Children at Play

By Shaina

Rated R

Authors notes: Enjoy this please. Review lots please.

Disclaimer: This all belongs to Queen Rowling.

Also is you enjoy this story please, check out the two prequels to this, A hard Ride, and Playing With Poison. Thanks to Gina for bugging me to keep going. And to Annchen for her wonderfully reviews.

You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.
John J. Plomp

It was during a morning break soon after classes started that Jessie and Hannah sat around munching chocolate frogs that Jessie had in her pocket and

talking about teachers and classes.

"If History of Magic gets any more boring, I think most of my class group will fall asleep..." Hannah sighed. "If Professor Binns wasn't dead he'd fall

asleep himself."

Jessie giggled. "I don't know I kinda find it interesting..." she told Hannah.

"You would... if I didn't know better I'd think you were a Ravenclaw. And you're already Professor Quirrell's favorite." Hannah said.

Jessie rolled her eyes. "No I'm not, I just don't ask him questions that scare him is all. And I really think everyone is to hard on him... any ways lets talk about something else.."

"I hear you have potions next, Jessie. "Hannah said looking sympathetically at her. "I had that class yesterday."

"Okay next time I'll pick the topic." Jessie grimaced, she had been looking forward to that class but with everything she'd heard about the teacher. "Is

Professor Snape really that bad?"

"He's worse than bad, he took two points from Lana for no reason at all." Hannah said. "And I hear he's worse on Gryffindors... totally favors his own house."

Of course Lana also had a habit of asking random questions out of the blue, but who was counting that?

"Ugh... and I would be in the group that has potions with Slytherin, wouldn't I? At least we have Herbology together." Jessie sighed.

Hannah nodded. "I wish we had more classes together...but you'd better get going if you want to get down to class on time."

"Yea and with my luck, Professor Snape would take off a zillion points for being a second late." Jessie giggled waving at Hannah as she hurried off.

Double Potions with Slytherin turned out not to be as bad as she thought it would be... at least for her.

She felt sorry for Harry as Snape fired off questions...how was he supposed to know those things? She only did because Crampton made her study so much that summer... mostly she thought to keep her out of his hair. And Hermione she was sure studied all summer because she wanted to. That girl just plain annoyed her.

Perhaps Professor Snape wanted to make sure Harry didn't get any ideas about showing off because he was 'the Harry Potter'. Harry thought didn't seem the type from what she'd seen of him. And would Hermione just put her hand down...Snape OBVLIOUSLY wasn't going to call on her.

By the end of class she was sure Snape just hated Harry and Gryffindors' in general. That and Jessie was sure Neville would have a hard time living through the next seven years unless someone gave that boy some serious help. Neville seemed sweet but hopeless to her.

Over the next few days she shyly tried to give some help to Neville, she tried her best but just couldn't seem to help him. So when Hermione started to help him in Potion's Jessie didn't know whether to be insulted or relieved. She had her hands full trying to help Hannah, Susan and Justin.

Hannah was smart... but a bit flaky. Always talking to birds and chewing on the end of her paint brush. Every time Jessie saw her Hannah had paint on her nose and a pocket full of birdseed and owl treats.

It was a month later that the four of them were having what was becoming a weekly study session in the library.

Jessie was sitting at a library table with the three Hufflepuffs, Hannah's nose was purple today, and helping Justin with arithmetic while Hannah helped Susan with her Latin.

"I'm such a dunderhead... I can't even get simple word problems." Justin said, resting his chin in his hand.

Jessie shook her head and smiled. "No you aren't Justin... not everyone can do these things. Here lets work it out step by step..."

"Well, well look at this... a Gryffindork who thinks she's a Hufflerunt. Or maybe she just keeps them as pets." Came an insulting laughing voice from behind

her. Jessie knew whom it was before she even turned around. Draco Malfoy. She didn't care HOW much she thought she'd known him at some point before this...

he was still a git.

"Shut up Malfoy." Jessie turned in her chair glaring at him, with coal black eyes.

"Or you'll do what? Run home and cry to your mommy? Oh that's right you don't have one... your a little ministry ward..." He said the words like it was worse than being a mudblood.

She smiled darkly at him. "So tell me Malfoy...couldn't your daddy buy you a place on the Qudditch team? Or was he afraid you'd fall off your broom?"

Malfoy glared at her and everyone around Jessie held their breath, sure she was in for it. But Draco did nothing but mutter. "You'd better watch it Gryffindork..." before storming off.

"You're either really brave or really crazy. "Susan told her.

Jessie shook her head smiling. "Nah, Malfoy is just all hot air. And it helps that he's still smarting that Harry gets to play on the house team as a first

year and HE was told that he wasn't even holding the broom right." she chuckled.

Hannah and Justin snickered.

The weeks passed by uneventfully until Halloween.

Jessie couldn't believe she'd fallen asleep studying, and she couldn't believe that no one had woken her up!

The Halloween feast had already started. She thought briefly of seeing if Hermione was still crying in the girl's bathroom... but figured she wanted to be left alone. Her and Hermione weren't exactly friends, in fact she was that close to any of the Gryffindor girls. She got on a lot more with Hannah and her

friend Susan.

Not for the first time, she wished she had been put in Hufflepuff. But she guessed that hat knew what it was doing. Least she hoped it did. She giggled briefly suddenly getting the mental image of the sorting hat doing its on version of ennie minne minie moe.

So she wasn't watching where she was going when she ran smack dab into something rather solid. Hands came up to steady her and she looked up to see whom she'd

run into. ~Please don't be Snape...~

It wasn't Snape. It was professor Quirrell, his turbine slightly eschew.

"Sorry Professor." Jessie said straightening her robes.

"Q-quit-e a-al-all right Ms. O-0lson." Quirrell stammered giving her one of his nervous smiles. "S-shouln-n't you be at t-the fe-feast?"

Jessie nodded, looking down at her feet. "I fell asleep studying. I'm not in trouble am I?" she asked looking back up. That's all she needed to endear

herself more to the other Gryffindor girls... loosing them points.

"N-no har-rm done. H-hope y-you aren-n't pushing yourself t-to hard. Ha-hate to loose m-my most p-promising st-student to exhaustion." He told her.

Jessie beamed at the compliment. DADA was one of her favorite classes, and the one she was best at, besides potions.

"You b-best get to t-the feast..." Quirrell said looking nervous...but then he ALWAYS looked that way.

She nodded. "Thank you Professor." She said as she hurried into the great hall.

Jessie sat down near Seamus and dug into all the goodies laid out on the table. Momentarily forgetting about running into Quirrell and the fact that Hermione

wasn't at the feast.

What happened next happened so quickly and suddenly that Jessie barely had time to think. Professor Quirrell came running in yelling about a troll and

everything exploded into panic. And like most Gryffindors she didn't realize Ron, Harry and Hermione were missing until they come back with news of having

fought a troll.

Much later the girls in her dorm all sat on Hermione's bed talking about what had happened in the bathroom. Well most of them were, Jessie was sitting on her own bed. Telling herself that she didn't feel left out at all, she didn't need her classmates to like her…

"Weren't you scared?"

"Was it really 15 feet tall?"

"Oh my goodness if Harry and Ron hadn't saved you.

Oh..."

Jessie smiled slightly. "Well if they hadn't Moaning Myrtle would of had someone to talk to... though I think you'd make a much more interesting ghost."

The other girls turned and started at her, like she was the biggest dunderhead that they'd ever seen. Then Hermione started to laugh.

"I probably would have still gone to class the next day." Hermione giggled.

"Hey you could have made it into Hogwarts: A History." Jessie pointed out.

The girls had a grand time giggling over whether Myrtle would have shared her toilet with Hermione... or if any of the teachers would have minded having a

ghost student, and eating Chocolate frogs from Jessie's stash.

This is not to say that Jessie became fast friends with any of the other girls in her dorm, but at the least she knew they didn't hate her.

It wasn't until much later that night when she was curled under her blankets, curtain drawn around the bed that she remembered....

Hadn't she seen Professor Quirrell minutes before he came running in about the troll... and hadn't he been coming OUT of the Dungeons...?

Two weeks later, Jessie was still wondering over this and other odd behavior she'd noticed from what had been her favorite professor, as she headed towards

the Greenhouse. She and Hannah had gotten permission to 'look around' from Professor Sprout, under the guise of wanting to get more familiar with all the

different plants in the gardens.

"Jessie! There you are." Hannah said, a lovely yellow color on her nose that day. "I almost thought you'd forgotten."

Jessie smiled and shook her head. "How could I forget a chance to explore Professor's Sprouts gardens? Is she really going to let us poke around on our own?"

"Well not everywhere...there are things us first years can't handle in there you know." Hannah told her, as the two girls made their way to the garden.

Professor Sprout looked up and smiled at the two girls as they entered the greenhouse. "Hello Jessie, Hannah. It's so wonderfully to see first years take Herbology so seriously. Well you girls are free to explore as long as you stay away from the vemous tancolor."

"Yes Professor..." the girls said, nodding. Knowing it was better that she DIDN'T know they just wanted an excuse to go exploring.

The girls spent almost an hour exploring the hedges, and almost winding garden passageways. When Jessie came across something strange, a large tree growing

against the side of the castle. There were initials carved into the trunk of the tree M,PF,P, & W, in a square shape.

"Hannah come look at this!" Jessie called, to her friend. Looking more closely at the tree trunk.

"Wonder whose initials these are..." She wondered out loud, touching the knot that was in the center of the initials. As she did, the knot depressed and the sound of stone moving against stone filled the air.

"Eep!" Jessie shrieked, scrambling back.

Hannah came running towards her. "Jessie what on Earth did you do?!"

"I don't know! But look!" She was pointed towards the base of the trunk were the wall met wood... or better where the wall HAD met wood. Now there was the beginning of a staircase going down into the dark...

More notes: For any of you wonder why Jessie is a Gryffindor and not another house it has partly to do with the 5th Gryffindor girl theory over at Lexicon, go here http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/hogwarts_students.html#Gryffindor%20girls

To read about it. It also as a great deal with her personality, the sorting hat just doesn't put someone into a certain house. Trust me I tried sitting down and justifying her going into Hufflepuffs or Ravenclaw but couldn't do it.