Clara walked the corridors of Hogwarts castle in silence and alone. Even her footsteps were so quiet that you'd never even suspect a person was there. She wore her Hufflepuff robe closely to her body, just as always, while she hugged her Transfigurations book to her chest. Her head was bowed down, her dark brown hair blocking most of her vision.

Even those in her own house didn't acknowledge her presence much at all, barely even sparing her a glance as she bristled straight past them and up the stairs towards the dormitory she shared with the other Hufflepuff girls in her year.

Fortunately, at the very beginning of their first year, Clara had managed to claim a bed right in the corner of the room, furthest away from her roommates. It wasn't that she had anything particularly against them, but they were just so loud and seemed to always want a conversation or someone to talk to, and that person was honestly never going to be her.

The room was empty when she entered. Opening the blinds by hand since she was awful at the spell needed to do so, she placed her belongings down on her bed, including her books, stationary, and her diary. She quickly draped her robe over the back of her chair and placed her shoes neatly on the floor beside her, sitting cross-legged on the bed.

Clara stacked her other items to the side, turning her attention to her diary. The diary had been a Christmas gift from Justin Finch-Fletchley, from back when they'd sort of been close during their third year. It was just a plain spiral bound muggle notebook really, but inside it gave her a chance to actually discuss her day and her life without her business becoming everyone's.

Just to be safe though, she never signed her name off on the end. Someone finding it would be mortifying enough, but them identifying her too would be enough to send her spiralling into a full-blown anxiety attack.

She flipped to the next clear page and began to write.

October 30th 1994

Dear diary,

Every time I think my day cannot be worse than my previous day, I'm somehow proven wrong. I'd had my hopes up too, what with my only class today being Transfiguration, but I don't think I've ever been that confused by a lesson in my time here.

I was almost tempted to ask my desk partner to help, but she ignores me in anyway. The only time she ever spoke to me was once when she asked to borrow some ink because she'd ran out. I still find it faintly amusing how she asked to 'borrow' ink, as if I'd receive that ink back, but I wouldn't bother to start up a fuss. It always makes a big scene with those types of people.

I also received my Herbology assignment back from Professor Sprout this morning, only to find that I'd failed. Honestly, I can't say I'm too surprised, since Herbology isn't my strong suit. Not many subjects are. But at least it wasn't Potions I failed.

At least no one else really spoke to me much, except Ron. He tries to be nice and start up conversations with me, and I think he thinks I don't like him. It's not that, but I won't tell him that's what I think he thinks or it'll make things awkward, and I don't want that. That's even more confusing written down.

Anyway, if I'm lucky I'll manage to get through this year while avoiding the worst of the fuss due to the Triwizard Tournament. It's bad enough having so many more people to dodge in the halls every day, but I hope it won't be something that'll get too much in my way.

The next morning, she'd forgotten to set her alarm clock properly, meaning that she found herself being late to breakfast. Late was the wrong word—on time, maybe—but being on time was never good, because that meant she'd be eating when the hall was busiest.

Clara had a habit of taking a very short amount of time to get herself ready in the mornings. Her roommates were already in the common room talking which fortunately allowed her the space to herself.

Once her dark brown hair was brushed so that it looked less messy and she'd changed into her robes, Clara hurried her way down towards the Great Hall without receiving so much as a 'good morning' from her housemates.

She froze at the sight of the hall, which was already full of students at every table. Even the Hufflepuff table was completely filled to the brim with mostly those from her house but also several Ravenclaws and a few Gryffindors.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Clara held her hands nervously by her sides and sat down in an empty space at what was normally the Gryffindor table. She served herself a small helping of strawberry yoghurt and kept her head down as she ate, avoiding making eye contact with anyone sitting near her.


Clara very hesitantly glanced up, slightly worried that they weren't actually addressing her. After all, very few people ever had a reason to start up a conversation with the soft spoken and shy individual unless it was as a prank or as part of a dare.

Though this time that wasn't the case. George Weasley had slid onto the bench opposite her, carrying a handful of tangerine slices which he messily popped into his mouth.

"You're quiet today," George noted. "Well, every day really, but today's no exception, eh?"

Clara shook her head and timidly stirred her yoghurt in her bowl.

"Are you excited for the feast tonight then?" he asked her. "I'm still pretty pissed off about that age line Dumbledore decided on adding, but Fred and I think we've figured out a way around it. Want to hear? But you'll have to keep it a secret."

She almost wanted to laugh at his constant chattiness. "Okay," she replied so quietly it was difficult to hear her without sitting close.

"Well, we've been brewing up an Aging Potion all morning," he announced proudly. There was an awkward silence for a moment. "I see you're underwhelmed, understandably, but you won't be when you see just what our plan will accomplish. We even had to sneak a small ingredient or two from Snape's cupboard. The greasy-haired git probably won't notice though."

"Will it work?" she whispered.

Surprised at the fact that she'd said anything at all, he nodded eagerly. "No reason for it not to. An Aging Potion vs. an age line? The plan's foolproof," he replied excitedly. "Anyway, I have to get back to that potion. Will you be around for the big reveal? We plan to test our masterpiece this afternoon."

Slightly unsure, she nodded in response, swallowing down another spoonful of yoghurt.

"Alright!" For a moment, he wanted to high-five her as he did to most people, but then he remembered what she was like and decided against it. "I'll see you around, Clara."

With that, he swiped up the remaining orange peel from the table and disappeared towards the other side of the room. If not for the fact that her family were friends with the Weasleys, it was unlikely that she would've even had that conversation in the first place. George and Fred were pretty popular in their year group after all, so they otherwise wouldn't have had much reason to even bother socialising with her.

Clara became full only half way through her serving. Unwilling to finish the rest, she picked up her glass of water to take with her to her dorm and started back out of the room, keeping her eye on the floor as she went. People brushed past her pretty much constantly, running between their friends, but at least only one or two actually bumped into her, and they just swerved around her afterwards, muttering an apology.

Just as she reached the end of the path between the Slytherin and Gryffindor tables, Clara saw a boy's shoes come into view. She began to stop in her tracks, but it was too late. Her glass had completely slipped, causing the contents to splash straight out in front of her.

She hesitantly drew her gaze upwards to see the damage she'd caused. She gasped when she realised that she'd completely drenched the person in front of her, dropping her glass due to the shock of it. The sound as it shattered against the floor caught the attention of everyone nearby.

The boy was a Slytherin, green tie and everything. She recognised him from a few of her classes, although they'd never remotely spoken a word to each other. She didn't even know his name.

But anyone could tell that he was furious. Even his face was slightly damp as his lip curled up in distaste at the state of his clothes. At least the water hadn't reached his blindingly white blond hair.

"What do you think you're playing at, badger?" he spat. She didn't respond, too stunned to speak. "Huh?!"

"I-I'm s-s-sorry," she stammered quietly as she began to trace her steps backwards, her shoes crunching over the glass fragments beneath her feet.

"You should be. My father will be hearing about this. Now get out of my face, you filthy blood-traitor," he snapped.

Clara could feel the lump in her throat as her eyes began to water up, clouding up her vision. She never reacted well whenever anyone raised their voice at her, and that was a prime example.

Unwilling to make the scene any worse, she turned on her heel and almost ran back out of the room. She only stopped at the girls' bathroom closest to the hall, which was fortunately empty. She turned on one of the cold taps and gripped the sink as she cried quietly.

It was safe to say that her classes for the remainder of the day were awkward to say the least. On the plus side, she had that evening to look forward to, what with Fred and George's plan to sneak themselves into the Tournament.

Clara stopped just outside the doors to the Great Hall and peered in, just to check that she was even there at an okay time. After seeing all of the other students sitting around on the benches along the sides of the hall, she decided it safe enough to enter and shuffled through with her head down and her hands in her pockets.

Unwilling to attract too much attention to herself, she sat down beside a few of her roommates including Hannah Abbott, who happened to be one of few people who ever said a word to her. She watched as Cedric Diggory was pushed forward by a group of his friends towards the bright blue flaming Goblet of Fire, dropping a tiny piece of paper inside with a smug grin.

Clara had never disliked him exactly—she didn't dislike anyone—but something about him bothered her. It was like he felt the need to go out of his way to seem like the smartest and most athletically-gifted student in the year. And he seemed like a decent guy too, but she wouldn't exactly know since he ignored her just like everyone else did.

Then she began to look around the room at some of the others. She recognised people from her classes but was sure to keep her gaze moving so that no one would think she was staring. Ron was standing near the age line with Harry Potter, marvelling the sight of the Goblet of Fire, while Hermione Granger, a girl from most of her classes, studied furiously on an opposite bench.

That was when Fred and George made their big entrance, just like always. They ran through the empty space in the hall, high-fiving everyone as they went. When Fred reached her with a hand up in front of her, he raised an eyebrow at her expectantly, so very hesitantly she lifted her hand and high-fived his.

"Not too hard, is it, Davies?" Fred teased as he continued running along, rejoining George beside Hermione.

A few people consequently turned to look at her, but she simply glanced away distantly and blushed.

But as Clara glanced away, her eye caught someone else. On top of the benches in the far corner of the room, the Slytherins in her year group were congregated together, chatting animatedly and laughing obnoxiously loud.

At the top of that stack of benches was the boy from earlier. She hadn't really had a chance to look at him before, but it was only now that she was actually processing his appearance—his platinum blond hair, his sharp facial features which were pulled into a sneer as he laughed at one of his friends' jokes, the way he leant backwards against the wall with his legs extended out across the bench.

Clara very lightly nudged Hannah to get her attention. "Hannah?" she whispered, subtly pointing towards the group. "Who's that boy? With the blond hair?"

Hannah looked at her confusedly and then glanced up too. "Oh, that's Draco Malfoy," she responded. "Why? Do you know him?"

She shook her head. "No."

⊱ ────── {.⋅ ✯ ⋅.} ────── ⊰

Author's note: Typical me, finishing one fanfic and hopping straight into another one. As you can see, I went with Draco Malfoy again. Originally, I wanted to write a Tom Riddle one, but the inspiration for this hit me so hard that it was almost impossible to say no.

As you can see, the OC here is very different to that from my other Draco fanfic (read it if you haven't hehe) and in case you haven't noticed, the eventual relationship is gonna be slow. Mostly because Draco's an ass, but also because Clara's too shy to talk to anyone.

As usual, the Harry Potter universe and all its characters belong to JK Rowling. I only own the rights to Clara Davies and the storyline that follows her. Harry Potter isn't my story, sorry to break it to you.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading, stay safe, and ily lots!