The New Kid

By Marmalade Fever

Dumbledore sat alone at his desk, or, he would have been alone if it had not been for the feeble looking bird on the perch on the opposite side of the room. The professor fidgeted with a paperclip on his desk as he struggled to find the right words for the letter he was writing. Hoping to find inspiration, he once again surveyed the message he had received by owl but ten minutes ago.

Dear Professor Dumbledore, One of my students has requested to transfer to your school. Ordinarily I wouldn't think that you would mind, but considering recent events, I thought perhaps you would. The girl's name is Laurel Summers. She has had excellent grades thus far and I would be sad to see her go. If you agree to the transfer, please send a message back by owl immediately so that I may inform her.

Yours truly, Professor Quiggle Headmaster of Hocus: School for the Magically Gifted of the Western Region of the United States

Professor Quiggle had been entirely correct. Under ordinary circumstances Dumbledore would not have given a second thought on allowing Miss Summers to attend Hogwarts. Unfortunately, this had been the eighth letter of the likes that he had received so far during the summer. If he were to allow all of these students in, the school would quickly fill up to a bursting point. The elderly man bit his lip as he began to write his response.

Dear Professor Quiggle,
It seems so long since I have heard from you. You were right in thinking that recent events would alter my reaction to your letter. However, I have reviewed your student's file and have found that she would certainly be a wonderful asset to our school. As such, I feel compelled not to dismiss her immediately from the list of other such candidates. Please send her the following writing prompt that I have prepared:

Write one or more paragraphs as you desire on why you wish to transfer to Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Her attendance shall be decided on by her reply.

Yours truly, Professor Dumbledore Headmaster of Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The elderly wizard carefully folded his letter and placed it within an envelope. He then stamped it with the official Hogwarts crest. As it was summer, he would have to take his letter to the owlry himself. He selected a young barn owl and watched as it flew westward. Almost immediately a second owl came into view carrying a turquoise envelope with magenta font. It was from another of the applicants. Adjusting his half- moon spectacles, the Professor began to read why Lester Bildwig wished to come to his school. It was extraordinarily well written, and included such words as plethora and theorem. He was quite sure that Lester had not written it himself. Especially when he got to the part that said that his one aspiration was to glance upon the magnanimity that was the most phenomenal pedagogue in the history of archival records. Guffawing slightly, Dumbledore pocketed the letter and went down the stairs, wondering if any of the applicants would send a letter that would tell him something positive about the student, other than their parent's correct usage of a thesauri spell.

September first came at an alarming rate. As the Hogwart's Express pulled into the Hogsmeade station the students were surprised to see a rather tall first year leave with Hagrid. Hermione was one of the students to notice first.
"Really?" she murmured, "If Hogwarts had a basketball team, she'd be a shoe-in."
"What's basketball?" Ron asked, getting into a coach that had just shown up.
"It's a muggle sport," Harry answered.
"Forget I asked then," Ron said, feeling insulted that there was actually such a thing as a sport other than quidditch.
Soon they had arrived at the front of the school and made their way inside to the great hall. Sitting down at the Gryffindor table they waited anxiously for the sorting to start. At last, Professor McGonnagal came out and set the sorting hat upon its stool. The hall became hushed as the hat began to sing. When it had finished, McGonnagal pulled a scroll from her robes and began to read.
"Elizabeth Anton," she said. A tiny frizzy-haired girl pulled the hat on and quickly became a Ravenclaw. A torrent of applause came from the Ravenclaw table as the girl sat down among them. The students watched as Briant Connally became a Slytherin, Georgianna Flourid became a Hufflepuff, Tori and Tony Hink became Ravenclaws, Brina Hollington became a Gryffindor and so on until Gloria Zanton became a Hufflepuff.
"That's odd," Hermione said, "That tall girl was never called." As she said this though, Professor Dumbledore stood up to make an announcement.
"Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honor this year to introduce a transfer student to our midst." He stepped back and allowed Professor McGonagall to call one last name.
"Laurel Summers," she said in an oddly firm tone. The crowd hushed as the tall girl walked out from the shadows. It was now apparent why she was so tall, she had to be at least fifteen. She sat down upon the tiny stool and slipped on the sorting hat. Everyone in the crowd was holding their breath by now. It took an unusually long amount of time for the hat to make up its mind. It seemed to be struggling to decide. The poor girl looked very nervous and almost looked like she might start to cry if the hat didn't take her off of the spotlight soon. At long last the hat made a grunting sound and said in an almost unsure voice, "Gryffindor?"
The three losing houses groaned at once as Miss Summers stepped down and sat at the end of the Gryffindor table. The other students in her house clapped politely and smiled at her, but seemed unsure about what to make of the ordeal.
After the feast the houses each returned to their common rooms. All the students were exhausted, however, this did not stop the Gryffindors from introducing themselves to this girl who had just entered their midst with so little explanation.
"My name is Parvati Patil, and this is my friend Lavender Brown," a dark haired girl had told her. "Oh, and this is Hermione Granger. She's a real brain if you ever need the help."
"Thanks," Laurel had said, following the three girls into their dormitory.
"Laurel, isn't it?" Hermione asked, as they unpacked their trunks. The new girl had just taken out what looked like a lamp shaped like an owl. "Oh, that might not work in here, electricity never does." Without reply, Laurel tapped the owl with her wand and uttered "Lumos." It lighted up automatically. "Oh," breathed Hermione, "I guess I spoke too soon."
"I guess you did," Miss Summers replied.
Taken aback slightly, Hermione climbed into bed. "Goodnight," she said, yawning.
"Night," Laurel replied, following suit. They had been in bed for a mere five minutes before a soft "oomph" could be heard coming from Laurel's bed. Almost instantly her owl lamp was on. "Who's cat is this!" she yelled.
"Crookshanks! You naughty darling, come here." The cat sprang from the new girl's bed and returned to that of Hermione. "I'm dreadfully sorry. I'll try and make sure that he won't do it again."
"Hmph, see that he doesn't," Laurel said, in rather a reproachful tone. She had drawn her curtains around her bed now and Hermione could no longer see her face.
"Don't go jumping on people's beds Crookshanks, okay?" Hermione whispered. "I know it was different when Scabbers was around, but she doesn't have a rat in her bed that's really an animagus in disguise." Rolling over, she too went to sleep.

At breakfast the next morning, Ron and Harry were anxious to hear any news Hermione might give them about the new girl. She told them what she knew and they both agreed that she seemed a tab bit grouchy. After a few minutes, their schedules had been passed out.
"Ugh," Ron had said, looking at the list for today. "Double potions first thing, then Transfiguration, then Care of Magical Creatures, and lastly History of Magic. I'm going to fall asleep if we have that last, I know it."
"Could be worse," Hermione said, looking it over. Laurel was a few seats over. "What do you think of your schedule?" she asked.
"Sinchy," Laurel replied, gazing at it in a way that meant she wasn't impressed.
"I guess so, although I do despise potions, but only because of the teacher, not the subject." Laurel didn't reply, in fact she seemed to have decided to direct her attention to the owls that were coming in instead of to Hermione. The owls swooped down, delivering their parcels to the students. Hermione took her copy of the Daily Prophet without really paying attention, still gazing at Laurel. The new girl had just received a rather bulky package delivered by a barn owl. Unwrapping it, it was revealed to be a new potions set. There was a note attached that the girl glanced at and then set aside in a half caring sort of way. Professor Snape had been walking by and glanced at it for a moment before averting his eyes and continuing toward the door.
"Good morning Uncle Severus," Laurel muttered.
"I'll see you in Potions Laurel," he muttered back.
Hermione, Harry, and Ron all gasped. "Your Snape's niece?" Ron said, not ready to believe it.
"By blood, yes," Laurel replied, taking a bite out of a freshly buttered bagel.
"I'm truly sorry for you," Ron said, looking fixedly at her.
"Don't be," she said, rising from her seat and leaving to go outside.

When the bell rang to go to potions, the three friends hurried, wanting to see what surprises might be in store for an American Gryffindor who happens to be related to Professor Snape. The possibilities were limitless. Taking their seats they watched in silent awe as the girl sat down in the front row.
"Mental," Harry muttered under his breath. Laurel took out her new potions set and waited silently for her Uncle to begin giving instructions. Harry was not the only one to take interest in her. The Slytherin girls who usually sat where she was were hissing under their breath but sat down in the row behind her just the same.
"Begin working on the potion on the board," Snape stated, tapping the board with his wand, "and remember to pay special attention when adding the lynx fur. More or less than 337 hairs and the potion will be ruined." Snape sat down while the students began to get out their ingredients. After a while he stood up and began patrolling the room, making sure to deduct points from Gryffindor whenever possible. About halfway through the lesson something that may not have ever happened before in the history of Hogwarts occurred. Professor Snape deducted points from Slytherin. What had happened was that Malfoy had made a snide remark about Laurel, something to do with her pitch black and slightly greasy looking hair. Not having known that she was Snape's relative, he didn't bother to keep his voice down.
"What was that Mr. Malfoy?" Snape had asked.
"I was just commenting to Vincent and Gregory that Miss Summer had better be careful about her hair, lest some of the grease get into her potion and explode," Malfoy had said this in his casual yet smirking way. Professor Snape seemed to go ever so slightly red for a moment.
"Very well Mr. Malfoy, 10 points from Slytherin...." The entire class had stopped what they were doing to listen.
"I'm sorry sir, I must have heard wrong. I thought you said 'ten points from Slytherin'."

"You heard me correctly Mr. Malfoy. Now, all of you, back to work." As Malfoy turned to look at the board to see what his next ingredient was, he looked at Laurel Summers. She had a casual expression on. Malfoy frowned slightly and returned to his potion. He caught up to her after class.
"And what makes you so special?" he asked her. Instead of receiving a reply, she walked right past him without even seeming to notice him.
"I asked you a question!" he said loudly but firmly. She stopped at the end of the hall.
"Are you always this dense?" she asked.
"I'd watch my tongue if I were you."
"Grow up," she said, in her casual voice, and walked away to find her classroom.

Professor McGonagall looked down at the class through her spectacles.
"This year we will begin preparing for your N.E.W.T.'s. Everyone, please get out your wands and retrieve a turtle from the table in the corner. We will then begin working on transforming your turtles into chickens," she stated. The class did as they were told and soon everyone was trying desperately to turn the turtles into anything resembling a chicken. After three minutes, Hermione had managed to remove the turtle's shell and replace it with a mound of brown feathers. Maybe ten more minutes and she would be done. Glancing up from her work for a moment to offer help to Harry or Ron, she was astounded to see that Laurel had not even touched her wand and was staring half-heartedly at her turtle.
"Anything wrong?" Hermione whispered to her. Laurel looked at her. She then grabbed her wand and in half a second the turtle had turned into a Rhode Island Red.
"I've been able to transfigure cross species for four years," she answered bluntly, and then went back to staring into space. Hermione winced slightly and returned to her own turtle. In a few more minutes its front feet had turned to wings and its hind feet had become thin, yellow, and scaly with four toes apiece. Again she glanced at the new girl. Apparently, she had transfigured several paper clips into kernels of corn, which the Red was eating eagerly. At last Hermione had finished her turtle's transfiguration. The rest of the class was still struggling to give their turtles feathers and, poor Neville, his had just puffed some sort of purple gas into his face and he had begun to sneeze wildly before breaking out into disgusting black boils.

Okay, I started this a year ago and I'm not sure if I'm going to continue or not. I figured I'd upload it while I was at it. I haven't even read through it. Poor lil Neville might be broken out in boils for a long time. Oh, and excuse me if the process of transfiguration sounds wrong. It's hard to make someone sound better at something than Hermione. lol