After the shock of Halloween, the five first years fell into a routine of sorts: after class each day, they'd go down to the Quidditch pitch and race on the school brooms, practice hitting bludgers at each other, or just toss around a quaffle - Draco had his own set, a fact that Ron ground his teeth at.
Hermione, having grudgingly accepted their stealing the school brooms, nevertheless refused point-blank to get on a broom without a teacher's supervision, and instead kept watch for the four in the air, both to make sure they weren't caught and to take them to the hospital wing if they were injured.
Once they'd all worn themselves out (in Hermione's case due to the constant worrying), they were all dragged to the library by Twilight and Hermione's combined physical and magical ability, where they helped each other get through the homework they'd been set.
Ron growled, head on the desk. "I can't believe Professor McGonagall gave us a foot on the potential applications of Transfiguration," he muttered. Silence fell and he looked around, to find that everyone was staring at him. "What? I was quoting."
Hermione giggled at his defensiveness, and Dashie grinned. "It's okay, Ron. Your secret is safe with us," she said dramatically. "Nobody will ever know that you're an egghead." she wriggled her fingers in front of his face at the last word, and he batted them away, glaring at her.
"Besides that," Rarity continued, matching Draco's posture with a raised eyebrow, "there are so many different applications for Transfiguration that I'd more likely run out of parchment than ideas. And that's without giving an explanation for each, as Professor McGonagall expects us to."
"Ideas such as?" Ron pressed, and Rarity sighed as she was shoved aside by Twilight.
"Storage, temporary decorations, temporary removal of obstacles, creation of tools for the purpose of the permanent removal of obstacles, assassination-"
Neville, who had chosen that moment to take a sip from his glass, promptly burst in incredulous laughter, spraying pumpkin juice everywhere. Twilight vanished it on reflex before it hit anything, but that didn't stop Draco's look of utter disgust. Neville coughed for a few seconds, then apparently chose to ignore the fact that he'd almost soaked everyone. "How'd you get from bridges to murder?"
"Well, I figured that the permanent removal of obstacles was a valid idea, and people aren't usually classed as obstacles, but if they were classed as obstacles, the permanent removal of them would involve murder, and more specifically, assassination," Twilight explained reasonably.
Then she noticed the stares of four humans and five ponies. It might have just been her, but she swore that they were further away than usual...
Draco was the first to recover. "Yeah, don't put that in the actual essay," he deadpanned. "Merlin knows we don't need the professors to think you're a psychopath."
Twilight looked affronted. "It was a valid thought! The specifications didn't say anything about the ideas needing to be legal or morally sound. It just says 'Homework: List and explain, giving your reasoning, some of the potential uses of Transfiguration. Minimum one side.'"
Ron, still a little green, turned to look at Neville's version of the question and saw that it was identical. "Great, we have another Hermione, but this one's mentally unstable."
Twilight groaned, trying to ignore the others' attempts to make fun of her, which wasn't helping since even Neville and Hermione were laughing. It was going to be a long study session.
Minerva brought her eyes back to the tea in front of her as System sat with his new friends at the Hufflepuff table. It had been quite a shock to see them together the first time, but she was slowly getting used to the massive shift in the status quo.
If she was honest though, young Draco was the first Slytherin in quite a while that she had taken a liking to. He obviously still emulated his father's beliefs when possible, but he'd somehow managed to befriend four people with opinions and backgrounds wildly different from his own. Just a few weeks ago he'd been taunting Hermione and Ronald, and here he was chatting happily with them after a complete one-eighty.
She'd wondered if he was being so... Different for his own benefit, but had shot that down, angry at herself for even suggesting it. How was house unity supposed to be achievable if even the deputy headmistress was biased?
Besides, Draco's overall attitude had improved greatly since Halloween. His grades had shot up, along with the rest of the group's. Even Hermione, top of her class in almost every subject, had benefitted from the group's new study habits she was getting similar grades as the ones she had before, but in much less parchment, and many of the professors were almost crying in relief as the twenty-foot essays became two.
According to Severus, whom she was still incredibly creeped out by after his change, Hermione's grade had also been steadily climbing in the new Potions class. Partnered with Ronald or Draco, as she most often was (Neville and System worked best together regardless of the subject matter), Hermione could fill whatever role that her partner lacked, and make up for their weakness. It had taken a while to explain her strange behaviour, but Minerva had eventually realised that Hermione was actually much more interested in what wasn't being considered than what was.
Neville and System had a very odd dynamic to them: one would come up with the ideas, while the other would attempt to shoot them down with logic. Then they would switch roles and do it all over again, building up to whatever insane goal they were working towards. She'd seen similar tactics with the Weasley twins, and she considered telling Severus of her thoughts on the matter, or even acting on them in her own classroom.
An uncharacteristically loud remark from Draco brought her out of her musings, and she sipped thoughtfully on her tea.
It was cold.
Just a brief break from the action, looking into the new status quo. I really like the idea of seeing how the different changes would be interpreted outside the main characters' group, so we've got a bit of that.
Also, I'm pretty sure the time between Halloween and Christmas would be ridiculously boring without Harry's place on the Quidditch team, which you might notice that the System doesn't have. Which is odd, since he has someone who was born to fly in his head in this canon.
Next time: Who knows? Maybe just some random lessons to pad out the story. Maybe I'll just jump to Christmas, or maybe Madam Hooch'll be back before then.