"I can't believe you," George muttered from next to me as we were practically running to the platform. "You forgot your wand!"
I huffed and elbowed him in the ribs once we stopped on the other side of the barrier. "Hey, it's more important that box of fireworks, Georgie," I shot back. "Honestly, you could have just gotten another box at Zonko's; I couldn't just get another wand."
George mimicked me and crossed his arms in a huff. "Whatever…" I rolled my eyes at his childish behavior before turning my attention to the rest my family as they rushed in, not seeing Harry or Ron. I rose an eyebrow. They were right behind us… What could be taking them so long? The Barrier doesn't close until after the train has left and the shiny red engine was still sitting in the station.
"Here, go find us a compartment." I passed my trunk and owl to the twins and they left, meeting up with Lee who waved at them from a compartment window. Angie, Katie, and Alicia could be seen sitting down. I waved at them before running back to the Barrier.
Meaning to slide in without Molly noticing, I instead ran face first into the rough, red brick. My surprised yelp caught the attention of my adoptive mother. The woman rushed over to me and began fussing over the blood dribbling from my nose, but I wasn't paying any attention. Why couldn't I get back through? And what about Harry and Ron? How're they gonna get through?
"Mum, Harry and Ron didn't make it through!" My voice sounded muffled from the handkerchief Molly was pressing to my nose. "We can't get back through either!" The train let out a loud whistle, signaling it was about to leave. Oh no!
"Don't worry, dear, just get on the train! I'll send an owl to the school when we get back home to get those two back to Hogwarts." She began to push me back to the train. "Now, go! Go!" I jumped up onto the train just as the last whistle blew and the train began to move.
I looked worriedly out the window as Molly's face slowly moved out of view. Sighing, I pushed my way through the crowd of students towards my friends. I suppose they will be fine, not like it's the end of the world. But knowing them, they might do something stupid.
"Oi! Willow! Over here!" Looking up, my gaze caught one Lee Jordan's as he waved me over from a compartment door. Everyone parted for me with greetings and smiles, I returned them all half-heartedly until I was safe in the confines of the compartment. I groaned as I leaned against the glass door.
"You alright, Willow?" Fred asked. I nodded my head and plopped down in between him and George. "Really? Got a nasty nosebleed there."
"I'm fine, but Harry and Ron might not be… They didn't make it through the Barrier," I informed. The others' eyes widened. I explained what happened and they all seemed to relax.
"Well, if Mum says they'll be fine, then they will. Don't be such a worrywart, Will." George swung an arm around my shoulders.
"I know…" I turned to look out the window, hoping that they wouldn't do something irrational.
During the Feast, Harry nor Ron had shown up. Hermione was constantly looking over to the great doors, looking for a tall red-head or a mop of dark hair and glasses. I couldn't say I was any better off than her; my worried navy eyes ghosting over the door every two minutes. George had finally had enough and leaned forward to block my view of the doors.
I hadn't seen the two boys until after the feast when everyone was in the common room, waiting for the two 'heroes' to return. Fred, George, and Lee were beyond the moon. So impressed were they with the younger boys' illegal and dangerous act. I can't say I shared their enthusiasm, but I can't say I wasn't completely unimpressed with them either. After all, I had been a part of the rescue mission for Harry with the very same car.
However, that didn't stop me from being annoyed with them. I noticed them making their way to the stairs to the boys' dorms so I marched up to the two of them, gripping onto their shoulders tightly. They froze and slowly turned their heads to look at me.
"Might I have a word, boys?" I gave them a bright and shining smile, which I'm sure had the opposite effect than it normally would. I could hear them swallow, but they nodded and followed me to a private corner. Everyone watched with wide eyes until I sent the room a red-eyed stare. They all went on with their night.
"So. Mind explaining what went through your thick heads when you decided to take the car to school?" By their looks of shame, I can tell they already had been scolded. But obviously not well enough, as I saw the slight twitch of Ron's lips as he looked over my shoulder at Seamus. I smacked him over the head. "It's nothing to be proud about! You were seen by Muggles in that car! And the Ministry will connect this to Arthur! What if he gets fired for enchanting the car? Did you two think of that?"
They hung their heads but said nothing. I sighed and gestured up the stairs. "Off to bed." They nodded and trudged their way up to the second-year dorm. I waved to the twins before moving to my own dorm.
Sleep didn't come easy and it took a pillow to the face from Katie to finally stop me from tossing and turning.
The next morning was eventful. I was already over Harry and Ron's little stunt, but seeing them, or Ron, get ripped into by a Howler from Molly was satisfying. After breakfast, everyone broke off to head to class. Classes were as underwhelming as ever. And they were for the next few days. Especially Defense Against the Dark Arts. Lockhart was full of hot air and hair gel. I'm sure he was quite tired of me correcting him every time he said something completely bogus.
I don't know whether I was grateful or not that Quidditch practice started Saturday morning. On one hand, I was saved from the boredom of reading Lockhart's books and I can actually play around a bit. However, on the other hand, I have to face Oliver now, whom I haven't really spoken to since breaking up with him… and I'm being woken up at the ass crack of dawn. I groaned and flopped back down on my pillow.
"Don't go back to sleep!" Angie's voice called from the stairwell.
I groaned even louder.
All dressed and somewhat awake, I met up with the twins in the common room who looked just as tired as me. We all slumped over to the pitch, leaning tiredly on each other when we got there. Everyone sleepily lounging on the benches as we waited for Harry to show up. Fred was nodding off from next to Alicia, a complete mirror image of George who sat next to me.
I thanked the stars that Oliver was too absorbed in the Quidditch diagram on the board and that I was too dazed to feel any awkward tension that might have been there. However, the more I thought about it and the more my eyes drifted towards the burly sixth year, the more my mind woke up and the blood in my ears pumped harder. George dropped his head onto my shoulder, rubbing his cheek onto the red uniform. The tension building in my back instantly eased. George let out a breathy chuckle.
"There you are, Harry, what kept you?" Oliver's voice brought my attention to the tired and slightly annoyed looking twelve-year-old boy. Once he was seated, Oliver began his huge speech on the new battle plan he made, though I noticed that he made a point not to look at me or George. I bit my lip and looked down at my broom which was wedged in between my knees.
Finally, we had finished our meeting and were walking out onto the pitch. Alicia and I raced around each other a few times before slowing at the incessant clicks and snaps of a camera. I turned to see a first-year in the stands with his camera pointed straight at us, but mainly Harry.
This kid seemed to ruffle Oliver's feathers, the older boy thinking he was a Slytherin spy. George flew up next to me, nudging my arm with his. He nodded down to the figures walking up on the field when he got my attention. My maroon eyes narrowed at the dark uniforms of the Slytherin team.
"And the Slytherin's don't need a spy, Oliver," George said.
"What makes you say that?" Oliver crossed his arms, his jaw set at a defiant angle.
"Because they're here in person." George and I pointed to the other team. Oliver looked positively murderous. The Captain swept down to the ground, landing just in front of the larger captain. I swallowed nervously. There was no way this could end peacefully. I let my broom drop straight from the sky, catching myself just as my toe brushed the grass. Oliver and Flint were already deep in their argument, the Slytherin waving a paper.
"You've got a new seeker? Where?" Oliver disregarded the paper, only focusing on the 'important' thing. I nearly screamed as Draco Malfoy stepped out from behind his team. Godric, anybody but him. He gave a smug little grin to Harry and I. My face hardened into a stony glare.
"No need to be so hostile, cousin." He taunted. I gripped my Nimbus tightly, visualizing beating the blonde brat over the head with it.
"You're Lucius Malfoy's son, aren't you?" Fred narrowed his eyes to resemble my glare. Draco tilted his chin up, his arrogant grin still in place.
"Funny you should mention Draco's father." I didn't like the puffs of the other teams' chests and the superior look in their eyes. "Let me show you the generous gift he's made to the Slytherin team." At his word, his team held out their broom for us to see the shining polished wood and golden lettering spelling out Nimbus Two Thousand and One.
"Very latest model. Only came out last month." Flint had his nose flared in pride, neatly grooming his broom. "I believe it outstrips the old Two Thousand series by a considerable amount. As for the Cleansweeps, sweeps the board with them."
"So essentially, Draco bought his way on the team?" I smirked at Flint and Draco. "Seems to me that your team would rather rely on speed rather the talent you seriously lack," I said smoothly.
Just as Flint was about to retort, his eyes drifted to something off to the side of the field. "Oh look, a field invasion."
Ron and Hermione were making their way over to us with looks of confusion. When they reached us, Ron was instantly glaring at Malfoy. The blonde seemed to forget about my comment and was instantly flaunting his new place on the team and the brooms his father bribed the team with. I rolled my eyes. This boy major attention issues.
"You could raffle off those Cleansweep Fives; I expect a museum would bid for them." Apparently, this was the funniest joke the Slytherin team has ever heard as they all doubled over in laughter. Draco looked so proud of himself.
"At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in, they got in on pure talent." Hermione bit out. I snorted at the similarities of our statements. However, that seemed to be the final straw with Draco, both my and her comments seemed to break his confidence.
"No one asked for your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood." The response was immediate. Fred and George were stopped from tearing the boy apart by Flint jumping in front of Malfoy. Alicia, Angie, and Katie all shouted at the boy while Ron pulled out his broken wand. I instantly brought my hand over his, stopping him from firing off a spell that will most likely backfire.
"Willow, what are you doing? You heard what he just said!" Ron shouted at me. I nodded.
"I did. But if you did anything with your wand, it would backfire." I whispered. He lowered his wand, looking away in embarrassment. "But my wand is perfectly fine!" I grinned wickedly at the Slytherin team. I knew for a fact a few of them were actually afraid of me from past experiences.
I pointed my wand at the pair, Draco's face twisting in fear. "Furnunculus!"
Draco shrieked as nasty red boils sprouted from his skin. The Gryffindor team erupted into laughter. The Slytherin team was all ready to run from the pitch, but my wand was already pointing at the rest of them. "Locomotor mortis. Levicorpus." One by one, the Slytherins were either suspended in the air upside down or flat on the ground, their legs locked together.
"Never speak to anyone that way again if you don't want a repeat of this." I hissed at Draco after stalking up to him. He stumbled back and ran along with his team when I released them from my spells. I stared at them as they ran. My team swarmed me, patting my back and cheering. I let my lips crack a smile.
I turned to Hermione with a sad smile. "Are you alright? Don't take what Malfoy said to heart, he's just full of hot air. You're ten-thousand times better than him and anyone who thinks otherwise." I wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her to my side. She gave me a watery smile. "Now, weren't you planning to go to Hagrid's?" She nodded and I let her go to leave with Ron and Harry.
"Hey! We aren't finished with practice!" Oliver yelled after Harry.
"Oh, just leave it, Wood. I think we've all had enough excitement. And if that's who I think it is marching toward us, we won't be having practice." I looked to the figure sweeping across the field. Emerald robes and a large pointed hat gave enough sign that it was McGonagall.
"Willow Black!" She called. I flinched at her tone and sighed. She stopped halfway toward us, expecting me to follow her.
"That was fast," Fred muttered. I handed off my broom to him.
"Good Luck." George patted my shoulder as I began to walk to the fuming Professor.
"Professor." I greeted when I reached her.
"Follow me." She commanded. Turning on a head she led me back to the castle and up to her office. On the way, the Slytherin team stood in a circle with Snape talking to Flint, whose face was still red from being hung by his feet. Draco didn't seem to be with them. He was most likely up in the Hospital wing getting his boils dealt with.
The team sneered at me but I sent them all a wicked grin with eyes glowing red. They all flinched. I chuckled darkly as I passed.
McGonagall stopped at her office door and gestured me in. I stepped in and took my seat in the usual leather seat in front of her desk. The older witch took her seat and laced her fingers together. I lounged back and crossed my legs. Something flickered in her eyes but was gone as soon as it had come.
"Miss Black," her voice was strained. "Care to explain why you attacked the Slytherin team?"
"Well, Professor, I can't stand their attitudes and disrespect for others so I taught them a lesson."
"Draco Malfoy couldn't hold his temper and called Hermione a Mudblood." I bit out. I didn't feel at all bad for what I did. "If I get detention for a month, then so be it. But I won't let someone talk to my friend like that and have them get away with it. Hermione is the best witch I've met her age and her blood status has nothing to do with it."
McGonagall sighed and smoothed a hand over her cheek. "Very well. You will serve detention tonight and tomorrow. I will speak with Professor Snape for the punishment of Mr. Malfoy."
For the rest of the day, I lounged about with the twins playing exploding snap or any random game we could think of. Changing my facial features was always a favorite. Currently, we were walking down a corridor, turning a corner when I nearly ran into somebody. Oh, dear God. Lockhart stood before us in the most horrendous powder blue robes.
"Ah! Miss Black! There you are!" He beamed down at me. "I was just looking for you. McGonagall told me of your detention and as a fellow fighter for justice, I must applaud your chivalry."
"U-um, thank you, Professor?" My lips pulled into a tight smile.
"Ah, and as your teacher, I requested that you and Harry help me with my fan mail, as your detention." My heart dropped down to my stomach. "Although you are not nearly as famous as me or even Harry, you are still very well-known and I thought it would be good for you to see how a real celebrity deals with fan mail."
"O-oh… That's very, uh, kind of you…" Please kill me now.
"Isn't it just? I do pride myself on thinking of others," Lockhart boasted. His head seemed to swell even larger. I can't believe I'll have to spend hours with this peacock. I can already feel a headache forming just behind my eyes. At least Harry will be there to ease my suffering.
"Well, if you'll excuse us, Professor." I grabbed the twins' hands and pulled them down the corridor, away from the alien posing as a man.
The moment we were away, the boys erupted into boisterous laughter. I groaned and smacked my forehead on the brick wall. They sure did find my pain hilarious. In less than three hours I was going to be forced to sort through fan mail for Lockhart. Crazy girls declaring their love and admiration for a crazy man. I turned my head slightly, my forehead still pressed to the brick, to glare darkly at the twins who were still laughing.
"Oh, come on, Will!" Fred chuckled, slapping my back when he caught my eye.
"I want to die. Can death be my punishment instead?" I moaned in mock agony. Well, maybe not mock agony, just real agony. "Anything. Anything else than Lockhart."
"Will, you're being too dramatic," George said while pulling me to his side.
"Yeah, who knows maybe it won't be that bad," Fred agreed, coming up on my other side.
"Seriously." I deadpanned.
"Maybe he'll teach you how to be a real celebrity!" They cheered together. I growled and shoved their arms from my person, storming off to the common room. They cackled behind me.
I can feel my impending doom.
My brain is melting. These girls are absolutely mental. I don't think anyone should be allowed to use 'like' or 'I love you' or 'totally' as much as these girls do. I've been sorting through these letters for nearly four hours now. Not only are there young girls obsessed with this man, many women around Molly's age send in the ridiculous mail. I prayed I wouldn't find Molly's name or handwriting in that stack.
Harry looked just at his wit's end as well when Lockhart opened his mouth again. I gave him a pitying look, tossing another letter onto the pile on my right. He just shook his head and looked back down to the paper in front of him.
Suddenly, Harry jumped in his seat knocking over the inkwell next to his hand and ink splattered onto the letter in front of him. I stiffened as well, his jump shocking me.
"What?" Harry called loudly into the room. I raised a brow at him.
"I know!" Lockhart must have thought Harry was talking to him. "Six solid months at the top of the best-seller list! Broke all records!" The blonde man gushed over his books, a creepy wistful look in his eyes. I nearly gagged.
"No! That voice!" Harry looked panicked with his eyes wide and his gaze moving around the room. I furrowed my eyebrows at this.
"Sorry?" Lockhart was confused, just as I appeared to be.
"That – that voice that said – didn't you hear it? Willow?" Harry turned his green eyes to me. I bit my lip and rubbed my hands over my thighs under the desk.
"No. I didn't hear anything."
After Harry's outburst, Lockhart realized the time and released us back to our dorms. I took off quickly, ready to be back in my bed. Today was far too eventful and far too long…
Hey, guys! I'm sorry for the delay on a new update. I've been extremely busy these last few months. I just graduated from high school and college and had many things to prepare for. Finals, graduation ceremonies, etc. And now, while I am out of school, I have to prepare to move cities and find an apartment and a job. I move in August so that's very close.