Title: Year Two of the Snake

Spoilers/Warning: None

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters are copyright J. K. Rowling. No infringement intended.

Status: In-Progress

Year 2

Hogwarts Express

Both Ron and Harry made an exciting entrance while the rest of us took the 'boring' route to the castle. This time around life in Slytherin became… err difficult is putting it mildly. I had a chance to catch up with my friends, not that we didn't write the entire summer. Poor Brwyn didn't get a moments rest. I didn't understand why we couldn't use a phone or e-mail. I was still under the impression that magic couldn't be faster than the net.

"How ever were you sorted into that house, Stany." Hermione asked in her usual forthright manner.

"I told it to." Stahna sighed. She slumped further into the seat seeming to shrink in on herself. It was clear she was unhappy- more than unhappy- with the choice she had made the year before.

"Why ever for!" Hermione cried completely shocked anyone would want to be sorted into Slytherin. Everyone knew being a snake was like the kiss of death. There wasn't a witch or wizard who hadn't gone evil that came out of there.

"Because I don't want to be a hero." Stahna mumbled. She could feel her eyes sting and hated that such a little thing could make her want to cry. Her Dad would tell her to suck it up, to face this latest challenge head on but that was so like him. He was always doing the courageous thing, the right thing… Why couldn't he just be happy being her Dad?

"What?" Hermione scoffed, the half smile on her face faded at the look of misery on her friends face. "Why would you think that-."

"The sorting hat said so." Stahna snapped. She sat up so suddenly Hermione blinked, surprised the other girl could move that fast let alone switch emotions so quickly. "It said I would do well in Gryffindor because I- because-. I'm not like him! I'm not. I won't. And if I have to stick it out with those snakes then that's what I'll do. I'll…" but Stahna's voice lost the heat of anger and uncertainty furrowed her brow. She sunk back into the seat, tucking her legs under and resting her head against the window.

"Not like who, Stahna?" Hermione asked softly. She scooted over to the end of the opposite seat so she sat directly in front of Stahna.

"My Dad's a pilot for the AirForce. He's always being sent on missions and its cool cus he flies F-16's and jets but…" Stahna trailed off, brown eyes still looking out the window, at the sky. She could remember going up in the plane with her Dad, feel it vibrate around her… One thing Stahna couldn't deny was her love of planes. It was the one thing she shared with her Father; the one thing her Mother feared would kill them one day.

"Mom's afraid it's going to kill him." Her eyes flicked over to Hermione. "She thinks he loves flying more than us and you know what?" Stahna slowly shifted until she was sitting with her knees wrapped by her arms. "She's right. My Dad loves his job and flying more than he loves us."

"You don't know that-." Hermione began to protest. All parents loved their children more than anything in the world, it was a given.

'Except for Malfoy.' Hermione added mentally.

"Yeah, I do." Stahna asserted. "I know because I'm like that too."

Guilt washed over her along with a slight relief for having told someone, finally telling someone what she'd been trying to deny, what she couldn't tell her Dad. Telling Hermione was bad enough, just voicing that much made Stahna want to say the rest of it out loud.

"I know you hate flying, H. You don't like being up high but…" Stahna hesitated. "But I do." Her voice was soft, just a little frightened of the depth of her feelings and what it might mean but she wasn't thinking of the future. Stahna was still too young to think of the future as anything more than a dream.

"I love the way the air rushes all around me, feeling weightless and free. I'm almost like a bird, I can pretend at least and it feels… it feels… Really good!" Stahna finished with a hesitant grin.

Hermione watched her friends smile fade until once again Stahna sat in her corner, almost huddled in there as if she were trying to hide.

"Rubbish!" Hermione scolded. "Just because you like to fly doesn't mean you're like your Dad and anyway I am not afraid of flying." She denied crossing her arms and sitting back in the seat. She'd refused to admit it even to Harry not that her failure in that area was any secret. She couldn't even get her broom up!

"Wha-." Stahna's mouth opened in disbelief hearing that. Then she grinned and didn't try to hold back her laughter. She stretched out a hand and pointed at Hermione's reddening cheeks. "You are so! You wouldn't stop screaming for me to set us down!"