The Lightning Scar by Reckless Runaway
Summary:

Zora McQueen only wanted one thing... to go to Hogwarts. It wasn't until she got there that she found out she would be in for the adventure of a lifetime. Who knew meeting a messy haired boy with a scar on his head would lead to so much trouble?

 

 

 

 


Categories: Movies, Books Characters: Original Character(s)
Classification: General
Genre: Action-Adventure , Comedy , Drama, Family, Friendship, Romance
Story Status: None
Pairings: Male/Female
Warnings: Adult Situations, Extreme Language, Fluff, Original Characters, Racism, Un-betaed , Work in Progress
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 16 Completed: No Word count: 101074 Read: 75489 Published: May 28 2011 Updated: February 15 2014

1. Cast by Reckless Runaway

2. Happiness Is.. by Reckless Runaway

3. A day in the life of... by Reckless Runaway

4. Chances Are... by Reckless Runaway

5. The Not So Happy Birthday by Reckless Runaway

6. The Not So Happy Birthday pt. 2 by Reckless Runaway

7. Black Cats, Flying Erasers, and Cupcakes...Oh My by Reckless Runaway

8. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Or is it? by Reckless Runaway

9. And We All....Fall...Down by Reckless Runaway

10. I Open at the Close by Reckless Runaway

11. Hello and Goodbye by Reckless Runaway

12. The Unhappy New Year by Reckless Runaway

13. Sweetling by Reckless Runaway

14. Interlude by Reckless Runaway

15. The Final Countdown by Reckless Runaway

16. Winds of Change by Reckless Runaway

Cast by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Cast and their Ages (Trying to keep more to the book ages than what they movies portrayed)

Zora Throughout Hogwarts

 

Age 11

Age 12

Age 13

Age 14

Age 15

Age 16

Age 17

Samson McQueen (Age 21) (Born March 4, 1960) 

Samson McQueen (Years after the First WW)

Grandpa Reginald

RIP: Cecile McQueen (Age 21) Born: April 18, 1960 Died:December 31, 1981)

 

Cecile McQueen (What could have been...)

Grandma Grace 

Kingsley Shacklebolt (Age:26)  (Born: October 20, 1954) (During the First WW)

(Years after the First WW)

Ando Takarai

Hyde Kurosaki

Luca

Happiness Is.. by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

 

Author's Notes: Hey Everyone this is my first fanfiction ever so criticism is welcomed and appreciated. 

**This story does have OCs so if you don't like then please don't waste your time writing scathing reviews.**

I disclaim. 

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

I own nothing except for Zora and Samson and Cecile.

Please enjoy and thanks for reading :)

 

 


Time is a strange thing. Whether a person is a muggle or wizard it is the ultimate mystery. The time it took for the actual first war to take place did not compare to the emotional and physical scars it left behind. Families were torn apart. Feelings of strength and confidence were replaced with feelings of uneasiness and insecurity. The wizarding world was still in the process of rebuilding itself. Our story begins in a moderately sized house just outside of Bristol. The clock had just struck 10 and the streets were empty. A man with half-moon glasses had come to the McQueen residence. Zora Noel McQueen watched from her bedroom window as he walked closer and closer. Her father apparently knew the man with the funny clothes and they spoke in whispers. They thought that she had gone off to bed, and she should have been since she was only six years old, but she couldn't stay away. That man…that man who was talking to her father was dressed so strangely… She could have sworn that she saw him before, maybe from the pictures from that school her mother is…was teaching at. He seemed like a nice man, he had a soft voice, like her grandpa. Unable to sleep, she sat at the top of the staircase and listened in on the conversation.

"Albus, if I have told you once I have told you a thousand times, I will not have Zora at Hogwarts."

" Samson, please, I implore you to see reason. I understand your feelings…" Albus Dumbledore looked at the man before him. He remembered the spark that was in the young man's eyes. He remembered the look of wonder that was on his and his would-be wife's faces when they first entered into the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. That spark was hiding (Dumbledore refused to believe that it was completely gone). "But you cannot allow you feelings to rule over what is best for your daughter."

"Do. Not. Tell me what is best for my daughter Albus. know what is best for my daughter. I am her father. It is my job to protect her." Samson McQueen was and always will be a stubborn man. He stood at 6'2, with a pale white complexion and thin frame. He had determined but sorrowful blue eyes along with a neatly trimmed head of brown hair. His face was slightly narrow, and it didn't help that he had a seemly permanent frown on his face.

"Samson, what happened to Cecile was tragic, the wounds of the first war have taken a toll upon all of us but we cannot stop living. If we do then there will be no hope left in us for when we do have to face the evils that are soon come."

"What are you going on about Albus? I thought Lord—He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was dead."

"Weakened, my dear boy, not dead. I fear that Tom may have managed to slip away before he was completely destroyed." Dumbledore sat down at the kitchen table and sighed. Oh, he wished that he could share the enthusiasm that others felt when they heard the news of what happened to Voldemort. Call him suspicious but he could not afford to be so carefree, especially since Harry…

"If he is still out there then why the hell would I would allow my daughter out of my sight? I have already lost Cecile and I refuse to lose my daughter to him as well."

"Samson, don't be daft. If Voldemort does come back do you think for one moment that you would be able to stand a chance against him? You barely made it out alive when that swarm of death-eaters…In any case, Hogwarts is the safest place for the children to be, I highly doubt that he much less anyone else would try to attack the castle. Please Samson think long and hard, what would Cecile want for Zora?" The two men stared at each other for a moment.

" I will do what's best for my daughter Albus, please do not contact this house again." Samson walked to the front door with Dumbledore following slowly behind him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a little nymph,dressed in her yellow polka-dotted pajamas, on the staircase and smiled to himself. Zora was Cecile's daughter alright and then the small smile that was hidden underneath his snow white beard slowly turned to a slight frown, Merlin help that girl if and when her powers started showing up. Hopefully whatever choice Samson did decide to make was actually the best for the young girl.

"Goodbye Albus."

"Goodbye Samson." Merlin protect you both….

Samson closed the door and locked it. How could Albus ask something like this of him? Part of him knew that he was being unreasonable, but he didn't care. He couldn't bear the thought of losing his daughter…she was all that he had left of his life with Cecile. Zora was named after Cecile's favorite author, an American muggle writer by the name of Zora Neale Hurston. They shared the same smile, the smile that made him instantly melt. He remembered when he first met Cecile. Working diligently as ever in her favorite class Herbology, so full of life and enthusiasm. She looked amazing in her Hufflepuff uniform… the yellow looked lovely against her dark mahogany skin…

" Papa?" the small voice broke him out of his train of thought. He turned around and looked down.

"Zora, princess, what are you doing up it's way passed your bed-time." The tone of his voice instantly softened, which wasn't unusual. Samson was known in the Aurors Department for being unrelenting and stubborn but not when it came to his family.

"Papa who was that man you were talking to, he sounded like grandpa but he was wearing such funny clothes and had such a long beard…"

"He was an old acquaintance darling…now," he said as he picked her up in his arms, "You should be tucked into your bed and off in dreamland."

"But papa why were you so sad when you were talking to him?" she looked him straight in the eye, Merlin those eyes. They were the perfect mixture of his blue and Cecile's brown. Her skin was a like a caramel milk-dud and her hair was brown and soft like his but was wild as Cecile's. He loved his daughter very much but even in his darkest moments he hesitantly admitted that it hurt to look at her sometimes.

" He was asking me to do something that I don't think I can do." that was an understatement but it seemed to quell her curiosity…for now anyway.

"But that's silly you can do anything." she looked at him like he was crazy. The amount of admiration and trust that she put into him made him grasp her tighter in his arms. A gentle smile swept across his face while a few small tears glossed over his eyes but they refused to fall.

"I always try darling, and that is what makes the impossible possible." He carried her up the stairs, pass the multitude of family pictures, and to her room. He laid her gently on to her bed, tucked her in and kissed her on her forehead. He stood up straight and turned the nightlight on her side table off.

"Goodnight princess, see you in the morning."

"Goodnight papa, I love you."

"I love you too." he closed the door behind him and left Zora in her bed to dream.

Zora stared at her ceiling; she vaguely remembered (or dreamed, she wasn't sure) when her mother enchanted the ceiling to look like that one at the school where she used to work. The moon peaked behind a few clouds that happened to pass by and the night sky was seasoned with stars. She hoped that whatever was making her father sad went away soon. She hated it when people were sad it took out the glow that seemed to surround them when they were happy. Yes, she liked it best when people were happy. Her mother always told her that happiness was a song that everyone knew the words to, its just that sometimes people forget the words so we have to help them remember the words.

"Good night mama, and don't worry about papa I'll help him remember I promise." She blew a kiss to the enchanted ceiling and turned to her side and fell asleep.

~ HP ~

Ding-Dong…Ding-Dong

" THEY'RE HERE, THEY'RE HERE!" a newly turned eight-year-old Zora screamed, the excitement was practically beaming off her entire being. She ran down the stairs like a lightning-bolt. It had been a month since the Lovegood family had come to visit.

Her father wasn't exactly keen on traveling on the magical side of life anymore. For being a family of wizards there wasn't much active magic going on. Aside from the pictures of Samson and Cecile with Zora, the married couple with their group of friends from school and the Order you would think that they were a muggle house. She loved it when the Lovegood family came to visit. Mrs. Lovegood was always experimenting with new spells and Mr. Lovegood talked about his new paper the Quiz-no-Quibbler. But the best thing about the visits was being able to see her best friend Luna, she was always so much fun. She was the only one her age that she could talk to about magic. The kids at her muggle school didn't understand her the way the way that Luna did, but how could they? The way they knew and saw the world was completely different from the way that a person who was exposed to magic and all its wonders saw it.

Ding-

"Luna!" Zora catapulted her self into her friends' arms; both of them giggled happily as the swung each other around. Mr. and Mrs. Lovegood smiled at the two girls. Mr. Lovegood cleared his throat and raised his left eyebrow.

"And what about us Queenie, don't we get a hug? Honestly." His eyes gleamed with joy not malice, a smile budding on his face.

"Of course Uncle." She let go of Luna and catapulted herself in between the adults she considered family.

" How are you doing Queenie? My you've gotten so big Xenophillius we have been away too long." Solidad Lovegood sighed, it seemed like time was slipping by so quickly. In only two years the girls would be off to Hogwarts, well Zora would be anyway (Luna was a year younger). Samson wouldn't keep Zora from attending Hogwarts she would make sure of it. Solidad was best friends with Cecile even though they were in different houses. They dreamed of having their fantasy jobs, getting married and having children the whole shebang. It wasn't fair that her best-friend's life was cut so short because of some group of small-minded blood-elitists.

She and her husband both made the effort to try and convince Samson that by not immersing Zora into her culture they were doing a disservice to both Cecile and Zora. Part of the reason why they had been gone so long was because of a little argument between Solidad and Samson. Solidad was a spitfire but normally she did not have a temper. It seemed that it was only when she was around Samson and his stubbornness was she easily irritated.

"Hello Xenophillus...Solidad, it is nice to see again." The cheerful tone in his voice did not connect with his eyes. Personally, he had no problem with Xenophillius but his wife…that was a whole other story.

"Same here Samson." Xenophillius shook his old schoolmate's hand and followed him into the house. Tension was mounting and he would rather not expose the girls to the animosity. Solidad followed him in silently, promising herself that she would behave if Samson did.

" Zora is very happy that you all are here, she hasn't stop talking about today." Samson sat down at the kitchen table while he waited for the coffee to finish brewing. Last time they had all sat down at the kitchen table it didn't end so well. Zora didn't talk to him for a week after that little debacle.

"Well you know how much we love Zora, she and Luna are like sisters which means she is like one of our own." Solidad said stiffly. She wanted to bring up the subject of Hogwarts, because according to Luna Zora had been demonstrating signs of magic, powerful magic. Hogwarts was becoming less of a question of "if" and more like a question of when.

" Yes…how have you all been?" Talking was beginning to become uncomfortable, normally this was where either Cecile or Zora would come in and the focus would be off him. When things were quiet bad things usually followed. Sometimes he couldn't control his tongue especially when he knew what they (and when he said "they" he meant specifically Solidad) wanted to talk about. The coffee was done and Samson gave each Lovegood a cup.

" We have been well, when Luna hasn't been in that muggle school she has been either with me at the Quibbler or with Iddy. She has been watching Iddy do her…less dangerous spells. Oh, Luna is starting to show her powers, very exciting as you can imagine." Xenophillius sipped his coffee. His eyes flitted between his wife and his friend. This doesn't look it will end well.

" Good, good…Zora has been showing some powers as well." 1:00 wasn't too early to drink was it?

"Yes, it is a very exciting time for us all, soon we'll be helping to shop for school supplies and what not at Diagon Alley and then off to Hogwarts she will go and as will Luna after her…"

"Iddy darling…"

" Solidad I don't want to talk …"

" Samson you will have to talk about it some time Zora is growing up and showing powers, you can't keep her held up in your ivory tower forever."

" I'm doing what I think…"

" Your doing what you think is best for yourself Samson, what would Cecile think about all of this?

"Do not bring Cecile into this…"

" How can I not…?"

" Iddy, Samson..." Xenophillius was being drowned out, usually he allowed them to argue but this was getting absurd, " SOLIDAD, SAMSON YOU BOTH ARE BEING RIDICULOUS!"

Samson and Solidad quieted down, it wasn't often that Xenophillius shouted and they had to admit that he was right…on some level.

" It is obvious that we all care about Cecile and Zora. And we must look past our own wants and desires and see what is best for Zora. Samson, you have to agree that there would be no better place for Zora than Hogwarts its where we learned it all, its where we all met. Do you not want the same for Zora, do you not want her to have the same wonderful experiences?"

" Of course Xenophillius.."

" And Iddy, darling you must not push Samson, he is her father and he has a right to do what he feels is best for her be that Hogwarts or somewhere else."

"Hmph, I suppose your right…"

"Now, the girls are coming in from playing outside now can we all be civil?"

"Yes."

"Yes."

"Good. Today is for Luna and Zora and I will not have either of you ruining their good time." And that was the final word of Xenophillius Lovegood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, Zora and Luna were outside in the backyard picking flowers and talking about Hogwarts. Both of them knew it was coming and only one of them felt somewhat prepared.

"Zora, I wouldn't worry about too much it. There are plenty of muggle-borns that won't have a clue about Hogwarts…"

" But Luna that just makes it worse. Both of my parents are magical but my dad…ever since mum…passed he's been so tight lipped about magic and her. I don't think he likes the idea of me doing magic and he definitely doesn't like the idea of me going to Hogwarts."

The girls were laying on their backs in the grass watching the clouds go by, the wind was gently swaying causing the her mum's wind chimes to play a beautiful melody. Merlin, she missed her mum so much sometimes. Questions galloped through Zora's mind, specifically the question of what her mother do in this situation. She loved her dad and understood why he was so vague when it came to magic but at the same time every time he went off to work at the Ministry she felt that he was going to place that she was forbidden to go.

" Tell him."

" What?" they turned their heads to each other.

"Tell him how you feel. Zora he's your dad, the things he does are only going to last as long as you let them. The next time you have a free day off school demand that he take you with him to work. He's not an active Auror anymore so it's not like you'll be in any danger."

" Hm..." Maybe Luna was right, maybe it was time for her to start fighting for what she wanted. Confrontation usually wasn't her thing. He always said that he was glad had an easy child, unlike "the unruly children" that she went to school with. She thought that by being agreeable she was making his life easier, which is true but at what cost to herself? He held on so tightly that she was afraid of doing anything that she wanted to do. He was her father but times he seemed more like warden more than anything else. It was time for a change, finding out who she really was/ who she could be and going to Hogwarts was too important to her to just give up.

" Come on Zora you can do it, I'll be there and so will mum and dad. We'll be right behind you." Luna smiled. Zora smiled back and plucked up her newfound courage, hopefully it would last long enough to actually talk to him.

"Alright let's do it."

The girls got up and dusted their sundresses off and walked back into the house. Apparently the grown ups were talking about something important because they instantly stopped talking when they entered the room.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Dad, I have something that I want say."

" Yes, what is it princess?" Here we go

" Dad I love you very much but I feel as though the reason why you don't allow much magic inside the house…or in any conversation is because you're afraid. I mean ever since mum died your so anxious about anything magic and that includes me. Every time I show you a bit of magic I've done you brush it off. I know that you don't like to think about me going off to Hogwarts but it has to happen whether you like it or not. And, and I hope that when I do go you won't cut me off from you life. I don't want you to feel like I don't appreciate everything that you've done because I know that it was all out of love but…but." she began to get choked up.

Samson rushed to his daughter from his seat and held her tightly. Tears that he had held began running down his face, he knew this day would come. His little girl, his wonderful girl was growing up. Solidad was right when she said that he was doing a disservice to Cecile and especially to Zora. Ignoring magic wasn't the answer. Magic did not kill his wife, people did. He blamed magic for taking away his wife and mother of his child and in an effort to protect his daughter he made her feel like she couldn't be who she was. He had made the mistake of pushing magic out of their lives but he would not risk pushing his daughter out his life by extension.

"Zora, baby, I—I'm sorry I'm so sorry I never meant you to feel so closed off. I just wanted to protect you and your right I am afraid, but my fear won't stop me from showing all the good things that magic can do. Merlin, your mother would have my head for allowing my bout of insanity to go on for this long." he pushed her away enough to look her directly in the eye. "But no more, I promise you Zora whatever questions you have about magic, your mother, anything don't be frightened to ask me, okay? I love you princess, please forgive your mental old dad."

"Oh dad." Zora cried and collapsed into her father's arms. This is what Samson needed. People for years have been telling him that needed to let Zora know more about the wizarding world but he didn't listen. It was only until his own daughter plucked up the courage to talk to him honestly that he could see what he was doing wrong. In the background, there was not a dry eye. Finally, their friend Samson, the man who loved magic and all the beautiful things it created, was coming back.

Somewhere, in some unreachable ethereal plan, an angel sighed with relief.

~ HP ~

 

A day in the life of... by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

AN: The only thing I claim is Zora and Samson, oh and the mean girls and Mrs. Hopkins too.

 

 

Chapter 2

~ HP ~

Ever since that talk with her dad Samson had been doing much better with introducing her to the world of magic. He took out his old Hogwarts trunk from the attic. It filled to the brim with old spell textbooks that he used at school. He wasn't ashamed to admit that he was a nerd at school. Each book had quill writing all in the margins and sometimes even had little doodles. They both decided that after Zora was done with her muggle schooling each day that they would have wizard lessons. Each day was devoted to a different subject. Zora didn't care about all the extra work that it meant for her. For the first time in her life she felt utterly free. For the first time she wasn't afraid if she accidentally did a bit of magic, and at some points she even actively tested her powers. These days at her muggle school seemed to drag on, it all seem so less important now that she knew that her schooling was going to be…else where.

Luckily for Zora the school term was almost over, which meant she could focus solely on her wizard studies. Her father said that she could come with him to work on the days that weren't so busy. She couldn't wait, she had never been to London as crazy as it seems. Her father usually apparated to get to work; by car it would have taken a little more than two hours. Samson deliberated on whether to take Zora to the ministry by apparition or by Floo powder; apparition wasn't the most comfortable experience in the world. However, Floo powder required a chimney and the soot was murder on his sinuses. The decision of side-long apparition was made hesitantly and so the only thing to decide was the day that Zora would be shadowing him at the Ministry. There was no talking Samson into allowing her to miss a day of muggle school so they agreed to have her come on the Friday after school term was over for summer. School was getting harder and harder to focus on when all she thought about was the impending trip to the Ministry. She didn't know what to expect honestly, even though her father was becoming more forthcoming about information on the Ministry and the wizarding in general there were still things that he refused to tell her.

" It's not that I don't want to tell you Zora but some things are top secret. On a need to know basis, hush hush type stuff, you understand don't you princess?"

" Yeah dad I understand." She mildly pouted but that didn't mean she had to like it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was going to be an odd day; Zora couldn't explain it but something was going to happen she could feel it. It was the last week of the school term and she was supposed to be happy, which she was but there was that feeling of uncertainty that she just couldn't shake. Middleton Academy for Young Girls and Boys wasn't the most boring place in the world but it was definitely not the most enthralling either. It was a typical muggle school. It had its teachers, administrators, cleaning staff and the of course the student body. With a mane she liked to call hair in pig-tails, and her school uniform recently pressed, Zora had her favorite breakfast cereal and waited for the school bus to arrive.

Zora was a very quiet girl when she was at school. While she wasn't necessarily friendless, the proper act of making friends was still a bit difficult. Making new friends required talking to new people, which she hadn't quite mastered as of yet. The people that she normally reacted to (talking implied a proactive action) were the people in her classes and those interactions never exceeded outside of class. Maybe it was for the best, Zora thought, at least when she left for Hogwarts she wouldn't have to worry about leaving anyone behind besides her dad. By leaving no one behind that meant that there was no heartbreak to be had. Although, Zora had to admit it would be nice to be able to talk to someone other than just Luna. With Luna being so far away she still felt a tad isolated. But the school year was almost up and the chances of her making a new friend were slim. So with a sign and an unshakable feeling in her chest she packed up her things and went out to wait for her dad. She walked out of the main building of the school towards the front lawn and then something caught her eye.

It was three girls in uniforms that were like hers. It looked like they were talking …or more like arguing.

" Come on Granger we know you have the answers to the homework. So why don't you just hand them over and stop being such a goody-two shoes." One of the girls said in a threatening tone.

" For the last time, I'm not going to give you two anything so why don't you all leave me alone and do your own homework." The girl had a bushy head of hair; she looked familiar…maybe she was in one of her classes?

" Wrong answer Granger…" the other girl that was there pushed the bushy haired one to the ground. And that was the final straw.

" HEY!" If there was one thing that bugged Zora more than anything else it was bullies. It was cowardice gone offensive. She may have not liked to talk much, but she would not allow someone to be bullied. She calmly walked up the girls with courage she didn't know she had and glared at the two girls.

" What do you think you are doing? " The bullies looked familiar now that she had a closer look. It was Lauren Nostrum and her flunky Rebecca Plonk. The popular, girls; How original.

" Oh look Rebecca it speaks. McQueen, why don't you mind your own business? Granger here has something that belongs to us." Lauren Nostrum was entitlement and privilege personified. Always with the latest of everything she still she took what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go by any means necessary to get it.

" Yeah, McQueen mind your own business." Rebecca was no better than pet parrot. Not one original thought in her large, perfectly stylized head. Shame really.

"Well it seems to me that she doesn't want to talk to you Nostrum. And it's funny, I thought for an item to be demanded back it actually had to be yours to begin with." Zora did not like this girl.

"Funny girl are we? Look McQueen go away now and I will forget this little incident ever happened." Both girls stared at each other with daggers sheathed behind their eyes.

" I don't think so Nostrum, see I like to make impressions on people so I'll just stay right here and continue our little conversation. Because apparently you can't get it through your thick-heads that no one here is afraid of you two." The wind was starting to pick up and the clouds were starting to darken. Neither girl was breaking their impromptu staring contest. Unbeknownst to Zora, her eyes were beginning to darken. It wasn't until lightning started to appear that people were starting freak out.

" Um…Lauren maybe we should leave…the weather is acting weird…" Rebecca tried to gain her friends attention but it was a lost cause.

"Yes, Lauren why don't you listen to your friend, it's probably the smartest idea she's had in a long time." Zora never felt so angry. This girl had been a terror right from the off. Ever since they were in pre-school. She was tired of watching her bully people around. The weather was getting more ominous by the second. Something about this weather wasn't natural and Lauren was getting suspicious.

" What is this? What are you doing?"

" What do you mean Nostrum, I'm not doing anything."

" Yes, yes you are. Now stop it this instant! "

" Nostrum I honestly don't know what you're talking about." Then lightning hit the tree was helplessly rooted to that particular spot. Lauren and Rebecca screamed.

" Lauren let's go! " she dragged her frightened friend by the arm.

" McQueen you freak! " Were Lauren Nostrum's last words before running after her wayward friend.

Zora watched as the two girls ran away, the weather slowly began to clear up. Her eyes began to clear up. Zora was off in her own world until a girls' voice broke her out of her thought.

" Did you that?" the bushy haired girl watched the whole thing. There was nothing the weather report about dark clouds and certainly nothing about lightning. She sat on the ground amazed. Was it possible…?

" Do what?" Zora had no clue what just happened all she remembered was talking to Lauren Nosstrum and then …oh no…

" The lightning and the clouds, it all happened so quickly…"

" Zora!" Samson seemed to pop out of nowhere.

" Dad…" Zora felt lost and confused, could she have done all of that?

" Zora it's time to go…now." He dragged Zora and led her away from the bushy-haired girl who was still sitting on the ground in shock.

" Thank…you… by the way…my name is Hermione Granger…" the girl said quietly, no one else was there to hear it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The trip home was in silence. When they got there Samson just pointed towards the kitchen. Zora did have to be mind-reader to know what that meant. The kitchen was only used for two things: breakfast and punishments. She sat down at the kitchen table; she'd rather take on a dementor than deal with this lecture.

" Zora.."

" Dad I don't know what happened all I remember is feeling so…angry…Those they girls they were being so…so."

" Zora…"

" I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I don't know what got into me…"

" ZORA!" she instantly shut her mouth, her dad never yelled at her like that…ever.

"Zora." He said more gently, " It's okay."

"What?" that wasn't what she expected.

" Darling I understand, witches and wizards your age don't know how to control your powers yet especially since you don't have your wand. Emotions and concentration are the two most important things to be careful of when dealing with magic. You must always remember that."

" Yes dad." She sighed, then a thought struck her, " Dad what about the muggles… the Ministry…?"

" People have already been dispatched to handle the situation." He was still probably going to get an ear full at work tomorrow but she was already stressed enough as it was so he decided not to tell her.

" But won't I get a letter?" She knew that underage magic was forbidden…

"No princess, like I said before the Ministry understands that children your age can't control your magic yet, especially since you don't have a wand. But please Zora you must try to control yourself okay?"

" Yes papa."

" Good, now go wash your hands while I prepare dinner. "

"Yes, papa." Zora began walking away and then another thought struck her, " Um, dad?"

" Yes darling?" Samson acknowledged, he was trying to figure out what they even had in the fridge.

" About that girl…the one that was being picked on…she seemed different from the others." Samson stopped and looked at her.

" What do you mean Zora?"

" I just mean that she didn't freak out like the others did. I don't think she knew for sure it was me who was making all that stuff happen but at same time I don't think she was surprised either. Do you think…?"

" Only time will tell darling, but do not approach her unless you're absolutely sure. Muggles are not supposed to know about us."

" Yes dad." That girl, there was something about her. Maybe that something she thought was supposed to happen from this morning actually did happen. She couldn't be sure but like her dad said only time will tell...

The last few days of classes were interesting; Lauren, Rebecca and everyone else were acting like Zora's little episode didn't happen. Curiously enough though, the bushy-haired girl seemed to have an almost eerie interest in everything she did after that day.

~ HP ~

Freedom. Finally. Zora made a sound of relief, no more keeping up appearances, no more worrying about if she was going to see that bushy-haired girl at any given moment. She was free. What could possibly be better? Today she was finally going to travel to London and visit the Ministry. She was nervous, excited and a whole bunch of other emotions that she couldn't name at that particular moment. In all of her 8 years of life this was probably going to be the best day of them all. She could barely sleep the night before due to excitement. She spent most of the morning trying to figure out what she was going to wear. Was a t-shirt and shorts too casual? Maybe something nicer?

" Zora Lilian McQueen this is the last time I will call you. I am leaving for work in ten minutes with or without you. Remember I have Mrs. Weatherbee's phone number and you KNOW how she loves baby-sitting…"That she should get her down.

" Coming dad!" Merlin, did he have to bring up that woman? Mrs. Weatherbee was the meanest old woman on the block. She didn't like anything. Sunshine, puppies you name it. The woman was a vortex of depression. Zora finally decided on a sundress that she had just gotten. It was a simple cotton white dress. She wore her hair in the usual pig-tails and had a white head band in her hair. She wore her favorite white sandals along with her three heart gold necklace. She rushed down the stairs just before her father picked up the phone. " And I am not a baby."

"Well now, some one looks very grown up. What's the special occasion? We're only going to the Ministry." Samson laughed.

" But dad I want to make a good impression and I can't do that if I don't look the part." Zora huffed. Samson just smiled and hugged her to him.

" Zora you look beautiful as always and besides its not what you wear that makes people come to you it's the way present yourself. Just be the wonderful girl that you are and people will love you just as I do." He bent down and kissed the top of her head.

" Thanks dad. "

" No problem darling. Now, lets be off we don't want to be late." They quickly went into the backyard. Before they left Samson wanted to explain a few things.

"Now Zora remember to hold on to me tightly while we apparate. Also when we get to the Ministry make sure that you stay close to me. The Ministry is a very busy place and we could get separated. Okay?"

" Okay."

" Alright then." 1…2…3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was like being sucked through a tiny tube, they landed in London five minutes ago and her head was still spinning. She sat on a bench with her dad by her side rubbing her back. At least she didn't throw up then that would have been a disaster. She looked around her. The place, from what she could make out, was beautiful. She had never been to London but people were hustling and bustling with direction. Cars, double-decker buses it was new, exciting and bit frightening.

" You okay princess?"

" Yes." She said in a quite voice, the spinning was starting to subside.

" Can you walk? "

" Yes, dad." She was embarrassed, he could tell so he left it alone.

" Well then, let us be off before the first morning rush…"

The walked to a red telephone booth, Samson put in the correct of amount of change and dialed the number. They got their passes and down they went to the Lobby of Ministry of Magic. It was huge, in all her life Zora never felt so small. Everything looked so shiny, everything was and emerald-green black if had to guess. Chimneys were filling with green fire and other witches and wizards were popping up everywhere. So many people and they were all like her. An unconscious smile spread across her face as she took in the entire lobby. Samson looked down at his daughter and smiled to himself. This was barely the tip of the proverbial ice-burg; he couldn't wait until she saw the Hogwarts castle too bad he wouldn't be there when she did…

"Alright darling, you ready?"

"Definitely."

-DM-

He didn't know why he was here especially on his birthday (June 5); usually his father didn't want him trailing along behind him. Most times he felt that his father didn't like him being in the same room with him. Nothing he ever did ever seemed to make Lucius Malfoy happy, at least where his son was concerned. If he wasn't doing something wrong then he wasn't doing anything. There was rarely a time when Lucius was proud of him, however that did not keep him from trying. So imagine his surprise when he was woke up to his mother telling him to get ready to spend a day with his father at work. He had no clue why his father was bringing him to the Ministry but he wasn't about to question it. The moment they gotten to Ministry his father was instantly bombarded by people from the various departments. Draco let out a bored sigh, he would rather just go and sit in his father's office than just stand around and watch as sniveling, incompetent buffoons talk to his father all morning.

" Father…" No response, not out of the ordinary. His father was busy talking to some department underling to take notice of him. So he stood quietly next to his father.

He watched as hundreds of people and inter-departmental notes sped past and none of them caught his interest. He had been to the Ministry before a few times. It was when his mother would bring him with her to visit his father so the layout of the underground building, as well as the people that traveled it, all looked the same. The day had barely started and he was already bored out of his skull. Why couldn't something interesting happen for once…hello…Who was that? That girl…he'd never seen her around her before… That was probably since there were hardly any other kids running around here.

The people around him seemed to all slow down and a clear path from himself to her. She was standing next to a pale, grown man looking at the large fountain in the lobby. She had brown hair that seemed to be barely contained her pigtails. Her skin reminded him of a milk chocolate frog. It contrasted nicely against the white dress that she was wearing. The girl wore a smile on her face that seemed to lighten the up the entire room, her eyes were full of enthusiasm and happiness. The man she was with suddenly pointed to the elevators and they started to walk from the main part of the lobby. He unconsciously moved closer when she moved further away. Not once did his eyes deter from her. By chance or by fate the girl, for whatever reason, turned her head and seemed to have noticed him. It was only a second but that second put everything that would happen that summer into motion.

" Draco." His father called him but he didn't move.

" Draco." Still nothing.

" Draco." A gloved hand settled on the young boys' arm firmly breaking him out of stupor.

" Yes, father?" Draco finally turned his head from where the curly-haired girl disappeared to look at his father.

" I told you it's time to go. Tardiness is unbecoming." His voice was cold and unrelenting.

" Y-yes father, of course father." And so Draco Malfoy quickly walked to catch up and follow his father, but all the while his thoughts still had not moved from the girl in the white dress.

-DM-

I love magic. Zora was having a blast at the Auror department. Her father had to go to a meeting with the other Aurors, something about increasing security at Gringotts, so she was spending her time with Mallory Hopkins, her dads' secretary. Mrs. Hopkins was a giggly woman who walked on the plump side of life. She had a box of chocolate frogs on her desk and was willing to share. They sat around just talking and eating chocolate frogs. Ms. Hopkins explained to her that she could collect the cards that came with them. So far she had gotten a Nicholas Flamel, a Helga Hufflepuff and a Rowena Ravenclaw. She was learning little things about the Auror department and the Ministry itself. Mrs. Hopkins was telling her a little bit about Hogwarts and the current headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The more she heard about Hogwarts the happier she got, Mrs. Hopkins could tell especially since her eyes turned a distinct gold. Mrs. Hopkins screamed, just as the Aurors were coming out of their meeting. Samson rushed to where the screams were coming from.

" Zora, Mrs. Hopkins what's wrong?" Samson panicked, Mrs, Hopkins was clearly freaked out and she pointed at Zora, who was also freaking out.

" Dad what's wrong?" Her eye color changed again to bright yellow.

" Um, okay first I need for the both of you to calm yourselves." He motioned them to take deep breaths, once their breathing was normally. He bent down on his knees to look closer into Zora's eyes. They were slowly turning back to their normally muddy-blue state.

He thought it was only a one-time thing, the last time anything like this happened Zora was only a baby. He wasn't sure before and he wasn't completely sure now but…

"Zora, darling, I think you're an Metamorphmagus."

~ HP ~

 

 

End Notes:

AN: You know what to do, review! :)

Chances Are... by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Thank you to the people who reviewed :) Here is Chapter 3. Please forgive any mistakes. And off we go....  

 

Chapter 3

 

-DM-

            He didn’t know what was wrong with him. It was like his thoughts didn't belong to him anymore. Ever since his birthday... It was like they were being controlled by some veela, a curly-haired pigtailed veela. Why couldn’t he get her out of his head? It was just a stupid girl for Merlin’s sake.  He hadn’t even talked her or come into any physical contact. She was probably daft, just like all the other girls their age. So then why then could he not stop thinking about her?  She looked at him…or at least he thought that she looked at him.  But what did that matter? His father wouldn’t have approved of him daydreaming, especially about some girl.

 

            “M-master Draco…Dobby is h-here to tell Master Draco that dinner is f-finished b-b-being prepared and M-mistress requests your p-p-presence.” The big-eyed, stuttering house-elf waited until he got dismissed when he got no response he tried again, “ M-master Draco…?”

 

             “I heard you insufferable lout, get out of here!” Draco threw the closest thing, which today seemed to be a silver goblet, at Dobby who was unfortunately in the precise spot to be hit square in between the eyes. Dobby let out of squeal of pain and disapparated from the room.

 

            If you were to ask Draco Malfoy did he feel bad about treating his servants the way that he did he would have simply responded with, “ How else am I suppose to treat them? They’re just house-elves.”

 

            Ever since he came out of his mother’s womb, he was taught the importance of the magical hierarchy. Wizards were at the top of the hierarchy, well pureblooded ones anyway. Everything else was there for lesser; meaning that he didn’t have to care. His time was better spent on other things. More pleasant things. Like, his preparation for his eventual take over as the head of the family. Being the only son Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy had its perks as well as its drawbacks. He got everything thing that he desired without struggle but he also had the burden of carrying on the family legacy, living up to the family expectations. And there was always thinking about going off to school (not the school part so much but being away from home). His father was thinking about sending him off to the Durmstrang Institute in Bulgaria, but his mother wasn’t too keen on the idea to say the least. Didn’t want her only son to be so far away from home. God it was so embarrassing some times.

 

            Draco sighed to himself, he continued to look out of his lifeless window for a few more moments and then began to walk himself to the dinning room for dinner. He wondered the little girl in the white sundress was doing right at that particular moment. GAH NOT AGAIN!

 

-DM-

 

             So in light of recent events Samson thought that it would be best to take the rest of the day off (after he made Mrs. Hopkins promise not to breathe a word to anyone about what really happened of course.). Zora hadn’t said a word since they had gotten back to the house. Probably still under a bit of shock, he supposed. Finding out that you could transfigure yourself into almost anyone and partially any animal was something that you don’t just instantly get over. A metamorphmagus, his little girl was a metamorphmagus…Samson couldn’t believe it. He had only heard of a few cases but to have one for a daughter was mind boggling to say the least. And worrisome. From the cases that he did read people who were metamorphmagus sometimes suffered from identity crisis (considering that they could change their race, gender, age and etc it was a valid concern). Samson honestly had no clue what to do next. The only thing he could do for now was make sure that Zora was all right, after that they would take it one step at a time.

 

                        “Zora…darling…”

 

                        “ I’m a freak aren’t I? Merlin even in the wizarding world I won’t be able to fit in…”

 

                        “ Zora Noel McQueen I will not have you talk about yourself like that. You are not and never will be a freak.” Samson said sternly. He saw the insecurity raise up and he was determined to squash here and now.

 

                        “How did this happen? Why did this happen? Why me?” her bottom lip began to tremble. She quietly sniffled as she tried not to cry. “ All I wanted was to be a normal witch and go Hogwarts that’s it.”

 

                        “But now you are something more than just a regular witch. Zora being a metamorphmagus is not bad thing. It is very rare that person has the ability to do the things that you have the potential to do. Sweetheart, you should think of it as a blessing, not a curse.”

 

                        “I’m frightened dad, what if I can’t control this ability? What if I change into something and not know how to change back? I don’t want to be a metamorphmagus!” the dam broke with that last sentence. She began to sob and all her father could do at the moment was hold her tightly and tell her that everything will be okay.

 

            “Shhh darling, shhhh I promise you that we will get through this. Together. I will find a way to help you control you new abilities. Some how…” His mind began to race; the only person that he could call upon was the same person that he had spurned two years ago. He had no other choice, he would write to Dumbledore in the morning and hopefully he would respond back.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Zora, thankfully, was finally asleep. They had dinner after she finished crying and he carried her off to bed. The days’ events had finally caught up to her physically and she drifted straight off to sleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Samson rubbed the back of his neck, when he sat down in the living room. He sat in his favorite chair and turned on the side table lamp. He decided that situation was too important so he had written to Dumbledore the moment Zora had fallen asleep. There was a gentle rapping at the window across the room, he slowly got up and went to where the sound came from. He pulled the blinds back, and stood back surprised.

 

 It was Fawkes, the phoenix companion to no one other than Albus Dumbledore. It took him a moment to get gain his thought process back (that and Fawkes pecking at his window). Samson opened the window, but Fawkes didn’t come in. he just looked at the letter that was in Samson’s hand. Samson finally caught on and handed the letter over to Fawkes. Fawkes left right after that, leaving a very confused Samson alone in his living room. Samson just sat back down his chair and thought. How had Fawkes known that he needed to talk to Dumbledore? He would admit it. Fawkes was a bloody intelligent creature but still…did he somehow sense him? Samson did what any other rational person did when trying to figure out something that dealt with Albus Dumbledore, he just chocked it up to being Dumbledore. That and made himself a pot of Sleepy Time tea. He didn’t make tea often, but when he did he used the enchanted teakettle set he and Cecile had gotten on their wedding day.

 

 It wasn’t until midnight that he heard a knock at the door the front door. He knew immediately who it was and quickly opened the door.

 

“Hello Albus.”

 

“ Hello Samson.” The two men walked silently towards the living room. Samson sat in his favorite chair and Dumbledore sat himself in the sit closest to Samson on the couch. No one had spoken until Dumbledore finally took the initiative.

 

“I must to admit Samson I thought you would be the last person to contact me, I had hoped of course but…” Dumbledore trailed off. He wasn’t completely surprised that Samson contacted him, but still he very pleased. He had wondered why Fawkes had left his perch in such an abrupt manner. He was always full of surprises, even now when they had known each other for so long. When he had returned, he came with a letter in his beak. Dumbledore read the address and smiled. Fawkes only helped those who were loyal to him, who honestly believed in him. Samson finally made his way back. By contacting him it meant that Samson hadn’t completely turned his back on thing that he claimed to have hated. Samson finally allowed magic back into his life.

 

He remembered the night that they had the argument. Ironically it was about the same thing that was troubling Samson now. Zora was always an interesting child. He saw her exhibit the faint traits of a metamorphmagus while checking up on the McQueen family when she was two. The breaking point (for Samson at least) was when, at the age of six, she pretended to be cat and thus produced cat ears and eyes. Not knowing much about how metamorphmagi train their powers, Dumbledore offered the one thing he could definitely deliver, a place at Hogwarts.

 

            “Yes and I am sorry about that Albus…for speaking to you the way that I did that night…I was…I still am frightened for Zora…She is a very trusting child with a big heart…I just don’t want people finding out about her …unique abilities… and taking advantage of her.” It was a constant fear that he had. The more that Zora grew up, the more of Cecile he saw in her. Cecile would walk on broken glass for the people she cared about, no matter what would happen to her in return. She was a tad naïve in certain situations, especially with people. She lived a pretty sheltered life especially since her brother Kingsley was her ever-constant watchdog…

 

            “ Tea?”

 

“ Yes thank you, water under the bridge my boy, now you asked me for special permission. To allow Zora to have a different animal when coming to Hogwarts.”

 

            “Yes, I know that it is a little unorthodox and I wouldn’t ask if the situation were different. However, I would feel much better if Zora a little more protection.”

 

            “ Samson you do realize that Hogwarts is one of the most protected institutions in the world, it is a veritable fortress on the at the best of times.”

 

             “Yes, but I am not as worried about something coming as much the people already inside.” It was the Auror in him talking. To be an effective Auror you had think like a dark wizard. There was a rumor of an Auror having to be little touched in the head wasn’t… completely…not untrue. That, in combination with him already being an over-protective was a tad bit dangerous and at the same time slightly hilarious.    

 

            “Alright Samson, suppose I allow this. What type of creature do suggest?” Oh, he was probably going to enjoy this answer.

 

            “ I was thinking of contacting a friend I have at the Auror department in Japan. They have these wolf-like hybrids that they use for undercover operations. They call them Ryoken no Jigoku or Hounds of Hell for short. They are very obedient and loyal to the one that they perceive to be their partner…or in this case they’re owner. They are extremely protective.”

 

            “I see…However Samson how do you know that it won’t attack a random person if they feel their charge is in danger? I can’t have other students attacked, the parents entrust the school to keep them safe.”

 

            “Albus I thought that you of all people would give me a bit more credit than that. I have done my research; those dogs (for lack of a better term) are very effective. According to Auror reports from Japan, their crime-rate is significantly lower there than it is here in the United Kingdom.” 

 

            “Oh I have no doubt that you have done your research on the matter Samson but I still have to look out for the safety of the other students…” Dumbledore pondered the situation laid before him. He supposed it would be all right…

 

“Alright Samson, she can have one but I must warn you. If I feel that the other students are in danger then I will have to ask you to come and bring it back here is that understood?”

 

            “Yes, completely. Thank you Albus.”

 

            “Mhmmm…” Dumbledore sipped his simmering tea.

 

            “Now all that is left is how to help Zora with unique abilities.”

 

            Both men were unsure on how to precede; Since metamorphmagi were such a small part of the population, not much was known about train the young witches and wizards. And then a thought sprung to his mind, he didn’t know what he didn’t think of it before. There was a girl, a seventh year. Her name….what was her name?  Ah yes, Nymphadora Tonks. She liked to use her metamorphmagus abilities to pull practical jokes on people. He had been getting complaints from the teachers that she was always disrupting her classes however since she was getting such good grades they wasn’t much he could do because detentions were mostly ineffective.

 

            “ Samson I have a suggestion, there is seventh year who is a Metamorphmagus. She seems to have a good grasp of her abilities. Maybe if I contacted her she would be willing to tutor and mentor Zora.”

 

            “Hm, since there is probably no better option…I think that it will be the best. It would help Zora control her abilities and at the same show her that she is not “cursed” as she thinks.” Samson could not bear to see the scared look on his daughter’s eyes. He would not allow the seed of insecurity to grow.

 

            “ Cursed, Samson?”

 

            Samson told Dumbledore what happened at the Ministry and about the crying.

 

            “ I see…oh the trials of growing up. I will send a letter to Nymphadora tomorrow and ask if she were willing to tutor Zora.” Dumbledore finished off the last bit of his tea and stood up.

 

             “ Thank you again Albus, you don’t know much this means to me and to Zora.” Samson stood up as well and shook his hand. Both men walked towards the door. Samson opened and they said goodnight.

 

~ HP ~

            The month of June had passed and they were well into July. Things hadn’t changed much for Zora personally. Her emotions were all over the place. Before, her metamorphmagus powers did not make any sort of appearance. Now it seemed that every emotion was on display, luckily it only appeared in her eyes, for the moment. Her father tried to joke with her, “ Well you know darling, the eyes are the windows to your soul.” Zora was not amused.

 

            Dumbledore fulfilled his promise of contacting Nymphadora; he said that she would come in the next week. Which left just enough time to let time for Samson’s friend in Japan to come. Samson hoped that this would lift Zora’s spirits. Zora liked animals and liked taking care of them. Ando Takarai was coming the next day with his nephew Hyde (Hee-day) Kurosaki with the pups so the bonding process would happen.

 

In Japan, the way that a hound was picked for each Auror was by having a large litter of pups gathered together in front of the Auror. The Auror would call out the name they had chosen for their future partner only once. The pup that reacts to the voice without hesitation will instantly walked toward their charge, sit before them and bow their head. The creature will listen to no other. By then the bonding process will be finished. The bond itself cannot be broken unless one of them is dead. The Hounds were great tools as well as companions in the Auror department. They have the ability to shift to different sizes (small pup, normal size, and riding size.) to fit the situation. Each transformation is like the burning day of a phoenix (without the ashes). They engulf themselves in blue flames and then transform into whatever size is needed. The best is that they have the ability to fly, this is helpful when an Auror doesn’t have a broom to go after a dark wizard who has taken flight or when the situation becomes to risky to for aurors to shoot them down. When in-flight their backs of their heels emit the same blue flame that occurs during their transformation. The flames themselves are not dangerous to the hound’s charge or those who they deem safe. Samson has petition for the United Kingdom Ministry for something akin to the hounds but to no avail.

 

If this didn’t cheer up Zora nothing would. Samson sighed as he rubbed his head. It was a good thing he took a few days off dealing with Ministry, from what he heard Fudge was going on another one of his war paths, he really didn’t want to know the details because whenever he thought of Cornelius Fudge he got a tension headache. Zora was still in her bedroom asleep, so Samson decided to start on breakfast.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

While Samson was correct that Zora was still in her bedroom, he was way off when he thought she was sleeping. She was laying on her bed with a mirror in her hands. Her eyes were changing colors like a kaleidoscope. She could only guess that her body was reacting to her own confusion. Since finding out that she would be having tutoring lessons by another metamorphmagus she felt slightly less alone. Did she still feel abnormal? Yes. Did she still feel like her life was over? Not so much anymore. The more she thought about it the more of the idea of her lazing about in a depression seemed pathetic. Better to suck it up and actually be active than a Debby-downer. Also, she knew that her dad was worried about her and she hated it when her dad worried. While she wasn’t fully at 100% percent she was definitely better than she was before. Her eyes finally went back to their original color. She smelled her dads’ homemade buttermilk pancakes and smiled. She knew that her dad knew that he only cooked his special pancakes when she was bummed. She was tad bit hungry, so she put down her mirror and went down stairs.

 

The kitchen smelled delicious and her father was cooking up storm. Literally, there was a storm of breakfast type ingredients floating all over the kitchen. Plates of pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, oatmeal, and cups of orange juice made their way to the kitchen table. Zora giggled which caused Samson to turn around and smile.

 

“ Well good morning princess how did you sleep last night?” Zora was dressed her favorite yellow pajamas and her hair was an absolute mess of curls. But the thing he took notice of the most was the small smile that was finally coming out again.

 

“Alright, dad why did you make so much food it’s like your trying to feed an army.”  Zora giggled again. He was up to something, he had a look in his eye that told her so. He motioned her for a hug and then nudged her to the closest seat.

 

“ Young lady, have I not taught you anything? We cannot have guests over and not feed them.” Samson said playfully.

 

            “ Guests? What guests?” Zora said confused, dad didn’t tell her that they were having guest over.

 

            “The guests that should be arriving in….3…2…1.” DING-DONG.

 

            “ Oh whoever could that be? Why don’t I open the door and see who it is.”

 

            Samson walked to the front door and opened it, “ Xenophillius, Solidad, and Luna how wonderful to see you.”

 

            “Luna?” Zoras’ ears caught that as she leapt out of her seat and went towards the door. 

 

            “Luna!” Zora cried happily as she hugged her friend dearly. “ Uncle and Auntie Solidad, what are you guys doing here?”

 

            “ Well your father told us that you weren’t feeling right as rain so we decided that pop in for a surprise breakfast.” Solidad said warmly.

 

            “ Oh, its nothing really. By i am feeling much better now that you all are here.”

 

            “Okay you all enough chit-chat, I did not spend an hour over a hot stove just for the food would get cold.’ Samson ushered everyone into the kitchen to eat.

 

            “ Is there going to be pudding Uncle Samson?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Samson had the whole thing planned out. They would spend some time in London, taking in the sites and then make their way to Primrose Hill for the fair. Since he had taken care of breakfast Solidad prepared a picnic basket for lunch. Samson wore his sky blue button down with a pair of dark blue denim jeans. While the adults cleaned up the kitchen Zora and Luna went up to her room to pick out an outfit for Zora. They decide on her denim jumper shorts and a white t-shirt and sneakers. The Lovegood family rarely partook in muggle activities so they weren’t completely aware of the social graces that were associated with dealing with muggle society. The clothes that they wore were thankfully reminiscent of hippie culture so the only stares they got were because of that. Samson made them promise to keep a low profile. The magic talk had to keep to a minimum and only when they were out of earshot of muggles. Solidad obviously had her objections (We are not children Samson) but she followed his lead, reluctantly.

 

When they had gotten to London, Samson showed them some of the big named attractions, stopped at the National Gallery, and took pictures of the girls trying to make the Queen’s guards laugh. The weather was perfect, the sun was shinning and there was just enough breeze to keep everyone from getting too hot. By the time that they had made it to Primrose Hill, the fair was in full swing. Little children were running all over the place, families were picking spots for their lunches. There were people on stilts and cotton candy and other various treats items were served. Music was playing and people were dancing nonsensically.

 

The group settled on a spot under a tree, they had a perfect view of the village at the bottom. Samson explained that there were famous muggles that lived in the Primrose village. No one had a clue of who was talking about so he let the subject die. The girls wanted to explore the fair. Xenophillius volunteered to take them, Samson gave Zora some money incase she wanted something and they were off. There were clothing booths and candy stands. Zora wanted to go the jewelry stand that they had passed when they first got there. Since it was directly across from the funnel cake Xenophillius allowed her go on her own. Zora took the money that her dad gave her and walked over to the jewelry stand. However the trip did not go over so smoothly…on account of her being crashed into by a specky Caucasian boy with messy black hair and oversized clothing.

 

“Ow…”

 

“ I-I’m sorry, so sorry I didn’t mean to crash into you I'm just trying to get away from my cousin and his friends…”

 

“What?” she didn’t catch anything he just said. Her head was still spinning from hitting the, thankfully, not too hard ground. The boy quickly helped her up off of the ground. He looked a little bit frantic; whoever his cousin was did not seem like someone to be messed with. Far off down the lane four obscenely large boys came barreling down the way.

 

“He’s over there! Come on let’s go!” the middle one yelled.

 

“Oh my…” In a spurt of quite possible insanity, Zora grabbed the boys’ hand and started running.

 

“Where are we going?!” the boy asked

 

“Away from here!” the two darted down the alley, passed the funnel cake stand and into the closest wooded area they could find. Both of them finally stopped when they ran out of breathe. They sat down in a small clearing to rest.

 

“ So…are…you…going to explain…why you were running from your cousin?”

 

“ It’s his birthday and he wasn’t too happy that I was there…” the boy finally caught his breath and looked her straight into the eye.

 

“Why wouldn’t he be happy that you were there, your family right?  It’s only natural for family members to celebrate each others’ birthday.” Zora couldn’t comprehend what the boy was saying; her family always celebrated her birthday with her. Her Dad, The Lovegoods, her grandpa Murphy on her dad’s side, and her grandma Sophie from her mum’s side. The only one she never actually met in person was her uncle Kingsley…He always sent a lovely gift and a letter but still…

 

“ Well, my family…we don’t really get along.” 

 

“ What about your mum and dad? They can’t approve of the way that your cousin has been treating you.”

 

“ My parents are dead. I live with my aunt and uncle. ”

 

“ Oh…I know how that feels, well partially, my mom died when I was one.” Even though her father said that she could ask questions about magic and mom she never asked how mother died, every time she mentioned her he would have this bittersweet look on his face. And honestly she didn’t think that was ready to hear everything just yet.

 

“ But your aunt and uncle, do they know about what your cousin’s doing?”

 

“ They couldn’t careless.” He said somewhat bitterly.

 

“ That can’t be completely true…I mean they took in didn’t they?” But from what she could see that was where their “kindness” ended. The boy looked utterly miserable. His glasses were in desperate need of repair and his clothes looked three sizes to big for him. Zora got up and sat next to the boy in the oversized t-shirt.

 

“ Yeah but I think they would have rather dropped me off at an orphanage…I think I would have preferred it that way actually.” He didn’t know why he was talking to so freely to this girl about his life. He didn’t even know her name. He just followed her because she led him away from his gluttonous cousin and his friends. He suddenly felt nervous; he had never talked to a girl before…much less anyone else. He didn’t know what to say next. He slowly turned his head to get a better look at her. Her hair was really curly from what he could tell. Her eyes…they were pretty, very pretty actually. Her skin contrasted his own. A honey caramel skin tone. She had a thing frame and her arms and legs reminded him of twigs...not that he much room to judge people still made fun of him for being so skinny. He soon started to blush when he caught himself staring. It wasn't polite but he couldn't help himself for some reason. Her presence was very calming... 

 

“You can’t think of it like that way, maybe everything isn’t perfect now but that doesn’t mean something good can’t happen in the future.” She pulled her legs up to her chest.

 

“ I doubted it living with my family.” They didn’t talk of much after that, somehow there didn't seem a need. The clearing that they were sitting in was actually quite beautiful. They had a nice view of the sky if they looked up through the trees that surrounded them. Time passed and the sun was starting to set. The two of them slowly made their way back to the fair. They made it back to where the first line of booths started. Shouts were come from four places at once all saying one thing.

 

“Zora where are you?!” Oh she was in trouble.

 

And if she wasn’t sure before the look on her father’s face made it definitely clear. 

 

“Oh no…” she groaned.

 

“Who’s that?” the boy asked. He saw a man burling down ally and he was not happy.

 

“ My dad.” He slowly sidestepped away from the girl.

 

“Zora Noel McQueen do you realize how much trouble you are in?” His voice was calm but his eyes were showed his true emotion, fury.

 

“ Dad I can explain…”

 

“ I don’t want to hear it, go to your aunt and uncle. We will talk about this when we get home.” He finally took notice of the boy that was trying make himself smaller than he already was. Samson recognized him in an instant, how couldn’t he? He looked exactly like his father except for his eyes…

 

“But dad…”

 

“Zora, not another word. I will help the boy back to his family, you just do what I say.”

“Yes, dad.” She started walking to where the rest were standing but that didn’t stop from looking back at the boy. She didn’t even get his name and from the way he was standing, he was petrified. Those emerald eyes showed his true fear. She just hoped that he wouldn’t be too mentally scared after dealing with her father…

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

            The Lovegoods and the McQueens went the separate ways (after Zora profusely apologized to Xenophillius and Luna for running off), the day had been just a little too exciting. Samson didn’t know where to begin; Zora had never done anything like this before. He was furious, sacred, and happy all at the same time.

 

            “Zora, what were you thinking?” he looked her straight in the eye, but she couldn’t return the gesture. She had never meant to run off, she just wanted to help that boy from his mini giant of a cousin.

 

            “Dad, I don’t know what I was thinking.” Which was kind of true considering it was all spur of the moment.

 

“ All I know is that the boy I was with was running from his terrible sounding cousin and his friends and I thought that he needed some help so I thought…”

 

“And you thought that you would help him? Zora, do you realize how scared we all were? Your Uncle Xenonphillius felt so guilty for letting you go off on your own. Anything could have happened to you.” He started pacing back and forth, rubbing his fingers through his hair.

 

“Nothing happened…”

 

“But it could have Zora. That is the point. Something could have happened. You may have magic but you are still only eight years old. The world is a big place and that fair was just a tiny measurement of the people in it.” Samson continued to pace back and forth. The whole time that Zora had been missing all of the news reports of children being kidnapped and worse popped into his mind. He grew frantic in his search. He couldn’t lose Zora; he knew he wouldn’t be able to make it if something happened to her.

 

“I’m sorry dad…” she knew how disappoint he was in her. She never felt so low in her life. Her hair started to change into a bluish color. She sniffled a little, her eyes set to the floor. Samson finally stopped pacing. She was safe, there was no real damage done (except to his nerves).  Harry had been returned to his family, although none of them seemed too happy about it. And Zora was safe.

 

“Zora, you are never to do anything like that again do hear me young lady?”

 

“Yes dad.” She sniffled. She suddenly felt his arms wrapped tightly around her.

 

“I’m so glad that you are safe. Zora, I couldn’t bear if anything happened to you.”

 

“ I know dad, I didn’t mean to upset you I just wanted to help that boy…”She murmured into his shirt. Samson could feel the tears dampening his shirt.

 

“I understand that Zora, but next time could you please go get an adult next time you are in trouble?” she didn’t say anything but he felt her nod into his neck.

 

“Alright then, up to bed with you.”

 

“Yes dad.” She backed away from her father and wiped her face on her arm. She began to walk to her room but her she heard her father voice one last time for the night.

 

“Oh and Zora you will not be receiving any magic lessons for the next two weeks and you will not be coming to the Ministry. Mrs. Weatherbee will be babysitting you when your metamorphmagus tutor is not with you is that clear.”

 

“Yes dad…” there was nothing else she could say that wouldn’t get her into even more trouble. So she just took her punishment and went up stairs.

 

“ Zora your friendly neighborhood witch…Why does this feel like it is only the beginning?” Samson laughed humorlessly.

 

 

~ HP ~

 

            The next day Ando and his nephew were due to come at 8:00pm that night. He would have pushed the date back but everything was too late to cancel. Samson just hoped that this wouldn’t be positive reinforcement for Zora and her people saving ways…Mrs. Weatherbee had just arrived and so that meant he could leave for the Ministry. He almost felt sorry for leaving Zora with the woman, but a punishment was a punishment and Zora needed to learn that with actions come consequences. 

 

            Zora was bored, her tutor wasn’t coming for two more days and she could not stand one more moment of Mrs. Weatherbee. That old woman was absolutely the worst person to take care of children. She was always scowling and murmuring how ungrateful children were today. The hours past like millennia, she stayed in her room for the majority of the time doing nothing. This was how it usually was when ever Mrs. Weatherbee was baby-sitting. She would be upstairs and the old woman would be downstairs and never the two shall meet, unless it was for food. She just stayed in her room and gazed up at her enchanted ceiling. Her dad locked up the spell textbooks so she couldn’t read ahead or practice. She looked at her alarm clock, any moment her dad would be home any moment. Her father always came home at 5:00 sharp. And it was 4:59 now. 30 seconds to go…and the sound of the front door opening and…

 

            “Zora and Mrs. Weatherbee, I’m home!” Samson announced.

 

            “DAD!” Zora ran down those stairs and catapulted her self into his arms. He nearly fell at the force of her tackle.

 

            “Whoa there we’re is the fire?” He knew that his daughter didn’t like the bat but still…

 

            “Don’t leave me with her again, I swear I won’t do another bad thing ever my existence please…” She whispered frantically. Samson guessed that he made his point…

 

            “ Hello Samson.” The room got ten degrees colder. Samson looked up from Zora and looked at Mrs. Weatherbee. She was a very dignified woman, proud and rigid.

 

            “ Hello Mrs. Weatherbee.” She would not answer to anything else. Samson quickly paid her and escorted her back to her house.

 

            “ That will teach you to run off won’t it?” he laughed when he saw her nod her head emphatically.

 

“Alright, no more Mrs.Weatherbee but Zora that doesn’t mean that you are completely off the hook. Your still not getting any more magic lessons for two weeks. Now we are going to have an old friend of mine come and he is going to be giving you something that you will be taking with to you.

 

            “ A present?”

 

            “ In a manner of speaking…” 

 

            “ When is he coming?”

 

            “ At 8:00 and I want you on your best behavior Zora.”

 

            “Yes dad.”

 

For the next three hours Zora wondered what the mysterious guest was going to bring. Her dad wouldn’t give her any hints, and being eight-year-old and promised you have a present waiting for you and not knowing what it could be is torture. Finally, 8:00 came and there was the doorbell she had been waiting for. Zora ran for the door but was intercepted by her father.

 

“Zora, living-room couch now and don’t move until I tell you.” Zora pouted but did what she was told.

 

She heard her father talk to the man in a happy tone and ushered him into the living room. Her father said that he a friend coming over not two…

 

“Zora, darling, this is my old friend Ando Takarai and this is his nephew Hyde Kurosaki.”

 

“ Hello, Mr. Takarai…hello Mr. Kurosaki…”the shyness was kicking in again. She was didn’t look at them directly and focused on her shoes.

 

“ Samson, you didn’t do her justice. She’s beautiful just like Cecile. Your going to have beat the boys off with a stick when she grows older I can see it now.’ Ando said with a slightly thick accent. He wore a black suit and had his hair pulled back in a short ponytail. He wore a very nice pair of glasses. He seemed nice and her dad seemed to like him even if he hadn’t really mentioned him before. She trusted her dad’s judgment. She noticeably became more relaxed and lifted her head to make eye contact. He had warm coal eyes. He smiled at her and winked.

 

“Well boys are pretty far off Ando so I think I’ll be okay for now.” Just keep telling yourself that, time has been moving so fast.

 

“You know Zora-chan I have a few stories about your dad that will knock your socks off.”

 

“You do?”

 

“Yup, I remember this one time…”

 

“ Ando, remember she is only eight. And speaking of numbers Zora has a bedtime so lets focus on at the matter at hand shall we?” He playfully glared at his friend.

 

“Ah yes, the ancient bonding process. Now, Zora-chan this is serious matter we are dealing with are you sure that you can handle it?” She nodded vigorously

 

“Well then, Hyde could you bring out the box.” Hyde did what his uncle asked, without a sound and placed the rumbling box into the middle of the room. Zora took extra-notice of the boy called Hyde. He didn’t look too old, in fact seventeen. He had soft blonde hair and really intense eyes. He hadn’t smiled once since he got there but that didn’t seem to bother Zora one bit. She became a little bit flustered when he turned his head in her direction. She was so entranced by the mysterious blonde that she barely heard the loud growling noises coming out of it. The box itself wasn’t too fancy. It had medium sized holes into it and it shook, like something was in it. Zora looked at her father confused and he just nodded. She looked back at the box and watched as Ando unlatched the box. All sides of the box fell to the ground and what was inside made Zora squeal with delight.

 

“ PUPPIES!” she wanted to get one the floor but Ando held out his hand.

 

“Now Zora, these creatures are very special. I want you to think of a name and after you thought very hard about this name I want you say it only once, can you do that for me?” she nodded and then focused her attention back to the litter of puppies before her. What would she name a puppy? There was always Sparkles, or Rex….and then she thought of the perfect one.

 

“Luca.”

 

The pups on the floor had been busy gnawing and playing with each other the entire time that the humans were talking. They paid them now mind until one of them said the name

 

“Luca.” A black pup, with striking blue eyes popped his head out of the fray. He managed to get himself free from the pile and slowly walked up to where Zora was sitting on the couch. He looked straight up to her, sat down and bowed his head. A magically adjustable collar appeared on its neck.

 

“Congratulations Zora-chan, this hound will be your companion when you are off to school.” 

 

“Really?! He’s mine?!” She looked at her dad with excitement, her eyes changed into beautiful gold. 

 

“Yes, Zora he is yours, but you must remember he is your responsibility now and you have to take good care of him. Can you do that?” Ando smiled at the little girl, she was so full of life and happiness, no wonder why his friend wanted to protect that so fiercely.

 

“Yes daddy, I promise.” She couldn’t help but squeal. “Can I play with him now?”

 

Samson laughed and nodded his head.

 

“Yeah!” Zora got on the floor and called Luca to her, the pup instantly reacted to her with excitement and playfulness. She picked him and held on tight but Luca didn’t seemed to mind one bit. In fact he quite  enjoyed the attention given to him by his new charge.

“Zora, don’t you have something to say to Ando and Hyde?”

 

“Yes, Thank you Mister Ando and thank you Mr. Hyde I promise to love and take care of Luca as long as I live.” She was beaming; They didn’t seem surprised at her eyes changing color. Samson told them before coming into the house, just so they were not caught off guard.

 

“ Thank you again Ando for doing this.”

 

“Not at all Samson it was worth it to make Zora-chan smile. Well, we better be off we have some traveling to do tomorrow…” Hyde already packed the rest of the litter safely back into their box.

 

Zora stood up with Luca in her arms, “ Your leaving already?”

 

“I’m afraid so Zora-chan.”

 

“ But it’s late, you could get lost. Daddy, couldn’t they stay here for the night?"

 

“Zora I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

 

“Don’t worry Zora-chan. We have rooms at the Leaky Cauldron to stay at for the night.”

 

“But, but.” She didn’t want Hyde to leave yet…For some reason or another she didn’t want Hyde to leave just yet. Zora’s hair turned blue when she thought of him leaving.

 

“Zora, princess, it’s not like you’ll never see them. I’m sure when they have a free moment they can come back and visit again.”

 

“Of course Zora-chan, I still have to tell you those funny stories about your dad don’t I?” she nodded reluctantly. She turned to where Hyde was standing.

 

“ And…and will Mr. Hyde comeback too?” He made no reaction.

 

“ Forgive him Zora-chan Hyde is the strong silent type. So he doesn’t talk much. We’ll both come back I promise.”

 

            “Okay…” she still didn’t like the thought of Hyde leaving but if he promised to come back then she guessed it was okay.

 

            “Wonderful, so no more frowning faces okay Zora-chan?”

 

            “Yeah.” she gave him a small smile.

 

            “Alright, now give your uncle Ando a hug and we’ll see you next time.” She gave him a hug and then quickly gave one to Hyde and the sprinted off to her room.

 

            “Hyde, go back to the Leaky Cauldron I want to talked to Samson for a minute.” Hyde nodded, to his uncles (he was still slightly shaken by the impromptu hug) and apparated out of the house.

 

             With both underaged wizards out of hearing shot, Ando quietly chuckled.

 

            “What’s so funny Ando?”

 

            “It’s nothing Samson, but I think little Zora has a crush on my nephew.”

 

            “W-what? She's only eight years old! A-and she just met the boy and..and he is way too old for her.”

 

            “Relax Samson it’s just a little kid crush I’m sure that she will get over it soon enough.” Ando laughed at his friends panic. Oh Zora’s teen years where going to be fun, for him at least.

 

 

~ HP ~

 

 

The Not So Happy Birthday by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Here you go everyone, hope you all like it. 

 

Chapter 4

 

~ HP ~

 

            Inseparable. That is what Zora and Luca were. Where ever she would go little Luca was sure to follow. He really was an adorable little thing. His coat was so soft and silky and his eyes, they were clearer than a summer’s day after a rainstorm. He was smart as a whip too; there was no trick that he couldn’t pull off. Oh sure, he had a few accidents inside of the house but he was learning that “taking care of business” meant taking care of it outside. Now he was would just scratch at the backyard door when he needed to be let out. Zora wanted to take him out for a walk but ever since the fair incident her father had been more strict about letting her go any where without an adult present. But it was all right though, she thought, at least she had Luca to talk to when Mrs.Weatherbee came to watch her. Thankfully, that wouldn’t be for too much of a problem anymore. Her tutor was coming tomorrow. Nymphadora Tonks was the name that her dad had told her. Such a funny sounding name, Nymphadora. Zora had to admit she liked the name none-the-less. It was whimsical like from a fairy tale or something. When she was little (or littler depending on if you were talking to her dad), he would always read her fairy tales from one of her mother’s books.

 

 Even though both of her parents were pure-blooded wizards they wanted to expose her to both magical and non-magical children’ stories a). She knew about Beedle the Bard and the Grimm Brothers. Her parents thought she should be educated in both sides of the spectrum (which is why she was in muggle school instead of being home trained Her father told her that was no difference between those who came from wizarding family and those who came from a muggle-families. Each person was given a gift, because that is what magic ultimately is,  a gift. And depending how their gift was exercised, that person would live to see their full magical potential. That was why she tried so hard with her magic studies; she wanted to find out what she could do. She wanted to excel in whatever she decided to eventually do with her life. Zora McQueen had dreams that would not put on hold and Hogwarts was the place to start. Nothing was going to hold her back; her Metamorphmagus abilities weren’t going to affect her. She had been practicing a little bit each day. Nothing extraordinary but at least she her hair did change color as much as her eyes did. Luca wasn’t bothered when she tried to make animal faces. She watched him when they would play together but all she got was his nose so far.

 

Luca barked to get her attention, he was standing at back door looking back her impatiently.

 

“Oh, sorry Luca…now don’t give me that look I said was sorry didn’t I?” she opened the door and watched the pup run into the backyard. “ Close the door when you’re done alright?” Luca just growled and went did his business.

 

Zora had been in the living room in her father’s favorite chair. She was reading one of her dad’s old textbooks she had sneaked out of his trunk when he absentmindedly left it open. Today it was Charms and she was reading up on how to do the levitating charm, Wingardium Leviosa.

 

 “Win-gar-dee-um …”

 

“  Girl, lunch.” Lovely.

 

“ Coming Mrs. Weatherbee, be there in just a moment.” Wretched woman, she had been watching her since her dad went back to the Ministry after her mom’s…passing. Yet she still could not remember her name.

 

“ I haven’t all day so hurry up and eat. I want to watch my afternoon programs.” See? Nasty old bird if there ever was one. Zora kept herself calm, only a few more hours and then she is out of her life for good. One could only hope…

 

“Yes Mrs. Weatherbee, coming Mrs. Weatherbee.” Zora hid the Charms book under the chair cushion and went into the kitchen Luca had come back from the back yard and followed his little mistress. Luca stayed in his puppy form most of the time. It was just as well, Zora thought; she didn’t think Mrs. Weatherbee would react too kindly if Luca came into the room in his regular size. Zora sat down and ate her pathetic looking peanut butter and jelly sandwich and glass of water. Mrs. Weatherbee left the moment she entered the room. Luca just laid down next to her without a sound. Really, by the way Mrs.Weatherbee paid attention she could have made something a little more appetizing for herself. She could her mumbling while she watched their television. Usually she didn’t pay much attention to what Mrs. Weatherbee said but for some reason today was different somehow.

 

“He could have done so much better, such a nice boy that Samson….”

 

“Dirty blood…how could he…” Dirty blood?

 

“That undesirable wench…must’ve gotten herself pregnant to trap him…” What?

 

“ Can’t believe I’m here watching that little mongrel…” She’s talking about Mum…me… 

 

 “Oh how times have changed…” Dirty blood…I have…dirty blood?

 

Zora did not understand, not fully. Why did she have dirty blood? Tears started to well up in her eyes. Why was Mrs. Weatherbee saying such mean things? Her sniffling alerted Luca, she started to cry silently. She got up from her chair, leaving everything as it was before she came in. She didn’t know what she was doing; all she knew was that she didn’t want to stay in the house, not with her. Her vision was greatly blurred by her tears. She tried to wipe them away but they wouldn’t go away. She opened the front door and started to run, with Luca trailing after her. She ran as far as her little legs would carry her. Thoughts raced through out her mind. Doubts, insecurities began to plague her. What was wrong with her?  What did Mrs. Weatherbee mean by dirty blood? How could someone have dirty blood? Zora couldn’t run anymore, she couldn’t run and cry at the same time. She collapsed on her knees and looked around and found herself in a place she thought was just a dream. It was a small garden, but it had the most beautiful flowers that she had ever seen in her young life; Zora could’ve sworn she had been here before. Maybe…maybe she had been here with her mum. Luca heard a noise behind them and started to growl, blue embers started to spark for his paws until he saw who it was.

 

“Zora, what are doing here?” Her father was out of breath.

 

 Samson had come early for no other reason other than he felt he had to. He had come home to an open door and Mrs. Weatherbee in the living room watching their television. He asked where Zora was and she told him that she was eating the lunch she prepared. Samson looked in the kitchen and half eaten sandwich and a (from the look of it) a barely touched glass of water. Samson checked her room found the she wasn’t there. He dashed out of the house and asked the other neighbors if they had seen her. One told them told him that they thought they saw her running toward the community garden. Samson quickly thanked him and rushed off in the direction given. Thankfully he saw her sitting on the ground with Luca in toe. He instantly saw the tears trailing down her face and grew instantly concerned again.

 

“Zora, darling, why are you crying?”

 

“Papa…do I have dirty blood?” That threw him, dirty blood what was she talking about?

 

“ Dirty blood…darling what are you talking about?” He walked up to Zora and sat down next to her.

 

“M-mrs. W-weatherbee said that…mum…that mum was dirty blood a-and that she trapped you by having me…” Samson couldn’t believe his ears. He couldn’t, didn’t want to comprehend what she was telling him. His little girl…oh his poor little girl….

 

“Papa, am I a m-mongrel?” She looked at him and it broke his heart. She looked so hurt; her small body was trembling with tears. He lifted her into his lap and held on to her tightly.

 

“ Zora you are not a mongrel or have dirty blood or anything of the sort. Your mother was one of the best people I knew and that was I why I loved her.  She would never do something that would hurt another person. When she told me that she was pregnant with you I was so happy, it was the happiest day of my life. You are blessing Zora and never think otherwise.”

 

“B-but then why would she say such mean things?” Samson didn’t answer her immediately. He had to come up with an answer that an eight-year-old would understand. How do you explain to your child that monsters were real, but they didn’t always have furry bodies and razor sharp teeth? How do explain to your child that some of the worst monsters look like ordinary people? He had hoped that he would have never had to have this conversation. Or at the least, have it when she would be old enough to understand what he trying to say.

 

“Zora, princess, there are people in this world who don’t understand that beauty comes in many forms. And when they don’t understand they become afraid and lash out at people who resemble a certain type of beauty. As for the people who do understand and appreciate all types of beauty it is our duty to not fall into their cloud of ignorance and to soldier forward towards the truth. The truth is that there are so many different types of people on this earth Zora. Be proud of who you are and where you come from, but never allow your pride to stand in the way of seeing the beauty in the things and people that are different from what you are comfortable with. Zora, we might all look differently, speak differently, love differently but deep down we all want the same things. Love, food, shelter, safety, and being with other people. These basic things are what bind all of us together. Sometimes people unfortunately forget that…”

 

“ Like happiness.”

 

“Hm?”

 

“Remember, you said that mom said that happiness is a song that everyone one knows and that sometimes they forget how the song goes so we have to help them remember the words.”

 

“Yes, darling it is very similar that.”

 

“ Papa, I’m sad that Mrs. Weatherbee thinks that way, but I’m mad that she said those things. I hate her papa, I hate her.” He was expecting this sort of reaction. Children feel first then reason. He didn’t believe that Zora actually hated the old woman. That was the hurt talking.

 

“ Zora, hate is a very strong and ugly thing. It is a burden that some people choose to carry and in the end it ultimately destroys them. Nothing good can ever come out of hating someone. Now I ask you do you really hate Mrs. Weatherbee or do hate what she said?” He wanted to make sure that she got the distinction. It perfectly fine for her to hate what the old woman said but not fine to hate the old woman.

 

“ I-I really didn’t like the mean things that she said but I guess I don’t really hate her after all but I’m still mad at her..” her voice was soft as she spoke. The tears had finally stopped. Her breathing finally evened out. Zora allowed herself to relax into her father’s embrace.

 

“And it is perfectly okay for you to be angry because of what she said. But don’t allow the hatred that she feels to be transferred over to you. You have a beautiful heart, darling, don’t allow it be soiled with ugly emotions harbored by the likes of people such as Mrs. Weatherbee.”  She smiled at her father with gentle confidence that made him feel that she would be okay.

 

“ Papa, do think that people can change?” Samson thought for a moment.

 

“Yes, but change can go either way Zora. Situations and experiences can bring out the best or the worst in people. But it is those same situations that allow you to see their true colors. ”

 

“Do you think that Mrs. Weatherbee can change?”

 

“I hope so, she seems so lonely living in the house by herself.” Zora closed her eyes and relaxed against her father.

 

“ In time dear…in time maybe she will.” He said while rubbing her gently on her back. On the outside Samson seemed very serene. On the inside he was still fuming.  He was going to have a serious talk to that woman when they got home. Zora, bless her, seemed to be a forgiving child. However he was not and he would not take this lightly. This was an unfortunate lesson Zora learned today. He had feared the day that this might happen. Not so much with Mrs. Weatherbee specifically but the day that any person who couldn’t see how wonderful his darling girl was and would do something to hurt her because they didn’t understand. Thankfully this incident didn’t seem to damage her self-confidence but only time will tell if that was actually true or not.

 

“Dad…what is this place? It feels like I’ve been here before…”Zora looked at the beautiful place they were in. It had different types of flowers and vegetables and fruits. It was so colorful, peaceful…

 

“This is the community garden Zora, your mother helped to start it. Merlin’s beard, I haven’t been here in years…” This was the place where some of his happiest and saddest memories took place. This was the place where in the summer months they would sit under their favorite tree and Cecile would read and he would just sit there, listening and holding her in his arms. This was the place were Cecile told her loving husband that he was going to be a father. This was the last place Cecile ever got to show Zora before she was murdered.

 

“ Did you and mum come here a lot?”

 

“On the weekends mostly, when the weather was nice. On her own she would be here planting some thing or another. Your mum always had a bit of a green thumb…” Even at school he could always find her with Professor Sprout and in one of the Herbology laboratories.

 

“ Before I got here I thought I had dreamed it all, I’m happy that this place is real.”

 

“I’m happy that princess, if you want we can come here whenever you want.”

 

“ I’d like that a lot.”  They watched as Luca started to run after a butterfly, run…pounce…miss…run again.

 

The little family stayed at the garden for a time until Samson remembered that they had left Mrs. Weatherbee back at the house. Samson carried Zora on his back and Luca (who sadly still didn’t catch his prey) padded right behind them. When they got back to the house, Mrs. Weatherbee was still sitting in the exact same spot they had left her in. Zora was told by her father to go up stairs after he set her down and close the door behind her. She didn’t argue, Luca growled in the direction of the living room and followed his little mistress to her room.

 

Zora didn’t know what exactly her father said to Mrs. Weatherbee but he was loud, she suspected that he put some type of sound charm on the door. All that she could make out was the different pitches of voices. And then she heard the front door slam closed and saw Mrs. Weatherbee walk to her house in quite a foul mood from her bedroom window. Maybe one day she would find a friend to make her less mean and bitter. No one deserved to be lonely even a piece of work such as Mrs. Weatherbee.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

  The next morning Samson announced that Mrs. Weatherbee would no longer be allowed into house. Zora didn’t ask what they had said to each other because part of her didn’t want to know. He cooked breakfast and waited for her tutor to come. He told her that after he got acquainted with her that he would leave for work. Zora was excited. Today was the day that she would finally meet her tutor and hopefully (after with a bit of practicing of course) get more of a handle over her metamorphmagus abilities. Today, Zora thought that it was probably a good idea to wear a simple shirt and jeans. She wore her hair in an up-do and made sure that her room was clean (gotta make a good first impression when giving a tour of the house).  She made sure to brush Luca (he didn’t mind too much, especially if it was on his belly).  She sat on the couch in the living room and waited for her tutor to arrive. She imagined what she would look like, studious perhaps? Wearing a professor sweater and glasses…The door bell rang and her heart began to race. The moment of truth had finally come. Her father opened the door.

 

“Ah… Ms. Nymphadora Tonks I presume?” He really didn’t know what he was looking at, she wasn’t what he was suspected at all. This girl had pink hair and torn punk rocker shirt with ripped up red plaid chained pants and black Doc Martens. Her outfit seemed very contradictory to her happy facial expressions.

 

“ Tonks, yes, hello Mr. McQueen Professor Dumbledore told me about your daughter. Don’t worry she’ll be in good hands with me. Can I come in?”

 

“Oh, yes, of course… ZORA! Your tutor Nymph-…”

 

“Tonks, sir”

 

“ Your tutor Tonks is here….If you don’t mind me asking…why just Tonks?”

 

“ Well sir, what you do if your mother named something as silly as Nymphadora? She gave him a knowing smile when he awkwardly didn’t say anything in response.

 

 She walked down the hallway. She made her way to the living room and found a little sprite sitting on the couch. She looked nervous; her twiggy little legs were dangling off the edge of the couch.  She slowly petted her wolf-looking puppy; she didn’t seem to notice that she was in the room. Suddenly, Tonks of a prefect way to see how much control this girl had of her abilities. Scaring her. She transformed her face to like a tiger, her eyes changed color, stripes appeared on her face and her ears became cat like. She felt her sharpen into fangs. Her fingernails became claws. Feeling in the moment she decided to pounce.

 

“RAWWWWR!”

 

“AHHHHHH!” You would have thought she had jumped out of her skin. She curled up on the couch, clinging on to Luca for dear life. Tonks instantly back into the form that she came in with and began to laugh hysterically. Zora finally settled down after a few moments and after she caught her breath. Samson rushed into the room. He saw a giggly Nymphadora and startled daughter and hound. He decided to take a chance on the girl and not intervene, Dumbledore suggested her so he would trust him. He stayed in the doorway out of sight and watched, he would leave when she showed him that he could trust her with his daughter.

 

 “ That wasn’t funny, it wasn’t funny at all.” Zora said in a huff, she finally release her from her arms. Luca sat on the barking at the strange witch, seemingly agreeing with his young mistress.

 

“Aha ha aha..I-I’m sorry but it was the only way I could think of to see how much control you had…hehehe.” The frown Zora wore was slowly turning into a small smile.

 

“How did I do?” She couldn’t help but ask; she had been practicing and wanted to know if she made progress. Tonks continued to giggle/snort for a few more seconds and wiped a small tear from her check. Zora couldn’t help but notice her eyes didn’t change color when she laughed…She couldn’t help be a little bit jealous….

 

“Well, ah, well at least your hair didn’t change color. I remember when I was young, my hair turn into these funky neon shades whenever I felt a particular emotion. At least with you it sticks to your eyes. Which is less noticeable and certainly more convenient in the long run.”

 

“ How long did it take you to fully control your powers?”

 

“ Zora, may I call you Zora? Zora, I have a little theory about control and magic.” Tonks sat herself on the other of the couch and looked down at the younger witch.

 

“ I don’t believe there is such a thing as having ‘full control’ of ones powers. I mean, being a metamorphmagus alone is an emotional business.  Being human we tend to be emotionally prone creatures. We can’t always full control our emotions; we can only wrangle them in so much…”

 

“Dad says that emotions and concentration are the most important things when practicing magic. “

 

“And he’s right, those are very important things to remember however those aren’t the only things to remember. But Zora, being a metamorphmagus is a little bit difference. For us, sometimes magic is just about wanting something and allowing yourself to have it. I wouldn’t expect your father to fully to understand that…or you just yet.”

 

“ I don’t understand…”

 

“ Well, being a metamorphmagus means that we can change our physical forms into what want. Mostly its just for human transformations…”

 

“ But when you came in…”

 

“ I was taking some tiger characteristics and applying them to myself, as a human. I can take bits and pieces but I can’t actually transform into a tiger do you understand?”

 

“ I thinks so but why can’t you transform into the actual animal?”

 

“That is a whole different thing, that is when a person transforms into one specific animal, they are called animagus. And being a animagus you can’t choose what animal you turn into, you turn into the animal that best fits your personality.”

 

“Well that’s no fun…I want to turn into the animal I want to be…” Tonks knew that she was going to like this girl.

 

“Well, you never know maybe you’ll be the witch to figure it all out. You know since they aren’t that many of us around its pretty much all guess work and trial and error. “

 

“It’s sounds like a fascinating thing to study…”

 

Samson slowly backed away from the room and left the house. This Tonks girl was a little quirky but Zora seemed to like her. Samson could’ve have sworn he saw a sparkle of the girl she was before she found out that she was a metamorphmagus. She looked a little freer than she had been before, maybe he would keep this Tonks girl around for a while…

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

 Time passed quickly after Tonks arrived and the month of August was upon them. Zora began to see just how lucky she was. Tonks had been telling her about all the pranks she pulled on people during school. She described the castle and the moving staircases. It was all very exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Hogwarts seemed like such mysterious, wonderful place but she realized technically she would be alone. Luna was a little less than a year younger than her so she probably wouldn’t get her letter when she would. From what Tonks told her there was going to a lot of people in the different years and the different houses. She couldn’t help but be frightened. Middleton wasn’t that big of a school and she didn’t have much to compare it to. 

 

Speaking of Luna, she hadn’t talked much to the Lovegood girl as of late. It wasn’t as though she didn’t like Luna anymore; actually nothing could be farther from the truth. However, ever since she found out that she was a metamorphmagus she had become very cloistered. She didn’t want to tell Luna about her new abilities just yet. She wanted to gain control before she told anyone who didn’t already know already. She felt guilty; she had never hidden anything from Luna before. Even though she was younger, Luna was very wise for her age and if not a tad bit insane. There was no doubt in her mind that if she were  to tell Luna about her new abilities that she would be supportive. So why wasn’t she saying anything to her good friend? They had shared everything since they had met…but maybe that was the problem. They had shared everything and perhaps this was just the one thing that she wanted to keep to herself. She would tell Luna…in time.

 

Conveniently enough the Lovegood family decided to take one of their spontaneous trips for the rest of the summer. This year they were off in Africa in search of the mystical hybrid that locals call the Rompo. Samson and Zora, of course worried about them. Samson didn’t think it was the best idea to drag Luna on , for  lack of a better phrase, “wild good chase”.  He had never heard of a Rompo and he didn’t really think that existed but it wasn’t his place to stop them. They sent a letters about their trip and their progress. He read them to Zora while they are at the breakfast table. She liked to listen to them and imagine being there with them. The latest letter said that they would not be able to make it back in time for her birthday (August 7) due to Xenophillius getting bit by a Boomslang snake. Solidad made sure to emphasize that Xenophillius was not in any critical danger but he would be have to rest a few weeks while he recuperated.

 

Bad news, unfortunately, seemed to the theme of the day; Samson also got letters from his father and his mother-in-law saying that they would be unable to attend the family birthday dinner. His father was an ambassador for the Ministry to India and he was called off for an urgent meeting (he didn’t say much more than that only that it was top secret) and his mother-in-law was off in a developing nation helping a rural village fight off a Vanishing Sickness (caused by a bug that causes body parts to disappear). Both of them sent their love and promised to celebrate when they returned. Of course Zora tried to be mature about it but Samson knew that she was very disappointed. He decided to cancel the tutoring lesson with Tonks for the day and brought her with him to the Ministry with him. After that they would go out for a lovely dinner, just the two of them.

 

The morning of Zora’s birthday Samson made his famous birthday pancakes with multi-color sprinkles put sparkling candles on top. The sparks that they let out spelled happy ninth birthday. Samson sang her happy birthday with the help of Luca (occasional yips and howls). Despite having so many non-attendants for her special day, Zora smiled. This was enough, she thought, of course the one person she wanted more than anyone to be there in person couldn’t but Zora believed she was there in spirit. Today was the day she turned nine years old. In four days Luna would be turning eight. She never missed sending Luna a happy birthday, her father promised to send off her letter when they got to the Ministry (there was no way a regular owl was going to make the trip in time).

 

The little family made their way to the Ministry and were in for slight surprise. Apparently, today was “Bring Your Child” to work, it reeked of reelection campaigning (typical Fudge move, in Samson’s opinion). So the Ministry was more of a chaos scene then it usually was. Samson made Zora hold on to him so they wouldn’t get separated but it seemed that the attempt was futile. Everything moved so quickly, people pushed and pulled and Zora, being the little thing that she was, got easily swept away into one of the elevators. The only saving grace was that she had been carrying Luca into her arms. The elevators quickly filled with wizards and their children. They all chatter about things she really wasn’t focused on. All she wanted to was to get out of the very cramped elevator and find her father. It took a little time for the all of the people to vacate the box. Thankfully the usual side jerking that came with visiting the Ministry slightly ebbed by the amount of people inside. The lift finally stopped on what seemed to be a deserted floor.

 

The twosome slowly walked of the elevator and looked around. This place…it looked ominous. Normally, she would be expecting to see at least a few people flitting around but there was absolutely no one, not even a sound could be heard. The walls were bare of any navigational map and the lighting was very dim. The whole setting looked like something out of a nightmare.

 

“Oh Merlin…” She didn’t like the feeling of this at all and she didn’t remember what floor the Auror Department was so she couldn’t just go back to where she came. Could her birthday be any worse? She started to sniffle until she heard Luca whimper. He looked up at her with pleading eyes and licked her hand in a comforting fashion.

 

“Your right Luca. We got to be brave. So what if we if got separated from dad. We’ll find our way back eventually and until then we just have to find someone to help us get to Auror Department, it’s shouldn’t be too hard, right?” The pair began walking down the long hallway looking for any sign of life. The minutes passed and still there didn’t seem to be a sign of anyone. Everything looked exactly the same, which wasn’t good because there was fork in the hallway, either side didn’t look anymore friendly than they other so they decided to go to the right. The traveled for another unmeasured amount of minutes until they finally they saw a brightened area.

 

-DM-

 

“ As you very well know Cornelius  the Malfoy family has always contributed a large sum of money to those who would be…the best suited to the position of Minister…”

 

“Yes, I am very much aware of that Lucius…” And that was where Draco tooned out of the conversation. The only reason he was here was to keep up appearances. His father was one of the big-wigs of the Ministry and it wouldn’t do if he didn’t bring his son along for the annual parent-child day. He was bored, his father allowed him to bring Dobby around to keep him entertained but that could only last for so long. It was always so dull down here. He soon started kicking Dobby around the room out of shear frustration. He continued to smack the house-elf around until he heard a knock on his father’s office door. The two conversing adults stopped talking and Lucius commanded Dobby to open the cracked-door fully.

 

“Um, excuse me I don’t mean to interrupt but could one of you help me back to the Auror department? I accidentally got separated from my father and ended up down here.”

 

“Auror you say? Young lady, who might I ask is your father?’ asked the slightly pudgy, grey haired man. Zora recognized him as Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic.

 

“ Samson McQueen, sir, he is inactive Auror.” Fudge merely nodded as he recognized the name. Draco felt his heart start to beat steadily faster. It was her! It was the girl from the main lobby. He recognized her the moment that she stepped into the room.  Today it seemed that she decided to wear sunshine-yellow sundress and her hair in a braided down ponytail. She looked…pretty….

 

“You are a long way off... ” the voice of Lucius Malfoy ran smooth as silk. He stared at the girl in front of him, like he was sizing her up for a meal. She broke eye contact under the heated gaze. Her posture showed that she was uncomfortable under his impromptu inspection. She looked ready to bolt…like a doe.

 

“Yes, sir and I would like very much to get back to my father please if it is not too much trouble.” She looked his father straight in the eye, like she refused to be intimidated. Just like that she went from vulnerable to fierce. From doe to lioness…interesting.

 

“Of course, your father must be worried sick about his little girl, and so we mustn’t keep him waiting…Dobby…escort the young lady back to her father.” Draco saw them prepared to leave and finally spoke.

 

“ Father, I can take her. I mean…you know how Dobby can get confused when traveling.” He looked at her, “ Such a clumsy little elf, he hits his head quite often you see.”

 

“Yes, do not leave her side until she is safely back into her father’s care. Even though the Ministry is a highly secure and respectable place, unfortunately, there are still unsavory characters and we wouldn’t anything happening to her. Do we?”

 

“Of course not Father.” Draco was absolutely brimming with excitement. He wanted to leave at that moment, however he didn’t want to seem impatient because that could make her believe that he was trying to get rid of her and that was absolutely the last thing he wanted to do. “Don’t you agree?”

 

“Of course.” She looked at him for a half a moment and then set her gaze on Dobby. “ He does look a little worn out. Maybe he should here and rest.”

 

She gave Dobby a gentle smile, which he felt bold enough to give back until he saw the scathing look Draco gave him. He got up from his seat on the emerald green couch and puffed out his chest a little bit. He walked up to her and smirked. She gave him a polite look and inched away from him.

 

“Now hurry Draco, we wouldn’t want her father to worry…” 

 

“Of course not father. Shall we go now Ms.…?”

 

“Zora. “

 

“Shall we go now Ms. Zora?” He was trying his best to give her the best impression. He held out his hand leading them outside of the office. She turned her head and thanked the two men for their assistance and walked out the room. Draco followed right after.

 

-DM-

 

            Zora didn’t think that she could feel more uncomfortable than she did in that office but this walk was up there. This boy, everything about him seemed off.  The aura around him just seemed so pompous and had enough arrogance to kill an elephant. He reminded her of Laura. She bet he didn’t think she saw him kick that poor house-elf. And they way that he was dressed; it looked like he got into fight with a Whomping Willow. She vaguely remembered her Mrs. Hopkins talk about the Malfoys, how they were one of the old wizard aristocratic families that were still around. That they were the richest, meanest bunch of people you could ever meet. She side-eyed the boy next to her and agreed. The clothes definitely were rich looking, shiny polished dress shoes, tailored dress pants and a fancy short-sleeved shirt. Yup, definitely rich and from what she could tell about about how he treated his house-elf that didn’t speak highly of him either.

 

            As the walked down the hallway she got the feeling that he was trying to move closer to her, which she didn’t think she wanted. The smile he wore seemed processed instead of natural, like he wanted something. Luca must’ve sensed her discomfort and transformed into his medium size and walked in between the two children. This seemed to frighten the Malfoy but he quickly got a hold of himself with a distinct cough, as to clear his throat. She was grateful for the separation. She kind of guilty though; maybe he wasn’t so bad.  Her father always told her not judge a book its cover. But she just couldn’t shake her feeling of uneasiness.

 

            “So, is this your first time at the Ministry?” Draco asked, he wanted to talk her. He noticed that she was back to being nervous and he didn’t want that. He wanted her to feel comfortable around him, to smile at him like she so easily smiled at that ruddy elf. He knew that this wasn’t the first time that she was that the Ministry but he wanted to hear it from her.

 

            “No, I’ve been to the Ministry before I’ve just never traveled much inside of it is all. This place is so big.”

 

 

            “It’s not so bad, I’ve only been a few times but I know my way around pretty much.” he said in a some-what haughty tone.

 

            “Really? I find that hard to imagine, like I said before this place is very large and I’m sure that there are many places still left that people don’t know about.” She kept her eyes foreword and her tone calm. All she wanted to do was get back to where her father was.

 

“Hm, I guess I’m just one of the lucky few then. I was always quick on the uptake. When I want something I will stop at nothing to attain it. It’s a quality that it very much prized within the House.”

 

“Your home?”

 

“I meant the Slytherin House, but yes also at my home. We Malfoys take great pride in ourselves.” He puffed out his chest.  “All of my family has been in Slytherin. What about you?”

 

“ Well, my father was in Gryffindor and my mother was in Hufflepuff. But far as I know it was always a toss up between Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. I don’t think any of my family has been Slytherin.” And she was glad about that, no one had ever said anything nice about being in Slytherin.

 

“ Maybe you’ll be the first.” He seemed to like the idea very much. Yes, if she was in Slytherin that would be great. He could imagine them walking to classes together and eating in the great hall and lounging in the common room. She would smile at him and maybe...maybe.. they would hold hands. Merlin, she were put into Slytherin it would be perfect.

 

“ Anything’s possible I suppose…” She honestly couldn’t see herself in Slytherin. Correction, she didn’t want to see herself in Slytherin. Oh Merlin, if there was any good in the world she would be put anywhere other than Slytherin. Thankfully for Zora (not so much for Draco) they made it to the Auror Department quicker than expected.

 

“Well I guess this is where we part ways.” Zora turned so that she was completely facing the blonde, blue-eyed boy. She couldn’t help be fell relieved.

 

“ B-but I promised my father that I would not leave you until we saw your father. I couldn’t possibly leave you alone.” He stepped a bit closer and earning a growl coming from the animal that had accompanied her. He could have sworn the thing glared at him, which he gladly returned.

 

“Oh, Draco please. I assure you that I will be fine. I’ll go into the department and find my dad’s secretary. If it makes you better you can tell your dad  that you have safely delivered in my father’s welcomed embrace.” Please go…please go…

 

“I really don’t think...” Suddenly, a man came running toward them with his arms held out.

 

“Zora, darling there you are!” his arms engulfed her, she felt her dad kiss her head multiple times.

 

“ Daddy I’m fine..”

 

“ Hello Sir, I’m Draco Malfoy I just wanted to make sure that your lovely daughter was in your sight before I left.” Unfortunately, It’s not fair! I didn’t even get to spend that much time with her…

 

 “Yes, well then thank you young man for returning my daughter to me safely. I will send my thanks to your father personally.” The smile he gave him was true but his eyes were hard as ice. Malfoy just the name brought into a small rage.

 

“Of course sir, hopefully I will be able to speak to your daughter under more…happier circumstances.”

 

“We’ll just see about that.” He said with fake cheer. He led Zora into the Auror department without a second thought.

 

“ I hope to see you again…Zora McQueen.” The young Malfoy slowly made his way back to the 7th floor.

 

Meanwhile, back in Samson’s office.

 

“ Zora, are you alright?” He searched her for any scrapes.

 

“Yes dad I told you I am fine. It was just a the rush of people took my surprise.”

 

“ Did that boy do anything?”

 

“ No! He was a little bit full of himself yes but other than that everything was fine. Besides, Luca was right there with me the entire time.”

 

“Good, good well your safe now. Everyone was worried sick about you.”

 

“ Dad, why were you so short with that boy?” Not that I can blame you…

 

“What do you mean darling?” He knew exactly what she meant but chose to ignore it.

 

“Never mind…” She really didn’t want think about that boy in any capacity for the rest of the day.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

She’s wonderful. Just like I thought she would be. Hopefully they would see each other before Hogwarts The blonde Malfoy thought. Fudge had already left, which left him alone to his thoughts. Lucius Malfoy sat back his chair as he replayed the encounter in his mind. So much strength in those eyes….beautiful eyes...

 

 

…Just like her mother…

 

 

 

~ HP ~

 

End Notes:

AN: Woah, what is up that Lucius and why is he being such a creeper? You'll just have to tune in to find out. 

Thanks for Reading, and please review :)

The Not So Happy Birthday pt. 2 by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Hey Guys, thanks again to the people who have reviewed. Happy July 4th everyone.

 

Chapter 5

 

~ HP ~

 

            Thankfully the rest of the day was a lot mellower than the morning had been. The office had even been nice enough to through a little party in honor of the newly turned nine-year-old. They had a small cake and balloons and a magical banner that blinked happy birthday. The day had been happily disastrous, and Zora wouldn’t have changed one awkward moment of it. When it became quitting time, the McQueen family did the smart thing and left five minutes early, if only to miss the massive rush that would mostly ensue if they didn’t. Samson had another reason for leaving early but said nothing of it to Zora (who was blissfully unaware of the tension her father had dealing with ever sense he saw her with the Malfoy boy). Everything seemed to have gone according to plan until they got to the elevators. Malfoy Sr. and jr. were already inside of the compartment and inside of abruptly leaving to find another (much like he wanted to do) but the Malfoys had already seen them and he didn’t want make a scene (which he would have if there weren’t children present in the compartment). Samson saw the little Malfoy side-eying his daughter and so he nonchalantly pulled her closer to him. Zora was on the right of the compartment (with Luca in her arms), the two adults stood in the middle and then Draco was on the left. There was silence in the lift for about a minute until Malfoy Sr. spoke.

 

            “ It seems like a congratulations are in order Ms. McQueen.” Zora looked up confused.

 

            “ Sir?” 

 

            “ Your birthday is today is it not?” That caught her off her guard.

 

            “ H-how did you…?” Samson silently gritted his teeth.

 

            “ Inter-departmental note from a women… Mallory Hopkins I think her name was... I believe it was sent to office outside of the Auror Department. It said to wish the daughter of Samson McQueen a happy birthday if you saw her. And isn’t it fortuitous for us, Draco to be able to do just that?”

           

            “Yes father, very fortuitous.” Draco leaned forward and smiled at the bewildered birthday girl. “ Happy Birthday Zora.”

 

            Zora blushed and stared back down at the floor and a quite ‘thank you’ escaped from her lips. She prayed that her lessons with Tonks were working because right now she was afraid that her eyes were going to change color.

 

            “Well wasn’t that nice of Mrs. Hopkins? I will thank her tomorrow for her kind intentions.” And reprimand her for spreading family business around the whole Ministry… 

 

            “ So how old are you?” asked an eager Draco interjected.

 

            “Draco,” Lucius admonished, “ You must never ask a lady her age. It’s rude. You must excuse my son Ms. McQueen, he is very… impetuous.”  

 

            “ It’s alright…” she tried to smile, “I just turned nine today.”

 

            “Ah, so is my son he just turned nine in June. Soon you two will be off to Hogwarts…” The smile he had on his face reminded her of a snake, which was fitting since he was part of the Slytherin alumni. The uncomfortable feeling that Zora had from this morning had come back full force. She wanted out of the elevator right then and there. She hugged Luca closer to her body, which didn’t go without notice from Samson or Lucius.

 

            “ Ah Hogwarts a place where many a great wizard made their own start, Ms. McQueen did you know that your father and mother and I were at Hogwarts the same time?” That peaked her interest.

 

            “ You all were in the same year?” Her father did not mention that…

 

            “ No, but I do remember how proficient your mother was with Herbology…” (Un) fortunately the elevator finally stopped before he could say anything else. They had finally reached the level they needed to transfer to the correct telephone. Samson thanked whatever unseen force out there for allowing them to get out of that damn elevator. Lucius was pushing it and he knew it.

 

            “ Well enough about the past for now, Lucius before I forget …thank you for helping my daughter find her way back to me. Now we must be off.” Samson practically dragged Zora out of the elevator but not before Lucius hearing,

 

            “Oh it was no trouble at all Samson. Anything for Cecile’s girl…” Samson walked off holding tightly to Zora’s hand. She looked back at the elevator and saw Lucius Malfoy and Draco Malfoy wave at them. While Draco was more enthusiastic in his arm movement, it was the senior Malfoy that caught her attention. His eyes were calculating and his movement slow. Lucius Malfoy was dangerous, that much she figured out on her own. She would definitely avoid the pair whenever she came to the Ministry with her father.

 

            Anything at all…Lucius thought, he closed the front of the elevator and stepped back. Draco stood in place at continuing to stare into the direction of where his infatuation walked off in. And then a thought struck him.

 

            “Father, how did you know that her mum was so great in Herbology?”

 

            “All in due time, Draco. As McQueen said ‘enough of the past for now’…”

 

            “DOBBY.” The nervous house-elf apparated into the elevator.

 

            “Y-yes M-master?”

 

            “Tell your mistress that we are on our way home and have the other house-elves begin the dinner immediately.

 

            “O-of course Sir, D-dobby will do it right a-away.” And off went the house elf.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

            Damn him. Damn that man to lowest levels of hell. Samson’s thoughts were treading on murderous. Lucius Malfoy…Death-eater. He refused to put “former” in front of that title. Lucius claimed to be under the Imperius Curse at the end of the First War but Samson didn’t believe one bit of it. Those eyes, he would know those malicious eyes anywhere. A person under the Imperius curse had despondent eyes and his were completely active. The night that Cecile died…

 

            “Dad, how did Mr. Malfoy know mum?” Zora’s question brought him out of his dark thoughts.

 

            “Well, like I’ve told you before your mum always had a bit of a green thumb thus it was only natural for her to advance to higher leveled Herbology classes…” before he could finish his thought a familiar voice called out his name.

 

            “ SAMSON!” accented voice rang through the large Bristol crowd. Both McQueens turned around and saw Ando with Hyde. Ando stood there smiling and a wave while Hyde stared intensely. They met up in the middle, which conveniently was right by the ice cream shop that they were walking to.

 

            “ This was happy surprise Ando what are you two doing in Bristol?”

 

            “  Well, we heard from a certain someone that today was a special girl’s ninth birthday so we decided to pop in and say happy birthday.” He looked down and winked at Zora. She smiled at him and then returned her attention back to the blonde beside him.

Ando chuckled and pushed his friend into the ice cream shop. Hyde followed after them with a star-struck nine-year-old.

 

Mod’s Ice Cream shop had become a staple in the McQueen household. They would sit in the window and eat the huge happy birthday ice cream special. Ando and Hyde were supposed to come later. This was their time. Samson got the ice creams and found his daughter sitting next to Hyde, which caused a little twinge in his heart. He was noticing more and more that Zora was beginning growing up, he reluctant to admitted that to himself.

 

In the future there were going to be boys, boys with hormones and feelings of lust. He suddenly felt a little bit sick. He remembered what he felt when saw a pretty girl during his teenage years. He remembered having fantasies; they were ridiculous and impossible fantasies that looking back made him wonder what on earth had he been thinking. He wasn’t thinking and that was the problem. Pretty girls cause something in boys to act in ways that are not always honorable. Zora was a beautiful girl and sooner or later boys would take notice of that. They would have those certain feelings…He could already see it in that ferret-faced Malfoy boy.  Not about his little girl they won’t…maybe it wasn’t too late to have her go to Beauxbatons Academy…

 

            While Samson plotted his mental contingency plan, he watched as the three people in his life interacted with each other while they ate their ice cream. Ando…he owed a lot to him. When he was Japan during the summer of 1977 with his father for a two-month long series of conferences (International Wizarding Cooperation Conference), he helped him to get use to his new surroundings and kept him company when he was missing home. He was at his wedding to Cecile and helped to baby-sit when he temporarily lived in England. He was there with him that night when Cecile had been killed. He was one of his dearest friends and one of the few people that he would  do anything for if need be.

 

Hyde…he didn’t know much about Hyde other than why Ando told him. Extremely bright, rarely spoke, and was training to be an Auror. His father died in the line of duty and his mother was sick up until her passing. That was how he came to live with Ando when he was ten. Admittedly, he was skeptical about Ando being able to handle having such a big responsibility, even though he was older Ando tended to be bit immature that and he liked stay out late and like to drink. Having Hyde around definitely grounded him and, Samson happily thought, made him into more of a responsible adult (he would have never allowed him to baby-sit Zora the way he was pre-Hyde). In some way he had to thank Hyde, he brought out the best in Ando.

 

And Zora. She was his light, love and reason for being. When he and Cecile married in the summer of 1978 that didn’t plan on having children so early. It took awhile to get use to the idea but in the end they were ecstatic when Zora was born. The world then was perfect, even though there was a war going on. As long as his family was safe and happy he could deal with anything.

 

Working with the Order part-time and being a full Auror, Samson felt a sort of security. A level security that was broken forever when he came home late one night to his find his house broken in to and his wife and newborn not there. The utter feeling of helpless when eventually found the love of his life dead in the one place she thought to be a sanctuary being hovered over by a person in death-eater robes. He reacted instantly, but only got managed to break off a piece of the skull mask. It revealed the identity of the man he vowed to have his revenge on if it was the last thing he did, Lucius Malfoy. After the coward disapparated from the scene Samson could hear the cry of a baby. It was Zora he knew, placed under a cloaking spell. Using the Homenum Revelio spell, revealed his one-year-old daughter crying her eyes out, not understanding the situation that she was in. He held his darling girl tightly, thanking Cecile for sacrificing herself while at the same cursing her for not using the same protection for herself. Ando contacted the Order about what happened and took care the funeral arrangements. He made a promise to Zora and himself that night, that he would always be there for his daughter and that he would protect her no matter what. He felt it was his penance for not being there in time for Cecile.

 

The following months were the darkest moments of Samson McQueen’s life and he had to thank his daughter for helping him getting through the grief. For the being the constant reminder that life was still worth living and that there was still goodness in the world despite the great evil that hid in the shadows. Despite being from a somewhat wealthy family he still decided that he would rather work than rely on his trust fund.  Which was why he shifted his status from active to non-active Auror instead of just full out quitting, he took pride in keeping people safe but he could not put his life at risk anymore. 

 

            “Dad?”

 

            “Hm? What is it Zora?”

 

            “You’ve been staring at me for 10 minutes and your ice cream is starting to melt.” She looked at him inquisitively.

 

            “ Yes, my old friend you seemed to be off in your own little world. Is there something wrong?” Ando mumbled while he continued to stuff his mouth with ice cream.

 

            Samson just smiled and shook his head. He began to eat his ice cream and let the others continue the conversation. He didn’t regret his choices concerning Zora and hoped that Cecile was looking down and approved.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

            After they group went for ice cream they all traveled back to the McQueen residence and Ando was finally allowed to tell Zora about some of the more hilarious adventures he and her father had during the summer of 1977.  They had a nice dinner and when it became late Samson sent his sleepy birthday girl off to bed. In her dozy state she thought that she could her someone say,

 

            “Happy Birthday Zora, my darling girl.”

 

-DM-            

 

 Draco had been in a blissful daze ever since they had gotten back to the Manor.  The world at the moment was perfect and nothing could ruin it. Not even the house-elves that were always messing up something around the house. Normally, Draco would rip them a part for smallest thing, but not today. People around the mansion noticed the obvious change in attitude and those who served did not know what to make of it. The house-elves were on edge and more nervous than usual. The young Malfoy took no notice of it. He finally had a name to go with his mental image. Zora. It was unique, exotic, and original. He never in all of his years heard of name quite like it. Zora McQueen there was something…elegant about it.

 

She was nervous when she was around him but he was okay with that…because he was nervous as well. He saw her blush when he said happy birthday to her in the elevator. He admitted that he liked that had that he had reaction on her. It made him wonder. It made him wonder if she thought of him as much as he thought of her. All of it was driving him insane, why did she seem to have such a control over his thoughts. Girls were supposed to be disgusting (and they were, mostly) but not her. It made no sense to him. Why was she so different? His heart, when she glanced at him caused a tightness in his chest that he couldn’t explain. Bloody hell, what was this stupid girl doing him?!

 

            “Draco, darling?”

 

            “Hm?” He looked at his mother, still completely in his own little world.  He had forgotten that he was sitting at the dinner table. He looked up from his plate and saw his father at the head of the table and his mother sitting right across from. His mother looked concerned while his father continued to eat with the cold dignity that he always cared around the house.  

 

“ You haven’t eaten anything and you’ve just been staring at your plate. Is the food not pleasing?” She was about to yell for a house-elf until he mumbled that the food was fine.

 

            “What is it darling, is there something wrong…do you have a tummie-ache?” Tummie-ache? What was he five?

 

            “No mum, I’m fine. It’s just, today at the Ministry was full excitement and I guess I’m just tired is all…”

 

            “Oh really? What happened today at the Ministry Draco?” That caught Lucius attention, the spark in his eye, be it a fleeting nervousness or something else, the Malfoy patriarch keep he indifferent demeanor.

 

            “ Nothing much, there was just a lot of other kids there today and one of them got lost and I helped her back to her dad.”

 

            “Oh, what was her name any one that we know?”

 

            “ Well…her name was Zora McQueen and her dad work in the office of Aurors. Father seemed to know about her dad and her mom.”

 

            “ How interesting, Lucius who is this mysterious couple that Draco is talking about?” She had an inkling of who they were, and the longer she waited for a response the more suspicious she became.

 

“ Samson …McQueen, darling.” She made a sound of disgust.

 

“That brute…” Samson McQueen nearly ruined their family, she had done everything in her power keep them all together before and after Draco had been born. Samson accused Lucius of being a death-eater and murdering his wife. Of course without any substantial proof to either claim they had to let Lucius go. 

 

“Nothing of importance Narcissa, the girl merely got lost and Draco assisted her to back to where she belonged. Nothing more, nothing less.” Lucius said calmly. He really wished that Draco kept his mouth shut; he unintentionally brought up old wounds that would never seem to fully heal.

 

 

“  But Lucius that man…”

 

“ It is not important, DOBBY.”  The house-elf appeared.

 

“Take Draco to his room, he will be eating there tonight. Your mistress and I have things that need to be discussed privately.”

 

This was serious, whatever this was. Draco had never been allowed to eat in his room before. Part of him wanted to argue but when he saw his father’s withering stare he kept his mouth shut. He followed Dobby silently, hoping to catch any sound of discourse between his parents but heard nothing. They traveled through the large doors leading to numerous pathways. When they reached his room, Dobby quickly prepared everything at Draco’s work desk and waited for Draco to dismiss him. Draco merely waved him off and stood near the window. When Dobby disapparated, he let out a small sigh and began to stare out of window.

 

A dense forest surrounded the manor, it seemed as though they were completely cut-off from the rest of the world. Whenever looked towards the horizon line he saw nothing but trees and shrubbery. He felt trapped. This was one of the reasons why needed to get away. Durmstrang was his first choice because it was the furthest away from home. For the longest time Draco had his heart set on it. Hogwarts, he felt, had held nothing for him that Durmstrang couldn’t give him. Durmstrang only allowed the best and was filled with aristocratic families such the Malfoy family. Hogwarts allowed anyone with magical talent; it was blood status meant nothing anymore, as his father would say.

 

His father had been on his side when they were looking at schools. He thought Draco should be with other such as the Malfoy family but his mother… She utterly refused; she would not have her son go so far away. She argued that Hogwarts was the best school for him, despite how loosely they held the importance of blood status. She wanted her son to go the same school that his parents did find the perfect Slytherin girl and bring her home. At the time he hadn’t thought about girls at all. They were all daft. The parties that his parents made him attend were boring and the girls (young and old) chatted on like spastic chipmunks. He honestly did care what they had to say. None of it made sense to him and added nothing important to his life. In any case his parents argued over it for weeks, until he finally gave in to her wishes. Draco was Hogwarts bound whether he liked it or not. And for that stretch of time he almost resented her for it but now he wanted to thank her.

 

He finally had a reason for why Hogwarts wouldn’t be such a horrible place, Zora. She was different he could tell. He couldn’t imagine her twittering on like some broken record player. Or worrying about something as stupid as how to style her hair or something stupid like that… Of course, logically he could prove none of this to be true. She could be as cotton-brained as the rest of them but he just couldn’t see it. They only had a small conversation and it was mostly himself talking. She merely reacted to what he was saying. In a polite manner yes but he found himself not wanting “polite”. He wanted…he wasn’t exactly sure…sincerity? Was that it? Even though he wouldn’t ever admit it, the moment she entered his father’s office and smiled at the stupid house-elf he grew jealous…as unfathomable as that sounded. How could she smile so freely with that creature and not at him? A pure-blooded witch such as her self shouldn’t lower herself to dignify…wait a tick…

 

He didn’t know for sure that she was a pureblood. There was a chance that her family wasn’t…no…no…No. He would know if she were...he would just know. Besides his dad wouldn’t have conversed with her mom and dad during Hogwarts if they were anything less than proper status. Anything for Cecile’s girl…That tone he had when he said that was respectful, almost reverent. Draco didn’t know what to make of it. Any of it.  But from the way that things were looking now everything was okay. What he was feeling, whatever it was, was okay.  When they meet again it will be different, the next time they meet the smile he wanted to see so badly would be his. He wanted her to like him. He wanted to actually get to know her, maybe then his mind would finally rest and he would forget about her. He would not allow her to have so much power over him. He didn’t like not been in control of his own thoughts. He also didn’t like not being able to explain why he felt things that he didn’t fully understand.

 

Did she think about him? It would be only fair Draco thought to himself; did thoughts of him race through her mind like she did in his? Draco looked at his plate still left untouched and suddenly felt not hungry. He decided to just forgo everything and go straight to bed. He changed into his sleep ware and oversized king-mattress. The day had been tiring all right; the whirlwind of emotion was taking its toll on the young Malfoy.

 

Before he fell asleep he called for one of the house-elves to come and get rid of the food. He lied on his bed and stared up at his canopy, his eyes steadily drooping and one final thought sent him off to dream land.

 

That Zora McQueen…she’s a dangerous one…I can feel it…

 

-DM-

 

&HG&

 

            She remembers, vaguely that day at school. Three months had past since that odd day. The strange weather that seemed to come out of nowhere, the girl, everything. She remembers that the days after the event in question  people acted as though it never happened. Part of her thought that she made the whole thing up until she noticed things that people would at most times overlook or not care about. The days after school ended were riddled with questions about that day in particular. Why did she barely remember that particular part of the day? Why, whenever she thought she came to a new piece of information did it just slip away at the last moment? The summer holiday was coming to an end soon and so far she had nothing much to show for her efforts to figure out this particular dilemma. 

 

Hermione Granger had a problem. Not a life threatening one, or even a philosophical one. It was about a girl, funny as it sounding. Zora McQueen was a mystery that she couldn’t figure out. At the moment Hermione sat on her bed with a book on her lap. Now if you knew anything about Hermione Granger finding her with her head in a book was nothing new. In fact it was when she wasn’t looking up something that people usually worried. Literature, science, maths anything that tickled her fancy that week. However, for the past few months everything seemed to circle one topic. Magic.

 

She couldn’t stop thinking about it. That day, the bullies, the girl, the weather. All of it seemed so strange, so abnormal. Well, not the bully part. Unfortunately, that was something that she knew well. But the girl however… The one who stood up for her. Something about her was different from the others.  The whole tone of the event was different. It was like the weather itself was reacting to the girls’ emotions. Hermione Granger hadn’t stopped thinking about events that occurred on those last few days of school. She replayed the memory time and time again and could not figure a reasonable answer to any of it. It all seemed too coincidental. It was so frustrating. Normally Hermione loved a good mystery, she usually figured them out in no time but this…this…was different. Of course when she thought the scene in depth she about in a logical manner but, she thought, maybe that was her problem. Hermione liked logic. It was systematic and usually led to the right conclusion. She prided herself on looking at a particular situation/problem and finding the little details that most people missed.

 

From her point of view, Laura and Rebecca had their back to her and she had a somewhat clear view of the girl in question. Zora seemed like a good girl. She didn’t like to talk much from what she could tell during class. But she was smart; given her scores…Hermione made it a point to do some investigating before eventually confronting the girl in question. Being well liked by the teachers and administration paid off, no one suspected when she stealthy went through the student profiles in the main office. She didn’t like breaking school rules (she petrified when she did it) but this was important. Something about Zora McQueen was not normal and she was determined to find out what it was exactly. When she was still on the ground, she could have sworn that she saw Zora’s eyes change color, they looked red a dark red if she were being nit-picky. But it happened all too quickly so she couldn’t be sure. And her father, he seemed to pop out of nowhere, literally. There was no sight or sound of the car so how did he get there so quickly? And the way they left. Could it be possible? Was magic real?

 

All her life she had been taught that magic was just things in fairytales, or on the tellie. It seemed so bizarre but it was the only option that made any type of sense. If she was correct, and she usually was, then what did it all mean? She had so many questions that she feared would never be answered. She had taken a keen interest in the McQueen  girl after the incident and noticed when she tried to avoid her. Her avoidance meant that she was hiding something. Or, she thought reluctantly, could be the result of thinking that she was utterly mental and stalking her. She hoped that her first thought was the correct one but had a sinking feeling that it was the latter.

 

Hermione sighed. Maybe she was wrong about the whole thing (not likely but there was always a chance). Books and cleverness, those were her strengths and social awkwardness was her Achilles heel. She didn’t understand people. She tried to make friends of course; it was only natural that she would like to have a set group of mates to hang with after school and on weekends. The things she liked to talk about no one seemed to have any interest and the only time people willingly talk to her was when the homework needed to be turned in. It never occurred to Hermione that her knowledge of most subjects was off putting. Yes, she liked to raise her hand in class. She liked to show her knowledge that was the whole point of school wasn’t it? Her confidence came off as arrogance. As much as she wanted friends she utterly refused to change herself to fit in. People usually cleared off when she came around and that was why having someone stick for her was so surprising. Especially being saved by, arguably, the quietest girl in the class.

 

Throughout her entire investigation of the girl called Zora she hoped that maybe just maybe she could have a friend. A person that didn’t only talk to her when they needed help on the homework. Or wanted to copy answers off of during tests. She hoped she hadn’t run her off before they actually had a proper conversation. Zora McQueen was an interesting mystery to Hermione one that she would like to get to know better if given the chance.  Hermione heard a knock on her door and saw her mother’s head pop in.

 

            “ 10 more minutes Hermione, its nearly bedtime.” She was about to leave until Hermione called her.

 

            “Mum?”

 

            “Yes dear?” Maltida Granger entered her daughter’s room; she made sure that was mindful of the plethora books on the floor. She swore one day that she was going to trip over one of these books.

 

            “ Do you believe in magic? I mean do you think that it’s real?” that was out of the blue thought Matilda.

 

            “ What brought this on sweetie?” She saw her daughter look down at the book that was in her lap and squirmed.

 

            “Nothing really, I was reading some old fairytales that you and dad used to read to me and it got me to thinking…” Matilda sat on the edge of the bed and took the book out of Hermione’s hands and looked at it.

 

            “ Well personally, I do. I mean the things that can’t be explained by science and math have to happen in some kind of fashion don’t they? The world I think world be dreadful place if there wasn’t some type of mystery left in it. When I met your father I knew that he was the one. Right from the off.  I swear every time that I look at him I get butterflies. Love, I think is the closest thing that human beings will get to real magic.”

 

            “ But what about witchcraft and spells mum, do you believe in that?”

 

            “ Um, I like to believe in that sort of thing. I think its fun for pretend and daydreams. But I if were a witch, I would just zoom on my magic broomstick to work. Or wiggle my nose and make dinner. That would be nice if were real.”

 

            “So you don’t think that people can be magic?” This wasn’t how she wanted the conversation to go, she needed some reassurance. Reassurance that she wasn’t blowing this whole Zora-weather thing out of proportion and that she was not insane.

 

            “ Hermione, I believe that everyone has a spot of magic in them. Like your ability to keep all that knowledge inside of your head and not have it explode. Or, or…”

 

            “Or like when you always know when I need to say even before I say it.”

 

            “Yes, mums have that ability some times, so maybe we are witches after all.” Matilda sighed happily, Hermione smiled but she still wasn’t satisfied. Her mother meant well but Hermione knew that she wasn’t taking this seriously. She kept on her smile and played along. Obviously the only way of figuring out the truth was by talking to Zora one-on-one. Maltida tucked her (how embarrassing she was almost ten for goodness-sake) said goodnight and shut off the lights.

 

            As she laid back on her comfy pillows and clenched her fluffy, stuffed cat close to her she did something she hadn’t done in a long time. She believed in something that logic couldn’t explain. She let go of everything that she knew to be true and hoped that there was such a thing as magic. Real magic. Just for that moment she pretended that she was a witch. That she could cast spells and flying on a broomstick, mixing potions. It all seemed so utterly fantastic. Slowly as she drifted off to sleep realized how heartbroken she would be if all of what she hoped had been just a fantasy.

 

&HG&

 

 

Where is the safest place for child to hide? In a closet? Or perhaps underneath a bed? or even under a set of comfy covers? While those are all good hiding places one could argue that that the best place for a child or even a grown up to escape to would be to a place where they have full control. What better place could there be than in a dream? In a dream they a person could anywhere, do anything, and be anyone that they choose to be. The road to dreams depends on the potential dreamer. For the unassuming and innocent, the path is easy enough. For those who have suffered greatly or even caused great anguish the path is often riddled with obstacles. Obstacles that sometimes are doused with unmentionable horror.  Thankfully, these traumas can be overcome with a strong will and a brave heart.

 

While dreaming is the best place to getaway, it cannot last forever. The reality of the world is too great for it to be otherwise. Some people would choose to deny it while others accept and brace themselves for the truth. Slowly but surely the things that will define bits of who we are and who we will be will come to pass. Time itself reacts differently depending on your status in life. For a parent, time moves too quickly and there never seems to be enough. For a child, time never moves fast enough and it seems that an eternity must pass to move foreword. And depending on who are when you’re old enough, the view of time can be that it feels just right or still too fleeting. That is the difference between a person who regrets and one who lives….

 

Being in a different plane of existence you are allowed the privilege and the utter disadvantage of knowing how things may turn out. A tear fell from the weeping angel’s eye.

 

“Happy Birthday Zora, my darling girl…”

 

 

 

~ HP ~

 

End Notes:

Thanks again for reading. Remember: I'm like Tinkerbelle, I need clapping (or in this case reviews) to live. lol

Black Cats, Flying Erasers, and Cupcakes...Oh My by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

In honor of the final Harry Potter movie, here is the latest chapter. Hope you guys like it.

 

 

~ HP ~

            The summer holiday was dwindling away and Zora began to dread going back to Middleton Academy. She didn’t want to go back into hiding. Pretending to be something that she wasn’t. She didn’t want to say goodbye to Tonks who became more of an older sibling than just a tutor. By going back to Middleton she was going back into an unconscious shell. Going back to Middleton just reminded her of how different she was. She would always be a child of two worlds. She feared that she would never truly fit into one. She knew why her dad wanted her in a muggle school and she had hoped for the same thing for awhile but it didn’t seem likely now. In the muggle world she was Zora McQueen, the quiet girl. In the wizarding world she was Zora McQueen, the girl grew up in the most-muggle-fashion-possible. It was like she was living in a field experiment and she was observing how muggles lived their daily lives. She was immersed into their world while she was still learning the mechanics of her own. It was a game of catch up, but she wasn’t too worried. She knew the basics and her father was teaching her the customs/social graces. Tonks was tutoring her in her metamorphmagus abilities as well as some of her Hogwarts subjects.    

No, the thing that worried her the most was seeing that Granger girl again. Hopefully she had forgotten her over the holiday. Zora really didn’t want to have to dodge her for the next two years. What Zora didn’t understand was why she was so interested in the first place. How didn’t the Obliviator Headquarters or at the very least the Muggle-worthy Excuse Committee manage to completely rearrange her memory? Technically, the Granger girl shouldn’t be able to remember a thing so why had she bird-dogging her those last few days of school? Maybe she was just being paranoid; maybe she just thought that Granger knew something. She was just a muggle after all…right? To be honest Zora couldn’t answer that question with full certainty. Before her little episode she would say that she definitely thought Hermione Granger was a full-blown muggle, but now she wasn’t so sure. It could very well be that she was in-fact magically inclined but the only way for her to figure that out for sure was to confront her in some manner. This is potentially dangerous because if she were to be wrong…well then that just wouldn’t be good.

“Zora?” Oh, right…she was in the middle of one her tutoring sessions with Tonks.

“Sorry Tonks…”

“Where did you go Zo-Zo? It was like you were daytripping into the dizzy doldrums.” Tonks laughed. They were sitting in backyard facing each other doing their mediation ritual. Tonks had a theory about being a metamorphmagus, she believed that with having the ability to change into whomever they wanted and could morph their features into animal like structures there must be an extra amount of magic hidden within them to be able to pull it off without the help of a potion or a spell. She felt that meditation was the best way to soothe out any errant emotions and keeping oneself in tune with the flow magic.

  She made sure to remind Zora that this was just her thinking. Everything that she was teaching Zora was based off of personal experience and what worked for her. Thankfully, most of what she taught Zora worked…for the most part. Every since Tonks came to the McQueen household she had noticed something different about the young metamorphmagus. The amount of control she was able exercise with her abilities was astounding, especially since she only found out about them a few months ago. Tonks watched as Zora began to feel more confident in her own abilities. There was a time where Tonks could read her every emotion that came across her young tutee’s face; now it was only once in a while.

 

“ It’s nothing really, just thinking about going back to my muggle school is all…”

           

“ You don’t sound too thrilled about it, which is understandable I guess. Not many people like school all that much.”

           

“It’s not that exactly…it’s just this girl that I go to school with…I think she suspects something.” Zora told her what happened in the last few days of school and told her about how Hermione was paying closer attention to attention to anything that she did.

           

“ Zora I wouldn’t worry about it too much, as long as it you keep yourself under control she’ll lose interest eventually. Muggles always do.”

           

“ Yeah…maybe.” Zora smiled a bit feeling a little bit more assured.

           

“Now, let’s have some fun…I want to see how well your transfigurations have been going.  So on the count of three…”  Both smirked at each other as they got up. This was what she loved about having Tonks as a tutor. She made learning fun; the way that she learned different types of transformations was by having “duels”. They would separate themselves by ten paces not facing each other. On the count of three they would quickly turn around and show their transfiguration.

           

“Alright now Zora, lets do animals this time…let’s say a type of cat,” Tonks said loudly,” On the count of three. 1…2…3!”

           

Tonks assumed the likeness of a lioness and Zora…seemed to have disappeared. Tonks grew frantic and started calling her name. She looked in every direction and until she looked to the ground.

           

“Oh this...this...isn’t good” She looked down and saw no girl, only a black cat; with green eyes. “Zora?” 

           

“Meow…” Tonks? Why are you so big all of the sudden?... Or have I gotten smaller…?

           

“Zo-zo…” She quickly took out a pocket mirror and showed it to Zora.

 

            This…this was impossible. Metamorphmagi couldn’t transform fully into animals Tonks had said so.  Zora began to panic; she made cat noises instead of actual words and which made her freak out more. Tonks being the quick thinking witch that she was knew that before anything else could be done both of them had to relax.

            “Zora you are going to have to first calm down.” This didn’t seem to go through because frantic cat sounds were still being made. So Tonks did the only thing she think of to calm a frantic cat. She knelt down to the ground and pulled her into her arms and began to stroke her head. Slowly but surely Zora visibly calmed down. “…now I want you to breathe. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as you truly are.”

            Zora did as she was told and imagined looking at herself in a mirror and thankfully she turned back to normal. She opened her eyes fearful that she would see a paw instead of her hand. Never before had she been so thankful to have opposable limbs. She let out a sigh of relief but didn’t speak. What was going on, she thought that she had this metamorphmagus thing figured out. Obviously not, considering what had just happened.

           

“ I thought you said that only animagi could transform in to animals…” Zora said quietly.

 

           

“ That’s what I thought as well…” Tonks mumbled to herself. This was a game changer…Zora was a game-changer. Everything she knew about being a metamorphmagus was thrown out in a manner of minutes. She continued to hold on to the girl she was quickly beginning to think of as a little sister. She didn’t know how to handle this; never had she before been able to do something such as the girl in her arms. It was unheard of…

 

           

“ What does it mean Tonks…?”

 

           

“  To be completely honest with you Zo-zo… I don’t have the foggiest idea…”

 

           

“ I-I’m scared Tonks…when I was doing the transfiguration it felt like it did when I normally do my animal structures. I didn’t even realize that I had changed so drastically until you showed me you mirror. “

 

           

“  Zo-zo, it’s all right to be scared but on the bright side it’s better that we know about this now and deal with it than you being at Hogwarts and something happening…” she was trying to be comforting but that only made Zora nervous. What if she found out more things about herself at Hogwarts…things that she couldn’t control…its not like she could bring Tonks with her…

           

“ Also, think about it like this… you have just done something that was once thought to be impossible. You should be feeling very proud of yourself right now.” 

 

            “ But I don’t feel proud…I feel like more of a misfit then ever now…”

 

            “ Zora, you are an amazing girl and today you just gave the world another reason to recognize it. Besides being a misfit isn’t all that bad. In my opinion misfits are the best kind of people to know. They are the ones that keep life interesting.” Tonks looked down at her surrogate sister, “ You’ll make friends at Hogwarts I have no doubt about that.”

 

            Suddenly, Luca came trotting outside with his tail wagging happily and instantly laid next to his mistress. It was amazing how the mood seemed to lighten whenever Luca popped into a room. Maybe it was because it was he was so unassuming and at the same time a great comfort when she needed him. The love he seemed to have for the teacup sized human made everything that was bad seem lesser.  Zora held him in her arms and hugged him tightly as he became licking her on her chin. The fear of being alone slightly began to ebb when she reminded herself that she would have Luca there to keep her company.

 

            Tonks thought it best to stop the lessons for rest of the day and decided to give Zora an ice cream treat that she knew McQueen had stashed away in that icebox of his…refrigerator that’s what it was called. Then she would allow Zora to teach her in the ways of television (her dad may have been muggle born but they mostly stuck to the old ways of life). It was very entertaining, but what she liked most was the cartoons especially that Beatlejuice one…

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

            As it so happened, Zora didn’t even make it to the ice cream as soon as she sat herself down on the couch she fell asleep. This didn’t surprise Tonks much, usually when they finished their lessons Zora conked out. This gave her time to channel surf and write her report to Dumbledore. In the letter she originally got from the man he wrote that he would like an update every week on the young metamorphmagus. What happened today would certainly be in the letter. The more that she wrote the more that she was in awe of what occurred today.

 

It felt different…it felt like she was writing about something that could be counted as living history. As she wrote her weekly letter she looked at the sleeping girl beside her. She looked so unassuming as she slept. None of what happened today really sunk in. Being only nine years old the gravity of the situation wasn’t completely over the child’s head but at the same time…

 

            Tonks remembered a Shakespearean quote that her father once told her before going off to Hogwarts for the first time,

 

            “Now Dora, I want you remember something when you go off to school, ‘ Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’ Do your best and you’ll leave your mark on the world. You’re too extraordinary to do or be anything else…”

 

            “ ‘Some are born great…some have greatness thrust upon them…of that I have no doubt. My only worry is will you be able to stand the pressure of such ‘greatness’. Merlin knows how much the wizarding world loves their celebrities....” She spoke of the fanatical interest of the Potter boy; she knew the reason why Dumbledore left him in the care of his muggle relatives. He believed that children should just be allowed to do what they know best, being a child. It was in that same spirit that Nymphadora Tonks decided to trash her original letter and write a new one. She wrote another letter, one that held most of the information that the original letter had but omitted the full animal transfiguration. Tonks knew that when Zora was ready she would tell him and the rest of the world. However until then it would remain a secret between the metamorphmagi girls.

 

~ HP ~


            The next few weeks seemed to have sped by so quickly Zora could barely stand it.

She wasn’t ready to go back to school and not just because she didn’t want the extra homework. Every time she thought of an animal she feared that she would transfigure into it.  She thought as time went by things would have gotten easier but they have only become more complicated. She didn’t realize just how aware she would have to be of her surroundings. Everyday seemed to be a test of will. She felt so drained and when school did arrive she became even more reserved than she was before…

 

& HG &

 

            The first day of school.. It was finally here. Freshly pressed uniforms and a perfectly packed school bag and lunch. Hermione Granger was ready to begin the fifth grade hitting the ground running. She had been waiting for this day since the last day of school. This year hopefully meant a new beginning, a fresh start and a chance for making new friends. She made a promise to herself that she would not stalk Zora McQueen, it would be hard given the fact that she had basically focused her entire summer holiday on the girl but she was wise enough to realize that following her around was not going to get her anywhere. Yes, she wanted to find out whether or not the quietest girl in her class was in fact magical but…she wanted a friend more. And just because she was mildly socially awkward didn’t mean that she was completely inept at figuring out people. She knew that this was going to take time (especially since Zora would probably have reservations about a friendship with her). 

 

            “ Hermione, the school bus will be here any minute hurry down and eat some breakfast.” Called her father.

 

            “ Coming dad!” Hermione shouted back. She gave herself one more look in the mirror and went downstairs to eat. Both of her parents were already down in the kitchen watching the morning news.

 

            “ Excited for the new term pumpkin?” Matilda asked as she set a bowl of cereal in front of her.

 

            “ Mmhm,” Hermione focused on her breakfast, she wanted to be ready for when the school bus arrived.

 

            “ I bet she’s excited, never seen a child so keen on school.” Barnaby Granger chuckled as he went back to reading his newspaper.  He loved his daughter, no one could doubt that but he had to admit he was worried. Hermione focused solely on schoolwork, never had she once talked about having any mates or extracurricular-activities. He wanted her to be better rounded; it wasn’t normal for a young girl to be so isolated.

 

            “Well our Hermione is a special girl, she knows what’s important. Don’t you darling?” Matilda lightly defended. She knew that her husband was worried, but she had faith that their daughter would find a friend soon. She was just a late bloomer was all. Hermione finished her bowl of cereal and silently nodded at her mother. She got up from the table and placed her dirty plate into the sink. When she did she heard the honk of the Middleton school bus. She quickly grabbed her school bag and the Granger family headed to the front door.

 

            “ Have a good day at school darling.” Matilda kissed Hermione on the forehead.

 

            “ Don’t study too hard pumpkin.” Barnaby kissed Hermione on the side of the head.

 

            “ Thanks mum,, thanks dad see you after school.” Hermione swiftly got out of her parents embrace and made her way to bus. She saw that people were already boarded and giggling at, she suspected, her. So much for a new start…

 

            She went down the aisle and her eyes fell on a seemingly empty seat as she walked closer she found it to be partially taken. Speak of the devil…

 

            “ Hello, um could I sit here?”

 

            “ Sure, I guess…” Zora, said in a slightly daze she looked at Hermione for a moment and then turned her attention back to the window. She looked tired, Hermione observed, despondent. She quietly sat herself down and sat up straight. A million thoughts raced through her head. She wasn’t prepared for this. For the first time ever, she wasn’t prepared for something. She had hoped that she would at least have the bus ride to formulate a proper introduction but that seemed a little irrelevant now…

 

            She turned to face the despondent girl and decided to try again. “ Hello, my name is Hermione Granger and you are?”

 

           

“Zora McQueen, but you already know that we met last year, remember?” She still refused to look at her but that didn’t deterred Hermione.

 

           

“ Yes, but unfortunately we weren’t properly introduced so I just wanted to say thank you for what you did, no one has ever stood up for me before…” Hermione saw Zora’s eyes soften slightly.

 

           

“ Well…your welcome. To be honest though it was mostly to shut Nostrum up. I can’t stand her.”

 

           

“ Oh I know, it’s like she’s trying to be queen or something.”

 

           

“  Seriously, if her nose was anymore stuck up then she would in danger of drowning herself.” 

 

 

Both girls giggled a little bit, not so much at the thought of any actual harm coming to their common enemy but more because it was nice to talk to someone who wouldn’t cringe in fear of any sort backlash from the little devil herself. The bus ride to Middleton seemed a lot more comfortable now that the some of the residual tension seemed to wear off. Zora noticeably relaxed a bit but Hermione could still sense a barrier between herself and the other girl. It was a start and that was all that Hermione really wanted. A chance. Now all that was left to do now was slowly chip away at the wall that separated them.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

           They weren’t friends exactly; it was too early to put that sort of distinction on them. Comfortable school acquaintances seemed to fit better. Neither spoke to each other outside of class but they would gravitate towards each other when classes began. It was well into the month of September that their tentative friendship would become a bit more solid. Zora had becoming more and more withdrawn, their was unnamed fear her eyes. Every time that Hermione would try to confront her the more reserved she became. Hermione began to worry about her school peer. Whatever it was that was bothering her was starting to affect her schoolwork and she didn’t want her to fall behind.

 

 

It was a partly cloudy, lukewarm day that Hermione Granger would finally have her answer. Lunch had just begun and as usual the two misfits sat together outside for lunch. No one talked, Zora just absentmindedly nibbled at her sandwich (peanut butter and jelly was her favorite) and drank a bit of orange juice. Hermione ate her apple sauce (she had to be careful of what she ate since she was braces), she began to fidget in her seat until she couldn’t bare the silence anymore.

 

“ Zora…is everything okay? You’ve been acting a little bit strange lately…”

 

“ I’m fine Hermione…”

 

 

“ Zora you are not ‘fine’ you’ve falling asleep in class and your schoolwork…”

 

 

“ Hermione I don’t want to talk about it…”

 

 

“ But Zora…”

 

 

“ Would you just drop it Granger!” Zora hissed. The look on her face, her eyes they weren’t normal… they were cat like, bright irises and slit pupils. They were definitely not like that a moment ago! Zora began to pant and Hermione could’ve sworn she fangs.  Zora must’ve realized something was a miss but her reaction. She blinked and her eyes went back to normal and so did her teeth. Tears began to fill her eyes and with a small sob she took off. Hermione sat there for a moment completely stunned. Her mind raced a mile a minute. So it was true, and it wasn’t just her imagination runaway from her. Hermione Granger thought that she’d be a lot happier finding out that she was right but she couldn’t not when she remembered the look of pain and sadness that she was on the other girls face. At that moment she realized that she didn’t care about whether or not she was right, she had to find Zora! 

 

            “  Zora, wait! Come back!” Hermione raced off after her friend, not caring that the whole class was staring. She didn’t care what they thought; all she cared about now was finding her friend.

 

 

&HG&

 

            Why? It’s not fair, why did this happen to her? She never wanted this, she never want this at all. Zora sobbed. She had tried so hard to control her powers but it didn’t seem to work. Tears rained down on her cheeks. She’d give anything to be normal or at least what was normal for a regular witch. She honestly didn’t think that she was cut out to be a metamorphmagus. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a choice in the matter. This was her life and she had to deal with it the best way that she could. She sat on the ground near the garden shed with her legs propped up against her chest. She laid her head on her knees and slowly made herself regain control of her emotions. Crying wouldn’t do anything, she acknowledged, but she couldn’t the occasional tears and sniffles that she couldn’t control. She heard a rustle in the near by bush and for a fleeting moment she hoped that it would be Hermione. Muggle or not Zora didn’t ignore the similarities between the two of them. Almost kindred. The rustle happened again and to her somewhat surprise out came Luca.

 

            “Luca, what are you doing here?” she sniffled; she wiped her nose on her uniform jacket. The pup trotted over to his mistress and began to whimper unhappily. Zora remembered something that Ando told her on her birthday. He told her that she and Luca were bonded, whatever emotion she felt he felt as well. He must have come when he felt me being upset.  

           

She held him in her arms and stroked him behind his soft-furred ear. Eventually the whimpering stopped and Luca began to lick the hand that was stroking his ear. There was a gentle breeze; it caressed the skin in a comforting way. The sun peaked through the trees peppering the ground with spots of light. Zora remained unfocused, her body on autopilot as she continued to stroke her furry companion. Zora felt so drained emotionally and physically, she didn’t even have the strength to cry anymore. What could she do that she hadn’t already done? The whole situation seemed hopeless. And now, Hermione Granger had full proof of her being a witch. Today was not her day apparently. How could it get any worse?

 

“Zora! Where are you? Zora!” Oh no not now, or ever really…

 

She really didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially Hermione. Despite what she thought a moment ago, all she wanted was to be left alone.  Luca started to wiggle furiously and got out of his armed entanglement. He began to growl, threateningly in the direction of the voice. He transformed into his regular size and started to bare his teeth and crouched into an attack position. His mistress was in a fragile state and no one would take advantage of her moment of weakness. There was a rustle in the bush and a foot stepped out and a moment later appeared Hermione.

 

“Zora I…AH!” Hermione screamed as jumped at the sight of the black dog. Where did this dog come from? He certainly didn’t look friendly, more like he was going to eat her. She tried to step back but that only seemed make it madder. Its teeth were bared and his ears flattened against its head. Hermione looked frantically for something to defend herself with, because running was most definitely not an option. Where was Zora? Did this…dog attack her?

 

“ Nice doggy…scary doggy…please don’t eat me…” Hermione whimpered. When it looked like it was about to pounce Hermione quickly closed her eyes and tried to brace herself for the attack.

 

“ Luca, come.”

 

Hermione opened one eye and saw the dog instantly retreat, it spontaneously engulfed itself into blue flames when the blue flames dissipated it some how it became smaller…almost puppy like. She raised her gaze and saw Zora against a tree near the school’s garden shed. The…creature seemed to have completely done a one-eighty, Hermione could not understand how it could be ferocious to docile in under a minute. She watched as the animal acted as any happy puppy would react to its owner.

 

“ You know, bad things happen to muggles who meddle…I thought my leaving the table would give you the hint not follow Granger.”

 

“ I was worried about you…Wait a moment, were you really going to allow that—that thing to attack me?!”

 

“Relax Granger you weren’t in any danger and he has a name you know.” Zora said somewhat indignantly. She gathered the black fur-ball in her arms and walked up to the mildly petrified girl.

 

“Oh really? Well I’m sorry that I wasn’t courteous enough to learn the name of creature that was trying to EAT ME!”  Her tone dripped of sarcasm. She couldn’t believe that nearly risked her life over someone who didn’t even seem to care.

 

“ Now you’re being ridiculous, Luca wouldn’t eat you.

 

“ And what’s that supposed to mean, I’ll have you know I’m probably very delicious!”

 

The two girls stared at each other heatedly for a moment until Zora started giggle madly. Hermione failed to see what was so humorous but she couldn’t stop her self from following other girls’ example. Both seemed to be in a fit of giggles and before long they both forgot for a moment why either of them were upset in the first place. When they both finally could call themselves down they wiped away the drops of tears that were falling from their eyes.

 

“ I’m sorry that Luca scared you, he tends to be a bit protective when he feels that I’m in some type of danger.”

 

“ It’s alright…I just wanted to make sure that you were okay. You ran off so fast after… what happened and you were so upset…”

 

 

“ Well, let’s just say that it has been a very trying time for me and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.” Her eyes flashed again but she didn’t try and hide it. The cat was out of the bag so it was probably best to come clean. She walked back to her spot against the tree. Hermione slowly followed after her and found a spot next to her.

 

“ Does…does this have to do with your eyes changing color?” Hermione gently questioned. Zora nodded silently and sniffled.

 

            “ Do you want to talk about it?” Zora shook her head.

 

            “ Okay, fair enough. Can I ask question what did you mean, ‘ Bad things happen to muggles who meddle?’ What is a muggle?”

 

            “ Muggles are non-magic people. Technically you shouldn’t have found out about any of this. Muggles aren’t supposed to know about my kind.”

 

           

“ And what ‘kind’ are you exactly? I mean you look human…”

 

 

            “ Of course I’m human.” Zora managed to smile a little, “I assure I am no alien. I am a witch, a pure-blooded one if you want to be technical about it.”

 

            “ Fascinating, and how do you get your powers? Is there some sort of ritual or blood sacrifice that you have to do before your powers emerge?” This was momentous event indeed; Hermione had been waiting all summer for some kind of confirmation that she was most certainly not going mental.

 

            Zora gave her incredulous look, “ Blood sacrifices? Merlin, where do you people get some of this stuff? There is no way for any old person to get magical powers just because they wanted them. You have to born with it. It’s kind of hard to explain.”

 

            “ Both of your parents were witches?”

 

            “ My mom was a witch and my dad is wizard, yes. Both of their family lines have had nothing but witches or wizards in the family.”

 

            “ So… is the only way that person can have magic is if they are ‘pure-blooded’?” That was a bit depressing if that were true…

 

            “ Oh no, there are plenty of witches and wizards that are muggle-born and those who are half and half. Those two groups are what is most common. Pure-blooded families are the one that are far and in between…”

 

            “ But what about schooling, a form of government… what about all that stuff?”

 

            “Well of course we have all that stuff, a society can’t function without can it?” Hermione was completely overrun with thoughts, emotions, and questions. It was real. Magic was real and they had places where you could learn magic and everything. It was almost too good to be true.

 

            “And what about school, what’s it called and do you go there after your done with Middleton everyday?” She was starting ramble but she couldn’t help herself.

 

            “ The school is called Hogwarts, my mom used to teach there before…she passed away, and you have to be at least be eleven years old to go. That and have the ability to do magic.”

 

            “ Zora…do you think…”Hermione felt a little embarrassed to ask, “Do you think … for a person like…”

 

           

            “Well to be honest Hermione,” Zora looked at Hermione and for moment she wished she hadn’t, there was hope in those eyes and even though Hermione might deny it Zora could see the exact question she was trying to ask, “ Any possible I guess, sometimes people are just late bloomers.”

 

            “ Late bloomers…” Hermione whispered as she thought to herself. Was it silly to hope?  Was it completely mental to believe that there could be a chance? She was just Hermione. Hermione Jean Granger, there was nothing special about her. Besides being intelligent what else was there to her? Her parents were dentists for Pete’s sake! Now that she knew that there was real magic out in the world how would she ever go back to her regular life? How would she be satisfied with life knowing that there was a great chance that she would not be able to ever experience any of it.

 

            “ Hey.” Zora brought the bushy-haired girl out her thoughts with a small jolt.

 

            “ Yes?” Hermione quickly answered, did she miss something?

 

            “ I said that you have to promise to keep this a secret Hermione.”

 

            “ Okay.”

 

            “ I mean it Hermione, muggles aren’t supposed to know about magic.”

 

            “ Zora, I promise I won’t say a word. Besides who would be believe me anyway?” Hermione emphatically. She saw the look of mild relief on Zora’s face, but her attention went back to the curious creature in the girls’ arms. He was staring at her almost in a glare. He made little growls and yips. To be honest he made her nervous and her feelings of nervousness must have been obvious because Zora brought him closer.

 

            “ I think its time for you two be properly introduced, Luca McQueen this Hermione Granger. Hermione Granger this is Luca McQueen. You can pet him if you want I promise he wont hurt you.” Zora words sounded sincere and Hermione knew that she probably meant them but she wasn’t so sure about the dog…She wasn’t much of a dog person to begin with. However, she was willing to try if it meant so much to Zora…Cautiously, she raised her hand and moved it to try and pet the furry beast. Luca, still wary of her, snapped at her. Hermione quickly brought her hand back to her chest.

Zora looked down at her companion and scolded him.

 

            “Luca stop that right now. Hermione is not bad…she’s” Zora looked up at the bushy haired girl and smiled, “she’s my friend.”

 

Hermione stared at the young witch before, wide-eyed. A friend. That’s what she called her. Zora wasn’t making it up and she didn’t say it in a teasing or sarcastic way. Hermione wanted to say something in return, something as equally meaningful but for the first time in her almost ten years of life she could only repeated what she had heard.

 

“  A f-friend?” she hated that she had stuttered, and that she was beginning to get a bit teary eyed. She felt a little embarrassed but the smile she saw on Zora’s face was genuine and kind. Zora merely nodded, as her smile grew larger.

 

            “ And friends don’t bite friends. So, we are going to try this again. Hermione Granger this is Luca McQueen. Luca McQueen this is Hermione Granger.” The growling and yips stopped, the eyes, which just seconds ago reminded Hermione of a cold fire finally warmed up. He lowered his ears in submission and Hermione felt more comfortable trying to touch him. When her hand finally rested on top of the pups’ head, she was amazed at how soft his fur was.

 

            “ She’s right Luca, I’m her friend now as she is mine.  And I would never try and harm her because…because friends don’t harm friends.” She gently petted Luca on, she finally returned the smile tenfold. 

 

            The girls stayed there until the lunch bell rang signaling the second half of classes. They stayed and they talked about a plethora of things non-magic and magical. Luca, finally trusting the new girl allowed her to hold him in her arms. From that moment on the two young girls spent a great amount of time with each other. Each day, they grew to trust one another just a bit more. They slowly began to bring out the best in one-another. Zora began to talk a little more in class while Hermione tried to corral her tendency to show off (wasn’t very always successful but at least it was a start). Both families saw the small change in their daughters, they didn’t know who or what caused it but they were thankful.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

            Zora convinced Hermione that it would be okay and that people would like red velvet cupcakes. Hermione had been nervous, today was her birthday and usually she didn’t bring any treats for school. It took her a while to convince her parents (after they had gotten over the mild shock) to allow her bring cupcakes for the class. They, being dentists, wanted to promote healthy eating and strong bones. But since this was the first thing that Hermione ever asked for in terms of making new friends they allowed it. Both girls got to school early that day and set a cupcake on each desk in the classroom. They eagerly sat their own desks (they now sat next to each other in the back) and waited for the others to come in. When the other students finally filtered in they were surprised when they found their own individual cupcake on their desk. Each cupcake said Happy Birthday.

 

            “ Who’s birthday is it?” a boy asked.

 

            “ It’s mine.” Hermione said. Some of the children said happy birthday and thank for the cup cake. Everything seemed to be going fine into Lauren and Rebecca walked in.

Their faux air of sophistication clogged the airways. Lauren had gotten to her desk and sat down. She looked at the cupcake with distain.

 

            “ What’s this thing doing on my desk?”

 

            “ It’s someone’s birthday Lauren, and they brought cupcakes!” Rebecca said excitedly.

            “ Hmph, it’s not by birthday so why should I care…” she nonchalantly flicked the cupcake on the ground. “ Oops…”

 

            Both girls cackled in their seats, Zora quickly looked over at Hermione. There were no tears in her eyes but Zora could tell that she was hurt. Everything was going so well. Zora looked back at the offensive girl and wished that she could do something, anything. Then a curious thing happened, a pair of desk erasers flew up. The class started screaming, in fear. The erasers took their aim and went straight for the Nostrum girl. She tried to get away but the erasers came went after her. By the time the whole thing was said and done Lauren Nostrum was a huge chalk mess. The erasers themselves dropped to ground, whatever possessing them to attack Nostrum left without a sound or a whisper.  No one made a sound until Zora started giggling like she had gone mad, it only she started laughing did others in the class join in. Lauren, who was still spitting chalk dust only screeched in anger and stomped out of the classroom, with of course Rebecca, following right after.

 

            When people finally calmed down, Hermione leaned over to Zora was whispered

 

“Thank you.” Zora still giggling her head off shook her head.

 

“ That wasn’t me…” she couldn’t stop herself, her cheeks were beginning to ache.

 

“ Right.” Hermione smirked. How else would those erasers come to life? Zora finally calmed down and looked her friend straight in the eye.

 

“ Honestly Hermione, that wasn’t me.” She said with a smile. Or at  least I don’t think it was me…

 

            “ Whatever you saw McQueen, whatever you say…”

 

~ HP ~

Zora spent the rest of the day trying to convince Hermione that she wasn’t the one who had those erasers on the Nostrum girl. For a split second Zora thought for a moment, maybe just maybe…

            

End Notes:

Thanks again for reading. Please Review.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Or is it? by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Here's chapter 7 everyone hope you like it. 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

 

~ HP ~

 

 

Three months had passed since Hermione and Zora became friends. During those months the bond that started on that partially sunny day in September grew ever stronger. In October they celebrated Halloween-wizard style. During school, it was a tradition that all of the children would come dressed up in costume. Zora thought some of it was a little bit offensive, especially the girls who dressed up as "witches". Hooked noses, green skin and warts. Really? That's what they thought what a witch looked like? It reminded her of a man they learned in history class.  An American minstrel who used a thing called blackface in his act. The man went by the name of William H. West. They learned a little of the stereotyping of blacks in America and how the trend later came over to England. Zora knew that it was different in this situation. They didn't know that real magic even existed so how could they know that it was offensive? Still she couldn't say that their parading around and the evil cackling didn't hurt her. Out of respect and newfound knowledge of the offense, Hermione chose not to participate in the Halloween party activities. The Christmas holiday was coming closer and closer and thought of spending time with friends and family brought her back two people, Luna Lovegood and her mother.

                                For the longest time Zora had ached to talk to Luna. To tell her all about what was happening with her and to gain a different perspective on the manner. She must've written at least ten letters over the course of their separation, each one unsent. She didn't know why she was finding it so hard to talk to her good friend. They hadn't talked in so long...and maybe that was the problem. They were drifting a part from each other Zora reluctantly admitted to herself. She feared that she wasn't the same person that she was before she find out she was a metamorphmagus. In a moment of retrospection, or at least retrospective as a nine year old could be, she realized how closed off she had become. Before, she would talk to her father about anything. She was an open book but now she felt a like prisoner of her own body. Her father worried, she saw it in his eyes whenever she looked at him. She didn't know what to say to him to help ease his worry.  She didn't know what to say anyone. No one understood what she was going through.  Not even Tonks, the one that who could relate to her the best.

 

                               Zora sat at her desk and looked into her mirror. She looked at herself and did not like what she saw. She saw a girl who was afraid of her own shadow. She saw a girl that was becoming afraid of doing anything fun because she feared that someone would find out her secret or secrets (kind of late on that one). She hated it. She hated what she was becoming. She was not a crybaby. At least not anymore. She had to be brave; she was the daughter of a Gryffindor alum for Merlin's sake!

 

                              Zora thought of her mother, she thought of what she would say to her if she saw her in such a state. She'd probably say that crying over this wasn't going to change it. She'd probably say, that Tonks was right and to be proud of the gift she had been.  Zora glanced over to a picture she had of her mom and her when she was a baby. Her mom looked so happy, she held on to her younger self so tightly. Zora watched as the picture moved. She saw as her mom kissed the top of her head and helped her baby-self to wave at the camera. She raised her chubby hand to lips and kissed it. Zora focused back to the mirror, she closed her eyes and imagined her mother's face. When she opened her eyes she saw her mother's face instead of her own.  She smiled and for a moment she pretended that it was her mother smiling at her. She thought, at first, that this was a bit mental. However, she then realized that this would probably be the closest she would ever get to coming into some type of physical contact with her mother. Slowly, a slightly larger smile crept across her face. Zora felt closer to her mother than ever. She gingerly touched her faced, a smile still there.

 

                               " You can do this Zora, I believe in you. Don't ever give up." She changed back just as her father opened her bedroom door.

 

                               " Zora darling who were you talking to?" She looked at him through her mirror, a sense of serenity visible on her face.

 

                               " Just having a chat with mum."

 

 

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              The plan was for the two families to finally meet on Christmas Eve for dinner. Hermione had invited them for dinner  (after the great insistence from her parents). The McQueen family was in the process of getting ready for the dinner while Zora accidentally let it slip that she had told the Granger girl that she was a witch.

 

                       " Excuse me, young lady what did you just say? I thought for a moment I just heard you say this girl knows that you are a witch. Please, tell me that I misheard you."

 

              " Well...in my defense dad, the cat was pretty much out of the bag once Luca went into protective mode. My small transfigurations, I probably could have talked my way out of those, but with Luca...there was just was no going back from that."

 

             " Oh bloody hell..." sighed to himself. Part of him wanted to cancel but they had already given their word that they would attend.

 

                            " She promised that she wouldn't say a word and I believe her. She's very nice and very smart dad. Probably the smartest in our entire class."

 

                            " That maybe all well and good Zora but you know that muggles knowing about us is forbidden."

 

                            " But dad why is it so forbidden? Why is the whole magical world so hush-hush about absolutely everything?"

 

                            " It's in the best interest for everyone darling. Once upon a time muggles and wizards did coexist, which lead to chaos. Eventually the two sides thought that it would be better just to part ways. It's arguable been a lot more peaceful since the worlds separated."

 

                           " But then what's the point of you sending me to a muggle school if I can't make friends?" 

 

                           " You can make friends,  but you can't tell them about...the other stuff." He finished awkwardly. He was standing in front of his mirror fixing his tie. He was never good at making a fresh tie; Cecile would always laugh at him as she'd fix it for him. Even after her passing he still couldn't manage it, so Zora took over the task.

 

                          " So you mean lie?"

 

                          " No, just don't mention it. "

 

                          " But isn't that the same as lying?"

 

                          " No, because she didn't ask."

 

                          " But what if she did ask, then I would have to lie. And you've always told me that lying was wrong."

 

                          " And it is, look Zora sometimes people might seem like they're trust worthy but turn out to be the last ones you should trust."

 

                        " But dad I know I can trust Hermione, I just know I can. I have this feeling in my chest...it kind of feels like it when I'm with Luna." She thought about if they were to ever meet. Luna would probably go off on a whimsical tangent about moon frogs and Hermione would then probably try and tear through any possible book trying to find out them. Zora wanted them to meet; she honestly thought that they would all get along swimmingly.

 

                         Samson looked at his daughter and saw her wide-eyed determination and trust.  He saw Cecile. According to her there was goodness in every person, no matter how hidden it may have been. She knew when to be cautious but that didn't stop her by putting herself at risk.

 

                         "Samson, Dumbledore asked us to stay vigilante for any sight of dark wizards. We live in a community of muggles, they need us Samson we can't just abandon them."

 

                          Loyal to friends, family and strangers alike. She was strong believer muggle-wizard cooperation and that one-day the two worlds would meld together once more. That same line of thought seemed to have somehow trickled down into their daughter. Muggle-wizard cooperation, it was a wild, unlikely dream but it was far be it for him to tell his daughter who to be friends with. As long as she was safe and happy that was all that really matter in the end. Plus if the muggle girl had said something the amount of danger it could lead to would be minimal. It was the blessing and the curse of being a child. The younger you are the less people believe you.

 

                          " Alright darling, I trust your judgment. If she is as good as you think she is then I do not see a problem." Lets just hope that no one will regret the union.

 

                         " Oh papa you'll love her. She's absolutely brilliant. You'll see." She ran back in to her room (with Luca in toe) to finish getting ready.

 

                          " I hope so for your sake..."

 

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

   "...And you guys promise you won't say anything embarrassing while the McQueens are here right?"

 

           " Embarrassing, what ever do you mean Hermione?"

 

                           " Like talking non-stop about your dentistry practice dad."           

 

                          " Since when did us being dentists embarrass you Hermione?" Matilda was putting down the china and the place mats. Hermione had been buzzing around the house making sure that everything was in order for the arrival of the McQueen family.

 

                           " I'm not embarrassed that you're dentists mum. I just don't think that it's proper dinner conversation. We are going to be eating and I don't think they would like to hear about the different types of tooth decay." Hermione started following her mother and re-folded the cloth napkins and realigned the silverware.

 

                 "Alright dear we'll keep the dentistry talk to a minimum...."

 

                     " And please, whatever you do pull out any embarrassing pictures..."

 

 

                      " Oh now you are just taking all of the fun out of the entire evening." Barnaby teased. He had never seen his daughter so excited for something that wasn't school related. Whoever this girl was she must be something. He had to remind himself to thank her for helping their ‘mione to begin to blossom.

 

                    " What are their names again pumpkin?"

 

                   " Zora and Samson McQueen mum. Don't forget they are brining their pet. Is all the food ready? I think it should be all on the table..."

 

                  "Hermione calm down. Everything is alright, there is no need to worry." Barnaby laughed. Hermione looked at her wristwatch and squealed with excitement.

 

                  " Wait a moment, Hermione you didn't say that they were bringing over any ani-" 

 

                 " They're almost here! Oh my goodness Zora's present I forgot it upstairs." Hermione darted from the dinning room in a frantic blur.

 

                 "-mals...It better be house trained is all I know..." Matilda sighed to herself. She shook her head as finished setting out the rest of the food.

 

                  Hermione quickly grabbed the present she wanted to give Zora and sped back down stairs. She set the gift on the dinner table and waited in the living room for the doorbell to ring. She had taken great pains to make sure that everything went off without a hitch. She wanted to make a good impression on the McQueen family. While she knew that Zora would've been happy with something simple, she didn't know much about her father. Being a man that didn't deal much with muggles personally, it made him an enigma. That's why this dinner was so important, she wanted to make a good impression on him. She didn't want to give him any reason to be skeptical about her friendship with Zora.

 

                  " Okay, Hermione relax. Everything is going to be fine. Just relax." Great she was talking to herself. Lovely. She had never been this nervous about meeting someone. She even took 2 hours trying to get through her hair alone. She shined her shoes until she saw her reflection and chose a simple party dress. The longer she waited the longer she became on edge. She checked her watch every 30 seconds and started messing with the hem of dress.  When the doorbell finally rang she sprung up from her seat, her heart began to race. The only saving grace was that she was not nervously sweating.

 

                  Her mother got to the door before she did and welcomed the guests of honor with a warm smile.

 

                 " Hello you must be the McQueens welcome to our home.  Please, please come in. It must be terribly cold." The family quickly walked into the house, glad to feel the warmth hit them almost instantly.

 

                 " Barn, Hermione the McQueens are here. Come and say hello."

 

                 "Thank you for inviting us to dinner Mrs. Granger. You have a lovely home."

 

                 " Why thank you Zora, please let me take your things." She took their winter coats and gestured for them to go to the living room.  When they got to the room both Hermione and her dad were already sitting on the coach. Hermione jumped up from her seat and quickly moved to meet her friend.

 

                 " Happy Christmas Zora."

 

                " Happy Christmas Hermione. Hello Mr. Granger."

 

               " So finally we meet the mysterious Zora McQueen. The name's Barnaby Granger, pleasure." They shook hands.

 

                " The pleasure's all mine Mr. Granger. I would like you all to meet my father, Samson McQueen." Samson finally stepped into the conversation. He shook hands with the Granger patriarch and smiled politely. He felt a small pair of eyes observing him. Hermione Granger, the girl his daughter put so much trust in. She seemed nervous, happy but nervous all the same.

 

               " And will the misses be joining us?" There was a bit of an awkward silence, Barnaby catching his potential faux pas, became a bit flushed.

 

               " DAD!" Hermione could not have been more scandalized. She knew that the question had been innocent but to have it voiced was a completely different story.

 

               " Um, no unfortunately my wife is no longer with us anymore..."

 

                "Oh, I'm so sorry...divorce is nothing to be ashamed of. My sister Gretchen..."

 

                "DAD, JUST STOP!" Hermione wished the ground would swallow her whole or a meteorite come crashing down on her. Well there goes that friendship, if Zora wasn't offended then her father surely must be. We haven't even had dinner yet and everything is already turning into a disaster...Better get ready to go back to eating alone at lunch because there is no way I can face Zora now...

 

                 " What my father means to say Mr. Granger is that my mum has passed on. But I find that she's always near because she's always right here." Zora pointed to her heart. She smiled, successfully diffusing whatever residual awkward tension.

 

  A small whine lead the humans habitants to look down at the seemingly-left-out hound, and he was so well groomed to boot (freshly brushed fur coat and white clip on tie). All of the McQueens were, Zora wouldn't any other way. Samson was dressed in an all black ensemble; a nice blazer, dress shirt with a few buttons left undone (they decided to forgo the tie because Zora felt that it was too dressy and uptight), black slacks and loafers.  Zora wore a floral dress. The top was black while the bottom skirt had various shades of grey and black flowers. The midpoint of the dress was brought together with a slender silk ribbon. She kept her hair down while one side was sweep and held down by another black silk ribbon bow. Simple black buckle downs were the shoes of choice.

 

" Of course I could never forget my faithful animal companion, Luca. Say hello Luca." The hound barked obediently as he sat next to his mistress.

 

" Right smart dog you got there Zora, can he do other tricks?" Barnaby asked with a hint of curiosity. He had never seen a dog quite like it. It almost seemed like it came from the wild. He would go as far as describe it as wolf-like.

 

"  Yes sir Luca can do your basic commands...among others." She told Luca to roll over and play dead. All of which he did with the slightest of ease. Mr. Granger certainly was impressed. He was about to ask where she had gotten him until Mrs. Granger came into the living room to alert the others that dinner was finished and ready. A collective look of relief could be seen from three of the four persons in the room.

Everyone followed Mrs. Granger to the dinning room. Zora and Samson sat on the right, Mr. Granger sat at the head of the table with the misses straight across from him. Hermione sat on the left, but she was not alone because in a surprising moment of spontaneity Luca decided to lay down next the bushy hair girl.

 

            " The food looks and smells delicious Mrs. Granger."

 

            " Well thank you Zora, being a dentist I want nothing more than the healthiest foods for my family." Both Samson and Zora smiled politely smiled, but her eyes widen a little bit. What was a dentist?

 

            Thankfully Hermione saw the well-hidden look of confusion and quickly stepped in.  " Both mum and dad are dentists, yes. Fixing people's teeth and what not. They have different tools to clean, take out teeth if need be."

 

            " That sounds like quite a dangerous profession." Samson said absentmindedly; he mentally smacked himself on the head. Hopefully they didn't catch that...

 

            " Well, I guess it can be...in a way....um just three weeks ago I had two patients (twins) with impacted molars. Let's just say they weren't exactly the friendliest set of children. One of them bit me while other tried to punch me. I thought would have had to get stitches." Barnaby managed to laugh.

 

            " How barbaric." Samson and Zora became quite invested in the story. Barnaby seeing the interest gladly expounded.

 

            " Yes, well its all in a days work. Somebody has to help the masses against the battle against tooth decay and other dental diseases."

 

            " And a fierce battle it seems to be. I'm so honored that I'm friends with a girl who has such courageous and selfless parents." Maltida and Barnaby were slightly taken aback from the enthusiasm but quite delighted at the seemingly genuine interest.

 

            " And what is that you do Mr. McQueen, Hermione has said that you had a government job." Matilda asked, Hermione had been so vague in description of the McQueen family she felt that she was eating with strangers.

 

            " Please, call me Samson. And the young Hermione would be correct I do have a governmental job. I'm ...into law enforcement I guess you could say...more like...a detective."

 

            " A detective? My word, that must be a very interesting job. I'm sure you have a lot of exciting stories under your belt." Barnaby loved detective novels; he had every single Sherlock Holmes novel and had read them each at least 2-3 times.

 

            " Well I mostly worked behind the scenes now. With it just being me now I don't want risk anything."

 

            " Completely understandable Samson, a man has to do what a man has to do for his family." Barnaby was liking this Samson chap more and more. He was family oriented and a detective. 

 

    " Zora is my main priority so that means I want to take ever precaution for my safety."

 

             " Do you see many rogue blokes from your end Samson?"

 

       "Sometimes, when I do interrogations but I try to limit those as much as I can."

 

               "Brilliant, isn't that brilliant Matilda?"

 

               "Yes dear, very brilliant. How do you like the food Zora, is everything to your liking?"

 

                " Oh yes Mrs. Granger, everything is fantastic. Thanks again for inviting us."

 

                " It's no problem at all. We're just so happy that our Hermione has made a friend that is so polite and well-mannered. Really, Hermione might not have noticed it but my husband and I have. She is opening up, becoming more well rounded. " Hermione blushed at the well-meaning compliments. Really, at this point there was no point of becoming embarrassed. It seemed that her parents were going to say whatever they wanted and as long as the McQueens were comfortable she guessed that she would be fine too.

 

                " Well I can't take all the credit Mrs. Granger, my dads been the best type of influence," She grasped his hand under the table and squeezed, " Even if he doesn't always thinks so himself."

 

                "And as for Hermione, I believe that she would have opened up with or without me. It was a bit... cosmic the way that we met and to be honest...I don't think that I can imagine a life without her now. Personally, I think she would've done just fine without me, all she needed was the right person to listen." Zora smiled at both the Granger women and went back to eating. No one spoke for the rest of the dinner, more like they didn't think that they could have been able to even if they wanted.

 

A certain level of pride could be felt in the room. Samson, just because of the amount of good and humility that he saw in a being that he and the love of his life created. Honesty, even at the worst of times, is better than telling a lie. People can heal from the truth but they can never properly heal from a lie. Cecile told him that once; she had a wisdom that never failed to amaze him. Samson was never a particularly spiritual person before Cecile's death but during the months after her death he would cling to any chance there was of there being an afterlife. He would joke (badly) that she was ancient, but to be honest it was her soul that he was talking about more than anything. Maybe a part of her soul managed to seep inside of the young infant before traveling onward...

 

Throughout the entire evening there was plenty of things that Hermione Granger tried to avoid, most of which were to keep her parents from embarrassing her more than necessary. However, not at this moment. At this moment she wanted to say thank you to Zora for the kind words. She truly didn't see why someone like Zora would want to hang around someone like her. If she really wanted to, Hermione thought, Zora could have easily have become one of the popular kids in their class. She was pretty, fun to be with and always brought a spot of lovely enthusiasm to their conversations. Her only hang up was that she suffered from a somewhat crippling shyness when talking to new people. Probably for good reason, Hermione thought, because she was technically undercover. Every time that she was say something Zora would actually pay attention, like it was the most interesting thing in the world. Even when she rambled (which happened a lot) the level of interest never waned. To have someone (other than her parents) care about what she thought meant a lot to Hermione. She didn't know what she would when her friend eventually went off to that wizard school...

 

" If everyone is done their food we could all go to the living room. Hermione wasn't there something you wanted to give Zora."

 

" Oh yes, Zora come on." Both girls rushed off to the living room. They both sat on the couch.

 

"Zora, I didn't know exactly what to get you but then I remembered the books I told you. Do you remember?"

 

" By that Jane woman and that William fellow yes?" 

 

" Well here you go I hope you like them." She gave the present to Zora and looked at her nervously.  Zora ripped the wrapping paper off and saw the two books that she was dying to have.

 

" Oh Hermione thank you!" It was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and a complete works of William Shakespeare. She had borrowed the books from Hermione after she had suggested that she should read them. Zora fell in love with Mr. Darcy (especially after seeing that Colin Firth man when their teacher showed the BBC version).  Her favorite play after, after Hermione explained the wording, was a toss up between A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet with Hamlet being a close tie for first. Zora tightly hugged Hermione and went to go get her present.

 

" I know that your parents don't like you eating junk food but I figured since it is Christmas tomorrow..." Hermione took one of the presents out of the bag and read Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.

 

" Just to warn you, they mean every flavor so watch out." Hermione pulled out a small box set of Chocolate Frogs. The box started to shake a little much to the surprise of Hermione.

 

" Don't worry they're not real frogs just chocolates shaped like frogs with a little spell on them."  Before Hermione could say a word of thanks they heard the grown ups come into the living room. Hermione quickly stuffed the magical candy back into the gift bag and set it behind her.

 

" Don't tell us that we missed all the excitement..." Samson insisted on helping to clear off the table, he had hoped that he would have given the girls enough time to exchange presents, specifically Zora's.

 

" Hermione what did you get?" her father asked, he said down in favorite chair and leaned forward.

 

" Um just some candy and chocolates, I know that you and mum don't like me eating sweets..."

 

" Oh I think we can make an exception this one time...It is Christmas after all." He leaned closer to his daughter and whispered, " Just don't let your mum see them okay pumpkin?"

 

" Thank you dad."

 

The rest of the night went rather calmly in Hermione's opinion. Yes, her father continued to talk about Sherlock Holmes but Samson was a good sport (and by a "good sport" she meant that he nodded and smiled at the appropriate times, because honestly she didn't think he'd had a clue who Sherlock Holmes even was).  In return Samson would give some mugglized versions of his times of being Auror. Mrs. Granger sat back in her nicely furnished armchair, drinking a cup of warm tea mixed with a dash of honey. She turned on the table radio and an old Nat "King" Cole saturated the air with a soothing rendition of The Christmas Song. She watched silently as her husband talk excitedly about the many adventures of Mr. Holmes and his assistant Mr. Watson to his willing listener. She then looked over to her daughter who was engrossed in telling her new friend of her thoughts about the social and economic structure of Jane Austen's time and just smiled. She wished the girl the best of luck because if she knew her daughter she was going to have an interesting time keeping up with the way her mind worked. 

 

As she watched the girls interact she couldn't help but take notice the furry little creature that seemed to be so...well...well mannered. She had to be honest; dogs were not her favorite animals in the world. In her experience they were loud, obnoxiously affectionate and they drooled all over the place. Cats were more of her speed; their level of independence and composure was more in tune with her own personality. With that being said however, she had to admit, the furry little pup was a tad cute. Especially with that little white bow tie on his collar. He didn't jump on the furniture (which she was exceedingly happy about).  He just curled up on the floor next to Zora and laid his head down.  Only when he heard sound of a particularly loud crackle from the fireplace did he lift it. As Matilda stared, the pup seemed to take notice of the tea sipping Granger. He simply got up, walked over to where she was sitting and lifted himself to his hind legs and started wagging his tail at her. For a moment she didn't do anything, thinking that he would catch the hint. Nope, he just continued to stare back at her with his tail wagging and looking adorable. Eventually, she succumbed to his bright eyes and happy expression. She lightly petted him on the head and he licked her hand. Matilda let out small, light giggle.

 

" All right you silly thing, you've won this round but don't count me out just yet." She whispered to him, all he did was lick her hand again and then preceded back to his original spot. 

 

It soon became late and the amiable families had to say their temporary farewells. Barnaby proposed another get together some time in the near future. No one was opposed to the idea; Samson would like to hear more about the Sherlock Holmes character and Zora just liked hanging out with Hermione. They said their goodbyes and told each other to have Happy Christmases.  When the Grangers closed their doors and the McQueens began their walk to end of the front of the yard. Zora poked her father in the side, smiling.

 

"Told you'd like them dad."

 

" I admit it, you did."

 

" Brilliant, now Hermione can come over now right?'

 

"...Baby steps Zora ...baby steps..."

 

" Oh fine..." Samson didn't have to look down to see her pout. Just then, a powerful gust of wind hit the young family. The wind was so strong it loosened the black ribbon in her hair right off; it flew off before she could catch it.

 

"Aw, my ribbon."

 

" Nasty bit of luck there, sorry about that darling."

 

" It's alright, it's just a ribbon I guess."

 

" Right you are princess, now hold on to my hand.  Time to disaparate."

 

" Alright," She looked down to her furry companion. " Luca, up up."

 

            The hound obediently jumped up into his mistress' arms, after properly grasping on to him, Zora took her father's hand and they magically teleported back to their warm home just outside of Bristol.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

In the moments after the family disapparated, the flimsy black, silk ribbon was in the middle of being carried off into obscurity was rescued in just the nick of time by a hand. A bony hand, pale hand brought the little hair accessory closer into its view.

 

" M-master would like this, y-yes he would. Asher will be most rewarded...he will.." The being disapparated as quickly as apparated back into the cold December night.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

It was Christmas morning in the McQueen house, a toy Santa flying on a broom zoomed through the house. Samson had the radio to Christmas songs; a classic Pixie Elvendork singing Christmas is the Best Kind of Magic. Being like any other nine-year-old on Christmas Day, Zora woke up at the crack of dawn to wake her father. Bubbling over with excitement, Luca sprinting right behind her. Samson had spent most of the night making the living room into a winter wonderland but the look of joy on Zora's face was thanks enough. He had made sure that everything was nice and tidy for when his father and mother-in-law would arrive. His father apparently had something special to tell them, and part of him wasn't so sure that he would have like it. Surprises with his father were really a hit or miss. Nine times out of ten it was something that was going to benefit him somehow. Samson loved his father to death but sometimes he didn't know where stop. When the clock struck nine, there was knock on the door.

 

" Grandpa and Grandmummy Grace are here!" Zora excitedly, she continued to sit on the floor with Luca and her new toy broomstick. Dad thought it would be good for her to get some practice before she went off to school.

 

" Probably, why don't I go check?" Samson said teasingly, still in his nightclothes and robe he answered the door and true enough both grandparents were at his door. He opened it and allowed the brisk December hit square in the chest.

 

" Hello father, Grace Happy Christmas. Please come in Zora's in the living room."  Both were dressed to the nines.

 

His father wore a suit (his morning suit, Samson hardly ever saw his father out of one. It was only unless his mother demanded him to change that he did). Although, when his mother passed on his father would wear suits only some of the time. He liked structure but, like his son, family meant the world to him.  When Zora had been born, he unfortunately was away at the time and missed it. So to make up for it he tried to spoil his granddaughter rotten. He brought expensive dresses and little trinkets every time that he got a chance to visit. Samson had to pull him aside and told him that he didn't want Zora to become materialistic at such a young age. His father just scoffed at him,

 

" Impossible, she's a McQueen which means she's inherently level-headed. Besides, it's my right as her grandfather to treat her like the precious gem that she is. Doting and giving advice, those are the best parts about being a grandparent."

 

Samson knew that he was fighting a losing battle so instead he just told him not over do it.

 

Grace, like his father, liked to dote on her granddaughter. However she, unlike his father, was more practical in her approach. She indulged Zora's imaginative mind. The arts, (physical/musical/etc). She told Zora of her time at W.A.D.A. (The Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts) during her summer holidays of from Hogwarts. Zora loved those stories, she loved going to plays with her grandmother when her she wasn't gallivanting around the world doing her humanitarian work. Needless to say Zora loved it when her grandparents were able to spend time with her. Christmas was probably the only day that everything that was dragging them apart didn't exist. 

 

" Where is my precious gem, I must see her this instant. Oh where could my darling girl be? " Reginald McQueen questioned dramatically (with extravagant hand gestures).  Zora giggled at her grandfather, she gently set down her Luca and toy broom and catapulted herself into him.

 

" Right here grandpa!" She dug herself into him, she took in his faint sent of cologne and smiled.  Yup, her grandpa alright.

 

" So good to see you again sweet-pea, it has been too long." He gave her a bear hug in return.

 

" And what about your dearest Gran, Zora?" Zora pulled herself away from her and gave her grandmother a hug. " Oh Zora you are growing into such beautiful young lady. Just like your mum."

 

" Thank you Grandma Grace."  Grace wore things that were simple, yet elegant. A lady in every meaning of the word. She let her decade show in her manner of dress and speech. However as far as looks went, people were trying how to age so gracefully. It's a secret that she would never tell.

 

" Now how have you been sweetling? We have so much to talk about..."  Oh yes they did...

 

" Oh Grace talk can happen after presents, now Zora come and sit with your grandfather on the couch." He patted the seat next to him. Zora did what she was told and sat quietly as he took out two presents. One was a small box and the other was a flat box. Zora opened the small box first. She gasped it was an intricately designed elephant statue.

 

" When I was over in India, I saw it and remembered how much you liked animals and just had to get it for you. Do you like it princess?" She looked at him and nodded emphatically.

 

" Oh I absolutely love it Grandpa, thank you!" she gave him a quick hug and then started on the last present.

 

" I had this made especially for you darling." It was a beautiful red dress it looked simple but knowing Reginald there was probably more to it than that. " Hand-woven silk, only the best for my precious gem."

 

" Oh grandpa..." She loved the dress; it was the most beautiful thing she ever saw.  And the shoes, they were red flats and with a small, simple bow on the top. But true to fashion there was a small jewel in the middle of each bow. She knew that this probably set him back quite a pretty penny and felt guilty. "You didn't have to do this grandpa...the elephant statue was more than enough..."

 

" Oh pish-tosh, that's your fuddie duddie father talking. You only deserve the best Zora, never forget that." Grace and Samson looked at each other and just sighed. Reginald would never change, the old coot.

 

" Thank you so much grandpa, this-this is the best dress in world." 

 

" What's the occasion dad, we don't have many places for her to wear that..."

 

" Well Samson, this is something for her to wear for a two-part surprise that is being planned as we speak."

 

" A two-part surprise?" Oh why did he not like where this was going...

 

" All in due time my boy you just let me handle everything.... You don't worry about a thing." Samson saw the cogs in his father's head whirling and became afraid.

 

  " And whenever you say that, that's when I worry the most..." Samson mumbled to himself.

 

" Oh shush don't sass your father Samson it's disrespectful."

 

" Yes, sir." Samson exhaled; he would play along for now...

 

Grace took out her Christmas gift; it was smaller and more compact. Instead of being box and wrapped, the small gift was wrapped up in, what appeared to be, an old scarf. She got up and sat on the other side of Zora.

 

" Zora, I want to give you something that was given to me by your grandfather before he went off to war. Your grandfather...your grandfather was a tinker; he loved messing around with muggle things. Most times he ended up breaking whatever he got his hands on but this...this was the one thing he got right," She uncovered the artifact to reveal a music box. It was a simple circular shape. It fit perfectly in the palm of her hand. It was an antique, faded gold with intricate engravings. Tiny little white beads were draped around it.

 

"Your grandfather spent weeks on this little thing. If he wasn't doing business he was in his work area with this music box." She looked at it with a bittersweet look in her eyes. " He was very secretive about it, whenever I would ask about it he would just smile and say ‘Just tinkering away as usual Darling'."

 

"It was only when he got his draft letter that he finally told me what he was doing. He actually managed to rig this little contraption to play the song we had at our wedding. He even got the notes to come out like a projector. Your grandfather was so proud. Of course at the time I was a bit skeptical (Your grandfather wasn't the best at gift giving). When I tried to open the thing there was no latch or anything on it, just a little hole."

 

" Then how'd you open it Gran?" Zora interjected.

 

" Just a moment Zora, he then gave me a necklace. He told me made that the necklace was the key to opening it. Like a little puzzle piece, the charm on the necklace fit perfectly into the opening. All you had to do was twist it and well - it be better to just show you." She set the music box on her lap, and the unhooked the necklace from around her and gave it to Zora.

 

" There is a little inscription it, read what it says Zora." Zora gingerly took the necklace from her grandmother and looked at it a moment. It was shaped like the sun and read.

 

To you, my heart's song

 

" Your grandfather was as corny as they came but I loved him anyway..." Grace chuckled softly. She took back the necklace and then proceeded to wind up the music box. She took the necklace of and set the both items onto the coffee table so that everyone could see.

 

The music box opened itself up playing a beautiful melody.  The words literally filled the room, as well as the musical notes. The inside was painted to look like a ballroom. The little platform rose up and two little embracing figures stood frozen. Once the music played the two little figures began to dance, their steps harmonized to the music with perfect precision. 

 

We belong together--, we belong together

Just you (Just you), just me (Just me). The world to see

We belong together. You and me forever

Throughout all time, you'll still be mine 

Because you came into my life and made it sweet-

And so complete. You'll be my love--

You'll be my joy--. Forever--. Together--

Ohh...

 

 As the music stopped so did the tiny dancers, their platform receded back into the music box and the top closed itself.

 

" Oh Gran..." Zora was literally speechless.

 

" Your mum loved to listen to this old thing when she was a little girl, frequently I would catch her sneaking into our bedroom to listen to it. As a wedding present I promised your mother that I would give it to her. However, somehow it got misplaced in the move and I feared that it would have been lost forever."

 

" But then why not keep it? I mean, this music box obviously means a lot you and-"

 

" And that's why I want to give it to you, sweetling. I wasn't able to give it to your mum but I knew that I could always to you. This is a gift that isn't just coming from me Zora, but also from your granddad and your mum. I was fortunate enough to have spent so much time with both of them, and I'll always have those precious memories. I just wanted to give you something tangible of him and your mum. I have no doubt that if he were alive today he would love you just as much as I do. " Grace took the necklace and put it around her granddaughter's neck.

 

" But Gran-"

 

" No butts Zora, I will not take it back. This is music box is yours now. All I ask is that you take good care of it." Her grandmother was gentle in her command but firm. No one won against her Granmummy Grace.

 

" Of course Gran, I'll treasure it forever. Thank you so much." She gave her grandmother a warm hug.

 

 " My pleasure darling, now if there are no more presents to give out I would like to know what you and your father have been up to." The three adults didn't give each other presents, not because they didn't love each other but because no one would accept them. Christmas, to them, was just family time.

 

" Yes, what have you been up to since I have been away duckie?"

 

" Well, um....I got a puppy." Zora thought it would be best to ease into the whole conversation about her being a metamorphmagus.

 

" A puppy?"

 

"Yeah, he's really smart and really cute. Luca come." Luca, finally having stopped chewing on his regenerating chew bone he got, obeyed his little mistress. He jumped into her lap.

 

"Huh...I've never seen such a breed of dog before except..." Reginald looked instantly over to his son.

 

" He's a hound if I am not mistaken. Right Samson?"

 

" Yes dad he is."

 

" My question is how did you get him, I thought law enforcement over there were pretty strict about the animal partners."

 

" I asked Ando for a favor, you remember Ando dad."

 

" Yes indeed, I remember him dragging you off to Shinguku. You not showing up until the break of dawn--"

 

" -Yes well, I asked him if he could pull some strings and well...there you go."

 

" He really is cute and so soft as well. His eyes are gorgeous." Grace observed.

 

" Yeah I love him a lot."

 

" Any particular reason that you got him Samson?" Reginald questioned.

 

" Well...um...." Samson didn't know how to tell them this so he decide that being blunt was his only option. Zora looked a little bit nervous so he just spit it out.

 

 

 

     " Congradulations Mum and Dad, your granddaughter is a metamorphmagus."

 

 

 

 

~ HP ~


 

 

End Notes:

Grandma Grace

Grandpa Reginald 

* Bonus feature: The little song that the music plays is not mine. But if you can't figure out where it came from, I will give you an excerpt from the newest chapter that I have planned. The first one who gets it correct gets the excerpt.

** Hint, it came from an 80's family show and it is sung by African-American lawyer and her dad. 

And We All....Fall...Down by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

 

 

Hey Everyone, hope you brought your popcorn because the beginning of drama is going to happen.....now.

 

 

 

Chapter 8

 

-DM-

 

            There was another party on the horizon for the Malfoys to attend. He really should have expected this. Not a year had passed was there a formal event that the Malfoy family didn’t attend. They had gotten many invites of course, but this year was supposed to be different. At least that was what his mother told him. This year they were supposed to just stay at home and be able to relax. Draco Malfoy had been foolish to believe that it would actually happen. Christmas Eve surprisingly had been clear; it was New Years Eve that had been the trade off apparently. The house-elves had brought in the mail from their private owlery when they had gotten the invitation. They were all sitting in the lounging area next to the fire when it was delivered. His father took them from the elf without a glance or a word of thanks and began flipping through them until he found one that caught his attention.

 

            “ It seems that Reginald is throwing one of his soiree’s…”

 

            “ Reginald as in Reginald McQueen? Oh Lucius no. I want no part of it if it has to deal with them and neither should you for that matter.” Narcissa looked at her husband, she watched him as he thumbed the invitation absentmindedly.

 

            “ Narcissa I very well can’t reject his invitation, think of the possibly scandal that it would cause.” Personally, he agreed with his wife but then Lucius thought of the potential implications of not attending. Reginald McQueen did not have parties often but when he did the whole wizarding world knew about it. To reject an invitation would be social suicide as well as unconsciously admitting that he and his family had something to hide. Lucius Malfoy was no fool; he knew that people doubted his innocence during the first war especially after the murder of…Cecile. However, since there was no way for them to pin him no one could say anything. If they rejected the invitation then it would just cause suspicion.

 

            “ Lucius you know very well that if we will attend that brute and his…daughter will be there as well. We’d be walking straight into a conflict, a conflict that could easily be avoided. We would be asking for trouble by going.”  Draco perked up when he heard the words: brute, McQueen, and daughter all in the same sentence. He wasn’t fully sure if they were talking about until his father said….

 

            “ Oh I have no doubt that Samson and his daughter will be there but it cannot be avoided. We will attend and carry on like we would for any other party.” Bingo.

 

            “ I will not attend Lucius. Samson McQueen will be the downfall of this family. You mark my words.”  Threat? Why would Samson McQueen be threat? Father hasn’t done anything wrong…he was a Death-Eater for goodness-sake…!

 

            “ Narcissa you are being unreasonable. Samson is no more a threat to this family than a feather is to a gust of wind.”

 

            “ Threat or not Lucius I will not go. I will not go to a party where I am not actually wanted.” Narcissa growing more and more agitated by the minute. Why would her husband want to go to such an event? It wasn’t like he liked the McQueen family in the first place. Even when they were in school they never got along. So why in blue blazes was he so adamant about them attending this particular ball?

 

            “ Narcissa we must go, if nothing but for just appearance’s sake.”

 

            “ Lucius, if you are so determined to go then go. But I will not accompany you.”

 

            “ Fine Narcissa, if you insist on acting this way then you and Draco do not have to go. I will go alone.” Part of Lucius was beginning to think that it would be better if he did go alone. He could control the situation better if he was alone. Plus it would give him a chance to finish his conversation the young McQueen.

 

            “ Actually, could I go with you father?” The two parents looked at their son. Draco, their son, actually wanting to go to a party? Usually they (meaning his mother) had to bribe him with something to go. But for him to even ask to attend was a bit shocking.

 

            “ Draco?” Narcissa couldn’t believe her ears.

 

            “ Well mother if you don’t want to go I could go with father. Like he said we wouldn’t want to cause a scandal. Besides a party without the Malfoy family wouldn’t be complete now would it? ” Now usually this was part were his mother would look upon him with pride and his father with thinly veiled disappointment. He had hoped that would that would change with his willingness to attend but that didn’t seemed to be the case. His mother was starting to pout and his father still had the same thinly veiled emotion on his face.  

 

            “ Nicely said Draco. See Narcissa, even Draco is willing to put his best foot foreword for the sake of the family.” Lucius tried to smile and be encouraging but failed, miserably. Nonchalant was what he was better at. He…loved his son, however it was hard for him to be outwardly emotional. His father always taught him that affection was strictly meant for the weak so anything dealing with human interaction was…difficult for him to say the least.) He would bring Draco if only to keep his wife from questioning him.

 

            “ Fine, if both of you are so intent on making spectacles of yourselves then be my guests.” She noticeably closed the book that was on her lap and quickly left the room, leaving the two Malfoy males in her wake.

 

            The two males did not speak to each other after she had left. Both too caught up in their own thoughts to really pay attention to one another. This party was important alright. It had been five months since Draco had last seen Zora McQueen. It unnerved him just how frequently his thoughts had drifted from whatever he was doing to her and what she was possibly doing.

 

He wondered how that muggle school was treating her. Yes, Draco knew that she was going to a muggle school instead of being tutored at home like she should have been. That wasn’t the only thing that he knew about her. He knew about the muggle girl that she insisted on hanging around with. He didn’t know how he felt about that. Obviously he was not happy about it. He thought that it was quite unfair that some muggle girl got to spend time with her and not him. How was it that a girl, a girl that did not even deserve to breathe the same as Zora (in his opinion), get to spend so much time with her and he couldn’t even have a proper conversation with her? Why did she get to spend so much time with his Zora and not himself? Yes, his Zora. Draco Kassius Malfoy was a very possessive child. Never once did he have to share something he perceived to be important to him with anyone else. It was the benefit and curse of being an only child. From a very young age he was given the best of everything. And for the things that could not be given he just remembered the three rules. They were three basic rules that he learned from his father. Want. Take. Have. He was a Malfoy, which entitled him to getting whatever he wanted.  Knowing that she was interacting others beside himself nearly drove him mad. Draco feared for Zora. The stories that his parents told him of muggles made him fear for Zora. He remembered his parents telling him that muggles how they stole magic form good decent witches and wizards because they were jealous. That was how muggle-born and half-breeds were created. He couldn’t bear it if that filthy muggle stole Zora’s magic.

 

            Now, you may be asking yourself how did the young Malfoy come to find out this information? By no means were the two children friends. And he certainly didn’t get this intimate information from her father. Well dear reader, the Malfoy family crest was not a snake for nothing. Draco may have been young but he was under the tutelage of his father. Whether Malfoy Sr. had any clue was still yet to be seen. Since he could not see and watch out for Zora personally he sent out a house elf to survey the situation. Asher was his name, an old house-elf that had been in the servitude of the Malfoy family for many years. A frightening creature in his own right but obedient. While Draco was mildly afraid of this particular elf, he knew that he could have used no other elf. Of course he thought of using Dobby, but then he remembered the day in his father’s office and it took most of his restraint not to wring his scrawny neck. Asher was sneaky, sneaky and perfect for the job of watcher. What was brilliant about the plan was that no one had a clue about it but himself and the frightening house-elf. The Manor was filled to the brim with servants so Asher’s presence was not missed.

 

            Draco didn’t come up with the plan until a month after the second time he had seen Zora at the Ministry. After the first few weeks of not seeing her at the Ministry he grew a little desperate. He just wanted to get to know her. He just wanted to be near her. He feared that she had forgotten him. This was partially the reason why he wanted to go to this party so bad. It was a chance to see Zora again. He would suffer the fluff talk as long as he could to see Zora.

 

            Draco looked at the multitude of presents under the Christmas tree and none of them held his interest the way that that he “present” he got last night. It wasn’t extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination, but none-the-less it was important to him. A black silk ribbon. How something so simple made him so happy he didn’t have the foggiest idea but it did. It was late when Asher finally made it back, he was covered in a light veil of snow. He was trying to stop himself from shivering too noticeably in the presence of the Malfoy boy. Draco, of course, made no mind to the shivering house-elf. All he took notice of was the thing that was dangling on this nearly frostbitten creature’s hand. When he had gotten it, he didn’t snatch away from Asher like he thought he would have, the moment it touched his hand all of his attention went straight to the ribbon.

 

            This is hers, this was in her hair. Such a pretty ribbon…of course it would be a pretty ribbon…Zora is a pretty girl. Thoughts like that began to flood his mind for the rest of the night. When he woke up that morning, the ribbon was still in his hand. Tightly bound around right hand. Before he went down for breakfast he decided that he would put the ribbon in his desk drawer. No one but him went into his desk drawer so he figured that he it would be safe there until he got back.

 

            They were supposed to visit his grandfather Abraxas Malfoy today and have dinner with him. Old Abraxas was a well-known man in the Wizarding community.  Draco was proud to have him as his grandfather. To be so well respected (feared) by the wizarding world in general was a big honour. Hopefully someday that same honor would be bestowed upon him like his father and grandfather. He would become important someday, powerful and bring the Malfoy name on to even greater heights than ever before. When he did achieve his goal there would be no way for a person to ever forget him. When Draco Kassius Malfoy achieved his goal, he would finally receive the two things that he so richly deserved. His father’s approval/respect and the sought after smile from a curly haired witch. Yes, that day would be absolutely glorious.

 

Just a few more days till the New Year’s Eve party, and Draco did not think that he could wait.

 

-DM-

 

 

+ LL+

 

Only a few more days until the party. Luna Lovegood dreaded the oncoming event. They had gotten the invitations a few days before Christmas and were sworn to secrecy not to tell either Zora or Samson about it. What was that rhyme that she heard her muggle classmates say? Secrets, secrets are no fun unless you tell everyone. To be honest she never really had a problem with secrets until a few months ago.

 

 She was helping her mother create some new spell and she asked her to go into their bedroom and get a notebook from the side table. The notebook held all of the notes her mother made from creating spells. Some worked some of them didn’t but that was the life of a spell maker. Luna liked to look through her mother’s notebooks. Some of the spells were really good, and her mom loved to diversify her spell work. Some offensive spells, healing spells, but mostly protection spells. The book that her mother asked to get her was a seemingly old one. The binding of it was nearly broken and the pages seemed to be frayed on the sides. Luna had never seen this particular book before. Curiosity getting the best of her she looked at the spell book. There were scribbles everywhere but that was not all that was inside. There were photographs, photographs of her mother. Seemingly from her school days at Hogwarts. Some were of her mother and father, and then some of them were with her and Auntie Cecile. As she flipped through pages in the book she saw an article clipping. It didn’t look like something from her dad’s magazine. Maybe it was from the Daily Prophet?

 

TRAGEDY IN THE MIDST OF VICTORY

by Rita Skeeter

 

In midst of great celebration of the disappearance of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, it seems as though for one family misfortune continues on. Now, my loyal readers, it saddens me greatly to report that the wife of Samson McQueen as most of you well know is the son of Reginald Arthur McQueen (Ambassador to India for the Ministry of Magic and one of the twelve governors for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizdardry) has been murdered. Cecile McQueen (née Shacklebolt) was a newly named Herbology teacher at Hogwarts after the resignation of Herbert Beery (who is currently now Headmaster of the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts). She was also recently made a mother of a young baby girl. A friend of the grieving family called Aurors to the scene. The body had been found in a garden that was located near the McQueen family home in Winterbourne. It is to my understanding that they young baby was also at the scene of the crime but fear not my readers the babe has thankfully not been harmed. The widower, Samson McQueen, has not made any comments yet as to how they are fairing after this great misfortune, but McQueen Sr. has issued a statement. “ This is a time of great sadness for my family and we would immensely appreciate it if you all  will give us the time to grieve. Thank you.” No word has gotten out how or why this devastating occurrence has happened. Known for her kind and warm demeanor as well as her exceptional aptitude of Herbology it is hard to imagine why someone would commit such a crime. Could it be that Ms. Shacklebolt was not as clean cut as she had people to believe?...

 

 

            Murder? Auntie Cecile was murdered? Luna did not know that and to be honest didn’t know what to do with this information. All she really knew was that the more she read the more she didn’t like this Skeeter woman. She seemed vile. She may have been eight but she knew the difference between a good and bad person. How dare she talk about Auntie Cecile like that? Auntie Cecile was good and kind person. “The best type of person” according to her mother. Her mom would mention Auntie Cecile on numerous occasions, Luna tell that she missed her friend terribly.  Luna continued to look through the notebook and found another article by the same woman as before.

 

 

LUCIUS MALFOY: DEATH-EATER OR VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE?

By Rita Skeeter

 

As the interrogations go on to sift through those witches and wizards who have been found in cahoots with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named  one name that has been under fire is non-other than Lucius Malfoy. Son of well-known wizard Abraxas Malfoy, has been called into question for multiple accusations of being a Death-Eater as well as the one responsible for the murder of Cecile McQueen. Lucius since the disappearance of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has claimed that he was under the Imperius curse during the war. In regards to the murder of Cecile McQueen  he has claimed once again innocence for any wrong-doing. Samson McQueen, widower, however claims that he saw Lucius Malfoy (in full Death-Eater garb no less) standing over the body of his wife when he came home the night of the murder. No evidence has yet come foreword to substantiate the claim so it is really up in the air as what will happen in the case of Cecile Amelia Shacklebolt-McQueen. What is known that both sides are adamant to see justice carried out. What are your opinions my lovely readers? Please submit you opinions to…

 

 

Luna couldn’t read anymore, it was almost too much to bear. Uncle Samson wouldn’t make such an accusation unless he was sure…and then a thought popped into her mind. What about Zora? The chances of her knowing any of this were slim to none. If not she needed to be told, she needed to know… she needed…

 

“Lu-Lu what’s taking so long with that…notebook?” Solidad stood in the door, wiping her hands on a rag cloth. She had goggles hanging under her chin and a dirty apron wrapped around her chest and waist. She looked over her daughter’s shoulder and saw what was in her hands. Solidad dropped the rag, speechless.

 

“ Mum what is all of this?” Solidad walked slowly to her daughter and took the notebook and all of the contents out of Luna’s hands. She shakily sat down on the bed she didn’t answer her daughter. She couldn’t even look at her.

 

“ L-Luna, sweetpea go get your father and then go to your room…”

 

“ But mum…”

 

“GO,” she said loudly, realizing her tone she quickly soften it, “go please Luna. Don’t worry you’re not in trouble darling. Just do as I say…I promise we’ll explain everything later but for right now go get your father…”

 

Luna silently nodded and went to go get her father. Xenophillius rushed up the stairs following Luna. Luna did what she was told, reluctantly, millions of questions filling her young mind. The most prominent being: What about Zora?

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

            “ Iddy, darling what’s wrong?  Why are you so upset?” Xenophillius sat next to his wife with a look of worry on her. She held the notebook close to her chest, her lips trembling as tears welled up in her eyes.

 

            “ Darling…?”

 

            “ She knows Xenophillius…L-luna knows about Cecile…” She gave him the note-book, Xenophillius found the articles and let out a big sigh.

 

            “Bloody Hell…” They (Samson, Xenophillius, and Solidad) had agreed that they would wait to tell the girls what happened to Cecile when they were older, when they could handle it better. Now, that didn’t seem possible.

 

            “ Iddy why do you still have these article clippings…” That was a foolish question. He knew exactly why she kept them. Solidad abruptly leaped off the bed and tearfully glared at her well-intentioned husband.

 

            “ Because Xenophillius, they are my motivation. I want to make spells to stop things like what happened to Cecile and so many others from happening to either Luna or Zora. It’s not fair.” Solidad was determined not to cry. She was too angry and too hurt to cry. Her best friend was gone, killed for no apparent reason. It wasn’t fair. Cecile had so much to live for and it was all taken away in the span of single spell. Every time she thought about Zora she couldn’t help but think of Cecile. They were so alike those two.  She was there when Cecile had Zora, the amount of love that was in her best friend’s eyes. There was fear of course, with the war going on but there was hope. When the war had ended they thought that they were safe. They were supposed to be safe. 

 

            Cecile was in her fourth month at teaching at Hogwarts; Samson was becoming a fine Auror under the tutelage of Alastor Moody and Cecile’s older brother Kingsley. Solidad, herself, had her first spell notarized and the Quibbler was just getting off its feet. Everything was perfect, (well almost perfect they were still reeling from the news of Lily and James’s death). Then it happened, Solidad remembered that night with disturbing clarity. Ando had sent a patronus to the house. All she could remember was screaming and crying. Xenophillius had told her that she could go to Winterbourne and that he would take care of Luna. She apparated into chaos, there so many Aurors around. She desperately looked for Samson and Zora. All the way, praying that this was some horrible nightmare. She found them at the community garden, Cecile’s garden. Samson clutched Zora’s infant body tightly, Ando was giving orders and the other Aurors were taking care of the crime scene. She saw Cecile just as they were putting the white blanket over her.

 

She felt a part of her die that night. She knew that things would never be the same. It was bad enough that they lost both Lily and James, but then to find out Sirius Black was convicted of murdering Peter Pettigrew and 13 muggles and was sent off to Azkaban (she always thought that something about that wasn't right and not for the obvious reasons). All in one night. That uncommonly cold day in October. They thought after that it would calm down but they were wrong, obviously.Everything for a while seemed like it was falling apart. Then time passed, and slowly things were becoming routine again. But there was nothing that could fill the part of their hearts were Cecile was. Solidad made it a point for the girls to interact with each other, to get to know each other. She made sure that she was in Zora’s life as much as possible, to become a somewhat surrogate. She and her husband loved Zora as if she was one of their own. There was nothing that they wouldn’t do to keep her happy and safe. And now…

 

“ I forgot that I even put those clippings in the book, Merlin...”

 

 “ What are we going to do Xenophillius…we can’t lie to Luna not now…” Solidad collapsed back on to the bed; her husband wrapped his arms around her. He could feel her trembling, trying in vain, to keep herself from crying. Xenophillius caressed the top of her head gently, dreading this day more and more. It was like reopening an old wound. All the feelings of sadness and hurt were rushing back.

 

“ You’re right, we have to explain this situation to Luna we can’t avoid that but…”

“ But?”

 

“ What about Zora, Luna will want to tell her…Samson, we have to tell him what has happened. Iddy he has to know…”

 

“ Your right Xenophillius, we’ll first talk to Luna and explain to her that this has be kept quiet. That Zora can’t know…not yet anyways…then, we will talk to Samson and see how he wants to handle this…”

 

“ Alright, let’s do it. Luna’s probably scratching at the walls right as we speak.”

 

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

            Luna waited for her parents to come to her room like they promised. When they did, they made sure to tell her that they loved her and Zora and the only reason why they had kept this a secret was to protect them. They explained that the reason that they were deliberately being vague was because they wanted to keep them from being hurt. Each Lovegood sat next to Luna on either side; both wrapped their arms around her small frame and kissed her gently on the top of the head. They didn’t tell her not to say anything to Zora in so many words, but they did emphasize the need for caution and that perhaps that it would be best to leave this topic for Samson.  She agreed, hesitantly, only with thought that she couldn’t bear to see her friend hurt.

 

            Months from that night had passed and holding this secret inside was eating away at her. There were many times that Luna wrote to Zora trying as best as any young child could to explain the situation. She wanted nothing more than to speak to her friend. To see her and talk to her. The more she thought of her the more she realized that couldn’t. She couldn’t see her friend because if she did then she would tell her everything and she couldn’t disobey her parents. She couldn’t bear to lie to Zora either, all she could was hope and pray that uncle Samson would tell her soon. She didn’t think she could do this anymore. They were growing apart. They were being torn apart because of something intangible. Luna spent her time, when she wasn’t with her parents off in field looking for magical creatures that she didn’t know if they existed. Anything to keep her mind off this secret was buried deep inside. Soon her resolve would be tested and she would have to confront the one person she had wanted to see more than anything. Luna realized that the moment she saw her she would have to become someone different, all for the sake of keeping Zora happy.  Zora was  her friend, her sister, and as her sister Luna would do anything to protect her. Even if it hurt her in the process….

 

+LL+

 

~ HP ~

 

            It was decided then, Zora had finally felt confident enough to tell Luna everything. She wanted to tell her before the year ended. They still had two days before the New Years Eve surprises were supposed to happen. Zora, being the bright girl that she was, figured it was going to be some party of sorts and that’s why her grandfather got her the dress and the shoes. Unfortunately, that was just about all she figured out. Her grandfather was the best when it came to surprises and refused to tell her or her father anything. It was both infuriating and exciting.  Zora loved to look at the dress, she marveled at how absolutely perfect it was. She couldn’t wait to wear it. Whatever her grandfather had planned it was probably going to be pretty elegant. Which probably meant that there were going to be a lot of people there…oh dear…

 

            She didn’t like big crowds; she didn’t know what it was but big crowds made her nervous. That wasn’t quite it, it was big crowds of strangers that didn’t do well in but wouldn’t be so bad. Her father would be there of course and so would her grandfather and grandmother. So it wasn’t like she would be alone…She hoped that the Lovegoods would be there as well…

 

            “ Zora, princess you ready to go?” He wanted to go before it got too late, no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get any information out of his father about this thing he had planned.

 

            “ Coming dad, come on Luca.” The hound jumped into her arms and they made their way down the stairs.  Zora was bundled up tightly as was her father. They went into the living room, and Samson took off the anti-disapparation spell over the house and away they went. They got the Lovegoods’ residence quicker than you could say quidditch and Samson quickly knocked on the door. Xenophillius was the one to answer.

 

            “ Samson? Zora what are you two doing here?”

 

            “ Surprise!” Xenophillius looked down and smiled.

 

            “ And what a lovely surprise this is…IDDY, LUNA guess who came to visit.”

 

            “ Oh, Zora…Samson this is unexpected…”

 

            “ Well that is the whole point it being a ‘surprise’ Solidad.”

 

            “ But Samson you hate surprises.”

 

            “ Well maybe I’m trying to get a jump on my New Years resolution early, Solidad…”

 

            “ Hey you two, remember we’re supposed to be happy remember.” Xenophillius chuckled. Some things will never change.

            “ Where’s Luna there something that I want to tell her…well all of you actually…”

 

            “ Um, she’s around here somewhere. Luna!” Solidad called, that girl was zoning out more and more.

 

            “ Coming mum!”  Luna slowly made her way down the stairs. She seemed nervous, almost frightened. At least from what Zora could tell. She thought she would be happy to see…

 

            “ Hi Luna, it’s been a while.”

 

            “ O-oh yes, it has. It’s good to see you Zora.” Solidad ushered all of them upstairs were the living room was so they could all sit down. It was one of the reasons why Zora loved coming to the Lovegood house. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. It was all topsy turvy.  When everyone was settled, Solidad brewed some tea and gave everyone a cup.

 

            “ So, queenie, what do you have to tell us?” Solidad asked. She sipped tea.

 

            “ Well Auntie, first I would like to introduce the newest member of the McQueen family. Luca McQueen.” She let him show him self to the Lovegood family. Being somewhat of a showboat, Luca pranced around the room like he owned the place. Everyone laughed and clapped.

 

            “ He’s gorgeous Queenie, I’ve never seen a hound up close. Where did you get him?” Xenophillius questioned.

 

            “ Ando gave it to her as a present, it will be the animal that she takes to school with her when she turns eleven.” Samson answered. Zora turned toward Luna and spoke to her.

 

            “ You can pet him if you want. He won’t bite.” Luna smiled weakly but kept quiet. What was going on with Luna, she always more talkative than this…

 

            “ Take him to school with her, but he isn’t one of the animals allowed at Hogwarts…” Solidad pointed out.

 

            “ I’ve already had a talk with Dumbledore about that. He made a special allowance…due to the special circumstances.”

 

            “ Special circumstances…?”

 

Zora looked back to her aunt and uncle and spoke, “ That was the reason why we came here. I wanted to be the one to tell you that…well… I’m a metamorphmagus.”

 

            No one spoke for a moment until Xenophillius, “ That’s…that’s great Zora wow, it’s more than great it’s stupendous.”

 

            “ Yes Zora, we’re so proud of you. To think, we had a meta under our own noises all this time.” Solidad turned to her daughter. “ Isn’t that something, Luna?”

 

            “ Y-yes mum, very much something.”

 

            “ Luna, I know that we haven’t talked in a while and this is probably a shock to you but I just want you to know that I wasn’t trying to keep it from you or anything I just wanted to able to control my abilities before I said anything.” Luna still wouldn’t look at her. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings…

 

            “ Luna…?” The little blonde could take it anymore she had to leave or she would explode. Luna got up from her seat and ran to her room. Zora continued to sit there. She was doing it again, internalizing her feels. She didn’t always do it, but being a metamorphmagus her emotions were most times on physical display. Internalizing her emotions it was the only way she could combat that. This wasn’t how she hoped things would go, she figured that Luna would be a little angry with her for not keeping in contact but she wasn’t expecting her to be this angry. Did Luna hate her now? Zora felt her heart breaking; she didn’t want Luna to hate her. One of her biggest fears was to lose Luna; she thought that she was doing the right thing by making sure she had control first.

 

“ We’ll…be right back.” Solidad moved quickly up the stairs with Xenophillius right behind her.

 

For a few moments everything was quiet until a young voice started screaming and possibly crying. The McQueen family could barely make anything out it was so jumbled.  Having a pretty good idea what this was about; Samson thought it was best for him to go up there as well. Zora simply nodded; Maybe dad will be able to convince her that I wasn’t trying to deceive her…

 

When Samson reached Luna’s bedroom he could hear the tears, the comforting words and he felt awful. This was his fault; he was the one that came up with the idea of hiding what happened all those years ago from the children. When he found out that Luna knew about Cecile, he panicked. When Zora was having trouble dealing with metamorphmagus abilities he thought it was best if they separated the two girls for a while. Only to avoid anymore undue stress for either girl. When Zora didn’t want to visit the Lovegoods he didn’t push. He didn’t realize how badly this was affecting Luna. Merlin knows he never wanted to hurt his goddaughter. He loved her very much, but he had to think of Zora. She wasn’t ready to know…not yet.

 

He knocked on the door and asked to come in, Xenophillius opened the door and allowed him in. Samson put a sound charm on the door and went to his goddaughter. He sat on the bed next to her and gently rubbed her back. The tears slowly stopped and when they did Samson finally spoke.

            “ Luna, you are so brave do you know that? ”

 

            “ B-brave?’ she looked up at him, the tear stains nearly undid him but he had to remain strong.

 

            “ Yes, Luna you are being so brave and strong and selfless right now. I suspect that the reason why you are so sad right now is because feel bad about not telling Zora about her mom am I correct?”  She silently, emphatically nodded.

 

            “ I-I don’t want to hurt her uncle Samson, but I don’t want lie to her.” 

 

            “ Luna doing the selfless thing is not always the easiest thing to do. Which is why your mum, dad, and I are so proud of you. By keeping this secret you are doing what is best for Zora right now.”

 

            “ I am?”

 

            “ Yes darling. Zora has been dealing with a lot right now and she isn’t ready to know just yet about her mum. But I promise you this is really all for the best.” 

 

            “ Luna, you know that we all love you and Zora very much don’t you?” Solidad asked.

 

            “ Yes, mum of course.”

 

            “ And that is the reason why we didn’t want you or her find out about it quite yet. You were so sad and heartbroken when you found out in such an abrupt manner. Luna, you might not fully understand yet but the reason why we can’t tell her yet is because we want to protect her like we were trying to protect you.”

 

            “ Because that is what families do, we protect each other even if it hurts us terribly to do it.”

 

            “ So that is why we all must keep this secret, for now at least. We must wait for a time when its more appropriate. Do you understand darling?” Xenophillius asked.

 

            “ I-I think understand.” By not telling Zora she was protecting her and by not telling her she was doing what was best for her. Because that is what loved ones did.

 

           “ Wonderful, now are you ready to go back downstairs? Zora’s probably wondering what we are all doing up here.”

 

           “  Yes, can we have the chocolate pudding now mum? When we go downstairs. I’m suddenly feeling very hungry.”  She rubbed her stomach, she finally was regaining an appetite; she hadn’t had a chance to eat the dessert before the McQueens got there.

 

“ Sure darling, let’s go.” She grabbed on to her eight year old daughter’s hand. To see her smile again was heartwarming.

 

“ Finite Incantatem,” with the sound charm taken off the small group went downstairs to find Zora still curled up in the comfy armchair with Luna sitting on her lap. Luna quickly went up to her friend with the exuberance that she was known for and two started talking like nothing had changed. It was all-okay, Zora thought happily, Luna didn’t hate her and she in return told Luna everything that had been going on with her. Zora told her all about her sessions with Tonks and meeting Hermione absolutely everything. Everything was coming together….

 

 

…Just to fall apart.

 

~ HP ~

 

End Notes:

You know what to do...REVIEW

I Open at the Close by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Hey guys this is probably going to be the last chapter for a while. I'm not sure when I'll get to able to start another chapter so...here you go. Hope you like it. 

 

Chapter 9

 

~ HP ~

 

            Tonight was the night of all nights; tonight was the night of all nights. Zora could barely contain her excitement. Finally she would get to see/hear/touch whatever surprises her grandfather had planned. Her father unfortunately didn’t share the same enthusiasm. All day he was mumbling about his father and how could all this could possibly blow up in their faces. But not one to let her worrywart of a father get her down she just focused on how utterly gallant the night would be. She could finally wear the dress that her grandfather had given her for Christmas. In these moments of bliss she didn’t even care about the amount of people that would probably be there. She was determined live out this fairytale, at least for one night.

 

To be honest she was a little surprised that she cared so much about a party. Normally, Zora was a half and half when it came to the girly stuff. She liked clothes and shopping with Gran but she couldn’t stand the over-giggly air-headedness that seemed to be spreading at her school as of late. The girls were starting to act…differently. It was the most curious thing; and it always happened when the boys were around too…As for her, she always tried to act lady-like because that was what her grandmother taught her was best. As being one of the most important females in her life she wanted to make her proud.  The truth was, Zora never really thought of herself as the air-headed, princess-type. She didn’t like what those things implied.

 

Even when her dad read stories before she went to bed about damsels in distress and tales of great adventures created by Beetle the Bard and the Brothers Grimm, she always fancied playing the  male’s part. It seemed to her that they always got to have the most fun, to be off on some adventure while the girl just stayed at home doing whatever, waiting to be saved. Well not her, not Zora Noel McQueen. Someday she was going to go her own adventure and the guy lucky enough to be around at the time…well he could tag along if he didn’t annoy her too much.  She was pretty neutral when it came to boys, or at least she tried to be…most times. She didn’t think they had cooties but they weren’t exactly the smartest beings on the earth in her opinion. Mindlessly giving out wedgies to other boys and daring them to eat whatever came to mind (whether it was actually edible was a whole other matter). Plus the hair pulling, that was really annoying. She was already tender headed so whenever they went on their “rounds” she made sure to stay away…or at least get retribution if the primary option didn’t work. Boys in general (if she allowed herself to be a little biased) were absolutely…confusing, loud, gross, pick your adjective. There were only a few exceptions that she would consider…the males in her family (blood or other wise), Mr. Granger and of course there was…Hyde…

 

Oh how she got the whirlies in her stomach when she thought of him. He was so…so amazing. Ando had written letters updating them about their daily lives, he was proud to report that Hyde had been getting outstanding marks on his Auror training exams. Zora knew he would. Even though he didn’t talk much, his eyes held something that intrigued her greatly. There was knowledge in those eyes whether it was because of life experiences or from books she wasn’t quite sure. She figured it was a little bit of both. Merlin, why did he have to leave so far away? Even with magic, Japan was still a bit of a struggle to get to. More like get into…like all wizarding cultures there were secrets that needed to be kept. There were social graces, which needed to be learned before interacting with its people. This was especially important considering who her grandfather was. He would tell her how important it is to follow the customs of a different nation when visiting:

 

“When visiting a different country you must always remember Zora that it is like visiting some one’s house. Each country holds millions of people and as guests we must treat it and them with respect. This is their home Zora, and the people who visit are guests in it. It is always important to honor their customs even if you might not agree or understand them…”

 

Zora, one day would like to travel the world like her grand parents did. It seemed like a lot of fun. Oh how the many stories that would fill her head with when they were able to drop by. Their adventures seemed to take over her daydreams. She would gaze upon the sky and envy the birds she saw fly past her. They were the luckiest creatures on the earth…that and dragons of course…and hippogriffs most definitely. They could go were they wanted and no one could tell them what to do…if they were not caught by the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

 

            She wondered what it would be like fly without the use of broomstick or magical creature; Tonks advised her to stick to land animals for right now. She agreed, after she told her father about her new set of abilities he pretty much forbade her from trying to transfigure herself into anything with the ability to fly on her own without him being present. Still the tug of the sky was becoming more and more irresistible. It seems like her dreams of flying on her own were going to have to be put on hold for now.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            It was going to snow; he could feel it. Despite having the television in the house it was more a decoration/ muggle-learning tool than something actually entertaining. He didn’t watch the weather because they didn’t know what they were talking about half the time. He lived this long without paying attention to a weather report and would continue to do so now. Samson hated the snow. It brought back memories he would rather forget. He didn’t like a lot of things about the wintertime. He didn’t like the shortening of the days, the inclement weather (posing as a muggle and having to clean the drive way was always a hassle to do), however the temperature never bothered him. No one bit. He actually found it comforting, soothing, numbing. December was never his favorite month because it was the month that his whole life fell apart.

 

 

            Everything changed on a cloudy December day. This day, actually. December 31st. Funny enough, that day seemed like any other day, them getting slowly back into a getting into a comfy rhythm. They were still getting used to have Zora around. Thankfully she wasn’t a fussy baby, sure she cried sometimes during the most inopportune times (3 am seemed to be her favorite) but not enough for them to lose a lot of sleep. Both Cecile and Samson were on vacation from their prospective jobs…or at least Samson was supposed to be. Some how he got called in to do some filing, lots of filing. His plan for the day was just to wake up get in contact with some of the other remaining members of the Order and then spend time with his family.  But no, since he was still the “new guy “in the office he got the grunt work. He had only been a few actually missions but with each passing day he felt more and more confident that this was the job for him. So he kissed his wife and child goodbye and off to work he went completely unsuspecting of the tragedy that was about to behalf them all.

 

            It was seemingly by chance that his good friend Ando just happened to come by, however he didn’t give it much thought. It had been a while since he had seen him, plus he offered to help file away the non-security related documents (that in and of itself was miracle because Ando hated any type of paper work). Even with his dear friend’s help, they still didn’t get out of the office until late. Samson insisted that his friend come with him home, to see Cecile and the baby. The men apparated to the house within the same second. Only to find the door wide open…and Death-eater mark floating above the house. A feeling of dread exploded inside of Samson’s body. Where was Cecile, where was Zora?

 

            The house looked like it had been ransacked. Both men searched the house, frantically calling out for the two females. They searched the neighborhood, banged on doors wherever they could find them. No one had heard a thing. The only place they hadn’t went to was the community garden. It was like time itself seemed to slow down. The lighting was dim. Floating candles lit the garden. And there was Cecile on the ground, laying unnaturally still her head facing away from him. A figure blocked her from complete view. Samson, in a blind rage, drew his wand and cast an offensive spell (which one he can’t remember now…) on the masked murderer. The figure turned just in time to narrowly avoid the full blast; the seemingly only damage was to the mask. Only half had been broken off but it revealed the face of Lucius Malfoy…or at least a man that bore a striking resemblance to him. The wizards engaged in a very short battle until the coward (whoever it was) made a quick getaway. Samson’s mind raced, he wanted to go after the villain but then thought about Zora. The garden looked to be empty. Praying against all hope, he cast the Homenum Revilo spell on the surrounding area. Thankfully, the carriage holding Zora flashed into view. Quickly using he used the Finite Incantatem, and revealed his precious one-year old. Held her to him tightly, her despair mirrored his own. They both watched as Ando conjure a stretcher and send out a patronus to the Ministry heads and the Order. 

 

            Soon enough the place swarmed with Aurors and friends, none of it seemed to penetrate his conscious. All that went through his head was that his wife was dead. The woman he vowed to love and protect was gone. Forever. That word never hurt before and now if felt like a dagger in his heart. He wanted to scream, he wanted to destroy everything that stood outside of family, but all he could do was stare. Ando handled the questions. Samson slowly walked to his beautiful wife. For the briefest of moments did he hand his sweet infant over to his friend, he then dropped down to the cold ground. He slowly pulled his wife into his arms and began rocking silently. He didn’t give damn that he wasn’t supposed to mess with the crime scene. This was his wife and he didn’t give a damn about protocol. Never had he felt so helpless, so alone. He didn’t cry, his body was numb from the pain and he couldn’t manage it…not yet anyway. However, it seemed as though nature itself took on the emotions he couldn’t express.

 

A gentle snow came down from the sky…

 

Whatever his father had planned he just hoped that there was going to alcohol there.  And lots of it…

 

~ HP ~

 

            “Never settle, always aim for greater heights.” Those were the words that his  father always told him. In the life of Reginald Arthur McQueen, there was no such thing as good enough, the best, or all right. He was always reaching for higher ground; he never thought that he would reach his plateau. For some many years he loved to go around the world, be an ambassador for the Ministry, each new country an adventure to last a lifetime. Now as he grew older he didn’t feel the same amount of pleasure as he once did. Maybe it was time to move on from this part of his life. He received an offer that would keep in the loop of international affairs but at the same time would not have always off to a different country for months at a time.

 

            He found himself missing too much. His only grandchild was growing up far too quickly. It seemed like every time that he saw her she was different. Slowly but surely she was growing up into a fine young woman. A young woman, who could and would turn the world on its ear. Reginald decided that he wasn’t going miss any more than he already had. He wasn’t giving up anything; he was trading it in for something that was differently better. Family, always meant the world to him. When Samson was young he tried to be there for all the monumental milestones that every wizard goes through. He was proud when he received the letter that his son got into Gryffindor, just like his father. He was ecstatic when he found out that his son had made the Gryffindor team, a chaser. He himself was a Keeper but he wouldn’t squabble over the positions. He was proud of the man that his son turned into. He would like to say that he had a hand in that but if he were honest with himself he would give that honor to his late wife Claire. She was there when he was off in India or some other country for the Ministry. It was the only comfort that he had when he was off at work. Claire will be there, the boy will be okay. He would tell himself. But the pervading thought in the back of his mind was, Samson needs both parents. Both parents, a mother and a father. Which was partially why he was throwing the party.

 

            His son was too young to spend the rest of his life alone. And Zora needed a mother to help guide her. Never would he try to replace Cecile. No that was never his intention. Quite honestly, the young Shacklebolt girl reminded him of his Claire. One in a million that girl was. He had hoped that his son and his new daughter-in-law would have the life they deserved. A life without fear, a life without war. He had hoped that they would receive the gift that only came with time. A big family. Children running around the house. To love, to fight with. He, personally, would have doted on all of them. Unfortunately, it did not seem to be in the cards. It was a thought that managed to eat away at him. Zora would be the end of the McQueen family line. She would eventually meet someone and get married and that would be that. Reginald didn’t want the family legacy to die.

 

He would only set the stage; whatever happened after that was up to Samson. He invited many people to this party so it wouldn’t be so conspicuous. This was the reason why he made it quite clear to everyone in the invitation that everything was supposed to be a secret. If his son knew what he was planning, there would be hell to pay.

 

“Mimsy, is everything set for the party tonight?” he looked at the house-elf.  He hated using the term. Reginald believed that if wizards wanted to boast about having superiority of the mind over muggles then they would realize the unfair, morally unethical practices of the house-elf enslavement. He only wanted to employ free house elves to handle the estate. Some people called him mad. That maybe true but when he eventually passed on from this life at least he would have a free conscious. The only reason why he hadn’t set them all was because he had a very in-depth conversation his assistant. She explained the history of the house-elves.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the origins of the relationship between wizards and elves weren’t steeped in slavery and mistreatment. Mimsy explained, that unlike humans they didn’t value things such as money as much as they did work. The relationship between wizard families and elves began with an agreement coming from both sides; it was then cemented by friendship, which, if strong enough, bound the house-elves to the families, with an ancient type of magic. The union was founded on trust and respect. A symbiotic relationship, the elves would help the wizards and vice versa. However seeing the elves willingness/wanting to work for no pay, wizards took advantage of the bond, which led to house-elf enslavement. Wizards of the modern age have forgotten that, and their ignorance opened the door for the allowance to abuse house-elves. Mimsy explained to him the social implications of being set free. It was seen as a disgrace to the elfin family if one of their own was released. It meant that they had failed to live up to their end of bargain.

 

Mimsy herself was a house-elf who had served under the McQueen family when his father was still in charge. To a house-elf, freedom was bad. Since birth they are taught to serve their masters without complaint and without question. He remembered how he (his father) would treat the house-elves with disdain and lack of respect. His father worked them to the bone and they were so ignorant of it all. They suffered but they were happy about it. Reginald felt that such treatment was unjust then and he was determined to right the wrongs of his family had done in past generations. Reginald showed them how happiness was supposed to feel. He showed them respect; he hoped to open their eyes to how life should be. He gave them an opportunity for work and a reasonable salary (if they should every want to be paid and receive holidays) and in return they gave him their loyalty and trust. A happy elf worked harder when they knew that their work was appreciated. Reginald treated them as equals, unlike some other wizards.

 

The two magical beings were currently walking down hall of the manor going over last minute details for the festivities for the New Years Eve party. Thanks to Mimsy, everything was working like well-calibrated broomstick.

 

“ Yes, sir. Everything is in place for tonight. Are you sure that Master Samson will be appreciate this…endeavor?” No matter how many times Reginald would tell her to refer to them in just their plan-stated names she was stuck in her own ways. Mimsy was his personal assistant. She made sure that house was always in order and she kept the other elves on schedule. A magic clipboard and quill followed behind her, furiously writing down things that needed to be done. She stood with proper posture, and wore a nice black pillowcase dress to signify her position.

 

 All of the elves that worked on the McQueen estate wore such “uniforms”. It was a really clever idea he admitted to himself. He knew that elves feared human clothes…but what if they weren’t human clothes? Reginald had the idea when he was laying in his bed one night. He would make clothes out of pillowcases (well not him personally because he was rubbish at sewing).  He couldn’t watch as they dressed in rags. So every year he had them fitted by Madam Malkin herself (she thought he was crazy but he brushed it off). Each specialized for whatever chore they were assigned to. Color-coded to help keep things in order. There were nice pillowcase jump suit suspenders for the males, and pillowcase dresses for the females. If one had a problem with the current outfit then all they would have to do was bring it up with Mimsy and she would relay it to Reginald. 

 

“ Samson…will probably hate the idea…which why he mustn’t know before hand or else it will be a complete disaster.”

 

“ Then why is Master Reginald going through with this charade? Master Samson is very stubborn like his father.” Normally a house-elf would not dare to make a comment like that, however that just showed how different things were on the estate. Freedom of words and feelings was the rule. Politeness was mandatory. But Mimsy was the exception. She earned it.

 

Reginald laughed, “ Because dear Mimsy, I can’t seem to stop meddling. It is as though it has gotten worse as I have grown older.”

 

“ Master Samson will not be happy when he finds out.”             

 

“ Probably, but he will eventually realize that this was for his own good. As well as Zora’s… ”

 

“ And about the Malfoys…what about them? Mimsy does not think it was wise inviting them.”

 

“ Social politics Mimsy, it’s all it is. Besides its too late to cancel now.”

 

“ Please Master Reginald reconsider this. Mimsy begs of you. If the Malfoys come the night will only end in tears.” Bad things were going to happen, Mimsy could feel it throughout her entire body. The Moon was about to turn full, there a ring around it. Trouble was near. 

 

“ Mimsy no more. Everything has been put into motion. I couldn’t stop it even if I wanted to.”

 

“ As you wish Master Reginald. Mimsy will speak no more of it.” For now…

 

“ Thank you, now please, if you don’t mind I would like to be alone.”

 

“ As Master Reginald wishes…” the elf snapped her fingers and disapparated.

 

It was going to snow. He could feel it. Every December 31st it seemed to do so. Which was exactly why he made this party for then. It was his way of keeping an eye on his son. The thirty-first of December was always the worst day of the year for him. For all of them really, it was the day they lost one of their own and it was a day that was never to be spoken of. Not yet at least. He also made sure that no one was allowed speak of it at the party. When the person accepted the invitation, they signed a legally binding magical contract. It was all in the fine print. They literally could not say anything about it incident, or at least when Zora’s around. It was a complex spell, but one of Solidad’s best if he did say so himself. Whenever she would be in earshot range they could not speak a word. Of course this restriction applied to the adults, it was technically illegal to do this with the children that were probably also going to attend. So that was the only hole in the plan in the foreseeable future. Hopefully the attendees were wise enough to warn their children.

 

“ Merlin help us all if they don’t…”

 

 

-DM-

            Oh Merlin’s beard tonight was the night. Finally. The wait nearly killed him. Who ever said that patience was a virtue was completely barmy. It was torture. Pure and Simple. But none of it mattered now because he would see her tonight. And they would converse and finally become friends. More than strangers and more just acquaintances things were moving in the right direction. Tonight was going to be turning point. Hopefully this party would liven the mood of the Malfoy Manor. His father’s attitude took a nosedive this morning. He was short tempered with everyone, the house-elves took the brunt of it of course but that didn’t mean that they were free from the scorn.

 

             He knew why his father was acting like this. He knew why every December 31st was a sore spot. He caught a glimpse of the Daily Prophet. He heard the whispers in the Ministry. Something happened on today that concerned his father and the McQueen family. Murder. Cecile. McQueen. Lucius. Malfoy. He didn’t believe them of course. The Daily Prophet was a rag, and the people who worked at the Ministry loved gossip. All of them were complete idiots. His father wouldn’t senselessly murder. He was a defender of pure magical blood. He wouldn’t kill one of their own. It was ridiculous to think otherwise.  And Samson McQueen…to spear head the attack against his father…it put him, Draco, into a weird spot. He hated that the father of the girl he was interested in was so bent on seeing his own father’s downfall. He already had problems with Samson McQueen. Namely, subjecting his poor daughter to the barbaric practices of muggle life. Filling her head with nonsense, with lies. Probably poisoning her against his family. Draco honestly believed that was the reason why she was so uncomfortable with him when they were walking down the corridor. He didn’t blame her though, never her. She was the victim here. But he would set the record straight.

 

            Draco opened his desk drawer and took out his favorite object, the black ribbon.

He was debating on whether to bring with him or not. He didn’t want to lose it but he wanted it with him also. He found that when he had it with it him it he was a lot calmer, happier. It was slowly becoming safety net for him. He didn’t understand it, and he didn’t question it. Some things, Draco thought, should just be left alone. Tonight was going to be the turning point in their relationship and he wanted to be clear of mind when he saw her.

 

            His dress robes were all cleaned and pressed. He practiced his dance steps (he abhorred dancing but he would do it if Zora wanted to).  He wanted everything to be perfect. He heard that his…companions Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe were going to be there. That would make the evening even more enjoyable. Or possibly quite problematic. Needless to say Crabbe and Goyle were not exactly the brightest candles in the room. He felt that it was his responsibility to look out for them and in return they did whatever he said. It was a beneficial arrangement that worked out for the all of three them. Normally, he wouldn’t care about their antics but this was important and he didn’t want their foolishness around Zora because it would reflect badly on him.  He didn’t think that they would be too much off a problem, he could just order them away if need be.

 

            However, there was only one other thing that could possibly go wrong…Pansy Parkinson. Merlin was that girl annoying. Every time he would see her she would follow him around and talk about playing with dolls or hair or some other nonsense.  She had this weird look in her eye and it unnerved him. She was always trying to get her to play with her when her parents came to visit. She wouldn’t be so annoying if she didn’t talk, or grab on to him. The only reason why he didn’t tell her to shove off was because his father would have his head. If she was at the party then it was going to be a disaster. He’d have to spend the whole time dodging her.

 

            If there was any type of decency or goodness in this world then she would not be there.

 

            “ Are you getting ready for tonight Draco…?” His called mother from his bedroom door; She was still not happy with the decision of her family going to the party but she finally conceding and was picking out what gown to wear. She took a small break to go and check in on her son. She had never seen him so animated, so enthusiastic about going to a social function in…well…forever.

 

She walked on him pacing around the room. Off in some daze, he had been doing that a lot as off late. Why, she had no clue. She suspected that it had to do with his last trip to the Ministry with his dad. She could tell by the way that he was trying to pull away from her. Oh she noticed how he hard he was pushing to go to Durmstrang. Why was he trying so hard to get away from her? All she ever did to him was love him. As is a mother’s duty. He was her only son, her baby all she wanted for him was the best.

 

“ Yes mother…”

 

“ You know Draco, we do not have to go if you don’t want to. I know that I promised you that this year we would have a relatively quiet year...”

 

“NO!” the sudden burst of energy surprised them both, “ Um, no mother it’s alright, honest. I might as well get used to going to parties such the one Mr. McQueen is throwing. And it’s important to father. I don’t want to disappoint him.” Draco wasn’t lying about that, her husband had been adamant about their attendance. Add that to what today was meant to the Malfoy house…

 

Narcissa knew how much her son wanted to impress his father. It was like re-watching history. Abraxas was never easy to please and so was his son. Narcissa tried to spare her son from some of the well intentioned, but harsh criticism her husband liked to dish out.

 

“ I know dear but they will be other parties…”

 

“ Not like this one…” she saw him look away from her, “ This one is special…”

 

“ Honestly, I always thought that people overstate just how good one of Reginald’s parties are. I assure you will not miss anything darling.” She, Narcissa Black Malfoy, was trying to convince him to miss a party. Now Draco had seen it all.

 

“ Mother I want to go, really. It’s like Dad said if we don’t go it will look suspicious. Like we have something to hide. Like we are some low-life criminals. We’re Malfoys, pure-bloods we have nothing to be ashamed off…” If she wasn’t look at him directly, she could have sworn that was Lucius talking. Her husband was rubbing off on him, he’d be glad of that…

 

“ Alright darling, if you’re sure…” Well that didn’t go as she wanted. She would play Lucius’s game for tonight but she wanted answers.

 

“ Oh and darling the Crabbes, Goyles, Parkinsons and the Notts will be arriving so that we can all go as a group…this get together.”

 

“ Alright… wait a tick, who were those last to families you just said? ”

 

“ Parkinsons and the Notts, why?”

 

“ Oh no reason. Just… nice to hear a few more familiar faces are going to be there…” Why? Parkinson was bad enough, now Theodore Nott? He was so…weird…a loner type; he never said much…he would just stare.

 

“ Yes, allies are nice to when being feed to a den of lions…” Narcissa murmured under her breath. “ I’m going back to finish getting ready darling, and remember if you want to leave anytime we can do so okay?”

 

“ Sure mother,” Narcissa left the room, which left Draco to his thoughts.

 

So now he had to deal with Parkinsons and Nott…Nott wouldn’t be much of a problem if wasn’t so unpredictable. Parkinson, well he was used to her so he could adjust. He would have to play things by ear. Nothing was going to ruin this night for him…he wouldn’t allow it.

 

-DM-

 

 

The Lovegoods and McQueens had to come to estate to get dressed. Mimsy had helped the girls with their dress and their hair. The elves were all abuzz. Final preparations were being made and on top of that the news of the young Mistress was in the building. The “Littlest Miss” was what they called her. She rarely came to the estate but when she did the elves were glad to have her. Like the late mistress, she was a joy to have around. Mimsy, especially, had a soft spot for the young mistress. She was precious to her because she remembered helping the new mother just a few times when they were still in England. A happy baby that girl was. A good baby.  Reginald wasn’t the only one that missed interacting with her when they were away.

 

“ Mimsy how have you been? It seems like ages since I’ve last seen you.”  Zora was looking at herself in the mirror while Mimsy did her hair. Luna was sitting on the bed playing with Luca. Mimsy had gotten them done first.

 

“ Mimsy has been well young miss, is the young miss excited for tonight? ” Zora gave her a light-hearted glare.

 

            “ Mimsy, you know I don’t like it when you call me that. I’m just Zora remember?”

 

“ Mimsy knows young miss but its how Mimsy has been taught. It’s what’s proper for an house-elf.”

 

“ But you’re more than just an house-elf, Mims.  You’re like family; you’ve been there since I can remember.”

 

“ Mimsy appreciates the warm feelings…”

 

“ Please, could you just call me Zora? At least for tonight. Pleaaseeeee?” Zora pulled out the puppy eyes; unfortunately for her those didn’t work on the elf. Mimsy just smirked and shook her head.

 

“ Mimsy will…try…will that be enough?”

 

“ I guess…” Zora pouted, she never won against Mimsy but that didn’t stop her from trying.

 

Mimsy continued to twirl her fingers, making the young witch’s curls more defined. Each curl bounced into place after Mimsy was done with it. Zora was already in her dress and the hair was the last thing to do. Mimsy knew how the little miss liked ribbons so she found one that matched the dress and was mildly fringed. She brought a part of hair to the side and put it in a nice bow. The majority of the hair was let down.

Mimsy stepped away and allowed Zora to look at her self properly.

 

            “ Oh Mimsy its wonderful, thank you” Zora beamed. Tonight was going to be perfect. The sky was getting darker by the hour and the moon was full. Stars dominated the sky. Everyone was finally dressed and soon they waited for people to arrive. The ballroom was finished before the family had gotten there. The whole room looked like it was made out of ice. A true winter wonderland, Reginald really out-done himself with the decorations and theme. The tables were covered with silver tablecloth, and the centerpieces were crystal flowers. You would imagine that when you entered it would be very cold but it was just the opposite. The ceiling was covered in never-melting icicles of varying sizes. They seemed to have a glow about them. If you looked carefully they were lit up glowing fairies perched small bunches. The whole room was a sight to see. One the right side of the room there were elegant doors that led to the terrace and a little ways away was the green house.

 

            “ Oh grandpa it’s glorious, I feel like we’re in an ice cavern.” Zora swiftly moved around the room and spun around.

 

            “ Yes Reginald you really have out done yourself.” Solidad complimented.

 

            “ Thank you my dears, but everything is not quite ready yet.” Reginald smiled directly at his granddaughter.  Somehow she wasn’t sure if she liked that smile, it was mischievous.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

            This wasn’t a good idea. In fact in the history of ideas, Zora thought, this was probably the worst, ever. She remembered the promise she made to herself earlier that day about not being nervous about how many people were going to be there and now she was starting to regret it. It was impossible, what her grand father was asking her. Making an entrance, what for? In front of all those people…she was going to make an entrance in front of complete strangers. Her grandfather was going to introduce her by calling out her name and she would enter the room. The room…was it always this large?

            “ Oh you have nothing to worry about pumpkin everything is going to be fine.”

            “ But grandpa…” Reginald wasn’t listening his attention was pulled away by a group of kitchen house-elves. Her father and the Lovegoods were walking around the room taking in the decorations. All she had was Luca by her side. Stop it, she chastised herself, you’re not a baby no fear remember. Yeah, no fear… tell that to her stampeding heart. Her grandfather seemed to have a lot confidence in her. No one even batted an eyelash when he suggested it. Actually, her father was suspicious (no surprise there) but he didn’t say anything (some surprise there).

            This was supposed to be her fairytale night, she reminded herself; the girls in those stories would always arrive at the ball making grand entrances. Everyone was supposed to stare and whisper…there was always whispering…and pointing…oh this wasn’t helping. 

            “ Master Reginald, Miss Shacklebolt has arrived shall I bring her here?” A security elf questioned.

            “ Oh yes, let Grace in I want her opinion on something…” The elf quickly disapparated and walked Grace into the room. She looked amazing, as always. Her clothes seemed to be herald from a different time.  Elegance, pure elegance was what it was. She wore a tasteful fur-lined coat and hat. House-elves took her things to reveal a stunning silver dress. There was only one word for such a dress, dramatic. Grace, living up fully to her name, did not simply walk towards her loved ones. She moved as though she could walk on air.

            “ Well, some one looks dashing. All of you look simply wonderful.” Grace looked at her loved ones. They were seemingly all here…except her eldest. No matter how much she pleaded he would not attend.

            “ We are a pretty good looking bunch aren’t we?” Xenophillius struck a pose and everyone laughed.

            “ Is Kingsley here with you Grace? I know I sent an invitation…” Reginald looked at Grace and instantly regretted saying anything.  There was an old sadness in her eyes. A pain that could not quite heal. She guarded her emotions like the true actress she was.

            “ Kingsley, regrettably…is under the weather and could not attend. He sends his thanks for being thought of.” Her son was always a solitary being; he would rather be alone in his grief than be around people. The only one he would truly allow in was his sister. This day…she couldn’t explain how she felt about this day. It was one of the most painful days in her life. Other than losing her husband to illness she didn’t think that she could bare the loss of anyone else. Especially not her baby girl.

            “ Oh…that is unfortunate, I wish your son a speedy recovery.” There was an awkward silence until Grace directed her attention to her granddaughter.

            “ Why, that couldn’t be my granddaughter. She looks too grown up to be my granddaughter.”  Zora blushed at the compliment; she walked up to her grandmother and gave her a hug. She noticed something when her grandmother walked into the room. She seemed sad. She smiled but her eyes were a different story. What could she be sad about? Of course the news about Uncle Kingsley was unfortunate but it seemed to be more than that.

            In fact, if she really thought about it everyone was acting strange today. It was like this every New Years Eve. Her father always had this melancholic look on his face. He probably didn’t think she notice but she knew that he tried to avoid looking at the family whenever New Years Eve rolled around. And now the feeling of sadness was everywhere. Like someone had died today…oh for the love of Merlin how could she be so stupid? Mum, it had to do with her mum. Going on her hunch she held on to her grandmother just a little tighter.

            Could it be that this was the day…the day she passed? Her father never told her when her mother died but no other day seemed to affect him more than December 31st.  Maybe that was the reason that her grandfather decided to have this party tonight. To help people be happy even though it was a sad time. At this moment she knew what she had to do. She had to put away her fear, it wasn’t as important as making sure that all the effort he and the house-elves put into such an event. It was something her mother would do, she was sure of it.

            “ Gran it’s okay.” Grace looked down at Zora in confusion.

            “ What’s okay sweetpea?”

            “ You feeling sad about mum, I know that she isn’t with us now but…she would still want us to be happy.” No one spoke, no one move an inch. Grace forced herself to remain calm.  They didn’t know what Zora knew so there was no reason to act out of the ordinary. She looked into her young granddaughter’s eyes and could help but tear up a little. A small smile made its way across her face.

 

            “ Your right sweetheart. Your mother would want us to be happy. All of her loved ones are safe and sound. Today is celebration. Not only for New Year but also for a life.” The mood seemed to lighten a little at her words. It was late and guests would soon arrive.

            They made light conversation until people started to arrive, Reginald ushered Zora out of the main room. He told her to wait in the sitting room until he called her. As he walked back to main room he heard a very distinct voice, a voice that could be no one other than…

            “For goodness sake Neville straighten your back, I swear I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.”

            “ S-sorry g-grandmother…”

            “ Honestly boy you would think that…”

Augusta Longbottom, fierce woman. Powerful witch and probably could cause even the deadliest wizard to cringe. Reginald smiled when she finally acknowledged his presence. She quickly assumed her usual posture and looked at with a proud aloofness.

“ Reginald.”

“ Augusta, I’m so glad that you could come. And this must be young Neville?” A loud croak could be heard from the boy. Neville instantly flushed. He took the toad out of his dress pants pocket. He tried to quiet the toad to no avail.

“ Neville, I told you to keep that toad at home. I swear you never listen, always in that green house doing whatever it is that you do. I swear I have half a mind…”

“ Augusta its quiet alright. Really, there is nothing wrong with Neville bringing his toad. So you like green houses Neville?” Neville nervously nodded his head.

“ Y-yes..sir…” he whispered.

“ Speak up boy no on can hear you and for Merlin’s sake stop stuttering you sound like a bumbling idiot.” Neville flinched at chastisement

“ Y-y-yes Sir.” Reginald smiled at the boy, and he was glad to see him relax a little under his gaze.

“ Well I have green house and it would be my pleasure if I could give you and your grandmother a tour of it if you want.” The boy seemed to like that idea very much even though he did say anything in return.

Reginald guided them to ballroom and then went back to his post. More and more guests were arriving by the minute. Snow began to fall, slow but in large amounts. Quickly the ground was being covered with snow. Reginald did not ask the grounds elves to sweep because it would be just a wasted effort.

            The ballroom was filling up at a steady rate. They all conversed in polite tones. It wasn’t until the Malfoy group came in did the whole room start buzzing. Samson and Solidad were seething. How dare they barge in to a private party? What right did they have? Samson was about to confront Lucius until his father intercepted. He all but dragged his son out of the room before Samson exploded.

            “ Dad what are they doing here?”

            “ I invited them.” Reginald said simply. Samson looked at his father incredulously. How could he? How could his own father do this to him? Solidad was having the same thoughts. Never did she ever want to be in the same room as Lucius Malfoy if it wasn’t in a courtroom being sentenced to life in Azkaban.

            “ Are you barmy old man? T-that monster…how could you?”

            “ Samson I understand you that are in shock but you will not talk to me in such a way. I am still your father and you are not old enough that I can not whip you…” Pure rage met cool indifference.

            “ Are you so insensitive that you are willing to hurt those you claim to love? What about Grace…?”

            “ Do you really think I would be so callous Samson? She knew that I was going to invite them because I told her before the first invitation was sent out. She, unlike you, is taking this like an adult.”

            “ Dad, if they don’t leave in the next 5 minutes Zora and I will. Its either them or us.”

            “ Samson look outside do you see what it is doing? It is snowing. Quite heavily I might add and therefore dangerous to travel. I will not have you endanger my granddaughter’s life because of your reckless behavior.”

            “ Father, that man killed Zora’s mother, my wife, your daughter-in-law…”

            “ There was no proof of that Samson and you know that…”

            “ Proof? I saw the bastard stand over my dead wife’s body. What more proof do you need?! ”

            “ It was dark. You saw a man in Death-Eaters robes that had blue eyes and was blonde. Those characteristics alone are not enough to convict him. Also they did a test of his wand, nothing. You have nothing to go on Samson.” He couldn’t believe this; his own father didn’t believe him. Reginald saw the disbelief in his eyes and spoke again.

            “ Despite what you may think Samson. I do believe you but the evidence is just not there. And until then we have to behave accordingly.”

            “ But why dad? Why invite them…?” and then it dawned on him, “ Social politics…That’s it isn’t it? Some things never change do they?’ Samson was about to reenter the room until Reginald grasped on to his arm.

            “ Samson I will not lie to you, it is partially that. But it is more so that I can keep an eye on them. Keeping friends close and enemies closer and all that sort. Please don’t go. At least no yet, please.” Samson knew that he couldn’t leave, Zora would question it and the only answer that he could give was one that she was not ready to hear. This was exactly the reason why he left the Wizarding world; high society, he didn’t like the games. He didn’t like the risks that came with it. He liked…needed simple…life. He never needed all of the money or the pressure. All he wanted was a job and enough money to have a roof over his head and to take care of his family.

            He couldn’t wait to leave this world once again. This wasn’t his world. Not anymore.

            “ Fine, but I swear if he or any of them come near me or mine I will not hesitate to punch his lights out. We clear?”

            “ Crystal. I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Cornelius Fudge, Barty Crouch and Albus Dumbledore are in the room. None of them will try anything I assure you.”

 

            Both men went back into the ballroom. People were continuing to talk like nothing had just transpired. Everyone was spread out but you could tell who everyone was because of the groups. Reginald played the perfect host, he laughed and conversed with the best of them. Classical music wafted throughout the room and people seemed to be having a good time. It was late enough for people to start getting hungry. Reginald signaled for the band to stop, people went to their tables and all eyes were on him. He moved to the center of the room.

 

            “ Hello Ladies and gentlemen. I am so happy that you all could make it. Now, you all are probably questioning why I called all of you here….Well, to be perfectly honest…it’s because I’m lonely…Kidding, kidding.” People laughed. “ No, actually it because I have two things I want to share with you…or one thing and one person to share with you.”

 

            This perked people up, people had a pretty good idea who this person was. McQueen’s best kept secret. Ever since the murder, the McQueen-Shacklebolt clan kept out of the social circuit. Was it possible that they were going actually see the mysterious McQueen girl? No one really knew much about the lone survivor except those closest to her. Rumors, gossip those were the only things they had. Until now.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

 

Zora was pacing. She never paced before in her life. Then again she had never been this nervous. Mimsy and Luca were in the room with her, which calmed her somewhat. Mimsy would bring her to the ballroom and then when her grandfather called for her she would enter the room. She didn’t know why all this was necessary. She didn’t feel well it was all nerves. Luca followed after her each time she made a round. She just wanted to get this over with. Suddenly Mimsy’s ears twitched, it was time to go. Lovely.

 

“ Time we go Little Miss.”

 

“ Oh…okay…Luca let’s go…” The small group their way down hallway, closer and closer they could hear people talking. She finally heard her grandfather voice.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            “ Usually when I introduce someone I give a little background information, but somehow with her I don’t feel that it is necessary. Maybe this is my own bias talking but she is my grandchild so I guess I’m allowed.” Reginald wistfully smiled. “She’s kind, sweet and intelligent. But I must warn you all; she’s bit of a thief. The moment I first laid eyes on her she stole my heart right from under my nose. Give her five minutes of your own time and she’s likely to strike again. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce my lovely granddaughter, Zora McQueen.” 

 

 

Reginald extended his hand to the door and…

 

 

 

 

~ HP ~

 

End Notes:

Thanks again for reading. Excuse any mistakes and please review!

Hello and Goodbye by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Sorry for the latestness. College what can I say? Hope you all like it. 

 

Chapter 10

 

~ HP ~

 

            …And nothing.

 

            Well, there was an awkward clapping that was quickly silenced when no one appeared at the door. Reginald stood there for a good minute and until he glanced over to his table. Samson and the others just stared back at him. They were just as confused as he was. The silence was becoming more and more awkward by the moment. Reginald, trying to the break the tension, laughed.

 

            “ I wonder what is keeping her…playful girl. You know, she always loved playing hide and seek? Samson why don’t you go seek her.” Samson caught the hint and briskly walked out of the room. He didn’t have a hard time looking for her. She was standing right outside of the door. She was completely still, like she had been petrified. It took her a moment to realize that her dad was standing right in front of her. Mimsy and Luca were right beside her. Mimsy tried to say something but he told her it was okay. He asked if she them alone for a moment. She, of course, did as she was told. Which only left, a girl, her hound and her father.

 

            “Dad…”

 

            “ Zora, darling what are you doing out here? Everyone is waiting for you inside the ballroom.” Samson kneeled down in front of his daughter and looked at her straight in the eye. “ Zora, what’s wrong?”

 

            “ I-I can’t do it.”

 

            “ Can’t do what princess?”

 

            “ Go in there, all those people. I-I’m scared…all those people. What if they don’t like me?” Zora felt ashamed, she promised herself that she wouldn’t do this. Now, she was probably embarrassing her family by acting like coward. She looked at her father she thought that he would be angry but he just the opposite. He smiled.

 

            “ Zora, it’s alright to be afraid. This is a lot put on a nine-year-old. I probably should have stepped in earlier; I just thought…you were so excited earlier… I thought it would be okay.”

 

            “ I’m sorry dad…”

 

            “ No, no sweetheart no need for apologizes. Like I said, it’s okay to be nervous. You know, your mum was nervous at her first ball.” Zora looked at her father in surprise. He chuckled and nodded.

 

            “ I kid you not, she was older than you are but she was so nervous that your Gran had to push her into the room. She was mortified, but guess what she did next?”

 

            “ What did she do?”

 

            “ She plucked up every once of courage she had and…”

 

            “ And…?” Zora leaned in, very interested in house this ended.

 

            “ Was herself. She didn’t worry about what others thought of her. She let herself shine like the star that she was and managed to charm the socks off everyone in the room.” Samson knew he had done when he saw her relax. He still saw a bit of nervousness in her but he also saw the initial excitement come back. 

 

            “ Let herself shine…”Zora mumbled. Like always, mum knew best. Even though she wasn’t here in person, Zora couldn’t help but learn from the stories that people told her. She would go into that room, and just be herself. If people were going to judge then she couldn’t stop them. Although she could help how she reacted.

 

            “ Now, are you ready princess?” Zora silently nodded. Samson resumed his full-size and extended his hand to his daughter. Zora accepted it and the duo made their way back into the den of vultures.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

            Meanwhile back in the ballroom, people were conversing with each other. Some looked towards their neighbor with distain at the impertinence. Others looked to each one another with curiosity. You could tell that that they were slightly let down by the lack of appearance from the mysterious granddaughter of the well-known Reginald McQueen. First impressions meant the world to these people. Once scorned, it was hard to win back their favor. Something rare then happened. Reginald began to have second thoughts. He started to reconsider this whole “grand unveiling” thing. Maybe this was all too much too soon. He honestly thought that she would be okay with this. She was so excited when she arrived. What had changed?

 

            If he really thought about it this probably wasn’t the way he should have introduced her to the wizarding world. She was only nine, but she was always a mature nine-year-old, he mentally defended. She was well spoken, calm. But that didn’t change the fact that she was a nine-year-old girl. If he was alone he would’ve probably smacked himself in the head. She wasn’t raised in this world, his and what used to be he’s sons’. He saw some of the children that were brought here. They had been brought up with this sort of thing. To have a proper wizard sense. While she was no stranger to certain wizarding graces she wasn’t as used to this world as her peers. Even the little Lovegood girl. Reginald made him a promise to himself and to Zora that if this whole affair worked out he wouldn’t do anything like this again. Suddenly from the corner of his eye, he saw his son signaled him that everything was okay.

 

            “ Ah there she is, ladies and gentlemen my granddaughter.” Reginald regained the crowds’ attention. He once again extended his hand towards the room door.

 

 Like the late McQueen she plucked up her courage, made direct eye contact with the crowd and smiled at each passed each table. Samson and Zora walked towards Reginald. She focused on her grandfather, she blocked out everything that wasn’t familiar for the moment. She felt their eyes all on her but she refused to let them get to her. She was still afraid, petrified really. But like Tonks always said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the knowledge that something else is more important…”

 

She stood in the middle of the two men. She grabbed onto her grandfather’s hand. She squeezed both men’s tightly and then let go. The only thing she held on to now her was courage. She took a step forward. She took a deep breath and looked around the room. Time to either sink or swim McQueen…

 

She curtsied. The silence was deafening. Their eyes were penetrative. The courage she felt before coming into this room was quickly leaving. The calm smile that she was sporting was turning into a nervous one.   

 

“ Hello everyone, um. I’m sorry about giving you all that false start. Especially after that lovely introduction.” Zora looked back her grandfather and then back to the crowd. “ As you can probably tell, I’m not so good with situations like this. Normally, I just like to…blend in if I can. I can honestly say that this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. To stand in front of all you is pretty intimidating…”

 

It took a moment for her to realize how that might have come off, and she quickly added,“ Not to say that all of you aren’t lovely individuals. I just mean that, um, talking in front of people has never been a strong point of mine…”

 

Zora shook her head regained a semblance of focus. She babbled when she was nervous. That, and let out little bits of truth like word vomit.  

 

“ But enough about me,” Slowly, the thought of why they were all there was filling her with excitement. That excitement showed on her face. Bringing the light into her eyes and the warmth into her smile.  “ What I want to say, what I really wanted to say is…thank you. Thank you all for coming to celebrate the New Year with my family and I. We are so glad that you all could make it and I’m sure that you all are aching to know what’s in store for tonight and so am I….Grandad loves surprises but I think what he loves more is keeping people in suspense.”

 

 

People laughed; the tension and the watchfulness began to ebb away. This girl, this family’s most precious secret was really something else. They couldn’t help but be somewhat enchanted with her. Before all they had was whispers and outdated photographs. They honestly didn’t know what to make of this little fairy. The amount of honesty and genuine emotion was refreshing. Refreshing because of where she came from. It was too early to tell whether or not these characteristics would last but some couldn’t help but think that they had just encountered a real jewel. This girl, this Zora was a happy child, someone to possibly look out for when she grew older.

 

“ Oh, how forgetful of me. I must introduce you all to one of my best friends. Luca, you can come in now.” The hound, which had been pacing back and forth outside the door, finally popped his head into the doorway. When he saw her motion for him to come in he trotted in like a show dog. Like the Christmas Eve dinner with the Grangers, he was freshly brushed and sported a new crimson clip-on bowtie on his collar. Zora picked up the hound and showed him to the crowd.

 

“ This is Luca, he’s a bit of a show-boat but once you past that he really quite adorable. Luca say hello to everyone.” The hound barked as he was told. People were drawn in to the exotic creature. Few actually knew what he was but none-the-less they were all intrigued. Mainly one boy. Out of the corner of her eye Zora saw a boy her age. He looked a bit fidgety, but seemed curious about the animal in her arms. Before she realized what she was doing, out of the blue she walked towards him.

 

“ Hi, my name is Zora what’s your name?” the boy in front of her flushed a bit but didn’t answer right away.  The woman to the right of him lightly hit his shoulder.

 

“ She asked you a question boy, answer her.” It was meant to be encouraging but to the boy it just sounded like another criticism, “And stand up for goodness-sake you are talking to a young lady. Gentlemen stand up when a lady presents herself.”

 

Neville quickly did what he was told. Merlin knew he didn’t like it when his grandmother was angry. He took a large breath and managed to stutter out.

 

“M-my name is N-n-neville L-longbottom.” His eyes darted from the floor to her face and back to the floor in under a minute.

 

“ Neville Longbottom eh…?” there was a pause, and in that small frame of time it seemed the poor Longbottom boy became even more flustered under the seeming scrutiny. She had a serious look on her face, like she was going to pass the ultimate judgment on him. Neville began to become even more nervous…he didn’t like parties…and he didn’t know how to interact with people and now this girl, who from the looks of it, was very important was about to say something that would either good or bad. He could feel his grandmother gearing up for another lecture…

 

“ I like it. I’ve never heard of a name quite like it before. Do you wanna be friends? ” That threw him. She said it all so quickly that he was positive that he had heard her wrong. She wanted to be friends with him? He stared at her with utter confusion. The whole room was watching but all Zora paid attention to was him.

 

“ Answer her Neville we don’t have all night!” Neville noticeably flinched as he was launched back into reality. Unable to speak he just nodded his head.

 

“ Oh fantastic”, She looked to her furry companion, “ A new friend Luca isn’t it wonderful?.”

 

She then looked back to Neville, “My friends call me Zo-zo can I give you a nick-name?” Again the flabbergasted boy just nodded.

 

“ Well I don’t much about you… or at all. So why don’t we start off with something simple…like Nev. Do you like that Neville, is that okay with you?” And, with bit a courage he didn’t know he had, he finally verbally answered her.

 

“Uh huh.”  He gave a small, unsure smile.

 

“ Wonderful. You can call me Zo-zo if you want. Oh and Luca you should be able to pet him now. Would you like to pet him Nev? I promise he won’t bite you.”  

 

Neville, being the very cautious never-take-chances type boy that he was, stared at the hound for a moment. He shakily reached out his hand, the animal did not make on movement. Its face was completely blank. Before Neville knew it, his hand had made it on top of the creatures’ head. Slowly he began to caress the top of Luca’s head, until a noise that sounded like a low growl came from the little creature. Neville quickly tensed up but then he looked at Zora. She continued to smile.

 

“ He only seems to make that noise when he likes someone. There have only been two other people that have gotten that particular reaction before. That must mean that he likes you. Which means that you must be all right after all.” The small, unsure smile grew a little larger at the compliment.

 

“ Um Zora darling, we need to get the ball rolling. People are starting eat the napkins. You can play with your new little friend later.” Reginald gently guided her back to the center of the room. But not before Zora could look back and give small wave and a smile back to her new friend.

 

NL

 

As the family walked away, Neville just sat in his seat unsure of what just occurred. Did all that really just happen? Just out of a blue someone, a girl no less, came up to him and asked him to be his friend. This couldn’t be real, this had to be a dream. He pinched himself to make sure that this wasn’t all mistake, a hallucination or something else probably more likely. Things don’t like this don’t happen to him. It’s usually the bad things like: forgetting different types of plants all over the house (and getting yelled at by his grandmother for it), or falling up flight of stairs (he was a tad clumsy), or even being dropped by his uncle to see if he was squib or not (that was terrifying). But not this. Never in a million years did he expect this to happen. It was when she wasn’t looking did he attempt to wave back. Not quite brave enough yet to attempt it when she was actually looking.

 

NL

 

It’s funny, Zora thought to herself, the eyes that were so daunting to her moments ago transformed from something that was reminiscent of an angry beast to something more a kin to a subdued pussycat. She didn’t know whether or not she trusted the eyes that continued to stare at her. They changed their views so quickly, all because she found the right words to say to ease them and their thoughts. She’d have to watch that. Later. Right now she was only thinking about enjoying the night with her family and new friend.

 

“ Didn’t I tell you? We have a thief in the room and she aims to collect hearts. So I would advise that you keep your wits about yourselves.” The crowd laughed again, Reginald signaled for the music to start playing again.

 

“  Now, I know that everyone is hungry and my kitchen staff has prepared a wonderful dinner and I am sure that you all we enjoy it immensely.” With the single clap of the hands, the food magically appeared onto the silver plates and people began to feast. The McQueen trio went back to their table where the rest of their loved ones where. The food looked stupendous, like something out of a master chief cookbook. Zora took a large wiff of the delicious smelling food and dug straight in.  

 

 

-DM-

 

            She was lovely. If he hadn’t thought that same thought a hundred times before he was definitely thinking it now. He sat in seat (his feet barely scrapping the bottom of the floor), gripping his dress pants legs tightly in his little hands. His eyes never left her, not once. The dress she wore it was nice but Draco couldn’t help but think that she would look even better in emerald. Noticing the color scheme of the dress code, he could only think that maybe the McQueen Sr. had something to do with it. He wanted to make her stand out, maybe. Impossible, Draco thought confidently. She needed no help in that department. Girls like her didn’t need help standing out or being noticed. Like the warmth of the winter sun, she unknowingly drew people out. And he wasn’t the only one who seemed to have noticed this, Draco thought with great aggravation. Nott had been stopped muttering himself ever since Zora walked into the room. Even Crabbe and Goyle took notice of the new girl but that quickly ended when their stomachs got the better of the their minds (or whatever what was inside those large skulls).  Pansy, when she wasn’t staring at him, was looking towards the girl in red with a feeling a kin to extreme dislike. She tried to gain his attention by tugging on his sleeve to no avail. It’s not like it was any different any other time, but at least this time she had an actual target.

 

            For one reason or another people around the room stared with rapt attention at the girl in the crimson dress. Every move that she made, he was sure to catch it. He couldn’t help it, he was hooked, line and sinker. The only reason why he came to this party was to have a chance to see her. He didn’t like the fact that he was becoming so attached to someone he barely knew but at the same time he didn’t know how to stop it. He didn’t know how to stop the tremble in his stomach whenever he thought of her. He didn’t know to stop the blood in his ears or he rapid beating of his heart. He was frustrated by it, curious to it and angry about it. This girl was bad news. End of discussion. 

 

Earlier that evening

 

When they arrived to the McQueen estate he instantly watched for any trace of her whereabouts. Not seeing her in person for months had done something to him, and he didn’t know whether or not to blame her for it. Before getting to their destination his parents made him interact with other children in their traveling group. Crabbe and Goyle merely grunted their hellos; Pansy instantly came towards him twirling in her party dress and complimenting him on his dress robes and hair, and Theodore Nott…well he just stood off in some corner talking to himself. Mental, he was absolutely mental.

 

            He didn’t have time for this; Draco thought urgently to himself, he just wanted to see her. The silk ribbon that was bound tightly onto his wrist was the only thing that brought him any comfort at the moment. He could block anything else out as long as he had the ribbon.  He made sure that no one was looking when he pulled it out of his sleeve. He pompously thought that it was no else’s business, however the real reason why didn’t want people knowing about the ribbon was that they would ask questions…or worse…take it away. He wouldn’t like that, not one bit. He wouldn’t allow it to happen. 

As soon as they entered the house, house-elves ushered them to their seats and quickly got back to their stations. 

 

            The room itself was filling up quite nicely; Draco saw many of the higher ups from the Ministry come in. Even Cornelius Fudge himself. None of them were able to divert his attention away from the door. It wasn’t until the McQueen Sr. asked everyone to be silent that he grew nervous. He suddenly became hyper aware of everything that was around him. The normal rhythm of heart started to rise with every moment that had passed. Though he tried to stop it, a smile began to grow. Or at least that was what the muscles in his face were suggesting anyway.

 

            " Usually when I introduce someone I give a little background information, but somehow with her I don't feel that it is necessary. Maybe this is my own bias talking but she is my grandchild so I guess I'm allowed." Reginald wistfully smiled. "She's kind, sweet and intelligent. But I must warn you all; she's bit of a thief. The moment I first laid eyes on her she stole my heart right from under my nose. Give her five minutes of your own time and she’ll likely strike again. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce my lovely granddaughter, Zora McQueen."

 

Back to the Present

 

            This was it. The moment he had been waiting for….and nothing. Absolutely nothing. What was keeping her? Was this a joke or something? Did she think this was funny? He…everyone was waiting for her to come out and this was what she was doing?

He could hear his mother whispering something to his father. 

 

            “This is ridiculous…Draco would have never acted like this if it were OUR party.” His father didn’t answer back; he just continued to watch the door silently. The longer the silence lasted the more disappointed Draco became. The smile that was on his face just moments ago was quickly turning into a frown. He looked around him and noticed that people were having the same reactions to the anti-climatic moment. He saw Reginald became a little nervous. The old codger he should be…

 

            I wonder what is keeping her…playful girl. You know, she always loved playing hide and seek? Samson why don’t you go seek her.”

 

            Yes, seek her or better yet let me do it, Draco thought to himself. What could possibly be keeping that girl? He watched Samson go out of the room and then the room burst into conversation. Low whispers flooded the room. Draco just watched the head table. They all looked as confused as the host. Except for the old woman. Zora’s grandmother? She seemed very calm. Like she knew something.

             

            A few minutes later, the McQueen patriarch must’ve gotten confirmation to begin because he quickly restated his introduction and father and daughter emerged from the main hallway, hand in hand. She kept close to her father; she made eye contact with people as the passed them, trying to her best to smile. Draco knew that it wasn’t real, the smile that was she was currently wearing. He knew because of experience. When she truly smiled, her whole face lit up. Like when she came to the Ministry for the first time. Or when meet the ruddy elf Dobby. Those were her actual smiles not this…this fake. This smile…was like the one she had when she was near him. He didn’t like that smile. It was skittish and not how he pictured her. He never thought of her as a coward.

 

            He watched her settle into the middle of the room with her father and grandfather and slowly let go of both of them. She took to center stage did a tradition curtsy and began to speak.

 

            He noticed that she babbled when she was nervous. On any other girl he would’ve found it very annoying. But of course not with her. With her he found it… strangely sweet. It was honest. She was honest. She wore her heart on her sleeve and spoke what she felt. As she talked Draco noticed the more confidence she gained. So much that it lit the fire in the eyes and warmed her smile. She even made a joke. The people around the room seemed to enjoy her sweet and humble demeanor. And then she did something unexpected. She brought out her little beast of an animal. The thing pranced in obediently. Draco didn’t find the little show he put on amusing. They all thought that he was just a cute, adorable puppy but he knew better. The thing was evil in his opinion. She just picked him up like it was nothing and showed him to the crowd. And like the idiots that they all were they put into the cute act. He very well couldn’t prove it so he decided to lay low. He would pick his moment to go after the furry little devil.

 

              Draco didn’t think he could feel more antsy than he was right now. She was so close but just out of reach. They would probably all have dinner soon and then dancing and conversation. He just wished they would move all already. He was tired of being patient (a skill he never really developed). He was tired of just watching. Action, he wanted…needed to act. Now. He had done his waiting, and she was right there…right there…wait, what was she doing?

 

            She was walking somewhere and not towards him. She and the furry beast were going over to some other table. Who was she talking to? From here it just looked like a big tub of lard with legs and hands attached to it. It had blonde hair too, not like his own of course but it seemed vaguely human. He could barely hear them but it sounded like…no it couldn’t possibly be…

 

            “ Hi, my name is Zora what’s your name?” What was she doing? Why was she introducing herself?

 

            “She asked you a question boy, answer her. And stand up for goodness-sake you are talking to a young lady. Gentlemen stand up when a lady presents herself.” Whoever this oaf was, knew absolutely nothing about proper etiquette. An embarrassment if there ever was one. Surely she wouldn’t condone that.

 

            “M-my name is N-n-neville L-longbottom” Wow even his name was pathetic. And he had s stutter too? Draco almost felt sorry for the pathetic git. Oh who was he kidding? He didn’t feel drop of empathy for the lad.

           

            “ Neville Longbottom eh…?” Ah, and here comes the hammer. The final judgment, the piece de resistance. If there was only a camera to immortalize this moment forever…A smirk slithered across the young Malfoy’s face. Crabbe and Goyle chuckled as they started at the scene.

 

             “I like it. I’ve never heard of a name quite like it before. Do you wanna be friends?” Wait. What? Draco couldn’t believe his own ears. Did she just…? Him? Him?!

To ask such a question so quickly…without any thought. It couldn’t have been so easy. A joke it must have been a joke. Yes that made much more sense. As if such someone would pick that lard-arse over him. Preposterous. Was she sick? None of this made any sense. What was she doing? She was supposed to say that to HIM. NOT THAT BIG BELLIED GIT.

           

            Apparently, his reaction to this believed-to-be betrayal was not just in his head. Both his mother and Pansy questioned if he was all right. According to them he was quite flushed and was breathing a little heavy. He said that he was fine, but he was obviously not. He couldn’t stop staring in the direction of the curly-haired girl. He didn’t like her talking to other people, especially boys. Now more than every did he want to walk straight up to both of them and deck the little ingrate in the face and then her take away from this place. Just a moment alone, was that really all that much to ask?

 

            Wait. Breathe. Think for a moment. Going over there angry won’t do anything but make her trust him even less and only incite his own father’s wrath. Plus, Draco thought more calmly, this was probably her just being nice. She did it with the elf…and the muggle girl…and now this stuttering git. Draco was starting to think this was becoming a habit. A very inconvenient habit. If the boy knew what was good for him he would kindly back away from the situation. However that did not seem to be the case. Instead of bowing out the stuttering twit was agreeing to the friendship.

 

            “ Oh fantastic, a new friend Luca…. My friends call me Zo-zo can I give you a nick-name?” Nicknames? Could someone tell him when this nightmare was over? Some nobody gets to be near this unusual…sweet…pretty….bizarre….infuriating…where he was going with this? Oh yes, some Longbottom gets the honor of the friendship that he, Draco Kassius Malfoy, was so wrongfully deprived of? That fat-idiot probably didn’t know whom he was dealing with. Did this Longbottom boy know the gravity of whom he was talking to? Did he know how rare this moment he was experiencing actually was. The younger set of McQueens hardly traveled into the muggle community. For her to even be here must have taken great skill from the elder McQueen to pull off. And yet it was being squandered away on someone who didn’t deserve it.

 

In that moment he hated Neville Longbottom. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the boy from Merlin. Or that he didn’t necessarily have the right to talk about who the girl he was currently watching was making “friends” with. He wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that, to be perfectly honest, he didn’t know one thing about this girl. Sending an elf on stakeout and daydreams didn’t mean actual knowledge. No, Draco only thought of the three rules of life. Want. Take. Have. Oh and if something is in the way of getting what you wanted. Destroy it. And that was exactly he was going to do. This Neville boy didn’t know who he was messing with, but that was soon going to change. After tonight Neville Longbottom would know he was. Tonight, Longbottom would realize what happened when people messed with things that Did.Not.Belong.To.Them. 

           

            Ignoring (or at least attempting) the rest of the unseemly display of affection. Draco focused solely on the food that appeared on his plate. He stuffed his face, thinking of possible ways to ward off the encroaching imbecile. She would thank him for this later. When she saw the error of her ways. She would give him her smiles, smiles that belonged only to him. They would only hang out with each other. He would have given up his other friends if it meant that he could have her. To be honest, he would be getting the better end of the deal. Crab and Goyle weren’t exactly the best conversationalists and you couldn’t pay him to be in the same room as Pansy Parkinson. As for Theodore…well that just goes without say doesn’t it?

 

            Oh his dear giddy aunt…She was staring at him.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            She could feel someone staring. Well to be fair, everyone was still staring. Be it passing glance or pretending to point out certain piece of decoration. Their gazes always seemed to manage to come across her path. By now she had just started to ignore most of it. But this someone, was a person that she knew. Knew of would probably be more accurate. The Malfoy boy. Draco Malfoy… she thought his name was. Even though he was seated far away she could still feel his eyes burning away at her. Why? She didn’t know. All she definitely knew what that the feeling of uneasiness that she felt back at the Ministry were inching their way back. Why was he always staring? It made absolutely no sense to her why he would feel the need to do it. Other than it being really rude it was just down right creepy. She tried to brush it off, and every once in a while (in between bites) she would glance to see if he had stopped. Not a chance.

 

             So in lieu of walking over to his table she instead mouthed to him to stop it. He didn’t mouth anything back for a few moments. She saw him smirk and he replied with a no. No? No? Why that arrogant little jerk…

 

            “ Stop staring at me right this instant.”

 

            “ Why?”

 

            “ Because it’s rude.”

 

            “ Nuh-uh.”

 

            “Yes it is.”

 

            “Nuh-uh.”

           

            “Yes it is.”

 

            “Nuh-uh.”

 

            “Yes it is.”

 

            “ No it isn’t.” And then he had the nerve to stick his tongue out at her…well two could play at that game.

 

            “ You’re so stupid.”

 

            “ Am not.” He looked at her indignantly.

 

            “ Are too, only stupid people stick their tongue out at other people.”

 

            “Nuh-huh.”

 

            “Yeah-huh.”

 

            “ Nuh-huh.”

           

            “Yeah-huh.

 

            “ Zora whatcha doing?” Luna had been watching the entire thing; she had been watching the Malfoy boy with great attention ever since he and his family came into the room. She didn’t like the way he looked at her friend. However, he was not the one that she was most worried about. It was the elder Malfoy that set her more on edge. His eyes unnerved her greatly. They were so cold and distant. His face held no semblance of kindness. He face was completely blank. Luna watched the woman (probably his wife) talk to him. He nodded at the appropriate times but his eyes never strayed from Zora. It was only when noticed her mouthing something that he raised an eyebrow. He looked down at his son and then looked back at Zora (who hadn’t noticed any of this).  His blank face turned sour. He seemed to have reprimanded his son and instantly broke the on going inaudible conversation. Good, thought Luna, she didn’t like Zora and that boy talking anyways.

 

            Zora blushed at being caught, and quietly mumbled “Nothing.”

 

            The curly-haired witch quickly went back to eating her food and Luna followed suit. Soon dinner had finally ended and the tables were magically cleared. Both Cornelius Fudge and Reginald made their way to the center of the room once again and clapped his hands. Everyone set their attention on to him and then he smiled.

 

            “ Wasn’t the food wonderful everyone? Hopefully it was to everyone’s liking. And now that people’s tummies are sated I think it is finally time I let loose my second surprise…” Zora, as well as father, perked up when they heard this. Finally, Zora thought, the big reveal.

 

            “ But first the Minster wanted to say a few words…Minister.”

 

            “ Yes, as you all know the Ministry of England is one of many wizarding governments in the world and as you all know how great of a responsibility it is to make sure our relations with other countries are always kept at the peak of perfection. With Bartemius Crouch we have had the level of greatness in spades but then I thought to myself. ‘Why stop there?’ I thought that great responsibility of the nations’ global relations was too big for one person. I thought long and hard about this decision and went through plenty of suitable candidates. But none of them had the quite the same finesse as I had hoped that they would. ”

 

            “Cornelius…” Reginald began in a warning tone. Cornelius turned to the fellow wizard and smiled like a cat that caught the canary.

 

            “And then I thought of you. Your love of languages and knowledge of people is exceptional. Which is why, I ask you in front of everyone of consequence. Reginald Arthur McQueen will you consider becoming co-head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation?”

 

            Reginald, did his best to keep his smile on. He had a feeling that Fudge would pull something like this. His original statement that was he was going to into retirement. He had thought about it and thought that retirement would not be so bad. He could still keep his connections in India and other countries and travel. While also staying in England with his loved ones. He couldn’t believe Fudge would bring this up now. He couldn’t very back away from the offer now.

 

            Fudge had a smug grin on his face, one that Reginald dearly wanted to wipe from his face. Damn social politics, his father’s teachings of not making a scene. If he were any less dignified he would’ve smacked Fudge, Merlin knew the man needed it. Reginald, being the gentlemen that he was, took the sneak attack in stride. He turned from the Minister of Magic and back to the crowd. He began to pace, in a dramatic fashion that was all his own he entranced the crowd.

 

            “ When I was younger I was always fascinated by different countries. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would like the opportunity to travel and interact with people…and get paid for it to boot.” People politely laughed.

 

            “ Well I’ve done that…for many years now and I think that it is time stop gallivanting across the world and finally settle down. While the need to interact with other countries is still strong within me, the need to be around my family is much greater. Minister, I will accept the position…” Cornelius looked confused; he was about to say something but Reginald interrupted him.

 

            “ I meant what I said before Cornelius, I am done with traveling for work. But I will not fully reject you because you are still my friend. Instead, I will be consultant. Barty is good with business and I am good with people. Whenever he needs a little insight on the different cultures I, of course, will only be an owl away. And of course I will always be available if and whenever the Ministry needs me.” Both men stared each other down. While Reginald did not blow off Fudge in the way that he wanted he, he couldn’t very well let him win but such manipulative means, not with him. When the tension was at its peak, Fudge conceded defeat. He was never really good at playing chicken.

 

            “ So happy that you have agreed to my request Reginald and I was about to say…Ladies and Gentlemen, in the next few months the Ministry will be ushering the new co-h—I mean Consultant  of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, with Barty Crouch Sr. still spear-heading entire operation.”

 

            “ I wouldn’t have it any other way…Minister.” Reginald smirked. The crowd applauded. With impeccable timing (as always) Mimsy popped in, with a tray and float glass filled with champagne for the two wizards. Both men took up the glasses and raised them to each other and to their audience. The adults in the room followed suit. All of them drank at the same time. Reginald returned both glasses to Mimsy and she popped out of the room.

 

            “ Now comes best part of the night, dancing. Ladies I know that you have been itching to drag your partners on to the dance floor. Gentlemen, oblige your ladies and treat them like the precious gems that they are. This a night of remembrance…and of renewal. So please dance to your hearts content.”

 

            The floor slowly began to fill with music. Witches and wizards began entering the dance area. One by one they began pairing off. Each couple moved with around the room, so elegant…so intricate. It reminded Zora of the music box she had gotten from her grandmother. She wished she was older, she wished that someone would ask her to dance. Everyone seemed to be having a good time with their selected partner. She walked around the room, just watching. This night didn’t seem real. A true fairy tale.  Luna was still at the table, eating chocolate pudding. Her grandparents were dancing together, her father being the gentlemen/push-over that he was allowed a woman to drag him on the floor. He tried to hide his discomfort but Zora could tell that he would rather not dance. She continued to walk around the room, absorbing the scene.

 

She began to imagine Hyde being there, she imagined him asking her to dance. She knew that she would say yes in a heartbeat. He was her fairytale prince…no knight. Princes were too boring and greatly overused. A simple knight was what she thought of whenever Hyde came up. A strong silent knight that was honest and true. His actions spoke the words that his mouth couldn’t articulate. The diligence he put into his studies, it was inspiring. It was one of the reasons she tried so hard with her magical studies (besides wanting progress herself) a small part of her wanted to impress him. She wanted to show him that just because she was younger (a lot younger) didn’t mean that she was…immature, was that the right word? To show him her potential, she would grow up someday and she just hoped that he would still be there. Even though she was nine she wasn’t foolish enough to think that her chances with Hyde were all that great. Besides the age difference, there was the great distance between England and Japan.

 

She couldn’t help it though, these feelings whatever they were she couldn’t stop them even if she tried. And she didn’t want to. She was happy feeling this way. She could dream about a future with Hyde because nothing was wrong with dreaming. And hoping. As long as she kept her head on straight then what harm could really be done? Zora was so wrapped up in her own thoughts she didn’t hear someone talking to her. When she finally left her little cloud she, at last, noticed a very nervous-looking boy in front of her.

 

“ Oh Neville, I’m sorry I didn’t see you there. Was there something you wanted?”

 

“ E-excuse me…uh…Zora…um…c-c-could Imeantosay w-would like to dance with me.” It didn’t seem as though he heard her. Poor Neville under the stress of the situation was sweating profusely in his formal robes. With courage that was so uncharacteristic of him he decided to ask Zora to dance. He figured with all those dance lessons that his grandmother forced him to take he might as well try. He put a lot of effort in asking her to dance the first time but he didn’t think that she heard him. Confidence quickly waning he was just about to leave until she finally noticed him.

 

Zora looked at him for a moment and then peered behind him. She noticed his grandmother staring expectantly in their direction.

 

“ Neville…did your grandmother put you up to this?” She couldn’t help but ask, from what she could tell Neville’s grandmother was a tad…forceful. She didn’t want push Neville into don’t something that he quite possibly did not want to do but at the same time she was a bit nervous to what the woman would do if she said anything else then ‘Yes’.

 

“ Y-yes…NO…I-I mean, she did but I-I was going to a-ask you anyways…i-if you wanted to o-of course.” Neville was beginning to fidget more as he could feel his grandmother stare burn the back of his neck.

 

“ Well then…I would love to dance with you Neville.” She smiled warmly and took his hand, they began walking to the dance floor. “ I must warn you though I’m not all that good of a dancer. My Gran tries to teach me some steps but she’s always off somewhere helping those-in-need. Of course I don’t blame her or anything, just giving a warning I suppose.”

 

  People who were dancing slowly began to stop and watch. Zora who paid them no attention, focused on Neville. Hopefully she wouldn’t be too awful. Neville tried to remember what he had learned in his dance classes. He felt the stares of the people around them and he became more nervous than ever. His palms were becoming sweaty. The magnitude of this gesture finally hit him like a ton of bricks. Great, he thought miserably, I’m going embarrass not only myself but also Zora. This was a mistake, a big-

 

“ Neville?”

 

“Y-yes?”

 

“ Is everything alright? You seem a bit…tense.”

 

            “ Oh, um…y-y-yeah I-I’m fine…”

 

            “ Alright if you’re sure…” Neville cautiously placed his hand on her upper-waist and took her hand. Zora mirrored him and then waited for Neville to begin. She couldn’t help but hear the whispers around them. Some were curious, others sounded like they were mocking. If she could hear them she was pretty sure that Neville could hear them as well. She began to grow angry, how dare they? Couldn’t they see how much they were affecting him? Why couldn’t they just leave them alone? Poor Neville, he seemed to be an alright boy all he needed was a little…

 

            “ Confidence.” She whispered.

 

            “ W-what…?”

 

            “ Confidence Neville. It’s inside you, all you need is to find it. They don’t know you or what you can do. Show them that they’re wrong.” How could she do it? Neville asked himself, how could put so much faith in him when she didn’t even know him. They only met two hours ago. But…the fire in her eyes, the determination he couldn’t help but feel a spark of courage inside himself.

 

            “ Just close your eyes and forget everyone else. They don’t matter right now. Just close your eyes and move. Move and I will do my best to follow, okay?” Neville nodded, plucking up all the resolve he had and did what he was told. He stepped forward and he didn’t hear screech of pain that he half-expected to be there (his dance classes usually riddled with them). All he could feel was movement, successive movement. All he could hear was the sound of the band playing. He didn’t know what exactly was happening at this point in time but he couldn’t honestly say that he hadn’t been this happy in a very long time.

 

            Having her eyes open Zora could see what was happening around them. The rest of the dancers went back to their own business and the few spectators they had left seemed to be more fascinated than mocking. Zora wanted Neville to see this but thought better of it. He seemed to be enjoying himself; at least that was what the small smile on his face told her.

 

            Way to go Nev…you’re doing great…Oh I wish you could see yourself right now. A little confidence was all you needed. I know that it’s scary being in front of so many people but look at what your doing now. Your grandmother seems to be pleased. Oh the wonders that you will do as long don’t forget this feeling.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            “ Good girl you have there Reginald.”

 

            “ Thank you Horace but I can’t take the credit for her upbringing, my son had done a marvelous job with her.”

 

            “ Yes Samson, your girl’s got a good head on her shoulders, the bell of the ball as it were.” The men finally took a break from dancing to drink some more champagne and converse. Horace Slughorn, who was little bit tipsy at the moment, just went on another rant. He always liked to talk about his former students, the ones on his shelf of fame. Flaunting his connections in a way that no one cared about. Somehow or another Dumbledore got away from the train-wreck of a conversation. Grace had just by chance asked him to dance and of course he agreed, not because they were friends but because he could smell a drunken Slughorn a mile a way. It was like a game of “Not It” and Reginald just so happened to be the “It”. But he was not alone, oh no, he was not going be left to deal with Horace Slughorn alone. He all but chained Samson to his side, and try as the poor man did he couldn’t get away.

 

            “ Yes, Zora tends to have that effect on people…”

 

            “ Shows a great deal of character I think.”

 

            “ Yes, Zora is a special child…”

 

            “ Adoption is a very noble endeavor.” Wait. What?

 

            “ I’m sorry I don’t understand.” Samson and Reginald looked confused and of course being loud mouth that he decided to expound his idea.

 

            “ Come now you two, there is no need to be coy about it.”

 

            “Coy about what exactly?” Samson was dreading where this unholy conversation was going.

 

            “ The Shacklebolt girl getting herself into a bit of trouble…Lovely girl, like Lily. Unfortunate that she would allow such a thing to happen. Again also like Lily in that respect I supposed.”

 

            “ But I guess it is more likely that one of their background…Not that I am prejudice. I assure you”

 

 Got herself…into a bit of trouble….One of their background? No. No fucking way was he going to take this bullshit. Especially not tonight, when his world came crashing down eight-years-ago. Her murderer dancing away, seemingly unaffected by the damage he caused. Not when his daughter was somewhere in the room and could possibly catch wind of this “conversation”.

 

 c1;Author’s notec1;

 

Right now I’m betting some of you are a bit confused. A muggle-born and pure-blood what they could they possibly have in common? What did Horace Slughorn, the well-intentioned ignoramus, mean by ‘one of their background’? Well, my dear-reader let me explain. Or, let me show you passage written by Bethilda Bagshot:

 

Like most things in the Wizarding world most things are not as cut and dry as one would hope. A thought might have crossed your mind, “ How does race play a part in the ‘hierarchy’ of wizards? One thing to remember is blood-status is key. However within each blood-status there are sub divisions. And this is where is gets pretty convoluted I’m afraid. Say that witch A was a pure-blood, one would think that would be it.

 

Oh no, that is just the beginning. We then have to delve into global regions and ethnic backgrounds. Because just like the muggle world, the wizarding has got some skin prejudice as well. Just like in the Muggle world, the interacting of different cultures was big thing in the early 17th century. When slavery happened in Europe, muggles and wizards were still co-habiting the same towns, villages etc. Now, considering muggle slave-traders did not know of magic and of course revealing of one’s magic was still a big no-no there was a bit of a no-win situation to deal with. The captures were usually a surprise meaning that the wizards were not able to properly defend themselves. One would think that simply disapparating would fix the problem. However that would have caused too much suspicion. A person would think that sacrificing one’s own freedom for the protection of the entire wizarding community would be something to admire. No, unfortunately people didn’t think that at all. They thought it was bizarre, why would any willingly become someone’s servant? Why would they willingly allow themselves to be beaten? Treated like common vermin? Did they enjoy such hard labor and lack of thanks? It is because of this mentality people of African-decent are seen to be of lower intelligence and of lower magical count (possibly a reason for why they allowed themselves to be captured). For the blood-purists they thought that a magical person worth their magic would take down their oppressors. And if they chose not to, they deserved what they got (whatever the injustice: beatings, rape and other atrocities). Those who thought differently (which unfortunately at the time was quite few) became covert abolitionists. Helping African-slaves thought to be of wizarding blood to escape and find refuge in near by magical communities. Later they began working to help end slavery as a whole because it was much more difficult trying to pick out individuals. 

 

In addition to the tragedy of slavery, the stigma of those days seems to linger about. While still not as nearly predominant as the thought of blood-status (though some would argue the time of slavery was about the time the amount of half-breeds began to rise and later on the creation of what is called “muggle-born”. Of course none of this has conclusive evidence but the level of coincidence is striking).

 

This was an except from “A History of Magic” by Bethilda Bagshot which can be bought at any  wizarding bookstores world-wide (50 countries and rising). Or for your convenience shipped to Florish and Bolts in-store pick up (Located in Diagon Alley).  

 

c0; Sorry, just thought you would want a little background information c1;

 

                        Samson walked up to Horace and cleaned close enough for their noses touch. You could tell that he was angry because he eyes were as hard as ice and his smile was anything but happy.

 

            “ Horace, listen. I know that your brain is rattled with champagne (and bit of Firewhiskey if my nose is right) but I want to make something quite clear all right? Zora is mine. She just as my blood as she is Cecile’s. I swear that if you ever say something that would vaguely contradict that again I will deal with you myself. Cecile didn’t get herself into trouble. Nor did Lily. They were good and honest women and I will not stand here and listen to you talk about them like they weren’t. It’s people like you that I dread the most. Your ignorance is astounding and the way that you veil your prejudice is disgusting. Backhanded compliments like the one’s you just made about Cecile and Lily are not going to fly with me or anyone with half a brain. So I would suggest you either get a massive reality check or be ready to live under a rock for the rest of your life.”

 

            Samson pulled back and walked away from the befuddled retired Hogwarts teacher. Reginald finished his champagne glass and set it on one of the table and looked at Horace.

 

            “ Reginald, you couldn’t possibly believe…I would never…”

 

            “ For such an educated man Horace I had hoped that you would know better. Throughout the years I had hoped that you would day see your little comments are not welcomed or agreed upon. Especially after the first war…and especially tonight. I see that my hope has been misplaced. Also I think you might have had too much to drink so if you do not mind I will have one of the elves to escort you back to your house.” He was tired, tired of making excuses to himself and to those who knew him. Enough was enough. He motioned for one of the house-elves and asked them to escort Mr. Slughorn back to his residence. 

 

            “ Reginald…I don’t understand. What did I say?”

 

“ No Horace, don’t insult me. You know exactly what you said, you know the weight behind your words or you wouldn’t be apologizing …so no more apologies… not if you don’t plan of changing...” Reginald knew that this time was different, that he couldn’t ignore Horace’s well-intentioned backhanded…racist comments. No matter how mild they were. Not when he had granddaughter to think about. Not when he knew that people just like Horace were out there. Slowly but surely chipping away at a person’s self confidence, planting the seeds of insecurity into an otherwise happy, secure individual.  

 

When he got no response Reginald then turned, with a heavy heart, and walked away from a man he once called a friend. As he walked away another friend came up to him and patted him on the shoulder.

 

“ It’s alright Reginald, you did the right thing.” Albus had seen the whole thing. He too knew what Horace Slughorn was like and he had confronted him (while he was sober) on his behavior. “ However, I wouldn’t count Horace out just yet.”

 

“ Albus, he won’t change and…and I can’t be around him anymore. What if Zora had been there to hear that? I—I can’t have that around her…not if I can help it.”

 

“ While your need to protect is both admirable and completely understandable. I fear that you underestimate her ability to cope with the world around her. Reginald, must I remind you of your wife…of your daughter-in-law…Grace? She comes from a line of strong women. They did not allow their surroundings control them; they adapted and overcame whatever situation life seemed to deem them worthy of overcoming. They were fighters if my memory serves me right…My question to you is, why do you think Zora will be any different?” and in true Dumbledore fashion, he made his exit out of the conversation leaving Reginald to pick up the pieces.

 

I fear that you underestimate her ability to cope…Reginald was not a fool. Dumbledore always had a way with words. Like an artist he picked his words carefully and in the end he painted a picture so broad that it sometimes to catch everything on the first go.  However he has had this conversation with his dear friend before, many times before. As more days passed the more Reginald thought that Dumbledore was right…he hated it sometimes.

 

Reginald easily found his granddaughter in the crowd, he saw her laughing with the young Longbottom boy and the unconventional Lovegood girl. He couldn’t help but smile. Maybe Dumbledore was right…Damn it.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            Zora and her friends had been having a wonderful time until she saw Neville dig into his pockets for something that apparently he didn’t have anymore.

 

            “What’s wrong Neville?” the boy looked like he was going to have heart attack.

 

            “ M-my t-toad…he’s gone…”

 

            “ A toad ?”

 

            “ M-my grandmother gave him to me…t-to teach me responsibility” Oh he was going to be in heap of trouble if his grandmother found out.

 

            “ Well where was the last place that you saw him?”

 

            “ He was in my pocket…oh where could he be…?”

 

            “ Well don’t worry Nev Luna and I will help won’t we Luna?” The blonde nodded enthusiastically. People in the room were still dancing, talking and just basically moving. Which was problematic, very problematic actually. One wrong move and bye- bye Trevor. So thinking in a nine-year old fashion, and completely forgetting that she was in an expensive dress climbed on to the nearest table and probably did the most un-lady like thing imaginable. She whistled.

 

            “Um, hello everyone I know that you all are probably having a wonderful time dancing but there is an emergency…we have a missing pet on the loose. Now I don’t want you all to panic but I would like everyone, if they could be so kind, as to sit at the nearest table available until the missing toad has been found. Thank you.” She jumped off the table and called Luca over to her. Surprisingly enough the people did what they were told (after the shock quickly), but of course that did not stop Augusta from giving Neville a death glare.

 

            Grace quickly made her way over to small group and it was quite obvious she was not happy with the climbing and jumping act.

 

            “ Zora what have I said about jumping on furniture?”

 

            “ Not to do it public?” Yeah…Grace did not she did not appreciate that.

 

            “ Sorry Gran…”

 

            “ Now what is this all about?”

 

            “ Well Neville here seems to misplaced his toad...”

 

“ T-trevor.” Neville quickly interrupted.

 

            “Yes, Trevor and we must find him. We can’t risk people stepping on him and that’s why I climbed on the table.”

 

            “ Now, Neville do you remember where you last saw your toad?”

 

            “ W-well he was—“

 

            “ NEVILLE FRANKLIN LONGBOTTOM DO YOU EXIST TO EMBARASS ME?!” Augusta marched over. Quickly followed by Reginald and Samson (they tried to restrain her but…well you just don’t win against Augusta)

 

            “ Augusta please…calm down.”

 

            “ Reginald, I am SO sorry for this. Look at what you’ve done, Neville. You’ve ruined the entire night with your foolishness.” Neville turned a crimson red, he couldn’t even make contact with her.

 

            “ Mrs. Longbottom, please, it was an accident. I’m sure Trevor is not too far away. We’ll find him and everything will be okay. Right Neville?” Zora defended her new friend. She couldn’t bear to seem him tremble like that. He quickly nodded his head. He still couldn’t make eye-contact with his grandmother. She was terrifying when she was angry.

 

            “ Young lady if you have been around this boy as long as I have you will understand my frustration. It seems that this boy is just prone to accidents and calamity ” If he could have, Neville would have shrunken himself right now.

 

            “If you don’t mind me saying so Mrs. Longbottom, you’re wrong.” You know those moments were it is so quiet that you can hear a pin drop? Those moments where no one moves just out of sheer fear what could possibly happen next? Yeah…this was one of those moments.

 

            “ Excuse me…?”

 

            “ I only say this because if what you say is true then your grandson could never been able to lead me across the dance floor in such elegant fashion with his eyes closed. My Gran can tell you that I am nowhere near that great of a dancer. All I think he needed was some encouragement…not that you don’t encourage him…just a different type is all…” Zora began to blush. The entire room was quiet…the stench of fear was pungent. August wasn’t known for taking things lightly, and she wasn’t known for taking criticism  …to her face at least…

 

            Augusta stared down at the young girl with a judgmental look “ Young lady, not many people would have the courage to talk to me like that…and I don’t know whether to pity or respect you for it. I believe in treating people all the same and just because you are a child does not mean that I will go easier on you. I’ll have you know--…”

 

            “ But I think that’s the problem, you don’t distinguish between child and adult. You claim that Neville is prone to accidents and calamity but you seem to forget…you’re the one raising him. You should be teaching him to not make those mistakes, encourage him when he succeeds and not yell and embarrass him when he makes those errors. You want perfection but that isn’t possible. No one is perfect…at least not in the way that you seem to see it. I know I have only known him for only a few hours but,” She looked over to her nervous friend, “ he seems fine to me and I hope that one day you you’ll see that too. Now, if you will excuse us we are losing time and Trevor won’t survive much longer in the cold weather if we don’t act soon. Grandpa do you have clothes that Neville can into? I wouldn’t want him to get his dress robes dirty.”

 

            “ Uh, yes…I believe we might have something to fit the boy…Mimsy could you find something for the boy to wear?” The situation was bizarre, he was half expecting Augusta to go flying off the handle but she didn’t. She didn’t do anything, her face was blank and that didn’t happen often. Before he could process what just happen the house-elves quickly popped in and out of the room with a fresh pair of clothing. She gave them to Neville and then popped out again.

 

            “ Excellent.We should change quickly before it gets too late. If you will excuse us everyone.” Zora began walking out of the room with Luna and slightly hesitant Neville following right behind her. Only half of the room caught the rare occurrence of Augusta Longbottom being silenced. Especially by a nine year-old-girl. The whispers exploded through out the room.

 

            The small group did not take notice of them. All were waiting for Augusta to finally respond. It only took a minute, and they were a bit disturbed about what happened next. She grinned. Slightly. Augusta turned her head towards Samson and spoke.

 

            “ Samson…”

 

            “ Uh yes Mrs. Longbottom?”

 

            “ Whatever you are doing with her…keep doing it.” Augusta, being the force of nature that she was, walked off back to her seat without another comment.

 

            “ Will do..?” Samson shocked at the lack of rage. He was also shocked at the astute answer his daughter just came up with. She always smart, but he just could never imagine those deep words coming out of someone so young. He knew that he didn’t have anything to do with that. Everyday she seemed to grow wiser, braver. Samson began to feel afraid. What if she didn’t need him anymore? It was a ridiculous thought of course. Right now she depended on him for most things and he was happy to do them. He was talking about the future, when she finally left and went of to Hogwarts. What would happen then?

 

            A chuckle could be heard from the near right and Reginald knew who it was immediately.

 

            “ Shut up Albus.”

 

~ HP ~

 

End Notes:

I know I got some reviews about Hogwarts when the real fun is happening....All I ask is for patience. Everything I do is for a reason. Please Review and tell me what you think.

The Unhappy New Year by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

I will definitely be back to do some editing. I just really wanted to get this out there.

 

Chapter 11

 

            After they changed into more suitable clothing, the children decided to search the house first. After no such luck, they asked every house-elf they could find. Each one saying the same thing until they got the kitchens. They barely avoided getting run over by the rushing house-elves Zora looked around and found Mimsy spearheading the whole operation. Zora, after nearly getting hit with a frying pan, came up to ask Mimsy if she or any of the other kitchen elves had seen a toad.

 

            “ Mimsy has not seen such a creature little miss.” Zora frowned in disappointment.

 

            “ Where could that toad have gone? It’s like he’s evaporated or something…” They’ve checked the bedrooms, the closest, the sitting rooms, the bathrooms, basically every where inside the house…and maybe that was the problem, maybe Trevor wasn’t in the house.

 

            “ Neville, I think I know where your toad is…”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            “ No.  Absolutely not. I won’t allow it.”

 

            “ But dad, we can’t just leave him out there. He could die.”

 

            “ Zora, if what you think is true then he will be fine. Probably one of the garden-elves took him there because it was wandering around the house. We’ll just—“

 

            “ No dad, we have to get him ourselves. The elves aren’t properly dressed for that type of weather.”

 

            “ Zora, it is a veritable blizzard outside. No.”

 

            “ Sorry dad, pet in need.” She whistled for Luca, he transformed to his riding form. There were a few screams of surprise as Zora quickly got on. She looked at Neville questioningly, “ You coming?”

 

            Neville numbly nodded his head; he clumsily got on Luca’s back. Their legs barely made it across the creatures back. Neville made the mistake of looking down and he nearly feel off.

 

            “ Zora Noel McQueen you get down there this instant. You and that boy are not going any where.” Zora only gripped on to the reins of the collar tighter.

 

            “See you in a bit dad, and stop worrying nothing is going to happen.” She looked back towards Neville, “ I suggest you hang on tight, I don’t want you to fall off.”

 

            “ Y-you’ve d-d-done this before…right?”

 

            “ No, I just thought that it was the right thing to say.” She led Luca towards the terrace doors, the house-elves who were stationed at the double doors slowly began to open them. The gust of wind swept into do the room like a tornado. Luca surrounded himself with a blue flame, effectively cutting off the great chill of the outside.

 

            “Zora, stop this nonsense…!”

 

            “Be right back dad, go Luca!” the hound began to dash off in direction of the, the surprised house-elves moved even quicker to open the doors. Neville had a death grip on her waist. The companion charged for the twin doors with extreme force. It was like a speeding train, no one could stop it. Farther and farther the trio traveled it wasn’t until they jumped off the terrace did you heard the sound of faint screaming…whether it was out of delight or fear is anyone’s guess.

 

-DM-

 

            That.Fat.Lub!

 

            He watched the whole unholy scene in horror. He felt the turbulent, blistering wind enveloping the ballroom. Definite proof that it wasn’t nightmare. All this because of a stupid toad?! Honestly, he was starting to think that this girl had no sense at all. Did it make him question why he still thought that she was curiously intriguing? Yes. Did her actions in anyway deter his fascination with her? Unfortunately, no. Did he want to punch the fat lub into next week for being near her? Of course.  Just as soon as they got back he was show him what’s what. The whole room dispersed into groups. Reginald really didn’t see the point of keeping them to their seats now; they were going to talk anyway. The Malfoy table separated themselves into adults and children. Draco, walked around the room with Pansy and the rest of them following suit.

 

            “ What a show off…” That’s all Pansy Parkinson could say. Arms crossed and full on pouty mode. There was absolutely no reason for her to act in such a way.

 

            “ Huh?” Draco, of course, hadn’t been paying attention to her.

 

            “ That…girl…it’s obvious that she wanted to make a spectacle of herself.” She wanted attention, Pansy thought, Draco’s it was the only explanation that she could think of that made sense. Why else would Draco ignore her? He was falling for this trap, this lie. Well, she wouldn’t have it. Draco was hers…not this McQueen girl’s.

 

            “Honestly who goes after a toad?” Draco couldn’t fault her on that. Having a toad was probably the worst thing that a person could do. It was social suicide.

 

            “ And who would make friends with that tub of lard, he looks utterly pathetic.” Again, he silently agreed with the clingy girl. It made absolutely no sense.

 

            “ She’s utterly mental. No wonder McQueen Sr. wanted to keep her under wraps. She’s an embarrassment. ” Crabbe and Goyle dumbly nodded their heads in agreement (to what they weren’t exactly sure).

 

            “ Now hold on Parkinson…I think you’re being a little harsh there.” Pansy and the boys looked at him in surprise. Draco quickly backtracked.

 

            “ Well think about it for a moment. She has been brainwashed by her father and those muggle-loving dingbat Lovegoods. She hasn’t been properly introduced into wizard society and is forced to go to a muggle school on top of that.  The poor girl didn’t have a chance. Now, I think with the proper guidance she will be fine.” Yes, with the proper guidance (i.e. him) she would be just fine.

 

            “ Who cares about her… did you see that creature she had with her?!” That was the first time that Theodore talked all evening. Well, to other people that is.  They all looked at him like he was crazy, but he was too excited to care.

 

            “ She had a grim…a real live grim with her…amazing…did you see the blue flames? Wicked.” 

 

            “ That just makes it worse doesn’t it? A grim…the omen of death…hmph I guess it’s fitting…”

 

            “ What are going on about Parkinson…?”

 

            “ Draco you of all people should know what I’m talking about. Her mum and…”

 

            “ My father? My father didn’t kill her Parkinson and how dare you make such accusation…!” His eyes flashed, his face flushed with anger.

 

“ Oh no Draco I don’t think…I would never…it’s just that it happened tonight didn’t it? I heard my parents talking about it before we came here…”

 

“ Yeah, well keep your mouth shut will ya? We’re not supposed to talk about that.”

            “ Why we ain’t supposed to talk about it Draco. Doesn’t she know?” Draco looked at Crabbe with an “are-you-serious” face.

 

            “ Of course she knows, you stupid git. It should be obvious why we can’t talk about it. Who talks about death at party? Honestly…”

 

            “All I mean is that she doesn’t seem sad about her mum. I thought girls were supposed to be all emotional about that type of stuff.” As much as he hated to admit it Crabbe did have a point. He took Zora as an emotional type. The way that she took up for people alone alluded to how caring she could be. It matched up at all. That could only mean…she didn’t know. This is was…this was BRILLIANT.

 

            Zora not knowing about her mother was possibly the greatest thing to happen since the invention of quidditch. This meant that he had a chance to spin this, this meant that he could give her the real story before anyone else could. That way her father couldn’t poison her against him. This was his one shot to get closer to her.

 

            This was an opportunity that he could not pass up.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Despite the brisk, gusting wind the young children didn’t feel a thing. Thanks to Luca’s flame surrounding them they were kept quiet warm and comfortable. They looked around as they barreled through the snow. Everything was absolutely covered. Neville feared that they would get lost but it seemed that both the girl and the hound knew where they were going.

 

            “ It shouldn’t be too much longer Nev, just hold on for a bit more!” Zora shouted as she refocused her gaze to what was in front of her. Just two minutes after she made that statement they were at their destination. The whole house of made out of glass. On the outside it seemed to be quite small on the inside it was actually quite big. It was like a tropical forest. Plants of every size, shape and color were in that room. Neville had never seen such a glorious place in all his life. It was paradise, absolute paradise. What he wouldn’t give to just stay here. He slowly walked deeper into the heavenly sanctum of flora with undisclosed glee and amazement. Zora watched him and giggled a bit. She picked up Luca and began scratching his head. 

 

            “ Having fun Nev?” Neville snapped out trance he was in and blushed heavily. He saw her take her shoes and socks off. He watched as she took a deep breath of perfectly scented air. She looked back at him, expectantly.

 

“O-oh um…” It took him a moment to get what she wanted and quickly sat down and took off his shoes and socks. Zora began to walk through the grass to the flowerbeds, Neville followed right behind. Zora knew that they wouldn’t see any garden elves roaming around while they were there…shy bunch.

 

            “ It’s alright, I was the same way when grandpa first showed this place to me. I remember absolutely falling in love with the flowerbeds. It’s always so calm and peaceful. I love being outside, there is nothing more freeing than just running around and enjoying the sunlight. I think if I had to rank it, this would be my second favorite place in the entire world.”

 

            “ S-second?” Neville couldn’t imagine another place being as wonderful as this one. The both sat cross-legged next to the flowerbeds. The sound of a small stream played in the background.

 

            “ My mother’s garden back in Winterbourne. I’ve only recently known about it but every time I go there I feel happy. Like I’m connected to her somehow. Like it’s our own special place. Even though she’s not around anymore…” There was a rustle in the flowers next to Zora. A moment later Trevor hopped out, a slow unassuming ribbit came from his throat.

 

            “Trevor!” Neville quickly got hold of him. Zora moved closer to get a better look at him.

 

            “ Naughty little toad, you gave us all quite a scare. You can’t run off like that. Poor Neville was worried sick.” Trevor ribbited again and the children laughed.

 

            “ I think that’s as much of an apology as you’re going to get Nev.”

 

            “I-it’s alright. J-just g-glad that he’s okay. D-don’t know what m-my grandmother would say if I really lost him.”

 

            The children lagged around the garden for a bit more. Luca felt playful and tugged at Zora’s pants leg. She decided to indulge him, he transformed into his medium size and brought over a stick. Zora invited Neville to play but he politely declined. Something about Zora’s story didn’t make sense. The garden in Winterbourne…wasn’t that the place…he overhead his grandmother talking about with his uncle once. She had just come back from visiting his parents and was talking to him about the party.

 

            Neville had the sinking feeling that his new friend didn’t know about her mother. Part of him felt envious. Sometimes he wished he didn’t know about what happened to his parents. But then he instantly felt guilty, they were heroes. They helped to stop…He-who-must-not-be named. Neville was proud to have them as parents…even if they didn’t remember who he was. He was just glad that they were still around. Zora…didn’t have that luxury. It probably wasn’t his place to ask or even bring up the topic but she couldn’t walk around not knowing. Neville was pretty sure that everyone else knew about the whole ordeal. Also, he saw this boy while Zora was introducing herself. He was actually very frightening, despite his small size. His eyes seemed to burn with anger. Neville, for the life of him, didn’t know why. They had never met before but from the way that boy looked at him…it was like he wanted to kill him or something.  And…he wasn’t sure but he was definitely staring at Zora. He didn’t take her eyes off of her when she came into the room. Did they know each other somehow? It didn’t seem likely…he seemed so fearsome and she…well…

 

            Neville looked at the girl before him. She looked and seemed…so happy…and friendly…and kind. He didn’t trust that blonde boy. At least…he didn’t get a good feeling from him. She put blind trust in him, she offered him friendship and he wanted to be a good friend. Friends told each other the truth or at least that’s what he was always told. He wasn’t exactly sure; this whole “having-friend-a-business” was still new to him…hours new to him. He guessed he would just have to go with his gut feeling…as scary as that was.

 

            “ Z-zora?”

 

            “ Hmm, yes Neville?” she just stopped giggling like fiend when Luca lightly tackled her to the ground (thank goodness he transformed back into his smaller size). She walked back to her new friend with Luca tucked into her arms and sat down next to him.

 

            “ Do you…um…do you remember your mum?” that was strange question to ask, Zora thought, it was really random.

 

            “ Well I was only one she died so I don’t remember much…But…the one thing I think I remember is her smile…she had a glorious smile. I don’t know if that is from the pictures or just my imagination but it’s the only thing that I have of here that seems real. Of course my family has told stories about her but it’s not the same. You know what I mean?”

 

            “ Y-yeah I-I understand…did she get sick?” 

 

            “Uh…” That was a very good question. Her father never told her how exactly her mother passed away.  She just assumed that she had gotten sick. No one had ever said anything to contradict the idea so…

 

            “ I think so…dad doesn’t say much about it…at all. To be honest I’m not quite sure. Why do you ask?” Some thing was wrong here. Zora could feel it. Neville stopped looking at her and he was beginning to fidget. Why was he getting nervous now? It was almost like he knew something. But that was impossible, Zora thought to herself, they had only known each other for a few hours.

 

            “Neville…?” He began to fidget even more and now he was starting to sweat.

 

            “ I-it’s just that…”

 

            “Yes?”

 

            “ I overheard my grandmother talking once about a woman named Cecile Shacklebolt…”

 

            “My mum’s last name before she married my dad was Shacklebolt..,” Why would Mrs. Longbottom talk about her mom?

 

            “ She was talking about tonight and how it brought up bad memories. She said that something bad happened tonight, that a woman named Cecile Shacklebolt…was killed...in a garden in Winterbourne.” Zora’s heart began to race…no it couldn’t be…not her mum…Mrs. Longbottom was mistaken…that was the only way to think about it. Her father…her father would have said something to her if it were anything else.

 

            “ You’re wrong…” Zora whispered, it was more to herself than to him. Things were slowly starting to come together in her head. Everything she thought she knew about her mother was unraveling. She didn’t know what to believe. Her father wouldn’t keep something like this from her…he wouldn’t…so therefore Neville was either lying or misinformed.

 

            “ W-what?”

 

            “ You’re wrong!” She didn’t mean to shout, honest she didn’t. The look of surprise and sadness on Neville made her feel guilty. Everything was starting spiral out of control…her world.

 

            “ Neville, it can’t be my…my mother your Gran was talking about b-because my father would have told me…” Or maybe he wouldn’t have…it wouldn’t be the first time that had been secretive about certain things. She needed to talk to him…now. Her eyes started to glaze over in unshed tears. Neville tried to backpedal, instantly regretting saying anything to her.

 

            “ I-I could b-be wrong!…It wouldn’t be the first time...please Zora don’t cry…” and with that she wanted to cry even more, but she refused to let the tears fall. No...She wouldn’t cry…not until she found out the truth…

 

            “ B-but’s that thing N-neville…I don’t think your wrong…we need to go back to the house…I need to talk to my father immediately. If people are saying things like what you heard then they either need to be corrected or I…I need to face facts….”  The children quickly put back on their socks and shoes and made their way back to the Mansion.

 

            All the way there all Zora could think, “ It’s not true...it can’t be true…it can’t…

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            “ I swear that girl some times…”

 

            “ Oh stop Samson, she will be fine. Be lucky your daughter has a sense of adventure. Like Luna.”

 

            “ Sense of…Solidad she and some boy just literally leapt into a blizzard, against my direct orders, and you want me to be happy about it?” Of course Solidad would have approved. When she lived for the thrill, Samson thought that was probably one of the reasons why she was interested in spell-making.

 

            “ It shows initiative, a take charge attitude. I would’ve thought a Gryffindor alum would respect that in their offspring…” 

 

            “ That’s not the point Solidad, it’s dangerous out there and I don’t want anything to happen to her. I am her father after all.”

 

            “ You could have fooled me…” Damn it. Not now. Or maybe it was a late Christmas gift. Samson had been spoiling for a fight ever since he saw Lucius Malfoy walk into the room.

 

            “ Allowing your daughter to go off in such harsh conditions on her own…with a boy… is a tad irresponsible…don’t you think?”

 

            “ Malfoy I don’t have the patience nor desire to deal with you right now so why don’t you go back to your den of snakes and leave us alone?” That was about as civil as he was going to get, he just hoped Lucius would take the hint but of course Lucius always wanted to be the last word.

 

            “ Temper, temper Samson I’m just expressing my concern…as one parent to another.” Daggers, sharp pointy daggers came from both sides.

 

            “ Your concern is not wanted or needed I can take care of my own.”

 

            “ And again you could’ve fooled me McQueen. Your track record hasn’t exactly been stellar has it…?” Something in Samson snapped, he prepared to full out charge at smirking Malfoy. It took both Xenophillus and his father to hold him back. Lucius had not moved one inch. He didn’t have to. The Minister of Magic was somewhere around the room. There were witnesses all around the room. If he hit him there would serious repercussions.  They weren’t in school anymore, they needed to start acting like it.

 

            Xenophillus and Reginald only let go of him when they were sure (or at least more sure) that he would not try and bull rush them. Samson took a deep breath and tried to be civil with his words.

 

            “Lucius, I know that you are trying bait me and I almost fell for it. But no more. You and I are not in school anymore and your attempts at provoking me won’t work.  The only power you have over me is what I am willing to give you and I refuse to give you shite.”

 

            “ Now, I have something much more important to attend to, so if you would be so kind as to shove off back your family…”

 

            “ OW! Let go of me you crazy lunatic!” The turned their heads to the scream.

 

            “ Let me see your wrist, you have something that isn’t yours.” It was quite a scene to behold. The young Draco Malfoy was face down on the marble floor, kicking furiously while Luna Lovegood calmly sat on top of him. She seemed very keen on getting something that was wrapped around his right wrist.

 

            “ Leave me alone!” For a girl her size it was quite surprising to Draco how hard it was to shake her off. How this all happen seemed to be a literal blur. One minute he was talking to his friends and the next thing he knows, he’s on the floor with a young girl on his back demanding to see what was on his wrist.

 

            “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” Narcissa quickly made her way to her failing son. Before she got to them Solidad was able to intercept.

 

            “ Luna, get off that boy this instant!” She wanted to laugh, very much so. The whole thing was comical however she couldn’t laugh at the risk of making the situation worse. Luna did what she was told but continued to calmly frown at the angry boy.

 

            “ Ah Solidad I should have known the girl was yours. Such common behavior I wouldn’t have expected anything else.” Solidad ignored the comment. Narcissa’s insults were nothing new or original. She focused her attention onto Luna and asked her why she, for lack of a better word, pounced on Draco.

 

            “ He has something that doesn’t belong to him. He wouldn’t give it back. I asked him nicely at first, honest. “

 

            “ Preposterous, my son would never take something of yours.” Again, Solidad chose not say anything but Narcissa was pushing it. She could insult her all she wanted but if thought that going after her daughter was going to happen then she would be sorely mistaken.

 

            “ Not mine. Zora’s. Her hair ribbon, it’s tied around his wrist. I know it’s hers because I gave it to her last Christmas. He needs to give it back because it’s not his.”

 

            “ Draco…?” All eyes were on him, he had to keep calm it was her word against hers.

 

            “ Honestly mother I don’t know what this girls’ talking about I was just walking around them and she pounced on me like a wild animal.”

 

            “ Did not you little liar!”

 

            “ Now hold on, HOLD ON! There is a simple way to find out what’s truly going on. Narcissa if you would check the boy’s wrists we can end this and go our separate ways. Agreed?” Narcissa reluctantly nodded. Never did she think that she would ever agree with Solidad Lovegood.

 

            Narcissa turned to her son and smiled at him sweetly. “ Draco sweetheart…I know this is completely absurd but could you show mummy your wrists…it’s the only way to get these people to stop fussing.”

 

            “But mother…”

 

            “Draco…now please.” Draco shot daggers at the blonde girl who just smiled in triumph. He slowly lifted up his sleeves and glowered.

 

Narcissa was about to say something until there was a huge crash. Everyone turned heads towards the sound. Zora and the boys were back. The house-elves quickly reassembled the broken glass cutting off the severe draft.

 

Samson, Reginald and Grace rushed over to the group. Samson was about to reprimand them for disobeying his orders but he saw a distraught look in her eyes.  Luca laid himself down so the children could climb off. Neville kind fell off but made a quick recovery. Zora, on the other hand slowly slid off the side. Tears glistened in her eyes, fear  and insecurity exuded from her body.

 

“ Zora what’s wrong—“  

 

            “ Tell me how mother died.” Samson froze. He didn’t know what to say. Zora knew something. They way she said it, it made it seem like she was looking for a confirmation rather than an actual answer. How did she…he glanced over to the Longbottom boy, who try to shrink from his gaze.  He didn’t have time for that...

 

            “ Zora now is not the time…”

 

            “ No. You have to tell me now….You promised no more secrets…you promised that if I asked you about mum you would tell me.” Her voice wavered. The longer she waited the sicker she felt. How could he…how could they all keep something like this from her? Didn’t they realize how much she needed information about her mother? Didn’t they understand how starved she was to know about her mother?

 

            “Zora, darling, I promise you I will tell you everything but now…” The spell. He couldn’t say anything about it even if he tried.

 

            “ How could you…how could you keep this from me? She’s my mother and you kept her from me…!” she began to hyperventilate somewhat, trying to keep the tears down but it seemed to be futile.

 

            “ We were only doing what we thought was best Queenie.” Xenophillus interjected, the words seemed to fall flat. The look on his surrogate niece’s face was heartbreaking.

 

            “ She is my mother I need…no I deserve to know what happen to her. Why won’t you tell me?!” She was starting to get hysterical. Then Luna tried to calm her friend down. Tears were in her eyes…oh no…not Luna as well.  

 

            “ Zora…we were trying to protect you…that’s what family does even though it can hurt it us to do it.” Luna tried to take Zora’s hand but she snatched it away.

 

            “ No…no! Not you too Lu-lu…I would’ve you expected this from them but not from you…” Zora said brokenly, “I thought we were sisters…”

 

“ We are sisters Zora!” Luna cried. She feared this would happen…it was like one of her nightmares come to life.

 

             “ NO! If you were my sister you would have been honest with me despite what they said. How can I ever trust any of you to be honest with me?” Now she was getting angry, they all thought that she couldn’t handle it. Did they really think she would be that weak? Yes she would be heartbroken to hear about it but at least it would have through one of them. Her family, the ones she was supposed to rely on didn’t trust her enough to handle the news about her mother.

 

            “ Zora, please we understand that you’re angry but please direct your anger towards the ones responsible…Luna is innocent of any wrong doing. We asked her to not tell you. Be angry at the ones responsible.” Reginald tried to reason. He honestly didn’t care about the crowd that was no doubt watching their every move. They could all shove off for all he cared. His granddaughter opinion meant more to him than any of theirs. He tried to step closer towards her but she stepped away. The farther she stepped away from them the more their hearts broke.

 

For the first time in her life Zora felt alone. The ones she loved more the anything, the ones she trusted more than anyone kept something so dear…so important from her. Her breathing increased until people noticeably see her take in air. Then something clicked inside her…the need to flee. They were closing in her on…she felt claustrophobic. So many eyes were on her, she didn’t know who she could trust anymore.  Zora backed up until she hit something. She saw her father and did nothing. She stared at him like she would a stranger and that nearly killed him. Slowly Samson slowly moved towards his daughter, thinking that since she made no outward opposing gesture it was okay. Samson gathered her into his arms and that was when the damn broke. Like fox cornered she fought him. She screamed, cried but he would not budge.

 

            “LET GO OF ME! HOW COULD YOU?! HOW COULD YOU?!” She screamed. “LET GO OF ME!”

 

            “ I’m sorry Zorra, I’m so sorry…” he whispered.

 

            “ I HATE YOU…I HATE YOU!” she sobbed, unconsciously she created porcupine needles. Thankfully they weren’t too noticeable if you were far enough away.  Of course they could hear what was mostly said but at least they the decency to stand off. Samson felt them dig into his skin but still he didn’t budge.

 

            “ I love you Zora…I love you so much darling.” He said calmly. He refused to let go until she remembered that. He couldn’t lose his daughter…she was everything to him. As soon as she heard those words she stopped fighting, all she could do was sob. She retracted her needles and fell into her father’s arms.

 

            “ Bring her back papa…please….I promise I’ll be good….do whatever you say…just bring mama back…” she whispered brokenly into his neck. Samson gripped her tightly against his chest, the tears absorbing into his cloak. So much did he want to tell her that he would…that he could, if not for himself but for her. There was nothing more Cecile wanted than to watch her daughter grow up, to fight with her, to cry with her, to laugh, to comfort her when he’d be to daft to know what was going on. All those moments…ripped from an infants’ unknowing hand… it was criminal. It’s perpetrator in the very room. It was a tragedy that no child should undergo.

 

            “ Princess…I would give you that, the moon and the stars if I were able…but I simply can’t.” Samson whispered back, trying to so hard to hold back the tears in his own eyes.

 

            “ Why?” a question he asked himself and many books of magic…it took him but finally accepted the answer given to him by his father and Albus Dumbledore.

 

            “ There is no way to bring back the dead darling…and if there was they would not be the people we knew…they would something else…something dark…something unnatural…” A cry could be heard from Solidad, Xenophillus held his wife in arms. 

 

            “ Papa I want to bed now…” Her tone… it sounded so defeated. It tore his heart to pieces.  Samson nodded his head and lifted her into his arms. He looked over to his father.

 

            “ Dad…”

 

            “ Samson, go…I’ll take care of everything here.” The widower nodded, he began walking out of the room. Eyes following his ever move but took notice of them. He had nothing to be ashamed of. If they had a problem then they could all just go to hell. He had more important things to think about.

 

            “Papa, wait.”

 

            “ What’s wrong Zora?” she lifted her head from his shoulder and called for Luca. Like the faithful and obedient companion he was, Luca he followed his young mistress. Transforming into his cub form mid trot, he followed his family out of the ballroom, away from the stares and no doubt talk. 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            An hour later the non-familial guests had left the estate, those who were left surveyed the damage left behind. No one knew what to say to each other. Grace sent a patronus to Kingsley telling him the news and he quickly apparated to the mansion.   Solidad tried her best to comfort her daughter but nothing helped. Eventually, she got her to go bed.

 

            “ She hates me mother…I lost Zora…she hates me.” Luna cried into her mother’s chest.

 

            “ She doesn’t hate you Lu-Lu she’s upset with us but she doesn’t hate you…no matter what she says.” Solidad had to believe that…if she caused a permanent rip between her girls then…she wouldn’t know what to do…. “ Just go to bed darling…things will look better in the morning…”

 

            Closing the door to the bedroom, Solidad walked back into the sitting area where the rest of the adults. Mimsy served them hot tea and fire-whiskey. They all sat around the fire saying nothing.

 

            “ We should have expected this…I don’t know why we thought she would take this well…” Xenophillus thought aloud. Solidad shot him a scathing look but he ignored it.

 

            “ We were trying to protect her…”

 

            “ No we were trying to protect ourselves. Iddy imagine how she must be feeling right now. She just found out about her mother from some boy she only knew for three hours instead of the people who’ve known her entire life…she must feel terrible…”

 

            “ In trying to protect her we instead disarmed them with omission. Instead of healing her we wounded her with betrayal. Now we must face the consequences of our action, for better or for worse.” Kingsley said somberly, he was the only one who was against keeping his sister’s death a secret. It was partially the reason why he had stayed away from the rest of the family, but mostly it was out of guilt. He was the one called who Samson in the night Cecile was killed, he couldn’t bear looking into his niece’s eyes knowing that he partially responsible for why she would never her know her mother. 

 

            “ Kingsley is right, we did this to ourselves…whatever happens next is up to both Zora and Luna.” Reginald sighed as he took a sip of his fire-whiskey tea. He stared into the fire thinking about the entire party. It was a disaster, no amount of good that actually happened that night could make it all right. The sight of his granddaughter sobbing into his sons’ chest would never leave him. Remembering how she looked at him with such anger and disbelief and betrayal he would never quite get over it.

 

            “ I’m not going to apologize for trying to protect the ones I love…of course the way both of them found out about is highly regrettable…”

 

“ Oh Iddy face it, we fucked up…big time. No amount of good intention is going to change that.” Maybe it was the fire-whiskey talking…or maybe it was the fact that his own daughter couldn’t look at him. Either way Samson was done trying to fool himself into believing that what he did was completely selfless.

 

            “ Samson! Language…please.”

 

            “ Sorry dad…” He wasn’t sorry. Samson put Zora on her bed and she instantly rolled herself over. The only one she paid any attention to was Luca, who instantly jumped on to the bed and laid next to her…farthest from him. That dug the knife in just a little bit deeper.

 

            “ All we can do now is go to bed…and hope for the best.”

 

            The clock struck twelve and all was not well, the secret that was kept for so long was finally out and the damages left were still yet to be seen. Their world had changed, only time now would tell them by just how much.

 

 

 

End Notes:

Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it.

Sweetling by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

School sucks. Thank fully it's over for the semester. HOORAY FOR SUMMER. In all honesty I wanted this to longer but I could pass up the ending...it was just too perfect. 

Chapter 12

 

            A moment. It’s something that most people don’t quibble about or even recognize. They are greatly underestimated little measures of time, however they are the things that people are mostly emotional over. They are anticipated, regretted, loved, and hated. In most cases people take them for granted. A moment can make a situation or break it into pieces. No one knows how truly valuable they are until after it happens. A moment was all that it took to shake the foundation of a family. It took many more for Zora to change her perceptions, to question her own feelings, to forgive. Being around her father felt like living with a stranger. The visits that she would normally love to receive from her grandparents and the Lovegoods now felt strained and forced. They all wanted forgiveness…but just being around them was a constant reminder of what she had lost. She began sneaking off to Hermione’s house, feeling that it to be the only safe haven she had left.

 

            She closed herself off and sunk even deeper into her shell. In school she would rarely talk…she didn’t even fight back when Lauren and that flunky Rebecca would start into her. Hermione, not being able stand the taunts took up after Zora. She didn’t know all the details of what happened that but from what she could tell Zora found out something very big. She was dealing with something and until she got out her funk Hermione would be there to pick up the slack. Samson tried everything to get her to talk to him, like they used to but it seemed hopeless. Either she would talk about her time with Hermione or her time with Hermione and her father. It was either Mr. Granger said that or Mr. Granger was so funny when…Mr. Granger…Mr. Granger…MR. GRANGER. He was starting to resent the man. It was becoming more and more apparent when he would pick Zora from the Granger residence.

 

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            “ Dad, I’m losing her…and I can’t stop it. Everything I do seems to push her away.” Closer to Barnaby Granger.

           

“ I don’t know what to do…I thought…allowing her to stay at their house after school and sometimes on weekends would make her happy. She’s always talking about great it is over there…and she talks about Mr. Granger like he’s the second coming of Jesus. Dad what do I do?”

 

            “ Well it should be obvious of what you should do Samson. Regain control of your daughter. Remind her who’s the parent in this relationship. If she wants to be mad, then she can be mad here in her own house.” Reginald took a sip of his alcohol. The fire- whiskey burned down his throat. He made a small face and then looked to his son.

 

            This was going on for far too long. Zora was starting to forget who was in-charge and it was about time Samson took control again. The damage had been done months have passed since then and they were still in the same place as there were before. Something had to give. While Zora had not been down right disrespectful, the cold shoulder she was putting up could not be tolerated any longer. All she seemed to do any more was talk to the Granger girl and play with that hound. Reginald could accept the fact that things could not go back to the way they were. He wouldn’t have expected them to, but at the same time he would not allow for them to dissolve anymore than they’ve already have.

 

            “ You’re right, the way that she’s been acting is unacceptable. When she gets home…”

 

            “ No, go get her now. When is the last time that you two actually ate together? Hm?” Samson took a swig of his fire-whiskey. “ I thought so…well Samson you know what you have to do. Bring your daughter home, kicking and screaming if need be.”

 

            “ I doubt it will come to that…”

 

            “ Well you know what I mean. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

 

            Samson agreed with his father, on everything that he had said, but he could lie…he felt out of his element. Zora had never acted like this before. She had always been a relatively easy child, which was why he didn’t know how to go about dealing with this attitude. It was understandable, Samson thought to himself. Zora’s life it was changed, and she was trying to deal with it. Apparently, “dealing with it” for her meant not talking to him. It couldn’t go on. Closing people out did not help, he needed her to know that. Like father like daughter. Samson thought with a wry smile on his face, even now when Zora refused to interact with him, the similarity they shared was…comforting.

 

Finished off his glass and stood up, Samson excused himself and put on jacket. It was time to get his daughter back.

 

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         “ Zora?”

            “ No Hermione.”

            “ You don’t even know what I was going to say.”

            “ Yes I do, you were going to ask if I’ve forgiven my father yet and the answer is still the same.”

            “ Zora…”

            Zora continued playing with Luca’s hair. She didn’t want to talk about this. Actually she didn’t want to think about it. This was supposed to be a safe space. Where she could just…be. She refused to look at Hermione, she didn’t want to see the annoyed look on her face. They have been talking about this for months, and still hadn’t gotten anywhere.

            “ Hermione…you don’t understand. My whole life has been a lie…I don’t know how to be around them anymore.” They sat in Hermione’s room, still in their school uniforms. As soon as the got to Hermione’s house they ran up to her room and closed the door. Matilda and Barnaby were both a little worried; both girls had been become secretive. They decided not push the issue. They hoped that Hermione would say something to them if something was really wrong.

            “ Then help me Zora…help me to understand. I know that they weren’t exactly…”

            “ They lied Hermione. For my entire life they lied. She’s my mother. I deserve to know why she isn’t…here...with me. She’s supposed to be here!” Zora’s eyes flashed different colors but Hermione didn’t flinch. Luca whimpered a little and Zora calmed herself down. She began swallow back tears.

            “ She’s supposed to be here…with me and she isn’t. And I can’t do anything about it.” Tears welled up in her eyes, “And what’s worse, I had no clue…I didn’t question it, not once. What would she think of me Hermione? Her own daughter didn’t think much to ask.”

            “ Zora this isn’t your fault and isn’t your family’s either. Whoever…did that to your mum, they are to blame. They are the one you should feel angry at.” Hermione couldn’t stand to see Zora like this. Ever since they had come back from holiday she had been different. Withdrawn and rarely smiling, her aura (if Hermione believed in such a thing) radiated sadness.

            Hermione moved closer towards her weeping friend. She held on to her hand and squeezed it tightly. She didn’t know what else to do. How do you comfort a friend when you had no idea how to go about it? When you couldn’t relate? Hermione, for the first time in her life, felt utterly clueless. Her friend…her only friend was going through such a terrible ordeal and she could do nothing to stop it.

 

            “ Zora…you know I’ll always be here right? That I’m always going to be on your side.” She said it in such low tone. Almost like a whisper. Zora looked like she was ready to bolt. Seeing Zora, someone usually happy, so depressed scared Hermione a great deal. Would Zora ever be the same as she was before? Would she ever smile again?

 

            Zora didn’t say anything in return; she just nodded her head slowly. Hermione didn’t know if she was actually paying attention to her but she was willing take what she could get at the moment.

 

            “ Hey Zora, do you want to go downstairs and watch some movies? We have the Little Mermaid, your favorite. I know how you like to point out the inaccuracies. Maybe I can convince my mum if we can have some ice cream as well…would you like that?” Zora looked over to Hermione and managed a small smile. It was a start, Hermione thought. The beginning back to normalcy.

           

            So, hand and hand the girls went downstairs and prepared for their movie time.

They got their ice cream and sat on the couch in front of the TV watching the Little Mermaid. The girls had gotten through half the movie until there was a knock on the front door. Barnaby went to get the door and smiled gently.

 

            “ Hello Samson, here to collect Zora?” Samson gave him terse nod. Barnaby allowed him and he went into the living room.

 

            “ Zora, your father is here to pick you up sweetie.”

 

            “ But we haven’t finished the movie yet…”

           

            “ Well, maybe if you ask your dad he’ll let you stay and finish it out.” Barnaby may have been just a dentist but he was a father as well. He felt the disturbance between the father and daughter for a while. He tried to initiate conversation between the two before and got nothing. Still, that did not stop him from trying.

 

            Zora noticeably tensed up when she laid eyes on her father. Her face was blank and her voice was dead when she spoke to him.

           

            “ Father, I would like to finish the movie with Hermione.” Samson raised his eyebrow at her. It was obvious that she didn’t want to go at least not with him. Samson probably would have allowed her to stay if she had actually asked him properly, but she didn’t. Time to bring in the tough love.

 

            “ Zora it’s time to go, get your things please.” She sent him mildly dirty look and didn’t move from the couch.

 

            “ I want to finish the movie with Hermione.”

 

            “ Zora, I’m not going to debate this with you. Go get your things now.

 

            “ No, I want to finish the movie first.”

 

            “ Zora Noel McQueen, you will watch your tone when you speak to me. Get your things this is instant. We are leaving.” He didn’t yell but Zora could tell that he was angry. There was a cold bite to his tone. Reluctantly, she placed the bowl beside her on the couch and got up. She gathered her things and walked past him, Luca trailing behind her.

 

            “ Say goodbye to the Grangers Zora. Don’t be rude.” She turned around and gave them a quick thank you and goodbye. Hermione gave her a little wave back. Samson gritted his teeth a bit but gave them tightly wound smile and went after her.

 

            Once they got outside, Samson gently grabbed her hand and disapparated off the sidewalk. When they got to the house, you could hear voices coming from inside. As soon as the door opened conversation instantly dropped. Zora had a feeling that she wouldn’t like what was about to occur next. The closer they got to the staircase that led to the bedrooms, a head popped out from the living room.

 

            “ Hello you two, dinner is ready come to the table when you’ve put down your things.” Gran ducked back into the living room. Samson and Zora did what they were told to do and entered the living room. The entire table was packed. The inner circle was there. The Lovegoods…Kingsley…and Reginald, they were all here. Yes, Zora definitely didn’t like the look of this.

 

            “ Actually, Gran I’m not feeling that hungry…”

 

            “ Zora, sit.” She pointed to an empty chair. She shuffled over to the empty seat, right next to Luna. She didn’t speak, she feeling a lecture coming on. She stared at her plate the entire time; she sensed that all eyes were on her. She never felt so uncomfortable. She felt like she was ensnared in a trap, and there was no way to escape.

 

            They all sat in silence unsure of what to say or how to react. The only sounds that were heard were the awkward movements of the silverware. Reginald, never one to like prolonged silences, cleared his throat drawing the attention of the table to him.

 

            “ Hello everyone, I’m glad that everyone could attend this dinner. It’s been some time since we have shared a meal.” 

 

            “ Dad…”

           

            “ The estrangement between all of us…needs to end.”

 

            “ And you are the one to decide this?” Zora muttered. She sunk into the chair. Any appetite she could have had was gone.

           

“ Zora, do you have something say?” 

 

 “ Oh no grandfather, continue please.” Zora said as sweetly as possible, but everyone could hear the vague sarcasm hidden just below the surface.

 

“ Yes, well…as I was saying before. This estrangement, and I believe that I speak for everyone when I say this, is something that needs to be rectified. We were all once so close…I would hate to see such friendship ruined over a mistake.”

 

A mistake…that’s what he thought? Zora thought in outrage. The initial anger she thought she had gotten over weeks ago hit her in the face like a slap. Dropping a glass of milk is a mistake. Forgetting your coursework at home was a mistake. But what happening on New Year’s eve was no mistake. The only mistake that was made was her blindly trusting those currently around her. It was obvious that they had no clue to the damage that they had done. More and more Zora’s eyes grew red, almost to blood crimson. The anger that kept boiling within her felt like it was going erupt at any moment.

 

“ I very much agree Reginald…this separation has been hard on all us…especially the children.” Solidad looked across from her, staring her dreamy little blonde. Ever since the party she grew more into herself. Solidad would notice her walk around the field…almost like in trance. The she would pay attention to the oddest things. She didn’t think much about it for the first few days…but now she didn’t know what do about it. When they had gotten the patronus, she didn’t hesitate to convince Xenophilius that it was a good idea to come.

 

“ This dinner was made to be a sort of peace gathering. A time for us all to get reacquainted with each other, much has happened in the last few months.” Grace motioned for people to eat. Soon there was clanking of silverware and people starting to eat…it all felt so wrong. The food that was on her plate didn’t draw her in like it used to. It was then that she felt the change. She noticed just how much she felt alone. It hurt to acknowledge it. Just another thing for her deal with somehow. Zora remained stuck in her own thoughts until Grace spoke again.

 

“ I’ve decided to take some time off traveling and do another passion of mine. Acting, well teaching the dramatic arts in any case. Herbert Beery, headmaster from the Wizard Academy of Dramatic Arts, asked me to join the faculty and I have accepted.” Happy noises and appreciative nods went around the table.

 

“ I was just talking to a friend I have in China, he was reminding me of the sites and how I haven’t visited in quite awhile and I was thinking…” This was ridiculous…

 

“…oh Reginald that sounds like a lovely idea…” They were all going about their business as if nothing had happened.

 

“…We never have been to China before….” It was like they were just trying to sweep it under the rug. Zora continued to clench her fist fits on her lap. It was outrageous; it was a scandal of the grandest sort.

 

“ Zora, darling wouldn’t you like to go to China? We’d go while you were off from that muggle school you attend of course…” Reginald asked Zora. For the entire dinner she hadn’t looked up to any one. She only stared at her plate, she felt it safer than any other option that was opened to her at the moment. A trip to China…that’s what they wanted to talk about? An insignificant trip when there something else that needed to be discussed.  

 

 

“Has everyone gone mental?! My mother…your wife…your daughter was murdered, and I just found about it only a few months ago. And instead of talking about that you all are talking about a stupid trip to China?!” Now the roots of her hair were starting to change color. A quickly darkening red.

 

“ Zora calm down…!” She looked at her grandfather and then let out a most mirthless laugh. Calmed down? Impossible. She knew that. The stares of confusion and sadness, it was all too much. She felt like she was going to explode. Or cry, maybe even both. She abruptly stood up from the table, she couldn’t handle being around them.

 

“ I would rather go into a field with a 1000 soul-thirsty dementors than go on a trip with any of you. At least with them I would know what to expect!” She began to stomp away, until her father

 

            “ Zora that is quite enough, I understand that you are still angry with us…”

 

            “ No, you don’t understand! You probably couldn’t even if you tried! All of you had time with her! All of you have solid memories of her! I don’t!” she looked to the grown ups around the table and then back to her father, “ All the stories you told me…you never spoke a word about the most important one. You didn’t trust me to handle it…”

 

            “ Zora…” In a calm voice, Samson tried to get closer to her but she wouldn’t allow it. “ There is so much more to it than you realize…what happened to your mother is something you shouldn’t have to know about yet.”

 

            The crimson red faded, instead of blue settled in. It hurt, oh how did hurt. She wanted to stay angry. She was still angry but the hurt became more and more predominant. She just wished it would stop. It felt like she would never be happy again. Anger, guilt, and sadness those were the only things that she felt that she was capable of feeling. For months, these debilitating emotions ate her. She couldn’t remember the last time she genuinely felt happy…laughed…smiled. It seemed so long ago. This war was killing everything that she held dear. She couldn’t deal with it anymore. Tears fell, she didn’t even bother to wipe them away.

 

            “ Dad…when did you think I’ll ever be ready to hear that mum was murdered? That she was stolen from me…you…Gran…and everyone else who loved her. I doubt that I’ll ever be ready to hear that.” The whole situation was tiring, and her voice reflected that. She turned away from him and the rest of group still sitting at the table looking at her.

 

            “ And to make it worse, I heard this all from someone whom I met at a party. Not my family, the ones I thought would be honest with me no matter what. I would’ve been devastated obviously, but at least I would still have had you all there with me. No one can hurt me more than you all…other people…they don’t matter. You all did...I don’t know where to go from here. All I know is that I can’t be the way I was and trying to push yourselves back into my life is only making things harder…more confusing…” She heard her voice wobble a bit. She couldn’t face them, or else she would really start to cry.

            “ Zora…”

 

            “ D-dad I can’t…maybe I was out of line a few times…but I don’t know how to handle this…any of this…I just don’t know how…” Zora ran from the room and to her bedroom. She closed the door and picked up the whimpering hound. Her mind was flooded with thoughts, emotions…mostly feelings of longing. All she wanted was her mother back, Zora slid down to the floor. She felt so low that she wondered if she would ever get back up again.

 

            “M-mother…” It felt like she was losing her for the first time. All she wanted to do was be where she was, to talk to her and hear her voice. No amount of illusion could help her now. She needed the real thing and she could never have it. She continued to sniffle with her back against her bedroom door.

 

            So lost in her sadness, she didn’t notice herself transport out of the room.

 

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            After the scene at dinner no one could get themselves to eat. Samson hadn’t moved an inch since Zora ran to her room. Her words repeated in his head like an echo.

 

            “…when did you think I’ll ever be ready to hear that mum was murdered?...I doubt that I’ll ever be ready to hear that.”

 

            He didn’t know what to do anymore. Nothing he could possibly do would fix this situation. He hated it, the feelings of helplessness. Zora finally spoke to him and it broke his heart. His daughter was hurt and didn’t trust him.

 

            “ Samson…it will be okay. She’s just in shock is all.”

 

            “ Everything’s so broken Grace…how will it ever be okay?”

 

            “ The wounds Zora has…they’re fresh. She’s trying to heal them. Tonight was a step in the right direction.” She got up from her seat and walked toward him.

 

            “ Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my daughter. When she died… I didn’t think that I could breathe again let alone smile. What Zora needs now is you. She’ll come to us when she’s ready. Tonight was a mistake.”

 

            “ I wouldn’t say that…” Grace shook her head, Reginald didn’t know to keep quiet.

 

            “ Reginald, ambushing her was a mistake. Trying to force an interaction was wrong. Clearly, she wasn’t ready for it.”

 

            “ And how else were we supposed to get close to her Grace?—“

 

            “ Reginald it’s been hard on all of us—“       

 

“ Enough.”  Samson spoke up. He needed to talk to Zora and that meant they couldn’t be here. “ I need some time alone with my daughter…”

 

“ Of course Samson…we’ll clean up here. Go to Zora.” Kingsley said calmly, no one tried to fight him on it. Samson shot him an appreciative look and made his way to Zora’s room.

 

He knocked on her door, and called for her. When he got no response he tried again. Still not getting a response, he cracked the door and his heart stopped. Zora wasn’t in the room! And neither was Luca.  He ran into the room and called her name frantically. The room looked as it did that morning. What in Merlin’s name could’ve happened? And then it him, apparition.

 

“ Fuck…” Samson swore under his breath. Samson ran down the stairs just in time to see the others were leaving.

 

“ Zora’s gone, so is Luca.”  He was thinking of all the places that she could’ve aparated to. The Granger’s, the school…

 

“ What do you mean she’s gone? Like she ran?” Reginald asked.

 

“ No, like she accidently aparated. She’s upset, it seems the most likely of occurrences. Her room was untouched. Look, we’re losing time. We have to go. NOW.”

 

“ Alright, mother stay with Luna incase she comes back, Reginald go to your house and see if she went there. Solidad, go to and check your house. Xenophilius and I will travel around—“

 

“And I will go to the Grangers.” It seemed like the most obvious of places.

 

“ Okay, if one of us finds her send a patronus.”

 

The group went outside and aparated into the night. Storm clouds were beginning to form. They needed to act quickly.

 

Samson landed right on to the Granger’s doorstep and banged on the door. Matilda was the one to open the door, she was about to give him a piece of her mind until she saw the look on his face.

 

“ Samson? What’s wrong?—“

 

“ May I please come in? I-I’d rather not talk about this outside.”

 

“ Of course,” she guided him into the living room and sat him down. “ Would you like something to drink, tea perhaps?”

 

“ No, thank you Matilda. I’m sorry to trouble you like this—“

 

“ Mattie, who was at the door? Samson, blimey what are you doing here? Is everything alright?” Zora wasn’t here, he could tell by their confusion. Fear clenched his heart like a bear trap.

 

“ Z-zora, she’s gone. We don’t know where she is. My family is out looking for her right now. I had hoped—“

 

“ That she was be here…I’m sorry Samson but Zora isn’t here.” Matilda said. She looked at her husband with worry. Samson got up from his seat and straightened out his clothes.

 

            “  Samson I could go with you, Matilda can stay with Hermione. I just put her to bed. So it wouldn’t be any trouble.” Samson didn’t think it was a wise idea. He would be much quicker on his own and he couldn’t afford to lose any more time. However he couldn’t raise suspicion, so reluctantly he accepted the man’s offer.  As the left the house, Samson sent out a silent prayer.

  

            Cecile, please watch over our girl…I can’t lose her too.

 

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When Zora looked up she noticed that she was outside, she wiped her eyes and looked around. She surrounded by statues…winged-hooded figures and tombstones. A cemetery, that much was obvious. Getting a closer look at the statues she knew that she was a wizard cemetery.  She let Luca fall from her arms as got to her feet. On guard Luca transformed into his second stage. While he was vigilant, she knew that there was nothing to fear. Not here. The stone hooded figures…they were the Guardians of the Fold. They were wards that kept muggles from finding out about wizards even in death. Legend had it they were around since the time of Merlin maybe even before that. Witches and wizards were taught from a very young age not to fear the Guardians. They were revered as the connectors between the living and the dead. When in their presence, feelings of warmth and fond memories of the deceased fill the person, at least that was supposed to happen. Zora had no actual memory of her mother. All she that she felt was emptiness.

 

Why was she here? How was she here? The last thing she remembered was sitting on the floor of her room. And now she was in a cemetery. The only possible reason she could think of, “ Mother…”

 

The moment she said the word, a pair of stone eyes lit up down the lane. She slowly made her way to the glowing statue. She looked at the inscription on the tombstone.

 

Cecile Amelia McQueen

April 18, 1960-December 31, 1981

Beloved Daughter, Friend and Mother

          Death is not the End

 

            Zora didn’t make a sound or shed a tear. She just stood there and looked at the tombstone. Her mother was buried here. In this very spot, it was a lot to take in. Zora bent down on to her knees and laid beside the grave.

 

            “Hello mother, I’ve missed you. Everyday. I’m sorry…for everything but I’m here now. I-I love you.” The grass was soft under her, Luca was right next to his mistress cutting off some of the cool air breezing through. Zora closed her eyes soaked in the moment. Her mother was here. Did she know? That her baby girl was laying next to her? Her Gran had always told her that no one in the world could love a little girl more than her mother. That the love between a mother and child was so strong, nothing could break it. It was an unbreakable bond.

 

            “ I need you mother…I know you’re faraway but…” She began to sniffle. “I guess it doesn’t matter now.” She heard Luca begin to whimper. She sat up and crossed her legs. Luca put his large head on her lap and licked her hand. Zora gave him weak smile and petted him on the head. She looked back towards the statue and noticed that its eyes were still glowing.

 

            “ I just wish that I could talk you…just once. If I could hear your voice it would be enough…”  There was rumbling where the statue stood. Luca became to growl, his hair on the back of his neck started to stand on end. Zora didn’t know what was going on. The statue…it was moving. Its hands unfolded and fell to its sides. Its wings extended into the air. Its mouth opened.

 

            “ Zora…my sweetling.”

 

            “M-mother?!” 

End Notes:

Thanks for reading! Please Review.

Interlude by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Hello everyone, here's just a short blurb. Hope you like it.

If you could write a little review and tell me your thoughts that will would be steller!

Zora…my sweetling.”

 

“ M-mother?!” She had to be hallucinating. Or dreaming. This couldn’t possibly be real. Zora began pinching herself. “ How is this possible…?!”

 

You’ve grown so much… such a young lady. Your father will have tough time with you I’m sure.” Cecile ignored her daughter’s confusion. Time was precious and fleeting. She soaked in Zora’s image, became drunk with it. Her baby, her darling girl. For so long she was forced to keep a distance. The very fact that she was able to this…she couldn’t fathom it. It was the sweetest torture. To be so close but be held back by pure stone. She had to stay within the confines of stone.

 

“Mum, there is so much I want to ask you…so much I want to know…”

 

Zora….”

 

“ I need to know, please! How…who…”

 

Zora…all will be revealed in due course.” She had seen it. There was going to be trouble in the future…so much suffering…but she had faith in daughter to get through it. She would not be alone after all…

 

“ Mother, everything is so…so messed up! I don’t know what to do about any of it… I don’t know how to be around them anymore…I feel so lost…”

 

Zora,  darling…you are only nine.” Cecile saw the confusion on her daughter’s face. The hurt that she could take away. It was times like this that she hated most being dead. “ Give yourself time. You will find your way. Things that you are feeling now are natural. Remember that your father and the others…they do things because they love you. Flawed as their thoughts may have been, their intentions came out pure love.”

 

“ You know all this mysterious, washy other-side stuff is not helping right? Like at all.”  The annoyance in Zora’s voice made Cecile smile. Like father like daughter.

 

“ It comes with the territory darling, I don’t make the rules. I’m just forced to follow them.”

 

Zora couldn’t believe that she was arguing with her mother, her mother! It made her want to laugh. Which she did, for a minute or so.

 

“ Never did I think I would be actually talk to you. I have I gone mental? Is this just a very elaborate dream? Dad said that the dead can’t come back.”

 

“ And he’s right I can’t come back in person but I can speak through a guardian if the situation allows it.”

 

“ Situation?”

 

I don’t have much time left. Look, Zora right now you feel lost and unsure. That will pass. In the future, you will have times where the answers are not so easily found. Where things are not always as they appear. What will become important is your knowledge of self. Always remember who truly you are and stay true to it.

 

“ Mother wait I—“

 

“ Zora I must leave, my time is almost up…be strong….be safe.” Her voice sounded farther and farther away. Zora began to panic.

 

“ NO, mother wait!”

 

Zora…remember that you are never alone. Though people are not always with you physically they are always with you within your mind, your actions and in your heart. I love you, my little phoenix.” The eyes dimmed back to their stone-gray. The hands refolded themselves and the wind resumed their original position. Cecile had left, leaving no trace of ever being there in the first place.

 

Zora continued to stare at the stone statue. Where did she go from here? How does one react to talking to a dead loved one? She thought that she would’ve gotten more answers but ended up with just more questions. In her confusion she felt a weight lift off her heart. Was it closure? Doubtful, but it was a start. A small, wistful smile grew on her face.

 

“ Goodbye mother, I’ll see you…when I see you I guess.” Sounds of familiar voice rang through out the area. All of them were screaming her name.

 

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            The next year of Zora’s life brought came much sweetness as it did sour. She allowed herself to be happy and allowed those whom she still loved back into her life. And for a time it was enough. School was going okay and she was slowly regaining her happy demeanor.  She was reconnecting with those around her. They were all relearning each other. They were all starting to heal properly. With the passing of her tenth birthday only a few more months were left until she traveled to Scotland for her magical training.  So much had changed since that night in graveyard. Hermione was beginning to distance herself from her. Though not out right, her actions were starting to show indifference but Zora couldn’t bring herself to focus too much on it. She had more important things to worry about.

 

            Solidad Emilia Lovegood, her surrogate aunt and sometimes mother was dead. Between dry sobs and tear stained cheeks, Xenophilius told the horrorstruck friends the news. They were all sitting in a private room at St. Mungo’s. The late Lovegood was covered with a white sheet, and Luna was laid in the next bed over. According to Xenophilius, she was messing around with one of her spells. Luna had been with her, assisting with her with notes and what not. Soldiad had telling her family that she was on to something, something big. She had sent the little girl to go get one of her notebooks and just as Luna ran back to the room the explosion happened. By the time they had made it to the hospital it was already too for Solidad. Luna on the other hand had been knocked out. A gnash dyed her wavy platinum blonde hair a few small cuts on the face. The doctors had done all that could. She was still breathing, and that was what was important.

 

            It was very trying time for them all. Luna had not woken up by the time of the funeral. Solidad was laid to rest in an open area of wild dirigible plums. It was a beautiful space, a true reflection of the free spirited woman. When Luna finally woke up, she didn’t remember the accident. She did not remember many things. The most heartbreaking was that she did not remember ever knowing Zora. That cut her deeply, she tried to help her friend to remember but in the end she could not deal with the pain. She tried to convince herself that in things might become different. But only time could her if she was just being foolish.

 

            With the loss of two loved ones and quite possibly a third, going off on her own didn’t seem too bad of an idea. Maybe having the slate be clean was just what she needed.

 

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The Final Countdown by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Hey Guys! Here the latest hope you like it! I'm so excited for what's coming next!

“…Tonks will be baby-sitting you for a week while I’m gone…”

 

“ I’m not a baby! I’m a young witch. I’m almost eleven.”

 

“ Fine, Tonks will be young witch-sitting you while I’m away…”

 

“ And why are you leaving again?”

 

Samson sighed and took a sip of his morning orange juice. “ I haven’t gotten there yet. Ando has asked me to come to Japan for business. So I’ve asked Tonks to stay with you while I am away.”

 

 Zora took another bite out of her stack of her confetti pancakes. While she would love to go with him to Japan, having Tonks stay with her would be nice as well. She was supposed to be getting out of the Academy soon and according to her last letter she was days away from becoming a full-fledged Auror. Luca whimpered for the piece of leftover sausage that was on her plate. When her father wasn’t looking she snuck it to him.

 

            “ But this won’t happen until after your birthday. And Zora, while she’s here don’t think you’ll be able to get away with anything you want…”

 

            “ Oh come on dad how much trouble could I possibly get into in a week?” Samson gave a pointed look and then looked back to his issue of the Daily Prophet. 

 

            “ Be that as it may Zora I do not want this house a complete mess when I return.”

 

            “ Fine, can Hermione come over while your gone?”

 

            “ You two have patched things up then?” The girls’ friendship had been becoming strained as Zora impending leave grew closer. Samson worried that this might happen. While Hermione didn’t seem to be the jealous type of girl she seemed a little insecure. Zora and Hermione clung to each other, the separation will definitely be difficult for them. For all of them. Zora had never been away from him for extended periods of time. His little girl was growing up right before him.

 

            “ Well kind of sort of you see…Dad?”

 

            “ Y-yes?”

 

            “ You’re doing it again.”

 

            “ Can’t help it, I was admiring the craftsmanship. Damn, your mum and I did good.”

 

            “ DAD!” Samson laughed when she saw her disgusted face.

 

            “ What? We did.” Samson got up from his chair and brought his daughter up into his arms. He stood up straight and Zora laid her head in crook of his neck causing him to smile. “ You’re growing up so fast…who told you to do that?”

 

            “ Last time I checked, biology. But that’s just the muggle’s perspective.” Samson smirked. Little smart-arse…yeah…she’ll be okay.

 

            “ And you still haven’t answered me about Hermione.”

 

            “ Alright…but she’ll have to ask her parents first.”

 

            “ Thanks dad!” She tightened her arms around his next for a moment and then started to wiggle out of his arms. Once she landed on the floor she dashed out of the room. The pitter-patter of footsteps stopped and Zora walked back to the opening of the kitchen.

 

            “ Uh, dad? Don’t you have work?”

 

            Yes, he did. But was he going to go? Nope. He had enough leave to take two months of work off, so why not play hooky for once? Play on the wild side.

 

            “ Actually, I have a day off.  Why don’t we do something fun today? All I have to do is submit a report at some point but the rest of the day could be ours. What do you say to that?”

 

            “ I’d ask you who you were and what you did with my father, but I think the better question would be if we could go to the zoo. The telly-machine thing said that they were showing a new exhibit. Boa Constrictors!”

 

            Deciding to ignore her little quip he nodded. She made an excited squealing noise and ran to her room to get changed. Samson walked back to his orange juice and finished it off.

 

            To the zoo it was then.

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            Besides being outdoors, the zoo was probably one of her favorite places to visit. She loved to look at all the different animals. They gave her ideas of what to transform into next. She felt a connection with them. When they caught each other’s eye it was like for just one moment they were on the same wavelength. The walk about around the zoo was lovely. There was a massive crowd that was going towards the reptile exhibit.

 

            “ Keep close Zora, don’t want to get separated.”

 

            “ Okay dad.” It was so exciting! she wanted to see the boas and the other reptiles in the exhibit. The father and daughter stood in line to go into the exhibit. Children, teenagers and adults were chattering. Right before the McQueens’ was a family of three, they had been talking about meaningless things and while Zora

 

            “ Dudley dear, after this we’ll go to the toy store and get you those two new presents we talked about, okay?” The voice was shrill as nails on a chalkboard and had had enough fake sugar to kill a diabetic. The woman was thin as a stick and her smile stretched her skin around her boney cheeks.

 

            “ I want the remote control robot and the new video from…” ‘Dudley’ started listing off things.

 

            “ Yes…yes…BOY come here! I swear if walk away again…” The man sounded fearsome, it remaindered her of a muffled growl. The ‘boy’ that he was referring to skidded back to group of three. He looked vaguely familiar…

 

            “ S-sorry Uncle Vernon…” 

 

            “ I swear if you ruin this day—“ Vernon gripped the boy’s shoulder so tight that she could see the man’s meaty paw turned white, but before he could finish his threat the boy Dudley yelled.

 

            “ LOOK, WE’RE NEXT!”

 

Only a small group of people let in at a time, the zoo officials did not want to disturb the reptiles too much with the extra noise, prying eyes and poking fingers. When the group walked in there was a collective gasp. The zoo had really had gone all out for the opening. The whole room looked like a range environmental areas. The ceilings were high and there was a large opening on the far end of the room to lead people to other parts of the zoo. People spread out to look at the different reptiles. 

 

“ Zora I’ll be right over there okay,” Samson was not very fond of reptiles, maybe it was  the schoolboy in him talking. They were cold-blooded and merciless; some thing about them to him was just innately off. No wonder Salazar chose a serpent for his house seal.

 

“ Okay dad.” Zora walked off to where the boa constrictor being held. When she got there she saw the boy from before leaning on the rail. The three other people had walked off after failing to get the boa to move. She wanted to ask him if he was all right, but as she got closer to him she heard him talking.

 

“ …Sorry ‘bout him, he doesn’t understand what it’s like. Lying there, day after day…watching people pressing their ugly faces in on you.” She didn’t know why but hearing him talk made her smile. He was very kind, whoever he was. She moved her focus from the boy onto the snake, and for a second she thought she saw it blink at him.

 

“ Can you hear me?” That’s what she wanted to know. Could people talk to snakes? She had never heard of such an ability. The snake lifted its head to the boy’s eye level and nodded.

 

“ It’s just…I’ve never talked to a snake before. Do you—I mean, do you talk to people often? ” The snake shook its head. It moved its head slightly into her direction. Almost as if signal that he knew that that she was there. She was thankful that lighting in the cage made it hard to see reflections. The snake moved its head back to the boy, thankfully.  

 

You’re from Burma aren’t you? Was it nice there? Do you miss your family?” The snake turned its head towards the other side of its cage. There was a sign, Boa Constrictor, Brazil. Just under it was a smaller sign: Bred in Captivity.

 

I see, that’s me as well I never knew my parents either.” The melancholy in his voice broke her heart. She wanted to say something but that would blow her cover…even though she clearly was not eavesdropping. Still, she wanted to comfort him.

 

As she drew closer to him the pudgy boy came shoveling back, “ Mummy! Dad! Come here! You won’t believe what the snake is doing!”

 

The bulldozer of a boy knocked him into Zora. Both of them fell to the ground.

 

“ Ow…” He whipped his head around and looked into Zora’s eyes.

 

“ It’s you!” He whispered. It was the girl from before, from the park!

 

“ What? Could you please get off me ” The boy scrambled off of her and helped her off the floor. A dash of pink colored his cheeks.

 

            “ Ohh looks like Harry Potty-pukehead has a girlfriend.” Dudley snickered at his own joke. Both of them sent him a glare. When he turned his attention back to the snake he felt the glass give out and fell into containment cell. It was a funny sight to see, Dudley sputter around, until they remembered that there was a snake in there with him. The snake saw an opportunity of escape and decided to take it. The moment it slithered out of the cell people everywhere in the exhibit started screaming with fright.

 

            Harry without second thought extended his arm in front of Zora and backed them up against the wall. The snake took a look at its surroundings and glanced over at the two. It opened its mouth and hissed:

 

            “Brazil here I comeTttttthankssss, amigos”

 

            “Uh, no problem.” said a bewildered Harry. The boa gave them a wink and then slithered off but not before scaring a few of the patrons along the way. Zora felt her heartbeat begin to slow down but her mind was going wild. She just heard a snake talk. A real life snake, talking. She didn’t have much time to mull it over when she heard a woman screeching for help, and blubbering from inside the empty cell.

 

            Next thing she knew she saw a man lumbering over them and snatched Harry by the hair and started asking him what happened. Seeing Harry in pain, Zora launched herself at the abusive man.

 

            “Stop it! Please, you’re hurting him!”

 

            “ Little girl this has nothing to do with you, bugger off!” Vernon raised his free hand to her, Zora shut her eyes fearing an impact but it never came. When she did open them she saw her father with his hand clenching Vernon’s wrist and twisting into a painfully awkward position.

 

            “ Vernon Dursley, if you ever raise your hand to my daughter or that boy again I will forget that are you are his caretaker and deal with you myself. Muggle or not.” Samson bit out. Zora had never seen her father act so cold. His eyes burned like cold ice.

 

            Vernon yelped in pained and let Harry go. “And speaking of caretaking, it’s quite obvious that you two have been doing little regards to him. Maybe it’s high time that Albus came to see you all once more. We all know that he would not be please as to how the boy is being treated.”

 

            He knew that he struck a chord because of them had a look of fear in their eyes.

 

Samson turned his head towards Petunia, a look of disgust on his face, “ If she only knew…if she only knew her own sister would allow such cruelty...she’s probably spinning her grave right now.”

 

            Petunia had the decency to look somewhat embarrassed. Zora looked around and no one was moving. A spell that froze time perhaps? Her father never used magic. Especially at this grand of scale.  She looked around it seemed like only she, Harry, her father and the Dursley adults were still active.

 

Vernon was turning a deep shade of red. Samson clenched his wrist a little tighter before letting go. Samson looked to Harry who looked petrified. He took out a piece of paper and a pencil. He scribbled something quickly and handed it to him. He told Harry to put it in his pocket and read it when he was alone.

 

“ Now quickly before I go, have I made myself perfectly clear?” Samson looked to both Dursley’s. Petunia would raise eyes to meet his and Vernon just glowered at him while nursing his wrist. “ Splendid.”

 

            Samson snapped his fingers and the world around them moved as if nothing happened. He brought Zora close to him and smiled charmingly at the Dursley’s. “ Vernon…Petunia…eventful as always…now I would get that boy outside of that cell…He looks a little bit chilly.”

 

            Dudley continued to cry and hit his pudgy against the glass. Petunia screamed for a zoo attendant to get her son out of the cell. When one finally came the Dursley’s went with them leaving the three of them alone.

 

            “ Zora, it’s time for us to go now.”  Zora nodded her head. She looked at the boy, worried about what would happen after they left.  Samson had started to walk away, while Zora turned towards Harry gave him a small smile.

 

            “  Um, thank you for…uh…protecting me from that snake. It was very brave of you.”  She rubbed her arm nervously; she felt her face heat up. She didn’t know what was going on with her.

 

            “ Your welcome…I didn’t really think about it to be honest…just a reflex I guess.  Tell your dad thanks…no one’s…ever stuck up for me like that…” Harry scratched the back of his head, suddenly flustered. “ Oh! And you too of course! Y-you didn’t have to...uh…step in…”

 

“ Why wouldn’t I step in? He was hurting you and it wasn’t right. No one deserves to be treated like that.” Zora said fiercely. Harry continued to mess with his hair. Unconsciously lifting up his bangs, Zora saw a mark on his forehead. No…it couldn’t be…

 

“ Zora…” her father was calling for her again.

 

“ Coming! I’ve got to go but…maybe we’ll see each other again, yeah?”

 

“ Y-yeah, maybe…” He could hear the overzealous whimpering behind him; his “family” members were on their way back. Zora noticed the sad look on his face.

 

“ Hey, don’t let those guys keep you down. Things will change around, you’ll see.” Zora gave him a wave and ran off towards her father.

 

Grasping her hand, Samson and Zora walked out of the large doorway. She replayed the scene in her mind and things seemed to match up, if only she got a better look at the mark on his forehead. She wasn’t completely sure but she almost certain that she just met the famous Harry Potter.

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When they got to the Ministry, Samson and Zora were immediately herded into Kingsley Shacklebolt’s office. Samson stood rigid, arms behind his back just as he was trained. Zora was taken to see Mrs. Hopkins, while the men had a talk. No one said anything until Fudge cleared his throat.

 

“ Mr. McQueen the stunt you pulled at the Zoo is unacceptable.”

 

“ Minster Fudge I used the upmost discretion before I cast the spell…”

 

“ Samson, if you could tell us what happened at the zoo…”

 

“ It was an urgent matter. It had to deal with the boy…Harry Potter. As well as my daughter’s safety.”

 

“ Oh?” Fudge’s interest had been peaked.

 

“ Yes sir. The boy’s caretaker, the man Vernon Dursley was acting very inappropriately. I suspect negligence and abuse. Judging by Potter’s clothing, the conditions that they are subjecting him to are abysmal at best.”

 

“ And Zora? What does she have to do with any of this?” Samson looked at Kingsley directly in the eye.

 

“ She was drawn into conflict when she saw that the boy was in pain. Dursley was prepared to strike her and I intervened.”

 

“ I see…well…”

 

“ Sir, permission to speak freely?” Fudge looked at him warily but nodded his head.

 

“I do not regret what I did. Yes, what I did was not regulation but in the moment I used the technique I thought was best. As an Auror for the Ministry I understand that my actions have consequences and I must pay for them. However, I am also a father…and I saw my daughter and another child in danger. And in being a father I will do what it takes to protect my own. If James were in my position I have no doubt that he would have done the same for me.”

 

            “ Yes, but be that as it may Mr. McQueen the fact of the matter is that you broke regulation…”

 

            Before he could go on Kingsley decided to step in. “ Minister, if I may be so forward, since Samson has been such an asset to the division could you possibly leave him with a warning? Put him on probation instead of expulsion? I say this only because I can guarantee you that if people were to find out about today’s incident it could cause quite the scandal for your office…” Fudge paled a bit at the implication.  

 

            The wizarding world loved its celebrities and Harry Potter was about as high as one could go within the UK. Dismissing the man who brought the living conditions of their young hero to the highest authority would be simply be not possible. People would want his head. On a platter or at the very least to be examined.

            Meanwhile…

 

            “ It’s good to see you Zora, especially since you will be off to school soon enough. Turning the big one-one, have any big party plans for your send off?” Zora hadn’t been to back to the Ministry in quite some time. She had missed talking to Mrs. Hopkins and eating the candy that was on her table.

 

            “ Not really, I think just having the family over for a dinner. Then it’ll just be me and dad at King’s Cross.” She didn’t want to make a huge deal about leaving. For so long she waited for the moment to arrive but she wasn’t so sure. It was big step, going off to Hogwarts. It was where legends made both good and bad. Where would she fall among the many witches and wizards to grace the hallways? Even though she had never had never stepped on the magical grounds she already felt small…insignificant.

 

            “ Well that’s alright, sometimes it’s the smaller things that end up being more meaningful.” She unwrapped a chocolate frog and handed Zora the collectable card that was inside. She took a peak outside of the main window and to her desk clock. The young Malfoy should be coming around soon. He always came around this time. Sneaking around corners, trying to be inconspicuous. She remembered the first time she caught him sneaking around. She had half a mind to get one of the Aurors to escort him back to his father. Exactly like his father, rude little brat.

 

            “ You expecting someone Mrs. Hopkins?”

 

            “ Aye, the Malfoy boy…such a little stinker that one. Always comes around here about this time. Like he’s looking for something.” Or someone.  

 

            Mrs. Hopkins had been on the earth long enough to know what infatuation looked like. She worried that the boy was becoming a little obsessed. The first time he stopped by he came to the Department, he went to the main secretary who then directed him to her.

 

            “ Hello.”

 

“ Hello?”

           

            “ My name is Draco Malfoy and I would like to speak to Ms. McQueen.”

 

            “ Do you have an appointment?”

 

            “ What?”

 

            “ Do…you…have…an…appointment?” she repeated herself slowly, which she didn’t think he appreciated.

 

            “ No, but—“

 

           

            “ Then I’m sorry Draco I cannot let you into Mr. McQueen’s office.” She was trying her hardest to be civil to the boy but he was not making it easy on her.

 

            “ So she’s in there, right now?” The small bit of excitement she saw did not escape.

 

            “ I cannot tell you that.” Draco began to glare.

           

            “ Why not?” he asked indignantly.

 

            “ Because, they are the rules set by Mr. McQueen himself.” She said calmly.

 

            “ Maybe then I should be talking him instead. You’re his secretary, call him.” No “please”. Just an order like she was one of his house-elves. The impertinence! Being a woman who did not deal with disrespect, especially with insolent children. She had gotten from her desk, took him by the ear and dragged him out of the Department.

 

            “ Wait until my father hears about this you old hag! You’ll be sorry! You hear me?!”

  

            “ Your father has no jurisdiction here, so I would love to see him try. Also I would love to talk your father about your disrespectful language.” She pushed him out of the office and put her hands on her hips.

 

            “ Come in here with that attitude again Mr. Malfoy and I’ll send you straight off!” She had gotten one of the Ministry guards to take him back to the Department of Mysteries. She expected Malfoy Jr. to come storming in with his brat of son but it never happened.

 

            From that point on she would only see him from the front window. He would try his best to look in, and if caught by her would stick his tongue out. And judging how harshly his mood fell every time Mr. McQueen walked out of the department alone was a clear indicator of his fascination with the young McQueen girl. It seemed it would seem wane. The house elf that was always by his side would get a swift kick. Poor thing

 

            “But that’s not important…tell me about Harry Potter. It must’ve been exciting!”  

 

            “ He was very kind and humble. I wasn’t expecting that…to be honest I wasn’t sure what I would be expecting. I’ve never met a famous person before.” Zora took another Bertie’s candy from the bowl and went back to the side couch.

 

            He seemed to have no clue of who he was…of what he had done for an entire community. If what she thought was true, she had been in the presence of someone truly special.

 

            “ And on top of that Dad seemed to know him, which is a little curious. He gave him a note. I wonder what he had said.” Mrs. Hopkins sat very interested in what she was saying. She stuffed her face with sweets like she was at a film viewing.

 

            Zora decided to not tell Mrs. Hopkins about the snake talking part. She didn’t think it was that important of a detail. Probably loads of people could do it, the magical community was pretty diverse in that respect.

 

            “ I wonder indeed. Good afternoon Ms. McQueen…Mrs. Hopkins.” That voice, she recognized it. She turned her head towards its direction. The draping black cloak, the snake headed cane. Only person oily enough to kill an entire ocean, Lucius Malfoy. Zora didn’t care for the man…or his son in the slightest but she would be polite.

 

            “ Hello Mr. Malfoy.” Her stiff response made him smirk. He moved toward her and stopped. He couldn’t help but stare. So much of Cecile was in this girl…

 

“ Was there something that you needed Mr. Malfoy?” Mrs. Hopkins spoke up, breaking his concentration. She didn’t like the way Lucius was staring, the quicker she could get him in and out the better.

 

“ Yes, I need to talk to Minster Fudge and I was told that he was in this department. Something about a misuse of magic by one of the Aurors?” The look of amusement on his face made Zora uneasy. It was like he knew exactly was in her uncle’s office.

 

“ The minister is currently busy in Mr. Shacklebolt’s office. When he is available I will send message to the Department of Mysteries.” Her dismissive tone was not lost on Lucius, he knew that he wasn’t wanted but he chose not to notice it.

 

“ Actually, it would be more convenient for me just to stay here.” He took a seat beside Zora on the couch. He placed both gloved hands on the top of the silver snake’s head. He crossed his legs and turned his head slightly towards Zora.

 

“  Only a month left until you and my son are off to school, I’m sure that you are very much excited to attend.”  

 

“…”

 

“ Mr. Malfoy I don’t think—“

 

“ Mallory, come on, the meeting is going to start in five minutes…” A woman in her mid fifties called over.

 

“ Alright Susan, I will be with you all in 10 minutes…I’m waiting for Mr. McQueen to come out of his meeting.”

 

            “ Mrs. Hopkins, if you have other duties that you must preform I would not mind watching Ms. McQueen. I’m sure Samson wouldn’t want his secretary shirking her responsibilities. Go, I insist.” The warmth of his smile did not reach his eyes. He wanted a moment alone the girl and this old woman was making it difficult. It was obvious that she didn’t trust him and that uneasiness was only making Zora more cautious of him. Ever since the fiasco of the year before he had thought about what McQueen had been saying to her. No doubt poisoning her mind against the truth…

 

            It was moments like this that she wished that Luca had been with her. Since the plan was just to go the Zoo, quickly stop by the Ministry, and then back home she thought it wouldn’t be too bad. She scrunched up on the couch in a defensive manner. She willed herself to be calm, reminding herself that her father, her uncle, and the minister were all right down the hall. She looked back and forth between Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Malfoy. While she really didn’t want Mrs. Hopkins to leave but  she didn’t want her to get in trouble either. Slowly she unraveled from her defensive position and sat crossed legged. She put on smile and looked at the older woman confidently.

 

            “ It’s alright Mrs. Hopkins, go to your meeting. Dad’s probably not going to be too much longer and when he gets out I’ll tell him that you had a meeting to attend to.” Mrs. Hopkins gave her a concerned, questioning look. Zora nodded, assuring her and watched her walk away slowly.

 

            “ As I was saying…only a month left until you and my son are off to school, I’m sure that you both are very much excited. To get away from us parents.” 

 

            “ It will definitely be different…for as long as I can remember it’s always just me and my father…”

 

            “ Yes…since your mother’s passing—“

 

            “ My mother did not pass away Mr. Malfoy. She was murdered, but I suspect that you already knew that.” The breath caught in his throat for a moment until she spoke again, “ I mean everyone else did.”

 

            “ What happened to your mother…is highly regrettable. I wish that it did not have to happen…”

 

            “ What?”

 

“ I am firm believer in destiny Ms. McQueen and destiny is not always kind. We must accept reality for what is and move foreword. It is the only way that we will progress as a people.” Zora shook her head, as if to dislodge the words before they took root. 

 

            “ I will never accept the idea that my mother had to die…such thinking…would kill me. We are the deciders of our fate. I believe that every action is caused by another, thought driven action. A belief that takes away responsibility is dangerous…. it was that type of thinking that started the first war.”

 

            Lucius turned his head fully towards the young girl and couldn’t help but sneer, “ I assume your father told you that.”

 

            “ No, I got that from my own head. You know Mr. Malfoy just because I am young does not mean that I am stupid. I do read. I am capable of rational thought.” She did not care for his tone, or his intended stab at her father.

 

            “ I suppose you are, forgive me. I did not mean to be dismissive of you.” He took his leather gloves off, and sighed. He set his cane down on the armrest of the couch. He needed to regain control of his actions. He stuffed his gloves inside of his cloak. Too much history was siting on the other end of the couch.

 

            “ And that is something I do not understand about you Mr. Malfoy. You and my father…the people who I have seen you interact with…you are just that, dismissive. What makes me different? You don’t strike me to be one that apologizes easily. Why the leniency?”  

 

            “ My, my, my you are a very observant little girl. What you lenience, I call acknowledgement, appreciation…of your mind. As one of the governor of Hogwarts I am always interested in its perspective students. I see great potential in you, with proper guidance you will able to reach the role you were destined for...” Lucius got from his seat and straighten his clothing.

 

            Lucius eyed Kingsley’s door and noticed it opening, “ I think I will head back to my office…I will have my talk with the Minister at a later time.”

 

            He bade Zora goodbye as he walked out of the Department. A burning pain was starting to go up his arm.

~ DM~

            Draco looked at the clock again and started grinding his teeth. He was supposed to at the Ministry but no, he was stuck inside of his room doing last minute course work. Apparently his tutor told his mother that he had been slacking in studies so she forbade him from going with his father. He fought her on it of course but she would not budge. Under no circumstances was he going to tell her his reasons for going to the Department of Mysteries. As far as she knew he was just very interested in his father’s work and to be quite honest that how he wanted to keep it. If his mother knew the truth…he would never be allowed back to the ministry.

            Ever since that disaster of a New Year’s Eve party his mother and her cohorts hadn’t stopped talking about talking about it.  And at social events they made sure to bring it up so that no one else could forget it either.

            For months he had been trying to reach Zora to no avail. Watching her whole world be crushed and not being able to benefit from it wasn’t in the plan. How was he supposed to endear her to him if she emotionally stable?

            He needed a way into her life, a crack for him to squeeze through. Was that so much to ask? A moment alone…no daft house elf or vicious mutt to interrupt. Draco slouched in his desk chair, course work completely forgotten. School was going to begin soon and he needed another plan. Quickly. Maybe he could use her vague familiarity with him to his advantage…it certainly worth a try. They wouldn’t know many people there and that familiarity would come in handy.

            She was at the Ministry. He just knew it. He could feel it...and he was stuck here. Doing pointless exercises under the watchful eye of his mother. Draco moved his sleeve up a little and saw the black silk ribbon.  He didn’t wear it as often, only when he felt particularly stressed or anxious. He didn’t want the smell to disappear. It was the only thing that he had of hers. That and the two personal interactions was not much. Asher for some reason wasn’t around the mansion as much. He was always off on some errand for his father. Draco feared that he had found out what he was using Asher for. Lucius knew how end habits, if something did not suit him he would put an end to it. He had a knack for knowing how and when to strike. Draco was waiting for the conversation to happen, but he wasn’t going to be the one to initiate it. If there was a slim chance that his father didn’t know…well then praise whatever deity out was there.

            What if she was with that Longbottom dolt? They did seem chummy at the party…He still could not understand how she could be so warm to that blithering idiot and not to him. She was so quick to help him and that mental blonde girl but couldn’t stand to be in his presence. It was insulting…he was tired of other people coming between them. It hurt to think that she probably forgot about him. It made him made angry, he was tired of feeling like a stupid git. He was done. Forget Zora McQueen and her smiles. She was just another dumb girl, nothing more.

 

            “ DOBBY!” the trembling house-elf appeared in the room, calloused hands folded. Body hunched over in fear.

 

            “ Y-yes M-m-master Draco?” Draco got up from his desk chair and glared at his own hand. The longer that he stared the angrier he got.

 

            “  Take this, and do away with it. I don’t care how just do it!” Draco pushed the offending article of clothing into the elf’s hand. “ Well? Why are you just standing there you stupid elf? Go!”

 

            Dobby scampered off, ribbon in bony hand. Draco did nothing to stop him. Good riddance. That ribbon and the girl it was associated with were nothing but a headaches. Draco went back to his desk and sat at his seat. He did the right thing. That ribbon was holding him back. Stupid girl. He unconsciously started rubbing his wrist. She was nothing but a nuisance. Who cared if she remembered him or not? Certainly not him, that was for sure. He picked up the quill once more and looked at his exercise. The air he felt across his wrist was minor but nonetheless was still noticeable.  Draco squared his jaw as he continued scribbling on the parchment. He wasn’t going to be bothered by this, he refused to be bothered by something so ridiculous. It was just a stupid ribbon!

 

            A stupid ribbon that he had for months…and quite possibly gotten somewhat attached to…No. He was going to do this. He was going to forget about that stupid piece of fabric and its owner once and for all. And when they got to school? What then? Avoid her, obviously, and if confronted? Treat her like everyone else. This unfortunate and utterly humiliating moment time in his life will never come to light. It was better this way, he was sure of it.

 

            Zora McQueen was no longer going to plague his thoughts. He was determined to forget this stupid girl if it killed him.

 

            “DOBBY.” The elf returned.

 

            “ Y-yes Master Draco?”

 

            “ Did you do as I said?”

 

            “ Of course Master Draco, D-dobby did as h-he was told.”

 

            “ Good, if I ever see a trace of it left behind it will be your head elf. Well? What are you doing standing there? Get out!” Dobby squeaked in fear and disapparated from the room.

 

            It was done, the ribbon had been destroyed and he was free from any connecting factor that he and the devil girl might have. Then why did he still feel the same ball of nerves in his chest? It was the elf…yes….it was just it’s stupid whimpering…it got on his nerves…that’s what it was...

 

            Draco took a steady breath and put his quill down on the table. He stared down at his parchment and glared. There weren’t actually an words on his exercise…just doodles… of him…and Zora. He quickly crumpled up the parchment and threw it to the waste bin was…right next to a small hill of other crumpled up parchment.

 

            “MERLIN’S BEARD!”

 

-HG-

 

            The pain was excruciating. She hated this. Hermione had been dreading this for a while now. Her father was checking her braces to make sure everything was going as planned. Having braces was one of the worst things that could’ve happened to her. Her mouth always felt so tender after he was done. She hated her braces with a passion. They made her feel so self-conscious about herself. She already knew that her front teeth were a bit large she didn’t need shiny metal to showcase the fact.

            “ Just a little longer pumpkin…” She gave her father a half-hearted glare and then focused back on the ceiling.

 

            “ You know…we haven’t seen much of Zora around the house…everything okay with you two?” Another reason why she didn’t like having her dental appointments with her parents is because they would always ask her questions that they know she can’t answer or get away from.

 

            “ It’s just that you’ve been down lately and your mum and I are a little concerned…is it because Zora’s leaving soon?” Hermione made panicked, accusatory sounds.

 

            “ Calm down Hermione I don’t want to stick you! I found out when I was doing the teeth of one administration’s secretaries…I’m sorry to hear that she’ll be leaving but it’s not like you two won’t see each other during holidays.” More gurgling sound could be heard, this time they were more subdued almost melancholy.

 

            “ She said it was a boarding school in Scotland, isn’t that nice? Says that they’ve been on the waiting list for school for a while now and they’ve finally got some openings. Can’t remember what the name of the school was… but it sounded pretty barmy…”

 

            Barnaby finished cleaning Hermione’s teeth and taking off the braces. Hermione wiped her teeth around newly freed teeth and frowned.

 

            “ Hermione, I understand that this is going to be a big change for you but you have to look at it through her perspective. She’s going to a new school where she doesn’t know anyone…in a different country, she’ll need your support.” Barnaby smiled sadly at Hermione. The girls were attached at the hip, for months now people around them had grown so used to them being together that change will not doubt be noticeable.  

 

“ What if she forgets all about me?” That was a fear Hermione could not quite get over. To be forgotten by her one true friend. To be drowned out by the probably fantastic and unforgettable experiences that surely a waited the young witch. How could she compete with a school devoted to magic? To be submersed within a whole world that she’d probably never be apart of. 

 

“ Don’t be silly dear!” Barnaby took off his facemask, “ Who could forget about you? You’re brilliant Hermione. You girls have been attached the hip for so long, I highly doubt a little distance will put a damper on that.” He took off his plastic gloves and threw them into waste bin. Hermione took off the dental bib and checked out her newly metal-free mouth. Her dad said that her teeth were aligning properly so she could where a retainer at night. He had hoped getting her braces off would make her a little happier but it couldn’t make her forget the departure of her dear friend.

 

“ But I’m not special, all I can do is recite facts…that people don’t care about. Zora listens to me and doesn’t care when I ramble on…”

 

“ Dearest, being smart is not something to be ashamed of. In fact it is one of the most gratifying things in the world. Zora recognizes that and so will other people if you give them the chance.” Barnaby loved his daughter, but the insecurity she was exhibiting made him fearful of up coming months. “ Hermione, one day that brain of yours is going to help of lot people. Don’t you doubt that, not even for a second.”  

 

“ Well until then I’m just going to be the weird smart girl with no friends…again.” Hermione was determined to sulk it seemed. “ Dad can we just go home? I’m your last patient right? Let’s just go okay.”

 

“ Alright love, we can go home. Let me just talk to Karen and we’ll be on our way.” Hermione put on her periwinkle jacket and walked out of the small building. She just wanted to go to her room. Pick up one of her fantasy books and dream up a life she would never have.

 

Hermione Jean Granger prided herself on being a logical being. A rational girl who liked to think about a situation and then is able to find a way to best plan for it. She always had a proper control of her emotions and always managed to come out on top. Flights of fantasy were not strong point. She needed stability, concreteness in her surroundings. Ever since Zora McQueen came into her life it had been the exact opposite of what she was used to. She opened up a world that Hermione only saw in her stacks of books. For as long as she could remember the only friends that she had were only the ones that were trapped in side the pages of a wrinkled page. Since meeting Zora she grew use to having conversations that happened outside of her own imagination. She grew used the smiles and the laughter. It was the silence she dreaded above all else. The presence of an actual person being near was secondary only to that. Under normal circumstances, a simple phone call would’ve sufficed. But these were not normal circumstances.

 

As she understood it, witches and wizards lived in a technologically simplistic state. Things such as television, television and other electronics really had no place for their world. They had a slower way being. The house that the McQueens lived in owned by a muggle family before they came to live there. The electronics that were in the house were rarely used. Communication relied primary through letter writing and animal transportation. Hermione realized that when Zora departed, the return of silent conversations would commence once again. She would be reading the story of a life filled with magic and wonderment. For a fleeting moment, Hermione feared that she would begin to resent her dear friend after a while. As the letters come in would she soon not respond out of spite and bitterness or would she just not respond at all?  

 

She was happy that Zora was going to begin her magical education, which was why she thought distancing herself was a good idea. These jealous emotions to Zora were unfair and she didn’t want to spoil their friendship over something so petty. Sitting on the carpet of her room she surrounded herself with the books she had clung to during some of her lonelier moments. A tear fell on to the well-worn page. Hermione quickly wiped her eyes but it only seemed to trigger more.

“ No! Stop it Hermione…tears won’t solve anything. You’ll just have to get over it is all. You’ve done it before, you’ll do it again.” Without Zora…

 

            And then came a loud thud, a yelp of pain and a female scream.

 

            “ Hermione….what am I doing here?” The crying Granger quickly spun herself around and saw Zora.

 

            “ Zora?”

 

            “ SAMSON WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU DOING IN THE SHOWER WITH MY WIFE?!”

 

c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1; c1;

 

            So as it were, a bruised Samson, an embarrassed Zora, and a excited Hermione were all sat on the couch while Barnaby Granger paced before them.

 

            “ So let me get this straight, you Samson are a wizard and Zora is a witch? And you were on your way back to your house when some how you were intercepted by…Hermione…”

 

            The both of them nodded. “ It seems the most likely thing, emotional magic is strong stuff.”

 

            “  Right…You both have magical powers and you have been living in secret for 10…”

 

            “ Almost 11.” Zora weakly piped in.

 

            “ Almost 11 years…and there is a whole society of magical people that we aren’t supposed to know about because we are moogles…?”

 

            “ Muggles, dad.”

 

            “ And you Hermione Jean Granger chose not to say anything to us.” Matilda came into the room, fully clothed. She set a pot of tea down to calm her nerves. She handed Samson an ice pack for the swelling.

 

            “ I couldn’t mum…it’s against their laws…”

 

            “ Laws?”

 

            “ Well the one that we are currently breaking is the International Statue of Wizarding Secrecy, it was a safeguard against non-magic people.” Samson explained. Oh he was going to hear about this from the Ministry. Fudge will go ballistic…

 

            “  I’m sorry but I’m finding all of this very hard to believe. It sounds completely mental.”  Barnaby started massaging his temples. He decided that it was best to sit down in his favorite chair.

 

            “ I know that this is a lot to take in Barnaby but nonetheless it all true. The reason why the Statue was even created was because of self-perseveration. Muggles either wanted to kill us or wanted to use us for their own personal gain. We were not given protection under law by your government, William and Mary I believe, so it was decided that it’s best to go our separate ways. That’s why such extreme measures were taken…it’s why you all think we’re just bits of fiction.”

 

            “ And what happens now?”

 

            “ Well under normal circumstances a team of wizards would come in and do a memory sweep and you all would have no idea that this situation even occurred. But since it’s seems that your daughter does have talent for magic I suspect that you will not be hearing from our government.”

 

            “ What are we supposed to do…I mean…what if something like this happens again?” 

 

            “ So you believe us then?” Hermione could barely contain her excitement.

 

            “ Well, everything is pointing towards it…the house was completely locked…there was no broken windows…” Truth was Matilda and Barnaby didn’t know what to believe. They had never in their wildest dreams imagined something like this happen to their family.

 

            “Well she would have to be taught how to control powers, there is a school for children like Zora and Hermione. Hogwarts, best in Europe I’d wager. I attended when I was just a boy.” He shifted the ice pack his head and winced. “ I’ve suspect that you will hear from someone from the school in a few days, they have to do this will all the first generation families.”

 

            “ Blimey.” Barnaby set his head on the neck rest of his chair. He had some many questions still to ask. He turned his head to his wife, she was slowly drinking her tea. Her eyes were trained on Hermione. She seemed to be in shock, and he couldn’t blame her.

 

            “ Matilda, dearest, is there something to want to say?”

 

            “ Will she be safe?” Matilda asked Samson point blank. “ This school…will she be safe there? Does it matter that Hermione isn’t like some of the other children?”

 

            What she was really asking was, “Does it matter that Hermione comes from non-magical parents? Will she be treated the same as people like you?”

 

            Samson took a moment to think about his answer, they were valid questions. Just off the top of head he could name a few families that would probably give Hermione and those like her a hard time. And then he could think of those children who have never been introduced to first generation children. He couldn’t lie to her…he refused to lie to her.

 

            “  Matilda…Hogwarts was founded on the principle that those with the talent for magic are to be accepted no matter what their background. Albus Dumbledore, the current headmaster, has made it his mission to make sure that all of the students attending are treated with respect. That being said however…just as there is prejudice and hatred in your world, there is in ours. There are some that believe that only those with a strong magical ancestry should be taught how to use magic. I urge you, though, to not allow this sway your decision too heavily. Your daughter has a gift and should nurtured by some of the greatest minds that the UK has to offer.”

 

            “…And if it helps Mrs. Granger, remember that I’ll be there too...” Zora held Hermione’s hand, “ We’ll look out for each other, keep each other safe.”

 

            “ Matilda, I’ve had similar reservations about sending Zora away. After my wife’s murder…I seriously thought of withdrawing her from the waiting-list…but then I realized that by doing something so drastic I was cheating her out of a world of experiences. That…there are no guarantees in life, we just take it one day at a time and deal with comes at us.”

 

            Matilda finished off tea, this was all too much to handle in one sitting. Her daughter was a witch, her best friend was a witch and her father was a wizard. There was a whole other world that she had to deal with because her daughter had to be whisked away to untraceable, undetectable school. And none of this was her Prozac pills talking.

 

            “ Mother…say something…”

 

            “ I wish we hadn’t put down the deposit for your school placement…it’s nonrefundable…”

 

 

c1; HP c1;

 

            After the time spent at the zoo, the trip back to the house was silent. Well, mostly silent. Dudley continued to whimper and Petunia continued to fuss. Vernon however remained silent. He had a dangerous look in his eye. He hadn’t talked since the incident with that man. They knew each other, it was obvious that his aunt and uncle knew the mysterious man. The look of fear and anger on his face was something to behold. The Dursley’s had left Harry to his own devices once they got to the house. Which was most certainly fine with him, the less time he spent with them the better. Petunia and Vernon went upstairs to take care of Dudley while Harry stole some food out of the fridge and pantry and made his way to his “ room.”

 

            His mind swirled with questions as he ate bits and pieces of the quickly acquired sandwich. Harry thought back to the time when he first saw the girl and her father. He was running from his cousin and his crony friends. They talked and then her father returned him to his guardians. Ever since then Vernon had been quicker to anger. An irregularity was instantly pinned on him. The strangest occurrences started to happen. Once, while he was running from his cousin, he remembered wanting to be anywhere else but the school. The next thing he knew he was on the top school looking down at his bewildered cousin. Soon letters started to come in, with his name on it. Vernon would always take them from him before he got a chance to open them…he would burn them in the fireplace. Harry didn’t understand what so wrong about him receiving mail.

 

            It was curious. He didn’t really know anyone out of his “family”…and he didn’t really talk to anyone at school. Vernon had forbidden him from getting them mail. He wondered who could be so desperate to talk to him. He wasn’t anyone special, he was just Harry…Harry Potter, boy orphaned as infant because of a terrible car crash. Harry laid down on his cot and finished eating his meager meal. Trying to stretch out, he felt something sticking him in the leg. The note! He had completely forgotten about it, Harry quickly searched his pockets and smiled. He was happy that it didn’t fall through the hole pocket.

 

Harry,

 

If you ever have trouble with your aunt and uncle again…leave a note outside your house. Label it with: Office of Aurors. Someone will come to investigate. You don’t deserve to be treated like you are worthless. Remember that.

                                                                                                            Sincerely,

                                                                                                A friend of your parents

 

            A friend of his parents? That man knew his parents. Harry read and reread the note probably a hundred times. Someone else knew of his parents. The small smile that grew faltered. There was no name, address or telephone number. Harry wished that the man had put his name on the note. Office of Aurors? Harry had never heard of such a place. Maybe he was mental…like that other fellow that shook his hand and treated him like royalty. Harry stared at the note, for some reason or another he couldn’t disbelieve what the man was telling him. The note, no matter how short it was, gave him hope  So many times did he wish to escape from his wretched family maybe…just maybe this man could help him.

 

“…Things will change around, you’ll see.” Harry smiled contently as he remembered Zora’s optimistic words. He couldn’t help but feel hopeful…maybe his luck was changing around.

 

Suddenly a loud explosion came from the living room, Petunia screamed and Vernon started yelling. Harry cracked his door open to see a flood of letters feeling up the entire house. What was going on?!

 

“ THAT’S IT! WE’RE LEAVING. WE’RE GOING FAR, FAR AWAY! SO CAN’T FIND US!”

 

Going where? So who couldn’t find them? Harry stepped out of the cupboard under the stairs and started grabbing at the letters. Vernon growled and grabbed Harry.

 

“ Let go of me! These are my letters! Let go!” Harry struggled.

 

“ D-daddy’s gone mad hasn’t he?” Dudley fretted, Petunia looked at her husband completely a loss for words.

 

And maybe his lucked hadn’t changed after all, Harry thought.

End Notes:

Thanks again for reading! Please review!

Winds of Change by Reckless Runaway
Author's Notes:

Well what do you know I'm not actualy dead. I'm sorry that it took me so long to get this up...a lot of personal stuff has kept me from this story in particular. Hopefully that will change in the future. Thanks for the votes of confidence. 

 

Now without further ado...

Chapter 15

 

            It was dream. There was no other explanation for it. Things like this didn’t happen to her. She was just Hermione, Hermione Jean Granger daughter of Matilda and Barnaby Granger. Dentists. Not magical dentists just regular, run of the mill dentists. Did wizards even need dentists? The conversation that Mr. McQueen had with her parents a few days ago was still sinking in. Hermione continuously pinched herself to make sure that it was all actually happening. The letter hadn’t come yet. It had to be a mistake…

 

            “ Hermione, you need to chill out. My letter hasn’t come yet and we both know that I’m a witch. Plus, my bum is still tender from that crash landing it took and my dad still can’t look your mum in the eye. All signs are pointing to you being a witch.” Both of the girls had been held up in Zora’s room combing through Samson’s old textbooks. Luca had been curled up taking a nap besides Zora.  

 

            Ever since that grand revelation, Samson finally allowed the whole Granger family into their home. Barnaby had a field day exploring their house. The moving photos…seeing Samson use magic to help around the kitchen and watching Luca transform in the backyard. He was like a kid in a candy store. By the end of their first visit he was trying Matilda to allow them to one of their own. Matilda refused. 

 

“  I’m sorry, it’s just a lot to take in. I feel so unprepared.” She turned to the next page of A History of Magic. “ Thankfully your dad’s handwritten notes are quite helpful…”

 

“ There are plenty of other muggle-borns that don’t have a clue about Hogwarts or magic, you’ll be fine. I don’t know why we’re looking through all this stuff now. This is what school is for. We only have a few weeks left of being on holiday…” Zora stretched her arms above her head and then picked up A Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore.

 

“ What better time to get a head then during holiday? Our professors will surely be impressed with how much we already know. We can build up a good reputation with them and…”

 

“…be teased and ridiculed by all the other students. I doubt that Hogwarts will be that different from Middleton Hermione. Why don’t we take it slow…we’ve got nothing to prove. We’re just as good as anyone else coming into Hogwarts…” Hermione ignored most of her friend’s rant. Zora didn’t understand what she was feeling. She grew up with some of this knowledge. Hermione was started from scratch and she needed to catch up because she did have something to prove. Muggle-born or not she was determined to thrive in wizarding world.

 

“ Yes, yes Zora that’s all good now shush I’m trying finish this chapter on 15th Century wizards. “ Hermione said in a distracted tone. Zora pouted and slammed the book closed. She reached over and snatched the book from Hermione.

“ Hey—!“ Luca woke up when his head unceremoniously hit the carpet. He gave a disgruntled growl and got up.

 

“ Enough, we’ve been in this room for hours and my legs feel like they’re going to fall off. We are going down stairs and outside. Fresh air is not going to kill you.” Zora dragged Hermione by the arm down the stairs. Luca followed the girls, still groggy.

 

“ Why don’t we take a ride on Luca? I haven’t done that in a while…ohhh we probably could do a little flight practice…”  

 

“ Flight practice?!”

 

“ Didn’t I tell you? Luca has the ability to fly, I’ve been dying to try it…”

 

“ Zora your father—“

 

“ Is clear across the world and won’t find out if no one tells him…”

 

Tonks—“

 

Is laying out on the couch after watching that telly-machine thing nonstop. Besides, if she were awake she’d probably be on my side. “

 

“ The neighbors—“

 

“ Are all old and don’t ever come out of their houses. Which is a bit curious if you think about it but nonetheless it’s beneficial for us.”

 

 “ Zora—“

 

“ Oh come one Hermione, we’ve been doing nothing but reading about magic. Wouldn’t it be cool just to experience it, intentionally…for once?” Hermione didn’t look persuaded. After an intense glare Hermione sighed in resignation.

 

“ Are you sure that we won’t get in trouble with the Ministry? I swear McQueen if I get expelled from Hogwarts before I even step foot on the grounds I will come after to you.”

“ I don’t doubt it…you know you’re scary when you’re angry?” Hermione gave her a light shove but followed her quietly to the front door.

 

“ And where do you two think you’re going?” Tonks yawned and rubbed her eyes.

“ Uh…just taking Luca for a walk…bathroom break…you know regular stuff.” Zora hoped that her eye color hadn’t changed because Tonks was moving closer.

 

“ Really now…” the newly graduated Auror bent down and looked Zora straight the eye. She turned her head and stared at Hermione who noticeably nervous. “ And were you two going to leave a note or come and tell me that you all were leaving?” 

 

“ A note…?”

 

“ Yes, a convenient little piece of paper with writing on it? You’ve heard of it I’m sure…” Tonks regained her posture and put her hands on her hips, “ Out with it Zora, now.”

 

“ Well you see…we were kind of bored upstairs reading so…we thought that we could…you know do some…hands on practice…”

 

“ Such as…?”

 

“ Flying…?” Zora said it as innocently as possible but it only caused the older girl to raise an eyebrow.

 

“ In broad daylight, with muggles running about?”

 

“ The neighborhood is so quiet! And…and I’ve never seen people come out of their houses…we promise we’ll be super careful!”

 

“ Zora, no. I’m all for experimentation with magic but no. Your dad would have my head.”

 

“ What if we found somewhere completely abandoned! No people at all, just us. Then could we fly around a bit? Please Tonks, we’re tired of just reading about magic. We want to live it!”

 

“ Actually—“ Zora elbowed Hermione before she finished her thought.

 

“ The summer before Hogwarts is always the hardest, I get it Zora. I really do. But—“

 

“ Please Tonks! Dad doesn’t have to know…besides he only said that we couldn’t do magic without being supervised and that it had to be small stuff. Luca would be doing all the work…so really we wouldn’t be us using magic at all…”

 

  Tonks sighed, she was such a pushover with kids…“ Fine, I might know of a place but you two have to do everything I say and when I tell you two that we have to leave we leave, got it?”

 

“ Yes! A thousand times! ” Zora nodded enthusiastically.

 

“ Thank you Nymphadora.” Hermione said politely.

“ Tonks, Granger…just Tonks.” The Auror turned around and walked towards that backyard. “ You two better get a move on before I reclaim my adult sense of responsibility.”

 

The girls ran to catch up to the pink-haired woman. Tonks motioned for the girls to grab on to her hands. “ Hold on to your to your aglets girls. We’re going for a ride.”

 

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            “ Hermione you alright there? ” The girl made sickly moans while she held her head and stomach. “ Sorry bout that, I forgot you’ve never traveled by apparation before. Yeah…it’s a doozy. All you need to do is sit down…yes…yes… that’s right. Easy does it. There you go.”

 

            Tonks took out a container of water from her knapsack and gave it to Hermione. “ Close your eyes, sip slowly and breathe deeply.” 

 

They had landed into a beautiful open field, the breeze was light and the sun peeked behind a multitude of clouds. It was perfectly deserted, a little piece of earth that seemed untouched by man. Zora took a deep a breath and smiled. She felt at home here. The grass seemed greener here. The trees seemed fuller. A little slice of heaven.

 

Luca seemed to enjoy it as well, he transformed into his largest size and stretched his limbs. He began rolling around on the ground, yipping and growling happily.

 

“ This place is brilliant Tonks, how did you ever find out about it?” Zora took another deep breath. She twirled around to her former tutor and ailing friend.

 

“ Let’s just say it’s complicated…and leave at that. Yeah?” Tonks couldn’t help but grimace. This place was always bittersweet to her and her mother. Andromeda would never say it aloud but the only reason why she would take her to this place was because it was close to the Malfoy Manor. Her father told her about the separation between her mother and the other Black sisters when she reached her final year of Hogwarts. They didn’t approve of Ted in the slightest because of his blood heritage. Bellatrix made it quite clear that she would not associate herself with if Andromeda continued her relationship with Ted and that any offspring conceived in such a union would be no blood of hers. Narcissa, however was more neutral in the matter, she loved both of her sisters dearly and didn’t like the separation of the family. Not being able to make a choice, Andromeda made it for her. She left without notice or warning, and she made no contact with either sister again. All that she would allow herself was the field and nothing more.

 

            The lands that they were currently standing on had no actual owner, so Tonks thought it would be safe to take the girls there.

 

            “ Alright well, it’s beautiful in any case so…thank you for bringing us here.” Zora whistled for Luca to come over to her and smiled as he bounded over to her. With each step he took there was a small shake in the ground. Eventually his leaps turned into light trotting until he stopped right in front of his young mistress.

 

            “ Keep close Zora while I tend to Hermione okay?”  Zora nodded as she climbed on to Luca’s back, the harness transformed to allow for two looped reins for her hands. She settled into the saddle and made sure that her feet secured in the foot guards. “ Here is some water and an apple incase you get hungry. Now, to the ridge and no further McQueen, we clear?”

 

            “ Yes Tonks, come on Luca let’s go for a run.” She pulled gently on the reins and guided the large beast towards the open field.

 

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            “ Yeah! Yeah get him! Woo!” a group of young wizards flew on their broomsticks chasing after a house elf.

 

            “ Come on Goyle get him!”

 

            “ I- I got him!  Come here you stupid elf!”

 

            Dobby ran for his life, bobbing and weaving. The sound of maniacal laughter was  all around him. He wasn’t pay attention about where he was going all he wanted was to get away.  They were using him as target practice, for almost an hour. Theodore Nott,  Vincent Crabbe,  and Gregory Goyle were flying about on their brooms going after Dobby while Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson and new addition Blaise Zabini sat under one the trees watching.

 

            “ This is boring. None of them can keep a good aim for more than an second.” Blaise complained. Pansy slouched against the tree next to Draco and started playing the ends of her hair.

 

            “ Crabbe and Goyle…They’re too big, their balance is off. Doubt the brooms can handle all that weight.” Draco commented. The three children laughed quietly.

 

            “ What’s Nott’s excuse then?” Pansy asked cattily. The amusement on her pug shaped face was noticeable.

 

            “ Minds not on it, probably thinking about something weird.” Draco said flippantly.  Draco’s hands were itching, almost like he could feel his magic scratching him from the inside. He couldn’t wait until they went to Diagon Alley to get his wand. Then he would be a proper wizard, not a boy playing at magic.

 

            “ Why don’t you have a go then?” Blaise spoke. His complete disinterest was obvious. He didn’t want to be here, he’d much rather be at home using his new wand. His mother forbade him from bringing it with him today. But that didn’t stop him from talking about it. Watching the faces of the others screw up in envy was priceless. Especially the Malfoy boy. He was so easily provoked that Blaise couldn’t help but poke at him.

 

            “ What was that Zabini? Think I couldn’t hit a stupid elf?” Blaise smirked and stretched out his arms.

 

            “ You talk a big game Malfoy…but I’ve yet to actually see anything worthwhile.”  The frown on Draco’s face deepened. His pride obviously threatened. The black boy decided to go a little further with his taunts.

 

            “ Come on Malfoy, show us how it’s done.” Pansy huffed with indignation.

 

            “ Draco, you don’t have to prove anything…”

 

            “ Actually, Parkinson, he does. All day he’s been talking mess. About time he backed it up…unless he can’t.” And that was when Draco had had enough.

 

            “  Shut up Pansy, this doesn’t have anything to do with you. You wanna go Zabini? Alright. I could use the practice.” He got up from his seat under the tree and wiped his pants of the dirt. Blaise followed him, smirking all the way. Draco ordered Crabbe and Goyle to hand over their brooms and their bags of rocks.

 

            “ First to 20 hits wins. Think you can handle it Zabini?”

 

            “ More than you could Malfoy. Let’s do it.” They both got on to their brooms and off they went.  The both of them would bob and weave through the air each taking their shots and most of them actually made their target. The yelps of pains spurred on their actions.  It was just a game to them. A chance to see which of them was better. Even at such a young age the hubris was strong within them.

 

Dobby, with every rock that made contact, became bloodier by the second. All he wanted to was to get away but he knew that with single command he could very well be stuck in frozen position. He was trapped. Like a flea bitten rat. His only chance for freedom lied in the clothing of his torturer. The elf felt himself slow down, he was so tired. His vision became blurry. Was it over? Was death his only other option? It surely had to be better than this…

 

“ WHAT DO YOU TWO THINK YOUR DOING?!”

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            The rush of air blowing past her was invigorating, but Zora knew that Luca could go faster. She squeezed his sides, signaling him let loose. The ground underneath them trembled and it made Zora feel great. There was nothing she liked better more than to be outside. She loved to interact with the plants and gardens near her house. She liked to tend to her mother’s community garden as much as she could in between reading up on things for Hogwarts. Zora knew that one of things that she would miss most about home other than her family was the garden her mother helped to create. She never felt closer to her mother than when she was at the garden. There were times that she went back to cemetery, attempting to make contact with her through the Guardian assigned to her mother’s grave with no results. Her father worried that she was becoming obsessed and maybe she was. Hearing her mother speak wasn’t enough anymore. It only made things all the worse or better she still hadn’t decided. In either case, Zora stopped herself from going to the cemetery so much.

            The garden, however, was their place it was sacred ground. It was the place where she would talk to Cecile. To ask questions knowing she would not get answers. She let the wind carry them to the heavens…or where ever her mother was. Maybe that was why she wished to fly to so much. She wanted to break through the invisible barrier between the two worlds somehow. She wondered what it would be like to glide through the air unattached, to experience such freedom. Zora gripped Lucas’s reins tighter and lean forward as Luca picked up speed. They seemed have the same idea, as Luca thundered across the field his paws began to spark with blue flame. They never had the chance to fly before and they weren’t going to waste this chance. The flames grew fiercer as they moved in sync. Luca started to jump into the air, each one lasting longer than the last. They were climbing up an invisible mountain, adrenaline pumped through their veins. This was it, the moment she had been waiting for. Slowly she let go of the reins, lifted them to balance herself. It was glorious, the weightlessness…the rush of air around her.

            It only lasted a second, the next she could feel Luca rear up in surprise as two figures sped past them. She screamed as she felt herself fall back and slip off Lucas back. She was falling. Her mind scream for her to something to transform into a bird but she couldn’t focus. She was going to die. She saw Luca clawing his way through the air towards her, but she didn’t think that he would be able to make it in time.

            “ Grab on!” she heard some one yell to her. She grabbed on blindly on a piece of cloth tightly and latched on to the waist of her would be rescuer. She heard a yelp of pain and a yell “ Oi, not so hard! What, you have talons for finger nails or something?”

 

            “I’m trying not to die! Deal with it!”

 

             Suddenly Luca flew over snapping, scaring the boy causing the boy to loose control of the broom nose diving them to the ground. Thankfully they didn’t have far to fall. The front of end the broom caught on to the ground throwing them off. Zora groaned in pain as she rolled over. What in Merlin’s beard…?

 

           She slowly opened her eyes, amazed that she was still alive. Thankfully the grass was soft and absorbed some of the shock. Zora lifted her head and saw an escalating situation unfolding. Luca was mad. The blue flames seemed to dance violently as he bared his teeth. Zora heard voices…human voices…they were yelling. She wasn’t sure if it was out of fear or anger. Either way she needed to get Luca under control before some got hurt.

 

                  “ Luca…come.” A whisper was all that it took. The flames had stopped completely. The hound sheathed his dagger sharp teeth and went back to where his mistress was laying. Zora slowly sat up and gently touched her hand to his muzzle and rubbed. He growled nervously as he nuzzled her hand. He was inspecting her. He began sniffing her and Zora started to giggle. She gave a peck in between the eyes and hugged his muzzle.

 

                  “ Gave you a fright didn’t I? I’m sorry. I’m all right. Really.” Zora got up to stand, still a little shaky. She looked over to the small group of children. They looked at her wearily. Zora straightened her clothes and straightened her posture. They were surrounding someone who was still on the ground. She didn’t recognize him. He certainly wasn’t like the other appearance wise. He skin was like ebony and his hair was very short. He was black. She walked slowly towards them, Luca padding right behind her. She looked him down at him asked him point blank.

 

                  “ Are you alright?” He gave her a mean look and then winced. She kneeled down to get a better look. Zora looked at his leg and saw him holding it tightly. A sprain? Or was it broken? Either way it would have to be looked at.

 

                  “ What do you think?”

 

                  “ Oi, no need to be snippy with me. It’s your fault this happened, yours and…” Zora turned her head and saw a platinum blonde hiding behind a baby giant. “ …his.”

 

                  Draco Malfoy. Of course it would be him.  Zora muttered under her breath but focused back on the boy in front of her. “ What’s your name?”

 

                  “ Zabini, Blaise Zabini…” She recognized the last name from somewhere…but she couldn’t place it.

 

                  “ Well, are you going to tell me your name? I did almost die saving your arse.”  

 

                  She was about to give the boy a piece of her mind until a female voice piped in.“ Oh you should know her name Blaise…she was in all the papers a few months ago…had bit of a mental break down. Poor thing.”

 

                  Zora gritted her teeth and turned in the direction of the voice. The girl’s face reminded her of a disgruntled pug.

 

                  “ Don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of getting your name.” She slowly stood up and looked the fair skinned girl straight in the eye.

 

                  “ You haven’t, my name is Pansy Parkinson.” She said smugly. Zora tried to keep her eyes from rolling but failed miserably.

 

                  “ How lovely for you. Well, better be off…” turned away quickly, she knew herself well enough to know that color of her eyes would soon begin to change. She needed to get away from them.

 

                  “ Wait don’t you think you should try and help our dear friend here? He did go out of his way to rescue you…” The sugar sweet tone made Zora want to gag. What was even worse was that she right. No matter how much of it was his fault he did save her. She owed him a check out.

 

                  “ I’m not your friend Parkinson.”

 

                  “ Oh Blaise you’re such a kidder.”

 

                  “ Fine. Whatever. Luca lay down.” He didn’t do it. Actually he took a step back. Obviously he was not happy with this arrangement but neither was she.

 

                  “ Luca…” She wasn’t playing. She wanted this over. The quicker they got this Blaise boy fixed the sooner they could depart ways. Luca finally plopped down causing the nearby ground to shake a little.

 

                  One of the larger boys helped Blaise onto Luca’s back. And Zora quickly climbed up back on to the saddle. She pulled on the two hoop reins and Luca stood up. She guided him back to where she came and then stop. She turned her head and looked over her shoulder. Making direct eye contact with Draco.

 

                  “Malfoy.” His head popped up. “Give Zabini your broom.”

 

                  “ Why?” Both boys questioned. Troll boggies…nothing but troll boggies up there.

                  “ He’ll need a way to get back to you all. And that other broom is stuck in the ground. You didn’t think I was giving him a ride back did you?” Zora gave them both an incredulous look. Malfoy reluctantly gave Blaise his broom. “I’m not doing this because I like any of you. You’ve heard of me as I’ve heard of you all. Does the name Neville Longbottom mean anything to you?”

 

                  She saw the blonde noticeably stiffen. She knew it. Mimsy wouldn’t lie to her. Not when she asked for the truth. It was two months after she slowly began to reconnect with her grandfather. She had asked what happened after the “incident” and Mimsy told her what happened. She didn’t know individual names but she was very descriptive. Malfoy and his minions swarmed Longbottom after she had left. The guests were slowly leaving. No one seemed to notice, probably too busy talking about her “mental breakdown”. Malfoy and the rest of his crew were bullies and she had no time or sympathy for them. She would not allow them to hold a debt (imaginary or otherwise) over her head.

 

                  “ We better get a move on—“ there was a rustle in the grass, a moan of pain. Zora didn’t know what it was. The creature was cover in patches of blood. Its rags were beginning to soak through. She took a closer look from her perch and gasped. It was a house elf. How did it get so bruised and beaten? Zora climbed off Lucas back and made her way to the wounded elf. He looked so weak…and familiar. And then it clicked…this elf belonged to the Malfoy House. Dobby was his name.

 

                  “ You poor thing …what have they done to you?” She took out a cloth napkin and tried to wipe some of the blood away. He needed medical attention, immediately. Zora looked behind her and saw Theodore Nott playing with a small pouch. Throwing a small pebble up and down in his hand. Suddenly everything became clear.

 

                  “This is what you all were doing? Using him as target practice?”

 

                  “ We were just having a bit of fun—“ Theodore began to speak.

 

                  “ Bit of fun? Look at him! He needs medical attention. Now.”

 

                  “ Why she getting so upset Draco? It’s just a stupid house elf…” Goyle asked aloud but the blonde boy made no movements to answer. His eyes continued to focus on the girl in front of him. The look of growing anger was a bit more concerning to him at the moment.

 

                  “ Just a stupid house elf? They are most certainly not stupid!”

 

                  “ They are born to serve us.”

 

                  “ They are born to be happy Parkinson. Just as you or me. You can’t do this, it isn’t right. It’s barbaric.”

 

                  “ Says the granddaughter of Reginald McQueen. A man who has a mansion full of them.”

 

                  “ My grandfather would never allow this to happen!”

 

                  Pansy was eating this up gleefully. “Your grandfather keeps elves. They serve him. If he really wanted them free he would’ve done it a long time ago. Wouldn’t he?”

 

                  Zora wanted to say that it was different, that they were different. True, the utterly vile actions towards these creatures would never happen at the McQueen estate, not under her grandfather’s watch. But that did not negate the fact that they were…not…free. Not like she was. And that wasn’t right. But they seemed so happy…and then she remembered something her grandmother told her once. Just because someone is singing and smiling doesn’t always mean that they’re happy.

 

                  She never thought about it. Much to her chagrin. Well, now she had a choice. To either let this go or do something about it.

 

                  “ You’re right Pansy…” she said calmly as she could, she didn’t look at the brunette knowing that only expression she would find would full of smug. She continued to stare mournfully at the wounded house elf in her arms. “ My grandfather does…own slaves. No matter happy they seem. I can’t excuse him for it…I can’t excuse myself for either. Things need to change. If people are going to treat elves this horribly…this cruelly…then something needs to be done.”

 

                  But what could be done? Forcing them to be free wouldn’t help. They would only see it as a punishment. Tricking them would be dishonest. They had to learn that freedom wasn’t bad. That it wasn’t disgraceful. But who would teach a group of elves? It all seemed too hard, too impossible. Zora felt tears begin to well up in her eyes, once again feeling helpless. The tears started to fall even though she tried hard to keep them from spilling over. Two hit Dobby on the head and running across his face.

 

                  “ Zora! Where are you?! I swear when I get my hands on you…”

 

                  “ Tonks!” Zora grabbed the house elf gingerly and quickly made her way to the Auror. No one tried to stop her. “ Tonks please you have to help! He’s hurt. Please! I don’t think he’s breathing.”

 

                  The look on Tonk’s face changed from anger to concern. She told Zora to lay him down so she could get a look at him. Still crying Zora did as she was told and laid Dobby on the soft grass. When she did however, she gasped. Dobby…he was healed. The rags he wore were still bloody but his face…and arms…they were healed. All that was left were minute scratches.

 

                  “ Tonks I swear! He was hurt…badly hurt…i-is he dead?” Tonks checked his pulse and felt it increasing slowly.

 

                  “ He’s alive…I think he’ll be okay.” Dobby slowly opened his eyes. Whimpering in fright, trembling in her arms. Zora shushed him. Rubbing his head gently.

 

                  “ You’re alright I don’t know how but you are…you’re safe.” For the time being.

 

                  “ D-dobby is sorry miss! Dobby will get out of your way.”

                  “ Wait...Dobby. How are you feeling?” Tonks had to ask. From the way that Zora was acting it seemed like this house elf was going to die. He seemed perfectly fine, besides the blood stains.

 

                  “ Dobby feels…” and then he looked at himself. Expecting gashes and found none. “ He is healed.”

 

                  Zora let him go and Dobby stood up. He started to hop, testing out his limbs. “D-dobby feels very good.”

 

                  “ That’s wonderful. I was so worried.”

 

                  “ How did you get so beaten up?” Tonks had her suspicions, noticing the way that both Zora and the house-elf stiffened.

 

                  Dobby began to whimper, falling onto the ground. Crying his eyes out.

 

                  “ Those guys…over there…they were using him for target practice.” Zora pointed over to where Malfoy and his posse stood.

 

                  “ I see…” Tonks said sadly. It didn’t surprise her that her cousin would pull something like this. Zora shushed Dobby again, begging him not to cry.

 

                  “Tonks, isn’t there something you could do. Isn’t there some law…to protect…”

 

                  “ No…the only thing that we can do is return him to his rightful…family.”

 

                  “ But Tonks!”

 

                  “ Zora, I’m sorry. But I can’t do anything more. He bound to the Malfoy’s. His fate is to be decided by them. No one else can interfere.” It was moments like that Tonks hated being an Auror. She became an Auror to protect. Unfortunately her reach only extended so far.

 

                  “ Alright.” Zora felt a bit of nausea fall over her. She couldn’t look at Dobby. She couldn’t look him in the eye. There was nothing she could do. Maybe…she could ask Draco to free him?

 

                  “ Your elf, Mr. Malfoy.” Tonks said in an official sounding voice. She doubted if his mother even told him that he had extended family. It was odd, to look at him and feel a slight pull to him. Even though they had not formally met until this moment. Dobby hesitantly went over to his young master, whimpering softly as he wrung his hands.  Draco glared silently and then focused back on to the two girls in front of him. He puffed out his chest and imagined himself to be like his father.

 

                  “ Dobby back to the house, now!” The elf disappeared in a blink of an eye.

 

                  “ Don’t yell at him!”

 

                  “ He’s my servant, I’ll speak to him as I please.”

 

                  “ If you had a decent bone in your body you would release him. No creature should have to live in constant fear. He was absolutely trembling.”

 

                  “ He knows who his betters are—“

 

                  “ Ha, I hope you don’t mean yourself.”  Zora and Draco continued to glare at each other until a voice broke their concentration. 

 

                  “ Um, what about me? Still got a broken leg over here?” Blaise interjected. He was still on Luca’s back. Wincing as he held on to his leg. “ Helloooo?”

 

                  “ Just fix him and leave McQueen. You’re on my property.”

 

                  “ You don’t own this bit of land Mr. Malfoy. As far as your family’s reach does go…it does not include here. You have no say on who is allowed to stay.” Tonks turned her back and went towards Blaine. She lifted her wand, muttering a spell and tapped Blaine’s knee. There was a snap and a yelp. Luca abruptly sat himself down while Blaise tumbled off onto the grass.

 

                  “ You alright young man?” Tonks couldn’t help but smirk a little. Zora let out a giggle, Luca walked over to where his mistress was standing and sniffed at snorted at Malfoy in an intimidating manner. He didn’t change back to his smaller form. Still uncomfortable with group that was surrounding them.

 

                  “ I’m fine.” Blaise huffed curtly. He jumped up and tested out his newly repaired leg. Everything seemed to be in proper working order. He stared around to the group that he came here with but kept but didn’t say anything. He just glared at the lot.

 

                  “ Splendid I guess this is were we will be separating. Come along Zora. We have to get back to your friend.” Zora, for the small span of time had completely forgotten that Hermione was there with them. She instantly felt bad and nodded her head.

 

                  “ You all behave yourselves now.”

 

                  The two girls rode back to where they had left Hermione just in time to see the girl wake up. Before Tonks had left to go search for her missing charge, she gave Hermione a drought for the sickness and put a protection spell around the area. After getting over most of her sickness Hermione thought it would be a good time to practice her magic. She remembered seeing Zora do a trick once. She opened and closed a flower blossom. Hermione had never been able to accomplish it fully. She barely got twitch at the most and it was frustrating. Never had she…failed. Learning and executing what she had learned it was like breathing for her.

 

                  Zora laughed when she got frustrated…said that it was a good thing. It would make her try harder. She didn’t appreciate the teasing one bit. Hermione Jean Granger did not do failure. It just didn’t happen. Hermione stared at the flower, almost in a glare. She was determined to get this. She held out right hand and took a deep breath. She was going to do it this time. She could feel it.

 

                  “ Hermione we need to leave.”

 

                  “ Just a moment Tonks, I think—“

 

                  “ Hermione, it’s important.”

 

                  “ Zora, I’ve almost got it—“

 

                  “ You can practice later, I need to talk to my grandfather.”  Hermione huffed, as she her hand collapsed onto her lap. The moment was gone. Her focus was broken. “Fine. Let’s go.”

 

                  Zora could see that she wasn’t happy but the reason for their departure was truly important. She needed to figure out a way to correct her family’s mistake. Surely her grandfather would agree.

 

                  They apparated to the McQueen estate and were quickly ushered into the mansion by house-elves. Mimsy order two house-elves to get Tonks and Hermione something to eat and drink while she guided Zora to her grandfather’s study. She walked in him at his desk. Writing furiously with his quill against the parchment. Mimsy announced their presence.

 

                  “Ah, Zora. This is a surprise, how did you get here?”

 

                  “ Tonks apparated me and a friend here but that’s not important. We need to talk grandfather.” Clueless, Reginald just guided her to a sit that was sitting before his desk.

 

                  “ I think that this conversation would be better if it were to be had...alone.” Zora glanced from Mimsy to Reginald and Reginald politely dismissed the elderly house-elf.

 

                  “ Now what is that you want to talk about Zora.”

 

                  “ The house elves.”

 

                  “ The house-elves?”

                  “ We need to find a way to set them free.” Reginald sighed as he sat back into his chair. He had gone over this same question with himself hundreds of times. He took off his spectacles and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Everything that he had come up with had ended up in a hypothetical disaster. When he sat back up he looked at his granddaughter.

 

                  “ What exactly do you suggest Zora? You very well know that they won’t take this lightly. I don’t want a mutiny on my hands.”

 

                  “ Well…I was think…maybe we could…I don’t know….get a teacher for them. Or something. Get them learning about the world and what not.” Zora was making this up as she went. “ Make it a chore or something.”

 

                  “ A chore you say…hm…” Reginald thought about it, it was an intriguing idea. Trick them into learning? It sounded underhanded but what else could they do?

 

                  “ Yeah, like give them homework and assessments and stuff. It would still be working and it wouldn’t have to take all of the day jus a few hours each day.” The more she spoke the more Reginald liked the idea. It was just crazy enough…but the only problem is…who would teach them?

 

                  “ I mean we have enough space for all the house-elves to be in the same room all we would need is a professor. Which I know is possibly problematic because….”

 

                  “ They are house-elves. An uneducated house-elf is a good house-elf…” It was something that he himself didn’t necessarily believe but he knew plenty of wizards that thought that. Who would be willing to teach a house-elf? And then Reginald got an idea.

 

                  “ Zora, I think that I might be able to pull this off but I will not be sure until I get in contact with an old friend of your fathers.” Zora smiled, she started to get from her chair until he spoke again.

 

                  “ Zora, what brought this on? This all seemed to have come out of nowhere from you.” He saw her stiffen a little and she slowly slouched back down.

 

                  “ I…well I was taking Luca out for a ride and there was this group…they were on broomsticks zooming and they nearly hit me and Luca. Luca reared and I lost my grip and fell off. One of the boys one the broom saved…technically. We fell to the ground and I lost consciousness.” She saw his eyes widen but quickly added “ I woke up after a minute and saw Luca encased in fire. I managed to calm him down though. The boy that saved me broke his leg and I didn’t really feel about it because it was his and another boys fault in the first place. Anyways…we were just about to leave to get help until I saw a bloody house-elf limp out of a bush. It was so awful grandfather. He looked like he was going to die and then the others were just standing around doing nothing. They looked at me like I was mental. They were awful grandpa, absolutely awful. A girl started in on me about you and how you aren’t any different and of course I tried to defend you but what I was defending…didn’t make sense. I felt sick to my stomach when I finally figured it out. Our family has slaves not servants. Intentional or not isn’t right. There isn’t excuse or defense for that. It’s wrong and we need to fix it.”

 

                  For a moment Reginald forgot that Zora was only 10 going on eleven. She had the intelligence of someone well beyond her years. A proud smile graced his lips. “ You’re right darling…you are absolutely right. We will fix this, it will be hard but we will give it our best. ”

 

                  Zora nodded her head and made her way back to Hermione and Tonks. Reginald sat back in his chair and thought for a moment. Who would be willing to teach house elves? There was a man that might help…a friend of his son’s…what could it hurt?

He took out a fresh piece of parchment and dipped his quill in the ink.

 

                  Dearest Remus,

                       

      I hope that this letter finds you in good health as I have a most unusual request to ask of you…

 

w65;DMw65;

        Traveling back to the mansion Draco’s mood only seemed to worsen. The constant chattering from Pansy, the inane grumblings of Crabbe and Goyle, the small clattering of the pebbles within Theodore’s hands but none of that seemed to anger him as much as Blaise’s silence. His overall presence at that very moment seemed to peeve him off more than anything. What was he thinking about? Draco glanced quickly at him and then continued to stare frontward.

 

                  The whole episode went from good to bad to worst thing possible so quickly. It a freaking accident! Why couldn’t that stupid girl see that? Why did she have to be so difficult? The look of distain in her eyes it was slightly cringe worthy. This only seemed to anger him more. Where did she get off? She was no better than them! Her family had kept house elves for as along as his had, perhaps for even longer. How dare she stick her nose up at them? House elves were bred to serve wizards, it was the natural way of things. That was what God intended after. Within the wizard community it was commonly accepted knowledge that Jesus was the greatest wizard of all time, quickly seconded by Merlin of course. Walking on water? Changing water into wine? No one could convince Draco that a simple muggle could accomplish all that.

 

                  “ Could you believe her? Little miss mental-break-down trying to come up against us? For a stupid house-elf no less? Mental, she’s completely mental. Don’t you agree Draco?”

 

                  “ Yeah…mental…” Draco was tired of this. He didn’t want to even think about Zora McQueen.

 

                  “ She’s something though…there’s fire in her. I wouldn’t want to meet her by myself. She looked like she was ready to pounce or something. Bit feral like you know.” Theodore said absentmindedly.

 

                  “ It’s like she was raised by wolves or something. That thing was going to attack us! And she was going to allow it!” Pansy screeched.

 

                  “But she didn’t.” Blaise pointed out.

 

                  The entire group stopped and stared at him.

 

                  “ Whose side are you on Zabini? She is the daughter of Samson McQueen, a freaking Gryffindor!”

 

                  “ Just pointing out facts Parkinson.” Blaise said calmly.

 

                  “ And she’s the reason why your leg had to be mended. That girl is nothing by trouble.”

 

                  “ Enough, I’m bored with this conversation. There are plenty of other things more interesting than Zora Lilian McQueen.” Draco said gruffly as began to walk again.

 

                  The rest of the trip was quiet, but Malfoy could fill a pair of eyes staring at the back of his head. Part of him thought it was Pansy but there was something in his gut that it was Blaise. He seemed to have a knack for picking out the smallest details, important or otherwise. Draco didn’t know whether or not to trust Blaise Zabini, he could very wail become a great ally…but in the same breath could his worst enemy. Either way he would keep his eye on Blaise Zabini.

 

                  The children made their way into the Malfoy Manor silently. The sounds of talking could be heard down the long hallway. From the differences in tones it was a mix of females as well as males. The Crabbes, Goyles, Parkinsons, Notts and Zabini the widow were in all in attendance. A “summer gathering” as Narcissa Malfoy would say. Without asking permission, the young Malfoy boy walked into the room, the others treading behind him. 

 

                  The adults continued to talk, unconsciously bringing them into their conversation. Lucius took a sip of his drink, watching Narcissa bring Draco to her side on the couch.“ This year is an important year in our children’s lives. It marks the great right of passage for every young witch and wizard.”

 

                  “ It would be more momentous if that blasted Dumbledore would do what he should’ve done from start: Getting rid of those imposters.” Affirming nods could be seen throughout the room.

 

                  “ I have a half a mind to send my boy somewhere else, Hogwarts has gone to the dogs.” Xavier Nott exclaimed, throwing back his drink. A bit of fire whiskey always did the body good.

 

                  “ And leave the school of our lord? Have you become so arrogant and unfaithful Nott?” Elise Parkinson asked in a coquettish fashion, she liked to tease Nott because he made it so easy.  The smile on her face was nothing short of Cheshire proportions.

 

                  “ Shut your gob woman, there is no one more faithful to the dark lord as I am.” Xavier huffed. “ You’d do well to control your wife Maris. If the dark lord were here…”

 

                  “ But that’s thing the Marius isn’t it? ” The causal smile across his face only served to make Marius even angrier, “ He isn’t here. He has been gone for some time now. I believe we have a greater matter to attend to.”

 

                  Xavier took another sip of his fire-whiskey and then set it down on his knee. He looked around the room slowly. “ The boy.”

 

                  The silence that fell could be felt throughout the room, the grown ups more so than the children. They had no real concept of what happened 11 years ago. All they had were just stories and whispers. The adults however, knew everything. The boy…the babe that defeated their master was going to be attending Hogwarts.

 

                  “ Yes…the boy…the Potter boy…such an interesting tale. I’ve heard so many rumors from that night. All of them more interesting than the last.” Jacqueline Zabini always had a love of stories be they true or false it really didn’t matter to her. “ People think that he could be the next powerful wizard of our time. He certainly made an impression upon the wizarding community.”

 

                  “ Personally I think the best course of action is to find this boy and assimilate him to our way life. Being raised by muggles, I can only imagine the ideas that are inside that boy’s head. He needs proper guidance.” Elise Nott she took another sip of her tea. “ How does Dumbledore expect that boy to survive with a proper wizard sense?”

 

                  “ Albus Dumbledore is past his prime both physically and intellectually. I honestly believe that whatever clout he has at the Ministry is the only reason why he still has his job as headmaster.” Marius said gruffly, he finished off his drink and put it on the closest surface next to him.

 

                  “ Anyone who willfully discounts Albus’s influence and magical prowess is a fool.” Lucius said aloofly. While alive Albus Dumbledore was a threat, a very potent threat. He counted down the days until the old codger would die off…or better yet was killed.

 

                  “ Lucius is right, even though I don’t like the man one cannot underestimate him.” Narcissa looked at her son and saw his clothes. There was quite a bit of dirt on clothes, even more so on the young Zabini boy.

 

                  “ Draco…why are you and Blaise so dirty? I asked you to keep clean for today.” Draco tried to stop himself from tensing too much. He didn’t want to talk about what happened in the meadow. He knew it would only cause trouble for him later.

 

                  “ It’s nothing mother…it was a bit of rough housing is all.”

 

                  “ Draco…”

 

                  “ If I may Mrs. Malfoy, it was a bit more than that.” All focus made it’s way to the young Parkinson girl. If there was a moment where Draco wished he could transport himself into an active volcano this would have been it.

 

                  “ You see, we had a bit of an incident in the meadow. We were playing and then…” Pansy trailed off, tried her best to hide the mischievous glint in her eye. Seeing the concerned looked on the adults faces she figured she did a well enough job.

 

                  “ Yes child, continue.” Narcissa said a little impatiently.

 

                  “ Well, this girl came galloping on some wild beast and nearly knocked poor Draco and Blaise off their broomsticks.” She looked down at her knees and played with the fabric of her dress. “ When everyone landed I was able to get a better look at the girl…and it was none other than Zora McQueen. I really should’ve recognized her sooner but I…well…we all were in such a state of shock and worry that it just didn’t click.”

 

                  Narcissa looked at Draco and then to her husband. Her facial expressions were neutral but her eyes were blazing.

 

                  “ Zora McQueen…isn’t that Samson’s girl…? I remember reading something in the Daily Prophet some months ago about her.”

 

                  “ Yes, the girl had a complete and utter mental breakdown towards the end of dinner. And that’s not even the half of it.”

 

                  “ Quite the embarrassment as I recall. Reynold was absolutely livid when it went to print.” Xavier chuckled a bit.

 

                  “ The McQueens are known for their dramatic outbursts does it really come as a surprise?” Lucius tried to defuse the situation. He saw the thinning of his wife’s lips. No doubt when the others left, her deep feelings about the McQueens would come out.

 

                  “ But what was she doing on our lands? There isn’t a reason for her to even know about them…” Narcissa thought aloud. Living in the Black household she was taught from birth to always keep her emotions in check. While her outward appearance showed nothing, her internal rage was beginning to brew.

 

                  “There was another girl, older, had some crazy colored hair. I think that she was supposed to be keeping an eye on Zora. I think her name was Toms…” Pansy spoke up again.

 

                  “ No, it was Tonks. I remember because I couldn’t help thinking it was such an odd name for girl…” Theodore interjected. He sat back into his seat when he saw Narcissa eyes widen and glisten slightly. Her clenched and with a grace she had always been complimented on, quickly excused herself from the room.

 

                  Lucius cleared his throat and clap his hands as he stood up, “I think…this affair has come to an end my friends. Thank you all for coming.” It was the closest thing to ‘get out’ that he could use without being completely rude.

 

                  The adults in the room silently nodded. They set down the teacups and glasses and grasped for their children’s hand. Aparating out of the room all that was left was a father and mildly confused son.

 

                  “ Father…”

 

                  “ Draco…go to your room. I must tend to your mother.” Draco had never seen his father act in such away. So exhausted. Instead of fighting with him on it, like he usually would’ve done, Draco quietly went to his room. The last thing he heard before going up the stairs was his father barking at a random house-elf to clean up the room.

 

 

                  When Lucius made it to the master bedroom, he saw his wife sitting on the windowsill. She was looking out towards the valley. Lucius opened his mouth to speak but was cut off when he heard Narcissa’s voice,

 

                  “ I never thought I would’ve heard the name ‘Tonks’ said aloud in this house. Especially by a ten year old boy.”

 

                 She didn’t look at him. She couldn’t look at him. Not when everything inside her was suddenly drawn to the valley that was so close to mansion. Tonks…it was the last name of the muggle-born wizard her older sister married. So much strife was caused in the Black family when Andromeda ran off with him. Andromeda been blasted off the family tree by their father. And was never mentioned again by their mother. Bella…cursed Andromeda…spat out the name whenever she decided to talk about her. Andromeda…the blood-traitor.

 

                  Narcissa never voiced her opinion on the matter. There was no was no easy way to explain her emotions. All that she really knew was that when her sister disappeared…it hurt her deeply. She felt abandoned.

                  Lucius slowly walked up to his wife and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. He looked at her face and sighed, “ Narcissa…dearest…I thought we talked about this. The past is in the past. It’s not prudent to dig it up.”  

 

                  At that she tensed up slightly. She grinned darkly, still not looking at him. “ But the past is just so difficult to let go of…especially when it’s still very much alive and present.” 

 

                  “Narcissa…” Lucius gripped her shoulder slightly. He had been hoping to avoid this.

 

                  “ That girl was on our lands Lucius. If it was anyone else…if she was anyone else’s…”

 

                  “ Technically she wasn’t. While this family owns much of the surrounding land the valley that Draco and his friends were playing around at is not ours. There is nothing I could’ve done.”

 

                  Narcissa shrugged his hand off her shoulder and stood up to him, “ Like that has ever stopped you before Lucius. You’ve hexed people for less.”

 

                  It was the same fight over and over again. This grudge drained on him, on them. Finally he had had enough.“ What can I do Narcissa? What can I do to heal this apparent offense I’ve dealt you? Do you want me to buy the valley? Done. Do you want me to tell Draco spit at the girl? Hm? Because that might cause a stir and you would never get rid of Samson then.”

 

                  “ What I want is for you to do thing that should’ve already been done. Let. Her. Go.” Each word was accompanied by poke to his chest. “ That is all I ever wanted from you Lucius and you refuse to give it to me.”

 

            “ I don’t know what you are talking about Narcissa.”

 

            “ Do you think that I am blind Lucius? That I don’t know what goes on under my own roof?” The laughter that came out of her mouth held no joy in it. “ Merlin’s beard, you’ve even infected our son with it. This obsession. The only difference between the two of you is that he seems to have gotten over it.”

 

            “ Narcissa…”

 

            “ I am tired Lucius, please leave. I wish to rest alone for a while.” Knowing that he wouldn’t have won if they had continued Lucius stiffly nodded his head and walked out of the room.

 

The sound of the door closing shut signaled the release of the floodgates on Narcissa emotions. She dropped herself onto the bed and her hand over her mouth. She closed her eyes and felt few small tears slide down her face. Quickly wiping them away she changed her clothes into something more comfortable and laid on the bed.

 

She stared at the canopy that surrounded the outside of the bedframe. She didn’t know how exhausted she was until her head had hit the pillow.

 

What was the quaint muggle saying about history? Ah yes…

 

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat.

 

Maybe such thinking wasn’t so quaint after all.

End Notes:

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