A/N: Yes yes, A new fic even though I have plenty that I should be finishing (I'm terrible at sticking to things; but, once my mind gets a hold on something it doesn't go away.) This is a Neville/OC, because, quite frankly, he's probably my fourth favorite character in the Harry Potter books (though, this story will take place during the movies.) Now as for how I'm going about this, the first three years of their time at school will take up only one chapter each (year three may take up more than one, but, we'll see). I'm only doing it this way seeing as that their relationship doesn't mature much until their four year; so, I didn't want to dwell on their first three years too much. I hope that makes sense?
Disclaimer: If I was J.K Rowling I would be vacationing in Bora-Bora, not on here. I only own Elizabeth and the rest of the Hagglehorn family.
"There was once a handsome, rich and talented young warlock, who observed that his friends grew foolish when they fell in love, gamboling and preening, losing their appetites and their dignity. The young warlock resolved never to fall prey to such weakness, and employed Dark Arts to ensure his immunity"
I read the tale under my breath, muttering the beginning sentences as my finger traced the invisible lines that lay underneath the inked words. The sun coming in from the open window cast a glare on the pages as I turned them, my fingers running over the frayed pages; I wasn't sure how long The Tales of Beetle the Bard had been in my family, though, I had suspected that this book was older than my mother and father combined. I cast a glance over my shoulder, a chill crossing though the kitchen as the wind blew from outside, it was such a beautiful day out…and I was wasting it in this house. I turned the browning pages again as I glanced at the words, I didn't really read them anymore. I read this tale so many times that I practically had it memorized, same as my mother. She used to tell me the story of the Warlock's Hairy Heart every night before she tucked me into bed; her voice strong and so believable that I thought she had made it up on her own account, perhaps even witnessed it for herself…it was intriguing. It was only a few years ago that she handed the book to me before bed, telling me that I was now old enough to read the story on my own. Speaking of my mother; I had almost forgotten that either of my parents was still home, usually the house was bustling with noise. Dad talking about his magical creatures and mom complaining about another portkey being found by a Muggle, I had gotten so used to it by now that the silence was actually frightening. I knew why the house was silent, like a funeral, filled with despair; I glanced at the calendar as I abandoned the story…the twenty-ninth of July. I felt my eyes drop towards the pages once again, but, I had no interest in reading the rest, especially not the paragraph filled with magic and spells.
By my mother's account I should have gotten my acceptance letter weeks, maybe even months, ago; my Aunt Portia had sent us a letter a few weeks ago, letting us know that her precious Evelyn had gotten her letter for her second year at the school, my mother was furious. I wasn't sure what was wrong with me, I could barely clean my room with the snap of my fingers, all the while my cousins could walk into a room and with the flick of their wrist it was spotless. No one in my family, my mother or father's side, had ever failed to receive a letter from Hogwarts; I was beginning to fear that I was about to break that tradition. Turning away from the calendar, the trees in the picture swaying in a cool breeze, hazy sunshine break though the branches; I caught a flutter out of the corner of my eye. The wooden seat squeaked across the wooden floors as I stood up quickly. An owl, eyes round and yellow and feathers as brown as the mud down by the pond, flapped its wings a 'hoot' sounding from its beak in a greeting. Readjusting the light cardigan that covered my arms I raced towards the open window, the bird flapping its wings again in a greeting. I hadn't noticed that anything was in the bird's mouth until I neared it, my arm accidently bumping into the broom that was sweeping the floors; I mumbled a sorry as it shooed me away, its bristles attacking my legs. I stopped in front of the animal, admiring its features momentarily. It bent its head towards me, almost nudging the air in front of it. "What's this?" I asked. I reached forward tentatively taking the eggshell colored envelope from its grasp; it'd known these birds to be quite strict when it came to letters…if it wasn't yours and you reached for it than you were going to lose a finger. I took another glance at the owl, its giant eyes blinking at me, head cocking to one side. "Is this mine?" I inquired.
The owl seemed to shrug in response, wings flapping. I glance down at the envelope; the hand writing on the front was neatly printed and it was addressed to…me. I glanced over the front again, taking my time in the process, not quite sure if I was imagining it or not. "Miss. E. Hagglehorn…" I thought for a moment more, my mother's name began with the same letter. The bird hooted, catching my attention; it rolled is head to the side, blinking once more. My brows knitted in the middle of my forehead as the animal repeated its actions, but this time obviously frustrated that I hadn't followed instructions the first time. I wasn't sure what this bird wanted me to do, what was I saying…it was an animal…not a human. The beast suddenly flew forward, tearing the envelope from my hand, its beak piercing my finger in the process; I backed away from the animal at once, cradling the bleeding finger against my chest; great, now I'd stained my new clothes, if anything else could go wrong…
"That really hurt!" I scolded the animal, taking a glance at my finger I discovered that it hurt worse than it looked; the amount of pressure I'd put onto it by accident had stopped the bleeding already. The bird screeched, dropping the letter onto the floor in front of me, again, it nodded its head and fluttered its wings. "What are you trying to get at?" I demanded; never taking my eyes from the bird's form I bent down and picked the letter up, seizing it in my undamaged hand. My eyes flocked to the seal on the back before they looked to the owl again and then back to the letter; but, this time I had to do a double take. An 'H' clear as the afternoon sun surrounded by several symbols adorned the melted ink that held the pieces of paper together; my heart began to beat faster than any eleven year olds heart should beat. I tore apart the pieces of paper quickly, fingers shaking; I dared not blink, for it this was a dream I didn't want to wake up. Unfolding the paper that lay inside I held my breath, my lips mumbling the contents that were scrawled in emerald ink: "Dear Miss. Hagglehorn, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-"Accepted; that one word repeated itself in my mind several times, trying to grasp what I had just read…accepted…accepted…bloody hell…
"Oh," the familiar voice sounded bored, disappointed even, "The post is here, is it-"I could hear the heels of her shoes clicking against the wood as she approached, the owl that was sitting on the window pane flapped it's wings urgently, taking flight, and soaring in the opposite direction; the letter held together in my hands, my mother's sigh hitching in her throat as I felt her rip the paper out of my hands. I turned only to see her reaction change; her eyes were lit, mouth turning upwards into a toothy grin, her bones rattling as she tried to contain her excitement. "Oh, Oh!" It seemed that she couldn't get the words out of her mouth fast enough, "Oh, thank Merlin! Ralph! Ralph!" her feet lifted from the ground as she hopped, a mile wide smile stretched across her face; I could feel my own smile forming slowly, this was the first time in quite a few months that I had seen my mother so happy. My father ran in only a few moments after her elated scream echoed throughout the house; even the broom that had been busying itself with sweeping clattered to the floor, the clothes that had been folding themselves lay in a heap as it stopped in mid air, hanging for a moment before it fell back into the basket.
"What? What is it dear?" My father wore a worried expression upon his face; I guess he was expecting something tragic to have happened. He looked to me for a moment, eyes wide as his brown hues glanced at my finger. "My god, Elizabeth, what happened to your-"
"Oh just look!" my mother screeched, almost as loudly as that owl had; stepping in front of me. Well, it's nice to see that my letter is more important than my health. I heard the paper crinkle as I watched her shove the parchment into my father's face, my father had glasses, and so, I saw this as being particularly unnecessary. He slowly took the letter from her hands, his own eyes gazing at it with adoration. He looked at me, eyes sparkling with happiness.
"By George-"my father breathed, his eyes glancing back at the paper again. I smiled, uneasily so, it seemed to me that my parents were a little too surprised that I had gotten accepted, it was as if they had already accepted the fact that their child was a-
"Oh thank Merlin," my mother placed a hand to her forehead dramatically, her smile never leaving. "Sweetheart, I thought she was going to be a squib." My smile dropped quicker than it had appeared the pit in the bottom of my stomach feeling empty, my father rolled his eyes rather quickly.
"Not in front of her." He hissed quietly, though, I could hear it quite clearly. I wasn't nearly as devastating as they thought it to be. I used to being called a squib; it was how my father's side of the family greeted me….I don't think they've ever called me Elizabeth. Elizabeth the squib…that's what I was. I had already suspected that my parents though the same, though, they never showed it in front of me.
"Oh, nevermind that dear." My mother waved her hand in the air; there was a certain air to her that was annoying, almost unbearable at times. She turned towards me and first time in what seemed like forever she let a board smile spread across her face, a smile brought upon by me…I never thought I'd see the day. "Oh, honey," she threw her arms around me tightly, holding be against his chest with pride, "We are so, so, so, so, so very proud of you." I smiled uneasily, I never expected her to stay happy for too long. The moment she let go of me she rounded on my father, pointing a finger at him.
"Now you can tell those nasty gits you call family to get off our arses." She stomped her foot on the ground for emphasis. It was no tragic family secret that my mother and my father's side of the family disliked each other. No, dislike was too tame…loathed was more like it. They loathed everything about us; from the way we dressed to my mother's choice of naming me after her late sister. My father rolled his eyes…he was nothing like his family. Sometimes I even wondered if they were actually his family at all. "On second thought, " her cocked her head to side, her curly black hair never moving, a smirk twisting about her lips. "I'll just let them know myself." It wasn't a moment later that she was hurrying towards her den, or as my father liked to call it, 'her work away from work'. I didn't understand how a job at the Ministry could take up so much time, especially in the department that she worked in.
"I'm very pound of you, sweetheart." My father voiced, breaking the silence that was hanging about the room. A closed mouth smile graced my face as I took a seat at the kitchen table; the book laid open still, the images on the page moving. The wooden boards beneath his feet creaked as he took a seat next to me. "I always knew you'd get in-"
I scoffed, slamming the book shut just as the wizard on the page cast the spell that would make sure he never fell in love; I was tired of being lied to, tired of them keeping secrets. "You did not." I glared at him, my heart leaping in my chest. It wasn't often that I back talked my father; I normally had no reason to.
I felt bad after the fact; the look on my father's face was a cross between shocked and ashamed. He knew exactly what I meant, but, he still stammered. "What on earth-Elizabeth-"A dry scoff escaped his lips as he continued to stare at me, almost as if the accusation itself had stung him.
"I heard you and mum talking to Grandma Dorothy at Evelyn's birthday party. She called me a dozy miner and mom got upset." My ears grew hot as I restated the account; it wasn't very often that our families got together, but, when we did the children were always the topic of their conversations. Evelyn this Evelyn that, Harold passed all his classes with excellent marks! Professor Snape is very fond of Marlowe you know, mother. He says that he has a certain knack for potions! Jane is just an exquisite girl, she is! Boys fawning all over her! I was the 'other' Hagglehorn, the lesser of the eight grandchildren that were in the family; and I was always the sore topic of the conversation. Not one of my Uncle, Aunts, Grandparents, or cousins ever had anything good to say about me. I never let it show that I took it to heart though, the hurtful things they said. As for being a dozy minger! I didn't think I was that horrid looking; sure, I wasn't as skinny as Evelyn, nor did I posses the porcelain, pale skin that they did nor the blue eyes, or the perfect pin straight hair and angelic features. No, my father married an exotic looking Gryffindor as soon as he graduated; it was only by nature that I inherited her curly black hair, taupe tined skin, and deep brown eyes. I looked nothing like my father, there for I wasn't of their family.
My father sighed, propping his chin up on his hand as he looked at me, frowning. I crossed my arms over my chest, pursing my lips together and starring at the floor. "Elizabeth, what does that-"It had to do with everything! I knew what was about to befall my ears the second he open his mouth.
"That was after she bragged about how the other children could do magic when they were only seven! I can barely even make the broom pick itself up and I'm eleven, dad!" I could feel the tears pooling at the corner of my eyes; getting that letter to Hogwarts wasn't going to suffice the fact that I was in fact a 'dozy'. My face was heated and if it was as pale as the rest of my "family" I'm sure my cheeks would be as red as fire, I could practically feel the steam rising in my ears.
"Come here, Beth," I looked up as my father used my nickname, his arms pulling me towards him; I stood up from the chair, taking a seat on his lap, but I dared not meet his eyes. "Hey, look at me," he whispered. I did so slowly, my bottom lip quivering. He smiled sympathetically, his pale blue eyes sparkling. "Not everyone can be like Uncle Milton's family," he sighed "In fact," his tone changed, a cheerful hint rang though it, "I didn't start showing signs of magic until I was eleven myself."
My nose screwed up as if I had smelled something bad; my father…a dozy? It didn't seem possible. My eyes widened as he nodded his head, reassuring me that he was telling me nothing but the truth. "Really?" I inquired, still not believing it.
"Of course." He laughed, shaking me slightly. "We all progress at a different rate, Elizabeth." The anger in me had subsided greatly by this point; a sort of numbness was now taking over. My father always knew what to say and when to say it, and how to say it. Never was he judgmental nor cold….a complete opposite from his siblings.
"You would and mom still have loved me…even if I had been a squib?" I asked cautiously, it was something that I thought about often, especially being their only child. If they didn't have a witch in their family would they have disowned me? Cast me out into the world on my own?
"Oh, sweetheart," my father chuckled loudly, wrapping his arms tighter around me; I returned the hug, feeling content. "What would prompt you to ask such a question? "He pulled away and looked at me, giving my nose a tug. I pulled away quickly, I wasn't five any more….he didn't need to do that. "Of course, undoubtedly, we would still love you." He placed a kiss on my temple and I jumped down from his lap…feeling more like a grown up now than ever before.
"That's not what Evelyn said." I stated, very much serious. Evelyn had said many things to me over the years, many of which I took to heart and still carried with me to this day. My father waved off the comment as if it was nothing, blowing a raspberry in the process.
"Bah, what does Evelyn know?" he dismissed her as if she was a mere acquaintance. I smiled brightly, maybe he saw her for who she really was too…obviously her parents didn't. I sighed deeply; I wasn't sure how much better (or worse) this day could get, and the fact that my mother had disappeared with my letter didn't make me any more comfortable. Now she was the one who had bragging rights…gods help us all. "Elizabeth," I turned back around to face m y dad as he stood up from the table, "How about we do school shopping."
My eyes lit up like a million stars as I nodded my head with much anticipation.
"Oh, come here, darling." My mother quickly turned me around by my shoulder; she was very dressed up for something that didn't even pertain to her and she seemed to be more nervous than I was. Her hair fell in ringlets about her shoulders, black tights, shoes, and a skirt matched with a dark sweater adorned her frame; it was like she was going to a funeral. My funeral. She quickly pulled a white handkerchief from her pocket, dabbed it on her tongue and held it out towards me, my eyes widened. "You've got something on your new robes." As rolled my eyes as she emphasized the word new, like the muggles around us actually cared that I had a new, what they saw to be, cape. I pulled away from her grimacing as she wiped the stain from the black fabric, and much to my surprise she proceeded to try and dap the spit ridden cloth onto my face; I was sure I was free of any and all traces of breakfast…considering that I was too nervous to eat any of it.
"Mum!" I squirmed, tripping on the black fabric that pooled around my feet; I told her they were a size too big, but, no! I had to have the best! But it wasn't for me….it was for the other Hagglehorns…she had something to prove. "Stop it!" I pushed her hands away as my cheeks darkened in color, her hand still desperately trying to reach my face. Several muggles walking past us starred; laughing at the girl in her cloak, ogling at the cat that was trapped in the cage among a ratty secondhand suitcase…no charm in the world could make it look like it was new again, my mother was furious. After several more moments of shoving her hand away she finally gave up on her own, stomping her foot on the ground. "Bloody hell-" I seethed, she had rubbed me raw.
"Evangeline, just, calm down-"my father was the only one that saw what a mess she really was, and it wasn't because he only daughter was leaving to go to a school miles, and miles away from them. She rounded on my father quickly, I was hoping she hadn't heard the words that slithered from my mouth, but, I was wrong; she rounded back on me, eyes wide and disapproving.
"Elizabeth Bryce-Anne Hagglehorn!" her voice rose to a slight yell, several people passing by starred for a moment, a man walking by muttered 'the things they name children nowadays…" "You watch your language." I looked away from her and closed my eyes for a moment; it seemed that I could do nothing to please her…except maybe not being a squib, but, that was it. I reopened my eyes just in time to see her glance at her watch, the trains behind me whistled, a conductor waving it on.
"Oh!" her voice squeaked as she placed a hand on my back "Come on dear, it's time to go on through." She pushed me forward slightly, my hands gripping the handle of the cart tightly as I looked at the stone pillar that was between platforms nine and ten. "Now you remember how to this, right? Do you remember?" I took a deep breath, my fingers curling tighter against the iron bars, my cat, Sophie, meowed in her cage.
"I-"I stopped short and looked up at her, an impatient smile sown on her face, in her eyes, radiating out of her pores; she had told me many times, in the precious three days that I did have, how to get onto the platform. It sounded easy enough, but, when you've got muggles walking in front of you and weaving in and out of your way…the thought of them watching as you run towards a solid wall is quite unnerving. "I think so," I looked towards my dad, eyes pleading. "Dad, could you go through with me?"
He nodded and a smile graced his lips as he held onto the bar as well, his hand on top of mine; I admired my father's patience, his heart, his undeniably amazing attitude. He couched slightly looking at me, "Okay, on three, you ready?" I nodded quickly, "Okay, One-" our feet moved in synch as we propelled the cart forward, the cage ratting atop it as we neared the wall "Two-" the cart collided, and my father told me not to close my eyes. Before we could even get to three a sound, unlike any I'd heard before, fell upon my ears. Hundreds of people bustled before me, children and adults alike; all pushing carts just the same as mine, some wearing robes, others wearing their normal clothes. And a train, longer than one I'd ever seen was parked on the tracks, steam rising from its tops.
"My, it's been years since I've done that." My mother breathed from behind us; I hadn't even noticed that she had followed us onto the platform. She crossed in front of my father and I like she owned the place, clearing a path for the two of use to follow her through. I looked up at him with a worried expression, he smiled, ruffling my hair and beckoned me forward. I studied the amass of witches and wizards that were around me as I passed, some of them young, some of then my age; I only caught glimpses of a few that were wearing their house robes, and they wore them with pride.
"Come on now, dear!" my mother chimed from ahead, I pushed the cart a little faster and arrived at a small clearing in the walk way. As soon as I reached her she sighed, reached forward and straightened out the flyways that my father had caused, and then proceeded to straighten out my robes, pulling at the sleeves. "Alright, you've got your ticket? Yes?" she asked, voice squeaking slightly.
"Yes, mum." I answered lazily; glancing behind me as I heard a few people laughing, I watched as they bounded onto the train.
"And you've got everything, right? Books? Quills? Clean clothes? Yes? Yes?" I didn't even have time to answer to all of those questions before she started on a new one. My father chuckled as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder, placing a kiss on her forehead as she covered her mouth with a trembling hand; this was the side of my mother that I loved. The sentimental side that cried when she was sad or angry, the side that read books to me, even though I was old enough to read them to myself; I nodded in response to her ravings.
"Yes, mum. I have everything."
She nodded, my father's hand rubbing her arm as he smiled sadly; my father would never cry in public, but, I'm sure as soon as they got home he would let loose…I'd only seen it once in my life. "Oh, Ralph," she sniffled, "Our little girl-"
"Mum," my eyes shifted around, "Don't cry."
"Oh, darling." She sniffled, taking her hand away from her mouth as she took the handkerchief from her pocket once again, dabbing her eyes slightly. "I won't embarrass you-"Amid the whistles that were blowing I was surprised that we could even hear the voice that had called to us.
"Ralph! Is that you?" Although I could tell from the voice just who it was, I peeked around my parents forms just to make sure I was correct; unfortunately, I was. My parents turned around just as promptly, my father jerked, seeming to be a bit taken back by the tall, lanky, well-dressed figure that was stalking towards us.
"Oh Christ-"my mother sighed, sniffling as she stuck the white cloth back into her pocket quickly. Crossing her arms over her chest she turned. Why couldn't it have been someone different…?
"Milton-"my dad greeted him, opening his arms for a hug. The man, whom was my Uncle, quickly embraced his younger sibling, his height easily towering over my father's by a whole four inches.
"Well, this is certainly a surprise!" Uncle Milton bellowed, for such a skinny man his voice was the loudest I'd ever seen…his daughter Evelyn was the same way; I shuttered slightly, having to spend a whole school year with her was cruel enough, but now I had to spend it with the remaining cousins that still attended the school. "What are you doing here anyway?" he finally asked, looking around slightly. I mother rolled her eyes, tapping her foot on the ground. "Come to see Evelyn and rest off, have you? Afraid you're in the wrong section!" he laughed again, clapping a hand on my father's shoulder; I guess he was pretending that I wasn't here too. "They're down there-"
"Obviously Milton didn't receive my letter, sweetheart." My mother hissed, venom laced in every word. I knew it! I knew she had sent letters to all of the family, telling them of my acceptance…she just had to be like them! I looked towards them; Uncle Milton looked towards her, glaring daggers as he readjusted his coat.
"Well, we may have received something from you-"My mother opened her mouth to respond, and my eyes flicked back to her, she would have nothing but rude things to say, I feared.
"Actually, Milton," my father responded quickly, slightly moving my mother out of the way. I shifted uncomfortably, not knowing how he was going to respond to the news. I couldn't be quite sure that he would be proud; he probably wouldn't even express a congratulations. "We're here to see Elizabeth off…to Hogwarts." I peeked around my mother's frame slowly, a few moments passed before Uncle Milton did anything.
He laughed, a hardy, belly crushing, louder than a banshee's scream…laugh; almost as if this was some joke that my parents were playing on him. "Pardon?" he continued to laugh. My mother's shoulders rose heavily as she tried to control the anger that was welling within her, her wrath was not something that needed to be let loose in public. I abandoned my station at the front of my cart; the conductor already taking my chest and cage, my mother winced as I pushed past her.
"Hi, Uncle Milton." I sounded; he seemed to jump as I let my presence be known. His pale blue eyes widened as he looked at me, an amused expression playing at his lips before he chuckled, scoffing at the same time.
"Merlin!" he exclaimed, moving forward a few steps. I looked at my father; a half smile graced his lips. I dared not smile though, keeping a stoic look like my mother. "Well, this is quite the surprise!" He clapped a hand on my shoulder, shaking me roughing, but, it was with the best intentions I suppose. "You were beginning to give the rest of the family quite a scare, you were! Well, ya know, you must have been taking after you father." He clapped a hand on his brother's shoulder again, shaking him. "Right ole' chap he is, this one! But he was a bit of a dozy as well-"
"I believe that's quite enough!" my mother voiced, placing her hands on my shoulders as she held in front of her; I had to admit, Uncle Milton had been making an effort to be nicer to us, but, it seems that my mother was the only thing standing in the way of this little reunion. "Besides," my mother tossed a disgusted look over her shoulder. I followed her suite, looking to see what she was referring too; I cringed inwardly. A tall, slender, blonde woman was calling to Uncle Milton, the voice scratchy and borderline unbearable. "Portia is screeching for you." I looked away slowly, looking toward at my feet; my mother hated Portia.
Uncle Milton looked down the platform before turning to look back at us three, bowing slightly before he mumbled something; I'm almost sure it was something rude and off key, especially since my father rolled his eyes in a warning manner. He turned to me last of all, ruffling my hair, much to my mother's disapproval. "Well, good luck." He smiled a toothy grin. "Oh, and Elizabeth, make the Slytherins proud." He winked and before I knew it he was walking quickly towards his wife and children, all who were probably giving him disapproving looks for even talking to us.
A new pit in my stomach formed; Slytherin. I watched a few more students passed us, eagerly running onto the train; I began to wonder if I was the only one that was hesitant about going. "Cheeky bastard." My mother seethed as she fixed my hair once again, referring to Uncle Milton. "The nerve of him-"she glared down the platform.
"Evangeline!" my father's voice rose; both of our heads turned to face him quickly, I could hardly believe the tone his voice held; he was always patient with my mother. Her fingernails dug into my shoulders, and I shifted out of her grasp quickly. "This is her day." He hissed, looking around and making sure that he hadn't disturbed anyone with his tempter. "Don't ruin it with your jealousy."
"Jealousy," my mother hissed. Her taupe skin held a hint of red to it as she starred my father down, her brown eyes appearing to be black with rage. "Ralph! You just wait until we get home." She hissed, pointing a finger in her direction. I took a deep breath, this wasn't how I wanted to leave, with my parents arguing…over me. "Jealousy, ha." She whispered, her voice faltering. The sound of the train whistling shook my entire body, vibrating my bones, and shaking me to the core as I watched the other parents waving goodbye as they bordered the Hogwarts Express.
"Oh goodness." She breathed, pushing me towards the doors, "The conductor walked the platform, calling out orders, letting us know that train was leaving soon. "Come along dear, they're boarding the train." My feet felt heavy as I approached the red train that was waiting, children upon children squealed in delight while others walked calmly and collected. A few people shoved in front of me, their skin as pale as the moon in contrast with the dark robes on their shoulders, they brandished their house proudly upon their chests, but, their features were hard, scowling. The snake upon their breast twisting; a feeling arose in my chest, the kind of feeling you get when you know something is wrong, when you don't feel comfortable. Or maybe it was the thought that everyone in my family was Slytherin's aside from my mother and father…
"I don't want to be in Slytherin." I shook my head, stopping abruptly as the train whistled again.
"Okay, dear," my mother sighed heavily. She hadn't yet realized that I had stopped either that or just didn't care, and she obviously hadn't heard what I said. "Off you go-"
"No." I said quickly, looking up at her. Whatever smile had been on her face vanished in an instant as I moved away from the train, backing away towards the monstrous pillars that stood behind me.
"No?" she repeated, eyes wide like she had been stunned. "What on heaven's name-"
"I'm not going if they're going to put me with them." I said defiantly, my eyes watching as child after child bounded onto the train. My mother looked behind her quickly, her body shaking; whether it was rage or anticipation, I couldn't tell. My father quickly pulled me aside, holding a hand up at my mother as she advanced towards me, no doubt she was upset. I took a deep breath as he bent down to my level, holding me out in front of him, gripping my arms.
"Elizabeth, you're afraid of what house you're going to be sorted into…we all were." He breathed out. My father explained a small smile on his face; I looked at him, looking straight into his eyes. He'd never lied to me, I had no reason to believe that he was doing so now….
"Even you?" I croaked, gulping.
"Especially me," he stroked my face lightly, brushing the black tendrils away from my eyes, "and you have no idea how proud I was when I was sorted into Gryffindor…the first of my family to do so." He added proudly.
"But-But Evelyn and the others…they've all been in Slytherin." I reminded him; Harold had once told me that only in rare cases were children sorted into a different house than their parents, but, that I shouldn't have to ever worry about that since I was a squib. Well, he was wrong…and now I was worried.
"Yes," he nodded, and my body went rigged, heart pounding. "But, it's not what's in here that determines your house," he explained, is finger resting against my skull for a moment. "It's what's in here." He pointed to the left side of my chest…where my heart was stationed. He was telling the truth; this just wasn't that speech that many people gave their children so that they would do something…this was genuine.
"Yes," my mother sounded agitated, "And since you aren't a heartless git you have nothing to worry about." She continued; I had to admit, she had a point. "Now, come on," my father stood up, placing a hand on my shoulder as he steered me towards the train once again. Though, my confidence was not fully restored. "The train will be leaving any moment now."
"Just remember what I said, okay?" he reminded me. I turned to him and smiled as he pulled me into a bone crushing hug, and it seemed as if he didn't want to let me go. I nodded as we pulled away, his lips pressing against my temple as I responded meekly. "That's my girl." He smiled sadly. My mother hugged me next, a few tears leaking from her eyes as I turned to look at them once last time as I got on the train, their voices fading under the whistle of the train as it began to move slowly. But, I could still hear my mother's voice.
"Bye sweetie! Don't forget to write us!"
I wondered if Muggles felt like this on their first days of school. The outcast? Lonely? I wonder if they have the feeling that everyone is looking at them; that's exactly how I felt as I wondered down the small corridors of the train. Several students let their eyes linger on my form as I passed the windows, occasionally I peered in…looking for an empty seat. They were all either filled up or the student s occupying them didn't look like they wanted any company. Taking a deep breath I decided that the next empty compartment I passed was going to be my seat for the remainder of the trip, not matter who was in there…
"Oi, prat, in here." A cold voice ordered, I hadn't needed to turn around to see who it was. I was surprised that he hadn't called me a squib, but, I guess it would make no since calling me that now. I turned on my heels slowly, restraining myself from gagging at his appearance. He wasn't a nice looking lad at all, having taking after his mother. He inherited her impossibly big nose and ears to match, and his hair was a greasy blonde. I doubled back slowly as he disappeared back into the compartment, the door wide open as I poked my head in, my stomach fell; all Slytherins. I shook my head and began to turn back towards the door.
"I don't want to sit in here. I'll find my own compartment." I replied; Harold scoffed from his seat nearest to the door, his sister, Evelyn, looked up. She chose to ignore my presence just as Marlowe and Jane had, their backs turned to me.
"They're all full, you Wally," he sneered; "besides, who'd want to sit with you anyway?" he looked up at me with a crocked smirk on his face.
"Apparently you do!" I hissed loudly, now standing in the doorway. Marlowe and Jane turned the face me, each cutting their eyes before they returned to whatever they had been preoccupied with; it didn't matter to me, this was how I had expected to be treated.
"I'm just following my mum's orders." He snapped, crossing his arms over his chest. "Once we reach the school it'll be like home…pretending you don't exist." I couldn't deny the truth in his earlier words, all of the compartments I had passed were indeed full, and I didn't want to spend the whole ride searching the hallways and possibly being yelled at for it. Stomping my foot on the ground I closed the compartment door and took a seat on the other side of Evelyn, she glanced at me and rolled her eyes as I scooted closer to the window.
"Nancy." I muttered under my breath.
After a few moments of silence Evelyn spoke, my vision tearing from the scene as I watched it zoom past me; the trees blurring it with the sky and the clouds. "Are those….new robes?" she asked, taking her middle finger and thumb she rubbed a piece of the black fabric in between her fingertips, scowling as she released then quickly. She wiped her hands on her tights promptly, as if she had been diseased. I looked down at the black that was over my shoulders, extending towards my legs.
"Yes," I replied shortly, "We got them for half the price…some fall special I suppose." She chuckled as if she felt bad for me. I watched her as she crossed her legs and reopened the book that was held in her hands, tossing her braided blonde hair over her shoulder.
"Unlikely," she snorted, a since of arrogance lingered in the word. "I got the same robes last year." Biting my bottom lip I turned back towards the window, already getting the feeling that this would be a lonely ride to the school. When the trolley came around Harold offered to pay for everyone in the compartment…aside from me. The old woman looked at me with a questioning glance, I shook my head, letting her know that I didn't want anything, but, the truth was…I couldn't afford it. The compartment barely rocked as it sailed though the countryside, trees were just beginning to change color, the brown, orange, and yellow leaves fluttering to the ground. The sky was nearing dusk; Marlowe glanced down at his wrist and sighed heavily, the first sound he'd made the whole trip.
"Trevor! Trevor!" Evelyn scoffed, her lip curling in disgust she looked towards the compartment windows I followed their gaze curiously. A young boy ran past the window, his voice frantic. I sat forward slightly, my feet hitting the floor of the compartment. He sounded stressed; he had stopped his hands gripping his hair tightly as he looked around.
"Oi," Harold laughed, pointing to the figure that was standing outside of the compartment. The boy started at his usual pace again, his voice frantic as he yelled 'Trevor' several more times. "Look at his planker." Marlowe chuckled and shook his head as he set his book down on the seat between him and Jane. I curled a lip in disgust, but, not at the boy….but at the people that was unfortunately related to. It never ceased to amaze me how cruel they could be, even when someone was clearly in a state of distress.
"Running around, squealing like a little pig!" Evelyn added, earning a laugh from the rest of the compartment. I glared at them, watching as the boy ran back down the corridor once again.
"Yeah, he looks like one too." The compartment continued to laugh at the boy's expense; all the while I wasn't sure if I could take their teasing any longer. Their nasty sense of humor was no doubt inherited from their mother as well. If other people didn't dress, talk, or walk the same way that they did they were automatically inferior. The laughing around me subsided to a mere few scoffs and chuckles as the boy approached our compartment; his hands sliding open the doors quickly. We all starred at him as his blue eyes darted around the small space, looking high and low, shifting to any person he could.
"Has anyone seen my toad?" His mouth opened to reveal a set of buck teeth. His breathing was frantic, and he seemed as if he was on the brink of tears; I felt bad for him. "Trevor? I've lost him!" I opened my mouth, ready to offer my help to him, but, Evelyn's voice cut though the compartment first. Cold, hard, and uninviting…
"Does it look like any of us have seen a toad to you?" she asked sourly, as if he had interrupted an important conversation. I sat forward quickly, the boy's eyes flashing to me as I had to rather quickly movement.
"What doesn't he look like?" I asked; Jane cast an annoyed glance my way.
'He's brown….and big!" he exclaimed, his voice hopeful. Well, a big, brown, toad shouldn't be too hard to find, besides, how many students bring a toad to Hogwarts? The most I've seen have been cats and owls.
"We haven't seen your nasty amphibian." Jane snapped as she jumped up from her seat; her wavy brown hair fell just along her shoulders, her lip turned up in a snarl, piercing blue eyes spitting venom. Actually, I don't think she was scowling at all…I had noticed quite recently that her lips were always in that state.
"Neville! Neville!" The boy quickly turned around as a girl ran towards him; her hair was bushy and flowing behind her. She looked into the compartment, gazing at us for a moment before she turned back to the boy. "Hannah Abbot says she's found him!" I smiled slightly as the boy's face lit up upon hearing those words and without another word to us, he closed to compartment door and he and the girl disappeared down the corridor. We were silent for a moment, his face replying in my mind; I guess there were good people at Hogwarts after all…
"Shouldn't we go help him?" I ask no one in particular, and I didn't expect them to jump up and agree with me either.
"Elizabeth," Jane sighed. Her voice was softer than I had ever heard it, a kind of genuine concern. It frightened me slightly, but, I had confused her concern for criticism; her lips tightened in a straight line, like she was about to school me. "Only the lowliest of wizards lose their pets…they're not the type you want to associate yourself with."
A snort from my side of the compartment sounded, followed by a snide chuckle. "If she's anything like her father…she'll have a hard time refraining from doing so." Harold starred at me for a few moments, his blue eyes glittering with animosity. And that was the first time that I truly understood just how much they hated me and my mother, my father, he was all right with them…but his spawn and wife were nothing but dirt under their heels. I looked away from them, casting my eyes down at the cushioned seats underneath me…we hadn't even arrived yet and I already wanted to go home.
When the train came to a complete stop I was forgotten. Jane, Marlowe, Evelyn, and Harold exited the compartment without so much as a look over their shoulders; they were back at school, among their friends and teachers…and I didn't exist. He did warn me though, but, I thought they would have at least stayed long enough to see that I had gotten off the train safely...but…who was I kidding? I continued to sit in the seat watching as the older and younger students collided with each other, everyone pushing their way up towards the front exit. I was afraid that if I exited the train now that I would be trampled in an instant. As the last of the compartments in my section of the train emptied I thought it safe enough to venture out, a booming voice outside of the train was calling orders: "Come on, first years, don't be shy. Come on now, hurry up!"
First years, goodness, I didn't want to be left behind. I quickly made my way towards the last of the students that were tricking out of the exit, all in a single file line, much to my surprise when I heard a croak, unmistakable croak. I stopped mid-stride, glancing behind me slowly; the croak sounded again. I listened…then another. Knitting my brows together I pushed open the doors of the compartment that was two up from ours…the croaking was louder. I glanced about the cabin for a moment, but, there was no sign. The voice from outside the train continued, I looked up. If I didn't leave now I was going to be left on the train; I didn't even want to think of the look on my mother's face if that were to happen… Just as I turned to leave, the croak sounded again…this time it was too close to ignore. I glanced down quickly, my eyes focusing on the brown blob that was sitting at my feet. Its webbed fingers sat atop the black shoes on my feet, I smiled slightly, suddenly remembering the boy from earlier…Neville.
"Trevor?" I asked as I picked up the slimy animal. I studied the creature for a few seconds, making a face as the loud croak filled the silent space around us; he squirmed slightly as I placed him into the pocket of my robes. If my mother saw this…I smirked at the thought. I quickly made my way from the train, hoping that I hadn't missed whatever was going to deliver us to the school that my parents had doted on for so many years. Upon exiting I saw the group leaving, a giant, massive shape of a man leading them. I ran to catch up, holding onto my pocket as the animal inside shifted from side to side. The poor toad couldn't have been enjoying it very much. I looked around at the new faces as they chatted amongst themselves with excitement. I wasn't sure how I was going to fit in here, especially since I didn't believe that I fit in anywhere too well. I looked hard at a few of the faces, trying to find the somewhat chubby baby face that I had met earlier, but, I couldn't find him. I sure hope I find him soon though…I didn't want to carry this thing in my pocket forever.
The boat ride towards the school was glorious; even though the water was murky and dark, and fog waded across the surface of the rippling waves…when we came towards the school a feeling washed over me. I had never seen something so big, towers upon towers, and lights lit up the rather colossal structure. Walking though it was even more magnificent and for some reason…I felt more at home than I ever had. Students several whispers of 'ah' and 'wow' were thrown around as we made our way up the winding staircases; I was at the back of long group of children, but a whisper made its way through the crowed rather quickly, the name…Harry Potter. Several children around me stood on their tippy-toes, trying to catch a glimpse of the 'celebrity', I'd only heard about him a few times; my mother and father had discussed him once.
If I thought Hogwarts its self was glorious…then the Great Hall was magnificent. The giant room was illuminated with hundreds of candles that were suspend in mid air, the ceiling a spitting image of the sky that was just outside of its massive stone walls. Students lined the four long tables that stretched almost from one end of the room to the other; I gulped as the older individuals looked at us as we walked down the spaces between the tables, some of them muttering about what house they thought several of the passing students would be sorted into. "That one there's a Slytherin…I just know it." I heard another whisper "Naw, she'll be a Gryffindor! Guarantee it! Maybe even a Hufflepuff." I couldn't be sure whom the guesses were aimed at, first years surrounded me on either side as I quickened my pace, wanting to get away from the whispering, besides, the animal in my pocket couldn't afford to be squished. The crowd abruptly stopped as we neared the front of the hall; a table sat towards the very back, adults, whom I had suspected to be the teachers, lined the long table. The room was incredibly silent as our headmaster, Dumbledore, spoke to us; letting us know some important rules that we needed to follow. I couldn't particularly say that he had my undivided attention, a few of the things he said stuck with me, The Forbidden Forest being one of them…my mother had already warned me about that place. My eyes were too busy glancing around at the anxious students around me and the plates that lined the table…perhaps I'd get a better meal here than I did at home. My mother was a horrible cook, and my father, well quite frankly we didn't trust him with magic in the kitchen. It was only a few moments after Dumbledore had finished his speech that Professor McGonagall took over, letting us know that the sorting process was about to begin. I could feel my chest tighten as I watched, my palms sweating bullets. I listened as names were called; "Gryffindor!" "Slytherin!" "Hufflepuff!" I closed my eyes for a moment reopening them just in time: "Elizabeth Hagglehorn!"
I froze instantly, my feet felt as if they had been glued down to that very spot and my chest rose and fell rapidly; don't make a full out of yourself. Not only for my own benefit…but for my cousins as well; if I made a fool of myself now they would make my remaining years here a living hell, well, at least Evelyn and Marlowe would. Evelyn had only attended Hogwarts for a year before me, Jane and Harold were both in their last year. Taking a deep breath I put one foot in front of the other, my strides small and timid, and I dared not look at McGonagall as I approached the front. Sitting on the stool my eyes wondered over the rows and rows of students; It's not what's in here that determines your house…it's what's in here. I shook as she placed the hat on my head, the antique cloth humming slightly.
"Mmm. Ah, yes." it hummed, a sort of humor held in its' voice. "Another Hagglehorn, I see, I've had plenty of those under here. Quite a scattering of house you see-"I bit my bottom lip; if I seemed arrogant I would be put in Slytherin, if I was brave maybe Gryffindor…but I was a total mess. "Mmm. But, see, ah, yes, yes." It was as if it was reading my mind…but I high doubted that was the case, because then it would be able to see that I was clearly wasn't cut out for something like this. "But, I can see where you're loyalty lies….Gryffindor!" The crowd of older students cheered as I stepped hopped from the stool, making my way towards the table that the rest of the students had reported to; I couldn't help the smile from finding its way onto my lips. Just imagining the look on my mum and dad's faces when they received my letter made me feel warm inside, they would be proud of me.
As I sat down at the long wooden table I was humbled by how graciously they accepted me, greeting me with hello's and warm wishes; a red haired boy patted me on the shoulder, shaking me slightly a grin on his face. "Welcome to Gryffindor! See, George? I told you she wasn't a Slytherin!" So, they were the whisperers that had thrown my mind into a tizzy. I nodded a thank you to him quietly, my cheeks burning red…I felt accepted. I turned in my seat to take a look at the table behind us, Marlowe and Harold were sitting with Evelyn and Jane their eyes glaring at me and without a word, they turned their noses up into the air; our ties had been broken. I was no longer a part of their family. It was an honor to be at this table, a true honor, surrounded by children that were so friendly I thought their faces would be stuck in a smile forever and Harry Potter…the Harry Potter…the boy that defeated Volde- Well, You-Know-Who was sitting across from me waving a hello in my direction. I guess all the years of ridicule had paid off after all!
Suddenly, a very familiar face came into view; blimey, I had almost forgotten about Trevor! In the midst of everything that was happening I had forgotten that Neville's lost toad was stowed away in my pocket. It was most opportune that he would take the seat next to me, his head hung low even though he had just been placed into one of the most successful houses in Hogwarts, or, so I'm told. I stayed silent for a few moments, not knowing how I was supposed to go about returning it to him; I didn't want him thinking that we had taken his pet for our own amusement. "Hello, Neville." I stated, very timidly, the rest of the house was buzzing with applause and whistles as more students were sorted.
"Hi." He replied sadly, seeming unfazed by the fact that I knew his name even though I didn't know him on a personal level. I understood how he was feeling right now, I'd lost my cat numerous times around the house, but, she always turned up sooner or later. I fished around in my pocket for a moment as I watched Neville's shoulders slump in defeat, a sigh escaping his lips.
"I'm Elizabeth." I greeted him, still rummaging in my pockets; where on earth did this thing go? He turned to me slowly; his pudgy cheeks still tinted red from the warm breeze that we encountered outside of the school.
"Nev-"he suddenly stopped, his forehead creasing as he looked at me suspiciously, "How did you know my name?" he inquired rather quickly.
"I met you on the train…earlier." I replied, my voice small. I had always been a shy girl, ever since I was just at tiny one. He nodded his head, his mouth making an 'o' shape. I couldn't help but crack a smile, he was…cute.
"Oh, right." He breathed, a sullen look still playing on his features. I continued to rummage, my hand slipping inside of my robes. Oh no…what if. A sigh of relief rushed from my lips as I felt my hand grasp the slimy creature.
"I think I have something of yours, Neville." With that being said I slowly pulled the animal from my pocket and in that instant his eyes lit up, mouth opening in a smile as he reached for his pet immediately.
"Trevor!" he exclaimed as he took him from my hands, cradling him protectively against his chest. "You found him!" I watched him as he stroked the toad's head with adoration. I smiled; he really was the cutest boy I'd ever laid eyes on. "Thank you." He added quietly, his own hands finding their way into his pockets as he put him away; let's just hope he doesn't lose him again. All looked up towards the front as the dinging of glass sounded in the hall, gaining out attention. Professor Dumbledore stood at his spot in the middle of the table, a smile on his face as he gestured towards us all: "Let the feast begin!"
Almost instantly the plates in front of us filled with food; chicken, pudding, cornbread, soups…everything imaginable. My eyes widened…I may have to watch how much I eat during my years here; if I don't I may end up like my Aunt Sandra. The food was delicious and whoever made it deserves much praise and recognition, I'd never tasted anything like it in my life. Tearing into the rolls almost immediately I smiled, watching as the students talked amongst themselves…like a family. I was halfway done with my third helping when a tap on my shoulder made me drop the roll mid-bite. I turned to see Neville starring at me, his eyes shifting towards the giant amount of pudding that was on his plate…it diffidently looked to be more than what one person could handle alone.
"Do you want to share this with me?" he asked timidly, his voice shaking slightly. "My grandmother says that I can't have too much sugar-"he seemed embarrassed to reveal the last part; he better just be lucky that he actually has a grandparent that cares about him. I smiled, taking up my own spoon in my hand, and I could have sworn that his own lips stretched for miles as his buck-toothed smile beamed.
A/N: Well, first part is done. I know it wasn't too exciting, but, I didn't want to jump into their seventh year without some background information. The second chapter will be a few things during their second year and their development as friends. If you have any suggestions or concerns don't hesitate to let me know about them! And if you think I should continue this, please, by all means, drop a review! Thank you :]
*The first lines in the story are direct dialogue taken from the book Tales of Beetle the Bard. [Which I obviously do not own]