Amelia Potter, Some Silver Stuff, Some Green Stuff and Some Good Stuff.
There was a cold draft behind her.
Amelia stood, tucked into a crevice in the ridges of the Hogwarts castle.
And the cold wind howled.
Quirrell's office was directly in front of her and she felt like she was definitely in a horror film.
She quietly continued humming a deathly tune to herself, occasionally emphasized with the stomp of her feet or an intake of breath.
She reached the door, twice her size and Amelia let go of her protective layer of nonseriousness.
She knew she was scared, right? She should be scared? She'd gotten detention (for saving another student, but its fine whatever) and she'd gotten it with her least favorite professor. She was to spend two hours of allotted time, this day of November 6th, 1991, from seven p.m. to nine p.m. with aforementioned least favorite professor.
Did she mentioned the demon parasite version of the Wizarding World's most-feared mass murderer was attached to said professor's head? Who had, you know, murdered her parents?
Oh no. She hadn't. Because Dumbledore asked her not to mention it to anyone.
Her hands began to shake as Amelia reached forward to knock on the door.
Just as she was going to let her fist fall, the door creaked open.
She was living a horror movie right now and it was fine. It was fine.
Amelia knew most heroines who entered the creaky-door room died in the movies, but she convinced her toes to inch her forward.
There in the dark Scottish thunderlight, Quirinus Quirrell sat.
For such a feared figure, Amelia did think him rather unimpressive as a man. His act as a meek, stuttering Professor was convincing. He couldn't be taller than 5'7 and thin. So thin his wrists were like matchsticks and his neck was a disproportionate spindly length. Chin pointed and eyes narrow, he stared at Amelia with unassuming brown eyes.
It was his Colors that made him terrifying, nothing else.
Colors were not everything, Amelia tried reminding herself. Colors were not everything.
Amelia slipped into the room and attempted to occupy as little space as possible.
"I've been e-expecting y-you. P-Please. T-t-take a seat."
The stuttering just was a little bit annoying. She would have pitied it, if only it were real.
Now it just made her angry for all the people who actually had a stutter.
Amelia sat down as far as socially possible. Quirrell smiled.
Was he toying with her?
Amelia wondered, if this was the Dark Lord of Analograms, why did he not kill her now, where she stood?
Quirrell shuffled around papers on his desk, his breathing loud and annoying, until he stopped and a silent moment rang through the room.
Amelia had to close her eyes not shudder. Because as annoying and unassuming and unreal as Quirrell was…what was attached to him, underlying him, was even worse.
The malignancy was aglow in the dark office. She tried not to notice it, she tried to pretend she didn't notice it, she even shut her eyes but she could never not see it.
Today, it roared behind his eyes. Yesterday it had lurked in his mouth. Amelia had never seen Colors that could move core but then again she had never really seen a man possessed by an evil spirit either.
"Professor Dumbeldore…" Quirrell said, more hissed. "H-has requested you serve a l-l-lighter detention th-than usual. Here are s-s-some papers for you to sort f-f-for an h-hour. B-Begin."
Amelia took the papers, careful not to touch hands with him.
She had heard the underlying scorn. Serve light.
She looked in the face of someone else but saw only her parents' murderer. She would never forgive Dumbledore for this. Never.
Amelia put her head down, to do what she sometimes did to shut out the world, count to forty-five and then squeeze and release her left toes three times and her right toes four times. Just as she reached to pick up the first stack, she saw out of the corner of her eyes, in the corner of the room: phials of silver liquid. Imbued in the most terrifying, beautiful and confusing silver aura she had ever witnessed. A lush of cold down her spine. A heat behind her eyes.
Healing magic. Horrible, terrible healing magic.
She knew without having to know.
Amelia had been out of space, out of mind when she bumped into…
Blinking out of her daydream like an owl, she peered at her compadre in magical education who looked a little surprised and a lot dreaded to see her. But not malicious dread, like an oh man why did I find a talking Tarantula in my bed dread.
"Potter," he stated.
"Night," she restated.
"I thought we were speaking English here, Night Theo."
They both stared at each other for a moment, Amelia in challenge, Theodore in not-challenge; then they went on, walking together to Potions.
"How goes it, Theodore?" Amelia asked.
Theo started at the unusually commonplace question, then—
"Are your nights starlit? Are your days worthwhile?"
He rolled his eyes.
"I am well, thank you." Theodore replied stiffly, some obvious societal conditioning kicking in. "And you?"
"Did you mean et tu?" Amelia giggled at her own little joke.
"I thought you said English—"
Amelia waved her hand like a little octopus. "What do I ever really mean?"
Theo's Colors looked like they were advising him to run, run away, run away now and run away fast.
Amelia was charmed that he chose to stay.
"Weren't you shy? I distinctly remember you being shy. And not speaking this much. Before." Theodore added.
"Mmmm," Amelia mulled this over, nodding sagely. "Well, Night of Dark Glow, here's the thing. We've faced death together and it smelled like a sock's butt. Thereforein, we are friends." Theodore looked scandalized. Also horrified. Even—
Amelia was laughing.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say—"
"First its like blink blink ha! What tin! And then the can is opened and WORMS, worms everywhere, and then suddenly all you know is worms here, worms there and worms squirming everywhere. That is how the saying goes right?"
Theodore just stares at her at this point.
It is a great honor to bring such honest bafflement to such a high-level megatron emotions-hider, Amelia thinks.
Theo gives up entirely on how to respond to that description of becoming Amelia's friend, shaking his head out. They continue on their way to Potions.
"So what I'm really trying to ask here—" Theo barely suppresses his groan as she begins speaking again. Does she ever stop? "—is have you spoken to Neville?"
The shift is so abrupt Theo jolts to a stop.
"Yeah you know small, blonde, a little…um…curvaceous—"
"I know who Neville." The lithe boy runs a hand over his face. "I don't know why Neville."
"Oh, don't we all—"
"Cut it!" Theo looks on the edge of something. "The answer is no. I have not spoken to him. Have you?"
"No, actually, I haven't even seen him around…"
Theo racks his mind for the last time he saw Longbottom. All he can remember is the second floor bathroom and the incidents therein. He wonders if he's even seen Neville around since Halloween two weeks ago and…
Amelia gives him an interested look. He instantly wonders what he did wrong. "That's the least eloquent response I've ever heard you give. I enjoyed it."
Theodore rolled his eyes.
But the question remained.
Where was Neville?
There was something about the way Minerva McGonagall said his name, even ten years after working alongside her, that made Severus Snape jump like a guilty schoolboy.
"Minerva." He turned from where he was bent over ludicrously idiotic term papers, to face the Professor of Transfiguration who stood at his doorway. "Enter."
She gave him a curt nod and swept into the classroom with a vigor that even Severus could respect. She promptly seated herself in front of his desk, shoulders back and eyes sharp. Her posture was powerful but tense.
"What's the matter?" spilled out of his mouth before he could stop it.
Minerva replied with a tightening of her lips. She reached into her robe pocket and pulled out a slim silver dome. She placed it on his table, in front of him.
"I believed this could benefit you," she said. "And also serve as an…icebreaker…to my conversation with you."
An alicorn. One of the rarest magical materials, almost impossible to recover because it only retained its properties if the unicorn was still alive as it was removed.
"There is something going on in the Forbidden Forest, Severus." Minerva's eyes flashed with disquiet. "Headmaster Dumbledore has just informed me this is the ninth unicorn dead since the beginning of the school year."
A silence passed over them, unintended and pure. Mourning innocent death.
"This was the first found still slightly alive, by Hagrid early this morning. She was nearly entirely drained of blood."
Severus paled significantly. He whispered, "Cursed ye shall live, may ye never fall."
McGonagall's eyes softened with comprehension, but she brushed it off to grip the arms of her chair tightly.
"We both know who this is."
"Conjecture aids no one, Professor Snape."
"Minerva, I am telling you, he is not what he seems—"
"Enough." She held up a hand. "I am here to inform you the other Professors and I are building a coalition to stand guard around the Forest from now on. We want to ally with the centaurs and I hoped—"
"Say no more." Severus knew what he had to do. "I will help. Now, if you would excuse me."
"Of course," was said briskly. Minerva exited the office without fanfare and shut the door tightly behind her.
As Severus readied himself to face an old friend, neither McGonagall nor Snape noticed the two shadows of eavesdropping first years, a little too early to class, just outside his open door.
"Alright, Hermione." Amelia braced herself. "Hit me with it."
Hermione cracked her wrists and set herself into position, wand high above her head, poised like an almost ballerina. She moved with practiced grace, wand moving in a strong arc towards her feet before jolting up to the center of her chest. A long swish of her other arm, bringing her two hands wrapped around the base of her wand. Then she pushed her hands away from her chest, head tilting back simultaneously, like expelling the energy out of her and towards me.
Amelia had both hands wrapped around the base of her wand, held out, ready to capture Hermione's pass of energy. She could see the subtle shifts and waves of the very air around Hermione, like clear vibrations, the purest Color. She knew it was her turn to manipulate it.
The vibration touched the tip of Wanda. As Amelia made her way through as much of the reverse meditational exercises as she could, she felt an increasing imbalance. Like standing on a tightrope, walking then running then sprinting. Every movement increasing the instability.
But she pushed myself through the jitters and, much less gracefully, managed to reach the final (first) position, wand above head, back arched and face up.
She fell out in a slump, like someone had cut her strings. A sigh escaped her, moody and irritated.
"You're getting better," Hermione sounded dangerously close to chiding. "Just keep practicing."
"Yes," She rubbed her eyes. "Keep practicing. Like we have. Everyday. Three times a day. Without progress."
Hermione just raised an eyebrow very annoyingly.
"Okay, a little progress." Amelia threw her hands in the air. "Its like there's…there's this…jitter? Like a shaky thing inside me and I can't shake off the nerves! As if I'm walking on a tightrope twelve hundred feet in the air instead of doing some awesome cool mediational moves."
"I still think it could be a magical block." Hermione had brought up the idea a few days ago after reading Offensiva by Gerard Filmus. "You know they exist, Amelia! You more than anyone should know they can exist because you literally see magic around you in the wildest and most impossible shapes and forms."
"I don't doubt they exist, Hermione. I just don't think I have one. I would've seen it. Noticed it! Felt it, even."
Hermione clucked her tongue. "Hubris. You can't know that for sure. If we just went to Professor Snape—"
"Who would undoubtedly go to Professor Flitwick, who would go to Professor Dumbeldore. No thanks."
Amelia began gathering up her things from the corners of the abandoned classroom they were in. "We should head to lunch. Don't want to be underfueled for good ole Snappers."
Hermione paled visibly at the nickname. "Never say that again."
Amelia smiled impishly. "What? Protective of your House Head? That's nice. I don't mean it maliciously. He is very snappy, that is all. Dress sense wise. Great robes, great billowing—"
Hermione smacked Amelia upside the head on the way to getting her bag. "I mean it to be protective of you! If he ever heard you call him Snappers, you would never leave detention. Ever. You would die an old maid, still cleaning his phials."
The word made Amelia twitch. She had yet to confess what she had seen in Quirrell's office to anyone, not even her Slytherin friend…or on the third floor…or what she had overheard in Snape's office…or how Theodore Nott had looked extremely confused at her extreme panic and she hadn't bothered to explain…just run away from Snape's office and class and Hogwarts in general.
But she couldn't do anything without her wand. Right now, her priority was to arm herself as best as she could. Gain skills. Skills that began and ended, apparently, with a bloody annoying wooden contraption.
It wasn't that she didn't trust Hermione. Hermione had followed her into a troll's den (okay a girl's bathroom really but you get it). It was just that…she was still accustoming herself to that trust.
Trusting herself to trust. Something like that.
Amelia shook off the heavy thoughts. Instead, she proceeded to make Hermione laugh with her story of Fred and George's latest attempt to prank her with several large, yellow rats and how they had ended up in Mandy Brocklehurst's frilly pink pants.
It was in Greenhouse Number 4 that Amelia finally tracked down Neville Longbottom. See, Neville was many things but loyal was number one on the list. And he was loyal not just to his people-friends, but also his plant-friends.
Amelia respected this immensely.
So when she found out from Professor Sprout that Neville had been raising several small batches of Magiholly as an extra project for Herbology, she knew immediately where she would find the small blonde boy.
Magiholly were a fairly common breed of fairly useless plant. They were beautiful, with dark red leaves and even darker stems, but their uses were limited to smelling good and looking nice. Oh and being kind of sentient. They actually made great pets. Strangely though, they required a very strict schedule of water every 17 hours. And the next water-call, by Amelia's calculations, was tonight at 10 pm.
So she crept through the Hogwarts castle like a cat ninja burglar, all stealth no clumze (despite what Bob might mutter under his breath about that suit of armor, it was a stealth tactic okay). She reached the Greenhouse and there he stood. Eyes a little red and swaying a little to the Wizarding Wireless. One of the Magiholly was wrapped around his hand and he was gently talking to it as he watered its siblings.
Neville's magic, as Amelia had previously mentioned, was deep rooted. It was neither flashy nor obvious. But Amelia had had a feeling when she first met the chubby boy that it was something special.
She was one hundred million percent happy to say she was right. She told you so, Malfoys and other dumbos of the world.
In the soft green light of Greenhouse Four, Neville's Colors were…rich. They smelled like grass after a thunderstorm. They smelled like vitality. They were seeds still, Amelia noted, probably growing as he himself grew. But great Aquamarine, their smell. Heady, but light. Like a tempered rainforest and a palm tree and a pine tree and clean, fresh dirt.
Amelia snapped herself out of sniffing like a dog, and called out, "Neville."
He almost upturned the entire table of Magiholly.
"A-Am-Amelia! What are you— how did you find me?"
She skipped across the greenhouse to sit herself on an empty wicker table, her feet swinging happily. "Sprout."
Neville still looked confused.
"It doesn't matter," she waved him off. "Why did I have to find you to begin with Neville? I thought we were cool, you know, after I saved you from a man-eating Troll and stuff." Neville face twisted into shame and guilt stabbed at Amelia's gut. "I didn't mean—"
"No, no," he said. "Its fine. You're right. You did save me."
"I really didn't mean to imply—"
"What? That I'm weak?" Neville's tone, usually meek, was edged with something sharp now.
"Neville." Amelia leveled with him. "You know I don't think that. Stop with this hazy avoidance and self-pity tactic. According to Bob, those are very bad ways to deal with your problems."
Bob, seated around her neck like a reptilian necklace, nodded in agreement. Neville looked even more upset by this. The Magiholly around his wrist rubbed itself against him affectionately, sensing her master's unease.
"I know you're not a bully, Amelia," he finally sighed. "I'm just— I'm just used to everyone being a bully. Or ignoring me. And with your deal with Fred and George—"
Something deep in Amelia's chest twisted. "That never meant anything. I just want to talk to you. See how you are."
Neville turned back to his plants and shrugged his shoulders. "I'm doing fine."
There was a tenseness to his shoulders and there was that lemon-cigarette stench of lies again.
"Try again," Amelia said softly. With Neville, she felt the need to be gentler. It didn't happen often. "And this time no lies."
Neville tensed even further.
Then, like a tidal wave, all the tension left his body and he slumped like he had given up. He turned his head over his shoulder and said, "If I told you something crazy, would you believe me?"
Amelia smiled at him widely now. "Neville, who do you think you're talking to? I'm the local authority on Crazy. I am Queen Quirk. I am Supreme Super Weird."
That got a small smile out of him. He watered the last plant, then turned to her, pulling a stool over and perching on it so they were eye level.
"I've been seeing…something." Neville fidgeted with a hangnail. "Something dark. A shadow. Its been following me around."
Amelia frowned. "A shadow?"
He nodded. His voice was a little shaky. "I'm not sure— it…it doesn't move like a shadow or have any light with it. But its dark and I always see it in the hallways with me. Sometimes if I wake up too early, I can see it against the window—"
Amelia could picture it clearly. A dark silhouette of a small man against the morning light.
Probably because…because she hadseen it herself.
"Neville…I…" She carded her fingers through her hair anxiously and tried to gather her explanation.
"I know it sounds crazy. But I won't go to Madam Pomfrey—I won't—"
Amelia looked up at him, surprised.
And there it was.
Fierce but terrified. A little panicked. A lot stubborn.
She saw it in the mirror almost everyday.
Neville caught her empathetic gaze and something passed between them, a deep understanding. He wouldn't go to Pomfrey. She wouldn't make him.
Introspectively, she knew this was not a good thing probably. Her Hermione senses told her that was an unhealthy connection, but she was an Amelia, not a Hermione.
But it was a connection and it was like instant friendship glue.
So they let the moment warm them and Amelia explained to Neville about the shadow that had guided her to him during Halloween.
To say Neville was surprised was an understatement.
"You…you've seen it too? It showed itself to you?"
Amelia nodded. "I've had no idea what to think of it, haven't even told Hermione…"
And, like a torrent, suddenly, it was all pouring out.
The third floor, the phials in Quirrell's office, her fiasco with Dumbledore, her eavesdropping on Snape. Amelia honestly wanted to stop talking but she couldn't. That lock in her throat that had existed under the Whomping Willow turned into some kind of convoluted on-switch tidal wave.
Neville, a miracle of a boy, just sat and listened seriously.
By the end of her outburst, Amelia just kind of stared at him, jaw a little askew.
And Neville Longbottom began laughing.
He laughed so hard tears poured out of his eyes.
His laugh had to be infused with magic, it was so infectious. Because despite all catastrophic sharing, Amelia joined him.
By the end of it, he held his belly tight and wiped the corners of his eyes.
"And I thought I had problems!"
When Neville hugged her, still shaking with giggles, she hugged him back.
Neville Longbottom would never hide from her ever again.
She heard them after leaving Charms a little late because Flitwick was still "concerned with her performance".
Load of redvine tallywash. If he was so concerned, he wouldn't have consecutively failed her on their last four assignments.
Anyway, Amelia was surprised no professors had heard them yet because neither of them were making any effort to keep their voices down.
"THINK YOU'RE A BIG SHOT, DO YA?"
"A BETTER SHOT THAN YOU!"
Amelia hurried through the halls winding towards the courtyard. She bumped into Neville in her rush but just pulled him along with her. The change in him since their talk in GH4 was wonderful: no more dark eyecircles or yellowish skin tone. No more stuttering or quivering. Just Neville being the greatest Neville he can be. Obviously still shy and horrible at Potions, but again. Neville being a Neville.
"Who is that—" he began to ask.
"LOOK AT ME. I'M HERMIONE GRANGER, SLIMY SLYTHERIN EXTRAORDINARE. LET ME SHOW YOU HOW MUCH BETTER I AM THAN YOU! YOU'RE PURE EVIL, WHY ELSE WOULD A MUGGLEBORN GET INTO SLYHTERIN?"
"Is that…" Theodore Nott appeared to her left. Amelia shot him a smile which he returned with a nothing. A slightly charming, polite nothing though.
"Yes. Let's hurry now before Hermione murders Green Weasley into a pile of gloop."
We were running now, sprinting towards the courtyard.
There, in the center of a decent crowd, Hermione and Ronald faced off. Hermione looked deranged with her hair like a lion's mane around her. Ronald's face was the same color as a ripe plum.
"Evil? EVIL?" Hermione did not like that. Hermione did not like that one bit. She cackled, a little terrifyingly. "You think the reason I was sorted into my house is because I am EVIL? HOW BLOODY THICK CAN YOU GET? I am a not a MURDERER! I am ASTUTE. I am AMBITIOUS! I am SO BLOODY BRILLIANT the Sorting Hat put me in Slytherin against the Founder's own beliefs!
"Because here is a NEWSFLASH for dimwit chumps like you and Malfoy— SLYTHERIN IS ABOUT MORE THAN BLOOD PURITY. It is about INTELLIGENCE and knowing how to USE IT. So, SHOVE YOURSELF, Ronald bloody Weasley! When I'm Minister for Magic, Queen of England AND KNOW EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION ON THIS EARTH, I will COME FOR YOU, YOU MORONIC MONKEY-FACED—"
Amelia clasped Hermione's shoulder gently.
Around them, there was complete silence.
Then a few Slytherins started clapping and whistling and even a few of the other older students were cheering Hermione's speech! Hermione, despite her fierce outrage a minute ago, looked as shocked by this as Ronald did.
Amelia chose this moment to pipe in.
"Show's over, kids," she called. "Green Wiggle, go home before Hermione eats you."
Ronald, pride fallen, looked like he would rather be eaten than back down. "Yeah? You gonna stop me, Puny Potter? Your wand doesn't even like you!"
Another beat of silence.
Thankfully, Amelia was not the only one at Hermione's side. So someone else replied to that piece of idiocy.
"No, Weasley, she might not." Theodore Nott was speaking. Loudly. Clearly. To several people's hearing. "But I will."
Theodore Nott was very, very good at sounding threatening.
Orange Head still wasn't getting the point. "Yeah? You think I'm scared of a Hufflepuff? I don't care who your Daddy is, Nott, you're still just a measly little Badger!"
Oh, Ronald. Oh, Ronald Orange-Hair-Green-Wiggle-Magic Weasley. What a dumb, dumb thing to say.
Several Hufflepuffs shifted angrily around us, and maybe Green Wiggle got that he had said a Dumb Thing because some of his puce became pale.
Theo's expression flickered for a second and Amelia could swear he was surprised the Hufflepuffs were with him.
Neville stepped forward now too, and we flanked Hermione like soldiers. Neville said nothing but his fists were clenched.
Weasley open his mouth, probably to insult Neville, but then—
A sea of stinksap poured down.
Everyone in the crowd backed away quickly.
Amelia, Hermione, Neville and Theo were completely covered in the putrid green goop. But Ronald Weasley was literally buried beneath a heap of it.
Muffled screeching could be heard but no one moved forward to help, not even his Gryffindor cronies.
From the rafters above, Fred and George Weasley popped down.
They appraised their brother stuck beneath a gelatinous green mountain.
"Never shuts up, our little brother," Fred said casually.
"Too right. Been that way since he could talk," George added.
They turned to Amelia et crew and grinned. "Got you!"
Amelia couldn't even begin to be upset. She had been too distracted being with her friends, Neville and Hermione and Theodore. Defending her friends! Being friends with her friends. She even thought to keep watch for the Weasley twins.
She turned to explain this to Neville, Theo and Hermione. But— she didn't know how it happened, before she could even blink— all four of them were clutching each other, almost falling to the floor with laughter.
Hello, everyone! There are so many of you now! 550! I am so grateful, thank you, thank you! Sorry for the huge wait, I moved across the world. Anyway, next chapter should be up sooner! Gimme some lovin' in the comments section or some critiquing! I haven't had time to edit this chapter but I will get around to it. Wanted to get it to you ASAP! If you want, follow me on tumblr! I'm there now! So cool! So hip! hipnqueerncuddly. Thanks for reading! -dndtd.