Their first week at Hogwarts was uneventful but enjoyable. Persephone found she and Harry were sticking together a lot of the time. Though Ron was still cautious around her, they had started to form a tentative friendship. Thoughts of her brother were pushed to the back of her mind, she kept busy enough with her class work. It wasn't until Friday morning that he was again at the forefront of her mind.
Ron was looking over their class schedule and eating his cereal, a glum expression on his face. "Double Potions with the Slytherins this morning."
"I'm sure it won't be that bad." Harry smiled. Persephone was surprised how positive Harry managed to be, especially after he'd told her about those muggles he'd been left with.
Persephone was anxious. She hadn't spoken to Draco since their first night at Hogwarts and had hardly seen him. She had only occasionally caught him giving her dark looks from across the great hall.
Potions got off to a bad start. Professor Snape was terrible to Harry at the beginning of class. When Persephone was working with him on their first potion, Draco walked by and accidentally bumped their cauldron. Their potion turned a vibrant shade of pink. Snape gave Harry a talking to about that, too. Persephone's mood lightened only slightly when Snape, who tended to favour his own house, said that perhaps Draco would pay more attention if he taught from the back of the dank dungeon room. Draco fumed silently, turning away from his latest session of glaring at Persephone to face forward.
When Persephone and Harry had finally cleared the pink sludge from their cauldron, the hall outside of Snape's dungeon was devoid of students.
"Thought I'd go see Hagrid, since we have the afternoon off. Want to come?" Harry asked, readjusting the strap of his school bag.
She thought about it for a moment. Truth be told, she was a little frightened of the Hogwarts grounds keeper. He was just so... big. Despite the fact that Harry seemed to be a good judge of character, she decided she'd better sit out that particular social call.
She smiled, shaking her head lightly. "I should really get my charms work, I was falling a little behind everyone else in class... Not that I expect my parents will be paying much attention to my grades now that I'm up in the tower instead of down here with the Slytherins.
"Any word from them?"
Persephone once again shook her head. "I expect they don't really know how to react. Draco probably has them all riled up, too. That won't help matters."
Harry sighed. "Well... See you."
He disappeared out the school's main entrance and she turned on her heels to go up to the common room. She'd only taken a couple steps when a firm hand clamped on her shoulder, causing her to gasp and drop her book bag.
"Ms. Malfoy, a word if I might."
Persephone rushed toward Hagrid's cabin a few minutes later. She thought Harry needed to know right away about whatever-her-name-had-been from the Daily Prophet who had been asking her questions about him. What was worse, that quick quotes quill she'd had certainly hadn't written Persephone's answers word-for-word. The reporter had also mentioned something about a break-in at Gringotts, the same day that Harry had been there. He would probably be curious about that, too.
He met her half way between Hagrid's cabin and the castle. She quickly tried to recount in detail everything she could remember about her conversation with the irritating woman.
"Robbery at Gringotts? Hagrid told me that was as good as impossible. Did she say which vault was broken in to?"
Persephone shook her head. "Only that it had been emptied before they got into it.
Harry's eyes widened. "Hagrid got something out of a vault when we went there." He spoke quietly. "He wouldn't tell me what it was, just said it had something to do with Hogwarts. I'd bet that whatever it was he took out was what they were after."
She returned his wide-eyed glance as they started heading back to the castle.
"I wonder what she'll write about me in the paper..."
Persephone shrugged. "Probably nothing true... You know, you didn't stay at Hagrid's very long."
"I had to leave before he offered me another rock cake. Two's my limit." It was only then that she noticed he was looking a tad green.
It was time for their first flying lesson. While Harry was nervous and excited, Persephone was just nervous. Her brother was pretty good at flying but she tried to avoid it whenever possible. She'd had an accident with a toy broom as a child, and her pride had never fully recovered.
Professor Hooch walked back and forth between the two rows of brooms she'd laid out, each now with a student standing beside it. "First things first, you need to command your broom's respect, speak to it with authority. Place your wand hand above your broom, and command it to rise by saying 'Up.' Try it now, all of you."
Then they all did. Harry's rose into his hand instantly, and Ron's soon after that. Persephone kept herself from blushing as her own broom raised itself up painfully slow.
"Good, good..." Professor Hooch traveled a straight patch between the two rows of students. "That's not the proper grip, Mr. Malfoy. Look at Ms. Patil, she's got it right... Mr. Longbottom, careful now. Mr. Longbottom!"
The Professor's shouts were too late, as Neville's broom was rising into the air, with Neville atop it looking considerably more pale than usual. He let out a shriek as his broom started a wild, zigzagging flight high above their heads. The boy soon crashed into a wall, and while his broom continued to rise he slipped off the side of it and came to the ground with a sickening thud.
Professor Hooch rushed forward and helped a sniffling Neville to his feet. "Oh..." She tutted as she examined him. "Looks like a broken wrist, we'd better get you to the hospital wing straight away." She placed a hand on his shoulder and started guiding him to the castle, turning a serious gaze on her students only long enough to give them a warning.
"If any of you so much as think of flying while I'm gone, you'll have detentions until you graduate."
The entire lot of them stared after the professor as she left with Neville before turning to each other and separating into smaller groups.
"Never seems to have any luck, that Neville." Ron said quietly, standing in a circle with Persephone, Harry, and Seamus. "I don't imagine he'll be trying out for Quidditch next year, that one."
The three of them had just started to explain the basics of Quidditch to Harry when Draco started to laugh. He had bent down and picked something off the ground near where Neville had fallen. "That great lump of a Gryffindor dropped a Remembrall. If only it had reminded him not to slam headfirst into the castle walls, maybe it would have done him some good."
Persephone was just about to go to her brother and demand that he give her Neville's Remembrall so she could return it to its rightful owner. Harry surprised her by turning to her brother and doing just that.
"Give it here, Draco."
"Or what, Potter? We don't all have to do what you want, just because of that stupid scar on your head. You aren't as important or impressive as the history books make you out to be. If you want it, then come get it." Without another word, Draco shot up on his broom.
Without seeming to give a thought, Harry was astride his broom within seconds.
"Harry!" Persephone called in surprise.
He turned his eyes on her. "I know he's your brother, but someone's got to stick up to him."
Persephone nodded. "I know, it's just... You've not flown on a broom before, have you?"
Harry shrugged, rising into the air even more quickly than Draco had. The pair faced off, talking to each other, but Persephone couldn't really hear what they were saying. Next thing she knew Harry was flying at the castle faster than she would have expected him to be able to.
The small version of Harry in the distance narrowly avoided Neville's fate. When he returned he was holding Neville's Remembrall in his hand. His fellow Gryffindor students cheered as he landed gently. Draco and the Slytherins looked, if possible, even more sour than usual. Persephone was fairy certain that Draco was glaring at her in particular. Feeling completely uncomfortable, she walked up to him.
"I just wanted you to know." She tried to look as cool and collected as he always did, but felt her voice quaver, "I wanted you to know that I've accepted it, that you've turned your back on me. It's not a surprise really, all you've ever cared about is status."
She turned her back to him, parting from him with words she could hardly choke out. "I guess always isn't as long as it used to be." She started to walk back to where she had been standing with Harry, only to find that he was no longer there. Professor McGonagall had him by the arm and they were half way to the castle.
"I hope he's not in too much trouble."
Harry joined her at dinner that night, looking particularly happy for someone who had presumably been punished by Professor McGonagall.
"Well then, where have you been?" Persephone asked as she loaded her plate. Harry poured himself some pumpkin juice as he told her just what happened in hurried whispers.
He had made the Gryffindor Quidditch team, he was the youngest player at Hogwarts in over a hundred years.
"That's wonderful!" Persephone said through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, for once forgetting her manners.
"Not that they need a reason, but the Slytherins will hate you even more now that Gryffindor have a chance at beating them."
Harry almost choked, quickly gulping down his juice to clear his throat.
"That reminds me." He bent his head toward hers, causing Ron to give them a slightly hurt look. "Your brother, he got me alone in the corridor after I talked with Professor McGonagall. He challenged me to a wizard duel, but I haven't a clue what to do, I don't know any dueling magic or anything..."
Persephone shook her head and sent a weary glance in the direction of the Slytherin table. "I wouldn't go, if I were you. Knowing my brother and how he acts, it's some kind of setup to get you into trouble. I'm sure he doesn't know any more about dueling than what you do, Harry."
"I'll take your word for it." Harry looked relieved.