Author's Note: Have a happy read, and let me assure you that this first chapter is not as good as the following ones. So, even if you don't particularly enjoy this first chapter, keep reading, please!

8/18/2011

Author's Note: This is me attempting to fix up some of the more confusing parts of my story and procrastinating the next chapter. Sorry. L

Pulling my trunk behind me down the train, I reflected upon the events which brought me to start my seventh year of Hogwarts completely alone and friendless. But this was not new, I've not had friends since my unfortunate first year at Hogwarts. Actually, it was an odd set of coincidences that led to my unwilling solitude, or that's what I always tell myself when I'm feeling depressed, anyways. Honestly, it could have happened to anyone. Well, anyone with my odd combination of blood-traitor family ties, intelligence usually unseen in Gryffindors, and habit of making the wrong friends at the wrong time, and with Hufflepuffs nonetheless! Well, and then quickly losing them due to the above mentioned.

I finally reach a compartment at the very end of the train, one that no one else would, hopefully, try to sit. Hefting my trunk up into the rack above the seats, which seems like a rather silly place to stash heavy trunks, proved rather difficult. It took me quite awhile to get the trunk stored away, and that greatly diminished the ample time I had achieved by arriving well before other students were set to come onto the platform. Still, I was able to arrange myself comfortably on the seat with a book before any other students boarded the train.

People always say that they could never survive without the loving support of their friends, as evidenced by all the happy reunions of students outside my window. Students who've only been out of each others' company for months at most.

"Lizzy! I've, like, missed you so much!" Came the unmistakable squeal of a normally composed Ravenclaw prefect.

"Honey, I haven't seen you since our emergency shopping trip! Was that sparkle lip-gloss really 'water'-proof?" Asked a pretty blonde of her equally pretty brunette friend.

"Dude," said a couple burly Quidditch players in eerie unison as they man-hugged.

All of these friends seem happy and dependant on each other, in the happier cases merely for the other's companionship. But I've seen the nastier aspects of friendship, and I say that it's not so hard to go without friends, really. For instance, I've been doing just fine without any friends for years. I haven't gotten insanely lonely or anything!

'Have I? No, no I have not. The voices in my head say so. Say, will you be my friends, voices in my head?'

Sure, my isolation hasn't exactly been by choice, but still, here I am, completely okey-dokey. I won't lie though, and say that there aren't times I miss my old friends, or that the thought of having any friends makes me lonely, but I'm not about to beg for friends, not that anybody listen anyway. And there was, after all, a reason my old friends deserted me. Besides, over the years I'll bet we've grown apart. And they deserve risk-free friendships. Which they made crystal clear is what they wanted. In fact, the last time I actually talked to my ex-friends was in second year, this being my seventh.

By now I'm sure that you're wondering whether I'm some sort of freak of nature, having no friends at all. And I don't even have a few casual acquaintances that I could write home to my parents about.

Yes, you're probably thinking quietly to yourself that I'm a really big dork and all my friends abandoned me out of sheer embarrassment. All this as you edge slowly away from me like you would a dangerous rabid dog. Well, you'd be wrong. I'm actually rather normal, excruciatingly so I think sometimes, and if not for the unfortunate events that seem to plague me, I'd probably have at least a couple of equally normal, perhaps even boring, friends. Maybe even, dare I think it?, a completely normal and wonderful boyfriend. We would all lead a perfectly normal life together.

What exact event triggered my unwilling seclusion? Well, to avoid sounding like a crazed conspiracy theorist with too much time on her hands (while I do actually have way too much time on my hands due to a distinct lack of friends, I'm definitely not a crazed conspiracy theorist. Although, in all fairness, I do have a good couple of theories that involve turnips and leprechauns, and some might say that they could only really be considered plausible by an insane person) I'll say that the events leading to my life of isolation was an unfortunate series of unconnected events that were not plotted by my enemies (of which I have quite the few).

Anyway, when I first came to Hogwarts I had several Hufflepuff friends who I had met on the train. I also had one Gryffindor friend who I tended to ignore badly, but not always, I might add, for my closer Hufflepuff friends. Poor Lily, I suppose I am partially to blame for driving her to the Soul-Sucking Vultures of Pure Evil, or so I've dubbed them (a clique just as likely to smear the good names of many good Hogwarts students as to suck your soul out through your mouth. Unfortunately not many at Hogwarts seem to have caught on to their pure evil. This is because they mostly pick on younger or more vulnerable students. But you'd think the evil cackles they croak out whenever someone is in pain would be a pretty good hint to most people).

Anyway, I had told my friends, unwisely I know now, a little about my family history. Me, being a young and naïve Gryffindor, thought that I could trust them with my confidence. I soon learned that Hufflepuffs, while supposedly loyal, are not unwavering in the face of danger.

My Mom used to belong to this old and very respectable pureblooded family, and as usually goes along with it, they were strict and Muggle-hating. Apparently this family, the Wellworths, are quite famous throughout the wizarding world. To make a long and painful story short, because I don't, in fact, know the entire story, my Mom fell in love and married my Dad, a Muggle-born, who, although fairly well off, could never gain the approval of Mom's strict and blood-biased parents. Mom, showing no remorse for her actions, was disowned. It is my belief that they never spoke of her again, although, having never met them, me being the bastard half-blood that I am, cannot personally confirm that claim.

Other pure-blood families have no such scruples about my family. They see Mom's act as the ultimate betrayal, especially having once been part of the infamous Wellworth clan. As they see it, anyone would give their right arm to be part of that family and my Mom gave it all up for a worthless Mudblood. So now they set my family up as the ultimate blood traitors. When the Slytherins discovered who my family was, they were delighted. Well, they delighted in causing me pain, that is. Soon afterwards, this was the beginning of second year, mind you, they began to periodically attack me in the hallways. They were good about it though, those sneaky little slime balls. I'm never attacked if there are other people around, especially teachers. My friends, though, the Hufflepuffs, often got caught in the crossfire. Because, instead of being happy just severely beating me, the Slytherins started hexing my friends. The Hufflepuffs, never known for being brave, abandoned me.

"Taylor," they told me one day, "you know that we love you and all," here the speaker for the group, one I'm sure they had chosen fairly, Hufflepuffs being perpetually fair, "but we can't be seen around you anymore." I admit, while I should have seen it coming, I was stunned. I never thought they'd just abandon me to the dogs like that.

"You guys are Hufflepuffs," I accused, "aren't you supposed to be loyal?" The small group of children, because they really were just children, shifted about avoiding any eye contact with me and generally looking an odd mixture of uncomfortable and regretful.

"It's better this way," one piped up, ignoring my accusation entirely, "you'll be better off hanging around with people in your own house, anyways."

"And," another one piped up, "Gryffindors can protect you better." The whole exchange ticked me off, especially their justifications for their putrid actions. However, before I could even reply, they left me standing alone in the hallway, tears dripping down my stunned face. And that's when the Slytherins decided to ambush me. Perfect timing, those snakes.

"Ooooh, is the little Gryffindork half-blood sad?"

"What's wrong Gryffindork? Did you finally realize that your just an unworthy little snot-nosed brat without enough good-breeding to fill a thimble?" A chorus of laughter broke out among the throng of Slytherins at that unintelligent remark.

"Just because we can't all be inbred…" I retorted recklessly. I had already lost my friends, what more could they take? Well, as it turns out, you should never backtalk a large group of Slytherins. Turns out it makes them violent, and violent Slytherins don't have the scruples of a rampaging troll with a killer headache.

Not ten minutes later, I was passed out cold in the hallway.

Now, if this was a happy fairytale story, another student would find me, revive me, and befriend me. What really happened was that Peeves dropped a bucket of dishwater on me. So, beaten, hexed, and dripping wet, I limped my way up to the hospital wing.

Madame Pomfrey, of course, demanded to know who did this to me. Even at twelve years old I knew the basic rule of the bullied: never tell on your aggressor, he'll just come back for more and it'll be ten times worse. And so I didn't tell the well-intentioned and concerned Madame Pomfrey.

Instead, I stood there, shivering, and came up with a convincing cover-story. It was the stupid little lie of a scared and desperate little kid, and I'll never know why she didn't press harder for the truth. If she had I would have broken down and told her exactly what had happened. Who knows what would have happened then?

But after that I learned to take care of my own injuries, and never went back to the Hospital Wing for fear of a severer beating.

Because I initially had friends in Hufflepuff, I really didn't make many friends in Gryffindor, besides Lily, of course. However, because I didn't spend a lot of time with the Gryffindors, other than mealtimes and evening in the Common Room, Lily made friends with the Soul-Sucking Vultures of Pure Evil. If it wasn't already obvious, there is no love lost between us. That is, when they aren't busy ignoring me. Apparently I'm beneath their notice.

Just before the Hufflepuffs abandoned me, they ordered Lily to stay away from me because they just couldn't accept a friend who was also friends with the 'likes of a loser' like me. Lily is a wonderful person, and had they ordered this of her just a couple of days later she wouldn't have deserted me completely. However, as it was, she saw it as choosing between the friends she spent a lot of time with and the one who periodically abandoned her for others. I can't really blame her for her choice, even if I can never forget what it did to me.

I hate to see her scurrying after them now. They are completely shallow and stupid, although they are also extremely popular. Strange who those two things often go side by side, especially in stories. Although Lily is slightly shyer, and also not nearly as shallow, she is also quite well-known at Hogwarts. That might be because of her kindness and good grades, though. Without her, the Vultures would probably have flunked out in our third year. And I did hear rumors that bribery was involved for at least one of them to pass her OWLs. Luckily for them they have their rich Daddies to bail them out of trouble.

Furthermore, it is a little known fact that Ravenclaws are quite covetous towards their role as top of the academic field. Because I was all alone, I studied a lot. Actually, you could say that I studied more than I did anything else. And, along with my natural academic ability, this put me at the top of my class. Unfortunately, because I had usurped what they saw as their niche, they despise me heartily. That is, when they remember who I am, that is.

It is another little known fact that Ravenclaws are sneaky little buggers. They are never openly hostile towards me, they just never, ever, acknowledge me. If not for the hostile glances they occasionally throw at me, especially after I beat one of them at an exceptionally hard test, I wouldn't know that they hate me. I don't think they think of me, other than that. Although, there have been occasions where I've been the brunt of an unusually complicated and advanced hex that I've wondered…And there's my paranoia kicking in! Welcome home.

Because two houses utterly despise me and the other two coldly ignore me (and, if Its not just my paranoia speaking, occasionally jinx me), I'm not conceited. I actually know that I'm not universally despised: a lot o people probably aren't even aware of my existence. The Marauders, for instance, don't know that I exist.

Understandably, I tend to avoid drawing unneeded attention to myself. Teachers tend to, for all their good intentions, only notice the three types of students who tend to make themselves known in class. The troublemakers, for example, are closely observed throughout class for potential pranks, ahem, Marauders, ahem, so that they can be stopped and scolded.

Those students who are complete rubbish in class, too, are monitored. The teachers want to help them improve, and I also suspect they are waiting for something to explode around them. Which, actually, does happen quite a bit, particularly around the Vultures and Peter Pettigrew. I think that, despite needing to protect others from these explosions, the teachers secretly find amusement in these 'accidents.'

Finally, there are the teacher's pets. By definition the teachers love these students, for the most part. Sometimes I wonder if they get tired of the constant sucking up. Slughorn probably would never, but McGonagall probably hates it.

Anyway, I fit into none of these categories. I actually believe that the teachers are thus far quite oblivious to my existence. Yes, they know my name from grading my tests and essays, but to pick me out of a crowd? I've often been reported absent from classes that I've not only attended but also arrived early too. I serve the detentions anyway; I've found it easier than confronting the teachers about it. They rarely believe me anyway.

I am completely alone, and because of this I've developed odd habits. I tell myself jokes inside my head, for instance. Sometimes I laugh aloud at them. I'm quite sure that some of the first years think I'm crazy. They're probably glad I'm leaving next year. Anyway, I'm probably not crazy, but, then again, I've just gone over the entire history of my utter seclusion for no apparent reason. Obviously I already know my own past, and its not like I have any friend to inform of my past, nor am likely to ever get any. There's no way to change the past, so, why dwell on it, right? It's not like anything's about to change.

Or so I thought.