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 When her parents had told her of the vast size of the castle, she hadn't quite believed anywhere could be that big. She realised, now looking at the colossal building half a mile ahead, that she shouldn't have been so quick to dismiss this as a falsehood.

 "It's big, isn't it?" Daniel spoke up. "It's a bit daunting really, huh?"

 Brogan nodded in agreement as they kept walking towards the castle. She found herself counting every step she took and looked toward the moon. They'd taken 191 steps to the castle and it was 24 days until the full moon. Her mother had always said that counting would help her focus and Brogan had always kept to doing that. It helped her cope with change. She had more than enough time to talk to the teacher in charge. The end of the feast and heading to the common room would . He made quite a statement when he showed up to her house unannounced after she wrote him a letter proclaiming that she'd have to decline his offer of a place at the school. They'd now taken 212 steps to the castle.

 "Are you okay, Brogan?" Daniel asked, placing a hand on her shoulder.

 She nodded.

 "It's as you said..." She exhaled. "Just a bit daunting. I'm fine."

 Daniel didn't press on, instead deciding to distract her. "So, um, Brogan, what are the houses here again? I only really know about the ones at Durmstrang, vaguely."

 Daniel's parents were a pureblood family from somewhere in Europe apparently, though he'd lived most of his life in England. Since his parents had gone to Durmstrang, he knew very little about Hogwarts before getting on the train. In Norway, they had a whole host of different foods, so he became very excited when the food trolley came round. Everything in England seemed so new to him. His parents didn't know very much and seemed very antisocial, turning away when Daniel had strolled up to her at the station to ask her where he was going. She wondered whether it had to do with any language barriers, however he assured her that they spoke perfect English. There was something off about them, like they'd been looking down on her and her family.

 Making it into the castle had taken 500 steps to make it inside the castle from the train station and although she struggled, she kept up with explaining the houses to the boy again.

 "So, what house do you think you'll be in?" Daniel asked, neatening his robe. "I reckon I'll be in Slytherin. They've been getting to know some other families over here and all their children are in Slytherin, so it's definitely something they're keen for me to be in."

 Brogan wasn't sure what house she'd be in. Her father's side of the family was largely in Ravenclaw; largely intelligent and keen to create new things, whether it be the crazy wicked spells her brother created or the weird and wonderful paintings her father made. And her mother and most of her family were Gryffindor.

 She felt somehow though, that maybe she'd be stuck in a different house. Alone. She was just sure something would go wrong or not according to plan, just like everything else in her life so far. "I dunno."

 "I reckon you'll be in Hufflepuff."

 She raised her brow.

 "What makes you say so?"

 "I don't really know." He shrugged a little. "Just a hunch, really. I know that usually if I have a hunch about something, it just eerily turns out just as I thought. When I was younger, I told my dad to be careful with the oil because someone could slip and break something. He didn't realise he spilt some and my mother slipped and broke her leg that afternoon."

 Brogan wasn't sure how to respond to that story, though she could understand it. Her hunches were usually her strong survival instincts. They'd always been fairly accurate before but after becoming a werewolf, they'd become stronger over the years. This was quickly noticed by parents after they had an almost break in. Brogan had sat at the front door, telling them to call the police. That, and she was quick to chuck food that had gone off in the bin, so they began taking her on shopping trips as a precaution.

 Still, she feared how right he would be.

 "Didn't you say a lot of houses don't like each other? Why is that? Isn't that a bit stupid?" Daniel spoke up again.

 "Well Gryffindor and Slytherin probably hate each other because they're quite similar really. That's what usually happens, isn't it? If too stubborn people went head to head, they likely wouldn't have too good of an opinion towards each other, you see?" She explained. Daniel nodded in understanding. "However, they value different things, Gryffindor admires chivalry while Slytherin admires ambition-"

 Brogan hadn't but Daniel had become aware of the tall girl in front of them. She was eyeing the pair angrily, her large forehead growing red with a vein beginning to bulge.

 "Are you thick-headed? Of course they aren't the same!" She sneered. "Only an idiot would think they are! Slytherin is much better than Gryffindor!"

 "Oh... I'm sorry." Brogan breathed out, taken aback. Her heart started rising steadily towards her throat. "I didn't mean anything by it-"

 "Well from what's in the books and what's been explained to me about the houses, she's right!" Daniel spoke up, with his chest puffed out and his back straight. "Why hate a house when you aren't part of one yet? What would you do if you ended up in Gryffindor?"

 She continued to look down at them with dark, serpent-like eyes. "I suppose you want to be in Gryffindor, right?"

 "I will be in whatever house the Sorting Hat believes will further me as a person or I have the necessary traits for." He'd stepped between the two, protectively in front of Brogan, on the verge of growling at her. It reminded her of the sound of a bitch would protect their pups, snarling at the danger. "No one house is more important than any other and thinking like that is, I would say, the only barrier to becoming a great wizard!"

 Daniel shot her with a triumphant smirk. The girl wanted to retort. Brogan could see her getting ready to speak, but the cough of an adult silenced the low rumble of students, leaving an eerie silence as they turned in the interruption's direction to a stern looking woman with long black hair, tied into an impossibly tight bun, looking over her spectacles at two boys at the front of the group.

 After a speech on the houses, they were lead into the Great Hall.

 She lost count. Looking around at the candles floating mid-air and golden glow of the enormous room, the tables were a dark wood, varnished in caramel and shining under the twinkling sky and the half moon. So many curious eyes stared at the young students making their way in. She caught a familiar pair of hazel eyes at the Ravenclaw table of her brother. He sent her a reassuring smile and a wave, which she returned, breathing out after forgetting she'd even been holding her breath.

 With everything so new and unfamiliar, she turned to the oldest thing she knew nearby.

 "Hey Daniel,"

 He hummed, still in awe of the hall's magnificence,

 "If you do end up in another house, would you still be my friend?" Her voice got quieter. "Even if our houses didn't like each other?"

 He turned to look at her, a sincerity in his eyes that she'd failed to miss at the train station when he told her they should share a cabin on the train when she questioned why he wanted to talk to her and somehow strangely familiar, a smile lit up his features. "I meant what I said outside the hall." She looked down sheepishly. "House Pride means nothing to me if it means giving up what I believe in. I want to make a good reputation in my house, whichever I'm in. But my house doesn't define who my friends should be. That right will always lie with me."

 A warmth spread through her chest and happiness swelled, lifting her and letting her walk with a skip in her step. "Same here!"

 The students halted at the end of hall as McGonagall, as she'd introduced herself, explained how the Sorting Ceremony would work. Brogan looked along the teachers table and along all of the house tables, anything to distract from the terrifying hat. It reminded her of the dentist's office when she was younger and waiting for her appointment. The glaring brightness of the lights and and name-calling brought back the memory that she told herself she'd rather think about.

 Considering she'd bitten the dentist, thinking of the embarrassing memory had perhaps not been the best idea, she thought while trying to shrink into the crowd.

 The further down the list of new students the list got, the more nervous she got. She began counting the second up until her name. She began tapping her foot to the rhythm she'd gotten while counting, keeping her on track.

 It had been 926 seconds.

 "Daniel Karga!"

 When it came to Daniel, her heart stopped as she realised her name was closer than she'd anticipated. He shot her a quick smirk, whispering "Don't worry" as he walked up to the stool and sat down on the stool. After a few seconds, the hat yelled.

 "Slytherin!"

 The girl from earlier sniggered at this predicament. Brogan figured Daniel must've of heard it because as he walked to his table, he was sure to catch her attention by sneering back at her the same way she had done to them earlier. Brogan contained a giggle as she grimaced next to her. The Slytherin table cheered for the new as he sat down.

 Brogan was now once again on her own.

 She'd by this point lost count of how long they'd been there.

 "Brogan Morrigan!"

 Her heart thumped violently in her chest as she began walking through the other students. She felt her cheeks growing a little red when she stumbled over the girl from earlier's foot and heard people laughing. She kept walking and turned to face the tables and she began to feel sick. She could hear the mumbles all of the other tables as they discussed her. She sat down on the stool and the hat began talking to her.

 "Hmmm... interesting..." She exhaled shakily as she heard it's voice. Could the other students hear it? Was it going to simply yell out the words "werewolf" and allow the entire hall to shriek in fear or glare in disgust and be done with it? "No need to think such things, Miss Morrigan. It's been a long time since we've had one of your kind in the school." To avoid the stares of the other students, she looked towards the door and the candles and tables and the floor and everything. "You have brains... and you're brave when you choose to be... don't let your affliction be a reason to unambitious... I know exactly which house to put you in!"

 Daniel was right.

 "Hufflepuff!"

 The table garnished with yellow and black erupted in cheers as Brogan hesitantly hopped off the stool and slowly walked towards the table. She sat next to a boy with dark hair and a friendly smile and a girl with shoulder-length wavy blonde hair and another paler with shorter straight red hair in a plait also smiled too. Ironically, the girl who believed she could make fun of Daniel while Slytherin house had unfortunately failed when she was placed in another house. Unfortunately, however, the girl, or Francesca, was actually placed in Hufflepuff, and had now decided that she was going to deal with this latest blow to her pride by glaring at Brogan. It was unnerving to say the least.

 After they introduced themselves, she looked over to see Daniel making friends and talking to the people on his table. He looked over and smiled, waving and she reciprocated it before introducing herself to the other students.

 


 

 

 The next few weeks were worse than she'd anticipated.

 When they were organised into dorm rooms, there was one five bedroom dorm and another two bedroom dorm. She was sharing a dorm with Francesca, Hannah, Susan and another girl with short frizzy blonde hair she hadn't spoken to yet. It became clear that Francesca had become fast friends with Hannah and Susan. They had a lot to learn about subtlety with perfumes and sprays as Brogan struggled to be in the same room as them without her nostrils burning. Hannah and Susan were kind enough, if a little naive. Susan had quite a low confidence too. Francesca, however, was not so sweet. The only other girl in the room had had seemed kind and was quite outspoken and tomboyish. However, she avoided looking and talking to the other dorm mates after Francesca laughed at her strong Welsh accent on the first night there.

 She tried to avoid her dorm mates as much as possible, only talking to them when it was necessary. It wasn't like she was alone however. She still had Daniel.

 Though in the short space of time she'd spent at the school she and Daniel had grown close, it was difficult trying to talk and spend time with him. The Slytherins were keen to get to know him, much more than he'd expected, and they wanted every last detail from where his family was from to what his blood status was to how much money his family had. 

 As far as lessons went, she coasted through them quite easily and was hardly noticed. She'd quickly decided which teachers she liked and disliked and Professor Sprout was the teacher she seemed to like the most. She couldn't sense anything underlying but a negative was that because she was always working with plant, any hint of fertiliser and Brogan would feel suddenly sick. Professor Flitwick was another favourite of hers too and had taken a liking to him. The transfiguration teacher, who turned out to be Professor McGonagall, seemed very trustworthy, but she was very stern and by the end of the of the lesson, the joints in her hands ached and she longed for sleep. The potions professor, Professor Snape, however, did not seem to like her very much. Although she knew there was no alterior motive, she was struck instantly with a feeling of disdain upon him entering their classroom. Similarly, she had a unwarranted hatred for the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell, though other than his lack of ability to teach worth a damn, she was unsure of why the feeling was so potent.

 As it got closer to the full moon, she grew more and more ill. She found herself being sent out of lessons more often as it got closer to the moon. During a Herbology, she almost fainted while potting a plant.

 A meeting with Professor Dumbledore had clarified where she would spending her full moons and the aftercare. She would head down to the Whomping Willow, which had a secret passageway to a house safe from civilisation, with little to no chance of anyone stumbling in or sneaking around. She'd be taken the night before and she was to wait out the moon there. In the morning, Madam Pomfrey, the school nurse, would come and retrieve her from the house at dawn and she would spend the rest of the day at the infirmary.

 However, the closer to the moon it got, the more she dreaded going down to the house. What if someone did go sneaking around? What if someone was injured by the tree? What if someone noticed she was missing? They were required to learn about werewolves in Defence Against the Dark Arts. She calmed with the hope that if Professor Quirrell continued to be useless at teaching, no one would figure it out.

 "Hey, Brogan, do you need to go see Madam Pomfrey?"

 She looked up from her book to see Daniel had joined her in the library, pulling out a chair and sitting down. "Hmm? What do you mean?"

 He raised an eyebrow, his face ditching any sign of pretending to believe her. She'd been avoiding the topic for a week now. She had to admit, she did look run down. When she got up to shower that morning, she looked in the mirror and her face was a ghostly white and dark circles hung under her eyes. "You look like you could collapse at any second..." He grew concerned looking. "Look, if you want to leave to go see Madam Pomfrey, you know that's okay, right? I'll even go with you-"

 "No!" She whisper-yelled. With the eyes of other students looking at her briefly, she thought she'd perhaps been too loud. "I'm fine, I promise. It isn't contagious if that's what you're worried about."

 She tried to chuckle. Daniel still looked at her with a piercing stare. She shut her book and turned to ask about his week. "Have you made any actual friends in your house then? I mean, I see Draco and that lot following you around, but are you friends with him?"

 Draco had become somewhat infamous around the school for hexing other students and spouting vitriol at anyone unwilling to agree with him. She had yet to properly encounter him but occasionally she noticed him and his friends glancing at her and snickering. He was usually pulled into their group any spare time they had and he struggled to leave as they'd follow him wherever he went, even when he just wanted some quiet time alone. Though, on his weekends, he'd leave his dorm early and meet up with Brogan in the library for some quiet time and to talk about their weeks and their classes.

 Daniel chuckled.

 "Me and Draco Malfoy? Friends?" He grimaced. "Not likely. He's a bit of a tosser, really. I don't bother trying to talk to him and I avoid it when I can."

 "I dunno, I think I can see you and Blondie becoming the Slytherin dream team." Giggling, she pushed her book out of the way. "The Doubles D's?"

 Daniel faked retching in disgust while shoving Brogan playfully.

 "Eww! Brogan! Gross!"

 "You don't like that one? What about Draniel? It mixes the names-"

 "I understand the concept! Please stop!"

 

 They headed out towards the Great Hall for lunch after putting the books away, Daniel keeping a slow pace and allowing Brogan to hold onto his shoulder for support while she faked rasping about her "damn asthma" burning her lungs, hoping he wouldn't question it and pretending they both didn't know that she was going to fall over if he wasn't there. Once they made it to the hall, they spotted Draco and his group calling over to Daniel to come sit with them. Daniel turned his face away winced  "I can sit with you, if you'd like?" Daniel said, trying to hide the desperation in his voice. "Please..."

 "Sure," She smirked. "But if they start pestering us, you'd best get your sorry butt up and over there. I can't stand the smell..."

 Daniel raised an eyebrow at her but shrugged his shoulders, sitting down next to her. She stared at the row of food along the table. When it was close to the moon, her senses became uncomfortably heightened. They were usually but the week before transformation, her nose would be assaulted with the smell of everything around her, bright colours became a shock to her eyes and she could chairs moving in other rooms as if it were right next to her, screeching painfully in her ears.

 "There's something you're not telling me." Brogan's eyes widened at this. "You eat loads at every meal... I knew you were sick! The offer of a trip to Madam Pom-"

 "Daniel, I'm fine! I'm just deciding." In truth, the smell of the food was making her nauseous as they all blended into a strong mix, starting to resemble the smell of vomit. It was either that or somebody had already been sick that day.

 "You've been staring at the same plate of food for the past five minutes." He spouted monotonously.

 "You know, I don't think I'm so hungry anymore." Brogan's nose scrunched up as her hand rested over her stomach, trying to soothe it's restlessness. As she went to leave, Daniel stood up quickly with her, standing ready. "This really isn't necessary, Daniel." Brogan sighed once more. "I probably just have a cold or something!"

 "Okay! Okay." Daniel raised his hands in defence, allowing Brogan to walk by herself. "Lets see how long you survive."

 "Thank you!"

 Brogan began walking out of the Great Hall alone. Although she was dizzy, she was going to prove a point. Still, when she was a couple steps outside of the hall, her legs began to feel hollow and jelly-like and her head pounded. She didn't even realise she was falling until she felt Daniel's arms reach under hers to hold her up.

 "Wow! New record, Brogan! You lasted all of 10 seconds!" She could feel the sarcasm oozing from every word as she groaned in annoyance. "You're coming to Madam Pomfrey's with me."

 Before she could say anything, Daniel was hauling her up by her arms and marching her to the infirmary. She knew he was just doing what he thought was right and making sure a friend was fit and healthy. It was admirable. Really, it was. And she wished she could explain that it would never help but she couldn't. He refused to leave until Madam Pomfrey gave the all clear and walked her to the Hufflepuff Common Room.

 "Sorry you ended up having to look after me." She sheepishly looked away. "I know I'm a pain but- yeah..."

 "What're friends for, huh?" Daniel grinned, his straight posture not faltering for a second. "Though you do now owe me. I gave up lunch- I'm kidding! I'm kidding! Don't look at me like that!" Brogan's face had contorted into disappointment but resumed it's normal natural smile soon after.

 "Sorry about that, by the way."

 Pulling out two sandwiches and two cakes, Daniel handed one share over to her with a grin. When had he pocketed them? Brogan smiled. He picked the plain ones too. "Eat up. You'll need your strength for tomorrow."

 She raised an eyebrow but decided against saying anything. It would be another one of those things he didn't remember saying. Like the week before when a girl in their charms class was sent to Madam Pomfrey with a concussion when she accidentally managed to levitate a book and drop it on her own head and Daniel the day before had told the girl to mind her head. Though she had to wonder what he was talking about this time though. It was usually mundane things. But she wouldn't know until tomorrow anyway. 

 

 The next night, she began to pack her overnight bag for her day at the infirmary.

 "Hey!" 

 She turned around in the dorm while she was making the bed to see the girl whose name she didn't know yet. She cussed mentally at not knowing it. She was paired with this girl in all her lessons and yet, somehow, still didn't recall her name. She lay across her bed, eating some chocolate that Brogan had seen her hide after the dorm mates decided that all the treats they had was to be shared among them all, and reading her Potions textbook with parchment rested on the cover of another book. "Why you packin' a bag for? You going somewhere?"

 "Oh, I'm going home for a couple nights." She lied. "My mum's pretty sick right now so she needs me back home."

 The lie had rolled off the tongue like it was nothing. She could see the girl's thin brow raise a little. The girl looked her up and down, concentrating on the rings under her eyes and the ghostly paleness of her skin. 

 "Oh..." She spoke slowly. "Okay..."

 As the girl averted her eyes from Brogan and continued with her work. Brogan hurriedly packed up the rest of her bag and grabbed a couple of her school books and homework assignments to take with her. As she headed to the door she heard the girl sit up a little on the bed and her voice calling out to her. "I hope she gets better...Your mum, I mean." She spoke softly. "I suppose I'll see you when you get back?"

 "I suppose so yeah..."

 With that, she let the door slam behind her with a thud. 

 The shack wasn't so bad. After they dropped off her bag, Madam Pomfrey lead her out of the castle and through the Whomping Willow and down the tunnel. She showed her to the step ladder into the Shrieking Shack and left her there, reassuring her before departing that she'd be there to collect her in the morning. It creaked and groaned loudly and she could hear mice and rats scuttling along, looking for food. It was pitch black until the moonlight shone through the almost glass-less windows. She didn't have time to let the noises scare her when the pale light from the window hit her and her screams, slicing through the cold Autumn air, echoed before transforming into the whimper of a canine...

Chapter Text


 After hearing about his new best friend having been hospitlised in the infirmary with sickness, Daniel had no qualms with running over as soon as Madam Pomfrey allowed it. She'd seemed so ill for the past week. When he was pulled aside by Professor Snape and told, he went straight to his luggage and grabbed the sweet snacks his parents had been sending in the mail. He didn't really like them anyway. After wrapping them in the leftover ribbon of the parcel, he sprinted down to the infirmary.

 When he arrived, he found the girl fast asleep in the bed. She looked more weak than she'd been when he saw her last. Her dark hair was stringy and greasy and the dark circles around had deepened. He placed parcel on bedside table as quietly as possible as not to wake her.

 Brogan was the first person he'd met at the station. That was perhaps why he was so quickly attached to her. His parents walked alongside him, sternly. They'd gotten to the station quite early and were unsure of where to go. Mr and Mrs Karga were too proud to ask for directions, apart from a language barrier between the muggle Londoners and themselves, instead choosing to turn their nose up at anyone who had the courage to walk up to the strangely dressed family. Daniel supposed they looked rather weird to the muggles, especially looking at the things they were wearing.

 "I really think we should ask for directions." He muttered as they yet again stared down an old man who had dared to ask if they were okay as they looked lost.

 His mother turned to him with a stern glare.

 He shut up.

 As they passed the signs for Platform 9 and Platform 10, they spotted a family waiting to go in. There were two parents, the father, a tall pale man with thinning hair, holding the hand of a smaller sickly looking girl with long straight hair, and the mother, a petite woman with frizzy brown curls who was waiting for the older boy with his mother's curls. When Daniel saw the older teen boy race in with his luggage, he knew they were the ones to ask. Before his mother could grab him, he ran with his cart up to the family, who were a little bewildered at his sudden arrival.

 Before he could catch his breath, his parents caught up with him, resting heavy hands on his shoulders to try and quiet him.

 "Daniel!" His mother hissed in their mother tongue. "We will find the platform without their assistance!"

 "Yeah, only to find that the gate has shut and we've missed the train!" He hissed back

 "Are you okay?" The woman asked. "Were you looking for the Platform?"

 His parents took a step back, looking the family up and down, eyeing the girl in particular, who seemed ill and scruffy in comparison to her well kept family. Despite their incessant tugs on his robe, he spoke up. "Yes!" He exclaimed. "Is this the gate to Platform 9 and 3/4?"

 The woman smiled and nodded.

 "Yes. Yes it is." She said, walking closer to her daughter, who looked at the boy and his family with a strange look in her eyes, cowering a little behind her father. "Is this your first year?" Daniel nodded quickly. "Well, perhaps you might end up friends with our young Brogan here, huh?"

 "H-Hi, nice to meet you,"

 The girl stepped out a little, reaching a hand out to the boy shakily.

 "Karga, Daniel Karga." Daniel took it gladly, shaking it vigorously. "Nice to meet you too. I hope we can be good friends."

 Making their way to the platform,Daniel couldn't but feel the burning stares of his parents who avoided looking at the couple who had helped them. Daniel thanked them once again and walked with Brogan onto the train. They sat in an empty compartment, waved off by their parents, waiting to arrive at Hogwarts. Their hopes and dreams laying within the castle walls. Now, only 3 weeks after this, she was lying in an infirmary bed. Did her parents know she was ill this often? They must've had some idea. They were not idiots, he didn't think. And they were definitely kind. They seemed genuine when he met them.

 Her eyes began fluttering open and she groaned, slowly sitting up. "Oh!" Blinking and staring for a second at the boy, she sighed in relief. "It's you!" she grinned as she flopped back down on to her pillow.

 "Who were you expecting? Babbity Rabbity?"

 He laughed as she rolled her eyes at him. He handed over the chocolate bars and allowed the girl to share some with him. The gleeful look in her eye upon seeing the treat was enough to keep him happy. She began stuffing her face like she hadn't eaten in days, which as far as Daniel was aware, she hadn't. He chuckled as the sticky sweet lined the edge of her mouth.

 "So," Brogan spoke, cleaning her mouth with a hankie, "How's your day been? Anything interesting happen while I've been gone?"

 "Malfoy is a pain in the backside, as per usual, I guess." Daniel laughed, recounted the petty interactions between Malfoy and a boy called Harry Potter. "He keeps trying to get me in on this apparent campaign he has against him and honestly, I just want to chill.What about you?"

 Brogan chuckled, laying back.

 "Fine." Brogan smiled weakly. "The potions I have to take are gross but they're still bearable I guess. Nothing beats chocolate though!"

 After sharing some more chocolate, Brogan turned over slightly on her side, her shirt moving a little and revealing a horrific bruising around her collar bone. Daniel's eyes locked onto it, his usual composure stunned away.

 It blossomed in dark shades of black and purple and seemed to run from the joint of the bones up to both shoulders. It had to be painful and it left Daniel with a lead feeling in his stomach. What did he not know about her life? He was sure those hadn't been there before but could he really be sure of it. Brogan caught him looking and quickly moved to cover it, revealing bruising around her wrist to bled in lines to her knuckles. They looked like dislocation bruising to Daniel, like someone had been pulling all of her bones out of their sockets. As she began pulling the blanket up further to cover the scars, Daniel looked at her, horrified and with the stinging of bile in the back of his throat. 

 "What is that?"

 She wouldn't answer and turned away.

"Brogan!-"

 "Nothing-"

 "It looks like someone has been breaking both your collar bones." His voice came out broken and stunned, watching carefully for something. "And what about your arms! For God's sake, Brogan, you look like you've been tortured."

 "When I collapsed, I injured myself on the stairs." Her eyes stayed locked to Daniels. There was no hesitation in her voice nor did her eyes move from Daniel's or shift in anyway. She was calm and collected. The shame that had been pasted on her face was gone. "It doesn't even hurt that much. It mostly superficial. Madam Pomfrey will have it healed by tomorrow, she said."

 He kept his gaze trained on her.

 It wasn't completely implausible, especially with the weird moving staircases strewn about the castle. He knew that there was something he wasn't being told. But clearly she could lie to his face this around. It was either the truth or it was too important to her. He would have to just leave it for know. He wouldn't push her to it unless it became important. He would ask Madam Pomfrey about it on his way out. 

 "Okay then..."

 When Brogan drifted off once more, facing away from him, he got up and hurried towards Madam Pomfrey's office towards the back of the infirmary where she was hurriedly writing up injury reports and filing them away. He was going to find out what was really wrong with her. Surely she hadn't confirmed this story with Madam Pomfrey. Maybe it was some sort of bullying. Madam Pomfrey let out a startled shriek upon seeing him in the doorway, putting a hand on her heart and heaving. "Mr Karga! You really mustn't creep up on me like that!" She exclaimed, sighing and calming her nerves and turning her report over when she saw Daniel's eyes drifting towards the writing that had caught his attention. "Is there something you wanted, Mr Karga? You know visiting hours will be over in a few minutes and you must be heading off to your dorm."

 Her writing on the report had been barely legible but he could make out a few of the symptoms and the name on the top. It was Brogan's report. It was unmistakably her name at the top in sloppy cursive.

 "I was wondering what Brogan's ailment is." He asked, quickly looking towards the nurse, using a kind and polite voice. "I'm wondering because I like bringing her sweets and I would feel terrible if they make her worse for wear." 

 She seemed stunned before smiling and walking over to the boy and placing a hand on his shoulder leading him out of the office. "Don't you worry yourself, she can eat treats in moderation."

 "So what is wrong with her then?"

 "She just took a tumble down the stairs and injured herself." She took on a more solemn look. "Must've tripped on those blasted moving staircases. But she'll be okay by tomorrow, don't worry yourself. She's in good hands."

 So they had conferred stories, Daniel thought. It had to be something very important.

 He thanked her and only stayed by Brogan's bedside for last few minutes of the visiting hours before making his way down to the Slytherin Common Room. He loved the view of the Lake they got, especially when creatures swam past the glass. He'd spend hours after dark reading next to the fire and the glass.

 Of course, his peace was usually disturbed by the loud complaints of one Draco Bloody Malfoy, who had a massive problem with the famous boy in their year, The Boy Who Lived. He would reach levels of annoyance that were immeasurable by any scale whenever Malfoy entered a room. He was just as annoying at the party he was forced to go to. It was a ball that his family attended in an attempt to introduce themselves to the other pompous, superficial pure-bloods waddling around in tight dress-robes like ugly swans in the area. Obviously one of the families had been the Malfoys, along with names such as Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott and Parkinson. The first family to introduce themselves too. Malfoy had been dressed smartly, talking in a group before spotting him and immediately bringing him into the group. He of course boasted of his father's position in the Ministry of Magic, a piece of information Daniel wished he knew less about.

 And his father in the flesh?

 Much the same. He spoke with an air of haughtiness that made the boy literally gag. He couldn't bear his overly enunciated language and his slow pace. And when he spoke of his career and the superiority of certain families in Britain. His parents lapped up his every word, while he desperately tried to escape the Malfoy heir. He resorted to hiding behind some curtains like they were an invisibility cloak and left Draco wandering around, searching for him.

 If only he could find a way to get the kid to stop boasting!

 It was ridiculous.

 As Daniel's mind ticked away, Draco and his crew walked past his chair, waving for him to come join them in a game of chess - it was to be presumed he'd be playing against Malfoy himself as Draco would never play chess against neither Crabbe nor Goyle and Pansy would just watch Draco beat people he deemed worthy enough to play. "My father bought this set for me. The pieces were carved out of Dragon horns. Very expensive stuff. I have lots of replacements for taken pieces too."

 He had an idea!


 

 "So, why exactly are you looking up voice-changing spells again?" 

 Brogan, now his partner in crime, had been released from the infirmary some time earlier that day and was spending their evening scanning through the books in the library. Brogan had been hesitant to agree to help. She would never know how annoying this brat was, Daniel thought to himself and he chuckled. "All in good time, my young student. All in good time."

 He pulled out a book with green binding with curly gold writing on the cover. It was a book on self-improvement, including spells to change hair colour and height changing spells and alas, skimming the pages, he found a section on voice spells, using a finger to scroll past to a spell that lowered voices. Brogan raised an eyebrow at him as he started writing down notes. "You know we have an essay for Charms due, right?" Daniel mumbled that she didn't have to do it technically as she wasn't in the lesson. "Look, I have to get as high a grade as I possibly can. We're lucky to have the opportunity to go to school here..."

 She raised a brow and pulled book away from him, spinning it and reading it carefully.

 "Look, Daniel, just let puberty take it's course." Brogan drawled. "The average male's voice drops at-"

 "One, why would I drag you along with me if I was researching that?"

 "You seem like exactly that sort of deviant-"

 "Two..."  He pointed at her. "Why do you know the average age that happens at?"

 Brogan shrugged.

 "I have a medical nerd for a brother and he wanted to make sure I was both aware and terrified of boys." She shoved book back over to Daniel and grinned. "I just use that knowledge to be aware of social differences."

 Daniel felt a sting in his chest that ached for but a second.

 "Social what?- Actually, no," He pulled the book round so he could read. "I don't actually care."

 He was looking for something temporary to lower his voice. If his voice was permanently lowered, his voice breaking would make him sound like some ungodly creature. Brogan was raising an eyebrow at the boy with a incredulous look. Just something that would work for a simple message. While he was skimming through each page, he became aware of the presence marching towards them. A girl with a short frizz of pale blonde hair and large eyes had stomped towards them, earning a glare from Madam Pince, eyeing her coldly. She held a parcel in hand and tapped Brogan on the shoulder. Brogan looked up and smiled, greeting her. 

 "Hey, Eira!" She beamed, as the girl placed the parcel next her. "What's that?"

 "It's a gift." The corner of her mouth lifted slightly. "I know it can be difficult sometimes when a family member's ill. I wanted to give you something but all I had was candy that my parents keep giving me. I hate sweets but I'm sure you'll probably like them. "

 Brogan opened the parcel to see many colourful sweets that she nor Daniel recognised but whatever they were, they looked delicious. 

 "Wow! I mean- " Brogan's ear began glowing red. "Thank you! You're so kind."

 Eira smiled and nodded, stating that it wasn't a problem and began walking away but not before telling her to "tell her mum that she hoped she was well". Brogan waved her off with a painfully fake smile and Daniel began glaring at her. So, one of her housemates was under the impression that her mother was sick. Daniel begun to feel a distinct sick feeling, like that night. Something Daniel knew she was aware of the look he was giving her. "I didn't want her bothering me with questions about being ill, okay?"

 "So you lied to her?"

 Brogan groaned in annoyance. 

 "Look, if you knew what it was like-"

 "I know that you should never lie about something like that." He snapped at her, causing a few heads to turn towards him.

 She looked down guiltily and Daniel sighed. If there was one he couldn't accept, it was lies. There was preservation and there was cunning but there was outright deception and that was what he couldn't stand. If it was unnecessary, he loathed it. Always had. He was not so much angry with Brogan. He understood she might have her reasons but lying about her family? It could only turn out bad.

 "Look, I'm not a parent. It isn't up to me to lecture you on how you live your life. But Brogan, you can't tell people things like that because what happens when she finds out you lied to her? What will you do then? Lying is a spiral that is inescapable when you go to deep. So don't get on that track." He smiled. "Now, I suggest that you don't let her find out about that one but you make sure she knows it's because you're the one that is sick." Brogan nodded, avoiding eye contact with him, he supposed she was sorry. "Shall we get on with this spell now then. I'd like to get Malfoy off my tail pretty early on."

 They read through the spells, Daniel being sure to make a note to look for symptoms Brogan had and what they really meant. There was more to this and he'd be damned if he didn't find out why.