I've never been exactly normal; in fact, I'm pretty weird, I'll admit. Even in the wizarding world I was weird, and trust me, if you know anything about the wizarding world, you'll know that's quite an achievement. I'm not saying that I was like completely off kilter, it was just that little things about me added up. Like the way my mother was half veela, or how I was part werewolf. It was an odd mix, one that I didn't even fully understand.
Normally, you can't be 'part' werewolf if you were bitten, but the Healers of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries said that something must have happened when the venom met my veela blood, causing unanticipated effects. That my hair changed color the night of the full moon, how my senses where heightened, or even how I changed; which ended up being only half way so I was stuck somewhere between human and werewolf. The act of the change is the most painful part of being a werewolf and I had to be stuck half way through it for a whole night.
It was like Crucio but worse.
Even after having the condition since I was 10, I hadn't gotten used to it. It haunted me wherever I went and ended up getting me expelled from my own school. Some kid a few years younger than me walked into the room I had for my changes and saw me half way through one. He ended up ratting me out and the school board thought it was best if I was removed from the premise on the accusation that I was a danger to my fellow school body. They didn't realize that I was terrified of hurting another person because I couldn't control myself.
Not that I could do much damage when I was halfway through the change and blinded by the pain inflicted. I have had, I'll admit, an occasion or two where I attacked someone because they walked in when I had mastered a bit of my pain from the change. My half-wolf mind had apparently thought they were dangerous and one thing led to another... and well, it just wasn't pretty. I had gotten better at the precautions I took before I changed. True my last school's precautions weren't that fabulous but they kept me safe for at least a little while. It had made it half way through the school year before the kid fibbed.
I had been scared about what to do at that point, seeing as I had no parents, guardians, and desperately didn't want to go back to the adoption center. It wasn't like I was going to get adopted anyways... Luckily, I didn't have to go back.
It had been right as I was sitting on my trunks in front of my school gates, considering my bleak and very limited options that he had Apparated right in front of me with a kind smile, twinkling eyes, and introduced himself as Dumbledore.
He told me that he knew that I had been expelled and was offering that I go to the school where he was Headmaster. A school named Hogwarts in London. Now seeing that I was all the way over in Oregon for my school, I was slightly confounded that I was being asked to go to a school roughly 5,000 miles away, on top of which being asked to go to a school being what I was.
"Don't you know what I am?" I had asked, looking at the cracked pavement beneath my light combat boots. I never had liked the clunky ones but went for nice, thinner soled ones, being only around half an inch rather than the full inch. They also weren't black but a reddish-brown. Like redwood.
He just laughed kindly, his eyes twinkling very adoring-grandfather like. He told me that it didn't matter what I was and that he understood what I was going through. He said he was going to sort everything out and as long as I wanted to go to Hogwarts and learn, that I was welcome. So of course, being the closed shell person I am, I promptly burst into tears and threw my arms around his waist (since that's all I could reach since he was very tall) and balled my eyes out.
I never liked knowing that I was a danger to people. I never liked having people shy away from me in fear or discriminate against me because of what I was. What hurt most, I think, was that I couldn't make friends. I was always too scared that I was going to hurt them, and even when I did make friends, my... condition scared them off. The girl I had as my best friend at this year before I got expelled, wouldn't look me in the eye when she found out and ended up telling me that she would be better off if we didn't talk.
It ended up changing me a lot until it took a great amount of coaxing for me to get comfortable enough at a school and associate normally. And as scared and uncomfortable as I would be to start a new school, I knew it would be for the better. I wouldn't have to go to that blasted orphanage anymore, I wouldn't have to scavenge for a place to change each month, I would be fed properly. The Pro's outweighed the Con's in this situation.
After my sobbing fit had stopped, during which Dumbledore patted me on the back shushing me comfortingly, I was able to gain control of my emotions, step back, and formally accept his invitation. He nodded and zapped away my luggage before telling me that we were heading to a place called Diagon Alley for all my supplies.
Money, wasn't a problem for me. My parents had left a sizable sum that I could dip into when needed. I never did though, even when I was living in the orphanage since I didn't want the people there hating me more than necessary. When we got to Diagon Alley after he Apparated us-a sensation that did it's toll on my heightened senses-we quickly set about finding all my supplies. My last school hadn't needed much since everything we needed was already there so I ended up needing to buy a lot.
He kept polite conversation with me while we bought all my necessaries after I had pulled out some money from Gringott's, the wizarding bank there. I ended up getting a lot of cool stuff that made my excited to start school there. I already knew that it was going to be a lot better than my last one.
There was a slight mis-hap when getting the owl I was supposed to have. The moment I walked into Eeylops Owl Emporium, all the owls went nuts and started flapping and squawking so I quickly left with a chuckling Dumbledore behind me saying that I apparently should not have an owl but a different type of mail carrier so we headed to Magical Menageire, another magical animal shop. The animals there didn't flip out when I walked in but shied away like I was going to eat them. I'll admit, it depressed me a little. Until what looked to be a cross between a Red-Tailed Hawk and a Rough-Legged Hawk, glided gently towards me and landed on the stand next to me, nipping my arm in greetings. I immediately bought him and named him Reggie.
There wasn't any most incidents while I bought my stuff and Dumbledore waited patiently and after a while, I was laden with bags and ready to go. So we went to a place The Hog's Head, and used Floo Powder to send us to Hogwarts.
Let me tell you, it was amazing. Sure, I was only in the Headmaster's Office but I could tell my the room that Hogwarts was a castle and it was magical. I could see through the window a great, dark lake that had a tentacle waving merrily towards me before slipping underneath the water again quietly. The dark and depressing happenings at my old school listed slightly from my chest already.
When Dumbledore came through the fireplace, he said I would need to be "Sorted". Apparently, Hogwarts had four groups that divided the students within the school. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. He pulled down a ragged and patched hat from atop a glass cabinet and motioned for me to sit down on one of the plush chairs in front of is desk. When he placed it atop my head, I heard a seem rip and heard a voice come from the hat.
"Well, aren't you a mixed one? Werewolf and veela." it had said and I didn't know whether to be insulted or embarrassed. I was certainly astounded though. I could feel it shuffling through my mind, picking at different memories and thoughts. It was a bit unnerving to be honest.
"Hmmmm," it had said again, "Dumbledore, I think she would do fantastic in Gryffindor." I saw Dumbledore smile and tell the hat that he had thought the same thing. After plucking the hat off my head and returning it to it's place on top of the cabinet, he zapped away my merchandise and told me to follow him, at which point he opened the office door and strode out. I quickly followed him and lead us finally to the present.
"You'll be a fifth year here." said Dumbledore as he lead us through a maze of corridors, all of which were tall ceilinged and magnificent. I nodded and tried to keep pace.
"Right now, it's lunch hour so I'm taking you to the Grand Hall where all the other students are currently chomping away. I'll have the fifth year Gryffindor prefect, a kind of honor student, take you up to the Gryffindor Chambers where you will find all your belongings, schedule, and map. You should be able to find you're way from there." he said, winking, and I chuckled a bit.
He stopped us in front of a massive set of doors and with a swish of his wand, pulled them open, showing us a scene of hundreds of kids that were merrily eating their lunch before hearing the doors open and swiveling their heads towards us. And I do mean, every single kid. Before the doors had opened I could hear the others talking and laughing but when the doors opened to reveal Dumbledore and I, a silent hush had descended upon us.
Many of the male students had their mouths open at the site of me and I internally grimaced. Being part-veela gave me unnatural beauty and to tell you the truth, it kinda sucked. Sure being a bit pretty had it's advantages but for the most part it was a nuisance since it brought people forward when I desperately wanted them at a safe distance. Beauty and being a werewolf don't mix very well to the person they're inflicted on.
Dumbledore, apparently oblivious to the stares and awkward silence, strode forward, his eyes scanning a red and gold clad table to my right. There were four long tables that took up the length of the hall with each group of kids sitting there sporting different colors. Apparently, Gryffindor had red and gold and I took comfort in the fact that red was my favorite color. Little things like that helped me not panic.
He stopped by a bushy, brown haired girl with chocolate eyes sitting by a boy with black, unruly hair and green eyes, and a boy with a shock of red hair and blue eyes above a spray of freckles. The boy with the black hair had a curious lightning bolt shaped mark on his forehead.
"Ms. Granger, this is Ariel Vanderwik, a transfer from a wizarding school in America, I'd like for you to show her to the common room after lunch and help her get settled and explain to her the procedure, if you don't mind." Dumbleore said, putting a hand on my shoulder.
"Not at all Professor." she said and smiled kindly at me, before scooting over to make room for me on her left. I smiled sheepishly at her, glanced at the Professor who nodded and started walking towards a long table at the end of the Hall where a group of adults sat, that I assumed were the teachers. By now, conversation had started again in the hall but I still felt a lot of stares on me so I sat down quickly. I was still getting stares from up and down the table but luckily I had blocked most of the stares in the hall.
"So," said the brown haired girl, "I'm Hermione Granger, That's Ronald Weasley," she pointed to the boy with red hair, "and that's Harry Potter, as if you don't already know..." pointing at the boy with black hair and lightning bolt shaped scar. I had heard of a boy named Harry Potter who apparently had survived a Killing Curse from Voldemort so I just nodded politely and said a quick, "Hello."
"So, what's it like in America, Ariel?" Hermione asked, looking a bit awkward while she searched for a conversation topic. I tried to keep my reply short yet polite.
"It's nice. Not unlike England, though I haven't seen much of it." I said, shrugging my shoulders and staring at the dark brown table. I glanced up and saw them staring at my mouth very avidly.
"What?" I said, a bit confused. Hermione was the first to recover.
"It's just your accent. It's a bit, weird." I couldn't help but grin a bit in the irony.
"Well, your guys' is weird to me too." They grinned and when I realized that I was associating too much for my comfort, turned my head back to the table and proceeded to answer their questions quickly and quietly. They mostly asked what my old school was like, what subject I liked best, what I was worst at, then proceeded to tell me about the staff and students.
"That's Snape," said Harry with obvious distaste, "he teaches Potions and is head of the Slytherin house." Snape had a large hook nose and greasy black hair and I could already tell that I wouldn't like him. Harry was half way through telling me about Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor and Transfiguration teacher when Ron, whom had been staring at my face for a good time now, cut him off.
"What's wrong with you're eyes?" he said, at which point Hermione exclaimed and swatted him on the arm for his rudeness but I could tell by the way she glanced at me from the corner of her eye, that she wanted to know to. Everybody always did.
The change in them happened after my first full moon. They had been a nice blue before that night but when I woke up the morning after, they had changed to a vivid topaz, an unnatural color. They weren't the yellowy-hazel that some people had; it was a literal topaz, like the color of a yellow topaz with a light shined through it.
"Er-" I was saved from thinking up a lie when a bell rang through the hall. Hermione instantly jumped up and told me that we needed to get going. I waved a non-committal good-bye to Harry and Ron and hustled after her. All the students in the Hall still seemed interested in me, because as I walked through the group, I saw people pointing and whispering. I didn't look that different, okay?
I was thankful to get out of the mass of people and follow Hermione up a set of stairs while she talked away about the school.
Sometime during her monologue which I was half paying attention to, I didn't notice her take a small hop and take two steps at a time. I, unfortunately, didn't and felt my leg swish through the stair while Hermione rambled on about the ghosts in the school. My yelp of surprise alerted her to my mis-hap.
Turning, she saw that I was almost halfway through the stair and gave a gasp.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! I forgot to tell you about that trick step! I didn't mean to! Are you hurt? Are you okay? Well of course you're not okay. You're stuck in a step." I noticed that while she talked, she was so caught up in the fact that she didn't warn me, that she made no move to help me get out. Before I could ask her to help, I felt two pairs of hands grip me under my arms and lift me clear of the step.
I turned around and saw identical twins with a shock of red hair. They wore Gryffindor colors and I had the distinct impression that they were in fact related to Ron. After I took in their alikeness then and deduced that they were related to said Ron Weasley, I began to notice subtle differences about the two.
For example, the one on the left, had darker blue eyes than the one on the right, and had a stray freckle underneath his right eye in the exact middle. Other than that, all the other freckles seemed to match up exactly with his brothers. For some reason, the twin on the left, the one with the darker blue eyes, drew my attention more than the other.
"Thanks guys." Hermione said from behind me as I stared at the twins. I nodded and turned to follow her when I heard her foot steps start up the stairs again. Weirdly, I felt each of their arms grab mine and link them like we were about to walk into a prestigious event.
"He's George." said the one on my right, the one with the bluer eyes and rouge freckle.
"He's Fred." said George to my left. Again, I noticed a subtle difference between them; Fred's voice was a half degree deeper than Georges and I had a faint impression that if it wasn't for my heightened senses that I wouldn't have been able to tell.
"We're Forge, or Gred; whichever one you like best." They said together and winked exactly at the same time. I was slightly taken back but felt a small smile creep onto my face.
"Ariel Vanderwick-" George stated, surprising me.
"We know." finished Fred. For some reason, this made my grin a degree bigger. I liked these guys, even though they had said four sentences to me. I was glad that I was in their House, because that would make settling in that much easier and make me feel that much more comfortable.
"Honestly, don't you have classes to get to?" Hermione said, hands on her hips, staring at the twins, when she had stopped in front of a large picture with an even larger lady dressed in a pink dress.
"Well we had to make ourselves known, 'Mione." Fred grinned.
"Yeah, everybody needs to be associated with us!" George said in a tone that implied that Hermione should know this. She rolled her eyes and turned back to the portrait.
"Password?" the lady said.
"Gillyweed." The portrait swung open to reveal a cozy, warm room with plush rugs and a roaring fire. I instantly liked it.
"This is where we part ways, fair maiden." George said, grasping my hand and holding it to his cheek. Fred did the same with the other and as if they choreographed it, pulled back and kissed my hand. I couldn't withhold a giggle. They grinned cheekily before winking and walking away.
"Sorry about them," grumbled Hermione, "The Weasley Twins are a pain sometimes. Especially since they've gotten into the habit of selling their merchandise." I just nodded and followed her up a set of spiral stares and into a round room with six beds. I instantly saw my trunk and other items on one of them with a note laying on the bed.
I got to work organizing everything. I put my trunk in front of my bed like everybody else and took out a bag I had bought for all my supplies. It was a shoulder bag that was black leather and was able to fit all my necessities- quills, ink, parchment, books, etc- I then, pulled out a school uniform and began dressing down, when I heard Hermione's gasp of surprise.
I had forgotten. The scar... It was a gruesome sight. A set of three parallel lines that stretched from just under my shoulder blades to my lower back, with a short fourth line that didn't complete the whole distance. It was smooth since so many years had passed and still several tones paler than my skin. Quickly slipping on the shirt, I glanced back at her and saw her staring determinedly at the floor.
I quickly finished dressing; keeping my boots on and robe off. It was already a little toasty. Remembering the note on the bed, I grabbed it and quickly read:
Your classes have been sorted and you'll find your schedule on the sheet proceeding this. Your hawk (Reggie I believe you named it?) has been put into the Owlry so don't worry about him. A map has been put on the back of this sheet so keep it with you. Regarding you're monthly happenings, I wish for you to meet me at my office after your last class of the day.
Hoping you'll like it here,
I put the letter into my bag, slipped it around my shoulders and turned towards Hermione.
"I'm ready." was all I said. She nodded, apparently at a lost for words. She opened her mouth as if going to speak but apparently thought better of it, and motioned for me to follow her.
My first class at Hogwarts coming right up.