She had so many books and quills and ink and parchment and robes and other clothes... She didn't even want to open her trunk. But she did. It took almost an hour just to go through everything in the trunk, but she did find some interesting things, like her favorite quill that had gone missing at the beginning of last year.
By the time Del had finished unpacking, the other girls were already in bed, all of the asleep. She carefully closed her trunk and quietly slipped into her bed. She fell asleep moments after she laid down, finally back at home surrounded by the familiar red velvet curtains.
The next morning came far too soon for Del. Holly, the early bird that she was, had pulled the curtains back from the brunette's bed, allowing the early light to intrude on her peaceful sleep.
“Five minutes...” She mumbled, rolling over and hiding her head underneath a pillow. Her blankets that she was tightly wrapped in were ruthlessly yanked off by the evil blond standing above her.
“Come on, Del,” Holly said, grabbing the pillow that the girl was holding.
“Why? We'll be like ten minutes early...” she said, desperately trying to hold onto the pillow.
“Yes, but we can get our table by the window,” Holly replied, managing to pull the pillow out of the brunette's grasp.
“I guess,” Del said, slowly rolling over to the edge of the bed.
“Plus,” the blond began, throwing both the pillow and blanket back on the bed, “if we get there late, you make get stuck sitting next to Wood.” Del's eyes snapped open and she jumped, falling off of the bed and onto the floor. Holly laughed and turned back to make her own bed. Del sighed and ran a hand through her messy hair.
“You're so over dramatic,” Alexandra said, holding out her hand to help Del up. She rolled her eyes and took the girl's hand.
“Am not,” she said, going to her trunk to grab her clothes.
“I don't understand why you dislike him so much,” Alexandra said, brushing her dark hair. Del didn't say anything, but slammed her trunk closed. She marched into the bathroom and closed the door.
“He's a lunatic, who is in love with Quidditch, there by making everyone else's lives miserable!” Del replied, her voice muffled.
“Forget it, Alex,” Hadley said, grabbing her bag.
When Del finally got out of the bathroom, she saw Holly was still waiting for her. She was sitting on Del's bed, with both of their school bags packed and ready to go.
“Sorry, Hol,” she said. The blond smiled.
“Don't worry about it.” She glanced down at her watch. “If we leave now we'll still be pretty early.” Del nodded and swung her bag over her shoulder.
“Grab you're peacock feather quill?” Holly said, grinning. Del laughed, nodding. “Of course I did.”
“You're the best,” the brunette said, smacking the girl's arm.
“Well, duh.” The two Gryffindors walked in silence down the corridors of Hogwarts, very glad to be back. After a few moments, Del spoke.
“I wonder if that suit of armor on the sixth floor still has those cat ears we gave it last year,” she said. Holly laughed.
“I don't know. We'll have to check tonight,” she said, adjusting her bag. “I really hope Filch didn't find out how to remove them. They took so long to get right!”
“Yeah, well, you know me and Transfiguration...” Del said. The two had finally reached the Charms classroom and walked in, hoping to find their table unoccupied. They had made it a little less than ten minutes early, and sure enough their table was one of the many unfilled. Del took her seat next to the window, Holly next to her.
“I told you we'd get it if we left early,” Holly said, grabbing her books and a quill out of her bag. Del did the same, but unintentionally dropped her book a little more loudly on the table.
“I don't want to be in school,” she groaned, letting her head fall onto her book. Holly rolled her eyes.
“Oh, shut up. Class hasn't even started yet,” the blond said, her chin resting on her hand.
“Welcome to a new year class!” Professor Flitwick said, perching himself on his usual stack of books. Del raised her head at his squeaky voice.
“First things first! We are going to review the Aguamenti charm from last year, since many of you were having trouble with it...” Del snickered and glanced at Hadley across the room. Last year she had flooded the entire room and everyone had to evacuate. As if sensing Del's look, Hadley turned her head and glared.
“So everyone let's try it again! Please begin!” Del grabbed her wand from her pocket before glancing at Holly.
“At least this is an easy first day back,” she said. Her best friend nodded as she preformed the wand motions.
“Aguamenti,” she said as a stream of water flowed from the tip of her wand. She set her wand on the table and turned to Del. “Although, I was hoping we'd begin something a bit more difficult.” Del looked across the room where Flitwick was tying to help Hadley.
“Now, Miss Rollins, use gentle wand movements...” He was interrupted by a jet of water pushing him half way across the room. Del laughed at the horrified look on Hadley's face.
“I've got an idea...” she said, pointing her wand straight ahead of her. “Aguamenti!” she cried. A large stream of water, though not as extreme as Hadley's, flew out of her wand and all over the person at the table in front of them.
“Hey!” the boy in front of her shouted, spinning around in his seat. Del put on her most concerned expression.
“I am so sorry, Perce!” she said, beginning to wave her wand for a quick drying spell.
“No, no!” he said, stopping her mid swish. “I'll do it myself.” He dried himself and glared at her.
“I really am sorry!” she repeated. “I must have over done it!” He adjusted his robes and badge.
“Just be more careful next time. I don't want to have to take points from our house.” He finally turned around and Del had to cover her mouth to stifle her laughter. Holly was chuckling next to her while drying their table off.
“He's such a prat,” Del said, rolling her eyes. “With no sense of humor, either.”
“Would you be happy if you had just gotten soaked with water?” Holly asked, raising an eyebrow. Del only stared at her.
“Apparently, you lack one as well.”
“I don't want to go to Transfiguration!” Del said as the two witches made their way to said class.
“You're whining again,” Holly said.
“Oh, shut up,” the brunette said, pushing the blond softly. This only made Holly giggle.
“Oh, come on, it's not that bad!” Del gaped at her. “I mean, you did get good enough OWLs to continue with it.”
“Only because I have to study and practice like a mad woman to even pass!”
“Who's a mad woman?” A voice said from behind them. The witches spun around in surprise.
“Will you two stop listening in on our conversations?” Holly asked, hands on her hips. Fred and George grinned.
“It's not our fault you talk so loudly,” George replied.
“So who's the mad woman?” Fred repeated.
“Me, of course,” Del answered, impatiently.
“That's not surprising at all,” George said, throwing an arm over her shoulders. Del rolled her eyes and continued to walk with him, Holly and Fred next to them. “We heard what you did to the Big Head Boy today in Charms.”
“Yeah, totally soaked him, did you?” Fred asked, laughing.
“Yes, well, he always makes a good target,” she said, her lips curling into a smile.
“Indeed, he does,” George said, dropping his arms from her shoulders as they reached the Transfiguration classroom.
“See you later, boys,” Holly said, leading Del into the room.
“Tell Minnie we said hello!” Fred called, waving. The girls laughed and waved back.
The two girls were some of the last people to enter the classroom and there were not many seats available. They scanned the room, hoping to find two seats together. Unfortunately, there were only four seats open and they were all far away from each other. Holly nudged Del and waved as she walked over to a seat next to Alexandra. Del looked around at the other three seats to see who was sitting next to them. Linette, Percy, and another boy in their year, Patrick Everly. She practically bolted to the seat next to him.
“Hello, Pat,” she said as she slid into the seat. He looked up from his book and smiled slightly.
“Hi Del. How's you're first day been?” he asked, setting down the quill he was holding.
“Oh, not too bad so far. I shot water at Percy in Charms,” she said, grabbing her book out of her bag. “It was pretty entertaining.” The dark haired boy chuckled.
“Sounds like it. Is that why you didn't sit next to him?” he asked, nodding towards the still empty seat in the front of the classroom.
“I don't like to sit by him anytime if I can help it,” she said, still digging in her bag.
“Or Linette, huh?”
“Oh, dear Merlin, never by Linette,” she said, glancing up at him with a horrified look. He laughed again and she went back to digging in her bag. After a moment, she finally found her peacock quill and shot back up in her seat. Unfortunately, she over shot and somehow managed to practically headbutt the boy next to her.
“Bloody hell!” she cried, grabbing the side of her head. “I'm sorry!” she said, this time actually meaning it.
“It's alright,” he replied, his hand on his head as well. “I know Transfiguration gets you all worked up.” Del was relieved that he wasn't angry with her, but rather had a small smile.
“Well, now we will have matching bumps on our heads. Maybe it will catch on and be the new style,” she said, rubbing the spot where a bump was already forming.
“Alright everyone,” McGonagall said, immediately getting everyone's attention. “For the next week we are going to continue practice on human Transfiguration...” Del groaned quietly. “Before moving on to more complicated work. I expect you all remember how to Transfigure another human. This is a N.E.W.T. Level course, so you all should be prepared for more difficult and challenging assignments.” Del dropped her head onto the table. She should have never signed up for this.
“Everyone please partner up with the person next to you and begin.” Del looked up at Patrick sadly.
“I am so sorry,” she began, “I really should have sat by Linette. At least she would deserve the damage.” The wizard stared at her, looking quite nervous.
Re: Within a Mile of Home
Del and Patrick stared at each other in silence for a few minutes, both afraid to decide who would go first. Del sighed and laid her head on the table.
“You should probably go first,” she said. “I can't guarantee you'll have use of your arms if I go first.” The boy just chuckled.
“OK, I'll go first, but I'm sure you're going to do fine,” he said. Del rolled her eyes before glancing around the room. Many of the groups had already started. She spotted Holly, who was sporting hair that looked like white feathers. Del frowned and turned back to Patrick, who had just stood up. He offered her his hand and quickly pulled her to her feet.
“Don't turn me into anything too disgusting, please,” she said. He just laughed and waved his wand. Del felt a strange tingling sensation and looked down at her body. Nothing looked any different. She glanced up at Patrick in confusion, but the boy only gestured for her to turn around. She frowned and looked over her shoulder.
“I think it looks nice,” the boy said, trying to hold in his laughs. Del stared at him, before looking back over her shoulder.
“You gave me a peacock tail,” she said. Patrick could not hold in his laughter anymore, which earned a glare from Del.
“I saw your quill and was inspired,” he replied through his laughter. Del shook her head and laughed.
“I'm not going to lie. It does look rather nice,” she said. She took a few steps, testing her new tail out.
“Miss Sable, will you please stop strutting around and get back to work?” McGonagall said. Del grinned at the professor.
“Well, Pat, I guess it's my turn,” Del said. She pulled out her wand, feeling rather nervous. Patrick winked at her. She rolled her eyes in return and waved her wand. Immediately after, she smiled.
“What did you do to me?” he asked. Del giggled and pointed to his head. He reached a tentative hand out and pulled it back immediately when he was poked by something. “Do I have antlers?” he asked, raising his hand to touch them again.
“Yep, and I think they look lovely,” she replied, her hand covering her mouth to prevent her laughs from escaping. He conjured up a mirror and admired her handiwork.
“Wow, Del, I'm just glad I'm not missing an body parts. You did a good job.” Del laughed out loud as he inspected the new addition to his head.
“Well, thank you. Now we both are going to attract the ladies.” She indicated her enormous feathery tail by wiggling it.
“Excellent work,” McGonagall said, making Del jump. “Miss Sable, practice more on the color.” Del stared at the professor's back as she walked over to the next group.
“Did you hear that? I didn't fail at life terribly!” She grinned and jumped up and down. Patrick rolled his eyes at her and waved his wand to remove his antlers.
“You just need to have more confidence,” he said. “I mean look at Linette over there.” He nodded in the girl's direction. Del turned to see and began to laugh hysterically. Linette's perfect face had been turned into some strange beak like form. Del had to cover her mouth as to not induce Mcgonagall's rage.
“I guess you didn't turn out too badly, then,” she said, once she had recovered. Patrick shook his head and held up his wand.
“Want me to get rid of that tail for you?” He asked. Del glanced at her newly acquired tail and shook her head.
“No, I think I'll keep it for a while.” The boy just shook his head.
“I can't believe I haven't injured anyone in Transfiguration yet,” Del said, as she and Holly made their way back from dinner a week or so later.
“You just need to believe in yourself more,” Holly said, as they walked towards Gryffindor tower.
“Well, I think that Patrick not being completely terrified of me helps,” Del said. Holly chuckled, but it died on her lips as the two walked up to the huge group of students crowded around the portrait hole.
“What's going on?” Holly asked a small first year near the back. The small girl shook her head, her eyes filled with worry. Holly attempted to move through the crowd, but it was too closely packed with other students wondering what was going on. Del rolled her eyes and began pushing her way through the mass of Gryffindors. Holly waited in the back as her best friend pushed forward. She could hear Del as she progressed.
“Get the hell out of my way!” “Well, I wouldn't have to push you if you would move!” “I don't care if you can't see!”
Holly put her face in her hand as she heard the dark haired girl's comments. She only had to wait a moment before Del made her way back out of the mob. The girl's face was red from anger or the effort, Holly wasn't quite sure.
“Did you find out what's going on?” The blonde asked. Del nodded, biting her lip. Before she could answer, Dumbledore had arrived and made his way to the portrait hole, the mass of students parting for him. Holly gasped when she got a look at the portrait of the Fat Lady. It was slashed multiple times and the normally annoying occupant was missing.
“They said it was Sirius Black,” Del said. Her voice was quiet and had a hint of worry in it. The two girls locked eyes, both looking solemn.
“I don't understand why we can't sleep in our dormitory tonight,” Del said, her arms crossed over her chest. Holly rolled her eyes.
“Go ahead and sleep up there, Del. Let me know if you get held hostage,” she said.
“You'd pay ransom for me right, Hol?” Del asked, a smirk on her lips.
“Not as much as you'd like to think.”
The two had just entered the Great Hall, where all the Gryffindors would be spending the night. Holly and Del joined the awkward gathering of students as Dumbledore rearranged the tables. He conjured them all poofy, purple sleeping bags.
“Do you realize how much food gets dropped on this floor?” Del asked, looking suspiciously at the shiny, obviously clean floor.
“Oh, shut up, Del,” Holly said, picking up one of the sleeping bags. She scanned the room and then pulled Del across the room. Del had to grab a sleeping bag as she was pulled, accidentally grabbing one a girl had just claimed.
“Not like you can't find another!,” she said to the girl, who looked angry. “Holly, where are we going?”
“Over by the other 7th years,” she replied, still pulling Del by the arm.
“By other 7th years, I hope you don't mean Wood, Percy, or Linette.” Holly didn't respond and Del groaned as they approached a group that consisted of those three.
“Hey guys!” Alexandra called. She had already set up her sleeping bag next to Hadley. Holly finally released Del's arm to set up her own sleeping bed next to the two girls. This left a spot for Del next to her.
“Can you believe all of this happened tonight?” Hadley asked, her head propped up on her hand.
“I know, it's pretty scary,” Alexandra said. Holly nodded in agreement.
“I don't know. It just doesn't make sense,” Del said, straightening out her sleeping bag. The other three girls, as well as Linette, who had decided to join in the conversation.
“What do you mean, Del?” Hadley asked.
“Well, if Sirius Black was smart enough to be the first person to ever escape Azkaban, then why was he stupid enough to make a move like this?” Del explained, climbing into her makeshift bed.
“Adelphie, he's obviously a homicidal maniac,” Linette said, her head barely visible.
“Thank you for your input, Linette,” Del said, rolling over onto her side.
“Who knows, Del,” Holly said, snuggling deeper into her sleeping bag. “I'm sure we'll hear something eventually.” Del heard her yawn and turn over.
“You all need to stop talking,” Percy said, walking over to the group. “Dumbledore's words.”
Del rolled her eyes and flipped over onto her other side. She knew she was in for a terrible sleep. The fluffy sleeping bag was comfortable, but not her bed. She lost track of time as she laid there in silence. The deep breathing of everyone around her was the only noise in the whole hall, except for some very soft whispering going on between some 3rd years. Del finally dozed off, her thoughts on her luck of not being stuck next to Wood.
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